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Army Fluff The Constellation of the Desert, Suhulia's Tale.

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Stahlax, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. Stahlax
    Saurus

    Stahlax Active Member

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    It is said that the Slann care not for the stories of mortals. But they remember. Throughout the centuries, Suhulia and his desert kin have lived through many of these tales. Working towards completing the plan of the Old Ones, the first human settlers in Araby were nurtured by the seer of the desert and his Seraphon kin. Early human mythology tells tales of how the gods meant for humans to be immortal, but through sheer bad luck, they got death instead. "As the gods ordered the slow but cautious chameleon to carry the news of eternal life, the hasty lizard arrived first with the news of death." Humanity learned how to read, explore science and control the winds of magic. The more humanity evolved, the more Suhulia and his kin retreated into the desert. Seeing one of the Old Ones' chosen people devolve to greed, violence and hatred, the meetings between the two species became more infrequent, until the Seraphon eventually disappeared. Disappointed with the plans of the Old Ones and losing connection with his fellow Slann in Lustria and the Southlands, Suhullia chose an underground life of isolation. His Skink aides grew old quickly and his Saurus nearly grew extinct. Spawns became less frequent and were solely aimed at maintaining the existence of the temple city, while they patiently awaited developments in the Great Plan.

    Humanity grew bolder. Using the skills Suhulia had taught them, convoys from Araby navigated the desert masterfully. If one thing impressed the solitary Slann, it was how greed pushed the boundaries of humanity's ingenuity. Not fearing risking their own lives, brave heroes and merchants alike tried to push through the desert. Initially, Skink scouts aided the humans in their trek. But as time advanced, these same Skinks made regiments of pillaging mercenaries and smuggling convoys disappear. They did not fit the ideal of the uplifted human kind and had to be wiped from the face of this plane.

    Suhulia remembers. In year 1448 of the Imperial Calendar, Suhulia witnessed how under the influence of the Skaven, the Sultan Jaffar united all Araby and invaded the Estalian Kingdoms, prompting Bretonnia and Knightly Orders of the Empire to embark on a grand crusade. While humanity was fighting among each other, Skink patrols eliminated the growing infestation of Skaven hungry for warpstone. The fights were long and costly, with many ancient Saurus and Skinks perishing in the desert. Suhulia considered a new and costly desert spawn of warriors, when Skink seers warned the Slann Mage-Priest of an unusual bright Sagittarius constellation during one very cold night. The following morning, a Bretonnian army appeared in the vicinity of the sunken desert city. The contingent was small, their purple banners and heavy armor in stark contrast with the lighter wear of the local humans. Suhulia knew of their existence, but an encounter was not predestined. The crusaders path did not lead to one of the well known cities of Araby, but led to Skaven locations. Carefully, Skink scouts were sent out to investigate this foreign army approaching. As the desert night started to claim Bretonnian lives, Suhulia intervened.

    ---

    One by one, the duke received word from shivering scouts about the environment. More desert, no salvation in sight. Scratching his head, he slowly started to fear that this expedition might be his last one. The casualty list was rising swiftly and his lieutenants, the counts of Salmondra and Terraduc, started to publicly question his leadership. His quest to hunt out the Skaven seemed a noble one at first, but the lack of results and the increasing death toll made even the bravest knightly heart waver. When one of the scouts ran into the camp, panting and seemingly scared for his life, the sir knights immediately surrounded the man and started questioning him. Where were the rats? Was there any water in sight? What did he see? "No... no rats. Lizards." On the surrounding dunes, dark silhouettes appeared. The duke immediately saw he was not only outnumbered but also at a severe positional disadvantage. His horses neighed, the archers reached for their bows. His companions had his swords drawn, but he did not. He stepped up and raised his voice. "I am duke Charles d'Sangfroid, loyal servant of the Lady of the Lake. If you are not rat, we mean you no harm." A deafening silence followed, and the silhouettes retreated. Dazed and confused, the Bretonnian company stood down. In the sky, the Sagittarius constellation had just shifted. Sangfroid retreated to his tent, but little sleep was had that night....
     
  2. Bowser
    OldBlood

    Bowser Well-Known Member

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    Brilliant! A common enemy means an almost friendship. Really enjoyed this! Keep going!

    *Also now we know how Aladdin could have ended if only.... haha! Just kidding. Seriously this is awesome! Next fluff comp you should join!
     
