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Akala's Pendant
Old 15 Aug 2007, 10:37   #1 (permalink)
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Kelir suppressed an involuntary shudder as vomit-brown ichor spattered around him like thick, rancid oil. Even with the insulation of his black, tight-fitting body armour, he felt violated by the alien atmosphere that clung to his body and fogged his vision in a sickly greenish miasma. He wiped his faceplate clean of the sludge with a gloved hand, and returned it to support the barrel of his shuriken catapult, swallowing hard and futilely forcing his warrior psyche to the fore of his mind. Kelir couldn’t see himself as a fighter anymore. He was certainly not a fighter: he was old, with nothing left to gain, nothing left to prove. Age had taken its toll on him: he felt mired in molasses with every move he made, every thought creeping from his mind like an animal reluctant to abandon the warm bosom of hibernation. No, he was not a fighter, but he would fight nevertheless. No true Ulthwé-born could ignore the call of war.

He crouched in the brush with those around him, their psycho-reactive body armour daubed with brown and green to blend in with their surroundings. He closed his eyes and felt the glimmering presence of Alathain, the warlock, just several feet in front of him. Alathain was young, but still able to recall Kelir’s time. He was impulsive, even reckless on occasion, but tremendously gifted, like all Ulthwé seers. The prevailing hope of the old ones was that Alathain’s generation would temper its minds and hearts, in time. Fortunately, the young ones needed no reminding of the dangers of uncontrolled impulses and unchecked recklessness. After all, they were Eldar, children of Isha.

How long had Kelir served the craftworld as a Black Guardian? It felt like centuries, and it may well have been so. Black Guardians: those called forth to defend and serve Ulthwé as dedicated soldiers; they were as capable as Aspect Warriors. Indeed, they gave much of their lives to the mastery of combat, to take the place of those who instead walked the Path of the Seer. Unlike guardians of other craftworlds, they were skilled commandos and veterans, vengeful phantoms made manifest. A difficult reputation to uphold, at Kelir’s age.

“Squad Alathain.” A sudden voice in Kelir’s mind snapped him out of his thoughts. It was the Farseer’s: rich, strong and determined. “The spore landing site is one hundred paces ahead. Engage and provide supporting fire for Squad Rehath while they neutralize the objective. The Gaze of Midnight will watch over you. Wait for my command. Khaine guide your blades.” The Farseer’s voice faded into darkness, only to be replaced by Alathain’s over the comlink in his helmet.

“We move,” the warlock intoned, and as one, the dozen-strong squad of guardians rose like one entity from the brush of the jungle, their crimson, illuminated eye-slits glaring from the shadows. Kelir stepped from his half-crouch, inching along through the foliage as a gold and silver pendant, fastened to the barrel of his weapon, caught a precious ray of light and dangled beautifully in the murk…

“This is for me?” Akala’s voice had dropped low in astonishment, her gray eyes betraying a twinkle of indecipherable curiosity as she gazed at the necklace lying demurely in her palm. Made of intertwined gold and silver, tinged with blue from the vast lighting system overhead, it gleamed like a stream of silver sunlight wrought in the depths of the ocean. The gem set in the pendant was a quiet shade of maroon: its colour could stand for anything, given the context. In this instance, its meaning was crystal clear. This maroon was the same colour as a beating heart; the same colour as the Eldar blood they shared; the same colour as Kelir’s irrepressible affection for her.

Akala’s long, snow-white hair glowed a soft shade of periwinkle, making her look intoxicatingly exotic. The two were in an expansive, polished corridor, easily wide enough for twenty to walk abreast. It was empty now, a fact made all the more palpable by the starlit void beyond the corridor’s windows. And the pounding in Kelir’s young ears.

“Of course,” he replied, a little too dismissively. “Who else would I give it to?” A foolish verbal blunder on his part, he realized. An unshakeable sense of dread began to settle in his mind with every passing second. Akala looked up at him and suddenly laughed out loud, normally a sweet sound in his ears. This time, considering the circumstances, it felt more like a knife through his ribs.

She suppressed a further laugh, covering her mouth with a hand, as she noticed the dismay on his face. “You were never quite good at hiding your emotions, Kelir,” she said with a small smile. “Are you trying to say what I think you are trying to say?”

Kelir composed himself, looked her in the eye and smiled back. “Akala, you are too perceptive for your own good. Yes, it is exactly what I mean. I know that it seems sudden, and we have not known each other for very long –”

“Fifteen years –”

“But I could not wait any longer. I would have sung from the depths of my soul, if I could. But alas, I cannot sing.” Kelir barely managed to conceal the nervousness in his laughter. “But, I can only hope in time that my hands are skilled enough to craft your dreams.” After a moment, Akala looked down at the pendant, then back up at Kelir, their gazes locking for an eternity.

