Stories round the campfire

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Stories round the campfire

Postby Kentigern » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:39 pm

Evening all

Been a long time since I have written anything on here, but with the call to arms for renewed activity I feel it is about time. This is a very short piece, written in one sitting - figured it was better to just get something up, will try and write better moving forward! ;)

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Crasus belched loudly, the sound reverberating up into the high walls of the valley. His pallid skin, criss crossed with scars pointing to a history of violence, had an eerie quality in the fire light. His ample belly, stretched with a decade of easy living, pushed out from underneath his camo shirt, thick hair curling from it like some horrific spider from a cheap comic.

“Mark my words me lad,” he rumbled, foam from his beer coating his coarse beard, “you wouldn’t last two days out in the wider universe. You are a soft thing, a delicate thing, not a warrior – it’s best that you are safe on this backward planet.”

Krind tried his best not to roll his eyes. He had been forced onto forest exercises enough with Crasus to know that now the ale had kicked in he would be subjected to a lecture on their comparative manliness. Crasus the warrior, Crasus the alien killer, Crasus the deflowerer of women – versus Krind the boy. It infuriated him that this boorish oaf was lauded as a hero by his fellow citizens, simply because he had served in the Emperor’s Army and not died. He was sickening and disgusting, yet had his pick of the women, while Krind lay cold and alone. Krind knew he was better than that, that he was destined for bigger things – but it was hard to focus on that when Crasus was in full flow.

“Did I ever tell you about the time I killed an Ork Warboss with my bare hands?”

Only the fifty times or so, thought Krind. The beast had probably already been dead for a week if Crasus was able to overcome him.

“…then he thrust at me, but I parried him and…” at this point he paused dramatically to demonstrate the attack he had lined up “…I ran him through with my combat blade, killing him instantly.”

The thrust hung heavily in the still air. Quickly, Krind remembered himself, before Crasus’s anger could be provoked – much better to keep him happy and get him to sleep.

“Oh impressive Crasus, what a feat! I only wish I could be as brave and strong as you.”

Crasus snorted. “Fat chance. A milkmaid like you couldn’t survive the battlefield. You lack the bravery. You lack the killer instinct. It makes me laugh to think you could have slaughtered the Tyranid hordes like I did on the Field of Monetmas…”

Krind allowed Crasus to boastfully drone on in the background, his empty words lost into the aether. He knew he wasn’t as big or as strong as Crasus, he knew that the man would bully him as long as he could – but Krind also fundamentally believed that he was destined for bigger things than Crasus could ever dream of. He would be a warrior, someone feared across the universe. He just needed his chance.

His reverie was suddenly interrupted by the loud snore of Crasus, accompanied by a crash as the man fell backwards onto the floor. It was always the same – huge consumption of alcohol, arrogant story telling, then unconscious – at least the oaf was predictable.

Krind contemplated the obese figure in front of him, sleeping chest heaving with drunken breathing. All he needed was his chance at glory. And his chance had arrived.

Creeping gently over towards the passed out figure, Krind gently traced the outline of the mark carved into his arm. Fresh and raw, the Cult Leader had only finally blessed him with the mark of their god when Krind explained how he was going to take his first life. Krind the milkmaid no more, he would reborn as a warrior, feared and respected.

Hovering over Crasus, Krind raised the combat knife that he had stolen from his fellow guard’s pack. If it could apparently kill an Ork Warboss, then it seemed fitting that it could be used to gut a pig…
Good guys go to heaven.

Bad guys send them there.
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Kentigern
 
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Re: Stories round the campfire

Postby Obscura Boy » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:37 pm

Hi Kentigern! As a fellow lapsed fan-fic writer I'm more than happy to give what feedback I can. :D

I think this is a nice short story - it accomplishes a lot in a low word count, it's amusing, and what you've done a great job of in particular is achieving a great set-up/pay-off. The sting in this tale's tail is highly satisfying!

By way of constructive criticism, here's what I got:

Crasus belched loudly, the sound reverberating up into the high walls of the valley. His pallid skin, criss crossed with scars pointing to a history of violence, had an eerie quality in the fire light. His ample belly, stretched with a decade of easy living, pushed out from underneath his camo shirt, thick hair curling from it like some horrific spider from a cheap comic.


As a descriptive passage this is fine stuff, but as an opening it lacks bite. It might almost be best to start the story with Crasus' line "Did I ever tell you about the time I killed an Ork Warboss with my bare hands?" (and then work in all the descriptive stuff as you go), as it was at that point that I got hooked as a reader. Bringing that line to the top of the story engages the reader a lot faster, and establishes the story's main narrative thread right from the beginning.

(Also, I hate to be 'that guy', but didn't Crasus kill the ork with his knife? Not his bare hands? :P )

Regarding 'cheap comic' - for me, this is one of those modern-day-specific terms that needs a 40k-ified equivalent to avoid sounding out of place. Not that I have any helpful suggestions as to what that equivalent might be. 'Pic-strip'? That sounds kinda dirty, but hopefully you see what I'm getting at. :?

“Mark my words me lad,” he rumbled, foam from his beer coating his coarse beard,


I have similar feelings about the 40k-iness (or not) of the word 'beer' here, though it doesn't seem quite so out of place. In addition, you later refer to it as ale rather than beer.

Hovering over Crasus, Krind raised the combat knife that he had stolen from his fellow guard’s pack.


Another pernickety point - my attention snagged on 'fellow guard' here, as I'm not sure if it means that they're both Imperial Guardsmen (which I thought Krind wasn't?) or if they both just happen to be guarding something (and if so, what?). Just a little thing, but for me it stuck out, especially since it occurs in the middle of the sweet sweet pay-off.

Nice work on this! Is it strictly a one-off, or are you planning any more 'Stories Round the Campfire'?
My other car is a Land Raider.
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Re: Stories round the campfire

Postby Kentigern » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:28 am

Thanks, great insights there - I know I said I wrote the story quickly, but no excuse for some of the inconsistencies you managed to spot :lol:

I might make it a wee series of shorts - very welcome to contribute some too if you fancy (open offer to anyone who wants to share some stories as a prompt to starting again).
Good guys go to heaven.

Bad guys send them there.
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Kentigern
 
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:58 am
Location: Bishopbriggs, Scotland


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