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> The Fall of Fort Facian
darkynd
post Aug 2 2007, 09:37 PM
Post #1


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Joined: 9-February 07
From: CA



This is the first part of a short story that I wrote, I'm interested in what you all think.

<><><><>

Stors Ceville, loyal soldier of the Imperial Legion, leaned up against the walls of Fort Facian, swilling away at a jug of Surilie Brothers' wine. It wasn't very good wine - a little sour in his opinion - but it was good enough to make a man drunk. And drunkenness was what Stors Ceville needed the most at the moment, seeing how their commander was an insane fool. Just the other day he had ordered Dans and Vilenas to go cut down a young sapling which had apparently given Captain Gurvain "the evil eye." The day before that, he had chased Claudias Durmania from his office at sword point... directly after ordering him to pick up a scroll that the captain had dropped.

And of course, who could forget the time when Commander Gurvain had skewered Lieutenant Boheld through the stomach? Adurous, the resident Mage, had barely been able to save the young officer. A few days later Boheld had deserted, and Fort Facian had been without a second-in-command since. Yes, things were not going well at all in Stors' mind, and his attitude was reflected by every other Legionnaire in the Fort. The only person that seemed perfectly content was Gurvain himself, and his disposition was known to swing wildy.

With all that, morale was extremely low. The troops no longer cleaned their armor regularly, nor did they scrub down the barracks. No one stood straight any longer, or carried their weapons with the pride befitting of a Legionnaire. Oftentimes men slacked off or took a nap even while on guard duty. There had been some talk among them to send word off to the Imperial City, but Fort Facian was small enough - and Gurvain noble enough - that they would likely be ignored, so it had been decided against.

So all that Stors did nowadays was drink wine and avoid Gurvain, dream of women and wish that his term with the Legion would expire already. He didn't even understand why they needed a fort in the middle of Cyrodiil; wasn't it the center of the Empire? Wasn't it the safest place on the whole of Tamriel? What in the name of Akatosh did they need a bloody fort for!?!

Shaking his head to clear out the thoughts - which were already muzzled enough from the wine - Stors decided that he would go to his cot... and to Oblivion with his guard duty! It was the middle of the day anyways, what would happen?

Stumbling slightly from the intoxicating influence of the drink, Stors set off through the stone archway into the courtyard, which was overgrown with weeds and grasses. There were a few half-hearted cries of greeting from the soldiers lounging around, sunning themselves, but Stors only acknowledged them with a lazy wave. Taking another long drought from his jug, Stors scrabbled for the iron handle with one hand while propping the jug up in the air with the other.

After managing to finally prize his way into the interior of Facian, he was disappointed to discover that he had drank all the wine. Grunting with dissatisfaction, Stors dropped the clay container to the stone floor, where it shattered from the impact. Grabbing a torch off its sconce on the wall, he started down the dim corridor, grumbling...

Oddly enough - perhaps because of the wine - it had escaped Stors' attention that he had been the only guard that remained on duty so early in the day, when it was only a half hour after noon. With his departure, there was no one to watch the entrance to Fort Facian.

This post has been edited by darkynd: Aug 3 2007, 11:39 PM
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Dire Cheesecake
post Aug 2 2007, 11:13 PM
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Oh well, it's not like anything's going to happen. tongue.gif
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canis216
post Aug 2 2007, 11:49 PM
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Nice opening here. Seriously, what could go wrong at an unguarded fort where all the men are slacking off and drinking?


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Gaius Maximus
post Aug 3 2007, 12:07 AM
Post #4


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Joined: 25-July 07
From: Orkney Islands, drinking with the Bard



QUOTE(Dire Cheesecake @ Aug 2 2007, 10:13 PM) *

Oh well, it's not like anything's going to happen. tongue.gif

Exactly. Nothing EVER happens when things are like that! And i mean it: EVER!


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QUOTE
It's very important to know what to say. For example, one time I was staying at a hotel, and a dog in the room next to mine started barking at 5 AM... I walked out, opened my mouth, and realized I didn't know what to say. So I just proclaimed 'I've killed before!'
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darkynd
post Aug 3 2007, 12:25 AM
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Joined: 9-February 07
From: CA



The second part... obviously. There are four in total, by the way.

