You should totally come up with a neat title for these:
"BLAHDEBLAH: The Broken Arrows"
(For example, the Night Lords IA is actually "BRINGERS OF DARKNESS: The Night Lords")
SONS OF THE WIND, THE LIGHT IN THE STORM, HOWLING GALE, or something like that.
The Broken Arrows’ history is almost entirely a matter of oral tradition. Issues of exact specifics are seen to have value in planning, not retrospect, and stories are considered tools for imparting lessons rather than simple information. Consequentially, pinpointing exact years, locations, and even names from the Chapter’s vast collection of narratives is often a herculean task. Were anyone to take the time to actually attempt such an endeavor in interest of finding the Broken Arrows’ founding or the date of their arrival on their homeworld of Lacrum, best estimates would put both somewhere in the early 34th millennium.
Something like "Determining the origins of the Broken Arrows has been a difficult task for Imperial historians." would introduce this paragraph well. It feels slightly abrupt as-is.
Chapter lore has it that the Broken Arrows, successors to the White Scars, were founded on the purpose of hunting the ancestral enemies to all sons of the Great Khan: the dark kin of the Eldar.
"with the purpose" not "on the purpose".
Just calling them Dark Eldar would seem better. Eldar is, after all, a general term, even if it also denotes a specific group.
Elusive as the quarry was, the Arrows’ oldest stories speak of a successful campaign of detecting, repelling, and running the xenos raiding parties to ground from system to system, until the hunt brought them to a nexus of their foes' activity, the world of Lacrum.
You should either switch the "as" to "though" or say "Elusive as the Dark Eldar are".
I'd say "tell" over "speak", personally.
You can't repeatedly run things to ground, I think. They'd be run to ground in Lacrum, while being pursued from system to system.
Initial scouting of the world revealed unexpected results. Remnants of seemingly human civilization from an age before the Imperium itself were centralized towards the middle of the world’s single super continent, dilapidated and skin-stripped by the planets unrelenting winds, but whole. The Arrows’ investigation also turned up a sizable native human population, though far from the ruins and spread thin amongst nomadic tribes.
It'd be orbital scans and observation flights, I would've thought. A good chance to mention the winds if you do observation flights.
Skin-stripped? I'd cut "but whole", since you just said how they're dilapidated and stripped.
Investigation doesn't seem like a great descriptory term for this. It's not really an investigation.
Your word choice kind of implies the nomadic tribes include nonhumans. Go with "far from the ruins in thinly spread nomadic tribes." Though that makes them sound a bit like jam.
The story of first contact with Lacrum’s Tribes is among the closest to the Arrows’ core philosophy and identity, and the first that aspiring initiates into the Chapter learn.
I'd say something like "among the most important to the Arrows'". I think your word choice is weird, and I am judging you for it.
Aspiring Initiates is probably redundant. Surely they'd be aspirants. "Into the Chapter" is DEFINITELY redundant. Omit it.
‘To find the Tribes here, on a world owned by the enemy, was a shock. We met them, and asked them of their lives, of their world. They told us of the ruins, and how they hid and wandered the mountains to avoid notice by the shadow things that called them home. Our arrival was a threat to that. When they heard our sacred name, they shuddered and grasped at tokens of warding. In those old and haunted days on Mother Lacrum, a broken arrow was a curse among the Tribes, an omen of misfortune and disaster.
The word choice at the first implies some kind of pre-existing relationship, which seems unlikely.
The "them" in the second sentence is a little ambiguous.
Nodding sagely was way more awesome. I meant that you should have the CHAPTER think their name was unlucky and a sign of misfortune. Then the native interpretation makes them respect the wisdom of the Emperor in naming them so. You could have a quote at the start of the section from their founding Chapter Master about how the Emperor had guided him to a name of misfortune, and he hoped it'd all work out. Would also explain why they respect these folks as much as they do.
The hunters came the first night on shrieking wings and screaming airboats, and their fears seemed vindicated. The Tribes fought beside us, using bows crafted from the bone and sinew of Mother Lacrum’s beasts. They bombarded the skiffs and knocked wingriders from their mounts with wind-dancing arrows. Our heavier guns of blessed metals met their tally tenfold. By the night’s end, both sides suffered loss, and the xenos fled back to the ruins. The Tribes tended to their fallen and wept for those less fortunate, those dragged off to the hunters’ home, and the many among those still standing regarded us with venomous glares and whispered curses for the disaster they saw as a fault of our arrival.
Hunters is a poor choice of term in this context, since the tribes are hunters too. Distinction in who you're talking about is good.
I'd cut "both sides suffered loss". I mean, duh.
You've got a "the" before "many" that shouldn't be there.
