October Competition - Space Hulk I

The Bolthole's monthly 1,000 word story competition.

October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby Squiggle » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:05 am

Since we seem to still have some interest in this, I declare Read in a Rush RESURRECTED!!

I have recently bought Space Hulk, the boardgame. Some of you may have read the accompanying book by Gav Thorpe. Anyway, the set features, as an objective, a dead blood angel terminator sanguinary priest, found dead on his throne, still in his armour, his skull picked clean of flesh by the passing of time and the attentions of scavengers and nasties.

The first competition is about him, and his final moments, and the events that lead him to die on the throne.

As per usual, the story must be within the 1000 limit, plus or minus 10%

Today is October the 15th, so with the aim of getting some momentum, the deadline for finished entries is Friday 31st October

Enjoy!
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby YeOldeGrandma » Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:29 pm

I just started to re-read the Mission Book from Space Hulk. Apparently, only fifty marines of the entire Blood Angels chapter survived the first boarding.

Granted, I haven't read any Space Marine novellas (only read fluff on lexicanum etc) but is this canon? Only fifty? Wouldn't that be a bigger deal, especially when you have the Crimson Fists bitching about Rynn's World?
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby Mossy Toes » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:55 am

Six hundred years back, but... yeah, apparently, though against a different hulk. And then they were almost wiped out as a chapter previously on Mackan by Abaddon in M37. They do seem to bounce back from quite a bit, don't our space sparkle-vampires...

Nearly done with my entry. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else brings.
Last edited by Mossy Toes on Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby Mossy Toes » Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:37 am

Memory and Vengeance
1100 words.



He would not fail again. He could not fail again.

Sanguinary Priest Aliandro's armored hands, the left dwarfing the right inside of its bulky power fist, clenched the arms of his command throne.

“Has the overlap been plotted yet? What of our firing solution?”

One of the technical officers laboring over the logic bank immediately to his right snapped off a salute. “It's going to be close, sir. Target is closing on the rift rapidly. With generators three and five still offline-

“Will we have a firing solution?”

The human swallowed, and attempted to wipe away the sheen of sweat that had gathered on his brow. “Extreme range, sir. Very extreme range. Into their rear arc. It is conceivable that were one of our torpedoes to hit their engines—very slim chance, sir.”

Aliandro spasmed convulsively. He bit down hard on the bitter oath that had risen to his tongue and tasted blood in his mouth. So close. So close to vengeance. And to know it was slipping from his grasp.

“I don't care what the tech magi say. Generator three took less damage—I want it back online.”

The officer paled. “Sir-”

Aliandro raised his oversized fist and activated its power field. “Obey,” he snarled. “I will not see these Black Legion scum slip my grasp.” The officer nodded his tremulous assent and Aliandro let the power field fade.

He jerked his gaze to the display console, where the hovering holo-sigils depicting the remnants of the battle blinked. A handful of crippled Imperial vessels, the husks of the Archenemy's escorts... and the Heritor of Blasphemy, the fleeing Repulsive class Grand Cruiser, its weapons banks savaged. Aliandro's Innocent Blood, a battered Vanguard Cruiser, limped after it. What Aliandro wouldn't have given for a Strike Cruiser's bombardment cannon.

Bastis, standing beside Aliandro's throne, laid a cautionary hand on the left shoulder of the sanguinary priest's Terminator armor. “My soul calls for their blood as much as yours, sir,” his power-armored equerry said quietly, “but we cannot avenge our brothers if we destroy ourselves in pursuit of this foe.”

Aliandro jerked his shoulder away. “You are young, Bastis. Young like so many others among the Blood Angels. Were you alive to see us brought us so close to extinction? Were you the first to touch ground on Mackan and see the desecrated bodies of eight hundred of our chapter?

“I will not suffer these sons of Abaddon to live, even if it means the lives of everyone on this vessel to stop them. They. Will. Die.”

“It is not only our lives you gamble, sir. Would you risk the Chalice as well? One of our few remaining links to Sanguinius?”

Aliandro reached up with his right hand and unclipped his helmet, then looked over to meet Bastis's eyes.

“No worldly wealth is too great a price for vengeance, brother,” he snarled, trembling with emotion. "I would risk even that."

