News: No news is good news...

Login  |  Register

Author Topic: The Dwindling Queen: An Age of Sigmar Short Story  (Read 707 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Myen'Tal

  • Lazerous Penguin
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2557
  • Country: 00
  • Armies: Lumineth & Idoneth
The Dwindling Queen: An Age of Sigmar Short Story
« on: December 21, 2019, 11:39:00 PM »
The Dwindling Queen

Kindling Leaves

   Lorien Dawnstar sniffed the howling wind and caught the scent of the four seasons upon its current. Nigh-instantaneously, he realized that he had discovered the sacred veil hidden beyond the forbidden Wyldwood of Mugaren. He suddenly knew with absolute certainty that the most ancient power hidden in this forgotten glade was within his reach.

   Lorien drifted through a curtain of falling snow as he considered the consequences of this revelation.

It was the holy strength to crush the myriad foes of the Mugaren Sylvaneth and his kindred of Wanderer Clan Frosteich.  It was the omniscent guidance of the All-Mother, the Everqueen of life and creation. It was the seed of hope in this dying, festering land.

Lorien would see such power gifted onto his kin. It was why he had journeyed for seven cycles during the heart of winter in the Wyld Realms of Arnora. It was why he kissed his mate of centuries goodbye, just after the annulment of their marriage.

“I’ve sacrificed so much,” Lorien’s breath turned to mist upon the wind as he whispered into it.
“I shall not see another moment wasted. I shall not see another precious realm of the Everqueen fall to decay and ruin. Thuria, our sacrifice was never in vain. I shall claim the prize from this forbidden place.”

“Lorien?” An aelven woman’s voice came faded and distant upon the wind. Her words were like honeyed wine that Lorien had never tasted, not in several years. “Are you well?”

Lorien spared a worrying glance over his shoulder and saw Vaylia gazing him down from a scant breath away. Her eyes were blooms of lavender that searched his own, hardened emerald ones with a longing look.

A strong longing for Lorien to say he was well.
Lorien banished the concern from his cold expression and felt a sudden warmth return. His gnarled lips made a feigned, welcoming smile.

“I am unharmed, Vaylia.” Lorien answered. “But I am afeared to go any further. I shall not hide the truth from you. There’s an ancient curse said to be upon this place. I am afeared that it shall strike us both down.”

“Afraid?” Vaylia arched her silver brow. She approached to stand by his side. “You’ve never uttered the word in several years. Not since we departed our beloved hearth and homes. Why now?”

“Because I am in love with my wife,” Lorien barked out a harsh laugh. “Because I have not given her any children. Because you and I both have too much to live for to die now.”

“Then we best not perish here,” Vaylia placed a gentle hand on Lorien’s shoulder. “I’ve always trusted your judgement, Lorien. You’re Frosteich’s Dawnstar. Our morning star. It matters not where you tread, you shall always lead us back home.”

“Heh,” Lorien quivered, as if suddenly frostbitten and numb everywhere. “You are correct. For all of my several centuries of living, never once have I led our clan astray. Do you know how much pressure that is? That one must never err in such regard?”

“Come on,” Valyia gently pushed her supportive hand to steer Lorien forward. “The sooner we leave this blight behind, the better.”

“Yes,” Lorien swallowed his mounting concern and resumed his march toward the Shrine of the Dwindling Queen. “Do you know why this realm is forbidden? Why it is cursed?”

“I never asked.” Vaylia forged through snow that came up to her knees. She did not even flinch from the cold. “You would have frightened me out of coming with you, if you told me.”

“My first failing,” Lorien barked out another, defiant laugh. “The burden should lie with the Dawnstar alone. You should never have come. You’ve wasted so many years, Valyia.”

“Enough,” Vayla cooed. “I regret nothing, my lov…”

Lorien smiled again, this time genuine. He felt his strength return. His resolve became steelier and more focused. “For once, I would welcome the words of your sentence. But save them for another morning, when the hearth fire is roaring and our kindred sing of our triumph.”
“Wise words,” Vayla returned the smile, a soft blush on her cheeks. “You never told me why this land was cursed.”

“Good,” Lorien answered. “Better that we not speak of such horrors. It was my lapse in judgement to ever suggest such.”

“Do you know the way?” Vayla searched the curtain of snow assailing them, and scowled.

“Never have I erred as the Dawnstar,” Lorien replied. “You haven’t lost faith in me yet. Trust me.”

