Fallen Angel

I was recently having a chat with a friend of mine. We talked about a gaming group we have set up and how we were going to integrate some role-playing elements in to it. He told me of a character he had come up with for a game of Deathwatch; a black shield from an unknown chapter that had no recollection of his past. The day after I wrote a few notes about this character and came up with this little background story for him. I hope you like.

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Ideas & Mathew Street

So I had another incident with the vending machine. This time of a completely different design. While I was having my morning issue with the vending machine not dispensing my crisps properly I glanced to the ever-shiny chocolate section. There I saw a Twirl and thought, oh that will be nice after lunch. If I’m still hungry afterwards I’ll come back and get one. Imagine my disappointment when returning to the vending machine after a rather unfulfilled lunch that there were no longer any Twirls left in the machine. Now, I’m assuming there must have only been one left and one of the three students that came in to work that day had decided on the very same thing that I had. The kitkat I had was just not the same.

Today’s blog is as usual in two parts. Firstly I want to have a little talk about where I get my story ideas from and what drives me to write. Secondly about something that is happening in the city I live in at the moment.

Now something that really interests me is where do writers get their ideas from? When ever I come across a blog or article by a professional author this is something I seek out. Now with the plan of trying to recreate these ways to my own benefit but more of an interest in what drives them and if I have a similar way. I know of only one author at the moment that gets his ideas the same way I do.

Most of my ideas tend to come to me in the evenings. Which I suppose in a way is not unusual. I tend to be quite introspective in the evenings, usually in bed where I think about everything and the world. I like to come up with scenarios on how I would solve something or change things so this is usually where ideas drop in to my head. Which can be quite annoying as I’m already in bed. If I’m still fairly awake I’ll try to get up and at the very least make a few bullet points in my notepad. On the other hand, if I’m nodding off I’ll try and force my mind in to remembering it by constantly going over it until I fall asleep. Which can make for some pretty odd dreams! Then in the morning I’ll think about it on the way to work. Usually with a clearer mind where I can actually work out the idea properly. I also tent to do a lot more reading in the evenings which I guess puts me in the story/scenario frame of mind.

Last night I finally came up with that idea for a Dark Angel story that I mentioned in a previous blog. I was actually sat on the toilet before bed and I thought…’what would it be like to be inducted in to the Deathwing?’ and there you go I had a story idea which I had to go and write down. Don’t worry, I cleaned my hands first!

The other major time I come up with ideas is on the train. This is also the way the author I mentioned (Dan Abnett) gets a lot of his ideas. I travel a lot between here and my home town of London as well as Weymouth where my parents live, so I spend a lot of time on the train. (Alas, I don’t drive but I love train travel anyway – I suggest driving would not have the same effect or be as safe ideas wise!) I used to try and read on the train but always got distracted. Now, instead, when I get on the train I put my notepad and pen out in front of me and spend the journey watching the world go by, day-dreaming. Often in these day dreams I come up with ideas and jot them down. Interestingly this is actually where I write more scenes and dialogues. In bed it tends to be the outlines and on the train the actual content. I wonder if any one else finds a similar phenomenon?

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on generating ideas as I’m interested to hear how other people do it.

Now on to Mathew Street Festival, a festival that happens every year on bank holiday weekend here in Liverpool. Now outside of this wordy text-box I am actually a keen advocate of live music. I teach sound engineering and I play in not one but two live bands. I honestly think festivals are a good thing, they bring music to people and supposedly help the economy. I also love events; being a Londoner I love to see people out and about, doing. But I can’t help but feel a certain disdain for Mathew Street.

The amount of pure scum that come from all over the North West for Mathew Street is astounding. It actually makes me sad for the future of the human race. Where all these ‘people’ come from I really don’t know. If Ofsted want to see the pure abject failure of the education system in this country then I can do nothing more than suggest that they come to Liverpool on bank holiday weekend.

When walking to the train station last night for my weekly pub quiz, minding my own business (I even had earphones in). Two tracksuit-clad, fosters-can wielding, young guys deliberately crossed over  a busy road in order to tell me that I had, I quote ‘a fat fanny’. Now I’m not sure if they were commenting on the size of my backside or were just so drunk that they were sorely mistaken as to my sexuality. To be perfectly honest, compared to a lot of the other people ‘attending’ the festival these two ‘lads’ were relatively restrained. I’ve heard stories of young women (12-13 years) using profanity I would not even use and mouthing off about how much the ‘needed a fag’. This couple with the fact that these people bring small children in the the environment sickens me and makes me sad. I currently live right in the city centre so last night I could see a lot of this first hand from my living room window. Now I like a drink like the next person, but it looked like some sadistic scene from a film where everyone had lost their senses. It’s what I imagine the fall of the Roman Empire to be like, but with not nearly as much class.

