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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-29-12, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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Default Strange Acquaintance

Prologue
“In my first mission as an Inquisitor, I was blessed and cursed almost simultaneously. I came into possession of a book that could yield countless relics from the Eldar’s past. To translate it, I was compelled to honor a request from a member of that race… namely taking her with me. The problem lies in distinguishing which of the two was the blessing and which was the curse…”

Excerpt from Inquisitor Andiron’s private journal

The Thunderhawk that had been their transport from the Strike Cruiser Talon down to the surface of the Exodite world of Yidrin settled down on the deck that it called home. Whether by luck or by the grace of the Emperor, the small vessel had slipped away unnoticed by the Eldar fleet that had taken up residence above the planet. As the front access hatch slowly dropped down, the forms of the six Raven Guard Astartes came into view first. Each of them had removed their helmets sometime before landing, and were engaging in some manner of idle banter as the platform lowered.

The Raven Guard Shadow Captain standing on the platform watched patiently as the small group disembarked from the gunship. The team that had been sent with Inquisitor Andiron had already reported in brief what had transpired; a victory against the Xenos had been secured. All that remained was the formal debriefing and their return to Deliverance. Shadow Captain Capensis began approaching his men before catching a glimpse of the passengers they had with them. Capensis paused as he eyes fell on the lithe figure that stood just a stride behind the Inquisitor.

“Sergeant Silinus,” the Shadow Captain addressed his subordinate, “Why do you have a passenger that did not depart with you?”

Sergeant Silinus knew the answer to the question all too well. During their brief sojourn to the planet, his team had encountered and had used the services of one of the local Eldar to find the relic that now sat clutched under the Inquisitor’s arm. He also know that the choice to bring her had been partly his, since Inquisitor Andiron had given him the choice of whether to allow the alien to board his Thunderhawk. The Raven Guard Sergeant decided to allow the Inquisitor to take the brunt of the responsibility, “It was at the request of the Inquisitor. I did not believe it wise to refuse.”

Captain Capensis’ eyes narrowed as they fell upon the younger man. He had only briefly spoken to Lucian, and in their conversation he had judged the man to be unorthodox as far as Inquisitors went. He did not suspect, however, that the man’s penchant for the unusual extended to the recruitment of aliens from barbaric Exodite worlds.

“I see…” the Shadow Captain said, “Then I will take this up with him. Take your rest, Sergeant, I am sure you will be called upon soon after we return to serve the Chapter elsewhere.”

“By your leave,” Silinus said, bowing his head slightly before motioning for his squad to follow. As the group of Space Marines departed, several of them looked back at the Inquisitor and gave him nods of farewell. Inquisitor Andiron seemed all too happy to return the gesture, giving each of the Raven Guard a nod in reply before they disappeared through a nearby hatch.

“So, Inquisitor,” Captain Capensis addressed Lucian as he folded his arms over his massive chest, “Would you please explain why you brought that with you.”

Inquisitor Andiron could tell by the tone and inflection the Shadow Captain had used that he meant the Eldar girl standing behind him and not the book under his arm. The ire he had been greeted with had come as no surprise, Lucian couldn’t think of any Captain in any Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes that would be thrilled to see an alien aboard their Strike Cruiser. The Inquisitor was not, however, in the mood to entertain his ire.

“Because she is vital to decoding this book, Captain. Unless you can read the Eldar language yourself and decipher this thing, I can’t see a way around it. Or shall I simply cast aside someone that could help the Imperium deny the enemy artifacts of power that might well give us an edge against the Ruinous Powers simply because you don’t like my translator?” Lucian asked the man.

Capensis shifted uncomfortably for a moment. His expression plainly told Lucian that his words had engendered just the contemplative reaction he’d been aiming for. He silently thanked his mentor for all the oration lessons over the long years of his apprenticeship. The tension in the air hung around the men like a fog for several heartbeats before the Shadow Captain finally broke the silence.

“Do as you like, Inquisitor,” the Space Marine finally remarked, “But keep her out of my sight. I would prefer it if my crew did not know there was an alien aboard this vessel.”

“Of course, Captain. I will sequester her in my chambers until we reach Deliverance. I will need food and drink brought there, however, as I would not wish to leave her alone to wonder your ship should I find myself hungry,” Lucian requested, knowing full well his host would not refuse.

