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Entry I - Untitled
Old 15 Aug 2007, 10:46   #1 (permalink)
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Default Entry I - Untitled

The Four Sword Campaign was launched in an attempt to rekindle the spirits of the Tau Empire following the O’Sun’yi Campaign. The Tau armies had suffered terrible losses at the hands of the Tyranids, and piratical attacks on border colonies had become more common.

Hoping to bring victories on the battlefield, and hope to their people, the Tau launched four mighty armies out into the stars, four swords with which to break the enemies of the Empire.

O’Sun’yi, veteran of Tel’Oshi, was halted by the outbreak of the unthinkable; betrayal from within.
O’Sha’erra and her armies sought to conquer the Imperial world of Medusa V, but the momentum was lost on that world.
O’Bentu and his men had retired following the conquest of Masyr’ka.
Now, only O’Nan’cova remains. Admired by his men and respected by his peers, O’Nan’cova was charged with crushing the Ar’cean worlds.

Unfortunately, the closing battles of the Four Sword Campaign would prove to be much more difficult than any could imagine…

Part I:

O’Nan’cova sat in the darkness, lost in contemplation. Aun’O Va’myr entered, and stood beside the door politely.
“I trust I am not interrupting anything, Shas’O?”
O’Nan’cova shook his head. “No, Aun’O, I was simply lost in thought.”
The Aun nodded, and crossed the briefing room to sit opposite the Shas’O. “Can I help at all?”
“It’s O’Bentu. I mean, he shouldn’t be here. The idea of his forces being disbanded… and the incident with O’Sun’yi and O’Shaserra…”
“Indeed,” O’Va’myr replied, “that was most unfortunate.”
“It seems every Four Sword Commander is either stood down, subordinated into my Cadres, or mentally unsound. To’Tau’va, these Eldar are stretching my own sanity. I’ve fought over Kau’cea so many times I could map the planet by memory. I’m worried our efforts have become bogged down.”
O’Va’myr nodded. “A new world will bring fresh perspective. I have a feeling this world will bring us everything we’ve been hoping for.”
“I hope so, Aun. I hope so…”

* * *

Below them, the world of Dal'tio continued on its lazy orbit of the distant blue-giant star.

O'Bentu had spent days pouring over every tactical plan they had of the world with him. They had both briefed all Shas'El, liased with their Kor counterparts, and discussed plans and backup plans and backup backup plans and all manner of options. If they couldn't win this world, they couldn't win any of them.

Dal'tio was unique from every other world they'd found. It was not its size, its environment, its location, its architecture... it was the fact this was the only world the Ar'cea had been brought to battle, and the Tau were not going to waste that.

O'Bentu strolled across the launch deck, smiling at O'Nan'cova who sat in the open-fronted Xar'vesa.
"Ah, my wise associate, come to wish me well?" O'Nan'cova greeted him cheerfully.
"Indeed," O'Bentu replied, "Though I did not expect you to lead from the front, I must confess..."
"It's my way," O'Nan'cova replied, "You stay here and mind the place..." and O'Sun'yi, was what he did not say. For the purposes of morale, it was felt she had to be brought along. Without her, it was likely that Tel'Oshi morale would shatter, and that was the last thing anyone needed right now.
"I will," O'Bentu replied.
O'Nan'cova nodded, "You look tired."
"A little... not as young as I used to be."
"Don't die on me, old man."
"I don't intend to."

The drop began soon after.

Part II:

The war was hell. O'Nan'cova had fought in countless campaigns, but this was easily the most bloody and violent of his career. He knew well the tactics of the Ar'cea, but was totally unprepared for the sheer ferocity of the assault. He had hand-picked the vanguard, knowing full well he was sending them to their deaths. He had shared a few words, a pleasant smile, an exchange of encouragement with each of them. He had given them hope and taken their trust, and now he was watching them die from the comfort and security of his Battlesuit just beyond the horizon.

His army was employing a Kauyon strategy, albeit a variation that used multiple Cadres as the bait, and would cost thousands of lives. 3-12 Ukos Cadre, composed primarily of auxiliaries, was ambushed as they touched downs on the flatlands just south of a large expanse of forest. The Ar'cea had been waiting, and hundreds of Shas'vesa were slaughtered by their firepower before Kroot and Xar'erra Stealth Teams were able to drive back the attackers. 1-8 Mont'ka Cadre was wiped off the planet in fifty-three seconds of murderous crossfire. With over seventy percent dead from the initial volleys of the hidden guns, O'Bentu made the choice to sacrifice the rest, and ordered the position bombed from orbit. He had watched their Manta Missile-Destroyer explode in mid-air; there was no chance they could ever have escaped. 2-8 Shi and 5-8 Dal'caio Cadres landed in the blasted crater, and pressed onwards towards their objective with no further contestation. They would hold the position virtually unmolested, until several hours later when the main body of the Ar'cea army would mobilise, and slaughter them all in a heartbeat.

Hungry for vengeance, more Tau Cadres deployed. Assaulting from above and to the flanks, the Tau army descended, ambushing the ambushers, only to be ambushed in turn. This was entirely as O'Nan'cova expected.
"It seems such a waste of lives, Shas'O," O'Va'myr said calmly, surveying the reports, reading the text-displays of the comm-traffic, "Surely there is a better way?"
O'Nan'cova shook his sensor-head, "There is not, Aun. The Ar'cea fight a war of shadows. To play them is a complex game of bluffs and deception. We must convince them our full might is deployed whilst hiding our true strength, just as they are doing to us."
"Thousands are dying, Shas'O," O'Va'myr continued, his voice still casual, almost uninterested, "Is such butchery truly serving the Tau'va?"
O'Nan'cova, for the first time in his life, felt horror at the words of an Aun, "I... I think 'butchery' is too strong a word, Aun..."
O'Va'myr nodded, "Forgive me, a slip of the tongue... but you understand this troubles me greatly. I fear for us, Shas'O. I fear that if we are not decisive, we may not win the day..."
"We will succeed, Aun, I promise you that."
"I believe you, O'Nan'cova."

The cat-and-mouse campaign waged on. For hours both sides played their costly game, luring out more enemies, crushing them, only to be assaulting from an unexpected quarter.
In the thick of it, El'Sor'tyr barked a curse, and ducked as a skimmer rocketed past his position. The air was thick with smoke, turning the normally clear blue-green sky a bloody hue of red and black. Contrails criss-crossed, fading slowly, marking where flyers and skimmers duelled for supremacy.
Ahead of him, a Shas'Ui who he would never know was firing on full-auto with a Burst Cannon, raking a rocky outcrop. He could see bloody streaks where the Shas'Ui had made kills. He also saw the muzzle-flash of an enemy missile launcher, and the Shas'Ui explode into a thousand pieces.
"Incoming!" came the cry to his right, and he turned as four jetbikes raced over the ramshackle cover held by the Pathfinders. Two went down, shredded by monomolecular disks, and other clutching his side and screaming. A fourth Pathfinder took aim and spat shots at random, one connecting with the back of a rider's skull. Three Pathfinders for one Ar'cea biker... it didn't seem a fair exchange to the Shas'El.