It’s not about the music, as far as I can tell it never has been. Sadly a lot of music festivals are going this way now-a-days. I have been to festivals and met people there that have not seen a single band and spent most of their time with their beloved MDMA. The fact that the local council relax the street drinking laws just means that teenagers grab a couple of crates of Fosters and head in to the centre to become as close to paralytic as possible. What the council should do to encourage a nicer environment, short of sterilising them would be to not allow people to bring their own alcohol in. In stead, encourage local pubs and venues to make their drinks cost effective and issue special mathew street cups or something similar that people may walk around in. They could also introduce the token system that some festivals have to make sure that ID is necessary.

Well that’s my brief thoughts on the Mathew Street festival piss-up. I’m sure you guys have some thoughts on it too.

As ever I will be interested to read your comments and thank you for reading.

Vending Banter

So yesterdays post wasn’t quite as popular as the day before. Fine, I will try and write off the top of my head and see what I come up with again. Nah, not really. I wasn’t planning to do a blog today as I’m in work, but it’s a fairly quiet morning so I thought I would spend a few minutes writing.

My first question is, why are vending machines so rubbish? I mean why, they’re basic machinery. They should be able to fulfil their task with relative ease. So why is it whenever I want something, they just refuse to vend? Do they hate me? I come in to work this morning, admittedly very tired and so I thought I would get myself a pick up. The first machine gets my crisps stuck before they even come off the ring. So I’m left lifting the front of the machine in order to encourage them to fall. I’m fully aware that this could kill me, but those crisps or so tantalisingly close! What a way to go…The second machine then decides, ‘oh, I’m going to make a load of noise and pretend to dispense this guy’s Pepsi. But then I’ll just go back to slip and enjoy his lovely shiny £1 coin’. Bastard, that coin was mine! So what do I do? Oh yes, I feed it another pound because, damn it, I really need that Pepsi! Amateur mistake I hear you say. I know, that’s what I was thinking too. But low and behold, it worked! I got not only one Pepsi, but when that fell out it came with the one I originally paid for. Excellent, now I have a spare for lunch. Okay, vending machines aren’t that bad, but why don’t they work properly…

My second point is just a little mention of Jerry Nelson, the puppeteer famous for The Count and Gobo Fraggle. Now I love the Count, and if you find me drunk at a party you will often find me saying ‘ah, ah, ah’ when someone mentions a number. So I’d just like to say this is yet more sad news for the entertainment community and count in peace sir, we will miss you.

Speaking of drunk, I was at a gig last night. Why do I feel so out of place at gigs when I’m not playing? I don’t think I know what to do with myself unless I’m running around trying to sort out equipment. So I just stand there looking awkward sipping my drink with increasing frequency. I also have the post-drink guilts today. Mainly because I’m a bit of a lightweight, and when I have a drink I come out of my shelf a bit. They day afterwards I always think ‘did I really say that? That was a bit rude, I hope they didn’t mind’ and so on. I don’t try and be a rude person, and alcohol doesn’t turn me in to one of those people. I just join in the banter more, but I often wonder if that’s how banter works or if I’ve somehow missed the point and just offend people instead.

Yesterday going through my notepad I discovered a kind of children’s story I had started writing. The thought actually made me smile. It came from an idea I had when I was sat on a train and said to myself ‘I want to live inside a book…’ From that I thought, well what would happen if someone got stuck in a story and what would happen to them? It’s probably been done before, but I thought that line of thought lend itself to a children’s story and the kind of odd characters you could come across from page to page. Maybe one day I will actually write it. It has a starting point but that’s about it.

Games Workshop today have released the advance orders for their new 40k boxed set, which I have to say looks amazing. I’ve always been a fan of the Dark Angels, they were the first army I ever collected and I love the look of them. The background story is also something that drew my to them. It’s so, for want of a better word, dark. Despite what they are based on (look up the poem Dark Angel by Lionel Johnson if you have never read it, you’re in for a shock!) But interestingly in all my scribblings I have never once written a story even containing a Dark Angels character. Maybe it’s because I don’t think I could do them justice. I don’t know. But their story is so dark and shrouded in mystery that I would have to be absolutely sure I had the right story for them. I’m sure at some point I will write a Dark Angels character. One day.

