View Full Version : Nostramo

24-11-2010, 13:21
Hey, this is something ive been working on in my spare time. It's a heresy era Tale about a Nostraman who is inducted into the Night Lords at a time when the legion is being corrupted from within by an influx of rapists, thieves and murderers. Comments welcome. Hope you enjoy

Part one- Night song

In the dark, the city spoke to him. Sometimes it was the clamouring of life in motion, the raised voices of a million people as they laughed and loved and worked amongst each other, he even fancied at times he could pick out the light refrains of children laughing, though he was sure this was nothing more than a half remembered memory. More often than not the city was awash in a crescendo of desperate screams, a discordant chorus of pain and suffering, of families wrenched apart in the long nights.

Tonight however, it hissed. Like a clutch of serpentís coiled around a dank rotting heart, the ever present rain drenched the weakly lit lamp strips that lined the crossways and streets of the city, sputtering and crackling as the water crept down through cracked casing, shorting out more than a few of the least maintained strips. He watched as they guttered and slowly died, blinking out in the distance. The city wore this veneer of malevolence like a finely woven kaftan, comfortable in itís own aspect of dread.

He watched with a grim smile as the citizens of Nostramo Quintus fled the streets, making a futile effort to shield themselves from the rain with upheld papers or bags. They milled below him, grey inconsequential smudges in the rain slicked streets. He ghosted a cracked approximation of a chuckle as he noticed not one of the people dared cross past the sections of street where the lamp strips had failed. Thick pockets of night had swallowed up those areas and the citizens were Impelled away by a mix of instinct and years of hard truths of life on the night world.
Human existence was replete with stories of creatures that stalked the world once light had failed. Like a membrane running through the consciousness of mankind, humans had learned to fear what lay in the shadows. Even when the worldís of mankindís first intergalactic voyage were torn and isolated from each other, man never forgot to fear the dark.

Nostramo was a world positively birthed from this fear. The planet had never known the kiss of sunlight to warm itís blackened skin. The very fabric of life on itís surface was steeped in creeping dread, furtive glances over ones shoulder, looking for the glint of moonlight off of a bladeís edge. The people of this planet bore out their existence with the threat of death hanging bearing down on them, slow and inevitable. Nostramans lived in the shadows and forever died in them.

Jai Sílisk looked down upon his home and laughed in spite of the rain. Nostramo Secundus was the only place he had ever known in his twenty three years of existence and the old crone of a city had seeped into his bones like no other could. The wind lashed rain abated for a moment and he caught a keening wail carried on the night air, a womanís cry. The bird song of Nostramo. He thought with a grim smile as he lit his Lho stick.

Despite the perpetual downpour, the market was a teeming hub of people. Citizens pressed against each other, bartering and selling, pushing and navigating past stalls and vendors wheeling heavy three wheeled carts of wares. Heavy cloaks held tight against their bodies, the people of Nostramo turned their ink black eyes up towards the hanging lanterns of the market vendors and muttered hurried prayers of thanks to no one in particular. The world that they knew was one of only blackness and life on itís surface demanded that they saw through even the deepest shadow. The jet orbs of their eyes attested to this and yet the market goers were careful to stick to the scant cordon of orange light afforded by the lanterns. They were no fools, they knew what lurked beyond.

The package felt cold and heavy in his jacket pocket. Wrapped in a thin film of plas sheet and cushioned by several delicate folds of tissue, S`lisk cursed aloud every time he was jarred by the crowd. Deliberately leaning his shoulder away from any incoming market goers, he slowly attempted to manoeuvre his way through the crowd. He saw a break in the press and cut left past a vendor frying ragged slabs of grey meat on a wire stove and headed for an alleyway off of the market place.
Behind him, he heard the stifled gasps of surprise mixed with murmurs of disapproval from the crowd as he slipped from the lamplight and ghosted into the alleyway. Nothing good will come of that. Some whispered.
How right they were. Thought Jai with a wry smile.

