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Contest October-November Short Story Contest: and the winner is...

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Nov 1, 2015.

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Which story or stories did you like best? You may vote for up to FOUR entries

Poll closed Dec 1, 2015.
  1. Story 1: Fear

    13 vote(s)
    59.1%
  2. Story 2: Tunnels

    3 vote(s)
    13.6%
  3. Story 3: Trial of Cuezaltzin

    3 vote(s)
    13.6%
  4. Story 4: The Ghosts We Have

    12 vote(s)
    54.5%
  5. Story 5: The Days of Terror

    3 vote(s)
    13.6%
  6. Story 6: Rat Poison

    8 vote(s)
    36.4%
  7. Story 7: In the Serpent's Eye

    9 vote(s)
    40.9%
  8. Story 8: Fool's Gold

    3 vote(s)
    13.6%
  9. Story 9: Midnight Chase

    7 vote(s)
    31.8%
  10. Story 10: Whispers in the Wind

    3 vote(s)
    13.6%
  11. Story 11: The Last Slann

    7 vote(s)
    31.8%
  12. Story 12: Secrets of the Southlands

    13 vote(s)
    59.1%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Here are the stories. I randomized the order because most authors announced their order of entry. If something is not right in general, reply to the main topic. If something is off with your piece, and you want me to fix or change something, let me know with a PM.

    The contest theme this time was "Spirit of Horror".

    Polls open for 30 days. Might extend voting if we have a deadlock. Please do not submit a vote until you have read all 12 pieces.

    Lustria-Online is not liable for anyone who binge-reads all twelve entries and have their brains melt trying to absorb so much pure awesome at once.

    In honor of this amazing crop of entries, each person may vote for up to four entries. Note, you still can only submit your choices once, so pick your four favorites in your head before you start voting. I can let people change their votes but it's a pain in the tail for me, so please make your vote carefully.

    Fear

    Temple Guardians do not suffer fear.

    It was natural that the lesser races of the mortal realms would hold this to be true, because there was no record of a single guardian fleeing from battle while his Slann Lord held firm.

    Ta'avik himself had believed the same until this very moment: nightfall on the day of his ending.

    It was not that the dying guardian did not previously know about fear. Over the centuries, he had made his own observations of its enervating effect on those who came within the reach of his celestite mace. His conclusion was that fear of death and fear of pain were rife among the lesser classes of Seraphon and the ranks of their mortal foes.

    In contrast, his long service in the War-Host of Light had proven that neither death nor pain held any terror for him. The preceding events of his final day merely emphasized the point.

    Earlier in the day, Ta’avik’s slann lord had opened a realm-gate and commanded his guardian cohort to create a beach-head in the mortal realm on the other side. The guardians were to hold position for as long as it took for the rest of the Seraphon army to pass through the gate behind them. By living or dying, Ta’avik and his brother guardians would to achieve this objective. It did not matter which to him.

    The elite saurus plunged through the open gate and swiftly formed a bulwark of sinew and bone. Initially, the surprised Chaos-Sworn could only respond with disorganized charges and were easily repelled. The guardians could weather such attacks indefinitely, but the appearance of a hulking slaughter brute made their toehold in the blighted realm suddenly precarious.

    The monster of the Chaos Realm had thundered toward the Seraphon line and lowered its many tusked head for impact. Without regard for his own preservation, Ta’avik dashed forward with his mace and arrested the momentum of the charge by smashing the brute’s forelimb from under it.

    The crippled monster tumbled so quickly that Ta’avik could not avoid its collapse and his leg became pinned under the slaughter brute’s immense bulk. The other guardians quickly set upon the beast and kept it down, but it continued struggling, grinding Ta’avik’s leg against the unforgiving ground beneath.

    The first indication that the rest of the Host of Light had arrived in good order was when Ta'avik's lord obliterated the slaughter brute’s black soul with a blinding blast of light. The Seraphon army immediately pressed forward with the guardian vanguard still at the fore.

    Ta’avik’s splintered leg was still trapped under the monster’s smoking carcass. He was soon left far behind.

    The guardian’s pain was considerable, but to him it was an irrelevant sensory experience, like the chatter of skinks or the screams of tortured captives. The pain did not affect Ta’avik’s resolve and it certainly did not arouse fear. Even the anticipation of what he would do next did not disturb his cold blooded equilibrium.

    A return to the service of his lord required the resolution of the problem of his trapped and mangled leg. Unfortunately, his spiked celestite mace was lost under the slaughter brute and no suitable replacement was within his reach. He was therefore forced to tear at his injured thigh with his claws until he had shredded his hide and flesh down to the shattered femur.

    Having burrowed that far, Ta’avik was able to laboriously extract a long shard of bone. The splinter had a point and a jagged edge and, with the aid of this improvised surgical instrument, the rest of the operation was soon completed.

    Ta’avik inspected the remnant of his leg. With each beat of his three chambered heart, thick purple blood surged from his shredded femoral artery. The stump was too short and ragged to accommodate a tourniquet, thus Ta’avik resorted to other means to avoid quickly bleeding to death.

    He had often stood vigil in the chamber of his lord for decades at a time, at all times ready to leap to his defence. He and his fellow guardians survived these periods without sustenance by reducing their metabolism and slowing their heart beat to barely detectable levels.

    Ta’avik gathered his control and did the same again. When the rhythmic surge from the artery had all but ceased he began to drag himself along the ground in the wake of his brothers. Behind him he left an intermittent trail of dark, congealing blood.

    It had been no surprise to Ta’avik that he was falling further behind the Host of Light. What had startled him was that the weak, wintry sun of this mortal realm was leaving him behind as well. As the sun dipped lower, long shadows streaked towards him from distant mountain peaks. They seemed to point to the hapless Seraphon like accusing fingers, eager to reveal the weakness he never knew he had.

    He had been spawned under the light of undying stars and had lived always under their radiance. Even when he had battled in the deep places of the mortal realms, he had been bathed in the glow of his lord’s magical aura. He had never known darkness.

    His lord had already abandoned him, and the pale sun did likewise. The shadow fingers closed around him like a fist and crushed his self-control. His heart began to hammer uncontrollably in his chest and precious life-blood gushed anew from the tattered stump of his leg.

    The Temple Guardian was alone in the dark.

    And he was afraid.

    Tunnels

    Something else was in the tunnel and Ikkit knew it. His whole life had he lived in the tunnels, tunnels packed whit skaven, tunnels filled with the warm smell of rats. The grease had been up to the knee but the air had Always been echoing with the busy sound of the under-city. This tunnel was quiet. It was still cramped but instead of in shortage of space it was out of fear

    Fear of the uncanny. The tunnels had long ago been dug by skaven. But now it was deserted except for the bones, at every single Step did Ikkit feel bones crack under his paws. Bones of skaven. The only thing left of the skaven that had tried to flee the snakes throw the tunnel. But it had been packed and the snakes had followed

    Ikkit still felt the smell of old fear from the time the tunnels had been stuffed whit the fleeing and the panic had risen when they cold not move cold not get away from the wyrms all on there way. Like a flood they came a wave of slithering bodys. Newer still. Newer stuck.

    And in their panic to get free the skaven reverted to cornered rats. Unable to fight their way through the gaping jaws of the snakes, they had turned on each other. Stabbing and clawing. The blood started to flow and the serpents frenzied at the smell of blood. Trapped by dead bodies, the skaven had started to eat their own in a desperate way to escape.

    The snakes had devoured the living and dead alike continuing all the way across the World Pond.

    Ikkit's patrol were the first skaven in the tunnel since the extermination. They were there to scout if any tunnels were useable or if they had caved in after thier long denial. They continued forward in the dim green light of the warpstone lanterns. suddenly the light didn't continue on the floor: it just ended. In the celing and on the walls did the light continuously spread. As they aproatched the dark spot did they see how the light spread on the other side. it was a great black pit in the floor were the floor.

    Ikkit held out his lantern and released his breath in relief when he saw that the hole was only half a meter deep. then he flinched in terror.

    A snake tail disappeared into a crack in the wall. It was just a little snake Ikkit thought quietly as he collected himself. Then he crossed the pit. closely behind followed the rest. Half an hour later did they cross a great tunnel at least six meters across. Halfway ower did Ikkit see a movement in the crossing tunnel and now he realy squeeked in terror at the sight of an enormous red snake tail filing the hole in the tunnel. they all looked n the opposite direction Ikkit was fleeing but could not see anything. But the dark felt meanicing so they followed their leader.

    Five minutes later, ikkit stopped to catch his breath and the others caught up to him.
    "Good boys, lads time to regroup after my brilliant retreat-flight. Is everybody here?"
    ikkit said. between heavy breaths. He took a quick look and counted on his claws and filled up one paw, something was wrong.. there should have been six.
    "Who is lost-gone?"
    "Skkiter." said Greaser
    "When did you see-smell him last?"
    "Not after you run-fled."
    "Tactics, strategic, retreat."
    "I didn't see him since the pit" implied Pox-gnaw.
    "And he was second in rank so Greaser has advanced-promote when he's gone."
    "Do you imply-mean someting?" Greaser bit off.
    "You might have killed him to advance-promote" Pox-gnaw said and drew back his robe to show the handle of his warp pistol.
    "It's you that wants to be advanced-promoted. you're second to me!" Greaser shouted at him and drew his greatsword from his back.
    "Your intrigating scum! You're risking the whole operation-quest on this!" Pox-gnaw squeeked back and aimed his loaded gun at Greaser.
    "Vermin!" Greaser shouted back. And then was Ikkit betwen them pointing his three daggers at them
    "Stand down! No more killing til were out of these cursed-damned tunnels!" Ikkit shouted. the rats lowered thier weapons. Greaser spat on the ground.
    "And it was probably the snake," he ended and cut of the tip of Greaser's tail as an statement.
    "Now we get back and see if we can find his corpse."

    They continued to the crossing tunnel and turned down the tunnel they had come from. Easy as they had lived most of thier lifes in the tunnels. but then they came to a side tunnel without passing the pit. Ikkit had never seen anything like it it almost looked like scale marks on the tunnel walls. And he cold not for his life understand how they had missed the pit.

    "Every body track,-search back!" he ordered and they searched for the pit in lose formation untill they came to the crossing tunnel. But there was no sign of the pit or Skitter,
    "It's clear that Pox-gnaw killed him" said Greaser "Used some of his warp spells to distract us with the pit."
    "Well he ain't here now," one of the other rats said, "maybe you killed them both to advance."
    "Bloody no you're paleskin" Greaser swore at him then he felt a burning pain in his back, and Ikkit whispered in his ear.
    "Killing to advance is acceptable, but disobeying my orders is not" then Greaser screamd as Ikkit placed his two other blades on his through and severed his head. The screams ended abruptly

    The folowing hours are calm. They're only three of them left now. Ikkit and two other named Snatch and Scratch. They come to a side tunnel Ikkit and Snatch passes it and then as Scratch is passing an enormous red snake comes unnaturally fast out of the side tunnel devouring Scratch as it goes.

    One other gets nappt and the last two flees when they run one gets taken and ikkit sees that it is Sotek

    Screaming Ikkit and Snatch runs for thier lives. Ikkit even throws his lantern away to run unhindered. Looking over his shoulder he sees the great snake appear behind Snatch. Recognising it as the blood god of the lizardmen. Then doesSsotek closes his jaws around Scratch and the tunnel becomes pitch black without the lantern. Ikkit continues to run then he realises that it's quiet, and he slows down. He still can't hear anything. When he stops completely he realises that he is no longer hunted.

    then does Sotek appears behind him and he turns around just to see the divine jaws devour him.

    Trial of Cuezaltzin

    Unique. Empowered. Destined. These words and more spilled forth from his brethren as they lavished him with golden trinkets, yet it was the unsaid words that struck fear into the heart of the latest spawnling. Alone. Different. Unworthy.

    The lowly skink bore a unique coloring that strikingly matched that of the blessed one of the temple. From the blackened feet to the glowing yellow of his frill, the spawnling called to everyone who beheld him that bore within him the flame of the gods, yet he felt no fire within him, only the cold loneliness of being a sole spawn.

    When the attendants approached with a mask of greatness, the fiery skink declined forcefully with a snarl, hurling the golden mask into a wall and ruining the fine craftsmanship. Skittish, the attendants flung themselves to the corners of the room as if they had heard the roar of a devourer, bangles and tokens tossed to the floor with a clatter.

    The firey one gazed down at the results of his fury and slumped. Shame and unworth welled up within him and he started forwards, low, long strides taking him quickly from the spawning temple and into the hot air of the city.

    Polished obsidian blocks with gold trim formed the walls of the temple city, marred only by the occasional dusting of ash. The fiery one took in the awe for the first time and stood on the pavilion, basking in the radiance before his slitted eyes finally fell upon the peak of the largest temple in the city. Four skinks chattered among one another beside the great one, arguing over papers strewn about the table in front of them. Beside them sat the regal form of the great one, motionless and eyes closed as it sat contemplating the mechanations of the universe.

