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Messages - Restayvien

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1
That was brutal, yet amusing! It's a shame the battle was so one-sided, but sometimes that's just the way it turns out.

Great bat-rep, I look forward to the next one. :)

2
Hobby / Re: New Year Hobby Resolutions
« on: March 13, 2018, 03:55:35 PM »
I've decided to get back into 40k this year, so I've picked up the latest (8th Ed?) BBB and have agreed with my old opponent that we'll each build a 1000pt force and get some games in later in the year. We may put together a decent gaming too, which would be great as we always used to play on bare floors with pretty poor terrain.

I haven't decided which race I'm going to collect. I have the beginnings of a Khornate force that I started to build years ago (Kharn, 11 Bezerkers, 11 CSMs, 1 Obliterator and a Rhino) so I will probably finish that off. If they were just vanilla models I might not bother, but I did a lot of minor conversions and came up with some background for them so I don't want them to go to waste. I need to upgrade my Kharn model to the newer one!

I also have a squad of Striking Scorpions from when I planned to make a themed Eldar force. I'm going through a bit of a classical-antiquity phase at the moment though, so I'm tempted to go Marines (which I haven't collected for 17 years), but there's a good chance my opponent will do the same.

Part of me really wants to collect Harlequins, but I don't think my painting skills are up to scratch to do them justice.

3
LoTR and other GW Games / Re: Total War: Warhammer
« on: January 05, 2017, 03:55:10 PM »
It's an excellent and well-recieved game, though I have played it to death a bit. I'll probably go back to it at some point (ie. if they release Skaven or Lizardmen as playable races in the Campaign)!

4
LoTR and other GW Games / Re: Total War: Warhammer
« on: December 10, 2016, 05:11:29 PM »
Post Steam IDs here if you want a game?

Mine is, as you'd expect, Restayvien.

5
LoTR and other GW Games / Re: Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
« on: September 13, 2016, 01:39:44 PM »
Yeah, the requirements are surprisingly high, but the graphics are quite nice. I suspect the backdrop alone eats up a lot of resources. Maybe they should have an option to play on a board or simplified background for low-end machines!

On another note the Tau are to be released soon - I have access to the beta as an early adopter but haven't felt like dipping into a beta where everyone is playing Tau and I've been playing a lot of DoW2 for the past couple of weeks.

6
House Rules / Re: Rogue Trader - Astartes Power Armour
« on: September 08, 2016, 10:48:03 AM »
Interesting list WG, I can only visualise about half of these. Some illustrations would be cool.

7
LoTR and other GW Games / Re: Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
« on: September 02, 2016, 08:47:15 AM »
I think you can pick it up on cdkeys for about £17, which is probably less than it's going for on Steam (I haven't checked recently).

8
Fluff and Stories / Re: The Tau Online Epic
« on: September 01, 2016, 02:52:29 PM »
Is there more or does it leave us on a cliff-hanger?

Thanks for this Rez, it was an enjoyable read, and some of it surprisingly similar to what happened with the fall of TO and the exodus to 2S.
How much of it was based off actual events in TO's history? If anything then I think it happened before my time (unless I was one of the nameless children, too young to notice what was happening around me).

It'd be interesting to read a sequel, the 2S epic, about the evil Skylight and the founding of the second sphere.
That was all of it I'm afraid! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and yes it is a little poignant. I don't think much of the plot was based on TO history, but the vast majority of the characters were based on real members, and of cause Eldar Online was real too (I was actually a member there for a while before I joined TO and became the Eldar mod).

Alas, I'm not still in touch with Taukiller (who wrote this) and I don't know/recall his real name, so it's unlikely we'll ever get a sequel.

This was really awesome to see.

Is this the end or are there any more gems hidden?

Best,
-BT
See above! :-\ But I'm glad you enjoyed it!

9
LoTR and other GW Games / Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
« on: September 01, 2016, 02:48:03 PM »
Wow, the forum isn't as dead as when I last looked! :)

So who else has been playing this? I've been dipping in and out of it since the beta, and am really enjoying it despite the balance issues. It would be good to get some 2S member games going.

It's inspired me to dig out my Eldar and Necron models, and I've found that my old BFG forum still exists...

10
Fluff and Stories / Re: The Tau Online Epic
« 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?”
   “No.”
   “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?”
   “No-one.”
   “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.

11
Fluff and Stories / Re: The Tau Online Epic
« 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.
   “Bert?”
   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?”
   “Well…no…but-”
   “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.”

12
Fluff and Stories / Re: The Tau Online Epic
« 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.

Eldar-Online.

Eldar-Online.




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.”
   “Yes.”
   “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?”
   “Yes.”
   “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.”
   “No.”
   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.”

13
Fluff and Stories / Re: The Tau Online Epic
« 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.

14
Fluff and Stories / Re: The Tau Online Epic
« 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. 
   “TAUGAMER!”
   “TAUGAMER!”
   “TAUGAMER!”
   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. 
   KJ.
   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.”
   “What?”
   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.”


15
Fluff and Stories / Re: The Tau Online Epic
« 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. 
   “Malcolm-”
   “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.”


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