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Contest January-February 2021 Short Story Voting Thread (Voting complete)

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Feb 3, 2021.

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Which story or stories do you like best? (choose up to two)

Poll closed Mar 1, 2021.
  1. Story One: "Dying"

    4 vote(s)
    30.8%
  2. Story Two: "Sneaking in the Shadows"

    3 vote(s)
    23.1%
  3. Story Three: "Foreign Shores"

    1 vote(s)
    7.7%
  4. Story Four: "Lustrian Redemption"

    3 vote(s)
    23.1%
  5. Story Five: "The Emissary"

    2 vote(s)
    15.4%
  6. Story Six: "True to the Theme"

    4 vote(s)
    30.8%
  7. Story Seven: "The Tilean Job (Act 1)"

    1 vote(s)
    7.7%
  8. Story Eight: "Short and Scaly on the Streets"

    7 vote(s)
    53.8%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    The theme for our 25th seasonal short story contest provided by the wise @Killer Angel, "And now for something completely different"

    Please read all eight stories before voting. You may vote for up to 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 three or four errant sentences.

    Dying

    Mar'an was dying. It wasn't just his all-too mortal body, his bunched ribbons of meat and organ held together by scaled leather arched between tail and crest, all of it growing older, getting slack, always inching imperceptibly towards decrepitude. It was also his psychological being. The self-sense that told him that he was Mar'an, elder of Itza, priestly protector of Lustria, servant of gods and mage-priests. The Great Plan grew torpid, the cold blood of Lustria grew cooler, shrank into the jungle, and as the temple cities died, so died Mar'an.

    They came to him less often now. It had been so long since any slann had woken, since any pool had produced a major spawning. The administration of Itza had sunk into a lethargic routine which rarely varied or deviated, and therefore rarely required Mar'an's wisdom or consultation. The proper rites and rituals were conducted. The armies were mustered to repel invaders, their strength decreasing incrementally after each hard-fought victory. Looted artefacts were hunted. And High Priest Mar'an slowly died in his temple chambers.

    He had his own routines. Even though nothing ever changed, he still looked for signs, and the signs were always bad. He read entrails and stars. He communed with the winds of magic. He studied the most ancient plaques. The more he searched, the wiser he grew, and all the wisdom he gained confirmed with ever-greater certainty the Doom of Lustria.

    Laboriously, he consulted the spawning records. Over a great ream of parchment, he plotted the numbers that had been so carefully noted by generation after generation of pool attendants. Their tiny markings on tablets and plaques were the only testament to the miracle of Lustria's engine. The spontaneous generation of new Lizardmen, produced whole and ready to serve the Plan. No learned master of the First Race, or of any subsequent civilisation, understood the secret of the pools' wondrous fertility. This very lack of understanding meant that they were powerless to reverse the trend that Mar'an now charted in his ginormous, eon-spanning graph. Myriad points of data with a single, unmistakable message: one long line that slanted slowly, oh so slowly downwards towards extinction.

    When the graph was finished, there was nothing Mar'an could do but stare.

    He jumped at a knock on the door. Someone wanted him. It had been many moons since the last knock. He tore away from the terrible line he'd drawn across the parchment, and staggered to the door. A temple functionary led him wordlessly through the torchlit innards of the pyramid, and out into the blazing jungle sun. Mar'an hobbled down the temple steps after the younger skink, and thence into the city itself, where he so rarely went. It was quieter now than he remembered. The light grew dimmer as they moved among the tall, dusty dwellings of the skink barrios and finally came to a hut thatched with brownish palm fronds.

    From within came a bellow of reptilian suffering. A junior priest hurried up to Mar'an as he entered, bowing his feather-strewn head.

    "This lizard is afflicted with a disorder we have never seen before. We could not find it in the records. At first we thought it cancer, but then the tumor began to writhe. And yet there are no signs of contamination by Chaos."

    Mar'an looked from the priest to the patient. A skink lay moaning on a makeshift mattress, attended by several healers. The herbs and powders of their medicine lay all around, but these cures had clearly failed, for the stricken lizard still moaned. The only obvious symptom of its illness was the stomach, which had distended into a remarkable, smooth hemisphere. All at once, the poor creature spasmed and shrieked in a new wave of pain, and Mar'an found himself transported.

    His mind fled back to the days of his youth, when he had journeyed the world, believing that the secret to Lustria's salvation might be found in the archives and collections of arcane lore hoarded by the lesser species. The search had proven fruitless, but the traveling had taught Mar'an much. His understanding of the wider world was exactly why they still consulted him in novel situations like this.

    Aware that everyone was staring at him, including the bulging eyes of the afflicted lizard, Mar'an reached to his belt and drew out a jagged knife. He handed it to the other priest.

    "Make an incision at the base of the protuberance. Draw out whatever's inside, and sew the wound shut. Be very careful not to harm the child."

    There were some gasps at that, but the healers obeyed, wordlessly. The patient was held firmly and the surgery was fast. The priest's claws reached inside the lizard's abdomen and came out clutching a shivering, dripping creature barely larger than his two hands. Carefully, the amniotic infant was presented to Mar'an. The old High Priest felt an anticipation like ice in his own stomach as he reached out and sliced away the umbilical with a claw. The child was tiny, but it was a lizardman, bright and azure. He tapped the scales along its spine and it gave a little sputter - and then cried out.

    For long moments the assembled skinks marveled. Mar'an instructed them to wash it, keep it warm and feed it soft foods until it could feed itself.

    "What does it mean?" asked the junior priest.

    "I do not know," said Mar'an.

    "It must be an omen. Is it good? Is it bad?"

    Mar'an watched the newborn as it curled itself into a sleeping position.

    "It is different," he said.

    Sneaking in the Shadows

    “One hour until closing time!”

    The announcement bounces of the high white walls of the Great Court in the British Museum.

    Larry was welcomed by this sound every day as he crossed the smooth floor of the immense hall to the security room.

    At the far left corner he enters a small square room nicknamed ‘the Office’. The left wall is mounted with numerous monitors, somewhat in front of those monitors stands a desk with two decent office chairs. Murph greeted him enthusiastic: “Good morning Larry!” Larry knew this is mostly because his arrival announces the end of Murph’s working day.

    “Good evening Murph. Anything special today?”

    “Well the cleaning crew got a new addition that is one mighty fine work of art” to underline his words he nodded his head in the direction of a particularly monitor. That monitor showed a young woman mopping the floor of the Mexico Exhibition, in the north-east corner of the museum.

    Larry watched Murph’s face form into a big smile. “Go ask her out! You’ll be off from work within an hour.” Murph’s smile disappeared for a second but he quickly restored it.

    “I will, o, I will!”

    “We will see about that. Please restore the camera’s view to its original position before you leave.”

    Larry proceeded to the locker room to change into his uniform. When he returned he sat down next to Murph and checked the monitors. No more close ups of working staff. The only people showing up on the monitors are an elderly gentlemen, a middle-aged woman and a young couple holding hands. The later strolling through the rooms with not the least bit of hurry to make it to the exit.

    Murph moved his chair in front of a microphone and flicked a switch.

    “To all visitors remaining in the building, please make way to the exit. We are closing within fifteen minutes!”

    Murph turned the switch back and stood up: “From here on out it is your problem.” He said smiling while he walked to the locker room.

    After Murph had left ‘the Office’ Larry checked the monitors to see if the visitors proceeded to the exit as requested. He couldn’t help to mumble “You dirty little coward” upon noticing Murph’s quick getaway for the exit.


    At closing time Larry went out for his first round. This first round consisted mostly of checking if there were still any visitors left in the building. At the end of his round Larry arrived at the main entrance as the remaining daytime personnel were leaving.

    Outside, in front of the museum, a little crowd was gathered. This had become a regular occurrence the last months. They carried signs and shouted “Give us back our inheritance!” and “Thieves of culture!” In the last couple of months there were more and more people claiming pieces in the British Museum as theirs or part of their cultures inheritance stolen during colonialization many years ago.

    Some people even tried to take items out of the museum themselves, of course without success.

    Before heading back to ‘the Office’ Larry made sure that the exit was closed properly after the last person left the museum.

    Back in his chair he stretched his arms above his head and put his feet on the desk. According to Larry this was the best part of the job, being able to relax during working hours. He would walk his second round when dusk fell, that wasn’t for an hour or two.

    Leaning over he pulled a black hard plastic suitcase out of his backpack and placed it on the desk. On top if the suitcase was the emblem of an eagle. When Larry opened it up the red foam inside expanded a little like it just got some fresh air to breath. Underneath the layer of foam a vast collection of bright colored plastic figurines appeared.

    Larry removed the figurines carefully out of the foam and positioned them on the desk. One after the other and he put them side by side, forming a line. The models, all equipped with a blowpipe and shield, looked like tiny lizards standing on their behind legs. Beside the colored models a bunch of black coated models appeared and a set of paints and brushes. Last out of the case came a larger creature, colored, more amphibious than reptilian and seated on a floating stone throne.

    After poring himself a cup of coffee and filling a mug of tap water he sat himself down again and started painting some of the black models. Once every minute he quickly looked at the monitors to check if there were any changes.

    Larry placed his brush in the mug of water right after dusk fell. He grabbed his keys and flashlight and took off for his round of inspection. Moving through the rooms he noticed nothing special or out of place. Walking from room to room his mind wandered off. If this night will be as usual he could complete his monthly goal of painting models with even one week of the month left.

