During the last fluff article, I wrote about the basic principles that can be utilised to create background for your army – answering the questions ‘Who’, ‘When’, ‘Where’ and ‘Why’ in order to establish how your army fits in the greater Warhammer universe. Once you have established these things, you are able to probe deeper into the background of your main character, expanding on those key events in your chosen character’s past that made them what they are today. Cue an ‘origin’ story. These types of stories are a staple for almost every writer, from comic books to autobiographies. We as a people are fascinated by the past, yearning to know why people do the things they do, which inevitably results in people looking into the past to find the beginning. The origin story is designed to do just that – take you back to the beginning to where it all started. But, I hear some of you ask, how do I apply that to a Warhammer army?
The answer is simple – by applying the same techniques as outlined before. Let’s say for example, you own a Goblin army that is led by a Black Orc Warboss. Now as part of the basic background you have determined that your Black Orc Warboss (going by the name of Goffsmack Headbasher) was kicked out of his tribe as a result of ‘finkin too much’ and stumbled onto a tribe of Goblins not yet under the ‘protekshun’ of other Orcs. Now in this case, your Origin story may well expand on the reasons why Goffsmack was prone to excessive ‘finkin’ (perhaps he was not dropped on his head enough as a snotling) and how that lead to his eventual eviction from the tribe. This could then expand into how Goffsmack wandered the mountains searching for a home before discovering the Blu Bellies – a small but particularly fierce tribe of goblins who have thus far resisted any attempts of Orc domination. Due to Goffsmack’s unnatural intellect, he may very well be able to trick the Goblin Warboss Nob’ed Stikpoka into an alliance and providing him with troops to seek revenge.
So how then, does one go about writing their story? There are many ways of writing, from the stock standard linier path of beginning to end to the stupidly convoluted format that has the reader jumping back and forth through the character’s timeline like a Rabbit on crack (if you don’t know what I mean, watch the movie ‘Alexander’ and you’ll quickly understand). For me, a generic flash-back is usually the best way to tell an origin story as it provides a distinct and convenient means of probing into their chosen character’s past without having to explain their present in too much detail. The story I’ve included below however, takes a different path. Utilising a method that is fast gaining popularity in various TV series, I’ve taken a pivotal moment in the story and used it as a means of facilitating a small flashback to explain the events that lead to this situation. For example – the story opens with the main character on his knees with a gun pointed to his head. Our hero tells the gunman he doesn’t have to do this before they squeeze the trigger and the screen goes black and the audience is propelled ‘12 hours earlier’ to the true beginning of the story.
Have a read and let me know what you think. Hopefully I’ve continued to provide you with some ideas that can be incorporated into your own fluff and if you have any questions / comments, feel free to leave feedback. Most of all – Enjoy!
His skin was red and blistered from the transformation. Muscles twitched uncontrollably as sorcerous energies infused them with the power of the Gods. His hair, normally kept tightly bound in a warrior’s topknot was now a shaggy mane, crackling softly as his body expelled the surplus energy not consumed during the ritual. The runes daubed on his chest with the blood of innocents sizzled and steamed, their protective energies utterly consumed. For a brief moment, he was almost overwhelmed as a torrent of new sensations flooded his system. Smells sounds and tastes all bombarded his senses as the spirit of the wolf awoke finding itself forever melded with his own soul. Looking upon the baleful green eye of the moon Morrslieb, he let loose a victorious howl, his lips peeling pack to reveal a set of enlarged canines that glistened wetly in the terrible green light. As one, his warriors echoed the howl, their own animalistic calls a reflection of the beasts barely contained within their own souls.
