The Zigurian Heresy. A Slaaneshi Altar Boy, sentient nurgle cancer, dual power fists! - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-20-10, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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Default The Zigurian Heresy. A Slaaneshi Altar Boy, sentient nurgle cancer, dual power fists!

Prologue

The sea of men and women pressed against each other, the legion, ten thousand strong held their ground against the enemy. None could run for the crush of bodies, people died standing and only when the currents allowed a little space did their bodies fall, pulped underfoot. From his position at the hills crest he could see the end of the world rushing towards their position

The sky crackled with lightning and grew increasingly thin, with infernal magicks and warp-craft, toxic fumes from billions of expended artillery shells blew greasy smoke that coiled into the sky. He gripped his lasgun tightly and drew it to his shoulder; its stock was machined steel and its mechanism ancient, maybe thousands of years old, a workhorse and hero of the Imperium in the hands of a criminal sentenced to death on a dying world.

The ground shuddered and broke underfoot, spurting magma from the planets heart; cyclonic missiles struck from space, tectonic plate's fractures and subsided. The planet groaned and screamed its fury. The enemy charged the hill, and he fought them with tooth and claw and the butt of his gun, their insidious forms clawing at his mind and soul before even contemplating seeking his flesh.

Eldritch abominations of impossible dimensions and maddening visage walked the land, their forms twisting and shifting and bleeding into reality as an ink cloud swirled in water. Moreover, they held upon a planet turned in to a single contiguous war zone that left nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. Millions of souls fed the destruction and slaughter for every hour that that they held.

Seven days and seven nights they held their hill. Seven days and seven nights of annihilating, flesh crippling, mind corroding battle. Seven days that sundered every living creature upon the face of the planet, destroyed the atmosphere and reduced the crust to a lava and volcano riddled nightmare. The world died, everyone died.

Except one man, accept him.


Chapter 1

The Gladatorium was a dilapidated stadium of faded glory. Deep in the heart of the Ziggurian capital-hive, its ancient walls once held knight fights between warriors mounted in towering mechanical giants, but they had long been called away to the front, to the crusade. Today the crusade was calling again, always calling for more men and machines, for the glory of the emperor. Its hallowed halls and arenas filled with spectacles and spectators, with demonstrations of talents and skills and most importantly: Every exit was lined with recruiters armed with clipboards and loaded auto-quills.

Little Yhimmy knew at that moment that he wanted to join the Imperial Guard, that one day he would run away from home and join them in their adventures, of course being fourteen he would have to wait and until he was old enough to enlist, "Two whole years! What a pain!" was his only thought on the subject.

He had just watched a commissariat holo' about the crusade being waged, and though the little hand drawn pictures of guardsman and Xeno' pirates and ship battles had been too childish for him; the real gun-camera and auspex clips between them had shown him the true glory of battle. With candied meat on a stick in one hand and cloud of pink cobweb-sugar candy on another he bounded from one side show to another.

"Sergeant! Sabastius! 'The Bastion!' Thorne!" the man with the voxsponder shouted out, rolling the R's and "With his mighty strength and the courage of his faith he can tear a tank in half, he has fought with mighty Loxatl from the animal house of scintilla and Demiurg from the moons of Al'Belag!" The announcer went on while the guardsman inside waved with his armoured gauntlets and punched the air in mock battle.

Little Yhimmy had to push past the grown ups to get a good view, squeezing up against the bars of the performance cage. Animal handlers in armoured drakk-skin were bringing out a monster, a horrendous Xeno. It twisted its head side to side, staring at people with one bulbous eye, then the other. With a screech that made the audience cover their ears it opened wide its terrible maw and cried out. For one terrible moment, Yhimmy was enthralled and all he could see were row upon row of needle teeth that flexed back and forth as it screamed, unable to look away.

The beast charged, breaking its spell. Time seemed to dilate in those few seconds the thing, all teeth, claw and rage made to kill the guardsman. It bound from one powerful leg to the other and then leapt every claw and slashing blade arcing down in a killing blow, aimed at the guardsman's torso.

The bars of the cage vibrated in sympathy with the energy pouring out from the moment of the blow, a blast of air whipped out, picking up hats and monocles and loose items from the crowd and throwing them against the gladatorium wall. Yimmy had covered his eyes with his hands; he hadn't seen the punch that had thrown the Xeno onto its back. He peeked from between his fingers, the creature was sprawled, aquilla like upon one side of the cage its leathered wing-claws spread wide, hundreds of teeth shattered, it whooped and bellowed with confusion.

The crowd cheered their joy as the tension slackened. A second wave of emotion boiled up through the crowd as Sabastius casually stalked towards his foe, a deep abiding hatred for the alien, for anything even remotely xenos. The onlookers shouted, heckled, and spat as the punch drunk creature clumsily righted itself.

Yimmy stared worshipfully at Sabastius. The man was wearing a pair of armoured gauntlets, they had started the fight green with crimson claws, but now were mostly gunmetal with flaking paint peeling away and drifting in the air, a side effect of the energy the machines generated. Each gauntlet had thick loops of power cords running up to a humming power pack slung across his back, the whole affair was haphazardly bound with belts and combat webbing, dozens of aquilla shaped buckles shining in the spotlights. He was otherwise clad in a standard pair of loose combat trousers and high laced boots, as best to show off his muscular physique. A waxed moustache dressed a jackal grin on a bald and polished head. Scars crosshatched his body in long ragged scars, some in groups of three and four, and the occasional indentation littered his arms where a foe had taken a chunk of his flesh.

