Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

The Tale of Boris, a true story of Black Crusade

15 posts in this topic

Hey all,


I have begun to chronicle on other forums the tale of my Xurunt Frost Father, Boris. I drew inspiration heavily from his counterpart in the 2d MMO Kingdom of Loathing. The events are about six months old from the beginning, so my retelling is not perfect. Nevertheless, they are as true as I recall. This is the tale of how Boris and a small band of mostly-changing allies helped carve their names across the various modules of the game. Feedback appreciated.


The tale begins in a ship the size of a small city, floating in the screaming, chaotic madness of the Warp: A realm of infinite power through which space ships from the material realm pass to travel distances faster than light. This one is derelict, ruined by centuries of neglect. A prison ship, housing some of the most heinous foes of the Imperium of Man, its inhabitants rioted and overthrew their wardens, and wrested it back into the Warp. Yet Boris was not among these heretics. When he came to, the fight to take back the ship known as the Chains of Judgement had ended, and its story come to an end.
He came to from his stasis pod, fumbling for his trusty axe, Trusty. Finding it at his side as always, he smashed his way free of the armaglas confining him, finding others that shared a similar fate: A stern and solid woman with short black hair, no doubt the sign of a military bearing, her prisoner tag on her orange jumpsuit identifying her as Aleseh Rosu.
The second was a gaunt, fiery-haired man with a wild look in his eyes, and the smell of ozone about him. His name was simply Patrick.
Third among them was a man of massive frame that marked him out as a Chaos Space Marine, a traitor of the Adeptus Astartes, yet of long, light hair, and a far-off look in his eyes, distracted and twitchy. His prisoner's clothes identified him as Marius.
Finally another Astartes with deep bronze skin and bald features. His arms bulged even moreso than his counterpart, calloused and rough from a lifetime of using heavy weaponry. His nametag marked him only as Alpharius.
"Well, this is a fine turn of events." Boris raised his voice, which was almost swallowed by the deathly, dusty silence within the decaying, rusted confines of the stasis chamber. "It seems our Imperial captors have let their guard down."
"Most likely overrun. That's what happens when you cage beings of our magnificence." the one known as Marius tastes the air. "And must have been for some time. This place is deathly quiet."
"There was a great fight here. I sense much death, most of it centuries old. But now we are now longer in the Warp, and can claim freedom!" Patrick cackled,a baleful light glowing behind his eyes.
"Then let's waste no more time here! Come, let us see if these vultures have not yet sold off our gear!" Boris lifts his axe and heads out, the idea that even these Astartes might lead the way not even occurring to him.
"A most astute idea, O callypigian Boris!" Clancy appeared, as ever by the warrior's side, quivering with the prospect of freedom. He was by no means a hardened prisoner like the others, and it would do him well to praise Boris from his shadow.
The others looked quizzically at one another, wondering who this man was that he would brazenly assume leadership of their band when there were not one, but two Space Marines among them. The only one that had not yet spoken was Aleseh. She walked behind them, deciding it was best to say nothing until she had a better measure of these odd folk. Having grown up away from the Imperium, and from the influence of Chaos she belongs in neither group. However, for the present it seemed the best choice to side with them.
With the Space Marines and their knowledge of the layout of the ship, they found their way to the armoury quickly. By luck, theirs were the only weapons not stolen by theft or time. Fresh blood from the craven, mutant descendants of the prisoners and wardens alike, and spent boltgun shells showed that others had come this way before them, clearing a path.
Boris retrieved his armour,a relic from his frozen homeworld: It was a set of powered armour, nothing quite as bulky or powerful as the massive suits the two Space Marines used, but enough to keep out the attacks of cowards that would use means beyond honest combat. He twisted on the horned helm with a hiss of sealing catches coming into place, and the eye lenses lit up red as he looked over his comrades.
Aleseh had seized a heavy flamer and heavy carapace armour familiar amongst veterans of imperial armies and renegades alike.
Marius seized a set of power armour painted in a riot of blazing colours designed to provide the most raucous of sensory overload simply looking at it, and hefted a weapon looking like an over-sized guitar more than a gun.
The Marine known as Alpharius took a more anonymous set of black power armour, locking a huge gun into place: A Heavy Bolter, which fired massive, self-propelled rocket shells designed to blow holes in people upon impact with flesh.
Patrick was merely grateful to be back into a set of mesh-like robes, a set of various charms and trinkets dangling about his person.
"Is that all you've got?" Aleseh asks, checking the fuel nozzle of her large flamethrower, before taking back a battered chainaxe, revving its motor to check that it was still serviceable.
"Boris has no need of other weapons." Boris explained simply. At this the two Space Marines muttered to one another through their helmet radios, asking "Did he just refer to himself in the third person?"
With their weapons in tow, they began to further follow the bloodied trail of footprints left by those that were freed before them.


