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Eve of an Empire, Fanfic

Eve of an Empire, Fanfic

Postby TiechoNortheal » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:02 am

I’m brand-spanking new to the forums, and I’ve only been reading the Drowtales Mangas for a couple of months now. I’ve played my fair share of D&D and as such was not very enamored with Drow and how they were presented in that setting. In this setting, however, I find myself much more approving of them. Something about the setting as a whole just grabs my attention.

This is just a story I’ve been messing around with in my bouts of persistent boredom. It’s a pretty basic premise: a sizeable force of Sarghress Highland Raiders is moving through a section of the wasteland, acting upon rumors of a civilization on the far side of the wastes, they stumble across the eastern borders of an old (by our standards) and powerful Human Empire, and the ensuing engagements that occur with its Border Legions. The Empire, which is all that I’ll be calling it, is going to be heavily based upon both the Roman and Byzantine Empires, with similar technological, tactical, and cultural levels of development. However, like both of those Empires near their ends, the Empire is old, bloated, and teetering on the brink of collapse.

I’ve amused myself while writing it, so hopefully it can amuse some people here as well.



Chapter 1

Watching the sun set over the dunes, using her hand to shield her eyes against the dying glint of the fading light, she sighed. Sand, rocks, and drifting dunes were all that was visible for leagues in any direction. It all looked frighteningly similar, in the sense that this entire blasted wasteland was a constant sprawl of desolation. Looking for landmarks of any sort was pointless, only heavily traveled and settled regions of the surface were mapped with anything like consistency, and this place was neither. The stars and their orientation to the track of the sun provided the only real sense that they weren’t simply wandering in circles.

“You’re certain that this venture is worthwhile?” another female voice called out from behind her, it’s volume increasing gradually, her ears picking up the crunch of the sand the other Drow’s booted feet made as she approached.

“Quick to spot doubt as always, Ilmual,” she replied, her own voice slightly cracked and hoarse from the weeks of travel endured to this point, their climate controlled armor offering no defense against having to breath dry, sand filled air. Looking over at her second in command as she approached, the visor on her armor closed against the steadily building wind, she could not help but feel the build-up of potential realization of her folly.

“I’m not sure about doubt, Dhaunryne,” Ilmual replied, the tone of her voice running the knife’s edge between familiarity and being respectful of a superior officer, “More the apprehension of explaining to Lady Quill'yate the use of six weeks provisions for a thousand warriors, but with naught gained.”

Dhaunryne Alet'tar could almost see her lieutenant’s cheeky grin behind her closed visor.

“A bridge I shall cross if I ever come to it,” Dhaunryne replied, turned in a rather drained fashion back toward the camp the expeditionary force she’d convinced the commander of the Sarghress Clan’s over world exploration army to allow her to lead was starting to form. “And I am not yet ready to concede, the traders claimed that the ‘great civilization’ was eight weeks travel through the wastes, on the course we follow.”

“Half-dead, sun burnt, and starving madmen,” Ilmual Melrahel countered, “Dazed survivors of a slaughtered caravan, lucky enough to have had pity taken upon them by one of our patrols. Even if their claims are more than heat-inspired fantasies, who knows how long they were out here? How long they were able to keep their wits about them? It could be eight weeks or eight months, years even.”

“All points that I’m sure Lady Quill’yate will be happy to list as reasons for my assignment as wolf-dung officer, in the increasingly likely event we are forced to turn back from this gamble,” Dhaunryne replied, the confidence and energy in her tone almost completely at odds with her posture and general demeanor, “In any case, let us press onward, hopeful of the best, instead of fearing the worst, even if it is the drastically more realistic of the two.”

“As you will, my Lady,” Ilmual replied, her voice a couple touches more formal than before.

“Is there anything to report, other than the growing obviousness of my apparent folly?” Dhaunryne asked, starting back towards the rapidly forming campsite, Ilmual falling in stride with her, and half pace behind.

“Only that our outriders have found trial a little to the east of the column, what little is left of it in this blasted landscape. Looks to be horses, from the reports,” Ilmual’s reply was quick and efficient.

