I recently rediscovered this story on my PC. It was written by a regular member of Tau Online called Tau Killer, long before the days of Second Sphere. It is a story based on the Tau Online community, with Tau Online being represented by a city, and it's rulers and 'police' based on the staff and mods of the forum. Some of the then-regular members show up too, as well as other forums as other locations. I don't remember it in detail, so I'll have to read-read it soon! Hopefully the copy & pasting of the whole document won't result in a horrendous mess of text, but I'll try to format it a little. I had to post it in chunks and may have missed or repeated bits by mistake - let me know if you find anything like that and I'll correct it.
Unfortunately it was never finished, the below being just the first chapter. The second was entitled "Chapter 2: Tendrils of Chaos …" but was never written. To confuse things it is also broken into smaller chapters, and Parts I & II.The Tau Online Epic Written by Tau Killer, Published by Elfboy, Complied by RestayvienChapter 1: Shadows in the Night
Wargamer was feeling fed up.
It wasn’t the fact that he’d had a lot to drink.
It wasn’t the fact that there hadn’t been any decent ladies in the pub whatsoever.
It wasn’t the fact that his whole body in general felt like granite.
It wasn’t the fact that he was surrounded by a gang of hooded youths.
It wasn’t even the fact that they were all pointing knives at him.
It was the fact that they had no grasp of the English language whatsoever.
The guy who seemed to be their leader – he had the biggest hoodie – spoke again.
“Hey b***h. I isn’t gonna ask again.”
Wargamer’s face remained perfectly blank.
Emitting what seemed to be a growl of anger, the youth stepped forward and grabbed roughly at the watch on Wargamer’s wrist.
Five seconds later he was on his back in the road, screaming, two of his fingers bent back at very unnatural angles.
Wargamer acted quickly. He swivelled around and kicked out hard, sending one of the youths staggering back winded. Without hesitating he forced his way out of the broken circle. Two of the youths had already had enough and had decided to run away while they still could. However three still faced him. One of them lunged at him, blade flashing. However, Wargamer was a veteran. He ducked under the clumsy attack and hit out with a fist, quickly following it up with a good kick and another punch for good measure.
Unfortunately, the remaining youths were veterans too. They approached from both sides, faces full of anger for their defeated comrades. Wargamer did the only sensible thing he could – he ran. He ploughed his way through darkened streets, all of which had seemed so much friendlier by sunlight. His pursuers followed, hot on his heels.
A sudden shockwave sailed past Wargamer’s shoulder. He swivelled around automatically just in time to see the smite collide head on with the two youths – who collapsed motionless on to the ground.
“Well, well” said a voice. “Wargamer running away from trouble. I never thought I’d live to see the day.”
And with that, Arguleon-Veq stepped from the shadows, his fingers clutched tightly around the smite-stick in his hand.
“Lucky for you I was on patrol. Where’s your stick?”
Wargamer tried to say something, but the adrenalin that had sustained him seemed to have vanished and he was suddenly overcome with a hideous wave of nausea. Veq hurried over to support him, grimacing as he got close.
“You do realise you stink of alcohol?”
“It was one hell of a party.”
“For crying out loud! You’ve got to be on top form for the competition tomorrow. What was the occasion anyway?”
Wargamer turned to stare at him. “You haven’t heard? Rez proposed!”
Veq whistled. “No, I hadn’t.”
“You have now! You should have seen the look on Elfboy’s face!”
“I imagine I’d be pretty stunned too if Restayvien had proposed to me…”
“He didn’t propose to Elfboy, moron.”
The two made their way through the dark streets of the village of Tau-Online while, unknown to them, high above them in the hills bordering Tau-Online, a solitary man stood, surveying the settlement below him. From that great height the village, full of pin pricks of yellow light, seemed to shimmer as if it were not really a part of the physical world. As he watched, a sudden gust of wind around the figure caught the ground at his feet, sending soil and dust into the air. The wind intensified, forcing the trees around to bend in obedience to its will, as if pulled by invisible strings. A butterfly, disturbed by the disturbance settled on the ground – only to be crushed moments later by the man’s boot.
The man looked around. Another figure was hurrying up the slopes of the hill behind him, his face red and dripping with sweat.
“Is everything ready?”
“Yes. Everyone’s here – and we have everything.”
“Good. I shall join you in a minute.” The man turned back to once again gaze hungrily at Tau-Online. “I like to get a feel of the place before we move in.”
“I don’t see why,” said the other man, shrugging. “We subdued the great towns of Librarium and 40k-Online. How can this tiny village oppose us?”
“Ivor! I’m disappointed. Have I taught you that badly? Never underestimate your enemies. This place is small but I have heard many interesting things about it. We will need to tread carefully – if only to reduce casualties.”
“If you say so Sir,” Ivor replied, adding under his breath, “Old fool.” He turned and made his back down the hill, cursing angrily each time his clumsy figure stumbled over rocks and tree roots.
The man continued to gaze, a slight smile appearing on his lips. “If even my own followers think I am a fool you should have no problem underestimating my power. Sleep – for now, Tau-Online.”
The sun rose bright and early the next morning giving light and hope to a fresh new day in the village. From midmorning onwards the great majority of its inhabitants could be found on the village field – which was generously covered with stalls and tents offering a dazzling display of merchandise, food and competitions. At the centre was an empty arena, and it was to the right of this arena in a commentary platform at precisely fifteen minutes to one where MalVeaux, having first checked the microphone, began to speak. His voice boomed across the crowd.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. I AM DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE FINAL OF THE ANNUAL TAU-ONLINE FENCING COMPETITION WILL BE STARTING IN JUST A FEW MOMENTS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE CENTRAL ARENA AND TAKE YOUR SEATS, THAT WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED. THANK YOU”
Within minutes congested queues had formed at the entrance of the arena – and at the nearby food stalls. Restayvien and KJ were near the front of the main queue and thus were among the first to take their seats, the former’s eyes anxiously roving around the area.
