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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-04-09, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Default Death Guard fiction: Incursion (updated July 17 with Part 8)

1: SIGNS AND PORTENTS





+++Tac-Logis feed (audio only)+++

LOCATION: SYRIIS VII
DATE: 582.M41

RECOVERED FROM DAMAGED SERVITOR RECORDING MODULE

TRANSCRIBED BY SAVANT EREBUS, DEPARTMENTO MUNITORUM
DATA-LIBRARY RECORD FACULTY, SEGMENTUM OBSCURUS

[Heavy weapons fire]
VOICE (i): (incoherent screaming)
[Bolter and heavy weapons fire]
[Vox source (i), positively identified as Lieutenant Sorun Karel]: What the feth?
[Lasgun fire]
[Low-pitched noises, unidentified, possibly localised demolition?]
KAREL: [Not on the floor please]!
[Heavy weapons fire, continuous]
KAREL: Keep firing!
VOICE (ii): Throne, why won’t they die?
KAREL: Keep fething firing!
[Lasgun and heavy weapons fire]
VOICE (iii): They’re right inside the fethin’ bunker!
[Vox source, unidentified, possibly Traitor]: (incoherent roaring)
VOICE (ii): What the feth are these things?
VOICE (iii): I said perimeter brea-(incoherent screaming)
[Lasgun and multiple bolter fire]
[Vox source (ii), tentatively identified as Sergeant Harol Erathen]: I’m out! Someone get me a-
[Sound of close-combat chain-weapons and organic noises]
KAREL: Harol! Motherf-
[Heavy weapons fire]
[Vox source, unidentified, possibly Traitor]: (incoherent hissing and gurgling)
VOICE (iii): Sir, we have to-
[Short burst of bolter fire]
KAREL: Feth! In the name of-
[Sustained lasgun fire]
[Organic noises]
[Vox source, unidentified, possibly Traitor]: (incoherent roaring)
[Vox source, unidentified, Traitor]: (low-pitched blasphemous intonation)
KAREL: (incoherent screaming)
[Organic noises]

+++Tac-Logis feed (audio only) ends+++



----------


A good day. Many slain for our Father, and those few we lost glorified His name in their passing. The puppets we harvested were weak and irresolute, a sure sign that this world - and possibly the whole Sector - is ripe for the taking. Morsh-Hâl in particular took a glorious toll, his blade and claw liberally covered with the weaklings’ offal by the end of the day’s combat. Quorthon informs me that, with the Lord of Decay’s favour, he managed to transform the commander of the regiment we crushed into one of his Spawn; its play among the bodies of its erstwhile comrades was apparently most amusing. Sadly I missed this, being as I was occupied with the destruction of the communications and medical facilities of the prey; we also managed to appropriate much ammunition from the rearward staging areas of the Imperials’ forces. The few we bothered to take captive will be questioned and then turned or devoured tomorrow.


----------


TRANSCRIPT OF PICT-RECORDED DOCUMENT

LOCATION: SYRIIS VII
DATE: 582.M41

RECOVERED FROM DAMAGED SERVITOR RECORDING MODULE

TRANSCRIBED BY SAVANT ARAEL, DEPARTMENTO MUNITORUM
DATA-LIBRARY RECORD FACULTY, SEGMENTUM OBSCURUS


[Pict-record white noise clears to] Overhead three-quarter perspective view of standard-pattern Munitorum loading bay. Barricades of sandbags and what appear to be overturned workbenches are arranged before the loading bay doors. Frequent irregularly-spaced noises are heard [possibly heavy weapons fire?] and dust can be seen in the air. Multiple human figures assumed to be armed Munitorum staff mingle with Guard [positively identified from uniform and camouflage patterns] troops behind the barricades.

VOICE (i): (unintelligible)
[Vox-source from internal compound command feed, unidentified]: Throne protect us! They’re- [squeal of static]

[Pict-record image dims for 2.4 seconds, accompanied by loud low-pitched noise - possibly demolitions charges? - before clearing] Loading bay becomes visible again, with noticeably more dust in the air.

[Vox-source from internal compound command feed, unidentified]: (unintelligible)
VOICE (ii): Feth!
VOICE (i): Stay at your fething posts!
[Vox-source from internal compound command feed, unidentified]: The fething Medicae’s gone…they’ve killed everyone in there, they’re all dead! Even the wounded and- [squeal of static which ends abruptly]

Three distinct, loud, metallic banging noises. The inner surface of the loading bay doors can be seen to deform slightly, roughly one and a half metres off the ground.

VOICE (iii): Sarge!
VOICE (i), positively identified as Sergeant Boras Castin: Hold your ground!
VOICE (ii): Sarge, they’re right outside th-
CASTIN: Hold your fethin’ ground!

Bright flash. Pict-record image whites out for 3 seconds and pict-source microphones correspondingly overload with distortion for 2.5 seconds. Image clears to show loading bay doors visibly damaged with a gap of approximately half a metre between them. Indistinct shapes moving behind gap in the doors.

VOICE (ii): They’re-
CASTIN: Fire at will! All men, fire at will!
VOICE (iii): (incoherent screaming)

Mass lasgun fire begins, directed at the gap in the doors. Image flickers as pict-recorder attempts to balance light levels between weapons fire and ambient room light levels. Activity behind doors ceases. Most lasgun fire ceases after 9 seconds. Image stabilises.

CASTIN: Cease fire!

Sporadic lasgun fire.

CASTIN: I said cease fething firing!

Lasgun fire ceases. Silence lasting 5.6 seconds, during which the smoke from weapons fire clears.

VOICE (ii): What are they-
CASTIN: Report!
VOICE (iii): Can’t see a thing, Sarge, we-

Loud metallic crashing as the right loading bay door is smashed off its hinges by something on the other side of the door.

VOICE (iii): Feth!
CASTIN: Fire! Fethin’ FIRE!

A heavy stubber, out of pict-source capture, is heard firing, immediately accompanied by massed lasgun fire. Large power-armoured figures emerge through the gap, accompanied by bulkier figures positively identified as wearing Tactical Dreadnought armour and at least two wearing bulky power armour of unidentified pattern. One of the figures in unidentified armour pauses long enough to tear the left loading-bay door from its mountings; height of figure estimated as being at least three metres, by comparison to standard-pattern loading bay door dimensions.

VOICE (ii): Holy fething Throne!
CASTIN: Keep firing!
VOICE (iii): Who the feth are they?
VOICE (iv), unidentified, possibly Traitor: (incoherent roaring)

The foremost of the advancing figures gestures in what appears to an encouraging wave to those behind him. Lasgun and stubber fire is continuous but appears to be ineffectual. Armoured figures positively identified as Traitor by blasphemous iconography. The leading Traitors reach the barricade closest to the door. Point-blank weapons fire is visible, and bolter fire is audible along with the sound of close-combat chain-weapons.

VOICE (iii): (incoherent screaming)
VOICE (ii): (incoherent screaming)
CASTIN: For the Emperor!

The huge Traitor that had torn off the loading bay door charges the nearest barricade, picks up an unidentified Guardsman by the neck with what appears to be a claw and eviscerates him with a vertical slice of its right hand, which is holding some sort of close-combat weapon. The claw then contracts to sever the head, leaving the head and both halves of the torso to fall to the floor separately.

CASTIN: Doran! God-Emperor, no!

To either side, slightly smaller armoured figures butcher the other Guardsmen huddled behind that barricade in a similarly emphatic and grisly manner. The leading Traitor reaches the barricade behind this and impales two Guardsmen simultaneously, with what appears to be a pair of lightning claws of unidentified pattern. The Traitors in Tactical Dreadnought armour, meanwhile, advance upon the other three barricades and slaughter all those behind them with a combination of bolter fire and close-combat chain-weapons; as this happens the lasgun fire diminishes and then halts. Heavy stubber fire continues for another 3.2 seconds while another of the Traitors in power armour of unidentified pattern charges out of pict-source capture, followed by organic noises which coincide with the cessation of all weapons fire.

VOICE (iv), unidentified, Traitor: For the Father!

