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7FEB15 - The short SHORT story contest!

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    Posted: 07 Feb 2015 at 16:42
Assignment: the King is bored. He wants a new story, but is so busy that he has no time for silly things like chapters.

He wants you to write one 500 word short SHORT story. 

He also wants the theme to be: ILLYRIAD BATTLE.

The prize? 100 Prestige and a custom medal (your choice and design, money is no object) to the winner. 1 entry per player.

I will pick out the winner, with the help of SC, TC and the King!

You have until 23:59 Server time on Sunday the 15th of February. 

You need to post your stories in this thread. If you know someone who cannot access or post on the forums for some weird reason, write me in game.

Get to work. You only have a few words, so choose them wisely!

GOOOooOOOOoo!


GM Rikoo

THE WINNERS:


Recently we hosted a quick (so we thought) contest for the best short -- as in very short, under 500 words -- story that took the theme "Illyriad Battle." As we expected, we received a ton of great writing. A TON.

So, instead of picking a single winner, we went with three. Heck, we could have picked out 12 and would still need to give out more prizes.

Each winner gets 100 Prestige and a custom in-game medal.

Enjoy reading these. We know we did!

Rikoo


 

Hold the Line by Belegar Ironhammer

 

Steel rang upon steel beneath a blackened, storm-wrought sky. White forks of lightning flashed brilliantly, heralding deafening claps of thunder that roared across the muddy, blood-soaked battlefield. Guttural orc war-cries echoed in the night, a savage prayer to the gods of war, answered only by the roaring bellows of the dwarves, beseeching their comrades to greater efforts.

“Hold the line!” shouted Belegar, yelling with all his might. Clad in silversteel plate and surrounded by his elite bodyguards, the dwarf king stood like a rock against the orc tide, his warhammer gripped firmly in his gauntleted hands. The war axes of his chosen rose and fell in a steady rhythm, every stroke claiming the life of an orc, snapping bones like straw and pulping innards in crimson sprays of arterial blood. Crossbow bolts cut the air, hissing like vipers.

A snarling, yellow-toothed orc charged Belegar, brandishing gore-streaked scimitars in each of its meaty hands. Red, bloodthirsty eyes glowed like embers in the orc’s ugly, lopsided skull. A cloak of flayed skin wrapped about his brawny shoulders.

One of Belegar’s bodyguards leapt in front of the onrushing orc, an oath of hatred gushing from his lips. Quick as the lightning that rent the sky, the orc slashed his scimitar at the dwarf, piercing his armour and dealing a grievous wound to the dwarf’s shoulder. The dwarf sank to his knees, blood seeping from the sundered armour.

Before the orc could complete the kill, Belegar attacked, screaming a foul cry of his own in the harsh language of the dwarves. Blunt-nosed hammer and scythe-like scimitar met in a guttering sizzle of orange sparks. Pressing his assault, Belegar slammed his hammer downwards in a series of brutal, overhead strikes.

The orc parried the dwarf’s heavy-handed strokes, his every action accompanied by a savage grunt, his green face split by a feral, lipless sneer.

The mud sucked at Belegar’s boots, seeking to drag him down as he advanced. The silver-armoured dwarf pulled his hammer over his shoulder and swung it forwards just as the orc launched an attack of his own. Belegar ducked beneath the twin murder-weapons and completed his swing, his hammer crunching solidly into the orc’s left ankle, which shattered like a pane of glass in a hailstorm.

Swept off his feet, the orc landed heavily on his back, air whooshing from his lungs. The impact ripped the breath from his throat and a scimitar slipped from his hand.

Seizing the advantage, Belegar swung hard and smashed his hammer into the orc’s sternum. The force of the impact stung his hands and vibrated up his arms and into his shoulders. A column of thick black blood geysered into the air, drenching Belegar in a shower of warm, sticky rain. The dwarf’s next attack hit the orc’s skull, which exploded like rotten fruit. Bone chips ricocheted off his armour.

Belegar stood to his feet just as another wave of orcs attacked, a solid mass of muscle, sweat, and rage.

“Hold the line!”

 


 

 

A Beautiful Morning by Mauhaut


Jocelyn peered across the field towards the castle. Morning mist was hazing the ground, a small stream was gurgling nearby and the dawn light was flushing the castle towers with red and gold.

It was a beautiful morning.

‘Why isn't anything happening over there?’ he thought. ‘They can see us, and their scouts must have been reporting our movements for days.’