They circled each other, the Xeno twitching its long head side to side, looking at its foe with one eye then the other, claws spread wide, puffing its frills out. Sabastius took little steps, on the balls of his feet, leading with his left shoulder, arms in a high guard. He twitched into action first, a left jab crackling with power. But too slow and was easily dodged. A wild right swing, another miss, the heavy weight of the fist carried him off balance giving the Xeno an opening. It batted the smaller man with the back of its claw and shrieked with triumph as "The Bastion" sailed through the air and landed on the sawdust-laden ground.

The creature pounced upon him and raked mercilessly with its talons, frills billowing and calling out a strange joyous honking. The savage fury of the attack was blunted by the sparking energy field crackling out of the powerfists, but the rage of the Xeno was unabated, it drew back its neck and with mouth wide it made for a killing bite.

The bite never came, the powerfists clamped down on the creatures' jaws, one on the mandible, the other its snout. They wrestled for what seemed like an eternity until with a long slow set of sickening pops and cracks the creatures jaw was unhinged and torn from its socket, the process cracked its vertebrae and it looked up at the human, with an unblinking, unmoving eye. The crowd roared, chanting his name, Sabastius threw his fists in the air. "You want it?" The crowd bellowed. "DO YOU WANT IT?" Sabastius had walked away from the dieing thing as he juiced the adoring crowd, he turned and ran at it, he leapt and smashed his fists down on its head in a overkill double blow that would have cracked a tank, blood and bone splattered the audience, the body was pulped and where the fists touched it, vapourised, the concrete shattered the length of the cage, a six inch depression where the things head had been. Sabastius got up onto one knee and punched the air.

The fight over, the cage was opened. People were invited in to meet Sergeant Sabastius Thorne, to wear his mighty gauntlets -without power cables attached - and have their holo-pict taken with the strongman for half a throne piece, with all proceeds going to St. Drusus Schola Progenium for Ziggurian Millitary Orphans. Yimmy had no money, and the crowd packed in so tight that the man could no longer been seen. With a sigh he turned away.

Picking up a programme that had fallen on the floor, Yimmy looked at what other events were going on. His words weren't very good, but he found one that filled him with a mortal dread and boyish glee: Ork. The headline act in the big top read:

Tonight only! A Glorious Re-enactment of The Victory At BigTooth River! Watch The 1st Immortal Grenadiers Of His Divine light (Ziguran) Replay The Battle With Five-Hundred Orks, LIVE AMMO! LIVE ORKS! First Three Rows May Get Wet!

WITH ORK BLOOD!

Join The Imperial Guard Today! Fun! Adventure! Defend Humanity From The Scum Of The Galaxy!

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The commissar and the alter boy watched the comings and goings of potential recruits, from a high gantry. They said nothing. The alter boy looked up at the commissar with an appraising stare, the commissars view never left the crowds. Behind them in rough sacks four naked girls wrestled against their bonds, the commissar had brought them as asked, thinking himself doing some devout duty.

The alter boy stared long and hard at the officer, thinking. As the alter boy considered recruiting him, the commissar coughed, a long hacking cough. The pretty boys face screwed up in disgust and frustration. Others already had plans for this one.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-20-10, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Sabastius "The Bastion" Thorne had managed to extract himself from the crowd and escaped backstage. He slung his power fists over his shoulder, power cabling tied, his webbing loose and unclasped. He approached the pens and wondered what exactly a Xenos wasn't and more importantly, wasn't. Bastion was a smart enough man to understand that he didn't understand just how complicated the matter was. One breed of grox might be legal, acceptable and as Imperial as a lasgun and guard ration pie. While another breed might be declared, illegal, deviant and foul xeno scum. The 'Registum Abomination' constantly changed too. A particular guild master or noble family might petition the Inquisition, the Ecclesiarchy or another imperial body to have something added or removed from the list. It was a duty of garrison forces to cull excommunicated beasts. Bastion and his crew had leave to 'promote imperial morale and conscription' in the execution of their duties, and the politicking of the guilds and nobles and adeptus meant there was a constant supply of 'xeno' to fulfil their obligation.

Animal Handlers played cards on top of an overturned animal pen, their drakk-armoured jumpsuits stripped down to the waist and arms tied around their middles. Despite their specialist roles, they remained guardsman to the core, as their dog-tags and adherence to the rules attested: Never miss an opportunity for a piss, a meal, or a hand of cards. The pot being played for consisted of a small stack of thrones, a couple of guild credit notes and the big bid of the evening, a freshly signed requisition form for pharmaceuticals from general stores.

"Nice to see the good doctor still can't play a hand of cards to save his life" Bastion said, sitting down on an overturned crate. The round resolved; a low flush to the Chief Handler. The bulky chief excused himself and his winnings, saying he had to ensure that the broodmother xeno didn't give birth to another new litter. His explanation earned him mocking laughter, and a pointed accusation with graphic gestures and an audio commentary about being the reason for the broodmother's apparently constant state of pregnancy.