    Upon arriving back at ‘the Office’ Larry saw some blue light flashes coming from underneath the closed door. With growing suspicion and a heavily beating hart he reached for his keys, his other hand on the taser on his right hip. As slowly and silently as possible he slit the keys in the lock and turned them around. Then he took a deep breath and kicked the door open while pulling his taser out and holding it in front of him to aim at any danger present in the room. Nothing… no movement, no sound other than the echo of the door that slammed against the wall.

    In the corner of his eyesight he noticed that one of the monitors on the wall was flashing with blue light. Four times and then it stopped.

    Finding out that it was just a technical glitch he let a sigh of relieve. He placed the taser back in the holster and the keys on his belt. Before continuing on his models he refilled his cup with steaming coffee. Before sitting back down he stood staring at the monitors on the wall for a while.

    When his heartbeat returned to normal he sat down to pick up painting again. Just at the moment that Larry picked up his brush there was movement on one of the monitors. The Mexico Exhibition. Larry stared at the monitor to see what had drawn his attention. Against the wall of the room there was a vague form swirling and sneaking in the shadows of the displays and artifacts. He could not identify what it was. But then the form stood in the weak glare of the night lighting and Larry dropped his brush in shock. There stood a Lizard-like creature with a frill on its head, it walked on his behind legs and was inspecting one of the Lintels on the wall.

    With a high pitched hiss and a nod of his head the creature commanded two others to the Lintel in the middle of the wall while a third stood in the doorway to stand on the lookout.

    Larry overcame his first shock and was bursting into action. His training took over from his routine, with his taser in hand he stormed to the Mexico Exhibition. With every step his disbelieve grew: “what…? how…? why…?” The last couple of meters he slowed down to assess the situation closely. There was the entrance to the Exhibition, but no creature. “What is happening now?” He sneaked closer and closer. Their high pitched sounds where coming still out of the room.

    Suddenly the museum’s alarms sounded and Larry ran towards the room, just before he entered the room the blue flashes appeared again. One flash and a second one, just as Larry came in to the room a third flash started and he saw a tail disappearing in a thin wall of blue light before the light faded. He was two steps further in to the room when suddenly a pain went through his neck and it felt like a stone pressed on his muscles and eyelids. Just before he hit the ground he saw the fourth creature turning away and then a blue flash.
    Larry hit the ground with a blow dart stuck in his neck.

    Back in ‘the Office’ the eyes of the frog-like creature on the throne turned back from blue to black. Amidst the models on the desk one lizard model was holding a lintel whilst wielding a curved blade.

    Outside the sound of the alarm carried in to the night while the sound of nearing police cars came from the opposite direction.

    Foreign Shores


    The waters were cold here. Cold and dark. In the white light of the moon the rolling surface looks like black tar. The boat drifted silently towards the strip of lights on the horizon, ever closer.


    They had come in search of treasure, of favour. They sought a treasure of pure gold.


    The leader hissed as the oily black water splashed up the side of the boat. His brothers pressed around him, they drifted towards a wooden protrusion on the water. Man made, it stretched out into the sea, it’s surface wooden planks, several small fishing vessels were moored to it.


    The strangers pulled silently by, swinging close to the pier, narrowly missing the dinghies and sorry looking boats. Nosing the vessel towards the structure, they bumped to a quiet halt. The boat was secured and like shadows, the strangers weaved towards the town.


    The leader held up his hand and the company halted, waiting, listening. Sounds of laughter and merriment reached their sensitive ears. The shadows followed the leader as he picked his way through the main street, the light from the moon pooling on the cobblestone. The only other light was up ahead, warm and filtering through yellow window panes. The shadows reached the building and halted, poised under the window, watching from an alleyway, still beside a back exit.


    Despite the height of the moon and the quietness of the town, the inn was full of life and movement.


    It was time to wait.


    >>:-:<<


    The strangers hadn’t moved a single muscle for three hours. Not one had even blinked. They were patient.


    At one point a maid had exited the inn to empty a pail of rubbish in the back alley, but the strangers remained still, merely shadows in the sheltered street. She had returned inside without incident.


    The moon had gone down, but there was still no sign of the sun when the inn dropped quiet. It was dark inside except a single flickering glow from the fireplace. Outside the night was as dark as the waters lapping at the pier and the rocky shore.


    The leader motioned his hands in a flurry of different convoluted signals. There was a pause, then the figures rolled into action.


    The latch on the back door was lifted and the figures swarmed in like a shadow. They picked their way silently around snoring bodies and knocked over chairs. They were beasts, savages, slumped over tables or lying prone on the floor, armed with primitive weapons. the leader pushed his way through to the bar.


    The treasure they sought, the gold that brought them over continent and sea.


    The leader and another few of the figures started unloading barrels from beneath the bar, rolling them out where they were handed down back to the alley. The group worked efficiently and effortlessly. Taking the final keg in his arms, the leader turned and led the strangers out as silently as they had entered.


    >>:-:<<


    Dawn was breaking as the boat drifted further out to sea. The last stars were fading, and the leader eyed them carefully in relation to the sun. The boat turned slightly, pointing south-west. The rocking of the vessel as it cut through waves was no bother for the quick footed and nimble creatures on the boat.


    The lizards soaked up the morning sun. Boat full of gold and heart full of pride, the leader huffed triumphantly, staring towards their far off home, Lustria.

    Lustrian Redemption


    Am I sane? Traveling amidst an armed band of men would elicit some form of fear from anyone sane. Perhaps a fear of getting ambushed, or simply a fear of betrayal in the depths of the jungles where honor and truth has no meaning. Though I can remember a distant time when they did abundantly.

    But no, I have none of this fear. It has escaped me, blown away with the winds into someone more deserving, for I have done this for countless years. Always hiding and always waiting, I lived alongside all manner of strange creatures in search of a purpose buried so long ago.

    My only savior - a cloak concealing my every being, like scales onto a lizard.

    “How many shillings we get for this job again?”

    “All too little.”

    “Shootin’ orcs should make our pouches fatter and fatter.”

    “We only guns for hire. We the shamed and dammed of society!”

    “Damn straight.”

    The concept of money and man’s constant struggle for prosperity confused me. Most wallowed in dirt and mud, dreaming of a morsel to eat. Life of a man was like a great chase. A hunt for a prey fast and stealthy beyond compare.

    “You guys scared? It’s so dark and lonely. What if them orcs are the black ones instead? That be insane!”

    “Why you afraid? We’ll scrape ‘em! We’re mercenaries for Sigmar’s sake!”

    “I bagged this big guy too. Only wanted to come aboard for killing orcs, not one care for the pay. Haha. I bet he could tear an orc in half like a stick!”

    All of them turned their heads towards me with faces filled with wonder and bemusement.

    “What are them eyes? They glowing yellow like crazy.”

    “They like eyes of gold!”

    “Met a traveler like that in the taverns of New Averheim, all innocent and kind. Turns out she slaughtered an entire fledgling rat clan all by herself with the winds of magic.”

    “How many people you killed?”

    “How many rat bastards you killed?”

    “How many orc rat bastards you killed?”

    I simply nodded.

    “Not exactly the talkative type I see, haha.”

    We continued marching until a familiar scent wafted into my nose. It was the characteristic stench of the barbaric spore men. Could smell them miles away as if fire was rampaging through the jungles. The men were still talking and joking amidst themselves, completely unaware they were closing in on their hunt. I gestured towards them and they prepared for a fight.

    Ten orcs were up ahead foraging, some beating each other up. The gunners lined up and fired, dropping half of them with loud bangs. The rest of the green barbarians tried rushing, but three more met their fate. The last ones tried using trees and the myriad amounts of cover to flank. I cut them down effortlessly with spear.

    The men rejoiced and shouted cheers of the pay to come from their masters. I could’ve joined them, for the urge arose in my blood which had seen centuries of warfare and servitude to my gods. I never did, however. Cries from a throat like mine would’ve been too recognizable.

    Every man searched each bloodied orc corpse for sign of treasure. One of them found a gold encrusted necklace. I thought it meaningless orc spoils of raiding, until examining it further. I saw glyphs honoring the Old Ones Tlazcotl and Rigg. The necklace was granted as a blessing of good omen to saurus warriors who’ve proven themselves against impossible odds. Among my faintest of memories, I was to be given one.

    “Lookey at this strange thing! Gold!”

    “Eh not so fast. ‘Member what the boss said?”

    “To hell with him! He’s not here with us risking his life. We need only concern ourselves with who has rights to the treasure, and how it can be evenly divided up…”

    “Drop it,” I growled.

    “What in Sigmar’s name does that mean?”

    “Leave alone! It sacred valuables to the lizardmen!”

    The mercenaries looked on with confused faces. Some laughed jovially as they took turns toying with the necklace. I felt uncontrollable rage whenever someone mocked the Old Ones’ traditions. Whenever they flaunted and wore the aspirations of my long dead brethren!

    “What are you? Some kind of lizard? The lizard people have been conquered for centuries. Let us all enjoy their riches which are rightfully ours to take. Sigmar wills it, and our needy families depend on us.”

    “I’m your DEATHS!”

    I leaped at the man and tore through his neck. Sweet, warm blood gushed through my teeth as my cloak came loose. Screams filled the air upon seeing one of their own tackled on the ground a lifeless corpse. All of them trembled with a fear so intense, I could feel it as much as the liberating gusts of wind crashing upon my scales.

    “W-Wh-What is that!?”

    “A bloody lizard!”

    “Kill it! Kill it! There is more of us than it!”

