Author Topic: Into the Fray--Chapter 2  (Read 2164 times)

Offline Benionin

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Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« on: March 26, 2016, 07:15:48 AM »
Introduction, Prologue, and Chapter 1
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Into the Fray

The story so far...
Endymion has joined the mighty, powerful, and utterly peerless Flame Dawn! There was a battle with a Genesis Industries scouting force under Nyssa. People died. Endymion was injured. In the leg, but naturally that won't interfere with him doing a bunch of running in this chapter.


Chapter 2.1: "Against the Flame Dawn, even a short stumble can mean death"

     When I did wake up, I was treated to a surprise. Well, maybe not so surprising after all.
     "They've finally done it," Lysimachus breathed, looking at a dataslate. "They finally declared war."
     I heard Vladimir from his bunk above me. "We've clearly been at peace for far too long. Some three months! Horrible!"
     At that moment, Haraldur entered the barracks, head bowed. He looked over, saw me awake, and smiled. "Good, you're awake. A lot has happened in the past day."
     "Like what?"
     "Well, all of you survivors of the attack were promoted to Senior Aspirant status."
     "One step closer to getting out of this dump and into a unit with actual survival rates," Vlad said.
     Haraldur ground his teeth. "As much as your friend's attitude flirts with treason he is correct. Another good mission like that and we'll all be out of here and into the official ranks of the Dawn."
     "That's excellent news!" I said.
     "And the likelihood of there being more such battles has just increased exponentially. In case you haven't heard, Aberion has declared war upon Genesis Industries. Claims that they were trespassing on sovereign soil and resisted a lawful inspection. In spite of Orion's pleas, including an offer for a permanent price reduction on ammunition, our glorious leader had Nyssa and her engineers all executed, mobilized the army, and promptly declared war."
     "Any pretense, any pretense at all," Vlad drawled. "I have to give him credit for actually waiting for a pretense, at least."
     "Soldier, your attitude is not going to make you any friends, you know that?"
     "Absolutely."
     "It's liable to get you killed by your own side."
     "Still more likely to die fighting the enemy."
     "At any rate," I cut in, "this is good, right? Genesis doesn't stand a chance against the Dawn, and with all of Talich under one rule, well, some good's bound to come out of that, right?"
     "I don't know if you remember the battle we just fought," Vlad remarked, "but Genesis won't go down without a fight. And while I would never suggest as such myself, surely the people of Genesis Industries would argue that having the Flame Dawn in charge of the whole world is a horrible idea. But I wouldn't dare suggest anything so unpatriotic."
     Wordlessly, Haraldur stomped off.
     "But I mean, Aberion rules some 90% of the planet," I pointed out. "In terms of sheer numbers and resources we have Genesis beat."
     "Maybe so," Vlad said, "but Orion knows what he's doing and the fact that we have such vast resources tends to mean that our glorious leaders aren't too picky about squandering them. We've got another day of leave following our last battle, Endymion, and you need your rest. I suggest you get some sleep."
     "Vlad," I said, "it almost sounds as though you care."
     "Don't call me Vlad," he grumbled.

