‘Rise, Lord Commander Dras, and stand as the proud warrior and general you are,’ said the crystal clear, perfectly-accented voice. ‘No warrior, no matter how high or low his station, shall ever have to kneel before me.’
Hesitantly, Astinon and his Space Marines got up from their kneeling positions, standing tall before their new master. His aura, if it could be called that, held their eyes captive and they were unable to look away from his face.
‘Once I was the lord of an entire legion of warriors, eighty thousand Astartes at the height of its power,’ began Vulkan, addressing the entire chamber. ‘I was an unwilling general in those times, commanding the finest and most brutal armies in the history of our race. The last twenty thousand years have changed much. I came back from my exile to find my father’s realm torn asunder, more potently than even my most twisted brothers could have ever planned.’ The Primarch paced in front of his throne like a caged lion, as if struggling to break free of invisible chains that held him down.
Astinon could hear the pain in Vulkan’s heartfelt speech, aware of how monstrous the Great Betrayal had been for the demi-god. He could even see the faint shadow of the anguish in the Primarch’s eyes, eyes that silently and forcefully promised vengeance for millennia of suffering.
‘And my heart soared to find that my sons and the sons of my brothers still survive, that they still hold true to ideals that the rest of the galaxy has forgotten. They, like you, have sacrificed much over the centuries and the millennia since the Fall of Terra. Many of them were forced to become savages while others kept their nobility of purpose and duty alive. And it is they who will carry aloft the torch of our new future.’ Vulkan now stopped and pointed at the Corvians.
‘These warriors, the sons of Corax, Corvians as they call themselves, are one of the many that have joined our new beginning, like the Fire Beasts and the Dorn Revenants. There will be others as well, mark my words, my friends. Lord Commander Dras?’
‘Yes, my lord,’ croaked Astinon.
‘Dalmor has told me much about you and your battle-brothers. And in my exile I have heard much of your predecessors as well. Corax was my closest brother in the Golden Days, together with Ferrus Gorgon and Rogal Dorn. I would be honoured to accept your service until the time when Corax himself calls upon you.’
Tears came unbidden to Astinon’s eyes at the Primarch’s words, and he managed to nod, answering for his brothers as well. Vulkan smiled at him once more and sat back down in his throne.
‘Very well, then. Astinon Dras of the former Angels of Retribution chapter, I hereby give you command of the Nineteenth Commandery, the Sons of Corax. Your warriors shall ever be your own. Sergeant Tel’maon, take the Captain of the Nineteenth and his officers to their quarters.’
‘Yes, my liege,’ Tel’maon saluted, forming the Aquila over his chest.
‘Captain Dras,’ Vulkan called out to the former general as he began to leave. ‘Remember always that what we do, we do in the name of the True Emperor of Mankind, not the bloated, bastardized mockery that is the Star-Father.’
‘Yes, my lord,’ Astinon bowed and left with Tel’maon.
‘We are still in the Primarch’s tower, are we not, Brother Tel’maon?’ asked Adrastos as they all walked towards the quarters assigned to the Corvian officers.
‘Indeed, Captain. The Emerald Tower lies at the heart of Hades Hive, just as Armageddon is the heart of the New Imperium. It serves as the Primarch’s base of operations, his sanctum, his refuge, and his court.’
Tel’maon and a squad of his Firedrakes led them via power-lifts down to the deep sub-levels of the tower, where access was carefully restricted and entire squads of Astartes in emerald power armour stood as sentries. Astinon could see that their armour was the same as that of his escorts, recently forged and shining with its own newness. In comparison, the armour worn by him and his warriors was a patchwork of armour-plates salvaged and repaired times beyond count and in the early stages of becoming obsolete in their functionality.
The Firedrake Sergeant stopped as he came to stand before a large, armoured door of Adamantium and strengthened ceramite. Astinon looked on as Tel’maon typed in an access code and the door opened, soundlessly and with such a grace that he could not have imagined of Imperial technology. Curious as to what the chamber beyond could hold, the Corvians followed the Salamanders inside.
As Tel’maon switched on the chamber’s bio-lumes, bathing the entire chamber in a soft golden light, the Corvians were stunned at the incredible bounty that lay before them.
The walls of the entire chamber were covered in various weapon racks and storage boxes full of a multitude of varying ammunitions. There were chainswords, chain-axes, power swords, thunder hammers, lightning claws, power-axes, boltguns, plasma pistols, heavy bolters, multi-meltas and more besides, resting snugly in their casings and giving off the sheen of newness that was the norm throughout Hades Hive. The chamber was a repository of technological wonders.
Grinning, Tel’maon watched their shocked expressions with some amusement. ‘This is to be your armoury, Captain Dras. It will fall under the jurisdiction of the Nineteenth Commandery and serfs and artificers will be provided to you in due course.’
‘This is extraordinary,’ whispered Manov, finding his voice.
‘The entire chamber is to be given over to us?’ asked an incredulous Adrastos.
‘These are wonders beyond measure,’ remarked Astinon in an awed tone.
‘This is not the entirety of the Primarch’s gift to you, lords.’ Tel’maon turned to the wall behind him and activated a control panel next to the light-box. Astinon and the others could hear a soft, whirring noise as six perfectly circular recesses some fifty feet in diameter opened up in the floor of the armoury and a platform arose from within each recess. The Corvians gaped dumbfounded at the new sight before them.
Suits of newly-forged, unpainted power armour were stacked neatly together on five of the platforms, thirty on each, their surfaces unblemished and unmarked. On the central platform were ten suits of Terminator armour, finely wrought and unpainted just like their smaller versions.
‘These suits of armour have been forged for you and your warriors, Captain Dras. More will be provided in due time as your Commandery grow in number. I suggest you and your warriors take charge immediately, for if I have read the Primarch right, you will be given a vital mission of great import soon enough. That is how it has been for all the Astartes warbands and mortal soldiers that have so far come to Armageddon. Lord Vulkan does not delay in making appropriate use of the forces under his command.’
‘Understood brother,’ said Astinon and turned to Captains Adrastos and Dheimmel and his champion Manov. ‘Assemble the rest of the Corvians. Distribute the suits of power armour and the weapons equally between all. I will make a decision later about the suits of Terminator armour.’
Taking a final look at the chamber and its contents, Astinon continued. ‘The night is darkest just before the dawn, my brothers. We have begun to step out of the darkness of our conflicted past and it looks like the sun has now begun to rise on our destiny as well, a new dawn full of hope and promise heralds our future.’