The trail of footprints, it turned out, led to the bridge. Here, a fierce battle had taken place between the former owners of the ship, some of the prisoners, and whatever allies they had dredged up from the wretched mutants that lurked in the shadows of the ship's bilges.
However, the ship was now connected to another, much larger vessel, and its inhabitants were there to greet them: The fanatical, chaos-worshipers of the Word Bearers Legion of Chaos Space Marines. Showing fealty to Chaos in its entirety, rather than any one Chaos God in particular, they despised those who showed allegiance to any one of the big four deities.
The group was able to negotiate with them. In exchange for whatever treasures still lay within their former prison's drifting husk, the Word Bearers would take Boris and the others to another destination.
Normally, Boris' allegiance to Baphtar, the Lord of Blood and Skulls would have been seen as distasteful. However, the Word Bearers informed them that they had a destiny, and the Mendacious Oracle had demanded their presence.
The voyage took many months, and in the meantime the group replenished their supplies. Yet Boris continued to grow antsy, as he was without any worthy foes to take on and kill, without upsetting the hundreds of power-armoured supermen polite enough to transport them.
As they were ferried down to the wasteland planet of Kyremus, where the Oracle was said to be, the group surveyed their destination. The ground was a vast desert, swept by harsh winds and sandstorms. The wrecks of starships like beached whales groaned and creaked as their titanic adamantium frames settled deeper against the earth, and were draped with blasphemous symbols that showed that the inhabitants of this world had made good use of them as shelters. The largest of which was their destination: The Temple of Lies.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The dusty air felt good to breathe in, albeit through the grill of Boris' horned helmet. It made a refreshing change from the stale, sweaty vapours of the air within the Word Bearer's ship. Boris' companions had heavy armour like his own, with the exception of Patrick the psyker. As a result, their approach into town was like that of an approaching storm, kicking up clouds of dust from the exhausts of the power packs grafted onto their armour.
"Our first point of order should be to find food and transport." Aleseh pointed out. Boris nodded, noting that she was a sharp one. He barged the corrugated metal door open on the nearest and largest establishment, a collection of rusted, dust-worn metal sheets that bore the name "The Carrion Corpse" in white paint on tin, and bellowed "Somebody! Hey, somebody! Give me a sandwich! NOW!" the patrons of what was fortunately a lodge of some sort looked at him with a puzzled expression, including those of his companions. Eventually he managed to find some coins within a pouch. He sighed and tried again with the cowering man at the counter, who handed over a number of finger-sandwiches.
"Has this body's ability to hold my power grown so thin that Boris cannot even get a sandwich whenever he needs one?" Boris questions with dismay as he disengaged the seals on his helmet with a hiss, cramming finger sandwiches into his mouth, finding to his surprise that they may actually contain fingers.
"If you're quite done, I shall go and secure us some transport." Alpharius shakes his head in disdain, and leaves in a clomp of armoured boots.
"Uppity giant." Boris growls as he heads outside, throwing the sandwiches to Clancy to carry.
"Give it time O brave, dashing and handsome Boris! You'll come back to yourself! You just need somebody to challenge!" Clancy piped up optimisitically.
"Yes Clancy, but what are the chances of finding a worthy opponent in this barren hellhole?" Boris despaired. As though answering Boris' need for more foes to fight, a bellow issued forth across the busy streets, sending the regular townsfolk scattering for cover.
From down the street a deep voice shows "I am the Disciple of Crox!" and a giant of a man, clad in plates of ceramite armour heavily caked in blood and dust. "Who will challenge a champion of the Lord of Skulls?" His face is hidden behind a steel mask, worked into the snarling visage of a dog. He carries but one weapon: a long, two-handed chainaxe. After a long moment, the giant of a man once again bellows "I am the Disciple of Crox! Who will cha-"
"Boris shall accept your challenge!" the Avatar declared, his spirit swelling with approval from the spirit of that legendary hero he harboured. He stepped forward, unsheathing his notched and battered weapon, the half-dozen skulls from previous foes clattering against his armour. His armour was a battered relic and did not protect as well as this Disciple of Crox, but he wagered it was in better condition.
"Oh not this crap again..." Patrick moaned, holding his face in his hands. "This is going to be a repeat of the Mess Hall incident, isn't it?"
"I'm sure he'll be fine." Aleseh replied, though she wasn't entirely sure herself. "They knew better than to get in the way once his rage was on him. We'll just stand back. Besides, I'm sure people know better than to get in the way of..." her voice trailed off as she realised that Boris' bellowed challenge had drawn the attention of scores of the town's populace, watching from behind fences, doors, even coming forward to form a circle so as to not let either combatant escape; perhaps even to scavenge a trophy from yet another of the Disciple's triumphs.
Boris gripped the simple handle of trusty in his gauntlets so tight that the leather creaked, and at an unseen signal, the two combatants lunged at one another. At that moment, Boris was overcome with visions from his patron Baphtar, the one that Crox knew as the Lord of Skulls.
"Kill this wretch for me, Boris." the formless, overwhelming voice of his daemonic benefactor rang like a hammer upon a forge of brass and blood. "And once that is done, I have another task that would earn you yet more favour."
"As you wish, O Baphtar. This quest shall be another in the great undertaking of Boris!" he replied. At least in his head that was what it sounded like. To those watching, it was frothing, incomprehensible gibberish, but it certainly seemed impressive.
Boris lunged forward with all his might, putting no thought into self-preservation as he hammered Trusty into the Disciple's breastplate. The ceramite clanged and cracked like a great bell, and the giant staggered, but remained unbowed.
"He sure is a tough one, O valorous Boris!" Clancy commented helpfully, causing Boris to look his way, the eye-slits of his helmet glowing with berserk fury. "Oh, but not as tough as you, Boris!" he quickly added, getting to strumming out an appropriate tune on his lute.
Distracted as he was by this, the Disciple of Crox took it upon himself to bring his chainaxe down, blades whirring as they cut into Boris' leg, plowing through armour and driving a gouge through muscle and flesh, sending dark red blood flying in a fine spray off of the growling, motorised teeth. Boris stumbled backwards, bloodied but unbowed. He swung Trusty once more, and this time his own strike bit home in kind, cleaving a leg clean away from the giant's body, causing him to tumble and crash like an oak-tree made of pottery, such was the clatter as he hit the dusty ground. Cheers and cries of disbelief went up from the crowd as Boris brought Trusty down on the neck of the Disciple's canine helm, blood pouring from its snarling mouth. He raised up the skull and attached it to the chain worn about his armour that he might display the heads of conquered foes.
"He still looks pretty angry, don't you think?" Alpharius appeared at Aleseh's shoulder, looking highly amused.
"Yeah..." she replied uncertainly, starting to back away so as to get lost in the crowd. They were right, for Boris then leapt into his adoring new fans, sending limbs flying, heers turning to screams as Clancy's lute still strummed the song of battle. Once two people had fallen, Boris came to himself, looking around.
"Where did everybody go?" he looks puzzled as people flee back inside, bolting doors or simply running for their lives down the street.
"It happened again. Like the Mess Hall?" Aleseh shook her head, rubbing her temples in frustration.
"Oh, like that. Oh well. What's next?" Boris grinned.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

After the screaming had passed, Alpharius advised that he had secured some transport. Boris took the head of the Disciple of Crox, the head still inside, and attached it to the chain that had six other skulls upon it. He would need to get a rack for these, he decided.

The transport was a large flatbed truck, crewed by an older-looking gentleman. Boris did not bother with his name, and let his compatriots chat to him, while he dozed off to sleep, the better to recover his strength. Apparently the chainaxe woudn to the leg had hurt more than he had let one.

During his dream, he envisioned his patron once again: Baphtar, the Lord of Blood and Skulls sat atop a throne of polished bone formed from the interlocking skulls of countless foes, armoured in shining brass and carrying a great axe at his side, much like Trusty. Boris took off his horned helmet and nodded low in respect.

"What task have you for me this time, Baphtar?" he asked, hoping for further conquest and duels after the swell of pride he had felt with defeating the Disciple of Crox.

"You must go to the Temple of Lies..." the great daemon began.

"I'm already going there. Man, easiest quest ever!" Boris pumped his fist in triumph.

"Will you let me finish?!" the Lord of Blood and Skulls rubbed his face in exasperation. "There is a book there that must be destroyed: Damon's Treatise On Matters Rare. Destroy it, and you shall have my thanks. And probably some loot or something." he waved his hand, dispelling the dream with an effort.

"Aww man, a book? Those very rarely make great enemies to fight...." Boris thought to himself. Still, he could console himself with the thought that such things were likely guarded by great and powerful wardens, and that would make a good song at least.

Boris was jerked from his reverie by the sounds of weapons being drawn and cocked. Trusty was, as ever, in his hand and practically twitching for a fight. He looked up, the lenses of his power helmet focusing on what was causing dismay amid the other passengers.

Swarming toward them over the horizon was a horde of flapping, ragged-wings cherubs, armed with nothing but their own wickedly-sharp nails. Their eyes glowed with the red malevolence of a rogue machine, and right now that malevolence was targeted at Boris and his group of fellow heretics.

"They must have been part of a ship's crew of worker machines, gone rogue from years of neglect." Alpharius supposed aloud.

"Baphtar has answered the prayers of Boris! An encounter to ward off boredom!" Boris chuckled heartily, leaping over the flatbed truck, Trusty raised above his head as he thundered toward the flock of baby-robots.

"Oh gods, give me some cover, will you?" Aleseh rolls her eyes as she unhooks her heavy flamer from her back and aims a gout of liquid promethium into the tide of autonomous infant mechanoids. Alpharius and Patrick added their impressive firepower to the barrage, sending streams of rocket-propelled explosive shells and psychic bolts respectively, knocking down baby-machines wherever they hit. All the while Clancy strummed a jaunty song of battle, barely audible above the roar of gunfire.

