Author Topic: Lux Eterna  (Read 5166 times)

Offline Swarbie

  • Inquisitor Lord
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  • Posts: 364
Re: Lux Eterna
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2010, 04:48:08 AM »
I awoke in a white place. It was . . . soft, and warm. I felt comforted. Then I remembered Racquel.

I screamed.

Feet came running. My vision was still blurry, but I focused and the face of Medicae Zakstrel came into view.  “What is it, my lord? Is it the pain?” he asked.

Wanting release from the horror that filled my mind, I nodded. Suddenly, I began feeling better as painkillers flooded my system, transported by a drip connected to my arm.  “What . . . what’s happening, Zakstrel?” I inquired.

“I’m not sure. Something is happening, lord. The Astartes have made planetfall and are preparing defenses. The riots in the streets are beginning to calm. The . . . the locals are saying we are to be invaded!”

I smiled slightly at the bemused look of horror on his face. Trust Zakstrel to worry about a planetary invasion.
I frowned. I should be worried about invasion. I tore the drip out of my arm and stood up. It was a mistake.

Incredible pain flared along my lower back, inside my head, and all over my chest, hands, arms, stomach and legs. I crumpled into a sitting position on the ward bed.

“My lord,” said Zakstrel, concern etched on his face, “you took quite a beating. I have been treating you for what I suspect are knife wounds, along with many bruises, scrapes, a concussion, five broken ribs, a broken arm, shattered collarbones, an abdominal puncture wound, broken tarsals in your right foot and a slipped vertebrae. The fact that you are alive at all is due in no small part to the fact that you have been psychically active since I started treating you.” 

Something struck me, mentally, of course. “If I was that badly beaten, I shouldn’t be able to move.” It slowly dawned on me. “Zakstrel, how long have I been out?”

He shuffled nervously. “F-f-f-five weeks, my lord.”

I surged to my feet, this time ignoring the pain by feeding myself more strength. “FIVE WEEKS?” I roared. “What happened? Where’s Marcas? How’s Fabio? WHY DIDN’T YOU WAKE ME?”

“I am unsure of what has happened, lord! Marcas is fine. Fabio . . . he’s still in a coma. I couldn’t wake you. I don’t know why, but your body simply rejected any stimulants I fed it. Now, please don’t kill me!”
I realised I was glaring at poor Zakstrel like I wanted to tear his head off. I calmed myself down, and mentally severed my connection to the Warp as much as I could without letting myself fall over.

“I’m sorry, Zakstrel,” I said quietly. “I . . . I am not well, emotionally speaking. I apologize for scaring you.”

“It is nothing, lord,” he replied. “Now, do you wish to see Marcas and Fabio, since you are up and walking?”

“No. Get me some food. I’m starving. And get someone to tell Jonas I’m going to talk to him.”

Zakstrel hurried off, casting worried glances at me. I glanced down and realised I was wearing nothing but a pair of loose trousers. I shrugged, wincing slightly as I did so. God-Emperor knows, Jonas had seen me wearing a lot less.

Zakstrel returned carrying a loaf of bread. He thrust it into my arms, then ran off. I chewed as I walked through the ship towards the holding cells. The bread was good, freshly baked. The chef must have let Darthos into the kitchen again.

I reached the cells. Jonas was sitting at his table, his long legs folded up beneath him, whittling a little toy soldier from a chunk of wood. He was using his talons, of course.

Jonas Bellmore, more commonly known as Spring-Heeled Jack, was a mutant. He was also more than slightly psychopathic. I had caught him on the world of Pallas, where he had built up a reputation through a string of bloody murders. As far as I could tell, Jack’s mutations included long life, fangs, eagle-like talons in place of his hands, astounding night vision, a fine sense of hearing, and legs that allowed him to jump twelve metres straight up. At the time, I had been prepared to kill him. But his somewhat charming personality had caught me, not to mention the fact that he made for a very efficient assassin.

I deactivated the cell’s shielding, walked into the room and sat down opposite Jonas. He looked up and grinned, baring his pointed teeth. ‘Well, if it ain’t you yourself, Mr. Jorken. You’re looking a bit under the weather. Had a run-in with some little children, did we?”

I smiled. Something about Jonas made me feel better. Maybe it was the way he talked, or the way he kept on whittling without looking down, but he had a certain charm nonetheless. Maybe he was psychic in a small way.
“Very funny, Jonas,” I said.

“Call me Jack,” was his automatic reply.

“Very well, Jack. Tell me, what do you like to do?”

“I like . . . killin’ people.”

I sighed. I was unsurprised by this.
“What if I let you loose, Jack? What would you do?”

“I’d do as I please.”

“Would you do me a favour? Would you not kill people if I asked you?”

Jack snorted. “Probably not.”

“What if I told you that this planet is about to be invaded by aliens? By terrifying creatures that will kill everyone here and then consume their corpses. They’ll get you if you don’t get them first.”

“Do they make for good huntin’?”

“Oh yes. They nearly killed me.”

“Heard about that. Five weeks in a ward is a long time, specially for you, Mr. Jorken.”

“So you’ll hunt the aliens instead of the humans in this city?”

Jack considered for a moment, then nodded. “Sounds like fun to me.”

He stood up, his thin, elongated frame stretching almost three meters straight up. He held out a clawed hand. I shook it. We walked out of the cell side by side.
And I saw her body burning,
With it, my world
To dust returning