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Author Topic: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Chapter 1: Scene 1): Warhammer 40000  (Read 610 times)

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Offline MyenTal

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All critique and feedback welcomed ;D.


The Nocturnal Phantasma
The Cast List

Sept World:
Vior’la

Local System: Rash’var

Colonial Worlds: Kuo’nar’va

Development Stage: Developed Colony / Stronghold

Kavaal: The Luminary Combine

Notable Tio’ve (Contingent): Mont’yr’Yanoi’Kuo’nar (Blooded Moon of Kuo’nar)

High Commander: Vior’la’Shas’O’Var’Shi (Commander of Vior’la Brightsword of Victory)

Ethereal:
Aun’El’T’au’Endo’J’karra (Ethereal of Tau Sept Enduring Mirror)

Noted Cadres:

   Kuo’nar’va’Yanoi’Run’al’Shas’la’Shas’Del (Greater Kuo’nar Moon of Fire Caste outpost Fire Dawn)

   Commander: Vior’la’kuo’nar’va’Shas’O’Cho’J’karra (Sept World Vior’la and Greater Kuo’nar Commander Splintered Mirror)

   Vior’la’Shas’la’Kau’ui’Shovah’Skether’quan (Hot Blooded Fire Caste Cadre of the Farsighted Messengers)

   Commander: Vior’la’Shas’O’Kais’Finor (Sept Vior’la Commander Skilled Marksmen)

   Vior’la’Shas’la’Kau’ui’Va’Mesme’Shas (Hot Blooded Fire Caste Cadre of the Greater Combination of Fire)

   Commander: Vior’la’Shas’O’Var’Shi (Commander of Vior’la Brightsword of Victory)

   Sa’cea’Shas’la’Kau’ui’Ko’vash’Lhas’rhen’na (Sept Sa’cea Fire Caste Cadre of the Worthy Cause of Noble Sacrifice)

   Commander: Sa’cea’Shas’O’Va’Ukos (Sept Sa’cea Commander Greater Spoon)

Noted Heroes:


KV128 Stormsurge: The Twin Suns - D’Nanoi

KV8 Crisis Suit Pilots: Shas’Vre’Del’Tokai, Shas’Vre’Shanu’Auval, Shas’Vre’Se’Cho’Noh, Shas’Vre’Yen’Shi

(Hero Destined Hawk, Hero Guardian of Paradise, Hero Unsung Ghost of Enigma, Hero Disciple of Victory)

KV104Riptides:

Shas’El’Tau’Unar, Shas’El’J’harra’Ranyr, Shas’El’Vaal’Yanoi
(Noble Good Mind, Noble Glass Cannon, Noble Lone Moon)

Pathfinder Teams:

Shas’ui He’ra’Is, Shas’la’Kesh’Anuk, Shas’la’Juntas’Ka, Shas’la’Law’Li, Shas’la’N’Myr,
Shas’la’Soo’Sho, Shas’la’U’Tyr

Fire Warrior Strike Teams:

Shas’ui’Es’Tau, Shas’la’D’Der’val, Shas’la’Ko’oi, Shas’la’Yr’Vah, Shas’la’Ur’Law,
Shas’la’Ta’Vayan, Shas’la’T’Sha, Shas’la’Len’Li, Shas’la’Mon’Lasa, Shas’la’Kai’Elsy

Kabal of the Dying Sun

Superior: Superior Dracon Qann-Dross the Veiled One

Lesser Vassal Kabal: The Nocturnal Phantasma

Commanded by: Dracon Immyrim Qorvo

Second in Command:

Dracon Vasyr Suron

Qorvite Sisters (True Born):

Asyph Qorvo, Sirendia Qorvo, Xann’Dywn Qorvo, Yenneph Qorvo, Kaannir Qorvo

Noted Kabalite Warriors:

Surkeir, Quindiresh, Zaaroth, Wydrioth, Innesir, Ennuieth, Aehirbryth, Kanthir

Brethren of the Esoteric Oblivion: (Incubus Shrine)

Qarron, Drothun, Ulnnyar

Noted Scourge Band:

Chaunduin, Jehir’kith, Lorisyn, Thubalion, Vonn-Nhilus

Cult of the Infernal Brand (Wych Cult):

Ferun-ba Death-rain, Rekyr Venom-Born, Ashanth the Decadent Disciple, Ninnyrmir Skull-Flayer, Qewayn Shadow-Sheaver, Jachu the Deceiver, Zarynth Void-Siren, Thorexi Slaughter-Keeper, Henluin the Mistress of Knives, Qarbith the Slaver

Coven of the Splintered Eye (Haemonculus Covens):

Noted Haemonculus

Master Xanothoch Twelvth-Born

Pharoh-Jinn the Hexed One

Zarxolib the Moulder

Noted Grotesques:

The Aberration of Old Incanth

The Elder Hex

Noted Wracks:

Huth, Qir, Goz, Keth, Lug, Tet, Opha, Dum, Zeph, Dagon

Noted Vehicles:

Witch Shredder (Talos Pain Engine)

Crackle-Skitter (Talos Pain Engine)

Haywired Disentegrator (Talos Pain Engine)

Atrophic Siren (Chronos Pain Engine)

Brain-Leecher (Chronos Pain Engine)

Kiss of Decadence (Tantalus Grav-Ship and Flagship of the Nocturnal Phantasma)

Phalanx Cerberus (Ravager Squad)

Phalanx Hydra (Ravager Squad)

Phalanx Kraken (Ravager Squad)

The Poisoned Flock Flotilla (Razorwing Jetfighter squad)

The Murder of Razor Wings Flotilla (Razorwing Jetfighter Squad)

Death’s Knell Flotilla (Void Raven Bomber Flotilla)


~~~~~~~~**********~~~~~~~~
Cast List Provided For Future Public Reference
~~~~~~~~*********~~~~~~~~
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 11:00:27 AM by MyenTal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline MyenTal

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #1 on: April 5, 2018, 11:14:14 PM »
Prologue
Sun-Bane


Colony of Aloh’Fio (Cold Earth)
Localized Planet Tau’cyr (year): 121 After Initial Settlement
Kai’rotaa (month): 5.5, near end of Tau’cyr
Rotaa (Day): Day of the Incomparable Hunter
Dec (Hour): 1200 Rai’kor (minutes), noon


A harsh wind sailed from out of the narrow pass of the J’karra Mountains and battered T’sha from his reverie. A numb chill wormed its blackened tendrils into the core of his mind and brushed his reminiscent thoughts aside as if they were nothing more than discarded data on a clean slate.

   Young T’sha gazed out into the bleak and desolate highland under siege from nature’s most dire season. For a brief moment, he longed for the autumn forests of Eir’Eio’Kio, her bountiful rivers, and sparse colonies that glistened beneath a cloudless sky. A handful of Kai’rotaa had passed since he had been whisked away from the equator belt, but the long months felt more like a full Tay’cyr in this frozen hell.   

