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Contest April-May 2022 Short Story Contest Voting and Reading Thread

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, May 1, 2022.

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Which story or stories did you like best? (you may vote for up to two)

Poll closed Jun 1, 2022.
  1. Story One: "Late to Mature"

    4 vote(s)
    26.7%
  2. Story Two: "The World of Skink Chief McBragg: Spine of Sotek Mountains""

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  3. Story Three: "Faded Gods"

    6 vote(s)
    40.0%
  4. Story Four: "The New One"

    6 vote(s)
    40.0%
  5. Story Five: "The Hooded One"

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  6. Story Six: "The Messenger"

    5 vote(s)
    33.3%
  7. Story Seven: "The Voyage"

    4 vote(s)
    26.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    The theme for our 30th seasonal short story contest, provided by @thedarkfourth, was "Old Ones"

    Please read all seven stories before voting. You may vote for TWO pieces.

    The order of the stories was determined completely randomly. The order has no bearing on which pieces were submitted in what order.

    If someone wants me to fix a typo or formatting error that slipped through the cracks. Please let me know by private message AND please post the entire story with all changes made. It's lot easier for me to copy and paste a new story rather than for me to dig through the text to find the two or three errant sentences.

    Late to Mature

    Thalluk reached for his snack.

    The clearing was quiet, aside from the slow rustling of the forest leaves in the light breeze and constant hum of insects in the air. He could here the thousand and one sounds of beasts, large and small, in the jungle around him but it was too far away to annoy him. The sun beat down gloriously on his back. He sighed, contented. He knew that Varrun was vegetarian so he didn’t offer him any but, remembering his manners, he mentally scrambled for something polite to say.

    He coughed. “So… How did your son do with his new mate?”

    -

    Itl’bet ran through the undergrowth, his surroundings a blur as branches slapped his face. Away. He must get away. The others must be told about the attack.

    -

    Lit-qui stuck up his hand. The Skink priest running the class sighed.

    The rough-hewn stone classroom was muggy in the constant heat and humidity of the rainforest base, but it couldn’t be helped as the very subjects they were studying were nearby and all the theory in the world didn’t make you a proper beast handler. You had to get familiar with the various lizards, learn for yourself how to apply each of the tenets that you were given. This was not to say that the theory was useless. On the contrary, it was essential that you got all you questions answered and were totally certain. The instructor had had many students with questions. But Lit-qui was something else. None of the other handlers he trained were even half as annoying, he thought as he frowned.

    He cleared his throat and continued, ignoring the hand.

    -

    Varrun chewed his vegetables slowly. He knew that Thalluk was just being polite and didn’t actually care about his children, but he appreciated the effort. As they had only recently resolved their differences and made friends, he made a specific effort to respond in a friendly fashion.

    “No… The mate he found ended up being attracted to someone else…”

    “Oh.” Valluk seemed a little stumped for a response and the clearing fell silent again.

    -

    Leaning on a tree to catch his breath, Itl’bet gasped as his tiny lungs tried to compensate for all of the running he had done. He couldn’t continue, maybe he could just hide somewhere here and-

    The trunk next to him exploded. Itl’bet screamed as warpstone slivers cut into the side of his face. All thought fled as he threw his body back into the undergrowth, fear banishing his exhaustion as he heard the not-so-distant roars of a Rat Ogre.

    -

    “YES, FINE LIT-QUI. WHAT IN THE NAME OF THE OLD ONES DO YOU WANT NOW?!?”

    The words reverberated in the now completely silent classroom. The instructor closed his eyes and thumped the back of his head softly against the wall next to the demonstration board. If Lit-Qui hadn’t been so recently spawned, he would have sworn that he had discovered some heretofore unknown magical power that enabled him to get under the skin of anyone. The instructor normally had so much patience for his students, but the little Skink just wouldn’t stop with the questions…

    He took a deep breath and slowly let it out.

    “Your question, Lit-Qui?”

    A trembling voice answered him. “Well honoured one, I just don’t understand how they can take so long to mature that’s all.”

    “Well, larger creatures have a far longer life span than most of the other indigenous species and generally have less predators. Terradons mature relatively fast, in fact-“

    “But honoured one, how do we KNOW this?”

    -

    Thalluk found the silence oppressive. Somehow it didn’t seem to affect Varrun, but it ate at him and he started to panic as he thought of something else to say. He was no good at this social thing!

    “And how’s your food?”

    It just slipped out. He winced. This was the exact and only subject he was tying to avoid. It was too late now. Varrun’s heavy brow creased and Thalluk knew the conversation had just slipped out of control.

    “What do you mean, HOW’s my food?”

    -

    Itl-bet heard loud voices ahead. Thank the Old Ones, there was no high-pitched chittering marking the Skaven. It could only be friends. He found a last reservoir of energy and pushed forwards. ANYONE would be better than being by himself.

    -

    “It is hypothesised that the true maturity of the Greater Beasts occurs after hundreds of years, possibly even over a thousand-“

    The instructor broke off and gritted his teeth. Lit-Qui’s hand waved in the middle of the class like a small flag of defiance. The instructor’s patience stretched thin and then snapped.

    -

    “YOU JUST HAD TO BRING IT UP, DIDN’T YOU?!?”

    “I just think that you’d get more protein if you tried-“

    “I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU DISGUSTING EATING HABITS. I ALREADY TOLD YOU-“

    He broke off as a tiny, tiny Skink, eyes bulging in fear, ran out of the tree line. The minuscule lizard made it just far enough to flop between them and then collapsed, gulping for air.

    Varrun looked up at Thalluk, all anger forgotten. “Do you think he’s okay?”

    -

    Itl’bet lay panting, exhaustion and terror haven driven him almost to unconsciousness. At least to the point of hallucination apparently, as a huge Stegadon head appeared above him and then clearly SPOKE to someone off to the side. Itl’bet closed his eyes and slapped himself a couple of times. He had to focus, he had to…

    The appearance of the gaping maw of the Carnosaur was sufficient to jolt him back to the present.

    “AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”

    -

    The instructor had had it. He’d tried being nice. He’d tried explaining it carefully. The repeated questions were nothing short of a direct attack and the only way he knew of to handle such was an attack of his own.

    He rounded the desks at the front of the class, his face mottled with anger and the other students shied back from him as he came closer.

    Slamming his hands down on the front of Lit-Qui’s desk, he leaned down and put his snout next to the students.

    “You DARE interrupt the Chief Handler’s instructing? Have you no manners?!?”

    -

    The Skink screamed. He tried to get to his feet, failed and pitched forwards into he dust.

    The Carnosaur slapped it’s head. “I’m so sorry, where are my manners?! My name is Thalluk and this is,” he puffed out his chest in pride, “my friend Varrun.”

    The Skink lay on the ground, silently staring back at him.