    Or so it seemed motionless until one eye parted, the power of the ancient radiating a blue light that illuminated the cheeks and brow of the old toad. The fiery skink stared into that eye, transfixed with the gaze and unable to look away. Moments or millennia passed there before that eye once more closed, leaving the firey skink feeling his chest pounding and his breath short. The skinks arguing around the table had not even taken note of the gaze, still engrossed in their bickering over prophecies.

    The heavy clitter-clatter of someone approaching distracted the fiery skink from his revere of the great one. He turned to face a mountain of scales, soot black everywhere except the small portions of belly not hidden by gleaming gold. The ornate polearm in the grasp of blazing talons jangled lightly as it impacted the obsidian they stood upon. The skull visage of the guardian tilted down slowly to take in the latest spawnling, golden eyes focusing on the fiery skink.

    Prickles flowed over the skink from tail to frill as he was examined once more, now feeling incredibly small and even more unworthy of his spawning. As he shifted his weight to back down from the saurian, he heard... felt the polearm strike stone once more. With a wince the skink looked up to meet the gaze of the guardian, looking to those eyes as he instinctively gave a small growl.

    Respect? Acknowledgement? Amusement? The fiery skink could not tell what glimmer of emotion played over the face of the guardian, but the veteran raised his polearm and slowly swung it to point to the regiment of skinks training at the base of the temple. No words were exchanged between the two, but the guardian allowed the skink to pass and join the ranks of his brethren.

    ----------

    The lone fiery skink trained with the weapons his fellow skinks wielded, showing a natural prowess with each of them, yet each time he attempted to incorporate himself into one of the cohorts of skinks, he was met with stark refusal, even hostility. Yet not once did he raise his hand in response to his brothers, allowing their taunts and jeers to go unchallenged.

    Outcast from his own, the fiery skink resigned himself from their company and wandered the temple city. He sat on the ledges and watched as the warriors marched and trained, the glorious sight of brethren flawlessly performing with each other, a stark contrast to what he observed from his kin. Hidden on the ledges he observed tactics and mimicked the stances and techniques used by the larger saurians.

    Subtly was not the skinks strong suit though, and soon enough he attracted the attention of the scarred one leading the warriors. The whole regiment of saurians snapped to formation at a silent command from the veteran, a legion of golden eyes fixated on the fiery skink as he continued through the motions he was practicing.

    The echo of the strike upon the obsidian wall beside the skink drove him to instinctively dive and counter with a flurry of strikes from the small club he wielded, landing several ineffective hits upon the veteran before his situation fully registered. The scarred one gave a soft hiss of amusement in reply aw he hefted his ornate club up to brace on his shoulder, slitted golden eyes focused upon the skink he towered over.

    The eyes of the fiery skink met those of the old warrior, locking on them for but a moment before the skink bowed and stepped back, declining the challenge and darting away.

    With a grunt the old warrior turned and leapt back to the ground in front of his troops, resuming their training.

    ------------

    The dispatch of a cohort of his brethren caught the notice of the fiery skink, and he felt the push... no, need to go with them. He trailed behind them silently, stalking them as they bound through the jungle towards their destination. The crash and growls of the towering crocodillians left no subtlety to the raiding party, as they charged tirelessly forwards.

    A scent made the fiery one pause... Foul. Rancid.

    Vermin.

    Something inside the skink ignited, he rushed forwards to join his kin in this battle, clutching his barbed club and shield. As the skink leapt forth from the dense foliage, a deafening sound echoed through the jungle. Splinters of tree erupted beside the skink, but he shrugged off the spray and turned to the source.

    The vermin behemoth let out a screech, one arm sporting a hollow tube that gave off a sickly green smoke, the other a cruel looking blade; its putrid, bloated form locked with that of a loyal crocodillian. Jaws snapped down on flesh, but the vermin barely even noticed as its gun-arm was torn asunder by the massive scaled creature. The cohort of smaller lizards darted in and out of the combat, striking blows against the baleful foe with little effect aside from further enraging the beast.

    The faintest glint of metal in a shadow alerted the fiery one to a second presence, but he could not react fast enough to intercept the golden blade as it spun out and impaled the crocodillian in the back, eliciting a blood curdling roar from the monster. A stagger and then a loud crash followed as the reptilian tower bowled over the monstrosity it had been fighting, pinning it under its bulk as it passed out.

    Rage seared through the fiery skink at the sight of the glorious beast toppling over. It started as a soft hiss before growing to a snarl and then a roar that rivaled that of the great warriors. Soon more voices chimed in, the remaining of his kin rallying to his side before they swept forwards like a tide. The emboldened skinks rushed at the skulking vermin, javelins raised in fury; death by a thousand needles was the fate of the vermin. The final blow laid by the fiery one shattered both skull and club alike, fragments of each embedded in the tree behind the shuddering corpse.

    A reverie of whistles erupted from the skinks as they reveled in the kill... but their celebration was cut short as a fearful roar eclipsed their voices. The abomination twisted and spun, throwing the scaled off of it and into the assembled skinks. Three skinks failed to evade the incoming bulk and were crushed under the weight of the crocodillian, but the fiery one dodged with ease. Weaponless, he glanced around and found only javelins, none of which would suffice against the foul spawn.

    The creature lunged forwards, barreling at the fiery one, jaw snapping and blade-arm poised to strike, but the nimble skink evaded, climbing a tree with ease and leaping off it as the monster toppled it with his weight. A hail of javelins plunged into the monstrosity from all around, several embedding in the flesh of the beast, yet still it rampaged.

    Something made the fiery one tingle... something was calling to him... begging his notice. He backed up and nearly tripped as he bumped into the prone body of the crocodillian, the gleaming blade still sticking from its back. The fiery skink hissed loudly as realization dawned on him... the golden blade was of his own tribe. It slide free of the back of the reptilian giant with ease, feeling perfectly fit for his grasp, and with his new weapon, he turned to the once more charging beast, leaping forwards and seizing the opportunity.

    Agility versus brute strength. A flash of gold against a blur of flesh. In and out before the monster could react.

    The abomination staggered a little, caught off guard by the swift attack, and then raised itself to unleash a roar... but gave barely a squeak as its belly burst open, guts spilling forth from the slash from hips to chest. Fatally wounded, the creature pressed on, fighting until death finally took its grasp. It struck out at the closest skink, impaling it on the arm-blade and throwing the impaled skink into another of its kin.

    With a snarl, the fiery one lunged forwards, plunging his hand into the rancid body of the foul creature, deeper and deeper up in, using the beasts own pelvis as a brace until he felt his goal. Time slowed for the skink as his gaze met that of the vermin. Hatred seethed in both combatants as the skink wrapped his hand around the beating heart of the abomination and pulled.

    Gore drenched the side of the fiery one as he leapt away from the monstrosity, the skink letting loose a feral roar as he landed, hefting the still beating heart up in triumph as the life of the vermin was finally extinguished.

    The Ghosts We Have

    Our town is haunted.

    I know that must seem trite, my telling you that a township in the desolate wastes of Shyish is haunted, but it’s not what you think. I am not speaking of the peaceful ghosts that you Azyrian folk flee from out of disgust and ignorant fear; in my town, the dead could walk about, hateful and cruel. You can hear them at night sometimes; the hollow grating of a sword being dragged through the gravel paths, the soft brushing aside of grass in the fields, and if you’re particularly unlucky, the grating of nails on the outside of your walls.

    You see, the Necromancer lived in the old watchtower by the graveyard, so nobody ever went out there... No, that’s not technically true… What I meant to say is nobody who went out there ever came back alive. If we would see them return to us, it was with pale skin stretched tight over a desiccated skeleton, dragging the weapon that killed them, propped up by fell magic.

    Every few months, the Necromancer would walk out of his tower and march into our town under cover of fog and night. He stood at the head of a rotting horde of wights and unquiet spirits. As soon as we saw the mist rise on the outskirts of the field, the town bells would sound and we would all lock ourselves inside and pray that our flimsy wooden doors and stone homes would keep the moaning dead from coming to drag us away. Whenever they took someone it was always the same; skeletons would hack down the doors with axes and swords, they would drag the people into the town square, and then axes would fall and the screaming would stop. Anyone who tried to stop them would join them on the chopping blocks, so by the time I was young, nobody would go to help anymore.

    So when the rotters took me and my family, all I could do was scream.

    We grabbed at every last thing we could as they took us; we tore up floor planks for handholds, gripped at stone walls until our nails broke, held unto every street torch and fence post we could reach. We pleaded with our neighbors, begging for help, but all we received was sad eyes in the windows, watching us as my family howled and begged for help that we knew nobody would give-

    What?

    You think my kinsfolk cowardly?

    All due respect, my Lord, but the townsfolk had their own families to care about, you see. For those such as yourselves who are forged for war, putting yourself at risk must seem old hat, but to fathers and mothers and sons? How can a caring father go out to fight for the lives of his neighbors when just doing so puts his whole family at risk? Would you ask a woman to stop comforting her terrified children, pick up a plowshare and surely die in front of them? How could a daughter tending to her elderly parents be expected to ask them to bury her?

    No, my lord, I do not blame my neighbors for not coming to our aid. Bravery comes in many forms. I don’t judge them and, with all due respect, neither should you. Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes…

    So the wretched things brought my family and a few other unlucky ones out of their homes and did what they usually did. Sharpened bone talons dragged me through the muddy paths towards the town center. I tried to pry the dead hands loose, but their grip on my hair was corpse-tight. I snatched a glimpse of the thing pulling me; it’s sun-bleached skull shone blue in the pale moonlight. The corpse had been desecrated, it’s helmet literally hammered into the bone of it’s skull with rusty nails, it’s armor lashed on with cracking leather straps. It had no eyes in it’s sockets, only caged motes of green fire that wept emerald embers.

    The Necromancer came unto the stone table in the middle of the town and started shouting some vile string of words, and as the bastard spoke, ghosts began to howl in tune with his words. We’d seen this before, it was all part of the mage’s ceremony. Most of us shouted at the wizened old man in his tattered red cloak, jeering him and mocking his every word. It was sort of a custom among the taken; a last act of defiance in the face of our certain death. Eventually the Necromancer finished his ritual and started choosing his sacrifices.

    We wept as the rattlebones threw my father unto the headsman’s block first. He was brave, my old man; he took every second he could to reassure us, telling us it would be alright even as the moldering executioner hefted the rusted ax he knew would kill him.

    I still shudder thinking about that moment.

    I know the rumors about you Stormcast types; you will never truly know death, and so don’t fear it. I’m honestly grateful of that, as it’ll make fighting this war easier for you. But for a young woman, barely into her teens… You can never understand the hell that twisted mage put my village through. You see, we prayed to Sigmar day and night for freedom and vengeance. Every night, our whole town would pray for him to deliver us from living in the shadow of death. And nobody prayed louder than I did that night. I screamed and howled at the sky to save us. I raged at the stars and begged for something, anything to save my father.

    Imagine my surprise when one of those stars plunged from the sky towards us.

    The next thing I knew, there was the loudest bang I’d ever heard and I was lifted off the ground by a blast of air and powdered stone. When my head finally stopped spinning and the worst of the coughing stopped, I gathered myself up to see what happened. Between the fog and the soot in the air I couldn’t see a damned thing, I crawled along the flagstones through the dust until I saw the shimmering thing crouching in the dust over my father.

    It’s body seemed reptilian… like a massive, overly muscular alligator’s body standing upright as a man would. It had long, sinewy legs and arms ending in sharp claws. A powerful tail swept about its body, covered in row upon row of scaly armor. A broad snout filled with row after row of serrated teeth dominated it’s face. Despite it’s swollen shape, the lizard seemed to not be all there. Its body faded in and out of focus, as if it was made from caged light. If I didn’t know what they looked like from years of unwanted first-hand experience, I’d’ve said the thing was some sort of specter.

    The only thing that seemed solid about the star-lizard was what it bore on it’s body; a heavy crown adorned it’s head, while it’s chest was armored with a breastplate carved in the shape a pair of serpent’s heads. From it’s shoulders it bore a cape of decorative chains that clinked as it breathed, and in it’s hand it bore a massive toothed halberd. All of this was carved from some kind of… I don’t know, jade? I’m not a jeweler's daughter, but that’s the closest that I could describe it. I’ve just never seen jade glow in the dark like that.

    Out of everything though, the thing I remember most of all was it’s eyes. They seemed almost serene, and glowed like flickering starlight. I remember them looking at me briefly, and somehow I knew it wasn’t there to hurt us.

