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Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:15 am

"What? Really?" said Arlathan as he looked at me, his brow furrowed in disbelief.

I met his look, pursed my lips and shrugged, why was he looking at me for?

+Yes really,+ said Karmen. +I encountered another psyker in out of body form near to where the conduit was. We fought all over the hive, but I managed to get the upper hand and make the other psyker retreat. I was able to track it back to its source.+

"Did you get a positive identification of the psyker?" asked Brutis.

+No, but it was exceptionally powerful. One of the most powerful human psykers I've ever encountered.+

"Where was the source?" asked Wesley.

+I was able to find a location, he has set up shop in a large abandoned mansion complex. On the upper hive forty-five kilometres north-east of here. It is well but subtly fortified and crawling with mercenaries.+

Wesley sighed and facepalmed, "if we weren't so busy with our own war, we would've been able to stop him earlier."

"That I think he was counting on," said Brutis. "Now let's just hang on a second here, Karmen. How can we trust you? How do we know that you're not just leading us into another trap? Like the one we just went through?"

I folded my arms over my chest and frowned, finding I couldn't help but agree.

You do not, said Karmen. But I swear to you I am not lying, but as of now there is nothing else you can follow. So you have very little choice in the matter. We need to take this risk if we are ever to stop Edracian.

"This time we will be ready," said Castella.

I looked to Glaitis, she was now visibly brooding and glaring around the room at no one in particular.

A cold shiver crawled up my spine. I knew that expression, it reminded me disturbingly of my mother when she was having...problems. Had Glaitis finally snapped? She did just try to stab her longest-serving employee in the back, so perhaps so.

I decided to keep an eye on her, who knows what the hell she would do.

Suddenly her attention snapped to me, and I barely fought the urge to flinch away. Her cold blue eyes met mine, then again she was back glancing around the room.

I shuddered out a sigh, realising then how utterly terrified I'd been.

+Indeed,+ said Karmen. +Now we know of Inquisitor Edracian's capabilities we should be.+

I don't know about that, I thought.

Brutis and Wesley shared a look.

"Hmm," growled Wesley, stroking his chin. "I will concede your point I do feel we have very little choice in the matter."

"Still smells like a fething trap to me," said Brutis.

Wesley nodded, "I think at times a trap needs to be sprung to find anything. Look at what happened in the Underhive? Also, I have something else I should tell you. I sent out another communique. To another friend of mine, another Inquisitor, one who was also an Interrogator under Edracian. A woman named Jelcine Enandra of the Ordo Hereticus, I told her almost everything."

"You sound most upset about that," said Castella.

Wesley sighed and scratched his head, "a few years ago we had a falling out with her, and that is one of the reasons I think, why my master has lost his sanity. We found out she was a radical, one of the Attenlous Seculous philosophy."

I raised an eyebrow, that sounded a bit like my name. I also had no bloody idea what it meant.

Wesley saw me and shook his head, "Attenlous Seculous is a new and upcoming ideal within the Inquisition of the Calixis conclave. They believe that the holy Ecclesiarchy is a blight upon humanity and the Imperium. Believe we need to get rid of it entirely. She and my master almost came to blows over this, and we haven't been in contact with her since. He is a very religious man and despite being in the Ordo Malleus has deep ties within the Ecclesiarchy."

I hid a smile; I liked the sound of this Attenlous Seculous philosophy.

"Until now," said Arlathan.

"Indeed," said Wesley. "I am that desperate, I hope, I pray she will be able to get her to help in time. Even if she's still alive."

Castella nodded, "I understand, but at least now we know we've got someone, somewhere willing to help."

Wesley nodded as well, but still looked unconvinced.

"So what now?" I asked.

"I'd say it's obvious," said Brutis. "We attack Edracian's base as soon as we can."

He looked over at the Mimic as It was only just now climbing to its feet, trying shake away its dazed state.

"Finally, you're up," said Brutis. "We need to get moving; we'll need your mercenaries."

"Yeah, I heard," it growled, giving me an enraged look.

I just smiled back.

"Good!" Growled Brutis. "Hurry it up and get them organised then."

With a sigh, the Olinthre-thing deactivated the shield, activated his comm-link and began barking orders.

"So this is it," I said. "This could finally be the end to this farce."

Wesley looked at me wearily and said, "I think you were right before. This isn't the end kid; we're far from that. Edracian I doubt has done this alone. I think this is just the beginning."

Wesley, Arlathan and The Mimic were the first to emerge from the curtains, all three yelling orders at their respective underlings. The rest of us followed them in silence; I was smoking one of my last Lhos as I'd donated many of them to Castella, Hayden, Arlathan and even Darrance. We were all a bit spooked and needed something to help our nerves.

Glaitis had glared at me balefully as I'd given them out, by the Emperor I wished she'd go back to her old self.

Glaitis, Castella, Hayden, Darrance and I were the first in the elevator, and we began our descent, toward the bottom floor.

"Mamzel Glaitis?" said Darrance, uncertainly. "What are we to do?"

Glaitis didn't answer, she clenched her jaw and balled her hands into fists, and I instinctively reached for my sword.


"I heard you, Darrance!" she snapped suddenly. "Damn it I am not deaf!"

"My apologies, mamzel," said Darrance.

"Your apology means nothing!" she snarled. "You disobeyed my direct order! I told you to stand down!"

"And we did," stated Hayden calmly. "Once the situation was defused. We couldn't stand idly by while one of us was being threatened."

Glaitis turned her attention to me, her eyes wide with anger.

"One of us? One of us? Because of this foolish boys' decisions, this world may end! He is a fool and a coward who deserves to be threatened!"

My attention fell to the floor, unable to disagree with her on that.

"Yes," agreed Castella which hurt me more than It should've. "Yes he was, and yes he did, but I think after what he just did, he hasn't earned our forgiveness. He has earned our respect. He deserved to be stood up for, and I'd do it again without any hesitation. Despite all the foolish mistakes he's made."

Glaitis showed her teeth and shook her head, "I will have you punished for such insolence, how dare you! I am your-!"

"You know you cannot do that," said Hayden. "Do not threaten when you have nothing to back it up with."

Glaitis growled in rage and reached for her sword but found all three of them already had her covered with their own. Hayden using his auto pistol sidearm and Castella her sword.

"See what I mean," said Hayden. "And you tried to stab me in the back if it wasn't for Attelus. You would've killed me. Thank you, by the way, Attelus."

All I could manage was a wide-eyed nod.

"We disobeyed your order, sure," said Hayden, then his expression darkened. "But I am not sure that your orders deserve to be followed anymore."

She glared at him, witheringly.

"This is just conjecture, but I know you, Glaitis," he said, "and I bet you knew exactly what we were going into."

"I did not," she said, now icily calm. "That I swear."

Hayden smiled and shook his head, "I doubt that you have made plans that are impeccable, you seem to know things before they happen. You've guided us with this foreknowledge. How do we know that this was any different? How can we tell you're telling the truth?"

"I didn't," she said sounding more urgent now. "I didn't know."

"I have worked for you for decades, Glaitis," said Hayden. "Never had I had such loyalty to a superior before, but over that time my loyalty has been stretched thin. What we just went through was the last straw, how do we know you will perform another stunt like this, huh? Before you almost stabbed me in the back? Literally!"

"You disobeyed me!" she snarled, she then looked to Darrance with wide eyes.

"Saderth!" she said, and it took me a second to realise that must've been Darrance's first name, never had I heard it before. "Saderth help me."

'Saderth' shook his head, "I am sorry mamzel, but as much as it hurts me to say it, I am inclined to agree."

Suddenly Glaitis expression turned into one of pure rage, and her attention snapped to me,

"I see!" she snarled. "I see now that he's manipulated you against me! The child has manipulated you. Can't you see! He's using you! I bet he doesn't even know it! If anyone should have your-!"

"No!" interrupted Castella. "He hasn't; this was all you, I'm sorry Glaitis this is all you. I'm sorry."

I looked away from Glaitis' intense glare, unable to handle it anymore. I couldn't believe this was happening, never had I thought these three would feel this way. It came out of the blue that's for frigging sure.

Deep down, though I couldn't help but agree with Glaitis, perhaps I did manage to manipulate this? I clenched my jaw at that thought. Did I do it...subconsciously?

Just then the elevator found the bottom floor and with a ding! The doors opened, and we walked out. Glaitis still at gunpoint. There were a few mercs and other employees in the lobby who watched with great interest.

"Move on!" said Castella, waving her hands. "Nothing to see here!"

Hesitantly, they did as told.

"Castella. Darrance and I will take Glaitis back to her tower," said Hayden. "You and Attelus stay here and watch over the preparations."

Castella and I nodded acknowledgement.

Glaitis laughed, "what? Where will you put me in my tower? Seriously, Hayden? All the men who guard it are under my employ. I sign their paychecks they will let me out, that I assure you."

Hayden turned to her, his expression as hard as steel, "you will find, Glaitis that you might pay them, but they are loyal to me because unlike you I've bothered to talk to them, get to know them and think of them as more than pawns, that I assure you. Darrance, take her weapons."

Darrance nodded and did as told, telling Glaitis he was sorry over and over as he did.

"You two will be alright?" asked Castella.

Hayden nodded, "see you soon."

Castella and I watched them leave.

I was unsure what to say, still utterly shocked by what I'd just witnessed.

"You okay?" she asked after a few seconds.

"Yeah," I stammered. "I just can't believe that just happened."

She laughed, "yeah, I understand that. I'd be shocked if I was you too."

"Even Darrance," I said, and turned to her. "How the hell did you convince him to take part?"

"You must understand, Attelus," she said. "We have been working under her for much longer than you have. We have had the same concerns as you for a long time now. The incident in the underhive was, as the old man had said, 'the last straw.'"

I nodded, aware that Glaitis didn't actually know about the daemons, as it was blocked to Farseer Faleaseen's sight. I chose to keep that quiet, of course.

"How did I not know?" I asked. "How the hell didn't she know?"

Castella smiled, "we're just way better at hiding it than you. We better get moving, we've got a bit to do, still."

"Wait," I said. "I need to do something."

"What?" asked Castella.

I grinned, "I need to find my friends first."

I called Garrakson and Torris over my commlink, and we organised to meet at Vex's office in fifteen minutes.

"How will they feel about me being there?" Castella had asked.

I'd just shrugged and said, "they can deal with it, I'm sure."

Then I endeavoured to find the mail room, I'd never been actually in there before, but I'd walked past it once or twice, but if I was good at anything, it was finding places and locations. Not things though, finding and locating things that seemed to be something different entirely for me.

It only took me a few minutes to locate it, and as I entered, I turned to Castella.

"Is it okay if you stay out here, while I do this?" I asked.

Castella frowned, "only if you tell me what it is you're doing, exactly."

I sighed and glanced around the corridor, "this might be the end of the world, Castella. I need to organise us to make sure we have an avenue of escape. Just in case."

Castella raised an eyebrow, "so you want to save the people who work in the mailroom?"

I nodded, "one in particular."

"How?" she said. "Do you have a ship capable of warp travel hidden somewhere?"

"We do," I said. "Up in orbit."

Castella sighed, "yes, but..."

"But what?" I interrupted. "We can surely afford to take on a few more."

"Yes but that's not the point..."

Castella paused in her sentence as a few workers wandered by.

"Yes but that's not the point," she said. "Do you honestly believe that they will believe you? What are you going to do, go in there saying that the world's going to end? They won't believe you, and even if they do, they'd most likely panic with fear and even if they didn't what would you have them do?"

I frowned, "you're sounding uncharacteristically cynical, Castella."

"No I'm not," said Castella. "If anyone's being cynical it's you. I believe we can stop this, so I find this irrelevant."

I shrugged, "I don't think it is, I have to do this Castella. I want her to live. She deserves to live."

She rolled her eyes, "alright let's just say this person; she believes you and Omnartus is destroyed and she manages to escape with us. What do you think she'd do? Her world was just destroyed, all her loved ones dead. Everything is gone."

I saw where she was going with this and my attention fell to the floor.
"I have to try," I sighed.

Castella's expression hardened, and she opened her mouth to say something but stopped when the door to the mailroom suddenly opened.

An older man stepped out who was vaguely familiar to me. He frowned at us.

"We can hear you," he growled.

We just gaped at him stupidly.

"Get in here," he said with a twitch of his head.

We did as told, filing quickly into the large, brightly lit office and looking more than a little embarrassed. Three others sat at desks looking at us with scrutinising gazes.

One was Adelana; she sat the nearest. Her arms folded, her expression unreadable but her attention was firmly on me. The other two were a tall, lanky young man, not much older than me; he was looking at Castella with wide eyes, his jaw lolling dumbly. I couldn't blame him; Castella had that effect on me the first time I'd met her and I didn't think it often that an attractive woman wearing a very tight body glove would walk through his door. The other was an ugly weathered woman who may have been in her mid-forties, I couldn't be sure.

Again they were eerily familiar for me. My dream was now a blur I struggled to remember, in all honesty, I wasn't even trying to remember it.

"Adelana?" said the ugly woman. "Do you know these people?"

"Only one," she said quickly, she smiled at me. "Attelus?"

I smiled back, wondering if Karmen was watching this and dearly hoping she wasn't.

The old man sat at the desk next to Adelana, folded his arms and glared at me from under a hooded brow.

"Attelus Kaltos? You're Attelus Kaltos?" he said with a sneer, then he shook his head and muttered something about me being 'the scum of the 'verse.'

I clenched my jaw but let it slide, I deserved it, in all honesty. If he knew even half of what I've done, he'd think even lower of me, somehow. It also took balls to potentially insult someone so armed and armoured almost to their face. I couldn't help but feel a bit of admiration for him. He was just lucky I was so forgiving.

"Attelus Kaltos," said the woman. "You're quite infamous around here, after what you did to Vex. I have to say he is an arrogant little brat at times, but he didn't deserve that, no one deserves that. Can I ask you a question, young man?"

I sighed, put my hands behind my back and began to pace. I could think of quite a few people who deserved that. Myself being on the top of the list.

"Sure," I sighed. "Fire away."

"Why did you strangle a kid? I don't understand it. Why would you do that?"

I swallowed and stopped my pacing.

"I thought he'd betrayed me," I answered hesitantly. "We had an agreement, and I'd thought he'd sold me out. I let my anger get the better of me, and I regret it ever since."

The old man sneered again, "and I bet he bloody well didn't," he growled.

I shrugged, trying hard to keep the smile from my face, "as it turned out, he actually did."

Indirectly and unknowingly but theoretically he still did, the best way to lie is, to tell the truth.

The old man just smiled coldly and reclined back in his chair

Adelana frowned, "I heard, we heard about how Vex punched Attelus before so I think he got him back."

"Yeah!" laughed the old man. "I'd say it was least he deserved!"

"It was enough for Vex," said Adelana. "If it was enough for him, so it should be enough for us."

"Enough for you, anyway," said the boy.

"That's enough," said Castella. "My name is Castella Lethe; I am Attelus'..."

She paused and glanced at me, "colleague and there is much to tell you."

The old man laughed again, "another bloody merc, eh? You're all the damn same."

I clenched my jaw and took a step forward, "now can I understand how you can hate me, I really, really can," I said softly, " and you can insult me all you want and I'll let it slide, because, as you know, I deserve it, but don't you even dare insult her. She's done nothing. Now show her some respect and introduce yourself or I may make you do it. Okay?"

The old man very abruptly straightened in his chair.

"Grayhelt, Solvej, I'm the manager here, this is Seleen Gorret," he said, indicating the ugly woman, then the young man, "the kid's Velg Tevven and you already know Adelana Halgen."

"I do," I said with a smile, nodding again to Adelana, she smiled back and averted her attention to the floor. I managed to catch in the corner of my eye Tevven bristle slightly at that.

I pursed my lips shrugged to myself, fair enough, I thought.

"Mr Solvej," said Castella, "are you by chance, ex-guard?"

Grayhelt's eyes narrowed, "yeah."

Abruptly she unclasped her auto pistol sidearm from its holster and handed to him. Hesitantly he took it then she took three clips from the pockets on her belt and placed them on his desk.

'You do know how to use that, right?" she asked.

Grayhelt slammed a clip home and racked the slide with practised ease, "I do," he said. "Although it's been many years."

"We heard some of what you said," said Adelana, her large blue eyes wide with fear. "What in the God Emperor's name is going on?"

I sighed and slipped my hands into the pockets of my flak jacket, "we can't tell you much but, but..."

I trailed off, and yet again I sighed then glanced at Castella, who met my gaze.

Then an idea hit me.

"If and when anything happens," I said, starting to pace the room again. "Anything even slightly untoward, in the next few hours. Promise me, swear to me, that you'll go, without a second's delay, straight to Vex's office, and there you must stay until we come for you, understand?"

"Why?" asked Tevven.

"Because there you'll be protected, please promise me you'll do this," I said.

With wide eyes they shared glances.

"Uhh okay, sure," said Gorret.

"You're weirding me out here, Attelus," said Adelana, nervously.

"I'm sorry," I said, and tears suddenly welled in my eyes. "I'm sorry, Adelana. I didn't want this. I didn't mean for any of this. I'm so, so sorry. Please forgive me."

They looked at me with utterly confused expressions.

I sniffed, wiped away the tears and turned for the door, "please just do as I say."

Then I left.

Castella followed me out and side by side we started down the corridor. For quite a while we walked in silence.

"I see why you want to save her now," Castella said eventually. "She's pretty, seems nice too. I like how she stood up for you."

I didn't answer, just frowned.

"Speaking of which, I hope you are aware that I don't need you to standing up for me, right?"

I stopped and turned to her, "I'm sorry," I stammered. "I didn't mean to..."

She grinned, "don't worry I'm kidding! I thought it was sweet! That guy was a smug jerk; he deserved it. Thank you, Attelus Kaltos."

I grinned back nervously, "it's the very least I could do. After all, you've done for me, Castella Lethe."

She pouted and shrugged, "well it's a start I guess. You've still got a crap ton left to do before we finally break even."

We started to walk again.

"What will it take for me to make it up to you, Castella?" I said.

She smiled, "how about you helping stop the Exterminatus before it even starts. That'd do it."

I nodded, sounds about right, I thought.

We walked through the lines of cogitators toward Vex's office. I could see much to my relief the stormtroopers that the poor, deceased Olinthre had ordered to guard Vex was still there. Still ever stoic and disciplined. I couldn't do that, it'd bore the bloody hell out of me, and my mind would wander making me less attentive. That was yet another reason why I'd make a frigging terrible soldier. Despite what Garrakson and before him, Estella, claimed.

As we approached, I again glanced around the cavernous room, seeing the serfs were still at their cogitators, working attentively away. None sparing even Castella a glance and I couldn't help but wonder, were they all bloody eunuchs? Did they have no soul? No humanity?

I shook my head; I just couldn't comprehend it. I might be a ruthless killer, struggling to cling onto the last vestiges of my sanity but I'd much rather be that than anyone of them

We reached the entrance of the box office as one of the stormtroopers raised his hand, making us stop and activated his vox link saying.

"Attelus is here, but he has another with him named..."

"Castella Lethe," said Castella.

The Stormtrooper nodded and repeated her name into his vox, a second or two later he looked at me.

"Sergeant Garrakson asks if she can be trusted."

I smiled and said, "more than many, more than myself."

The Stormtrooper nodded repeated my sentence and after a few seconds, wordlessly waved us through.

The others parted to let us through, their potential emotions hidden behind their helms, but this close I could tell by their subtle body language they were bored and annoyed.

So they were human after all, more than the seemingly mindless automatons sitting at their cogitators anyway. That horrid, constant crashing of working cogitators must've been wearing on their nerves. Hell, it was hard enough for me to bear and I've only been in the room for a few minutes.

The poor bastards have stood around here for hours.

We finally entered the large, stark white box office finding Garrakson and Torris standing around while Vex sat, lazily typing at one of the many cogitators inside.

"You're late," growled Garrakson. "I hope you're aware we're about to move into another battle, right? Olinthre is ordering almost the entire contingent to move we don't have the time to wait around for you..."

"I know," I interrupted, raising my hands in compliance, "and I'm sorry, we had to make a detour on our way here. An important one."

"More important than this?" said Garrakson.

I said nothing, just clenched my jaw.

"Well it better have been bloody damn important," said Garrakson. "Anyway, what did you want to tell us, kid?"

I sighed, glanced at Castella then took the last Lho from its ceramic container and pulled out my lighter but was stopped as Vex suddenly shouted.

"No smoking! The smoke could damage the circuit boards!"

I frowned, fixed the kid with a withering glare, but still did as told.

"I see you've smoked through most of that pack, already," said Torris.

I shrugged, "gave out a few to my friends just before, but I am responsible for smoking the good majority."

Torris' already large eyes widened in mock disbelief, "Attelus Kaltos for once, actually sharing out his precious Lhos. Never thought I'd ever live to see the day!"

I sniggered and shook my head.

"Desperate times," I said.

Castella's sudden snorting laughter made me blanch and turn to her.

"I like this man, he's funny!" she exclaimed.

I rolled my eyes and slipped my hands into their pockets; she was back on her crazy side now.

Frigging great.

"Enough mucking about!" snapped Garrakson. "Attelus get your latest girlfriend in line, we haven't the damned time! And you too Torris!"
Garrakson turned back to me, his eyes hard, "why did you call us here?"

"Alright, alright," I sighed and glanced around the room, wondering where to start before it finally hit me.

"Jeurat, I was honest with you, I think it's about time you're honest with me."

Garrakson's brow furrowed in bemusement and he folded his arms across his chest, "what the hell are you on about?"

"Do you have access to Taryst's quarters?" I asked.

"What? No," he said.

"Really? Are you sure?" I said.

"No!" he bellowed. "I don't know what you're on about."

I smiled knowingly, "I know now of the relationship you and Taryst once shared, that you were both close."

Garrakson gaped and gave Torris a glance, "how did you learn that?"

I shook my head, "It's just one of the many, many truths I've learnt today. Now answer me, Jeurat. Now do you have access to Taryst's quarters or not?"

"How many times must I tell you!" he snarled. "I don't! Now tell me how you found out about that!"

I blanched, despite myself, pretty sure he was telling to the truth now. I'd asked because I still thought he might have gone back to Taryst's grotto to investigate the bunker. But it seemed that suspicion had been wrong.

It certainly wasn't the first time I'd been wrong, and I was pretty sure it wasn't the last.

He does, came Karmen's voice suddenly through my thoughts which made me flinch in fright. His retina is capable of opening the lock.

I opened my mouth to reply, but she quickly shushed me.

Only you can hear me now; I do not want you suddenly talking to yourself and making everyone suspicious. He still has access, but he doesn't remember it because Taryst had me erase that from his memory.

Typical, I thought.

I suggested that Taryst just change the password, but he refused. He wanted to keep Garrakson as it.

Or he could've just lied and said he changed it, I thought, then I felt a pang of sympathy for poor Garrakson. The person he loved had ruthlessly ordered his mind psychically manipulated just so he could keep a damn password. Taryst could you have been any more of a bastard?

"Attelus!" snarled Garrakson, knocking me from my reverie. "Answer me now!"

I sighed, "Jeurat, I'm sorry."

"Sorry? Sorry about what?" he demanded.

"You do have access to the bunker," I said. "You just don't remember it."


"Taryst, he had your memory of it erased," I said.

Suddenly Garrakson's eyes widened, and he straightened with a gasp. As I assumed Karmen brought back the memory as she'd done in the top of the tower a few hours ago.

"Jeu? You okay?" asked Torris.

"Yeah. Yeah I'm okay," said Garrakson. "I remember now; I just can't believe he'd do that to me."

I frowned and dropped my gaze to the floor.

"This world may be ending," I said. "Sooner or later it might be destroyed by exterminatus, that bunker might be our only way of survival."

"Exterminatus?" said Torris. 'How?"

"It's hard to explain," I said. "I don't have the time to explain it all, but..."

I hesitated, sucking air through my clenched teeth.

"It's not just that down there," said Garrakson. "There's also a ship we can use."

"A ship?" asked Vex.

"Yeah," said Garrakson. "A well maintained and fast system ship, we could use to escape."

He looked at me, his eyes watering, "Attelus, please tell me, I need to know. Taryst is dead, isn't he?"

All I could manage was a half-hearted nod.

Garrakson sighed, "I'd thought so. I'd known so. Now I won't ask the how or the why, but tell me this, did you kill him?"

I met his gaze, "no, I swear on my life. I swear I didn't kill Taryst."

Garrakson didn't say anything for a long time; he just studied me intently.

Finally, he straightened, "no you didn't, I didn't think you did."

I sighed, "I'm sorry."

Garrakson shrugged and sighed, "I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, there's nothing to be sorry about, kid. I just wished you'd told me sooner."

"I just thought..."

"Yeah, I'm sure you thought a lot of things, kid," he interrupted but sounded more sad than angry. "It's alright I'd have probably done the same if I was you. Thanks for telling me, at least."

I couldn't help but sigh with relief, pleasantly surprised that Garrakson was letting me off so lightly.

"I hate to ask this," said Torris, "but how long have you known?"

"Just today," I said, swallowing back the guilt.

Torris nodded and folded his arms across his chest, "I also have to ask. What's wrong with Olinthre?"

My eyes widened despite myself; it was only a split second before I controlled myself.

"I wouldn't know," I said, glancing at Castella to see how she'd reacted. She met my eyes but showed me nothing.

Torris smiled and shook his head, beginning to pace the room.

Garrakson shook his head as well and groaned, "you wouldn't know how long Taryst has been dead for?"

I clenched my jaw, "no."

"And still you lie, Attelus," Torris said. "Olinthre isn't himself, Taryst isn't himself, what the hell is going on?"

I froze in fright as it suddenly hit me, I was backed into a corner. Especially because Garrakson now knew he had access and the password.

I sighed and slid my hands into the pockets of my flak jacket. I had no choice I had to tell them. I had to tell them everything.

So I did, I told them everything. Well, almost everything.
Last edited by Adrassil on Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:17 am

It was a rushed, abridged version of what I'd seen and done over the day; everyone stared at me with abstract awe and disbelief, even Castella who I suspected to know a lot of it already looked taken aback.

I told of how I was kidnapped by Edracian and his Venenum temple agent, of my fight with Elandria and her tragic death at the hands of fake Taryst. Then of my horrific beating at the hands of the mimic, It's defeat and my findings of Olinthre's and Taryst's bodies. The pict I took of the dead Interrogator and my meeting with Karmen after she'd regain consciousness. The later meeting with Glaitis, then our talk with Wesley all over less than ten minutes. Never was I interrupted, everyone just stood in silence and let me talk. Every so often Karmen's voice would filter through my thoughts suggesting that I shouldn't say this or that but each time, I ignored her.

The only things I neglected to tell was of Faleaseen's influence over me and how I'd almost turned into a daemon in Brutis Bone's hideout. Otherwise, I didn't hold back. Once I'd done it took everyone a few minutes to process it all.

"I had no idea," stammered Castella, she was the first to speak. "By the God-Emperor, I had no idea."

I looked at her, suspicious, wondering exactly how much I'd told that she'd 'no idea' of, but refrained from asking.

"So your master is responsible for everything?" said Torris, his usually deep voice high-pitched with anger and disbelief. "She and that Thing that's now masquerading as Olinthre?"

I nodded and clenched my jaw, seeing I had allies that wanted vengeance on Glaitis as much as me.

In all honesty, I wasn't sure that was a good thing or not.

"Did you know anything about this?" Garrakson demanded, glaring at Castella under a hooded brow.

Castella raised her hands in deference, "no! I swear I knew nothing, besides what Attelus mentioned me in!" she stammered. "I had already said I didn't."

"You'd better be telling the truth," he growled. "If I find out otherwise, I will..."

"You'll what, Jeurat?" I interrupted. "If you try to do anything to her you'll have to go through me first."

Garrakson grimaced an ugly expression, "typical bloody Attelus. You'd do anything for a pretty face."

I shrugged, "perhaps so," I admitted. "But my threat still stands."

He hissed air through gritted teeth then spat on the floor, I expected Vex to protest, but the boy didn't move or say anything. Seemingly too shocked for words.

"Calm down, Garrakson," I said. "Don't make me regret telling you this."

"I'll kill that bitch!" he snarled, and I truly hoped he meant Glaitis. "I'll frigging kill her, I swear!"

"You're angry, and I understand!" I snapped. "But she was also responsible for the death of the one I loved as well. We're both in the same boat here! You lectured me earlier on how I can't control my emotions, don't make yourself a damned hypocrite!"

Garrakson said nothing, just spat again and began to brood.

"You'll get your vengeance," I said with a smile, despite myself. "Now isn't the time, though."

I caught Torris' look then; he regarded me with suspicion. I ignored him.

"So, what do we do now?" stammered Vex, and now more than ever I was reminded just how young he was.

"We do what we were always going to do," I said. "Stop Edracian and the Exterminatus."

"Will that be enough, though?" said Torris. "What the traitor Feuilt had said hinted there was someone else out there."

I shrugged, "don't know. We will worry about that later, right now I suggest we get ready for the fight ahead."

"You think it's another trap?" asked Garrakson, looking like he was calming down now. My words were harsh, I knew, but for a tough ex-guard vet like him, it needed to be.

I smiled, "of course it is."

"This time we'll be ready, though," said Torris. "Jeu, you got any more ammo for your autocannon?"

"I do, I do," said Garrakson. "Got some more from the armoury a while back, you think we'll encounter more daemons, kid?"

"Don't know," I said with a shrug. "Hopefully not."

"I will pray there aren't," said Garrakson with a heavy sigh.

I frowned, not like it'll make any difference, I thought but said nothing.

"As will I," said Castella, looking to me and she frowned grimly.

"So what now?" Garrakson said. "This changes everything, Attelus. Now I have to take orders from a fake Olinthre? Not just that but a Xenos? Also while knowing it is responsible for the deaths of not just Taryst and Olinthre but Colonel Barhurst as well?"

I clenched my teeth and glanced at Torris, seeing his expression was of cold anger. Then to Vex who looked more terrified than anything, they all had one thing in common, everyone was looking at me for guidance, for reassurance.

For leadership and in all honesty I didn't mind. I felt clear-headed and confident. It felt right; perhaps I was a leader

I sighed and shook my head, "yeah," I said softly. "Yeah, you will, Garrakson. It's hard, I know. But now, my friend isn't the time. We need to stop Edracian, and we need 'Olinthre' to do that. We must put aside our personal vendettas for now. We will get the opportunity after all this. Okay?"

Torris smiled, "Attelus Kaltos, ever pragmatic, aren't we?"

"Always," I said with a grin.

Before anyone else could make a response, Garrakson's commlink suddenly shrilled.

"Garrakson here," he said, and his disgusted grimace immediately after made it obvious the Olinthre-thing was on the other end.

"Yeah, yeah got you. We'll be right there," he said before cutting the link, and he turned to us. "Me and Torris have to go meet 'Olinthre' in the vehicle depot. Looks like we'll be moving soon."

I nodded and placed my hands behind my back, "well, let's go then, shall we?" I said.

We left Vex at his office with his guards and followed Garrakson through the building, moving among the constant hustle and bustle of activity throughout, many were Merc squads like ours, running to and fro with full combat gear. Some were carrying bits of flak board and other siege equipment. Smart, we never know what might happen, we could be attacked here easily. I wondered whose idea it was, most likely Brutis Bones' or Wesley's. I doubted it was the Olinthre-thing or Arlathan.

Along the way, we stopped briefly at the armoury so Garrakson could retrieve his Autocannon. Torris and I grabbed a combat shotgun each, knowing it'll be useful in what was sure to be yet another fight in a closed, confined space. I also took three frag grenades, three Krak grenades as well as five clips of manstopper rounds for my auto pistol and three dumm dumm clips, just in case.

Garrakson and Torris never stopped and talked this time with the many other mercs walking the corridors, just exchanged respectful nods or salutes. Thank the Emperor; it reminded me of the old days. When we'd have to walk through that alleyway and Garrakson with the rest would stop to talk with seemingly everyone along the way.

Much to mine and Elandria's choler.

I frowned at the thought of Elandria, and I wondered for the hundredth time why Edracian wanted her body off world.

I shook away the thought.

It took us a good ten minutes to reach our destination.

The vehicle depot was huge, at least thirty metres in length and fifteen in width. Taking up three stories of the northern side of the tower. Housing what must've been dozens of vehicles. Everything from limousines to light military trucks.

It was like the rest of the building a complete hive of activity as dozens, and dozens of mercs filed into their transports.

Waiting for us at a balcony overlooking the brightly lit depot was Brutis, Wesley, Olinthre and Arlathan. They turned to face us as we approached.

"Well, well," said the Shapeshifter with a smug smile that didn't suit Olinthre's face. "I didn't expect you'd come with so much company! Castella, Torris, Attelus."

It said 'Castella' and 'Torris' with a welcoming tone when It came to me its eyes narrowed, and it growled my name through gritted teeth.

I just smiled and nodded.

Garrakson eyed Olinthre with barely concealed contempt and I only just fought back the urge to cringe. He was a soldier, one with a good head on him. But he lacked the extensive training in acting and subterfuge that Castella and I went through, that it'd went through.

It eyed Garrakson up and down, then gave me a knowing grin.

Perhaps on hindsight, it was a bad idea for all of us to come here. I just wanted to keep an eye on Garrakson, see if he gave anything away. Which he did, of course, but at least I knew that It knew. I guessed that was something.

Arlathan approached and handed Garrakson a data slate.

"That contains the schematics of Edracian's mansion," he said. "Got it from the arbites."

I frowned, doubting they'd still be applicable, but you never know.

We watched as Garrakson scrolled through them, it was a huge, ten story, sixty by thirty building. It was full of wide corridors that twisted and turned to an almost labyrinthine extent. It looked like it'd been built for the specific intent of being extraordinarily defensible.

"Hmm," I said. "Any idea why the place was abandoned?"

Arlathan smiled, "fifty years ago it was occupied by a very wealthy, well-known family. The Dalinetates, it'd been in their name since the place was first built. Over two hundred years ago-"

"And let me guess," I interrupted. "Someone, either the patron at the time or one of his closest kin dabbled in forbidden knowledge and thus got the Inquisition on their arses. The family were declared as heretics and executed to a man. Am I right?"

Arlathan grinned and nodded, looking genuinely impressed, "yeah pretty much. The place has been said to be accursed and abandoned ever since. Many local legends surround the place like a bad smell."

Torris furrowed his brow in bemusement, "why wasn't it destroyed, then?"

Arlathan pursed his lips and shrugged, "your guess is as good as mine, my friend. Who knows, only the Inquisitor who ordered the purge I'd say. Who that was wasn't recorded in the database, of course."

I sniffed.

"The place looks seriously built to be defended," said Garrakson. "What's the plan to crack this nut?"

Brutis Bones grinned, and stepped forward, "the good old-fashioned way, surround the bastard, break it open then storm it."

I looked at the schemata again and the ten-metre tall adamantium walls that stood a good six metres out from the building itself.

"What about the wall?" I asked.

Brutis, looked at Castella and me, "that's where you creepy stealthy types come into play. We'll provide a distraction with the bulk of the force, while you slip in and plant the explosives on the wall. One of you for each side."

I furrowed my brow, instantly seeing a problem with the ploy. "It's already been established he has a psyker on his side, surely it'd detect our approach?"

That is where I will come in, came Karmen's voice through my mind. I will distract the psyker as our soldiers will distract theirs.

"Karmen," I said. "Do you think the psyker knew you followed them?"

I am under the impression it didn't, and I am pretty sure.

"Anyway," said Brutis as he opened one of the pouches on his belt and pulled out a small device, no larger than the palm of my hand. "If you're so worried about psychic detection, you can borrow one of these babies, psy-jammers. Throne agent issue. I've got five of them, one on me the other four for you, kid, Castella and the other two. Where are they now anyway?"

Castella and I shared a glance.

"Taking care of business," she said, which made the Mimic give her an intrigued look. "But they'll be here soon."

"We're here now," said Darrance as he and Hayden approached us.

Brutis frowned and handed us a psy-jammer each.

I suspected I wouldn't need one, but took it nonetheless. Not wanting to look even more suspicious.

"I'm placing a fething lot of trust on you," Brutis said. "Once we're through with this siege. I expect them back and in one fething piece. They're damn expensive pieces of equipment. If you even scratch it, I'll hunt you down and feed you to my pet wolf. Especially you, Attelus."

I frowned and furrowed my brow, why me, especially?

In response Castella grinned then nodded understanding, Hayden made no expression at all and Darrance just smiled smugly.

"I've already sent some men to scout out the area," said the Mimic. "We should be hearing back from them soon."

I sucked air through clenched teeth, "that's if they're not dead already."

Castella rolled her eyes, "Attelus, ever the optimist."

I shrugged.

"You two, do you know the plan?" said Brutis to Hayden and Darrance.

Darrance nodded and tapped the microbead in his ear, "yeah we heard. Castella had us connected over her vox. So we could hear the entire thing."

I stiffened, despite myself and glared at Castella, did she do that while I told them of what's happened?

She met my look and shook her head slightly.

Clenching my jaw and I looked back at the Mimic, seeing it watching us still. It's expression now unreadable.

Brutis frowned, looking like he didn't approve, but nodded nonetheless.

"Alright," he said. "We've got one, and only one shot at this. So we can't mess this up! And time isn't on our side! We'll begin the attack in two hours. I need you four there first so you'd better be moving soon. You've got ten minutes to get ready, so hurry it up."

"We are ready," said Darrance. "We will leave now."

Brutis' brow furrowed, and he pursed his lips, "fair enough. The vehicle numbered two-two eight has been set aside for your transport."

Without ceremony, Castella, Darrance and Hayden nodded then started toward the stairway leading into the depot. I could hear Darrance mutter something about 'who died and put him in charge.'

I went to walk after them but stopped as Brutis said my name.

With a smile, Brutis dismissed everyone else then he and Wesley approached me. The Inquisitor's heavy footfalls clanged across the metal deck.

"You're good," he said, bluntly. "I saw you and that Castella woman fight the daemons back at my base. You're good; I am indeed impressed. I've met many an acclaimed swordmaster who is twice your age but hold not even half your skill."

I stood, bemused by this sudden praise, "uhh, thank you," I said hesitantly.

"Yeah, I would get you to join my band, but there's one small, tiny problem," he said, and his eyes narrowed. "I don't like you."

I frowned and realised I should've seen this coming.

"I know your kind, manipulative, scheming, arrogant. Smart arse little bastards like you I have no time for," he said on. "You may have everyone else fooled, but not me."

He clenched his jaw, "I know what you did up in Taryst's grotto. You led the conversation, made me have to confront you about your miraculous healing then because you knew your allies would stand up for you."

"I-I don't," I stammered.

Brutis shook his head, "do not even attempt to deny it, I see potential in you young man. But with those with potential, if they live long enough to live up to it. Can only be bad or good for the innocent people of this great Imperium. There is no in between, isn't that right, Wesley?"

Wesley nodded, "usually I'd be averse to such black and white thinking, but in this instance, I make an exception."

Brutis smiled and turned back to me, "I really should kill you, but I am not sure I can and even if I did succeed. I'd then invite the ire of all the 'friends' you've manipulated onto your side."

His face turned grim, "all that I say, Attelus is this; don't make me regret letting you live. Because if you do live up to that potential and it is any way harmful to this Imperium, to my Imperium of mankind. I will hunt you down, and I will make sure you die the most painful death you can imagine. Do I make myself clear?"

All I could manage was a wide-eyed nod.

"Good!" he said, back to being friendly in the blink of an eye. "That is all, you better not keep your allies waiting any longer."

Again I nodded and drunkenly turned to walk away, not exactly sure what to make of that.

+He really sees straight through you, doesn't he?+ said Karmen.

"Shut up, Karmen," I growled as I began to descend the stairs.

It was early morning, five thirty local time according to my wrist chron to be exact and during this time of year, it should've been sunrise. Not that you can tell for shit with the constant smog covering the sky above in black.

Have I said I hated hive worlds already? Well, I do, whether they're Malfi or Scintilla or Solomon, I frigging hate them. I guess growing up on a more liberal, progressive agri world like Elbyra would make one that way.

I stopped, and swiftly, smoothly sidled into the shadows. One of my knives now drawn and clutched tightly to my chest.

Two figures emerged from around the next corner, mere shadows walking through the constant smoke.

I clenched my teeth and waited as they walked toward me, and it didn't take long for them to come into view. They were a pair of ragged, beaten locals sporting thick grey, wiry beards and wearing torn old trench coats. Dregs, scum, the lowest of the low, this was one of the few parts of the over hive their kind could inhabit. But something about them seemed off, they moved with a little too much confidence for my liking and looked too much to be the 'atypical' homeless person.

I wondered just how many of the locals living around here were Edracian's goons in disguise I also pondered if any had seen the scouts sent by the 'Olinthre' and reported it back to Edracian already. Not that it'd matter any, he already knew we were coming; he had to know.

One thing also gave them away, they weren't talking, only walked silently, surveying their surroundings with a subtle zealousness I couldn't help admire.

They didn't see me, though as they passed by barely a metre as I crouched in the shadows.

Once they were out of earshot I whispered; "Karmen? Can you read their minds?"

+No, I cannot,+ came her reply. +If I expended more power, maybe so. But I will be at risk at being detected then. Usually, it wouldn't take me so much even when I'm at this far range it would be a safe bet to say their minds are blocked.+

I smiled and shook my head, "of course they are, oh how I love being right. By the way, I have a bone to pick with you."


"If you can use your powers so far and so effectively from your body, why did you need to go to the Twilight bar at all? If you'd stayed behind you wouldn't have fallen into Glaitis' trap."

She sighed, +that mission may have required my full strength, we didn't know exactly what we were going into and also...also.+

"Also what?"

Also, I was ordered to eliminate you and your three acquaintances once we'd secured Brutis Bones. That would've required my full strength, I am sure. I would be with you now if I could be.

"Hmm, makes sense," I whispered, feeling unsurprised in all honesty, I had rejected Taryst's offer to join his organisation, that would've been my punishment if all had gone according to his plan. Good thing it hadn't.

"Tell me, Karmen would you've killed me?"

She sighed again, no I would've tried my best to take you alive, I swear.

I clenched my jaw, unsure whether to believe her or not. But without a further word, I was moving again, quietly but quickly and keeping low so my shade wouldn't show in the smoke. I had a print out of the map of the area in my pocket, but I didn't need it. My sense of direction as innate as always led me through the maze of hazy alleyways. Having to stop six times more to sulk in the shadows as more "locals" passed by before I finally found my designated destination. Allotted by Hayden who'd marked it with an "X" on my map.

A three-story, old and long abandoned restaurant, set in a "T" junction as it met the main road. By and far not the tallest building that towered about and that was precisely why it was chosen.

I walked up, checking my sides while trying not to look too suspicious and checked the door. Found it unlocked and quickly I slipped into the darkened interior, silenced pistol drawn and raised in my right, a throwing knife in my lowered left hand.

The place was an utter mess, old torn ruffled paper browned with age laid scattered all around. Immediately a state of melancholy fell over me; the building would've been nice fifty years ago. Tables and chairs scattered everywhere, rusted broken, beaten, turned over or against the walls. The air was thick with moisture and the strong stench of rot making it hard to breathe.

Trying not to gag, I moved silently through the mess, careful to keep an eye out for anyone hidden in the shadows.

I ascended the wide, worn stairway, up to the first floor, finding it much the same as the ground and as was the second. The third was much the same but had a large porch facing eastwards for what I'd cynically call the "view." I made sure to check every inch of every floor, the kitchen, behind the bar everywhere, just in case. The odds of anyone being here were high; if Edracian could see the future, he could know I was going to be here.

But there was nothing, no sign that anyone had been near the place in months. I wasn't sure whether to like that or not. As quickly as I could, I set the invisible laser trip alarms, one at the front door, another at the top of the third story staircase and switched their signal to my comm link's channel. They were given to me from Hayden on the drive over, courtesy of Glaitis very' personal and very illegal arsenal. Of course.

Eventually, I ascended the staircase leading to the roof. Like every other roof in this hive, it was flat with a thick rockcrete buttress around the edge. But there were even more tables and chairs scattered about. The seven to eight-story buildings all around towering overhead like very tall, disapproving parents scolding a four-year-old.

I smiled at the terrible simile and crouched down near the west-facing wall allotting me a good view of Edracian's, building, about a kilometre through the rockcrete forest. It was an excellent choice on Hayden's part, as it gave me a good view but not too good so that I could be seen. The Edracian's base was, as per the schemata a big, grey, unappealing rectangle, but one I could admire, I was never a fan of anything overly ostentatious and fancy. I looked at it through my scope, activating the low light vision and could make out quite a few guards patrolling the wall and court-yard, I counted twelve on this side at least. Every one of them making no effort to disguise they were carrying an assortment of solid projectile and las rifles and wearing armour.

"In position," I hissed over the vox.

"Good work, Attelus," Hayden's voice crackled. "Although I'm sorry to tell you, you're the last to get there."

I frowned, unsurprised but suspecting that none of the others had been so thorough in checking their areas. In this galaxy, paranoia seemed more a positive attribute than negative. In some ways, anyway.

"What have you found?" he asked.

"About a dozen guards on my side," I reported as I panned my scope, checking if anyone was in the other buildings, I'd positioned myself where even those with the higher ground would find it hard to see me, but it was good just to check, you know, just in case. "Eight on the wall, four in what I can make out in the courtyard. It seems Edracian has thrown out all discrepancy. All the windows have been boarded, and I can't see any signs of life in the buildings about."

"Encounter any "locals" on your way there?"

"Yeah, eight total, patrolling in pairs. Blatantly scouts. I'm surprised Edracian would allow such sloppiness from his peons."

"Or we're just that good," said Hayden, sounding uncharacteristically smug. "Did you take them out?"

"No," I said. "Killing them might've triggered some sort of psychic alarm or some such. Karmen also told me they'd been mind blocked, so it's pretty much confirmed. They're Edracian's goons."

"Good thinking," said Hayden, "great minds think alike and that crap. Alright, we've got three-quarters of an hour before the rest of the force arrives. We've still got to scout forward and check for traps and more patrols. Report back once you've done. Good work and watch your six."

I smiled about to make a retort but said instead, "thank you."

"You're welcome, kid, just remember you owe us. You owe us big."

Then he cut the link.

"Fair enough," I sighed.

The attack came, surprisingly enough, straight on schedule. Two thousand total of Brutis' Hammers, Arlathan's Magistratum Enforcers and "Olinthre's" mercs advanced on Edracian's mansion-fortress from the north, south, east and west.

Using the intelligence gathered by my allies and me, they killed Edracian's scouts. I watched as they exchanged fire from the buildings around and listened to the comm chatter. In total, the scouts lasted a good ten minutes before they were finally overwhelmed and killed. We lost seventy-eight men, most of whom were Brutis Bones' goons, they only lost twenty-five. I shouldn't have been surprised; they were Throne agents. Although I was sure that me, Darrance, Hayden and Castella could've taken them out without losing even one of us. But the strategy depended on our information and the enemy not knowing of our presence.

Brutis had made this decision, perhaps knowing he'd lose more men or perhaps he'd underestimated the capabilities of Edracian's forces. I doubted it was the latter. That seemed a little callous to me.

The Magistratum were the first to arrive, in their armoured vans and formed a cordon on the streets around the place. The Enforcers stormed out the back doors, exchanging fire with the forces on the wall as they moved to secure the nearby buildings for cover. Both the mercs and Brutis' men were soon after. The roar of battle was deafening, the flashes of fire blinding even from this distance. I didn't need to listen to the comm to know the forces on the wall were wreaking utter havoc on them. The casualties were mounting and mounting for the first few minutes of combat. Quickly, I counted the enemies on the wall. There were fifty, now. Ten of which crewed on five mounted heavy stubbers, that had been quick, professionally deploying mere seconds after the main force's arrival.

I clenched my teeth, trying to fight the cold fear creeping up my spine. Never had I ever been so near such a large-scale conflict before. Even from so far, it was terrifying, but this couldn't qualify even as small on the overall scale. I'd heard of forces of hundreds of thousands, or sometimes, even millions fought one another, on battlefields from one edge of the galaxy to the next, every day.

It made me feel small, insignificant, even more than usual and not just that I was expected to plant an explosive on that wall somehow and make it out the way before it exploded. It was suicide, sure as hell suicide. Brutis Bones wasn't asking much, wasn't he? He was putting a hell of a lot of faith in us, too much in my opinion. All it'd take was one wild stray round, coming from either side, bullets didn't tend to discriminate, to end it and there was a shit ton shot down there.

No wonder so many needed to believe their Emperor protects them if they had to fight through so many conflicts such as this and now I understood in all honesty. Even now I still didn't and even when I got down there, I still wouldn't. I knew no good god would want to spend even a second to help me. I wouldn't deserve their help, and I didn't want it nor did I need it.

Suddenly, I saw a soldier who was shooting one of the heavy stubbers head explode in a shower of brains and blood which coated his allies around in crimson. That was Hayden, no doubt working his magic. I wished I had a Long Las so I could do something to help, not just crouch, watch and wait, not that I'd be all that good at it.

The fight was intensifying, now the besiegers had secured all the surrounding buildings, and a few of the armoured vans had advanced further to provide better cover for the many on the ground.

The enemy casualties were increasing as the attackers gained better angle on the defenders, but they were still holding, with calmness and discipline that I couldn't help but admire.

And envy.

I sighed my teeth on edge and wishing that despite the danger, I'd get the order to move soon.

That was when my microbead chimed, making me flinch in fright again. The tune indicating someone tripped the lower laser. I stiffened, unslung my shotgun and quickly slipped aside the doorway.

Another followed the first chime in quick succession, only two, I could handle that, maybe. If there weren't more and the others had just managed to dodge the laser.

I started hearing footsteps, somehow heavy enough to hear over the din of battle.

"Kid," came Garrakson's voice over the vox. "We're approaching your six; it would be appreciated if you didn't shoot us."

"Garrakson?" I whispered, wide-eyed with surprise.

"Yeah, it's me, kid," he said. "Me and Torris and before you ask, neither of us are shapeshifting, Xenos arseholes, we're here to help."

The second trip laser went off.


"Kid we know what mission you're on, we wanted to help you out, make sure you get through it."


I stopped my sentence as Torris and Garrakson stepped on the roof. Garrakson still with his Autocannon and Torris with his shotgun.

"But, but Brutis' ordered me to go alone," I stammered.

Torris shook his head, "don't really care, we're with you. You've done enough alone already."

Garrakson grinned, "besides I'm the explosives expert it just wouldn't be right if I weren't there."

I nodded and laughed nervously, "if I may be cliche. Like the old times, eh?"

Torris tilted his head, "like the old times, eh," he echoed in good humour. "Kid you may have a very, very long list of issues and character flaws, but despite that we like ya. For some reason, I can't think of yet, but maybe we'll live long enough to figure that out one day."

"Doubt it," said Garrakson, grinning.

I grinned back, "thank you. Despite everything I've done, thank you."

Just then my microbead beeped.

"All infiltrators, advance," said Brutis.

"Time to go, kid?" said Garrakson. "You ready?"

I stood with wide eyes and looked at the battle down the road, realising I was far from ready.

"As ready as I'll ever be," I sighed.

"Stick with us kid," said Garrakson. "You'll be fine."

"Okay, thanks guys, I...I really appreciate, this. I do."

Then we were moving.

We jogged the kilometre, well Garrakson and Torris jogged, I walked quickly to allow them to keep up. It took us a good six minutes to reach the battle zone. The sights and sounds were somehow becoming brighter and louder than before. The blood thundered in my ears and heart lodged in my throat, making it hard to breathe.

We were all fit, but Garrakson still struggled, his Autocannon must've been a good forty, fifty kilograms. I knew I could barely lift that big bastard, let alone run a kilometre with it.

Actually, on second thought, perhaps I could.

Finally, we arrived at the cordon of, finding two Magistratum armoured vans blocking the way and twelve enforcers standing guard. One of them being Arlathan Karkin who looked at us with watery eyes and seeming even paler and tired than before.

"Hey," he said. "You're here. Good, I'll send out the word, and we'll get started."

I didn't reply, feeling the corner of my mouth twitch, honestly surprised he didn't make a snarky comment on us being late or something along those lines.

"He's here," said Arlathan. "Are the others in position?"

Arlathan nodded to the reply I couldn't hear.

"Yeah, okay," said Arlathan, who cut the link and looked at Torris and Garrakson. "And what are you two doing?

"We're going with him," said Torris with finality.

Arlathan nodded and said, "then I'm going too."

I couldn't hide my surprise.

Arlathan sighed, "I need to do this, I messed up, bad and..."

"Yeah yeah, blah blah blah," interrupted Garrakson as he walked on. "You want to make up for your earlier cowardice and incompetence. I've heard it all before."

Garrakson walked past, "you and the kid seem to have a lot in common."

He grinned and looked over his shoulder at us, "now, you coming or what?"

The four of us stuck to the shadows as we advanced and I had to fight the urge to cover my ears from the constant roar of battle. We stopped at the side of the closest building, pushing our backs against the wall.

"As much as I appreciate you guys coming," I said. "I think you'll just slow me down."

"We'll be right behind you," said Torris.

I sniggered, "I doubt that."

"I won't," said Garrakson, hefting his autocannon with a grin pointedly.

Arlathan shook his head, "you have the bomb ready?"

I nodded and pulled it from its pouch on my belt, "push this button here, right? Tear off the adhesive and plant it against the wall. I've got ten seconds to make it clear before it blows."

Arlathan nodded.

"Can I have a look?" said Garrakson and I handed it to him.

He studied it intently for a few seconds and fiddled with it a bit before giving it back.

"Now you have ten seconds," he said.

My blood turned to ice, "what?"

Garrakson shrugged, "your timer was actually set to five, who gave you this?"

It was the Olinthre-thing, he'd given us the explosives just before we'd left and with a shaking hand, I activated my vox.

"Castella! Hayden! Darrance! Check the timers on your bombs!"

Their confused replies chorused through the vox.

"Do it! They may've been timed to five instead of ten seconds! Do it now!"

I cut the link before they could reply and snarled a curse; I should've checked I should've suspected something! Why didn't we check the timers? I could only thank goodness Garrakson had looked.

Arlathan looked at us confused, "what the hell?"

Suddenly a thought chilled my bones, and I looked at Garrakson then activated my comm link to "Olinthre's" channel.

"What do you want?" came Olinthre's voice almost immediately. "I'm in the middle of a frigging firefight. I-!"

I clenched my jaw and cut the link.

"You ready?" asked Arlathan.

I nodded, hesitantly while fighting the fear roiling in my guts.

Arlathan activated his link, "he's ready, are all the others ready?"

He nodded and raised his hand, "all forces providing cover fire in five, four, the, two, one! Go! Go!"

We were then around the corner and sprinting, sprinting into a hell I had never known before and would never forget.

I covered my ears and clenched my teeth as I ran through the gunfire, even then the roar of the combined cover fire was horrific. The blaze of light would've been blinding if I hadn't closed my eyes and it left afterglows on my retinas.

It was a good fifty-metre space to the wall, it mustn't have taken me more than a few seconds to sprint the distance, it was a disorienting, sickening hell of light and sound. I could barely see even a metre in front of me. It took me the entire time I screamed; I didn't figure this out until I finally reached the wall. I saw the big blank grey wall approaching only in the very last second; I only managed to slow down slightly twisting so I hit shoulder first instead of the face first before I hit it, hard. I cried out as I bounced back and reeled to the ground, agony burning up my shoulder and along my arm.

Dazed, shaking and hurting like hell, my breaths shuddering in my throat, I began to clamber to my feet. I didn't deem to dwell on the stupidity of what I'd just done, under the same circumstance many may've done the same.

I was barely kneeling when a hand suddenly grabbed me from under the arm and abruptly hauled me to my feet. It was Torris who was smiling at me and at his side was Arlathan, who was still somehow giving that guilty look, despite the situation.

"By the Emperor, kid you're fast!" Torris gasped.

I grinned nervously back and with a shaking hand, pulled out the bomb.

"Hurry up before they notice us!" Torris yelled.

I nodded and approached the wall, Arlathan and Torris pressing their backs against it at my flanks. I had to fight hard not to flinch at every roar and scream around.

I almost dropped the bomb at least twice as I struggled to tear off the adhesive strip with sweaty, shaking hands and when I flinched in fright as another gasping figure crashed heavily against the wall alongside me. It was Garrakson, still somehow hauling his autocannon and who managed me an encouraging nod, despite sweating up a storm.

"We're with ya, kid!" he yelled. "We're your friends, and we're with you!"

With tears in my eyes, I nodded in return and finally managed to do pull off the slip. As quickly as I could, I planted the bomb and was about to set it when the other explosives went off, one after another in quick secession, their bone-shaking, mind-shattering roars eclipsing every other sight and sound completely and utterly. Followed by blood-curdling screams and clatter and crunch of falling debris.

There were three of them, of course, I'd come last, yet again. I could only hope that the others had made it out the way in time.

With a grimace and new-found determination, I flipped the switch, causing the red light to blink on and off.

"Everyone clear!" I yelled at the top of my lungs, and we were on the move, sprinting sideways, Arlathan and me; right. Torris and Garrakson; left.

I covered my ears and threw myself to the ground as the world turned into a blaze of light.

We were the first through the smoking roughly two-metre wide breach, using the large chunks of burnt, black debris as cover from the withering gunfire raining from the building above.

"Making the breach was just the frigging start, wasn't it?" I snarled over the cacophony, trying to shake away the ringing in my ears.

Garrakson laughed heartily, as he crouched behind the blackened remains of a heavy stubber seeming utterly unfazed, "this your first siege, kid?"

I nodded nervously.

Garrakson laughed, "well then you're doing remarkably well! This would be my what? Twentieth? Maybe, not sure! I remember my first well, though! Shamed to say I pissed my pants! But that one was a frig ton larger than this one! That's for sure!"

I clenched my jaw and looked at Torris. Garrakson sounded a little too enthusiastic for my liking. It was disconcerting to see the usually more stoic ex-guardsman so...happy.

Torris just pursed his think lips and shrugged.

Suddenly Garrakson was on his feet, Autocannon chattering deafeningly, spraying the fire wildly across the mansion. The Adamantium walls held easily against the barrage, but the flak boards against the windows, not so much.

Arlathan was the first to join, firing his shotgun over the edge of his bit of debris

I was watching the walls with Torris, hoping like all hell that the cover fire from the buildings around was enough to pin down the enemy survivors still up there.

I'd hoped for too much, as then I saw a darkened figure appear overhead, gun raised.

I didn't hesitate, my shotgun kicked so violently I almost fell on my arse, and the figure's chest exploded in a shower of gore and with a cry, abruptly dropped out of sight.

It was then that finally the rest of the force moved through the breach, pushing past me, as they advanced, shooting their differentiating assortment of weapons sporadically at the building.

They met very little resistance as they stormed into the courtyard, Garrakson's autocannon pinning the defenders indefinitely.

"How are we going to get inside?" yelled Torris.

"The building's wall isn't as thick as the surrounding one!" I yelled. "I could try to cut a hole through with my powersword!"

"Or we could try that!" bellowed Garrakson with a laugh as he pointed out the others were just climbing through the windows.

"Or that!" I said with a shrug and wondered why a supposed fortress had windows situated so close to the ground.

This was too easy, way to easy.
Last edited by Adrassil on Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:30 pm

I was wrong, Garrakson's Autocannon hadn't pinned them, they'd just fallen back. The four-metre wide corridor was ablaze with the blinding blaze and the defining sound of shooting. Dozens of Edracian's mooks had laid in wait behind sandbag walls for our advancing forces. Not just that but further down were two Heavy stubber emplacements, laying down a constant barrage that should've left us completely and utterly pinned. But like lightning I dashed through It all, weaving side to side with a speed and agility I'd no idea I was capable of and fell upon five of Edracian's mercs as they cowered behind one of the sandbag walls.

Two were dead before they realised I was there, the first I decapitated, the activated edge of my powersword cutting through his neck with ease, the second I impaled, kicked him off the blade and smashing into his comrade behind him. The fourth took a swing at me with the butt of his rifle, but he seemed to move in slow motion, and I effortlessly weaved underneath it, then cut his torso in two with a backhanded blow. The fifth tried to raise his rifle to shoot me, but before I could even blink my body moved and I was abruptly behind him, and he was cleaved in twain. The third, I hauled to his feet, just in time to use as a human shield as his comrades further down the corridor tried to shoot me. His body was torn to pieces in a few seconds by the concentrated fire, but it mattered little as I was safe behind the sandbags well before that.

Arlathan, Torris, Arlathan and Garrakson used this opportunity to advance, joining up with me. Arlathan and Torris fired their shotguns from the hip as they ran.

"What the bloody hell was that?" demanded Torris over the din.

"What?" I asked.

"You, just running forward through that hell without telling us anything!" he roared. "You suicidal or something?"

I shrugged, I wasn't suicidal; I just knew deep down that I could make it, that my newfound speed and agility would get me through it all.

Torris sighed, shook his head and blasted over the wall, "well good work I guess, just tell us next time, kid. It'd be appreciated, thanks!"

I cut my reply short as I saw more figures emerged from around the corner we'd came from, ten metres down the corridor, their weapons raised. Before any thought I was moving, power sword activated.

"Attelus stand down!" came a yell over my vox link. "We're on your side!"

I stopped. "Olinthre!" I spat the name then dived for cover as they opened fire.

Twelve more guns joined in with Torris and Arlathan's as the mercs advanced past me.

I vaulted over the sandbags, twisting to shoot blindly over the lip in an attempt to provide cover fire for the mercs.

The Olinthre-thing joined me, while he fired bursts of his auto gun.

"Good work at blowing the wall!" It yelled.

I didn't reply, just clenched my jaw and gave it a glare.

It shrugged and smiled, "well I guess we can't always get what we want, right?"

As if by its own volition, suddenly my hand shot out and clutched it by the throat, slamming it against the sandbags.

"You made the timers five seconds instead of ten," I growled. "I'm lucky that Garrakson looked at it or I might be dead right now."

It smiled, grabbed my wrist and tore my hand away, "yeah I did, I did the same for the others as well. I don't know what happened, exactly but I guessed you betrayed Glaitis, and I bet they did too."

I glared at It and shook my head, "I don't get it, why do you care so much? You didn't seem to care before."

"Because I've thought it over and I think I owe her," It said. "If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be what I am today."

I looked it in the violet eyes, "really? And what you are today? Did you want this? You truly wanted to be this? You owe her nothing! Nothing at all!"

I didn't wait for its reply; its gaping wide-eyed look was enough. I vaulted over the wall and sprinted like mad, weaving through the fury and the fire to join back up with Torris, and the others.

"Emperor damn it!" snarled Garrakson as he jumped in fright at my sudden appearance. "How the frig can you move like that? You're like one of those damn Eldars!"

I clenched my jaw and said nothing.

"And Emperor damn it!" Garrakson said again. "If you'd let me use my damn Autocannon we wouldn't be like this!"

My eyes narrowed, "we can't risk you using any more ammo, Jeurat! We don't know what we'll encounter the deeper we go! You've only got, what? A hundred rounds or so left?"

"More daemons!" yelled Torris. "It'll most definitely be more daemons!"

I was up then, firing my shotgun, trying to draw a bead through the chaos on an enemy, any enemy, but just like the ambushers in the alley, they hugged their cover way too well, and I was never the best at ranged combat.

With a smug smile, I pulled out one of my four frag grenades.

Garrakson gave me a tired look, "y'know doing that, kid. Might give 'em ideas."

I shrugged, thinking there was no point in hiding my new found enhanced strength anymore, pulled the pin and with a grunt, threw it. The grenade flew, it flew a good forty-five metres and landed almost in the lap of the merc manning one of the Heavy Stubbers. The explosion and the man's scream I could barely hear over the din of battle.

All three of my acquaintances had seen it and gaped at me with wide eyes.

"When the hell did you get that strong?" said Torris.

I shrugged, "don't know! About the same time, I could move this fast!"

"Wait! What?" Torris was in the midst of shouting as I was up and moving, lunging over another sandbag wall and in my descent, kicking one of the three defenders in the face, throwing him flying back. His features now a bloody, ugly ruin. The second twisted with impressive speed, rifle raised to fire. Only so my sword could slice through it, then impale his face. The last threw himself back just out of range of my next slash and drew a laspistol from its holster. My instincts somehow knew the exact second he'd pull the trigger, and my body weaved, feeling the laser kiss my cheek, and I smelt it as it fried some of my hair, then I slipped in, so fast he couldn't get another, then my powersword sliced him two.

Next thing I knew, I bounded behind the sandbags before the rest could shoot me, their fire tearing into the sandbags a mere millisecond after I was in safety

I frowned and looked at my hands, was this new ability just from my, Wraithbone bones? I'd heard from Glaitis of assassins who could move like this. Highly experienced, trained and skilled far beyond normal human parameters. The elite assassins of the Officio Assassinorum were the first which came to mind.

A sigh suddenly filtered through my thoughts making me jump in fright.

+Again I did that, Mon'keigh. I didn't just enhance your bone structure but brought you to a physical peek that would normally be almost impossible for your slow, clumsy kind ever to attain. You with your genetic lineage may have been able to reach it, through years more of training but I fast forwarded you through it, saving you the time and effort.+


+Is that not obvious? Even for you with your simple, slow mind? That is because I need you at your best to be in proper service to me, you are lucky I care so much. Now shut up, you have a battle to fight, oh and watch your left.+

I turned just in time to see the soldier sneaking up on me, his knife already in the midst of swinging at my skull.

I leaned back, so it sliced slightly through my nose instead then sidestepped his stab. The range was terrible for my powersword effectively so instead I elbowed him in the face, it connected with a crunch, and he screamed, blood spraying from his nose like a geyser.

"Nose for a nose you son of a bitch!" I snarled, and my front kick caused him to stumble further back, allowing Torris a clear shot, the round blowing through his torso and sent his limp corpse smashing hard against the sandbag wall.

