Space Marines: Entries

Regular and incidental fan-fic competitions, for review and contributing to.

Space Marines: Entries

Postby MalkyDel » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:17 pm

This is the thread for the completed entries of the Space Marines Writing Exercise.

Please post your completed works here.
MalkavianDelirium

<3 Fan of Erebus <3

Then one day at Istvaan III,
Horus came to say.
"Fulgrim with your clothes so bright,
won't you help me slay tonight?"
Then all the rebels loved him
And they shouted out with glee.
"Fulgrim the Traitor Primarch,
you'll go down in history!"
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby Kyberos90 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:23 pm

Here is my Silver Skulls short, approx. 1029 words. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

He dreams of war.

The sharp, acrid tang of blood and battle-flame fill his mouth and nostrils, heightening his gene-enhanced senses as his wraith-form scours the battlefield for the next target. He revels in the kill, rejoicing as his purified weapons turn enemy to blood and bone-shrapnel. He can feel the recoil of his bolter and the swing of his chainsword, each blow biting hungrily into flesh and ceramite alike.

Beside him, his brothers join in the slaughter, adding their weapons and voices to the battle-hymn.

War is the sweetest music.

In one swift moment, the dreamscape changes and he is locked in mortal combat with a devastating enemy. Blood-revelry turns to anger, frustration, and hate for his foe. He knows in moments he will be cast down into the blood and dirt of some far-flung world hanging on the edge of distant memory. Even in his dream-state, he can feel the pain stabbing through him like a million spears. He remembers falling. He remembers failure.

He is left to die on the battlefield while his foe turns to engage a more worthy opponent, and he feels rage at having been so easily discarded. He is helpless and cannot rise. They have taken his legs. He is slipping out of consciousness, his wounds too great for his gene-enhanced physiology to properly clot and stem. He feels death swiftly approaching and prepares for its final embrace.

He sees the faint outline of phantom figures suddenly swim into view through clouded sight. Ceramite-clad hands lift him and he is carried away from battle, an honour-guard for the fallen. He feels subtle pain, and then numbness, and then nothing.

Head-taker.

He is stirred from his deep slumber by a voice echoing faintly on the very edge of his consciousness. He is drawn slowly into wakefulness as his dreamscape fades back into memory, and he is made acutely aware of his surroundings. The voice again, louder this time, draws him ever closer to the light.

“Kyberos.”

When he speaks, it is not with his voice that he once had in life, but with the thunderous chorus of machines.

+Who calls?+

Sensors reach out into a vast chamber and he feels the presence of others, twenty in all. Even blind, he can still see them – brothers all resplendent in the black, steel and burnished silver of his Chapter kneeling in a semi-circle upon the platform. A grinning skull stares blankly from each shoulder pauldron. They kneel before him in reverence, all but one.

“War calls, Ancient one. Will you answer?”

Full awareness takes hold and the warrior-corpse stirs in his life-cradle, his head turning slowly left then right as he lies suspended in amniotic fluid, mouthing silently. His machine-voice growls forth from his vox.

+Which am I to be awoken?+ he inquires.

There is no hesitation in the reply.

“The first.”

Kyberos, Head-Taker, Ancient of the Silver Skulls Space Marine Chapter of the Second Founding and successor of the Ultramarines makes a ponderous sound, as like unto stone tumbling down a mountain-face.

+Then the circumstance of my awakening is dire,+ he intones.

Either side of him, Kyberos can sense the presence of other ancient warriors of his Chapter, each one likewise interred into life-cradles sustaining their ruined, battle-weary forms. They slumber still, and he envies them their sleep.

+Halebos and Salathon lie dormant. Shall they be awoken, also?+

Lord Commander Argentius of the Silver Skulls gazes up at the sarcophagus of the Leviathan-pattern dreadnought before him and speaks, his voice unwavering in the reply.

“No, they sleep. Your awakening was deemed necessary. In the name of the Silver Skulls, and of our founding Chapter, will you rise to war?”

Kyberos is silent a moment before answering, his immense form a towering memorial to war. Battle-rites and images of victorious conquest etched upon every inch of his reinforced plating. Scars and pitted metal pock-mark the war-machine’s chassis as testament to his unwavering service to the Chapter. From within the sarcophagus, Kyberos can feel his extremities as if they were organic, natural to him. From his left arm, quad storm cannons come online and cycle, feeding information into his neural interface. From his right, an enormous claw crackles with building energy as it is activated and he flexes it as he would muscle, the blades spinning upon a rotating joint. Targeting reticules paint those before him in a vibrant green glow, and he turns his attention once more to the Chapter Master.

+For the Chapter, I will.+


Now as before, Kyberos, Head-Taker strides into battle, his massive tread crushing the enemy beneath his armoured feet as he wades into the fray. Like his dreams before, his brothers charge beside him unleashing the Emperor’s Fury upon their hated foe.

His Storm Cannon screams at his side as it unleashes a deadly fusillade of high-impact rounds that bite, detonate, and destroy those foolish enough to engage.

In the near-distance, a towering form approaches, screaming its hatred to the sky in foul machine-noise and daemonic utterings. Its warp-tainted armour a corrupted testament to the machine it had once been. Kyberos replies to the challenge with a guttural roar that thunders across the battlefield, smashing a flaming Rhino APC aside with his power-claw and sending it spinning lethally away to crush several traitor marines unlucky enough to be caught in its trajectory as he charges forward.

High-impact rounds smash against his reinforced plating as he nears the enemy, scoring deep wounds upon his chassis, but he ignores them as easily as rain. As he closes the gap, the Chaos dreadnought attempts to bring its melee weapon to bear, but Kyberos rips it free with his claw and discards it. The corrupted champion screams again, bleating its name in the face of its murderer. Kyberos replies by punching his claws into the face-plate of the tainted sarcophagus and twisting hard, ripping it clear of its armoured mount and killing the occupant instantly before discarding its remains.

As Kyberos exclaims to the heavens, his victorious roar is echoed back by his brothers as he thunders onward to meet the next foe, their voices once more adding harmony to the song of battle.
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby Razhbad » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:25 pm

##Here is my Storm Warden entry (I think is a bit of a naff title) but without it is just under 2500 words, turned out longer then I was expecting.##

Storm Hunter


On plumes of flame did the craft descend. Slowing as it moved towards the ash plains of Divlas III. It was but a single craft in the middle of what could only be seen as a barren landscape, scorched by centuries of industry at the uncaring machine hands of the Imperium. War needed to be resourced and Divlas III had been bled to feed wars, and yet now these same wars had come to the planets dead ground.

Only a single individual was to be seen, a speck of bronze and red in the middle of the dark grey soot that surrounded the plains. A slim scale mailed hand pulled out a disc that chimed in recognition. Security codes had been given, the shuttle was whom it claimed to be, despite the clear identity of a lightning bolt upon a shield. The tech-adepts of the Mechanicus were prone to do things by data and not by sight.

The shuttle landed spraying ash further in all directions and the tech-adept had perfectly judged the distance of the jettison would reach leaving no blemish on the robes. The door to the shuttle slid towards the side and the tech-adept took a step forwards gazing at the giant in the gangway.

He was an Astartes, much like all the Space Marines he was far taller and broader than any human. Wrapped around his armoured form was a checkered robe of green and brown. The Astartes removed the robe and cast it back into the shuttle revealing the light grey and blue armour of the Storm Wardens Chapter. His head was completely bare other than blue woad painted spirals and a bushy moustache, light brown in colour with flecks of copper. The Storm Warden stooped to the right of the shuttle and grabbed an especially long scabbard which must have held one of the Claymore’s associated with his chapter.

