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post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-03-11, 08:39 PM
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Default ‘What price can one put on deliverance?’

‘What price can one put on deliverance?’

Daemon-engines marched. They moved with dread steps that shook the earth to its very foundations with terror and corruption. Twenty-five death machines replete with screaming souls bound to their very essence wailed for their deliverance from the endless torments they endured.

Chaos had come to Verialious II, damnation from the shadows now moved freely into the light of day. All the prayers of a faithful world of the Imperiam had fallen upon ears both deaf and uncaring. Void-shields burned bloody-red around the two-hundred-fifty foot murder-monsters as they absorbed the firepower coming at them from the capital city’s all but useless defense platforms.

From their horns they made their intent known to a world that already quaked with mind-numbing abuse. Fire and blood along with cones of smoke fifty meters long erupted from the cannons of the corrupted Titans as they released their ordinance.

In the far distance super-novas bloomed like melting suns as the cursed shells decimated whole quarters of the capital’s cityscape. Buildings that had stood for five-thousand years collapsed in heaps of smoke and ash while their iron skeletons melted with the heat of the screaming blaze.

The Princeps of the Apostate writhed in his amniotic bubble issuing commands to his moderati while blaspheming the Emperor’s name and laughing maniacally with insane abandon. Argon the Mindless watched through mechanical eyes, surveying the battlefield with ten-thousand years experience lending him information and purpose.

‘Death to this world!’’ he shouted through the war-horn. ‘Death to his beloved; to the faithful followers of the corpse-god!’ At his voice the souls bound to the Titan screamed in horror as whips of psychic lightning raked them. Their eyes were open to the spirit realm and they shuttered as they watched the winged shadows pour from the ether.

The sky turned black with smoke and flaming debris as the Titan’s fired their weapons again. Death had come to Verialious II and there could be no escape from the wrath of Chaos.

Planetary Governor Bartos Coble stood behind darkened plate-glass windows shaking with fear and desperation as he watched his world collapsing around him. His oversized body was clothed in purple-red robes that bore rings of sweat that stained the rich fabric.

His voice shook as he called for help that would never come from vox-casters that no longer carried a signal. Governor Bartos fell to the floor as another blast tore a city block asunder before his very eyes. ‘Emperor have mercy on us!’ he wailed, his voice like a child’s rot with all the emotion of a helpless victim.

Around him the air grew stale and feted as rime-frost began to crawl up the plate-glass window. The wallpaper curled like extra long fingernails; blackened and fell away from the walls to lie useless upon the green marble floor.

Around the Governor shadows thickened as webs of smoke began to form in the air and swirl like ink in a glass of water. Through the warp-portal a man walked clad in simple robes of black, head covered in a deep shadowed hood.

He spoke with boldness and held himself in contempt of the Governor’s authority. He was not here to play games, but to offer his services to assure the survival of Verialious II. Outside another blast brought down a skyscraper and tore the air with screams of daemons intent on decimation.

The Governor shook and hid his face, but the man clad in black robes moved without fear to stand before the prostrate fat man on the floor. ‘My name is Tobias Malicar.’ he said. His voice was like fire burning in the Governor’s mind. It burned away everything else except the person standing before him.

‘You have two choices before you. Employ my services or die.’ The Governor looked up from his terror, but could not see the man’s face. He imagined that if he could he would die from fright. Somehow he knew the man before him could bring his world deliverance, but at what cost?

‘Do not tarry. I will bring you deliverance.’ The man said. ‘What price will we pay for your help and how can I know you can deliver us from the hands of Chaos?’ the Governor ventured.

‘Do not put me to the test or I will leave you to your doom! Me or death!’ the cloaked man shouted into the Governor’s mind. Blood fell from his eyes and flowed from his mouth as his teeth shattered. The Governor submitted, ‘You.’ is all he could say.

Tobias Malicar smiled and walked back into the whirling miasma from where he had come. Moments later he emerged from the warp-hole with lightning flashing and a tsunami of energy that shot forth and annihilated the void-shields of the lead Titan.

The Princeps of the Apostate screamed as the psychic feedback slammed him like a hammer within his skull. Blood swirled in his amniotic fluid from the burst blood vessels behind his eyes. Blind, Argon the Mindless screamed, his voice echoing from the war horn. The souls bound to the daemon-engine echoed his voice with screams of their own.

All across the landscape the other twenty-four Titans stumbled as the earth below them rippled for no apparent reason. Before them the Psyker shouted. Unprepared for his power, two smaller engines burst into flames and fell onto their backs, the souls held within, freed from the wards that bound them.

The Psyker thrust forth his hands and the rest of the void-shields protecting the Titans imploded with reverse energy that cracked the hulls of the mighty war-giants. With a final shout Tobias Malicar screamed into the minds of those operating the machines and tore them apart. Clenching his fists he broke their bones and reaved their flesh from them as well.

With a breath slowly escaping from his mouth, he broke the remaining wards and brought deliverance to those who had been bound. The freed souls wept with relief as they escaped their chains. Verialious II had also been delivered, but at what cost? Tobias Malicar smiled as he thought about it.

In the distance fires burned, the smoke billowing in the ancient sky. Blood-red beams of light from Verialious’s sun pressed through alighting upon Tobias Malicar as he thought about the price he would demand. ‘What price can one put on deliverance?’ he said to himself.

1,063 words including title.

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
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