The jostling and throttle of the Revenant as it broke the atmosphere of Isstvan shook Corvis from the reverie of imagining the doomed planet below. Even from above in space, Isstvan flared with the bright eruptions of flame as the backs of three Legions were broken on its surface. A primarch also lay dead, if the half-rushed chatter was to be true and yet this was only the beginning. An Imperium of lies still needed to be crushed and Corvis would follow his Primarch to the vengeance that would be theirs. Lost in malicious thought, Corvis opened his eyes to finally examine the rest of First Claw assembled in the Revenant as she raced through the void to the waiting Maiden of Sorrow.
Battered, bloody, but unbroken, First Claw looked a grim but determined sight, as well as the Iron Warrior with the perpetual smell of oil and grease. Examining his comrades, the Young Blood halted his gaze on the new blood in the Claw, Kesh. “A month till that hairless brute trips and blows his feet off with that plasma gun” Corvis wagered in his head as he snickered his empty grin. The Young Blood did not know why Xandrek had seen fit to allow some half-cocked destroyer into First Claw, but he knew better than to question Xandrek’s motives. Besides, it would appear First Claw would need some fresh blood in the short term if the crippled Champion was any indication.
Mangled and covered in his own drying blood, Azrael looked a pitiful sight, the stumps of most of his extremities being seen too by Veptus and Xheng. “The foolish Terran would probably prefer death after the ministrations of those two” Corvis mused, thinking back the condemned Legionnaire Shen, the sight of Xheng hovering over him like a crow not ready to wait for his prey to die before swooping in. The Young Blood still did not know what had transpired between the Champion and Xandrek down below on the surface, but he made a point to find out. The politics of the VIIIth Legion were as volatile as they were shadowed; and if Night Lords were masters of any one thing, it was operating in the shadows. No other Legion could make that boast in front of Konrad Kurze’s sons, at least not without losing their tongues. Not the Alpha Legion and its incessant need for planning, not the Raven Guard and their inane attempts at subterfuge, and most certainly not the mechanical automatons of Perturabo.
Thinking of the unwelcome guest, Corvis turned his pitch black eyes to the foreigner strapped into the Revenant with the rest of First Claw. While it was true for Legionnaires of separate Legions to detach themselves from their companies and serve under a different Primarch, now that Horus had openly defied the Emperor and set the galaxy aflame it seemed a rather ill time for exchanging brothers to different Legions. “Besides, what does that Olympian know of Kurze’s way of war” Corvis silently mouthed, the sound of his voice lost beneath the rattle of the hull as it closed in on the Maiden of Sorrow. Iron Warriors are merely a hammer to break upon the enemy. And if Corvis was brutally honest, and he was anything if not honest, Rogal Dorn and his Imperial Fists were far better at siege warfare than the sons of Perturabo ever could muster. Still, if the Lord of Lies seemed to deem the Iron Warrior of use, then Corvis would not challenge his Lord. Watching the Olympian lost navigating the lightless halls of the Maiden will at least provide some entertainment in between warzones, Corvis thought, enjoying the image of the brutish Astartes stranded in the black depths of the cruiser. Who knows, maybe an accident might befall the stone faced marine down there, where no sound will ever be heard.
Gripping his harness, Corvis could feel the Revenant slow as she landed in the hangar bay of the Maiden. Hitting the release, Corvis unhooked his harness and stood as the rest of First Claw began to rise from their seats. A fresh scent wafted up the Young Blood’s nose as he waited for the ramp to lower. Senses heightened by gene-seed implants and years of training were unnecessary for one used to the violence of Nostramo. One of the astartes in the Revenant’s hold was losing a lot of blood. And judging by the strong metallic tang to the scent, Corvis guessed that the Iron Warrior had suffered more damage than he appeared to be letting on. “At least Azrael will have company in the Apothecarium” Corvis mused, barely caring to notice the unconscious Terran as the hiss of hydraulic gears lowered the ramp. Walking down with the rest of First Claw, Corvis took in the sight of the Maiden’s hold, oddly glad to be back in its lightless embrace.
