Author Topic: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue  (Read 2508 times)

Offline Benionin

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Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« on: May 31, 2015, 06:54:07 AM »
Introduction
For almost as long as I've been playing IW, I've wanted to write a novelization of it. The trouble is that I keep getting bogged down. As time has worn on and I've swapped between various writing projects, I decided to take another look at my IW project, which I'm calling "Into the Fray." Rather than following any of the main, named characters of IW I created my own group of characters--low-ranking members of the Flame Dawn whose story will follow and hopefully show a bottom-up version of the lore. Although this is a fanfiction, I have done my best to keep it in line with the official lore, occasionally adding in some little flavorful details to fill out the world. If any official inconsistencies arise, I blame them on Flame Dawn misinformation and propaganda.
I hope that you enjoy my humble offering and, as I am always reminding people, I would love to hear your feedback. What did you like? What didn't you like? What are you hoping to see as the story progresses? So if you're ready to brave these walls of text, read on and enjoy!

Note: Thanks to NatoPotato and Tinkercide for the artwork! I'm currently trying out different layouts to see what works best. Although the main narrative has been completed, You too can contribute to Into the Fray

Table of Contents
Prologue--scroll down and read!
Chapter 1--just a little bit farther down the page!
Chapter 2--Here
Chapter 3--Here
Chapter 4--Here
Chapter 5--Here
Chapter 6--Here
Chapter 7--Here
Epilogue--Scroll down from Chapter 7
Got Questions? Check out the Q&A thread!

Other stories set in the world of Into the Fray:
To Rule with Greatness, expanding upon Vlad's backstory and love of headshots.
Genesis James, which retells how the expedition received its moniker "Aberion's Wolves" and one of the friends they made along the way.

Into the Fray

Prologue

     The Calamity.
     By the time that Aleta told us of The Calamity and of the multiple dimensions, she had forgotten how long ago it was. But the world she described was idyllic--perhaps even her own immortal memories of the past had faded and all she carried was the shell of a time long gone. Perhaps each of her selves contained a part of the past encapsulated within her. No one knows.
     The way that her Caretaker self described it, the world before The Calamity was pure perfection and harmony, with nature, magic, and science coexisting in harmony unequalled since as civilization advanced to new heights and prosperity. The way that her Tinkerer self described it, the world was one of progress, of having time to yourself and having any and all means at your disposal to advance your research--a world where peace drove science forward, and science prospered the peace. Who knows how her other selves remember it. Perhaps as we meet more in these times of exploration we will learn more.
     Either way, it all came crashing down, with the universe shattered into, as she described it, "a million pieces," "infinite dimensions," "thousands of lost souls," or, my personal favorite, "smithereens." That was The Calamity, and no Aleta will tell us what was its cause. All we know is that the former world of peace and harmony was shattered and divided.
     There was Reish, a land of misused magic far beyond our boundaries, whole dimensions lying between us.
     There was Avarrach, a ruined world that had once prospered but now languished under a diabolical nanotechnovirus.
     There was The Old World, where the only civilization was that of nature itself, ruled by the wild beasts in all of their varied forms.
     There was Talich, my home, a world of boundless technology and war.
     The way that the histories tell it, Talich was progressing quickly and the nation-corporation of Genesis Industries was selling weapons to any and all. Soon, the fanatics of the Flame Dawn began to overcome other nations in conquering the globe, aided by the technology provided them and led by Aberion, the zealous fire of the rising sun that purged Talich of conflict through the crucible of bloody, protracted, global warfare. Citizens of the various conquered nations were recruited and indoctrinated into the Dawn, and one by one nations fell, until only the Flame Dawn and Genesis Industries stood, the warmonger and the war profiteer.
     But as war was about to break the uneasy peace between these two factions and drench Talich in blood as had never happened before, a rift opened between dimensions. It was the first of many such rifts, and beyond it lay a world ready to be conquered, ready to be exploited. Beyond that first rift lay The Old World, and I was only just joining the Dawn as the first scouts plunged headlong into our alternate past, our twisted mirror, our unrecognizable parallel universe.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 09:31:31 PM by Benionin »
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Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2016, 01:12:12 AM »
It's been a while since I've worked on this, but I do have more to it than just the prologue here. I'll be dividing that up into reasonable chunks and posting it shortly, though I don't think I'll be putting in more work on this particular story for a while.
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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2016, 01:19:01 AM »
Into the Fray
Chapter 1.1: "Arrayed across the horizon, naught but victory lay in their path"

