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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-12, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Default Echoes of the Past (re-worked)

Echoes of the Past

One

Galtera IX was the kind of world that was so far from the Imperial shipping routes and the touch of Terra’s governing bodies that somewhere along the lines lawlessness became the new Imperial Creed, there was no law on Galtera IX, a more hotbed of corruption and vice could not exist in the more Imperial governed worlds. The planets ruling body had their personal coffers full with money that stank of bribery, corruption and murder. Pirates and rogue traders frequented the worlds bars and vice houses agreeing to a percentage of their takings to be handed over to the corrupt Enforcers for protection.

It wasn’t unusual to see them turn a blind eye to cold blooded murder, unlike the noble Arbites who could not be brought or who would not turn a blind eye to wanton piracy and murder. Every street corner was fraught with danger and every bar in every settlement had trouble on an hourly basis. There was no priest of the emperor here, if there ever had been that was long gone, the sin of the world was like a black stain on the most pious worlds of the Emperors domain if people even bothered to look it up.

High in the governmental palace the leader of this forsaken world looked down upon his kingdom like an old feudal lord. There would be a day maybe, when the Imperium would turn its gaze upon this world but this was one in a billion worlds and somewhere along the line it had become a forgotten footnote in the rusty halls of the Administration. He clasped his hands behind his back as he surveyed his world; he was a tall man with an impressive build that had once spoken of order and power. His clothing was expensive and cost more then a year’s salary to some of the people that lived on this violent world. His hair was long the colour of salt and pepper and one eye stared menacingly at a point on the distant horizon. Gardak Melescion was the lord and master of all he purveyed and he would do anything to hold onto that power plus the violence he metered out to those that stood in his way built his reputation.

It was a fool who thought they could usurp this mans power and it was an even bigger fool who plotted his assassination. There had been many attempts over the years and all had ended in failure. Not only with the death of the assassin but the one that had hired them. As he swept his gaze to the walls that surrounded his residence and the private army he used to protect him, he also saw the remnants of heads and bodies that hung over the huge gates the ones that had dared to try and end his life.

Beside him stood a man in a suit that was not as grand as his and he was busy consulting a data slate. “It would appear my lord that all payments due have been received”

His gaze fell to the recently executed body of Sanques one of the many affluent businessmen who had owed him money. His refusal to pay had resulted in his being hunted by the Enforcers and brought before the Governor. As soon as word reached the other debtors that he was dead they soon paid up. The Governor said nothing allowing a cruel smile to touch his lips but his silence was enough. The aide cleared his throat and took a step back knowing that what he was about to tell his lord would not be received so well and he had no wish to be the bearer of bad news.

“Well?” Melescion demanded.

“My lord, there have been more bodies found. In the Desran sector, they have been in a more – violent – state of execution.” He stepped back further. The Governor showed no signs of emotion all that told the aide that he was unhappy were the cadence of his voice.

“Who this time?”

”The Enforcer Commander Dhahran and his cohorts”

“Well what are you standing here for? Deal with it, find a bounty hunter and get it dealt with”

“My lord, such is the potency of this killer that no bounty hunter will touch them. We do not even know where they operate or how” He didn’t see the arm move and was back handed into the wall and groaned as he realised that you did see stars.

“You are supposed to be my eyes and ears so be them, and Vincenze, the next time you report on this, it had better be that this killer is caught or dead”

Vincenze knew the implications of those words and as he groggily got to his feet and left his masters presence some part of him hoped that this mysterious assassin would find its way here and get rid of the Governor.


++++


He moved across the rooftops, his movements undetectable despite the bulk of his armour. He was clad midnight black and unseen to the human eye and this being had the centuries of hunting and warfare to his advantage. He had arrived here on a freight ship, it had been easy to kill the crew when they had discovered him in the cargo hold and the captain had been the last one to die, only after he had given the correct approach codes. Once upon a time he would have taken his time killing him and feasted on the fear but that day was long gone now.

Ever since the death of his master and the change of his brothers he had focused only on his task. His promise to his master that he would find him and he would never forget him. He sat atop the last roof he came too and perched like some great gargoyle watching over the inhabitants of this area as if he was hunting for food. He was not hunting for food; he was hunting for something else the one that had drawn him here to this den of thieves and murderers.

He had left the hall of his brothers, their mocking laughter in his ears oh how far the legion of fear had truly fallen. He had been granted passage out of the Lord Pergasias’s realm and then made his way to here. It had been the dreams that had brought him to this den of vice, iniquity and above all fear. It had all a mix and a jumble of images that did not seem to make a lot of sense and yet one theme was always prevalent and constant. There was a master hunter aboard the night of this corpse god damned world. He had seen it last night, the execution of the Enforcers of this place had been sublime and he found a new respect for the one he was hunting, a little rough around the edges perhaps but in time with training he or she would be a great killer.

The streets smelt of fear and he inhaled deeply it made him truly believe in what he was and what he had been created for and it was like sweet wine to a thirsty man. Since arriving here all he had heard was the hushed whispers of the killer in the dark, the streets had become unusually quiet and yet no one felt truly safe as they believed the ghost in the dark could enter any dwelling no matter how secure and that had been true of the last murders. The Enforcers had been in their barrack house when they had been killed. He was in admiration of that after all it was not an easy thing to get into a barrack house, be they Imperium or otherwise. This ghost had entered without being seen or heard and he had to give the meat credit where credit was due. He entered prey sight and the world turned neon, the body heats stood out like lights in sea darkness. He returned to normal sight and made himself comfortable.

This seat gave him the best view of the district. He was not sure if whom he hunted was still here but he was patient and he had all the time in the world. Mikhail Trueze let the darkness envelope him and he waited.
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Two

~Crash~

A table splintered under the weight of the man thrown on it.

~Smash~

A window imploded outward as a body was flung through it.

~Kaboom~

Silence and no more fighters approached as the figure clad in black stared at the last ganger before her. It would have been quite comical if this were not so serious; the man stared at her them stared at the hole in his chest, and then fell backwards like some tree trunk falling in a forest. She had proved that amongst a den of thieves and murderers for hire, she was the alpha in the room and it felt good to offload scum like this. She holstered her shotgun and walked back to the bar, her eyes hidden behind dark glasses. She flicked a coin on the bar and took a seat. The innkeeper looked at the coin, arched an eyebrow and then shrugged and set a bottle of Tyrellian Brandy on the counter in front of the woman.

“Allow me to cover the cost of that,” A smooth sounding male voice announced.

The woman took a swallow of the Brandy and then cast her attention to the man that had sat beside her uninvited. He was in her estimation a well to do sort of chap. His clothes seemed to denote him as such and by the fine cut of his tailored jacket he smelt of money and desperation, despite his calm business-like manner the desperation poured off him like an Oyguns body odour. He was a handsome enough man she supposed, if you like that sort of thing and men of his age, she put him in his mid 40s to early 50s and his brown hair had grey streaks in it. There was a nasty looking bruise on his cheek and she supposed that either a very heavy-handed woman had slapped him round the face or he had displeased someone and been punished for it.

“And you are?” She asked.

Vincenze cleared his throat pleased to have got her interest. Normally when he came to the skank and they saw him, they all ran a mile. Sometimes being the Governors’ eyes and ears was not always a good thing, especially when you wanted a messy job doing.

“I am Vincenze Daystroli; I am the personal assistant to Governor Melescion”

That would explain the mark on his face. She had heard of this Governor and heard of his regime…. none of it was all that good either and she wondered why her employers had not acted sooner, Still hers was not to question why, she was hired to do a job and she was going to do it.

“Elizabet”

She shook his hand and by the surprise in his eyes he was quite surprised at the strength of her grip. He recovered himself and took the bottle of Brandy

“Would you care to sit somewhere more private? There are things I would like to discuss with you.”

Elizabet stopped him from taking the bottle and looked around her. “It would seem that we are alone Vincenze”

He looked around them and rolled his eyes, it always happened when he walked into a bar, the thugs, rogues, mercs and bounty hunters had all gone. No one wanted anything to do with what he might be offering, no matter how much they needed the money. He regarded her a moment and wondered if he had the right to make her this offer, this was, in his opinion no job for a woman but then he was an old fashioned sort, women had their place in his eyes, as wives, homemakers or office girls and not hunting killers to be killed.
Still what choice did he have? And he was not about to go back to his master and tell him he couldn’t find anyone. She was beautiful and he felt a twinge of shame that he was going to offer her a job that had so far resulted in the contract taker being the body bag.

He took a moment to admire her body; her red hair was tied into a long ponytail and was the colour of autumn fire. She had the face of a classical beauty, one of them statues from antiquity that he had seen in some museum when he last set foot on Terra. When she removed her glasses he felt his stomach lurch a little in desire. They were of the most intense grey he had ever seen but they were flexed with amber fire, there was something not entirely natural about those eyes but he could see no implants but they were beautiful and he almost forgot his sensibilities. Her accent he could not place, she was certainly not from here. He cleared his throat and motioned for the bar keeper to set another glass down, he was not an old man but he doubted one as old as he would interest such a beauteous being.

“I watched how you dispatched Kaliebs thugs, he will not be happy about that” He warned her, well aware of how the lord of the Skank would react to news that his men were not only dispatched by a single person but a woman into the bargain.

“Then they should learn to take no for an answer” She poured herself another measure of brandy and ran her finger round the rim of the glass and met his intense gaze with one of her own. “I am not a whore for sale and they should recognise that fact. So what do you want me for?” She asked.

He liked that; he liked the fact that she was straight to the point. “My master has a problem”

“I’ll say he has if the rumours I hear are anything to go by, seems no one wants to work for your master, no matter what his payment terms.”

“My master is hard to please.” Vincenze admitted. His heart was sinking a little, her tone was bored and her whole manner was indifferent, still she had despatched Kaliebs thugs like they were children. She had an attitude and he supposed she was a former guardswoman or something similar; they all had attitudes in his opinion.

