Rogue Trader:S2 Ep 7: Ecstatic Agonies
The air is thick with the small of blood, oil and napalm. The ungodly massive chainblade of Mistress De Bataille roars her boiling rage, her wrath at the indignities heaped upon hr noble house given terrible physical form.
His red robes stained black with his oily life blood, Aviner rises his broken form slowly from the ground, gritting through the pain his Poweraxe swings out with desperate speed, cutting deep into Batailles arm, scorching the flesh as it does so.
As the pain roars against the genes warriors face, lowering her minds defences, Victrix catches a clue to her anger. She sees the woman’s family humiliated by a young Aviner and Sente escape from a planet, leaving carnage in their wake. The noble house soon became easy pickings for those who saw weakness. With nothing but rage left, there was no fall she would not take to get revenge, risking everything on this heretical gene therapy to become a mockery of the noble space marines.
A single other fact hovers in the vision, a weapon upon the ship, marked by the symbol black and white, three black arms extending. A harnessed second sun, able to burn this craft from the inside out.
Realising time and the opening is short, Victrix takes a wild gamble stepping in close to the lethal warrior she faces and letting her kiss her ring. The ring presses hard against the warriors arm. Batailles face turns from contempt at this strike to pain, as the Digital Weapon inside sparks to life vaporising the arm in a roaring inferno.
Stunned Bataille seems sure to fall, when chaos engulfs the corridor. Warring guardsmen and heretics fill the room with fire, as dark lacquered armoured creatures stalk amongst the fallen, hooking the slow and weak with barbed shards of crystal and pulling them away to terrifying ends. Exalted fear inducing but wondrous trilling rises from them as they carry out their sadistic scavenging.
Aviner locks himself in front of the fallen Sente, his body shielding her from the Xenos depredations. Victrix’s blind glance catches one of the Xenos eyes, a female figure, wearing a flensed face as a loincloth. In her eyes is an emptiness that can be filled only by an eternity of suffering, any single act of which would be justification for an exterminus. As this realisation passes, shadows rise, and then the Eldar figures are gone, and their captives with them
The loyal Imperial Guard troops under Colonel Stern push back the heretics, catching them in crossfire between themselves and approaching battle servitors. In the silence that follows the destruction Victrix surveys the area through empty sockets as Aviner tends to Sente’s deep wounds. The news is not good, not only did Mistress De Bataille escape, somehow scurried away by the Xenos almost as if an ally, but also the Xenos have taken the priests for their torturous pleasures.
Casting her senses out Victrix feels something buried deep in the vessel rising, something that has haunted it through its calamitous past and sated on the tens of thousands of lives that have been extinguished in its name. The priests lie before this power, before the gate that tares open to the webway in the bowels of the ship.
Victrix quickly brings the Imperial Guard together as lights start flickering on around the ship. Finally the power slowly returns, along with broadcasts and pic images that update the situation. The crew is holding out, but the Eldar are managing to break free, out into footfall itself. Tired and weary Aviner collapses over a device that blocks his way, trying to refocus his weak unenhanced eyes he realises it is the artefact that Bataille intended to use, a weapon of the lost ages.
His wonder is broken as Sente collapses against the wall. Pain forgotten he rises to cradle her and rest her gently to the ground. Turning he requests Victrix leads the guard , he will catch up once he has had chance to make sure the weapon is not dangerous.
The guardsmen buoyed on waves emanating from Victrix rise to her command easily as she leads them to the gates of hell.
05:00 On Footfall:
Shadows stalk the rooftops as Xanatov and Gabriel mount the remaining intact bikes, Xanatovs weighty power armour now packed between the two bikes. To Gabriels immense shock, Pandareos steps into the bodies and lifts a heart to the fire before taking a bite and shouting to the Narco gangers in the darkness. “The man who got away is a strong one, but vulnerable. You have until I get back to take his heart or it’s mine”. The bluff works not as well as he hopes as the gangers step out of the darkness intent on their new target – Pandareos himself. “You are strong” they gurgle “we shall take your heart, your strength.
