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View Full Version : Lone Drake (Beginnings of a Salamanders Story).



strongbow
14-05-2011, 08:57
Ok guys this is the beginning of a story I am slowly writing which is based on an old Salamander who has left the chapter in the same way that Fugis did at the end of the first Nick Kyme novel. Basically it would tell the tale of his career from start to finish, the idea to emphasise on the bond between space marines, the Salamanders chapter and how it works. This (unfinished) part would be part of a prologue, but I'm really not 100% sure about it right now and would love some feedback. You should know I've taken some liberty by expanding on my own views of how the Salamanders work and their mindset that may never have been talked about or considered in anything produced by GW. I have not heard Fireborn or read Fire Drake yet so I don't know the extent to which I may have contradicted these or whatever. Hope you enjoy the read. I've gone over it several times so I hope that small errors are gone. However if any typos are spotted please let me know! :D

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Blood and sweat. Dust and darkness. It was the Time of Trial on Nocturne, a period of intense tectonic activity that effectively disembowelled the volcanic death world, cracking open its depths to reveal vast quantities of highly valuable mineral and fuel wealth accessible to the inhabitants. It was both a period of immense danger and immense opportunity. Traders from all over the galaxy alongside the shadowy procurators of the Adeptus Mechanicus flocked to Nocturne on a regular basis to acquire rare materials and resources and could be counted on to pay a hefty price for ‘a piece of Nocturne’ as the people proudly called their valuable export. The people took great pride in knowing that what was once the ground they and their ancestors walked upon could now be used anywhere in the galaxy, housing fellow Imperial citizens or fighting the Emperor’s enemies in far-flung warzones. In effect, they believed, Nocturne was everywhere, and everywhere was Nocturne. It was this mentality that continued into the mindset of the Salamanders Space Marines, renowned for their stubbornness in the fires of war and heat of battle. Every inch of ground was held as if it was Nocturne itself they were fighting on. In a sense; they were.

Labour in the cavernous, unforgiving mines was an immeasurably difficult task, conditions which only the strongest could endure for long. The Sauroch was one such man, a giant who commanded both respect and fear from his peers and superiors. Without thought of rest or sustenance he toiled in silence, save for the grotesque grunts of effort unwillingly released as the edge of his pick met the pitiless walls of black rock, each huge swing shaking the shaft and revealing the precious ores that the miners relentlessly searched for.

In this horrendous environment The Sauroch worked alone, his body caked in grime and filth from weeks of work in the mines, shunning the advanced digging equipment offered to him in favour of his pick, a near redundant tool the use of which could better even the most tenacious miner. And yet he endured, ignoring jets of poisonous gases, gashes from razor sharp rock edges and the infernal heat of the planet’s deadly interior.

He had arrived at the mine several weeks before, alone and with nothing but some tattered rags and a request to work. He spoke with an air of irrefutable authority; despite his pitiful look. He said nothing further, no name, place of birth or story. He was a mystery. The overseer found it impossible to refuse the individual he was faced with, and for the sake of records named him “The Sauroch”, after the beasts of burden native to Nocturne. Ever since The Sauroch had been a bastion of effort, out-performing the most experienced workers with the most advanced equipment. This display of superhuman power astonished even the strongest men. In exchange for such remarkable productivity both he and the overseer reached an unspoken agreement: no questions. To this the overseer stuck, doing his best to give the broken man the anonymity and point of focus he so clearly craved.

Despite his thirst for solitude, The Sauroch could not avoid whispers and sideways glances everywhere he went. Upon arrival at his overseer’s dwelling, his thin rags barely covered his body, revealing jet black skin, daemonic red eyes and a myriad of Promethean Cult tattoos and brandings. Despite since receiving new clothes to cover himself, none could forget the haunting images of despair and rage that apparently adorned every inch of his heavily muscled frame. Every man knew what he was, or what he had been. No matter where he went hushed mutterings and whispers followed him. The Sauroch was a Salamander. No one knew what had reduced such a mighty warrior to such low levels, and none dared ask. After arriving The Sauroch was permanently hooded and cloaked, his revealing features concealed from the persistently prying eyes of the workforce. The overseer prudently swore his workmen to silence, forbidding them to reveal the superhuman nature of the latest employee.

After weeks of unceasing toil The Sauroch’s mine was substantially out-performing most, if not all on the entire planet. Vast sums had been acquired by the mine’s overseer as his workforce produced material of greater quantity and purity than many had seen in years. This unforeseen success was seen as a miracle by the workers and their families, The Sauroch declared a hero. Word spread like wildfire throughout the region, and before long Space Marines of the Salamanders had heard the tale of The Sauroch, which in the space of a mere few days had inflated his great achievements to dramatically higher levels than they actually were. The Salamanders were intrigued by the hugely colourful stories being passed to them by the people, laughing at the folk’s ability to embellish what they heard to new levels of ridiculousness. Over time, even within the chapter did The Sauroch’s now mythical status had spread.

