Author Topic: Blood & Sand  (Read 2245 times)

Offline Quickdraw McGraw

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Blood & Sand
« on: October 03, 2012, 12:01:52 AM »
Hello again,

This is a short story involving Titan from my mutant war band I'm currently building.  I'm writing a story for each as they meet the mysterious Inquisitor Hark.  Then in time I will write a much larger book involving all the mutants together as they pull off the biggest planetary rebellion ever and escape inquisitorial justice in search of the Emperor reborn.


Blood & Sand


  My eyes squinted uncontrollably against the sun’s harsh glare and against the sweat pooling in the corners. There was little wind and nothing stirred amongst the desert wastes for as far as I could see. I stood in line shoulder to shoulder with two dozen other hopefuls.  All of us were a scrawny bunch covered in melanomas and mutations; this was a common sight amongst the populace of Baal Prime.  Self-consciously I examined myself. I had nubs protruding from my forehead and my right arm ended with a tentacle.  I guess it could be worst.

  The day of testing had arrived, a race across the most inhospitable wastes on Baal Prime.  Here I was at last, a 12 year old and just as strong as anyone else here. I’m so confident that I’m going to win this race, no matter what!

  The angels clad in their crimson colored armor had come from the heavens to watch the race. The winners would leave with the Angels became like them spending an eternity fighting the enemies of the Emperor. The angels walked the line picking from youth.  However, I was passed over without so much as a second glance. Anger boiled inside me! 

  "Pick me!  I will win this race!" I shouted the words as I ran forward.
 
  An angel in charge of selection drew back his gloved hand as to hit me.  The largest and most menacing Angel I ever saw reached forward and stopped his hand in mid swing.  This Angel had long blond hair and armor that looked like muscle with the skin flayed back. He leaned forward and stared me square in the eyes.  I'll never forget those dark eyes, so black and bottomless!  I felt lightheaded and sick at the pit of my stomach.  I wanted to look away but I could take my eyes off the dancing images in those deep, dark eyes…

  The lid from my sarcophagus rolled back. With outstretched arms I pull myself up. For the first time in a year I could see Baal's orange sun.  I had been born again from a wretched existence into something so much more. Servitors began cleaning the blood from my skin as I climbed out. I could see that my tentacle was completely replaced with a hand, a working hand! My teeth were no longer like daggers, but were straight and perfect.
 
  Years of training began to flash before my eyes along with images of thousand different planets. Enemies of my Lord Sanguinius and the Emperor lay broken and dead at my power armored feet. A Deep sense of pride swelled in my chest at seeing this…

  “Wake up you filthy mutant!”  Barked the familiar voice of my owner and manager Les Nemuseso, as he raked the bars to my cell with a cup. 

  “Aahhgg… Do you have to do that?  I was having that dream again.”  I barked back. 

  “You best be dreaming up a way to keep your championship title!  You’re fighting Barabbas today. Or have you already forgotten!” Les sarcastically said.

  “Besides, it’s time for your physical.” Lest added as he walking away.

  The blinding light from the doctor’s pen receded from my eyes and I could once again see the faces of the Pit doctor and my manager.  What an ugly bunch of humans, I thought.

  “No stimulants detected” the doctor said as he clasped his hands behind the small of his back.  His assistant made note of it on the chart.
 
  “He’s ready to fight?!"  My manager said with a little excitement in his voice.
   
  "Yes, yes clean bill of health.  I don't see why he couldn't fight Barabbas." 

  “Alright champ you're going to make me a lot of money or die trying!" My manager said with a nasty grin.

  I always said a little prayer to the Emperor and Sanguinus before entering the pit. The pit was an old quarry that had two levels.  The bottom level is where the fighters entertained the masses with spilt blood.  Oddly, the only protection some of the guests, the bookies and the loan sharks had from the pit fighters was a barb wire fence.  This is where I could hear the crowd shouting my name over and over.