“Horses mean Halmes,” Dhaunryne commented, “Likely just nomads.”

“The suspicions of the outriders as well,” Ilmual confirmed.

“Have them run the trail dry and see if they can take some of them alive, maybe we’ll be able to squeeze something out of them that could help us find our goal,” the female Drowlath spoke, her words hardening as she gave orders, her normally more icy and authoritative air returning to her as the pair of women began to find themselves within ear shot of the outer edges of the camp.

“It will be done, Lady Dhaunryne,” Ilmual said, her own voice losing all of its familiarity as she snapped a salute to her commander before turning on her heal and heading off to relay the orders.

X

The trail had almost been gone by the time the orders for them to follow it up had reached them. ‘Blasted sands, fucking wastes,’ was all that really came to minds of the mixed group of Drowlath and Light Elf Outriders as they struggled to follow the tracks of a small group of Halmes who undoubtedly knew the land much better than they did.

It was slow going, with only a pair of the group being mounted, the Dire-Wolf riders keeping to the rear of the area the group had spread itself over, being keenly aware that while they were the most mobile they were also the most visible.

The wastes, as was typical of most desert-like landscapes, suffered a fairly drastic drop in temperature after the sun set, something that their armor helped mitigate greatly, but was still uncomfortable to put up with when the visor was open for increased visibility. The only members of the group likely to greet the change with anything above mild annoyance were in fact mounts of the wolf riders, the great beasts welcoming the cool air in exchange for the pressing heat of the sun.

Moving forward, dune after dune, ridge after ridge in what seemed like an endless repetition of what they’d been seeing for the past six weeks, the group was almost surprised when the point scout called a halt with a sharply upheld fist, followed quickly by his hand flattening out and pressing his palm towards the ground. Even if bored and a bit strung out, the seasoned outriders reacted instantly, their bodies quickly adhering to the terrain around them, settling into nooks, crannies, and shadows. Thankfully the wind was up, and its howling covered any noise their armor might have made.

Having called the unit to a halt, the point scout peered up and over the crest once more, now certain his fellows wouldn’t give anything away. He could see them. A couple of ridges away, maybe a few hundred paces out. They were hard to pick out, even for his fae vision, with the swirling winds and sand, but they were there. Halme riders, three of them.

X

The rocks and sand crunched under the hooves of the horses as they plodded their way up the shallow slope of the crest, the iron shoes capping their feet allowing their movement in such terrain without significant risk of wounding the animals.

“Heavens above,” the youngest of the three men complained, throwing both of his arms out and stretching, attempting to work some of the kinks out of his shoulders, being un-used to long rides on horseback, “Are these patrols always so bleak?” Despite the groan in his voice, he was mindful enough to keep the volume low, only audible to his companions.

The two veteran legionnaires on either side of the much younger soldier chuckled quietly.

“I don’t quite know what you were expecting,” one of the older men replied.

“Indeed, lad. Welcome to the ass end of the Empire, the Outer Gap. Naught but tribal dregs and scattered orc remnants, and most of them keep to themselves rather than make an issue of anything. The only reason the 5th Legion is even stationed out this way is to prevent anyone getting any ideas of trying to sneak around better defended borders. This posting is a peaceful reward for veterans, or a punishment for glory hungry hot-heads who’ve gotten on someone’s bad side.” With a smile the older man jabbed his elbow playfully into the younger one’s side, clanking into the segmented plate armor that covered his shoulders and torso.

The look on the younger man’s face darkened as his face dipped, attempting to hide his reddening cheeks.

“No need to fret lad, there’s hope for you yet,” the first Legionnaire continued, the men getting entertainment out of teasing their companion, “I’ve got a nephew, he managed to get accepted at university, you know, one of the Imperial ones all the way up channel in Constantium. He writes me every few months, rattling on about all things scholarly. A few letters back he tells me that this region we’re patrolling, this wonderful, resplendent waste, was once part of a great empire of Fae, way back when.”

“Ah, I see where you’re going,” the other man nodded.

