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Author Topic: The Tau Online Epic  (Read 7041 times)

Offline Restayvien

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The Tau Online Epic
« on: September 26, 2015, 08:46:34 pm »
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.  8-)

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 Restayvien

Chapter 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.
   “Sir?  Sir.”
   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.
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 haven’t.”
   “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.
   And with that Wargamer entered the stadium, sword held high to the crowd to the accompaniment of a sudden roar of screams and cheers.
   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’s happened?”
   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:
   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.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 09:07:42 pm by Restayvien »

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2015, 08:48:20 pm »
It was KJ that Tau-Online saw first when he left the arena some time later.  The former was hanging around the back door to the stadium, idly juggling rocks in his hands.  Tau-Online greeted him warmly.
   “Hi mate.  Enjoy the show?”
   “T’was very…entertaining.”
   “I should hope so.”
   “Rez just got a call from Mace which he asked to pass on.  Apparently Mace is having a bit of difficulty with some new guy trying to register.  Says he won’t do anything unless he can see the top person in charge…so I suggested I go but Rez thought for some reason that you should be informed.”
   “Intriguing.”  Tau-Online began to make his way towards the Administrative centre, KJ falling in step beside him.  “Did Mace say anything else?”
   “Nah, nothing – except a congratulations on your victory and a commiserations on your loss and a request that I pass on the appropriate message.”
   Tau-Online grinned.  “I think this is one of those times that the phrase ‘Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger’ just doesn’t quite apply.”

With such friendly banter, the pair quickly reached the administrative centre.  It was an impressive site to all new comers.  Located right in the centre of the village it was enclosed by a daunting steel wall with two single gates, both at opposite ends.  Residents of the village could only approach one of the gates.  However newcomers to the village who wished to take up residence had to walk through an enclosed circular corridor from the outside perimeter wall of the village that would take them straight up to the opposite gate in the steel wall.  Tau-Online keyed in the 15 digit security code and entered through the swung open gate.  KJ followed.
   There were three buildings enclosed by the steel wall and it was to the smallest and least important looking one that Tau-Online made his way.  A sign over its door said ‘Immigration.’  Tau-Online approached, gravel crunching beneath his feet, and keying in another smaller security code, he entered the building and quickly made his way inside to the central registration room.  Inside, standing by a window was Mace and sitting at the table was a man.

The man rose when Tau-Online entered the room, stretching out a knarled hand in a handshake.  Tau-Online took it, noticing as he did so the dry, cracked skin and the wispy grey hair.  He also noticed the eyes – which in contrast to the rest of the face were a very bright electric blue.  They darted about continually all over the place as if looking for something.
   But it was the staff that caught the eye.  The man was holding it in his right hand and it seemed to dominate everything in the room.  It was at least seven feet long and it was made of the purest black ebony that Tau-Online had ever seen.  It was so black that light itself just seemed to melt and fade away into nothingness within it.  When the man moved, the air around the staff seemed to shimmer, as if acknowledging the staff’s presence.
   “I greet you,” said the man, his voice soft and delicate. “I presume that you are in charge here?”
   “I am Tau-Online,” said Tau-Online.
   The man looked confused.  “But, I thought this place was called Tau-Online.”
   “It is.”
   “Interesting.  In all my travels I’ve never come across anyone named after a village before.”
   “Actually,” said Tau-Online politely, “the village is named after me.”
   “What’s your name?” interjected KJ.
   The man’s eyes stopped for a moment, resting fixedly on KJ.  “My name is Malcolm.”
   Mace let out a long-held breath.  “Finally!  I’ve trying to get him to tell me that for ages.”
   Malcolm turned to face him.   “I apologise, but I prefer only deal with people at the very top.  Besides, what’s in a name?”  He got up and began walking around the table, the staff oscillating in his hand.  “I have travelled far and seen much.  I’ve seen things you wouldn’t even begin to believe – names you wouldn’t be able to comprehend – and customs you wouldn’t conceive of in a thousand years.  Names – names mean nothing.  Names are a shield, names are a guard.  Names are what others think of you – until you make your own name and your own destiny.  Besides,” Malcolm glanced at KJ.  “An Ork by any other name would smell as sour.”
   KJ opened his mouth to speak but Tau-Online, ever placatory, forestalled him.  “I presume you which to take up residence here?”
   “Yes – if you have no objection.”
   “No.  Tau-Online is open to all.  You must register with this form though.”
   Malcolm gazed at the form.  Picking up a pen, he gazed at the text with his penetrating eyes.  “Interesting,” he murmured.
   “Why interesting,” said Mace sharply.
   “Well, the things you choose to ask about and the things you omit.  You don’t for example ask about my religion.”
   “Why should I want to know that,” asked Tau-Online, a note of sharpness entering his voice for the first time.
   “Well…many places do ask that you know.  And -”
   “Not here,” said Tau-Online firmly.  “Tau-Online is open to all, regardless of race, colour, gender and beliefs, be they political or religious.”
   “Pretty speech.”
   Tau-Online jerked around.  There was another man sitting in the corner of the room who up till now neither he nor (judging by the look on KJ’s face) KJ had noticed.  Malcolm’s eyes flashed.  Turning to the other man he growled “Speak only when spoken to Ivor” and then turning back to Tau-Online he said, “I apologise for the rudeness of my…colleague.  Well, to tell the truth he’s more my right hand man – but,” he leant closer to Tau-Online and whispered, “but only because he’s too stupid to be anything else!”
   “It doesn’t matter – but he will have to register separately.  How many of you are there?”
   “Oh, just a few.  The others are coming later.  We have had a…slight problem.”

Ten minutes later, Malcolm and Ivor were fully registered citizens of Tau-Online.  Ivor stood outside the administrative centre, gazing intently at the thick steel walls, while standing a little away from him, Malcolm gazed with ironic interest at the leaflet and map that he had been given.
   “The walls are thick.  They’re also metal.  There could be a problem with reflection.  You sure you can take them?”
   “Interesting…interesting.  Well Ivor, for a small community this is certainly a very busy one.  They seem to have an event or competition every week.”
   “Sir, I asked-”
   “Apparently according to this they are due to start their annual Tau-Online Warhammer 40k tournament in a few weeks time.  Which apparently, and I quote ‘attracts thousands of members each year for a an enjoyable fun filled week of intensive, tactical, well mannered gaming supervised by experienced and qualified referees.’  They certainly know how to have fun!”
   Ivor gave up.  “Are you thinking of entering – sir?”
   “You grow funnier every day Ivor.  No.  Though I’ll tell you what I would like.”  Malcolm flicked forward a few pages in the leaflet.  “A theatre…interesting.  I have a choice between a stand up comedian, who for some utterly bizarre reason dresses up as a banana, a drama production called ‘The Terrible Truth of Democracy’ which in the words of its author ‘parodies and explores the beaurocratic realities of modern life and thinking when an ideology becomes more important than freedom.’  Ivor.”
   “Yes sir.”
   “When we strike, remind me to find this author and I’ll deal with him myself personally.”
   “Very good sir.”
   “Now where was I?  Oh yes, the third choice – and this looks promising.  Ivor – do you like the sound of the Tau-Online Cabaret?  ‘A fun filled evening packed full of food, music and entertainment featuring the award winning Tau-Online Big Band.’  Hmm, we’re even challenged to come and see CrazedMongoose2003 dazzle us in it with his breath taking juggling act – with knives.”
   “No, I don’t like the sound of it.”
   “Oh don’t be such a Philistine, Ivor,” Malcolm snapped angrily, “Besides.  All of this will be disappearing soon.  We might as well take advantage of it.”

That night, Tau-Online’s dreams were troubled.  It seemed to take him forever to fall under the influence of sleep, death’s parody in life, but even when he had done so, the old man’s face continued to haunt him.
   He was standing…somewhere.  Where was it?  Open countryside?  Who was that in front of him?  Malcolm?  It is Malcolm.  He approaches.  His eyes.  His eyes.   Don’t look at his eyes.  Turn away.  No – that can’t be.  He’s to the right as well.  And to the left.  Malcolm everywhere.  You can’t escape from him.  No, not everywhere.  Only one carries the staff – and he approaches now.  No.  The staff.  Black, all black and twisted – but full of power.  It was pointing at him.  No, not at him.  Behind him.  Look behind.  No, it can’t be.  It’s on fire.  The village, it’s burning, all burning.  Flames everywhere. 
   I run.  I have to get there.  I have to save my village.  It’s being consumed.  But why can’t I run.  I can’t move.  My movements are sluggish.  Something’s holding me back.  I fall.  I’m on the ground.  My home is still burning.  I can’t save it.  No.  Here’s help.  Wargamer.  Appeared out of nowhere.  I stretch out my hand.  I call out.  “Help me.”  He echoes my words.  He does nothing.  “Help me, please.”  Why do you stand there?  Why don’t you help me.  No.  I’m sorry.  I was too slow.  I couldn’t get there in time.  Someone else has come.  Who is it?  KJ?  He’s speaking.  What’s he saying?  I can’t make it out.  Just listen…listen.  I can just hear. “Too gentlemanly.”  Too gentlemanly?  What does that mean.  No.  KJ.  Don’t go.  What do you mean?  Explain.  Help me.  Help me.
   “Help me.”
   The words burst out of Tau-Online’s mouth as he burst into life in the middle of the night, the whole of his body covered with a cold sweat.

Despite Tau-Online’s nightmares, life in the village went on as normal for the next week.  The leisure industry, which Malcolm had commented on, boomed in sales and popularity.  CrazedMongoose2003 even received a standing ovation for his breathtaking performance.  Entries flooded in for the great Warhammer 40k tournament.  There was a slight increase in the numbers of people joining the village – but nothing was thought of this.  And so it was that exactly ten days after Malcolm and Ivor had entered the village of Tau-Online, Yriel of Iyanden and Spiritbw were spending the darkening evening warming up for the coming competition. 
   The dice thundered across the tabletop, carrying in them the power to change the tide of battle.  Two sets of eyes watched them intently make their decision – and eventually it came.
   Snake eyes.
   Spiritbw’s mouth gaped open in horror.  Slowly, disbelievingly, he removed his remaining terminators from the board.  Yriel laughed good humouredly, “I’ve told you once, I’ll tell you again my friend.  Never underestimate the power of black guardians!  Right, now…that’s all my shooting and nothing’s in assault range.  Your turn.”
   Spiritbw gazed at the battlefield intently.  He was too experienced a player to panic but even he had to admit that the situation was bad.  Due to the heavy terrain and the forest, he had tried to spread his forces out and tempt the Eldar into a nice little killing zone in the centre.  The Eldar had taken the gamble – but thanks to some astoundingly lucky shooting and psychic powers they were easily winning.  However, Spiritbw was by no means dead yet.  Two tactical squads of marines broke cover and advanced on the Eldar position, weaponry armed and ready to fire.  A squadron of land speeders zoomed past them, taking up position on the edge of the forest, where their weaponry drew a perfect line of sight to a heavy weapon carrying black guardian squad.  Behind them a landraider rumbled forward, hoping against hope to catch sight of the skimmer above all skimmers – the falcon.  Everything else stayed put.
   Spiritbw gripped the dice firmly.  “Now,” he thought, “I know you and I haven’t got on well today, but now it is time to teach the Xenos just why we, and not they, rule the Galaxy.”
   But before he could roll the dice, a sudden blood-curdling scream destroyed the silence of what had been a peaceful summer evening.  It stopped as quickly as it had started but both moderators reacted with lightning instinct.  All thoughts of the game forgotten, both were outside on the street within a minute, Spiritbw grimly clutching his smite-stick in his hand.
   They saw it quickly.  There was a shape lying on the ground some 50 metres down the street.  A man-sized shape.  There was a second shape standing over it.  This shape was carrying a staff.  The shape turned at the two approaching moderators – then turned and ran.
   “HEY, STOP,” Spiritbw roared.  Then, turning to Yriel, “Stay with whoever that is.  Call The Doctor.  I’ll get the other.”
   And with that, Spiritbw set off in hot pursuit.  He was fast, but unfortunately his quarry was just as fast.  He ran as if all the demons of hell were spurring him on.  He fled down alleys and side streets – but Spiritbw also knew the area well and he stayed hot on his heels. 
   Spiritbw fired a smite.  The man in front ducked and it smashed harmlessly against the brickwork of a house.
   “That was just a warning,” Spiritbw thought.  He aimed the smite-stick again and fired.  It was on target.  There was no escape.
   The man turned – and aimed his staff directly at the smite.  A ray of black energy erupted from it, colliding with the smite – and tearing it to pieces.  Spiritbw was struck motionless with sheer astonishment and incredulity but the man moved fast, moving quickly back to Spiritbw and striking him in the ribs with the butt of the staff.  Shocked and winded, Spiritbw fell to the ground, smashing his head against the cold hardness of the stone pavement.  He regained his senses and froze – the tip of the staff was pointed directly above his eye.
   The man spoke.  “I could take your life, but I give it back to you.  You will go back to Tau-Online and give him this.”  He placed an envelope into Spiritbw’s hand. “Go now, and don’t try to follow me.”
   And with that the man moved off down the street.  Spiritbw tried to sit up, but his body was in agony, and he sank back on to the pavement.  Then his fingers registered the cold roundness of the smite-stick still clutched in his hand.  He leant to the right, where he could still see the man moving away far off down the street.  For the third and final time that night he aimed – and fired.  The smite shot down the street – only to be disintegrated when it passed over a certain line running perpendicular to the road.  Spiritbw’s smite-stick buzzed, and a fake, happy sounding feminine voice sounded from it.
   “You have tried to take official action against a person in a different sector of Tau-Online to the one you moderate.  Please contact a moderator of the sector itself or a Global-Moderator.  Have a nice day.”
   Spiritbw sank back on the pavement, groaning.  He reflected on the general evening he had had. “Luck is laughing at me,” he thought.

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2015, 08:52:09 pm »
Spiritbw arrived back fifteen minutes later.  The Doctor had arrived and was bending over the motionless body on the ground. 
   “Did you get him?” asked Yriel.
   “No,” croaked Spiritbw.  He cleared his throat loudly.  “Who’s that?”
   “His name’s Farseer Tanis.  I know him from my sector.  He’s a good guy.  If he’s dead-”
   “He’s not dead.”
   The two moderators looked down.  The Doctor had evidently finished his examination.
   “He’s in a deep state of unconsciousness – similar to the condition smites bring – except this is much deeper.  He should recover in a few days but he’ll be out cold till then.  But that’s not what worries me most.”
   “What does?”
   “The smell.”
   “The smell?”  Spiritbw sniffed.  “I can’t – hang on, what is that?”  He turned to Yriel.  “Can you smell that?”
   “Yes.  I…what is that?”
   The Doctor nodded grimly.  “That, if I’m not mistaken, is burnt skin.”
   “Yes.”  Gingerly, trying not to wince, the Doctor lifted up the shirt of the motionless figure.  Yriel gasped.
   “What is that?”
   The Doctor looked grim.  “That is a brand.”  He let the shirt fall and turned to the others.  “Lets get him to the hospital.  I’ll organise an emergency moderator session for first thing tomorrow.”

The atmosphere in the boardroom was tense.  Everyone had heard rumours but no-one was exactly sure what had happened on the previous night.  Yriel of Iyanden, Spiritbw and then The Doctor gave their reports – the latter passing around pictures of what had happened to Farseer Tanis.  The pictures met with varied reaction.  Some, like Restayvien and Aunny looked physically sick.  Others, most notably Wargamer, were filled with fury.
   Wargamer slammed his fist down on the metal table.  “I don’t care if this person can destroy smites.  We’ll all of us hunt him down.  He can’t get away from all of us.”
   “You don’t know what you’re up against,” returned Spiritbw.  “He’s…he’s not normal.  And he’s confident.  It’s like he’s done this all before.  And he gave me this.” He produced the envelope.  “I think you’d like to hear what it says before you decide anything.”  He passed it to Tau-Online.  Tau-Online took it; his face expressionless, opened it and began to read aloud.

Tau Online

I hope my little demonstration last night has convinced you of my capabilities.  I have power beyond your imagination and I am not afraid to use it.

I am hereby announcing that this entire place will soon belong totally and completely to myself and my followers.  You have no choice – well actually you have two choices.  You can choose to surrender now and avoid further bloodshed.  No one was killed last night – and no-one will be killed if you decide to be sensible.  If you choose to fight on you will lose anyway – except that many of your closest friends will have lost their lives in the struggle.