He spotted a subtle shift of her gaze, and before he knew it she had reached behind her neck and fixed the clasp of the pendant; it glittered as wonderfully as her eyes, in the starlight of space. She took his hands, tilted her chin upwards and kissed him, if but for a painfully brief moment. “You may find that my dreams are simpler to craft than you think,” she whispered. “I am yours, Kelir, for as long as you wish.” The young Eldar made no effort to hide the blossoming of joy on his face.

“It may be for a while,” he replied.

“Longer than fifteen years, I imagine,” she teased.

“Much longer,” he assured. After a moment, she took his hand in both of hers and squeezed it.

“We must be careful,” she said, her voice hardening the slightest bit. Kelir nodded solemnly.

“We will be. We may be young, but we will not be foolish. We must adhere to whatever Path we choose. We must never falter.”

“One day the needs of Ulthwé will take precedence over our own,” Akala said. “We must be willing to sacrifice ourselves out of necessity.”

“It saddens me, but there is no other way,” Kelir replied. “But I will treasure what I have now…who I have now.” He dared to fold his arms around her, and sighed as she relaxed against him. Standing there with Akala, beneath the looming, ivory arches of wraithbone, he savoured her warmth, and quietly exulted in the happiest moment of his life.

In the distance, Kelir thought he had heard an animal; a bird perhaps, but he knew that no natural living thing could exist in a tortured place such as this. Knee-deep in swamp sludge, he instinctively felt for the curved, solid ammunition clip in his catapult, yanked it out and thrust it back in with a satisfying click. He raised the weapon and gazed down the sight, then lowered it again, satisfied once more. He reached around to the back of his waist and smoothly loosened the hooks on his spare shuriken clips.

“Are you not afraid you will drop them?” A voice behind Kelir inquired. He turned his head slightly to the guardian behind him: a bare shoot of an Eldar, Kelir guessed, by the sound of his voice.

“I reload faster,” the older guardian responded. “Better than getting caught without one when I need it most.” The younger Eldar pondered this for a moment, then nodded and experimentally loosened one of the spare clips at his waist.

How many other tricks had Kelir learned in his time? How to move, how to aim, how to shoot and kill: they were all instinctive now, part of a psyche that he donned the moment he donned his black guardian’s helmet. He became Kelir, the relentless Warrior: far removed from Kelir, the inspired artisan; Kelir, the loyal citizen; Kelir, the mate of Akala. The fracturing of his persona was necessary, and required of all Craftworld Eldar, in order to safeguard against repeating that ancient folly, so long ago.
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Old 15 Aug 2007, 10:37   #2 (permalink)
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Sickly ichor fell from the sky once more, and only when Kelir looked up did he understand why. The starved boughs of the canopy above were soaked with alien slime, no doubt fallout and debris from the mycetic spore crashes. The wildlife around him was suffocated and infected by it, their life snuffed out just as the Tyranid, the Great Devourer, sought to snuff out the stars with its insatiable hunger. In the distance, Kelir could just make out the first silhouettes of the spore chimneys: jagged, chitinous structures that belched acrid spore gas and tore at the darkening, boiling sky.

Alathain’s voice buzzed in, seized by a sense of urgency. “We must make haste. Soon, the Tyranids will have established an infestation point in this region.”

At the same moment, a deep, earthy voice surged in through the comlink. “Squad Rehath is in position.”

With near-flawless timing, a softer voice chimed in afterwards. “The Gaze of Midnight is in position.”

Kelir watched as Alathain uttered clipped phrases of acknowledgment, then turned and motioned the heavy weapon platform forward. A sleek construct, housing a multi-barreled scatter laser, drifted unassumingly to the front line of guardians, its grav-engine humming innocently. Patiently trailing the platform were two gunners: guardians wearing targeting visors, with small trajectory computers mounted on their forearms. They quietly chattered back and forth, no doubt measuring the best angle of fire.

The Farseer’s voice called to them one last time. “All squads are ready. Engage the enemy position now!”

“Squad Alathain,” the warlock followed, “Engage on my mark.” They prepared to advance, and…

…Kelir’s slender fingers ran across the cool, smooth surface of the wraithbone, the material sliding, collapsing and reforming at the subtlest motions. He closed his eyes and painted a bright, lush green in his mind, and opened his eyes and watched as the same hue of green gently caressed the raised folds of the statue’s dress. He smiled with pride as his fingertips brushed away the last imperfections. A small chime sounded in his workshop, and the door slid open. Akala stepped in.