“I will have a Servitor attend to your needs,” the Shadow Captain said before turning away, eager to be out of the sight of the alien.

“Why does he act as if he is repulsed by me?” Aeliel asked from behind Lucian. The Inquisitor turned around to behold the girl. Her light brown hair cascaded around her delicately angled features in such a way that made her seem almost ethereal. Her emerald eyes seemed to pierce Lucian as she gazed expectantly his direction awaiting a reply. The porcelain skin that she bore did much to add to the otherworldly essence the girl possessed.

It took a moment for the Inquisitor to conjure up a reply, “I don’t believe it is revulsion as much as he is used to thinking of your people as the enemy. While the men we arrived her with have accepted you as the exception to all that they have been told, Captain Capensis has not had the pleasure of your company. I can’t force him to accept you, I can only make him stay his hand and leave you unharmed.”

“I wonder if I will ever come to understand your people…” Aeliel sighed as she followed the Inquisitor into the hatch that led into a corridor that would eventually take them to Lucian’s chambers. The Eldar looked around her as they walked through the Strike Cruiser, marveling silently at the architecture that surrounded her. The exactness of the angles, the tubing and latticework of the access grates were like nothing Aeliel had ever seen before. She couldn’t help but wonder what other strange things were waiting for her.

The Inquisitor led the girl down the corridors quickly, managing to avoid contact with any of the crew in doing so. Once inside his chambers, Lucian set his prize down upon the desk he had been provided and started rummaging through the drawers to find items suitable for translation work. As he did so, Aeliel paced around the relatively large compartment admiring the various tapestries and carvings dotting the walls.

“Your people do enjoy decorations,” the girl commented as she ran her fingers over the outline of one of the Imperial Aquila adorning the room.

“The same could be said about your own people,” Lucian said as he pulled out several tomes from the desk he was going through.

“That may be true of the ones who live in the stars,” Aeliel shrugged the comment off, “But the tribe I grew up in had little use for adornments. It was enough that we studied the Runes of our ancestors, lest we forget our past and our reason for leaving our kin.”

Lucian couldn’t help but chuckle. Her statement gave him a bit of insight as to why she was scarcely covered by garments. The Inquisitor envied her free spirited upbringing. His youth had been filled with ceremony, tradition, and all of the rigidity that came with it. It almost seemed impossible to imagine a life any other way. Indeed, it was hard for Lucian to admit that his entire way of thinking had changed since he’d met Aeliel but it was the truth all the same.

“Shall we begin work on translating the book?” Lucian asked, garnering the Eldar’s attention.

“Of course,” the girl nodded, moving over to the desk. She took a seat in the chair Lucian had pulled from a nearby corner and opened the book. It would likely be a long journey from Yidrin to Deliverance, even through the warp, but so too would it take a long time to put the runes into words that would help her companion find the ancient places that he sought. As the Inquisitor readied his pen, Aeliel stole a glance at him and wondered silently just how long their acquaintance would last…


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-29-12, 11:57 PM
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Great story and I look forward to reading more. It flowed very nicely and was engaging to say the least. Nice work.

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I appreciate it. Hopefully it will have many nice twists and turns for everyone to enjoy. Might even be worth submitting to BL if it flows the way I'm hoping it does.


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Originally Posted by jonileth View Post
I appreciate it. Hopefully it will have many nice twists and turns for everyone to enjoy. Might even be worth submitting to BL if it flows the way I'm hoping it does.
Don't put it on here if you want to submit it to the BL. What we submit to H.O. is the property of H.O.

B.L. won't even look at it if they find out your story is on here - breach of contract, I think.

Write something with the knowledge you learn here, but don't submit it. Save it for the B.L. contests mid summer.

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-01-12, 02:51 AM
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Interesting beginning. But I find myself wondering why an Exodite Eldar would agree to help a human. I know the Exodites are not as warlike as their craftworld kin but they are also wary of outsiders. Do you plan on explaining this?

One minor critique is the language of Captain Capensis. I would think an Astarte would say "xeno" rather than "alien," but it is your work.