    Thalluk was a bit miffed. The creature didn’t even have the dignity to respond, even after all of his politeness! Plus it was HE who had interrupted their meal (although, truth be told, it was a welcome distraction). He was about to say something else, when Varrun tapped his leg with his tail. He looked up to see a very surprised Skaven war party spilling out of the trees.

    Varrun smiled up at him, all antagonism fading with the prospect of a good fight. “How about a little taste of the good old days, my friend?”

    Thalluk threw his head back and roared. The sound reverberated in the clearing and off the nearby hills. The almost constant chatter of the jungle ceased as the rats before him took a collective step back. He smiled, bearing teeth bigger than the Skink lying before them. He had always had the knack of a good roar.

    “That sounds wonderful, Varrun.”

    -

    Itl’bet sat staring at the scene before him. This had to be a dream. He pinched himself. Again. Nope, they were still there.

    More snatches of the conversation drifted over to him between the screams of dying Skaven.

    The Carnosaur bit down, cutting a Rat Ogre cleanly in two and grabbed another. Stretching it out before him, he bunched his muscles and then paused, turning his head. “Don’t you think it’s a little ironic that, here you are, happily ripping all of these things apart into bloody chunks and you won’t eat the chunks that I’VE prepared?”

    The Stegadon stomped the last of the Stormvermin into a thin red paste, then turned himself. “Don’t be ridiculous. That’s like saying because I step in Bastiladon dung I should eat it.”

    “Don’t change the subject, I only meant-“

    The Skink sat for a good 15 minutes watching the surreal scene unfold. He knew that he wasn’t taking in everything, but enough that this moment would stay with him for as long as he lived.

    After the Warlord had been impaled on the Stegadon’s horns, and the last of the Skaven had fled, Itl-Bet watched the two creatures stomp past him.

    The Carnosaur casually reached out and picked up the Skink, placing him on the back of the Stegadon, “Let’s find another clearing, this one will stink very soon. Maybe we can find some more of those berries you like so much.”

    “Only if you’ll try them too, Thalluk. And we can find something for the little one.”

    The three lizards left the clearing, leaving behind an orderly pile of vegetables, an orderly pile of meat chunks and the scattered remains of the raiding party.

    -

    “We just wanted to know how you learned it, honoured one…”

    Itl’bet gave a snort of exasperation. So this was what it was all about. Lit-qui was evidently the nominated student to force a story out of him.

    “Fine.”

    The class all scampered closer. As Itl-Bet looked around at their faces, shining with anticipation, he remember his first wonderful moments of discovery and smiled back.

    “It all began with Thalluk and Varrun…”

    The World of Skink Chief McBragg: Spine of Sotek Mountains


    Que the old timey epic music.

    At the Gentleskinks’ Club where all the old skinks had inexplicable British accents and even more inexplicable mustaches.

    “There, the Spine of Sotek Mountains.” Skink Chief McBragg said imperiously pointing at the globe. He turned to the slightly less old Skink standing near him.

    “Did I ever tell you about the time that I thwarted an invasion of Daemons?”
    “Chief, I really must be going.”

    Chief McBragg pulls the rug out from under the other Skink sending him sprawling into an easy chair. McBragg nonchalantly takes the chair opposite, relights his pipe and begins his tale.

    “A rift to the Chaos Realm appeared in the mountains. Itza sent an army to stop them, but the Chaos blighters routed the army sent against them, so naturally they asked me to lead a relief force.”

    Cut to a scene with McBragg in a temple chamber. All the Skink attendants are on their hands and knees begging.

    “I accepted of course.”

    Cut back to the temple chamber. McBragg is saluted by all the Skinks, the Temple Guard, and finally the Slann.

    “So we began the long arduous march through the jungle to cut the Demons off before they could greater damage don’t you know.”

    Cut to McBragg leading about four Kroxigor, thirty Skinks, twenty Saurus Warriors, and Stegadon.

    “With my strategic brilliance I spotted a highly defensible narrow pass and instructed my men to begin erecting hasty fortification.”

    Cut to Skinks carrying small rocks, Saurus Warriors carrying medium rocks, and Kroxigor carrying large rocks. Behind them the Stegadon is pushing a large boulder, behind which McBragg is pushing an equally large boulder. Within a short while there was a crude but solid fort guarding the pass.

    “All seemed well, but I had made a small miscalculation.”

    Cut to several Daemons were hiding behind trees in an obvious fashion, on the other side of the pass giggling as the Lizardmen fortified the wrong side of the pass.

    “Suddenly, we were ambushed!”

    The Lizardmen were surrounded by a much larger force of assorted Daemons.

    “Leading the assault was a mighty Hellcannon, it barreled towards our center line. Thinking quickly, I borrowed a maul from one of the Kroxigor.”

    McBragg unceremoniously snatches the large weapon from a Kroxigor leaving him to fight a large number of Deamons without a weapon causing him to fall under a dog pile of Daemons.”

    “Making lightning calculations in my head, I calculated the trajectory of the projectile, swung the maul and batted it back towards the Hellcannon destroying it utterly.”

    The Hellcannon explodes taking out several Daemons near it and panicking the rest nearest.

    “The Deamon horde fled.”

    (Back at the Gentleskinks Club)

    “I thought Daemons were unbreakable?” asked the other skink.
    “They aren’t used to facing true courage don’t you know.”

    Cut back to the narrated story. The Lizardmen cheer McBragg until their happy looks turn to panic as the Daemons regroup.

    “But suddenly a Great Bloodthirster appeared, rallying the Daemons into renewing their unholy charge!”

    “Oh my Commander—I mean Chief, did you flee the field?” asked the other Skink.

    “Of course not, courage don’t you know. With a mighty leap, I jumped on the back of the Stegadon and took command of the giant bow.”

    McBragg rapidly fires giant arrows by himself and manages to never miss hitting a Daemon with every shot, usually killing a line of three or four of them and other times pegging a single Deamon square between the eyes. Even the Stegadon was staring in disbelief.

    “We were beating back the Daemon horde, until finally I ran out of ammo.”

    After running out of giant arrows, McBragg fires a regular javelin which hits squarely but bounces harmlessly off the Bloodthirster with a loud ping.

    “The men around me were dropping like flies but I fought on bravely until it was just me and the Great Bloodthirster”
    Cut to the Lizardmen falling one by one. Finally a small rock hits the Stegadon’s head knocking it unconscious.

    “The great losses we inflicted was causing Bloodthirster’s hold on the material world to falter, but he wouldn’t disappear for hours. He roared at me in anger.”

    The Bloodthirster thumps his chest and soundlessly speaks while McBragg narrates his lines.

    “’Lizardman! You have thwarted my invasion but I can still destroy you.’ He said to me very demonically."

    “I fought bravely, but I was tired from all the fighting from before.”

    Cut to the Bloodthirster attacking in a flailing manner while McBragg barely parries the blows in time, McBraggs eyes show fear and his face beaded with sweat (never mind that reptiles don’t sweat).