The leading Traitor is now clearly visible, standing roughly six metres from the pict-source; height is estimated at 2.8 metres. One human, assumed to be Castin, slowly walks forward to the leading Traitor from just out of pict-source capture. No other Guardsmen or Munitorum staff are visibly left alive at this point. Castin raises his laspistol and aims it at the figure in front of him, firing the weapon 7 times until its charge is exhausted; the pistol fire has no visible effect on the Traitor. Castin then lowers his weapon and drops it to the floor, holding his gaze on the Traitor who steps up to Castin and swings its left claw upwards, with the point impaling Castin’s head through the base of the jaw. Castin, held aloft by the Traitor, jerks spasmodically for 4 seconds before falling still; the Traitor discards his body and advances forwards out of pict-source capture. One of the Traitors in Tactical Dreadnought armour pauses almost directly underneath the pict-source, glances upwards and raises its bolter. A brief flare of muzzle-flash and [Image goes black. Recording ends.]

END OF TRANSCRIPT



----------


We have done what we can for the moment. It remains to be seen whether what we have wrought here will have sufficiently interested the Traveller to bring him here; certainly we will need the resources that only he can bring to bear, in order for our greater plans to be realised.


----------


BY ORDER OF HIS MOST HOLY MAJESTY
THE GOD-EMPEROR OF TERRA

AUTHORISED PERSONS ONLY

***NOTIFICATION OF INQUISITORIAL ALERT***

CASE FILE 988.1V34D
Author: Lord Inquisitor Silas Mourne


It is with a heavy heart that I must confirm Traitoris Extremis activity in the vicinity of the Syriis sub-sector; the Traitors have been positively identified by visible blasphemous iconography on their corrupted armour in what fragmented records I have been able to sequester from contact sites. Iconography suggests the foul Plague Marines; I have already notified the Ordo Sepulturum with all haste. There is a distinct possibility of involvement with the wretched post-Black Crusade epidemics in this and other sub-sectors (q.v. Agripinaa, Amistel Majoris); also I suspect the recently reported sightings of the accursed Terminus Est in the outer fringes of this sub-sector may not be entirely unrelated. May the Emperor have mercy on us if the Death Guard have now turned their attentions to this area of the Imperium!

Hallowed be the Throne!

MESSAGE ENDS





----------


The ever-growing horde of Death Guard: Pandemic
Nurgle Daemons army: Angels of Disease
Death Guard fiction: 'Incursion'
Nurgle 101 Tutorial

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-04-09, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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2: SHROUDED INTENTIONS, HIDDEN REWARDS



“Wake up.”

A slight stirring, accompanied by an almost inaudible mumbling.

“Wake up, Captain.”

The very gentlest of slaps, to each side of the face.

“Come on, Barra. You have the Emperor’s duty to attend to.”

“Uh…whuh?”

The sleeve is rolled back, and the needle pierces the skin of the young man’s left forearm.

“Ahh…”

“It’s just a little pick-me-up. We need you awake, after all.”

Finally he stirs; his eyes are still unfocused, but at least they’re open. The smears of blood and other substances on his uniform have dried to the point where it now crackles like old, un-oiled leather as he stirs in his restraints. “Where am I? Who the feth are you?”

The older of the two men gives a small, weary smile, reaches into a pocket and places his badge on the table. The uniformed man’s eyes open wide now. “What…”

“Easy, Captain. All in good time. I imagine you have some questions of your own, but I must ask you to show a little forbearance; mine will be taking precedence today.”

“My men?”

“You know the answer to that question already, Captain.” He loosens the man’s restraints.
“I thought-“
“You don’t think. You know.”


----------


Barra falteringly lifts the glass of water to his lips and drinks, hesitantly at first and then deeply. He closes his eyes. “Yes. Throne, I wish I didn’t.”

“What you know, Captain, is closely tied to my own interest in this region. While I am aware that this may be an…unpleasant…procedure for you, I need to hear first-hand what happened here five days ago.

The younger man’s eyes widen. “Five days? I’ve been out for five days?”

“Sedation, for the most part; you were raving.” The older man gives what looks like a sympathetic smile. “It seemed kinder to keep you under till things were in place to…debrief you.”

“Debrief?” Barra asks, draining the glass.

The older man holds his gaze on Barra for a few moments, then gestures to the impassive guard at the door. “More water, if you please, Mister Helmann?” The guard nods once and leaves the room. “Debriefing, yes. I can call it ‘interrogation’ if you like, but really that word is generally reserved for those who don’t co-operate. And your record tells me that you’re the kind of man who will co-operate with us.”

Barra nods carefully, unsure where this is going. “I, er, I like to think so, sir.”

The older man smiles with what looks like genuine warmth. “I’m very glad to hear that, Captain Barra. And, of course, an entry in your record to say that you were most helpful with us today couldn’t hurt, now, could it?”

“No, I guess not.”

The smile never falters. “Excellent.”

Returning with a pitcher of water and two glasses, the guard places both of them on the table before resuming his station by the door.

“Ahh, thank you, Mister Helmann.” He pours one glass for Barra and one for himself, pushing Barra’s glass over to him with a scraping noise that seems overly loud in the quiet warmth of the room. “Now, Captain; the first indication you had of the Traitors’ presence was…?”

Barra takes a sip of his water and rubs at his arm, then places the glass back on the table and stares into its depths for several moments before raising his eyes to the older man’s. “We heard gunfire from the northern part of the compound, sounded like bolters and maybe a melta or something, but no sign of armour or anything like that. Then the usual sort of thing you get in any contact situation, lots of people all yelling at once, all trying to report what they’re seeing.”

“And what did they say they were seeing?”

“Most of ‘em said it looked like Astartes, or something very similar. Power-armoured for sure. Some said there was a kind of cloud with them; we didn’t know what that meant until after. I knew it couldn’t be Astartes, this sector’s been quiet since the Crusade died out, so I figured they were just seeing whatever it was wrong and panicking.”

“Were your men prone to panicking, Captain?”

“You have to remember…sir, most of ‘em were green, new blood from the last Levy. Most of ‘em had never seen action; we’d lost so damn many in the Crusade, after all, most of the old hands were gone. And these guys, they were keen and all, but…show ‘em a Sentinel in the dark and they’d say it was a Warhound, you know?”

Another avuncular smile. “Of course. I understand.”


----------


“So I got Erwon, my two-I-C, to head over and check it out while I voxed the other sectors to keep their eyes peeled and report anything.”

“Prudent.”

“And…well, no sooner have I finished telling the men to do that than I’ve got Erwon yelling at me to get my arse up there in short order. Er, pardon the language, sir.”

“Honesty involves accuracy, Captain. Carry on.”

“So I took myself and two fire-teams over to the north sector, and it was chaos already.”

An eyebrow raises. “Chaos, Captain?”

“Aye, sir, a complete mess…”

“Ahh. Of course.”

“The men were firing blind for the most part, out into the fields to the west of our position. Couldn’t see any incoming when I got there, and I was going to chew Erwon out for over-reacting when this thing lands in the mud next to him.”

“What sort of thing, Captain?”

“It was…” He reaches for his glass of water again and drains it. “It was a head, sir. All wrinkled-up looking and yellowy. And I just thought ‘what the feth?’ and then it split open in the mud where it was lying, and these flies or something came out. Was dark, so I couldn’t really see them that clear, like, but they sounded like flies to me.”

“Flies?”

“Aye, sir, I know how it sounds, but that’s what it was. Then they started buzzing round people, getting into their eyes; one of ‘em went into Erwon’s ear and he started yelling to get it out. Some of the other men were shouting about them, I guessed the damn things were doing the same to them. It looked like they were stinging people or something, people jerking about trying to get them off, swat them and stuff, you know?”

The older man takes a sip of his own water. “It sounds unpleasant, Captain. But hardly the stuff of which Black Crusades are made. What happened next?”

“That’s when they charged us. They were…huge. And they did look like Astartes, sir, but…different, somehow. Bigger. Some of them looked mis-shapen, somehow, like their arms didn’t end in the right shape or something. And there were more of those flies or whatever they were, a swarm of the damn things like a cloud around them.” He drinks more water, his eyes closing as he remembers. “They were unstoppable. We hit them with everything we had, they just seemed to shrug it off like it didn’t matter. And when they were into us, they just...they just tore us to fethin’ pieces. Closer in like that, I could see ‘em clearly, and I wish to the Throne I couldn’t. They looked like Astartes gone wrong. They had stuff growing on them or something.”