   A young T’au male of fourteen Tau’cyr stood alone upon a great hill in the highlands. Dense trenches of lush snow crowded around the leggings of T’sha’s regal hunter attire until his limbs felt like pincushions for a thousand needles. A sleek Kasa hat shielded him from the wind, but served another, more personal purpose in that it hid the lack of a braid in T’sha’s hair to mark him as a hunter.

   T’sha lifted his head and ignored the frozen chill that numbed him to the very soul. Keen coal black eyes stared into the true face of Aloh’Fio, rocky hills burdened in thick layers of ice and snow. If the vegetation had proven rare in the midst of autumn, then the change of seasons had eradicated what remained. The J’karra Mountains reached their fractured and blunted fingers entire Tor’kan into the sky and shone a rich cobalt in the wan light of the midday sun.

   Home was not here, T’sha reminded himself, but he would see it again soon when he returned, triumphant. An anxious feeling made him feel more out of place in the frozen north than perhaps he should have been. He had spent ten full Tau’cyr out of fourteen in training to become a hunter of the Fire Caste. A shamed piece of him wanted him to march out into the waste as if Eir’Eio’Kio glimmered in the distance.

   But then T’sha knew that there would be no return to hearth nor academy. T’Eldi had whispered stories of such individuals who failed their trials, swept away by the Aun like so much disposed wastes, never to be seen again.

   A light rain of sleet and snow peppered T’sha from where he kept vigil on the hillside. A shroud of mist crawled over the rocky hills on the horizon and crept ever closer to his position. T’sha scanned the environment in several thorough passes, but he could find no sign of his quarry.

   “T’sha.” An iron grip found T’sha’s shoulder and he startled, snapped out of the snare of his own thoughts. The youth glanced behind him with a chastised look into familiar coal black eyes, but framed in the face of his father. “Snap out of it. The cold hasn’t taken root in you yet.”

   An elder T’au male loomed over his son with a disgruntled look, but patience nestled in the crooks and crevices of his weathered cobalt skin. Serene by some notion of inner peace, T’Eldi cupped the spear clutched in his son’s fists. He pushed the weapon upward until T’sha held it over his chest.

   Satisfied, T’Eldi nodded.

   “T’sha,” T’Eldi searched the highlands where T’sha had scoured by sight. “You wish to be a part of the Fire Caste?”

   “No other dream would please me more.” T’sha snapped the spear straight, planted it into the snow, and stood at attention. “I shall do my part for the Empire no matter the cost.”

   “Good.” T’Eldi did not remove his gaze from the countryside. A frost-bitten breath escaped his lips. “For the Ethereals will demand everything from you, T’sha. They will demand all that lies within you, mind, body, and spirit. You must not waver in their eyes. You must not hesitate anymore.”

   An invisible stone caught in T’Eldi’s throat. “You… you understand what happens to the young dreamers like you who hesitate?”

   A bead of sweat formed on T’sha’s brow and trickled down his cheek and neck. He nodded without a word.

   “Mark, my words, T’sha,” T’Eldi swept forward in one fluid movement, as if snow and ice did not burden him at all. The long spear in his hand thrust forward with great precision into an imagined foe. He kept the stance for a long moment and spared his son a quick glance. “You are strong, my son. You can accomplish your mission and any tasks the Ethereals set before you.

“You shall live to be old, but remain stronger still, in heart and spirit if not in body. Earn yourself a mate and have many offspring. Teach them to become as you are, for the Empire shall need them as they need you now.

“I do not doubt. You must not doubt, for there is no room for hesitance. Strike first and true, and should you fall before you can make the killing blow, then you shall have done all that your Empire has asked of you. But you shall not fail, not here. Go on, be the Mont’Ka.”

   A frozen wind hammered them from nowhere, T’sha shivered, but T’Eldi merely lowered his spear and bore the cold as if he could no longer feel it. The father urged his son on with another stoic nod and watched with patience.

   “Be the Mont’Ka…” T’sha expelled a frosty breath before he turned away from his father. As if banished into the frozen wastes, T’sha plunged forward into the snow and sleet until T’Eldi became a speck in the storm, nigh-indiscernible. “Be the ‘Killing Blow’.
   
T’sha climbed over rock-littered hills and descended into minor pieces of flatland carved into the landscape around him. An ache in his limbs made them feel like lead welded into his joints. He pressed on and ignored the needles the winter stabbed into him. An urge to sleep glimmered on the horizon of his thoughts, but at those times T’sha would force himself to run to ward off the cold.

   A familiar scent in the tundra air surged into T’sha’s nostrils, stronger than ever. A scent of a hundred hunts fought in the forests around Eir’Eio’Kio. A scent of dead beasts and a familiar hunter triumphant over their scattered corpses. A scent of hunters’ eviscerated entrails left scattered in the lush forest soil. The failed ones, of whom the civilians of Aloh’Fio were forbidden to mention.
   
T’sha came to a halt behind the crest of a large hill, embedded with a massive boulder weathered into the shape of a great finger upon its peak. Deafened from the howl of the wind, he trained his hearing as he had always done for any sign of disturbance nearby. He did not strain or struggle, but remained calm and dead silent and listened for a break in the wind.

   T’sha concentrated and forced his heart rate to a calmer pulse. “The Killing Blow… can only be landed once.”

   T’sha cut a crescent through the snow, even as he thrust toward his left with practiced precision. A gurgling wet growl, nigh-silent in the wind, followed him over the hillside, louder and louder until it resonated within his skull. He drew first-blood from the creature where the spear stabbed into the mighty feline’s chest. But the attempt proved faulted as thickened slabs of bone turned the simple weapon aside.

   A beast of storm-grey fur, spotted with cobalt and scarred from head-to-toe by the scars of its rival kin, assaulted T’sha. A mighty six-clawed paw, glistening with lengthy razor-sharp talons, sliced through wind, snow, and sleet like a sharpened honored blade through flesh. The young T’au could not escape the lightning strike and reeled from six cuts etched across his furs and chest from the feline’s paw.

   The force threw T’sha into the snow upon his left flank, where he landed with a soft and silent crunch. A maw of two great fangs that gleamed like polished metal and a hundred lesser teeth yawned open as the great beast went for T’sha’s throat. The T’au hunter rolled onto his back and caught the beast in its open maw with a powerful thrust.

   T’sha fought back onto his feet as the beast recoiled onto its hind haunches and scampered backward, not from pain, but from caution. Blood scarcely trickled from the creature’s mouth before it whipped out a razor sharp, two-pronged tail that cut toward him without warning. T’sha rolled beneath the razor strike and emerged out of the snow with a furious stab toward the beast’s underbelly.

   The feline shirked away from the attack and countered with a powerful pounce meant to pin T’sha beneath its unbearable weight and rending claws. Tsssk… A familiar whine had built in his ears for several brief moments and T’sha cast the Photon Grenade from his numbed fingers into the air between them.