The overseer sat at his brand new ebony desk, admiring its beauty. The highly polished wood perfectly reflected the lights of the holo-lamps in the large office. Four beautifully decorated ornate legs reached the perfectly shaped granite tiles on the floor, the warmth of the desk contrasting perfectly with the coldness of the hard rock. El’kar looked around his newly decorated office in Hesiod, the testament to the huge wealth he had acquired in just a single Trial. The extravagant space oozed of a decadence rarely found amongst Nocturne’s mining class.

Civilisation. Class. That is what he deserved after the years of drudgery. He had worked the mines for years before being promoted to overseer. At each Trial his men dug deeper tunnels with great quantities of the ores that every colossal cog of the Imperium craved. He chuckled happily to himself. The Emperor must have been smiling upon him this season. The unexpected arrival of The Sauroch could not have arrived at a better time. The 13th Black Crusade was waning, and the depleted resources of the Imperium’s war machine were desperate for every scrap of material that could be found to replace the apocalyptic losses incurred. The massive increase in demand had overblown the price of even the most common mineral, and the enormous output of The Sauroch had allowed him to meet this demand. Careful control of the supply to the outsiders maintained the high price which now paid for the lavishly decorated space El’kar now inhabited.

El’kar was snapped out of his satisfying reverie by a huge pounding at his new oak double- doors. He stormed to it, worried that the ignorant visitor would damage the huge entrance.

“What the hell are you doing? If there’s as much as a splinter out of place I’ll-” he stopped suddenly as he swung open the heavy doors.

“You’ll what?” said the titanic warrior standing in front of him. His humourless expression, coal black skin and piercing red eyes cowed the corrupt overseer instantaneously. He wore black power armour and was accompanied by two more Space Marines, these wearing the bright green armour of the Salamanders, with symbols of flame adorning the legs and shoulder pads. The symbol of the Firedrakes was clearly made out on their knees. These hulks were helmeted, and little less terrifying than the Chaplain addressing the terrified Nocturnean. El’kar stood gaping in silence. Pushing him roughly aside, the Chaplain strode into the dissolute office, his face a picture of disgust at the lavish ornaments displayed on every surface. The natural disposition of the Salamanders was one of practicality and hardiness, the complete opposite of which adorned every inch of this materialistic room. The fact that he and his cohort could tread into the room three abreast and without having to duck was a testament to the scale of the entrance. Each of the firedrakes took a side of the doors and closed them, the high quality furnishings making not a sound until a dull thud was heard as they met in the centre. The firedrakes themselves were unarmed, but against this pompous upstart of a civilian they had no need to be. The Chaplain turned to face the miner. “I thought not.” He turned away again.

“Business has been going well I see...” he pondered, his fingers brushing the edge of the gleaming desk with a surprising gentleness. “I’m sure a great many of the mine owners would like to know how you do it, El’kar.”

El’kar stirred at the mention of this, and found the courage to speak. “My men have worked well this season,” he said quietly, adding with a nervous chuckle “Although a bit of luck never goes amiss.” The look in his cold, dark eyes betrayed the feelings of helplessness and fear that tore through his mind, clouding the normally shrewd man’s ability to see a way out of his predicament.

“I’m sure it doesn’t.” Spoke the chaplain, the coolness of his tone reflecting a man who was in complete control. The power-armoured fingers of his right gauntlet elegantly toyed with the handle of his badge of office, the Crozius Arcanum, mag-locked to his thigh as he continued. “One cannot help but hear the stories, El’kar, of a new employee; the giant with the strength of a hundred men? I know the people like their stories and are prone to embellishments, of that there is no doubt. What troubles me though is that they remind me of a kind of individual, one with which I am extremely familiar.” He stopped with the slightest hint of a smile, not of warmth but of extreme satisfaction as he noted the buds of sweat on the overseer’s brow begin to develop.

“Well, every season is different, my lord. Men come and go, you couldn’t possibly expect me to remember them all-”

“ARE YOU PLAYING WITH ME, MINER?” Roared the Chaplain, his patience gone in an instant. The sickening crunch of a broken table echoed through the large office, the delicately carved piece collapsed with ease beneath the adamantium fist of the furious chaplain as he brought it down on the immaculate surface. The splinters and dust of the shattered furniture still hung in the air like a cloud of ash-flies as the miner winced in agony, seeing the masterpiece literally obliterated in front of his eyes. Greater panic threatened to overwhelm him as he rapidly glanced from the motionless firedrakes at the door and the chaplain who was beginning to walk towards him. With an impossible speed and elegance for his size, the chaplain drew his Crozius Arcanum and ignited it. For a split second he admired the perfect balance of the weapon, marvelling at the fine workmanship that every aspect of the symbolic device held. He pointed the deadly device at the trembling miner’s throat.

