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post #31 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-13-15, 01:20 AM
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Author's note: The first section is by Unx, and everything that follows is by myself.

Chapter 3: II

Exiting the Warp was like diving into a swamp; a thick, mud filled swamp. The feeling of restraint returned to the Hyperion, as it entered real space once again, no longer free from the physical laws of the universe. Despite its wondrous, ingenious construction, the Corinthian flagship shuddered hard and it groaned over the new tear in it’s side.

Seleucus remained by the Shipmaster’s side. The entire bridge was silent, taking it all in. None of them had known what to expect, exactly, upon their arrival. There was still noise, but no voices. The officers of the bridge would be foolish not to continue with the standard procedures that ensued an ejection from the Warp, and the servitors, of course, had no choice.

Seleucus’s eyes darted over the large viewport, looking for anything of significance. His pupils scanned for threats, for explosions, for tentacle covered warships with giant maws on their prows -the stories of corruption and heresy stretched far, and he had never been sure on what to believe was possible.

One thing was for sure, they were not alone.

There were a handful of ships around them, and all but one belonged to Ryza’s investigatory fleet. The lone, Mechanicus Class Light-Cruiser reading as the Perdurable Golem, sat idling to port - appearing entirely diminutive in the distance.

After several snapped communications were made, and readings read, the Lord Militant learned all he currently could about the situation. Of his own vessels present, one of Kassar’s Dauntless-Class Cruisers, the Iron Duke, had predated them all. The ship's commanding officer, a youthful aristocrat named Merrion Wellesley, had launched preliminary scans of the system - And, much to Seleucus's annoyance, attracted the attention of the Golan System Defence.

His eyes moved to the Perdurable Golem, once more.

Three Cobra-class Destroyers, Buzzard, Shikra and Goshawk - Half of Kassar's Hawk Squadron - Had also been shot from the Warp. Shikra had suffered damage to her port-side, but was otherwise undamaged, though her Captain - A young, inexperienced woman from Cypra Mundi, was shaken. Seleucus made a mental note to convey his best regards, and promise the young lady any aid needed.

He would have done it, then and there, had it not been for the Purifying Flame.

Real-space rippled, and the vessel was birthed from the Warp, trailing unlight from her monstrous sides. Its emergence shook the Hyperion with its horrifying proximity. Even so, a rapturous applause echoed throughout the bridge, when Tiades announced that the battle-barge was approaching them, weapons spooled up. The ship outweighed, and outgunned, everything that Seleucus currently had at his disposal.

'Incoming transmission from the Purifying Flame, lord,' One of the communications officers called.

'Patch it through,' Tiades ordered, glancing across at Seleucus. 'It’s all yours, Lord Militant.'

'Are you early,' A voice sounded across the bridge like a rumbled crush of syllables. It was deep, too-deep, like the peel of artillery. 'Or are we late, again?'

An excited, uncontrollable smile gripped Seleucus, and held him still. He stood captivated in delight and awe, as if he were still a child. Then he remembered Arete, her beauty sapped, and grimaced. 'Lord Brennus,' He replied, icily. 'Welcome to Golan. If you would be so kind, come aboard, we have much to discuss.'

***

Leos Agathon shivered, despite the layers of armour and robes he wore, and cursed. The hanger bay of the Hyperion, as marbled and opulent as the rest of the ship, was damnably cold. It was unnervingly empty, save for him and twenty of his finest, in their meshed helmets and scarlet cloaks. Dropships and fighters had been cleared away - Winched into their maintenance areas by the deckhands, whilst the auxiliary servitors had been deactivated and carted away. Lord Brennus was coming aboard, the Lord Militant had told him quietly, and Agathon would be leading the escort.

The way Seleucus had said that word, Agathon reflected, was sinister. They were an honour-guard, sure as sure, in all their polished finery, but they were also - If needed - Heavy-handed minders.

'We are fugged,' Sophron, a Sergeant of some illustrious standing, remarked colourfully. He was a small man, with an iron-streaked beard and tired, sad eyes. 'I mean, hypothetically, sir.'

Agathon looked at him. 'What are you talking about?'

'This,' Sophron said, slowly. 'We aren't s'posed to be here, yet. Half the fleet's missing, the majority of our troops - The fugging Mechanicus haven't bothered to turn up to their own mess.'

'We have the Fire Lords, at least,' Agathon levelled, flexing his gloved fingers around his las-rifle, mist steaming from his mouth. He, alone, went unmasked - And regretted the decision to do so. His skin was prickling in the cold, stinging, turning red. 'Some of 'em, anyway.'

'Angels of death, a potentially hostile system, and Emperor-only-knows-why, no ships,' Sophron uttered. 'Great.'

Despite the direness of the situation, some of the Corinthians guffawed.

'Hush,' Agathon ordered, and they fell quiet. No-one was stupid enough to disobey Leos Agathon. He was, if needed, a brutal man. To get on his bad side was literal hell. 'Here it comes,' He nodded towards the hanger's void-shields, where a vessel - An Astartes gunship - Was banking towards the Hyperion. 'Form up.'

It pressed through the shields, engines whining, sending the Corinthians' robes aflutter. Agathon covered his eyes with the back of his hand, the engine-glare too bright, and turned away. When the engines quieted to a keening, and then cut out completely, Agathon looked up. The vessel was long, with a blunt, brutish prow and sleek, backswept wings. Golden chains clanged against the hull, glittering with frost, and upon them dangled all sorts of grim trophies and keepsakes - Agathon recognised the apish leer of an Ork skull, a sleek and barbed Eldar helmet, marked with a bloody hand, and disgustingly, a horned Space Marine helmet daubed with crude, flaking paint.

The access ramp lowered, with a dull clang, and the Corinthians snapped to attention.

Lord Brennus lowered himself from the ship with a clang. He was a giant, wearing his war-plate, though unarmed. His armour was filigreed and carved, inlaid with whorls of gold. His beard, long and braided, with a golden ring at the tip, swayed as he approached the Corinthians. Old eyes stared out from beneath a tattooed brow. Agathon was a brave man, but still he felt cowed by this Astartes, this High King, and took an involuntary step back.

'You are not the Lord Militant,' Lord Brennus grumbled, disapprovingly. 'My brothers told me that Corinthian hospitality is unrivalled,' He grinned, and Agathon caught the glint of gold in his mouth. Such a barbaric gesture. 'Perhaps they drunk too much of your wine.'

'A desperate time, a most unforeseen circumstance, has made pomp and ceremony impossible,' Agathon said back, quicker and more defencively than intended.

