Heresy Online Expeditious Stories 12-01: A Beginning
No celebration met the Spear of Truth
’s arrival. The spaceship landed, rather, in absolute silence, disturbing neither the landing platform nor the Eldar standing on it. Its cerulean form, indeed reminiscent of a spear, glided to a complete stop.
The vessel’s doors opened, and two figures stepped out. One was easily identifiable as the leader- he wore a ceremonial, multicolored cloak not unlike those of the fabled Harlequins, and his gait was sure and insistent. Lekaila saw his scowling form advance onto the landing platform. She herself would, she knew, present a far less clear visage; she wore only the standard cloak and weaponry of the Rangers.
Weaponry, on her own Craftworld. There had been a day when she would have found that ridiculous, or even treasonous; now, it seemed to merely be a small comfort in a world gone mad.
“Captain Nifastet,” one of the greeters announced.
“Indeed. Osenic is not here, I expect?”
“The Duskbreacher is gone.”
“Then might I ask why I have been summoned here?”
There was a terse silence, as there always was at key moments like this. Though Lekaila’s walk on the Path of the Seer lay far in the past, she could still instinctively sense what was coming- a divergence, a decision that would shape her life, and not only hers.
She could get only glimpses of it now, and thus her attention returned to the conversation as Nifastet began explaining his theory. It was not a reasonable decision- even Nifastet should have known better than to tell the ones that could be his enemy he knew of their plots- but given the captain’s recent state, it was not a surprise.
“You want to kill me?” he asked, loudly and mockingly. There was something of the Harlequin in him, indeed; perhaps a potential future sucked into the maelstrom of the present. “You will succeed. I have tried to ensure my ship will escape, but you’ve likely sabotaged that too.” He was rambling now, yet sounding oddly heroic nevertheless. “I will only say that order begets chaos, and the worse the law-”
Lekaila saw the gun- not with her eyes, though they were near perfect, but with her foresight- and was about to shout a warning when the Long Rifle expelled its cargo.
It hurtled towards Nifastet, and then the captain noticed it as well. But there was no time.
Nifastet collapsed, his right side covered in blood. Even Lekaila could see the wound was not fatal, that the monofilament had only grazed Nifastet. As it extended to full length, the captain crawled away, an accusing look on his face. For a moment the thread attempted to find him again; its energy supply ran out too soon, though. The wire fell still.
Lekaila fired her own Rifle at the failed shot’s origin; she could only barely see the Eldar who had fired it, but that could be enough. The greeters seemed frozen in shock.
“On Alaitoc itself…” one Seer muttered.
Nevertheless,three of the party ran towards the shot’s origin. Lekaila’s shot impacted, and she watched with some regret as it chewed apart the Ranger (the figure was that, it had become clear). She had not truly wanted to kill him or her; it was a quick decision that the attack had made inevitable.
It was only a mild melancholy by Eldar standards. It left her able to think.
Nifastet sat back up, taking an accusing look around the hangar as he did so. He had the gaze of a being whose perceptions had been both shaken and confirmed simultaneously, a being who was unsure what to make of the whole situation.
“It wasn’t us.”
Nifastet wasn’t surprised at the statement as he observed the Artisan, who continued. “Osenic. The Duskbreacher. We have uncovered evidence of dark plots, and wanted to warn you.”
The captain continued staring, now in disbelief, and Lekaila joined him. This was not making any sense- except, perhaps, it was. The explanation was quite reasonable- Osenic had been acting suspiciously for some time- but for even the reactionaries on Alaitoc to recognize that was unexpected.
“Nice job warning us,” Nifastet muttered.
Lekaila took the following pause to make sure the renegade Ranger was dead. He was, the ruined body lying in place. The three Warriors who had run to ensure the conclusion were returning.
All was calm- all would be calm, at least until another assassin would come out and finish the first’s job. If Lekaila was uneasy about the situation, a number of the other Eldar were terrified, and their faces showed it. They were not Rangers, she reiterated in mind, and there was reason for them to be afraid of a rogue in their home.
“As Reasine so promptly observed,” the Seer from before said, “we have found evidence of Osenic Duskbreacher making deals with the Dark Eldar and, perhaps, even the pantheon of Chaos. You had been chosen to hunt him down, to prevent the stain on our Craftworld; for all your flaws, Nifastet, your sense of justice is infallible. And your crew has good aim.”
“And how should I believe you?” Nifastet shot back.
“Look at your numbers. Look at ours. If we wanted to kill you, we would have.”
Grudgingly, Nifastet nodded.
The preparations passed quickly enough, and soon enough the Spear of Truth
was ready to leave the confines of Alaitoc once more. Lekaila was in the ship by then, observing the final loading take place below her. The distrust she had felt for her homeworld’s leaders had, it seemed, been unfounded; in the end they had found out the truth of Osenic’s betrayal before the Spear
’s crew. Perhaps they were stuck-up idealists; perhaps they were tyrannical traditionalists. But as the mighty Void Stalker lifted off the surface, Lekaila forced these prejudices to the back of her mind.
This was no time for strife. They had one mission now, and it had begun.