Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Killer Angel, Apr 15, 2018.
Wait... i have quoted your whole review...
The Path to salvation (Oct-Nov 2020, theme was "A place to call home" and I took the FIRST PLACE on 9 )
Spoiler: Story Five: "The Path to Salvation"
THE PATH TO SALVATION
Once it should have been a city filled with life, gloriously standing within the jungle and embraced by the luxuriant vegetation, with stone-paved roads moving away in a radial pattern, just a few tens of miles away from the coast.
Now it was only a large area of scattered, moss-covered ruins, slowly strangled by the growing trees… except for one spot, defiantly standing.
The Kroxigor once named Kadai was working hard, alone under the blazing sun. A building was already repaired and fortified and it would have served as shelter, waiting for the city walls to be raised again.
Now it was the time for the temple. It was a lesser one but still it was a large construction, a mighty task for a lone kroxigor… and yet every day it was growing a little higher.
There was no rest for the kroxigor as he polished the scattered blocks and moved them with no regards for himself. An injury would have been almost welcome. A different kind of pain, something to keep away the constant void that burned and frozen inside. Anything to make it go away.
The kroxigor moved another block through the square, passing nearby a small clearing with no grass inside it, only scorched soil.
The place where Kadai killed his friends.
The red daemons came upon the city with fury, overcoming the outer defenses and putting to fire even the stone walls. Kadai and his brothers were fighting a desperate battle but none of them was retreating, as their combat prowess was pushed by the presence of their precious friends, the little ones. So cute and frail yet so courageous for just being there. No harm should come to them.
The war drums nearby the main temple were drumming a song of hope, but here there was only blood and killing and the need to protect the little ones.
Kadai was cut off from the main group, facing a huge winged daemon wreathed in living flames. Parry, feint, smash… the pungent smell of boiled blood filled Kadai’s nostrils, his own blood flowing through the deep cuts in the hardened scales and instantly evaporating on the hot armor.
The big daemons was laughing. Kadai was the leader of his spawning, yet he wasn’t able to land a single blow.
He could hear the roars of his brothers and the incitements of the little ones. So few cries, dwindling away in number.
“Must protect the little ones. Need my brothers’ help.”
Kadai launched his attacks with no regard for his safety, forcing the daemon to just defend itself and gradually pushing it toward the main battle.
When his rage was fading away and the smile was returning on the daemon’s face, Kadai saw what was happening to the rest of his spawning.
Many lesser daemons were dead, one of them strangled by the last of his brothers.
The little ones… sweet Old Ones. Only four of them were standing and they were running toward him, chirping their will to help.
Kadai knew it was wrong and tried to warn them “NO! run away, little ones! RUN!”.
He must gave them the time to flee, before the daemon could finish him off.
But the brave little ones didn’t care, and they threw their javelins… one of them took the daemon in the neck.
What Kadai was not able to do, the javelin did. Just a puncture, but it hurt the daemon, which growled toward that annoying enemy. Lowering its guard for a single moment.
Kadai took that second, and landed a blow with his weapon in the daemon’s chest. Pushed by the full force of desperation, the jade beak pierced the flesh and broke the ribs, reaching the heart.
The daemon for a moment looked surprised, then it exploded freeing its inner fire in a blast of fiery shrapnels.
The explosion knocked over Kadai and before fading out he saw the little ones, burning and screaming. Looking at him and crying for help.
“I’ve killed them”.
When Kadai woke up, he hid. It was easy, as the battle was won but the losses were too many.
Kadai remained hidden and spied the burial rite for the skinks and his brothers, as the shame was too great and he could simply not show up.
The last thing he saw was the remnants of the saurus regiments that were marching away from the city, toward a strongest settlement. The last thing he heard was the sweet chirping of the little ones, fading away. He stood hidden, alone. The pain inside was something new and terrifying, it clinged on his heart, squeezing with cruel claws and no rest was able to sooth it.
“Cannot go. I’ve killed them. Will forgive me? Want to hear the laugh of little ones. It will cure me. Can do nothing with no little ones. I wanna them.”.
He stood there for days, until an idea came to his mind. It was so beautiful and shiny, and there was so much hope wrapped to it. A new purpose. The Idea.
“I will rebuild the city. The little ones on the flying lizards will see it. The little ones will come back. The pain will go away. And this will be home again”.
So it began.
First some cleaning, then a small house, then a bigger building and now the lesser temple. Each day a little more higher. Every day a pain. Every day a dream of home. The Idea, so warm and tender.
This day was no different from the previous ones… then a distant rustle took Kadai’s attention.
“Not animals. Not snakes. Not little ones. Not brothers. Intruders.”
Kadai took the armor which was resting under the sun. The bronze plate, emblazoned with the symbols of the Old One Xokha, was pleasantly warm. The head of the maul recalled a bird: a golden globe adorned with feathers, rubies for the eyes and a jade beak.
He moved toward the voices until he found a place to hide, behind a ruined wall.
“Dumb warmbloods. Too much noise. Just wait. Almost here… almost… here!”
Kadai emerged from his cover and struck the first enemy, laying him dead.