Lord Brennus smiled. 'Well said,' His tone softened, now, sweetened like honey. 'Take me to your master, boy.'

***

'I shouldn't be here,' Machanidas sneered, pacing. He was armoured and armed, his helmet tossed away in annoyance, gloved hands clasped behind his back.

Arete looked up. 'I'm glad you agree,' She said, dryly. 'I would much rather be alone.'

Machanidas ignored her. 'I am a soldier - Not an handmaiden,' His lips curled. 'If there's something amiss, I should be with my men, not here. If there's a fight, I should be fighting.'

'Why do you fight, cousin?' Arete asked and Machanidas came to an halt. 'Tell me. Why do you wear that chest-plate, carry that blade, slay your foes, o' noble warrior?'

'To protect-'

'To protect,' She interrupted, raising a hand. 'So shut up,' She sighed, long and low. 'Or Emperor help me, I will make you.'

Machanidas glared, and then shook his head, but continued to pace. Back and forth, back and forth, he went - Long, purposeful strides. Machanidas was an impatient man, a man ruled by his foul temper, and when he was like this, Arete despised his company.

He means well, she reminded herself.

Hektor's chambers were bare. There was a raised bed, messy and untouched, and a globe - Blue, beautiful Corinth. His weapons, his armour and his clothes were kept elsewhere - Where, Arete was unsure. The floor was grey stone, scuffed by a thousand boots, and once a golden Aquila had spread its wings proudly, but now it was scratched and blurred. The pious would be horrified, Arete smirked, but Hektor never did have time for prayers and sacraments.

Idly, she ran a hand through her hair, and wondered where her brother was. He was a strong man, Hektor Seleucus, as much a warrior as a politician. But, he was young and ambitious, and he wanted a name for himself. On times, he had been downright reckless. On others, he was calm and taciturn. That nature, the fierce ambition, had been inherited from their grandfather - Ageaus. In his youth, Ageaus had been wild, fathering a hundred bastards - Or so the tales went. A tour of duty with the Imperial Guard had calmed the storm, cooled the fire, and Ageaus went on to become the most influential man on Corinth. Arete did not, could not, see that fate for her brother. Sometimes, in her dreams-

Arete bit her lip and silenced the thought. Her dreams were just that - Dreams. Or so she reassured herself, half-heartedly, from her brother's bed.

'Where are your children?' Arete asked Machanidas, attempting to distract herself.

'Locked away,' Machanidas said. It sounded choked, desperate even. For all his failures, no-one could ever doubt that Machanidas adored his daughters - Twins, much like Hektor and Arete, and quite beautiful. 'Safe in my chambers. Perhaps I should have sent them to the gardens-'

'You did well, cousin,' Arete smiled. 'They are perfectly fine. And what of Aleksandrya?'

Machanidas clenched a fist. 'I am unsure, she was running errands in the mid-levels - I pray for her safety.'

Arete stood, dragging her brother's blankets with her. They rolled down the granite steps of his bed. 'And still you came here, the dutiful soldier,' She muttered. 'Machanidas, your wife may be in need of you. Round up a search party - If anyone opposes you, have them come and see me.'

'The Lord Militant-'

'Is my brother and your cousin besides,' Arete said, and for a moment she was fierce. 'Aleksandrya is one of my women, your wife, and his good-cousin. If Hektor has a problem with me wanting to assure her safety, then he's less a man than anyone believes. Now, away.'

Machanidas hesitated, and then bowed deep, whipping around in a flurry. Arete sunk onto the cold floor, placed her cheek against the stone, and closed her eyes.

How long past, she was unsure, but Arete was awoken by a gentle hand around her arm. She opened her eyes groggily, and looked up at an handsome face, dark and well defined.

'Brother,' She mumbled lazily, as Hektor hefted her up. He was armoured, a sword fastened around his hip, his sculptural chest-plate as white as snow. Long, dark hair flowed about his head, matted with sweat. 'Where have you been?'

He pursed his lips. 'The kitchen decks, there was a panic. And then rioting, when Tiades turned off nonessential systems. When the lights went dark, the brawling started - Four of my men are dead.'

Arete brushed her brother's cheek. 'Are you hurt?'

Her brother looked insulted. 'No,' He said. 'They are my subjects. They would never harm me - When I walked amongst them, they relinquished their weapons and prayed for forgiveness,' He looked around. 'Where is Machanidas? I ordered that oaf-'

Unthinkingly, Arete slapped him. 'Aleksandrya is missing, you oaf,' She bared her teeth. 'I sent him to find her.'

Hektor's jaw tightened. 'I will have her found,' He said, in a manner that Arete found uncomfortable. 'Now ready yourself. Lord Brennus is on his way.'

Arete's heart sunk. She had yet to meet the Fire Lord, but thus far her experience with them had been less than satisfactory. They had been unnerving, awkward and outright terrifying, actually. After the Council of Ryza, Hektor had taken Arete aside and told her everything in great depth. Of the Lord Brennus, he had said nothing but praise, lionising the Space Marine to her. That made her feel even worse.

The doors swung open. Brennus entered, a tower of armour and flesh, larger than Arete could have imagined. Hektor's retainer, Agathon, followed suit - But Hektor waved him away.

'Lord Militant,' He spoke. In her brother's expansive chambers, it sounded like the peal of thunder. 'I do not appreciate being delayed.'

Hektor marched towards the giant, fearless. 'There were more important matters at hand, Brennus, I assure you.'

'This is not what I had in mind,' Brennus harrumphed. He turned his attentions to Arete. 'Courtesans are an odd feature in a war council.'

'She is my sister,' Hektor sneered.

'And a beautiful sister, at that,' The Space Marine folded his arms across his chest. 'But she has no place here.'

'This is not a war council,' Her brother said, calmly. 'This is a private matter, between you and I, Fire Lord.'

Brennus arched an eyebrow. 'Speak, then.'

'Your witches,' Arete noticed her brother's hands bunch into fists. 'Confronted my sister, rendered one of my men unconscious, and scared her witless. They decried her a psyker, an abomination.'

'Again?' Brennus rolled his eyes. There was an hint of annoyance in his tone. 'I played no hand in the actions of my Librarians,' He waved a hand dismissively. 'But they were not wrong,' He sniffed deeply. 'She stinks of the warp.'

'You will check your liar's tongue, when in my presence,' Seleucus trembled. 'I am the Lord Militant of this Crusade, Space Marine.'

Brennus grunted. 'So you say,' His tone was bitter. He turned his eyes on Arete. There was an unkind quality to the stormy, grey irises. 'More impressive men have bore that title.'