I will try and have a finished story up for you guys to read soon. I’m sure you’re pretty sick of my musings. But once again thanks for reading. I appreciate any comments or if you want to chat about anything I’ve talked about feel free to say hi! Cheers.

Dreams of Denial

Greetings. I have so much stuff to sort out and do today, so I’m writing a blog. Yeah that’s right, priorities. I like to think of procrastination as an art form. Gently nurtured to the point of being too late, then you get on with things and put the things you really want to do aside for a while. But I warned you, don’t call me lazy!

First off, I would like to apologise for yesterdays blog. It was, by my own admission, a.bit.shit. It’ll teach me to plan what I’m going to write a bit more, which as an aspiring writer is probably a good thing. Although that said, it did quickly become my most read blog ever. Seriously, do you guys hate Thursday’s that much? So maybe I should write more ‘shit’? Well here goes…! (Lets see if we can beat yesterdays views!)

One of the things I need to do today is set up a calendar. I’ve got lots of events coming up that I really can’t remember the dates for and I need to easily be able to see what’s happening to avoid clashes. I really have an awful memory when it comes to these things. Secondly I need to carry on sorting my flat and throwing away the crap I no longer need. If I’m moving soon I want to move in to the new place with only what I actually want in there.

But then, I’ve just discovered a link to play Command & Conquer: Red Alert for free online. Bye bye precious time, it was nice having you…

As today’s title suggests the blog is actually about dreams. The title just came to me, don’t expect any further explanation, your brain may explode. Now I’m going to try not to get too ranty again, but dreams are pretty weird. Does anyone know a good way to interpret them or anyone that does? Are there any good resources out there? Google search has left me even more confused than I was before.

You see I want to know more about dreams and the subconscious. I want to understand some dreams that I’ve had over the last say, 6 months and some dreams that I’ve been told about that relate to me. But I don’t really know where to start. Dreams are pretty weird, right? The main one I’ve always had is being chased by zombies. I’m always running away, trying to find my loved ones so we can escape. The zombies always catch up to the point of almost killing us, then I get away again. Now I’m not amazingly bothered by this dream, I think it’s quite broad and it happens say once a month. I did have one amazingly vivid version of it no so long ago, that when I woke up in the middle of the night I looked through the blind to see what was going on outside. To me, that’s pretty funny now.

As a teenager I always had a recurring dream that I would walk in to a room and everyone would either turn their backs on my or just hate me. It happened one day at school and I’m not ashamed to say I ran from there balling my eyes out and went home. It turned out my friends were just playing a prank on me. I’ve always feared being hated by people and being alone.

But over the last few months there have been some more vivid dreams. Ones where people where there and then when I wake up I feel a great sense of loss. As well as some other personal stuff that will remain private until I can interpret it! It’s one thing talking about dreams, but then putting them on a public blog…I don’t think so!

I find it odd that dreams are so vivid sometimes. It leads me to think that maybe there is some kind of ethereal connection between our subconsciousnesses. Can we share dreams? Or at least can we communicate our thoughts and feelings to someone else through our dreams and theirs. I guess it’s something we will never know. To be fair it’s an odd thought, but it can be a good thing and a bad thing. I like the idea that I could potentially share thoughts with people that I am no longer in touch with, but also at the time it could be incredibly invasive. Inception style. I don’t want anyone going in to my dreams and planting ideas. There is enough going on in my subconscious as it is!

I keep spelling subconscious wrong and it’s irritating me! Anyway, a blog does not a writer make and I have plenty to do. Do I use ‘anyway’ too much…?

Anyway thanks for reading and as always I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Good People

I was thinking this morning; I need to write a blog today, but I have nothing profound to talk about. Today is one of my days off, or at least mornings off and as part of my writing efforts I am trying to write a blog every one of these days off. This is why I’ve been missing since, Saturday I think it was (awesome gig by the way, my zombie Starfleet Ensign uniform looked…well, alright I suppose) because every day since then I have been working in the morning and by the time I’m finished or have the afternoon off, I really have not energy to sit here and write. I know, I know, I’m going to have to work on that if I want to become a writer and write regularly. But at the moment I’m building up gradually. If I can write one of these every morning that I have spare, then eventually that will become norm and I will be able to build everything else on these foundations.

So here I am, without anything interesting to say (I know what you’re thinking keep reading, it get’s better!) wondering what the hell I am going to write a blog about, then someone says this:

“Why is it always good people that bad things happen to?”