El’kar stood, his eyes transfixed by the flickering energies of the weapons inches from his chest. Breathing heavily, he closed his eyes in shame as he felt a warmth in his undergarments, a pool of urine clearly forming on the finely polished granite floor at his feet. Tears began to form in his cold eyes as he wept before the unflinching stare of the furious chaplain.

“Y...Y...Your man... he is a... a... at the A... Ad... Adranus Sh... Shafts.” He mumbled quietly, his voice broken and weak from the shame of his situation and the rage of the chaplain, who looked at the wreck of a man standing before him. He sensed the truth in his words.

“Well that wasn’t so hard was it?” He said callously, cutting off the power to his weapon as he returned it to his hip, caressing with the handle of it as he spoke. He eyed the wreck of a man standing before him with a mixture of pity and disgust, the degree to which each were felt even he could not ascertain. With the slightest of nods he motioned to the firedrakes at the door who had not moved an inch the entire time they were there that now was the time to leave. Without further word the three Salamanders left the room in silence, safe in the knowledge of where their quarry would be.

The Adranus Shafts veined deep into the most dangerous mountains for leagues around. It was here that the richest seams of minerals and materials were found, and it was here that The Sauruch now laboured. The mountain was a parsimonious mistress, who guarded her treasures with the most tenacious and vindictive envy. The few individuals ambitious or insane enough to work there faced searing heat, pools of toxic acids and hot magma littering the jagged floors of the tunnels alongside the Naga’Ddraig, the children of Adranus. These small serpent-dragons were nearly invisible in the hostile terrain of the mountain, capable of navigating lava flows and darting around the rocks and pools with a near impossible agility. Their bites were deadlier than almost any creature a man could face and inspired fear in even the toughest veterans of the shafts.

The chaplain purposefully strode through the caverns, taking no need of the dangers around him. His black power armour was impervious to the teeth and spittle of Adranus, ignoring the occasional vent of gas or pool of lava. His towering presence and indomitable stature drew gazes of awe from the few miners that worked here, and it pleased him. The Firedrakes that had accompanied him to the office of the pathetic overseer had remained in Hesiod. This final task would require a degree of subtlety and finesse that having the veteran warriors would not allow. After months he had finally tracked down his quarry, a warrior believed lost to the chapter would be returned to the fold. After two hours of navigating through the twisting labyrinth of tunnels, he stopped without a word no more than five metres away from his quarry. He watched the Sauroch work at the walls of the tunnel, who was so engrossed in physical effort he did not notice the chaplain arrive. After several minutes the chaplain removed his skull helmet and continued to watch the Sauroch torture himself against the unforgiving rock of the mountain. His actions were nothing less than self-flagellation and after a short while the chaplain spoke.

“Sel’rath.”

Sel’rath didn’t hear his real name being spoken. Such was the time he had been away from those who knew it, and how much he had tried to quash its memory through labour in the mines. The chaplain approached him, and as Sel’rath went to strike the wall again with his pick, he grabbed the handle of the weapon, and looked straight into the eyes of the lost space marine holding it.

“Reclusiarch?” questioned Sel’rath, his red eyes barely visible beneath his hood, his voice choked through lack of use, it was full of doubt and disbelief.

“Yes Sel’rath.” The chaplain replied, releasing his power grip on the handle of the pick. Sel’rath backed away. A loud clunk echoed through the cavern as he dropped the heavy pick to the floor in shock and fear. “I am here to bring you home. The chapter needs you.”

Sel’rath shook his head in denial and despair. “No! I took the Burning Walk, and yet my spirit was not restored! I still walk it!”

“The spirit will only be restored once it is returned to its home, Sel’rath. No amount of aimless toil in the depths of Nocturne will undo what has been done. It is only in the fires of battle and upon the anvil of war where you will find the solace and peace you desire. You disgrace the names of your chapter and brothers with this low... ‘walk’, as you call it. Where is your pride? Your dignity? Where is the Salamander I once knew? The one who would give anything for his brothers?”

“He died with his brothers.”

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Thanks for reading! :)

Son of Sanguinius
15-05-2011, 04:58
Not bad at all. Looking forward to more, if more is in store. I recommend more spacing between lines of dialog. It's a little easier to read.

strongbow
16-05-2011, 08:09
Thanks for reading, and for the comments.

I was wondering about that. I am slowly adding more to this and the conversation is continuing.

