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> Grey Knight, Warhammer 40,000 meets the Elder scrolls
Colonel Mustard
post Oct 22 2008, 06:17 PM
Post #1


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From: The darkest pit of your soul. Hi there!



This is an idea I had a while ago, and had been entertaining for a while. As you may have guessed by the subtitle, this is an Elder Scrolls/40K crossover. For those you don’t know the rich lore of 40K, here’s a rough image of it.

It is the 41st millennium, and war has raged for eternity. The mighty empire of humanity, the Imperium of Man, rules the galaxy, home to a million worlds and untold trillions of people. Guided by its divine Emperor, interred on the golden throne after being wounded by his most favour son, the Imperium is a force that seems unstoppable. Yet mankind’s great empire is beset on all side by aliens, traitors and, most fearful of all, the daemons of the warp. These creatures, existing in a realm not dissimilar to Oblivion, are the most deadly threat to all living things. Existing in the warp are the four Gods of Chaos, Khorne, blood of skulls, death and battle, Slaanesh, God of Debauchery, Nurgle, god of decay and disease and Tzeentch, the god of plots and cunning, the weaver of fates and destinies, playing the great game of existence with the skill of a grand master. Whether they are united or they are divided, the four gods of chaos plot, scheme and plan to destroy the material world and make it one with the warp, damning all living things to a nightmarish existence of eternal torment.

And to fight these foes are the mightiest of warriors. The Space Marines, the Adeptus Astartes, the greatest warriors ever to stride upon a battlefield. Made by the divine Emperor of Mankind, each Space Marine is genetically engineered to be stronger, faster and far longer lived by any ordinary man, and psycho-indoctrinated to know no fear. Wielding the most powerful weapons and armours humanity has available; the Space Marines form an impenetrable bulwark against the foes of man. And greatest among them are the Grey Knights, Humanity’s last line of defence against the denizens of the Warp. The military branch of the Emperor’s Holy Inquisition; the Grey Knights are clad in blessed adamantium and wield the fabled Nemesis force weapons. Each one of these holy warriors is able to fight and defeat an army single handed. And now, a company of these blessed warriors has been sent to combat the dread army of Askillarrat the Insane, a greater daemon of Tzeentch, and amongst them is the fabled Brother Captain Alicarius.

Grey Knight-Book One of the Liber Oblivionicus


Part 1-Daemons

Purple flames clawed the sky like the talons of some bizarre, reality defying monster. Buildings were consumed by its twisting blaze, it intense heat melting the rockcrete and steel that made them up, slumping them down into a thick syrupy liquid.

And in the flames, creatures charged forward. Twisting and dancing impossibly, Daemonettes, the alluring yet repellent servants of Slaanesh, made their way through the flames, giggling and singing sweetly. Next to them shambled the Plaguebearers. Corrupted hulks, with a single eye and a horn sprouting form their foreheads, they dripped with disease, buboes spilling pus and gashes in their stomach spilling thick, rubbery intestines. They carried huge, rusted blades, thick with rotten blood and the entrails of their foes, whilst flies buzzed about them, occasionally stopping on their host to feast on a small part of rotten flesh.

Next to them sprinted Bloodletters, murderous servants of Khorne. Their skin, coloured blood red, split and bled constantly, an unending tribute to their monstrous patron. They hefted great broadswords, roaring and screaming in their hatred.

And most bizarre of all were the daemons of Tzeentch.

To behold a creature of such madness and lack of logic was enough to drive most men insane. The cavorting and twisting monstrosities giggled with insane laughter as they advanced, flames crackling around them. Faces formed on their bodies, in any place they could, sometime even being held between their outstretched hands.

And against this horde of unholy death stood fifty of the Imperium’s finest warriors. Nemesis force weapons were activated, electricity crackling around the blessed halberds and claymores. Storm bolters, mounted on the wrists of suits of adamantium armour, were cocked and loaded. The Grey Knights were the only force that stood between the Daemons and the utter annihilation of the planet.

Brother-Captain Alicarius muttered the prayer of vengeance as he slammed the specially made magazine of bullets into his weapon. Around him, warriors murmured prayers to the God-Emperor as they prepared for battle, checking weaponry systems and getting into battle formation. Behind, he heard Brother Deacus attach a tank of prometheus into his incinerator, the highly volatile fuel having been blessed and mixed with holy oils to cause the most damage possible to their daemonic foes.

The warriors took up their battle positions, and allowed the auto-senses in their helms to pick their targets and display their range.

The Daemons thundered onwards, approaching faster than ever.

“Pick Targets!” shouteded Alicarius. “On my order…fire!”

Bolter shells ripped from the Grey Knight lines, the bullets detonating inside their targets, causing the daemons to be blasted apart.

Yet they continued.

The Daemons came within Incinerator range, and burning blue fuel was jettisoned onto the creatures, burning many of them to cinders. Their screams echoed across the battlefield.

Then the creatures were upon the Grey Knight lines.

Alicarius swung his halberd in an arc, slicing through a bloodletter, before spinning and planting it in the bloated, rotten belly of plaguebearer. He yanked his weapon upwards, sending an arc of rotten gore flying into the air, before it splattered onto his armour. It hissed as it contacted the blessed adamantium, the ichors reacting violently with the holy oils and unguents upon the armour.

Alicarius span and slashed with his brothers, slicing through the daemons, bellowing litanies and prayers and sending off bursts of bolter fire at point blank range into any Daemon foolish enough to get close enough.

Suddenly, he was slammed to the ground by something that looked like a mechanical rhinoceros made of reddened brass, ridden by a Bloodletter. A Bloodcrusher of Khorne-a dread knight of the Blood God. The rider’s massive obsidian sword made a swing for Alicarius’ head, but he jerked his neck back to avoid being decapitated. He raised his own weapon and slashed through his enemy and its mount. Gore and mechanical parts scattered around him, and Alicarius rolled to his feet, slamming his blade into a daemonette too slow to avoid him. Then he was wreathed in blue fire.

He stood his ground, his body battling against the flames’ physical assault and his mind fighting the sorcerous one attempting to consume his soul. He took a step forwards, then another, constantly pushing against the power of the flames, to be confronted with the most bizarre creature possible.

Its body was shifting mass of purple-blue flames, while screaming maws that belched fire twisted and writhed around its body. Alicarius’ halberd slice through it, and it disappeared in a cloud of glittering blue smoke.

He turned as his hyper-enhanced senses picked up the sound of someone moving behind him. He span, storm bolter raised, to see a monstrous creature born of man’s worst nightmares. Similar to some massive, bipedal vulture, the creature’s multicoloured feathers flickered and twitched madly. In one of its clawed hands it held a staff, crackling with sorcerous power.

It was a Lord of Change, a greater daemon of Tzeentch and most powerful of his servants.

Alicarius let of a burst of fire with his storm bolter, the weapon’s immense recoil dampened by the servos contained within his armour, but it was to no avail. Even with the innumerable blessing laid upon them, the explosive bullets could not penetrate the shield of magical power that guarded the daemon. Hefting his halberd, he charged.

His first blow was blocked by the daemon’s staff, but Alicarius could see that its daemonic creature within it was struggling to repulse the holy power of his weapon. He span, allowing his momentum to carry him away from the daemon, before his weapon sliced through the monster’s ankle.

At least, it would have done.

With a boom of air being suddenly misplaced, the daemon disappeared, and reappeared to his left instantaneously.

“Very good, captain!” it roared over din, its beak clacking with every word. “But you won’t kill me that easily.

It leapt forward, attempting to crush him with its taloned feet, but Alicarius had expected this and simply dodged out of the way. He turned, just in time to block the daemon’s descending staff. It withdrew, only to strike again, but Alicarius parried it before charging forward, allowing his weight and momentum to plough him into the monstrous bird-creature. It reacted too slowly, and roared with pain as the sigils and wards upon Alicarius’s shoulder guard touched its skin, burning and blackening it. In return, it sent a blast of warp fuelled lightning towards him, but the same psychic shields that had just hurt it so stopped the attack.

“You cannot beat me,” it shouted. “No-one can beat me!”

“I wouldn’t be so sure!” he shouted.

The daemon raised a multicoloured eyebrow.

“Behind you,” Alicarius murmured.

The daemon turned, cautiously keeping an eye on him to ensure against a surprise attack. Then it saw two grey knights carrying incinerators behind it. It didn’t have time to dodge before burning promethium, mixed with blessed oils and unguents, was pumped directly onto it.

It jerked and spasmed as the hyper-volatile fuel gushed over it, and fell to the floor, writhing in agony. The burning hot assault abated suddenly, and Alicarius nodded his thanks to his two battle-brothers.

“I said you shouldn’t be so sure,” he said, as he walked over to the daemon, his blade raised and readied to deliver the killing blow.

“Neither should you,” the deamon riposted, its beak splitting in a perverse mirror of a grin. A barrier of warp fuelled lightning formed around them, crackling and twisting madly. Alicarius tried to back away, but the lightning would not let him pass, at least, not let him pass without burning him to a crisp.

The light shone brightly over them, dazzling Alicarius even through his helmet’s filters, and the only noise louder than the crackling was the daemon’s laughter.

“You’re coming with me now!” he roared. “I’ll torture your soul for eternity!”

“Never!” Alicarius roared back.

As the warp and reality began to merge around him in the tiny, self contained space, Alicarius did the only thing he could. He turned, sprinted, and plunged his blade into the daemon’s feathered breast, killing both its physical form and the essence of it soul.

And around him, reality shattered in a flash of light, sucking him into the warp.

This post has been edited by The Bean: Feb 22 2009, 04:37 PM
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Colonel Mustard
post Oct 23 2008, 02:08 PM
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From: The darkest pit of your soul. Hi there!



Part 2-The Warp

Insanity reigned, an endless, perfect cycle of anarchy distilled and concentrated down to its purest form. Forests of twitching flesh had leaves of dead skin rustled by howling breezes as they rested in glade of grass bladed with thousands of gnashing teeth. Volcanoes bubbled with molten brass, sending fumes into a crimson sky and rivers of liquid metal into barren plains of blood red rock. Great swamps, littered with the rotten and blackened bones of long dead corpses, bubbled as they released gases that could cause a man’s flesh to slough off his body as it decayed. Great structures of towering crystal speared rippling, multicoloured skies as they twisted in ways that defied the very laws of physics and mathematics.

It was the Warp, and no place for mortals.

Alicarius cursed as he slashed at another roaring Bloodletter who was intent on murdering him. As he had made his way through the Formless Wastes, the realm of insanity that was controlled by no one of the Gods, and currently taking the form of a long dead forest, the pack of daemons had ambushed him, no doubt guessing that the skull of one of the Emperor’s finest warriors would make an excellent offering to their patron. Yet Alicarius was not going to lie down and die for them.

He planted his blade in the chest of another daemon, before slamming his boot into it to kick the corpse off, which simply disappeared in a mist of gore. He parried a rapid blow to his neck, and responded by raising his storm bolter and sending a spray of bolts into the transgressor.