“So, what is it you want me to do? No pussy footing about just give it to me straight.” She arched an eyebrow

She listened as he told her about the mysterious assassin and how no one seemed able to catch them. He showed her the pictures of the latest victims and she didn’t even blanch at the gory mess that had been the Enforcers, she took the file he handed her and read it quickly with the eye of a professional and he realised that she was a professional. She was a bounty hunter and one that was not bothered about his masters’ reputation.

“Half upfront” She told him handing the file back as if it mattered not to her.

“My master only pays on completion…” He began to say but she cut him off quite bluntly.

“Then you can find someone else to do it, but um…” She flicked a gloved hand behind her and he still saw flexes of blood on the knuckles “good luck with that”

She moved to leave but he stopped her and heaved a sigh and in resignation because she was right, no one else would do it for the fear of failing the master meant they left planet very quickly, some of them not quick enough and he knew that his masters reach was very far, he agreed to her demands and hoped that this time there would be closure. After all, his life depended on it if what the Governor had said earlier was anything to go by, a slap to the face was going to be a walk in the park.


++++


Elizabet let herself into the room she was staying in. it was nothing posh and she certainly had slept in better places and she had slept in worse. She had found this place in the Queniton district abandoned for whatever reason. Sitting herself on the tattered sofa she pulled out an I-ho stick and lit it whilst adjusting her earpiece.

“El, you there answer me damn it?”

A young male voice sounded in her ear urgently and by the annoyance that was entering into it, he had been trying to reach her for a while, she had shut the comms off whilst she was in that flea pit they called a bar. Less distractions when the bastards tried to get her legs to open, and in full view of everyone too, no wonder a womans life expectancy on this shit heap of a rock was close to zero. For a brief moment she thought about remaining silent for a little longer just to wind him up but thought better off it.

“I’m here Gil” she sighed

“Thank the throne,” he breathed a sigh of relief “I heard gunfire…”

“Now Gil” another voice, a sultry female voice this time, “you know that El is more then capable of holding her own.”

“Not El I am worried about”

“Ok enough” Elizabet snapped forestalling the argument before it started going into territory she did not want it to go. “I have been hired to find out who is bumping off the thugs and the Governors lackeys personally whoever is doing this is gets my vote”

“Will it get you close to the Governor?” The other woman asked taking command of the communication.

“Eventually Shan” She took a long drag on her stick and flicked it “I want you to pull up everything we know about this cess pool and then whatever they gave us. See if you can find something I can really use.”

“On it, and El, try not to loose it too much”

She muttered something incoherent and broke the connection. She knew what her friend meant. She knew they were both concerned about her and they had a right to be. She crossed to the battered and cracked mirror on the far wall and lifted her top to reveal a horrible mesh of scars on her abdomen. Shaking her head she pulled her top down and went back to the battered sofa and lay out on it, her shotgun in her hand, still if anyone decided to try and surprise her they might be the ones that had the surprise.


++++


Mikhail moved suddenly, his wait had been long and patient but now it was over. There in the shadows of the Pleasure Inn a figure waited. The men leaving were laughing as they counted the money they had just extorted from the owner and their girls. He had heard the screams of terror as they had enforced the will of their master and judging by their uniforms they were the internal Enforcers.

“The Governor will know you are skimming off the top Hal” one of the men warned.

“As long as he gets what he wants why would he care?” The one called Hal sneered “sides my wife might want something more expensive this time”

Mikhail watched, the hunter watching the hunter but he was looking deeper into the other hunter as if he was searching for a sign or a portent. The men were so wrapped up in their work of the night that they did not even spot the lithe figure that moved in the shadows of the streets, shadowing their every move and just waiting. He followed across the rooftops his twin hearts beating a tattoo in his chest; he thought maybe he had struck gold especially as the hunter seemed to pick his ambush well. The Enforcers stopped to relieve themselves when the screams started. The hunter moved so quick that even the Night Lord nearly missed it. The hunter struck quick and severed their private parts, not content with that they moved like liquid mercury and slit their throats, each strike a blur of motion and the sharp edge of the blood neatly removing heads from shoulders.

The inhabitants did not come to help the dying men; this world learnt early on that you just did not interfere. By Mikhail’s estimation the attack lasted about two minutes, longer then he would have done it but never the less it was still a feat to be achieved. The face looked up and he saw the power armour then ran. Mikhail followed desperate not to loose this wondrous killer.

He came to ground level keeping his quarry in sight. The hunter moved fast and Mikhail knew that this was a person who had spent their life on the streets, a sentiment he could fully appreciate and accept. He came to a dead end and the hunter was gone, nowhere to be seen. Mikhail switched to thermo vision but nothing it seemed that his quarry had vanished. Like a ghost he had just vanished into thin air. He banged his fist against a wall in frustration denting it so hard that a fist shaped hole was left there forever more as he realised that now he would have to start again.

++++

The hunter panted hard. The killing of the Enforcers had been easy, they had been tracked for days but what they had not expected was the monster to suddenly appear. Like some demon of the night they had just risen up from out of nowhere. Maybe the Governor had hired some great demon to track them down, if that was the case then they would have to get to the Governor first and then they would go to their grave knowing that they had avenged their family.
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Three

“Wake up!”

The boot hammered into the youth’s ribs but no matter how hard the ganger hit him he would not move. He dare not move, he was not afraid of the beating that he would get, after the last few months of living in the shadow of his master this was nothing. He kept his eyes shut tight, playing possum and gritted his teeth against the bone crunching blows that forced their way through his inert body.

‘Any moment now’ he thought despite his pain from his bruised and cracked ribs.

For weeks he had tracked this thug of a man, Shar Tsal was known round these parts as not only a brutal criminal who would take great pleasure in cutting off your digits and feeding them to his hounds whilst keeping you from going into shock. He was master of most of the vice dens in this part of town and ran a drugs trade that netted him thousands in coin and profit. He was also responsible for strong arm tactics in the mines that saw some of the workers suffer because he had one or two mine owners in his pocket due to blackmail. The sort of blackmail that their wives would rather not know about so as rich as he was and the fact he could afford to let his numerous gangs of rapists and murderers do his work for him, he preferred the personal approach.

The youth heard his master before Tsal did and rolled away at the last moment although his body would be a mass of bruises he could not help but relish the look of abstract fear that crossed this bastards face as his laughing cronies were killed in quick succession. His master ended their lives quickly but then they were not who he really wanted, Tsal was the one he wanted. The young man got to his feet and cocked his head like a lion cub observing its parent who was about to rip open the guts of the antelope.

His master was no lion and Tsal was no antelope but the premise was the same. His master said nothing as he did his work. He had no need to. Everyone knew how the Night Haunter hunted and slowly but surely the bigger gangers were being killed off and the streets made safe again. Tsal wept like a baby, begging for mercy as his master cut his digits off one by one but his pleas were falling on deaf ears. The master was going to make an example of him and what art he made of the cretin.

The youth smiled as he watched and realised that his master was prolonging Tsals death, it was the fear, the fear that drove his master on. Not his fear, he did not believe his master feared anything; no it was the fear that Tsal was giving off, with each cry and each plea his master worked harder and eventually he ended the bastards’ agony it was like some adrenalin based drug to his master.

His master slit his throat and exposed the windpipe, he hung drew and quartered him and hung him for everyone to see. The message clear as it had been for years since he first began, justice will be served. He walked over to where the youth stood upright and rested a bloody hand on his shoulder. He had to look up, his master was taller then the tallest man on Nostramo and more powerful then any bearcat. His masters normally pale face was splattered crimson and he was not bothered by the smell of piss and shit that covered the alleyway like some animal latrine.

“Are you hurt my son?” His voice was the gravel of night, he was the lord of the night there was no ifs or buts about it there was no one who could utilize fear like he did. He made it work for him and put it against the creatures that he was hunting.

“Nothing that I won’t heal from my master” He refrained from using the word father, although he ached to use it.

His master had found him savaging a living and he had saved his master from a back stab that might have killed him, although by now he was well aware that there was very little that could kill this giant of granite. His master had been the only father he remembered. He could barely remember his family now, all he could recall was that they were murdered but by who and why was lost to him, such was life on Nostramo. His master would send him out to follow and track his quarry; to learn his movements then he would be the bait and when he was prepared, his master would strike. The master enfolded his arm round him and led him away concerned at the beating he had taken but proud that he had stuck to the plan.

He would see that he was cared for, that he had food and then he would leave to continue his work, which was the way it was, he worked alone most of the time. The youth was a companion but even so he still needed to be alone and he would not put the boy in danger, oh he knew the boys future he had seen it entwined with his own, so it was in his interest to keep the boy alive.

“Remember me always” he suddenly said “remember me as I am and not what I may become”

The youth frowned “Why would I forget you master? It will not be long before the people cry out for you to take the throne of Nostramo”

The Night Haunter, Konrad Curze had such dark eyes they scared anyone and no one would ever meet his gaze, too afraid of what was behind those dark soulless orbs. The boy did though, he had nothing but love for his master and his dark eyes were not to be feared but to learn from and how he had learnt.

In the years he had been with his master he had learnt much. Right now though those orbs were filled with something that the boy was not sure he could put a finger upon. He was well aware of his masters’ seizures, how his waking dreams had made him howl like a mad man and he had learnt to leave his master to come out of these occurrences alone. Only when it was over would he go to him.

“Never forget me Mikhail, even when the universe goes mad and I am gone; never forget the one who is like a father unto you”

The boy nodded not understanding, but knowing there was meaning in those words, words that would come back to haunt him when the universe turned on its head.



Mikhail came out of his trance like a bullet. He didn’t even know when he had entered it; he had been frustrated at loosing his quarry and had returned to his post to continue his vigilance when he just drifted into the past. Strange that, that particular memory had resurfaced, he had not thought about that time in many a millennium. He frowned pondering why it was that he had suddenly relived that moment. He had seen the death of Tsal as a new learning curve that had served him right when he was working alongside the Curze, and then when he had been changed into a space marine.