   An explosion of super-heated energy vented into the cold blossomed with such blinding light that T’sha could scarcely protect himself with either arm or spear. But he heard the beast cry out in blind fear, struck in the vision as well as spirit. His blurred vision hazed and burning, T’sha charged forward and tackled into the beast with a tsunami of stabbing blows.

   Impaired, T’sha stabbed even as he felt out the creature with his free hand, even as the mighty beast before him wandered and stumbled blindly amid the rock-strewn hills of the highlands. Each blow could scarcely scratch the creature, the bone slabs which formed its backbone too strong for a simple spear to pierce. Frustrated, T’sha answered with a reckless hacking blow across the blur of fur and metallic teeth without much thought placed in the attack.

   T’sha felt the beast lunge for him, all rank breath and blood-flecked teeth. The young hunter recoiled from the beast as he swept his spear too wide of the mark. Out of instinct more than anything else, T’sha followed his training without thought and followed up with a reverse strike.

He thrust for the creature’s exposed gullet even as it closed around him and near tore the furs from his body. Once more, the spear flew wide, but earned a panicked howl of unrestrained agony. T’sha did not hesitate, he pushed his weight onto the spear and drove it through the jelly-like contents of the beast’s destroyed eye.

T’sha may have struck true, but the creature would never die from the blow. He pushed forward and upward until the feline creature reared up on its hind legs, talon-paws striking futilely through the frost-bitten air. T’sha pushed the creature backward until the beast caught a foot upon a great rock and lost her footing.

T’sha tore his spear loose even as the feline clattered off of the peak of the great hill. The work behind the kill was no longer his own, but the sharpened and jagged rocks that smashed the creature from one fatal precipice to the next, until a mess of gore-matted fur tumbled to a rest at the bottom of the hill.

T’sha shook away the last vestiges of vision impairment and gazed down upon the kill with an air of suspended disbelief. The feline beast still thrashed and writhed, but it would not stir from the bloody winter grave it had carved out for itself. T’sha felt the bite of winter cold more keenly than ever and sucked in a deep breath as his wounds flared up in his chest.

A great pelt of fur fell from out of the aether and squarely upon T’sha’s shoulders until it cloaked his body. Startled, T’sha whirled around, spear in hand, but the weapon was halted by an iron-clad grip of another T’au that he did not recognize. A mid-aged T’au clad in sleek and pristine Combat Armor painted to a glassy ruby-like polish, segmented with splashes of cold metallic white, towered over him and held his gaze.

The Shas’la wielded no pulse weapon in either hand, but a mere shortened blade, sheathed in a thick scabbard. He gazed down upon T’sha with an undisguised expression both proud and impressed. Upon his shaven head was a lengthy braid that betrayed his seniority in the Shas, the Fire Caste.

His stern gaze never drifted from T’sha even as he snapped off a number of commands to his subordinates who emerged from out of the storm. One of them, a young T’au female, crowded around the boy and shooed off her commander, then began to look over T’sha’s wounds. Other Shas’la crested the hill and moved in to study and mercifully end the beast that he had triumphed over.

Scatter-minded, T’sha found himself drawn from one emotion to the next. He was proud, relieved, joyous, and puzzled in equal measure, but each fought to dominate the others. Nigh-frostbitten in the midst of frozen tundra, T’sha could scarcely collect himself enough to comply with the medic’s gentle demands. Her bright-lighted drone shone down on him and she mended his wounds with surgical tools the likes he had never seen before in Eir’Eio’Tio.

Dazed, T’sha glanced away from the medic’s sterile light even as she prodded him not to. He gazed off into the snow and sleet, unfocused, not in search of anything. But a glimpse of movement caught his eye for but a brief moment. A bundle of fur beneath a futuristic kasa hat.

Distant from the other Shas’la who did not notice him, T’Eldi offered his son a smile fresh from the forests of Eir’Eio’Tio. Satisfied, his father nodded once, grateful and relieved, before he turned away and vanished further into the worsening storm.

T’sha understood that he would never see his family ever again. He had succeeded where many had failed, and now the Fire Caste had claimed him as one of their own.

Such a lesson cut deeper than any scar left upon T’sha’s skin.
   
~***~
« Last Edit: May 5, 2018, 12:10:14 AM by MyenTal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Alienscar

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2018, 07:39:28 AM »
An echo from over yonder rolled over the hills like a balmy tide of autumn wind. The sensation that met T’sha’s ears felt like the warmth of a withered summer and the gentle cold of an oncoming, but pleasantly light winter shared in one overly familiar sensation. A sensation of home and hearth in the small colony of Eir’Eio’Kio, of a proud elder hunter unburdened by advanced age, and of family and forgotten loves.

This is the second, possibly the third, story that you have begun with the sound of an echo. I think you need to think of new ways to start your stories as by using an echo all the time it lends a sameness to the stories that fools the reader's mind into thinking that they will be getting the same style of story.

Also I don’t think this paragraph adds anything useful to the story and could/should be removed. Additionally I find the paragraph confusing as it gives the impression that T’sha is old but it transpires later that he is only fourteen.


The autumn forests of Eir’Eio’Kio, her bountiful rivers, her sparse colonies glistening beneath a cloudless sky somewhere on Aloh’Fio’s equator belt.

This is an incomplete sentence so it does not make sense as I hope you can see. People will notice this even if they don’t understand and it ruins the flow of the story.


T’sha creaked his head up and he ignored the dull ache in the joints of his neck.

Another sentence that read together with the first paragraph sets T’sha up as old in a reader’s mind.

The verb (present participle) creaked can’t be used like this either. Creaking (simplistically speaking) is a noise that occurs when something is moved so can’t itself be used to describe movement. The sentence should read “T’sha’s neck creaked as he moved his head up….”

The J’karra Mountains reached their fractured and blunted fingers entire kilometers into the sky and shone a rich cobalt in the wane light of the midday sun.

Wan light or waning light would be correct. Wane light does not make sense.
 
A kilometre is a strange expression to use in a T’au story especially when it seems to be written from T’sha’s point of view.


Home was not here, and yet somehow T’sha could not feel far from her presence. Almost as if he could take a stroll through the highland and reach Eir’Eio’Kio before nightfall. Home possessed a heroic voice and an iron-clad will, one that called to him through the light rain of sleet and snow that peppered him.

I find this paragraph confusing.  In my mind the paragraph that begins “The autumn forests of Eir’Eio’Kio” indicate that T’sha is already in or near Eir’Eio’Kio.


Almost as if he could take a stroll through the highland and reach Eir’Eio’Kio before nightfall.

This is another example of an incomplete sentence. It was almost… would be correct.

Home possessed a heroic voice and an iron-clad will,

It might just be me but I don’t like your metaphor that describes T’sha’s home as having a heroic voice and an ironclad will. The imagery just doesn’t work for me.
 
T’Eldi cupped the spear clutched in his son’s fists from beneath the haft.