The older man locks his eyes on the captain as he recounts his tale. “Continue, please.”

“Some of ‘em had bloody great claws and stuff instead of hands. One of them…Throne, he had these damn great teeth where his belly should have been! He was just butchering men all around him. I mean, teeth? What the hell has teeth in its gut and wears power armour? They had Terminators, too, huge bastards with chain-swords and axes and stuff…and all of them were dark green, with flesh and stuff hanging off them, and this weird sign with three circles on it. It…it made my eyes hurt to look at it.”

“And that’s when you realised that they were Traitors, yes?”

Barra drains his glass again, sweating now. “Aye, sir.”


----------


“Traitors of the worst kind, Captain.” He closes his eyes for a few moments, the lines around them momentarily showing his true age, before opening them to look directly at the young captain again. “The blessed Emperor’s own Astartes, fallen and corrupted.”

“We’d heard rumours from the Crusade, sir, that there were Traitor Marines seen, but we never expected to see them here. Especially not now.”

“Of course not. How could you?”

“I mean…we couldn’t even slow them down, never mind stopping them. Something like two platoons’ worth of men dead in the first ten seconds or so after contact, then they set to clearing the whole complex. They used flamers to smoke out the men, then tore them to shreds. Throne! It was a massacre. And all the time those damn flies, in your eyes, your ears, your mouth if you weren’t careful…”

“I have to ask, Captain, how you managed to survive yourself, given how out-matched you say you were?”

“Truth be told, sir, I don’t really know. I got cornered by this huge one of them, a Terminator, he had some huge kind of autocannon with a chainblade or something on the end of it which he pointed at me and I thought, ‘this is it’…then he put down the gun and picked me up by my neck. He stank, I mean really awful, like you’d been dropped in the latrines on a hot day and rotting meat stuck in there with you or something.” He pauses and drinks more water. “And up close I could see all his flesh, it was covered with boils and swellings and stuff, and some of it was moving, like stuff shifting around just under the surface or something. It was horrible.”

The other man’s gaze never leaves Barra’s eyes. “I know this must be difficult for you, Captain, but please try to remember everything you can. Every detail is important.”

Barra is sweating more freely now. “He just held me there, like three feet off the ground, while they slaughtered everyone in the complex. Then this other one comes along…he was even bigger, like a monster with huge claws and one huge eye, and horns and things sticking out all over. Throne…I was so scared of him. I could handle dying in action, sir, in a straight fight, I really could, but this was different. It was like they were examining me or something, and all the time all I can hear is the sounds of my men dying. I was reciting the Litany of Protection…”

“Commendable.”

“…but sir, I was so scared.”

“Understandable.” As he reaches for more water, the older man notices that Barra’s hand is shaking slightly. “Are you all right, Captain?”

“Yes, sir. So…this big one, he stares at me, then he says something to the other one, swings his claw round at my head and that’s the last thing I remember before waking up here.”

“Yes, you had severe contusions to the left side of your head when you were found. Tell me, Captain Barra; can you think of any reason why they might have spared you?”

Barra is breathing more quickly now, sweat visible on his face and hands, and looking pale.

“No, sir. I…I know they killed everyone else, including higher-ranking officers than me. I’m just a Captain. Four years in the Regiment and proud of it, but nothing special. Why me?”

“That’s a question that gives me pause, too, although we are chiefly concerned with gathering as much information as we can about the heretics’ movements. Also, there is of course the question of what to do with you now that you’ve been in such close proximity to the Traitors…”

Barra’s eyes flick upwards again, fearful now. He’s heard the stories.

The even tone of his questioner’s voice never wavers. “Are you sure you’re all right, Captain?”

“Actually, sir, I’m not feeling so hot right now. Do you have any more water?”


----------


As the older man turns to the guard at the door, Barra shudders and squeals with sudden pain. “Ahh! Feth!” He grabs at his right arm, wincing as he does so. The guard comes to full alert but he is far slower than the old man, who springs to his feet and kicks his own chair backwards. Barra has rolled up his right sleeve to reveal a large, angry-looking yellowish blister or boil of some kind. As they both stare closer, there is a tiny movement inside the blister. Barra yells with pain as this happens, and the other man runs to the door, yelling: “Seal this wing off! On my authority!” He turns to Helmann, the guard. “Stand outside this door, and let nobody in!” Helmann rushes to obey, and as he does so the other turns back to Barra to see him staring at the blister on his arm, which is already visibly bigger and spreading .

“What the feth’s happening to me?” he shouts as the movement within the blister becomes more pronounced, then shudders and yells again with pain. He tears open his tunic, to show patches of yellowish discolouration spreading across his chest. “What the feth is this?

The older man grimaces. “I think we know now why they let you live, Captain.” He reaches into his coat and produces an ornate bolt pistol, with gold filigree work inlaid into its sides.

Barra backs up against the wall on the opposite side of the room from the Inquisitor, eyes wide with pain and panic. A violent shudder racks him, and the blister on his right arm splits with an audible, wet sound to reveal a fat, glistening insect nestled in a welter of pus. He screams as it spreads its wings and escapes his body, the droning sound of its wing-beats clearly audible even over the sounds emanating from Barra, blood and pus mingling and streaming down his arm from the insect’s birth-wound. The Inquisitor tracks it as it circles the chamber, and as it briefly rests on a wall fires one round which vapourises the insect and leaves a small crater in the wall itself. Barra screams again, and the Inquisitor turns to see new blisters rising on the surface of his body, movement starting to become visible beneath some of them. He closes his eyes for a second, genuine regret clear on his face.

“I had truly hoped it wouldn’t come to this.”

Barra screams again, blood dribbling from the corner of his mouth as he writhes in agony. “Ahh! Feth! Help me!

“I’m sorry, but you’ve been used, Captain Barra.”

He raises the pistol again, as another one of the obscene flies begins to emerge from a blister on Barra’s chest.

“You’re not a survivor. You’re an incubator.”

He fires one round into Barra’s head, granting him a merciful release.

“…and may the Emperor have mercy on your soul.”

He empties the rest of the magazine into the body, pulverising human and insect flesh alike until all movement ceases. Only now does he realise that his own breathing has in fact speeded up somewhat, and spends a few moments calming himself down again. Holstering the pistol, and heedless of the horrified expression on Helmann’s face as he stares through the cell window at what has transpired inside, he pulls out a small communicator unit.

“Bring the cutter to the detention centre with all speed. And make sure you’ve got plenty of flamer fuel.”

A brief pause, then a scratchy female voice can be heard emanating from the communicator. “How is he?”

“He’s with the Emperor now.”

“Feth.”

“Feth, indeed. We need to move quickly; it’s even worse than Mourne suspected.”



----------


The ever-growing horde of Death Guard: Pandemic
Nurgle Daemons army: Angels of Disease
Death Guard fiction: 'Incursion'
Nurgle 101 Tutorial

THE IMPERIUM TONIGHT #1, #2, #3
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-09, 02:38 AM
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Nicely done... Very detailed... Hehe...
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-09-09, 01:39 PM
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Nice job, Svartmetall! Pretty good so far. Normally I don't like stories told in present tense, but this one has changed my opinion about yours. Excellent job!
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-09, 09:15 PM
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That is as good an opening as I have ever read. I hope there is more soon! Your 'Nightwatch' piece was top dog too.

The fox knows many tricks, the hedgehog only one: but it is a good one ~ Archilochus

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-01-09, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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3: OFFERTORY


The statue is crying. As he walks down the wide nave, that’s all he can think. Rain coming through the shattered window of the façade is spattering in its face and running down the front of the statue to the floor, an uncanny mockery of emotion that seems to mourn the bodies which lie ripped and torn at its feet.

A voice crackles in his earpiece. “Clear two. Proceeding three directly.” The second element of his team are sweeping the ancillary chapels and shrines to the east, while he leads his own retinue through the main cathedral. Farl stalks the aisle to his right, augmented muscles conveying an air of tightly-restrained brutality, his flamer slung over his massive back as he concentrates on an auspex. To his left, Meyer and her gun-servitor mirror Farl’s procession down the aisle; her one organic eye is narrowed, anger at the defilement of this holy place clear on her face, and her fingers are white as they grip her bolter tightly. He knows she will not let her emotions affect her professionalism, but finds the depth of her faith – which some call fanaticism, but he calls devotion - reassuring. Five metres behind him, Haldon carries his heavy stubber nonchalantly, his deceptively casual slouch masking an animal alertness and combat reflexes that have saved all their lives more than once.

