RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

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

Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Stuart000X » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:54 pm

Squiggle wrote:
Stuart000X wrote:Here's my entry for this competition, lets see if my meticulous proof reading has paid off.

Meticulous, eh? Let me see...

###


Will You Have Beans With That?


The spectacle was quite awe-inspiring. Like watching the march of an ant colony from a bird’s eye view, the five thousand strong mass of people moved out onto the barren wastes.

Quite awe inspiring? Is that like being slightly terrified, or a little bit dead? This is your opener - make it stronger!

"This bit was, in part, to help cultivate the theme and tone for the story later on. As you may have gorge, Manolous has a low opinion of civilians, and regardless of the fact there was a strong number to this mass, i try to keep that view in the readers' frame of mind. It's a bit of an oxymoron in a way."

The spectacle was awe-inspiring. With the absolute courage only attainable by those who are blessed with
ignorance, the five thousand strong mass of unarmed civilians moved out of the safety of the valley and onto the featureless, barren wasteland.

Or something. I'm no writer..


"Like i mentioned earlier, i was trying to downplay the obvious significance of the whole event (the moving of a large group of people) as lowkey as possible, while at the same time what is being read will highlight to the reader of the opposite, for he/she will understand perfectly that the moving of 5000 people isn't just a small effort."

At first they were just a bulge, but as the confined space of the valley gave way to the open, it began to spread. Accompanying them from the rear was a column of slow moving tanks, mostly Chimeras. At some point the tanks stopped, sitting immobile as the divide between them and the roaming people grew.[/color]

Word usage. I'm not sure bulge is the right word. Perhaps clump? Again, "as the confined space of the valley gave way to the open plains, the mass began to spread out" As it stands it doesnt really make sense.

[color=#0040FF]"When i wrote bulge, i was thinking of like something (from the bird's eye view as i have mentioned) of a big black blob (the people) creating a scar on the desert plains as they left, hence the bulge. Then once they left the valley walls, the people spread out for more room. That is what i was going for."


I'd also be tempted to use a word like "herding" to define the behaviour of the tanks.

"For the purpose of trying to maintain an element of surprise for the reader themselves, i was trying to maintain an air of curiosity, to allow my readers to absorb what they were witnessing and entice them further when this act happened. If i had said "herded" or mentioned anything that highlighted what was to come, then it wouldn't have been as inducing as it would have been. I like to think with what i have put, the reader would want to read on and find out the reasons for this "terrible" act.

Some of the people at the back turned to look at the tanks, each sharing the same thoughts of confusion as to why their escorts weren’t accompanying them anymore, but as they went out, the reasons soon became apparent.

I'd be tempted to crank up some tension, here. "Some of the people turned to look back at the tanks, their faces marred with expressions of puzzlement as they wondered why the tanks were no longer following them. But it was already too late.

Lowkey is what i am trying to entail at this part of the story. Like i said before, i am trying to cultivate an atmosphere of indifference to the plight of these poor people.

Here and there, explosions went off at random places, with people flying up into the air before raining back down in smaller pieces, onto the horrified heads of the survivors below. Panic stricken, the mob scattered, heading off in different directions. The ones that fled backwards were gunned down, the tank gunners showering them with bullets.

No where to escape they fled forward, their numbers thinning as they triggered more explosions.

Again, this is good but I think you can make more of it. This is a truly horrifying spectacle, Crank it up!!

[color=#0040FF]"I won't repeat what i said earlier again, but i am also trying to make this whole process of sending people out onto the minefields as business like as possible, that instead of it being a massacre, but a quota that needs to be fulfilled before the day is out, as you might have already gathered from Manolous' manner and attitude towards this end.


Explosions ripped through the unsuspecting civilians. Men, women and children were blasted off their feet, showering their fellows with a ghastly rain of blood, viscera and crudely severed limbs. Panic rippled through the survivors and they began to scatter, fleeing in terror. But it was too late, and their blind flight only triggered more explosions. The lucky few who made it back towards the line of silent tanks were cut down in a hail of ruby-red laser fire.

Or something. Sorry, just giving you my take isnt really that helpful. What I'm trying to say is that your writing is effective and portraying what has actually happened, however I think you can make it more emotive, and descriptive if you stretch yourself a little more.

From their vantage point at the top of the canyon, two men looked on, their eyes pressed firmly into the magnoculars they held....

....‘Will you have beans with that?’


The rest is good. Overall it is an effective use of the theme and a story not without its emotional involvement - I like the idea that the idea of eating beans is of more concern to the Commander than the deaths of five thousand civilians.

"Thank you. I'm glad to know that i've achieved one of my story's aims :)"

You dont entirely explain why the civilians are the only option to deal with the minefield. From a logical point of view, I also dont know how effective they would be. I'd like more reasoning from Manulous as to why he has had to resort to this tactic.

"I could add more reasoning, but i would have to a bit of overhauling to be able to fit something in."