Cupped is its own description so needs no further explanation. By adding “from beneath the haft” you have been left with a confused sentence. Dropping the word from would make the sentence easier to read.


Your mind, body and spirit.

Each sentence that you write needs to work on its own. I hope that you can see that when read on its own the sentence, “Your mind, body and spirit.” does not work. 

and reeled from six cuts etched across his furs and chest from the grazing of the feline’s paw.

The force threw T’sha into the snow upon his left flank,

The word reeling already describes someone that is lurching violently to then follow that as you have with another description of force comes across as you describing the same scene twice.

Pride. Relief. Joy. Confusion.

You can’t use nouns as words to form sentences.

There is decent story in all of this but I find it difficult to enjoy it fully due to some of the mistakes noted above.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 04:33:40 PM by Alienscar »
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Offline MyenTal

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2018, 08:33:31 AM »
Hi Alienscar,

Thanks for the honest feedback! Sorry the mistakes lessened your experience. I should have looked over the scene more thoroughly before posting.

Went through your feedback and made some (maybe more than that) changes, should look much cleaner now!
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Alienscar

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 06:31:15 AM »
Once again I am impressed with the quality and speed of the changes that you have made. The story definitely flows more smoothly, and has more of an impact right from the start now.

It does look cleaner, and you actually cleaned up a lot of things that I noticed the first time around but didn't mention.

There a still a few things I think you could work on like comma splicing, run on sentences and the like, but overall I like this version now.

Here are a few things that still stood out to me. See what you think of them.

Imagery is an important part of storytelling, but the world that you build has to make sense to a reader even if the subject matter is alien. So the line “and sparse colonies that glistened beneath a cloudless sky.” confuses my mind as a village shouldn’t glisten.

Midday is generally considered to be the hottest part of the day so the line “wan light of the midday sun.” also confuses as wan means weak or pale.


Quote from: MyenTal
A light rain of sleet and snow peppered T’sha from where kept vigil on the hillside.
Missing words can really upset the flow of story. Here you are missing the word “he”.

Quote from: MyenTal
The long spear in his hand thrust forward in one momentous strike into the belly of air before him.
This might just be me but I struggle with the use of momentous to describe T’Eldi’s spear thrust. Given the meaning of momentous if I were to say, ‘The long spear in his hand thrust forward in one important strike’ I would hope you can see my struggle.

Quote from: MyenTal
Of dead beasts and a familiar hunter triumphant over their scattered corpses.   
Conjunctions generally join two separate phrases of a sentence. As I hope you can see, ‘Of dead beasts’ isn’t a complete phrase so the sentence doesn’t read correctly.

Quote from: MyenTal
talon-paws striking futilely through the snow-wracked air.
The words rack and wrack are easily confused and for the most part are fairly interchangeable. The word rack has its roots in torture whilst wrack comes from a background of nautical destruction.
Because of this confusion I am left confused by the expression ‘snow-wracked’. Do you mean the air is tortured or wrecked?

Quote from: Starrakatt
"Russ, get your work done or you won't see your damn console for the next month!"
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Honestly Alienscar, we get it... you dont like painting!

Offline MyenTal

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 05:31:37 PM »
Hey Alienscar,

Appreciate the feedback as always! I agree that there are some issues I need to work on (with writing in general to be honest), but your feedback helps me understand and process what I'm doing wrong, so I'm really thankful for that. I'll make some changes based from the problems you have pointed out, hopefully within the next day or so.

Keep them coming!

EDIT:

I apologize for the late progression guys. I haven't made the edits suggested by Alienscar because I am working on the first scene for Chapter One of the Nocturnal Phantasma. The scene in progress might actually maybe too long lol :P, but I promise you guys something soon!

I actually was offered a new job this morning and the Start Date is soon approaching, so I have to make the necessary preparations ;D!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 12:09:54 AM by MyenTal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline MyenTal

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #6 on: May 5, 2018, 12:02:49 AM »
Sorry for the long hiatus, guys :P! I am back with the makings of the first chapter. I have split this scene into two parts, hence the "to be continued" at the end ;D. Hope you guys like it!

Also, made those changes, Alienscar. Sorry it took me so long to finally get to them!

Chapter I
The Solar Blitz
Sept Akush’Fio:
Settlement: Eir’Eio’Kio
Localized Planet Tau’cyr (year): 128 A.I.S.

Seven years later…

       A coil whine thrummed in the drums of T’Eldi’s ears in until his pulse rifle seemed ready to explode in his hands. Even such a sophisticated weapon could become pushed to the brink, but not even a score of kills claimed thrice-over could run her power cells dry. As if reminded by the thought, the old hunter ejected and replaced the rifle’s power cell with a satisfactory click-clack. The spent cartridge clattered into the rubble, shrouded in a puff of acrid smoke.

An unnatural squall came in from the northern shores of the Kio’Va Isles and brought with it a resurgence of ceaseless rain. Hidden in the height of a dome made derelict in the first assault, T’Eldi welcomed the rainstorm for the concealment it brought. Hidden beneath a thick sheet of rain, the old Shas’ui gazed out into the forested hills of Eir’Eio’Kio.

A lush landscape of arable farmland and autumnal forests stretched across the breadth of the Islands, dotted here and there with nano-crystalline domes and sleek towers levitating over both Isle and waves. T’Eldi swept his gaze north, east, and west and spotted the sleek shapes of a hundred unidentified alien grav-craft sail in from the northern sea and into the settlement with lightning speed.

T’Eldi inhaled an unhurried breath and lowered the muzzle-end of his rifle upon a piece of tattered nano-crystalline rubble. The last remnant of the great dome that once housed the northern section of the Kio’va Earth Caste Laboratories. He secured upon the debris like a primitive bipod and tugged the camouflage cloak fastened around his neck tighter around him.

T’Eldi squeezed one eye shut and stared through the emerald lens of his rifle scope. Distant thunder roared from further north, drowned beneath the clamor of rapid battle. Above him, bladed grav-craft with pronounced prows and open decks soared across the breadth of the storm like miniature meteorites streaking across the horizon.

Aboard the fragile craft were a dozen alien shapes, shrouded in darkness save for the fiery glow of the obsidian armor that clad them and their vicious Grav-craft. No more than a hundred skimmers descended upon the ruined settlement of Eir’Eio’Kio. The aliens descended upon their would-be victims, marked by contrails of clean vapor and coruscating flames as they charged headlong into the defenders with reckless abandon.

The prolonged vibration of a dozen Heavy Rail Cannon Turrets charging their fuel cells from all over the island resonated in the Old Hunter’s ears. A fusillade of luminescent super-heated plasma suddenly lanced into the formation of hostile skimmers that were swarming over Eir’Eio’Kio.

The discharged salvo boomed with an irresistible resonance reminiscent of the thunderous clamor of a great storm. Like a storm broken suddenly upon great mountain peaks, the fusillade withered into dispersed atoms much like the victims it had claimed.