  As I stepped out onto the rust orange sand, immediately I saw the large hulking form of Barabbas. I really hate this brutish, upstart who hasn't lost a single fight this season. 

  He would try to take my title from me, including my life if he could. I spat on the ground in discuss. The crowd roared louder! I had been watching him fight all season long.  The brute was extremely strong and stood easily a foot over every other man.  His skin was leathery and each arm ended with a clubbed hand.  Mounts had been graft to the bones of the hands, allowing various weapons to be fastened to them. Barabbas preferred using the ball n' chain and sickle over other weapons. He killed every contender that stood before him with these weapons. 

  It was to my surprise to see that both arms for this match ended with chainswords. I can feel a sickness in the pit of my stomach and my heart is beginning to beat uncontrollably. I took a deep breath and pushed these feeling down as the quarry's lunch bell rang across the pit.  My feet moved swiftly over the sand as I took the fight to my foe. Like the sound of a war drum beating, our steel met again and again with a rhythm that drowned out crowd's shouts. As we traded blows, parries and dodges I tried hard to search out any of his weaknesses. Amazingly I couldn’t find any to exploit!

  “By the Emperor's bones he’s strong!” I thought.  I was starting to grow tired.  He could see I was starting to falter and quickly bore down on me, putting me on the defensive!  Being on the defensive wasn’t my strong suit so I saw my chance and took it!  I parried the left swing and rolled beneath the right one.  His chainsword's spinning teeth whirled over my head. I struck out in a backhand motion with the short sword held by my tentacle.  It bit deep into the muscle and tendons at the back of his knee.  Continuing my roll I was back on my feet in a heartbeat, but I didn’t distance myself enough.  Barabbas had spun on the spot striking wildly.  I could not dodge this blow so I braced for the impact.  I felt my feet leave the ground and shortly gravity yanked me back down.

  "Oh, that Hurt!  I must have cracked a couple ribs.” I thought.

  Gasping for air, I got back on my feet only to have another blow strike the same arm sending me crashing to the floor again.  My right shoulder was frozen.  The armored joint was crushed and I could not raise my arm above my head.  Worst still, I found Barabbas had worked me into a corner.  If I couldn't get free this it would be the end.  Like a trapped animal, I had fierce need to survive take hold of me.  Throwing all caution to the wind with my back braced against the rock wall I struck out with both feet at the damaged knee.  With an audible crunch it caved in backwards.  Barabbas grunted painfully and fell heavily on the flat of his back.

  The gamble had paid off I was free but it had left me open to attack.  Lying near my feet writhing like a snake without a head was my tentacle. 

  "How can this be I didn't even feel a thing?"  I looked at the arm and find it was cut clean off below the elbow. I slipped to my knees as my vision began to swim.

  "I must get up!" I whispered to myself.  The brute was struggling to stand up.  But it’s too late now I can feel myself starting to black out.

...
 
  I was dreaming again but this time it started where it always ended… The Pride I had felt was quickly replaced by a sense of fear, a deep emotional pain and hatred I could not justify.  The dream like scenery had changed too. The sounds of battle were slowly fading.  I can hear myself breathing heavily as I pulled myself through the mud on my stomach with only one useful arm. My other arm lay somewhere forgotten in the battle field.  I was so proud and so jealous of that arm.  Knowing what it once was and later to bring death to hundreds of the emperor's enemies.  But now I no longer cared about all that!  All the love in my heart had been carried away in a flood of hate! I startled as I seen my face for the first time since we angels descended on this barren rock. The reflection in the mud puddle is not mine!  This monster’s skin was drawn and pale in contrast to the void black armor it wore.  It’s eyes were completely red from hemorrhaging capillaries.  It’s lips are drawn into a snarl and foam dripped from the corners.