You might consider showing the beginning from the POV of one of those in the crowd, perhaps thinking they are serving the Imperium. Perhaps with banners or placards. Then you could show the devastation and realisation first hand.

Both commanders are just as bad as each other, except Manolous has more of stomach for it than Henthous. When Henthous mentions about the "children", and how Manolous dismisses it, i thought, for the tone and indifference being displayed, it would have been enough. Another aim i was trying to affect was that, i wanted the reader to hate these characters for what they were doing, for the crass manner by which they view it, but at the same time making these two likeable, hence why i have heavily indulged in such a social welcoming manner. I want the reader to be both charmed and loathed by these two.

In fact, your mob could perhaps be a group of especially devout Emperor worshippers, who mistakenly think the Emperor is going to protect them. Manulous, callous as he is, simply uses their faith for his own purposes.

"That came across my mind, but sympathy would have been shortened because, though horrible as it would have been, it was of there own free choice to do this (even if there was a bit of misleading on the Commanders part). But if it was done against their own will, it adds more darkness to the story.


Otherwise, I enjoyed it, and I thought the recurring bean theme was well used, as was the cynical examination of the propaganda in use.

Hope my comments have helped. Nice job. :)
[/color]

Much appreciated, thank you :).
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Phalanx » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:35 am

shadowhawk2008 wrote:Phalanx / Human Moment

Quite an interesting piece. I almost didn't realize that Taramant was dead :( I had a very Salamander-ish moment here. 99% of the stories about space marine stories are about getting the job done, no matter the cost. Civvies can take care of themselves. Taramant's sensitiveness to the child is refreshing and unique. He also appears to be a thinker of sorts. He considers Liana's questions and attempts to make her feel comfortable even though there is no need for him to. He knows he is in hostile territory but takes the time to look after a lost child and deliver her to safety. The space marines may be the Emperor's Angels of Death but they have the potential to be so much greater than just tools of war, they are also protectors of humanity and its inhuman guardians. The inhumanity is even briefly mentioned by the girl herself and it is something that forces Taramant to think. I like that undercurrent of thought here. Well done. The piece works great because it is not apparent at first glance that the sacrifice is a sacrifice at all.

Do you have any plans to develop this further? I would love to see how things played out before Taramant wakes up and after Taramant is dead.


Thank you for the comments my friend. Honestly, I didn't think any further on the matter. I've been so wound up in submissions for the last few months that I did this revision and then thought nothing more of it. However, if people want it, I'm happy to turn this into a fanfic on the forums. :) I'll see what I can do.

Squiggle wrote:
Phalanx wrote:With permission from JDD, I am submitting a heavily-revised version of my RiaR entry used on the older forums. It has been extensively changed, and so I approached JDD for permission to use it. He graciously allowed me.

It seems slightly familar... I read on...

A Human Moment


Brother Taramant opened his eyes. His targeting reticule flitted back and forth as he panned his surroundings, trying to get his bearings. He had smashed through three storeys before stopping. A layer of dust hung in the air from his final impact, giving everything in the room a hazy outline. Many of the walls were shattered, and the room was filled with rubble. In the distance he could hear the dull sound of gunfire and explosions as his brothers prosecuted their war against the enemy.

Interesting. I dont like the use of "panned" here. I think scanned, or surveyed or examined would all work better, here. This might be personal preference, or a sub-concious feeling that panned needs to be supported by another word like "panned across his surroundings" or something. I might be talking rubbish, of course.

Additionally, is the three storeys important? And where had he come from? Finally, how does he know that the gunfire is his brothers? It could be anyone, surely?

I'd be tempted to be more atmospheric, and less specific.

Brother Taramant opened his eyes. His HUD display immediately told him what he had suspected - the colossal impact had rendered him unconscious for scant seconds. His targeting reticule flickered back and forth scanning the immediate environ for threats. But it found only dust and rubble. He had hit a building - he remembered that much - and it appeared that he had penetrated deep into the interior before the flimsy plascrete walls had halted his descent. Distantly, distorted, he could hear the characteristic crash of bolter fire as his brothers persecuted their war against the enemy.


The idea behind the "panning" word was to get the impression of the space marine moving his head slowly from one side of the room to the other, effectively taking in the scene.

Three storeys wasn't terrible important, but it was just to set the scene of what had happened to him. Giving that sentence gives the idea of something strong enough to throw him through a building. But what did it? Well that's another story ;)

The firing he knew to be his brothers because he was fighting alongside them a short while ago. This is a short, remember. I placed it in the middle of a battle for the point of giving a context to the reading. Not everything can be explained in 1,000 words. I regards my RiaR entries more often than not in the same light as sample texts from a short story.


His retinal display told him that there was a severe fracture in his right femur. He felt his power armour compensating, injecting pain suppressants into his bloodstream. He would have a limp. That would slow him down.

I like his. But would he feel the pain? Perhaps before seeing it on his HUD? Not sure. Either way "He would have a limp" is brilliant.