     My mother blames my father for dying before I could learn the horrors of the wars he fought. "You worship his memory and you worship him for fighting. War isn't polished armor and shining parades, Indy. War is leaving the field each night covered in too much gore to be cleaned before the next day's bloodshed." But I was never listening--I was looking at my father's armor, polished, golden, and clean on its display stand at the head of our table. When she wasn't looking, I would trace the lines of the plating and hover my hand over the bullet holes in the breastplate. Every night I promised myself that I would take my father's place in the glorious Flame Dawn.
     But then, just as I was about to be old enough, the wars ended. The Dawn was officially at peace with all of Talich, even the unconquered Genesis Industries in the south. My chance to fight was over.
     Until the day that Pyr ordered a massive recruiting drive. When we received the data scroll offering positions in the Dawn for every man or woman who volunteered, I took it in hand and left. Now, standing amidst a crowd of other aspiring members of the Flame Dawn, I regret not looking back to see my mother one last time.
     "Someday," I whispered, I vowed, "my name will be shouted as men charge into battle. Someday, my name will be alongside that of Bromich, of Sacullus, and of Iruel in the stories told at nights."
     "I doubt it," drawled a pale black-haired man standing next to me. "More likely, we'll all be buried in unmarked graves while Aberion toasts to men like Bromich and Sacullus, and women like Kali. You're too late to be remembered, whoever you are."
     "That's hardly an optimistic outlook."
     He shrugged. "Cannon fodder in a war between two global superpowers isn't an optimistic job opportunity."
     "What's your name?"
     "Vladimir. You?"
     "Endymion. Vladimir, eh? Mind if I call you Vlad?"
     "Very much so." He turned to face the entrance to Pyr, the Fortress of the Dawn, wiping a thin sheen of sweat from his brow as he did so. "So, Endymion, why are you so excited to join the Dawn and achieve your destiny as the glorified hero who cut Orion's sorry head off of his sorrier shoulders?"
     "My father was in the Dawn. A footman. He died--"
     "Naturally," he quipped.
     "He died taking Lechfeld, the capital of the East Talich Consortium."
     "Ah, yes, the ETC. I'm gonna miss their annoying chatter on the pirate radio channels. Always worth a laugh, their talk of trade rights and international commerce. So your father bit the bullet like ninety percent of other soldiers in the Flame Dawn did during the wars, and inspired you to join the Dawn in his footsteps?" As much as it seemed to be worded and said as a question, it was not.
     "Yup. And you? Why are you here, ready to join the Flame Dawn even when you seem to be hopelessly cynical about our chances of survival?"
     "One, I'm not hopelessly cynical. I've some hope, seasoned with healthy amounts of experience and historical knowledge. If I was hopelessly cynical, as you claim, I'd sign up to fight against the Flame Dawn."
     "Okay, you've got me there."
     "And two, my father was one of the lucky few who actually survived. He's a knight and a governor now, and wants me to work my way up through the ranks like he did. Because that's going to happen twice in the same city, let alone the same family.
     "Thirdly, I'd rather have training if we're about to enter into war with Genesis Industries. You know as well as I that when war breaks out and we all end up buried in mass graves, everyone else will be conscripted--and they won't get training. I'd personally like to shoot a few mechanics before those accursed drones of Genesis get me."
     "Fair enough."
     A knight in golden armor with a red cape stood up on a platform in the midst of the crowd, calling aloud to all of us aspirants. "Registration will begin shortly. This is expected to take several hours if not days, depending on how many of you brave men and women have volunteered to join the illustrious Flame Dawn, led by the glorious Aberion, the rising sun, founder of the Dawn, he who purges the heretics, caller of the crusade, the undaunted, the rampant, he who cleansed the world in fire once and will do so again..."
     Vladimir yawned. "Aberion probably pays his PR department more for coming up with fancy titles than for actually, you know, advertising for the Dawn. I bet that at least ninety percent of that man's message is just a long list of titles--even more if he does some of the other famous leaders, like Bromich."
     "You will be placed under the command of Bromich, the Field Commander, the Brilliant, the Vanquisher of a Thousand Armies, the Logistician, he who plotted the world and saw the forthcoming conquests, he who..."
     Vladimir looked at his watch. "When he said that registration would begin shortly, I thought he meant that it would happen today. At this rate, we'll be done next week if we're lucky. All Genesis Industries has to say about Orion is that he's president, founder, and CEO of the company/nation. They'll be mobilized before we'll receive our uniforms and conquer us before that herald reads the declaration of war. Maybe I should have signed up for them."
     "And let us not forget Kali, the Flaming Blade, the Resplendent, the Exemplar, who rose through the ranks even as the sun rises each morning, who stormed the breach at Pallydium, who..."
     Two hours later, Vlad and I were finally at the registration desks set up outside of the entrance to the fortress. An uninspired and generally tired looking man sat at the desk, not even bothering to look up at the passing volunteers. "Name?"
