1092 words (including title)
Kenall hadn't lost his smile. He was always happy, filled with the joy of raising a family. And, perhaps, a hint of pride, for the brother who had risen so high. The brother, who was too late to save him. I turned from the coffin, brushing past the mourners who stayed a traditional ten paces away. One of them, dressed from head to toe in black, raised a beseeching arm towards me. I hesitated, my eyes flickering to her.
"Please," she rasped. "Stay."
As I continued to dither, the woman rested her fingers on my right gauntlet.
"He would want you to stay."
Fury rose up in me. I jerked my hand away, my will solidifying as I made my choice.
"He doesn't want anything," I said, teeth clenched. "He will never want anything again."
I left our mother there, crying. When I reached my team, I ignored their concerned expressions and focused on the Administratum adept who had joined my force when I first became an Inquisitor.
"Where is he?"
The adept glanced at his datapad. "The Arbites have found the man who smuggled our target on and off the planet. He is a minor noble from Hive Ferrous, who seems to have had a grudge against your brother for some perceived slight. From the looks of the evidence gathered from his residence, he was amply rewarded. He-he wouldn't say where Gordax went."
I nodded, heading towards my shuttle. "Where are they keeping him?"
With a scream like the death of a star, the Vigilant
tore its way into the warp, heading for the location I had ripped from the nobles mind. He had resisted, true. But not when I injected him with the substance found in a sealed container buried in his yard. I'd extracted the information mere seconds before the daemon-virus painted the cell with his insides. The last thing I did was collect the parchment held in a stasis field before me from the evidence locker.
I heard the doors hiss open as my interrogator strode in. Her mouth was pinched, as if she had an unpleasant taste in her mouth.
"What was that down there," she snapped. "We could have broken him without..." she cut off, grimacing.
I looked down at her. "Gordax would have gotten away. We didn't have enough time to wait."
I saw her steel herself. "My lord, I know you blame yourself for your brother's death. We were the ones who chased him to your home world. But you can't let that-"
"Enough," I said. My tone hit her like a slap, silencing whatever she was about to say next. "While you are my interrogator, you will do as I say. I appreciate your concerns, and they are noted. However, that does not
you can question my commands. Is that understood?" With a jerk, she nodded her head. "Good. You are dismissed."
She turned, fury and embarrassment rolling off her in waves. As she stalked away, the door hissed shut behind her.
I thought I should feel something at my treatment of her. Shame, perhaps. But I felt nothing. The void in my soul wouldn't be filled by anything . Not once I completed my work. With a sigh, I opened the drawer next to me, withdrew a mirror and a rune-marked blade, and set to work.
Shouting. Beta squad were caught in a crossfire, cultists up amongst the gargoyles and grotesques pinning them with las- and solid-shot. Gamma was already dead, slain when the same daemon-virus I had used on the noble was released into the air around them. Their screams lingered in my ears. Alpha was the only one still moving forward. We still had an objective to complete.
I had known he would set a trap. It wasn't in his nature to run and hide. We would expect it, but the one factor that he was relying on to make it work was my hatred for him. He knew the way hate could slip through your defences and make you nothing more than a pawn to fulfil its desires. And he was entirely correct. It would have made me risk everything to get at him. Except, he made a mistake. He knew how my mind worked, and he knew what I should do when I finally tracked him down. But he hadn't figured for the parchment. He couldn't have; when we found it he was already off-planet. He couldn't know that when I made the preparations for the assault on his position, I was feeling nothing at all.
The door blew inwards, peppering the cultists inside. My team swept the remaining enemies with hellguns, blasting most of them off their feet in the first volley. The rest offered little resistance, and were quickly dispatched.
I looked around the courtyard, meeting the eyes of my Interrogator. She was still angry at me, but she was hiding it with remarkable skill. She wanted to be an Inquisitor with every fibre of her being.
"We need to move sir," she said, scanning the surrounding area with a practised eye. "This place is too exposed."
I shook my head. " We will stay. This is where I will fight him." I studied her one last time. If I had been able, I would have felt sorry for her. She would have made a fine Inquisitor. I saw her frown, and open her mouth to phrase another question.
With a click, the grenades triggered, releasing a mixture of shards and scorching flames into the courtyard. What was left of my team died instantly, leaving only blackened remains. I barely held on, the force inside me keeping me alive for just a few more moments. All at once, it stopped. I was alone in the courtyard.
Gordax stalked into the killing ground, his followers staying just behind. He saw me and smiled, a terrible expression. "What do you think of me now, o mighty one? I have slipped through your fingers, murdered your brother, and now everyone who joined you is dead. And your soul will go straight to my master." As he spoke, he drew a jagged athame from his belt, and advanced on me.
I didn't reply. Instead, I released the bonds in my mind that I had held since I had completed the sigils on my flesh, and let the daemon inside take control. The last thing I saw was Gordax and his men collapsing in on themselves, before the absence inside swallowed everything.
My first HOES entry!
Please tell me if the plot doesn't make sense, I tried to imply a lot of stuff but I may have gone overboard.