Bastion produced the charity box for the scholae progenum and emptied it onto the table. Pulling on his moustache with one hand, he arranged the coins into stacks with the other; it had been quite the haul today he mused, it had been almost half full. He took a small handful of coins and pushed them into the middle to buy into the game.

He lost money on a hand with too many face cards. Then another on a hand with too few. Revealing his weak hands that he had bet heavily on convinced the Animal Handlers he was easy pickings. Without a word, but with not so subtle eye contact they began working in concert to squeeze the naive Bastion for every coin he had.

It was exactly what Sabastius wanted and with one good Imperial Straight, he bid high and took everything. After that hand, he had more thrones, payslips and guild credits then the rest combined, it was only a matter of time and safe bets before he had cleaned them out. It was a cheap strategy, good for a single round of cards with someone who doesn't know you well and with eyes their brains and wallets couldn't back up.

Their wages spent they had little choice but to go get back to the working on the xenos, upon whom they took out their misery. Bastion put his winnings into the charity box, now brimming with large denomination coins. A handler, whose losses had been particularly large, looked at him bitterly. Bastion gave his jackal grin. He had a brutal scar extending the side of his mouth, making him look as toothsome as his now dead Xenos foe, "As a child I was kicked out of Scholae. Merchant guild prosperity caused the administratum to increase tithing level, and as a result smaller budgets for classrooms, any guess who was bottom of the class?" The animal handler turned and spat in disgust. Bastion shouted at the man as he left "You can consider yourself patriots!" The man gestured vulgarly. Bastion made his mind up to hit a few more card games and then hand in the winnings to the regimental confessor. He pulled out the illicit prescription that the doctor had written and vowed to speak to him afterwards.

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"Yhimmy J. Mesop" The doctor called out from the office door. A giddy child with sugary hands and a standard issue imperial guard helmet jumped up and saluted. The helmet was so far too large for his head that only his grinning mouth could be seen beneath it and its chinstraps dangled on his skinny chest. The doctor spoke no words; his expression said it all.

The child left the waiting room, leaving a room of equal halves. The first were impressionable teenagers, eager to see other worlds, carnage and serve the emperor. The second category were the desperate and old, those two whom service offered food, money, medical care and hypothetically; a pension. Sinon Ishtar could be singled out as being somewhere between the two groups. His motivations were private, personal, and desperate. But Sinon was not old, though his skin was rough from working the archeotech mines and his lean build reflected his lack of prosperity in that occupation. Sinon, "Sinner" to those who would call themselves his friends, coughed loudly. A single cough became a hacking fit that robbed his lungs of precious air. He wiped the blood-streaked mucus out of his beard with the back of his jacket and waited.

The doctor hurled a torrent of abuse at the small child running from the examination room, helmet flying off to bounce, almost comically across the floor. The man sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Sinon Ishtar, please." He read off the chart. "Thank you, yes, follow, have a seat" His accent was thick, not local Ziggurian. "The child, he is not old enough I think. Guard need men, not boys" He smiled wearily, exposing a mouthful of rotten teeth and primitive iron dentistry.

The doctor was running brisk medical examinations, the criteria for not getting into the Imperial Guard was very low, especially if you were willing to be inducted into the lower order regiments amongst penal legionnaires and conscripts. It was with a hissed intake of breathe that he found the thing that would fail Sinon.

The growths were large, final stage. On the fluoroscope-auspex hair-like tendrils spread through his lungs like featherless wings, there were secondary grows squeezing around his organs, a large bright lesion in his brain was what would kill him with any luck, or at least kill him the quickest. The trio of weeping cysts on his chest, arranged in a triangular fashion marked only the latest growth. Sinon listened to the doctor's long description, the diagnosis and the prognosis; the doctor paused only during the wracking coughing fits. The doctor took a scalpel to some of the growths on his chest, to release the pressure and to take a biopsy to be sure. The Scalpel and biopsy blades were placed in an autoclave in the back of the doctor small surgery, the smell of the liquids so foul that the doctor took note to clean them several times over. In conclusion he said "You would never make it to the front line, and not even the Imperial Guard Medical Corp expertise can help you now" After a pause he added as gently as he could "You… are unfit, and cannot join the… guard"

Sinon was heartbroken, though in truth the doctor had only told him what he was certain of already; he had hoped that maybe the Imperium, with its resources… But it was not to be. And that had a certain finality to it. "What do I do?" he asked.

The doctor tilted his head to one side, thinking carefully before speaking, his breath stinking of strange foreign foods. "I can make some calls to the Sisters of our Martyred Lady, they run a hospice, for imperial guard personnel you understand, they owe me a favour for hiding the impurity of some of their-"

"No. what would you do?" Sinon asked, sizing him up with two bloodshot eyes.

"Bolt slug to back of head." The doctor's reply was quick, honest.

Sinon nodded.

Time passed as the doctor made some calls. Soon enough a man in a long black coat and a high peeked cap knocked on the door. Sinon smiled weakly and offered a salute. The commissar's salute was crisp, respectful. They helped Sinon to his feet, the doctor pinned a small Aquilla to his chest and the commissar held up pair of freshly machined dog tags. In clipped tones, the Commissar led him through the guardsman's oath, he swore it and with that, he was what he desired: Enough of a guardsman for them to give him the Emperor's mercy. They led Sinon out the back of the surgery prefab and down into the dark passageways under the stages, it was cold, damp, trickles of rank water ran down from cracks in the walls.