As per some of my last few blogposts, I have started writing for LL’s Age of Dusk setting, which is set in the years M51 and on. My first piece for this, entitled Sons of Corax, is now available on the Bolthole in the General Warhammer-verse Fiction section. So far, I have four chapters up which have set up my characters, the particular setting within the larger background, and hopefully the motivations of my main characters.
Chapter 5, which will nicely and quite explosively be the first action scene of the piece, shall be up either tonight or tomorrow. Expect lots of bolter-action, screaming, dying, mutilating, decapitating, gut-ripping, and all that jazz that people love in Warhammer 40,00o or, should I say Warhammer 60,000?
So far, this has been really fun to write, and I have all sorts of crazy ideas on how to turn things on their heads and twist perceptions. This is going to be a wild, wild ride people and you don’t wanna miss it! Stay tuned for more on this!
Stunned silence gripped the bridge of the ancient vessel at Collector Idel’s unexpected words and every single gathered warrior, whether a mortal or an Astartes, stared at him with dumbfounded expressions. Lord Commander Astinon could hardly believe his ears. Was this really true?, he wondered. In the utter madness and turmoil that grips this galaxy can this ember of hope really exist?
‘No old friend, it cannot be true,’ he addressed the diminutive man, his shoulders heavy as he sat down on his battered and chipped black-ivory throne, suddenly feeling light-headed and weak. For one such as him, these weaknesses would have once been completely alien, but not in the terrible times that he now found himself in. ‘There is nothing in this galaxy but horror and terror. Utter damnation has wormed its way into its heart and corrupted it to its very core. Nought but oblivion awaits us.’ To the warriors on the bridge, their general’s pain was all too apparent in his tone and inflection.
The eager and youthful Collector shook his head in disapproval. ‘No my friend, it is very much true. I have seen him and the wonders he has wrought with my own eyes. There is a fire within him that compels all around him to seek out the best in themselves. His words drive them to heights of unimaginable greatness! If only you could see what I have seen brother,’ he mused, his mind still unable let go of the visions he had seen on that blasted world.
Astinon’s stunned expression turned to one of contempt and hate. ‘You are lying, Idel. You tell me some fable, thinking that you can dupe me with such grand falsities, but I will not suffer that indignity. I once called you brother and friend, but no more. I see now how deep your ambition to take my place as the Master of the Corvians goes. But has doomed you, traitor. I denounce you!’ The Lord Commander turned to his champion, Sergeant Manov, and pointed at Idel. ‘Seize this traitor, brother, and throw him in the brig. I will see to him later.’
Manov stood helpless next to Astinon’s throne, caught between his loyalty to his commander and his friendship to the Collector. For his part, Idel was as dumbfounded at Astinon’s order as the latter had been at his words only a few moments ago. Rage took hold of Astinon as his order went unheeded and he got up.
‘Sergeant Manov!’ he thundered. ‘You will arrest this traitor and put him in the brig, now!’
Before the Sergeant could respond, a voice full of authority and purpose challenged Astinon. ‘There will be no hands laid on this man, Lord Commander Astinon Dras.’
The furious general turned towards the direction of the voice and was struck speechless for a second time in less than an hour. Stepping onto the bridge was a tall figure, a figure he had never expected to see again, not since the last time they had met on the blood-drenched fields of Gida Prime. In full battle-plate of polished dark emerald, the helmeted warrior’s presence had a distinctive effect on the tense atmosphere of the bridge. Many of the Corvians recognized the armour and its distinctive markings, markings which seemed to have become even more complex and ostentatious since he had last laid eyes on it, as if the wearer of the armour had recently been raised high in rank.
Astinon gazed at the new arrival in complete shock and awe, his senses unable to accept the evidence of his own eyes. One by one, the Corvians on the bridge couldn’t help but kneel before the new arrival; such was the magnificence that radiated from him. A surprised and awestruck Astinon collapsed back on his throne. In a life as chaotic and turbulent as his own, the endless parade of changes was too much even for him.
‘You… you are… you are alive,’ he croaked. ‘But that is impossible! I saw you fall on Gida Prime!’
In a fluid motion and with apparent grace, the warrior removed his helmet, exposing his face to the Corvian officers in front of him. With cropped hair, patrician features, a confident bearing and three gold studs, he was the image of martial perfection as only a warrior of the Adeptus Astartes could be. He walked up to Astinon’s throne and shook the Lord Commander’s gauntleted hands in a warrior’s grip, wrist to wrist.
‘I survived, brother. The drug-crazed Kazan captured me as spoils of war and I was their prisoner for nigh twelve years.’ The warrior’s voice was just as Astinon remembered, strong, clear and, in contrast to his own, full of purpose. His world contracted to encompass just him and the green-armoured warrior in front of him, his fellow Corvians and Idel forgotten for the moment.
‘Twelve years? It has been only a mere twelve years?’ he whispered. ‘The galaxy has gone from one hell to another since I thought you lost, brother.’
‘The past does not matter anymore, Astinon, but what does is that I have returned. Seven years, my oldest friend, seven years I have spent in a holy crusade, bringing hope, truth and justice to a corrupted galaxy. And I bring you the most wondrous news brother, one to uplift even your sorrow.’
‘Hope? Truth? Justice?’ Astinon laughed maniacally. ‘Such concepts are meaningless in these times Sian’me, my friend. Meaningless I tell you, for the Emperor’s light has -’
Sian’me, once a sergeant of the Salamanders chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, raised his hand to stop Astinon in mid-sentence. The Lord Commander only looked confused at the interruption.
‘I am no longer Sian’me, Astinon,’ said the warrior gently. ‘I am reborn, and in my rebirth I have a new name. A name bestowed upon me by my new lord. I am now Dalmor, Captain of the Salamanders Commandery, the Lord Nocturne’s Own.’
Astinon’s world shattered at those words, words which wormed their way into his thoughts. Rebirth. New lord. Lord Nocturne’s Own. Thoughts of lost glory, of nobility, of sacrifice, of duty, of purpose came unbidden to him. The dream-haze that had for so long clouded his mind suddenly disappeared in an instant. And with it gone, came clarity, a clarity he had lost all those years ago.