If you are sensible and would like to speak to me to organise your surrender then ways to contact me are listed below


Tau-Online held the paper tightly in his hand, and the expression of his face as he gazed across the boardroom was so powerful that the newer moderators understood for the first time just why Tau-Online was the undisputed administrator of the village.
   “Gentlemen,” he said.  “Tau-Online has existed for six years.  During those years I have seen many things – evil, cowardice, acts of terrorism beyond your imagination.  Tau-Online has endured all those things. 
   Tau-Online never has given in to evil and it won’t start now.  We will face up to this new threat, we will fight it, and we will endure it.”
   There was a sudden loud uproar of approval from the listening moderators.  Tau-Online silenced them with his hand.
   “I will meet with Malcolm and I will tell him exactly what I have told you.  Doctor, follow these phone numbers up and organise it will you.  Now, we need to take steps to protect the public – MalVeaux, I’ll leave you in charge of that.  Wargamer, I’d like to speak to you please.”
   All the moderators left apart from Wargamer.  Tau-Online took a deep breath and spoke.  Wargamer noticed that the face that had previously been animated and alive was now downcast and sad.
   “I spoke confidently to the others just now.  I saw the fear in their eyes.  They needed a strong leader.  But the fact of the matter is that I am just as scared as they are.  This person is more powerful than anything I’ve come across before and I have no idea how we are going to get through this.”
   “We’ll get through this mate.  We always have.  Everyone can be beaten.”
   I just wish I knew how.  I dread to think what more he can do with that staff.  What he did to Farseer Tanis.  Those pictures we’ve seen.  It’s horrific.”
   “Any staff can be bisected with a sword.”
   “I need your optimism my friend!  When I speak with Malcolm, will you be there with me?”
   “I’ve been here since the beginning.  I won’t abandon you now Tau-Online.”
   “Thank you.”
   The door opened and The Doctor popped his head around it.  “I’ve contacted Malcolm.  He’s coming now.”

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2015, 08:53:43 pm »
Chapter 2:  Forces of Evil

They were coming.

Row upon row of black figures marching in perfect step down the streets of Tau-Online.

They were coming.

All dressed alike in identical black robes with a black mask obscuring their faces, their blue eyes peering out from narrow slits.

They were coming.

Bringing fear and terror wherever they walked so that men and women gathered their children and hurried quickly inside, only emerging again once the walkers had safely passed.

They were coming.

Rounding a final corner, where in front of them they could see a gleaming metal barrier and a man standing in front of it.

They had come.

Wargamer stepped forward, judging that they had come far enough.  “Malcolm.”
   The staff-carrying figure stepped forward.  “I am he.  I was told that Tau-Online wished to speak to me.”
   “And so he does.  Inside.”
Malcolm stepped forward but Wargamer blocked his path.
   “Without the staff.”
Malcolm’s eyes flashed dangerously.  “I never go anywhere without my staff.  It is forbidden.”
   “I don’t care if you have orders given by God himself.  You’re not seeing Tau-Online with that thing in hand.  That is final.”
The two men stared at each other.  Their eyes locked as if in a fierce battle of will.  Blue versus brown.  Eventually blue gave way.
   “Alright,” said Malcolm.  “If that be your wish.”  He turned back to Ivor and thrust the staff into his hands with a look of disgust. “Take.  And please try not to drool over it.”
   Then, turning, he followed Wargamer into the heart of the Tau-Online administration.  The black robed figures outside remained completely motionless – apart from Ivor, who twirled the staff in his hand, gazing rapturously with wide disbelieving eyes.

Wargamer led Malcolm to the largest of the three buildings.  As he held the door open, he noted for the first time the incredible age of the man before him.  It was for this reason that he completely bypassed the lift and led Malcolm instead up the many flights of stairs.  Eventually reaching the top, and noting with disgust that Malcolm didn’t look any worse for wear because of it, he opened the sole door in the corridor.  Inside, Tau-Online rose to greet his visitor.
   Malcolm entered, sitting straight down at the table and motioning Tau-Online to do the same.  He glanced behind him.
   “Why might I ask is this singularly rude individual is staying in the room.  I requested a private audience?”
   “You requested.  I have denied your request.”
   “This is intolerable.  I am not used to being treated with such blatant disrespect.”
   “Really?” said Wargamer. “Well let me tell you this.  There are many things in this world that we all simply don’t like.  Tell me about it.  I know exactly how it feels.  Sometimes we can fight against it.  Sometimes we just have to grit our teeth and GET ON WITH IT and stop whining like silly little babies.  I’d’ve thought at your age you would have-”
   “Wargamer!” said Tau-Online sharply.  “Enough.”  He turned back to Malcolm.  “I apologise.  Now.  What do you want?”
   “Oh that’s a deep question.  A deep, deep question.  So many answers, so many possibilities.  What do you really mean by that question Tau-Online?  What do I want for lunch?  What do I want to do in the evening?  What do I want to buy in the Tau-Online supermarket?  What do I want-”
   “I think I ought to warn you,” said Wargamer, “that I am in a bad mood.  When I’m in a bad mood I get angry.  When I get angry I lose my temper.  When I lose my temper people get hurt.  And the only reason why you’re not getting very, very hurt right now is because Tau-Online is such a gentleman.  So if I were you I’d get to the point of whatever you’re trying to say.  Very quickly.”
   “If you insist.  Tau-Online, I want your village.  Everything in it, no conditions, no exceptions.”
   “And what will you do with the people living here?”
   “You don’t need to know.  Sufficient to say that none will die.”
“That’s not good enough.  What will happen to them.  What will you do?”
“I have no interest in explaining our ways to you.  The offer is on the table Tau-Online.  Surrender now while you can.”
Tau-Online remained silent.  Malcolm sighed.
“I really do advise you to accept, you know.  I have conquered many lands before coming to yours.  If you fight me you will lose, and the blood of those dead will be on your hands-”
   A hand slammed down on the metal table.
   It was Tau-Online’s.  He leant forward. 
“How dare you.  How dare you.  You come here – to my village, my village, and threaten my people, my friends with death – and you blame it all on me? 
I welcomed you in peace, I welcomed you with open arms, to a place of security free from persecution – and this is how you repay me?  No Malcolm.  Tau-Online stands.  Tau-Online fights.  We do not recognise you or your followers.  We will not roll over like dogs and let you walk all over us.  I will ensure that justice is served for what you did to Farseer Tanis, and if you dare to harm another atom of another person here, I will make it my goal to personally eradicate all vestige of you, your followers, and your beliefs.”
Malcolm smiled.  “Oh well, more’s the pity.  I think I’ll go now – I really don’t think we have anything more to discuss.  I must congratulate you though on your resilience.  Most fall at the first hurdle and it is rather boring.”  He turned to Wargamer.  “Would you mind showing me out please?”

Tau-Online was still sitting at the table when Wargamer returned.  He spoke in a low, sad voice.  “I’ve made up my mind.  I’m leaving.”
   “Leaving?”  Wargamer was nonplussed. “Leaving!  Where to?  Why?  You can’t abandon us, we need you.”
   “No Wargamer, we need a fighter.  I’m a leader but I’m not a fighter.  You on the other hand are both.  You can do things I could never do – and now they need to be done to protect the lives of the innocent.”
   “But, where are you going?”
   “To our nearest neighbour.  The town of 40k-Online.  To fetch help.  We cannot win this fight alone, we need reinforcements.”
   “But that’s…ages away.  It’ll take you forever to get there.  Besides…after what happened, you swore you’d never go back there.”
   “It’s only a few days.  Sometimes promises are made too rashly.  Things have changed.”
   Wargamer was silent, considering the question which Tau-Online had also considered for so long.  “What if they’ve already been conquered?”
   “Then I will learn more about exactly who these people are and what they want.  The first step towards defeating your enemy is that of understanding him.” 
“But what shall I tell the others?”
Tau-Online gestured towards his phone.  “I’ve already sent out a message to the others, telling them of my plans and that I am leaving you in charge in my absence.”  He smiled.  “Don’t worry.  I have complete trust in you.  Goodbye.”
And with that, Tau-Online got up and after swinging a leather bag on his back made his way down and out of the building, making his exit down the long entrance tunnel usually reserved for newcomers to the village.  Once outside he did not look back, but kept on going, making slow but steady progress up the rising ground of the hill.  From the window, Wargamer watched his figure grow smaller and smaller…and smaller.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 09:03:12 pm by Restayvien »

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2015, 08:54:07 pm »
Surprisingly, things remained quiet in the village for the next couple of days.  However, beneath the quiet, there was much activity.  Moderators made regular and frequent visible patrols of their sectors.  Under planning from MalVeaux and Wargamer, a patrol roster of global moderators was set up.  Wargamer had decided that at this stage, none of the public would be told about the coming crisis, with the reason that it would only cause unnecessary panic.  In hindsight, this might have been an unwise decision…

Elessar cursed the rain as he scurried through the darkening evening streets of Tau-Online, darting from behind one lamppost to another.  Would it never stop?  A sudden lightning bolt and rumble of thunder caused him to jump in shock, sending one of his feet into yet another muddy puddle. 
   However the rain did have its advantages.  The noise masked his footsteps.  JD hadn’t heard him at all.  However he would have to be careful.  He was still there right at the end of the street.  Elessar crept forward, eventually coming to a halt in the shadow of a doorway.  Elessar checked the address again on what was by now a very soggy bit of paper.  There was no mistake.  He had come to the right address. 
   Glancing again down the street, he breathed a sigh of relief to see that JD was now lolling against a lamppost, eyes firmly fixed in a safe direction.  He leant out from the shadow of the doorway and beckoned hard.  Shovah emerged from his hiding place and began making hurried progress towards the door.
   “Come on, come on,” Elessar hissed, continually glancing nervously up the street to where JD was still leaning against his lamppost.  Turning he rapped hurriedly six times on the door.  There was a long pause, and then a voice emerged from the other side of the thick wood.
   “I haven’t got time.  JD’s nearby.  Just let us in.”
   “I’m going to murder you when I get inside…no, no I know that wasn’t the password.  Just venting my extreme annoyance.  If you were stuck in the cold damp rain outside a door when the occupant won’t let you win when he blatantly knows who you are you might be a bit annoyed too.  What?  Alright, alright, here it is.  Georgie Porgie pudding and pie, kissed the Kroot and made them cry, when the Tau came out to shoot, Georgie Porgie laughed a hoot – before being blown to bits, now let us in!”
   AfterCresent opened the door and Elessar and Shovah scrambled inside.  AfterCresent did not look happy.

“Being blown to bits is not part of the password.”
   “Well it should be,” retorted Elessar, who in his mad rush to get in had become momentarily entangled with the coat stand, “the password sucks.  Whoever thought of it should be shot on sight – and then hanged – and then publicly burned just as a warning to others never to deface good literature again.”
   “Where are the others?” asked Shovah, who had avoided the coat stand and had also decided to avoid drawing himself into a literary argument.
   “Main room.  First on your left.”
   Five minutes later, they were all arranged in a circle of chairs in the main room: AfterCresent, Lonely Tau, Shovah, Elessar and Stankov.  The atmosphere in the room was electric; all were looking at AfterCresent, waiting for him to speak.  He drew breath, and spoke.
   “The first meeting of NARC, more formally known as the National Anti-Revolution Committee, is called to order.”
   His audience remained perfectly silent.
   “During the past few days strange things have been going on in Tau-Online.  The appearance of black hooded strangers.  The mysterious disappearance of our friend Farseer Tanis, the disappearance of Tau-Online himself and the frequent patrols of moderators and the general air of worry about their person.  These facts only point at one possible conclusion.”
   The atmosphere of tension in the room suddenly doubled.
   “Wargamer has taken Tau-Online prisoner!”
   There were a collection of nods and ‘ayes.’
   “Yes,” continued Aftercresent, “and he has taken over the village for himself.”
   “Do we actually know it’s Wargamer though?” piped up Lonely Tau.
   “Course it’s Wargamer,” said Stankov.  “I’ve seen the way they talk to him.  He’s the one giving the orders alright.”
   “And they’re scared,” said Shovah.  “Very scared.”
   “And don’t forget the walls they’re erecting at the border of each sector,” said Elessar. 
   “But what’s their purpose?” asked Lonely Tau
   “How should I know.”
   “Well it’s obvious isn’t it,” interjected Aftercresent. “It’s classic dictator’s syndrome.  He’s suffering from intense paranoia.  The first step will be to limit our movements, prevent free travel from one sector to another, make it less easy to form an organised resistance.  Then the moderators will be armed with actual weapons to guard the borders, you’ll see.”
   “But they won’t stand for that, surely,” said Lonely Tau.  “The moderators I mean.”
   “They’ll have no choice,” said Shovah grimly.  “Wargamer now has supreme administrative power.  He’ll get rid of those moderators who might oppose him and appoint more loyal ones to take their place.  And that is where we must act.”
   “Go on,” said Aftercresent.
   “We must make sure that we, or at least one of us, are appointed moderators.  That way we’ll have direct access to Wargamer.  We might even be able to assassinate him – if things come to that.”
   “Well how do we do that?” asked Elessar.  “I’m sure it won’t be as simple as, hi Wargamer, I’d like to be a mod and serve your dictatorship.”
   “Well,” said Stankov, “a good start would be to start talking about how much you hate the Necron sector.”
   “Good idea, he’ll want to eradicate them.”
   “Yes, I-”
   A sudden shadow fell across the curtain of the window.
   “It’s JD,” Elessar hissed.  “On patrol.”
   “Quickly,” said Aftercresent.  “Out the back.  Before he gets suspicious and comes in.  We’ll meet again tomorrow.  But good luck comrades.  Peace, safety and security be with you all.”

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2015, 08:54:28 pm »
“We need weapons,” said Wargamer.  “We can’t fight battles with smite-sticks, we need weapons.”
   MalVeaux looked up from where he was busy piling more wood on the barricade.  “Weapons?  There are none.”
   “There must be.”
   “There aren’t.  You know as well as I do that when Tau-Online was founded, all weapons – guns, knives, slings - were destroyed.  Tau-Online set up the smite system so the village could be policed without the risk of physical damage to another person.”
   “Fat lot of good that is now,” said Wargamer.  “Excuse me Malcolm, would you mind coming back in a month’s time after we’ve ordered some weapons for our defence from our local branch of Argos?”
   “Actually,” said KJ, “we have got weapons.”
   Wargamer and MalVeaux froze and looked at him.  In unison they both spoke, “where?”
   “The paintball guns.”
   Wargamer laughed.  “I hardly think paint will stop them.”
   “We don’t load them with paint,” KJ explained patiently.  “We load them with marbles.”
   There was a sudden silence, broken only by the creaking of warping wood in the wind.  KJ looked round his audience.  “A marble in a paintball gun has the stopping power equal to that of a 9mm pistol.  At least,” he sniffed, “that’s what I’ve heard.”
   There was another silence, broken eventually by Wargamer.  “Do you know where to find paintball guns and marbles?”
   “Oh yes, I can pick up the paintball guns easily from the club down the road here.  As for marbles I’ve got plenty at home, and so does Iveatch I believe.”
   “Get the guns and then go and find your marbles.”
   “NO,” said MalVeaux.  “You can’t do this.”
   “Says who,” said Wargamer.
   “The principle.  You’re breaking every principle on which Tau-Online was founded.”
   “Principles can go and burn for all I care.  What matters is what needs to be done.”
   “But you can’t kill.  If you do what makes you better than they are?”
   “Quite a lot actually.”
   “Will you listen to me Wargamer-”
   “No, YOU listen to ME.  Do you know why Tau-Online left me in charge?  He did so because he understood that I can do things that he never could – not because they’re wrong but because they need to be done.  Now I didn’t start this fight.  None of us did.  But like it or not this fight is upon us and we have four thousand innocent people here to protect and I am NOT about to stand back and see them all suffer just because blasted principles prevent me from preventing it.”  Wargamer took a deep breath.  “KJ, get them.”
   “You go down that road Wargamer,” said MalVeaux quietly, “and there’s no turning back.  Tau-Online understood.  Tau-Online-”
   “Isn’t here,” finished Wargamer.