A soft, giggling laughter whimsically played on the wind’s current before them. A siren’s mournful wail followed quickly after. Then, a final, heart shearing scream made Lorien halt in his tracks.

“Lorien?” Vayla asked quickly. “What in the Dark Prince’s realm was that?”

Lorien shot her a chastising look. “I would not swear such oaths in this cursed glade. His servants draw close… you were wrong to come with me this far, Vayla. I would not see you doomed alongside me.”

“We shall fight, Lorien.” Vayla clapped his arm with a strong grip. “To the last bitter breath, if need be. What use would my life be, if I left our Dawnstar here to meet his uncertain doom?”

“Hmm,” Lorien considered her words, then answered with a swift nod. “Then follow quickly. Time is against us.”

“Run?” Valya quipped. “Through this snow? We’d barely be able to sidestep a Troggoth afterwards!”

“It shall thin out soon!” Lorien forged ahead of her by several paces. “The Shrine of the Dwindling Queen is near!”

“Lorien, my sweet lover of yore…” Thuria’s voice drifted from out of the snowy mist.

“You’ll return to me before long, my love…” She beckoned to Lorien from the shadowy corners of the wood.

Lorien denied the urge of this dark temptation, refused the succor it promised to him. Yet a part of him was willed to follow the voice to its source.

“If you’ll not return to me,” Thuria’s voice grew louder in clarity, incensed ever so slightly. “Then I shall dog your footsteps and drag you by your bloodied nails until you’re home!”

Vayla’s cry rang out amidst the pallid landscape of the Dwindling Wood, pure and full of light.

“Lorien!” She cried from several paces behind Lorien. “From your right!”

Lorien unsheathed a short sword of glimmering steel that shone blue in the wane light of the sun. He ignored Vayla’s advice and did not turn to his right. Instead he squeezed his eyes shut and pointed to a shadow rapidly closing in from behind them.

The sound of an arrow impacting into soft, vulnerable flesh reverberated through the silent woodlands. A keening moan filled with both pleasure and agony drifted over the frozen landscape. Lorien snapped open his eyes to see Vaylia, bow in hand, already pin the creature behind her to the nearest Wyld Oak.

The creature she had shot through the heart was a sickly, perverse reflection of grace and beauty. Something about the pallid lavender skinned Daemonette seemed to be alluring, but Lorien stared into its hateful, beady black eyes and fanged maw. He shuddered from the hideousness, the creature’s dark otherworldiness.

Lorien pushed the mental image of the creature out of his mind. He weaved artfully under the effortless swipe of a pincer claw meant to tear his throat out. Summer Solstice, his brilliant sword, lashed out in a visible arc of sapphire. The Daemonette had no time to howl before its pincer was cut away from the rest of it. Lorien fluidly turned his counter into a powerful thrust that punched straight through the daemonette’s sternum.

The Daemonette vomited forth thick wades of crimson blood onto Lorien’s sword arm. Lorien twisted the blade then pulled down viciously.

“Good kills,” Vaylia praised them both as she raced to his side. She kicked aside the disemboweled daemon struggling to regain its feet. “I told you, nothing to worry about.”

“For now,” Lorien quipped. “A cavalcade is hot upon our heels. Can you not smell them?”

“I can,” Vayla nodded. “Too far off though, they won’t catch us if the Shrine is near.”

“Aye,” Lorien answered. For once, he said so with a broad grin that dared them to come all at once. “We shall be swift, and be far from this place while they traipse over this forsaken heap of rock.”


~***~
“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 Sir_Godspeed

  • Lazerous Penguin
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1940
  • Country: no
  • "Bees. My God" was an obscure Batman quote.
Re: The Dwindling Queen: An Age of Sigmar Short Story
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2020, 10:38:28 AM »
I see you've taken a more archaic tone with this one, probably given the elven main characters. This makes a lot of sense in the dialogue portions, but I'm not so sure about the narrated/descriptive parts. To be honest, it's a matter of subjectivity and taste, but I feel like it's a tad stacatto right now.

There isn't much else to critique, the story - or microfiction or scene - has a satisfying climax and leads into the promise of more story, which is fun.

One small thing is that at the very end we're told that Lorien knows something, but as readers we aren't really told or shown why. It feels a little like then narrator is insisting on something without making us privy to it, which is a bit of a letdown. This doesn't require a huge change, but perhaps a line or two about what Lorien's indicators tell him - but still keep it suitably poetic to fit with the overall style and feel of the story.

