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Only in Death does Duty End
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Old 18 Dec 2005, 13:51   #1 (permalink)
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Default Only in Death does Duty End

All along the trench line, Guardsmen formed into an orderly line. Bayonets and guns were clutched tightly to their chests as Tech Priests and scribes administered the final rites of battle. It was a sight that made Mortimius' heart lift, to see the rows of Lasguns pointing skyward in anticipation of the battle to come, to see the priests leading the unfaltering Guardsmen in one last prayer. He would ensure their complete and total bravery, whether in the dug outs or in No-Man's-Land. If, by Horus' dark eye, one were to fall from righteousness, he would see to it that that man would suffer a quick death. Such weakness was intolerable.

* * *Starting his walk along the parapet, he removed the earplugs that had drowned out the noise of the artillery barrage. Faces stared up at him from within the trench, some eager, some emotionless, some bloodthirsty, some anxious. Every worried face that he passed by, he made sure to note in his mind. Those would be the ones who would require the Emperor's guidance. Glancing warily out over hell, his bionic eye told him of water-logged craters and reels of barbed wire denser than even the thickest tox-creepers. These men would conquer hell and beyond though; he would see to it that they did. Rolling on the balls of his feet, he came to a casual stop in the middle of his section. In either direction stretched scores of soldiers. Summoning up the spirit of war within him, he relayed the commander's orders.

* * *"Men of the Guard! We have fought well these last few months! Now is the time for the final strike! On my mark," he bellowed, taking care to enunciate his superiority.

* * *"on my mark, you will rise above the trench in an orderly manner! You will then walk across No-Man's-Land! You will not bunch, you will not crawl and by the Emperor, you will not run!" at this, several of the Guardsmen suppressed looks of fear; they all knew what that meant.

* * *"The Tau are a slow and ponderous foe! They will not yet have had the time to reach their weapon emplacements yet! That means, for those of you who grew up shunting ore-wagons, that you need not rush! For the Emperor, we march to victory this day!"

* * *This cry was taken up whole-heartedly by the Guardsmen, who at once began the organised ascent to the surface and the awaiting battle. Mortimius wiped a veil of condensation from his bionic lens, readying his Laspistol and drawing an engraved and ornate sabre from its simple scabbard as the first of the men formed into squads. Letting a snarl of rage seep through his chilled lips, he pointed the blade forward, raising its tip to point directly at the distant enemy.

* * *"For the Emperor, we march to victory!"

* * *The men began to stroll forwards, light-hearted chat between some of them becoming irritating to Mortimius' ears, as was the persistent clink of canes upon stone as some of the more aristocratic officers revealed walking canes. The relaxed attitude of those few angered him: the work of the Emperor was never to be taken lightly. He would have executed them right there, let their bodies rot for such heresy, if such action was permitted by the Schola Progenium. Such were the ways of the Imperium: always too ready to let the foolish continue to serve. A much more direct interpretation of the Imperial Creed was what was needed.

* * *His thoughts were disturbed by wailing screams. How could there be any? The aliens were too barbaric to and the Guardsmen couldn't...couldn't be screaming, the commander's strategy and address had essentially decreed that victory was assured. Another soldier, fumbling with the safety catch on his Lasgun, was pitched to the floor by a high-powered blast of light. Becoming tense, Mortimius scanned the mists with his bionic eye. What he saw horrified him. Gaping at the rows upon rows of pin-pricks of light, he nearly stumbled as his eye picked up even larger electronic signals furhter behind the enemy lines.

* * *Balls of energy streaked through the air, knocking the Guardsmen down and throwing them backwards. His enhanced vision picked up automated gun turrets which rose from the ground, their long-barrelled weapons spitting a continuous chain of glowing projectiles at the rapidly diminishing Guard forces. All around him, Guardsmen dropped to the floor, whether by death or by survival instinct. He simply stood in the field, arms hanging limply by his sides as the now rushing sea of men was shredded by the aliens.