     The next evening we were sitting in the mess hall, eating the inedible slop that they give out to Aspirants while Vlad still drank his energy mix and Haraldur tried not to fume over the blatant disregard for authority exhibited by my friend (at the very least, I considered him to be my friend).
     Our company, or battalion, or whatever one calls a ragtag group of untrained soldiers, was sorely diminished following the conflict with Nyssa. Where just days ago some hundred people had swarmed this mess hall and done their best to digest the seemingly indigestible, now there were maybe twenty of us left.
     A courier rushed in the door, located Haraldur, and handed him a datascroll before briskly walking away.
     "Good news, ladies!" our leader shouted. "We're shipping out tomorrow! I know all of you are terribly bored, so Aberion's cooked up a war just for you! We'll be joining up with the 133rd Aspirant under my old training buddy Klore, then heading on down to the front."
     "Klore?" one person asked.
     "That's right, buttercup!" Haraldur yelled. "And Klore won't let as much of this puffy slide as I do! The man's an over-achiever, a go-getter, and once he gets going he doesn't give up! Marvin's 78th Aspirant is also to be joining us, but of the three of us Klore's senior so he'll be in charge."
     "Where are we going?" a woman asked, and I realized that I recognized her from registration day. Gwendolyn, I think.
     "South! We're taking the fight straight to the Genesis forces. These orders have us moving to seize a supply dump and a few factories that we'll need now that the Genesis have stopped selling us weapons and munitions. Make no mistake, ladies, Bromich has a battle plan all worked out."
     I looked around at the room. The excitement, the energy that had filled these volunteers before was gone. "How is it," I muttered, "that we are all so tired after just one minor engagement?"
     "A hundred of us charged that 'undefended' position, Endymion," Lysimachus pointed out. "Only 20 of us are still here to talk about it."
     "And if only one in five of us made it last time..." I said, letting my voice drift off.
     How many would survive this next fight?
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 08:04:45 AM by Benionin »
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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2016, 09:20:35 AM »
2.2