But we had a hunt to complete, and we sharpened our anger to an executioner’s edge. We set off for the ruins, and the bravest of the Tribes were allowed a chance for retribution alongside us. They guided us to the quarry's haven, and we walked side by side into the ruins and the caves beneath. The aliens burst forth from their ghostdoors to defend their foothold, and the Tribesmen fought with us to put them into the ground for their trouble. Our mortal allies wanted the ruins destroyed, to see the ethereal thresholds crushed and sealed off forever. We refused, and taught them the true meaning of a Broken Arrow.
If you're in caves, EVERYTHING'S in the ground.
It is why we live in these tunnels now. We live in our ancestral enemy’s former lair, we make hunters of their former prey, and we wait with smiles and blades. We are the patient hunters of Mother Lacrum now, letting the wretched devil kin keep their foothold. We took their own fortress, their pathway into our galaxy, and turned it into a bulwark against their return. They must come up to feed, and we are here to punish them for their unholy hunger.'
I'd cut "ancestral", though I can't quite say why.
The narrative is archetypical form for the Arrows’ oral traditions. Its historical precision is questionable at best. But more importantly, it teaches that their union with Lacrum and her Tribes was predestined, that all three are of a single purpose: retribution for the uncountable sins of the Dark Eldar.
I'd say "the chapter" instead of "their" in the second sentence. Makes it even clearer who the "three" are (I'll be honest, I was a little confused for a second.
I REALLY think this would be a good place to put the last section. Keeps all that hanging over the rest of the IA. That's a Good Thing.
Unlike most Chapters, the Arrows have a familiarity and rapport with their mortal kin, and unlike most mortals the Tribes are largely aware of the true hostility of the galaxy. By mutual respect and frequency of contact, it is little wonder then that local customs and the Chapter’s customs have gradually come to mirror one another. Bone whistles and tokens of feathers created from their homeworld’s most revered and spiritually significant fauna are common fetishes among the Arrows. Iconography and symbols that adorn the Arrows’ armor and flesh are echoes of the tattoos seen among the Tribes. Even common methodologies and tactics are loosely analogous with fundamental strategies of hunting that Arrows learn as humans.
Might want to mention how the Tribes' understanding is limited by their tribal perspective or somesuch.
Also might be worth taking a look at the bit in the Stonebound thread where I list of various relevant things about the White Scars that you might find useful as little touches.
But regardless of their motivation and belief, humans who die without blood on their hands are wasted lives. Station and place within the hierarchy of the Imperium, training and background, the weapons and armor available, all are seen as irrelevant. If an opportunity to fight in defense of the Emperor’s domain is presented, the Arrows accept no excuse to do otherwise. Even as child savages, the Arrows learn that life is won by taking it from others, be they beast or man, and those who cower in the face of such a reality are best left to the terminal rewards of their own inaction.
The first part of the first sentence feels awkward. Also, using "their" before what you're referring to is unhelpful.
Also, how do they then view the evacuation of civilians from combat zones?
This uncompromising credo has led to ‘diplomatic issues’ on more than one occasion. The Arrows have a particularly notorious tradition with which to browbeat allies that they find wanting, rooted in another piece of Chapter lore pertaining to a war waged alongside a brother Chapter, The Throneguard, against an Ork incursion.
"The Throneguard" should be "the Throneguard".
‘They failed. The Throneguard were honored with a chance for glory when we crafted our strategy, and they did not seize it. We fought on and repelled the green tide from the field, but with losses that should not have been nearly as grave.
I'd just even go with: "The Throneguard faltered in their duty, and victory was at risk when it should not have been." You don't really need more (and mentioning losses is bad, because it implies this is about those, rather than the failure of the Throneguard).
Chapter Master, Cayowakan the Stonesoul, to be Cayowakan the Redeemer in soon coming days, approached them at battle’s end. He sought their Champion, and threw dispersions and curses at his feet, each one with a piece from his holy bolter. He named them cowards, fools, weak and unworthy of His blessings, until he stood with nothing but a receiver rod in his fist. When their Champion accepted the challenge, Cayowakan speared the last fragment of his gun through his skull.
"The Emperor's" not "His". Pronoun confusions is BAD, and you must fight it at all turns.
Also, I'm not sure I'd give Cayowakan an epithet. Or give him one that's more ambiguous, anyway.
To be completely accurate, the contingent of Throneguard, numbering only 30, was unable to join the battle as planned because they diverted to instead cut off an unanticipated attack to the joint force’s flank.
"Other sources in Imperial records" would be better than just some omnipotent declaration.
Similar circumstances throughout the Arrows’ history have invariably been met with an honor duel challenge, with more than a few champions and generals killed by shattered knifes, bits of detritus from the battlefield, and on one particularly infamous occasion the victim’s own discarded rations tin.
The Broken Arrows instead labor over their own weaponry in those precious few moments of peace, modifying range, recoil, and sights of their guns, and the payload, rifling and warheads of their ammunition.
