Tales of the Eighth Legion. (Action Thread.)
Within a spartanly furnished and almost entirely dark room, with little more than a metallic bed on which to sleep and a weapon stand on which a large ornately crafted sword hangs along side a dust covered bolter, sits an Astartes in complete silence and the only sounds that can be heard within the room are the low dull rumbling of the ship the room itself is seated in and the scratch of a quill upon parchment. After several long minutes the Astartes stop writing and places down his quill before he lets out a breath that escapes from between his lips in the form of a small sigh before he reaches down and picks up the book that he was writing in to read all that he has written.
“My name is Xandrek Kealisar. Once Captain of the Night Lords Fourth Company, Known as the Lord of Lies by my brothers and Father, Commander of the battle barge: The Maiden of Sorrow and son of a broken god. Now I am little more than a leader of a band of traitors, murderers and psychopaths that are happy to murder their way throughout the galaxy until they themselves are killed.
I write this so that those who will find this book will read and understand what it is that I am trying to do. All men should be remembered for the deeds they have done be they good or ill and while personality I do not care if I am remembered or not after my death I write this so that it is my closest brothers are the ones who are remembered from the times when they first turned from the Corpse-Emperors ‘Light’ to when they fell into the darkness of Death.
I guess then that I should start at the beginning but those are times that we would much rather forgot as the shame of our legion is for us to remember and us alone. So I shall start at the turning point of history when an empire fell into civil war, where brothers turned against brothers, where mortals ascended and gods fell. So my dear reader I shall start at a place you may well know as Isstvan.
Isstvan V...The site of the greatest massacre of Astartes through out the rebellion, orchestrated by a single man and when I say ‘Man’ I use the term quite wrongly. Horus Lupercal, the Warmaster, Primarch of the XVI Legion…The Arch-Traitor himself. He lured three of his brothers and their legions to their deaths upon this world where they had no idea upon landing to confront Horus that they would be betrayed by those who called themselves their brothers.
Upon Isstvan V the traitor legions of the Sons of Horus, Death Guard, World Eaters and Emperors Children battled their brothers of the Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard to a bloody stand still while four other legions tore their way through the warp to add their battle weary brothers. We, The Night Lords, along with the Iron Warriors, Word Bearers and Alpha Legion, were to arrive at the drop sites cleared by our brothers the Salamanders, Iron Hands and Raven Guard to reinforce and resupply them before crushing the four traitor legion for the glorious Imperium and the Emperor.
That of course is a lie.
Yes we made planet fall in the drop zones cleared by our ‘brothers’. Yes we took up defensive positions where the Salamanders and Raven Guard then began to fall back to. But we did not come to aid them, we came to aid Horus as our ‘beloved’ Fathers had secretly joined him in rebellion and now was the time to show our true colours
But before I get ahead of myself and tell you the bloody details of the Drop Site Massacre itself. Allow me to introduce our ‘heroes’ of this tale, my dear Brothers who even now make ready for yet another battle field in which to bloody their blades. So I shall begin the tale of our ‘Heroes’ several ours before making planet fall with the rest of the legion and who better to start with than my sword-brother, my right hand, my companies blade. Azrael.”
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“Azreal Metun, my Sword-Brother and personal Company Champion. Of all those I call my brothers he is only one of two who come from the Throne-World itself and isn’t considered a Son of a Sunless World and for this he, like Fundae and a few others within my company are hated for not being Nostraman in birth. But what Azreal lacks in ‘birth right’ he makes up for in loyalty and skill with a blade. Although I will never tell him I would never choose any other warrior from within the rank of my company to be my champion for I know when all others fail, he won’t.”
Azrael: You are currently stood in the near-dark hold that makes up the training hall of the Maiden of Sorrow overseeing the fights of your fellow battle brothers and the last batch of recruits that had come from Nostramo just before its destruction not that long ago but while you watch your other brother’s train, mainly the ‘Young Blood’ fighting against Sergeant Xho Zhen of Fifth Claw you can’t help but think how the destruction of Nostramo has affected Xandrek as you have barely spoken to him save for receiving your orders and he has rarely left the bridge or removed his armour. Clearly he has either been deeply affected or he is too focused on what is going to happen at Isstvan, sighing to yourself you look back to the ‘Young Blood’ as he puts Xho on his back at third blood with his deactivated lightning claw and wonder if you should give the young brother some advice or try your luck with going to find Xandrek.
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“Jaekal Sarn, Fourth Companies resident Chaplain and member of First Claw. Like me he was from Nostramo but unlike myself and most of my other brothers he is far more zealous and has more in common with those pathetic Word Bearers with his constant preaching and sermons. For now he is tolerated by the rest of us for he is a fierce fighter and can for the most part, be counted on to rally those elements of my company who would rather run to fight another day after the death of their sergeants rather than carrying out there duty.”
Jaekal: You are currently stood at the front around sixty of the newest members of Fourth Company preaching to them about how the False-Emperor will be replaced by the true leader of mankind, Horus. Fifty pairs of pure black eyes matching your own stare at you in mild awe as while these recruits have only had the first few implants that will make them into Astartes they are the future of the company and therefore the legion so it is wise to have them utterly and fanatically loyal to the Primarch and Warmaster and you smile inside of your helmet as you think of how you are in a way undermining Xandrek’s command over these future warriors. After finishing your sermon that lasts another hour you dismiss the recruits to return to their normal training and those who are ready for the next stage or implantation towards the Apocatherion where you have no doubt Veptus is busy carving up fellow battle brothers who are injured for the fun of it. Now you have some free time on your hands to do with that you wish which includes visiting any fellow members of First Claw so what do you do?
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“Veptus Szland, the Corpse-Master, Primus Medicae of Fourth Companies Apocatherion and First Claws own Apocathery. Perhaps the most feared Astartes onboard this ship other than myself and Azrael and it is he who always puts us back together after every battle and every war that we fight in under the orders of our Primarch. If it was up to me and I had the power I would change the meaning of the word Madman to include the name and picture of Veptus though while he isn’t as bad as that bastard Fabius Bile he loves nothing more than to carve up any Astartes that he can get his hands on. But without Veptus it is a definitely that myself and many other members of my company would of died many years ago.”
Veptus: You stand in the Apocatherion smiling to yourself as you work on adding the next several organs needed to turn some of the latest recruits into Astartes to replenish losses that will occur during the next battle on Isstvan V. You currently stand wearing only black fatigues with a blood stained white medical apron and sterile elbow length medical gloves and you can’t wait to see if Xandrek allows you to gather up some wounded Astartes from other legions to experiment on and see what the difference between each legion. While you continue to work on the young recruit infront of you, your attention shifts to Battle Brother Shen currently writhing around on the slab at the end of the Apocatherion as he is badly burnt and missing both his legs below the knee’s and his entire left arm and while other Apocatheries could be working on him he had his gauntlets painted red for failing Xandrek and the Captain has told you Shen has not earnt the right to die and therefore has earnt himself a walking tomb which makes you smile even more. (Finish up on adding the latest organ to the recruit infront of you and it’s your choice of which organ, and then feel free to go see your brothers or start on Shen.)