Xanatov recovers enough from his shock to mutter to Gabriel “If we survive this I need to have words with Pandaroes”. Indicating his pistol Gabriel answers “the emperors word”. “Not yet” comes the answer. Stepping into the rising hostilities Xanatov thumbs on the activation rune on the powersword. “Big man, pretty sword, weak” chatters the leader, his hungry eyes staring at Pandareos chest as his tongue licks across razor sharp filed teeth,
Pandaroes eyes flick from the sights of his bolt pistol to the rooftops, where avian like figures stalk the rooftops, leaping from building to building. With a shout for the other to join him Pandareos sprints for the bike, lifting Frags corpse with him and gunning for the darkness before chaos descends. The Kroot fall upon the gangers with savage grace, tearing them apart as the group speeds away from the conflict.
As the fire fight fades into the distance, Pandareos half staggers, half falls from his bike as he drags himself into an alleyway, thick acidic liquid gushing out as he tries to purge the human flesh from his body. The acidic fluid burning his throat, he reflects on the ill envisioned bluff and mutters “ I hate my “good” ideas” before purging once more the foul flesh.
Behind him Gabriel mutters to the lord captain “Do we have any idea what we are getting ourselves into?” “Trust the Emperor” is the only reply.
06:00 The Vengeance Of Saint Druses.
The echoed footfalls of Victrix leading the troops to death and glory fade. Aviner sits hunched over an ancient technologic weapon, a hallmark to the earliest days of mankinds awakening of the power of the atom. Whilst crude, its place in history means that this holy relic is a reflection of a time when its destructiveness was deemed glorious.
A message has already been sent, requesting tech priest to accompany this relic to safety once its war spirit has been quieted, and its deadly emissions ceased. The holy journey is slow as there seems to e some ancient pre cursor to techa lingua required. But in the end the war spirit ceases writhing with anticipation and stills
Almost perfectly timed, the tech priests arrive, headed by the now Lathic emissary Tachinka. After a short burst of greetings, and transfer of relevant information Aviner requests that Sente goes with them to guard the relic.
Tachinka is not fooled by the wording, recognising this an attempt to move Aviner wounded beloved to safer grounds. With a binary burst comes the question “What is love?”. Caught off guard Aviner cautiously replies “Sometimes it is the thing that gives me strength when I am weak”. Not willing to let go so easily Tachinka retorts “Then surely the Omnisiah gives you such strength, but the Omnissiah teaches love is a weakness”. Unwilling to push further Aviner cuts off the inquiry “There is little time for this now” Turning back to the darkness Aviner readies himself for what will face him when he rejoins Victrix.
Deep in the ship, Victrix bites down hard as a wave of pain washes across the ship. Reflexively, one of the guards makes the sign of the aquialla, warding against the fears of witch.
Through gritted teeth Victrix growls “I’m fine” before turning her cutting tongue upon the guardsman. Quickly an officer steps in with fearful apology “It will not happen again” before turning his wrath on those who showed fear. Smiling at the restored efficiency Victrix answers “Well, I shall be relying on your command”. Suddenly the pain returns tenfold shooting through her body as she collapses to her knees.
Vision wave in her minds eye once more, and the scent of rot and corruption fills her senses. As butchered figures are torn to shreds, and runes burn into her minds eye with searing pain one word is repeated over and over. “Slanesh” The heretics seem to have learnt from the Eldar in their torture, they make the pain a thing of beauty, they make the doomed souls beg for the pain of the knife.
Shouting for the Guard to move, Victrix feels as something of hideous magnificent beauty is born from the warp, but not in the circle to which it is called. It feels a mind that has suffered from its kind before and its sinuous predatory form births to realspace there. The daemon is born, violating the folds of reality as it unfurls before the eyes of the Tech Priests and Sente, its predatory urges unleashed.
07:00 On Footfall
With over twenty four hours without rest the toil is starting to tell. Xanatov leans heavily upon Gabriel’s back as his wounds flare up once more. The bikes roar down a dried out canal way through clouds of incense and the smell of burning promethean, finally good time is being made.
The good news cannot last.
In the distance a shanty town rises in their vision, its worn down almost buildings not only blocks their means of rapid transport, but promises the threat of wanna be Narco gangers and smiling faces that put a shiv in your back the second you turn.
But that isn’t the bad news.
From the rooftop drops figures in a blur, holo fields rippling across their harlequinesque figures. Nightmares dance in their wake, as long suppressed doubts are torn from the chest of all who see them. Torn by all that has occurred Pandareos is an easy target for such doubts, freezing like a deer in the headlights. Xanatovs hands slaps down Gabriels rising firearm, this is not the time for battle, much as his hatred for the Eldar wishes it was otherwise.