'I gave your Librarians no permission to board my ship,' Hektor was chest-to-abdomen with the Fire Lord, staring up at him. Brennus seemed disinterested in the entire situation. 'And yet they interposed on my affairs.'

'The gall of them,' Brennus drawled. 'But I assure you, Lord Militant,' He smiled. 'It was not my doing. I care nothing for your affairs, and were I not bound to Ryza by debt, I would have followed in the steps of my cousins. There are more important wars to be fought.'

Hektor stepped back. He looked crestfallen, the confidence having evaporated. 'How dare you,' He roared, now. 'You insult my sister, you mock me, and worse still, you insult my war!'

'Your war?' Brennus scoffed. 'War abides no ruler, child. If you had any sense at all, you would realise that.'

Hektor, no, Arete thought. Her brother was going to ruin an alliance over her honour. He was going to damn their entire fleet. She had to do something, she had to reconcile the pair, before their argument went deeper.

'You are both fools,' She hissed. 'Lord Brennus knew nothing of his Marines, brother,' The Fire Lord stared her down. 'And your overprotectiveness is refusing to let you acknowledge that.'

'She has a tongue, then,' Brennus remarked. A smile creased his features.

'And you,' She said to the Space Marine, finding courage where before there was none. 'You belittle my brother's position, you berate him as if a boy, when he has been granted command of this Crusade. He was sworn into his position before an altar of the Emperor - Does that mean so little to you? You want to leave? Then do so,' Arete stood tall, eyes glimmering like embers beneath her long, dark lashes. 'And let it be forever known that the Fire Lords are oathbreakers.'

Brennus stepped towards her. When Hektor stood between them, Brennus pushed him to the ground with an apathetic backhand.

Arete stood her ground. Never turn from a fight, her father had once told her, on the shores of the Glittering Sea, years past. It is better to face down an enemy than be stabbed in the back.

With surprising gentleness, Brennus cupped her jaw and lifted her head. Their eyes locked, and gone was the unkindness, replaced with warmth -And if Arete wasn't mistaken, admiration.

'Few men have spoken to me like that,' He said, tenderly. 'And I have lived a long life. Seen, and done, terrible things,' Hektor was pulling himself to his feet. He grasped the hilt of his sword. 'Draw that, Lord Militant, and you lose the offending hand,' The Fire Lord's smile was chilling. 'What is your name, child?'

'Arete, Lady of the Seleucids,' She said, defiantly.

Lord Brennus let go of her. Arete rubbed her cheeks, grimacing, but continued to stare at the giant. His armour, she noticed, emanated an electrifying buzzing.

'Away from her,' Hektor growled. Brennus wheeled, slowly, and shook his head.

'No harm will come to your sister, Lord Militant, nor you - Provided you listen, and you listen carefully.'

'Speak, then, Fire Lord,' Hektor demanded. He sounded desperate, enfeebled by the mere presence of Lord Brennus. This was not the brother that Arete knew.

'I am withdrawing my forces from your jurisdiction,' Brennus said, in a tone that commanded no disrespect, and Hektor's shoulders slumped. 'We will remain in this system, as is expected of us, but from henceforth, you have no rule over me. We will partake in your councils, we will listen to your terms and requests. But do not presume to order me around, Hektor Seleucus, like a whipped cur.'

'I-'

'I did not permit you to speak,' Brennus shot him down. 'The Lady Arete is a psyker. Of no considerable power, from what I can tell, but nonetheless a danger. With her permission,' Brennus glanced over his shoulder at her. 'My Librarians will take her under their tutelage. If she remains untrained, I will be left with no other option than to storm this ship. Your crew will be slaughtered, you will be trialed for harbouring a consort of the warp, and your sister will be handed over to the Inquisition.'

Seleucus fell onto his knees, and Brennus continued.

'This I will do with an heavy heart. I like your sister a great deal more than you, Lord Militant,' Brennus admitted. 'I have no wish to lower her into the viper's pit. But I offer you this condolence - Your sister will come to no harm, she will be under the protection of my brothers,' The Space Marine pushed past her brother, placing a giant hand upon the door. 'I understand your compassion. It makes you weak, Seleucus, and weak men die young. The dead cannot protect their siblings.'

And with that, Lord Brennus was gone, his thunderous footsteps fading.

Arete went to her brother, cradled his head in her arms, and wept.

Oh, brother, you proud fool. What have you done?

Nyctophobia- Fear of the Dark Angel.

"No one ever spoke about of those two absent brothers. Their separate tragedies had seemed like aberrations. Had they, in fact, been warnings that no one had heeded?"

'Killing a man is like fucking, boy, only instead of giving life you take it. You experience the ecstasy of penetration as your warhead enters the enemy's belly and the shaft follows. You see the whites of his eyes roll inside the sockets of his helmet. You feel his knees give way beneath him and the weight of his faltering flesh draw down the point of your spear. Are you picturing this?'
'Yes, lord.'
'Is your dick hard yet?'
'No, lord.'
''What? You've got your spear in a man's guts and your dog isn't stiff? What are you, a woman?'
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post #32 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-13-15, 10:27 PM
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The argument between Hektor and Brennus is excellent, enthralling really, nice interaction between some silver tongues . Good update, as always.

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post #33 of 44 (permalink) Old 04-27-15, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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Chapter Three: III

  • Five days prior to the present day
  • Onboard the Iron Duke


Merrion Wellesly was frantic. His eyes darted, his tongue was drying faster than he could give orders. His heart was racing as he repeatedly checked his radar screens for signals. His navigator was groaning in her pit, holding her head in her hands and bobbing in a circular motion.

‘Nothing, I see nothing! Faint glimpses of ships, but,’ she exclaimed, ‘we were on a major trade route! They could be anyone!” she wailed as cables and other, more arcane devices, were pulled back and forth with her motions.

Captain Wellesly cursed out loud, losing his composure in front of his men and slamming his fist into a monitor stand on his right. The last thing he would have expected was for his ship, his ship, to not only reach Golan first, but alone. He thought it would be an easy ride, an escort mission, simply there to float next to a ferocious display of Naval force. He thought he would do little more than add to the view, yet still attain whatever honours there were to be gained from this ordeal.

He could not overcome the idea that the Iron Duke was the sole survivor of the fleet. A mere Light Cruiser, now sitting alone in an area of space that Ryza deemed potentially hostile enough to send an entire armada to. They hadn’t received a single distress call, but the whole fleet being annihilated by the Warp was ludicrous, or so he kept saying to himself. He was having his crewmen send out every type of scan into space that he had available, of both the telepathic and technological.