A handful of bladed grav-craft were struck despite their rapid speed. T’Eldi shielded himself from the supernova explosions that blotted out the sky. As the myriad of starlight flames died away, the former Shas’ui reclaimed his position at the top of the Earth Caste facility.

Tor’kan (kilometers) beneath the Old Hunter in the skeletal remains of the Earth Caste District, pulse rounds crisscrossed across makeshift bunkers of debris. The incessant rattle of alien weapons hidden in the ruins answered with quick and mortal swiftness. Obsidian shards streamed from their exotic muzzles that cut down noble Shas’la with the slightest graze.
 
T’Eldi focused the white crosshair on the emerald lens of his scope upon a shadowy creature that crept across the gloom and dark. Crafted from the very essence of shadow and a lithe musculature that could only be matched by the mysterious Eldar Race, the creature skulked forward in a cautious stride. Even caution for one of the eldar made even the healthiest and dexterous  of the T’au look lazy and clumsy.

T’Eldi traced the alien’s route through the debris piled in the streets, toward a beleaguered Shas’la Strike Team unaware of the threat. He sucked in another prolonged breath and squeezed down hard on the trigger…

Engineered by the finest Earth Cast Technologies, T’Eldi negated what semblance of recoil the pulse rifle had with both a stern grip and the makeshift bipod he crafted from the ruin around him. A brief build-up of charged energies in the power cell made the rifle muzzle flash with a pin-point burst of light, followed by a hiss of vented smoke.

The shadow on route to ambush the Shas’la defenders from the north spasmed, punched clean through the chest from the dispensed pulse round. T’Eldi changed his aim from the struck target to the next one scant feet behind it, then fired once again. Specks of black bile—or perhaps blood—flecked from a penetrated skull, quick enough that no scream could follow. Another slender shadow clattered from the height of a great heap of rubble, a trio of pulse rounds seared within his gut.

Guided by the Old Hunter, others hunkered in the ruin of the Earth Caste facility  opened up with such a hail of pulse rounds that the alien combat team withered before they could even slink back into cover.
 
The discharge of the Rail Gun Turrets seared through the mist and rain once more and T’Eldi quickly removed himself from his position as four of the grav-craft exploded. He raised his broad arm to shield his eyes, but still could not shut out the brilliant light from behind his shut eyelids.

The discharge of the Rail Gun Turrets seared through the mist and rain once more. A detonation of no less than four bladed grav-craft greeted T’Eldi with distant explosions. Once again, T’Eldi removed himself from his position and shielded himself with a broad arm.

D’yoh, Shas’ui of Strike Team Cold Morning, relayed through the Comm-Link with a voice resonating in crystal clarity. “I appreciate your efforts, La’Rua’Or’es’Mesme, thank you for keeping my Shas’la alive, for another several hours at least.”

T’Eldi nodded to himself more than anyone else, but kept his tone steely and sharp. “Spare me your thanks until this nightmare is over… Another mistake like that and your Shas’la will only have mere Rai’kor left, even with the hawk eyes of my Shas’ui.”

“Understood, Shas’ui T’Eldi, or should I say Lar’shi?” D’yoh answered without urgency. “Cold Morning could have taken them, but in either case, the enemy shall be hard-pressed to exploit another tactical error. We’ll hold this ground how ever long you demand it, Lar’shi T’Eldi.”

A familiar voice cut through the comm-chatter on T’Eldi’s squad channel. “T’Eldi? Hate to become the bearer of bad news, but Or’es’Mesme has earned the attention of the invader. Pathfinders have detected several inbound craft from the Recon Drones… we should fire and fade back into the shadows.”

“Distance, Yr’vah?” T’Eldi requested into the comm-bead in his helmet. “A feigned retreat won’t work much longer if the foe corners us in one end of the Isle. I would maximize our advantage here.”

“Negative, Shas’ui!” Yr’vah answered. “Inbound craft rapidly closing on our position. I would advise a quick retreat.”

The Shas’ui lowered his pulse rifle and stared out through the rain and mist. He quickly sketched out the outlines of several grav-craft hurtling through the rainstorm toward the derelict dome. A mischievous grin crossed T’Eldi’s scarred lips. He slung the pulse rifle over his shoulder and promptly exited the drone facilities he had used as a vantage point.

“Or’es’Mesme, rendezvous in the Core…” T’Eldi ordered into the comm-link.

“Yr’vah, get my command to D’yoh and tell his Strike Team to meet us there as well. I have an ambush to set.”

T’Eldi hurried through entire racks of fabricated  MV1 and MV4 Gun and Shield Drones, suspended and unused in secure-lock mechanisms. Even in the ruin of the Earth Caste Facility, flickers of ghostly sapphire light emitted from the Artificial Intelligence integrated into their systems.

An incomprehensible amount of information transferred from the uplink data cores into the memory banks of each piece of combat equipment. In the span of several Rotaa, each individual drone learned their place in proper combat simulations and understood the enhanced, though restricted, knowledge of a several millennia old Empire. 

“Understood, Shas’ui.” Yr’vah affirmed with a grunt. “I hope it’s as grand as you imagined, T’Eldi.”

The Shas’ui emerged from out of the corridors of stasis-locked drones and into a narrow space occupied by only a dummy terminal. A hundred data slates lay scattered about fractured floors of nano-crystal. Great slabs of the ceiling had crashed down and smashed open the great data vaults that once housed them. With caution, T’Eldi waded through the discarded data slates. He crunched his boots across a polished floor in the industrial russet tint of the Earth Caste.

“Yeh’os, my Hawk Eye.” T’Eldi called into the comm-bead embedded within his helmet. “You may awaken an omen of warfare upon these perfidious raiders.”

“Of course, Shas’ui,” An impetuous voice answered him through the comms. Given the command for wanton destruction, the small measure of restraint that kept Yeh’os from tearing loose was cast aside like so much unwanted chains. A defiant cry boomed over the comm-link in one great demand of challenge. “For the Greater Triumph of the T’au!”

A solemn note pierced the thin veil betwixt the acrid smog of the debris and the recycled oxygen borne from the manufactory. A voice that lilt in an incomprehensible series of notes, from a graceful song that one could listen to for Rotaa on end, but one that no T’au or member of the Empire’s societies could gain any significant meaning from. T’Eldi tried as he might, but could only imagine them as  honeyed words.

A feminine voice cut through the gloom of the storm and shadows of the Laboratories like the edge of a razor. Heightened by some heinous thirst for violence, the eldar weaved her words into a beatific melody of promised violence and unchecked slaughter. Lesser notes from the Eldar Warrioress’ minions coalesced into the combined symphony of bloodlust until the entire industrial factory of the Drone Facility AX-91 resonated with their choir of death.
 