I never mentioned he felt the pain. I mentioned he felt the power armour compensating ;). Glad ou liked the "limp". I thought I should add it as a nonchalant type comment. Seems to have worked.

Taramant looked to his bolter lying next to him. He hefted the weapon, checking it over for damage. Other than a few scratches, he found nothing. He made a mental note to say a Prayer of Appeasement once he was back aboard the cruiser in order to placate the machine-spirit for allowing it to fall in battle.

Had he held onto it? Otherwise surely it wouldnt have made it through all the bits of wall etc? Might be better to have him "look down at the bolter still clenched in his armoured fist. Remarkably, the weapon had survived intact. he made a vow to....

Well, either by some chance of fate, or by the idea that he held on until he blacked out, it was lying next to him when he came to. Not everything needs to be explained :)

His armour was pitted and scratched. The quartered green and white armour was barely visible beneath the dirt and dust he had been covered in. His helmet was howling static at him; clearly the vox had not survived the fall. The artificers of the Dark Sons chapter would not be happy.

The planet of Baradium XII was in a heavy winter period; snow and ice were constant. Getting to his feet, Taramant moved to the doorway of the building, limping from his injured leg. Scanning the area quickly, he moved out.

Glad you remember the limp. The snow comment seems to have been thrown in here - perhaps have the ground underfoot be treacherous - some reason to put this in there besides needless exposition, since the snow and ice dont feature in the rest of this story.

The snow and ice sets the scene. It gives an idea of the conditions, which I do mention again as the story goes on. In fact the snow is mentioned in the last paragraph, as well as how it affects the the little girl as she cries. World-building in 1,000 words is never easy :)

Crossing a small plaza without incident, Taramant paused. He had heard something; the lightest of noises. He pressed against the side of a building and slid along until he reached the end. Hefting his bolter, he turned the corner to face the source of the noise. Stepping out into the alleyway, Taramant sighted along his weapon.

Crouched in the freezing snow in front of him, was his target. The little girl was sobbing, the tears on her face freezing almost instantly as they hit the frigid air. She looked up at him, fear appearing suddenly, falling onto her rear and scrabbling backwards along the desperately.

I like this. It is completely not what I was expecting. However I would try and build up the tension. "taramant paused. he heard the slightest of noises; the telltale crunch of feet on snow. He froze, hefting in bolter. The noise continued, the rhythmic footsteps coming slowly towards him. When he judged that the enemy was mere metres away, Taramant swung into the alleyway, bolter levelled.... and so on. Either way, nice plot device!! :)

Again, I'd love to give more description, but in 1,000 words you can only do so much. Thank you though.

Taramant blink-clicked a rune on his display and activated the external vox.

‘There is no need to fear me,’ he boomed. ‘I am not your enemy. I am here to fight for your world.’

It didn’t have the effect Taramant wanted. She sped up, trying to get away from him. Taramant realised the problem and removed his helmet.

Thought his vox was broken? Eitherway, nice work with the slightly softer imagery of removing his helmet.

The initial "vox" reference at the start was his communication with his squad, effectively focusing the story on him rather than being able to call for support. The external vox was me referring to his speaker. Thanks though, that has given me a mental note to differentiate the two.

Modulating his voice, Taramant tried again. ‘I mean you no harm. My name is Brother Taramant. What is yours?’

‘L-Llianna,’ stuttered the child. She was dressed in a light-brown dress, dirty and ragged, and clearly hadn't eaten in a long while. ‘Are you an angel?’

I like this, and the implicit idea that the child would be less scared of the massive death-dealing Astartes than a human adult would be. Classic themes, here.

Just what I was going for. Thank you :)

‘Of sorts,’ replied Taramant, considering the question. ‘Are you alone? Where are your parents?’

‘I don’t know,’ Llianna said, her head dropping in despair. ‘I’ve lost my mummy. Lots of us were heading to the big refugee camp when we heard fighting. I lost her as we ran.’

I'm torn between understanding your dialogue choices, and hating them. Would Space Marines understand the idea of parents? Do children of the 41st millennium cry for their mummys? I'm not sure, either way, this part of the dialogue could easily be a present day soldier talking to a present day child in a warzone. Beyond identifying the child as needing to be protected for human-survival reasons, does the Astartes even go further than that, or does he just grab the child and get back into cover? its a toughee, and I'm not completely sure you have got the balance right, here.

Why wouldn't a space marine understand? They know the concepts, even if they don't remember their own. And would a child cry? I think so. Just because it's 40k, doesn't mean the child knows they are in that time of strife and toil. A child is a child. They may not even know about the other worlds before having been invaded and then reinforced.

Taramant considered the information for a moment. Stepping forwards, he lowered himself to one knee in front of her. ‘Perhaps I can help you? I can escort you to the nearest garrison and they will get you there safely.’

Llianna looked up into his face. ‘Mummy told me space marines don’t have family; that you don’t have feelings.’

Taramant furrowed his brow, considering this unexpected question for a moment. ‘Perhaps that is true, but that does not mean we do not care.’