“I can’t see her.”
“Relax.” KJ stretched out lazily, one hand supporting a huge yet delicious looking glass of quietly frothing beer. “There’s plenty of time. She’ll be here.”
“However, the restlessness of his companion continued until the two figures of the twins Elfboy and Elfgirl entered the arena ten minutes later and after looking around made their way towards the two friends. Unwilling to disturb the other two, KJ turned to Elfboy (after he had sat down) and said,
“I’ve come up with a new theory which accurately explains the universe. I call it – ‘KJ’s law of infinite stupidity.”
“Oh, lets hear it then!” Elfboy was already wearing a deliberately cheeky grin.
“It all rests on the principle that each and every person during their lives feels stupid.”
“I’ll make you feel stupid then.”
“You can’t do that.” Elfboy was grinning hard now.
“I’m KJ. I already have.”
Whatever Elfboy’s reply was, it was swallowed up in the sudden blare of the loudspeakers which with a crackle roared into life.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. THE MOMENT YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR. FIRSTLY, I GIVE YOU TAU-ONLINE’S MOST COLOURFUL PERSONALITY, LAST YEAR’S FENCING CHAMPION – WARGAMER!”
And with that Wargamer entered the stadium, sword held high to the crowd to the accompaniment of a sudden roar of screams and cheers.
“BUT HIS COMPETITION THIS YEAR IS TOUGH, FOR HE FACES A PROVEN MASTER OF THE SKILLS OF SWORD-FIGHTING, SOMEONE WHO SHOULD NEVER BE UNDERESTIMATED. I GIVE YOU OUR FOUNDER HIMSELF – TAU-ONLINE!”
Tau-Online also entered the arena in answer to a second burst of cheers, beaming around at the crowd in general. He approached Wargamer and the two shook hands. MalVeaux explained the rules that much of the crowd had heard so many times before – the most important one being that the winner would be the first to reach five hits.
The crowd was absolutely silent as the two fencers circled each other warily. The first bout was very conservative with both sides trying to assess the other’s strengths and weaknesses. It was Tau-Online who struck metaphorical first blood – activating the buzzer on Wargamer’s suit in response to the touch of the sword tip.
However Wargamer struck back quickly, suddenly lunging fiercely with his sword, forcing Tau-Online back several paces so quickly that he was unable to defend himself effectively and so conceded the second point. He also conceded the third as Wargamer sought to capitalise on his advantage in sheer strength. However Tau-Online had now got used to the style of his opponent and by the fourth bout, he managed to parry his opponent’s blows, eventually lunging through a gap to equal the scores at 2-2.
The audience was becoming more and more excited and voluble. A slightly drunken looking group at the front comprised of AfterCresent, Vash113, Hive Lord and Bongo the Orangutan, unsure who to support, began a chant of ‘Tau-Online! Wargamer! Tau-Online! Wargamer!’ but by the time of the eighth bout – when Wargamer was 4-3 ahead, this had degenerated into ‘Taugamer! Taugamer! Taugamer!’ Elfboy himself was on the edge of his seat, for sensing victory nearly within his grasp Wargamer had decided to go for an all out attack on Tau-Online. He was raining down powerful blows again and again and it was anyone’s guess as to how Tau-Online was parrying them. However parrying them he was and with clever little parries with his sword he was managing to keep Wargamer away from victory. Suddenly there was a great roar from the audience. In his eagerness Wargamer had gone too far and had stumbled, falling on to the ground. However to everyone’s amazement Tau-Online didn’t step in and finish the job, instead stepping back to allow Wargamer to rise to his feet.
“Too gentlemanly, too gentlemanly,” said KJ, shaking his head.
However it didn’t matter. Wargamer was clearly shaken by the fall and had lost his previous confidence – and seconds later Tau-Online scored to make the score 4-4. Both players retired to opposite ends of the arena for a short rest. The tension now in the crowd was electric. Just one more bout, just one more.
It was Tau-Online who immediately went on the attack with several quick lunges, no doubt hoping that his opponent was still recovering from his fall. However Wargamer wasn’t a previous champion for nothing, slashing at his opponent’s legs and thereby forcing him to jump back on the defensive. Wargamer followed up his advantage slightly more cautiously than before – but slowly, inch by inch with well-timed blows he forced Tau-Online back to the edge of the arena. However, being no fool himself Tau-Online fought back, standing his ground.
Elfgirl turned to Restayvien. “I can’t watch. They’re killing themselves.”
Restayvien put his arm around her shoulders, smiling. “They’ll be fine, don’t worry. They – OH”
What had happened was that both players, both seeing gaps had lunged for the other at exactly the same time. But who had struck first? All eyes turned to the electronic scoreboard and moments later a breathless MalVeaux announced:
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. THIS YEAR’S FENCING CHAMPION – FOR THE SECOND YEAR RUNNING – IS WARGAMER.”
A great stampede of roaring and cheering erupted all the way around the stadium – and continued all throughout the award ceremony. Tau-Online joined in with the applause with his usual beaming geniality; eventually retiring to the changing room after the majority of the rowdy crowd had left the arena.