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“Corvis Sejanus.” Xandrek smiles to himself. “The Young Blood, the youngest member of First Claw he lacks the ability to bond with his brothers to gain atleast their loyalty and he would have been better off in the recon squads always ranging out alone without the aid of others just doing what was require of him and that ever else he desired. The Young Blood definitely has much to learn even though he is almost eight decades old he still has plenty of time in which he could improve his dismal social skills and increase his skill with a blade. I often wonder that if he had the correct mentor within the company he might be able to accomplish something great with his life but for now I see him simply as another tool to be used in war.”
Corvis: You stand in one of the many training pits in the training hold of the Maiden of Sorrow which as usual is in near darkness as your deactive lightning claw raises and falls to parry and lash out against the Sergeant Xho of Fifth Claw who is as usual wielding his two-handed chain-sword as the bout is to third blood and so far Sergeant Xho has wounded you once slicing part of your cheek away and you have wounded him twice by having punched the four blades of your gauntlet into his left shoulder and then having carved four red lines down the front of his chest. You smiling to yourself as you match strikes against the Sergeant of Fifth Claw as all those gathered around the pit shout encouragement to you and the Sergeant to not only carry on with the fight but to turn it into a Murder Duel where one of you would die however you know that Azreal would step in if such a thing were to happen and no-one within the training hall can beat him with a blade. Sergeant Xho then swears several times in Nostraman as you manage to side step his sword and hammer your lightning claw into his chest sending him crashing down onto his back with blood pouring from his chest as the gathered crowd erupts into cheers and roars of approval. Turning from Xho you see Azrael standing there watching you for the moment. (If Azrael approaches you then feel free to work out a conversation with him through PM’s, if not then you may do what you wish.)
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“Jallus…where do I start with the warp-tainted psyker? Our legion has no love of Psykers, something which we share with the World Eaters, Death Guard and even those feral Space Wolves though as much as we hate them their otherworldly powers do come in useful when you need them to conjure up terrifying images of hell-spawned beasts or make defenders spontaneously combust amidst their own forces. While none of First Claw could say they like Jallus, he has his uses so he is tolerated by Myself and the others though I can’t help by get minor head aches within his presence and not even Veptus can figure out why.”
Jallus: You are currently knelt in what serves as the Librarium aboard the Maiden of Sorrow as you meditate and prepare yourself for the coming slaughter of Isstvan V and while you meditate your fellow brother librarians do the same either next to you or are different points within the chapel like room. Taking a deep breath you then exhale before opening your midnight black eyes to look at those around you who are still deep within meditate and of all of Fourth Company you feel more kin-ship to these fellow battle brothers than you do the rest of First Claw and you know that it is because all others regard you as warp-tainted and avoided at all costs unless absolutely necessary. Pushing yourself from your sitting position you move to retrieve your weapons from your weapons locker to the right of the room as all librarians within Fourth Company may only live within the Librarium instead of having their own cells. After retrieving your war-gear you decide that you should go and find Xandrek and the rest of Fourth Claw having sensed the Maiden will actually arrive ahead of most of the Eighth Legions fleet.
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“Zhasal is a battle brother who never should of risen as far as he should of, He is far to independent and hardly ever listens to the orders that he is given so I have found that it is often best to point him in the general direction of where he needs to go then just leave him to it, while he runs off on his own I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets wounded or killed one day for not staying with his battle brothers but for now Zhasal has his uses in that he always gets the job done one way or the other.”
Zhasal: You are currently stalking through the darkness of the lower decks that has been turned into the labyrinth by legion tech-marines under the order of Xandrek to give his warriors something to do while travelling between systems and battles which involves hunting down what ever prey has been captured and released within. The blades of your lightning claws are sheathed for now as you hunt the fifteen man strong unit of imperial guardsman who were just unlucky enough to be near Xandrek, Azrael and Veptus during the last battle you served in under the guise of being a loyalist. Smiling to yourself you can’t help but think of capturing some Astartes during the up coming battle and releasing them within the Labyrinth to give yourself and your fellow battle brothers an actual challenge during your hunts which you do not get from mortals. Stopping before turning around a blind corner you hear the terrified and quiet voices of the guardsman echoing along the corridor as you home in on your prey.
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“Raskreia like Azrael and Veptus is perhaps one of the few members of First Claw that I would consider a true ‘brother’ of mine as since his elevator to First Claw he has been a loyal brother as any son of Nostramo could be called loyal and it is he who carries the company standard into battle which often marks him out as a high priority target for who ever it seems we are to be fighting. So when ever you see Raskreia in battle holding the standard high you will often find myself and Azrael near by aswell as that is where the fighting will be bloodiest. However though I find Raskreia talked too much and I have often though of having Veptus remove his tongue and vocal cords and not have them replaced something I know which will greatly please the Corpse-Master.”
Raskreia: Sitting within your assigned room you are once again painstaking and carefully etching and painting on yet even more lightning onto your armour, this time onto the edging of your right shoulder pad and as you look up from the piece of armour in your hands to the far wall where the rest of your armour and war-gear hangs you smile as you see the company standard leaning against the wall. A banner of black cloth depicting a Night Lord stood upon a pile of bones with lightning splitting the sky in the background. Turning back to the piece of armour in your hands you finish adding the lightning before donning your armour and gathering up your war-gear including the Company standard which you then use like a walking cane as you make your way to find Xandrek, who you know is obviously on the bridge of the Maiden like he usually is, and on the way you may find yourself walking alongside Company Champion Azrael. (IF Azrael is heading to the bridge aswell then feel free to work out a conversation with him via pm’s before posting.)
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“Var, or in full: Varius Montangro. Tech-Marine and least trusted member of First Claw, We often think that all failures of our wargear happen because of some perceived slight against Var but so far none of us have been able to find any evidence of him sabotaging our war-gear, quite the opposite is usually found however as he is perhaps the most gifted master artificer within Fourth Company having repaired bolters and armour which other tech-marines would of consigned to the scrap heap into full working order within a matter of hours or days. And it is for this gift that I elevated him to First Claw though as much of an asset that Var is to this company and squad I will continue to keep an eye on him as I trust him as much as I trust Veptus not to carve up a freshly discovered corpse.”
Var: Sat deep within the vaults of the Maiden of Sorrow that serve as the armory of Fourth Company and surrounded by servitors, brother tech-marines and the Tech Adepts of Mars you stare at the schematics of the plasma gun on the board infront of you before your eyes drift down to the mangled and half melted mess of the weapon infront of you as you decide whether or not it is actually worth trying to save a weapon that has half been destroyed due to overheating and a subsequent explosion that took Brother-Sergeant Theng’s right arm and eye from him and thinking of the Brother-Sergeant your head turns to the half built bionic arm and eye to your left which were commissioned by the ‘Corpse-Master’ Veptus. Shaking your head you decide to leave the bionic replacements for that idiot of a Sergeant until after the battle of Isstvan and return your focus to the plasma-gun infront of you as your four servo-arms raise up with the barest thought to help you try and repair the weapon but before you can even start you hear the familiar voice of Fundae behind you. “Var, I hope you have repaired by flamer by now.”