By the time Boris clashed against the horde, it was much-reduced, and their claws barely found purchase, yet Trusty bit deep into them effortlessly. The battle was over in a manner of seconds, yet while gripped in the fury of potential battle, Boris insisted upon rooting down every last straggler, ensuring that the creepy robot children were hacked apart or crushed underfoot.

"Hmph, that was barely worth it." Boris maligned as he came out of his battle reverie.

"Yeah, they were no match for you, O daring, valiant Boris!" Clancy strummed on his loot in the hope that his master would not yet turn and look for more victims. The nearest one was the driver of the flatbed truck, who had, up until now been happily ranting about how he wanted off this world, and was now cowering under the cockpit.

"It wasn't just him, you know." Aleseh rolled her eyes as she sat herself back down, Boris leaping up onto the flatbed to make the loudest possible clang.

"Let him have his fun. Remember the last time somebody showed him up?" Alpharius whispered, having noted that between them, Boris had barely killed any of the swarm that had attacked them, and that instead most of them had been burned to a crisp by the heavy flamer.

Finally the driver is convinced by a mix of cajoling, and an offering of old finger sandwiches from Boris, to keep driving. They crest the last hill and finally see the Temple of Lies. A vast field of wreckage and rubble stretches out before them, many kilometres across. In the centre of the field, dug deep into the ground is a starship. Long ago, a titanic voidship crashed into Kymerus's surface. The impact broke the vessel, though it was not destroyed entirely, leaving the monolithic ruins amidst a vast plain of debris. In the centuries since, someone has built on the vessel, adding double doors in the side so large that they can be made out from several miles away. In addition can be seen the tiny shapes of Screamers of Tzeentch, daemonic flyers circling around the Temple. Some even appear to be pulling disk-shaped chariots.

"At last! Perhaps in there will be a foe worthy of our time!" Boris declared, and ordering Clancy to sing something worthy of the moment.

"Hey guys," Patrick whispered to the others, tilting his head in to whisper so that only the Chaos Marine and the renegade hear him. "If you see a book named Damon's Third Treatise on Matters Rare, can you help me find it? Tzeentch demands that I save the book from this place."


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

There were guards at the gates of the Temple of Lies. These men were clad in ornate golden armour, and bearing halberds that sizzled with a quiet hum of electricity poised to strike out and stun whomever came close.However, Boris and his friends were not their prey this day. Upon seeing the band drawing close they parted, and the great gates of the Temple swung ominously open with a screeching of rusted metal that echoed into its colossal, booming depths.
"Gods above..." whispered Clancy, idly strumming his lute as they all beheld the vast, incomprehensible site above them. From floor to ceiling was a dizzying array of stairs, going sideways, upwards, downwards, back and forward in time, all enough to test the sanity of those not native to the Screaming vortex, like they were.
"Come in. The Mendacious Oracle is expecting you." says one of the guards, and a second pair of identical guards, their heads concealed behind ornate face masks, escorted the adventurers upwards, clearly seeming to know where they were going.
"Look there!" Patrick pointed, minutes into the dizzying, Escher-esque climb, seeing themselves walking up a completely different staircase.
"This is rubbing me the wrong way." Boris grumbled, his axe-muscles twitching at the heaviness of the sorcery in the air, and the need to get into a decent fight with something, even as their purpose here gnawed away at the back of his mind like an itch.
At one point their trek led them through a library, where the guards clustered thickest, pairs of them standing or patrolling through the stacks, their boots clacking on the steel-mesh floors. Boris decided to make a note to remember what categories of books they saw as they went past.
"Clancy! Make sure you remember what books are here!" bellowed Boris as they went on, drawing wary gazes from everybody, even Alpharius, whose expression was unreadable behind his helmet.
"Sure thing, Boss!" Clancy oinked obediently, murmuring not-so-subtly to himself as he memorises the shelf numbers. By luck, this musing was not caught by Patrick, who was so busy looking at the stacks of tomes, books, parchments, dataslates and other materials, some caged or otherwise sealed and guarded, that he did not hear this outburst, and did not see the holding place of Damon's Third Treatise On Matters Rare while Boris and his faithful minstrel noted it for later.
They carried on through the library, unsure now of how much time had passed in this eerie place, until they finally reached an old hatch, sealed with a navy-style turning ring.
"The Oracle will see you now." the Eternal Guards uttered in unison, before hauling on the ring, and opening the door upwards with a shriek of metal and falling flakes of rust.
"Well, this is it. Though i don't know why we're trusting a man calling himself the Mendacious Oracle of the Temple of Lies..." Aleseh mutters to herself, her fingers gripping the butt of her chainaxe cautiously.


