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Old July 11th, 2006, 08:23 AM
robaula robaula is offline
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JANDARS HOPE - A Heroscape Photo-Story

Hope everyone finds the story interesting... keep an eye on this thread to see how it progresses!

Many thanks to Ultradoug for doing the backgrounds for the first fifteen pictures - look fantastic!

Chapter One is now completed. Comments and feedback is appreciated. Chapter Two is in the pipeline...

"JANDARS HOPE" by Robaula

THE STORY SO FAR…

It was over before it had even started – they never stood a chance. The Marro army, under the tireless leadership of Ne-Gok-Sa, had overwhelmed the outpost during a surprise attack covered by the darkness of night. The wellspring, once a sign of Jandar’s strength in the Wastelands, was now under the control of the forces of Utgar.
They never stood a chance – the Marro numbered over a thousand, outnumbering the humans fifteen to one.
The slaughter was quick and vicious… good men fell before they even had a chance to gather their sense and their weapons, before they even had a chance to scream. Good men perished in their beds, their lives brought to to an abrupt, unfair end. Heroes died. Sir Denrick, a name of legend, was ripped apart like an animal by countless Marro Drones. The brave Finn disappeared under a mass of Marro, defending his mortally wounded brother, Thorgrim, to the end.
Utgar had a complete and bloody victory, having dealt Jandar a swift and deadly blow.
However, not all of those at the outpost that followed Jandar perished that night… A rag-tag group of six had survived the slaughter and stole into the night, to make their way to the next outpost, to warn of the approaching Marro’s, to prepare their defences for the inevitable onslaught that was to come. This is their story. This is the story of that group of survivors. The story of Jandar’s Hope…

STARRING:

Airborne Elite
Corporal Ernest Stone – brave leader of the survivors, determined to lead the group to safety
Private Michael Benton – young but experienced recruit
Private Gerry Flynn – calm under pressure, uses brains more than brawn

Knights Of Weston
Sir Gilead – last remaining Knight Of Weston in Valhalla – swore vengeance against Utgar after seeing Sir Denrick ripped apart by Marro Drones

4th Massachusetts Line
George Campbell – a stout and determined follower of Jandar, who gave him purpose after taking him from Earth
William Lincoln – eager to find a way back home, William has never fully adapted to his new life in Valhalla

-------------------------------

CHAPTER 1

“Run! They have our scent!” bellowed Stone ugently, gesturing for the group to pick up the pace. They had fled the outpost in the night, desperate to escape the massacre, to send warning to the next outpost. The had run through most of the night and fatigue was setting in, yet they were still holding on to what little hope they still had of living to tell of their ordeal. Their escape had not gone un-noticed, and now, as a new day dawned, their pursuers were nearly upon them…



As they ran, the unmistakable and chilling cries of Marro assailed them. Their quarries had found them! Stone stared in disbelieve, not wanting to acknowledge what had just appeared over the crest of the hill. Me-Burq-Sa, surrounded by Marro Clones and Drones stared piercingly at the rag-tag group of survivors. “We cannot die here! Run! Run for all your worth!” Stone shouted desperately at his comrades, encouraging them to pick up the pace, for if they didn’t they would surely die.



Just as he was thinking that all was lost, Stone’s heart rose as he saw their potential salvation looming up ahead in the distance. Up ahead was a mountain, with what appeared to be a cave. Could they reach it? He shouted his intention to his comrades and motioned towards the cave, picking up the pace as hope welled in his heart.



They ran, ran for all they were worth, fully aware of the Marro force bearing down on them, fully aware that hesitation would result in their death. As they ran, they were unaware that one of their number was no longer with them…



“You will not pass! On the honour of my family and my fallen comrades, you wil not pass!” Sir Gilead’s stalwart words echoed loudly through the air as he held his ground, facing the incoming Marro horde.