I smiled as Torris, Garrakson and Arlathan joined me.

"Why would he try to take me in close quarters?" I asked.

Torris shrugged, "outta ammo, maybe? He almost had you, though. You were very deep in la-la land there for a second or two. I would've warned you, but it all happened way too fast for me. And what did I tell you about running forward all on your lonesome without telling us, again?"

"I did tell you," I said.

The corner of his mouth twitched, "well, yeah, but not very well."

"Alright! Enough of the damned talky!" roared Arlathan as he fired. "and more damned fighty!"

And for once I agreed with him.

The explosion sent the large double doors flying off their hinges and falling into the enormous old dining room beyond.

We were ready for the inevitable counter, hugging the cover of the sandbags as the mercs fired through the kicked up smoke.

There were fifty of us, mostly made up of Taryst's mercs. There were more before, but we'd lost over two dozen men overwhelming the well-entrenched enemy in this corridor alone. I couldn't help wonder how many more were going to die attacking this place.

For what felt like forever we waited for a lull in the storm, when it finally came that's when Garrakson opened fire with the remaining working heavy stubber along with the rest of us.

The enemy had set up their defences well; they'd turned over the long, thick dining tables for makeshift protection and reinforced them further with more damned sandbags, which made me wonder how the hell on a hive world like this did they get so much sand? Was it rockcrete sand? Or...?

I smiled and shook away the thought, now was the worst time to get hung up on such details.

Fighting the urge to flinch from every sight and sound, through the utter chaos I did a very quick, very rough headcount. There were two balconies situated along each length of the room, gunfire rained down from them, but they were too elevated for me to make out anything of importance and on the floor were three makeshift walls four metres separating each.

"I count approximately twenty-five on the floor!" I shouted. "Nine behind the first, eight behind the last two!"

"Twenty three now!" roared Garrakson as he cut down two with a withering hail of fire and I treated him to an equally withering look, which he ignored entirely.

"What about on the decks?" asked Arlathan.

I just pursed my lips and shrugged, wondering why he thought I'd know.

"If we give you covering fire, you think you can get onto one of them?" yelled Torris as he fired a flurry of shotgun shells.

I smiled, "you were all upset about me running off by myself but now asking me to suicidally climb up there?"

Torris shrugged, "I only get upset when you do it without telling us about it! We can't help you if you don't! Your teamwork skills kinda suck!"

I clenched my jaw, wanting to point out how Castella and had worked together well against the daemons earlier and remind him of how Elandria and I used to team up all the time.

I frowned, and my gaze fell to the floor at the thought of Elandria.

"Kid! I wouldn't ask you this if I didn't think you could do it!" he yelled, taking me from my reverie.

With a sigh I looked over the sandbags again, the balconies were a good two and a half metres off the floor, and both ascending staircases situated at the other end of the room. Three, half metre wide, dark wood pillars held them aloft, but I could tell they were only there for decoration. Taking them out wouldn't collapse them at all, which was my initial hope.

I slipped back into safety and shook my head.

Torris gritted his teeth and growled with incoherent rage.

Just then we heard Garrakson cry out and throw himself to the floor as his heavy stubber was abruptly torn apart by concentrated fire.

"We've gotta do something about the enemy on those damn verandahs!" snarled Torris. "Even if we take care of the ones on the floor, we try to advance we'll be caught in a damn crossfire! From enemies on an elevated position no less!"

Garrakson climbed to his knees, brushing himself off as though he'd just had dust thrown on him, instead of potentially deadly, jagged shards of shrapnel.

"Well why don't we have Mr little freaky speedy here just run through them, to the other side of the room and climb up the stairs, while we lay down cover fire," he said.

I sighed and placed my hand on my face, why did all these plans involve me rushing forward through gunfire. I guess it was my own frigging fault for showing off so much before.

"Could actually work," said Torris.

"Only if we can bloody coordinate properly," said Arlathan.

"Or if I could use my bloody autocannon," said Garrakson, as he not to subtly glared at me.

I sighed and glanced back at the other mercs taking cover behind the sandbags further down the corridor; pinned down, just as we were, I wasn't going to get any cover fire from them, sure as sure.

With a frustrated growl, I turned to Garrakson and mumbled something.

"What?" yelled Garrakson, but I could see him smiling slightly.

"I said, damn it! You get it your way!" I bellowed through clenched teeth. "Use the frigging autocannon!"

Garrakson's face lit up like a child who'd just been told all his birthdays had been rolled into one.

"Alright!" he said rubbing his hands together eagerly, then began gathering up the oversized bullet hose. "You ready kid?"

I swallowed and only nodded nervously.

"Be aware, kid I'll only be able to pin the bastards on the floor. The ones up there on the balconies, not so much!"

"Torris and me could throw some grenades," suggested Arlathan. "We could try to get them onto those balconies!"

I looked at him, eyes wide with surprise, glanced at the room beyond, seeing just how high and how bad the angle was, then back to him.

"But you'll have to expose yourself to do it," I said.

Arlathan frowned and furrowed his brow, "why are you so worried? You've got to run through that hell!"

I turned to Torris who shrugged and said, "I agree, kid. It's an idea. I'm willing to give it a go."

I nodded and glanced at Arlathan still surprised he'd risk himself so. Whatever had happened to him during his unconsciousness must've changed him somehow.

My eyes narrowed, as another thought hit me, perhaps I wasn't the one Brutis should be worried about.

"We ready?" asked Garrakson eagerly.

"Yeah, we are," I said as I tossed Torris and Arlathan a grenade each. "Jeurat, blaze away."

"With pleasure!" he beamed, climbed to his feet and began firing over the sandbags, ignoring the countless munitions flying his way.

"Wish me..!" I yelled but stopped as simultaneously both Torris and Arlathan were standing and throwing their grenades.

I didn't wait to watch where they went as I was up and sprinting into the room, knowing that Garrakson with all his skill would miss me.

Everywhere, I saw the devastation wrought by Garrakson's autocannon as it tore through everything, punching holes through the sandbags and turned over tables as though they were made of paper. I saw at least five defenders torn apart as they cowered behind the first wall. Inwardly, I cursed that we'd been forced into using it so damn early in the peace, but desperate times, I guess.

It must've taken me less than a second or two to sprint to the first wall, but it felt like forever it was even more intense than the siege outside than even in the close confines of the corridors.

Just as I vaulted over the first wall, the grenades Torris and Arlathan had thrown went off. I heard no screams, no nothing; I couldn't even tell if they'd been thrown right, but I had no time to dwell on that.

I just had to have "faith" in my friends they'd done it right. Well, the definition of "faith" meant belief without evidence. I didn't have "faith" in Torris he'd proved time and again that he was skilled and highly competent. It was bloody Arlathan I had to put faith in, and I didn't like that.

The defenders behind the first wall were already dead and the ones behind the second and third were pinned down by Garrakson's fire.

I could see in my peripheral vision and somewhat feel the gunfire from above, and my heart sank as I realised that it was a frigging crap ton of them and most of them automatic.

Despite this I didn't break my stride, I just kept sprinting forward hoping my insane speed would outdo them.

As I ran, an idea hit me, and with quick hands, I took out my last grenade, pulled the pin just before lunging over the wall and in mid-air, dropped it amongst the five defenders as they gaped up at me in shock and awe.

I bounded onwards as it exploded, covering my ears so barely heard the screams of the defenders as they died.

The defenders behind the last wall started to peer over it, so in the blink of an eye, I drew my auto pistol, firing with utterly no accuracy in the hope to pin them back in place, unloading the entire clip faster than I thought possible. Much to my relief, it worked and with no time to reload; I vaulted over the wall, pistol-whipping one over the skull in flight.

I landed and drew my sword, simultaneously roundhouse kicking one in the face as he turned to attack me. The other three, still crouched raised their guns to shoot but before they could even think, I'd dashed forward, right into their midst, so their shots only cut through the empty air. One on my left, two on my right

My powersword sliced through the torso of my left side attacker and I slid into a sidekick that connected the first right's sternum with a crack somehow audible over the chaos, and he was thrown onto his back so fast, and so hard, I could've sworn it broke his spine. The last had backed up about a metre and showered a frenzied point-blank, full auto burst that I barely managed to weave out the way of. But in his panic, he'd stood, exposing himself and my with allies no longer pinned, so a tidy shot from Emperor only knew who took off the top of his head. Which was lucky, I was pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to dodge anymore.

Next thing I knew I'd retrieved one of the Auto guns off the floor and was moving, sprinting up the left side staircase, laying down a barrage of automatic fire that caused the merc guarding them to him throw himself out of its path.

Then I was at the top, smashing the butt of the rifle hard into his throat, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and utilised the poor bastard as yet another human shield, allowing me a second or two to take in my surroundings as he got shot to hell.

I saw four smaller sandbag walls only two metres in length and three apart, four mercs were behind each wall, except the furthest, they were already dead. I dropped my borrowed autogun, took my new shield's one and over his writhing shoulder, sprayed a wild flurry that was so inaccurate, no one bothered to duck for cover, and soon I found my human shield torn from my grasp.

With a desperate roar, I dashed forward, firing the last of the autogun's clip from the hip in a spray not much more accurate than the previous but somehow still caused them to duck.

I vaulted over the first wall, my power sword relieving two mercs of their heads before I Ianded and sprinted on, their fire missing me entirely in spite of such short range, my insane bravado and inhuman speed taking them off their game.

I reached the next wall in a split second, only now were the men behind it getting up. So instead of vaulting over, I slid to the side and around their wall, my reloaded pistol drawn and firing. I fired six shots four for the mercs in front me two for the remaining two at the first wall before; then I bound back behind the safety of the second sandbag wall.

There, despite the tiredness and exhaustion that was starting to wear on me, I threw back my head and laughed. I laughed at the insanity of it all, of how I could do all this. Was I even really human anymore? What other transformations had the Farseer wrought on me? I guess I had to wait and see.

I was tired of it already, scared I'd pushed my luck too much and wished not to move even an inch as the remaining four mercs fired my way.

I looked to the other balcony, seeing that they were more concerned with exchanging fire with my colleagues as they advanced into the dining hall than trying to kill me, thank goodness.

As I clenched my teeth, I tried to glance around the wall but was quickly forced to flinch back from the shots whizzing my way, and I cursed savagely, wishing I hadn't used all my damn frags.

Then an idea hit me; I still had grenades just of the "krak" variety, didn't know why I'd just grabbed six frags instead, but oh well.

With quick hands, I opened my flak jacket and pulled one out, not even bothering to pull the pin, stood and threw it as accurately as I could before throwing myself to the floor.

"Grenade!" I heard the yell and needed no more prompting before I was up again with pistol raised. All four had scattered two moving left, two right. In a rush I opened fire, my first two shots went wild, but my third winged one on the right and my fourth blew a bloody hole through the bicep of his mate behind him.

Before I could draw a proper bead on the left two, they'd already realised my ploy, and their withering fire caused me to duck behind cover again.

Perhaps I should've pulled the pin it may've been a krak, but it still could've frigged them up a bit. Once more I glanced at the other balcony and down into the dining room below. I could see we'd lost at least three more men down there while they hadn't lost any. I would've liked to shoot at them, but I had enough attention on me already, didn't want anymore. At least I'd diminished the casualties a bit by risking my arse to get up here.

I breathed deeply and took out my mirror from its pocket in my flak jacket and raised it on an angle to allow me to see the muzzle flares of my enemies.

One was left, the other right, they were advancing, trying to flank me. It was hard to tell this just from listening alone as there were so many munitions exchanged in here I couldn't tell high from low.

With another deep breath, I was up again and shooting at the right one. My first shot missed the merc but my second hit him in the stomach, the manstopper round blew through his flak armour and with a pained cry he reeled limply and fell onto his back.

I switched my aim to the second, just as his auto gun pointed at me.

In that split second, I realised he had me and I dived to the floor, throwing myself to the other side of the wall, just before his full auto flurry cut through the air where I'd stood.

Then I shot him through the skull.

I lay there for what felt like an age, eyes wide and gasping for air, not daring to move, not even daring to blink as the battle raged. Emperor that was insane! And close, so frigging close! I barely noticed when the fire finally died and was in the midst of climbing to my feet when Garrakson, Torris and Arlathan appeared at the top of the stairs. Garrakson now carried a Lasgun.

"You alright, kid?" asked Torris as he approached and helped me to my feet.

"Yeah," I sighed, shaking my head to try to regain my composure, all the shit that I've been through over the last day must've been really wearing on me, not just physically but mentally as well. "You run out of ammo, Garrakson?"

"Yeah," he said with a guilty grin as he scratched the back of his shaved head. "Sorry about that."

"How many lost?" I breathed through clenched teeth.

"Sixteen dead," said Arlathan. "Three wounded, but I'm sure we would've lost more if you hadn't run the gauntlet, shit you're insane."

I gaped at him, unsure what to make of that...compliment? But despite myself, I felt a smile cross my face.

"Please, Arlathan, tell me something I don't know," I said.

"What? That you're a complete screw head?"

"No, both."

Arlathan shrugged and shook his head.

The Olinthre-thing with a few other soldiers arrived at the top of the stairs, "yeah, yeah stop the dilly dally, no time to waste we have a building to capture. Oh and next time you decide to pull a stunt like that, tell me beforehand. I am y'know, your commanding officer."

Torris and Garrakson turned to face It, but it was hard to miss the hatred in Garrakson's eyes.

"I..." started the ex-guardsman.

"Sorry, sir," Torris quickly interrupted. "We've just been working independently for so long it's easy to forget, right, Jeurat?"

"Right," Garrakson growled, hesitantly.

The Olinthre-thing smiled and looked at me, "yeah right, whatever. Just don't do it again. Now move your arses, Let's go!"

It turned and began to descend the stairs, waving us after It. It was really enjoying this command shtick.

I grinned as we followed it's wake, "well, enjoy it while it lasts," I hissed under my breath. "It isn't going to last much longer."

For a long time, we moved through the maze of corridors kicking in a door after door, clearing out any enemy within. Thanks to Arlathan's auspex we were able to tell where they were, but at my insistence, we checked every room even the ones lacking heat signatures, just in case. It was slow going, gritty and tedious work but it needed doing. We cleared out a total of thirty rooms twenty of which had enemies, killing at least thirty enemy mercs who'd attempted to fortify themselves within. We lost about twenty more of our own in the process, twelve of which were injured, three fatally Luckily for us there seemed to be a constant flow of reinforcements to replace the men we'd lose. The rooms without signatures were all empty of course, but I just had to be sure.

Most of the time I listened into the comm chatter of our other forces, keeping the others updated on their progress. Casualties were mounting, well into the hundreds now. Brutis Bones' force had it the worst, they were made up of the less well-trained Hammers, and it seemed his side had the highest concentration of enemy numbers. Ours was doing the best much to my surprise, we were advancing the fastest and of the four forces, suffered the least. I also kept track of Hayden, Darrance and Castella's activities; unsurprisingly they were on the front lines each performing admirably, killing countless and preventing numerous casualties single-handedly.

I just hoped they'd get through it. But what really bugged me was; why were we doing the best? Was it because we were facing the least numbers? That was the only reason I could comprehend, which was interesting, very interesting indeed. Yes.

The Olinthre thing didn't seem to mind this fact, though. It just choked it up to us being the best, but I doubted that.

Finally, we arrived at the end of the corridors to a pair of large, ornate doors, that according to the schemata led into a large ballroom beyond.

"Arlathan?" said the Mimic as we lined up at the wall, there were sixty of us total now. "What we got?"

Arlathan cursed as he fiddled with the auspex, "nothing! Can't pick up anything! It's like the dining room back there!"

I nodded, for the more essential areas the enemy had a way to block out our scanners that or there was no one in there, but I doubted that. Quickly, I echoed this find to the other forces through my vox link.

'Olinthre' sighed and turned to me, "what about your psyker girlfriend? She able to help us?"

I shrugged, "I haven't heard from Karmen since I was scouting outside. I don't know even if she's alright or not. She's probably still locked in an invisible war with whoever that psyker was she'd mentioned before."

It cursed colourfully, "we got flashbangs?"

Three of the nearest mercs nodded and pulled out one each from pouches on their belts.

"Good! Now we've got a plan!" It exclaimed and then it turned to me. "Attelus Kaltos, would you kindly cut a hole..."

"What? Through the doors?" I interrupted.

It gave off no outward sign of emotion, but it's next sentence blatantly sounded like it was through clenched teeth, "no, through the wall, there!"

It pointed to a part of the wall about two metres left of the doors, "you said earlier that your powersword could cut through the wall, right?"

"Uhh, yeah," I said dumbly, quickly seeing the genius behind the Mimic's plan.

"Well then cut a hole that'll allow them to throw their grenades through!" It snapped impatiently. "Hurry!"

I nodded and approached the part of the wall indicated, activating my power sword in a blaze of blues as the three mercs followed.

"Garrakson! Torris!" snapped the Mimic, "get ready to take out the doors on my signal!"

With surprising obedience, both of them nodded and set themselves on each side of the door.

I exchanged glances with the three mercs, then clenched my teeth and with four quickfire slashes cut a hole just large enough for one person to fit through.

The enemy fire was almost immediate, but that didn't stop them from blindingly throwing their grenades through.

The Olinthre-thing then lifted its hand with three fingers raised and one by one It lowered them then pointed to the door.

Torris nodded grimly and with one shotgun shell, blew out the lock allowing Garrakson to kick them open and with Las gun raised he, Torris and five other mercs advanced inside, firing.

The Mimic turned to me, pointed to the mercs and waved us through my makeshift entrance.

I nodded and immediately two of them fired their auto guns on full auto through it, pinning fire. Then with shotgun raised, I slipped inside, weaving quickly leftward, toward the nearest pillar. There were seven thick, pillars which held up the big balcony overhead, the two closest were about six metres from the door, and two dead men lay in pools of blood just behind them. I could see the enemy had turned over tables and reinforced them with more sandbags, all set in between the farthest four pillars, which were another good seven metres away. I could just make out the twelve mercs cowering behind the middle two barriers, six behind each. All of them still reeling from the flashbangs and Garrakson, Torris and the others were advancing, as they exchanged fire with enemies further into the huge room.

I pressed my back against the pillar, trying to get a better assessment of the situation. The room was huge, easily one of the largest of this infernal mansion-fortress, the balcony above must've been at least three stories off the floor and who knew how high the ceiling itself went.

Amazingly ornate, golden chandeliers hung every few metres (much to my annoyance none were situated anywhere near the enemy fortifications) And the walls and floors were polished white and silver marble, lined with silver and gold.

It was all in surprisingly good condition, emphasis on 'was' as now it was pockmarked, torn through by the countless munitions being exchanged.

Two small staircases were set after the enemy fortifications about leading two metres upward, there were handrails, but they were already being shot to shit by Garrakson and his men.

I watched as they converged on the just recovering mercs and couldn't help wince as they brutally executed them with point-blank fire.

The rest of our force was now advancing into the room taking up cover behind the barriers and pillars. I had to admit, the Mimic's plan had worked extraordinarily well. Perhaps It was worth leaving alive after all.

With the three from before, I moved up as well, pushing my back against the furthest left pillar, gaining a better view into the place. I could see the huge staircase leading to the balcony above now and the further three fortifications at its base. Nine enemies took cover behind them, three behind each. Six more were on the balcony, raining fire down on us with their excellent angle and elevated position. The sound was deafening as it echoed through the huge, cavernous room and even the barriers were little protection as six of us were quickly cut down, and the rest were forced onto their bellies, pinned. Only those of us behind the pillars were immune, still pinned but we were safer.

I clenched my jaw and sighed, glancing around the left side of my pillar as I struggled to think of a plan. I saw that the two-metre tall wall extended to each width of the room that another pillar sat atop it. I could climb the wall easily but beyond that may be a wall of fire that not even I could sprint through. I also suspected there were more mercs on the balcony above, waiting for us to advance to catch us in a crossfire. I glanced up seeing the balcony finished just near the staircases but extended about five metres more beyond on my side.

"What do you think we should do?" asked one the mercs, his expression hidden behind his helm, but his voice sounded dishearteningly young.

I shrugged, "I really can't see how we can get through this without losing many more of us! This place has been designed to be defended, and our enemy know how to defend it, damn it!"

"You could try to run through it like you did before!" said another.

I growled and glanced around again, "I think I've tried my luck enough for today!" I exclaimed. "Hell! I'd say I'd tried my luck enough for a frigging lifetime! Besides! I'm pretty sure they've got more men on the balcony above us, and the only reason why I've done so well is because they've only shot from the front or the sides! Not from all around!"

The plan was for all of us to converge on this room, most of the paths on the ground floor like a labyrinth led to this ballroom, which was effectively in the epicentre of the huge building. On the balcony, just over my head was the entrance to a large circular staircase which climbed up through the remaining seven stories, zig-zagging to the main chambers on the top floor and where we thought Edracian might be.

There were a few elevators scattered throughout the building, but we'd found them shut down by the defenders before we got here.

That thought sent a shiver up my spine, what if the enemy reactivate them, then use them to flank us? As I thought this I remembered that there were more of us advancing and securing the building in our wake. I clenched my jaw; I saw there was nothing we could do, not now anyway.

I sighed and turned to the three mercs, "I don't see any other way to get around this than wait for the rest of the force then rush them; there's nothing we can do."

"Yeah, thought as much," said the third merc

I cursed savagely and activated my comm link to the 'general' channel, "this is Attelus Kaltos of the western advance force! We've made it to the ballroom but meeting heavy resistance! I repeat heavy resistance! We're pinned down!"

As though to emphasise my point, a merc only about a metre way took a bullet in the neck, exploding the poor bastard's throat in a shower of blood and he fell, clutching at his neck, despite the cacophony, I could still hear him gurgle as he spasmed and struggled for breath

"We need reinforcements, now!" I snarled.

"Acknowledged, Attelus," said Wesley over the vox. "We are on our way, meeting heavy resistance ourselves! Will be there in approximately five to ten minutes!"

I clenched my teeth, wanting to swear back profusely, but held my tongue and said instead. "Yeah got you, over and out!"

"Nothing?" asked the first merc.

"Yeah nothing," then an idea hit me, and I turned to Garrakson.

"Jeurat! I need the schemata data slate, now!" I bellowed.

Garrakson didn't need any more prompting as he lay on the floor, behind the sandbags and he slid it over to me.

I snatched it up and began looking over it, my plan was risky and more than a little bit insane but it might work, and any plan was better than where we were now. Quickly, I found what I was looking for, the perfect place and switched my vox link's channel.

"Major!" I snapped over the vox, seeing Olinthre behind the furthest pillar glance my way.

"Yeah? What?" it said.

"I've gotta plan! I'm gonna need at least ten men and a shit ton of frag grenades and a distraction! Can you acquiesce?"

"What are you scheming this time, apprentice?"

"What I'm scheming?" I said with a smile despite myself. "No this was all your idea; I'm just refining it a bit."

"Okay, sure tell me what it is you've got."

I told 'Olinthre' my plan, needless to say; it made it quite happy. The bastard.

I finished the last enemy by embedding my throwing knife through his visor and firing flurries wildly; he fell to the floor. Just my frigging luck that the room I'd decided on using just had to have frigging enemies holed up in it.

"Nice throw," said one of the mercs, "I'd say you are better at throwing them than shooting a gun, but that's not saying much."

Many of the nine others sniggered heartily at that.

I shrugged, "well, none of us is perfect," I said and approached the left side wall, placing my ear against it. I could hear nothing of the firefight on the other side, which didn't bode well.

I clenched my jaw.

"So how are we going to play this one out?" said the same merc. "You use that fancy power sword to cut us an opening, and we'll rush in just to get mercilessly cut down?"

"Yeah pretty much," I muttered. "but without the 'mercilessly cut down' part, hopefully. That's what we got all those grenades for."

"Has anyone ever told you, you're insane?" said another.

I smiled, "yes, many times, actually. Even once very recently."

The merc sighed.

"Alright!" I yelled, pulling out the bandoleer of grenades, "take one each!"

"There's, thirteen here," said one.

"Yeah three for me," I said, then pointed to the wall. "I'm gonna cut through there! I need five of you on each side."

They shared glances that looked confused even with their expressions hidden.

"Uhh okay," said one hesitantly.

I sighed, really wishing Garrakson or Torris had come as well, "look! The more time we waste, the more chance more of our comrades are going to die! Once I cut open the entrance, I need each of you, one by one, to throw your grenades at the enemies behind the sandbag walls on the floor, they'll be right in front of us. After that, just provide cover fire for me., I'll need you to pin down the hostiles on both left and right side balconies so I can advance."

"What are you going to do with that cover fire?" asked another.

I swallowed, realising how dumb it was going to sound, "I'm going to try throw a grenade onto each balcony, hopefully killing a few, allowing us to advance a little easier."

They exchanged glances.

"You're right, Huarit, he is insane," said one.

"Yes, completely," agreed another.

I bristled, "just trust me!"

"Those balconies must be at least three stories up," said another. "you really think you can throw that far? And that accurately? All while moving and not to mention you're gonna have a crap angle."

"Yes," I lied, stone-faced. "After that, then wait for my signal and advance Now are we gonna do this or not?"

The nearest merc shrugged, "yeah. Sure, kid," he said. "You're the one risking your arse in this."

I sighed, typical merc mentality.

"Alright! Get in position!" I yelled and activated my sword with a flourish. "And wish me a shit ton of luck!"

"Luck? Why not ask for the Emperor's blessing?" asked one as he jogged up and leaned against the wall.

Because I don't believe in that bull shit, I thought and with a snarl, thrust my sword into the wall.

It took me a good half a minute to create a two-metre wide entrance, which was longer than I liked. I struggled a bit as the wall was much thicker than the last and despite the powerfield, there was a lot of resistance. I just hoped the enemy was too distracted by the firefight to notice.

Once finally frigging done, I didn't bother to hold back my relieved sigh, and with a roar I spun into a sidekick, knocking the bit of wall over with a large crack and crash!

Immediately I darted into cover as the first two mercs leaned out and threw their grenades. I couldn't see the result nor even hear it over the shooting inside I could only hope to hell it'd work. The first pair slipped back and away from the wall allowing the next to throw theirs, in quick, professional succession they did this while I watched with bated breath, expecting in any second enemy fire to cut one down in mid pin pull or throw, but it never happened much to my relief.

The last one finished his throw, watched it results and turned to me, "the floors cleared, kid. Now there's six on the left balcony and four on the right; all spread out in pairs though! With a good three metre gap between, don't know how good your grenades are gonna be! Can't see how many are over us!"

I nodded, really sweating now, and the tiredness replaced my massive amounts of adrenaline, and I started jumping on the spot, "alright! Get ready to lay me down some cover fire! Anyone wanna swap an auto gun for a shotgun?"

One shrugged, handed me his and two clips of ammo, "yeah sure! Don't know how good it'll do ya!"

"Thanks!" I shouted, "I'll make sure to give it back later! What's your name?"

I asked this even though I'd forget it later.

"Jevven Farnoth!" said the soldier, "and don't worry about giving it back, the shotgun will do fine!"

I nodded again, relieved I didn't need to remember his name, "alright! Open fire in three, two, one!"

Immediately the four at the edges of the makeshift door leaned out and fired their auto guns on fully automatic.

I took out a grenade, pulled the pin and sprinted into the huge, brightly lit ballroom.

It took me all of a second to gain my bearings, but the first throw made me pivot, and with a grunt, I threw it at the balcony overhead, the eastern one so to speak. I didn't have time to see where it went as I turned again, pulled the pin of the second and threw that at the closest pair on the left. Then I sprinted to the right, running on a thirty-degree angle to make myself harder to hit and threw the third at the pair positioned near the top of the stairs than before I knew it I was under the northern balcony, and behind a pillar.

My vox link beeped, "Apprentice!" came Olinthre's voice. "We're advancing! Provide cover fire against the south balcony.

"That was the plan!" I exclaimed, and before It could reply, I cut the link and signalled the soldiers at the breach to move in.

They did and without hesitation, moving along the edge of the room, from pillar to pillar under the comparative safety of the balcony, they advanced, exchanging fire all the while.

I smiled, maybe I'd earned a modicum of respect after all. Then leaned out, spraying sporadic bursts that had no hope in hell to hit anything and surveyed my damage. I could only see four were actively fighting now; perhaps my grenade was on target!

I slipped back and spun to shoot a brief salvo at the enemies on the east balcony.

"I can't believe that actually worked!" said a merc as he and another pressed their backs against the pillar beside me.

Me too, I thought but only shrugged and smiled and fired.

I could see now Garrakson, and the others were advancing, pinning the enemy mercs on the balcony overhead with a constant withering hail.

Despite this I couldn't help but frown, it was working, working a bit too well for my taste.

As if summoned by this thought, I saw them; it happened almost too fast to follow as two zip lines suddenly descended from the balcony behind Garrakson and the others and a pair of lythe figures dropped to the floor. I didn't even have time to activate my microbead before seeing the familiar blue light of power weapons and heard the sound of screams.

"Shit! Frig! Cover me" I roared through clenched teeth and without a further word I was moving, sprinting from cover.

Garrakson and the others reeled as the two figures swathed a whirlwind of a blur of blood and body parts. At least ten were more mercs were mercilessly cut down, but I couldn't tell who. I could only hope that Torris and Garrakson weren't amongst them.

Finally, I got a good view of the attackers, both were female with supple amazing bodies and wore tight, ornate crimson and black bodygloves, and wielded duel power blades. They fought back to back as one. It was beyond beautiful to behold despite them slaughtering my allies. It made me not want to kill them, how could I put an end to such perfection? Such art, such poetry in motion. They also reminded me of Elandria; they fought with a similar style of acrobatic fancy. Brilliant! And they would be my end, of that I had no doubt.

I smiled despite this and only activated my sword's power field in the last second, lunging into a horizontal slash that'd have cut them both through.

As one they cartwheeled back and just out the way, I slid to a stop on the other side, cutting vertically down at the left one. She leapt to the side, spinning through the air with breathtaking grace as the right one thrust her blade at me. I sidestepped it, just and was forced to duck as the left one's horizontal slash blurred for my skull.

I laughed, my blood sang in my veins as I parried the vertical slash of left and weaved under a decapitating cut from right. I sent a swift kick at right as she riposted, which she dodged with a cartwheel and smashed aside another thrust from right. From that, I brought my blade into an overhead strike which she parried with her spare sword. I back peddled right's counter, and tilted my head to the side, out the path of left's stab.

Right suddenly lunged at me, a blur as she slashed horizontally at my torso, simultaneously left cut horizontally at my head, both from opposite directions. I cursed seeing what they were doing but had no choice but to leap back, exactly as they wanted and right attempted to catch me from behind with a backhanded blow.

But I'd leapt back faster and farther than she'd expected so by the time she'd attacked I was already out of its path. The assassin faltered slightly in surprise, but that was all I got as the other one was on me, spinning into a butterfly kick that I ducked. Her forward momentum, allowed her to slip behind me as the other sliced vertically at my skull. I blocked the blow, twisting to bring my blade on top of her's and pushed it into the floor, allowing me to face them both again.

Only in the very last microsecond did I catch right's thrust and I leaned sideward desperately. Cursing in pain as the powerfield skimmed my torso, cutting a horrific gash that made me reel and stumble back.

They gave me no respite, both lunged at the same time, each thrusting with one blade and cutting horizontally with the other.

I leapt to the left and well out the way, but too far too allow me a counter and immediately they darted my way. I snarled in frustration; now they'd found their damn cohesion! I wasn't going to last much longer if I didn't ruin it! Moving faster than I thought possible, I slipped left as they fell on me again, parrying left's thrust and countered by cutting down diagonally at the back of her head as her momentum carried her onward. With gravity-defying grace she somehow leaned out the way and twisted into a kick that smashed into my arm, sending pain coursing through it and me stumbling to keep my feet.

Right was already there, cutting vertically up with her left blade and diagonally with her right. I could see it now, both blows were not quite at the same time and despite the huge risk, lightning fast I parried them, the superior strength and stability of my two-handed grip allowing me to smash them way off course, opening her up for my front kick to connect with her solar plexus in an audible, crunch! Despite the cacophony of gunfire through the hall. She cried out in pain, the first sound I'd heard from them yet and fell to the floor.

I doubted that'd stop her, they were both amped on combat drugs I was sure, but it'd slow her, and their cohesion was now gone.

I'd have thanked the Emperor if I wasn't the one responsible for it.

Left leapt at me, her roundhouse kick aimed at taking my legs out, but I back stepped and flicked my left wrist, ejecting a throwing knife into my hand and threw it point blank at her face.

She tilted her head out the way with an almost contemptuous calm, defying my hope that she'd smash it out of mid-air with her sword so getting a face full of shrapnel for her trouble.

I slipped forward, slicing down at her but her backward cartwheel made me miss.

Right was finally back on her feet and with what seemed to be in a rage, snarled as she thrust at my side.

I back stepped it, cutting at her horizontally but she parried with her spare blade. I ducked left's spinning hook kick, and sidestepped right's downward slash then leapt back from her next cut.

I furrowed my brow, dearly wanting to check on my friends fights going on around but didn't dare. The Assassins paused in their offence and looked at me, tilting their heads curiously. It was then I realised I was grinning, almost from ear to ear and a sharp pain suddenly coursed through my face with this realisation. I was enjoying this, perhaps a bit too much for my liking.

This was one of the few things I was truly good at, sure as sure.

Abruptly I lunged, slashing at left who leapt away, spinning through the air. I parried Right's pair of quick-fire thrusts, then sent a sidekick she dodged with a pirouette. Left dashed forward, slicing high at my head which I weaved under, then she spun into a low cut at my legs that I barely managed to dance away from. She was lucky; I had my boot knife extended.

I cut out at right as she lunged at me, which she barely managed to duck. Despite being distracted by this, she was still able to dart back from my following roundhouse kick. Left's spinning side kick forced me to sidestep, and I blocked her horizontal blow as it blurred at my flank then slid aside of her next thrust. I countered with a diagonal cut which she stopped short with both blades, trying to entrap mine in between, but I kicked out, forcing her to abandon the trap and spin away.

With a growl of frustration, I barely managed to back step Left's spinning hook kick; I could start to feel the adrenaline was waning, the exhaustion, returning. I couldn't keep this up for much longer. Hell, I was surprised I'd lasted even half this long.

However long that was exactly, I could only hazard a guess.

Both lunged at me, left pirouetting into horizontal slashes with both blades. I bounded backwards their powerfields missing my nose by the barest of margins. Right was on me a microsecond later, stabbing with each edge, one after another. I barely managed to parry them and countered with a desperate thrust of my own. Forcing her back, then I pivoted into a slash at Left, she blocked, twisted, forced my blade over her head and down to her right, then cut with her offhand blade, at my skull.

My eyes wide, teeth clenched, I threw myself away, stumbling to keep my feet as the blade missed slightly. The cut on my side was really beginning to hurt now, and I had to fight the urge to clutch at it.

Right reposted, cutting her swords simultaneously, horizontally. I ducked that and wound to the side, turning to face left as she bared down at me. Weakly I parried her thrust, then clumsily backpedalled her diagonal slash. But her roundhouse kick caught me off guard, connecting hard into my wound which sent razor-sharp agony coursing through my entire being and with a cry I fell onto my side, so hard it knocked the wind out of me, and my sword flew from my grasp, clattering away somewhere.

I groaned and began climbing to my feet when a weight abruptly fell on my back pinning me down, and a rough hand grabbed a clump of my hair and painfully pulled my head back, allowing a blade to be placed at my throat. I saw a pair of stilettos walk into my vision and the assassin towered over me.

She looked down at me, a slight smile playing on her full lips, then she nodded, nodded in what almost seemed in admiration and respect. Which made me smile and despite the state I was in, I nodded back. I'd fought well; I'd tried my best, I didn't mind dying now. I just wished I'd taken one down with me.

She nodded again, gave me a gorgeous full-fledged grin, it was a shame most of her face was hidden as I was sure she was beautiful. The one on my back let go of my hair, and the other activated her power sword, raised it over her head and cut down in a decapitating arc. Another powered blade abruptly blocked it in mid-swing and suddenly with a cry of pain the weight thrown off me. Darrance with his power scimitar appeared in view, causing the assassin to lung back from his vertical cut.

"Nice work apprentice!" he yelled. "Now let us take it from here!"

Gaping in dumb surprise, I rolled over to see Castella was now locked in combat with the other Assassin.

Despite myself, I sighed as slowly, laboriously I climbed to my feet and searched for my sword, yet a-bloody-gain I was getting my arse saved, seems to be a theme around here.
Last edited by Adrassil on Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:04 pm

I watched on both fights as one of Taryst's mercs clumsily bandaged my wound, so engrossed I barely felt the pain from the process all the while I monitored the vox traffic. We'd taken the ballroom, but at the cost of dozens of more lives, all that was left here were the two assassins Castella and Darrance were still fighting, and around us, hundreds of more mercs and Magistratum enforcers ran to take the building. Giving the assassins a very respectable berth as they passed.

The enemy had, much to my non-existent surprise, fortified the stairways leading to the top of the building. According to the vox, every staircase had three sandbag walls set on them and behind each were at least six enemy mercs, then placed at the top wall were two heavy stubber emplacements. Not just that but they'd also fortified the balconies, allowing dozens of more enemies to lay fire onto our flank as we tried in vain to advance. The casualties were mounting and mounting, and we hadn't even taken the first bloody staircase yet! Good news though, Garrakson and Torris were alive as well as Arlathan and the Mimic.

I was torn a bit about the latter's survival; as much as it deserved death it getting killed by the enemy would prevent me the pleasure of personally ending its worthless existence. Well, its existence was far from worthless I'd say It was far more useful than I'll ever be in fact.

Not just that but Brutis' force still hadn't broken through his resistance, and the casualties for them were staggering. The Olinthre-thing had sent a detachment back to aide them. Hopefully, they can catch the enemy from behind, but they'd be ready for such a tactic if they had any kind of communication.

Those last eight words were each dripping with sarcasm, by the way.

I sighed, then hissed through in pain as the merc made another fumble and he mumbled an apology. The merc had said he was once a corpsman for the Dalvian 5th and even for a corpsman his medical skills were terrible.

Better than mine, of course, but still bad.

The first Assassin to die was the one Darrance fought, the one I suspected I'd injured with my kick. She'd been slowing for a while now, and it was evident right from the start his skill exceeded hers, not by a large margin, but enough that even if she weren't injured Darrance's victory would've been assured.

Much to my heartache, he gave her a very undignified end. His power scimitar cut cleanly through her slender torso as well as her arms. Her flew for a good few metres before finally slopping onto the marble floor.

Darrance didn't even spare the poor assassin a glance before he moved on to help Castella, but she never needed it. Darrance was midway there when Castella cut off one of the assassin's hands, and as she reeled back, crying out in agony, Castella stabbed her through the heart.

Castella tore out her blade, and as the assassin fell flat on her face, she turned to face the approaching Darrance.

"I'm fine, I've got it," she said as she deactivated her blades and sheathed them.

Darrance slid to a stop and grinned, "as I could see. They were the best I've seen in a long time, quite the challenge." He said this as he tapped the dying assassin with the tip of his boot. "I am genuinely surprised the apprentice survived as long against them as he did."

"That is because you constantly underestimate him, and I suspect them of the infamous and elite Moritat Reapers," said Castella. "I am not surprised at their presence; we are dealing with the Inquisition here."

"Done," said the merc and he stepped away. "Excuse me; I've gotta rejoin my squad."

I nodded my thanks and carefully began to slip my bodyglove back onto my torso, hissing and growling at the pain it caused me.

"Oh harden up, apprentice," said Darrance as he and Castella approached.

My attention snapped at him, my jaw clenched, but the anger quickly abated as I saw his grin. The bastard was baiting me.

"You did well, Attelus," said Castella, "to hold them off for so long."

I grinned and shrugged and instantly regretted it, "well after dealing with near invincible daemons, those two were pretty low on the food chain."

"They came this close to killing you, apprentice," pointed out Darrance as he raised his hand, his finger and thumb held barely a millimetre apart.

Again I shrugged and again regretted it.

"Details," I said while starting to slip my now very damaged flak jacket on then swallowed a couple of painkiller capsules medicae Harsin had given me many hours ago. I'd been trying to avoid taking them; they clouded the mind. I wanted to keep a clear head, but frig I hurt like hell, hurt all over.

Castella smiled and shook her head, "how fares the advance?" she asked.

"Bad," I answered bluntly, "very frigging bad," and reported what I'd heard.

"That is bad," said Darrance. "What do you propose we do?"

I raised an eyebrow, surprised he'd even deign to ask me.

"I don't know, help in any way we can, I guess," I said. "Don't know how much we can help, though. It's frigging hell on that staircase."

"The enemy will bleed us dry at this rate!" Darrance snarled.

I said nothing, just watched as a squad of mercs ran by, hauling a heavy stubber implacement. One was a woman who had her visor up, and she wasn't bad looking at all. She caught me looking and gave me a smile which made me turn away, fast.

Castella grinned and shook her head, "we could try something, something as risky as shit."

"What?" demanded Darrance gruffly.

She glanced at him and pulled out a grappling gun from a larger pouch on her belt. "We could try the outside route."

I frowned and shared a glance with Darrance.

"You're right," said Darrance. "It is as risky as shit. But I would also call that an understatement."

"Do you have any better ideas Mr all high and mighty?" said Castella but with good humour.

Darrance grimaced, folded his arms and looked away.

"How many stories will we be able to ascend?" I asked.

"Four, maybe five," said Castella.

Then an idea hit me, "no, I've got something better," I said.

Both Castella and Darrance gave me confused looks.

I grinned and pulled out the schemata data slate, "the elevator shafts."

With four slashes of my sword, I took out the double doors and carefully looked up the shaft. Finding it eerily empty and devoid of any sound besides the creaking of cables

According to the schemata, none of the elevators on the ground floor ascended straight to the tenth; the highest was the ninth. The only one situated on the fourth floor had access where you could either take the stairs or another elevator from there. In normal times it may've been impractical but during a siege like this, a bloody good idea.

The right elevator was stopped about six stories up and left, further up, although I couldn't see it from this angle.

I hissed through clenched teeth and pulled my head back. Perhaps on second thought, this wasn't a good idea. If Edracian could see the future, surely he'd expect us to try this and even if he couldn't.

I turned to Castella and Darrance. "I actually don't know about this," I said.

Darrance smiled and furrowed his brow in bemusement, "really? You suspect a trap, I assume? When has that stopped you in this yet?"

"Well, what do you propose we do once we climb up there?" I said. "Wipeout every single enemy merc from the ninth floor downward? We're good, but not that good."

"No," said Castella. "We only need to climb to the fourth floor, then fight our way to the elevator leading to the tenth and climb up from there, straight to Edracian himself."

"Assuming he's even on the tenth in the first place! And doing that will surely alert them of our plan, and then we'd have guns up the top shooting down on us as we climbed," I said if they didn't know this already.

Castella's mouth twitched, "well after you put it that way."

We heard the many and heavy footfalls approaching us from far down the corridor and with weapons raised we turned.

Emerging from around a corner about twenty metres away was Brutis Bones, still in his power armour which was more beaten and battered than before. Wesley and Hayden were on his flanks and following were dozens of damaged, weary-looking Hammers.

"Ah!" said Brutis, smiling, though it held no warmth. "You three sulking in the shadows, hiding away from the front line. I can't honestly say I'm surprised."

I smiled back and shook my head.

"Good to see you finally fought your way here," I said, wanting to add, 'I was worried we'd all die of old age before you finally managed it,' but wisely didn't.

But Brutis' smile turned genuine instantly seeing my jab, "and thus we thank the Emperor for the blessing of juvenant treatments. What are you doing?"

"We think we can ascend the elevator shaft to gain access to the upper floors," said Darrance. "You do know of the situation, I assume?"

Brutis nodded, approached us and gazed up the shaft, "it's a plan, I suppose," he said, "I could lend a few of mine to come with you. I wouldn't risk it myself with my armour. I'll advance with the main force. Hayden, I'll assume you'll go to?"

As impassive as ever, Hayden only nodded and slung his rifle over his shoulder.

"I'd like to go as well," said Wesley.

Brutis glanced at the Throne Agent, "are you sure, you are in the right condition?"

He gave us a withering glare as he said that.

"Yeah I'm sure, boss," said Wesley. "Don't worry about me."

Brutis pursed his lips and shrugged his huge shoulders, "alright, as you wish! Right! Selg, Verenth! You and your men are gonna climb, everyone else, with me!"

Castella, Darrance and I stepped aside to allow Brutis and his men to pass. I did a quick head count as they did, there were only around sixty or so, I wasn't sure how much that'd help the primary offence.

Ten were left with us, one I recognised as the tall, skinny tattooed Hammer who'd organised the defence in the Manufactorum earlier.

The Hammer looked down his nose at me, clenched his jaw and said nothing.

"Well!" said Wesley clapping his hands and rubbing them together enthusiastically. "What's the plan?"

"According to the schemata," I said. "There's an elevator on the fourth floor that goes straight up to the tenth. We wish to climb to the fourth floor, fight our way to that elevator, then climb up to the tenth from there."

Wesley sniggered and shook his head, "insane, insane," he said. "Give me the schemata."

I shrugged and handed him the data slate.

He studied it for what seemed an age but must've only been a few minutes before shaking his head.

"I've got a better idea," he said. "Anyone here got any tech experience?"

"I do," said Hayden.

"Well thank the God Emperor," said Wesley. "We are blessed this day!"

I furrowed my brow, "the many...The many who've died this day might say otherwise," I said sadly.

Wesley's eyes widened, then he nodded in sympathy, 'maybe so," he said. "Maybe so."

"What is this, 'better idea' you spoke of?" said Darrance impatiently.

The Throne agent's cheery demeanour suddenly returned, "ah yes! Sorry! It looks like the controls for the elevator activation is located on the ninth floor, here," as he said this he held up the data slate and pointed to its location on the schemata, "if we could fight our way to it..."

"We can reactivate them," I interrupted. "Allowing our forces another avenue to advance."

Wesley grinned and pointed at me.

"Well, enough chat," said the skinny Hammer as he racked the slide of his auto pistol. "We've got one hell of a frigging climb. Let's get this done with."

The corner of my mouth twitched, we were lucky it was on the ninth and not the tenth floor. Which just seemed strange to me.

I just wished Karmen wasn't busy or else she may've been able to scout in her incorporeal form.

Wesley clenched his false teeth and tossed me the data slate, which I caught neatly, "not yet, Verenth," he said. "It could easily be trapped, I suggest…"

"I'll do it," said Hayden as he pulled out a grappling hook gun from a holster on his hip. "I'll go first, check for traps."

"But you're the tech expert," said Wesley. "If you die…"

"You can get another," interrupted Hayden, "and I'd hardly call myself an 'expert,' most of what I know is self-taught. I'm no Adeptus Mechanicus priest. But who better to send as I may be able to disarm whatever I find."

Wesley shrugged, "yeah, okay, can't argue with that logic."

Hayden approached the elevator door and said over his shoulder, "that's because logic, true logic cannot be argued with."

"True," I said, "good luck, Hayden."

Hayden gave a rare grin, "I bet you're glad that, for once, it's not all up to you, Attelus," he said. "And keep the luck, I'm sure you'll need it more than me. I may need a second pair of hands; I might need your help."

My eyes widened, and I pointed to myself, "what, why me?"

He shrugged, "because I might need your unique perspective."

I frowned and furrowed my brow in bemusement.

"Yes, Emperor be with you," said Wesley. "and please make haste, every second wasted, more die."

Hayden nodded then shot his grappling hook, tested it with a tug and said, "I'll be on channel fifty-six, there I'll keep you posted on my progress. Oh, and if I were you, I'd keep far away from the elevator shaft, you know, just in case."

He didn't wait for a reply before he jumped, caught the cord and began climbing.

I waited and watched Hayden ascend for a few seconds; he made it look easy, he paused about ten metres up and waved me to follow.

With yet another sigh I leapt, and caught the cord which was no mean feat when it was so close to the wall and with my feet stopped myself from smashing against the surface. There was a slight shock of pain up my legs which made me grunt.

My teeth clenched, hand over hand I climbed after Hayden, I was light, no more than sixty kilograms, so it didn't take much effort on my arms, but I wasn't as seasoned a climber as Hayden so struggled to keep pace. I wasn't that afraid of heights but knew the danger so struggled to keep my attention from dropping down.

After what my wrist chron claimed to be just over seven minutes we managed to reach the underside of the first elevator. Hayden had stopped and stood, back against the wall on a wider ledge; he'd shot the hook into. Once I'd reached it, he helped me up, and with one swift tug, tore out the hook then shot it further up the shaft, attaching it into the ceiling, this time straight upward.

He tested with another tug and said, "be careful Attelus, do not even slightly touch the elevator it might be rigged to go off at the slightest touch."

I frowned and looked pointedly at the small space between the wall and the elevator; it mustn't have been barely a metre wide. Easier said than done.

It was Hayden's turn to sigh, and he rolled his eyes, "Attelus, you're as skinny as a pole," he hissed, "if anyone can get through there, it's you. Have some damned confidence for once."

I started, "Uhh yeah, sorry," I stammered. "I'm sorry."

He clenched his teeth, starkly white in the dark, "don't apologise. You don't need to apologise. Alright, I'll go first. There's another ledge just over the elevator, we'll check it from there."

I raised an eyebrow, "how?"

Hayden grinned, pulled out another hook shot, then unclasped a larger pouch on his belt and took out a small safety harness.

"I'm a sniper," he said unnecessarily. "Getting up on high is all part of my job."

I sniggered and shook my head as Hayden began to climb again, now he used only his arms to pull himself up, keeping his feet strictly together the entire time.

Despite his size and weight he stayed as still as a stone, yet he climbed quickly, making the approximate two metres within only a few seconds, and he did it without making a single sound.

Gracefully, he slipped onto the ledge then without a hint of lost breath said, "see? If I can do it, I'm sure you can too."

I nodded, still not exactly enthused but grabbed the rope anyway and started hauling myself up in a similar way to Hayden, except I kept the cable between my feet and my body straight to prevent the line from moving and only used my arms. It caused me more resistance, but I was confident I had the strength. With each pull, pain flared from the wound in my side, and I found myself wishing the damn Farseer would work her magic and heal me already.

Because of this, my climb wasn't quite as quick or quiet as Hayden's, but I was just as still. I barely touched the wall let alone the elevator, and again Hayden helped me onto the ledge.

"That wasn't so bad, was it?" he said. "I don't think you needed to keep your feet together on the rope like that though, but I am impressed you have the upper body strength to manage that. Even someone of your lightweight would've found that hard. Keep it up."

All I could manage was a nod, that climb tired me much more than I thought it would.

Hayden smiled and shook his head then pointed to the cord holding the elevator up, "looks like that Wesley fellow was correct, see there? That thing taped to the cord only a few inches up from the elevator? That's a bomb, looks like a small, low yield tube charge. Strong enough to blow the rope and nothing else. There's a cord running down from it, going down the other side of the elevator. It's tied to the det tape, looks like it's connected to the rope running under the elevator, so if anyone grabs onto that, the extra weight will cause this cord to pull down, so pull off the det tape. I'm guessing...and it's an educated guess, kid. This elevator and maybe the other one is filled with explosives which are rigged to blow if it hits the ground floor. Simple but effective and I'd bet, there's enough high yield explosives in there to take out the entire bottom floor."

I gaped, "but wouldn't that collapse the building?"

Hayden shook his head, "I doubt it, this place is built to take such a blast, most of the walls would get destroyed, sure. But the important ones, the retaining walls would stay intact or at least I would hope so. Depends on what type of explosive they'd used."

"So can use the elevator? Even after we've disarmed the tube charge?"

"Depends on the sensitivity of whatever pressure plate they're using in the elevator," said Hayden. "But to be safe, I'll need to get inside there and disarm it there."

I raised an eyebrow, "and what about the other one?"

He shook his head, "once we get to the ninth floor I can program it that only this elevator will run. I barely have the time to check and disarm this one, let alone both."

With that Hayden then slipped on his safety harness, raised his second hook shot and fired it into the ceiling. He tested it then slid it through the harness clip.

"I need you to hold me by the ankles, keep me steady while I disarm it," said Hayden.

"Well, that won't be awkward at all," I said and looked pointedly down the shaft. "And not at all dangerous for me."

Hayden didn't deign to respond. Slowly, carefully he swung into the empty air then with agility belying his size, tilted forward and I quickly caught his ankles before he could tilt back.

"Alright! Attelus, lift me further forward!" Hayden growled as he pulled a pair of clippers from his pouch.

"Yeah!" I said. "This isn't at awkward at all! Lucky it's you and not Garrakson!"


"Sorry, nevermind!" I said quickly as I did as told. "Just being an arse."

"Alright! Further! Further! There! Stop! Perfect!"

Then without hesitation, he reached out and cut the cord tied to the det tape.

"Got it!" he yelled. "Now let me go I can handle it from here!"

I let go, and he abruptly swung himself back onto the ledge.

"So, what now?" I asked. "How the hell are you gonna get inside the elevator?"

Hayden's usual grim demeanour disappeared as he glared at me, then he unclipped his harness and attached it to the other rope.

"Wait here and cover me," he said then quickly began to climb.

It only took him a few minutes to make it to the top as I watched with my auto gun raised and with bated breath.

Once there he unattached the other rope, then swung further left, over where the elevator lid was and reattached it. He then went back and forth a few times, building momentum. He was on his third when I realised what he was doing.

"And people call me insane," I breathed as Hayden unattached his harness and lunged, catching the second rope, then clipped the harness using only one hand while holding on with the other.

To say it was an impressive feat would've been quite the understatement.

He zip-lined down, stopping just over the elevator.

"Kid, you think you can get to the other side?" he said as he grabbed the tied up end of the rope and untied the extra bit of rope holding it. "You can try to sidle along the ledge…"

Hayden never finished his sentence as I suddenly jumped, easily making the good three-metre space and neatly landed on the ledge on the other side.

"Yes, yes I think I can," I said.

For a brief moment Hayden's eyes were wide with surprise then it was gone as quickly as it came.

"Maybe you should be doing this," he said.

I shrugged, "unlike you, I don't know everything, Mr jack of all trades. My father neglected to teach me much about explosives."

Hayden sniggered, "well when you're in the game as long as me. You pick up on a few things. You're lucky, me unlike you, Darrance and Castella I never had an assassin master teaching me how to do everything."

"But you were in the Arbites, right?" I said. 'Surely they'd have taught you these skills there?"

Hayden shook his head then tossed me the rope slack which I caught with both hands, "no, on my world our squads were very specialised. I was in the sniper division, so I was only trained in skills deemed necessary to sniper work, all this other stuff was self-taught over the years after I left the precinct. You, Darrance and Castella are also kind of specialised, though. In combat anyway, you're close combatants, true swordsmen and a true swordswoman. I know I can never be a match for any of you in swordwork or even in hand to hand, despite my size. But I have accepted that."

He twisted on the rope so I could grab his legs again and he tilted forward, and without hesitation, I grabbed his ankle and kept him steady as he studied over the elevator hatch with a torch in his teeth.

"No sign of any wiring running from the hatch," he said. "I'm betting that if I try to lift this thing, it's tied to a cord and will set off the explosives inside."

I hissed through clenched teeth and looked up, "you think they've detected us yet?" I asked.

"No," he said with his trademark sternness. "Barring the obviousness of them not already trying to kill us. We've got syn-skin body gloves on, so our heat signatures are pretty much undetectable on auspex or any similar device, and if the shaft were alarmed I would've noticed, I assure you."

I furrowed my brow and frowned, "but our allies won't be as undetectable when they climb up after us."

"True," said Hayden as he opened another pouch and carefully pulled out a Las cutter. "But we'll worry about that when we come to that. Don't look directly at the cutter. Bad for the eyes."

I nodded, although Hayden couldn't see it as he activated his Las cutter then began to cut through the hatch methodically.

Without any goggles.

I could barely see from the sparks and feel the heat from here, but Hayden was fine, despite it all going on right in his face. Was Hayden augmented? That was the only explanation I could contend. I had no idea, just how augmented was he? His eyes had to be if he was able to stare into that directly.

They must've been expensive as all hell because he looked so normal.

Then I realised something that almost made me let him go, what was stopping the enemy from detecting this?

As if on cue a loud noise further up the shaft, caused me to look up to see the eighth-floor doors were being pried open.

"Shit! Shit! Shit!" I snarled. "Hayden they know we're here! I'm gonna have to let you go!"

"Yeah! Okay! Just cover me! And try not to hit the damn rope!"

"I'll try!" I snapped as I unslung my auto gun and took cover behind one of the steel pillars on the corner of the shaft.

"And kid!" Hayden said, still as calm as calm. "Just try to pin them, okay? If you kill or injure any and they fall down the shaft and onto the elevator…"

He let the rest hang.

I smiled despite the situation, both at the unintended pun and that he expected me to kill any in the first place.

I could hear more grunting and grinding as the door slowly opened.

After flicking my gun onto; "full auto," I braced myself for the inevitable deafening racket in the confined space then opened fire, spraying in bursts in the general direction of the door. The rounds panged off the metal walls and caused whoever was prying the door open to stop abruptly.

My smile turned into a grin, perhaps it'll be easier than I thought but it only took a second for them to start prying the door open again.

I clenched my teeth and showered more shots up there, but that didn't seem to dissuade them as the door kept opening and opening.

"Hayden! Hurry!" I snapped while reloading. "I've only got one clip left after this one!"

"I'm going as fast as I can," said Hayden, still enviously calm. "This is delicate work, kid."

Now the door was almost entirely open; I could see the bastards were using an extra long crowbar, allowing them to stay in cover as they pried it open. Smart friggers. My wild shooting was all that kept them popping out to take pot shots.

Finally, the doors fully opened and immediately one edged around the left corner and opened fire, causing me to slip into cover, but quickly I spun on to the other side, and my return hail forced him back. Right tilted out but was pushed back by another burst of mine, but I wasn't quick enough to stop left from shooting my way.

"Frig!" I snarled, they were cautious as they didn't know how many of us were down here but I was sure they knew it was only me now and would throw that caution away soon luckily though, they hadn't seemed to have noticed Hayden, yet.

I didn't wait for a lull in their fire, slipping to the right again I opened up with a wide, sweeping burst that caused them both back behind their walls.

"Done!" said Hayden as he tossed away the part he'd cut from the hatch and it landed neatly on the ledge. "And it looks like I was right! There's a wire connecting the hatch to something!

I flinched, away from more withering fire and reloaded my last clip, "can you cut it?"

"I don't know! Give me a minute!"

"We don't have a minute!" I roared. "We don't even have seconds, hurry it up!"

Hayden didn't say anything, just set to work.

I clenched my teeth and forced myself to glance around the pillar, seeing much to my relief there were still only two in the doorway. We were very lucky there wasn't an entire squad up there already, which interested me.

Just as I thought this then came more creaking and grinding through the fire and I looked to see they were starting to pry open the seventh-floor doors.

"Oh frig! Frig! Frig!" I yelled as I blind fired around my pillar, "more coming and I'm pinned down!"

"I can cut it!" said Hayden. "There's no secondary…"

"Enough with the exposition!" I screamed, leaning out despite the hail of bullets and forced the mercs into cover with another burst. "And just! Frigging! Do! It! I swear in the last five minutes you've talked more than you have in the last five years!"

So preoccupied with the firefight I barely saw Hayden reach in and cut the cord, then slide off the hatch.

Hayden yelled something at me, but I couldn't hear him over the din.

"What?" I said while shooting wildly at the seventh-floor door.

"I need some slack," said Hayden, "and a hand!"

"Oh for frig's sake!"

"I need to get through this hatch, and I need to descend through it vertically!"

"You're a professional!" I snapped. "Do it your damn self!"

"Okay," he growled, "but if I fall and cause everything to explode and we all die It's on your head, kid."

"It's alright!" I said. "I can live with that!"

I think Hayden laughed then, wasn't sure and even now, I'm still not.

"Kid! Switch on your microbead! Channel fifty-six And give me some cover fire."

"Already on it!" I yelled and fired a brief burst up the shaft before being forced back.

In spite of all the shots exploding around, Hayden leaned into a vertical position and carefully zip-lined into the elevator.

I barely took notice as I slipped back into cover and quickly tuned my vox link.

"Kid? You there?" asked Hayden's voice over the link.

"Yeah!" I yelled wincing as more rounds rained on my pillar.

"Well, kid," said Hayden. "Looks like I'm wrong, they did intend to blow the entire building. There's enough explosive in here to level an entire frigging block. A liquid explosive named Thisleain, rare, expensive, potent stuff. There's a gotta be half a ton here, shit. Insane."

"Can you disarm it?" I demanded as I blind fired back another salvo and glanced out to see the seventh-floor door was about halfway open.

"Yeah, think so, just gotta find the pressure plate," said Hayden.

"For frig's sake!" I snapped. "How in hell can you keep so frigging calm?"

"Don't know," he said. "Always been this way."

"Well hurry the hell up!"

Hayden didn't reply.

I snarled in frustration and leaned out to shoot once more; I was in mid barrage when my gun clicked dry.

"Shit!" I roared. "I'm outta ammo!"

Then a thought hit me; surely they'd have noticed Hayden and his cord by now, why hadn't they cut it or shot it, unless the mercs knew…

"Interesting," I muttered under my breath. How would they know that? Sorry, more importantly, why would they know that?

"I've found it," said Hayden. "I've found the pressure plate."

"Okay! Good!"

"Attelus, Hayden," said another voice over the vox, it was Castella. "We're at the shaft; we're heading up!"

"What?" I cried. "The bomb hasn't been diffused yet!"

"We know! We'll be careful! But you're out of ammo and once the bombs been diffused..."

She let it hang, and I knew exactly what she meant, we were only alive because of the bomb, once that was out of the picture, once Hayden pulled himself out of there...

"Ahh, I see," said Hayden, knocking me from my reverie. "Good thing we took all the precautions, this has to be one of the most sensitive plates I've ever seen. This place would've blown if the elevator moved even slightly. I'd say it'd only take seventy to eighty kilos of pressure from outside the elevator. No more than a few grams inside!"

"Okay I'm shooting the hook shot!" said Castella. "We'll be up there in a few minutes!"

I snarled a curse, dropped my auto gun and drew my pistol, for all the good it'd do me.

"We don't have that long!" I roared.

"Attelus! You need to calm down!" said Castella. "Shouting and screaming at me isn't going to help you!"

I sighed, then fired a flurry and was about to apologise when another thought hit me.

"Hayden!" I yelled into the vox. "Once you disarm the bomb do not and I mean; do not climb out of there!"

"Why? No, wait I understand," he said. "Good thinking, kid. I've found the connection from the pressure plate to the explosive. Gotta say it's masterfully crafted. Simple to make but complex to disarm, give me a minute."

I groaned, then the shooting suddenly grew in intensity, making me flinch and cover my ears. I didn't need to look to know the seventh-floor doors to realise they'd finally fully opened.

Clenching my teeth, I pulled out my mirror and raised it; seeing only four more were on the seventh floor, two kneeling, two standing. Luck seemed to be on my side for once that there wasn't more.

"Damn it! Now I'm well and truly pinned! Hurry it Castella!" I cried. "There's six now! Two on the eighth, four on the seventh!"

"We're going as fast as we can!" she snapped back.


"Attelus, there's more than one connection, ten in fact," said Hayden. "I have to trace each one to their source to see which are fake and which aren't. It's going to take some time."

I sighed and pressed my face into my hand. This was getting better and better.

I flinched in fright as a bright beam of light suddenly erupted up the shaft, engulfing one of the mercs on the seventh floor, instantly vaporising him from the waist upward and threw his corpse back.

The remaining mercs screamed out scared curses and very quickly got into cover.

"Whoa!" I yelled. "Nice shot!"

Castella's laughter filtered down the link, "unlike you, I don't neglect my time at the shooting range!"

"Ha! Ha! Frigging ha!" I said. "Is it joke at Attelus' expense day because he's only an above average shot, is it? Anyway if you're such a good shot why didn't you shoot that damn assassin on my back, back then?"

"I couldn't risk hitting my dear, dear friend Attelus and lose the opportunity to take part in a joke at his expense day, could I?" she said. "Besides, I wanted to take the opportunity to test my skill against a bona fide death cult assassin."

Another beam of plasma suddenly shot up the shaft, forcing the mercs back again.

"Attelus! I've only got a few shots left! Help me here!"

"Got you!" I yelled and tilted out, waiting for the mercs to appear. One did within a second or so, and he was forced back by my roughly shot rounds.

"You're frigging brave bastards, aren't you!" I shouted as I fired to pin one of the remaining mercs on the seventh floor.

"I've located all the wire sources," said Hayden, "all of them aren't fake. From where I can reach, they're very close together only about an inch, and I see now if I even disturb one slightly while cutting another it'll set this whole thing off. Ingenious, bloody ingenious."

"Well, shit!" I snarled while reloading. "And cutting them won't set it off?"

"No! No!" corrected Hayden, sounding almost bemused. "The cords need to be taut; once they lose their tautness, they're harmless. I can cut them without worry, just as long as I don't knock them in the process!"

"Well! Stop telling and start doing!" I yelled, flinching as another plasma beam evaporated the torso of a second merc, whose severed head flew into the shaft and began spinning through the air, falling straight toward the elevator.

Instinct took me over, with a cry and in the blink of an eye, I'd holstered my pistol, slipped out of cover and jumped, reaching out to catch it.

And I did, almost, my heart sank as I only succeeded in brushing it with the tips of my fingers, which was enough to knock it off course, sending it clanging hard against the top of the elevator. Bouncing away and down the side of the shaft. It'd hit less than an inch from going into the open hatch if I hadn't knocked it off course...

"Heads up!" I cried a millisecond before I smashed against the wall, hard enough to knock the wind out of me and to send me bouncing back into free fall! Straight toward the top of the elevator!