The adamantium hatch slammed shut behind them as the guards left Boris and his companions to the Sorceror's mercies.
"It is a shame that the future of the Temple of Lies must be placed in such incapable hands, don't you think? Still, come, we have much to discuss. I am High Oracle Copax." he gestures for them to come closer, opening a huge, worn, leather-bound tome, the word "Torestus" described in faded gold lettering.
"Now, tell me what it is that brings you here...tell me about your past." Copax urges, opening up the tome upon a handy pedestal, and beginning to flip through the pages with a purpose.
"Boris is my name!" Boris bellows. "I hail from the frost-claimed world of Xur, where giant mutant lizards and the iron dragons roam free Upon the death of the previous Boris, another is chosen from amidst our people through contests of fighting, feasting and shouting. Tis I who was chosen to ascend the Mountain of Champions, and receive the spirit of Boris anew, to be his avatar in this life, and perhaps to become fully Boris again, that his legend may never die."
"Pstt, hey, O handsome, brave and muscular Boris, look!" Clancy whispers, pointing to the book the Oracle is looking in. Peering closer, the book Torestus in which Copax is absorbed, nodding and muttering to himself, seems to be alive! Images of Boris flicker on the pages before his eyes, as if confirming the story of Boris himself.
"Now you." he points to the Space Marine.
"I am Alpharius. That is all you should need to know." the Astartes replied. Nevertheless, his brief response was enough to illicit some response from the pages.
Feeling like he should go next, Patrick then goes on. "I was taken from my world for being a Psyker, and placed upon a prison ship, no doubt headed for my death at the hands of the Inquisition. But I got free, and here I am today." Copax and the others look expectantly at Aleseh.
"Mind your own **** business." she folds her arms defiantly.
"Hm, very well." Copax mutters, closing the book, now knowing the nature of those here.
"Now that you are all here, and I know that it is truly you, I can say this about the prophecy!" he gathers stray grey hairs behind his ear with a fungus-infected fingernail. "Fools!" he laughs uproariously, and thrusts his hands into the storm-ridden sky. The glass ceiling shatters, sending shards out into the wind as chariots pulled by ray-like monstrosities wheel overhead. In the same instance, Copax makes a vicious swiping motion downwards with his outstretched finger, drawing a glowing line in mid-air. He steps behind the line, vanishing as if the line represents some invisible corner. In his wake, a complete, unnatural silence blankets the room.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Sorcerous coward!" Boris bellowed, granting him an incredulous look from Patrick, who coughed loudly. "You heard me!" he pointed a finger accusingly. But there was no time for argument. The roof opened up in a cloud of splintering glass, letting in the sound of screaming daemonic chariots overhead.
"I called it!" Aleseh yelled as she raised a hand to protect her eyes, before struggling to unstrap her heavy flamer as the sound of golden armour clattering upon the ground heralded the coming of half a dozen of the Eternal Guard, their halberds raised and sparking with stun fields as they stood in pairs, ready to prevent Boris and his crew from leaving.
Heavy-calibre bullets began thunking around them and clanging off armour, especially that of Alpharius, who laughed with contempt as his heavy bolter kicked into life, chewing up books, bookshelves and armour alike as the massive Astartes weapon barked with every fist-sized rocket-shell it shot, creating a storm of exploded literature.
Boris hefted Trusty, and with a bellow of controlled fury leapt at a pair of Eternal Guard, swinging wildly and sending the notched edge of Trusty straight into the leg of one of the Guards, who grunted as blood flowed from the crack in the armour, and he batted the weapon back, causing Boris to stumble.
Aleseh lugged the flamer at another pair, and opened up, the weapon letting out a roar of combusting promethium, gouting jets of the burning liquid over the Eternal Guard, who began to cook within their armour, screaming as the library began to burn around, every flying chip of wood and propelled book turning into a burning missile.
Patrick clapped his hands together in concentration, pulling as much power as he dared from the Warp to fuel a barrage of black, hateful missiles of energy directly at the pair of burning Guards, finishing their mixed cries of anguish and hatred. However, he had opened himself up, left himself too vulnerable to the attention of Warp predators, and reality buckled around him, sending him flying backwards into a burning bookcase, yet the pain of the fire was nothing compared to the daemon that was now attempting to claw its way inside his soul and take over his form.
Two thus-far unengaged Guards lunged at Alpharius, their blades humming as they struck at him, and he began to duck and dodge wildly, only then becoming aware that everything was in total silence, save for the piercing screams of the daemons as they flew overhead, spiraling down closer to the breach in the Temple.
Boris took a halberd fully in the chest, breaching his power armour, and sending him backwards, twitching and sizzling, stunned to the floor, drawing a cry of disbelief from Clancy, swallowed by the void of sound. Boris was down for now.
Aleseh looked to Alpharius, being flanked by the two Guards, and waved a warning to him before sending a spray of flame in his direction. Unaware of it until it was two late, the other guards didn't realise why the Alpha Legionnaire was hurling himself into a bookcase until they were caught in the wash of the heavy flamer. The sudden intense heat and panic was all Alpharius needed to send out a power-armoured fist crunching into one of their helmets, sending the head inside flying to be lost within the bookcases, the smell of burning paper and ancient wood filling their nostrils along with the freshly-spilled blood and the cooking meat of flesh within its armour.
Boris reeled from the blow of before, trying to kick off his attackers, wondering where his allies were.
Aleseh rolled her eyes as she realised he would have to save him this time, dropping her flamer and running in with chainaxe held aloft, bringing it straight through the arm of one of the Guard, occupied with hitting Boris while he was down. The helmet betrayed no emotions, but the Guard fell to his knees, the vibrations felt through the floor as he clutched his arm, fountaining blood from the roughly-shorn stump as he passed out from shock.
"We've no time to waste! We have been betrayed! let's get out of here!" Alpharius' voice came through crisp and clear in their helmets as he thundered across the room, snatching Boris and the book, taking advantage of the mayhem of the fire to help them slip out, leaving Patrick most likely dead.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alpharius helped to drag the briefly-unconscious Boris down the steps, clattering with each one, grunting as he shut the bulkhead behind them. Boris was getting to his feet, grumbling about cheating, and shaking of Clancy's attempts to help him.
"Let's beat feet before the other Guards realise what happened here." Aleseh reasoned. 
"Agreed. We shall look at the book later when we're not under threat of burning to death." Alpharius nods, and at that they set off at a steady pace, trying as best they can to keep up with the fast, hammering pace of the Alpha Legionnaire. 
"Wait! Give me a minute!" Boris pants as they fly back through the library, trailing dust and loose pages in their way.
"What? You suddenly have an urge to read?" Aleseh raises an eyebrow, her tone sarcastic.
"Boris has no need for books. But Baphtar demands I slay a certain book in particular!" Boris bellowed, hefting Trusty once more, his previous wounds not seeming so bad.
"Slay a book? What?" Alpharius looked on incredulously behind his helmet, but the muscle-bound champion was already working himself up into an instant, frothy rage, Clancy on his heels as he barrelled into the holding chamber of Damon's Third Treatise On Matters Rare.
Boris had led them to a small alcove, behind which the book, amongst others, were blocked by an adamantium cage, flanked by a pair of the Eternal Guard, their halberds ready and crackling. Either they knew about the situation upstairs, or they were simply ready to encounter the screaming berserker crashing into them now. 
"Should we help him?" Alpharius wondered, training his heavy bolter into the chamber.
"You remember what happened last time he went into a frenzy like that?" Aleseh looked back to check that nobody was following them.
"Yeah, you show them who's boss, Boris!" Clancy begun to strum on his lute as his Master barrelled into the thick oak reading table, sending it slamming into the two guards, his helmet grille filling up with froth as he began to bellow incoherently.
"Kill him! Protect the books!" one of the two Guards bellowed, drawing a pistol and using the table now crushing him as a prop to fire at Boris, too enraged to think about self-preservation. Such was his anger, and the strength of his armour that he didn't even feel the bullet clanging against him as the other Guard rose to the fore, halberd at the ready.
"Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!" Boris yelled, the sound reverberating from inside his helmet, making him sound like a very angry bell. He swept in towards the standing guard, hefting trusty in a sweep that crushed the Guard's breastplate, caving in metal, then splintering bone and shredding organs, and he fell the floor, blood pouring through the grill in his helmet.
The other guard began to let out panicked cries, blending with the barking report of his pistol, and the strumming of Clancy's lute as he urged Boris on, sweeping the Guard's head off with a single swipe of his axe. He looked back towards his compatriots, eye-lenses gleaming, his breathing practically a roar with each exhalation.
"Yay! Nice one, O valorous, pulchritudinous Bori-" Clancy's stream of praise was cut short, as his Master's rage was not yet clenched. Striking out in blind fury, his power armour-coated fist caught Clancy in the head, turning his neck a full 180 degrees to stare in shock at Aleseh and Alpharius, before he tumbled to the floor, his lute making a sad, final twang.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Boris awoke from the red mist, looking down with horror upon his fallen minstrel.

"Ah, old friend. I let the anger get the better of me once more. But when the Blood God demands it, he must have it." he apologises. "I shall see you again soon." he bows his head respectfully.

That moment passed, he swung Trusty to the bars of the secure reference section behind the recently-smashed table, cracking open the gate with a single strike. The auto-senses of his helmet soon help him pick out the book he sought, and he reached for it, crushing, and then ripping and scattering pages with his bare hands and throwing them to the winds now howling through the quaking structure of the Temple of Lies. He then takes the remainder, and exposes it to the heat vents on his power armour, reducing the ancient parchment to scraps and ember within seconds. A swell of pride fills him, his task for Baphtar complete.
"Onward!" he raises Trusty once more, bidding the group to leave. It was at this point that he noted the others were seeing to Aleseh. He had not noticed during the fight, and perhaps neither had she, but with the wearing off of adrenaline and some medical attention, she had found that the fingers of her right hand had fused together, perhaps during the fight with the halberds or in the fires of the temple itself.

"Can you fight?" Alpharius asks, objectively weighing the worth of carrying her with them. She shot him a withering glare, and he shrugged. 

The journey back down the winding, multidimensional corridors was a swift one, their memory serving well to take them down, away from the whirling daemons and well-armed guards. Fortunately they had been well-prepared, their minds ready and alter, doing their best to conceal their thoughts from the probing minds of Copax and his Sorceror-slaves as they mentally swept the temple, looking for their prey.