And this got me thinking. It’s something I’ve heard thrown around a few times recently, and something I’ve been thinking myself while feeling deeply sorry for myself. Why is it always the good people that bad things happen to? You go through life trying your hardest to be fair and understanding and treat people well. I was brought up to ‘treat people how you expect to be treated’. Then something will come along and really kick you in the teeth and make you think ‘why do I bother?’ and ‘maybe I should just give up, be horrible like everyone else and then maybe things won’t happen to me as much’.

Sure, I’m not saying I’m perfect. Nobody is. We all make mistakes, especially when we’re kids or teenagers because we don’t really understand how the world works yet. But I like to think I’m a pretty decent and nice person always willing to help others. I’m very lucky in many ways, don’t get me wrong. But I also suffer from something called ME, which during my teenage years made life pretty difficult. I was essentially bed ridden and couldn’t do a lot of things teenagers normally do. Which as I was very sporty and active beforehand was pretty devastating. I don’t talk about it much, because it’s one of those illnesses that people don’t really understand and I don’t like people to think I’m milking it for one reason or another. I try and get on with my life. The only time I do bring it out is when people call me lazy. This is one thing I am most definitely not, and I can take a joke, but I absolutely loathe being called lazy, because I would like to do everything that’s possibly with my time on this planet, but I simply cannot and it irks me. I’ve also been through some shit over the last year that I will not and cannot talk about.

I went slightly off topic there, please excuse my rant. Why does bad stuff happen to good people? Is it because when bad stuff happens we realise that most of us are essentially good people? Or is it the people that we go day to day thinking, they’re a good person. Then BAM something bad happens to them. Is there something more to it? Are the fates just cruel bastards? Sometimes I think they are. There definitely seems to be some correlation. The really good people seem to get all the shit in life, excuse my French, and those that just breeze through doing whatever the hell they like seem to get by scot free. It’s not fair I tell you! And I’ve had enough!

Still, as I said the other day. It’s difficult, but you can’t let things in life effect how you are as a person, unless it’s for the better. Oh, it’s so damn difficult…

Also, why do serious illnesses seem to happen to really intelligent people (not including myself here…I am incredibly blonde and simple at times…). Why do they always seem to be the ones that lose it? Is it because their brains are so powerful that eventually they overload and just explode? I was absolutely devastated when I heard that Sir Terry Pratchett had Alzheimer’s. He is an incredible man, complete genius and also one of the small list of authors that really made me love reading and stories. I couldn’t imagine a world where he was not exploring the Discworld universe and making us all laugh. He deserves better in life than to have his memories slowly fade away. I hope, as sad as it is, for his sake that it doesn’t come to that.

Also glad to I could recommend his work to people before he sadly stops producing more so that they have a chance to experience it too while he is still with us.

Well I think that’s enough profoundness for one day. Albeit it slightly ranty, I hope you have found it interesting.

I’m not sure if I will be posting samples of my stories any more. I think that I would like to have something finished before I show it to you guys, just in case it turns out that I wasn’t happy with what I had written in the end. Once it’s up it’s up and I can’t get rid of it, it’s been said, it’s happened, there it is. So I will be more careful.

In other news the 20th was H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday. So I started work on a Lovecraftian story that I have been planning for ages. It’s set on the Isle of the Dead, otherwise known as Portland Island in Dorset. There is a reason for this setting, but I’ll keep you guessing for now. More on that soon.

Once again, thanks for reading.

Musicings

Today’s blog is about music in a way. D’ya like the title? Well I thought it was clever!

When I write I’ll listen to music. It’s much more conducive to work than say, putting on the telly or even the radio. Both of those are pretty distracting. (I still have Facebook open – why I could not tell you – an evil distraction in itself) but rather than say, stick an album of my favourite band on and attempt to write, I’ll listen to a soundtrack instead. I find the problem with putting a band on is that you get stuck in the music or the lyrics. If I’m trying to write a 40k piece while singing along to some Clapton, it doesn’t quite work. I also end up doing that horrible thing where you end up writing down what people say. Regular texters will know what I mean!

Soundtracks on the other hand are great. In essence they are designed not to detract from the film or series so make excellent background music. They can also instil a feeling of epicness, which is great when you’re writing. You can really get in the mood and feel every gunshot and explosion. My most recent soundtrack(s) of choice are from the Chris Nolan Batman films. I really love Hans Zimmer’s work and it really gets me in the mood for writing. I also love the films, but that’s a story for another day!