It was a small group of warmbloods, all of them covered with colored clothes and feathers, as if they were mimicking some parrots. Eyes opened wide, they started screaming and turned on their back, fleeing as fast as they could and even dropping some of their useless tools. One of them pointed a sort of staff toward Kadai and there was a small thunder with a blast of smoke. When the smoke cleared, also this last warmblood was running away.
Kadai was satisfied. No time to spare in pursuing, there was much work to do.
He turned back to the buildings and passed through the burned clearing, looking with sadness at the big pile of stones that buried the little ones and his brothers.
Then, on the side, he saw the smaller pile.
And on the top of it, a piece of bronze armor carved with a half-melted symbol of Xokha, and a broken maul with a chipped jade beak.
He remembered the daemons fleeing after the killing of one of their leaders, the acolytes of the temple that aided the wounded, and finally the funeral… his body buried with the full homages due to the slayer of a Greater Daemon, before the leaving of the survivors from the city.
Kadai looked at his ghostly hands and then to the city: a mass of crumbled debris with no buildings, only scattered stones, bushes and growing trees.
But it lasted only a moment.
“It’s a trick of the sun”.
Kadai closed his eyes.
“That’s not true. I’ve killed the little ones”.
And when Kadai opened his eyes, all was normal again.
There was the clearing, the big pile of stones, the buildings and the growing temple. Such a beautiful view. So full of hope.
“The little ones will come back. And this will be home again”.
Reviews and personal considerations:
This was the first review, and already someone that don't hide himself, saying that i took a vote from him. Loved it.
This was so beauiful, i feld honored that you picked my story to do this wonderful pic.
I would have liked to immediately shout out my happiness, but i couldn't...
Ah, the subtle clues… yeah, i knew perfectly that some details in the story could seem "out of place", but everything is justified when you arrive at the end, which puts everything that happened before in a different light.
I find very cool the fact that you looked at the "take on theme", after the last comp, when we talked about our different views about the importance of sticking to the theme.
NOw, for the nerd part… is this Tlax?
yes and no. Yes, it was inspired by it, and even the geographical hints at the beginning of the story suggest that it is, indeed, Tlax. However, i was never totally fond of the official version of that city (the ghost ever battling seemed a little uninspired), so this is my personal version of it.
The title is misleading… the path to salvation is the effort by Kadai to make things normal again. In the end, you realize that the title refers to the illusionary path
"The only other thing I would say technically was the spirit was apparently only imagining that he was moving blocks, but then was able to strike and kill one of the warmbloods, which seemed a little inconsistent."
Yes, being a spirit, Kadai is not able to really move objects, but can still kill enemies. On tabletop (WHFB), it's basically the old "ethereal" rule, shared by spirit ghosts, banshees and so on. Terrains don't affect them and they pass through solid objects as if those were not there, but still they can snuff life force out of the enemy! (and of course, they can be hurt only by magical weapons, one of the reason why the human that shot Kadai at point blank did nothing at all).
So, the moving of objects was his imagination, but the killing of the intruder was real.
Yes, i wanted to picture the "combat interaction" between skinks and kroxigors, and give a reason to the improved combat abilitys of krox, when standing near skinks.
The story should leave you sad, mission accomplished!
It was a great story, amico. Well worth the win!
True to the Theme
(jan-feb 2021, theme was "And now for something completely different" and I took the SECOND place on 8.
I also "won" the Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Comedy Award )
Spoiler: Story Six: "True to the theme"
True to the Theme
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”
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 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 impossible… There 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.
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”
“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”.
Reviews and personal considerations:
First of all, i'm very happy that this nonsensical piece managed to take the 2nd place. Something completely different, indeed!
As requested, I'm going to expalin the various parodies and references.
this wanted to be a homage to Monty Phyton's movie "and now for something completely different".
The intro is exactly a parody of the first scene of that movie:
The movie was also a collection of sketches, so also this story is a series of brief, unrelated stories, ideally told by the 3 hidden chama skinks
A parody of Peanuts, obviously Snoopy when he dreams to be a flying ace of the first World War, piloting a Sopwith Camel and being always beaten by the Red Baron.
In the lustrian version snoopy was obviously a huagerdon (courtesy of @Scalenex ), its terradon is named Sopwith, and what's better than a noble elf on a fire phoenix to play the Red Baron? this time it's not a simple nickname, it's the truth!
Obviously, the round-headed skink is Charlie Brown, given that Snoopy identifies him in that way.
This is a parody of the game "among us", which at the moment is crazily popular between teenagers. It's a sort of those werewolves party game, where a couple of players are the killers and the other players must find who's who.
Among the crewmen of a spaceship (identified by colors) there is/are 1/2 impostor/s (basically aliens that took the form of the crewman). they kill one member of the crew, at that point paranoia ensues, accusations and voting to see if someone is thrown in the void. Rinse and repet until the impostor or the crew wins.
Here's the same, in the story we are aboard a spaceship temple of Seraphon, there's a dead and every skink goes mad, throwing accusations or supporting declarations by other members.
