CHAPTER ONE-The Tempest Stirs
The Huge Imperial ship, Cause of Consternation, slipped silently through the ultimate black of the warp, inside the forces of the Emperor of terra waited to be unleashed upon the foes of man.
The large refectory was an open house to the warriors of the imperial guard, one of the few places that the three different regiments of humans and their allies could mix freely and as such was a cauldron of tension.
With aspects of the reformed Praetorian fifth infantry, Necromundian 12th armored division, Hyrkan 8th artillery, Mordian 11th Iron Guard infantry and the whole of the newly founded Karium 1sty heavy infantry the whole room was a swirling cauldron of testosterone and boredom.
A large group of huge men dressed in the black and purple combat fatigues of the Karium 1st were sauntering around pushing and shoving the smaller warriors at every opportunity and several of the ships crew’s security detail had already been drawn into scuffles with the muscular warriors.
The head of security had detailed in a report to the ships command deck that he felt that the lack of history and indeed combat in the name of the emperor had lead these impressive warriors to search for any opportunity to prove themselves in the eyes of the more distinguished and older regiments.
The small group of red coated warriors was slowly realizing the danger they had found themselves in and it was looking increasingly like violence was the only option left, a scrawny corporal tried one final chance at diplomacy.
“My lord surely we,” he swept his arm back taking in his fellows “are no threat to such as you?”
“That’s right you are no threat to me praetorian!” the ape like warrior laughed “but I would like to take those rations you are trying so hard to hide pass them over and we won’t hurt you,” he laughed and was joined by his fellows “too much!”
“What’s the problem here?” a new voice said and without turning the large guardsman spat out an expletive. “Now my friend that’s not polite!” The Karium turned to regard the speaker, a older man in his mid to late thirties, his hair almost totally grey slowly stood up and sauntered over, his eyes were a bright blue and sparkled with amusement as he threw his red Praetorian jacket on.
“Get lost old man im in charge here,” he flexed a massive arm “See!”
The punch came without any warning and connected flush on the huge mans chin; blood and a single tooth flew from the guardsman’s mouth even as the smaller guard drove his knee solidly into his opponents groin, as the bigger man sank to the floor his comrades stepped forward.
“Two things before you carry this on,” the man said in an almost bored tone, “One,” he tapped the stripes on his shoulder “and two!” he pointed behind them.
“Your praetorian rank means nothing to me you old man and do you honestly think I will fall for that tired old joke, we may be new to the guard but we ain’t stupid!” the lead thug growled, he felt a tap on his shoulder “can it im gonna deal with this jumped up little shit!”
“You might want to see what your friend wants.” The Praetorian said calmly booting the warrior he had felled as he tried to rise again.
A host of voices behind the little group began to chant quietly at first but now it was at a level that the aggressive guardsman could no longer ignore, he swung round to roar at the unseen singers,
“Shut…” his voice trailed off as he beheld a sea of the red coats and white helmets of the entire Praetorian regiment. Another of the large guards from Karium his voice horse whispered,
“What are they singing?”
“It’s a funeral dirge from deep within Pretoria prime hive,” the colonel said not taking his eyes off the small group of would be bullies.
“Funeral dirge?” one of the warriors spat “Who died?”
“You did!” a new voice said in a cold authoritarian tone.
Immediately the singing stopped and a hundred hands slapped to salute, the sea of red parted to reveal the pristine commissar Jeler, “Had you been a praetorian at least!”
The Karium snapped to attention as the Commissar drew up before them, a short man yet his presence filled the entire room, which was the size of an aircraft hanger, he slowly drew a ornate pistol, the color draining from the Karium guards face’s as they watched the pistol, Jeler smiled cold and unforgiving as he let the full implications of his drawing the weapon sink in, as a Commissar only he and his fellow political officers could carry arms aboard the great warship and it was simply for one purpose. The execution of the unworthy.