Panting with the exertion, Boris and his cohorts stumble, bloodied but bot beaten, to the ground floor, where to their surprise their eyes and helmet-lenses meet with the back of Copax. The Mendacious Oracle is busy in conversation with a quartet of the Word Bearers that brought them to Kymerus in the first place. He is speaking animatedly, in a triumphant tone as the heretics barrel down the stair. Surprised, the Word Bearers level their gaze toward the group in surprise.

“What is this, Copax?” one of the Word Bearers growls. “If the prophesied ones never reached the Temple as you claimed, then who are these?” 
Copax opens his mouth to speak, but one of the other Chaos Space Marines cuts him off. “They are proof of his treachery!” he snarls, reaching for his bolter. “The Prophets of the Blighted Path will see you dead, Copax!” 
At this, Copax realizes he has nothing to lose. He slams his staff to the ground and, as one, the guards fall on the Word Bearers, striving to kill them. With them distracted, he turns 
on the Heretics, attempting to finish them off himself. 

"You will wish you had stayed dead!" he snarls, as he draws a hand into his robes. 

"You'll wish you'd never invited the mighty Boris to your temple, sorcerous scum!" Boris counters, drawing Trusty once more. The Heretics look on in puzzlement as Copax draws a bright green tesseract from his robes, and holds it aloft, before throwing it to the floor with a musical tinkling, and a crash of released energies.

He turns his back on them to level his attentions to the Word Bearers, as the energies coalesce into something horrible that may once have been beautiful: The body of an Eldar, one of the space-fairing psychic folk, turned and twisted into a mad, fanged and clawed abomination, fit to turn the stomachs of normal mortals. And while, Boris, Aleseh and Alpharius were not such mortals, they had not yet seen all the horrors of the galaxy. Aleseh took a step back, uncertainly, her chainaxe swinging listlessly, unsure if she could bring herself within range of those deadly claws. Alpharius was briefly stunned and most of all Boris felt himself begin to shake. He was the mightiest warrior to ever walk the galaxy, his Avatar was still fresh, and had suffered much in this day's trials. However, Boris was not about to let the fleshy weakness within quell his spirit.
"Blood for the Blood God!" he roared, as the spirit of Boris swelled up within him anew, although it may have just been gas. Regardless, Boris would not allow his Avatar to shame his reputation by fleeing from a potential fight.

They were quick, but the Abomination was quicker, and lunged at Aleseh with viscious claws. She raised her arm to block the blow, but the weighty nature of the chainaxe meant her counter was slow, and the creature's talons punctured her arm. Even above the sound of gunfire and the sorcery blasting from Copax as he roared his defiance at the Word Bearers, striking one down with a multicoloured bolt of energy that turned him into a puddle of liquefied flesh and ceramite armour, everybody could hear the snap of bones breaking, mixed with Aleseh's cry of pain. Her chainaxe dropped and she stumbled backward, reaching up with her flesh-fused hand to grip her lifeless limb, gasping and choking in disbelief at the ruination of her arms.

"An end to this!" Alpharius bellowed, his Heavy Bolter chattering to life and spitting out a dozen rocket-shells in as much as half a second. They were fast, but the Abomination was faster, ducking and twirling each one, though at least now its attentions were away from finishing off the maimed ex-Guardswoman.

"Rip and tear! Rip and tear your guts!!!" Boris screamed, his mouth frothing so much that it poured through the grill of his helmet, lunging forward and sinking his axe into the creature's flesh. Trusty tore and sliced through Warp-fused meat and bone, but the daemon-hybrid barely seemed to notice until it tried to move, and came face-to-faceplate with the berserker.

That was when it opened its mouth, and let out an otherwordly howl to chill the souls of all that were unfortunate enough to hear it.

For years, decades, even centuries in the case of the Space Marines, those that live within the Vortex shield their minds against the oncoming flow of Warp energy, to limit the corruption that flows into them. But this cackling daemonhost robbed each of them of those safety measures in one cry, albeit for just a moment. Alpharius seemed largely unphased, his Astartes physiology built to resist the taint of the Warp. Meanwhile, Boris was far too gone under blood lust to be too badly affected. Aleseh, on the other hand, maddened by pain and rage felt the rush of the Warp into her, the Dark Gods enacted their will upon her flesh, her shoulder blades cracking and popping as they reshaped her body like clay in the hands of a demented sculptor. By the time they were done with her, however, it was not as bad as she had feared. Her arms still lay in ruin, but sprouting forth from her fractured armour was now a glorious pair of glossy, raven-black feathered wings.

All of this happened in an instant, before the Abomination looked to Boris once more, and dealt him a furious blow that buckled his armour as though it were naught but a fine mist, breaking the ribs of his Avatar within, sending him flying across the adamantium floor to land with a squealing crash like a crate of potted plants scraping across a bulkhead.

"Oh frack this..." Aleseh muttered. She looked up to see a jutting gargoyle on the archway of the Temple door, and soared off into the air, abandoning Boris and Alpharius to their fates.

"**** you, woman." Alpharius mutters, continuing to squeeze full-auto bursts of heavy bolter fire toward the Abomination. This time he hit dead on, craters appearing in the beast's flesh as the shells pierce, then detonate its Warp-stained hide. It reels, but is far from dead.

"Nghh...Blood...for the Blood God..." Boris' head sways as he tries to struggle to his feet, once again left undignified by the enemies ranged against them.

The Abomination cackles triumphantly, lunging at Alpharius with claws outstretched, forcing him to drop his heavy weapon to have the mobility to evade its unnaturally-sharp claws. Ducking and weaving, he drew his backup bolt pistol and chainsword, swinging and shooting frantically, trying to keep the beast back. 

Aleseh surveryed the situation: Boris was down, Alpharius was barely holding back the Daemon, and possessed a magnificent pair of wings that left her out of the beast's clutches, but not free of Copax if she didn't aid them now. Her fingers twitched listlessly, thinking to perhaps grab the heavy flamer on her back, though she knew with her mangled bones in one arm she couldn't support its weight. However...

"Look out below!" she yelled as she reached up to the heavy flamer, unscrewing the promethium tank, and hurling it at the Abomination. It clanged off, and began to roll across the temple floor.

Seeing the opportunity afforded him, the Alpha Legionnaire stepped away from the Abomination, earning himself a terrible gash through his breastplate in the process. 

"Burn..." he growled, and pulled the trigger on his pistol, sending an armour-piercing rocket into the rolling promethium tank, detonating it all at once and showering the daemon in a cascade of flaming gel, causing it to scream, this time in surprise and panic.

"Do it again!" Boris managed to yell, hoarsely as his frenzy left him, too overcome by his wounds to fight on.

The Abomination howled its fury, swinging out at Alpharius again, though this time the flames and its own shock at having been wounded making land short of their marks. Aleseh took her last tan of promethium, and threw it as best she could in her mitten-hand, letting all her agony fuel her will to survive and coming out in one howl of survival-fuelled rage. The Abomination raised a claw to protect itself, piercing the canister and causing more incediary gel to gush over its already-flaming form, setting it to white-hot. It flailed and screamed, yet nothing it could do would suppress the flames from reclaiming its spirit back to the Warp, and it abandoned its host with a howl of anger, its existence in this world thwarted.