Bastis bowed his head. “Do not lose yourself in this pursuit, brother-priest, or we are all lost.”

“Sirs! Extreme firing envelope reached. Enemy will be lost in the rift within fifteen minutes of ordnance reaching them, by best estimation. The tech magi say-”

“The tech magi will do their duty. Hold course for five minutes then fire.”

His head throbbed. Memories of great heaps of broken, red-armored corpses, their gene-seed despoiled, haunted him. Of hallways warped by the excesses of the Archenemy, on Mackan and...

“Firing,” the officer said. New runes, ordnance in flight, blossomed on the holo-screen. “Whether we hit them or not, now, it's out of our hands and in the Emperor's, sir. Slackening power to the engines and bringing generator three back offline.”

Aliandro backhanded the human, sending him sprawling bloody-faced to the deck. “Hold the damned course. If we disable them, I'll not have them limp into the rift and escape because our resolve wavered.”

“We need to power the reactor down,” the officer said mushily, through his shattered cheekbone and jaw. “Sir. The generator is going critical.”

It. Will. Hold. Remove this man from my sight.”

Bastis knelt, gathered the human into his arms, and cast a reproachful glance at Aliandro. “I will take him to the infirmary.”

Blinking runes threaded their way across the holo-screen. The bow torpedoes would not be reloaded in time for another salvo.

The waiting. The recollection, dredged up, now, of the smell of rotten and scorched flesh—the flesh of his brothers in arms. “Come to me,” he growled beneath his breath, eyes not wavering from the rune marking the Heritor. “Come to me you bastard, you traitor, you fallen brother.”

He remembered the fighting, slaughtering his way through those hallways in the putrid darkness of... no, that was not Mackan. There had been only forsaken silence and stillness among the slaughter, on Mackan.

The runes collided, combined. Torpedos winked out as they were intercepted, overshot, or detonated. Officers shouting at the edge of his hearing. Report readouts of hits and damage dealt. Aliandro's focus on the enemy was a blade; all else washed over him unseen and unheard.

The enemy flagship's pace hardly slackened. It plunged into the rift and was gone, lost from sensors.

“After it,” Aliandro grated, his voice an iron wall. “Into the rift. I will chase you beyond the jaws of hell, brother. I will catch your Vengeful Spirit—ah, the walls. They bleed. You cannot hide or flee.”

He was surrounded by clamoring voices, alarms wailing. No matter, them. The servants of his brother threw themselves at him, wailing as he pulverized their flimsy bodies with flaring power fist. They could not sway him from his path. His Father, Brother Dorn—they had been lost after teleporting into the bowels of the traitor's vessel.

The ship shuddered, began to tear itself apart.

Horus could not escape his grasp. For the sons he had lost on Mackan, on Signus Prime. He would avenge them.

There were none more to kill; the bridge was empty but for him and corpses. The Black Rage dimmed, thinning just long enough that Aliandro could surface from the memories of Sanguinius and see the carnage he had wrought. He staggered back, slumped into his command throne.

He didn't have to check the vid-screen to see the warp rift, any longer: it loomed through the bridge's windows, vast and all-consuming. Warnings from the command terminal. The generators were in total meltdown, a cascading chain containment breach. No hope of raising a Gellar field.

They fell down, down into the rift, where the carcass of their vessel would float at warp's mercy.

Aliandro wept.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby Squiggle » Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:04 pm

Awesome :)
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby The Hillock » Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:21 pm

Oh nuts, I didn't read the rules properly and wrote a story nothing to do with a dead Sanguinary priest. I'll keep that for later, and get writing a new one now.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby The Hillock » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:27 pm

OK, so I have my own rules for RIAR, which dictate my entry must also be WIAR - Written In A Rush. Hence, I've written this in the last three hours. It shows, or at least, it's not as good as Mossy's. Meh, I may write another one, or I may wait and see what Space Hulk II entails. Anyway, here we go.

Hope is Waiting - 1098 words (excluding title)

“Port batteries report ammunition exhausted, Lord.”

“Starboard batteries not answering comms, Lord.”

“Engineering reports void shields cannot be repaired, Sire.”

“Forward lance batteries report they cannot fire, Lord. There isn’t enough power.”