     "Endymion, sir!"
     He began to write my name down on the roster and paused, looking me over. I examined him in return.
     The man sitting at the registration desk before me was a little older than I was, and by his armor I guessed that he was also an Aspirant. He was a bit small for a soldier, with a gaunt face but inquisitive eyes. "Endymion, eh?" he said with a smile.
     "Yes, sir."
     "My name is Haraldur. Welcome to the Flame Dawn."
     "Thank you, sir."
     "Oh, no need for the sirs, Endymion. I'm just an Aspirant, just like you are once you sign these forms. Sign here, please."
     Not bothering with the fine print on the data scroll, I signed it and moved on, entering the fortress through its grand gate and following the crowd into the crowded armory. The place looked like it might have been organized at some point, but for now it was filled with crates upon crates of equipment, each haphazardly labeled. Weapon racks on the walls were half empty or overstocked, and excess weapons were leaning around everywhere. Ammo reels and clips cluttered the floor, and irritated men manned the cluttered desks that we aspirants were marching up to.
     "Yes, very good, very good," muttered a clerk as he measured me for my armor. "Size 32, excellent, excellent. Here, take this. Adjust the straps like so--is that too tight? Good. Loose armor will be the death of you. Let's see, the helm... yes, yes, this one will do nicely."
     "No no no no no!" cried a nearby clerk, angry with his subject. "This just will not do! You are far too robust for any of our basic armors! Thom! Send in an order to Genesis Industries this instant for armor plating for this, this, giant!"
     "But sir, will they take the order?"
     "We're paying them, aren't we? In spite of all the puffy going around about war, we're still paying them for weapons and armor so they had better deliver!"
     "Do you have measurements?"
     "I'm writing them down right now! Absolutely ridiculous! Why would anyone grow to be so obscenely large?"
     I looked over at the victim of the irate clerk. He wasn't hard to find, easily standing two feet taller than the rest of the crowd with extremely broad shoulders. "What's your name?"
     "Lysimachus."
     "I take it that you run into this trouble often?" I grinned, noting how his clothes were stretched to the seams.
     "Let's just say that I find it hard to find clothes in my size."
     "I'm Endymion."
     "Nice to meet you."
     "Nice to meet you too."
     "Move along, you two, I have more people to get outfitted."
     "But what about my armor?" cried Lysimachus.
     "It'll come in sometime tomorrow. We'll send for you when it does. Now get moving! I haven't got all day here, you know."
     I shrugged and followed the line of newly-outfitted aspirants to another part of the armory, where we would receive weapons. Lysimachus followed me, trying to retreat within himself and remain inconspicuous in spite of his bulk.
     "Name?"
     "Endymion."
     "Weapon?"
     "I'd like a sword, sir."
     "Doesn't everyone and his goat, these days? All of these firearms from Genesis Industries, and everybody wants a sword. Here, take this one. How's the balance?"
     I carefully swung the sword a few times. "It'll do."
     "Humph. Here, take one of these pistols. Standard issue, so don't complain or protest."
     "I had no intention of doing so."
     "Sure you didn't. Now move along. Name?"
     "Lysimachus."
     "And will you also be wanting a sword today?"
     "Actually, I was wondering if I could have one of those large guns over there."
     "Really? That's refreshing. Let me see... ah, this one should do." The weapons clerk plopped a large machine gun, probably meant more to be mounted on a turret than for personal use, onto the counter with an audible thud.
     "Whoa!"
     "Mark IV 88-Class Gatling gun, courtesy of Genesis Industries' R&D department. Allegedly jam-free, this baby can shoot 200 rounds a minute in a constant stream--just don't expect it to be too accurate. You feed the ammo belt in here, and the casings are shot out here. Comes standard with a built-in tripod, not that you'll particularly need it. Just remember, you don't have infinite ammo with this baby, so go easy on the spray and pray."
     "Golly! Thanks a lot, sir!" Lysimachus picked up the formidable weapon, took up a firing pose, and then grinned. "What do you think?"
     "I think you need armor," I grinned, "but otherwise, I think I ought to start running before I get gunned down. Does that thing have a safety?"
     "No," replied the clerk, "Genesis Industries seems to think that safeties on their weapons are for idiots, incompetents, or illiterates. Now move along. Name?"
     "Gwendolyn."
     "Weapon?"
     "Something light and fast--a rapier, perhaps?"
     "So you want a sword too? Great. One of these days, people are going to realize that swords aren't useful when you're charging into battle, and are even less useful when you're being charged down by one of Genesis's infamous Mega Units or obliterated by their scouting drones. I hate to break it to you kids, but swords are not effective anti-aircraft weapons." The clerk continued to talk to himself and his customers while Lysimachus and I followed the line of other recruits to a large open courtyard.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 11:36:41 AM by Benionin »
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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2016, 01:24:51 AM »
1.2