A calm begins to settle over the Temple. Guards lie riddled with bolter shell craters, blood streaming from exploded wounds, and Copax himself a broken and crushed mess on the temple floor before the Word Bearers.
"You..." one of them steps forward, identifying the three of them with a cursory gesture of his gauntlets. "Were you the ones Copax summoned here?"

"Yes...and beginning to regret it more and more." Aleseh called down from the gargoyle, wondering if she could now escape and tend to her wounds.

“I see,” the Word Bearer says. “Then Copax sought to avoid his fate. He has long been an ally of my master, the Dark Apostle Naberus.  However,  my  master  suspected  the  prophecy  may  contain the whispers of Copax’s own demise in addition to the ascension of new powers within the Vortex. Perhaps he sought to eliminate you to avoid his own entwined fate.”
“Regardless, it is my master’s will that you survive this day. My  name  is  Corvis. If you ask our favour, myself and my brethren will see you off Kymerus.”
The group of heretics agrees to a man, and they are escorted gingerly outside, where a boxy APC is waiting to transport them to safety. 
And thus ends the first adventure of Boris in the 41st Millenium. Not his finest achievement, but a truthful account, and certainly not his last. Over time he continues to grow in badassitude. Afterwards, he found that the encounter gave him a residual immunity to fear, albeit with an added amendment to his psychology where he would find that if he failed at something too badly, he would react as though genuinely shocked. A lack of fear will come in handy in the Vortex, for there are many great horrors awaiting. But that is another story, to be told another time.
Amroth likes this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Second Chronicle of Boris: The quest for the Tyrant's Chord. Part 1.

It had been several months of travel back with the Word Bearers before Boris' constant need for fresh challenges clashed with their hosts and their tendency toward piety and worship.
And so, Boris was dropped off unceremoniously on a Space Station for the Word Bearers to refuel, leaving him to his own devices. Coming with him on this adventure was his erstwhile companion, Aleseh the rebel Guardswoman, now with a hissing, whirring bionic arm to replace the one that was mangled by a ferocious daemon in their last altercation. next came Alpharius, his midnight-and-green armour kept matte so as not to betray any glint that would give away his presence should he need to remain hidden. Finally, there came another Space Marine by the name of Solometh. A berserker, much like Boris, but with the enhanced body of a Space Marine, from a rogue chapter known as the Astral Claws. His armour bore a fierce, edged red and black pattern, with brass trimmings to the pauldrons and chest. He carried a vicious chainaxe, like the one hefted by Aleseh, but of a much larger proportion to suit his enormous stature.
Together, these four set off amongst the space station to spend plunder from their adventures on food and drink, and then to secure new adventures for fresh plunder once their bellies were full.
The Space Marines each went off in search of extra munitions for their bolter weaponry: Such ancient and powerful technology required careful maintenance after all. Boris had no need for others to maintain his weaponry for him. However, he was glad to have acquired a newlackey for Clancy's spirit to inhabit. He strummed on his lute anew as they wandered the labyrinth of vendors and guards, patrons and warriors aboard the space station, the high ceilings and huge, whirring conditioners doing little to scrub the air clean of millions of bodies pressed together, mingled with the scent of human living, spices on the air, fresh blood from disputes and countless other scents, enough to dizzy the mind.
Eventually Aleseh and Boris stumbled upon a drinking hole with a long, tall armaglas window built into the wall. Such a feature gave them a full view of the Vortex outside, a mad blend of the Warp meeting real space in a swirling nebula that could drive a lesser mind insane with its ever-changing beauty.
"It is amazing to think how small we are amidst all of that..." Boris mused to himself. "So many worlds on which to seek adventure. So many adventures upon which to embark."
"So many songs to learn!" Clancy clapped excitedly.
"My world is out there, somewhere..." Aleseh mused, idly flexing her new mechanical fingers. She wondered if she'd ever be used to them. They moved fine and gave her axe a new hefty force behind it, but there'd always be that phantom limb.
"What is your world like, Aleseh?" Boris asked, leaning against the armaglas.
"Used to be beautiful, until those Imperium frakkers came and took it over." she growled in resentment. "Now most of my people are probably dead. Worked into the ground or on some penal Guard legion somewhere like me. Now I'm in a crazy part of space where everybody's either mutated or crazy or both."
"You'll get used to it. And you will one day gain power enough to retake your world, with Boris as your comrade-in-arms." the barbarian nods his head encouragingly, having taken off his great horned helmet to better view the nebula outside with the naked eye.
"I hope so. One day." she sighed.
"Beg pardon for the interruption lords..." came a weasly voice from behind them.
"Clancy, will you...oh." Boris turned, his threat of mutilation half-finished as he realises it was not Clancy speaking.
A hunched, pale man guarded by a pair of rough-looking void pirates with heavy-bore guns smiled a brown-toothed grin at them.
"What is it?" Boris asked, a little annoyed that their character development was being interrupted.
"I come to propose you a deal." the sly-smiling stranger replied. "Have you ever heard of an artifact known as The Tyrant's Cord?" he asked. The two adventuring heretics looked at one another, each shrugging.
"Ahh, such a simple-looking trinket, yet one of great power." he began to explain, beckoning them to come and sit with him, ordering frothing drinks of something resembling booze for them. "Once upon a time, a world named Pyurultide, there were many tribes that fought, each for control of the world in the name of their rival gods, Slaanesh the Prince of Excess, and Nurgle the Plaguefather. Pyurultide has continents but no oceans. The gaps between land masses writhe with a sea of insects and vermin. Nurgle’s influence was strong along the coast where this foulness lapped against the land, and here he had many followers. But the inlanders built magnificent spires that climbed above the blighted land. Driven by the desire for perfection, they built ever grander and more terrible towers. At the height of the inlanders’ power it was said their chaotic structures ascended without human intervention, eventually penetrating some dark heaven, where they entrapped angels whose tears coated the horrible spires."
"Go please, go on." Boris insisted, his patience for such exposition beginning to wear thin without it being put to song.
"Well, suffice is to say that on Pyurultide, the countless thousands on that world flocked to whomever owned the Tyrant's Cord! A vast and loyal army. Whomever wore the Cord would gain its power, too. Truly a relic that any discerning warrior would think to wield."
"And let me guess, you just so happen to know where it is?" Aleseh sipped at her beer, her tone skeptical.
"Aye, miss." the stranger nodded emphatically. "But I am not looking for an offer of coin. The value of such things cannot be assessed with ease. What I look for is souls."
"Souls? Like, human souls? You want us to bring you souls in return for telling us where this Cord is?" Aleseh asked, eyes wide in disbelief.
"But of course. Every true trader deals in things of inherent value." the pale man replied. "Just bring me a few dozen souls, and we'll talk business."

Amroth likes this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Trading for souls, it turned out, was a fairly common thing within the Vortex. After regrouping with the Astartes of the group to let them know of the plan, they were able to pool their collective efforts and trade on their reputations. Doing so would leave them in a bind in acquiring new items, but the location of such a potent artifact would be worth their time. And if it was not, then the dealer would soon learn what would happen, should they cross Boris and his allies.

They commandeered passage on another ship, as soon as they were able. Huddled in another cramped living quarters, each of them seeing to their gear, they began to discuss their objective.

"What is this thing that you'd have us stake our names on for a pile of souls?" Asked Solometh, cleaning out congealed blood from between the teeth of his chainaxe.

