Author Topic: Dead Eagle Blues  (Read 6108 times)

Offline Kallidor

  • Inquisitor Lord
  • ****
  • Posts: 334
  • Departmento Munitorum
Re: Dead Eagle Blues
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2010, 01:47:05 AM »
As much as he can be, my companion is whole now. Dozens of enemy soldiers have been sacrificed to feed his unnatural hunger. I have talked with him since then but he seems hollow somehow, as if some vital part of his essence is no more. Like a reflection trapped in a mirror he is only an echo or a copy of the man he used to be. I think he knows that too.

“The dark statue is nearly at the city. Now that you are ready there is little point in delaying, we should go now.”

The Nomad is a darkly glittering form in the crackling firelight. The family huddle some distance away, on the cusp of the fire’s warmth. I, my companion and the Nomad, sit closer. Caralinus reaches his bionic hand into the fire and even now he is still not quite solid, the licking flames just visible through his arm. He takes hold of a piece of blackened wood, lifting it further into the fire before crushing it to ashes.

“After I break the statue and release Khorughurtsch, what will happen?” His tone carries an unusual mix of emotions; curiosity, sadness, regret and disappointment.

“You will be merged. Your soul will anchor you to the material world, Khorughurtsch will provide the connection to the aether, allowing you to mould the stuff of the warp to suit whatever purpose you require. In short you will ascend to daemonhood and the nascent energies of the Carrion Lord will be the fuel that powers your apotheosis.

“And will I and Khorughurtsch be as we were before?”

“After a fashion. Before, you had a parasitical relationship, the daemon’s essence bonded to your own but it was your soul that commanded your material form. Now you will be made of warp stuff, your combined essences interacting in a new way,”

“Basically you don’t know.”

“In many ways what will be done to you is not wholly dissimilar to what was done to my kind aeons ago. Once we were a peaceful race that lived in harmony with the world around us. Our bodies of light were able to leave our corporeal forms at whim, easily traversing the unpolluted aether allowing us to flow through the matter of all things.

“Then came the Great War between the Ancients and the Undying Ones. My kind was used to create a vanguard of living weapons. Our ability to move unhindered through the Empyrean was what drew the Ancients to us but our harmonious abilities were not meant for battle. In their wisdom and desperation the Ancients sheared our bodies of light away from our physical beings and joined us with the inchoate predators that had begun to appear in the aether, berthed by the bloodshed of galactic carnage.

“Those unwholesome things were the warp itself given life and merged with us we became little more than daemons possessing our own bodies. Our power was unimaginable and terrible. Even the Undying Ones fled before our wrath…”

The Nomad trails off, the awful memories of his life long ago, hidden behind the lifeless black eyes of his lupine helmet.

It is in quiet moments like this that I am able to truly comprehend, if only for a few moments, the enormity of the events that have overtaken my life. I have seen daemon-gods, the dead brought back to life who even now wait to ascend to some higher level of existence, conversed with alien beings from the dawn of history and seen my own latent psychic abilities brought to the fore. The mundanity of swapping stories around the campfire with creatures such as these is almost excruciatingly maddening. Caralinus stands, a brief flicker coursing over his form.

“Let’s do this.”
Be Pure!
Be Vigilant!
BEHAVE!

Offline Kallidor

  • Inquisitor Lord
  • ****
  • Posts: 334
  • Departmento Munitorum
Re: Dead Eagle Blues
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2010, 02:53:36 AM »
The scale of the enemy army staggered me. From the main roadway into the city and off into the distance, back to the dead rural areas my companion and I had travelled through to get here, the body of men seemed to be one colossal organism slowly shuffling along. Banners, scraps of cloth and what I can only assume is human skin, flap lazily in the foetid haze, the heat of hundreds of thousands of bodies, perhaps even millions, producing enough updraft to flick the horrid pennants.

These are not like the soldiers we saw in the city who must have been more akin to enforcers than actual warriors. They were padded hauberks and splint mail, chequered or quartered surcoats draped over the top. Curling horns adorn their helms with dark visors that show no hint of the faces beneath. Some of the warriors are less fortunate, their heads twisted in the faces of pigs or goats, some with the multi-faceted eyes of insects their faces hideously mutated with twisted maws that do not align, ropes of drool spilling onto their chests. They are hideous and awful but they are also pitiful and I wonder just what could turn men away from the light of the Emperor if these freakish visages are their reward.