  3. Rednax
    Saurus

    Rednax Member

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    very good idea, and the story just makes me want to know what will happen next...
    :D :D :D
     
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  4. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Whoa. Sangfroid = Cool Blood = Staying calm in dangerous situations. I love the meanings in the names.

    This is hopefully the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    Please?
     
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  5. Stahlax
    Saurus

    Stahlax Active Member

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    The company Sangfroid had taken into the desert were not Bretonnia's elite, and he knew that. His standing with the king had been low ever since he was expelled from court. Rumor had it that the queen had an eye on the duke, a false but persistent whisper coming from his courtly rivals. The king was known for his temperament, so Sangfroid was happy to leave with his head on his chest and his lands still in his possession. During the trek it became obvious that the sirs knights that were accompanying him did not do so out of the goodness of their hearts, but because of the sheer opportunity at redemption. Bringing home victory was every knight's dream and life goal, especially for those with sins to bear. Sir Salmondra, nicknamed the Salamander, was scrutinized for rape of a noble woman from the king's inner circle. Of Terraduc was said he hired a band of mercenaries to kill his brother-in-law. Nobility in name only, for these men had little redeeming traits. But they had troops, money and a title.

    The next morning, the awakening was rude. The sun was already blazing on Sangfroid's tent, but it was Salmondra rushing in causing him discomfort. Fuming, he grabbed the duke by the throat and whispered threateningly "Sangfroid, it's time to end this madness. I generally don't care if peasants die, but this night I lost one of my caretakers, a stable boy and four of my soldiers. Turn back, end this charade, and compensate me when we return. Or this desert will be the end of you entirely." Releasing the duke, Salmondra turned away and marched out of the tent. It would not be an easy day, Sangfroid realized. Underneath a fiery sky, the soldiers were dismantling the makeshift camp. The duke marched out, his aides hurrying to tear down the tent and prepare for the journey. He saw Terraduc and Salmondra waiting for him to announce their retreat. Their taunting gaze was accompanied with Salmondra spitting on the ground. Sangfroid ignored them mostly, a polite nod his only reaction. He summoned a herald and ordered to blow for assembly. While the trumpet was sounding, the duke walked to his white horse and mounted. Archers, soldiers and cavalry alike assembled, awaiting the day's orders. His lieutenants not appearing by his side confirmed him in his isolation, but he remembered the oath he swore.

    "In name of King Louis the Righteous and the Lady of the Lake, noblemen and peasant alike serving glorious Bretonnia, I want to thank you for your courage and your endurance." The counts listened with their arms crossed. "I acknowledge sincerely that the past weeks have been incredibly difficult for all of us. It is one thing to lose a comrade in battle, knowing he fought bravely and with honor. It saddens me gravely, every time we lose a friend not because of righteous fighting, but because of harrowing circumstances. Know that the goddess Shallya weeps for every soul lost." Sangfroid saw men bowing their head in mourning and remembrance for lost friends. "There are some who clamor for an end to the expedition. To abandon our quest for justice and vindication. To them I strongly say, nay." "As Bretonnians, we cannot allow injustice. As much as Jaffar is a threat, he is not the real enemy. The forces of chaos and the vile rat infestation, they are the true causes of this war. There is no place for them on this plane. To obliterate them is our only course of action. So I ask of you, friends, compatriots - join me. For Bretonnia. For the Lady of the Lake!" A roar rises up from the company, save a few, but Salmondra and Terraduc cannot hide their anger. "Enough!" the Salamander shouts. "Charles d'Sangfroid. I challenge you, to a duel. Here and now." The duke smiles, reining in his horse after all the excitement. "Salmondra, get your men in order, fall back. There will be no challenges, or the king will hear of your misdeeds on our return." Not backing down, Salmondra throws his gauntlet on the ground. "I shall not be denied a duel, Sangfroid." The Salamander was boiling, his men getting unruly. The count was known for his temper, even when in Bretonnia. The constant rumors about his past transgressions did not aid his temperament, and many a knight was challenged by the bullheaded count. "Salmondra, I deny you your challenge. Men, fall out, we're leaving." As the duke turns his back to the crowd and walks away on horseback, he hears the count raging and charging him, a handful of his men following him in his stead. Sangfroid reached for his sword, preparing his defense. He would, however, not draw a single drop of Bretonnian blood.