    It stood on the splintered remains of the stone table, crouched protectively over my father’s huddled form. The rattlebones nearest to its landing had been shattered like kindling, and the fog was all the thicker now from the scattered powder of their bones. Everyone stared at star-lizard, waiting for it to make it’s next move.

    All except the Necromancer, who staggered unto his feet and started squawking at his skeletal minions like an over-stuffed rooster. Slowly, the skeletons rounded on the new arrival, and in a shambling mob began to advance on the star-lizard. What came next I still don’t quite know how to explain, but I’ll try anyways.

    The star-creature gently pushed my father towards me, and we scrambled out of the way as it turned it’s starlight glare upon the horde. While the dead turned their attentions to the new visitor, my family, my neighbors, all of us dragged from our homes bolted away as fast as we could. We felt more booms behind us, and could catch flashes of light and unearthly roaring behind us as we ran. The one time I looked back, I could see a pitched battle between an avalanche star-lizards much like the first visitor and the dead.

    Jade clubs shattered rotting spears and shields, while snapping jaws and smashing tails powdered bone underneath. Larger, more terrible monsters strode among the newcomers, belching torrents of scorching sunlight. A tide of smaller creatures with sail-like crests spat blinding bolts of starlight from jade pipes, peppering the ghosts with hissing bolts of white light that made them scream.

    I couldn’t see the Necromancer, but I could see the first Star-Lizard. It was standing where it had landed, not having moved as much as an inch. It’s halberd was glowing orange with sunlight, burning like a torch dipped in too much oil. It was pointing at me, gaze fixed intently on us as we ran... I don’t know why it was pointing at me. But I think it was trying to tell us to go home. So I kept running and never looked back.

    Nobody slept that night; we just stared at the ceiling, trying to ignore the din of pitched battle coming from the square.

    The next morning we found the Necromancer. His body was scorched black like charcoal, speared to the ground by a jade halberd. Of the restless dead we’ve found no sign save for a fine layer of powdered bone that covered the square. I haven’t seen a rattlebones since that day, Lord Celestant.

    Now when the mists come up over the fields, all we hear in the streets is distant growls and snapping jaws. Occasionally, if I’m lucky, when I go to bed I see those starlight eyes peering at me from my window sill, quietly watching me as I fall asleep.

    ...No, Lord Celestant, I don’t think we’ll need a garrison here. Our town is still haunted, but I’m quite fine with the ghosts we have.

    Sigmar’s Blessings be upon you.

    The Days of Terror

    All around, the jungle was silent; strangle vines stilled, Birds of the high trees were slumbering up in their secluded abodes, yet not everything was still. The camp of naval general Bascillious Karov, a reputed general and renowned adventurer had sailed his ship to the coast of Lustria in hope of retrieving the body of his father and an artifact that his father gave his life for.

    As quiet as the soldiers were, the noise they made was a cacophony compared to the tranquility and silence of the verdant green jungle.

    Thousands of miles away in the temple city of Xlanhuapec Lord Huinetuinichi, second oldest slann of the second spawning sensed the humans far away and it concerned him, however he did nothing, instead he got his skink Tex'to to make note of this and find an adequate solution to solve this.... Error then went back to meditate to try and clear his mind and once again try and extract fragments of the great plan

    'Settle down, settle down' began Bascillious ' you have come a long way with me to help continue my father's legacy.'

    The soldiers and sailors alike cheered and drank from their tankards, sipping the dark malty beer that had been packed on the ship along with the supplies.

    "However i do not expect you all to come back alive, we are in Lustria, a place deemed even more dangerous than our previous quest in the sun scorched desert sand of Nehekhara" he continued " my father came here 32 years ago to seek a legendary artifact worthy of Sigmar himself!, and I tell you this.... Any man who will stand beside me will have what he desires: wine, palaces, women and riches, I could not ask any more of you. Now who's with me!"

    A roar of applause and approval greeted him. They were going into the jungle.

    Two hundred miles away, deep in sealed caverns of the ruined temple city Axotl,the glowing liquid of the sealed off spawning pools boiled and foamed. A scaly hand broke the surface and grasped the ledge of a rock, hauling itself out the water it opened its eyes, a pale blue light emitted out of them causing the surrounding area to glow very slightly. It opened its mouth a row of icicle like teeth sharper than a dwarven axe glinted in the darkness, suddenly a hole of shimmering light lit up the cavern and a hand beckoned the creature forward, sensing a creature of both incredible power and intelligence it strode through and just like that it closed as soon as it had opened leaving the cavern in silence.

    Lord Huinetuinichi gazed upon the creature with wonder, there was a new breed of lizardmen, but how could this be? The old ones had left millennia ago. A skink burst into the slann's chamber a little later, carrying exciting news, the skink was waved forward and it spoke, it said that one of the tablet of the great plan had been deciphered and it was the tablet of the eclipse, this tablet was made by the old ones out of black obsidian and it was the most recent one found, it had stated that a single creature was to come forth; intelligent, chameleonic skin and the strength of a saurus, a master assassin rivaling Oxyotl, the master hunter. The creature stood motionless it's chameleonic figure constantly shifting as the light flickered around it, then with without warning the slann signaled to an attendant and it scurried away, minutes passed and then it came back with other skinks bearing three items: a dagger, so black it seemed to be constantly shifting and it's edge seemingly normal except that it cut through anything even the air, it just left a vacuum that was almost instantly filled with the humid hot air of Lustria, the second was a blowpipe carved from the tooth of some huge sea monster long ago by the old ones, powerful enchantments lay upon it that would cause a very quick end to anyone hit by its darts, and finally it was given a helmet of what the dwarves call gromril, a material most rare in Lustria, it provide the creature with heightened sense on top of what it already had. Then the creature left blending into the night, it had been given its first target.

    It had been three days since Bascillious had set out, they traversed the jungle floor carefully avoiding the various natural traps and hazards that littered the steamy floor of the canopy they were going through. Two men had been killed already: one had straggled behind and was taken by a horse size bipedal reptile that burst through the undergrowth snatching him in a spray of gore and gristle, the other had been the meal of the dusty black ash ants that had swarmed the hand-gunner, in mere moments he was killed the ants chewing into his flesh pulling organs and muscle out in a macabre feeding frenzy dragging them of to their mound deep within the jungle.

    Nearby the ruins of Xhautec stood like a giant over the rainforest below, but something was very wrong, energies swirled near the base of the temple and something terrible pulled it's way through into the material realm.

    The men made a clearing and made a wood fortress, they were taking no chances. Meanwhile at the enterance the sentry stood watching the leaves rustle in the hot moist wind, droplets of water formed and fell creating small streams, blood flies swarmed over puddles, their crimson red glow flickering like a dying candle.

    It watched.

    The sentry strode a step further from his post and surveyed the scene.

    "Quiet, hmm" he mused to himself

    It leapt.

    It hit the man like lead, it pinned him with one massive hand ending in claws, then with a grin of pure malice and evil in pulled out the mans eyes,yanking them it sent two fountains of hot scarlet blood gushing through the two holes, it then proceeded by stuffing the mans eyes in his gawping mouth and began to pull his brains through his eye sockets, the man in question at this point was dead, his brain storm-grey with hints of pink slumped and sizzled in the things hand, then it really went to work. It tore open the corpses belly and played, wrapping the mans entrails around its neck, splattering gore as it tied them into knots, snipping the ends so it could walk freely with them.

    Maximus awoke, rubbing his eyes and standing up yawning and poking around, where was korvo? He should've been back right now to swap sentry duties with him. Putting on his leggings, dirty from the days walk he continued to put on his armour and strap his weapons on; a halberd and a short sword, they had been done specially for the expedition, sharpend to cut through armour like it was a particularly soft loaf of moot loaf. That was when he heard it. A wet sound a bit like meat hitting a stone slab, climbing the walls he saw a hellish visage, korvo lifeless eyes gouged and body ripped open and something began to roar and then fled into the jungle when it saw Maximus . Men awoke to the sound of an alarm bell being wrung.

    "Men form up!" yelled Bascillious

    It was dawn, the morning sun spilled golden light onto the clearing men in slightly dusty armour formed up into ranks shorts swords at their side, clipped neat elf into their belts.

    Behind them 3 ogre mercenaries trudged out, each bearing a deadly assortment of weapons. After the entire camp had formed up, and in one fluid motion; lowered the gate and charged out, only to find the mangled corpse of the sentry named korvo, his body steaming as if it had just come off a cooking spit.

    Hand-gunners send fusillades into the thickets and surrounding bushes, clearing anything out in a large radius. Looking at the corpse Bascillious turned to his men, signalling them to push on into the jungle, they would not be stopped.

    The creature stalked the trees shimmying up trees, prowling through the branches, its blowpipe and dagger strapped to its side it began to trace the humans but also picked up something else and felt a dark loathing for it, a presence that didn't belong here, its essence like a dark cloud in a the sky, it too was pursuing the humans; stealthily, waiting for its time to strike.

    The creature in question was referred to as 'Sro-Lax' by the lizardmen, in a few years scholars of Altdorf would come to know it as 'the dark skink' a unique and single lizardman that was used as a swift and deadly assassin.

    Bascillious smiled.

    He had found what he was looking for. A beautiful ziggurat stepped in gold and symbols of the lizardmen, its structure flawless, smooth sides that sloped lazily up to its summit where a huge chamber lay, a huge skylight cut open on the top to allow beams of sunlight and starlight into the chamber. It would be a long climb. Who knew what would await them.

    The thing leapt through the jungle steam pouring off its dark maroon body. It hadn't felt like this in so long, not since the last time it came here, but that would've been eight millennia ago, but it was alone and it was vulnerable needed blood for the ritual, lots of it and soon there would be an unstoppable tide that would sweep the frog-lizards into oblivion, along with all their servants.

    The chamber at the top was incredible, far bigger than it had looked, it easily housed all his troops and with more space to spare, yet there it was, the artifact they had come for, a sword of beautiful craftsmanship its edges sharpened beyond the skill of that of any smith in the old world, but still clutching the sword was a skeleton picked clean of flesh and dried in the baking heat of the sun. Bascillious carefully removed the sword and held it aloft for all to see.

    A guttural roar resounded off the trees and the stones as a monstrosity burst through the foliage. It was large, roughly the hight of two to three grown men on top of one another, its eyes bronze with black pupils in the center dragging all things in and exerting anger and bloodlust, its body bulging with muscle, all covered i then it began to climb.

    Bascillious peered over the edge of the ziggurat, looking down upon what had caused the commotion, nothing was to be seen, probably just another animal hunting something he thought and then began to form up his men for the descent.

    Sro-Lax spectated the seen: the humans, unaware of him or their hunter, and the hunter unaware of him, the most ideal circumstances, changing colours, he leapt from tree to tree until he reached the base of the ziggurat, mimicking the golden glow of the temple without a flaw and began the climb.

    It leapt.

    The first thing Bascillious heard was a gust of air as the thing jumped onto the top layer of the ziggurat, it immediately began to plough into the pikemen and halberdiers, going from fight to massacre the thing turned armoured men into bloodied ribbons as it butchered its way through Bascillious' regiments. Once he had regained his feet, he turned to see the thing that had killed the sentry and half of his men; a daemon prince of khorne, it's horns brown and claws crusted with gore and blood. Lowering its head it charged at him.

    The pair duelled for hours, until the daemon pinned Bascillious, impaling his arm, drawing out a cry of agony, this the daemon savoured, however the demon had fared little better: it was missing a foot, its middle digits from its left claw had been severed and a steady stream of ichor poured out like honey. The daemon howled a prayer up to its foul god, giving Bascillious enough time to swing the blade round cleaving off part of its right leg, muscle and gristle cascaded onto his arm and the gleaming surface of the ziggurat which then proceeded to run down the length of the structure.

    Sro-Lax entered the fray.

    The daemon brought down its claw on Bascillious.

    It never hit, the body of the daemon split diagonally, it's contents spilling on Bascillious like a cracked egg. A dreadful scream rent the air, the soul of the daemon going back to the warp to lick its wounds in the chaos realm.

    Bascillious stood up and looked around.

    There was nothing except the bodies of his men and two of the ogres, the third was decapitated eight feet away from him, its brains jumping slightly out of its rock hard skull before it fell to the floor like a felled tree.

    Turning around he was confronted by a lizard creature, a long white blowpipe In One hand and a black dagger in the other, he looked around a realised this creature had dispatched at least half his force if not more; either sliced up or with a dart sticking out of them. The last image Bascillious saw was the end of the pipe pointed towards him followed by a puff of breath and an icy pain, then........ It went dark.

    The skeletons would be found later, by an entire empire naval fleet, and the empire would soon discover the true meaning of terror.

    ( for the route taken by Bascillious, please refer to pg. 19 of thanquol, the ziggurat is in the ruins of huanabic and they start their journey north east of xhautec.)