    Every thrust of the spear, every embrace of my jaws with human flesh sprung forth memories of why slaughtering the arrogant humans was so enjoyable! Their numbers whittled down little by little until only a couple were left. They threw their weapons away and ran off crying for mercy.

    I bellowed out a roar not only for victory’s sake, but for the crushed and vanquished voices of all lizardmen. A reminder their spirits live on with the land! I buried the necklace before setting off.

    A place far from the slaughter was preferable, but I didn’t know how further my tired legs would go. It was always like this. Help the locals with monsters and other pests. Get discovered. Kill them and escape the clutches of death or a fate worse like slavery. It was the sorry state of what has now become of the lizardmen - a mere shadow of glories left far behind.

    But my own memories harken back to moments aplenty both disgraceful and miserable. Running away from unwinnable battles which claimed the lives of many brethren were among them. For this I earned the brand of a coward - often meaning mandatory execution or banishment. I thought what was the point of dying a needless death if I could serve the Slann and the Great Plan another day, until even those were taken away. The temple cities were overrun, and the Slann all slain.

    And so the prodigal races - the ones we’ve sworn to protect and guide - enslaved us all as if we were nothing more than their steeds. Skinks were to be lead to the slaughterhouse for their skin, saurus were to fight each other for entertainment, and the mighty kroxigor were to work until they no longer could.

    The blood of lizards awash the jungles for centuries, and today, none of it is dried. Why has the Old Ones not answered our cries? Have we failed them? Is my continued living a testament to that failure? I pleaded to the abyss that was the starry night.

    “IS MY DEATH WHAT YOU DESIRE!?”

    Silence pervaded over me as my chest rose and fell. Suddenly, I heard the cracks of branches from behind. Several men camouflaged with the jungle’s plants stood from their hiding spots and aimed their rifles at me.

    “Stay away!”

    “Oh, a lizard that talks! You’d fetch a good price shippin’ up to the Altdorf Imperial Zoo. Make me plump n’ round from the gold crowns alone.”

    The gunners were evenly spaced apart in a semi-circle. Every man was covered by another’s field of fire. Rushing them was useless. They intended this spot to be my death.

    “That was just a jest. Though you got a hefty bounty for slaughtering Audrick’s mercenaries. I know your kin lives only to fight. My great-great-great grandfather gunned down you lizards rank by rank. So come on and die the death your kin desires so much!”

    Was this what the Old Ones ordained for me? Death by weak warmbloods? A startling realization came to me. No. Today wasn’t to be my death, for there were still my memories reminding me of the joys and sorrows of yore. Of lizardmen who’ve risen above the tides and cemented themselves in history. Their legacies still endure through me and all lizard kin suffering now.

    So with my leg’s last bit of strength, I ran away. Ferns and bushes alike covered me as I thrashed on.

    “By Sigmar! It’s running away!”

    “Sir, perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to taunt–”

    “Shut up and shoot, damn it!”

    I’m shameful. I’m cowardly. I’m… alive. As the bullets flew, I finally found out what my purpose was. I’ll gather all the sick, starving and enslaved lizardmen. We will rebel against the invaders and occupiers, and remind the world of Lustria’s greatness. We will Let go of a past so hardened in our minds, yet isn’t here for claws to caress, and forge a new future. A new future of glorious redemption!

    The Emissary


    Ben trudged up the seemingly endless stairs of stone which led higher and higher into the mist covered mountains. Green spread out around him, both trees and shrubs all glistening after rain during the night.

    The sponsored trip to Peru was for the history class to actually experience some history themselves, as their project was currently the ancient Incans. In Ben’s opinion, this was more money wasted on pointless people and a pointless subject. At least he got movies on the flight over…

    He had no real interest in history. What was the point? It was over and wouldn’t help him in life. Of course, he didn’t really have an interest in any of these academic subjects, much to the chagrin of his parents who farmed out a small fortune each year to get him to the school. Ben had been perfectly happy going to his old London school, where there was some kind of normality and people weren’t stuck-up idiots. There was nothing wrong with his intelligence. He had an IQ of 145 and, when he chose to pay attention, could get straight A’s in any class he wished. Unfortunately, the list of things that he was interested in seemed to dwindle every year.

    The bus ride which had brought them close to the top of the mountain had left at 5:30am, with all of the half-comatose, upper-class students herded into the back. Ben was sure that he alone had bothered to look out the window as they drove up, watching panoramic views of the valley below. Nature was one thing that had always interested him and he hiked whenever he had the chance.

    Ben reached the top of the gray stone stairs and a reddish-skinned native, evidently the guide, was talking to the history teacher. He looked around at the spectacular view.

    They stood at the base of a mountaintop city. Far below, the valley stretched out, alternately obscured and revealed by swirling clouds and mist. Other peaks loomed in the background, dark fingers of distant stone which cradled Machu Picchu which was thousands of years old. Gray walls of stacked stone, spotted with moss and lichen, extended upwards in tiers leading higher and higher, up to a single point of the mountain. The overcast sky gave everything a dull cast, but it was still impressive. The levels of the city had been carved out of the mountainside and encircled it up to it’s crest. Ben smiled, maybe this wouldn’t be as bad as he had thought.

    One hour later, Ben cursed himself for his naivety as the tour guide took them through endlessly similar rooms: this one a home, this a meeting hall.... There were only so many sets of four walls with no ceiling that could be made interesting before everything blurred together into one.

    Finally, they reached the top of the city. The breathtaking view dropped away on all sides with only the mist-wreathed mountains standing watch over this platform in the sky, floating above everything. The platform itself, unfortunately, held only an anti-climax.

    A large piece of stone sat in the middle of the platform. The stone itself was immediately unremarkable, the same gray stone as they had been seeing throughout the climb.

    But something... something caught his interest and held it.

    Ben had long since zoned out the tour guide’s voice, but somehow as they reached this point the words seemed to gain clarity and weight.

    “... the Incans seem to have built on top of other ruins...”

    Ben walked around the stone. It was about four foot high and slightly wider.

    “... this is the Inti Watana, ‘Hitching post of the sun’ in the ancient Incan tongue...”

    The closer Ben looked, the more surfaces, complex planes and angles seemed to reveal themselves.

    “... it was built directly from the mountains rock... we are not certain what it’s purpose was...”

    Ben studied the Inti Watana, oblivious to his surrounds. His first impression was that of a throne of some kind, a seat. Studying it closely he tried to imagine it a sacrificial altar or sundial but the initial impression remained.

    The throne illusion was heightened by an upright piece of the stone, giving the impression of a back support. Forgetting any threats of punishment for touching anything at the historical site, Ben ran his fingers over the stone. It was so smooth he would have bet his life it was not carved. It seemed shaped, like the rock had run like water.

    Suddenly, Ben realised he was alone. The guide must have moved on with the rest of the class and the narrow, twisting corridors would not have revealed that one had not followed.

    The Inti Watana before him, the mountains beyond and the sky above, as if he stood in the heavens itself.

    Ben stared at it. He should leave, he thought; catch up with the rest...

    But he couldn’t.

    He realized he was going to sit on the rock. No-one was around and it suddenly had become a burning compulsion which he knew he would regret for the rest of his life if he didn’t.

    Before he could over-think it, he glanced around once more and jumped up.

    Smiling he looked around. Somehow the seat was quite comfortable. Even though he was looking at the same scenery, it was a slightly different vantage point and he felt quite relaxed.

    To his right, he noticed an incongruous indent in the stone with cracks issuing out from a central point, a crater in the rock as if a blow had impacted on the stone. Maybe this WAS carved, Ben thought to himself.

    As he leaned back into the upright part of the stone, he felt a strange pulling sensation. He tried sitting back up but his back was stuck to the stone. Panicking, he tried to push himself off with his arms but they were stuck fast to the rocky sides.

    “Help!”

    Looking down, he could see no reason why he should be sticking to the stone. Was he having a stroke? A seizure? What was happening?!?

    “HELP!!!”

    Then with a low, almost silent, implosion, Ben disappeared. The almost seismic sound didn’t even cause an echo as the top plaza was left empty.

    -

    “YAAAHHHH!!!!”

    The cry was torn from Ben’s lips as a concussive blow wracked his body, the calm vista before him flickering in an instant into colossal figures, teeth, scales, gold and claws. Terror caused all rational thought to flee, as he scrabbled pointlessly at the rock supporting him while remaining firmly stuck to the stone seat.

    He was surrounded by... monsters! Tall, lizard things the size of a man with scales coloured cobalt, crimson and jade. Easily 7 feet tall, three of them filled his view. Gold medallions, torques and armbands glittered at him in shapes which he almost seemed to recognize.

    His throat tightened and his scream died as he realised they were all staring at him in silence... For three, long heartbeats none of them moved.

    Suddenly, the three lizards turned to each other, gesticulating wildly and issuing a series of grunting snarls. The lizard closest to him roared and slammed down his fist on the side of the stone, the blow heavily denting the rock. Ben would have jumped if he could have moved.

    In a flash of insight, he realized they were in shock just as much as he was.

    With their combined attention now elsewhere, Ben noticed a shifting motion from behind them, as a NINE foot lizard shifted it’s shoulders, wider than two of the others combined, as it lazily yawned a crocodile-size maw.

    Still in the thrall of the fear, a small squeak emitted from his gaping mouth.

    Then he looked beyond... and the sight snapped him out of his shock.