“This weapon was gifted to me some ten years past,” The commissar said and began to pace the line of warriors, “Gifted warriors of the Impirium by a Warmaster for as he put it, an act of extraordinary devotion to the Emperor!” he looked at the warriors faces where they had been afraid or bored or frustrated he now saw fascination in the Karium and humor in many of the red coated praetorians they of course knew the story and it was a source of great regimental pride.
“I had arrived upon the small moon, Owen II to fine the Praetorian fifth annihilated by the orc warband of Grazanuk Pek the orbital defenses lost, destroyed by a traitor it is believed, the greenskin’s had fallen upon the single guard regiment and slaughtered all they could find,” the Commissar scanned the faces of the warriors looking for one in particular yet the grey haired veteran had disappeared, “I led a guard unit into the orbital defense station and liberated the installation spilling every drop of imperial blood in that holy cause, allowing the divine space marines to land and cleanse the alien filth from that moon. Wounded and unconscious I was laid besides the only other survivor of that day, Henrik Stanz, when I awoke I was presented with this holy weapon and told to continue in my life’s work, enforcing and encouraging the Emperors will!” the last two words having being built up to were thundered across the refectory in a voice that was meant to be heard across parade grounds and battlefields.
The Commissar came to halt in front of the huge Karium guardsman, his voice dropped
“And his laws.” His hand snapped forward and the weapon discharged.
Jeler turned to face the assembled guardsman many of whom stood frozen in place by the sheer coldness of the execution, inside the man fought down the urge of sympathy for his victim outside the Commissar barked out his orders,
Guardsman Schultz Frinz wondered down the corridor towards the praetorian barracks his mind a whirl of conflicting emotion, a shout pulled him from his reverie,
“Hey Frinz,” it was his longtime friend Helmut Kranz, the guard hadn’t changed one bit from the rough hewn ganger on preatoria to the imperial guardsman before Frinz now “What the hell was that about, I mean I have heard that speech a thousand times from the Commissar it always ends with a rebuke about following the word of the Emperor not a plasma round threw the head!”
“Why do you think I did it that way guardsman?” The Commissar stepped out of an alcove and the two guardsmen felt a tinge of fear for this now foreboding and draconian figure. They snapped to attention, the man smiled “At ease, an answer if you please Guardsman Frinz”
“I,” he slowly groped for an answer then it struck him “The Karium were stepping over the line of guardsman rules regular and ships security were failing to deal with it,” the Commissar nodded and waited for the man to continue, “They were failing badly so you stepped in and made it about Imperial law but once you did that,” he trailed off
“Once I did that his fate was sealed, discipline is what makes us an army not uniforms or weapons, the Karium must learn that If they are to fight alongside the Mordian’s and indeed ourselves, we who are cited as paragons of imperial discipline!” he smiled warmly now “and besides we can’t have anyone think they can bully any Praetorians!”
“Except you sir?” the words were out before the guard had thought “I mean…”
“Just so!” Commissar Jeler laughed “Is there anything else you need to know?”
“Begging your pardon sir but who was the old fella that stepped in and decked that ape?” Frinz said trying to detract from his friend’s dangerous comment.
The Commissar’s smiled slid slowly from his face,
“That was Colonel Henrik Stanz, sole survivor of the last Praetorian Fifth, hero of Owen II and your commanding officer!”
The room was dark, to the point where the sole inhabitant could just about see the half empty bottle of firewater, his hand slipped but he finally grasped the glass and drained the contents, Henrik Stanz closed his eyes as his hand reached the second bottle.
“Their still coming!” the words had to be roared for his fellow red coats to hear above the deafening fire from the orc horde that was racing along the vast parade ground,
“Hold your fire, steady…” the sergeant said voice clam as ice “FIRE!”
