Veptus watched Jaekal stalk out of the Apocatherion. His pitch black eyes followed the Chaplain until he turned the corner and disappeared from sight. A hiss escaped through Veptus’ clenched teeth. He had been holding his breath. It wasn’t that he disliked the Chaplain. Jaekal was amicable enough and Veptus could get along with him better than some of his brothers. Veptus just detested anyone questioning his work. Even Xandrek didn’t have the gaul to come in here and openly question his methods. Observe yes, and allow Veptus to explain procedures and progress reports, but never had he yet questioned Veptus. Veptus snorted derisively to himself as he turned to resume his work. The arrogance!
Veptus turned and saw his Apothecary Minoris, Xheng. “Ah, Xheng my boy!” Veptus greeted his underling warmly, opening his arms as if he were about to embrace him. Veptus was sometimes warm, but more consistently with the other Apocatherion staff. That’s what made him so terrifying. Veptus knew the madman he looked like and played it up. He knew there were whispers of him being erratic or simply insane. In truth, his mental stability was never in question. He just enjoyed watching the others squirm.
The vox speakers rendered the thick Nostraman voice of brother Xheng in to a growl which resembled the gurgling of a clogged drain. “Master, a message from Captain Xandrek.” the Apothecary said as he inclined his head as a mark of respect. Xheng gestured towards the vox terminal. Veptus placed a fatherly hand on Xheng’s shoulder “Carry on Apothecary Minoris.” Veptus walked over to the vox terminal and chuckled as he read the message that had been rolled out to the whole of the Fourth Company “Viris Colratha Dath Sethicara Tesh Dasovallian. Solruthis Veh Za Jass.”. “Ave Dominus Nox” Veptus whispered darkly to the mute vox terminal.
Veptus went to turn to dress himself in his armour when a second, private message flashed up on the vox terminal. +Veptus. Come to the bridge+ Veptus cocked an eyebrow. He was summoned to his master’s chambers. “Xheng!” Veptus called out. Xheng came round the corner he had disappeared round and bowed slightly.
“The Captain has summoned me. If you require assistance, you know where to find me.” Xheng bowed and took his leave. It needn’t be said that if Xheng bothered him for anything less than an emergency, there would be hell to pay. Apothecary Minoris were difficult to replace, but not impossible.
Veptus walked calmly back to his chambers. Unlike some others within the legion, Veptus only kept one servant and refused to take the name from the mortal. Her name was Naomi and she wore a blood red double helix on a chain round her neck. She was sat comfortably in a plain chair trawling through a medical text Veptus had lying around. “Naomi my dear, always studying.” Veptus stood in the doorway and smiled like a doting father. Naomi smiled warmly back, inclining her head and placing the tome on the desk to the side of the chair. “My lord” When she had first come to the Thirteenth Legion, she had been a frightened girl, barely fourteen summers. She was shaking like a leaf. That look of fear still glowed in her eyes, although she was good at hiding it. Veptus was one of the only Astartes she spoke freely in front of.
“Lord Xandrek has called for his Sons to be clad in midnight, and for my presence on the bridge.”
“Best we make you look your best, m’lord.” Veptus chuckled. The mortal was amusing and more competent than many he had met.
“You always do.” Veptus allowed himself to be armoured by the mortal woman, testing each armour joint at it was a fixed in place. The skulls on his knees chattered in an eerie chorus of glee. Naomi fixed the chest-plate to his chest and Veptus caught a scent only an Astartes would know, and only an Apothecary would likely know what it was.
“Naomi.” Veptus’s voice was cold now. Naomi broke her concentration in the armour to look up at her lord’s fierce eyes. “Don’t mate until we leave the Isstvan system.”
“I…” Veptus cut straight across her.
“You are ovulating. I’m no sorcerer, but I know enough from Jallus and others who ought to know that something is happening here. There’s no telling what would happen to any child you might have while we’re here.” Veptus knelt down, letting the chest-plate hang loosely open where it was not properly affixed. “Your child must be healthy if it wishes to serve the legion, either as you do or as I do. Do you understand?” Veptus’s words were kind, but his voice was savage. Naomi was reminded she was a tool of the legion, and they would use her as such, no matter how gently they held her. She nodded in compliance and the giant of an Astartes tussled here hair in and disturbingly kind gesture.
The rest of the armour fitting passed without incident. Veptus picked up his weapons and mag-locked his axe and Volkite Serpenta to his thighs and strapped his sniper rifle across his back. Naomi clipped the lavish cloak of faces to her lord’s shoulders. Such thing would make any other mortal quiver in disgust, but Naomi had since become accustomed to such displays of cruelty from these Astartes. Veptus went to leave but turned back. He walked over to his book-case and picked up a book with a worn leather spine with a faded gold inscription. “Here, this should keep you going for a while.” Veptus said as he passed the book to his serf. The warm smile returned to her face, even if the words of her master still burned in her ears. And then he was gone, on to his legion duties and she was left alone in the darkened study, alone.
Veptus arrived at the bridge in a lull of conversation. “My liege.” Veptus purred as he bowed with full ceremony but without a hint of irony. He turned to regard the others. “Champion Azrael.” He said inclining his head, although nowhere near as far as he did for Xandrek. Such a mistake would be dangerous to make. “Bearer Raskreia.” Another bow of respect, not of seniority. “You will be pleased to hear…” Veptus continued talking to Xandrek. “…I have begun with Shen’s ‘interment’.” Veptus chuckled cruelly and mirthlessly, remembering Shen’s howls. “I’m sure…”
Veptus was about to continue informing Xandrek when the techmarine Var burst into the bridge. Whereas Veptus’s entry had been respectful and considerate, Var’s had no respect for his brothers or their captain for that matter. "I hope you remember my requests Captain. Every weapon, every piece of armour, every tank, must all be collected and utilized. I expect aid from the main body of the Night Lords so that the process is quick and efficient. We do not know how long this war will be, and we need every piece of equipment we can."
Veptus turned and spoke first. “Ah Var, how nice of you to join us. I was beginning to miss you brazen contempt down in my Apocatherion.” Veptus turned back to Xandrek, continuing as if Var had not even arrived. No doubt such blatant disregard for his presence would infuriate the tech-marine to no end, but that was why Veptus did he best to maintain his own weapons and armour and not let them anywhere near that viper. “As I was saying, I’m sure you’ll be pleased with his suffering. He begged for death in the end, and I will make him beg again before his final interment.” Veptus turned back to Var. “Now you can speak. A little courtesy goes a long way you know.” Veptus cocked his head mockingly, his voice rife with sarcasm. At least if Var snapped, Veptus knew that at least two other Astartes in this room would support him, and one was their captain…
Last edited by Deus Mortis; 07-21-13 at 02:20 PM.