"A wet, stony little backwater called Sacgrave." Aleseh explained, testing out a new weapon, a wicked electrical whip, in the corner of the sleeping quarters.

"And the prize is just this Tyrant's Cord? What about the rest of us?" the berserker growled his question, twitching with pent-up fury, as was his wont.

"No doubt others will be seeking this artifact." Alpharius reasoned. "We'll have plenty of chances to plunder what belongs to them, and worry over who gets this Cord later on."

"Boris agrees." Boris nodded sagely, as he applied new furs draped over the shoulders of his power armour, fiddling with the coat of chainmail that fell past its knees like a loincloth. "From what Boris has heard of this world, it has become a place rich in trade and rivals for its excavation. This is the kind of thing upon which Boris can thrive!" the last word amplified, reverberating against the metal walls, as he accidentally turned on the new loudspeakers built into his power pack.

"Who let him buy that thing?" Aleseh whispered to the others. Their faces remained hidden, and free from blame, behind their helmets.

"Boris can now be heard by all his enemies, with no trace of cowardice!" he bellowed, before turning them off, so as to save them for when they were truly needed.

The trip went by mostly uneventfully, except for the occasional fist-fight, when Boris grew bored and needed some entertainment from the crew. And so it was that they were swiftly brought to Sacgrave, and a shuttle thundered down to the surface, bearing the band of adventuring heretics at a spot outside of civilisation known as The Deluge. Enormous, cyclopean steps of a scale that dwarfed even the Astartes, which constantly splashed with the cold downpour, led up to cliffs composed of odd, hexagonal tiles of an equally titanic scale. Upon these balanced the settlement apparently known as Weeping Halls. It was there that they would begin their search for the Tyrant's Cord.

Edited by Elurindel

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Weeping Halls were aptly named, it seemed. For as they passed into the shanty town atop the great ruins, they found that the whole street was one flowing gutter, a shallow river that ran through the streets, washing away all the effluence of the thousands gathered here for trade. Spiced stews were stirred in pots, their aromas sharp against the constant, pervasive smell of damp stone. The cries of hawkers looking to ply their wares mixed with the occasional scuffle over prices, all set to the pitter-patter, the gurgle and spatter of the downpour.
"I'd sacrifice a thousand souls to the Dark Gods if it would stop this blasted rain!" cursed a passerby, drawing muted grunts of general agreement from the rest of the group and a sneeze from Clancy, who was feeling the cold more than any of them.
"Say there, sirs, ma'am," a hunched figure in a plastek robe implored as they sloshed their way through the markets. "You look like you're from off world. Doubtless here for treasure, I'll wager."
"What other cause would one have to come to this sodden arse-crack of a world?" Solometh growled, rolling his shoulders impatiently, the need to kill something having gone sated for too long.
"Of course, of course!" the hawker placated. "You'll want to find your way around, no? Here, take these." he handed crumpled parchments to them, with only minimal compensation, explaining that they were maps to the underground caverns that sprawled throughout the tunnels beneath the city itself.
"And just how accurate will these maps be?" Alpharius looks at the details through his visor, his auto-senses helping him to take in the twisting details of his own personal map.
"Difficult to say of course, Sir, but they all have certain things in common." the hawker explained. "Things move underground all the time, of course."
"YES, WELL BORIS..." the barbarian bellowed, before remembering to turn down his laud hailer, "Boris thanks you for your business. Now, who runs this rain-strewn ruin of civilisation?"
"Why, the Shadow Liege Vycraft, of course." the man exposits. "You will find him in his halls to the east, past the Shearing Pit. It is unmistakeable, a crashed voidship jutting from the ruins."
"Why is it always crashed voidships?" Aleseh wonders. "Does nobody build anything out here?"
"This is the Screaming Vortex." Alpharius countered. "Many would rather destroy than build. One man's crashed ship is another man's temple. Or Liege's fortress."
"I suppose." She shrugged, a movement that made her wings flap, shedding a hundred tiny drops of rain. "Well, let's waste no more time. If anybody can help us, maybe it's this guy." and so they set off to meet the mysterious Shadow Liege, the better to narrow down their search of this wet and desolate land.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The trip through the wet, sluicing streets was quick, and soon they found themselves outside the Liege's fortress. Much of the ruined archways had been salvaged, and so the "Fortress" was a cluster of leering, hunched gargoyles and metallic skulls built into recesses. It was gaudy and crumpled and clinging on to a vestige of glory, which Boris would have said would describe the Shadow Liege if he bothered with any of that kind of introspection.

A pair of guards toting lasguns and armoured in patchy flak gear regard the approaching group with suspicion, although the appearance of two Space Marines within the group meant they did not seem all too confident.

"What is your business here?" the bolder of the two asks as the group approaches.

"We are here to see the Shadow Liege!" Boris declared loudly.

The guards take a look at one another, and then at the quartet of heavily-armed figures, and decide their jobs aren't worth telling these people no. They turn to push at the enormous doors, which open with shrieks of metal on rusted metal. At once, the rush of dry warmth floods out to meet them, and as one they take off the group clicks releases, and their helmets come off with hisses, breathing in the smokey atmosphere within.

"Sure makes a nice change from all this rain!" Clancy hurries inside, shivering and glad for the respite. He went to one of the braziers and tried to dry his shivering hands enough to strum them a song on his lute, shaking the bowl out to clear it of all the water.

"No kidding! I feel like I'm a hundred pounds heavier." Aleseh complained as she flapped her sodden wings experimentally. It was then that they looked further within and found the Shadow Liege himself: A man in a gaudy Navy uniform, resplendent with medals, epaulettes upon his shoulders and gold brocade, enough to appear shiny within the flickering brazier flames. To either side of his throne, a former captain's chair from the bridge of the ship, stand half a dozen guards, making a formidable squad of defenders, should any of his guests prove to have hostile intentions. Scattered around him and across the ceilings and walls of this throne chamber are star charts, showing everything from the Screaming Vortex to the Jericho Reaches. To the trained eye, it was clear they were very valuable.

"Well now...more treasure hunters coming to this washed-up rock. I am Vycraft." the Shadow Liege strokes his pointed chin, regarding them in turn.

"Indeed. We have come here in search of a very specific treasure! The Tyrant's Cord!" Bellowed Boris, so that his echoes rebounded off the walls, to the collective sighs of the rest of the group.
"Way to keep it a secret, Boris..." Muttered Alpharius.

"Ahh...well, I have heard of this treasure, as it happens. You are not the first to come here asking after such a trinket." the Shadow Liege leans forward, absentmindedly gesturing for one of his servants to bring forth refreshments for the group, which turned out to be naval rations in sealed foil trays.

"Is that so?" Boris continued, happily scooping the ration paste and lumps of unidentified meat into his face. "Who were they? Where did they head?"

"Well..." Vycraft narrowed his eyes. "As long as you cause me no trouble, I shall not hinder you. But just like them, I see no reason to aid you either."

"We will not stay beyond our welcome, Liege Vycraft." Alpharius replied diplomatically. "We are here to retrieve this Tyrant's Cord, and then we shall be on our way."

"Very good. Then your business takes you into the tombs below this city, as the ship carrying that treasure buried itself within the rock inside the tunnels." Vycraft replies.

"Thank you, Liege. Then we shall trouble you no further once we go. What did the other party look like?" Aleseh asks, having pulled out a dataslate, and was now adding details from the maps they had collected together to try and prepare them for the descent into the tunnels.