“Enemy boarding parties have breached the hull on decks three, seventeen, twenty three and eighty four, my Lord.”

Captain Dinillius paced the command deck of the Lunar-class cruiser Hope of Sanguinius, absorbing the reports of the bridge crew as they worked around him. At the beginning of the engagement they had been professional, following orders they knew well after hundreds of battles. When he had chosen to engage the Ork armada rather than withdraw they had exchanged worried looks, and these had become hushed whispers when their two escorting Cobra-class destroyers had been turned into the drifting, flaming hulks he could now see alongside. Now, with the battle all but lost, they were on the verge of panic.

“Get me a status report from Sergeant Lenneaus,” the Blood Angel rapped out.

“Aye lord.” The comms officer bent to his station as the first officer approached the Blood Angel commander, stopping a respectful handful of feet away and bowing his head.

“My lord, the Hope is dead in space. Orks are swarming all over the ship. We have no weapons and very little power to the engines. I am afraid the battle is lost. If w...” The officer was cut off as an enormous ceramite gauntlet closed around his throat. One moment the space marine had been walking away, the next he was right in front of the first officer. Any other activity on the bridge ceased as the crew turned to see their leader hoisted into the air by his neck.

“We. Have. Not. Lost.” Dinillius spoke loudly, his gaze not on the stricken officer but sweeping across the bridge, taking in each and every man and woman. For a moment they stared back, and everything seemed to pause as the first officer’s feet kicked in vain at the air.

It was this scene that greeted Acacius as he entered the bridge, his Tactical Dreadnought armour marked by bullet holes, burns and scratches. His torso and limbs were the arterial red of the Blood Angels, his helmet and one pauldron a contrasting white. Attached to his armour were the tools of his trade, the narthecium on his right wrist and the Blood Chalice attached at his waist. Tearing off his helmet, Acacius took in the scene.

“Captain, what are you doing? Release him!” Dinillius either didn’t notice or didn’t care, and continue to throttle the now unconscious officer. Acacius walked toward the captain, the servos in his abused armour whining as he moved. Placing his hand on the Captain’s wrist he forced his arm to lower, the strength of the terminator armour overcoming Dinillius’ resistance. The officer collapsed to the floor, and Acacius gestured for the crew to carry him away.

“Brother, what has come over you?” Acacius looked into the eyes of his commander but the senior officer’s expression was blank, his stare acute but unfocused. Acacius turned away to demand a status report from the crew, but as he did so he saw something flickering on the sensorium.

“Brace for impact!” Acacius shouted, barely a second before the entire ship heeled over to port. Any crew not sat down were thrown from their feet as the lighting cut off and fresh alarms sounded from every console.

“Report!” One of the crewmen, Acacius couldn’t see who, staggered to the damage console as the emergency lighting flickered to life.

“We’ve been hit with grapples. My lord, they’re dragging us toward the hulk!”

The impact seemed to have shaken Captain Dinillius from his reverie. “Sergeant Lenneaus?”

Acacius didn’t even look at his captain. “No, Captain, it is Acacius. Lenneaus has been claimed by the rage, brother. He is no good to us. Even now he slaughters more of the crew than the Orks do. The company has suffered severe casualties. We must evacuate the survivors.” Acacius clicked on the comms unit in front of him. “All crew, abandon ship. Get to the escape pods. We will hold them off until you are clear.”

The bridge crew bolted for the doors, when a single shot rang out and an officer fell down, his head a fine red mist. Captain Dinillius glowered behind his smoking bolt pistol.

“No-one leaves. We are Blood Angels. We do not run!” The crew hesitated, and Dinillius blew a hole in the stomach of the helmsman. “Cowards! Stand and fight!” He shifted aim again as the crew scattered, but before he could fire a massive fist closed around the pistol.

“All of you, run for the escape pods. Go!” The crew ran for the hatch as Acacius faced Dinillius in the centre of the bridge.

“Brother. This is not the way.” Acacius could see all reason had left his commander. The red thirst had his brother in its grip. Dinillius released his grip on his pistol, and with a howl activated his chainsword.
Sparks flew from Acacius’ armour as he parried blow after blow on the thick ceramite. The captain was beyond reason, beyond sanity. Acacius backed up, his vambraces blocking the sword again and again, until he could retreat no further. Dinillius kept hacking away, and with a heavy heart Acacius activated the power field on his fist.