Raising his Plasma Rifle, he took aim and fired some suppression-shots. Another Plasma Rifle joined him, then a trio of Burst Cannons. El'Sor'tyr turned, and his vision was filled with Crisis Suits.
The Shas'O landed beside him, firing a missile off into the edge of the woodland. Something within exploded.
"Shas'El, didn't you get my signal?"
"Apologies, Shas'O, but my long-range comm-link has been disabled for the last hour."
Nodding, O'Nan'cova jumped forward again, and rejoined the fight. A barrage of micro-missiles shredded the suit beside him, and he saw a trio of black-armoured figures. The leader, seeing him approach, darted clear as a missile struck his position. One of his comrades vanished from a plasma hit, another was crushed when a Shas'Ui landed on him. El'Sor'tyr touched down, firing at a Vyper that emerged from above the trees, and almost missed the Dark Reaper trying to kill him. He swung his suit sideways, the rocket passing by an inch, and fired his Fusion Blaster. The Aspect Warrior melted, howling in pain and anger.
The Shas'El boosted onwards, finding O'Nan'cova and his companions. They'd touched down just beyond a hill, resting in a little dip in the ground. From here they could see a large ruin, an area the Ar'cea seemed to be guarding with all their might. A little way beyond was a massive archway, a shimmering energy-field forming between the spires...

...and then it began.

Striding like gods of war, the Titans emerged. The leader turned its guns upon 1-12 R'myr Cadre, blasting them with Tremor Cannon and Fusion Lance. The Second Phantom charged forward, missiles shrieking from its wing-guns, Pulsar Lasers harvesting all before it. Entire squadrons of Hammerhead vanished before these towering machines, or the Reavers that danced and slaughtered in their midst. Entire squads of Firewarriors, cover and all, were simply seared off the planet. Vampire Raiders and Phoenix Bombers, escorted by the lightning-fast Nightwings, shrieked out of nowhere, blasting everything in their path. The Second Spearhead, three-hundred Crisis Suits led by the up-coming commander O'daus, ceased to exist in a merciless volley of fire.

From his position, all O'Nan'cova could make out was a towering, shimmering haze that seemed to spit eye-searing death into his men. He recovered, barking orders into the comm. "This is it!" he cried, "Hit them with everything we've got!"

The Kor had been ready. A Dozen Mantas fell from the heavens, shields powered and weapons blazing. The shimmering targets flickered, the Holofields reflecting the fiery Armageddon that was being unleashed upon them, and for a moment O'Nan'cova caught sight of the true nature of the Titans. It was a Phantom, raising its guns to the heavens. Tall and graceful, it strode with such beauty and grace that the Shas'O was aghast. He never believed such machines could exist. The moment passed, and the Titan was lost to the holofield haze.
"How are we not hitting them!" El'Sor'tyr cried, watching as one of the Morays exploded in mid-air. Another took a heavy hit and began to fall, out of control, smashing down into the forests and setting them ablaze.
Then retribution came. The salvo of an Ion-Phalanx scored a telling hit, and the lead Phantom toppled, it's holofield failing, right leg blown away, the scorched and shattered frame shook the ground with its collapse, and it died. Another titan, a smaller Reaver, was engulfed in the combined fire of three Manta, and its shimmering haze ceased to exist, replaced by a cloud of flying shrapnel.

Around the towering machines and hovering war-engines, infantry and tanks began to swarm. The battle turned from one great combat to a hundred little wars, each with their own horrors and glories.
The remains of 6-6 Var'sui Cadre, most of which had died in the immolation of their transports, fought to rescue Aun'El Tau'N Kovash when his Devilfish was shot down. In the end, only fourteen Shas'La remained, yet they fought off an assault by Dire Avengers, and rescued the Aun. By the time they'd fought their way clear, only nine survived. They were all bonded by the Ta'lissera ritual, and would serve as a bodyguard for El'Kovash for the rest of his days... and he would forever refer to them as "Saviors".

Amidst the burning wreaks of 1-4 Run'yr Armour-Cadre, Shas'Ui D'yanoi Vash'nir crawled from the shattered remains of his Hammerhead, and tried to drag himself to the last remaining tank. It was immobilised, smoke billowing from the hole where the driver and his instruments had been blown to pieces, but the twin plasma-cannons on the turret were still firing. A Scorpionfish in the distance fired two missiles that struck an Eldar flyer... which subsequently crashed headlong into its killer and blew both vehicles to pieces. The shockwave lifted the crippled Hammerhead Three and flung it skyward, and left Ui'Vash'nir crying in pain on the floor.
Someone touched his shoulder. He looked up into the eyes of Ui'Eiris. She had a bloody gash on her face, but she was smiling at him.
"I... thought you were dead..."
"I thought you were dead as well," she replied.
He smiled, weakly, "I... was so happy when we were paired..."
She began to cry, holding the crippled Shas'Ui close, "I know," she sobbed, "I know..."
"It's okay, Eiris, we're together now."
Ui'Eiris looked up. She saw one of the Aspect Warriors approaching. He wore dark red armour, and carried a vicious chainsword.
Kysha decapitated them both in a single swing, relishing the feel of their blood splattering on his armour, whilst inside him Iysharon lamented the death of two passionate lovers.

O'Nan'cova was leading his force onwards, enemy fire be damned.
His weapons found a Falcon, and blasted a gaping wound in its underside, causing it to spin out and crash. His missiles were running low, so he saved them, not wanting to be caught out later. A pair of Vypers flew past, both being chased by Pirahnas and Tetras, whilst on either side of him Xar'vesa and Xar'erra gunned a bloody path towards the ruins the Ar'cea held so dear. With most of their forces elsewhere, there was little left to stop him now. He landed upon the gateway, and turned to see a trio of Banshees charging him. Firing on full auto, he dropped two, and jetted skywards as the third lunged at him. He got away just in time, and reversed thust to deliver a kick that snapped the warrior's spine. His leg systems reported damage where the Eldar had cut at him in her death-throes, but nothing serious.
"Guard here," he told his men, "I must go inside."

Far away on the Craftworld of Ko'shanniah, The Farseer Yilona felt O'Nan'cova enter the chamber.
"No..." she whispered, "we have failed..."

...and on the hills, safely far away from the death and carnage, O'Va'myr watched as O'Nan'cova descended into the darkness, and smiled.
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Old 15 Aug 2007, 10:46   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Entry I - Untitled

Part III:

The tunnels were silent, and that frightened him. There was no sound of missile strikes or laser fire, no earth-shaking explosions, or rhythmic shaking shaking as Titans advanced. This place was perfectly still, utterly tranquil, and eerily unnatural.

They came upon another doorway, one much like the others they had found. Like all the others, it bore a strange mix of Ar'cea artifice, and the architecture of some unknown race. The doors also seemed damaged, as if something had forced them open, damaging the Ar'cean components in the process.