Comprehension flooded his mind, a mind bred for war, for service, for loyalty. His shrunken world expanded and suddenly he became aware of his battle-brothers near him, of the throne he sat upon. He realized where he was and looked to his champion.
In his eyes Manov saw all the pain and guilt his general had carried with him for the last twelve years disappear in a flash. In his poise, he saw the return of unyielding confidence, the surety of purpose. He nodded in approval at Dalmor, who continued to look at his friend.
‘He has returned, Astinon, well and truly returned!’ exclaimed the Salamander, his tone conveying all the emotion he could not express with any action. A sense of wonder filled him, and all could see it, could feel it. ‘Armageddon has been purged in blood and fire, the filth of the Emperor’s Children and their dupes scoured clean from its surface. The Master of Nocturne, the true child of the Emperor has returned to guide us to new beginnings. To unite all the disparate and warring factions of humanity and restore the true ideals of the Imperium, bringing the Emperor’s light to all the corners of this damned galaxy!’
Lord Commander Astinon Dras, general of the Corvians, glanced at his old friend, a friend he had thought long gone, and whom he had mourned in his grief for twelve long years, twelve years of self-chastisement and self-torture. To everyone around him, Astinon appeared remarkably changed from the defeated man whom he had been just a few moments prior, and they saw their old commander return in his bearing.
‘I need to see him myself Dalmor,’ he addressed the Salamander. ‘I must ask forgiveness for my sins, sins that I have committed against the Emperor and my own lord.’
‘Indeed, my brother,’ Dalmor smiled at his friend’s words. ‘He himself has asked to meet with you on Armageddon, the capital of his new Imperium. It is why I accompanied Collector Idel,’ he said, pointing at the scion of a long line of those who had once called themselves Rogue Traders.
Astinon looked at his hands, hands that hadn’t wielded a weapon in two years, and bunched them into fists, smashing them down on the arms of his throne. The sound reverberated across the entire bridge of the ancient vessel, the venerable battle-barge Montisgarre, once the fortress-monastery of the infamous Angels of Retribution.
‘I am done hiding,’ he spoke, with absolute conviction in his voice. ‘I am done running away from the bastard dogs that once were as dust beneath my ancestors’ feet. I once had honour and purpose. I was once loyal,’ he whispered.
The Corvians gathered closer and knelt together in fealty before him, acknowledging his authority as their Lord Commander. Dalmor stood where he was, full of pride at the warrior who stood before him, one who had been a broken shell of himself for the last twelve years.
‘We are the Corvians, the truest of all the sons of Kiavahr,’ he continued. ‘We once stood as a bulwark against all the enemies of mankind, from within and without, whether they be traitors most foul or aliens too horrible. And we shall be so once again. Once we were known as the Raven Guard, Raptors, Black Guard, Revilers, Angels of Retribution, Imperial Talons, Knights of the Raven, and by dozens of other names.’ No one interrupted and all listened raptly to his rousing words.
‘In those dark days, we were as islands to each other, like scattered sticks of wood. That is why the Imperium fell for we failed it utterly and completely. We were once the Angels of Death, His own vengeance that would strike all those who would oppose us, but we weren’t united.’ Astinon made eye contact with every single Corvian, even with Dalmor, before continuing.
‘But that changes, now!’ he shouted. ‘We have lived the last ten thousand years as scavengers and opportunists, mercenaries in all but name. This is the Age of Dusk for Mankind and in these terrible times we will rise again from the ashes of our defeat to take our due from this uncaring galaxy.’
Astinon drew his power sword from its scabbard and thrust it high into the air. The silvery-blue surface of the sword caught the light from the bio-lumes aboard the bridge and reflected it to create the illusion that the weapon was radiating an intense, near-blinding light.
‘We will live with honour, fight with honour and die with honour!’ he cried, his voice full of passion in a cause he had long thought he had forsaken but had now rediscovered. ‘FOR THE HONOUR OF CORAX!’
‘WE BRING RETRIBUTION AND DEATH TO OUR FOE!’
And the final week of the Spring Open Submission Window has arrived. As you can see in my related thread over on the Bolthole, people are starting to submit their short stories and novels, stuff that they have been working on for the whole length of the window. It’s nice to see so much creative output and I hope some of these people get in (obviously not all will *wink*wink*).
Just like Project Honour, the sample for Project R&R is proving to be a pain to write as well. I have already discarded over 800 words (collectively) for two different versions of the sample. With the final lap in play now, I’m really short on time too. Not to mention that Project Long Hunt is still MIA. That piece needs a lot of work but I am struggling to find the right inspiration.
Going to be referring to TerribleMinds’ err, umm, suggestions over here to push through this week. Definitely recommend reading that article in full. Beware that the language is quite ‘adult-oriented’. Don’t blame me if you can’t handle a little cursing.
However, none of that means that I have only been letting my soul be sucked away by the submissions window! Hell no!
Take a stroll over to the Bolthole’s General Warhammer-verse FanFic section to check out my new forum project. A WIP of course. Having finally read through all the twelve (now thirteen) sections of LL’s 60k alternate-verse setting, I present to you the Sons of Corax. It is set in the early years of the Age of Dusk, ten thousand years after the fall of the Imperium and the descent of the galaxy into the Second Age of Strife. It’s a pretty cool setting conjured up by crazyman LL and if you read all his background sections for the setting, you see how well this guy can channel his inner Tolkien in setting up the whole stage. Amazing stuff.
Response in terms of readership to Sons of Corax has been quite well and I am really happy with the whole project so far. Ideas just come into play and I write them on the screen. Feels really natural! I already have two sections of the story up, coming in at about 3300+ words. Chapter 3 shall be up today or tomorrow. Come check out the progress!
And hopefully once all the madness of the submissions window ends, I can get back to all my other neglected works which include:
Looking forward to getting back in the groove for War Engagement!
It’s been a busy few days since my last post. Heck of a lot of things have happened, not the least is more positive news on the writing front and tons of fun, new information.
#1 Short Story Number 5, not to be confused with this.
Project Oath & Duty is also complete; am just awaiting some more feedback on it. A lot of people have commented that there really isn’t any real action in it but well, the beta-readers are only reading a short sample of the larger piece and its synopsis. It is going to be a dialogue-heavy story and that’s where the action is gonna be. For now, Project OD is marked off in the ready-to-send category pending a couple minor typo-corrections.