Today I put on the soundtrack from the film Moon, on recommendation from not one but two friends. Sitting here listening to it has made me think, wow, what a film! I can’t wait to watch it again (I have it in my pile of Blu-rays that need watching…) This soundtrack really puts you in the zone, just from listening to how the music is crafted you can really feel the suspense and intrigue, the feeling of not really being sure what is happening. For those of you who haven’t watched the film, I thoroughly recommend it. It’s pretty much classic science fiction, but that isn’t a bad thing, there are some nods to and a feel of 2001 in some parts. The story is about a guy who is working on a lunar facility, waiting to finish his 3 year (I think that’s right?) shift, so that he can go home and see his family. Although, not everything is how it seems and a series of accidents starts to unravel a horrible truth. If you like suspense and intrigue then go watch this film now! Plus the soundtrack is worth listening to in it’s own right.

Oh, on another music related note. A friend of mine linked me to ‘Meco – Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk‘ on Youtube. Please, for your sake go and check it out. It’s amazing, that’s all I need to say…

It is also a music related blog because my band (Lazarus Syndrome www.lazarus-syndrome.com) are playing a gig tonight. All the way in Southport and we’re not on till 11 so I’m going to need a lot more coffee between now and then! If you’re in the area come check us out at the Fox and Goose. If not, then go find us on Facebook and give us a like!

Right, I’m off to do some proper writing! Including rewriting some rather boring Music Business lectures that I’ve been meaning to do for, hmmm maybe a year?

Then listen to the Football! Woo, yeah it’s back. Come on you Gunners!

Ahem, excuse me…thanks for reading!

The Swordsman

Two blogs today? Oh goody! And this one actually has a story in it! Hurrah! No more endless ramblings of the insane. Well actually there are some quite insane parts in it…nevermind eh!

This is a story that I came up with and sent off to the Black Library in the first of their submission windows that I was truly aware of. It includes a certain well known character that they wanted a story for, only I decided to tell the story from the perspective of the other side. Lets see if you can guess who that character is? (answers on a stamped addressed postcard…or a comment, your choice). As you’ve probably guessed, I didn’t hear anything back from them regarding this story. I didn’t expect to, it was a good plot, in my honest opinion, but rather than writing 1000 words of flowing sample text I naively wrote several short samples of the scenes which I was going to include which amounted to approximately 1000 words. However I still like the plot and it’s something that I would like to work on and refine and maybe one day have published, if I get lucky.

I’ve included the Summary I sent to them to start off with so you get a basic feel for the story. I would include the synopsis I wrote, but I don’t want to give too much away. The following is the sample text I sent them, along with some better, more recent additions. Let me know what you think and if you can guess who that famous character is!

Without further ado, The Swordsman:

Summary

 

The Swordsman is a lieutenant in the venerated Albun Hussars Imperial Guard regiment. He considers himself the finest Swordsman in the guard, but constantly reprimanded and mocked for his selfish attitude and disregard for his orders he still has something to prove. On the world of Comorran he will face his greatest challenge yet. In the network of trenches The Swordsman will battle against the forces of Chaos, the Emperor’s Children Renegade Space Marines and their greatest champion. Will this be his making or his downfall?

Sample Text

 

He loathed the way the others talked about him, he was no child, he was a veteran of many battles with the Albun guard. He could decide which was the best course of action, when to stand back and wait for the enemy to come and when to make sure they paid for their heresy.

He drew his power sword, a family heirloom, and began to sharpen it as he always did in these moments of anger. It helped to calm and settle him for the oncoming battle. Letting them get inside his mind was foolish and would probably end up getting him killed. He just had to concentrate of what he did best. He would prove all his doubters wrong sooner or later.

A wailing siren brought him out of his inner turmoil and as soon as he registered what it meant he began collecting his armour jacket and weapons. He would need them for what was about to come. The siren was a warning to all members of the Albun Hussars, that an attack was imminent. They would all need to man their stations and await the inevitable death and destruction any attack presaged.

His small platoon command squadron was waiting for him as he arrived at their designated trench board.

 

The enemy were now pouring in to the trench system in numbers. Those tasked with holding the end trenches failing in their given duty. There was nothing he could do except keep firing and The Swordsman added to the weight of fire with the snap of his own laspistol. He kept firing, change clip, fire again at wave after wave of horrific face masks all of a different grotesque image. Some of the icons even making him head sick and forcing him to look away.

Something would have to be done and quickly in order to stymie the tide. The enemy could not be allowed to gain a foothold in the trench system or they were all dead.

