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 Tau story.

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Cavash
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Join date : 2012-04-15
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PostSubject: Tau story.   Fri Aug 17 2012, 15:27

So, every year the Black Library has a three month period where they accept short story and novel submissions in the chance that you can get them published and earn five minutes of fame and a little bit of money.

The wording on BL's website regarding this was fairly poor, however, and some parts contrasted others. The submissions window usually starts around April so I decided that if I start now I can have the three chapters and the plot summary that they demand for novels with a good amount of detail.

I had a nice long stoy planned out but I was doubtful to their wording, so, I emailed them. When I had almost finished the first chapter they replied saying that they will not longer be accepting novel submissions because last year they had over two thousand in three months making them far too busy.

This, even though annoying, means that i get to post my draft stuff here! I may even carry on with it, but I'm not too sure.

Anyway, it has Tau in it.

Chapter I
Return to T'au.

The streets of Gai’vore were alive. Citizens from all walks of life had come out to see the arrival of Shas’o Jiv’ar upon the Rising Dawn. Tiba’narath’s were played by all, the droning horns filling all present with a sense of duty and love for the Tau’va, or the Greater good as it was more colloquially known.

Row upon row of Fire Warriors lined the streets surrounding the famed Jiv’ar Academy, standing motionless as the crowds proclaimed their love and admiration.

Such displays of fervent rejoicing were seldom shown by the population of the great desert world, but rarely did such a hero ever grace them with his presence. He was a child of T’au, a Commander of the Fire Caste, an unconventional hero of the Empire.

“Are you ready?” Roech attempted to smile through her polished beak, prodding at the Commander’s lack of social skills. Even being faced by the large crowd that only wanted to shower their praise upon him made him anxious. War was fine, war was his business and duty, but people wanting to see him was frightening. It was not necessary like war. Why should he be graced with such an honour when he was only serving the Greater Good without question like anybody else would?
Roech’s voice was an unusual blend of honey and hell. The vast array of shimmering purple spines that flourished from the back of her head was considered to be attractive by her own kind, but to the Commander she looked like any other Kroot.
Her breath was surprisingly fresh, however, nothing at all like the rotting meat zephyr given off by the rest of her carnivorous kind.

“Here’s a thought;” Ji’var mused. “What if you wore my Stealthsuit and took my place?” He was looking at the helmet clenched between his hands at the time, analysing the numerous battle scars. By far the most impressive looking was the chasm that had shattered the sensor array at his cranial flank and was long enough to have gouged out his visor lenses.

“Well, it’s all a matter of looks.” Her arm feathers brushed against the white armour of Ji’var’s XV22 Stealthsuit as she snatched the helmet from his grasp. Smiling as she did so, she placed it on her head. The face guard only made it down to her beak, just over her eyes before getting stuck and the long, fluorescent bristles poked out all around her neck.
“Do you really think I could pull it off?”

He didn’t answer. He didn’t really need to as the poorly concealed smirk said more than he could possibly have thought of.
“How very rude.” She feigned offense, throwing the helmet on Jiv’ar’s lap before folding her arms and turning away, head looking up and to the side to make sure that he wasn’t in her sight. One thing was for certain, Roech was one of the best actors that Jiv’ar had ever met.

“Oh come on,” He played along, “I like your feathers. They are really bright this year, have you dyed them?”
“They’re always blue.” She rasped.

The Commander’s moment of joy subsided almost as quickly as it had started. The sorrow washed over him like a tsunami of anguish demolishing the fishing outpost of his mental fortitude.

Roech hesitated. The lucidly sad moments Jiv'ar experienced were, thankfully, becoming less of a surprise to her. At first they had rendered the Shaper catatonic; to see such a noble, fierce warrior wallowing so deeply scared her more than anything she had ever encountered on the field of battle. Now, however, she had grown used to them.

“Do not despair, Jiv’ar. You are needed to be strong. You are the backbone of half the Cadres from T’au. Through your example others thrive, please, for the Greater Good, do not let others see you like this.”

“Even the strongest must be allowed to feel their emotions; otherwise we are as crude as those Gue’la.” He spat at the name of that race, loathing them for what they had cost him.