The next morning the hot sun shone happily and proudly over Tau-Online, who forced himself to take another swig of water.  The cold liquid splashed across his face, instantly soothing and cooling.  He hitched up the straps of his backpack, which were by now cutting nastily into his shoulders.  Then, he started to walk again.  His tired body screamed at him to stop, to rest – it had barely slept in the past few days.  However Tau-Online refused to listen.  There was no time to waste.  He had to reach 40k-Online as quickly as possible.
   Tau-Online tried to appease it by focusing on the countryside around him.  It was beautiful.  Taking advantage of the hot July air, Cow Parsley was in abundance, rising high above the long feathery grass.  The grass itself seemed to shimmer in the wind, as if pulled by invisible string in a game they could neither know nor comprehend.  Clumps of red Campions had also sprung up everywhere, petals home to the happy buzzing of bees.  The bright colourful brilliance of the ground shone in contrast to the deep blue of the sky, which was completely cloudless, and only broken in one place by a bright yellow. 
   Tau-Online forced himself not to look upwards.  With sweat breaking out all across his forehead, he kept moving, continually thinking, ‘just one step more, just one step, one step more, one step more, one step more, one step…’ Ahead of him stretched out a barren and lifeless dirt track, cutting across the beautiful countryside like a blemish, the only link between civilisations. 
    A rock in the middle of the track caused Tau-Online to stumble.  The rock sat up in surprise and blinked.  “Do watch where you’re walking,” it said.
   Tau-Online gazed with surprise (and blurry eyes) at the rock that wasn’t in fact a rock but a young man under a grey blanket.  “Sorry,” he said. “I’m just a bit tired, that’s all.”
   The man regarded Tau-Online wisely.  “In a hurry are we?”  He didn’t wait for a response.  “Yes, I see you are.  You going to 40k Online?”
   “Yes, I have to get there as quickly as I can.”
   “Well,” said the man, “if you’ll take advice from someone like me, you’ll get there much quicker if you take a break.  You’re killing yourself.”
   “I can’t rest.  I have to get there.  People are depending on me.”
   “You’re dehydrated, you’re exhausted and you can’t even focus on where you’re walking.  You won’t help your people if you collapse of exhaustion on the road now will you?”
   Tau-Online seemed to consider for what seemed like an age, but at last his screaming body won.  He slumped down on the cool grass under the shade of an oak tree.  The man nodded his approval.  “That’s better.  Now, who are you?”
   Tau-Online was still curious.  “No, first tell me, who are you?”
   The man threw back his head and laughed.  Despite his grizzled and worn countenance, Tau-Online could see that he was fairly young, no more than a few years older than Tau-Online himself.  “Who am I?  I’m an outcast, that’s what I am.  I’m nobody.  I’m a man of the road.  I am the person everyone pities when they see me and forget when they walk on by.  My name is John.  But what do names matter here?”
   “Well John, my name is Tau-Online.”
   “Tau…Online?  You can’t…you mean…you’re THE Tau-Online?”
   “The Tau-Online who founded the great village of Tau-Online?”
   “The Tau-Online who united and stabilised an entire region?”
   “Well…sort of, but you see-”
   “The Tau-Online who single-handedly defeated the great warriors of Hackerus?”
   “That story is highly exaggerated.  And they weren’t great warriors.”
   “But still.”  John whistled.  “What brings you out here?”
   “We’re under attack.  We need help.”
   “Hmm….” John considered.  “I can probably help you get to 40k-Online quicker.  I can take you on a route cutting through the forest here.”
   “And that’s a short cut is it?”
   “Not really, if anything it’s slightly longer.  But it’s much more sheltered.  Trust me, you’ll go much faster through there than you will walking on this hot track.  Much more scenic too.  The bluebells are in full bloom.”
   “Well at least something’s in harmony,” said Tau-Online with a hint of sarcasm.  “My village is at war.”

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2015, 08:54:47 pm »
It had started in the early morning.  As if awakened by the sun, black hooded figures had emerged in Tau-Online.  As one they converged on houses, shops and public buildings.  They had not reached the theatre yet.
Inside the theatre the banana bowed to rapturous applause.  The banana was outwardly smiling, but Elfgirl was inwardly boiling.  She was by now seriously regretting the fact that she had agreed to take over from her brother – but he was desperately needed for some kind of moderator job. 
   The Elf twins had been left all on their own when they were just five, when both their parents had died in an accident.  They had been taken in by a kind neighbour.  Elfboy had always cheerfully coped with manly stoicism, but Elfgirl had drifted further and further into depression.  She had laid wake at night, remembering her mother’s kind voice and soft hair – and then when she finally slipped into sleep; the comforting smile had been swallowed up time and time again in flames.  Elfgirl had become depressed, sullen and withdrawn.  Her brother was the opposite and she loved and hated him for it.  While he was always friendly and outgoing, she preferred to stay inside, in her own room, the only place she felt safe.  He tried to persuade her to do things, to take up things.  Eventually she gave in, but the only things she felt she could do were things her brother did – such as the acting of comedy.  She had become rather good at it.  Strange that…how one could make people laugh, with them not realising that inside you were screaming.  Rather funny in itself in a twisted kind of way.
   They had moved to Tau-Online with their guardian when they were both thirteen – and the next year was the worst of Elfgirl’s life.  She was alone in a strange new place, away from everyone and everything she had known. 
   Then her brother had become friends with Restayvien.  He had always been kind, generous and caring.  He had always taken an interest in Elfgirl although she had never seen why.  He was the first person to ever tell her that she was beautiful – something which she came to realise very gradually.
   She couldn’t remember when she had first realised that she loved him but whenever that first glorious realisation was, she had sought to suppress it, telling herself that he would never be seriously interested in someone such as herself.
   But she had been wrong.  So wonderfully, gloriously wrong.  The events in the pub that night were still fresh in her mind, and she almost cried as she remembered it, the way he had taken her hand and slipped the sparkling ring on to it.
   She snapped back to the present with a jolt.  The applause was dying and people were twisting round in their seats, looks of surprise on their faces. 
   Hooded people in black robes were making their way down the aisles of the theatre.  Upon seeing them, Elfgirl suddenly felt cold.  Whoever these people were, they had not come to enjoy the show.  Alarmed by them, Azr9 tried to rise from his seat.  However he was shoved back down into it by a passing hooded figure.
   Elfgirl had seen enough.  She needed to fetch help.  Before any of the figures could reach the stage she darted behind it to the dressing room, where, quickly divesting herself of the banana costume, she emerged into the street out of the artist’s entrance.  However there was a hooded figure on the street, presumably there to prevent what she had just done.  He grabbed her arm with a powerful hand.
   What the poor guy could not know was that one of the hobbies that Elfgirl had taken up because of her brother, was Taekwondo.
   He received a powerful blow in the eye from an elbow.
   He then received a tremendous kick in the ribs which completely winded him.
   He then received a calculated blow to the back of the neck which completely knocked him out.
   Elfgirl stood, shaking, trying to overcome the tendrils of panic which were creeping over her.  She ran up the street, so desperate to get away from the black body that she completely failed to see the second hooded figure, who grabbed her hair, smashed her against a wall and produced a knife from his robe while angrily forcing her head back by tugging on her red hair.  “You’re going to pay for what you did back there,” he growled.
   “I’ll see you in hell first,” said a voice.
   A shot rang out; the figure stiffened and fell.  Upon turning Elfgirl saw Iveatch, standing at the end of the street, gun in hand. 
   He approached her.  “You ok?”  He didn’t wait for an answer  “You’ve got to get out of here.  Now.  Head for the Tau sector.  Now.”
   He waited until she’d gone and then spoke angrily into his phone.  “They’re in the Ork sector too.  We’re being completely overrun.  I’m doing my best to evacuate but it doesn’t look good.”

Wargamer cursed inwardly.  Upon the start of the attack and seeing that the aggressors weren’t being held he had ordered an evacuation of the sectors surrounding the administrative Centre.  There were tunnels underneath the Centre which had been built and used by Tau-Online himself and others in the great fight years ago to take the region, and many scared and confused residents were being herded into them.  However, with the attack on the Ork sector, the attackers were getting far too close for comfort.  He and the Doctor knocked on another door.  The resident, with long fiery red hair falling around his shoulders, opened the door with a polite, ‘hi there.’
   “Hi,” said Wargamer briefly.  He didn’t waste any time with pleasantries. “You need to leave your house immediately and make your way to the Administrative Centre.  You are in great danger here.”
   “Sorry,” said the resident, “but I think I’d prefer to stay here thanks.”
   “No, you don’t.  Tau-Online is being invaded and we need everyone there for your protection.”
   “Well that’s your opinion, but I will be perfectly safe here.”
   “No you won’t.  Please go before I get dangerously unstable.  You are not safe here.”
   “I understand that that’s your opinion and I respect your opinion but-”
   Wargamer drew his sword and slammed it down against the wooden doorpost.
   The resident decided that facing a living hell at the hands of Wargamer was not something he’d like to experience.  However Wargamer’s triumph was short lived.  His phone buzzed.  It was FT, who was stationed at the barricade between the Ork sector and the Tau sector.  He said only two words.  “They’re coming.”

Ivor marched comfortably up the street, confident that many black robed men protected his back.  Everything had so far gone almost exactly according to plan.  The men had torn their way straight through Tau-Online, smashing straight through all their defences.  Casualties had been light.  Three had been lost due to smites – but they would soon recover.  However one had been killed.  He would be avenged, a life for a life.
   Ivor laughed as he rounded a corner and saw in front of him up the street what looked like a barricade.  Desks, tables and other such wooden articles had been piled up across the street so as to make a seven-foot high wooden barrier.  However before he could open his mouth to speak, another person spoke.
   “Take one more step and die.”
   “Really,” said Ivor – although he did signal a halt.  “Just give up you fools.  You have no chance, you cannot win.  Do you really think you can stop our power?”
   A collection of ten hands holding five guns appeared at the top of the barricade.  Ivor laughed again, his blue eyes glowing with delight.  “Do you think I am fooled that easily?  What are you going to do – paint me to death?”
   The guns fired.  One hooded figure went down clutching a bleeding leg.  Another, in agony, grasped a hand which was missing a finger.  In response several of the figures drew guns and fired, but their bullets smashed harmlessly into wood.  Ivor turned pale, knowing that he was fighting an organised entrenched defence – and that he was in the front line.  “Back,” he screamed, “all of you get back.”

“Nearly there,” said John, “nearly there.  Just a bit more of this forest, then a short climb – and then we’re there.”
   “Good,” said Tau-Online.  He spoke the question he had been itching to ask.  “Why do you live like this?”
   “Like this?  Living in the countryside you mean?  TO, the answer’s all around you.  The beauty of this world.  How can I stuff myself away in a place where grass is replaced by concrete, trees are replaced by brick, and flowing rivers are replaced by stagnant ponds.  No.  The world is my home, and I’ve grown rather attached to it.”
   They reached the end of the forest, and emerged into another blaze of glorious sunshine.  From here the ground rose.
   “But,” said Tau-Online.  Don’t you have any family?”
   “Not anymore.  They were killed in your little war all those years ago.  One of the many caught in the middle, trapped, with nowhere to go.”
   “I am sorry,” said Tau-Online, “and I mean that.  I am so sorry.”
   “It doesn’t matter.  I’ve long since stopped mourning.  There are only so many tears one can shed.  Besides, such things happen in battle, and it had to be done.  I’ve heard Tau-Online is a pretty good place – if you like living in that sort of place, which most of the world do.”
   The two were silent for a while.  Finally, John gave a grunt of satisfaction as they reached the end of the climb.  “Here we are.  40k Online.”  For a moment the two stared at the towering wooden walls.  Then Tau-Online spoke.
   “I’m going inside.  What’ll you do?”
   “I won’t go in to any settlement.  I’ll wait for you out here.  Nothing better to do have I!”
   Tau-Online smiled.  “I shouldn’t be inside for more than a few hours.  I’ll be seeing you soon.”
   He turned and made his way inside the great gates of 40k Online.  John remained on the grass bank, wandering aimlessly among the clumps of dandelions and thistles, unaware that he was being watched.  There was a tiny, almost inaudible crack, and John fell to the ground, his body tumbling back down the grass bank where it finally came to rest at the bottom, its blood mingling with the soil.

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2015, 08:55:07 pm »
Restayvien paced angrily within the walls of the Tau-Online administration.  KJ watched him silently, seeing his face grow steadily angrier and angrier.  Finally, with a howl of rage and despair, Restayvien seized a brick and hurled it against the metal wall.  The clang echoed eerily in the air.
   “You could tell me what’s wrong instead of denting the wall…” said KJ.
   “What’s wrong?”  Restayvien laughed wildly.  “What’s wrong?  Yet again I’m stuck here, not able to do a thing.  I’m not the one putting my life on the line.”
   “Nothing wrong with that.  We need a G-mod covering this area.  It is…rather important.”
   “You don’t understand.  Elfgirl was attacked earlier.”
   KJ’s face became alarmed for the first time.  “Mate, is she ok?  Is she-”
   “She’s fine.  No thanks to me though.  Where was I when she was being attacked?  In the shopping centre!  Doing my honourable duty!  It was a choice between there and the theatre.  I chose the centre.  More people there you see than in the theatre.  It made more logical sense.”  Restayvien spat out the words.  “And all for nothing.  Because at the end of the day I wasn’t there for her when she needed me.  I swore I’d protect her and always be there for her – and I couldn’t even keep my promise for a few days.  I’d sacrifice them all KJ, I’d gladly have all the people in the Centre die, if that meant I could keep her alive.”
   There was a silence, in which KJ eventually spoke.  “You don’t mean that Rez.”
   “Don’t I?  I don’t know what I mean or want any longer.  All I know is that I keep seeing those pictures of Farseer Tanis, and I keep seeing her lying in the street just like that, or worse.  And I know one thing.  I’d die before I’d let that happen.  I’d gladly do it.”
   KJ spoke sharply.  “You’re worth nothing to no-one dead Rez.  Don’t make rash decisions we’ll all regret later.”
   “I just wish I could do something, instead of sitting around here.”
   “Well you can’t,” said KJ firmly.  “I’m sorry mate, but we have a job to do.  All we can do is wait until the others get back.  I think everyone’s been evacuated now.”

A black ray of energy cannoned into the barricade, causing splintered wood to fly everywhere, a great chunk of it narrowly missing Arguleon-Veq’s face.
   “It’s Malcolm,” Mace cried.
   “Well duh,” said Wargamer savagely.  He looked round almost wildly.  “I’m out of ammo.  There’s nothing more we can do here.  Retreat.  Get back to the Administrative Centre. 
   They fell back.  However as they moved down the street MalVeaux grabbed Wargamer’s arm.  “Look!”
   Wargamer looked.  And froze.  “What on earth-” Inside the window of one of the houses were two scared looking boys, each no more than about eight years old.
   “We can’t leave them to them,” said MalVeaux.
   Gritting his teeth Wargamer stared back down the street to the barricade.  The crashes were louder and more frequent now.  They would be through any minute.  He finally found his voice.  “You two, get back.  MalVeaux, Doctor, with me.”

Tau-Online stared around at the streets of 40k-Online.  They were all the same as he remembered, but yet somehow different.  Then he realised.  They were empty.  So empty.  Hardly a single person about.  And those who were about lowered their heads and hurried past him, refusing to make eye contact of any kind.  Tau-Online refused to listen to his beating heart, but instead kept going, heading for the government building in which if he remembered correctly the leader of 40k Online resided.  It was still in the same place.  He knocked on the door, which was soon opened.  A tall man stood in the doorway.  He spoke without giving Tau-Online a chance to.
   “You are Tau-Online?”
   “Yes.  Are you in charge here?  And how did-”
   “I know many things.  And I am.  Please come in.  My name by the way is Lomendil.”

“AfterCresent,” Elessar hissed while hiding in the bushes of the garden, “did you see that?”
   “Yes.  Wargamer.  And MalVeaux and The Doctor.  In that house.  Why did they go in?  What’s going on?”
   “I don’t know.  It could be good though.  Civil War!  Tau-Online’s escaped.  He’s raised an army and has nearly succeeded in running Wargamer to ground.  Him and his generals!”
   “MalVeaux supporting Wargamer?  I’d never have thought of it.”
   “Hardly matters now.  As long as they’re brought to justice.”
   “Ahem, excuse me.”  This came from a kindly looking old man leaning on a black ebony staff that Elessar saw when he looked up.  “I heard you mention Wargamer.  Do you know where he is?”
   For the first time an element of doubt entered Elessar’s mind.  Something in the back of his mind suddenly screamed danger.  “Are you for Tau-Online?” he suddenly blurted.
   “I am,” said the kind old man.  “Wargamer must be found and brought to justice on charges of treason.”  He looked straight at Elessar, who upon looking into his bright electric blue eyes was powerless to resist.  Elessar pointed at the house.
   “There.  He’s in there.”
   “Thank you,” said the old man.