I screamed out and with desperate hands clutched out for the cord. Which I missed once, twice, the third time was the charm as my left hand finally managed it, but it wasn't enough as I kept on falling and I screamed in pain as the cord burnt quickly through my glove, then into my hand, but I didn't dare let go.

Even with my heart in my throat and panic pain overtaking me, my right still snapped out and successfully grabbed the cord. Almost immediately I started to slow, and I clenched my teeth to fight the pain. Finally, after what felt like forever I stopped and gasped for breath I abruptly wrapped my arms and legs around the cord, pulling myself up to be vertical instead of horizontal then looked down. What I saw made my heart skip at least ten beats, I'd somehow managed to stop less than a few centimetres from hitting the elevator.

Eyes wide and fighting for a breath I looked up, the ledge I'd fallen off mustn't have been more than a metre and a half up. How I'd managed to stop like that in what was sure to be less than a few seconds was beyond me.

"Attelus! Attelus!" screamed Castella down the line. "Are you alright? Attelus!"

"Yeah! I'm fine! I managed. "Just uhh hanging out!"


"What the hell was it that hit the elevator a second ago?" demanded Hayden before I could make a response. "Gave me one hell of a fright!"

"Ahead," I gasped. "A severed head! From one of the mercs, Castella had hit with her pistol! Would've went straight through the damned hatch if I hadn't hit it off course! Castella! Do me a favour and please don't shoot anymore, before Hayden's done! Please!"

"Good thing it didn't! said, Hayden. "The pressure plate is right under there!"

I rolled my eyes, I'd already guessed as much, and as quickly as I could, I drew my pistol. Hissing at the pain and fired wildly back up the shaft. They wouldn't dare shoot at me hanging here, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

"Castella! Please, hurry!"

"Alright!" said Hayden "I'm cutting the first wire, I'm gonna start from the left and work my way to the other side!"

"Make it snappy!" I snarled. "I can't! I can't hold on for much longer!"

"Cutting number one…"

The pause mustn't have lasted more than a few seconds, but it felt like forever before Hayden frigging finally announced, "Number one is cut! I repeat number one is cut! Moving onto number two."

Hyperventilating and shaking from the shock I started to slowly climb the cord, using only my legs as I steadied myself with my forearms. Pistol raised, ready to fire.

"Breath Attelus, you need to calm yourself and breath!" said Castella.

I didn't reply verbally, only nodded and swallowed.

"Number two is cut! I repeat number two is cut! Moving onto three."

I screamed as my foot abruptly slipped off the cord, and I dropped forcing me to grab the cable with both hands to stop myself, despite the pain it caused but letting go of my Autopistol in the process.

My breath was bated as I watched it drop as I heard the sharp clang when it hit the elevator then as it bounced and clattered straight toward the hatch, only to stop right at the edge.

"Oh no," I whimpered with tears in my eyes as it began to tilt to fall. "Oh no, oh no."

"What was that?" said Hayden. "I was almost in mid-cut when it hit, lucky I didn't jump and hit another wire."

"Hayden! You need to look up at the hatch, now!" I roared.

That was all I got to say before the pistol fell.

I screamed, and for all the good it'd have done, covered my ears and buried my face in my arms. But the explosion never came, nothing happened. I waited for a few seconds before finally taking my hands away from my ears and looking down.

"What?" I gasped.

"Kid," said Hayden. "This is your pistol, isn't it?"


Hayden sighed, "I caught it, I caught it before it hit the plate. You're not the only one who's got quick hands, kid."

I didn't reply; I couldn't reply just gape idiotically then my attention snapped to the left as I caught movement in the corner of my eye.

It was Castella who beamed a grin at me as she climbed Hayden's rope.

"Good work, Attelus," she said while pulling her lithe body onto the ledge, then moved to the nearest pillar and knelt behind it, Plasma pistol raised. "Almost getting everyone killed, like that."

"Hey!" I snapped. "I wouldn't be in this mess if you hadn't vaporised that merc and give me a hand, would you?"

Darrance then suddenly climbed into view, "the shooting has stopped," he stated.

I frowned, grabbed Castella's outstretched hand then she pulled me onto the ledge and looked up to find Darrance right. The mercs had disappeared altogether, leaving the doors barred openly.

"Where did they go?" said Castella.

"Fell back, maybe?" suggested Darrance as he reached down to help up the skinny Hammer leader from before. "Maybe they want to lure us there so they can shoot us without worrying about dropping our corpses onto the elevator?"

I nodded, it made sense, either that or out of a misguided sense of self-preservation.

"Hayden?" I called. 'Hayden are you there?"

"Yeah, kid, I've cut the third wire, now onto the fourth. Bear with me here, okay?"

Just after he said that another idea hit me, "I bet they've fallen back because they know we're getting reinforcements and Hayden! Check if they've got anything to detect if the bomb is disarmed!"

"I..." he paused. "Yes, of course, why hadn't I thought of that."

I clenched my teeth and looked up at the other elevator on the ninth floor.

"What's the bet," I said, "that elevator has no explosives in it. That this one is the only one."

"That's absurd!" spat the skinny Hammer. "Why in the Emperor's name would they only trap one elevator?"

Because Edracian, with his far sight, foresaw this was the one we'd check first, I thought. Because he didn't want this to seem too easy.

But I only shrugged, deciding to keep this to myself.

All ten of the Hammers were now on the ledge; weapons raised to cover the doors.

"I think we should ask a more pertinent question," said Darrance. "Why would he put enough explosives in there to take out an entire block? And it seems to me that those mercs know about this or else they wouldn't have exercised such caution while pinning down the Apprentice, here."

"Or not bothering to cut Hayden's rope," said Castella. "They must know, how do they know? Surely he could've kept this a secret."

"I think the better question is," gasped Wesley as he was pulled onto the ledge by one of the Hammers. "Is why do they know."

I shuddered as a cold shiver went through my spine.

"Yeah!" said Hayden. "The kid was right! There's a vox alarm right next to the tank! I should've noticed it before. I can't reach it from here, so expect to be under fire very soon. Good thinking kid."

"Thanks, Hayden," I said.

"This is just getting stranger and stranger," said Wesley.

"What should we do now?" asked the skinny Hammer. "Just wait here?"

"Hmm," I said my finger and thumb musing on my thin chin. "I think we should head up."

"What?" said the skinny Hammer. "That's ridiculous! What if one of us falls!"

"No," interrupted Wesley. "I think the kid's got it right, right now with the bomb down here the enemy will be less likely to try kill us while we climb. We can climb up, secure the elevator controls, then Hayden can follow us once he's done disarming the bomb."

"Of course he'll be under fire," said Darrance. "A few of us will have to stay and cover him."

"We can do that," said another Hammer, the brute had arms as thick as Hams and tattoos covered him almost head to toe.

Wesley nodded, "thank you, Selg."

I clenched my teeth and closed my eyes, farseer Faleaseen.

There was no response, just silence.

Farseer Faleaseen!

+Yes? What?+ Demanded the Eldar's echoed, inhuman voice.

I sighed with relief inwardly, can you use your power to heal my hands, I need them now.

The Farseer sighed, +What is it you did now?+

I'm sure you can read my thoughts and find out, I replied. Now, will you? Or won't you?

+Okay, I will,+ she said. +But remember mon'keigh I cannot do this all the time, even my power has its limits.+

I understand, I thought and slipped my hands into their pockets.

Immediately I felt the burned, torn skin of my palms begin to mould and warp and I had to fight the urge to watch it, with everyone about someone was bound to see it if I did.

It only took around half a minute before the pain was gone and I could flex my fingers properly.

+Thank you, now the wound on my side? Please?+

Do not push it Mon'keigh, she replied. You will have to bear with it; I have to save my strength for now.

Save your strength? For what?

+The future, human, what else?+

"I have cut the fifth wire," announced Hayden over the vox. "If you're gonna move you need to do it now."

"Got you!" said Wesley and waved us to begin. "Go! Go! Go! Attenlus! You first!"

I frowned and furrowed my brow, him constantly getting my name wrong was beginning to get on my nerves.

Wesley met my look with a frown of his own and nodded to my powersword sheathed at my hip pointedly, seemingly mistaking my look for annoyance at having to go first.

I sighed, grabbed the cord and began climbing Castella and Darrance following just after.

To say it was nerve-wracking to climb that rope was quite the understatement, especially when passing the open doors. Expecting in any second the barrel of a gun to suddenly be in my face. The bloody rope wavered and moved caused continuously by the others after me. Not just that but Hayden's infernal countdown as he cut the wires one after another.

He was on the last when I finally arrived at the ninth floor door. I clenched my teeth, gripped the rope with my left hand and drew my sword with my right, activating it in a blaze of blue.

"Be careful, Apprentice," said Darrance.

I gave him a withering glare and quickly looked over the door, checking for anything resembling tricks or traps. Using what Hayden had said earlier as a reference.

There was nothing, nothing obvious, anyway. I wanted to be surer, but time was very quickly running out, so I hissed through clenched teeth and sliced through the door.

"Hold on!" I yelled as I twisted and turned on the rope, roughly cutting as quickly and cleanly as I could. Which was hardly quick or clean but I still managed to cut a decent sized hole.

"I have cut the last wire!" announced Hayden over the link. "I repeat I have cut the last wire!"

I growled and swung like Hayden to build my momentum, then threw myself through the still superheated hole.

The gunfire erupted a millisecond after I landed and I darted left, countless munitions ripping into the wall in my wake.

Twelve mercenaries stood in waiting behind a sandbag wall further down the wide, bright, ornate corridor; luckily I'd cut the hole to the left of the rope, so it wasn't in their line of fire.

The elevators were in a small T shaped end, only about half a metre wider than the corridor allowing me a wall to take cover behind. Most wouldn't have had the reaction time to make it there on time; I did evidently.

I cursed and reached for my pistol in its holster, but found it empty.

"Frig!" I roared, remembering that Hayden still had it back in the damned elevator.

"How many?" came Castella's voice over the vox.

"Twelve!" I announced, "about twenty metres down! Behind sandbags"

"Well within range!" she exclaimed.

"No! Wait!" I yelled but a second too late as the beam of plasma pierced through the metal door and spread in an arc across the width of the corridor.

The stench of burnt flesh and screams immediately followed.

Castella suddenly lunged through the opening, plasma pistol in her left hand, one of her power blades in her right and she charged down the corridor and out of sight. Darrance hot on her heels.

I clenched my teeth and shook my head; I really should get me one of those.

My kick sent the merc spiralling, head over heels into the wall which he hit with a crunch, on my left flank Castella bisected another, from groin to skull with a single slash of her sword as Darrance on my right cut one's torso in two and decapitated a second.

I dashed at another, making ten metres in a blink as he brought his lasgun to bear and impaled his neck to the hilt. I tore out the crackling blade in a horizontal arc which sheared through the skull of another and sidestepped the thrusting bayonet of a third. My low roundhouse kick caught him in the side of the knee, and he screamed in agony as he collapsed. I finished him with a front snap kick which stuck fast into his throat, and he fell, gurgling. Attempting to stem the blood bursting out.

Darrance was suddenly at my side, slicing a merc in two as he attempted to shoot me. I didn't have time to thank him before I was forced to weave out the way of a burst of automatic fire from a merc, hiding behind a turned over table further into the dining room.

I spun and threw a knife, which stuck fast into the gun's barrel. I threw a second that finished point first in his throat.

A burst of plasma tore through the place, vaporising two mercs as they burst through the double doors at the other end and I could hear the cries of dismay as those that followed, leapt into cover.

Wesley and the six Hammers ran past us, turning over tables for cover and firing to keep the enemy at bay.

"Which way next?" Wesley yelled.

I didn't need reference the data slate to know.

"Next left! At the T junction just outside this room!" I announced as I threw myself flat from their counter fire and activated my vox link. "Hayden! How far behind are you?"

"We're almost on you! Enemy resistance is strong, but we haven't lost anyone yet!"

The skinny Hammer fired two shots from his stub revolver, both blowing out the skull of a merc as they leaned out to shoot. They were a good thirty metres away; I couldn't help but be impressed.

"Nice shooting!" I yelled.

The Hammer just sneered at me and shook his head.

I shrugged and said, "fair enough!"

The Hammer's attention snapped back to me, his brow furrowed in bemusement.

Wesley frowned, "Verenth…" he said warningly

"You killed my brother," Verenth stated flatly. "Two months ago, you stabbed him through the heart. So yes, it's more than fair enough.

My heart sank, "I…I'm sorry. How do you know it was me?"

Verenth clenched his teeth, "I saw you do it!" he snarled. "That girl you fought she stabbed me when I tried to fight her, she missed my heart, only just. I stayed conscious just long enough to see it, all of it. You impaled him through the chest then kicked him off your sword."


"You don't even remember, do you?"

"I'm sorry, I don't," I said. "I've killed a lot of people over the past few months, and I've killed a lot that way, almost every day. I didn't think…"

"No!" snarled Verenth. "No! I bet you didn't think! I bet you never even considered he may've had a kid, or a wife or family! I bet to you he was just some random nothing which deserved to die because he was just some nobody, just some criminal! Just some mindless mook you kill by the dozen!"

"Verenth!" shouted Wesley. "Now isn't the time!"

Verenth tore his attention away from me and emptied his stub revolver at the enemies in the corridor.

"By the Emperor! I wish I could've put one of those through your skull!" he roared as he deftly reloaded.

I'd like to have seen you try, I thought but wisely didn't say.

"Fair enough," I said instead.

"Wesley!" Darrance snapped. "You and your men need to provide us covering fire again!"

Wesley nodded.

"Apprentice!" Darrance yelled. "Get ready to move! We cannot waste any more time!"

I nodded, wide-eyed and glad that I had a distraction.

Wesley held up his hand, all five fingers raised and dropped them one by one.

Once done the Hammers instantly opened up. Only a second after they'd done me, Darrance and Castella were through the door, in that order. About thirty total were there, backs lodged against the walls.

Castella's plasma pistol killed the ones at the back, about twelve vaporised instantly.

My powersword sliced through the head of the first, I impaled the second and my throwing knife stuck fast into the visor of a third.

I lunged forward, and my sidekick smashed one against the wall so hard I swore it caused the surface to crack. I ducked the rifle butt of another, then punched him in the face, finishing him with a horizontal slash across his chest. Two came at me as one, charging with their bayonets aimed at my belly. I slid out the way and sliced through the lasrifle of right, then decapitated him with a horizontal cut. Reacting impressively quick, Left attempted to smash in my face with his rifle butt, but like water, I weaved away and cut through his torso.

Beside me, Darrance's power scimitar cut cleanly through two; then he spun into a hook kick that hit a merc so hard I swore it broke his neck.

Castella pirouetted in between us, making flying over a good three metres to decapitate two mercs as they brought their guns to bear.

Me and Darrance dashed past her. I kicked the raised auto gun of one just as he was about to pull the trigger, causing him to fire uselessly into the ceiling instead of into Castella, I stabbed him through the chest and kicked his limp form into his colleague at his back.

Darrance's overhead vertical cut sliced a merc straight down the middle; then he opened the chest of another.

Castella's plasma pistol shot between us and vaporised two more mercs as they emerged around the next corner.

I clenched my teeth, "Castella! Please try to conserve your ammo!" I yelled.

Castella swaggered past us, her smoking plasma pistol held at her side, and I couldn't help appreciate her arse, and in my peripheral vision, I saw Darrance doing just the same.

She shrugged, "sure," she said. "Sorry."

I smiled, shook my head then activated my vox link, and announced, "clear!"

Only a few seconds later Wesley's men rushed past us and stood to watch the corners of the T junction; two left, two right the rest hugging the walls behind them. Almost like professionals.

Hayden walked in afterwards, his rifle slung over his shoulder, his silenced auto pistol in hand and with Wesley at his side.

"I do not understand why you three aren't Throne agents, yet," said Wesley as he mercy killed a merc with a shot in the head. "I'm just bloody glad you're on my side."

"For now," said Darrance with an evil smile which caused Castella to laugh.

Wesley just smiled back and shook his head, "actually I think you're lucky you are on my side, as I'd have very little doubt you would kill me, the consequences if you did, would be...Not pretty, not pretty at all."

I swallowed, and how bloody close did I come to killing you? I thought.

Wesley walked through us, "Alright! Let's move!"
Last edited by Adrassil on Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:01 am

The last merc guarding the elevator controls was cut in two by Castella, she'd already sliced her way through three others and killing him just seemed an afterthought to her, like batting a fly.

There were thirty-five who guarded the area, but thanks to the aide of Wesley and his Hammers, we'd slaughtered them. That's what power weapons seemed to be, slaughter tools. There was no more need to aim for a gap in the armour or to even slash it like a sword. You could swing it like a club, and you'd get the same effect. It cut through steel as easily as flesh and bone.

Despite this I was determined to continue wielding it like I did my monomolecular blade, just in case if I ever lost my power sword and had to go back to using my old weapon, I didn't want to go back being rusty.

Castella and even Darrance weren't the same; both had wielded power weapons for years or even decades, they'd gotten a bit too used to it for my liking. Perhaps after this, I should point it out to them...if any of us survived, of course.

"Selg! Verenth! You and your men secure the perimeter!" ordered Wesley as he and Hayden approached the controls. "Mr Tresch! Work your magic!"

Hayden nodded slipped off his belt and began to rustle through his bags, "give me ten minutes!" he announced.

"We will!" said Wesley who activated his vox link. "Boss! It's me!"

Quickly Wesley went over the plan with Brutis Bones, I meanwhile took out the data slate, sat on the floor and began studying over it. Now we were on the ninth floor there'd surely be some access to the tenth.

"What are you doing?" said Darrance as he and Castella approached me.

"Finding a route to the tenth," I said. "And I just have. Not far from here in fact."

Darrance's eyes narrowed, "what do you propose?"

I looked him in the eye, "us three, get up there and finish this. Once and for frigging all."

Castella scoffed, "surely they'd expect that."

I shrugged, "yeah sure, I know, but I really don't care anymore. I'm tired of this shit."

Darrance's brow furrowed, and he shook his head, "see? This is the kind of attitude that'll get us all killed. I know you must be wary of this all, after everything you've been through, I understand. But we have to keep being careful, methodical, logical, okay?"

I nodded and rubbed my eyes, "yeah you're right. I'm sorry I'm just tired, so damned tired."

"Here, give me the data slate, let me have a look," said Darrance.

I did, and he quickly looked over it, "okay," he said. "Let me scout on ahead and check this staircase out first hand. You just get your energy back, and I'll be back soon."

He didn't wait for a response before turning and starting away.

"Okay, young mamzel Lethe. What happened to the real Darrance and where did you put him?" I said.

Castella laughed, "I think after years of time and effort you've finally earned his respect. Shit, it took me a good seven before I did."

I sniggered and shook my head, "I think you've misunderstood, Castella."

"Misunderstood what?"

I was in the midst of replying when I heard the crack of las-fire down the corridor.

"Shit!" snarled Verenth's voice over the vox. "They're here! And there's tons of 'em!"

"Tons meaning?" said Wesley.

"Meaning way too many for us to handle!" said Verenth.

"Hold them off for as long as you can!" snapped Wesley, "we'll be there in a few seconds!"

Castella helped me to my feet. She was mistaken that I'd even put any time and effort into earning his respect in the first place.

I didn't take long for Darrance to come back. The third wave of attackers had just been killed when he walked through the smoke and almost shot in the process.

"I have scouted out the stairs," he said as his brow furrowed. "It is strange; it is not guarded."

"Any sign of booby traps?" said Castella, looking equally grim.

"None," said Darrance with a shrug. "I explored the staircase in its entirety. The Throne Agent, Wesley is correct. This is just getting stranger and stranger."

I smiled as I reloaded my auto pistol, "almost an open invitation one may say," I said.

"What about the doors?" asked Castella.

"Nothing," said Darrance. "Obviously I didn't open them and cannot tell what is on the other side. They could be booby-trapped."

I nodded, I was leaning against the metal wall in the confined, industrialised corridor. Not far away the Hammers with Wesley kneeled behind the sandbag wall that the enemy had used not so long ago.

I took the ceramic case of Lhos from the pocket of my flak jacket, popped out one and placed in my mouth then lit it.

"According to the data slate," I said while exhaling smoke. "Almost the entirety of the tenth floor is an ecclesiarchy church."

I held it up so they could see, "twelve pillars on both sides, fifty pews total, twenty-five on both sides. Plenty of cover for our enemy. Not much for us when we break through the doors, of course. That's even before they'd undoubtedly reinforced the place. "

Darrance grinned and shrugged, "when has that ever been a problem?" he said.

I clenched my jaw, "I'd suggest we wait for reinforcements before we even go near that place."

Castella raised an eyebrow and looked at Darrance, "whos the one being logical now?"

Darrance shrugged again, "and how long will that take, apprentice? At this rate hours? And how many more will die? We risk only the three of us to effectively cut off the head."

"Assuming he's even there," I said.

"Well, if he isn't we can just fall back and report that," said Darrance.

"What about the doors?" I said. "Won't we need Hayden?"

Castella stroked her chin, "I doubt it. This Inquisitor could've laid traps far more numerously throughout the entire building than he did. If he wanted this place destroyed and all of us dead, it would've happened already. I have a feeling he wants us up there."

"But, why?" I asked.

To give you a message, the words filtered through my thoughts sending a shiver through me, which made me flinch in fright. It was unmistakably Edracian's voice.

"Apprentice," said Darrance. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, yeah!" I said, realising I'd suddenly started to sweat. "I'm fine, I'm sorry."

Castella and Darrance shared bemused looks

"I don't know," she said. "You're the one who's met him face to face. If anyone should know it's you."

"Perhaps," I said with a shrug, then I looked at Darrance, "and perhaps you're right. Perhaps we should do this."

Darrance grinned, "perhaps you will learn one day, apprentice. That I am always right."

I sighed, and people chastise me for being arrogant.

With another sigh, this one sadder than the last, I stubbed out my lho stick on the wall and pushed myself off it.

"Wesley," I said. "We're headed for the tenth floor; you'll have to hold off the mercs without us."

He frowned, "yes I know. You are aware I can supercede you on this. I need you here and getting the elevator working is the highest priority."

"Correction," I said grimly. "You can try to supercede us, but we're going, stopping Edracian is the actual highest priority, isn't it? We're going to do it."

He frowned, "you are insane, who frigging knows how many men he's got up there with him. You're going to your deaths."

I looked him in the eye, "perhaps so, but if we kill him in the process, you'll only lose the three of us. Instead of dozens upon dozens of others."

I paused and looked at Verenth who glared back at me, "dozens who might have families, children. None of us have that; we're just hired murderers. Let us try, Wesley. You've got nothing to lose."

He grimaced, "you are aware, Attenlus. That if you sacrifice yourself like this, no one here will give a shit. You've caused too much damage to people like Verenth that you'll never be forgiven. They'll see it for what it is, a hollow, selfish notion."

I shrugged, "yeah, I know, but hardly care, and if I die I'll care even less."

I flinched, "because I won't be able to care, because I'll be dead."

Wesley grinned and sniggered, "yeah, I got that. Alright, go ahead. Once we get the elevator going, reinforcements will be en route."

With a nod, I waved for Castella and Darrance to follow, and we moved past the Hammers then jumped over the sandbags.

"Wish us luck," I said over my shoulder.

"I'll do even better," said Wesley. "I'll pray that the Emperor's will is with you."

I let out a derivative snort just before we were around the corner and out of sight.

"Nice speech there, Apprentice," said Darrance. "Did you mean any of it?"

I clenched my jaw, "yes and no, if I die then I die and for me, this hell is over and damn well done with, but I have utterly no intention to die this day."

Oh you have no idea, the irony of your words, said Edracian's voice.

Go away! I snarled wordlessly.

I was only answered by roiling, echoing laughter.

"Attelus, are you okay?" said Castella.

I stopped and turned to her, "I'm fine, I'm sorry. It's nothing I'm fine."

Castella frowned and furrowed her brow, not looking at all convinced.

"We should move carefully from here on," said Darrance. "Keep to the shadows."

Castella and I nodded, and immediately we melted into the darkness as though we were never there.

It took a good ten minutes for us to reach the stairs. Having to dodge two massive waves of mercs as they ran toward the Elevator controls and our allies. I'd taken the liberty to vox them the number of mercs and their armaments once they'd passed.

All the while I tried to call the Farseer with my thoughts, tried to get her to find out how Edracian was talking to me, but much to my frustration she didn't reply.

Most likely she couldn't.

The stairs, like much of the building, were built with white marble with golden abrasion lining. They were very wide, a good five metres and brightly lit and curved around ninety degrees, so the door at its peak was out of sight.

I sighed, "I don't like this."

Darrance's attention snapped to me, "tell me, apprentice! Is there something you actually like?"

I shrugged, "I dunno, caffeine, Castella. Not you."

"Very subtle, apprentice," said Darrance. "Next time someone you 'like' actually bothers to remember your birthday, please do inform me."

I gaped, unable to even consider a response.

"Also, Apprentice, I only remembered it because I make a point of remembering everyone's birthday, so do not feel special," said Darrance.

I sighed, "don't worry. I don't."

"Come on, let's move," growled Castella as she started up the stairs. "And do try to be quiet, please."

I frowned and followed her, so that's why she'd acted weird when Darrance had mentioned my birthday earlier. It mattered little; she'd come to my bedside every day to pray, I'd say that more than made up for it.

That's if Feuilt was telling the truth, of course.

With weapons raised, silently we stalked up the stairs, Darrance in the lead. There were barely any shadows, so stealth wasn't an option.

It took a good three minutes before we finally came to the doors, they were huge, ostentatious golden things, standing at a good four metres tall. Carved into it was what looked like the Emperor handing what looked like a scroll to a generically handsome mortal man, with the stars behind them.

We stood there for a few seconds just looking, Darrance was the first to speak.

"Apprentice, open them."

"What? Why me?"

"Because, while I admit you do have considerable skill, you are still an Apprentice, you are the lowest ranked. So it's up to you to go first, as you are the most expendable" he said.

"No, you go first," I said. "The one with the most experience and skill should go first as they're more experienced to handle what may lie beyond."

"Your sarcasm doesn't make it any less true," he said. "But I insist, as your superior, I order you to go first."

I snorted, "when did I ever care for your orders?"

"Enough!" snapped Castella and with a blast of her plasma pistol, she vaporised left door's the hinges then kicked it, so it fell inward with a crash.

We slipped behind the remaining door and waited for the retaliatory fire, but oddly, it never came.

After sharing confused glances, Darrance leaned out to look; it only took a second before he turned back.

"You said he wore power armour, right?" he asked.

I nodded.

"It's only him in there. His back to us."

I raised an eyebrow, "are you sure?"

"Yes I am sure, Apprentice," he said, looking wounded. "Of course I am, who do you think I am?"

I smirked.

+You three, you have finally arrived, please do come in. You are more than welcome.+

Involuntarily, I clenched my teeth, and my eyes widened with fear.

Castella and Darrance were suddenly moving out into the church, weapons held loosely at their sides.

"Castella! Darrance!" I yelled, but they didn't respond, they just kept moving.

"Frig!" I snarled and slipped after them, pistol raised.

I stepped into that huge church, here the walls, pillars, floor and ceiling made of a dark green marble that reflected the intense light emitted from the dozen, large chandeliers hanging high above. Stairs led down to the church, eight total that surrounded the place from length to width, elevating the pillars and the altar above the nave. I couldn't help wonder exactly how many mercs were hiding behind them.

Between each pillar were huge paintings each depicting the Emperor of Mankind in some great act, somewhere. When I was younger I wanted to be an Imperial historian; I used to study the crusades, the heroes of the Imperium, so perhaps I might've recognised what it symbolised. But the war changed me; I've forgotten all that now, my pragmatism didn't just extend to my fighting style, all that learning was redundant, replaced by knowledge more applicable for my new calling. Glaitis had an extensive library of information back on her ship, so if I ever needed to be reacquainted with it for a mission's sake, I easily could.

I frowned at the thought of Glaitis.

Edracian stood in the epicentre, amongst the pews, still in his power armour and as Darrance had described, his back was to us, his red cape so long it folded onto the floor a good metre behind him.

Whatever had taken hold of Darrance and Castella was abruptly gone as they shook their heads and raised their weapons. I thought they were wearing psy jammers, how the hell could they've been affected?

+I have been waiting for you! You have taken your time!+

"Inquisitor Nonin Edracian!" yelled Castella, her plasma pistol raised. "Surrender, now! And you will be spared!"

His laughter filtered through my thoughts.

+And on whose authority do you demand this surrender?+

"The authority that comes from the barrel of a frigging plasma pistol!" she snarled.

He laughed again, +a plasma pistol? You really think I would fear a plasma pistol? It is powerful that is sure, but its power is nothing, compared to the power I possess!+

"And what power is that?" asked Darrance.

+The power of the warp!+

Then he slowly raised his arms and as he did everything started to quake and shake. The pews, the chandeliers, hell even the frigging pillars.

Castella didn't hesitate, as a bright lance of light erupted through the room straight toward Edracian. But suddenly it stopped only a few inches from hitting him the plasma beam seemingly evaporated into nothingness.

My jaw dropped, until then it was hard for me even to comprehend a force strong enough to stop plasma.

"Well, shit," said Castella and shot again but only to get the same results

Edracian laughed and kept raising his arms; then the pews started to rise into the air, floating upward and upward. The temperature abruptly dropped, condensation began to form on the walls and floors then quickly hardened into frost.

The shaking was so intense now; that I could barely keep my feet.

She shot a third time, but this one went wild, succeeding only in burning through the wall at the other end of the chamber.

"Castella!" I yelled over the cacophony. "I'd try to save your ammo if I was you!"

Castella snarled, holstered her pistol and drew her power blades, "I'm out anyway!"

I activated my powersword in a blaze of blue, as did the other two, almost all at once.

The pews were well into the air now and orbited around Edracian at a dizzying speed. Like a colossal hurricane with him standing straight in its eye.

"Well, shit," said Castella again.

Then they flew straight at us.

I cried out as the first pew bore down at me, it was large, a good ten metres long and made from dark varnished expensive wood.

With an upward, vertical slash I cleanly cut it in two, sending the halves whirling away and allowing me a gap to step through.

The second was on me immediately after, my overhead vertical sliced through that.

Already I'd lost sight of Castella and Darrance through the chaos. All other sound eclipsed by the ear-splitting cacophony of the pews shattering and breaking against the surroundings.

A third pew came at me, side on, which I weaved out the way of, then I ducked another. A fifth hit the floor and bounced and spun my way. Crunching and cracking with the impacts.

I imagined I looked more casual than I felt, my heart leapt in my chest so hard, blood thundered through my veins so fast it felt as though I'd explode as I jumped over it. Clearing the one and a half metres needed with ease I shouldn't have been capable of and I landed just in time to roll underneath another. One descended at me in an arc, twisting and turning through the air, like some gravity-defying gymnast. With a cry, I desperately jumped back, a mere millisecond before it shattered against the floor where I once stood, and I was still in mid-air when it's shards flew straight toward me like mini-missiles.

As if with a life of it's own, my sword darted and sliced out so fast my eyes could barely follow, intercepting every bit of shrapnel headed my way. Evaporating them harmlessly against it's powerfield.

This all happened before I'd even landed and when I did, I skidded across the smooth marble floor a few metres more, before being forced to throw myself prone as another pew seemingly swiped out at me.

I rolled as another smashed down at me, missing by a hair's breadth and I kicked out my feet, getting up just in time to weave away from the wall of flying wooden shards.

I clenched my teeth and cursed, I couldn't keep this up forever. I needed a way to reach the bastard! Even though it'd already been established his shield can stop plasma bolts, I had to try! I also feared what he would do with the slivers and shards left of the pews once destroyed.

I dashed forward, straight toward a pew which flew at me lengthways.

In the very last microsecond, I dropped and slid on my side, just beneath it before it crashed to the floor; missing my head by barely an inch. I finished into a crouch in time to slice through the next. I darted around another and finally found some space, not much but, it'd have to do.

With a roar, I fell into a sprint and lunged off the stairs. In mid-air, a pew attempted to intercept me. I cut it in two, and the parts flew past me, then I hit the floor, rolling to negate the impact.

I finished, kneeling and saw Edracian, still in the room's epicentre, even with his back to us and his arms still raised.

All I got was a split second look before yet another pew descended at me from above attempting to crush me under its armrest, I sidestepped it and carried on my sprint.

Two came at me at once, one low, one high. I didn't break stride as with one vertical, downward slash, I cut through them and continued. I caught a glimpse of Castella and Darrance then, they were both taking cover behind the pillars on the left side of the room, limiting the direction the pews could come at them effectively. As blurs, side by side, they dodged and slashed what came their way.

I barely had time to clench my jaw before more frigging pews flew at me, now they were reduced to shattered halves or even less, but they came more consistently and at a higher velocity.

With my heart in my throat, I slid from the path of one as it bounded and crashed across the floor. I leapfrogged over another and cut through the next; my advance now slowed to a crawl.

What are you doing? Edracian asked in my mind.

"Stopping you!" I snarled as I ducked a pew and weaved around another.

Edracian laughed, you have not a chance! Why do you even try?

Because that's all I can do, I thought as I clenched my teeth and continued my dogged advance. I could sense both Darrance and Castella were watching me. What I did, the feats I've managed, no normal human could be capable of doing. Perhaps not even them.

I jumped onto the top of one, then bounded off it, flying a few more metres before landing in time to roll under another.

I could see him more clearly now, he was about ten metres away, but at this rate, it may well have been miles.

Two flew at me at once, flying at my sides. Left coming high and right; low.

With a curse, I was forced to bound back, making it out a millisecond before they smashed together in a deafening crash!

I darted left, twisting, covering my face, so the slivers bounced and clattered off my flak jacket. Some were sharp enough to stick fast, alongside the shards of glass I hadn't got around to pulling out yet. The impacts sent me reeling and writhing back further.

Instinct made me duck down, as the shattered remains of a pew came ridiculously close to taking off my head.

I darted side to side, dodging another two then cut through a third.

"Where is she!" I roared.

+Where is who?+ he asked, sounding genuinely confused.

"Elandria! You sick frig! Where the hell is she!"

+Ohhhh! Her! I had forgotten about her! I am not going to tell you. Why do you think I would tell you that?+

I screamed as I cut in half yet another pew, "why! Why are you doing this?"

+Why not?+

My reply was another scream of incoherent rage, and after sidestepping a small wall of wooden shards, I finally converged on Edracian.

I slashed, but I may well have been trying to cut through an Adamantium wall with a butter knife as my blade bounced off and sent impact pain up my arms.

+It is fruitless, boy!+ laughed Edracian. +You are a mere ant, railing against the heavens!+

I let out a wordless snarl and was forced back by another flying pew. There must be a weakness somewhere! Somewhere! Please!

For what must've only been a few seconds, but for me, it felt like forever. I'd dash in, slash, then dart back out as more debris would attempt to hit me. I must've done it dozens of times, cut at him across every inch and angle conceivable. The entire bloody time Edracian's laughter echoed through my head.

But nothing, I got nothing. Those few seconds were more exhausting than the last few hours combined and through my gasping, I clenched my teeth as I realised I couldn't bring myself to dodge the previous bit of pew as it bore down from above. My arms and legs ached like all hell, and my limbs felt like lead.

Silently I begged for Faleaseen to do something, to say anything! But she stayed silent.

The weight hit me from the side, suddenly smashing me off my feet and to the floor. I felt rather than saw the piece of pew fly over me, missing but only an inch.

Abruptly, I was turned by slender but strong hands to come face to face with Castella, her expression a rictus of rage.

"What the hell are you doing?" she snarled.

I didn't reply; I couldn't. I only gaped at her dumbly.

She let out a growl, grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and hauled me to my feet; allowing me to see Darrance was there, keeping the debris at bay, his power scimitar darted and sliced like lightning.

"Why did you run up by yourself?" she yelled as she pulled me and sidestepped another pew. "We need to work together, Attelus! Stop trying to do everything on by yourself!"

"Help me here!" yelled Darrance through clenched teeth.

Without hesitation, Castella and I stepped up on Darrance's flanks. Together we slashed, dodged and weaved through the massive amount of debris constantly thrown at us.

My exhaustion was almost overwhelming at this point, on twelve separate times Darrance had to save me, by either slashing debris I'd missed or by pulling me out of its path.

All the while Edracian laughed and laughed, and it made me angrier and angrier.

I snarled and roared with every slash, trying to ignore my aching arms and heaving chest.

But after what felt like forever the barrage suddenly stopped and the laughter with it. The shattered remains of the pews abruptly and simultaneously dropped to the floor in a deafening clatter.

The three of us stood among it, exhausted and bleeding all over from minor cuts, me the least as my flak jacket had protected me from much of it.

Well that was impressive, said Edracian.

Together we turned to face him.

"Is that all you've got?" remarked Darrance snidely, which made me hiss air through clenched teeth.

Edracian laughed again, of course not, that was just the beginning.

Suddenly Castella and Darrance stiffened simultaneously both letting out cries of dismay and stayed, frozen like statues. I was unaffected.

As this happened every single remaining shard, thousands upon thousands rose back into the air and pointed their tips toward us.

"Well, shit," I breathed.

+This is your end.+
Last edited by Adrassil on Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:22 pm

Hmm, I think I love writing over the top villains too much. But there is a reason for it within the story, enjoy!

I screamed out as the shards descended on us, I screamed not out of fear, although I knew this to be the end. I didn't scream out of anger, or defiance, or even out of guilt.

I screamed out of frustration, to have come so close, so close! There were so many, countless even if I managed to dodge and destroy enough to save myself there was no way I could protect Castella and Darrance as well, no way in hell.

"So close!" I roared, raising my sword as the shards and slivers were almost on me. "I was so...clooooose!"

But they never came; they seemingly disappeared when within mere millimetres of me, evaporating into nothing like stones hitting the water.

+Here I am, yet again, saving your butt, Attelus Kaltos.+

"Karmen!" I gasped.

+What!?+ demanded Edracian in my head.

+I am sorry it took so long for me to help you, I have only just managed to defeat Edracian's pet psyker. But I am tired I will not be able to help very much from here on.+

Abruptly, Castella and Darrance gasped for air and hunched forward.

+Well, besides that.+

"Thank you, Karmen," I said.

Edracian laughed again, and we turned to face him.

"Why are you laughing?" said Darrance. "It's over!"

+I laugh because you think you can make a difference! Decades of planning have gone into this! Nothing you can do will change anything! Omnartus will die! It is only a matter of time; it is fate and you can not-+

"Oh just shut up!" I snarled and in the blink of an eye made the twenty-metre distance, slashing my powersword but again it bounced against his shield.

"Frig!" I cried as I reeled back.

Edracian's laughter grew shriller, louder and hurt my head, then across what must've been the surface of the spherical shield crackled what looked like lightning.

+Attelus! Move now!+ roared Karmen.

Without question, I dived to the floor a mere millisecond before the lightning eclipsed the air where I once stood.

"Shit!" I cried through clenched teeth as I clambered to my feet and into a sprint. "Shit! Shit! Shit!"

I felt rather than saw the second lightning blast as it missed my back by barely an inch.

Thankfully it was only the lightning, the clap of thunder at such close range would've burst my eardrums, at the very least.

The surface of the shield crackled, a split second before lightning erupted out again. I slid out of its path, drew my autopistol and fired a few times into it, I knew it'd do nothing, but I needed to. I needed to feel I was doing something, anything!

"Karmen!" I roared before being forced to sidestep another bolt. "Can you please! Take down that damn shield!"

+I'm sorry, Attelus! I'm too weak!+

Cursing savagely, I emptied the rest of my pistol's clip at the bastard. Lightning had shot out twice in that time but not at me, Darrance was forced to wheel away from the first, Castella pirouetted from the path of the second.

+I might have a way, mon'keigh.+

"Faleaseen!" I snapped, verbally, unintentionally while ducking another burst of lightning. "Where the hell have you been?"

+That is Farseer Faleaseen to you, mon'keigh! Know your place! As I have told you time and again my power is limited this far! I was blocked from you once you had reached the ninth floor, I have only just managed to break through now.

"Frigging typical!" I snarled while weaving through two quick-fire bolts. "Now can you take that shield down, now! Please!"

+I cannot, I'm afraid. All I can do is provide you a way to phase through the shield to deliver the killing blow.+

"Well! Good! Frigging do that, then!"

+I cannot. I have used much of my power to break through the block. I need to recuperate.+

"Oh for frig's sake! And how long will that take?"

+Three minutes of your time.+

"Three minutes!" I cried. "I can't hold on that long!"

+I am afraid, that you must and even if you do not, it doesn't matter.+


It took her a good few seconds before she replied and in that time I was forced to dodge four separate lightning bolts.

+You needn't worry. Do not concern yourself upon nothing, and just concentrate upon your enemy.+

I would've frowned but found it impossible, being too busy struggling to breathe.

"Why!" I roared. "Why can't it be easy! Just! For! Once!"

Castella flipped over me and landed on my left.

"So, what's the plan he who constantly talks to himself?" she said.

I grinned despite myself and darted out of the path of another lightning blast.

"I need you and Darrance to distract him! Somehow! Karmen can help me, but it's going to take a while!"

"How long is 'a while?'"

"Three minutes!"

"Frig that!" she snapped.

"My thoughts exactly!"

"No surprise there!" said Darrance as he converged on my right. "Seen as how simple minded you are!"

Before I could make my rather weak retort another burst of lightning forced us to scatter

"Attelus! Take cover behind the pillars!" shouted Castella. "We'll try to draw his attention!"

I nodded over my shoulder and sprinted toward the nearest pillar.

+Oh no, you don't!+ Came Edracian's voice.

+Attelus! Move left, now!+ Karmen cried.

I did, a microsecond before the lightning past by me.

+Now, right!+

My weave took me out of the path of another blast, but I gaped in horror as it tore into the pillar, gouging a vast blackened gash in its surface.

In the next second, I was past the pillar and behind it. I quickly calculated it'd only take ten to twenty seconds before Edracian's lightning brought it down completely. Then I'd just move onto the next one.

Luckily for me, the pillar was thick, and marble was a non-conductive material.

Gasping, I cautiously glanced around the edge. Edracian was firing three lightning bolts at once now, forcing Darrance and Castella to dodge and flip through two, the third constantly clashed against my pillar. So much for them distracting him.

Edracian's laughter filtered through my thoughts, forcing me to freeze in fright.

+Do you seriously think those pillars will protect you?+

I gaped and gasped, and instinct made me turn in time to see the next bolt of lightning curl around the pillar on my left, then headed straight toward me.

I cursed savagely in Velrosian which was the first time in a long time I'd uttered my native tongue as I threw myself to the floor.

The lightning past over me by the barest of margins and instantly I was up and moving into the open. Being behind the pillars, was now a death trap.

"Attelus!" cried Castella, I turned to see she wasn't far away, glaring at me in dismay. "Why aren't you behind the pillars!"

"He-!" I was interrupted as another bolt came at me, forcing me to lunge out the way. But like the last, it turned after it passed, though not toward me, toward her.

Castella gaped in shock yet still reacted quickly enough to flip out the away. But again it turned, it turned and smashed into the pillar she'd just stood beside.

It was easily the most potent bolt this far; it instantly gutted the four-metre wide pillar and tons upon tons of marble collapsed in a heap. It happened so fast Castella was still in mid-air, and she didn't even have time to cry out before she disappeared under it.

I stood frozen in place, I wanted to scream, to roar out her name but I couldn't. I just couldn't comprehend. I couldn't think. The next lightning bolt would've vaporised me if Darrance hadn't knocked me to the floor.

"Get up, Apprentice!" he snarled.

I didn't, I laid there and realised that tears were flowing down my face.

"Get up!" he roared. "Get up now, or I will kill you!"


Darrance abruptly hauled me up by the scruff of my neck and threw me onto my face, out the path of the next bolt.

"Get up now!" he roared again. "Or do you wish for me to stab you through the heart? Do you think Castella would have wanted that? You disrespect her with this pathetic show! Get up now and fight or I will kill you!"


"She's dead, I know!" he roared as he pulled me to my feet and slid us out from another blast's path.

Darrance didn't throw me when he let go I simply collapsed into a heap.

"How?" I murmured into the floor.


"How! How can you not care!"

I was on my feet so fast; I didn't realise it until the fist smashed into my face and sent me reeling back to the floor.

"You think I don't care? You think that I'm such a monster?" He roared, and his next sentence choked with emotion and, there were tears in his eyes. "She was like a sister to me! I cared for her more than anyone!"

"More than you ever will!" he screamed and raised his power scimitar.

A bolt of lightning forced him back before he could decapitate me and Edracian's laughter echoed in my mind.

+As much as I enjoy this drama show, do not forget about me! I am going to kill you!+

I clenched my teeth and my right hand into a fist as anger suddenly raged through me. He was the one responsible for this; he'd killed her. He'd killed Elandria! I'd sworn vengeance and, here I was just laying here, pathetic! What would Castella think! What would Elandria think! They deserved more! The trillions of people he'd murdered deserved more! I deserved more!

Adelana, she deserved more!

Darrance came at me again, roaring and slicing down.

I snarled, was suddenly in a crouch and smashing aside his sword.

"I'm sorry, Darrance!" I said. "I know you care; I shouldn't have said that! I'm sorry!"

Darrance reeled from the parry but, he still smiled.

Then we scattered as another lightning blast came at us.

+How long now, Farseer?+

+Two minutes and twenty-seven seconds remaining, Attelus.+

"Karmen? Is she? Is she?" I said with widening eyes, surprised at the Farseer's genuine use of my name.

+I'm sorry, Attelus, I can no longer sense Castella's presence. She's...gone. I'm so sorry.+

I wiped away the tears with my forearm and slid to a stop, the next bolt missing me by a hand's breadth in front of me. I wanted to charge at him, to run mindlessly and roar with rage, I didn't but by the Emperor did it take all my willpower not to.

Clenching my teeth, I weaved side to side as I remembered; I remembered Castella how she was the only one who'd always encourage me. How she stuck up for me to Darrance and Hayden. How I'd heard her voice when I was in a coma when she prayed for me.

My tears were flowing freely now but, my eyes never wavered away from Edracian. I didn't run, just slowly approached, dodging the blasts as they came my way and remembered. I remembered how it was Castella who was at my bedside when I'd first woken. How she'd cried when she'd said she was glad I wasn't a monster, then said I'd saved the people in the Twilight bar, and I winced at my idiocy at how I hadn't believed her.

I ducked another blast then slid aside the next.

I remembered how she was the only one who'd laugh at my lame jokes. Remembered when she'd fought at my side against the daemons. When she'd hugged me when I'd wept after I'd found out about the Exterminatus and said it'd be okay. How she'd believed, truly believed we could stop it.

Now she was dead! She was my friend! No! She was more than that! She was like a sister to me! She was like the kind, compassionate big sister I never had!

Darrance was wrong! I cared for her more than anyone!

Then it hit me, the real reason why she'd beaten poor Wesley to a pulp, why she'd left the room in shame when I'd expressed my shock at his condition. It was because of what he'd done to me. She did it because she'd cared for me. How couldn't I've seen it? How?

"Castella," I hissed.

+Ohhh! What's wrong? Are you sad over your friend?+

I didn't reply, only kept walking and dodging.

+Why? She was a nobody! Just another mindless fool! A pawn who was fated for nothing! To be nothing! I don't understand what you're so upset about!+

"Shut up," I hissed, ducking.

+It's just like Jarvus and Callague!+

"Shut up."

+Just like good medicae Feuilt!+

"Shut up!" I growled, darting.

+Just like Olinthre and Taryst!+

"Shut up!"

+Just like all of the sad, pathetic dead Hammers and Magistratum lackeys, consumed by my daemonic minions!+

"Shut up!" I yelled, weaving.

+Just like, your sad! Pathetic! Know nothing! Girlfriend, Elandria!+

I didn't reply, just shed even more tears and clenched my teeth all the harder then slid from the path of another lightning bolt.

+Ohhh! Not going to scream for me to shut up at the mention of her name? And for me to never say it? How anti-climactic! Add more to this your pathetic melodrama of yours! Would you please? Please do!+

I grinned, "no, why would I? That's what you'd want, and I refuse to give you anything more!"

Edracian's sudden barking, insane laughter erupted through my mind, making me wince which almost caused me to be vaporised by the next blast.

+AHAHAHAHAHA! Fair enough, I guess! Not knowingly anyway! But like it or not! You're about to give me exactly what I want! AHAHAHAHA!+

"Yeah? You suicidal or something?"


+Attelus Kaltos! I have regained my strength! The time is nigh! Go forth! My shield will protect you! It will only be up for a few seconds!

+I grinned as around me the world turned blue, shimmery; like I'd suddenly plunged into the sea. The clearest, cleanest water imaginable yet I could still breath and see Edracian easily.+

+Huh? What's this?+ His voice shrill with surprise.

"This is your end, you son of a bitch!" I roared and lunged into a sprint.

Edracian cried out and shot another lightning blast, easily the largest and most powerful one yet. The one which engulfed me. But I never flinched, the bolt past around the shield, harmless.

"This is it!" I bellowed as I drew back my sword. "This is for all the people you've killed! This is for Callague and Jarvus and Olinthre!"

The lightning continued to consume me, to crackle and weave around the shield, but there was no resistance. I ran without hindrance and, in the last few metres, I lunged into the air.

"This is for all the innocents you've slaughtered and sacrificed! This is for Taryst! This is for Castella! And most of all, this is for Elandria!"

+No! Noooooooooooo!+

Roaring like I've never roared before or would ever since with one slash, I severed Edracian's head from his shoulders.

The shield abruptly dissipated and I landed and slid a good few metres more before my strength suddenly left me and I collapsed to the floor.

There I saw Edracian's severed, helmeted head clatter and bounce across the green marble.

There the stench hit me like a punch to the face, it made me gag, my eyes to water and want to vomit.

Even still, I watched the helmet continue to bounce and, in the last jarring impact, the head inside was knocked out. It rolled a bit before stopping still, facing me.

My jaw dropped, it was the gaping, rotting, head of someone long dead.

Just like the zombie-thing from my dream.

Edracian's laughter made me flinch in fright, but it was no longer his. It sounded less deep and defined now it was soft and sharp, but still male.

It was also accompanied by what sounded like clapping, slow, sarcastic clapping.

"What?" I croaked.

+Bravo! Bravo! Attelus Xanthis Kaltos! Are you sure that your true calling is being an assassin? You really should've been on the stage! Such an act! Such fervour! Such fire! Five stars! Too bad that's out of ten, but that's neither here nor there! You're taking to this hero shtick, aren't you? I didn't think you had it in you! For Elandria! RAAAGHHHH! Brilliant! Oh, the histrionics! Your mother would've been proud!+


+Oh! I apologise! I am afraid this isn't the first time that Inquisitor Edracian has died! I'm sorry but, I had that honour, originally a long time ago. You must know this whole endeavour was his idea originally; he'd been doing this for, what? Seventy years before he brought me into the fold. I killed him then controlled him because he was having a crisis of conscience, you'd think after the first several billion you would have one, wouldn't you? Nope! Took him to the eleventh!+

I saw Darrance approach he looked just as exhausted, sickened and confused as I felt.

"If you are not Nonin Edracian, who in the Emperor's name are you?" he demanded.

+Oh! Again I must apologise! But that is 'Inquisitor,' Nonin Edracian to you! He may be dead but, he still deserves your respect. Sorry, off on a tangent there! Where are my manners! I am truly, truly sorry! I am Inquisitor Ferrox Etuarq, of the Ordo Xenos. Well, I was, until those self-righteous arseholes of the Ordos Calixus decided to declare me Diabolus Extremis! Their audacity. I'd only summoned a daemon, or two, or five or five hundred! But that's neither here nor there! Pleased to meet your acquaintance!+

Darrance abruptly stiffened and hissed in fright, looking at me.

"What?" I managed.

"That's, that's the name of your father's master!" he said.

+Ding! Ding! Ding! Bingo! Yet again correct Darrance! And I am even still! Serghar says hi, by the way, Attelus, and that he's proud and all that crap and blah! Blah! Blah! You know how it goes!+

I didn't answer; I was too busy struggling to breathe and trying to fathom this new revelation.

He's proud because you performed so very well! You were such a good little puppet! Just like Edracian here!

Suddenly, Edracian's arm raised into the air causing Darrance to jump back in fright.

+May I ask you a question, little Attelus? I am surprised you aren't called 'little Attelus' more! Seen as though you're so very little! Oh, I'm sorry off on another tangent, there! Did you ever wonder about your name?+

"What?" said Darrance for me.

+You are aware that you were named after Serghar's only friend. I mean 'friend' of the 'friend' kind not of the other kind. Serghar had many of the other 'friends' if you catch my drift. He was always popular with the mamzels that Serghar Kaltos. I think it was the whole brooding loner thing, but that makes it hard to get friends of the other kind, but that's neither here nor there. Yes! I apologise! Back on topic! His first and only true friend, a fellow member of my Warband. A skilled assassin by the name of Xanthis Atellus. Sure your father switched the names around and changed the spelling of 'Atellus', but that turned out to mean very little! Atellus died only a few years before you were born, we were on a mission on...Wait, sorry! Back on topic! He even gave you his last name; he didn't give you your mother's last name, 'Jakolb.' Which would've made you quite easy to track down for an enemy of Serghar Kaltos determined enough...+

"Glaitis!" exclaimed Darrance. "But, why?"

+Because we wanted her to track him down. A woman scorned and all that! Tell me, Attelus, did you ever wonder why your father taught you the exact...right skills to survive in the ruins of Varander? Did you? I guess you're not exactly in the right condition to answer right now, so I'll guess that you haven't. Because we wanted you to survive so you could one day, seven years later, come to Omnartus and take one little pict.+

"But, but how!" Exclaimed Darrance.

+You are aware that I can read the future, right? We searched every thread of fate and found this path the most likely to come to Omnartus' end. Attelus Xanthis Kaltos, I thank you. You performed admirably. Well done!+

Again, I heard the slow sarcastic clapping, and I tried to fight back the tears welling in my eyes.

"That's just sick!" snarled Darrance. "What kind of father would allow his son to be used like that! To allow his son to have the lives of potentially billions of people on his conscience!"

+A father who knows his place as my servant! One who knows all humans are nothing but tools, no matter who or what they are! And not 'potentially,' you jumped up little ponce of a thug! It's going to happen no matter what! The wheels of fate are turning and soon! Very, very soon! Torathe and his requisitioned fleet will emerge from the warp and order Omnartus dead! It's going to be beautiful! Wonderful! Brilliant!+

"And what about Edracian?" asked Darrance.

+Oh, him? He's worthless to me now; he's been compromised. Too many know of his involvement, so I'm afraid I have to find a new puppet, now. But no matter, he can die, after sending a report of the horrid corruption of Omnartus elite, led by Taryst, of course, to his close friend and confidant, Devan Ricci Torathe of the Ordo Malleus. Then dying in a heroic last stand against the chaos worshipping locals just before Torathe can arrive in time. Or so the Ordo Calixus will be led to believe. Aren't I brilliant? Sometimes I even impress me! Dying along with everyone who knows much anything, of course.+

"So that's why you're telling us all this," said Darrance. "You expect us to die, right?"

+Ding! Ding! Ding! Yet again you are correct, Darrance! I also wanted to see the despair on poor, little Attelus' face after finding out that his very existence is just nothing but a part of my plan. He's nothing but a puppet! A pawn! A nothing! That the very reason why he was even born was just to be that and only that! Oh, it's beautiful! He's pretty isn't he? Very, very pretty. Even after being beaten and brutalised and scarred! Looks just like his father, doesn't he? Or his mother, I'm not quite sure. I think it's the long hair; if he'd cut it, it wouldn't be so ambiguous. But even then...His mother was very beautiful, easily one of the most beautiful of Serghar's conquests, except for the whole being the insane part. Glaitis, she was up there too, y'know! But she was insane as well! So was Elandria come to think of it! And Karmen! They can sure can pick 'em! Like father like son as they say!+

Darrance could say nothing more, only shake his head; jaw dropped in utter horror.

+If only I was there! Oh, how I'd love to bottle those tears! But I wouldn't waste time and resources for that no matter how much I want to!+

"W-why?" I sobbed.

+Why? Well, that's one thing I'm not going to tell you, puppet! Just why not? Maybe one day you will understand. Too bad you won't live long enough! Tell me! How does it feel, Attelus? How does it feel to know that all your struggles! All your development and effort have all been for nothing? Nothing! Give in! Weep! Despair!+

He fell back into his insane laughter.

"Do not listen to him, apprentice!" Darrance snapped. "He is clearly deranged! Clearly sick and sadistic! He is lying! He must be!"

+Oh, I will not deny that I am, indeed, sick and sadistic. But deranged, hardly! But that does not mean I do not speak the truth! Just look at him! Such a pathetic, puerile, little piece of shit. At least you were born like a normal person, Darrance! But no, not him! He's only here because I'd ordered him to be! He is nothing but garbage! Trash!+

"Shut up!" roared Darrance. "Utter just one more syllable and I'll…"

Etuarq's voice snorted.

+Or you'll what? Kill poor Edracian again? I-+

With a roar, Darrance was suddenly over Edracian's corpse and slashing his scimitar, which cut through it like it was tissue. Snarling with every slash Darrance sliced apart Edracian's body in a fit of blind rage.

All the while Etuarq laughed and laughed.

It was only when the corpse was in tatters did Darrance finally stop, gasping, now barely able to stand.

+Are we done? Good! Well, that was rather pointless, Darrance! An excellent metaphor I'd say for everything you've said and done up to now.+

"What in the Emperor's name is going on here?" bellowed a voice and Darrance's and I looked to its source. Brutis Bones, along with Wesley, Hayden and the rest of the Hammers were just entering the church.

+Oh! Hello! Welcome to my humble abode! Well Darrance, Trash! There was a third reason why I told you all of this.+

"Yeah? And what's that?" gasped Darrance.

+Delaying tactic. I've been waiting for someone special to enter the building and, here they finally are! So goodbye! It's been nice!+

Suddenly, a blue fire erupted from Edracian's pieces and, they abruptly rose into the air as Etuarq's voice laughed.

Then the explosion rocked the building.
Last edited by Adrassil on Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:55 pm

Sickening, unnatural blue light coveted the surroundings, and even still Etuarq laughed.

As quick as a cat Darrance darted back, for all the good it'd do.

I closed my eyes, that was all I could do. I was too exhausted, too exhausted even to move my pinkie finger, but this it wasn't just exhaustion, no. It was more than that it was as though my very soul was drained, Faleaseen's shield, it must've done this to me. That on top of my actual fatigue, all those hours, all this time, pushing myself to my very limits. Fighting.

But now it was all for nothing; we were dead, defeated, no destroyed, completely and utterly. Inquisitor Etuarq had won, and he was right. I was nothing, nothing but a pawn. A pawn who'd passed his use by date.

A pawn who deserved to die, I felt the overwhelming heat in my face.

"Karmen! Now!" I heard Brutis roar, and as fast as it expanded, the horrifying heat began to go away.

+What!?+ roared Etuarq, his voice shrill with surprise.

Despite myself, my eyes snapped open, and I gasped at what I saw.

I was right, the blue globe of fire had retracted, writhing and raging against some invisible force.

I felt the heavy footfalls approach and saw Brutis walk past, his hands raised forward.

Brutis grinned over his huge shoulder at me.

"Heh! Sorry! Forgot to tell you that I was a psyker to!" he said.

My eyes widened.

+And I apologise, Attelus. I lied! Came Karmen's voice. +I hadn't actually used all my power!+

+NO!+ roared Etuarq. +Why didn't I foresee this! Why! Won't! You! Just! Die!+

Brutis' attention snapped back to the explosion.

"Did you think us stupid?" he snarled. "Did you think we didn't see this for the blatant trap it was? I don't care who you are, nor how powerful you are! You will not win, you will be found, and you will pay for your crimes! I am a servant of the God-Emperor of Mankind; I am a weapon of His will! And everyone here! Everyone who've fought tooth and nail to get this far, they are as well! Every one of them has earned my respect and trust and His too I trust! Even 'little Attelus,!' And I swear, I will not stand back and let any more of them die! The Emperor's will is with us!"

Etuarq's reply was just more shrill, insane laughter.

+Attelus,+ said Karmen. +It doesn't matter the why or how you were born; it doesn't matter what this Etuarq claims. You are nobodies puppet! You are you! Nothing will change that! Nothing! You are one of the strongest, most amazing people I've ever met! You survived in the ruins of Varander, you survived against the Arco Flagellant and saved those people! If you can survive that you can survive anything! Keep going! Keep fighting! I know you have the strength! I know it!+

I smiled and slowly began to climb to my feet.

"Thank you for the great, amazing, awe-inspiring speech, Karmen," I said. "You could compete with Brutis' in that department, but I didn't need it!"

Brutis grinned at me, "Attelus! Anything you want to say before we send this scum back whence he came?"

I threw back my head and bellowed out a loud laugh, so loud that Etuarq stopped his, this despite my sore, raw throat. "Yeah! Hell yeah! I'd like to thank you, you son of a bitch! For so long I've struggled for a purpose in life! Something to truly fight for! And finally, you've given it to me! I'm gonna hunt you down, and I'm gonna stop you! Once and for all, even if it's the last thing I do! But before that, I'll stop this Exterminatus! Screw you and screw your fate! I'll do it for Elandria, for Castella and most of all, for me!"

Brutis laughed, "you could've been a little less cliche, you know? But I'll give you points for the spirit! Karmen!"

I frowned, and who was he to accuse me of being cliche? Bit of a double standard, I'd say.

+Got you!+

No longer could I keep my feet and I collapsed to my knees as together they roared and the explosion shrunk and shrunk. Still writhing and rumbling and struggling.

Then, two people appeared on my flanks and helped me on my feet, laying my arms across their shoulders, and I was shocked to see it was Verenth and Selg.

"Yeah! Up ya get," said Verenth and we watched as the explosion slowly faded into nothingness.

+You've done well my little puppets,+ said Etuarq; his voice was fading with the light. +But it makes no difference you will die with Omnartus now matter what you do!+

Then he was gone, and the church was in darkness, the only thing left of it was the deep, five-metre wide crater in the floor.

"Is it, is it dead?" asked Selg as Brutis "Bones" approached.

Brutis shook his head wearily, "no, Selg. We just sent him and his witch explosion back into the Warp."

Selg nodded as Brutis activated his vox link, "This is Inquisitor Tybalt, Edracian is defeated I repeat. Edracian is dead we are victorious."

Dead In more ways than one, I thought.

I am tired; I must return to my body, said Karmen.

"Now what?" asked Verenth.

"Mercs are still holding floors six through eight," said Brutis. "The elevator's active and we are transporting troops up and soon will have enough strength to catch them between us. We've still got fighting to do."

"Great," I sighed. "Of course we do."

"No, I think yours and Darrance's struggle is over," said Brutis. "You're in no condition to fight anymore."

I sighed again as Darrance approached, with Hayden helping him walk.

"Do have an ecclesiarchy priest?" asked Darrance, his face dark

Brutis furrowed his brow and folded his arms, "yeah, he's back at Taryst's tower, why?"

I gasped, and my eyes widened, realising what he meant, then had to fight back the sudden welling tears.

"Our friend," managed Darrance. "She...died, she was deeply religious, followed the Emperor and that. I think she deserves a proper send off. She gave her life to stop that...thing. She died in His service. She was the best of us, and now she's dead."

Brutis stood in silence.

I couldn't hold back the tears anymore as they freely flowed.

"Please," I hissed. "Darrance is right. I know so many have died other than her and I know we were enemies. But please. She'd have liked that, please give her this! She was like the sister I never had."

"Where did she die?" asked Brutis.

"There," said Darrance, pointing.

Brutis nodded and began walking to the rubble.

Darrance yelled, "her name was…!"

"I know her name, Darrance," Brutis interrupted. "I made the effort to learn all of your names! Her's was Castella Lethe; it seemed a fitting name from what little I knew of her."

I nodded, and we followed him.

"I'm not a priest," said Brutis. "But I am an Inquisitor, the next best thing, I guess."

"Yes," I said. "Thank you."

"Boss," said Verenth with uncertainty.

"Verenth!" said Brutis. "I know time is short and know she's one of them, but I feel I've gotta do this, anyway she wasn't one of them who killed so many of us. It won't be long."

He looked over his shoulder, "besides once finished here I'm gonna have this place levelled if it's going to happen, it's going to now."

For a few minutes, we stood in respectful silence as Brutis recited the Litany of The Emperor's peace, his hands raised over the rubble. It was a rushed version, but Brutis never left anything out and the entire time tears flowed down my face. I hadn't been to an ecclesiarchy service since before the war on Elbyra but still remembered when to say the responses. Usually, I would've mouthed it, but for Castella, I wouldn't show such disrespect.

Once he finished, Brutis turned back, approached me then much to my surprise placed his gauntleted hand on my shoulder.

"For a cold-hearted merc killer, you seem to cry a lot," he said, smiling and looking as haggard as hell. "She must've been close to you, I am sorry."

All I could manage was a nod.

Brutis stepped past me, "alright! That's enough! Selg! Take your men and scout the rest of the tenth floor! Hayden! You're with them! I doubt there's anyone else up here, but we've got to look anyway! The rest of you with me! We'll take Attelus and Darrance to the elevator so they can get back and we'll rejoin the reinforcements there! Move! Move!"

Selg slipped away, and another Hammer took Hayden's place helping Darrance.

"Thank you," I hissed as we walked to the exit. "Your name is Verenth, right? Thanks."

Verenth clenched his teeth, "I only do it 'cause the boss ordered me to, nothing personal."

I sighed and said, "I'm sorry about killing your brother, I am truly sorry. But...but I only did it because my boss ordered me to, as well. It was nothing personal also. I'm not trying to justify it, and I do deserve your anger, but there are others who are far more deserving of it than me."

"Yeah, like who?" he growled.