“Brother!” he tried, one last time, but Dinillius was beyond such bonds now. Acacius raised his fist to parry the next blow, and Dinillius’ chainsword shattered as it met the arcane force of the power weapon. Screaming rage, the captain threw the hilt aside and clawed at Acacius with his hands, pounding his fists into the other marines’ face.

“I am sorry, brother.” Acacius raised the powerfist and brought it down on Dinillius’ head, crushing it out of existence.

The ship shook again as the orks hauled it closer to the hulk at the centre of their fleet. From the corridor the sounds of pounding feet and shouted roars of triumph echoed as the Orks approached. Acacius quickly slapped a button and blast doors as thick as titan armour slid down, cutting him off from the rest of the ship and any chance of escape. He checked the self destruct mechanism but it had been knocked out by the impacts.

Sitting in the command throne, safe but trapped, Acacius activated his sus-an membrane and prepared to enter voluntary hibernation. He had done his best for his men and his crew. Now he would wait for the Chapter to come to his aid.

He would wait.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby Mossy Toes » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:08 pm

To be fair, I wrote mine about Aliandro as a Captain, then, when I reread the prompt, hastily used the find+replace tool to turn him into a sanguinary priest as necessary. No reason you couldn't do the same with Acacius... :P

And hey, I'll give it to you that yours certainly ends with a reason for the character to still be in the chair, versus mine which simply has him ending the story where he'll eventually be dead (perhaps dying almost immediately after their ship falls into the warp, or something). So in that regard, it actually makes a bit more sense...
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby The Hillock » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:01 pm

Mossy Toes wrote:To be fair, I wrote mine about Aliandro as a Captain, then, when I reread the prompt, hastily used the find+replace tool to turn him into a sanguinary priest as necessary. No reason you couldn't do the same with Acacius... :P

And hey, I'll give it to you that yours certainly ends with a reason for the character to still be in the chair, versus mine which simply has him ending the story where he'll eventually be dead (perhaps dying almost immediately after their ship falls into the warp, or something). So in that regard, it actually makes a bit more sense...


Thanks dude. I have several logical issues with mine, which I couldn't think of a way round once I'd written it so left in. F'rinstance, not very Blood Angel to lock yourself in and chillax when there're Orkses to murderise. Still, it'll do. First thing I've actually written to completion since Far Worlds, so I'm considering it a warm up exercise.

EDIT - on the find-and-replace. The story I posted above is brand spanking new - the other one I wrote has nothing to do with any of the events or characters in this one. If there are any mentions of Acacius being a captain they're a snafu - he is meant to be a sanguinary priest.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby Rusk » Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:58 am

Night Cycle

There wasn’t anything in KH-74’s programming that could prepare it for this.

The cleaning servitor had been bustling along the corridors of the Sin of Damnation, minding its own business, vacuum nozzles whirring and sucking up the dust and chunks of debris that littered the corridors of the derelict spacecraft. There had been less of the purple-skinned creatures around in the last few night cycles, and those that KH-74 had seen contented themselves with hissing at the drone and scuttling away, leaving the servitor to its schedule. The slightest flash of KH’s old mind told it that it should be thankful the six-limbed monsters were leaving it be, but the overriding impulses of the tech-priests’ reprogramming beat down any individual thoughts the once human might have had. KH was simply content that the creatures didn’t make any attempt to obstruct the servitor’s cleaning routine and continued on its way.

That was how KH-74’s life had continued, every night cycle aboard the Sin since the disappearance of its human crew and the arrival of the purple monstrosities some sixty Terran years past. KH had never encountered a problem, no hitches or interferences with his programming as it trundled about the ship. That was how it had continued, until the day KH-74 found its path blocked by a giant red form slumped across one of the Sin’s hatchways.