“Croeso Caelbel Luern”, came a voice that could have been spoken by a machine and not a human. The words were an attempt of the Avern Tribe’s greetings, one of Sacris many people. The pronunciation, however, had been delivered poorly.

Brother Caelbel Luern took a step down from the shuttle and gazed at the human below him. If the tech-adept could even be called human now. Luern contemplated of them were far removed from humanity now. “Adept Brigida, it has been many decades since our last meeting. As our chapter said at the start of this war I say now to you personally. We on Sacris do not easily forget the words we are given. I gave you my word and I am here.”

Adept Brigida gave a slight bow of respect but Luern knew the adept lacked the emotion. The years had made little change to the tech-adept but if Luern had to guess the new implants made it even more difficult to tell that Brigida had once been a female. Luern was old enough to remember Brigida as a young apprentice in her teens when they first met.
“Brother Luern, the Xeno beast was last spotted in this vicinity. I am afraid your auspex devices will not work in this region due to the background radiation from the industrial complexes. I am to guide you with my enhanced systems.”
Luern gave a slight frown at that. Brigida was in no position to slay a roaming Tyranid that had survived from the main engagments in the east. All she was armed with were her metal hands and robes, such a beast would engulf her in seconds. Still the Mechanicus had been unwilling to allow the Storm Wardens to be privy of the more advance tracking systems.

“Lead on Adept Brigida, but as we near the creature you are to move back to this position and allow me to engage it by myself.”

Brigida nodded in agreement, the tech-adept had clearly no intention of engaging one of the galaxies most ferocious creatures.

She turned from Luern and uploaded from her data port on her shoulder a holo map. The map was a 3d imprint over the terrain before them. It showed Luern the great hills of slag and reservoirs of promethium but 2 kilometres in the distance was a selection of forge building in the foot of a mountain. A green dot indicated something which Luern assumed was the last known position of the Tyranid.

Luern closed his eyes and gripped a pouch that contained tempest stones from Sacris and oath papers of the lost 1st Company. “Dw yn cymlog”, he whispered in the tongues of Sacris. ‘I am the Storm.’ A ritual that all members of the inheritors replicated on the eve of battle.

Luern gestured for Brigida to lead the way forwards. He attached his scabbard upon his power pack on his back and took up his bolter lifting it at chest height so he could make a good head shot if at the beast should it come near.
The going was not as easy as Luern had hoped, one that his own mass did not help to contribute. His weight pulled him into the deep ash that had built up over the years. Whereas the light Brigida was able to traverse above the piles with little trouble, that or the adepts of the Mechanicus had some kind of technology that would allow them not to sink into the waste of industry. Luern cursed upon the bones of his chapter’s ancestors his ill-fated journey, should the Tyranid launch itself upon him he would be at a significant disadvantage.

They both marched down a deep set valley, which had it been green would have reminded Luern of his home. Yet all this before him was a dark grey that ventured upon a black. The clouds were even dark and foreboding and there was a slight haze in the air that smelt like burnt flesh but tasted oily upon the tongue. Lesser humans would have fallen seriously ill by now, both Brigida and Luern gave no indication of any negative effects.

“We are less the 1 kilometre from the destination”, Brigida gestured to a small mountain just after the dip in the valley. At its base was a squat cube with huge chimneys belching out forth more pollution into Divlas III.

Luern simply nodded in acknowledgement, he had judged this distances perfectly and his own keen eyes had seen the building the moment they reach the top of the valley.

As they reached the bottom the ground hardened under polished stone. The soot had been shifted away from this section and it allowed Luern to stand up now, no longer sinking into the dirt. His legs had turned from a light grey to a black. Whilst fainted breezes had left colours to darken under the weight of fresh ash.

“Brother Caelbel”, mentioned Brigida. “I am detecting organic matter, human up ahead.”

Luern stepped forward taking point this time. He took careful aims left and right, checking for any sign of the Tyranid. As he stepped closer to the industrial hab he looked even upon its roof encase the beast was laying in ambush.

The Storm Warden took a step toward the hab and noticed that the door was missing, up against its frame was a spray of red. It could be paint, but Luern doubted it. If he wanted he could taste the red spray to be certain that it was blood, but Luern did not want to disrespect the Mechanicus and he was certain enough of its nature.

He quickly dashed into the room of the open hab training his bolter for any corner of hidden crevices. There were no opponents. But there were a lot of signs that the Tyranid had been here. Broken machine, slashed walls and lumps of meat that could only have been the previous occupants gave the clearest sign of all.

“Adept Brigida I want you to go back to the shuttle”, he whispered.

“The remains are clearly over a day old. I feel I am in no immediate danger.” Luern found it chilling that Brigida had given no emotion to the utter carnage of her associates’ remains. If it had been one of his brothers he would barely have contained his need for vengeance.

“Adept the bodies may not be fresh, still I cannot shake the feeling that the creature is near. It would be well to listen to my advice.”

Brigida nodded in understand and she made her way out of the hab block. Luern listened for a few moments making sure he was certain that she was making her way up the valley. Once he was certain he moved his way through the hab block going from room to room. Every nook and cranny he looked into only revealed the same kind of horror he had seen previously. Bodies after bodies were discovered, some were fortunate enough to be recognisable the majority, however, looked like they were off cuts from a butchers table.

As walked on he realised he had come to some kind of amphitheatre, it was freshly made which surprised him. The Mechanicus were not prone to building new things, they were more use to patch up jobs.

Luern was at the top of the seating areas looking down. He made his way gazing left and right, yet as he near the centre he noticed some designs at the bottom. There had been broken chains, heavy ones at that. Something had been held hear, something that needed to be chained. A sickening feeling filled his gut. The chapter had found it strange that a Tyranid had been spotted so far from the main battles, but they had queried it little. Luern now realised it had not just aimlessly wandered here. The Mechanicus had taken the Xeno, perhaps to study it. When the beast had escaped it had killed them all. Luern jumped into the bottom where the Tyranid had been kept.

Suddenly something hit Luern, it was so swift it shocked Luern how unprepared he had been. It was weak but it had impacted behind him. He swivelled round to find the slumped form of Brigida laying on the floor, blood was pumping out of her vital organs and for the first time her eyes portrayed an emotion. Utter terror. Luern followed the trajectory of where Brigida had come from and standing near to where Luern had once be stood the Xeno.

It had been recorded by bioligis as the designation of Tyranid Warrior. Luern did not care for its name, it need to die. It was double his height, and had 4 arms. Each one armed with a single downward thrusting bone spike claw. The creature roared at Luern as hot saliva dropped from its mouth.

Luern did not give it a chance he fired his bolter continuously at the beast. The first blasts hit the Tyranid but the Xeno had some kind of reinforced chitin armour and it made barely any damage. The creature did not hang about to be shot again, it ran spiralling around Luern. It made no difference as to knowing where the creature would be it was too fast. Whilst firing with one hand Luern took out a Grenade and through it behind him. He continued to chase the Tyranid with rounds upon rounds of bolter fire. As the creature neared the bottom there was a swift explosion in front of it sending up the remains of wooden seats and debris into its face. It screeched and collapsed upon the floor.

Luern reloaded and charged forwards running upon the Xeno’s back. At point blank range he fired his bolter directly into the creature. Chitin and ichor sprayed upwards into his face but he did not care. The creature though laying on the floor was still able to dive at him slashing and biting. Luern was spun away. His bolter sheaved in 2 and his helmet was dented but still functioning.