The Eldars masks shifts staring at Xanatov with his own face “We enact the time honoured dance human, now you must act as fate dictates, and your fate holds only pain and suffering. We serve the laughing god Mon Key, and will not inflict too lingering a death on you”
Knowing that Gabriel cannot manoeuvre the bike through the shanty town and there is nowhere else to run, Xanatov and Gabriel spring of into the town. Xanatov lightly bouncing from rooftop to rooftop as Gabriel barrels through the crowd, knocking to the floor forcefully any foolish enough to stand in his way.
As the Xenos ghost around him Pandaroes grabs the Power Armour, unwilling to leave a Drusian relic with the Xenos and bundles it upon his bike. As he looks up his in confronted with a vision of beauty, the face that haunts his dreams staring at him. Slowly the face warps and crumbles, black veins and sharp teeth marring this vision, causing Pandareos to fall backwards in shock. The laughing face shifts to a broken shell, blood oozing from the image of Frags destroyed face.
This finally pushes Pandaroes out of his shell shock, spit lands at the figures feet as Pandaroes opens the throttle ”Catch me if you can Xenos filth”. Pandareos roars through the tight alleyways, the bikes twin linked bottles opening up new doorways in the shanty town walls.
Deep in the town, one figure keeps pace with Xanatov, dancing mockingly in front of him taunting him with everything he can never match. Stepping close then flitting away. Wrath rising within, Xanatov tries to ignore this as he runs headlong, but cannot escape his pursuer. Turning the next corner, he is confronted by the figure once more, this time wearing the laughing face of the Ex lord captain Sigmund.
Finally unleashing his wrath Xanatov swings at the elder, who bounces off the nearby wall retaliating with a blow of its own. As the figures collide, the chainsaw blade digs deep into the Eldar, pulling down slowly through its entire body, gore showering and bone splintering.
As the figure falls, Xanatov turns once more, wrath sated, and runs once more.
08:00 Upon The Vengeance Of Saint Druses.
The vision of the daemonette fades from Victrix eyes as Aviner arrives. Looking at him, she realizes that is she tells of what she has seen then nothing will stop Aviner from returning whence he came to go to her aid. Unwilling to lose another to the daemon, she keeps quiet. However within her mind a thousand angels sings of glory as the Astropathic choir recognize her danger and focus their will on aiding her. She lets their song run through her, bolstering her will, but asks for one to lend their strength to Sente, to keep her alive until this ends.
Advancing to the lower decks, they find it pitted with damaged from Xenos weapon fire and las shots, but the crew of the Vengeance has not been still, Sentinel Walkers stalk the reclaimed walkways and murder servitors growl as their suppressed war spirits long for release. In the midst stands a massive form, black armoured and with a wide feral grin that booms out as soon as he spots them “AHH WELL MET” The figure crosses the distance in a few giant steps “Brother Grimnad of The Space Wolves at your service”. With a bow Vitcrix replies “I wonder in this circumstance if we are instead at your service”. Tell me where I shall be fighting” comes the reply . Silently Victrix raises her finger to point beyond the closed bulkheads, beyond which the Xenos are holed up.
Booming at the assembled imperial guard, the massive Space Wolf speaks “Back on my home world, before I was chosen, I slew a Kraken with my bare hands and brought it back for feasting. That night we drank and ate well in celebration., Tonight there shall be much feasting and epic tales told!.
Silence falls as Aviner steps up, performing the litanies of opening upon the bulkheads, grateful for this calm before the storm.
Far away, Sente lies broken, blood pouting from her eyes at the affront of the deamon facing her, tech priests broken around her. With a single slice the daemon, lays waste to her belly, spilling her innards, and reaching deep within, claiming Sente’s heart in its claw.
Sente heart in its claw and feasting upon its heartblood.
Victrix’s hollow eyes squeeze shut as a psychic shockwave roars across the ship.
Back where the daemon stands triumphant, Tachinka babbles delirious with terror, in his hands a book that has haunted the crew, a tome of darkness from which he recites, using its dark ways to cast the daemonette back to the warp.
Collapsing to the ground, he tears at his chest, pulling open the weak skin to reveal a pure bionic heart below. With a roar of pain he tears it open and throws its metallic lifesblood into Sente wound where is shifts and twists forcing blood through her ruined chest. “Now I understand Aviner, now I understand love” As a thick inky darkness pours over him his screams break for a moment “You will live until he finds you”
Finally the craft reaches full power, its geller field once again snapping into place, cutting off the warp gate, and stillness falls once more