At last, the passage came to a chamber. It was dark, but the night-vision systems of the Xar'vesa lit up the room in a dull-blue hue. O'Nan'cova led his retinue into the darkness, lit only by faint green lights, and found himself staring at thousands of soldiers.
"Wow," Ui'Kauyon muttered, "interesting statues..."
"I don't think they are statues," Ui'Xari replied, approaching one of the larger creations, "I think these are Kor'vesa of some kind..."
The machine Ui'Xari woke up. The myriad of circular orbs that served as eyes flashed green, and it unfurled itself on six mechanical legs before rising up off the floor. Two spindly limbs, ending in bladed claws, extended and waved circular patterns in the air. It also began to emit a high-pitched whilsting.
"What is this thing?" Ui'Xari asked as the room began to light up. Crystals, dull and grey, flashed into bright green luminescence, and conduits began to fill with glowing power. The spider-machine, apparantly satisfied at having created this light-show, lunged forward and ripped Ui'Xavi in half.
"It's hostile!" O'Nan'cova barked, pumping the Tomb Spyder with plasma until it keeled over into ruin. By that time, the various statue-like soldiers had begun to move, stepping from their alcoves and swinging their guns to bear. They began to fire, and two of the Shas'Ui were engulfed in enemy fire, their suits coming apart in cracking beams of green energy.
The Tau returned fire with a vengeance, weapons raking the metallic warriors, felling dozens, yet each one that fell vanished into nothing, only to be replaced by another identical warrior that would step from the alcoves.
"We need to fall back!" O'Nan'cova commanded, "Retreat!"

A missile streaked past him, and struck something he didn't have time to make out. Another shot, visible only by the burning contrail it left, impacted into one of the machines and blew it to pieces, cremating four others that stood too close. O'Nan'cova turned, and saw an Aspect Warrior in the doorway, firing into the machines.
"Tau," the Ar'cea said in fluent Tau'sian, "You have awoken a great evil..."
"I don't understand," O'Nan'cova replied, firing desperately. Beside him, a Xar'vesa exploded, showering his suit with shrapnel. His retinue was running out of numbers, "What are these things?"
"They are the Ancient Evil we have guarded since before your race was born. They are our enemies from-"
"Enough with the cryptic shit! What are they?"
Reih'nal blew another Tomb Spyder to pieces, "They are servants of the Ymgar... the Mon'keigh call them, 'Necrons'. The name does not do their evil justice, but for your simple race it shall suffice... come, we must go!"

O'Nan'cova did not argue. He followed the fleeing Ar'cea, leaving behind him the bodies of his comrades.
"Ar'cea!" he called over the external comm, "What is happening?"
"My name is Reih'nal, Shas'O, and I must ask you to trust me now," he slowed, turning to face O'Nan'cova, "we must end this war you are waging. You wish to know why, but while we speak warriors on both our sides die, weaking our armies whilst the Ancients grow stronger with every passing moment. End the war, and I shall tell you all I can."
O'Nan'cova sighed, "why should I trust you?"
Reih'nal smiled, though it was hidden by his helmet, "because you have just lost half a dozen of your best soldiers to the Ancients, and I have just saved your life... and it will haunt you forever if you do not know why."

O'Nan'cova turned, and saw the Necron Warriors approaching. He levelled his guns and began to fire.
"Alright, Ar'cea, you have your cease-fire... if we get out of here alive!"

Part IV:

A war cannot simply end, though both sides were trying hard.

Shas'El T'olku Shovah received the order to cease-fire just before an enemy missile struck his torso and wiped him from existence. His Cadre faltered, unsure of whether to obey or take revenge, and it seemed the enemy were similarly unsure. Slowly, cadre by cadre, squad by squad, soldier by soldier, the signal filtered through that the fighting had ended. The Eldar began to disperse, finding their dead and recovering Spirit Stones as their mighty engines of death withdrew. The Tau likewise tended to their wounded, the comms filled with cries for help and requests for information.

Finally, amidst the confusion, the leaders emerged. O'Nan'cova and Reih'nal ran out into the sunlight, and the Shas'O blasted into the air immediately, signalling for a council to be formed.
"Shas'O," O'Nan'cova heard an Ar'cean voice, somewhat distorted, over his comm, "We must speak urgently."
"Who are you?" he asked.
"My name is Malakai," the voice replied, "I know what has happened, and it is imperative that we meet."
O'Nan'cova touched down, issuing a few instructions to nearby units, "Ar'cea, I have already spoken with your leader, and-"
"I am not Ar'cea," the voice replied, "I am... A'res'la"
O'Nan'cova paused, "The ones the Gue'vesa call 'Pirates'?"
"We prefer the term 'Corsairs', but it will suffice. O'Nan'cova, I must speak with you."
"Speak now then, and quickly, I have an evacuation to organise..." he flicked channels, and spoke again, "Shas'El, inform O'Va'myr I'll be with him shortly, I have things on the ground to finish."
The Eldritch Raider spoke again, "As you wish. O'Nan'cova, my agents have forseen this day. The Ko'shannian seers believe you have now unleashed the end of their Craftworld, and your race. However, my Malefactors believe the end is not as close as our kin believe... whilst they see far into the future, they often miss what is right under their nose. O'Nan'cova, speak with O'Sun'yi."
"What does she have to do with this?" he asked.
"My Malefactors have sought to pass our visions onto her."
Nan'cova growled, "So, that's what made her act so erratically."
"Speak to her," Malakai said again, "She has seen the visions, visions of a blade of the heavens plunging into the heart of your empire, killing it in a single stroke. I am convinced this represents not an attack from without, but from within."
Boosting onwards again, heading towards a waiting Orca, O'Nan'cova almost felt sorry for the Corsair. The very idea of an "Enemy Within" was laughable.
"O'Nan'cova to Shas'ar'tol, put me through to Shas'Ar'O Li'Sun'yi."
After a moment, the comm. replied, "I am sorry, Shas'O, but the Shas'Ar'O is unwell, and cannot be spoken to at this time."
"Why? What has happened?"
"Regretably, Shas'O, she assaulted O'Va'myr."
O'Nan'cova paused, "what? How can that be? 'Assaulted'?" he composed himself, "You must be mistaken. I have spoken to the Aun, and he seems fine, there's not a mark on him."
"I cannot comment on that, Shas'O, I am simply telling you what I saw..."
A cold fear filled O'Nan'cova. "Li'Sun'yi..." he whispered, "you attack our highest ideal... you attacked..." he paused, and activated the comm again.
"What was it you said, a blade from the heavens?"
"That is correct."
"Can you be more specific?"
There was a long pause, "The nature of space and time is not easily put into your simple language, and it is not a simple task of interpreting the signs..."
"O'Sun'yi attacked Aun'O Va'myr, does that mean anything to you?"
Another long silence, "Yes," he answered at last, "In an obscure way. The 'Gue'la' call your Aun 'Ethereals' or 'Celestials'..."
O'Nan'cova felt sick. High-Celestial Great-knife.
"The Aun... he cannot... it isn't possible." he growled, "I was a fool to listen to you. Clearly, this is some foul trick."
"It is no-"
O'Nan'cova flicked off the comm. He'd covered a fair bit of ground during his arguing, and boosted the last stretch to reach the waiting Orca. He decided that he would go and see O'Sun'yi first. She wasn't well, clearly, and a friendly face would be appreciated.

