Adrian - In a Riot of Colors … Perfection
She looked at the canvas for a long time before she had even brought out her tools and brushes and thinner and paint. She didn’t look at the canvas as an empty thing but as what it would be. Now it is white. It is large, empty and … dead. She picked up her tea and sipped. It is hot. It burns her lips and she smiles. In her mind she sees what will be painted as a living thing. In her mind it is alive and fluid; breathing in and out and speaking to her. Her eyes are black as she opens her brush bag and tool tray. Her breathing becomes shallow and the room seems to cool.
Time is forgotten as it fades from her mind. Her surroundings fade to the edges of her mind. She is calm and becomes focus. The brush is dipped and the first strokes from her delicate fingers mark the canvas. The paint is storm red. With the wide brush she sets the backdrop to the canvas. The white is replaced with darkness. The form of her will begins to take shape. Hours pass and still there is much to be done. The tea is forgotten. Food is meaningless while she works. Days pass and her will is still unbroken.
She does not feel her muscles tire nor does she thirst for rest. The paint she is using becomes thick and jellied yet she works it into the canvas flawlessly. She uses many different shades of flesh and blood colors along with shades of brown and black. Paint is mixed and thinned and heated and cooled with her skill. Fourteen days later she comes out of her trance and falls to the floor, exhausted. Her canvas is only half way filled, the image incomplete. She calls for her servant and smiles as the man comes in holding his hands to his face. His mouth is covered and his eyes weep at the skill he sees before him. He falls to his knees and gasps, barely able to breathe.
She motions to the man to draw his attention back to herself. “I am weak. Thirsty.” She motions to her paint tray, “The paint is now too old to use. I will need more within the hour.” The servant bows on shaky legs and leaves the room. It is only a few moments in time before the food is brought in along with fresh water and wine. She eats in silence and admires the view through the star port. Outside everything is black with small points of light in the distance. She sips her wine and regains her strength. A new bag of paints are brought in and laid on the table before the canvas. Two servants fall to their faces and weep as they see the work, though unfinished, that she has done. They are pulled from the room for they cannot stand on their own. As the door closes the woman hears the weeping of the servants turn to screams. She smiles and regains her seat before the canvas.
Her eyes turn black. Her mouth opens ever so slightly. Her breathing becomes shallow and the room turns cold once more. She opens the paint bag and with fresh brushes she continues her work. Minutes turn to hours and hours into days; days into weeks. Even when battle rages all around her as the Pride of the Emperor is assailed from all sides, she continues to work. Even as the mighty Flagship of the Emperor’s Children pushes into the warp she seems not to take notice.
Even as her canvas is shaken from its mounting and falls to the floor not a single stroke is flawed. The painting is a thing of perfection. It is nearly finished. The rich reds and browns have dried and become darker. The flesh tones have become lighter. The shades of black and grey have become harsher. The gloves she uses are stained and blood comes from the openings at her wrists and dries on her alabaster skin. Time continues to flow around her like water around boulders. Even as the last strokes of the portrait are completed her eyes remain black. Slowly she brings up the sealant and applies it to the paint with gentle strokes. She does not hurry and her hand is steady. This process takes days to complete. Her eyes clear to their natural blue with the completion of her final stroke.
She sways in her chair and begins to fall but firm hand catch her. She gasps at the touch of the Primarch of the III Legion, the master of the Emperor’s Children. Fulgrim’s eyes are black. His mouth is set in a grim smile. His hands though strong enough to crush every bone in the artists body are gentle as he helps her to the table where food and wine are already provided. Provided by Fulgrim’s own hand. Today servants are not allowed in the room. Today servants will not provide for her. The Primarch himself will serve her for he is pleased with her work.
The woman is frail and weak. Her skin is older than it should be. Her hair has turned white. She removes the gloves from her hands. The human skinned gloves fall to the floor. The room has the smell of decay and spoiled meat. Her paint bag is old and stiff. The canvas is full with the detail of perfection. The Emperor in all his glory is fallen to the ground. He is beset by enemies that were once his trusted allies. He is weeping blood from wounds that have broken his might armor. His hand is outstretched, pleading. In a riot of colors the story is told.
Fulgrim looks to the lady, “Today perfection is accomplished. Today your purpose is completed.”
She smiles and bows her head. The food is left untouched. The wine has not been sipped. She does not speak or cower as Fulgrim pulls the blade and ends her life. Turning from the woman Fulgrim turns to the painting and weeps tears of blood with fresh emotion welling up within his breast. “It is perfect.”