Been a while since I was here but sadly, I have returned. Yes, yes...I know. Please keep the moans and bricks to yourselves..for now
! As I haven't really worked on writing in a while, I've been gradually working myself back into it in an attempt to a. improve my writing skills and b. well..see 'a'! Below is a recent project that I've been thinking about involving a member of my nilla chapter. This part is towards the end of it (well most of it...there are a few fiddly bits o pages that I'm not putting up yet lol..don't exactly want to ruin the whole ending now do we?
). The idea is to follow the life of said marine as he meanders his way towards his death. So, without further ado, I present:
Satake Toshiro pounded down the dimly lit winding corridor, passed flickering luminators and rusting pipes as he made his way deeper to the heart of the geo-thermal facility beneath the mountain city of Callix. This far under the surface the hallways were stifling. Sweat ran in rivulets down scars that marred his craggy features as he ran. The oppressive heat came from magma vents deep below in the planet’s core. The raging inferno's energy was shunted through the snaking pipes surrounding him and into the waiting turbines above, feeding power to the city‘s many industries. In places steam seeped through weak joins in need of repair, adding to the muggy atmosphere. The thickness of the air combined with the realization that miles of rock separated him from the open sky triggered a passing sense of claustrophobic unease in the space marine. It reminded him all too easily of the cramped gantries and crawlways of a star ship, a place many astartes found uncomfortable. He shook his head, clearing the random thoughts that clung to his mind like cobwebs as he set himself to the task at hand.
Pushing his heightened senses to their fullest, he listened for signs of pursuit. The harsh sound of ceramite boots ringing on heavy steel mesh flooring and the constant ping of the auspex slaved to his wrist filled his ears. Each tolling chime coming from the small device alerted him that he drew nearer to his destination. He slowed his pace, coming to a stop. It seemed foolish but he stood brazenly in the center of the hall, his breathing slowing as he prepared to start the chase again. He knew he couldn’t get too far ahead if the trap was to work. His quarry had to follow him to the end.
“Emperor, give me strength,” he whispered to himself, praying fervently that the plan would work.
As Toshiro waited, his hand tightened around the grip of his katana out of habit; knuckles cracking in unison as he tensed, preparing himself for what was to come. His bolter lay clamped at his side, the ammunition for the ancient weapon having long been spent. Little more than dead weight, Toshiro still could not bring himself to part with the relic. It was old. The battered casing had seen battle in no less than a hundred hands across thousands of worlds in the span of its life. It seemed a shame that such a thing should be lost to the chapter but he hoped the raging spirit would appreciate dying alongside the man who had wielded it with honor for so many centuries. In his other hand, he cradled a jury-rigged detonator as one would something precious. The small tube barely fit in his armored glove but the promise of hope carried inside the crudely-made device made it worth more than all of the treasures of the Imperium at that moment to him.
Had it had been happenstance that he had ended up on this world, so far from his home and his chapter? No…it was more than that. Something inside told him that he was here for a reason. The Emperor worked in ways beyond the ken of men and, perhaps, this was a manifestation of his holy will. His mind traced the train of events that had led him here as he waited for sounds of his pursuers.
In his time he had seen the galaxy from one end to the other, traveling across the bleak emptiness of space, spanning the width and breadth of the Imperium; all so that he might remove the black mark of failure that stained his soul. In order to make right the wrong, Toshiro had taken up the path of the wanderer. It was an ancient rite of the Void Stalkers, granted to those who felt they had been found wanting in their duties to the chapter and the Emperor. He had traveled to the former home world of his chapter, Kyo-to, in search of one of the chapter’s venerated relics. The planet had long been lost to the followers of the dark god of Chaos and it was seen as the highest form of honor for one to bring back something lost on that blighted world.
Few would have thought it possible that he would have returned after nine centuries but he had. He had been pulled along like a leaf set loose in a running stream, his sense of duty to humanity taking him down a meandering path that eventually had led him to Kyo-to. So long had he been away. It had been nothing short of a miracle that he had escaped Kyo-to with the relic spear in tow and his return had been celebrated by the chapter.
Still, in all those years, Toshiro had come to realize he was no longer what he once was. There was no place for him anymore amongst brothers he had not seen in nigh on a thousand years. The faces he had known were dead and gone, lost to the Imperial war machine and the machinations of time. So much had changed in his centuries of wandering. He was a warrior out of time, a relic himself, from a forgotten age; not unlike the naginata he had brought back with him. Even his suit of power armor had been turned over to a new bearer well before he had stepped once again on the soil of the chapter’s new home of Mardisia, as was the tradition amongst the Angels Obsidian. If an astarte did not return in the alloted time of five hundred years for his quest for redemption, the armor was passed on to the next available neophyte who had made it to the rank of samurai.