...and he definitely wasn't believing that bloody pirate.

Part V:

He had to visit her, he owed her that much.

Armed guards were posted outside, though they looked uncertain of what they were supposed to do. He couldn’t see their eyes as he stepped up to them, but he knew in his heart that if it came to it, they wouldn’t be able to kill Li’Sun’yi.

That was why he had a pistol tucked in a back-holster. “See her if you must,” O’Va’myr has said, “But you’d be a fool to go unarmed…”

The door opened, and O’Nan’cova stepped inside the room. It was pleasant, or as pleasant as it could be, given that it was a medical recovery room converted into an ad-hoc psychiatric cell. Anything sharp, breakable or easily used as a weapon had been removed, leaving the chamber virtually empty. There was a mattress on the floor in one corner of the room, Li’Sun’yi was curled up on it, muttering to herself.
“Hello, Li’Sun’yi,” O’Nan’cova said.
She looked up at him, her face pale and gaunt from lack of sleep, and her eyes marked with the telltale streaks of tears.
“…I’ve had enough of examinations. I’m tired… I want to sleep…”
“I’m not here to examine you, Li’Sun’yi, I’m here as a friend.”
Her eyes focussed on him, and she smiled.
“How’ve you been, Shas’Ar’O?”
“I…” she looked towards a small black circle in the ceiling, “…they’re watching… listening… always…” Li’Sun’yi gave a gasping shudder, “I’m sorry, O’Nan’cova, I’m sorry you had to see me like this. I just… I don’t know what’s happened to me…”
She began to sob. Despite his caution, O’Nan’cova felt compelled to approach her. As he did, she rose unsteadily, wiping her eyes.
“I’m alright… really…” she said weakly.
“You’re a bad liar, Li’Sun’yi.”
She fixed him with a stare, a stare that was frighteningly focussed. Instinctively, O’Nan’cova reached back ready to snatch the pistol. She mouthed to him the words the voices.
“The voices,” she whispered, her voice little more than a sigh, “always with me, always… they say terrible things…”
The Shas’O felt a chill run down his spine. He stepped closer, close enough to whisper with her, “What kind of things? What is it you hear? Is it the Warp?”
“I… perhaps… I don’t understand…” she whimpered, “Make it stop!”
“Li’Sun’yi, I-”
“Make it stop!” she cried again, clutching her head, “Please, O’Nan’cova, I can’t stand it anymore! Make them stop! Make them leave me alone! I can’t listen anymore, I can’t do what they tell me to do!”
“What do they tell you to do!?” O’Nan’cova gripped her by the arms, “To’Tau’va! Tell me! Tell me O’Sun’yi!”
“…They tell me to kill you.”
Too late, O’Nan’cova reacted. Li’Sun’yi had the pistol and pushed him back, holding the weapon in two shaking hands. The door opened, and the two Shas’la entered, training their weapons on her.
“Li’Sun’yi! Put the weapon down! Please…” The Shas’O stood with his arms wide apart, “Please… I’m your friend…”
Li’Sun’yi was crying now, fighting to keep herself together. O’Nan’cova took a step forward. The gun was a bad idea…
“I didn’t want it to end this way!” Li’Sun’yi sobbed.
“I know…”
She looked up at him, opened her mouth to speak, then jerked the gun up and put a shot through her left eye. Her body was tossed into the air like a rag-doll.
O’Nan’cova stared at her corpse. He stared for a long time.

Definitely a bad idea…
* * *

O'Nan'cova was regretting having volunteered himself to sort through Li'Sun'yi's possessions. She didn't have much, mostly simple trinkets collected over the years... after all, what did she really need that was not provided by the Empire?

He found a small box filled with letters. Unusually, they were written by hand... most of them were a little unsettling; random gibbering of someone who was clearly slipping into madness. They couldn't have been very old. He also found a paper-pad beneath them, and on the first page, O'Sun'yi had written a note.
"O'Nan'cova, access my terminal and play file #1044, password 'Malakai', do it now."
The Shas'O physically shook; the note chilled him to the soul.

He activated the console, and accessed the file. It turned out to be a pict-recording of O'Sun'yi.
"O'Nan'cova, if you are watching this, then Malakai was right and our Empire is facing its greatest threat to date."
O'Nan'cova began to take in more details of the recording. He realised O'Sun'yi was stood in a civilian building on a planet somewhere. Judging by the large statue visible outside the window, it was on Ky'taal.
"I can't tell you exactly what it is I did to get you to watch this, but I doubt it was pleasant, for either of us... so I'm sorry if I hurt you, O'Nan'cova." She sighed, "this won't be easy for you, but please, trust me... and trust Malakai. He will have contacted you by now, and if you're half as smart as everyone claims, then you'll know exactly what to do."
O'Nan'cova reached forward and stopped the recording. He couldn't take it. It was all too convenient, all too well-prepared...
"Malakai," he hissed, "Whatever your foul scheme is, I'm not going to buy it! I won't let you make a puppet out of me!"
He reached to delete the message, and paused. He looked again into the eyes of Li'Sun'yi, and found he couldn't meet the gaze. Even if it was just a recording, it seemed to be judging him, and it said I expected more.
He resumed the recording.
"There is a taint within us, O'Nan'cova. Malakai says that the taint knows of me, and knows that I could reveal its nature. He said to me that I would have to convince you before our enemy found me, or else I would never be able to pass on what I know... and then we'd all be doomed."
O'Sun'yi turned suddenly, looking at something off screen.
"I don't have much time. O'Nan'cova, please, trust Malakai. Do what he has asked..." there was the merest hint of a tear in her eye, "...and, O'Nan'cova, do me one thing... Tell El'Qia and Sun'Ma that-"
There was the sound of a door opening, and the recording ended. O'Nan'cova was trembling, torn between obeying what he believed in, or this message from beyond the grave.
He stood up, and un-holstered his Pulse Pistol. He looked at it, feeling a strange calmness filling him.

O'Va'myr told me to bring this... O'Sun'yi died because of that... Malakai wants O'Va'myr to die...