He smashed his gauntlet into a third daemon, caving in its brass ribcage, before grabbing it and pulverising its face. Blood sprayed around him.

He cast the corpse to the ground as it dissolved, and turned to face his final opponent. It was larger than the rest, its horns capped with brass and wielding a weapon bigger and more finely made than those of its compatriots. It bared its teeth in challenge, hissing with glee.

Alicarius responded by charging forwards and giving a swing with his halberd. The daemon blocked his assault with surprising speed, and counter-attacked with a series of rapid stabs, which Alicarius barely managed to parry. It was clear that he was facing an opponent with greater skill than him, and that if he continued to fight it on even terms then he would be defeated quickly.

So Alicarius decided to cheat.

He rolled back to avoid another of the daemon’s attacks and leapt up to sprint out of its reach. Jumping onto a rock, he turned, cocked his bolter, and sent a dozen rounds towards the daemon. The consecrated bullets made short work of the unholy being.

Alicarius continued to travel along the twisted landscape, occasionally having to avoid a river of acid or slice at undergrowth that threatened to tear him to shreds with teeth and tentacles. All the while, he expanded his mind to search for a portal. He needed a way out of the Warp before his mind was taken by a daemon or he was literally ripped apart by the insane parody of physics that ruled this nightmarish place. Cultists that worshipped the four often summoned daemons from the warp to bind them, forcing the creature to do their bidding, and he needed some way for them to summon him-although any that summoned him would be in for a nasty surprise.

The land was, fortunately, clear of any warp creatures that would have hunted him, but Alicarius did not allow his guard to fall for a moment. Even without daemons roaming through the land, the environment around him was still a very potent threat.

As he continued to walk, the land began to get more and more barren and rocky. The trees thinned and eventually disappeared, to be replaced with scrubby grasses and bushes. Roots that looked akin to bladed tentacles lashed out at him, but a quick slice from his halberd ensured that they would not do so again.

The sky began to darken, golden lightning flashing around it, yet no rain fell. The ground started to crack, as if there was some great drought, and occasionally a pool of lava would be seen bubbling through the ground. The further Alicarius made his way into this hell-like landscape, the redder the sky got, until it was a deep crimson. And then Alicarius encountered yet another daemon.

It was like no other creature he had seen before. It was similar to a human, but its skin was a deep grey blue, its teeth were sharpened and eyes red. It was wearing some kind of archaic armour, decorated with jagged edges and spikes, and sheathed at its waist was a sword, made of the same metal as its armour.

As soon as it sensed him, it drew his sword and charged, aiming for the point where his armour met his neck. Alicarius simply caught the blade with his free hand and kicked the creature, staving in its chest. It fell back, dropping something round, which clanked as it hit the dead ground.

Alicarius picked it up, to see that it was a stone about the size of a bird’s egg and glowing with inner, warp fuelled, power. He had seen them before-warp made stones used to summon daemons by cultists. Normally he would have simply destroyed such an unholy and profane object, but he kept it. As much as it irked him, this stone would probably be his ticket out of here.

He carried on, occasionally stepping round the lava pits that were becoming more and more frequent, before he saw something on the horizon. He stopped, and activated the zoom function on his helmet’s optics. As the lenses focused and expanded the image, he saw it was a tower, bedecked in spikes and flames. He adjusted his course accordingly. It would, at the very least, provide some means of attracting daemons. And where there were daemons, there were summonings.

And then something that could have been born of nightmares slammed into Alicarius and sent him flying.

A massive crocodilian monstrosity roared as it thundered towards Alicarius’s prone form. He rolled to avoid the creature’s stampede and got upright, grabbing his halberd from where it lay on the ground. He raised it just in time to stop the creature’s massive jaws from crushing his skull, where they instead snapped impotently on the weapon’s haft. It released its grip, growling, and swung at him with one of its massive, taloned hands. Alicarius saw the attack coming, and placed his fist in the way. The talon was stopped by the combined force of Alicarius’s immense, genetically enhanced, strength and that of the many servos encased within his power armour. He snarled beneath his helmet with the effort as the battle between the two mighty beings was placed down into its simplest form, a contest of pure strength.

With a grunt of effort, Alicarius forced the monster backwards, the sudden change in movement causing it to stumble and fall. Within a moment, the space marine bought his halberd to bear and split his opponent’s skull in two.

He was perplexed. In three centuries of fighting daemonic creatures, never before had he faced creatures such as these. Never in the many times he had studied his foe, had he come across records of blasphemous creatures such as these. As soon as he escaped this nightmarish realm and returned to his home on Saturn’s moon of Titan, he would report this troubling news to his battle-brethren. Another threat for humanity would not be news that would be gladly received, but it had to be reported. All he needed to do now was get out of here.

He felt something crackle with warp energy near him, and he realised it was the stone he was carrying. Lightning suddenly arced from it to earth itself in a rock, which shattered from the impact. More lightning began to speed from the stone, smashing stones around him and scorching the ground. Realising it could be dangerous, Alicarius attempted to throw it away from him, but the stone simply stuck to the gauntlet holding it.

Lightning crackled down Alicarius’s arm, enveloping his whole body. He screamed with agony as the warp energy seemed to consume him, and began to feel panic, a previously alien sensation to him psycho-conditioned mind. Then for a moment his vision darkened.

When it returned, he was in a cave. Chanting that was painful to hear echoed around the stone walls, yet it seemed strangely muffled. Figures dressed in crimson robes surrounded him in a circle, reciting words of unholy power. They were so caught up in their mantra, they seemed have not seen him, and Alicarius immediately moved forward to take advantage of their unawareness. Before he could take more than two steps, a barrier of white light flared up in front of him, stopping him from moving further.

The chanting increased in volume and pace, the noise echoing in discords and harmonies that hurt the ears. Finally it concluded in a roar of “MEHRUNES DAGON!”

A figure dressed in robes grander than his compatriots raised a knife and bought it down upon his wrist, allowing the arterial fluid to spray into a cup before he stopped the flow with some witchery. He raised the vessel into the air and poured the blood into a bowl carved into an altar. Then the barrier of power faded from around Alicarius, and the daemon worshippers, for what else could they be, saw the Grey Knight. Their eyes widened as he stepped out of the circle.

Beneath his helmet, Alicarius grinned a predatory grin.

“In the name of the Divine Emperor of Man,” he announced. “I sentence you all to death as heretics and deviants from the one true faith. May the Emperor have mercy upon you, for I shall not.”

He raised his halberd, bellowing the litany of hatred, and charged.

This post has been edited by The Bean: Nov 25 2008, 08:25 PM
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Colonel Mustard
post Oct 26 2008, 10:11 PM
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Part 3-Heretics

“Alright men, you know the drill,” Serrio said. “Get the guards first, before they can summon up that damn armour of theirs. Deal with the others later.”

The nine men with him nodded, drawing their weapons. Veterans of the Legion, and specialists in fighting daedra and rogue sorcerers, as well as various other dangers beyond the abilities of your average Legionnaire, Serrio’s men were the best of the best. Their heavy plate clanking, the soldiers made their way through the caves.

The first thing they noticed was that there was no doorkeeper of any sort to try and halt their entry, and that the cavern was deathly silent. The only noise made seemed to be the dripping of water and the whisper of wind gently flowing through the stone tunnels. It was an interesting development-whenever Serrio and his soldiers had raided a cave full of Mythic Dawn cultists there was always a doorkeeper and a guard of some sort present.

“Ringlor,” Serrio said, suspecting something was wrong. “Scout ahead.”

The bosmer nodded, drew his bow, and slipped past the other men. Unlike his compatriots, Ringlor was clad in lighter armour and well trained in woodcraft, like almost all wood elves. The other men were forced to wait, but a few moments later, the wood elf sprinted back, all regard for stealth forgotten in his haste.

“Come quickly,” he shouted. “It’s a summoning!”

Serrio spat a vicious curse out, before motioning to the men under his command to follow him, and quickly. No wonder the place was so quiet. If there was a summoning going on then every one of the cultists would be present. It meant bad news for him and his men. They would be unable to pick the cultists off one by one and the presence of daedra would make their work doubly dangerous. But Serrio had a job to do, and a duty to the Emperor and The Nine to do it.

Serrio and his men thundered forwards, determined to stop the summoning before the cultists could call a daedra forth from Oblivion.

A yell of “MEHRUNES DAGON!!” echoed down the cavern, the cry amplified by some unnatural power. Serrio snarled as he realised that the cultists had finished the ritual. The daedra was loose.

Then the cultists started screaming.

The column of soldiers slowed as they heard this. Once a daedra was summoned it was bound to its master’s will. Never before had a daedra managed to break loose of the pact that forced it to serve whoever had summoned it. Yet somehow, one had. Either the cultists had made a mistake or the Oblivion spawned creature was vastly more powerful than they had anticipated.

Whatever it was, Serrio and his men would have to kill it.

#

“Die, heretics!” Alicarius roared as he swept his halberd through a throng of the cultists, who screamed in pain and terror as they died. Lightning crackled along the weapon’s blade, the sheath of superheated electricity disrupting the very molecular structure of their cells.

Another of the heretics, wearing some kind archaic armour over his robes, ran at him screaming a war cry. Alicarius grabbed him and snapped his neck.

A panicked throng had formed around the cavern’s only exit, as people struggled to escape. Alicarius raised his storm bolter and fired into it, the rounds shredding the unarmoured cultists and blasting their corpses to smithereens. There was a click as the weapon’s clip ran dry and so, raising his halberd, Alicarius charged straight into their midst.

#

“What’s happening in there?” Lerrad asked as a panicked daedric cultist fled straight past them, screaming in terror. A few of them wearing armour and wielding weapons tried to engage them, but their panicked state meant that they were clumsy, and they were simply cut down.

There was a series of deafening bangs and over a dozen of the cultists simply exploded in sprays of blood and gore. A few more streamed through the entrance, many of them stumbling from cuts in their legs.

And that’s when the Legionnaires saw the giant.

Moving faster than any man, the massive, silver armoured warrior thundered out of the cave. In two strides, he had overtaken and crushed a pair of cultists. A third fell and, realising there was no escape, begged for mercy, yet the giant remained silent and simply plucked the screaming man up by his temples between two massive fingers. With a squeeze that required no effort, the giant crushed the man’s skull.

Alicarius snarled with disgust as he wiped the cultist’s blood off his fingers using the man’s robe. He glanced up to see ten men, wearing thick plate armour and carrying a variety of weapons.

“What is that?” he heard one man asked, his highly tuned hearing picking up the awed question. They spoke Imperial Gothic, but with a strange local dialect that made it difficult to work out what they were saying for a moment.

“I am Brother Captain Alicarius of the Grey Knights Space Marines,” he announced, allowing his helmet to amplify his voice. “Who’s in charge here?”

