Day of Reckoning
“It should have been the happiest day of my life. Looking back now, I suppose it could still be considered such given what it was. I did not, however, think of it as such that day…- Excerpt from a private journal entry.
He had been an acolyte of his master for nearly two decades. Since his early teens, the life he had been living had all be for the sole purpose of attaining the ultimate reward… a rosette. His master had taken him to the far reaches of the Imperium, and many time far beyond the borders. He had been privy to things that would make most sane men’s minds sink into the mire of insanity. All of those things undertaken with the singular goal in mind… to earn a place in the Emperor’s Inquisition.
Lucian Andiron stood before the Inquisitor Lord who oversaw the operations of his particular cabal of the Ordo Xenos. The man before Lucian was a very old man, having served the Emperor for many long decades, and presumably he’d been doing so since before Lucian was even born. He has met the man only twice, this being their second meeting. In all due prudence, Lucian had never asked for his name as he felt he’d have been told it already if he’d needed to know. The fact that his master knew him and had enough confidence in Lucian to make a request for him to be given his rosette spoke volumes enough of how privileged Lucian was to be meeting with the Inquisitor Lord.
“So, Victor… you believe your acolyte here is worthy of being given his rosette?” the Inquisitor Lord inquired of Lucian’s master.
Victor Rumentis stood off to one side of the Inquisitor Lord, his dark robes covering the pitch black power armor that he favored above regular clothing. Victor had been an Inquisitor just shy of forty years, and had only elevated one other acolyte before Lucian. Among the Ordo, Victor was seen as one of the most ruthlessly strict masters an acolyte could ever have the misfortune of being assigned to. His methods were radical at best and tyrannical at worst, and even still Lucian had survived and thrived. It had not come without cost, but in the grand scheme of things, it was now suddenly all worth it.
“I do, my Lord. He has been a most studious acolyte, his faith and resolve proven beyond measure, his mind sharp and his focus to the tasks required of him. I would personally vouch for his fitness should you ask it of me,” Inquisitor Rumentis intoned rather officially.
Lucian felt a swell of pride in his chest. Never before had his master spoken such words of confidence. Such simply wasn’t his way. Now, however, it almost seemed a waking dream that he was now standing before an Inquisitor Lord, breaths away from leaving his master’s side to become a master himself.
“Acolyte Andiron,” the Lord Inquisitor turned his attention to the man standing before him. Lucian, clad in his own suit of power armor painted black much like his master’s, straightened visibly at the sound of his name. He dared not speak, the Lord Inquisitor had not asked it of him. He waited patiently for the man’s next words.
“Inquisitor Rumentis speaks highly of your skills and of your worth. I doubt that I have to tell you just how much such words weigh. In looking through the files he has compiled regarding your long apprenticeship, I do not believe such words to be hollow. Step forward, and take this Inquisitorial Rosette. You shall stand among us as a brother Inquisitor, no longer an apprentice of Inquisitor Rumentis,” the Lord Inquisitor said after a long pause, his hand reaching forward to present the symbol that would represent his authority as an Inquisitor.
Lucian stepped forward, his eyes fixated on the thing. He had seen one just like it among his master’s gear for decades, and had yearned for one of his own. With as steady a hand as his suit could offer him, Lucian seized the rosette and stepped back. He wasn’t at all sure how he was meant to reply, and decided it was best to remain respectfully silent.
The Lord Inquisitor turned to Lucian’s now former master, “Give him the details of his first assignment, I have other duties that demand my attention.”
“Of course my Lord,” Victor bowed slightly and watched the man depart for a moment before turning to his former pupil, “So, do you feel that you are sufficiently prepared for your first excursion alone?”
“You have taught me well, Master Rumentis,” Lucian nodded, “I believe I will be more than able to handle the things that shall come.”
Victor laughed heartedly, “We shall see, my boy… we shall see. Now then, your first assignment is going to be on the outskirts of the Segmentum. More specifically, there is a world that we believe an artifact can be found that is of significance to the Eldar. If the Eldar are looking for it, it must be something worth collecting and studying.”
“What’s the catch?” Lucian asked almost on instinct. His former master had been known to only explain half the situation and leave out much more broad details, such as what was waiting for him even before he arrived.
Again, Inquisitor Rumentis laughed loudly, “I see you are wasting no time taking up the mantle of a full Inquisitor… you’re already questioning even me! Excellent…”
Victor motioned for Lucian to follow him to a nearby display table that had been sitting dormant in the room. When it was activated, Lucian beheld what looked to be a rather sizable Eldar force already in orbit.
“You’ll be playing catch-up. The Eldar have already arrived in orbit and have been searching for nearly two weeks…”
“And what’s the other catch?” Lucian asked, knowing that the Xenos being there wasn’t the only dark cloud being revealed to him.
“You’re only going to be given a small cruiser with a squad of Adeptus Astartes from the Raven Guard Chapter. And they are not thrilled at the prospect of having to take orders from you. I was nice enough not to tell them that you were only just
minted an Inquisitor,” Victor chuckled.
“Thanks…” as all Lucian could manage before making his way to his first and possibly last mission as an Inquisitor.
Word Count: 1073