HOES #1: Panic
Bane_of_Kings: Emperor's Blood
An Imperial Guard Short Story
SLOWLY, KEEPING HIS head down, Colonel Kardan advanced through the ruins of what had once been known as Hive Hestran. “Watch your backs, men,” he remarked, gesturing to his men behind him. “You never know where these traitors might be hiding. Check every ruin.”
“Yes, Colonel,” there was a chorus of replies from his squad. Climbing through what had once been some sort of pub, a place for hivers to gather and drink; it was here that he first heard the voice.
‘Count the Seven.’
“What was that?” uttered the vox-caster, afraid. He was a young man in his early twenties, and boasted blonde hair. He was named Thestus, and had been with the Regiment ever since Morannos. “I just got something weird on the vox.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Kardan responded. “It’s just your vox acting up – keep going. Remember, guard your flanks. The Emperor Protects.”
“The Emperor Protects,” they chorused as one, and continued their advance.
“The Baneblade was last reported to be several miles north-east of our current position, Colonel,” Jedrec, the man who carried the squad’s flamer, informed his Colonel of what he already knew. Deciding not to respond, Colonel Kardan continued his advance.
“This place gives me the creeps,” Andras was the one who spoke, nudging a corpse with his lasgun to see if it moved. “Why couldn’t we be off on the front line? We shouldn’t have to be searching for a lost Baneblade.”
“Contact was lost with the Baneblade, but the pskyers confirm that it’s machine spirit is still intact,” Kardan turned on Andras. “That’s why we’re going out there. We can’t go in Valkyries or Chimeras because that would give away our position. And we don’t have any Sentinels left, and all our other squads are on the front line.”
“I know that, Colonel,” responded Andras. “But what about the 22nd? We haven’t heard from them in weeks.”
“The last time they were reported was near the Baneblade,” replied Kardan. “I’ll give extra rations to all of you if we find both.”
That got the men interested. The promise of extra food always got the men interested, as during wars, food was often hard to come by. As Kardan climbed over another piece of wreckage, he heard the voice again.
‘Count the Seven.’
“I don’t think that’s my vox acting up, Colonel,” uttered Thestus.
“Try changing the frequency,” replied Kardan, and continued regardless. “It’s nothing.”
“But Colonel, this is the second time I heard it,” Thestus remarked, anxiously. “I mean, I can understand once, but twice?”
Colonel Kardan shot a look at Thestus, and remarked, “It’s defiantly your vox acting up.”
“Any more words from you, Thestus, and I’ll shoot you where you stand.”
“It wasn’t Thestus who spoke, Colonel,” remarked Andras with a frown. “I heard it as well. Count the Seven. That’s all it is. Just three words.”
‘Count the Seven.’
And this time, Colonel Kardan heard it. It was an eerie voice, deep and dragged out. It echoed across the squad, causing each of them, including the Colonel to stop stone dead.
“Ignore it,” after a long pause, Kardan came to a conclusion. “If it’s not the vox acting up, it’s the enemy trying to scare us. Don’t pay attention to it.”
“Colonel, if the enemy can get into our vox systems, does that mean they know where we are?” asked Thestus, worryingly, as they climbed over another small ruin.
“If they know where we are they would have attacked by now,” replied Kardan.
“Or they’re leading us into a trap,” Jedrec replied grimly. “What’s our next move, Colonel?”
“We follow our orders, unless you want to find yourself as part of the penal legions,” Kardan spat, and grabbed his weapon, a trusty Power Sword that had been with him, also since Morannos, when he had lost his old one to a xenos later classified as a Carnifex. The only reason why he still lived was due to the intervention of an adeptus astartes, from the Raven Guard Chapter, appearing from nowhere to smite the alien with righteous fury.
“So we advance,” the final member of the five-man squad, the only female there, and the highest ranked in the Regiment, Kal, spoke. “And if it’s a trap, we spring it and call in for air support.”
“Aye, that’s what we’ll do,” Colonel Kardan grinned. “Nice thinking, Kal. Sharp as ever. Now, Guardsmen. We wouldn’t want to let the God-Emperor down, would we?”