He dared to break into a jog as he navigated the rain soaked detritus of the pitch dark alleyway, the package in his pocket bouncing lightly. Slum-born and raised in the shadow streets as he was, Jai could still feel the sibilant air of the city press down upon him, heavy and oppressive like a weight on his chest. Continuing to run, he stepped lightly over the slumped body of a dock worker. He didnít know if the man was dead or simply insensate with drink, he didnít care either way.
His head flashed with sudden sunspots of pain as he emerged from the alleyway onto the boardwalk of Cutterís marina. The marina throbbed with life, hundreds of patrons spilling out from the many bars and Lho cafes that lined the boardwalk, their signage casting a sickly neon pall. The Nostraman felt the shadow-born inside him rebel at the illumination and he let out a quite involuntary hiss at the luminescence.

Picking his way past the lurching slum workers, all Lhoed up to their eyeballs, Jai gripped the handrail of the boardwalk and deftly vaulted over, landing gracefully on the sodden jetty below. The din of the Nostraman nightlife was lessened here and he allowed himself to exhale in relief. He focussed on the gently crashing of the black water against the jetty as he cast his eyes over the marina.
Luxury hydro foils and battered channel tugs alike, all strained at their moorings as they were thrown restlessly against the ropes restraining them. The air held a sharp and acrid tang, metallic and sour. It assaulted Jaiís nostrils, carried on the heavy sea breeze.

His feet padded lightly on the soaked woodwork of the jetty, his liquid black eyes darting over the bobbing craft as he sort his target. Catching a brief glimmer of a gleaming prow, he jogged across the jetty, halting at a sleek chrome luxury cutter. Jakartaís Run Was the name stencilled on her hull in thick blocky industrial lettering. She was a luxury hydro foil of unsurpassed design, a floating bastion for the criminally rich members of Nostraman society.
For all itís cancerous charm, Nostramo contained a backbone of pure wealth. Beneath the pollution saturated skies and the acid rain soaked streets, lay at itís core- a crust of adamantium. The precious near unbreakable metal grew in abundance under the planetĎs skin and trade was strong, wealth breeding attention and influence as it ever has. Power flowed to the mining guilds and corporations like tributaries and streams of a great river.

As he approached the ship, two heavy coated thugs intercepted him. They flashed Snub nosed shotguns-old Arbites models, their serial numbers filed flat. Putting their not inconsiderable frames between Jai and the cutter the Stockier ganger grunted at the youth. Jai spread his arms wide in mock prostration. He knew how this game played out.
ďNot the night to be skulking around, shadow rat.Ē The shorter of the two grunted.
ďI come bearing gifts.Ē Jai replied as he allowed the men to search his coat for any concealed weapons. Relatively satisfied, they stood aside to let him step onto the deck.
ďTake me to your leader.Ē He quipped, flashing them a wicked grin as he stepped on to the boat.

24-11-2010, 21:39
Intriguing, lets see more

24-11-2010, 21:47
Part two- A history lesson

Decades ago, Nostramo had been kept under a shroud of fear by the criminal heads of these mining organisations. Government officials were brought and discarded at the whim of these gangsters so often that the planetary parliament became little more than a platform for the warring guild families. The citizens were kept quiescent by the ever present gangers and hired muscles under the employ of the guild bosses. Fed on a steady drip of narcotics, these thugs were allowed to wander the streets, murdering and raping without fear of reprisal.

Then; many years ago, a star had fallen on Nostramo. It had pierced the coppery, pollutant riddled skies, falling to earth with such force that it cracked the very mantle of the planet. A creature born entirely of shadow had emerged from the wreckage of the fallen craft and had fled into the comforting dark of Nostramo Quintus. Though but a child, this creature had been gene forged and crafted in secret laboratories on far away Terra, bred to be a God amongst men. Oh how it thrived. Alone and naked in the murderous streets, the child began it’s education in that cancerous city. It watched and it observed. It saw how the people trod carefully around the shadows, how their heads turned habitually to watch over their shoulders. It saw the murderers, the thieves and the rapist that made the dark their own and it understood that there was power in those places where light failed.

The child grew into adolescence and then into a man, a man of titanic proportions, his gene built frame fearsome to behold. The child now man, watched as the gangers butchered and sowed terror without compunction and he vowed that these men would know fear.
It began in the alleyways, in the dead of night when the thugs would spill out from the Lho dens, howling like hyenas as they preyed upon some cowed member of the citizenry. Heavy, steel capped toes would strike out, cracking ribs like fire wood as their victims howled their pain to the night sky. The creature would wait, withholding it’s deliverance until the victim was at the point of utmost despair and only then, would it strike.