Just a week ago, he had been aboard the Hyperion, attending the Lord Militant’s banquet ceremony. There were several ships that had continued straight through the pass toward the Golan System, preferring not to stop. Being a full day ahead of him in that case, made it seem even less likely that he would arrive first. Or, maybe those ships had arrived first, which was even more horrifying. His mind spun with everything he had been taught about the Warp. He knew how unpredictable it was but this, well, this was just-

A short laugh burst from his mouth as his hand made an awning at his brow, shading his eyes. During the banquet, he had told his friends and allies that he believed Golan held no real threat. That it was simply Ryza’s Fabricator-General overreacting. Now that he was here alone, in the blank darkness of the void, he was too afraid to look out of the main view port in front of him. A luminescent blue and green gas giant in the distance was all he could see from here.

He felt shame, so much of it all at once. He was a Captain. He had years of training. He had years of experience. He had never been in this type of situation before, outside of simulations and descriptions from digital text. And now, now that it was actually happening, all of his years of training eluded him. He bent over in his chair, placing his face in his hands while his Bridge reported ‘still no signs of comrades’. It had been hours. Already, hours had bled by. His fingers pressed hard into his skin, forcing wrinkles.

‘Contact!’

Merrion’s head shot up out of his hands.

‘Coming at us from Golan Majoris. A Mechanicus Class Light Cruiser, reading as... the Perdurable Golem, Sir.’

‘Are their weapon’s primed? Are they hot?’ shot the Captain, hurried.

A different officer responded.

‘I can’t tell, Sir. Normally I’d say that means no, but it’s Mechanicus Class. Its capabilities are, It could- I don’t know, Sir.’

With his back still hunched, palms up in front of him, eyes wide, and mouth half open, Captain Wellesly said the calmest thing he had uttered since entering the Golan System.

‘Warm the lances, arm the torpedoes, engage the shields. We drive a Dauntless, so keep the engines ready. Our strength is our speed, not our armor. Whatever capabilities they may have, we’ll be ready to move. Hopefully we can keep them on their toes or at least outrun them, if we need to.’

---------------------------------------
  • Present day: Five days into Golan
  • Onboard the Hyperion

As the echoes of his footsteps followed him, Josif Brandt looked down at the hard-polished epidote floor with swirls of jade. The hall was so empty, it was unbearable to him. He wondered if a sea of people would make him more comfortable, or if stareing guards standing sentry would make him feel any better.

He highly doubted it.

There wasn’t just a war raging inside of him, there was a full-scale system invasion. The echoes of his boots may have sounded confident, but the feet inside were nothing short of trembling. His knees quivered, and his hands shook.

Why am I doing this? He questioned. Have I not come far enough? Do I really need to add more to my life? What, what really, could I possibly have hoped to achieve here? I was a fool to ask this favor. When I walk this hallway back, I will be nothing more than embarrassed.

He suddenly became euphoric, his look of concern gone in an instant. Ever since he entered this long hallway, it was as if he carried with him a handful of theatre masks.

It was surreal. He could not believe this was actually happening. The Lord Militant had pulled through on his promise. It meant more to Brandt than any proposal of fame and victory in war.

He still wasn’t sure what to say to her.

Yes, her. The Lady Arete.

How would he introduce himself properly; should he compliment her first? Should he play hardball? He smirked.

His heart sank. Who was he kidding? Five seconds in, after seeing his face, she would send him out, forever. Brandt had earned a great deal of respect from the Admiral, and from his Captains and colleagues. He had done so from the cockpit of a fighter craft. He could speak formally enough, or curtly enough, when it was required. But, flirtation was by no means his strong suit. Love? He had no idea.

If he ever thought he had been in love before, it all seemed so stupid now. This was top tier, he was aiming as high as he possibly could. The finest woman in the fleet. A fleet, of over thirty vessels. A fleet that nearly half of which still hadn’t shown up yet, allowing the time for this little arrangement.

The Illustrious had broke entry twenty-nine hours ago, which currently made it the only one of Kassar’s battleships to do so. The other three, and therefore the Admiral himself, were still missing.

Less than six hours had gone by after the Illustrious peeled into view, when Brandt received a message from Hektor Seleucus himself, asking about setting up a time to meet his sister within the next day. So now, here he was, on his way to see her. He had to take a shuttle over from the Illustrious to the Hyperion, after strapping into the same formal uniform he had worn at the banquet, with only a few adjustments in case she somehow noticed. He only had one formal attire, but he was sure she had countless. He had asked more than a dozen individuals for help with the directions of traversing the Corinthian, city-sized masterpiece.

Brandt thanked the Emperor for the circumstances, but felt shameful afterward. For all he knew, the Admiral hadn’t arrived yet because he was dead. He, and the rest of those missing crews, could now be nothing more than deformed bodies dripping from the wounds of their torn and rendered ships that floated like mutilated carcasses themselves in the unpredictable Warp. The ships would stay that way, at least. The people, their souls, would be stretched out and thinned; their durability tested far beyond their limits.

He took a deep breath. This particular train of thought wasn’t helping him prepare in the slightest. It had, however, gotten him to the door without once turning on his heels. His heart fluttered. The Emperor crossed his lips a few times in whisper as he imagined what she might be wearing. Travelling in the Warp for another week had surely only added to the majestic, alluring dreams of sleeping with her. The luxuriousness of it all. He had seen her, wrapped in sheen, almond colored sheets mixed with beige and gold. Her full figure, naked and perfect. Gold and bronze bed curtains, glossed and opaque, fluttered everywhere all around them while they- his knuckles knocked on the door, three times, equally measured.


------------


A white-armored guard opened the door in front of him, while his chest grew warm. The guard’s backside was wrapped neatly in a scarlet cloak, and in his other hand he held a helmet, with a swooping crest sprouting from the top. The soldier allowed him through, and even bowed his head saying, ‘Lieutenant Commander.’

The room’s backdrop was an enormous glass pane that looked out into space, letting in the soft moonlight of Golan Quintus. Large, dense curtains used to cover the pane during Warp transit were roped off to the sides. Clear water flowed down a tower of rocks that became a steady stream coursing through the room, surrounded by violet-flowered plants that brushed his sense of smell. There were a few glistening fish floating in the water, big enough to have some character, living out their calm and idle lives. The floor was cobbled stone and his eyes followed the pathway that led to a quaint round table lit by candle. Brandt expected her to be looking anywhere else but where she was, the table in front of her, her hands, the void, the scenery but no, her eyes were deadlocked onto him the moment he stepped inside the room.