"Veptus, Xheng, Pelegon, Azrael get yourselves to the Apocatherion and get yourselves patch up. Veptus you are to make sure Azrael is ready for bionic replacements of the limbs he has lost, but see to Pelegon first." Xandrek ordered before abruptly departing.
Clearly dismissed, Corvis began to make his own way before being stopped by Apothecary Xheng as he was leaving with his charges. “Return to the Apocatherion when you are ready 'Young Blood' and I will once again see to that face of yours, with any luck I might be able to salvage some of your original appearance though you wouldn't win a Beauty contest with one of the Phoenician's powdered peacocks." Xheng wheezed. Corvis stopped in his tracks and raised an eyebrow at the sight of Xheng making a joke. “It’s good to see I’m not the only one on this ship with a sense of humor” Corvis said to no one as he watched Xheng retreat into the Maiden’s halls.
Rather than waiting for one of his fellow Claw, Corvis strode off on his own down the halls of the Maiden, putting the Apothecarium from his mind for now as he had a different destination in mind. Traversing the lightless halls was comfort to Corvis he always took for granted. Only in the pitch black gangways and veins of the Maiden could Corvis remember Nostramo, now a charred husk of asteroids floating through space. His nostalgia carried him through the halls of Maiden, passing crewmen making their way carefully by what little light was available to them, and into the sweltering furnace of the armory.
The cacophonous noise blasting throughout the armory assaulting Corvis’ senses almost threatened to overwhelm him briefly. Tech-marines hammered armor back into place, sat hunched over fine-tuning explosives, directing servitors carrying crates of munitions, and everything else that kept the Astartes aboard the Maiden capable of waging war against the False Emperor. Carefully stepping in between servitors and other Astartes doing business down here, Corvis finally noticed a tech-marine finish a breastplate of MK IV armor and set it on an armor stand before stretching his arms.
“Brother Tech-marine” Corvis stated flatly as he approached the Mechanicus trained astartes. The tech-marine gave only the faintest tilt of his head to acknowledge the Young Blood’s presence. Gritting his teeth to avoid saying anything antagonizing, Corvis began disassemble his armor. Handing his pauldrons over to the tech-marine, the Young Blood then unhooked his side-arm, “I’ll need fresh cells for the pistol and two krak grenades, along with seeing to the damage to my armor” Corvis listed off his needs, trying his best to be diplomatic lest his armor come back worse for wear or his grenades mysteriously explode too soon. “We’re backed up trying to re-supply the company after the adventure down planetside” the tech-marine said looking down at his roster, “Leave your armor here and return later, someone will see to your equipment. Munitions wise, Isstvan has required even more resources than we anticipated for the Maiden. Servitors are bringing up fresh supplies from secondary depots. When you return later we’ll have your munitions refilled.” Sighing, Corvis did not dare argue. He may not like being kept waiting, but with the fighting over on Isstvan he had time to spare. “Expect one of my serfs here to claim my equipment” Corvis said. Not waiting to see the tech-marine acknowledge him, Corvis began his walk back into the depths of the Maiden. As he approached the gateway, the Young Blood saw Kesh enter the armory proper. Not bothering to waste time, Corvis gave only a nod of his head in recognition of the new additions presence before making his way to his personal quarters
Finding his personal quarters, Corvis swung the door open to see his two serfs meticulously cleaning their serrated blades over a bowl of dark hued water while two laspistols lay disassembled next to several empty power cells. “Well, it would appear I have caught you both ‘red-handed’” Corvis said nonchalantly, as he entered and closed the steel door. “My lord” they both spoke in unison upon seeing their master.
Stretching his arms, relaxing finally in the comfort of his quarters, Corvis strode through his chamber to his equipment bench and placed his plasma pistol on the metal slab before unhooking his lightning claw. “The sights were knocked loose during the engagement” Corvis said looking down at his pistol, not bothering to check if Primus was listening. Ever since coming into his service, Primus had always seen to Corvis’ weapons. The old fool said he trusted no one else to handle his master’s weaponry, but Corvis wagered the leathery killer didn’t want to risk losing his position serving a Night Lord. “And check the photohydrogen power cell; it seemed to be heating faster than normal. If it’s cracked or damaged take it to the armory”.