The snap-crack of las gun fire drown out the screamed warcries of the massive lumbering greenskin’s and the high pitched screeches of their smaller cousins that they drove before them. Then the creatures answering fire began to reach the human line, a guardsman to his right collapsed his head bursting like a melon under the heavy ammunition the orc’s favored, again the sergeants voice boomed out
“Praetorian’s, ten steps back, FIRE!” the regimented line of humans fired again and again on instruction falling back in good order as they did, many fell but always they filled the gaps and held the line.
A Low beep caused Stanz to open his eyes the past fleeing back into the shadows of his tortured mind, slowly he reached into his pocket and drew out a small packet of pills again the low beep indicating their was someone at the door, swallowing the pills he dragged himself to is feet only to collapse again,
“Come!” he yelled clawing his way up into his chair, the door slid opened and a smartly dressed imperial adjunct entered, he coughed politely
“Colonel Stanz?” he said uncertainly straining to pierce the gloom
“That’s correct,” the colonel’s voice was steady and confident
“Warmistress Weooun DeBlaiz summons you immediately!”
“Thank you,” the man hesitated “Dismissed!” Stanz barked and the man left.
The colonel stood, all traces of his stupor vanished even as he walked to his wardrobe he gave a silent prayer of thanks for the dissipation drugs, he sighed heavily
“Lights” he said.
The cavern was now glowing with a green witch light and the power hum was audibly louder, then it was joined by the skittering sound, metal on metal, with a agility belying its size the spear wielder moved into the clear light, its skeletal metal body glinting.
Slowly it raised its spear and then smashed it down on the floor the sound echoing throughout the cavern, sibilantly another creature slipped form the shadows they stood opposite one another before the floating, snakelike creature bowed its head to the spear wielder, slowly the huge warrior moved its spear towards the doorway, the floating creature shimmered and vanished, in a few moments the doorway slid open as the silent army stirred for the first time in a millennia.
The Pirates were in a fine moon when they returned to the Socrates, no body mentioned the rebels yet all were happy with the extra booty that they had brought back.
Kaavaar stomped about clapping men on the back and throwing bottles of grog about, Torvin saw what the captain was up too straight away the squat boson was reaffirming loyalties and taking the men’s mind away from the mutinous actions they had so ruthlessly put down, the night seemed to arrive swiftly and he felt himself glad for the dark shroud to fall.
Kain slowly drew back on the iho stick the smoke from it drifted lazily towards the dark sky, he shivered slightly as a breeze stirred slightly and nervously he looked around, a blur in his vision caused him to rub his eyes when he opened them the nights was as clear as before, sighing happily he drew back on the stick again, soon they would all be in a pleasure palace on some backwater planet.
The Wraith moved past the life form, machine code transmitting back to its master deep beneath them, a body scan revealed that the smoke was slowly killing the creature, a code came back, with the knowledge that the biological creature wouldn’t live long enough for the strange sticks to kill it, the wraith moved on satisfied.
Da’Lain‘s eyes snapped open, within the instant she was up dressed in her armor she moved with purpose, her funeral rites complete she was no longer afraid, snatching up the strange flute like weapon of her race she said a silent benediction and strode to meet her destiny.
The cavern was now a hive of activity and the spear wielder strode among its minions machine code almost inaudible to a human ear buzzed between the control nodes had fired all at once awakening seventy five percent of the tomb world, it was an occurrence unheard of and the answers would lie in the temple. With a clicking of its metallic fingers five skeletal warriors raised their large glowing weapons and fell in behind their lord.
The temple was huge filling the end of the cavernous space it loomed, dwarfing the approaching warriors, as they reached the temple doors they swung open, the machine code that came from the entrance boomed in the nodes of the approaching creatures, so intense it drove them to their knees.
Understanding came with that immense voice, the surface of this most holy of places had once again been desecrated by the flesh and blood creatures, spawned by their ancient enemies, the Lord of the silent army send his will out and behind him a unit of troops stepped from their alcoves and marched in perfect unison towards the door and the surface.