<><><><>

"Damnable scum!"

Adurous Mentain, Imperial Mage, flinched at Captain Gurvain's shout, and flinched harder when the officer brought his fist down onto the oak desk before him.

"I tell you Adurous," said Gurvain, pacing around his office, "these men have no spine. They have no discipline. They just sit around on their bloody asses all day swilling down ale!"

Thinking that it was best not to say anything - lest he become the object of Gurvain's rage - Adurous merely grimaced and nodded his head in agreement. The captain gave him a sharp look, but continued on with his rantings, "And the worst of it is that they have no respect for me. They fear me as their commander, but they do not respect me as a man."

The mage only frowned harder, but internally he knew that Gurvain's constant attacks on his subordinates had a large part to do with the lack of respect. But the commander would never listen to that, oh no; he never listened to anybody, save for himself.

Adurous often wondered if Gurvain was genuinely out of touch with reality. He knew that most of the troops were already of that opinion, but Adurous was a Mage, and therefore rarely jumped to conclusions. He knew for a fact that Gurvain was unstable, but whether or not he was actually insane was still in question. There were a number of things that seemed to indicate that it was so, but none of them were more worrisome in Adurous' mind than the skull that Gurvain kept on his desk.

It was a plain white skull, not particularly menacing, but the captain was always looking at it and touching it... caressing it, almost. There were times when Adurous could swear that Gurvain was speaking to it under his breath, but the Mage did not have good enough hearing to be sure. It was strange, and troublesome, but Adurous had no idea what to make of it.

He was distracted from his inner thoughts by the commander, who had started to mumble to himself and thumb the hilt of his sword. Straightening up a little, Adurous checked to ensure that the path to the door was still clear; he remembered Boheld's stabbing. But Gurvain had apparently forgotten about him, wandering back to his desk and stroking the skull, his eyes clouded over.

Adurous began to edge towards the door, his nature of self-preservation getting the best of his curiosity, when a faint sound reached his ears. It was sharp and high-pitched - or would have been were it not for the stone walls - and it was quickly followed by more. Suddenly, there was another cry, this one strident in its desperation. Ever so faintly, Adurous could make out the words. "To arms! Invaders! Intruders! To arms!"

Spinning around, he shouted a warning to Gurvain, "Sir! An attack!"

Gurvain simply stood there though, muttering and caressing the milky white cranium of the skull. Adurous tried again, a hint of panic worming its way into his voice, "Captain Gurvain, we are under attack! You must command your men!"

The captain stood motionless. Shaking his head, Adurous ran to the door and pulled it open, determined to do what he could. Running through the stone corridors, he raised the cry, "To arms! To arms!"
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Gaius Maximus
post Aug 3 2007, 12:30 AM
Post #6


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From: Orkney Islands, drinking with the Bard



And the unexpected happens! tongue.gif

A good chapter. Gurvain seems to be kinda' like Geirir the Mumbling from Bloodmoon... Talking with skulls and stuff...

Now we need to see who's attacking and whenever the fort fails. I'm voting for fail.


--------------------
QUOTE
It's very important to know what to say. For example, one time I was staying at a hotel, and a dog in the room next to mine started barking at 5 AM... I walked out, opened my mouth, and realized I didn't know what to say. So I just proclaimed 'I've killed before!'
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darkynd
post Aug 3 2007, 09:12 PM
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Joined: 9-February 07
From: CA



Really? I've never played Bloodmoon before (for shame, I know). Oh well. The third part, one away from completion.

<><><><>

"Stors! Stors! Wake up, you bloody drunk!"

The voice seemed to be yelling at Stors from a great distance and had an echo to it, as if Stors was standing at the bottom of a deep chasm and someone was calling down to him. But as he slowly opened his eyes, Ceville realized that the someone was in fact only a foot from his face, screaming at the top of his lungs. The echoes were coming from inside his own head, which felt as if it had been stuffed with cotton. The shouting man - whom Stors finally recognized as Vilenas - saw that he was awake.

"About bloody time," he said urgently, although it sounded like he was talking through a pillow, "take this Stors, there's no time to put on your armor."

A heavy weight was suddenly put on his chest, and Stors looked down to see his sword laying across his body. Looking slowly back to Vilenas, he asked in a patient sort of voice, "What do I need my sword for?"