Offline Myen'Tal

  • Lazerous Penguin
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2557
  • Country: 00
  • Armies: Lumineth & Idoneth
Re: The Dwindling Queen: An Age of Sigmar Short Story
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2020, 01:08:22 PM »
Hi Godspeed,

Thank you for the feedback! It is much appreciated!

Quote
I see you've taken a more archaic tone with this one, probably given the elven main characters. This makes a lot of sense in the dialogue portions, but I'm not so sure about the narrated/descriptive parts. To be honest, it's a matter of subjectivity and taste, but I feel like it's a tad stacatto right now.

I can definitely see me overdoing it a little on the narration of the story, and some of the descriptive elements therein. When you say staccato, do you mean that the narration itself and some of the descriptive elements are somewhat disconnected from each other?

Quote
There isn't much else to critique, the story - or microfiction or scene - has a satisfying climax and leads into the promise of more story, which is fun.

Thank you!

Quote
One small thing is that at the very end we're told that Lorien knows something, but as readers we aren't really told or shown why. It feels a little like then narrator is insisting on something without making us privy to it, which is a bit of a letdown. This doesn't require a huge change, but perhaps a line or two about what Lorien's indicators tell him - but still keep it suitably poetic to fit with the overall style and feel of the story.

To be honest, this more lack of foresight on my part than my trying to be sneaky, ha-ha! Lorien is basically saying, "Let's get what we came for, then scramble the hell out of here before the Slaaneshi daemons show up to the party!"
“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 Sir_Godspeed

  • Lazerous Penguin
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1940
  • Country: no
  • "Bees. My God" was an obscure Batman quote.
Re: The Dwindling Queen: An Age of Sigmar Short Story
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2020, 06:10:14 PM »
Hi Godspeed,

Thank you for the feedback! It is much appreciated!

Quote
I see you've taken a more archaic tone with this one, probably given the elven main characters. This makes a lot of sense in the dialogue portions, but I'm not so sure about the narrated/descriptive parts. To be honest, it's a matter of subjectivity and taste, but I feel like it's a tad stacatto right now.

I can definitely see me overdoing it a little on the narration of the story, and some of the descriptive elements therein. When you say staccato, do you mean that the narration itself and some of the descriptive elements are somewhat disconnected from each other?

It's honestly quite hard to explain, but as I was reading it, I found myself starting and stopping more than I usually do. Part of it might be too many old-fashioned words, perhaps with many syllables in them, another might be too many sub-sentences (although I'm not so sure about this one). Keep in mind that I'm not a native English-speaker, so some words might be unfamiliar or at the very least unusual to me that aren't so to natives.

Offline Myen'Tal

  • Lazerous Penguin
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2557
  • Country: 00
  • Armies: Lumineth & Idoneth
Re: The Dwindling Queen: An Age of Sigmar Short Story
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2020, 08:52:34 PM »
@Godspeed: I understand what you're explaining :). I shall keep that in mind in the future. Sometimes I forget that not everyone on this forum is not a native english speaker. That said, your English is solid, so I really never noticed! ;)
“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 Dread

  • Warlock
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2231
  • Country: us
  • Voidraven, the stone skipping across the universe.
  • Armies: Eldar, DE, Harlis, Necrons,  sisters
Re: The Dwindling Queen: An Age of Sigmar Short Story
« Reply #5 on: May 1, 2020, 08:41:58 PM »
Just found this, such a good lead in story and with ELVES! Thank you for that. As I'm not a writer, I could visualise everything you wrote, that's how I judge what I read. When I buy a book, I read the first few pages before. If I can see it in my minds theatre I will buy it. This would be a buy.
"Burning thru the universe in search of peace only brings more war. Peace is an illusion, war is reality, that is the way of things"

                            Farseer Gol'Istria of    the Morea Nebula craftword

Offline Myen'Tal

  • Lazerous Penguin
  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2557
  • Country: 00
  • Armies: Lumineth & Idoneth
Re: The Dwindling Queen: An Age of Sigmar Short Story
« Reply #6 on: May 2, 2020, 11:58:23 AM »
Just found this, such a good lead in story and with ELVES! Thank you for that. As I'm not a writer, I could visualise everything you wrote, that's how I judge what I read. When I buy a book, I read the first few pages before. If I can see it in my minds theatre I will buy it. This would be a buy.

Thanks, Dread!

Cool way of picking out books to buy! I'm kind of the same way, honestly ;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

 


Powered by EzPortal