KH-74 hadn’t even noticed the obstruction until its heavy, rusting tracks bumped into the motionless blockage. KH reversed up, its optics – two glinting green orbs of light set deep in its withered, decaying face – traversing down to observe what was causing such an unacceptable delay to its cleaning routine. Its memory banks vaguely recognised the obstruction as the body of an Adeptus Astartes – Blood Angels, perhaps? KH couldn’t be certain, it’s fading and ailing optics made it difficult to be certain of anything on vision alone – collapsed on his side, bloody rents torn in the back of his thick power armour. KH had traversed this section of the ship barely three months earlier, and the cleaning servitor had left the area perfectly clean, devoid of any deceased super-humans. The corpse had to be new. The fact that the Space Marine’s helmetless skull still had scraps of skin and tissue attached to it only confirmed KH’s suspicions.

A low stream of binary bubbled out from between KH’s rotting lips, calling for assistance. The cleaning servitor backed up into an alcove and plugged itself into the spacecraft’s mains, preserving power. After the disappearance of the Sin’s human crew, KH had to look after itself a lot more carefully. If it shut down, it realised it was never likely to be reactivated. The shutters on KH’s glowing optics closed tight, and the servitor began to… dream.

When it was in sleep mode, KH-74 was no longer KH-74, cleaning servitor fourth class serving aboard the heavy frigate Sin of Damnation. In sleep mode, KH-74 was Katia Hirov, mother of one, latent psyker, born and raised on the planet Poltgrad and sentenced to Servitude Imperpituis for the crime of offending the Cult Mechanicus. Katia should’ve known better than to try her little mind tricks on one of the followers of the Machine God, but she hadn’t, and here she was. With vacuum cleaners instead of hands. Nice work, Katia.

Katia felt like she was floating. She could see the Adeptus Astartes below her, lumbering through the halls of the Sin of Damnation, his hulking power fist dripping with slimy black ichor. The vials mag-locked to his hip clanked together as he moved, the bloody geneseeds of his brothers held safely within. The marine was injured, limping heavily and bleeding from a dozen cuts and lacerations. He’d removed his ruined terminator helm, and his shaven scalp gleamed with sweat, the low-level emergency lights reflecting off his dome.

It must have been the injuries that meant the terminator didn’t hear the creatures coming. Katia saw them, two six-limbed aliens, all teeth and claws and knotted purple skin, skulking towards the wounded marine’s rear through the shadows of the Sin’s hallways. She tried to call out, tried to warn the superhuman that the xenos were coming for him… she thought for one second that he heard her. The terminator’s head turned upwards, his gargantuan features creasing in confusion.

Then the genestealers struck.

“What in the bloody hell have we got here then, eh?”

KH-74’s eyes flickered open, its systems slowly rebooting after an age in sleep mode. The gigantic form of Nilquit, one of the Sin’s heavy lifting servitors and the only other remotely human creature that had survived the spacecraft’s alien infestation. Nilquit had been an ogryn once, a giant abhuman that would have towered over even the dead Blood Angel, and some bright spark had rewired its systems to spout obscenities and crude remarks about whatever action it was undertaking.

KH-74 burbled a response in binary, to which Nilquit nodded its huge, misshapen head. “Aye, let’s get this bastard out of here, shall we?” the once-ogryn growled. Nilquit braced itself above the Blood Angel and heaved, bionically-infused muscles straining with the effort. Spitting curses, Nilquit began to drag the Astartes away. KH followed in its wake, using its suction nozzles to wipe up the blood dripping from the marine’s corpses and staining the Sin’s walkways.

Eventually, KH and Nilquit reached the spacecraft’s basilica. It was a pitifully small space, the tinted glass windows that once displayed images of the Emperor and his Angels long since blown out. There were seven or eight rows of flimsy wooden pews in the chamber, which Nilquit shouldered through on the way to the giant bronze throne that dominated the chapel. With deftness many would be surprised to find a servitor possessed, Nilquit carefully lowered the terminator onto the throne, making sure not to smash the geneseed tubes beneath the marine’s massive weight. The Blood Angel slumped slightly to one side, his chair creaking slightly under the strain, one massive paw dangling over the armrest.

“Not too bloody shabby, I’d say,” Nilquit grunted, swivelling and marching out of the basilica, its job done. KH-74 stayed a while longer, sitting and staring into the marine’s sunken eye sockets. Something close to a conscious thought ghosted around the back of KH’s skull. How did this Angel die, yet abominations like Nilquit and itself continued to live? What sense was there in that? Something didn’t sit right with KH, and it didn’t like it. This felt wrong.