“Do not mourn yet…” She said while precariously placing the helmet over his face. “Here, much better.” She laughed. “Now nobody can see that disaster you call a face.”

Suitably consoled, Jiv’ar elbowed her and laughed before placing the battered helmet over his face. She didn’t laugh; however, all she could muster was a twisted squawk that she had tried so hard to perfect.

She was a soldier he could actually call ‘friend’. She was what had kept him sane through the catastrophe.
_______________________

Dust and sand thrashed against the members of the Academy that had gathered to welcome him home as the Rising Dawn set down gently within a closed off courtyard. The courtyard was a grand open space enclosed by the towering polished marble walls of the surrounding starscrapers that housed the armouries and residential quarters’. From each building a majestic bridge of efficient design streaked through the air to join them together at regular intervals. A refreshing shade had been cast down between the white obelisks creating a cool oasis that proved to be the perfect refuge from the harsh light of T’au binary stars.

The craft jolted upon the extended hydraulic legs that had sprouted from the sand-yellow hull. Then the bay door opened with a slight buzz from the motors, letting the scorching heat into the once cool infantry bay. His senses were overwhelmed instantly, almost as if every inch of his body had combusted. The Fire Warriors from all around the Academy had assembled, and each one slammed an armoured fist against their breast plates. The booming thud was as concussive as thunder and as deep as the cracking of a skull. Even sheltered from the sun the air still washed over him like flames, as indicated by the readings on the interface of his helmet. His body felt weak, suffering from an assault caused by his own nerves and dread.
To say he was introverted was wrong; he considered himself to be a selective extrovert. When the moment was right, usually this proved to be in combat, he would lose his self-consciousness and become a true General.

He looked between the hundreds of young faces. It reminded him of when he was just like them, just an aspirant Shas’la who just wanted to serve the Greater Good. Then he remembered how most of them would die and be forgotten and thought that maybe his presence was what gave them the courage to serve the Tau’va.

Giving in despite being reserved on the celebrations he saluted back to them, filling each one with hope that they could one day be like him.

After a brief moment he lowered his arm and began to walk purposefully down the long path to the Central atrium. The path ran four hundred metres towards the pale building, but to reach it the path appeared to have cut a straight course through flanking ranks of Fire Caste servants who held the salute as long as the Shas’o remained out in the open.

After leaving him to gain a twenty pace lead Shaper Roech led the other soldiers from deeper within the vehicle. They filed neatly behind her in squads of twelve. Each squad was three men wide and four men long with the Shaper level with the central column. After four squads of Fire Warriors came the Kroot Carnivores. Only two squads of the Pech natives marched from the Rising Dawn in a much more undisciplined fashion than the Tau, but they were given the same respect, nonetheless.

“Welcome home protector of Tau’va” The smiling face of Ethereal Aun’la T’au Vorsek spoke with pride. He was a short man, very young but could definitely not be considered foolish.

“It is my service and thanks to the Empire.” He bowed graciously while Shas’el T’au N’vear took his place by his master’s side. The Shas’el proceeded to copy his master, not wishing to offend the Ethereal.

“Rise.” Vorsek spoke, raising his palms skyward as if to order them.

“It is far more than that, Shas’o T’au Jiv’ar.” The Ethereal spoke his full title as was customary for those not joined by the Bonding Ceremony. “You have defended the interests of Tau everywhere and held back those alien Humans that would dare to infringe upon our prosperous domain.”

Five Tau respectfully approached the Ethereal from near the door many metres behind. Two of them wore the garbs of Water Caste bureaucrats while the other three wore the White Armour of Shas’ui’s in the Ethereal’s employ. As the group finally stopped behind the Ethereal it finally became apparent what the Water Caste Tau were carrying.

They clutched blue silk pillows, holding onto the bottom as not to tamper with what lay on top. Then Aun’la Vorsek turned and, with gentle hands, raised the golden Pulse Pistol from the pillow and handed it to the Shas’el. Shas’el N’vear bowed with slight disbelief but accepted the weapon as he straightened his back.

“Thank you, Ethereal.”

