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Flence's Gaming Flashfic

06 Aug 2009, 07:47

In an effort to inspire myself to write more, I'm collecting all the various short ficbits I've written for games here. Most of these were written either to introduce settings or to explore specific concepts.

Enjoy!
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

06 Aug 2009, 07:47

1. "Sing, oh goddess, the fury of the Hellenes."

A bronze-skinned man, dressed in powered hoplite armor marked with the insignia of Sparta, charges a writhing monstrosity. At the last minute, he vaults off a fallen warrior's shield, placing him - and his spear - on a deadly arc towards the thing's shrieking throat. From behind him, machine gun fire holds the thing in place - Spartan military training in action. No fear, even in the face of certain death.

At the apogee of his flight, the warrior lets his spear fly. To ensure a clean kill, he spins mid-jump to assist his weapon's fatal descent with a well-placed kick. His armor-clad foot strikes a switch in the spear's butt, activating a set of rocket motors behind its deadly honeycomb steel blade. Suddenly, the world is smoke, and fire, and blood, and...

A squid-like being, clad in a humanoid exoskeleton forged of metal and ceramics, drives a chain-sword through the chest of a golden mechanical man. The eternal storm of the all-sea swirls and flashes behind the grim tableau as the machina slumps lifelessly on the sparking, churning blade; its holographic head - strong features crafted in imitation (or mockery) of classical Hellene sculpture - flickering to nothingness. And...

Elsewhere, an androgynous, grassy nymph writhes in the grip of prophecy. As she cries and gyrates, she crushes the flowers growing in her hair - filling the marble chamber with their sweet, musky aroma. Nearby, in the dark between the hall's fluted columns, bearded scholars watch intently. "The lost children return, bringing death with them. Beware the Dark Fleet!", she moans - lost in her visions. The wise men turn to stare at one another in shock; one dread word on their lips: "Atlanteans." And...

In a Hellene marketplace, a man formed from insects slips an aetheric dagger's glowing, intangible blade past the personal energy shield of a nobleman, freeing the people from his tyranny with a single strike. And...

Deep in the jungles of her homeworld, a blue-skinned Amazoran warrior hunts her prey. Somewhere nearby, the land is being befouled by the men of a race her people abandoned so long ago. Catching sight of the Zoran landing party, she takes aim with her long rifle. A pregnant silence, a puff of smoke, and his blood feeds the jungle. And...

Alone and dark - out of fuel and with subspace sails tattered by some unknown assailant, a tramp freighter emerges from the All-Sea to flounder in the gravity well of the Kyklopian homeworld. If they had a radio, they'd hail the planet with a warning... little good it would do. Behind the merchant's ship, space shimmers with the tell-tale ripples of a fleet - not a single ship, not a caravan, but an entire armada - surfacing from slipspace. The Black Fleet of Atlantis has arrived, and death does indeed ride with them. And...

As the Athonians celebrate the feast of Hestia, Kykyon burns.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

06 Aug 2009, 07:49

You do a really good job of painting vivid imagery. This was one of my favorites. :D
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

06 Aug 2009, 07:49

2. Lucky Strikes and the Secret Hour

They say you should sleep -- that it's not your fault. But yet here you are, halfway down another bottle of gin and you just stubbed out your last unfiltered Lucky Strike. Maybe they're right: maybe you should sleep. Only if it were that easy. Only if they wouldn't find you.

Somehow, for some reason known only to you, you've left sleep far, far behind. Maybe you're mourning the kid you couldn't save, maybe you burned out on drugs, or maybe your past harbors secrets darker still. But for whatever reason, the gates of Horn and Ivory have been forever closed to you. How long has it been now, a week? Two weeks? Two months? Yeah, I know, time flows differently now that the sandman has gone by-by. But that's not all that's broken for you, is it?