#2 Short Story Number 6
Project R&R is now in full swing. The Angels of Retribution are finally back in their second short story! Can’t give any more information on it without spoiling the plot but this is going to be some real fun to write in full. This is a straight-up action-oriented short story with lots of bolter-fire, chainswords-swinging, bam-bam-bam-bam-bam and things blowing up and people getting decapitated. Oh yes, this is going to be lots and lots of fun.
Incidentally this is Project number 6. Coming up on that lucky number, hmmmmm. Wonder if it is alright to go over this and risk my luck?
#3 Some news from Black Library (not really their blog itself per se in some cases but includes stuff from author blogs)
The novella trend continues with Gav Thorpe’s next, featuring Chaplain Cassius, the Ultramarines Master of Sanctity.
More audio dramas, this time continuing with Vulkan’s Shield (Salamanders) by Nick Kyme and Labyrinth of Sorrows (Raven Guard) by George Mann.
Graham McNeill is prepping for a novel duology about the Adeptus Mechanicus, tentatively titled Priests of Mars. I am betting on it being set in Warhammer 40,000 as opposed to the Horus Heresy.
A slew of new artwork by the fantastic artists at BL. I especially prefer the Blood Angel by Clint Langley.
Civilian Reader interviews Jonathan Green, author of the Pax Britannia novels and one of the most consistent BL authors.
#4 The Submissions Window
This is really heating up as you can see here. I count 40 short stories and 5 novels submitted, with a ton more in the works by dozens of people! And not every Boltholer who is submitting is even on the list. One of my friends-who-shall-not-be-named has submitted over a dozen short stories plus a novel already!
The amount of work done and being done is just crazy. So much creative output! And this is just us Boltholers. People from Warseer, Heresy Online, The Great Crusade and other Warhammer forums are undoubtedly churning out a crap-ton of submissions as well.
#5 Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
If you were on the fence about getting this game when it comes out in September, then shame on you. Absolutely shame on you.
Check out this video preview of the game’s multiplayer mode. And also check out this video of its customizer for Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines. The breadth of options available is just staggering, you can customize everything from your helmet to greaves, to colours to armour designs to weapons to what-the-hell-not!
You fence-y people NEED to get this. Now! Go pre-order it already! THQ has won over thousands of fans with that customizer.
Oh and check this for the available classes for Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines. That Devastator special ability is looking boss.
#6 The Shatner
I admit to the SF geek inside me. I’ve always been a fan of Star Trek, having watched all the shows (the multi-season TV series, the animated series), the films and even read a few books. Needless to say, I am also a Captain James Tiberius Kirk fan. Big fan. Don’t ask.
Anyways, William Shatner’s Shatnerpalooza is going live soon and he is going to be presenting his documentary The Captains in which he talks to all of the famous captains from over the years: Patrick Stewart from The Next Generation, Kate Mulgrew from Voyager, Avery Brooks from Deep Space Nine, Scott Bakula from Enterprise and Chris Pine from Star Trek.
Check out details in this interview series.
This movie is going live soon and this is one movie this summer you don’t want to miss, trust me. If you are not convinced by the amazing cast which includes Jason Momoa (Stargate Atlantis and Game of Thrones) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy) then perhaps this trailer can convince you?
Obligatory Conan quote:
Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?
Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.
#8 Bolthole stuff
Over on the boards, I read the most amazing piece of cross-over fan-fic ever. The concept itself was extremely intriguing but when I read the first few chapters that have been posted, I was blown away.
Across The Void (Warhammer 40,000/Starcraft). Nutstoyoutoo has done an amazing job with the execution here and he managed to include my favourite Terran hero too!!! Hellz yeah!!! I am definitely tuned in for more on this.
That reminds me of all the other fanfic on the board I’ve been meaning to read for a while now.
Colonel Mustard, one my most dependable beta-readers has his 40k/Mass Effect cross-over project Angels of the Storm which is now at 30 chapters and counting!
And there is my fellow mod and another beta-reader Lord Lucan who has his alternate-verse post-40k projects Warhammer 50,000: The Shape of The Nightmare To Come and Warhammer 60,000: Age of Dusk. I’ve read bits and pieces of both and this guy’s imagination is just a wonder. Seriously recommend reading some of this stuff.
I’ve been slightly negligent with regards to my reviews here but stay tuned because in the next couple of days, things are gonna heat up for the DCAU Movie Reviews Spotlight! As promised next one up is going to be Green Lantern: Emerald Knights followed by Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.
It is done. Complete. Poora. Finito.
Project Honour that is. The summary and synopsis are as tight as I can get them and the sample is pretty much done as well. It is slightly heavier on the word count, being a little bit over the 1000-word mark but its not an issue since the sample is fairly well-put together and everything flows from A to B. Lots of critique went on for this one and I am quite pleased with the feedback. Never underestimate the importance of feedback. It makes you think of things you never would otherwise, because they seem so obvious to you that you never bother to explain them. That can happen a LOT.
So yeah, value the feedback you get. Big shout-out to all the people who’ve helped me with this one. The Bolthole rocks!
All that remains is to send off the collective sample/summary/synopsis off to BL, which I will do at the end of the month. Going to work on my other shorts now, which brings me to the following. This now nicely brings my completed submissions to number three. A nice round number, which I like, and coincidentally, is half my lucky number, 6.
Project Long Hunt is proving to be quite an elusive beast. I still can’t get the synopsis nailed down even though I know what I want to write about and what the plot is. Its all clear in my head, yet I can’t get any of it down on the screen. Very, very frustrating. Especially since this is my most unique piece in terms of plot and larger ramifications for the characters involved. But, I still have a whole two more weeks to go so I still have time to get it done.
Work has also begun on Project Oath & Duty which is a somewhat related piece to Project Honour, but not directly. It is somewhat like a short story I read recently but not much. It will be quite a dialogue-heavy final piece though, which is going to be a good enough challenge. I am really growing to love this particular faction.
Further on about submissions, I have now finally decided to stop work on Project Salvation, my Deathwatch novel, for this submissions window. I would like to very much get my game on with my short stories rather than my novel. The submission is nowhere near done, and with my current workload from IRL and other things (read below), I am not so sure I can get it done in time and still have it be of good quality. And like Long Hunt, I still don’t have a proper and clear synopsis down in my head, let alone on paper. So yeah, that’s that.
Which reminds me. NO WAY ONLY FOURTEEN DAYS LEFT! Actually thirteen for me since I am not counting the last day. I will be submitting my shorts before midnight on July 30. Just to be safe.