Llianna got to her feet. Even standing, she barely reached Taramant’s head as he knelt. ‘Will you take me to my mummy?’

See above. Mummy sounds very knowledgable. However with a wry smile I like the way children always ask the most awkward questions. "Mummy wouldnt tell me where babies come from." "Uh, child, I'm not sure..." ;)

That's the whole idea. Mummy being knowledgeable is just her passing down what she's heard/seen/read. It's just hearsay and conjecture that has come up many other times in novels I've read over the years. the main idea though was to make the space marine uncomfortable. All his training, armour, weapons, yet here we are seeing him effectively "disarmed" by a little girl :)

Holding out his open palm, Taramant signalled to the girl to sit on his lower arm. As she did so, he lifted her up and stood himself. ‘Let’s get going,’ he said calmly.

They had been walking for some time when a noise alerted Taramant. Patrolling along the main street across from him was his enemy, his real enemy; a necron.

Silently, Taramant knelt and placed Llianna down next to him. Raising his weapon, he aimed the bolter at the necron, flicking the selector switch to single shot. Calming his breathing for a better aim, he exhaled and squeezed the trigger.

Silently? He is wearing power armour and has a child with him. Also, wouldnt he see the necron before he hears it?

He might, if it wasn't for the snow and ice. See what I'm getting at about world-building in 1,000 words? :)

The bolt flew true, smashing into the target’s left eye, obliterating the side of its head. The necron slumped to the floor, dropping its weapon in the process. Taramant waited a moment, wary of other necron.

Sprinting across the street, the Dark Son moved to make sure his target was dead.

Pulling up next to the dead warrior, the marine knelt to check the machine. A hand shot up and clouted his wrist, knocking his bolter away. Taramant responded by unsheathing his combat knife and stabbing upwards into the underside of the necron’s chest. The warrior went limp and fell back to the ground, inert.

Withdrawing his blade, Taramant moved to gather his bolter, making a mental note for a second Prayer of Appeasement.

He was spun around onto his back by a jolt on his left shoulder-blade. Dazed, he looked up as metallic foot planted itself on his chest. Taramant looked up into the glowing eyes of a second necron warrior, his weapon pointing directly at the marine’s head. His world went green.

I understand this, but surely, consumate warrior that he is, Taramant checks for other targets before getting distracted with Prayer's of Appeasement! I'd rather there were more necrons or a slightly more elegant reason for Taramant getting taken down.

He had checked before moving to check the target. Also, I wanted a way to sacrifice him. Let me write a bloody story, alright? :P

The little girl watched in mute horror at the execution unfolding in front of her.

It has already unfolded, surely?

It's a sentence explaining what she was doing during the fight. Nothing more, nothing less. Not everything in a story has to be real-time. I've read loads where simultaneous items are explained one after the other. It works fine (at least for me), so I thought I'd use the same technique.

As she sat there in the snow, Llianna realised a shadow loomed over her; there was someone behind her. Looking over her shoulder, staring through tear-filled eyes, she screamed as a silhouetted figure stood there.

Slightly awkward. I think you can drop the "realised" here. I'd also tempted to use more emotive language. "Cowering in the snow, tears freezing to the chapped skin of her face, Lianna stared in horror at the ghastly, half-melted corpse of the dead space marine...."

I used "realised" because she was focused on the combat, and as such had missed the shadow. Again, I kept the wording short to allow me to stay within word count. The idea of making her sit in the snow was to show her despondency at the situation.

The necron warrior turned at the sound and raised his weapon to fire.

A burst of light and noise immolated the necron instantly. As Llianna looked around confused, a Land Speeder hovered behind the silhouette. The multi-melta on the front glowed softly, hissing as the gentle snow landed on it.

‘Come,’ the figure said, eyeing the dead space marine. ‘The Dark Sons are here to protect you. We are heading to safe harbour.’

Llianna turned to head towards what she realised now was an escort for a convoy.

Tears streaming, she walked away from the scene. Llianna looked back to see the corpse of Brother Taramant slowly disappearing under a fresh layer of snow and ice. She would not forget his sacrifice.


Love the ending. Great line.

Sorry if I have been nit-picky. This is a great use of the theme - not what I was expecting, but I just think with a little effort it could be so much better!!

Good story though!! :D


Thanks for the comments. Whilst I don't agree with a few of the items, it's all taken onboard. I feel sometimes things can get too technical around here and people forget that. Feedback is where it shows the most, in any item you read around here, but then that's what makes us who we are: Fans.

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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Tyrant » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:07 pm

Atlantic (Blessed of the Omnissiah): This could benefit from a read-through to catch a few errors, plus you might want to look at the sentence structure; in several places you have consecutive short sentences that makes the story read like a recitation and really breaks up the flow. It felt like rather a loose fit to the theme as well. Is "obliviated" a word?