No. You woke up here. Locals call it the Mad City, and it's where all the hopeless cases come after they decide to opt out of the sleeping/waking gig. Only, your kind isn't exactly welcome here. Just ask the clockwork cop who keeps the law where the clocks strike Thirteen, or the Waxen King in his paraffin kingdom where the pipes pump rage instead of steam. Dude, Carrol would trip balls if he saw half the shit that goes on down here -- we're talking about dogs with needles for heads; needles they use to stitch peoples' fucking shadows to the ground. All better to eat them with, as they say.

This isn't just Though the Looking Glass. Oh no; It's smashed that fucking mirror to pieces and rolled the White Rabbit for its lunch money. This wonderland has teeth, friend. And it's hungry for you.

Them's the breaks, kid. Good news is that the same twisted logic which feeds the Mad City also works its wonders on you. You've given up on sleep, and in your exhaustion you've found you can do things. Maybe it's a little bit crazy, sure. But you'd have to be crazy to stay up for -- what, three weeks straight?

What kind of things, you ask? Let me give you a little example... This buddy of mine, -- former rock star, fell on hard times, blah, blah, blah. -- he stayed up drinking and shooting smack for two weeks when he suddenly realized that he could hear the secret rhythms of everything around him. For whatever reason, he got it into his head that he could also change their inner little drummer boys with a song. Clear sign of insanity in the "real" world maybe, but down here it worked just fine. He popped the head off a Paper Boy just by screaming the chorus of Anarchy in the UK. Last I heard, he was digging around in the Library of Sighs looking for Berg's lost sequel to Wozzeck, muttering to himself about the untapped powers of serialism.

But I digress... You're here, things are queer, and shit's out to either kill you or twist you until you're just like them.

Welcome to the Mad City.
Stay Awake.
Don’t rest your head.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

06 Aug 2009, 07:51

3. Moéblob no Uta

On a hot, sticky summer night, in a room decorated with the detritus of Japanese pop culture, a 20-something shut-in sits on his bed in a faded, much-worn anime t-shirt and stained jeans, cuddling his favourite 'hugging pillow' and catching up on fansubs of the latest 'Moé' craze: Strawberry Days.

Behind him, the closet door silently slides open a crack, allowing the room's wan light to fall on a staring eye - not the black or bloodshot red of an angry ghost from a J-horror flick, however. No, this eye is a perfect, watery, innocent blue.

The door yawns wider still, and with a sound somewhere between a sigh and a giggle, a fleshy pink pseudopod snakes out to hover behind the young hikkikomori. With a pop, its blunt tip snaps into the shape of an adorable, wide-eyed girl. The head begins to tilt at an impossible angle as it speaks in a saccharine voice a word more horrible than even the fluting "Tekeli-li" of the eldrich Shoggoths: "Oniichan~"

Yet the young man remains oblivious. The face's eyes shimmer with incipient tears even as they begin to deliquesce and slide down its rosy cheeks.

"Unyuu~"

Another slithering - a sound like something horrible and sinuous flowing over dried leaves - and a young pink-haired girl stands in place of the horrid tentacle. She giggles and rocks on the balls of her feet with her hands clasped behind her back as the wind rustles her cornflower blue sundress.

"Oniichan, onaka suita~"


A beat, measured by the metronome cry of the cicadas outside the bedroom window.

And still, the shut-in remains transfixed by his latest obsession. With another giggle, the girl skips over to the bed and leans in to whisper in the man's ear...

"Oniichan, ai shitteru~"


Finally, she brings her hands out from behind her back -- to reveal the kitchen knife she'd hidden there. Too late, the object of her affection zips up his jeans and turns, just in time to see a young girl with shimmering eyes and perfect skin swing a blade towards his throat.

Our viewpoint shifts to outside the house, where we can hear a barely-muffled scream cut short into a horrible gurgling, followed by a thud and a wet smacking, cracking sound. For a moment, we can see blood splashed on the window; a rich arterial spray backlit a shimmering scarlet by the light of the TV. Then there's naught but darkness in the bedroom, as the cicadas reach their crescendo in the summer night.