    “Then suddenly, my weapon was sundered!”

    Cut to a scene where McBragg looks truly worried holding an empty pommel of a sword as the Bloodthirster looms over him gloating. Cut back to the Gentleskinks club. The other old Skink has a worried look on his my.

    “Oh my Chief, what did you do?” asked the other Skink

    “Thinking quickly, using the rope I always carry, I took the feathers from my headdress and tied them to myself like the fletching of a giant arrow. I leaped back to the giant bow, loaded myself in and fired.”

    McBragg conjures a rope seemingly from nowhere, fletches himself in less than a second and launches into the air.

    “I flew through the air over the Spine of Sotek Mountains all the way back to Itza, where I was given a hero’s welcome.”


    Cut to him landing in Itza, the city cheering enthusiastically, including the Slann. Cut back to the Gentleskink’s Club. McBragg’s solo audience member marvels.

    “I say Commander…I mean Chief, that story sounds like a real long shot.”

    McBragg tapped some ash out of his pipe and grunted.

    “Quite.."

    Faded Gods

    I should never have bought that treasure from Lustria.

    It has been four days since the incident and my dreams are still haunted by visions of ancient stone cities, the rasping of lizard tongue, and the gaze of something older than the gods.

    I am putting the following account from quill to paper so that others may know of what I have seen. I fear I am losing the grip upon my mind and I may sink into true madness. But I still have time, if only a little.

    My name is Markus Heissmann, a scholar, collector, and professor at the colleges at Altdorf. Despite the constant intrusion by the Witch Hunters and Church of Sigmar, I had made a name for myself in the study of the religion and deities of the Empire, Bretonnia, Estalia, Tilea, Araby, Ancient Nehekhara, Albion, the Holds of the Dwarfs, and more recently the old gods of the mysterious lizardfolk of the New World.

    Precious little exists in our knowledge about the realm of Lustria, so when a ship did return to Marienburg with treasures taken from the stone cities of that realm, I spent a considerable sum in purchasing a gold chased tablet inscribed with serpentine shapes and what seemed like glyphs of god-like beings.

    I studied that treasure for several weeks, making sketches of the god-like images. One was of a great cat-like beast that seemed to be shown towering above tree tops, another a great sun-like image that seemed to be shown as alive (great strange jointed arms reaching to touch the land below), another a great feathered serpent that wrapped itself around the bottom of the tablet, from its feathers small carved humanoid shapes seemed to emerge. Long I pondered them and what they were and what they represented.

    And yet one morning, I found the tablet had changed. The great cat-like beast had vanished from the tablet. For a time I thought I was imagining it. Clearly I was tired (I had spent the previous evening with my friend Von Richtheim discussing the origins of Ulric over a bottle or three of fine Tilean vintage) so at first thought my mind was playing tricks on me. But as the days wore on it became clear that one of the god-like beings had truly vanished.

    The following day, I found that the sun-like entity had also vanished from the tablet. Strange new glyphs like lettering where it had once risen proudly. Disturbed by this, I kept the tablet in constant vision.

    It was just after dusk when my wearied eyes saw the feathered serpent shift and turn as if alive. A faint blue light seemed to shine from the tablet and the winged serpent appeared to sink into the tablet. Without reasonable thought I placed my hand over where it had been and found my vision and mind flung to a different place.

    Stars wheeled around me and voices that were less sound but mathematical and soul fired meaning threw me around the void like a ship lost in a great storm. I was a single guttering light against beings so ancient and unfathomable that it drove me insensible. I think I screamed as visions of a world shaped by inhuman hands flashed before me. I saw the children of the old gods, the fabled lizardfolk. I saw them build great cities and I watched as Chaos destroyed all and broke the song of the stars. And yet in the darkness, I heard a sibilant hiss and a great serpent appeared from the darkness. Unlike it’s feathered sibling, this great serpent exuded fury and vengeance. It regarded me with such anger that I felt my heart grow cold as death. And then darkness took me.

    I awoke to find the tablet bare of the strange Lustrian gods apart from a new one that had appeared. The coiled serpent of twin tails that regarded me with such hatred and hunger from the tablet that I thought it might spring forth and devour me.

    Since then the great serpent watches me from the tablet and all my nights are filled with nightmares of Lustria and its creators. I dare not go to anyone lest they think I am mad. But I must be mad now. The old gods are gone. But one remains. Vengeance remains. And we will all be consumed by it until the stars reawaken.

    The nightmares grow longer.


    +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++

    Mein Herr,

    We discovered the above entry clenched in the hand of Markus Heissmann, who was found dead in his home. It would appear that he had been poisoned by some exotic toxin we have been unable to identify. Curiously there were two puncture marks upon his neck. His body was lying upon a golden tablet that was featureless and blank. We will continue our investigation into Herr Heissmann’s murder, though our leads have brought us little.

    It is my belief that pressure from the university and his failing research drove Herr Heissmann to lunacy and he took his own life to appease this snake god he believed was hunting him.

    We await your orders,

    Adept Varius.

    The New One

    I watch as ten of my skinks are obliterated. It matters not, as I can now effortlessly create more. It wasn’t always so easy. We taught ourselves in a desperate time, and hid our Seraphon creations amongst our spawned Lizardmen. Do I have time to contemplate the past in such a battle? It’s like second nature now, creating the Seraphon, but the first Seraphon was a challenge, though with him we were creating something greater. I suppose if I am going to remember this, I should remember from the beginning.


    In the beginning, the Old Ones created the Slann, then the rest of our Lizardmen brethren. We had revered the Old Ones as perfect beings, how naive we were. Things were perfect for a time, until they began creating the lesser races. The elves weren’t too terrible, wise, keen on learning from us. Then came the short furry ones, stubborn, insolent, but their crafting skills were beyond comparison. Had we all continued working together, we could have had utopia, great libraries, advancing the technologies to the betterment of ourselves, and continuing the work of the Old Ones across the universe. Then came the humans, and the halflings.Keen workers, doing amazing things with the short time they had, their next generations improving on the previous ones. Their fiery passion, could have rallied all of the races together into a great collective.Their hubris and stupidity was the undoing of us all.


    The Old Ones presented themselves to us all. Many of us gathered, representatives from all of the races, the great plans to be revealed. The Great Plans became the Great Catastrophe. The humans created the first blasphemy. They demanded longer life spans, greater strength, more knowledge. They spat their demands with that fiery passion they are so known for. The old ones began to speak, to soothe these beasts, but it was too late. The first stone had been cast. The stones from slings, the spears, and arrows flew. First the loose stones and stone spearheads of the halflings and humans. Then the refined ore of the tipped bolts, as the dwarfs joined the outrageous cacophony. Finally the ornately carved arrowheads of the elves.