Here it was, he thought, she would lift her hand up any second now, and wave him away.

Then it started to happen, her right hand came up, and then it waved, but the wave bid him to her.

He walked. His brain kept sending signals to the muscles of his legs to perform this difficult task that normally came so naturally. He reached the table and looked at her hands, now resting on the edge, and remembered he had imagined taking one of them in his own and planting a kiss upon it soft as she had the Lord Militant’s cheek.

Instead, he merely bowed his head in respect, though in truth it was more in shame.

‘Sit down, Josif.’ She said, indicating the empty chair, ‘My dear brother would like us to meet.’

Her voice was even finer than he recalled, without all the cluttering background noise from the banquet getting in the way of it. Her tone was mostly neutral, rather matter-of-fact. He took in a deep breath and he looked at her, really looked at her, this time.

Her earrings were a Corinthian take on benitoite that waltzed with ultraviolet light, bobbing delicately from her earlobes by short strands of silver and pearl. A subtle prismatic performance played out over her smooth temples and polished cheekbones from their reflected light. Her lips were a dark red that matched her dress with perfection. She had already devoured her appetizer. A few dark crumbs were all that was left to decorate her plate.

She was not shy, nor was she coy.

‘How shall I address you?’ He asked.

‘Arete, is fine.’

‘Do you always come with your brother to war?’

‘I don’t really wish to talk about Hektor right now, but I have, yes. Our parents had already cast me off in any case. He needs me more than anyone, yet he is always trying to set me up with men he meets. I am not entirely sure why, but I do know that he is a fool more than he is anything else.’

Brandt laughed quietly. ‘I would ask why you think that, but, you said you don’t wish to speak of him?’ he asked, with a genuine smile.

He wasn’t sure if she didn’t hear the question or just didn’t care to answer. She seemed to notice something, and his smile faded with the silence.

‘You’re shaking.’

‘...Pardon?’

She scooped up his hands into hers and held them firmly. He looked at her again, and could feel his face filling with heat, and a tightness around his lungs.

‘Nothing is going to happen. Just eat with me, please. Relax.’

‘I’m not sure I can, if I’m honest.’

‘Stop trying to predict the future. Just breathe. Just talk to me, about anything.’

So, he sputtered the first thing that came to mind.

‘Iron Duke.’

She didn’t catch on right away.

‘The Iron Duke,’ he said, shaking his head a bit, ‘the cruiser that arrived early. Have you heard about it?’

‘Oh,’ she said, ‘Yes, Hektor told me, but I haven’t given it much thought really.’

‘What do you think it was like being the first ship of the fleet out of the warp, all alone like that, not knowing what was coming?’

‘I’m sure it was dreadful,’ she replied, ‘I am certainly glad the Hyperion is more capable of defending itself. Hektor has spoken with the Duke’s Captain at least a few times now. It would have been easy for him to make a mistake, or open fire right away, but he did not. I am not convinced that his resolve was the reason for that, though.’

‘More emissaries have come. It looks like Golan is rather peaceful then, doesn’t it?’

She nodded her head slowly, looking down at the table now. The other reports of ship translations were coming back to him as waiters brought out the main course. It had been established that the Iron Duke had arrived roughly two days ahead of the Hyperion and Purifying Flame. When the Illustrious arrived, Commodore Nymeros and most of his group were already there as well.

Looking out of the giant window pane in the background, he could see several ships from Ryza’s fleet now. With nothing else to do, some of them were halfway concealed inside bays along the length of dockyard that orbited Golan Quintus, resupplying since they were here, or repairing minor damages from Warp transit. He quickly spotted the Cobra-class Destroyer Shikra, among them, having heard about its violent re-entry alongside the Hyperion.

The massive Omnissiah’s Glory was impossible to miss- a giant block of a ship that sat in the middle of the slowly turning view. The Princeps Majoris had just arrived early this morning, bringing his Skitarii, and his Titan engines, with him.

Further out, the other two Fire Lords vessels were also now in-system, sitting silently near their mother. Though distant, their bright oranges and yellows could not be mistaken.

‘What do you think about our Fire Lord companions?’ he asked, nodding toward their ships. ‘The banquet was the first time I have ever seen Astartes in person.’

Arete put the first bite of food into her mouth and began chewing, looking at him again rather than the window-wall. In that moment, as he stared curiously and intently out into the void, she decided that if nothing else, Brandt was at least someone she could trust.

‘I don’t like them.’

Brandt smiled, surprised.

‘Any particular reason?’

‘My opinion of them doesn’t really matter, they just make me uncomfortable, and it doesn't help that I am to receive some kind of tutelage from two of their worst ones.’

Brandt was taken aback.

What? What do you mean?’

‘They think that I’m a psyker.’ and Brandt clearly did not know what to say next, so she continued.

‘And, their ships sit so far off because Hektor had to get into a petty argument with their Chieftain. They no longer want anything to do with us, though they never truly did, anyway.’ The way she said this was almost pouty. ‘My brother’s potential war meant nothing to them, yet for some reason, they refuse to leave me be.’

‘I imagine that’s the case with most men, isn’t it?’

She smiled, and almost laughed, even.

‘Don’t worry yourself with that. Men don’t distract me, my handmaidens have seen to that. They are certainly talented enough. Besides, the only man I can afford to dedicate myself to right now is my brother, now more than ever.’

Brandt furrowed his brow, spinning his fork.

There was a pause. The air between them thickened.

‘Do not tell anyone that I might be a psyker,’ she said, serious. Her eyes pinned him to his seat. They were so beautiful, so powerful. He felt pleasure looking into them, even though he was sure what she was saying is that she would have him killed if he did.

‘When you die, do you hope it happens in one of your fighter-craft, someday, going down in a blaze of glory?’ she asked, changing the subject, and her tone. He hesitated for a moment, giving the question some thought.

‘I suppose,’ he began, ‘that I should hope it happens that way. It does seem the most likely, doesn’t it?’ he replied, but everything about him proved he wasn’t convinced.

‘Arete, most of the people I see, especially people who have been ship-bound their entire lives, they only seem skin deep, nothing to them, so shallow minded. They go about their tasks with such lifelessness. Sometimes, I almost mistake civilian crew for servitors.’

She giggled, which made him chuckle.

‘But, when I look at you, when I hear your voice, when I look into your eyes... it’s as if there’s an entire world inside of you, waiting to be discovered. I’ve never met anyone that truly made me believe that life is a miracle, until now.’