"Inquisitor Etuarq," I answered without hesitation. "it was all because of him that this happened, it was because of him, so many have died. He manipulated us all; he manipulated all of this. I would've suggested Taryst too, but he's already dead."

Verenth said nothing.

"I've suffered much to get here," I said. "I've been through hell, Verenth."

"Yeah? Like what?" he growled. "I doubt it has anything on having to mourn your younger brother."

"I wouldn't know," I said. "I'm an only child, but I do know what it's like to lose a mother and that was hard as hell. How about just after finally getting up the courage to confess to the girl that you loved, that you loved her, for her to be shot in the back, then she bled out in your arms? Just after a life and death fight with her? Or the woman who was like a big sister to you just being crushed horribly, abruptly under a falling pillar? Or how about finding out you may be indirectly responsible for the potential deaths of billions? Or…"

"I get!" said Verenth as we finally walked out onto the stairs. "I get it! But that doesn't make up for…"

"No!" I Interrupted. "I never said it did, but I suspect before this is all done, especially now with this new revelation, that it's just beginning. That I've got a shit ton more trauma to go through before this is done, but if I have to go through that so someone else doesn't have to if I have to go through that so that maybe, one day I will earn some forgiveness from those I've done wrong. I will, and I will bear it. So you can hate me all you want, it's fair enough, I understand. Please don't kill me. There's still much for me to do. Once I'm done, once I'm finished, and if you don't deem it enough, then you can put a bullet through my brain, and I will let you. And perhaps, by then, I'll even welcome it."

Verenth smiled, "if that's the case, then you'll never be done, and I'll never get to blow your head off."

I laughed despite myself, "I'll be done if I end up crippled and destroyed in the process. Confined into a wheelchair or whatever. Then I suspect I'll truly welcome that round."

Verenth said nothing, just clenched his jaw, perhaps the idea of him killing me without me minding didn't appeal. Fair enough.

"What are you?" asked one of the Hammers. "Some kind of masochist or something?"

"Perhaps," I said with a shrug, genuinely surprised a moody Hammer knew what a 'masochist' was. "But I never said I'd enjoy it."

"You've changed," said Darrance.

I looked at him, expecting he'd say more but he just stayed silent, his attention fixed forward.

We were the last out, Brutis leading the way, Wesley on his flank and the Inquisitor reached to his ear.

"Gerral, we're about meet you at the bottom of the stairs, stand ready," he said.

Brutis paused and held up a hand for us to halt.

"Gerral! Respond!"

Brutis waited for a few seconds before glancing at us, grim-faced he shook his head then waved an advance.

Slowly and in surprising silence we walked the stairs, everyone but Darrance and I with weapons raised. We reached the end of the curvature and saw the corpses, ten of them, all cut apart by a power sword. There was no sign of weapons discharge, no smell of las-fire or gunpowder, no holes or scorching in the walls.

I didn't like this, to take out ten men, even lowly Moody Hammers like them, without even one getting off a shot? And with all the lights intact? They were good, really, really good; my question was why hadn't they struck until now?

With points of his fingers, Brutis ordered the Hammers to fan out. I could tell Verenth wanted to move up too, but we were forced to watch on.

The Hammers surprisingly calm secured the perimeter, covering the corridors with their assortment of guns and Brutis reached for his vox.

"This is Inquisitor Tybalt, I've got ten men dead on the ninth floor. Professional killers, none of my men managed to get off a shot, power sword wounds. We've got more assassins it seems, three maybe four, watch out."

"One," said someone and everyone looked to the voice's source, it was only then I realised it was me who said it.


"There was one killer," I said with certainty. "Inquisitor Etuarq said he was delaying for when someone special was going to enter the building, who would be that special?"

Darrance's eyes widened, and he flinched with realisation, "shit! She's here! Glaitis is here!"

The light above Brutis and the Hammers suddenly smashed out, leaving them endowed in darkness and I could hear a slight clatter as what I guessed was a throwing knife fell to the floor.

Immediately the Moody Hammers opened up, the light from their weapons revealing everything in blinding flashes of white, despite Brutis bellowing to cease fire.

Two on the right abruptly cried and reeled then collapsed, knives jutting seeming appearing in their chests, then another two on the left, with blades jutting from the bases of their skulls.

I would've shouted a warning, but there was no way they could hear me over their roaring weapons as Glaitis was suddenly among them, dual swords slashing she gutted another two. A third tried to bring up his Lasgun, but she kicked him in the face so hard the crunch! Managed to eclipse the roaring gunfire around and the poor bastard collapsed like a ton of bricks.

She threw another two knives, one impaled the eye socket of a Hammer the other, Wesley ducked.

With a roar Brutis dropped his bolter and drew his elaborate powersword, igniting it as Glaitis activated both hers and he barely managed to smash her slashes aside, he would've been unable to parry her following thrust if Wesley's shots hadn't forced her to dart back.

It all happened so fast that Verenth only now had slipped me off and drawn his auto pistol. My limbs were like lead so without complaint I collapsed onto the stairs, as did Darrance as Verenth's colleague unslung his Lasgun and desperately they tried to get a clear shot at Glaitis.

"Don't," I said with finality.

"What?" snarled the other Hammer.

"Don't even try," I said. "If you shoot, you'll only draw her attention, and she will kill you. You're way over your heads here; I'm sorry to say."

The Hammer gritted his teeth but nodded and hesitantly lowered his weapon, but Verenth didn't.

"I can't just stand here and watch!" bellowed Verenth.

"You can and you will!" I snapped. "You'll only get in the way! That I assure you. Right now those two are the only ones in any condition to stop her. As much as you want to help, helping them will only do more harm than good."

"Yeah! And what about you? Would you make a difference?" snapped Verenth.

"Of course I would," I stated, "but I can barely move, I'm no help to man nor beast."

"How can you be so frigging calm!" he roared. "I heard you panicking like a little girl in the elevator shaft! Don't you wish you can help!"

I grinned, and it must've been more than a little unnerving as it made both Verenth and the other Hammer to flinch and exchange fearful glances.

"Of course I do," I said. "This is the first time in a long time I've seen her fight, and I'm pretty sure…"

"Sure of what?" Verenth stammered.

"If I were to fight her, even one on one, I'd kill her," I said. "It'd be hard fought, the fight of my life I'm sure. But Feuilt was better than her, Elandria was better than her, not by much mind you but even still. She's spent too long sitting idle at her desk scheming and planning, I'm afraid. She's lost her edge. Oh, how I wish beyond wish that I could help. I really, truly do. To be the one to end the infamous Glaitis, to be the one to finally kill her, oh what a privilege that'd be. To truly prove I've finally surpassed her in skill."

"You're messed in the head," Verenth said. "And more than a little bit frigging terrifying."

"I am," I said, "I really, really am."

Verenth furrowed his brow yet still, very hesitantly, lowered his weapon.

Glaitis flipped and wheeled through Wesley's shots then lunged at him, slashing horizontally for his head. Wesley, with surprising speed, leaned back, just out the way, then sidestepped her thrust, while attempting to smash the butt of his Stubb revolver into her insane, grinning face. But she cartwheeled back and pirouetted just in time to parry Brutis' vertical cut.

He rallied and cut horizontally, she ducked it and countered with an awe-inspiring cavalcade of feints, slashes and stabs. I could tell Brutis Bones was quite skilled, he'd practised for years, perhaps decades, but compared to a dedicated sword wielder like Glaitis or me, he was an amateur. So it was all the more impressive he wasn't sliced to ribbons, he managed to parry a few but was forced to back step most of it, some attacks were just too fast, slicing gashes in his armour which drew blood. All the while Wesley reloaded his stub revolver.

Both Verenth and the other Hammer watched on, their jaws twitching and fidgeting in impatience, although they weren't quite able to follow it.

Brutis, reeling and bleeding from the onslaught, with a bellow desperately slashed diagonally after parrying Glaitis' thrust. She weaved away, then sidestepped his viciously powerful front kick. Finally, Wesley was finished reloading his Stubb revolver, and his shots sent Glaitis darting and winding. She snarled and threw a knife which flew straight and true, smashing Wesley's gun from his grasp.

Roaring, Brutis was on her, slashing down, Glaitis sidestepped it and spun into a horizontal cut that Brutis barely backstepped. Wesley had retrieved his pistol, and his desperate shots were what kept Glaitis' thrust from impaling Brutis' skull.

Glaitis snarled again; I could see she was mad, frustrated she wasn't able to take them out yet. If Wesley and Brutis could hold out for long enough, perhaps she'd make a mistake, create an opening.

Or at least I hoped she would.

Glaitis darted and flipped through Wesley's fire as she blocked and parried Brutis' slashes and stabs.

She should've been kept on the defensive, but somehow she was still able to counter. I could see her tactic; she was focusing on Wesley mostly, preventing him from firing at her and wearing him down. She knew she could kill Brutis once Wesley was out of the picture, his Stubb revolver was the more significant threat to her now.

I watched Brutis as he barely blocked her latest horizontal slash, the inquisitor must've known he was outclassed, that if it weren't for Wesley he'd have been dead five times over, yet still here he was, fighting not giving up. I could sympathise with that; stubbornness seemed to be something we had in common.

"Shit!" snapped Wesley as his pistol clicked dry yet again. "I'm out! Verenth!"

Verenth's eyes widened and after a moment's hesitation threw his auto pistol to Wesley.

Glaitis ducked Brutis' counter then cartwheeled his next thrust and darted toward Wesley, immediately seeing her opportunity.

But as she did I saw Wesley smile, and he flicked open his revolver, slid in one bullet and spun to face Glaitis as she came on him. Pistol raised right in her face.

"What the hell is going on here?" roared a voice.

It caused Wesley to hesitate, and he lost his arm from the elbow down because of it.

His scream was cut short as Glaitis' sliced his torso in two.

My jaw dropped, and my eyes widened in shock as did everyone else while Verenth's pistol clattered on the floor.

"Wesley!" roared Brutis.

From the left side corridor, "Olinthre" walked into view, looking bloodied and beaten and grinning from ear to ear, with a las gun raised.

"It looks as though I arrived just in time," It said.

Glaitis smiled but said nothing.

"Major! What the hell are you doing?" demanded Brutis.

"Brutis!" I yelled. "That's not major Olinthre! Its…!"

"My servant!" Glaitis interrupted with an insane laugh. "The only one with the sense to stay loyal to me!"

"Frig!" I snapped, truly regretting failing to inform Brutis of "Olinthre's" real identity now.

Brutis' clenched his teeth as he realised the situation he was in, glancing back and forth between Glaitis and "Olinthre" a few times uncertainty.

"I can't stand by any longer, sorry, kid!" snarled Verenth as he raised his Stubb revolver and the other Hammer, his Las gun.

I sighed and said nothing, knowing it was pointless to argue, we were dead either way now.

"Aim for the major!" I yelled as an idea hit me, It wasn't as fast as Glaitis so perhaps they could actually kill it.

"Really?" It said, grinning insanely at us and in a flash of light. It transformed into Wesley, "are you sure?"

Verenth and the Hammer gasped, hesitating.

Glaitis laughed and threw two knives, one stuck fast into Verenth's arm as the other embedded in the hammer's shoulder and with yells of pain they fell on their arses.

She would've thrown more, but with a roar Brutis was slashing at her, forcing her to cartwheel back.

"I will not stand by and watch you anymore kill any more of my men!" he bellowed. "You bitch!"

He tried to slash again but the Olinthre-thing's Las fire smashed into him, the burst caused him to reel. In the next second Glaitis smashed into him, knocking him off his feet and to the floor, then he screamed as she impaled his sword arm to the hilt.

Glaitis laughed and flipped back, out of his reach, leaving one of her swords to pin him on his back.

"Well! Be careful what you wish for, Inquisitor!" she grinned. "If you cannot stand back! Then you can just lie back and watch instead! While I slaughter all your pathetic subordinates!"

Brutis roared and reeled and tried to reach for Glaitis' sword, but Glaitis drew another knife and stabbed it into the soft gap in the elbow of his free arm; eliciting another agonised scream from him.

She laughed again and twisted the knife, "there! There!" she snarled. "Don't even think about trying to be one of those willful fools who pulls the blade out and continues to fight! Trying to be a hero! You should know that it's overrated!"

"You! Fething! Bitch!" he screamed through clenched teeth.

She laughed even harder, stepped back and said, " oh how imaginative! But I guess you are not in a good condition to think of anything better. Oh well! I'll end your suffering, eventually, Inquisitor. Once I'm done with your friends!"

Glaitis turned and grinned insanely at us, causing both Verenth and the Hammer to cower in fear.

And I couldn't blame them.

"Mamzel!" said the Mimic as It approached her, still in Wesley's form. "Great job. I am glad you managed to get me over the vox so I could help."

"Oh shut up!" she snapped. "I am not in the mood for your arse kissing!"

"Sorry, mamzel!" It stammered, "but may I ask a favour?"

"Yes, what?" she said.

It grinned a disturbing grin that didn't fit Wesley's face, "can you allow me to kill the foolish apprentice? I'll make sure to make it long and painful; he humiliated me! Made me look a fool! Please? Would you, please?"

"No," she said without hesitation. "He humiliated you, but he betrayed me, turned the others against me. He's dodged the consequences of his actions thus far, but no longer. No longer, besides..."


She grinned, "besides, how can you do it, if you're dead?"


Before it could finish, she stabbed It through the chest.

Wesley's eyes widened with shock and surprise as did mine.

"Why?" It gasped. "I have served you all, my life. I stayed loyal..."

"You co-operated with the apprentice, even after knowing he'd betrayed me!" Glaitis snarled as she twisted the blade. "As far as I'm concerned you are just as responsible as he is. Just be glad that I'm sparing you the same fate I have in store for him!"

She abruptly pulled out her sword, and it fell to its knees.

"Oh!" she said. "I almost forgot, 'Wesley,' I have been lying to you, all your life, in fact. You were never a Xenos, an alien. No, you're something even worse, something even more lowly and pathetic, yes. You are a mutant, a twist, a scourge on society, the lowest of the low. Nothing special at all! So die, die like the piece of gutter trash you are."

She laughed and walked toward us, turning her back on the dying Mimic as it fell on its face and the pool of blood began expanding beneath it, red blood, human blood. Yet it still kept Wesley Jeksen's form.

I kept gaping, unable to say anything, to comprehend anything and that was when Darrance walked past me, power scimitar limply held at his side as he gasped for breath.

"Oh?" she said, stopping, tilting her head in insane curiosity. "Darrance? What are you doing? You are in no condition to fight me."

"I finally see you, for what you truly are," he managed. "A monster."

"A monster? Really? That's a little harsh, especially coming from you," she said. "Sure, I must admit I'm a little manipulative and cruel, but I was never quite a monster."

She grinned even wider, "that's until now, of course. It's all the apprentice's fault; it was his betrayal that pushed me over the edge, drove me past the brink and into insanity. It's because…"

"Shut up!" interrupted Darrance. "Stop blaming him! You always blame others for your own actions, and mistakes, always! It was your own pride that pushed you this far; you were the one who allowed the apprentice to get kidnapped in the first place! You were the one who took him from Elbyra and to here! It's just as much your fault as his, if not more so!"

Glaitis' face turned murderous, "you did this to me too, Darrance. My most loyal servant…"

"Shut it!" he snarled. "No one did anything to you! This is your fault! I think this isn't you being driven insane I bet this is you! The real you! I bet you lost your sanity a long time ago and have been putting up a mask ever since!"

Much to my shock, I saw Darrance had tears in his eyes.

"I looked up to you! Hell! I even think I loved you! But now I realise just how stupid I was; I put you on a pedestal. Lied to myself for so long about who and what you truly were! But I see the truth now! I see you're nothing but a pathetic old woman who is so overtaken by hate and the lust for revenge there's nothing else left! I...I"

Darrance clenched his free hand into a fist as tears flowed freely down his face.

Glaitis raised an eyebrow, "so? Are you done now?"

Darrance grinned through the tears, "yes, and I'd like to thank you, thank you for being stupid enough to listen to my rant rather than just killing us."

Glaitis' eyes widened, and she turned just in time to dash out the path of the Las fire erupting from the left side corridor.

The fire strafed after her, and she slid to a stop, her power sword a blur of motion as it smashed aside the shots raining her way.

Then I heard the familiar sound of a shotgun firing and watched as she sidestepped through the shot gunshots, all the while still deflecting the laser fire.

Cursing and snarling she darted back, trying to get some range from the shotgun then the attackers emerged into view.

It was Garrakson, Torris and Arlathan. Both Garrakson and Arlathan laid down the constant barrage of with their las guns, Torris with his shotgun.

"H-how!" I said.

Darrance grinned, "as you just sat there watching and looking like an idiot I raised those guys over the vox, told them what was going on. You know, like a smart person would."

I frowned, "I hope you're aware I can't move, not even slightly, right?"

Darrance shrugged, "you still didn't think of it, did you?"

I just clenched my jaw and said nothing.

Verenth and the other Hammer got to their feet, grasping at their useless, bloody arms and watched with expressions of awe.

"Is she even human?" asked the Hammer.

"Yes," I said without hesitation. "As much as she wishes she wasn't."

Both Verenth and the Hammer furrowed their brows and exchanged bemused looks.

Glaitis snarled, I could she was gasping for breath and slowing down now. Not even she could keep this up for much longer.

I grinned to myself if she hadn't stupidly killed the Mimic she wouldn't be in this predicament.

But soon Garrakson and Arlathan would run out of ammo, and I had a bad feeling that'd come first.

As if on cue, almost simultaneously their guns clicked dry then Glaitis was on them.

Her front kick knocked Torris' shotgun from his grasp, and he barely managed to back peddle her throat punch. Arlathan, reacting with impressive speed, swung the butt of his lasgun at her skull but lightning fast she darted back, then in again and cut his rifle in half. Arlathan countered with a hook punch she barely weaved under, then she threw a roundhouse kick he just managed to block with a forearm, but I heard a crack, and he cried out in pain grasping at his limp limb and stumbled away. Leaving him open for the killing thrust.

Before she could, Torris was on her flank and throwing a powerful front thrust kick, a disparagingly reckless attack that made me involuntarily hiss through clenched teeth.

Glaitis leaned out the way and slashed horizontally at his stomach, forcing Torris to throw himself clumsily backwards to keep from being disembowelled.

All of this time Garrakson reloaded and moved away a few metres. His blurt of las was what kept Glaitis from decapitating Torris with her next attack.

"So finally I get to meet the infamous bitch in person!" he roared.

Glaitis didn't deign to reply, she only got to full height and eyed him contemptuously.

"You're the one responsible for the death of Taryst!" he snarled.

Glaitis still didn't say anything; she just glanced sidelong at the Mimic's corpse pointedly.

Trying to use Glaitis' distraction Torris lunged at her, throwing a punch straight at her head, but in the blink of an eye she drew a knife and stabbed him in the arm, before sidestepping and smashing a front kick into his side. The sickening crack of his breaking ribs made me wince in sympathy, and he slid on the floor before stopping, curling up and crying out in pain.

"Bitch!" he snarled and fired another flurry, which she simply smashed aside with her powerblade.

"Could you please say something original? Please?" she sighed, breathlessly.

"Shut! Up!"

"Or what?" she snarled. "You'll kill me?"

Glaitis threw back her head and burst out in laughter, "do you really think you're capable of it? I am Glaitis! Master assassin with decades of experience in bloodletting! I have trained my body and mind beyond the capability of normal humanity! You! You are just some pathetic ex-guardsman nobody like the dozens, no! Hundreds of others that I've slaughtered over the years!"

Garrakson clenched his teeth and fired again, forcing Glaitis to sprint sidelong his fire strafing her wake.

"How does it feel Jeurat Garrakson?" she yelled. "How does it feel to know you're incapable of killing the one who is responsible for the death of the one you loved? How does it feel to be incapable of killing the one responsible for the death of your last remaining war buddy? The man who was the only other survivor of your regiment? The comrade who was your commander?"

Garrakson's reply was only an enraged roar and more las rounds.

"That's right!" she laughed. "Major Olinthre once of the 801st Cadian regiment! It was my loyal servant who strangled the life from him, just like he did to Taryst! The man you loved! The man who saved you and him from the Nightlord ambush that slaughtered the rest of your regiment!"

"Shut up!" he roared.

"On second thought, I won't kill you, Jeurat!" she laughed as she darted and flipped through his withering bursts. "Not yet! Along with the pathetic Inquisitor, I'll make you watch as I kill your comrades, your friends! Marcel Torris! And the apprentice! I'll make them suffer slowly and die in front of you to make up for you being unable to watch the deaths of Taryst and Olinthre! Once you're broken, only then will I kill you! It'll be beautiful! Amazing! Oh, I can't wait!"

Abruptly Garrakson stopped shooting, ejected the lasgun's clip and slammed another home despite not being out of ammo. The look of anger and determination on his scarred face was terrifying.

Glaitis tilted her head and smiled, "oh, what's this now?"

Garrakson clenched his teeth and tears rolled abruptly down his face, "this is for you, Taryst and you too, Olinthre."

Then he flicked his lasgun onto 'full auto' and with a roar, charged firing a constant stream from the hip.

Glaitis laughed, dodging and parrying the shots, "what do you want to die, now?"

Garrakson just roared and continued forward, firing and firing.

"Jeurat! No!" I heard Torris yell.

As he closed in, Garrakson suddenly dropped his rifle and drew his knife, then with one swift stroke, Glaitis decapitated him.

In shocked silence I watched, and it took me a good few seconds to realise I was crying. He was my friend, a good friend who I'd fought alongside for months. A friend who'd tried to help me, a true friend.

"Garrakson!" I roared.

Glaitis stood stock still, grinning from ear to ear, then suddenly she screamed a shrill scream of utter agony and abruptly she fell to the floor. Writhing, trying to reach behind her back.

My shock was replaced by confusion, then I saw it, the bloody hilt of Garrakson's knife jutting from the base of her back.

For a good ten minutes, Glaitis lay screaming and writhing as she slowly, painfully died. No one moved to put her out of her misery. It was the very least she deserved.

"So passes master Seylit Glaitis of the cult of the Blades of Vengeance," intoned Darrance. "May we never see her likes in this galaxy ever again."
Last edited by Adrassil on Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:25 am

We waited for more reinforcements to arrive as Verenth, Arlathan and the Hammer pulled out the Glaitis' sword pinning Brutis to the floor. Then began to take off his armour so the medicae could stem the blood flow once they'd arrived, everyone else was too hurt, too exhausted to do anything.

The place stunk of blood, of defecation. The familiar stench of the recently dead.

Darrance and I sat on the stairs watching on. I'd stopped crying but was forced to war with the exhaustion, my eyelids constantly wanted to close, and my head was a whirl with sickening dizziness.

Arlathan, holding Glaitis' still bloody blade, approached us, looking at me intently. "I'm sorry, Attelus," he said with surprising sympathy. "I know he was your friend and…"

"Yeah...Yeah, Jeurat was my friend," I interrupted, sadly. "But I'm not the one you should be talking to," I said this while indicating poor Torris with a tilt of the head.

Torris still curled up in a ball and hadn't made a sound since Garrakson's death.

Arlathan saw this immediately, nodded and turned to descend the stairs, but stopped and looked back at me. "He talked fondly of you," said Arlathan. "I could see you were true friends; I've lost more than a few comrades too, you know. Many friends...comrades from the precinct."

I inhaled sharply and looked down, remembering the many Magistratum marshals killed by Etuarq's daemons only a few short hours earlier.

"I'm sorry, Arlathan," I said.

Arlathan shook his head, "there's no need to apologise, kid. If it weren't for you, they would all be dead. I just wish, I just wish I'd have done more, y'know? Instead, like a weakling, I'd fainted and stayed that way through the entire conflict. I wish I had the guts you've got, if I did maybe I could've saved a few, maybe. Like you saved all of us."

I was shocked into silence, only able to gape idiotically as Arlathan started down the stairs again. Then someone began to laugh, a throaty, gasping, deep sound and it took me a second or two to realise it was Torris.

"So! So he's got you fooled too!" Torris gasped as he slowly, laboriously climbed to his feet.

"What?" said Arlathan and everyone else looked on in silence.

"I saw what you were doing!" yelled Torris with watery eyes. "I saw you were manipulating him! I saw it! Back in Vex's office, you said to him; 'you'll get your revenge' or something like that, and you smiled! Smiled as you frigging said it! I knew! I should've stopped you! I should've stopped him! But why? I don't understand. Why did you manipulate him, I don't understand, why?"

I swallowed, and my eyes widened as I remembered what the Mimic had told me in Taryst's bunker, that an apprentice in her organisation was never allowed to kill their master or invite their ire, or some eerie, scary shit like that. Did I sub-consciously manipulate Garrakson to kill her in my place? Did I?

Torris smiled but it held no warmth, it was the smile of someone who knew they were proven right but weren't happy about it. Not happy about it at all.

"I know that look, I know it well," he said. "You did manipulate him, you may not have known it then, but you did. You make me sick! I thought you were a friend, but no, you're just like all the others! Taryst! Edracian! That Glaitis woman! A manipulative, backstabbing bastard!"

With that he turned and left, clasping at his side.

"What the hell was that about?" asked Verenth.

"I didn't," I gasped. "I didn't mean to, I..I...I swear I didn't mean to..I!" I was starting shake and hyperventilate, had I manipulated my friend? Hell, my best friend! Did I get him killed? Did I?

"Calm down, Apprentice," said Darrance. "Just try to breathe."

I looked at him with watery vision, unable to reply through my gasps.

"Attelus!" yelled Arlathan. I was going to faint I don't know why people can't faint when hyperventilating. It didn't make sense! Then my vision started to blur, then blacken, then everything went completely dark.

Immediately, I found myself back in my backyard, sitting on the grass and almost jumped out of my skin as I saw Faleaseen towering over me, she still had her helmet off, and her long, dark red hair pulled into a topknot

"You have done well, Attelus Kaltos," she said. "Too bad I was unable to foresee Inquisitor Etuarq's deception. I am sorry."

I rubbed my eyes and blinked, I was 'Attelus Kaltos' now? And she was sorry? Had I somehow earnt some semblance of her respect?

Faleaseen smiled, genuinely and I had to admit it was a nice smile, so nice it made me flinch away.

"I am sorry for your losses; I truly am," she said as she knelt over me, so we were face to face and looked me in the eye. "

"So many," I said as tears welled. "Elandria, I loved her, I loved her so much. Castella, she was like the sister I never had and Garrakson, was my friend, a terrific friend. Why? Faleaseen, why did they need to die?"

"I...I do not know," admitted Faleaseen hesitantly. "I know much, I have lived a long time Attelus Kaltos, even for an Eldar. But even I do not know everything, and now I know that because you have taught me something."

"What?" I croaked.

"That even though you humans live such short life spans and so many of you are so reprehensible we are, in the larger scheme of things, the same. We live, we love, we die, we make mistakes just like you. I have fought for so long for the future of my race, my people just as you have today. I have held such contempt for your race for so long; it was your kind that invaded my craftworld, that killed my people and forced us to flee and abandon our home. I had interacted with the most reprehensible of your people for so long now, using them as my agents so long that I had come to believe you were all like that, but after seeing what you have done, what you have managed to achieve."

She paused and looked away, admiring the view, "I will be honest with you. You were one of them, the reprehensible ones, in many ways you still are. You were selfish, cowardly, blinded into stupidity by your pathetic sentiment, but if you overcame that and started fighting for others. Maybe, just maybe the basest others of your kind can too. If there's hope for them, maybe there's hope for humanity as a whole and thus, maybe, hope for the Eldar as well. We also have vile, reprehensible people of us as well, The Dark Eldar of Commoragh. I tended to think of them as another race entirely, but they aren't, they are Eldar too, in fact even more so."

"Uhh, thanks?" I said, seeing quickly the Farseer's, perhaps unintentional, backhanded compliment.

She shrugged, "there is no need to thank me, Attelus Kaltos. I am just stating a fact."

She smiled again, "an irrefutable fact."

I smiled back.

She sighed, "while I am being honest with you, there is something else I must tell you. I wasn't going to tell you this for fear it might inspire you to be lax, to fight less hard, but now I see that you now fight for more than just yourself and knowing this might help you in the future."

"What is it?"

Faleaseen sighed again, "when I came to Omnartus and changed you. I didn't just enhance your strength, reflexes and bone structure beyond normal human capacity. I changed your very soul as well."

I raised a quizzical eyebrow.

"You are now, to your kind are a myth of a myth, what was once called a perpetual, or to put it more plainly, an immortal."


"Do not get me wrong, you can still die," said Faleaseen. "But I have the ability to track down your soul in the warp and bring you back into the living. Regenerate you, no matter how you had died. You will also never age; you will stay this way for all eternity." I gaped,

"So I'm...Immortal?"

"Yes you are," she said. "Take that as you will, as a gift or as a curse, it's up to you."

I shook my head, unable to comprehend it, so decided to change the subject. "You said earlier because of my selfless actions before, that you'd changed your view on humanity," I said. "You say that though knowing that I'd manipulated Jeurat into killing Glaitis, he was my friend and I used him like Etuarq had used Edracian, like a puppet, how…"

She stopped me with a raised hand, "no you did not, Attelus Kaltos. You underestimate Jeurat Garrakson, as I had underestimated you. I think he knew or at least had an idea of what you were doing. His sacrifice was not because of your deception, it was you who told him what drove him to do it, of course, but that was nothing but the truth, well most of it. But what truly drove him was his love for Taryst and his friendship with the Olinthre human."

She smiled, "he also sacrificed himself to spare you, Torris and others from her rampage, as you had sacrificed yourself for the people of the Twilight bar. Your friend, Marcel Torris is just in mourning for his friend and longtime comrade, and I am sorry to say, is taking it out on you. He knows the real reason why the Garrakson human did it, and he will forgive, one day, eventually."

I sniffed.

"He also knew what is at stake, that you are much more capable than him at stopping Etuarq and his plans," she said. "He did this because you were open and honest with him, well, eventually, anyway. You had said something similar during your earlier meeting with Glaitis, Brutis and Arlathan, didn't you? You reprimanded them for all their 'secrets and lies.' Wise words that have now been proven correct. While I won't say that all secrets shouldn't be kept, not much in this galaxy is truly black and white. What you must do now is forgive yourself and fight on, determined to keep his sacrifice from being in vain, the same goes for Elandria, for Castella and Olinthre."

I smiled, "thank you, Faleaseen, thank you for telling me this. Did you read Garrakson's mind? How did you know this?"

She grinned and again I was forced to flinch away, "there is no need to thank me, Attelus. I am just stating what you already knew. And no, I didn't read his mind, this is just an educated guess. I should be the one thanking you, and I thank you by swearing that I will never manipulate you, I will never use psychic torture. I see you now as a human wise beyond his years. A human wiser than many of his kind ten times his age! Your opinion is valid, worth listening to and I wish you luck, but now I must leave. We will talk again, sooner or later. Goodbye."

"Goodbye," I said as the valley around began to fade into white.
Last edited by Adrassil on Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:03 pm

That blank light slowly began to melt away, revealing the white marble ceiling overhead. It took me a second or so to realise I was moving, that I was being carried by two of Taryst's mercs on a stretcher, through the fortress-mansion.

I groaned as the pain in my limbs and exhaustion suddenly returned. The sharp sting from the cuts that covered me came after, making me hiss through clenched teeth.

I lingered in my thoughts, trying to take my mind off the pain. So I was immortal, or as the farseer had termed it, a 'perpetual.' I wasn't sure in all honesty what to make of that, it was something many over millennia had coveted, quested for, sacrificed for. Yet here I was, just given it. Well...perhaps not 'just given it,' the tortures, the dreams that was something I'd never want to go through again.

I really wished Faleaseen had told me more, like how did that shielding work? Would I be stuck like this, practically catatonic after each use? Did it drain my soul like I'd thought? So me being a 'perpetual' would it re-generate? I hoped so.

Next time I sit in that backyard, I swore I'd ask more pointed questions about, well, everything. Even knowing of my supposed immortality, I'd still do my frigging best not to die, this for a few good reasons, first being it'd probably frigging painful, depending on the how or why of course. The second, I wouldn't want to spend any time within the warp, no way in hell. Knowing what little I knew of that hell and knowing now our souls were destined to go there when we die, terrified me beyond measure. Even knowing that I'd have no consciousness, or atleast I hoped I wouldn't, perhaps being a 'perpetual' would change that. The last reason was the thought of being brought back from the warp and how it could affect me, how it could change me physically and mentally. Could I even come back a daemon?

Hell, now knowing this I swore I'd fight harder to stay alive than ever before.

Again, I sighed and tried to ignored the pain, tried to move and despite my best efforts and much grunting, found I still couldn't.

Then a thought hit me, which made me hiss through clenched teeth and sent a cold shiver up my spine. What had Edracian, I mean, Etuarq said before? Of the irony of my earlier speech about my death?

Did he know? Did he know of my status as a perpetual? But wouldn't that have made all his plan void? He knew I'd survive the explosion, he knew I'd survive the destruction of Omnartus. Yet still told us of his plan. Why? I couldn't understand, I couldn't comprehend. He did all of this knowing I'd come back from the dead.

The only explanation I could think of was that it was a lie, a bold faced lie. But why not just stay silent, just let the reveal of Edracian's being a corpse be enough?

Wesley, Emperor rest him, was right, this was just getting frigging stranger and stranger and stranger.

Did Etuarq have plans for me even beyond the destruction of Omnartus? And by trying to bring him to justice would I be just falling into that plan? The cruel, cruel shit he'd said was that to make me hate him, inspire me to stop him. But again, why?

Perhaps it was to dissuade me from hunting him? No, that couldn't be it, it seemed so strange, so illogical. But he did seem quite insane and the insane weren't known for their logical thinking. Yet, as much as I hated to admit it, his plan thus far had been brilliant, bloody brilliant.

Perhaps my first idea was right, perhaps if I tried to track him down, I'd be falling into what ever plan he had for me. Perhaps the best thing I could do was avoid it entirely? Run away and live a solitary life back on Elbyra? I couldn't do that, I swore I'd bring him to justice and after all the shit I'd been through I was sure I couldn't live a normal life. If I tried that, people, innocent people might start mysteriously disappearing after I'd moved in.

I shuddered at the thought.

No I couldn't avoid it, I had to hunt Etuarq, no matter what, I'd just have to be careful. Anyway, even if I did hide away I'm sure he'd just engineer something to bring me back into the fold.

"You alright?" asked the merc carrying the end of the stretcher.

I groaned and looked at the merc, recognising him from somewhere but couldn't recall his name.

"I'll take that as a no," said the merc. "Fair enough."

"Uh huh," I sighed, I could barely speak, my throat felt like someone had torn it out and replaced it with rolled up sandpaper, "where are we going?"

"Outta the mansion," came the answer, but not from the last merc, it instead was said by the one carrying the front of the stretcher. I recognised the voice, but again couldn't recall who it belonged to.

"Back to the base, your part and ours by extension is over in this farce," he said. "Thank the Emperor."

My eyes widened at his choice of "farce" in that sentence, what a fitting word to describe this whole situation.

" isn't a farce that so many have died, taking this place, Roldar," said the other.

Roldar sighed, "yeah, that isn't a farce, sorry, Jelket. Poor choice of words."

I couldn't help but smile at that.

Roldar and Jelket, I remembered them, they were two of the mercs sent by "Olinthre" earlier to escort me from my hab block. Funny that these two just happened to be my stretcher bearers..

"I'd say being downgraded from your being your guard to your literal carrier would be well, shit, Attelus," said Roldar. "But if it gives me an excuse to get outta this place and away from being shot at, it isn't quite as shit."

I cleared my throat, "not 'literal' as you're actually 'literally' carrying a stretcher, that just so happens to have me on it. Now if you were carrying me on your back then you'd literally be my carrier. But otherwise you're using 'literal' in the wrong context."

Roldar took a good few seconds before he said anything, "anyone ever told you, that you're a smart arse?"


"And you say that like it's something to be proud of?"snapped Roldar.

I frowned and furrowed my brow, it was just a joke, lighten up.

For a long time I laid in silence, just watching the marble ceiling pass above.

Finally I heard Roldar sigh and say, "sorry, didn't mean to jump down your throat like that, mate. Just tired of this shit is all."

"It's all good," I croaked. "I know exactly how you feel."

"I can't believe it," said Jelket. "Both the major and sergeant Garrakson, dead. That Brutis Bones fellow seems to be taking charge. But wheres Taryst? Shouldn't he take over? He is our leader."

"Either him or the colonel. Maybe Taryst will call him back from recruitment duties," said Roldar. "Although I'd rather not have that frug head back, especially now."

The corner of my mouth twitched, great one Glaitis your idiotic quest for vengeance has now left the organisation effectively rudderless. How were we going to stop the Exterminatus now? I guessed this was all according to Etuarq's plan too. I also couldn't help wonder what happened to the mercs Hayden had left to guard Glaitis back at our tower. It must've been a blood bath there I was pretty sure.

There were a few who could take over from Olinthre, though. There were two or three captains who worked under the major, although I'd hardly had any interaction with any of them and had forgotten their names entirely.

I hoped one would step up and take charge, but with everyone believing both Taryst and Barhurst being still alive, I doubted it. What a brilliantly convoluted mess we've got ourselves in yet again.

Brutis Bones was apparently taking charge, though. I just hoped the three disparate organisations could work under him. He was once an enemy and not many knew of the convoluted events which transpired into the creation of our desperate alliance.

I sure as hell didn't envy him.

"How long have I been out for?" I said, thinking that should've been my first question.

"That pretty boy, what's his name, Darrance?" said Roldar. "Had said you'd been out for a good five minutes before we'd arrived and we've been carting your sorry arse for about two minutes since then. So not long, why were you unconscious anyway? It didn't look like you'd hit your noggin' on anything or anything."

I fought a urge to frown, that I'd 'fainted due to severe panic attack' wasn't something to go around telling, especially to hard arse military types like Roldar.

"Blood loss," I said. "A cut in my side given to me when I'd fought off two Death Cult assassins."

"Yeah we heard about that fight," said Jelket. "Falone said you'd really saved their arses back there."

I sighed again, "yeah, and I only made it through because my arse was saved in turn."

"Yeah well, still, good work," said Jelket. "You guys also took out their boss, so again, good work."

"Yeah but that ain't stopping the enemy remnants fighting to the last," said Roldar. "Frigging insane if you ask me. That also begs the question was this boss, this Edracian that was killed, actually their boss? I know a merc when I see a merc and these guys are definitely mercs, they should've given up already with their employer dead."

"Professional pride, perhaps?" I suggested, but thought it more likely mind control.

"I doubt that," said Roldar with a sniff.

"Wheres everyone else?" I asked, wanting to change the subject.

"The rest of them are going to help fight the enemy remnant," said Jelket. "Including that Brutis Bones fellow, I saw his injuries. Being still able to fight with them that takes balls of steel."

"Or insanity," said Roldar. "Wasn't he our enemy only a few days ago? Weren't Attelus here and the rest cutting a bloody swathe through the Moody Hammers he'd brought under him? And now he's our ally against this frigging Edracian guy? I don't get this shit, I really don't get this shit."

I stayed silent, not wanting to draw any questions my way.

"You know, don't you?" said Roldar. "You know everything don't you, Attelus?"

"No, no I don't" I said, I really didn't know everything like the future or how our galaxy became into being, so I was telling the truth. Again, it was the best way to lie.

"Don't lie," said Roldar.

"I'm not," I said with conviction. "I'm not lying, that I swear."

I paused as I realised something, "well, I am 'lying' on a stretcher, but I'm not 'lying' to you."

Abruptly Jelket and Roldar stopped.

"You really should've worded your question better, Roldar," said a deep voice that I instantly recognised and the realisation made my eyes widen and hiss air through clenched teeth. "As he is telling you the truth, he doesn't know 'everything' about everything, but he does know everything of the why and the how we are here."

"Torris," said Jelket. "What are you doing here?"

"Waiting for you, naturally," said Torris. "Don't underestimate young Attelus, here. He's as canny as they get, or if one isn't being generous in their words, as manipulative as they get."

"Torris," said Roldar warningly. "I don't like your tone, mate, now please. Step aside."

"I just wish to exchange a few words with my good friend, here, sergeant Roldar," said Torris. "Is there something wrong with that?"

"Torris, step aside," repeated Roldar, his voice like iron.

"Alright! Alright!" sighed Torris. "Just let me walk along with you, I'll escort you. Brutis Bones was pretty silly not sending you back with a guard."

"He didn't," said a fourth voice, another I recognised instantly and Arlathan Karkin emerged from the shadows. His left arm in a sling, his right holding a raised Las pistol. "Now step aside."

"There's no need for that, detective," said Torris. "Lower your gun."

"That's the thing, I maybe a lowly Magistratum detective and you were a high and mighty Arbite, but I've seen that look on your face, I can recognise your tone of voice, that's rage, white rage," said Arlathan. "You have no intention on guarding anyone, now step aside and let us through."


"I understand, Torris," interrupted Arlathan. "You've lost a friend, a good friend and you're angry about it. You want to put all the blame of his death onto Attelus, here. You want to take out your anger and grief on him."


"It's basic stuff, Torris," said on Arlathan. "Taught to us in the academy, the stages of grief, remember? Surely the Arbitrators of Malfi would learn it too?"

"Of course I did."

Arlathan nodded, "so now you know you're not thinking straight, right? You know you've thrown reason out the window right now. What you'd said earlier of Attelus manipulating Jeurat Garrakson into sacrificing himself, may have some merit. I don't believe it to be true, I saw what happened, I saw all of it and it sure as hell didn't look like he'd been manipulated to me. It looked like he knew exactly what he was doing, that he was fully prepared to sacrifice himself to save us. To avenge the one he loved and his comrade."

Arlathan clenched his teeth and braced his pistol, "now please Marcel Torris, step aside. You seem like a good person, Torris. Are you a good person, Torris?"

"I...I try to be," said Torris.

Arlathan smiled, "well, then you're a better man than me. I am starting to try now, too, though. But no matter how many years I live from now on I believe I'll never be half the man you are. Show us, Marcel, show us just how good you are, by stepping aside and not letting your thirst for revenge, whether it's justified or not, consume you, so please, step aside."

"I...I you're really good at this," said Torris, sounding just as impressed as I was.

"I didn't make this rank for nothing, believe it or not," said Arlathan.

"Yeah, yeah I see that, alright, I'm sorry," said Torris.

"Thank you, Torris," said Arlathan as Jelket and Roldar began to move again. "There's nothing for you to be sorry for, I'm just glad that you didn't do anything that did."

Arlathan fell in step beside my stretcher and I saw Torris as we walked past him, the poor man looked at me with wide tearful eyes that made my heart sink.

"I'm sorry," I hissed. "I'm so, so sorry."

Then we left him behind and his cry of anguish echoed down the corridor.

"Will he be alright?" asked Jelket.

"Yeah," said Arlathan. "He'll be alright, just give him time."

"Did you mean that?" I said. "Did you mean what you just said?"

Arlathan sighed, "yeah, yeah I did. Do you think that Torris would've stood down if I didn't?"

I nodded and let out a long relieved sigh, then quickly realised I could also move my fingers as well.

I hoped I'd be able to move soon. I had a bad feeling about the near future.

A really bad feeling.

In silence we moved through the corridors, the only sound the footfalls of Arlathan, Jelket and Roldar. At times we stepped aside to allow groups of mercs trudging the other way past.

Along the way to the elevator, after much effort I was finally able to move my left arm and my right leg. I activated my vox link and listened to the chatter. A captain named Helma had taken over from "Olinthre" I could hear her yelling orders over the link and much to my surprise all three organisations were working well under her. They'd already taken the eighth floor and the sixth was very near to falling.

All the elevators had been searched and activated now and it turned out I was right, the only one trapped was the one we'd checked.

I couldn't help roll my eyes at that.

We finally found the elevators and after Roldar exchanged a few words with the leader of the guard, we got on and began our descent.

"Torris said you did know everything," said Roldar. "Are you ever going to inform us of this shit?"

I swallowed, "it's uhh complicated."

"He's dead isn't he?" said Jelket. "Taryst is dead."

Taken off guard, I couldn't help but flinch and share a glance with Arlathan.

"That's...Awfully presumptuous of you, Jelket," said Arlathan.

Jelket sniggered cynically, "so it is true, so for how long? How? Why? Who did it?"

He sounded disparagingly uncaring as he asked his questions.

"It's complicated," I hissed.

"Yeah I bet," said Roldar bitterly, "and what makes you so damn special that you get to know all this shit? I've been in this organisation for twelve frigging years! Why do you get told this and not us?"

"I only know this 'shit' as you keep insisting on calling it, because I went through 'shit' to find it out," I snapped. "I lost the girl I loved, I got the ever loving shit kicked out of me I...I."

I exhaled, trying to calm myself, "I earned it, believe me I frigging well earned it."

"You'll have to tell us how sometime in the future," growled Jelket.

"I'll make sure to write it into my memoirs," I said sarcastically. "Give you free copies when it's done. I'll make sure to write it in graphic detail, every kick and punch and splatter of blood because I'll surely remember it all in such detail."

"Why?" demanded Roldar. "Why did you keep it a secret? Why did you lie?"

I sighed, "because in the situation I was in. I had very little choice, Roldar. I didn't want to keep this shit a secret but under the circumstances, it was the best way to go. We had to, there was a mission we needed to complete."

"What? Taking down this Edracian, right?" said Roldar. "Didn't Brutis say he was an Inquisitor?"

"Him being an Inquisitor, doesn't that give you a clue that there's heavy shit at stake?" I hissed. "That Brutis Bones is also one too, doesn't that also add to it? You're a soldier, I understand that you don't think so much in the grey as I. But sometimes secrets need to be kept. If Taryst had bothered being truthful with you from the outset, then perhaps none of this complicated matter would've come to pass and I wouldn't have been forced to lie. I apologise for it but do not regret it."

Roldar was about to open his mouth in reply when the elevator found the ground floor and with a ding the doors slid open.

Roldar and Jelket picked up my stretcher then moved into the foyer. Arlathan following just behind.

"Alright," sighed Roldar after a few long seconds of silence. "I guess I kind of understand. But you will tell us eventually, right?"

"Yeah," I said and meant it. "I will, when the time is right."

Roldar briefly looked over his shoulder and he clenched his jaw, which said, why not now?

I just pursed my lips and shook my head.

For a good ten minutes we again carried on in silence, as I continued to fight to get my limbs moving and listened to the vox traffic. We were doing well, the sixth floor was taken and only the seventh remained.

It was Jelket who broke the silence, "so, Attelus, where are you from?"

I sighed, small talk, really? But still answered, "Elbyra a small agri world bordering the Halo stars, you?"

"Archaos" said Jelket. "Was in the Archaosian 39th as a heavy weapons trooper before joining up with Taryst."

"How'd you get out?" I asked, thinking that talking about this might help with any reservations the Mercenary might have about me, also hoping his back story wasn't as tragic as Olinthre's and Garrakson's.

"Saved up my pay and bought my way out," said Jelket. "Took me a good twelve years but got there eventually."

I frowned, twelve years? How old was he anyway? Signing age was eighteen (on most worlds anyway) he must've been at least thirty but seemed much younger. He could've lied about his age, though.

"Colonel Barhurst recruited me only a few months after I left," Jelket said on. "Been with the organisation for a year, now."

I nodded absently, barely listening being still on the vox.

"Yep! Working for Taryst was a pretty sweet gig," said Jelket. "Good pay, mixed with pretty easy going work. Not getting shot at was pretty good, until now of course where I've been shot at more times in the past six hours than I have in an entire year."

"Uh huh," I muttered while changing my link's channel, to hear what squad twenty three were up to, they were on the forefront of the fight, battling with a group of Brutis' Bones Hammers in a large recreation room.

"I've also killed more times in the last six hours than in six months!" he said. "Lost count after seven, even managed a few good head shots. With not much time fighting, I've been putting a lot of hours at the shooting range and…"

Anger suddenly overtook me then and I snarled, "yeah! Thanks for reminding me how much of a sweet time you've had doing nothing while I was busy fighting and constantly killing over the past few months, and by the Emperor you can blabber on, can't you?"

Jelket flinched, "yeah sorry, I'm just not good with long silences."

Roldar snorted, "tell me something I don't know, try working guard duty with this frugger," he said in good humour. "Running his mouth off seems to be one of his only talents."

"Hey!" said Jelket with feigned hurt, "I resent that statement, I've got tenth highest accuracy rate at the range!"

Roldar sighed, "yeah I know, I know you've only told me that two hundred times now."

"What's your accuracy rate, Roldar?" I asked, finding all of this very amusing.

"Fifty sixth, last time I checked," Roldar replied hesitantly. "I'm more of a close quarters guy myself, give me a las gun on full auto at medium to short range and I'll fry 'em before they can think."

Not me, though, I thought with a smirk.

"What's Attelus' rate?" asked Arlathan, causing me to crane my neck up to glare at him witheringly and he just smirked back.

Jelket shrugged, "I don't think mr swordsman here's been at the range enough to get one."

"I only logically need to go once to get an average, Jelket," I sighed. "It's based on averages, right?"

"Well, I've never seen you on the record," said Jelket. "And I've looked way, way back."

"How far back?" asked Arlathan.

"Past the three hundred mark," said Jelket.

"Ooooh, not even close," said Arlathan as he inhaled sharply. "That's gotta hurt."

"And what's yours?" I snapped. "Surely the Magistratum keep records for their practice range?"

Arlathan grinned and shook his head, "sorry about this, kid, but I'm seventh at the range and first at hand to hand."

Roldar let out a long whistle, "nice! How'd you manage that?"

"Yeah well, I can dodge bullets," I stated, before Arlathan could reply.

There was a long moment of silence.

"Bullshit," said Roldar.

I opened my mouth to argue but abruptly shut it, thinking better of making them believe it.

"Yeah, sorry, just wanted to win this pissing contest," I said.

"And that is exactly what it is," said Arlathan.

"Can you move now?" asked Roldar. "We'd appreciate if you could, I'm getting a bit tired of carrying, your stretcher around."

"Stop," I said. "Let me try get up."

Roldar and Jelket did as told.

Slowly, shakily I sat up and slipped off the stretcher. It took me a good few minutes and when I was finally on my feet I almost lost balance entirely. It was only because Arlathan stopped me that kept me from falling on my face.

"You alright?" asked Arlathan and I replied with a nod.

"I just frigging hope this doesn't happen every time she uses that shield," I muttered through clenched teeth as Arlathan stepped back and I began to slowly walk on, struggling for every step.

"What?" said Jelket.

"Nothing," I sighed. "Don't worry, I said nothing."

"Well you definitely said something," said Roldar.

I just grimaced, shrugged and placed my fore arm against the wall for support as I walked.

"Lets just move," I growled. "Anyway, Roldar where's the rest of your squad?"

Roldar shrugged as he fell in step with me, showing surprising patience at my slow pace.

"Our squad were ordered to guard the elevator controls along with some of the moody Hammers, but we got a call for help so me and Jelket went to help," said Roldar. "left Halick in charge. Shit! If I'd known we'd have to haul your sorry arse back, I'd have sent him and Jelket instead."

"Gee, thanks," said Jelket sarcastically.

I smiled, "I appreciate the help, I do. If you want to, you can head back to rejoin your squad now. We can carry on from here"

Roldar shook his head, "nope, sorry, we're staying. We've got our orders and despite you being a snarky, paranoid little shit, you're not too bad."

I didn't reply to that, just furrowed my brow at the backhanded compliment and carried on.

It took us almost half an hour to reach the exit. In that time I listened to the comm chatter as Jelket and Roldar constantly talked, their dialog mostly consisting of good natured teasing. I couldn't help be impressed by their wit, trading barbs back and forth with surprising speed and regularity. Jelket was especially quick and clever, this despite Roldar being his senior, it made me smile. It was obvious they were true comrades and good friends, it made me want to laugh, it made me want to cry again.

A thought had occurred to me as we walked and I'd turned to Arlathan.

"Shouldn't you be with your men?" I asked.

Arlathan shook his head, "I've left my second, Delyth in charge. He knows what he's doing, they'll do fine without me."

I'd frowned, his tone implied he believed they'd actually do better without him. It was obvious his confidence had taken a huge hit since the daemon attack, but perhaps even worse than I'd first thought. I almost felt sorry for him, but it seemed he was really re-thinking his attitude, perhaps it was for the better.

We'd just walked through the guards at the west exit and were headed toward Arlathan's Magistratum command truck waiting for us in the courtyard when I heard the call over the vox, the last of the hostiles was reported killed. Funnily enough it was Verenth who had the honour, despite his injury.

We were in the truck when we got the call over the vox, all of our comm links beeped and showed a call on channel fifty six. We shared silent glances and quickly tuned in.

"What's this about?" growled Roldar.

"It's probably Brutis Bones going to make some uplifting, awe inspiring speech about our victory," I said cynically. "If you can call it that."

Jelket frowned, "then what else would you call it?"

For a few seconds I thought on that, with the buzzing of the active vox in my ears as I taped my index finger on my thin chin absently.

"A single small step," I said. "A single, minute step on a road as long as this galaxy's length, one which I'll continue on walking, even if it eventually kills me."

I wanted to say, 'even if kills me a thousand times,' but wisely refrained.

Roldar and Jelket shared glances.

"That was awfully poetic of you, Attelus," said Jelket. "Do you think you'll make it to the end of that figurative road?"

"Yes," I said with a smile.

Roldar furrowed his brow and opened his mouth to respond but stopped as Brutis Bone's voice abruptly burst into our ears.

"This is Inquisitor Brutis Tybalt of the Ordo Hereticus and I address all of you today with a truth, a truth all of you need to hear."

Hearing this made me hiss through clenched teeth, I wanted to say something, stop him but the link was one way.

"In fact I come to you with a few truths, the first and foremost is this, the employer of many of you, the rogue trader named Taryst, is dead."

I looked at Jelket and Roldar with wide watery eyes. I could only imagine the reactions of the many mercs hearing this and hoped Brutis wasn't going to mention my organisation's involvement in Taryst's murder.

"Those that were directly and indirectly involved in Taryst's death, have been brought to justice, they are dead, along with him," said on Brutis, "as well, the rumour of Major Olinthre's demise is true."

Brutis sighed, "I have also received news that Colonel Barhurst is dead also. Only a few days ago this news would've brought me joy, but then we were enemies. Now we are unlikely allies, we are now allied because we have a greater enemy, an enemy which has manipulated both of us into this war, this enemy as many of you have already guessed was Inquisitor Nonin Edracian, he is responsible for the deaths of billions of innocent, Imperial citizens. For decades he has manipulated the Imperium against it self, just as he has manipulated us. In storming this fortress, in defeating him and his army, you have done the Emperor's work. You have performed a great service that will allow your souls to one day be at Emperor's side. That I promise you."

"I, as an Inquisitor of the Holy Ordos take command, it doesn't matter if you are a Magistratum Marshal or a Mercenary once under Taryst you now answer to me, this isn't over I'm afraid. Soon ships of the Imperial navy will emerge from the warp and they will attempt to destroy Omnartus and the billions of people living on it's surface in fire. Exterminatus has been ordered on this world and it is up to us, along with the Planetary Defence Force to stop it."

"I am afraid, though, that I must take my leave of Omnartus, my mission here is complete and as a good friend of mine had suggested, this knowledge I must take to the Calixian Ordos so to prevent Edracian and his allies causing any more destruction."

That I knew to be a lie or atleast I hoped it to be, we really couldn't trust the Ordos anymore, who knew how many within it were allied with, or even under Etuarq's influence? Even so I felt Brutis had made the right decision.

"As my first order to you I order this building to be evacuated then destroyed," said Brutis. "My second is also my last, once that is completed captain Helma will be in charge of Taryst's forces, she has proven herself a excellent commander, you will follow her like she was Olinthre, hell, like she was Taryst himself. You must co-operate fight together like you have just now or else all will be lost. Do you understand?"

There was a long pause and I wondered what the others listening were doing during that time.

"Thank you!" said Brutis at whatever response was given and I guessed it was positive, somehow. "Now go! Do the Emperor's work!"

Then the connection was cut.

For a second or so we sat in grim silence, it was only interrupted by the beep of Arlathan's vox link making me and Arlathan flinch in fright.

"Detective Karkin here," he said and I watched as he listened to whatever was being said down the line, then his already remarkably pale face whitened even worse.

"Yeah, got you," he stammered and cut the link.

"What's wrong?" I asked, although I already had a good idea.

He just treated me with a wide eyed fearful look, then immediately tuned his vox.

"Inquisitor?" he said. "I'm sorry but we've got to talk, now. Can you meet us outside the western exit, ASAP? I just got a call from my boss, the Astropaths have detected the enemy fleet, it's in the warp and scheduled to enter the system in about an hour."

There was a pause before Arlathan answered, "yes, thank you, sir. Will meet you soon."

"Shit!" snapped Roldar.

"'Shit,' doesn't even begin to describe it," I sighed.

"No," said Arlathan, his voice in soft contemplation as he stroked his stubbly chin with a thumb. "No it doesn't."

We didn't have to wait long, only about fifteen minutes before Brutis Bones arrived, he was now out of his Power Armour and while he was still large he was distinctly smaller without it. He wore an armored black body glove and his wounds were thickly bandaged. He still somehow managed to carry his bolter with as much ease when he was armoured, though.

Accompanying him was captain Helma, she was a plain featured, grim looking woman in her late thirties whose blonde hair was cropped short. She wore aged, but well maintained Storm Trooper carapace and carried a Hell gun. Like me she had a large, ugly scar on the left cheek, but unlike me she didn't hide it beneath long hair.

Also with him were Selg, Verenth, Darrance and Hayden and much to my surprise, a still sullen Torris.

"Alright," said Brutis as he approached us, straight to business as usual. "I thought we'd have more time."

Arlathan shook his head and licked his dry lips, he'd been silently pondering the whole time we'd waited, "I'm afraid not, Inquisitor," said Arlathan. "It was apparently only a small rift in the warp, that was why it wasn't sensed hours ago. According to the head Astropath, a rift that small would be made by only five or six ships…"

Arlathan trailed off in his sentence as he, along with the rest of us saw the look of horror cross Brutis' face.

"Only five or six ships?" said Helma, her voice deep, commanding and gravely. "You only need that amount for an Exterminatus?"

"Yes," said Brutis. "Damn it! Why didn't Wesley tell me?"

"Why didn't Jeksen tell you what, boss?" said Verenth.

"Why didn't he tell us that Torathe had so much pull!" Brutis snarled. "I was hoping he'd bring Inquisitorial ships and an Imperial navy escort! Not this. Anything but this."

"Anything but what, Inquisitor?" said Helma, her jaw clenching in impatience.

My eyes widened with the dawning realisation and I quickly understood Brutis' apprehension. And just when I thought it couldn't get any frigging worse.

"Space Marines," I said, "Inquisitor Torathe has brought frigging Space Marines."

Brutis nodded with watery eyes and he pointed at me, "you better pray to the God Emperor, detective that it's just a Rogue Trader group or pilgrims or anything else or this will change everything. Everything."

Then I swore I heard Arlathan mutter softly under his breath; "I'm not gonna waste my breath."

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:57 pm

We quickly piled into Arlathan's command truck.

"Golyat!" Arlathan said. "Get us to Taryst's, quick smart!"

"Yes sir," said the driver and very soon we were out of the courtyard and into the streets. The klaxon warbled insistently overhead.

"Roldar, Jelket, you're ex-guard," said Helma, after a while. "Either of you ever fought with Space Marines?"

Roldar and Jelket, who sat next to each other, exchanged glances.

"No ma'am," said Roldar, "and neither did Jelket here, captain. As I'm sure, I would've heard about it a thousand times now."

Jelket nodded in agreement then a second later gave Roldar a glare when he got it, which made me smile despite myself.

Helma rolled her eyes, "either of you ever knows anyone in our ranks who has?"

Again they shared a glance before Jelket said, "no there again, ma'am, sorry. Why are you asking?"

Helma sighed, "Y'know, because they will know about what we're up against so be able to give us info on it. Seriously? Did your mothers drop you on your heads when you were babies?"

"Uhh no ma'am," said Jelket. "With respect, ma'am if I'd fallen on my head as a babe, I wouldn't be tenth at the range and wouldn't have figured out Taryst was dead before Brutis even told us."

Helma furrowed her brow, "and how did you figure that out?"

Jelket shrugged and pursed his lips, "just thought about it is all, ma'am."

Helma furrowed her brow even more and scratched her jaw, "I don't get, how can you be smart enough to figure that out, but dumb enough not to get why I asked if you'd served with Space Marines?"

Jelket shrugged again, "I don't know ma'am. That...was pretty obvious."

"Unless you're lying about it," said Helma, suspiciously.

"No, he's not," sighed Roldar. "He's mentioned it a few times over the last few days. We thought he was being paranoid."

"I sort of have experience with Space Marines," I said hesitantly.

Helma's attention suddenly snapped to me, "yeah well, spit it out! Anything's better than nothing, kid. Wait! Soon just from the propaganda booklets? Is it?"

"No," I said with a frown and a furrowed brow, why would I mention it if it was? I thought.

"That's alright, then," said Helma. "Just making sure, found out the hard way a long time ago that stuff was complete Grox shit. So tell me what you know."

I nodded, "when I was a teenager my world was invaded by the forces of chaos. I…"

I paused, "I...I survived."

"Yeah we can see that," said Roldar grinning, which elicited a withering glare from me, causing his eyes to widen then look away.

Helma frowned and with watery eyes, glared at Roldar too, "I understand, Attelus, please. Continue."

"I was far from the front lines when they arrived," I said, "living In a refugee camp, so I never got to see them first hand. The Space Marines, the Dark Angels but saw the fire trails in the sky of their drop pods. From what I'd heard, the war between the Imperial forces and the Chaos invaders was until then, a stalemate. But once the Space Marines arrived, it was only a few weeks before the enemy ground forces were wiped out to a man, along with most of their invasion fleet."

Helma sighed and scratched her head, "sounds about right, an entire planetary invasion force, completely devastated in weeks. What chance do we have?"

I opened my mouth to reply but stopped and shook my head instead, unable to think of anything to say.

Staying here was sure-fire suicide, I wasn't worried about me, we needed to escape, and quickly a plan began to form in my mind.

We sat in stoic silence as the van drove through the hive, the bleating claxons causing all traffic in our way to veer clear.

I leaned forward in my restraint belt and watched our advance through the front window as the driver skillfully manoeuvred through the convoluted labyrinthine streets. We were only about forty-five kilometres or so from Taryst's tower, but by my calculations, it was going to take good three-quarters of an hour or more to get there, even at such speed and the traffic getting out of our way. Time wasn't on our side, much to my teeth grinding frustration.

We turned yet another corner, onto a wide main thoroughfare, it was thick with traffic which struggled to make room for us, forcing the driver to weave through much of it.

Then I saw something that made me narrow my eyes, as the traffic cleared I saw a figure, a good kilometre down the street just standing nonchalantly in the middle of it.

Then he pulled out a grenade launcher.

"Shit!" I yelled. "Turn! Turn!"

But the driver couldn't, the traffic on our sides effectively locking us in a tight corridor.

"What?" demanded Helma. "What's going on?"

"Brace yourselves!" Yelled the driver. "And hold the frig on!"

As I thought he was rather redundant, I watched the figure raise his grenade launcher and saw the puff of smoke as he fired just before I pulled myself back.

I should've known this would happen, that Etuarq would have an ace up his sleeve.

The explosion took out the front wheels, throwing the van violently onto its back wheels tipping us into the air a good thirty degrees. We were abruptly rocked sidewards in our restraints, and I heard sharp screams.

After what seemed like forever, the van finally smashed back forward, the impact sending waves of agony up my spine, which caused it to bounce back up again but only for a split second as the front landed and screeched; I as it slid for a few metres. The rear suddenly slipped outward; then the van toppled onto its left side, I was sitting on the right so my feet were all of a sudden hanging in the air and my long hair hung forward. The horrific impact jarred me head to toe. I yelled out, forced to writhe and reel with the constant bumping and bashing, but could hardly hear myself over the constant screeching of the bodywork it's over the road.

I don't know how long it went on or how far we slid but it felt like a frigging lifetime before it bashed hard against what must've been another vehicle. Causing more cries and me more blinding pain. It bounced and slid another metre more before stopping.

Winded, gasping for air I looked around, the impact had taken out the interior lights, leaving everything endowed in darkness. I could hear pained groaning and moaning, and I hurt all over like all hell, my limbs, neck, and head were the worst, I quickly found I could move, that nothing was broken.

"Everyone alright?" I called, the only replies I got were more moans and the creaking of the damaged bodywork.

"Okay, fair enough," I said as I undid my restraint and dropped onto the "floor" with as much grace I could muster under the circumstance which wasn't much, but more than most.

With a shaking hand, I activated my Microbead but found only static.

"Frig!" I snarled.

Then I heard from outside the running of heavy boots toward the back, and I quickly counted about a dozen pairs.

I would've told everyone to get down or find cover but knew it'd be pointless, instead, I just drew my pistol and limped toward the back door, flicking off the safety.

"What the hell's going on?" groaned Helma as I passed her.

"It's an ambush, a frigging ambush," I whispered. "Keep quiet."

She opened her mouth to argue but stopped as we heard the familiar hissing of a las-cutter and saw the metal around the lock begin to turn orange and bulge in a circular motion.

I had a few options here, stand right in the open and gun down anyone trying to get in, that's if they attempted that but my gut said they'd try to throw in a grenade through the gap first, so I slid beside the door and pushed my shoulder against the wall. My heart in my throat as I tried to ignore my aching limbs and hoping to hell I was right.

Eventually, the lascutter did its job, and with a clang, the chunk was kicked in.

A second later, the grenade flew through, and my body reacted on its own, my hand snapped out, caught it and with a flick of a wrist, I tossed it outside.

I allowed myself a smile as I heard the ambushers cries of dismay and the explosion, then the agonised screams afterwards.