     "How's the leg?" Lysimachus asked as we formed up the next morning.
     I shook it out. "Sore. I'll get over it."
     "Good to hear," he replied.
     "Two columns today, folks!" Haraldur shouted, trotting out of the barracks and onto the parade ground. "Two columns! Very good, ladies, you learned to count! Let's move out!"
     Once again we were jogging through the vastness that was Pyr, taking twists and turns that would confuse just about anyone until we arrived at the same massive hangar we had departed from to hunt down Nyssa.
     Then, it had been largely devoid of activity. Maintenance workers and a few prep crews had seen to the transports, but we had been the only group actually undergoing deployment. Today was a completely different story. Rows upon rows of troop transports were being filled to the brim with soldiers of all stripes. I even saw a squad of men riding on motorcycles roar their way out of the hangar and into the sunrise.
     Haraldur looked at his datascroll, then marched us over to a particular transport, where we found the other two decimated companies were already aboard. Grumbling to himself, Haraldur led us into the darkness of the transport.
     "You're late," a voice said over the intercom. "Regardless, now that we are all here we shall set out. For the glory of the Flame Dawn!"
     The soldiers all let out a ragged cheer as the transport jolted to life, roaring out of the hangar as if Aberion himself were chasing it. It was a long journey, but as much as I wanted to fall asleep I knew I had to stay awake or risk falling over.
     My leg was beginning to bother me from standing in the same place constantly. I tried to brush it off, but by the time the jarring ride was done it was throbbing to the point where I was biting my cheek to resist crying out in pain every time we hit a bump.
     The end of the journey came as a surprise--no artillery barrage, no sounds of warfare, no fanfare either. Just a sudden stop and the sudden brightness of the front ramp deploying.
     "Form up!" the intercom announced in a clipped voice, and we all began to deploy, struggling not to fall over after standing in the same place for the past several hours.
     Outside, the sun was clear, which for whatever reason felt odd. I mean, wars are not known for their clear weather conditions. We think of the soldiers fighting in the rain, the snow, the storms. Without the wrath of nature beating in time to the wrath of men, can it really be called a war?
I dismissed the thought. After all, it was probably storming somewhere on the planet.
     Once my eyes adjusted to the brightness of the world outside the belly of the transport, I took advantage of the opportunity to survey my surroundings. Rolling hills, a few groves of trees, and before us lay a skyline--no doubt where the factory we were supposed to take was located.
     "New orders from Commander Bromich," a man announced. I assumed that he was Klore, since he was armored head to toe, had a rapier hanging from his belt, and bled confidence the way a person slashed across their neck bled... blood. Hmm, maybe not the best metaphor. "What aerial surveys we have been able to conduct indicate that this area is more heavily guarded than previously anticipated. We are to await here for further reinforcements."
     "Waiting? Hardly sounds like the Flame Dawn," I remarked.
     Behind his helmet, Klore's eyes narrowed. "A tactical delay or withdrawal can save lives and secure victory far more easily than just madly rushing the enemy's defenses."
     "My apologies, sir."
     "Noted. Let's set up camp and I'll work with the senior aspirants to set up a watch schedule. I want a line of trenches between us and the Genesis scum, shelters, and most importantly latrines with proper drainage. Move it!"
     Our company was assigned to the digging of the trenches--hard work, but at least it wasn't the latrines. A compartment on the side of the transport was opened to reveal shovels and we spent the next few hours coated in dust and sweat as we dug the trench progressively deeper.
     "Five feet deep, ladies, and pile the dirt in the front!" Haraldur had ordered, drawing a line in the dirt to indicate where to dig. At certain points he would make indentations in the line so that it was no longer straight. "Don't forget these bits, they'll keep one shell from killing all of us. Now get digging!"
     By the time we had dug three feet down in the sweltering summer heat, we had hit the clay. And if we had thought that the top layer of soil was difficult to dig, boy were we in for an unpleasant surprise. As we labored through the clay, progress slowed to a crawl. The troops in charge of making the latrines joined us, but even that didn't make much of a difference.
     As the last rays of the sun were peaking over the horizon, we finished the trench in its entirety: planks lining the bottom, boards keeping the sides from collapsing, steps and ladders so soldiers could emerge.
     "Whew!" Lysimachus sighed, wiping the sweat from his forehead. "That was tough."
     "Yeah," I said, returning my shovel to the storage compartment in the transport. "I'm ready for some sleep." I was so tired and sore all over that I couldn't even notice if my leg still hurt--everything hurt.
     "I hate to be the bearer of bad news," Haraldur said, walking up to us, "but Klore's assigned our company to take first watch. I'll lead you to the sentry posts."
     "First watch?" demanded Vladimir. "But we were working all day on the trenches!"
     "That's true," Haraldur admitted, "and I tried to argue, but Klore would have none of it. Try to think of it this way: you'll have unbroken sleep once your watch is over."
     "That hardly seems comforting," Lysimachus replied. "I'd have preferred the last watch before the morning. Then we'd still get our unbroken sleep, we'd just wake up earlier instead of having to stay up when we're already exhausted."
     "I know, I know, but there's nothing I can do about it."
     Haraldur led us to points around the perimeter, and I was stationed in the trenches.
     "How long's the watch for?" I asked.
     "There's three watches, so it'll be some two or three hours before you're relieved. Just remember, stand tall and proud, with your torso above the trench. That way you won't surrender the no-man's-land to the enemy."
     "That doesn't even make sense! The Genesis forces aren't even here!"
     "Sure they are," Haraldur said, pointing at the brightly lit factory that was visible on the horizon. "If you keep ducked down, you can't see anyone coming. But if you're standing up, watching attentively, then no one is going to slip you by."
     "Does that even work?"
     "The 32nd Infantry swore by it during the siege of Pallydium. Also claimed that it reduced casualties."
     "Wasn't that actual trench warfare, though, with both sides dug in?"
     "Maybe so, but the principle stands. Trust me on this one, Endymion."
     "As you say, sir."
     "Well, have a safe watch, and drop the 'sir.' I've got my own spot to keep an eye on. See you in the morning."
     As he walked off, I turned my eyes towards the factory in the distance. I could barely make out the buzzing shapes of aerial drones zipping about, flying around the smokestacks and occasionally lighting up the night with searchlights.
     I tried to figure out the pattern, like the one Vlad had mentioned in the previous battle, but either there wasn't one or it was too complex for me to figure out. At least Haraldur was right about the commanding view of the land in front of us. I could see just about everything for miles, even in the darkness. I had to keep rubbing my eyes to stay awake (it mostly worked), but eventually the watch passed and I was relieved.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2016, 09:28:52 AM by Benionin »
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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2016, 09:34:58 AM »
2.3