The mystery was quickly answered.  Calaban, the occupant of the house, was in bed with a broken leg, and naturally hadn’t been able to answer the door earlier.  Luckily he had crutches, and was being helped down the stairs now by Wargamer and the Doctor with his two sons following. 
   MalVeaux darted to the bottom of the stairs.  “Malcolm!  He’s here.  He’s coming.  He knows we’re here.”
   Wargamer darted down the stairs and peered out of the window, where he could see to his horror a horde of black-cloaked figures opening the gate and entering the drive.  He reacted like lightning.  Seizing hold of an oak cupboard in the hall and pulling with a strength born of desperation he hauled it in front of the door.  “Out the back,” he roared.  “Everyone out the back.”

“So, these people,” said Tau-Online.  “Do you know who they are?  And can you help?”
   Lomendil seemed to consider for a long time.  “Yes, I know.  I know who they are.”
   Tau-Online’s heart pounded faster.  “And can you help us?”

Their troubles were not over.  Before them in the garden was freedom and a clear route to the Administrative Centre – but to get there they would have to get through a metal wire fence.  Wargamer cursed.  The Doctor brought a pair of bolt cutters from where they were resting near the shed.  “These should do.”
   “We won’t have enough time,” said MalVeaux.  “They’ll be coming any second.”
   Wargamer made up his mind.  “I’ll give you time.  I’m going back inside.  No, DON’T argue.  I’ll buy you time.  Doctor, get them safely out, and keep our people safe, till Tau-Online returns.”
   And with that, refusing to listen to argument, Wargamer went back into the house and made his way down the long, long corridor to the front door, blocked by the cupboard, which was shaking violently with blows.  He drew his sword as he approached.

Lomendil stood up.  “You don’t understand Tau-Online.  They’ve already been here.  You’ve come too late.  40k-Online has fallen.”
   “You haven’t,” said Tau-Online desperately.  “They’re not here.”
   “True, said Lomendil sadly.  “After all the fighting, after all the killing, I made a deal.  I was the highest-ranking person left to negotiate.  I got them to go away.  But there was a price to pay.”  He faced Tau-Online with a sad smile.  “There’s always a price.”
   Tau-Online’s phone buzzed as it acknowledged the receiving of a text.  Tau-Online ignored it.

TO.  This is Wargamer.  I’m sorry…

“What price,” cried Tau-Online.  “What price could be so bad that you’re prevented from standing up to them?”

…Malcolm’s broken through.  However the others are safe for now.  He won’t get past me quickly…

“You really don’t understand what they are do you,” said Lomendil.  “I’m sorry Tau-Online.  It’s been nice to have someone to talk to, but!” he faced Tau-Online with electric blue eyes, eyes which up to that moment had been brown.  “I’m afraid I can’t let you leave here alive.”

…You’d better come with help soon, or…well.  I have to go.  They’ve almost broken through… 

Tau-Online leapt up and tried the door.  It was locked. 

…Goodbye forever my friend.

Restayvien leapt to his feet as the party entered the gates of the Administrative Centre.  However there was something wrong.  He quickly realised what it was.  “Where’s Wargamer?” he said sharply.
   The Doctor looked at him.  For the first time in all the years Restayvien had known him, he was crying.  “He’s gone, Restayvien.  He’s gone.”

To be concluded in Part 3, the title of which is…being kept secret for now….

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2015, 08:55:30 pm »
Chapter 3:  Taugamer

He ran.  And ran.  And ran.  And ran.  He ignored his aching legs and screaming lungs.  All he could do was run.  He eventually came to rest by a lamppost on the edge of the sector – and screamed.  A scream of despair.  A scream of anguish.  A scream of total pain.  The scream pierced the night air – but by the time black hooded figures came to investigate – he was long gone.
   He stopped inside a shed in the front garden of a house – and lay there on the floor, unable to move or think.  He didn’t even have any tears left to cry.  He lay there, not knowing for how long.  It could have been for only a few minutes, or a few hours.  He neither knew nor cared. 
   He heard sounds outside the shed.  The sounds vanished.  He eventually rose from the floor and looked outside to investigate.  He saw nothing at first – but then he looked down.  It was lying in the gutter.  A body.  He stared down at it with a mixture of fear and hatred on his face.
   “Good riddance,” Elessar hissed.

The siege of the Tau-Online administration had begun.  Black figures encircled the gleaming walls which were shining happily and proudly in the sun.  The sun was having quite a different effect on the black figures.  One of them approached Ivor.
   “Why black?”
   “Why what, Hugh?”
   “Why black?  Why was it decided that we would all wear black?  Why not orange, or white?  I’m roasting to death inside this thing?”
   “Stop your whining and let me concentrate,” Ivor hissed, lovingly caressing the black ebony staff with his fingers.  “This beauty needs all the power of my mind.”
   Hugh gazed at it warily.  “Malcolm would not approve-”
   “Malcolm!”  Ivor struggled to control the flames of anger which had erupted within him.  “Malcolm is not here.  Malcolm is resting.  Malcolm is going to get a nice surprise when he rejoins us.  Malcolm will learn that we are just as capable as he is.  Malcolm will wake to find a village bowing to his authority thanks to our efforts, and Malcolm will learn to treat me with respect and honour.”
   “Don’t you mean, to treat us with respect and honour.”
   “Yes, yes, of course.”
   “Hmm…I wish you’d get on with it and do something.  You’ve been standing like this for the past ten minutes.”   
   “Fool.”  Ivor seized Hugh’s head and thrust it against the cold black surface of the staff.  “Do you see any buttons?  Or levers?  The tremendous power that resides here can only be accessed from one place – the mind.  It is an intense and difficult process.  Hardly like turning on a tap.”
   “Malcolm can do it in seconds.”  Hugh’s voice was slightly muffled.
   “Malcolm made it!  It’s his own creation!  Besides, with practice, I shall improve.”
   “I’m sure you will.  Now, would you please let me go?”
   “I don’t like your tone.  You will-”
   Hugh promptly released himself from Ivor’s grip by suddenly swivelling, sending Ivor tumbling on to the ground.  There was a sudden halt in activity.  Everyone watched the fallen figure with curious eyes.
   Hugh spoke calmly.  “You’re walking a tightrope Ivor.  Don’t get too confident.  You messed up once when you led the failed attack against the barricade.  I hope for sake that you don’t mess up a second time.  Malcolm is forgiving – but not that forgiving.”
   Ivor rose, growling incoherently.  However he chose not to reply to Hugh’s cool gaze.  A few minutes later he let out a sharp cry of delight.  “I have control at last.”
   Eyes blazing, Ivor strode forward, aiming the tip of the staff at the wall.  A jet of black energy erupted from the tip, rushing with unstoppable power towards the metal structure and tearing it to pieces in a terrible explosion.
   At least, that was what he intended to happen.
   What actually happened was that a jet of black energy erupted into the world from the tip of the staff, but upon coming into contact with the wall it merely reflected harmlessly off the smooth curved surface to crash proudly into a house behind the mass of black figures.
   The house promptly blew up.

   MalVeaux looked round from where he was sitting by the window.  Farseer Tyross was climbing the staircase towards him.
   “They all safe?”
   “We’ve got them all underground in the caverns.  We’ve assigned at least one moderator to each cavern.  Just the six of us left now.”
   “You found enough space?  I can’t believe you’d get more than a thousand down there.”
   FT looked down before replying.  “They tore through us quickly MalVeaux.  We barely got anyone out from the outer sectors.  They will be remembered-”
   “They aren’t dead.”
   FT looked at him curiously.  “How do you know?”
   “I don’t.  It’s just a feeling.  These people don’t want us dead.  They want to control us yes, but they don’t want to kill us unless they have to.  There’s only been one casualty of war so far.”
“That’s reassuring.  Does the Doctor share that view?”
“The Doctor!  I forgot!”  MalVeaux turned quickly back to the window.
“What?”  FT also hurried to look out of the window.  He breathed in hard.  “What in heaven’s name…?”

“If I were you I’d go for the gate,” said Hugh.  “Weakest spot you know.”
   “I was just going to do that,” Ivor growled.  However his voice told a different story.  Nevertheless the next black rays headed straight for the gate – tearing it to pieces and sending dust into the air.
   “Come on, CHARGE,” Ivor roared, overcome with adrenalin.  He surged forward, heading for the hole in the wall.  The black figures followed.  However, as quickly as they started they stopped.  A solitary man was standing between the wreckage of the gate and the three buildings.
   “You may come no further,” he said.
   “Move or suffer the consequences,” said Ivor, pointing the staff straight at the man’s heart.  “Who do you think you are?  God?”
   “No,” said the man.  “I’m just the Doctor.”

“He’s going to get himself killed,” said FT, rather frantically.  “What the hell is he playing at?”
   “I don’t know and right now I don’t care,” said MalVeaux.  “But he said he’d stop them and right now I feel like indulging in faith rather than listening to reason.”
   “Well I hope your faith is justified,” said FT, looking with increasing horror at the mass of black figures pouring through the small breach in the wall.  The Child crusaders listened to faith rather than reason too, but not one of them ever saw the Holy Land.  Not one.

“I did warn you,” the Doctor sighed.  He pulled from an inner pocket what looked like the end of a hosepipe, the end attached to a small bottle which seemed to contain liquid of some kind.  Before Ivor or any of the others could do anything he squeezed the handle, spraying droplets over the great mass of figures before him.
   Ivor spluttered and choked as the droplets entered his mouth and nose and settled on his skin.  “Enough nonsense,” he growled, trying to activate the staff.  However he couldn’t.  His hand was shaking violently.  He gazed in horror at his hand, which was red and inflamed.  Behind him, he could hear gasps and grunts of pain.
   “Nasty isn’t it,” said the Doctor.  “Yes, I came across that when I was trying to find a cure for acne.  In the process I invented a solution which creates a violent form of it for a while.  The first stage is very interesting.  Angry red boils appear on the skin just where the liquid has touched it.  Some can get to quite a size. I once-”
   One of the figures began to scream.  “My eyes, my eyes!”
   “Ah yes,” said the Doctor.  “That would be the second stage.”

The Doctor was hailed as a hero when he returned to the Administrative building (with the invaders having been successfully repelled) but he was having none of it.
   “The effects will wear off within twenty four hours.  So lets use the time wisely.  We need to build up stocks of food and water down there.  I don’t want them starving us out.  We also need to disguise the entrance to the tunnels.  Lets not make it too easy for them to figure out where we’ve gone.”

Twenty-four hours passed by.  The Doctor’s orders were carried out.  However the invaders made no appearance.  Forty-eight hours passed by – and there was still no sign.
   “I don’t like it,” Phage whispered to Ryan, both of whom were on guard duty.  “Where are they?  What are they doing?  Don’t they know that the more time they give us, the stronger and more organised we become?”
   Ryan shrugged.  “I’m not so sure.  I can’t stand this waiting.  It’s getting to a lot of people.  I’d give a good deal to know what’s going on wherever they are right now.”

At that very moment, Ivor was swallowing hard, staring fixedly at the door in front of him.  He tried to distract himself with the swirling wood grains, but his mind refused to be distracted. 
   He knew that he would soon be dead.
   “Come in,” a voice called out.
   Ivor entered, and made his way towards a familiar figure sitting in a chair.  “Sir.  It’s a…pleasure to see you back.  I was afraid-”
   “Oh please spare me your flattery.  I was hardly expecting a get-well card.”
   Ivor was quiet.
   “Why so silent?  Surely you know why I have summoned you here?  Do you deny that you used my staff?”
   “No, sir.  I, I hoped to impress you – get everything done and over with.  A nice…surprise for you.”
   “Ivor, Ivor, you never cease to amaze me.  I cannot tell whether it’s bravery you have in such great quantity or stupidity.  But after all, there’s little difference between the two. 
   But you have surprised me.  I’ll give you that.  I would have thought it beyond even you to render over half our fighting force immobile – although thankfully there seem to be no lasting effects.
   Still silent I see.  Well let me spell it out to you.  You surely must know that my law decrees that a life be taken when the staff is used without my permission.”
   “Yes, I do sir.”
   “Well, there is little more to say.  Except…yes…there is always the inconvenient problem of who would replace you…come in Hugh.”
   The last three words were a shouted order.  Seconds later, Hugh entered.  His face was expressionless.
   “Now, Hugh.  Tell Ivor here precisely what you just told me.  I’d like him to know precisely why I’m going to do what I’m going to do.
   Hugh faced Ivor, his face expressionless, although his eyes were bright and gleeful.  “Ivor was hopelessly incompetent.  He was out of his depth.  Had someone else been leading us, we could wiped Tau-Online off the map within hours.”
   “I see, I see.  Now answer me this question Hugh.  Why did you not take over?”
   “Well, I could hardly do that sir!” Hugh smiled.  “Ivor was in charge.  I know my place.”
   “No Hugh.  I am in charge.  Your place was to do what I would have wanted.  What I would have wanted was for someone to take the place of an obviously incompetent leader and get the job done.”
   Hugh’s heart began to beat faster in his chest.  This was not meant to be happening.  “But sir-”
   “Enough.  You’re too clever for your own good Hugh.  You’re like the weasel.  You know what to say, what to think and how to position yourself well.  However I would trust you with nothing.”
   “Please, no.  I beg you, I-”
   “Goodbye Hugh.”
   And with that, a familiar jet of blackness struck Hugh in the chest.  He gasped as it hit him – then collapsed to the ground, lifeless.  The chair creaked as its occupant turned back to the seemingly paralysed Ivor.
   “Now.  Where were we?  Ah yes, the death.  Now that seems to have been taken care of-”
   “I am not to die?”  Ivor had to force the words out.
   “No Ivor.  But I’ll tell you what is to happen to you.  Come closer.”
   Ivor did so.  Suddenly, unexpectedly, the staff was thrust into his hands. 
   “You liked holding it didn’t you Ivor.  The power.  You would love to be able to control it wouldn’t you?”
   “I would sir.”
   “Yes, I know.  I can tell.  I will teach you to use it properly.  You shall learn to use it as I do.”
   Ivor’s eyes widened.  “Sir!  I, I don’t know what to say.  You have my complete thanks – and loyalty.  I will obey your every order without question or resentment.  I am your soldier to command.”
   “Very good.  Now leave me.  Summon the statue.  It is time my emblem was revealed in Tau-Online.  Then return to me and we shall begin your training.  When we are ready, the final assault will begin, and Tau-Online will disappear in flames.”
   His face flushed and full of life, Ivor hurried from the room.  Only one person now remained in the room – along with the rapidly cooling body on the ground.  He laughed quietly.  “I am your soldier?  Stupid fool!  Now you’re my puppet.”  The laughter continued for some time, mingling gently with the sound of the creaking chair.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 09:03:44 pm by Restayvien »

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2015, 08:55:54 pm »
Another twenty-four hours passed by before it started.  A sudden explosion tore through the peaceful night air, and from the window of the building Phage watched speechless as the metal walls were torn apart in a terrifying display of power and fire. 
   He tore down the stairs.  He found the Doctor right at the bottom in the basement. 
   “I heard.  Get down there.”
   Phage did so.  Once down he tore through the maze of darkened tunnels, spreading the word to each individual cavern.  The Doctor followed him down, his heart heavy.  The final fight was about to begin – but he knew that it was a fight that could not be won.
   “Come on Tau-Online,” he muttered to himself.  “Where are you?”

A man, dressed all in black, dropped down the hole revealed by the open trapdoor.  He regained his senses and looked around him.  He was in some kind of tunnel.  It was thin but just high enough for him to walk without stooping.  However, most importantly – his torch revealed no hidden ambush.  He beckoned upwards with his arm – telling the others that it was safe to come down. 
   He walked forward, trying not to touch the sides of the tunnel.  Their slimy looking texture made him feel uncomfortable.  The smell from them surrounded him, adding to the general feeling of claustrophobia. 
   He suddenly noticed side passages branching off from the main tunnel.  They were everywhere.
   “What on earth?” he muttered.  “This place is like a rabbit warren.  How did they build this place?”
   “We didn’t.”
   The Doctor emerged from his hidden hiding place behind a boulder in one of the thin side tunnels and fired.  Whistling with their high velocity three marbles smashed into the man’s leg.
   “One down,” the Doctor thought. “Many to go.”