It stopped as the immense voice echoed in the vaults of his mind once more, it nodded once in understanding and whirling around its tattered cloak billowed behind it as it began to prepare to begin its work, millennia interrupted, once more.
“Wake son of man!” Torvin started as he opened his eyes and stared in to the strange green eyed helmeted vision before him, starting he fumbled for his pistol, a strong yet slender hand grasped his wrist “Its me, Da’Lain, you must rouse the captain, death stalks us the silent army approaches,” suddenly she snapped her head around “By Lileath they are amongst us!” she swirled around and vanished down the corridor.
Rubbing his eyes the young human dressed and remembering the Eldar’s words he strapped on his gun belt and snatched up his rifle, he took a deep breath and started after the strange alien, pausing only to rouse Kolov he went to find the captain.
“Something’s approaching!” a pirate shouted as Kaavaar stomped past, the squat looked up and started to grumble as struggled up the stairs
“What kinda something you boot licking son of a orc!” he bellowed between labored breaths
“How am I supposed to know looks for yourself!” The squat looked at the horizon, “Just some funny colored mist is that enough to be making me climb that bloody ladder?”
“Look again; there is shapes in that mist!”
The squat squinted then gave up and reached for his looking glass, the ancient instrument that allowed him to look at things at great distance, the green mist was almost impenetrable yet sure enough their was a humanoid shape flicker then gone.
“WAKE AND RISE, WAKE AND…” the squat suddenly stopped as the air behind the lookout rippled and the wraith dropped its phased shields, horror swept the bosons face, the wraith swept its taloned claws forward,
“Wha…,” suddenly eight long, blood drenched blades burst from the pirates chest, the scream was enough to wake the entire camp, Kaavaar fell back off the barricade, watching all the time as the nightmare raised the dead body high above its head before casting it down to the ground with a dull thud. Menace clear in those glowing eyes it floated down claws raised aimed squarely at the bearded squat!
“MEAL DANNAN!” Da’Lain appeared roaring her challenge, her weapon humming then suddenly discharging it sent a hail of razor sharp disc’s stitching across the wraiths metallic chest in a shower of green sparks “move dwarf!”
Kaavaar rolled away from the hot shower, even as the wraith fell back.
“WAKE AND FIGHT!” he roared regaining his feet, yet now his warning was not needed half dressed warriors were racing to their positions, yet it was too late the gates burst open and the green mist slowly rolled in but now it was only at knee height and the horrors it concealed were revealed, Several huge skeletal warriors marched in unison green light playing beneath shiny metal skins slowly they raised their weapons and fired, green light beams swept across the complex and where they struck their targets screams rent the air.
Torvin dropped from the hatch, even as a huge pirate was struck by the enemy fire, the young human watched in horror as the green blaze engulfed the man flaying him alive, he died screaming and thrashing on the floor, another sizzling bolt smashed the bulkhead as he leapt away. He landed hard and struggled to come to his feet, dust stung his eyes as he tried to locate the attackers.
There they were, huge skeletal warriors striding in perfect unison their weapons firing those sizzling green energy blasts indiscriminately, then Kolov appeared, his huge auto cannon drowning out all other sounds.
Hope faired as the captain led the pirates from the hull of the Socrates and three of the creatures went down in quick succession the battle was nasty and as hot a battle as Torvin had ever known.
“Nasty little fight,” the captain laughed. The Eldar, Da’Lain spat her helmet lost in the battle, “What’s wrong my dear?”
“We need to leave now the battle is not over;” she took a huge breath “it’s never over!”
“They are all down you stupid bitch!” a pirate laughed waving a hand at the decimated creatures “What they gonna do put themselves back together!”
The Eldar looked weary and raised her rifle at the pirate, the man threw himself to the floor as a stream of red hot metal gushed forth, smashing into one of the half reformed creature, the humans looked on in horror as one by one the creatures started to resurrect themselves in flashes of green which light.