I spun into a sidekick which smashed open the door and in a microsecond I'd taken in my surroundings, the swirling smoke from the explosive, the six dead and stunned figures laying on the rockcrete. Figures wearing the familiar armour and uniform of the Adeptus Arbites, two others in view were still coherent, one was on his back, in the midst of raising his shotgun. The other on his feet, just about to pull the trigger of his. My autopistol spat twice; the manstopper rounds blew out the back of the standing Arbite's skull, then the prone one's chest. Without hesitation I jumped outside, twisting in mid-air and fired wildly to pin the four remaining arbites on the van's sides. My gambit worked, they didn't expect such a reckless move and pulled back. I landed a good five meters away and darted behind the first vehicle on my right, cutting down the pair there with a withering hail of fire as they were busy falling back.

The last two peered around the van's corner, the first crouched, the second standing and fired their shotguns my way, forcing me to duck behind the vehicle with a curse and as I did, I caught a glimpse of many more men in arbites uniforms emerging from the pulled over vehicles ahead, shotguns raising.

I couldn't help but smile in admiration at such brilliantly planned and executed ambush and checked over my shoulder to see if there were more converging on our back and there was, a good twenty or so. It must've been fully half of the Arbitrator force in the entire hive taking part in this, assuming they were Arbites at all.

My vehicle was being torn apart, I knew it wouldn't last much longer, so reloaded and darted across the highway, shooting at the two arbites behind the van on the way. I didn't glimpse the figure sprinting straight at me until it was almost too late and instinct made me throw myself to the ground, sensing, not seeing the sword slash which almost killed me.

In a split second, I was on my feet and face to face with a mask, a mask similar to those worn by the assassins of the Vindicare temple. Faster than thought the man slashed, forcing me to lean back from its path. Then I saw the two Arbites were emerging from the corner of the crashed van.

"No!" I cried and kicked at my assailant while trying to bring my pistol to bear. But like liquid, the man weaved out the way and went to dissect me from crotch to head with an upward cut. I threw myself aside and managed one shot at the Arbites before he was on me again, cutting at my arm. I pulled back my aim and attempted to shoot him through the face, but he'd already moved onto my left flank. My peripheral vision saw him trying to stab at my ribs, and I jumped out of its path. Twisting to fire a flurry at the Arbites, just as the first was stepping to look inside. My desperate shots forced him to hesitate and flinch, none hit directly, but one lucky round ricocheted off the bodywork and into his foot.

The Arbite screamed and fell.

The Masked man threw a low, knee breaking roundhouse kick that I back stepped and he followed with a diagonal slash at my head that I darted aside of.

Instantly, I recognised that style; I would've been shocked if I didn't know he was a part of this already.

"Hi, dad," I said and fired at him, forcing him to dart away then turned and cut down the remaining Arbite with a flurry of shots. "Can't, in all honesty, say I've missed you."

My pistol clicked dry; I dropped it, spun and drew my sword just in time to smash aside Serghar's thrust. He stabbed at my skull, which I weaved under and countered with a downward diagonal cut he parried. We wheeled back and activated our sword's power fields almost at once.

I was smiling; I should've been terrified at even the slightest prospect at fighting my infamous father. Serghar Kaltos was the best of the best, held in either awe or begrudging respect of the mercenary assassin organisations throughout the Calixis sector and even the Inquisition. He was a un bested master of the blade with decades more experience than me. But yet here I was utterly unafraid, joyous even! Perhaps it was because of the knowledge that I couldn't truly die? I doubted that, as I'd felt a similar joy when fighting the two death cult assassins earlier and then didn't know I was a perpetual.

I was lost in thought, so Serghar struck first, but my body moved seemingly on its own, sidestepping his stab and countered with an upward diagonal cut at his open ribs. Despite this, he still reposted, parried with breathtaking speed then attacked with an overhead vertical slash I danced back of it, barely. And he continued his offence, dashing at me like lightning with a thrust I blocked. I turned into a horizontal blow that parried again and followed with a downward cut Serghar back stepped.

It was then the advancing Arbites passed by us, their heavy footfalls crunching over the rockcrete.

"Shit!" I snarled, so caught up in the combat I'd forgotten about them entirely. With a flick of the wrist, I had a knife in hand and threw it at Serghar's face. Serghar leaned out of its path which allowed my front kick to crash against his torso, throwing him against a parked vehicle so hard it dented inward, and he fell on his face.

I dashed at the nearest Arbites' back and cut him in two before he had any clue I was there. The two on his sides saw this, and impressively fast they turned to fire, but I was already behind the left Arbites' back and stabbing him through the chest. I spun on my heels, so the screaming impaled Arbite was now facing the next on the left just as he opened fire, abruptly silencing him and I threw another knife into the visor of the one on the right. With a snarl and a sidekick, I sent the dead Arbite crashing into his comrade with bone-crunching force.

The others, hearing the fire behind them turned to investigate, but now I had a shotgun. I exploded one's stomach as he was in mid-turn. Not the most kindly of kills but had very little chance to be extremely accurate in my situation. Then relieved another of his left leg before I was forced to sprint into the cover of a nearby vehicle, a millisecond before their shots cut through the air where I just stood.

I knew that vehicle wouldn't last long under such a barrage, so moved and slid over another's bonnet, crouched and turned to return fire with my new shotgun, but then frigging Serghar Kaltos was on me again.

His powersword cut clean through my shotgun while was I getting to my feet and I was in the midst of drawing my sword when his sidekick crashed painfully into my gut, sending me reeling back, winded.

I only just managed to duck his darting sword and wheeled from his following thrust, which burst through a vehicle door like it was butter. He sliced through it and pivoted into a horizontal cut I backpedalled. Trying to get my breathing back I dashed into his flank, aiming a low snap kick at his shin, boot knife out. Serghar danced out the way and reposted into a stab. But that attack had granted me the precious milliseconds which allowed me to draw my sword, activate it in a blaze of blue and smash his stab off course and him off balance. He leaned back from my back fist and cut up diagonally at my torso. I leapt desperately to the right just fast enough to barely make it out the way but not soon enough to keep it cutting a huge chunk off my flak jacket.

I clenched my teeth, seeing the Arbites had the van surrounded and were approaching the doors, weapons raised.

I couldn't do anything; my friends were dead, I'd failed again.

I weaved beneath Serghar's next slash and countered with a horizontal arc and a snarl. Damn it! If I couldn't save them, I'd frigging avenge them! Even if it meant killing my father, assuming this masked man was my father, he could easily be another Feuilt.

Serghar parried and sliced at my legs, forcing me to dart back. I heard an explosion and the inevitable deathly screams. I blocked Serghar's next slash and risked another look. What I saw made me gasp. More Arbites were on the ground dead or stunned and injured. Then a figure fast like lightning emerged from the van, power scimitar decapitating two Arbites as at his flanks Helma and Verenth cut down the remainder. Helma with her Hell gun, Verenth with his Auto pistol.

I laughed with relief and back peddled Serghar's vertical cut then threw a low roundhouse kick he sidestepped, but with the same leg, my front kick smashed hard against his hip sending him stumbling to the ground. I lunged at him, slashing at his skull. Serghar rolled out the way, his kick connected with my thigh making me stumble back, allowing him to jump to his feet.

Ignoring the pain in my leg, I darted at him, slicing at his skull diagonally. He parried and his hook punch connected with my jaw that sent waves of pain through my face. I reeled but was still able to parry his stab and send sidekick for his knee which he blocked with a shin.

I darted back from his counter, a horizontal slash and fought to control my ragged breathing but I was still smiling

He fell further back, and for a few seconds we stood silent, weapons readied for the other to strike.

"You're good," I said. "Frigging good, but you're no Serghar Kaltos."

I sniggered and smiled, "if you were him, I'd be already dead. Who are you? One of his apprentices? Like me? Like Feuilt?"

The masked man didn't answer, and we started to circle each other, me right, he left.

Then a thought occurred to me and I frowned.

"Either that or you are my father, and just toying with me, you old bastard."

The Assassin tilted his head, "anyone ever said you talk too…"

He never got to finish his sentence as Darrance just suddenly seemingly appeared from nowhere and decapitated him.

I gaped in shock as the assassin's corpse collapsed, blood jetting from the neck.

"That...that was my kill you frigger!" I snapped.

"We haven't the time, Apprentice!" he roared. "We must…"

Darrance trailed off in his sentence as he heard it, we all heard it. A familiar rumbling, chopping sound.

"Shit!" Darrance yelled. "Ornithopter, inbound!"

It appeared abruptly over the buildings in the northwest, about half a kilometre away. The Autocannon on its nose whirled dangerously.

"Why?" I gasped.

"Why, what?" snarled Darrance.

"Why didn't they send that in first?"

Darrance thought on that but could only purse his lips and shrug.

Then it opened fire.
Last edited by Adrassil on Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:46 am

The thoroughfare was sixteen lanes wide, allowing us room to move. The high yield autocannon rounds chewed through rockcrete and vehicles alike as they travelled toward the Magistratum van.

Helma and the others scattered a millisecond before the vans reinforced bodywork was instantly torn to shreds like it was old tissue paper.

The shots veered left, tearing through the vehicles and following after Helma and Hayden. I couldn't see their fates through the kicked up rockcrete dust.

I cursed if Hayden was killed we just lost our best chance of taking that thing down!

Darrance and I dashed off the thoroughfare, as the autocannon continued to chew through the scenery indiscriminately. We made it into the comparative safety of a side street, pressing our backs against the wall.

"What now?" I yelled over the roar.

Darrance pursed his lips and thought as I looked down the street, expecting in any second for the Ornithopter to appear into view.

"We split up!" he exclaimed. "lose ourselves in the streets and meet back at Taryst's tower!"

I nodded, then stiffened as a thought suddenly hit me.

"I need you to distract it!" I said.

Darrance looked at me like I'd just insulted his mother in the most demeaning way imaginable.

"A what?"

It was then the ornithopter came around the corner, its autocannon spewing.

We sprinted down the street, along with the sidewalk as the pedestrians scattered and screamed.

Many suddenly, horrifyingly reduced into red mist, more innocent deaths upon my shoulders.

"What the hell are you planning, apprentice?" roared Darrance, barely keeping up with me.

I pushed past yet another civilian but didn't answer, too busy looking for another turn-off and quickly, I saw a small alley on the right side of the road.

"This way!" I yelled, pointing and half expecting Darrance to complain but without any word we veered toward it, dodging and weaving through the streaming traffic as the autocannon rounds followed in our wake, chewing through the vehicles. I felt sick, and it wasn't just the fatigue, these were supposedly Adeptus Arbites, here to protect the people, not slaughter them wholesale!

We finally ran into the alley, and I stopped and turned to Darrance.

"I need you to run back!" I said. "I'll stay here and run to the other side! Keep your vox link on, and on channel nine!"

"" he roared.

"No time to explain!" I shouted. "Just go! Go! Before it flies over us! Get its attention! Keep it on the right side of that street!"

"Frig, I hate you!"

"I hate me too," I said.

With a frustrated roar, he turned and ran back.

I waited, watched and listened as the ornithopter flew past, still firing it's seemingly endless supply of bullets firing after Darrance.

I sighed and ran on, if we scattered I had a bad feeling the ornithopter would continue slaughtering innocents, it had to die. All I had one was a desperate bid; luckily this area was a large business hub.

Turning left onto the next street, looking for a suitable building as around pedestrians seemed to pour by as though nothing was at all untoward.

I would've sighed and thought it quite depressing really, but quickly caught sight of what I was looking for and with all my strength sprinted. Weaving and winding through the crowd while trying to keep track of the ornithopter by sound.

Approaching the building, I drew my power sword, activated it and burst through the glass double doors.

The two guards sitting at the lobby's security desk were getting to their feet and reaching for their weapons, but my autopistol was aimed at them before they could blink.

"I need access to the top of the building!" I yelled as they raised their hands in supplication. "Now!"

One of the guards nodded nervously and pulled a key card from his belt.

"We can take the elevator to the top floor, then we will have to take the stairs from there!" he exclaimed.

"Yeah, yeah! Whatever! Hurry it the frig up!" I snarled.

The guard nodded again and started to lead me toward the elevators, I followed, covering the other one as I passed.

He pressed the call button, and we began to wait for it.

"Frig," I sighed. "Another damned elevator ride."

"What?" asked the guard.

I ignored him, wordlessly watching the numbers descending and activated my vox link.

Immediately, I was treated to the roar of the autocannon, the screams of panicked, slaughtered civilians and the Darrance's gasping.

"Darrance!" I yelled.

"Whaaaat!?" he screamed.

"I need you to try to make the ornithopter slow down!" I said. "And make it stop when next I call you!"

I cut off the link as Darrance began to reply with screaming curses.

"What the hell is going on?" demanded the other guard as the elevator finally arrived with a ding. "What the hell was that gunfire for?"

"It's hard to explain," I said, smiling slightly at my massive understatement. "My advice, just get the hell off this planet as soon as you can."

I burst through the door, onto the roof and instantly took in my surroundings, the ornithopter had slowed and was about a kilometre away. Hovering only a few metres above the buildings and still shooting.

"God-Emperor!" gasped the guard as he emerged after me. "That's an Arbites ornithopter! Why's it shooting into the street like that? There's people down there! What? You planning on taking that out?"

"Yeah, wish me a shit tonnage of luck, and It's not too late to take my advice," I said. "Take your loved ones and what money you can and leave Omnartus, now."

Before he could reply, I abruptly burst into a sprint, crossing the twenty-metre space to the bulwark in less than a second. I leapt the three-metre distance to the next roof, an angled metal top that I was forced to plunge my sword into to keep myself from sliding off and ran on, my feet clanging off it horribly.

About halfway across, I slipped. I yelled out, my feet giving out from under me and I fell hard against the side of the roof with bone-jarring force, smashing the wind from my lungs, then I began to slide. I cried out barely keeping hold of my sword as my feet erupted over the edge.

Gasping in pain, on instinct I activated my sword and stabbed it into the metal. But I didn't stop; the power field continued to slice through.

I was entirely off the edge when I finally deactivated my sword and stopped suddenly almost dislocated my arm in the process, causing me to scream again in pain and affording me a good view of the street, twenty stories below. Not even with my Wraithbone bone structure could I withstand such a fall.

"You alright there?" yelled the guard, still standing on the last roof and I flinched, well, that must have looked utterly stupid.

"Yeah!" I yelled and began pulling myself back up, trying to act cool. "I'm okay! I'm all good!"

Eventually, I climbed back on and slowly began again, carefully now. The next gap was a good four metre wide, onto a thankfully flat roof.

I found the ledge, and without the forward momentum of my sprint, I was forced to sway my arms and lunged.

I made the distance, just, almost overbalancing on the ledge, my arms flailing as I desperately found purchase.

I did, it mustn't have taken more than a second or so, but it felt like a frigging lifetime and again erupted into a sprint.

After leaping over a low wall, I was forced to vault over a big air conditioning unit, sliding across its smooth surface before I hit the other side running.

The next building was a story higher, the next gap barely two metres to an enclosed fire escape, jutting out from the wall. A few metres to my left.

Without hesitation I veered and leapt, landing on top of the fire escape, then jumped again propelling myself up the wall with a few steps before grabbing onto the ledge and pulling myself onto it.

To keep my momentum, I combat rolled and kicked back onto my feet. My footfalls crunched across the strangely gravelly surface. The next building top was a good two metres down, but I didn't baulk as I lunged down and rolled to negate the impact. Almost slipping in my desperate bid to continue sprinting.

This one looked like a habitat building of some sort, a really, truly old one. Made from rockcrete and small, neglected, acid rain damaged buildings dotted its surface to such an extent it felt almost like I was weaving and winding through a rodent maze. They may have been agrihouses, made in an age when Omnartus wasn't a horrible, overcrowded and polluted hellhole.

I didn't have any time for melancholy before being forced to leap to leapfrog over the parapet and the metre gap onto the next. A long, slightly angled roof I easily kept running across, and I quickly tried to locate the ornithopter. I saw it, catching a glimpse of it over the next building, and I cursed savagely.

It was too far away now, there was no way I could catch up, but it was still moving away, so still following poor Darrance. What could I do now?

Then an idea hit me, and I activated my vox.


"What the frig do you want now!?" he screamed over the autocannon fire. "You frigging little bastard!"

"I need you to double back!" I said. "Lead it back the way you came!"

"And tell me how will I do that without being torn apart!" he bellowed.

"Just, do it, please!" I cried and cut the link a mere millisecond before vaulting over another parapet and landing onto a metal fire escape, my feet clanging as I dashed up the three stories and onto the top of the next building.

I looked again and found the ornithopter was still moving away then with a sigh I sprinted on. I wasn't sure what I'd got wrong exactly.

With bated breath I watched the ornithopter, hoping it would turn and come back.

Then it happened, the ornithopter seemed to abruptly slow and turned to the right, and I realised what Darrance had done, using another alley to turn around.

Smart, I just hoped Darrance could keep this up for only a little longer and began searching for a place to hide. I saw it almost instantly, a small building jutting from a rooftop sixty metres away. I glanced at it then the ornithopter it was quickly coming back and would have me in its sights in less than half a minute, and that was a very generous estimate. Luckily my synskin bodyglove would protect me from its sensors, but not from sight.

Clenching my teeth, I began running again; the small building was five rooftops away. I darted around a low wall, then bounded over a five-metre gap, clutching onto the next ledge, before pulling myself up.

My fingers ached from the effort, but I ignored it, vaulting over another chest-high wall, then weaving around a doorway.

I leapt off the parapet, across the two-metre gap, onto the next rooftop with space to spare, a bit more than intended, forcing me to roll. When finding my feet, I slipped on the acid worn surface, but in an instant I found my balance, barely slowing in the process.

My tired, stinging eyes looked to the ornithopter again, it was close, too damn close and it caused me to hiss through gritted teeth. It indeed seemed like I'd overestimated my abilities, time to improvise.

I dropped onto my side and slid prone, behind the parapet, watching my right. This was truly desperate. I had to time it exactly right and only there would only be a millisecond to do it.

While trying to control my breathing calm, with wide eyes, waited, trying to calculate how close it was through sound alone. My heart thundered in my ears so loud it was a genuine struggle, and I hoped, hoped beyond hope the ornithopter wouldn't ascend any higher.

It was a glimpse of a blur, but it was enough as I was abruptly up and sprinting, activating my sword.

My foot was on the parapet, and I was about to plunge into the air, in the midst of roaring with all my might when the las-bolt fried through the ornithopters reinforced window and evaporated the pilot's head. It must've taken less than a second, but it all seemed in slow motion to me, and I managed to switch my footing and leap back as the ornithopter immediately tilted forward and began to fall. Then turned and its back propeller swung straight toward me. With a frightened yell, I dived to the side, and it missed my toes by such a close margin I swore I felt it brush the tips of my toes and hit the ground so hard it would've broken my ribs if my bone structure wasn't enhanced. The agony that passed through me made my vision blacken and gasp for breath.

It was the ornithopter exploding that brought me back to reality, and with a long groan, I rolled onto my back.

"Attelus, you there?" crackled my vox link.

"Hayden," I hissed. "Why didn't...?"

"Just made it into position a few seconds ago, didn't know you were up to anything," he said. "What were you doing, anyway? Jump off that building and kill the pilot through the canopy?"


"Then what were you going to do after that?" he snapped, and I'd never heard him so angry before.

Die, I realised with widening eyes; I'd never even considered what I would do after killing the pilot.

"Are you insane?" he snapped, and I barely stopped myself from replying, 'on the verge.'

"I...I thought you were dead," I blurted. "It was killing people, and I had to stop it."

Hayden sighed, "alright, alright I..."

"Are you forgetting about me?" snapped Darrance's voice. "I was in far more danger than the apprentice. I do not know why I had agreed to be a 'distraction.'"

"Darrance, how many?" I gasped while starting to struggle onto my feet.

"How many? How many what? People killed? Well into the dozens, I'm afraid. Twenty alone were killed when the ornithopter fell into the street, even more from the resulting explosion. But I suspect many, many more would have died if we had not shot it down..."

"If I had not shot it down," interrupted Hayden in a pitch-perfect imitation of Darrance's haughty tone and voice.

"If you had not shot it down," conceded Darrance. "I do not know why they were so readily killing innocent people to get to us."

With a curse, I was then finally up and limping my way toward the doorway, "Hayden, how is everyone else?"

"Miraculously alive," he said. "Everyone, even Helma but If you and Darrance hadn't drawn it off, well..."

He let it hang.

The corner of my mouth twitched, as much as that was good to hear I couldn't help but think, great, it'll just be more of us alive to be later slaughtered by Space Marines.

There was a long pause, and it was Darrance's voice that broke it.

"Well, did anyone else think that was a bit anticlimactic?" he said. "The apprentice's way of killing the ornithopter would have been far more spectacular. Good shot, though, Hayden."

Everywhere it was a morass of chaos and death, ruined, destroyed vehicles laid throughout the street, scattered and shattered. I could hear the screaming of the countless injured and see people moving through it yelling the name of a loved one or friend. Blood was everywhere; it sloshed around my shoes as I struggled through it all, at times I had to push my way through a crowd of dazed stupefied civilians, muttering unheard apologies all the while.

The dull, dead look in their eyes and their weary way of movement reminded me of myself, back during the war. I could dully remember once stepping on a pane of glass and looking down to see for the first time in months, my reflection. I was once exactly like them, and it scared me more than I could admit.

I wanted to do something for these shocked, terrified people, but what could I do?

I could hear the warbling claxons in the distance from the oncoming Magistratum vehicles, drawn to the chaos Or at least I hoped it was the Magistratum, it could be the remaining Adeptus Arbites coming to finish us off. If it was the Magistratum after their numbers were so depleted, what could they possibly do?

This was our fault; it was our war that had caused all of this. More innocent victims to add to the tally.

Darrance and I met a few blocks down; he fell in step with me wordlessly. We were both sullen, and sombre and guilt weighed heavy upon me.

It took a while for us to get back to the thoroughfare. It was Jelket and Roldar who greeted us, as they stood guard at the perimeter.

"Hello," said Jelket, looking at Darrance and me with a hanging jaw of utter awe. "That was..."

He trailed off as he saw my grim expression and I shook my head. Too many had died again because of us; we didn't deserve any praise.

"The captain wants to speak with you," said Roldar grimly.

I nodded glumly and walked past them, I instantly saw Helma standing next to the ruined arbites van, talking intently into her vox but I couldn't make out what she was saying. Pacing near her, was Arlathan, doing the same thing.

Helma glimpsed us as we approached and I gave her an un-enthusiastic wave, she nodded.

"Yeah," she said. "Got you, yeah. Talk more when we get there, got to go."

Helma cut the link and turned to us.

"Well, that wasn't destructive at all," she said.

I pursed my lips and shrugged, unable to think of anything to say, unable to even appreciate her massive understatement.

She sighed, scratched her head then looked me up and down with what looked like appreciation, "we'll be getting a replacement transport in about fifteen minutes."

Avoiding her gaze, I nodded.

"Why so long?" Darrance demanded, causing Helma's narrowed eyes to snap at him.

"A travesty like this has further reaching consequences," she said, as though explaining it to a child. "Traffic is backed up for miles around, including the medicae and service vehicles coming to help. I have ordered a ship to pick us up now we're on the top level, but air traffic is almost as bad, due to the PDF reinforcing their orbital platforms."

Darrance sniffed, grimaced and looked away.

"And you!" she snapped, looking to me. "Stop your damned sulking! This is war, and sometimes innocent people get caught in the crossfire! What's done is done, get over it."

I pursed my lips and shrugged again, shuffling my feet. That was easy for her to say if I hadn't taken that pict, this may have never happened.

Helma grimaced in anger, opening her mouth to chastise me more but stopped as Arlathan approached.

"No good," he said. "Been trying to get through to the Adeptus Arbites, no reply."

"Not surprised," said Helma.

"Do you think they might've left off world?" I said.

Arlathan shrugged, "seems a pretty good guess," he said. "I've got my boss to send a few of us to have a look at their precinct; hopefully, they will find something."

I frowned, and thought, more likely find their deaths.

"Until we've got that confirmed, we've gotta keep our eyes out!" snapped Helma and it was Darrance's and my turn to give her condescending looks.

"So?" said Darrance. "What do we do now?"

"We wait," stated Helma, once again stating the obvious. "You two need to help secure the perimeter. Attelus you take the north with Torris and Selg. Darrance your name is Darrance, right? You..."

"I uh," I interrupted.

"What is it?" she growled, her eyes narrowing into dangerous slits; obviously she wasn't used to being interrupted.

I flinched and decided not to press it, nodded and started north. Didn't want to be near Torris now.

It was then that Arlathan abruptly reached for his vox, making me stop and turn back, "yes, sir?"

His face paled even worse, and I knew exactly why.

"They've entered the system?" he said. "Yeah, yeah and they're, what?"

There was a very long, weighted pause during that time Arlathan kept nodding and had to wipe the nervous sweat from his eyes.

"And the SDF have engaged?" he asked, and he nodded again. "Okay, thank you, sir. Please, keep me updated."

"Is it...Is it Space Marines? Was Brutis Bones right?" I stammered.

Arlathan nodded, "yeah, it's frigging Space Marines," he sighed. "But not those Grey Knights he kept going on about, they're apparently from a chapter in our records called The Desolation Inculpators five standard Astartes ships and one unclassified one. The System Defense Force are engaging now."

I couldn't help but roll my eyes, and how long will they last? I wondered.

"They are on your database?" said Darrance with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah," said Arlathan, with yet another nod. "They helped defeat a rebellion on Omnartus about two hundred years ago."

I sighed, then sloped my shoulders, and now they've come to destroy it, how ironic-ish.

"What are you doing?" demanded Helma, almost making me jump out of my skin. "I ordered you to guard the perimeter, so hurry it up!"

"Yes, mamzel!" I exclaimed with a salute and left.

I stood on guard for what felt like forever until the flier finally frigging arrived when I'd initially walked up Torris had given me an ugly glance, before ignoring me utterly. All the while a horrid mixture of guilt, fatigue and fear curdled in my guts.

The anxiety didn't abate either after the flier had landed and we walked up its ramp and strapped ourselves into its seats. It just got worse. Here I was, trapped inside a small, defenceless metal box that I had utterly no control of, in any second an arbites flier could swoop in and blow us to bits with one missile or lascannon shot.

I struggled to control my breathing as Arlathan, who sat next to me, looked at me and asked.

"You alright kid? It sounds like you're having some kind of mini heart attack."

All I could reply with was a nervous nod.

"What? You alright? Or having a heart attack?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"A bit of both, really," I said.

Arlathan sniggered and shook his head.

I looked over the faces of the other passengers, Verenth had his face covered with his sweaty, tattooed, intertwined fingers as he hissed some prayer I couldn't hear. Selg was sitting silent, staring off into space, his lasgun laid on his lap. Jelket was in the midst of stripping and remaking his lasgun, with practised, lightning fast precision despite the rocking bumping craft, he seemed as calm as calm could be, but I could see his hands were shaking slightly. Roldar looked like he was asleep but I could tell by his stiff body language it was an act. As though sensing me looking at him, his left eye opened slightly and swivelled my way.

I smiled and gave him an encouraging nod, which he returned, and after smacking his lips, he yawned in the most impossibly fake way imaginable, then went back to 'sleep.'

Helma was sitting across from me, her attention set down to the floor, her brow furrowed in the deepest of thought, her fingers massaging her temples.

Darrance was cleaning his overlarge, ornate power scimitar with a fancy bit of cloth. I wondered yet again how he had got such a weapon, was it a family heirloom? If it was it just emphasised my theory, he was a descendant of some aristocracy, somewhere. Or he could've killed an aristocrat and stole it from them. Either way, it was a highly identifiable weapon for a family enemy of the family members themselves.

Next to Darrance was Hayden and as always, he was as calm as calm can be. His attention raised to the ceiling, his long-las held between his knees and also pointed upward. His thick arms wrapped around it, as he intertwined his fingers and nonchalantly twiddled his thumbs. He'd lost his auspex during the ornithopter attack and, I wished he hadn't.

Last was Torris, whose face was set in grim determination and looking sidelong down at the floor, his shotgun gripped in his right hand so strongly his knuckles were a lighter shade of brown, wincing every so slightly with pain at every judder and shudder of the ship. I tried to get his attention, tilting forward in my harness and holding up my hand, but my friend gave me nothing, making me suddenly scratch my jaw to make it look as though I was doing nothing.

Arlathan's suddenly vox beeped yet again and, with impressively fast reflexes, he activated it.

"Yes, sir?"

All attention was now fixated on him as he nodded and acknowledged. He was like this for a good few minutes, before saying farewell to his leader and cutting the link.

Then he leaned forward in his seat and placed his face into the palm of his hand.

"What is it now?" sighed Helma.

"The System Defence Force are already losing," Arlathan said through his fingers. "Two ships of ours dead to their none. One of ours has already been boarded by Space Marines and is being slaughtered from the inside and...'

"And what?" said Darrance.

"One of the Astartes ships has broken through," said Arlathan. "It's headed straight this way and will be hitting orbit in about twenty minutes."

I sighed and facepalmed too.

Helma activated her vox and barked, "pilot, what's the ETA?"

"With the current air traffic, ma'am about half an hour," he said over the internal speaker.

There was a collective groan from everyone but Hayden and me; I was too lost in thought. I couldn't help but believe that ambush was just to delay us for the Space Marines. Etuarq would've known it was going to fail at killing us, and spectacularly at that.

"Well make it sooner, pilot," snapped Helma. "We haven't much time!"

"We're all going to die, aren't we?" said Selg, his tone depressingly matter of fact.

Helma's attention snapped to Selg, her face as hard as a stone but her expression suddenly softened.

"It's a fact of life that we all die, Selg, your name is Selg, right?" she said.

He nodded slowly, "yes, mamzel and with respect, I know that. I've seen enough death in my life to know that. I'm just tryin' to face up to it. We're up against Space Marines, the legendary angels of death. Even me with my small learnin' knows that."

A smile then split across Selg's broad face, "it don't matter, I don't matter. If they're really as strong and tough and big as they tell us, just being able to stand up to them and fighting them will take balls of steel. I've already faced those daemons and lived. If I can do that, I can fight Space Marines, too. Being killed by a Space Marine is the best death I could hope for."

"I just hope it'll be a quick and painless death," he said.

I looked on in silence, stroking my chin with finger and thumb. Frigging brave words I had to admit and I couldn't help but envy him. At least if he died, he died permanently.

We'll see how well Selg does when he faces them, but I had a feeling he meant what he'd said.

"Good words," said Helma, smiling. "But we'll see if your bark is as effective as your bite."

"I once saw my friend Selg here," said in Verenth, "tear out a man's throat with his teeth. So I can say his bite is as strong as his bite."

"Won't make any difference against Astartes," I blurted out, despite myself, then I smiled. Verenth's and Selg's earlier apprehension toward me now seemed a little hypocritical. I could quite honestly say that I've never bit out a man's throat before and would be quite incapable of such a feat. That had to be one of the most brutal acts of violence to perform on another human being; I've ever of and, I was a ruthless, pragmatic assassin.

I glanced at Selg and saw he was looking witheringly at Verenth, indicating he didn't at all appreciate his friend sharing this bit of information, which must've meant it was true. Selg was a big bastard, bigger than Hayden or even Garrakson was, when high on stimms who knew what he was capable of.

From then on we sat in silence, except for Helma and Arlathan who kept on relaying orders to their subordinates through their vox links.

I closed my eyes, fighting against the apprehension in my stomach and called out to Faleaseen with my thoughts, hoping she could answer the questions I had forgotten to ask when we'd last met.

But I got nothing, Faleaseen must still be recovering, that or being blocked again either by Torathe or the Space Marines somehow.

I clenched my jaw, wishing to call for Karmen too but knew she couldn't hear my thoughts and despite being surrounded by so many people and so many familiar faces, I couldn't have felt more alone then. It seemed everyone I had built up any true comradery with was dead. Elandria who I had fallen in love with, fought and killed with on countless occasions, murdered on that bitch, Glaitis' order and at the hand of the Mimic, both, dead as well and deservedly so too. Then it was Castella, who was like an older sister to me, she was the heart and soul of our small organisation. As Darrance had said, she was the best of us. I would miss her, terribly. I'd never see her smiling face ever again. After she was Garrakson, he was a true friend, a good, honourable person. As much as his end saddened me, and as much as I still found it hard to understand the idea of 'a good death.' I knew Garrakson's demise was one any guardsman could ask for.

I looked at Torris; I just hoped that it wouldn't ruin my friendship with him. Torris wasn't a guardsman, a soldier. That world, that philosophy was as foreign to him as it was to me, I hoped one day soon he might understand and I along with him.

My brow furrowed, even though it now seemed years ago now, I remembered thinking about losing comrades and that it must've been what it was like to serve in the guard and ironically considering of asking Garrakson about it. So this is was what it was like, I just wished I didn't have to learn it the hard way. But then another realisation hit me; this was my future with my new found immortality. I'm going to have to suffer through the deaths of every one of my friends, lovers not just from combat but of disease and old age as well. I would linger on, Karmen, Torris, Darrance, Hayden, Helma, Adelana. All of them and anyone else I'll ever meet.

Faleaseen had said earlier whether I would take my status as a perpetual as a gift or a curse, well...

Abruptly, I shook away the thought, now wasn't the time to get lost in such painful thinking. I had friends here and, now, that was all that mattered. Friends worth fighting for and I would continue making friends like that, over and over and over again. Their memory would live on with me.

Perhaps, this immortality was a curse for me, but a gift to others? I would be able to live to remember others, to pass on their stories for their descendants so they could forever be remembered? Perhaps I could live to pass on my encompassed wisdom and knowledge from generations past, so those that come won't be doomed to repeat their mistakes.

I sighed and shut my eyes.

"You alright, kid?" said Helma, causing me to open my eyes and look at her, she smiled at me strangely. "The look on your face looks like your thinking over some heavy shit."

I opened my mouth to lie but, the beeping of Arlathan's vox link stopped me.

"Yes sir?" he said.

For a good minute, the Magistratum detective listened and acknowledged. Before finally finishing.

"More good news, I assume?" I said.

He shot me a withering look, which was gone as quickly as it came.

"If you are a fan of bad news," said Arlathan, sadly, "yes, the battle in the void is going terribly and, the Astartes ship has entered orbit, they have boarded one of the orbital platforms and are slaughtering the Planetary Defence Force troopers within..."

Arlathan was stopped by his comm link again and activated it.


The call only lasted twenty seconds or so but, during that time Arlathan's pailing face and dropping jaw showed it was the worst news of all.

"They've ejected drop pods," he said while wiping the sweat from his eyes. "Three of them, according to the orbital scanners..."

He trailed off in his sentence.

"And let me guess," I said grimly. "Brutis Bones was yet again right, their trajectory is..."

"Taryst's tower," he interrupted, his expression hard, as though he was utterly determined to stay being the bearer of bad news. "They're going to make landing within half a kilometre and in a few minutes time."

"Well, shit," I sighed.

"And yep!" said Selg, sounding almost infuriatingly cheery. "We're all gonna die."

It wasn't long before the ship's pilot reported the fire trails over the internal speaker and me, Arlathan, Helma, Jelket and Roldar got up from our seats to watch through the pilot's window and the explosions from the orbital defence weapons shooting at them. We all let out a triumphant yell when one of the drop pods exploded violently in mid-air from a lucky shot. We were a few kilometres away and flew through the sky but, I could almost feel the impacts of the two remaining drop pods hitting the surface from here.

I sighed as the pilot chastised us to sit down, we were soon to land. Taryst's huge tower dominated the polluted skyline even alongside the broad, distant mountain range further north.

Hesitantly, we sat back into our seats. We were only a few minutes away but, I knew that the Space Marines would beat us there.

Very soon Helma was on the vox; I could hear even from here the panicked screaming from here.

"They're attacking the alley now," she reported. "Penetrated the gate with a meltabomb, at least twenty-five of us are down already."

I sighed and scratched the back of my skull, imagining the poor mercenaries weapons raining ineffectually over the Astartes armour. They were there mostly to escape the constant war, to have a more comfortable life under Taryst's employment, only now to be suddenly slaughtered by Space Marines and not having any clue why. I felt sorry for them; they didn't deserve this fate and, soon, very soon we would be joining them.

"Landing in five minutes," said the pilot, his voice shaking distinctly over the speaker.

"Great," sighed Arlathan sarcastically.

I said nothing and shared a glance with Darrance, his face resolute and, I imagined my expression was similar. Our power weapons were our only hope to penetrate Astartes power armour.

This would be the ultimate test of my ability and, the fire of the coming fight raged in my belly, but I pushed it aside. Escape was the priority now and, I had to find Adelana and get Karmen from the medicae centre.

And if I had to die in the process, so be it. As much as the knowledge of my soul having to bathe in the warp terrified me, I was willing to suffer through it, for Karmen, for my friends.

I cleared my throat loudly, so all attention turned to me.

"There's a way to escape," I said. "I have a plan."

Then quickly I told it to them.

Our hurried feet clanged down the boarding ramp and onto the landing pad. Darrance and I at the lead, power swords held ready. It was standing on that small plateau that showed just how massive the tower indeed was and how insignificant I am in this vast, vast universe. We couldn't see further than a few metres through the thick cloud but the black wall was still prominent, it conquered the view, destroyed it, like I was looking out the window of a ship at the blackest void. No matter how far I tilted my head to look up it, I could never even glimpse its peek. The flashing red lights that laid at every story seemed to be repeated forever and ever.

"So, where to first?" asked Helma, Hell gun aimed at the doorway.

"The medicae centre," I answered as I swiped my card across the security lock, causing the large door to hiss open abruptly. "We need Karmen Kons for the retinal scanner."

"And why the hell do we need to go to Vex's office?" growled Helma as we walked into the large corridor.

For the thousandth time, I sighed, I had too many ulterior motives to count and swallowed them all.

"We need Vex to access Taryst's cogitator," I said. "He may have had information stored there that might allow us to find our enemies."

"That's a hefty, 'might' there," said Arlathan.

I pursed my lips and shrugged, "well, what else we can do?"

Arlathan just grimaced, silenced.

A hololith schematic of Taryst's tower suddenly sprang from Helma's armoured gauntlet.

"The closest to us here is the medicae facility," she said, although I'd already known this. "the one Karmen Kons is in is on the ground floor, the nearest elevator is this way!"

With these words, she took the lead and activated her vox link.

"Sergeant Thol!" Helma said, but she paused, her brow furrowing slightly. Then she suddenly snarled a curse and punched the wall. The little, green hololith shivered and shook with the impact.

"The vox is being jammed!" she snapped, although I'd already guessed this fact. "Follow me! Sergeant Thol and his squad will be meeting us at the elevators!"

With my heart in my throat we weaved and wound through the corridors, our weapons constantly sweeping over every nook and cranny of them. It was eerily empty and silent, a stark contrast to the constant hustle and bustle only a few hours ago. It unnerved me more than I'd care to admit especially being aware of the slaughter going on below.

Finally, we found the elevators, turning a corner to see a twenty man squad of men wearing storm trooper carapace and with hell guns in their hands in all but two, one with a plasma gun another, a missile launcher.

They approached us, past the stairwells on each side, one of them holding his hand out in greeting.

"Oh thank the Emperor you're here!" exclaimed the soldier, his voice crackling through his respirator's vox link. "When the vox went down I feared the worst!"

Then his helmet head tilted as he saw Selg and Verenth.

"I uh," said the stormtrooper.

"Do not worry about them!" snapped Helma. "They are with me, Thol!"

Thol straightened and nodded.

"Yes, ma'am!"

"We're headed to the ground floor!" She said. "To medicae facility number one! Get your men into the elevators!"

"Yes, ma'am!"

Instantly he turned and pressed the elevator call button, and we waited in silence.

Again, it was the silence that unnerved me and, I went to gaze down the right side stairwell, standing beside the three stormtroopers who stood with weapons aimed down it. I expected some sound from the battle below to echo through, but there was nothing. It really did remind me yet again just how freakishly tall the tower was.

"Is it true?" asked one of the Stormtroopers, making me jump out of my reverie, "are we under attack by Space Marines?"

I didn't say anything, unable to answer.

That was answer enough for the Stormtrooper as he looked away and swore in a language I didn't understand.

Then the two elevators finally arrived and, we went to file in.

I was riding in the elevator with Helma, Darrance, Verenth, Selg, Torris, Arlathan, Hayden, Darrance, Thol and four of his men.

My stomach lurched as it abruptly descended and I realised something, something of the most utmost importance. It must've been hours since I'd smoked my last Lho.

Sniggering slightly, with a shaking hand I reached into my flak jacket and pulled out that ceramic case, that familiar ceramic case I'd bought seven years ago on the refugee ship I had left Elbyra on and the ship in which I had performed my first, paid assassination. I'd been sloppy, of course, got caught by the ship's authorities and was about to be executed until Glaitis had saved me and taken me in as her new apprentice. I'd always wondered how she just so happened to be on the same ship at that exact time and now I knew.

My thumb flicked it open and, I began to slide one out.

"No smoking allowed in the building," snapped Helma suddenly making me flinch in fright.

I turned to her, my eyes wide with incredulity. Then my brow furrowed and with slow deliberation, I pulled out a lho stick, stuck it into my teeth, pulled out my igniter and lit it. All the while keeping my attention locked on her.

Helma grimaced, her jaw clenching slightly before she held out her hand to me.

"Screw it," she said. "And screw the rules, give me one."

I smiled and did as asked, then lit it for her with my igniter. She was in the midst of thanking me when the elevator found the ground floor and as it did I expected bolter fire to tear into the lift, exploding us into mist instantly. But there was nothing. Jelket and Roldar were the first into the lobby, fanning out with guns raised, followed by Verenth and Selg then Thol and his men. Again, besides, us the place was empty, but the silence was gone. From around the corner, I could hear the chatter of las-fire, the screaming of slaughtered men and the familiar roar of bolter fire. It was even louder and throatier than Brutis Bone's one, despite being so far away.

"Let's go! Go!" urged Helma, the smoking lho stick clenched in her teeth. "We haven't much time!"

We were on the north side of the tower, the opposite to the alley entrance and thus the furthest away from the attacking Space Marines. This had been obviously organised by Helma, even before I'd told her of my plan. I wasn't quite sure how to make of that. Too bad the only elevator to Taryst's grotto was on the eastern side. I hoped we could reach it without incident on Vex's floor, but my instincts seemed to scream that it wouldn't.

What if they took out the cable of the elevator to Taryst's grotto? That was the only way up there; I guessed we could take another ship in the large hanger on the seventieth floor but doubted any of those would be anywhere near as quick or as advanced.

I just hoped it would be large enough to convey us all, not to mention a few others as well.

As we moved, Helma ordered ten of Thol's men behind to guard the elevators while the rest of us kept onward, into the corridors. Thol and four Stormtroopers took the lead while the other five covered the rear. Like every corridor in the tower, it was wide, allowing them to walk abreast with ease, even with their armour and abundance of equipment.

It only took around sixteen, seventeen minutes to reach the medicae but I must've smoked through at least six lho sticks during that time. My nerves were killing me as I expected that around every single turn and junction there to be a huge Space Marine, with bolter raised to blast us into red mist or chain sword readied to tear us apart, but each time there was nothing, nothing but more empty, white, brightly lit corridor. Which just made it all the worse as our ears assailed continuously by the roar of battle and the constant cacophony of horrific, blood-freezing screams that were getting louder and louder and louder with every step we took through that maze.

We arrived finally at the medicae the stormtroopers spread out to secure the entrance along with Darrance, Arlathan, Selg and Hayden while the rest of us went inside Thol leading with Hell gun raised.

He almost immediately walked into a tall scrawny young man wearing glasses and, I instantly recognised him as the assistant medicae who had attempted to stitch my facial scar back together hours ago. But for the life of me, I couldn't remember his name.

The assistant blanched and screeched like a girl, dropping the metal plate he held which fell to the floor with a horrid crash!

"Please!" he cried. "Please don't kill me!"

Thol didn't lower his Hellgun as Helma approached the assistant, a suspicious sneer on her scarred features.

"This place was meant to be evacuated by all civilian staff, why are you still here?"

Another medicae emerged from one of the rooms, he was old and wizened and he too I recognised as the one who'd worked under Brutis Bones, although I couldn't recall his name either.

"We stayed because we still have patients to attend to," the old medicae said.

"Aheth!" exclaimed Verenth. "Thank the God-Emperor you're still okay!"

Aheth grimaced, "yes young Verenth, I am, but won't be for much longer going from the commotion going on outside."

Then he looked at me, "Mr Attelus Kaltos, good to see your still well and breathing."

"Only just," I said with a smile.

"So could you be so kind to inform me why, exactly, you are here," said Aheth.

"We need to take Karmen Kons," said Helma, in a tone showing she wouldn't brook any argument.

"Why?" said Aheth, his arms folding over his chest, obviously ignoring Helma's commanding voice.

"We haven't time to explain!" she snapped. "Where is she?"

Aheth sighed wearily, "of course you don't, she's this way, follow me."

With that, he turned and led us to the second room which he indicated with a lazy sweep of his hand.

Helma and I slipped inside and, there was Karmen, lying deathly still. The only indication she was still alive was the slight constant rising and falling of her ample chest. Her face still completely covered in bandages.

My heart fluttered from the sight, and for a good few seconds, I was unable to move, unable to breathe. Thol and the assistant pushed past me and together began to ready her for being moved.

"Hurry it up!" snapped Helma and we all involuntarily flinched as a particularly loud shriek echoed through the building, making us instinctively look over our shoulders.

"That was close," said Thol, unnecessarily.

I hissed through clenched teeth, shuffling with my rattling nerves and impatience then with a shaking hand, absently began to take out another lho stick.

"Please, do not smoke in here," said Aheth, looking at me intently.

I eyed the old medicae sidelong and found I couldn't help but feel the greatest respect for him. Here he was staying back when everyone else had left, just to look after his patients even while the bolter fire and screams echoed through the corridors. I imagined he would've done the same while we were fighting those daemons desperately. Keeping calm and collected the whole damn time. I had a bad feeling that Helma's earlier chastisement was just posturing to back up her authority and power. Then when I'd refused to let her boss me around, she'd tried to save face by smoking herself. Aheth was standing up to me, purely out of duty and care for his patients.

My attention turned to the assistant, whose name I still couldn't remember and he too I couldn't help respect as well, perhaps even more so. I knew Aheth had at least some experience in facing down terrifying, in human beings, but he, I was sure hadn't but yet here he was. Sure he'd coward when Thol had aimed his gun at him, but I couldn't blame him for that.

With a smile and a respectful nod, I closed my lho case, "of course, sorry."

Instinctively, swiftly I stepped aside as Thol wheeled Karmen's bed out of the room and the rest of us turned to follow, everyone except Aheth and the assistant and I turned back to him.

"Halsin," said Aheth and it took me a second to realise he was addressing the assistant. "Go with them, look after Karmen Kons."

"And you?" I asked my eyes narrowing, instantly guessing what he was up to.

"Staying here," answered Aheth simply, as though it was the easiest decision in the 'verse. "There are still patients I need to look to but tell me, young assassin. What are we up against?"

I sighed, shuffling nervously and decided not to lie to a dead man, "Space Marines."

Aheth nodded, his face almost serene despite this news, "thought so and will they spare my patients?"

Tears abruptly welled in my eyes, "no, no they will not."

"Again, I'd thought so, can you just do me one favour?" said Aheth.

"Name it."

"Can you give me a weapon?"

I blinked, that was the last thing I expected, but without any further word, I reached into my flak jacket, pulled my pistol from its shoulder holster and handed it to the old medicae. I fought back the sadness welling in my heart; I had carried that auto pistol since the war on Elbyra. My father had given it to me when I was a child, it was a simple thing, like billions upon billions of others manufactured across the galaxy. Nothing special, but it had never jammed on me, I very rarely had to strip it and clean it. I had forgotten this, for so long it was just a pistol to me with no sentimental value at all, it was my sword I'd always truly treasured, which was natural me being a swordsman. But giving Aheth my pistol felt like I was tearing off a limb.

Aheth took it, "thank you, if my patients are to die, I will die fighting for them."

Then he tilted his head meaningfully and almost instantly I understood. It said, do not worry, your secret will die with me.

I nodded then and fighting back the welling tears, with the now openly weeping Halsin, turned and left.
Last edited by Adrassil on Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:37 pm

We emerged back into the corridor; I half expected to be greeted by splattered, scattered corpses but found everyone alive and well. Helma glared at us in anger for the delay. A rage I couldn't blame her for, but I ignored her. Then within a split second wave of the captain's hand, we were instantly moving again.

I walked aside the stormtrooper pushing Karmen's bed and had to fight the urge to constantly glance at her. Instead hesitantly electing to listen to the firing bolters and screams. I couldn't believe the mercenaries were holding off the Space Marines for so long, how many were there, fighting? How many have died already? How many mercenaries were yet to die? But what I couldn't wrap my head around was that they were fighting, still fighting against enemies they had no hope to defeat. They were mercenaries, they held no surge loyalty to Taryst and his organisation, especially after the Rogue Trader's more recent acts. They had no real reason to sell their lives short.

As we walked a dark thought occurred to me, and I furrowed my brow, looking down upon the supine Karmen. She hadn't been in communication with me for a long time, perhaps she was controlling their minds like puppets, as Etuarq had with Edracian as he had, perhaps controlled his own mercenary force back at Edracian's mansion-fortress. I remembered that they'd the same psychic implants in their brains I once had, implants that allowed Karmen to delve into their minds easier than ordinary people. Implants that she had implanted. Did that allow her also to control them easier?

The thought made me sick, out of all the morally ambiguous actions taken during this time, this one stunk the worse. Assuming it was true, of course, but something within me knew it was.

This probably was what Taryst had been planning all along, too bad he didn't live long enough to see it.

The sound of battle receded as we came closer and closer to the northern elevators and the sound of grinding teeth caused me to look sidelong at its source finding it was Helma, the lho I'd given her smoked and discarded a long time ago.

I was opening my mouth to say something, although I didn't know what, as I approached the last corner, into the elevator lobby and the two leading stormtroopers exploded, their torsos reduced into bloody ruins and their legs were thrown against the wall with such force they were plastered there. Blood and ichor coated us I barely managed to close my eyes in time to keep from being blinded. Helma wasn't fast enough as she screamed in agony and clutched at her face with clawing armoured fingers.

"Back!" yelled Roldar, the sergeant taking the lead. But it was for nothing as I saw a Space Marine for the first time and regrettably not the last time in my long, long life. It abruptly appeared around the corner, it's heavy, running footfalls shaking my bones and innards. It's bolter raised. It was only a fraction of a second before everything turned into a blur of screaming chaos, but for me and perhaps just me, it was enough to get a good look

I'd heard Space Marines were huge, but I never imagined they were even half this huge. Standing at over two metres tall even out of its armour, and as wide as I was tall. It's light red, and gold armour was simpler and less adorned than Brutis' was but that just made it all the more intimidating. The helm it wore was inhuman, unforgiving; its eyes glowed an almost undead red with an intensity that seemed to bore into my brain.

Despite the fear I felt, I was then moving, as the Space Marine was in the midst of pulling the trigger of its mind-bogglingly huge bolt gun. My power sword blazed into blue life and sliced straight through the bolter.

The Space Marine bellowed out through the grill of its helm but it wasn't out of fright, or fear or rage, or even in surprise at my inhuman speed or of my possession of a power sword. I didn't know what kind of sound the Space Marine uttered and even until this day I didn't know even after meeting many of it's kind and fighting alongside them on countless occasions.

The Space Marine reacted, far faster than anything that size had any right to react. Instantly smashing the remains of its bolter at me. I darted back, and it missed me by the barest of margins, the onrush of air that followed almost knocking me off my feet. With its free hand, a fist large enough to fit my head into and more, it threw a punch at my skull, a blow I barely weaved under but it seemed to see this coming as with the same arm, it swung its elbow toward my torso. I danced aside then the space marine thrust its bolter my way, I leaned out of its path then saw the opening and dashed forward, cutting my sword into its side with a roar. The sword's power field cut through the ceramite with ease and drew a large, brief burst of blood, but I instantly knew it was far from a killing blow, I'd only succeeded in making the huge bastard angrier. With a horrible roar of curses, it spun out, forcing me to throw myself hard to the floor to prevent my body being pulped by its gigantic limbs.

Then the Space Marine raised it's armoured boot, to crush my head.

The whine of Hell gunfire echoed, and the constant stream of red light swathed into the Space Marine's side. It penetrated the armour with ease, sending it reeling and cursing savagely, but was far from dead.

Wordlessly, Thol stalked forward, quickly retrieved the fallen plasma gun from one of the dead Stormtroopers and vaporised the Space Marine's skull with a single shot. I was in the t junction, and something caught my eye as Thol approached, looking like he was going to congratulate me or something. I suddenly kicked out my feet and was up smashing my shoulder hard into Thol and sending us careening clumsily back into cover a millisecond before bolter rounds tore into the wall where we once were.

I'd seen the messy remains of the Storm Troopers who'd guarded the elevator lobby and two more Space Marines emerging into view. One with a bolter the other with a power sword and bolt pistol.

"Shit! Shit! Shit!" I screamed, Darrance was abruptly beside me, power sword held ready

With impressive speed, Thol was up and tilting around the corner, about to pull the plasma gun's trigger, but Roldar pulled him back.

"You might damage the elevators!" he yelled over the cacophony.

"Go!" yelled Darrance, giving me a meaningful look. "Take the western elevators, Attelus and I will hold them off!"

I gaped, unable to appreciate, what was, perhaps, the first ever time Darrance had called something other than 'apprentice' as pain suddenly thundered through my chest and I looked to Karmen. That meant she'd be out of my sight! I'd be utterly unable to protect her!

Roldar seemed to see this instantly and said, "don't worry, kid, we'll protect your girlfriend!"

"You're insane!" exclaimed Thol as he attempted to fire around the corner with his Hell gun and two other Stormtroopers joined him, but quickly found themselves pinned.

"Yeah," said Darrance with a shrug. "and you should really thank your Emperor that we are! Now go! We will meet you on Vex's floor!"

Thol nodded then hesitantly he and the other stormtroopers began to withdraw, along with everyone else. I couldn't help watch Karmen being wheeled away forlornly.

"Focus, apprentice!" snarled Darrance, and I tore my attention away from her, just in time to see the Space Marines abruptly appear.

I had the one with the powersword, whom I assumed to be a sergeant. Darrance, the one with the bolter. Just my frigging luck.

Before I could think; the sergeant was cutting a downward vertical arc. I swiftly sidestepped then sliced out horizontally, an attack it barely managed to back-step in time, obviously taken off guard by my enhanced speed and agility. The hesitation didn't last long as the sergeant's huge boot kicked out. I weaved underneath and cut up at his exposed knee. But the Space Marine had withdrawn his foot far too fast and was cutting his power sword in a huge horizontal arc. I slid back, only just out of its path and sidestepped the Space Marine's following thrust.

Then something odd occurred, the Space Marine laughed. Its laugh was somehow even more terrifying than it's roaring and curses. It boomed down the corridor, like a bolter shot and made me flinch in fright, then for the first time, I heard a Space Marine speak.

"You are quick, tiny man," he said, with amusement. "A challenge, almost. I never thought I would find a mortal who could even start to fight me mono a mono."

I grinned through my gasps, "I'm not mortal," I said.

The Space Marine tilted his huge helmeted head in what seemed to be curiosity then I was moving, cutting out at his thigh. The Space Marine's power sword blurred and parried my attack with ease; the impact made pain shiver up my arms and sent me stumbling sideways. I barely managed to lean aside of his uppercutting gauntlet, then dart away from his slashing sword, slipping back out of range from another potential attack.

The Space Marine laughed again and pointed the tip of his sword at my head, "you! You are quite skilled! For being able to stand against me, you deserve the honour of knowing my name! I am veteran sergeant Letharc of the sixth company of the Desolation Inculpators! And I will slay you in the God-Emperor's name! Traitor!"

I grinned again, dearly wanting to see how well Darrance was going against his opponent but didn't dare take my attention from Letharc for even the barest fraction of a second.

I pointed my sword at his head and echoed his stance, "I am Attelus Kaltos, mercenary assassin now given purpose! And I am not a traitor; I'm the same as you, merely a pawn manipulated to be here!"

"I am no one's pawn!" roared the Space Marine, his strange sanguine mood replaced suddenly by terrifying rage, and he hurtled at me like a huge, psychotic grox.

My eyes wide and teeth clenched in fear, I dived aside. The Space Marine rushed past, and his slipstream hit me in mid-air with the force of a tank, throwing me across the floor, bouncing for what felt like forever before finally coming to a stop. My whole body was alive with agony and stars briefly dominated my vision. If it wasn't for my Wraithbone bone structure, I was sure I would've been far worse off.

The tumultuous footfalls of the Space Marine seemed to shake everything like the strongest Varanderian earthquake as he slowly approached me. Bellowing laughter again and his shadow darkened my vision. My back was to him, but I could see from his silhouette he was raising his foot for the finishing blow, and he said.

"You are quick for a mortal, but you are still like all of your kind. So very breakable."

Before I even knew I was moving, I was on my feet and pivoting into a thrust, a thrust that impaled him through his breastplate almost to the hilt.

If he felt any pain at all, he didn't show it, but his complete silence seemed to announce his shock louder than any cry or yell.

"It seems we have more in common than just being pawns!" I snarled, then with all my strength and a roar almost as loud and powerful as an Astartes. I turned, and with the sound of cracking ceramite and the spraying of blood, I pulled my crackling blade up through his chest then out the top of his skull. My back was to the Space Marine, but I heard and felt him crash into the floor with such force it seemed to shake the entire tower.

I had no time to even slightly consider the seemingly impossible achievement I had just managed before the sounds of Darrance's struggle drew my attention.

He had lost his sword, and his right arm hung limp, bloody and broken. His face was a mask of grimacing desperation, as he constantly dodged and darted through the Space Marines horrifically fast-flying fists and kicks. I saw the Marine's bolter laying nearby, almost cut in two.

Fighting against my pained limbs, and attempting to abate my incessant gasping. I charged at the Space Marine's vast back. It was only about ten metres between the Marine and me, it took me less than a split second to make the distance and my footfalls, all but silent across the floor, but somehow he was in the midst of turning toward me as I lunged at him. So my sword stabbed straight through his faceplate instead of the back of his head.

Instantly I kicked out into the Marine's gorget, allowing me to tug out my power sword and dropped to the floor as the Desolation Inculpator. I landed harder than predicted, my knees buckled from the impact and forced me into a crouch. I gasped once, twice then my attention rose to Darrance.

He gaped at me with eyes as wide as saucers while clutching at his arm; it was without a shadow of a doubt that I'd never seen Darrance in such a state before.

"How?" he managed.

"Luck," I said with a shrug, as I slowly stood, my whole body shook with adrenaline and fear on a level I'd never felt before. Like I'd just drunk twenty cups of caffeine in as many seconds.

He continued to gape, his jaw working dumbly.

"Or the blessing of the Emperor!" I snarled sarcastically, losing my patience. "Get it together; we've gotta move."

I smiled as I pushed past Darrance, it felt good to be the one chastising him for a change.

Darrance, seemed to find himself quite quickly and pulled an injector from one of his belt pouches and plugged it into his neck, injecting it with an audible hiss.

Painkillers or combat enhancers? Both more likely, either way, it was more than fair enough under the circumstances.

In silence, we moved back toward the northern elevators, and as we approached the t junction, I stopped at the corner and peeked around it.

"Clear!" I hissed through clenched teeth, and we slipped out, swords raised. Darrance was forced to wield his normally two-handed scimitar with one hand, but he still managed to carry it quite well.

I bit back a sigh, finding I was missing Elandria more than ever now. I would've given anything for her to be here than Darrance, her or Castella. It seemed due to our similar specialities Darrance, and I had been forced into an impromptu partnership. But the thing was I didn't like him, and he didn't like me. Also, he lacked the physical assets both Elandria, and Castella held in abundance.

I shook away the thought, sickened by it.

"Tell me how, apprentice," snarled Darrance suddenly.

I rolled my eyes, "you saw how!" I whispered back. "Took him by surprise while he was trying to kill you!"

"No, I meant the other one," he said. "I saw his remains...How?"

"Luck, okay?" I snapped. "Now keep quiet! They might..."

I wandered off in mid-sentence as abruptly another two Space Marines plodded into view, in blocking the elevators. Both had bolters; one held a huge auspex the other had a meltabomb and looked like he was about to use it.

For a split second, they stood looking at us, as if caught unawares, then their bolt guns were raised.

"Stairs!" I yelled and without hesitation, Darrance I split up. I darted up the left side stairs; he went up the right. Taking them two at a time, with an almost reckless abandon.

"After them!" I heard one roar and then came the thundering, shaking of running feet. I made it up the first flight a millisecond before bolt rounds exploded the wall where I was and started up the second.

The Space Marine's curses echoed up the stairs after me and a split second after the stairs shook with his ascent. I found the third flight and quickly from the space of his footfalls calculated he was taking four steps at a time and would be upon me in another two flights. I was the quicker sprinter, but his legs were almost as long as I was tall, a huge advantage right now.

Upon reaching the peak of the fourth stairwell and a desperate plan instantaneously formed in my thoughts. With quick hands I unlocked the door with my key card, flung it open and slipped behind it, my back to the wall, holding it so hidden.

All of this took less than a second but was done only just before the Space Marine was on the turn. I held my breath, knowing he would hear my breathing, perhaps even smell my sweat. When he didn't continue upwards, I knew he hadn't fallen for it, so pushed the door closed and moved, flinging myself hard against the floor, out of sight, behind the next flight of stairs. The bolter rounds ripped the handrail and wall asunder in my wake.

"You are quick, little boy," said the Space Marine as I heard his feet slowly started ascending. "Or girl, I can't tell, I doubt many can. You are far quicker than a normal human, and you seem immune to my auspex. What are you? Mechanicum enhanced? Did that traitor Rogue Trader have you made? As a bodyguard, maybe? Or as an assassin? I would have given you the chance to surrender, but with that trick you just tried to pull, you must have thought I was stupid. I also smell the stench of a recently dispelled powerfield. You wield a power sword and that combined with your speed makes you a threat, even for an Astartes like me."

I sniggered, "your two brothers found that out the hard way," I gasped. "And for a Space Marine, you talk way too much."

There was a long, weighted pause and the Space Marine's feet stopped, then he laughed, it was the very last reaction I'd expected.

"You are trying to bait me," he said, it was a bland statement, not a question. "I had recently lost the signatures of brother-sergeant Letharc and brother Pellrenth, did you kill them? Did you actually manage to kill them? An impressive feat, I must confess. Although I do suspect the reason you managed it, was they underestimated you. I will not make the same mistake."

Then something heavy suddenly landed beside me, and I knew what it was without even looking. My arm instinctively shot out, my tiny hand barely able to wrap around it even slightly but my enhanced strength allowed me to keep my grip and throw it down the stairs with a grunt. I smiled as I heard the Space Marine yell out, then the frag grenade explode. I fought the urge to lunge down the stairs and try to plunge my sword into the Marine I didn't know what condition he was in, so the risk wasn't worth the reward. I leapt to my feet and started sprinting up the next flight of stairs. Despite his claim not to underestimate me, the Space Marine had managed to do just that.

I swiped open the next door and dashed inside just before more bolter shots bellowed after me. I ran into an office area, a vast expansive room filled with rows upon rows of cogitator desks. I hadn't chosen this floor by accident. Instinct innately made me weave, dart side to side, through the fire aimed at my back. I vaulted and leapt over and around the countless obstacles in my way, never slowing, never hesitating as bolt rounds exploded and tore apart everything around indiscriminately. Ancient cogitators, each worth more thrones than I'd see in a lifetime, destroyed forever. It would've saddened the long-suppressed historical scholar in me if I wasn't running for my life.

There was only one exit, one door set in the centre of the northernmost wall and seeing this caused me to curse. I veered right, knowing that would lead me toward the corridor leading toward the elevators. I needed to get to the 31st floor, needed to get there to convince Helma to bring Adelana and the others with us. I just hoped they'd taken my advice and gone to Vex's office instead of being evacuated like everyone else.

My hand reached into one of the pouches on my belt and pulled out two krak grenades, a simple act made hard while in flight, and would've been impossible for almost anyone else. I risked a glance over my shoulder. Seeing that the Space Marine hadn't followed me further into the room, electing to stand near the doorway and to shoot at me from there, as I'd hoped he would.

With a laugh, I discreetly primed both grenades then slid, pivoting on the balls of my shoes and threw one in a curving arc straight at the Space Marine. He reacted instantaneously, faster than the other Marines before, diving to the side as it detonated. I'd predicted this as well, so threw the second straight into his path. It exploded right next to him, and he roared in rage and pain.

Not daring to dwell on my achievement, I ran for the doors, pushed the unlock button and shoulder barged through. I turned right, a second before more bolter rounds shattered the glass doors after me. I sprinted on whispering curses constantly; I'd hoped the grenade would've killed him or slowed him down more, but alas.

Struggling to breathe, I slowed to a jog. I needed a rest; I needed to...

My thoughts were interrupted by the roar through the wall, I stopped and saw the Space Marine smash into the corridor a few metres ahead of me. His armour was blackened and cracked; the explosion had knocked off his helmet, showing me for the first time the blunt, flat, cheek boneless features of an Astartes. Half of his face was bloody and battered. If I'd continued sprinting, he would've crushed me into a pulp.

"You! Little! Bastard!" he growled, raising his bolter and aiming it at my skull.
Last edited by Adrassil on Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:31 pm

I leaned aside of the shot and was about to dart forward, but a second round forced me to the floor. I rolled into a crouch and with the flat of my sword desperately knocked aside the next. Sending it careening and exploding a large hole in the wall, it sent horrid jolts up my arms causing me to cry out. I clenched my teeth, ignoring it and knocked away another and slowly began to advance. Dodging and ducking, deflecting and darting through shot after shot, but I was merely delaying the inevitable, I knew. The Marine laughed.