“Hard at work, I see,” she said with a smile, her hands folded inside the sleeves of her maroon robe as she strode to the wide pedestal at which Kelir was working. He looked up, his eyes glowing as he took in the sight of her.

“Work and passion are one and the same,” he replied. He sat back from the finished sculpture with a sigh of satisfaction, and turned to Akala with bright eyes. “Take a look, and tell me what you think.” Akala bent to peer at the immaculate object, tucking a long lock of hair behind her ear. A curious smile passed across her face.

“Is this me, Kelir?”

“Does it look like you?”

“Astonishingly so,” she laughed, “considering I do not recall sitting down to model for it.” An Eldar woman in a long-sleeved gown was perched on a high stool, the folds of her dress spilling around her like a frozen fountain. She gazed off into the distance with sightless eyes, looking upon some unseen, sublime horizon, her lips pursed pensively.

“Do you like it?”

Akala ran a finger along the sculpture’s long hair, matching her own flowing tresses. “It is wonderful,” she breathed. “Just as I expected from you.”

“It shares much with its source material,” Kelir laughed, standing and taking her into his arms. She suddenly clutched him tightly, burying her face in his shoulder; he looked into her face, his eyes brimming with concern. “Something is wrong, Akala,” he said quietly. “Please tell me.”

Her voice was hushed. “I was inducted into the Shrine of White Moons today,” she said. “I fought as a Storm Guardian in the last campaign, and I wanted…more.” More…in more ways than one.

Kelir could not think of any response except to hold her tighter. “I am proud of you,” he whispered. “I truly am.”

“I know.” She sniffed, brushed her hair back. “It is not enough for us to serve Ulthwé only when war comes to our doorstep. We must become stronger, vigilant always, to be ready in these dark times.”

Kelir nodded in understanding. From this point on, Akala would dedicate herself to the Aspect of the Banshee: its followers were graceful, horrifying dervishes in melee combat. If she dedicated enough of herself, Akala could one day don the helm – and the identity – of the Shrine’s Exarch. They both knew just what kind of sacrifice she was making already: another fracturing of her identity.

Kelir fingered the maroon-gemmed pendant around her neck, brought it to his lips and kissed it. “Wear this, and it will be enough.”

The squad of Black Guardians rushed across the jungle clearing like sleek, prowling predators. Kelir’s visual pick-up began pouring bio and thermal readouts across his eyes as he moved, his rifle raised. The spore chimneys were even more ghastly up close, surrounded as they were by tangled, alien barbed plants and countless porous mounds bursting from the ground like pulsating, bloated cysts. As they flitted towards the landing site, a group of mounds wretched and spat free a hail of fluorescent green bolts. The guardians instinctively ducked as Alathain spun three gold runes in the air, conjuring a cool, swirling mist around them.

“Gunners, hold your ground and open fire,” his voice buzzed in Kelir’s comlink. “The rest, circle around the brush for a flanking assault. I will extend the concealment.” True enough, the mist rose and shifted around them, spreading around the entire perimeter of the Tyranid landing site. As Kelir rose and took off again, he heard a low whine issue forth from the grav-platform, then a drumming of high squeals as it opened fire, feverishly spitting a storm of blue laser fire into the mass of Tyranid bio-structures. He slid to a crouch beside another guardian behind the cover of the mutated trees. Kelir suddenly started as a cacophony of whining and buzzing surged towards their position. A score of dull whines pierced the tree trunks in front of them, perforating the bark with sickly thuds.

“Fleshborer fire,” Kelir hissed into his comlink. “Termagants.”

“I will reach your position in a click,” Alathain replied fervently. “Advance accordingly; time is of the essence!”

Kelir took the initiative and rose, fully seized by his warrior psyche. “Move!” He roared, stepping out from cover and dashing forward, squeezing off disciplined bursts of shuriken fire. The other Black Guardians moved with him, dodging and jumping forward, their blazing catapults joining with his in a frenzied chorus of death. Hundreds of razor-thin shuriken discs perforated the mass of squat, bone-shelled quadrupeds, shredding them amid their helpless screeches. Just as quickly, a fresh brood of Termagants took their place, spitting more death from their Fleshborers. Two guardians didn’t move fast enough, and were caught in a hail of the flesh-eating beetles, thrown back like limp dolls. One living bolt glanced Kelir’s shoulder, and he felt his psycho-plastic shoulder plate harden and constrict, allowing it to bounce off him harmlessly. Adrenaline coursed like white fire through his veins; he was no longer a feeble old man. He was a proud Eldar warrior: a son of Eldanesh, born anew.

