Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fractured Oppostition, Chapter 3

Inside, it was hot, steamy and stank of sweat, a lot like the thick jungles of Catachan, but made of steel. Once we had acclimatised to the sensation of space travel, Von Carstien bade us to eat with him. He introduced us to wider imperial culture and food, taking time to teach us in debating. As hard as he tried, he could not however, get very far, having just left very tight viewed communities. Another important skill he taught us was basic manners to those above you in status. After we had finished our discussions and fine food, we were shown to our habitation for the journey. On his way to Catachan, Von Carstien had ordered the ship’s crew to grow a small, self sufficient jungle habitat in one of the interior cargo bays. There was also control panels dotted around, from which we could control the climate of the jungle. As soon as I found one, we set it to max humidity and started a rainstorm while Freya and Karazak constructed a shelter to stay in. Later, having stayed the night in the small, homely lean-to we had constructed, Von Carstien came into the jungle to talk to us from a place where we were comfortable. He started talking about where we were going; the Schola Progenium.
“You will find many others there. Some will try to befriend you; others will try to hurt you. Some will stay on the sidelines.” He began.
“Who runs the place?” I asked.
“The Schola are run by priests of the Emperor, Drill Abbots of His Ecclesiarchy. If you break their rules, then you will be punished accordingly.” Von Carstien replied.
“Where will everyone else be from?” Freya asked.
“Pupils in a schola come from all branches of the Imperium. Some are the sons of planetary governors, others; the children of Imperial Navy admirals. A few will be the orphaned children of Imperial Heroes, like you”
“What will we do there?” Karazak enquired.
“A great many things, Karazak. You will learn about imperial history and culture in a way I would never be able to teach you. There will also be a selection of physical activities, which should be of interest to all of you. Like your father, I see you going on to fight for the Imperium, Freya and Karazak; can see this for you also. Because of this I want to make sure you can fire a gun and wield a blade before we get to Volag Nok so you can participate better in the military exercises. Is everyone OK with this?”
“We can all wield a blade, but I for one have desired to fire a gun from when Freya first mentioned them to me.”
“Also, when you are there, you may see your loincloths as a sign of honour, but others at the schola may not. When you get to Volag, ask for an audience with the High Abbot of Nok about it, but until then I would wear your ceremonial robes or other clothes that the schola provides.”
“Right then, we will start the training tomorrow. In the mean time though, would you give us some blade practice now or at least coach us with our own weapons.”
“It appears that Catachans are eager to learn, and could make fine scholars, no doubt of they wished! I will get a selection of blades from the armoury and I will watch and give advice for I have studied the blade for most of my life.”
“I think I have found my goal in life” said Freya, and then we all started laughing.
As Von Carstien left to get the blades; Freya, Karazak and I started running through the jungle occasionally stopping for a minor bout of unarmed combat to get us in the state of mind for the coming exercise. By the time Von Carstien returned, we were bruised and covered in sweat, but still ready to go on with the blade lesson.
“I see you have been preparing” Von Carstien stated as he passed each of us a sparing sword. The weapons were masterfully crafted, each with a straight hand guard and a one metre blade.
To start our training, we simply duelled with each other while Von Carstien watched and gauged our technique. I fought Karazak first and I noted how resilient he was to the blows that landed, barely even flinching when I hit him while I preferred to dodge the blows as they came. Freya however, having only defended herself fought a defensive battle against Karazak and I, but one of lithe and agile movement, lashing out at a lighting pace then drawing back using the terrain to her advantage. Meanwhile, Von Carstien remained impassive, watching our every move, even when we weren’t duelling!
He then gave us advice on how to improve our technique, giving tips to each of us, such as to avoid the harder blows in Karazak’s case and to be more often on the attack to Freya. To me he advised me to keep my distance and use the edge of the blade where possible rather than the point. He then left us to practice and departed from the jungle room for reasons we did not know.
An hour later, he came back wearing only a pair of shorts and wielding a sparing sword as he called us out one by one to test our skills first hand.