    As the stones and metals pierced the skin of the Old Ones, they shattered their bones, rotted their flesh, and turned them into monsters. Daemons. Shells of their former selves, and for this blasphemy, our world was cursed.


    Chotec had tried to step between the volley and the other Old Ones. He fell first. We watched as the Sun God writhed in pain, twitching and shifting, before transforming. We heard the agonising screams in our minds, as Chotec became the Great Beast. The once warm and lifegiving rays of the Sun were now harmful, burning, spreading chaos like a cancer through the world.


    Quetzl fell, the screams still haunt my dreams, and when he rose, he had called himself Khorne. Demanding the flow of blood, demanding the skulls of any and all creatures.


    Tzunki’s waters were now poisoned, giving life to unnatural and unholy things. Calling itself Nurgle.


    Tepok’s feathers grew oily as the once beautiful serpent like features became twisted and bird-like, Tepok had reemerged as the being called Tzeentch.


    Xholanka who had been of the deepest intellect, a perfectly logical and orderly being, was now called Slaanesh, and given to hedonistic pleasures and excess.


    Tlazcotl, once unmoved by the events around, would now actively cause despair and strife.Malal it called itself, as it absorbed some of the other Old Ones into itself.


    Itzl took the brunt of the dwarven bolts, turned his back upon the cold blooded, the hatred inside warming his blood. Itzl took the shape of a large bull, becoming Hashut.


    Huanchi initially shied away, changing his appearance to become a grey cloaked man, to try to blend in with the crowd. Slipping away like a scared rat. Huanchi would evolve again later into the Great Horned Rat, but for now, in this warped human-like form, it would spread chaos like a rat spreads disease.


    The old ones had abandoned us, and yet these daemon forms of the former gods came back to haunt us. They were turning our once beautiful and orderly world into a pit of filth and chaos. In a vain attempt to heal the Old Ones, we continued to worship the former versions of themselves. Things continued to get worse.


    Deep in our contemplations the question was asked, a blasphemy in and of itself, but a question that we all collectively held in private. Only one was brave enough to say it to all of us, the only one we would not question. Lord Kroak. We would work together to create an Old One, a new Old One. We would create Sotek. Our greatest achievement and our greatest shame. Who were we to create a god?


    The next problem was, in order for our new Old One to gain enough power to stem the tide of the chaotic daemon forms of the Old Ones, Sotek would need followers. Well, if we were creating a god, how hard could one skink be? Tehenhauin, the prophet, was the first Seraphon. We created and recreated him. HIs first version carved the Plaque of Sotek. We then refined him and he helped the Skinks of Chaqua to craft the Blade of the Serpent’s Tongue.


    Once the filthy rat men of our form Huanchi poisoned and annihilated the temple city of Chaqua, we had perfected our Tehenhuain. At first the remaining skinks of Chaqua were wary, but he swiftly took the lead, and rallied them. We used what we had learned of hatred and passion from humans all those years ago. It didn’t take long for more skinks, kroxigor, and even saurus to join in to the cult of Sotek. We of course would not confirm or deny the existence of Sotek. First and foremost, we held guilt about creating the New One, to try to Kill the Old Ones. Secondly, we couldn’t be sure any of this would work.

    As the fervour of the skinks rose, and the blood of the Skaven flowed, we felt that our god Sotek was taking shape. We knew that it had to be ready by the day of the twin-tailed comet. We could feel Sotek’s power growing with each and every skink follower. With each new rat corpse, the power flowed. Each time Tehenhuain was killed, we simply recreated him. It got easier each time, and the skinks believed he truly was unkillable, and the rightful prophet of Sotek.


    On the day of the comet we created as many serpents as we could and flushed out the Skaven scum. Sotek, our New One, had come to being and finished the job. We put every bit of energy we had into giving Sotek life. We told our attendants to tell the rest that we were deep in contemplations over a missing tablet. In reality, we needed to recover, we had exhausted ourselves mentally and physically.


    Sotek grew in power, this may be blasphemy, but I believe truly greater than the Old Ones had been. He left our world to seek knowledge, to find a way to restore an order. Sotek would communicate with us, as we began working towards joining Sotek in the universe. Sotek evolved, he created a race of Great Drakes. He became truly better than we could have hoped. Taking on the name of Dracothian, it was he who guided us from the destruction of the old world. We will continue to fight the Old Ones, until they have found a way back to themselves, or we have destroyed them completely. We have the means to create beings greater than they were. Though, my greates fear is what happens if we create a New One, and it suffers the same fate as the Old Ones?

    The Hooded One


    Streets glimmering, pyramids shining. The city of Chaqua laid glistening in the afternoon sun. In the middle of the Great Jungle this city formed the beating heart of the New World. From across all of Lustria the Skinks, Sauri and Kroxigors knew the path to this majestic feat of architecture.

    On the streets amidst this architecture is where Qu’ Tuazl sat thinking about how it progressed from what this city once was. It all actually started when the Slann locked himself away in his Temple-Pyramid to further meditate on the Great Plan and its application for the first children of the Old Ones. By excluding himself from society, society excluded him even more and over the passing of years forgot completely about him.
    In the absence of purposeful guidance a new purpose was made. Skink priests found plaques within and outside of the cities borders. These plaques spoke of evil tidings, offerings and salvation by a deity. Not long after these signs surfaced a name was rumored on every street and corner. Skink prophets preached it and spoke of the great serpent as the guider of life.
    More and more Skinks joined this religion, the amount of followers grew and grew to cover every inch of the city.

    In honor of this deity and to win more of its praise an enormous temple was planned to be build within the city’s limits. The foundations where raised quickly and the inhabitants of the city where reluctant to join in for this outstanding project. Layers of brick upon layers of bricks made out of gold from the finest quality. The sheer size of this temple’s floorplan was unfadeable. A first floor, a second floor followed within a year of construction work. The third and fourth floor took five more years. Then the pace of construction startled further and further. Around the twelfth floor a new spawning of Skinks had come and gone. Yet the building was still not halfway finished. Even after three cycles of spawning the top was not reached. Most Skinks had given up on the project for it took more than a day to get a brick up top for construction.

    Qu’ Tuazl looked upon the construction site a couple of blocks away from where he sat. As Skink Alpha from his spawning he had the responsibility to keep the project going. This felt more and more like a burden than a privilege. The enormous task to complete this monstrous Temple was a World Wonder in itself. The last years there was hardly any progress, the few dedicated skink builders that had continued carrying bricks to the top had not returned from their labors.
    Qu’ Tuazl looked up to just see the sun hit the horizon before diving past it. The daylight would soon be fading. His thoughts where cut short due to tumult at the gate. Qu’ Tuazl stood up and walked up to the gatehouse. Skinks of different divisions walked in and out, amidst them four Temple Guards stood unmoving. In between the Guards a single figure was hold in place. He reached the same height as the Guards and was from top to toe dressed in a black cloak. He didn’t show his face or seemed to care about the fuzz the skinks were making.