    The sky was aflame. The clouds themselves seemed to burn as they roiled in the sky, bursts of flame constantly combining and separating. The same mountains surrounded the platform they stood on as he had seen before but these were taller, grander. Those buildings he could see were no longer ruins, but soaring structures with ornate carvings on their sides.

    Stretching as much as possible to see more, his natural curiosity finally overcoming his fear, he saw... it.

    It was a toad, but a toad of the same proportions as the lizard-people that stood before him. Bedecked with gold necklaces and trinkets, it sat on a stone platform with a high back that glided closer to him as he watched. Bizarrely, he felt no fear as the thing approached and the other creatures quieted. As it arrived more or less face to face with him (well, as face to face as they were going to get with Ben’s body stuck to the Inti Watana like iron filings to a magnet) he noted, in a detached fashion, that it’s seat was hovering above the floor with no support.

    There was something about it’s eyes... a depth... a gravity that spoke of deep wisdom and keen intelligence. The toad lifted it’s arm and it’s eyes glowed white.

    “Human.”

    The voice sounded in Ben’s mind. Too shocked to do anything other than stare, Ben remained silent and wondered what the hell was happening here.

    “This connection to the future will only last minutes. We have observed the rituals and followed the instructions of the Old Ones for the use of this artefact to summon a champion and this has brought us... you.”

    Something finally loosened Ben’s tongue. “Wha- what? What is happening? Who are you? Where am I?”, he stammered.

    The toad’s eyes blazed white. The voice returned, but louder, more insistent.

    “THERE IS NO TIME! Attend human, for only seconds remain. Chaos has finally accessed time and space itself through the polar gate. We thought the end times was destruction or war, but the four gods of the nether have bypassed all this. Their spell will wipe all knowledge from our minds, all awareness and turn us into their chattel. Even now it covers the lands and I can feel my brothers disappear.”

    The toad leaned forwards.

    “YOU ARE THE ONE CHOSEN BY THE OLD ONES! YOU WILL BE CHAMPION AND ENACT THEIR WILL UPON THE WORLD TO SAVE US FROM CALAMITY!”

    Ben swallowed, “... I don’t understand...”

    The toad sighed and closed it’s eyes, it’s voice sounding again but quieter now. “Neither do I, Human. Your arrival, instead of some mighty warrior or mage, has greatly upset the Old Bloods.” It gestured behind him, where the large lizard who had impacted the stone stood with it’s arms crossed, glaring at Ben.

    “When you wake, human, you will be the only one who knows. The only one with any idea that we live unknowingly enslaved to Chaos.” It paused. “You mind has not the capacity for all the knowledge necessary, but it can be circumvented with this amulet.” It held a golden circle in its hand. “We can only hope it is enough.”

    It extended it’s hand and the amulet floated across and into the pocket of Ben’s jacket.

    One of the large lizards, emitted a low snarl and pointed at the sky. Ben’s eyes widened as he realized the storm of fire above was rapidly dropping, drawing closer.

    The toad looked up once, then met Ben’s eyes again, its voice continuing in Ben’s mind, “It seems my time is over in more ways than one. Remember, human, you will be the only hope of salvation for us all. You alone will know what happened to all races and that Chaos rules from the shadows.” The sea of flame continued to drop behind it, gathering speed and Ben started to scrabble at his invisible bonds again. “I will return you.”

    Ben screamed again as the conflagration hurtled towards him. The toad extended his hand and bright light eclipsed everything...

    -

    “AAAAAAHHHHHH”

    Ben pitched sideways off of the Inti Watana, scrambling to find somewhere to hide from the fiery heavens crashing down on him. Landing in a large puddle, the cold water shocked him into the present and he stared down at his partially submerged hands. Like waking from a nightmare, reason started to seep through.

    He looked up into grey clouds. Across were misty pinnacles. Panting he looked all around and felt a surge of relief. A dream. A dream! I must have fallen asleep on the stone chair. Yes. Yes, I fell asleep as I was so tired and dreamt everything.

    A slightly hysterical chuckle escaped his throat. Wow, I need to cut back on the spicy foods, that was a bad one.

    A native guide appeared at the far corner, his face a mask of anger.

    “You’re not allowed here unsupervised. Come down now!”

    “Yes, coming!” Ben grabbed his backpack. It was cold now and he rubbed his hands together for warmth. He smiled. At least the dream spiced up the day. He walked forwards as the guide turned to lead him on, sticking his hands in his pockets for warmth.

    His blood froze as his right hand bumped against a cold surface. Something akin to an electric jolt ran up his arm and his vision bent. Instead of his guide, a red, horned creature stalked away from him.

    Knowledge flooded his brain....

    Bloodletter. Daemon of Khorne. Scaled skin acts as armour and natural affinity for winds of magic grants shielding aura. Deadly in close combat. Light magic to counter shield and engage from afar. Although Daemonic, it still susceptible to poison and...

    Ben’s fingers convulsed and the contact with the medallion was broken. His vision twisted.

    Looking up, the native guide ahead had returned to normal as he disappeared down the stairs.

    Ben was speechless. What the HELL was happening?!? His gaze fell again upon the Inti Watana, picking out the strange crater he had seen earlier. Almost as if some heavy blow had struck the side of it...

    The guide reappeared and Ben jumped.

    “No students without guides or teachers. Come now!”

    Ben stumbled forwards, his mind swimming as fear made him distance himself from the guide. Is this actually happening? Am I insane? He felt the amulet through the fabric of his coat. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!?

    As he reached the top of the steps, he took one last disbelieving look at the Inti Watana and then walked after the native guide.

    True to the Theme

    Opening credits

    Lustrian jungle. Dense, impenetrable, filled by chirping sound.
    It seems all beautiful and peaceful, but the apparent quiet is broken by a voiceover.
    In this jungle there are 3 chameleon skinks. None of them can be seen”
    “They have learned the first lesson of not being seen: not to stand up. However, they have chosen a very obvious piece of cover, and a smart enemy would simply burn to the ground the whole place”
    “That’s why the second lesson of not being seen, is to swiftly kill anyone that isn’t you. For example, if y…OUCH!
    (sound of a slap) stupid bee!
    wait, that wasn’t a bee. Funny, it seems a dart… and.. brghllmbleuu…
    (thumping sound of a falling body).
    A different voiceover, from the jungle. “and now, for something completely different


    The Ace

    Tak-i-Tik, the flying ace of lustrian forces, was patrolling the sky. Upon his majestic beast, the swift terradon Sopwith, no enemy was safe. Days upon days, 4 consecutive flying routines without a pause. It’s a hard burden, but no one is more able than him, his name strikes the heart of the enemies with terror, thanks to him the invaders have been stopped and repelled once again. Now, there was only one enemy letf…

    Something casted a shadow upon him. The Ace looked over his shoulder, high on the left. It was him! that thrice damned high elf noble, upon his infamous fire phoenix, the Red Death. Already swooping toward him.
    I got you! i know all of your moves. I just need to wait for the moment when you are too much self-confident…. NOW!
    A sudden split-S, half rolling the terradon, followed by an immediate descending half-loop and then a U-turn, regaining immediately height with the superior manoeuvrability granted by the flying reptile. No way a phoenix could match that, in such a short space.
    But there, where there would have been the tail of the phoenix, the sky was empty.
    Something was right behind Tak-i-Tik. A roaring flame burned the air near him, the terradon shrieked with pain and suddenly Tak-i-Tik was forced to glide lower and lower, until he crashed on the ground.
    Sopwith was hurt but still alive. High in the sky, the noble elf was laughing while flying away.
    Tak-i-Tik threw his scaled fist in the sky, toward the fire phoenix. “CURSE YOU, RED BARON!”.

    Suddenly, a familiar smell interrupted the train of thoughts.
    The huagerdon sat on the top of its kennel.
    The round-headed skink was bringing a bowl of food!!!
    The huagerdon jumped on the ground. The Ace of lustrian air forces would fly again, with a filled belly.


    The Impostor

    The pyramid temple was floating in the space. The pulsations of the magical engines were reverberating through the stone of the immense vessel, sending a soft tingle toward the feet of the crew.
    A pleasant sensation, but now no one was in the right mood to appreciate it.
    A corpse was laying in the dining room: a skink with a blue crest, butchered… his throat chomped away.
    His companions were all around him: a skinks crew, each one with a different coloured crest, each one from different spawning pools, each one with its own skills, necessaries to the maintenance of the temple-ship during the astral travel.
    I was doing my standard inspection tour when I’ve found the body”, said the skink with the orange crest “and I immediately gave the alarm!
    Pink Crest “Let’s try to understand what happened. Are we are the only ones that are awake? Green?
    The Green crested skink nodded “I was at the maintenance room. All the cryostatis chambers are fully operational. It’s only we”.

    The silence fell upon them. the implications were… unpleasant.

    The Brown skink talked “…maybe an astral intruder? a daemon, passing through the warp?
    Pink shook its head “nah, I was at the control panel. The empyrean shields are at full power, teleportation is impossibleThere must be an impostor among us”.
    The Yellow skink had been silent all along, but when she spoke, there was a hint of menace in her voice.
    Maybe you’re right, Pink. And it was Orange that found Blue dead.”
    Orange: “What are you implying?!?”
    Yellow: “I’m saying that I was in the hydroponic gardens, and I didn’t see you doing your “standard inspection tour”
    Brown nodded, excited: “I was collecting the oxygen data, and Yellow was active in the gardens, that’s the truth!
    All of them could turned toward Orange. “It makes no sense! I gave the alarm and called you here! otherwise I could have killed each one of you, one by one!
    Wait a moment… where is Red?