The Xeno stood drunkenly and stared at him with an utterly alien look that only an apex predator could give. Luern unsheathed his claymore. A sword nearly 6 feet in length. A blade that had been in the tribe of the Avern for many years, where the tribesmen needed two hands to wield it. Luern only required one hand, but he preferred the feel of it with both, it felt natural to the sons of Sacris to fight like this.

“Dw yn casineb”, he snarled at the Xeno. ‘I am the fury.’

Tyranid and Storm Warden met in a joint charge against each other. Bladed arms verses Ceramite armour, Claymore verses chitin. The fiend’s blows were fast and strong, but Luern’s clever earlier attack had slowed it down. Still it was fast and he parried as best he could dodging what was left. His counter blows mostly hit the air, sometimes he made purchase upon the claws but they were as strong as his Claymore.

The fight went backwards and forwards for what seemed like an age, but Luern knew had only been a few seconds. Both Storm Warden and Tyranid could fight a lengthy period without tiring, but Luern had no time for such a display, he needed to end it and quickly.

Not for the first time in his life but may be for the last he took a reckless gamble. Luern took one hand off his sword and gave a faint opening. The Tyranid took it and plunged all 4 of its blades into his left chest. He felt a lung collapse instantly and 1 of his hearts was now pumping blood internally. With his left arm Luern wrapped it around the beast’s arms locking them in place. With his remaining arm he swung his claymore up with all the gene-enhanced force he had. It hit the arms below the Xeno’s elbow joint taking all 4 off cleaning. The creature howled and Luern could see its inhuman confusion, it quickly changed as the beast decided to make one final gambit and diving upon him with his fangs.

He grabbed the hilt of his claymore in both hands. His left the weaker, he jumped to the side swinging an executioner’s styled blow downwards punching into the chitin of its skull. The beast collapsed and it took another hit before the head came off and the twitching stopped.

“This is Caelbel Luern”, he voxed spitting blood in his helm. “Dispatch to my location, sending co-ordinates now. Oh, there is a slight chance I might be dying so an apothecary would be nice.”

Caelbel slumped to the ground taking hold of the pouch again. He gave thanks to the lost 1st for helping again. He looked over to the form of Brigida, she was dead. Luern would not mourn her loss, but he regretted it. He had fulfilled his word to her of loyalty from decades past, but she was not there to receive it. For now his duty would have to be enough.
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby theCrowe » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:00 pm

Hi folks, my first bit of Bolthole fiction ever rolls in at. 1209 words. Hope it makes enough sense and is at least fun to read. My chosen chapter was Eagle Warriors- Thanks for reading.

The Commander's Sacrifice.

Titus went over his doctrines, a mental checklist, an exercise in preparedness, a meditation to while away the interminable seconds before the breach. Sacred and profound, it steeled the resolve of his warrior soul and reaffirmed his devotion to the holy Emperor.

They stood three abreast at every bulkhead of their creaking vessel; Its venerable machine spirit enduring with admirable stoicism considering the torment it was suffering. Its every battery and resource of fire power, all its energy and its drive, its very strength and structural integrity were given over to their service, and each soul on board stood read to repay the dept.

For the space-bound fleets of the Eagle Warriors knew a symbiosis unheard of in any other Space Marine Chapter. Of Ship and crew. As one entity they would live, fight and die as one. One perfect instrument of the Emperor's will.

Yet now another will was pitted against them. The will of the Great Devourer. Its tendrils had reached deep into this system and grasped for the lifeblood of many of the worlds that the Eagle Warriors were sworn to protect. Even now the tendrils of a massive Kraken bio-ship were choking the life from his vessel. Bio-acids were melting through the twelve feet thick armour of their Oberon class Battle ship.

Hoards of ravening creatures spawned of perfect insatiable hunger lurked beyond, poised to strike, just as Titus and his Astartes battle brothers, forged of perfect fearless war, stood ready to meet them.

The structure of the corridor to the left of Titus began to sag and warp. The time had come and he was ready.
"Bio-acid breach on forward armoury deck beta." He reported, "Readying to repel the Xenos. For the Emperor!"

The explosion took him off guard. Losing his footing he fell to the deck as did another of his battle brothers, all slicked with clinging viscous bio-acid. His power armour's diagnostic systems chimed off a litany of damage, ceramite density, structural integrity, power systems, biometrics, all compromised. His face plate was horribly fouled and his coms unresponsive.

Releasing his helm Titus emerged to a scene of carnage and chaos. His naked eyes stung in the fume as all around bio-acid ate bulkheads, decks, systems junctions and conduits. The ship's klaxon sounded unfamiliar. A thin voice droned out above it calling for engineering crews and fire teams to attend their duties. Inhuman screams of dying Xenos intruders mingled with shouts of battle and cries of terror as the Astartes on multiple levels defended the ship's crew and support personnel all attempting to contain the breach.

"Delta Squad, Regroup!" A brother marine interposed himself and his bolter between Titus and a ravening alien allowing him a chance to collect himself.

"We must stem the tide here lest they gain a foothold."

Titus' own bolter had sustained significant acid corrosion, it was damaged beyond use. A dead brother next to him afforded Titus his weapon, a flamer which he gladly accepted as he rose to his feet.

"Push them back into the breach. We must press the attack now before defence becomes futile."

Titus opened up with a brief burst of flame. A warning to his brothers as much as an assault on the enemy.

The wall of Astartes allowed him the space to operate the weapon. Upon a fountainhead of promethium they advanced pressing the mass of emerging Xenos bioforms back into the maw of the Kraken.

A gaping orifice spanning several decks seethed with ravenous alien life forms; all chitin and sinew, tooth and claw, crawling and writhing upon every surface they touched. Astartes on all levels poured fire unto the breach from above and below, from every vantage point and access in an attempt to stem the influx of infection into their vessel. Ichor and acid flowed from the writhing mass as living flesh was turned to gore and chared viscera.

"We may only hold them thus while the fuel lasts. This tank will run dry in but a short time."

"Unless, by his grace the emperor may turn all this blood to promethium."

"If it be his will I give mine gladly to see them burn."

"Aye, brother, and mine to the last."

"What is the order? Who commands?"

"Your com is off-line?"

"Aye, when my helm was defiled."

"Commander Bassianus comes, his order is that we hold."

The tank ran dry. Titus discarded the torch with a brief benediction, his gratitude for the Emperor's provision. He drew his bolt pistol uttering another that it may continue.

"How long, brother?"

The flame had been a primal shield, the natural foe of all flesh. Now closer did the Xenos dare. As a caged hunter tests the limits of its captivity, the Devourer found their weakness and struck.

The brother marine was felled and dismembered in a heartbeat. Scythed and rent asunder, even as the assailant beast was dispatched in a torrent of bolter fire.

How long now? Another Eagle Warrior stepped into the brother's place and for a time the tide was again stemmed. Titus fired, turned another smaller creature. Fired again, and again, the larger bio-forms absorbing more fire. He reloaded and fired again before the thing was silenced.

How much longer? Titus allowed his brothers to concentrate on the mass while he focused only on immediate threats. He placed each shot with care, enumerating the rounds of his last bolt pistol clip. Each one a screaming prayer, each creature felled another small mercy.

Another pair of Eagle Warriors marines fell to the rending claws of a genestealer. It died for its efforts, Titus' last round entering its skull point-blank.