He had learnt early never to fear fear itself. It was an emotion to be controlled and utilised whenever the opportunity presented itself. The only fear he had was failing his oath to his master. He removed his helm and it came off with a hiss. He set it reverently on his belt hook and ran a hand through his dark hair and then down his face, drawing it into a horror visage as he did. He rubbed his lower jaw, a sign that his captain could always tell that he was deep in thought and his squad knew that sign too. Usually when things were not going how the captain or the Primarch had planned and they had left it up to him to find a way out of the mess they had found themselves in, not that anyone ever told the Primarch that, except Mikhail. There were those that were jealous of the relationship between Curze and his favourite Sergeant but then there were those that would never understand the ties that had been forged in the days before the legion came.

He cleared his mind completely and went over what he knew. The youth was male that much he knew and he was probably no older then 18. The kid had an innate understanding of his hunting ground so he was either born here in this district or in another district close by. That logic would end in the conclusion that the kid would know all the sewer outlets in the city and therefore would always have a place to escape to if he needed to. He would also have a route to keep his quarry and the corrupt authorities’ one step behind although now he suspected that they were ten steps behind and he was not far off that. He allowed himself a wry smile, he admired his quarry, and his quarry had outwitted him and outsmarted him. He a master of fear and the night had been made to look like a neophyte on their first day in the legion.

His smile faded as the thought of what his beloved Legion had become, what Legion? His brothers were becoming divided, like so many of the legions of Horus’s jihad. Curze had expressly forbidden any pacts with the powers of the warp, warning his sons that such pacts ended in madness and the only winners were the demonic gods of the warp. With his assassination the last hold on his sons was gone. Mikhail was well aware that his master had been loosing control of the Legion for years. With his continued absence from Nostramo the long dead world had begun its decline back into the lawlessness it had been when he had been the Night Haunter with no Legion.

As a result the recruits coming to the sons of Curze from Nostramo were like the gangers of old. With that strand coming into the Legion the Night Lords just became more and more violent, not that they were not already violent. There were some that said they were more violent then the World Eaters it didn’t matter, they had their own way of doing thing as the sons of Angron had theirs but with the new more violent sons coming in it was only a matter of time before things got out of control. He banished the melancholy thoughts ruthlessly, he was the favoured sergeant of the Night Haunter, and this would not do.

‘Think Mikhail’ he scalded himself ‘what would you have done?’

He glanced back to the alley that he had lost the youth in and after a moments pause for thought he dropped down to street level and made his way back to the alley. After a few moments he noticed the wall was not as fixed as it first appeared and he recalled what he had learnt about this piss hole of a planet. The vilest den of inequity and corruption in the corpse gods’ realm, a haven for pirates, murderers’, assassins and thieves and also smugglers whose very actions marked them out for death or long term servitude in the penal legions.

A grim smile crossed his face and he pushed against the wall, the smile became one of triumph as his thought was rewarded with a hidden doorway. He went through the doorway and went midnight clad, had his brothers not splintered then the denizens from this world would have been ripe for the taking, future recruits for the Legion and a harvest of slaves for what few vessels remained in their hands.


++++


Elizabet walked around the Queniton district unsure of why there was hardly anybody in the streets when she knew that in shit holes like this there was always something going on. She got her answer soon enough as she rounded the corner and almost yelped in shock. Hanging from the stairwell was the remains of the enforcer called Hal, killed earlier that evening. She staggered back a little and had to struggle to stop the reflex gag from making her bring her breakfast up. As strong willed and hard arsed as she could be, even she had not seen anything like this. Once she recovered herself she gazed upon the body once more and fully understood the Governors’ urgency in wanting whoever was bumping off his Enforcers.

He had his head nailed to the wall beside the stairwell and the body hung from the top, what was left of it, wincing as she realised that his genitalia was missing and briefly thanked the fates that Gil was not here to see this. She moved forward to inspect the body and trod on something that squished under her boot. She glanced down and then wished she hadn’t as the missing genitalia emerged from under her boot as she lifted her foot. Whoever was committing these killings was certainly thorough and although they were very probably insane she knew that the killer was knocking off the Governors Enforcers first.

All the evidence seemed to point to that. Shan had contacted her with all the information they had on this world. For so long it had been left to its own devices and had once upon a time been a world of the Imperium, but as is the way of such an empire especially one as vast as the Imperium it got forgotten.

Galtera IX, once upon millennia ago had been a world that made its tithes on time, raised Imperial Guard regiments for the vast armies that fed the war machine of the high lords and the Emperor and had all in all been a god fearing world. The rest became lost to time, as it usually does when the adepts of the administration have billions upon billions of other worlds to concern themselves with. That thought sat sourly with her. Her world had been perfect. Her world had been found during the Great Crusade and had been marked by the Imperial Fists for recruitment.

Her world had been loyal and unwavering in their loyalty to the golden throne but none of that came to anything when the Word Bearers had come calling and with them had come Fabius Bile…. she banished the thought angrily. Now was not the time to get bitter and twisted about the past. She had a job to do, she cast her mind back to what Shan had told her. Several months ago a rogue trader had been caught in the imperial shipping lanes smuggling not just illegal arms but narcotics too.

The Inquisition would have been content to leave this up to the Arbites had he not mentioned in an attempt to save his neck that he had been paid by Gardak Melescion to run the guns to Tybos to arm some war effort that was attempting to free itself from the chains of imperial yoke. Gardak Melescion was wanted by the inquisition, as he had been the commissar of the traitor guard from this very world. She realised she should have thought of that one but the thought that a commissar, the very shield of faith, a badge of office that was to the imperial guard what the chaplain was to the space marines, could turn traitor was unthinkable.

The inquisition could not send anyone here; they would have been so far out of place they would have been spotted a mile off so the Ordos Malleus had hired her to do the work for them. She had been here for six months and already realised that one could not get to the Governor directly. She had built her reputation up here and slowly learnt that no one escaped the Governors’ justice.

The beauty of her job was no one would suspect her, they would just see her as a lawbreaker out for a few months haven and a chance to make money with no questions asked. There was however seriousness to what she did. She did what the Inquisition could not and although she had been offered a chance to join the order as a freelance she never would. If they ever discovered what she was, what her grim secret was and those of her friends then no matter how much they had done for the emperors’ holy inquisition their lives would be forfeit. That was why all communication with her fixer was through encrypted channels. She glanced up at the body and tipped it a wink so much as to say ‘your luck just ran out’

She stopped as she heard something, the faintest sound that no other human would have heard, but then Elizabet was far from human, she had not been human for over 500 years. She turned in a complete circle pinpointing the noise, filtering it out and squinting a little she made her way to the alleyway off the corner, in time to see the giant move into the shadows with no more thought then a light switch being thrown off, she caught a good look before he vanished and pressed herself against the wall. Her heart hammered in her chest and she had to will herself to slow the beat down. If the adrenalin rushed too much then she would have a whole different fight on her hands.

“What the frak?” She couldn’t believe what she had seen.

Believe it A second voice entered her head, the voice of the entity that she shared her soul with and her body. Elizabet closed her eyes a little. He had been quiet up until now, happy to let her do her thing but it was obvious that he was now getting restless and the bodies she had seen these last few months was making him hungry.

When she was 16 her world had been invaded by the Word Bearers and she, along with a group of children had been taken captive. The boys were taken to become part of the foul legion; the girls were given to Bile to do with whatever he wanted. He had taken six of them; she had been one of the half dozen that had survived his numerous tests and experiments.

He had cut her open like some demonic midwife and a young demonic infant had been placed inside her. As young as it had been it was still powerful and for months she had raged, fighting for control of her very soul. She had won the fight but it had almost killed her, the demonic being had gained a respect for her and told her his name. She would never have been able to pronounce it she he told her to call him Sam, as absurd as it sounded it was easier to deal with.

He was a demon of Malal taken by Fabien after a while she got used to him and he would only surface when her rage got to a level that allowed him to surface she had never heard of this god that Sam had served, but he had told her that his master was a youngling in the way of gods and that he was building his own powerbase. When he was dormant he had gifted her with healing abilities that allowed her to heal from any wound and heightened senses and a strength that went way beyond human.

When Biles lab was discovered she escaped and was picked up by a rogue trader who took her under his wing and taught her all she needed to know about life in the Imperium. She said she wanted to return home but her home was gone. With the taint of the Word Bearers so strong the inquisition had exterminated her home. All she had known was gone, blown away by the cyclone bomb.

She had been looking for Bile ever since and over the centuries “Sam” had grown very fond of her, protective of her and although she would never admit it she was used to him and had grown to care about him. He had accepted her role in life but then again she had researched this lesser god that he was part of and realised that the other chaos gods were Malal’s targets didn’t make Malal any less a chaos being but it was better then serving the others.

“Was that really a son of Curze?” she asked quietly still not sure if she had seen the figure correctly.

Yup as you live and breathe it was.

“Then the game just rose a little higher”

And you have to ask yourself where there is one Night Lord there might be more, and the big question, what is he doing here?

Elizabet had to agree he had a valid point and standing around here was not going to get those answers. Looking around to make sure no one saw her she moved to where the Night Lord had vanished and with a last cursory glance around followed him in.
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Four

The Governor sat behind his desk, the report having just come in about the death of Hal Darwin and his Enforcers. Such was his rage at the attack that the hapless messenger had left the room with a broken jaw. He clenched and unclenched his fist in an effort to calm himself. It was painfully obvious to him that this was more then just some murderer out for kicks.

This was a killer with thought and precision. One that had no fear of what was around the corner and one that ultimately would make their way to him. They were after him and him alone that much had become obvious. Had it been anyone else he would have known who he or she were by now and made an example of him. He had been told by Vincenze that he had hired some woman to do the job that no one else wanted to do.

According to Vincenze she had despatched Kaliebs thugs with little more then a flick of her wrist and with no more thought then swatting a fly. Gardak Melescion could understand this mind set. He had seen it before and indeed it was how he thought one upon a time he was a man that inspired the warriors under his command to great feats of bravery in the name of the god-emperor.