He looked back over his shoulder, the camp fires surrounded by archers and infantry, spearmen on the perimeter being handed plates of food. He noted approvingly that squads of cavalrymen and squires were passing out feed and water buckets to the horses picketed behind the tents. There was an appetising smell of bacon cooking in pans over camp fires.

A light breeze began to brush over the tops of the grasses and sighing he moved off to report to the commander.

Knight Commander Argenteous was not in the best of moods....

'Some nameless idiot has recalled most of the divisions from the other attack,' he stormed. ‘He wants them for a gala, or something equally asinine.’

'Before some other wet behind the ears royal brat gets ideas about birthday parades we'd best get this siege over and done with.'

'Sound the attack Jocelyn, plans are laid, let’s get on with it.'

The plans had indeed been laid. Jocelyn and his fellow commanders had honed and refined the battle plans over many weeks. Weeks in which their progress north had been apparently ignored.

The stream was larger here, flowing slower. Jocelyn could see fish in the water and swans were gliding majestically, outlined against the willows and reeds. So entrancing was the scene that it took a moment - a quiet, half asleep moment - before Jocelyn realised that this was no low lying dawn mist but smoke, the siege engines had done their work; this morning there were no red gold towers, just blackened beams and smoking debris. No smell of bacon this morning, another, far less appetising smell permeated everything.

It was very quiet, the quartermasters had moved everything necessary into the marginal safety of a partially still standing curtain wall and the camp was, apart from the sentries and scouts, mostly sleeping. The horses were picketed on the water meadows, the grass so long and lush that it hid the picket lines.

It was an idyllic spot. Idly Jocelyn wondered if Commander Argenteous was minded to be generous in rewarding his subordinate commanders.

‘Good land this,’ he thought. ‘Horse country, and I could grow good crops, soil looks fertile, river is wide enough and deep enough that I doubt it runs dry in summer.’

‘Miriam and the kids would love it here.’ Daydreaming, in the still of the dawn, he wandered slowly along the river bank.

Something glinted away in the distance.

Baffled, Jocelyn peered across the fields and forests, towards another castle, rising out of the mist in the distance; the dawn light flushing the castle towers with red and gold.

It was a beautiful morning.


Inspired by http://hoocher.com/Jasper_Francis_Cropsey/Chepstow_Castle_on_the_Wye_1854.jpg

And a real circumstance in the GA war.

 


 

 

A Militiaman Returns Home by Artefore

 

He had long dreamt of this moment. The sun brushed the distant hilltops, painting the clouds a deep crimson as the day made way for night. The last of the birds sung from the trees that lined the earthen path, and as he strode up it, the smell of roasted chicken rode on the light summer breeze. The top of the path led to a simple cottage, earth and thatch, but to him, the sight of a mighty keep could not be more comforting. At last, after all the years, of toil and battle, he had returned.

The woman who answered the door was older, greyer than he remembered, but the dimples in her cheeks shone just as they always had when she grinned at the sight of his face, and her arms around his neck and the kiss she pressed into his mouth felt just as good as he remembered. He looked deep into her almond eyes, and whispered,
“Maria, I love you more than anything.”
“Adam! Oh, Adam, you’re home!” she cried, and at that moment, she was as young as the day they were wed, and he found himself grinning ear to ear as he embraced her. As he stepped over the doorway, he nodded. “Yes,” he said, “I’m home.”

Adam found his sons whacking each other with wooden sticks in the back yard. They rushed up to him when they saw him, excitedly shouting “Dad! Dad!” and wrapping their arms around his midriff in a tight bearhug. He noticed the eldest, Rory, was wearing a pail over his head like a helmet, and took it off his head, laughing.


“Look at how you two have grown! What’s this for, Rory? Fighting off the Orcs?”
“Yeah Dad!” his son exclaimed, “I’m gonna be just like you!”

The pounding of boots shook the earth, filling his skull with noise and sound as the army marched, a living machine of leather and steel. Suddenly, further ahead in the column, someone screamed, “AMBUSH!!” and the sky seemed to fill with black feathered javelins. Adam barely had time to raise his shield before they fell upon him, the thud of spear tip against oak intermingling with the screams of those less fortunate. As the orcish hordes fell upon them, he felt something graze his right thigh, and when he looked down, he saw blood on his leather.

“Dad? Dad? Are you okay?” Adam felt tugging on his shirt as Harst, his youngest son, awoke him from his daydream.
“Yes, I’m alright. Come here,” he said, grabbing a stick. “Let me show you how to really swing a sword.”

Later that evening, as they sat down to roast chicken and fine apple cider, his wife pressed him with questions about his years away.