On the plus side your depiction of the AdMech magos was great, and mentioning the clothing of the skitarii was a nice touch. Trant's abrupt change of heart was quite amusing too.
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Squiggle » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:37 pm

@Stuart - glad you found the critique helpful. Amusing to see that we both approached your opening section from a completely different mindset, but it is interesting to see the thinking behind your writing. :)

@Phalanx - I'm happy to agree to disagree, those were just my thoughts, after all. However my innate stubbornness is refusing to let a couple of things go.

Firstly, regarding your comments about 1000 words being not alot for world building - I completely agree, it isnt. Which is why, in my view, the words you do decide to use are hugely important. If it doesnt matter that he crashed through three storeys, then why are you telling me this? if you dont care about it, then I, the reader, definitely doesnt care.

Additionally, regarding the snow the ice, and it affecting the visibility. That's fine, but thats not what you say in the story. Again, looking at it from the point of view of the reader, well, me, anyway, I tend to be lazy, and I forget things. So it will, imho, be more effective to tell me about the snow and ice when it is relevant. "He heard the necron before he saw it, such was the limited visibility in the howling blizzard" or something.

Sorry - I hope I am not coming across as a pedantic tool, here. That is certainly not my intention, but I felt obliged to try and explain more of the reasoning behind my comments. Which is not to say "I'm right and your wrong". This is purely my opinion.

Cheers!!

Oh and Atlantic - dont worry, I'll have a go at your story later!
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Phalanx » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:42 pm

Squiggle wrote:Firstly, regarding your comments about 1000 words being not alot for world building - I completely agree, it isnt. Which is why, in my view, the words you do decide to use are hugely important. If it doesnt matter that he crashed through three storeys, then why are you telling me this? if you dont care about it, then I, the reader, definitely doesnt care.


Because it's a cool visual point? To me, the imagery of a space marine being flung through three storeys just sounds awesome. The impact must have been immense! We're trying to entertain here! :)

Squiggle wrote:Additionally, regarding the snow the ice, and it affecting the visibility. That's fine, but thats not what you say in the story. Again, looking at it from the point of view of the reader, well, me, anyway, I tend to be lazy, and I forget things. So it will, imho, be more effective to tell me about the snow and ice when it is relevant. "He heard the necron before he saw it, such was the limited visibility in the howling blizzard" or something.


Fair enough, it's a valid point. Clearly I didn't do enough world-building.

Squiggle wrote:Sorry - I hope I am not coming across as a pedantic tool, here. That is certainly not my intention, but I felt obliged to try and explain more of the reasoning behind my comments. Which is not to say "I'm right and your wrong". This is purely my opinion.


Not at all mate. As I said before: this is why we're here. We're fans of 40k/WHF/etc. I think because of that we will all be more sensitive to canon details and the like. There was no obligation to any of the comments, I've not taken any of them the wrong way. :)
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Squiggle » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:49 pm

@Phalanx....... last word
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Stuart000X » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:10 pm

Squiggle wrote:@Stuart - glad you found the critique helpful. Amusing to see that we both approached your opening section from a completely different mindset, but it is interesting to see the thinking behind your writing. :)



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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby LordLucan » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:16 pm

I have a story for this. I just need to edit it down to 1100 words, because at present it is 1640 words. Mmmm... no problem... :S ;)
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Squiggle » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:56 pm

@ Atlantic.

Phalanx and Stuart are going to hate me, but I dont actually have that many irritating nit-picky comments about your story.

You have a little bit of repetition - "heavy" near the start, and then "light" in the section with the sodium lamps - and this could easily be cleared up.

I enjoyed your story, and unlike Tyrant, I think it fits the theme very well - Graddock is literally being sacrificed for the greater glory of the machine god.

I thought it was a smooth read, and enjoyable.

All I might say from a negative is that I didnt find it very emotionally engaging - and perhaps this was what Ty picked up on when he said in places it seemed like a recitation - although Graddock appears to be being treated unfairly, and has now been totally lobotomised and is now little more than a robot, I didnt actually find myself caring that much about him. I know it is only 1000 words, and so generating an emotional response isnt easy.

But well, I'm nothing if not nit-picky.

As I said, though, I enjoyed this. My pick of the bunch so far. :)
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Jelboy » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:43 am

Stuartxxx:

At first they were just a bulge, but as the confined space of the valley gave way to the open, it began to spread.

This is the most jarring sentence in an otherwise fine darkly humorous tale, for me. I have similar thoughts to Squiggle on this. in that it could be re-written:

What began to spread? the bulge, the valley, the open? the layout of the sentence doesn't make this clear (though obviously it's the bulge, the mind trips for a nanosecond and pulls the reader out of the story). And too, what is an 'open'? Plains, swamp, savannah, etc would all be more appropriate precise means of describing what the mass of people walked into.
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Raziel4707 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:34 am

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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Tyrant » Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:21 pm

Raziel4707 (Sacrifice): I think I see what you were trying to do here, but it doesn't really work for me. I know it's meant to be a comedy piece (at least I hope so), but the language is a bit florid and over-complicated. It's also hard to see why the villagers wouldn't have tried yelling "bugger off" before, instead of jumping straight to maiden-sacrifice.
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby LordLucan » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:22 pm

Edited by JDD:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just One.