Moving over to his armor stand, Corvis began unhooking his breastplate, then his gauntlets and boots before placing each into their place. “Secundus, see to it this armor is cleaned from the grit, grime, and gore by the time I return.” Corvis said, placing his helmet upon the stand, leaving only the pauldrons being seen to by the tech-marines missing from the picture. “Of course, lord” Secundus quickly returned. Breaking his gaze from his midnight blue armor, Corvis turned to finally regard his serfs. “So, did you handle that bit of business from before we launched planetside?” Corvis questioned, knowing he already had his answer.
With a savage gleam in both their eyes, the two servants sheathed their knives and cleared their space. Motioning with his weathered hand, Primus pointed to a roll of leather Corvis had not noticed upon entering. Something was different about this bundle of leather though; it wasn’t grox-hide or synthetic leather but something only Night Lords enjoyed dabbling in. “We would have brought you his face, lord, but it seemed better suited on Xnema after we had finished with him” Secundus said, his malicious grin splitting his face.
“After you and your brothers launched, the crew was completely occupied with the engagement.” Primus said as Corvis unrolled the human hide perfectly flensed. “Between the constant warning klaxons and the thundering of the cannons, it was a simple task finding Xnema and his lot without discovery. Secundus and I dispatched most of those fools, along with the help of some teamsters from the artillery decks who are constant customers for our alcohol.” Primus continued, “We hoisted the pathetic wretch up high for all to see, but not before flaying the fool. Waste not want not, they say” Primus said, causing even Corvis to laugh with the two maniacs.
“We were careful to make sure no one saw our coming or going, my lord. With any luck, Remus and his ilk will take the message and steer clear of our area. At the very least, the agri-workers and stall merchants are grateful to have some peace, and some semblance of order is at least holding sway, however brief it may be” Secundus followed, his eyes rolling at the thought of the next vagabond that wanted to encroach on the two serfs business.
Corvis rarely felt anything for humans, preferring instead his role as a post-human warrior. Still, at this moment the Young Blood couldn’t help but feel pride in his servant’s accomplishments. “The Maiden may be crewed by Night Lords, but it is maintained by the lessons learned from the Night Haunter. Job well done, the both of you” Corvis said, his predator smile giving only the false impression of impending murder. “See to it the both of you make your way to the armor later on. I’m expecting my pauldrons to be repaired along with a resupply of plasma fuel flasks and krak grenades. Don’t let those half-skitarii try and stiff you.” Corvis said as he donned his Legion robes, imagining the two of them trying to haggle with an astartes trained by the Mechanicum. The two servants nodded before Primus piped up, “Lord, will you be needing an Apothecary for that wound? Your exertions seem to have opened the stitching”. Corvis had completely forgotten about his wound, his astartes physiology having dulled the pain to just a distant throb. “I suppose I do. I’m sure Veptus and his entourage of sadists will enjoy my cheerful company” Corvis said as his serfs bowed watching their liege exit. As the steel door shut again, the two servants looked at each other before examining the work their master left for them. Sighing, the two picked up their tools and set about cleaning and maintaining their lord’s equipment, again.
Retracing his steps, Corvis easily found the Apothecarium, its helix symbol in contrast to the blackness just at its doorstep. Walking through the entrance, Corvis came into a busy scene. On a medical slab, Corvis spotted the Iron Warrior who had been attached to 4th company. Xheng was finishing up on his work as Corvis made his way through the medical facility. Finding an empty seat, Corvis waited for Xheng to dismiss Pelegon before making his way over to the Young Blood. “This shouldn’t take long” the Minoris said as he injected Corvis with a numbing agent and painkillers. Feeling the cold touch of the Apothecary gripping him before beginning to sterilize and stitch the wound closed, Corvis allowed his mind to drift away, to relive the battle that just occurred hours before and to contemplate what Xandrek had in store for them.