With their insect-like screams ringing in his ears, Sir Gilead stood his ground and brandished his sword as the Marro swarmed towards him. Behind him he could hear the shouts and cries of his comrades, urging him to flee. “Run! I will hold them as long as I can! For Jandar’s sake, get word to the others! RUN!” Reluctantly, yet knowing that they had no choice, his comrades ran on, given extra hope by Gilead’s brave action.



Swiping with his sword, Gilead tore down a Marro Clone, screaming his battle-cry as he fought. “Weston!” Another Drone was torn asunder in front of him, as he bravely fought on against all odds, knowing that his end was approaching, but satisfied that he had brought some time for his comrades, that his actions may enable their survival. He fought on, then, in a brief moment, he disappeared beneath a crush of writhing Marro, emerging momentarily, striking upwards with his blade, before disappearing again, this time without return.



The five survivors had reached the cave mouth, and turned to look at their pursuers, in time to see the fall of their brave comrade. The Marro’s were standing, crying out in their strange language, gesticulating wildly at the group. Their cries reached a crescendo, and they were obviously agitated about something, yet they were not advancing. Me-Burq-Sa raised his arms and let out a chilling scream, cutting the Marro’s chatter dead in a second, leaving the air unpolluted of noise. A deathly silence hung over the two groups as they watched each-other.



For what seemed like an age, the five remaining followers of Jandar from the outpost stared at their enemies, unsure of why they weren’t advancing on them. Sweat beaded up on their foreheads, slowly rolling down their faces. It was a face-off… but why? Why weren’t they attacking? The Marro outnumbered them – the end would be enevitable – they would fight valiantly against the Marro, but they would certainly meet their deaths. Why weren’t the Marro advancing?



Me-Burq-Sa let out another shrill cry and chattered at the Marro. “What is this?” whispered Benton, as watched in disbelief with his comrades as the Marro slowly turned and walked away. “What is going on?” he repeated the question, failing to comprehend what he was seeing. Stone motioned for him to be silent, as he too stared in disbelief as the Marro slowly disappeared from sight, leaving just Me-Burq-Sa facing them.



A chill shiver went down the spines of the survivors as Me-Burq-Sa laughed cruelly, before turning away himself, walking away into the distance, until he too disappeared from sight…



Stone turned to his comrades and breathed a sigh of relief. “Why didn’t they attack us? They know we wouldn’t have stood a chance.” Lincoln shook his head in disbelief as he voiced what was going through everybody’s minds. “It makes no sense…” Stone was staring at the landscape where the Marro had departed, straining his eyes. “They will be back.” He turned and pointed at the group. “All of you, you know as well as me how ruthless the Marro are, how they take no prisoners and leave no one alive. They will be back. I don’t know what game they are playing, but we better prepare ourselves.” He pointed at their surroundings. “This will be a good place to defend, although I hope and pray it will not be the scene of our last stand.” His comrades nodded in agreement, rugged smiles forming on each mans face. “For Jandar.”, shouted Campbell. “For Jandar!” the group echoed together, their forces sounding out as one.



The group surveyed their surroundings. Infront of them, the darkness of the mountainside cave seemed to reach out to them, beckoning them to enter its pitch black maw. A faint smell passed under their noses, a sickly sweet smell, that conjured memories of fresh honey in Benton’s mind. The wind, passing across the mouth of the cave, groaned menacingly. Pillars lined the entrance of the cave, looking as old as the mountain itself.



Off to the side of the cave stood some sort of monument. Flynn approached it, a quizzical expression on his face. “This is amazing… I have never seen anything like this in Valhalla before…” The others turned at the sound of his voice. “This… is old. I don’t just mean years, heck, not even centuries… These markings… some sort of language, or code…” Flynn crouched down, mesmerised in fascination by the monument. Stone slapped him on the back. “Flynn, if there is anything useful to learn from this, you are the man who can do it. This place has a strange feel to it… it has Utgar’s foul stench about it.”