The webway’s walls oozed and flowed around the labyrinth. Heedless, Akkaeviir rushed on. His bejewelled hair whipped behind him like a banner, as he clung to his bucking jetbike.

There was sickness, but of no contagion known to eldar. It was the sickly sweet perfume of oiled aesthetes; it was the ravenous venal lust of a great multitude of fiends and the psychotic giggling of overindulged monsters. His animus recoiled from the vile crust of emotional decay, but still he plunged further down the pathway – straight to the heart of the nightmare. A world called Asuryana, the seat of god and the glory of the Asur ancient and embryonic.

He retracted his soul to a diamond-hard core of deterministic rage; he let the notion of Khaine and the wrath it brought shore up his heart with bloody-minded hate. None of the other gods could fuel what must be done; they were all wailing against infinity, just like the mass of eldar who were even now fleeing upon whatever vessels they could pry from the talons of the degenerating Cultists.

“Forlorn and lost. It cannot be helped. The farseers have seen who will live. Every soul is accounted for. It is a dreadful realisation, but the die is cast,” the architect Jehril had wailed as he tried to prevent Akkaeviir. In reply, Akkaeviir had rent him asunder and breached the pearlescent barrier himself.

Fate! Had the fools been convinced so readily by Morai-Heg’s charlatans?

The eldar teetered at the jagged edge of a great void; the Empire would be less than a memory. The farseers were short-sighted. They saw their great retreat as a way to save those who listened to them; the elite and the good and the meek. But what was at stake was more than death – extinction. Akkaeviir, unlike those weeping cowards, would not shut out the psychic wail of eldar children still trapped in the den of vipers. He was a Warrior-mystic of the Ruling Councils of the Eldar Empire. He had sublime power. He needed to save someone. Just one.

Akkaeviir leapt with a dancer’s grace, as the jetbike plunged into reality. Even as he vaulted clear, the Pleasure cultists emerged. They were the ultimate nihilists; revellers in annihilation. They were many, and he was few, but he was a warrior-born, and his body and mind were weapons beyond mere blades and guns. His mind a cord of blistering force, he pulled his foes apart in clouds of sundered matter. His spurs pierced throats; his hands parted meat. With all the skill of three thousand years of knowledge, he destroyed them. And it felt good. More than good; a delight. No, more than that. It was delicious. He wanted them to scream for him. Squeal for him!

No! Stop!

He recoiled. Revolting images murdered his senses with lustful potency. The grand city was a nightmare, chewing up the crystal domes and the grand gardens. The sweet melodies of the eternal choirs were now a discordant screech of warring orchestras that sounded their dirges through the winding, blood-drenched streets. He wanted to weep, but he forced himself to perceive; to sift through the atrocity-veil, to find the call he longed to hear; the wailing for a saviour.

His feet barely caressed the befouled streets as he sprinted through this metropolis of abomination. A cavalcade of colours and images assailed him, and for a moment, he felt the sensation of being a single atom inside some hell-bound leviathan. Cultists pursued him with glee, the snap of theirr weapons almost playful. His return blows were not. He killed and killed, until the killing became meaningless.

He caught glimpses of heinous acts as he passed. They raped and pulled at one another, eating eyes and draining the fluid. Some shovelled armfuls of crystal spoor into their quivering lips, and they brayed and squawked like furious carrion crows, desperate to feel even the slightest sensation.

Finally he heard it. Like a laser beam, the emotive psychic call pierced through the oily black fat of atrocity, and straight into his soul. With a scream, he dived through his frenzied enemies, parrying and deflecting the cultist blades with all the unconscious skill and strength granted to him by the Gods. Snatching up a witchblade with a telekinetic flourish, he cut them down.

His breathing was laboured, and his ghostplate armour was ragged and torn, but he was still relentless. The temple door flew from its hinges, crashing through a startled cultist, and breaking the fiend upon the steps of the altar stones. The second carnival nightmare in the temple turned to face him. It was tall and covered in mirrored plates slick with bodily juices. A shredded cloak of a billion shades of violet coiled around the hateful figure. Its too-wide smile oozed malice.

Drassilix. Akkaeviir knew the creature instantly; a Hierarch of the cursed nobles and a perfect killer. Even as the thought formed, Drassilix had already struck Akkaeviir’s thigh, sweeping him off his feet with a neat scissor. Before he fell, Akkaeviir span and kicked the cultist in the face, drawing blood. Drassilix returned with a storm of blows. Sparks erupted from the clashing of arrow-swift blades.

Blades were poetry.

Block, parry, counter-strike, parry, flourish, deflection.

Blades too fast to see.

The end came swiftly.

Too slow to stop the cut to the thigh.

The slow return parry.