A cynical smile crossed his face; yes he had taken men and women into the height of battle and brought them out the other side. The Galtera III were known for their bravery in the face of danger, they would go into battle and do things other guards would not do. But he had seen enough over the years and slowly his faith began to chip away. He had fallen in love with the lieutenant of his recon squad.

She had been the most beautiful and battle hardened woman he had ever met. Her view was pragmatic and she had once dared to argue that if the God-Emperor was watching over them then he was having a great laugh at their expense. She had just lost half her squad to the Bloodpact and she was not in the mood to hear sermons about how the God-Emperor willed it and they were doing in death what they had started in life, her squad had loved her and she had loved them.

If anyone else had uttered such words they would have been seen as blasphemous but not Kayla, she was loyal and she was respectful and they were just words. She had vowed to get those Chaos loving bastards off Jorvik and back to the warp where they belonged, in body bags. Six days later the Bloodpact paraded her mutilated body on the front of their chimera.

He had wept tears of anger and grief and had turned and yelled that there was no gods and there was no god emperor. Having seen the remains of their lieutenant and her troop the rest of the squad had followed their commissar as he cut a swathe through the Bloodpact and then turned on the commanders of the III. They were the ones who had not given them the support when they needed it. The glorious III had been left to die so that others could claim the glory and Commissar Gardak Melescion turned his back on the Emperor.

He had returned home and with the remnants of his squad set about punishing the lazy administration. He had taken everything by force and murder such was his way. He had turned it from a small backwater world with no pride in itself anymore to a world that lived off the blood of the murdered. He did not follow chaos if anything he had a respect for the ones the Eldar called the bloody handed god.

There was profit to be had in murder; there was none in mindless butchery. The remnants of his squad disappeared back into their lives and the glorious III now became the most wanted. The Imperium, had it the resources to, would have hunted them down and made them pay in death or servitude in the penal legions. However, the war against Chaos meant that they were too tied up trying to keep their lines drawn and protected. He had grown in power and his skills as a Commissar had made him the most feared man on the planet. No one dared usurp him from his throne but now, now there was an enemy at the door and they were coming for him.

He opened his desk drawer and took out his Las-Pistol, staring at it for a moment he stroked the barrel gently when it came down to it the only one he could really rely on was this. Well this and other things. Vincenze was the only one of the old regime he had left alive, purely for his skills in doing the dirty work and covering it up in case there ever was an instance when someone got too nosey for their own good. Despite this though he had no cause to believe that this bounty hunter he had found would be able to do the job and he took matters into his own hands.


++++


Mikhail followed the hidden path downwards. Whoever had made this path obviously had their reasons and their skill was admirable. The rock had been worn smooth, as had the stone underfoot with the centuries of passage. As he moved onwards he passed the lights periodically placed not that he needed it, his own enhanced senses more then compensated. Rats scurried under foot away from him, the scavengers knew when there was a bigger hunter in their midst and wanted no part of being near him.

Mikhail hated rats, he had hated them as a boy and he hated them now. It wasn’t a fear, he felt no fear, he just disliked them and many was a time that he had seen bodies on the field of battle allies and enemy alike swarmed with the hungry chitterling teeth and seen those same teeth tear at flesh like razors eager to get to the warm meat underneath.

He had seen many a medic keel over and retch violently at a shuddering body where they had believed them to be shaking from shock only to discover there were rats devouring the still living soldier. He brought his heavy boot down on the nearest one and smiled as it satisfyingly squashed under his boot. He stopped as he picked up a trail of blood and crouched down.

He looked up and down and sighed a little. He wondered if this superlative hunter was wounded but he had not seen any wound on the hunter. He sat on his haunches and mused that there had indeed been a lot of blood and it was not theirs, he stood straighter and walked onwards. After maybe a kilometre or two he stopped as he heard the sound of something scraping along the floor. He drew his bolter and despite the sheer bulk of his power armour he moved as silent as the grave so as not to alert whoever was making the noise.

He came to a makeshift archway, carved into the rock by hand with a timber frame. He peered round the corner to see the person he had been hunting kneeling before a small-lit shrine. This was no shrine to the emperor though, that had long since been forgotten on this world. Although he was behind the kneeling man and a fair distance he could pick out the details as if they were close up. It was a family shrine, a small wooden alcove hand made with small tea lights around it. The pictures were a man and woman and five children, three girls and two boys, judging by the way the youth’s shoulders were heaving this had been his family. He kept his bolter drawn but lowered it to his side and entered the room.


The young man wiped his eyes and then stood up. His hand was clean now the bowl on the table now a watery red the colour of sunset. His long coat battered and worn lay over the back of a wooden chair. His hair dirty and lank hung to his shoulders and his clothes were still blood-stained although mixed with other stains of previous hunts whatever colour they had been was lost under a stain of crimson. He bowed his head then turned and froze. The monster had found him, but the monster had a face, an all too human face, he drew his knife, he did not know how he was going to beat this man demon but he would go down fighting, he may die but they will know why and someone would take the mantle up.

Someone would finish his crusade. He threw the knife towards the face but the monsters hand came up and caught the knife inches from his eye. With an impressed grunt he looked the blade over. Hand made, there was skill in this youth but it was a skill that had been self-taught, still had he not been what he was he might have lost an eye. He turned the blade over in his hand, a vicious looking weapon, sharpened to a dangerous and keen edge with a precise blood channel down the middle. The hilt was carved from ivory and dyed red although with the amount of blood that had wetted this blades edge it wouldn’t have mattered if he had not dyed it.


Mikhail set the blade on the table and holstered his bolter and took a step
towards the youth. He grabbed him by the shoulders and lifted him up until he was eye level. His own dark eyes scoured the youths reaching deep into his soul and his spoke in whispers, so quiet that the terrified youth could only make out two words.

“Dominos Nox”

The words meant nothing to the boy all he heard was the voice of a demon and it was aimed at him; the Space Marine let him down with a heavy heart. He supposed it was too much to expect victory on the first outing. The youth was a hunter of the dark but he was not Curze, he was not the new body of his masters’ soul and a feeling of disappointment settled in the marines’ stomach. He had felt that he had got lucky, the way the youth hunted, the fear that he had working for him and around him but, unlike his master had been at that age the fear was not his friend for he still felt it and did not feed off it like his masters had done.

“Step away from him or I swear to whatever fates there are I will blow your brains all over the room.”

Mikhail turned to see Elizabet in the doorway and he unsheathed his talons. His eyes narrowed as he smelt the foul stench of a demonic presence but there was something stopping him from showing this impudent woman what foolishness it was to attempt to threaten a lord of the night. Before either could act they heard a thump and both stared as the youth fainted dead away.

Elizabet arched an eyebrow “Now I didn’t see that coming”

Mikhail crouched by the youth and ignored her for the moment. This was not his master but he had earnt the Night Lords respect and he deserved to live. Elizabet warily made her way into the room and crouched beside the boy, still keeping her eye on the Night Lord. She took the coat from the table and laid it over him,

“Exhaustion and probably shat himself seeing you” She commented.

“Or you” Mikhail rumbled

“Whatever i am not wearing big scary black armour with skulls over it” She shrugged and got up and the two eyed each other like predators. Neither one attacked the other for their own reasons but on the other hand, neither one was willing to let their guard down.

“So what happens now? I shot you dodge, you go black and I loose my head or I might just let my buddy free and you will end up Night Lord shish kebab” Elizabet sighed,

Mikhail regarded her for a moment, then he began to laugh, the total absurdity of the situation getting to him and the fact that she showed no fear and she believed in what she was saying made him laugh. He had not laughed like this in a long time and although his laugh was distorted by his vox guard making him sound like a demon from an ancient hell, he did not care he just laughed.

Elizabet arched an eyebrow wondering what was so funny but then she started to laugh, the very idea that a Night Lord, the feared master of the night was now sat on the floor laughing so hard that tears fell from his eyes. No one was going to believe this.
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Five

Silence, after the initial mirth the two hunters looked at each other from across the room each one embarrassed by the moments shared levity and waiting to see what happened next, each one eyeing the other like two caged animals of prey watching for a weakness or two that would give their true intentions away. Mikhail glanced towards the youth then returned his attention to Elizabet. Under any circumstances in any other situation he would have been gutting her and feeding off her fear. He paused in his musings.

Would he really have been doing that? Over the last two centuries he had been fed up with mindless murder and he had no stomach for it, the long way had long since lost its appeal to him. Somewhere along the way the thrill and addictive rush of the fear had become a dull itch…until now. This boy was causing fear and such fear, terror the likes he had caused as a warrior of the Imperium and as a warrior of the night against the forces he once protected. He had been drawn here thinking that his master was here, but maybe he had come here not to find his master, but to find what he had long lost.

Elizabet moved to where the youth was starting to come around and for the moment the Night lord was distracted in his silent reverie. She told the youth to remain calm and helped him sit up, from the inside of her long coat she pulled a hip flask out and handed him it so he could have a drink. At first he glanced hesitantly from one to the other like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car. When he was certain they were not going to harm him he almost threw the water over his face in his haste to have a drink. Elizabet glanced around the place this kid called home and could see nothing that would indicate that he had eaten. She frowned a little but getting up she moved to the doorway.

“Better you both stay here,” she told them “I’ll get something to eat, although I am not sure if you want anything” she nodded at Mikhail. The Night Lord said nothing and Elizabet shook her head then shouldering her shotgun she moved out of the room and seemed to disappear.

++++

The Governors’ office was almost shrouded in darkness all except the one Illuminating lamp that allowed enough light for the occupants to see each other as shadows dancing over the faces. The four figures were silent. It was hard to judge them in this dim lighting but that is how the Governor ordered it and Vincenze had to do as his master ordered. He did not know from where they came from only that they walked straight through the security check point like they owned the place, one call from the Governor had meant that they were not stopped. Actually as he tried to penetrate the darkness and from a fortuitous beam of light he could make out three men and one woman.