“What are you talking about?” the younger soldier replied, getting caught up in the veteran’s banter.
“He’s saying that you should take pride in your duty!” the second man urged.

“Pride?” the confusion on the younger man’s face was plain.

“That’s right!” the first man urged, “Pride in the fact that you are vigilantly guarding our exposed frontier from an Elven incursion! “

The blush on the young Legionnaire’s face deepened as his shoulders sunk further, both men on either side of his laughing quietly at his expense. Laughing quietly as their horses just began to reach the top of the crest they were climbing. Still chuckling a bit when the arrow flew out of the swirling sand and darkness behind them.

X

The Sarghress Outrider was already halfway into nocking another arrow as he watched the first hit home, striking the horse of the rider on the right just above eye, the barbed projectile shattering what little bone lay between the skin and the animal’s brain. The animal dropped stone dead, falling head first and crashing into the rocky sand, its rider tumbling with it. Pulling his second arrow back, he saw another arrow fired from his right lance straight through one of the back knee caps of the horse of the rider on the left, the beast’s hide quarters sagging downward as the support of its leg was removed.

Two riders down and immobile, easy prey for the Wolf Fangs. With a shout he signaled the waiting wolves, pulling the arrow back towards his cheek. Two prisoners were plenty, no reason to try for a third. Aiming for the head of the middle rider, he let loose the string.

X

The two veterans were cursing as they struggled to pull themselves from their dead or dying mounts. For all their bluster and cursing, the younger man could see that they weren’t panicking. Even as they were sliding out from under their horses, their hands were un-limbering their heavy shields and attached pila from their saddles.

He, on the other hand, was frozen. For all that he’d wanted to see his first combat, as excited as he’d been he… just couldn’t force himself to move. Watching his fellows move fluidly, he couldn’t even will himself to looking away from the dying mounts.

His paralysis was broken when he heard a loud growl followed by a howl from behind him. His head spun around to show him that a pair of armored figures riding a pair of truly enormous wolves had leapt up and over the crest of a shallow ridge behind them, bounding towards them with frightening speed. He saw this, just as the arrow aimed for his head sliced by his ear, the razored edge of the tip ripping a long, shallow cut from his temple backward, a wet numbness overwhelming that side of his head.

More on reflex, his hand shot to the side of his head and his heels jammed into the flanks of his horse, making the beast start forward very quickly, carrying him down the reverse slope of the ridge and out of the line of fire. His hand came away from his head wet with blood, and he was sure that there was a good chunk of his ear missing.

Managing to get his horse under control after a few dozen yards, he turned it back up the slope, seeing his two fellows rolling in a controlled fashion down after him, their shields affixed to their arms.

“What the hell are those!?” he yelled, looking with horror on his face at the veterans.

“Shut up, lad,” one of them growled.

“Ride, go!,” the other one shouted, a note of command in his voice, “Make for the outpost at Garzalle! Warn the Legion!”

“What about you?” he asked, his horse getting nervous as the growls and howls got nearer.

“We shall attempt to slow them down, now ride! You are the only one with a horse! Word much reach the Legion!” the soldier shouted, his tone brooking no argument.

Giving the men a last, apprehensive glance, his turned his horse and began to gallop off into the darkness.

X

The pair of Wolf Fangs glanced and nodded at each other as their mounts began to swiftly climb the crest that the halme nomads had stumbled over after being attacked. Both were fairly confident that a quick chase after a couple of fleeing halmes bereft of horses was what waited for them. An easy enough task, not the most glorious, but one that they were suited for given the situation at hand.

Not slowing their mounts as they crested the ridge, the Drow were surprised to find a pair of armored halmes standing firm at the base of the ridge, a couple of yards apart, large shields strapped to their arms, what appeared to be spears held in their fists, a second weapon of the same type stuck into the ground at their sides. Continuing their charge, the momentum already built up, the riders watched as both Halmes drew back their weapons, realizing only once they’d left their hands that they were more javelins than spears.