The venomous siren-choir culminated into one casual demand handed down from the mouth of the Eldar Warrioress, herself cloaked in the shadow of the AX-91 Facility. “Enough games, La’rua’Or’es’Mesme’Shas’ui’T’Eldi… Your inferior language only drives my warriors to further heights of hyper-aggression!” She cooed with no small hint of delighted savagery. “You cannot hide away from your ominous demise, hypnotized vermin! But my hand can be tempted to spare the lives of your comrades, should you prove pragmatic enough to grovel on your knees before me… You should save your mewling gratitude. As I can bestow great agonizers that you could scarcely imagine in that small pin-brain of yours… so too can I be generous, no?”


~***~
To Be Continued...
« Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 10:18:08 PM by MyenTal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
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Offline Alienscar

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #7 on: May 9, 2018, 06:03:37 AM »
Also, made those changes, Alienscar. Sorry it took me so long to finally get to them!

No need to apologise MyenTal, it is your story so you can take as long as you like. Also, don’t think that you have to make every change that I suggest.

I haven’t got long, so I thought I would quickly add a few comments as otherwise you will probably have posted another chapter before I get another chance.


A coil whine hummed in T’Eldi’s ears in gradual waves

The word hum refers to a continuous noise so its use is at odds with the gradual waves part of this sentence.

The ancient heirloom was pushed onto the brink, but still had work enough cut out for her.

This sentence is slightly confused in its phrasing. Onto the brink should be 'to' or maybe 'up to' the brink.

The second part of the sentence does not make sense within the context of the whole sentence. You have essentially written that the gun was pushed to its limit but still had work planned. I do not think that this is what you wanted to say.

bubbling of acrid smoke.

From a mental imagery point of view bubbling smoke is not something that is easy to imagine.

An unnatural squall came in from the northern shores of the Kio’Va Isles

Ha ha as previously mentioned you just can’t resist writing about bad weather.

A scattered labyrinth of sleek domes suspended in levitation

A labyrinth is a maze or network of passages in which it is easy to lose your way. If you are travelling amongst levitating domes I don’t see how you can get lost as you can just raise or lower yourself to get a better look.

suspended in levitation

Also there is something bugging me about this line, but I can’t quite decide what it is. I think it is something to do with the clash of the words, suspend & levitate. Suspend means to hang from somewhere whilst levitate refers to something rising.
 
I think the phrase sleek domes suspended in levitation would be better off written as ‘sleek levitating domes’

sail in from the northern sea and into the settlement with lightning speed.

Again from a mental imagery point of view the line above confuses my thought processes. The craft sailing in from the northern sea put me in mind of a gentle boating trip but this is at odds with the ‘lightning speed’ part of the sentence.

He fixed his weapon in place like a primitive bipod

Because of the way you have written this you are calling T’Eldi a primitive bipod.

Also fixed is an adjective, but here you have used it as a verb. ‘He securely fixed his weapon…’ would be correct.

camoflauge

I wouldn’t normally mention spelling mistakes as you are American and therefore spell some words differently than I do. ‘Camoflauge’ should be spelt ‘camouflage’ though.

Distant thunder roared from further north, drowned beneath the clamor of rapid battle. Above him, bladed grav-craft with pronounced prows and open decks sailed across the breadth of the storm like bruised wounds cut into the mist and air.

The expression ‘distant thunder’ generally implies that the sound of the thunder can only be faintly heard and because of this the imagery of this sentence becomes confused. That is, distant thunder shouldn’t roar and how loud can the clamour be if it only drowns out distant thunder.

I struggle with the term breadth to describe a storm as unless it is a tornado a storm is mostly shapeless so doesn’t really have a defined width.

As Grizzlykin has said sometimes less is more and the line ‘like bruised wounds cut into the mist…’ is an example of this. From a readers point of view nothing you have written before warrants the ‘bruised wound’ line.


No more than a hundred skimmers descended upon the ruined settlement of Eir’Eio’Kio.

There doesn't seem to be a point for this sentence. You mentioned the number of skimmers in a previous sentence so their number is already known and this sentence adds nothing new.

The aliens sailed upon contrails of charred smoke and coruscating flames

Contrails by their very definition are something that trails behind the thing that produces them, so the word ‘upon’ does not work for me.

The prolonged vibration of a dozen Heavy Rail Cannon Turrets charging their fuel cells from all over the island resonated in the Old Hunter’s ears. A culmination of shrill screams thundered after a brief pause. A fusillade of luminescent super-heated plasma lanced into the formation of hostile skimmers swarming over Eir’Eio’Kio.

You have written three sentences here that, whilst seemingly linked, don’t quite pay off.

I think that fault lies with the line ‘culmination of shrill screams’ as this doesn’t make sense.
When writing try substituting a synonym of a word that you have used to see if what you have written works.

In this instance your line could read ‘a climax of shrill screams’, or ‘the top of shrill screams’ which I hope you would agree does not work.

I think something like this would be easier to read:-

The prolonged vibration of a dozen Heavy Rail Cannon Turrets charging their fuel cells from all over the island resonated in the Old Hunter’s ears and a fusillade of luminescent super-heated plasma suddenly lanced into the formation of hostile skimmers that were swarming over Eir’Eio’Kio.


Like the waxing of the high tide, the sudden discharge boomed with an irresistible resonance. Like the wan of the low tide did the fusillade level off in volume like a scream that lost its breath from the lungs.

Tides ebb & flow not wax & wane. Also the tide takes roughly twelve hours to ebb so it shouldn’t be used to describe something that is supposed to be sudden.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 06:00:15 AM by Alienscar »
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Offline Grizzlykin

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #8 on: May 9, 2018, 06:50:55 AM »
I'm not good enough to make some English correction. But story if I may suggest, It took me a while to understand the opponent was dark eldar, maybe try to be a tad bit more precise with it.

Otherwise so far I really enjoy the story. Keep it up MyenTal it's a great read.

Regarding the relic comment that aliens are mention, I'm not opposed to the idea as he seems to be, but I can for sure say I did not understand the second part of the sentence don't turn it to weird, if you have a point straight to the point, can really be a plus. I had to triple take the sentence and still could not understand the the second part of it, but that mightt just be because I'm not a native English.

Good luck with what's next, I'm eagerly waiting for it.
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Offline MyenTal

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 06:59:36 PM »
@Alienscar:

Quote
No need to apologise MyenTal, it is your story so you can take as long as you like. Also, don’t think that you have to make every change that I suggest.

Understood and appreciated, Alienscar! I don't mind making the changes, as I want those who would take the time to read it to know that their time is appreciated :). You and Grizzlykin are some such individuals, so I think listening to your opinions and feedback is important, plus it helps me grow ;D.

Quote
Ha ha as previously mentioned you just can’t resist writing about bad weather.

Hah ;D, I guess I cannot really deny that :P. I guess the worlds I write about are constantly desolated with natural disasters and great storms lol.

Quote
Because of the way you have written this you are calling T’Eldi a primitive bipod
Hah ;D, that's one of the funnier mistakes!