“Quick to the Socrates!” the captain yelled only for the wraith to reappear on the gang plank slicing through the humans as they tried to gain the ship, its claws claiming two ore victims.
“we must flee, run for your lives!” the Eldar women screamed as they started to be pushed against the ships underbelly, the crew broke and ran, behind them as implacable as the tide or a storm, the silent army marched following their prey.
The office was sparse to the point of being a cell only the desk in the centre said otherwise; the lights were so dim that only the occupants enhanced eye sight could pierce the darkness. Slowly he twisted the information crystal between his giant fingers, a small console bleeped and he reached for the confirmation button.
“Brother Captain,” the strong low voice of the captain’s long time friend seemed troubled “I have felt a disturbance in the warp; it seems to originate from the system we are heading too.”
“A disturbance?” the captain made a swift sign of protection “Chaos?”
“It feels,” the pause was slight but definitely there “Different.”
“Brother Captain,” the intercom automatically changed channel
“We are picking up a distress call from one of the planets in the Dravid system,” again a brief pause “It’s Eldar in origin!”
“Those xeno’s normally shield their transmissions,” the low voice came into the conversation “This may be connected!”
Again the intercom buzzed,
“The imperial battle barge, Cause of Consternation has dropped out of the warp my lord.” The metallic voice of the pilot resonated in the darkened room, its recipient let out an expectant breath
“Inform them that Captain Nayr Psirc, Adeptus Astartes of the Blood Swords requests entry and audience for himself and his honor guard!”
“As you wish Brother Captain,” the marine paused “and if they ask for what purpose?”
“Tell them that, is between myself and the Warmistress!”
Torvin raced through the sparse woodland always glancing over his shoulder at the green glow that followed him with insidious and implacable certainty. Suddenly a hand grabbed him and dragged him into some denser bushes, another hand clapped over his mouth stifling his building scream.
“Shhhhh,” came the captain’s confident voice “we must sneak now!”
The humans came to a halt hidden deeper into the wooded land, a quick scan showed that hardly anyone had reached the questionable safety of the make shift camp.
“We can circle around get to the Socrates and get away!” a desperate sounding pirate said
“Well we can’t fight them,” another spat sarcastically “they won’t stay dead!”
“We must…” another started until the captain stood up “I mean, what do you think captain?”
The leader of the pirates looked at each man and sighed,
“We must try for the Socrates,” he started only for the Eldar to stand “Da’Lain?”
She slowly raised her hand and squeezed the small device,
“What was that?” a pirate said wildly
A sudden ear shattering detonation threw them all to the ground, only the Eldar remained standing.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” several voices roared at once, the captain smashed a pirate down with a stunning back hand,
“Quiet you fools you will bring those monsters back down on us!” he swung round on the Eldar “if that was what I think it was you better have a good reason!!”
“These creatures must not be allowed to leave this planet,” Da’Lain whispered quietly “They would spread death and destruction like a plague across the system.”
“It’s destroyed the Socrates!” a pirate drew a long thin knife and leapt forward “you have trapped us here with those things!”
The captain stepped inside the knife thrust and head butted the man smashing him to the ground, he growled low and menacing
“You will all refrain from attacking anyone here we have enemies enough without attacking our own!” he turned to the Eldar who was now sat cross legged staring into the forest “So I take it you know of these creatures Da’Lain would you care to explain a few things for us?”
The Eldar slowly regarded each man there, before she began to speak, she told them of the old ones and their enemies the Necontry, how on the brink of defeat it was they who had turned to their unholy gods and doomed themselves to enslavement as the creatures that now pursued them, the Necron’s. She told of the Necron’s abiding hatred of all living things and their implacable advance across thousands of battlefields.