He rolled to the ground the moment he felt the empty click of his shuriken catapult, taking cover as he quickly ejected the clip, unfastened a new one from his waist and slid it in with one clean movement. He rose and snapped off another burst of shuriken fire, catching a bulb-headed Termagant in the head. A final wave of Termagants poured forward, only to get scythed down by scatter laser fire.

“Advance further, before they can recover!” Alathain screamed. He burst forth, his midnight-black robe billowing about him. His outstretched palm scorched the twisted land with burning lightning. Kelir and the guardians moved forward yet again, into the patch of land pockmarked by Tyranid bio-structures. His elation turned to dread as he spotted three hulking, multi-limbed creatures emerging in the distance. Raising their crested heads and opening their maws, they bellowed fiercely and leveled huge, symbiotic bio-cannons. Tyranid Warriors. Almost immediately, bright, vermilion laser flashes exploded across their slime-encrusted carapaces, sending one Warrior tumbling to the earth from a gaping wound where half its face had been. A symphony of the red flashes began dancing across the Warriors, slicing through them as they stomped forward, then teetered and stumbled to the earth.
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Old 15 Aug 2007, 10:37   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Akala's Pendant

“The Gaze of Midnight, providing assistance,” the soft voice uttered through Kelir’s comlink. Pathfinders, he recalled. They were safely out of sight, in their own dark, distant habitat. Some equally distant memory sparked in his mind, a remote page of his life untouched for the longest time. He watched with cautious readiness as Alathain drew his witchblade, the arcane weapon bursting to life with green flame at his touch. The Warlock mercilessly tore into the last stunned Warrior, slashing through its carapace and severing its legs, then driving the blade into its head. A long howl of a death scream echoed into the jungle, and then dreadful silence. The guardians allowed themselves a short pause to rest.

“Squad Rehath,” Alathain breathed, “the way to the objective is clear. Move swiftly, before they can muster reinforcements.”

For seventy years, they served in the defense of Ulthwé: he as a Black Guardian, she as a disciple of the Banshee. For most of their waking hours they dedicated themselves to their craft; the little time they were able to shed their warrior selves, they spent with each other. For seventy years they had been together, inseparable, living the life ascribed to all Craftworld Eldar. For the Eldar, however, seven decades is but the blink of an eye.

The day came when a banshee sister of the White Moons arrived at his door, clad in white robes of mourning, bearing the maroon pendant he had given Akala. Ever since that day, he could always smell her scent still flitting around the chain, like his memories of her that refused to die. They said that she fell in honourable combat, a survivor of so many battles but unable to escape the fate that seemed to await all who trod the Path of the Warrior. Kelir remembered feeling numb…unimaginably numb. Instead of crying, he actually laughed to himself, at the absurdity that he had not died before her. In death, she was still beautiful. Whenever he had watched her don the Harbinger’s mask and take up the Harbinger’s blade, she was frighteningly beautiful. When she was close enough to touch and hold, she was beautiful. Akala was beautiful always, to Kelir, and now she was gone.

In the following days where he could not rescue himself from the depths of his despair, he took small comfort in the fact that she had returned to the Infinity Circuit, and that she was one with her home at last. He took small comfort in the fact that one day, he would be reunited with her. But nothing could wrench away the emptiness that consumed his life.

After a year, Kelir took to the stars as an Outcast, wandering the Webway and its worlds as a soul without purpose. The wanderlust and the years that followed helped occupy his mind only partially. The strange wonders of every new world he explored, the cold satisfaction from every mon-keigh he shot dead from afar, only temporarily took his mind away from the thing that had been most precious to him. He walked the Path of the Outcast for several decades before, aged and jaded, he returned to Ulthwé to fulfill his duty once more.

Squad Rehath emerged from the recesses of the jungle, their fiery orange undersuits smouldering like flowing magma beneath their black armour. They carried bronze-hued fusion guns, while the Exarch, crested and clad in blood-red and black, hefted a fearsome Dragon’s Breath. With aloof contempt, the Exarch casually shot a gout of liquid fire into the nearest Tyranid bio-structure, charring it to cinders. At a word, the Fire Dragons around him scattered, unhooking disc-shaped melta bomb charges from their belts and setting them all around the area.