They continued their advance in silence. About half an hour later, they arrived in what had once been an Imperial Chapel, dedicated to the God-Emperor and the Imperium. Some defiled banners still hung on the walls, signifying that the enemy had not had a chance to taint this place yet.
Which unnerved Kardan, as he thought, if he was the enemy, he would have defiled the Chapel long ago – as it stood out as a beacon of resistance, and a beacon of hope, to any survivors.
“We go inside the Chapel,” ordered Kardan.
“Guns blazing or stealth, Colonel?” asked Jedrec, curiously, lifting his flamer.
“Scan for signs of life,” Kardan responded, looking at Kal, who obeyed.
“There’s... There’s nothing,” Kal remarked, after a quick scan.
“Good. Then we don’t have to-”
“Wait,” Kal held up her free hand. “I’m detecting something... lots of things inside. Some small, some large. But... there’s hundreds, Colonel! And there’s more – behind us!”
“Behind us?” Colonel Kardan spun around, but saw nothing. Then, Kal screamed. Instantly turning around, Kardan noticed it.
“Daemon,” he spat, and loaded his pistol. It was small for a spawn of the archenemy, and stank so badly that Kardan reckoned they could have smelt it a mile away, and it was covered in green – but there were more than just one of them.
And they were not all the same size. There were several different shapes of them, some suspiciously man-sized. Recognising the banner that one of them held, Kardan cursed.
At last they had found out what had happened to the Korvannon 22nd.
HOES #2: Thirst
C'Tan Chimera: A Wretched Silence Examined
You can never comprehend. You will never know what I have tried so hard to forget.
I speak to you now in the body, the rippling surge of matter against matter. My eyes cannot speak for me. My mouth does not move. Only this occupation of space, this metal skeleton can create any expression. The expressions found within the flesh; the gashes, lacerations, gaping holes and carved skin.
You will never know what I feel, what I have spoken; the same words we sowed across Oblivion eons ago. Those words have blossomed into essence upon the universe it sprouted from. Hatred. Weakness. Pain. Genocide. Since the beginning we have thirsted for so much more then what we were. We hungered for that just barely beyond our grasp. We would never have made it this far had we not been gorged on that which one can only find at the bottom.
Hatred kept our will alive. When all else failed to make our blood surge with purpose, it nurtured us and weaned us like a twisted mother.
Weakness kept our ambition alive. The shame that dwelled within, the guilt of unfulfilled destiny brought us forward, one foot after another.
Pain kept our bodies alive. It was our discipline, the reminder of our failures and that we were still alive, if only barely by its fickle definitions.
Genocide kept our race alive. It unified us under one desire. If we couldn’t overcome our fate, Genocide would allow us to drag everyone else down to our level for company of misery.
Yet I know you do not understand this. You do not understand that which I unceasingly try to show each of you as I reach out for you. I understand that no amount of blood spilled and bones broken can ever convey a tangible idea, a message that may be understood universally. Yet I try anyway if only to justify my actions, no matter how weak it really is.
Some things cannot be understood, much like what I desperately try to convey. They have taught your kind that death is a blessing…But for all the wrong reasons. In the end, everything is supposed to die. No matter how briefly or no matter how long, everything dies. Time itself is the only permanent, yet it dares not mingle with the abominations we have become. I am neither alive, nor am I free from the confines of the material plain.
I have become Death Itself. That thin scythed blade that serves as the dividing line between the trillions alive and the innumerable dead. My brethren have been It for so long that they no longer even think of it, let alone anything else. Days slipped into months and months into years. Years became centuries and centuries became seconds. Even the seemingly immortal aspect of time has faded from my comprehension altogether. My condemnation and the agony of its burden will never end for time has lost all meaning. I am the referee between life and death, constantly judging but alone and unable to take part in either role ever again. My brothers have suffered likewise, but I still envy them.