"Much like your own, in some respects." the Shadow Liege closes his eyes for a moment, as he tries to recall. "Yes, there were two Space Marines in their group as well. One of them had a large sword, didn't talk a great deal. The other was a Sorceror, if I'm any judge."

"Cowardly Sorceror..I'll take his head." Solometh growled, ever a man of few words.

"They had some other troops with them, and they have time on their side. I suggest that if you're going to catch them you'll need help. There are plenty of mercenaries who will aid you at the Shearing Pits...for a price, of course."

"We thank you, O Shadow Liege.We'll trouble you no further." Boris bowed his head respectfully, as close as he would come to kneeling before a mortal man. Boris had no problem with authority, as long as it did not happen to him.

"Come, fellows! To the Shearing Pits!"

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Shearing Pits turned out to be a series of blast craters, from such time as this planet was bombarded by the Dark Eldar that once called this place home. The radiation had long since passed, and so the Shadow Liege used these massive, jagged-edged craters as gladiatorial pits where mercenaries would come to sell their trade and fight for sport. Vast drums of beer were cracked open and distributed to winners, and cheers rose as bodies fell, their blood washed clean by the incessant storms.

Boris had to choke down the urge to take Trusty and challenge the nearest worthy warrior, for time was of the essence. The group split up and began offering bargains to mercenaries here and there, promising everything from the gear of the fallen Marines to the flesh of the enemies to those that wished to devour it.

Their search was fruitful, and soon enough they reconvened, Boris bringing with him half a dozen Kroot Warriros: Grey-skinned humanoids with maws that ended in beaks that spoke in a shrill version of Gothic, as well as their own avian language, each of them with a hound in tow that matched their mottled, bird-like appearance.
"They'll do." Alpharius begrudged him. "But look what I found...." he gestured as a Space Marine clad in armour of riotous, clashing colours tramped forward, his skin a patchwork of scars, with bright, piercing eyes that roamed almost incessantly. Across his shoulders and into his backpack were incorporated a Doom Siren, a set of speakers that when channeled could produce a close-range, devastating blast of sound capable of reducing a man's innards to liquid. At his side was a power sword of ancient and impeccable design. There was no mistaking one of the traitors of the Emperor's Children.

"My name is Marius...I hear you are in search of treasure within the catacombs. It would certainly be more entertaining than anything else around here." the Astartes inclined his head. "All I ask is a share of the treasure and good sport. Anything else we can decide as we go."
"Good enough!" Boris reached forward to clasp forearms in the traditional warrior's handshake.

"Sure. The more Space Marines in the front making noise, the fewer of them shooting at me." Aleseh agreed.

With that, their newly-enhanced group made their way down into the caverns, which were mercifully free of the rain, and soon realised that the maps they had been given by various vendors were all not only wildly different, but many were simply utterly inaccurate.

"If I get my hands on the wretch that sold me this map..." Boris grumbled.

"Probably long gone by now. That's how they it works." Aleseh sighed, shredding her own map along the teeth of her chainaxe.

"Keep it down!" Alpharius whispered. "There's something up ahead. I've got a bad feeling about this..."

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alpharius' fears were, for now, unjustified. No physical threat came to molest the Heretics, but as they progressed further into the caverns, they felt the old, dry sepulchural air of death surround them. The more steps they took, the more the caves around them became smoother, as though polished and carved out. Alcoves were scooped into the rock long ago, leaving funerary constructs and trinkets: Skulls of those long past, vials containing the last breath of the deceased, coffins and urns in rows and columns as far as the eye could see.

"Do you hear that?" Marius asked, removing his helmet and taking a deep draught of the stale, dry air. "It is as if they whisper to us...they wish to share their knowledge with us."

"Or they mean to make us like them." Alpharius riposted, staying well clear of the deathly gewgaws. Boris, on the other hand, feared nothing that was already dead, and so picked up a skull in his gauntletted hands. Instantly he locked up, and let out a gasp of surprise, his eyes rolling back in his head as the spirit of the creature long dead poured its knowledge into him.

"Boris?" Aleseh rapped her knuckles on his helmet. "Everything alright in there?"
"I'm...fine." Boris finally shook his head to clear off the revelation. "And now I know more about the Adeptus Administratum than I care to." he chuckled, and let the skull clatter to the ground, teeth linking off from its cracked jaw. Such skulls were not worthy of Baphtar. Having done this, he looked back up to see Aleseh walking towards an alien-looking idol. It looked hunched, as though at prayer, but its features were quite inhuman: Reversed knees, like a bird, smooth grey skin, and hands and fingers entirely too long.

"Be careful, Aleseh, I wouldn't..." his words trailed off as Aleseh, as though in a trance herself, grabbed the statue by the base and hauled it from its alcove.

"My homeworld! If only it were free from Imperial oppression!" she cried out, in such a way that it rang and echoed down the length of the passage, even though no such acoustics existed. All turned to look at her, perplexed or amused.

"I...don't know what came over me." she explained, perhaps grateful that her helmet hid the sudden flush of embarassment she felt. She also couldn't shake off the feeling that something, somewhere had heard her pick up the statue, as well as her desire to liberate her home. Whatever it was, there was a gnawing feeling that somehow it had heard her prayer, and had taken steps to answer it.

"We waste time in this den of death." Marius finally grumbled, squeezing the grip on his power sword, causing a creek of leather. "Let us be going."

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The group meandered on through the interminable maze, increasingly lost as the maps become slowly more and more obsolete or inaccurate. The group was beginning to grumble silently amongst themselves when one of the Kroot scouts held up a clawed hand, letting out a soft chirrup, that his fellows joined in with, having noticed their hounds had stopped and were fully alert, hackles raised at the prospect of the hunt.

"What is it?" Boris asked, for once not having turned on his Laud Hailer.

"They smell strong prey up ahead. Will be good to have that strength." the leader croaked.

"Go on ahead. Use your stealth to good advantage. We shall move in after and take advantage of their weakened state." Boris ordered. At this, the Kroot as one hunched lower, and were off with surprising speed and yet near-silence to assault their unseen foe. Out of the end of a rough cave-mouth, they could hear the familiar heavy, persistent beat of rain, with the occasional flash of lightning.

"How long until we move in after them?" Solometh wondered aloud, wondering quietly to himself why the group was taking orders from a lowly human.

"Long enough for most of them to get killed off. It saves us having to share our loot with them." Boris nodded frankly, to a burst of appreciative laughter from Marius. Aleseh nodded appreciatively, though she said nothing, still recovering from the embarassment of the momentary slip forced upon her by the idol now strapped to her back. No amount of persuasion would make her part with it.

As they waited, there were first screeching cries of battle being joined, and scattered bolter fire, and the rending of reality as an unknown Psyker spat Warpfire unseen to all but their forward scouts. Joining it was the spitting of plasma weaponry, and the humming crackle of a power sword, and the stomping of heavy Astartes armour.

Thirty seconds passed, and by that point Solometh and Boris both were getting twitchy with the urge to join in the fray.

"The time has come! With me, brothers and sisters! To bloodshed!" Boris bellowed. Or at least, that's how it sounded to him. What came out was a garbled, frothing bellow matched only in volume by Solometh as Laud Hailer fought for volume with augmented Astartes multilungs.

Aleseh rolled her eyes as Marius bound off behind them, and checked her weapons. At least they would all provide a stomping, noisy distraction to allow her to kill at her convenience. And if they found the Tyrant's Chord, so much the better.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0