But what did she know? She was only a servitor.

(1,091)

Bit of a weird one this. Eh.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby The Hillock » Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:18 am

Hey Rusk. That's an enjoyable read mate. This line in particular:

the cleaning servitor had left the area perfectly clean, devoid of any deceased super-humans


Was this intentionally funny or coincidence? Because it made me giggle. Also, I want the extended adventures of KH-74 and Nilquit the sweary servitor to be an ongoing series.

Nice one.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby YeOldeGrandma » Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:18 pm

Remember the fires - 911 words excluding title

I remember the fires. I remember Terra burning. With everything else dry and dead, scattered to the winds like sand, this memory returns.

I am adrift, caught upon the eight winds. The body, once mighty and proud, has become a withered husk, but still I linger. Like a moth I flutter through the darkness as the hallways around me are rewrought, as time and space is rewrought.

The Chalice...

The Chalice remains and I circle it, drawn to its flame. The Chalice is me and I am the Chalice and it burns white-hot. When others come to sup from it they can't, and they rage. Abomination, they hiss, abomination.

I am dead and have been dead for longer than time. I died yesterday. The wolves come as dusk falls in the woods of ancient winter. They howl, tongues lolling, breath steaming, snow crust unbroken by their hunter strides. But I turn and I kill them with my hands. I still remember the fires.

The sea casts me away and I wash up on foreign strands, coughing. The sky is dark and void. I cry out but there is nothing and no one to hear. My voice is hoarse and the tide comes back in and carries me out again.

In the shadows we are held, alone and forgotten. Millennia pass as we pound on the walls, but there is only echoes and dust, no one to come and unlock the door. We remember the fires and we howl.

We see and we see and we see. Destiny is wrought before our eyes and we are shown the gears and the cogs, the workings of the spheres, the blood that runs through the veins of the universe. Worlds are born and slaughtered; there is war among the stars. Light glimmers here and there before guttering out and everywhere dark clouds roll in, thunder cracks and lightning strikes, kindling fires. We remember. Black rage fills us but they only laugh. Son of Sol, they chirtle, Son of Sol.

Rain lashes from a sky of chaos. Far away a ship plies the oceans, a man standing at its bow. He screams a golden scream, a rictus scream, a scream for all to hear. I call back but my voice falters and breaks, blown away by wind and rain. The man sputters as rain fills his open mouth and water runs down his cheeks like tears.

There are wolves ahead, disguised in the form of sons. The fires rage all around us. Father. I dash forward, quick as lightning. No wolf can stand before me, but then the Eye fixes me in its stare. Father! I call out even as it advances on me, casting its black shadow. They are laughing now, laughing and thirsting as my bones are broken, one by one, and my wings are burned to blackened stumps. Blood wells from a weeping angel, crying out one last, desperate word.

Father!


The universe changes, growing old, growing young. The heart of eternity pounds, stars exploding with every beat. A silver tombstone shifts, giving way to ancient hate. A son of lust is born, ripping his mother apart as he spills forth. A shadow prowls the voids, unseen in the depths but surfacing now to take a first bite.

They howl with mirth as I scream, my mind fraying, scattering like leaves to the eight winds. I shatter, but I cannot die. My pitiful spectre remains leashed. I am the Chalice. I...

There are wolves ahead, disguised in the form of sons. The fires rage all around us. The Eye fixes me in its stare and my bones are broken, one by one, my wings burned to blackened stumps. Blood wells from a weeping angel, crying out one last, desperate word.

The sea casts me away and I wash up on a foreign strand, coughing. The sky is dark and void, but something stirs - the fringe of the shadow, a single tendril only, slithering and scittering around me. It ignores my cries; it only nests and then the tide comes back in and carries us out again.

See, son of Sol, see! There are only fires. Terra burns and we remember. You cannot. Not this. The flames crackle hungrily, devouring the earth. You see what we wish you to see. There is laughter, thirsting laughter. Where the firestorm has passed, nothing but ash and death remains. We see clearly now: it is a corpse burning, and the flames are racing up its neck. Afterwards, nothing remains but the blackened bones, the bones of the galaxy, drifting silently in the void.

