This is most certainly a work in progress. Unlike my last work in progress, however, I've actually got an outline done, so this will actually go somewhere... as of now, this will be constructed as an episodic narrative.
Any comments/critique/really anything would be greatly appreciated.
Sons of Larilla
++Incoming transmission, sequence designated 1115039351A09
++Clearance Cordovan Primus Six Eight Gamma, Larillan Seventy-Second Expeditionary. Transition in-system completed 210.853.M41, fleet will be arriving at Larilla on 214.853. Recent losses in the Dalmian Crusade have necessitated a refit for the First Armoured. Requesting landing craft to be standing by to transport personnel and material to the surface for immediate refit and repair.
++Code confirmed. Larillan Flight Control acknowledges receipt of correspondence 1115039351A09. Lord General Gigatti acknowledges receipt of message, Code Cordovan Primus Alpha Alpha One One. Transports, facilities, and personnel are standing by to receive fleet. Query: LG demands update on additional manoeuvre and support elements.
++Armoured assets, super-heavy: four; losses thirty-three percent. Armoured assets, main battle and variants: eighty-three; losses sixty-seven percent. Infantry assets: zero. One Zero Two Infantry casualties one hundred percent. Artillery assets: zero. Three Two Artillery casualties one hundred percent. Organic landing craft assets: sixteen. Casualties sixty-three percent. Will require combination with regiments currently on planet before departure, as well as re-founding of First Armoured.
++Eff See acknowledges. Recruitment command acknowledges. Schola recruits are standing by and ready for equipment and crew distribution. One Nine Artillery standing by and ready, currently reporting one hundred percent on personnel and equipment. Six Four Infantry standing by, press gangs gathering numbers now, will be ready within planetfall plus three days, vehicular assets and equipment one hundred percent. Lord General Assembly requires debriefing on actions taken in Dalmian Crusade to update strategium and required force projections.
++Seven Two Expeditionary acknowledges and will comply. In the Emperor’s Holy Name, for Larilla. Colonel Holletto out.
++Praise Him. Eff See out.
She was dying.
He was under no illusion to the contrary. She was withering away before him, and there was nothing he could do save her. The helplessness was crippling; he refused to eat, to drink, to even move from her side. The Sister Hospitaller responsible for her care had urged him on several occasions to get out, to take some time away. He could not, not now, not when...no
, he refused to think of it.
Gazing longingly at her, he could not help but feel... regret. Honey, I’m so sorry
. She had been so beautiful, so vibrant.
Antony Enzo leaned forward, taking her hand in his. She was so light, so cold. He could hardly bare to look at her, it made the circumstances of her hospitalization too real. He tried remember her skin as it had been, warm soft and bronzed. Now, her entire body was pale, veins traversing her limbs in purple streaks. Gently placing her hand beside her, he saw dehydrated flakes waft to the linens.
He reached out and brushed the flakes away. More skin separated, revealing cracked and raw muscle below. Her condition was accelerating, her body incapable of accepting moisture. He was surprised at how cool she was; chill to the touch, the only indications that she lived were the slight rise of her chest and the pinging of the machinery attached to her. Marianna...
Enzo rubbed his cheeks, feeling the thick stubble that had grown over the past week. A week, that was it. Seven days ago she had stood on her toes, flashed her gorgeous smile, and kissed him on the cheek before shuttling to the Districta Industrium. Just as she had done every morning for the past six years.
They had shared six wonderful years, each day a comforting normality amongst the chaos of hive life. His stress from work, the foremen, all of it melted away as the snows before the spring sun when he returned to their hab and seen her smile. Her smile that he would never see again. Her eyes, the colour of the deepest oceans, would alight when he crossed through the threshold. She would run to him, throwing her arms around his neck as though it had been years, not hours, since they had parted.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
The persistent tolls tore him back to the present. No longer was she effervescent, but... lifeless, a husk
. Revulsion filled him as he thought of the word. I loved her, no, I
still love her
. Her condition had no part of his feelings, did not negate the nuptial vows he had made to her before the Emperor. Somewhere, deep in her comatose mind, was the woman with whom he had spent the last six years. She lay there, dormant and waiting. She was still there, still alive, and he would be damned if he left her side while she suffered in silent agony.
Sighing, Enzo leaned back into the cheap plastic chair which creaked in protest. He would remain here, locked inside of this cell with his beloved, for as long as it took. Marianna was, if nothing else, a determined woman who lived her life with an almost carefree abandon. That she could be brought so low... those bastards.
His melancholy quickly evaporated before the wrath of his blazing fury. He would find the men responsible, find them and kill them, just as surely as they had murdered Marianna. Unable to contain the rage building within him, he dug his fingers into the cheap wood of the armrests; the pain of his nails distracting him from his internal inferno, cooled his anger.
By no means did he consider himself an immoral man. Quite the contrary, he attended services regularly and believed fervently in the divinity of Him on Earth. He had sat through sermons about showing mercy to his fellow Man, that none but the Emperor were perfect and should not be treated as such. A fairly conservative sect of the Imperial Faith, his was one that placed great value on the life of the individual man, for in His eyes, all loyal sons were worthy of His Grace.
But, as he sat alone in the pallid treatment, fixated on the only being in the galaxy that truly mattered
, he knew in his heart that, in honour of his love, he could not sit idly while those responsible were still walking, breathing, laughing, loving
‘I’ll kill every last one of those bastards,’ he said, verbalizing a new set of vows to his wife. 'By the Golden Throne of Him-on-Earth, I swear it.' She responded only with silence.
Link to Part II