How much longer, he prayed, discarding his spent bolt pistol. He reached for the weapon of one of his fallen brothers;These were not foe to be faced in a knife fight. But before he could bring it to bare his legs were taken from him.

A lictor, or some such devious fiend, it died quickly at the hands of another Astartes who kicked its flailing corpse off the gangway into the morass of deathy flesh below.

"Commander Bassianus, how long?" Titus gasped aloud before pain suppression systems began flooding his bloodstream with opiates and oxygen. Suddenly lucid as if awakened from a nightmare he raised himself from the bloody deck on one elbow and slammed one of his own bolter clips into place in the borrowed weapon. He raised the muzzle to fire one handed, exhilarated by the sudden flood of chemical stimulus, feeling more alive than ever so close to death.

In that moment a figure passed by like a wind. Sublime it was and resplendent in the pure blue and white of the Eagle Warriors chapter, as yet untouched was he by the tainted blood of the enemy. He flew into the very face of the Devourer, born aloft on flaming eagle's wings and carrying with him the hammer, the instrument of the Emperor's justice; He to deliver the sentence of death.

Titus reached out to touch the vision but unseen hands dragged him back and, as a glorious light filled his opened eyes, filled his very soul with splendour and bliss they slammed a helmet down upon him and he saw no more.
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby Rob P » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:07 pm

Baited


Lhorak and his depleted squad of three retreated into the lichen covered hard-walled cave which descended into the depths of Tranquility II. The foes’ plan was simple, but effective. The Mantis Warriors would be driven into a dark and dingy corner and slaughtered.

Lhorak could almost admire the ruthless and calculated manner with which his attackers proceeded were it not for their sickening enjoyment in their hunt-to-kill mission. The enemy favoured cruelty over efficiency; this was not something Lhorak could understand.

As far forward as could be seen, the floor of the cave consisted of firm, yet unevenly placed, rocky hexagonal pillars that were identical in size and packed tightly together. Each pillar was just about large enough for a space marine to occupy it. They had the appearance of manufacture but Lhorak had been reliably informed by the writings of the local and long deceased historiographer, Andos Bassoniarn, that they had been naturally formed by the thermal pressure from a volcanic lake which sat deep under the surface of this region of the planet.

The pillars were covered in a green slime which greased them and made swift travel impossible. In the rush to gain an advantage on the enemy Lhorak lost his footing and ungracefully fell forward.

Berec, his second, turned and held out his arm, actioning for his sergeant to take his hand.

Lhorak looked at Berec’s faceplate as he gripped his forearm and pulled himself upright. He could almost see a warm brotherly smile behind the helm. He erased the thought from his mind. There would once have been warmth there, before this war had started, but now they were all a little more like granite. ‘Thank you’, he said in a tone that was a little too formal.

Berec started a reply, but was abruptly halted when a bolt round whistled through the cave, passing his head by mere inches, and striking a pillar a chest width away. The round ignited on impact sending heavy pointed debris into the air. An arrowhead-shaped slither of rock pierced Lhorak’s visor temporarily blinding him as the HUD suffered an involuntary shut down. That wasn’t a kill shot; they were too good to miss. They were taunting them and forcing them to play their game.

Lhorak quickly removed his seaweed green helmet revealing a wisened chocolate brown face. He reverently placed his helm on the ground then looked over his shoulder. He saw, some way in the distance, at the wide cave entrance, the silhouette of the enemy that stalked them. There were at least twenty astartes lined up and possibly more behind them. With the light casting them in shadow, he could not even make out the colour of their armour, but he knew that it was a dull, no more than functional, grey.

Lhorak contemplated ordering return fire, but they simply did not have the ammunition to waste.

He turned his back on them and as he started into a sprint he shouted to his squad, ‘run!’

***


As they went further into the cave, Lhorak was thankful that his surroundings were not unfamiliar too him. Without his visor the ever-dimming daylight worked to counter his vision. Post-human or not, black was black.

The slope of the terrain took them further and further down into the dark and the ceiling of the cave slowly lowered until it was only a few feet about their heads.

Lhorak took a quick glance behind him as they continued to descend. The Carcharadons were following but they were taking a much more casual pace.

Lhorak thought about the enemy. They were made of the same mould. They had the same parts. The same armour. The same mission. The same role. But they were not the same. The adversary was smart and strong, but they were too ready to reveal their strength. They did no hold back. They did not appear to contemplate why they were how they were. This also made them weak. He considered the Mantis Warriors chapter stronger, even as he acknowledged that such hubris was a weakness. Yes, each warrior was expected to follow the chain of command and play his role, and, yes, the Codex Astartes was treated with respect, but each astartes in the chapter was trained to be an individual and this extended beyond their fighting tactics and strategies. The chapter bred warriors that were single minded in purpose, but they were given flexibility in thought and application of that purpose. He mused that the wider Imperium would perhaps perceive weakness in that level of individuality.

Lanjod, the final member of his squad, had taken point. He paused several meters down the slope in front of Lhorak and in the dim light he hand-signed -We are at the entrance point-.

Lhorak took in a deep breath and his senses caught the almost imperceptible familiar scent which travelled gently outward and against their direction of travel. He allowed himself a little knowing smile.

***


The floor flattened. The pillars were gone. The ceiling, walls and floor were a dusty-sandy rock cut into a perfect square shape. It was conveniently only a little greater than the height of an adeptus astartes and a little wider than three of the Emperor’s finest side-by-side. It had been scrubbed clean of organics. It was apparent, and would be to their pursuers, that they were now entering a prepared area.

Lhorak was now in darkness, and for the time being he knew that he would need to be guided by Berec.

He whispered to Berec, ‘is everything as it should be?’.

‘My scanners are picking up no disturbances in the structure of the tunnel’, Berec said.

Lhorak breathed a sigh of relief. The plan would fail in an instant if the Carcharadons suspected that the tunnel was anything other than solid walls.

‘And do you think the magos can be trusted?’

‘We have to believe that he can be’, Berec replied.

‘And do you believe that the end can justify the means?’

‘On this occasion? Yes’.

***


The chest plate of Captain Strake’s armour carried a horrific superficial tear which ran across from his left shoulder to below his right rib. In fact, perforations, dents and battles scars ran across all his equipment. He calculated that the damage reduced the efficiency of his armour by a mere two percent. He considered this acceptable when weighed against the appearance of invulnerability it offered.

As he approached the sandy tunnel he spoke to his brothers over the battle communications unit that was integrated into each of their helms. ‘The vermin have gone to ground’. He holstered his boltgun and pointed towards the dark opening ahead, ‘this doesn’t look natural. Be alert; they may have a surprise waiting for us’. He received forty-six acknowledgements; one from each member of his battle reduced company.

Strake beckoned for those with battleshields and sent them the fore and rear of the unit. He then ordered his force to march down the dark passageway.

Strake was glad that the Mantis Warriors had not simply surrendered; Strake and his ilk were not bred to take prisoners.

***


A hundred meters or so in front of Lhorak the tunnel opened into a bright glare of an orange warm light.

In the passing of a moment the light was occluded by a man-shaped shadow and, with programmed instinct, Lhorak reached to his thigh for his mag-locked ornate pistol.

The shadow spoke with its fingers -Area Clear-. It was Lanjod.

Lharok relaxed. Lanjod. A warrior of few words he thought as he allowed himself a small smile.

Lharok and Berec proceeded to join Lanjod at the staging ground.