The sea casts me away and I wash up on a foreign strand, coughing. The sky is dark, but a distant star shines brightly. I lie in the surf with waves lapping at my thighs, watching it, crying out to it, and it closes on me. Around me burn the fires of the beasts, spewing shadow, muffling my calls, but the starlight reaches down through it, caressing my face with a brother's touch.

"What is it?" There are lamps spearing through the dust. Hulking shapes have entered, have unlocked the door.

"A relic of Sanguinius. His blood was once held in this vessel." Bright star, brother-star. Son of Sol. "I can feel it, the provider of our gene-seed indelibly marked on the goblet."

Not a goblet, but a Chalice. The Chalice that is me as I am the Chalice. And we remember.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby Mossy Toes » Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:33 pm

Four entries and counting? Oh joy!
What sphinx of plascrete and adamantium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Imperator!
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby VictorK » Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:05 am

Ah, good ol' RiaR. Mossy, can I personally thank you for changing your avatar? The old one was unsettling to me in ways I don't like to speak about.

This story is a rush. It's different than my usual fare, but hell RiaR is as good a place as any to experiment. I'll be straight with you: I don't know anything about Space Hulk. I don't know anything about the Blood Angels. I don't know anything about Sanguinary Priests. I just tried to tell a story. It's not very good, but in the spirit of giving RiaR and boost and getting back into things, I felt obligated to participate. It should also be obvious what book I just read to inspire the tale. The story is 1100 words long, as Word reckons.

The Mortal Priest

In those days, the people of Eritreon watched the sky. They knew all the stars by name, the Laughing Prince, the Winged Hero, and, of course, the Holy Star of Terra. Most of all they knew to look for stars that moved, stars that had no names.

Arias was made a man on the night the Skywatchers saw the new star traverse the Wolf’s Fist. The great hunter of his tribe, Askon, cut the sign of his people over his breast. Arias’ feast was interrupted when the old men declared that the moving star was an ill omen. For three days the star continued to move, until on the fourth night it stopped. On the fifth, it started to grow.

In times such as these, the people of the black tree and the tall mountain knew that they must beseech the gods for aid. Askon, tall and handsome with hair as black as the tarflats inhabited by the twisted folk, caught a sacred ibex and brought it to the temple at the height of the mountain. There, under the eyes of the elders, he drew the ritual knife across its neck and let its blood flow. Arias, a man of his people, was entitled to watch. He would learn later that the blood of that creature, created from a gene template older than humans on his world, would react with the ancient circuitry below the temple floor and send a message out across the stars.

The gods did not come. The dark men unleashed the twisted and overran the deep valleys that pockmarked Eritreon. At last they arrived at the tallest mountain and called their best to fight. Askon received the blessing of the old men and the kiss of his young wife, took up his sword, and met the call. He quickly died.

Arias had no sword. He had no wife, and to the elders he was invisible. The young man stepped forward when others stayed behind. He had in his hand a branch of the black tree that grew at the foot of the temple and with it he issued his own challenge. The dark man who killed Askon answered. Something looked out from behind that man’s eyes and talons capped his fingers, all muscle and malice. Arias was afraid, but he could not turn away now, not with the eyes of his people on his back.

Long after he left Eritreon forever, the people would sing of Arias and the Black Tree. Arias himself remembered little of the fight, but even in his waking moments he would sometimes return to that time when he stood over the dark man. The talons stung deep into his flesh, above the scar carved into him so recently. Heat, poison, and the touch of one beyond flowed into him. Arias won the fight, his club rested in what had been half of the dark man’s head, and still he spoke, a shadow oozing from his lips: “I am yours and you are mine. You chose victory today, child of man. What will you choose tomorrow?” Then it died, and Arias was overcome.

The gods came. They rode down from the sky on pillars of fire and destroyed the dark men. Arias did not see them, he lay in the temple, shrouded by a darkness that feared no light. When the danger had passed the people of the mountain and the black tree feasted the gods in red armor and sang the song of Arias. One of the gods, marked by the chalice he carried, came to see the youth who was barely a man. The gods held their own counsel, some arguing that Arias was too far gone while others noted his heroism. The Sanguinary Priest cast the deciding vote and anointed Arias in blood. The shadow abated.