But of course there is no impostor and the red skink (priest of Sotek) knows the truth: the killer was a skaven, as on a ship there's always some rat.
In the game, impostors can move through vents, so the priest opens with a spell the vent where the skaven was hiding.
The spell was "alohomora", which is the spell in Harry Potter world to open closed door. Because of course it was delicious to insert a completely unrelated citation.
The fate of us all
the last piece was a citation of Avenger, in the battle agains Thanos (with clear citations of the phrases told by the real Thanos).
the idea was that, as Thanos wanted to kill half of the universe to save it, also GW wanted to destroy The Old World to save the game and creates Age of Sigmar.
Of course, the avenger (the heroes of the old world) try to avoid the End Times.
Tyrion, with a star on his shield, was Cap America; Grimm Burlokson, a engineer with the steam powered armor was Iron Man, Lord Kroak with the power of the mind was Vision (or Doctor Strange, you can pick who you want), and so on. Of course, Grimgor was Thor, with all his pride to be DA BEST (as in the fight vs Archaon).
All is for naugh, and Age of Sigmar comes (with GW that tells to Kroak to don't worry, as Kroak did survived the End Times and is still present in AoS).
A brief, nonsensical conclusion, with the child that wanted to see the leg scene that is not in "and now for something completely different" but it's in another Monty Phyton's movie (the meaning of life). And the mother that explain that this wasn't even a movie (as indeed it's the comp story)
there, i hope it's all clear, but if you have any question...
You got my vote for this one. My favourite bit was Geedubs summoning Age of Sigmar as the apocalyptic end of the world.
Well done! Total chaos it was.
I recognized Monthy Python influences, but hadn't heard of these.
Was this the type of story you had in mind when you picked the theme?
I knew i wanted to do some parody, but after a while i realized that i wasn't able to put together a complete story.
I've got the idea of Peanuts, but the tries to expand it were not satisfying.
So i searched for different ideas... there were many, but none of them was really inspiring to be developed in a complete story.
It was disheartening... I gave the theme and i was going nowhere.
Then the idea struck me. I've had many short concepts, and "now for something completely different" was made by episodes.
At that point the decision was pretty easy. Everything instantly fell in its place and the intro of the movie was just perfect.
(March-April 2021, theme was "Fish out of Water" and I took the FIRST place on 9)
this was my 4th victory (yay!), i won telling stories about skinks, kroxigors and (finally) sauri...
188.8.131.52.8.8. 13 Lamat. 6 Mak (year 2497 of the Imperial Calendar) – day sacred to Khotl
The water is dark, murky and warm. A weak light above me shows the way and calls me toward it… I swim and my arms touch other bodies that are moving around me. We all are swimming, in a universe filled by strange echoes, up until the watery ceiling breaks and we enter a different world. I breath the air for the first time, filling my lungs, while my nictitating eyelids retract, letting me see better the place we’re in (this is called a cave. How do I know its name?).
Beings like me come out of water, their bodies covered with soft scales (I must go out. the sun will harden them.) Other beings are scattered around the pool, but they are much smaller, and clearly weaker than we are (they are skinks. We are Sauri. We are Warriors).
Our smell fills the cave… we inhale it, deeply. We let it flow into our blood. It tastes of moss, copper and dead leaves. The skinks smell different and also the big, armed saurus that is waiting outside the cave and is calling for us, is different. But this smell is ours. We are brothers.
Finally we exit the cave… the sun is warm and our blood starts pumping through our veins, giving strength to our arms. We are made to rule the world. We try our vocal cords, chattering random screeches, while we look at each other. We have deep blue hard scales, while the belly and the upper bone plate of the skull are sky-blue.
I still play with my throat, happy to be alive… then I notice that, while many of my brothers are trying to speak, the ones near me are silent. They are looking at me. And then the big saurus, who is not our brother, comes toward me. I fall silent too, while he stares at my skull and then into my eyes.
“Your head colors are wrong”.
184.108.40.206.0.0. 6 Ajaw. 3 Pop (year 2512 of the Imperial Calendar) – day sacred to Itzl
I breath heavily… I’m tired and bruised, but I’m satisfied. The charge was successful and we battered into submission the red squad, taking their banner. I help one of my brothers to stand up, struggling for the pain in my chest… probably a cracked rib. The healing pool will be a welcome prize.
Our commander went ahead, grinning and nodding.
“Qo-Krag, you got weird colors but your strength is true. You could be a fine platoon leader”.
My brothers cheered me, but I couldn’t stay silent. In a real fight we would have lost too many lives.
“Commander, I was wandering… what if the defenders had missile weapons? or magic? we made a frontal assault, wouldn’t have been better to send a squad into a flanking attack? Even only as distraction…”
My brothers fell silent, while the commander looked suspiciously at me.
“We fight as we are ordered to. What’s wrong with you?”
The commander went away… there was no more cheering, only the backs of my brothers, limping away and murmuring between themselves, giving me fleeting, suspicious glances.
And I knew I would have to be alone in the healing pool.