     I was woken up the next morning by the sound of more transports showing up--the shaking of the ground didn't do much to help either. I didn't realize how loud those behemoths were. I dressed and put on my armor hurriedly before running out of the temporary shelter that had been set up, finding a place with the rest of my company in the trench.
     "Morning," Vlad drawled, cleaning his pistol.
     "Morning," I replied. "Do you know what's going on?"
     "We've got 200 more aspirants," he explained, "and with our brave force of some 300 men and women we're going to storm a position that the Genesis have no doubt been fortifying since we declared war on them."
     "Awesome!"   
     "Awesome?" Vlad asked, raising an eyebrow. "Do you realize how hard it is to storm a position across open ground in broad daylight? At least in the dunes we had cover."
     There was a huge noise off in the distance, followed by an ear-splitting whine, and then one of the transports blew up.
     "Ah," Vlad said, putting away his pistol and placing his helmet on his head. "They've found our range."
     Around us, more and more aspirants began to flood into the trench, ducking as more heavy artillery began to fire. Several shots missed, hitting the dirt in front of or behind us, but within minutes the other two transports were in flames.
     "They were conspicuous targets anyway," Vlad shrugged.
     "Do you think we can wait out the bombardment?" someone asked, and I swear that Vlad raised an eyebrow, even if I couldn't see his face behind his helmet.
     "You do realize that we're attacking a supply depot, right?"
     "Oh."
     Orders began to be spread down the line, spoken from person to person. "Get ready to launch an attack," "Prepare to storm the factory," "Glory to the Dawn!"
     It was then that I noticed something. While we were, truthfully, north of the enemy position, we were also placed slightly to their east. And the sun rises in the east.
     Does having the sun in their eyes, or sensors, or whatever, actually matter to automated drones?
     Before I could ask, or figure it out for myself, the charge had begun and we were pouring forward, ever forward, charging, yelling, aiming for that building looming on the horizon. Aberion had called a crusade, Bromich had planned it, and now it was up to us to prosecute it. There were miles between us and the objective but we ran forward at full tilt, any semblance of a line disintegrating as one aspirant outstrode another, as some had to maneuver around or through craters left by the bombardment.
     As some were destroyed in an explosion of dirt and sound, blown to pieces before they could even see who they were fighting. As some were cut down by machine gun fire, far off but still able to whittle down the lines. As some stepped on land mines, growing denser as the yards between us and our objective closed. And as some stopped, out of breath, having forgotten to pace themselves as they charged.
     Yet we were going to make it, I could tell. We had already passed the range where the heavy artillery could fire upon us, even as we entered into range of their machine guns. Already as many as a third of our force was lying in the dirt, but still we pressed on.
     "For the Dawn!" I shouted, chasing after the front line of aspirants.
     It was then that they stopped, or fell, or tripped, on the line of barbed wire. Frantically I drew my sword and hacked away at the deadly fence, opening a hole that I quickly passed through. Around me others were doing the same, but there were also bodies tangled up in the wire like discarded puppets, some still struggling and crying out in pain.
     There was a second line of barbed wire, but this one slowed down our charging force much less than the first. I was vaguely aware of Lysimachus right behind me, waiting for me to clear him a path through the deadly wire, of other soldiers all around cutting through the line even as machine guns opened up and land mines discharged.
     Only a hundred yards or so away, I could see the defenses that we were to storm. I yelled over the din of gunfire and death, getting closer with every pump of my legs, every step that I took.
     We're going to make it, I thought, barely coherent. We're going to make it.
     All around me aspirants put on a burst of speed as we closed those last precious yards, crashing into the Genesis line and smashing the automated sentries. Mechanics turned and ran as the line of drones positively shattered under the weight of our assault, only to be cut down by our guns.
     And just like that, in moments of making contact with the enemy, they were all either destroyed, slain, or fled. The anticipation of the charge hardly seemed worth the half a minute of combat.
     "How many of us made it?" I asked, looking around and seeing both Vlad and Lysimachus safe.
     "Some 300 good, brave soldiers charged forth," Vlad said, taking off his helmet and spitting on the ground. "There are maybe 30 of us left."
     "Decimated," I whispered, horrified.
     "Maybe so," Klore said, walking past. "But victorious. Medical teams are already looking over the dead and wounded in the field. They'll find survivors. You can count on it. The proud soldiers of the mighty Flame Dawn don't go down that easily!" He continued to walk around the survivors, talking to them, reassuring them, leading them.
     "What happened to that puffying annoying try-hard from yesterday?" Vlad asked.
     "The battle," I said. "Now that we're through it, he can be nice."
     "I don't know if I'd call that a battle," Vlad went on. "It was a one-sided slaughter that changed sides halfway through."
     "Maybe so," I countered, "but we won. And now we've captured the supply dump. We'll have the munitions that we need to continue fighting."
     It was then that a warehouse exploded, causing everyone but Vlad to turn in shock. Then another warehouse, and another, until all that remained of the objective we had bled so much to take was smoke and twisted metal.
     "About that," Vlad smiled, chuckling. "Did you really think they'd let us capture the factory?"
     Right on cue, flames erupted from the smokestack of the factory.
     "Ah, puffy," I swore.
     "Puffy indeed."