After many years they called him Brother Arias. The Blood Angel never felt ashamed of his previous ignorance; he learned its purpose and thanked the men he formerly called gods for making him who he was. Arias’ previous exploits amounted to nothing among his brothers, that old life laid to rest. Yet, he still remembered the daemon-man’s words.

Not long after he received the geneseed Arias began to see visions of death. Not just his death but the deaths of others. The priest who found him and sanguinated him removed Arias from the ranks of the battle brothers and gave to him the blood of Sanguinius himself. It was no normal thirst that gripped him, and the blood of the Primarch stabilized the visions until Arias found peace. The same priest passed down his chalice and fought no more.

Arias, called by some the Mortal Priest, took a black tree as his personal sigil. On Araneas VII he foresaw the death of a company of his brothers and let them have it, though he exploited the enemy’s own thirst and won the battle. On Regias he foresaw his own death and defied it, striking down an Ork warlord. He could not remain in the chapter halls, in contemplation or in prayer. It was said his own shadow chased the Priest, and soon he embarked on an endless campaign.

His battle brothers came to see something holy in Arias’ endless flight from the death that stalked him. Though to fight with him was to embrace death, the Mortal Priest always sent them on their way with glory. On more than one occasion he confronted that shadow that spoke to him on Eritreon, the only thing that could make him depart a battlefield. The chapter honored him with terminator armor, which would in time become his sarcophagus.

Arias met the shadow for the last time on an Imperial freighter whose void shields had failed en route to a world with ten billion souls. The Mortal Priest intervened, and once again the marines under his command were killed, though they took many of the twisted crew with them. Alone, the shadow mocked Arias: “Master of death, weaver of fates! What god are you now, child of the black tree? I am yours and you are mine. Choose victory and embrace me, man of faith!”

Arias laid the trap and took the bait. Again the talons entered him, and he knew that to accept victory would be to let them claim him forever. Instead he took his seat, the servos in his legs given out. “I am yours and you are mine.” He removed his helmet while repeating the daemon’s words. “Then come with me, shadow.” The Sanguinary Priest placed his bolter by his temple and fired.
"The gods are not all powerful, they cannot erase the past." -Agathon
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby Mossy Toes » Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:33 am

VictorK wrote:Mossy, can I personally thank you for changing your avatar? The old one was unsettling to me in ways I don't like to speak about.

You are welcome, and--honestly, that was the intent. How else to honor H.R. Giger's passing than post under one of his perverse, disturbing symbolisms? But... it was time to change.

(and I will say the lack of a reliable auto-resize feature makes avatar changing on the Bolthole a bit of a hassle, all told...)
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby The Hillock » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:38 am

I'm pretty much incompetent when it comes to things like image sizing and have never figured out what I need to do or how to do it when it comes to avatars, so haven't bothered. I really should.

Can I just point out how pleased I am that Squiggle's rejuvenation of RIAR has so many quality applicants? Well done Squiggle, an excellent move.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby Squiggle » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:14 am

thanks Hillock. thanks to everyone who took part in this edition, hashed together as it was. I shall create a voting thread very soon. for the time being, please take the time to read the stories in this thread and consider your top three.

i have had a skim through them myself, and the quality is plain to see.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby The Hillock » Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:21 pm

I posted this in the voting thread but figured I should put it here too. Tomorrow is the last day for votes. Only two have voted so far. Come on guys, get on it - especially those who wrote and therefore have incentive to vote.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby YeOldeGrandma » Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:28 pm

I am phrasing crit and votes as we speak. I tend to take my time doing it, but it'll definitely be up by tomorrow, if not sooner.

By the way, is it made a rule now that only those who vote can actually participate in the contest? I know that was spoken of before.
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Re: October Competition - Space Hulk I

Postby The Hillock » Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:07 pm

YeOldeGrandma wrote:I am phrasing crit and votes as we speak. I tend to take my time doing it, but it'll definitely be up by tomorrow, if not sooner.

By the way, is it made a rule now that only those who vote can actually participate in the contest? I know that was spoken of before.


No idea. Squig's in charge of this interation, best wait for his response. I doubt it though - it would increase the likelihood of future contests having fewer entrants.

By the way, I didn't mean to hassle people. I'm just keen to see RIAR continue rather than wither away like it has done previously.
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