"Fetch me another plaything. This one seems to have broken." -Urien Rakarth

Space Marine- "This planet is ours, witch."
Eldar- "No ... This planet is theirs ..."
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-01-12, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian View Post
Don't put it on here if you want to submit it to the BL. What we submit to H.O. is the property of H.O.

B.L. won't even look at it if they find out your story is on here - breach of contract, I think.

Write something with the knowledge you learn here, but don't submit it. Save it for the B.L. contests mid summer.
I had a feeling they wouldn't accept a story already posted elsewhere for people to get free. I was speaking more about the characters and concepts I've started here being the base for something bigger later. But good looking out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon Dan View Post
Interesting beginning. But I find myself wondering why an Exodite Eldar would agree to help a human. I know the Exodites are not as warlike as their craftworld kin but they are also wary of outsiders. Do you plan on explaining this?

One minor critique is the language of Captain Capensis. I would think an Astarte would say "xeno" rather than "alien," but it is your work
To answer your first question first, I did touch on it in Shattered Reality. She states that she had a dream that involved his coming to their world. She likely took it as a sign that she was meant to be with him, but then again, she might have other thoughts about her place in things. I don't want to spoil it just yet.

Secondly, I tried not to use Xeno too heavily, since the Astartes are known to call them aliens as well. I think it flowed fairly well as is, but I do appreciate the honest feedback about it.


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I

It is a rare event that a Conclave is convened. It is even more rare for it to be composed of Lord Inquisitors who have a particular interest in a given item. If that were not enough, the subject just so happened to be me. Not the way I had envisioned gaining notoriety among my peers…”
-Excerpt from Inquisitor Andiron’s private journal


Nestled in the void of space beyond the light of any sun sat the Ramilies class Star Fort that served as the home to the Inquisitorial forces in the Segmentus Tempestus. The entire structure was painted black save for the docking piers, which were constructed in a stylized Inquisitorial Rosette. Dozens of ships baring the Inquisitorial Seal made a constant orbit of the facility, making it nigh impregnable to any who might happen upon the station.

The station garnered few visitors, and only occasionally would host visiting trade ships bringing in supplies for the residents. Of late, however, the station had received a large number of rather important visitations, all having arrived at the request of the Segmentus’ Grandmaster. Almost all of the visitors were Lord Inquisitors themselves, bringing with them a host of followers to attend to their needs. Their reason for gathering revolved around the findings of one of their brother Inquisitors, and the implications it had.

The large council chamber that had been prepared for the Conclave that had been ordered by Grandmaster Emeritus Folgrim was furnished by a huge round table, with seating enough for the various Lord Inquisitors who had been invited to join in the discussions. The walls were ornately constructed almost entirely out of stained glass, each segment depicting a victory that had been won by Inquisitors in times past. Rather than artificial lighting, the room had been littered with pyres that flickered playfully and lit the stained glass in such a way that one almost thought the murals themselves were moving back and forth.

The scenery, however grand it might have been, was lost on the gathered Inquisitors who sat around the onyx table awaiting the commencement of discussions. The last of the participants had only just arrived, and several who had arrived almost a week prior were anxious to get started and vocal about their position.

“Let us get this meeting done with,” Lord Inquisitor Ryssa Ventera called out from her position at the table, “The enemies of mankind will not stay their hands while we sit here and chat leisurely amongst ourselves.”

Inquisitor Ventera presided over the Inquisitors who followed the Ordo Malleus initiative in the Sector. The woman had risen to power decades ago, after slaying a Greater Daemon almost single-handedly. The fire that burned in her was hard enough to temper in battle, and her penchant for boisterous outbursts were well known and typically ignored in social situations.

“We will begin soon enough, Ryssa,” Lord Inquisitor Sergio Bresnic countered in a similar tone, “Need you be so quick to action?”

“At least I have seen action. When’s the last time you’ve been away from your library?” Inquisitor Ventera hissed as she glared at the man.
Inquisitor Bresnic had spent the last decade sequestered in his personal library conducting research on various mutations in the psyker gene. His participation in the many campaigns of the Ordo Hereticus initiative of late was often called into question. The fact that Ventera had chosen to start the conversation with such remarks made the old man laugh.