Restayvien tore through the maze of tunnels.  Second right.  First left.  Middle fork.  Bypassing all doors he came to – except one.  Entering the cavern, he looked around.  The gigantic underground hall was packed with people, very few of whom were paying him much attention.  Many looked scared.  He could see children clutching frantically on to precious possessions – and parents keeping tight hold of their children.  Elfboy was discussing something with KJ in the corner of the room.  Restayvien couldn’t hear what they were saying but he could guess it.  They would have heard.
   Looking round the room again he finally saw her.  He moved quickly to her side.
   “Come with me.  Now.”
   “What?  We’re supposed to stay here-”
   “I’m not leaving you.  Come on!”
   Once his mind was made up, little could change it.  The two left the cavern, noticed only by KJ as he stared with sharp eyes over Elfboy’s shoulder.

The Doctor fired again and again – but he knew that the great majority of his shots had gone wide.  Still, at least he was keeping them pinned down.  Still, many had retreated down the side tunnels.  Hopefully they would meet just as much resistance down there…

Arguleon-Veq had given up his gun to those defending the caverns.  He had no need for them.  He spun, kicking out with his feet - thereby sending two black robed men stumbling back down the thin tunnel.  Sprawled on the floor they blocked the way of others behind them.
   “Come on you murdering T'auk'cka'era,” Veq yelled.  “I’m ready for you.”

MalVeaux and Mace had taken up position on opposite sides of a wide tunnel.  Both were fairly well hidden – or at least they hoped they were.  Mace peered round the corner – and then gave MalVeaux the signal.  They were coming.
   The two waited until a few had passed until they sprung the trap.  A makeshift net fell from the ceiling, trapping many in its clutches.  Without hesitating, both moderators opened fire with their smite-sticks.

Farseer Tyross kicked over the supports, sending tonnes of soil and dust from the ceiling cascading down into the tunnel in front of him.  However he didn’t have much time to celebrate the small victory.  He could already hear noises of movement and battle from two other tunnels.  He moved forward – gun in hand.

Restayvien ran through the tunnels, half dragging Elfgirl along in his desperation.  He knew the perfect place to make his stand – if only he could reach it in time.
   He couldn’t.
   A black figure emerged from around the corner directly in front of him.  Upon seeing Restayvien he immediately drew a gun from his robes.  However Restayvien was fast.  He hurled himself upon the man and wrestled him to the ground.  Both hands clawed for the gun.
   Elfgirl stood almost paralysed.  She would normally have jumped in and fought without a second thought – but she daren’t in the thin, badly lit tunnel.  There was too big a chance she’d just hurt Restayvien instead of the other.  However that worry didn’t stop the person behind her.  He opened fire – just as the robed man reached the gun and fired.  The smite crashed into the man’s back, rendering him senseless.
   “Lucky that,” said KJ nonchalantly.  I think we’re directly under the Ork sector.
   However the nonchalance didn’t last.  He gasped as he got closer.  It took all of Elfgirl’s self-control to stop herself screaming.  The entire right side of Restayvien’s face was covered with blood
   “It’s not that bad,” Restayvien said.  However he winced with the pain.  “The bullet nicked my ear, that’s all.”  He struggled to his feet, still wincing.  He gazed at KJ as if seeing him for the first time.
   “What’re you doing here?  Go back!”
   “Not a chance Rez.  It’s every man for himself down here.  No point going back.”

Arguleon-Veq ignored the pain in his limbs.  He kept going, refusing to surrender. He closed with another enemy who clumsily tried to head-butt him.  Veq easily dodged and seizing him by the scruff of the neck slammed him hard against the wall.  However yet another dived at him.
   “How many of them are there,” Veq’s mind screamed.  This new foe was far more experienced than all of those Veq had previously taken out.  A fist came out of nowhere and Veq’s world exploded in a scattering of bright stars.  Then – a blissful darkness.

Rjay, Khanaris and Aunny heard the footsteps stop outside the door of their cavern.  As one all three raised their guns and waited.  Suddenly the door came under violent attack as heavy blows were thundered down on to it.  Splinters and gaps appeared. 
   The three defenders opened fire.  There were shouts and screams from the other side of the door but there seemed to be no overall effect on the tremendous battering the door received.  Eventually it was ripped off its hinges, a sizeable splinter striking Khanaris on the head and leaving him stunned on the floor.
   Rjay and Aunny fell back, guns still raised as the hooded black soldiers entered the cavern.  The one in front spoke.
   “Surrender!  Now!”
   “Like hell,” said Rjay.
   “Not a chance,” said Aunny.
   The black figure turned to those flanking him on either side.  His voice was cold but clear.  “Kill them.”

Aim.  Fire.  Aim.  Fire.  Aim.  Fire.  Those two words were all the Doctor thought of now.  His senses were dulled.  All he could do was to stay there.  Aiming…firing…aiming…firing…

Back to back MalVeaux and Mace stood facing their foes.  They were surrounded on all sides now.  MalVeaux’s feet stumbled on a rock on a ground, causing Mace to stumble as well.  That was all their enemies needed.  Rushing forward, Mace and MalVeaux were soon hopelessly entangled in their own net.

FT ran down the tunnel.  There was a gap which had to be plugged.  He fired twice as he ran, neutralising two of the enemy before they had even seen him.  Time was of the essence.  Veq had obviously fallen.  He had to get there – or they would have almost total free access in the tunnels.

“First on the left,” said Restayvien.  “It’s hard to see but that’s the tunnel we need.  It leads to an access cover somewhere around the Imperial sector.  We need to get out of here.”
   Elfgirl nodded.  KJ grimly watched the tunnel behind them.  They had just rounded the corner when KJ called out, “They’re coming.  Quick.  Run.”

FT suddenly felt a blinding pain in his left arm.  He knew instantly that he’d been shot.  With the pain too much to bear he collapsed on to the ground.  The last words he heard before slipping into unconsciousness were, “Take him to the others.”

They ran.  Restayvien had told Elfgirl exactly where to head for.  Restayvien stayed a little behind with KJ, both firing at intervals behind them to try and keep their pursuers a good distance away.  They reached the access panel within minutes.  It thankfully came away easily. 
   “GET UP, GET UP,” Restayvien yelled.  Elfgirl did so – as did Restayvien moments later.  KJ climbed up into the street last, slamming the cover in place, seizing a nearby heavy dustbin and slamming it over the top of the cover.

The world around the Doctor seemed even blacker now than it ever had been.  The paintball gun clicked as he pulled the handle.  He was out of all ammunition.  Out of the corner of his eye he could see black objects approaching him from behind.  His mind knew that it was all over.  In front of him he saw for the first time a person holding a staff.  His eyes widened in surprise but it was the last straw for his shattered body.  He collapsed on to the floor, unconscious.

The three survivors of the tunnels made their way speechless through the Imperial sector.  The world around them was shattered and broken.  Doors had been torn away from houses.  Windows had been smashed.  The roads and pavements were clogged with wrecked cars, dented containers and countless personal possessions.  But worst of all – there was not one single person in sight.
   Restayvien gingerly inspected his face.  The bleeding had stopped – but there were still ugly red streaks of dry blood on his face.
   “How is it?” Elfgirl asked, not sure whether she wanted to know the answer.
   “I’ll live,” Restayvien replied.  He smiled dryly.  “Strange that.  For a moment there I thought I was dead.  It makes you think really.  Why are people so scared of death?  Is it really that bad – to give your life nobly for something greater than yourself.”
   Restayvien was brought straight back down to earth by KJ’s voice directly behind him.  “Don’t joke about death mate.  It’s uncool.  Very uncool.” 
   Restayvien would have replied, but rounding a corner he was struck speechless with shock with what he saw.  Elfgirl gasped.  KJ muttered incoherently with staring eyes.
   In front of them was the park and the arena in which Tau-Online and Wargamer had fenced in what now seemed like a lifetime ago.  To the side of the arena was a statue.
   The statue was massive, easily as tall as a large house and seemingly made entirely of marble – which shone and glittered in the sun.  It had the shape of a man – without a face.  The head was entirely smooth and circular without any human features whatsoever.  Where the face should have been there was instead an engraved pattern.  Restayvien and KJ stared at the pattern in fear and horror.  They had both seen it before in the form of a brand.
   The pattern was made of four interlocking curved lines – each of which intersected a circle at regular points to make a perfectly symmetrical shape.  The lines themselves were deep black and seemed to glow with a special inner power of their own.
   Four black robed figures stood at equal points around the base of the statue, their eyes staring through narrow slits in the material.  None of them appeared to have seen the three fugitives.
   There was only one thought in Elfgirl’s mind as she stared at the terrible monstrosity before them.  The thought that they had to get away.  Before she could act on it however, a sudden sound emerged from behind them
   “Psst.  Hey.  Over here.  It’s not safe out in the open.  They’ll see you.”
   They all turned in surprise.  Elessar was gesticulating to them wildly from the bushes.

It was several hours later.  Night was slowly creeping over the village.  All four were safely hidden in Elessar’s house in the Imperial Sector.  After having eaten, Elessar was talking to KJ.
   “We should be quite safe here for short while.  As long as we keep out of sight.  They don’t check in the houses – why should they?  They already think everyone’s gone.  And as for food-”
   “Elessar,” KJ interrupted.  “Ever since we’ve got here you’ve babbled on about this and that – but you still haven’t answered one question.  What are you doing here?  Why weren’t you in the tunnels with everyone else?”
   A sudden shadow seemed to pass over Elessar’s face.  He moved past KJ to the opposite wall.  He spoke slowly.  “KJ.  I don’t know how to say this…”
   “Just spit it out,” said KJ impatiently.
   “I, we…betrayed Wargamer.”
   KJ stared.
   Elessar spoke rapidly now, eager to rid himself of the terrible burden.  “We thought we were doing the right thing.  We thought Wargamer had taken over.  We were hiding, watching.  We saw Wargamer.  Then this old person came.  He seemed nice.”
“Malcolm,” KJ spat.
“And his eyes,” Elessar continued, ignoring the interruption.  “It was like being hypnotised.  I had to do what he said.  I had to tell him where I’d seen Wargamer.”
KJ felt dead inside.  He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  “And then what happened?”
Elessar looked straight at him.  “He killed them.  My companions.  My friends.  He killed them all.  I was the only one who managed to get away.  NARC we called ourselves.  The National Anti-Revolutionary Committee.  Well.  No more.  I’m the only one left.”
KJ didn’t know what to say.  All he could think of was, “I’m sorry.”
“Yeah,” said Elessar.  “Sorry.  I say it every day, but I still can’t forget it.  You know.”  He laughed.  “In films and stories, you always get people who’ll break the rules.  But they’ll always break them in a just cause.  Because they’re right you see.  It’s always them who’ve got it right – and a corrupt leadership which has got it’s wrong.  They all teach us that it doesn’t matter what you do – as long as you truly believe you’re doing the right thing – everything will be fine and you’ll come out on top.
But that’s not how life works, is it KJ?  I was so sure I was right.  So sure.  But I was wrong.  And there’s no other way of looking at it.  I was wrong.  I was…wrong.”
“Look,” said KJ.  “You screwed up.  Lets not deny it.  But right here, right now, what you’ve done doesn’t matter.  What matters is what you’re going to do now to put it right.”
“Well…” said Elessar, considering.  “This might help.  We got it for the fight against Wargamer that we thought we’d have to face.  But now…”
He got up, and moving to a shelf in the wall he took from it a small leather bag.  He showed it to KJ.  “Take a look.”
KJ peered inside – and then jumped back in horror and surprise, his finger pointing at the bag.  “HOLY JEBUS!”
The bag was piled full of explosives.
“Elessar?  How?  How?” KJ could barely talk coherently.  “How did you get this?  You’ve-”
“Lets just say AfterCresent had some contacts.”
“But – But – But-”
   “Stuff that,” said a voice.  Restayvien was standing in the doorway.  Neither had noticed him arrive.  Neither knew for how long he had been standing there.  “I know exactly what we’re going to do with it.”

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2015, 08:56:17 pm »
“Rez?  Rez?  Earth to Restayvien!  Have you considered in any way, shape or form what you’re doing?”
   “I have.”
   “Ok.  So instead of waiting sensibly and keeping ourselves till Tau-Online returns with help, you have decided that it would be much better to go on a virtual suicide mission which has resulted in all four of us currently creeping outside in the dark and probably liable to be noticed at any moment.”
   “Tau-Online,” said Restayvien, “is dead.”
   “Woah, hold it right there.” KJ came to a halt in the middle of the pavement.  Elessar and Elfgirl did the same. “You have some mega explaining to do mister.”
   Restayvien sighed.  “He contacted us KJ.  He used to contact us all the time – all the G-mods I mean, saying how close he was to 40k-Online.  Last message we got he was just about to enter 40k-Online.  Then…nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  He hasn’t contacted us since.  I don’t know what happened but Tau-Online met his doom there.  We’re on our own.”
   “Sooooooo,” said KJ, “you’re still going to throw everything away on a suicide mission?  That statue is guarded.”
   “We have my gun, my smite-stick and as the park’s part of the enclave – your smite stick too.  As long as Malcolm doesn’t show up-”
   “Malcolm?” said Elessar.
   “-we should be fine.”
   “Hang on,” said Elessar.  “Malcolm’s that old guy right?”
   “That’s a pretty large assumption,” said KJ, completely ignoring Elessar.  “He could quite easily be around there.”
   “But he’s dead,” said Elessar.
   “Don’t be stupid,” Restayvien said shortly.  He turned back to KJ.  “These people have killed innocent members of our community.  They killed Wargamer; they’ve undoubtedly killed others.  For all I know many of my friends and colleagues could be lying dead down there.  Now, I am going to make one final symbol, one final stand – and I will make them curse the day they stepped foot in Tau-Online. 
   And if you don’t like what I’m about to do – tough.  Because seeing as I am the only Global-Moderator left free in this hellhole, my word is law.”
   Restayvien moved off down the street, a set expression on his face.  Elfgirl followed.  KJ moved off after them muttering, “Testosterone.  It all comes down to testosterone.”  Elessar stood motionless on the pavement, and then, as if suddenly awakened, he hurried after KJ.  “KJ, listen to me.  He’s dead.  Malcolm’s dead.  I saw his body.  I’m telling you – he’s dead!”

The four conspirators hid behind a bush overlooking the statue.  However, there was no need.  The guards were gone.
   “I don’t like the look of this,” said KJ.  “Why would they leave?”
   “Don’t know, don’t care,” said Restayvien.  “Elessar, with me.  You two, stay here and watch for their return.”
   Restayvien and Elessar approached the statue.  Within minutes they had attached countless metal objects to the base of the statue.  Having finished, they returned to their waiting companions.
   “Any sign?” Restayvien asked
   “None,” Elfgirl replied.  “They-” She suddenly stopped, eyes widening with a mixture of surprise and horror.  The others all looked in the same direction – and saw.
   A procession of black figures was making its way down the centre of the park.  They were chanting.  But it wasn’t the chant that so horrified the hidden watchers.  In the middle of the procession was a staff-carrying figure.  But it wasn’t Malcolm.  It wasn’t even Ivor.
   It was Wargamer.

Wargamer raised his hand, causing the figures around him to fall silent.  Silently he handed his staff to Ivor before he spoke.  Then, using violent gestures from both hands, he addressed his followers proudly and joyfully, staring round at his black robed audience with flashing blue eyes.
   “My friends!  Today we celebrate the fall of Tau-Online.  The last resistance has fallen – and the village and its people are ours.  You have done well – and you shall all be rewarded.
   But first.  Myself.  As you can all see, I have shed my old body – and inhabited another.  Thus will I lead you to new lands, and new victories and new glories.  But first, I will take a new name.  Henceforth, I shall be known…as TAUGAMER!”
   A roar leapt up from the audience. 
   Again, Taugamer silenced them with his hand.  “I thank you.  But for now, as the ruler of Tau-Online by right of conquest, I bid you welcome.  Tau-Online is yours.”
   Elfgirl could bear it no longer.  With confusion, grief and anger tearing through her body she leapt to her feet and yelled in the direction of the joyful mass of figures.
   “Welcome to Tau-Online indeed!  I remember when you were welcomed to Tau-Online, Malcolm, Taugamer, whoever you are.  You were welcomed in peace.  But I remember other things.  I remember the homes you have destroyed, wrecked and plundered.  I remember the lives of those people you have murdered or damaged forever.  But most of all, I remember the life of the person whose body you have stolen.  So, on behalf of all of Tau-Online, I welcome you here.  There is only one fitting way to welcome you now.”
   Elfgirl’s fingers found a button on the object she had seized from Restayvien when she had got up to speak.  The object she was now holding in her right hand.  She pushed it.  Hard. 
   The statue exploded in an apocalyptic blazing fireball which sent tongues of fire shooting through the trees in the park.  Within seconds, fire was raging through the park vegetation and through the buildings of Tau-Online itself.