     A simple description such as 'courtyard,' though, does not do the scene justice. From among the throng of armored recruits, I could see the soaring ramparts and high walls around us, and the mighty central keep before us, crimson banners of the Flame Dawn proudly flapping in the breeze, lit braziers the size of houses illuminating the afternoon sky like so many suns. The beige monolith that we were inside of could probably hold thousands, and above the crowd was a balcony on the keep. I couldn't see very well, but there was someone up there.
     "Hey, Lysimachus, can you see who's up there?"
     He squinted, following my pointed hand. "No, it's too far away. Why?"
     "No particular reason, just curious. When do you think we'll have our first battle?"
     "I dunno, I guess it depends on when war finally breaks out with Genesis Industries."
     "I assure you, Endymion," drawled Vladimir, his golden armor doing nothing for his pale complexion or foreboding expression, "that we'll all see battle soon enough. Puffy, the fact that we've had peace for a whole three months has got to be grating Aberion's nerves."
     "So it won't be very long?" I asked, more excited than scared.
     "I hope I get my armor first," Lysimachus said dejectedly to no one in particular.
     "Okay, listen up!" Shouted a man behind us. We turned along with a mass of other recruits, and as we did so I noticed that there was a number of men standing at intervals around the crowd of recruits, shouting orders. Our commanders, I supposed.
     Looking at the man shouting at my group, I saw that he was Haraldur, who had taken down my name earlier. "You are to follow me to your new barracks where you'll deposit your gear before we eat. Tomorrow we'll start your training. Move out!"
     He took off at a jog, leading us through a corridor to another courtyard, this one ringed by large buildings which could only be barracks. The center of the yard was empty, pockets of grass spotting the much-trod-upon dirt. On one side was a targeting range, and on the other was a set of dummies which could only be for sword practice.
     "On your right is the practice field. We hold skirmishes there with blunted weapons and modified rounds. And on your left you'll see a prime specimen of a military barracks." He opened the door and we filed in, soon filling up the building.
     It was tight, for there was little room not taken up by bunks. There were who knows how many rows of bunks laid perpendicular to the walls with a narrow aisle in between the two sides. The bunks were stacked three high, with ladders on each side and storage containers at the foot of each bunk.
     "Find and fill up a bunk, ladies," Haraldur shouted, surprising me with the amount of noise his short form could put out. "There are three bunks for each stack, and I don't want any stack once started to be empty, so don't think about finding your own private bunk all for yourself in some corner. My bunk," he said turning and gesturing towards the far end of the building, "is yonder. It's the only one that isn't in a stack of three. Beyond it is my office. On the other end," he said, sweeping his arm in the other direction and swiping someone who was standing too close, "are the facilities. Bathrooms, showers. Laundry is collected once a week. You will maintain your own armor and weapons, and tomorrow I'll take you to the smiths so they can show you how. Now, find a bunk and put down your gear. Dinner is in five!"
     I turned to Vlad and Lysimachus. "Hey, guys, want to share a stack since we already know each other."
     "The only thing more distasteful than sharing a stack with you would be sharing it with two of you that I had to meet. At least I already know who you are, you insufferable peon. I'm in." Vlad said, his half-smile not extending to any part of his face, let alone his eyes.
     "Sounds like a plan," Lysimachus agreed, and he walked over to a nearby bunk, pushing others out of his way with his bulk and plopping down his bag of gear. He gently set down the large gun on his bunk and turned to me and Vlad.
     "Well, Vlad, would you like top or middle?"
     "Top," he drawled, quickly climbing up and depositing what little gear he had, "and don't call me Vlad."
     "Time's up!" Haraldur shouted, and he jogged out of the door into the training yard. The whole group of new aspirants scrambled to follow and form up behind him. "I want two columns, quickly, yes, two, not three. You, which column are you in? Head to the back. What is this, kid school? You are soldiers now, ladies! And we're off!" He took off at another jog, forcing all of us to do likewise. I noticed that nearly half the column was out of breath by the time we arrived at the mess hall, which wasn't exactly reassuring. In all of the hustle, I forgot to pay attention to what the route was.
     "Line up, one line now, yes, one now, not two, very good ladies. Take a tray, take a mug, and take your lumps. No complaints, you're soldiers. This fare is good compared to the MREs you'll be getting when we're in the field."
     I took a tray and walked past a disillusioned looking fellow who ladled something that looked like a cross between mashed potatoes and soup onto my tray like it was the hardest thing he'd done all day. Trying not to vomit at the smell of the less-than-appetizing food, I moved along and filled my mug with water.
     "Really, just water?" I asked.
     "Be thankful for it," Haraldur replied from behind me, coming up for a refill of his already empty mug. "You need it to wash the glop down."
     "I'll pass," Vlad said putting down his tray and merely filling up his mug. From a pocket he grabbed a packet of some powder and poured it into the drink, stirring it gently with his finger. "I'd rather not die before reaching the oh so glorious battlefield."
     "What's that, soldier?" Haraldur asked, his voice sharp.
     "Electrolytes and sugar, sir. Two cups is enough to keep someone going for a full day."
     "And where did you get that, pray tell?"
     "I keep a ready supply, purchased from various merchants and supply depots."
     "You do realize that that's regulation food, and that you shouldn't have been able to acquire it as a civilian?"
     "I'm a soldier, remember sir?" Vlad said, taking a sip.
     Haraldur slammed his fist down. "Don't take that tone with me, puffy it!"
     Vlad put down his mug slowly, looking about ready to start a fight. In the spirit of not ending up killed by my own side, I decided to intercede. "His father's a governor somewhere, forced the military on him--practically from birth, you know. Vlad probably had to drink this stuff instead of his mother's milk."
     "Sad, but true," Vlad conceded, "and don't call me Vlad. It's Vladimir. Three syllables. 'To rule with greatness,' it means."
     "Soldier, remember to keep your tongue in check when in the field," Haraldur growled. "Not every commander is going to be lenient. Sacullas, for one, would have you on the front lines for a week, leading the charge. And I think that we both know that isn't the greatest place to be."
     "Right," Vlad said, picking his cup back up and stopping, as Haraldur was still staring at him. "Sir." The older man left, leaving the two of us.
     "Try not to get us killed by our own side, Vlad--"
     "Vladimir"
     "Whatever. I thought you wanted training before you ended up in the ground."
     "Personally, I'd prefer to not end up in the ground at all but so far no one's immortal."