Both pila flew through the air, the powerful over hand throws of halme legionaries combining with the downward momentum of the Wolf Fangs charge and ensuring that both weapons struck the mount of the rider on the left with sickening force. The heavy iron tips punched through the wolf’s collar bone and jaw, puncturing into its ribcage and snapping its neck respectively. With a pathetic whimper it spilled to the ground, pitching its rider forward further down the slope, tumbling her disorientingly end over end.

Seeing her companion’s mount cut from under her, the remaining rider squeezed the heels of her boots into the sides of her wolf, gripping reigns tightly as she urged it to jump. The wolf complied, leaping into the air towards the halme on the right, paws and fangs outstretched for its prey. The leap, however, was made whilst charging full tilt downhill, and thus was slightly high, allowing the armored halme to duck under the creature and let it sail over him, but not before it’s claws found his shield, ripping it off of his arm as it passed.

Hitting the base of the slope, the dismounted wolf rider was quickly on her feet, shaking her head to re-orient herself as she drew her weapons, a pair of light swords, in a guarding position. She found herself before the remaining armored halme, striding calmly towards her. That in and of itself was odd. She’d expected a charge or berserk attack of some sort, the sort of undisciplined behavior she normally associated with halme warriors. Instead this halme advanced calmly, with a cool head, a hard, cold look in his eyes. He was tall, her equal in height, something she found off putting in a halme, especially a male. She could see his armor more clearly now, a segmented form of plate armor, in addition to a shield, rectangular in shape but curved around the center several feet wide and covering him shoulder to knee. There was a short but powerful looking thrusting blade gripped in his other hand.

Deciding to take the offensive, she moved forward quickly, playing one of her swords right, looking to draw his shield away from his body so that she might strike with her second blade inside his guard. She was surprised when he completely ignored her attack, instead stepping inside her reach and lifting his shield parallel to the ground and with brute force slammed the defensive weapon forward, the edge of the shield striking her collar bone, clanging off her breast plate but throwing her badly off balance, almost spilling her over backwards. His short sword was quick to exploit the manufactured opening, its blade stabbing forward towards her abdomen, punching through the armor there and thrusting deeply into the flesh of her left side, drawing a surprised shout from the female fae.

The still mounted rider, her wolf making an easy landing before turning back on the other halme, gritted her teeth as her eyes required her prey. The halme hadn’t shifted significantly from his position, having come up standing near where he’d ducked, his remaining pila plucked from the ground and gripped in his fist, his arm cocked back, ready to throw.

“Not this time, Halme,” she muttered to herself, her left hand forming a fist and she willed her mana to form a shield around herself and her wolf.

A blue glow hovered in the air around her just as the weapon left the halme’s hand, the powerful attack flying directly into the mana shield and ricocheting off as if it had hit solid stone. Confused for a moment, the halme quickly recovered, drawing his own short sword as he started backing up, more than aware of what was about to happen.

Caught off guard by the blunt and unsubtle effectiveness of the halme’s assault, the dismounted rider let one of her blades drop from her hand, instead gesturing toward the halme’s feet with it, working her aura’s mana into the ground beneath upon which he stood, sinking it into the ground almost a foot before causing the sand and rock for two feet around his sunken foot to solidify, trapping it in over a hundred pounds of solid rock. His balance compromised, she pushed him backward, his blade sliding out of her as she stumbled back, taking a moment to catch her breath. The halme struggled vainly to free his foot from the ground and regain his mobility, looking down at it in disbelief and bewilderment. After a few moments of heavy breathing and inspecting her wound, she strode forward again and with a snarl struck the distracted halme warrior’s temple with the blunt end of her blade, tearing a gash in his scalp as well as knocking him unconscious.

The halme warrior, as steady and collected as he was, wasn’t able to do much to avoid the wolf’s second attack, it’s speed and size overwhelming. Seconds after his second pilum attack had failed to achieve anything, he found himself on his back, his left shoulder pinned to the ground by a paw half the size of his chest, a snarling row of teeth inches from his face. The halme blinked and then… smiled. Beneath the wolf, he wrist tossed his sword to his free hand and quickly slashed the blade across the flesh on the back of the wolf’s leg, cutting deep and severing the tendons. The wolf gave a sharp whine before its jaws opened and shut around the halme’s face, crushing the skull and removing most of the flesh there before the rider could do anything to dissuade her mount.