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“Fundae, my heavy weapons specialist and like Azrael one of the few terrans left within the Fourth Company and if it wasn’t for him then the Ork Warboss Gragsnask would of ended my life and service to my Primarch just over thirty years ago. Fundae is a pyromaniac without compare who I always seem to find charging into some of the thickest fighting and incinerating anything within range before finishing off those unlucky enough to still be alive with that brutal double headed chain-axe of his.”
Fundae: You are currently stalking through what passes as Fourth Companies armory to find the Tech-Marine of First Claw: Var, who has since the burning of Nostramo been repairing your beloved flamer after having most of it destroyed when the fuel canister ruptured when a stray found hit the fuel line during the last loyalist engagement and if it wasn’t for the ‘Corpse-Master’ and your own reinforced armour you would of likely lost your life or maybe a couple of limbs. Kicking one of the scurrying minor tech-adepts out of the way with your boot which elects a smile from you as he yelps as you break his left leg you see Var at the far end of the armory hunched over the half melted remains of a plasma-gun and after getting within a few feat of him you decided to find out if your beloved weapon has been repaired. “Var, I hope you have repaired my flamer by now.” (Feel free to work out a conversation with Var via pm’s before you post up.)
Killing could never be described as fun, especially not this type of killing. This, this was merely something to keep him occupied.
He hunted by only hearing, focussing on the drumbeat of the mortal's hearts rather than listening or seeing where they were. It would have been over too quickly if he had used all of his senses. The majority of his kills in the last few hours had been from any pieces of his body but his talons, utilising his feet, knees and shoulders to deadly effect. They were un-powered and completely clean of gore, yet the rest of his form was covered in blood.
The occupants of the Labyrinth were becoming tiresome now. Imperial Army troopers were boring sport. They always did the same thing, which was herding together and attempting to restore some vague notion of hope to the group. It actually made him pity them. Their fear was palpable, from the way they smelt to their very internal functions. They still thought they could survive and kill the Night Lord. How quaint...
The hunt had been going on for a dozen hours now and no one had been killed for at least four of those hours. It only made them more and more trigger-happy. Occasionally las-rounds rang out, simply jumping at shadows. Fear was an astounding thing to behold. Yet, alas, this little diversion was coming to an end. Dropping from the ceiling to land several metres ahead of the group, letting himself make a loud thudding sound that was soon accompanied by the crack of fifteen las-rifles on full auto. Obviously, they hit nothing, for Zhasal was already gone. Steps could be heard all around them, most of them echoes.
Ruby bolts flashed out in all directions, some hitting the huge columns that held the roof up, but most slashed into the darkness, yet hit nothing at all. The cattle eagerly shouted out if any one had gotten him and soon started to reload in quaking hands. Once more dropping from directly above the group, this time landing silently, the Night Lord lit his talons and moved into action.
One. The sergeant's neck is slit by a simple stroke from a talon, as well as three troops are merely skewered on the energised fingers.
Two. Zhasal turns as he leaps towards the largest knot of solders, slicing four major arteries of four separate targets, letting them bleed out in a matter of seconds afterwards.
Three. Five heads roll from the terrified bodies, all sliced in a blur of horizontal swipes.
Four. The last two troops attempt to fire their weapons on full auto at the monster, but find themselves held aloft by talons penetrating their necks, killing them a second after Zhasal drops them to the floor.
Within a matter of mere seconds, fifteen bodies lay broken on the floor. He could have most likely done it faster if he had his eyes open. That would have been far too easy however.
He knew he was being watched, either from cameras, or brothers waiting in the rafters. He did not care. Zhasal had never asked to be what he was, yet others did not like him. Was it because he did not 'bond' with them often, as others did? Were they jealous of the leniency the Captain gave him, or his skill with the Talons? The Night Lord, in all honesty, did not care. Some had tried to kill him, but had never laid a finger on him, all of those whom attempted to murder Zhasal ended up a corpse.
Killing him was not easy feat, for he had found no Night Lord that could best him in combat, except for at least three. The first had been Sevatar, whom he had learnt many techniques from, yet had never beaten in the ring before. The First Captain was simply staggeringly fast. Zhasal was lightning quick, but the Captain floored him every time. The other two were Captain Xendrek and his Champion, Azrael. He had never fought them, nor was he particularly bothered about it. He wouldn't refuse a duel alongside the Terran, but it would have to be with their own weapons. His skill with a blade was significantly less than with his Talons.
There were others outside the Legion he had faced before and lost to. They were all amongst the best in the Space Marines, for any less would be too easy. A captain by the name of Lucius had proved a staggeringly good duel, yet the swordsman's arrogance had soured the aftermath, as well as was a fight against a World Eater by the name of Delvarus. The Space Marine was crazed, yet a deadly efficient killing machine with his meteor hammer. All World Eaters were deadly, but Delvarus was the most deadly. There was one Space Marine that Zhasal could never even lay a finger on, or even get close to. A Raven Guard captain by the name of Nykona Sharrowkyn. He was, simply put, the most deadly warrior in the galaxy. He doubted even Sevatar could kill him.
Finding his way to the exit of the Labyrinth, he opened a comm link to Azrael. "We need more mortals. They die too fast." He sent, thinking that the Champion may know of any other places where Imperial Troops were being kept, or at least provide him with a distraction. "I am on my way regardless, any news from the Captain?" Zhasal queried, his voice flat and casual as he simply powered his Talons up one last time, letting the blood sizzle and burn from them.
“…and after that…” Veptus chuckled loudly as he paused in his story. The youth whose insides he was fiddling about with was unconscious and could not hear a word he was saying, but it didn’t stop Veptus’s speaking. He always had a habit of talking during his ‘procedures’. But that was to be expected of a master of the torturing arts. “…we splayed their bodies across the city’s entrance. Oh their moaning went on for days! It was a beautiful symphony and it was the tune to our victory march as we declared another world compliant. But, you’ll know about that soon enough my young boy.”
A fresh wave of the scent of blood wafted up into Veptus’s nostrils, and he savoured it like the scent of a fine wine. He loved that smell. It was like home to him and it made his work so much easier. He had been in a few of the other legions Apocatherion. They had them all clean and sterile. It smelt of alcohol and disinfectant and Veptus couldn’t stand it. Many of them would have washed and scrubbed their aprons by now. They would have made them all nice and tidy and clean. Veptus however let the white apron become discoloured and stained with the blood of his patient.