“We will sing the Song of Immolation here,” the Exarch intoned, reaching for his melta bomb and placing it on one of the spore chimneys. At that moment, Kelir saw the shape of the structure shift before his eyes. The mottled violet and vomit-brown pattern of the chimney swerved and wrenched, and two massive scything talons pulled free of the chitin surface and ripped into the Exarch with blinding speed. A writhing mass of feeder tendrils whipped out immediately after, latching on to the Exarch’s faceplate before a pair of razor-sharp claws gouged his innards and threw the lifeless body aside like a strip of spoiled meat. The limber, unmistakable form of a Lictor pounced forth from the chimney, its chameleonic scales shifting to match the ash-brown of the dead ground beneath it. Before the nearest Fire Dragon could react, the Lictor screeched and leapt forward, crushing the Eldar’s skeleton with the weight of its muscled body. A third Fire Dragon raised his fusion gun, only to have his arms cleft from his body with another massive swipe of the Lictor’s arching talons. Kelir’s instincts kicked in, his trigger finger letting loose a wild burst of shuriken fire, but the Lictor quickly dodged out of sight, its ever-shifting colours melding with the noxious landscape.

“Faolchu Faces the Sun,” Alathain barked, and the guardians instantly fell into a loose ring facing outwards, shuriken catapults raised. A moment passed as the Eldar eyed their surroundings warily, their senses heightened to their acute peak. The two remaining Fire Dragons hurried with their preparations, latching the melta bombs to their targets and punching in the timing codes. One turned to Alathain.

“We will be ready in another moment,” he said. “The melta charges are – ” He was cut off as the Lictor suddenly materialized and lashed out with a claw, tearing open the Aspect Warrior’s ribcage before launching itself at the other, who was crushed in a heartbeat. Alathain’s squad opened fire again, a hailstorm slicing through the Tyranid predator’s side as it pounced away, a loud screech of pain issuing forth from its maw as it disappeared.

The voice of a Pathfinder suddenly cut short the tense silence. “Position compromised,” the soft voice whispered harshly. “Expect –” The Pathfinder said no more, the transmission ending with the gurgling of blood in his throat.

Before Alathain could curse, the wounded Lictor leapt out from behind a spore chimney, demolishing the grav-platform with a combined strike from both of its scything talons. It turned and beheaded two guardians before the rest of the squad brought their weapons to bear and unleashed a torrent of blazing death, mulching the beast into a pile of bloody biomass.
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Old 15 Aug 2007, 10:38   #4 (permalink)
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“Vaul’s eyes,” Alathain swore. “Reinforcements this fast…they knew we were coming. They lured us in to track our movements. They adapted to our every move.” As if in reply, a great shadow slowly, inevitably, cast its pall over them as a mass of leathery wings and clawed limbs flapped and flailed in the sky. Innumerable, inexorable, the brood of gargoyles swooped down in a flash, teeth gnashing. All Kelir could make out were the dozens of beady, glowing yellow eyes in the mass of airborne death.

The muzzle flashes of the shuriken catapults only accentuated the sharpness of their features, the shadows receding deeper into their chitinous hides. Several of the beasts were shot dead, but it wasn’t nearly enough to stop the brood from eviscerating the beleaguered guardians. Kelir barely had time to scream as dozens of claws ripped through his armour, gouging through his organs. Bloodied eyes widened in shock and helplessness as the Eldar were slaughtered like dry leaves crumbling in the blistering summer wind. They watched as Alathain defiantly stood his ground, his rune armour crackling madly as the gargoyles beat against his body. He swung his fiery witchblade with intense vigour, cutting down several times his number, but even his blade, and his life, were extinguished by the roiling mass of beating wings.

As soon as they had come, they were gone. There was silence.

Kelir lay in a dark, sticky pool of his own blood, every inch of his body screaming; it was a sobering indication that he was still alive. His fingers dug into the rotten soil as a part of him forced his body to his knees. With a deep, utterly agonizing gasp, he raised his head.

And there it was.

The bronze glitter of the melta bomb charge winked at him, mere feet away, latched against the pulsating flesh of the spore chimney. He raised himself to a cruel parody of an upright stance, his body bleeding away all the while. The noxious air seeped into his nostrils and eyes from the gaping hole in his faceplate, searing his senses. Gathering whatever strength he had left, he lurched forward mindlessly, half-blinded, throwing his bleeding mass at the small button in the center of the disc. A blue light on the device winked into life. It started beeping patiently, oblivious of the carnage around it. Kelir slumped against the raw, slimy base of the spore chimney, miraculously clutching Akala’s pendant to his chest in a bloody hand. The maroon gem was cracked, fractured.