The room, though the word room did not do it justice, was a huge munitions storage bunker. It ran precisely three by three kilometres and was boxed at the walls and ceiling by an unusual metal compound which resisted probing by Imperial technology. It was by this means that it had been kept hidden for so long. The floor was made up of thick squared metal grating which repeated itself in every direction. Below, through the gaps in the grating, was heat-hazed molten liquid which bubbled and hissed as if threatening confrontation.

Lhorak placed his palm to the surface of one of a hundred seemingly identical tank-size storage containers which layout throughout the bunker. It was a treasure trove. The value of what was held within was not limited to military purpose. There was history locked in every piece of equipment that had been carefully stored here. What was that old terran idiom about not forgetting history? Lhorak felt a flash of regret at his decision to lure the enemy down here. If his plan failed they would lose something more important than their lives.

Berec awoke Lhorak from his brooding. ‘The Sharks are proceeding down the access tunnel and will be with us within five minutes; the time for action is upon us, brother’.

For Lhorak the world sharpened into focus as his resolve returned. He eyed Berec with a piercing gaze and in calm tone he said, ‘Contact the magos. Authorisation granted. Rouse the Mantids’.

***


The binary decoder was his most cherished implant. It allowed him to receive electrically encoded messages directly into his skull avoiding the tiresome delays of hearing or reading. To most mortals its effect would be novel, like telepathy; but it’s real objective would elude them. It saved nanoseconds. What are nanoseconds to a man? Nothing! But to Magos Indillian nanoseconds were the difference between death and life; discovery and lost opportunity; ambition and apathy. The magos would be great and he would be remembered. To be remembered he had to snatch at time and have all of it; not a moment would be wasted.

The decoder forced a foreign thought into his head. Authorisation granted.

The magos raised his skeleton mechanical fingers over the console and began to perform the ritual of awakening. As he tapped each key he felt the rhythm of the song pass through him. It was beautiful and complex but the pattern was entirely logical. Over one hundred years ago, when he had first arrived on Tranquility II, he had been introduced to this ancient technology and he had thought to himself ‘it works by pressing buttons? How rudimentary’. But he had come to appreciate the theatre of it. As much as he hated to acknowledge the human in him, when he operated the machine some almost forgotten emotion stirred inside of him.

As the shutters raised, he looked through the thick armour proof glass in front of him. His eyes whirred as they found focus on what lay beyond. It was a large hangar which housed precisely fifty egg shaped metallic objects. Each was as tall at an astartes and they were lined up ten across and five deep.

The music reached its crescendo and the magos hit the final key.

For a moment nothing happened.

Suddenly, the console glowed an entrancing jade green, prompting the magos to eye the front row of eggs, seeking signs of activity.

In unison the ovals cracked open horizontally along their midline discharging a sharp green light which briefly blinded the magos.

When his vision returned the magos was presented with row after row of towering insectoid-like automatas; each carried a pair of rotor canons, a lightning canon and dual power blades. Their heads were drawn forward which gave the impression that they were crouching and posed in anticipation of a call to attack. Each, with appropriate direction, was capable of extinguishing squads of astartes. The were ancient and impressive.

Indillian aether connected his control unit to the freshly awakened battle-automata and called out his command across the link. Carcharadon Annihilo.

The magos watched with reverence as the machines of death uniformly marched from their chamber and into the tunnel that would take them to their targets.

***


Lhorak and his comrades lay side-by-side and chest down on the top of one of the many containers within the bunker. Under their camo-cloaks they eyed the enemy through the scopes of their stalker bolters. From their perch, Lhorak reckoned that they could eliminate half a dozen marines before they were located. But giving in to enthusiasm at this stage would defeat their plan.

The objectives of the mission were plain. Kill the enemy and preserve the armoury and relics of the chapter.

To achieve these objectives Lhorak had taken a number of calculated risks. Firstly, he had convinced the Magos Indillian to provide assistance in return for future service. A devil’s bargain but necessary. Then he had lured the enemy to the location of the very treasures they wanted to protect.

He had chosen not to use the munitions themselves as bait as this would have attracted greater attention than they could handle. But the cave was not an unimportant staging ground for the fight to come. It was specifically chosen. For the entrance tunnel leading to the bunker connected through a network of subterranean hidden channels to Magos Indillian’s legio cybernetica facility. Once the order has been made for the Vorax to march, the exit was cut off and the fate of the Sharks was sealed.

Now all the Mantis Warriors had to do was patiently wait.

Lhorak spotted a hulking brute amongst the enemy. His armour was scarred and battered. He pointed commands and carried himself upright in a way that identified him as a soldier of rank. On some unheard instruction, the enemy fanned out with bolters raised and fingers eager for action.

Berec had calculated that it would take the sharks forty minutes to find them and thirty minutes for the mantids to arrive. Whilst it was not a core objective of the mission, Lhorak had hope that this would give his warriors a chance of survival.

Twenty minutes had passed since the hunt started and the enemy had chosen to re-group at the entrance to the bunker. The confidence of victory had seemingly relaxed them.

A number carried artefacts from containers which they had claimed during their exploration of the area. They lined a row of ten Mantis Warrior helmets. Each was a reminder. Each told a story. Each more precious than the life of any single astartes of the chapter. In the hand of the battleworn officer appeared a lightning-crackling warhammer, which he raised and brought down in a long slow theatrical swoop decimating the first helmet.

Lhorak felt his trigger finger tighten as he aimed directly into the eye-lens of the hammer bearer. And then he relaxed his grip.

His fellow astartes were not as restrained. Lhorak heard the pop of rounds exit the bolters gripped by Berec and Lanjod. He kept his face to his scope and watched to where the rounds would land. Two of the sharks were brought off their feet and a third as Lhorak threw caution to the wind and joined his brothers in targeting the enemy.

Lhorak checked his chronometer. Ten minutes until the automata arrive.

Lhorak looked up and noted that the enemy had located them and were slowly approaching behind a protective shield wall.

The three sat atop the container awaiting their fate.

-So this is how it ends?-, Lanjod signed.

Lhorak put a hand to each of them on their shoulders and said, ‘You have served the chapter well’.

There was satisfaction to be had in knowing that the carcharadons would have a pyrrhic victory.

***
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The Bronze Host - Minotaurs

Postby Balthamal » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:39 pm

There is a foul word in the tongue of my people; paralepsa. It signifies many things in those four syllables: brokenness, unfitness, impairment, harm and more grievously still dereliction, desertion, and failure. The precise connotations of that word and the situations it is used in vary a great deal but invariably it is a condemnation of a man’s shortcomings, a statement of the sins he has visited upon his name and his blood by his actions or lack thereof.

My war host has another name for such foulness; anaxos. It carries even more depth of meaning than the language of my birth however it is more simply derived to unworthiness. To have failed so profoundly as to not only be denied desired reward but to have even punishment withheld. To be so wretched that even death is considered above you, that your life is worth even less than the effort, the barest minimum of effort in my case, it would take to snuff out the wavering light of existence is thought of as egregious chore.

The pitiful creature kneeling before me is one such. Wasted, shivering and terrified. To think that such could have been my fate leaves a disgusting taste on my palette. Weakness. No fouler nor more insidious flaw. This one aspired to great heights once, at least before the breaks in his flesh and his psyche reduced him to this mewling state that cowers on the deck at my boots. He stinks of shit and fear. Worse, he stinks of failure. He did not pass all of the trials required for ascension. Running my practiced eyes over the scars he earned and those inflicted by my kin I begin to understand him; even though his entire history as an aspirant with the chapter is available for one of my rank, I prefer a more nuanced and critical inspection. Even parchment and data screens only offer so much.