* * *They were killing...everyone. How could this be? How could their strategy fail? It had to be...malign influences. Chaos. Clenching his fists around his weapons, he bared his teeth at the enemy. He would see to it that none of the Warp-using devils survived. They would pay for their heresy not only against the Emperor but against the very order and life of humanity's galaxy. Joining his dwindling men in the surge forwards, he began to yell orders to them, snapping off shots with his Laspistol as he went. Reaching the mid-point on No-Man's-Land, he saw the most enraging sight that life and war had ever shown him. Entire squads of men were making a retreat - no, fleeing like cowards - all along the once-orderly line.

* * *"By the Emperor," he cried, running his sword through the back of a stumbling Guardsman, "you will not falter!"

* * *The Lasbolt came from behind, knocking him to the sodden ground in front. His weapons went flying; the Laspistol clanged forlornly from a distant fuel drum. Clasping his fingers around the sabre as he strained to push himself up, his grip was relinquished however when a Guard-issue combat boot struck his already injured chest, rolling him over in the sea of mud, rainwater and blood. A dark figure stood over him, stooping low enough that the meagre light affored by the cloud-shrouded sun barely illuminated his face. A glowing Lasgun was grasped in the soldier's shaking hands as the hissing snout was pressed against Mortimius' forehead.

* * *"Three steps," the despicable traitor whispered, " three flakking, steps Emperor damn it! You remember, Mort, don't you? In the caves on Valin...he only stepped backwards because one of the b*stards shot him and you killed him for that!"

* * *Mortimius had no recollection of what the man was talking about, though the tears in his would-be killer's eyes told of weakness. Weakness was not tolerated and neither was the attempted murder of a superior. Pulling the sword again into his grip as he shifted his weight, he grimaced as shards of metal and fragments of bone grinded against the wound on his back. With speed that surprised his assailant, he swung the sword around and thrust its tip into the man's side, causing the shot that would have killed him to instead burn away at the ground beside his head. A surprised visage greeted him as the body fell sideways, though he refused to consign himself to death. Pushing himself to his feet, Mortimius snatched up the man's Lasgun and continued the charge into the jaws of death.
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Old 18 Dec 2005, 20:01   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only in Death does Duty End

Great... truely great.
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 17:48   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only in Death does Duty End

* * *Mortimius strode up to the makeshift tent, keeping his face hidden from the whistling gale that swept dead leaves about his feet. As he moved ever closer, the screams and howls of wounded men became louder and more aggravating to his ears. It was barely classed as an authorised medical outpost, with few supplies and constructed with haste before the approaching darkness and the cold that the night never left behind. Nevertheless, he had a duty to perform, an enemy to eliminate. No Commissar in the Guard had ever shrank from his duty, and Mortimius wasn't going to be the first. At last he reached his destination; with an adjustment to his peaked cap and a final, wary look at the dancing trees, he entered the tent.

* * *All at once, he was marauded by a confusion of sights, sounds and smells. He almost physically reeled from the simultaneous blows of the coppery tang of blood that hung in the air, the blood-spattered beds, aprons and plasteel floor segments and the veritable wall of noise - screams of every possible pitch and kind imaginable - that almost pushed him back into the shadowy nightmare outside. Covering his nose, he resisted the urge to do the same to his eyes and ears as he slowly advanced on the nearest orderly. It was all he could do not to vomit as the man turned at his greeting, covered with sprays and rivulets of blood from head to toe.

* * *"Sir...? Might I ask why you're here?" was the reply, though it was nearly impossible to hear over the background noise of shrieks and wails, even more so as Mortimius' ears seemed to only focus on the sounds of pain in some attempt to drive him insane.

* * *Sighing heavily, the man called to the horrified Commissar, louder than at first, "sir, I really don't have time for this".

* * *You won't let him be that impudent, will you?

* * *"What?!" Mortimius shouted, irate. He only just resisted the desire to throw to the floor this impetuous fool, this arrogant piece of filth - even covered in visceral fluids as he was - for such words. The ill-mannered youth then attempted to mock him, a Commissar of the Imperial Guard of all people.