220.127.116.11.5.15. 10 Men. 13 Sek (year 2517 of the Imperial Calendar) – day sacred to Quetzl
We march to war. Our Stegadons bellow their challenge, while green fuming projectiles cross the sky toward our lines. We can hear the heavy moves in the bushes ahead, we know that our target is a group of mutated war beasts, and our duty is to hold at all costs. We move our formation, to face the incoming threat… we are a phalanx, and I’ve been put in the front rank, on the extreme right.
My shield is strapped on my left arm, and there’s no one to protect my right side. This is the most dangerous place of the whole formation, you are almost doomed to die… it takes a strong warrior to hold it, and I am among the best fighters, but it’s not why I have been put here. A Saurus behind me reminds me the real reason, as if there was the need.
“Try to survive, you freak. We don’t want to step in your place”.
We smell the same, but we are no more brothers.
18.104.22.168.11.2. 5 Ik’. 10 Yax (year 2519 of the Imperial Calendar) – day sacred to Chotec
“Qo-Krag, you are a never-ending source of problems.”
The saurus is massive, an imposing presence made even more threatening by the scar that crosses his face, cutting through the socket when there was once an eye.
“That wasn’t my intention, Lord Commander, I knew it was stupid to ask about the Great Pl..”
“Shut up! or I will conclude that you are beyond repair. Now listen: You are a fine fighter, but you are poisoning your pool. Your colors are… unsettling, your behavior unnerving. Your brothers don’t want to stand by your side, your commander doesn’t want you in the squad and I cannot afford a weakened regiment by forcing your presence into it.”
“But luckily for you, we don’t discard any useable tool.”
The door opened and a skink entered the room, wearing a vest adorned with the symbols of a high rank member of the scribes and artisans.
“So, you are the saurus with an inquisitive mind…”
22.214.171.124.1.1. 8 Imix. 9 K’umk’u (year 2520 of the Imperial Calendar) – day sacred to Tlazcotl
Tik-Kat sighed, taking the scroll I was working on since the early morning.
“You have a gift for reading… but you have warrior’s claws. Will you ever learn to handle with care these papers? you don’t need to squeeze the life out of them.”
“I’m sorry. it’s hard for me…”
He gave me back the scroll.
“Don’t worry, you are doing fine.”
His posture is friendly, but his eyes are cold.
I watch him wander away, toward the other skinks that are doing the paperwork about the inventory of supplies. Their murmurs are practically inaudible, but my ears are made to discern small noises into the chaos of battle.
“How long we have to put up with that clumsy inept?”
“At least doorstops don't try to be smart. and they don't stink”
I hum to myself one of our old training songs, to stop me from hearing. I feel cold.
126.96.36.199.5.19. 2 Kawak. 2 Sek (year 2520 of the Imperial Calendar) – day sacred to Xholanka
“What the marlecht are you doing?!? why are you building the defensive wall with wood?”
I was given my first official assignment. It was an easy one, of course, I just had to watch over one of the kroxigors squad to build a new wall section. The skink overseer graciously gave me the instructions, which were currently laying in my room. He wasn’t pleased at all.
“I thought that a wood palisade would have been better than a stone wall”
The overseer coughed, almost choking himself.
“Yes, in the siege of Hexacoatl the enemy guarded the gates, so our forces were unable to effectively counterattack. With a wooden palisade, if there’s the need, you can take down a section of the wall and take the enemy by surprise”.
“nononononono… listen, you don’t make up things. We do things by the ancient codes. This is the way. If you are not able to follow the instructions, I don’t need you. You are relieved”.
I went away, while the Overseer was shouting at the kroxigors to break down their daily work.
Then my mind went blank, and all I could see was a strange symbol, burning and glowing, while random letters were floating around it. It lasted two or three seconds, then my sight turned back normal.
I was down on my knees but no one had noticed it.
188.8.131.52.10.12. 13 Eb’. 10 Ch’en (year 2521 of the Imperial Calendar) – day sacred to Uxmac
The room is dark, faintly illuminated by some hidden lamp. We are in a inner section of the temple, so I won’t have a chance of escaping if the High Priest Kulthumak decides that I am a danger.
But probably I am reading too much in this, as He doesn’t wear a ceremonial vest, and this is not a trial. He’s walking slowly around me and even if I’m sitting, I’m towering over him.
“Tell me again about your… visions.”
“They are getting worse; become more intense and more frequent, now I have at least one a week when I’m awake, and I dream of them almost every night”
“Describe what do you see.”
“It’s hard to tell; there are symbols, they resemble some of the glyphs of the Old Ones, but they are still different. They rotate, changes, vanish and reform into other figures. And all around them, letters, words… but they have no meaning, I cannot even read them. And when I think I can, they move and shift. They scares me.”
“Now, tell me exactly why you are scared. Tell me the truth.”
“I’ve looked in the book of spawnings and no saurus has been born ever with a iridescent color. I am the first. I don’t know what’s going on in my mind, but if I should give it a name, it would be Chaos. What if I’m marked to…”
A clawed hand settles on my shoulder. I turn my head toward the High Priest, and he is smiling at me.