@Grizzlykin:

Quote
I'm not good enough to make some English correction. But story if I may suggest, It took me a while to understand the opponent was dark eldar, maybe try to be a tad bit more precise with it.

Hey Grizzly, don't feel like you can't contribute to help catching mistakes! If something doesn't seem or feel right to you, you're always welcome to point it out ;D! As for your advice, that was my attempt at building suspense :P. I do that sometimes, but I'm realizing now that I'm just being too vague and that that frustrates readers. Sometimes I do it without realizing it :P. Will do better next time, and will try to make some adjustments to this scene in particular.

Quote
Regarding the relic comment that aliens are mention, I'm not opposed to the idea as he seems to be, but I can for sure say I did not understand the second part of the sentence don't turn it to weird, if you have a point straight to the point, can really be a plus. I had to triple take the sentence and still could not understand the the second part of it, but that mightt just be because I'm not a native English.

When I write out a chapter or scene, I usually spend a couple of hours and write out the whole piece in one or two sittings. Going that fast, I'm sure it's not your English skills that is the reason you don't understand the sentence. Somethings that I convey in my own head just don't come out that well on paper in the first few rounds :P. Good advice, Grizzly, I will keep it in mind.

Quote
Good luck with what's next, I'm eagerly waiting for it.

Thank you ;D
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Alienscar

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 11:32:45 AM »
I have got a spare hour before I have to be elsewhere and I thought I would continue my observations. I hope you don't mind?

the former Shas’ui reclaimed his position on the height of the Earth Caste facility.

Height is a measurement and not a place so 'At the highest point' or at 'the top of the Earth Caste facility' would be better.
 
T’Eldi picked through the storm of pulse fire thrown into the teeth of the foe that closed in around the streets of the ruined settlement.

I can’t decide why, but I find this sentence difficult to read. Overall I just think it needs to be less verbose.

He picked through the incessant rattle of alien weapons and the obsidian shards

Picking through a noise does not make any logical sense.

The creature lurched forward in a cautious stride, but even caution for one of these aliens seemed to make even the fittest T’au seem lame and clumsy.

I can see what you are trying to do here, but you haven’t quite pulled it off. The word lurch means to stagger or move abruptly, so by using this word you have ruined the effect of what you were trying to say.

     
Engineered from the finest Earth Cast Industries, T’Eldi negated what semblance of recoil the pulse rifle had

'By' or 'in, not 'from'

The shadow that slunk toward the Shas’la defenders from the north spasmed,

Slunk is the past tense, so this should be slinked towards.

T’Eldi changed his aim from the struck target to the next one scant feet behind it, then fired once again.

'T’Eldi changed his aim then fired once again would suffice and add a bit of pace to this sentence.

flecked from a pitched skull

Pitch means to throw, so this line reads as ‘flecked from a thrown skull’ which as you can see does not make sense within the context of the whole paragraph.

       
The discharge of the Rail Gun Turrets seared through the mist and rain once more. A detonation of no less than four bladed grav-craft greeted T’Eldi with distant explosions. Once again, T’Eldi removed himself from his position and shielded himself with a broad arm. Despite his preparations, the supernova still singed him from behind the eyelids.

I see this as another example of where you have written seemingly linked sentences that don’t actually run together very well.

I think something like this would be better.

The discharge of the Rail Gun Turrets seared through the mist and rain once more and T’Eldi quickly removed himself from his position as four of the grav-craft exploded. He raised his broad arm but the resulting supernova still seared the back of his eyelids.

the supernova still singed him from behind the eyelids.

Also why would the flare singe him from the inside of his eyes?
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 02:26:56 PM by Alienscar »
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Offline MyenTal

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2018, 06:31:08 PM »
No problem, Alienscar, I appreciate your effort to keep offering feedback. I'll tackle all of your feedback during the weekend.

Quote
Also why would the flare singe him from the inside of his eyes?

You know when there is a light so bright that it makes you see stars even if you shut your eyes. Closing one's eyes doesn't necessarily block out all light.
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Offline Alienscar

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2018, 10:08:34 AM »

Quote
Also why would the flare singe him from the inside of his eyes?

You know when there is a light so bright that it makes you see stars even if you shut your eyes. Closing one's eyes doesn't necessarily block out all light.

My mistake MyenTal I should have been more precise. I understand how a really bright light can still be seen through closed eyes but because of the way you have constructed your sentence that isn't what you have said.

the supernova still singed him from behind the eyelids.

This says that the supernova singed him from the behind his eyelids. That is, the supernova burned from the inside of his eyes to the outside.

I think something like 'He raised his broad arm but the resulting supernova still seared the back of his eyelids' is more likely what you were trying to say.

I am running out of time again, so I doubt I will be able to complete my feedback before you post again.

Due to my lack of time I thought I would quickly post a few more observations, but for the sake of quickness cut back on the explanation. I hope that you can see the reasons for my observations without the detail.

Appreciate your efforts, La’Rua’Or’es’Mesme

‘I appreciate' otherwise it is an instruction for La’Rua to appreciate his own efforts.

your Shas’la won’t have mere Rai’kor left,

‘Will only have’ not ‘won’t have’

however long you demand it,

‘How ever’ not ‘however’

if the foe corners us to one end

Corners in one end or forces us to one end

“Negative, Shas’ui!” Yr’vah quipped,

Quipped means to make a witty remark

Spare none from your omniscent sight.

Correctly speaking omniscient means all knowing. Also omniscient & not omniscent

Rotaa (Day): Day of the Incomparable Hunter

In the matter of mere Rotaa,.

A voice that lilt in an incomprehensible series of notes, from a graceful song that one could listen to for Rotaa on end,

You have defined Rotaa as a day, but as you can see you have gone on to use it to describe something both short (mere) and long.

Also if a Rotaa is a day then the expression 'mere Rotaa' does not make sense. As you can see if you use the word 'day' in its place. Is Rotaa both the singular and plural version of a Tau day?
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 10:09:26 AM by Alienscar »
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Offline MyenTal

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Re: The Nocturnal Phantasma (Prologue: Scene I): Warhammer 40000
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2018, 11:35:02 PM »
Alright, I made a number of changes based on all of the feedback I've been given on Chapter 1, Scene 1. I have also made some changes to the part that I am now posting here, so tell me what you guys think ;D!

Just FYI, I split the second half of Chapter 1, Scene 1 into two halves. There is this new scene below and there will be another one coming soon. Both are roughly the same word count size.


~***~
T’Eldi scrambled back in several rapid footfalls, still concealed in the camouflage offered from his cloak. The Old Hunter lifted his rifle as his hooves scrabbled across shattered nano-crystal and disheveled cables and discarded data slates. The rifle scope became level with his right and eye and he squeezed the trigger with careful efficiency.

The Pulse Rifle whined with infused energies and popped with incessant burst of pin-point pulse rounds. Inky shadows scattered across the corridors around him seemed to detach from their environment to dodge away from the miniature plasma rounds. T’Eldi slammed off the single-shot mechanism on the rifle and scoured each hall around him with sweeps of concentrated fire.