As the group searched area around the base of the mountain, they were completely unaware that they were being watched. In the distance, Me-Burq-Sa surveyed Jandar’s followers with a hint of amusement in his eyes. “Utgar se juk-pa, nei Marro ghak-sa. Utgar se juk-pa wub Jandar…” Me-Burq-Sa laughed quietly and turned away, moving off into the distance.



Lincoln sighed quietly as he leant against the moss encrusted pillar, staring at the empty landscape, off into the distance. A couple of hours had passed, the time ticking by excrutiatingly slowly, second by second. The Marro were out there, somewhere. He shivered. Why did they retreat? From what knowledge he had gained of the Marro during his time in Valhalla, Lincoln knew them to be a relentless foe – what they had done earlier was completely out of character. He heaved a heavy sigh, lost in his thoughts. Behind him, his comrades were deep in discussion. Flynn was pointing excitedly at the monument as he talked to the other three. “The symbols bear a resemblance to Utgarian language, but its more… complex. Its also very old…” He paused, and looked round at his comrades. “Look at it like this. If we were on Earth, this would pre-date Christ.” Flynn laughed, and waved his arms around enthusiastically. “Hell, if we were on Earth, this would pre-date Creation itself!” Gasps went around the gathering. Stone creased his brow, deep in thought. “Flynn,” he ventured, vigorously rubbing his chin, “Can you read what it says?” Flynn nodded, and turned back towards the monument. “Its hard to make out, but it seems to say something about Utgar… something about his true children… it says that the children of Utgar were not lost during the first war… then it says something about the darkness… the middle of Valhalla… no, the centre, bottom, of Valhalla – I think it means underground – it says that the children… forced into the depths by the shining ones… it mentions Einar and Jandar… will awake, that they will cause… will bring… death to Valhalla… that Utgar will walk again in his true form…” The colour drained from Flynn’s cheeks. “It says… we are standing above His tomb…”



As Lincoln stared persistently out into the distance and the others crowded around the monument, no-one noticed the stirring of movement from inside the cave. A dark, hulking form appeared at the edge of the darkness. The soft padding of feet and the clicking of claws on the stone floor went unnoticed. Then, as quickly as it appeared, it was gone, leaving no evidence that it was ever there, except for the lingering, sickly sweet smell that hung around the cave mouth that had grown more pungent…



It rushed nimbly over the rock-face with its eight legs, un-hindered by the treacherously uneven terrain, finally coming to a silent halt above the cave mouth. It surveyed the human forms that stood below it, watching their movements and listening to their un-inteligible chatter. It made a dry, rasping noise as it sat on the top of the cave, poised, as though deep in thought, studying the humans with a look of intelligence that a creature such as itself should not have. Then, without further hesitation, it drew its bulbous body down against the rough ground and pounced, launching itself through the air silently, before dropping to the ground below in front of the cave.



It stood at the cave mouth, silently watching the humans as they turned towards it, their looks of surprise and bewilderment quickly disappearing as they took up aggressive stances and brandished their weapons.



Stone whispered to his comrades. “Watch it… that thing looks like its fast… don’t make any sudden movements…” The group tightened their grips on their weapons, staring at the creature that stood before them. “I’ve never seen one so big…” whispered Campbell, beads of sweat gathering on his brow. The giant spider stood, deathly still, surveying the group with its deep red eyes, as they in turn stared back at it. The silence was suddenly broken by gun fire. “Benton! Keep it together!” screamed Stone as Benton fired shot after shot at the spider, narrowly missing it as it ran swiftly into the darkness of the cave.



Benton ran towards the cave mouth, firing into the darkness, shouting obscenities after the eight legged menace. Lincoln, Campbell and Flynn looked on, unsure as to what to do. “Private Benton! Conserve your bullets! Stop firing!” shouted Stone, taking a step towards Benton.