Von Carstien was skilled and defeated Karazak easily and eventually pinned Freya to a wall, but his regular artistic blade flourishes opened gaps in his guard that only a sharply honed mind can spot and he yielded before my blade. He then commented how my bladework was superb and that Catachan would be a great training ground for blademasters and the like.
By this point we had been in orbit for just under w week while the great vessel made its way towards the warp jump point. So after we had cooled off, Von Carstien used a vox link to ask for the time until warp transition. He then told us to tie ourselves to some trees because warp transitions are very ... “bumpy” as he put it. His warning was just as well and in the nick of time as the final countdown began half a minute after Von Carstien had finished tying Karazak to a tree, he then left quickly to find a restraint chair.
After our successful warp transition, Von Carstien came back into the jungle and untied us and after that, our days followed a similar schedule: Get up and have a swim in the “river” in the jungle, then we would go for some exercise (either jogging, swimming some more or fist fights or all three). We would then do other training, such as firearms training and blade-work or lessons on Imperial history and its culture.
One day after our morning exercise, Von Carstien came in early and announced that we were one week from Volag Nok and he wanted us to participate in the ship’s officers duelling contests that were to be held that day, because though we were not officers we were honoured guests to the vessel and he thought we were ready to go against these highly proficient blademasters.
He also told us that our last few lessons would be tough, but also that life at the schola would be harder still. As he left, I asked; “what form will the contest take?”
“A very good question, know your opposition. The contests are normally staged on the bridge where there is a decent open flat space with the sparring swords you are used to using, but if you are willing and the officers agree, we could host it here where the terrain will provide an additional challenge. But beware, some of the officers spend every moment of their off duty lives training with a blade and as such, could best even I, a combat swordsman in the confines of a duel.”
“Then we will use all of our advantages against them”
“Very well, I have left three sparring swords by the door. Just be warned, some of the officers will likely prefer you did not wear your tribal loincloth, but if you wished, we could make the duelling contest unofficial and have all parties wear similar attire.”
“Yes, that would be a change for those officers! Perhaps we could include a round of unarmed combat, most definitely not to the death!” 
I looked at Freya and Karazak with eyes that had changed substantially since our first meeting, and then we all started laughing as Von Carstien left our sanctum to let us train.
The tourney was an exhilarating experience; for the first time, I was able to test my skills against experts in bladework. I worked my way up the tables to the quarter finals where I fought the Captain of the ship, Andromicus, who had me on the defensive until I feigned a fall. I then rolled out from under him and almost won, until he lashed out with his leg and knocked me off balance, forcing me to yield. Andromicus then went on to win for the 4th voyage running. Karazak got past the first heat, but was then beaten by the good Captain. Karazak however, Freya surpassed all expectations getting to the semi-finals to be beaten by the head gunnery officer, a stern man called Sohek.
Funnily enough, when we made our offer of unarmed combat duels, many of the younger midshipmen and lieutenants took up the offer and followed us to the jungle sanctum. We all stripped to the waist (aside from Freya and the few female officers) and then paired off to fight.
Few of the officers could hold out long against us, but all the same, it was a good change to fight others with different upbringings. I won the tourney, but by the end of it we were all dripping with sweat, but ready for more. Unfortunately, the officers had other duties to perform about the ship, so i shook hands with 1st Lieutenant Hans, a senior bridge officer and with that the officers left with a hearty salute.
During the last few days, training did indeed toughen, but it was exhilarating and enlightening as well. Two days before planetfall, Von Carstien introduced us to more suitable clothing that still fitted out jungle background. For myself and Karazak, he looked out several pairs of loose shorts and short sleeved shirts; he also told us that they would be suitable for the desert as well. For Freya, he found similar attire, but also included a knee length dress of the style of Volag Nok.
During that time, we got used to the attire of most imperial citizens, and Von Carstien got laser scans of our sizes to make us huge varieties of clothing for every occasion for us to try. Lessons also kept going during this period and the pace quickened before planetfall.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Fractured Opposition chapter 2