His right leg below the knee, the dark scar giving testament to where the bone was forced through the dermis as it broke. His left leg shows nothing. That limb at least healed well. But a deformity was not this man’s downfall. He bears more marks. His chest cavity is riddled with pockmarks, evidence that he has undergone at least a portion of the implantation process, phase one certainly hence the pre-Haemastamen and Larraman’s scarring. His build supports this but what else has he partaken? He tries to maintain a dignified kneel but his fear and the cold rob him of that poise; perhaps his downfall was The Long Vigil, the one hundred days was a keen exploiter of flaws. Again no, he had risen beyond that trial. The slight marking at his throat signifying the implantation of the Omophagea. Could it have been the Carrion Feast? The flesh provided had been of poor quality in the past century, the need for replenishment outweighing the strictures on purity imposed by Lord Moloc. No. Further surgeries were transcribed on him. I ceased at that point. It was, ultimately, irrelevant why he had failed. What mattered, truly, was that he still lived and presented opportunity. And if there is any lore or guiding coda that govern my brethren and I, it is that knowledge and opportunity are one and the same. And both lead to the deaths of our enemies.

Some will think me pompous for sharing my thoughts in this way. To pare back the mysticism and shroud of terror that obscures the deeds of my host and indeed our existence from those we would both protect and stand executioner over. Such was the Emperor’s design and who are we to question? Our lives and our deaths are his, there can be no doubt. The only question we permit ourselves is whether our existence itself is a grievous sin or if by being gird for war, by spending our lives in the service of the ideals imposed on our species for ten millennia we provide recompense for the crimes of our blood. Do not mewl at these words. We know. We have always known. An age ago our ancestors laid anaxos at the feet of the Emperor and were punished accordingly. Not for poor cause are we the Bronze Host. The flaws of the past are purified in the fires of war.

Though I will not pretend that our cousins have emerged all the better for it. We simply endure against the stains upon our honour. Others cling to them and call them virtues. Gulliman’s ilk prattle about courage and honour from their lofty perches whilst the Imperium has slowly crumbled under their watch. Pathetic. The Wolves at least wear their flaws honestly and without shame, to be true to one’s self. But such is not the purpose of this, to having puling moans about a past long decided. This is about the future. Which brings us to the unfortunate kneeling before me. It is time he became illuminated as to his new purpose.

“Constantine Isos, Fourth of that name and blood. What is your sin?” I put the question directly to him. I am in no mood to be a teacher and though there are those among the Reclusiarchy who would enjoy a captive audience, now is not the time for indulgence or to have a soul fired with divine fervour.

He can barely summon the courage to respond to me. A pity if I would have to execute him and dump his corpse in the Troellfach, he was the most promising of the rejected I had managed to find. He surprised me however.

“I….I was weak. I didn’t pass the Third Branding. But I can Lord! I can pass if you-“

“Silence.” I barely have to breathe the word before the mortal’s teeth snap shut hard enough to cause him pain. The slight twitch of the jaw afterwards gives it away; there was some pain. Mercifully it also silenced the prattling though his chattering teeth did try their hardest to disrupt the quiet.

“I did not ask you to bare your soul or offer atonement. I asked you for your sin.”

The man keeps his eyes on the deck. He hasn’t glanced at me once. If I were to guess I’d estimate that a flash of bronze in his peripheral vision, the hum of my armour and the smell of the sacred oils adorning me would be all that he would need to identify me. The depth of my voice would certainly be enough. He pauses a long time before answering again.

“I……….failed Lord.” Without my enhanced hearing I doubt I’d have been able to pick up the words. The shame burns off him in waves.

“Good. So you are at least able to understand why you are not deserving of the gifts that were offered. You lacked the strength, the will, the conviction to take what was presented. The bounty of the God-Emperor belongs to the deserving only. Now, speak of your failure. That you still live is testament, of a sort.”

“The Lyman my Lord. It….fails me on occasion. It-“I let the mortal go no further. To have him profane the genetic power I bear stretches my tolerance as far as it will go. My hand cuts off his voice and his air as I grip his throat.

“Careful slave, you may yet live but that can easily be remedied. The Lyman didn’t fail you. You failed it. You were unworthy of the gift it would bestow. Now watch your tongue. And how did you fail it?”

He collapses back onto his haunches. The fear reek is strong again, for a moment I believe that he has given into his base nature and soiled himself but it is not so. He is simply scrambling for time to formulate an answer, torn between presenting one he believes will be appeasing to me or the one I actually seek.

“I still get dizzy lord. Even with the new ear my balance is far short of the perfection it should be.”

Oh how it hurts to have to give voice to those words. I can almost taste his anguish; to accept that the fault truly lies with himself after so long blaming the surgery, the apothecaries and the organ itself. To look ones shortcomings in the eye. A sobering experience.

“And what price would you pay, slave?”

“Lord? I don’t understand.”

“Great things were given into your keeping. Gifts and miracles beyond the dreams of the countless masses of our empire and you have been profligate with them. What price would you pay in restitution?”

This makes him hesitate. His head rises, though he visibly fights it; his eyes alight fully upon me at last. Ah there it is, that most deadly barb, the killer of men uncounted lurking in his eyes: hope. I am not some simpleton, I can read his desire as clearly as if I were of the Librarius; he wishes to be whole, to take his place among the war clan. To have such a boon offered amid such despair.

“I have nothing to offer Lord save my life which is yours already.”

“Your life is the God-Emperor’s mortal. It is not mine to take. If he truly has plans for you he will see you whole again.”

He bows fully, his head almost thudding off the deck with his haste to appear dutiful and pious.

“Your return to the calling of the Emperor has begun. Now answer all of my question fully, leave no detail out, there is no such thing as a minor detail.”

“Yes lord.”

I spend several hours with him. I dredge out every bit of information regarding his time aboard the Krata. How many cycles he spent in the lower decks after his rejection, how he survived among the feral caste that exists deep in the bowels of the ship, how many times he entered the Troeffalach and emerged. His faith, his family, his skills, everything. Nothing was left unspoken, I felt at the end that I, alone of the Ionians, understood Constantine and his life. He would do splendidly. Our incoming guest would need a mortal to properly comprehend the work that we did and the service we provided to an ungrateful Imperium. We spoke of two final matters before I sent him to the rest of my slaves for branding.

“Do you have any contact with others like yourself, though bearing more outwards sign of rejection from the trials?”

“Yes lord there are several. Some within the great halls and others who have fled to the dark levels.”

“Good, you will recruit one such to our purpose. I leave the final choice to you but I have impressed upon you the qualities required. Needless to say, such a creature will be disposed of when our undertaking is complete.”

“I understand completely lord.”

“See that you do. If I deem it prudent other assets will be made available to you in the course of your trial.”

“I am honoured my master. Lord, if I may be so bold, is this truly my Trial? Will success see my previous sins expunged?”
The hope bleeding through his tone is powerful enough to grasp. He wants this more than anything he has ever desired in his life. To be forgiven, to be accepted among the Bronze Host. To wage war as he was born to fight. All of that and none of it. His survival instinct is strong and though he is blinded by the hope I have given him he is not stupid; he knows fully that anything less than success in this endeavour will mean culling without pause or regard. He has been given a second chance where none existed previously and his desire, to say nothing of his anger, lend him conviction at this late hour. I take a small measure of pride that I do not lie to him.