One man, who seemed older than the rest, stepped forward.

“I’m Serrio,” he said. “I’m the captain of these men.”

“I’ve dealt with the main body of the cult,” Alicarius said. “The heretics will still be around here though. I want your men to root them out and destroy them in the name of the Emperor. I’ll remove the daemonic taint from their altar.”

Serrio didn’t like being ordered around by a complete stranger, but he held his tongue in check. He didn’t want to argue with an eight foot tall man who could dispatch thirty people within minutes, and instead ordered his men to pair off and deal with the remaining Mehrunes Dagon cultists.

As they left, Alicarius heard one of the other men ask; “Just what the hell is a Space Marine?”

He was genuinely surprised by this. Even on the most far flung and obscure of the Imperium’s worlds, tales of humanity’s most powerful warriors, the Emperor’s Adeptus Astartes, were told. From the richest noble to the most primitive savages, everyone in the Imperium knew of the Space Marines. Perhaps the name of his chapter would not be so well recognised, as the work of the Grey Knights was shrouded in secrecy due to the dangerous and heretical nature, but the words Space Marine were enough to strike awe into the hearts of both the Imperium’s citizens and those of its enemies.

The fact that these men had never heard of one was worrying. Though they spoke Gothic, it was obvious that this world was not in the Imperium’s hold if they had never heard of its most potent tool of propaganda. If this was truly the case, as he thought, then the chances of him contacting Titan and being reunited with his battle brothers were worryingly slim. But he had other matters to deal with-the unholy room of summoning had to be cleansed.

The altar room reeked of the taint of the warp, but he couldn’t place it to a specific god. It lacked the carnal stench of Khorne, the decaying stink of Nurgle, the seductive, perfume-like scent of Slaanesh, the metallic tang of Tzeentch or the mix that showed that all of the Four were worshipped in this room, but seemed to be somehow different. Mehrunes Dagon must be some particularly powerful Daemon, able to exist without the blessing of a patron.

Yet this was not the only thing that worried him.

The room was filled not only with humans, but with xenos, the hated alien enemies of mankind. Judging by the slender frames and pointed ears of some of the corpses, some of the cultists were Eldar. This was strange-never in the history of the Imperium had Eldar engaged in the worship of the Dark Gods. On rare occasions, they had even allied with the Imperium to fight the forces of Chaos, their light troops and fast skimmer tanks compensating the heavy handed and dinosaurian tactics the Imperium employed.

Strangely enough, Orks were also present. This was even more puzzling than the presence of Eldar. An Ork’s natural disposition to just about any living being was to fight and kill it as soon as possible, yet these greenskins were working together with the other cultists. And, appearance wise, these Orks were different too. Their skin was a lighter green, the chin was smaller less jutting, and though tusks and large fangs were present, they were far less pronounced. Yet the strangest thing was that there were female ones present. It was a well known fact that all Orks were male, born form spores that floated in the wind. You could stop an Ork invasion, but a few years later they would reappear on the planet as feral tribes. Lord Inquisitor Sholto, an old friend of Alicarius’ and agreat authority on xeno life forms, had once described them as ‘like dry rot in old timbers; you could never be sure you’d got all of it. Turn your back for a minute and it would be wall-to-wall Orks in your front room, smashing your china and eating your gran..’ Alicarius had to agree that the description was extremely accurate.

And most worrying of all were the blue skinned Eldar. Though Eldar were adept at using their witchery to cast glamours and spells of all sorts, it was a well established fact that any spells altering their appearance would disappear when they were killed. The pigmentation must be natural.

This was a concerning development. Not only had he discovered two new kinds of daemon, but also a new breed of Eldar-like Xeno.

Alicarius knew he would have to purge this world for co-existing with xenos at some point, but it was clear that there was a more important job at hand. If this cult existed, others must do so as well. And if cults existed on a world, it meant only one thing-Chaos was aiming to take it in its covetous grasp. While these people were obviously feudal ones-their blades and plate-mail would be useless against the guns of the Imperium-if Chaos controlled it there would be no telling what unholy weapons they would have at their disposal.

Alicarius now had a goal-whatever happened, he would bring his formidable strength to bear on these heretics. There would be no mercy or respite for those foolish enough to fall into the Dark God’s sway. However many there were, Alicarius would kill them. He would purge their dens, kill their leaders and burn their temples to the ground in cleansing flame. He would cast their down their idols and annihilate them utterly.

Wherever they hid, Alicarius would find them. Whatever warriors they threw at him, Alicarius would fight and kill them. No adversary was too strong for him to defeat, no obstacle too hard to traverse. The Grey Knight had come, and he would kill every last worshipper of daemons upon this world.

This post has been edited by The Bean: Nov 25 2008, 08:25 PM
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Kiln
post Oct 29 2008, 05:58 PM
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I like it...though it is likely that I would find it much more entertaining if I knew anything about Warhammer. biggrin.gif


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He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee. - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Colonel Mustard
post Oct 29 2008, 09:04 PM
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Thanks Kiln, I'm glad you have enjoyed it.

If you want a site that's got lots of info on warhammer (specifically 40K and the grey knights etc, here's a very handy link.
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Colonel Mustard
post Nov 7 2008, 07:50 PM
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Alright here's the next part-I've changed the rank of Bittneld a bit, as I've always imagined the watch and the legion to be closely linked.

Part 4-Chorrol

In Imperial scales, Chorrol would barely be classed as a hamlet, especially in comparison to the vast hive cities that housed billions of the Imperium’s citizens in both mires of poverty and unimaginable wealth. Yet judging by the pride that Serrio spoke of the settlement, Alicarius guessed that it must, in relative terms at least, be a sizable city.

He assessed the town, identifying its strength and weaknesses. For a start, the town’s walls were dotted with towers that allowed them a large field of vision to spot attackers approaching from all sides, while in the centre of the town was a large castle, placed well away from the town’s main gate. That was clever-any attackers would have to fight their way through the streets before finally reaching the castle, where they would have to battle through solid walls before reaching a second layer. Whoever had designed the town obviously knew how to fight a siege.

“So what exactly do the Legion do here?” he asked Serrio. He had considered his options available to him, and had come to the conclusion that he would be able to, at the very least, discover more about this world and lend his experience of fighting Chaos to the cause of eradicating this cult. And with three centuries of combat experience under his belt, he had a feeling that he would be easily accepted into their ranks.

“What do they do? All sorts, really,” Serrio said. “My men and I usually deal with daedric cultists, but your average Legionnaire hunts down bandits and smugglers, and, should the worst come to the worst, rally to defend the Empire from invading armies. Of course if you wanted to join, there would probably have to be a few minor uniform issues, but they’re fairly flexible about what weapons and armour you use if you’re in a higher rank. Of course, you’d have to adopt our heraldry.”

Alicarius gave a low growl, causing Serrio to jump slightly.

“You would have me deface the thrice honoured heraldry of my chapter?” he asked, every word dripping with menace.

“No, no,” Serrio said hurriedly. “Just adopt the Legion garrison’s heraldry, that’s all. You can keep your chapter’s heraldry. What is a chapter anyway?”

“The space marines are divided into warrior-brotherhoods a thousand strong, called chapter,” Alicarius said. “Each one functions as an individual army with its own specific tactics, heraldry and organisation. It means that if one betrays the Imperium then it will not drag many other loyal marines down with it.”

Serrio nodded.

“We’ve arrived,” he said as they reached the town’s gates. He drew back his fist and knocked heavily on the thick wood. A slit was drawn back from within, and a pair of eyes peered out.

“Captain Serrio Annos reporting,” Serrio said. “We’re back, and we’ve got a guest.”

The gates were pulled back with a creak of old wood and metal, and the two guards at the gate gaped in awe as they saw Alicarius’ mighty form walk through. As the soldiers made their way through the town, they drew more stares and wide-eyed looks. Alicarius wasn’t surprised by this-after all, it wasn’t every day that an eight foot tall man dressed in shining armour walked through your town.

He noted, with a feeling of distaste, that there were more Eldar present, as well as Orks, which were, surprisingly, not trying to kill anyone, and even a strange hybrid of a cat and a human. Alicarius clenched his fist-not only did these people consort with xenos, but also mutants, the lowest form of humanity. As much as he wished to destroy this world, he still found it bitterly ironic that its saviour would, in all likelihood, be leading the Imperial force to burn this place to ashes.

They reached the castle, and without waiting for a gatekeeper, Alcarius simply pushed the heavy doors open, his superhuman muscles barely straining.

Instead of heading into the main hall, as Alicarius expected them to, the soldiers took a left and into a small stone outbuilding, no doubt the barracks. Sitting inside, at an old wooden desk, was a man who Alicarius instinctively knew was a desk sergeant. Judging by his grizzled appearance and grey hair, the man had most likely been given the job as some way for him to finish of his work in relative comfort. He looked up to see who it was, and his eyes, like those of almost everyone else who had seen him that day, widened.

“Who is this, captain?” he asked.

“Recruit, sergeant,” Serrio replied smartly. “Wishes to serve his majesty Uriel Septim in the legion.”

“He does, does he,” the sergeant said. “Very well. Tell me sir, what is your name?”

“Alicarius Justinian,” Alicarius replied smartly. “Of the Grey Knights.”

The desk sergeant found a sheet of paper from the many draws in his counter and scribbled the name down.

“Previous military experience?”

“I have fought in the Emperor’s name for over three centuries,” Alicarius answered. “I have battled in snowstorms, in jungles, in deserts and in swamps and never once have I retreated, however heavy the opposition of the enemy.”

“All very well and good,” the sergeant said. “But I’ll need some proof of this.”

“He killed thirty people in less than five minutes,” Serrio answered, sparking a low whistle from the sergeant, who began frantically scribbling this down, as well as a few more pieces of writing in other parts of the form. The man viewed it critically.

“There’s a problem with this, I’m afraid,” he said eventually.

“How is there a problem?” Serrio asked. “He’s qualified. He’s bloody well overqualified.”

“You hit the nail on the head captain,” the desk sergeant replied. “We should probably ask the commander.”

Serrio rolled his eyes but ordered one of his men to go find him. After a short while, the soldier returned, followed by a thickset man in a blue cuirass, with the sigil of an oak tree upon it.

“Commander Bittneld,” Serrio said, pulling of a smart salute.

Alicarius almost immediately felt a feeling of great respect for the man. He was obviously a veteran soldier, and despite his age he was obviously in good physical shape. Bittneld eyed up Alicarius with a look that immediately assessed him all over, before speaking.

“So,” he said. “You’re our visiting giant then?”

Alicarius nodded as the man picked up the desk sergeant’s notes.

“Impressive,” he said eventually. “Three hundred years you say. Any elf blood in you?”

Alicarius shook his head, guessing that elf was the local term for the Eldar that inhabited this world.

“Hmm,” Bittneld said. “So if you’re such a mighty warrior, how come we’ve never heard of you? After all, someone your size wearing armour like yours would be pretty hard to miss.”