How many times had he dreamt of this moment, hoping his death would not have been in vain? How desperately had he wanted to sacrifice himself for the good of his people?

…Since Akala died, when had all the light in his life disappeared?

There would be nothing left of him after this. His spirit stone would be obliterated in the explosion, damning his soul to She Who Thirsts. He would never rejoin Akala in the Infinity Circuit. But Ulthwé, his home, would be one step closer to that fleeting moment of safety his people needed.

He had only wanted happiness, and for a time, Akala had given him that happiness. Who would remember her now? The dying old man with the tawdry keepsake in his hand? The Farseer who tirelessly commanded thousands of her people to fight and die so that her craftworld might live in peace? Who would remember Kelir, and the sacrifices he made?

Remember us, his torn lips silently pleaded to deaf ears. Remember Kelir, who honourably served Ulthwé as a Black Guardian till his dying breath. Remember Akala, who gave her life and more for her people. Remember us, who gave up our love so that the Eldar might exist for one more day.

The monotone beeping of the melta bomb charge steadily reached a feverish pitch and intensity. The blue light flared anew, and the charge ignited, setting off the other melta bombs. The chain of superheated explosions blossomed into the sky, vaporizing the Tyranid-infested landscape in a great ring of fire. As Kelir was flung into oblivion, he desperately clung to his last, simple wish, as a dying Eldar for his dying race…

Remember us.
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Old 18 Aug 2007, 07:06   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Akala's Pendant

What an outstanding entry!

+Exquisitely-crafted flashbacks of Craftworld life before the call of duty
+Snaring battle depictions
+Beautiful portrayal of the Lictor
+Satisfying end

-Background information (eg, were the Eldar defending a Craftworld?)
-Description of Tyranids more as a zoo of animals rather than a collective predatory organism with less than subtle nuances in behavior and appearance

Overall, one of the competition's very best.
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Old 03 Sep 2007, 08:59   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Akala's Pendant

Brilliant story there DerfDerf. How did you think of it? Tis a very sad story :'( although you should be proud of yourself for writting such a masterpiece.
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Old 03 Sep 2007, 10:20   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Akala's Pendant

The story deserved to win. It is good in every aspect:
There is a clear plotline, the characters are believable, the transitions with past memories and present are fluid, the dialogue is reasonable and fluent, the enviroment is described just right (not too much so it leaves some things to imagination, not too little so the things won't happen in vacuum), the fluff references are nice and not overdone, and the "feeling" of losing in the is great. The ending is beautiful, with the hero wishing to be joined with his lost love in infinity circuit, and will sacrifice hischance to do this to save his home.

Only thing I have to ask is do Eldar use meltabombs? I would assume they use explosives, maybe even the same mechanism, but are they actually called meltabombs, or do they have their own name for them? The only reason I ask is that word "meltabomb" immediately brings to mind a crude, bulky explosive that the imperials use, and that doesn't fit with the Eldar at all. So do they have own names for them, ordoes it go with the same name?

Other then that, I don't really have much else to say. It's a great story.
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Old 03 Sep 2007, 15:12   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Akala's Pendant

Thanks for the comments so far - I thrive on feedback I will restrain my excitement:

@Frogger: I know what you mean when you mentioned the cons in your review. I cracked open the 4th Tyranid codex the other day and was like, "Crap, I might have been off". I suppose I used the nids more as a foil for the Eldar struggle (both in the battle and in the internal sacrifice/duty struggle) instead of fleshing them out as a cohesive race. As for the mission, it is assumed that the nids taking over the planet would pose a threat to the craftworld - this could be an impending or distant threat, knowing the Farseers.

@Dire Avenger: I think I always wanted to write an Eldar love story without it being cheesy, which I found really challenging. There are all kinds of gaps in the Eldar canon concerning civilians, so it's hard to tell what would work and what wouldn't. I found the sad ending inevitable, in order to get the message across. Part of me wanted Akala to stomp in as a wraithlord in the end to save Kelir (that would have been wtfbbqtehawesome), but it just wouldn't have had the same effect :P

@LordDemon: Eldar do actually use meltabombs (fire dragons), and other explosives like haywires (swooping hawks) and plasma grenades (harlequin shadowseers). If you look here, you can see one dude with a meltabomb. They look quite Eldar-ish, and that's what I drew on for the story.

Thanks again for the comments, much appreciated
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