"What?" asked Vilenas sharply, "by the gods Stors, you really are drunk; you're just babbling nonsense."

Confused, Stors grabbed the hilt of his sword clumsily and sat up, thinking hard on what he had just said. After a few seconds of very deep thought, he realized that the words that had actually left his mouth were "Waddu unid meswofo?"'

"Come on Ceville, there's no time!" yelled Vilenas, although the effect was once again lost on the inebriate.

Even so, Stors managed to push himself up. He stumbled for a second, but remained steady enough to follow Vilenas out of the barracks and into the main corridor. As they moved along, Vilenas explained what had happened between his cries for haste.

"Bandits, Stors, bandits. Mostly Khajiit, but a few Bretons as well, I think. Hurry up now! They attacked so fast, no one had a chance to react. If it weren't for Claudias and Adurous, we'd all be dead right now. Faster, Stors!"

Ceville listened, but did not really comprehend; the only thoughts running through his mind were how heavy his sword was and how much his stomach disliked the up and down motion of jogging. They came to a branch of the corridor, and Vilenas turned left, muttering something too low for Stors to hear. As soon as they went down the left side however, a high-pitched yell came from behind them, sounding almost like a cat's hiss.

"Damn, they're inside this far already!" said Vilenas, spinning on his heel and preparing for battle.

Stors about-faced as well, nearly tripping over his own feet, but still bringing his sword up into a position vaguely reminiscent of a combat stance. In front of him he now saw two Khajiits, a few dozen paces away, clad in leather armor. One carried an axe, while the other bore a short sword, but both were moving towards Vilenas and him at the frightening pace that only Khajiits could master. It was just about then that Stors realized that he was only dressed in his woolen shirt and pants, armed with a sword and without shoes, whereas Vilenas had full armor, including a shield and a pair of very fine boots. It wasn't a fair deal, in Stors' admittedly muddled mind.

But he had no time for complaints, as suddenly the Khajiits were upon them. Stors found himself facing the one with a sword, its fangs bared and face twisted into a ferocious snarl. The clang as their two blades connected sounded tinny to Stors, but the jarring impact reminded him of defeat's dire consequences. The cat leapt away, almost too fast for Stors to follow, and then struck again with lightning speed, its blade darting here and there. In his current state, Stors was only able to parry the fatal blows, and he soon found himself victim to innumerable nicks and cuts. To top it off, his head was spinning and his stomach roiled in protest. He knew that he wouldn't live long at this rate; he was operating off of luck, and Stors was all too aware of the fact that luck was a fickle mistress.

Deciding that he wouldn't test luck any further, Stors deflected another of the Khajiit's blows, and then launched himself at the fiend, abandoning defense. Amazingly, he caught the bandit off guard and off balance; his sword slid into its stomach with the sickening sound of metal cutting meat. The Khajiit was too stunned for words, its surprise evident from the wide-eyed countenance it portrayed. It was at that point when Stors realized that this was not an adult he was fighting, maybe not even a young adult. Pulling his sword out of the cat's body, the legionnaire looked at the crimson blade, saddened that a youth had died by his hand. He barely heard the sound of the Khajiit falling to the ground, for all intents and purposes deceased.

A hiss of rage. Stors' eyes snapped upwards, and he saw the other Khajiit standing over Vilenas' unmoving body. Its eyes were narrowed at him, its face contorted into one of such inhuman rage that it nearly made Stors stumble.

"This one has killed my son," was all it said, although it was so low that Stors could barely make it out.

But Stors certainly understood, and rather than feel pity for the creature, he felt only anger. Anger at how a father could bring his son into battle at such a young age. It was a hot rage, and it burned the cotton out from between his ears and brought back his lucidity, "Then maybe you shouldn't have brought your son into war, fool. Of course, you beasts were never much for thinking."

Snarling, the Khajiit began to walk towards him, its axe held high. Stors knew that he was weak from the combined effects of blood loss and drunkenness, and he knew that he didn't have much left to fight with. So brought his sword up, steeled his body for a final charge, and stepped forward, opening his mouth for a bloodcurdling war cry....