    Rat Poison
    Or The Scent of a Skaven
    (Al Pacino would make a great troglodon!)

    He was spawned near the tainted pools. His entire purpose in life was to exterminate the vermin. His spawning were seemingly immune to the wretched diseases and plagues that these rats brought. Others would vomit, wither and die, but his spawning never contracted these plagues. He was shorter than any other saurus he had met, but he was faster and brutally strong. He had survived many battles. He had led many hosts and patrols into battle. Most of them against the vile rat things.

    His scales had grown lighter and harder with each battle. His light scales were marred by a dark patch caused by one of the rat beasts green lightning bolts, and three claw marks down the front of his torso and a matching three on his back. Today more rat blood would flow.

    This mission was of the utmostimportance. He was built for this. The temple was in sight now. The rain was heavy, beating down on the treetops. As always, he wore his belt adorned with grey seer horns. Of all the smells the foul ratmen produced, fear was the only tolerable one. They feared their horned ones, and when they saw how many of their horns the Saurus had slain, the stench of their fear intensified.

    The rat creatures each had their own unique smell, and he knew what type of monstrosity or weapon he would be facing by the stink. The ones that reek of sick (pestilenz), the ones that stink of machines (skryre), the rats that stunk of open wounds (moulder), the near odorless ones (eschin), which were the hardest to track, and the bastards with that nose burning stench of green stone (Grey Seers).

    They all smelled of green stone (warpstone), but the horned ones absolutely reeked of it, mixed with something else. That smell drove him into a frenzy. He couldn't have stopped himself if he had wanted to. He had to kill it. That smell was in the air. He couldn't pinpoint it though. He started barking orders, units broke off to secure the perimeter while others marched along behind him. They marched until they reached the temple.

    Though they reached the temple before the rats, the smell was present nevertheless. Unfortunately, he couldn't tell where they were coming from. It didn't matter. They were at the temple. They were charged with waking and retrieving a Slann. His own Slann awoke suddenly and gave the order to march. He had dreamed something, Why this Slann didn't see the same thing couldn't be known.

    Anticipation for the upcoming battle hung heavy in the air. The temple guard marched up the stairs to the door waiting dutifully for their charge. The skink oracle dismounted his troglodon, followed by several priests, chiefs, and chameleons. The troglodon didn't move. It always amazed him how much control they had over these beasts. He had ridden a Carnosaur on several occasions, and while he was able to make it work for him he had never had this kind of complete control. The skinks entered, it was dark inside. No burning torches. No light came from the ancient temple. They closed the doors behind them. The temple guard stood by, ready to defend those doors to their last breath.

    He started thinking of the battle that had earned him the honour of scar veteran status. That night he was fighting the thing that even abominations called "abomination". It had a metal claw that had pierced his scales leaving three large scars across his chest. The beast was hideous, a patchwork of rat creatures, multiple heads and limbs and sacks of hanging flesh. the battle was fierce, the abomination had annihilated the other saurus who fought along side him. He was faster than the others, and with one well aimed strike, split the head of the abomination in two. Brain matter and blood started pouring out, and the creature slumped over dead.

    He surveyed the battle field for his next target when it happened; one of the horned ones ate it's green stone, and the vile creatures powers swelled to nearly match that of a Slann's. He felt guilty just thinking that. Panic and confusion came from a mixed unit of skinks and kroxigor. The little ones started deforming, hair started sprouting from between their scales, before screeching and convulsing before mercifully dying.

    He was glad that they died, for living with the foul transformations was surely a fate worse than the most painful death. He watched the horned rat start to spasm and twitch and heard it's high pitched giggle. They all did that after eating the green stone. The kroxigor just stood there. He shouted at them to advance. They started poking their brothers, telling them to wake up, but they just dropped their weapons. He shouted again, he couldn't understand what they were doing. They started picking up their brothers and started shaking them, roaring at them and demanding they wake up. Then they each picked up a malformed skink corpse and just sat down and started pleading with them to wake up.

    He went to shout at them again when the metal claw gave him a matching scar to his back. The damned thing got up. Impossible. How was it still alive? He reeled around cleaving at it with his sword and bashing it with his shield. The beast seemed to strike harder, flailing it's limbs. He jammed his sword into the gut of the beast and started sawing at it, trying to cut it in half. His face got too close to one of the heads, and it sank its teeth into his snout. He pulled his sword out and sliced the head clean off. He then systematically cut off every head he could find and then brutally and mercilessly started hacking through the damned foul thing's torso until it split open and swarms of rats emerged. Most of which were stomped out of existence by some of the nearby cold ones. Chameleon Skinks expertly shot the remaining rats as they attempted to scurry away. He looked over at the Kroxigor, they were dead, still sitting in the same position. He had never understood it.

    Now was not the time for memories of old battles. He needed to be alert and ready for the present threat. The tension was thick, the rain came down heavy in the open ground, some picked up the forming mud and added it to their war paint, they were ready for war. He wished that the rats would show up already. The patrols in the jungle not reporting anything. The stink of rats prevalent, hung in the air like stale smoke, but there was still no sign of the damned things.

    He was about to give a signal to a group of skirmishers to dart into the jungle and report back, when he was interrupted by the troglodon roaring. The creature spit it's acid at the temple and ran off into the jungle. Something was not right. He raised his sword. Before he could open his mouth the temple doors burst open and a slann riding his palanquin came flying out. The great speed it was travelling at sent the temple guard near the door sprawling. He shouted for them to get up and get ready to move when the palanquin fell out of the sky and slammed into the ground. He ran over to help, how had this happened? He reached the Slann and watched the mage priest, sitting there, twitch and spasm. Then he noticed the stench. The Slann started giggling. That damned high pitch giggle. He saw the long worm like tail behind the slann. No. It can't be.

    This horned one burrowed into the sleeping slann and wore it like an ill fitting suit. For the first time in his life he had failed. For the first time in his life he vomited. A feeling of dread that he had never known engulfed him. He felt the sense of hopelessness that the kroxigor must have felt the night he became a scar vet. He looked back at the temple, hundreds of red eyes staring back with a menacing glee that did not belong to skinks. He started bashing the rat in the slann suit. Shouting that there was a rat inside, trying to explain what had happened. He knew it was no use as javelins and blow darts beat in on him as heavy as the rain. The temple guard on their feet swung their halberds, no questions asked. "He has a rat plague" one of them shouted. As the blades punctured through his scales he tried to warn them. It was too late. This horned one in the slann suit was dead, but the smell still lingered, he knew there was another. And as he lay there broken and dying, the rats emerged.

    In the Serpent's Eye

    They did not quite bother the old Imperial explorer who wandered the edges of the outpost. He was gone, very far gone. It was said in his youth he was brave and so very bold. But what had happened to him? Newer folk who landed on Lustria’s shores seemed to find him amusing, a curiosity if anything. They wanted the flavor of the New World, and he seemed to be the first real beginnings of it.

    He walked slowly with a measured sort of step. When night fell he could be found hunched at whatever sort of light was present, refusing to look up at the sky, refusing to point his back towards the jungle. The pirates who ran the post tolerated his presence; he was harmless and did not interfere with business.

    Except on those nights when it was bright, and the full moon was high.

    He’d shudder and bow, whispering under his breath. “Forgive me, forgive me!” Tears streamed down his face as he shook and clawed at the sand and himself.

    One night deep in the midst of the jungle, the drums could be heard, the reptilian monstrosities hammering out noise. Visitors at the port looked into the underbrush. They mused over the sounds. They laughed as they thought of the awkward primal beings they had heard of. Great warriors some had said, but by the rare glimpse they had of a skink, well, most of them had other ideas. The old man suddenly shrieked and covered his ears.

    His voice was harsh as he chanted something. The adventure seekers moved around him curiously.

    “Sotek! Sotek!” he screamed, “Forgive my blasphemy!”

    That damnable glowing eye he remembered, its fullness and silvery brightness. The red tongue lashed the sky as the red body steamed in the fresh blood. The howls and roars of the lizard beasts reached a fever pitch.

    “How lucky you are, Human!” his guard had said, “You shall feed Sotek! A great honor, for a lesser race such as yourself!” His little lizard like guard quipped in guttural Imperial speak. No unnatural thing should speak in such a wholesome language. He was hauled from his cell to walk through the stone halls. Through the pillars he could see the sights of the sacrifice.

    Throats were slashed and hearts hoisted, blood pouring down to the Great Serpent.

    It was madness, the man had thought, surely that thing was Khorne itself incarnate! The silver eye trapped him for a moment with it's gaze. He felt rather than heard it's speech.

    Insignificant.

    For the first time in his life he felt that feeling. For once a greater, more ancient power held sway. He was nothing to it. He did not see the honor; he saw only hunger as the mouth opened once more, fangs glittering in the light. Soon it would be his turn as he approached through the halls towards the stone table. His fellows before him struggled against their captors. Behind him other captives of various races trod.

    Insignificant.

    What was the point in struggling against true might? His thoughts had entered a sort of peace, a kind of acceptance. His eyes lit upon on a small chink in the stone, he shoved his captor causing him to stumble and giving himself a quick moment of freedom.

    How he took that moment and ran! He felt the wind almost urging him on as he heard the screams of rage and frustration behind him. Freedom! Away from these heathen creatures! Away from their false god! They stalked him but still he ran…only finding safety by sheer luck, running into other raiders.

    He laughed in his freedom about how bold he was, but the next night the moon was full. and he saw the eye again, everything was so clear. He was to be part of something greater than himself; he screamed long and loud.

    But he would not go back, no he could not go back. So now he sat, crouched and hesitant at the edge of the jungle, staring into its depths while small drops of blood dripping from his wounds. Maybe one day he could be forgiven.

    Fool's Gold

    I thought only pacts with demons are written in blood. This journal is also some sort of pact, a pact that may save someone life.

    We have begun our journey on 12 June 2450. Four ships, 205 fine men... but only two - Prinz Rupert and Gesang des Meeres, managed to dock on this forgotten coast. Sixty seven men put feet on this land.

    To find the temple of serpent god and take all the gold: that was our goal. How foolish we were in our dreams.

    Journey was paid by some merchant named Olivander. A strange person who talked only about this temple and the journey we had to take. His eyes were empty, and his speech was stiff, but promised goods and alcohol in our veins made us blind to those warning signs.

    Three days in the jungle. Hot and humid air. Thanks to river which guided us, we weren't afraid. No snakes, no monsters we met on our way. "It will be easy," said Olivander when I had met him for the last time. For those three days it really was easy. They wanted us alive.

    The temple was shrouded by some kind of mist. The building was bigger than every other I have seen in my life. We decided to delve into the dark depths of the temple next morning.

    What happened that night is still mystery for me. I presume that the fumes made us sleep like a stone. My dreams that night were made of pain. I saw lights in untold colours, and heard the name"Chuquopaquo".

    When I had woken up I felt some sort of pain, like my head was emptied by some kind of magic. I was alone in the room made of stone. I was lying on the table surrounded by some sort of apparatus, various alembics and vials of dark red fluid. Then it struck me: this horrible fluid was pumped into my veins! I desperately pulled out all the tubing. I wanted to run away but where? In the darkness of the room lit by lone torch, all I saw were cold stone walls.

    Suddenly I heard chittering, and the name I have dreamed of, "Chuquopaquo". One of the walls moved and two creatures stepped into the light. They certainly weren't demons, but still they frightened me. Some kind of bipedal lizards, wearing feathered adornments. They saw me sitting, started to talk faster in their unknown language. I heard the name again. My left hand managed to find some kind of knife, a blade made not from metal.

    They approached me, unaware that I was able to defend myself. I heard about rigor mortis, that sometimes dead could even sit because of it. I think they thought about me as dead.

    Their skin was scaly, but the knife was sharp like nothing else. I threw up after the green blood of the second one sprayed across my face.

    I felt that I had to run to the bottom of the temple. All corridors looked the same, but strangly I knew which turn to take.

    Finally I have found a room with well. I heard whisper of river flowing beneath my feet. That was my chance. I jumped into the darkness and quickly went upstream.

    After about an hour I once again heard chittering of this lizard-things. The name was mentioned few times. I saw light and looked through the bars of window from which it came.

    Stone tables, same as the one on which I was lying on not so long ago. My crew was there, but what could they have done to them? Their skulls were opened, red fluid pumped into brain. All of them had eyes opened wide, but I had not seen life in their sight.

    Then I saw this giant frog. Chuquaopaquo looked right into my eyes and I saw an abyss, the cosmos swallowed by a beast promising safety. I ran away from this window.

    After another hour I have came here, bleeding all this time. If someone ever reads this... Go where you came from and never come back to this land.


    Erich von Knoppel
    Sailing master of Prince Rupert

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    2 July 2452, Docks of Marienburg,

    "Captain Piper!", boatswain yelled. I slowly turned around and asked: "Yes?"

