Viasperon's Story - Chapter 6?
Continuing the saga...comments and criticisms always appreciated. - AndyG.
“So, tell me again: what use have I for you..?” The chilled voice of Lady Diadex cutting through the cool night air just like the ornate husksabre that she wore unsheathed at her side. Though she wore a crimson high-collared coat, her bare legs and the exquisitely designed slashes through her clothing made sure she had no proof against breeze, yet it's tailoring deftly hid a myriad of stilletto knives and garrottes...The Sharp Lady was never unprepared or defenceless and even her hair held razorblades and envenomed needles.
Kneeling before her on the cool granite, he kept his voice low as he replied:
“I know that the blade at your waist was made from the twisted spine of a Broodlord that you slew during their insurgency on Malifex IV...I forget which Tyranid exactly, but then they all look the same to me. I know that your lieutenant is actually your lover and that you plucked out their eye during passion. I also know that your last husband, rot his soul, died under the blades of your now-deceased brother, High Lord Garillan.”
The identity of her husband’s slayer was new information, but Lady Diadex did not show it in either her facial expression or her perfect stance: knowledge was power and she always kept her feelings closer than even the deadliest enemy. “Yes, rot his soul indeed, though I can scarcely believe even She would find anything worthy in that particular morsel.”
Turning back to her informant, nodding slowly but with the contempt dripping from her words: “I have no need for unskilled people...anyone could have found out this information...and I have no need for anyone who bears old news. I already knew the last part, of course.”
“Yes, but when Garillan reported his initial failure, you still paid his handsome reward anyway, did you not?” Viasperon made sure his reponse held a little quaver at the end, as though unsure of his information, but he was certain that the ex-High Lord had not been lying: torturers lived at every corner of the Dark City, yet truth serum was extremely highly-prized and this last dose he purchased had cost him the equivalent of a whole squadron of Venom anti-gravity transports.
“You forget: As his wife, I saw the resulting panic and mortal fear in his eyes every day and night; it was nectar to my soul even for weeks afterwards. The first attempt was enough; evidently it meant that the old fool’s paranoia left the door open for the later success. Either way, his days were already numbered and he was as good as dead.”
“I agree, my Lady: he stood in your way and it was only fitting that you trampled upon his dreams. This is why I am here: allying my Kabal with yours is the only way to ensure my safety but, even in my situation I would not bow the knee to just anyone. Our pride is remarkable compared to that of the galaxy’s other races and I have never claimed to be free from it’s clutches...”
The slight hissing rasp of bone against leather stopped his words of fealty...the unmistakeable sound of Diadex’s much-vaunted weapon leaving her belt. Though he would have preferred to keep his head cast downwards, Viasperon felt the tip of the blade beneath his chin, forcing him to rise to his feet to avoid being impaled through the neck; one centimetre further and his Kabal would be needing a new leader.
Looking along the ossified remains of the King-Genestealer, Viasperon’s gaze travelled to her delicate left hand which held the blade between just the thumb and forefinger. It was a vulgar display of power which he would normally have sneered at (after all, they both knew she had much more influence). Yet -with his arteries at the mercy of the bonesword’s razorpoint- Viasperon had to agree that it was a very effective tactic.
“You speak of an alliance as though you are an equal...perhaps once we might have married and bound our Houses together but, as you say, there has been a reversal of fortunes over the decades and inevitably you have come grovelling for scraps at my table. I wonder how many of your followers are worthy? Two hundred? Or maybe only 5 per cent of them?”
Seeing anger flash in his eyes, Lady Diadex continued: “Do my words chafe, Viasperon, Archon of the Kabal of nothing..? If you had a weapon now, would you seek to strike me down for them? Hate is easy to come by in the Dark City yet, uncontrolled, it serves the user nothing; you yourself know that a beast with no master achieves naught but a miserable death. Is that to be your fate, pawn?”
Lady Diadex watched as cold reality sank into his bones and the fire in his eyes sputtered and died right in front of her...if not for the situation, she would have indulged his request and (barring mishap) accepted his loyalty for at least the next ten years just because of the memory of this moment as she drank in his pain. Her smile widened as he began to move slowly back, deliberately catching (but not breaking) his skin along the blade until his skin was free of it’s barbs and she laughed as his lips kissed the very tip of the sword before he answered.
“I have little you would need, except the skill and guile which had kept my Kabal prominent for over seven hundred years. Now perhaps all we can offer is to fulfil the role of being extra bodies to expend in your wars against the other Noble Houses. But I see nothing but good things for my role beneath your feet, my Darkling Princess.”
The last sixteen words were an historical honorific, handed down the ages from his teachers: Just like his Kabal, they were a relic of the past and had also been forgotten by many amongst his race (and overlooked by most of the few who still remembered it), but the words were still supposed to count for something in the current times.
Though it had grated against his sense of devious planning, the words had been his last card to play and all he could do now was to rely on something that he had not known for nearly a millennia: the newness of the sensation of it powered through him and energised him like a fine wine...hope was not something he had ever aspired to and -if he survived- he knew he would have to brutally suppress it once again.
Urgently trying to trace any living relatives of Private Sam/Samuel "Jock" Wilson (Black Watch, No. 6 Commando, UK Army Service ID 2764432, died 10.06.44). Any info/suggestions gratefully received.
"Mockles! Pent on silpen tree, blockards three a-feening. Mockles! What silps came to thee, in thy pantry, dreaming?"
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