She smiled at him. ‘Seeing as I’m a psyker, I suppose it must the Warp you're seeing.’ She said, teasing, but she could tell this response disappointed him.

She rose from her seat, with a cascade of scarlet flowing down her form as her phenomenal dress realigned with her incredible figure. Her fingertips landed on his cheek, and sailed down to his chin, tilting it. Before he could come to terms with what was happening, her lips were there, meeting his for the briefest of moments. His overloaded senses thought of fluffed red roses, with beads of water still dozing on the petals, and a welcoming fire that only warmed and never harmed.

‘I wouldn’t want you to die in your fighter, Josif.’ she said in a half-whisper, and left.

-------------------------
  • Five days prior

The Perdurable Golem now sat physically linked with the Iron Duke, and Captain Wellesly waited with his hands clasped behind his lower back at his end of the catwalk. The walkway between the ships was simply an extended bridge with a Voidshield around it. Wellesly had faith in the Mechanicus’ upkeep of their technology. He wasn’t worried about the shield failing and getting sucked out into the Void. That actually sounded quite refreshing to him. He was much, much more concerned about how he was going to handle this situation.

An immeasurable amount of weight had suddenly and unexpectedly fallen upon his shoulders. It was up to him and him alone to secure the fleet’s mission to Golan. If he messed this up, and the Golaners felt the need to defend themselves, more ships could arrive one by one just as the Iron Duke had, and be shot to pieces by the waiting Golan Defense Fleet.

The Golem hadn’t attacked right away, at least. It held two of Golan’s emissaries among its crew, and he spoke to one of them over the comms briefly. Archameus Rothesay was his name. Wellesly was hardly in a position to deny them entry to his ship. It would only make it seem as if he were hiding something. The past hour was consumed by a brainstorm, which led him to the story he would use.

Without pretense, a figure, like Death robed in red, turned the dimly lit corner inside of the Golem. Eerily, it began crossing the flooring at a heart wrenching pace towards Wellesly, as if it were a ghost, sliding effortlessly over the bridge. Its face was a shadow. Fear gripped him, and he almost slammed the controls to seal the hatch but saw who must have been Rothesay appear next.

Wellesly turned his body a bit, only to discover that his second and third in command had already darted away silently. The hooded, ghost-like figure stopped before him. Again, there was no effort in this, it simply glided onto his ship and stopped, no moving knee joints or feet that he could discern. Then it turned its head left, and then right, and then forward again as if looking for something specific. It had a full servo-harness on its back, with four limbs folded inward, and mechadendrites that were, currently, peacefully at rest. Despite this, Wellesly felt the need to hold his stomach down with the weak muscles of his throat, certain he was now living his last moment.

Rothesay walked with a haughtiness that Wellesly was not used to seeing from adepts of the Mechanicus. His face was not immortalized as so many of them were. Wires snaked beneath the pale flesh of his face. His teeth were metal, and when he talked, clattered against one another. His eyes were dark round ellipses with thin, bright-orange horizontal slits. In front of the left one was a silver-rimmed monocle with lines of neon turquoise scrolling over the lens, casting a blue glare over that side of his face as data was uploaded to it somehow, from somewhere. Attached to his cranium, was a large headpiece shaped like the Papal Mitre, the symbol of the Mechanicus at its front, with wires and gadgets plunging into his temples from the sides. In his right hand was a walking staff made of a dark metal, and its top was an old cog speckled with rust spots. In the center of the cog was a hololithic, slowly spinning image of Golan. The bright blue and green gas giant hung there, lonely, as a sign of what system Archameus Rothesay represented.

‘Why did you run from us?’ he asked without hesitation.

Wellesly did not know what to say, to this.

‘I’m sorry? I-’

‘Do not play the fool with me, Captain. Before our initial communications, your ship began to turn. You even primed your weapon systems! You were going to flee from our approach. Why? What business do you attend to?’

Wellesly had to get a different matter out of the way, first.

‘May I ask who this is?’ he said with a hand up, trembling, towards the hooded figure.

‘This is my fellow emissary, Tensor Covariance RGR0. Please, remove your hood, Tensor.’ which this Tensor then did.

The face that sprouted into being was something beautiful, but handsome, its gender neutral, or rather male at some angles and more female at others. Wellesly couldn’t decide. It was pale, hairless, and had no eyebrows. It had eyes that were milky, but flickered with colour. Vat-grown. There was a vapor rising from its surface. It was slightly nauseating, and yet upon smelling it Wellesly felt the most relaxed he had been since arriving in the Golan system.

‘A pleasure to meet you, Tensor Covariance,’ Wellesly said carefully, making sure to get it right, ‘and you as well Archameus Rothesay. Forgive my lack of polite formality by turning away, as it was a bit of a shock for me to enter real-space a lone vessel.

The two emissaries did not seem to respond to his word choice of ‘shock’ like he would have expected a normal man of flesh and blood to. As always, it was next to impossible to accurately read them, anyway. They had no body language, their faces were distorted, and they probably communicated in numbers more than words.

‘You seem hesitant to speak, Captain. We were never notified of you or any other ships on their way to this system. Are you hiding something? Speak now. Speak!’ Rothesay pressed.

Tensor moved away to the side, looking down the corridor again, as if scanning it.

Wellesly threw his hands up in frustration.

‘Just… give me a minute! By the Emperor’s name-’ he trailed off, regathering himself. ‘My ship and crew are part of a much larger fleet sent from Ryza on our way to another system beyond this one. Since Golan was on the same route, Ryza’s Fabricator General instructed us to stop here along the way and check up on the mining operation here. Ryza’s command stated they have not received any communication from this system for months. However, I seem to either be the first ship to arrive, or the only one to make it out of the Warp intact and as planned. I have not yet figured out what has happened to them.’

The two emissaries looked at each other for a moment, Rothesay groaning in thought.

‘How many ships were in this fleet?’

‘Dozens, I cannot remember the exact number.’

‘I would advise you to seek memory bank enhancement. You will not have such issues, then.’ spoke Tensor Covariance RGR0 with a voice that slipped unnervingly between masculine ruggedness and silken femininity. ‘The Mechanicus knows the procedures required, bless the Omnissiah.’

‘What system was the fleet heading toward, after this one?’ asked Rothesay, further.

Wellesly knew it did not matter if he lied, so long as it kept him out of conflict, at least until more of his fleet arrived. He wondered if he was a prisoner here now; if these people would allow him to jump back into the Warp, back to Ryza.