“Simply because I don’t slam a skull open from time to time like you do doesn’t negate all the things I have done from within my library. We have agents to do our bidding for the very reason that many of us have more to attend to in our various positions than to campaign from the head of an army. You simply have the luxury of very few expectations,” Sergio said with a twisted smirk gracing his wrinkled features.

Another voice joined the foray, “Would you both shut your damnable mouths? I can hardly think with you two bickering and hurling insults about the room like children.”

The voice belonged to Lord Inquisitor Talius Deonerus, one of several members of the Ordo Xenos who had been called to the Conclave. Among his peers, Inquisitor Deonerus was the foremost expert on the aliens for which he fought against. He had devoted almost five full decades to the pursuit of denying the Orks a hold on a great many worlds that they had fallen upon. An accomplished warrior in his own rights, Talius had personally mentored a fair number of worthy pupils during his time, some of whom were getting close to being named Lord Inquisitors themselves.

Both Ventera and Bresnic shot the man angry glares, but neither cared to pursue it or their own little disagreement any further. Had they done so, they might have missed Grandmaster Folgrim entering the large chamber and might very well have incurred his ire, something no one cared to do.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the elder Inquisitor said as he made his way to the only vacant chair in the room, “Thank you for attending this Conclave. We have a great deal to discuss.”

The room fell silent as the Grandmaster found his seat and took the proffered reports from the aide that had followed him in. All around the table, assistants passed out copies of the same report Grandmaster Folgrim was shuffling through, giving them the ability to read ahead as they so chose while the old man gathered his notes and thoughts. Off to the Grandmaster’s left, Lord Inquisitor Felix Ursaris frowned, a gesture that seemed to indicate that he had some measure of investment in the topic about to be brought forward.

“As you can see before you, a report was logged recently by one of our newest Inquisitors… a Lucian Andiron. I know the name likely means nothing to any of you, but he has stumbled upon something that warrants our attention,” the Grandmaster began.

The gathered Inquisitors shuffled through the papers and began reading the information that pertained to the man Folgrim had mentioned. Indeed, none but Ursaris had ever heard of the man and given his status as a new Inquisitor meant that he had likely only just returned from his first real task handed down to him. The elder Inquisitor gave the group enough time to read the material before continuing with his speech.

“Inquisitor Andiron was sent to the Exodite worlds on the edge of the Segmentus, where a small fleet of Biel-Tan vessels had gathered in search of a lost relic. He was charged with the retrieval of this artifact, whatever it was. He has, according to his report, accomplished the task rather efficiently. The relic in question, according to his report, is a book the Eldar have titled The Book of Lost Glory, and he goes on to state that it holds the location and description of a great many artifacts that have presumably been lost to the Craftworld Eldar,” the Grandmaster explained briefly.

“If he has accomplished his task, what reason do we have to even be here?” Inquisitor Ventera asked with a frown as she tossed the papers aside.

“If you had read further than his picture, Ryssa, you might have noticed that he didn’t just bring back an artifact of the Xenos…” Inquisitor Deonerus commented dryly.

“Talius is correct,” Grandmaster Folgrim cut off any chance for retort from Ventera with his words, “It would appear that Inquisitor Andiron has also conscripted a member of the local population into his retinue. In the report, he states that she has already helped him translate the first chapter in the book, and they will continue to work on it while they are in transit.”

“Heresy!” Ventera declared vehemently, slamming her fist against the table.

“Not necessarily,” the voice of yet another Inquisitor called out.

The woman who had spoken was Lord Inquisitor Isabella Orentis, someone who specialize on the subject of heresy in all its many forms. Unlike most of the gathered Inquisitors, Orentis adhered to no particular school of thought when it came to the execution of the Emperor’s will. She had done a great many deeds fighting against almost every enemy of the Imperium within, without, and beyond.

“Our own Ordos Militant uses the weapons of the enemy against their makers. Many have been aided in the past by alliances of opportunity and mutual benefit. This young Inquisitor might very well be doing the same thing. Talius, how long would it take normally to decipher the Eldar runes in an ancient tome?” Isabella turned to the resident Xenos expert.

“Years,” the man replied.