“Was the food good? Did you meet the Lord? Did you see the Bitter Sea?” He told them all he could, about the jungles of Kul Tar and the seas of Azura, about the gnomes and the fey and all the wondrous things he had seen.
“Where’s Donald?” she asked. “Did he come home to his wife too?”
“Donald? Oh, he-”

The battle swirled and leapt around him, a cacophony of screams and the ring of steel on steel. Adam held his ground, kneeling on his good leg and keeping his shield high. A wolf leapt at him, slaver dripping from its jaws as its orcish rider urged it forward. Adam bashed its nose with his shield, sending it veering away, yowling. He gripped his spear, and as the wolf turned for another attack, he drove the point between its eyes. The beast thrashed in pain, ripping the weapon from his grip, and throwing the orc out of his saddle. He drew his sword and rushed the greenskin, screaming curses as he raced forward. The orc only laughed, and brought his scimitar around in a sweep that knocked the sword from his hands. Adam fell to his knees, and the orc raised his cruel blade for the final strike. 

It was then that a spear tip poked through the green chest, and Donald’s familiar face grinned as it fell to the earth. “We’ve got to look after each other!” he cried, and held out his hand. Adam was about to take it, but another hand was faster. The fallen orc yanked Donald off his feet and crushed him in a deadly embrace with the last of its strength, cursing in a guttural language as he squeezed the life from the man’s body. Donald let out an unearthly howl, and the blood drained from his face. Adam grabbed a rock and drove it against the orc’s skull, but it was too late. Donald’s face was frozen into a deathly scream, pale white and unbreathing. His crushed body slumped against the orc’s, and Adam knelt in the dirt and wept.

“-he, uh, decided to stay in the army! He’s in some far off land right right now, I reckon.”
“Oh, that’s nice! I hope he enjoys the adventure!”


Adam said nothing. He knew that he was safe now, in the comfort of his home and family, but the horrors of war would find a way to stay with him until the day he died.

 


 

Thanks again to our excellent players!

 

GM Rikoo





Edited by GM Rikoo - 26 Feb 2015 at 20:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gul'Dan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2015 at 18:38
Excellent challenge! Good luck to everyone that participates!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote ajqtrz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2015 at 18:50

Illy's Last Dragon

 

The ride was hard across hot sands and he was late.  "Too late," he realized, as he stared at the orcish gore at his feet.  He sighed.  He looked up from the blood smeared rocks and sand, and in the distance he saw  the wisps of the dragons' breath rising into the azure sky.  She set his jaw, remounted and, after settling in his saddle, peered across the dry, barren landscape.  He could be there in minutes.  "The Last Dragon of Illy" they had said.  He and the orc had tracked for weeks.  Now it was just him.  "Orcs don't wait for the slow" he thought, He paused, looked at the trail of blood and made up his mind, "It's badly wounded.  Maybe that will be enough."

 

He urged his mount into a full gallop.  The horses' hooves thundered across the dry, sandy soil.  The dragon heard and turned. "Weakly," the knight observed.  An image of the brave orc flashed in his mind.  It gave him little comfort.

 

He drew near. The dragon sucked in the hot dessert air and a belched a long stream of blue flame.  Anticipating the Knight dodged.  It would take the dragon only a few seconds to re-charge so he kicked his stallion into a full run, lowered his long javelin and prayed.  The javelin pierced the thick scales of the monsters chest, but missed the beating heart.  The force that shattered the javelin slammed the knight to the side.  He fell and crashed to the stony earth, the sharp stab of broken ribs driving the breath from his lungs..  Looking over his shoulder he felt the white-hot heat of dragon flame singe his face.  He saw the flames engulf his horse and heard the scream of dying flesh.

 

He rolled to his feet, the pain of his injuries causing his sight to dim, as he stumbled.  Drawing his sword, as the dragon prepared what surely would be the flames of death, the knight knew he had but one chance.  The javelin had opened the way . The infernal beating heart of the dragon was exposed.  He gathered his courage, raised his sword and charged!

 

His feet were lead, his arm barely able to lift his blade.  He stumbled, caught his balance again, and pressed on.  His breath was short.  The dragon reared back, and sent the stream of the grave to engulf him.  But he had reached the open chest first and the flames shot over his head.  Thrusting his sword deep into the hot guts he found the beating heart and stopped it's infernal sound.  The dragon gave a might roar and toppled over crushing the knight beneath his massive weight.  The Knight cried out in anguish as his legs snapped.  He looked down.  He saw only blood flowing into sand.

 

Somewhere in the vast lands of Illy, a monument placed long ago still stands.  It reads: "Here Fell Illy's Last Dragon and the Knight Who Slew It."