When Freya and I awoke the next morning, we gathered our few belongings and Freya made her farewells to her friends in the village. I went to wake Karazak’s tent, but he wasn’t there! I used my tracking skills I had picked up in the wilderness and found him at the damaged gate, staring out into the endless forest. I walked up to him said:
“Ready to go?”
“Yes, just enjoying my last view of home in all likelihood.”
“Can I join you while Freya makes her farewells?”
“Of course, but there was something I wanted to talk to you about involving you and my sister.”
“I understand; what is it?”
A custom of our village is that the closest male family member to the daughter has to authorise anything ‘official’, and can also ask this of her lover.”
“I see where this is going. You don’t want me going after your sister!”
“No! Sorry, that is not what I meant. I was going to ask you to join hands with my sister. It is an ancient custom symbolising a strong bond of love between the two participants.”
“Ok, what arrangements must be made on my part?”
“None, I have talked to the village elders, and they have agreed to your participation in the ceremony. Normally, the man would give a gift to the girl’s family, but under the circumstances, all parties have agreed that saving Freya’s life was enough; as well as this off world business!”
“This is great news! When is the ceremony?”
“In the village centre in 1 hour’s time. Oh and you’d better talk to Freya about the ceremonial wear, I believe she has been making some this morning after spreading the news to her friends.”
“Is this another custom? For the girl to make the man’s ceremonial clothing.”
“That is one of the reasons both parties get to know each other first!”
“Right then, I had better try the clothing then. I will see you for the ceremony.”

As it turned out, the ceremonial robes where perfectly fitted and simple in design; It was simply a rectangular sheet of fabric that was pinned at one shoulder and secured at the waist with a thin cord. The time that went into making one was the time spent embroidering ceremonial detail in the correct locations. On mine there was a five pointed star above my heart and the Eagle of the Imperium upon my chest, while Freya’s had the moon over her heart and what I thought was the tribe’s icon;  a marked wolverine underneath a stylised falling star on a green background. Then I realised it was how I had come to know her and was in effect an icon of our relationship. She also had an Eagle, but on her right shoulder where I had the relationship icon. I then realised my position: I had fallen in love. It hit me like a hammer blow to see how far I had come in the few days between me being a wild jungle hunter to falling in love and joining a tribe.

Freya had then described how the ceremony would run: Freya would stand outside her shelter with Karazak and I would walk to her shelter from the gate with one of the town elders filling in the role of next of kin. There would be an exchange of vows which would normally include gifts, but a trip off-world was more than sufficient. According to Freya, this was to bind the couple through word. The next step was to bind the couples hands and feet to bind them by action. They are then left under a bamboo frame draped with sheets until the next morning to allow the couple to bind through thought.

The ceremony was a wonderful experience, and it also included the initiation rites for the tribe which involved cutting the tribes icon into my arm using my phosphor-beta knife. The off-worlder and his guards were also present to witness the ceremony. In the morning, the rite concluded with us having the star and moon removed from our robes and we began the ceremony for leaving the tribe, but with a slim chance of return. Before we left for the stars, two of the village elders embroidered the tribal icon over both of our hearts.
The off-worlder introduced himself for the first time as von Carstien, a name of sorts I have never heard before.

He led Karazak, Freya and I to a large clearing with a large metal beast, the likes of which I had never seen. Von Carstien then invited us to get into the beast, which he called a shuttle and make ourselves comfortable. He followed us in, but passed us and opened a hatch in the wall and retrieved what looked like a metal rectangle with colourful images painted on the front. Von Carstien called it a data-slate and claimed that he knew Freya and Karazak’s father as well as mine. He also claimed that the “data-slate” contained pictures of both Colonel Lorenzo Griess and Knight-Commander Craig Johnson.