"You cannot keep this up forever!" he roared, having lost all sign of his earlier calm and calculated manner. "I will not let you close in! And I will avenge my brothers!"

Just need another metre! My mind screamed.

I took one more half a step and in my exhaustion miscalculated the next shot, it detonated far too close to the hilt, sending it flying from my grasp. Any other sword would've exploded into shards then, sending them slicing into me in the ultimate betrayal for a swordsman, but it was a mastercrafted Velrosian blade, so stayed in one piece.

My instinct screamed that there was only one way to close the gap and threw myself forwards, into a dive. An action that seemed to take the Marine off guard for less than a split second, he didn't expect me to keep advancing without my sword, it was only a split second, but it was enough for me. Bolter shots thundered over me by mere millimetres, and I finished in a crouch. Ejected a throwing knife from my sleeve and sent it flying with a backhanded throw. I was only two metres away, and it moved so fast it almost instantaneously embedded in the Marine's left eye socket. He cried out and reeled it would only last a nanosecond, but I was leaping, pulling out my last krak grenade, primed it then stuffed it into the Marine's gaping maw.

I darted back as it went off and the Marine's head was just suddenly gone. A krak grenade was designed to take out tanks; they exploded in a smaller concentrated radius so there was very little shrapnel, luckily for me or else I could've been torn apart by shards of his skull.

For a few seconds, the Marine's corpse stood deathly still before abruptly collapsing against the wall and slid to the floor.

I stood, trying to catch my breath, gazing down at the body. I'd almost like this Space Marine. I almost regretted killing him. Then I laughed, I didn't mean to, it just burst from my throat in an insane bark. That was the third of the inhuman Astartes dead at my hand! I have managed to achieve three times in one day not many others could claim in a lifetime! What other absurd things would I manage to do in my now limitless life?

My laughter slowly faded into a chuckle, now truly glad I hadn't used that grenade on those mercenaries in Edracian's fortress earlier. It was funny; somehow I knew that was that very same grenade, fate was a truly strange mistress, wasn't it?

Shaking my head, I turned back and retrieved my sword, and although there was no blood on it, instinct made me whip it before sheathing it. I approached the dead Marine and bowed in the most profound respect, before setting off again at a brisk pace while fighting the roiling sickness in my stomach.

With the Marine dead, I now heard the battle still rumbling through the lower floors. The now way too familiar sound of bolter shots, accompanied by the immediate screams of agony and death. I could still hear las shots and solid projectile fire here and there, sometimes.

I peered around the corner, leading to the elevator lobby cautiously and held back a relieved sigh when found the coast was clear. Unlike on the other lower levels, this lobby only had one exit and entrance, yet another reason why I'd chosen this floor. I was glad so thrilled I'd taken the time to learn the layout of much of Taryst's tower. I'd decided to use the southern elevators, guessing that Karmen would have her puppets guard that side the most due to it having the only lift to Taryst's grotto.

I pushed the elevator call button then instantly slipped to left side wall, as I saw the elevator there was the one ascending, sword now activated and readied. They were significant, strong, sturdy things I knew they could carry two, maybe three Space Marines, so my caution was more than justified.

It only took a few seconds for the elevator to find this floor but it felt like a lifetime before it finally dinged, and the doors opened.

I had to fight the almost overwhelming urge to immediately just run in there; I kept waiting, watching. It wasn't until the doors had almost slid completely closed that I moved, placing my foot between them, so they opened again. It was empty, much to my relief and stepped inside.

I pushed the button for the 31st floor, such an absurdly, stupidly simple act under the circumstances I couldn't help but laugh.

The elevator surged into its ascent, and I slipped my shaking hands into the pockets of my flak jacket then tapped the tip of my shoe on the floor at an even faster rate than usual. I was still high on adrenaline, it made me twitchy and impatient, my breathing shallow while watching the changing numbers on the screen overhead.

It felt like my lungs could explode in any second and my thoughts whirled with anxiety. Had Helma and the others reached the 31st floor? Had they even made it to the elevators? If they had was Karmen still with them? Had a stray bolt round managed to hit her? We were risking much in this escape attempt, what was going to happen after we lifted off? How were we going to escape the Astartes ships and into the warp? So much was left to do, left to achieve.

I sighed and turned to look out the window, away from the ascending numbers. Omnartus travelled out before me, as far as I could see and the mountain range far further south. I remembered what seemed like a lifetime ago, looking out at the mountains, thinking of the flowers that had evolved to survive at high altitudes to avoid the pollution that had covered most of the surface of the world. I'd never thought until now that it was a good metaphor for me. I'd gained much since then, an almost indestructible bone structure, reflexes far beyond that of a normal human being but what I'd gained more than anything else, was wisdom.

The elevator found the 31st floor and there the view of the hive outside the window was abruptly engulfed in thick blackish brown of the pollution clouds.

As I turned and exited the elevator, knowing that was, perhaps, the last look I would ever get of Omnartus. Then abruptly I realised that it was most definitely the last look I would get of Omnartus, it was soon to be dead. Dead just because of a simple pict I took. There was no way we could stop the Space Marines from destroying it. No way in hell.

My heart sunk and horrid regret, fear and anger seemed to expand through my chest like cold, painful writhing tendrils.

"Why did it have to come to this?" I whispered to myself while walking into the corridors. "Why? Emperor, why?"

I felt tears welling in my eyes and let them flow freely.

What had I done to deserve this?

Despite being almost lost in loathing self-pity, I walked the corridors, instinct making me innately find the fastest way. When I'd reached the huge cogitator cavern, I saw six Storm Troopers, Selg, Hayden, Torris, Jelket and Roldar standing guard around the medicae assistant and Karmen's bed, just outside Vex's office. They all looked far more beaten and battered than when I last saw them, and I had a bad feeling those storm troopers included the ones Olinthre had earlier left to look after Vex. I hurried my pace, jogging toward Karmen to see if she was okay.

Without a word of greeting they let me through and I only just managed to notice their silent expressions of awe at seeing me still alive.

"How is she?" I asked, and it took me a second or so to recall his name again. "Halsin?"

"She is fine," said Halsin his already enlarged eyes even larger behind his glasses. "I...I…"

"I, what?" I snapped and instantly regretted my tone, I was tired and oh so irritable. "I'm sorry."

"I do not understand how you can still be fine," he said.

I pursed my lips and shrugged, "got lucky, I suppose," I said.

Hayden approached, patted me on the shoulder and said, "that and a frigging shit ton of skill, I bet. Do you know how Darrance is?"

I flinched, realising I hadn't spared one thought for my erstwhile comrade, "I don't know, we got split up in the chaos. It looks like you guys ran into trouble too."

Hayden nodded, "found another Space Marine on the ground floor, tore its way through us like a whirlwind, killed six of the stormtroopers with us. Would've killed us all if Thol hadn't purposely overloaded his plasma gun, the explosion vaporised him and mortally wounded the Marine. I finished it off with a point-blank shot of my long-las.

I nodded and sighed, I barely knew Thol, so his death didn't affect me much, but the destruction of the Plasma gun irked me. With Darrance MIA and that gone it just put more pressure on me to be the damned hero. Now I'd seen the endurance of an Astartes first hand I doubted that a hot shot from Hayden's long las would affect them much unless at close range.

"That's six down, I suppose, I said.

Hayden's brow furrowed in bemusement, about to ask me to elaborate I was sure, but then Helma, Arlathan, Verenth and five more stormtroopers emerged from the office, a sullen looking Vex in tow. I could hear weeping, and pitiful pleading and an ugly, middle-aged woman I instantly recognised as one of Adelana's colleagues walked out after them.

"Please!" she cried as she tried to grab at Helma's elbow. "Take us with you! Please!"

"Get away!" snarled Helma, snatching back her arm. "All non-combatants were meant to evacuate! You should have left with the others! Emperor only knows…"

The captain trailed off in her sentence and gaped as she saw me.

"You!" yelled the lady at me and behind her, I could see the kid, the gruff old man and lastly Adelana emerging from the office. Adelana's smile made me weak at the knees. "We did as you told," carried on the woman, who I'd momentarily forgotten was there let alone speaking to me you 'Go to Vex's office at the first sign of trouble,' so here we are! Please help us!"

Tearing my attention away from Adelana I nodded and smiled the most reassuring smile I could muster at her, but for the life of me, I couldn't frigging remember her name.

"We need to take them with us," I said to Helma in my most commanding tone.

Helma's eyes narrowed, "did that Space Marine smash your brain out of your head? Are you insane, or stupid? You yourself couldn't tell for sure how big Taryst's escape craft is! They might not be able to fit with the rest of us! Anyway, even if it does they'll slow us down, it's a no go, I...

She trailed off in her sentence and her features softened for a second and for that second she seemed, despite her huge scar, almost beautiful.

"I am sorry, Attelus but..."

+We are taking them with us!+ Karmen's voice suddenly echoed through my thoughts, and everyone else's it seemed as we all seemed to flinch in fright simultaneously.

"Is that you, the infamous Karmen Kons, I've heard so much about!" snarled Helma. "You finally deem us worthy enough to speak to us?"

+I have been occupied,+ she replied, hesitantly and I could tell she was exhausted. +I can tell you for a fact, captain, that Taryst's ship does indeed have enough space for them and us. We are taking them with us!+

"But…!" tried Helma but Karmen interrupted her.

+There is no time to argue! There are very few mercenaries left now, and soon the Astartes will be here!+

Helma grimaced, looking like she'd try but she let out a huge, irritated groan before bellowing.

"Alright! Alright! Attelus, it's because of you, they're here, so they're your damned responsibility! The witch is right! We've got to move!"

With that, she waved us onward, and we began toward the exit. I fell in step with Adelana.

"Thank you," she whispered.

I shrugged and pursed my lips, "I did nothing, it's Karmen you should thank, not me," I said, and I couldn't help wonder why she did.

She shrugged back, "you still tried, so thank you."

She hid it well, very well, actually but with all my years of training, I could still tell the poor girl was utterly terrified. I couldn't help but be impressed and even a bit envious. She was better than me at hiding her emotions even after all that time I had spent as Glaitis' apprentice. Already, I could see potential in her, great potential.

That might've been why Karmen had insisted they come with us.

"It was the very least I could do," said, feeling my face flush almost walked into Hayden's back as he and the others suddenly stopped in their tracks.

"Too late," said Helma as five Space Marines, their bolters raised, abruptly fanned out into the cavernous room.

"How?" managed Roldar, a nanosecond before they opened fire.

With all five shots fired someone went down, Jelket's right arm exploded, and the poor man couldn't even scream as he was flung onto his back and instantly lost consciousness. Selg's large chest suddenly had a huge hole I could've seen through if it wasn't for the deluge of blood. One of the stormtroopers lost his head, literally. Another's torso simply evaporated, and a third Storm Trooper's hip and stomach were gone.

The rest of us leapt for the cover of the surrounding cogitators, I gripped Adelana by the arm and pulled her roughly after me. The old, gruff man being a combat veteran wasn't far behind, but the middle-aged woman flung herself foolishly to the floor, but the boy didn't even move. He just stood still, slack-jawed and stupefied, and I couldn't blame him, in all honesty. Not even I could run fast enough to save him before a bolt round exploded his body from the hips upward into nothing but red mist.

Adelana cried out what I assumed to be the boy's name, but I couldn't even begin to hear her over the deafening cacophony which seemed to shake the entire structure to its core.

But the woman somehow, miraculously stayed unscathed as she coward through the chaos.

The survivors leaned out and fired back; there were countless lines of cogitators between the Marines and us. But they were shattered and smashed easily; they wouldn't protect us for too much longer.

I cursed, kneeling and clutching at my sword. I was useless right now, there was no way I could dash across the room through that amount of bolter fire without being hit, and even if I did somehow manage that, then I'd be locked in close combat with five frigging Space Marines.

Fighting one at a time was bad enough, thank you!

I felt a shaking hand grab at my flak jacket's sleeve, and I turned to find it was Adelana, her beautiful blue eyes filled with tears. It pained me to see her so upset, and she pointed at the woman who was still curled up in the middle of the thoroughfare, still somehow unharmed. I knew what Adelana wanted me to do, in all honesty, I didn't care much for the woman. But with a roar, I still suicidally sprinted out of cover, grabbed the woman by the scruff and with all my remaining strength, hurled her behind the next line of cogitators. Despite her obvious obesity, I threw her with ease and even over the bolter fire, I heard a crunch and her piggish squeal in agony as the impact broke something. Making me wince in sympathy.

I darted back to join up with Adelana and the old man, feeling the fire strafing my wake.

As I made it, Adelana abruptly threw her arms around me in a tight embrace; her thanks murmured into my chest as the old man clasped my shoulder and I couldn't help but think what Karmen thought of this.

"Karmen!" I roared. "Karmen! Why the hell didn't you see them coming? You've gotta do something we're trapped like rats and pinned down!" Please!"

+I am doing something!+ her voice growled in my head so strong it made me wince with pain. +I need to concentrate so leave me alone! Just watch your left!+

Her psychic voice conveyed more than just anger at my interruption, but also something else, shaking away the thought I looked left, past the cowering woman and the blank, black plastcrete wall beyond.

What the hell did she mean by that? Adelana let go of me as Roldar died, a bolt round blew half his torso into oblivion as he attempted to lean out to shoot his inherited Hellgun.

"Damn it!" I breathed. "Roldar!"

Another stormtrooper was torn apart a second after, Torris who took cover beside the poor bastard screamed as fragments of bone and carapace armour embedded in him. He fell to the floor, clutching at his face.

Then I saw something I never thought I'd ever see, Arlathan Karkin burst from cover with surprising speed, grabbed the unconscious Jelket by the gorget of his flak armour and pulled him into shelter. Halsin then ran up and began the utterly pointless attempt at stemming the blood.

I sighed and shook my head while scratching the back of my skull, Torris was surely a more savable cause, but he was two rows back, so they didn't know he was injured at all.

"We're going to die, aren't we?" yelled Adelana, sounding admirably calm.

I opened my mouth, my first instinct to lie but as I met her gaze, it died in my throat.

My reply was instead a sad smile, and carefully, I peered around the corner to see the Space Marines. They hadn't advanced at all, just stood out in the opening, shooting through the lines of cogitators, there were only a dozen rows left, we didn't have much time.

A hand landed lightly on my shoulder, making me flinch in fright, and I turned to see it was the old man. He held pushed me aside and pulled out an autopistol tucked in his pants. Tears welled in my eyes as I instantly recognised it. It was Castella's; she'd given it to him in the mailroom hours before.

I fought the urge to snatch the pistol from his hand as he raised it and fired. The gun was his now his, and I had no right to take it.

Besides, he'd be better at shooting it than me, I was sure.

The old man emptied the clip pistol's clip and miraculously wasn't torn apart in that ten-second time span.

With practised professionalism, he pulled back, ejected the empty clip and reloaded, then turned to me.

"Where is she?" he asked. "The nice, beautiful young woman who had given me this?"

I winced and hissed, my attention falling to the floor.

The man's expression turned sympathetic as he instantly understood.

"I am sorry," he grunted. "I hope she died well."

I shrugged, my eyes still downcast, not sure if she did.

"Well!" he said as he popped out to shoot a few shots. "Have no fear! Looks as though we will be joining her soon! At the God-Emperor's side!"

Again, I shrugged and shuffled my feet, knowing that I won't be, not for long anyway, also because I knew that sentiment was complete and utter bullshit, to be absorbed by the warp was the only fate for our souls.

I wanted to say this, but held my tongue, knowing now wasn't the time for such words.

I winced as the echoing destruction of the cogitators became even louder, it would be soon, very soon I would be losing even more friends.

+Clear the left side wall!+ said Karmen, +and be ready to move!+

"What?" I said less than second before an explosion suddenly shuddered the entire place, it was so strong that even the Space Marines hesitated in their fire. Another followed that it knocked the old man off his feet, and I stopped Adelana from falling with a quick hand on her shoulder.

+Someone hold on to me please!+ she cried, then there was a third explosion.

I saw a large part of the wall had become superheated and I realised what was happening a second before the fourth explosion finally blew a huge hole through in a rain of heavy, ground shaking debris. Instantly a flier screamed through the gap; the pintle mounted autocannon set in the ships open side spewing withering fire at the Space hovered low off the floor and waited.

+Get in!+ Karmen screamed.

It took me less than a second to recover my wits then I was pushing Adelana and the old man toward it.

"Go! Go!" I yelled and they needed no more prompting, they ran across the gap and together helped the injured woman to her feet.

I glanced out from the corner; the Space Marines had fallen back into the corridor, not even their armour could withstand autocannon fire. Yet still, they were trying to shoot back from behind their cover.

After seeing this, I sprinted out, straight toward Karmen, Jelket, Arlathan, Halsin and a remaining stormtrooper

"I'll take Karmen!" I yelled, pushing past the stormtrooper to take her bed off him. "Arlathan, Halsin! Take Jelket! You! Torris is injured behind the last row; he needs your help!"

I didn't wait for a reply, before I was moving again, almost recklessly pushing her toward the flier as bolt rounds exploded around me, she was strapped down so safe from falling off, but I could still trip and fall.

Eventually, I reached the flier, running to the other side, then with Adelana's and the old man's help, lifted her inside.

I turned in time to see Verenth, Vex and Helma climb inside, both of them didn't bother to spare me a look, both looked beyond terrified. Verenth looked like he was on the verge of despair, Selg was dead, his friend. I didn't know what to say.

I slipped past and looked around the edge of the flier, seeing to my satisfaction that they'd followed my orders. Arlathan and Halsin carried poor Jelket, who much to my shock, was somehow now semi-conscious. His head lolled about, his face a mask of shock and agony.

Following them was the stormtrooper struggling with Torris, the large ex-arbitrator's arm over his shoulder, his face coated completely in blood. I looked down to the entrance, the Space Marines were pinned, but I doubted that they would be for much longer. I saw no sign of any

Without hesitation, I sprinted forward, making the roughly twenty-metre space in such a short time the stormtrooper didn't notice me until I was slipping Torris' left arm over my shoulders, forcing him to flinch in fright.

"Come on!" I roared, and together we ran toward the flier.

Just then, the frigging autocannon decided to run out of ammunition.

I reacted faster than even I knew, shoving the stormtrooper into cover. He cried out and fell to the floor as I slipped beside him.

With a roar, I lifted Torris onto my back; he was a good one hundred and thirty kilograms even out of his armour. It was a feat of strength I would've been utterly incapable of before my enhancement, but even now it was a struggle, my back and legs screamed in pain.

Roaring again, I ran on with all the speed I could muster, stepping side to side in a pathetic bid to avoid to the surely soon to come bolter fire, but I knew it was all for nothing. I heard Torris mutter something about leaving him behind.

But the bolter fire never came. Instead, there was a yell, a pained cry that made me look over my shoulder, what I saw made my eyes widen with surprise and almost stop in my tracks entirely.

Darrance was amongst the Space Marines, his power scimitar a blur of slashes, keeping them at bay. One of the big bastards was on the ground, both of his legs cut off at the knees, three of them were disarmed, their bolters cut in twain and discarded on the floor

The stormtrooper then caught up and helped me carry Torris the rest of the way. We didn't bother to take him around the other side of the flier, together with help from Arlathan and Halsin we lifted Torris into the ship.

+Get in!+ Karmen roared in my mind, but I ignored her, turning back to watch Darrance in his desperate fight.

"No!" I said and started into a sprint, activating my power sword in a blaze of blue light.

+Attelus!+ she cried, but I ignored her, enough people had died this day! I didn't like Darrance he was arrogant and at times downright cruel and incredibly condescending. A jerk who I would never even consider being friends with, but he was a comrade, we'd fought side by side on numerous occasions. He had willingly put his life on the line against the ornithopter only because I'd asked. He'd stood up for me when Etuarq had cruelly torn into me verbally.

I wasn't going to let another comrade die after losing so many already, not even Darrance.

As I ran, Darrance was disarmed, one of the Space Marines smashing his sword from his grasp with a mere flick of his wrist, then he was in the midst of wrapping his huge paw around the stunned Darrance's neck was when I converged on them.

All their attention was on my comrade, so they didn't see me coming until my power sword sliced through the wrist of the Space Marine reaching to crush my comrade's windpipe. I darted forward and cut apart another's bolter.

"let's go!" I roared, and we turned, sprinting and weaving as the last remaining bolter fired at our backs while the rest gave chase. Their huge feet were hitting the floor so hard it was a struggle for me to keep my footing as they shook everything.

"Karmen!" I yelled. "Get the flier going!"

She didn't respond.


+You're insane!+ she screamed, her psychic voice high pitched with panic and upset.

"!" I screamed, wanting to say, 'I'm nearly there,' but said nothing, knowing now wasn't the time for my snark.

A second later the flier lifted and started toward the huge hole in the wall, hovering only about a metre off the floor.

With a feral snarl, I picked up the pace and glanced over my shoulder, Darrance was lagging a good three metres behind. He was barely keeping his distance from the pursuing Marines.

"Frig!" I snarled as I saw the nearest Marine's gauntleted hand reaching to wrap around Darrance's ankle.

The hotshot took the Marine straight in the face, it didn't kill him but sent him sprawling backwards, head over heels, smashing hard into the Astartes running just behind.

Despite myself, I laughed and turned away raising my sword in thanks to Hayden a second before the flier flew through the hole.

I veered right as the distance lessened and saw the flier turn outside, so its side was facing the tower, Hayden and Arlathan waving us in. The gap was a good five metres wide; I was pretty confident I'd make it, even onto a rumbling constantly moving flier, just but Darrance.

It was a frigging long way down, thirty-one stories down to a very, very messy death.

Despite this I didn't hesitate, throwing myself into oblivion toward the open. I screamed, my arms swinging, flailing around as if it'd make me go further somehow. I mustn't have spent more than a second flying through the air, but it felt like a million frigging years. A million years, screaming before finally landing on the ledge of the passenger area of the flier with such strength it caused pain to echo up my legs and me to cry out.

I cried out, my hands spinning around as I began to overbalance and fall. Arlathan's hand grabbed me by the collar of my flak jacket and pulled me back in.

Arlathan looked like he was about to say something but I ignored him and turned just in time to see Darrance jumping off after me.

Instantly, I knew he wasn't going to make it, not by a long shot.

With a cry, I sheathed my sword, threw myself to the floor and reached out, down below the flier's bottom side and my fingers barely wrapped around the wrist of Darrance's reaching arm.

Darrance yelled out, and he swung to a stop as the flier began to pull away

"That is the second time I meant to die today!" he cried. "But it is the second time you've stopped me from doing so! Soon you might be even with me, apprentice!"

I laughed and began to pull him up, but there was a cry of dismay then something huge and heavy landed abruptly landed into the flier. Something so huge and heavy it caused the ship to tilt sideways a good thirty degrees violently. Before even I could react, I abruptly slid off the deck and flew into the air.

I screamed, and my hand shot out desperately, only just catching the ledge with my index finger and thumb. I screamed again, the wind and cold battered at me as I struggled to get a better grip while the combined weights of Darrance and me threatened to make me let go. The flier abruptly adjusts itself flat, only a split second after I got my grip, but I still couldn't see what was going on inside.

A body flew from the flier. I knew it was dead because it didn't scream and I managed to see brains and blood flood from its crushed skull. Blood which coated Darrance and me as it dropped by us. I couldn't tell who it was; it fell too fast.

I hoped to hell it wasn't Adelana.

"Karmen!" I screamed as the flier began to veer and my fingers started to slip. "Help me!"

Then on the left someone abruptly fell to the deck, their head over the edge, looking down at me with wide eyes. It was the old man; I still couldn't remember his name.

"Help! Please!" I cried.

The old man didn't reply, couldn't reply as two huge, armoured fingers wrapped around his neck and squeezed.

The man's head popped off with an almost absurd abruptness, then his corpse was tilted forward and off the edge, falling through the black-brown clouds out of sight.

Then the Marine appeared over us; its uncompromising red eyes gazed down unforgivingly, unrelentingly then began to reach out.

I cried out and closed my eyes, preparing myself for the pain and long fall after but instead, I felt the fingers wrap gently, almost daintily around my hand and suddenly I was hauled back onto the craft along with Darrance. The Marine lifted us with breathtaking ease.

Gasping for breath, I tried to comprehend what had just happened but I was quickly answered.

+I cannot hold it for much longer!+ Karmen's voice screamed through my thoughts.

Either she had miscalculated or was using understatement because a split second later, he shook his head and was seeming to regain himself. Then began to advance on Darrance, drawing back his fist. I fumbled for my sword, but my arms, my fingers and upper body screamed with pain. I glance about, leaning on my left elbow to see the others were crowded in the furthest corner, holding on for dear life. Adelana was there, much to my relief, Arlathan, Verenth, Torris and the old woman, the one remaining stormtrooper. Helma and Halsin were laid still on the deck. Hayden's back was sitting back against the wall beside Karmen's bed and Jelket, his head hung limping lifelessly forward, and I winced as I saw his right shoulder was almost crushed into pulp.

Darrance scrambled back, trying to make space between him and the behemoth but his back quickly hit the edge of the entranceway the Marine, punching to crush Darrance's slightly built body.

The hotshot round exploded deafeningly through the flier, hitting the Space Marine in the punching fist, causing him to stumble slightly. I turned to see Hayden; he had his smoking long las raised with one hand.

It was only a slight opening, but it was enough as Arlathan sprinted forward with a roar and the stormtrooper opened fire with his Hellgun, shooting the Marine in the face in an almost constant stream of las.

Arlathan drew a short sword from a scabbard on his belt, and it came to life in a blaze of light. I recognised it immediately as one of Glaitis' power blades. I'd forgotten he'd taken it after her death and with one slash, cut it into the back of the Space Marine's knee.

The Marine didn't make a sound, no scream or anything but his leg gave out even still, and he dropped into a kneel.

Before Arlathan could finish him, the Space Marine swung out his hand and clipped the Magistratum detective's chest. I winced with the sound of bones breaking, and he was sent flying against the wall, unconscious. He would've slipped out the door if Torris hadn't run out and stopped him.

One of Hayden's hot shots hit the Space Marine square in the face, breaking in the Marine's faceplate and sent him crashing onto his back, growling, writhing.

Darrance was finally on his feet and running as I felt hands wrap under my arms and began dragging me across the floor. I looked over my shoulder to see it was Adelana and Vex.

I gave Adelana a smile which she returned and turned to watch as Darrance snatched up the fallen sword, activated it and plunged it down into the Marine's throat, with all of his weight and momentum behind it.

The Marine's blood coated the deck but he wasn't dead as he tried to crush Darrance in his grasp, one last ditch to kill another of us before he bleeds out, but with a roar, Darrance tore the sword through his chin, then skull and lastly out the top of his helm in an explosion of ichor.

It was exactly how I'd killed the sergeant earlier.

Darrance abruptly fell to his knees as the rest of us just looked on, utterly stunned at what had just happened.

We'd escaped from the building, so now what?

+Someone close the doors,+ said Karmen, her tone was strained and pained, but also I could hear the anger in there. More than likely anger aimed at me for a myriad amount of different reasons.

+We are going to fly to the top of the tower,+ she said. +There is little oxygen there, and it is freezing, someone, please close the doors and get seated.+

Her tone could've been mistaken as condescending, but I could tell it was exhaustion mixed with impatience.

Torris and the Stormtrooper were the ones who finally found themselves enough to slide close the doors.

"What?" said Darrance as he approached the unconscious Arlathan and started to check his vital signs. "What do you plan on doing then? Shooting your way in again?"

Karmen's weighted silence was enough to say that was precisely what she was planning.

Slowly, I climbed to my feet, helped by Adelana and Vex.

"There must be Space Marines up there already," I said as we went to approach the seats.

+I have the void shield still activated,+ she said. +They cannot enter Taryst's quarters if they are. I can deactivate it once we get there!+

I sighed and looked around, Helma was stirring, there was a huge, black bruise across her face and the Stormtrooper picked her up and placed her into a seat. Darrance was helping Halsin who was conscious now, but pale and pained it looked like his right arm and left shoulder were broken.

For a second I couldn't help gape, how the hell hadn't the Space Marine killed more of us? Then the sound of someone crying caused me to jump from my thoughts and turn to Adelana. She was weeping, her attractive features all scrunched up, I wouldn't say it made her unattractive just a little less so than usual.

I didn't know what to say or do; she sat right next to me, surely there was something I could do? I remembered when I'd wept when I'd first met Estella, she'd hugged me close, but I didn't know if she'd appreciate that. Instead, the old woman staggered up to us and hugged poor Adelana close.

"It's okay, honey, it's okay," she murmured while stroking Adelana's long red hair and I had to stop myself from bursting out laughing. After all these years being under Glaitis tutelage, she'd taught me much, how to read people, how to manipulate them for your ends. But never did she ever teach me what to do for people when they were upset.

I felt stupid; I felt incredibly awkward.

"I...I'm sorry," I managed, making Adelana's red, puffy-eyed attention look at me, causing me to flinch. Did she somehow know I was indirectly responsible for this?

But my fears were allayed as she smiled, "it's okay," she said. "You didn't kill them, but why? I don't understand. Why are the Space Marines trying to kill us? We did nothing wrong! Aren't they meant to be protecting us?"

I looked away and pulled out my pack of lhos, suddenly feeling like I needed one.

"You know, don't you?" she asked, but there was no anger in her voice.

"I do," I said while lighting the lho stick, clenched in my teeth. "It's complicated."

A thought made me suddenly smile, "or as a friend would've said, 'it's convoluted.'"

Darrance approached and sat next to Vex, "It is, young mamzel," he said. "You are better off not knowing."

"Its Taryst isn't it!" said the old woman. "He was into some dodgy business, wasn't he?"

My eyes widened, and I looked at her, I hadn't heard 'dodgy' being used that way since...

"Ma'am, may I ask, you wouldn't be from Elbyra? Or to be more precise, Velrosia?"

The woman nodded rigorously, "yeah! I am, was from Salthain, a town in the south. My husband and me left for Omnartus after the war, why did you ask?"

I smiled, "I recognised your use of 'dodgy' in that context. I'm also from Velrosia, Varander in fact. What a coincidence, huh?"

"Just a bit!" she exclaimed. "Now I think on it, your accent does seem familiar."

I shook my head, funny how such a vast galaxy could somehow seem so small at times.

"You're right," I said. "It was Taryst who was responsible for this, all of this. He was us to 'dodgy business.' Although now isn't the time for me to explain. I'll tell you everything once we've escaped."

"Really?" said Adelana, her eyes wide with disbelief.

I flinched under her gaze, knowing that I shouldn't make such a promise.

"I will," I said, despite my hesitation, they did deserve to know. If they made it out alive, they deserved to know the how and why Omnartus burned.

'Omnartus burned,' I was already referring to it in past tense, how easily that'd come to me.

Castella sure as hell wouldn't have approved of that.

"You were close, weren't you?" I asked Adelana.

She nodded, "they were more than just work colleagues, Attelus. Grayhelt was like another dad to me, and Velg was a true friend. They...I...I can't believe they're dead."

So that was their names! I decided to make an effort to remember them, they were more innocents dead, because of me and soon, very soon there would be many more.

Many, many more.

I looked sidelong at Adelana, soon she'd have to deal with the trauma of not just losing the rest of her friends and family, but her whole world.

Perhaps Castella was right, perhaps it wasn't a good idea to save her after all.

+We will be at the top of the tower in thirty seconds,+ said Karmen sullenly. +Get ready, there are rebreathers under your seats. The climate display shows it's minus twenty degrees outside, so be prepared for the cold.+

I switched on the internal heater inside my bodyglove, unbuckled my restraining harness and slipped off my flak jacket, handing it to Adelana.

"Put this on, you'll sure as hell will need it," I said.

She looked me up and down, her full lips parted slightly, "what about you?" she breathed hesitantly.

I was wearing a tight, sleeveless bodyglove with jeans. I must've looked pretty stupid giving her my warm, armoured jacket.

"Don't worry about me," I said with a smile. "Got heaters inside my bodyglove, I'll be good."

She nodded, looking nonplussed as she started to slip on my jacket.

I turned away and started to take out the rebreathers from underneath the seats, but still managed to catch a glimpse of Adelana and the old woman exchanging meaningful looks as she climbed to her feet.

I gave them a re-breather each and slipped mine on then helped them put on theirs. They were single visored, expensive pieces designed for combat., the oxygen tanks had straps so could be worn as a backpack.

+I am opening fire with the lascannon, now!+ snarled Karmen and instantly I heard the familiar sound of las cannon shots through the flier.

Darrance walked by; I could tell he was smirking at me even behind his rebreather.

"You have complained about your luck on too many occasions to count, apprentice," he said, as he started to help Jelket off his seat with his good arm. "But look at me this day, I have broken my arm, had to run up almost thirty-one stories worth of stairs with a Space Marine chasing after me. I have lost my prized and mastercrafted power weapon and almost got pulped by an autocannon on an ornithopter. But you! You, get yet another girlfriend! When will it be poor Darrance's turn, I wonder!"

I flinched and felt my face flush with embarrassment.

Then it was followed by a sudden urge to punch Darrance in the face.

I stormed across the deck and slipped up the slight staircase leading to the cockpit. Watching out the window as the pilot continuously blasted the roof of the corridor leading to Taryst's quarters. It was a strange sight, one which I never thought I'd ever see. Yet here it was, I never thought I'd ever had to go toe to toe and kill several Space Marines either, but for some reason, this seemed the strangest thing of all.

"What are we doing, Karmen?" I said.

She didn't reply.

I sighed, "if I look around the seat I'm going to see the pilot is blank-eyed, utterly under your sway, aren't I?"

Again, no reply.

"Just like you did with the hundreds, no thousands of mercenaries under Taryst's employ, huh? Sacrificing them to the Space Marine guns so we could escape, am I right?"

+Attelus!+ she cried finally. +Now is not the time for this!+

"No, I guess it isn't," I growled. "Just tell me this, Estella Erith. Was this part of Taryst's plan, right from the start? If he didn't have me killed would I have been amongst those slaved to your will, sacrificed so he could make his escape?"

Karmen sighed, +I would never have let that happen, Attelus. Why do you think I tried to have him recruit you properly?+

"I thought it was because I had, 'potential,'" I said sarcastically. "And thank you for admitting it, Karmen! By the Emperor, he was truly a selfish arsehole. Have no idea what Jeurat saw in the bastard."

+Just like you see 'potential' in the Adelana girl?+ Karmen's voice snarled back. +I've seen the way you look at her, the way you talk to her! Do you think I'm blind, or stupid? The ends justifies the means, Attelus! If we're able to escape to stop Etuarq from destroying more worlds their sacrifice will be worth it! Besides they were all going to die when the planet's destroyed in Exterminatus!+

"You sound just like Faleaseen," I gasped in exasperation.

+It's done, Attelus! It is too late to argue about it! Let me ask you this, okay? How many people have you killed? Over the last day? Over the last seven months and the seven years of your career? They were just faces to you. Strangers, the men I just controlled, I knew them, all of them! Their every desire, their every secret, their dreams. Do you think I wanted to make them die like that? No! I have to live with that, Attelus! I have to live with that guilt. Please don't make this harder than it is, please!+

I laughed bitterly, "you think you've got it bad, Karmen. You've got nothing on me! This whole world is going to die because of me! Billions of people, dead because I took one pict! At least when you die, you can forget your guilt and pain, but I will never get that."


I didn't reply as abruptly the wall and roof caved in under the sustained lascannon fire.

There were Space Marines were standing on the rubble, their bolter fire exploded and panged off the fliers bodywork and window.

+We will discuss this later! Now get to the passenger area and be ready! I'm about to land this sucker.+

I clenched my jaw, but still turned and slid down the handrails on my palms to the deck, landing with a loud clang!

Adelana looked at me with wide, confused eyes, looking like she was going ask me something but seemed to think better of it.

"I'll tell you later," I growled and walked past her.

She watched me as I did, looking like she was starting to regret getting involved with us and I couldn't blame her, in all honesty.

The flier veered steeply to the right, and I joined with Darrance, the stormtrooper and Verenth, standing at the door. The only four of us the only ones still in any condition to fight and Darrance was a doubtful case at best.

"What's your name?" Verenth asked the stormtrooper, hauling his inherited Hellgun and adjusting the gun's pack on his back.

"Daylith," answered the stormtrooper. "Trooper Daylith Vark."

Verenth nodded, "good to meet you Vark I'm Gilret Verenth, good! Can't stand seeing all these guys dying around me who I don't even know their names or even their faces."

Vark nodded, "I doubt we'll make it any further, those frigging Space Marines. They aren't human."

I couldn't help but smile, now that was the understatement of the millennia.

+Alright!+ came Karmen's voice. +There were eight of the bastards, but I had killed four with the lascannon. It's run out of energy, though. The rest of them have fallen back, their backs to the shield! You're going to have to hold them off until everyone else is off the flier, somehow.+

"Karmen!" I sighed. "Really? Four of them? You're frigging insane; you know that right?"

"She is a psyker," said Darrance, sounding insufferably calm and cheery about it all. "They usually are."

+I...I know I'm asking much of you…+

"Hell yes you are!" interrupted Verenth.

+Just hold them off!+ she snapped. +and this isn't what I ask of you; this is what the circumstance asks of you. Succeed in this, and we live and if you don't…+

She let that hang.

+Once everyone else has disembarked, I'll take care of the rest, okay? Now open the door!+

Vark, his hand visibly shaking even with his thick, armoured gloves on, reached out and with one swift tug opened it. We hovered a few metres beside the strange sight of the rubble covered, red-carpeted corridor. A place I'd regularly been in for six months and hated every second of it, now it was destroyed, perhaps I should've been elated, but all I felt was dread.

Vark looked as though he was to jump, but I stopped him with an outreached hand.

"Darrance and I first," I said. "We'll draw their attention, allowing you and Verenth to get on there without being blown into bits, okay?"

The stormtrooper's expression was hidden, but by how quick his nod was, I could tell he thought it was a damned good idea.

"Everyone!" I yelled over my shoulder and activated my sword in a blaze of blue. "Wish me luck!"

Without waiting for an answer, Darrance and I leapt.
Last edited by Adrassil on Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:18 pm

A microsecond after my feet hit the debris; I was running diagonally across the width of the corridor. My eyes fixed on the Space Marines as their bolters opened up in a deafening crescendo and strafed my wake.

It was only four metres between them and me, but it may as well have been miles. As it was earlier, time seemed to slow. I could see and feel it all innately, when they were pulling the triggers and where exactly they were aiming a microsecond before it happened.

I weaved, ducked and darted countless bolter rounds. I'd lost sight of Darrance in the utter chaos of light and sound, being too involved in me living from one split second to the next.

My progress slowed to a snail's pace; I'd barely been at it for a second or two, only made it half a metre before feeling fatigue ebb at my limbs.

Hellgun lasers started to stream overhead and sliced into one of the Space Marines' torso. The bastard barely flinched and just fired at the shot's source.

I cursed, smashing away a bolt round flying for my head. I needed to get into close combat to stop them firing at the others, but I couldn't. I knew I couldn't. Even if I did, even with my enhanced abilities there was no way I could take on four of the Emperor's finest for very long.

"Faleaseen!" I screamed through clenched teeth. "I could really use your help right now!"

There was no answer, nothing, as a bolt round managed to skim my shoulder, but luckily didn't detonate making me reel back. Utter agony and blood abruptly ran down the length of my arm.

I cried out but managed to keep my focus.

"Frig it!" I roared, giving up on trying to advance and purely devoted myself in deflecting the bolt rounds, sending countless of them hurtling away to detonate on the walls or floor.

Another shot skimmed me, glancing off my ribs, throwing me off my feet and to the floor.

Winded, gasping in agony, I kicked out my feet and was up again darting and winding through the fuselage to draw their fire. I wanted dearly to look back to how my comrades were faring, but frigging didn't dare.

For a split second the Space Marines seemed surprised at this, then concentrated their fire even more on me.

"You aren't going to kill any more of my friends!" I snarled. "You ugly, misshapen bastards!"

+Attelus!+ Karmen cried. +Everyone is off the flier now! Get back and down, now!+

"Why?" I snapped. "What the hell do you plan on doing?"

+Just do it!+

I threw myself to the floor, screaming at the pain it caused, just a nanosecond before the flier smashed suddenly through the left side wall and into the Space Marines. The impact rocked the whole tower to its very foundation. The integrity of the entire corridor had already weakened, cracked by the Lascannon fire or else this would've been impossible. The flier's momentum caused it to slide and screech briefly across the floor then crash out the opposite side of the corridor. It transformed into a hurtling fireball that plunged through the sky like a meteor, and I could see the now laughably small figures of the Marines falling along with it.

It all happened so quickly that it seemed they were there, then they just weren't.

Then the void shield flickered and disappeared.

+Move! Move!+ urged Karmen. +More of them will be here soon!+

Slowly, I picked myself up, still awed by it all as the others hurried passed me. I saw much to my surprise that both Verenth and the stormtrooper (Who I was ashamed to admit, I'd already forgotten the name of) had made it. Verenth was helping the medicae assistant, while the stormtrooper did the same for Helma.

Arlathan was now up, helping the somehow still alive and breathing Jelket. Darrance walked by too, looking unharmed besides his broken arm and was supporting Hayden, who seemed pale and pained. How the hell the sniper was still conscious after suffering his injury was beyond me.

Next was Adelana, she wheeled Karmen's bed, and I tried to meet her gaze, but her attention stayed firmly forward. Her mask of fearlessness was gone, and she looked terrified, completely, utterly terrified. I had a horrible feeling she was scared of me.

Lastly, it was Vex, and the old woman, both of them had Torris' arms laid across their shoulders. Her attention was to the floor, but Vex was looking at me.

"Remind me to never to punch you again," he said, raising his black bruised knuckles to me. "Still hurts like a frigger and after seeing you do that..."

I nodded nervously, after seeing what I'd just done. Dodging and deflecting all that, they must've thought I was some freak, that I was as unnatural as one of those Space Marines and I was, to an extent.

With a sigh, I deactivated my sword's power field and sheathed it, slipped my hands into the pockets of my pants and followed them.

I was entering through the crimson curtains when I heard the elevator open and turned to see another two Space Marines emerge.

One was wearing very modified power armour and carried a bolter, a large crane jutted from the top of his back, and I could see he had the cog on his left shoulder plate, announcing his allegiance to the Tech-Priests of Mars.

He must've been the one who had hacked the security of Taryst's personal elevator, that was how they'd been here before we'd arrived.

The other was in very ornate armour his left hand was a power claw, sheathed in dancing light. His right held a plasma pistol.

I smiled at them, and as they raised their weapons and opened fire, I'd already stepped through the curtains, and the void shield was activated.

+Yes, Attelus,+ said Karmen. +Taunt the Space Marines, such a good idea.+

I took out a lho stick, placed it in my mouth with index finger and thumb then lit it.

"Come on Karmen," I breathed, even though the very act of speaking hurt. "Allow me some fun in life, please."

Her reply was an exasperated sigh.

In silence, we rode the elevator down to Taryst's quarters. I sat alone in one of the corners trying to cope with the constant agony.

All of us were exhausted or injured in one way or another. I was both. There was a massive tear right through the skin and tissue, down to the bone in my left arm. But already, the blood had clotted despite the hideousness of the wound, frig it was agony. It seemed my bone had deflected the bolt before it could properly detonate or else I would've ended up just like poor Jelket.

Disarmed, literally, and I couldn't help but smile at the terrible joke.

The bolt round that had hit my side had torn a huge gash in my bodyglove; there, a horrific blue-black bruise was in plain sight. Again my wraithbone bone structure had deflected the shot before it blew a hole in my torso and before the kinetic force could pulp my internal organs into mush.

Adelana was kneeling next to the old woman who was curled up in pain against the opposite wall. I don't know what I'd broken when I'd thrown her, but she'd seemed to be able to cope with the pain it caused until now. She was quite a tough old bird; I had to admit. It didn't lessen the guilt I felt over hurting her, though I'd saved her life. I could've been a bit more gentle in the process. Guess I didn't know my own strength.

Adelana suddenly noticed I was looking at them and looked back at me with wide eyes.

I smiled at her and despite the pain it caused gave her a small wave, but much to my hurt she flinched and her eyes abruptly fell to the floor.

Arlathan approached, limping the way while clutching at his side then sat beside me but said nothing.

I sighed, "what, you think I'm some kind of freak as well?"

"No," he said, and my attention snapped to him, seeing it for the lie it was instantly.

Arlathan sighed too and with a pained grunt adjusted his seating, "yeah alright, maybe a bit. We all saw you do all that stuff, dodging all those frigging bullets. I've never seen anyone move nearly as fast as you. Then we saw you get hit not once but twice, but still get up and still keep going, that's just...that's just..."

"Impossible?" I said.

Arlathan only shrugged, "it's more, unnatural. How? How did you get that way?"

I hissed through clenched teeth and closed my eyes as a new wave of pain passed through me. I almost lost myself to sleep in that second; it was an act of tempered will just to open my eyes again.

"It's...It's a long story," I hissed. "I'll tell you later."

Arlathan looked pointedly at my arm, "and that wound. I was given basic medicae training in the scholarium, and that wound shouldn't have stopped bleeding, hell you should be unconscious from blood loss!"

"You say that with Jelket in the room," I growled. "Now can you leave me alone, it's pretty frigging obvious I don't want to talk about this right now, okay?"

"You were the one who brought it up," said Arlathan with a shrug he instantly regretted. "At least give me smoke, could really use one right now."

With a heavy sigh, I opened my case of Lhos and handed him one. I was getting low, only five were left.

Arlathan smiled, took it and I hesitantly lit it for him with my igniter.

"Think about this," Arlathan said as he exhaled smoke. "If I thought you were some; therefore, would I be sitting next to you, smoking your Lhos?"

"Yes," I said, without missing a beat.

Then we laughed, laughed like there was no tomorrow, laughed with the idiot joy that only those who knew they had survived something they shouldn't have survived, could. I laughed even though each time it hurt.

Our laughter drew all attention to us and took us a good half a minute for us to stop.

I looked at Adelana once finally done, her expression was one of bemused, gaping horror as she gazed at me. The old woman had regained some of herself as she smiled at us in understanding.

"I can't believe, we are still alive," gasped someone, and we looked to see it was the stormtrooper, he kneeled on the floor, his Hellgun pointed to the ceiling. "We should all be dead, Space Marines I can't believe it, I just can't..."

He trailed off in his sentence, then he turned to me, his expression unreadable beneath his helm, "all because of you."

I furrowed my brow, unsure what to make of his panicked tone and started to get to my feet, sensing something wrong, I reached for my sword.

The stormtrooper tore off his helmet revealing plain, ruddy features and short messy blonde hair stood up and abruptly approached, his heavy boots clanging across the metal floor.

Then he suddenly fell into a kneel.

"Surely you are blessed," he said. "Surely you are an avatar of the Emperor's will! To be able to move so fast and survive those bolt rounds, you truly must be. The God-Emperor must have sent you to protect us!"

I took a step back, utterly bewildered and Torris burst out in a bitter barking laugh, followed immediately by a horrid groan of pain.

"I'm not, I'm not," I stammered.

"Yes you must be!" he said on. "In the scholam, they taught us of the saints, ones said to be an embodiment of the God-Emperor himself, they taught us they fought with inhuman strength, speed; Iand endurance. Just the same as you."

I laughed nervously and realised everyone's attention was on me. Arlathan looked on with an amused smile. Adelana's expression was that of deep confusion, but I could see a bit of understanding glinting in her bright blue eyes, she too must've been wondering how I was able to do what I did and she must've thought his explanation made sense, the old woman had a very similar look. My heart sunk at such a thought.

Verenth's brow furrowed, and his arms folded over his chest as if the mere thought I could be the chosen of the Emperor made him want to break something, probably me.

Vex was sitting, arms wrapped around his knees, looking up at me through his glasses, his expression unreadable and yet again I was reminded how frigging young he was.

Torris seemed amused like Arlathan, but sarcastically, as though he knew that I was so far from being chosen by the Emperor the Stormtrooper couldn't have been any more mistaken.

And I wholeheartedly agreed with him.

"I'm not!" I snapped managing to regain my wits. "Get the frig up, now!"


"Get the frig up!" I yelled, anger abruptly overtaking me. "I don't even think the Emperor is even a god! I Haven't even been to an ecclesiarchy service for years! I'm the least pious person you could ever meet! You're so frigging mistaken it isn't funny! Now get the hell up!"

Again, the stormtrooper hesitated.

"Now!" I roared.

He slowly got to his feet, glaring at me balefully and almost nose to nose, "so, what are you then, huh?" he snarled through his teeth.

I said nothing, just glared back, a glare that said, 'someone who can kill you before you can blink, so shut up and back down.'

The stormtrooper did, spitting on the floor before retreating into a corner, his face foul.

I held back a sigh and turned away, trying to look discretely sidelong at Adelana, to see how she'd reacted to that. She watched me walk by, gaping up at me in what could've been awe or fear in equal measure.

The elevator then abruptly found the floor, shaking to a halt, before the doors slid swiftly open.

I was the first to step into that familiar white, brightly lit corridor, the cells lining the sides of the walls and couldn't help but blanch as I realised the others were going to see the corpses still in them.

Vex who was helping Halsin was the next out; then it was the stormtrooper with Helma and Verenth aiding Jelket. Last were the bewildered Adelana and old woman, pushing Karmen's bed I meant to ask what the woman's name was, but felt would've seemed rude.

I allowed the others to pass and fell in step with Adelana.

"I'm sorry, Adelana" I whispered to her. "I have no idea what you can make of all this."

She looked at me there tears were welling in her eyes, "I don't understand what's going on, Attelus," she hissed through clenched teeth. "Space Marines? Why are we here, why are they killing us? I heard you talking to yourself, or her," she nodded at Karmen as she laid lifeless on the bed. "You were saying something about this world dying soon and that you feel guilty about it, that at least when she dies she could escape her guilt, but you won't be able to, what did you mean by that? How were you able to hit the Marines gunshots with your sword and dodge them? If you aren't chosen by the Emperor, then how were you able to do all of that? The way you said it, it seemed you knew for a complete fact that you weren't and she's a psyker, how did she become part of this organisation? I...I...I."

She looked like she was going to have a panic attack and I reached out to comfort her, but abruptly drew it back as I thought better. I barely knew her, she barely knew me, I didn't know if it'd be appreciated.

"I'm sorry Adelana," I sighed and shook my head. "I will tell you everything soon, I swear I will, but I will say this. This is reality; this is the era we live in, there is only war, Adelana. There may not have been war on Omnartus, nor most worlds in the Calixis sector but it is always somewhere. It has found you; I'm sorry to say, as it had found me, as it has found countless upon of others. Trillions before us and more to come. I'm sorry, so, so sorry."

She looked at me, a sad almost sympathetic smile on her face, that seemed to say, 'what happened to you that made you like this? Whatever it was, I am sorry.'

I looked away, unable to stand her pity.

"What's the password?" growled the stormtrooper, he stood at the keypad, his eyes hooded sullenly and looking at me. Everyone else looked into the cells with wide-eyed horror."

I cleared my throat, "it's j-garrakson."

The stormtrooper raised an eyebrow, but that was that as he turned away and typed it in. The door swished open, and he flinched in slight fright.

"Vex!" I said, he was staring into the cell that contained Interrogator Heartsa's corpse. He instantly snapped from his stupor and looked at me.

"What?" he asked dumbly.

"Get onto Taryst's cogitator," I said, even though I knew he knew what we expected of him. "Hack it and get all the data you can."

Vex nodded, and we filed into the small room. Jelket was placed on the bed along with the Halsin and Helma, while the rest of us milled around the room. I fought the urge to join them and my eyelids from closing.

Vex pulled out a miniature cogitator from a bag slung under his shoulder, pulled out a cord and connected it into the giant black table and began to type into it loudly.

I leaned my back against the wall and began to take out my ceramic case of Lhos. Then I caught Adelana looking at me again from the other side of the room, still with that damnable smile and she didn't look away when I looked back.

I wanted to tell her to keep her pity to herself but felt it was more than I deserved from someone like her. But the more I saw, the more it didn't seem like pity; it was something else, something I couldn't place my finger on.

Before I could think more on it, Darrance walked up to me, "we have better take a look at that ship. You know where it is, there might be medicae facilities on it."

I nodded, pushed myself off the wall and walked for that small door. It slid open, and we began down the corridor lined with shelves holding many plasteek supply boxes.

"Attelus Xanthis Kaltos," said Darrance and it made me stop in my tracks and turn back.

"What did you just call me?" I said.

Darrance, shrugged, "your name, or has it been so long since you have heard it, that you have forgotten it?"

"Is that your idea of a joke?" I asked with genuine bemusement.

He shook his head, "you really don't know anything about me, do you?"

"No I don't," I said with an uncaring shrug and folding my arms across my chest.

"Just like I don't know how you became what you are now," he said. "But I do know that it all happened after that psyker had visited your medicae room. It seemed strange to me why Glaitis had made them keep you on life support for so long after the Twilight Bar incident, and now I know why. You were going to be her new little super assassin, that you were made, no. Engineered to be the one to finally kill your father. What did that psyker do to you, exactly? I saw frigging bolter rounds bounce off you. It has scared the others, but you know that already, right?"

"Yeah I know," I sighed and turned to start. "It's even more complicated than that, believe me."

"You just have to be careful," he said. "If an Inquisitor besides Brutis Bones sees that, they might have you captured and on an operating table before even you can blink, okay?"

"Good to know you care, Darrance!" I said with a slight wave of my hand still walking and keeping my back to him. "I'll keep that in mind."

"You bloody well better!" he snapped at my back.

The small door slid open, and I stepped into the hanger. The massive ship loomed over me and dominated the place. Weapons bristled all over it; there was a Lascannon on each wing, three high yield heavy bolter turrets, one on top, one on the bottom and one on the back. Lastly was a Plasma cannon set underneath the nose.

It was streamlined and smooth, made for speed as well as comfort, thirty metres long and a good sixteen wide, excluding the wings which were both about half the length of the body. I couldn't identify what design it was or make; I didn't have much knowledge in such subjects. But I could tell it would easily transport us all no problem.

I just hoped it was warp travel capable, Glaitis' ship in orbit had warp drives, a Geller field all of it, assuming it was even still there, with the vox down there was no way to know.

The door swished open behind me, and I heard Darrance let out a long whistle.

"Nice," he said, and I looked over my shoulder at him.

"What's nice?" I asked.

"Why the ship of course," he said. "A Salvani class VIII Guncutter, I can see Taryst spared no expense and had a good taste while at it."

"A Guncutter?" I said. "So, not warp capable?"

Darrance snorted and shook his head with an amused smile then approached the ship, rubbing his hand on it's sheened metal surface.

"A ship this size isn't even slightly large enough to house a warp drive let alone a Geller field, too," he said. "You show your ignorance spectacularly."

I pursed my lips and shrugged, feeling he was merely stating a fact rather than trying to insult me.

"We all can't know everything about everything," I said.

It was Darrance's turn to shrug, but he said nothing, so enraptured by the Guncutter.

"It'll have an internal medicae capability, right?" I said. "If this ship is so frigging super special awesome and all."

"Yeah," he said while beginning to walk around the ship, gaping in awe.

I had no idea that Darrance was so into ships, he would've been the last person I could've imagined being interested in such a subject.

"I would even say the medicae facility would even be automated," he said, after a long pause. "I would suggest you get the psyker and the other injured here."

"She has a name, you know," I said.

"I'm sure she does," he said almost wistfully, still keeping his back to me, still sliding his hand across the Guncutter.

"Fine," I said. "Be that way, then."

I turned to walk away when the door suddenly slid open, and Adelana stepped into the hanger.

"Oh, hi!" I said and felt a smile unintentionally crossing my face.

She smiled back, but it didn't reach her eyes, "Vex sent me, he's managed to get into the cogitator's vox system. We've received a communique, and she wants to talk to you."

I nodded, she looked very visibly scared all of a sudden.

"Yes," she said, shivering despite the warmth in here. "She said...She said that she was an Inquisitor."

Adelana, Darrance and I emerged back into the quarters.

Everyone who could still stand was crowded around the cogitator desk gazing down at the large display. It was now showing the image of the head and shoulders of; I woman wearing black, ornate power armour. Her skin was a dark, chocolate brown and her blue eyes incredibly piercing that suggested they were extremely advanced augmetics. Her long, thin white hair tied into a top knot.

I stepped into view of the display the others stepping aside to allow me in.

The woman's eyes narrowed as she saw me.

"You are Attelus Kaltos," she said, her voice boomed from the speaker, it was the confident voice of someone who was a leader, a true leader and who knew it but didn't revel in this knowledge. It was a statement, not a question.

I managed a nod, and she smiled, it was a sensual smile, but it wasn't pleasant at all. It was almost predatory.

"Yes," she said. "Wesley had told me much about you in his reports. I apologise, allow me to introduce myself. I am Inquisitor Jelcine Enandra of the Ordo Hereticus."

She held up a Rosette, briefly, casually as though such a thing didn't give her power and influence beyond measure.

"I have just arrived in the system," she said. "I have brought with me ten ships of the Calixis battlefleet and they are about to engage the Space Marines."

I involuntarily flinched as some of the others suddenly let out a cheer.

Their elation didn't last long as Enandra's expression darkened and said, "I doubt they will last long, though, they are merely a distraction."

"A distraction?" said Arlathan. "A distraction for what?"

She sighed, "a distraction for your escape. My personal ship, the Audacious Edge is built for battle and stealth, and we have entered the system undetected. We are orbiting the blind spot of the local star. It is at great risk that I am talking to you now."

"How?" said Darrance. "How did you get this frequency?"

Her eyes narrowed again, but in bemusement, "Wesley gave it to me in one of his astropathic messages, he never told you that?"

"No," I said and wondered how the hell he got it in the first place, he seemed to have neglected to tell us a lot before his death.

+I gave it to him,+ said Karmen. +I gave him this frequency, I knew Taryst had a high powered vox situated down here, one capable of interplanetary communication. I felt that the reinforcements he sent for would need to know it, although I didn't believe it would amount to anything. Obviously, I was wrong.+

'Wesley also told us he never got any reply," I said. "Did you send anything back, mamzel?"

Enandra's eyes widened and straightened as if I'd asked the most stupid question in the verse.

"Yes, of course, I did," she said. "Where is he?"

"He's...He's dead," I answered hesitantly. "I'm sorry."

"Really?" she said but didn't seem at all upset by this, more surprised. "Always thought that old bastard was indestructible. Tell me later how and why he died, we don't have the time now. It's sad to hear; I was hoping he might be able to talk my former master down from this, rather disproportionate, retribution for Omnartus and it's people."

Adelana and the old woman looked at me then, looking very anxious all of a sudden.

"You two should get to the ship," Arlathan said to them. "Take Karmen with you, please."

They both nodded and hurriedly, they took Karmen's bed then left the room.

"Did I say something wrong?" said Inquisitor Enandra.

I hissed air through clenched teeth, "not everyone knows everything."

"Frig yeah we don't," said the Stormtrooper sullenly.

"What's happened to the System Defence Force ships?" said Arlathan.

"Already dead," stated Enandra. "Or to be more precise, destroyed. The Space Marines had lost none of theirs in the process, but a few were damaged. The Marine ships are all now in orbit, blockading the planet's air traffic and destroying the orbital platforms and soon, very soon they'll initiate the Exterminatus once the orbital battle is won."

"What about the surface to orbit defense turrets?" said Arlathan.

Enandra sighed again, "from what I understand, according to the PDF vox; he I have been monitoring, they seemed to have been...sabotaged."

"What?" said Arlathan his eyes wide with disbelief.

Then it hit me, "it might've been the Adeptus arbites!"

Enandra turned her head and said sceptically, "Adeptus arbites?"

I nodded and quickly relayed the events of their earlier ambush. It was rushed and abridged, and I withheld some details.

Enandra looked at me sidelong once I finished, her jaw clenched slightly. She could tell that I'd skipped some things but after a few seconds of pondering she eventually nodded.

"I see," she said. "After you had informed me of that, your theory does have some merit, that they are either under the influence of my former master, or Inquisitor Edracian but at this point, it matters little. Do you have a void capable ship?"

"Yeah," I said. "We also have a ship in orbit..."

"I don't care if you do!" Enandra interrupted me suddenly. "You are to go to my ship and none other! Any other ship is suicide at this point and besides."

She smiled but again it was that predatory and strangely sensual smile, "I would like to talk to all of you face to face, and I mean literally, so I can make sure you are..."

She paused and raised her eyes to whatever ceiling was over her, in mock, exaggerated imitation of someone struggling to find the right word to use.

"Proper," she said eventually.

"In all honesty, mamzel," I said, leaning close to the screen. "The way you said that, doesn't give us much incentive."

She laughed, and it was a genuine laugh, it was almost musical and couldn't help but like it, "yes I guess it wouldn't. I like you, boy. From what Wesley told me I knew I would like you, Attelus Xanthis Kaltos. Son of the infamous Serghar Kaltos, it seems you didn't inherit his anti-social qualities."

"You know my father?" I asked as I felt my face flush.

"No," she said, for the first time smiling genuinely. "I know of your father; there are very few within the Inquisition who do not."

"Of course there isn't," I sighed.

"Anyway, your ship has more than likely been destroyed anyway," she said, becoming sober and professional again.

"So, what happens now, mamzel Inquisitor?" said Verenth, his voice shaky.

"The Calixis battlefleet ships will be first engaging the Marine spacecraft in about half an hour," said Enandra. "They will be fully engaged another fifteen minutes after that, so I need for you to wait for that timeout then leave Omnartus. Fly for the local star and once you are ten thousand kilometres away send me a brief communique on this frequency. There I will give you the coordinates of the Audacious Edge. Then I will allow you to board and from then on wait it out until the Space Marines and my erstwhile master have left the system. Does that make any sense?"

"Wait, with respect mamzel Inquisitor," said Verenth and I couldn't help wince and hiss through clenched teeth. "Did you just say, 'wait it out until the Space Marines leave?'"

Enandra glared at him, her jaw twitching slightly, dangerously, "that isn't quite verbatim, but it's close. So, yes."

"Aren't we gonna do something?" he cried. "We can't just stand by and watch! They're gonna destroy my world!"

Enandra sighed, her eyes falling to the floor and for a second there was true despair on her attractive face.

"Yeah," she said as her gaze suddenly snapped back on us, a look of fiery determination on her face. "Yeah I do and if you don't want to there is another option. You have a weapon, you can use it on yourself, or I could do it for you. I'm sorry, I am. I wish it could've ended in another way, but it's too late. Just too late."

Verenth listened with wide, teary-eyed horror, his mouth gaping and I felt sorry for the Hammer.

"I must end this communique," said Inquisitor Enandra. "I have almost gone over the safe time gap already. I am sorry, I wish all of you luck and hope to see you soon."

Then the screen abruptly went blank.

For a long time, we were silent. The only sound, the pained moans, and groans of the injured.

The first one to find his head was Arlathan, "alright!" he snapped. "We've got three-quarters of an hour to get things ready! Attelus, Darrance, Verenth, Vark! You four get the heavily injured into the ship."

"What are you doing?" said a voice and we turned to see Helma was groggily getting off the bed, she was smiling at us. "Brutis Bones put me in charge, didn't he?"

"You shouldn't be up, captain!" cried Vark but she waved him off.

"I have been unconscious and useless for much of what has happened," she said. "I'm sorry, now it's about time I will be of use."

Helma turned away and hauled up Jelket by his good arm, then placed it across her shoulders,

"I heard what the Inquisitor had said," said the captain. "She's right; we can't stop this. But if we escape with all we know we can make sure that Etuarq will never be able to do it again."

She started to the door, and I held out my hand to offer help, but she shook her head in decline.

As she passed, I once again saw the enormous black bruise on the side of her skull and fought the urge to flinch at the sight of it. I had no idea how she was awake let alone moving.

I reached down and hauled up Hayden; he was the heaviest of the injured so thought it fitting I was the one to carry him.

"Well!" I said. "You heard the mamzel! We've got work to do."

It took us a good ten minutes to take the injured into the ship. The interior was almost beautiful, comfortable and well made. Soft, red carpet with slight gold lining was on the floor the walls were cream, curling waves produced from thin lines of gold. The corridors were as thin as any other ship its size but seemed slightly wider because of the decoration. Darrance was with, he seemed to know the ship's layout and showed us to the medicae area. We laid Hayden, Jelket on two of the four gurneys while Torris who was still conscious laid himself down. The two servitors which staffed it immediately began to treat their wounds. Darrance left for the cockpit claiming he needed to 'get to know the controls.' Or something.

In all honesty, I wasn't sure if I was at all comfortable with Darrance piloting, but kept this thought to myself.

I wandered off to explore; I found the lines of small personal quarters, near the medicae area, eight of them on the lowest level of the ship, all of them a good size and luxurious. Then the engine room at the other end.

I ascended the stairs into the large common room, kitchen and found both Adelana and the old woman were there. The old woman's torso was covered in bandages, and they sat in silence in the corner, on one of the large comfortable couches. Adelana seemed to be staring out into space, looking hunched and defeated, my black flak jacket laid crumpled on the floor at her feet. The old woman was asleep, her head hung forward, and her snoring reverberated through the room.

For a few seconds, I stood, looking at Adelana and admired yet again just how attractive the young redhead was. Quickly, I decided not to disturb them and turned to walk up the stairs I assumed led to the cockpit.

"What's going to happen, Attelus?" Adelana asked abruptly, making me stop in my tracks.

I turned back to her, but I had no idea what to say, what to do.

Then again she started to cry, "how?" she cried. "How could this happen?"

My attention fell to the floor.

"My world!" she yelled. "Is my world really going to die?"

All I could manage was a slight nod; I saw no reason to lie anymore.

"But why?" she whimpered. "Why?"