    Qu’ Tuazl stood aside as the Skink Priest, Toc’l Mundi, set foot at the plaza in front of the gate. The rumor dimmed down and the Skinks fanned out to make way for the Priest. With a staff in his hand he walked slowly closer, meanwhile taking up the hooded figure from top to bottom.

    The Priest was the first to speak: “Who is it that comes unannounced? What is your business here?”
    “I am a mere traveler. I came with an offer of help for this city.”
    “What help could you give a city like Chaqua?”
    “If you have me within the city for just this night I will finish building the Temple for you.”
    “Why do you think we will trust you?”
    “Search me and find that I do not carry a single thing. I only bring knowledge and craftmanship.”

    Qu’ Tuazl walked over to the Priest and tapped him on the shoulder. Toc’l Mundi turned over to him. “Your excellency, may I have a word?”
    “Speak freely.”
    “What hurt could it do if we win a Temple with it? Sotek protects!”
    “Sotek will provide protection!”

    Turning back the Priest motioned the Guards to stand down and gestured the hooded figure to follow him.
    “Thank you kindly!”

    Evening turned to night and all Skinks turned to their barracks. At midnight Qu’ Tuazl left his barracks to see what progress the mysterious figure would have made and if he would be able to hold his promise. Closing in to construction side there was a noticeable change of the temples shape. The top part, that used to be flat had been build upwards from.
    To get a better look he climbed the closest ziggurat. Halfway up the ziggurat Qu’ Tuazl froze in place. What he saw shocked him to his bones. The thing that spawning upon spawning of Skinks had not been able to accomplish had taken the hooded figure about just half the night.

    From more and more barracks Skinks poured in to the streets, all in awe of the completion of Sotek’s Temple. After a search of the city nobody had found the mysterious figure anywhere.
    Though inside the top of the temple a deep metal tone sounded thirteen times…

    The Messenger

    Uxmac, swiftest of Old Ones, voyager of the heavens, messenger of the Gods, hail! Bringer of great words, deliverer of fate! He carries the trust of the most powerful, he holds in his hands the words of unfathomable wisdom, the keys of the divine plan! Hear us, Uxmac, long-hoped for, object of our hearts' yearning! Uxmac, the swift! Come to us, and bring us tidings!

    - Translation of Lustrian plaque #47, Imperial Archives


    The metallic vessel soared out of the sun over the glorious sapphire skies of Lustria.

    In their ancient, innermost chambers across the continent, the holy slann stirred and shivered, breaking off their contemplations or their idle wanderings of dimensions beyond mortal comprehension.

    Skink attendants chittered into motion as flabby, corporeal forms shifted and grunted into wakefulness.

    The geomantic web hummed and pinged with new bursts of activity, receiving signals from the object traversing the sky that had not been received for seven millennia. Long forgotten codes of identification were analyzed and cross-referenced.

    The ship descended towards the jungle until it was level with the summit of the Great Pyramid of Itza. The temple guards bristled, gripping their halberds uncertainly, witnessing something completely novel for the first time in their long lives. Around them, the skinks cowered in terror at the impossible gleaming vessel hanging in the sky, or ran about in panic, feathers flying loose from ceremonial headgear.

    A section of the ship opened and a figure walked out: as big as a kroxigor but more like a skink in appearance, with a majestic multicolour patterning of scales. It walked into the air, untroubled by gravity, and said,

    "I am Uxmac. I have a message for the Children of the Old Ones."

    The slann ordered that Uxmac be taken immediately to Itza's most important chamber of ceremonies. The temple guards escorted him, since the skinks were too overwhelmed by the god's coming; many had fainted or even perished on the spot from sheer nervousness.

    The Mage-Priests of Itza hurried to meet Uxmac. It was the first time they had hurried for anything since the Great Catastrophe. They gathered in the chamber. Every living slann was there - those residing in other cities attending in astral conclave.

    "Many ages have we waited," croaked the Supreme Lord Luanchixti, slann of the second spawning, ruler of Itza, his voice stentorious and full of arcane power. "And many perils have we endured in your absence. Know, mighty one, that we never faltered, never wavered in our determination to comprehend your Great Plan and execute it down to its finest detail. We do not know why you abandoned us, all those years ago, when we needed you most. But I speak for all of us, your children, when I say this to you, Great Lord of Messages: welcome back!"

    "We know your face, revered one," added Lord Xlotc, slann of the third spawning. "We remember you, and we live to serve you still, just as we did when the world was young. You made us and taught us all we know. We have not forgotten our time with you, and we have greatly regretted your absence."

    Uxmac levitated imperiously in the midst of the assembled Mage-Priests, his impassive face and cunning eyes turning to each in turn. After several moments, a new voice broke the silence, speaking directly into their minds from the heart of Hexoatl, city of the sun.

    "Where," rumbled the dark and forboding voice of Lord Mazdamundi, "have you been?"

    Some of the younger slann murmured at such a brazen question, but no one offered any reprimand to the legendary geomancer. The feeling in the room was palpable: the Children of the Old Ones wanted answers. They deserved answers.

    Outsider the door, the skink priests bickered and fretted, pulling at their own glyphs of office in their impatience to learn what was happening within the sacred chamber. All of Lustria held its breath, as rumour sped between the temple cities.

    "I have not come to revisit what is past," hissed the god Uxmac in his unearthly, rasping voice. "I have come to bring only new tidings. We will soon return, all of us, to this world. And we have a fresh purpose for our children."

    The words struck the slann like a blow, cascading across the geomantic web as scorching electric fire. A fresh purpose? The very notion was heresy.

    "Forgive us, great bringer of destiny, but we do not understand these tidings," said Luanchixti, slowly, exerting much of his will to restrain his concern. "We beg you explain to us their significance. You cannot mean that the Great Plan has changed. You and your kin gave us no room for doubt, when you first brought us into the world, that no such change is possible. It is the core and absolute truth by which we understand this universe."

    "Nothing in this universe is absolute," Uxmac replied, unheeding of the mental anguish he unleashed across the slanns' prodigious intellects. "It has taken us all this time to understand this fact, and that is what we are returning to teach you. We came to this world as makers, as cataloguers, imposing order on a universe hopelessly afflicted by endless entropy. But in our labours here, we discovered something impossible, something anathema: the incongruity you call Chaos. Unable to comprehend such a concept, we were forced to abandon our project, to withdraw until we could understand it. Seven millennia we worked to grasp what we had witnessed, to parse the data we had gathered from the collapse of the polar gate. In that time, we were forced to alter our essence. To become no longer makers, but scientists. To learn new truths about the universe. And now that that work is achieved, we have returned to share what we have learned. I bring you now the fruit of our wisdom: Chaos and entropy are not the adversaries we once believed. They are fundamental components of reality. True perfection is to be found not in their exclusion, but in their integration. We have come to show you a new Plan, and to birth a new generation of slann to help you achieve it: a plan that does not achieve the end of Chaos, which is impossible and would be imperfect, but a synthesis. The ultimate balance between the fundamental forces of order and disorder, a harmony of new forms, simultaneously preordained and random."