The strike clattered from the shimmering blade, taking a head clean off.

Akkaeviir didn’t even glance at Drassilix as he slumped to the floor. His focus fell upon the frail child, who panted feebly upon the altar. He freed her with a gesture.

Pallid fear blossomed in her eyes.

With a quivering hand, he touched the frightened girl’s cheek, whispering soothing words to quieten her racing heart.

“No fear, little one. This is only a dream. A terrible dream. You shall be rid of it soon...” he cooed.

He began to unbuckle the pack which formed a hunch across his wide shoulders. Calmly, he fixed the device around the child’s shoulders.

“Know this; this was not your doing. This was our sin, and it dies with us. You live, do you understand? I failed my son, but I will not see our race sacrificed for nothing. When you depart from here, you run and hide, and live!”

He was sobbing now. It was the girl’s turn to comfort him. She placed a tiny hand on his bare shoulder. “You will leave also?” she asked.

He shook his head. “I was never leaving. The farsighted were right; they know exactly how many will escape what is coming. I give up my place. The future is yours.”

“But-“ she began. He activated the warp jump generator before she could finish. In a flare of unnatural light, she vanished.

Akkaeviir was alone, as reality unfurled like a cloak.
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Mossy Toes » Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:48 am

LL: send it to JDD so he can do his magic with the clippers again. :P
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby J D Dunsany » Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:47 am

Mossy Toes wrote:LL: send it to JDD so he can do his magic with the clippers again. :P


Yep. Just had a quick look at it. 'Twould be an honour to get it down to 1150 (and relatively easy, too - you do like your adjectives, don't you? ;) ). Your call at the end of the day, your lordship!

:D

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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Jelboy » Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:12 am

Ears an idea, sortta tongue in cheek, an delivered with fort to creatinn lowbrow mischeef.

Hows about the top 4 voted stories get shot at some BL nob, like big boss Dunn, madboyz ADB, (or maybe even that flamer gurl) and we get like this ex-spert to select the winner from da shortlist? 4 X 1000 word stories would take da less time to read than it takes to fry an swallow a Squig - and would give da winner one Waaaghhh of an official stamp.
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Tyrant » Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:55 pm

Lord Lucan (Just One): Send this to LL and get it trimmed down, I suspect this piece will get quite a few votes. Really enjoyed this, you described the chaos raging at the moment of the Fall perfectly.
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I think Valerion could stand toe-to-toe with the best of Gaunt's Ghosts. I loved it. Gundi Da Grot

The sense of threat that permeates the entire piece is fantastic. xrayex

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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Jelboy » Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:02 pm

Damn you Lord Lucan. Damn you for your imaginative story and your chums who will edit it so that it goes on to rob votes from those of us with lesser tales. Damn your knowledge of WH40k and your insufferable ability to write. ;)

+cough+

Well... I found time to write a shortie after all. Hope people like it. Good luck to all and one of us...



For the Greater Good!


It's surprising what thoughts pass through your mind as you prepare to fight to the death. A scant ten years ago, Rokilz would have focussed only on sinking a rock into another Ork's skull before that Ork did the same to him. A few more victories later, he began to consider where to sink a choppa for maximum lethality.

GhazhWar lumbered across to face him now, towering over all the nearby Orks, except the War Lord, Gruzh. GhazhWar was a typical Warboss, muscle-bound, able to kill a Squiggoth with a punch to the head, and with so many teeth hanging around his neck it looked like he wore a white millstone. Rokilz could have been GhazWar's twin, barring the missing tusk buried with the 'uuman space marine it'd made friends with.

GhazhWar flexed his muscles, spat on the rusting decking, and snarled, "You dead soon."
Rokilz wanted to make a witty retort, to compare the rival Warboss to a one legged snotling. But here's the thing. He knew he couldn't. Even though his thought processes had grown parallel with his physical size over the years, his words hadn't.
When he'd become a nob he'd advanced from scheming how to kill individual Orks, to calculating how to outmanoeuvre whole Warbands in battle. And too, of course, he'd begun to feel like beating the living spores out of his own Warboss so he could lead the Snotlicker's Warband himself. Which he eventually did.

The Warlord, Gruzh, had arrived in a cloud of exhaust fumes 3 months ago, and preached of Gork and Mork and Waaaagh, and Rokilz found religion. He saw then the perfection of Ork society, the meaning of his life, and how the evil humans threatened all Orks, everywhere. He knew in that moment that he'd give his life for Gruzh in battle.
The logistics of moving mass armies through space, suddenly interested Rokilz, and too, how to maintain squig ecosystems in the asteroid they'd travel in. How to inspire his boyz to forget rucking with other Orks and to strive against the vast foe that threatened them all. He contemplated many things he'd previously not given a snotling's fart about.
Yet, alas, his vocal ability hadn't evolved since his first kills.
When he'd become Warboss and planned his first strategy of encirclement to neutralise the perceived threat from the much less numerous Warband to the East, he found the command words he required wouldn't come to mind. When he flexed his jaws to bark sentences, those sentences vanished from his mind.
Eventually, in frustration, he pointed to his nobs and shouted:
'Run to da forest, attack from der.'
Then he extended a cable-like finger to the bulk of his boyz and just said:
"Killem all," because, frankly, that's all they'd understand.