“They are undying only by sealing them away did we, the older races, gain some measure of victory, I had head rumors that they as a race had stirred but I did not think this was a tomb world or I would never have set us down upon this cursed earth,”
“Can we beat them?” Torvin said quietly
“They are indestructible, irresistible, no we cannot beat them, I have sent a beacon for my people we must try to survive as long as possible, maybe they will arrive in time to save us,” the despair in her voice spoke of little hope she looked up and her eyes widened “too late, they are here…”
The night lit up with green witch light and was rent by the sounds of terrified screams.
“Gentlemen,” the warmistress’s voice was clear and powerful, simply used to being obeyed, Henrik Stanz thought as he looked down the long table at the highest representative of the Emperor upon the Cause of Consternation.
Stanz sat at the exact opposite of the woman who was now reeling off the names and rank of the assembled officers, affording him the best view of all that sat at the meeting, he noticed that two men, Sub officers from the Karium he thought, chatted while the Warmistress spoke.
“Have you something to share?” her voice dropped several degrees, “After all you don’t even know why you’re here so I will find it enlightening to hear what you have to say.”
The two officers exchanged perplexed looks before the taller of the two nodded and stood, he sneered at the other men around the table, before turning his gaze on the impassive Warmistress,
“We were simply discussing what we felt these,” he waved a derisory hand at the other officers “ahem, men could offer you when you have the finest officer cadre in the imperial guard,” he gave her a dazzling smile “The Karium 1st!”
Henrik Stanz looked at the other officers, to there credit not a twitch showed on anyone’s faces, he was not surprised as they represented some of the most experienced and historic guard regiments in imperial history, the Warmistress however showed just a hint of a smile as she slowly rose and walked to the centre of the table opposite the two Karium.
“You believe that you know more about a mission I have not even disclosed than the entire officer cadre aboard this ship?” her smile was suddenly frozen by the cold in her voice, “I suggest you shut up listen and learn!”
The two officers sat back down both open mouthed, the large Necromundian General laughed at them both,
“Close your mouths gentlemen I don’t want to see what you had for breakfast!” He boomed.
“General!” the Warmistress said, “Enough, these Karium need guidance not goading!”
“Yes Ma’am!” the big man ripped off a parade ground standard salute
“The mission is in itself fairly simple,” Stanz watched as the Warmistress sat back down, Weooun DeBlaiz was a small women yet her presence filled the room commanding respect in nearly all the assembled officers, “We are to circle around the Dravid system checking on the minor planets and two inhabited moons before proceeding to Dravid Epos to collect the imperial tithes.”
The commander of the Iron Guard slowly raised his hand; he waited for the barley perceptible nod from their commanding officer.
“Warmistress, isn’t all this, a little heavy handed for a simple tax collection?”
Stanz had to agree three companies of guard infantry with a detachment of artillery and a tank battalion seemed overkill for anything other than a planet wide invasion force, obviously there is more to this than tithes.
“Indeed Colonel Stanz it is far more than a simple collection of ores and men!”
The Praetorian jumped not realizing he had spoken aloud, looking down the table his eyes met the full force of the Warmistress’s gaze,
“We have had no contact with Dravid Epos for nearly a decade, the farm planet of Dravid Minor has also gone silent, we are to fine out what has happened and if necessary return them to the emperor’s fold.”
The door slid open and a black clad soldier smartly entered he whispered something to the young women at the head of the table.
“Of course,” she snapped “And escort them here immediately!”
The Warmistress slowly rose
“Gentlemen, it seems that we are to be aided in this mission.”
Torvin lay on the cold slab, his shackles bit deep into his wrists and ankles, around him strange bug like creatures floated their mandibles clicking and buzzing occasionally a green spark leap from their forward legs causing pain to race through every nerved ending in the restrained human.
“TOO LONG I HAVE SLUMBERED HERE BENEATH THE SANDS!”
The voice was immense, it crushed all thought, blood started to trickle from the human’s ears, again the voice spoke
“I HAVE AVOIDED ALL THE DISASTERES THAT BEFELL OUR KIND BY THIS EXILE YET NOW I AM AWAKE, MY CHILDREN, MY LOYAL CHILDREN HAVE ALREADY FED ME YET NOW THE HUNGER BURN’S WORSE THAN EVER!”