Veptus finished implanting the omophagea into this initiate. Now it was just the multi-lung left and he would stitch this young boy up and send him to rest for a while, allow the implants to take hold fully. Veptus gently moved aside the original lungs of his patient and noticing a collection of scar tissues on the lungs. From the width and length of the scars Veptus hypothesised that they were sharp force trauma wounds from a gang fight. It wouldn’t be unusual. Veptus reckoned he had several of the same on his lungs, although he had never opened himself up to check.
He worked efficiently, his mind occupied on the battles to come. They were en-route to Isstvan V. Their deluded cousins thought they were being reinforced, but they were so wrong. They would be crushed and massacred, but that was not what occupied Veptus’s mind. With three less legions, the Imperium would be on the back-foot in the coming civil war, but that wasn’t what occupied Veptus’s mind either. Neither was it finally being able to “throw off the shackles of the False Emperor” as Jaekal preached at length about. Veptus never had much time for sermons. He was a practical man and empty words meant naught to him. No, what occupied Veptus’s thoughts was being able to ‘acquire’ members of the deluded legions and bring them to his Apocatherion to practice his art on. Perhaps, if he could be craft enough about it and the Lord of Lies let him, perhaps members of the other legions might find their way there too.
As he finished up his procedure, Veptus started to acknowledge the groans coming from the end of the row of slabs. “I’ll be with you in a minute my friend!” Veptus called in a jovial tone which was totally at odds with the mental and physical anguish he was about to put the Astartes through. “Some people are just so impatient.” He remarked humorously to the initiate as he sewed the boy’s torso up. With a click of his fingers, two heavily augmented servitors lifted the prone frame of the boy who would be a Night Lord, put him on a stretcher and moved him to the waiting room to heal up and be returned to the other young bloods.
Veptus picked up a data-slate as he walked over to the marine one the end table. His bloodied medical gloves left red finger-prints as he read the memo from Xandrek. Apparently, this brother, Shen as he was known, had committed a betrayal against Xandrek. On the field of battle, he had usurped his sergeant’s command, gone against Xandrek’s orders and managed to get seven members of his squad killed and caused Xandrek to lose face in front of the other members of the legions command echelons. For that, he wore the red gauntlets of shame, and for that he was to be interred in a Dreadnought instead of given the peaceful cold embrace of death. There was a small note at the bottom from Xandrek himself; Make him suffer. Veptus smiled and put the data-slate down. Oh, he would make sure Shen suffered indeed. His last memory of flesh would be of pain and suffering and that would turn him into a wild warmachine that could serve the legion better than he did in life.
As Veptus turned to loom over the Night Lord, Shen stopped his writhing. It was obvious he was in great pain, but he did not want to seem weak before the Primus Medicae of Fourth Company. Perhaps Shen thought that if he showed strength now he might be granted death. He would not, but it was always going to have been a forlorn hope. “Do you know why you’re here?” Veptus asked, his voice calm and controlled. Shen avoided eye contact and remained mute. Suddenly Veptus’s face contorted into one of mad rage as he drove his nails into one of the burnt stumps of Shen’s legs and brought his face mere inches from Shen’s. “I SAID…” Veptus roared as Shen cried out in anguish “…DO YOU KNOW WHY YOU ARE HERE?!”
“YES! YES!” Shen cried in between his moans of pain.
“LOOK AT ME WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU!” Veptus commanded
“YES I KNOW! IN THE NAME OF THE PRIMARCH STOP!” Shen screamed as Veptus twisted and pulled at the nerve endings in his legs and blood pooled as Veptus opened up the charred scabs afresh.
Veptus let go of the Astartes leg and drew back. “Good.” Veptus voice became jovial and light again and he continued as if nothing had happened. Such wild swings in mood were disconcerting to most victims and it was a routine Veptus liked very much. It allowed him to indulge other artistic areas. Let the pompous Emperor’s Children have their paintings and sculptures, Veptus preferred this theatre to act in. He chose to make his canvas out of the skin of those on his operating tables. “So, you’re aware then…” Veptus picked up a scalpel and began to walk around Shen. As he spoke the scalpel twirled it’s way around his fingers. “…that you are here because you disobeyed orders?” Now Shen looked at the Corpse-Master with what might be confused with fear in his eyes. It was more the look of hope that if he obeyed Veptus’ commands that he would suffer less. That had more to do with Veptus’ mood than with the way Shen acted.
“That you are here because you shirked your oaths to Xandrek and the Primarch? That you are here because you cost the legion seven Astartes?”
“They were idiots and fools.” Shen muttered. Veptus spun on his heels and instantly Shen regretted his words.
“What was that, boy?” Veptus said with venom thick in his voice. Shen held Veptus’s serpentine glare for several long moments before he couldn’t stand it any longer. In an instant the Corpse Master had his scalpel imbedded into Shen’s good shoulder. The sharp blade was driven into the Night Lords ball socket and again the anguish of the Night Lord filled the Apocatherion. Instead of yelling, Veptus drew next to Shen’s ear and whispered “Go on, speak up son. A veteran like me can sometimes be hard of hearing.”
“I said they were idiots and fools!” Shen stammered in between ragged breaths, trying to hold back the pain tremors. Veptus nodded.
“That’s what I thought you said.”
Veptus pulled the scalpel down and severed most of the tendons and muscles in the arm as Shen’s Astartes physique started to stem the flow of blood. Veptus knew he had just about paralyzed Shen’s arm when he pulled the scalpel out, covered in viscera. Shen screwed his eyes shut and clenched his jaw, trying to stop himself from yelling out again. “Do you know your punishment?” Shen swallowed but didn’t answer. The smile of a mad-man crept across Veptus facial features. Shen had heard of the Corpse Master’s reputation, but only now was he realising that the stories he had heard were the censored tales; the ones Veptus had allowed to circulate so that, when he exceeded them, his victims were even more terrified.
“Xandrek has decreed that you should suffer the rest of your miserable existence in the cold coffin of a metal sarcophagus. Now, I am fair minded man I think…” Veptus stood above Shen’s head and held the blade of the scalpel against the soft flesh of Shen’s throat. A droplet of blood welled up where the sharp blade bit into the skin. “…and I think that you should be given the chance to die. So, all I need you to do, is grab this scalpel and slit your own throat. Can you do that?”
For a moment Shen looked relieved. He would not have to live in eternal torment. All he had to do was grab the blade and end his suffering himself. He could do that. He would gladly do it than endure which was to come. Shen went to move his arm and his joy soured into grief. His brain sent the message to his one good arm to move, but only the forearm twitched and came a few centimetres off the tables before it slammed back down. Veptus lip curled into a cruel smirk as Shen tried twice more, each time his arm failed him and his pupils grew wider in horror. “Come on Shen, just grab it and this can all be over” Veptus spoke in a fatherly tone, as if he were genuinely trying to help Shen. This was false of course, and both men knew it. Shen tried again. He stared at his arm, willing it to rise and grab hold of the blade already pressed to his throat. But again, it failed him and Shen knew he was doomed.