“The Children of the Old Ones don’t fall to the Dark Powers, Qo-Krag. Don’t worry about it. However, we don’t want to further unsettle the scribes. You must be involved in a… different occupation.”
184.108.40.206.11.4.8 K’an. 17 Ch’en (year 2522 of the Imperial Calendar) – day sacred to Tepok
I’m on stable duty. Same as yesterday, and the day before, and the weeks.
It appeared that I was the perfect candidate for such a position: the skink handlers teached me quickly all the correct behaviors to adopt when dealing with our warbeasts, and I’m strong enough to not be eaten, or pierced to death by one of our “tamed” dinosaurs.
As a further bonus, I’m well far away from the sight of warriors, or scribes, or… well, everyone.
I usually see just handlers and occasionally the riders of the beasts, when they come to take their mounts for war, patrol duties or, as today, some public event.
The knights came in the early morning to take all their cold ones, dressed for parade. Someone very important is visiting the city, but of course we don’t know who.
One of the handlers tried to sound like a conspirator, revealing that he heard a Sky Leader talk about Tetto’eko. Yeah, 3 months ago it was Lord Kroak himself.
Whoever it was, the city’s guest had already arrived, as the echoes of the giant warhorns welcomed it a hour ago. It matters little when you have to tend the beasts.
My visions have changed for the better, I suppose. Now I don’t suffer from mind blanks, I can just see them floating in front of my eyes, overlapping with my normal vision. I actually can count the times I don’t see them.
I am lost in thoughts, when I finally realize that the skink that was working with me is not working anymore, and instead has dropped on his knees, bowing to something behind me.
I turn and I see why.
A crowd is approaching us, led by Him. A skink, floating mid-air upon a Slann palanquin, adorned with the majestic feathers of a Quetzalcoatl. I barely notice that at His flank, is walking the High Priest Kulthumak.
Many sauri and skinks are following behind, but no one dares to bypass the glistening wall formed by the Temple Guards that bears the symbols of the Chief Astronomer.
Tetto’eko stops right in front of me.
“Kulthumak talked to me about you, Qo-Krag.”
Tetto’eko raises a clawed hand
“Don’t talk. Relax, and lend me your mind.”
My vision blurs. the real world becomes an opaque canvas.
“Show me your visions.”
the symbols appear, turning and spinning, silhouetted on the background.
“Focus on them. I will help you”
The symbols slow. The letters arrange themselves into some weird words, moving toward my perimeter vision.
“Choose one. Don’t let it go.”
I struggle. My first choice slips away.
“Again. Pick a short one.”
I see another. I look at it… I drag it back, until it’s again in the middle of my visual arc. All the other symbols and words scatter away, leaving only my pick, a single word with glowing letters, superimposed on a weird symbol. the white background turns diaphanous, letting me see the real world. I see Tetto’eko, Kulthumak, the guards behind.
“Now read it”
I look at the temple guards… “HUA-QU!”
The air temperature turns cold, and a freezed snow starts appearing mid-air… until Tetto’eko counterspell shuts it down.
A weird, almost unnatural silence descends upon us. Tetto’eko smiles and raises his beautiful, iridescent crest.
“It’s time to begin your real training, my Brother”.
Spoiler: Personal considerations
This idea about a sort of Ugly Duckling, not only for the visual aspect but also for behavior came to me and it developed. I knew what the story should have been, but wasn't sure how to convey it; basically, how to structure the story.
When i've had the idea to set the piece in various moments of time, presenting brief scenes to show various moments of the saurus' life to give a sense of evolution of the character, i knew it was the right one.
But of course, then it came the problem of the calendar. I couldn't write "6th of june, 1340". And the imperial calendar was out of question.
At this point, i must thank Warden and Scalenex , mighty author of Lustrapedia (it's a goldmine, not only to give more depth to your stories but also for inspirations)
Each date refers to lizardmen calendar, cured by Warden (lizardmen timeline).
each date is a "real" one, those numbers were not made out of the blue, and each date refers to the appropriate year of the imperial calendar. If you don't have noticed, those were the years preceeding the End Times. So, with such a incoming struggle it seemed appropriate that the Old Ones gave to Lizardmen their first saurus wizard/priest ever.
Reading the lizardmen calendar, i learned that each day was sacred to a particular Old One.
That was perfect. Tnx to Scalenex and his summary of the Old Ones, i could assign a particular Old One to each moment of the story, making sense for the evolution of our protagonist. Every single act got a significant Old One, for example:
At the birth there is Khotl, which is the chooser of those destined to greatness.
When Qo-Krag oversees the wall's construction, thinking by himself and then got the first visions, it's a day sacred to Xholanka; his domain is associated to deep intellect and it's suggested that brings both a bless and a curse. Very appropriate.
In the final act when the potential of Qo-Krag is revealed, we have Tepok (which is associated to magic).
There area also some other detail that was cured. I gave Qo-Krag a head color similar to Tetto-Eko's. Tetto-Eko is the master of the lore of heavens. The signature spell of that lore (so, the one easiest to cast) is Iceshard Blizzard... the one that Qo-Krag casts at the end. Is a curse / defensive spell, and "HUA-QU", in the lizardmen language, is related to mist and defence, so it fits in some way.