When the Ethereal repeated the action with Ji’var the Shas’o felt far too reluctant to accept. This was the exact kind of hypocrisy and decadence he had taught his men not to take part in. He preached that if all members of the Empire are equal why should he be remembered or honoured for just doing his job? He could not refuse the gift, however, as that would offend the Ethereal and most likely cause friction between the Jiv’ar Academy and the Ethereal High Council.

He forced himself to accept it.

“Thank you, your grace.” He held back the bitterness while he bowed. If something was going to interfere with the philosophy that he had taught everyone that passed through the Academy it would be the Ethereals.

Of course, he would never speak out against them, he had no wish to. Tau society functioned fine and was in no need of reform, but the cross over of their traditions and interpretations of the Greater Good contrasted somewhat with his own.
His was a warrior’s creed, an adaptation of the Tau’va that would benefit the Fire Caste when out in prolonged service to ensure the survival and success of the respective Cadre, or contingent of Cadres known as a Tio’ve. It boiled down to three tenets:

The Gor’vra Nale. The first tenet boils orders looking after your Kin as you would look after yourself. “Watch your Bound Kin’s back. Only with looking out for the physical and mental welfare of those who serve with you, whether they are injured or healthy, and following the Gor’vra Nale, can victory be feasible.” Those were the words he had written, and those were the words to be obeyed.

The Yivor T’ril. The second tenet teaches that sacrifice is often necessary to ensure that the Greater Good of the Cadre can flourish. “It may often occur that your life must be taken to spare many more. Submit yourself when the chance is presented as to ensure the progression of your Kin. Only by following the Yivor T’ril is victory possible.” Those were the words he had written, and those were the words to be obeyed.

The final tenet was the Shan Vre’lor Kep. This tenet taught that to allow the Greater Good to prosper you must invite any race encountered in combat, other than the forces of Chaos, to join the Tau, even if this means showing them respect. “When facing a race founded upon hatred and arrogance sometimes the kind hand of the Tau’va is all that is needed to change the foe’s view. Once a member of the Empire they are to be treated as you or I, only through following the Shan Vre’lor Kep and its sister rules can Victory be guaranteed.” Those were the words he had written, and those were the words to be obeyed.

These were the rules that he followed. These were the rules that the Fire Warriors under his tutelage followed and it made him angry to think that the Ethereals were imposing the vices he had shunned merely through their presence.

Politics and war should be kept separate.

“There is no need to thank me, Commander.” The Ethereal’s voice broke Jiv’ar’s silent contemplation and growing agitation.

“This is a reward granted by the State.”

“Then I shall use this gift to fight further, for T’au!” He shouted, firing into the air.

“For the Empire!” He punctuated it with another squeeze of the trigger.

“For the Greater Good!”
____________________________

The cheers of his men had stayed with him that night. After discharging the final shot each and every one of them screamed out a formidable choral cry that felt like nothing short of the ground sheering clean open to engulf them in a single cataclysmic moment. If he was not so refined as to be susceptible to such traits, he would surely have had pride course through his veins. He had trained them and he doubted that any military force in the Damocles Gulf could withstand the might of his Cadres. They were a tool, a tool to combat those who wanted to see the Tau Empire’s destruction or enslavement.

“Shas’o Jiv’ar, would you mind showing me around your fine educational centre?” Aun’la Vorsek spoke after the activity had died down. Scribes of the Water Caste had swarmed around the Commander when he had entered the atrium of the Academy. They demanded statements to be given to the public; they wanted to know what the Damocles war was like. The Water Caste would have prised open his skull to get answers if they could.

He was able to dismiss them, however, by questioning their manners while in the presence of an Ethereal. With a stern gaze and the advancement of Vorsek’s guard the crowd soon dispersed.

“Of course, Aun’la.” He spoke, only wishing to return to his quarters. “But first, please allow me to retire so I may procure some more formal attire.”

“Why of course, Commander. We can’t be expecting a Shas’o to be wearing his armour all day now, can we?”
What did he mean by that?