‘Our business is in the Calixis sector, but the specifics do not concern you. I myself am privy to little of it, in fact. I am certainly not one of the fleet’s highest ranking officers.’

‘No, certainly not. You are a little man, Captain Wellesly.’

The Captain cocked his eyebrow at this.

‘Your facial movements and hormone fluctuations indicate that you are lying to me. I am an Emissary of the Mechanicus, Captain. I told you not to play fool with me. Protocol states that we must keep you here for the time being. The Golan Defense Fleet must be mustered. While speaking, our crew has detected a large incoming presence in the Warp. You have my word that we will not fire first if more of your supposed ships show up, but we will be as prepared as possible for the worst.’

Tensor Covariance RGR0 lifted the hood back over its head, concealing its face in shadow once more, before turning towards the catwalk that led back into the Golem.

‘Who leads this fleet?’ asked Rothesay, tapping his staff into the floor with finality.

‘Lord Militant Hektor Seleucus, and the ship you are waiting for, is the Hyperion.’

You can never be prepared for the unexpected



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Another excellent post, the Mechanicus emissaries are very well depicted, they definitely felt more than human. I liked the situation of the lone ship arriving before the entire fleet. That was definitely a make or break moment for the armada. Look forward to the next post!

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Thank you as always for the post Myen, we're really glad to have a consistent third party perspective helping us out.

Hopefully jumping back a few days prior to the Iron Duke's debacle wasn't confusing. I'm thinking of adding in a note about that, but, perhaps it isn't needed. I think if I read everything straight through it'd be fine.

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It was a little confusing, but I could work out what was happening. If you're worried about puzzling others, you could always a leave a Two Days Prior... at the beginning of your update or something similar.

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
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Added in those notes. Last update was two days in, now its been five. Almost forgot.

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Yeah, that clarifies things .

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
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And for my three-thousandth post, here's the next part.

Chapter Three: IV

There is an old tale, on Mundus Pyra, that is popular with the old-folk. Long ago, when the world was young, when the fields were green, the mountains still stood proudly, rather than broken and crooked, a prince ruled. His name is unimportant, forgotten, but his story goes thusly - The prince was young, ambitious and bloodthirsty. His father was peaceful, more suited to the harp than the sword, and for this, the prince hated him deeply. He planned to overthrow his father, to butcher him and reign as the one true king, but on the eve of his betrayal, terrible howls were heard from afar, growing softer and softer as their source - A hound - Grew nearer. By the time that it was upon the prince, it was utterly silent, regarding him with deep, intelligent, golden eyes.

The hound was large, with white fur that shone in the moonlight, and ears, paws and snout of a deep, deep red.

'Begone,' The prince said, and turned away, but as he did so, the hound pounced. It tore away the prince's heels, and as he lay, crying for his soldiers and sycophants, more of the hounds came to him, quiet as phantoms. They circled the prince, and it is whispered, stole his soul - Herding him to the otherworld.

Ah, boy, you wrinkle your nose - A pagan tale? That it is, pagan and ungodly, but one that we Fire Lords carry proudly - I'm sure the Emperor, could he rise, would be horrified.

An old tale, indeed.

Alas, I digress. After the injury that Caderyn gifted me, I danced with the hounds. For a week, I slumbered, as they nipped at my heels, cried for my soul, as soft as a summer breeze. I still bear the scars, here - Yes, on my throat - From the swordsman's blade. Never has Illuminos' touch left me, nor has the sound of my skin parting - A wet, unpleasant whispering. They say that Caderyn visited me daily, so consumed by guilt was he, but in later years - When I called him friend - I knew that was untrue. Caderyn was a bastard, he devoted his time to that damnable blade of his, polishing it, refining his skills. He didn't fight with Illuminos, he made art with it. It was like watching a stream, all fluidity. But Caderyn was never at peace, he was never happy with his skill. He was always improving, always seeking new ways to better himself. Truly, Caderyn was the greatest, and the worst, of us all.

Speaking of brothers lost makes me thirsty, pass another drink.

Hah - Caderyn was the biggest prig that I ever came across. He knew nothing of my waltz with death, he felt no guilt. I doubt his ability to even feel it.

When I awoke, the world was a changed place. Brennus and Seleucus had met, fallen out, and now we Fire Lords drifted away from the fleet, silent and brooding, as the Lord Militant received envoys from Golan. Our Apothecary, Idris - More of a butcher than an healer - Informed me of this, as he examined my wound. He had sewn it shut, sloppily.

'Seleucus has squandered his greatest tool,' Idris said, clenching my jaw in his fingers. They left smears of blood on my face - From where, I knew not. 'And Brennus is too proud, too proud to bow down to lesser men.'

'Then why do we remain?' I asked, and immediately felt foolish.

Idris smiled, chillingly, and stepped away from me. 'Ryza,' He sniffed - Why, the Emperor-only knows. The apothecarium stank of antiseptics, sterilizers and blood. It was always the same - I hated the place, then and now. 'We are oath-bound, brother, to their service. An old oath, coated in dust and rust, but one that must be honoured.'

I pursed my lips.

'This displeases you,' Idris licked his teeth. 'And many more, besides. We are shackled to the Mechanicus, until this system yields or is sacked - If Golan is even rebellious.'

'You have your doubts,' I realised, rubbing my neck. Idris swatted my hand away.

'Don't do that,' He glared. 'We all share your doubts, Aeron. While you slept, no blood was shed, no swords were drawn. Golan is faithful, whoever says otherwise is blind, ignorant or,' He tapped a long, tapered scalpel upon his hip. 'Lobotomised.'

I smiled. 'Am I free to go?'

Idris looked at me, with those dark, watery eyes of his, and nodded. 'I believe so, Sergeant. Your wound has healed, ah,' He turned my head, tracing his work, and smirked. 'Rather nicely.'

As I left the chambers, feet clattering on the tiled floor, I heard Idris going to work on a cadaver. I vowed never to return to the madman, and I never did.

***

Porrex and Hudibras had remained aboard the Purifying Flame, as my honour guard, when Antigonus and the remainder of Second Company had returned to the Chariot. Kaer had been appointed their leader, by Brennus himself, until I was fit to retake command.

Neither had remained at my side. Hudibras, grim and unfriendly, had spent the time alone - Polishing the haft of his axe, a monstrosity of black steel that he, himself, had forged. He called it Headsplitter - And I had seen it do just that. Porrex, on the other hand, had sought out Caderyn and challenged him, to 'regain the honour of Fourth,' Hudibras explained, with a barking laugh. I curled my lips and made a rude noise.