Taugamer was struck speechless in shock, but Ivor wasn’t.  Now had come the time to prove himself once and for all.  He hurried forward, aiming the staff straight at Elfgirl.
   “You will die for this outrage!”
   Restayvien acted with terrible instinct.  Yelling at the other two to fall back and escape, he hurled himself in front of Elfgirl.
   “Kill me!  If you must kill one of us, kill me!”
   At that very moment two things happened.  A heavy force collided with his shoulder, sending Restayvien tumbling backwards.  At the same time a heavy voice spoke.  “Rez, you bleeding idiot.  Take her and go!”
   From where he lay on the grass, Restayvien turned his head just in time to see Ivor’s eyes glow and blaze, as if illuminated by an inner fire.  The ray of black energy emerged once more from the tip of the staff, colliding with the one person in its path. 
   Restayvien’s mouth opened to scream, but no sound came out.  KJ’s eyes met his one final time, before falling away as his body fell limp and lifeless on to the ground.

Restayvien tried to move, but his body seemed paralysed.  His eyes were locked on to the staff in front of him.  He would be next.  In a few seconds, it would all be over.  It would all be-
   “That’s enough Ivor,” said Taugamer.  “Trevor, organise your team and get these fires out.  You three – you will come inside the arena now – or I will have Ivor kill you all.”
   With that, Taugamer turned and made his way inside the arena.  With his face full of fear, Elessar followed.  Restayvien scrambled to his feet and looked around him.  They were encircled – no escape.  In front of them stood Ivor, his face full of fury and disappointment, but also hope - hope that his prisoners might yet try to disobey. 
Restayvien and Elfgirl looked at each other.  Both faces were tear-stained and full of horror at what had just happened.  Restayvien opened his mouth to speak but Elfgirl silently shook her head.  There was no need for words – they each knew what the other meant.  With fire burning all around him and with the cold starless sky looking down on him – with darkened enemies encircling him and with a murderer pointing his vile weapon at his heart – Restayvien took Elfgirl in his arms and kissed her.  The two figures held each other tightly, cold and alone, both aware of the horror that they were soon to face in the Tau-Online arena.  Finally, they broke apart, and with her hand held tightly in his, they made their way step by step towards the arena.

The arena was packed – but not just of black robed figures.  Every surviving member of Tau-Online was sitting silently in the seats.  Their eyes were open but sightless.  Their faces were expressionless.  Restayvien had a horrible feeling that it was the power of the staff which was keeping them there.
   Taugamer turned to speak but Restayvien got in first.
   “Who are you?”
   “I was Malcolm.  I am Taugamer.  I will be – who knows!”
   “What are you?”
   “Ah.  You believe in God don’t you Restayvien?  No, don’t bother answering – I know you do.  Whatever Wargamer knew, I know.  But anyway, since you do – you should have no problem believing in supernatural creatures.  Creatures beyond human comprehension.  I am like your God in that sense, but unlike him – I am a reality.  I am a power beyond your understanding.  You have only seen a fraction of my power as of this moment.”
   “What have you done to Wargamer?” Restayvien asked frantically.  He had no plan, except that of keeping Taugamer talking as long as possible.  His heart refused to accept the fact that his position was completely hopeless.
   “I live inside whoever I want, whenever I want – and I will ‘be’ them – until it suits me to move on.”  Taugamer breathed in hard.  “I can feel him sometimes.  I push him back to the smallest, furthest point of my mind.  But he is still there.  Like an ant pushing against a boulder.  He is roaring, screaming, beating against the prison I have placed upon him – seeing all that his body is doing, but powerless to stop any of it.”
   “You’re a monster,” said Elfgirl quietly.
   Taugamer bowed.  “Thank you.  But am I any more inhumane than the former leaders of this village?”
   “What do you mean?” said Restayvien angrily.
   “Ha, what do I mean?  Smite-sticks of course.  Have you any idea what a smite does to you?  No, of course you don’t.  You’re a good little boy aren’t you Restayvien, you’ve never been smited.  But Wargamer you see has.  He understood it.  Lying there all alone, powerless to move, not even to blink, knowing that you’re entirely at someone else’s mercy, and living like that for twelve hours.  Did you never wonder why Wargamer ‘lost’ his smite-stick so many times?”
   “But if that’s the case,” said Restayvien, “how does what you’re doing to all of them now make you any better?”
   “It doesn’t!  But unlike you I’ve never really pretended to be a kind hearted benevolent ruler.   But you’ve led us on to an interesting point.  Them!  Do you know what I’m going to do to them?”
   “Do I want to know?”
   “No, but you are!  Those that want to shall become my followers, and will join their brothers of darkness.  They all know what’s going on, they can all see and hear – though they are powerless to move.  But-”
   Taugamer suddenly broke off and laughed.  “You might like to know that Arguleon-Veq just cursed me in his mind very imaginatively.”  Sighing, he gazed over at where Arguleon-Veq was staring blankly out across the arena.  “Who’d’ve thought that one so young would have so great a vocabulary.
   But enough.  We have to get back to you three don’t we!  What am I going to do with you?  Believe me it will be painful.  I’m sure I can think of many more imaginative punishments than death.  But Restayvien, after I am finished, I shall make sure that you die slowest and the last – and maybe then you will learn that there are no higher powers.  No God.  No salvation.  No hope.  Only me – and what I decide will be.”
   It was at this point that Taugamer suddenly realised that Restayvien was staring with a mixture of shock and disbelief over his shoulder.
   “God may not come in person to save me,” said Restayvien.  “But sometimes he sends his angels instead.”
   Taugamer looked around to see a person, dressed mostly in white with a sword in hand standing behind him.
   “Well, I’m not an angel,” said Tau-Online, “but thanks for the compliment anyway Rez.”

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2015, 08:56:43 pm »
Taugamer reacted with lightning instinct.  He drew Wargamer’s sword from its scabbard and viciously slashed at Tau-Online.  Tau-Online parried with relative ease and proceeded to fall back gradually on the defence.  The two swords locked.
   “How,” growled Taugamer, “did you escape 40k-Online?”
   Tau-Online released his sword and immediately lunged for Taugamer’s body.  “I got lucky.”
   Taugamer parried the lunge and fell back slightly, probing his opponent’s defences.  “That’s the sort of answer I’d expect from you Tau-Online.  Correct, indisputable – but practically - useless.”
   This time it was Tau-Online who locked the swords together.  “I’m honoured.  But you sir, are in my village.  You will leave.  Now.”
   Taugamer laughed, releasing his sword and slashing viciously at Tau-Online.  “Do you realise how pathetic your position is?  To survive you will have to kill me – or rather one of your dearest friends.  But even then I won’t be gone.  I have many followers I can inhabit – and even if they all fall – four thousand of your own people.  How far can you go Tau-Online?  How steeped in blood can you become?”
   Tau-Online was silent – but his sword was not.  It attacked Taugamer’s again and again, refusing to bow down, refusing to surrender.  The two fighters danced their dance of war throughout the arena as the fire continued to rage in the trees above them.  But not one of them could break through the other’s defences – until Taugamer, sword twirling cleverly caught Tau-Online’s shoulder.  Teeth clenched in agony, Tau-Online fell back, blood falling down his arm and slowly dripping from his elbow on to the ground.  Taugamer followed.
   “Why, Tau-Online.  Why?  I don’t know how you escaped 40k-Online but you should have stopped the game there.  You should have escaped while you still could.  But instead you come back here.  To fight a fight you know you cannot win.  I am sorry I have to do this.  You would make a fine follower of mine – but at the end of the day, you are just a defeated fool.”
   Tau-Online sprang forward, catching his foe off guard with a strength born of adrenalin and determination.  He drove Taugamer to the very edge of the arena, and locking swords one final time, he hissed,
   “I gave the order all those years ago which led to the destruction of Eldar-Online.  Credit me with a little intelligence please.  I know how to provide a convenient distraction.”
   “Distraction?”  Taugamer pushed Tau-Online away from him and gazed around.  He was just in time to see Ivor fall on to the floor with a cry of pain, clutching his hand.
   Lomendil was left holding the staff.
   Taugamer’s eyes bulged.  “Lomendil?  But – you’re?”
   “I’m free.  And now-” Lomendil pointed the staff straight at Taugamer.  “You are going to pay for your crimes.”
   “Please,” said Taugamer, sounding bored more than anything else.  “You know the power of the staff cannot be used against me.  It is my own creation, my power.  And besides you tried it once before – remember?”
   “I remember,” said Lomendil.  “And you’re right.  But I also remember that I was the only person in 40k-Online whom you feared, the only person who could force you to make a treaty.  Even if that did involve me becoming a vessel, a servant of yours in whom a tiny part of your consciousness lived to keep an eye on the others – to make sure that no one got out of line.  And what’s more, I remember my people.  I gave my life for my people once – I do so again!”
   And with that, Lomendil turned, and shot a powerful blast of black energy straight at Tau-Online.
   Time seemed to slow down as Tau-Online stared at the approaching darkness.  He also remembered.  He remembered the frantic struggle for his life inside that office.  His phone falling out of his pocket and smashing on the floor.  But more important than his phone – a small statue on the desk being caught by his arm, falling on the floor and also smashing to pieces.  And he had watched the blue eyes slowly turn back brown again.
   He raised his sword straight in front of him – so that the black rays reflected harmlessly off it – straight back towards Lomendil and the staff.  The rays showed no pity for the ebony wood.  As soon as they came in contact with it the staff was torn to pieces in a shattering explosion.  Taugamer let out a blood-curdling scream, the likes of which had never been heard by any living person – nor ever will again.  And as Tau-Online watched, a white mist seemed to flow straight out of Taugamer’s mouth and disappear into the air, never to be seen again.  The left behind body fell to the ground.  Tau-Online ran to it.
   “Wargamer?  Wargamer!”
   Wargamer tried to speak – but all he could say as the tears flowed down his face was, “I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry Tau-Online.  I’m sorry.”

But it was only Taugamer who had gone forever.  His followers remained.  Of them, Ivor leapt to his feet, still clutching his hand.
   “Don’t just stand there you fools.  Kill him!  Kill both of them!”
   But they did not obey him.  Their leader had been ripped out of existence right before their eyes by a person he had assured them was dead.  They were crushed.  Demoralised.  In their hearts they had surrendered. 
   But Ivor hadn’t.  “I’ll do it myself then,” he snarled, pulling his own gun from his robes.  However he never got to fire it.  A sudden ‘thwack’ sound rang out, very similar to the sound a spade makes when it comes in contact with a human skull.  Ivor fell stunned to the ground.  Freed from the power of the staff, Arguleon-Veq had reacted very quickly!
   Tau-Online stared round at the people in the arena.  “It is finished,” he said.

The following writing is the last ever entry made in a notebook owned by Restayvien:

And with that, it did finish.  The invaders were defeated.  Over the coming months I myself, The Doctor, Tau-Online, Wargamer and others worked to clean out the last of the invaders remaining – not just from Tau-Online but from our neighbouring towns and cities, and freed from their presence, the village grew, as it had grown before.  We became a small town, and then a rather large town, and as of this very moment as I write this all these years later, the population has just reached 50,000 people. 
   It is many years now since the events I have written of occurred – and there are very few of us who now remember those dark days.  My dear wife and I were one of the last – but even she passed away a few months ago.  Very soon, I myself will be gone.  But that is why I set this story in writing – so that future generations might read, learn, and never repeat the mistakes of the past. 
   It is this message I give to my grandchildren and all those their age and all others who are to follow them.  Never follow evil, no matter how powerful or enticing it is.  Do not be afraid of taking a stand against it and saying no.  It is easy to try to appease evil and to go along with it – but that only creates more evil.  Secondly, it is easy to recognise evil when you see it.  Evil is that which blackmails you and says ‘Accept our demands or you will be held responsible for the consequences.’  Evil is that which says ‘The Cause is the only thing which matters, individuals are worthless.’ 
   For it was through evil that I lost a very dear friend, one who was decent and honest and hard-working, one who was kind and generous and always there for me when I needed help or advice.  And I have never forgotten him, as long as I have lived on this Earth.  I have never forgotten my good friend,
Kangaroo Joe.

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2015, 08:58:03 pm »
TauOnline Epic PART 2

Prologue: 40k-Online.

A place that almost killed me twice. 

I swore I would never go back there.

I swore I would never relive the horrors of the past.

But the past can never be left behind.

And I cannot ignore the demands of the Present.

It wasn’t called 40k-Online then of course

Six years ago, it had another name.