    "Our client is coming." - but the answer was unnecessary as I saw him going down the alley. "Be careful on the sea." the man said as he came to me.

    "Don't worry! We will certainly come back with your share." I said as I shook his stiff hand and turned to walk over the gangplank with my boatswain.

    "Wait." he whispered, and only I heard: "Take this.". I looked into his eyes while he gave me some parchments written in red ink. In his eyes I saw abyss, cosmos swallowed by a beast promising safety. I could only say "Thank you... Thank you Mr Knoppel."

    Midnight Chase

    An ear-splitting scream echoed through the night. I shot up from my bed and flung the covers off as another shriek made its way to my ears.

    I followed my first instinct and ran to Shalease’s bedroom. I opened up the door to see an empty bed and began to panic. I heard sobbing from the closet and I opened it to find my six year old sister curled up in the corner. I pulled her into a tight hug and she calmed down. "Are you okay? Was it you that screamed?" I asked her.

    "It came from outside." She sobbed back. "I was scared so I hid in the closet." She started to cry again at the memory.

    "Shh. Come on, it's alright now." I whispered hugging her again. "Whatever it was is gone now."

    I was interrupted from my thoughts by Shalease's quiet voice. "Are you sure, Kriston?"

    "Yes. Yes I am." I said trying to sound confident. Actually I wasn’t sure, but I hoped the lie would help to calm her down.

    After tucking her back into bed, I silently closed her door and quietly made my way to the kitchen, where I took the fire poker from beside the fireplace. Holding it at the ready, I walked to the front door. I hesitated before turning the handle, then stepped outside into the unusually cold night.

    I started to walk down the muddied cobblestone road, the occasional torch flickering a dim light over the village street, but I stopped when a foul smell hit my nose. I scrunched up my face in disgust and took another step and my shoes squelched as I stood in what I assumed and hoped was mud. I looked down at my feet and saw the full moon reflecting in the dark puddle. I took a step backwards and cringed as I heard another squelch.

    I turned and looked down to see our neighbour, Miss Marigold, or some of her. I gagged at the sight of her upper body sitting on the cobblestone, her entrails emptied onto the street, trailing to her waist and legs. I picked up a torch from the wall of a nearby store and looked around at the scattered bloodied limbs and pools of foul liquid around the path. Who could have done this? Or more importantly, what could have done this?

    I turned suddenly as I heard a sound coming from the store behind me. I swung the poker and waved the torch around, trying to see thing that had made the noise. I couldn't make out much from the dim light I had, but in the shadows I saw a pair of bloodshot eyes staring into mine, the pupils no more than a sliver. The crimson red irises seemed to be forcing an unrelenting stream of hate and rage towards me.

    A voice sounded from the back of the store, “Miss Marigold? Is that you?” A man’s voice asked. The shadow turned and disappeared and another blood curdling scream rung through night.

    As soon as its gaze left mine, I sprinted back to the house. We needed to leave. It was no longer safe here. I flung the door open and raced to Shalease's room to find her asleep again. I rushed up to her and shook her.

    "Shalease! Wake up!" I whispered.

    She stirred and sat up and gave me a puzzled expression. "What's wrong?" She asked rubbing her eyes.

    "Pack right now. We have to leave tonight. The town isn't safe."

    "What do you mean?"

    "I saw a-" I paused. I would have to tell her the truth at some point. “I saw a daemon.”

    "But if it's a daemon, won't the Seraphon save us?" Shalease asked optimistically.

    "What? No, those are just fairy tales. I told you that reading those stories was bad. Now back to packing."

    "But-"

    "No buts, we are leaving tonight." I interrupted her, walking out of the room.

    Shalease joined me a little while later I and picked up the poker again and swung her bag over one shoulder.

    "Come on Shalease. We're leaving now." I say beckoning her towards the door.

    "Where will we go, Kristin?" Shalease looked up at me as she walked towards the door.

    "We'll head for the woods, there may be a place where we can stay until the danger has passed.”

    I opened the door to the moonlit street once more and picked up Shalease as I stepped outside. “Look at the stars, Shalease.” I said trying to distract her from Miss Marigold, who was still scattered about the street. “They say the Seraphon come from there, way up in the sky. They probably have better things to do than come here…” I trailed off, not knowing what else to say.

    We had been walking for quite a while and the forest was in sight when I heard Shalease say my name.

    "Yeah?" I said not, slowing down.

    "What is that?" She asked in a fearful tone.

    I turned to see what she was looking at and saw glowing red eyes in the darkness. As I continued walking backwards, a shadow flitted to the other side of the street, staying behind the wagons and barrels, out of sight. Something that big shouldn’t be able to move that fast.

    I turned around and ran. There was a clattering from behind as the daemon sped up as well. I knew it was much faster than me, but I had a head start and could maybe climb a tree or hide if we made it to the forest edge.

    Shalease held me tightly and I realised I was slowing down because of her weight, but I pushed on. I was almost at the tree line when I heard a roar right in front of me. I stopped as a massive, muscular shape stormed out of the forest. A giant reptile, the size of an ogre. It gave another roar before throwing itself at the daemon.

    I heard Shalease gasp as more reptilian forms came from the forest. "It's the Seraphon!" She whispered and I realised it could be the only possible explanation.

    We stopped in the shadows of the trees and I put Shalease on the ground and hid behind a tree. We watched the scene unfold in front of our eyes.

    The larger Seraphon was fighting the daemon while the others, the size of a large man, raced from the trees swung their weapons at the daemon when able to avoid the its tearing claws and teeth. The daemon was to fast though and was just a shadow darting around, tearing at the giant reptile. It roared in pain and frustration, desperately trying to lay a hit on its lighting fast foe. The daemon dragged its claws across the Seraphon’s throat, slicing open the flesh and the great reptile fell to the ground, dead.

    The daemon was looking around at the remaining Seraphon then to the woods. It scanned the tree line until its eyes locked with mine. While it was glaring, the reptiles attacked it, but it refocused and dodged them, only receiving the occasional blow from a sword or halberd.

    I started to back away, but the daemon noticed and jumped over the attacking Seraphon and raced towards us. I turned and sprinted through the forest, pulling Shalease behind me.

    "Why is it chasing us?" Shalease asked, clinging to my hand.

    "I don't know. Maybe it doesn't want to be seen. It wants no human witnesses…" I panted.

    I could hear the daemon racing through the undergrowth behind us. I saw a big tree and quickly darted behind it pressing myself and Shalease in the bark, holding my breath. Shalease looked like she was about to cry, but held in her tears in an attempt to stay quiet.

    I heard the daemon's footsteps continue along until they slowed and the started coming back towards us. I grabbed Shalease and quietly made my way to the other side of the tree as the footsteps stopped where we had been moments before. There was a little hollow in the tree and we sat there quietly waiting.

    I heard the Seraphon were nearby, their deep, throaty growls were a contrast to almost silent daemon. It made a hissing noise that receded to a series of clicks as it moved slowly around the tree, closer and closer. I pushed Shalease behind me and pressed us both back into the hollow. A clawed hand reached around and scratched the bark near my face. I could hear it sniffing the air.

    Just as it was rounding the tree to face us, I heard the rumbling snarl of the Seraphon as they burst through the trees and launched themselves at the daemon. It let out a frustrated shriek and took on the reptilian warriors. I picked up Shalease once more and dodged the flailing weapons until I could sprint off again. As I was running the sounds of a fighting behind us receded and the first pink light of dawn hit the tree tops. I couldn’t run any further.

    “Are we safe now?” asked Shalease.

    “Yes, one solitary daemon couldn’t fight off that many Seraphon.”

    We slumped to the ground and caught our breaths.

    “Kriston?”

    “Yeah?”

    “What is that sound?” she asked as the faint hissing and clicking from ahead reached my ears.

    Whispers in the Wind

    In the wildest depths of the rainforest, an old city stood. The old inhabitants of the city called it “Inkal in coatl”, which in common Reikspiel was translated as “The house of the snakes.” That ancient ruins had been deserted a long time ago, but rumours still compelled people to look for it, trying to find valuables and powerful artifacts. That was the main reason for that men to be there, in the inhospitable lands of Lustria. They had been attracted by an old man's quest. That man was looking for help to go to an antique and deserted city in that continent. It was supposed to be full of treasures, or that is what the old strange man, whose black cat had always with him, said. Three days had passed, after a long journey in the ship, since they started to go deep into the rainforest, walking along narrow paths, and despite the short time passed there, two of them were already dead.

    The first casualty had been a middle-aged man, called Hans Gottfried. He was born in Nuln, and had fought for the emperor as a soldier in a war against the orcs several times before leaving the army. He had been a tough and skilled fighter, but that didn't make any difference. He has died in his first night...

    He had been bitten by a poisonous snake while he was sleeping, and had passed the rest of the night screaming and mumbling. One companion was watching for him all night long. In the morning, he went out of the tent, pale and puffy-eyed. When they asked him, he said that, in the very moment of his death, he said “yejuatl huitz, Sotek huitz”. They looked the old man that organised the expedition. He sighed and translated it to the common language “He comes, Sotek comes”

    During the day, their mood was grim, but nothing strange happened. In the second night they started to feel more confident again and, during the dinner, a couple of them even smiled. After dinner, all of them went to sleep, except the couple that had to watch over the camp. They conversed a little bit, and in one moment, one of them looked around. “What happend?” asked the other. The other, “i've heard something... wait a second”. He got up and left the camp, before his companion could say a word. After a short while, he began to feel unconfortable, and decided to wake up the rest of the people to look for the young boy. They look for him during all the night, but found nothing until the daybreak.

    The corpse of the young boy was found at the base of a tree. The old man found him, and recognised him because of the clothes. The boy was now completely mummified.

    After the discovery, they began to have an argument. Most of them were questioning if they could complete their quest or if was better to leave and return with more men, maybe some mercenaries, to help them instead of continuing the mission with just four men and an old man. They were scared, and afraid to be the next one dying. After some discussion, the old man convinced them to stay and continue.

    They marched all the third day long, stopping just some minutes each hour, to have a little rest. In the evening, they heared a roar resounding in the rainforest. They had a moment of panic, but soon underestood that it was the sound of a very large beast, far away from them. In the end of the day, they found some old stones. They had curious marks and pictograms, and the old man insisted on spending there the night, in order to decypher the glyphs. As the previous night, two people were watching over the camp safety, and the old man spent it studing those old stones. The night was quiet, and the sunrise wake them up. The first moments were tense, they were looking for anyone missing, but it seemed to be all right.

    They started to march. The old man had found that those glyphs indicated direction of an old city, and it was probably the one they were looking for. They headed to the west, following the directions of the old man. They arrived to an vast swamp, and started to cross it carefully. The night catched them in the middle of the swamp, and they decided not to set up the camp. They just made a campfire and the five of them sat around it.

    They talked about themselves, their passed lifes, and the old man talked more than anyone. While the old man was telling a story about his youth, one of them started yelling. When they looked at him, they saw him covered in bugs. All happened very fast, as the bugs started to bite the poor fellow. In just a couple of seconds, his face began to swell up. He rolled on the ground, trying to protect himself and kill some of the bugs that tormented him. The old man and the other two companions tried to cover him, and to shoo away the bugs from him. The third companion looked at the scene, scared to death, and left the place, running away from the death, just to find it in the swamp, when he stepped on the quicksands. After a couple of minutes, the mysterious plage of bugs scattered and they could see the disaster. Without waiting anymore, they decided to move on. Maybe it was not a very good idea, but they were thinking only of how bad they wanted to leave that place, find the city and return home.

    In the morning, they saw what they had come to look for. A huge ancient city was in front of them. Minor damages in the structures did not make it less beautiful, but gave it an aura of antiquity, that make them feel like children, born in a culture that was barely learning how to walk. They entered in the city, awed and full of respect for the race that had built that so long time ago. After some exploring, they found the most impressive building they have ever seen. It was a pyramid, fifty times higher than anything built by men. It was divided in several levels, as if it were some kind of stair for a giant. The pyramid had stairs that went all the way to the top. The three remaining men were impressed. They started to climb the stairs. When they reached to the top, they turned arround and enjoyed the views some minutes. After so much effort, fear, and suffering, they had reached their goal. They had found the city and they should become rich at their return. Considerably cheered up for this fact, they entered the pyramid.

    It was so dark inside, as if even the light was reluctant to enter in that place. The cat of the old man hissed and for the first time that man had seen, jumped off the old man's arms, entering deeper into the pyramid. When they could light up the torches, they found themselves surrounded. Huge lizardmen, covered in bronze armour, were pointing their halberds to them. They looked at the entrance but it was blocked.