The four of them advance slowly, methodically eliminating all potential hiding places as they go. Who or whatever has done this was able to enter a holy place of the Emperor in the planetary capital and, apparently, slaughter everyone inside at will; they will die for the outrage they have committed, but they are capable and resourceful and will therefore not be taken lightly. He is still concerned that the planetary governor seemed entirely unaware of the gravity of the threat from heretics even after being apprised of the events on Syriis VII itself; as he walks he replays their last conversation in his mind.


----------


He smashed his cane hard on the desk in front of him.

“You were informed three weeks ago of the atrocities carried out by Traitor Marines on the capital world of this whole sub-sector, and what did you do by way of increasing security? Nothing!”

The governor blustered in return. “I did everything that was required of me by Imperial law! We increased border checks and spaceport security details, I personally prohibited all unauthorised travel and all shipments from off-world were rigorously checked!”

“Yes, yes. All the usual measures in times of unrest. Tell me something. Did the confirmed presence of Traitor Marines in the very next system not strike you as something unusual, perhaps deserving of unusual measures?”

“Well, I-“

“Does the lack of extraordinary measures taken in this system perhaps indicate that the only thing greater than your complacency is, in fact, your incompetence?”

At this the governor rose from his gilded chair, even more red-faced than before. “Now see here! I will not be spoken to like that, not even by the likes of you!”

There was a limit to what he would suffer from even the most diligent and dutiful servant of the Imperium, and this braggart was neither. He strode forwards to the edge of the man’s desk, and leaned forward till his eyes were only centimetres from the man’s own.

“The likes of me?” He kept his voice even and quiet. “Do you have the faintest conception of the things the likes of me can do? I have merely to give the order and this planet will be cleansed of all life! You think you hold the reins of power here? I’ve seen a thousand men like you, you strutting little popinjay, and I can tell you most assuredly that all I have to do is give that man behind me a nod and you will spend the rest of your days with an excruciator attached to every major nerve centre in your body.”

Behind him, Farl smiled in a manner more suited to some kind of predatory reptile, as if to make the point. Although he actually possessed a keen mind and was fond of debating the minutiae of philosophy till the early hours over a glass of amasec, Farl was happy to play the role of psychotic thug when the situation demanded, and the boosted musculature of his two-and-a-half-metre frame only accentuated this image.

The governor flinched, seeming to shrink within his robes. “I…” He swallowed, the gravity of his personal predicament seeming suddenly to affect him more than what was happening to his planet all around him. “We…”

“You wish to apologise for your rudeness, and you’ll help us in every way? I’m glad to hear it. I do so hate having to have the families of planetary governors executed by way of encouragement, the paperwork is most tedious.”

Behind him, right on cue, Farl looked slightly crestfallen.


----------

“Clear three, proceeding on four directly. Lord…we think there may be movement in the adjacent chapter house; requesting permission to investigate.”

“Granted. Proceed with all due caution.”

“Acknowledged.”

They have reached the crossing at the centre of the cathedral, a wide expanse of green local marble with a high, domed ceiling. Meyer scans the space around them in all directions; as she does so, the assault cannon mounted in the gun-servitor that is slaved to her augmetic eye swivels, matching the movements of her head with smooth precision. Haldon rests his gun over his shoulder and looks around him, the towering, intricately-carved pillars of the cathedral no more than tactical impediments to him, while Farl examines the round plate of solid platinum inlaid into the small raised dais at the centrepoint of the crossing, which is cast in a likeness of the Emperor with a nimbus of light around His head. There seems to be blood on the metal, but there are no bodies near this area of the cathedral. Farl’s brow furrows.

Lord Inquisitor Silas Mourne stares up towards the apse at the far end of the cathedral, a hundred metres away. Even from this distance he can see that the frescoes and statuary there have been defiled in some way, and while the dim light of this stormy afternoon affords little by way of illumination there appears to be blood spattered liberally on the walls and floor. The defilement of the cathedral appalls him on some deep, visceral level; his unshakeable faith has seen him survive the depredations of heretic, Traitor and Daemon alike over the centuries, and to see a holy place of the God-Emperor soiled like this fills him with revulsion and a righteous fury that dwarfs even Meyer’s.

What concerns him - even more than the ingrained uselessness of the planetary government - is the fact that he has heard nothing from the detachment of the Adepta Sororitas that arrived on this world just as he was having his conversation with the governor. The Commandery of the Order of the Blooded Thorn on Marianus V were actually the nearest suitable force able to respond to potential Traitor activity, but bizarre warp activity has delayed their arrival here until after his own. Canoness da Silva should have been in contact with him by now, and the continuing silence worries him deeply.


----------


“Lord!” Haldon’s voice is loud in the dripping silence. “Above us!”

He looks up, Farl, Meyer and the assault cannon doing likewise, to see the figure of a man far above where the domed ceiling hung above the crossing; his enhanced eyes zoom in and make out the shape of Cardinal Wulf. The Cardinal’s body has been threaded with barbed wire and hung suspended above the crossing of his cathedral, his eviscerated torso the source of the blood Farl had seen; as if this were not crime enough, he has been decapitated. Meyer mutters an obscenity as she looks, followed by what Mourne can hear to be a whispered prayer for Wulf’s soul.

“Ach…we must continue. This is vileness, to be sure, but we must press on. We will return to give him the burial he deserves, but now our priority has to be to find the ones that did this to him.”

Farl’s mouth is set hard with anger, and even the normally laconic Haldon looks grim, his weapon now held at combat readiness. They resume their advance along the half-kilometre length of the building, now walking together along the central aisle, weapons covering each side. Meyer is a few metres forward of the rest, the gun-servitor following on; abruptly she pauses, peers ahead and then makes a low, guttural sound in her throat.

“Oh feth…look. Lord, look.” She points south at the apse, having advanced just far enough to see what has been done at the apse. Joining her at her side, Mourne can now make out what has made his companion of forty years turn pale with revulsion.

Seven of the Adepta Sororitas hang at the far end of the cathedral, having been staked to the wall over a metre off the ground and divested of their power armour. Their eyes have been removed, and blasphemous symbols daubed on their robes and faces with what looks to be their own blood. Despite his horror Mourne still recognises the symbol of the Plague God Nurgle, obscene at any time in its own right but an especially atrocious sight here, fouling the bodies of the Emperor’s own in His own place of worship. The expressions on the faces of the Sisters show that they did not die easily. Farl strides forwards until he is only a few metres from the ghastly tableau, then checks his flamer before turning to look at Mourne.

“Mourne…please? Let me cleanse this?”

He can only nod at his subordinate, his mouth dry. Farl activates the igniter of his flamer and proceeds to bathe the bodies of the Sisters with fire, washing it back and forth until almost the entire apse of the cathedral is ablaze. His angular face is set like volcanic rock, illuminated by the fire he has set in the dim remains of the afternoon. The mixed stenches of promethium and burning flesh fill the dank air of the building.

As Mourne watches the bodies burn, his earpiece erupts with noise.

“Contact! I say again, contact! Hostiles unidentified, incoming bolter fire!” Heavy gunfire is clearly audible even over the vox’s limited frequency range, and Mourne is surprised to hear what sounds like panic in the voice of his usually unflappable second-squad leader. “Two do-…three down! Request immediate assistance!”


----------


He turns and barks, “To me!” before setting off in the direction of the north-eastern chapter house, part of the extensive complex of cloisters and secondary chapels that huddle around the main cathedral building. Meyer, Farl, Haldon and the gun-servitor sprint after him out of the echoing space, leaving blood and fire behind them.

The gunfire continues in Mourne’s ear as he leads his squad through the back of the apse out towards the cloisters, and as he runs he can hear the change in sound as they draw nearer to the fighting, bolter and continuous lasgun fire becoming clearly audible now without the need for a vox-link to convey it to him. Their footsteps echo through the cold stone of the cathedral’s outbuildings to the cloisters, where high stone walls encircle a manicured garden perhaps two hundred metres square. On the far side of this space, in the gloom beneath the looming wall of an Ecclesiarchy chapterhouse, the glare of bolter fire is mixed with the actinic beams of lasgun fire; Mourne can see one of his men fall even as he watches, shredded by a storm of bolter fire from a hulking shape in the shadows of the cloisters.