Chapter 1 - Eldar-Online

   “All rise.”
The order boomed across the half full courtroom as Eldar-Online entered importantly from a back door.  Magerian sat in the public gallery, his cold cynical eyes watching His Lordship take his seat.  Eldar-Online looked as impressive as usual in his long flowing gown and his grey wig over a mass of even greyer hair.  He had good reason to impress.  He was after all the highest legal authority in Eldar-Online as well as being the ultimate dictator of the aforementioned land.  His many titles included: Defender of the People, President of the Eldarum, Protector of the Faith and many more which he tended to forget due to his increasingly bad memory.  Magerian, in comparison, was only a humble advisor to His Lordship.
   Of the two of them, Magerian was by far the more powerful.
   And, what’s more - everyone in Eldar-Online knew it.  Everyone that is except the elderly Eldar-Online himself.
   Magerian focused his gaze on the youth in the dock as the charges were read out.
   “Tau-Online.  You are charged with murder, sedition and conspiracy to commit treason.  On these charges, how do you plead?”
   Magerian’s gaze became intense.  The face he was watching was calm, although the flickering eyes betrayed the fear within.
   “Not guilty.”
   “Good,” Magerian thought.  “I like a fight.” He made himself comfortable in his seat as the Prosecution opened its case.  The first witness was an elderly lady who told his supreme Lordship in no uncertain terms that she had heard Tau-Online plotting with others to overthrow Eldar Online.
   Tau-Online had told the truth of course.  He was completely innocent.  It was the name Magerian hadn’t liked.  Tau-Online, Tau-Online, what kind of morons would call their child Tau-Online?  However, Magerian wasn’t too vexed.  Actually he welcomed it.  He enjoyed the intellectual challenge.  Framing someone for a crime was an extremely difficult and challenging business - but framing them for three was even worse.  He hadn’t needed to have done three, but Magerian wanted to be sure that sentence given would be the Death Penalty.
   The Prosecution were now in full steam.  Magerian’s gaze focused on its council.  Prosecuting for the Crown was Wesleton, a slightly skinny fellow who nevertheless had a brilliant legal mind.  He also just happened to be a very good personal friend of Magerian - although Magerian had gone to great lengths to keep this friendship hidden from the public.  He kept all friendships secret as a matter of course.  It wasn’t too difficult seeing as he hadn’t got many.  Wesleton himself had just finished a brilliant examination of his witness - a middle aged man who had claimed that Tau-Online had tried to recruit him into a terrorist organisation with the sole purpose of overthrowing the government.  He now sat down to allow his Learned Friend for the Defence, whose name was Dizzygamer, to cross-examine the witness.  Magerian flinched slightly.  He didn’t trust Dizzygamer one little bit.  Too unreliable.  He really should have had him removed from the case - but that would have involved showing his hand a bit too much for comfort.
   “So,” said Dizzygamer, “Mr Adams.”
   “I’d just like to clarify a few points with you.  You told my Learned Friend that the Defendant first made contact with you on the 11th April of this year.”
   “That’s right.”
   “Where he allegedly tried to coerce you into joining a certain terrorist organisation.”
   Magerian’s eyes narrowed.
   “Well, not exactly.  As I said, he didn’t tell me then what the actual aims of the group were.  He just said that he was a member of a newly formed left wing Party and I seemed to hold similar beliefs - and would I like to come along to a meeting and see for myself.”
   Magerian’s eyes returned to their normal shape.  One obstacle safely passed.
   “I see.  Now, you eventually went to a meeting on the 25th April.”
   “Is that a statement or a question?”  Eldar-Online’s quiet yet firm voice gently cut across the proceedings.
   “I’d just like the witness to clarify, your honour.”
   “Yes, yes, that’s right.  It was the 25th April.”
   “And the purpose of this meeting.  It was to see whether you would be interested in joining their cause.  Is that so?”
   “Yes.  It was just horrible.  They seemed so sure that I would join.  I said yes, I mean I had to.”
   “Now, when my Learned Friend asked you about this, you said - and I quote ‘I was utterly horrified when I found out what they stood for.  I just couldn’t believe it.  I knew I had to report it.’  You recollect saying that?”
   “Now, if that’s the case…” Dizzygamer shuffled through the piles of paper on his desk, eventually finding the one he wanted.  “Ah yes.  Now, if that’s the case.  Why did you not report this to the police until the 3rd of May?”
   “Well…I was confused.  And shocked.  I needed time to think about things.”
   “Excuse me Mr Adams, but what was there to think about?”
   “I just needed to get everything straight inside my head.  It was all so unbelievable.”
   “It can’t possibly have taken you over a week to get everything straight inside your head.  A day would have sufficed.”
   “Maybe for you, but not for me.”
   “Mr Adams, ever since the failed Arnet Rebellion of January, our eyes have been open to what misguided individuals with weapons can do.  Are you seriously telling this court that you hesitated for over a week, knowing what Tau-Online and this alleged organisation could do in the meantime?”
   “Yes,” Mr Adams looked desperate now.  “I’m sorry.”  His voice became a wail.  “I thought I was doing the right thing by reporting it.  I don’t think I ever should’ve bothered-”
   Dizzygamer’s voice angrily cut across him.  “There was no terrorist organisation was there.”
   “There was.”
   “It’s all a lie isn’t it?”
   “I’m not lying.”
   “Why then can you not describe any of Tau-Online’s associates.”
   “Because they were masked.”
   “That’s not what you originally said to the police.  You said, didn’t you, that you weren’t allowed to meet any of them.”
   “Well, yes, I mean - they were masked because I wasn’t allowed to see them.”
   “That seems a very strange way of describing it.  Surely you can remember their voices?”
   “I don’t.”
   “Well they surely spoke, didn’t they.  It was after all a meeting.”
   “Yes they did, but I just don’t remember them.”
   “Come now.  Male or female?  Young or old?  Were they accented?  Any particular mannerisms or peculiar expressions of speech.  You must remember something Mr Adams.”
   “I don’t remember,” Mr Adams wailed.
   “That’s because it’s all a lie isn’t it Mr Adams.”
   As if feeling Magerian’s eyes burning through the back of his head, Wesleton finally acted.
   “My Lord.  My Learned Friend is badgering the witness.”
   “Yes, yes,” said Eldar-Online gravely.  “You’ve made your point Dizzygamer.  Now move on.”
   Dizzygamer breathed in and out with great deliberation.
   “I have no further questions, your honour.”
   “Very well.  Do you wish to re-examine, Wesleton?”
   “I have just one question, my Lord.”
   Standing up, Wesleton struck a pose before asking it.  “Is there any reason why you should lie about what you were doing on the 25th of April?”
   The scared eyes flickered to the public gallery and back to Wesleton so quickly that no-one but Magerian noticed it.
   “No reason at all.  I’m telling the truth.”
   “That is all.  No other questions.”

The prosecution’s case continued for a week, with no other serious hiccups.  A whole variety of witnesses, all telling the same kind of story, came up one by one, all watched carefully by Eldar-Online’s paternal gaze.  Magerian watched them too with a proud gaze.  It was, he thought, a perfect example of multiculturalism.  Any person, regardless of race, colour, gender, culture or personal beliefs - can always be bought for the right price.
   Then it was the turn of the Defence.  Dizzygamer did his best, Magerian gave him that.  He was unable to bring forth good character witnesses - as Tau-Online had no living relatives, both parents having died in an accident three years ago - so all he could produce was a landlord at whose lodgings Tau-Online had resided for the past few years and who also smelt suspiciously of beer.  However Dizzygamer did better with him than Magerian would have thought possible.
   Dizzygamer did not stop there.  He brought forth other acquaintances of Tau-Online’s, all of whom claimed that Tau-Online would most definitely not do the things he had been charged of doing.  He also brought forth other witnesses to try and establish alibis for vital times.  He screamed, he railed, he shouted, he twisted the legal rule book in weird and wondrous ways.  And all of it was watched by Magerian’s cynical smile.  He felt sorry for Dizzygamer.  He was doing his absolute best, but at the end of the day - he had to convince Eldar-Online (the jury system had long ago been done away with) and there was only one person who had any kind of control over Eldar-Online.
   Eventually, even Dizzygamer had to call it a day.  The defence rested and Eldar-Online retired to consider his verdict.  Magerian rose quietly from the Public Gallery and made his way out of the Courtroom, through the corridors of the building and eventually into Eldar-Online’s private office.  No-one challenged him.
   Eldar-Online was sitting at his desk, staring in rapt silence at some sheets of paper in front of him.  He rose as Magerian entered.
   “Ah, Magerian.  Good to see you.  Nasty case this.”
   “Yes, it is.  If I might ask, what does your Lordship think?”
   “Oh the fellow’s clearly guilty.  No doubt about that at all.”
   “Oh without a doubt,” said Magerian, quietly consigning to oblivion all the arguments he had prepared to convince Eldar-Online of the same point of view.
   “It’s just the sentence I’m thinking about.”
   “Well, if I might give my view on the matter, my Lord.  These are such serious charges - treason and murder?  I should think that the only appropriate sentence would be the Death Penalty.”
   “Yes…I know…but look Magerian.  He’s just a boy.  I can’t do that to him; he’s too young.”
   “He is eighteen, my Lord.  The law sees him as an adult.”
   This was of course a lie.  Tau-Online was seventeen, but Magerian had always had a flexible attitude when it came to the truth.
   Eldar-Online considered for a while.
   “No, I’m sorry Magerian but I just can’t do it.  Life-imprisonment.  That will be my sentence.  As for parole…”
   “I’d say no parole, my Lord.”
   “Hmm…I’ll have to agree with you there.  He is very dangerous, this Tau-Online.  It’s the parents Magerian, always the parents.  If they had brought him up decently he’d never have got to this state.  Right, well.  I think I am ready to pass sentence.”  Eldar-Online had moved to the door.  “Are you coming?”
   “With your leave, my Lord, no.  There seems little point and there are matters I must attend to.”
   “Very well.”  Eldar-Online paused for a second, his hand on the doorknob.  “Magerian.”
   “Yes, my Lord.”
   “You’re very helpful to me, you know.  You’re a good man, Magerian.  You have a good career ahead of you.”
   And with that, Eldar-Online left the room.  Magerian was left standing by the desk.
   He wondered if he’d done the right thing by not pushing more for the Death Penalty.  Looking back, he probably had.  He had been lucky as it was not to have to convince his Lordship of Tau-Online’s guilt.  Magerian knew the value of not pushing one’s luck. 
   Still, life imprisonment was an annoyance.  That couldn’t be denied.  Eldar-Online was getting dangerously liberal these days.  Twenty years ago, Tau-Online’s goose would have been cooked.  But now…Eldar-Online would have to be removed.  Give it five years or so.  Yes, five years.  That would be enough…
   A sudden idea struck him.  A sly smile broke out on his face as he considered it.  Yes…that would be perfect!  Perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing Tau-Online wasn’t to die after all.  Not a bad thing at all…

“…you are a public menace of the worst kind…”
   Tau-Online struggled to find his bearings in the cold damp smelling cell.  The words of the sentence were still ringing horribly in his ears.
“…an unrepentant cold blooded murderer…”
   His mind forced his eyes not to cry.  The eyes had had good practice.  They had been fighting back the tears for three years, ever since he had been forced to live alone, cold and friendless.  Eldar-Online had no social security system.
“…only one thing fit for you…”
   Having composed himself, Tau-Online investigated the cell more closely.  This was made very difficult by the lack of light.  The cell itself was small - ten feet square by fifteen feet in height.  The only light came in through a tiny window right at the top of the cell - which was protected by very sturdy looking steel bars.
“…solitary confinement…”
   Other than the window, the only thing in the cell was a tiny bed tucked away in one corner.  Tau-Online fell on to it, eyes staring at the stone ceiling as if the pain visible in them could burn a way out of the prison.
“…for life, for the protection of the public…”
   Minutes stretched into hours.  Hours stretched into days.  Tau-Online soon lost all track of time, locked away from the world and the sun.  He fell asleep, awoke, fell asleep again and so the eternal cycle continued. 
“…Brought all upon yourself…”
   He could find no escape in sleep however.  They were perpetuated by nightmares.  At one time the walls of his cell closed in, crushing him to death.  At another, he dreamt that he was being taken out of the cell, only to find himself on an operating table, where the surgeon lowered his mask to reveal Magerian’s smiling face.  At another, water was gushing in into the cell, slowly rising higher and higher up his body until it finally rose over his nose and mouth.
“…I am sorry, but you have left me no choice.”
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 09:04:52 pm by Restayvien »

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2015, 08:59:13 pm »
The sudden opening of the door let in a burst of light which temporarily dazzled Tau-Online.  He tried to hold his hands in front of his eyes as two blurs entered the cell.  The blurs (which close up turned out to be men) dragged him roughly to his feet.
   “Come on, prisoner.  You’re going for a little walk.”
   “What?  Where?”
   Tau-Online doubled up as one of the men suddenly punched him in the stomach.
   “Less talking, more walking.”
   His hands were tied, and half stumbling, half dragged, Tau-Online found himself in the bright glare of the naked sun out on the street.  He vaguely noticed that he was now surrounded by four more men.  Tau-Online tried again.
   “Where am I going?”
   One of the men laughed.  He was evidently eager to tell. 
   “You’re gonna wish you hadn’t asked.  You’re going to Magerian’s Tower, you are.”
   “The Tower?” It was literally as if someone had punched his stomach again.  “But, only people sentenced to death go there.”
   “That’s right.”
   “But I was given Life.  I can’t be going there.”
   “Hehe, that’s where you’re going prisoner.  Who knows, maybe he just wants to speak to you.”
   All the men laughed.  And with that, Tau-Online was roughly shoved forward along the street.
   Despite his screaming eyes and groaning muscles, Tau-Online’s brain was still sharp.  And it was full of one thing.  He was going to die unless he could get away from these men within the next five minutes.  He glanced around the street.  His eyes were by now more used to the light.  It seemed clear.  They must have cleared the street because of him.
   They were now passing a coffee shop, outside which was a seating area covered by an awning.  It had been raining - a lot of water had collected on the top.  Suddenly, Tau-Online acted.  As they passed, he kicked out with his foot, knocking over one of the supports of the awning, sending a plastic sheet and a torrent of trapped liquid cascading down on the group underneath.  Of them, Tau-Online - the only one who had been expecting it - recovered first - and ran.
   He was quickly pursued.  He could hear their shouts, see their shadows on the wall to his side.  However Tau-Online ran with a strength born of complete desperation.  Adrenalin flowing through his bloodstream he fled through alleys and side streets, successfully outrunning all of his pursuers - apart from one - who grabbed him from behind.
   Tau-Online turned, and with all the hatred and fear of all the last three years screaming to be let out, he drew back his tied hands and using them as a club, he battered his captor with them.  That captor fell back on to the crown, blood streaming from his nose.
   Tau-Online turned and struggled on.  However, the adrenalin was failing.  He could hear the rest of his pursuers catching up behind him in nearby streets.  Suddenly, he saw a figure in front of him.  It was a young man of about nineteen or twenty.  He pulled out what seemed to be a walkie-talkie and spoke into it angrily.
   “Tyross, I’ve found him.  The oaf’s in East-Side Street.  Bringing him now into Blackbird Base.”
   The unknown person approached Tau-Online and with a gruff, “this way,” he shoved him through the window of a nearby house, seconds before Tau-Online’s pursuers burst around the corner.  The figure half dragged Tau-Online down to a basement, and then left him on the ground with a curt, “I’m going back upstairs.  Stay here.  For God’s sake don’t make a sound.”
   Tau-Online was too exhausted and drained to argue or even to ask questions. 

Time proceeded to pass in a blur.  He eventually heard sounds and noises.  He looked up to see a new, kindly looking figure with a mass of long black hair offering him what looked to be a glass of water.
   “Drink this,” said the figure. “You’ll feel better.”
   Tau-Online took it and drank it, noticing as he did so the people in the room around him.  There were five. 
   The one who had given him the water took the glass back from him and handed it to another person by the door.  “Good work Wargamer,” he said, nodding towards Tau-Online’s rescuer.
   “Yeah, well,” sneered Wargamer.  “Not much good was it.”  He turned and stormed out of the room.  There was a visible exchange of worried and exasperated looks from the remaining four standing figures in the room.  The one who had given Tau-Online the water finally spoke.
   “I suppose we’d better introduce ourselves.  My name’s Arguleon-Veq - but just call me Veq.  The one behind you looking scarily friendly is Mace.  Here by the door we have Farseer Tyross - or just FT if you feel like saving your voice and finally we have our resident Doctor - who goes by the name of Doctor.”
   The Doctor spoke.  “And the one who rescued you is Wargamer.  I apologise for his rudeness.  Events have hit him rather hard.”
   “What events?  Who are you?”
   The Doctor glanced at Farseer Tyross, who answered.  “We…are the pilgrims.  Soon, very soon, we shall escape this city of tyranny and found a new place to live somewhere far from here.  Our numbers are growing weekly.  As for events..” He paused and took a deep breath.  “When we heard that you were being moved, we decided to rescue you.  We make a habit of saving as many prisoners as we can.  I saw your trial by the way.  Complete farce, as they all are.  Anyway, you screwed everything up by escaping by yourself.  That completely trashed our carefully laid plan.  As you can see we eventually got you…but our leader was captured in the process.”
   “Your leader?”
   “We called him God.”  Farseer Tyross grinned dryly.  “The name amused him.  It seemed rather apt.  But he’s gone now.  Arrested - and unless they’re stupid enough to do to him what they did to you we’ll never see him again.”
   Mace spoke up quietly.  “He and Wargamer were great friends.  That’s why he’s so upset.  But don’t worry.  He’ll come round.”
   “Eventually,” said Farseer Tyross.
   There followed a general discussion about the problem of Wargamer and the even bigger problem of who would succeed God as the new leader.  However Tau-Online heard none of it.  He sank back into a deep, dreamless sleep.

The next week passed by in a great blur.  Had he stopped to think about it, he would have found it rather ironic that he was involved in the very kind of organisation that he had been tried for being involved in - with the difference that this one was only interested in escaping.  However, he had no time to stop and think.  He was quickly introduced to other key people in the organisation - such as Hunter - a brilliant scientist and a shrewd military tactician and Spirit of the all-Father - a quiet and rather sinister looking person who was nevertheless a brilliant strategist.
   Events were moving quickly.  As Farseer Tyross (who had assumed temporary command) said, “They’ll be questioning God now - and there’s only so long he can hold out for.  We have to escape as soon as possible.”
   “But how?  What’s the plan?” asked Tau-Online.  “They have guards on the walls.  Anyone coming too close gets shot.  No questions asked.  How do you plan on getting around three hundred people out of here?”
   “You’ll see,” said FT mysteriously.
The guard stood on the stone wall beside the West Gate, alternately looking out over the green countryside surrounding Eldar-Online and looking in to the streets immediately below.  As usual he saw little of interest.
   “Say, Bert,” he called to the second guard.  “I think I saw a mouse.”
   “Shoot it.”
   “Why?  Do you think it could be an enemy in disguise?”
   “No, I’m just bored.”
   The guard aimed his gun and fired.  The mouse promptly exploded in a spectactular display of blood and fur. 
   “I got it Bert,” he called.  “Clean hit.”
   There was no reply.
   Still no reply.  The guard looked to where Bert had been.  As if at the whim of a bored and power-hungry deity, Bert had simply vanished out of existence.  Calling his name again, the guard moved forward to investigate, gun in hand. 
   A shadow in the wall seemed to move silently behind him.  As the guard reached the spot where Bert should have been, the shadow gradually crept closer and closer.  Silently, the dark figure slipped the cold garrotte around the guard’s neck and pulled with a confident strength…
   Once he had disposed of the body, Black Behemoth worked quickly.  The guards had a rotating cycle system which rotated once every fifteen minutes.  Two new guards would be turning up in ten minutes.  Luckily there was nobody else about to see him.  No-one ever came anywhere near the walls for fear of being shot on sight.  He made his way to the gate and began to pull the lever that controlled the opening mechanism. 
   “Come on, come on,” he murmured, his mind ever conscious of the passing seconds.