They have lost all drive, all meaning, all awareness. They are no longer even the echoes of the ancient hatred that sill resonates within their empty sockets. Only I remain, and only I know that I lead them to become these pitiful husks. I envy them, if they can even be thought of as entities any longer. I envy their liberation from the self imposed definitions of this universe.
They are just grisly toys. But at least they will never know how far they have fallen; how much they’ve let their ancestors down when they once promised them they knew how to save them from pain and suffering. I was not so lucky. I trudge on alongside them, leading them forward into the eternal harvest.
They may never be sentient again and thus never hold judgment, but that which I hold upon myself is enough. The doom of my entire race sags against these tired metal shoulders. It slowly but patiently erodes my conscience, my dignity, my once impenetrable denial. Like damnable waves it seeps its way into every corner, every crevice and every hollow of my being. That which Time itself cannot physically wear down, this Guilt does for it.
Perhaps your leader feels just like I do as this legion’s master. We both had our thirsting to stand above all else. We fought long and hard, just to be trapped within this material prison and forever be unable to escape it. Ambition has given away to the stagnation of eternity, and to fully understand that it has no end is to abandon hope. We both watch over our kind, desperate to save them from the mindless slavery they have willingly undertaken. Yet we are no longer truly your masters. Rather, we are merely sad reminders of our races undertakings. We have taken different roads and used different methods to reach the same destination at different times.
It may be impossible to win that pointless mortal game, yes. I once took my role in it but knew not what I had. What we had. We had an experience and we cared not for it but the destination at its end.
You see me loom before you and know Death. It’s a gift that I may give but will never receive no matter how many times I am struck. All that thirst so long ago was sated and was never enough. It’s simpler than ever before yet all but impossible. All I want now, after so much, is to scream. I just want to scream one last time. I know I have lost. I know I can never be freed from what I have forged for myself. I just want to let it all out before I continue about my impossible task.
I just want to scream.
Yours will have to do.
God dammit Boc... How dare you mislead me with your thread title... I come here expecting to see bitches and hoes, but instead I get stupid fan fic. :P
Aaaaaand success haha
gotta admit i throughly enjoyed taking part in this one can't wait for the next one Boc...
I wholeheartedly agree- and I'm not saying that because I won this month's edition :blush:. The themes are simple, but provide a fun challenge of figuring out what to make of them. After months of monotonous writing assignments for classes, it's always a blast to have a change of pace with what it is I'm writing about.
Cheers, gents! Again, congrats to our first two winners, HOES #3 is now up :)
HOES #3: Betrayal
Mossy Toes: Survivor
Inquisitor Thresh chambered a round into his ornate bolt pistol and ejected the magazine. It clattered to his desk.
“Tell me, Interrogator,” he said, offering the pistol to Taros Vutch with a flourish, “what is your single greatest flaw?”
Taros took it, puzzlement slowly giving way to cold, hard fear. He blinked slowly, taking a shuddering breath. “The close bond I have with my twin sister, sir,” he said. There was no denying it. Hadn't Thresh criticized him for that very weakness many times?
“Precisely. In all other matters, you are an exemplary student. I have no other reservations for sponsoring you to the rank of Inquisitor, apart from losing you as an operative. You are one of my most promising protegees—other than your illogical, detrimental attachment to Kay Vutch. The Enemy needs but one lever against you, Taros. I can guarantee you she would eventually be used as that lever, willingly or not.”
Taros stood still, the bolt pistol heavy in his hand. Thresh met his eyes, expression solemn and unyielding.
“Nevertheless, Interrogator,” he continued, “it is with deep regret that I inform you that your sister's soul is irrevocably tainted.”
Taros stiffened, biting back an outright denial. He didn't believe what he was hearing on principle, but his master was bound to have evidence for such an inflammatory statement.
“She has been, unknowingly, the Darkchild's host.”
Taros closed his eyes again. That was it, then. That was how the damnable beast had tracked them unerringly across the sector, and why her psy-sensitivity had so unerringly predicted its coming. That was why she always survived its attacks, however improbably. His heart sank even further. Thresh would not say such a thing without definite proof.