...but instead his long rebellious stomach siezed the opportunity, and Stors found himself doubled over, emptying out his stomach's contents onto the dank flagstones of Fort Facian. Bloody hell, he thought, I can't even make a glorious last stand. After nearly half a minute, feeling a bit lighter and slightly less sick, Stors was able to straighten up somewhat. The Khajiit had stopped, staring at him with mingled contempt and hatred, and possibly a tinge of amusement. In an instant though, it had resumed its slow approach, axe held high once again, saying, "And now, this one will die."

Stors had no strength left; he could only sink to his knees and await death. Sighing, he wondered why he had taken up drinking in the first place, as it really was a nasty habit, and got you into trouble like this. Now the cat was standing over him, ready to deliver the final blow. But a sudden clatter of footsteps from its rear distracted the Khajiit, who spun around to face whatever was coming. This proved to be a mediocre choice, as it only gave the beast a brief glance at the fireball that ended his life. The bandit was thrown into the air by the force of the magic, and its skin was seared from its bones.

Delighted at this turn of events, Stors blinked away the temporary blindness that the blazing fireball had caused, to see Adurous and a half dozen more Legionnaires running up to him. The Mage turned to Vilenas first, but two of the Legionnaires came to Stors and propped him up, allowing him to use them as human crutches.

"You two are lucky," said Adurous, pouring a vial down Vilenas' throat, "most of the fort is overrun; we might be the last ones left alive."

Even with this news, Stors was happy that he could suddenly hear so clearly. So he tested his voice to see if he was understandable now, "So what are we going to do?"

Slapping Vilenas a little to wake him up, Adurous shook his head. "The only thing that we can do; get into the vaults and wait for help. All the exits are blocked off by the bandits."

Standing up, Adurous pointed to two of the other men, "You there, pick this man up, we can't wait for him to recover. We need to move before we're found!"

And with that, they were off.
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The Metal Mallet
post Aug 3 2007, 10:15 PM
Post #8


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Hmm, this is definitely an entertaining story so far. The characters appear to be developed even though the story appears to be fairly brief (that's compared to some of the other stories we got along here, brevity should not hinder a well written story). There's also a nice sense of pacing that I enjoy.

The one little nitpick I have is starting a sentence with "which" as it makes the sentence feel like an incomplete one.

Other than that, I look forward to the conclusion.


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darkynd
post Aug 3 2007, 11:43 PM
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QUOTE(The Metal Mallet @ Aug 3 2007, 02:15 PM) *

The one little nitpick I have is starting a sentence with "which" as it makes the sentence feel like an incomplete one.


I've found that there a few places where starting a sentence with "which" actually works out quite well, but in the context of this story, I agree with you.
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darkynd
post Aug 4 2007, 05:34 AM
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Joined: 9-February 07
From: CA



And here's the conclusion. This short story was originally meant as a prequel to a larger story that I might someday get around to writing, so its ending might seem rather... abrupt.

<><><><>

Shut up in his office, Gurvain had heard the turmoil consuming Fort Facian. But he didn’t care, insofar as it didn’t interfere with his final experiment. Indeed, he actually wanted the battle to continue, as it would provide more fodder for his research. Gurvain knew that he was regarded as insane by those who had been close to him for his obsession, but he also knew that they were idiots. With his skull in hand, the captain lit the circle of candles he was standing at the exact center of. It had taken him years of research to create and perfect this ritual, but today it would all come to fruition. He would finally have the power that he so deeply desired. With a smile on his lips, Gurvain began the incantation, and the skull began to glow a midnight blue…

****

The vaults of Fort Facian. If the rest of the fort was dark, dirty and downright gloomy, then it was a paradise in relation to the vaults. Rats and spiders infested the place and no one even really remembered what the vaults were for, except that a few of the men stored their contraband in its nooks and crannies. They certainly were large, but there was only one way in or out. They were cold as well, but it was bearable to Stors, whose recent exploits had made his skin burn as if he were bathing in the sun. Everyone else seemed rather chilled however, what with them being dressed in steel armor.

