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Postby Commissar-General at 09 Jul 2006, 03:45

Just a short thing I wrote because I felt like writing;


Robert Kirkland, captain in the Alvarian 61st Noblebloods Division, ran. It was all there was left to do. He dropped his rifle and ran.

He was the fifth son of House Kirkland, one of the seven mighty noble houses on the imperial world Alvarius. A world strictly divided by class and birth, Alvarius had a proud Imperial Guard tradition stretching back for millennia, to M33. Divisions raised from Alvarius were universally infantry, with an officer corps made up of young sons from the noble houses, too young to have any real hope of inheriting land, and line troops taken from the downtrodden peasant class of the world.

Two years ago, the Adeptus Administratum had ordered Alvarius to raise two new infantry divisions for the Kappa Gulf Crusade, a massive imperial movement aimed at retaking the Ork kingdom known as the Kappa Gulf in the name of His Most Holy Majesty. Kirkland, having little prospects beyond becoming the Captain of his House Militia, joined up at the age of seventeen. Six months ago, his division had arrived on the wilderness world known as Larnos III. Today, his entire company had been slaughtered by feral Orks.

And tonight, as the pale moon rose over the large, evergreen trees, he ran.

His muscles were on fire, every breath was like a dagger in his throat. The rock in his knee high, black leather boot had long since torn the sole of his foot open, and he was leaking blood heavily into his sock. His proud, purple dress coat, covered with golden medals and a bright red and gold sash, was torn and dirtied. The tri-cap black hat he had worn was long gone now, and his short, brown hair, was wild and tousled. The white frock around his neck felt constricting now, and it seemed as if he was nearly gagging. His emerald eyes were wide with horror at the murderous laughs and roars he could hear behind him, the greenskins in hot pursuit.

Running into a too-high root, Kirkland tumbled, his face smacking into the wet mud below him. Spitting and choking, he stood in seconds, urging his legs onward, ever onward. He had to escape. His muscles felt like they were being torn apart and lit on fire all at once. It seemed as if his tongue was swelled up to three times its normal size in his mouth. His head was bouncing around so much as he ran that he had no idea were he was, all orientation lost.

“Oh God-Emperor please…please…oh Throne please” Was the only thought racing through his mind.

He dared not look back, but he suspected the huge beasts were right on his tail.

He remembered vividly one of the peasant troopers that had been assigned to guard him leaping forwards as a huge Ork charged. It’s crude stone axe had torn the top of the man’s head right off, gray brains and red blood splattered all over the dirt and the trees. Kirkland had screamed, and then ran.

So far as he knew, he was the last member of his company still running.

A brook loomed in front of him now, the banks covered in rocks and stones. He fell again, as he had at least five times in the past…what was it? Hours? Minutes? All night? He didn’t even know.

The river was cold against his face. The fine silk of his leggings was torn as he scraped knees, elbows, and palms against the rocky floor of the brook. Small tendrils of red flowed through the water. His own blood. Pushing himself up again, he coughed. Blood.

A throwing axe embedded itself in the rocky bank before Kirkland. He tried to scream. All that came out was a tiny, strangled noise of fear. Pounding forward again, into the night, Kirkland leaped over a tiny ledge, landing amongst a briar patch, but running onwards, the thorns tearing cuts along his thighs and legs.

He thought of his home. Riding his horse amongst the green hills of Alvarius, under its puffy, green sky. The sprawling chateaus of his childhood, the almost nightly feasts. His first sexual conquest, a young peasant girl from the village. His parents had not been pleased at that. That a young nobleman would fraternize with peasants in such a way was unthinkable.

Another throwing axe, this time imbedding itself into the trunk of a massive tree just to Kirkland’s left. He weaved to the right, narrowly missing running face first into a low-hanging branch.

Guardsmen vs. Orks had been a popular game of his childhood. Not quite as common as playing Emperor and Horus, but still, popular. Suffice to say, the ending was never like this.

Fumbling with his belt, Kirkland managed to tear his las-pistol, crafted from ivory and mahogany, from its fine leather holster. Turning for a moment, he snapped off a short burst before running again. He heard a loud thud in the woods behind him. Hopefully, one of his pursuers falling dead.

The death of Robert Kirkland’s father had been one of the great disappointments of his life. Unlike his brothers, he had been left nothing. No money, no land, not even a simple family heirloom. There had been no recognition or acknowledgement of him in his father’s will, none at all. He had tried to kill himself that night, overdosing on a designer drug. He had failed at that, too. He had hoped that the Imperial Guard would finally be his chance at success. That had, clearly, proved not to be the case. He had led his company into ambush and total rout, sacrificing the lives of nearly two hundred men of Alvarius on the altar of his own stupidity. Looking down at the master crafted las-pistol in his hand as he ran, he began to wonder if it would not be best to simply end it now, instead of being torn apart by the savage Orks.

He was about to do just that when he ran into something hard and steady, falling to his back. The crack of las-fire was now apparent all around him. The victorious laughter and jovial roars of the Orks had turned into cries of anger and fear.

A hand reached down to Kirkland, and helped him up.

“Where-where am I?” The young noble asked, stumbling and weaving from his fatigue; “Who are you?”

“I am Commissar Erik Ljungberg of the 8th Larnos Wilderness fighters. Who are you?”

Kirkland looked at the man. He appeared to be about sixty, a face pockmarked with scars and old wounds. His eyes were dull, and gray. He was clad in rags of deep green, clearly intended as camouflage. but the black hat of a commissar sat atop his head. All around Kirkland, troopers in similar camouflage were marching forwards, firing with their lasguns on full auto. The Orks were being quickly driven back.

“I am Captain Robert Kirkland.” he replied, smoothing over what was left of his proud dress uniform.

“I see. And where is your unit?”

“Dead… all dead.” Kirkland muttered; “So far as I know, I am the only survivor. I have been running from these beasts for Emperor knows how long.”

“Running?” The man asked, a concerned frown suddenly playing across his face.

“Yes…why?” Kirkland asked, suddenly suspicious.

The commissar took a step back, and raised a bolt pistol to Kirkland’s head.

“What are you doing? Are you mad!?!” The noble asked. He thought of running, but he knew he was far too tired.

“Captain Robert Kirkland, you are hereby found guilty under Imperial Law of cowardice under fire. May the God-Emperor have mercy on your soul.”

“What!?! You can’t do this! I am a noble! I am of House Kirkland! My family will hear of this!”

“I assure you that they will, Captain. Good bye.”

The bolt pistol rang out loudly in the night. Somewhere in the deep forest, a body crumpled to the ground, what was left of its head spilling out over the rocks and dirt. The Emperor’s justice had been done.

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RE: Pursuit

Postby IBBoard at 23 Jul 2006, 16:16

Again, a great story. I like the story line, and for a short story it's got just enough action and description. The ending is good as well - I should have expected it from earlier on, but only caught on as the man asked "Running?" :D It captures the morale side of the Guard on a nice small scale :)

I've added the story, and it's now available on the website: Pursuit
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RE: Pursuit

Postby Hulls Raven at 27 Jul 2006, 10:02

As short as this story is I actually like it. I think that this is proberly your best work yet Com gen.

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