We have this at the moment:


El’kar was snapped out of his satisfying reverie by a huge pounding at his new oak double- doors. He stormed to it, worried that the ignorant visitor would damage the huge entrance.
“What the hell are you doing? If there’s as much as a splinter out of place I’ll-” he stopped suddenly as he swung open the heavy doors.
“You’ll what?” said the titanic warrior standing in front of him. His humourless expression, coal black skin and piercing red eyes cowed the corrupt overseer instantaneously. He wore black power armour and was accompanied by two more Space Marines, these wearing the bright green armour of the Salamanders, with symbols of flame adorning the legs and shoulder pads. These hulks were helmeted, and little less terrifying than the Chaplain addressing the terrified Nocturnean. El’kar stood gaping in silence. Pushing him roughly aside, the Chaplain strode into the dissolute office, his face a picture of disgust at the lavish ornaments displayed on every surface. The natural disposition of the Salamanders was one of practicality and hardiness, the complete opposite of which adorned every inch of this materialistic room. He turned to face the miner. “I thought not.” He turned away again.
“Business has been going well I see...” he pondered, his fingers brushing the edge of the gleaming desk with a surprising gentleness. “I’m sure a great many of the mine owners would like to know how you do it, El’kar.”
El’kar stirred at the mention of this, and found the courage to speak. “My men have worked well this season,” he said quietly, adding with a nervous chuckle “Although a bit of luck never goes amiss.”

Would making it look more like this be better, or technically correct? I want this to be right.


El’kar was snapped out of his satisfying reverie by a huge pounding at his new oak double- doors. He stormed to it, worried that the ignorant visitor would damage the huge entrance.
“What the hell are you doing? If there’s as much as a splinter out of place I’ll-” he stopped suddenly as he swung open the heavy doors.
“You’ll what?” said the titanic warrior standing in front of him. His humourless expression, coal black skin and piercing red eyes cowed the corrupt overseer instantaneously. He wore black power armour and was accompanied by two more Space Marines, these wearing the bright green armour of the Salamanders, with symbols of flame adorning the legs and shoulder pads. These hulks were helmeted, and little less terrifying than the Chaplain addressing the terrified Nocturnean. El’kar stood gaping in silence. Pushing him roughly aside, the Chaplain strode into the dissolute office, his face a picture of disgust at the lavish ornaments displayed on every surface. The natural disposition of the Salamanders was one of practicality and hardiness, the complete opposite of which adorned every inch of this materialistic room. He turned to face the miner.
“I thought not.” He turned away again.
“Business has been going well I see...” he pondered, his fingers brushing the edge of the gleaming desk with a surprising gentleness.
“I’m sure a great many of the mine owners would like to know how you do it, El’kar.”
El’kar stirred at the mention of this, and found the courage to speak. “My men have worked well this season,” he said quietly, adding with a nervous chuckle “Although a bit of luck never goes amiss.”

It doesn't look drastically different. Do you mean putting line gaps between what they say? I'm not sure what the rules are when it comes to writing stories and speech.

Son of Sanguinius
16-05-2011, 17:01
Yes, line gaps in between the paragraphs and lines of dialog. I only mean this in regards to how it appears on a forum post, not for how it looks on something like MS Word. People are much more willing to read something on the internet if it's in small chunks as opposed to a wall of text. Part of the issue is that forums usually have a very clunky indentation system, but that's another issue for another day.

Son of Sanguinius
16-05-2011, 17:03
“You’ll what?” said the titanic warrior standing in front of him.

His humourless expression, coal black skin and piercing red eyes cowed the corrupt overseer instantaneously. He wore black power armour and was accompanied by two more Space Marines, these wearing the bright green armour of the Salamanders, with symbols of flame adorning the legs and shoulder pads. These hulks were helmeted, and little less terrifying than the Chaplain addressing the terrified Nocturnean. El’kar stood gaping in silence. Pushing him roughly aside, the Chaplain strode into the dissolute office, his face a picture of disgust at the lavish ornaments displayed on every surface. The natural disposition of the Salamanders was one of practicality and hardiness, the complete opposite of which adorned every inch of this materialistic room. He turned to face the miner.

“I thought not.” He turned away again.

“Business has been going well I see...” he pondered, his fingers brushing the edge of the gleaming desk with a surprising gentleness. “I’m sure a great many of the mine owners would like to know how you do it, El’kar.”

El’kar stirred at the mention of this, and found the courage to speak. “My men have worked well this season,” he said quietly, adding with a nervous chuckle “Although a bit of luck never goes amiss.”


Here is an example of how I'd space it.

strongbow
16-05-2011, 22:41
Done, thanks very much for your help.

Is there anything else critique-wise you've seen? Any improvements to the language.

Sometimes others notice stuff a lot better than the writer :).

Cheers.

strongbow
07-07-2011, 15:40
Sorry for double post etc.

I have expanded this prologue now and completed it.