Shen looked up at the Corpse Master’s pale face which hovered above him like a wraith. His eyes grew misty. Their inky depths spoke of the knowledge of the fate he was doomed to suffer and begged for such a terrible cup to be taken from him. “Please…”
“Do you desire the Emperor’s peace my brother?” Veptus said as he had to many other brothers in Shen’s position.
“Yes.” Shen’s voice came, slightly pitched and quivering. Veptus smile a warm smile, as if he were about to grant his brother’s dying wish. There was a long pause where Shen could do nothing by stare at Veptus marble white teeth and jet black eyes.
“No.” And with that, Shen’s last hope died.
Veptus stood upright, the blade of the scalpel still to Shen’s throat. “Well, this has been fun and I believe that Xandrek will be satisfied, or he will be when he sees the pict-recording of this…” He said pointing to the camera which was above Shen’s head, embedded in the ceiling. “…but now we have to prep you for you incarceration. But first, a souvenir. For me.” Veptus’s smile was no longer warm, but had turned into one of a professional killer and one who enjoyed his work at that. The sharp blade slid around Shen’s face and then underneath as Veptus peeled off Shen’s face. When he was done, Veptus dangled the dripping patch of flesh over Shen’s permanently open eyes. “You wanted to see the command echelons, and now you will.” Veptus’ jovial tone taunted the prone figure on the medical slab. Veptus clicked his fingers and two more servitors, it may have been the same as before but he hadn’t really been paying attention enough to confirm that, appeared with ammonic fluid bath. “Unfortunately, I am unable to complete the process right now, as I have more pressing matters to attend to. But, this will be your home for, well, as long as you suffer for. I hope you find it…comfortable.” Veptus smirked as he said the last word.
Veptus injected a powerful sedative which would keep Shen asleep until Veptus could complete the process of melding Shen to the MIU at which point he would turn him over to the tech-marine Var. If he still had eye-lids they would have closed. As it was, his body simply went limp and the two servitors lowered him into the ammonic fluid and carried the casket away. Veptus however had other work to do. He stripped the underside of the face of all unnecessary scraps of muscle. There wasn’t much as it was a very clean flaying. It was a shame really. It was much more satisfying when they hadn’t given up already. Then he put it in preservative fluid, so it would be ready to sew into his cloak soon enough. He was sure that would irritate Azrael to a satisfactory degree. He rolled off the medical gloves and tore off his bloody apron. He tapped the vox-caster in the corner of the room and keyed it to broadcast to Xandrek’s personal line. “My Captain, the preparations have been made for Shen to be interred. I think…” Veptus smiled to himself again as he looked at Shen’s flayed face suspended in the preservative fluid in front of him. “…you will be very pleased with the results. Is there anything else you require?” Veptus waited for the response, if there was any. Xandrek had been a bit reclusive of late. Still, even if Xandrek had no tasks for him, Veptus could find ways to amuse himself…
The armoury. The very heart of Maiden of Sorrow. Without it, the Space Marines on-board would be left defenseless. And deep within the armory, is Var. But he is not just within the armoury, he is the armory. He shares a bond with each and every tech-adept, Tech-Priest and Servitor working within the armory, and indeed the ship at large. To him they are all intricate pieces of the vast machine that is Maiden of Sorrow.
Var himself is hunched over a worktable, shadowy and mysterious as he always is. Around him his Servo-arms move fluently, almost as if they are living. They react to his every whim, before he even commands them to do so. They are one and the same, the bond between them is so close that the barrier that once existed, ceased to and they formed into the same being.
On the worktable is the mangled shape of what was once a plasma gun. It is all but wrecked, the once proud weapon, wielded by an Adeptus Astartes, now nothing more than a molten heap of metal upon the bench before him. Bile rises in Var's throat. To see any machine wrecked through ignorance sends lances of anger through his fiery mind.
Overheating. Or at least, that is what they told him when they brought him the mangled weapon. Blew Brother-Sergeant Theng’s right arm off and melted his eye from its socket. Only a fool could overheat his weapon, only a fool could not feel the burning beneath his fingers, only a fool could not hear the screams as the machine died. Fools. All of them.
Var turned away from the plasma gun and looked towards the bench beside him, where there lay the bare skeleton of a bionic arm, intended for the very Sergeant that had destroyed the weapon that lay before Var. Commissioned by Veptus Szland, the "Corpse-Master", Primus Medicae of Fourth Companies Apocatherion and Apocathery of Var's own claw. Titles, just as words, are nothing but wind. The Apocathery spent too long working with the flesh, too long working with the weak. Var was proof that machine was stronger than flesh, metal stronger than bone.
But Var could not voice this. Not when so many around him had been helped by the Corpse Master. But not here, not in the armoury, where all those around him had taken the path of the Omnissiah, the right path. Many had been given the gift of machine by Var himself, making them stronger and more able to serve the Machine-God.
But Var had to leave his place, he had to go to battle with those that called themselves his Battle-Brothers, those that considered him one of their own. Var was not one of them, they were weak, their flesh easy to rip, their blood easy to spill. Not Var. Var was strong, he was machine, and machine was him.
Turning away from the beginnings of the bionic arm, Var focused once more upon the molten weapon before him. His bionic eye, another gift from the Deus Mechanicus, focused and detected areas of damage and rupture. Var's Servo-Arms paused as he surveyed the damage, analyzing the information flowing into his brain.
But this process, his thought pattern, was shattered by a bolt of pain. Var's fists clenched and his jaw clamped shut as he felt one of the pieces of machinery, one of his Tech-Adepts feel pain. Pain was for the weak and the un-pure. But something had harmed a part of the machine, and whoever it was would suffer a thousand times the pain that Adept had felt.
A voice broke through the throbbing of the armoury, a voice that Var recognized as belonging Fundae Ignescunt. Another fool who cared nothing for the weapons and armour that kept him alive in battle. It was not skill at arms, or tactics that made a warrior great, rather his weapons. It was not his endurance or grit that kept him alive, rather his armour. The Night Lords flamer, brought to Var as nothing more than a mound of molten metal, resembling nothing of the great weapon it once was. A fractured fuel canister, his own fault. In fact, Var would have preferred it if had been Fundae that had lost his arm, better to wipe that smile from his face and show him what pain and defeat really means. Var knew pain. He never forgot the days of constant agony so long ago upon his homeworld.
"Var, I hope you have repaired my flamer by now.”
Rage built within Var, and it took all his strength to beat it down. It would not be right for Var to kill the marine here, within his inner sanctum. Var needed to be part of the Night Lords, for them to take him to his final destination. And that meant avoiding driving his 'tail' through the Space Marines throat and watching him bleed like the weak flesh he was. When Var responded his voice was metallic. But it was low and dark, any of even average intelligence would be able to detect the hatred unsaid.
""You cannot rush my work. Be grateful you still live, and let me deal with your weapon"
Var turned back to the plasma gun resting before him, expecting the Marine to leave his armoury and leave Var in the peace. But instead the fool spoke again, his voice joking, the voice of a weak idiot.