The off-worlder introduced himself for the first time as von Carstien, a name of sorts I have never heard before.
He led Karazak, Freya and I to a large clearing with a large metal beast, the likes of which I had never seen. Von Carstien then invited us to get into the beast, which he called a shuttle and make ourselves comfortable. He followed us in, but passed us and opened a hatch in the wall and retrieved what looked like a metal rectangle with colourful images painted on the front. Von Carstien called it a data-slate and claimed that he knew Freya and Karazak’s father as well as mine. He also claimed that the “data-slate” contained pictures of both Colonel Lorenzo Griess and Knight-Commander Craig Johnson.

As the shuttle rose through the atmosphere to reach the ship von Carstien had come on: Karazak, Freya and I pored over several dataslates that showed pictures of Johnson, Griess and Carstien. I was saddened, but relieved to see a picture of my father’s funeral, and to see who he was succeeded by: a gruff soldier by the name of Straken.

As we approached the ship, von Carstien showed us into the cabin to show is the ship as it approached, It was a gargantuan thing, three km long and half a km wide. The shuttle was completely dwarfed as it entered the hanger bay.

We all looked in wonder as we guessed what could be inside such a great vessel.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Fractured Opposition

Fractured opposition
My insight into the life of Octavian Lars before his induction into the inquisition
My name is Octavian Griess and I am 16 standard years old. I live on my own in the wilderness of Catachan, my home planet, and the most inhospitable planet in the Emperor damned Imperium. I like it here. The sounds of the forest call to me as I have survived in a land where the slightest hesitation can kill you, I have lived here on my own since my mother was killed when a Catachan Devil decided we were for lunch when I was 9 (standard), but I killed it and wear it’s hide as a trophy. No-one has seen me in several years and in the small villages dotted around the planetscape, I was a misfit, always picked on until my mother and I left into the forest at the age of 7. I have never known my father. My mother told me that my father, Lorenzo Griess, had gone to fight among the stars. As I have no-one to watch over my camp, I am always on the move, going from to place to place with my supplies and tent. While searching franticly for a place to sleep for the night as the sun went down and the creatures of the night began to prowl, I heard an ear-splitting scream coming from my right that sliced the very air in two. I dropped my kit and hurriedly tied some string round the nearest tree so I could find my way back then I sprinted off into the jungle following the scream fearing the worst, with my blade at the ready.
As I neared the source of the scream, I paused and then started crawling towards a tree where a girl of about my age was tied wearing only a loincloth. To have been left there, she had probably upset her lover and as a result was left to die, that or as a sacrifice. I could do with a second person to look after my camp, as well as a companion and friend to alleviate the loneliness that comes from living alone for about seven years. I stood up and scanned the clearing for beasts of the forests that often hunt those tied up as sacrifices to the Immortal Emperor, to whom I pray to keep me safe each day. Fortunately, none had come yet. I