And an innocent young girl with pink hair and a blue sundress skips down the street looking for her next lover.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

06 Aug 2009, 10:16

4. Fragment from an abandoned setting idea

The Last Great City stood resolute against the breaking dawn, as it had for time immemorial. But this morning, as the light filtered through the perpetual cloudbank — down past the towering boilers and pistons; down past the great factories with their pitted chrome statues reaching blockily toward a hazy sky; down past even the tangled maze of driveshafts crisscrossing overhead, busily spinning away the years unaware of the ragged throng who sweat and toil out their brief lives beneath their care — entropy found a chink in the City's stalwart defences. In the lower reaches, a cam slipped, and the City groaned. From the great effluvian causeways below to the lofty Olympian crystal spires of the mayorship, it groaned. In defiance of the junkyard world outside its boundaries, it groaned.

A haggard man, grub-pale save for the rust and grime rubbed into the worn parchment lines of his skin, hauls a much-repaired canister vacuum beneath an ancient iron proscenium arch. Though he stoops, his slouch hat still brushes the great ruddy stalagmites, announcing his passage with flurries of iron snow. Above, the City breathes; its mighty engines turning shafts lost in the perpetual smog. It shudders, and a brief squall of gritty oil splatters down upon the world. Down upon the arch and its runnels and nodules of tired old rust. Down upon the letters floating in this sea of dead metal — neat copperplate letters cast in pitted steel, forever marking this lonely place as FOUNDER'S SQUARE.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

06 Aug 2009, 10:23

The moeblob one makes me want some kind of fucked-up horror setting with one.

(yes Higurashi infected me shut up. ._. besides it's fun to go "Unyuu~" at people while waving little tentacles at them cutely.)
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

06 Aug 2009, 10:45

I'm impressed. Good work on all of them. Like Kailan said, you've got a talent for using a few words to paint a vivid picture that provides a lot of hooks for investment - I'd love to see what you could do with a longer work.
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but have not love, I am nothing.

"Most people think time is like a river, flowing swift and sure in one direction. But I can tell you they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I am and why I say this. Sit down, and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard..."

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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

06 Aug 2009, 12:48

The fact that The Last City's an abandoned idea now really depresses me on some level. As I've told you before, you're a great writer, and I will echo the sentiment that moreso than any others, you have an amazing talent for not wasting a single word.

Also, because of you, I really want to run some kind of horror game with the moeblob. Consider it revenge for making me turn my last game concept into a full-fledged gamebook idea.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

06 Aug 2009, 21:09

Thanks for the feedback, guys. I really appreciate it.

bassist159 wrote:
The fact that The Last City's an abandoned idea now really depresses me on some level.


And The Last Great City is only abandoned insomuch as I can't decide quite what to do with my ruined post-dieselpunk, dying city set on a world all but drained of resources and left for scrap by a species long-gone save for the stragglers and unfortunates.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

07 Aug 2009, 09:57

bassist159 wrote:
The fact that The Last City's an abandoned idea now really depresses me on some level.


And The Last Great City is only abandoned insomuch as I can't decide quite what to do with my ruined post-dieselpunk, dying city set on a world all but drained of resources and left for scrap by a species long-gone save for the stragglers and unfortunates.[/quote]

Speaking of:

4a: The Last Great City (cont.)

High above the rust-choked effluvia - above the City's great metal lungs that resound still with the furnace-draught of ages long past - above even the tangle of nervous wires that still spark with the Alzheimer's ghost of industry, the rough tread of heavy-shod boots violates the fragile peace of the Mayoral cathedral. Dust motes, snowstorm thick, swirl in the smokey light of vine-choked plate windows - crystalline and fragile, slumbering in their vigil; ever lost to the encroaching chaos. The dust piles and drifts, shying away from the rudely-dressed stranger and the spear of torchlight he carries.

The dust shifts, and pinch-faced men glare down at the stranger from their gilt frames, as if in judgment of his bold manner and rude suit of brass and iron, canvas and leather. Blueprints, aged to crackling parchment, yearn to give up their secrets - secrets once pored over by titans of industry - as they rustle in his wake, touched by light and motion for the first time in centuries.