He made his choice, and headed for the bridge.
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Old 15 Aug 2007, 10:46   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Entry I - Untitled

Part VI:

The door to the bridge slid open, and O'Va'myr turned, puzzled but unconcerned at O'Nan'cova's arrival.
"Shas'O, an unexpected pleasure."
O'Nan'cova raised his Pulse Pistol. "Forgive me," he said, and put a round into the Aun's chest, blowing him off the raised dias and down into the navigation deck below.
Everything stopped. There was no screaming, no panicked shouts, no cries for the Shas'La Guards to restrain O'Nan'cova. The entire bridge simply stopped, as if time itself had been shattered.
"What have I done?" O'Nan'cova whispered, "To'Tau'va, what I have I done?"
A scream answered him, a spine-chilling shriek of absolute horror. O'Nan'cova ran towards the guard rail, vaulting over the holotable in the process, and leaned over to look down at O'Va'myr.

He was stood upright, staring back at the Shas'O, so calm and composed it made O'Nan'cova's legs buck with fear. There was a bloody hole in his chest, but he didn't seem concerned.
"Kill it!" O'Nan'cova barked, "Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!"
O'Va'myr turned, and thrust out with a punch that connected a Kor'La in the face, and burst the skull like a fruit. Another Kor tried to run, but the unholy Aun raised his right hand, and a blast of green energy flew from it. The Kor was struck, and screamed as flesh and bone disintegrated. He fell, torso gone, his limbs and head still unmarked as they bounced and rolled away.
O'Nan'cova fired, barking off a perfect headshot that baked flesh away from bone, revealing a metallic skull beneath. Three more hits struck in quick succession, blowing out chunks of flesh, but nothing seemed to phase the beast, who raised his gun-arm once more. Green lightning flared, and something in the roof exploded in a shower of sparks. The luminator-dome in the ceiling shorted and died, throwing long shadows across the room.

Backing off, keeping low, O'Nan'cova ordered the Kor to flee the bridge, and commanded the Shas'la to move up. The Captain was banging on the main bridge door, crying out, pleading with it to open. From below, the horrible sound of the lightning-weapon, like a pulse-jet trying to fire up, echoed around the bridge, almost but not quite drowned out by the screams of dying Tau, and the electric bangs as control circuitry and consoles were blown to pieces.

The Shas'La on the left stairwell began to fire, emptying his weapon on full-auto until the energy blast removed his head. The second Shas'la stood firm beside O'Nan'cova, scoring a double chest-hit before the lightning took him, and hurled his burning corpse against the starboard viewport. The Aun was gone now, no trace of him remained, and he had been replaced by a blood-slick creature of metal, its long, remorseless face terrifyingly familiar...

It was a Necron.

The Necron fired, and O'Nan'cova barely got out of the way in time. His hand stung, though he had no time to consider it. Another shot showered him with red-hot plastic shrapnel, and a third caused a power-cell to detonate, hurling him against the aft wall and killing all power.

Darkness fell. The only illumination came from the crackling green energies of the Necron weapon, which bathed it in eerie light.
Shields O'Nan'cova thought, I have to drop the shields...
He paused, and wondered where that thought came from. Could it be the Necron, manipulating his mind? Was it some other enemy, eager to exploit the carnage this thing had wrought?
O'Nan'cova scrambled to the outer console ring, putting machinery between himself and the Necron. An eye-burning blast cremated the wall where he had lay a moment ago.
Shields... above you... deactivate them...
He could see the Necron's glow through the footwell, approaching with mechanical inevitability.
Reaching up, O'Nan'cova hit the shield control. The failsafes, obliterated in the Necron's opening volley, gave a quiet, pathetic chirrup, and the entire ship was filled with a stomach-churning lurch as the shield fell.

The world was filled with noise. It sounded like ten thousand Fire-Hornets hissing together, and from behind the console, he could see a strange white glow. The Necron fired, blowing the console to pieces, the blast throwing O'Nan'cova sideways, slamming him down at the feet of a figure he couldn't make out in the dark.
"Let there be light."
With a click, the emergency-lights activated, bathing the bridge in a blue glow. O'Nan'cova looked up into the face of the Eldritch Raider, Malakai, who nodded to him.
"About time," he said, and levelled his weapon.
The Shuriken Cannon barked. Rather than the rapid whistle-chitter he'd expected, the gun let out a heavy, dull thudding, like the laughing of some distant god, and pounded the Necron with heavy shot. The Necron turned, raised its weapon, and spasmed. Looking down in confusion, the impact-hits were corroding, spreading a thick rust across the Necron's body. Other pockets began to sprout, and the Necron writhed and jerked. It looked at O'Nan'cova, silently, and exploded.
Malakai smiled, "Bio-Explosive Ammunition," he announced, "but with a little twist. O'Nan'cova, good to see you're alive... and that you got our message."
O'Nan'cova rose, slowly, giving the Corsair a look of shocked horror. "Message?" he hissed, "You killed Li'Sun'yi!"
"No, she killed herself. She did what she had to."
"You used her!" O'Nan'cova snarled, "you used her and you used me! You knew this? You knew about O'Va'myr all this time?"
Malakai shook his head. "No, not until you told us."
"When did I tell you?"
"On the planet," Malakai replied, "you told us O'Sun'yi attacked O'Va'myr. It correlated with our visions. O'Va'Myr was one of the Ancients, one that sought to steer your people down a path that would see the rest awakened. We have given you a chance, Shas'O, we have taken away their control over you. Whatever happens next, it will be your decision."
O'Nan'cova looked around the ruined bridge. Eldar Pirates stood at casual ease, managing to lounge nonchelantly whilst stood to attention. They looked nothing like the Ar'cea he knew; they wore no uniform, bedecked instead with flamboyant clothes and high, furred collars.
"What happens if I decide not to fight?"
Malakai shrugged, "Ko'shanniah dies, and the Scorpion Worlds with it. After that, I would guess the Lord will awaken the Ancients sleeping on other worlds in this region, and wipe your race from the galaxy. In time, others will follow you into oblivion."
"So, we have no choice..." O'Nan'cova nodded slowly, staring at the carnage of the bridge as if nothing was wrong.
"Indeed," Malakai replied.
The Shas'O rubbed his hand, and paused. He looked down, and saw two of his fingers were missing.
"...funny thing, how the mind shuts out the world..."
The doors opened, and O'Nan'cova looked up. Several Tau of many Castes were looking around in horror.
"Shas'O, what happened here? Where is O'Va'myr?"
O'Nan'cova looked at the spot where the Necron had stood. There was nothing left save a scorched crater. No debris, not even the most miniscule of fragments, remained to mark its passing. The Eldar had likewise vanished.
"It's a long story," O'Nan'cova replied, and fell to his knees in tears.

Part VII:

The Ar'cean delegation was difficult to deal with, keeping themselves at arms length, as if the smell of the Por offended them. O'Nan'cova only received snippets, half-heard rumours from his fellows, vague recitations of how progress was being made. He paid it no heed, focussing his efforts on preparing for a war he knew was coming, a war that, if the Eldar were to be believed, would decide the fate of the galaxy.