    A smaller lizard appeared. The skink looked at them and made one sign, whith a very clear meaning. He wanted the three men to follow him. After some minutes of walking with the light of the torches, they reached a chamber, guarded by two more of those lizardmen. When they entered in the chamber, they saw something incredible. One being, similar to a giant frog, was sat on a floating stone chair.

    “That is impossible, you were supposed to be extinguished” said the old man. The Slann looked at them. A voice directly in their head said “We are not. We are returning, and all of your warm blooded races, that pay no attention to the Great Plan, will be really extinguished”

    With the hand, he pet the head of the black cat, and the voice sounded once more.

    “Maybe we'll keep one warm blooded race, after all” said. The black cat started to purr, with it's eyes glowing in yellow, while a myriad of snakes and bugs started surrounding the adventurers and bit them to death,

    The Last Slann

    From atop the apex of his stepped pyramid the Slann Chosiloqol saw Itza, the First City in flames. The pyramid and the area around it was an island of blue and green defenders surrounded by a sea of attackers in twisted purples, browns, reds, and colors not meant to be viewed by mortals.

    Chosiloqol hurled waves of deaths at the minions of Chaos. While the magic was of a scale undreamt of by lesser mortals, the effect hardly caused a ripple in the demonic host. Over a hundred daemons were banished back to the Chaos Realm not to reform again for several centuries. Too little too late. With better range, Chosiloqol could have hit ten times as many foes, but his last Skink Priest vassal had been ripped to pieces hours ago. Firing spells from the top of the pyramid was the best he could do.

    Daemons had already enveloped the last of the other fortified pyramids. Chosiloqol (Chose-eey-lo-cole) felt telepathic death screams of the last of several more fellow Slann. It seemed the golden plaque that the Slann decided to hide from the Skinks was coming to fruition. Chosiloqol wondered absently if there were any Skinks left alive to keep the prophecy hidden from. His attendant may have been the last Skink left in the world. The forbidden prophecy foretold that Chosiloqol was to be the last Slann of this world to have his spirit depart his body.

    His mind drifted and thought of millennia ago when the Slann discovered that the Old Ones had made their presence felt on many other worlds. The Slann had all agreed they should concentrate on their world as the Old Ones commanded.

    This world is doomed, but I can help others. I cannot fight fate, my spirit will depart, but I will not die!

    Chosiloqol sensed the determination of his guardians. He had little more than a thousand defenders arrayed against at least a twenty times those numbers. The defenders refused to give up an inch of ground as long as blood flowed through their veins. The Slann reached out telepathically and drank deep of his followers’ loyalty and courage and willed his astral form to ascend.

    His Skink attendant cried out in despair as his master’s body slumped forward and the palanquin came crashing down on the temple apex. The distraught Skink didn’t even notice the simultaneous collapse of hundreds of Saurus warriors and Temple Guard. The Daemon hordes paused briefly in confusion at their stroke of luck then promptly swarmed the prone Sauri eviscerating them in frenzied excitement, uncaring whether they were already dead or merely unconscious awaiting death at their hands.

    Slann often astrally projected their wills, but never without tethers to their bodies. Chosiloqol had abandoned his physical shell so completely that he wasn’t even aware when a Bloodthirster consumed it. That should have ended his journey, but he was brimming with the power and devotion of the Itza’s strongest and bravest defenders. He locked onto the distant source of the Old One’s presence, and willed his spirit to go in that direction. Unfortunately, his spirit was not the presence in astral space.

    Tadpole of the Old Ones. If you had fought and died as a mortal does, your soul might have been able to escape and return to the Old Ones’ realm, assuming it still exists. I foresaw waiting patiently in the astral space of the last temple would be profitable, but I never dreamed I would get to devour the last Slann. I rarely get to feed because my power is too great to manifest on your pathetic world, but now your soul is fully exposed. You will have the honor of being consumed by the Right Hand of Tzeentch!

    The spectral daemon threw a blast of pure malice, pure warpflame untainted by having a physical substance. Chosiloqol summoned a cocoon of pure light around himself dissipating the warpflame harmlessly though he knew he couldn’t maintain that defense for long. He telepathically shouted at his foe.

    You are the Right Hand of Nothing! I am Chosiloqol of Itza! I was taught the secrets of the universe by the architects of Creation. I have witnessed continents rise and fall. I will be not be consumed by the likes of you!

    Your power is nothing compared to me—why are you calling out? There are no allies to come to your aid.

    I wasn’t calling allies here.
    Hand of Tzeentch! You will not steal the last prize after sitting out the battle. I will claim this prize for Slaanesh.
    A pox on all of you! The Slann’s essence will be the fertilizer for new glorious putrescence to define a new age!
    Death to all you vile manipulators! Souls for the Blood god!


    As the lieutenants of the Dark powers fought, Chosiloqol made his escape. A multitude of astral daemons came when their masters arrived in numbers beyond counting, mostly fighting their daemonic rivals. Though only a fraction of a tithe of the Daemons turned their attention to fleeing Slann, their numbers would have constituted a small army in the physical realm.

    Light magic is the most effective magic against Chaos, but the Slann had already drawn upon this magic calling up shields. Now that he was little more than a discorporate mind, he had to balance his magic or he’d weaken his essence. He lashed out with waves of Death and severed several Daemon’s minds from their bodies. Lacking a Slann’s will they could not survive this separation and were lost foreever. Life magic cleared away even more attackers. While it didn’t destroy the Daemons it forced them out of the astral plane back into bodies in the Chaos realms and too far removed to be an immediate threat. Chosiloqol alternated wielding every wind of magic he could until he had finally destroyed, banished, disoriented, or outran every Daemon that sought to bar his way.

    Even rationing his magic through the Wandering Deliberations technique, the effort almost exhausted his spirit, literally. What started as a purposeful flight had turned into something of an astral free fall as Chosiqol’s soul plummeted like a meteorite dying on impact on the very world he sought refuge on. He sensed his saviors, foreign Slann created by the Old Ones to oversee their own world.

    His distant brethren sensed his approach. Several Slann had astrally projected themselves out to meet Chosiloqol. They gently caught him and shared enough of their spare energy to guide him to their temples.

    We do not recognize you brother? From where do you hail?
    His mind has been pulled too far from his body. Without an anchor he will fade soon.
    Quick, tell us what news of the Old Ones do you bring before you leave?


    I…will…not…leave…

    He pulled out mentally taking a tiny portion of the life force of the Slann communicating with it but drew the bulk of his power from the jungle itself using their mightiest temple as a conduit. Chosiloqol willed himself a new physical form to house his formidable will.

    First a toad-like skeleton emerged on the Temple apex then slowly it grew sinew, blood, and skin. Within minutes a new Slann lay sprawled on the apex gazing at the stars his spirit once traveled.

    Naturally the Skinks were awestruck, not only by the new arrival but by the reaction of their own lords. Never before had they heard of a Slann literally dropping his jaw in astonishment. One of their lords recovered before Chosiloqol did and muttered out loud.
    “Only the Slann of the First Spawning could reconstitute their bodies like that…”

    The Skinks all stared at him.

    “What are you waiting for? Bring forth a palanquin!”

    Once he rested and recovered Chosiloqol told his story to the Slann of the land called “Lustria.” Chosiloqol was now in Itza. The second “First City” he had ever had a physical body created in. The Slann had long suspected that the Old Ones had left their mark on many worlds, so Chosiloqol revelation of different spawnings of Slann on a distant world were not alarming. What was alarming that the Old Ones’ Great Plan could fail on any world.

    Many Slann wanted to discuss the paradox of two “First Cities”, but Chosiloqol wouldn’t stand for it.

    Now is not the time for contemplation. Now is the time for action. My brethren were too slow to save our world, but we have the opportunity to act before this Itza, this First City, becomes the Last City. Before this world becomes the Last World.

    When news came that the Skaven were reemerging in Lustria, Chosiloqol stunned all of his hosts by insisting on taking command personally. Even Mazdamundi was rarely this aggressive. He surprised everyone again when he delayed a direct confrontation and had skirmish forces harry the Skaven towards Quetza, the Defiled City. Skink priests and Oldbloods alike quietly questioned the outlander Slann’s mental acuity. Surely the ratmen would have the advantage in the Defiled City.

    Once reaching the outskirts of the Defiled City, Chosiqol bid his army to halt. He addressed the commanders.

    “We don’t want to risk our forces being tainted by the lingering pestilence here.”

    Then encased by a warm cocoon of white light, the outlander Slann floating his palanqin away from his guardians and soldiers and floated towards the center of the ruined city.

    While many of the commanders privately had misgivings about the foreign Slann’s plan, none dared to question him. While Chosiloqol fulfilled his inscrutable plan, the Saurus and Skink leaders prepared battlelines as their scouts had reported the Skaven army neared.

    Visibility was unusually good because the lingering taint of the Defiled City had thinned out the local foliage. Despite this, their foul foes could be heard and smelled well before they could be seen. A force of ratmen four times that of what the First had assembled. The Skaven army was no mere band of wretches. It included many mutated abominations and mechanical monstrosities to match their scaly counterparts many beasts of war. This would not be an easy battle but the First Children of the Old Ones had triumphed over Skaven facing far worse odds than this.

    “For Sotek!” the Skinks, Sauri, and Kroxigor yelled as one. The Anathema answered with their own snarling battle cries. As the two armies surged across the field towards each other both paused for a split second in confusion when an unearthly wail came from beyond their western flanks.

    From the midst of the Defiled city rank after rank of skeletons emerged. Fallen Skaven, Sauri, and Skinks picked up rusted weapons and formed a massive host outnumbering the Lizardmen and Skaven armies combined. These dead warriors were joined by skeletal Kroxigors forming ranks with skeletal Rat Ogres and less recognizable skeletons. The skeletal remains of giant rats scuttled forward along with the spike covered skeletons of Razordon. All the skeletons moved with nary a sound other than the creaking of bones and the clank of rusting armaments. None of them had wailed.

    The source of the wailing became apparent as blue and purple spectral forms emerged walking through the skeleton cohorts. The spirits emitted cries of pain in Saurian and Queekish alike. The spectral Skinks all bore bulbous sores of infections or other grotesque mutations bearing witness to the Skaven’s worst poisons. A few Skaven spirits, slaves by the look of them, had similar mutations upon their spectral forms, but most of the Skaven spirits showcased the worst of what Lustria had to offer its enemies: the scorched bodies of Salamander victims, swollen limbs from Skaven hit by poisoned darts and left to die over the course of hours, Skaven who had been slain by hundreds of tiny bites from snakes, bloated victims of drowning.

    The First were not about to let the arrival of a horde of undead stop them from fulfilling their duty, the Saurus and Skink commanders ordered their charge anew, figuring they’d attack the undead after slaying their hated foes. Before the Saurus warriors could reach the Skaven’s frontlines the wailing specters hit them first. The Skaven warlocks struck down a few but on the whole the ratmen were totally unprepared for screaming incorporeal creatures slicing into their army center.

    The Skaven lines buckled as the Saurus and Skink Cohorts charged into them. Minutes later the skeletons had followed the specters into the fray. Pincered between two armies, the Skaven broke into a rout only to discover a skeletal Carnosaur, somehow still able to roar impressively despite having no lungs appear behind them cutting off their retreat. The incorporeal soldiers, still wailing in agony fanned out to catch fleeing stragglers.

    With the Skaven obliterated, The Scar Veterans and Skink Chiefs prepared to reform their battle lines against the undead menace until one of the Skink Priests shrieked.

    “Stop!”

    The undead horde closed ranks and stood to attention. The remaining quiet Skaven corpses all rose anew and were absorbed into the undead army. From behind the dark force rose a palanquin.

    Chosiloqol floated his palanquin forward towards the Lizardmen ranks as the undead parted for him. He turned quietly to the ranking Saurus general

    “Very few of our troops were lost today. If you held back completely like I ordered we would have lost nothing. That’s why we let the dead fight for us.”

    He addressed the whole army magically amplifying his voice, simultaneously projecting his message telepathically to Slann for hundreds of miles.

    “With this magic we will turn the very bodies of the Anathema into tools of the Old One’s will! I have prevented the end times of our world!”

    The Kroxigor cheered listening to his tone alone and marveling that a Slann had bothered to say something encouraging. The Skink Priests and those around them cheered loudly, but the applause from the bulk of the Sauri and Skinks was fairly tepid. They weren’t all entirely sure they liked what they heard. In their stepped pyramids temples the Slann shuddered as they tried to gather and control the new magical energies they felt released.

    Few wizards among the lesser races sensed anything at all given their weaker power and greater distance relative to the Slann, but an ocean away one wizard felt the winds of magic stir. In a pyramid very much unlike those of Lustria, Arkhan the Black felt the barrier between life and death quiver under the Slann's distant unleashing. If he still had flesh on his face, he would have smiled. Nagash’s final resurrection was surely nigh.