put my finger to my lips to encourage her to keep quiet and minimize the risk of creatures showing up. Beetles the size of my fist were scuttling in all directions as if panicked by some creature, I knew I had 30 seconds before a beast that could easily kill me burst into the clearing I raised my knife, a 1 and a half meter blade forged from Phosphor Beta, a rare metal and a gift from my mother who had been told by my father to give it to me when I was old enough. The rope was thick, but the carefully honed edge of the blade made short work of it and I cut the girl down, urged her to go back to the “camp” by following the string while I faced the great beast. I stood in the clearing shouting run to the girl and readying myself for the fight to come. Not as big as a Devil, but big enough to scare of an entire hive of death-beetles, only a marked wolverine fitted the description. This was going to take some killing. It lunged towards me, wicked claws heading for my throat. I jumped sideways, throwing myself flat. I crawled under its belly and thrust my knife deep into its stomach. The trusted blade bit deep and the wolverine let out great a death screech. I rolled out from under its belly as it crashed to the ground. I shouted to the girl and used her replies to guide me back to where she had set up a camp better than any I have ever set in my entire life.
The next day I was preparing to go out hunting, I asked her what her name was. However, she was cunning when need be and replied; “Tell me the name of my saviour please?”
I had no excuse to not reply, “Octavian Griess, at your service. Can you also tell me the name of the girl I saved just last night?”
“Freya Johnson, my brother Karazak would most definitely like you. Tell me, did your father leave before your birth to fight among the stars?”
“Yes, my father was enlisted into the 2nd Catachan infantry. All he left behind were his wife, child and my knife which was once his.”
“Mine was called to lead the 5th Catachan armoured. They drive tanks!”
“What are tanks?”
“They are Monstrous behemoths of steel and iron, bristling with guns.”
“What are guns?”
“Your father never showed you one?”
“He left about a month before I was born.”
“Well, guns are in effect big spear throwers with more power, but they are also more complex.”
“I see. What was it like when you were growing up?”
“I have lived in a village my entire life, looking after hearth and home, just like I shall for you, but I can fight as well as any man.
“Well, you might have met your match here!”
“Don’t interrupt! Recently, I got engaged to my lover, mind you, I had no control over it, his father organised it. My brother Karazak tried to stop him, but he was 2 years older than him, and 1 year older than me. Then, just a few days ago, we saw a star fly through the sky, stop and float to the ground. My lover, who I never even knew his name of, decided that prophets of the emperor had come to judge us and that someone should be sacrificed to appease them. That someone was me. Karazak and I tried to fight them, but too many people had sided against me. They knocked Karazak out and my lover tied me to that tree and left me to die. The scream was when he tied me up and punched me in the face and I lost control and tried to call for help.”
“I think this guy had better be taught a lesson”
“I think so too.”
We both tidied up the camp (it was always going to be temporary, just this one was more temporary than expected) and headed on the long trek to Freya’s village.