     For some reason, that last quip stuck with me for the rest of the night, and as I lay in bed, staring up at the bunk above me, it echoed. "But so far no one's immortal." I mean, given the technology that we had you'd think that someone would have figured it out, right? Surely there's more to it than that puffing science fiction you find in the sewers, or in the back of the libraries where it hadn't been replaced by Flame Dawn propaganda yet. "But so far no one's immortal."

     So there I was the next morning, standing on a field aiming my pistol at a human dummy, with Vlad on one side and Lysimachus on the other.
     "You know, we've got to come up with something shorter to call you by, Lysimachus," I said, firing off a shot and clipping the target's shoulder.
     "Nonlethal, you're dead, try again," muttered Vladimir, placing a slug in between his dummy's eyes. "Try to kill them, Endymion, so I don't have to."
     Lysimachus was still trying to figure out how to fire his regulation pistol with his immense hands. "Yeah, some people say my name's as unwieldy as I am."
     Haraldur came along the line, inspecting and correcting the various aspirants, and stopped at us. "Oh, give it up, you puffy," he cried, exasperated, "just get out your machine gun and bring on the end of days. You don't have to learn how to aim with that monster. Endymion, keep an eye on your stance. Foot placement may seem like nothing, but it can be incredibly important."
     "Thank you, sir!" I said, cutting off whatever snide comment Vlad was about to interject. "So, anyway, if your name's such a bother do you already have a nickname?"
     "Some people call me big guy, but I never was a fan of that."
     "Personally, Lysimachus," Vlad said, killing his dummy yet again with a slug between the eyes, "I despise shortening names. Go ahead, be the 'loosening of battle' that you were named to be. Fire that monster."
     "Is that what his name means?"
     "I had a lot of free time on my hands as a child. After dissecting animals became boring and I was told that the servants were not specimens, I studied names and their meanings. Frightfully boring stuff, I'm afraid." Another shot, another bullet between the dummy's eyes.
     "It appears you also had time to train as a marksman."
     "It's pointless aiming at a human target, really. We should be practicing on mock-ups of all of the latest Genesis Industries battle models. That's what we'll be fighting, anyway."
     A clerk came along pulling a hovercart with a giant pile of golden armor. "For Aspirant Lysimachus," he announced, looking over our group before heading straight for us. "I suspect that you're him."
     "What gave it away?"
     "The machine gun. A thing of beauty. Treat her well, and treat your armor better." The clerk deposited the contents of the hovercart on the ground and promptly left. Sociable fellows. I imagine he had some fifty other problem cases he had to get sorted out by sundown.
     "All right, that's enough!" shouted Haraldur from the end of the line. "You're all going to need some work, but it's a good start. However, considering that armor just arrived for the last of us, I think it's high time you ladies learned how to take care of it. I want four columns, yes, four, not two, not one, four, right now, and let's head over to the armory to discuss how to take care of your equipment! Ready? Too bad, we're going!"
     It was then that Haraldur turned around and ran smack dab into the chest of a large man with close-cropped brown hair and a beard that looked as though it had been carved from steel. Red armor with plenty of spines and a giant hammer identified him to me, Vlad, and probably everyone else as none other than Sacullas, the Final Hammer of the Flame Dawn.
     "That won't be necessary, Aspirant," came the low voice of one of the Dawn's most famous fighters. "You were right in that all of your men and women need more practice. As such, you will form up and follow me."
     Haraldur, who had seemed so large and in charge and commanding from when he had first yelled at us in the courtyard yesterday, suddenly seemed very small. "Right away sir! Where to?"
     "One of the transports. Swing by the intelligence center and pick up your orders there. I'll be waiting at the hangar." Sacullas scanned the crowd and locked on Vladimir. "You there, Aspirant, you had some mighty fine marksmanship today. You'll lead the charge."
     Vlad knew better than to groan while the Final Hammer was watching. "It's an honor, sir."
     "Let's move out!" shouted Haraldur, regaining his composure and taking care not to run into another superior officer. "Follow me!"
     We jogged through a wide hallway in our four columns, slowing as we passed a room that looked suspiciously technologically advanced. "This is one of our intelligence centers," explained Haraldur. Inside were rows and rows of computers and holographic displays, with a global map in the center. A somewhat handsome looking man with a goatee was examining the map, pointing out different areas to men and women at the computers and issuing commands I couldn't make out as I jogged past. Haraldur jogged up to the man with a goatee, saluted, and took a slip of paper that presumably held our battle orders.
     "That's Agent Coyle," our leader said, moving back to the front of the column. "We don't really know all that much about him, but he's a legendary fighter and word is he really gets around. It's probably the goatee. Makes the ladies forget all about the danger, my father always said."
     From there, a set of enormous blast doors opened and we were inside the hangar. Even Lysimachus seemed miniscule compared to the vehicles that filled the colossal structure, and there were hundreds if not thousands of vehicles. Sacullas was standing at the head of one such behemoth of engineering, walking next to it as personnel guided the vehicle towards the exit.
     "There's our ride, hop in and hold on!"
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Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2016, 01:29:58 AM »
1.3