"No, not Angels Obsidian" he reminded himself.
Satake found himself opening wounds once again as his mind wandered. Void Stalkers... The words tasted like ash, thick and cloying, as he spoke them to himself. No longer did his chapter bear the honored colors of the Lion, nor any symbol to mark their proud Dark Angel heritage. In the place of bone and deep jade, the colors of deep amethyst and gold now covered their blessed suits. The chapter had grown as well in his absence. The previous chapter master had taken in the broken remains of two different chapters who themselves bore not the seed of Lion El'Johnson. They had, however, kept to the teachings of the great Morimoto. The warrior's path was still strong amongst the members of the chapter, even if it did seem to Satake that they had lost their way. It was the culmination of these events that had seen to it that he had taken to the path of the wanderer once again so soon after his return to his brothers. All of this had brought him to Dnoth and the city of Callix and had made him witness to the horrors of Chaos once more.
He had watched helplessly from the rocky heights above the city as the marauders, bent on reaping death and destruction, tore their way through those unlucky enough to be caught in their path. The city’s inhabitants had fled in fear from the coming tide of darkness that had swept its way across Callix, scouring the city of life. The small force of Chaos raiders had landed in screaming pods from the sky, smashing their way through the local defense force stationed in the capital of Dnoth VI, taking the city by surprise. The PDF had been little more than chattel, culled at the leisure of fell astartes. Rage had filled the old warrior at the sight of so much wanton devastation. He did not know why they were there, but he knew the why didn't matter. The ways of Chaos were unpredictable…random, like a sudden summer storm that forms from thin air only to burn itself out in moments, leaving in its wake broken lives.
The discordant clank of heavy ceramite on steel filled the corridor, alerting Toshiro his hunters were close behind now. Pulled from his brief reverie, he began to run again, making sure that he made enough noise in passing to mark his path. He could hear them as he turned to the left, down a side juncture that led to another hazy hallway. They chased him as one would an animal, without remorse, bent on the kill. From behind came the bark of a bolter, the gun’s roar filling the narrow hallway with its angry report. Shrapnel peppered his armor as the bolt missed its intended target, detonating instead nearby inside the myriad tangle of steam pipes, sending hot vapor spilling out around him. The sound of cursing voices could be heard along with jeers as Satake continued on, obscured for the moment by steam pouring from the shattered pipe.
“Come now little brother! Let us stop all this running! It is unseemly for a lap-dog of the Corpse-Emperor to take flight from his enemies. Do you not wish to die with honor?” came the venom-laced call from behind. Stepping to the fore, the speaker raised his combi-bolter and took aim once more. His armor oozed with the mutated corruption brought on by countless millennia in the Warp. Dark sigils burned their way across the old suit of tactical dreadnought armor, their sight enough to send weaker men in to paroxysms of madness as they moved like molten steel across the bearer’s frame. The sound of laughter followed the armored giant as his men moved in behind their leader. Each bore the stain…the taint of the hellish void where daemons and black gods made their home. Horns and spikes of black iron adorned power armor the color of dried blood, marked with the eight-pointed star of a follower of the dark gods and the fire-ringed skull of the hated fallen legion known as the Word Bearers.
Toshiro took no time to reply, keeping his pace. Looking to the auspex, he could see that he was almost there. All he needed was to make it the last few meters to the central core. Ahead, the welcoming sight of the armored bulkhead marking generator's core room beckoned, its open doors called to him; pushing him on. White pain filled his vision as the traitor’s bolter spoke once more, the round tearing his arm off at the shoulder; sending it spinning through the doorway and into the core. The auspex on it chimed three times to note that his destination had been reached. Toshiro stumbled across the grating as the impact sent him sprawling. He raised his remaining arm, pushing off against the wall as he tried to steady himself. Hot blood spurted from the open wound, painting the walls of the hallway in a deep red spray. His body, reacting to the trauma inflicted on it, began releasing cells to clot the flow of blood. It was in vain. The terrible wound would take more than that to seal it shut. Had he been in his suit of power armor in place of the lighter ashigaru armor, the round would have done little damage. However, the modified scout armor could not stop the sheer power of the bolt round. Toshiro lurched forward, pushing with his last reserves of strength as he crossed the threshold...
Good luck and good gaming,