To say he felt under pressure would be inaccurate. When charged with a difficult task, he may have felt the weight of duty upon his shoulders, the heavy knowledge of what would be lost if he failed, but this time he did not. The entire galaxy... the very idea that so many lives depended upon him was unfathomable. The Gue'la alone, it was said, held a million worlds. If each of those had a million citizens, then that was a trillion alone... and he had been told of the Hive Worlds; planetary populations greater than the entire Tau Empire crammed into a single planet. A trillion wasn't even close... and that was just one race. One mind alone couldn't contain the scale; it would brake apart trying.

He concentrated instead on what he knew; warfare. The Ar'cea of Ko'shanniah would fight beside them this time, but such was the nature of the race that he was not certain of their capabilities. They seemed reluctant to even speak to him, and O'Nan'cova had instead turned to the Ar'es'la, who acted as guarded intermediaries. Despite this arrangement, there was little more that O'Nan'cova could do other than state his battle-line, and hope. He didn't even have the enemy dispositions; the information returned from orbital scanning was too confusing.

Hours of planning, hours of debate, hours of tension and anger and fear, all came to a point just as dawn broke over the Necron Tomb. The Ar'cean leader, Reih'nal, announced that his fleets, supported by Malakai's vessels, would hunt down the Necron starships, and destroy them. The Kor had been unaware of any such fleet, though the Eldar Captains assured their Kor counterparts there were hostiles lurking out amongst the stars.

The Tau would commit their forces to the ground war, and Ko'shanniah would provide supporting elements. Malakai seemed uneager to provide any kind of fighting force, stating that open war was against his people's ways. He had powerful ships, however, and had agreed to send them into battle, so O'Nan'cova could not begrudge him. As the assembled commanders dispersed, returning to their ships and stations, O'Nan'cova was left with a growing feeling that this would be a day he would never forget, no matter how long he lived.
* * *

Part VIII:

The world below was a tainted place, a fouled and desecrated ball of ashen earth that had been sucked of all life by some unseen force. The deep forests and rolling grasslands that had born witness to the battle between Tau and Ar'cea were gone, replaced by fine grey dust, wyrd crystals sprouting from the tortured soil, and the skeletal husks of calcified trees.

The heavens rained fire. The Tau fleet turned their weapons on the surface, and let fly with the fury of a vengeful god. Hypersonic railcannon slugs, melting into liquid flame by the friction of re-entry, coated the ground in an inescapable deluge of detonations, boring volcanic craters into the ground, and cooking the sand to glass. Ion Cannons sent eye-searing pulses of blue energy that exposed the world to the fury of a star for an instant, the shots visible only by the burning wounds they left upon the retina. The barrage excavated massive craters, hundreds of feet deep in places, and unearthed the Necron Tomb in a deluge of heavenly fire. The structure was hit time and again by precision strikes, and disintegrated under the unending fusillade.

From the sands, the Necron retaliation emerged. Pylons, shaped like crescent moons, arose from amidst the fire and carnage, training their barrels at the stars. The air rippled and tore as they fired, green lightning crackling within the focussed energy-column of the Gauss Beam. The first such shot struck a Defender-class Escort, and tore it in half. More shots followed as the Pylons emerged in greater numbers, blazing their wrath back at their astral aggressors. The Tau bombardment redoubled its efforts, and the Necron guns fell silent, only to resurrect when the Drop began. Monoliths and Obelisks joined the barrage, and the sky glowed green with the weight of fire the Ancients unleashed. Orcas were hit, spinning helplessly out of control or exploding in mid-flight. Mantas shook and stalled, fighting to stay airborne under the concentrated hate of their enemies. One such craft, scarred by numerous near-misses, finally died when a Pylon atomised its starboard wing. The Kor pilots sold their vessel dearly, ramming it into their killer and destroying everything within two-hundred metres with a reactor-overload, including the Hammerhead and twenty-three Shas who had managed to bail from the stricken vessel.

O'Nan'cova and his retinue touched down in the middle of a crater. Sounds of distant battle could be heard, but here there was none. The landing site had been torpedoed clear of defences, leaving nothing but volcanic glass that cracked under his mechanical feet. The stillness of the place was, somehow, far more terrifying than any battlefield.
"The Ar'cea!" Ui'Dari exclaimed, "They found us, Shas'O!"
O'Nan'cova breathed a sigh of relief, "Then let's not waste this oppertunity."
"Indeed, Shas'O."
The Tau turned at the voice. The speaker was an Eldar of some sort, draped in a full-body cloak that seemed to blend itself with the terrain.
"Come, Young Ones," the figure said, "we must work with haste. We have charges to plant, and you must guard us."
"Where did you come from? How did you get down here past that army?"
The Eldar turned, "all life must follow its course. Our role is to seek the the hidden roads, to walk upon the secret ways, and discover the darkness that lies at journey's end. There is no course we cannot follow, no road we cannot walk. We found this way, and we now lead you down it."
"Pathfinders?" Vre'shokan asked.
The Eldar seemed to think upon this word. "Primitive, but sufficient."

The Pathfinders led them to a section of tunnel, blown open by bombardment. The passage seemed to throb, filled with a static-charge that made O'Nan'cova's flesh prickle. It twisted back and forth, following some unfathomable course that O'Nan'cova was unable to track. His HUD mapping-system shut down, overpowered by some unknown power. The Eldar Pathfinders seemed to know the route, though it was complex and meandering in nature. They took turns seemingly at random, sometimes rising back towards the surface, sometimes almost doubling back. After an eternity, they reached their destination; a towering chamber dominated by a single, epic crystal encased in obsidian.
"The Power Core," the Pathfinder leader explained. "Wait here, and we shall prepare the charges."
The Tau formed a defensive circle around the Ar'cean troops, watching for any signs of hostiles. The constant, feral growl of the Power Core was unsettling, and the Shas jumped at every sound. It took just over a minute to prepare the explosives, but to O'Nan'cova, his nerves pulled tight by the unsettling aura this place exuded, it felt like hours.
"It is done," the Eldar said at last, "now, we must-"
He froze. O'Nan'cova began to breathe in ragged, jittery gasps, a sudden wave of rising panic filling him. He turned at the sound of footsteps, and saw one of the Necrons approaching him.
"Ah, O'Nan'cova, you have returned to seek my council once more..."
The voice was that of Aun'O Va'myr, albeit distorted. O'Nan'cova raised his weapon, and hesitated.
"You cannot fire," the Necron said, "It is not within you to harm me."
"I did it once," O'Nan'cova hissed, though his voice was filled with doubt.
"Ha," the Necron said, "To think we were once like you..."
He entered the room, the hilt of his long, blade-headed staff clicking on the floor. He seemed to radiate a palpable aura of confidence, like some force-field forged of his own self-assurance.
"To think that we once cowered as you did, to think we were once blind as you are, to think we once let these pathetic creatures command our fate..."
O'Nan'cova realised the Necron was gesturing at one of the Pathfinders. He turned to look at the Eldar, who was curled against the Core, clutching his head and sobbing. He'd soiled himself in terror.
The Necron slammed his staff-hilt upon the floor, and a dozen figures emerged. They were Necrons, but unlike any O'Nan'cova had seen. They carried long, blade-headed staffs much like their leader, the ends of which held a crackling Gauss weapon. Their features, though without emotion, reminded O'Nan'cova of the Gue'la. They also pushed ahead of them a wave of physical terror that filled the mind with dread-fuelled chaos. One of the Ar'cea screamed, rocking and howling in a foetal ball.
"Such pain they feel now... pain as we once felt..." He looked at O'Nan'cova, and though his face bore no emotion, the Shas'O was sure he smiled, "I am Cranos, Lord of this world. I have come to save you from the curse of the flesh, and deliver you to the tranquility of death..."
One of the Shas'Ui fired, and the spell was broken. The nearest Pariah toppled without a sound as his head was liquified by a fusion blaster. Burst Cannons began to chatter, missiles and plasma filled the air, and the Necrons began to fall. The Pariahs reeled, then struck back, firing their weapons and charging. The Lord was with them, his crackling Warscythe striking Vre'shokan and cleaving him in two seemingly without effort. The Pathfinders were helpless, struck numb by the soul-sucking aura of their foes, and were butchered like cattle.