“Aun’la, in my absence allow my Shas’el here to escort you to somewhere more fitting for your grace. N’vear,” He clicked his fingers and looked over his shoulder as the soldier approached and took stopped at a respectful distance “Take the Ethereal to the canteen. He wishes to see our training facilities so I do not see why he should not be given the opportunity to see where our recruits eat and relax.”

“But, Commander, surely the canteen is too common for him.” N’vear whispered.

“He is here to see how we live, thus no exceptions shall be made. Am I understood?” Unlike the Shas’el he spoke just loud enough for the Ethereal to hear his words. The look on his face was priceless.

“I’m sure that you shall enjoy yourself, Aun’la T’au Vorsek. Make sure to try the Gil’vere sap. It is… refreshing.” His wide smile was shrouded by his helmet. “For now, I bid you farewell Ethereal. I shall meet you in the canteen.” Jiv’ar waited to be dismissed before smugly returning to his chamber.
__________________________

He had not returned to the Ethereal. Everything about him had irked Jiv’ar. He had remained in his chamber after sending a message for N’vear to provide the tour, tended to his armour and meditated to calm himself. A fire existed within his soul; it was the drive that gave the Fire Caste the will to fight. Other Castes lacked this spirit, thus they seemed unadventurous, and sometimes dull, to the soldiers of the Empire.

In his mind he recited the tenets, their words softening his earlier minor grievances. They didn’t physically help, the words couldn’t lower his pulse rate or lower his blood pressure, but they were a distraction at least.

A subtle knock at the door forced him to open his eyes and climb to his feet from his fold out mat that lay in the middle of the flaw.

With a calm air on nonchalance he strolled towards the door. With every step he felt a fraction more awkward, a fraction more anxious.

It wasn’t that he was paranoid, he could most likely defend himself from any assailant in a physical confrontation, but he felt alone without some sort of defensive apparatus. With one hand on the door knob and one hand in a draw by his bed, Jiv’ar withdrew his Bonging Knife and felt for the point where it was perfectly balanced, ready to strike.

“Hello?” A voice croaked from outside, melting away his sudden onset anxiety. He sheathed the blade and fastened it at his waist sash.

“Am I interrupting something?” Her voice was more hurried than usual.

“Not at all.” He answered while walking back inside to deactivate the loudhailer that softly hummed the tune of Por’el Bork’an Trosk’s eighth sonata.

“Are you busy?”

“Well, I have paperwor-” She opened the door and grabbed him by the arm before pulling him from his quarters, door slamming closed, the sensors activating the automated lock system.

“Where are we going, Roech?”

“Come, on, you’ve got to see this.” Her long legs propelled her through the serfs and Earth Caste workers that tended to the warriors. She towered above most of the Tau making some have to scramble out of her way in a blind panic, only realising afterward that they should have saluted because of the Commander’s presence. It was never thought to ask why she was dragging along a Shas’o, however.

The doors of the turbo lift slid open silently after its speedy descent and the duo rushed out and meandered down solid stone corridors. On each side numerous doors rushed past and wherever they went and people looked in bewilderment as they stormed past. In the minutes it had taken to get a balcony overlooking a small outdoor plaza she had not released his arm, making his hand numb.

“There.” She unravelled her avian talons from his sleeve and brushed down his creased robe.

“What am I supposed to be looking at?” He inquired thoughtfully.

“Down there.” She pointed at the assembled Fire Warriors out in the open. They had assembled in four rows of ten and at their head stood a seven foot tall, red skinned man with two rows of horns running backwards down either side of his head. His fingers were webbed and his skin was scaled creating a shimmering mosaic as he paced back and forth in the shadows of the building while lecturing the Shas’la’s.

One other feature that Jiv’ar could pick out was a three pronged black device that latched onto his skull. Two of the tines passed onto the creature’s temples while the central tine ran over the centre of the head, stopping five inches before the ridge of the nose.

“Is that…?” He was stricken for words, his thought pattern stifled. “Why didn’t you tell me?!” His shouting conveyed only joy as he charged through the hall and onto the mezzanine. Even though he wanted to run down like an excitable infant but was required to stop. He couldn’t let the Shas’la’s to think that it was acceptable to run inside the academy.