"Those" is the wrong word here, since you haven't referred to a particular time or the like.
For every prey there is a perfectly suited weapon, and the Arrows’ battle-brothers take great pride (and no small amount of amusement) in slaying opponents that most would deploy special and heavy weapons against with their lovingly modified standard issue Bolters.
Lovingly-modified standard issue is a bit of an oxymoron.
The Broken Arrows’ fortress monastery, the Howlhalls, resides under the dilapidated remains of Lacrum’s presumably Old Night era civilization, and atop the Dark Eldar webway exits that first brought the Chapter to their homeworld. The ruins themselves were pilfered, eroded and crumbled into empty husks long before the Broken Arrows’ arrival. The labyrinthine tunnel complex underneath them, built by unknown hands (and subtly reinforced into a formidable fortification by the Arrows), has proven much more useful as a home for the Chapter. The winding caverns exit out from dozens of cave mouths peppering the neighboring mountains’ rock faces, each guarded by the impaled skulls of the Arrows’ chosen foes staring inward: a ritual shield against any evil escaping the threshold of the world’s former tormentors.
"Presumably Old Night era" disrupts the flow.
Take out "eroded". In that sentence, you'd normally say "had eroded", and so having it in with the two "were" words makes it sound weird.
The bit about "of the Arrows' chosen foes" also disrupts the flow a bit, I think.
The last bit of the last sentence feels a bit awkward and could use rewording.
The base earned its title from an otherworldly howl that can be heard echoing through the adjacent mountain range for dozens of miles, with pitch, timing and duration changing with Lacrum’s mercurial winds. The complex of caves serves as an enormous wind instrument, creating a constant dull vibration throughout the center holds before building to an unnerving and deafening pitch at the exits. The Arrows regard the phenomenon as a sort of communion with Lacrum, interpreting their world’s wills, omens, and portents by its breath passing through their home.
I'd say "the". "An" implies there could be more.
Timing AND duration would seem to be redundant. Pick one (I'd recommend duration).
Also, an "its" before pitch (or instead of "with") would help, I think.
Wildlife is predominately of avian and reptilian nature. In both cases, the typical adaptation to Lacrum’s environment is either an evolution of bulk and strength to resist and push through the turbulent winds, or an evolution of nimbleness and grace to flow with it. Many species, such as the segmented centipede-like Whipbird and hulking Mammogoth of the lower slopes supply the majority of raw materials Lacrum’s native humans use to survive; bone, pelt, sinew, meat, scales and feathers.
I'd say "Lacrum's wildife is predominantly avian or reptilian. Adaptation to the planet's turbulent winds tends in two directions: either bulk and strength to resist the winds, or grace and nimbleness to flow with them. These creatures, made up of diverse species like the Segmented Whipbird and the Mammogoth, supply the majority of the raw materials Lacrum's natives use to survive."
There's a variety of reasons for that, which I will unpack if you really want me to.
The human population has adapted over the millennia in its own subtle way, a combination of the smallest of mutations lending them an evolutionary edge known colloquially as Lacrum’s Whisper. Primarily a product of an altered inner ear, a slightly enlarged nasal cavity, and a general heightened sensory sensitivity, the Whisper has allowed Lacrum’s natives to effectively function in the turbulent environment. Specifically, the population shares an abnormally acute sense of physical balance and sensitivity to temperature and barometric pressures. Aside from traversing the landscape, the most dramatic demonstration of the Whisper is in the archery based hunting of the Tribes. The humans have what looks outwardly like an unnatural talent for not only overcoming, but utilizing the Lacrum’s winds in their marksmanship, using a combination of advanced fletching techniques and the natural sensitivities of the Whisper to curve shots along crosswinds, updrafts, downdrafts, hot and cold air pockets, etc.. Although no marksman can ever hope to have a flawless record, it is not uncommon for a Lacrum arrow to change course several times in flight before striking the intended target.
Don't say etc.
You should probably cut one of the sets of details. It's a bit much.
The bit about "Although no marksman" is unnecessary. Start the sentence at "It is not uncommon".
The natives consider it a spiritual matter, given the lack of scientific measures or incentives to understand the phenomenon as a product of natural selection. It is known as the Whisper because Lacrum’s people, particularly the hunters, are taught from childhood to focus on the subtlest sensations to effectively utilize their higher level sense perception. Or, in native terms, to listen for Lacrum’s Whisper.
The middle sentence is weak - I recommend removal. I'd find a way to combine this paragraph with the previous one.
Oh, just say Combat Doctrine. It's a more useful term anyway.
* * *
Still good. You're a bit wordier than you need to be, and need to be cautious with your pronouns.
Edited by Octavulg, 27 February 2013 - 06:12 AM.