Several dozen ranks of warriors march before the dark idol that Caralinus seeks and as I look upon it, my stomach heaves with vertigo and my vision swims. Carried on the backs of scores of mewling slaves the dark idol is the monstrous representation of a warrior. Built up from a massive plinth a set of oversized steps, sculpted to look as if the footsteps of the warrior have cracked them, lead upwards to an toppled throne, a decorated yet simplistic chair that a king of old may have used. With one foot upon the displaced throne the jagged warrior looks to the sky, his jaw open wide revealing a mouth filled with wicked sharks teeth and a ridged and horned tongue. He bellows his eternal rage and anger to the skies, his face twisted into a bestial grimace. All the slaughter in the world would not sate that warrior; an ocean of blood would not slake his thirst.

In his hand he wields a mighty sword. It resembles and long, thin stylised machete with a serrated blade that seems to have grown from the weapon like gnarled bone with the curved tip as smooth and sharp as a razor. Although the entire idol is made of black iron it is clear to me that the quillons are a mass of knotted thorns and bone spikes.

“You have all come this far but you will die instantly if you approach the column with us.” Caralinus kneels before the family, and I can see from his expression as he looks to me that I am included in what he is saying. “The Nomad will fight with me as far as the statue and then return to you, his mission then over. What happens after that is the will of the gods.” With a last look at me, an acknowledgement perhaps of my sacrifice for him he stands. “Imperator Vult.”

The two warriors turn on the spot and run but after only two strides they vanish. The stygian form of the Nomad reappears on the plinth of the idol and with a fantastic roar he leaps onto the backs of the leading warriors. Beams of black light glitter from the weapon mounted on his shoulder, punching neat holes through armour and flesh or obliterating limbs and torsos entirely. There is no blood, no smoke, only pure destruction and then the towering alien is amongst them his own sword cleaving bodies apart with ease. The carnage is magnificent and as the enemy finally recover from their initial shock a space clears around the Nomad. As rifles are brought to bear the alien vanishes once more and then he is beside me almost instantly, his body smoking with hot gore.

In the place where the Nomad had stood is another figure. Caralinus is on one knee, head bowed and the warriors shake of their confusion like bulls swatting flies. A few send beams of laser fire through Caralinus’ shadow form, only succeeding in hitting their comrades. With deliberate slowness Caralinus rises and the various weapons wielded by the on looking enemy soldiers begin to rattle in their hands and finally crumpling into scrap.

Caralinus turns and as the enemy draw daggers and knives and charge him they stagger to their knees, gasping for breath and clawing the air. Their skin shrinks and wrinkles as if rapidly aged before melting away from their faces, staring eyeballs running like wax as the bodies collapse to the floor in a gush of bloody gruel. Caralinus mounts the plinth and the slaves beneath buckle, their bodies too flowing like wax. The entire structure collapses to the ground with an almighty clang and those at the back who have not seen the total destruction of their kin surge forwards but any who approach to closely die horribly.

Focusing his energies Caralinus begins to flicker and fade, like a dieing lumen globe, his very essence poured into his assault upon the idol. As his dissolution nears the dark iron of the towering warrior cracks and dreadful sepulchral moan issues forth, as if all the damned souls have hell have been unleashed. The mighty sword breaks free at the wrist, the left arm, held to the sky comes away at the elbow but even as the idol disintegrates and coruscating beam of energy, made of flickering unlight with colours no mortal was meant to see crashes into my companion.

It is his turn now to stagger to his knees, the awesome power of the beam forcing him down until he is prostrate, and his arms tremble with the effort of not being crushed into the iron slab. Like heated metal Caralinus begins to glow and his body begins to expand until with an agonised howl he rears backwards as if a spear had just been thrust through his spine. The ethereal shadow form begins to whip away like steam, but it is as if the flesh of the Inquisitor is burnt away, the skeleton beneath shrieking silently. I know that this was how Caralinus died, his body consumed in an almighty holocaust. What is left of him explodes backwards as if a mighty fist has struck him and the dark iron settles into slag.