The doctor nodded and excused himself, he had been too negligent in his duties already he claimed. The commissar slicked back his hair and reapplied his hat. Next he adjusted his footing and drew an oversized pistol, a bolt pistol, hand crafted and inlaid with gilded bone. "Any last words, soldier?" They were rehearsed, and for a moment, Sinon wondered how many soldiers had heard the commissar say them.

"Ave Imperator."

The corner of the commissars mouth turned up in an approximation of a smile, "Ave Imperator" he replied.

The bolt pistol rang out, and darkness descended, overcoming Sinon Ishtar.

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Bastion stepped as quietly as he could into the wings of the stage. A small chapel had been built, like the rest of the Gladatorium it was partly for show, partly practical. In the front; junior priests gave blessings and handed out beaded necklaces with tinny Aquilla pendants for a half-throne or Aquilla pins for a quarter-throne piece. Freshly dispensed guns and breastplates were made holy by application of waxen purity seals trailing prayers scratched on long scraps of paper. The jubilation of the freshly recruited, and the abundance of intoxicants purchased in celebration gave the front half of the chapel a carnival feel. Backstage, the Regimental confessor gave sermon to a full congregation, drawn from the ranks of the regiment.

Bastion waited for the confessor to finish, enjoying the older mans fiery rhetoric. The congregation today were a detachment of commissar cadets, freshly blooded from their passing out parades. They hung on his every word; his preaching was finely tuned to what they wanted to hear. Hatred, anger, the bloody butchering of blasphemous bastards, galactic genocide soaked in gore and glory.

The oratory reached its crescendo, leaving the pale faced teens bellowing and cheering. At that moment they could have been set upon their foes and they would have tried to kill them with their bare hands instead of Bolt Pistol and Chain sword

High in the rafters, cherubs cooed and whispered, those whose form had been constructed to resemble trumpeters began to play. Servitors crafted into depictions of saints lined the walls in shallow alcoves. Amplifiers grafted into their throats began to play a slow, soothing hymnal. The congregation was thanked for their time and encouraged to spread their fire to doubters. Reluctantly the cadets began to file out. A single man, sat in the back row, who had not moved during the proceedings, remained still, his arms at his sides, like a servitor on standby.

Bastion met the confessor at the base of his pulpit. He kneeled and kissed the man's offered hand on the ring finger. The regimental confessor was tall and whipcord thin. His body was encased in spidery pistons and articulated joints, his head bore a bolted-on halo of gold etched platinum, bolts screwed deeply into his skull and held up by pneumatic struts. As a younger man he had been crushed by a tank of the arch-enemy, the support frame was a consequence of his refusal to die. He wore little by way of vestments, his nakedness hidden only by the life support machinery bolted to his abdomen and by the thousands of purity seals applied directly to his skin. A cherub floated down, endlessly droning in childish non-words the first verse of the emperor's prayer. It held in its pincers a long silken cloak and draped it across the old priests' hunchback shoulders. The confessor tied the cloak with a long chain, threaded with the skulls of fallen apprentices. He signalled Bastion to rise.

"As always your words are pitched perfectly. Beautiful alliteration too" Bastion helped the man down the last few steps to the first rows of pews. "Though I would ask to beat that man in back who had the gall to turn his nose up at your prayers," the confessor nodded, but patted Bastion arm. When the old confessor spoke his words were croaked, and oddly paused, as the bellows in the support frame worked to help him breathe, the oratory had exhausted the old man. "No Sabastius. He is a friend of ours," the bellows whined, almost in sympathetic struggle to help the old priest breath, "A... fellow Ziggurian on the path of enlightenment. He alone survived when a world died. He fought the spawn of the warp, of the archenemy," his voice faltered for a moment, but whether it was the machinery or in revered fear Bastion could not tell, "...on a world that the Holy Ordos of the Emperor's Inquisition put to the sword. The Ecclesiarchy has declared him... Holy, two more miracles to his name. And you will be looking at... a Saint."

They walked up the aisle, the confessor resting his arm on Bastion. The Confessor cursed and fiddled with a dial on his life support unit. A hissing motion followed the bellows as it wound down, "He and I have just returned from a meeting with the most Holy Ordos of the Inquisition, and first I want to say, I have old friends in their service, from my wilder youth. You need to find an alternative to your current enterprise. A loop-hole in an agreement betwixt the Ziggurian guard and the Lord Inquisitor says that the guard can dispose of any Xeno's encountered in any way they see fit." the unit bolted to his chest gave a last mechanical whine and fell silent, almost in protest, leaving the old priest to speak unaided, adding an almost mechanical rasp to his voice, "But this fist-fencing business rankles their chains..." He coughed once and cleared his throat, "I was asked for a list of names by my former employer in the Ordo Xenos, names for good, pure-hearted, stubborn, glory-bound warriors, and you my boy were top of the list… I think by his absence another was chosen instead of you. I think it is the Xenos that keep you from greatness." His tone was fatherly, loving but saddened, disappointed. "It's only a matter of time before those involved in the Xenos fights face the displeasure of His Inquisition"