I took us three nights to get to Freya’s village. On the last night, we camped just out of sight and sound (theirs, that is, we could still observe them). We watched the village for the whole of the next day. Freya pointed out Karazak and her lover to me. From the distance, I thought Karazak looked very strong and tough, but with a cunning mind. On the other hand, from what I could tell, Freya’s lover was just a pig and a bully and only a fraction of Karazak’s power. The aspect of him that gave him the advantage was his great height which intimidated most of his possible enemies, Freya had said. We were starting to run low on food, so I went hunting as evening approached. We then outlined our plan.
The next morning as the sun rose, we crept towards the village with my bow on my back and knife at the ready. As we approached the village gate Freya and I walked out into the open and I called “we are two weary travellers, but we wish to see a man by the name of Karazak Johnson.” The man who stood sentinel replied, “I will go and get him, I should be no more than three minutes.” We waited, but as we did, I listened closely to the sounds of the village. All seemed quiet apart from a great racket coming from the centre of the village. I used my knife to open the sturdy gate with a few well placed slashes from my knife and kicked it inwards while using my momentum to carry me forward into the village to see what the matter was. I sprinted through the cleared streets of the village and came to a great crowd at the centre, in my time living in villages like this, crowds often gathered around arguments between two of the villagers that ended up as a solo brawl in the village centre. I pushed through the unfamiliar crowd in unfamiliar clothing. Freya and I wore only a loincloth while most of the villagers wore a neck to knees robe. Out of the villagers only the two brawlers were clad in loincloths like me. I knew the reason and was ready for it; they wear less to allow greater body movement during a fight. They obviously were ready to move this disagreement up a level. I recognised the shorter of them as Karazak from my earlier observations. He was well muscled and well built. His opponent was; I presumed Freya’s lover who consigned her to sacrifice. Just as they were readying themselves for a real fight, I tried to push past the inner ring of the crowd, but the villagers attempted to stop me. It was a simple matter to get past, but one that cost me valuable seconds. Freya and I burst out of the crowd and I leaped between Karazak and Freya’s lover. Freya’s lover was shocked by my appearance and shouted “Who is this to interrupt a conflict of villagers!”
“Freya Johnson’s new lover, after you left her to die!” I replied. Karazak also added his voice to the argument.
“This is my argument, outsider you have the look of the leader about you. You have also saved my beloved sister and you have my gratitude. Do you have anything else to add before I fight with Ryan?”
Remembering my conversations with Freya on the customs of the village I added: “Yes, I now challenge Ryan to an unarmed duel for Freya’s hand. What say you?”
“It appears you know our customs, so yes, I will fight. For Freya’s hand and to the death!”
Freya came over to me and wished me good luck then she and Karazak retreated into the ring of people. The fight began with us circling each other round the ring. I examined Ryan and could see that he commanded power from his great size and bulk, but this was something I could use to my advantage against his ponderous form.
To gain a distraction, I reached for my knife which was tucked into the belt of my loincloth and threw it to one side while commenting: “Oh, I forgot this was unarmed, wasn’t it!” as it hit the floor.
The moment the hilt hit the soil I rushed towards him lashing out with my right fist and I felt a reassuring crack as it broke one of his ribs. Before he could retaliate, I had darted out of reach. From what I could see, He was about eighteen, and in his prime for a Catachan, If Karazak had gone up against him, he wouldn’t have lasted more than five minutes, but the wilderness had kept me sharp as my knife. The fight continued for some time, with me striking and ducking out the way of retaliation as I gradually wore him down. Once, I let my guard slip and took a punch to the chest and I was badly hurt, besides, this was a fight to the death so he would stop at nothing to kill me, even when I was winded. I launched myself at him and delivered a hard kick to the groin to stun him then retaliated with an uppercut to the chin to knock him out.
The crowd around me were shouting and complaining, evidently he had never been beaten before. In the situation I would normally snap his neck, but he had attempted to sacrifice Freya, who loved me as much as I loved her. As a mirror to how he attempted to murder Freya, I would tie him up in the jungle to die and it would still be abiding with the duelling laws of the village. As I left the village and headed out into the jungle, approximately half the village followed me including Freya and Karazak. I tied him up in the clearing where, several days ago, he had tied Freya. Ironic in my opinion, the one who leaves a sacrifice for the emperor is in turn sacrificed. On my way back to the village, I was walking along with Freya and Karazak, alert, but discussing the events of the past few days when some off-worlders appeared in front of us. One wore a red cloak and hat as well as some sort of thick robe of some sort. He was surrounded by an air of authority and was clearly a loyal servant of the emperor. His companions were of probably Catachan birth originally, but had been tempered by many different worlds. The one who appeared to lead the group stepped towards me and asked: “Are you Octavian Griess.”
“Yes, but why are you searching for me?”
“I am incredibly distressed to report to you that your father had sadly, after being raised to command his regiment, the 2nd Catachan, he was killed in an ork bombing raid.”
“How does this affect me though, I have never met him?”
“He had orders placed when he reached higher ranks in his regiment that you were to be taken to a schola progenium if he was killed and use your considerable talents you were sure to have for the benefit of the Imperium. In truth, he never forgot about you and always looked to the day you would be old enough to be enlisted in the regiment. Alas, it was not to be. I see you have some close friends with you, if you wish, they may accompany you. But there is one more thing I must know, do you have the Phosphor Beta knife your father left you?”
“Not with me, I have just won an unarmed duel and left the knife in the village.”
“Then get it and show it to me. I need it as proof of your identity.”
“Very well, but you will have to wait outside the village until morning.”