I didn't answer, couldn't answer.

"What's going to happen to my friends? My family? My mother, my father, my little brother and sister? Can't we save them?"

I only shuffled my feet.

She shuddered with tears and looked away.

"Why? Why did you save me?" she cried her face abruptly turning into a mask of anger. "Why have you brought me here?"

"I thought..."

"No! I bet you didn't think!" she snarled. "You never stopped to consider what I wanted. Was it because I was nice to you? Talked to you? Are you really that pathetic? You said that this was reality, this was the 41st millennium, that there is only war. What if I didn't want to know that? What if I wanted to live in ignorance? What if I wanted to die in ignorance?"

"It's not just that," I murmured, fighting back the tears starting to well in my own eyes.

"What?" Adelana snapped.

"It's not just that!" I cried, my hands curling into fists at my sides and just then Helma, Verenth and Vark walked into the room. "...It's not just that."

"What is it then?" she yelled.

"I'm...I'm not a good person, Adelana," I said. "I've killed a lot of people, and I'm going to continue killing a lot of people."

I pursed my lips and gave Helma, Verenth and Vark a glance.

"When I met you Adelana, when we talked, it lent me a new perspective," I paused. "No, sorry it renewed an old perspective. I'd just been through hell, but you, talking to you made what I'd went through, worth it because it assured me that there were good people out there worth fighting for and worth dying for. Even though this galaxy is a horrid, dark place and I've seen the worst of it, I believe that you deserve to live and..."

"So, you wanted to save me, just because it inspires you?" she interrupted, sounding horrified.

"N-no, that's not what I meant," I stammered. "I couldn't save Omnartus, hell I couldn't even save your friends! I...I."

I stopped and sighed, "no, no you're right, Adelana. I brought you here for selfish reasons, I never even considered how you would feel about. I was warned, but I didn't listen. I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry."

"Go away!" she screamed, and the abruptness made me flinch in fright. "Get away from me!"

"I'm sorry."

"Don't even talk to me!" she roared. "Leave me alone you selfish bastard! I hate you."

I recoiled at her fury, nodded then turned and started toward the exit. The others moved aside to let me past.

I paused at the peak of the stairs and looked over my shoulder at her, "I still intend on telling you the truth, Adelana," I said. "When the time is right, of course. I'll tell you everything I know, and once you know it, you will have a new purpose, a reason to live. You can hate me all you like, and I understand if you do, but please don't hate me. I was selfish and idiotic, without a shadow of a doubt, but that's because I'm only human. I'm a flawed, idiotic human. But hate, hate, Adelana is the worst emotion us humans possess. It has been the source of so many of our problems; it can be manipulated by those who know how. It can twist and contort and drive good people like you into becoming monsters. Monsters like me, like my master, like the man who has ordered the death of this world, like my father. So I ask you not to hate me, not because I don't want you to hate me, but for yourself, for your humanity and your sanity. I hope you can one day forgive me, Adelana. I truly hope you can, but I'd understand if you can't."

She continued to glare at me, her expression still set in anger, but I could see in her sea blue eyes, that she'd understood what I'd just said.

I turned and started down the stairs, ignoring the others as they watched me leave.

"I'm sorry," I said under my breath, finally letting the tears to flow down my face freely.

In sullen silence, I went to the medicae servitors and had one bandaged my arm then applied soothing salve to my ribs while I smoked my last Lhos as I winced and hissed with the pain.

+Attelus?+ Karmen said as I was in the midst of slipping my body glove back on.

"What do you want, Karmen?" I growled.

+I heard what you said to that Adelana girl.+

"Of course you did," I sighed.

+Now are you aware of what Glaitis tried to make you into?+


+Do you remember what I said to you in this bunker a day ago?+

"You said quite a few things back then," I said. "Elaborate."

+I said I was here to save from losing your sanity,+ she said. +Like I had back in the ruins of Varander seven years ago, do you remember that?+

"Yes I do," I said. "And I'll always appreciate what Estella Erith did for me back all those years ago, no matter how much she has changed. I needed you back then when I was a stupid teenager..."

+But you don't need that now,+ she finished. +I don't know how you managed to keep your sanity after all you've been through in the last few months.+

I laughed suddenly, bitterly, "how do you know I'm still even sane, Karmen? What does that even mean? Is there some indelible line between sanity and insanity? Torris had said that I suffered from something called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That doesn't sound sane to me!"

She didn't reply.

"No, I think you need me more than I need you," I said. "The woman that was once so caring and kind is now a woman who can callously control and have thousands of people slaughtered..."

I paused and sighed, "the woman I'd once loved, now I know she is capable of such acts."

+I...I won't try to justify what I've done, Attelus+ she said, her voice breaking with utter sadness. +I'll just say I did what I believed I had to, that none of us would be here right now if I didn't do it. But you are right it is morally wrong.+

Yet again I sighed and remembered the saying, 'anything and everything to win,' Karmen had adhered to it too it's most logical extreme. She was the embodiment of pragmatism; she was far stronger than I could ever claim to be. Karmen showed the dark side of that philosophy, the philosophy I've always tried to live to, I hoped that I wouldn't wind up that way.

But was sacrificing all those men worth it? Just to save the few of us? Just because of the meagre knowledge we know. In all honesty, I wasn't sure.

Inquisitor Enandra also adhered to that, sacrificing all those ships, all those Navy personnel, so that we could escape the fate of Omnartus. A fate we had a hand in causing. I should've felt privileged I suppose, but it made me feel sick more than anything else.

+Do you hate me?+ she said, interrupting my train of thought. +Do you hate me, Attelus Kaltos?+

"No," I said without a second's hesitation. "Do you think I'd hate you after what I'd told Adelana? That'd make me the biggest hypocrite in the millennia-long history of hypocrites. So no I don't, I won't."

She sighed with palpable relief.

+But you don't love me anymore?+

"No," I said, it was a lie, but it was one of those few lies that needed to be told. "I can't, I'm sorry."

Her reply was silence.

I left the Guncutter and walked back to Taryst's quarters. Only Arlathan and Vex were still there, and both glanced up at me as I entered. Vex was knelt in front of his portable cogitator his fingers a blur as they worked over the keyboard while Arlathan stood over him, leaning forward to watch Vex work. I was surprised the temperamental little teenager would put up with that.

"How goes it?" I asked, trying to attempt to hide my severe depression under a mask of fake cheer.

"As good as it can go with such a short time limit," said Vex sullenly. "I have managed to hack in, and I am uploading as much data as I can into my cogitator, but it's all frigging encrypted. It's an encryption code I've never seen before. I'm hoping that I can find something, anything I can use to decrypt it."

I sighed and scratched the back of my head, "I know that the sniper, Hayden Tresch is also pretty good with cogitators. He'd hacked into the Adeptus Arbites data stream a few months ago; he'd have been able to help you if he wasn't fighting for his life right now."

Vex shrugged, "I wouldn't want his help anyway, I am Vex Carpompter. Vex Carpompter doesn't need any help."

"Don't be stupid," I said, folding my arms across my chest. "Everyone needs help from time to time. You needed help from sergeant Garrakson so you could effectively punch me in the face. I've needed help on numerous occasions to survive many of my battles."

Vex shot me a withering glare, "that is all to do with physical violence. When Vex Carpompter works with data, Vex Carpompter does not need help!"

I shared a bemused look with Arlathan who smiled and said, "Vex Carpompter better stop referring to himself in the third person. It makes Vex Carpompter sound like a complete arsehole."

Vex let out an animalistic growl. "Okie frigging dokie!" he snarled through gritted teeth. "Just shut up and let me concentrate, okay?"

I smiled and shook my head; if I was even half as skilled in something at the same age as Vex. I'd have been almost as arrogant as him.

On second thought, perhaps not, I could've been classed as a master swordsman at seventeen. I guessed the difference between him and me would've been that I didn't know I was as good as I was. Vex knew he was, his skills were in huge demand, in fact, he'd probably earned more thrones in his short life than I would in decades. Also, I'd never intended to use my martial arts and fighting abilities besides being a mere hobby.

I was just another killer, an effective one but still only one among billions upon billions of others. Now Vex, he was one of the very few who held such skill outside the Adeptus Mechanicus, and I couldn't help but wonder, how he'd gained such knowledge, especially at such a young age.

We acquiesced his request, Arlathan and I wandered the room in silence as we waited for Vex to finish his work.

I kept glancing at my wrist chron, seeing the remaining fifteen minutes quickly whittle away. Every once in a while Vex would announce some set back with another animal roar of frustrated rage, and he hit the floor with his fists.

It wasn't until one minute remained when we heard something other than an utterance of anger from the young Hacker. It was a whoop of triumph.

"Got you, you son of a bitch!" he cried. "I've got you!"

"What did you get?" I asked as I approached.

"This!" exclaimed Vex, pointing at a line of code that looked like all the others to me. "This will allow me to decrypt the data! It's all binary, but binary made in numbers from another language! I see it's Cartharsian! A language from..."

"Yes, that's all well and good and all," interrupted Arlathan. "But how much data did you get, exactly?"

"As much as my miniature cogitator's memory core is able to hold," he said, the sullen tone returning. "Only about two hundred years worth, if I didn't have to leave my main cogitator behind..."

"Oh shut up!" snapped Arlathan. "We couldn't bring those with us even if we weren't running from Space Marines! Two hundred years will have to do, now come on! We've got to go!"

"But I still have to decrypt it!" Vex whined.

"Can you do that later?" I growled.


"Well then do it later!"

Pouting his lips in anger, Vex abruptly tore out the cord and climbed to his feet.

Arlathan grabbed Vex by the arm as the hacker closed the cover of his portable cogitator and we moved quickly out the door. Most of the plasteek supply crates had been taken off the shelves, carried into the ship I assumed.

"So," said Vex as he tore his arm from Arlathan's grip. "What happens now?"

"Now," I said. "Now we're onto the hard part."
Last edited by Adrassil on Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:03 pm

*Author's Note the part when Attelus tells of the man saying he was beautiful was based on something that happened to me, being an unrepentant author avatar, thought I would throw in more stuff that has happened to me.

I walked with Arlathan and Vex on my flanks, up to the cockpit. I fought the urge to look at Adelana as I passed by her but I could sense that her eyes were on me.

I entered the cockpit, finding Darrance was still at the controls, it was quite large, with five seats. Verenth was at the sensor screen, Helma sat at the console of the Lascannon and Vark, the Plasma cannon.

"Everyone's on board," I said as I took the co-pilot's seat. "You ready to take off?"

"Yes," he stated, and I'd never heard him sound so serene. "I have gotten used to the controls. I'll be able to handle this."

"I had no idea you could pilot voidcraft," I said. "It's mighty bloody convenient if you ask me."

Darrance snorted and with quick hands began to push buttons and flick seemingly random knobs around and said, "you have no idea about anything, Attelus."

I frowned and furrowed my brow and heard the others chuckling at my expense.

The Guncutter shook and abruptly lifted off the ground, making my stomach sink in sympathy.

Darrance took the wheel with his one good hand, his broken one was not in a caste and a sling, "if you really must know I am the son of a long line of voidship builders, a dynasty if you will. My father taught me from a very young age how to control them, I was his eldest son and was in line to take over from him when he died..."

He grimaced and left it at that.

"Look up," said Darrance and I did.

Above us the ceiling clanked and crunched loudly with the sound of moving gears, then it began to open. Then other gates to open after that, countless of them. Lights abruptly switched on, one at each corner, in quick succession, all the way up the gigantic shaft. Revealing just how dizzyingly high it went. How the hell Taryst had managed to build this in secret was anyone's guess.

Slowly we began to take off, the only sound which accompanied it was a slight hum, followed by a whir as the landing gear retracted into the ship's belly.

"Here we go," said Darrance as the main thrusters fired up and slowly, carefully we began to ascend. The shaft was far wider than the Guncutter, but I could see Darrance's brow furrowed in concentration

He noticed I was looking and snapped, "it's been a while, okay? And one of my arms is broken! I am not at my best!"

I shrugged, "well, you're doing better than I would."

Darrance looked at me as though I'd just said the basest of insults, then turned away, "you are annoying me, apprentice," he said. "Could you go somewhere else? I would suggest you take control of one of the heavy bolter turrets. Take the time to get to know the controls before we engage."

"You think that we're gonna engage the enemy?" I asked.

Darrance shrugged, "this ship has stealth capability," he said. "This Taryst was a smart bastard it must've cost him a fortune, but an escape craft like this would most certainly need one. I hope it'll work, but knowing our luck…"

He let it hang.

"Can I stay here?" I said, attempting not to sound too pleading.

"What? Are you scared of that Adelana girl?" he said. "I would be if I were you, but you're just going to have to get over it, now go away."

I frowned but even still, got off my chair and left with a sigh.

I sat at the Heavy Bolter turret, leaning forward in the chair. I hadn't bothered to even look at the controls or watch the wall of the shaft speed by me.

When I sat down, the depression hit me, overcome my mindset like a grain of sand engulfed by a tsunami. The ache of my wounds had returned too, along with the exhaustion and my stomach roiled with horrific sickness.

A world was going to die, and it was my fault, I was manipulated but that somehow just made it worse. It was my selfishness, cowardice and sense of self-preservation that made me take that pict if I'd been stronger if I'd just seen through 'Edracian's' lies.

That was the thing, though how was I supposed to know it'd lead to such severe consequences? Edracian was an Inquisitor, he was supposed to have the good of the Imperium, and it's people at heart. Not the destruction of an entire world, a hub world, a world of billions. When Omnartus dies it'll take much of the sub-sector with it; many more will die as those worlds will be engulfed in chaos.

Perhaps 'chaos' there had a double meaning.

I punched the wall with a backfist and ignored the pain arcing through my hand as a consequence. Why! Why didn't this Torathe see it? What could drive a man to do this? Order the destruction of an entire bloody world just because his daughter was killed. It was insane! He must be insane!

Completely insane!

"Attelus?" said a deep voice and I instantly recognised who it belonged too.

My teary-eyed attention snapped to Torris, as anger suddenly hit me.

"What do you want?" I snarled. "Are you here to accuse me of manipulating Jeurat again? I don't need this! Haven't I had enough for today? Haven't I?"

Torris said nothing and his beaten, bandaged face showed no anger, but this didn't negate my own.

"Just go away," I growled. "I've enough to take responsibility for things I've done, and I won't take responsibility for something that I haven't."

Torris sighed, "I have no idea what you must be feeling right now, and I have no idea what to say. I can't say that you're not somewhat responsible for this, because I'm sorry to say, you are. But kid, don't give up, you said it yourself, this is just the start of a long road, a road as long as the galaxy's length, Roldar had told me you'd said that. If you can't save Omnartus, you can save other worlds; you can stop this Etuarq from destroying any more. I've seen what you're capable of and I know if anyone can do it, it's you."

Then anger lit his large, bulging eyes, "now maybe you did manipulate Garrakson, maybe you didn't. But frig what that arse Arlathan Karkin said, my instinct tells me you at least tried to, and I've learned to trust my instinct. But either way, it doesn't matter, does it? We're onto something far bigger than that, far bigger than all of us. So, kid, I'll be behind you, I'll have your back."

"So, what does that mean, exactly?" I said.

Torris didn't answer at first as if weighing up his words before he finally said.

"You saved my arse back in the tower, I owe you that's what it means," he said coldly. "But get your head together, If we're going to escape you sitting around mopping isn't going to help us. Get on that emplacement and be ready, I'm on the other one. Good luck."

The large ex-arbitrator turned his back on me and walked off.

I rubbed my eyes and tried to blink away the tiredness. He was right, damn it, too many had died today because of my mistakes. I might be immortal, but the others on this ship weren't, as far as I knew, anyway.

The internal vox crackled, and there was a chime, announcing a call.

"Everyone stand ready," said Darrance. "We're about to exit the shaft, into open skyline in approximately thirty seconds. I am turning on the ship's stealth field. If anyone is at all religious, I suggest you begin praying. If you aren't, do something of actual worth, please. Thank you."

I jerked upright, quickly beginning to look at the controls and I couldn't help wonder, why the hell hadn't Taryst slaved servitors to them?

We emerged out the shaft and into the open sky. The view which greeted me was familiar, again the mountain range piercing through the thick brown-black clouds of pollution. I realised I loved that view and was going to miss it dearly. It showed that even on a world as dirty and horrible as Omnartus there could still be some beauty. Just as Adelana showed me that even in a horrible, idiotic race like humanity there could still be truly beautiful, kind people among us.

Was it selfishness that I wanted to save her because of that? I guessed it was, and what was going to happen to her after she sees her world die? If she didn't take her own life, would she become like me? Or like, Emperor forbid, Karmen Kons?

Would saving her, just kill her in another way? I hoped not, but I doubted it wouldn't. The destruction of my city and the subsequent lengths I had to go to survive in those ruins was enough to set me on this dark path.

I sighed and took the controls of the heavy bolter turret as I watched the sky fly by. Relaxed despite my dark thoughts and the depression threatening to overwhelm me completely, but this didn't last long as the vox beeped and crackled again.

"Whoever's been praying, please know it's a load of crap because we've got two enemy gunships, closing in from the west," said Darrance. "Be prepped for evasive manoeuvres, please."

I activated my vox link, "you think they've detected us?"

"No," said Darrance. "But be ready…"

The explosion suddenly rocked the ship, missing my turret pod by only a few metres and making me flinch in fright.

"Shit! Shit! Shit!" Darrance snapped as I felt the Guncutter veer left abruptly

"What?" I yelled. "How did they detect us?"

"I think they were waiting for us," said Darrance. "The stealth capabilities protect us from their scanners, but not from visual, now shut up and let me concentrate!"

"Of course they were," I sighed, cut the link and looked at my turret's scanner. The enemy ships weren't within range, but I still swung around to face the bastards as we banked through Lascannon fire in seemingly chaotic turns and twists.

I could see them, slightly, a pair of big, boxy unwieldy looking craft that seemed more like troop carriers than fighters. I clenched my teeth and fought the urge to open fire, knowing ammo would be limited and zoomed in with the turret's view display a harder action than usual as the craft constantly swayed and weaved. The Lascannon fire was almost a constant stream now, but the Guncutter was an extraordinarily sleek, agile, and it was apparent Darrance was a fantastic pilot. Even with one hand almost literally tied behind his back.

But yet the bastards were gaining; I could tell this even without the distance metre on the display.

We were slowed by dodging their fire but also they would've had larger engines, they were like a charging Grox, fast but less manoeuvrable. Our ship was more like a Gazzeller an animal native to my world, a light, nimble herbivore. Unlike them, we both had the teeth of carnivores.

We dived abruptly as the enemy ships closed in more, dived a good thirty degrees pushing me hard into my seat with a grunt.

With surprising agility the gunships followed us, their lascannons blaring and blaring. Darrance made the ship turn and twist through it.

My stomach dropped and kept on dropping as the ship kept diving and diving for what felt like forever. I clenched my teeth, trying to fight against the g-forces pushing me into my seat.

Then I heard a chime from my rangefinder and looked to see the enemy ships were finally within range. Their greater weight allowed them to catch up in decent; I still couldn't understand, why Darrance was doing this?

I saw bolter fire erupt from the turret underneath mine and it brought me into reality then I opened up with mine. The muffled Chug! Chug! chug! Sound and the slight kick which shuddered up my arms was more than a little satisfying.

The enemy gunships barely moved from my sights, besides the normal slight, constant shuddering and juddering. I couldn't tell whether any of my rounds hit and doubted they did. My display showed me the direction of the wind and its speed, but it was hard to look at that while getting crushed by the g-forces and shooting.

But of course now they were within range of our bolters, so was the same for theirs. Bolter rounds suddenly showered from their noses. Not even Darrance could dodge such a concentration of fire as it smashed and ricocheted off the Guncutter's hull.

I cursed and flinched as a few collided into the window of my turret, which made my brow furrow and with a roar fired with even more determination. Then the Guncutter suddenly slowed, slowed so much that the looming gunships came so close it was almost impossible for me to miss, I could see my bolter shots shower across their snouts ineffectually, I would've even seen the pilots through their windows if they weren't tinted black. Their fire rained on our hull with such consistency the clanging almost became one sound, but the lascannons set on the wings were too close to finishing us properly. Then they passed by us.

"Everyone brace!" Darrance yelled a mere half a second warning before the Guncutter abruptly turned, almost a ninety-degree angle that would've thrown me off my seat if I wasn't harnessed in. Then I heard the familiar sound of a Lascannon firing The sight of the brown-black clouds was gone, replaced by a terrifyingly close view of Omnartus' skyline, I could see in great detail the towers and tell if they were made of plastcrete or rockcrete and the airships continually streaming through the sky. I only managed to see this for a nanosecond, before blacking out.

The sound of triumphant whooping over the internal vox speakers caused me to come too.

"One is down!" Darrance yelled, sounding uncharacteristically ecstatic.

I couldn't feel anything besides horrific sickness and see nothing but a blur, then vomited hard onto the floor.

"Good, good now what?" I asked no one in particular while wiping away the sick still on my chin with a forearm.

My vision finally managed to clear, and again greeted by the fathomless view of the brown-black pollution clouds. There was no sign of any pursuing ships.

I activated my vox, "what the hell just happened?" I asked as another wave of nausea hit me, making me retch.

"I killed one and lost the other," Darrance informed as though it'd been the simplest task in the galaxy.

"How?" I managed.

"I'll explain later," he said. "You with your rather simple mind won't be able to comprehend it right now, let's just say that the manoeuvre I just pulled was one even the Adeptus Astartes would find hard. The internal dampers are state of the art in this thing; not many ships could pull that off without crushing its occupants into pulp. We'll be flying in the pollution for a good ten minutes or so; we need to gain as much space as possible before we ascend and leave orbit."

I nodded, even though he couldn't understand such an acknowledgement.

"Get someone else to man this turret," I said, sounding angrier than intended, but I didn't care and switched off my vox link.

I would've asked him never to do that again, but that'd probably just encourage the bastard.

With shaking hands I took off my restraint and slipped off my seat then stumbled toward the living area, I needed to see if Adelana was okay.

Adelana was as it'd turned out, she and the old woman were strapped into pullout seats, both looked a little dazed and vomit was on the carpet in front of them. I didn't dare approach or say anything to them for fear of facing Adelana's wrath again.

The servitor from the kitchen was cleaning their mess, and I hoped it'd do the same to the rest of the ship. I turned back and walked down the stairs, that was when the exhaustion hit me, like a punch between the eyes. I stumbled the rest of the way down and turned toward the living quarters. I turned into the first I found and threw myself roughly onto the bed. I needed to rest, I needed…

Instantly, I fell into a fitful sleep.

I found myself in a desert, no not quite a desert it was once a city, a great city with towers almost as tall as those on Omnartus. Now sand dominated it all, covering almost everything but it wasn't ordinary sand, it was coloured the ruby red crimson of blood. The intense sun beat down from a cloudless sky; it would've been blinding if it weren't for the tinted visor of my helm. The stark contrast was unsettling; the beautiful, almost normal sky seemed strange against the cruel nature of the blood-stained sand.

I wore a cameleoline cloak over my synskin body glove and black flak jacket; both wavered with the strong, hot wind. I could feel my bodyglove's internal fans working hard to keep me cool from the sweltering heat, and I held a silenced bolter of ornate but understated design, my powersword sheathed at my hip. It all felt so real, so very real even though I knew it was a dream.

A figure fluttered and appeared at my side, I turned to see it was a woman, but she wore a very similar armour set up to me so couldn't tell who she was. Then I glimpsed a few strands of red-gold hair hanging from underneath her helmet.

"Adelana!" I said with wide eyes.

Her helmeted head tilted slightly in bemusement, "yes it's me, you'd ordered us to split up and meet back here at this time, why are you surprised?"

I shook my head to try to find myself, "I uh, hello, how are you?"

"I'm alright," she said, uncertainly. "Or as alright as I can be in the circumstances, are you...alright?"

All I could manage was a nod, and she walked past me, and I couldn't help but have my gaze wander down to her wonderfully shapely arse, easily seen beneath her tight, grey bodyglove. We stood in a very tall, shattered building, a huge hole had been torn through the wall, it was almost perfect, unsettlingly rectangular, it surrounded the view like the frame of a painting by some sick, depraved artist.

Adelana stopped to stand near the ledge, her back still to me, her lasgun held loosely, confidently in her grasp.

"I hope you do know, she will forgive you, even after you tell her the truth, the whole truth," she said suddenly. "It'll take some time, but she will."

"Adelana," I said, taking a step toward her, but she was suddenly gone, replaced by the overly tall and esoterically armoured Farseer Faleaseen, who turned back to me.

"Do you mean that?" I said.

"Of course," she said, gazing over the scenery, her thin arms clasped behind her back. "I promised you that I would tell the truth and I meant it."

"What is this?" I asked, trying to hide the joy bubbling within me.

"The future," she said. "Or a potential future, I again will be honest with you, Attelus Xanthis Kaltos. I can see some of the future, but to me and all my kind, it is all in pieces. Like what you humans would call a jigsaw puzzle, we must be piece it together part by part. We find tiny snippets, but we cannot gather it into any consistency. This is one of many, but one of the most recurring I find for you when I search your thread."

"When are we?" I said. "Where are we?"

Faleaseen shrugged a strangely human motion. "I do not know, that is one of the many problems my fellow seers face, and I face. This could be five years in the future, or it could be two hundred for all I know. Sometimes I see this vision, and the Adelana human is not with you. Sometimes it is instead Arlathan Karkin, sometimes it is Marcel Torris, more rarely it is Karmen Kons, but it is most commonly, Adelana. Where is it? Perhaps you can guess that better than I. This is a Mon'keigh city; it could be any Mon'keigh city of the countless cities which infest this galaxy. They all look the same to me. What sets this one apart is I sense the warp here, it is truly infused into every grain of sand, every inch of rockcrete and steel. In the earth hidden beneath the sand. I do not know why you are here nor how."

"And to me too," I breathed, and the city abruptly shimmered and shattered into a bright white nothingness which in turn changed into what I recognised as the bridge of a gothic, Imperial ship. There were corpses everywhere laid over the consoles, the floor, the walls, the seats. They were all human, but some were ship crew, some were warriors, some ship menials and servitors. There were too many of the dead to count. I stood in almost knee deep blood.

"This is another recurring vision," said Faleaseen, who I'd almost forgotten was near, being so horrified by the scene. "Again, I do not know where this is, nor when but I have a feeling this one is close, very close to coming into fruition."

I nodded and regained a measure of my thoughts, "I don't understand," I said.

"Don't understand, what?" said Faleaseen as she started to circle the room, stepping over and around the corpses with her long limbs inhuman grace, not touching one even slightly.

"Why are you communicating with me now?" I said. "Why weren't you able to help me against the Space Marines? Like you had when we'd fought Edracian before."

Faleaseen sighed, "you ask a fair question, Attelus Kaltos. The reality is this, I must be cautious in my communications with you, in lending you my power as a conduit. Among the number of Space Marines attacking Omnartus are their Librarians. There are six of them in total. They are psykers, and due to the longer Space Marine lifespan and their enhanced cognitive structure, they make for quite powerful users of warpcraft. If I had helped you in any way they would have detected my presence, and in doing so potentially revealing your true nature and our connection. I could not risk it. I am sorry I could not help you more, help you save more of your friends and comrades. But you must understand I cannot be there to help you all the time."

She smiled, "but you have proven yourself far more capable than even I could imagine, without my aid."

I furrowed my brow and pursed my lips, I was no longer in the attire of the last vision, back in my usual black flak jacket.

"If that's true, why are you here," I said, "how are you talking to me now?"

"When you sleep, when you dream, your mind is more attuned to the sea of souls," Faleaseen explained, still circling the large bridge. "Most dreams that humans dream who are untouched by the warp mean little, besides your own subconsciousness speaking to you. But even blunt humans can be communicated with by psychic practitioners powerful enough to do so in dreams. Your Emperor does it regularly. You are correct about him, Attelus. He is very far from being a god, but he is still hard to overestimate. Thus here I am, having to use less strength than if you are awake. The Space Marine Librarians will not be able to sense me here, not unless I linger for a very long time."

I nodded, it was a good enough explanation as any, it was utterly fascinating in fact "what happens here?"

Again, Faleaseen shrugged, "you will see in a few seconds."

I started as I heard the sudden sound of heavy footsteps clanging toward my back and I turned to see at least thirty Stormtroopers advancing professionally down the wide corridor, Hellguns raised. They wore the black and dark red uniforms of the Inquisitorial guard.

A tall, slender figure in an advanced form-fitting, power armour followed them. She held a plasma pistol in her left hand, and her right was a power fist. Inquisitor Jelcine Enandra swaggered into the bridge, utterly unfazed by the slaughter before her. Her piercing blue eyes scanned the room. For a split second, she seemed to look right at me, but not see me at all. She too was followed by a shadowy, smoky figure I could not make out, but whose very presence made me sick, made me recoil with horror. It was a familiar feeling, the same feeling I had back in the Twilight bar. It was a psychic blank, how it'd even slightly shown in Faleaseen's vision was beyond me.

Enandra's eyes narrowed, "search for survivors!" she snapped suddenly.

Jelcine looked like she was going to say more but stopped as one of the corpses shuddered slightly. I'd already drawn my sword before someone, or something abruptly burst out from underneath the bodies with a strangled scream. But before I could see more, the vision fazed into white, so suddenly it took me a second to realise it.

"That is when the vision always ends," said Faleaseen, as she seemingly materialised into view. "I do not know who or what is under those corpses."

"Do you have any more visions to show me?" I asked.

"I do not," she said with a shake of her head, again a very human movement. "While I have seen other visions of the future I…"

She seemed to trail off, there was extraordinary shame on her face and in her tone, "I cannot remember them, not to any useful degree, anyway. I have spent cycles upon cycles trying to get those two visions lodged in my memory. The other farseers of Dalorsia are trying too, but none have succeeded to even a slight degree."

"It's Etuarq," I said. "He must be doing this, somehow."

Faleaseen nodded, "I have come to the very same conclusion, Attelus Kaltos. How Inquisitor Etuarq has managed to gain the power and knowledge necessary to befuddle us, I do not know. It may have something to do with the power gained from the souls he has gathered or if he has aligned with the four great powers of the warp or a combination of the two. Either way, he holds power equivalent to that of the great Eldrad Ulthran or even more."

I sighed and shuddered as tears suddenly threatened to overwhelm me. I had to ask her, even though I already knew her answer, and dreaded it beyond belief,

"So, Faleaseen. Is there any way we can save Omnartus?"

She looked at me sadly, but there wasn't pity in her gaze. It was sympathy, genuine sympathy and I don't know why that filled me with fear and dread beyond measure.

"I am sorry, Attelus, but no," she sighed. "Etuarq has won this day, but you already knew that, did you not? But as others have said, you must not give in to your guilt and your despair. You are able to prevent him from doing it again. This is also not a burden for you to bear alone. I too am responsible; I did not share information with you and my other agents that may have allowed you to prevent this, such as your immortality, if you had known of that you might not have taken that pict. I failed to foresee this and let us not forget it was Etuarq who had manipulated these events and it is Inquisitor Torathe who is the one who ordered Omnartus' destruction directly."

"Will I have to live for all eternity?" I asked. "Dealing with that guilt?"

Much to my relief, Faleaseen shook her head, "no, you are perpetual, but you are only a perpetual for as long as I live. As I explained before when you die, and your soul is plunged into the warp, I can track you down and pull you back into real space, then rebuild you; we are connected, well and truly. But! I am giving another the power and knowledge to be able to meld with you, to take my place if I die before our work is done, just in case. If I die and it is at the right time, you can choose whether to break the connection and renounce your immortality or for another farseer to take over from me."

"I would rather like that," I said. "I mean, to be able to die one day.

She smiled, it was warm and genuine, "I doubt that. I have seen who and what you truly are, Attelus Kaltos. There will always be something new for you, something you want to live for, another new purpose. You will also never fully believe you have atoned for the events on Omnartus."

I sighed and was about to ask another one of the billions of questions I wanted to ask, but suddenly Faleaseen's cried out and clutched at her head, her expression a mask of pain.

"I am afraid this is where our meeting is going to end!" she said, hurriedly. "You are about to be in the presence of a blank, not even I…"

Then she was gone, and the normal, eternal pitch black view of sleep took over and...

Abruptly, I awoke, a hand had grasped my shoulder and was shaking me urgently. I sighed, and rolled over, expecting to see Arlathan or Torris or even much to my hope, Adelana. But instead, I found the barrel of a hellpistol right in my face. Instinct instantly took over, and in a split second, I had my arm around the Inquisitorial stormtrooper's neck and his pistol placed on the side of his skull.

The other two near the entrance of the quarters reacted with impressive speed, their Hellguns ready.

"Don't move!" I snarled, trying to ignore the horrific feeling from the psychic blank nearby.

"That was impressive," said a voice and Inquisitor Jelcine Enandra stepped into the room. She was the same as in Faleaseen's vision, the same form-fitting black power armour, she wielded the same plasma pistol and powerfist and moved with the same confident, sensual gait. She smiled at me with that now very familiar predatory smile.

"Now let me ask you, young man, what will you do now?" she said. "You have sergeant Kollath at your mercy, but what if I am not merciful? What if I…"

Her Plasma pistol came to life with a loud, piercing hum, pointedly

"What if I am prepared to shoot through him to kill you? What if I am prepared to sacrifice one good man like Kollath so you cannot kill me or any more of my men? Let him go, please and I won't have to. Also, it'll be such a waste of effort for me to go through so much trouble to save you, just to have to kill you, now, so please..."

I smiled, "you were prepared to sacrifice thousands of navy personnel and ten ships of Battlefleet Calixis to rescue us, so I know you could do it...But wait. Wait, but they're different weren't they? You didn't know them personally, did you? They were mostly nameless and faceless to you. But this sergeant he's different, you actually know him, you are friends…"

Enandra's full lips twitched slightly as I said 'friends.'

"No," I corrected. "Lovers. Well, I've gotta say, he's one lucky bastard."

I glanced about briefly, pointedly, "or not. Happy coincidence, isn't it? Or not, it does make sense that the one who has true feelings for you would be the one most willing to place himself in harm's way. Hence he was the one who woke me."

Jelcine raised her plasma pistol fully, "just let him go; you are wearing my patience thin," she said wearily.

I did as told, pushing the Stormtrooper away and tossed the hell pistol to the floor. Raising my hands in supplication.

The other two approached me, guns raised and with a healthy helping of caution. One grabbed me by the arms, pulling them behind my back and the other clasped my hands together with heavy wrist binders.

Enandra approached me, coming so close we were almost nose to nose. Her face was grim.

"You are fortunate that I like you, boy," she said. "But do not try anything like that ever again or you will have to suffer the fate of those who do not get a second chance, understand me?"

I nodded in acknowledgement, and I meant it.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I acted on instinct."

Her eyes narrowed, she glared at me for what must've been about half a minute.

"Alright," she said. "Just as long as you understand."

Enandra turned away, her blood red cape sweeping theatrically behind her with the movement.

"Take him!" she said. "Take him to the others."

When I walked into the corridor, I finally got a good look at the blank. He was a slight, short, pail and an unassuming looking man wearing a pitch black armoured bodyglove. He had a small moustache on his lip, and his short brown hair was utterly unkempt. His attention plastered to the floor, his arms folded across his chest and his left hand stroked his non-existent chin. At his hip was a large holstered bolt pistol and instantly, I knew this blank was not to be underestimated.

In silence, they herded me out of the Guncutter, down the boarding ramp and into a vast hangar bay. It was the typical gothic design and dark grey grimness of an Imperial warship. There were seven other ships in there. One, another Guncutter, one was a stately transport ship, the five others were sleek void to air fighters. Menials and servitors moved around us in obvious preparation for battle.

"Hmm," I murmured. "Expecting a fight, huh?"

Enandra, who walked in front of me didn't deign to respond, and I expected one of the Stormtroopers to shove me pointedly, but none did.

I saw the others through the wall of rushing bodies. A line of Stormtroopers stood guard around them, and they all had their wrists bound and were on their knees. Even Karmen, her face still covered in bandages, but she was now conscious, a psychic nullifier collar around her neck.

Next to her were the poor petrified Adelana and the old woman. They both looked close to tears, and I couldn't blame them. This must've been a terrifying experience for any Imperial citizen.

I was forced to stand beside Verenth and Vark before being pushed onto my knees. Neither of them bothered me even a glance, they both looked sullen, although I couldn't quite figure out why. There were just too many reasons for them both to be pissed off at this moment.

"Well!" said Enandra as she stood before us "Most of us have met already, but for those, I didn't see on the vox viewer. I am Inquisitor Jelcine Enandra of the Ordo Hereticus."

In an almost perfect echo of earlier, again she raised her Rosette with casual abandon.

Someone let out a horrified wail, someone I guessed to be Halsin.

"I am sorry about this," she said with a sigh. "Believe me I didn't want to have you here, in restraints before me. You have all been through enough already; this is merely a precaution, I assure you."

I frowned, unsure what to make of that and I wasn't at all surprised to see she was a brilliant speaker, she wore power armour but didn't need to use vox enhancement. She didn't shout but projected her voice, comfortably above the noise of the hustle and bustle of the hanger.

"All of you will be held in separate quarters," she said on and started to pace again. "I will be honest with you. All of you will be guarded, and I will be questioning all of you, one at a time. Your meals will be provided to you there."

She paused, "I will be kind to you, if you are not being questioned, if you wish to, you can move through the ship. Under escort, of course, and you will be limited in your exploration. If you move onto a part of my ship forbidden to you, your Stormtroopers escorting will let you know. If you…If you."

Enandra paused again and made eye contact with each of us, in turn, her brow contorted in genuine sympathy and sadness. If her eyes weren't augmetics, I suspected they'd be welling with tears.

She licked her red lips, and said, her voice cracking, "if you wish to see Omnartus...Die. You are welcome to watch on the many live pict feed viewers we have available. I suspect not many of you will be willing to, and I would not blame you, but if you feel you must…"

She let it hang, and she paused for a very long time, "do any of you have any questions?"

"Yeah, I do," said Verenth. "Why can't we stop it?"

Enandra sighed, "we do not have the capabilities to even stand a tiny chance. You must have seen the might and capabilities of the Astartes, haven't you? My scribe calculates there is almost half a chapters worth of them in the system, now. It is a fool's errand, it is suicide, I am sorry, so very sorry, but there is nothing we can do. My former master is a very long-serving member of the Ordo Malleus, his influence is far beyond my own, even with his steadily decreasing sanity."

"What about that?" I cried, my emotions getting the better of me. "Why is someone so off his head allowed to still be an Inquisitor? Why the hell is that?"

Enandra looked at me; her soft jaw set slightly, "one of the strengths of the Inquisition is. Thus, every Inquisitor is the head of an organisation unto him or herself. We are, all of us, independent. That is also our weakness; my master has been out of communication with the rest of the ordo for three years. Acting on his own, that was not unusual for him, or for many of my kind, but I suspect that during much of that time some corruption had beset him. This incident proves this, he was always very faithful in the Emperor, but he used to understand not everything is black and white most things in this galaxy aren't. After this, he will be declared excommunicate traitorous and killed or captured for trial. Omnartus is a hub world and even if its corruption were proven without a shadow of a doubt, would be cleansed with an invasion, then resettled. The locals who are found innocent and free of taint rejoining the fold of Imperial society. Those that do not…"

She let that hang.

"Any other questions?" she asked breaking eye contact with me and glancing over my fellow survivors. Survivors, how easy was it to start using that word for us.

"Yes," stammered and squeaked a meek little voice."I have...a question."

I didn't need to look to know it was Halsin.

"Yes," said Enandra with a patient nod. "Go ahead."

"What is to happen to the wounded?" asked Halsin, gaining some measure of strength in his voice.

Enandra smiled again it was actually quite sweet, "oh, of course, my apologies. I forgot yes, they will be taken to the medicae station on the sixth level."

"I...I wish to go too," said Halsin. "I had promised to look after them; I swore that I would. I wish to help your medicaes."

Enandra nodded, there was great respect in that nod, "of course, that area is open for you. But you must be escorted; I am afraid."

Halsin nodded back and grinned broadly.

She looked over us again, "any other questions?"

There was none.

"Alright," she said then looked straight at me, and my heart sank as I realised what that meant. "I wish to talk to Attelus Kaltos first, the rest of you will be taken to your assigned quarters, thank you."

The Stormtroopers pulled us to our feet and began to file everyone but me toward the left side exit. I watched Adelana as she was forced away and she looked back at me, her brow furrowed her full lips pursed. Her sea blue eyes were red from tears, and I expected anger in them but much to my shock, it was absent. It was actually, concern. I couldn't have been any more surprised to see this.

I watched her leave and was so involved in this I almost didn't notice Enandra approach.

Enandra smiled at me knowingly and internally; I cursed at my idiotic obviousness.

"Let's go, shall we?" she said. "We have much to discuss, Attelus Xanthis Kaltos."

"Oh, I'm sure we do," I sighed as we started onward.

We walked into the wide corridors, Inquisitor Enandra and I surrounded by ten Stormtroopers and accompanied by the damned blank. My wrists still bound, about ten minutes of moving through the continual hustle and bustle of the ship. Enandra, the blank and two Stormtroopers, including that sergeant from earlier began to turn off a separate corridor, she stopped and turned back to me.

"I will meet you in the interview room in a few minutes; I have a few errands to run," she said. "Take him to interrogation room one!"

"Yes, mamzel!" chorused the remaining Stormtroopers as they ushered me on and Enandra and her escort disappeared.

I sighed, I was to be 'interviewed' in an 'interrogation room,' now that was frigging reassuring.

For a good ten minutes we moved through the confusing maze of corridors, but I was utterly sure I could find my way back. Just in case. The Stormtroopers didn't deign to speak to me, and I found myself craving a smoke of Lho, but I'd run out a long time ago.

We eventually found the door labelled in bright white letters, 'INTERROGATION ROOM 1' and they led me inside.

The place was bigger than I thought perhaps five metres by four, a large metal table was set right in it's middle and there was a one-sided reflective mirror fixed on the wall facing me.

One of the Stormtroopers made me sit on the seat looking at the mirror then another took off my wrist manacles and chained them to the table before clamping them back on again. The six others covered me with their Hellguns the entire time.

Once done the six of them filed out of the room as the other two took positions on each side of the door behind me.

Frig, was I tired, I had no idea how long I'd slept for, but it wasn't nearly enough.

"Frig!" I groaned and rubbed my eyes with my thumbs, "either of you got any smokes you can spare?"

I watched them on the reflection of the one-way glass, neither of them moved even the slightest inch.

I sighed, it was worth a try, I supposed.

So I waited, twiddling my thumbs and fighting the urge to look at my wrist chron every few seconds.

I pursed my lips and kept glancing at the one-way glass, knowing that Enandra and Emperor only knew who else was watching me on the other side. The feeling of the Blank's presence was gone, but I could sense something else. Something that I'd started to become more attuned to since Faleaseen had fixed me, someone was using psychic powers, and they were close, too. Karmen seemed immune to this, but this person wasn't as well trained. I closed my eyes, exhaled out my nose and then I knew, this psyker was trying to delve into my mind.

I wanted to smile at the glass but fought the urge.

Abruptly, the door slid open and now wore a black bodyglove; Inquisitor Enandra stormed in carrying a data slate. I couldn't help it, as my eyes wandered over every inch her very brilliant body.

"Enjoying what you see, I hope, Attelus Kaltos," she said, without taking her attention from her dataslate.

I flinched, and my attention shot to the floor.

She turned her gaze on me, her brow furrowed intently, "you are a very handsome young man, do you know that, Attelus?"

I didn't answer as I felt my face flushed even more.

"Yes," she said, "beautiful some might say. Has anyone ever told you-you were beautiful?"

My first instinct was to say, 'no' but then a memory hit me.

"Yes, it was a man, he didn't tell it to me, though," I said. "About three years ago, I was on a job on Scintilla and was walking one of the main boulevards. When he and a bunch of his friends walked the other way they were all staring at me, gaping at me like idiots and I heard one say after the past, 'he's beautiful.' Whispered it, thought I couldn't hear him over the blaring music from the clubs around, but I could."

Enandra pulled out the chair across from me and sat smiling, placing her jaw into the palm of her hand, her elbow on the table. It reminded me unnervingly of Glaitis.

"Do you know why I told you that, Attelus Kaltos?" she said sensually.

"I don't," I said, my eyes never leaving hers.

"Because it is the truth," she said. "You aren't my type, I'm afraid. Too pretty, too feminine featured. But I told you the truth because I am an inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus and that is what I trade in, that is what I live for, to find the truth. To know the truth."

The door suddenly slid open making me flinch in fright, and another woman walked in. She was plain-faced, scalp shaved of any hair, tubes stuck from the back of her head like dreadlocks, and she wore a dark blue uniform tunic. I didn't need much intelligence to know she was a Sanctioned psyker, most likely the one who had been trying to delve into my mind.

The psyker stepped to stand beside Enandra; she arms folded her arms and glared down at me balefully.

"This is Selva, and as you have likely guessed, she is a psyker, sanctioned by the Imperium of man to use her gift for the good of mankind," said Enandra as she gazed lazily at her data slate. "She has been trying to delve into your mind, but she finds herself unable, she says that you have perhaps the most powerful mind block she has ever seen. She cannot even read your surface thoughts."

The psyker's hands moved, flickering and fluttering angrily, her eyes never leaving me.

"Oh, and she is also mute," said Enandra. "It's the first time this has happened to her, and as you can tell, she isn't happy about it."

My eyes narrowed, I really didn't like where this was going, despite being happy in other ways.

"Tell me, Attelus," she said and licked her lips, "how did you get such a powerful mind lock placed upon your mind?"

"I uh," I managed.

"And I implore you, Attelus, please do not lie to me," she said, staring at me intently. "Because I will talk to the others and I will find the truth from them, so please do not lie."

I swallowed, my heart thundered in my chest. Should've known this would happen, should've seen this coming.

"Was it the woman, Karmen Kons?" said Enandra, she pursed her lips and glanced at her data slate. "Or is she now Estella Erith, again? I cannot be sure."

My jaw dropped, "how?"

"The truth, Attelus, always comes out," said Enandra. "Always."

I furrowed my brow, "how much did Wesley tell you, exactly?"

"Enough," Enandra stated.

"I thought you dealt in the truth," I said.

"It is the truth," said Enandra. "He told me enough, and we both know, don't we Attelus? The best way to lie is, to tell the truth."

I sighed and curled my hands into fists, clenching my teeth. Trying to think of an appropriate response but stopped as the lights suddenly flickered on and off, a few dozen times in the span of a second or so. Then I saw in the reflection of the one-way mirror, Farseer Faleaseen. She stood facing me despite between Enandra and Selva, who both seemed frozen in place.

I gasped, "what are you, you might…"

Faleaseen pursed her lips and placed her very long index finger on them, silencing me. Then with slow, deliberate movements, she put her hands upon Enandra's and Selva's heads. For a few seconds held them there, I could sense her strong psychic might, it was the power which was capable of crushing a tank in an instant. But it was also subtle, very subtle, tuned to a perfection beyond what even Karmen could comprehend, as it coursed through her arms and into their minds.

She took her hands away and looked at me.

"What did you do?" I said.

The Farseer didn't answer. Instead, she walked around the table toward me and with almost forced slowness reached out then touched me briefly on the forehead.

"What did you do?" I asked again.

"They will not know of your mind block, now," she said. "I have changed it, from henceforth other psychic beings if they look into your thoughts will read something of your mind, a fake thought sequence of sorts one that you can control, contort and create with your will and imagination. I should have done this earlier. This time I have done it for you as there is little time for you to learn this and do it now. My apologies, they will also have conveniently forgotten of this. Now I must take my leave, we are very far from the Space Marine Librarians now, but this is still a great risk for us. See you soon."

Then she was gone, the lights then flickered as they had before then Enandra and Selva were moving again, just in time to hear me say.

"See you."

Enandra's brow furrowed, and she looked at me sidelong in bemusement.

"Are you talking to me?" she asked.

I frowned allowing my sadness to take over me and my gaze fell to the floor, "no, I am saying goodbye to all the good people who have died over the last day and months before."

I glanced at Selva and saw her face was no longer a mask of anger but of forced neutrality like I imagined the expression stormtroopers had behind their helmets.

"Selva has looked into your mind," Enandra said, and for a split second, I saw her face grimace slightly in mid-sentence, as though some part of her subconscious rebelled against the fake memory. "What she saw was very interesting."

I nodded, trying not to seem interested, as I wondered what exactly Faleaseen had forced the psyker to see.

Enandra grimaced again, "she showed me everything, I am sorry, so, so sorry you have this on your conscience, it would've driven a lesser man insane or end his life. Now I know what you have gone through, I apologise, if before I seemed unsympathetic, but I am an Inquisitor, it is a mode I must be in from time to time. I have been doing it for such a long time, that it is almost instinctive, now."

She picked up her data slate, "and you were Mechanicum enhanced?" she said.

I fought back a smile and nodded again.

Enandra nodded too and met my gaze, " but you are still very human, perhaps too, human. Wesley told me you had taken that pict. But I was a little sceptical; your memories confirm this beyond a shadow of a doubt. I...I think this interview is unnecessary, now. In fact, I feel that it can wait, it can wait for all of you. I'm sorry, if I seemed, unsympathetic, before."

I frowned and furrowed my brow in sadness and bemusement, "you don't think I'm cowardly?" I managed. "You don't think I'm stupid for doing that?"

"No, I do not," she said without a hint of hesitation. "While I will concede that your powerful sense of self-preservation was a factor. Edracian, as far as you knew, was an Inquisitor. And I know just how much power the Rosette can possess. Like most Imperial citizens you are bound to his will. You had no clue it would lead to this and how could you? How could you? I know more than anyone else that this galaxy is made almost entirely of varying shades of grey, that as that ancient saying teaches, 'the road to hell is paved with the best intentions,' while your intentions were not the best, it still fits, I think."

Enandra shook her head, "and now I know, it was all the more important to save you now. Now I am certain that Edracian was just a puppet. Wesley had suggested it in his messages. Etuarq is still out there and must be stopped. That young Vex may hold the information necessary to this, and you might too. I swear, I will help you all I can."

I narrowed my eyes and looked at her sidelong, "so you are aware…"

"She did see that you were there due to Etuarq's machinations, that your very conceivement was because of his order," she pursed her lips. "And I honestly believe him, to have pulled such a stunt, to have pulled such a masterful plan. He must've had foresight, and he must still have a plan for you."

"But you're not going to kill me?" I said. "Even though it may screw over his plan?"

"No!" she said sitting back, her palms held out and her eyes wide as if such a thought horrified her. "I don't believe in fate; I believe that you can overcome whatever Etuarq's future plans are. You can make your own destiny. You will make your own destiny, and I believe it'll be stopping that traitor. Also, I believe in the punishment coming after the transgression."

She shrugged, "besides, now I have seen what you are truly capable of, I would rather have you a friend rather than an enemy. I would rather you were...close to me than someone else."

Again, I furrowed my brow, and the mute psyker's hands were a sudden flurry of fevered movement, her face alight with anger.

"What do you mean, exactly?" I said, straightening although I already guessed the answer and it filled me equal measures of dread and joy.

"Calm down, Selva," snapped Enandra with a raised hand and the psyker stopped. "I am sure you have already guessed, Attelus. That I wish to employ you, I feel with your skill set you will be a valuable addition to my organisation. That while I believe it is your destiny to stop the former Inquisitor Etuarq in whatever dark goal he has, you will need all the help in this galaxy you can get. I can provide you with this help. What say you?"

I sighed for what must've been the millionth time now, "do I have any real choice in the matter?'

"No," she said with a shake of her head and smiled that nice smile. "I will be honest with you; I will be offering all of your fellow survivors a position too. To be able to go through what all of them went through proves that they have, at the very least, a strength of will beyond the norm."

"Even that old woman?" I asked, my eyebrows raised in bemusement.

"Yes, even Seleen Gorret," she said with a smile. "And now you're under my employee you've better start working on that damn memory of yours. At least an average to a good memory is usually a requirement for even the lowest acolyte."

Her smile disappeared, and she leaned forward on the table, "believe me, Attelus. I am a far better employer than both Glaitis and Taryst combined, but even then, it's not really saying much."

I nodded, I believed her. She seemed legitimate, hard but fair. She seemed to be one of most real people involved in the disaster. I only wished she'd got involved sooner.

She looked at me hard for a few seconds, seemingly searching for a sign of something, before eventually nodding and reclining back.

"Good!" she said. "Now we have that understood; you may go to your quarters. We will discuss more on this later! You are dismissed, now."

I frowned and looked pointedly at my manacles.

Again, Enandra grinned, "who's the one with the bad memory, eh?" she said with a chuckle.

She waved the two Stormtroopers forward, who obediently walked up and unclasped me from the table.

"And take off his manacles, please, Donphin and Setril," she said.

Both their attentions shot to her, and she shrugged, "I know enough to trust him, now. Take them off, please."

Hesitantly, they did as told and rubbing my wrists; I slid to my feet.

"Thank you," I said. "Thank you for understanding."

Enandra shrugged again, "I think you and I have much in common, Attelus. We both see the cosmos in grey, and we both can see the bigger picture."

I stood, still rubbing my wrists, waiting for her to say more but she just reclined in her seat and looked down at her data slate, her long legs crossed.

Getting the hint, I nodded and turned to leave.

"Oh! And Attelus!" she called, causing me to stop in my tracks and turned back to her. "Wesley explained to me that he informed you I was part of the Seculous Attenlous philosophy, a rather controversial philosophy in this day and age, wouldn't you say?"

I nodded.

"So I would ask you to refrain from telling any of your friends who don't already know, that would be most appreciated. Thank you."

"Of course," I said, then left.
Last edited by Adrassil on Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:34 pm

I was taken to my quarters by the two stormtroopers, and I stepped inside with a sigh and my hands in their pockets.

"Can you," I said, turning back to them, "please get me some lhos, I could use a smoke right now."

One shook his head as if to say, 'bloody addicts' but the other nodded and said, "I'll see what I can do."

"Thank you; it'd be more than appreciated," I said.

He nodded again and walked out of sight.

I walked further in, and the door slid shut behind me, the place was unsurprisingly spartan, gunmetal grey with bronze edgings and linings. It was surprisingly large, though about six by seven metres wide, a double sized bed was in the right side corner and a large cogitator bank in the left. There was another door against the far wall which I guessed to lead into a private bathroom, but I just couldn't be bothered looking.

Now I was alone the depression I'd been holding back was beginning to overwhelm me again.

I needed something to take my mind off everything; I needed to do something. Enandra may have been right about my mistakes, but I was still responsible. I closed my eyes and inhaled through my nose, deeply down to my stomach, then exhaled out my mouth. An old breathing exercise my father had taught me for what felt like a lifetime ago now.

I stretched my weary, stiff muscles for a good thirty minutes after that were pushups and crunches. Then despite my exhaustion, I began to train. They'd taken my sword, so I worked on my hand to hand drills. First I practised singular techniques, always ten times slowly, then fifty times fast. Left then right jabs, left then right crosses. The Back fist, the uppercut, the hook. Followed by kicks, first the front kick, both snapping and thrust, roundhouse kick, side kick and the hook kick. I worked through every technique I knew, some I hadn't practised in years. Even indulging in the fanciful stuff I usually wouldn't bother with, the spinning side, hook and round kick. The jumping kicks (At first I'd almost jumped into the ceiling due to my enhanced strength), the axe kick. My father had taught me those techniques despite advising me against using them due to their impractical nature, only so I'd understand them if they were used on me, just in case.

Then it was shadow boxing, and by frig did I get involved in that. I never felt so focused, and I seemed to move so fast, it almost seemed like I was actually dodging and parrying my techniques. Every step, every pivot and strike felt verged upon perfection despite my speed.

Being so lost in my training I hadn't noticed the stormtrooper enter until he shouted my name.

Utterly drenched in sweat, I turned.

"Sorry," I gasped, leaning forward with my hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath.

The stormtrooper shrugged and tossed me a small pack of lhos, which I almost failed to catch in my haste.

"There ya go," he said. "You're lucky I could find them, kid. The mamzel doesn't approve of lho, medicae studies say..."

"Yeah, yeah," I sighed. "I've heard it all before. Thanks for this, though. Appreciate it, I do."

The stormtrooper took another step inside, "I don't intend to tell you what to do, but…"

"Please!" I snapped. "I'm not in the mood! I need this now! Now please, just leave me alone!"

He stood there for a few seconds staring at me, whatever his expression was, hidden behind his helmet, before eventually nodding and backing out the door.

I stood up straight and with shaking hands placed the lho in my mouth and with my igniter, lit it.

After wiping the sweat off my forehead with an arm, I looked at the cogitator. It was an old battered thing, large and boxy.

I remembered that Enandra had mentioned we could watch Omnartus and I began to approach it. When suddenly the door behind me swished open, and I turned, anger abruptly hitting me, thinking it to the stormtrooper again.

"Look! I'm…"

I stopped and gaped as I saw it wasn't him.

Karmen Kons stood in the door, her face still bandaged, the psy limiter around her neck. Her bright blue eyes focused on me.

"What do you want?" I said, turning away. "Here to try and justify what you've done again?"

"No," she said, shaking her head. "I just wanted to check up on you."

I had nothing to say, anger blazed through me always, but it wasn't at her, I didn't know what it was about. The universe, I guessed, for making me be in this shitty position.

"You've been training?" Karmen said as she walked further inside. "Good idea, take your mind off it."

I took a sharp inhale of Lho.

"Yeah, I guess," I said and grimaced as tears welled. "We've failed Karmen. Omnartus is dead, and there's nothing we can do, everyone says that we're going to live on so we can stop this from happening again. But! How can we? If Etuarq can see the future if he can do all this, how can we stand a chance? How?"

"Maybe the God-Emperor…" she started.

"Don't give me that grox shit!" I snarled, making her start. "How do you know that this wasn't the God-Emperor's will? That he wanted this? It is his Astartes, his angels of death doing the deed, isn't it? If it wasn't his will and if he is truly the god people claim, why hasn't he intervened? Why, Karmen? Why?"

"I...I don't know," she said.

"What's the point, Estella?" I sighed. "If humanity is so frigged that we can do this to ourselves, what's the point in trying to save us? I saved Adelana because she was a good person, but now what's she going to become? Like me? Like you? I'm screwed up; you're screwed up because of humans invading and destroying our country and don't frigging try to claim it was just because of Chaos. Sure, whatever! But that those flaws exist in the first place for Chaos to exploit, says something, doesn't it?"

Estella sighed, "I have no answers for you, humanity is frigged. We've always had arseholes among us, and we're always going to kill each other. Just look at you, you've made a career out of killing, haven't you? And you are going to continue killing people. You are one those arseholes, Attelus; you know that right? Many would claim that you are truly evil for what you do."

I glared at her, "I have been told that in no uncertain terms before, on numerous occasions. Why do you think us mercenaries are thought to be the scum of the verse? And I'll admit, it's true we just kill for money, for no true ideal or anything we could be seen as truly evil, easily."

"So, what are you going to do?" she said. "Put a las pistol in your mouth and pull the trigger?"

I didn't say anything, knowing that such a thing would be pointless as Faleaseen would just bring me back and feeling, perhaps, it wouldn't be too bad an idea, if it was permanent.

"Do you expect every arsehole would do that?" said Karmen. "See, that the human race would be better off if they just pulled the trigger? Do you think Etuarq is going do that? No. Well, then it's up to someone else to do it, then, isn't it? Or at the very least stop him as you'd once shown, as I'd once shown, as Adelana had once shown. There are good people in the world. It also shows that complete and utterly irredeemable arseholes like Etuarq are going to continue making good people into people like us. It just makes it all the more important we stop him? Isn't it?"

I looked at her, wide-eyed, stupefied.

"You were wrong, Attelus," she said, shaking her head. "You do need me more than I need you and for all your going on about not hating people you are bordering on turning into a hypocrite. For all your humanity is shit crap, aren't you?"

I still couldn't say anything.

She then grabbed me roughly by the wrist and began pulling me out the door.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"We're going to man the frig up and see what a true arsehole is capable of!" She snapped. "We're going to watch Omnartus die!"

"I've been hired," I said as we moved. The now four man stormtrooper escort walking both in front and following behind.

Karmen smiled, although I couldn't see it, I could tell, "I'd guessed that would happen."

"The Inquisitor said she was going to hire all of us," I said. "That we had no choice in the matter."

"No," she said. "No, we don't."

I narrowed my eyes and looked at her sidelong.

"You're worried, that you are merely replacing one slave master with another," said Karmen.

I shrugged, "yes and no. After all, I've learned from this disaster is to read people better. I think she's legit, Karmen, but I might be wrong."

"What does your instincts say?" said Karmen.

"My instincts say," I smiled. "My instincts say, that I'm right, that Wesley was right to trust her and she'll be a great ally and employer. We were truly lucky that she came to us, but my instincts also say…"

"Says, what?"

"It just seems all too convenient," I said.

She laughed, "really? A world destroyed? And we just manage to luck out enough to be rescued by a good person, who's willing and ready to help us in our endeavour? You call that convenient?"

"Yeah, I do," I said without hesitation.

"If it's any consolation," Karmen said. "I agree with you."

One of the Stormtroopers had voxed forward, so we were unmolested as we walked into the Sensorium then taken to an unusually large pict viewer, already showing the familiar brown cloud-covered world of Omnartus. There were eight chairs set in front, six of which occupied. Darrance was in one, his legs crossed, elbows on his thighs and his hands intertwined index tapping, watching so intently he never noticed our approach. Torris was on another until he saw us, then his eyes widened with abstract surprise, and he pushed himself to his feet.

Vex was there too, he sat hunched forward on his seat, his fingers flying across his portable cogitator's keys but every few seconds the kid would glance up at the pict screen.

Vark, sat, still in his carapace armour and he barely spared us a glance, his expression a contorted mask of disgust and rage. Next to him was Helma, she seemed to watch on impassively, but I could see her eyes were welling with tears, her hands gripping the armrests so hard, her knuckles were stark white.

The last two I couldn't have been more surprised were there. Arlathan was watching from beneath a hooded brow, leaning forward, his expression intense. He only noticed us after Torris got to his feet and he looked almost as shocked as Torris to see me. Last was Verenth and to see the ex-hammer there made me respect him all the more. He looked at the screen with fierce, laser-like intensity.

"You're here!" exclaimed Torris. "I didn't expect to see you here."

I shrugged and managed a smile, "I...I guess I should…"

I trailed off as I looked closer at the feed, seeing the vast explosions ripping across Omnartus' surface in seemingly sporadic bursts.

Torris' eyes narrowed, and he looked at Karmen, "he's here because you made him come, didn't you?"

She nodded, "I felt he should witness this."

He bristled with barely contained anger, "do you have any idea the psychological damage this could do...?"

"I'm fine," I interrupted softly, stepping closer to the screen. "I need to see this."

"No," said Arlathan so firmly, it forced me to look at him, while he was abruptly getting to his feet. "I agree with Marcel. You shouldn't be here, Attelus."

"If you think it's going to be psychologically damaging for Attelus," growled Karmen. "How can you be here then, Arlathan Karkin? This is your home world, yours and Verenth's there. Won't it be even more psychologically damaging for you and him?"

Arlathan's jaw set, "I watch because I think it'll temper my will," he said. "Force me to work all the harder in the future to stop it again. Force me to keep on working inward to turn myself into a better person. I've been trying to do that, lately and because of that, I agree with Marcel. He shouldn't be here, but I agree for a different reason."

"And what's that?"

It wasn't Karmen who'd said it, and all of us turned to the speaker. My eyes widened, and I gasped in shock and surprise. Now she was the very, very last person I expected to see here.

"Adelana!" I gasped.

With a sad smile, she walked toward us through the hustle and bustle of the Sensorium, her two man stormtrooper escort at her flanks.

Everyone, even Vex got to up from their chairs.

Arlathan was so shocked he seemed unable to answer her question.

She continued to look at Arlathan, "And what reason is that?"

He managed to find himself, "I believed he should be with you. Helping you through this instead, but…"

"But, here I am," she said. "I can see all of you are shocked to see me here."

"Can you blame us?" said Torris.

Her attention fell to the floor, "no I can't. I don't even know how I can be here."

"So, then," I said. "Why are you here?"

She looked straight at me, her large eyes sparkled with tears, but there was no anger there, just a sadness of such strength it took my breath away. "I've never seen my world from orbit before. I wanted to see it for the first and last time before...Before I'll never see it ever again."

I wanted to point out that technically we're weren't watching Omnartus from orbit at all but kept my idiot mouth shut.

"Will you be able to handle that?" said Helma. "I mean won't it…"

She wandered off in her sentence.

Adelana shrugged, "I don't know, but if I can't, and I decide to...If I decide to, take my own life, please do not try to stop me. My life is my own and if I choose to end it…"

"Your life isn't your own," said Enandra as she walked toward us, the Psyker and one Stormtrooper, who I guessed to be her lover at her sides. "It is the Emperor's and only in death does duty end."

Adelana flinched at the Inquisitor's intensity, visibly terrified of her.

Enandra's hard expression disappeared suddenly, replaced by a warm smile, "you are still young, Adelana. You still have duty left unfulfilled."

"But, I…" Adelana squeaked, and she began to retch with tears, "but I…"

I threw caution to the wind, despite the intense anxiety it made me feel I took Adelana in my arms just as she started to collapse to the floor. Pulling her close and she wept into my chest, it reminded me disturbingly of Elandria only a day or so ago. I'd failed in saving her just as I'd failed to save Omnartus, to save Castella, Garrakson, Wesley so many. I just hoped I wouldn't fail Adelana as well, or that I already had.

"You may end your duty, Adelana," said Enandra sadly and somehow her words made Adelana stop her weeping and turn to look her. "I will not stop you, that is your right, and I honestly wouldn't blame you. But I sincerely hope that you do not. That you managed to leave your quarters to be here, speaks of a strength of will that astounds me. You have potential, great potential, Adelana."