     Boarding was deceptively easy. As the immense transport rumbled forward, the rear opened up and our four columns jogged right on up the ramp, fitting almost perfectly into the hold. Haraldur grabbed onto a bar above his head and I did likewise as the ramp closed, leaving us in practical darkness, the only light coming from air vents above our heads.
     The vehicle lurched to life and charged out of the hangar, taking off at who knows what speed. All around, those who weren't so fortunate in their hold on the bars above fell over, creating chaos in the near total darkness. Vlad and I managed to hold on, as did Lysimachus, who had to duck to avoid hitting his head.
     "Peons," shrugged Vlad and I couldn't help but agree.
     "Amateurs."
     "Same thing, really."
     "Did I stutter when I told you to hold on, ladies? You puffied that one up all right!" shouted Haraldur from the front. "Try to look respectable when we deploy. Don't want those engineers from Genesis Industries to die of laughing when we could plant a bullet between their eyes, do we?"
     "I'm beginning to think he takes a perverse pleasure in yelling at us," Lysimachus said, still ducking down.
     "Sir, do you know where we're going?"
     "Genesis Industries scout force under some chick named Nyssa," Haraldur shouted. "Aberion's been hunting her for weeks, now we've got her cornered in our sovereign territory. Sacullas is to be the final blow in the fight. Orders are to storm what few defenses they've managed to set up. Shouldn't be too much, though, with Aberion chasing her halfway around the continent."
     Speakers buzzed to life around us. "This is Sacullas, the Final Hammer, speaking. These are the words of Aberion: the Flame Dawn is here to fight, and we will be victorious!"
     For some reason, we cheered. It wasn't that great of a speech, and the delivery was lacking given that it was through a speaker system and Sacullas didn't honestly seem to care. But for whatever reason, I still felt inspired.
     "Say," I asked, "how are we going to deploy? Out the back, the way we came in?"
     "And let them respond while we form up?" asked Haraldur. "No, we're in formation now and these transports are designed with an exit through the front. It'll go forward until it crashes and we'll charge out--with Vlad here at the fore, as per Sacullas's orders."
     Vladimir only growled in response as the transport hit another bump, jarring the entire vehicle and once again knocking over those who had been lax in holding on.
     "What did I say about holding on, ladies?" Haraldur shouted over the clatter of aspirants trying to stand back up and find their handholds. No one responded because in the distance they could hear cannon fire.
     The speakers buzzed back to life. "The enemy is in sight, ETA 3 minutes."
     The cannon fire grew louder until it changed from a rumble into a roar and the transport continued to bump and jolt as it raced along ever more irregular terrain. Occasionally dust would rain in from a shot that had to have been closer to the transport than I would have liked.
     "They're getting a read on us," I whispered as another peal of thunder erupted just left of the transport, even closer than the last. The armor I was wearing seemed stifling in the darkness and I could feel sweat trickling down my spine.
     Another boom of not-so-distant cannon and suddenly the whole transport shuddered from what had to be a direct hit. Dust came pouring in, alarms sounded, and the front of the transport opened up to blinding sunlight, the ramp falling with a resounding clang.
     Vlad dropped the visor on his helm, raised his arm, and shouted a half-hearted "Charge!" before running down the ramp. Roaring, the rest of us aspirants followed him. The sun was still in our eyes so we couldn't quite see what we were running into yet.
     As it turns out, we were charging into hell.
     We must have been near the coast because the area was sandy, with gently rolling dunes that couldn't be more than five feet high at their tallest. Not that impressive, I know, but what was impressive was the embankment that we were up against.
     Dug up sand piled high with holes for artillery and machine guns, drones flying overhead and flack exploding in all directions. On the opposite side of what had to be the position of the Genesis scouts I could barely make out the pennants of the Flame Dawn--Aberion's force, no doubt. In theory, this side would be more lightly defended than where he was attacking.
     Vlad dashed forward and ducked behind a dune, with the rest of us running behind. I wondered what he was doing when I heard the rattling of automated fire and saw aspirants to my left fall to the ground with shells exploding from their chests, blood spilling into the sand. I quickly ducked down with him, as did many of the others.
     "Onwards!" shouted Haraldur. "You can't stop the charge or they'll try you for insubordination!"
     I could almost sense Vlad roll his eyes behind his visor. "Great. Die on the battlefield or die in a court-martial." Taking a breath, he charged towards another dune, the rest of us moving forward indiscriminately. I saw men and women who had been training with me just an hour before die without even seeing their enemy, shot to pieces by the Genesis guns. A cannon boomed and the dune we had been collectively sheltering behind exploded, sand and corpses of our fellows flying everywhere. I kept close to Vlad, knowing that he was the most likely to actually succeed in the charge.
     Another pause in the charge as bullets flew overhead. Looking tentatively ahead, the embankment seemed so far away. Looking back, I was aghast at how many of us had died in the first charge and how little ground we had covered. I took aim with my pistol and fired a tentative shot.
     "Save your bullets, you fool," growled Vladimir. "We're too far away to damage them."
     "Well then, let's get closer."
     "If you insist," Vlad said, and he charged over the dune, heading for another one. I could see Lysimachus ahead of us on our right, somehow untouched in all of the fire and dug in behind a different dune. All ahead of us, Aspirants were charging and dying--meaninglessly.
     "Again," Vlad shouted, and we caught up with Lysimachus.
     "How're you doing?" I asked him.
     "I've been better," he said, his voice shaking.
     "We have to keep moving," Vlad insisted, and we charged forward again, more of the aspirants who were with us falling to the fire of the Genesis guns. Somehow he seemed to have the timing of them, because Vlad always made it to cover before they began mowing our fellows down.
     "How do you do it?" I asked.
     "They're using drones to defend," he explained. "The drones are automated to scan the area for threats and fire on them. When we duck down, they continue to use suppressing fire for five seconds, then go back to their search program. When we charge, it takes them about five seconds to fire at us again."
     "That's not a very large window."
     Vlad gestured at the corpses behind us. "You don't say."