“I would venture to say that it will take Andiron far less time to translate the text with a native reader giving him the secrets of the tome willingly. In his own words,” Inquisitor Orentis said as she held up the page that held the information she was speaking about, “He outlines that she believes it to be her destiny to be of use to his cause. Whether that means she believes herself meant to aid the Imperium or simply this one Inquisitor doesn’t make any difference. She is loyal to him in this and left her world to be of use. It would be a greater heresy for him to have left her behind, squandering the aid she could provide.”

“He consorts with the enemy!” Ventera continued to argue, “The alien knows nothing of loyalty and service! They are heretics who worship the gods of Chaos, feeding the Ruinous Powers with their debauchery and vile influence!”
“She is from an Exodite world,” Deonerus pointed out, “Her people abandoned their kind before the taint of Chaos consumed them. She is most likely no more tainted by the Ruinous Powers than a child newly born is.”

“You can’t expect me to believe this alien can fight her nature,” Ryssa fumed.

“I don’t expect you to do anything of the sort. I’m telling you that she may simply be beyond the taint of the Ruinous Powers. That doesn’t preclude her from having her own secret agenda, though it seems fairly unlikely given her people’s level of development,” Deonerus remarked without any real emotion in his voice.

“That is the crux of why I’ve called you here,” Grandmaster Folgrim remarked, “It would seem that our young Inquisitor has enlisted the aid of an alien. Given the unique circumstances surrounding the alien having been enlisted into Inquisitorial service, it is hard for me to simply order that she die simply on the grounds of heritage. And should she prove to be genuine in her aid to the young Inquisitor, it may set a precedence to allow him to keep her as part of his retinue for the foreseeable future. However, as he falls within our authority, I felt it best to consult with each of you here to gain your opinions and levy my judgment accordingly.”

“I am against this. Even if it isn’t heresy,” Inquisitor Ventera cast a withering glare at Isabella for a moment before continuing, “It still goes against good judgment and morality. If this Inquisitor is seen consorting with the enemy, it will cast us all into a haze of suspicion!”

“As if we aren’t already despised by the ignorant masses of the Imperium already for what we do,” Inquisitor Orentis countered rather harshly, “This young man simply obtained the tools he needed to best handle the artifact that he located. If you will sleep better at night, consider her as little more than an object, to be cast aside when her usefulness has elapsed.”

“I agree with Isabella,” Inquisitor Deonerus chimed in, “There have been many cases in which the Eldar have proven useful. We have never condemned our brethren before when they took advantage of the aid given, I see no reason to single out a man freshly risen to his station as some sacrifice simply to appease Ventera. Let the boy have his plaything, and let her give us the secrets of her people. Less resources we need to invest in getting the same results.”

Inquisitor Bresnic had been silent most of the meeting, his posture that of someone utterly bored with the conversation taking place. When all the eyes in the room shifted his direction, the man shook his head apathetically, “I don’t care what he does as long as it gets results.”

Grandmaster Folgrim turned to Inquisitor Ursaris, “You were the one who gave him his Rosette. Have you anything to add to this?”

“I will reserve commentary at the moment. I would like to observe this young man a while and see what he does with this girl and the book,” Felix said after giving it a moment’s thought.

The Grandmaster straightened up in his chair, “It seems the vast majority sees no conflict with this occurrence and I shall act accordingly. This matter is closed.”

The gathered Inquisitors stood and waited for Grandmaster Folgrim to depart before they themselves started to filter out of the ornate chamber. When everyone else had departed, only Ursaris and Ventera remained.

“I would speak with you a moment, Felix,” the woman said, her posture giving him all the hint Ursaris needed to know that he wasn’t going to like what she was about to say…


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-20-13, 05:48 AM Thread Starter
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II

“It does not bother me that the crew of the Strike Cruiser Talon seems to avoid me at every turn. It doesn’t even enter my thoughts that they might harbor some hatred for me or the Ordo I represent. It hardly fazes me that beneath their bows and platitudes resides a burning hatred for things they could never comprehend. What does bother me is the fact that I know they are capable of taking their rage out on my Eldar companion… and in this one thing I am powerless to bring judgment upon them for doing what they have been taught all their lives to be the correct course of action. I only hope my efforts to use her as an efficient tool proves enough to stem the tide… even for a little while…”

-Excerpt from Inquisitor Andiron’s private journal


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