    A laugh came from above the main stairs. Red was there, caressing the symbol of Sotek on the priest’s robe.
    I fear we need to awaken a new maintenance crew, you guys are going crazy.”
    Then, Red traced arcane gestures in mid-air “Alohomora!
    A vent opened on the roof, over the group of skinks. A furry being fell right in the middle of them. A skaven, with blood around its mouth and a very surprised look.
    You fools. There is always some rat on a ship”.


    The Fate of us all

    The warrior was there, standing alone against the strongest heroes of the world. On his left hand, a golden gauntlets was emblazoned with five gems of different colors: blue, red, purple, green and orange. There was only one empty hole.

    The warrior was standing upon the corpe of Markus Wulfhart. The bow of the skilled archer was laying there, broken as his wielder.
    You cannot stop me. I am GeeDubs. I am inevitable
    With a fist, he stroke the shield of the elven fighter that was trying to assault him. Tyrion was forced to step back; his shield, decorated with the elven Star, was battered and cracked. “Grimm! Now!”
    “Here I am”. Grimm Burlokkson, the greatest living engineer, slowly but inexorably moved forward, closing the distance; his steam-empowered iron fist was able to punch holes even into gromril walls and landed with all the strength of the dwarf, directly into the unprotected face of the opponent… but it managed to barely bruise the cheekbone of the warrior, who smiled in return.
    All that for a drop of blood?
    The warrior grabbed the iron fist, squeezing it. Breaking the metal and the bones under it.
    “ARRGHHH! he’s too strong! Are you going to something useful, wizard?”
    “You won’t prevail, GeeDubs. Ours is the power!”. Lord Kroak was floating, bathed in mystical energies. His skeletal hands, stretched in the air, were commanding the sky itself. The falling meteors were howling toward their target, faster and closer.
    The massive warriors just looked at them, mildly amused. A simple gesture, and the meteors became butterflies. With blinding speed, he moved toward Kroak and with a massive fist he crushed the skull of the ancient wizard.
    Don’t worry Kroak, you will still be able to do your tricks
    He took a yellow stone from the neck of the dead Slann, and put it into his glove.
    Finally. And now…

    A lightning storm illuminated the sky; high from above, following the thunder, a bulky warrior was coming down, wielding a mighty axe. Grimgor Ironhide. “I AM DA BEST!”
    The axe cut its way into the chest of GeeDubs, dropping him on his knee. But he looked into the ork’s eyes, and smiled.
    You should have gone for the head
    then he snapped his fingers.
    You all will be grateful for Age of Sigmar


    Ending

    “wait, that’s the end? it cannot be”
    “But it’s over honey, there’s nothing else. Don’t you see? everybody’s leaving”
    “But… but mommy, I wanted to see that funny scene, when the tiger ate the leg of the officer!”
    “That was another show, I’m afraid. Now, let’s go, we’re the last ones”
    “another show?!… ahhh, this movie sucks!”
    “That was not even a movie, honey”.

    The Tilean Job (Act I)

    The red-robed Tilean kicked with both feet once again, goading his horse to gallop faster.

    He was riding at full pelt along the dusty track that hugged the edge of Wet Gulch, his mind set on achieving his mission. He was confident he had got out of trouble, but his message just had to get through, it had to...

    As he rounded a corner, three figures draped entirely in black leaped out in front of him. Everything happened at once. His horse reared and whinnied in fright and he reached for his sword to repel the attackers. Yet as soon as each of these occurred, he felt one, two, three razor-sharp pains in his body. He just had time to gaze in horror at three knives jutting from his chest, and register his steed losing its footing at the edge of the gorge, before everything faded to black. The last thing he saw was his mount rise from below him to above him, as the two fell together into the canyon below.

    As the broken bodies floated away down the turbulent river, the hooded figures solemnly watched them depart. The leader, marked out by a golden breastplate, seized an ornate wreath from one of his cronies and cast it into the Gulch. Rolling down the steep side of the canyon like an errant cartwheel, it plopped into the water and floated after the corpses on their long, slow journey.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————

    The Skink called Croaker was getting ready to leave.

    For ages he had been imprisoned at the pleasure of the sheriff of Deadbeat Springs. What he had been imprisoned for he could no longer remember, but the main thing was he was finally leaving the dank, rat-infested cell he had spent three weeks of his life in.

    “Cheerio lads!” He called cheerfully to the other prisoners in the neighbouring cells.

    “Remember, Saurio, you’re not out yet,” the sheriff drawled menacingly in his right earhole, pressing a Steer 45 pistol against his back as they progressed past the line of cheering prisoners. The lawman’s breath stank of Beef Jerky.

    “Sorry sheriff,” Croaker muttered, though he wasn’t in the least.

    They walked past a cell that was home to two other Rangos, an old Skink and a younger one. Both were the only prisoners who had their backs turned to Croaker.

    “Goodbye Brigia,” he addressed the cell occupants as he passed them by.

    As the sheriff goaded him on through to his office, the old Skink turned to watch him go, glaring slightly.

    “Did you hear that?” he said in disbelief, “He said ‘Goodbye, Brigia’.”

    “He’s going, Brigia,” replied the younger Skink, Keatzi, an eager apprentice of the crime-lord’s art.

    “As long as he doesn’t come back, that’s all I care,” Brigia grumbled.

    “They say he’s off to do a job in New Tilea.”

    “Well I hope he likes stuffed dormouse. They serve it four times a day in Tilean prisons.”

    The Sheriff frogmarched Croaker to the door of his office and shoved him out.

    “Try to stay outta trouble in future, butthead, just for once,” he added in a snarky tone after him.

    Croaker readjusted his Stetson and wandered briskly over to where his partner-in-crime, Calamity Jo, was sitting on her horse, Tinfoil, with a Culchan tethered on a halter behind.

    “Well, you’re the last person I expected to see giving me a lift home,” he said when he reached her.

    “Oh, Croaker, I’ve been countin’ the days,” she drawled back as he heaved himself onto the Culchan’s back. Fourth Race females were enticing in some ways, Croaker thought, but they had an annoying tendency to be insincere.

    “Yeah? Well why didn’t you come and break me out earlier?” He retorted.

    “You know that ‘ain’t ma scene! Can you see me packin’ loadsa dynamite around a wall with a loada stinky prospectors?”

    While she was saying this, Croaker saw a glint of gold through a hole in one of the saddle bags. He reached down to it and hauled out a golden talisman that looked very much like the one worn by Itzi Bitzi the Ninth, the High Priest of Hexoatl.

    “This Culchan belongs to my home city’s High Priest! I’ve only been outside for five minutes and already I’m on a hot Culchan!”

    “Just wanted ya to come out in style, baby!” Calamity Jo replied cheerfully.

    “Just take me to Honest Zeke.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————

    “Well, there y’are Croaker old buddy, I’ve kept ‘im in perfect condition as always. I’ll just fetch ya saddle shall I?”

    The cheerful middle-aged Hammerican stablehand waddled into the tack room and staggered back out again with Croaker’s saddle.

    “I gather ya’ve been out collecting bounties, am I right?”

    “Yes, shooting criminals.”

    “That’ll be two hundred bucks for the stay, then,” Zeke grinned with a greedy twinkle in his eye, “Boss says the fee for three weeks is three hundred for the wealthy, but ‘cause you’re a pal I’ve given ya a discount. Can’t say fairer than that, can I?”

    “No, I imagine you can’t,” Croaker grumbled as he slapped a fat wodge of ten dollar bills into Zeke’s pudgy palm.

    “By the way,” Zeke continued, “Have ya come across a couple of bums by the names of Kid Heyes and Hannibal Curry?”

    “Nope, I can’t say I have.”

    “A pity, ‘cause they owe me a lotta money.”

    The stablehand slapped the Culchan on the rump and the avian creature trotted out of the corral and away, with Croaker skilfully guiding the reins.

    “Can’t imagine why,” the Rango said sarcastically as soon as he felt he was out of earshot.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————

    Croaker’s next stop was at the Broken Arms Hotel in the town of Tumbleweedville, where he made his way to the reception desk.

    “I’m Croaker, I gather you’ve got a message for me?” He asked the Dwarf secretary.

    “Yes I have,” she replied and handed him a scruffy piece of paper, which read:

    Beckerius, room 1666, tonight.

    That evening, as darkness began to fall around the town, Croaker found Room 1666. Just as he was about to tap on the door, a cloaked figure grabbed the Skink by the shoulder and placed a knife at his throat.

    “You’d better come in,” a purring voice whispered into his ear, before the figure unlocked the door with a key and sharply shoved him in. When Croaker rounded on the figure, he was facing a human female with coal-black hair and sun-kissed skin, the sign of a Tilean bloodline.

    “Where’s your old man?” He nonchalantly asked.

    “He’s dead, in Wet Gulch Canyon,” the woman said at last.

    “Oh well, there goes the job then,” the Skink sighed, and made as if to push his way past her.

    “Wait, Mr. Croaker!”

    “Yes, Mrs Beckerius?”

    “This is for you.”

    The woman wandered over to her dressing table and pulled out a stash of papers from underneath it, holding them out for Croaker to take. He hesitated.

    “What’s this, some sort of consolation prize?”

    “These are all the plans my husband didn’t have time to complete. He wants you to finish them.”

    “Oh, he does, does he? Well, what, do you suppose, it was in the plans your husband didn’t have time to complete?”

    “I don’t. I’m leaving tomorrow for New Altdorf at 6 O’Clock sharp,” said the woman shortly.

