Not entirely happy with this one, but sent it in anyway!
Sarban Memon slammed hard into the blood-soaked sand. His head crunched against the remains of his Lasgun sending a flash of white light behind his eyes. Instinct told him that the killing blow would soon follow.
“The whelp dies well.” Said a gruff, rasping voice. “The smell of his blood is most stimulating.”
Memon pulled himself into the foetal position and prepared for the end.
Only in death can you receive the Emperor’s judgement
The blow never came.
He dared to open an eye and saw a vision from his nightmares. Silhouetted against the rising sun was a huge Space Marine in corroded green power armour; a back-to-front ‘S’ badge stamped on his spiked shoulder guard.
Betrayers of Pain. So the rumours are true, they were here on this planet. Their presence would now tip the balance against the forces of the Imperium.
Both his tormentors, mid-rank Tanlangan Necha
Centurions, were down on bended knee with heads bowed low. Even their venerated rank and positions were of little consequence to a Champion of Chaos.
“This is the… deserter.” It hissed through a face grill shaped into a horned, fanged wolf.
“I did not desire an answer. Your actions have decided your fate already. This… thing has called for parlay and yet you purpose to make fun with it. From whence did that power come from?”.
“Apologies my Lord. It is of no rank or standing.”
“Yet it is the first one to come over. You are both relieved of your rank, you may now join the Cohorts…”
“Think carefully about your next words Quyidagi Askar
, they might be your last.”
The two Centurions, un-ceremonially reduced to followers, came to their feet and slammed their fists against their breastplates in salute.
“As you command.”
It was an eternity, the pause unbearable.
“You may stand.” The Champion’s voice oozed venom and hidden violence.
“Memon, Sarban, Sergeant…”
“You came to us. Remove the formalities or this parlay is over.”
“221st Bauerian Jaegers… my Lord.”
The Betrayers of Pain Champion was a colossus of ceramite and adamantium with hidden powers yet to be revealed. His Mk2 Power armour was a relic of a bygone age which bore the scars of a thousand battles. A glowing Warhammer hung from a sleeve across his back and an ugly, modified Bolt pistol hung lazily on his hip. Small clouds of black smoke puffed from hidden valves and sluices.
“Why did you betray your people?”. The question was direct and took Memon by surprise and he had to think quickly. Chaos Space marines were not noted for their patience and were avatars of instant violence on a grand scale.
“The siege is taking its toll on our army my Lord. Men are dying every day of starvation and depredation. The Commissar’s are harsh and unforgiving,” he dared to glance up at the Champion and saw only the wolf helm and the strange, ever-moving markings that adorned every inch of the marine’s armour. “I have lost faith in our commanders. We lost long ago. The dark forces will overcome our defences and… I want to be on the winning side. I want to live.”
The Champion cocked his head slightly, hidden eyes drilling into Memon’s soul.
“If I grant you your wish, human. I will want something in return.”
“Of course,” Memon hesitated. “I will give you what you want.”
The Champion chuckled, a deep baritone rasp that was both mocking and beguiling.
“A way in to the fortress and I will grant you protection.”
“Yes my Lord.”
The Champion held up his massive hand.
“I will have your soul.”
It had been so easy.
Memon had been given the death watch; the hour before dawn when an enemy was likely to attack and the defenders were at their lowest ebb. He had slipped through the outer wire, crossed the mine fields and the death traps and finally made contact with a traitorous outpost. It had been a risky undertaking and was statistically doomed to fail, but Memon was no ordinary Guardsman or lowly cannon-fodder. As a child he had been brought up in the Underhive and knew how to survive. He believed that the enemy fanatics would see his heritage and allow him though.
Now he was leading a Champion of Chaos with his war band and a host of mutated Followers known as the Quyidagi Askar.
He had been promised everything he desired; rank and riches, women and vittles’ and a life away from the Guard. The soul thing was a problem, but he would cross that bridge when it came to it.
Memon sensed something was wrong. He felt a deep ache within his chest and knew it was a warning. He looked up. The sky was ablaze with a thousand pin pricks of light and a pattern of flickering lightning that turned the grey clouds inside out. Bright streaks of dazzling plasma and blue stabs of immense power reached down towards their position.
He turned to the Champion and at the moment in time they both understood the gravity of the spectacle enfolding around them.
They had all gone.
“You have betrayed me.”
“I did not know…”
His brain registered the blade swinging upwards, but it did not tell him that he was dead. He never felt anything as his head was severed and his life blood erupted around him.
Then there was a sound, barely audible at first, but Memon sensed it was getting louder. Voices. No, there were screams, screams of pain and delight all at once. He was in a sea of unimaginable colour and shapes; it was beautiful but he feared it as well.
His mind was playing tricks on him.
Something brushed by his shoulder and he turned. The Champion was nowhere to be seen and all the others had gone. It had now turned dark, but Memon was in a circle of light. It felt like he was swimming. Now he felt the presence of others circling him. They were not human; they were creature’s unknown to him. A sea of creatures watching him and they were hungry.
I shall have your soul.