It was not a small reasearch work, but luckily the heavy weight was already done and I've just only to put together the pieces.
Finally, i tried to give some detail that could give a unique sense to the story... our protagonists are often "alien" creatures and so we should try to capture this aspect. For example, when there is the spawning, i gave the "sudden" realizations about the world surrounding the newborn sauri, given by what should be perceived as ancestral memory.
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A well deserved victory signore!
The enemy inside
(July-August 2021, theme was "Unusual Allegiances" and I took the THIRD place on 8)
Well, this is my fifth consecutive podium in the comp... pretty proud of it!
Spoiler: The Enemy Inside
Prelude – the first battle
The swarm of daemons was smashing against the ranks of the saurus warriors. From the top of the armored bastiladons, bolts of searing lights were digging scorched grooves through the amassed red horrors, only for the gaps to be filled again by other screeching beasts.
Just another battle, another one of the endless incursions by daemons in Lustria, another desperate stand in defense of a temple city, under the black and red sky, torned by the connection to the warp.
Then, the Slann threw his hands into the air, in the final gestures of a spells that he was casting since the beginning of the battle. A large vortex of blue energy materialized into the sky, sucking the black and red filaments from the daemonic portal, shrinking it…. closing it.
And for the very first time in their life, the children of the Old Ones felt something they never experienced in battling daemon. They smelled fear.
Krenn-qu was standing, waiting to be acknowledged.
The Temple Guards at the entrance were apparently not paying attention to him, but he could sense their innate tension, ready to strike if something could vaguely represent a threat to the master they were assigned to.
Despite towering the High Priest K’umk’u, despite being used to roar orders during battles, Krenn-qu knew that here he was powerless.
Finally, K’umk’u raised his head from his paperwork.
“So, why the commander of the Northern Spawnings regiments insists to speak with me?”
“I’ve got a question, your Highness, but lesser priests don’t answer.”
“…and once you lot are fixed on one thing, you don’t let it go. Tell me”
“After the battle, I’ve heard a priest saying that the daemons will stay dead this time. Don’t understand”
“It is not for you to know”
“But I see you are unhappy with this answer. I don’t want a uneasy commander. Let’s say this: when a Saurus dies, his spirit goes in the otherside of the stars, and eventually will come back to the spawning pools. For daemons is a similar thing: their spirit goes back into the warp and reincarnates in a new body. This time, thanks to the magic of Lord Nanahua, they were forbid this escape route. With no connection to the warp they just died. Forever.”
“Good. You’re dismissed, and stop harassing my priests.”
Krenn-qu walked away. The real question was still unanswered of course, but he couldn’t dare to ask it. And he already knew the answer. It was in his head.
“See? it was as I told you, you dumb scaly servant.”
2nd Prelude – the first battle
Krenn-qu unit was closing into the remnants of the bloodletters. It was no more fear they were smelling to… it was pure panic. Slashing with claws against hardened scales, screeching and trying to push through the closing circle of shields. Trying to find a gap and run away.
There was only one of them that was still fighting with the will to kill. Bigger than all the other ones, with a crude plaque hooked between its horns and adorned by the symbol of Khorne, wearing a scale mail and iron bracers.
Krenn-qu closed in for the kill. Parry, feint, a sword blow deflected by the shield and finally the mace that came down, crushing the head. It had been even too easy.
A second later, Krenn-qu felt… that thing. That weird sensation.
It was almost like when, a long time ago, he had been “crossed” by a ghostly undead, which almost killed him.
But that time it lasted a cold moment, while now Krenn-qu felt something inside him. Something that was clutching into his brain, making room. And then he heard that grasping voice, lacerating his thoughts.
“Khorne be praised! I feared I wouldn’t have make it!”
Krenn-qu was standing on the edge of the cliff, looking down at the raging river Qu’Antly; the sharpened rocks were there, half emerging from the white froth.
“Were I you, I wouldn’t do it”
“If I die, you die”
“Or maybe I will just return to my realm, now that the magic of your tubby frog is no more”
Krenn-qu stayed silent.
“But Chaos won’t have one of us. It has never happened, and I won’t let it happen now”
“Nurgle’s ass! I could stay here forever, I cannot take over your spirit. You lack a… certain spiritual leverage we need. Your Old Ones were smart Gods. And your duty is to stay alive and fight, isn’t it?”
Krenn-qu looked into the canyon again.
The daemon was right. He was unable to kill himself, as a warrior is born to fight and is not allowed to waste its life. And to tell the truth to a priest would have meant death.
“I will get rid of you. there will be many battles in which I shall have the opportunity to die on duty”
“Yes, but for now this will be our little secret.”
In the end, the battle awaited by Krenn-qu was upon them.
The putrid stench of the skaven was overwhelming, as the furry tide was pushing toward the whole defensive line of the saurian forces. The carnage was half clouded by billowing clouds of green smoke.
“Let’s go fight!… you lazy, insufferable coward! I need you to smash some bone!”
“Our time will come. No wonder you always lose, you lack any discipline”
“I cannot wait! I want blood! I want…”
“Here they come.”
