I can't tell you what a joy it was to paint this chap. He was a very welcome change from ordinary Guardsmen and he's very different to a lot of my other officers.
Having said that, I'm not very happy with some bits of the painting, mainly the breastplate. I tried to use the Gun Metal paint but it was a bit rubbish, it was more like glitter glue than a proper paint. I tried to recover him and to be honest he'll pass, but if I wasn't worried about loosing the detail I'd repaint it with good ol' Boltgun Metal.
I liked the new Ceramic White paint, unlike (it seems to me) the way Skull White needs about three coats to get decent coverage, this only needs one. Actually, after tinkering with the brightness and contrast for the benefit of decent pictures, the pistol looks like it could do with another coat.
As for fluff - inspired by some frankly excellent fluff by Zzzzz over at the Devos IV blog, I'm going to start doing fluff in narrative, fiction style. Here goes ...
Emperor damn it all!
The one time I score a bit of damn luck, and now this. I look sadly down at my chits - each one represents land or money - and I have nearly forty of them. A huge, crinkled, ruffled mess - each one crumpled from when it was disgustedly thrown onto the pile by its former owner.
I've never had a run like this before. I stopped counting the total wins, but the last eight hands have all been mine. And the next few will be as well - nothing ruins a winning streak like this, once it's started. I look round at the others. I try to see through the smoky atmosphere, past the giggling girls and the drunk soldiers. But no-one's interested. I could clear up enough here to buy out my time and leave the regiment, but first I need someone to beat. I realise my huge, toothy smile is not doing a lot to help my efforts - people mutter and move away when I catch their eyes. Those that aren't having their tongues sucked out by the girls or drowned by the cheap drink.
I'm angry. I'm drunk, yes, but mostly angry. I stand up so suddenly that I surprise everyone and everything around me. The chair is staggered and falls over backwards, clattering unnoticed onto the floor. The glass is taken by surprise and smashes to the floor, the last player I beat who's just standing up opposite flashes a shocked look at me. My legs are caught off guard by this sudden an unexpected display - all these events combine so that as I reach my feet, a hushed silence quickly descends. I stand there, oscillating erratically. Really should say something now.
"Is anybody ..." (I unsuccessfully suppress a burp) " still ... playing?" I try to speak casually, but the victorious, syrupy gloating drips from my words and elicits only a look of disgusted envy as the room prepares to pick itself up and move on.
But it can't.
It can't, because a new man has arrived. I don't see him step out from between the crowd, but that must be what he's done because now he's standing in front of me. "I'll play, son." He mutters, simply. He's an enormous man, a clear head taller than me and I was too tall to get into the Armoured Cavalry. His jaw looks chiselled - literally, it looks like someone's hammered it out of a piece of rock, leaving a squared appearance which is offset by an unattractive roughness at close range. His nose is crooked and one of his black, bushy eyebrows is cut in half by an old scar. He's fixed an unlit cigar between his teeth, and wavy black hair peeks out mischievously from underneath a field cap. He's not taken off a drenched poncho, and as he sits down to play and the room begins to move again, I realise he isn't going to. I smirk self-assuredly to myself as I flop back down into the empty space where my chair was.
* * *
If I'm lucky, my head feels this way because I'm dead. Or concussed. If it's like this because I was drinking last night, that means I have to go through a day on duty in the Company XO's office like this, rather than being buried or heavily sedated.
Damn. On two scores. Firstly: damn, I'm not dead. Secondly: damn, the memories of last night are beginning to trickle back and irrigate my barren, dehydrated consciousness. The money! My stomach feels like someone's knocked out whatever struts support it and it begins to sag in my chest cavity. All gone! How?! How could he win like that, after all that ... forty chits?!
I'm shaken from my already shaky thoughts by the sound of someone approaching the clerks' accommodation. Damn it again! I stand up far too prematurely and my brain rebels, punishing me with a swirling bubble of pain through my head. Those measured, neat footsteps - it can only be the XO. I look down, and realise that I'm still dressed from yesterday. Good - in that at least I won't greet the company second-in-command in my shorts - but the crumpled, stained uniform will tell him the story of what happened last night more clearly than the inevitable Provo's reports.
He swings into view round the door. I manage to force my arm into a salute, which the XO reluctantly returns. "Morning Corporal".
"Morning sir ..." A pause. How will this play out.
"I want you to book in a new arrival this morning, - " Thank the Emperor! Spared! " - one of the reserve officers. He'll be arriving any moment now. See that they get their company passes."
"Yes sir!" He pauses again, then turns to leave without saluting - but before I can pray my thanks to Him, he's replaced in the doorway by another man.
I know I should recognise him straight away - but it takes me a few seconds to actually recognise him. He's not wearing the poncho any more. He still has the cigar, which is a useful point of reference. But for some reason, he has lieutenant's shoulder straps on and is spinning an ungainly set of sunglasses around by the stem in one hand. "Lieutenant Denarius! Pleased to meet you - again!" But I ignore the jovially-outthrust hand. Every part of my body is utterly still - except for my lower jaw, which drops.
He ingores my inactivity and carries on. "Damnable weather this week, isn't it? Hasn't stopped raining for best part of a week! Anyway, first job Corporal - file these into my private account."
I can't believe it. He's opened a shining metal briefcase and showed me the same forty scraps of paper that very nearly spelled my way out of the Imperial Guard - plus a few more, and some cash as well. I look from the chits, to his face, back to the chits again. He's smiling an intolerable, gloating smile, embellished by a generous spread of gold teeth.
Emperor damn it all!
Anyway, thankyou all again for stopping by and having a read and massive thanks to Dai who very kindly donated him in the first place. Until next time!