Meyer yells in anger, and opens up with her bolter at the shape, followed almost immediately by the assault cannon mounted into her servitor; stone chips spray as it tracks its firepower along her sight-line towards the shrouded enemy. Haldon adds his heavy stubber to the hail of fire, though it is inaudible beneath the hammering roar of the assault cannon, and Mourne’s own plasma pistol adds its voice to the chorus. After a few seconds of the cannon’s work there is so much dust in the air that the enemy is no longer visible, and they cease fire with an almost telepathic synchronisation, advancing carefully towards the spot where they last saw the men of the second squad while keeping their weapons trained on the spot where they last saw the unknown enemy.

No sign of an antagonist can be seen once the smoke has dissipated, but it is clear that all of Mourne’s second squad are dead. Most lie on the floor of the cloisters, bearing the stigmata of bolter fire, but one appears to have been sliced in two by some huge bladed weapon. Meyer watches at Mourne as he surveys the carnage, seeing the way his jaw grinds and knowing he is as angry as she has ever seen him; after the deaths of his entire second squad, and especially the obscene fate of the Sisters, this is the mood that has seen him put cities to the torch. And worse. Wordlessly, Mourne strides over the bodies of his men, seeing that the far end of the cloister is marked by a tall stone arch over a doorway into the chapterhouse. His three companions follow on, checking their weapons’ ammunition displays as they go and trying not to look too closely at the severed halves of a man that lie on either side of the stone floor.

The entrance-hall of the chapterhouse has at least some illumination in the form of lit torches on the walls, smoke curling upwards and fading into the darkness of the high ceilings above. Simple wooden tables and benches are situated around the walls, one or two smashed into kindling and one decorated with the body of a monk, skin pallid with some kind of sickness and an iron stake driven through its heart into the wood beneath. Half-way along the east wall of this hall they can see a large archway with stairs behind it leading down; lit torches can be seen along this stairway’s walls.

“The crypt. Of course.” Mourne’s voice is calm and steady, belying the raging anger within. “We are obviously being led; Haldon, take point. I need the best eyes and ears we have alert for whatever’s down there. Observe silence discipline.”


----------


All pretence of nonchalance is gone from Haldon now, and his movements are as cat-like as his eyes as he descends the stone steps. Meyer and Mourne follow with the gun-servitor a few metres behind while Farl takes rearguard, flamer unslung and igniter lit. The steps descend in a spiral for what Meyer estimates as thirty metres before opening out onto a large, low-ceilinged chamber, simple stone arches spaced roughly four metres apart stretching off into the darkness which is relieved only by an occasional torch hanging from a wall. The shattered body of another monk lies surrounded by smears of its own blood in the middle of the floor about twenty metres into the crypt; Mourne gestures with battle-sign language to Haldon to check the body. Haldon dutifully creeps forward to the corpse, leaning over it carefully in case of booby-traps, checking for probable cause of death. He stands and signs back; blunt weapon to skull and chest, most bones broken, no sign of traps, looks safe to proceed. A drip of water from the dank ceiling punctuates his signing.

Slowly, silently, they advance, eyes constantly trying to make sense of the shadows and alert for any sound. The crypt beneath this cathedral complex is larger than any Mourne has seen, walls dotted with burial spaces for the monks who have lived here for millennia; the desecration of so vast an edifice of the Emperor’s might fills him with a very real nasusea. Here, in the foundations of this cathedral, he feels more intensely than ever that faith is the foundation of the Imperium Of Man; faith is what sustains him, and Meyer, and all the people like him who fight the darkness. He knows that the Emperor truly protects those who have faith in Him.

Meyer holds up her hand to signal a halt, perhaps seeing something ahead; she turns to Mourne, and as she begins to sign a bolt round blows off the back of her head, spraying Farl and the gun-servitor with blood and brain-matter. The gun-servitor, slaved to her nervous system, collapses to the floor as she does; its eyes have always been as blank as hers now are. Mourne stares in shock as the woman who has fought alongside him for four decades, her faith and strength at least the equal of his own, lies in a spreading pool of her own fluids at his feet. Farl is beginning to point his flamer at what he thinks is the spot the bolter fire came from when another bolt round detonates in Haldon’s gut, almost cutting him in half and leaving him twitching on the stone floor, eyes wide with uncomprehending shock. Mourne and Farl aim at the place where they saw the muzzle-flash of the enemy’s bolter, a combined gout of flame and plasma erupting out into the darkness. As soon as they stop firing they can hear the sound of something heavy hitting the floor from the direction they had been aiming at. Hearing this, Farl charges forward before Mourne can stop him, a grin of savage triumph on his face.

Mourne has time to yell “No! We couldn’t see-“ before Farl is stopped in his tracks by a focused torrent of foul-smelling ooze, exuding a stench somewhere between vomit and rotting meat that makes Mourne himself gag reflexively. Farl stands motionless in shock for a second, covered from head to foot in the noxious substance, before beginning to jerk uncontrollably as the acidic slime begins to eat into him. Mourne can see Farl’s face beginning to run and dissolve, liquefying flesh streaming over his flak armour as he screams and shudders in his agony, collapsing to the floor. He puts a plasma bolt through his loyal companion’s head for mercy’s sake, then runs to the wall and grabs one of the guttering torches.

Stalking forwards now, heedless of any pretence at stealth, Mourne shouts his fury and hatred into the darkness.

“Where are you? Show yourselves, you bastards! WHERE THE FETH ARE YOU?


----------


Less than a minute later he reaches the far wall of the crypt, a rough hole in the wall leading on to a narrow tunnel of crude bricks. The torch drips embers onto the ancient stone beneath his feet, reflecting jumping orange highlights off his ornate power armour and the gleaming metal of his pistol. Mourne feels cold despite its flames, his fury having honed itself to an icy pinnacle of rage that will most likely see this half this world burn before it is sated. He is gripping the torch so hard that a thorn from its haft is causing his left hand to bleed, but he does not even feel this, so focused is he on vengeance.

The passage opens into a cave, large enough to make his footsteps echo. Much of it is wreathed in shadows, but there is some kind of altar ahead with a ring of torches around it. Mourne strides towards this, as he can see something odd behind the glare of the torchlight, and as he draws closer the true nature of this cave becomes clear.

Lying in the centre of the circle of torchlight is a metal circle, almost like a shield of some kind, and on it are two human heads. One is the tonsured head of Cardinal Wulf, eyeless and pallid. Next to it, as if forming two points of an equilateral triangle, is the similarly-abused head of Canoness da Silva. There are no words to express the anger and lust for vengeance that Mourne now feels, and he simply utters a hoarse cry of rage as he turns to look for some sign of the author of this atrocity. Nothing is visible apart from a few unevenly-spaced stone columns that shore up the roof of the cave, so he thrusts the torch ahead of him and begins to hunt.

He is not sure whether he actually hears the blade descend or whether he senses it psychically somehow, but he manages to throw himself to one side just in time to avoid being bisected by a huge crescent of rusted metal that carves the air past his right ear. A hideous low gurgling noise comes from the darkness behind him, and as he turns to face the enemy at long last he can see a huge form silhouetted by the torches behind them, stalking him slowly and deliberately. He raises his pistol but the blade sweeps around and back faster than he would have thought possible, moving in a low figure of eight to cut off his right hand at the wrist. While he is still only aware of the shock, before the pain has started to feed through to his brain, the huge figure cuffs him to one side and forces him up against the nearest column of stone. The agony of his wound is still only a slow trickle as he is held there, but the pressure increases all the time as he is slowly crushed against the stone.

With an odd clarity, he can hear the pings and groans his armour makes as the metal is stressed to the point of deforming, and smell the stench of the millennia that surrounds the entity that is killing him. The gurgling noise comes again, and he realises that it is a noise of pleasure, like a feline purring; his enemy has been enjoying this game all the while, and it is a game he has played alone. The chestplate of his armour finally collapses, and he feels his ribs begin to splinter; then the pressure is suddenly relieved and he collapses to the floor, the stump of his hand finally bleeding profusely and his chest a huge mass of pain from what is probably a punctured lung. He is spun over onto his back, and for a moment he can see the face of the enemy clearly in the torchlight as he watches the blade descend.