"Secondly, I have an assignment for you. A lesser assignment to whom I can grant at my discretion. So to the warp with them, I'm giving it to you." They paused at the font and Bastion instinctively kneeled in front of the confessor. The confessor continued to talk as he blessed Bastion. "The survivor's purity has been checked at length. They had initially planed to burn him when they finished his interrogation, but a reading of the Tarot says that he has a role to play in things to come, that he will tip the balance in the Emperor's favour in a fight to come. I have persuaded the Lord-General and the High Ecclesiarch to issue him a pardon for his past sins, to rescind his penal sentence and give him a place in the regiment." He paused, drawing an Aquila on Bastions forehead in ash. The blessing was done. "Of course the Inquisition thinks the whole thing is a colossal mistake and he will be the next-archfiend to lead us all into the Cadian Gate of the warp itself, so they took many precautions. He has been mind wiped, tattooed with hexagramic wards and wired with remote activation cranial bombs, plural. You are to be his sergeant and the keeper of his keys. If you think he's anything less than the return of Saint Sabbat herself. Render summary execution. The paperwork is already submitted to the commissariat so it's too late to say no Sabastius." He handed Sabastius a small, dense voxsponder. Bastion turned it over in his hands and clipped it to his waist.

"So shall we meet the holy man, and while were at it, we should make up a name for him shouldn't we? As the inquisition have suppressed his old one" The confessor said with a wheezing chuckle.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-20-10, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Chapter 2

In the tunnels, running through the basements of the Gladatorium another regiment of imperial guard prepared for battle, like actors in the backstage warrens of a theatre. They were not the Illustrious Zigurian Immortals, they were not even free men, and they were entitled Penal Detachment: 349-ѱ. The handlers knew the regiment affectionately as "The Meat Grinder" Theoretically, it was a lesser punishment, as Zigurian justice did not offer a traditional prison sentence, only varying means of atonement in the service of the almighty God-Emperor of Mankind.

Theoretically, the regiment was only 'probably' likely to expire and should they survive their sentence, then they would be welcomed back into the Emperor's good graces and that of Zigurian society, with an enhanced portfolio of skills and experiences. Theoretically was just as unlikely as it sounded, especially in this case, as after a fresh coat of green paint they were to be playing the part of the orks in the re-enactment.

"Live orks my arse..."Karibor Drul tended to talk when nervous, a tendency that as a juve had landed him in trouble frequently, and on the day of his induction into the gang, had got his whole crew in the lockup, and after being hauled in front of an Arbiter Jury / Firing Squad, had landed him a five year stint in the Meat Grinder. Consequently, he hadn't stopped talking since, though he tended to mumble anyone was listening.

"Should have taken the cushy sentence as a juve, instead I stabbed my way to freedom, see they offered me a six year term in the gulag-mines of Akkad. And what with all the breathing mods and gene-bulked muscle they graft on to survive their, you can make a pretty throne when you get back..."He rambled to no one in particular, he was part of a long shackled work-gang, a heavy plasteel chain tied each set of shackles to the next and stretched on into the gloom of the tunnel, and back to the barracks. Maybe five-hundred men and women were tied to it he would have guessed, marching into the darkness of the tunnels.

For the first time in days, he was interrupted, and what shocked him was not the interruption, but that somebody spoke to him.

"Okay. One; that's a trick a friend of mine fell for; six Akkad years is just short of twenty years, its one of the Arbites longest running practical jokes, second the mods are removed when your term is up. So with your mashed organs, you probably will not want to survive. And if you do survive, you'll stink for the rest of your life. Now, the gulags may be a bad hand but servitorisation, now that's an Imperial flush of a hand, depending on your luck, you get a bionic arm, some armour, and best of all they turn your higher brain functions off so you go to sleep and wake up twelve years later. You just close your eyes and do the screaming when they come at you and the buzz saw cuts, not that I'd want them to ruin my good looks with all that metal of course..." The voice was female, though not feminine, he twisted against his shackles to try and see her, tripped and almost knocked over the man in front of him, that made him wonder for a moment what they were marching towards - No one had said.

The girls face was covered in a dozen parallel scars, they scrolled around her eyes, contoured her cheeks and ran down her neck, the scars were fine, controlled, perfectly distanced and personalised to her face. When she saw him looking she flashed a grin. He was able to determine that her teeth were either ground into points or were some crude implant, before he stumbled and was forced to look forward again. She was shaven headed, like the rest of the legion, just blonde stubble, but it looked natural on her and he suspected that it was her gangs' normal hairstyle. He risked another glance and she had ragged scars around her eyes where her eyelids had been excised, giving her eyes a fanatic's stare.

He continued "Um. No way, you do realise that when they cut your brain out, they take away all your thinking parts, so you're stupid when they turn you back on, and that'sif you survive. I got protection money from a factorium as a juve. The place made ammo and had maybe twenty servitors doing the milling and heavy lifting and as part of his tithe the owner would give us parts from the servitors that had been in accidents. At least one of twenty kicked it every month, crashed into something, fell down a mine shaft, and sometimes the green juves would break up servitors as part of their initiation, and that's assuming they don't just send you into some Emperor forsaken battle. The cog boys are running the biggest protection racket out there and collecting from both ends, I wouldn't trust anything they suggested!"