He shook his head it mattered not, whoever they were they were the Governors most trusted allies and a quartet that the boss trusted implicitly. The group had spared no acknowledgement to the aide as they came into the office, almost as if he had not existed and to them he might not have existed. He remained in the shadows, seen but not cared about. All these people cared about was what the Governor was going to ask them to do for him and judging by how quickly they had answered his call they would do anything for him,

“Welcome my friends” The Governors voice came from somewhere in front of the group and it made Vincenze cringe with fear as it heard it, although his tones was different now, he almost sounded friendly and not barking like some rabid dog. “I have a job for you all, one that is better suited to you then whomever Vincenze hired and it is only you that I trust to do this for me”

The four were silent then one answered, the woman “Speak commissar and we will obey, as we always have done”

The Governor smiled “Yes, I knew you would” he spoke with all the softness of a snake that knew he had got his own way.

++++

Mikhail watched the boy as he sat himself fully up. His fear had long since vanished to be replaced by a stern expression, almost annoyance that his work had been interrupted. The human woman Elizabet had returned an hour ago with some meagre food but the youth had demolished it as if he had not eaten in a week or maybe more. Perhaps he had not, or if he had it had been whatever crap had been lying around.

Elizabet was sat at the table also watching the boy and he could still smell the stench of possession about her. He was not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, so far she seemed to be in good control of whatever possessed her and he wondered why it was her own kind had not hunted her out of extinction.

The youth licked his fingers fastidiously. The chicken that Elizabet had brought back had been delicious and although neither she nor Mikhail ate they had shared an amused glance at the juices that ran down the boys’ cheek. When he had finished and belched rather loudly Elizabet motioned to the chair opposite her and the youth, quite obviously taken with her beauty clambered to obey her unspoken offer. Mikhail ran his own gaze over her, she was beautiful there was no question about that and in his days before becoming a son of Curze he had known a few beautiful women but none like her.

He felt an unfamiliar stirring in his loins but quashed it, ruthlessly that path led to the arms of Slaanesh and he was not going to follow that path. He was a Space Marine, a son of Nostramo and he needed nothing that a human woman could give him that the height of battle could not and warring in his masters’ name.

“So” Elizabet smiled and once again the Night Lord was struck by how it lit her face up “What’s your name and what’s your story kid, why you killing all the Enforcers?”

The youth looked from one to the other and narrowed his eyes. “My name is Eli Gant, and I am not a kid, I am 25 years old”

Elizabet and Mikhail both said in unison “You’re a kid to us”

He shook his head in irritation but still continued “I worked in the mines on Graden, never came into the city much too much in the way of corruption and my parents didn’t want to have anything to do with the goings on here. My father was a good man, we had a shrine to the god-emperor and prayed every night and every morning to him, there may be no priesthood here anymore but our community was loyal to the golden throne.”

Elizabet wondered if he was saying this more for Mikhails benefit then anything else. After all he recognised him as a space marine but not what Legion he belonged too.

Now that’s an ironic thought isn’t it? Sam’s voice chuckled in her head.

She forced herself to suppress the mirthful grin that was threatening to break across her face. If Eli wanted to see the Night Lord as one of the Angels of the Emperor then for now it will do.

“Some Enforcers came into town under the orders of the Governor who wanted to take the mines for himself. My father and others refused and were murdered. It didn’t stop there.” He lowered his gaze and clenched his fists “They went into my mothers’ home, raped my mother then forced me and my brother to watch as they raped our sisters. My older brother started a fight that allowed me to escape.

When I came back after they had gone I found my families bodies cut up and broken, even my baby sister” He raised his head and both saw the tears that ran angrily and hot down his face “So that’s why I am doing what I do, I will kill every last one of them and then I am going to kill the Governor”

Elizabet nodded a little, sympathising with the young man. Mikhail heaved a sigh and it sounded like the hiss of a volcanic stream.

“Where did you learn your tactics?” He demanded.

“What?”

“A man like the Governor has eyes and ears all over the planet, it took me a few days to find you, where did you learn your skills surely not in the mines”

Eli shook his head “I don’t know. When I left my home I wandered into the Maris Peaks, they said that you can call to the Emperor and he will guide you. I fell asleep and then woke at night and just knew what I had to do. Like something took over me”

Mikhail looked thoughtful for a moment but said nothing more. Elizabet regarded him for a few moments then returned her attention to the young man.

“You have certainly drawn attention to yourself I was hired to find you and kill you”

Eli jumped up from his seat “Then do it, but I will take you first woman!”

Elizabets smile faded to be replaced by a stern and unquestioning expression “I am not here to kill you Eli Gant, I am here for the Governor, the Inquisition is on the way but they can’t just come here undercover and that’s my job. Now sit down and stop acting like a drugged up berserker.” He did not move his face set in stone Elizabet arched an eyebrow and in a tone that brooked no argument said. “I will not ask again…Sit down!” Even Mikhail flinched at that tone and watched as Eli eventually did as he was told. “Say you get through to the palace and kill the Governor, how were you planning on getting off world? They would kill you before you left?”

“My life means nothing to me anymore; I just want revenge for my parents and my family”

“That’s a lie” Mikhail looked at him squarely “Your life is filled with a quest to hunt the scum like my father did for many years before the Emperor came, you string them up for the public to see and one by one the districts you kill in suddenly become loyal citizens again, afraid of the Shadow Killer, that is what they have called you, the Shadow Killer.”

Eli laughed humourlessly “Loyal citizens? Loyal to what might I ask? There is no priesthood here, any priests left after Gardak Melescion took power he had them all executed or paid off. Our world is so far from Imperial arms that it was easy for him to return and take power like some tyrant, there is no administration or Arbites here, what are we loyal too? All I know is my family never forgot our place and our faith and that is what makes me do what I do, if I am to die then the Emperor will; allow me my revenge before he takes my life”

“What do you know about Melescion?” Elizabet asked, admiring the kid his stones for talking back to a Night Lord in that way but really not wanting to hear how the bastard sons of a traitor Primarch, a mad one at that were superior when it came to shadow killings.

Eli looked at the table and with the blade of his dagger began scratching in the wood. He was silent for a while, and then said “Only what my father told me. Gardak Melescion was a commissar a good one too originally from here, this was his home world and the story goes that he fell in love and she was killed by the Bloodpact whoever they are”

Elizabet sat back and glanced at the silent Night Lord, the only emotion at the mention of the most feared traitor guard in Imperial History was a flicker of his seemingly soulless eyes. They fought like the guard they once were, this discipline made them one of the most feared traitor regiments, and what made it even more unusual was that they were Khorne worshippers so she could only imagine the suffering and the degradation that Melescions lover had faced at their hands.

It explained a hell of a lot. Eli was saying no more on the subject, she figured that he thought they must know the rest for he had only heard it second hand. All Elizabet knew was that this once highly decorated Commissar and his company of the Galtera III had been the best of their raisings. The Inquisition was never too sure what had tipped the once much-vaunted Commissar over the edge, now she knew. He had lost his true love, he had seen her defiled at the hands of the feared Bloodpact and their god and he had gone insane.

She rubbed her brow and heaved a sigh. Either way, whatever the reasons, he had come home to a world in slow decline and changed it in such a way that it was a haven for everyone and everything that wanted to duck under the Imperial radar. He didn’t want to be reminded of the fact that the emperor had let him and his people down, he didn’t want anything to do with the Imperium but he had forgotten one thing. The ore that Galtera had produced was essential to the Forge world Hardon IX.

It took a long while and the confession of a rogue trader but eventually the eyes of the Imperium were once more turning to Galtera IX. If he had let the ore continue through safely then, she reasoned that he might have been left alone. But he was no more interested in aiding the Mechenicus then the Imperium so its tithe production had failed and now he was in trouble. It might take a few years, the size of the Imperium it was understandable in some ways but not now. Since the confession of the trader who was now on his way to penal servitude in one of the many penal legions that fought in the myriad of wars that seemed to be the every day life of the Imperium, the Emperors holy arm had reached out and his servants were coming.

They would let her do her work but they were coming and when they came there would be death and destruction, there would be imperial guard, there would be marines, probably from some other chapter, maybe Deathwatch she didn’t know, a traitor was a traitor and a traitor Commissar was a rare thing indeed. Whatever way you cut it. Galtera IX was going to become an Imperial world once more and they would wish they had spoken out sooner, as soon as the Administratum got their hands on it then life would not be worth a damn, just ask Pavonis.

“I just want him dead, I don’t care that he was a hero once I just want him dead” Eli spat venomously.

Mikhail nodded “Then I will teach you how to use the shadows more then you do and you will get your wish”

The man had touched the Night Lord in a way that he had never thought possible, his courage and skill at hunting his enemies but more then that…he reminded him of himself when he was younger long before he became a son of Curze. Elizabet cocked her head to one side and a slight smile creased her face. For all the stories of the Night Lords and their viciousness in all walks of life, this one had honour; he had a semblance of what had once been noble about the legion, maybe this was fortuitous.
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A very engaging story and the redrafting seems good so far.

There are still a few minor errors (missing apostrophes, &c.); however they did not detract from my enjoyment.
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still have to go through a lot of it and obviously finish it but thanks Dave
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Six

"I am not yet finished with you daughter of Pandora.”

The man leaned over her sweat-drenched face and she had to blink several times to stop it from running into her eyes. He would have been handsome, perfect even had it not been for the soulless eyes and the perpetual aura of indifference that surrounded him. His hair was bone white how old he was she did not even want to know.

“You have tamed the entity within you I see, this will make you a valuable addition to my allies for then they will see that I am the primogenitor of chaos, that I can create a warrior so sublime and dangerous that they will give me what I want.”