* * *"I said," the orderly stated wearily, yet even louder for the second time, "I don't have time for this!"

* * *He's mocking you. You can't let him do that.

* * *With insult upon insult building up in front of the enraged Commissar, it was only a matter of time - and Mortimius had little patience - before he dispensed the Emperor's justice to the unworthy. Drawing his Laspistol on the terrified man, Mortimius fired a single shot that knocked him into the bed behind him, toppling that over along with its tormented inhabitant. With this burst of violence, a hush passed over the orderlies, surgeons and even those few of the wounded whose minds were not imprisoned by fear and pain. There was a quieter lull in activity; the very winds, forces of the Emperor Himself, seemed to calm outside.

* * *It took him several seconds to do it, though Mortimius finally managed to let the pistol drop back into its holster. With this came a cry from the shadows, fearing yet angered, "you worthless pile of sh*t! You deserve to die, murde-"

* * *Another fool. Another that deserves to die.

* * *The voice never finished its sentence as the pistol almost materialised in Mortimius' hand, pointing at the shadows from where the voice came. A part of him whispered into the very heart of his mind, telling him to do it, to rid the most holy Emperor's galaxy of this scum that should never have been allowed to exist in His light in the first place. However, the voice from the shadows seemed to have stopped at the thought of their death, so with an almost imperceptible smile and a feeling of satisfaction, he let the pistol fall, once again, into its holster. Yet this angered the most devout core of his being, which began to rage and scream inside his mind, baying for the blood of the coward.

* * *With a shake of his head as he tried to block out the persistent voice, he turned back to his original task, with an authoritive bellow, "I am a Commissar of the Emperor's will!" this news brought about great changes in the posture and expressions of all those who were present and conscious, making them better and worse respectively, "I will not tolerate any disrespect towards me and until you can convince me that you deserve otherwise, all of you will stand before the firing squad if you make a single mistake!"

* * *This drastically altered the appearances of the soldiers, who immediately began to adjust uniforms, stub out cigarettes, wipe expansive blood smears from their faces and give rushed salutes. This displeased Mortimius immensely. It looked like these maggots would be able to continue to serve the Emperor; he would be hard pressed to find a realistic reason for executing them now. One thing that did raise his heart was seeing the injured soldier nearest to him, with both legs decapitated and losing blood at an alarming rate, provide a smart salute. he would see to it that that man was promoted.

* * *"I am here to administer Imperial justice to Captain...Mikhail, of the 41st Light Infantry."

* * *One of the younger orderlies, who couldn't have been more than fifteen standard Terran years old, stepped forwards and indicated a bed in one of the corners with his gory finger - which it took Mortimius a brief second to realise wasn't actually injured - as he spoke, "Sir, you mean, you mean Mad Mik sir? Over there, sir".

* * *Mortimius didn't even move an inch before he simply stated what he had said before, in a slightly irritated voice, "I am here to administer justice to Captain Mikhail of the 41st Light Infantry".

* * *This brought another man forward, a surgeon by the looks of the head of greying hair and the tools on his belt, who called over a rising scream, "Captain Mikhail is over there sir...let me, um, lead you to him sir..."

* * *See? They show you the proper degree of respect.

* * *The grey-haired man guided him through the mess of puddles of blood and occupied beds, doing his best to show complete and utter inferiority to Mortimius - he bowed constantly, always ended every sentence with a worried 'sir' and gave a salute which was both elaborate and rather overdone, Mortimius considered of the cowardly fool. The man lying, mortally wounded and breathing loudly, in the bed before him seemed to have lost one arm and had several deep cuts up and down his body, including one that had travelled along the edge of his neck. The single eye searching feverishly for a way out of the torture of his slow death only added to the sense of a pitiful creature. That was incorrect, Mortimius thought; cowards were never to be pitied.

* * *Never to be pitied. They are never to be pitied.