Falling from the Jagged rooftops of the slums, the creature would bound from wall to wall, terrible in it’s grace as enhanced musculature strained like steel cable. Dropping like a lightning bolt, it would brace it’s fall on the shoulders of one of the gangers, it’s weight crushing the thug as they folded in on themselves, the fleshy tears offensively loud in the alleyway.
The others would stagger away, terror eclipsing all other thoughts as the towering monster crouched low in the bloody remnants of their comrade. The fear would spark something inside them- a primal need to survive and so, they would grip cudgels and punch daggers and they would rush the monster.

It relished the determined idiocy of the fearful, to believe they could wound him, to charge blindly at a God because to simply stand still and wait for death was an anathema to the human mind. It was almost admirable.

It had no weapons, so it’s nails- long and filthy, became blades. They cut deep furrows into the torsos of the thugs, leaving them lying in the rain, the last of their lifeblood bubbling from their lips. As punctuation upon the matter, the creature would tear the head from one of it’s prey and hammer it with it’s palm above the door of one of the nearby Lho dens. A Bloody and poignant reminder.
This continued for many years, the creature keeping his long vigils in the night. Patrols punctuated by short, brutal flashes of violence before disappearing into the shadows. It was gifted a name, a christening of fear, whispered as if legend by the people. Night Haunter they called him. The creature wore this mantle with pride, the name fitted him well, like a velvet robe. He enjoyed how it sounded-sibilant and half heard, always hissed under the breath. It wore it’s title well, the omnipresent beast of the dark.
Bloodied like they hadn’t been in centuries, he Guilds rallied to a common banner, the once untouchable bosses stealing glances over their shoulders, fearful of the night born predator of legend. Conspiring and plotting, they pooled their resources and called out a hunt.

Slum militia began patrolling the Lho districts in force-thugs in ragged overalls and flak vests hefting gunmetal grey carbines. At best they were drunks and junkies and the worst were completely psychotic. Murders became commonplace as lhoed up thugs took the chance to drag up old grudges. Gunfire split the night as the gangers fired indiscriminately into Bars and drug dens. Corpses piled the streets as the thugs paid less attention to the alleys and the beast that dwelt within and focussed instead on their own private wars.
From the shadows, the creature watched, amused as ever at the bravado of mankind when they hunted in packs. It relished this challenge, leaping from the shadows to tear bloody rents in the ranks of the gangers. After countless nights of shadow war, the Guilder’s power was spent, their muscle maimed and insensate with terror.

Night Haunter followed the corruption along the channels of society, watching as it spread upwards like a poison through veins. He followed the blackness and found the dank core of the planet to lie within the upper Echelons of it’s society.
So it was that one night, he chose to present himself to these lords and ladies of Nostramo. He came, bathed as ever in darkness, crouched in gilded halls- the hissing remnants of generators left outside their mansions. It came to them and it spoke. It spoke of what it had done and what it had seen- terrible visions of some far off and terrible bloodshed. Visions so potent, they seemed as if they would rupture his eyes.
“You know me,” it’s grave voice rasped “you know what I have done. You know my strength and my purpose.”
“Kneel” It whispered, voice full of terrible finality.

And so the beggar child became king. Nostramo became a world devoid of crime, even the pettiest of offenders wary of the bloody transgressions that awaited them.
Beneath the lank feral hair of the Night Haunter, lay a proud, noble brow. No longer the beast, but a ruler of men, he controlled his people absolutely, confident in his power. The streets were safe in a way they hadn’t been in living memory. The guild’s power had been broken over his knee and the citizens lived their lives, forever wary of his wrath. He was not loved, for no-one, no matter how lordly could garner affection from his people after years of bloody slaughter in alleyways. He cared not. All he knew was that they feared him and that was enough.

Many years later, another star had pierced the sky. Unlike the cradle of Nostramo’s leader, this star did not shatter the ground but instead, descended gently on glowing wings, touching down at Nostramo Quintus.
The craft disgorged a troop of Hulking warriors. Armoured in gold, they shone with a light that was appallingly bright to the shadow born Nostramans. Most turned their eyes from the angelic hue of the visitors, others however were not so cowed and dared to look directly upon them and were instantly blinded.
The visitors were massive in stature, dressed in baroque golden plate that caught and magnified what scant light existed on the planet’s surface. Though a populace kept under a shroud of fear, the citizenry of Nostramo fell to their knees as the hulking warrior’s passed as if cowed by some instinct- a sense memory from a long forgotten age of humanity’s past.

