Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fiction - Eldar short story.

A little short story I wrote inspired by a game with a friend.

Fo'glaim listened to the war-chatter of the Farseer's thought network in his mind and to the other craft cruising towards the front line. The other Eldar across the ruined Imperial outpost were moving early and so were they. His canopy display showed the mon-keigh ruins clearly despite the pre-dawn condition and off to his right he could see the dark spots which clearly marked the obelisks of the Ancient ones the humans had uncovered. He felt a twinge of nervousness go down his spine and the Farseer's thoughts once again turned his direction and sounded loudly in his head. He realized after a moment that it wasn't he the Farseer was talking to but instead to the Phoenix Lord riding in his Wave Serpent with the Howling Banshees he was directed to deliver to battle. This was his first battle as a pilot, but he was confident in his abilities. Doubt gnawed at him though, it was his duty to deliver a Phoenix Lord, Jain Zar nonetheless into battle. A truly tremendous task! If he failed in that, what would become of him?
Chun Sosai transporting the Dire Avengers was the first pilot to report contact. This wasn't surprising, it was well known that their pilot was a bit rash. It was also said that he had come from the Saim Hann craftworld and had initially learned with their Wind Riders. Chun Sosai reported 2 Falcon tanks directly ahead of him. "This is it" Fo'glaim thought as he poured on the speed trying to avoid being hit by laser fire from a third Falcon trying to outflank. Gripping the controls, he swung his transport low trying to stay close to the ground to get cover from the ruined buildings. Feeling more confident as laser fire streaked nearby but not scoring hits he allowed a smile. Jain Zar's thoughts exploded into his head then.
Get Closer! she thought-screamed into his head. He could feel the contained rage behind her thoughts. It nearly drove him into a battle lust. He couldn't imagine what it must be like for those following the Path of the Warrior. For the Banshees it must be like going to battle with a goddess on their side or worse, driving them.
He pushed the throttle of his transport gaining altitude and climbing over the ruin ahead of him. At the apex of his maneuver, he saw an enemy transport targeting him and fired first. He scored a hit, but didn't see what kind of damage he did. Clearing the building he dove close to the ground again, looking for a place to allow his charges out safely and yet close enough to the enemy to engage. He thought he spotted just such a place and began to adjust his descent when a thought-warning snapped him back to wariness. A group of Fire Dragons beyond the ruin had drawn bead on him as he cleared the building. He had just enough time to silently curse himself for letting his attention wander when the whole transport jolted violently. He saw the energy field surrounding his tank flare and fizzle as it tried to compensate for the incoming heat weapons. He also felt pain in his mind through the mindlinks to his vehicle. Everything felt sluggish as he fought to keep control of his craft. He also fought despair as he felt imminet failure in his duty, but then everything went black.