"Forgive me scrap head. I thought you were the fastest Tech-Priest in the Company."
Now the rage that surged upon Var could not be held back. Var turned upon the impudent Night Lord, his eyes blazing with pure, unbridled fury. Var's 'tail' whipped around at the whim of its master and hung, poised a few meters from where the Astartes stood. When Var spoke now his voice was a roar, one of anger and rage.
""You forget your place. Veteran you may be, but accidents happen, and they can be fatal. NOW.GET.OUT.OF.MY.ARMORY"
The last statement was accompanied by Var grabbing his Axe from where it rested beside him and placing his feet in a solid stance, the idea of a fight obvious.
However the Night Lord seemed to realize his mistake, as he turned from Var and stormed off down the corridor once more, returning to the world that existed outside of Var's own. Var let a breath escape him, his 'tail' relaxing and sliding back to where it rested behind him. He placed his axe down once more the floor and turned once more to the mangled weapon on the bench before him.
Fools. Weak fools.
Morning prayers. Jaekal Sarn, Chaplain of Fourth Company and member of First Claw relished every chance he could get to praise the Warmaster's vision. This time was no different than the rest, except that he was surrounded by fifty recruits fresh from their first round of bio-implants. It was his task now to continue their formation into true Astartes, true Brothers of the Night Lords. Closing his eyes, he raised his hands aloft, invoking the ceremony. "May that we here always remember our place in the Universe... to bring the terror of death upon those who know it not!"
Stepping from behind the altar at the head of the convocation hall, Jaekal retrieved his Crozius from his hip. Fifty sets of pitch-black eyes stared in unison at his immense form, in full battle regalia. From the bleached-white of his skulled helmet to the lightning bolts enscribed on his grieves, the recruits were indeed awed by his presence. Jaekal laughed to himself, thinking of how he too was in there position not long ago.
"Today's lesson, my children, is in the ways of our enemy. The false-emperor, the deceiver-king! His treachery knows no bounds, his minions mindless peons worshipping a pitiful fool! Warmaster Horus, and the Legion, is where your loyalty should be placed. For who has given you this new life? Who has shown you the truth?"
As Jaekal paused for effect, he paced the dais. The roar was cacophonous and Jaekal could not help but smile under his helm. These fresh Night Lords had promise and his message was taking hold quite firmly.
"Soon Brothers! Very soon, indeed, we shall crash upon those still loyal to the false-emperor. Soon you will bestow upon them the gift He has given you. With bolter and blade, we shall give them the full measure of the truth. Savour it! Remember it! As they stand on the doorstep of death, you shall throw their broken bodies into the void, screaming in terror at the truth of it!"
The Chaplain continued on, spouting his own interpretations of the Litanies of Hate as well as several colorful anecdotes of those Brothers who had proved unworthy in battle. "Know this, initiates. As I guide you now in the ways of terror, remember that I will not hesitate to vaporize any one of you who proves a traitor to the Primarch or Horus! Do not ask for mercy, as there will be none from the enemy or myself!"
Closing the morning prayer-indoctrination, Jaekal dismissed those gathered to their daily duties. "Initiates, you are dismissed. Those of you who are to continue implantation, make haste to Brother Veptus in the Apothacarion. The rest of you, return to your daily training."
As the hall emptied, Jaekal reflected on these new recruits. How many of them would be ready for the upcoming combat? Not only in body, but in mind and soul? He had long ago taken it upon himself to steer those he could towards loyalty to the Legion and the Warmaster above all else. He knew that if they saw the truth as he did, they would be unswerving in their loyalty and truly give themselves to the terror of the night.
Returning his Crozius to his hip, Jaekal left the hall, making his way to the Apothecarion to both visit with Brother Veptus and observe the transformation of the flock from fragile humans into full Astartes. Nearing the entryway to the surgery room, which smelled more of a charnal house than a medical facility, Jaekal turned the corner to find Veptus standing amidst the medical equipment that was his trade. Looking past Veptus, Jaekal could see what appeared to be a face suspended in fluid. Hailing the Apothecary, Jaekal queried the surgeon. "What unfortunate did that belong to? Looks vaguely familiar, though I can't place the face." Jaekal let out a laugh at the irony of his question as Veptus replied it belonged to Shen, who upon shaming himself had been sentenced to internment in the carcophagus of a Dreadnought. "I trust it was painful? Regardless, I am not here to pry on your personal amusement. I must ask how the recruits are taking to their implants, have there been any complications or psychoses induced as of late?"
"What unfortunate did that belong to? Looks vaguely familiar, though I can't place the face." Veptus turned around from the vox caster to confirm what his ears already told him.
"Jaekal, as always it's a pleasure to have you in my Apocatherion." Veptus picked up his surgical apron and gloves and tossed them in the disposal unit. If he had any more work to do he would put on fresh robes and would have to bloody them again. "That face, until a moment ago belonged to Brother Shen..." Veptus smiled cruelly, still revealing in the pain he had visited on Shen moments before. "He was a tempestuous youth who shamed himself and Xandrek. Fortunately for us, his injuries were sever and Xandrek decreed him to be put to use as a Dreadnought, amongst other tortures." Veptus chuckled darkly as he began to clean his surgical instruments.
"I trust it was painful?" Veptus turned his head and cocked his eyebrow. He knew his reputation as a torturer without peer preceded him, and Jaekal knew it too. The look was simple to give the Chaplain a gauge of just how painful, rather than if it had been. "Regardless, I am not here to pry on your personal amusement I must ask how the recruits are taking to their implants, have there been any complications or psychoses induced as of late?" Veptus sighed. *Why is he getting involved?* He thought to himself. Jaekal cared for the recruits it seemed, but people butting their noses where the had no expertise was incredibly infuriating, a thought Veptus knew he shared with several other masters of their field such as the tech-marine.
"As much as I am wounded by your disinterest at my pleasure..." Veptus said mockingly as he dried his hands. "...I very much doubt that you must do anything besides tend to your flock. Just as I must worry about the physical needs of our company." Veptus held Jaekal's gaze evenly. He had said enough to tell the Chaplain that he should not demand knowledge in area's which where not his to meddle in. Veptus blinked, the connection was broken and he continued to make himself busy around the Apocatherion. "Hopefully you do not think that Our Lord named me Primus Medicae for nothing, as so have every confidence that I can implant initiates with our legion's genetic heritage." Veptus let the rhetorical question hang for a moment. He did not let Jaekal answer, but it served to remind the Chaplain what he had clearly forgotten; that Veptus was in charge of the entire Apocatherion and therefore seasoned in the process of implantation and gene-forging boys into Astartes.