    Secrets of the Southlands
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    EDIT:

    1. Fear: Spawning of Bob:
    2. Tunnels: Essmir
    3. Trial of Cuezaltzin: DrakisKier
    4. The Ghosts We Have: Oldblood Itzahuan
    5. The Days of Terror: Oxytol
    6. Rat Poison: Bowser
    7. In the Serpent’s Eye: Hyperborean
    8. Fool’s Gold: Trociu
    9. Midnight Chase: Infinity Turtle
    10. Whispers in the Wind: Nahualpiltzintli
    11. The Last Slann: Scalenex
    12. Secrets of the Southlands: Spawning of Bob
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  2. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Short Stories for the Short Story Throne!

    I will need to schedule a big block of time for this - but initial congratulations to all of the authors for putting their work up.

    I'm sure it will be horrifying.
     
  3. Nahualpiltzintli
    Saurus

    Nahualpiltzintli Active Member

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    Reading time in 3... 2... 1...
     
  4. Bowser
    Slann

    Bowser Third Spawning

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    All really good! Tough to figure out how to vote!
     
  5. Oldblood Itzahuan
    Skink

    Oldblood Itzahuan Member

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    Agreed. I thought the entries were great this time around! Well done everyone!
     
    Paradoxical Pacifism and Bowser like this.
  6. Rednax
    Cold One

    Rednax Active Member

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    My dreams that night were made of pain. I saw lights in untold colours, and heard the name "Qupakoco "

    'Fools gold'

    :D
     
  7. Hyperborean
    Ripperdactil

    Hyperborean Well-Known Member

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    Y'all made it so hard to choose! Great job and good luck!
     
  8. Slanputin
    Carnasaur

    Slanputin Well-Known Member

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    This is such a good story harvest. I'm not sure there's going to be a clear cream of the crop. They're all outstanding in their field.
     
  9. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Out standing in their field? Like Children of the Corn?

    High praise.
     
  10. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    I started reading and couldn't stop, hence the lack of beauty sleep :inpain:

    It was one heck of a good read. A reliable, totally anonymous source tells me that there were 4 brand new authors, which brings joy to this cold blooded heart. I want to be part of a community that allows people to explore their creative boundaries and grow. Lustria-Online is MY community and there is nowhere I would rather go to avoid that crappy real world to share in the joy of creativity.

    I thought four votes would make life easier than having two, but it was not so. Therefore I have resorted to cold hard science to separate the horrifying from the horrific.

    I noticed certain themes emerging as I read the stories. Not only have I used these themes to statistically determine the best story, I am able to extrapolate what would be included in THE BEST POSSIBLE STORY.

    Here are 20 recurring story elements. They are ranked in order of prevalence in this competition.

    10 darkness
    9 plenty of blood / gore
    7 limb amputation / body mutilation
    6 Pyramid / temple
    5 Treasure hunters
    5 beheading, head splitting
    5 disembowelling
    5 bad smell
    4 crushed / broken bones
    3 Daemon/s
    3 Brainz
    3 skaven
    3 Sotek
    3 Heart torn out
    3 being crushed / pinned
    3 undead / necromancer
    2 Eyes popped out
    2 Eaten by insects
    2 Snakes
    2 impaling

    It does seem a little odd that pyramids and treasure seekers round out the top 5 of ultimatehorror, but, heck we are inscrutable lizards after all. Making sense was clearly not the Old Ones' plan for us.

    I note the chilling inclusion of a kitty-cat. Brrrr. Cat's didn't make the list, because - thank Tzunki - there was only one. There was a story which instead of disembowelling someone, RE-embowelled someone (story 11), but since it was pretty graphic, I didn't deduct a mark.

    Leaving felines out of it, the stipulation of a horror theme didn't seem to have a great deal of influence when we compare to other LO comps. Impaling, beheading, gore. Same old, same old.

    Now to ranking the stories. Which one ticks the most boxes? Here they are in order:

    11 The Days of Terror
    9 Tunnels
    9 Rat Poison
    8 Secrets of the Southlands
    7 Trial of Cuezaltzin
    7 The Last Slann
    6 In the Serpent's Eye
    6 Fool's Gold
    6 Midnight Chase
    6 Whispers in the Wind
    5 Fear
    5 The Ghosts We Have

    The Days of Terror, the happy-ending story of Sro-Lax (sounds like a cure for constipation - and he was!) is headless shoulders above the rest, but I think our story master is the lax one.

    If he had set the story theme as - "Write a gory, dark story about an undead-daemon-treasure-hunting-skaven in a smelly pyramid full of snakes which is dedicated to Sotek. Must include heads, eyes, brains, bones, guts and general body parts being spilled, torn out, lopped off, impaled, and eaten by insects (or cats)." - we would all be Pullitzer prize winners right now.

    So, therefore, according to the rigorous scientific approach, my votes are...

    Screw science! Did it ever do anything for the Skaven?

    I am going to read them all again, and go with my gut. Which is over there, in a pool of blood. Some distance away from my head. Yes, that's it. Being nibbled by insects. And snakes.

    In a pyramid.





    Meow. :cat:





    Brrrr!
     
  11. Slanputin
    Carnasaur

    Slanputin Well-Known Member

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    Hay, don't get agri' with me.

    I enjoyed this: I applied this to my own story, which managed to score a grand total of three recurring story elements. My half-finished story that's currently angrily staring at me from my dropbox folder. Make it stop.
     
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  12. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Finish it. Post it. Let me read it.

    If you have pride in your work, disembowel yourself with a pyramid shaped snake as you upload.
     
  13. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Mahrlect! I've only narrowed it down to my top 5. And going from top 6 to top 5 was rough enough.
     
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  14. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Feedback version 2

    Great authors (me, Tolkien) believe that a story is never complete. He revised "Riddles in the Dark" in the Hobbit to match the epic events in Lord of the Rings which was written later. Similarly, I correct epic typographical errors.

    So...

    This was an interesting comp to the extent that there was a late flurry of entries. I personally took ages to come up with an idea that I wanted to write about, and got my entry in on the final day. I would usually try to submit weeks early to stop myself from lying awake dreaming of pointless revisions.

    But...

    Late entries + auto spell correct = some interesting errors.

    Witout spellchek we see some scrmbled wrods and breaked grammar, but the meaning is clear. With autocorrect, there can be an unexpected republican in the middle of a sentence (or replacement). Both catch my eye, but when I need to stop and hunt for the correct word, it breaks the flow of reading for me. "Ikkit placed his two other blades on his through and severed his head" from Tunnels, ("Through" should be "throat".) is the first example I found, but there are others.

    The primary cures for this stuff take time - get a friend to proof read it, or read the whole thing out loud. I thought mine was well polished, but Scalenex still found errors for me to correct (which I find intensely annoying). (The @spawning of Bob proofread service is still free for all interested forumnites, but obviously fallible)

    Anyhow, the entries are in, and any remaining errors are locked in for the purpose of the comp, BUT

    • We are all going to get feedback from Scalenex and myself at the very least - and I encourage everyone who votes to leave some additional comments about what you liked.
    • The deadline pressure is gone
    • and you know the Lustriapedia? Is your name on the first page? There are little links at the bottom to the story comps, but finding an individual writer or story is a multi-click chore
    I recommend all comp writers spend a month to suck up feedback, then write the story again the way you would have liked to write it - without deadline pressure, without being slavish about the theme and with everything you learnt from other writers. Feel free to PM me for either a gentle (find the spelling and grammar errors) or a brutal edit (over long sentences chopped into bits, wandering paragraphs painfully restructured, irritating suggestions to deal with pacing / plot holes freely given etc).

    Then start a thread in the fluff subforum and post your improved story. If you keep building up a body of work, your place in the annals of Lustriapedia is assured.

    Discomute has all his short stories posted separately in Fluff and indexed in the Lustriapedia (read them, they are excellently creepy). I plan to eventually put all of mine into one ever growing thread, which is what Hyperborean and Infinity Turtle are doing with their art

    We should all be proud of what we've done here, and I look forward to being able to easily find whatever comes out of our fertile and fevered minds in the future.
     
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  15. Qupakoco
    Skink Chief

    Qupakoco Keeper of the Dice Staff Member

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    Great stories so far everyone! So much reading to do yet...

    Fear me?

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Trociu
    Chameleon Skink

    Trociu Active Member

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    Haha, I knew that this name reminds me of something, but couldn't find what it was! Three more to read, you will see my votes on friday
     
  17. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Feedback version 3

    I would usually give individual story feedback in competition order, but Rednax and Qupakoco have dredged up a painful memory, so I will start with:

    Story 12: Secret's of the South Land's.
    The painful memory was the most pencil shading I ever did in my pre- tablet and sketchbook-pro days. The image above, with Qupakoco and Vampteddy's silhouette was the 2nd prize in the Skaven Least Successful Invasions Comp in 2013.

    I hate shading.

    But I like "Secrets". I have to assume it took a lot of effort, or the artist is a lot faster than me. There were a lot of very bold changes of camera angle, but I think it wasn't too hard to quickly re-orientate to what was being shown, and who was talking. The artist pulled some pretty sick images out to fit with the horror theme. Having hearts torn out is one thing. SHOWING a torn out heart to the victim AND the audience suggests a sick mind. Well done.

    I believe the raiders thought they had found a nice friendly tomb king pyramid, and I felt like yelling "Don't you guys know what a Lizardman temple looks like?", "where did you get the idea that lizardmen are extinct?" and "shouldn't you have some other dudes with you?

    I would have appreciated just a few more long shots to show the setting (like on a bay, with a ship, with a bigger party) or even just a map to show how they had got it so very, very wrong.

    Horrortistic.



    Story 11: The LAst Slann

    I never really thought about the Old Ones terraforming other worlds. I'm actually quite miffed that they managed to mess it up so badly TWICE. They probably introduced Orc and Goblins over there, too.

    This is a good reminder that Slann are stupid powerful. It turns out that sleepy, passive Slann are less dangerous to the rest of us than impulsive aggressive Slann. Sadly, Lizardmen don't respond decisively to sudden changes. I'm hoping the regular Slanns arrange for a Kroxigor to accidently drop a piano on this guy's head soon. Like within the next millenium.

    The "Chaos's House is Divided" device is always fun (I've written it at least twice, myself) and is probably the only reason that any of us still exist.

    A galaxy wide sweep of story pretty much precludes the ability to make relatable characters, so this feels like an engrossing history lesson. A high level of polish. The horror level in the story was sitting at about the default warhammer level. Other stories left it for dead, in that respect. But with Chosiloqol on the case, it'll get reanimated soon enough.

    Horrorticultural.



    Story 10: Whispers in the Wind

    Working backwards: The cat twist at the end was awesome. The visual depiction of the city was great. "make them feel like children, born in a culture that was barely learning how to walk" and "It was so dark inside, as if even the light was reluctant to enter in that place." - things like that - the author has got a way with written imagery.

    The deaths were suitably horrible.

    I just wish they had more men to begin with (more to kill). I think cutting the party down to 3 meant they would have already failed before the climax and twist. The cat deserved more set up because it was the main element of the twist at the end. Without too much trouble, it could have played with the killer insects, hissed at the words “yejuatl huitz, Sotek huitz” or just been present in earlier story parts.

    Horrifikitty.


    Story 9: Midnight Chase

    First person, real time perspective? Seems like it would be tricky, but gets pulled off well here. I think it is tricky because the main character can only see small pieces of the puzzle, which means WE can only see fragments, too. The disorientation the boy felt reminded me of one of my all-time favourite stories on L-O, Under the Tempel by @Essmir where the hero had NO SPAWNING IDEA what was going on. This time, I know enough to feel the boy's urgency and the girl's irrational confidence.

    This is the first of the stories to go with the completely vague Seraphon setting. I love that Seraphon are so ambiguous. Are they helping the kids? Do they even care? The kids themselves disagree about even the existence of Seraphon.

    A very good level of polish. (Trociu could read it in his first language, zdobyć?) but 2 plot things bug me with this one. I think 2 village people died. So why did the scary forest seem safer than the village? And, Why did the daemon chase them? The boy had no real idea, so neither did we, but I kind of wanted the girl to be special in some way - a magnet for daemons AND seraphon.

    “Miss Horrigold? Is that you?”


    Story 8: Fool's Gold


    If "Chuquaopaquo" is the author's effort to give a cameo to Qupakoco, Master of the Dice, then I must refer him to my last short story comp entry The Naturalist, in which I cameo-ed the Master as three of the four speaking characters. He never even thanked me. My dice have not yet arrived.

    "They wanted us alive." is what sold the story to me. The author could have written anything after that, but I was hooked. Luckily what followed was nice and gruesome. I assume the author did his research because in early warhammer editions, the LM lobotomised human slaves who were little better than zombies. They were the original Slann Palanquin bearers.