Sadly, I’ve been procrastinating a fair bit though. And the source of this soul-sucking activity is Lord of Ultima. Click on the link to find out more about it. Essentially this is a free MMO from EA that involves empire-building in the form of cities, armies, trade, and resource management. It is quite an involved game, especially once you get past the rookie stage and into the big leagues. Which is where I am now, or rather, quite a bit past that. For the interested, I play on world 19 (Empire score currently 105k+) mostly with a little tampering on world 29 (Empire score currently 61k+), under the name shadowhawk20. Thanks to Christian Dunn, the friendly neighbourhood BL editor for recommending this game. And curses too, for the distractions 😀
Anyways, moving on.
I have now finished reading Victories of the Space Marines and Legends of the Space Marines. Extremely impressed with the quality of short stories in the former, not so much from the latter.
The entirety of Victories is an absolute gem of awesome ass-kicking, bolter-action, xenos-killing and deeper stuff. If I have to nominate one short from this anthology for some kind of an award, it has to be Ben Counter’s Sacrifice, which features our favourite Grey Knight, Justicar Alaric, and is about the sacrifices the Imperium makes to protect itself. Absolutely amazing, grimdark, 40k short story that is perfect in the setting.
Since I made a point last time to mention how excited I was to read Sarah’s Primary Instinct, got to say that I wasn’t disappointed one bit with it. I knew the larger story of course because of reading spoilers on Warseer, but it was still fun to read. Very enjoyable. Would love to read more from her.
In comparison, Legends mostly fell flat on its face. Only two of the stories can compare to the quality of those found in Victories: The Returned by James Swallow of Blood Angels fame, and At Gaius Point by Aaron Dembski-Bowden of Night Lords fame. Mr Swallows continues the tale of Tarikus from Black Tide, giving his story a proper closure for the moment while the newly married Aaron took something sacred to the Blood Angels and their successors, and gave it a very gripping, tense, and rewarding execution. The Flesh Tearers are quickly rising high on my list of favourite Space Marine chapters.
I firmly give Ben Counter’s Twelve Wolves an honourable mention as well. It is about two Space Wolves fighting off an invasion of their homeworld by renegade Imperial/Ecclesiarchy forces. Absolutely brilliantly done and focusing something that has largely been an obscure part of the chapter’s background. Ben Counter seems to be going from strength to strength recently and I love his work. His Grey Knight novels featuring Justicar Alaric are some of my favourites from BL. You can follow and pester him on twitter @BenCounter.
The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America did a recent guest post on their site titled: 60 Rules for Short Science-Fiction and Fantasy, which you can find here. There are some interesting points there, and a few I agree with and some I don’t agree with. I’ll let you read them and form your own opinions of them, but just keep in mind that while these may be some good guidelines for writing general SF/F, some of them do not really apply to writing for Warhammer 40,000. I haven’t attempted to write anything for Warhammer Fantasy so I won’t comment on that but I trust it is the same for both settings.
That’s all for now people. Stay tuned.
Finally finished the sample for this today. So far, of my three submissions, this has the most dialogue by far. Initial feedback has been quite positive and I am quite happy with how it turned out as well. Like I mentioned previously, picking the the scene I wanted to write for this sample was a real pain but in the end I just picked one and started writing. Actual writing time was perhaps about two hours but I spent about a week agonizing over the scene from start to finish.
But now it is complete and once I get all the proper feedback in, that will short story three sent off to the BL towers. Mission accomplished.
Now that just leaves Project Long Hunt, which is still in flux regarding the synopsis so forget the sample, and Project Salvation, my novel which I haven’t touched in a while because I haven’t had any creative urge for it. Which is slightly depressing really.
I keep wanting to tackle some other short stories rather than my novel which, frankly, is not a good idea. I need to see this through by the end of the month or else it will hang on my head as an incomplete pitch. And I hate incomplete pitches.
So that’s that.
In other news, my second film review is up on 24FPS. I have started a review series that me and Paul are calling the DC Animated Universe Film Reviews Spotlight. Basically I will be tackling the direct-to-DVD animated films starring various DC Comics superheroes as released by Warner Bros. You can find the series write-up here.
My first review in the series is Green Lantern: First Flight and you can find the review here. Paul has already reviewed the film in preparation for the live-action movie Green Lantern 3D, so my review is a second opinion article. You can find my review here and Paul’s review here. Next up in the review series will be Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.
Sarah aka Pyroriffic, our former-and-still Grand Overlord of the Bolthole shared this link today. It is quite an informative piece on what fan-fiction is, its various sub-types and people’s reactions to fan-fiction. I heartily recommend checking out the link. A lot of you aspiring fan-fiction writers will find it quite useful.
A fellow Boltholer, Grenadier has been published! It is a short story titled Heavenbloom from Books To Go Now and I recommend people to give it a go. The direct link is this, and for the Amazonians among you, you can all go here. If you are on facebook, don’t forget to ‘like’ his page here. It’s great to see the folks from The Bolthole getting published, no matter the genre/setting so yaya! If you get the story please don’t forget to review it on Amazon as well! Let’s get the word out there people! Chop, chop.
A fairly busy few days I’d say.
Things have been rather slow over at the Bolthole, just random stuff and a few fair bits of exciting information:
- Mr William King returning to Warhammer 40,000 with a trilogy about the Macharian Crusade,
- A brand-new Dark Eldar short story e-book set in Commoragh,
- More details about the content of Promethean Sun,
- GW announcing their brand-new Citadel Finecast range.
- An amazing guy, Richard Marsden, fellow Boltholer, got his book Travelling Tyrant published a while back and he has been actively promoting it since. Read here for his success and the tips he has shared.
- Bolthole’s monthly writing comp is currently in its voting phase for the month of May, here. I’ve read some of the entries and they are just amazing. As usual. Unfortunately I missed again on it. Something I’d really like to change.
- People have been debating the new LOTR film – The Hobbit – here. It is an exciting movie for sure, if the book is anything to go by. And by hell and back it is!
That’s on that front! The shoutbox was quite fun as well for the last few days, especially yesterday. A certain man-who-must-not-be-named predicted Rapture (Christian mythology) was yesterday and that the world would suffer earthquakes in every timezone at a specific time. Fortunately nothing happened, we are all still here even though the prophet himself has disappeared. Perhaps he was the only one pure enough for the Pearly Gates? Got a lot of laughs out of this whole farce. Wonderful time.