That's all I've got for this chapter for now. It's significantly shorter than the previous one (about half the length, I think), and I might expand it further, but I've covered just about everything I wanted to. For the moment, anyway. As always, I hope you have enjoyed this and please, please leave your comments. It's how I know whether or not I'm actually writing anything good and more importantly your support helps motivate me to continue working on this project. So if you like what you see, let me know!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2016, 05:34:39 AM by Benionin »
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Offline belial12

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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2016, 10:32:31 PM »
this is very good! :D

Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2016, 04:20:04 AM »
2.4

     As it turns out, the medics were able to find enough people to bring the total number of survivors up to an auspicious 47. So we only lost nearly 85% of our force in that one brief charge over open ground. After doing our best to salvage what we could from the supply depot (which ended up being just about nothing), we made camp for the night in the ruins of the demolished buildings. At least we didn't have to dig trenches this time--though Vladimir was assigned to personally dig all of the latrines by a grinning, vindictive Haraldur. Something about insubordination.
     Vlad would never be insubordinate, so they clearly had the wrong guy.
     I woke up early the next morning, but wasn't the first one up. Klore and Haraldur were both sitting around a central campfire talking, so after an indecisive moment of rubbing my hands together to warm them up in the morning chill I walked over and joined them.
     "Morning, Endymion," Haraldur said, nodding at me as I sat down. "You're up early."
     "No earlier than you," I said. "Besides, early to rise, early to strike."
     Klore laughed. "Never thought I would hear that old platitude again."
     "So what's going on?"
     Haraldur indicated a datascroll. "This came from Headquarters last night. Orion's pulling back his troops and civilians and trying to draw us in, stretch out our supply lines and exhaust our charge. As we experienced here, Genesis is taking a scorched-earth policy: leave nothing behind for the Flame Dawn to use."
     "Is it working?"
     "What?"
     "Is the strategy working? Are our supply lines being stretched too far? Is our advance slowing?"
     Haraldur shook his head. "Not considerably. There's not enough Genesis-controlled territory to retreat through for that to work entirely, and Bromich's been hard at work on the logistics end to make sure we don't run out of soldiers, food, or bullets--though the lack of any materiel to scavenge is certainly putting some of the larger battle-groups in a pinch."
     "So where to next?"
     Klore took the datascroll and swiped down, revealing a map. "Here. Genesis Industries forces have been blowing bridges, but they've kept this one up to evacuate civilians. Our job is to take it before they can destroy it so we can use it to move forces into their heartland."
     "But we don't have any transports."
     "Astute observation, soldier. No puffy we don't have any transports, but you know what? We've got feet. So we're going to use 'em. Travelling light, we should outpace the Genesis refugees and arrive before they're all across. In the confusion we'll be able to take the bridge with minimal losses."
     "There are only 47 of us, including the wounded."
     "Your powers of observation are as keen as ever, soldier. Have you considered telling Bromich of your gifts? There'll be another battle-group right behind us, a division of knights under Kali. Good veterans. If we can hold the bridge until they arrive, or at least slow down the evacuation until they arrive, we'll be victorious. Those bleeding-heart GIs would never blow the bridge until all of their citizen-employees are across." Klore spat. "We do this the Flame Dawn way. Strike fast, strike hard, and keep hitting them until they give up."
     It was then that a horn announced the wake-up call to the rest of the troops and the entire camp began to stir. Haraldur stood up, and I was reminded of how comparatively short he was. "If you don't mind, I'm going to use the latrines one last time before we break camp," he declared with a smile. "Endymion, I suggest you gather your things and get ready to march. It's going to be a long day."