“Master Ssethssyrin? Is that you?” His arrival was heralded with the salute of the forty Fire Warriors.

“Shas’o T’au Jiv’ar?” He smiled with surprise at seeing Jiv’ar. He really never expected to see him again. “It’s been a while.”
“It’s been a long time, far too long in fact.” He held the alien’s left hand in his and placed the tip of his index finger upon a blue jewel at the centre of Ssethssyrin’s forehead, as was customary in his culture.

“Well,” He repeated the gesture. “It’s been a long time for you, Tau.” Jiv’ar had forgotten how cold and uncomfortable the gem made him, but he overlooked the discomfort for tradition’s sake.

How are you faring, Jiv’ar? A voice echoed through his mind, a disembodied hiss that sent shiver down his spine as Ssethssyrin placed a finger on the activation stud at his temple, turning the jewel a deep vermillion.

Even though the Commander did not share the arcane ability that his Varanid friend and could not reply through thought, the onset of sorrow was easily visible to the alien’s empathic sight. The emotion glowed as a weak read aura the enveloped the Tau.

I think we both know the cure for that now, don’t we?

No, please, no, not the sap. The Commander thought as the Varanid released the stud.

“What are you teaching the students today, Master Ssethssyrin? The art of plucking a cowardly foe from his denial filled hiding place?”

“Oh, Commander, I’m sure that you’ve taught them that well enough. Your valour is well documented, especially holding that Imperial Bastion for three days without sleep.” A ripple of applause trickled through the Fire Warriors.

“Thank you,” He raised a hand to thank them bitterly, “I am sure that anybody else would have done the same in my position. I was only leading by example; we cannot forget the good deeds of those who served with me.”

“Indeed.” The Varanid clasped his hands behind his back and began to pace again in long, slow strides, tale swishing behind him. “Maybe, Commander, you would be better adapted to teaching your men this than I would, seeing as you share their physiology.”

“What is the lesson?” Jiv’ar inquired.

“Unarmed self defence when caught without a weapon.”

“It is a little unorthodox, but I suppose that I could assist.” He turned to face the Fire Warriors and brushed his hands together before rolling up his sleeves. “When facing a Gue’la you may be forced to confront them with your hands. These aliens have nearly no threatening ranged weapons and so may send wave after wave of themselves at you to attempt to reach your front lines. Some of them could even be considered as primitive as Orks.”

His humour bode well with the students. He proceeded to role up his remaining sleeve when the chuckling stopped.

“In our Empire we have many auxiliaries that will form the first line of defence against such a strategy, but there are times when the foe shall be too numerous or our allies shall be too worn out from prolonged fighting. We must watch the advance of out Kroot allies and lay down covering fire. If we look after them they shall look after us.

In the unlikely circumstance that the Gue’la breaks through the Kroot advance and our punishing barrage of fire power you will be forced to defend yourself.” He scanned the crowd with keen eyes, evaluating each Warrior individually.

“You there, Shas’la, the one with the dirty armour, join me will you?” With a nod the Fire Warrior ran up through the gap to stand in front of his mentor. He wore no helmet, only his armour.

“What is required of me, Shas’o T’au Jiv’ar?”

“I need you to remember where you are. You are in my Academy, a place where poorly looked after armour shall be disciplined.”

“Shall I move to isolation?”

“That shall not be required. I do not wish to see you hunger. Your can forfeit your prolonged punishment by assisting me.”

“Of course, Commander.”

“I am glad to hear it.” Jiv’ar withdrew his Bonding knife and streaked it through the air. “This blade is very sharp, Shas’la. It’s able to cut clean through cloth and flesh, leaving a terrible wound in its wake.” He flipped the knife in his hand and presented it handle first to the soldier. “I am giving you the chance to defend yourself.” The Commander took a few paces back and waited for the fresh faced recruit to move.

“Well, come on. Day ends in five decs.” Quick on his toes, Jiv’ar dashed back after anticipating the wide swing by his student. They both made quick foot work as the blade sliced the air with numerous crude swipes. Noting the gap in the Fire Warriors defence Jiv’ar struck.

