The rise of the Ebon Hawk Part 4.
Days were becoming weeks, weeks were becoming months, then years.
But almost everyday, he was sent to the apothecarium, as Keeper-of-tomorrow was checking on his implantation process. Little Killer had been the last to be fully implanted, because his body needed twice as time as the other to adapt, but once the implant took, they seemed to do it with the certainty of the adamant.
At each new implant, he had almost died. When he passed his time lying, waiting for his body to recover from the change, he had learned to read, to calculate, to do some mathematics, and after that, he had learned to swim, in order to fully recover his mobility.
Except for Keeper-of-tomùorrow and Watcher-of-the-Path, he crossed the path of very few other members of the Ebon Hawks, but each time, it was an exhilirating experience, like he meeted his living goal, his future self, armored in huge Astartes powered armor, adorned in this black and white livery and feathers. When looked at it, the head of the black hawk on their armor shoulders that seemed to gaze upon him like some spiritual judge and protector.
But as often as they could, they came in the neophyte forum of the ship, listening at the words of Watcher-of-the-Path reciting the many tales of the Chapter's ethos and history : how the chapter was crusading in the void, striking from the depth of the night sky to fall over Xenos and heretics since the forgotten times of his foundation, Warring against the Ktorr, giving death of the heretic of Dust...
"We are Ebon, for our domain is the eternal night, we are Hawks, as we are the sharps eyes of the emperor and our claws are keens, so we can bring down the ennemies of mankind, ours souls fly with the gift of those two wings : honor and justice.
But most of all, he had learned to endure.
His body was gaining power and durability, his mind, sharpness and clarity. He was growing ever more massive each week, his voice becoming thicker and deeper.
He learned to know more about the other neophytes. Sadness-in-the-eye, Strike-in-the-Back, Burning Runner. They had all been given those curious nicknames, and had almost given up their ancient names.
Living in the huge vessel, almost never seeing the outdoor, it was like living in a closed city tough it bothered him none as it was nothing really different from his already half-forgotten life into the Hiveworld. In fact, he felt quite homely, time just seem meaningless, almost endless, and only his growth truly indicated his passing.
That, and the bedroom that were emptying, little-by-little.
One of the neophyte named Laugh-at-death, made the grim habit of making wagers on their survival chance, until hs oolithic kidney failed and he died on the table, poisoned by his own body fluids.
Little Killer could relate at his brother, as he watched him lying on the table, while his skin had turned in an sickly unnatural yellow color.
"Hey, you remember the dices I've won from this game with the serf ?
" Said the dying neophyte between two painful coughs.
Little Killer nodded silently.
"You just won them!
" Said Laugh-At-Death, shrugging before finally collapsing, a black trail of black blood flooding from his blue smiling lips.
In this moment, Little Killer knew he knew no fear, but wasn't immune to grieve. Later that day, he took the dice, but never used them, as he never really believed in luck.
Some others neophyte had some imbalance in their hormonal state, or at least, that was Keeper-of- tomorrow said. And all in all, Little Killer was inclined to believe him, as he had to restrain Cold Fist as he was taken in an unrestrained omicidal rage that seem to came out of nowhere. He later meeted him a year later, at the corner of a corridor, working on some electrical device, he didn't said anything to him because lobotomized servitor didn't have that much conversation.
And there was those who didn't really understood brotherhood. Burning Light had the bad habit of stealing things almost without acknowledging it. Maybe he was infected by corruption as Watcher-of-the-path said, who knew ? One day, he just disappeared and Little Killer never saw it again before his last trial.
Of the ten novice with whom he shared his room, four of them maked it to the end. An average rate, considering that only slighty less of the half of the hundreds boys that embarked on the barge had survived the full implantation process.
Meanwhile, he learned to kill with blade, rifle, bolter, lasgun, hands and feet, under light and heavy gravity with or without help of his brothers. He felt more and more invincible, more and more about to become what the chapter had intented to him to become...
He fought on high and low gravity, on place with rarefied or even inexistant oxygen, in full darkness or blinding light. Somehow, he suspected that those training was as much training than a way to know if their implant were working well and able to sustain pressure.
Then one night, a chapter serf with a black painted face came to the surviving neophytes room.
"Master Kayron summoned you, Little Killer.
Little Killer didn't succeed to restrain a grin, as he was no longer little and dominated the chapter serf from two full heads, but he nodded anyway solemnly. This was it. This was the last trial. He nodded to the other who give them a nod back.
"If we didn't meet again, we will meet again at the emperor'side.
" Said Sadness-in-the-eye.
"So be it
", said little Killer with a smile. "Clusmy as you are, you'll probably be first there, so keep my place warm but remember that it's mine.
"Don't count on it.
" Laughed Said Strike-in-the-Back "I need place for my books.
The Chapter's Serf guided you to the iron wall. Little Killer couldn't help but to see the names of those who had already passed away. Watcher-of-the-Path was there, standing above him on his balcony with three others chaplains and three others Senior officiers.
On the floor, their were four servitors, handing a space suit great enough for an Astartes.
Little Killer knelt before them all.
"Here's the time of your last trial, young warriors. Take this suit, as it's now time to see what message the star of the emperor have for you, then come back, if you can, as we will be waiting for you to hear what they have teached to you.
He nodded silently, as Watcher-of-the-Path hadn't losed his powerful voice, let his iniate robe and clothed the spacesuit under the impenetrable gaze of the cybered lens. Then he turned to the huge gate of the embaraction bay, and then a madness of howling alarms, they openened, revealing a night without no other end than an desolate lanscadpe of hills made of dark, blue and lifeless rocks...
Without an hesitation, he made his first step toward the outside.
And another on the soil of dead rock.
It was not untill he was beginning to climb the cliff off the hills that he turned to the spaceship, the vessel seemed so huge that it seemed to cut the reality in two. A wall of grim grey steel and adamantium, spiked by numerous towers adorned by red, blue and white light.
Then, the huge gate of adamantium closed, leaving him alone in the silence and the darkness... with only the searing red hot memory of the gaze of his waiting brothers, graved into his now adamantine spirit.