He stroked her forehead, mopped her brow in an almost fatherly gesture, she would have believed it too had it not been for the fact that moments before she had seen him cut open a living Space Marine from the Mortifactors who had been his captive for months with all the skill of a surgeon. Not in the least bit concerned that the man was screaming vile oaths at him.

Not in the least bit concerned about anything humane, rather he reach his goal and this was just another stepping stone, it mattered not that he was alive, all that mattered was that he held the precious gene seed. She had taken a while to understand what he was going on about. This gene seed, he had said was what made a space marine more then human. He had glanced across at her and shook his head.

“Not for you child” he had whispered “not for a woman” Now he was sitting himself beside her and mopping the sweat from her brow. All she was to him was a guinea pig that had shown her claws. “The ones that brought you and your friends here, they wanted to see if I could create a female warrior utterly dedicated to chaos. Their own cadre of sisters of battle I believe and now, now you have tamed the beast within you and you shall lead them for you show great strength.”

He set her free and pointed to the table where a pitcher sat. She gingerly sat up and almost fell as her legs gave way from under her after so long incapacitated the next feeling that shot through her legs was like thousands of thousands pins and needles, razor sharp panicles of pain that made her want to scream out. She bit her lip hard and noticed that the white haired butcher was watching her with something akin to detached curiosity.

She wasn’t alone, it wasn’t just the butcher in the room with her, there was someone else, another woman but one who had been silent, so silent that she would not have seen her had it not been for the thing that shared her body with her telling her to look. As her eyes adjusted and she finished gulping down the cold water like some parched cactus she noticed the woman studying her. An almost seductive smile played at the edges of her mouth and touched the corners of her eyes.

“Narina is that you?” She whispered barely recognising her childhood friend.
Narina did not answer, instead she moved off the bed she was one in a cat like motion and chassed herself across the floor in a manner that was way too sexual from what Elizabet remembered. She was still groggy and barely registered the nearness of the other woman until she felt her breath tickle her neck.

“Welcome to the most perfect life ever…Elizabet, more perfect then you could ever wish”



Elizabet woke from her nightmare and sat bolt upright, breathing harshly, the feel of that breath on her neck was so real for the briefest of moments she had no idea where she was. She ran a hand through her hair and took several deep breaths

Deep breaths sister Sam’s’ voice entered her head soothing her I cannot keep the dreams away but I can aid you after.

Tell me Sam, why haven’t you tried to devour my soul she switched to her telepathic link with the demon.

The voice was silent for a long while and she didn’t think he was going to answer her but when he did she felt his own pain at his situation.

I am soul bound to you, I was a baby a true baby and I grew in you, I absorbed your memories and saw what had happened to you, had I been a little older then I would have devoured you by now but I like you

Well that’s very reassuring

You have given me a reason to live Elizabet, and not like some entity controlled by my masters will or the warp, I have no love for the fodder around here believe me on that but I have even less love for the gods of the warp, not even my own master who left me in that bastards hands.

You proved you were prepared to fight for what was yours and although you won that fight you have in a way lost too for you can never return to the world of the Imperium, I suppose we are family and we just have to do what we do to survive


Elizabet pulled a face and said nothing more, he had a point, she thought she was hard done by but she supposed he was the same, at the end of it all he was as much a part of Biles nasty little genetic experiment as she was. For a long time she had wondered what had happened to her friends. Then in time she had found out. Narina had been her best friend from childhood and they had shared everything together, both of them sharing a dream to perhaps become Arbites in service to the Emperor.

Narina had been fused with a demon of Slaanesh and had lost her fight, whoever she was before was long gone in a life of debauchery and sexual acts that would have made even a seasoned whore cringe. She had not seen her in over a century and the last time they met it had not been pleasant, the two former friends were now out to kill each other and Narina was the head of a group of women battle sisters that fought for the renegade Primarch Lorgar.

Katria had been the daughter of an Arbites officer and she had always had a hot temper, Bile had fused her with a demon of Khorne and she had willingly succumbed to the beast within. The last she heard Katria had become an avatar of blood and her mind was eternally lost in the battle lust that clouded all of the blood god fanatics.

Tannya had been sickly as a child, from what Elizabet recalled she had always been at the local hospital and her parents were over protective of her. She was the perfect choice for a demon of Nurgle to be placed inside her.

When Elizabet last saw her she had grown into a beautiful woman and that was puzzling for her but then after their battle and she had been healing from the wounds that she inflicted upon her Sam had reminded her that all the whores in the universe could be beautiful outside but riddled with disease on the inside.

Narina’s touch was sensual, and even Elizabet had been aroused by her touch when they had been in Biles lab, Katria had been a bully seeing her parents positions as Arbites as a way of getting away with whatever the hell she wanted. The perfect vessel for a demon of Khorne but Tannya, she had been a weakling but the fight she had when she was sent to retrieve an Inquisitors assistant was nothing like how she remembered her. She had seen the effects of her demonic master and she was certain that the plague she had unleashed on Prais was still moving through the communities. There were those that believed she was a trusted ally of The Herald himself. Maybe even his lover, Elizabet shuddered at that thought.

Finally there was Berola, she had been a quiet girl and there had been rumours surrounding her parentage, there were those that believed her parents had abandoned her because she was mutated. Sam had told her the truth of it, as she had lain recovering from her own battle to control her own soul. She had been the daughter of a Librarian, a space marine no less, which had surprised her she didn’t think they did things like that. Berola had been given a warp gift; she was a psyker and in Biles eyes the perfect incubation for a demon of Tztcheench himself.

She had not seen her since the Thousand Sons came to claim her for their own and she did not want to even think about what she looked like now. The boys that had been captured were given to the Word Bearers, Black Legion, Emperors Children and Night Lords respectively. She shrugged the thoughts from her mind and getting up crossed to the small washroom that was in her place of residence.

She had moved Eli here, it would not be safe for him much longer, and it would not take long for someone to find his hiding place. The Night Lord stood by the boarded windows; he had been there all night and would remain there until they moved. He was like a silent sentinel and he had taken an interest in the boy although for what reason she had no idea, the Night Lords were not known for their empathy to humans. She washed her hands and splashed cold water on her face then made herself some caffeine.

She glanced at the sleeping youth. The Night Lord had worked him hard all night, teaching him and guiding him away from the populace and had stalled any arguments from the youth. He was making sure that Eli was going to be able to look after himself before, during and after his own personal crusade. She had met Vincenze in the evening to be told that the Governor had hired his own bounty hunters and that her services were no longer required and had been paid off. She didn’t even care about the revelation and had left him sitting there with not a thought for what was to come.

Truth be told she was quite happy about the turn of events, she was always happy when it came to things like this, it meant she got to fight for the underdog,

“How long have you had the demon inside you?” Trueze turned his head and looked at her. Elizabet showed no surprise in truth she was waiting for him to ask that, she sipped some coffee and lit an I-ho stick, without his helm on he was actually a handsome man.

He was pale skinned like all natives of the long gone world of Nostramo and his dark hair was like a Ravens sheen, his eyes were black like the pits of darkness but he was still a handsome man, stepping around the fact he was a traitor and a killer of the Imperiums many men and women.

“Longer then I care to mention” She replied.

Mikhail looked back to his view outside the window then deciding that it was safe to leave his post he moved to the table and sat across from her. “You work for the Inquisition and yet they have not killed you?”

“Because they don’t know who I am” She retorted “I am just a voice on a Vox cast”

“So what happened to you?” He was genuinely curious, he and Eli had returned across the rooftops to see her despatch one of the Enforcers who thought his luck would be in.

“You first” She retorted.

“What?” She had wrong footed him; he was not expecting her to do that. She was not afraid of him, she was not the least bit cowed by him and that intrigued him, there were not many humans to his knowledge that did not bow and cower when a Night Lord sat across from them.

“Well Night Lords can operate Solo, I have seen them do that but usually where there is one there is always a pack lurking somewhere around, so what’s your story son of Curze?”

He regarded her for a moment or two almost as if he was weighting his options and for reasons that he could not begin to fathom he found that he could, if he really wanted to, trust her. “I am in exile from my brothers, I do not believe their way is he right way and I was exiled for it.”

“Really just like that?”

“You sound surprised”

”I am, the traitor marines aren’t known for their mercy really are they?”

“Neither are the so called loyalists” He shot back “traitor is a loose term, we – I fight for what I believe in but what I believe in is not what my former brothers believe in”

“And what do you believe in?”

He met her gaze and despite his soulless eyes she thought for the briefest of moments she saw a flicker of something there, emotion maybe, zeal, she didn’t know, she couldn’t put her finger on it. He shifted his bulk for a moment, the ancient power armour whirring almost silently to adjust with his movement.

“On Nostramo we believed that a soul of a good warrior killed in battle would return. I believe that my master has been reborn and that I am to find him. He told me as such ten thousand of your years ago although for me it has only been 300 years or so”

Elizabet arched an eyebrow but she did not mock him, after all, how could she even ridicule something he believed in and from what she had read on the Night Haunter anything was possible. Besides with all the weird and wonderful shit she had seen over the last 500 years who was she to say what he believed was not true.

She lit another I-ho stick and met his gaze “I take it your brothers do not believe in your crusade”

”You take it right. There were those of us that the Primarch confided different things in, he asked me never to forget him and to find him I believe he is reborn, my dreams tell me as such” Mikhail looked at her “What’s your story, I have never met a possessed who has a symbiotic relationship with their um host”

“He is not my host” Elizabet snarled then calmed her self “He was put inside me by Fabius Bile after the Word Bearers destroyed my world and took me and others as slaves. We came to an agreement when he realised he wasn’t having my soul for baby chowder and I wasn’t going to get him out”

“Did the others that were taken fight like you?”

She shook her head “They succumbed Bile said I was special”

“For what exactly and anything that bastard says is never without consequence”

”Don’t know, never gave him the chance to find out either, Sam helped me escape and eventually I learnt the fate of my world and now I work with two others who also have their own reasons for staying beyond the radar”

“Sam?”