Visions swam across the human’s consciousness, images of huge skeletal warriors in battle, at first against creatures he did not recognize, then the visions changed and they were now fighting each other, huge conflicts that swallowed up star systems, then the long retreat to this underworld haven, he thrashed upon the slab as the images came on and on, a tidal wave of history.
“YOU SHALL BE MY INSTRUMENT; YOU WILL START THE FIRE THAT SEES THE GALAXY BURN!”
“My friends,” Torvin screamed within the confines of his mind “where are my friends?”
“GONE,” the voice gloated “FEEDING MY HUNGER WITH THEIR SCREAMS,” the voice dropped “THEIR SOULS.”
“Why me?” the young human pleaded his voice echoing in the turmoil within his mind, suddenly he was plunged into another dream, he saw the skeletal beings firing huge canister like rockets to explode in several planets atmospheres, green tinged rain fell polluted from the gaseous weapons.
“MILLENIA AGO WHEN WAR RAGED BETWEEN THE C’TAN AND THE OLD ONES WE ORDERED OUR WARRIORS THE NECRON TO USE THESE WEAPONS, SOWING THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR FOES BOTH THEN AND NOW INTO THE VERY AIR THEY BREATHED, GENERATIONS HAVE PASSED YET MANY STILL CARRY THE MARK WE MADE,”
The great voice dropped to an evil whisper,
“YOU AND THOSE LIKE YOU SHALL JOIN WITH OUR CRUSADE AT YOUR MEREST TOUCH!” the voice rose once more in a triumphant roar, “ALL OTHERS SHALL DIE TO FEED MY HUNGER!”
The voice rose further as the machines whirled and burst into life, slowly the scalpel like blades descended.
“SOON YOU SHALL ARISE, REBORN AND SHALL BE PARIAH!”
The large conference room suddenly seemed all to small, Henrik Stanz had rose as soon as the heavy footfalls of the newest additions to their meeting had been heard, which is to say he had been standing for two to three minutes longer than he’s flustered companions who either rushed to stand up or remained seated in shock, only the Commander of the Mordian Iron Guard calmly rose and saluted to the two bio engineered warriors that had entered the room.
“Henrik Stanz?” the grey haired warrior looked him up and down, “You are still alive then!” his voice was low and deep much as the praetorian remembered.
“Brother-Librarian Farin I see that nothing in the galaxy has caught you yet!”
There were several gasps as the human reacted to the Marines barbed comment, as if bantering with a fellow officer in the guard.
“Welcome,” the Warmistress said interjecting herself into the conversation, “You wished to see me Lord?”
“Brother-Captain mistress, no more,” the huge man seemed almost subservient and Stanz noticed the two Karium visibly relax and wondered when one of them would try to interject themselves in this conversation, he smiled as the thought crossed his mind, and how long they would last before they felt the full force of imperial command.
“I would discuss the matter in private mistress,” he looked at the guardsmen, “They have no need to concern themselves with my matters at this moment.”
“As you wish commander,” She smiled at the guardsmen “Dismissed gentlemen.”
The humans filed out past the giant space marine’s, even the Karium seemed awed by their size and sheer presence. Stanz passed last and both marines nodded in greeting,
“Brother-Captain I would talk with Henrik if you no longer need me?”
“Of course Brother,” the giant smiled “it is good to see you alive and well Henrik!”
“Brother-Captain now?” the human looked up into the handsome yet rugged features of the marine commander “congratulations.”
The smile faded and the giant nodded.
The Warmistress watched as the guardsman and marine pysker left together, she looked then at the marine commander who returned her gaze unflinchingly,
“You know our colonel Stanz then?”
“You know full well that Henrik Stanz has a great deal of respect from our chapter Warmistress?”
