Porky’s Expanse. I suspect many of you do so already, but I encourage you, all the same, to visit Porky early and often. You will always be pleased that you have done so.
One of Porky’s contributions to the HoA project was his month-long ‘geddon on it series (the link sends you to the compilation post but, again, I encourage you to stay a while and have a look around once you have settled in).
In retrospect, I fear that these last two posts could give the impression that inspiration simply landed on my lap and came together cleanly in one courteous swoop. It did not. I was initially fearful of the blank page, the open space, the unchartered landscape that I was meant to evoke. I spent a silly amount of time thinking about how the grand table would look once it was fully formed and how, exactly, the foothills of a hive should look in smaller pieces –and specifically those little details that might make this landscape look genuine …horrible, but genuine.
To this end, Porky was tremendous help.
The beauty of Porky’s project, as it was happening, is that it made a slow but hugely evocative trickle of imagery day by day by week by month. They allowed time for ideas to coalesce and images to form fully. When taken together, the narrative these fragments create is absolutely brilliant. When taken as individual snippets, I found myself latching on and returning to small sections of the poetic form, sometimes focusing on just a single image or word to help make the empty space become real.
Thank you, Porky.
I have reproduced here a selection of Proky’s poetic narrative fragments that I returned to with the greatest frequency. Of course, it is something of a crime to remove these pieces from the larger narrative they create, so again, I recommend you to Porky’s compilation of the narrative whole. Moreover, I have accompanied these sketches with “atmospheric” images that they helped inspire.
Day 5: Purpose
Supplies arrive from orbit, fill bays.
More than we can guard.
Citizens pilfer. Why? We come to protect.
Whence need on this productive world?
When they produce munitions, equip warriors well?
Day 14: Nurture
Blood drips. Ears ring.
The lowleveller looks back. They nod to each other; the man crawls away.
He alone carries the memory out.
Shadows crunch closer. She wishes they had spoken.
Day 17: Storm
The figures move, approach through the haze. Now? Why? The men murmur, unsure.
True intelligence... "Call off the strike!"
The drone rises, but the craft is deep in the sky, unheeding.
Day 21: Gain
The foe. They bellow.
Is it mourning? Speech? Offering?
He feels other than his masters, would willingly parley.
Why deny the truth?
When all feel pain, there is a common language.
Day 29: Action
He studies maps, deployments, desperate. The foe enters the City. The City rises against the defenders. And now...
They march in. He senses their discomfort.
He reaches for his sidearm.
These last two submissions were hugely inspirational at the time, but never made the direct reference on the table that I had desired. With the first, I had intended to create a lone, fried servitor at a window scene. Alas, the window idea was scrapped, and the servitor remains unpainted on my desk. For the second, I had actually built and painted quite a few large sections of GW barricades; however, once we saw the overwhelming number of models that would be placed on the tables, the barricades were set aside to make room for the staggering mass of troops already in the scene. Look for them in a future battle report.
Day 1: Mission
A world of wastes fills the window.
The servitor's mind whirrs. Where? Commander is displeased. Brush extends. Tension. Camera scans, veins swell.
A fuse blows. Embers sprinkle the deck.
Day 12: Resistance
Barricades span corridors.
Orators recruit across levels, from guilds, drones, gangs, even cults. Few smiles, little respect. But they join.
A lowleveller offers water. I thank him.
Barricades span. The City.
This will be my last HoA table post for the foreseeable future. Thank you for your support and encouragement.