Adurous seemed more nervous than cold; the Mage was sitting on a stool facing the doors leading to the fort proper, biting his fingernails and furrowing his brow. Vilenas had recovered well, and was sitting with his back against the stone walls nibbling at a hunk of cheese. All the rest were nearby, in varying states of faux relaxation or blowing on their hands to find a little warmth. Even with all this discomfort and posturing, Stors was able to tell that everyone was nervy, not just Adurous. Stors himself admitted that he more than a little edgy, especially after being trapped down here for two hours and the bandits had already tried to batter down the door four times. It had never worked, but everyone, Stors included, had been on their feet, waiting for the hinges to pop off and hordes of Khajiit to swarm over them.

And they had all felt a little foolish when the pounding stopped, leaving the vaults silent except for a ringing in their ears. But Stors knew that they were still afraid, still wondering about what they could do. The situation seemed hopeless; they were trapped beneath the earth, with no exits except for the one leading to death, they had little food, and the cold was penetrating. They had no hope, except that relief might somehow show up at their doorstep. In a very literal sense.

With these depressing musings running through Stors’ mind, the sudden resumption of the battering on the doorway gave him a jolt. He leapt to his feet – legs buckling a little – and drew his sword. Everyone else was up too, except for Adurous, with their weapons at the ready. But Stors noticed something about the battering. It sounded less like an attempt to gain entry and more like… scrabbling almost. Straining his ears, Stors tried to hear more. And hear more he did; a scream of pain, or rage, reverberated through the door, and the scrabbling at the door raised in volume, but was now accompanied by desperate pleading, "By S’rendarr, allow these ones entry!" "You cannot leave us out here to this fate!"

Stors looked around, perplexed, and he could see that his fellows were similarly confused; why would the Khajiit want in? Didn’t they realize that would only lead them to more enemies? Just then, a screech of laughter rose above the bandits’ clamor, and a man screamed, "Die cat-beasts! Feed me! Make my power grow!"

Standing up suddenly, Adurous finally spoke, "That’s Gurvain! The bloody whelp is still alive!"

Stors saw Adurous raise his hand to point at the door, and tried to warn him, "Wait, Adu-!"

But he was cut off by the fireball that exploded from the Mage’s hand and blasted the door apart. Fragments of burning wood and red-hot metal sliced through the Khajiiti on the other side, and Adurous ran towards the door, yelling, "With me men! Kill them all!"

The others issued a collective roar of agreement before charging after him, shields held out front and swords unsheathed, thirsty for blood. Reluctantly, Stors ran after, steeling himself for the battle ahead. Running through the doorway, he found himself in the small chamber they had passed through to enter the vaults, which was now filled with figures locked in a brutal melee. They were at such close quarters that Stors couldn’t swing his weapon and not hurt one of his own comrades, so he brought his arm back for a thrusting motion. The smell of death hung heavy in the air. Unusually heavy, even for such a fight. The din was incredible, and there was more screaming than Stors had ever heard in his life. And they weren’t screams of pain; to Stors, they sounded more like screams of terror, like when a child comes face to face with a nightmare monster.

A Khajiit was suddenly before him, its eyes wide and its fright apparent. Not even seeing Stors, the bandit shoved by and ran into the vault, casting terrified glances over its shoulder. Now even more confused, Stors turned back to the fray. And saw Gurvain. The commander had changed, that much was certain. In one hand, he held the skull that Stors had once seen on his desk, but it was emanating a blue color so dark that it was closer to black. Gurvain’s eyes were also issuing forth this deep hue, and he was grinning in a crooked, toothy way. Another shout of horror came to Stors, but this time the voice that followed it was Vilenas'. "My gods… It’s Dans! But I saw him die!"

Unbelieving, Stors cast about for his friend. And when he saw him, he understood. Vilenas was on the ground, looking as if he had tripped over a corpse, but his eyes were glued to the figure standing over him. It was Dans. But Dans should not have been alive, telling by the three arrows sticking from his chest, and one more protruding from his eye. And then it all clicked into place for Stors; the skull, Gurvain’s insanity, and the ominous emanations. Dans wasn’t alive. He was undead, and Gurvain was his master.

Realizing this, Stors could think of only one solution. Sprinting to Vilenas, he sliced open the throat of that which had formerly been the man, Dans, and screamed to the world in general, "UNDEAD! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!"