Disclaimer: I do hope that people realize I am only joking here. But I do think it is funny and extremely sad that some people spent their entire life savings over this, or that some parents even used up their kids’ college funds. I find that despicable.
In other news, I have been making serious progress on Project Salvation aka the Deathwatch novel. I got Ch1 and 2 done and they were about 2000-2100 words with about room for 200-300 words more to fill up details. And then I read something from Chris/Phalanx on Twitter and in the shoutbox and I got thinking. I made an excel sheet to figure out my wordcount plan.
I was in for a rude shock.
I had planned initially to have each chapter (10 total) at about 4500 words or so with about another 3000 shared between an epilogue and a prologue. Considering that BLP has mentioned the 100k range, I barely cover half that. So I started to plan it all out that way.
Result: Most chapters have been bumped to 6000-6500 words each. The first three are currently at 4500 words still. My chapter-by-chapter breakdown has so far failed miserably so I am reworking things. The target for now is 91000 words.
Still, progress has been made on the sample since last time. I have written about 6000 words so far, spread across (still) a prologue, and the first two chapters. And I have about ~4500 more to go. Then there is chapter 3 which is another additional 4500 words. Once I get a proper first draft going for the whole thing I am going to go back and pick out where things need to be beefed. And where plot holes need to be filled out. And generally make things flow much more smoothly.
I am still doing that, but yeah. This is a T.R.E.M.E.N.D.O.U.S. learning experience and quite shocking too. I am aghast that my initial chapter plans only result in about 2500 worth of words for the sample. Definitely need to revamp things there. I have stuck with that 500 word a day challenge but it hasn’t been too successful as I haven’t written every day since. But when I have written, I have definitely written a fair bit. So that’s progress yeah?
I also had an amazing week personally. I got to play World of Warcraft again. Sadly, I do not have Cataclysm and I was only using the free week of gametime courtesy Blizzard because I haven’t played in 11 months and they want me back as a customer. Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to, I cannot oblige them. Perhaps sometime in the future I can change things around. But it was definitely fun to reconnect with my guild and a few of my friends on the server. A few of them have stopped playing but there are still a few. For those who are interested, I played Alliance on US-Medivh.
Here is my Paladin – Vorianloken. My second toon actually but definitely the first in terms of real interest and my pride and joy.
Here is my Death Knight – Ajeet. Proud of this dude too because He just rocks.
This is my Rogue – Sherana. She barely hit 80 and done a few raids before I stopped playing.
Here is my rookie Warrior – Bulveye. He is only 74 but still awesome.
Have a Druid as well but she is on a separate account which I will reactive for the free gametime sometime this week and post a pic.
I definitely used to be quite the raider when I was still playing. At one time my Paladin was ranked in the top 20 if not the top 15 on the server as a tank. Of course, that was during the infamous Trial of the Crusader era but damn, it was still progression for someone like me who was late to the party for both Naxxramas and Ulduar. I was part of the first wave of people into Icecrown Citadel as well but by then I had moved from L.A to Dubai and couldn’t afford regular hours.
So my Death Knight there and the Paladin? They got geared in ICC through pugs. Some were obviously fail. Some were excellent. I even got some Gold DKP runs in as well and they were massively helpful in that the quality of the players was just generally so much better and I properly learned the encounters. Two months or so before I stopped playing, I had a system in place where I led raids for both TOC and ICC for the 25-man versions. They were fairly successful although not without some drama of their one. Its definitely something I miss. Quite acutely in fact.
So yeah that’s that. (What? I like that phrase!)
And I’ve been tossing around an idea for a space battle involving (suprise, surprise) Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines. I have some doodles and diddlings down. Will see how that goes.
So, within the last month and a half, this blog has really grown to where I am not just talking about the Angels of Retribution, formerly known as the Sons of Corax. But also about other things related to Black Library, Games Workshop, my pitches for the spring submission window, other chapters of space marines and last but not the least, about writing in general!
Like I have said before, I am pretty proud of how far I have come since I started this blog. I found the bolthole, started to actually write fanfic with the intent of going professional, the improvements in my writing, and all the awesome people I have met.
Oh and thanks to all the people who have been visiting the blog!
By the way, just because I am really excited about this, I have started work on my fourth pitch, thanks to prodding from a couple of Boltholers. Its another short story, this time dealing with a multi-chapter force, with particular focus on the Executioners chapter. This is going to be really fun to write a sample for!
And interested parties should check out this thread. The amount of submissions planned by people is amazing, most of all what all that means for a combined word count for finished products!
Dangerous affair, writing. Even more challenging and devious is writing for a pitch when you want to submit to a publisher.
If memory serves, two years ago Black Library had an open window for submissions same time as this year. The topic was their Heroes of the Space Marines anthology. Having done a little writing before, all unpublished and unfinished of course, I thought why not do something for this.
A month later I gave up. I had no idea of what I wanted to write about. The story was barely a page long in word and utter crap. I forget the plot I thought I was writing then but so far I had written about an impending Chaos Marine attack on some world held by the Imperial Guard. I tried to make it cool with the “countdown feature”.
It really was utter crap.
Fast forward two years later to now.
I finished the 1000-word sample, the summary and synopsis for Project: Angels of Retribution (retconned name of course!) in about two months. It took a lot of effort to get right. I was neck deep in an online dictionary/thesaurus, lexicanum, a few of the novels and loads of codices and rulebooks to check various things so all the references made sense. Had to invent a few words too but that wasn’t too bad.
I chose a very old space marine tradition to showcase in the sample and the pitch is about a conflict between two of the oldest mini-factions in the history of the Imperium. I am quite proud of this pitch as I got to talk about in subtle terms about my favourite chapter/legion and primarch.
Then there is my second pitch, which for want of a better working title is called Project: Temptations. As I mentioned before this one is about the Invictors chapter facing off against chaos daemons. Its going to be a really fast-paced piece (the complete short that is) full of bolter-porn and sacrifices and larger-than-life champions.
And it is done. *drumroll*
Indeed. In a day and a half I have finished an entire short story pitch! And incorporated about three-quarters of critique in it as well. Gotta say that I am very surprised how quickly all this came together and how quickly I completed it, compared to P:AOR. Good things like this don’t happen to me very often.