     Within the hour, the soldiers who were combat-ready (some 32) were marching along a paved road in a column, cursing the clear skies and bright sun. "What a day, though," I had said, marching alongside Lysimachus, Vlad, and Gwendolyn, who had also survived the charge. While none of us had ever really interacted with her before, we were basically the only survivors of our original group of aspirants so we had decided that 1) she must be pretty lucky/brave/skilled and 2) we may as well stick together.
     "Ah yes, I always wake up in anticipation of unnecessarily brutal violence and a long day of worthless scavenging." At this point, I shouldn't have to tell you that Vlad was the one who said this.
     "You should really cut back on the sarcasm," Lysimachus noted. "You're already in enough trouble with Haraldur as it is."
     "Besides making me dig latrines, which I'll admit is certainly not my idea of a good time, there's little our brave leader can do to me," Vlad said with a wave of his hand. "Trust me, latrine duty is a small price to pay for the relief of being able to use sarcasm."
     "You're too much, you know that?" I said bitterly, rubbing my one leg as we marched. Apparently the wound hadn't completely recovered, and after the previous day's charge my muscles were extremely unhappy to be marching.
     "If you've got breath to speak you're not marching fast enough!" Klore shouted from the front of the column. "All soldiers, increase pace!"
     "Puffy," I swore under my breath.
     "That's what you get," Gwendolyn shrugged as she stepped up the pace to keep up with the rest of the column. We quickly sped up as well.
     By the time that a halt was called for dinner and to make camp for the night, my legs felt like they had been through Torment and were actively trying to find more ways to make me feel pain. I really don't want to know how far we marched today, I thought, before adding or how much farther we have left to go.
     As we ate our field provisions, Haraldur stopped by our campfire. "Good news is that the Genesis position is within our reach. Moreover, their scouting drones haven't sighted us yet, so we still have the element of surprise."
     "Any word from Headquarters?"
     Haraldur nodded. "Kali's battle-group is close behind us and fresh. Once we've taken the bridge we're also all going to be promoted. By the end of tomorrow we'll be footmen--and a footwoman," he added, nodding to Gwendolyn, "of the Flame Dawn."
     "Excellent," I said, the pain in my legs fading just a little bit.
     Haraldur nodded. "Indeed. I think we can all look forward to real food and being treated as real soldiers instead of as cannon fodder."

     That was a disturbing thought, and it stuck with me that night. Given my exhaustion from the day's march I should have fallen asleep right away, and most people did, but I couldn't. "Cannon fodder." Was that all we aspirants were to the likes of Bromich and Aberion? Klore spoke of how a tactical retreat or delay could save lives, but the Dawn had put little effort into us as soldiers. We were just bodies with guns and swords who charged forward into obliterating fire. Cannon fodder. Not "real soldiers." Part of me didn't want to believe it, to think that way, but it made a grim sort of sense. There were so many people who joined the Flame Dawn as aspirants and so many people who died in the process that devoting resources to every soldier from the start was, technically speaking, wasteful. So you waited for the ones who survived, who proved their worth and bravery and luck. And after a few battles culled the aspirant pool, then you started to train them. To invest resources into them. To make them into fine soldiers.
     The mortality rate as you moved up in the ranks dropped markedly. The vast majority of aspirants died. With footmen, it wasn't quite so bad but still many, many died. Once you were a knight, you were much more likely to survive and retire. And the paladins, the elite, well they practically never fell in battle.
     But cannon fodder? It's as though we weren't being treated as fully human until after enough of our fellows died and we lived. What separated me from those who were cut down? Were they less brave? Slower to move, to react? Just unlucky?