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Arco flagelent Greengo R268

Arco Flagellant Greengo R268
Formerly an imperial guardsman, Greengo’s previous name was Private James Green and was convicted of heresy, but was offered a chance for redemption through Arco Flagellentation, being given the trigger word Redeemer and was entrusted to Witch Hunter Dictatus who was assassinated and was then given to Inquisitor Octavian Lars for the acts of valour and leadership he showed during the battle that followed. Greengo has since served well under the distiquished Inquisitor in his secret wars against Chaos.
Greengo R268 is left handed.
Equipment: Electro-Flail implanted into right arm, Power Fist implanted into left arm, injector with 50 doses of Barrage, ‘Slaught, Psykon.
Greengo R268’s trigger word is Redeemer.
Special Abilities: Furious Assault, Nerves of Steel, Force of Will            

        WS BS  S T  I  Wp Sg Nv  Ld
Greengo 42 11 85 74 53 94 24 169 28

Monday, 6 June 2011

Insertion Zone part 4

I consider myself skilled in the arts of interrogation. In my opinion, torture can often hide the truth as much as it is revealed; thus I only use it when absolutely necessary. So, I squared up to the ethereal. He had been bound and gagged by the PDF who had captured him. I removed the gag and signaled to Karazak, my bodyguard and assistant, to start the recording.
“What is your name?” A classic opening move that helps the interrogator connect with the interrogated.
“My name is Ethereal Commander blooded wildflower of the Tau’n sept.” I had been studying the Tau language for nearly thirty years now, on and off during the war against them on Velterax III. My tutor was a captured human who served the Tau as a diplomat and negotiator.  This ethereal’s name  of wildflower became evident with his next sentence.
“What is your purpose here, Gue’La?” I have rarely been disrespected by my captives, even the Eldar have never shown me the disrespect that this Ethereal showed me that day. I replied harshly.
“In your foul tongue, the correct term should be Gue’O, Aun’El Tau’n Li’Sun’Ye. In my elegant tongue, my name is Inquisitor Octavian Lars of the Ordo Malleus. And since you ask about my purpose, I shall gladly tell you. My purpose was to capture you and destroy the column heading towards the capital of Velterax III. Which leads on to my next question.”
“Which is?”
“Don’t interrupt Ethereal! You are in the custody of the Imperial Inquisition and will speak when spoken to, no more. The question I was going to ask was, what was the purpose of your column’s advance?”
“I shall not tell one as unworthy as yourself.”
“If that is so, I shall have to find out using better methods than are available here. Karazak, vox Marcus and tell him to start the shuttle’s engines and help me move the captive.”

We locked him in one of the shuttle’s prison cells, gave him enough sustenance to last the two week journey to my base of operations in the upper spires of Hive Hyperion. My self and Karazak inspected the troops in their sleeping quarters. As it turned out, of the five Devils taken out of action, three would fight again, one was badly wounded, and would be stuck with desk duty, but only one; Lorenzo had been killed outright. He had taken several pulse wounds to the chest, but he kept fighting, according to the Devil who had been beside him when he had been killed. He had charged, grievously injured, wielding his empty bolter as a club and hacking and slashing with his long Catachan warknife. The final blow had come from a Tau squad leader’s knife at the same moment that Lorenzo had stabbed him with his own knife. They had gone down together. All of us departed to our sleeping quarters for the night before the long journey back to base.

When we got back, my servants had redeyed my Inquisitorial Mansion for my arrival. A cell in the basement had been prepared for the Ethereal and a safe return banquet had been laid out for my arrival. I decided to allow the Ethereal a night of luxury and he was allowed to dine with us. My Tau language tutor helped prepare some Tau dishes for him. Other members of my staff were distrusting of him due to him being xeno, but many of them enjoyed the Tau culture themed food so I decided that Tau food would become a meal for special occasions.

After the great banquet, the Aun’El was escorted to his spartan, but comfortable cell. It was furnished with a simple bed, a toilet, a shower and a small desk. The room was also well lit, it was also the room I would be questioning him in. Confident he was settled and unable to escape, I retired to my study to examine the chainsword I had killed so many fire warriors with. After a quick examination, I had found many clues to it’s origin. The first one I spotted was the mark of the Inquisition, embossed on the casing of the blade. It had to belong to an inquisitor or one of his staff. My long time rival and Tau supporter, Inquisitor Ostrek would never use a chainsword. Gut instinct is often frowned upon within the ranks of my fellow inquisitors, though I often go with my instincts when there are no other clues available. I had run a quick search of all inquisitors active in that area. There was a total of twenty four Inquisitorial missions to the Iron Dune where I had found the chainsword. This was where gut instinct came in. In many cases, chainswords are often wielded by Monodominant Inquisitors and the followers for reasons I can never quite grasp. I then looked further into make and model, date of production, location of production. Eventually, well into the week, I had a name. Inquisitor Tannen von Hausing.