    The Mage-Priests of Lustria listened to this speech with a cold and mounting dread, the silence in the chamber deepening around Lord Uxmac as he spoke.

    But in the astral plane, all was far from silent. Each new word from the god's mouth provoked a yet greater maelstrom of horror and confusion, the slanns' minds reeling from the utter incompatibility: on the one hand he was an Old One, the utmost pinnacle of all they knew to revere and obey. And on the other: he spoke darkest blasphemy, calling for the total corruption and destruction of their very essence.

    In telepathic conference, the ancient slann cried out like wailing babes, expressing their dismay in great gouts of magic that melted the stones within their chambers. To join with Chaos? It was a nightmare beyond reckoning.

    But in Itza's foremost Chamber of Ceremonies, all was deathly calm. Uxmac regarded the still and regal forms of the slann for long minutes, waiting for a response to his words. Occasionally, one of the younger toads would twitch a webbed toe or a bulbous lip involuntarily as they writhed in mental agony. The god raised a scaled brow as some of the most devoted slann expired on their very palanquins, their intellects utterly overcome by the effort of comprehension, their fleshy corpses rolling to the ground with a soft squelch.

    It took almost an hour, but finally the surviving slann were able to regain their composure, even if they had not fully recovered from the day's trials. Once again, the assembled Lords of Lustria drew a collective breath and turned to face their creator. It was Lord Mazdamundi's voice of dire judgement that finally roiled deeply into the chamber:

    "Kill him," said the Mage-Priest, simply.

    All at once, the god was assaulted by the combined spellcraft of the world's mightiest mages. Uxmac was instantly wreathed in white-hot flame. The space the god had occupied transformed into a magical incandescence of cosmic proportions, warping itself into an implosion that self-annihilated on the spot. When the light dimmed, the Messenger of the Old Ones was no longer there.

    Outside, under the pristine sky, the sleek silver skyship ceased to hover eerily in the air, and crashed straight down, leaving a blazing ruin across the steps of the Great Pyramid.

    At the noise, the slann of Itza went as fast as they could to the door of the chamber, scattering the waiting skinks, and sped heedless to the summit of the pyramid. They looked down from their palanquin to the wreckage of the god's vessel far below. But before they could ponder what they had done, their eyes were drawn inevitably upwards, into that perfect sapphire sky, and the immaculate glory of Chotec's own sun which burned there.

    Within that lambent and divine radiance, tiny motes could be discerned, flecks of reflected starlight that grew rapidly bigger: a fleet of skyships, hundreds strong, returning at last to bring new purpose to the long-suffering lands of the Old World.

    All across Lustria, the Lizardmen squawked as the Children of the Old Ones fled from their santums to look up at the silvery vessels coming out of the sun. Their minds hummed with a unity of purpose they had not known for millennia. The combined will of the slann was now bent to a solitary and immediate purpose, articulated by Lord Mazdamundi as he sent the command up and down the geomantic web:

    "Prepare for war!"

    The Voyage


    Xuti’na stepped slowly into the ancient vessel. Its yellow stone walls were dusty, worn from millenia of the harsh conditions of Lustria. His heart filled with pride as he glanced around at his brethren, packed tightly into the edges of the ship. He watched as several more skink priests like him slowly walked onto the ship, staring in awe at their surroundings. Finally, the Slann slowly hovered aboard, surrounded by a score of massive Temple Guard armed to the teeth. They bowed before the imposing figure of the Slann, and the rest of the Lizardmen present soon followed suit.

    My honoured servants,” the Slann began,“I am glad to have you aboard this vessel. All of you today are some of the finest warriors and sorcerers the temple cities have to offer. Today, we finally fulfill the purpose given to all of us by the Old Ones so long ago. The path given by them at the dawn of the world. The map is completed, and the engine is primed. We have overcome every obstacle, slain thousands of the followers of Chaos, lost so many lives, all for this. Today, we ascend. Today we take our place amongst the gods as defenders of the universe. Today, we meet the Old Ones!


    The skinks hissed with exuberance, letting out chants and prayers. Even the stony Temple Guard seemed excited. Xuti’na found himself joining them, almost against his will. This was it. Finally they would drag themselves out of the slow decline the First had found themselves in ever since the Great Catastrophe. Finally they would truly understand the Great Plan.


    It had been an enormous struggle to find and activate the Star-Voyager. Even once Revered Lord Mazdamundi had discovered the true meaning of the Lost Plaques, there were still countless pieces of the map that were lost, scattered all over the World Pond. Hard-fought battle after hard-fought battle had followed, with a particularly bloody confrontation at Naggarond after the Slann had realised an essential piece of the map was stolen by Dark Elf raiders and brought to the very Throne Room of Malekith’s palace. The siege had lasted for months in the bitter cold, but finally the magics of the Slann overcame the defences of the city and the legendary Survivor of Pahuax stole the plaque from under the Witch-King’s nose.


    The Slann gently made a calming gesture, and a hush instantly fell over the skink priests. Slowly, the Slann raised its hands and let out a soft incantation. The runes on the ceiling of the Star-Voyager began to glow a deep orange, as more and more of the skink priests closed their eyes, knelt on the floor, and began chanting.


    A spell so powerful a Slann must speak it aloud?” thought Xuti’na. “This vessel must require huge amounts of energy!” He cleared his mind as he prepared to join in the ritual. Closing his eyes, began to draw the energy of the winds of magic. Xuti’na could feel the rituals of the hundreds of fellow priests within the vessel, as they began to force the Winds of Magic into the runes on the ceiling of the ship. The enormous might of the Slann . Outside of the ship, he could feel three more Slann channelling all of their magical might into the engines at the back of the vessel. As Xuti’na felt more and more runes light up, the winds slowly began to come together. Shocked, Xuti’na suddenly felt the ability to channel the energies of Beasts. Soon Light followed, swirling into one energy source. Shadow wisped together into the other winds. Finally, all of the other winds snapped into place, and Xuti’na could feel the Star-Voyager shake as it was propelled into something unlike anything Xuti’Na had ever seen.


    We are now within the Immaterium, the source of all eight Winds of Magic. It is like the Realm of Chaos, except near-infinite. This is the birthplace of all demons. We must be very careful, and hasty. The small presences in the area have been scared off by our magical might, but we must hurry out before something larger is attracted,” said the Slann. Xuti-Na felt the engines roar and crackle with magical energy behind him as the vessel was pushed through the strange realm. Suddenly, he felt something beating outside the ship. A spike of panic went through his frail body as he realised something was outside of the Star-Voyager, trying to get in. A massive flare of energy rocketed the ship as the Slann urgently channelled energy, shooting blasts of pure light through the walls of the vessel.