Response to this was very good, with little in the way of any real critique other than awesome grimdark idea like Phalanx mentions on his blog. At least I think he was talking about me here.
He is not the only one to comment that the idea may be a little over-ambitious for a short story and should be a novel instead. As Chris mentions there are three variables involved with writing either a short story or novel or downgrading/upgrading from one to the other.
Time. Experience. Imagination.
Time, I have enough of. Definitely not in short supply. So I can afford to make the idea either a short story or a novel. That’s covered.
Experience, I definitely don’t have any. I have never written a novel. My attempts at the Kinth Series were sparked off of random ideas during a really boring chemistry class in junior year of high school. The half-novel I wrote was without structure, character, theme or plot or anything really. I wrote as things came to mind. So that is one vote against writing a novel
Imagination, I have in ample amounts. Even I cannot keep track of all my ideas. So that’s another vote in either direction.
Lastly, I have enough confidence in my fledgling attempts at writing short stories. I fit about a fifth of synopsis plot into dead-on 1,000 words. BL’s page says that final manuscripts for short stories are in the 5,000-8,000 word range. So I am covered there. I am pretty damn confident and I am not going to let anyone say otherwise. Shamelessly I am reminded of a Miley Cyrus song here, Liberty Walk from her album Can’t Be Tamed.
I will indeed be living it up 🙂 And how I approach the story will prove my confidence was not misplaced. Listening to that awesome song has just pumped me even more, hah!
So what were we talking about? Ah yes, writing and pitches.
The weirdly amazing He2etic over at the Bolthole has seen fit to compile this. A list of publishers who are accepting submissions. It is a fairly limited list but I think it is a great idea. I have no interest in any publishers other than Black Library myself.
Once the current BL submission window ends, I will be working on developing my pitches into the full product, whether or not they are accepted. The exercise will be good and as several wise published and unpublished authors say again and again, be prolific with your writing and write, write, write. Truefax.
And in the meantime while I work on those two short stories, to take my mind off things I will also be working on some fanfic for the Bolthole, a Space Marine story that features a DIY chapter fighting against Eldar Corsairs. Perhaps Exodites but not too keen on that stripe of pointy-ears.
My aim by the end of the year is to have completed at least six short stories, which can be anywhere from 45,000-50,000 words all told. Perhaps also start work on a novel idea for BL which I can submit for a window next year. Hopefully there will be one opening up 🙂
I intend to be quite prolific and productive now that I have the impetus and I have my old drive back again. When I was working on The Hunted Prince, the first novel in the Kinth Series trilogy, I had a quarter of a novel and I’d say about 50 pages worth of backstory completed in about half a year. Quite a feat if I say so myself. It was a very good period for me writing wise.
To continue with what I talked about in my recent post ‘What’s in a name?‘ I had a discussion via email with the awesome Phalanx, one of Bolthole’s resident story-wizzes. The topic was the name I had chosen for the chapter formerly known as Sons of Corax.
It seems that there is a theory related to the name which ties the chapter, having nothing more than the name itself and a really really short blurb in the 3rd Edition Assassin’s codex, with a legion quite dissimilar to the Raven Guard.
The new name for the chapter is Angels of Retribution. And there are wild, very much IMO, theories out there in fandom that they are a Dark Angels successor chapter. The reasoning is that their name fits the convention for other First Legion successors, such as the Angels of Absolution, Angels of Redemption and the Angels of Vengeance. The unfounded theory has proven a little popular among dark angel fans with fanfic and player armies assembled that way.
Its not a bad thing but I am not a fan of the theory either. While there may have been a proper naming convention in place other than ‘oh these names look really cool for these guys’ that hardly should restrict me from picking it as the name for my Raven Guard successors. I considered a lot of names during the renaming process. Some of the ones that really jumped out were –
- Absolvers – The idea behind using the name that the chapter seeks to help Corax on his quest for redemption and forgiveness for his experiments with the legion’s gene-seed post-Istvaan.
- Avengers – The chapter is an active hunter of all the Betrayers of Istvaan. These are the Night Lords, the Alpha Legion, the Word Bearers and the Iron Warriors.
- Crusaders – The chapter has continued the purpose of the Great Crusade, much like the Black Templars have and actively hunts down Traitor Marines.
- Angels of Retribution – This somehow just fit all the above themes I wanted to get across. Plus, alone among the four names I shortlisted, it really resonated with him. It was a name I could definitely get behind. Not to mention the nice imagery you get when you read that name, particularly in conjunction with the Space Marines’ informal name – Angels of Death. Expect an updated chapter post soon!
As I have said before, names are very important to me when I am writing something.
An old writing project of mine, sparse details to be found here, spawned a madness that resulted in me inventing hundreds of names for dozens of factions. Everything from characters to planets, factions to organizations, weapons to starships and so on. I was quite prolific for that. Sadly the project never really saw much development beyond two large Excel files and about 140 pages in a regular copybook (that’s what us Indians call it). I still have all those files and the terrible amount of research I had to do to come up with names of starships and uniform designs and military rankings and what not.
Then there is the Angels of Retribution I am submitting to BL next month.
Also, the new project I have started. This one is about Space Marines of the Invictors chapter and Daemons. I’ve made more progress on this pitch in one day then I did on the Sons of Corax/Angels of Retribution in two months of focused efforts. My synopsis and summary are done pending review once the sample (currently at 435 words) is complete. And then the rounds of critiques and all.
I really like this pitch. At the moment it is tentatively titled Temptations although the story so far has nothing do with temptations. It was originally conceived as a marines versus Slaaneshi daemons short. I might even develop it into a novel, although that would be a lot of effort which I may not have the time for. Initial response to the story is that it reads better as a novel. I am hoping I can keep it down to a short and still keep it chock full of action and description and conflict.
Oh and the Invictors will be an Ultramarine successor. Although they have little to no contact with smurfies 🙂
This is a question that has been bothering me for the last week quite a bit. Mostly in relation to what the chapter name Sons of Corax really means. Ages ago on warseer when someone was posting their own DIY chapter they had some sort of similar name for a different legion successor. One of the posters said it was quite presumptuous of the chapter to name itself after the primarch, somehow indicating that the particular chapter was more favored by the primarch.
Is that necessarily true?