Fo'glaim awoke to two things. The first was a pounding, both in his head and on the outside on the hull, which he realized was one of the enemy's Farseers trying to wreak further havoc on the crippled craft. The other thing was the psychic howl from the Banshee warriors as they crashed into the farseer. Fo'glaim didn't think the farseer knew what hit him. There wasn't much left as the Banshees turned and took off after other prey. Jain Zar was directing them to attack something to the rear, while she ran to attack the warriors that had brought down their craft.
He quickly took stock of his situation. His craft was down, the nose buried in dirt at the base of a rock outcropping. Carbon scoring and holes decorated the front of his precious Wave Serpent. He feebly tried the controls, and checked the power circuts. There was power to life support and the secondary weapons, but he was immobilized and his main weapons were offline. A powerful explosion struck nearby and he heard the psyichic death screams of the Banshees. Craning his head around and looking through the rear of the canopy he could see the ground littered with bodies amidst a crater. Beyond them was a squad of Dire Avengers reloading their weapons. Obviously they'd emptied them into the Banshees. Suddenly frantic, he glanced around. Dire Avengers didn't carry firepower enough to make a crater! Then he spotted it. That flanking Falcon had levelled them with a shot in their midst! It was drawing bead on him now. He curled up into a ball as best he could inside his cockpit in an attempt to protect himself. He could feel the hair stand up on his head a moment before the lasers rocked the entire vehicle sideways slightly. The dreaded explosion never came, but the rest of the systems registered no power.
The third Wave Serpent from his warhost slid into view to his left and just above as it disgorged the eerie Wraithguard onto a hill nearby. They were obviously trying to secure that hill as the enemy had deemed it valuable. Before the other craft could get clear, a missle slammed into the tank! The dull thrum of the engines became a pitiful whine as the grav systems failed. The other Wave Serpent settled to the ground with a crunch nearly on top of his own, but the pilot still had weapon control and began firing at whatever targets he could find.
Ahead, Jain Zar became a whirling storm of devestation as she engaged the Fire Dragons in combat. They pushed forward to meet her charge, but they met only death accompanied by the sound of her battle scream amplified by her mask to strike fear in the very soul. Not many could stand up to that onslaught, and they were no exception. Her blade cut them down one after another. They attempted to fight back, but seemed little threat to her. Before she could finish the squad off however she was set upon by the enemy's own Banshees! Terrible screams and flashing blades filled the air. Alone she stood against a full squad of her own Aspect. She turned aside blow after blow as she struck down her own kin. Her own warriors. They fought by her teachings, but she couldn't defeat them all. Blows were landed that cut through her armor as if it weren't there. Wounded and bleeding, she laughed. The mask amplified it into a horrible thing. The Banshees were not prepared for this and, gripped in fear they had not known before, fled from the battlefield. The Fire Dragons occupied her long enough for the Banshees to make it safely away before they were cut down. Fo'glaim watched as she turned and headed back his way. He could feel her fury burn as she saw the devastation that was only moments ago her own Banshee warriors littering the field. The Dire Avengers that had helped cut them down were climbing back into their own downed transport to finish reloading. She was very intent on them and didn't see the enemy Falcon bearing down on her until it was too late. Laser and missle fire hit all about her. When the smoke cleared there was nothing left.
Fo'glaim screamed at the Falcon in rage. He pounded on the canopy trying to get it open. He didn't know what he was going to do, but he had to do something. Maybe he could distract it to keep it from killing any more of his kin. He had just tripped the manual release when the enemy tank's own grav engines spat fire and it settled to the ground. Looking over his shoulder, Fo'glaim saw his own warhost's Falcon hovering nearby. The turret gunner gave him a thumbs up before swinging his guns around at another target.
Three jetbikes screamed down from above settling in a defensive position next to his tank. Whether they were there for his protection or some other reason he never knew. Before the jetbikes had finished moving into position they all exploded from the hail of shuriken from the freshly reloaded Avengers. Fo'glaim had dived back into his seat from the flurry of monofiliment disks peppering the hull of his craft. He didn't know what to do. He could try and run, but that enemy tank was still out there, even if it were immoble now. Those Avengers were going to reload and then come finish him off. He was sure of it!
Moments passed. The sound of laserfire and explosions had all but died down. He risked a peek out of his cockpit. Back towards his own side it looked like figures were cheering in the ruins. He looked round for the enemy Avengers but they were gone!! The opposing force were quitting the field. Somehow, they'd won!!

Much later, as the bonesingers were trying to coax his crippled craft out of the ground, he wandered over to the crater where he'd last seen her. He scoured the area but couldn't find any sign that Jain Zar had ever been there. No scraps of cloth, no broken armor, nothing. It was like she hadn't been there at all. He looked off in the distance wistfully, content in the knowledge he'd seen something that other Eldar lived their whole lifetimes and never witnessed. He'd seen a Phoenix Lord in action, doing what they do, the only thing they knew how to do. He smiled to himself hoping that it wasn't the last time he'd see it either.

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