[BF18] Night Defense

BrikWars fiction in long-prose form. Trigger warning: Walls of text

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Dienekes22
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[BF18] Night Defense

Post by Dienekes22 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:32 am

The night sky burst open with a hiss. The star-filled black gave way to a stunning, but sickly and green, glow. Hundreds of shining flares gently drifted through the air in wide arcs. Long shadows formed over the sprawling trenches. Gawin awoke, eyes flying open as if from a nightmare. He scrambled to his feet, white knuckle grip already on his rifle.
“Fix your bayonets and make ready!” An officer bawled, “They’re coming again!”
Howls of rage and fear and bloodlust escaped a thousand throats.
Gawin still hadn’t even peered over the trench before the first rifles started to sing. Their song was short and sweet, hard staccato notes ringing sharply in the air that had been so quiet just moments before.
Gawin finally had his head above the earthen wall when the cacophony of artillery overwhelmed the senses. Powder burned in the air as dirt and mud was thrown high into the air. He took aim into the dark, more sickly green flares taking the sky, giving the swarm of monsters sight where normally they were blind. Their hideous forms scattered toward the line, teeth bared and dripping in the coarse glow.

Gawin took careful aim and fired, his rifle lost in the roar of the rage of the entire line. The foe came in its myriads, hardly checked by the wall of lead thrown with such malevolence from the trenches.
Gawin’s shoulder shook with each pull. The rifle barely moved, so numerous were the silhouettes just beyond sight. As the first angry teeth and claws came into view Gawin saw an armored foot step next to him. He glanced up and met the War Priest’s gaze. His helmet was eerily clean, his armor free of the horror of battle. The man smiled, illuminated by the glow of his battle mace. Electricity clung to the weapon, eager for the fight to come.
“My son,” the gently voice boomed even in the explosive noise, “Is this not what we were made for?” With that he hoisted himself over the trench and charged. Gawin fired in support into the close ranks of the scuttling enemy. He stopped when the War Priest brought the mace down into the teeth of a behemoth, blue flame devouring it. The Priest laughed so loud Gawin felt he heard it in his chest. He tore his gaze away just in time to see a hive beast slam a gnarled limb into his face.

Gawin was thrown backward, head ringing angrily. Skull afire he tried to raise his empty arms in defense against the monster. The beast burst a mist of blood before his eyes. From above dozens of troopers landed in the trench, reinforcements from the rear. A helping hand ripped Gawin to his feet. The cracked visor of his savior greeted him, “For Skion, brother!” The woman shouted, face oddly familiar in the glowing night. She was already turning around, pistol in hand, throwing lead and violence at the foe. Gawin found his rifle and joined the front, the mass of the enemy dying just meters ahead. The horrors scaled their fallen and dove for the trench. They screamed and died in fire and smoke. Rifles sung their song as the Swarm pushed closer and closer.

Ammunition was passed down the line. Blue flames leapt into the air deep in the masses of the enemy, always followed by the bellowing laughter of a euphoric War Priest. Gawin finished each magazine as soon as it was seated in his weapon. Shell casings piled around the feet of the troopers. Rifles joined the brass as ammunition ran dry and sidearms were drawn and fired. Twitching troopers took cover, bayonets and entrenching tools in tight fists waiting for the inevitable. The Swarm’s masses inched closer, crying out for prey. Their fallen forms fell enmassed on parched earth. Finally the lines collided, massed exoskeletons against dusty and pitted armor.

Gawin fell backwards, bayonet held aloft and holding back a clawing horror. It screamed and extended bloody teeth for his neck. Its breath was winter: cold and lonely and terrible. There was none to save him, wrestling beneath the feet of his brothers and sisters in the wet mud. It battered him, claws seeking weakness in his armor, unbothered by the bayonet lodged deep in its flesh. Gawin heaved with all his might, desperate to breath in the hot dust and powder in the air. Anything but the horror assailing him. The foe reached out and ripped at his shoulder, tearing away the pauldron and opening a wound. Through gritted teeth Gawin ripped his knife free and tore at the beast. Cold blood burst from the screeching demon until it moved no more.

Gawin tried to stand but was unable, men and monsters grappling in the narrow space, none willing to surrender. Men and women died in agony, armor torn and skin flayed. Through the endless explosions and cracks of gunfire Gawin heard a note linger in the air. The call to retreat. He pulled himself up and over the back of the trench with his one good hand. He crawled carefully toward the rear over open ground. Monsters scrambled above, focused entirely on the next line. A sharp talon pierced his calf and shin clean through. He screamed, blood already soaking over his shoulder and torso. White armor stained red. He tried to push on with gritted teeth as the reports of artillery fire seemed to drift towards him.

Gawin was thrown into the air by an explosion. The shell burst so close he could have seen the serial markings. His ears screeched in fury as he was thrown away from the fire. He landed hard, breath stolen. He gasped, struggling and clinging to life. The Hive paid little heed to him in their haste to assault the next trench. He felt the bullets tear carapace and bone as artillery boomed from the distance. Blood pooled under Gawin’s calf, his heart beat wildly in his skull. He flipped around and began to crawl, desperate for the perceived safety of the next defensive line. Over bodies of both man and monster he crawled. Pain gripped his senses from his blood soaked wounds.