“You...!”

There is a sensation that is too massive, too profound to be mere pain. Vision begins to dim for the last time, but he sees enough to realise that his own head is being placed next to the other two, forming a perfect triangle, before the darkness that he has fought all his life finally swallows him.


-----------


He has come. The Traveller is here. Praise the Father!




_____


The ever-growing horde of Death Guard: Pandemic
Nurgle Daemons army: Angels of Disease
Death Guard fiction: 'Incursion'
Nurgle 101 Tutorial

THE IMPERIUM TONIGHT #1, #2, #3
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That was awsome, really amazing reading I'd love to read more

Please check out my painted and converted Dark Eldar Razorwing Fighter

https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/gallery
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And the accompanying tactica
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...ad.php?t=89326

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well, i was planning on eating lunch before i read this...guess ill have to wait...

good stuff man
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4: CONTEMPLATION




We were honoured by the Traveller’s attentions, though Quorthon has told me that he does not yet fully understand what he has been told we must do to achieve our greater goal. My Captain of old instructed him as to how our goal could indeed be achieved, his unparalleled lore and knowledge of our father’s ways vital to our plans, yet also warned both that the risks were great and the path convoluted. No matter. What we may yet build here would be an act of devotion unparalleled for millennia; and so much must be risked, that much may be achieved. We must attempt this. We shall attempt this!

For the Father!



----------


He watches as his gun-cutter departs, the glare of its drive piercing the smog-laden gloom of the late evening and casting his shadow vividly on the stained plasteel flooring before ascending into the ochre murk that passes for Syriss VII’s sky. Seven of His cathedrals defiled. Seven Sisters also, along with their Canoness, in the atrocity in the capital. Over the centuries, he has learned to listen to his gut, and now he has a yawning ache there that tells him there is a greater design of the Enemy being drawn here than he can yet discern, and that the longer he and those like him take to unravel its workings, the greater the toll will be. Gripping the handrail of the landing-pad’s walkway, the lines around his eyes tighten as he remembers the hideous moment when he discovered what had been wrought under Syriis City’s central cathedral, the obscenity built from the mortal remains of a Cardinal, a Canoness, and his own superior.

He had sat with Maris and Ehren in the dripping cloister of the cathedral while the foulness was put to the torch, Maris’ hands clenched white around her own flamer just as Ehren’s were on his data-slate, and prayed with them for the souls of those slaughtered by the Enemy here. Surrounded by the broken stone and ruined corpses of His servants, though, prayer had seemed a bitter consolation at best; what use were prayers to the dead flesh littered throughout this place of prayer? He allows himself a small smile at the thought of the chiding lecture Mourne would have given him at the mention of such thoughts; Mourne’s authoritarian, Thorian nature left no room for doubt or questioning when it came to matters of faith. It was no coincidence that Mourne had been about the only one who’d been able to put up with a humourless tight-arse like Meyer – Emperor rest her soul – on his team.

He’d known from the last messages sent to him by Mourne himself that he’d suspected whose hand had been at work here, but still the ancient Lord Inquisitor had insisted on taking his own team in by themselves, confident as ever that he could cope with whatever machinations of the Enemy he might uncover. Hubris had, as he’d always suspected would end up being the case, been his master’s downfall. In his own mind, the ritualised defilement of place of worship and flesh alike that had blighted this holy place – and those of six other worlds in this sub-sector – is certainty enough.

Typhus.

Even thinking that name makes his jaw tighten, both with hatred and – he readily admits to himself – fear. For ten millennia, the Herald of the Plague God has brought terror and death on a horrific scale to worlds across the Imperium, leaving billions dead in his wake and billions more cowering in fear of his works, though they know not his name. Not one servant of the Inquisition that has come face to face with Typhus has survived, and he knows that Mourne was foolish to come here without some serious firepower to back him up, given what he believed he’d find.

Typhus was here.

A legacy of misery, suffering and death unmatched by any servant of the Enemy save possibly Abaddon himself is the Traveller’s gift to the worlds of Man, century after century of plague and pestilence dotting the history of the Imperium like weeping sores on a corpse. If there is one thing he knows from studying the Captain of the Terminus Est’s works across the millennia of the Long War, it is this: the Herald of Nurgle plays the long game, and is ever laying plans that span the years just as they do the breadth of the galaxy.

Typhus was here.

While Maris reflexively checks her flamer and bolt pistol in the gathering gloom, he pictures in his mind what is even now unfolding across the worlds already involved. As the elegies begin to echo through the chapter houses on Marianus V and the flames still lick the walls of the central cathedral in Syriis City, and while his gun-cutter returns to orbit to await help from an old acquaintance, he tries again to trace the flow of events and perceive its destination, as he has done so many times over the last few days, and is again frustrated by the lack of hard facts.

Why was Typhus here?


----------


I remain perplexed by one thing above all others – the Traveller told me in no uncertain terms during our meeting that the protagonist in our plans would come from within our own ranks, but would not tell me his identity. He assured me that I would know him when the time is right because what we require will be not just a warrior, but someone with faith enough to be what we want him to be; the one will make himself known to us, though even he be unaware of this at the time. I trust his judgement implicitly – the sheer force of his will was palpable all the while we talked, the hidden lore he instructed me in a revelation in itself, and the bounteous favours of our Father clear in the very nature of his presence - but am nonetheless frustrated that he would not just tell me who it would be.

All I can think is that this is another way of proving our worthiness, of showing that we are ready not only to carry out this grand design, but also to reap its rewards. I will, as always, trust in our Father’s guidance, but I am still tense and irritable with the weight that is now upon my shoulders, and I must confess my immediate retinue have borne the brunt of this over the last day or two.

After so many years, I must confess I find myself impatient for the hour of apotheosis.



----------


The amasec bottle is half-empty, and Maris busies herself with fetching another while Ehren muses aloud. Kallastinian vintages are hard to come by, and this case – a gratuity from a planetary governor, grateful for the quashing of a cult of the Change God that had infested several of his cities – is proving to be most agreeable.

“What do we really know? I mean, obviously, shocking affair and all, but really we’ve got bugger all to go on when it comes to actual facts.” Unlike many savants he has known, Ehren is refreshingly honest about not knowing things – so many seem so intent on what they do know, that they cannot make allowances for what they do not. Ehren sees gaps in his knowledge as a challenge rather than an irritation, and this makes him invaluable. “We know the Plague God’s involved somehow, and that Traitor Marines in the service of said ghastly Power have been active in this area. But let’s face it, desecration aside, there’s precious little by way of clues as to what they’re really up to.”

Brow furrowed, Inquisitor Lukas Karst stares into his amasec, from which answers are less than forthcoming. It has now been over a week since his astropath sent the request for aid, and still Yelson has received no sign of a response; he had devoutly hoped to have heard something by the time he got back to the cutter from wrapping things up down on Syriis VII with the new planetary governor, whose predecessor had retired only three days before citing ‘nervous exhaustion’. “Spreading a new disease? I’ve never seen anything like that incubation thing before.”

“They’re perfectly capable of doing that on their own, without bringing in the likes of the one responsible for what went on down there.” This is accompanied by a vague wave of the amasec glass towards the crescent of the planet visible through the viewport. “That’s what really bothers me. Why the hell was he there in the first place?”

The sound of a full bottle of amasec being placed carefully among the plates, glasses and empty bottles currently littering the battered nalwood tabletop announces Maris’ return to the debate. She aims her cocky half-grin at the lanky savant, reclining in his threadbare armchair. “Well - I’m going out on a limb here, but I think it was probably something...you know...bad?”

“As ever, my dear, you display a most incisive grasp of affairs. I find myself quite humbled by your insight.” The amasec glass is raised towards her in a mocking salute. “Perhaps I should start seeking new employment? There would after all seem to be nothing impeding your imminent usurpation of my position as Thinker-In-Chief for our master!”