    “Pity,” replied Croaker.

    He stared at the pile of papers for a while, thinking.

    “All right,” he said at last, grabbing them and tucking them beneath his Culchan-skin jacket, “I’ll do it, but I sincerely hope your husband knew what he was doing, or I’m a dead lizard.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————

    Half an hour later, in a saloon backroom adorned with tacky Imperial architecture, the occupant looked up lazily as a Rango was brought in by two of his burly bodyguards.

    “Hello, Camp Friedrich,” he said as soon as they unhanded him.

    “Croaker, I thought you were still inside,” drawled the magnate of Imperial descent, his bright pink coat making him look like a Liquorice Allsort.

    “I want to see Brigia. I’ve got a job!” the Skink chattered excitedly.

    “If it’s the New Estalian Viceroy’s palace, it’s already been done, last week.”

    “Friedrich, this job is bigger than any Brigia has done before!”

    “If it’s the Bank of Hammerica, it’s out. Brigia’s been very worried about the economy of the country.”

    “Exactly. Now, tell Brigia this is a foreign job to help with this country’s balance of payments...”

    “Croaker,” Camp Friedrich interrupted sternly, “I don’t think you have the kind of scheme the profits from which Brigia is accustomed to.”

    “But Friedrich, this job is big!” the Skink pleaded, his yellow eyes bulging with excitement.

    “Croaker, you wouldn’t know how to spell ‘big’, not in Old-Worlder script anyway,” Friedrich said flatly, and then to his guards, “Get him out of here.”

    After being unceremoniously dumped outside the entrance of ‘Friedrich and Fassbender Tailoring Inc.’, Croaker got to his feet and dusted himself down.

    “b,i,g,” he said to himself, challenging Friedrich’s claim, “I know what I’ll do!”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————

    Brigia, newspaper under his arm, calmly entered the small wooden shack that served as the Sheriff’s toilet. A Skink’s got to go when a Skink’s got to go, even if he is incarcerated in Deadbeat Springs’ gaol for a long-term sentence.

    “Good evening, Brigia,” said an awfully familiar voice.

    It seemed this toilet trip was going to be different to the norm.

    “Croaker, what the marlecht are you doing in here?”

    “Brigia, I’ve got a job lined up!”

    “Get out of here!” the old Skink growled angrily.

    “It’s all lined up! drawings, plans, everything!” Croaker continued excitedly.

    Brigia glared at him.

    “You’ve been put up to this, haven’t you? You’ve been bribed to upset my natural rhythm and ruin my health!”

    “Nothing like that, honest! This Tilean job will make not only us, but the whole United States of Hammerica rich!”

    The older Skink sighed.

    “What is it about?”

    “Well, look at your paper and find out. On page 2.”

    After spending about a minute trying to hold the newspaper up to a suitable light source in the cramped hut meant to accommodate one but held two, Brigia found the article Croaker was talking about.

    New Tilea makes big deal with Cathay

    The Emperor of New Tilea, Beero, today signed a lucrative trade deal with the Emperor of Cathay, Mu Fanchu. As part of the deal a gold bullion tribute of estimated over $1,000,000 is to be sent to the Proconsul of Capuona to fund the mass production of lollipop sticks, a commodity valued by the Cathayans for their ability to be stuck into almost anything.

    “This will mean the New Tileans will own the monopoly on lollipop sticks!”

    “Exactly.”

    “I’m guessing you are intending to try and steal this gold shipment to try and stop it?”

    “Right again.”

    Brigia stared at Croaker hard and long.

    “In that case, I’ll fund this venture, but if you fail you will get such a good going over you won’t know what’s hit you.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————

    “Gentlemen! Gentlemen, please!” Croaker called out to try to hush the assembled scoundrels, “GENTLEMEN! Please.”

    “We are about to do a job in New Tilea, and I would like to introduce you to each other,” he continued as they all quietened down, and began to pace slowly around the long table at which they were all sitting.

    “First, Bil-Baili,” he announced, placing his hands on the fellow Skink’s shoulders, “He’ll be my number two. Now you all know him, he’s just done three years in Allacatraza, he’s as honest as the day is long and you can trust him.”

    “Second, the getaway. This’ll be done on three mini Culchans, which will be ridden by Krispi, Toni and Fast Dom.”

    A disgruntled hubbub emerged from all the warm-blooded attendees, who didn’t trust the three Rangos Croaker had chosen for this part of the job.

    “All right, all right, all right!” he yelled, “These chinless wonders will get you out of Nueva Remas faster than anything else on two, or even four, legs. Remember that when we get to the Rockier Mountains, we’ll transfer to a Stegadon, which will be steered by Barrivendos here, better known as Big Barri for very obvious reasons.”

    The six-foot-three pale-skinned Albion man calmly and quietly stared into the eyes of each of the other ruffians looking in his direction. He had worked with Circus Stegadons for much of his life, and he knew Croaker‘s confidence in him was not unfounded.

    “Now,” Croaker continued, “We come to the Professor here. Professor Plum is in charge of all matters relating to the Capuona Analytical Engine, so I don’t want anyone putting him down because he’s a man of reading. I know he’s got some very funny habits, but make him feel at home. He’s very important to the operation.”

    The Professor nodded to the assembled rogues amiably, and to Croaker in gratitude for his sticking up for him.

    “Finally, I’d like to introduce you to all the lads who are going to do the job with me. Brundin, Grank, Rozza, Koko, Yellow-belly Nizgit and Camp Friedrich (who you all know). Rodja, Dodgy Dave and Calamity Jan will be in reserve with three fast steam carriages in case anything goes wrong. Right?”

    Everyone nodded in understanding.

    “Now, this is a very difficult job, and the only way we can get through it is if we work together as a team, and that means you do everything I say. Now, let’s get on with it!”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————

    Everyone was hard at work getting all the vehicles, animals and gear ready for the off, but away from the hustle and bustle a Rango and a Dwarf stood on a hilltop. At the bottom of the hill was a covered wagon, standing all by itself.

    “Five...” said the Skink.

    “Four...”

    “Three...”

    “Two...”

    “One...”

    “GO!”

    The Dwarf pressed down on a plunger, and the wagon instantly exploded, metal fittings flying off in all directions and flames hungrily eating the wooden carriage.

    The Skink turned slowly towards the Dwarf, and glowered at him.

    “You‘re only supposed to blow the BLOODY DOORS OFF!”

    “You bought the movie secondhand? This ancient VHS tape is skipping like crazy!”

    “Get off my back it’s better than nothing.”

    ”I don’t know It kind of feels like a weak contrivance to describe an entire action movie using under 2400 words.”


    Fade up on major studio label: the words "Alternate Universal" orbiting in giant letters around the Old World. This is followed by the indie studio label: Lustrian Pictures, with a stylized bronze sculpture of a skink with a blowpipe.


    Exciting music with synthesizers starts crescendo as the title sequence lands.


    Short and Scaly on the Streets


    Tape skips a few minutes


    The plain clothes Skink cop faced off against the trenchcoat wearing Skaven. The sneering Skaven addressed the Skink with a vaguely German accent.


    “Really Officer Xilitoc, you’ve been chasing me for over two years and you always fail-fail.”

    “I’m going to bring you in, you filthy rat!”

    “You can bring me in, or you can save the hostages. You cannot do both.”

    “Oh yeah?”


    Tape skips a few minutes



    “Move! Move!”


    The Skink waved the Humans to run faster ahead of him, their hands still tied. The Skink barely managed to outrun the looming explosion behind him.


    Tape skips a few minutes


    Officer Xilitoc walks by an electronics shop full of televisions. Zoom in on a TV with a big haired shoulder pad wearing Human news anchor.


    “After last year’s storm of magic, the once ritzy Forge World Grand Hotel remains heavily damaged. Philanthropist, businessman and community leader Elrond Rudd has purchased the building and promised to renovate it. According to Rudd, ‘This building will be restored to grandeur again and will be the center for a new prosperous neighborhood. I have big plans for this neighborhood, I have big plans for this city.’ Inspirational words from an inspirational elf! This is Sally Marienberg with Channel 4 Exposition News.”


    Tape skips a few minutes, cut to the police station



    “Better watch out, Xilitoc,” said an older Skink at his desk.

    “Did the Itzi Grub donut delivery arrive late?” Xilitoc quipped.

    “Don’t joke, the chief is really pissed.”

    XILITOC, MY CONTEMPLATION CHAMBER, NOW!

    Xilitoc winced from the telepathic shouting washing over him.


    Behind the golden desk stat a giant toad in a white shirt and suspenders working overtime to hold all the clothes together. A vein pulsed on the side of the Slann captain’s head.


    YOU REALLY MAHRLECT UP THIS TIME!

    “You don’t understand, chief.”
    I UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY WELL. YOU BLEW THE BUILDING TO CHAOS!

    “Mausmann blew up the building sir.”

    AND YOU LET THAT SKAVEN GET AWAY…AGAIN.

    “I got the hostages out, what more do you want?”


    The Slann looked slightly mollified.

    You are a loose cannon that never follows procedure, but you are a damn good cop, so I’m letting it slide…this time. I’m assigning you a partner, Officer Thorden. He’ll keep you from messing up again.

    “I work alone!”

    Not this time. I’m also reassigning you from Skaventown case because you keep dropping the egg on this one.

    “You sending me where? Skaventown is my beat!”

    I can move mountains with mind, so I can certainly move officers around in my precinct. Until you can show you can play by the rules, you are going to work the Elf District.

