Hiya everybody! A half-year ago someone posted on the forum about the annual Games Workshop - Black Library Writing Contest; I'm having a hard time finding that thread, so first off I want to say how awesome is was for that guy to tell the community. He did it even though it lowered his own chances to win the competition, and it gave me an excuse to type up what I think is a decent short story, or rather the beginning of one. If anyone likes Warhammer 40k, be sure to check around the internet and see if you want to submit a story to Black Library when the time comes around.
Now I didn't win the competition, and since I don't think I'll have the interest any time soon to complete the story, I think I might as well post it here, where someone might be able to get some enjoyment out of it.
It is the time of the Imperial Tithe on Agri-World Jolanus. Amidst the planet wide
celebration, two brothers enjoy what could be their last day on the world before they depart on
the transports of the 2 nd Jolanus Regiment. As they toast to their future, the older sibling, Idian,
promises to always look out for his little brother, Hunor. The story jumps to one of the caves that
riddle the world of K’dar where the brothers and a handful of others in their regiment hide to
escape the orbital bombardment of a Chaos fleet. The attack drove back the Imperial fleet,
turning the successful war against the local secessionists into a desperate struggle against
insurmountable odds. In the dark, the beleaguered soldiers are broken by their defeat and
convinced that they will die forgotten and far from home. Hunor begins telling them of his
memories on the farm, and the troopers start trading stories of their homes and the families they
left behind. They rally, and launch a guerrilla war that lasts until the Imperial Fleet arrives and
pushes the Chaos forces back. In the climactic battle against the servants of the dark gods, Idian
and Hunor hold the hill that protects the flank of the Imperial forces with their heavy bolter.
Hunor is wounded in the battle when he takes a bayonet to the gut, and though the brothers hold
their ground until reinforcement arrive, Hunor does not survive the battle. The story jumps to
Idian as an old man, standing in front of the grave of his brother. Idian talks to his brother’s
tombstone, telling how he never forgave himself for breaking his promise to keep his little
brother safe, and that he hopes one day to make amends. Idian’s adult son lays a wreath on the
grave, and the two walk back to their farmhouse, the same farmhouse Idian and Hunor had lived
in and swore to protect each other before going off to war.
“I’m not saying that you bought a bad bottle of ferment, I’m just saying that it’s not what I had in
mind when I said we should celebrate our last day here,” Idian said as he held up the clear bottle
of cheap highland alcohol to the last rays of sunlight. “I was thinking of something a little
fancier, to be honest.”
Hunor shook his head and gave an easy hearted laugh that failed to mask his anxiety. “I swear I
looked,” Hunor said as he held up his hands in mock offense, “but all the good stuff was bought
up a week ago. You know, when we were stuck in basic training?”
Idian winced at the mention, “Don’t remind me. My muscles start cramping up when I
remember all the crap the drill instructors put us through.” He looked at their tidy farmhouse
which stood in the middle of their remote farmland, remembering how they had built it with their
own two hands and a few old power tools Hunor had bartered. The dark wood paneling glowed a
dull golden-red in the sunset, and pride welled up inside Idian at what he and his little brother
had accomplished after setting out on their own.
His mind drifted to when they had left their family’s home: the fields had turned rotten, and there
was not enough food in the stores to feed the whole family. It had been decided Idian and Hunor
would leave, and try to make a living elsewhere. Idian felt bitter resentment for what he knew
was a wise decision on his grandfather’s part; but, he could never completely forgive that man
for all the pain Hunor had gone through on their three-hundred- mile trek westward. He had
barely survived the fever-sickness, and Idian had spent long nights praying and willing his
brother to live as he carried him on the way to their new home.
“I’m going to miss this place,” Idian whispered, the words barely squeaking through his
suddenly tight throat. Hunor patted him on the back reassuringly; he believed- no, knew- his
brother was one of the toughest men alive, but for all his rugged exterior, Idian had a soft heart.
“We’ll be back. I just hope it’s still standing when we do.”
Idian turned around, looking at his brother’s face like he was searching for something. “Hunor,
you know I’ll look out for you while we’re out there,” he said, gesturing up to the darkening sky.
His little brother nodded knowingly, “I know you will. You said so a hundred times before.”
Idian’s grim face broke into a wide grin, and he gave his brother a heartfelt nudge in the ribs, “I
just wanted to see if you remembered!”
He uncorked the bottle of booze with a twist of his meaty fingers and poured it into a couple of
crude, lime-green glasses he had bought for the occasion. “A toast,” handing a glass to Hunor,
“to our future and the glory we’ll surely find!”
If anyone else has a story or submission they want to post, feel free to!
Share your stories about the Gothic Sector and your battle reports.
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