Tuesday, 28 July 2015

2015 Black Library Open Submissions window.

At the start of the year, I received an email from Black Library saying that they were now accepting submissions for stories. The theme was to be Deathwatch, and there was a very strict 500 word limit, so I got to work. I'd not really done any serious creative writing before, just some narrative battle reports and shit, so it was certainly a challenge. Here's the blurb I came up with to whet your appetite.

When a mysterious Inquisitor enlists an Ultramarine who had fought at Damnos, and a Minotaur survivor of the Orpheus Sector, into the Deathwatch with a mission to investigate a potential tomb world, frictions arise between the pair over the theoretical and practicals of facing the living metal of the Necrons.

Needless to say I haven't heard back from them, I assume that my advance cheque got lost in the post, so I think I'm safe to be able to publish my submission now so here we go! Please let me know what you think, it's quite removed from bolter porn the usually put out.

Bronze, Silver, and Gold

As Gladius boarded the Thunderhawk that would be his carriage to the warship waiting in orbit his thoughts drifted. Why had he been selected by the Ordos Xenos? Had someone put him forward for this mission, possibly the High Suzerain of Ultramar?

He had stood beside Sicarius during the first fateful battle on Damnos, one of a handful of survivors from the struggle against the Necrons, then returned alongside hundreds of his brothers when Marneus Calgar had declared a return to the planet to rid it of the ancient beings. Perhaps it was due to this experience that he was chosen, having survived two cataclysmic battles with the same foe. Could that be why he had been chosen?

Would he ever rejoin his squad? He knew that such thoughts were unnecessary, that it was a great honour and his duty, but Gladius had always imagined his glorious bloodied death to occur surrounded by his battle brothers, marines he had spent countless hours with upon the field of battle.

From what had been relayed to him, he was to be the third member of the killteam assembled by the Inquisitor. Recalling his career, Gladius could think of very few encounters with such characters previously, and the tales woven by his comrades ranged wildly from the extreme to the mysterious. He felt the tug of deceleration as the transport began it's landing in the vast hangar bay of the waiting ship. He was not aware of the fact but Gladius was the last of the Inquisitors' puzzle pieces to step aboard the sombre vessel.

The was no welcome party as he disembarked from the Thunderhawk, the only sounds being the creaking of it's metal skin as it cooled in the atmosphere, and Servitors whirring and clicking about their business. After some minutes a door slid apart and a wiry biped ambled towards him. From a distance he appeared to be just another Servitor, but as he approached, Gladius could see that he was an augmented human, part of the Inquisitors retinue no doubt. No words were spoken, but Gladius knew that he was supposed to follow the strange creature.

After unloading his meagre belongings in his sparse chamber, he set out to find the other marines selected for the mission. There were no signs of life aboard, so he followed his instinct and the faint sounds echoing along the corridors. Striding along the metal decking he noted the absence of any other movement around him.

The sounds grew louder and as he rounded a corner he was greeted by a towering arch, through which a great light streamed. He recognised the familiar noise of someone duelling with a battle automata. As his unhelmeted eyes adjusted to the contrast between the dark corridor and the bright practice chamber he saw a lone warrior, twisting and turning around the apparatus with skill and ease. The figure was in his battle plate, a burnished bronze, with red accents. Gladius knew the chapter immediately, the Minotaurs.