    “Mahrlect (bleeping sound).”


    Tape skips a few minutes


    Xilitoc looks sulkily at the older dwarf driving the squad car.

    “I didn’t ask for a partner or go to the Pointy Ear district.”

    The dwarf made a scoffing sound.

    “I didn’t ask to be working this either. Just try’in to survive to retirement. Maybe if you can avoid blowing skyte up, the toad won’t take away my pension. I do things by the Book Skinky.”

    “I hate doing things by the Book…or by the Plaque.”

    “Heh, it’s like the only thing we have in common is a badge and a gun.”


    Tape skips several minutes


    “What’s a Skaven doing in Elf Town?” the dwarf asked.

    “That’s mahrlect Mausmann! We’re bringing him in!”

    “Don’t just bolt off, maybe we can sneak up on him—”

    “Gnashgrib, you’re under arrest!”


    Tape skips a minute or two. By which point both chasers and chasees are in cars. Xilitoc is driving.


    The sirens are drowned out by chase music. An unnamed Skaven hangs out a window and shoots at the squad car.


    An oblivious skink is selling wares from a street side vending stall.


    “Mangos! Bananas! Got your fresh tropical fruit here at reasonable prices…aw mahrlect….”

    More gunfire is exchanged between the cars as they swerve around panicked pedestrians and slower moving cars.


    The Skink dives out of the way as the Skaven’s tinted car takes a corner too tight and hits the produce stand. The squad car is showered in mangos and bananas.


    More gunfire is exchanged between the cars as they swerve around panicked pedestrians and slower moving cars nearly identical to the ones in the last shot.


    An oblivious Halfling is shouting about his wares at his stall.


    “Fish, fresh caught today, reasonable price! Ah Gollum…”


    The Halfling dives out of way as the Skaven’s tinted car narrowly avoids the stall but the squad car skids and hits it. Covering the windshield in halibut. A fish ends up in the dwarf’s lap, he picks it up and tosses it out the window.


    Another vendor is up ahead. A Human.


    “Card board boxes! Get your empty cardboard boxes… Ah Chaos…”


    The Human leaps away. A few seconds later both cars stop shooting at each other as they drive through a mountain of bouncing boxes.


    Up ahead, two Elves were carrying a giant pane of glass.


    “What a lovely day to be carrying this large pane of glass through the market area …ah dav’rit.”


    TAPE SKIPS a minute or two


    At the end of the street, the battered squad car t-bones a limosine while the Skaven’s tinted car gets away.

    A well-dressed elf exit the limo, looking at the two battered cops.

    “Ancestors dammit, we just hit Elrond Rudd’s mahrlect limo!” officer Thoren muttered.

    Thoren picks a piece of glass out of his beard.

    “I’m getting too old for this.”


    The wealthy Elf spoke with a vaguely sinister British accent.


    “I hope you have a good explanation for this, officers.”


    Tape skips a few minutes back at the police station


    YOU TWO, MY CONTEMPLATION CHAMBER, NOW!


    Tape skips several minutes


    The two cops are eating and drinking at a Waaaghwigi’s Pizzeria.


    “Bugmann’s Ale, I’d never drink that.” The skink said

    “I’d never get a pizza with grubs, anchovies, and red peppers.”

    “You don’t like red peppers?”

    “I guess our taste in food and drink is nothing alike. It’s like the only thing we have in common is a badge and a gun. “


    Tape skips several minutes


    “I love my wife, but she doesn’t understand what it’s like out here. You married Skinky?”

    “No, Skinks reproduce asexually from pools.”

    “Have any kids?”

    “No, Skinks reproduce asexually from pools.”

    “How come you avoided having a partner all this time Skinky?”


    Xilitoc looks off into space for several seconds.


    “I had a partner once. Officer Kaxla. Chameleon Skink, good cop, good partner, like a spawning brother to me.”


    Xilitoc looks off into space for several even longer.


    “What happened to Kaxla?”

    “We were investigating Mausman…when Kaxla….disappeared. ”

    “I know what you mean. My father was a cop. Died in the line of duty. I became a cop to find his killer, but I never figured out who did it or why,” said the older dwarf.


    The two drank in silence for almost a full minute.


    “Maybe we are more alike than you thought beardy.”


    Tape skips several minutes


    “Why are the Skaven hiding their warpstone cocaine in Elftown…” the dwarf muttered.

    “I don’t believe it, Elrond Rudd owns this building. Let’s take them now!” the Skink said.

    “We should call for backup.”

    “I don’t need backup.”


    Tape skips several minutes


    The dwarf and skink jump through a window and barely manage to outpace the explosion as the warehouse in engulfed in flames. In the distance you can see a number of criminals getting away led by a distinctly dressed Skaven…Mausman.


    Officer Thoren pulls a shard of glass out of his beard.

    “I’m getting too old for this.”


    Tape skips several minutes


    “You want to accost Elrond Rudd in this fancy Brettonian restaurant? The toad told us to leave him alone.”

    “We aren’t going to arrest him, just talk. Maybe he’ll let something slip. What’s the worst that can happen.”


    Tape skips a few minutes


    Elrond’s bodyguard, a huge orc in a fancy suit, tosses the skink over a table into a platter of deserts. Reluctantly Officer Thoren moves to back up his partner and trips the orc causing him to knock down a stack of champaign glasses. They exchange punches.

    Tape skips a few minutes

    Police arrive and break up the brawl.

    Thoren pulled a glass shard out of his beard.

    “I’m getting too old for this.”


    Tape skips a few minutesback at the police department.


    YOU’RE SUSPENDED! I WANT YOUR BADGE AND GUN ON MY DESK NOW!


    Tape skips several minutes


    “Our bumbling sidekick just belatedly gave us damning evidence that Eldrond Rudd is running warpstone cocaine out of the old Forgeworld Hotel.”

    “Your suspended, Skinky. I’m not even supposed to be talking to you.”

    “I’m just a citizen. I can go in with you and you can arrest them all.”

    “I’m not doing this, kid.”

    Tape skips several minutes

    “You son of a pool, I’m in.”

    Tape skips a few minutes

    “We need to sneak by those guards.” Xilitoc whispered.


    Fortunately the guards, a human and a skaven were immersed in an argument.


    “Yo, it’s like the damage to the building is all inside, but the outside of the building is still very beautiful. This gothic catherdral is almost like a metaphor for the boss man we are working for. Respectable on the outside but run down and ugly on the inside.”

    “No, you are wrong-wrong. This fancy hotel with a dark center is social commentary on 1980s consumer culture in general. There is so much focus on outward appearance, no one look-smells at the corruption beneath.”

    “Seriously, you don’t think it’s a metaphor for the boss man?”

    “Maybe it’s just an exciting place to have a shoot-gun fight.”

    “I hope not, I don’t want to get shot or thrown out a window. We are just nameless goons, we don’t stand a chance.”

    “We have-have names. Mine is—”

    Tape skips several minutes


    Thoren and Xilitoc are exchanging fire with several thugs in the dilapidated finery of the hotel. One of the human guards gets hit and staggers, tripping on an uneven floor and defenestrates himself breaking lots of glass at the start of this fall.


    “I knew this would happeeennnnnnnn!”


    Tape skips a few minutes


    While Xilitoc is exchanging fire with some nameless thugs, Thoren is locked in hand to hand combat with Elrond’s orc bodyguard having a long drawn out brawl. Eventually they both break through a window and defenestrate themselves falling together.

    Xilitoc screams in dismay.


    “THOREN NO!!!”


    While distracted, a nameless goblin thug manages to clock him on the head and knock him unconscious.


    He wakes up with his hands bound in a chair, the Skaven underboss Mausmann and two goblins all have guns pointed at him.

    “You were all too easy for us to catch-trap Xilitoc.” The Skaven said

    “You couldn’t catch a cold you rat bastard! Who is helping you?” Xilitoc said.

    “Me, I sssssset the trap,” said an unseen voice.


    The Skink looked dumbfounded.


    “Kaxla? Is that you? You’re working for Mausmann?!?”

    “Oh no. He’sssss working for me. I work for Elrond. You have no idea how deep the conspiraccccy goesssss…”


    Tape skips several minutes


    “I got tired of being overlooked! I wanted a piece of the pie, and now I have respect, and power, and money.” The Chameleon Skink continued.

    Tape skips a few minutes

    “…and that’s why the Forgeworld Hotel was the perfect bassssse for our operation.”

    “Why are you telling me all this?” Xilitoc asked.

    “You have useful sssskills, I like you. I know you like to work alone, but we were partnersss once. We can be partnerssss again. Ssssince you know the plan, you can either join me or I kill you now. What do you ssssay partner.”

    “You’re not my partner! I have a partner.”

    “Whosssse your partner now, Xilitoc. You are all alone!” The Chameleon skink changed his color to a shifting color pattern for intimidation.


    “Me!”


    An extremely bloody and battered Officer Thoren inexplicably emerges from the shadows and shoots the exposed Chameleon Skink.


    Even with his hands tied, Xilitoc starts grappling with Mausmann. One of the unnamed goblin thugs tries to shoot him but hits another unnamed goblin. He pauses in disbelief, Thoren guns him down. Meanwhile Xilitoc gets Mausmann in a strangle hold and chokes him to unconsciousness.


    Tape skips several minutes


    Elrond Rudd stands over the bloodied and barely conscious bodies of Xilitoc and Thoren. The elf gloats over them.