“I only just arrived here,” Alicarius said.

“Where from?”

“Somewhere a long way away from here. Another empire, in fact.”

At this Bittneld raised an eyebrow.

“You mean there is someplace over the sea?” he asked. “And I take it all their warriors are like you. If that’s the case, then we’re obviously dead meat.”

Alicarius shook his head.

“I don’t know about other empires,” he said. “I come from Titan, a world a long way from here.”

At this the captain laughed.
“Are you joking?” he said. “Another world. And you expect me to believe that because…”

“Because I doubt that any smith here could make armour like mine,” Alicarius replied, removing one of his gauntlets and handing it to Bittneld, who staggered under its weight. “Put it on.” Normally Alicarius would have baulked against anyone but a fellow space marine wearing his armour, but he had a point to prove.

The captain slipped the gauntlet on, and experimentally flexed his fingers, listening to the whine of the small servos as they helped them along. He took it off and peered inside, before handing it back.

“That’s pretty far fetched,” he said. “But I’ve heard madder stories, and I believe you.”

“Thank you,” Alicarius replied, placing the heavy piece of armour back upon his wrist.

“Alright then,” Bittneld said. “I hereby consent to your joining of the Emperor’s legion, with an immediate promotion to captain. You will serve Emperor Uriel Septim until the day that you can no longer fight or the day you day, and then you will be rewarded with a home to go to and a pension to support you. You will fight, and you may die, but you will serve him only. Repeat this pledge to His Majesty after me, if you will.”

The captain said the pledge, which Alicarius repeated.

“Good,” Bittneld said. “Captain Justinian, you are dismissed. Report to me tomorrow morning to be assigned duties and a squad of men. That is all.”

Bittneld saluted, and Alicarius mimicked the action, before leaving.

“Well,” Serrio said. “Someone seems to have good career prospects.”

This post has been edited by The Bean: Nov 25 2008, 08:24 PM
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Colonel Mustard
post Nov 10 2008, 10:21 PM
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And here's part five!

Part 5-The Dead

Three weeks later

The zombie gave a groaning howl as it shambled towards Alicarius. It took a slow, clumsy, swing at him, but the thing’s deadened brain had not seemed to compute the fact that Alicarius was too far away, and it stumbled forwards, into the Space Marine’s reach. Alicarius simply grabbed its rotting head in one hand and swung, pulverising the walking corpse against the cave’s stone wall.

Pathetic.

Alicarius kicked down the wooden door that partitioned off part of the cave and into yet another of the large caverns that it was made of. Three walking skeletons, their bones flickering with warp magic to Alicarius’ mind-sight, turned and hissed, drawing weapons. One of them, holding a bow, let loose an arrow, but the wooden shaft shattered against Alicarius’ power armour. The other two charged, hefting their swords but Alicarius grabbed one the weapon and bent it with his fingers, ignoring the other as it bounced off his armour. He yanked the weapon away, wrenching the bones on of the shoulder socket, and sending the skeleton staggering, pushing the other way with a powerful shove.

Alicarius gathered his psychic powers, that seemed to have been greatly enhanced since he had been present on this world, and sent three beams of psychically empowered light into the walking bones, melting the ancient calcium with its intensity.

He carried on through the cave entrance to be halted by a screaming apparition swooping towards him. Alicarius swiped at the wraith as it slashed at him with an ancient sword, his halberd’s blade slicing through the apparitions form with ease. It fell apart in scraps of white light, which faded into the ground.

The cave branched into two separate corridors, and from one of these glowed a shimmering white light-his target. Alicarius stepped along the corridor towards it.

In the centre of the cave a figure floated, glowing with an inner light. Ancient robes fluttered gently on a breeze not of this world, wrapping a frame of bones, with a few scraps of rotten flesh stubbornly clinging to them. An ancient crown of tarnished gold decorated a skull with burning lights in its eye sockets.

It was a lich-a necromancer of such power that he had transcended life itself.

The being gave a start as it saw Alicarius enter, its eye flaring with light in surprise.

”What do you want, living?” it asked, its voice an echoing hiss.

“Mythic Dawn,” Alicarius replied. “What do you know of them?”

The lich gave him an indecipherable look.

“I know many things of them,” the lich replied. “The question is, what doyou know?”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Alicarius asked.

“Never disturb a lich unless you wish for death!” the ghostly creature hissed.

It sent a bolt of energy towards him, but the ward placed upon Alicarius’ armour flared with light and sent the magic scattering away, and the Astarte responded by sending a blast of psychic energy towards the lich, sending the creature flying backwards to land with the chink of bone.

He wasted no time in pressing his advantage home and leapt forwards, grabbing the thing’s skeletal throat.

“Talk,” he hissed. “Tell me everything off the Mythic Dawn, now!”

“You’ll get nothing from me!” it replied, snarling furiously.

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that, abomination,” Alicarius said. He remembered the advice Serrio had given him before he left-all Lichs have a weakness, something that bound them to the physical world. Extending his mind-sight, Alicarius mentally searched the room, scanning for anything that would allow him to exploit the once living mage’s weakness. He found it, a book pulsing with magical power, on the lich’s own person. He grabbed it, and saw the orange lights in the lich’s eye sockets flare in alarm.

He flicked the book open, keeping a colossal knee on the undead creature’s chest, and read a few pages-it was a journal of some sort.

“So, Kirrlinno,” he said, reading the name. “You still don’t want to talk?”

The long dead mage shook its head stubbornly, and so, slowly and carefully, Alicarius selected a page and ripped it from the book, causing the necromancer to convulse, pain running through its unearthly nervous system.

“Just tell me all that you know of the Mythic Dawn and I’ll leave you be,” Alicarius said patiently.

“Hah!” Kirrlinno said bitterly. “Our kind are never left be. You hunt us, you murder us. For what crimes? I did nothing wrong. I simply wished to live longer, we all do. What use are corpses? We give them a purpose-we recycle them and let them live again. Is there anything wrong through granting the gift of life again?”

Alicarius ignored him and ripped another page from the book, causing the lich to twitch and spasm in pain again.

“I will not talk!”

Alicarius delivered a punch to the living cadaver’s face, the force of the blow ending clinking chips of bone scattering across the stone floor. He slammed the skull against the floor. Realising that this method would not work, Alicarius abandoned it for a different approach.

He flicked through the journal, before chancing across a sketch of an Imperial woman. Judging by the sketch, she was obviously high born and most likely considered to be greatly beautiful.

“Who’s this then?” he asked Kirrlinno, showing him the sketch. “Anyone you know?”

He made a gesture to tear out the sketch, but was stopped by a cry of “No!”.

Alicarius stopped.

“So now you’re willing to talk? Will you tell me what you know of the Mythic Dawn now?”

“So you can join their ranks? Never.” the lich hissed.

“Join them?” Alicarius said. “I wish to see their extermination, and will destroy them.”

There was a silence.

“This changes things,” the lich said. “Could you let me up please?”

Alicarius carefully did so, keeping his halberd at the ready.

“Who was that woman?” Alicarius asked. “It doesn’t take a genius to see that you loved her.”

“She was…she was my bride,” Kirrlinno said. “Before we found the Mythic Dawn.”

“Found them?”

“Mankar Camoran,” Kirrlinno answered. “Him and his little club of daedra worshippers. We were naïve then-we thought that it was up to our generation to improve the Empire, to rebuild it, and Camoran offered us a chance to.”

“Rebuild the Empire?”

“It was a wild time-the Nerevarine had been assassinated and it seemed that Vvardenfel was on the verge of collapsing into civil war and dragging the rest of Tamriel with it.

“And Mankar Camoran offered a chance to rebuild it with his cult?”

“Exactly. Ah, the irony-a devotee to the daedric prince of destruction promising to rebuild the Empire. We should have listened, but we were taken in. Sarranna, my wife, was taken in. I began to study and question and Mankar turned the cult against me. I was cast out from all society-the legion would kill me as a daedra worshipper and the daedra worshippers viewed me as a traitor. I was brutally thrown out of any community, and parted from my wife forever.”

A tear, born of some long dead gland, trickled down Kirrlinno’s skeletal face.

“So I discovered necromancy-a chance to get the power to exact my vengeance on the cult. I practiced my dark arts with the goal of vengeance in mind, vowing to destroy the people who had stolen my love from me. And now I discover you, some superhuman warrior who wishes to see the Mythic Dawn annihilated.”

“You wish me to carry out your vengeance for you?”

“You defeated a lich in a magical duel-few can do that, and yet you have trained in combat as well. You are stronger than any man that I have ever met and yet you have something on you that is not of this world. If you could defeat my guards and me, what trouble would you have with a group of cultists? You hate them, I hate them, it only makes sense for us to not kill each other.”

Alicarius nodded.

“Very well,” he said eventually, handing back the journal. “You may live.”

“Here,” Kirrlinno said, handing back a sheathe of notes. “This is all the information I’ve compiled on the Mythic Dawn. Make good use of it. And take this.”

He handed Alicarius his staff, the ancient and gnarled wood practically crackling with suppressed power.

“I can merge it with your halberd-it will enhance your abilities, your magical powers. You’ll need it more than I. Just give me your weapon and I shall do it.”

Alicarius passed the staff and halberd back to the necromancer. For a brief moment, a crackle of pure white lightning flashed between the two objects, before they merged together. Kirrlinno handed it back to Alicarius, who inspected the weapon.

Where the haft had once been satin black, it was now gnarled old wood. The blade remained the same, still shining in silver, but as well as the litanies carved into the adamantium, ancient words of power sparkled and glimmered as well.

Alicarius bowed his head in thanks-the staff was an ancient and powerful object, and Alicarius could easily appreciated the significance it represented as a gift. He turned to leave, holding the notes in one hand and his halberd in the other.

“Before you leave, one last thing,” the Liche said.

“What?”

“When you find the Mythic Dawn, make them suffer.”

This post has been edited by The Bean: Nov 25 2008, 08:23 PM
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mplantinga
post Nov 10 2008, 11:25 PM
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I find this story interesting so far. I can't help but think, however, that for someone who has just arrived on Nirn, the story the Lich told would be almost completely incomprehensible. Admittedly, the important parts, i.e. false hope from a demonic cult, would be clear, but it seems to me that this space marine should have a greater sense of confusion. Perhaps he's simply adapted to being somewhat confused, and resolves his confusion later?
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Colonel Mustard
post Nov 10 2008, 11:50 PM
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Thanks for stopping by Planty, and for commenting. It's good to know people are reading this.

In reply to your crit, Alicarius has been doing a lot of homework lately, so he knows about the Nerevarine, the Dwemer, the Inperial cult and many of the important events in Tamriel's history, and I was going to mention that his room in the Grey Mare, where he's staying, is currently chock full of history books.