She nodded, the BloodSwords had been the relief force of Astartes that had swept the ork’s from Owen II and they had found Henrik Stanz, the only survivor surrounded by greenskin dead around the planetary defense systems.
“I was at the right shoulder of Brother Farin,” he gestured the two men leaving “We were the ones who cleared the room where Henrik Stanz was found, it was only Farin’s abilities that saved the colonels life, The librarian has followed the mans career ever since.”
“You wished to talk to me about more than one guardsman though Captain, please let us continue.” She smiled gesturing the seat’s, it slipped slightly when she realized the giant would have been hard pressed to use one even without his bulky power armor.
“Thank you Warmistress but I prefer to stand,” the marine said only a slight upturn at the very end of his lips betraying his amusement, “I would know your intentions in this sector and I have orders of my own and do not wish to be at conflict with our allies.”
“Simple we are here to investigate the sectors silence and if necessary return its worlds to the Imperium.”
“Good,” the marine nodded “This only aids my own mission. Thank you Warmistress.”
“May I know what the Astartes interest in this sector is?” She could not disguise her feelings at the way the marine has run rough shod across her command. “Who sent you for an example, after all it is well known I have my critics back on holy terra.”
The Captain slowly raised an eyebrow and leant forward,
“Warmistress, the Astartes do not play at politics and are no cats paws for any bureaucrat of terra, we are a weapon we are pointed at an enemy and that enemy dies.”
“Then you believe there is an enemy in this system?” she said intently
“Indeed,” he growled realizing he had said more than he had intended “And that enemy will die.”
“Their can be no doubt Farseer.” The musical voice said over the communicator
“Then the creature did hide upon this planet,” the Eldar commander mused aloud “They were chased to this sector and disappeared but why now do they return and how did an Eldar renegade discover them?”
“What are your orders my lord?”
“Cloak the ship we must investigate this threat,” he paused and with a prayer he pressed a small symbol on the desk, a cold voice answered the transmission
“Prepare your exarches and give prayer to Kaela Mensha Khaine.”
“As you command.”
Farseer Ka’Mor Tarim looked out of the port window and started his prayers, the death of which he dreamed was approaching but who would die…
Henrik Stanz watched with faint amusement as the giant librarian lowered himself into the seat designed for a man a third of his size, the man looked at the human and glowered.
Stanz jumped as a electric shock passed through him, He grimaced and then started to laugh,
“I see you still haven’t learnt how to laugh at yourself?”
“Be grateful I like you Henrik that shock can be magnified to flay the skins from your bones!” suddenly the genetically enhanced warrior burst into booming laughter.
“So my friend what brings you to this fly spec cluster?”
The big marine waved a huge finger at the human.
“Henrik I cannot discuss our mission,” he smiled again “But you know that.”
“Indeed, as you know, I had to ask as that young harridan upstairs will summon me and try to squeeze me for any information of your intentions!”
“Then it is well for you that the captain instructed me to provide you with some things that he cannot come straight out and tell your Warmistress.”
The librarian had suddenly turned serious; Stanz picked up on the change of tone immediately as always he felt a strange kinship with the Astartes.
“There are disturbances in the warp Henrik and we have traced them to this system,” he paused for the enormity of this statement to sink in before continuing “many things, pieces of a puzzle if you like, do not fit.”
“You believe there is a threat of the chaos powers here?”
“As I said, these feelings are strange it could be that the dark ones are stirring then again we picked up a distress signal just before we slowed to join your vessel,” the marine pysker paused “it was Eldar in origin.”
“No mention of this in the staff meetings Brother Farin, then again I feel that our Warmistress enjoys springing surprises she has only just revealed our mission here!”
The Space marine nodded slowly before easing himself back out of the chair, it was mangled beyond repair.
“You must carry on with that mission this system is a vital part of the Impirium operations in this sector, with a hive world and a farm planet nearby this is a fertile ground for both us,” he turned to leave striding for the door “and them…”