     The next morning we woke up and marched towards the bridge, moving as fast as we could. But before we even got there, the entire face of the war had changed. No, it was more than that. The entire face of existence had changed. After that morning, things would never be the same.

So I added in another section to this chapter to better transition to where the next chapter starts (by the way, don't fall off that cliffhanger). But really, this is the end of this chapter. For real this time. But as always I am open to feedback (please, give me feedback!). Although I may not get to chapter 3 promptly, I definitely plan on continuing with this work.
On a different note, I went back and looked at my original (and very brief) attempt at writing this, which took a very different take on things. It was kinda funny, looking at how the story progressed between then and now. Some things I just transferred right over, but a lot of fundamental aspects to the story have changed since then.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 11:41:12 AM by Benionin »
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Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2016, 04:21:01 AM »
this is very good! :D

So glad that you liked it! I'm going to be continuing work on it again in the near future (right now I've got a ton of projects weighing me down for school), so every bit of positive feedback helps keep me motivated and focused!
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Gao Han or Gao Home!
Into the Fray, a novel of Infinity Wars
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Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2016, 09:32:23 AM »
Note: Chapter 2.4 added.
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Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2016, 03:27:46 PM »
Update: Into the Fray now has its own avatar, courtesy of the ever-helpful NatoPotato! I've added the avatar to the beginning of each chapter and will continue to do so as the story progresses
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Offline Tinkercide

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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2016, 02:26:16 AM »
So, I dedicated a bit of my free time to get through the whole thing, and I gotta say it's a ridiculously good read, both this one and Intro/Prologue.

+1.  :D

Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2016, 03:01:28 AM »
So, I dedicated a bit of my free time to get through the whole thing, and I gotta say it's a ridiculously good read, both this one and Intro/Prologue.

+1.  :D

Thanks a lot! I'm probably going to be getting to work on Chapter 3 within a week or so.
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Into the Fray, a novel of Infinity Wars
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Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2016, 07:14:27 AM »
Find Chapter 3 here!
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 07:23:56 AM by Benionin »
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Offline NegativeBurn

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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2016, 11:04:05 AM »
I was almost done reading this chapter and taking notes when I saw your reply to the previous chapter’s feedback. Some of the feedback may not apply, but I kept it in as my thoughts of the story so far.

2.1 Feedback
When Endymion thinks on the losses to the unit from the previous battle there is an opportunity to know more on how he felt about it rather than remembering it in a sterile recounting of numbers lost. If he is gung-ho for the Flame Dawn, is he a zealot? Did everyone that died, die in glory? Do they view dying on the field in the Viking way as something to look forward to for ones own glory or more of a Spartan view in that service to the state is the ultimate act without regret or regard?
With there being little lore to draw on I think you should reinforce your own narrative view of what the Flame Dawn is to fill it in rather than leaving it ambiguous. The story maybe in the IW setting, but it is your story first and foremost.
The tenor of this dialogue, “Good news, ladies!" and "That's right, buttercup!"  Is inconsistent with the flavor of both sexes in combat roles idea of the Flame Dawn and given that Gwendolyn was there storming the beach with the other characters also. Something more de-humanizing yet gender neutral would be more appropriate.
Seems to be a shift in Lysimachus’s dialogue style at the end. If the other charters are going to be archetypes (Valdimir being the antisocial genius or Endymion being the bravado hero) establish it more directly so you can have more options and fun with the characters expressing themselves in dialogue and banter. Melodrama.
Also, I would figure the remaining members of the unit would get more of a mention, if just in passing. They did all just survive a brutal battle together. With the acknowledgement that the energy from before has changed a bit; Is anyone suffering PTSD? Did anyone desert?