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                                                   CHAMPION OF THE ANCIENTS

The Dark Moon calls and Imhotep answers.   Though he fears his force too weak to take the enemies portal he knows his duty.  With 107 charioteers at his back and the desert sands before him he sets out on a journey that may well be his last.

 Imhotep drives his men and horses hard.  They have a date with destiny in Elijal and they do not want to be late.  In less than 2 and a half hours the enemy should be in sight.  League upon league of desert sand grinds beneath their wheels.  As chief architect he knows better than most how that can damage his chariots.  All he can do is hope they hold up to the abuse.  There is no time to stop for maintenance.  The Dark Moon has called and he obeys.

 Imhotep sights the enemy and orders the chariots into a full charge.  At the critical moment his left wheel comes off.   It has not survived the breakneck pace of the journey.  Imhotep is trampled under the wheels of the following chariots.  Without their captain the attack devolves into chaos.  Only 35 warriors survive to return home.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Though the forces sent by Brunel and lead by Imhotep failed to occupy the portal; the glory of Imhotep's last charge inspired the Great Engineer's generals.  More expeditions would be attempted.  One would succeed. 

 In Brunel's Great Hall hangs the medal commemorating their success.  Champion of the Ancients.  In the crypt bellow lies Imhotep's sarcophagus.  Emblazoned on it the same medal. 

It is enough.



Edited by Lagavulin - 07 Feb 2015 at 19:46
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See You In Hell


"Is that the last one?" Meldarion asked into the breeze, his elven eyes spotting a column of troops and catapults. He wasn't asking his comrades -- a wounded knight bearing the Templar cross on his shield, a war-grizzled dwarf, and a bewildered orc -- if this would be the last army to siege their alliance's last war-ready town, but rather if the quiver of arrows at his feet were indeed the last among them. 

"That's it, laddie," said Malgil, son of Malachi, leaning in towards a dying fire. "Glad I don't use them." Next to Malgil, his battle axes lay against a rock, sharpened for one final battle.

The man daubed a trickle of blood from his side and squinted into the creamy, overcast sky. "It isn't going to make a difference, Meldarion. This war is over."

For six months prior, unrelenting armies trekked across Elgea into the Broken Lands to erase these four commanders' alliance from the map, proving impossible to stop. "This army," the man muttered, "they killed 100,000 of my people in 24 hours. One hundred thousand souls lost -- for what? Because of me? Because of how I choose to rule?"

"Because of how we all choose to rule," intoned the Orc, a greenskin named Hogt'Ruz. Though he had been spawned to slaughter the races of men and elves, and had fought both Meldarion and the Templar, known as Tackford, in the last great war, he had come to deeply respect his adversaries and helped forge their alliance. 

Now the army was in plain view across the dewy moor -- even for non-elf eyes. But Meldarion noted the "GA" crests. He knew the elf in the lead. Meldarion managed a wry smile, "Millions dead, and he arrives last to claim the glory."

"If it be glory he seeks," said Malgil, his eyes growing wild, "what better glory than for he to die on the battlefield?"

Tackford rose to feet with the aid of his sword, testing the pain that standing brought. "Friends, let us lead our alliance's last army to a defeat that will resonate across these lands. And let that fell elf yonder see the four of us -- once foes and now the greatest of allies -- united in his death as we close ranks on him!"

The comrades took to their mounts and, after exhorting the remaining brave legion behind them, made for the enemy elven commander. Soon their faces came into his focus, and as fear gripped him he wondered, "how could these four have ever become friends?" 

The cowardly commander tried to break through ranks to the rear, but his forces were already on the move, pushing him onward to the front. The wall of rushing troops forced him to be at the front of the charge --  to be the brave commander he was not. 

Just before the Templar's sword was in reach of his head, the elven commander made out Tackford's final words before being swallowed by the enemy void: "See you in Hell!"


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Are you all sitting comfortably?
Then I'll begin.
Once apon a time....
....
The End

Is this short enough?

Wink
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Battle Haiku of the Republic

Too late to recall
Level ninety commander
Falls into Audrey
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The battle was over, and the enemy had won. They rejoiced, now, with the sound of feasting and laughter in the city that had so recently been threatened with death and destruction. But outside, as the carrion birds circled, the sound of the dying still echoed across the frozen plain.

The swordsman with soft unshaven cheeks slowly choked on the arrow that filled his lungs with blood. The cavalryman’s cries of pain had been reduced to a whimper as he was crushed beneath the weight of his dead horse, his eyes and mind filled with tears and the memory of his wife. Beside him, the burning embers of the siege engines gently creaked, ruined beyond all hope of repair. In the soft, cold light of the full moon, even the bloodstains seemed illuminated with an eerie beauty.