    Roaring and storming forward, the Salamander did not see the incoming blowdart that pierced his throat. Neither did three of his companions. The javelins that impaled a fourth soldier and got burrowed into Terraduc's leg also seemingly came out of nowhere. Sangfroid was amazed by how swiftly the aggressors were taken out. The lizard creatures responsible for this were not savage, but nimble, highly intelligent creatures that executed their attacks with minimal effort and maximal efficiency. As a couple of them rushed in to neutralize the remaining challengers with their clubs, a larger, feathered lizard appeared from the dunes. Sangfroid did not see him speak, but he heard the creature say "Dam barid." in his head. "Follow, do not question nor hesitate. Do not mourn the fallen, the desert will reclaim them. The cycle continues." Shellshocked, the duke turns towards his troops. "Do not engage. We march." Filled with confusion, yet disciplined, the purple clad Bretonnians march.
     
  6. Bowser
    OldBlood

    Bowser Well-Known Member

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    This is exciting! Nice build up, great quick action! I want more!
     
  7. TMTMTPoS
    Skink

    TMTMTPoS New Member

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    This is really interesting and exciting! I look forward to reading more!
     
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  8. Ecozh
    Skink

    Ecozh Member

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    Well written, More please :D
     
  9. Stahlax
    Saurus

    Stahlax Active Member

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    During the long and gruesome trek, Sangfroid was deep within his thoughts. The Feathered One and his nimble aides kept an exhausting pace, without any regard for the obvious suffering of their human companions. The duke wondered why. These creatures came out of nowhere to save his life, but seem devoid of any sympathy towards the rest of his kin. During his short time in the desert, the duke had learned that age-old Bretonnian wisdom had little value in this godforsaken place. The prospect of a delightful afternoon sun in the lush gardens of his estate were replaced with a constant fear for his life and that of his men. The sun, the symbol of life and joy in Bretonnia, became a thing to be feared. The cruel balancing act of this world became even more apparent when Sangfroid looked at his knights. Their iconic plated armor, crafted by the best human blacksmiths of the Old World, were excellent at saving their wearers from certain death in combat. In the desert, however, they turned into instruments of death, leaving many knights with major burns all over their body. The young knight that foolishly tried to face the day bare chested got an even worse deal, not finding any sleep in the nights to come. The Bretonnians had to adapt, many quick minded soldiers in the company already adopting the clothing style of the Arabyans.

    Sangfroid was disturbed by shouting from his backlines. He feared another attack, but it was a clamor from his own men to slow down. "Lower the pace, men, let the wounded pick up." The Feathered One turned, abruptly, walked towards the duke and spoke for the first time. "Wahid bidam barid. The desert lauds patience, but punishes those who hesitate. Do not waste your breath and water on those not fit for survival. The sand will claim them, their life given a new purpose." The duke was taken aback by these cold words. The feathered lizard spoke like his kin had fought: swift, calculated and with brutal efficiency. A croaking sound spurred his fellow lizards to continue, as they picked up where they had left. "We stop here.", Sangfroid uttered. "I want to be grateful for what you are doing for us, but we have no idea where we are, or where we're going. In our kingdom, we do not only value the strong, but we protect our weak. It is a holy oath we swear. It is what our great realm was built on." An angry roar came out of the lizard's throat. "'iinsan, you test the patience of those infinitely your greater. You claim your kin is kind, yet surround yourself with rapists, murderers and looters. Alrrayiy min alssahra' demands your presence at the temple. If not for him, you would not have lived another day. We march." Sangfroid looked at his band of rag and tag Bretonnians, beaten by the desert, ready to collapse. He urged his men to haul the weak on the carts and move on. Wherever the lizards were taking them, they needed to get there soon, or he would have a full fledged mutiny on his hand.

    (By the way, this is my soundtrack while writing these!)
     
  10. Bowser
    OldBlood

    Bowser Well-Known Member

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    This is so awesome!
    This is just such a great line! Epic soundtrack!
     
  11. Tlac'Natai the Observer
    Cold One

    Tlac'Natai the Observer Active Member

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    I'm very interested in seeing this desert story build =) I hope you keep the inspiration to continue writing!
     
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  12. Killer Angel
    Carnasaur

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    I don't know why, but I like stories that involve lizardmen and desert... :p

    Pretty entertaining, I'm eager for another chapter!
     
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  13. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Took me a couple of weeks to see it. Dam Barid = Cold Blood in Arabic. That's attention to detail.