Still whining in protest even as it crunched the now very dead halme’s face, the wolf’s wounded leg curled up under it defensively, supporting it and its riders weight on only three legs.

“By the ever fucking Goddess!,” the dismounted rider shouted, pain in her voice as she began to strip her armor off, wanting desperately to dress the wound she’d been given and stop the bleeding, “What manner of halmes are these!?”

“Are you alright?” the other rider asked as she dismounted her own wolf, seeing the pain it was in.

“I’ll live, but, FUCK, but this is deep,” she said in response, hissing at the pain of removing her breast plate, much of the metal having been punched inward by the halme’s attack and jutting into her flesh, only adding to the injury.

“What happened?” a male voice called from the top of the ridge, the leader of the outriders, the rest of the foot mounted members of the unit only just reaching the ridge, “Was chasing down some fleeing halmes too… diffi…” His tone grew quiet as he took in the sight before him, spotting the dead dire wolf on the down slope of the ridge, as well as the obviously wounded dire wolf and Wolf Fang rider.

“We only got one of them is what happened,” the wounded rider replied, squinting up at the male Drowlath through the pain of her now only half-dressed wound, gesturing in the direction of the halme sprawled on the dirt, leg still upright at the knee.

X

The young rider heard the brief but intense sounds of the skirmish behind him, fading away as he rode on into the night. He felt shame at having frozen, and even more guilt for knowing that his companions had died fighting to give him a chance to escape. But he wouldn’t let their deaths be for nothing. He had to warn the Legion, warn the Empire. Something was encroaching from the wastes.


And bam, there ya go, first chapter. Enjoy.
Feedback/criticism (i.e. making me aware of glaring violations of the canon, etc) is welcomed and encouraged.
Last edited by TiechoNortheal on Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Eve of an Empire, Fanfic

Postby Alric » Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:06 am

Looks pretty cool so far! Though if this human empire is based on the Roman Empire in its later days, wouldn't the human soldiers be outfitted more like the comitatenses/limitanei? :P
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Re: Eve of an Empire, Fanfic

Postby TiechoNortheal » Sun Nov 22, 2009 5:15 am

Well, you are correct. However, I'm basing this 'Empire' upon the entire width and breadth of the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, and the Byzantine Empire. Pretty much just an excuse to let me cherry pick just about anything and everything I feel like from 753 BC to 1453 AD :P. The only thing that's going to be broadly similar to the ends of those empires is going to the instability and decay present in the Empire.

Thanks for the response and the feedback.
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Re: Eve of an Empire, Fanfic

Postby TheJackinati275 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:41 pm

Hmm, about this Fanfic, i dont know if the person who wrote this is still active... what i want to know is if it is alright to take over this Fanfic and work with it or is that not allowed?
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Re: Eve of an Empire, Fanfic

Postby partner555 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:30 pm

I don't think that question ever came up before around here.
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Re: Eve of an Empire, Fanfic

Postby Tsuris » Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:34 pm

I would give it a strong no it's not allowed because it isn't your work, if you want to get in touch with the person who wrote it though and ask permission and they said okay then it'd be fine, otherwise I wouldn't since again, it's not yours.
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Re: Eve of an Empire, Fanfic

Postby CorThunder » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:13 am

Neat fic, wish there was more.
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Re: Eve of an Empire, Fanfic

Postby TheJackinati275 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:53 pm

I know... i asked if i could take over the fic and someone said no so i did'nt, but if you want to read something similar, then you could read my Fanfic The Coming Age of Feudalism, which while it is not set on the Roman (or Byzantine empire) is based on a Norman Invasion lead by a Hermionne called Duke Marshal

also if you are going to read it, could you please give it a review... Please!
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Re: Eve of an Empire, Fanfic

Postby NeoDarklight » Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:40 pm

While it would be frowned upon to hijack someone else's fic, there's nothing wrong with starting your own with a similar premise, or with making a fic of a fic.
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