We already have the Sons of Guilliman, Sons of Dorn, Hammers of Dorn, Angels Sanguine, Disciples of Caliban, Heralds of Ultramar, Emperor’s XYZ, Imperial ABC, Knights of the Raven, other Sons of PQR etc etc. What are the significances of these names? The Heralds of Ultramar aren’t even based anywhere in Ultramar! The Sons of Orar aren’t even Orar’s sons in the sense that the Sons of Guilliman are literally sons of Guilliman! Did Dorn ever really carry a thunderhammer (how does the Fist of Dorn fit in here when the Imperial Fists are the ones using it)? Or the Emperor’s XYZ (loyalist) chapters who have been created after the Emperor ascended the Golden Throne and isn’t even aware of them? Are the Imperial ABC chapters really favoured by the Imperium?
Where does the favoritism being and where does it end? Is there really a question of these chapters being favored as indicated by the names of these chapters?
Two other aspects of the question are A, what is the power of these names and B, what is the real significance of these names? Let’s take it one by one.
A, The Power of Names – Fiction is quite literally littered with references and cases to/of the idea that names have power. These are reminiscent of some of the oldest religions on our planet. Knowing the name of a daemon gives you power over him is a concept particularly emphasised in both Warhammer worlds and in 40K we have the new background stating that the names of Grey Knights are parts of the true names of daemons! It is all the same as knowing the true identity of a spy, which allows you to exert power over him/her.
Why else do Inquisitors in 40k operate in subterfuge, particular examples being Eisenhorn and Ravenor. They don’t think twice about falsifying identities.
In Frank Herbert’s Dune series, the name Muad’Dib is a name of power, a killing name that the Fremen soldiers can use to literally kill their enemies with the aid of their sonic weapons.
Perhaps the Alpha Legion, at least pre-Heresy, exemplified this best of all. All Alpha Legionnaires are Alpharius when questioned in the book Legion. The identity of the primarch is hidden from anyone not of the Twentieth Legion and there is even a bigger secret being kept here.
What is the power of a name in Warhammer 40,000 in your opinion?
B, The Real Significance of Names – If names have power, then they also have a significance, a deeper meaning perhaps.
What does the name Blood Angels mean for that chapter? The chapter often has angelic names for its battle-brothers. The space marines were/are the Emperor’s Angels of Death. Sanguinius was raised in the Baalite tribe ‘Blood’. Post-heresy the Blood Angels and their successors have been cursed with a vampiric heritage and the Red Thirst.
Ultramarines, is it significant only in that Guilliman’s space marines come from Ultramar, or is the significance related to the colour of their name or is it a clever pun on both?
Space Wolves, are they really wolves in space because they have larger canines than is the norm among other marines, or is it a reference to Leman Russ’ upbringing, or is it related to the Wulfen curse, or is it another clever twist on all of them?
Alpha Legion, the last legion to be formed and yet designated in an old dead (in-universe) language as the first. Alpharius, the last primarch to be found yet his name has one (of course there are multiple meanings) meaning of the first. His twin’s name, Omegon, in that same dead language is the last letter of the alphabet.
Among the Raven Guard, a lot of their captains are named after birds, just as Corax is. And they are plays on similar words. Korvydae of the Tenth, Kayvaan Shrike of the Third, Corvane Valar of the Fifth. Go to wikipedia and do a search for the word Corax and see the results that come up.
Perhaps the most telling and important from an in-universe aspect is Horus, primarch of the most accomplished legion during the Heresy, the Warmaster of the Imperium, the Emperor’s most favored son, foremost among all the primarchs. And the one who plunged the entire galaxy into never-ending war. Horus, in egyptian mythology, is one of the oldest and most significant gods. What came to be known during the Heresy as the Eye of Horus, and was previously the Eye of Terra, is an ancient egyptian symbol for protection, royal power and good health. What Horus the primarch did during the Heresy is known to everyone.
Where does this all end?
All of this is something that I’ve been thinking about in this last week. I was quite surprised when I found out that the Corvus Mellori is a species of the crow/raven family Corvidae about two weeks back. The protagonist of my short story is Valerius Mellor. I had accidentally come up with a name that tied my character to the primarch and legion his chapter is descended from. And yes, it was quite unintentional.
All this comes down to the collective fact that Black Library does not want its writers, particularly ones who are aiming to get published through them the first time (established writers might be getting some leeway), to invent new chapters. I can see where they are coming from because there is such a large number of canon chapters we known nothing about. Some of them exist as nothing but names, they have no livery, heraldry, home or any kind of backstory.
This put me in a real bind because even though Sons of Corax was a stopgap measure to name the Raven Guard successor, I have become quite attached to it. And now I have to change it. Mostly because using my own chapter name is quite a bit of risk and could potentially work against my pitch for the upcoming submissions window. And I really want to not have any negative points against the pitch, especially ones that are easily controllable by me.
So I am now changing the name of the chapter. I have a short list of 4 chapters from Lexicanum’s list of canon chapters. I am very undecided at the moment because each of them represent some aspect of the backstory I have created for the Sons of Corax and I am reluctant to just abandon any of it. I tried to roll for these 4 names (about 50 times mind you to get a nice average) but I was still unhappy.
You see, the name of the chapter matters a lot. It ties it to the primarch, to the original legion. The Sons of Corax have a rich history of having collaborated with the Raven Guard over the years and they have kept some legion practices alive in their original form. They are also quite close to Corax in a spiritual way from what I have envisioned. And the name should reflect the traditions they have inherited from the legion, even though they are Third Founding, and an aspect(s) of the primarch that they think is the most appropriate for the direction they want to go in.
Perhaps all of this is a little too much for just one short story that may not even get picked up. But I think that that is where the difference lies. The difference between a writer who is aiming for quality and one who is just doing it because he/she wants to do it. I am not the best writer out there by any means. And the quality of the fanfic I regularly see on the good old Bolthole reminds me of that everyday and pushes me to perfect my own work that much more.
Its all about the effort you want to put in. And I believe that the more you can show that in the pitch, the better your (and my) chances of getting that foot in the door.
I have had three great critiques on my sample. They all attacked it in very different ways. Some did it from a background perspective. Some based on their own ideas on how things work in-universe. Some based on the technical aspects of the writing process. Some based on just pure logic from their own experiences. Combined, their review has resulted in quite a few changes to the sample in ways I had ignored because I wasn’t aware of the significance. Much thanks to Phalanx, Raziel and Narry for their help on this. Particularly Narry for his help with the names. And all the other Boltholers who helped in the entire process as well.