Night Haunter had awaited these new arrivals. He waited with a hunter’s patient curiosity, eyeing their progress up the wide road leading to his palace. As they drew closer, the Haunter was brought to his knees by a horrific portent of the future. Whispers amongst the Nostramans had it that their leader had always been cursed with second sight but that he had fought to keep the worst of his mind spasms from his people, lest they see what he felt was weakness.
This new vision was frightening in it’s potency. It lanced into Night Haunter’s mind like a searing lance of white heat into his forebrain. Images of death and ruin, humanity turning inwards on itself in mindless war as the very stars themselves were burned out of the heavens.

Haunter clawed at his face, tearing at his flesh as if to rip the visions from his head. His life would have been ended there but for the hand that clenched vice like around his wrist, staying Night Haunter’s mutilating urges. Lifting his rent and bloody face upwards, Haunter beheld the towering figure, wreathed in a lambent, eldritch fire. The man who had none nothing but shadows and the fear of others was for a brief moment, cowed by awesome terror. Then, with a voice laden with doom, the angelic figure spoke,
"Konrad Curze, be at peace, for I have arrived and intend to take you home."

He was called the Emperor and for long years he had plied the stars at the head of a host of terrible and murderous angels, seeking out his gene children who an age ago were scattered across the cosmos. Nigh Haunter was one such being and though he never truly accepted the new name his father had christened him with, he readily took control of a legion of fierce warriors. These angels of death carried Curze’s own blood in his vein and as any parent, he gave to them all his teachings. They became shadow walkers like him, taking the night and shaping it into something tangible, a cloak to be worn. The Night Lords they were named. They mastered the arts of terror and along with their gene father, they plied the stars, taking their craft to worlds that lay far beyond the confines of their home system.

Years of the Night haunter’s absence on Nostraman soil soon made it all to clear that his brutal methods were a simple remission not a cure to the planet’s ills. Soon enough, their ruler had become little more than a sense memory, a ghost echo of a grim fairy tale. Soon the night world had slipped into it’s old habits with the type of gleeful revelry of those who know they are free from the fear of transgression. Curze’s legion drew it’s recruits from the world and as the ranks of potential warriors swelled with all manner of cut throats, thieves and rapists- the Legion slowly began to poison itself from within.


25-11-2010, 10:35
It's pretty awesome so far. There are a couple of things I'd look at however. Firstly, I'd expand the last paragraph or even add one in front of it as the story jumps a bit too suddenly to the induction of all the criminals.

The only other thing apart from the occasional spelling is that if Jai S’lisk is going to become a Night Lord, he needs to be younger, 23 is too old for the implants to work.

But overall, really good.

25-11-2010, 11:09
Thanks for the input guys. Fair point about his age. I meant to make him 17 so that's purely a mistake on my part. The expansion of the induction of the criminals is going to be part of the main story. This second chapter was more of an overview of things and a bit of exposition before we get into the meat of things.

If you could point out a few of the spelling errors id be grateful thanks. I did check the document and the errors that were there were all from the fictional place names and what not.

25-11-2010, 12:44
Yeah, that makes sense. 17 might still be a bit old, but I would say it's still possible.

As for the spelling errors, I could only find one. In the second paragraph of chapter 2, it should be rapists on the second to last line.

It's a great start though, and I'm waiting for the next installment.

25-11-2010, 12:57
Ah thanks muchly. It tricked me with it's non plural nature!

Thanks, im working on the next installment now.

25-11-2010, 13:39
Its very good, try not to dump all the info on us though, try an let it be revealed naturally in the narrative

I noticed one, it should be sought out, not sort out

25-11-2010, 14:00
Well this is just the "Obvious" stuff thats out there in the lore. Think of it as those "previously on buffy the vampire slayer" recaps at the beginning of episodes

25-11-2010, 17:51
I like it personly,

A good start here and I look forward to the next installment.

25-11-2010, 21:24
Thank you kindly Scorpius

08-12-2010, 15:02
Is there are any more of this coming? It was shaping up to be pretty good.

11-12-2010, 20:38
There is yes Rob sorry. Christmas related stuff getting in the way. Wasn't really happy with how the third part was shaping up so had to take a hatchet to it. Will be up soon though.