After all, you can learn a lot in a few weeks.
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Colonel Mustard
post Nov 25 2008, 08:23 PM
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Along with the update, I have a bit of news-this is going to be a series. The book’s sequel, Grey Hunter, will follow the events of Bloodmoon, and Grey Lord will chronicle Alicarius’ time in the Shivering Isles, as well as revealing the complex machinations of why Alicarius was transported to Nirn.

But that’s the future-I’ll have to work my way there over time, but in the present, I have a new update.

Oh, and does anyone know how to edit that subtitle?

Part 6-Commander

It had, all in all, been one hell of an adjustment for Alicarius to make. For the three weeks since he had joined the Imperial Legion, he had rented a room at the Grey Mare, a local inn, and had bought as many books that he could find from the local bookshop. In three weeks, his room had taken on the look of a scholar’s, with it filled with as many books on imperial history as he could find.

But he’d run into a problem-there were no astropaths. True, the world had psykers-he’d be shocked to discover there was a guild for ‘mages’ and he had found it hard not to go in there and purge the place for its heresy-but none of them had any capability of sending messages across the stars. So he was stuck on a world a long way from the Imperium and with no way getting back to his chapter without waiting. So he would have to be patient.

As he made his way through the town, he couldn’t help but notice that no-one stopped to stare. Well, anyone new to the town did, he was hard to miss, but within three weeks people had simply got used to having a giant in their midst. It would have been strange, but some of the animals he had seen here-rats the size of dogs and walking trees-had led him to believe that he was in no way the most outlandish thing present in this world.

He opened the castle’s gate with a gentle push, and made his way through the barracks, the sheaf of notes slipped into the large travel satchel he had taken to carrying with him-after all, many bandits kept their money and other valuables in their hideouts and Alicarius had no qualms with taking a little extra to help him along.

He entered the barracks, and was greeted by the desk sergeant peering at him suspiciously at him, as he always was.

“I have the information on the cult,” Alicarius said.

“Good,” the sergeant said, taking the paper and slotting it onto a shelf. “I’ll the bonus to your pay.”

Alicarius nodded and turned to leave.

“Oh, and Commander Bittneld wished to see you,” the desk sergeant said with his usual dismissiveness. “He’s in his office.”

Alicarius left the barracks and entered the main hall of the castle. Once he reached the door that marked Bittneld’s office, he knocked gently.

“Come in,” the captain said from the other side.

Alicarius opened the door and nodded a greeting to the commander, who was busy filling out forms at his desk.

“How did the assignment go?” he asked. “Did the lich have any information?”

“He had notes which he gave to me after a little…persuasion,” Alicarius said.

“Good, good,” the commander replied, seeming a little distracted.

“I take it you called me for something more important that just conversation about my mission,” Alicaius said. “Is there something else you wished to ask me?”

“Yes, there is,” Bittneld said. “Chorrol is having a royal visit from his majesty Uriel Septim, and naturally the town guard and the Legion garrison are expected form a parade in his honour.”

“And you expect me to be in the parade?” Alicarius asked.

“I want you to lead it,” Bittneld said. “Look at you-you’ve become a legend in little more than a fortnight. The warrior giant in silver armour, the man who stopped an army of orc raiders single handed.”

“There were only fourty,” Alicarius pointed out modestly.

“Yes, but you know how people exaggerate these things,” Bittneld said. “My point is that you would be quite an addition-who else has a man who’s eight foot tall to lead a parade in the Emperor’s honour?”

Alicarius nodded.

“It makes sense,” he said.

“And there’s another reason,” Bittneld went on. “I’m retiring soon-I’m getting old. With you suddenly arriving, people are beginning to ask, why doesn’t this Space Marine, as you call yourself, take charge. He seems to know how to command an army. These are turbulent times, Alicarius-the legion needs good commanders more than ever.”

“You want me to take command of the Chorrol garrison?” Alicarius asked.

“More or less,” Bittneld said. “In all honesty I think you would be ideal for the job. The men respect you, you’ve had more combat experience than almost the entire garrison put together and you seem to be able to write the book on battle tactics.”

Alicarius gave a contemplative sigh.

“I don’t know sir,” he said eventually. “After all, I barely know this place, and Serrio has served here far longer than me…”

“Not a problem,” Bittneld said. “I’ve talked it over with the captain he and I have both agreed that it’s in the best interests of the Empire if you take command after I retire.”

“I don’t have much choice in this, do I?” Alicarius asked.

“I’m afraid not captain,” Bittneld said calmly. “Besides, anyone else would jump at the chance to become legion commander-good pay, excellent equipment and the some of the finest quarters available.”

“I’m not complaining, sir,” Alicarius said. “It just came as a surprise, that’s all.”

Bittneld nodded.

“So you agree?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. I’ll have the information you need sent to you. Dismissed.”

As Alicarius turned and left, he remembered Serrio’s prediction and was surprised at how quickly it had come true.

#

“Evening Al,” Mara, the barkeeper at the Grey Mare, said to Alicarius genially as he opened the tavern’s door. “Have an interesting day?”

Alicarius nodded a greeting to her.

“I had to clear a cave full of undead out,” he said. “Nothing special.”

Mara laughed at this.

“You live quite the life, don’t you, Al?” she asked. “Most people would be in here boasting about doing something like that and you just shrug it off. Oh, and your latest delivery of books came through-the Wolf Queen and Real Barenziah series?”

“Those were the ones,” Alicarius said.

“Good,” Mara said. She pulled a heavy sack of books onto the bar’s counter. “You’ll have to pay extra for all these things I’m keeping for you.”

Alicarius just smiled.

He liked Mara-her combination of easygoing cheerfulness and down-to-earth common sense made her easy to chat to, and the fact that she seemed to know every item of gossip around the town meant you always had something to chat about. Alicarius didn’t even mind her calling him Al, as everyone in the town seemed to be calling him. Normally he would have been outraged at such an insult, but he realised that this place, full of its witches, and mutants and heretics, had made him more open minded. He remembered the old Imperium catechism ‘an open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded,’ but he didn’t care. The people here were good people-even if the Imperium were to somehow discover this world, he would fight on their behalf-use his influence as an Astarte to persuade the Imperial forces to somehow spare this world.

Perhaps, he mused for a moment, this was what had motivated Warmaster Horus to fall to chaos and drag the space marine legions with him-a conflict of duty and viewpoint. He knew that such thoughts could be considered heresy of the highest degree, but he knew that he served the Emperor of Mankind above all others, and that his soul was pure, and always would be. No Grey Knight had ever fallen to the predations of chaos, and Alicarius would make sure he would not sully his chapter’s record.

Alicarius was snapped out of his musings by Mara tapping him on the shoulder.

“Yes?” he asked.

“You might want to wash your gauntlet, Al,” the innkeeper said. “There’re bits of zombie on it and it’s starting to smell.”

Alicarius nodded and headed upstairs to get it washed. After that, he had a parade to plan and duties to attend to.
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Colonel Mustard
post Nov 27 2008, 06:56 PM
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Part 7-The Emperor

“Another drink Wrennis?” Mara asked. The young man looked up from the book he was studying to regard the innkeeper.

“No thank you,” he said. “It’ll go straight to my head.”

He gave a quiet, awkward laugh, and a nervous smile.

“Alright then,” Mara replied, turning to leave. “Just ask if you need something.”

Wrennis returned to his book, absent mindedly removing his glasses for a moment to polish them. It was a manual of bowcraft, not that he needed it after his years of training, but as his great mentor had said, ‘you never know when you’ll find out something new.’ And his mentor, in his immortal wisdom, had never yet been wrong.

Wrennis was the last person you would expect to be a killer, except, perhaps, if you were exceptionally paranoid. He was stick thin, his hair stuck out at awkward angles and he got nervous easily. But underneath the gangly frame were bands of pure sinew able to pull back the largest bows, and beneath the nervousness was the cold, hard, calculating mind of a murderer.

And tomorrow, Wrennis was going to kill the Emperor.

#

“He’s coming! The Emperor is coming!”

The cry spread though the town as rapidly as wildfire, people scrambling to line the route to the castle that the parade was going to take. Legionnaires formed lines outside the gates, ready a form an honour guard for their liege. At their head was Alicarius.

He looked, to say the least, utterly magnificent. His armour gleamed, the result of hours of polishing, the sunlight catching its burning silver and making it shine all the brighter. On his left pauldron, the symbol of the Grey Knights, as book with a sword through the centre, representing the power of knowledge as a weapon, shone resplendently in the centre, while on the right was the white tree of Chorrol, gleaming under varnish and with fresh paint. He wore a deep cloak of navy blue over the back of his armour’s collar and power-pack, embroidered with the town’s oak. He had removed his helmet, allowing all to see his craggy and scarred face.

The face of a hero.

“Parade!” he yelled to the assembled soldiers as the Emperor’s procession approached. “Parade…’shun!”

With a single thump, the men stood to attention, their armour clanking as their boots slammed into the ground.

Alicarius glanced down the road quickly, and saw a magnificent open topped carriage approaching. With his enhanced eyesight, he could make out the Emperor, dressed in regal blue robes with a thick fur collar and a modest circlet holding a red ruby.

So this was their Uriel Septim? Alicarius had seen worse rulers.

“Parade first detachment, forward!” he called out. One of half of the parade stepped forwards onto the road, before stopping. “Parade first detachment, right turn!”

As one man, the soldiers turned, their boots thudding loudly into the ground. As the Emperor and his retinue passed through the gates, he gave his next order.

“Parade first detachment, by the right…quick, march!”

As the first bodyguards passed through the gates, the legionnaires and watchmen forming Chorrol’s garrison began to march. At their head, a group of drummers started up a beat. The sound of dozens of boots hitting the ground was enough to make the ground shake so hard that Alicarius could feel in through his boots.

He smiled-today was a good day to be a soldier.

#

Today was a good day to be an assassin.

Wrennis pulled the bow back towards his shoulder, squinting down the haft of his arrow in concentration. He had discovered his useless glasses, and the nervous, awkward young man was gone, replaced by the true killer within.

He would only have one shot.

He sighted down the bow, and murmuring a prayer to his lord, released the string, and let the arrow fly.

#

The flight of wood thudded into the side of the Emperor’s carriage, burying itself deep enough into the wood to protrude out of the other side.

People saw the arrow and screamed, on verge of panic. Someone had tried to kill the Emperor, and the killer could be anywhere.

Alicarius didn’t. He glanced at the arrow buried in the carriage’s wood, which the Emperor had flinched away from, and looked the way it had travelled.

There!

He caught sight of a figure crouching in the shadows on top of one of the towers, a bow clutched in its hands. Alicarius thundered forwards, shoving anyone aside and letting the crowd, already frightened by the arrow, scatter around him.

He reached the base of the tower in moments, and smashed the door aside in a shower of splinters. It was dark, but he paid it no heed as he thundered up the stairs, demolishing any doors that got in his way. He reached the top and threw open the trapdoor, emerging into the sunlight, and ready to utterly annihilate the would-be assassin.

Then an arrow slammed into his eye.