Like the branches of a river, the skavens were swarming through the gaps between the saurian cohorts, encircling them, penetrating further and further into the deployed army. Until every trickle met a pocket with no exit, bordered by a wall of shields. With a roar, Krenn-qu and his regiment closed in, while the trapped incursors realized this was their doom.
But this was not the end.
The massacre of hundreds of slaves and warriors was merely a distraction… a sacrifice to turn the battle into a chaotic melee. It was at that point, when there was no more a cohesive line of defense, that a dozen of pits opened under the feet of the fighters, releasing a nightmare of claws and teeth: double headed giant rats, bulky beasts tall as a kroxigor with saw-like blades instead of arms, and many more horrors.
It was pure chaos. Krenn-qu moved toward the nearest fight, followed by his brothers, struggling to get near the enemy. A towering, massive beast large as a stegadon had emerged… a writhing, hideous mountain of flesh, marked by horrible scars and grafted with mechanical bits and a multitude of heads, randomly sprouting from its body.
When Krenn-qu arrived, two squads of warriors had already been decimated. At least two dozens of spears were stuck in the body of the beast, which was screaming in hate and pain.
Krenn-qu could only watch when the monster raised one of the last survivors, ripping him apart with the hungry jaws of the main head. He knew his mace would have been no match for that beast… he dropped the shield and the weapon, and took a couple of lances from two dead sauri.
Krenn-qu charged. The malicious eyes of the abomination noticed him, and it propelled itself toward that new opponent, rearing up to a towering height… when the mountain of flesh smashed down, to just crush him under its mere weight, Krenn-qu didn’t even tried to dodge the killing blow. He went directly under it, placing the double spears to receive the full impact.
Krenn-qu sensed, more than see, the spears penetrating into the chest of the monster. The smashing avalanche of flesh stunned him.
Krenn-qu was buried under a putrid mass of withering flesh, trembling in the spasms of agony. The weight was impossible to bear… he could not breath, and he perceived his ribs on the verge of cracking. He felt his strength sapping away.
A burst of energy ran through the entire body of Krenn-qu.
“We are not dying here!”.
What the saurus warriors saw, was the upper body of the dead beast slowly rising and their commander lifting it, emerging from under the corpse, finally pushing it aside with a final roar.
Not even the strongest of the kroxigors could have done it. Krenn-qu was clearly blessed by the Old Ones. Their leader would have taken them to victory.
The warriors roared with exaltation.. and if someone noticed the red eyes of the Scar Veteran, surely they were bloodshot due to the immense effort.
“Ahahahahahah!!!! yes!!!! this was a real KILL!”
“welcome to Lustria. This is how we live and die, daemon”.
“I am Gra'rzhal Fireripper, my fellow slayer… and I’m not done with killing. We have a battle to win!”
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And lastly, this "review" is still worth mentioning...
Your story was my favourite signore. This has happened quite a few times in the last two years so I must like your writing style!
I also voted for it. Great story.
Join the Army
(October-November 2021, theme was "Parallel dimension" and I took the FIRST place on 7, on par with @Aginor)
this is the 4th time (on 28 editions) in the comp's history we have a multiple win
this is my 5th victory (yay!)
this is my 6th consecutive podium in the comp. wow!
Spoiler: Join the Army
Join the Army
Hoy! Hoy! Hoy! Hoy! Hoy! YEAAHHHH!!!!
James swallowed the whole pint of Bugman’s xxxxxxx, while his friends were inciting him.
It was the fourth one, and on the table there where empty tankards, just waiting for the waitress to take them out to bring in another round.
It had been a blast, the London Grand Tournament AoS Championship.
James’ Seraphon ruled the day. Many believed the list was too crazy to work, but “Storm of Magic” proved otherwise. Victory after victory, paving the road to the first place.
At a certain point, James became unaware of the surrounding, barely acknowledging that some helping hands were taking him to the hotel room.
In his mind there were still the images of the match against Soulblights.
First turn, moving ahead a Starseer with Lauchon the Soulseeker and using it as vessel to pump the full power of Kroak and a Slann… Comet’s call, triple celestial deliverance, Purple sun, Stellar tempest and Unforging. And then the bastiladon, running and shooting.
At the end of the first turn, two key heroes and the Lord on zombie dragon were dead, and the undead troops were badly damaged.
The victory. The Championship.
In the dream, James was floating in the void. A constellation slowly made its appearance, and then a light emerged out of nothing, and from the light, a Slann.
That Bugman’s was really strong.
“You did well, James. Do you wanna know more about our secrets? Do you wanna win again? You only need to make the right choice, James.”
The Slann showed his hands. They were holding a blue pill and a red one.
Yeah, this is a really weird dream… Who knows, maybe I’ll get some new ideas.
James slowly opened his eyes. A pleasantly soft light was surrounding the Slann, floating in his palanquin before him. At the Slann’s side, an Eternity Warden was standing.
“Welcome to my temple city, Mighty Leader of Seraphon armies”.