2.2 Feedback
A minor narrative question occurs. The story being told entirely from Endymion’s point of view, that of the 1st person reliving their time in service is a good way to go for the meat of the story. You could briefly switch to the narrative to another character or to 3rd person for a more nebulous establishment of atmosphere.
Example: From across the miles of deserted no-man’s land opposite the freshly dug trenches of the Dawn, a Genesis Construct #1023 stood scanning the distance. Its thermal vision passing over each of the waist high unique body-heat signatures before focusing on Endymion. It calculated the trajectory and likelihood of a direct hit across the plain and came back with 14.1111% chance of success. Before #1023 could initiate attack protocols, higher command subroutines kicked back this logic-line and reinforced observation mode until hostile forces had crossed into 99.999% optimal firing range. This subroutines repeated every 5 seconds throughout the night. It is a minor suggestion and more of a style choice really.
Endymion’s attempt to imitate Valdimir’s ability to read Genesis drone patterns strikes me as a plot hook missed to flesh out Valdimir’s back story more. Perhaps he is a Genesis Expat and potential intrigue and questions of loyalty later? 

2.3 Feedback
This section of the chapter has a very ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ essence to it. Which is great if you could capture (lightning in a bottle really) this more somber and harrowing aspects of ‘war by attrition’, the grit and gore of it, it would propel the immersion and stakes to the reader quite a bit.

2.4 Feedback
Haraldur’s vindictiveness toward Valdimir could use a punch-up. It is hard to feel out if Endymion was being facetious/sarcastic or serious ‘matter of fact’ in this recollection or not.
Klore’s mention of ‘that old platitude’ felt like it could be a call-back to something Endymion’s father would have said to him.
Gwendolyn has surprisingly few lines. Suggest giving her an archetype and running with it.
A minor niggle and I am really not trying to harp this point, the lore of the game, as you mention before, is somewhat plastic on many specific and board issues. It is not necessary have made every unique-character from the game a commanding officer of some note. Heroes of their own time and place certainly, but not injected for their own sake. It de-values there appearance some what. Last time I’ll bring this up. I’ll just say, ‘Oh look ‘X’ is here too?’
Endymion’s moment of self awareness as cannon fodder is interesting. I touched on this in the feedback of 2.1 in if they see their fallen like the Vikings and Spartans did, or is there a more… fatalist view.

And top notch fore-shadowing  ;D I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

Offline Benionin

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Re: Into the Fray--Chapter 2
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2016, 03:41:40 PM »
Thanks for the comments once again, NegativeBurn. I'm gonna share a few thoughts again, just not as many (or as quickly) as I did for your last comments.

1) Endymion and the dead. Yup, definitely going to work on fleshing out his attitudes more later.

2) Others' characterization. You're totally right that Gwen and Lysimachus don't get nearly as much characterization as the others, even throughout the rest of the story (though Gwen gets more, and I meant to do more with her, I really dropped the ball there). Unfortunately I don't think I ever found a good place for Lysimachus.

3) Klore. yeaaaaaaah. I didn't really think about including Klore in until someone mentioned that he would be perfect for it--rising up through the ranks reflecting the process of him getting bigger with every attack. He's less shoe-horned in than Tygris (boy, am I going to have to explain myself there, I can tell already), but Klore's only really involved in this chapter and part of the next. If I were to do a sequel story I'd probably show how Klore has also risen through the ranks--probably faster than any of the main characters did. But a sequel is a whole 'nother can of worms to bring up.

4) Charge of the Light Brigade. That scene was actually inspired by a class I was taking on WWI at the time, but close. I tried to go for urgency instead of somber (saving that for the cannon fodder section), stressing the attack--and how quickly the battle turned around once the FD soldiers finally did reach their opponents.

Once again, thank you for your comments. I've really enjoyed reading what you have to think about what I've written.
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Gao Han or Gao Home!
Into the Fray, a novel of Infinity Wars
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