Part of running with a gang, any gang was knowing who and what else was out there, and while he talked he desperately scoured his memories, but he couldn't remember a ritual scarification like that. A cold dread settled in his guts, his back to an unknown ganger-girl with a scary face, the corner of his mouth twitched nervously and almost without knowing it, he began talking again. He talked about other punishments he had heard the Arbites deal out. Conscription into the light infantry regiments, violent offenders only though, no philanders or thief's or anything like that. He'd once heard that the Star Children, the semi-mythical space marines chapter that lurked in the Warpstone anomaly skimmed the cream of the crop of the arbites trials, but only the most disturbed psychopaths, the most violently strong-willed were taken, Karibor Drul didn't think that it was likely, and he said so.

Up ahead, someone fell and the line began to queue behind them. Drul twitched again, he had heard about a chain-mob where someone had fallen and then been dragged miles, when they stopped, just his arms had remained, or at least that's what he heard. He was about to say this when he felt hot breath on his neck, he imagined her predator grin, the razor teeth, the insanity in her eyes. "You talk a lot ganger-boy" She whispered in his ear in smooth, almost cultured tones that threatened violence. He shuddered "You won't make a good Ork, Ganger-boy," she was whispering, almost lovingly to him, "I wonder though, are you a good human, hmm? Tell me of your love Ganger-boy."

She pressed up against him casually, resting her arms on his shoulders she slowly snaked a hand down, over his heart and dug her fingers in. Drull twitched uncomfortably. "I.. I've... I Like you but-" He spluttered and stopped as she released her grip on his chest and her arms whipped back, her shackles wrapped around his neck, he found himself pulled in tight, the top of his head on her chest, looking straight up into her face. "NO!" She looked like she had lost herself for a moment, she looked around, eyes darting, then looked back at him. The edges of his vision began to fade to black. He was whispering but she couldn't hear him, delivering upon the violent edge in her voice, "Tell me of your love for our beloved God Emperor." All he could manage was a gurgle, Drull realised he would die, and he couldn't get a word out about it.

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"No. Don't look. Don't turn." The voice came from behind him, drawling with phlegm and other, mischievous bad humours. A hand patted his shoulder with a semblance of reassurance; some terrible substance ran down his shirt, leaking from the patting hand.

Sinon "Sinner" Ishtar found himself sitting on the damp floor of the tunnel, something wet, powerful squatted behind him, something awful. The corpse of the commissar lay mangled and mutilated in front of him, a tribute to the thing's abhorrent nature.

"See... see what you did? Oh no, don't get me wrong, I did the leg work on our poor commissar here, but this is your doing... Tch. Tch. Tch." The thing clucked its tongue in such a way Sinon could only envision a mouth full of decaying fangs casually oozing out of a lipless maw, a worm tongue dripping with mucus and foul comedy.

"Nope, not even close. Don't even try... you'll damage yourself Sinner, and I need your head more or less intact... which leads us nicely to the problem of the day." The voice chuckled.

A gust of cold air blew through the hole in his head, brain matter in shades of pink and grey splattered the tunnel walls. Sinon felt cold.

Something reached out and dragged the commissar into the shadow. "Waste not, want not, papa always said... I wonder... if he'll fit" wet, crunching, squelching noises exuded from the darkness. Sinon flinched. "I said no looking!" the thing shouted.

"So we need to formalise our agreement. See you called me out, when you got sick and begged, and man you know how to beg my good sinner, let me tell you! But this whole hole in the head situation requires a positively bureaucratic solution." Shadows swayed and the thing moved from behind him, it lurched from one leg to the other in the possessed body of the dead commissar. It grinned wildly before collapsing against the wall and sliding down to the ground. The creature picked up one of its legs and lightly tossed it over the other, crossing them in a jovial fashion. "How do I look? Good? Do my metastasises look big in this? No? Oh well... let's get down to the bottom line..."

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Karibor Drul, the talkative penal legionare, did what he had thought impossible. He breathed in deeply, as is it were his first ever breath. It was glorious; the air was warm and sweet.

Drul awoke soaking wet, hot water hit his skin hard, the tiles he lay on turned the spray of water into hot mist. He opened his eyes; the world was bathed in shades of green, lithe bodies danced in front of him. He mumbled under his breath as he righted himself, sitting up, leaning against a tile wall behind him.

A figure moving in front of him slowly moved into a fearful focus. The scary girl whose hands last been around his precious throat, the thought of it caused him to involuntarily gag on the sweet warm air.

About fifty penal legionnaires were in the chamber, densely packed, though they gave Drul and the girl a wide birth. It was a washroom, heavily modified, all the cubicles and toilets and lockers had been ripped out and large hoses bolted onto the ceiling. The water streaming out was a dark, verdant green. Dye, he realised.

Most all the other legionnaires were partially dressed or stripped to the waist, reluctantly allowing the dye to soak in under the watchful eyes of officers with guns slung in the crook of their arms. But the girl spun round in gleeful circles, chanting and kicking puddles. She was manic and he realised with a panicked thought, he had caught her eye.