A single finger makes its own salute in return, while her other hand busies itself with pouring more of the fine amasec, and Karst permits himself a small grin at the banter between his companions. Between her combat skills and his mind, Maris and Ehren have saved each others’ lives – and his own - more times then he can count over the years, and the good-natured bickering they regularly practice is merely an outwards manifestation of the solid trust they have in each other. Slumping back into her own seat, Maris inhales the aroma of her drink, eyes closed like the connoisseur she is, before taking a long, appreciative draught of the stuff. “Why risk something like this?”

Ehren raises an eyebrow. “Hmm?”

“Well, think about it. They’ve got an arse-load of firepower at their disposal – just look at what they did to those Munitorum facilities – so they could have just marched in, all bolters blazing, and blown the feth out of things if they wanted to. Now someone walks into a cathedral in the capital of the whole damn sub-sector – and, if Lukas is right, by themselves – and pulls off a stunt like this? This isn’t going for body-count, this is...showy.”

Karst’s own eyebrow raises at this. “Showy?”

“Yeah. Like someone showing off, going ‘look what we can get away with under your noses’, rather than just going all-out for maximum damage. Why do that when you can wipe a reasonable-sized city anyway?”

Ehren’s glass is drained, and he begins carefully refilling it. “You’re saying it’s not part of the military campaign, but something else? Something different?”

“Stuff just isn’t adding up, that’s all. Look at the timetable. Munitorum facilities on like fifteen planets get blown to the Warp by Traitor Marines, who promptly make off with a crap-ton of heavy weapons, high-yield explosives, and other fun stuff. Regimental bases get taken apart left, right and centre. Cargo convoys across half the sub-sector arrive at their destinations in tiny radioactive pieces or don’t arrive at all. All the signs are that they’re gearing up for a full-on war, and then? The boss interviews some poor sod who turns out to be heavily pregnant with really nasty bugs, who just happens to be the only survivor from a regimental base that had gotten the crap blown out of it by...guess who? The same Traitor Marines who’ve been playing steamroller with the Guard, PDFs and whoever all over the place. And now their next move is to do stuff – admittedly, horrible stuff - in seven cathedrals, but only in seven cathedrals, with nary a nuke or a massacre in sight? It doesn’t make sense.”

“Humph.” Karst downs more of his own drink. “What worries me is that it does make sense to them, and it’s them doing something actually quite subtle in among the running-around-blowing-things-up that’s really important to whatever they’re really up to. Different, yes, but still related.”

“Subtle? You call decapitating three of the most important people in the sub-sector and putting their heads on a plate in the cathedral of the capital of said sub-sector subtle?”

“Compared to blowing the crap out of everything in sight, yes. And think about what they, or he, actually did. The heads of those three – Emperor grant their souls mercy – were arranged as the symbol of the Plague God, whose sacred number is seven. Seven places of His worship desecrated, across seven worlds, with that as the pinnacle of the atrocity.”

“You‘re thinking sorcery?”

“You’re damn right I’m thinking sorcery. And if Typhus the Herald is the one doing the sorcery,” Ehren’s jaw clenches at the name, “then it’s going to be something especially bad.”

She takes another, longer, drink. “Feth.”

“As you are so fond of saying, my dear...feth. I’m starting to think that, over and above the Traitors’ inherent fondness of blowing up anything with an Aquila on it whenever they can, the purely military attacks have been a means of inducing fear, instability and paranoia across these worlds precisely so the desecration of the cathedrals could be more easily accomplished; a backdrop of destruction serving as a canvas for their true design.”

“Very poetic, boss. So what do we do now?”

Karst runs his hands over his head, smoothing down his hair and massaging the back of his neck while his eyes move in the direction of Yelson’s quarters on the deck above. “We hope to hell that they get back to us, is what we do.”

Ehren raises an eyebrow. “Does ‘they’ mean who I think it does?”

“I believe it does, yes. I’m calling in an old debt, and hoping to the Throne they heed my call; because if they don’t, I have a horrible feeling that both we and this sub-sector are going to be neck-deep in crap.”

Again? Why don’t we ever go anywhere nice?”

“Because if we went anywhere nice, you’d go crazy for lack of things to shoot and Ehren would die of boredom?”

Maris grins over her glass. “Point.”

Karst finishes his drink. “And now, if the two of you would excuse me, I’m going to prod our pet astropath and see what, if anything, is going on.”


----------



BY ORDER OF HIS MOST HOLY MAJESTY
THE GOD-EMPEROR OF TERRA

AUTHORISED PERSONS ONLY

******
From: Inquisitor Lukas Karst

Hiram, my old friend – I find myself confronted with a matter of potentially the gravest import. You may have heard of the deaths of Canoness da Silva, or of Cardinal Wulf, possibly even of my late superior, the Lord Inquisitor Mourne; but I suspect the manner of their deaths may not have been imparted by the usual channels. Suffice it to say that I am convinced that the Death Guard themselves are now definitely active in some nefarious plot around Syriis, and there is much evidence to suggest that Typhus himself is involved somehow; I suspect Warp-craft of some dark sort, though there is no way to ascertain what now as the Terminus Est was detected leaving the sub-sector capital’s system over a week ago. Nonetheless, the very fact of his involvement is indication enough of the seriousness of this situation.

I know the Crusade has left its mark, and the butcher’s bill for your men has been steep – but I swear by the Throne that we will need the full strength of whatever help you can muster here, as soon as you can. Only this afternoon I consulted with the astropathic choirs here on Syriis VII, and they are seeing signs of some great upheaval in the Warp starting to form here, some dreadful event in our future drawing closer and swelling in magnitude. I am the Emperor’s eyes and ears here, to be sure, but - as we both know - you are His fist. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

The Emperor protects!

Lukas



MESSAGE ENDS


The ever-growing horde of Death Guard: Pandemic
Nurgle Daemons army: Angels of Disease
Death Guard fiction: 'Incursion'
Nurgle 101 Tutorial

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5: INTIMATIONS




It saw the future and the past as one. It had always done so; such was its nature. The things that were and the things that would be, the things that had passed and the things that could come to pass, all flowing together in a stream of undying consciousness. The fleeting glimpses it had been vouchsafed of the awarenesses of those it watched left it confused. How could cause and effect be separated, like sire and offspring, with no relation to each other save that of the passing of time? All things were one, when viewed from sufficient distance; creation, destruction, growth, decay. All were one.
Life.
Death.
Gestation.
It watched, immersed in the currents of its awareness, and savoured the rich tides of expectation that flowed from those who could not see that what they laboured to achieve had already happened.



----------


BY ORDER OF HIS MOST HOLY MAJESTY
THE GOD-EMPEROR OF TERRA

AUTHORISED PERSONS ONLY

******
CASE FILE 988.1V39F

From: Lord Inquisitor Tarren Milos
To: Inquisitor Lukas Karst


Our listening facilities here intercepted this fragmentary message just a few hours ago and I thought you should be informed of its contents, as - based on your last report - I fear it may well be related to the subject of your current attentions (this is of course assuming that your own astropath hasn’t already alerted you to this matter). Less than a minute after this message was received, eight of our own astropaths died of massive cerebral haemhorraging and a further fifteen went irremediably insane and had to be granted the Emperor’s peace. We are still in the middle of collating the reports that are coming in, but from what I can see so far it looks like astropaths on just about every planet for a good fifty light-years in every direction have all felt the same thing, even those that did not receive the original message fragment; the overall death toll among the choirs in this region of space will likely turn out to be high.