And so now as he squared up to GhazWar, in front of all the boyz, and as the mighty Warlord, Gruzh, watched from one thoughtful good eye, and Rokilz wanted to utter something clever or cool, he couldn't. He wondered if all Ork bosses had the same problem.
"Eat da lead, Squig crap," is what he actually shouted.
As pre-arranged, Rokilz's number 2 lobbed him a slugga, which he caught and leveled at his surprised opponent. The introduction of the weapon to the pre-arranged unarmed fight altered the balance of power considerably. A smile grew on Rokilz's lips as he tugged at the trigger and watched the ordnance batter GhazWar.
A brutal pistol-whip to GhazWar's skull finished the fight, and sadness momentarily engulfed Rokilz. Before he'd found Gork and Mork, he'd have savoured the victory by pissing on the ignorant piece of snotling spore beneath him; but now, GhazWar was an honourable opponent who had volunteered his crew for the suicide mission, just as Rokilz had volunteered himself and his boyz. Yes, the two had fought for the honour of serving the Warlord, Gork and Mork, and the whole Ork species, and Rokilz got lucky – he'd won.

Rokilz watched his boyz cheering, giving the finger to GhazWar's crew, and he felt pride blossom within him. He turned to the towering Gruzh, who dipped tusks in acknowledgement of the victory, and Rokilz thought he'd die as that pride swelled to bursting point.
"U Dun good Rokilz," said the Warlord, regarding him with disguised intelligence."Go get yerself topped."
For the Warlord, for Gork, for Mork, for all Orks, thought Rokilz, and strode towards the shimmering barrier. "C'mon boyz!" he shouted, dropping his slugga and breaking into a charge.

The asteroid had sprung problems ten hours ago. The engines sparked as only ten storeys of bolted plate, pressure pipes and teskla coils can without exploding, and the mekboys rushed to plug the fractured condenser tubes with whatever lay at hand – snotlings scattering wide eyed. Then, the pritty bubble, which kept the weird-things that lived in the weird-space away from those in the asteroid, shrunk, and little remained now of the mekboys except chewed bones and stains on metal.
Someone had to brave that place, kill the engines proper, drag the asteroid outta weirdspace, and make time for new mekboys to grow, to jump-start the pritty bubble back to its previous size, and get the whole waaagghhhh back in gear.
Rokilz led his thousands of boyz to this goal: for the Warlord, for Gork, for Mork, for all Orks. He rushed into the great chamber that was the engine room, with its smell of rust, fire and steam; and leaped past the shimmering barrier.
The vermin dropped from his grubbier bits with well-timed survival instinct, and the cool fingers of the pritty field played across his leathery skin, Rokilz roared a 'Waaagghhhh' that held all the pride and fury of the nobbiest warrior race the universe had ever seen.
As the first weird-thing latched its foul tentacles around Rokliz legs, the Warboss grabbed one of his boyz, took a bead on the engine kill-lever and threw hard. The Ork wheeled over the fighting horde of bodies and crashed, just short of the target.
Squigshit.

Razor teeth sliced into Rokilz shoulder and tentacles slithered around his other leg. Rokilz slammed his fist down on the abomination that attacked his shoulder, crushing it as if it were an egg shell. As teeth and claws tore at his body he pulled at a tentacle until it snapped. A hammer blow felled him, and burning liquid washed over his arm. He felt a sharp blade slide into his waist as he pushed himself to upright, and found himself facing a horned humanoid with knives for hands.
At the moment barbs sunk into his shoulder muscles and pulled him backwards he glimpsed the Ork he'd thrown stand groggily, and stagger on to the engine kill-lever.
Rokilz crashed to the floor then as blows rained upon him, and teeth crunched at his head.
Last edited by Jelboy on Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:01 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Tyrant » Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:52 pm

Jelboy (For the Greater Good!): The title fooled me, I was expecting a tau story. No doubt that was your intention! :lol:

I rather liked this, the story of an ork with a sense of honour and intelligence beyond his outward appearance. You succeeded in making me sympathise with him, which is unusual for an ork character! The surroundings and detail fit really well; my only quibble is over the weapon he used: would an ork really use a bolter? Surely a shoota of some variety would be more likely?

Apart from that, excellent job. A strong contender for a vote.
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Valerion

I think Valerion could stand toe-to-toe with the best of Gaunt's Ghosts. I loved it. Gundi Da Grot

The sense of threat that permeates the entire piece is fantastic. xrayex

Tash'shi is made of win and awesome. Raziel4707
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Re: RiaR April/May: SACRIFICE

Postby Jelboy » Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:56 pm

Slaps head. bolter, what was I thinking - changed. Thanks, Tyrant.
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