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UNBROKEN - a short story

Discussion in 'Tales from the Crypt' started by Unas the slayer, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. Unas the slayer

    Unas the slayer Grave Guard

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    Messages:
    225
    I like to write, and most of all I like to write short stories (as some of you that follow Khemri forum already know)... however, the language barrier is no small difficulty, the need to polish the pieces, the doubts, Real Life that asks for attention: all those things are not easy to deal with.


    Anyway, every once in a while, I write something: i wrote about lizardmen, Tomb Kings, Dwarfs... and now I'll write also about VC.
    Actually I'm working on the story with a necromancer as protagonist, but in the meantime, I wanted to submit a story that I wrote for Kemri forum... but given that vampires are somehow involved in the story, i think it would not be out of place also here.


    hope you will enjoy it!




    UNBROKEN

    I am Ephrem, loyal member of the Royal Legion of chariots of my King, the Pharaoh Thut-Rha.
    Proud and fierce I have been imprisoned by the enemy. They are humans of that pitiful Empire (as if calling a thing with a mighty name could confer it real greatness), but I cannot tell much more about my captors. I just know that I am imprisoned here, in this cell.

    So let me tell you how I got here. I used to roam the continent with my father, fighting my King’s enemies and keeping Khemri safe from invaders. My father was everything to me, and on those long campaigns our blood relationship grew even stronger. We spent our time discussing the vast armies that we fought, and how we would have run them, and this obsession with war fueled our bond.
    My father was always with me when I needed comfort, and if you think me weak for needing comfort, you do not understand war, neither us. We are not mindless minions.

    But I digress. One day, like many of them before, we rode our chariot toward the battleground, a contested big city, enclosed by huge banks of fog, released by the Mortis River.
    Perhaps the mundane had made us careless, and the enemy took us by surprise. A monstrously huge device erupted from the mist… the Steam Tank rammed us in the flank, and it was the end. I do not know what came of the battle, all I know is that my father was killed and my legs were shattered.

    I wonder why they took me captive… I’m a broken skeleton, a useless warrior, and their enemy. Of course, the answer is for what’s in my mind. My father was a high officer, and we were part of the elite guard of my King. I know and master the tactics of our army, and many secrets of our kingdom, but certainly I won’t reveal them to this living scum!
    However, they have time, and they are following a subtle scheme, that is still unclear to me. Some days, they use magic on me, with strange warpstone capsule, that have the power to weaken my mind, and some days they carry me around their “oh so clean and beautiful” prison, as if we were allies.
    During one of these tours, I saw the piece that was lacking in the puzzle. A small rack, with tiny bottles filled with blood.

    Vampire Counts.

    It should have been so obvious… in the past the Von Carstein family had been in war with the Empire, losing on the battlefield, but vampires were successful in infiltrating other human reigns, as the dukedom of Mousillon in Bretonnia. It only makes sense that they are now changing tactic, trying to do the same thing here.

    And that’s why they are not hostile with me… they are preparing the ground for their master, the Vampire Lord that would like to win my loyalty, following the grand plan of Nagash, to have all the undead factions under his command.
    Now I know that the human “leader” is just a puppet. He wore flimsy white outer garments and strange lenses suspended before his eyes, similar to the ones of a dwarf engineer, but less crude. Every time he speaks to me, he tries to bribe my will, offering freedom, help, friendship… even new legs! Ah, I don’t doubt a master necromancer would be able to restore my body, and that would be a success for the Vampire Lord, to have on its side one of the personal guards of a Tomb King.

    To be honest, a part of me wonders if I could adapt… but they even suggest to give me a new name, to have more power over me, and this cannot be.
    So I usually let him waste his time, speaking nonsenses and feeding him with other nonsenses. But not today. This day I want to score a victory.

    “Would you like to speak about your mother?”
    "My mother was the dearest woman in all Nehekhara. She carried the blessing of the goddess Basth.. but now she walks in the eternal paradise of the Field of Reeds. She did not received the gift of the Awakening.”
    "And this loss, how does it make you feel?"
    "I feel many things… but right now, I'd have to go with WRATH!"

    I threw myself on him, who was sitting at my side, too much secure of himself. We fell on the floor, grappling each other: my assault was unexpected, and so I closed my hands around his neck…but fresh opponents were rushing through the door to oppose me, gripping my arms and taking me away from my prey.
    "you can stick your offers down your throat, minion!" I screamed, taking pleasure in the way he flinched his eyes, gasping for air. "My name is Ephrem, and I’m like the angry desert wind, you cannot hold my spirit! Settra may be no more, but my eternal loyalty goes to the One True King, the Pharaoh Thut-Rha. Begone, you honorless slave!".

    He left my cell, chased by my derisive laughter and cowering with fear. I would really like to see the reaction of the Vampire Lord when he’ll report his failure, but I don’t doubt that death will be his prize. Yes, this is a great day, because even as prisoner, I can still kill my enemies…

    -----

    2016, October the fourth.

    The patient profile and his case history are perfectly clear. To overcome the trauma of his mother’s death, the patient found shelter in a gaming imaginary world, increasing the relationship with his father and sharing the same hobby. After the car accident that killed his father and crippled him, the patient’s mental barriers between reality and fantasy have crumbled, fueled by the myth of life after death granted by his favorite army, and he fully embraced his alter ego Ephrem.
    Sadly, after one year of unsuccessful therapy and today’s regression, I don’t think there’s much hope left: Ephrem’s strong will and convictions are deeply consolidated; if the Tomb Kings were true, the Pharaoh Thut-Rha would be certainly proud of him.
     
  2. Unas the slayer

    Unas the slayer Grave Guard

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    Messages:
    225
    some author’s notes.

    It’s decidedly an unusual story, and in the future I’ll surely present something more traditional (I promise!).

    In my intention, the reader should (must) recognize that something is wrong in the story. Many things are “out of character” for a Tomb Kings’ charioteer (even for an elite guard): the excessive thinking, the memories, the feelings for his father and his mother, the discussions on tactics; the prison, the captors and all the Vampires theory should also sound strange. And there’s also the mix of terms and background from both the Old World and Age of Sigmar.
    Basically, I wanted to give a feeling like “yeah, it could be, but it’s forced. And some things are just wrong”.

    With the tragic end and the explanation of what’s really happened, of course, all the pieces and the apparent contradictions of the previous part of the story, fall in their proper place, given that it was all just the distorted picture made inside the mind of the poor guy gone crazy. And the title reveals itself in all its bitter irony.

    That's all; any feedback and comment is welcome!
     

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