He launched his left hand into the gap grabbing the Shas’la’s wrist just below the blade and twisted until the knife was released and the tendons in his arm tore. With his right hand clenched in a fist he smashed the area over the Fire Warrior’s ear before slipping his foot behind the student’s ankle and head butting him on the nose.

He landed on the floor wailing, unharmed hand clutched to his face which now wept the blue life fluids at an alarming rate.
“Fetch a medic.” Another Warrior rushed off at the cry from the Fire Warrior.

“Do you see what I did?” He lifted his knife from the ground and wiped the dirt off on his sash. “I gauged his weaknesses, evaded unnecessary confrontation that would tire me out. When given the chance I fought without mercy. Once negotiation is over you cannot expect your enemy to show mercy so do not give them the privilege either.”
____________________

“I’m telling you, he was just standing there. For a moment I thought the beast was going to shed tears.” Roech told the tale through her laughter. It had been a good day. She had returned to T’au and met an old friend.

“He wasn’t even a little concerned?” Ssethssyrin spluttered through another shot of the gil’vere sap before slamming the glass down on the table. Jiv’ar couldn’t stop laughing long enough to finish his drink, and he had been there at the time of the story.

“I promise, it just stared at us while it’s brother, sister, I don’t know what, they all look the same, got it’s head caught in the fence.”

“Didn’t he try to help it?” Ssethssyrin smiled his wisened smile as he held down the sap.

“Well,” She hoarsely chuckled, “My Kindred was laughing so hard that it probably thought we were screaming some sort of battle cry. So did the Humans for that matter, last we heard was ‘Come on, Crog’ before they all retreated. Last time we heard any Imperial soldier say ‘I can get through that gap’! Bloody Ogryns!”

Sseth’s laugh reverberated through the room at the thought of a lumbering Ogryn with its head caught between two bars.
Jiv’ar downed his next shot, the fuzzy alteration of reality finally beginning to set in.

“That wasn’t even the best bit!” Jiv’ar cut in. “You should have seen the beast try to get in there in the first place, tongue ajar, intense focus in his big bulbous eyes. I swear, at one point I thought they were going to pop out of its face! Sometimes I’m glad that these Humans do not accept to join the Empire.”

“Once he was inside his face lit up like a Vespid in jam season!” Roech squawked hysterically, not just at the tale but at the sight of Jiv’ar tumbling from his seat.

It was late and nobody was in the canteen so no shame was to be had.

Almost loosing his balance himself, Sseth extended a large red hand to help his friend back up while wiping a tear from his eye.

After a long moment the laughter abated. Sseth was about to open his mouth when a bleep came from the communicator at Jiv’ar’s hip.

After fumbling for a moment he finally managed to undo the clasp and twist the two segments before placing it flat side down on the table. From a small oscillating lens a holographic face projected into the air.

“Greetings, Shas’o T’au Jiv’ar.”

“Salutations, Ethereal.” He clenched his jaw and grabbed onto the table as to hide his intoxication.

“Are you alone, Commander? This is of a somewhat delicate nature.”

Pretending for the Ethereal’s sake, Jiv’ar looked around the room and over his shoulders before replying, “Yes, Ethereal.”

“Good. It is my inconvenience to inform you that the border world of Sel’gavore has fallen silent. We have no explanation for why this has occurred. We know that the Imperium of man has been operating in that region, but no attacks on the world have been reported. You are being placed in charge of discovering the fate of the colony. This is strictly confidential, am I understood, Shas’o?”

“Yes, Aun’la T’au Vorsek.”

“You shall leave in the morning.” With that the hologram dissipated, as if it had melted away into nothing.

It was safe to say that Jiv’ar had sobered up.

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Zehra
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PostSubject: Re: Tau story.   Fri Aug 17 2012, 18:16

Nice job!!! I love the end part of aoiut it was 'safe to say Jiv'ar had sobered up.'
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Cavash
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PostSubject: Re: Tau story.   Fri Aug 17 2012, 23:33

Thanks Zehra.
There are some minor fluff issues in this, but I guarantee that all shall make sense eventually.

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