Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: In a cell for revealing sensitive information regarding the Inquisition
Veptus’s face was neutral as he half watched Xheng work on his latest charge. Veptus was going to do it, but Xheng requested that he perform the augmentation on the initiate to test his bionic hand’s dexterity. So Veptus had surrendered the charge to his subordinate and observed, taping away as his data slate which told him of the other happenings within the Apothecarion. The recruits were progressing rapidly to fulfil Xandrek’s desire to replenish those lost in the fights against the Ist Legion, but Veptus was sure that they did not progress so quickly that they were irreparably damaged. Being slightly under-strength was better than under-strengthed and recruitless.
Today was one of the days Pelegon had decided not to come by and dabble. Pelegon had integrated surprisingly well into their legion after Isstvan. Clearly the fires of betrayal had made him malleable. He had spent a great deal of time down here, learning from him and his junior apothecaries. Veptus had occasionally spent some time alone with Pelegon’s handiwork, going over the work he had done. Veptus had seen gradual improvements and it amused him to see the foes they took suffer at a different hand. Despite his skill, he was interested to watch other’s interpretation of the torturers arts. Pelegon had a brutal style Veptus would have expected from one of Angron’s World Eaters, but for a member of a legion used to reducing buildings to rubble he showed a surprising ability to keep his victims alive. Not for as long as some of the seasoned members of the Apothecarion but long enough.
For the most part of this crusade, Veptus had scarcely seen the outside of the Maiden, but it had hardly been dull. Several times Dark Angels had surged into the ships arteries like and infection, only to discover that the VIIIth Legion ships had the most vicious antibodies. Pelegon seemed most surprised when Xandrek conducted the fleet like a symphony. The thought of his vague slack jawed expression still made Veptus grin savagely.
Veptus had claimed several lives in the months since Isstvan, but he scarcely cared. They didn’t have names to him and they were inconsequential. They had fought, bleed, suffered and died by his hand and he could barely recall why or what he had gained from it. He wasn’t apathetic, or at least he didn’t think he was apathetic. In the moment he took intense visceral joy from ending lives and inflicting pain, same as always.
It was in the darkness alone that they came to him. The piercing black orbs that had bored into him on the blood stain sands. Konrad’s eyes haunted him still. He felt them watching, always watching. Evaluating him. Judging him. He would move past it. The fear inflicted was in his name. Veptus only did what he saw his father doing, and if the Night Haunter was watching Veptus hoped he would be pleased. Still, the deep well of dread and the knowledge of the price of failing Curze’s exacting standard of truth and justice haunted him. Veptus wondered how the likes of Sevatar and Xandrek bore the weight of such a pitiless judgment.
There was a purposeful cough from behind him. He turned to regard a woman who appeared to only just be beyond the physical prime of womanhood, although he knew Elena was far older than that. Although the combination of beauty and experience made her a well heeded voice, by men for the former and by Astartes for the latter. Being known as an omen of Xandrek’s will helped. "Lord Xandrek wishes to see you in Shadow-Mark and asks you bring your weapons, My Lord". Veptus nodded in acknowledgement and Elena strode away.
What purpose did Xandrek have in the Shadow-Mark? Veptus put down his data-slate and detached his medical whites. He was already armoured, and his weapons resided on a rack in the centre of the Apothecarion. They had all learnt to keep their weapons close to hand, even during medical procedures. He holstered his Power Sword and Serpenta and let clamped his Sniper Rifle across his back. Xheng had heard the dialogue and understood he was now in charge. With haste, Veptus made for the Shadow-Mark, intrigued as to why he had been summoned there…