Some people, kind hearted souls who forego the feasting and entertainment in favour of the ice and cold, tend to the wounded with water, bandages and concern. They attempt to stop bleeding, remove arrows and soothe fears. Thanks to their efforts, perhaps the archer with the spear through his belly will live to see his family once again. But as for the spearman with his throat opened wide in a scarlet grin- will his family be waiting fearfully at home, for the news of his victory? Does he have a sweetheart who dreams at night of his face, and will cry once she hears the news? Will he leave a child with nothing but a tombstone to call his father?

Now he is nothing but a feast for the carrion birds. And as they descended to gorge themselves on the dead, other birds flew westwards. Ravens carrying news and mocking words from the victors, words of horror and destruction. They would reach commanders some miles west, and leave with them the bitter taste of defeat. For these commanders knew that the battle was over, and with it the war.

And still, in that castle of stone, the victors feasted on food, wine and laughter, whilst the carrion birds feasted on the bodies of the dead.

The siege of Ely was over.

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No Hope

"Hold them back! They must not breach the Citadel!"
All around him were the cries of men, giving way to the endless steam of Swordsmen that attempted to take the last remains of their once glorious Empire.
Aavak raised his sword to cut down yet another 'Enemy'. His blade hit the man in the neck, snapping it. He saw the glint in his eyes, the life draining from his face. But it did not bother him, he had learned to accept the horrors of war, for his country.
His country? There was nothing left of his country. Fortigia was falling, and with it the last of his hopes.
A Spearman cried out as his shield and his body was shattered by a Knight's mace. They had cut a hole through the shield wall, and poured into the citadel.
"Stop them! They're through!! They're through!!" Aavak yelled, hacking into another Man-at-arms and blocking the sweep of a Cavalry sword with his Iron shield. He was pressed against a wall and the defensive line was split in two, the Invading army climbing the staircase, causing not long after the screams of Longbowmen and yelling of the Emperor.
His comrades were pushed up against him, being impaled on enemy spears like Shish kebabs.
A sudden force hit Aavak in the side of his helmet and launched him onto the ground.
His left ear was deaf, and his right pressed against the floor.
He could hear the thumping of Steel on rock, the dulled squishes of Metal into flesh.
This was it. The city had fallen.
All his life, seeing the grand Stone walls, the Sentries, not missing an hour of their Shift, he never thought anyone could ever take the city.
He didn't see the the armoured man standing over him with a mace in hand, his entire body covered in SilverSteel.
All of the people he had worked with, his family, his friends...
He didn't see the Commander grabbing a Pike.
His Andrenaline was fading out, and he began to drift into sleep...
He never felt the Steel pierce his heart.

//Not really much of a writer, but I tried to write something for this


Edited by Emperor Nightning - 10 Feb 2015 at 07:52
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote GM Rikoo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Feb 2015 at 16:33
A few players cannot get the forums to work for them, so I told them I would post their stories for them.

If you know someone who needs me to post the story, let me know!

We have one from Tigervetren: 

The battale of rats.

day 1: we have been send out on a hunting mission to kill some rats for our king and we have arived at our destination and killed the rats we are going to camp for the night and go back in the morning.

day 2: during the night a fog over took our camp and all these rats came out of no where we were taken by suprise but we menaged to fend them off we lost a lot of good men they did not deserve there fate.


day 3: They just seem to keep coming more and more of them every time and they are getting bigger will this ever stop. No man diserves this all you hear is the screaching i dont know where they are this acerced fog is to thick.

day 4: we sent some scouts out to try and make it through the fog after they dissapeared from our sight screams eruper in the directions they went and after about half a hour they stoped, may they rest in pease. we dicided to put up a perimiter and some deffences on it hopfully it will stop those acerced things from making it through.


day 5: the rats have smashed our fortifications hard over night i dont think anyone slept through all the screatching they made if i had to guess we would have killed about 1000 rats so far but more keep coming and coming it is drriving us mad day in day ut its just fighting to survive i just keep praying that one of our scouts made it out and reinforcments will come soon to save use well what is left of use.

day 7: we are running low on everthing the rats just seem to be getting smarter they are starting to ear our food on each wave and the waves are coming more and more frequent with more and more rats. im scared of what might happen.

day 9: our food and our hope has almost vanished there are only a hand full of use left i dont think we can make it through the night if they breach the perimiters.

day 10: im the only one left i think its time to get out oh god what was that noise...



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