"However..." Veptus continued as he picked up a data-slate in case he received new orders from Xandrek or was otherwise called upon. He beckoned Jaekal to follow and lead him through to the wing where the newest initiates were still sleeping off the anesthetic Veptus had given them for their implantation operations. "...since you ask I shall do you the courtesy of answering. Thus far the operations have been without complications or fatalities..." Veptus walked around the room, checking all the medical readings of the multiple machines wired into these boys for abnormalities as he continued to talk. "...Most of these have just had their Preomnor, Omophagea and Multi-lung implanted. What will follow is several courses of psycho-indoctrinated training to use the new organs before we start with the next set, most of which are centered in the brain and so carry a greater level or risk."
All the readings seemed normal as Veptus checked each one in turn. Jaekal stayed silent, seemingly content to simply watch Veptus work and allow the Corpse Master to explain the procedures which were taking place. "Of course these are not all the recruits. Some are still to receive those implants, but we are through most of the newest batch at this point. They won't be ready for Isstvan, which will be a shame, but they will be able to replace a large number of the losses we will incur almost immediately after, meaning it will appear to our foes as if we have not lost a single man." Veptus was sure Jaekal would appreciate the morale crushing notion that anyone's foe was simply not losing numbers, no matter how hard you fought against them. Such a thought was certain to wound the heart of any foe and inspire fear into mortal at the notion of an 'immortal company' which never lost men. "Now..." Veptus turned to face the Chaplain "...I trust that answers all your questions and assuages all your fears?" Veptus stared indifferently at Jaekal. Hopefully this nosy preacher would finally stop bothering him and allow him to return to his duties...
"...I very much doubt that you must do anything besides tend to your flock. Just as I must worry about the physical needs of our company." Veptus glared for a moment at Jaekal before returning to his work.
"I admire your style, Corpse-Maker, and meant no offense with my intrusion" replied Jaekal flatly. Veptus continued, "Of course these are not all the recruits. Some are still to receive those implants, but we are through most of the newest batch at this point. They won't be ready for Isstvan, which will be a shame, but they will be able to replace a large number of the losses we will incur almost immediately after, meaning it will appear to our foes as if we have not lost a single man."
The ability to appear immortal to one's foes... Jaekal was impressed even further with the Corpse-Master's skill and ingenuity and this new revelation gave the Chaplain the answer he was looking for in his visit. "I trust that answers all your questions and assuages all your fears?" Veptus staring indifferently at Jaekal, was noticibly perturbed. "Oh yes, Brother Veptus, this visit has been most educational. I see that the flock is in your capable hands, and as you have your duties to attend to, I will be on my way." Leaving the room, Jaekal thought to himself as he returned to his sanctum. Though the medic was indeed the Primus Medicae, the matters of the immortal soul were Jaekal's domain. Smiling to himself, Jaekal laughed as he wondered how well the medic could operate if his arms were torn from their sockets? Subduing the thought, he entered the corridor leading to his chambers before retiring to his meditations.
Nostramans by nature are predators given the chance, and Corvis was no exception. In the near total darkness of the training hall, Corvis felt his blood sing as he raised his lightning claw up once again to block Xho's sword. What felt like a mountain hammering into him sent him reeling backwards, but unblooded still. Between the two of them Xho was definitely the bigger; no doubt a fact the fool thought would ease his victory as he swaggered into the arena with his two-handed chainsword. Corvis knew Xho had more muscle than brain, he could tell by the Nostraman markings on him, Probably once an enforcer he thought nonchalantly as they both prepared for the duel to begin. Still, Xho thought himself better than Corvis, and that was an insult in and of itself. A duel to third blood it would be, and Corvis promised himself he would make this particularly painful for those in 5th Claw who were watching.
Once again Xho swung his sword in an arc hoping to drive Corvis further away from closing in on him. Twisting his gauntlet Corvis caught the sergeants blade in between several of his talons and pulled his sword downward into the cold steel of the training deck. Before Xho could rip his sword free of Corvis' talons, the Young Blood slammed his left fist into Xho head, sending him reeling backwards. Seeing an opening, Corvis released his grip on Xho's sword and sank his claw into the meat of Xho's shoulder. Even in the near absolute blackness of the training hall Corvis' eyes could see the bright red liquid pour from the sergeants open wound and he could not hide the smile etched on his face. "That's one Xho, try not to let this look too easy for me" Corvis taunted as he backed away from the sergeant. As Xho gripped his sword with both hands Corvis slowly paced back and forth like a predator judging his best angle of attack. Ignoring the jeers and insults of the 5th claw Night Lords watching him, Corvis savored the look of disbelief and rage on Xho's face. With more arrogance than confidence Corvis took a running start and leaped at the Night Lord, his claw aimed to rake across the sergeants face. Unfortunately Xho saw the hungry look in Corvis' eyes, the desire to mercilessly destroy the opponent and feed off the fear. A heartbeat away from the cold steel touching his face, Xho brought his sword up and batted Corvis's claw away as he landed. Trying to leap out of the way, Corvis was unable to block the savage kick from Xho that sent him reeling back. Not wasting any time Xho roared as he swung his sword in a downward arc.
Cold steel bit into his cheek. Instantly Corvis could taste the warm, metal smell of his own blood as it poured freely from his wound. Reaching his left hand to his face, Corvis could feel the meat of his face and swore under his breath at the impudent wretch. "No more screwing around then" Corvis stated as he rose to his feet and brandished his claw once again. This time both combatants charged head long at each other, the sparks of the steel blades connecting giving the only brief illumination in the arena. As Xho thought himself a mountain to bring crashing down on Corvis, the young Night Lord was a predator. He would match this fool blow for blow, and show him how inferior he was to Corvis in martial might when his target slipped up in even the slightest way. Bobbing under a hasty cut to his melee arm, Corvis brought his knee slamming into Xho's midsection. Briefly off balance, Corvis grabbed Xho by his good shoulder and spun him around to face Corvis. Letting no time get away Corvis swiftly raked his talons across the sergeants chest, four fresh wounds weeping blood from the second hit. Corvis wanted to relish the moment, he wanted to savor the look of frenzied hatred in Xho's eyes as the thought of defeat became a real possibility in his mind. However, Corvis needed to win. Biting his tongue against any mocking jests or insults Corvis gritted his teeth and charged once again at the lumbering Night Lord.