So that's all I have for now. Feel free to tell me what you think (I for one find some of the names to be clunky in retrospect), and especially tell me if you enjoyed it! I may return to this project eventually, but for the foreseeable future I'm gonna be working on finishing a different project which is much more important to me and much closer to completion. At any rate, I hope you all enjoy it.
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Offline belial12

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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2016, 12:11:36 AM »
wow! this is pretty cool!

Offline largenuggets [BoD]

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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2016, 12:59:40 AM »
This is super awesome and well done! Hail the dawn! You are a great writer and I can't wait to find out what happens! :D

Offline Klassick

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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2016, 03:07:02 AM »
Wow.

Fabulous. When I first see the size of the thread I thinked to myself: "ok, I am not going to read all this lines but... let's give it a try..."

What I can say is that I couldn't stop reading until I get to the end of it... And I want more!

Hope you back to this work soon!! ;D
« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 03:49:57 AM by Klassick »
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Offline largenuggets [BoD]

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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2016, 08:24:45 AM »
Wow.

Fabulous. When I first see the size of the thread I thinked to myself: "ok, I am not going to read all this lines but... let's give it a try..."

What I can say is that I couldn't stop reading until I get to the end of it... And I want more!

Hope you back to this work soon!! ;D

Ikr! I was just gonna read the first paragraph but I got sucked in xD


Btw I think the names are fine hahaha, they are original and cool :) I can't decide if I think Vlad is a total badass or a stuck up prick.... I guess I'll have to find out with the next one! This should totally be featured on the home page :D

P.S. I can't wait to see if Klore gets introduced :O He is the most badass of all! I wonder if he will start out small like an aspirant and then rise up to greatness over time :D that would be so befitting of the card hahaha
« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 08:27:04 AM by largenuggets »

Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2016, 03:10:09 PM »
Well let's see if I can't whip up an ending to chapter one in the next couple of days.
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Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2016, 05:24:46 PM »
I just came up with a short bit to finish up the battle and the first chapter. Don't know if it's as good as the other stuff, don't know when I'll be able to get back to it, but since you guys have been giving good old Into the Fray some love I figured finishing up the first chapter was the least I can do.

