Here's chapter 3 everybody...plus I finished chapter 2 for your tantalising tastes. ENJOY!!
Ball and Chain
The courtyard outside of the Parsisyan barracks was full, well half-full. All of the remnants of the regiment were brought out to meet with their new brothers-in-arms. At the front were standard infantrymen and women all adorned in the same vibrant-gold robed, glass beaded uniforms. The veterans, the regiment's most experienced warriors seemed dressed for a funeral, their bodies adorned with midnight black robes concealing carapace armour and veils concealed their faces, leaving only their eyes to be seen. Behind the infantry, stood the Parsisyan Rough Riders, mounted on resplendent white stallions and mares, their hunting lances held poised to salute the new arrivals. At the top of the barracks steps stood Darayavus and company commanders of the remaining units. They had been stood out for at least half an hour. One of the senior officers, a woman, possessed of grey-streaked black hair and grey eyes barely broke the silence with a whisper.
"With respect Colonel, isn't Major Asturias a little... late?"
He simply smiled.
"I think anyone would be late, given the fact that there is plenty of debris left over from the war, I'd say their chimeras would have a slight problem getting here. Don't you think so Major Farrajani?
Another voice chimed in, this time from a younger throat.
"Unless chimeras could sprout wings and fly, then there wouldn't be problem."
The officers chuckled, Arshiphorus spoke next.
"Then the Mechanicus will certainly be oiling themselves. The Cog-humpers would probably build a shrine wherever it lands."
"Or kick up a stink about tech-heresy."
Replied Farrajani, with a smile on her prematurely aged features. The younger officer gave another response.
"They certainly are inclined to moan aren't they. By Hormuzd-Shahanshah, but I hear that is nothing compared to how much Brythains tend to complain."
Arshiphorus raised his eyebrow in intrigue.
"Really Kahravyas? Isn't that just hearsay young lieutenant?"
"This is not hearsay dear Captain. Give a Brythain a stick of incense and he will complain it smell funny. Give him a sack of gold and he will say that it is too heavy."
Farrajani shook her head.
"I doubt they are that bad. Tell me young one, how does your new position fit you?"
"It fits like I would in the arms of a lover."
"Which probably has never happened before."
Arshiphorus chimed in, a wide grin etched onto his face. Farrajani then included her own witty torments.
"Or perhaps you have; remember that new Techpriest on Vaarus Prime who wanted to show you the power of his machine spirit?"
Before Kahravyas could add a jibe of his own, Darayavus raised a gaudy painted hand, silencing the razor-sharp jokes that the officers. The sound of engines growled in the distance. The sound grew closer, slowly turning from the distant growl it was into a nearby roar; until its source came into sight. The five chimeras had green paint on them, albeit patchy; no doubt an indicator of recent repairs carried out on the vehicles. Two had Brythains sat on top them, but the others shared no such distinction, truly they had suffered from this war. The transports ground to a halt, their hatches opened to release the men inside. Two had their entire compartments emptied; the last three didn't have has many within. Immediately Darayavusrecognised Major Asturias from amongst the Brythains that emptied out of the vehicles. He turned to his officers.
"So it begins, let us go to greet them."
For Asturias, the journey from the shattered remnants of the Brythain barracks felt long, and somewhat depressing. To him it felt like being driven to the gallows, to hang from the noose. The rational part of him argued that he was just being dramatic, the animalistic part of him railed against this; it told him it may as well have been the end for him. The Major needed to sp speak to someone, anyone would do. He turned his attention to Thedras, the youngest member of the regiment.
"Tell me Private, how has your first campaign been for you?"
The young Brythain seemed dumbstruck, his bright green eyes widened in shock as he realised his superior was speaking to him. Asturias rephrased the question, snapping the youth from his nervous stupor .
"Well...erm... I confess that I was not expecting to be so...
Thedras grew silent, he reminded the Major of what it was like when he was a young Private. In sympathy, Asturias smiled slightly.
"Don't worry, I'm no Commissar! I would not have you shot for telling me your perspective on this campaign."
The boy still struggled for words. In reassurance, an older Private, Sathric, spoke on Thedras's behalf.
"Apologies Major, the lad is still a little jittery from the fight. He lost all of his friends from training."
"I think the Private can speak for himself, but see that you keep him under your wing, Emperor knows he'll need a guide."
Sathric saluted in response; the Major turned his attention back to Thedras.
"We'll speak again Private when you are ready to do so. Are we clear?"
"That's good to hear."
A voice broke from the driver's compartment.
"We've reached the Parsisyan barracks sir, it seems they've rolled out the welcoming mat."
Were it not for the scent of burning, Astuias would have welcomed the scent of fresh air in his nostrils. His eyes quickly took in the sight of the men...and women the Brythains will be fighting alongside. Surprise filled him as he realised he would be leading women and cavalry, if they were to be included under his command. He also took note of black-clad Parsisyans, he could not help but wonder if they just arrived from a funeral. Asturias then scanned the upper steps, immediately recognised Darayavus from amongst the officers; it helps to look more flamboyant than the other officers. Placing his peaked cap on his head, he ordered his men to line up. Assembling his remaining officers and walked forth. The Parsisyan officers did the same. Asturias only said one thing.
"Expect plenty of kisses...pray that it is from he women."
As they drew closer, Darayavus spread out his arms out in welcome.
"Aaahh, dear Major! I bid you welcome on this day, has your journey been eventful?"
"Thankfully no, and I bid thanks for your welcome Colonel."
"Your thanks is not warranted Asturias. Anzad Hormuzd-Shahanshah! Bring your men inside, we have prepared a feast to celebrate the joining of our regiments and our men need to be made known to each other. Go and tell them now."
As the Major turned to give his men the orders. Darayavus called after him.
"Oh and Major...I've instructed the men and women under my command not to kiss yours, don't any figuts now do we?"
When the sky falls down, The Dead sleep no more.
Can you survive as your world slowly tears itself apart?
"When life gives you lemons...BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD"