A Final word from the Author
Right, seeing as there were a huge number of reviews I got overnight, and I didn't have time to reply to them this morning due to having to go to school (bloody timezones) and, well this is all finished, this should probably be a reply to the ones all you lovely people left.
So…this is a little something for those of you who like to read the acknowledgements and so forth that you often find at the back of books. There's nothing here's that essential reading, but if this is the sort of thing that interests you, read on. There are a few people I need to thank here, both from the Black Library Bolthole and on Fanfiction. net, the two sites where I posted this up, and because I'm a lazy person I'm doing you both at once.
I'll admit that I'm a little shellshocked at actually having come this far; for a long while, finishing Angels of the Storm seemed to become more and more of an unobtainable goal as more ideas bloomed from it and not only hit Hammerhand's wordcount but eventually shot to more than one and half times its size with the end still a gook 30K words away, but here I am, writing this little note and worrying about not sounding too damn smug. And I couldn't have got here without you people.
First of all, a resoundingly huge thank you goes to Gaius Marius of the Black Library Bolthole forums, my longest-standing reader of this piece, who was there from chapter one and stuck with this the whole way through. Not only that, but I realise that his story, Imperator, gave me the idea of Yamzarat Machtoro's character, even though when I first introduced him I had all but forgotten it at the time. The subconscious is a funny thing like that.
Secondly, I want a shoutout to S058, Vermin-Lord, LunaticPandora1 and Warmaster Samiel for being a useful sounding board for ideas of this story even though they were under no obligation to respond to me to shouting random thoughts at them like an internet hobo. Also, thanks to my IRL friend Mack, who got the same treatment but, since it wasn't the internet I was talking to him on, also had to deal with the offensive smell and the occasional ballistic can of Special Brew, something for which I owe him greatly. Millennium hand and shrimp!
Third, thanks go to Ursakar, TheSGC and MalletMann for the truly humbling accolade of citing me as inspiration for some Mass Effect/40K crossovers of their own. If you want more Warhammery, Mass-Effecty goodness, then I recommend The Mission Stays the Same, The Tide of War (I've probably got that wrong, I'm sorry SGC, I don't have a net connection at the moment) and The Outsiders as the places to go.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who's taken the time to review, critique, or just say they liked it, along with the lurkers and followers who favourited and subbed this but chose to remain in shadowy silence like a mysterious legion of literature ninjas (God Emperor, I'm using weird similes right now). Now's a good a time as any to break that silence, guys! ;)
Finally, of course, I owe a great deal of gratitude to both Games Workshop and Bioware, without whom none of this would have happened. In particular, I feel I owe Jack Wall and his soundtrack which, when listening to while going on France with my family in the car, caused a thought to strike me which went roughly along the lines of; 'Hey, what if Commander Shepard was a Space Marine?' The rest, as they say, is history.
In short, I couldn't have done this without you guys. I owe you all big time for seeing me through the adventures of Malleus and his brothers and their war against the Reapers. Every one of the 299,259 words of this story I owe to you, you amazing, lovely people (except for you, Clive, you can frak right off).
Finally, all that remains to be said that, as far as things go, the story of Malleus Scandarum and the changed Mass Effect-verse that he has helped shape is now at an end. I have ideas for this, quite a few, and I have a feeling that right after finishing this I could open up a new document and start writing them straight away, but I won't; I'm leaving Malleus and the others to rest now. I wish him and the others the best of luck, and I'll remember him fondly, but there are other ideas I have and I feel it's time for him to step aside and allow them to take centre stage. He's had his hero's journey, he's learned the lessons of the events that unfolded around him, and it's time to move on.
CursedRogue and EvilAngel215, the Mass Effect/Bioshock and the 40K/Halo pieces I've promised are coming, but after I've got at least one more thing finished first, I'm afraid; four stories are a lot to write at once, even without deadlines, and with exams looming on the horizon I fear that they'd probably all lose out if I tried carrying that on. But worry not; arrive they shall.
So all that remains to be said is this; my version of Mass Effect 3's events is complete. My love letter to your games was completed in Hammerhand, and now the gauntlet is thrown down to you in Angels of the Storm. I'll be waiting for the 6th March, Bioware; my bar's been set.
So all that remains to be said is; may the Emperor protect, the Dark Gods annihilate your foes in fire and damnation, the C'tan grant you transcendence from the flesh, the Hive Mind consume and the Young Gods grant you peace and prosperity. Colonel Mustard signing out.