"Hey! Ganger-boy! You're not dead! Maybe you will make a good ork!" She walked up to him, looming over him, with a twitched motion she crossed her hands, making the sign of the Aquilla. He realised the backs of her hands were tattooed with half Aquilla's, so that when they made the sign they actually depicted the imperial eagle. Her body he realised was covered in hundreds, maybe thousands of tattoos, different styles and inks and patterns and he realised finally and worst of all he was staring at his would be killer's naked body. If she noticed this she made no sign of it. Her eyes were rolled upwards, into her skull, hands clasped over her chest. Praying, he mused.

She nodded and hunched down in front of him, her head inches away from his, her arms wrapped around her knees. "You are so lucky! The Emperor says you're joining me on the crusade, and that though you're a horrible criminal, your doubts will be washed away when we kill the angels. Your pale, you haven't been rubbing the green in. I had a pet grot once, little ork thing, vicious, captured it with a sandwich baited box-trap, kept it in a cage, had to mush it underfoot, I called it Gretchen. Your pale yellow-green just like him. I'm gonna call you Gretchen." She nodded again and talked to herself under the nozzle of the shower-hose.

Karibor "Gretchen" Drul found himself shivering, he edged away from the girl, and she didn't seem to notice.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-20-10, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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Chapter 3

[Please note: has yet to be edited by my beta reader, in the mean time please bare with me for any errors.]

Inside the Confessors bedroom the bitter citrus and metallic copper smell of burning magicks filled the room, its occupants occupying impossible states of unlife, undeath. Organs functioned devoid of blood supply and heads gouged of eyeballs saw without them. The song of the Altar Boy powered the collapsing bubble of unreality, though the exertion of doing so had taken its toll on his small form, his power ebbing as he died.

Hips and shoulders popped out of joint under the Confessors indelicate ministrations. The tantalizing touch of flensing blade peeled back abdominal flesh and glistening gossamer membrane. Trails of purple viscera, trailing loops and coils of intestine decorated the walls like bunting flags.

The Confessor put down his needle and thread, and with infinite care took a gently pulsating agglutination of organs from a profane alter of his creation, its components cut from his congregation. He looked down upon them; of the four girls, three lay in rapturous poses, their taught teenage bodies glistening with blood and sweat and stranger things, their abdomens bloated and distended as if heavily pregnant. Rough hewn stitches ran across their bellies, bulging gaps between the stitches exposed unthinkable, inhuman shapes.

The fourth and final girl lay bound by her ropes, her abdomen spread wide and pinned back with callipers. She twisted against her bonds, her eyes screwed tightly shut against the horror of her own flesh. The confessor squatted down between the girl and the remains of the Alter Boy, cradling the thing of stolen flesh in his arms, gently cooing to it.

It moved.

It twitched, and gently mewed.

The Altar Boy sat, slightly slumped, against the bed chambers wall, he smiled as he was presented with the thing, and leaning forward with difficulty he kissed it reverently on its crown. The alter boy's flesh had formed much of the bulk of four such creations now, his chest and abdomen were empty, black and clotted blood pooled in the empty cavities and over the carpeted floor. His flesh remained animated only by his failing magick.

The Confessor dipped a hand into one of the congealing puddles in the Altar Boys abdomen and daubed a star upon the things crown. With the care of a deranged midwife, unhinged and reversed, he eased the thing into the final girl through the wound in her spread abdomen. She screamed with the terrible knowledge of it.

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She struggled to live. The Altar Boy's song had finished and with it, his magick enchantment. The Confessor's metal frame was once again bound to his bones, the vital life support systems without which he could not live were once again bound to his organs with no sign or symptom that they had ever been removed. She struggled to breathe.

The Confessor and the other girls stared down at her, their expression contemptuous. The females forms were perfect, no longer did stitches or wounds ruin their bellies. Their beautiful bodies were clothed in grotesque parodies of novice robes; the tunics could barely contain their flesh, heavy swells of oversized breasts pressed down upon their midriff buckles and from bellow the straining buckle, bare and swollen abdomens protruded. Half lidded eyes looked at one another and pouting lips pursed in post orgasmic ecstasy, they held each other's hands demurely like shy apprentices. The occasional ripple of flesh, a claw like hand print pushing out from their abdomens hinted at the sinister nature of their pregnancies.

She lay on the floor, struggling to breathe. Her stitches were half dissolved, incompletely transformed. The thing that had been put in her didn't move.

The girls huddled closely to the Confessor. One leaned in close, pressing her chest sordidly against his exo-frame and whispered in his ear. He nodded sadly. He took the metal loop of keys from the corpse of the Altar Boy.

"... We'll be with you soon my boy..." he sniffed, allowing tears to roll down his cheek. "I miss your voice so much already... yes. Time to give a speech, eh? Time to rouse God's army, eh? Oh, I hope Sabastius will find the true god... Oh he will, I'll use the gifts you gave me..." One of the novice girls bent forward and caught a tear with a finger and allowed the other girls to taste it. His voice was ever so slightly changed, slightly too smooth, a touch too silky. He bent down with difficulty and kissed the corpse on its forehead. He turned to her "If the child survives... join us at the proving grounds... if not... well your just pointless aren't you?"