There was a sudden flash of light. One of the Shas'ui, his suit burning with white fire, was hurled back against the far wall and exploded. The Shas'O turned to see what had killed him, and found himself staring at the Necron Lord, surrounded by a crackling aura. The Pariahs were dead, though they had taken a heavy toll before falling. O'Nan'cova fired upon him, his weapons striking some unseen field of energy, the impacts rippling the surface.
"The New Men have been slain by the Young... I wonder, is there some fitting irony in this? Could it be we were mistaken in our choice of servants..."
The Lord seemed to grow, becoming larger, darker, the field shifting and wrapping around him like a black cloak. O'Nan'cova felt the fear rising even stronger than before as his foe took on a new, terrible form.
"Look well, O'Nan'cova," the Lord intoned, "look upon this form. I have been granted a portion of a God, a fragment of the Nightbringer, the Lord of Shadows, the Bringer of Death."
With a speed that no creature so big should have, the Lord rushed O'Nan'cova, slamming him backwards with enough force to crack his suit's armour. Empowered by his new-found status of Avatar, the Lord reached out and gripped the stunned Shas'O, raising him off the floor. O'Nan'cova cried out in pain, feeling the Necron Lord crushing his body, fighting helplessly to escape the dead-grip.
"You cannot win, O'Nan'cova, my power is greater than any your little race dare contemplate. However, I shall not kill you, for I have greater plans for thee..."
O'Nan'cova screamed, and there was darkness.
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Old 15 Aug 2007, 10:47   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Entry I - Untitled

Part IX:

He opened his eyes, and found himself in another place. It was void, empty of all things. He was stood alone in this emptiness, looking around but finding nothing but indistinct shapes, picked out in shades of dark purple and midnight blue, swirling somewhere in middle-distance.
From those shadows, a figure emerged.
"You!" O'Nan'cova hissed, seeing a face he would never forget.
"Ah, Shas'O," O'Va'myr replied, "so good of you to come..."
O'Nan'cova fired his Plasma Rifle, and the Aun exploded into purple shards of crystal. Where he stood was left a pulsing maisma of swirling dark energy that seemed to writhe and shift as if alive. Before O'Nan'cova could react, the energy surged forward, engulfing him. Suddenly, he was falling, plunging down through darkness thicker and more terrible than any he'd ever known.

He finally came to rest, drained and battered, and coughed up blood. His ribs were broken, and he was convinced he was dying. It took him almost a minute to gain the strength to open his eyes, and then he realised he was naked. His suit was gone, and he had been left exposed and helpless in this strange place.

From behind, an unseen figure grabbed him and hurled him away. He landed hard and howled in agony, blinking back tears as his assailant swam into view.

It was massive; a towering figure, formed of darkness, wielding a long and wicked scythe. O'Nan'cova stared at the creature, sobbing in terror as it gripped him once more, and raised him to eye level.
"Little one," the Nightbringer hissed, "You shall bow to me..."
"N-never," O'Nan'cova whimpered, "I-I will n-not..."
The Nightbringer laughed, filling the Shas'O with unspeakable dread, "Oh, how foolish..."
The Nightbringer paused, and looked away into the shadows. O'Nan'cova tried to see what the monster was staring at, and saw a figure advancing towards them. It was dressed in black, but its costume was covered in multicoloured diamonds of various shades and hues. Wherever it stepped, a small circle of light formed beneath its feet, only to fade when it moved on. The stranger advanced to within thirty paces of the pair, then bowed, slowly, and faded like mist.
The Nightbringer dropped O'Nan'cova casually, who gasped in pain, "So, our ancient foe has come... and they have chosen to play the part of the Fool, have they?"
Striding forwards, his cape of shadows billowing, the Nightbringer hunted for his prey. O'Nan'cova tried to rise, and saw another figure, a Shas'La, stood watching the Nightbringer.
"R-run," O'Nan'cova whimpered, and the C'tan turned to face the stranger.
"You? What are you doing here?"
"I stand against you, false-one," the Tau replied.
The Nightbringer hissed, and unleashed a blast of pure energy from his hand. The Shas'La vanished under the blast.
O'Nan'cova gave a cry of shock, but it was drowned out by pulse fire. Two more Shas'La were stood on the opposite side of the C'tan, firing into it. Nightbringer turned, and blasted them both to dust, only for a Devilfish and Pathfinders to charge from the smoke.

One by one, more Tau joined the fray. O'Nan'cova watched as a Sunforge Monat leapt into the air, blasting the Nightbringer only to be sliced by the scythe, and explode in mid-flight. He watched the C'tan charge Hammerheads and crush them, and slaughter entire squads with blasts of his blinding energy.
"Shas'O, run!"
O'Nan'cova looked up at the Broadside that had appeared behind him, bearing the marks of Tel'Oshi, and heavily scarred from battle, "I said run!" the Shas'vre cried again, and O'Nan'cova obeyed, hooves struggling for purchase as he half-ran, half-crawled away from the fight. No sooner had he got clear did the Broadside die, blown into burning slag by the Nightbringer.