1.4

     We dashed forward to the next dune as gunfire threw clumps of sand up into the air. Something dinged off of one of my shoulder pauldrons, but didn't seem to do any damage. When I glanced at it, some of the paint had been scraped off. I glanced at my pistol. "How much longer until we can fire back?"
     Vlad peeked over the top of the dune, then ducked back down as the drones launched suppressing fire at him. "Next dune or so. Lysimachus is already in range, I think."
     "Okay," I said, shouting over the sound of gunfire ahead of me and screams of pain behind, "we move forward one more dune."
     "Then what?" Lysimachus asked.
     "Then you start shooting and we cover you. Vlad, lead on!"
     "Don't call me Vlad," he muttered under his breath. Well, I think he did. I couldn't quite hear him, what with there being a battle and all, but he probably said it. "Move!"
     We dashed forward one last time, a surging wave of red and gold behind us. When we reached the dune, I pointed my sword at one of the gun emplacements and Lysimachus opened up with his gun. Boy, did that baby roar! Could hardly hear myself think for the first second, and we all looked at it in surprise before the drones began to converge on us.
     I stood up in the open, trying to draw their attention while firing my pistol at whichever drone was closest. On the other side of Lysimachus was Vlad, coldly shooting at the aerial drones and sending one down with each pull of the trigger.
     How does he do that? I wondered. How does he know where to shoot the things?
Even as I thought that there came an explosion from in front of me, causing all of us to jump. It looked like Lysimachus had taken out one of the cannons, and other aspirants started to catch up with us--including Haraldur.
     "Keep moving!" he shouted. "Keep going forward! We have them now!"
     Shouting a war cry, I leaped forward, making it to the next dune before ducking as the Genesis defenders began to allocate more fire towards us. We were so close to the embankment now. Just another charge and we would be inside the range of their guns. Another after that and we would be swarming over their defenses.
     "Glory to the Dawn!" I yelled, and started running. Something hit me in the leg, causing me to fall, but I picked myself back up, oblivious to those around me, and kept charging forward. The Flame Dawn way, I thought, and within a breath the gunfire had disappeared and I was already climbing the embankment, taking potshots at engineers with my pistol just to keep their heads down while my brothers and sisters of the Flame Dawn advanced with me.
     It was then that Vlad overtook me, pointing at my bleeding leg. "Get that looked at," he mouthed, before nailing an engineer between the eyes with his pistol and continuing to climb.
     Was he even looking? I wondered, taking a shot myself with no success.
     And then we were at the top. Before us lay the Genesis camp, full of engineers, drones, spare parts, and smoking machines. On the other side I could see the banner of the Flame Dawn planted, with a fierce battle raging between forces larger than we had been contending with.
     "Down, you fool!" Vlad shouted, tackling me as a cannon obliterated the air where I was. "You're going to get us all killed!"
     It was then, with the aspirants swarming the rear of the Genesis forces, that Sacullas arrived. I'm not sure where he came from, but suddenly he was there at the front, jumping down from the embankment and smashing automated weaponry with his mighty hammer. Roaring, we joined in, with a red tide of soldiers behind us.
     As the Genesis position crumbled, I saw them raise a white flag in the center of the camp and stop firing. Drones moved into a defensive circle around the remaining engineers and were decimated before the order to stand down was given. Only three members of the weapons company remained alive.
     "Let's get you to a medic," Haraldur said, looking at my leg. "You need to get that looked at."
     "Funny," I had replied. "I don't feel a thing..."
     Then, of course, I passed out. When I woke up, I was back in the barracks at Pyr.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 11:37:29 AM by Benionin »
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Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2016, 07:08:45 AM »
P.S. I can't wait to see if Klore gets introduced :O He is the most badass of all! I wonder if he will start out small like an aspirant and then rise up to greatness over time :D that would be so befitting of the card hahaha

My strategy for dealing with named characters is more or less to skirt around them--mention them, maybe have them play a tertiary role in the story (like how Sacullas is in charge of the attack), but to focus on my own characters. I'll probably namedrop Klore and other unique FD and GI characters, and Vlad might make some comment like "who names their daughter after the Latin word for 'Force?' No wonder she's so furious." So yeah, the named cards might show up, but they won't play a huge role. To address Klore specifically, he might be an Aspirant in another company or something. I'll definitely figure something out.

This should totally be featured on the home page :D

Aww... thanks for all the support folks!

If/when I continue this, I'll try to publish entire chapters at a time, probably making new threads for each new chapter just to keep it tidy and accessible for anyone wanting to read it.

PS: no one tell the FD advertisers that I wrote this.  ;)
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Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2016, 07:16:25 AM »
Find chapter 2 here!
« Last Edit: May 26, 2016, 07:25:28 AM by Benionin »
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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2016, 07:26:37 AM »
Updated with table of contents
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Re: Into the Fray--Introduction and Prologue
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2016, 11:39:35 AM »
Now with awesome art by Tinkercide. The current plan is to use Nato's avatar at the start of chapters and Tinkercide's art for the end of them.
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