Scuttling horrors crawled over him, passing by without even a second glance. The titanic footfalls of the larger beasts tore into the dirt just inches from his body. Gawin swore aloud, thoughts lost in the roar of guns and hisses of the Swarm. His calf and shoulder screamed with each foot of ground. Bodies of beasts great and small littered the earth all around him. Walls of corpses loomed ahead. He changed a glance back, the glowing lights multiplying overhead as wave after wave of creeping thing advanced. With a heavy sigh of rapidly growing fear he pushed on.

From behind there was a colossal growl, easily identifiable even in the endless clamor of battle. It shook Gawin’s bones with despair. He felt the monster rush forward in the earth even against the shaking of artillery fire. It was close and his scramble to crawl ahead would never be fast enough. It was over him and gone in an instant; the spiked beast charged on in all its hatred. The infinite swarm followed in his wake, ignoring Gawin as if he were just another stone in their path.

Pain flared through Gawin’s leg as the beast passed by. His body wailed in agony, blood and muscle and bone alike. He turned over and looked down to the wound. His gaze was greeted by a bloody hole through his entire thigh. The coarse illumination of the Swarm’s bio lights amplified the deep red flowing freely onto the earth. Sweat dripped off his face, exhaustion and pain pulling at the edges of his vision. He laid his head back onto the dirt, resting it softly. The lights in the sky pulsated with evil intent against a pitch black canvas.

“What a nightmare,” Gawin thought, wincing as a scuttler crawled haphazardly over him. “I want to wake up,” he pleaded wordlessly to the void. The Dark had no response, or it was lost in the violence of artillery, guns, and death.
“I just have to close my eyes, and I’ll wake up,” he thought, “just like any other nightmare.”

“Just close your eyes,” the Dark finally spoke.

Gawin closed his eyes.
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Re: [BF18] Night Defense

Post by Nemoto-Sensei » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:15 am

Concept & Theme: 7 The story does not have an underlying or philosophical meaning behind it. It does show the character's fear of death, but apart from that Gwain remains very underdeveloped, which makes him unrelatable.
Form: 9 The story flows very well. You had a series of small events in mind that played out sequentially and did not confuse me. This is very desirable in a chaotic battle scene that has a thousand small actions going on at once.
Voice: 7 The character does not really develop in the story since it is a very short action sequence. However, we are given a glimpse as to what kind of person Gwain is. Probably timid, not very stoked for the war nor this battle. And this attitude we are shown makes Gwain a very believable character, not necessarily relatable nor very nuanced though
Style: 15 It is a very detailed description of a trench battle, but honestly nothing very new or original here. The beauty of the piece is in its vivid descriptions and the suspense felt for Gwain. The score would be lower if not for the brilliant imagery and use of words.

Total score: 38 I'm very impressed with the vivid descriptions and details you put into your writing along with your rich vocabulary. However, this whole vibe is nothing new nor fresh, and I :all: would've loved to see some form of flashback or recount that gave us more insight into who Gwain is. We don't even have a physical description of him or what cause he is fighting for. It was a very nice attempt and a pleasure to read, however I would have appreciate a bit more background that set the scene of this war, its factions and who Gwain is. Good job!

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Re: [BF18] Night Defense

Post by Nemoto-Sensei » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:16 am

crap, ignore the random emote

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Dienekes22
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Re: [BF18] Night Defense

Post by Dienekes22 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:24 pm

Glad you got some enjoyment out of it! I experimented quite a bit with flashbacks or other ways to develop Gawin more but it always felt “forced” or like it took away from the tension and desperation. It could definitely use it but I don’t think I could pull it off. Appreciate your critique!

Also it looks like I didn’t post my original little spiel about the story. Oh well!
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Re: [BF18] Night Defense

Post by Nemoto-Sensei » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:12 pm

Yeah! Good on you on the writing. Very detailed stuff, just would've appreciated a lil' bit more background info.

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Re: [BF18] Night Defense

Post by baconquistador » Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:19 pm

Concept/Theme: 7.5
I felt like this piece beautifully told a story that no one asked for, but drew people in anyway. I wish I knew a little more (what race the monsters were exactly, what planet or such it took place on, etc.) but that didn't stop me from enjoying it.
Form: 9
You could feel the attrition of the forces, the desperation of Gawin, and the presence of the monsters build as the story went on.
Voice: 8
For similar reasons to Form. You successfully conveyed pretty much every emotion running through Gawin's head.
Style: 16
Lots of fun gruesome details and descriptions, good structure. I only wish it was a little more original because it could kind of be summed up as "soldiers kill and get killed by wave of aliens", which has been done before in slight variation. Overall, great job!

EDIT:
I just now realized this isn't by a judge, and my scores don't matter here. :oops: I has the dumb, please disregard.
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Re: [BF18] Night Defense

Post by DayBoost_ » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:35 pm

Concept and Theme- 6.5
Form- 9
Voice- 8
Style- 14
Presentation- 7

Was an enjoying read, would've liked more character set up as well

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Re: [BF18] Night Defense

Post by Kommander Ken » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:27 pm

Concept/Theme: 8
Form: 9
Voice: 8
Style: 15

Good one, man. Really interested to hear more about those nightmarish creatures.

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Re: [BF18] Night Defense

Post by TheCraigfulOne » Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:07 pm

Holy shit, this is amazing, beautiful yet horrifying imagery and some great language in this, "Its breath was winter" was especially good. :tiger: :tiger: :tiger:

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