“That’s my cohabiters name, or at least how I can pronounce it. I couldn’t pronounce his demon name so I won’t try. We have an amicable arrangement and it works.” She looked at the sleeping Eli and changed the subject “How do I tell him that his world will be turned upside down when the Inquisition get here”

Mikhail shrugged briefly and his armours servos whined a little, it was an oddly human gesture for one that, like her, was beyond humanity. “Let him have his vengeance. He is ready now and you can’t be here much longer, neither can I”

“Then why don’t you come with me” She returned her attention to him “We go all over the place, maybe, just maybe your gene sire is somewhere where we go.”

Mikhail went to say something when a commotion in the streets below caught both their attentions. Getting up he moved to the window and looked down. He saw the hunters the Governor had hired in the streets below and as Elizabet joined his side she saw Vincenze with them pointing to the building.

“That bastard followed me!” She snarled.

“Get the boy and hide him” Mikhail ordered “Let me deal with them”

She moved like liquid fire and woke Eli; she shoved him into another room and told him to stay where he was, no matter what he heard he was to remain where he was. Then she re-joined Mikhail and closing her eyes she allowed
Sam to build his energy up.

Time to play

The demon within merely laughed.
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Seven

The stairwell was briefly and intermittently lit with gaps in the boarded windows and the cracked walls. The four assassins moved with military precision. Vincenze had been suspicious when the woman did not balk at the fact she had been sacked. He had also been alerted to the fact that one of the Enforcers had been badly beaten the previous night by a woman matching her description, although the wounds on the Enforcer did not match any wounds that a mere woman could give. So he had followed her and watched as not just her but two other shadowy figures entered the building, one looked like a monster the other a mere human but it was enough for him to send word to his Lord that he had found the lair of the killer and there was more then one of them.

He could picture the gold now and the gratuity of his master. Maybe even a way off this rock where he could find somewhere a little more, low profile, so he had told the killers where she was hiding and left them too it. This was more their line of work then his. The four had been the best killers in the now traitorous Galtera III, the woman, Carina had been close to her lieutenant and had been wounded the day she went out and was killed by the Bloodpact. It had left a scar deep within her that had never healed. The other three, Hawks, Harano and Deleon had been more or less bodyguards to the then Commissar. When he wanted something done, they were the men to do it and when the time had come they had all banded together along with Carina and killed the hierarchy.

They did not stop to think that what they did was going to lead them on a path of damnation. They had long ago forsaken any belief that the Emperor loved his people. They had seen too many of their friends, lovers and family killed in the name of the Emperor. They had no desire to worship the ruinous gods, but in the same token they no longer believed that the Emperor was a divine being. So they had come home and melded into the population, coming whenever the Governor required their skills and they would always heed the call of the Governor. He had always steered them right so now they saw a chance to pay him back for his never ending loyalty to them.

His yellow bellied aide had led them here and then just melted away, it did not matter he was nothing to their master but someone who was good at figures, when he wanted something doing properly then it was best to leave it to those he knew would do the job properly.

“Whoever killed the Enforcers has done a pretty good job” Harano spoke into his Vox quietly “Maybe we should bring them into our cadre”

“Don’t be silly Garth” Hawks scalded “Whoever it is has a grudge against the boss and that will never fade, could never be sure of his or her loyalty”

“Money sure talks a lot in that department” Deleon added.

“Will you three shut up,” Carina hissed and the three men fell into silence once more. They knew better then to argue with her. She had always been the Commissars favourite; she was their defacto leader and their common sense sometimes.

She peered upwards and nodded to her self, with a series of hand signals they went completely silent and all four slipped back into their army roles and moved silently upwards.

++++

Now this was what he lived for, the hunt. The thought that he was more superior then those that dared to hunt him. He had not been surprised that the woman was determined to see this through and had not hidden with the boy. He didn’t think hiding was her thing. He had known all too well what the so-called Primogenitor of chaos was capable off. It had come as no surprise to him that Bile had used her and her childhood friends as guinea pigs in his experiments to please the traitor Legion’s. What had surprised him was that she had survived the experience with her sanity intact.

Bile was, in his opinion, typical of his legion, too arrogant and proud to believe that he was not good enough to copy the same experiments that had created the Primarchs. He had no faith in the Emperor as a leader of men anymore, but even Mikhail was not stupid enough to believe that anyone, human or superhuman could ever replicate what the Emperor had himself created.

He didn’t much like the sons of Fulgrim either, not since Fulgrim had betrayed his masters’ confidence and told his brothers about his masters’ visions, marking him out as a warlock. He felt his anger surge at the act that would send his father to damnation and a pact with the mighty Horus that would lead down the path to his own demise. He swallowed his anger and shifted his position slightly.

He was in the shadows of the ceiling, clinging to the wall with his back and his talons and if anyone saw him they would think he looked like a mighty grotesque gargoyle. His vision was in prey sight and he could see the hunters coming slowly up the stairs, standard military formation. Whoever they were they were good, dead but good never the less. He was disappointed to discover that he could sense no fear and that was what he had been hoping would be in the air. He was a Night Lord after all and fear was what drove his brothers to war; the thought that their quarry would run screaming in terror at the sight of so many midnights clad black warriors was an aphrodisiac that no one except maybe a serial killer could understand.

Trueze may not have believed in is brothers anymore but he was still a Night Lord. He still had the same emotions as his Battle Brothers even if those of his former Company were becoming more and more like the very thing their father hated and loathed with a passion. He turned his head as they came to the door and hoped the woman was ready to play her part.

++++

The four took up standard room clearing stances. Two on either side of the door and the other two beside them, not one of them thought to look up at the large shadow above them but he stayed his hand. Curious as to what the woman…what was her name? Oh yes that was it Elizabet, what Elizabet was planning. It had been her suggestion that he utilise his shadow skills and he had been more then happy to do that. The door opened and a burst of gunfire filled the room, he had expected that, gunfire to clear the room or wound whoever4 was in it and the other two would finish off.

He cocked his head as the gunfire stopped and then the scream started. He came down from the shadows and landed behind the two larger men Hawks and Deleon as silent as the wind despite the sheer bulk of his ancient armour. The scream had come from the woman as she was confronted by whatever it was that Elizabet shared her body with.

He was transfixed for a moment. Her head had changed to something resembling a dragon of myth; the eyes were like the deepest bits of hell burning with a fury that he could not even begin to understand. Two leathery wings protruded from her back and her form had changed to a mighty looking demon, her arms reached out and grabbed the woman who was by now mouthing in silent terror, he doubted it was a prayer but by the smell that was now around him he was convinced there was terror in the air and as the demon that dwelled within the woman tore the woman’s head from her shoulders with a deft flick of its wrists and then proceeded to rip her arms from her sockets he too felt the fear begin to stir him into action.

He lifted Deleon off his feet and with his other hand ripped Hawks throat open before the man had a chance to even utter a cry. Deleon put up a little bit of a struggle that ended when he crushed his windpipe with the lightest of touch. Harano turned to see the Night lord drop the corpse of his friend and he looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights, Carinas twitching corpse lay on the floor, her limbs scattered around them and her face frozen in the terror that was her last moments of life. He didn’t know which fate was worse, death by the hands of the monster of the dark behind him or the monster before him. Trueze whipped across the room and with a low swipe cut him across the abdomen then stepped back as the two halves of the body slid in opposite directions.

He raised his gaze to the demon who was seemed to smile at him. He had seen demons of the ruinous gods before but this one was different. Then he remembered, Malal was believed to be a lesser god of the warp, one that hated the others with more venom then he did humanity. Slowly, the job done the demon retreated and once again Elizabet was standing before him. He caught her as she stumbled. His instinct to kill her gone as he realised she truly did have control over the beast within.

He lifted her into his arms and lay her on the sofa then let the terror struck Eli out of the room that she had put him in. He offered no explanation, the boy had seen all he had seen and no platitudes of the divine will of the Emperor would stick in his throat too much. He was a turncoat in the eyes of the Imperium but he was not a liar, he never had been and he never would be, let the boy make his own mind up.

“There is some food over there, eat and rest” he ordered his helms Vox caster making his voice sound more menacing then he actually intended but he was not in the mood to placate the boy. “Tonight you will get your revenge” he promised and returned to the sleeping woman, thinking about what she had said to him and how it might benefit him to work in a group instead of solo.

Eli was too scared by what he had seen to disobey the warrior and seeing the bodies just made him keep his mouth shut, not that he could have opened it as he was frozen with fear inside and with this fear he did as he was told.
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Eight

Melescion raised his gaze, as Vincenze walked into the room, bowing his head and the smile on his face was evident. He had an air of confidence around him that was unlike him so Gardak was expecting good news.

“We have found the killers My Lord” He announced “Your…associates are dealing with it now as we speak”

Melescion arched an eyebrow “Are you telling me there was more then one?”

“Yes Lord there was more then one”

A lesser man then a former Commissar might have believed that but Gardak Melescion was not a lesser man and all the reports had said one killer, not two still, he supposed there could be two killers working in tandem together, it was not unheard of but still, he would rather wait for the report from Carina.
“Did you not stay to wait for them?”

Vincenze blanched a little “Not in the Horan District my lord no” he stammered.

Melescion rolled his eyes a little, the cowardice of his aide evident even now but saying that, he did not blame him. He was used to the finer things in life and the Horan district was not known for its safety even on this edge of the line world. There were more murders committed in that district then any other in the entire city.

He waved the aide out of his room and getting up crossed to his desk, a red mahogany that had cost him plenty. He opened a drawer and taking out the reports of the Enforcers for the last six months studied them. He knew how killers worked, he had seen it enough during his time as a member of the guard hell he had executed enough cowards in his days to know that Vincenze was wrong.

The murders had been committed quickly and swiftly, with no thought of being caught and that meant that the killer was confident, at ease with what they had done and had been waiting to strike. They had picked the perfect spot, a district where no one would come outside to see who was being beaten, raped or screamed. The murders themselves were not committed in the Harano District but as he studied the map and started marking the scenes of the murders he realised that whoever was killing his men and women was making their way towards him.