Benton stopped firing. “Oh my God…” he whispered, beginning to shake visibly. For a split second, it was as if time itself stood still, but then it was as if the bowels of hell themselves had been split open. A black tide of spiders appeared from the cave, rushing towards the group, a terribly rasping noise sounding in the air, like the last gasps of an old man refusing to give up on life. The multitude of spiders swamped out of the cave, their numbers increasing swiftly as second ticked by. Amongst the tide of spiders were bigger, six legged spider-like creatures, with a single, large penetrating red eye that seemed to stare right through to his soul. Stone opened his mouth to shout to his comrades to fire for all they were worth, to destroy this menace that faced them, to tell them that they needed to turn this seething black tide back to whence it came, but he found that he could not utter a word. He found that he could not even move – it was as if he were paralysed. He darted his eyes frantically from side to side, his mind screaming at him that he needed to take action, but his body unwilling to listen to his commands. As he glanced at his comrades, it was obvious that Campbell, Flynn and Lincoln were also effectively frozen, unable to take action against the seething mass that was still erupting forth from the cave. Sweat was pouring down their faces, as they each waged their own battles within themselves. A high pitched scream sounded out, and Stone’s gaze flashed to Benton, who was frantically shooting again into the mass of spiders.



Click… Click… Benton screamed as he realised he was out of ammunition. Using his gun as a club, he struck out at the spiders, knocking them aside, but his actions were useless – for each one that he struck aside, two more rose up before him. The larger creatures stood aside, seemingly holding his comrades with their piercing gaze, paralysing them where they stood. “Help me!” Screamed Benton in desperation, as he struck out with his rifle again and again. “God, help me!”



The spiders swarmed around Benton, weighing him down with their numbers. He waved his rifle around, desperate to get the creatures away, to get their warm, furry bodies off of him, but it was all in vain. The others could only watch, helplessly, as he screamed for them to help him. The spiders were all over him, nearly hiding his jerking form underneath the sea of their bulbous forms. His screams reached out to his comrades, his pleas for help fell on their ears, but they were unable to come to his aid, they could only watch in terror as the spiders started to drag his screaming form back towards the cave.



“Noooo!” Almost as quickly as they had appeared, the spiders were retreating back into the darkness, taking Benton with them. His screams echoed out from the cave, then began to fade, as he was drawn further away into the inky darkness. Then, there was silence…



Only two minutes had passed since Benton had fired his first shot at the solitary spider. Only two minutes, yet for Stone, Campbell and Flynn, it was as if an eternity had come to pass. A minute ago, they had numbered five. Now, they numbered only four. The creatures had come from the darkness and had returned back to the darkness, leaving no trace that they had ever been there, aside from Benton’s discarded rifle, left laying on the ground.
Slowly, the four men started to move. Whatever force had been holding them, was slowly setting them free. Campbell fell to his knees, panting for breath, the sweat pouring down his face. “The eyes… it was the eyes…” He stared at the other two in bewilderment. “I couldn’t move… it looked right into my mind and wouldn’t let me move…” Stone, breathing heavily and fell to the ground next to the others. “Some sort of physic power…” he gasped. “Powerful… felt like it was delving deep into my mind.., freezing my body…” They laid there, mentally exhausted. Minutes passed. Breathing regulated, sweat stopped pouring. Stone stood up and stared at his colleagues. “He’s not dead. Benton is not dead. They took him, but they didn’t kill him.” He looked towards the cave. “He’s in there…” Stone looked back towards his comrades. “What do we do?” For the first time during his life in Valhalla, Stone was unsure of how to proceed. “Do we press on to the next outpost, and warn them of the approaching Marro, or…” he stared solemnly at his comrades. “… do we go after Benton?” Campbell stood up and helped Lincoln to his feet. The two walked over to Stone, Lincoln clapping his hand on Stone’s shoulder. Flynn got up and joined his comrades, flanking Stone. “Sir, if there’s any chance for Benton, I say we take it. He was alive, I cannot think why, but he was taken alive. We have to try, we owe him that.” Campbell and Lincoln voiced their agreement. Stone and Flynn reached into their tunics and brought out their flashlights.