    The other Arabic phrases were beyond my limited vocabulary (without electronic help), but they ring true.

    Which leaves me with only one thing to say to @Stahlax :

    lazim tastamir fi hikaya !
     
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  14. Stahlax
    Saurus

    Stahlax Active Member

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    Unfortunately, I'm not fluent in Arabic - but Google Translate is my friend.
    Alrrayiy min alssahra' should stand for "seer of the desert"
    'iinsan should stand for "human"
    Wahid bidam barid should stand for "one with the cold blood"

    Thank you for the kind words, I will make sure to continue ;)
     
  15. Warden
    Skink Chief

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    ++1

    Love the research that went into this fluff. Keep writing!
     
  16. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    My Arabic is lousy, but
    "He with cold blood" is possibly Al Dami Barid, but Aldam-Baridi sounds and looks cooler.
    "The Man with cold blood" would be closer to Al Rijool Bidam Barid

    One intriguing place on the Arabian peninsula is the empty quarter - desert wilderness where the neighboring countries have never bothered to delineate a border. Crossed by the Bedouin tribes alone, using navigation instruments you would associate with sailing ships. The local name is Rrab al Khali - which is effectively Quarter of Emptiness / Nothingness. If you want a mysterious region...
     
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  17. Stahlax
    Saurus

    Stahlax Active Member

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    Thanks for this! I'll take it into account. I would've written a lot of things differently in this story, but I like to share them with you guys as they come. I'm finishing the next bit as we speak!
     
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  18. Stahlax
    Saurus

    Stahlax Active Member

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    The march continued well into the evening. After being burned by the sun, the now shivering soldiers huddled together in the carts, many more left behind in the desert. Claimed and given a new purpose. Sangfroid himself was fighting hunger, thirst and exhaustion sitting on his mare. He realized he had failed his men, one by one. He glanced at Julien d’Orsée-Expery, one of his kingdom’s most famed bards, holding on to life in one of the carts. He was barely clutching his most prized possession, his lute, carved from the finest wood of the forest of Chalons. Sangfroid bowed his head. The man that was supposed to bring back tales of glory just stared at the dancing torches in the pitch black sea. With much effort, d’Orsée-Expery grabbed hold of his lute and plucked a string. A gentle touch, barely audible. Slowly, he started playing the song that all in Bretonnia knew. It was a song of remembrance and sacrifice.

    Il y avait d’ chevaliers (Once, there were knights)

    Les plus nobles du pays (the most noble of the land)

    At this point, even the most battered of soldiers stepped in, wasting vital breath to bring honor to those fallen before him.

    Leurs armures brillant au-dessous l’soleil (their armour shining under the sun)

    Leurs bannières agitant fort (their banners waving strong)

    Dansant sur le vent (dancing on the wind)

    Dansant sur le vent (dancing on the wind)


    Ils ont battu l’enemi (They have fought the enemy)

    Par la grâce de Dieu et roi (by grace of God and king)

    Même s’ils reviennent pas chez nous (and even if they don't come back to us)

    Nous nous rappelons tout les jours (we'll recall them every day)

    Dans le chant et dans l’histoire (in song and in history)

    Dans le chant et dans l’histoire (in song and in history)

    A most solemn silence fell after the last verse was uttered. The bard had closed his eyes, this song his last gift to the kingdom. Sangfroid bowed his head in shame and mourning and wished the bard well on his journey to a better place. Tears started rolling down his cheeks - highly unbecoming of a man of his posture, but with death around the corner, he couldn’t be damned. As one of the teardrops fell on the sand, the lizards stopped. “Aldam-baridi, tell your men to brace themselves. We have arrived.” Sangfroid descended from his horse, looked around, not a single brick in sight. As he wanted to ask the Feathered One what to look for, a massive shock rippled through the desert sand, making the Bretonnians tremble on their feet. “Hold fast, men, this will be over soon!”, Sangfroid shouted, before a gust of wind blew sand around his head. Another tremor made the duke lose all sense of orientation, a constant stream of sand and wind brushing his face and hair. He couldn't see, hear or speak. He rose up, stretched his arms, as if to embrace death as an old friend. But with a final gush of wind, the sandstorm ended. As he slowly opened his eyes, he was greeted by the most sensational sight. There was a temple alright. It was just buried in the sand.
     
  19. Bowser
    OldBlood

    Bowser Well-Known Member

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    The song is amazing! Brilliant set up! I am definitely wanting more!
     