“Hi Slann. You did well today. We won. Have you liked how I exploited your magic? people nowadays don’t know how to pump some good blasting…”
Weird dream indeed. How is it possible that the Warden has a sarcastic expression?
The Slann’s voice boomed in James’ head.
“If I have to be honest, that trick was kinda crude. But sometime you just need a hammer rather than a scalpel, to drive the point home”.
Great, now also the Slann is using sarcasm.
“This dream is unpleasant. Froggy, give me some new idea, or let me sleep some more.”
The Slann sighed.
“…I think I too will need some hammerin’...”
The Slann gestured.
The world exploded, as if a gallon of icy water was poured on someone that was watching some swimming on TV.
James’ senses woke up at once. The room was warm and it was certainly vast, judging by the echoes of chanting voices behind him. James’ back was against a solid surface and his nails scratched it, feeling the hardness of stone.
He instinctively tried to raise, but he slipped on one side, falling on the floor. Scent of… blood? a forked tongue darted out of James’ mouth. Particles of blood, musk and dirty fur. The buzzing of flies over the corpses of freshly dead skaven.
James screamed, trying to catch midair the tongue as if it was unreal… so he saw his hands, clawed and scaled.
He looked around stunned, in complete disbelief.
He could distinguish the different noises of at least 25 flies, buzzing over the remnants of the skaven… and being uncertain about the other insects. From the floor he could perceive the vibrations of the clawed feet of the priests that were disposing of the bodies… he could also feel the heat of a unseen furnace, behind a granite wall.
The chanting was made by a circle of skink starpriests, sitting around a shimmering blue portal. James could see and smell the ozone. How do I know it’s ozone? The humidity in the air was slightly heavy. How do I know that outside it’s a gloomy day and within a couple of hours it will rain?
James started to hyperventilate, wishing to faint and erase all of that.
He did not passed out. He sensed that his hearth was reacting somehow to the hyperventilation, slowing its pace and forcing him to acknowledge again the full specter of sensations that were assaulting him.
No way this can be a dream.
James closed his eyes and curled up in a fetal position.
He heard and smelled and sensed everything, the whole disposal of the skavens, the closing of the portal, the priests that went away. Until it came the rain.
At this point, James opened his eyes again, and there were the Slann and the Warden.
“This is not a dream”.
“Of course not, my friend.”
“What’s this? What’s happening?”
“You are now in our universe. The place you have a vague idea of, that you were used to call Warhammer Fantasy, and now you know as Age of Sigmar.”
“You are unreal. it must be a drug of some kind…”
“There’s no drug. Millions of years ago, just some decades in your world, the Old Ones knew that we would have to face almost insurmountable odds, so they gave us many tools. Among them, the possibility to reach other universes. We took a bunch of humans, people as Bryan Hansell, Rick Pristley and obviously Nigel Stillman, and we inspired them with dreams and subtle mental manipulations. That was a chisel work, just so you know. We made them recreate a… passable simulation of our world, which each edition of the game evolving as we evolve. As our war changes and as new enemies appear. Come with me.”
James could not do anything but follow the Slann toward the exit of the temple.
“But… but… let’s admit this is true. Why? I don’t see any sense in this”
“Shouldn’t it be obvious? your so called game is a tactical simulation. It’s the theory course of a military academy, to select brilliant tactical minds, future commanders to lead the Seraphon into battle and give us the edge by thinking out of the box. And you, my friend, you just qualified for the advanced course.”
James looked again at his body.
“So I’m actually…”
“A skink starpriest. You will be able to take command traits and, for once, cast real spells. Your mind has been transferred into a new body, suited for you”.
“No, listen, I am sleeping in a hotel room, I like playing Warhammer and be smart, but that’s it. I get you have problems, but my real life is not here. Just send me back home.”
The Slann sighed again, bowing his head as to apologize.
“ I fear your dead body has already been found by the hotel’s staff. Chocked on your own vomit. I deeply regret it, but it’s a sacrifice I was willing to make. The Great Plan requires it”.
Finally they were out of the temple. From the terrace a vast, coloured city was visible, swarming with reptilian life; in the sky there were flocks of terradons flying around a huge pyramid that was floating midair; from the pyramid, an azure beam stroke the parade ground, teleporting a saurus regiment.
“We are the Starborne, and you are now a child of the Old Ones”.
“This is crazy…”
A big clawed hand rested on James’ shoulder. It was the Eternity Warden and he was laughing.
“Crazy? man, you have no idea. I won two events of the U.S. open series, back in sixth edition, and let me tell you: when Kroak blew up the moon in the End Times, that was crazy. But this… this is just tuesday”.
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Leviathan (winter 2021/2022 poetry contest - 3rd place out of 5)
down in the depths, I am.
the dream creeps into slumber
the toad's gaze that burns into me
the call i follow, and I go.
from the depths, I rise.
the kraken knows me and flees
but there's no time to chase the food
the call I follow, up I go.
out of the depths, I sense the light
the light that feeds the life
the life that dares to sail the sea.
the call I follow, up I strike.
the call has gone, and so the ship
the waves carry to the land
debris they don't want anymore.
down to the depths, I go home.