* * *"Benedikt Mikhail?" he asked sternly, though the edge of steel in his voice barely made it a question. The wretched creature in front of him tried to reply, though all that escaped from his blood-caked lips was a rasping murmur.

* * *He is in much pain, isn't he.

* * *"Yes..." Mortimius answered quietly, half to the wounded man before him and half to himself.

* * *You should leave him.

* * *"Yes..." with this last, near-silent remark, the Commissar swiftly turned and left, much to the surprise of both the Captain and the surgeon.

* * *Let him suffer, Mortimius. Let him suffer.
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 17:56   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only in Death does Duty End

Commisars arn't that stupid.
1 week on the tau front he'd figure out they can move faster.
Also sholdn't there of been a artillary barrge?

Other then that It's great.
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 18:05   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only in Death does Duty End

There was an artillery barrage, just before the story begins. The comment on Tau being "slow and ponderous" was showing how the Imperium, especially Commissars, would use propaganda and lies to help along the acts of bravery that they so desperately need their soldiers to commit. It also shows the "we are completely superior to everyone else" side of the Imperium where even when it's completely wrong, they will still try to convince themselves that it's right.
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 18:10   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only in Death does Duty End

Yeah, the Uplifting Primer goes off about how stupid Eldar are and stuff.
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 18:27   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only in Death does Duty End

And in the Eldar Codex there's a quote from an Imperial commander, executed for Heresy because he complimented the Eldar army:

"Some call the Eldar decadent. if that is true then the Imperial Army could do with that kind of decadence."
Last words of Colonel Brin, executed Heretic 463.M38
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Old 20 Dec 2005, 09:50   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only in Death does Duty End

The next bit (I'm not sure on this one, I wasn't really certain that this was the best way to portray what I want to, but anyway):

Another explosion rocked the flickering lamp in the dust-choked entrance of the once-Imperial bunker. What little light it offered as it swung madly, hanging from the sagging ceiling, barely illuminated the duel below. Two figures, one swathed in robes of wispy, grey mist, the other clad in pock-marked, yet sturdy armour, were engaged in a duel of blades and steel. Two swords cut through the air, though both were different in design. A Chainsword and an ornate sabre skirted around each other again and again as the Commissar tried to find an opening in the cultist’s defence. Each time, however, the whirring Chainblade would intercept his strike, its jaws throwing his sword backwards, causing him to stumble as it almost flew from his grip.

This is not real, Mortimius. Let me show you reality.

The man blinked, unsure of what to make of the voice. Everything seemed as before...reality? What daft notion was this, that this tiny shard of his mind refused to let go? He turned back to the duel, but to Mortimius, however, his enemy’s blade had become a crimson beast, a monster of the depths of hell, the howling mouth and gnashing teeth slavering for the blood of its foe. His own was a gleaming hunter, a creature of finesse which remained silent save for the clashes with its foe. Every ringing blow of a blade on the plascrete walls or floor left an all-pervading echo that gnawed away at his mind. Every beam from the swinging lantern danced merrily in a shimmering, barely visible cavorting swirl of colours. Blinking away the strange feelings and thoughts, he tried to keep his focus on the ever more aggressive warrior before him.

You’re not going to die, are you? Surely not only here, Mortimius?

Again, the two weapons met. Outside, the battle never ceased, with the steady rhythm of Lasfire, staccato of Heavy Bolters and dull, thumping bass of the artillery ever-present. Mortimius tried to ignore it, to block it out, to stay alive. Another swing of the wild Chainsword forced him to roll to avoid being decapitated. Coming up near the cultist, he thrust the sword towards the maniac, the sword ready to pierce the man’s robes when the Chainsword appeared from nowhere, parrying the killing strike. Watching his sword fly cleanly from his grip from the shock of the Chainsword, he clenched his hands and ducked beneath a horizontal swipe that would have seen him cut in half.

I did not bring you this far to watch you die.