  The mirror image was then shattered by a heavy foot fall of a brother marine in white.  Forgetting the face in the reflection, I twisted around so as to get a better view of my attacker.  He struggled to hold me.  Several times I bit at his neck to tear it out.  That's when he appeared the angel with the dark eyes.  But I knew his name now and once called him brother. Now all I wanted to do is kill him!

  "No brother apothecary. Leave him be his gene seed has been corrupted by this planet." he said in a resounding voice.  There was no pity in those black eyes.  He stretched forth his hand and with a flick of the wrist there was a sharp crack from my neck.  My body no longer hurt.  All I could see now was the shock of horror on my father's face as I lay twisted beneath the foot of the traitor Horus.

  Once again I was the 12 year old boy standing frozen with fear as Mephiston continued staring into my eyes and then I wretched over, throwing up the contents of my stomach. He abruptly straightened up and said to the other.  "He's not worthy."

  The dream vanished and I felt like I was floating in a dark pool and somewhere in that darkness the words repeated "He’s not worthy."  The darkness then began to materialize into a shape.  A horrible face from my dream, from a life I never lived stared back at me.  It laughed at my fears!  "Why am I not worthy!?" I shouted. It continued to laugh.  But I knew why. My mutations were more than skin deep! It was only a dream up to today but the events were no dream.  I had once indeed stood in that line with the other hopefuls and stared into those eyes. I had tried so hard to suppress the disappointment and memories were all but a ghost until now!

  The whole universe seemed to come crashing down around me! My blood shot eyes snapped opened, trying to focus through the pain. Everything was orange but the massive grey blob standing over me. I knew now why I was unworthy.  The frightening face was my own, now and forever. I’ve tried all my life to hide it but no amount of surgery or training could ever replace the monster within me.  I needed to let the monster out if I was going to survive this!

  In a moment of super human clarity I felt, heard and saw everything around me through a reddish tint.  Time crawled to a stop.  Howling like a raving lunatic I leaped into the air from a knelt position swing my axe over my head in a wide arch. The axe fell like a death blow upon the man I unleashed all my rage against.  My axe caught his jaw ripping it clean away. Blood sprayed across the sand. I followed up with a second attack and saw his left arm go limp as the axe broke the collar bone in two and buried itself deep in Barabbas’s chest.

  Barabbas stumbled backwards and fell once again.  I rushed forward to kill Barabbas before he could gain his senses and defend himself.  But he saw me coming and kicked out hard with his cleated boot.  His foot caught me square in the chest, the impact further cracking my ribs and leaving a half dozen deep puncture wounds. I stumbled backward trying to breath but I couldn’t find any air. Again, everything began to fade into black…

...

  I awoke only to find myself in a metal cell where the walls themselves gave off an unnatural glow. Various machines were hooked up to me. IVs ran to my amputated arm. My chest was sore and wrapped in gauze.

  “Where am I? And where is Barabbas?” I thought.

  A door on the far wall hissed as it opened.  The exterior light framed a large man in the doorway. As he entered he drew back his hood to reveal his face.

  "Feeling better?" The man asked with a smile. 

  “What?” I was still feeling a little confused.

  “I know what you’re thinking. Yes, you died out there.  But I couldn’t allow such a useful tool to go to waste.  So I brought you here.”  Said the man still smiling.

  "Who are you and where is HERE?" My raised voice slightly echoed against the cell walls.

  "Titus, you're aboard my ship, the Raven's nest."  Said the mysterious man still smiling.  It was then that I noticed the large raven print covering the chest portion of his silken green robes. 

  "OK, fine. Now who are you and why am I here?" I said through gritted teeth. 

  "You must excuse me for my poor manners.  I'm Inquisitor Hark, your new master."  Even as Hark smiled his face had now lost all manner of friendliness.


I hope my English is readable and my story was worth your time.

Thanks,
Josh
Every time I see a math word problem in the warp it looks like this: 

If I have 10 ice cubes and you have 11 apples. How many pancakes will fit on the roof?

Answer:  Purple because Tyranids don't wear hats.   :P