Now the C'tan turned for him, its eyes burning with hate. The creature advanced, and the Shas'O cowered in fear. Just as the Nightbringer raised his hand to blast O'Nan'cova into oblivion, a missile struck the monster in the face and sent it reeling. Two Burst-cannons opened fire, and the C'tan withdrew under the onslaught, turning its rage to closer targets, who were swarming around it, firing with everything they had.
"Well, well, well, the great O'Nan'cova in need of saving? You could at least have come dressed for battle, Shas'O."
O'Nan'cova looked up at the suit in awe, "Li'Sun'yi? It cannot be... you, you're dead! I saw you die!"
O'Sun'yi turned her suit's head down to O'Nan'cova, "I may be dead, O'Nan'cova, but I am always with you. We are all with you."
O'Nan'cova looked back at the battle, "Who are they, Li'Sun'yi?"
"They are those who have died in service of the Tau'va."
The Shas'O looked up in shock, "then... am I dead?"
Li'Sun'yi shook her head, "No, O'Nan'cova, not yet..."
"Where am I then, and how can dead warriors be fighting beside me?"
O'Sun'yi knelt down, "this place is the darkness within you, O'Nan'cova. This place is where all your fear and doubt resides... this is what the Nightbringer seeks to awaken in you. This is the part of you that would tear down all that our people have fought and died for. This place is the Mont'au, and the Nightbringer's power comes from here."
O'Nan'cova closed his eyes, shaking his head to clear the pain and fear, "So... this place... this is all in my head?"
"More like your soul," O'Sun'yi replied.
O'Nan'cova looked up, and found himself looking into Li'Sun'yi's face. She looked far younger than he'd known her, and wore a Shas'La uniform.
"O'Nan'cova," she said, "you must conquer the Nightbringer. You are not alone, but we are but echoes of the past, and echoes can only do so much. You have the power within you, just as I did, to succeed against the darkness. I believe in you, O'Nan'cova."

Li'Sun'yi smiled, and placed a hand on his shoulder, "Hmm... if only we had been paired, I think I would have liked to bear your child."
O'Nan'cova returned the smile, "is this really the time?"
She shrugged, "I just wanted to say it, I'll never have another chance..."

She turned to face the Nightbringer, and O'Nan'cova followed the gaze. The Tau were gone, the last of them crushed beneath the Nightbringer's foot. Even as O'Nan'cova watched, the corpse faded like mist, vanishing without trace.
"This is it," Li'Sun'yi said, "now it is all up to you."
O'Nan'cova nodded. He focussed his mind, and felt the pain and fear dissolve. He took a step forward, and the armoured foot of his battlesuit crashed down. With a thought, he fired his missiles, sending the Nightbringer staggering back.
“I am not afraid,” O’Nan’cova said, his voice strong now, “for I know what you are.”
He raised his Plasma Rifle, and fired, “I am strong, for my people need my strength,”
Again he fired, blasting the Scythe from the C’tan’s hand, “I am courageous for I am surrounded by courage. I know no fear, for I know that through skill I shall prevail,”
O’Nan’cova advanced onwards, his weapon blasting the right arm away from his target. The Nighbringer turned, then fell as another shot took off a knee.
“I bear with me the deeds and sacrifice of all who gave their lives for our people,” he snarled, punching a white-hot hole into the chest of the Nighbringer, “and all their memories, their hopes, their dreams, their aspirations… they live in me, as I live in those who believe in me!”
His last shot sent the Nightbringer flying, landing in a crumpled heap. No longer the fearsome devil-beast, the C’tan was nothing more than a mewling heap of tattered robe and cracking metal. O’Nan’cova stood over his broken foe with contempt.
“This… cannot… be…” the Nightbringer hissed, “This place is darkness, this place is despair… I am Darkness, I am Despair. You cannot fight me here.”
“Wrong,” O’Nan’cova replied, “we conquered our inner daemons long ago. You are nothing but an echo, a forgotten monster that has long since lost its power over us.”
He levelled his Plasma Rifle at the shifting, fractured face of the Nightbringer, and saw fear in his eyes. He realised now he was looking not into the face of some dark god, but of a mortal creature. He could see a face; a living, breathing face, translucent and obscured amidst the crumbling visage of the Nightbringer, mixed with the metallic symmetry of the Necron Lord. This, he realised, was the true face of his enemy; this “Lord” had been mortal once.
“You think you can enter my mind, take all I hold dear and pervert it? How dare you? How dare you!”
The Lord hissed, “It is no matter, little thing; I may not have your mind, but I have your body. I shall crush your weak and feeble flesh!”
O’Nan’cova reeled, feeling the Lord surging from his mind. He focussed all his will, and fought back. The image of the Nightbringer before him flickered, then looked at him with a mix of shock and fear. O’Nan’cova was holding it back, keepings their minds locked together. He knew he could not hold out forever, but then he didn’t have to…
“No!” it screamed, “You cannot do this!”
“You are Darkness, are you not?” O’Nan’cova growled, “Then let me be your light!”
* * *

The Failsafe Detonator armed, and exploded.

The blast threw the Lord back against the far wall, and set off the Ar’cean charges planted on the main power core. The resulting detonation sent surges of backwash through the Necron power-grid, blowing apart energy crystals and burning out conduits in a cataclysmic surge, climaxing in an apocalyptic overload that blew the entire Tomb into oblivion. From the outside, the ground above it seemed to be consumed by a series of electric-green explosions, appearing more rapidly before a single white-hot blast consumed the area, and the remaining Necrons on the surface.

At the heart of the Tomb’s funeral pyre, enveloped in the blasts of the main power core, the Lord writhed and howled in fury, feeling the Essence of the Nightbringer burn and melt away with each passing second. He lasted just long enough to spit out half a curse, swearing the death of the Tau race, before a secondary Pulse-Charge tore his body into ten million pieces, each one consumed in a blazing inferno. What remained of his consciousness survived just long enough to see the roof of the Tomb begin to fall, wreathed in black smoke and hellfire.

But for O’Nan’cova, there was only light. It was white, pure, and brighter than the heart of a star, shining out from all around him, and reaching out into infinity.

It may not have been the light of the Tau’va, but it was close enough.
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Old 15 Aug 2007, 23:54   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Entry I - Untitled

Bah, you know before all the entries came out I was feeling mildly confident :P. This is a brilliant piece of work, a few tiny little grammatical errors and words missing but they only stand out because the rest is so faultless.

There is only one thing that I didn't like about this work and thats during the battle with the Eldar. At the start the Eldar units were described by their aspects and not actually named, this led more to the image of the Tau being caught up too much in the combat and not bothering to put Eldarin names to the units they faught (if indeed they knew the names). But thats just my opinion anyways (and we all how much that counts for nowadays )
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Old 16 Aug 2007, 02:46   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Entry I - Untitled

Although the writing of this piece is more than just good there seems to be a fair few plot and situational issues that take away from the piece's potential.

+Fair mix of combat and dialog
+A fitting ending very well-suited to the Tau as a race and the dark millennium as a genre
+A strong variety of combats to keep readers attentive

-Undistinguishable characters, static character dialog
-Poor, poor situational combat descriptions
-Ill-received portrayal of the Tau as overly aggressive; Eldar as sympathetic and static know-it-alls
-Lord of the Rings style massive battles where the author throws handfuls of units to their dooms with inadequate descriptions
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Old 16 Aug 2007, 12:07   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Entry I - Untitled

Poor, poor situational combat descriptions
Lord of the Rings style massive battles where the author throws handfuls of units to their dooms with inadequate descriptions
Youhave to remember that there is a word limit and this piece is pretty long as it is. If the author had put in more vivid combat description then the story would probably have been way too long.
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