The symphony of blood lust was birthed anew. Each burst of accurate pulse fire cut down one of the fiery shadows, but the Dark Eldar only intensified their sanguine chant.

   An eldar raider, lithe beyond even the frail measures of the spaceborne Air Caste, flitted across the Old Hunter’s vision like a wraith only half-realized. A wicked and barbed armor clad his slender form beneath segmented plates of glassine obsidian. Even in the dim light of the derelict Earth Caste Factory, the armor shone with a reflective polish to match the fiery glow lit upon its edges.

   A volley of obsidian shards streamed from the immaculate muzzle of the pirate’s exotic weaponry. T’Eldi weaved away from the sudden report of the Splinter Pistol clutched in the Drukhari’s talon-like fingers. A smatter of shards landed at his feet and deflected off the surface in any conceivable direction. Snared in the storm of return fire, the Old Hunter shielded himself and held his ground at the dummy terminal.

An explosion rocked the upper echelons of the AX-91 Facility. An invisible force detonated what remained of the ceiling overhead. Quick on his feet, T’Eldi clambered up and over the dummy terminal and shielded himself from the great rain of sparking cables and great gouts of coruscated flames that spread into the drone chamber. Detonations and secondary explosions rippled through AX-91 and engulfed the Drone Docks in an inferno.

Alien screams whisked themselves from the throats of the defiant Drukhari before they were snuffed out in the wrath of the maelstrom. T’Eldi fought and protected himself from succumbing to the destruction. An upsurge of liquid fire slammed into the dummy terminal and broke against it like a wave dashes against a great cliff. The Old Hunter cried out as his right gauntlet sloughed away in rough tatters and the cobalt skin beneath it cooked writhed with a permanent scar from the licking flame.

Click-clack. The Old Hunter could scarcely find anything through the flames, but felt a nearby presence swoop through the flames toward his position. A brief burst of starlight washed over him from where he hunkered in over himself. The starlight felt incredibly cold to the touch and provided a much-needed balm against the flames. Around him, a protective barrier of energy materialized from out of thin air.

A squadron of a dozen drones darted through the destruction of AX-91 in time to come T’Eldi’s aid. MV4 Shield Drones formed a defensive circle around the Shas’ui, scouring away multi-hued flames and toxic smoke alike. An expansive force field of energies condensed into a liquidized form blocked each corridor until all avenues of approach that led into the further reaches of AX-91 were blocked off from a direct assault.

 “Arrogance…” The Eldar who had given him her ultimatum shrieked from out of the flames. “You offer your comrades onto death itself. A coward then. Your severed heads shall decorate the chain snares of my vessels, your pin-brains painstakingly kept intact. Your tortured nervous system shall be felt with each gaping, wordless scream. And your spinal cords replaced by more immortal designs that’ll ensnare you in perpetual agony for another thousand years!

“Know us and quake in delightful terror! The Kabal of the Obsidian Rose has claimed your souls for my desires!”

Goaded into action, MV1 Gun Drone squadrons swept forward into the firestorm with their weapons primed and unleashed. Precise and calculated burst from a score of Twin Pulse Carbines drove back the Kabalites of the Obsidian Rose that surged through the flames without fear. For every hundred rounds spent, an eldar slaver was overwhelmed from the firepower and scythed down.

   T’Eldi fought back onto his feet and caught one of the Drukhari in the gut with a point-blank shot. Another Kabalite concealed in the ruin of the Drone Docks tumbled from a great height and into the flames with a round buried deep in his waist. Another Kabalite was claimed in the heat of the counter-surge, followed by a handful more, until a score of the Drukhari had fallen in the heat of combat. Uplifted, the Old Hunter felt a resurgence overcome him in that moment. That he alone could turn the tide and push back the Dark Eldar by his own will alone.

A familiar voice cooed sadistically from scant feet behind the old hunter and his illusion of victory was shattered. “Found your courage? You worthless toy, you’ll learn that your kind were always meant to be broken!”

T’Eldi dodged the practiced coup-de-grace of a crackling power whip with a quick tuck and roll. The Warrioress snapped the agonizer in her hand taut and caught the Shas’ui on the chest plate as he slid away from her. A light graze, but the power weapon cut through his armor without effort.

An enhanced electro-magnetic field that powered the Agonizer cut a neat slice through the hunter’s armor and brought him down onto his knees with mind-wracked agony. Electrocution pervaded into every fiber of the Old Hunter’s musculature and forced him backward until he tumbled back-first into a stack of discarded data slates.

The eldar whipped back her weapon more quickly than she had struck T’Eldi. All at once, the mere memory of the nerve-wracked pain he had experienced mere moments before left him beleaguered and bereft of muscle memory. Strength escaped from out of his slackened muscles and became useless. As a final act of defiance, T’Eldi rolled his limp head upwards to meet the gaze of the enemy that had slain him.

A vicious smile graced the lustful cherry lips carved upon the beatific Druhkari Warrioress. A narrow and angular face framed a frenzied, wide-eyed stare reminiscent of the great drop into oblivion itself. A lengthened, razor-sharp nose wrinkled at the mere sight of T’Eldi already at her mercy. Gory red streaked through great and lustrous streams of pinned-up hair the shade of an azure topaz gem. Bloodied wounds were gouged over her obsidian gaze in the pattern of six neat cuts, three carved from brow-to-cheekbone for either eye.

“Ninnymir Skull Flayer of the Infernal Brand,” The Kabalite Commander sketched an elegant bow. Her Agonizer Whip cracked through the air and sliced the Shield Drone hovered over the Shas’ui in twain—all in the same movement as her bow. “A triumph with neither great effort or grateful applause… but your trophy-skull shall have to do in the stead of my myriad glories.”

A squadron of Gun Drones retreated back toward T’Eldi. The Drones unleashed their payload, but found each dispensed round dissipated in a sudden haze of inky black smoke that seemed to wrap around their mistress. Ninnymir did not flinch from their enraptured attention, but instead lifted the blast pistol in her off-hand and squeezed the trigger.

T’Eldi had never seen Drukhari nor their greatly advanced technology, but the mere stories alone could always reach an ancient veteran like him no matter which backwater he chose for settlement. Before Ninnymir could pull the trigger, the hunter sagged onto his right shoulder with all of the strength left in him. He lifted an arm over his head to shield him from the cursed effects of Dark Light Weaponry.

Ninnymir squeezed the trigger in rapid succession, each pull rewarded with the brief disintegration of a Drone. T’Eldi dared not budge his head to preserve his eyesight from  permanent blindness that Dark Light Weapons left scarred upon their victims.

   “Fire Team, advance! Give no quarter!”

   “T’Eldi, keep yourself protected!” Yr’Vah’s voice cut through the cacophony of the skirmish. “Photon Grenade in the hole!”
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

 


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