Clutching one hand to his head in a feeble attempt to drown out the distractions of his mind, Mortimius crouched to avoid yet another attack intended to disembowel him. As he rose he pushed backwards, his back hitting the plascrete wall hard. The cultist came at him again, the roaring blade held high above his head for the final slice. It came, though Mortimius was faster – something was pushing him on, forcing his movements. Swaying to the side, he watched in amazement at both the Chainblade, which had buried itself in the plascrete where he had been standing, and his own fists, which seemed to be set alight with ethereal flame. The Emperor? It was the Emperor; he had been a faithful servant...

You have been a faithful servant, Mortimius.

The flames wavered in and out of visibility – it was hard to tell whether they were real or a figment of his imagination. No, they were real. They had to be. Turning his attention back to the cultist, who had left the Chainsword buried up to the hilt in the wall, he swung quickly with his fists. The first blow caught the hooded man’s head, throwing him across the floor, trails of the fog of his robes following his path. With a sickening crack, the cultist’s head hit the floor and he remained there, motionless. Nobody could defeat the might of the Emperor. Nobody. Standing in the now quiet oasis in the rhythmic battle, Mortimius clenched and unclenched his fists; the flames had strangely disappeared, replaced by a gnawing sense of superiority and power. No...he always felt superior, because he always was. What was strange about this?

There is nothing strange, Mortimius, because you are vastly superior. Yet I could grant you power beyond belief. You already tread my path: there is not much more that needs to be done.

Striding towards the Chainsword, now silent, a cowed beast, he dragged the embedded weapon from the wall’s grasp. The plascrete roared at him, rearing up and screaming at him as he pulled the weapon free from its jagged teeth. No...what was going on? It was a wall: there was the Chainblade. There was no living creature but him in the room. Sighing heavily, he drew in his breath and strained with one final pull, until he managed to wrench the heavy weapon away. Turning to the cultist, he dragged the ever-heavier Chainblade over to the barely living body. Mist still curled from the ethereal robes. Glaring down at the stubborn beast at his heels, Mortimius dragged it along, though with each step the weapon became heavier and heavier; harder to pull.

If you thought that proving yourself to me would be easy, Mortimius, then you were wrong.

Finally reaching the body, Mortimius thrust the Chainblade into the air with a surge of strength, granted to him by...the Emperor. It had to be the Emperor. He afforded a silent prayer to the god of humanity. Granting him the power to overcome the beast and tame it to his will was a gift beyond imagining. He must be a magnificent servant of His will if He was willing to grant Mortimius a measure of His divine power. Still standing over the silent body, he glanced up at the beast and down at his foe. Pressing the activation rune, he brought the monster, with its gnawing teeth and rending talons, down upon the body, letting it eviscerate the flesh, spraying blood in every direction. Thick gobbets of the pleasant liquid spattered over Mortimius’ uniform and armour as he smiled at the traitor’s demise. Letting the still active Chainblade fall from his hands, he turned to his own sabre, striding to where it had fallen and plucking it from the floor.

You impress me again, faithful servant.

Bowing his head, the humbled Commissar spoke quietly, “in the name of the Emperor, I destroy the xenos, the traitor, and the heretic. In your name I do wage war on the apocalyptic foes of the right and true Imperium”.

Your devotion is remarkable, Mortimius.

Striding back over the corpse, he grasped the Chainblade from amidst the gory remains and simple grey robes. Turning once more, he carefully scrutinized the reinforced door to the corrupted bunker. Now that he had eliminated the last of its guardians, he could focus on finding the key to unlock this portal. He stood silently, bearing the two swords lightly by his sides, contemplating the task before him, blocking out the haze of colours and the persistent echoes of every sound he had heard that had plagued him previously. Disrupting his thoughts, a squad of Guardsmen rushed in, carrying their wounded with them. Two immediately crouched low by the battered edges of the bunker’s entrance, keeping their darting eyes on the battle beyond the dunes outside. The others set down the wounded soldier, whose screams destroyed Mortimius’ echoes and cut through the ever more real chaos of colours.

You seem distracted, Mortimius. You were so close to seeing the real world and yet you let your mortal mind be torn away from it.