“There’s the signal,” Farseer Tyross called.  “Everybody move, move, move!”  And thus began the great exodus.  With the gates open, three hundred people poured through them.  Farseer Tyross quickly made his way to the front of the group.
   “No time for rest,” he roared.  “Guards will be coming any second - and once they find the gates open they’ll be sending out search parties for sure.  We need to get as far away as we can.  We’ll head into the forest down that bank for now.  Hunter - you and your men will bring up the rear and watch for anyone following.  Behemoth-” Black Behemoth had quietly rejoined the group.  “Nice work.  Scout ahead and see what’s in front of us.  COME ON PEOPLE.  MOVE IT.”

Precisely five minutes later, Magerian was in communication with the Commander of the City Patrol. 
   “So here’s the situation sir.  I’m organising a patrol and will set off in pursuit right away.  We will capture if possible - kill if necessary.”
   “Slow down my friend, slow down.  You haven’t heard my thoughts on the matter.  I want them left alone.  Cancel the patrol.”
   “But sir-”
   “Do you want to go out into the harsh countryside and risk your men’s lives?”
   “There you go.  Cancel the order.  Don’t worry.  My own plan for this is in motion.”
   Magerian could hardly help laughing when the baffled Commander left his office, high at the top of his Tower.  Yes, his plan - and oh what a beautiful plan it was too…

The party trekked on for three days - and everything went as smoothly as could be expected.  Rations of food which had been brought out of Eldar-Online were carefully distributed by BlackLotusElite, while others (led by Daveydudeman) raided the nearby plants for raw vegetables and fruits.  Tau-Online, who knew exactly what to look for helped very successfully with this.
   Trouble came on the fourth day.  In the evening Tau-Online was returning from a very successful gathering mission, arms laden with edible substances to find a huge commotion in progress at the makeshift camp.  There was a large crowd of people at one end of the camp.  A voice, which sounded horribly like Wargamer’s was shouting, seemingly from the centre of it.  Tau-Online pushed his way into the centre to see what was going on.
   Wargamer was standing right at the centre, his gun pointing at another man who was on the ground.  He was screaming at the top of his voice.
   “So what do you say?  SHALL I SHOOT HIM?”
   The crowd was screaming blue murder - literally.  In the midst of the madness, Tau-Online made his voice heard.
   “What has he done?”
   Wargamer replied, laughing slightly.  “What’s he done?  He’s one of Magerian’s men.  He infiltrated us.  But now he’s been found out, AND I SAY HE DIES.”
   Tau-Online was suddenly possessed with courage born of recklessness.  “And I say he doesn’t.”
   “Who the heck are you to defy me,” Wargamer roared.
   Tau-Online didn’t answer.  Instead, he stepped out from the crowd and stood directly between Wargamer’s gun and the man lying on the ground.
   “If you want to kill him,” he said quietly, “you’ll have to kill me first.”
   The crowd fell totally silent.  All eyes were on Wargamer.  He leaned in close to Tau-Online and hissed so quietly that only Tau-Online could hear.  “Well why not?  It’s because of you that God is gone.  It’s because of you that my friend is imprisoned.”
   Tau-Online shook his head sadly.  “You think you’re the only who has suffered at the hands of Magerian.” He leant even close to Wargamer.  “I was imprisoned for weeks on a trumped up charge.  I lived in a cold cell, away from the sun, away from freedom, away from people.  Completely alone.  Do you think I don’t hate Magerian for what he did to me?
   This isn’t the way Wargamer.  Are you going to become a murderer.  Is your heart so cold?  I’m telling you - let him go.  Let him go crawling back to his master.  If you give in to your own hatred, it will consume you - and one day you will look back on this moment - and wish that you had chosen a different path.”
   Wargamer’s arm shook - and fell.  The gun was silently placed back on his belt.  Tau-Online turned and addressed the crowd.
   “Is this why we escaped from a tyrant - just so we could become tyrants ourselves?  We lived under evil - but that evil is gone.  If we are going to found a new place for ourselves then we must decide here and now the values of that place.  And I say to you now - if those values are not ones of freedom, respect and mutual kindness then we might as well turn around and go right back to the place from whence we came.  As for me, I say that I am no murderer, nor ever shall be.  What do you say?  Are you with me - or against me?”
   The crowd was silent.  Tau-Online rose his voice.
   “I ask you again.  ARE YOU WITH ME, OR AGAINST ME.”

Offline Restayvien

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Re: The Tau Online Epic
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2015, 08:59:29 pm »
Exactly a month after the exodus from Eldar-Online, there was a knock at the bottom of Magerian’s Tower.  Magerian opened the door - and beamed when he saw a handcuffed man flanked by three others.
   “Ah, God I believe the name is.  Come in, come in.  I’ve wanted to meet you for so long.”
   God was shoved into the building.  Magerian took his shoulder and led him up the Tower with a beaming smile and an iron hand. 
   “So, you got the Death Penalty.  Most unfortunate.  But then if you will conspire against Eldar-Online what else can you expect.  Tell me, you know what is to happen to you?”
   “Oh come, come.  There are surely rumours.  There are always rumours.”
   “Of course there are.  But only one person knows what goes on here and that’s you.”
   “I’m flattered.  But you are of course quite right.  Interesting though, some of the rumours.  Very imaginative though.  When I get bored of the current…procedure, I might implement some of them.”
   “What is the current procedure?”
   “All in good time.  I wouldn’t dwell on it if I were you.  Now, tell me.  Do you really think this new founded settlement of your friends will last?”
   “It will.  Long after this place comes crashing down.  It will last.”
   “Interesting.  I can assure you it won’t.”
   “Go to hell.”
   A flicker of anger appeared in Magerian’s eyes.  “I could have stopped your petty band ten minutes after they left from here.  But I didn’t.  You know why?  Because I wanted them to succeed - at first.  But only because the more something is built up, the greater the crash when it falls.  Believe me God, my plans are going perfectly - and one day in the future, Tau-Online will come crashing down with the most spectacular bang anyone has ever seen.  And the whole world will gaze on its fate - and people will forget dreams of escaping founding new homes.”
   Before God could answer, Magerian suddenly stopped.  They were in front of two doors.
   “Ah, we’re here.  Now.  I’ll take the left door.  You take the right.  It will automatically seal itself behind you - so you have no choice but to go on.  In there, there are five rooms, one after the other.  All you have to do is get through them.  If you can leave through the door at the end of the fifth room, you will have your freedom.”
   God gaped.  “You must be joking.”
   “I never joke,” said Magerian icily.  “It’s a useless habit.  Now go on.  I’m sure you can do it.  With the bravery to take on such a name, I’m sure you’ve got enough bravery to conquer this challenge.  Now go.”
   And God was shoved through the door.  He turned away from the door as it shut automatically behind him.  An electronic voice above him beeped,
   “Greetings guest.  Welcome to hell.”
Magerian took the left hand door and made his way up the long staircase to his private office right at the top of the Tower.  Once there he switched on the monitors.  God was in the third room.  Hmm…not bad.
   Magerian left the monitors running and turned to the game of chess on his desk.  Magerian had a deep passion for chess.  He loved its logic and intricacy - and frequently used it to sharpen his very sharp mind.  With his mind quickly analysing the current position the game had been left at, he began to move pieces…
   E4, c5, c3, d5, pawn takes d5, queen takes d5.…
   Magerian glanced over at the monitors.  God was now in the fourth room.
   D4, Knight f6, Knight f3, Bishop g4, Bishop e2, e6, h3, Bishop h5, castle kingside, Knight c6, Bishop e3, pawn takes d4, pawn takes d4, Bishop b4
   God was now in room five.  Magerian smiled.  They all made it to room five in the end.  And nobody had ever come out of it.  He turned back to the chess board, moving pieces now in a frenzy, combinations and counter combinations unravelling before his eyes…
   A3, Bishop a5, Knight c3, Queen d6, Knight b5, Queen e7
   The screams had started.
   Knight e5, Bishop takes e2, Queen takes e2, castles kingside, A rook e1, A rook c8, Bishop g5
   Magerian’s eyes were dilated.  His hands were now moving so fast they were like a blur.  He was breathing hard, the thrill of the game overcoming him.
   Bishop b6, Bishop takes f6, pawn takes f6, Knight c4, F rook d8, Knight takes b6, pawn takes b6, F rook d1, f5, Queen e3, Queen f6, d5
   He had done it!  And it was at that moment that the screams were cut out.  A sudden silence filled the room.  Magerian shut his eyes, embracing the silence, letting it wash over him, filling the deep darkness of his soul.

“42, we need a story.”
   42 looked up from where he was carefully going through the hundreds of digital photographs.
   “What do you mean exactly?”
   Tau-killer got up and started pacing around the office.  “A story.  Something.  Anything.  Just not this blasted anniversary of Tau-Online’s founding.”
   “Well, the Daily-Moon are going with the sex scandal story,” said 42.
   Tau-killer shot him a look of withering contempt.  “I like to think our newspaper’s read by a more intelligent audience.”
   “Just saying,” said the long suffering 42.
   Tau-killer bounded across the room and picked up the latest edition of the TK Times.  “I mean look, another story about the founding.  It’s not even a particularly good one!  People decide to leave home.  They leave.  They come to the middle of nowhere in a valley. They found this place.  End of story.  And there’s nothing interesting at all.  No thrilling chase for freedom.  No great conflict.  The only interesting thing is how Tau-Online stood up to Wargamer and as a result established himself as the leader as the band of settlers - and that’s been DONE TO DEATH by over four newspapers, including ourselves.”
   He tossed the newspaper away and flopped down on the office sofa.
   “The fact of the matter is, I’m sick of reading about it all.  It bores me senseless - and it must be boring the public senseless.  The brute fact of the matter is that Eldar-Online has left us completely alone for one year minus two weeks - and after the festival, everyone’s going to completely forget about it.  It’s hardly a memorable tale for crying out loud.  Heck, if I were writing a story about it I’d do a better job.”
   “So what exactly do you want?” asked 42.
   “I don’t know.  Just a story that’s not about the blasted founding.  Our sales’ll go through the roof!”  Tau-killer suddenly noticed his watch.  “That can’t be the time??  That is the time!  Look, 42, can you hold the fort here.  I’ve got ten minutes to catch TO.  Au revoir.”
   And with that, Tau-killer left the office, just as the photographer, Tauroc, entered from another door.
   “What’s wrong with our Lord and Master now?
   42 sighed.  “You know him.  Just keep him talking.  He’ll soon wear himself out.”

Tau-killer drove frantically through the streets of Tau-Online, narrowly missing four pedestrians and nearly causing two major pile ups.  He parked his car with a horrible screech outside the Public Park and hurried inside.  He was just in time.  Tau-Online was still there, inspecting the arena for the upcoming Tau-Online founding annual celebration.
   “Tau-Online.  Great to see you again.  Can I have a quick word for the TK Times?”
   “Do I have any choice in the matter?”
   Tau-killer laughed, waggling his finger in a way Tau-Online had come to intensely dislike.
   “Oh that’s what I like about you TO, your sharpness.  Now.  How’re the preparations for the celebrations going?”
   “They’re going very well.  Everything is on schedule and on time.”
   “And security.  Is that top notch.”
   “Yes.  No worries there.”
   “Good, good.  Now, about a few other issues.  Is it true that defence spending has risen by 17.6% in the last few months.  Why is that?”
   Tau-Online frowned.  “Defence can never be underestimated.  We live in dangerous times.  There is a constant threat from Eldar-Online.”
   “Rubbish.  Eldar-Online has never threatened us at all.  Now there are some that say that you are just turning us into a police state.  Do you have any comment on that?”
   “That is utterly preposterous.”
   “So what do you say to reports about people being harassed by the standing army and the moderators for merely expressing opinions of sympathy for Eldar-Online?”
   “Again - preposterous.  No-one is harassed.  Tempers may be just a little tense that‘s all - with the founding in everyone’s mind.”
   “Of course.”  Tau-killer changed tack.  “Is it true that while you pledged a war against Necrism, Anti-Necron Activity has actually increased by over 2%.”
   “I’m afraid I haven’t seen the figures.  I can’t comment.”
   “But can you comment on this?  Is it true that one of your own staff members has said in a private meeting - ‘I would rather shove Necrons up my a**e than accept them as a canonised race.’
   Tau-Online burst out laughing.  “Oh the things you come up with Tau-killer.  You know, if this continues, I’ll be forced to conclude that the TK Times is bugging my offices - again!”
   “What, I’d never do such a thing,” said Tau-killer, lying through his teeth.
   “Well anyway.  I shall neither confirm nor deny such a statement.  I will say this though - and you can quote me on this: - ‘What my staff members do to their own anatomies is their own business and nobody else’s.’”
   “Very well.  Now, just one more thing.  Do you know anything about TRON?”
   “TRON?”  Tau-Online looked puzzled.
   “Yes.  They’re a new organisation.  We don’t know anything about them - what they want, who they are.  I was wondering if you could shed any light on them.”
   “No,” said Tau-Online, looking very puzzled.  “I’ve never heard of them before.  How do you know about them?”
   “Oh, reliable sources.  Anyway, thank you very much Tau-Online.  A pleasure - as always.”
   Tau-killer walked away, leaving a very confused and thoughtful Tau-Online behind him.

“We shouldn’t be doing this.”
   “hum, hum de dum, de dum, the ducks are flying away….”
   “No, Tau-killer, we really shouldn’t be doing this.  This is highly illegal.”
   “Never stopped us before.”
   “Ok, we might have done slightly illegal, or definitely illegal, or very illegal, but highly illegal - we have to draw the line somewhere!”
   “I like lines,” said Tau-killer.  “I feed them to my duck.  Now, 42, stand there and hold that light.”
   42 obediently held the light and made sure that it was shining straight on to the lock.  “I worry about you.  You take being silly a bit too seriously sometimes.”
   Tau-killer decided not to point out the obvious contradiction, but instead got to work with his wires.  “Come on,” he murmured, “open…”
   “So are you going to tell me,” said 42, “why you are trying to break into the central office of Tau-Online?”
   “A story.  There’s got to be something.  There’ll be documents.  Someone must know something about TRON for example.”
   “Or you might get yourself arrested.”
   “Meh, the duck’ll bail me out.  Hold that light steadier.”
   42 did so, and after five minutes of frantic clicking, the lock gave.
   “Excellent,” said Tau-killer.  “Now, I’m going inside.  Look, I know you’re uncomfortable.  Go back to the office.  I’ll meet you there.”
   42 nodded and turned back.  Tau-killer entered the building.

He found nothing at first.  At least, nothing that would interest the general public.  He found one thing, but after deciding it’s content was more suited for the Daily-Moon than the TK Times, he left it where it was.
   Then he found it.
   It was right at the bottom of a desk.  A draft of a letter.  The writer had evidently not liked it and had stopped half way through.  It was therefore unsigned.  However, the half he did see was enough to give Tau-killer cold chills all over his body. 
   “Holy Jesus, Mother of Mary,” he breathed, temporarily forgetting correct history.
   But he had good reason to forget.  What he read had terrified him.  He looked round in complete panic.  There was only one person he could trust with this.

Tau-Online read the half note with a grim expression.
   “You see what I mean,” said Tau-killer.
   “Yes.  This is very bad.”
   “It’s beyond bad!”
   “Let’s keep calm.  Who else have you told about this?”
   “So you haven’t sent it on to your newspaper office?”
   “NO!  I can’t publish this.  It would cause a mass panic.”
   Tau-Online smiled.
   “I fail to see what’s so funny Tau-Online.”
   “Well,” said Tau-Online.  “It’s funny, because I wrote it.” 
   He raised the gun he had been so far concealing by his side - and fired.