Alicarius staggered under the force of it, blood pouring from the wound, before the Larriman organ implanted in his body caused the blood to congeal around the wound, while his armour automatically injected painkillers into his system. His eye screwed up over the sudden wound, and trying to ignore the pain of the arrow skewering his eyeball.

With his good eye he saw the assassin quite calmly notch another shaft to his bow, pull back and take aim. And then Alicarius surprised the killer.

He thundered forwards and grabbed the man’s collar, snapping the bones and causing him to scream in pain.

Alicarius cast the man aside, causing him to yell in pain.

“Who sent you?” he asked, already half knowing the answer.

“The dawn sent me!” the man replied, laughing. He pulled himself away from the astarte, grinning madly. “The dawn is breaking.”

He raised himself up feebly to stand at the edge of the parapet, murmured some strange words, and threw himself off the tower.

Alicarius heard the crunch, and then realised something.

The crowd was still in a state of complete terror.

Alicarius saw why-a group of red clad figures, dressed in archaic, ornate armour, were locked in combat with the legion soldiers and the Emperor’s bodyguards. They were outnumbered, but they had the element of surprise and their furious assault meant they were cutting through the legion soldiers with ease, simply sweeping them aside in their bid to reach Uriel Septim.

Alicarius sped back down the tower’s stairs and onto the street, to be stopped by a massive figure in his way. The daedroth snarled and lashed out at him, but the Grey Knight ducked under the slow, clumsy blow and delivered a punch powerful enough to shatter steel to the creature’s chest. It stumbled back beneath the blow, and Alicarius bought his halberd to bear and swiped at the creature, decapitating it.

He assessed the situation as he charged towards the assassins, and saw how one had broken through the guards and was about to strike the Emperor, who had drawn a dagger and made a clumsy swing at the man.

Alicarius hefted his halberd and threw it like a javelin.

For a moment, it seemed to hang in the air before slamming into the assassin’s chest and sending him tumbling to the ground. Alicarius thundered on, smashing aside another assassin with a blow to the chest, crumpling the man’s armour and his ribs. He reached the Emperor a moment later, as the last of the Mythic Dawn assassins were eliminated by the Legionnaires and bodyguards.

The old man, quaking with fear and shock, regarded the Space Marine before him, his armour coated in dust, the side of his face sticky with blood and an arrow protruding from his eye.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“I’ve been worse,” Alicarius said. “But if you’ll excuse me, I need to find a healer.”
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mplantinga
post Dec 8 2008, 11:24 PM
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"i've been worse"

That line really cracked me up; I doubt he's ever had such a close-up view of an arrow before smile.gif

I'm looking forward to seeing the political ramifications of this little Mythic Dawn stunt.

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Colonel Mustard
post Dec 8 2008, 11:39 PM
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From: The darkest pit of your soul. Hi there!



Think post 9/11 scare and you can't go too wrong-everybody will be panicking and running around like headless chickens, with curfews being enforced and the watch really cracking down on things. But when the Emperor really is killed, boy do the politics really come into play... (speaking of which, I need to go ask Minque something)

Oh, and Alicarius gets an eyepatch. ARR!
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post Dec 9 2008, 09:59 PM
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Beanie! you asked and you got yourself a reply! biggrin.gif I'll thoroughly read this through....again... wink.gif


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darkynd
post Dec 10 2008, 02:21 AM
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From: CA



I read through the first chapter, and I've got to say, you have a pretty good mastery of language. Your word choice was impressive; varied, but it didn't read like some guy who opened up a thesaurus to pad his story. At times though, the stream of adjectives was a little...much. My personal preference in writing is to be more sparing with description; to always form a clear image, but without overloading people. The most concrete example I can find of this is here:

QUOTE
Buildings were consumed by its twisting, cavorting blaze, its intense, unnatural heat melting the rockcrete and steel that made them up, slumping down in a thick syrupy liquid.


It's a very long, complex image you build up there, and feels a bit...rushed. I'm struggling to find the right word, but rushed fits in its way. However, it does convey a sense of urgency and confusion, but I believe that same feeling could be communicated in a more efficient manner.

This complaint might be out of touch though - you should wait and see if anybody else comments on it before really getting worked up over it. And if you'd like to say something, I'd be more than willing to talk it out.

Other than that, I noticed an unfortunate tendency to repeat the word "blessed." That cropped up quite a bit; read through the part where the Grey Knights are introduced if you don't believe me.

Finally, I saw one problem with the "flow" of your writing. Throughout your story, you have several paragraphs (or one paragraph) of description or action, then you deliver a single-sentence paragraph to emphasize some quality of the descriptive paragraphs. I know I didn't explain that well, so let me give an exmple or two of what I mean:

QUOTE
He turned as his hyper-enhanced senses picked up the sound of someone moving behind him. He span, storm bolter raised, to see a monstrous creature born of man’s worst nightmares. Similar to some massive, bipedal vulture, the creature’s multicoloured feathers flickered and twitched madly. In one of its clawed hands it held a staff, crackling with sorcerous power.

It was a Lord of Change, a greater daemon of Tzeentch and most powerful of his servants.


QUOTE
Alicarius let of a burst of fire with his storm bolter, the weapon’s immense recoil dampened by the servos contained within his armour, but it was to no avail. Even with the innumerable blessing laid upon them, the explosive bullets could not penetrate the shield of magical power that guarded the daemon. Hefting his halberd, he charged.

His first blow was blocked by the daemon’s staff, but Alicarius could see that its daemonic creature within it was struggling to repulse the holy power of his weapon. He span, allowing his momentum to carry him away from the daemon, before his weapon sliced through the monster’s ankle.

At least, it would have done.


In and of itself, that kind of thing is not a problem - in fact, it can be extremely effective. Nearly all writers do it eventually. But you use it too much. You use it so much that it loses some of its edge, and becomes almost predictable. For style, this is bad. Similar to using too many simple sentences, using too much of one hook in your writing is a no-no. Again, if you want to talk that point out more, please do so.

Overall, however, I like this story. Warhammer 40k is awesome (although I personally prefer Fantasy ohmy.gif ) and you are well on your way to becoming a great writer. Can't wait to read more!
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Colonel Mustard
post Dec 11 2008, 12:05 AM
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Thanks for the crit Darkynd, just the stuff I need!

After reading through the paragraph where you mentioned the adjectives, I do agree with you-I'll go over it and try to sort it.

As for the blessed thing, I actually had one hell of a hard time trying to find suitable alternatives to it! Ah well, I suppose there's no rest for the wicked.

And the long, long, short paragraph thing actually crops up fairly often! But I must admit it's probably worst in this opening chapter, but I'll do my best to fix it.

EDIT: Okay, I've fixed the thing you've pointed out Darkynd. Thanks again!

This post has been edited by The Bean: Dec 11 2008, 07:56 PM
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Colonel Mustard
post Dec 13 2008, 04:10 PM
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Okay, and I've got an extra large update for all you lovely folk. Enjoy!

Part 8-Legion

Castle Chorrol's main council chamber was bustling with activity, men and woman trying to make sure that the Emperor was safe and the the panic in the streets outside had died down. Uriel Septim had been helped into a chair, the elderly man breathless with shock.

Alicarius had come as soon as he could, having wiped as much of his face clean as he could and having a healer clean out his wound and remove what was left of the eyeball-it was useless to him now. He had an eyepatch over his left eye-while it did itch, it certainly added a rather dashing look to him.

If I was with my chapter I could have had it replaced with a bionic by now, he thought. But he wasn't, and probably never would be with it now.

Fortunately the arrow had only embedded itself in Alicarius's eyeball, and mere scratched the surface of his cortex. He was lucky-if he'd been looking at a slightly higher angle he would either be dead or suffering serious brain damage.

Serrio was at the council table, debating about whether or not there would be another attack with a redguard, presumably one of the Emperor's bodyguards.

“They'd put everything into that one,” he said. “They didn't believe it would fail. What would be the point in wasting agents on a futile attack.”

“Because they wanted to put us on edge,” the redguard countered. “If we're panicked, we make mistakes. If we make mistakes, the Emperor dies.”

“Which is precisely why we won't panic,” Alicarius cut in as he strode over. He snapped a quick salute to Serrio, who saluted back almost immediately. “My thanks for covering for me while I was gone.”

“Not a problem sir,” Serrio replied. “I've been looking over their plan of attack while you were away-none of us can work out why the arrow missed. The man wielding the bow was obviously a master marksman-if he'd wanted to hit the Emperor, he would have hit the Emperor.”

“It was to distract me,” Alicarius said. “They wanted to lure me away, try to weaken and hopefully kill me with the second arrow and finish me off with the Daedroth.”

“True, but why not just snipe the Emperor?” the bodyguard said.

“I've dealt with the Mythic Dawn before,” Serrio replied. “They're an odd bunch-they don't believe they can kill you honourably unless it's in close combat. If Alicarius was out of the picture then they stood a chance of killing the Emperor, even if they died in the process.”

The bodyguard nodded in grudging agreement.

“So what do we do now?” he asked.

“We need to get people off of the streets,” Alicarius said. “I suggest we call a curfew for the next few days while the emperor stays-we don't want anyone else to get bad ideas.”

The bodyguard glanced over his shoulder, and then said; “His majesty's coming.”

The emperor was old, walking with a stick. His face was wrinkled, his hair grey and he was spindly and thin. Yet despite his age, Alicarius could see a gleam in his eyes that signified a shrewd and cunning mind was behind them. His clothing was finely made, but not ostentatious, and there was an air of quiet dignity about him.

He greeted Alicarius with a nod, before speaking.

“I want to thank you again,” he said to astarte, who had snapped a salute. “I don't doubt that without your intervention I would be dead by now.”

“I was just doing my duty sir,” Alicarius replied modestly.

“Are you alright your majesty?” the bodyguard said. “Do you need a seat?”

“I daresay I'll be fine, Baurus,” the emperor replied. “I will stand to thank my saviour.”

Baurus relented, but didn't seem happy about the emperor's decision.

“And I take it you're Alicarius' second in command?” the Uriel Septim said, nodding a greeting to Serrio.

“That's right sir,” Serrio said, no doubt in some awe from talking to his ruler.

“Then I must say you've done an excellent job of keeping the situation under control while he was gone,” Uriel said.

At that moment, a man wearing the ornate robes of a councillor's personal manservant hurried over, looking flustered, and murmured something to the emperor. The old man sighed.

“I'm I cannot stay any longer,” he said, extending his hand. “It has been an honour, nonetheless.”

Alicarius gently gripped the old man's hand in his own massive gauntlet and shook it. Serrio did the same, but looked as if he was about to collapse out of excitement and pride. When the Emperor had turned away he turned to Alicarius, a big, stupid grin plastered on his face.

“That was the Emperor,” he said in glee. “And I shook his hand.”

“I know Serrio,” Alicarius said. “So did I.”

“The Emperor complimented me!”