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  20. Stahlax
    Saurus

    Stahlax Active Member

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    As soon as the remainder of the regiment stepped out of the storm, the humans were struck by the sheer size of the area they were in. Whatever magic the lizards had used, it brought them to a massive plaza, bursting with liveliness. The sudden arrival of the humans did not disturb the crowd at all: there was a market going on and lizards were vending, buying and haggling. Among the crowd, Sangfroid noticed a number of human-sized lizards, more ferocious looking than their smaller cousins. Their appearance was hardy, covered in scales and scars. Behind the pair, a massive creature rose to its feet, easily twice the size of even the biggest saurian they had seen up until now. Slowly, but deliberately, the creature took a giant slab of meat and threw it over its shoulder. The lumbering giant marched forward, every step shaking the ground – instilling fear and terror in the eyes of the Bretonnians. As he carelessly strolled past the humans, the Feathered Lizard signaled them to come closer. Skink aides rushed towards them with water and food, greedily accepted by all Bretonnians. As Sangfroid took a bite, he looked up to what he thought would be a ceiling, instead finding a bright blue desert sky, the sun blazing hard. It was certainly hot, but there was a humidity he hadn’t felt since last summer in Chalons. Even though he knew they were underground, he saw a horizon in the distance. This was not just a temple. It was a giant city.

    The Feathered One nudged the Bretonnians to move. “The seer awaits.”, he croaked. The humans marched in column, constantly distracted by the spectacle around them. The lizard took them past large fenced swamplike breeding grounds crawling with four legged lizards. The small ones were fighting and butting heads, the larger ones occasionally roared angrily if one of the smaller beasts came too close. These savage creatures seemed like a distant kin to the lizards that had brought them here, but didn’t show any of the intellect the small ones portrayed. Three larger, scaled saurian creatures entered the grounds, dragging forward a column of Ratkin, the pathetic creatures chained to one another. The lizards seemed to ignore the hissing sound of the rats, but the Bretonnians covered their ears at the hellish sound they produced. Suddenly, the saurian unchained the rats one by one, tossing them among the bigger creatures in the swamp. In an instant, the fastest ones rushed forward, tearing into the rats with an incredible ferocity. Torn to shreds, the rats started screeching, many humans turning their heads and trying to keep in the little food they had eaten just earlier. Sangfroid shook his head at such brutality. “Aldam-baridi, do not mistake our ferocity for lack of compassion. We are a dying species with a singular purpose, to enact the plan of the Old Ones. The Horned Rat and his followers have no place in that plan, so the only solution is extermination. By feeding them to our Cold Ones, we repurpose their flesh, blood and water. And it reminds our most ferocious brethren what stench to sniff out when we storm into battle.” Nimbly, he turned his back to the humans and signaled to press on.

    The corridor they marched through was a thick brown stone, covered with vines and luscious plants, the likes of which none of the Bretonnians had ever seen before. Sure, every human had seen thick forests, but the plants in this area seemed so alien – not to forget that they were supposed to be underground, in the middle of the desert. The corridor turned into a large staircase, the air growing more humid and the vegetation getting thicker the more they moved up. The humans followed closely to the Feathered One, moving fluidly through the branches and vines. When they finally reached the top, they were greeted by a massive hall without ceiling, the sun shining bright into the room. In the middle of the hall stood a large sandstone pyramid in the same material as the rest of the complex, on top of it a massive bloated creature. The Feathered One bowed, some of the humans instinctly following his lead. Sangfroid was not a practitioner of magic,but the room seemed to be vibrating with an arcane energy he hadn’t even seen in the fiercest of battles. The form of the being on the throne seemed to be shimmering, as if a magical barrier was distorting the image. As he kneeled gently, the sky turned into a pitch black. One by one, stars appeared overhead, together with the moon, with a brightness only found in the darkest of desert nights. “Your arrival was not planned.”, Sangfroid heard in his head. “Humanity is considered forsaken in these realms, your susceptibility to chaos and corruption proving a point we made thousands of years ago. Yet here you stand.” Sangfroid tried to gauge any emotion in the face of the seer, both the night and the barrier making it unable for him to determine anything. “You are surrounded by men who would rather do harm to the world if it would suit their needs, yet you... You seem different. When you entered the desert, the constellations shifted for the first time in centuries. You are part of the plan of the Old Ones, aldami-baridi. Step closer, so we may learn."
     
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