“You!” he shouted over the screams and the explosions, though the echoes had gone, “you! Open this door, now!”

That will not work, Mortimius.

At this, one of the Guardsmen rushed forwards, noticing his uniform and began to work on the door, analyzing the key pad and finger-print identification systems. Turning his attention back to the others, Mortimius carefully looked over the squad. One injured, seven able-bodied, led by a sergeant by the looks of it. A glance out of the opening revealed that more men were coming and the roar of the monster of war had almost ceased.

That will not work, Mortimius.

“Sir, I can’t get this damn thing open! The finger-print sensor, it’s...well, it’s changed, sir”.

You should have more faith in me, Mortimius, for I can lead you well.

“Yes...”

By my light, you will be able to enter the portal that lies before you.

“By your light, Emperor”.

Now, Mortimius.

Turning swiftly, the Commissar strode purposefully up the door, the rhythmic steps leaving echoes in his mind that drowned out all the distractions, all the mortals. He sheathed his sabre, keeping his other hand tight around the leash of the beast and placed his hand upon the blood-spattered surface of the door, pushing lightly, blood droplets that ran down the door seeping through and around his fingers. All around him there was nought but a storm of colours. Swirling, dancing, mingling and alive. Darkness, light, shadow and purity swam together, with the sounds – all the sounds of Mortimius’ life – echoing in his ears. Before him stood the door; his hand touched it. Pushing lightly with his finger tips, he felt the surface bend and re-shape beneath them, the now-malleable surface providing no resistance.

Do you see the power that is waiting, Mortimius?

He nodded.

Take it.

Taking his hand away from the door, he nodded once again.

“Holy flakk...what the damn hell is he doing-” one of the soldiers tried to whisper, though to Mortimius’ ears it came out in an infinitely large number of pitches and speeds.

“Silence!” was the one word that he bellowed, that cowed every man that heard it.

“What...what did you do?” one man asked, terror etched into his face. Turning to the door, Mortimius saw that it was open, the shadows formed from the lantern’s erratic light seemingly beckoning from within.

Turning back to the soldier, he simply answered “the Emperor works in many ways”.

From the looks shared amongst the men it was clear that they didn’t share the same opinion, though Mortimius was tired of waiting; pointing at the sergeant, he yelled “you! Through there, now!”

The man stuttered something, to which Mortimius raised his Laspistol.

Kill him Mortimius, he is not worthy if he shrinks from death’s door.

A single Lasblast threw the man against the wall, cauterizing the wound instantly to leave a smoking crater in the flesh. Raising his Laspistol to the nearest Guardsman, Mortimius simply pointed at the door with the growling beast. The young man hesitated for a second.

Look at them. Fools, Mortimius, and cowards. The galaxy needs to be cleansed of such people.

Firing a second Lasblast, he aimed it at the soldier’s head, blowing his skull into fragments. Falling backwards silently, the dead soldier fell onto the corpse of the cultist. Before he could aim at the next Guardsman, though, a Lasbolt struck him in the chest, shredding his armour and skin before it cooled, leaving a burnt scar of flesh. Turning to the traitor, he decapitated the man with a sweep of the Chainblade.

Setting his eyes upon the rest, he merely boomed “do you really think that it is wise to disobey me, or possible to kill one who is infused with the very essence of the Emperor?”

Almost seeming as if they wanted to escape from him, the soldiers nearly fled into the bunker, keeping their Lasguns ready and active. Smiling, Mortimius entered after them.

Yes, Mortimius. I will not let you perish.
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Old 20 Dec 2005, 12:08   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only in Death does Duty End

when i said this story was bad i hadnt read all of it i felt it was like corra until the fighting i read it all this time its nice good job ;D 8) no more bad blood between us (no pms plz ive got lots of junk mail) ;D that was a good bit when there were told to walk through the battle feild and by the emperor you shal not run
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Old 28 Apr 2006, 13:48   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Only in Death does Duty End

Hmmm quite moving. You can feel the emotion Although why is every lasblast word capitalised?
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