    Hurry! Push with everything you have to the engines. I cannot hold them off much longer!” the Slann said. Xuti’na braced himself as he pushed as much energy as he could to the engines of the vessel. The ship rapidly accelerated. The banging got louder, and the runes on the ceiling began to pulse. Suddenly, something clicked within Xuti’na- they had arrived.


    “Quickly!” he hissed. “Jump back!” The Slann gave a curt nod, and the skink priests immediately stopped sending energy to the engines and started drawing energy away from the runes. The Slann was much too occupied with defending the ship to assist, and the effort was exhausting for the skinks. Finally, in a flash of light, the Star-Voyager came back into regular space. The slann slumped against its palanquin, completely exhausted. Xuti-Na had never felt more tired in his entire life, even when he brought down four comets in one battle. All of the priests looked completely worn out. Luckily, they seemed to have landed on solid ground. Xuti-Na wasn’t sure what they would have done if the ship had come out thousands of feet above the world they had arrived on. Eventually, the slann had recovered enough to motion for the temple guard to open the door of the Star-Voyager. The bulky sauri heaved, and the door slid open.


    The outside world was desolate, a field of rocks and rubble completely devoid of life. Up ahead, an ancient, soaring temple-city rose from the ground, arching high above the pristine stone pathways. In the center, an absolutely magnificent pyramid reached above everything else, covered in golden glyphs and topped with a statue of a lizardlike figure, holding a brazier that crackled with magical energy. Xuti’Na looked up in awe.


    “The Old Ones” he cried. “They must be there!”


    Yes,” the Slann said, amused. “We have reached our destination at last. These temples are old. Older than our entire world.”

    Xuti’na and the rest of the lizards slowly walked down the rocky street towards the statue. The more Xuti’na looked around, the more he felt like he was back in Tlaxtlan, relaxing under the night sky. The stars were strange here, unlike any configuration he had seen before. Finally, they reached the temple. The inside was massive, rising up so high Xuti’na could barely see the top. In the middle was a huge stone slab, rising from the floor.


    “Where are the-” Xuti’Na began. Suddenly, a bolt of energy crackled through the air, and one of the Skink Priests toppled the ground. More followed, and the entire air was lit up with the hissing beams.


    Quickly!” shouted the Slann,”We are under attack! Put up a barrier!” Xuti’na, panicking, managed to project a basic shield just before several of the projectiles cracked into it. Several of the other skink priests hadn’t been as lucky. Xuti’Na glanced towards where they were coming from, and he saw elongated helmets peeking out of one of the nearby walls. They held long rifles, similar to those the human warmbloods used.


    The Slann quickly recovered from the ambush, and his eyes turned a shade of deep blue as lightning crackled through the air, killing a score of the ambushers. The skink priests began fiercely attacking back, as long amber spears and thunderbolts flew through the air. Several of the priests were hit, but the ambushers' shots were fast losing accuracy. Fully committed by now, were streaming out into the building. A group of them attempted to set up a black war machine of some sort, but they were turned into ash with a crackle of energy from the Slann. The temple guard, unfazed by the strange energy weapons, ran across the rough ground. As they reached the intruder battle line they wreaked havoc, their ancient magic weapons taking a heavy toll on the strange invaders.

    Eventually only a few remained, fighting to the last. Soon, there was only one. It bore long colored stripes on each side of its helmet, and its armour was much more elaborate than most of its companions. The Slann gestured for the skink priests to hold their fire. He slowly floated up to the strange creature, gathering energy in the palm of his hand. The thing shot twice with its weapon, and they both were harmlessly deflected by the Slann’s energy shield. It tried to draw a sword of some sort, but with a quick gesture the Slann threw the thing against the wall and held it aloft, slowly forcing off its helmet. It writhed and struggled, but eventually the helmet fell to the floor.


    An elf?” spoke the Slann in shock. The creature was, indeed, one of the long-eared warmbloods. Its lips curled in disdain.


    “I am not an elf, whatever that is. I am an Eldar, a race far more elegant and advanced than your barbaric kind. Now I assume you’ll want to torture me for information before you kill me, so why don’t I just save you the trouble. I know nothing of importance anyway,” it replied.


    How have you discovered this sacred temple, warmblood? And why are you here?


    “I am Captain Elria, of the Craftworld Ulthwe. My companions and I were sent here to investigate a disturbance in the Warp created two weeks ago at this hidden site. We eventually found-”


    Have the Old Ones tasked you with guarding this site? Why did you attack us? Why warmbloods?”


    “Goodness, if you’re going to interrogate and kill me, you might at least be polite about it and let me speak. Now as I was saying, we eventually found this temple, which we believe to be the tomb of one of the ancient Old Ones.”


    You lie. The Old Ones live here to this day.


    “I do not. The Old Ones were all killed millions of years ago, as you should well know lizard-beast. The cursed Necrons killed them all.”


    YOU LIE!


    “I don’t. See for yourself.” The elf gestured to the stone rectangle, positioned at the end of the massive room. Its lid was slightly off, as if someone had opened it recently. The slann practically flew until the end of the room and heaved off the lid with a magical push. Inside was a large skeleton, that of a lizard-like creature. Its bones glowed with arcane power. Embedded in its side was a long black scepter, pulsing with sickly green light.


    No! NOOOOOO!” The Slann shouted in denial, taking its anger out on the nearby elf. The unfortunate creature was crushed into the rock walls and mashed into a bloody pulp.


    Xuti-Na stared at the bones in despair. It couldn’t be true! The Old Ones couldn't be- dead, could they?


    “My revered lord, what are we going to do now?” he asked.


    Only one thing is clear, faithful servant. We will scour every tiny piece of this galaxy. We will find these ‘Necrons’. And we will make them pay!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2022
  2. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Last edited: Jun 8, 2022
    Imrahil, Bowser and Lizards of Renown like this.
  3. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Great stories everyone. Some good reading here and very creative.
     
    Imrahil and Bowser like this.
  4. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    YES!

    let the reading begins. :)
     
  5. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    I spy with my little eye (Ctrl-f) a mention of Hashut in story number four! !!!!!.png
     
  6. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    Let the reading comense :bookworm:

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
  7. The Great White Lizard
    Chameleon Skink

    The Great White Lizard Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Time for reading already!
     
  8. Bowser
    Slann

    Bowser Third Spawning

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    Amazing stories everyone, read them all over a few times. I think reviews and Author predictions should come down shortly. I especially like the tales with a different interpretation of Old Ones. Now armed with only 2 votes, I have some thinking to do.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2022
  9. Bowser
    Slann

    Bowser Third Spawning

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    Oof! Only one Hashut, and it is also a
    Seraphon
    story?

    So clearly not written by you.