'That foolish boy,' I shook my head. 'Where is he?'

Hudibras shrugged, running a cloth down the haft of Headsplitter, and grunted. 'I don't know.'

I sought Porrex out. When I arrived at his allocated barrack, the door was ajar, so I let myself in. His chambers were dark, untidy and stank. Porrex himself seemed different, kneeling before his armour, his hair matted with sweat and blood.

'Sergeant,' He said. Last I had seen him, Porrex had been as handsome as a statue, with high, hollow cheekbones and a straight, long nose. Now there was a disfiguring scar - From his brow, down across his nose, twisting the corner of his mouth into an ugly grimace, before terminating at the chin. 'I failed.'

Caderyn had been deliberate, I remember thinking. He could have killed Porrex with such a blow - But, rather, had let the boy live. This was a warning. This was Caderyn regaining his status.

I placed a hand on my friend's shoulder. 'I need warriors,' I said, sternly. 'Not broken things.'

Porrex nodded understandingly. Nothing else was said between us, and I left him in the dark, but the next time I saw the Marine, he had painted his face in such a way that the scar seemed brighter, more horrific than it truly was. He took pride in it.

I stood beside heroes, boy. This is their tale as much as mine.

***

Brennus summoned me. I donned an ermine cloak, fastened a beautiful bronze short-sword to my hip - On Mundus Pyra, noblemen wore blades as sign of their status - And went to the Captain's chambers.

'Aeron,' He greeted me with an embrace, squeezing me tight, and a smile. His hair was lacquered into a single plait, running along the centre of his skull, and curling around his shoulder - Like a serpent ready to strike. There were fresh tattoos around his grey eyes. 'You are well?'

'Yes, my Lord,' I returned the smile, untangling myself from his arms. 'I will never be a great orator - But I have returned to the land of the living.'

'And I am thankful for that,' Brennus slapped a hand on his thigh, leading me into his rooms. They were smoky, with a sweet undertone of incense, and the ground was covered in shaggy pelts. For a moment, I was home on Mundus Pyra, in the halls of my ancestors. 'We would be poorer without you.'

I smiled graciously. 'Your words are kind, sire,' And, believe me, I was not lying. Brennus seldom spoke admiringly.

'Here,' He handed me a winged chalice, filled to the spilling point with a rich, ruby-coloured wine. 'From my own casks.'

I sipped the drink. It tasted vaguely like oil and blood, something that all Astartes are familiar with, and burned my throat on the way down. Beneath his beard, Brennus was smirking mockingly.

'Tastes like piss, eh?' He said, finally, and laughed. He upturned his own goblet and emptied the contents onto the floor. 'Might well have been.'

I have said it before, and undoubtedly by the end of this tale, I will say it again - Brennus was a great man. Now, people say that Antigonus was the greater of the two - They are wrong. Next to Brennus, Antigonus was a beggar. Everything Antigonus does, the way he gestures, the way that he wears his beard and hair, the way that he fights - All of it was taught by Brennus.

'I am troubled, Aeron,' He said, sitting down on a campaign stool. He gestured that I should do the same, and I sat opposite him.

'Lord?' I raised an eyebrow at him.

'I came here to fight,' He clenched his hand, and his goblet broke into a hundred pieces. A world's worth of wealth, gone, I thought. 'Seleucus sits on his throne and plays the benevolent diplomat. Four embassies of the Golan Mechanicus have went aboard his ship, four, and still he holds his forces back. They are delaying us - And Seleucus, that blind boy,' The contempt in his voice was obvious. 'Cannot see that he is throwing away precious time.'

'He was elected Lord Militant-'

Brennus snorted. 'Only to bind the Corinthians to Ryza's cause, Stormcrow. It was a political move, a masterstroke by the Fabricator-General, but nothing more. I took the time to read his service history, and he's not untalented, but this is thoughtlessness.'

'Perhaps, sire, you should present these points to the Lord Militant,' I suggested, quietly.

'No - Seleucus will stumble and fall over his mistakes, and he will learn. Aeron,' Brennus leaned closer. His voice was hoarse. 'I have a task for you.'

'I am at your service, Lord Brennus,' I bowed shallowly.

'Seleucus can have his dalliance with the Mechanicus, but that does not leave me crippled. You will be my ambassador,' He smiled broadly. 'My eyes and ears.'

'You are sending me to Seleucus?' I quizzed. He seemed amused by the notion.

'Not Seleucus, down to Golan Secundus, into the clutches of the Mechanicus.'

'Have you informed the Lord Militant of this?'

Brennus shook with laughter. 'I have not, and I will not, until I have my answers. The Fire Lords are at your disposal - Take what you need, who you need, and find the cancer at the heart of Golan.'

I nodded. 'It will be done.'

I knew who I needed.

***


Belenus came aboard several hours later, muttering and tutting, a gaggle of saggy-skinned servitors trailing in his wake. I met him in the landing bay, having donned my armour and a rich, scarlet cloak. I cradled my antlered helm in the small of my arm, my other hand hovering over the hilt of my chainsword.

'Aeron,' He said, tonelessly. 'You sought my assistance.'

'Belenus,' My greeting was as toneless, and as cold, as the Techmarine's. 'I did. I need your expertise.'

'And mine,' A voice rasped. Swathed in a dark robe, leaning heavily on his halberd, Mempricius limped down the ramp.

'And yours,' I nodded. Mempricius and Belenus shared a look.

'Why?' Belenus chirped, after a moment of wonderment.

'Because, brother,' I licked my lips. The words felt heavy on my tongue. 'We are going down to Golan.'

Nyctophobia- Fear of the Dark Angel.

"No one ever spoke about of those two absent brothers. Their separate tragedies had seemed like aberrations. Had they, in fact, been warnings that no one had heeded?"

'Killing a man is like fucking, boy, only instead of giving life you take it. You experience the ecstasy of penetration as your warhead enters the enemy's belly and the shaft follows. You see the whites of his eyes roll inside the sockets of his helmet. You feel his knees give way beneath him and the weight of his faltering flesh draw down the point of your spear. Are you picturing this?'
'Yes, lord.'
'Is your dick hard yet?'
'No, lord.'
''What? You've got your spear in a man's guts and your dog isn't stiff? What are you, a woman?'

Last edited by dark angel; 02-16-16 at 12:52 AM.
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Congrats on the three thousandth post, DA! Once again, your work continues to impress, I particularly like the parable about the Prince and the Ghost Hounds. Locrinus seems like a heavy weight addition to Aeron's party, can't wait to see what he'll unleash .

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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