Viasperon's Story - Chapter 7?
I hope people like. I'm trying to improve as a writer, so all comments and criticism are always appreciated. - AndyG.
“You do know how, don’t you?” she enquired, her voice not quite reflecting the doubts in her mind.
The whisper of the Enchanter grated as he replied: “You came all this way to the Lower Quadrant to tell me that I don’t know what I’m doing, Lady Diadex? "You could have done that from one of your vaulted halls, or during your quiet intrigues to the Houses. No, you came to me as I am only one of few who can do what you ask.”
“Spare me the bargaining, artisan. You are already getting a very good price for your skills, so why not start putting them to some use? You are being paid to craft, not to waste your breath.”
“The skill lies not in what the hands can do, but what the mind creates of the materials...if the raw item is poor, no amount of workmanship can make it into something great...”
“They are from a Genestealer, a leader of it’s kind, a foe-to-all. You should thank me that I did not bring it back alive, lest it tear your head from your shoulders during your work: I understand their race is rather fond of doing that kind of thing to anyone who possesses less arms than themselves.”
“Well, Lord Kheradruakh should be safe from them, then, but there would be a sense of irony...” he replied, his voice bereft of mirth, stopping himself from saying any more, knowing that to even just speak the name of the Decapitator was death in most places.
Slowly unwrapping the package, his practised eyes roved over the items. “It will take some time, but it can be done” he added quickly, returning to the task at hand, lest the rumours about his employer’s contacts prove to be correct after all.
“In the meantime, why not tell me about how you came by these pieces?” The timbre of his voice had changed in tempo considerably as their identity sank and his spidery fingers excitedly explored the remains of the skeleton...’Almost intact! Perhaps I can keep some of the leftovers for myself?’
The feel of a triple-bladed knife at his throat told him that he had made a mistake somewhere and he felt the unfamiliar sense of panic wash over him, thinking: ‘Is this just another intrigue?’
Her soft breath lingered across the lobe of his left ear as she leant into him and murmured: “No intrigue, I assure you. I will indulge your cravings for rare materials and also your desire for information, master-smith, but do not voice your thoughts again; the next time you do, someone else will have a new set of bones to play with.”
The blades withdrew from his skin and the click of her boots on the flagstones of his small foundry told him that she had taken up residence in one of his workshop’s chairs; daring to glance over to her, with a sigh of relief he saw that she had not taken one of the booby-trapped ones.
“Since it is mine to share, the story will be as long or as short as I make it, but I assume that the item would be finished by the time I cease.” It was not a question.
Summoning the favourite of his Wracks, Elishera’s work began in earnest, but he was unable to keep the tapping of her toes -nor the thoughts of what would inevitably follow if the item was unready when the sound stopped- out of his head as he began his greatest work.
On the bridge of the Deus Fortuna, Captain Shandler recoiled from the viewscreen as through struck by an object. Turning to Chief Steersman Krantz, he bellowed: “What do you mean ‘Now it’s gone’ ? Find it again! Emperor only knows what’s out there...”
It had been three days since their Astropath died; now, stranded on the return journey of their route, cargo holds fully laden with machine parts for the Army, their progress had been slowed to a crawl. Stuck in orbit in the Malifex system, they were waiting for clearance to land on the fourth planet.
“There! There it is again off the port bow!” Helmsman Cortez shouted.
“Bring the guns to bear just in case Armsmaster, I don’t want to be caught unawares.”
“Aye sir!” Cortez replied. Thought the frighter was not substantially-armed, Shandler had refitted the Fortuna to carry more guns than her class usually allowed; a fact that had saved their hides on more than one occasion and Cortez was confident of the crew’s abilities in a crisis.
Cries of alarm rang out from all crew stations as the viewscreen showed a portion of empty space expanding and bubbling outwards, warping the crew’s view of the stars around it before disappearing just as quickly, calming the crew’s nerves. His eyes told him that the space between the stars had darkened for that instant, but his rational mind overrode it as he knew that such a thing was impossible.
Assistant Steersman Raichek shouted: “Multiple contacts on the starboard side from the third moon, Captain...different signals to just now...Emperor, there’s a dozen of them! Diverting power to scanners, but they’re not any configuration I’ve ever seen.”
Usually, by now the crew would have been engaged plotting several different courses out of the system but, with warp-navigation now impossible, even the risk-taking Captain Shandler was reluctant to order the ship into the aether-realm, lest it remain adrift forever.
These new contacts had remained invisible by using the moon for cover, but they seemed to move as one –almost like a shoal of fishes- towards the Fortuna and the planet below.
“Get those scanners to maximum; let’s see what these hostile are” Shandler ordered but, as the images resolved on-screen, he almost wished he’d never given the command. Not only did the ships move like animals, they also looked like animals...perhaps shellfish or molluscs? Also, other things advanced in their wake, bearing whipping tentacles and gigantic hooked beaks that looked like they could rend adamantium and which also no doubt bore cargo just as deadly...yet each of the beasts must have been several miles long.
Almost the whole crew stood stark in terror for nearly a minute, but Cortez was the first to shake himself as he gave the only viable order: “Get us down to that planet right now; I don’t care about clearance, the Tyranids are here!”
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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