The upper reaches of the city are a tomb for Progress herself, but perhaps salvation may yet be found in her barren womb. On this fleeting thread of hope, the stranger searches onward - through mahogany-paneled boardrooms and the machinery of statecraft which once steered this great City: rooms choked now with dust in place of cigar smoke and rot instead of secrets.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

07 Aug 2009, 10:08

5. Rising Steam: 20 Years After (Interview with a post-Steampunk)
(AKA, Cory Doctrow can go fuck himself)


I remember the world back before the ‘punkers showed up with their empty promises and their home biodiesel stills; their gasping steam engines and their clattering gears. Back when everything didn’t come encrusted with five kilos of decorative brass and iron gewgaws. Fuck, back when we had miles, not this kilometer bullshit.

Don’t get me wrong, mind. I’m grateful that someone did something about the energy crisis – that last brushfire war outside Dubai almost went nuclear, and half of Alaska still glows at night ever since Putin tried to annex the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. I’m just saying that we should have put a little more thought into living with these gadgets, y’know? It seems to me they all had a collective brainfart about their own name. They call themselves ’steampunks’ and ‘dieselpunks,’ but almost to a man they dream about gizmos only the wealthy or insane could afford to use.

Shit man, you going to tell me that you like stripping old paperbacks just so you can fire up the neoWatt steam generator on your Apple Underwood? And don’t get me started on the heat. Fuck man, I live in Texas. Do you know what it’s like living with a half-dozen steam turbines chugging away come August? Those new Ammonia chillers only work so well, and fashion dictates we wear our waistcoats and shirtsleeves around the house. It’s little wonder the place stinks to high heaven of machine oil and B.O.

Yeah, yeah, I know. You never hear about any of this bullshit in Steampunk Times or the Whole Earth Catalogue. Of course you don’t – for the wealthy ‘punkers, they get to live the dream - their lives are all hardwood, polished brass, and charity balls. Of course it is: they can afford to hire help to do all the dirty work for them. As much as they love posing in boiler gloves, goggles, and rolled sleeves, I doubt that many of them really considered the expense and labour involved with a return to Victorian technology.

The rest of us, though, know all too well. Just ask my wife how she enjoys her neo-Victorian biodiesel stove. Hell’s bells, you want to know why female employment rates are down? Talk all you want about a misogynistic bent to Congress, but the real culprit is that fire-belching iron monster squatting in every kitchen. No more microwaves, no more slow cookers… And you think any of us can afford fast food now that we’re all working in factories and clerk’s garrets? Fuck man, we can barely afford engineered mycoprotein steaks on my salary - especially now that we’ve got my brother to care for.

My brother - just another cripple churned out of the squabbling aftermath left behind when the North American Trade Alliance blew up in our faces. You remember reading that news story about the Aztlan Confederation gassing our trenches a couple months back? Poor sod was caught right in the middle of that attack, right off the Sixth Street line.

Anyhow, that’s a story in itself and my teatime is almost over. Maybe we could meet for a pint later? I’d feel much better ’bout all this with a couple of rounds under me.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

07 Aug 2009, 10:55

The last one made me smile. Sort of feels like a derisive snort at all the little fashionistas irl who think adding brass gears to a prom dress makes it "like ttly steempunk gaiz."
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

07 Aug 2009, 13:34

I have to admit, every time I read that I can't help but wonder why the concept of post-Steampunk hasn't been explored yet.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

07 Aug 2009, 19:23

Wait, so it's a post-fordist American society that has gone back to a simpler time of aristocracy and unsafe labor regulations? I'm both terrified and interested.

bassist159 wrote:
I have to admit, every time I read that I can't help but wonder why the concept of post-Steampunk hasn't been explored yet.