Together, the four of them approached the cave. “May Jandar protect us…” whispered Campbell, as the darkness of the cave swallowed them up. “May Jandar protect us…”

END OF CHAPTER ONE

TO BE CONTINUED...
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  #2  
Old July 11th, 2006, 11:23 AM
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LilNewbie LilNewbie is offline
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Nice job! Can't wait to see more!

Thanks for posting.


Newb.
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  #3  
Old July 11th, 2006, 12:55 PM
ultradoug
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that was pretty cool, nice use of pictures to tell a story!
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  #4  
Old July 11th, 2006, 04:43 PM
robaula robaula is offline
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updated! Tuesday 11th July 2006, 4.36pm! The story continues...
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  #5  
Old July 11th, 2006, 07:53 PM
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Oprime Oprime is offline
 
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Never mind the story, Im droolin over the board.

The way the colums are in the "cave" entrance, just looks cool.
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  #6  
Old July 11th, 2006, 09:44 PM
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Hex_Enduction_Hour Hex_Enduction_Hour is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultradoug
that was pretty cool, nice use of pictures to tell a story!
I could see something like this photo story in the Codex! Fun and it would be nice to see some of the more less 'famous' characters in a story - Dund, Morsbane, G-nators, etc.

More, Robuala! Nice work!


Quote:
Originally Posted by OPrime
Never mind the story, Im droolin over the board.

The way the colums are in the "cave" entrance, just looks cool.
Yeah that cave is beautiful!

suggestion: get a backdrop that fits the story more. Instead of plywood maybe a blue sky or starry night a la Annerios's pictures?
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  #7  
Old July 11th, 2006, 11:16 PM
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feekonea feekonea is offline
 
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whoa, everything about this story is awesome, everything. I happen to LOVE sir denrick and to see that last knight of weston die for him brought joy to me..(ya I know it's a little weird....)

great traders:

Hilo-scaper and NEMT
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  #8  
Old July 12th, 2006, 12:31 AM
ultradoug
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultradoug
that was pretty cool, nice use of pictures to tell a story!
I could see something like this photo story in the Codex! Fun and it would be nice to see some of the more less 'famous' characters in a story - Dund, Morsbane, G-nators, etc.

More, Robuala! Nice work!


Quote:
Originally Posted by OPrime
Never mind the story, Im droolin over the board.

The way the colums are in the "cave" entrance, just looks cool.
Yeah that cave is beautiful!

suggestion: get a backdrop that fits the story more. Instead of plywood maybe a blue sky or starry night a la Annerios's pictures?
i could photoshop out that background let me know what you want robaula, I might even be able to get in some specal explosion or lazer fire, pm me and let me know what you want for each pic
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  #9  
Old July 12th, 2006, 05:21 AM
reapersaurus reapersaurus is offline
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Re: JANDARS HOPE - A Heroscape Photo-Story by Robaula

Quote:
Originally Posted by robaula
This is actually a haunting picture.

VERY good job.
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  #10  
Old July 12th, 2006, 10:47 AM
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Hex_Enduction_Hour Hex_Enduction_Hour is offline
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Re: JANDARS HOPE - A Heroscape Photo-Story by Robaula

Quote:
Originally Posted by reapersaurus

VERY good job.
Yeah! That really resonated with me too, Reaper. Glad you brought it up. I'm going along reading the story and then - poof - nearly complete lack of figures.

Very nice for the pacing.
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  #11  
Old July 12th, 2006, 11:57 AM
Gambit Gambit is offline
 
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nice story-thingy-thingy-thingy.......................................stuff; whatever

i dont post that much

-Utradoug
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  #12  
Old July 12th, 2006, 05:03 PM
robaula robaula is offline
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Thanks Gambit... I've got the next 11 installments ready to roll soon...
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