“All things are possible in the service of the God-Emperor Constantine.”
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby Rob P » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:24 pm

Silver Skulls - Kyberos90

I liked the relatively straightforward concept of this story. I'm not massively familiar with all of the particulars of the Silver Skulls but I liked the 'headtaker'' reference. I thought the writing was generally vivid and on point. The word choice was generally very good too.

I didn't like the Yoda-like way that the dreadnought spoke and I thought a few of the sentences tried to do too much which made them quite clunky. It also slowed down the pace and made it less punchy. The misuse of a semi-colon here and there would have helped break it up a bit or a bit of restructuring.

Completely me, but I didn't like the bit with the marines in a semi-circle to awaken him - it was too theatrical. YMMV.

Some sentences didn't quite work for me e.g. When he speaks, it is not with his voice that he once had in life, but with the thunderous chorus of machines. . I felt it should say 'When he speaks, it is not with the voice that he once had in life.. '' and I just don't like 'the thunderous chorus of machines' /shrug.

There are also 'random' capatalisation - you and other's may disagree (which is fine) e.g. Storm Cannon / Emperor's Fury.

Also this: 'Kyberos is silent a moment before answering, ' is something I used to do and probably still do now and again. It sounds good when think it and sometimes when you say it but it reads better when you add in 'silent for a moment'.

Proper missed an opportunity for him to take a head too! :lol:

Apologies if it seems i'm focusing on the things I didn't like so much but overall I enjoyed the story and thought it was very good.

Edit: I'll work through the others when I have a moment.
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby Rob P » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:29 pm

Storm Hunter

I liked the way that this story was split into two phases - meeting the mechanicus and the hunt, followed by the duel. I liked the pacing. I liked the Highlander-style claymore wielding executioner. I liked the homage to the Alien franchise.

I liked the funny penultimate paragraph - was the humour intentional?

I liked: ...for the first time her eyes portrayed an emotion. Utter terror.

There were a few problems with the writing.

Firstly, the story was nearly entirely tell. In some ways it was more of an account than a proper story. This meant that I felt that I was just reading it rather than getting immersed in it.

There were a lot of typos and grammar errors too. I felt that a lot of these flowed from it being rushed maybe and they probably would have been ironed out in a review.

There were a lot of sentences that would have benefited from a semi-colon rather than a comma too.

I didn't like the structure of the first sentence which I mentally read in a dramatic manner.

There were random noun capitalisation (e,g, Claymore).

I didn't like the term Tyranid or any spin off of it. I would have been inclined to seed what the thing was through description and leave it to the reader to figure it out; maybe even give the thing a name specific to the Storm Lords.
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby Rob P » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:09 pm

The Commander's Sacrifice - Storm Eagles - The Crowe

Another chapter I know nothing about and it looks like they are in a bit of trouble in this one.

Really good effort for a first stab at BL fiction.

The story does make sense and I like the mini-tale of Titus vs the Tyranids.

Bits like 'Hoards of ravening creatures spawned of perfect insatiable hunger lurked beyond'' is an example of some of the writing I liked.

I am not sure if I do or do not like the dialogue. On one hand I really do think you've got a good grasp of a lofty fluffy tone of a psycho-indoctrinated super soldier, but I don't think it flows as well as more natural dialogue. We don't often get 'proper' codex space marines in the BL fiction because they don't come across well as characters.

The one obvious typo dept=debt is easily sorted.

There are a few things that would really help the story. I'd review your use of commas (and in places lack of commas). You have a lot of very long clunky sentences and, particularly in the first half, a lot of lists of things. An example is the rest of the sentence I liked above.

Like with my comments on 'Storm Hunter' there is a lot of telling rather than showing too, which disengages me a bit.

I'd suggest moving the first paragraph further down. You focus on a character, then set the scene, then come back to the character. I personally think it would have read better to set the scene and then introduce the character. This is not a hard and fast rule but fits with how your story rolls.

I'd also be inclined to remove the specific Tyranid names (Lictor/Genestealer). The creatures aren't described in your story so it relies on reader knowledge to understand what they are and why they impact on the story how they do. It might have been better to describe them and give the reader a treat in figuring out what they were or info dumping a line on them (though that might not work in 1k+ story).

Keep writing and develop your talent!
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby theCrowe » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:12 am

Thanks, Rob. Glad you enjoyed Titus' story. I feel like you might have been a bit harder on me but likely didn't want to rip my first Bolthole offering to shreds on me. Most kind of you.

I'll chip in here with my own readings of the submissions, if that's how this thing works?

I'll take them one at a time beginning with the story of Kyberos Head Taker.
Kyberos90- can't help but notice this is an autobiographical work. Can't be easy to type with that power claw so fair play for managing 1029 words.

har har, seriously though, I really like your choice to have Kyberos die in a really lame, uneventful way, to just be left in the dirt all pathetic and resentful. I mean, he's a warrior and he died in combat but he was bested. He was measured against his foe and found wanting. He was shamed. It really sets up the born-again-hard Kyberos 2.0 badassery to follow. (Very eloquent literary criticism, I know)

"Which am I to be awoken?" ~ are we missing a word there? Can't think what word... The response is "The First". That's the first company I take it? So the sense I'm making is that he deems the circumstances are likely dire for the 1st company to be involved and in need of his help.

Anywho... Silver Skulls. Pretty unknown to me.
Is there anything here that makes it a uniquely Silver Skulls story? What's their bag? Dreadnoughts? By the end of this piece I don't feel like I've learned much about the chapter. They like heads, cause there're skulls in'em?

Perhaps it wasn't your intention to teach a lesson on the Chapter but simply to relate the experience of the protagonist, which you did very effectively in present tense. I appreciate staying in present tense isn't always easy so fair play. keeping it fresh, and immediate.

You capture well Kyberos' messed up mental state too. He exists in a tortured dream state reliving his failure, yet when awoken he still envies the other sleepers and is a little too tired and resentful of those who have woken him. But he knows his sworn duty and ultimately is never more alive than in battle. "He dreams of war" indeed. A very fitting opening line.
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby Rob P » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:48 pm

@The Crowe

I just try and be fair and honest. It's so easy to find the bad and ignore the good in anything and vice versa, but people don't really keep going and keep improving if we do that. And I know my writing is not the best even on my best day so i'm happy to get as much as I give. I'm also aware that certain elements of what makes something good are opinion rather than fact so I try and convey that in my feedback.

In terms of commenting on submissions, it's what we've always done in the past. If people are just plonking their stories here with no feedback it can be demoralising and like screaming into the void.

Being quite selfish, I hope that by posting feedback, I might get feedback too!
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby Rob P » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:33 pm

The Bronze Host - Minotaurs

Easily my favourite. It works quite well; it's a vignette rather than a story. It's a chapter i'm reasonably familiar with and I liked the reference to how the chapter has changed. It's obviously quite dark and focuses more on ideology than action.
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby Balthamal » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:27 pm

Rob P wrote:The Bronze Host - Minotaurs

Easily my favourite. It works quite well; it's a vignette rather than a story. It's a chapter i'm reasonably familiar with and I liked the reference to how the chapter has changed. It's obviously quite dark and focuses more on ideology than action.


Why thank you kind sir
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby theCrowe » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:29 am

Sorry for the wait Rob, but I've finally gotten back to this so I'll take a look at your own entry first before I tackle the rest. Since you've been so kind as to look at everyone else's already. I've read the rest of course but not for a long while. I have every intention of revisiting each of your submissions guys.