Honest question, how often in popular fiction is the punk portion of steampunk actually explored?
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

02 Oct 2009, 18:39

6. A Document Recovered from Metropole Hotel
(A teaser for a larger story in the works)


Note: the contents of this message are classified ENIGMA/ULTRA and are intended for Star Chamber staff only. If you do not possess ENIGMA/ULTRA clearance, please destroy this message and report to your immediate superior for debriefing and disciplinary measures.

DESTROY UPON READING.

TRANSMISSION BEGINS
+++


IGYCV KGWBE CHWEV BLMOQ KEIVR RJDHE
RRNWK VZHMM NVCCK VBJGD BDSTS OSJEL
TBBVL RDVXD XROYO AYNJQ DAIKK QFRXS
AJZSE WLSNU JFFUQ IPRPV HHKYN VJZMO
URUXR



Bald eine schwarze Sonne wird Morgengrauen über das Silber Dorn, und mit ihm ein neues Zeitalter.

Viele Welten, sondern ein ewiges Reich
Oberführer Jakob Sporrenburg.



+++
TRANSMISSION ENDS


+++
COLOSSUS decryption and manual translation follow:

Xerum funfhundert zwei und fünfzig in Verbindung von Prag. Sichern Sie die Golem Blut bei der Ankunft und Vorbereitung die Glocke für die Aktivierung Tests.

Bald eine schwarze Sonne wird Morgengrauen über das Silber Dorn, und mit ihm ein neues Zeitalter.
Viele Welten, sondern ein ewiges Reich


+++

Xerum (Serum?) 552 is en-route from Prague. Secure the Golem's Blood upon its arrival and prepare the Bell for activation tests.

Soon a Black Sun will dawn over the Silver Thorn, bringing with it a new age.
Many worlds, but one eternal [German] Kingdom.



+++
END TRANSLATION



ULTRA believes the plaintext portion of the message represents a new cypher in use among the officers Waffen-SS, distinct from that used by the general servicemen. Please stand by for further bulletins.

Meanwhile, the boys in D Section are attempting to dig up whatever they can on this "Jakob Sporrenburg" character.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

04 Oct 2009, 12:37

:shock: ... :) ... :D

Just read all of these for the first time. I am seriously impressed. Writing something this kind of length that's decent is hard... and these are way more than decent. They're evocatively and gripping, they hint at larger things happening and they (all) make me want to know more.

Also, the allied interpretation of the last thing as a new cypher cracked me up.

And now I gotta go find everything else you've written...
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

30 Dec 2009, 18:15

7.Vox: The Sound of Her Voice

3am, 7-11 bathroom, none too clean. I sit under a busted fluorescent light upon my offal throne, cradling a crumpled plastic bag. Inside, a sparkling white powder I mix into my Big Gulp - an unworthy chalice for this, my psychoactive Virgil, but one must make do.

I sip, trying not to gag at the flavor floating atop my sickly-sweet cola sacrament, and Her Voice swells around me - muffled as always, like a subway conductor traveling the secret roads of my karma.
(Next stop: Mudalahara)

All at once, there is it: that familiar sexual/chemical machine-gun shiver down my spine. Kundalini stirs, the mirror smokes, and I'm suddenly suffused in light - surrounded by my own personal Akashic library: the wisdom of the ages scrawled on the walls of my bathroom stall.
(For universal enlightenment, call 867-5309) Above my head, the light flickers in time with the syncopated beat of Her song: hammering against my temples with such intensity that I fear for my skull.

Then, without warning - the world splinters and I drown in her Voice. She's with me now: my Beatrice, my Delilah, my Anima/Animus all in one. Here we lie nested like lovers, cradled inside the lotus at the heart of everything. Possibility waiting to be born.
(Om mani padme FUCKING hum)

She cradles me, her every touch the caress of ten thousand experienced lovers, and whispers to me her wisdom - her commandments. Her Voice. Clear at last.

Oh, but beware the Jabberwock, my son. For he sleeps at the base of your soul, and he is a jealous lord. With knowledge, gravity resumes. What comes up crashes to dust. And so I fall - fall back into my mortal shell: insufficient to contain Her Voice and unworthy of her affection.

