Word Count: 937
An echo of a memory spelled her name in the endless plane-space of her mind. And in the churning depths of her thoughts, where she existed yet-did-not-exist, she could barely remember it. Who was she? Dysis. Sundown.
Yes, something she could finally pin onto her fleeting memories. Orphan. Someone who had not shared her blood had given her that name, given her a purpose in life before could even learn to walk. But the answer which had been lying in wait for her had only birthed more questions in its place.
Absolution through fire, forgiveness through death.
Dysis had devoted her childhood to the hardships of Tyrannus’ scholas. Her masters had instilled courage into her through whip, spilt blood, and constant prayer. How many sins had she atoned for, those that were not even her own? The reminders of each one carved into her with ritual etchings.
. Dysis remembered who she was and where she belonged. An Adeptus Sororitas of the Emperor’s Grace, a long-standing and proud order based on the highest spires of the hive world of Tyrannus.
She remembered who she was and where she belonged, and then remembered where she was.
Dysis reached out for an alley wall to lean against and vomited forth a black sludge that she could not recall drinking. She had no recollection of the back-alley that she was lost in, but it was narrow and well-lit with small hanging vermilion colored lamps. Her armored boots were soaked to their heels in a small puddle, one of many that littered a pot-marked and cracked road that wound through the alley.
Thunder bristled in an ashen sky that could not be seen, and the remains of a light rainfall trickled into the depths of the undercity.
Dysis swayed unsteadily and groaned. She swiped her mouth on the cloth that hung from her arm and stared into her reflection in the puddle. An image of a perfectly normal Dysis glared back at her, slightly annoyed by what she had seen.
“Superior Fern?” Dysis pressed a pair of fingers to her comm. link and waited for a reply. Only static greeted her. She sighed. “Where the hell am I?”
After a few minutes of resting, Dysis recovered her balance and left the alley behind her. The clustered roads of the undercity and the pressing crowds closed in around her. She felt mildly uncomfortable, but no more than normal.
His light guide you, sister.
Terra’s blessings upon you.
Mercy upon a mere sinner, sister.
Dysis exchanged smiles and blessings as she forged her way through the myriad of chapels amid the dilapidated slums beyond the mining manufactorums. The area steadily became more familiar as she did so. This area was the Devotees Commons, a center of worship for the poor in the undercity controlled by the Adeptus Sororitas.
Dysis continued down a winding road that took her to the chapel of Saint Arcas the Pursuer. The crowds began to thin as she approached ringed walls of ferrocrete manned by Gothic gargoyles.
Between two sets of the ringed walls was an entrance of platinum doors carved with the relief of some epic battle. A pair of Sororitas of the Order of the Emperor’s Grace stood guard at the great doors and motioned for her to halt.
She recognized them. Ophira and Myra.
Ophira raised her bolter at the mere sight of Dysis. “Dysis!? Celestine’s arse, is that really you?”
Myra’s mouth went taut, but she did not say anything.
“What?” Dysis sputtered with laughter. “What do you mean, ‘is it really me,’ of course it’s me! Can you not see me? Are you blind or deaf? Is my voice that of a saint? Open the gate!”
Myra shook her head, skeptical. “And why should we do that? Do you realize that we’ve been looking for you all week? We’ve tried comm. channels, patrols, and combing these alleys… everything. Everyone thought you were dead. Even if you aren’t, no way the Superior is going to overlook you being gone for over a week.”
A week. Gone. Dead. Dysis’ heart skipped a beat. She was not going to be able to hold it in. She doubled over and vomited forth black sludge.
“What in the Emperor…” Myra could scarcely scramble back and reach for her bolter before the black sludge ricocheted onto her armor and immediately seeped into her facial orifices.
A report thundered from Ophira’s boltgun and sundered Dysis’ armor open around the ribcage. Dysis swayed gently on her feet as if she had merely been grazed, lurched once, and then combusted from the gunshot wound into a mess of writhing multi-colored tendrils. All at once, the flesh-change altered both Dysis and Myria until they were shambles of writhing, ichor-spewing monstrosities.
Ophira cursed and looked on in horror as the black ichor spewed from the writhing tendrils and spread between the cracks in the road, in the drops of every puddle toward unsuspecting citizens. Soon screams were on the air as seemingly random innocents began to contort and seize with unnatural energies.
Ophira had little choice. She gunned them all down. Or tried too. But for every corpse that collapsed from each burst from her bolter, three more mutants began to spring into unholy life.
Ophira could already feel feathers sprouting from her limbs, even as her boltgun annihilated Myra beneath a relentless fusillade. She turned her weapon on herself before the flesh-change could overwhelm her completely. Her last memory of this world would be a daemon-possessed Dysis shattering through the doors of Saint Arcas’ Church and knowing that she had failed.