It was hard to believe that barely four hours had passed since he; Romulus Ironwolf had challenged the Alpha for the right to lead the tribe. Despite the Alpha being a superior warrior and a master tactician, his shaman had assured him that the Alpha’s favour with the Great Changer had waned and the eye of the Changer now rested upon him. The omens were favourable and the Romulus now realised why the wolf-spirit that shared his body had been so restless these last few days. As a member of the Wulfkin Tribe, he was one of the few Warriors chosen by the might Tchar to carry within him the spirit of one of the great black-maned wolves that stalked the wilderness of the nearby mountains. Such a blessing provided him with strength in battle and greater endurance but there was also the risk of becoming utterly consumed by the wolf, mutating into a terrible hybrid of wolf and man. So it was that he challenged the Alpha to ritual combat, their bodies daubed in bloody sigils and both armed with a brutal two-handed broadsword. No words were said by either of them, for it was not their way to sully such a ceremony with paltry words. This was a battle that would be decided purely by the will of the Changer of Ways, the great and powerful Tchar.
Romulus launched himself at the Alpha, teeth bared and swinging his blade in a low arc intended to disembowel. But the Alpha was cunning, having slain many a foolish pup who challenged for leadership over the decades of his rule. He swung his body into action, the tip of his blade gouging the earth as he spun. Their blades met with bone-crunching force as the Alpha deflected his attack to the side. Planting his feet, Romulus used this force to redirect his swing, sweeping the blade into the air before arcing it back towards the Alpha’s exposed shoulder. The tip of the Alpha’s blade gleaned brightly as it whipped into the air one-handed to once again smash aside the blow intended to carve him from shoulder to hip, the Alpha’s free fist swinging as he did so. The blow landed hard on the side of Romulus’s skull, jarring his vision and throwing him to the side. Snarling, he allowed more of the wolf-spirit sealed within him to take control, feeling a fresh wave of power course through his body as the beast’s restraints were loosened. The bloody runes on his chest flashed brightly as they were tested by the wolf, pushing against the sorcerous restraints barely preventing a full transformation. The two combatants faced off once more, each watching for the slightest twitch that may betray their enemy’s intentions. This time the Alpha swung first, the runes on his chest glowing faintly with power as his blade arced towards the challenger. As the blade swung, the light of Morrslieb, Tchar’s great eye, bathed the field; suffusing both warriors in its sickly jade light. Roaring in defiance, Romulus summoned all of the wolf’s strength and channelling it into a single blow. The runes on his chest were blinding as they struggled to contain the power of the wolf-spirit, charring the skin below and creating ritualistic scars that will remain with Romulus for the remainder of his life. The Alpha faltered, momentarily blinded by the sudden burst of radiant light emanating from his opponent but it was all the opening Romulus needed as his razor-edged blade drove home. There was a resounding clang as the blades of the two warriors came together for the final time. Striking a hairline fault that ran across the Alpha’s sword, it shattered, allowing Romulus’s blade to embed itself in the Alpha’s skull with a dull, wet thud, killing him instantly.
At that moment, a great bolt of lighting stabbed down from the heavens, engulfing Romulus in a maelstrom of multi-coloured flames. His roar of defiance quickly turned into a howl of pain as the favour of Tchar was bestowed upon him, warping his flesh and threatening to consume his very soul. As suddenly as it came the fires vanished, leaving Romulus standing alone in the middle of the arena. His skin was red and blistered from the transformation. Muscles twitched uncontrollably as sorcerous energies infused them with the power of the Gods themselves. His hair, normally kept tightly bound in a warrior’s topknot was now a shaggy mane, crackling softly as his body expelled the surplus energy not consumed during the ritual. The runes daubed on his chest with the blood of innocents sizzled and steamed, their protective energies utterly consumed, the bare flesh below blistered and raw. For a brief moment, he was almost overwhelmed by the torrent of new sensations that flooded his system. Smells sounds and tastes all bombarded his senses as the spirit of the wolf awoke finding itself forever melded with his own soul. Looking upon the baleful green eye of the moon Morrslieb, he let loose a victorious howl, his lips peeling pack to reveal a set of enlarged canines that glistened wetly in the terrible green light. As one, his warriors echoed the howl, their own animalistic calls a reflection of the beasts barely contained within their own souls. As the howls faded into the inky darkness, Romulus’s eyes fell upon the rent and broken body of the Alpha and for a brief moment his heart sank with sadness. He was going to miss his father.
Hope you guys enjoyed the story. Please feel free to leave comments and or suggestions that you may have.
Catch you all later.