Enandra attention turned up, and her eyes wandered over all of us, "all of you have great potential!"

She looked back down at Adelana again, "I can see that others can see that too," she said as she glanced to me pointedly. "Please see that, and please believe that even at the very, very worst of times, there can still be the best of times later."

"I don't care!" Adelana suddenly screamed, making me flinch. "I don't care about your potential crap! My mother! My father! Everyone I know and love are going to die! Why should I care? Why?"

"That is the truth in life," said Enandra. "It is such a truth that it is now, as an ancient Terran dialect would call it, cliche. All of us will face death, everyone, everything. Whether it is sentient or not. You must care, Adelana because if you don't, you will end your life, which won't make anything better. It will just completely and utterly eliminate any potential of it ever getting better. Do you think your mother and father would want that? For you to snuff out the life, your life which is a life of such boundless potential that they had the honour and luck to bring into this galaxy, just because they have died? Just because they were claimed by the one absolute that will claim us all."

She shook her head, "no, I don't believe they would."

"You can't...You can't," Adelana whispered weakly.

"I can't know that?" said Enandra with a shrug. "Is that what you mean? No, maybe I cannot, but I am an Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus. I am a product of decades of experience and learning. And if I may sound extraordinarily arrogant, I can read people frigging well. From what I can read of you, I can see you are an intelligent, well adjusted and good person. Most of the time, but there are always exceptions. Usually, that means their parents loved them dearly, treated them well, but not too well. I'm sure they made mistakes, no one is perfect, but..."

Enandra trailed off, "I am meandering, my apologies. Adelana just think on that, please," she sighed.

Then much to my shock, Adelana made a slight nod. I'd never been held in such awe ever before, this woman, this Inquisitor was genuinely great. She was worthy of her position and more. On the same level as Brutis Bones, perhaps even more so. I could tell Enandra's words were also aimed at me. Even if I knew it'd all be for nought, I wouldn't have done it. After Estella's earlier words.

With this thought, I glanced over my shoulder to Karmen. I caught her looking at us, and she suddenly flinched her attention toward the floor.

"Thank you," said Enandra and she walked by us, then stopped to stand and watch the pict feed with us.

Still holding Adelana close I watched Enandra, my brow furrowed, my expression grim. My earlier suspicion rekindled. She was good, just too good to be true.

I pushed away such thoughts, clenching my teeth and inhaling sharply.

"Please," said Adelana, "please let me go, I need to see."

Even though it stung me to do so, I instantly did as told.

She smiled at me sadly, "thank you," she said although I wasn't sure what exactly she was thanking me for.

Then Adelana walked past, and we watched the pict feed.

We watched Omnartus burn.

Then die.

It happened only over about an hour; it was hard to believe such an act could be possible. Billions of lives snuffed out, just like that, an hour seemed like a bit of time in a human's lifetime, but in this galaxy, it wasn't even an eye blink. It almost made me laugh out loud as I thought that metaphor was indeed the understatement of the galaxy, perhaps the universe. For the first time in what must've been thousands of years, the black-brown pollution clouds dispersed by the falling bombs, they fell to such an extent and number the blue skies of Omnartus would've been seen clearly by those living on the upper hive.

The view would've only lasted a few minutes before being engulfed in fire. Each explosion was massive, in quick succession followed by another, then another until it seemed to conjoin into one tremendously huge dome of flame and even that just seemed to grow and grow and grow.

I couldn't look away as tears flowed down my face freely and my body seemed locked in place. I couldn't even glance to check on Adelana who stood right beside me.

Verenth got up and left about halfway through, storming out, snarling, cursing and crying almost insanely.

The poor bastard, I hoped he'd be okay.

Once it finally finished, we were silent for a long time. I stood still, struggling to breathe, the agony in me felt like a freezing, constant jolt of raging thunder that tore my insides asunder, hollowing me out.

I was brought out of my stupor by Adelana's weeping, and I looked to her, though I had no idea what I could say. She turned and stormed off, her hands covering her face. I raised my hand, but I didn't know why, as she disappeared from the Sensorium.

I stood there gaping stupidly; hand still held out.

"What are you doing?" said Karmen and my attention snapped to her, anger raging through me suddenly.

"What?" I growled.

Karmen stopped as she approached me, tears shining in her eyes, the bandages that covered her scared features crinkling with her grimacing, "go to her, you idiot," she squeaked. "She's only here because of you. Help her."

"How?" I gasped out.

"Tell her why, Attelus," she said. "Tell her the truth. Like you'd promised."

"But she'll hate me!" I cried.

Then she slapped me in the face, striking me it stung horribly and sent me to my knees. I heard a crunch! Indicating she'd broken her hand, but she didn't let out a cry of pain or anything.

"It doesn't matter if she hates you!" Karmen roared down at me. "That's your damn fault! Don't be so frigging selfish! I can't believe you can be so selfish! Now get up and tell her everything! And deal with whatever consequence it brings because it is your own!"

I wiped the blood from my split lip with a forearm, fighting back more tears and climbed to my feet with shaking limbs.

"What about Verenth?" I said. "Surely he deserves to know too."

"I'll take care of him," said Karmen. "Don't you worry. Now go frig you!"

I nodded and turned then left.

The two stormtroopers led me to Adelana's quarters. They understood my haste, so it only took us a few minutes to find it.

I said my thanks to them and pressed the door alarm, then waited.

I waited for a good half a minute, trying to keep calm, tapping the tip of my shoe on the floor, while smoking another Lho.

After that time I hesitantly called again, thinking the worst but this time the door almost immediately slid open. I found myself almost face to face with the old woman.

"What do you want?" she said, looking at me darkly.

"I'm glad you're here," I said. "I'm here to fulfil my promise to Adelana; I believe you too deserve to know the truth."

"Of course I bloody do," she stated. "Omnartus may not have been my native world, but I have lived there for the past six years."

I nodded, "may I come in?"

The woman's eyes narrowed, glancing me up and down, before eventually nodding and stepping aside to allow me in.

"Thank you," I said and slipped inside.

The quarters was identical to mine, but the illumination globes were off, endowing the place in darkness. The light from the corridor outside allowed me to see Adelana, who was curled up in a foetal ball on the bed.

The quarters was in almost complete darkness as the door slid shut and the woman walked past me, sitting on the bed next to Adelana.

My eyes quickly adjusted and in gaping silence, I slowly approached, unsure how to begin, or even where.

"It's alright," said the old woman and I could see she was smiling at me. "Take your time."

I sighed and nodded, and I could hear poor Adelana crying softly into her hands.

"I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry," I said. "I didn't mean...I didn't mean for this to happen. Please don't hate me, please."

"I'm sure you didn't," said the old woman. "How could you? But it seems like you think you are somewhat responsible for this travesty."

I shrugged, unable to say anything more, my courage was fast failing me.

"I've made...I've made mistakes, stupid, stupid mistakes."

"And who hasn't?" said the old woman. "Look what you did to Vex?"

I flinched as the mention of that, "I shouldn't have done that, but I've done worse...I don't know where to start."

The woman shook her head as she stroked Adelana's hair, "where else can you start? But at the beginning?"

I sighed, her words reminded me of Garrakson, and then I knew exactly where to start.

"I was born in a country called Velrosia, in its capital, Varander on the agri world of Elbyra…"

I told them almost everything, leaving out most of my very rocky relationship with my mother, especially of what she'd done to me when I was really young. I spoke of my father's teachings, and who and what he was. I told of the invasion of Elbrya, how I'd survived in the ruins of Varander, but left out my desperate cannibalism. Then my subsequent meeting with Estella Erith and our battles and subsequent escape south.

It didn't take long for Adelana to sit up and watched at me with a wide, watery-eyed almost awed gaze.

I told of how Estella had attempted to change my memories. I spoke of my decision to become an assassin and my escape from Elbyra on a refugee ship. My first paid killing and of how Glaitis saved me from execution then took me under her wing.

Most of my six-year employment under Glaitis, I skipped. That time wasn't important to the overall story. It felt like years wasted, I was mostly a low-level enforcer, almost all of what I'd learned during that time was from Glaitis telling me, rather than showing.

I told of my arrival on Omnartus, of Karmen placing the mind lock on my mind. I gave a summary of the six months, fighting the local Hammers with Garrakson, Torris and Elandria and the search for Brutis Bones.

Then of the Twilight bar incident, I left out how utterly injured I was by the Arco Flagellant and Faleaseen fixing and enhancing me just that I was in a coma for a month.

All of it, pretty much all of it, from my fight with Elandria, all the way to just before we met them at Vex's office. Never once did they interrupt me, just sat utterly taken in with every one of my words.

Once I'd finally finished, the old woman and Adelana sat in stunned silence for a good ten minutes.

"I...I," squeaked Adelana, breaking the silence.

My attention snapped to her, my breath baited, hoping to all hell she'd believed me that she wouldn't hate me.

"You've led one interesting life, Attelus," said the old woman. "I don't know what to say."

"You believe me?" I said.

"I do," she answered. "It's a lot to digest, but I believe you."

I nodded, finding I liked this woman, I just wished I could remember her damn name.

"So," said Adelana. "The whole reason you were born was so you could take that pict, so this...Etuarq can use it to destroy Omnartus?"

"Yeah," I said. "I told you it's complicated."

"That's horrible," she said. "I don't understand..."

She wandered off in her sentence, and her attention fell to the floor.

"Don't understand what, honey?" asked the old woman.

"How, how can you be okay after learning that?" she said. "After everything you have been through how can you be so…"

She grimaced and sighed looking like she was struggling to find the right word.

"So sane," she said before I could make a suggestion.

I sniggered slightly and shook my head, "I am far from sane, Adelana."

She opened her mouth and inhaled, looking like she was going to say something but seemed unable to.

"I'm sorry, but, I have to say, Omnartus died because of a pict? A single pict?" said the woman.

"Yes, a pict I took," I said.

"The guilt you must feel," she said.

"Is overwhelming," I said.

"But it's not your fault," said Adelana. "No really, how were you supposed to know it would lead to that."

"I should've…" I said, tears welling in my eyes and my hands balled into fists "I should've known, I should've done something. But I was so caught up in selfishly saving my own arse."

"Wanting to live isn't selfish, Attelus!" Adelana cried. "I think many others would've done the same. Although maybe wouldn't have succeeded, you mustn't let your guilt overtake you! You still have to stop that Etuarq monster!"

I looked down at her shocked.

She sighed, "thank you for telling us, Attelus. It must've been taken a lot of courage to have done it."

"Yeah," breathed the woman. "Hell yeah."

"I thought you'd hate me," I said.

Adelana shrugged, "after what you said in the ship before, I did some soul searching. You were right; hate is one of the things wrong with the galaxy. So I won't hate you, I can't. You were just a pawn in this, I see it now."

She frowned, "but I'm not sure I'm grateful that you saved me. You did it for selfish reasons and…"


"Just give me some time, please," she said. "Just let me have some time, too...I've gotta think more over."

I nodded, "yeah more than fair enough, will hopefully see you sooner rather than later," I said, getting the hint and slipping my hands into their pockets, then turned and left.

Still escorted, I walked back to my quarters, it was only a few doors down from Adelana's.

When the door slid shut behind me, I stepped inside and let out the most protracted sigh yet. The exhaustion hit me again, along with the many aches and pains of my injuries.

I stumbled in and threw myself onto my bed, I laid there, staring up at the gunmetal grey ceiling.

An entire world dead, it was hard to believe. Hard to comprehend, that humanity had such insane power at its hands.

How many billions of years did it take for Omnartus to evolve and change into what it was? Only to be reduced to fire and ash in a mere hour.

Again, I tried to sleep, but my mind was awash with thoughts. I still couldn't believe Adelana didn't hate me even after finding out the rather central role I'd played in the destruction of her homeworld.

She seemed almost to feel sorry for me. I didn't need her frigging pity.

But on second thought the way she looked at me, it wasn't pitying, not really. It seemed almost to be admiration. Now she knew what I'd been through, the horrors I've had to endure.

The visitation alarm shrilled suddenly, making me flinch in fright and I let out a pained groan.

"Whaaat?" I growled as the door swished open and Darrance stepped in.

"Apprentice," he said with a formal nod.

I didn't reply, just glared at him balefully.

"I hope I'm not interrupting your brooding," he said.

"What do you want?"

Darrance sighed, "alright, alright, I can't really blame you for being upset right now."

"Oh good to hear!" I said sarcastically. "Good to know you understand."

"I've been working on things, with Glaitis dead and Hayden in a coma I am now the senior most assassin in our organisation," said Darrance. "I thought you should be updated."

I sat up on my bed, "life goes on, I guess," I sighed.

"I visited Hayden just before," he said. "The medicaes say he will live but will need an augmetic to replace his shoulder."

I frowned and looked to the floor guiltily; I'd forgotten about poor Hayden entirely in everything.

"And what about Jelket?" I asked.

"He will live, too," said Darrance. "Don't know how he made it, it's almost miraculous."

I nodded, "good, that's good."

"I have also written up an astropathic communique I will send to Glaitis' cult," he said. "It's too dangerous to send it now; the Space Marine fleets are searching the solar system for us as we speak."

My expression darkened, "and what does it say, exactly?"

"Pretty much everything," said Darrance with a shrug. "Excluding your psychic enhancement, of course, and your apparent manipulation of Jeurat Garrakson."

"You're sure that's wise?" I said.

"Yes," he said, without hesitation. "If we are to one day stop Etuarq we'll need all the allies we can get."

I grimaced, "what if they're secretly allied with him?"

"What if they're not," he countered. "Besides, if they are, he had probably informed them of everything anyway, now they think we trust them."

"That sounds awfully like backwards logic to me," I said.

"Does it?" he said with a smug smile. "You seemed awfully quick to trust this Inquisitor, how do you know she isn't secretly allied with Etuarq? It's one of your many weaknesses rearing it's ugly head yet again, can't say no to a pretty face, can we, Attelus?"

I sighed, "under the circumstances, we don't have much of a choice to trust her, Darrance. But yes, perhaps you're right."

"Trust nothing, suspect everything," intoned Darrance.

My frown deepened, my brow furrowed and I briefly considered telling him of my suspicions, but for some reason quickly decided against it.

"What are you going to do now?" said Darrance. "Lay there and keep on mopping? Or something constructive? I'm going to the bridge, you coming?"

I raised an eyebrow, "we're even allowed on the bridge?" I said.

Darrance shrugged, "not sure, thought I might try."

Then a thought hit me, "why are we still here?" I said while straightening, my eyes widening.


"Why are we still in the system?" I elaborated. "Why haven't we escaped into the warp already? It's too dangerous to stay here, just too dangerous."

Darrance shrugged, "to watch Omnartus burn? Confirming its destruction, maybe the Inquisitor is completely sure in the stealth abilities of the ship."

I shook my head, "I doubt it's just that if she's so sure, why were her forces readying for a fight?"

Darrance shook his head, "well, you know why it could be just in case."

"Hmm, perhaps," I conceded with a shrug. "But I still feel…"

"You coming or not?" said Darrance, impatiently.

"Yeah," I said. "Yeah, I think I will."

Much to my surprise, we were actually allowed onto the bridge and even more to my surprise both Helma and Arlathan were already there. Chatting with Enandra who was back in her power armour and sat cross-legged on a solid, copper coloured plasteel throne in the bridge's epicentre, like a regal queen of old. Flanking the thrones' was the mute psyker, on the right the Stormtrooper sergeant, who was now helmetless. His handsome square-jawed face was insanely masculine, almost on par with an Astartes, his red hair typically close-cropped and short of a soldier.'

I'd half expected it to be the same bridge in Faleaseen's vision but found it couldn't have been any more different. I wasn't sure what to make of that.

"Why are we still here, mamzel Inquisitor?" I heard Arlathan ask as we came close, stepping through the constantly moving crew. "Shouldn't we have left already?"

I smiled, glad I wasn't the only one who'd come to such thoughts and once again impressed by the detective's intellectual acumen.

They glimpsed Darrance and my approach, and all of them turned to us.

"Ah!" said Enandra, smiling and waving at Darrance and I. "Colohris had voxed ahead that you would be coming, it's good to see you both!"

"Mamzel," I said with a polite, slight bow, my hands held behind my back.

"I agree with Arlathan," said Helma abruptly. "Why are we still here?"

Enandra sighed, "I guess after everything you've been through, you would be suspicious of me. I understand. I said that all of you held potential, this emphasised even more now. I see you are already asking the right questions, that is good, very good."

My eyes narrowed, "I am surprised you approve of that," I said.

She smiled and looked at me sidelong, "knowledge is power, young Attelus and sometimes knowledge can only be won by asking the right questions."

Enandra tilted her head and smiled wider, placing her fist against her cheekbone, "or by shedding and bleeding enough blood, but you would know this more than anyone wouldn't you, Attelus?"

I couldn't help but smile and nod back, yes I did. Or at least I thought I did.

I hoped I did.

I was wrong; I didn't know of course.

She sighed again and reclined back in her throne, stretching her legs and placing her palms behind her head.

"I want you to know, that you can trust me," she said. "I want all of you to know I am not like Glaitis or Taryst. That I am willing to share my plans and truths…"

"But only if we ask the right questions?" asked Helma, her eyes narrowed approvingly as her arms folded across her chest.

"At first, yes," said Enandra. "But once you have shed enough blood and bled enough blood that you won't have to anymore."

"Are you going to tell us or not?" Darrance said through clenched teeth.

"Of course I will," said Enandra sounding amused at Darrance's impatient tone rather than annoyed. "You asked the right question; I will give you the answer you deserve. But my psyker Selva will have to take certain liberties with your thoughts to make sure it won't leak out, understand?"

We glanced at one another in hesitation; no one liked the idea of a psyker rifling around in our minds. Especially me.

Enandra raised a hand, "she will not erase your memory of it, just make sure it will be hard to rile up this information by another of her kind. Just a security precaution, I assure you."

Eventually, all of us nodded our approval.

"Good," she crooned. "As I had said before, knowledge is power, this also includes, know your enemy…"
Last edited by Adrassil on Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:32 pm

Fun fact the bad guy in this: Rodyille was my main character of an old 40k fanfic of mine, Of Thieves and Murderers he was my mary su faze, I wanted to signify that Attelus was a far better character than him in this. But he isn't the only character I stole from that story. Vex and Karmen Kons (who was by and far the most interesting character of that story, even before I gave her backstory which intertwines with Attelus') And like Adrassil I ripped his name off a villain's in Tales of Symphonia. I doubt anyone cares about that stuff so on to the the story! It's almost done believe it or not, this is the last chatper excluding the prologue. A grim story, eh? The good guys lose and lose an entire world while at it. Sucks to be them lol. ENJOY!

Four hours later I was back in my quarters. Enandra had given me back my sword, and I was stripped to the waist, my pale white skin glistened with sweat. Training slashing and slicing, stabbing and stepping. Every attack of the unactivated blade whistled and sung with absurd brevity, in fact, I could've sworn it followed a split second after I'd finished.

Inquisitor Enandra had told us her plan, it was audacious and detailed but leaned on assumptions a bit too much for my taste. But she didn't have the luxury of farsight that Glaitis did. Or perhaps she did, perhaps that was why she was able to plan on such assumptions, I couldn't know. Her psyker hadn't done anything intrusive just blocked our surface thought so we couldn't speak of it verbally. I didn't know the details. It'd worked on me, or it'd seemed to for Selva.

With a snarl, I side kicked the air, then cut diagonally upward. I'd been training for a good hour now, how I was managing to do it after everything I'd gone through today. I didn't know, but some energy drove me onward. Despite my aching limbs and horrid weariness. It was anger I supposed, and pain, the pain of a different kind than that which echoed in my body.

I'd practised for another ten minutes when the visitation buzzer chimed again.

I let out an animalistic growl and kept on attacking the air, some of my considerable skill lost in my anger at the interruption.

A good ten seconds later there was another chime, and I snarled, "go away!" Even though I knew whoever was at the door couldn't hear me. I didn't care who it was; I wasn't going to answer.

The third shrilled so long after the second I'd thought whoever it was had given up and gone.

I flinched in fright and finally stopped my training, wiped sweat from my forehead with an arm then absently, skillfully sheathed my sword and stormed toward the door.

"What the frig are...!" I roared but wandered off in my sentence as the door swung open to reveal it was Adelana. Her attractive face set and hard, but I could still see her eyes very briefly glance me up and down in appreciation. She was holding my beaten torn and bloodstained flak jacket before her.

It took me a few seconds to regain my self, stammering stupidly in monosyllables.

She blinked away tears and shook her head in bemusement.

"Can I come in?" she said.

"I...I'm sorry! Of course! Come in!" I stammered and stepped aside.

She stormed through the door, handing me my jacket on the way and rounded on me, making me flinch, "I was thinking about what you said, and you were right!"

"Uhm, I've said a lot, can you please elaborate?"

"You said on the flier, that once I knew the truth, it would give me purpose! A reason to live!" she snapped. "And you were right."

I smiled and laughed, and this caused her to hiss as though hurt and look away, "that'd be the first time in a bloody long time I was right, then," I said.

"I want to help!" she said. "I want to help stop this Etuarq, help make sure he can't do this again!"

"Okay!" I said, as I laid my sheathed sword onto my bed and turned back her, slapping the sides of my thighs. "Talk to the Inquisitor she'll have someone willing to help you, then."

"I want you to help me!" he said. "I want you to teach me!"

I furrowed my brow and looked at her sidelong, unable to hide my surprise; it was more surprising I didn't see this coming.

"I...," said with a shaking voice. "I'm not qualified to teach you anything; I'm only an apprentice. I wouldn't be..."

"I saw you dodge bullets! I saw you deflect them with your sword!" she exclaimed. "Who else is more qualified than you?"

"I've never taught anyone about anything in my life," I said. "I can do that stuff, sure, but that doesn't mean I'm a good teacher."

"Then you'll learn!" she said. "Just like I will learn! I'm only here because of you! So it must be you who trains me! Please! You are partially responsible for the destruction of my world; you owe me this. You owe me!"

I flinched, hurt by her words and the truth behind them. I would've liked to teach her; I really would've...

"Why me?" I breathed.

"I already told you," she said hesitantly.

I looked into her eyes, "is there, is there...another...another..."

Adelana met my gaze for a good few seconds, but her eyes widened, and she abruptly tore her attention away.

"I just need someone to teach me, and you owe me," she squeaked.

"Yes, yes of course," I sighed and closed my eyes, once again feeling guilt hit me. I barely knew her and Elandria wasn't long dead, what the hell was I doing?

"I should leave," she said and pushed past me, walking quickly toward the door.

"Adelana!" I said, causing her to stop and look back at me.

"I'll teach you," I said. "Starting tomorrow."

She smiled sadly and nodded, then went to leave again.

"Adelana!" I exclaimed again, and she halted. "I have to ask, how old are you?"

She furrowed her brow, bemused, "nineteen standard. How old are you?"

"Twenty four standard," I answered, and her eyes widened with surprise.

"Really? You look seventeen or eighteen," she said.

I sighed, "yeah I get that quite a bit, anyway. I ask because you must know I've been training from when I was pretty much old enough to walk. It'll take you a while to get up to my level."

"I understand," she said. "I have been studying to be in the Magistratum, so do have teaching in close quarters combat."

"And long ranged combat?" I asked.

"Yes," she said with a slight nod. "I was third in my class at the shooting range."

I sighed and scratched the back of my head, damn it, everyone seemed to be a better shot than me, "I really, strongly suggest you get Hayden Tresch to teach you how to shoot better, that's just not me. I'm an average shot at the best of times."

She frowned and shrugged, "I was third at the range," she said again. "But I had an average of ninety-eight point five percent. The two others higher than me were only point one and two percent over me, respectively. Maybe I could teach you how to shoot, then?"

I smiled, "yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Will meet you at the training facility at 0800 hours tomorrow morning."

She smiled, nodded again, and left.

With a snarl, I sliced off the soldier's head, then impaled his ally through the chest. A third attempted a point-blank full auto flurry with his lasgun, but by the time he'd raised his rifle. I'd already darted in, cut it in two, then opened his throat with a diagonal slash.

Behind me, Adelana, Verenth, Vark and Helma slipped out of the cover of the two nearby outlets. Their hellguns fired flurries of laser down the wide, dirty brown corridor. The enemy soldiers took cover thirty metres away cowering behind the outlets there.

"Cover me!" I shouted, then started sprinting forward, pulling out a frag grenade, pulled the pin and threw it into the left side.

The resulting explosion, followed by screams and the five others on the right leaned out, opening up with their lasguns.

I dodged and deflected the las-fire, before darting behind the nearest outlet. Throwing a knife a Microsecond before moving which stuck fast into the eye socket of a soldier.

It'd allowed my friends to advance behind me and withering hell gunfire strafed through the air followed by more screams.

I clenched my teeth and pushed my back against the wall. Three months! It'd taken the Space Marines three frigging months to finally give up searching for us in the solar system and leave into the warp. I knew they'd be tenacious but didn't expect it to take that frigging long. It was a harrowing, stressful game of cat and mouse we played; we'd almost been caught five times, once a Space Marine craft had passed within two hundred kilometres of us. It was so close for void ships we may as well have been breathing down each other necks.

During that time I'd tried to teach Adelana how to fight. I didn't do very well at first, showing how to do techniques far too fast and expecting her to be able to perform advanced fighting forms, that came to me as naturally as breathing, but for someone starting, seemed almost impossible.

I'd tried to get teaching advice from Darrance, but he proved to be pretty damn useless in this regard. If he was upset, me a mere apprentice was teaching someone, he didn't show it, and I hoped he'd keep it out of his report. I would've gone to Enandra, but she was busy with the whole business of keeping us alive.

Adelana had proven to be a pretty lousy close quarters combatant, despite being surprisingly fit and robust. She was a Magistratum trainee so used to a submission, grappling style. I used more of a striking style, so she'd had to start almost all over again. Adelana had also admitted privately she was thirtieth in her class, out of forty total.

Out of a moment's inspiration, a month in, I'd decided to used my father's teaching as a template. Despite his anti-social tendencies, he was a good teacher, and she'd improved more since then but was still far from being even below average.

But in contrast, thanks to her help my marksmanship had improved, somewhat.

Much to my surprise, Enandra's plan had gone exactly right. Once the Space Marines had left, we'd emerged from hiding and as she'd expected Torathe had been hiding as well, waiting for us. After a brief void battle, we'd been boarded.

We'd been ready, Enandra had briefed us fully before we'd dropped the stealth field and we'd set up pre-built defences of shoulder-high flak board walls throughout the ship. The only danger was of Space Marines being on Torathe's craft, but Enandra had predicted there wouldn't. She'd believed that it was now personal between her and her former master, that his pride wouldn't allow their help in this fight. Also, he'd had the Astartes for so long they wouldn't agree to spare any more for any longer.

So far that theory too had proven true, there were no Space Marines among the number of Imperial Guardsmen and navy personnel taking part in the fighting.

Vex had firstly hacked into their vox network and had shut it down with some sort of virus or something. So, even outnumbered and took numerous casualties we'd pushed them back into their own ship, leaving countless corpses in our wake. Enandra had surprisingly put me in charge of a kill squad consisting of Adelana, Helma, Torris, Verenth and Vark. I'd expected everyone but Adelana to resent me for this but they'd quickly fallen in, following my orders without complaint and hesitation. It seemed finally being able to take the fight to those responsible for Omnartus' fate had allowed them to put aside their dislike of me, for now.

I'd at first been hesitant for Adelana to take part in the battle, her training was far from even beginning in my eyes, but she'd insisted on fighting with a passion and fire, I couldn't even begin to deny. Besides for what she lacked in close combat ability she more than made up for in skill in a firefight. This was a boarding action, and even though I'd never taken part in one before, I knew it'd be mostly close range and brutal.

"Clear!" I heard Helma call, knocking me from my train of thought and I slipped out of cover.

Wordlessly we continued to cautiously, silently, professionally advance, from outlet to outlet, shadow to shadow. I led the way, sword held at the ready, but the power field deactivated. It wasn't long before we heard more running footfalls from around the next corner, and quickly I calculated it to be at least twenty pairs of boots. Karmen and the other in incorporeal psyker had gone forth first, using their abilities to shatter and destroy the glow globes throughout the enemy ship.

With quick movements of my hands, I sent Torris, Helma and Vark back behind an outlet a few metres back. While me, Adelana and Verenth slipped behind the nearest, all of us dissipating into the shadows behind our cameleoline cloaks. Over the past few months almost everyone had been hard at work training to fight, and everything in between. Adelana hadn't excelled at much, but she'd done well at stealth. The others here had been trained by one of Enandra's men, and he'd taught them frigging well. Although I was sure, both Vark and Helma had the first-hand experience in commando tactics anyway.

We waited for the enemy to storm down the corridor, they'd heard our firefight, they were on the losing side, and there was a strong camaraderie among them. They wanted to go to their comrade's aid as quickly as they could, this made them almost reckless, predictable.

They barely check their flanks as they passed us by and went to check the bodies of their dead comrades. I was right; there was twenty total a full squads worth. I raised the replacement autopistol, given to me by Enandra's armoury and blew a hole through the back nearest guardsman's head with a manstopper round. Seeing it for the signal, it was the rest of my Kill-team opened up, catching them in a crossfire. They wore thick, grey flak armour but it provided them with no protection from the highly penetrative hellgun fire. It was a slaughter within a few seconds they were dead or grievously injured.

I finished the last screaming survivor, by stabbing him through the heart and Torris approached me.

"Can't believe that worked," he said.

I shrugged and pursed my lips, "one thing you can always rely on is the idiocy of humanity."

He smiled grimly, "yes of course," he said knowingly.

I smiled back, knowing he meant me, but didn't care, then waved us onward.

In silence, we found the next corner, and I peered around carefully, the coast was clear, and I signalled this. As part of the briefing Enandra had provided us with the schemata of Torathe's ship, The Imperial Crusher, from this alone it seemed that she'd been planning a confrontation with her former master for a very long time. I'd studied it well and had the printout in my pocket. But I didn't need it now. I knew we were advancing along the port side, through the fifth level. There was going to be a staircase in another two turns about eighty-five metres away. The stairway zigzagged up to the tenth level. The bridge was a level above that; we had separated and scouted ahead of Enandra's main push, taking a long way around, the path least tried. They'd know we were here after that first ambush, there would be more of them coming our way, but the vast majority were distracted. Another kill team, led by Arlathan Karkin was advancing along the starboard side, we were to converge together on the tenth level at 1800 hours.

I glanced at my wrist chron; it was only fifteen thirty-two. Until then we were to sow chaos and confusion in their rear echelons

This was my type of fighting; she'd chosen me well. I felt Arlathan was vastly under qualified, but he'd seemed to have found great favour with Enandra. It was quite rare to see the pair not together over the past few months. Though both Darrance and Hayden were with him so if he followed their advice they should do pretty well.

We moved down the corridor unmolested, but we never lost our disciplined, zigzagging advance, checking every inch and every corner with our green hazed, low light gazes.

As we reached the next turn, I heard more footfalls; they were light but quick and disciplined. Quickly I calculated they were walking down the stairs, about eighteen metres down, although I couldn't tell how many exactly.

With deliberate hands I ordered us to fan out, Adelana, Helma and I to the left. Torris, Verenth and Vark, right. I signalled to let them past then we wrapped our cameleoline cloaks around us again and waited.

It only took a few minutes for them to come around the corner but it felt like forever, there were ten of them, peering through a slight gap in my cloak. They had no lamps on their assortment of weapons, indicating they too had low light vision contacts. One of them carried an auspex, and I couldn't help but smile. We'd all gone light, wearing synskin bodygloves.

They were good, very good I figured they might've been some of Torathe's entourage, sent to stop whatever infiltrators had moved so far into their midst.

With bated breath, I watched as they walked right by us expecting in any second for one of them to notice something, anything that'd give us away. One of them, a towering brute in carapace armour even seemed to look right at me, but he saw nothing and moved on with the rest of his mates.

I changed my mind; these bastards were too good they could wreak havoc on the main force. I indicated this with a tap my vox link, and in an instant, we were up and firing into their backs at a practically point-blank range. Four of them were cut down, but the remaining six reacted with impressive speed, starting to spread out into cover a few even managing to turn and fire back, one shot winged Verenth causing him to cry out and spin away. One clipped Vark's thigh, and he was forced back into cover, clutching at his wound with a pained growl.

I activated my sword in a blaze of blue and dashed in, decapitating one and kicked another in the ribs sending him smashing hard into his comrade and against the wall.

Another tried to swing out at me with the butt his autogun, but I weaved away the kicked it from his hands so abruptly it took him a second to realise it'd gone allowing Adelana to bash in his face with the swing of her Hellgun. The next tried to bring his gun upon us, but a point-blank shotgun shot from Torris exploded the side of his skull, then Helma converged on the last, taking out his legs with a sweeping kick, stamped on his face which connected with a sickening, crunch! Then finished him by stabbing the tip of her knife into his neck.

I killed the last who was starting to get to his feet, cutting him horizontally across his chest.

I turned to the others and nodded my approval, especially at Adelana, genuinely impressed.

"They will be missed," hissed Helma, whipping the blood from her knife on her thigh.

I shrugged, "we'll worry about that later, check on Verenth and Vark, please," I said.

Torris and Helma nodded then turned to help the injured.

"I am alright," said Vark, limping into view, gripping his thigh.

"You'd better head back," I said. "You're in no condition for..."

A flicker of movement caught my eye. The slightest thing but it was enough to slide aside, so the slashing sword from the darkness at my back instead cut across my lower bicep.

With a cry of pain, I struggled to keep my balance. The dark corridor was suddenly alight with hellgun fire. The figure, only a little more a than a shadow, laughed and with breathtaking speed and agility dodged and weaved through it

Then his sword's power field came into life, a thin curved blade, I could see him now. He wore carapace armour and a storm coat. His sharp-featured face half covered in a fringe and was smirking almost psychotically, how the hell he'd almost got the drop on me was beyond me. Then he dashed straight at Adelana, thrusting at her.

Clenching my teeth against the pain, I snarled and smashed aside his thrust, throwing a side kick that sent him spinning back.

I charged forward, cutting out at his thighs diagonally. He parried and reposted with a high horizontal slash at my skull I ducked. He was forced to backpedal from the counter cut.

"Ahh!" breathed the attacker, his voice hoarse and whispering, like a desert wind. "Attelus Kaltos! I have heard so much about you!"

I grimaced, seriously, does everyone know me?

"Who are you?" I demanded.

"I am Interrogator Leonard Rodyille," he said with a deep bow. "Inquisitor Etuarq sends his regards."

I waved everyone back, "you're Etuarq's Interrogator?"

"No," said Rodyille. "I am Torathe's Interrogator, but I am really working for Etuarq."

Suddenly I could hear screams, hideous, blood-curdling screams that seemed to erupt from Rodyille.

"What the hell are you?" I hissed, recoiling back in horror.

"He said you would be here," said Rodyille, ignoring my question. "At this exact time, he sent me to kill you and your little friends. He knew you'd be here; he must also know that I'd kill you."

I laughed, despite myself, "you think that, do you? Feuilt thought the same thing too; then he died at my hand. I think he's sent you here because you've run your course, you're no longer useful to him. You're expendable."

Rodyille grimaced, "your father taught me how to fight! How to kill! I am his best agent! His most loyal! I have been enhanced beyond normal human ken! I am too valuable to be expendable!"

"Enhanced?" I said, my eyes widening. "Best agent? So you're not the only one? You're the same as that assassin who attacked me on that thoroughfare, aren't you? I wonder how many of you Etuarq has out there in the sector; you're not special. Your master, Etuarq just manipulated the death of an entire world, then he has sent you to be sacrificed at my blade. How can you be loyal to him? I just don't understand."

Rodyille's jaw clenched but said nothing.

"You seem to know much," I said. "Join us, Leonard Rodyille. Tell us what you know, and we can stop the bastard!"

Rodyille smiled and sniggered.

"Do you know why I've told you this?" he said.

"Because you're so sure you can kill me it doesn't matter?" I said, and he frowned, indicating I was right, I couldn't help finding it amusing knowing even he managed to it wouldn't make any difference at all.

I smiled sadly, "no matter what I say you won't see sense, will you?" I sighed.

With an enraged roar, faster than thought Rodyille dashed at me, slashing out at my neck.

I blocked and reposted with an upward vertical slash, forcing him to sidestep. He spun into a hook kick which would've smashed knocked my legs out from underneath me if I hadn't backstepped.

He cut overhead, and I slid aside then stabbed at his head. He leaned back by a hair's breadth, and I followed with a darting horizontal strike at his stomach.

Rodyille barely managed to parry it and threw a front kick at my chest. I slid aside and countered with a kick with my bladed shoe at his shin. Rodyille threw himself back.

"Oh for frig's sake!" I heard Torris' exclaim. "Are we just going to stand around and watch you fight? Frig! It's even happening so fast I can't even make out what's happening!"

I smiled and knocked away Rodyille's charging thrust. Throwing a roundhouse kick that crashed into his side, sending him stumbling, it would've shattered his ribs into oblivion if it wasn't for his armour I was sure. Pain flared up my leg, but I ignored it, finding my feet in a blink, before sliding into a vertical, downward slash aimed at Rodyille's sword arm.

Rodyille managed to recover and pull his arm out the way by the barest of margins. I turned my blade and pivoted into a horizontal slash. Rodyille dropped into a kneel and sliced up at my groin.

I parried and kneed at his face, Rodyille leapt to his feet, ejecting himself out the way, arms out wide.

He went to stab at me, but I sidestepped, darted in then wrapped my free arm around his wrists. Too close to use my sword, I smashed an elbow hard into his jaw with a crack! Sending him reeling and crying out, then backfisted him in the side of the face. His back bashed against the wall, causing him to straighten. With a strangled cry, he managed to tear his arms free and desperately chopped out, forcing me to dance blindingly fastback. But the tip still cut a painful gash across my chest.

I clenched my teeth and growled in pain, but barely blanched.

"You bastard!" Rodyille slurred, indicating a broken jaw. "You frigging bastard!"

Then again I heard the screams and for a split second Rodyille's face changed. It was a horrifyingly hollow-eyed, hollow mouthed, tortured monstrosity, that seemed to writhe and struggle under his skin. Then his face was back to normal, healed, instantaneously.

"What the hell are you?" I gasped.

With a feral snarl, Rodyille turned away and started to sprint back the way he came.

Now with clean shots, my comrades opened fire at his back, but he innately weaved side to side through it and disappeared around the next corner.

"You alright?" asked Adelana as she stepped to stand beside me.

"Yeah," I managed with a nod, not sounding at all convincing. He said he was enhanced as well, was Etuarq using his power also to change his spies?

I blinked as suddenly memories flashed through my thoughts, but with new additions. I could now see the writhing, screaming faces in the skin of the daemons I'd fought with Castella.

I remembered the same screaming faces jutting from the sides of the conduit and in the streaming and swirling light which rose from its tip. I could see the faces now flowed through the air around the pews Edracian had lifted with his telekinesis like ghosts.

+This is hardly a surprise,+ said Faleaseen. +I should have known, no true daemons are alike, those things that had attacked you at Brutis Bones' hideout. Were not daemons of the four it seems. I do not know how it had gone undetected so far, but that is not your problem now, now you must...+

"I know!" I growled through gritted teeth, causing everyone around to flinch in fright and started down the corridor without even a backward glance.

"Shit! Shit! Shit! After him!" I roared. "But we need him alive! Hurry! Hurry!"

Me, Helma, Torris and Adelana moved silently through the darkness with the utmost care; now I knew how skilled out quarry was at stealth. I wasn't taking any chances. Vark and Verenth having gone back for medical treatment.

My teeth were on edge, adrenaline still pumping through me.

I really wanted to chase after the bastard, but that'd open us up for an ambush. I knew if he'd just run he could be anywhere on the ship by now and we'd never find him.

I hissed a curse under my breath, wishing like all hell I could've sent back the others also, but another possibility was he'd gone back to get reinforcements, and they'd most likely be too much for me alone to handle.

Actually, there'd be most likely too much for all of us to handle, but I digressed.

Another reason was there was just no way I could cover even a fifth of the area by myself.

When we eventually arrived at the start of the stairs, utterly unmolested I wasn't sure how to feel about it, in all honesty.

I held up a hand for the others to halt and cautiously peered up the stairs, expecting in any second for a withering fire to shower down at me, but there was none.

Clenching my teeth, I signalled the all clear and despite the stairs being made of metal my feet didn't make a sound as I started to ascend and couldn't help feeling a bit of pride when even I could barely hear the footfalls of my comrades following me.

There were four flights until the next floor, and I knew it led into a mess hall. It was a large span, about thirty by forty metres, tables and chairs, everywhere a bloody great place for an ambush.

I glanced around the door, seeing the place was empty, or as empty as I could see from here. It was in tidy condition, stark and clean to an almost ludicrous degree.

I darted to stand behind the right side of the door as Adelana joined me, pushing her back against the wall, Helma and Torris just behind.

"Torris," I whispered. "Hunker down and watch the door and our backs. Adelana, Helma, with me."

With weapons raised, we swiftly slipped inside. Me in the lead and with two quick points of my fingers I ordered my comrades to split up.

Six main thoroughfares were splitting up the maybe seven metre long tables. The doorway was set in the centre of the room, and we advanced through the right. I checked the left, Adelana down the middle and Helma on the right. My plan was if and when we reached the other side, we'd check the cooking area, before falling back to search the left.

I guessed or hoped that Rodyille hadn't gone back for reinforcements, surely they'd be here already?

My heart in my throat, pistol raised and continuously swept across the scenery. Back and forth, back and forth and we moved hunched and low, so we could easily see beneath the tables.

When we'd found the end of the room, I'd glanced back to check on Torris. I couldn't see him and be glad at this fact.

I ordered Helma and Adelana to wait and watch the room then vaulted over the serving bench, landing into a silent crouch. I knew there was a cold air chiller behind the cooking area and in there would most likely be where Rodyille was lurking.

I approached the small, large door and with my sword hand slowly pulled it open, seeing only a little of the large cold room beyond.

Sword readied I slowly searched through the hanging skinned carcasses, I tried to hold my breath, so my steaming breathing wouldn't be visible. I was afraid, terrified. Hoping to all hell, Rodyille wouldn't be able to overwhelm and kill me. I didn't know how long it'd take for Faleaseen to bring me back. An hour? Two hours? A day? It didn't matter it wouldn't be quick enough; I was the only one able to stop him and with me out of the picture, it'd allow him to kill the others.

He must've known this, now was the time to strike when I was alone.

I spent a good ten minutes searching every inch of the place, but there was no sign of him, nothing. I really wanted to look again, just to make sure but fought the urge. We were already low on time to meet our objective.

With a slight sigh, I left, closing the door behind me. On second thought, perhaps it was a bit too obvious.

Helma and Adelana glanced at me confused; they'd obviously thought the same as me.

I shrugged and with quick gestures, indicated we were searching the now right side of the cafeteria.

They nodded, and we began to head back in the same formation and searching the same way.

It was when we were all the way through that Rodyille decided to strike. On the far right, out of nowhere one of the tables was abruptly flung into the air, smashing hard into poor Helma off her feet and across the room. Adelana barely managed to dart out the way with impressive speed, and I simply sidestepped.

Rodyille seemed to materialise into view, his curved sword coming into life and he sprinted at Adelana. Adelana and Torris, opened fire forcing him to slow and weave through it, but I was already moving and activating my sword. Even still he reached Adelana before me. Lightning quick he pulled Adelana's Hell gun from her hands, turned and fired a flurry at Torris.

I heard Torris cry out and his shooting stopped. Then Rodyille dropped it and grabbed Adelana by the hair then placed the edge of his blade at her throat, making me stop in my tracks. Hissing through clenched teeth my pistol aimed.

He smiled insanely over her shoulder, "ahh! I could tell you liked this girl. Who wouldn't? She's just so damned pretty. So very, very pretty. Don't move! Or I will spill all her pretty blood onto the floor."

I clenched my jaw, "I don't understand how this is going to help you," I said. "Let her go!"

"I don't know how this will help me too!" he exclaimed. "I'm just having a bit of fun! I know this is Torathe's final hour!"

"You also know now, that to Etuarq, you are expendable," I said. "He had sacrificed Edracian and his entire organisation. He had sacrificed Feuilt once they'd lost their use! Join us! Help us! Now please let her go!"

"I have helped influence Torathe," said Rodyille conversationally. "I am partly responsible for the death of Omnartus, would you take me in knowing that?"

I flinched and hesitated, "if you regret it and wish to..."

"Well, I don't!" said Rodyille simply, suddenly throwing aside Adelana and shooting a Hell pistol he'd hidden behind her.

It happened so quick; not even I could react as the highly penetrative, superheated shot shattered my wraithbone rib, burst my left lung then out my back.

I wheeled, twisting, crying out in agony and fell onto my back, writhing, gasping. My pistol and sword flung somewhere from my hands.

Rodyille laughed, "you speak grox shit!" he snarled. "My master would never! Ever! Abandon me! And for that...!"

He threw aside his Hell pistol and grabbed Adelana by the ponytail as she was in the midst of getting to her feet. Then stabbed her straight through the shoulder.

Adelana screamed an agonised scream; then he threw her to the floor so hard I could hear bones break.

"You'll have to watch me torture poor pretty, pretty to death here before I kill you!" he snarled.

"I'll...I'll," I gasped.

"You''ll what?" Rodyille said, in mock imitation of my gasping. "Kill me? What? In the condition, you are in now? I doubt it! I will not be killed by you on this day of days!"

He clutched at Adelana's cameleoline cloak and pulled her back to him, sliding her across the floor making the poor girl cry out.

"Oh! Perhaps! I could do something else!" he said, "something worse than plain old torture, yes!"

"N-no, no!" I cried as sharply as I could, fighting to keep awake.

He grabbed her by the hair again and pulled her up, so they were face to face, then licked the nape of her neck. He smacked her across the face twice with short, sharp movements.

"You bastard!" Adelana snarled through clenched teeth, blood oozed from her split lip, and she spat right into his face.

Rodyille laughed then backhanded her to the deck.

"S-stop!" I pleaded. "Stop this!"

Rodyille ignored me, just continued to laugh and he began to rip off Adelana's cameleoline cloak roughly.

"Can't you see," I gasped. "It's the souls, that Etuaq used to enhance you. They're driving you insane! Please, we can help you."

Still, Rodyille laughed and finished pulling off Adelana's cloak, she was struggling, raining punch after punch into Rodyille's face with her gauntleted fists, but the bastard barely flinched. Despite the bloody broken nose she'd given him. He wrapped his fingers around her wrists and pinned Adelana's arms over her head.

"Stop, you son of a bitch!" and despite the agony climbed with agonising slowness to my feet. "Stop this now, or you'll never come back from this if you continue...!"

"Or you'll what?" he snapped.

"I'll kill you," I snarled. "I'll kill you in the most painful way imaginable."

Rodyille was suddenly running at me and I only just managed to slap away his punch as it headed toward my face. The act sent waves of agony through me, I cried out, my vision blurred and I couldn't stop his kick from colliding against my chest, sending me careening hard to the floor.

He was on me, grabbing me by the hair then smashed my skull against the deck. My vision blackened and I writhed with the pain. Then Rodyille hooked me across the jaw.

"Don't be stupid!" he roared. "Don't say stupid things! People who say stupid things like that are stupid! And deserve bad consequences for their stupidity!"

I would've laughed at his idiotic, redundant words but he kicked me hard in the guts, and I reeled forward, gasping like an aquatic creature deprived of water.

Rodyille got to his feet and began back toward Adelana, turning his back to me.

I was on my knees, grasping his storm jacket with a shaking hand. I was weeping openly now, but not out of pain, Adelana had been through so much already, but despite it all, she was still a good person. If he raped her it'd break her; I couldn't let that happen. I couldn't lie back and do nothing!

"Please!" I hissed. "Please!"

Rodyille smiled and kicked me to the floor with the tip of his boot.

"Karmen!" I cried, curling up in a foetal ball. "Faleaseen! Help please!"

I got nothing.

Nothing! I knew Karmen, and the other psyker would be busy battling whatever psychic thralls Torathe kept, but I couldn't understand why Faleaseen wasn't able to help.

Adelana was crawling across the floor, reaching for her Hell gun, but Rodyille stamped on her hand. I winced as I heard her fingers break.

Then he grabbed her by the neck, with one hand lifting her as effortlessly as Brutis Bones had hauled Arlathan when in power armour months ago now.

Adelana struggled; choking in his grasp, with one, smooth, deliberate movement and he unzipped her bodyglove.

I winced and closed my eyes, unable to watch. Then it hit me; this could be me one day, this could've been me years ago. Psychotic. It reminded me horrifyingly of my dream, the dream I'd truly wished to forget, the dream that'd terrified me beyond anything before or anything ever since. The dream I would never, ever tell any living soul.

Then I heard it, two hell gunshots echoed from behind me, they shot over me, so bright they left orange after images on my retinas despite my eyes being closed.

I looked, and Rodyille stood with a shocked, gaping expression on his face. Two large, red hot holes burnt through his torso.

He let go of poor Adelana and fell to his knees, then collapsed limply onto his back, dead.

Despite the pain it caused, I turned back. Seeing Helma holding with one hand her smoking Hell gun, how she'd kept hold of it was beyond me. She was broken, both her legs and other arm hanging in unnatural angles and Emperor only knew what other bones.

Helma smiled at me, "I am sorry," she gasped, indicating a punctured lung. "I know you wanted him alive."

Then she lost consciousness.

Adelana got slowly to her feet and viciously kicked Rodyille's corpse.

"Frigging bastard!" she snarled.

"Adelana," I gasped, and she approached my side. Looking down at me with distinct, almost ironic concern and held out her good hand to offer aide.

"Forget about me, I'll live," I said. "Check on Torris, please."

With great hesitation, Adelana slowly nodded and went to do as asked. Reaching for her vox bead and began calling for aid.

Rodyille was right, I thought with a smile, I wasn't the one to kill him on this day of days.

I never got to hear all of Adelana's words, before darkness utterly overtook me.
Last edited by Adrassil on Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Secret War: Mature Themes-Lots of violence, foul language

Post by Adrassil » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:04 pm

The figure ascended a staircase which swirled and twirled around and over a vast collection of floating rocks and boulders both great and small. Everywhere around it was a backdrop of pure, cloudy, contorting chaos made up of reds, oranges, purples and colours utterly unknown to humanity.

Eldritch forms steadily moved, contorting through its depths, black things of indiscernible shape, some the size of titans, some the size of humans and everything in between.

The thing which was Wesley Jeksen lacked legs and hands instead it walked on the stumps which ended its arms at an unnatural rate of speed. It's movements halting and flickering. As he moved, he changed, warping and crunching into a form which resembled a man, but was far from human.

His arms elongated, his hands grew back, and he sprouted short legs from the stump which ended it's torso as it too grew in length.

Its skin withered away, replaced by purple sinus which was rough, corse like the bark of a tree. Wings sprouted from it's back; wings made up of countless multicoloured feathers made from the same stuff as it's skin. Its eyes bulged and moulded into circular milky white orbs, and from its face, a large, curved beak grew.

A large ornate golden staff abruptly appeared in its left hand which became three razor-sharp talons.

After what seemed an age, yet somehow didn't, the thing found the top of the stairs. There was an unusually large rock and set upon that was a throne, its back facing once-Wesley.

The throne's true size and dimensions were unknowable. In one second it seemed to tower over the thing, the next it was so small it didn't even come up to its knee. The shadow it cast was a complete contradiction to the throne itself, engulfing the daemon in its darkness when the throne was tiny, but not when it was massive. The shadow also always seemed to flicker, blinking in and out of existence in a pattern unknown even to once Wesley, but there was a pattern, of that its ancient, alien intellect was certain.

The daemon fell to its knees, bowing to the throne.

"Master," It said, but it seemed to say it in every language known, Low Gothic, high gothic, Velrosian. Sartathian, Fenrisian. Even those languages and dialects thought extinct, and those not known at all by the mortal races. It's voice echoed through the miasma, making the floating rocks reverberate and the things in the cloudy light of reds, oranges, purples and colours unknown to humanity moan and murmur. Whether it was in fear or pain, or both could not be known.

"Everything has gone as you had planned," said once-Wesley. "Omnartus is dead, billions more mortal souls have been fed to the machine and the Inquisitor Etuarq's power, and influence grows."

The Thing sitting on the throne suddenly got to its feet making the once-Wesley pause.

"His fate is sealed," It said after a long moment. "He does not know it, but he does your work, your bidding. The one with the initials AXK is now in place, and through him, chaos will spread all throughout the Imperium of Man. Billions upon billions more will die, and billions more will know you and bow to you, as they rightfully should. It all started with the invasion of the seemingly insignificant little world of Elbyra, the invasion that you had guided through the Halo stars. All we need do now is wait for a few short decades, and all your plans will come into true fruition. The Imperium will burn, and the galaxy will be yours. My master, my weaver of fate."

The thing looked over its slender shoulder at once-Wesley and with its massive beak of razor-sharp silver teeth, smiled.

Surrounded by her stormtrooper escort and Relcreth, her blank. Inquisitor Jelcine Enandra approached the bridge. She'd been fighting at the front, her still crackling power fist coated in gore and blood. Her armour splattered all over with the stuff. She walked by Darrance and Hayden Tresch; both were wounded and unconscious. Their backs on the wall as two medically trained stormtroopers were treating them.

She'd also heard the word that poor Attelus, Torris and Helma were in critical condition back in her medicae triage on the Audacious Edge. If Enandra were the praying type, she would be praying for them on their behalf. She just hoped they'd live, to survive the through all of that, only to die now would've been a tragedy.

According to Adelana, they were attacked by an Interrogator Rodyille, who was a double agent for Etuarq. She'd never known about this Rodyille until now; he must've been recruited during Torathe's three-year absence. She knew all of them were formidable, young Attelus' was skilled in particular and for this Rodyille to take out all of them single-handed spoke of great skill. Too bad Helma had been forced to kill him, Enandra would've liked to have...Learned from him.

Adelana had also claimed that Rodyille hinted there were others of his kind out there. More elite, unbalanced agents working for Etuarq somewhere which scared Enandra more than she cared to admit.

She'd also lost communication with Arlathan and his kill squad hours ago. She'd only found out about the injured Darrance and Hayden a few minutes ago. There was no sign of Arlathan and the rest.

Enandra couldn't help feeling great concern; she'd come to like the ex-magistratum detective over the past three months. She saw great potential in Arlathan. Attelus too. But his was a different potential than Arlathan. Attelus could be a great assassin and spymaster, perhaps one day even surpassing his father in skill. He could also be a leader, a great planner and manipulator. Attelus' mind was complex, labyrinthine and imaginative according to Selva. Along with willpower and strength of character beyond belief.

But Arlathan! Arlathan Karkin had even greater potential; he could be genuinely great. He could be a true leader, cunning, forward-thinking and manipulative beyond compare and perhaps even more willful than Attelus. But he could also be charismatic; something Attelus Kaltos was not. Attelus had too much of his father in him. Enandra had already decided Arlathan would make for an excellent Interrogator. She had to admit, not many would see it, but Enandra did. That was one of the many reasons why she was an Inquisitor, she saw potential when others didn't or wouldn't, and so far, she'd never been wrong.

Enandra just hoped to hell she hadn't already sent him to his death.

The turned the corner directly leading finally to the bridge of The Imperial Crusher. Enandra had ordered all her troops back, she wanted to take the bridge, she wanted to confront her former master, but she saw something unexpected. Something that made her stop dead in her tracks along with her escort.

She'd expected the huge adamantium doors to the bridge to be closed. The bridge staff inside waiting for their meltabombs to blow through, with their weapons raised.

But the door was already destroyed, and the scene inside took Enandra's breath away and bile to rise in her throat. If she weren't more versed in seeing such visages, from her decades of service to the Golden Throne, Enandra would've vomited onto the deck there and then.

Corpses laid everywhere, almost floating in a knee-high sea of blood which expanded out into the corridor.

With her powerfist, she hesitantly waved the others onward.

Their boots sloshing through the blood, they slowly approached, with guns raised.

Her stormtroopers were first in, fanning out with admirable calm and professional ability, Their hellguns covering every inch and corner.

Enandra, when she was a young Interrogator, must have been on this bridge countless times and besides the numerous dead, it hadn't changed at all. The bronze walls with silver edging and the piloting cogitators and navigation view screens.

Enandra also recognised many of the dead, some she'd known for years like captain Qyalt and many of Torathe's longest-serving warriors.

She then saw a few of hers, six of them all of them. Fultol Smetrel, Ukulth Nerlark, Olik Smarl, Kilvt Plyrth, Kajl Jofet and Serl Jorl. All of whom she'd sent to accompany Arlathan Karkin.

Relcreth's hand laid on her shoulder, but she didn't even flinch, she'd long ago gotten used to the presence, and even touch, of a psychic blank. He pointed, and Enandra looked to where he indicated, and she saw him. Inquisitor Devan Torathe laid as dead as everyone else; he wore his trademark grey carapace armour and grey storm coat. His once handsome features now creased with age, he was bald on top, but his long white hair around it grew down to his hips. Enandra could see his throat had been slit.

Her eyes narrowed, not sure how to feel about this, not sure at all.

"Search for survivors!" she snapped and was about to say more, but suddenly one of the cadavers shuddered slightly.

Then something burst out from underneath, letting out a strangled scream.

In an instant, every gun including Enandra's plasma pistol was aimed at the blood covered figure.

"I'm on your side!" the figure cried, raising his hands in supplication. "Don't shoot!"

"Who are you?" demanded sergeant Kollath.

The figure swallowed and instantly seemed to regret it before answering, "I am detective Arlathan Xathrian Karkin of the Omnartus Magistratum, and I'm on your side! I'm on your side!"
Last edited by Adrassil on Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Attelus Kaltos vs Erdaku: The Everchosen of Chaos

Post by Adrassil » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:47 pm

Hello everyone! Thought about posting this little story for a while, wrote this first year in my creative writing course as a fun practise for writing fight scenes. For fun, really. Its set between Secret War and Upon Blood Sands but not sure if it's before or after True Throne Agent. Wasn't going to be canon until I had Attelus briefly reference it in Upon Blood Sands. It's also my first attempt, or one of my first attempts, and present tense. Enjoy!

Attelus Kaltos charges, his long, brown hair is blown from his sharp, pale features. His back flak jacket whipps and snaps in his wake. His expression is a rictus of rage as he activates his power sword in a blaze of blue.

Erdaku The Everchosen, laughs as he stands amidst a sea made of countless slain Imperial Guardsmen. The Chaos Space Marine, the champion of chaos towers over Attelus, he would have towered over the young, short Throne Agent even if bereft of his elaborately decorated and ancient, spiked. Red and black power armour. Erdaku's scarred, war torn features, grin ferally and his power clawed hands are almost as large as Attelus' torso; snap open and shut in eager anticipation.

Attelus doesn't baulk despite the fear repeatedly pounding through his skill like hammer blows and his heart hammering painfully in his chest. It only takes him a few seconds to cross the twenty metre distance despite having to step carefully around and over the still warm dead and the small sea of blood.

Erdaku punches out with such speed no mortal eye can follow.

But Attelus is no mere mortal as in mid-stride he weaves aside and cuts over head at the Chaos Marine's elbow.

Blindingly quick, Erdaku withdraws his arm out the way. But like water Attelus slips forwards, onto Erdaku's open flank and slices horizontally at Erdaku's armoured leg.

With grace belying his bulk, Erdaku side steps the arcing blade then throws a massively powerful kick.

Attelus ducks it, then darts in again, cutting for the Chaos Marine's planted foot but is suddenly forced back by Erdaku's swiping powerclaw.

'You are quick, little girl!' says Erdaku in the inhuman deep timbre natural to all of the Adeptus Astartes, as Attelus gathers back his balance. "It must have been a century since Erdaku the Everchosen has faced a mortal that has lasted so long against him!"

'Frigging stop that!" Attelus snarls through his gasping, he's already coated head to toe in sweat as adrenaline pumps through him, making his limbs ache and shake. Attelus has already been killing cultists for what felt like hours, as Erdaku has been killing guardsmen. But the Chaos Marine's highly enhanced physiology allows him to be barely affected by fatigue.

No, slaughtering, Attelus corrects, Erdaku has been slaughtering Guardsmen.

'Stop what, little girl?' says Erdaku, tilting his huge head in what may be wry amusement. 'Stop calling you a little girl, little girl?'

'No,' Attelus breaths, 'stop referring to yourself in third person, it's frigging annoying.'

Erdaku throws back his head and booms out a laugh so resonant, so strong Attelus' organs seem to shake in his slender frame. 'That just makes Erdaku want to do it even more! Erdaku looks forward to adding your skull to his ever growing collection, even if you are a little girl!'

Attelus barely has enough time to clench his jaw and sigh before Erdaku is upon him and swinging out a crackling power claw.

Attelus is forced to back step and it misses him by such a small margin the onrush of air almost knocks him off his feet.

Erdaku follows with a front kick which Attelus desperately darts under and he slides into a diagonal cut at the Chaos Marine's ludicrously large shoulder pad.

Erdaku turns, his huge claw trailing after the Throne Agent with astounding speed, but he is still too late as Attelus' master crafted power sword slices through Erdaku's armour, then his shoulder like parchment.

The Chaos Marine roars, but whether it's in pain or rage Attelus hasn't a clue and he throws himself to the dirt just before as Erdaku's arm is flung from it's bloody stump and through the air like some sick parody of a stick thrown for a canine.

Not even slightly deterred by the loss of a limb, Erdaku stomps his huge boot to crush Attelus into mush.

The young Throne Agent just manages to roll out the way and barely keeps hold of his power sword during the desperate act.

Attelus clambers to his feet and made clumsy from exhaustion he begins to back away but his heel hits a corpse and he falls onto his back so hard it forces the breath from his lungs.

Erdaku towers over him, the Chaos Marine is made no less frightening by his missing arm, in fact it just makes him even more terrifying. That such a crippling injury could have such little effect just emphasizes his inhumanity all the more.

The Chaos Marine laughs that barking bellow again and raises his remaining power claw.

'Erdaku is not even mad,' he says. 'Erdaku is even impressed you managed that. But it is all for naught, little girl. You are just going to wind up yet another skull in his collection and the Four will just give Erdaku a new, even better arm. Tell Erdaku before he kills you, what did you hope to achieve in challenging Erdaku, The Everchosen of Chaos?'

Attelus then hears the vox tap echo from the microbead in his ear and it makes him smile.

'In all honesty, Erdaku," Attelus sighs. "I hoped to stall you long enough for my sniper friend to get into position.'

Erdaku's black eyes only have time to start widening before his head is evaporated into oblivion by a hot shot round.

Gasping for air, Attelus wearily climbs to his feet, using his deactivated power sword as a lean-to and he opens the vox link.

'Good shot, Hayden,' he says.

'Are there any shots I make, that aren't good?' replies the sniper, but without arrogance, it's a cold, simple statement of fact.

'Well, those would be the shots that weren't good, because they'd have missed," says Attelus.

Hayden's reply comes after a few seconds of silence, 'you just had to taunt...him, didn't you?'

Attelus shrugs, 'was worth it just to see the expression on his ugly face,' he says before looking down at Erdaku's huge, horizontal form.

'Erdaku, the Everchosen of Chaos?' Attelus snarls. "Should've been Erdaku, "Ever the Idiot" for forgetting to wear his frigging helmet!'

Then he gives the power armoured corpse a vicious kick.

An act which he immediately regrets.

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Post by Adrassil » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:10 pm

A bit more satire of the 41st millennium. This takes place on Omnartus near the end of Secret War.

Adept Solengar paused in his shuffling gait and flexed his thin,, arthritic fingers. The crowd of thousands in the huge boulevard swept instinctively around him like water rushing past in a fast flowing river.

Solengar was in his mid-thirties but looked like a weathered man in his sixties. Working thirteen hour days seven days a week had aged him. Long ago he had lost most of his hair. His dark crimson robes indicative of his position were given to him when he had first taken his position in the Administratum sixteen years prior. It was a good three sizes too big now but hid much of his build beneath. A hunched build which had more in common with a scavenging aviator bird than a human.

He took off his spectacles and wiped them clean before placing them back on his beak-like nose. Many in the crowd of adepts and menials on their way home looked up at the explosions in the sky but Solengar didn't.

The damned Planetary Defence Force were practising shooting their anti air weaponry again. It was nothing. He thought this while conveniently forgetting the earlier broadcast over the hive's live feed. An Adeptus Arbites Ornithopter had fired into a crowd of people only twenty kilometres west. Killing hundreds.

He had dismissed it. The Adeptus Arbites were amongst the greatest and most loyal enforcers of the God-Emperor's will. Those fools most assuredly deserved it.

Solengar moved on, losing himself in the swarm of bodies scuttling through out the hive. Above, the explosions continued on and the thick cloud of pollution which covered the entirety of Omnartus' sky riled and thrived like some living, breathing sentient being.

Solengar had never looked up at the sky.

Three hours later he arrived at the entrance of his hab unit. With a shaking hand he unlocked it and shuffled into the small, darkened cave. He was a man of order and work was his life so his meagre possessions perfectly arranged into shelves. A small window allowed him a brilliant view of the bustling hive outside.

Solengar shuffled into the kitchen and put on a pot of pre-made broth on the stove. He shuffled to the statue of the God-Emperor set on the table set dead centre of the hab and knelt before it. Made the sign of the aquila at his chest and began his daily prayer.

'God-Emperor may I, your humble servant, have your blessing. May you grant me the strength to serve you and resist corruption and heresy against your word and law. Because only in death does duty end.'

His eyes were closed as he carried on, so he never noticed the pollution above Omnartus disperse for the first time in thousands of years. A bright, light beautiful blue.

He never noticed the countless bright white bombs showering through the sky a second after.

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