Before I can question what has happened the ground where the idol stood skitters as if an invisible veil is being drawn back. The chunks of iron fall and tumble into the air, a swirling whirlwind that begins to congeal into a humanoid form. I see Caralinus begin to emerge, larger than before but still his silently screaming skeleton is bent backwards on its knees, the liquid mass of the idol slithering up his bones. As the throat and then the gullet begin to take shape once more the silent howl becomes a gurgling roar. The sound is like that of soul, lost to the timeless depths being dragged back from the crushing black oblivion, and as the Inquisitor’s head reforms so does the bellow becoming a thunderous peal first of pain and then unbound anger.

My companions smouldering form lurches to its feet, like a puppet tugged upwards suddenly and the mighty yell becomes a low, rumbling growl. Caralinus’ head finally drops, released from his rebirth. He glares at the awkwardly still congregation of enemy soldiers from beneath his brows before his gaze slips to his right hand. He flexes the fingers experimentally and the hand slowly clenches into a fist.

Even as I watch his body seems to grow without me even noticing, eventually towering ten feet high. The smooth lines of his heavy armour recede into a much more confined suit, curling jags of twisted metal and knotted growths lending the obviously Imperial powered armour plate a dangerous organic look. Caralinus snarls quietly as his face reforms to match his mood and his first mood must be a dark one. He much more resembles the idol, his jaw line harsh and the cheekbones high and angular. His bald pate curls into a crown but this dark king is not done yet. The smooth curve of his cuirass has a patinaed mirror finish but as I watch an emaciated Aquila appears, a skeletal version with tattered feathers, like the remains of a carrion bird.

The daemonic creature lowers to its haunches, silent save for its slow breathing. Without looking, keeping its gaze locked on fearful soldiers before it, the daemon reaches down and drags an object from the rubble of the plinth and the gelatinous remains of the slaves. The might sword is undamaged but it now seethes with deadly menace. The daemon’s next move is so swift it makes me jump, but in the time it takes me to blink several dozen of the enemy soldiers are dead, their bodies reduced to steaming piles of limbs and offal. They are helpless against such power and the daemon wades into the panicking press of men. En masse they flee but Caralinus does not pursue them far, bellowing after them as they scatter.

With a whip crack he is beside us and the stinking terror exuded by the daemon is like an animal heat. The family whimper in fear but the human guise of my companion returns quickly enough. Once more he gazes at his hand, but it is not that of a man’s, it is the bionic one he must have had in life. Without saying a word he seems to hear my thoughts.

“You think a fleshy hand would be better?” I have no words, not after what I have just seen, even forewarned of what was supposed to happen. Even if I could speak what could I possibly say that would have any meaning after these events? You would have an answer for him wouldn’t you my love?

“Why not appear as a full man once more, it is within your power to be so.”

“But this is how I looked when I was a man.” Before I can say anything else the Nomad interrupts.

“It is done?”

“I felt the power of the Carrion Lord flow through me. I do not yet know what this heralds but it is still the Emperor I serve, after a fashion.”

“And the daemon Khorughurtsch?”

“Slumbering. It will not be long before my old friend has recovered from this ordeal but what happens then I cannot know.” Caralinus looks around; turning slowly on the spot, even transformed there is a humanness to his distant look. “The world looks so different now…”

“You no longer perceive the material realm like a mortal but with the sight of warp entity.”

“I see your soul Nomad.” There is a flicker of something in my companion’s eyes as he looks at the alien, as if he has something he did not expect.

“What now?”

“Now? The gods have had their way with us and now we must find our own path. I still have enemies in this world but they will not be able to harm me now. I have allies as well, or did, I will probably seek them out, on Carnate.”

“I too have visited that world. Everything keeps leading back to that place.”

“It does.”

“I will accompany you for now, whatever fate has planned that world is part of it and I would know more.”

“Very well. And what of you mortals? This world is gone and that army will not run for long, they will rape this world until all that is left is death and ashes and it cannot be denied that you all had your parts to play in this.”

For some reason I looked to the family for me lead. Meroline had given her blood for this and she too was a psyker, as I am now. We would be renegades, perhaps even heretics and traitors in the eyes of most but at least we would be renegades together, not lost and alone on this dieing planet. “I feel I must go with and I think you know you should as well.” Karnin nods. “Aye, maybe you are right, we cannot survive here anymore that is certain.”

“Very well then, you will all accompany me but I should worn you, everyone else who has done so has died and my own fate speaks for itself.”

I do not know what the future holds for me my love, but I carry you with me and I pray that your strength will never leave me.
Be Pure!
Be Vigilant!
BEHAVE!