.."Make him bleed Corvis!"..."Cut the Young Blood down to size Xho!"..."Kill!".."Victory for 5th claw!"..."Show the old murderer how to fight Young Blood!"..."Kill!"..."Kill!"..."Kill!". The spectators to the duel were roaring for more. They wanted more than just a fight to third blood. They wanted death. A Murder Duel was uncommon en route to a war zone but even Corvis couldn't deny the appetite for claiming Xho's life. Still, Corvis didn't need any Warp-touched powers of Jallus' to sense Azrael's presence on the training deck. The Blade Master was not one to tolerate a killing by one of his Claw not sanctioned by Xandrek, or himself. The Night Lords in attendance would just have to wait for Istvaan V to slate their blood thirst on astartes. By now both duelists were drenched in sweat and blood, their astartes physiology stemming the blood flow from their wounds as they continued attacking. Corvis could feel the throbbing in his face as his body fought off bacteria and began healing the wound. He could only brace against the pain and use it to exert himself to victory. Xho appeared to be holding together though he was staggering ever so slightly, not enough to be an easy victory but enough to not be a hard threat. "I will break your spirit Young Blood" Xho spat as he took the charge. As they met each other again in the middle of the arena talons met chainsword and the two of them locked eyes for the briefest of seconds, and that was all Corvis needed to know Xho's next move. Feinting a break from the combat, Corvis smiled one more time as he saw Xho raise his sword up bring it crashing down. Had it connected it would have easily split his coller bone in two and probably have gauranteed Xho victory. As it was, Corvis knew this was what Xho planned, and as the Night Lord brutally brought his sword down, he saw Corvis twist his body just a hairs breadth from the teeth of his sword. Without any mercy Corvis drove his claw once more into Xho's chest, sending him slamming backwards onto the cold steel of the arena. Calmly, Corvis walked over to the semi-conscious sergeant and smiled his murderous smile. "And that's three" he mocked.
The audience of Night Lords cheered and roared. The entire training hall echoed their raucous cheers at a duel worth watching. Corvis paid them no heed. He had already left the Xho and the arena floor while they were still laughing and yelling their approval. Pouring ice cold water over his face, Corvis exhaled and finally let himself enjoy the victory he won himself.
"Well done Young Blood, but remember not to become complacent after you have drawn first blood. It is when he has been wounded that your foe is at his most dangerous for he will not underestimate you again as you learned today. You are lucky you dodged, Xho's chainsword would have split your collar bone as well as cutting your face had you not. Learn these lessons and eventually you'll come away without a scratch from a fight such as this. Also, be wary of Xho. Before he joined us he was a murderer of the worst sort and I wouldn't put it beyond him to jump you in a dark corner.". Corvis knew that voice before he had even said the name Young Blood. He had heard it a dozen times or more, always in that same chiding tone that seemed to Corvis as patronizing as it was arrogant. Still, Azrael was Xandrek's champion for a reason, and Corvis would not be the fool to openly provoke such a sure defeat. Turning to face Azrael, Corvis smiled his ever empty smile and acknowledged the Champion with a nod, "Perceptive as ever Sword Master. Your Terran masters must have taught you well before the Night Haunter's gene-seed was gifted to you" he said. ""But you do not need to warn me about Xho. He is a fool who thinks his shadow greater than it is. Had you not been here this would have become a Murder Duel very quickly and 5th Claw would be needing a new sergeant. If Xho is foolish enough to try anything from the shadows, then the Corpse-Master will receive a fresh astartes corpse to cut open."
The heat, the roaring heat.Deep within the Maiden of sorrow lay the armory, a forge manned not by blacksmiths and apprentices but by priests and once-men. Fundae liked this place, the warmth was intense and filled him with joy but that was not why he was here.This was the den of that iron bat Var,Tech-Marine of Fourth company and Tech-adept of the claw. The Nostramon was untrustworthy was untrustworthy even by night lord standards and if it weren’t for his knowledge and skill then he would by dead long ago by his enemies or his “alies”.Fundae marched through the corridors with haste, his horned astartus helm under arm and his double edged chain axe slung along his back. He came to a medium sized dark room, biotics and weapon parts hung from the walls and hunched over a table at the far end staring intently at some blue prints was the tech-marine.
“Var,i hope you have repaired my flamer by now” Called Fundae gaining the tech-priests attention.
“you cannot rush my work.Be grateful you still live, and let me deal with your weapon.” He was right, the last engagement had a stray round rupture its fuel canister badly injuring Fundae but thanks to the corpse-master he was ready to fight once more.Upon further inspection Ignescunt could see what lay on the table. It was the wrecked remains of an over heated plasma gun not his flamer, that was it..
“forgive me scrap head.I thought you were the fastest tech-priest in the company”
Something snapped, the mechanical arm attached to Var’s back whipped around barely missing Fundae. var turned on his heel staring down Fundae before graspng the handle of his axe. The voice that tore through the helmet of the raging legionaire was like a demonic scratching, its anger brought a slight smile to Ignescunt’s mouth.
“You forget your place. Veteran you may be, but accidents happen, and they can be fatal. NOW.GET.OUT.OF.MY.ARMoRY!”
Fundae was not happy now, the Marine was showing the same disrespect to him as they recieved from the other legions still loyal to the false emporer. Fundae cought himself reaching for the axe slung over his shoulder but he stopped, as much as he hated it they needed Var and he wanted nothing more than to tear that Tech-Adept’s head from his twisted body.
The weapon specialist thundered off barging over a servitor and splintering a tech-adept’s thigh and hip as he exited the armory.
In the centre of the vessel insulated as much as possible from the imaterium, shrowded in darkness, was the Librarium. The central repository for knowledge and reports of battles long past. Sitting silently with his legs underneath him, Jallus sat facing the large door of the inner librarium. Two other Librarians spread out forming a semi circle of sorts. On Jallus's right was Librarian Antallus Zartis and to his left was Indrick Taelos. Using forbidden powers the librarians communed with each other reinforcing their mental strengths with practised exercises.
It would have been a full circle if the Night Lords produced more librarians or 'psykers' as many marines in the chapter called them. The time was fast approaching for exercises to stop and war to begin. War against fellow Astartes. Jallus relished the thought. To test his metal against those whose strength could match his own gene enhanced physic. He had been meditating for around 2 hours, sending barbed mental attacks at his fellows while reinforcing his own mental barriers. 2 hours of thinking. 2 hours of scheming while he waited. He sensed that the Maiden would in fact appear at Isstavn V slightly ahead of most of the night lords fleet.
Jallus exhaled. It seemed to take an age to fully breath out. His mind emptied of thought as well as his lung of air. He finely opened his black midnight eyes. Looking around the shadowy room he could see the other doing the same.
"What is wrong brother" said Indrick
"It is nothing. Go back to mediating and I will return shortly.'
With that Jallus rose from his position and walked over to the weapon rack. He collected his force axe and bolt pistol. The axe still felt great in his hand as if it was an extension of his mind. He pushed some power into it with his mind feeling the radiance of psychic power bleeding of the blade. It was was thrill to use if battle, much more than it should have been he knew.
He walked to the main doors of the librarium, passing over it's hold and immediately feeling the power of the imaterium. Outside of the sanctuary there was less psychic shielding and now there was just the thin geller field between his mind and the raging warp. He must be quick to warn the Captain that would arrive earlier than anticipated.
Turning towards the bridge Jallus paced towards the bridge, confident he would not be held up. Nobody wanted to talk to a psyker unless they needed too. The low lights of the ship made him feel at home, he preferred this dark half light. Step through the bulk head door. Up ahead he could see Raskreia, carrying the company standard. Jallus disliked being near him in battle and spent as little time in his company out of battle. But there was nothing for it. The speediest route to the bridge was the same route as Raskreia.
'Hail standard bearer' Jallus voiced as he came up behind the marine.
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