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The girl was left alone in the shadowy bed chamber. The tapestries no longer impossibly billowed in the still air, the candles flickering flames were a mundane yellow, and the world was utterly mundanely real once again. She tried to prop herself up, agonisingly slowly she managed to pull herself onto her side. Her name was Cadet Arice Sumeria. Dragging herself up she pulled herself into a sitting position against the wall, her body felt strange to her, numb and bloated, her abdominal skin stretched so tight she was terrified it would burst. She was terrified of what might come out more than the damage rupturing might do to her. Casting about Arice pulled at a tablecloth covering a small table stand; candle holders, coins and a collection plate tumbled down. She wrapped the tablecloth around her shoulders; it did little to hide her nakedness.

Her mind was spinning, she forced herself not to think about the nightmare of what had just happened, she didn't understand exactly what had happened and had to struggle not to try to want to understand.

She screamed.

It was primal, a cathartic release, she screamed until she was horse and only a whimper escaped her throat. A sob escaped her throat, and she hated herself for it.

Cadet Arice Sumeria was a guardsman. A cadet, freshly signed up and ready to be decamped to basic training. Ready to fight. Ready to kill. Ready to be engaged in specialist training in flamers and heavy flamers, she had been looking forward to that so much. She banged her head on the wall behind her, an action that caused the head of the corpse of the Altar boy to roll towards her, its jaw hung loose. She banged her head again, realising that she been thinging in the past tense, had assumed that her dreams were shattered, that she had given in.

"beslubber that" She whispered. It felt good to resist, in a way that she hadn't been able to when she had been bound and gagged.

"beslubber THAT!" She screamed.

The Confessor and the other girls, she assumed that they had been cadets too, had given in to the evil magick's of the Altar Boy. The Confessor was a holy man, a strong and powerful, wilful man, how had he gone from that to the simpering psychopath that had carved a monstrous thing from her flesh? Had the Altar boy been some weak chink in his mental armour, or had he simply worn him down over time? Her memory grew hazy when she thought about how she had come to be bound and gagged. She had been talking to a regimental Commissar... and then nothing. What made her so special? Why had she been chosen out of anyone at the recruitment drive? She thought maybe the others had been there, when she had been talking to the Commissar. Why wasn't she zombified like the others? Had his spell just stopped before her soul could be consumed by whatever evil had consumed theirs? Would she yet be consumed by it? Was she special in some way that allowed her resistance to evil? She was no more or less pious than any other girl in the convent... The Confessor didn't to seem to see her as a threat.

"beslubber That." No longer a cry of distress, it was a statement of intent.

She was a threat to them, she was Cadet Arice Sumeria of the Imperial guard, an oath bound soldier of the emperor himself, an warrior bound to slaughter the unholy and they were... they were no longer human, evil, other... the arch-enemy. The things whispered about in chapel, the unnamed heretics of religious texts... they were going to spread their evil, to the other cadets.

"beslubber that" the whisper was a mantra, a prayer, an oath. She needed take action.

She needed to get up, get out and let an officer know what was happening, a commissar would be good, she needed a weapon and clothes. She struggled to pull herself up on the table stand, knocking the corpse of the Altar Boy over, one of his mutilated hands brushed against her leg, making her cry out and stomp at it.

Holding herself tall she struggled to regain her equilibrium, her great distended abdomen and swollen bust pulled her forward. In the corner of the room a small pile of sacks, ropes and cadet uniforms laid discarded. She stepped unsteadily towards them.

Something caught her leg. It was the arm of the corpse of the Altar Boy.

Her breath caught in her throat, her eyes darted to his face. His eyes stared, unseeing. She pulled her leg free of dead things accidental grip, but she never turned her back on the corpse while she pulled on the clothes.

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Outside the incense clouds and smoky coils of the Confessors Bed Chamber the air felt crisply cold. The cadet uniform had fitted so well that morning, been slightly loose across the shoulders and back, slightly too tight at the waist where the supply officer told her she would put on hard packs of muscle and strip of her 'puppy fat' as he had called it. Now it was perverse, she struggled to keep two thirds of her flesh covered, either her pregnant belly spilled out like some fat old adept whose damaged and enlarged liver stuck out in front of him, or she revealed so much bust that she was sure people would think her a... harlot, as the mistress of her old convent had called them, a lady of the evening her precious remembrancers books would have said.

She blushed angrily as she stormed up the stairwell and along the backstage area of the chapel, with less confidence than she had fancied herself having; she walked up to one of the servitors made in the form of Saint Cain and took from its scabbard his chainsword. It was a prop, ancient and non-functional, little more than a heavy iron club, its cutting teeth blunt and unmoving, but it was a weapon, and it might even have been blessed at some point.

Leaving the chapel by its big main entrance, she found herself looking up at the great sweep of the domed roof. It was cracked and holes wept a steady cascade of rubble. A clatter of what she knew must be gunfire in the distance. Dead bodies littered the floor. Something had gone dreadfully wrong in the giant arenas of the gladatorium.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-29-10, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-30-10, 05:10 AM
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Don`t be discouraged. Sometimes it takes a while for a fic to be noticed. Especially as a new writer to the forum.

You`ve done well though, mistakes in grammar and spelling are minimal, the story flows quite well and is an interesting change from most IG stories.

Keep going.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-30-10, 05:15 PM
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Did you write all of this at once and post each chapter on a different post?

Just like Serpion5 said, just because no one has commented on it, doesn't mean that anyone is not going to read it. Oh, welcome to the fan-fic forums!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-12-10, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
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Been writing it for a while... the hard part is of course, getting people to read your stuff
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