    “Well fought Thoren. Very tenacious. Your father was tenacious…back when I killed him all those years ago.”


    Tape skips several minutes


    Elrond Rudd is defenestrated in a cloud of broken glass falling dramatically before on a fuel tank which explodes.


    Tape skips a few minutes


    Xilitoc turned to Thorden, “Thank the Old Ones our bumbling sidekick unexpectedly came through with an unexpected distraction at our time of need.”


    The area is swarming with cop reinforcements including helicopters, and a floating Slann palanquin. Most of the criminals are dead, cuffed, or unconscious. A few are try to flee but are being round up by nameless police officers.


    Mahrlect Xilitoc, you are a loose cannon that doesn’t play by the rules. But you are a damn good cop.


    He floats towards Xilitoc and Thoren. He waves a hand and their wounds heal though they are still covered in blood and wearing tattered rags.


    “That’s better, but I forgot how much magical healing stings.” Thoren mutters.

    “You are not getting too old for this are you?” Xilitoc.

    “No Skinky, not yet.” Thoren replies.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
  2. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  3. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    As always, kudos to Scalenex for doing the legwork on organizing and putting on the contest!

    Brief look through is pretty interesting. Good work guys!
     
  4. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    Just wanted to mention Story 6 has been repeated twice and Story 7 cannot be seen. If this could be amended that would be great.

    Otherwise, I'm most looking forward to reading these! :)
     
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  5. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    Thanks @Scalenex for putting it all together (Sorry it felt like me pushing you :angelic:)

    Let the reading commence

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
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  6. Paul1748
    Saurus

    Paul1748 Well-Known Member

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    Here we go !
     
  7. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    Yeah!!!
    This is going to be fun, i believe. :D
     
  8. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I think the issues with story 6 and 7 are fixed now.

    Note, if Scalenex is well rested then Scalenex can work through minor inconveniences. If Scalenex is groggy a few minor things can derail Scalenex's efforts.

    It's best to post your story in a separate private message then reply with commentary about your piece.

    Hi Scalenex, Friendly greeting and light chitchat, commentary on my piece

    The piece itself

    Signing my name to piece in anonymous contest

    More commentary on my piece.

    Each of these things is one more thing for me to make a mistake on because I have to remove the greeting, the chitchat, the pre-commentary, the post-commentary and above all the author signing his name to the anonymous posting.

    I used the male pronoun deliberately because none of our female authors sign their names on anonymous entries. Thank you @Infinity Turtle.

    Indeed, we have a good crop this contest, per usual.

    You picked a fine theme.

    Everyone go back and like Paul1748's last post.

    On Lustria-Online it is not possible to like a post multiple times, and this is usually not a problem. But Paul1748's animations are so amazing that they deserve hundreds, perhaps thousands of likes which we cannot provide, so I call up on all Lustria-Online members to spam Paul1748's least consequential posts with likes to make up for this.
     
  9. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    Good way to make up for it!!
    I wonder if any of the stories out of this competition will be honored with a mind-blowing image ;)

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
  10. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    I am three Stories in and I am loving it so far :)

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
  11. Paul1748
    Saurus

    Paul1748 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for all the likes. You made my day !
    I'm working on it. ;)
     
  12. Paul1748
    Saurus

    Paul1748 Well-Known Member

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    You son of a pool, I’m in!
    [​IMG]

     
    Scolenex, Lizerd, Baenling and 8 others like this.
  13. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    I have read four of the stories and thought it time for a review.

    Let me start by saying that the following reviews are my personal thoughts and in no way an expert opinion on the writing of stories. I wrote down what I could pick up from it and what I liked or disliked.
    By no meaning are they written to hurt or shame the writers of these stories.

    I liked this story, both the subject as well as the style of writing.

    For me there are two lines in this story. The line of the Lizardman as a race and that of the elder Skink Priest.
    The premise of this story isn’t something new exactly. The decay of the Lizardmen is something written about a lot of times. The solution that presented itself on the other hand is quite unique.
    At first I read it like there was a parasite growing inside the Skink, some sort of Nurgle or Skaven curse that inhabits the victims body. But reading it carefully again it made more sense to be a new born via caesarian section.

    This makes for a great and dramatic turn of the tide for the Lizardmen, but also raises a lot of questions. How did the process of conception go with this skink? Are there any knowable genders within the Lizardmen community? And perhaps more…

    The development of the second line in the story also makes a turn. The elder Priest stowed away in his temple not (often) needed for help or advice. Now he suddenly is the only one around who knows this new development and has to teach the other Priest what this is and how to cope with it.


    This story has a totally different take on the Lizardmen combining both (a little bit of) the lore and the hobby aspect. Definitely something I haven’t seen before.

    The main character, Larry (I see what you’ve done there ;) ), is someone I, and perhaps more people here, can relate to. Bringing your hobby along to the office to get some hobby done in between work.
    The story has a pretty long build up until there is any action. The action itself is quite on the short side for my taste.


    I was intrigued by this story. Whilst reading it I kept asking myself who would this group of ‘bandits’ be? The story has this typical Lustrian theme of gold seekers heading for the new world with the promise of golden cities.
    The twist comes almost at the end. When entering the inn and searching for the barrels it struck me that these creatures were out to find the golden liquid that is known as beer.
    This plays very well to the theme of the native Americans being obsessed by beer when the colonialists set first foot on shore.

    The Lizardmen are only mentioned in the last sentence, nevertheless it does not bother me, because it made the story stronger.


    In the beginning I was not sure of the identity of the company that was traveling. The language used stirred me towards Orcs. This conflicted with the second part of the story, where they attacked a bunch of Orcs. Right after that was revealed that the company was made up of humans and a disguised Lizard.

    In the following we learn of the state that the Lizardmen are in and that the main character blames himself for a great part of their suffering. He even questions if his life has to be taken in order to restore peace for his kind. What is the goal of his life?

    I like how these great questions are brought up, but suddenly he seems to know the answer to them and gears into action.
    I like the general feel of the story, but I found it difficult to read. A lot of lines I had to read twice to figure out what was happening in or meant by it.

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
  14. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    Now for the second part of the reviews:

    The writer of this story makes a great effort of the scenic display. I like how the environment is set and how short but solidly the background of the main character is set up.
    We know all we need to know to fully engulf in the story.

    I like that the story is set in the present, this makes for an interesting way of incorporating our beloved Lizardmen.

    The transition to the-world-that-was in End times was good and I liked the conversation between the main character and the Slann. It represented the urgency of the situation and read just like that.
    The powers of the gifted artifact look awesome.

    I felt like the story wasn’t finished and feel like that was intended by the writer. This short story will make a great introduction for a much longer story. :angelic:


    Just as the title stated this story is very true to the theme, because it is something totally different in as far as what we have seen in the short story contest as of yet. Also in itself it classifies as something different, because each section is something completely different.

    At first it truck me as a story we have had before, in the style of a script from a movie or trailer. But quickly I felt like reading an extract of a Monthy Python movie (‘search for the holy grail’ in particularly).
    The second bit fitted the most to the Lizardmen theme and was a great to read and deserved some follow up in my opinion.

    The third bit was a funny bit of parody with a great underlying ‘hatred’ of the transition from WHFB to AoS. (This piece of the story made me think this was the entry of @Lizards of Renown , who wanted to throw us off his trail by incorporating a Huagerdon, which is @Scalenex ’s creation)

    The ending just says it all, total madness.
    (Just how I felt at the ending of the before mentioned movie)


    From the first few lines this makes me think of a western setting (probably Westhammer, which let me to believe this is either @Scalenex ’s of @Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl ’s entry).
    I myself am not that much a fan of western stories.

    I like the characterization and the buildup in the story, but it didn’t seem to lead to anything yet. There will probably be more in Act II, but this part on its own didn’t do it for me.


    Again a story about a movie or showing. The introduction seems silly but it helps to set the rest of the story in the right perspective. The skipping of the tape is a genius concept to cramp a long story into the permitted word count ;)

    Although I know the quote I haven’t seen the movie, so I am not sure if it is an exact parody(if there is something like an exact parody at all). I liked to read it, due to the skipping it read pretty fast and kept entertaining.

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2021
  15. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    Good job @Imrahil.
    I have already voted, so it's time for me to write mine rewiews
     
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  16. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    I noticed 9 votes are made... which means someone forgot about their second vote :(

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2021
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  17. Carnikang
    Carnasaur

    Carnikang Well-Known Member

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    A good showing.

    Laughed aloud at one of them. But all were well done and I enjoyed the different ideas presented.
     
  18. Baenling
    Jungle Swarm

    Baenling New Member

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    I'm four stories in and having a lot of fun reading them! I think some could have used an editing pass or two but that doesn't mean they're unreadable or unenjoyable by any stretch.
    Honestly can't wait for the next contest because I want to try my hand at writing one :D
    Also this is SUCH a killer theme, what a great idea!
     
  19. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I noticed you dusting the thread with likes.

    And I was hoping you would say that. :)

    We have a short story contest every three months. The next contest will officially involve entrants writing their piece in April and then the pieces will be posted in May for reading, voting and critiques.

    Generally no one complains if I announce the theme early, so I will probably announce the theme in mid to late March.

    As a much newer tradition. We have poetry contests twice a year. The next poetry contest will be June...ish.

    We have 24 past short story contests you can view via the Lustriapedia here. We have around 200 short stories altogether give or take.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2021
  20. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Fantastic!!! We're always trying to get more potential writers going!

    Looking forwards to seeing your work! :D
     

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