The former-Dans stumbled backwards, blood oozing from the new wound, and Stors sliced at it again. But that was only to clear the way, and before he knew it, Stors was running. Running away from the horrors that Gurvain had unleashed. It seemed to him that the mad, cackling laughter of his former commander followed after him, inspiring his legs to pump faster. The fear gave him wings, and before he was even truly aware of it Stors was out of the fort’s interior, and sprinting through the courtyard. As he ran by, he could see that there were no bodies where the bloodstains were.

But the courtyard was gone in an instant, and Stors found himself in the forest. Amidst the trees and the bright sun – which was just now beginning to hide behind the hills – Stors’ exhaustion caught up with him. He fell face down into the dirt, where he lay with his mind in utter chaos. Shame, relief and terror all battled for control, but as Stors Ceville descended into the darkness of a sleep born from sheer fatigue, one thought rose above all the other; he was alive. No matter what else, he was alive.
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The Metal Mallet
post Aug 4 2007, 04:10 PM
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Cool. I agree with you about the possibility of continuing the story but as far as a short story goes, this one finished well. Necromancy is always an interesting thing. Good work. I look forward to any of your future work.


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"This body, holding me makes me feel eternal. All this pain is an illusion" - Parabola (Tool)
"This here ain't called boasting, it's called truthin' " - Mango Kid (Danko Jones)
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canis216
post Aug 5 2007, 12:19 AM
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Fantastic finish to this short story. The Commander is a necro! I had my suspicions mind you, but this is really well-played.


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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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Dire Cheesecake
post Aug 5 2007, 08:25 AM
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Great writing, one major plot hole though. Why would a veritable army of bandits attack an imperial fortress?
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Gaius Maximus
post Aug 5 2007, 10:07 AM
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To say the least, I was surprised. After reading the beginning of the chapter, I thought the Commander was going to turn into a lich or something... Well, not that far off, I guess. But the Commander sure didn't turn out like Geirir... Pretty far away.

I guess you can't blame Stors for leaving others behind, huh? That's what most people would have done if his/her boss turned out to be a necromancer and his/her past colleagues started turning into zombies.



--------------------
QUOTE
It's very important to know what to say. For example, one time I was staying at a hotel, and a dog in the room next to mine started barking at 5 AM... I walked out, opened my mouth, and realized I didn't know what to say. So I just proclaimed 'I've killed before!'
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minque
post Aug 5 2007, 01:57 PM
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Oh dear! Interesting story....necromancers always frightens me...they´re...ehh unnatural! weird..ahhhrr


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darkynd
post Aug 5 2007, 06:17 PM
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QUOTE(Dire Cheesecake @ Aug 5 2007, 12:25 AM) *

Great writing, one major plot hole though. Why would a veritable army of bandits attack an imperial fortress?

Not really a plot hole... if the bandits had been watching this fort for a while, they would've seen the shabby state of affairs. Plus, Fort Facian was never really a "fortress," its garrison was a few dozen men at most. That only leaves the question of why they would attack when they have the full force of the Empire right close by, and I'll leave that question to be answered in the story I'm writing.

And thanks for everyone's comments, they're much appreciated.

This post has been edited by darkynd: Aug 5 2007, 06:19 PM
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Dire Cheesecake
post Aug 6 2007, 04:25 AM
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Oh, ok. So yeah, the only question is: Why would they attack? Hmm....

This post has been edited by Dire Cheesecake: Aug 6 2007, 04:25 AM
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Gaius Maximus
post Aug 6 2007, 10:01 AM
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QUOTE(Dire Cheesecake @ Aug 6 2007, 03:25 AM) *

Oh, ok. So yeah, the only question is: Why would they attack? Hmm....

I'm guessing that's because they hate Imperials, perhaps? I mean, they're bandits just because of the Legion probably, for all we know they might've been driven off to steal because of huge taxes and then almost captured, so they had to turn bandit? Or perhaps there's another reason... We'll have to wait and see.


--------------------
QUOTE
It's very important to know what to say. For example, one time I was staying at a hotel, and a dog in the room next to mine started barking at 5 AM... I walked out, opened my mouth, and realized I didn't know what to say. So I just proclaimed 'I've killed before!'
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Dire Cheesecake
post Aug 6 2007, 11:37 PM
Post #19


Evoker

Joined: 10-March 07



I'm going with other. Bandits don't attack the military. It's the other way around.
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