Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: In a cell for revealing sensitive information regarding the Inquisition
Veptus strode with purpose through the halls of the Maiden. Even the legionaries who passed him in the corridor made sure not to impede his journey. To do so was to stack the odds unnecessarily against you when you next needed it. If Veptus was in a hurry somewhere it would invite serious injury or death, and the former was worse since they would end up in the Apothecarion. A morsel for Veptus to pick over at a later date. As it was, although Xandrek had called for him, Veptus took a leisurely pace.
In a short time he reached the Shadow Mark and began to walk slowly through the streets. Around him, life went on, albeit more hushed. The Nostramon born dwellers of this twilight realm knew that their Night Lord masters rarely noticed them. They were deities to these mere mortals, but humans had learnt long ago that it was best to not draw the attentions of wrathful gods. At least Veptus thought such simple caution had been mastered long ago, but the shapes and actions of the Word Bearers and Emperor’s Children had forced him to reconsider such certainties.
Although the streets were crowded, much like moonlit Nostramo had been, Veptus moved through them unimpeded. Those who came close offered reverent mutterings of “Lord” or “Corpse-Master”. One or two whispered “Lord Veptus” with a level of certainty the rest lacked. They had seen him for who and what he was and little he could do would surprise them, although they were no less wary for it. That was the most noticeable difference between the Shadow Mark and Nostramo. Veptus never had a figure he swerved to avoid, only one he imagined and now served. Perhaps if the Night Lords had lived amongst the Nostramons, they could have avoided burning it all to cinders.
Veptus turned a corner and found the centre of town. A circle of curious locals gathered to watch a Legionary talk with a man who had been known as “The Elder” for as long as Veptus had known. For an instant one could have mistaken that the Prince of Crows was in the depths of the Maiden. Xandrek did cut a similar figure with his ragged black robe and bat-winged helm. The differences were subtle but plain to those with eyes to see. The most obvious difference was that Xandrek had long hung up his Nostramon Chainglaive in favour of his emblematic sword and shield combination. A combination Veptus saw he was carrying with him now.
Veptus went to approach when he felt the tiniest tension behind him, followed by muffled gasps and the patter of feet. He spun on his heel, his cape whipping out of the hands of a small child not old enough yet to know better a woman pulled the child back and a quavering young man. “My Lord Veptus, I beg pardon for my child and wife. I would bear their suffering, whatever it may be.” Beneath his midnight blue helm, Veptus’ face was terrifyingly inscrutable.
“May I?” Veptus demanded, his gigantic hand stretched out for the child. As much as they might desire to, they could not refuse him. Although the child was already at least several months old, it still fit neatly within Veptus’s hand. “Train a child in the way he should go; and, even when old, he will not swerve from it.” Veptus’s taloned hand stroked and pierced the child’s skin, eliciting cries and blood but barely harmful. At that, he disinterestedly passed the child back, the parent’s nodding thankfully and ignoring their babe’s cries.
Veptus whipped the blood off on his robe and made his way over to Xandrek. His hands rested preparedly on his weapon’s hilts and his captain turned to face him
“Greetings Veptus, the 'Elder' has been informing me that there is a matter for members of the legion to deal with…” But we are not merely any members of the Legion. What do you have here that requires the captain of this vessel and his chief apothecary to deal with? “…It seems there is a mutant in the darker depths of the ship that has been killing and eating the crew. Are you prepared for a hunt Old Friend?” Such devolution was not entirely unheard of within the legion but it still didn’t explain why two of the highest ranking members of the Companies had to be here.
“Most honoured Captain…” even amongst mortals, appearances had to be maintained. However, Veptus wished to show his displeasure and had long since adopted the strategy of lavishing honorifics upon Xandrek to do this. Xandrek hated it, and in his hatred he understood that Veptus was displeased at his evasiveness. “…pray tell are we honouring an old friend’s request or is our quarry and old friend in need of mercy?” There must be more to this summons than Xandrek was telling and Veptus left his query open enough that he could avoid it if needs be, but truth be told he expected an answer…