The Undying Life of Anvil Thawn
Chapter 1: Pragmatism is a Heavy Flamer
What do you know: war is hell, peace is hell and that whole waiting for your turn to die in the time in between is damned near a burned black spot on the ground worse than either.
His heavy boot kicked shut the temporary shelter door shut on the confused and frightened dirty faces of the survivors of the demonic incursion on Valencia VIII. He didn't bother pausing to wonder if the building would take to flame. He knew it would. He didn't bother trying to feel pity for the civilians now trapped inside that structure or any other of the hundreds like it set up in rows and rows around the spaceport. Their lives were damned by fate and by demons and and by Inquisitor Morello and by the unfortunate efficacy of the sight of their eyes. You can't unsee a secret. He set their world on fire.
At the countless other shelters around the space port, shut down and monitored by a menacing looking Inquisition ship hovering a few hundred yards above the ground, other Acolytes were doing the same. Some preferred other forms of weaponry. Amongst the screams and shocked cries and innumerable desperate bargains being offered through the din for mercy being swiftly cut off he could hear the pops of grenades, the rattle of weapons fire, the buzzing of not just a few chainswords, as some servants of the Inquisitor surely delighted in feeling the splatter of righteousness on their skin. The air was starting to smell like the Emperor's justice. The air was starting to smell like the fuel of his heavy flamer. The atmosphere on Valencia VIII roiled with the smoke and stink of the burning flesh of demons and the unfortunate ones who both saw the horror of the minions of Chaos and witnessed the arrival of the silver armored Knights who had descended from the cold of space to do away with them.
When you do away with the physical manifestations of Chaos, the creatures who emerge from the Warp, the corruption still lingers. The treasures on this planet were too precious to blast the hulk to rubble from space, Morello had intoned to him. He stalked the perimeter of the shelter, flamer belching fire into the walls, turning matter into ashes, burying knowledge that few in the whole of the Imperium could know in a black pile of silent dust. In the struggle for the survival of humanity, there are no innocents. There are very, very few lives that can not be expended quickly, without remorse, should the need arise. He knew definitively his was not one of them. He wondered if even Morello's would be saved if his life stood in the way of secret knowledge that had to be contained. But what was out there that the long arm of the Inquisition did not reach? There had to be some things. Dark things on which it is best not to think.
His hand went to his bolt pistol when the doorway of the building next to the funeral pyre of the misfortunate he now stood in front of erupted in a mess of tattered clothes and fear and hands clawing for mercy and escape. An Acolyte was being sloppy, reveling in his chainsword work and missing the flight of one of his charges whose life must be commended to the name of the Emperor. The Acolyte would be reprimanded. He would most likely not survive it. Even a bolt pistol, at close range, can produce violence spectacular, especially on an unarmored target. The delirious runner was shot. There was not much of its head left but the body could not remain. Fire is cleansing. The flamer spoke for him.
The jets of air underneath the Inquisitorial ship bent the plumes of smoke into columns like threaded steel that rose into Valencia's red stormy atmosphere. His weapon contributed fire to the cause of the Inquisition and secrecy. On the other side of the spaceport, there were electro-cages filled with the obviously contaminated. The heretics and uncovered Chaos cultists in the midst of Valencia's population. There would be more work to do over there, after the examinations had been conducted. Some would be cleared of any conscious wrong-doing, of any intentional abetting of the forces of Chaos that had ravaged the world. Those civilians would need to be burned.
The roar and crackling of fire was a comfort. It was his element. The tiny flame that always burned at the tip of his weapon was his zealotry kindled by the harsh teachings of Morello and the battle perpetual against heresy, against the alien, against the demonic forces that invaded from the Warp. A shine of pure silver appeared from a shattered doorway leading below, beneath his feet to the tunnels and vast factories where the battle against the demons had been fought. The size of the frame and the outline of silver against the darkness meant Space Marine. It meant the Grey Knights. His min brought back the memory of fighting beside their Purifiers. The flame which courses inside their minds, which burns the enemy to the ground around them with nary a glance. That flame was the purest. His looked dim and impotent in comparison.
He had wandered. He froze. He was not by the cages. Where was he? Assembled before him was a mass of Terminators. Their silver armor was burned in some places, there were claw marks and battle scars but even through that the Aegis shone with terrible righteous light. His hands began to shake. That cloak was Morello's. The Inquisitor stood back a pace behind the Terminators, staring intently at a mass on the ground. That mass was a Grey Knight, a Terminator, dead on the ground. His armor torn asunder, his blood staining the ground. The Grey Knights around him were not moving. They did not appear to be preparing rites or honoring a fallen brother. They were waiting. Why were they waiting. The Terminator was dead, that was obvious. He should leave now, though. Go back. No need to face Morello. Then a hand moved. A dead hand, but not dead, it had life. The dead Terminator on the ground shifted. The Grey Knight lived! What manner of psychic power was this? He didn't know whether to cry out to the glory of the Emperor or set his flamer on high and burn the potential demonic influence from the planet.
He must have made a sound. There was Morello. Menacing before him. Standing at all his height, filling his vision. He was so large. The Acolyte realized he had fallen to his knees. His flamer was burning with its gentle gaseous hiss on the ground.
“What did you see, Acolyte?”
“A miracle, Inquisitor.”
What do you know: the needle that plunged deep into his throat, pulled from beneath the Inquisitor's voluminous white robes sent the pain of hellfire straight into his skull. The world went red like the flames that consumed the survivors of the demonic incursion on Valencia VIII. Come tomorrow he'd be dead or one of the mind-wiped or maybe one of those servo-skulls that hurtled across the battlefield before the forces of the Inquisition. Hopefully not a damned servitor, at least. The Emperor’s pragmatism was a wicked cruel flame. As his face hit the hard-packed dirt and red light suffused his vision, turning black as the raging fire in his mind started to burn cold, he wasn't the least bit surprised that he didn't much seem to care. He had seen a miracle.
Last edited by Hero of Coffee; 06-07-11 at 03:39 PM.