“You are certain?” Taros asked, nonetheless. He had to know, to protect, to deny-
“Irrefutably. I have had my suspicions for some time, but am now certain. When overpowered, the Darkchild named her its mother. Psy-probing and hypnotic interrogation Kay herself turned up further evidence, unwitting thrall though she had been. Chirugeon Jhal's report is here.
“Know this: an Inquisitor must be tempered steel, without flaw. I know this hurts, Taros.” Thresh's tone was the closest to compassionate that Taros had ever heard. “My own master forced me through similarly painful deeds; deeds that I resented for many years, but for which I now see the necessity. I will not release an unworthy Inquisitor upon the galaxy. I know this hurts, but these are the hammer-blows that shape you into the Emperor's blade.
“You are ready to become an Inquisitor, Taros. You need but prove to me that you can put aside your personal ties. You have one final test. Your sister awaits.”
Kay shifted in her bonds, despite that the movement send shivers of agony running down her naked, brutalized body. Voices in the corridor outside.
She understood the nightmares, now. Always falling, always bound. She knew what horror was coming, what she—gagged or muted—would be helpless to prevent.
Her body hurt, her head pounded from their drugs, and more than half of her fingers and ribs were broken. Lacerations and bruises throbbed mercilessly, unrelieved by the burning pain in the back of her neck. One of her ears had been torn off, her scalp shaved, and she didn't even want to imagine what that machine had done to the base of her skull—and to her brain. Hanging restrained and immobilized, all she had been able to do was scream.
The portal to the void safe-cum-torture chamber creaked open, and burning light lanced from beyond. She squinted, her puffed-up eyelids protesting.
“Kay,” came the whisper, and her stomach sunk in despair. She knew that tone, those words too well. “God-Emperor above, Kay.”
Taros took halting steps into the chamber. The lumen-strip hanging from the roof flickered on and the door shuddered shut behind him, locking with an automated, irrefutable clatter.
Her nightmares. This was them, played out in flesh. He would stagger forward, apologize. He would jam the blade of the knife into his trachea and his eyes would work silently, beseechingly, as he sunk to the floor. She couldn't let that—she had to stop-
He lurched forward to touch her cheek. Despite the caress's gentleness, it only stung her bruises.
“Don't,” she hissed, her voice cracked and raw. She couldn't let it happen. She could argue him out of it. She could convince him not to commit suicide.
He jerked away, obviously thinking she was talking about his touch. But a thrill of elation filled her. She could speak, and he carried a gun, not a knife. The future wasn't set. It could diverge.
“I'm sorry-” he began, but she cut him off harshly.
“Don't do it. I know what you're planning. I've seen it in my dreams; I see it in your eyes. It's not worth throwing yourself away for me. I'm already dead.”
“Kay,” he breathed, agonized. “I've already lost you once, for eight long years. I can't let you get taken away again. I can't live without-”
His voice failed.
“You walk out of this chamber alone,” she said, “or neither of us leaves. It's that simple, Tar. There aren't any other options. Besides,” she said, and coughed, “you always wanted to serve the Imperium and see the stars.”
“I've served. I've seen. But if this is the price—I've served and seen enough.”
“Then who will prevent the atrocities like Hive Colocanis? Like Karisas and Teketomos? Even if it hurts, Taros, I'm too—broken—for you to give yourself up over. You have to live.”
It hurt too much for her to speak. That, she told herself, was why her breath came in ragged gasps; why her vision blurred and ran. Taros's breath was rough too, and his shoulders were shaking. She hadn't seen him cry since they were underhive slum-children on Carcosair, in a hive that had been dead for almost two decades.
The only noise was their breathing. She had to push him, convince him. She had to change his mind.
“I'm sorry,” he said, lifting the pistol. It's barrel lifted and wavered toward her. Nothing was certain until he pulled the trigger. She could see the hole that a magazine would normally occupy; he had been sent in with one bolt. What would she do if he killed himself and left her dangling here, helpless, over his corpse? “I'm sorry, Kay.”
She closed her eyes, waiting for thunder to roll.
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