“I know Serrio. Calm down.”

“Sorry,” Serrio mumbled. “Just a bit, y'know.”

“Yes, I know,” Alicarius said. “Come on, we need to get the watch shifts sorted out.”

#

“I really do hate that desk sergeant sometimes, you know,” Serrio said. “I can't believe he had the cheek to put us on guard duty.”

“Oh stop complaining Serrio,” Alicarius replied. “It won't make things go any faster.”

“I mean, desk sergeants are a bunch of evil bastards, I know,” Serrio conceded, too caught up in his moral outrage to really listen. “I mean, it's practically a job requirement. But I draw the line somewhere.”

“Serrio,” Alicarius said patiently, yet somewhat pointedly. “Just shut up.”

Serrio promptly stopped talking. If an eight foot man asked you to shut up, you shut up.

After a short silence, Serrio suddenly piped up with a question.

“You know you come from an Imperium, Alicarius?” he asked. “So you've got to have an emperor. What's he like.”

Obviously Serrio still hadn't quite gotten over his brief meeting with royalty.

“He's dead,” Alicarius replied bluntly. “He was the greatest human being ever to exist and his own son betrayed and murdered him.”

“Why?” Serrio asked, interested.

“Greed, avarice, who knows?” Alicarius said. “Whatever happened, it started the most brutal and bloody war ever to occur. Ten thousand years ago, it happened, and it's still tearing the Imperium apart today. Ninety thousand space marines turned against the Imperium, and countless millions of soldiers, at the time when humanity was finding its feet in the galaxy again.”

“Ninety thousand Space Marines,” Serrio murmured, awestruck at the concept of ninety thousand warriors of Alicarius' strength and skill.

“They had gods with them,” Alicarius murmured. “Evil blasphemous things, four of them against our one.”

“Who was your god?” Serrio asked.

“The Emperor,” Alicarius said, before laughing. “Ironic, though. Here was a man with godly powers, more powerful than any other being ever to exist, with knowledge of how to craft the basic structure of a human being into something more than a man, on a crusade to remove all of man's gods.”

“Why?” Serrio asked. “Why would he want to do that? The Nine have never done any harm.”

“He believed that gods were dangerous, that they encouraged small mindedness and stupidity. And now we worship him. After his son, Horus, killed him, we deified him, interred him on a machine that would keep him in a half-life forever and from then on humanity has struggled onwards.”

“Horus? If the Emperor was a god, how could Horus kill him?”

“Horus was a primarch-a human who had been improved and modified and made into a father, of sorts, for the space marines, along with his nineteen other brothers. But when he betrayed the Emperor, followed the gods of Chaos, he was powerful enough to defeat his father, but not without dying the process. And now the Imperium is dying.”

“Dying?”

“For every battle we win, we lose ten more. We reduce entire worlds and their populations just to deny them to the enemy. Humanity’s time is almost up. Space Marine are supposed to know no fear, but but I fear for the future of man.”

“It's tragic, isn't it,” someone said behind them, causing Serrio and Alicarius to whirl and draw their weapons. “Don't worry, I mean you no harm.”

Their unexpected guest was an Imperial, dressed in the finery of a rich man. An neatly trimmed moustache sat neatly above his lip, while a wide brimmed hat hid his eyes in shadow.

“What are you doing here?” Serrio asked suspiciously, not putting his sword away. “There's no access for those not not authorised by either of us. And I certainly don't remember allowing you in.”

The man gave a quiet, cultured laugh, before speaking.

“That would not stop me in any way whatsoever,” he said contemptuously.

Instantly suspicious, Alicarius let his mind-sight expand, and saw what this mysterious visitor really was.

“Daemon,” he hissed, activating his halberd, letting the artificial lightning crackle around the blade.

“Ah yes,” the daemon replied. “You are correct.”

“What do you want here fiend?” Alicarius asked. “Tell me now!”

The daemon raised its hand in a gesture of peace.

“Oh don't bother with that, captain,” it said. “If I'd bothered with that then one of us would be dead by now. Most likely you, I'm afraid to say.”

“What do you want?” Serrio asked. “Make it quick.”

The daemon gave a dramatic, exasperated sigh.

“I come as a messenger,” it said. “Degrading for me, I know.”

“What is your message?” Alicarius said.

“I come on behalf of my master,” the daemon said. “He has been watching the small war you have been fighting against Mehrunes Dagon and wishes to give you his support against an old rival of his.”

“We don't do deals with daedra,” Serrio said.

“I though you'd say something like that,” the daemon said. “So I'll make this simple. If you don't take his support, it is highly likely you will both die, have your souls ripped from your bodies and tortured by a vengeful daedric prince for all eternity.”

“I'm listening then,” Alicarius said.

“Let me start from the beginning then,” the daemon said. “I go by the name of Legion. I am a servant of a daedric prince, who wishes to not have his identity disclosed at this time. He also wants to see his pet project survive the invasion Mehrunes Dagon plans.”

“Mehrunes Dagon wishes to invade Nirn?” Alicarius asked. “How will he do that?”

“He will kill the Emperor,” Legion said. “Don't look so alarmed, captain, there's nothing you can do about it. While my master predicts that his death will be rather entertaining, nonetheless the multiple skeins of fate point towards one thing after that. The complete destruction of this world and the enslavement of its people. This would not be a desired outcome for my master.”

“So how does he wish to aid me?” Alicarius said.

“In ways you could not possibly imagine,” Legion replied. “From now on, you will never see me-I only come to inform you of my presence simply so you will not attempt to kill if, by some massive offchance, you see me again. I will work behind the scenes-a whisper in an ear, a slight movement of an object. A twig in a riverbed, so to speak, but a twig that will influence the river's flow nonetheless. If you do see me again, you will, by then, realised the true reason that you came here, and why. Until then, I will be invisible.”

With that, Legion stepped back into a shadow and disappeared. Serrio grabbed a flaming torch and pointed it into the patch of darkness, but Legion had disappeared without a trace.
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Colonel Mustard
post Jan 4 2009, 09:29 PM
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I'm BAAAACK!!

Just so ya know biggrin.gif

Alright, I've written a grand total of seventeen updates for this while I was away, and I'll be posting them up for y'all over the next week or so. A lot of ground has been covered, there are fights, battle and excitement galore, and even a celebrity appearance! But, just to get the ball rolling, here's part nine.

Part 9-Leaving

The Emperor's state visit had lasted only a few days, the Mythic Dawn's attack setting everyone on edge. The business that Uriel Septim had had to conduct with the count had been conducted quickly, and by the end of the week, the Emperor was preparing to leave.

“Make sure the streets are clear of pedestrians when the Emperor,” Alicarius ordered Tannius, one of his lieutenants. “I don't want to take any risks.”

The soldier saluted and then hurried out of the castle to carry out his orders. Alicarius had gathered together most of his captains, as well as the commander of the Emperor's guards, Captain Renault, in a small council of war.

“Captain Renault,” Alicarius said. “Is there any way the Emperor can get into the Imperial City without it being too noticeable?”

“I know a few inconspicuous routes we can take to get into the city,” Renault replied.

“Good,” Alicarius said. “Have you managed to get any more information on the cult?”

“I've got my best men on it,” Renault said. “But after Serrio's extermination mission a few weeks ago they've been careful about trying to keep hidden-they knew the assassination attempt was was going to be a suicide mission, so could count on the assassins to not give any information away.”

“What about the next few weeks?” Serrio asked. “What's the plan then?”

“I recommend we keep the Emperor safe,” Renault replied. “We can move him to our base in Cloud Ruler Temple if the attacks continue. It's one of the most secure places in Cyrodiil-it'll take nothing short of an army to shift us.”

“I'm not sure they'll carry on for much longer,” Alicarius said. “They don't have enough manpower to keep up multiple ones. I'd say there was only going to be one more before they'll have to back down and go into hiding before they recover or we find them and wipe them out.”

“So what's the plan then?” Serrio asked.

“I say we get the Emperor back home to the Imperial City as as soon as we can,” Renault said. “We keep looking for any Mythic Dawn bases and destroy them when we can. If nothing else happens for the next few weeks then we'll have to carry on as normal-people have tried to kill the Emperor before and we've managed.”

“It makes sense,” Alicarius said. “Just don't drop your guard too much-an avaricious usurper will know when to back down, but a cult of a maniacs won't.”

The meeting was interrupted by a messenger knocking on the door.

“This had better be important,” Serrio sighed as he opened the door. The command group had been plagued by messages over the past few days, mostly sent by gung-ho sergeants who had arrested someone who had had the misfortune to look suspicious enough to be accused of being a member of the Mythic Dawn. Someone had questioned them, but so far, out of the fifty people arrested, there had been no reason for that person to be a member of the cult.

“It's a message from the Emperor, sir,” the messenger said.

“Alight then, fire away,” Serrio said.

“He asks that Alicarius accompanies him to the Imperial City,” the messenger said.

Alicarius shook his head.

“I'm afraid that you must tell him that while I am grateful for the honour he has offered me, I must refuse,” he said. “My duties as commander of the Legion at Chorrol demand that I must stay.”

“He said that he wouldn't take no for an answer,” the messenger said.

“If he says that then he means it,” Renault volunteered.

Alicarius considered his options for a moment, before deciding it would be simpler to just comply with the Emperor's orders.

“I will inform his majesty immediately,” the messenger said, before turning to leave.

“Back to planning then,” Alicarius said, sounding slightly put out.

#

When the Emperor's carriage left Chorrol, no crowds of cheering citizens saw it off. Instead, there was a tense silence as the royal caravan made its way through the town. The route had been cleared by the watch, but nonetheless the mounted soldiers guarding it were taking no risks, scrutinising every alleyway and window along the route with intense suspicion. Alicarius, eschewing a horse, was at the head of the group and had his helmet on, scanning the area with its infra red, watching for the coloured silhouette of anyone hiding behind a wall or window.

Then a small part of him suddenly asked: “Why are you doing this? He allows xenos and witches to live. He's a heretic.”

For a moment, he stopped, causing Captain Renault to ask if anything was wrong.

“I don't know,” he said. “There could be.”

“And if there is?”

“Then you people won't stand a chance,” he said cryptically.

“What is it captain?” Renault said. “What the hell could that be? Where is it?”

She drew her sword.

“Put it away captain,” Alicarius said. He glanced around, pretending to assess the situation. “Nothing,” he said to the rest of the group. “Just a false alarm. Must be getting old.”

The joke was fairly feeble, even for someone three hundred years old, but it allayed any tension as the group continued.

“Captain, what the hell were you talking about back then?” Renault asked.

“Me,” Alicarius replied.

“What?” Renault said. “Why would you be a danger called the rest of us?”

“I'll explain, captain-you've heard about the training a space marine has to go to-I understand that that interview with the Black Horse Courier was one of their most popular editions,” Alicarius said.

“The Blades keep themselves informed,” Renault replied, as the group left the town, the gates closing behind them. “I'm surprised you did that though-you don't seem the interview type.”