Vincenze had told him of the woman he had hired and he had read the report on that, more then likely this woman had been trained to kill, there was nothing remotely violent in the way that her would be assailant had died, the fact that it was an enforcer meant that his private force were getting out of control and he would have to do something about that. He discarded her as his subject, the others had been mutilated, and the woman had merely taught her attacker a lesson. He was adamant that there was only one killer. He looked up as a pale looking man in an enforcer’s uniform came rushing in.

“What is it Pelo?” He growled irritated at Pelos’ unwanted interruption of his work.

“You had better see for yourself Boss” The man stammered, “I did as you asked and followed the cadre…. I have transport waiting for you”

Melescion did not like the sound of that and the urgency in his former batman’s eyes told him that this was bad, very bad. Without another word he rose from his seat and walked out of his office with the Enforcer.

++++

The trio made their way out of the district, keeping away from any busy thoroughfares, It was mid afternoon and when Elizabet had woke up she had spoken into a vex bead then started packing her own kit ignoring the mess that both her demonic partner and the Night Lord had made. Eli cast her wary glances as they made their way out of the district but the Night Lord had seen the other enforcer enter the run down building then a few moments later run out like all the demons of the warp were after him.

They walked for a good few hours and by the time Elizabet stopped the sun had already began to set. The Night Lord turned his helmets vision to night and he saw a small vessel in the clearing before them, hidden by the thick trees from any prying eyes or scanners. There were two people waiting and looking around them every so often, one a female that looked suspiciously like an Eldar to him and the other a tall man who was busy consulting something on his wrist. It took Mikhail a moment or two to realise that it was a wrist comp and he had to wonder where he got it from, as they were pretty pricey things. They straightened as they saw her come through and stared at the two men with her.

“Got those palace plans I asked for?” Elizabet addressed the man who was now staring past the young man and straight at the Night Lord.

“Yeah I did, El…um just who the frag is that big mofo?”

“An ally” She swept passed him and into the shuttle.

“Ally what the frag?” He muttered and ran in after her “He’s a fragging Night Lord? Do you know what the Night Lords do?” there was a definite sense of urgency in Gills voice.

“They strike a planet with rapid speed and take out the defenders leaving a trail of fear in their wake” Elizabet lit an I-ho stick and sat on a large leather backed chair, her expression unchanging.

“They frakking murder people! They don’t just murder them they cut them into iddy biddy pieces or enslave them!” He screeched, “They aren’t the Imperial Fists Elizabet, they are a traitor legion!”

“I am well aware of that Gilbert,” She sternly barked using the mans full name “he helped me out and he is different”

“Oh you can tell that can you! By the throne Elizabet if the Inquisition found out that one….”

“Found out what Gil?” Elizabet cut him off angrily “If they find out that Shan is a half breed or that you are a former Chthonian descendant of the so called Widowmaker who was the only survivor of your naval vessel when the Black Legion attacked it or that I am a fragging host for a demonic child of Malal? Which one do you want to start with first?”

Gil stood there and clenched his fists a little but did not back down. “The Night Lords have no respect for humanity anymore Elizabet; they turned their back on it and serve the ruinous gods”

Mikhail removed his helmet with a hiss and stood behind Gil “Do not judge me buy the sins of my brothers human” he warned making Gil jump “I am no longer loyal to the rotting corpse you call the Emperor and a god but I am loyal to the father of my legion not to the things that some of my brothers have become.”

Gil turned round and pointed up at the Night Lord “I have seen what your brothers are capable off, I have seen the aftermath of a Night Lord attack what makes you any different to them?”

“I haven’t killed you yet” Mikhail replied and held Gils’ gaze. Gil muttered a rather unsavoury curse and throwing his hands up in the air he stomped off to the back of the shuttle. Mikhail looked at Elizabet “I do not think your friend likes me”

“Give him time Sergeant; he lost someone he cared about in a Night Lord raid on a world we were on. It’s up to you what you do I know you are solitary beings, just do whatever your blood tells you.”

The other woman sat down beside Elizabet and Mikhail watched as a now calmer Gil joined them along with Eli who was still wary around the two that had got him out of the district.

The fact that they were not scared of him made his respect for them raise a notch, with the exception of Eli the other three had not even battered an eyelid whereas anyone else would have defecated themselves and been spouting pleas for mercy.

He took a long look at the woman that sat beside Elizabet. She was an attractive woman with long dark hair, as dark as his masters and skin that was like alabaster. She looked human except for her eyes that were oval and ears that looked higher set then normal humans with slight points to her ears and her face was a little thinner then most human face. He had already worked out that she was half Eldar but he was not sure if it was the Eldar that the first company had fought the day his master was assassinated or their darker kin that seemed to battle the lord Vulkan and his sons a lot of the time. She was introduced as Shana-Rea, but he had already heard her referred as simply Shan. Her green eyes were dark, darker then any green he had ever seen.

Gil was setting up a board and Mikhail turned his attention to him Elizabet had said that he was of Chthonian ancestry and he could only think that somewhere in his families past they had originally been born on the long dead world and moved off world to colonise. His hair was a dark brown, so dark that it bordered on black. His eyes were granite grey and he had a look of a certain Lunar Wolf that he had met once, he had heard Elizabet say that he was a descendant of the family line of the Widowmaker, but he doubted that. The resemblance was too close, an uncomfortable thought settled in his stomach.

Since the heresy as the Imperium tagged it, the marines that followed Horus’s banner fell into damnation, all the loyalty and the honour as warriors that they had proudly bore was stripped away. The Sons of Fulgrim took to practising acts that they would never have done had they been about their sensibilities. He did not follow the ruinous gods but he was not ignorant of how they worked, Slaanesh the hedonistic pleasure seeking power that was the younger of the main powers and the product of the Eldars fall.

Others within the other fallen chose their allegiances whilst some like the sons of Lorgar chose to put their lot in with all the gods. He had heard of Falkus Kibres animalistic nature, more then most of his brothers in the Black Legion. It was not unusual for the fallen marines to take their violence and pleasures out on the populace of a world they were laying waste to. As he watched Gil he wondered if he was a product of such an act. Space Marines could do that if they wanted but that urge was overtaken by the battle lust that ran through them all. He kept his own council on the matter, until such a time that he had the proof and not just speculation on his minds part, but it would not go away that much he was certain of.

Gil was certainly tall for a human and well built and his temperament was what he had expected of a Chthonian, they were not known for their tolerance of things that escaped from the norm as they saw it. They were a violent people, their world had been harsh and ay weakness was either beaten out of them or they died it was that simple. Chthonia gave no second chances and in a way that was how the Lunar Wolves had worked, they did not tolerate weakness, in fact they tended to have respect for those that fought hard for what they believed in and that was best exemplified in the Mournival, the old inner circle who spoke as the different voices of the legion. They also reminded him a lot of his own people. How life was a daily struggle to not just survive the almost depleted mines but the violence that seemed to permeate the ancient homeland.

He pushed his musings and revelry to one side for the moment and pointed to a free seat for Eli to sit on and took up a place behind Elizabet. Gil cleared his throat and pulled up the plans of the palace for them all to see and with a light stick began to explain what he had found.

“The Palace itself is the standard construction for all Imperial residences; it is heavily fortified with a large wall surrounding it. Gun emplacements are at strategic positions along the wall that offer the best defence for the palace.”

“Which means a direct approach would be out of the question” Shan mused Gil nodded.

“As well as the gun emplacements which are manned twenty four seven there are bio scans under each of the arches of the four gates. The moment anyone with any suspect weaponry or cyber enhancements go under these then they are made and shot” He lit a cigar then continued “however the sewer systems go a bit further out. There is an outlet about three Kilometres from the main palace”

“How come this was not seen?” Mikhail asked.

“I think that in the old days when this world was towing the Imperial line, this would have been used as an escape route for the Governor and his aides, the clearing beyond is well hidden and big enough for an escape ship to land and go off before anyone realises.”

“Would the Governor know about it?” Elizabet asked

“He’s an intelligent man, it’s a good chance he would know about it but not think much about it, Melescion is too confident in his powerbase to think about it however I do believe that saying that he would know the exits and entrances and have them covered.” Gil admitted, “However, I still believe this route would be the best way in as it takes you right up into the main part of the palace and leaves just the main offices to deal with”

Mikhail rubbed his jaw and Gil looked up as the Night Lord moved a little closer to the screen then asked. “Do you have the plans for the sewer outlet?” Gil glanced at Elizabet who nodded briefly and he brought them up. The Night Lord ran his finger along the entire length of the outlet. “It comes out to where you said but it comes up into a storage area, and that’s the best place to come out into”

“Oh?” Elizabet asked “Why?”

“Judging by the map of the palace this is where it is least guarded, it will be a fight to get to Melescion but then he is an ex Commissar it will not be easy, this way will take you to the fourth level where his office is and whilst we deal with him you two can deal with the Enforcers that he will have there, it will make escape easy for Eli and us” He spared a brief glance at Gil and Shan

“And then make it easy for the Inquisitorial forces when they get here” Shan mused, “At least they won’t have spilt too much blood”

“And it is probably correct to assume that the Enforcers themselves are old members of the traitor guard” Gil added “The Night Lord is right, it would make sense to deal with two problems at once and I can knock out the sensors and internal feeds, place a ghost image on the screens so that they won’t see us”

“How long will it take you to do that?” Eli asked finding his voice at last.

“Once I have the schematics up, I can have it done on the move. Say three hours to find the terminals and an hour to set the timer.”

Elizabet nodded “Let’s do it. I want to be off here before the Inquisition and their allies come.”

Shan dropped her hand onto Eli’s shoulder “Don’t worry my friend, your planet shall be free of this barbarism”

Eli nodded a little too overwhelmed at the thought that his month’s of work was now coming to an end and he had help although part of him was not sure if he was making a pact with the angels or the devils.
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