Ok, so "Baited"

I thought it was a promising opening. The ignominious fate of the hapless Mantis Warriors, lured into a trap to be hunted by their cruel cousins. Of course that's how you're setting it up...
The reverence in Lhorak's placing of his damaged helm, is another good set-up for the 'baiting' to come with the helms at the end.

There was a good deal of naval gazing as Lhorak runs along in the dark. I though his deliberations were typically self righteous for a Space Marine. Always convinced of his own superiority even over other Astartes. Blind to his own weaknesses even while contemplating both the weakness of his enemy and the similarities they both share. In the end I'd say his confidence in the Pyrrhic-ness (now a word!) of their victory is on pretty shaky ground. The ten minute window Lhorak was betting on before they lured him out of hiding is no longer on his side and could just as likely serve his enemies' escape now.

Ultimately I think this is a story about hubris. Which always seems to be the biggest danger to any seemingly all powerful super-soldier. They always think they're better than they really are. They're their own worst enemies.

That said my favourite part of this story was the Magos performing his symphony. Excellently written section.
Also the use of "historiographer" Good word if you can use it.
And finally- "It works by pressing buttons? How rudimentary!" That's what my kids think of anything that's not a touch-screen.
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby Rob P » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:56 pm

Thank you for taking the time to comment. You're far too kind and give me far too much credit.
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby theCrowe » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:09 pm

Ok Razhbad- lets talk about Brother Caelbel Luern of the Storm Wardens chapter.

Yes, I agree the title is naff. Yes he's a 'Storm' Warden and yes he's hunting a Nid but it'd make more sense if there was a dust storm happening or if the title was more to do with his reasons for being there which seem to dominate the opening of the piece. "Execution of Duty" or "Warden's Oath " or something. Do we need to title these things? Is it standard practice to title every piece? Just asking what the deal is.

Anyway, I agree with Rob in that there are many grammar issues but nothing a good proof read wouldn't clear up. But also I'd suggest you read more and vary your reading. The more you're exposed to good and diverse writing the more will creep into your thinking and your language will improve.
Some of your issues are down to sentence structure and some are grammar errors and much as I hate to nit-pick these things honestly don't encourage a reader to stay with you so its well worth a little careful attention. However, mostly it makes sense. So I can ignore the technical issues in favour of looking at the story which is primarily what I like to do.

I liked the epic tone you're going for in the opening few lines. It sets the tone well and drops off before it gets tiresome so good work there.

Naming the tyranid, calling it a tyranid I mean, didn't bother me but I see what Rob is saying and I'd put it down to a trick missed. And a good example of what he's getting at with Show vs tell. Telling us its a Nid isn't exactly telling us more than Luern knows, I imagine he's done his homework on the bus into school, but its always an option for a writer, a device you can choose to use, to reveal to the reader only what the protagonist knows as he discovers it. Which you do more as the story progresses, I suppose. But the universe can feel bigger if you leave the reader more room for interpretation by giving the protagonist a less rigid taxonomy. I did the same thing with my own piece, I'm name-dropping Nid classifications like a scout at his first debrief so I'm in no way soap-boxing here. I missed the same trick. But then who wants to see the same trick in every routine? We all have a choice of tools I guess.

Digression alert- returning to the story.
“I feel I am in no immediate danger.” Brigida's famous-last-words circuits are clearly running on overdrive here, very funny.
The amphitheatre is a nice setting for a big show down. The revelation that the Mechanicus are responsible for this, with the chains and all changes everything. Luern is cleaning up their mess as much as protecting them. In fact they've deceptively lured him into this situation. It throws into sharp relief all the talk of oaths and giving of words etc at the start. Birgida's emotionless demeanour looks more like a poker face now. As if the Mechanicus have sent their best liar to dupe the gullible Warden into the exercise of his duty. And is it his duty still?
Yet even as the question hangs Luern doesn't seem to second guess his purpose here, he jumps straight in. This for me is the essence of Space Marine logic. Total loyalty coupled with blind faith, often by bonds of honour or oaths or whatever, and no matter how bad the situation, how faithless the partner, how ultimately void the contract might appear to you or I a Space Marine's word is his bond and for his part he will remain loyal to it regardless. That's just how they roll. So he goes for it and beats the thing and possibly dies not for the faithless Mechanicus but for the sake of his own honour. And ultimately he doesn't mourn Brigida's loss for any other reason than that she won't be there to pat him on the head for his good and faithful service. That's what he lives for, that's the whole point of this story, not the hunt but Luern's dogged loyalty to his duty and his oath.

As a story it's balanced well, and is a good length. It's got elements of world building, history and language, it looks at humanity and inhumanity, where a Space Marine fits in there and what motivates him. Writing-wise I'd say you've got good story ideas but your execution needs attention otherwise readers might switch off before they see that.
theCrowe
 
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Re: Space Marines: Entries

Postby theCrowe » Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:13 am

So the last one for me to discuss is "The Bronze Host" - Minotaurs by Balthamal

There is a word. "paralepsa" Lets hold that thought because we'll come back to it.

Moloc mentions "My war host" and the "Language of my birth" but without any prior knowledge of the Minotaurs chapter I'm left a bit miffed as to exactly What this signifies.
Not to worry I'm given plenty later on to draw all sorts of conclusions with and so based purely on this story I have concluded the following.

"Paralepsa" or Anaxos This creature is one such.
To be denied both desired reward and punishment is to be left in the agony of hope.

We get Plenty of thinly veiled naval gazing in Moloc's appraisal of Constantine's weakness, and all seemingly without mercy and utterly pitiless. (This story is certainly of the school of "there are no good guys in 40k") The well known trait of the Astartes superiority complex is in full force.
But then we learn of Moloc's own position, as one of the Bronze Host. Their eternal recompense for some millennia old grievance, some failing they can never hope to atone for. "When we laid "Anaxos" at the feet of the emperor" So now we're back to "paralepsa"

Moloc is such a creature beneath his veil of superiority and contempt. He is denied reward, denied death and forever tormented by hope.

In the end what of Moloc's entire speech to Constantine could not be said of himself.
“Great things were given into your keeping. Gifts and miracles beyond the dreams of the countless masses of our empire and you have been profligate with them. What price would you pay in restitution?”

“Your life is the God-Emperor’s mortal. It is not mine to take. If he truly has plans for you he will see you whole again.”

And so his condescension to Constantine is a desperate selfish act. To give the pathetic creature's life some worth despite his supposedly irredeemable state. Constantine's very presence before Lord Moloc is little more than Moloc's own insecurity reaching out for the hope that is such torment to him; that redemption might yet be possible. If even a creature such as Constantine might not hope in vain forever then why not Moloc?

Hope falls like breadcrumbs from Moloc's own table but he feeds them to Constantine even in the knowledge that he fully intends to destroy the man once he has served his purpose. One such purpose being to furnish Moloc with yet another such creature for him to torment with hope and again betray.

Moloch, I think knows this all to be true but he can no more help it than Constantine. He knows he is caught in a cycle of "paralepsa" but then can we not surmise that the Emperor too, by this reasoning is also "paralepsa". He sits upon the throne of the imperium but beneath the veil of terror and splendour the emperor is little more than another pathetic creature denied both reward and punishment and left only the agony of his hope for a redemption that will never come.

Ho-lee-shirt!

Well, Balthamal, I gotta hand it to you, this one really stands up to a good close shake-down. And nary a Bolter in sight! God-emperor I'm impressed.
theCrowe
 
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