    The idea of the slann mind controlling people to the extent that they could be sent back to the Empire to be bait for others is chilling. It is so awesome, that it is only as I wrote the last sentence that I went "What? Send humans to get more humans to get more humans. But what for?" Fridge Logic at its best! I'm going to look for beer.

    One lousy bottle of cider later :(

    I can't get my head around the LM plan A being pumping Captain America Serum into this guy's head, but then he escapes - but then the slann gets in his head- but he has enough self will (for one hour) to write a warning in blood (a prettily written and well polished warning) - Then he succumbs to the great one's will and goes back to the Old World to get another harvest - and then he has enough self will to hand over the warning. BUT I DON'T CARE. This was a very stylish story.

    It would have been possible for the first line to have been "Of course, our first three days in the jungle were easy. They wanted us alive." Then I would have been hooked from word 14, not paragraph 5. Of course, the most awesome possible start would have looked like this:

    voyage of horror
    for three days it is easy
    they want us alive



    Story 7: In the Serpent's Eye


    700 words? How much awesome?

    I pity warm bloods. Not because they are weak, but because they have no idea what is out there. When one warm blood gains insight, the others consider it to be mad, a prophet of doom.

    There was this one warm blood who learned his place in the order of things, but he eschewed the greater blessing of sacrifice. To this day he regrets. He thinks himself to be meaningless, insignificant. He should instead rejoice for he was beholden by the silver eye and he was found acceptable.

    When cometh the Fangs of Sotek, the Great Serpent will harvest all. And the warm blood shall fulfil the only role that gives his existence any meaning at all.

    Cometh the Fangs of Sotek. Cometh the Harvest.

    Aside from a mild distrust of overly religious lizards, my only niggle was the words surrounding the warm blood's rightful regret. "Forgive me, forgive me!" he wept. He could have wept "Forgive me, forgive me! I was too weak!" for he was too weak to willingly pour himself out. Had he said this, his plea for forgiveness would still have been ignored, but it would have had more context.

    He accused himself of blasphemy, but I did not hear his use of words against the Great One. I suppose his action of fleeing could be considered sacriligious, but I feel contempt for his weakness, rather than outrage against his act of rebellion. Blasphemy is not the word I would use.

    Like I said, I pity warm bloods.

    Cometh the Horrorvest.


    Story 6: Rat Poison

    This guy knows way too much about skaven. I would rate him obsessed. The main character, however is a fine and well balanced individual who seems quite charming in a violent and vengeful way.

    The nutty author gives a good physical description of the un-named scar vet. And the skaven scent as an emotional trigger as well as being a background detail in this universe was sweetly executed. Also, got to say, someone wearing someone else's skin hasn't been done better since Silence of the Slanns.

    The execution of the big chunk of flash back could be improved - I think it happened in the right place in the story, but it helps to have it demarcated. The author of Fool's Gold in this comp jumped times and locations with a row of ---------------------------------- in between. In the last comp, Infinity Turtle demarcated flashback by using italics in The Lone Survivor. Either option would make this gem slightly easier to follow.

    Horratifying


    Story 5: The Days of Terror

    I think this was one of only two entries which were over 2000 words, and this was the one that ticked 11 boxes of horrible happenings. The author had a bunch of their own ideas and crammed them in. I also note the "refer to pg. 19 of thanquol" at the end, which indicates that he author was writing into the constraints of someone else's ideas as well - which is tricky.

    Of all of the entries, this is the one I most want to see redone. There were just not enough words in the limit for all of the ideas to get equal telling, and the result was unbalanced in some ways. There are 3 (or more) main characters, and the setting jumps around a bit in time, location and point of view in order to get everything coming together for the climax. All three factions could have had a full chapter (2000 - 3000 words) and I am sure that the author wouldn't have struggled to fill them with lush detail. Of intestines for necklaces, the kind of thing that every story on a family friendly forum needs.

    I felt sorry for BAscillious, particularly. He got plenty of airtime, but it felt like he ended up being cannon fodder at the end. He duelled a greater daemon of Khorne for HOURS with a (?) magic sword, but it never really felt like he was in the same league as the other two monsters. Sro-Lax WAS set up as an ultimate badass, and we glimpsed his stalking and hunting capability along the way, But we never actually saw his killing blow. The only thing we saw was him doing was going "pfft".

    That was the inevitable result of writing the battle from the doomed warm blood's point of view. If the author ever does a revision, the Sro-Lax chapter could describe the fight from the lizards point of view - he could see and respect Bascillious's skill, and Sro-Lax could be in some personal peril of his own as he finally casts down the daemon.

    I just noticed, I can actually remember the names of these characters without looking them up. This indicates that:
    - they are easily pronouncable (if not exactly spellable, but well done!)
    - I care about them for whatever reason.

    Given the amount of origin and motivation given to the man and the lizard, the Daemon could have done with a name and a motivation too. I got excited when I read this: " but that would've been eight millennia ago, but it was alone and it was vulnerable needed blood for the ritual, lots of it and soon there would be an unstoppable tide that would sweep the frog-lizards into oblivion, along with all their servants."

    Very excited. I guessed that the thing was almost luring the men to some place of dark power (like a defiled pyramid) where it would slaughter them in order to bring about an even greater evil. In the end, it killed all but one man and nothing really happened. There was an opportunity to build truly world ending tension - "just one more skull would suffice" / "when enough blood filled the cauldron, the portal would be open for 1000 years" but 2500 words were not enough for this epic!

    I WANT MOARROR!

    Bed time for me. More feedback tomorrow, Old One's willing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  18. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Feedback 4

    I have now officially spent 3.5 times more words on feedback than on writing an entry in the comp. There is nothing wrong with living vicariously through the writings of others, is there?


    Story 4 The Ghosts We Have

    Wow. Just wow. There is almost nothing to complain about with this story (almost - it is kinda better than mine). The bit five paragraphs in, where we found out that the girl was giving a report to a lord was very slick. We were already into the story when this info dropped, it took a little bit of cognitive recalibration and then we were away again. The whole thing moved in a logical direction to the conclusion which was "we don't need you buddy. We've got lizards!"

    The second of the Seraphon stories. These ones were tantalisingly described as not quite here... or ghostly. The tie to the title (in the second last line) was spot on.

    Comparing these seraphon to others: Midnight Chase's Seraphon seemed indifferent to humans. These ones were being interpreted by humans as being protective, or at least benign. Humans are fools. The are all probably about to get sacrificed or eaten or something.

    The only thing that made me stop short of saying "this story is perfect" was that tricky little thing, past tense. I confess I have only learnt how to use past tense better this year (thanks to discussion on the writers thread), but here comes the free advice.

    So, you know that the last thing the girl says is effectively, "We've got Seraphon now. The undead are all dead."

    Read the first paragraph again. "You can hear them at night sometimes; the hollow grating of a sword being dragged through the gravel paths, the soft brushing aside of grass in the fields, and if you’re particularly unlucky, the grating of nails on the outside of your walls."

    That is a super-awesome hook, but it is written in present tense.

    A couple of minutes later the girl says, "Now when the mists come up over the fields, all we hear in the streets is distant growls and snapping jaws. Occasionally, if I’m lucky, when I go to bed I see those starlight eyes peering at me from my window sill, quietly watching me as I fall asleep." Present tense again.

    I got to the end, and said, "but didn't the first paragraph talk about the dead like they were a present threat?" Yep.

    Paragraph 1 should be in past tense. I don't think it gives away the plot too early, and it only takes one word to fix.

    "I know that must seem trite, my telling you that a township in the desolate wastes of Shyish is haunted, but it’s not what you think. I am not speaking of the peaceful ghosts that you Azyrian folk flee from out of disgust and ignorant fear; in my town, the dead could walk about, hateful and cruel. You can could hear them at night sometimes; the hollow grating of a sword being dragged through the gravel paths, the soft brushing aside of grass in the fields, and if you’re particularly unlucky, the grating of nails on the outside of your walls."

    Isn't it funny that I can get hung up on a single word meaning change 1800 words earlier. I should get out more.

    Horrorpicky


    Story 3 Trial of Cuezaltsin

    The first paragraph was a great hook and I HAD to find out more. The anguish of being a lone spawn, and the frustration of not feeling great when others had great expectations were well portrayed. These are things I would like to further explore (by reading or writing).

    I think it is cool to have zero dialogue, but there there was plenty of communication going on with gesture, use of LM nonverbal cues and (I think) a degree of telepathy. Despite no wordsbeing spoken, everything important in this LM society was crystal clear to characters and readers alike.

    Thanks for the -----------s used to dictate passage of time. Between being commanded to train, doing training and then being called to battle, periods of time passed. How much time? Enough time. He went from unskilled - to skilled but untested - to ready for glory without wasting any of the precious word limit. Good story writing skills.

    The monster was a well balanced threat - clearly beyond a normal group of LM, and beyond the hero without telepathic guidance. In hindsight, the hero was always going to win, but the suspense was kept up because we had no idea how.

    I can forgive the double asspull of the golden blade because awesome.

    Horr... where did that sword just come from?


    Story 2 Tunnels

    The character in Rat Poison was obsessed by skaven. I swear the author of of this is a skaven. I've done a couple of skaven short stories over on the Under-empire forum, and read a lot more. The author has nailed the mood and speech of these cuddly comedians.

    The nasty history of the tunnel, the smell, the mood the panic - well portrayed.

    What let me down was the balance at the end. The dialogue and inter skaven interaction was the strongest element, but close to the end it just stopped and got replaced by "The folowing hours are calm.... They're only three of them left now.... devouring Scratch as it goes."

    It became a bit of a dry history lesson because it moved away from the rat's perspective. This is another one that I think would be better witha redo and more detail being put into the last section.

    This one had a few English Grammar and spelling issues, but the meaning was clear. I also spotted this: "Then doesSsotek closes his jaws..." A clue to the author's identity perhaps?

    Don't worry Ssuperman - your ssecret is ssafe with me!"

    Fruktansvärd



    Story 1 Fear


    The third of the Seraphon pieces. I don't want to seem grumpy but, after reading all three, I am no wiser about where the Seraphon come from or why. I might just need to buy the battle-tome tomorrow. :greedy:

    The author took the horror theme to heart (well, to the leg anyway) and made a nice contrast between what weakling warm bloods might consider horrible and what might bother Seraphon. I like the idea of creatures of light being afraid of dark - which is obvious after it gets pointed out.

    I did just go back to read it again to find something else nice to say. There really isn't very much description at all (if you don't count graphic amputations). This is a often a strong technique because the reader's imagination can fill in blanks, but if the reader didn't already know a lot about warhammer they would have very little idea what was going on. Given the target audience (people who vote in a warhammer fantasy competition), limited description was not a big risk to take!

    The story did jump around in time quite a bit. It went from now, to his earlier life, to earlier that day, to his earlier life, to later that day and back to now without a lot of warning. (6 time zones in 900 words. Hello jet lag.). A clearer way to manage this would be to use sections of flashback, such as the author of Rat Poison.

    Ho___r. You fill in the blanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  19. spawning of Bob
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    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Feedback 5

    On my first night of comp read through, I was actually feeling a bit disappointed overall. This might be because graphic horror is really not my thing, and also because the stories were almost getting repetitive (I did a spreadsheet to prove it).

    Having had a detailed read of them all several times, I can say that my first impression was wrong. All of the stories individually were a lot stronger than I had first realised and also they probed deeper into the world of LM than I thought.

    I mention the repetitive thing here because I have read back a few years of the winners of the Skaven short story comps. Some of you might be aware that the comps sort of died off a little while ago - too few entrants. I think part of the issue was that all of the good stories had already been told and the standard ideas used up.

    Reading only the winners is a biased sample - the skaven ... non winners may actually have been a lot more innovative, but the Great Horned Rat does not celebrate diversity.

    In my view, skaven characters are pretty two dimensional and skaven speech and dialogue are almost permanently locked in because there is so much skaven literature around (they really are fun to write, too)

    Now back to us. LM are far more ambiguous than skaven. LM gods are completely inscrutable. We on L-O are all relative novices. Of course we are going to have original ideas.

    It will be great if our author base continues to grow. It will be FANTASTIC if we keep producing really surprising ideas which make our readers imaginations fire up.

    Soooo...

    Come on and write in the next comp if you haven't before. Don't worry too much about winning - winning stories appeal to many because they are often safe. Feel free to take a risk and show everyone something different about LM. Write something dangerous!

    The Old Ones desire it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2015
  20. Bowser
    Slann

    Bowser Third Spawning

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    Well @spawning of Bob this is all quite helpful! Can't tell you how much I appreciate all of these tips and critiques! Between @Scalenex helpful proofread and your post read comments, as a new writer, I am extremely grateful for the help! May actually do a bit more writing! Learned a lot from your comments on all of the stories!
     

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