He glanced around the trenches taking in the individual battles that were taking place and looking for the best place to add his forces to. Furthest to his right the fighting was heaviest and amongst the guardsmen desperately fighting for their lives by clash of bayonet and blade was a group of black armoured traitor marines. The lieutenant quickly made up his mind. This would be the best place to strike. The traitor guard would be looking to their superhuman allies for leadership and confidence. If his platoon could hurt them in some way then perhaps they could change the tide of the battle.

With a quick barked order to those around him, The Swordsman led his platoon along the trench. Periodically, stragglers from the main enemy force would be encountered along the trench and the men of the Albun guard would dispatch these with a quick salvo from their lasguns or a bayonet thrust.

As The Swordsmen gained ground on the traitor marines he drew his sword from the scabbard at his waist with a sharp scrape of metal on metal and levelled it at the figure he assumed was their leader. As the champion of the black clad warriors saw this act of defiance he licked the burnt lips of his ritually scarred face and grinned in acceptance.

 

The traitor was a swordsman in his own right. The forms he made, precise and practiced with years of experience. A thrust here, a feint, a backwards step there. Keeping the opponent occupied and allowing them a confidence while staying completely in control. Almost as if it were a game. Every movement fluid and accurate with an ease born of confidence. Such supreme confidence it permeated his very being. The figure in black was grinning, each kill becoming quicker and quicker.

 

Human swordsmen met superhuman champion in a clash of blades. Sparks flew as the two powerful fields encompassing these ancient weapons tried to occupy the same space. The traitor marine was immensely powerful and The Swordsman struggled as blow after blow landed on his own power sword, feinting from side to side and trying to return a blow against the champion. The leering scarred face would not stop laughing in an effort to put him off and it was all he could do to concentrate on the battle at hand. Each blow he blocked with his power sword sucked more energy from his reserves and he already knew he was flagging. The duel had only been taking place for a few moments but it already felt like a lifetime to the lieutenant. He would have to do something quick in order to change his luck, or this superhuman monster would take his life and lead these forces in to the heart of Imperial lines.

He fainted to the side again in an effort to avoid a killing blow and launched one last desperate attack at the chaos champion. Amazingly the lunge connected in the waist of his enemy cutting through the armour with ease and splashing a spray of bright red blood over his weapon and body armour.  The disfigured face of his enemy still laughed and it was almost as if the heretic was enjoying the pain and bloodshed.

With this sudden boost of confidence and in disgust The Swordsman lunged again, splitting armour and carving the torso of the traitorous marine in two.

The face was no longer laughing.

 

Juran hated sentry duty, it was cold, wet and miserable and what was worse, he had to sit still and keep watch, any shift of movement might alert the enemy and get him killed. This only added to the Emperor forsaken discomfort of this wet and muddy planet. He would rather be in the trench waiting to go over the top than be sat here waiting for the next poor soul to take over sentry duty. At least then he could move his aching, atrophying muscles.

There, a faint glimmer of…what…a piece of enemy armour, weaponry? No, it was just his mind playing tricks on him, eager for something to pierce the unending boredom of keeping watch over the enemy’s lines.

A tinkling of armour and a crunch in the dirt drew his attention behind him with a start.

‘Oh, it’s only you, what are you doing sneaking up on me like that? I could have shot you.’

The figure said nothing and so Juran returned to his duty, looking out over no-mans land to spot any potential movement of the enemy.

He assumed his comrade had moved on, perhaps to the latrine to relieve himself until a shuffling sound behind him roused him again. There was only time to shift a little in his seat before a cold cramping sensation in his gut stopped him in his tracks. Looking down he could the tip of a sword glinting in the moonlight emerging from the middle of his stomach. Juran barely had time to utter a grunt of pain before the laughing figure behind him slit his throat and the last of his life bled in to the muddy ground.

 Loren was the night shift orderly. He preferred this shift as it was calmer, easier. The quiet hours of the night gave him all the time he needed to think, to ponder while he went about the steady routine of his work.

The wounded soldiers rested peacefully in the medical cots behind him, accompanied by the soft sound of snoring. Occasionally the grunted sounds of discomfort from injuries broke the peacefulness of the room. Despite being protected from the desperate cold outside the infirmary, there was a definite chill in the ear tonight.

Loren pulled the thick fur-lined collar of his coat up around his neck to keep the cold out, it didn’t normally affect him this badly but tonight was unusual.  He had a notion of movement behind him. He dismissed it readily, probably just one of the wounded soldiers rolling in their sleep, dreaming.