“Commander Bittneld insisted I did it,” Alicarius said. “Anyway that's beside the point.”

“So what were you trying to say?” Renault asked.

“You know how space marine training conditions the mind as well as the body?” Alicarius said. “Well, sometimes, the conditioning has a side effect.”

“What's the side effect?” Renault asked.

“Sometimes, an astarte's mind just...rebels against him,” Alicarius said. “It's not really spoken about amongst us, but its one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a space marine. We don't really have a name for it, but I call it the Rage.”

“The Rage?”

“Sometimes something just sparks it off and an astarte just goes mad. We do our best to stop it-our chaplains and apothecaries watch for any signs, but in all honesty no-one knows the symptoms and they can be triggered by just about anything. Sometimes an astarte realises how different from humanity he really is, sometimes an astarte breaks under the stress of extended combat when he knows there truly can't be a victory, and sometimes we're put in situations where we're torn between what our training demands and our own opinions and common sense do. After all, when push comes to shove we're only human.”

“And you think that it's happening to you?”

“Yes, Captain, I afraid that I think it is. I'll make no bones about it, captain, if it happens then I'll most likely slaughter everyone I possibly can-which would be a lot of people.”

“Can't your Imperium help you?”

“I can't contact them, and if I did then they would most likely try to subjugate this planet and exterminate anything not purebred human on the planet. That's what I think is triggering this-the hatred and xenophobia forced into me by the Imperium and the fact that if I want to live here without being some kind of outlaw means I must put this hatred aside.”

“We'd fight the Imperium though, if they wanted to kill us,” Renault said. “We'd give them one hell of a fight.”

“And you would be massacred. The Imperium has weapons far more powerful than any ones the Empire possesses. Look at this, for example.”

He released his storm bolter gauntlet from his armour, the joint hissing as the armour resealed the itself in its own atmosphere. He slid a clip of ammunition out of the back of the machine's gun's complex mechanism, and took out a bullet.

“What's the fastest thing you've ever seen, captain?” he asked.

“There was a wood elf archer I once met,” Renault said. “He was one of the best amongst his trade-his arrows were so fast that you could barely see them.”

“This would fly a roughly ten times that speed,” Alicarius said. “It could punch through the thickest armour you have and pulverise any organs or muscles that get in the way, and the wounds are nigh on impossible to close. And that's a regular bullet.”

“How could it do something like that? What kind of weapon is this?” Renault said, aghast. “Who would use such a thing?”

“Man always says that whenever he discovers a superweapon,” Alicarius said. “He assumes that no one will dare use such a thing, but eventually, thanks to desperation or some other factor, he does.”

“You sound just like some kind of philosophical treatise,” Renault said. “But you said that was just a regular bullet. What's so special about this one.”

“It explodes inside you,” Alicarius said. “If you survive then it's nothing short of a miracle. We have hundreds of weapons like that at our disposal-we'd roll over Nirn in a matter of weeks.”

“What would we do if the Imperium did find us?” Renault asked.

“I would be the only chance of the planet's survival,” Alicarius said. “My position as a space marine captain lends me some weight, politically speaking, but even so I'm unsure about whether or not I could really help.”

Renault sighed, and handed Alicarius' gauntlet back to him.

“It's a cruel universe we live in,” she said eventually.

“That it is,” Alicarius said. “All we can do is strive to make it better.”

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canis216
post Jan 5 2009, 12:07 AM
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Welcome back. 17 updates, eh? Sounds like you've been busy. biggrin.gif


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Read about Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun, a Blades assassin, in Killing in the Emperor's Name and The Dark Operation. And elsewhere.
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Colonel Mustard
post Jan 6 2009, 09:36 AM
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From: The darkest pit of your soul. Hi there!



Indeed I have Canis, indeed I have. And now for a the next update. Believe the me, now the fun begins.

Part 10-The Imperial City

The Imperial City was impressive, Alicarius thought. While it was in no way huge, as a piece of architecture it was quite a feat, as well as defensively. Multiple ring walls divided the city into sections that the defenders could fall back to, and to get through the many gates the enemy would have to force their way through a meatgrinder of maze-like streets first, only to have to work out a way to get a siege engine through them.

“The Imperial City,” Renault announced. “We've arrived.”

There was a wearisome cheer from the Emperor's escort. The last few days of travelling had been dull, slow and tiring, even on horseback, and even the good news of arriving back home was somewhat blunted by this.

“It's impressive,” Alicarius remarked to Renault as they approached the city.

“Thank you,” She said. “Been around before the founding of the Empire, some parts of it-more than three thousand years, in fact.”

The place was bustling with people-to the south of the main road was a large port, with half a dozen or so large ships docked and many, many more smaller boats scurrying around their larger brethren, while on the eastern side of the town Alicarius could see the large circular shape of some sort of arena. Judging by the fact that he could just make out the shape of a large crowd swarming around it, there was obviously some kind of show on.

“So how are we getting in?” Alicarius asked.

“We'll take the main route in-we've prepared a second carriage to transport the Emperor in-he'll just look like a minor noble with a few bodyguards. I've picked our best for the job, so don't worry about him,” Renault said. “We'll keep this carriage and the majority of the guards as a decoy-you'll lead them, as it'll give the game away if you're with us.”

“Makes sense,” Alicarius said. “And what if you get attacked along the way?”

“We'll try and get word to you,” Renault answered. “If we do, I know an old escape route, a secret passage we can use to get him out of the city. We'll go before you. Wait ten minutes then follow us.”

The carriage change took place a few miles away from the Imperial City, the Emperor moving from the more regal royal carriage to a more modest wooden one. It set off, with Renault and two redguards called Glenroy and Baurus to guard it.

After the second convoy had waited for ten minutes, they set out. Once they were through the gates of the Imperial City, they attracted a surprisingly small amount of attention. Naturally, people stopped and pointed, but, unlike in Chorrol, the entire population didn't turn out to cheer their ruler-obviously the Emperor passed through the city often enough on political business for it to be fairly common. This was a relief to Alicarius-a smaller crowd made it harder for any potential assassins to hide.

Somebody had had the foresight to put a dummy dressed in robes in the carriage, and using a small portion of his psychic power, Alicarius made it wave occasionally from behind it's curtains, just to perfect the illusion. Fortunately, however, the trip to the centre of the city was uneventful, as Alicarius had hoped.

However, when they reached White Gold Tower, things changed. A messenger was waiting for them, and immediately sprinted to Alicarius when he saw him.

“Sir, Captain Renault says that you need to meet her at the Imperial City Prison now,” he said. “She says that the Emperor has been attacked.”

Alicarius did not wait for the message to finish, but turned. He'd studied a few maps of the city on the way there, and the prison was to the south. He sprinted that way immediately, thundering forwards like a juggernaut. Pedestrians scattered away from him, the occasional yell of pain arising when he shoved them aside. He reached the outer gates, and without thinking shoved one of the massive wooden portals aside, shattering the ancient iron hinges. His armour pumped extra adrenaline and other, more powerful, stimulants into his bloodstream, while he drew his halberd, his fingers instinctively finding a grip on the gnarled wooden shaft. He sprinted across the bridge with a terrible determination, and when he reached the fortress like gates of the Imperial Prison, he simply slammed into the centre with the force of a meteorite, sending them flapping open wildly.

Inside the courtyard, Captain Renault and her two other guards had their swords drawn, as well as the dozens of guards there.

“Where is the Emperor!” Alicarius demanded, as every turned to see his cacophonous entry.

“I'm here, captain,” the Emperor said. “I am fine.”

He looked worried, and had acquired a sword from somewhere. His robes were torn and battered badly, but Alicarius couldn't identify .

“What happened?”Alicarius asked, trying to stop his body from quivering from the pent up adrenaline stored within.

“We were attacked along Green Emperor's way,” the guard called Glenroy said. “We fought off the assassins but we were harassed repeatedly on the way here.”

“Let's get him out of here,” Alicarius said. “We can't stay holed up in the prison-however secure it is the assassins will find a way in-they've proven they're up to that.”

“We aren't staying here captain,” Renault said. “We have a secret way out. Follow me.”

Renault led the party into the prison, down the steps and into the cells. Alicarius was uncertain as to what they were doing down there, but it didn't take a genius to guess that there was some kind of secret way out from here.

“My sons,” the Emperor suddenly said. “They're dead, aren't they?”

He sounded weary-he was only an old man, after all, and the sudden ordeal of the recent assassination attempts had obviously taken their toll.

“We don't know for certain, sir,” Renault replied soothingly. “The message just said they were attacked.”

“Right now our priority is to get you out of here,” Baurus said. “And by the Nine, we'll get you out of here.”

Renault began to unlock a door to one of the cells, but then paused as she saw something within.

“What's this prisoner doing here?” Renault said. “This cell is off limits.”

“There must have been some kind of mix-up with the watch,” Glenroy said.

Alicarius made his way into the cell to see an argonian within. The lizard-human blinked in surprise when it saw the space-marine, but otherwise remained calm. Alicarius had quickly learned that it took one hell of a lot to intimidate an argonian.

“Hold on a moment,” the Emperor suddenly, turning to look at the prisoner more closely. “You...I've seen you before.”

“You have, sir?” the Argonian asked, in its characteristically rasping voice. “With all due respect, I doubt that.”

“No,” Uriel said. “I've dreamed about you.”

“Dreamed about him?” Alicarius quietly asked Renault.

“It's the Septim's dragon blood,” Renault replied. “It allows them the power of foresight.”

“I am just a thief,” the argonian said. “I'm no figure of prophecy. But what are you doing here?”

“Assassins have attacked me and my sons,” the Emperor said. “I believe them to be dead.”

“Sir, we must be going,” Renault interrupted.

“Stand back, prisoner,” Alicarius said. “If you try anything we won't hesitate to kill you.”

He extended his mind to see if the prisoner was trustworthy or not. He slipped past the resistance the argonian instinctively put up, and looked around. After a quick look through the argonian's recent memories showed that the story the argonian had given fitted-the argonian had been caught trying to steal some jewellery from a rich merchant's house and had been slung in here a few weeks ago. Currently, he was, quite naturally, surprised that the Emperor and his bodyguards had suddenly appeared in his cell. Another check revealed nothing new, except that the argonian's name was Walker on the Water, but there was something about the lizard that just didn't seem quite right-Alicarius was unsure what it was, but resolved to keep a close eye on the beast man.

While he was doing this, Renault had searched for something on the prison's wall. Finding a stone that seemed no different from the rest, she pressed it. An alcove in the prison's wall suddenly retracted further, then slid down. The Emperor and his party of guards entered.

“Looks like it's your lucky day, prisoner,” Baurus said. “You can come with us, but don't try anything.”

“I'm no fool,” Walker on the Water replied.

And so the small group entered the old, undisturbed passageways of the Emperor's secret escape route.
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- Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 5th June 2020 - 11:31 PM