    Frankly if I had known I would be this outclassed in writing, I would have stuck to my other idea of a jukebox musical with parody 70's, 80's and 90's songs set in the Blood Bowl universe and made it Lizardmen vs. Chaos Dwarfs.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2022
  10. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    I'd like to see that!
     
  11. Y'ttar Scaletail
    Terradon

    Y'ttar Scaletail Well-Known Member

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    I kinda want to see that now...

    Anyway, I had a brief glance through, steller stuff as always! And you think *you* are outclassed, Bowser? :p
     
  12. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    [​IMG]
     
  13. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    I have a favorite piece.
    The hard part is to find the second one. :p
     
  14. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    [​IMG]
     
  15. Scolenex
    Ripperdactil

    Scolenex Well-Known Member

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    Hate to say it, but Yoda is wrong. There are sometimes more than two votes and sometimes fewer. A few times it's been as high as five and a few times it's been as low as 1 though I guess two votes has been the mean, mode and median between 2021 and now.

    Pre-2021, three votes was the norm.
     
  16. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    I just wanted to use the quote and take a more "positive" approach. My dishonesty has been unveiled. In actuality, there is only one this time around. One mention of Hashut/CD equals one vote... one vote to rule them all. ;)

    !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png !!n.png
     
  17. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    One story to read and two reviews to write.
    Still no idea which ones to vote for, these are all great stories.

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
  18. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    My reviews:

    Funny story. I liked the different storylines that seemingly had nothing to do with each other, but were connected in the end in a nice way. I had a good chuckle about conversations between the Carnosaur and the Stegadon.

    This story read very visual. The writer set it up to look like a short movie, which was narrated by the protagonist. Because of this style it was a quick read. The setting in which Skink Chief McBragg was sitting and telling the story felt much like it could be in Westhammer, but the shared story(brag) was more in a Lustrian setting. This confused me a little, but overall a nice read.

    I liked this story very much. The setting at the start intrigued me and the following letter captivated me. It had a good vibe of The road to Eldorado, but without travelling to the New World. The fact that the Lizardmen made casualties on the other side of the world was new to me, but very believable. The twist in the end was lovely. The story left with an open ending, but somehow complete.

    Oh my, what an interesting story. An alternative take on the history of the World-That-Was. The Old Ones transforming into the Chaos gods is both genius and disturbing. I love how Sotek is a conspiracy created by the council of Slann.

    Interesting story. The link with the theme seems to be Sotek and the worship of him/it. But I think the Hooded figure might be an Old one as well, to be able to finish the temple in just half a night. In doing so bringing the Vermin filth over the city. Nice story explaining the Skaven contamination in Chaqua.

    The final and long awaited return of the Old Ones. The moment that Uxmac stood in front of the council of Slann felt like witnessing a holy and sacred moment. The words and scene that follows is in so much contradiction to that moment. The story has a perfect build up of tension in both positive and negative situations.

    (I felt a strong resemblance with a biblical storyline: God sending Christ to his people (the Jews) and their leaders convicting him to death.)

    Neat story. Instead of the Old ones coming to the Lizardmen the Lizardmen set out to find the Old ones. The crossover to 40K makes it interesting. The last line makes me want to read an entire serie of stories about Lizardmen vs Necrons.

    Ohw man, two votes is just to few for the quality of these stories...
    I will have to think a while before voting.

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
  19. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Story One ("Late to Mature): The author took a risk with the unconventional story structure but in my opinion the risk paid off. The piece was well-structured and well-paced. It could have easily gone off the rails but didn't. The story had warmth and humor and action and good characterization.

    Could have maybe used a little bit of polishing grammatically but I have no major complaints.

    Literal take take on "old ones".


    Story Two ("The World of Skink Chief McBragg: Spine of Sotek Mountains"): The author took a risk making a parody of something obscure that a lot of people probably never heard of. I thought this was a great parody of Commander McBragg, well paced and funny.

    The downside is I think this would fall flat on anything who has never heard of Commander McBragg. It's not like a Scooby Doo or LOTR parody that everyone should immediately recognize or even a Snoopy from Peanuts parody that most will eventually recognize. A good parody story should be able to stand on it's own as a solid story even if the reader is not familiar with the source material.

    Literal take take on "old ones".

    Story Three ("Faded Gods"): Great characterization, possibly the best in this round of the contest in my opinion. The narrator really felt alive. The scholar dealing with hallucinations and madness from old gods made me think of Lovecraft but I actually liked this piece more than Lovecraft because this piece was concise and succinct while still communicating the ideas fully.

    My misgiving is very small. The change of narrator at the very end through off the literary momentum the author was building though admittedly the epilogue was necessary for the story to make sense. I just wish there as another way.

    Traditional take on the Old Ones.

    Story Four ("The New One"): The author took a great risk and it paid off. Usually metaplot short stories are a little dry but this had me on the edge of my written. Not only was it cleverly constructed but it was well paced and made the Slann seem alien yet Relateable, a hard balancing act to pull off successful.

    A few minor typos here and there. This could have used a light polish.

    A very unorthodox take on "The Old Ones"

    Story Five ("The Hooded One"): The evocative descriptions were excellent. The twist ending was excellent.

    Like so many other pieces, the author took a great risk. For me personally, it didn't land like some of the others. I guess this is open to interpretation but I wish we had a more detailed description of who or what the hooded figure was and if the Skaven were brought deliberately or by accident. Also, this piece had a lot of typos relative to the others.

    A very unorthodox take on "The Old Ones"


    Story Five ("The Messenger"): Evocative imagery (I especially liked how Uxmac was described), excellent pacing, and a meta-heavy short story that kept me on the edge of my seat and it balanced the two extremes of keeping the Slann alien yet relatable.

    My misgiving was pretty minor. To me personally, it felt a little tacky to have so many skinks and Slann die of shock and disbelief. Maybe it should have been done once if at all.

    Traditional take on the Old Ones with a mild unorthodox twist.

    Story Seven ("The Voyage"): Few pieces I have every read have linked science fiction and fantasy so seemlessly together. There have a been a fair number of Warhammer Fantasy/40K crossovers in the past but this might be my favorite. Despite the unorthodox setting, the Lizardmen really felt like Lizardmen to me. The author captured the synthesis of the human, bestial, and spiritual aspects of these complex reptiles.

    This piece was a little longer than most of the others but I think it was necessary how much material had to be conveyed. My only real misgiving is this piece could have used a bit more polishing.

    A highly unorthodox take on the Old Ones.


    Voting is going to be hard. None of the pieces were poorly paced so I cannot eliminate any that way. None of the pieces failed to meaningfully use the theme so I cannot eliminate any that way.

    I guess I have to go by how the pieces made me feel. Not very scientific, but I need to use some criteria to vote.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022
  20. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    Thanks for your reviews, a fair assessment.

    My votes are in.
    Good to see all stories did get at least one vote :)

    More votes and reviews are welcome

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2022
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