The filthy man in the stained army coat who sold me the bag called it "silver cord." I don't know where it comes from or what it's made of. It could be made of pixie jizz and the ground-up assholes of Inca mummies for all I care. It worked. I have heard the light, hallelujah.

Communion has been achieved. Her Voice has been brought into focus at long last. I sing Her song, and I greet the new dawn with a renewed sense of purpose.

There's so much to be done. She has spoken.
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

30 Dec 2009, 18:18

Holy shit. I don't even know what that last one's for - it could be about half-dozen different games - but goddamn if that isn't awesome. What inspired this one?
You know soft spoken changes nothing.

Muda da. Shikaiyaku Shinken wa muteki da.
 
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Kailan
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

30 Dec 2009, 18:19

...I want to make sweet sordid love to this drabble. Awesome.
Text in red is modvoice.

(11:18:32 PM) Xanti: The Bronze Faction does not care about your stupid anathema feefees.

This signature was foretold... BY GYROMANCY.
 
Andrensath
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

30 Dec 2009, 18:25

...Wow. Just wow. *applauds*
 
Janana
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

30 Dec 2009, 18:34

...damn. That is *well* done.
Ceci n'est pas une signature
 
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The Purples
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

31 Dec 2009, 17:30

Why don't you write more!?
'So you say your name is Ulysses,
that you're wandering around the world.
Tell me sir, have you ever been arrested before?'

This is the worst thing. -bassist159

Here there be dragons.
 
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FlenceburgExile
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

07 Jun 2010, 11:18

Home (a Maschine Zeit flashfic)

It was in that airless place of madness and rust where I found my penitent angel, stood transfixed by the lightning in her eyes, and cried out in holy rapture as her wings of broken glass and broken dreams flensed away everything needless in my life. A brutal, loving surgeon; filleting the lies of my soul and cleaving me from triviality.

Disjointed memories assault me:
falling free as a station burns above
a news report on crop failures
adverts for sponsored living in orbit
Sara's smile, so like an angel - my angel.


Detritus from a dissected life, scattered like dead leaves at the taste of her razorblade tongue.
Did you think you would be saved by the gods and idols you have made?
 
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FlenceburgExile
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Re: Flence's Gaming Flashfic

12 Oct 2010, 22:23

Letter to the Imperial Manse, upon the defeat of two Imperial Legions at the hands of the Shogunate garrison currently encamped in the ruins of Deheleshen

To my brothers in the Central Province, peace of the Dragons be upon you -

It's with a heavy heart that I must report the utter defeat of the two Legions you set upon us. Know at least that they were not defeated without loss - a full compliment of my bravest fighting men sacrificed themselves that day. They lie intermingled with your own dead, commended to the will of the Dragons and finally beyond the petty whims of the woman who sent them to their graves.

I'm also given to understand that the woman who has styled herself as the Empress over us all has been making inquiries as to the nature of the weapon which claimed so many lives on that fateful day. Rest assured that we are ready and willing to render unto her a private demonstration - within her court chambers, should the need arise.

Know this, you pit of vipers following a usurper queen - through us and by our valor and sacrifice, the banner of the Terrestrial Shogunate remains unsullied. We walk the righteous Five-fold Path you mock with your vainglorious posturing. Therefore, the 7th Legion and all her commanders, commissioned soldiers and fighting men down to the lowliest camp follower stand in opposition to you and your unjust regime. We will not bow - unto the final man, we will not bend our knee. And when you come calling, we will oppose you. To our last breath, we will declaim your lies. There can be no peace among us so long as your coward of a so-called "Scarlet Empress" cowers behind her web of civil lies and allows others to die for her self-serving ambitions.

If she wishes to claim dominion over the River Provence, she can come take it from us personally.

-- Nefvarin, Commander in Arms of the 7th Legion of the Dragon-Blooded Shogunate
Did you think you would be saved by the gods and idols you have made?

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