This is what our astropaths received; according to my own savant, who was about to get them to send an unrelated message for me when it occurred, all of them spoke exactly the same words in perfect synchrony. My savant himself transcribed this, so I am as certain of its accuracy as I can reasonably be:

“(whispered unintelligible sounds)...Yersinis...(a stream of unintelligible sounds follows at normal conversational volume for seventeen seconds)...coming...becoming...coming...focus...(unintelligible sounds for eleven seconds)...coming...waves in the abyss...becoming...(unintelligible sounds, louder this time, lasting seven seconds)...coming...focus...becoming...crux...focus...bec oming...coming...(silence lasting five seconds)...waves in the abyss...coming...waves in the abyss...(silence lasting three seconds)...(shouted)ESSENCE(a stream of unintelligible sounds with no break, at normal speaking volume, lasting thirteen seconds)...(shouted)BECOMING(a stream of unintelligible sounds with no break, at normal speaking volume, lasting nineteen seconds)...(shouted)REALITY!(silence)”

Needless to say, the message itself is extremely disturbing. My savant has himself had to be sedated, whether from hearing the message first-hand or transcribing it I do not yet know; I have already sent an urgent request to my immediate counterpart in the Ordo Malleus for any insights she may be able to impart. Combined with what we have to assume are the related physical effects of this message on so many choirs, I am placing the Inquisitorial forces of all three Ordos in this sub-sector on high alert, effective immediately (I’m assuming that after reading this you won’t need me to copy you in on the actual alert notification itself).
We are currently attempting to triangulate the source of the message, but this may take some time; what worries me is that there is no indication as yet of who the hell actually sent this thing for our astropaths to pick up. I’ve also set the cogitators to cross-referencing the word ‘Yersinis’, which may or may not be a name, but so far nothing has cropped up by way of results. Again, Lady Inquisitor van Herne may be useful in this department.

Lukas – I know I don’t need to tell you to be careful, but my gut tells me that whatever this is, it’s going to be a bad one. So...be careful.

May the Throne watch over you!

Tarren

MESSAGE ENDS



----------


TRANSCRIPT OF PICT-RECORDED DOCUMENT

LOCATION: PALLIS MINOR DETENTION FACILITY
DATE: 582.M41

TRANSCRIBED FROM SERVITOR RECORDING MODULE

TRANSCRIBED BY SAVANT HERSIR, ORDO MALLEUS DATA-LIBRARY
RECORD FACULTY, DIMMAMAR VI

BY ORDER OF HIS MOST HOLY MAJESTY
THE GOD-EMPEROR OF TERRA

AUTHORISED PERSONS ONLY


******

CASE FILE 985.IX42BA

[Pict-record shows a standard-pattern interrogation chamber, from a viewpoint halfway along one wall facing the interrogation table. Bound to a steel chair is a human male, appearing to be approximately fifty standard years of age, positively identified as Boreus Mir. Seated opposite him is a human female, appearing to be approximately thirty standard years of age, positively identified as Lady Inquisitor Dela van Herne. Mir is awakening from chemical sedation after being injected with twenty-five milligrams of dioxamine.]

VAN HERNE: Mir?

MIR: (unintelligible)

VAN HERNE (gently): Do you know where you are, Mir?

MIR: I...I’m in a room.
[Mir smiles at the Lady Inquisitor.]

VAN HERNE: No, you’re not. Do you know where you are?

MIR: What?

VAN HERNE: It’s a simple enough question, when you get down to it. Do you know where you are?

MIR: Is this some kind of game?

VAN HERNE: A game? Oh, no. Not at all. No, if it were a game, there would be dice, or cards, most likely drinks, and all sorts of other pleasant things. Instead there is just you, this table, and myself; and the time for being pleasant may well be drawing to a close.
[Mir shifts in his chair as much as his bindings will allow.]

VAN HERNE: So, I ask you again. Do you know where you are?

MIR: I’m in a fething roo-

VAN HERNE (sharply): No!
[Mir’s brow furrows but he remains silent; detailed examination of pict-images reveals that he has begun to sweat, with a concurrent increase in skin temperature and heart rate verified by bio-sensors.]

VAN HERNE (gently): You are in the Emperor’s embrace. You are in the place where there is but one choice left to you.

MIR: I am? And what choice would that be, then?

VAN HERNE: To choose the manner of your passing.
[Mir’s heart rate increases again.]

MIR: And who the feth are you, then, lady?

VAN HERNE: I know about the tedious little narcotics you peddle across ten systems. I know about the adolescents you procure for senior members of the local Ecclesiarchy with somewhat...rarified...tastes.
[Mir blanches but remains silent.]

VAN HERNE: But I’m not really interested in that.

MIR: So wh-

VAN HERNE: What I am interested in, Boreus Mir, is how you came to be in possession of this.
[The Lady Inquisitor places a small, nine-sided black box, approximately twenty centimetres wide, on the table just out of reach of Mir’s hands. Box identified as xenos in origin by abhuman writings inlaid into its sides and top in silver-coloured metal.]

VAN HERNE: I’m really quite keen to find out where you got it, who you got it from, and what you were intending to do with it.
[Mir’s heart rate reaches one hundred and thirty beats per minute, causing a warning rune to illuminate in the tabletop in front of the Lady Inquisitor. The Lady Inquisitor cancels this without looking at her control panel.]

VAN HERNE: I see you recognise it. Splendid. Pointless denials are so tedious, don’t you think?

MIR: I...

VAN HERNE: Do you even know what this is? More specifically, do you know what this can be used for?

MIR: I don’t even know who you are, lady, or why I should tell you a f-
[The Lady Inquisitor reaches into the right pocket of her jacket and places her Inquisitorial rosette on the table. Mir’s heartbeat reaches one hundred and fifty beats per minute; again, the Lady Inquisitor cancels the warning rune.]

MIR: Oh feth!

VAN HERNE: Yes.

MIR: You’re th-

VAN HERNE: I am Lady Inquisitor Dela van Herne of the Holy Inquisition of Terra. You are someone who is in deeper shit than you have ever dared to imagine, because you have been brought to me with a xenos artifact that could conceivably be used in blasphemous rituals in your possession. You recall the choice I referred to earlier? About the manner of your passing? There is a chance - a tiny chance - that if I end up completely satisfied with the answers you give me here and now that you may even be able to walk out of this room and die of old age. If I am not...well. Things will be less pleasant.

MIR: I didn’t know what it was!

VAN HERNE: I don’t care.

MIR: What?

VAN HERNE: Where you got it, who you got it from, and what you were going to do with it. Remember? That’s what I said I was interested in.

MIR: The client said-

VAN HERNE: What was their name?

MIR: I don’t remember.
[Lady Van Herne produces an ornate dagger from a sheath on her belt, reaches across the table and severs the little finger of Mir’s left hand. The movement takes one point seven seconds.]

MIR: (incoherent scream)

VAN HERNE: Are you married, Boreus?
[Mir stares at his finger lying on the table in a small, spreading pool of blood. Bio-sensors indicate the first stages of shock setting in.]

MIR: Wh...what?

VAN HERNE: It’s a simple enough question, I think. Are you married? Do you have wife? A partner? A lover, perhaps?

MIR: (whimper of pain) Kalla! Her name’s Kalla!

VAN HERNE (gently): I would imagine, Boreus, that there are things Kalla might miss more than your finger. What was the client’s name?

Mir: Tho-
[The comm-unit in the Lady Inquisitor’s side of the interrogation table buzzes, and the Lady Inquisitor activates it.]

VAN HERNE: I said I was not to be disturbed unless it was matter of the highest urgency!

COMM: (inaudible)

VAN HERNE: What?

COMM: (inaudible)

MIR: (whimpers with pain)

VAN HERNE: You’re sure it was Milos? He knows....never mind. What is it?

COMM: (inaudible)

VAN HERNE: Dear Throne...
[Bio-sensors indicate the Lady Inquisitor’s heart-rate rising.]

VAN HERNE: Yersin-...is that verified?

COMM: (inaudible)

VAN HERNE: Tell him I’m on my way.
[The Lady Inquisitor gets up from her chair and walks hurriedly towards the door, slamming it behind her.]

MIR: ...what?
[Bio-sensors indicate that Mir is now in deep shock]

MIR: Hello? Help!

[Pict-recording lasts for another two minutes of increasingly incoherent cries for help from Mir before he falls unconscious from a combination of shock, blood loss, and secondary reaction to sedation chemicals.]


----------


It watched the scurrying activity that wove in and out through the tides of events, fascinated by the gush of emotions from those participating in the dance of reality. If it had shared their perceptions, it knew it would be thinking the word ‘soon’, although such a word had no meaning for its own kind.
Soon.
How curious a word to employ when referring to that which was eternal.





_____


The ever-growing horde of Death Guard: Pandemic
Nurgle Daemons army: Angels of Disease
Death Guard fiction: 'Incursion'
Nurgle 101 Tutorial

THE IMPERIUM TONIGHT #1, #2, #3

Last edited by Svartmetall; 12-29-09 at 12:21 AM.
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