I really hope you enjoy what is the come in the following weeks and months, this story is a bit of a labour of love of mine. Its not Abnett, but I'm incredibly proud of the spin I've put on the 40k universe and the characters who you will see in these pieces. The Raven's Tale tells the story of the Calixian Schism from the viewpoint of Inquisitor Thaddeus Drake and The Emperor's Will tells the story of Team Nova and their endevour to expunge a heresy that will take them from the Calixis sector to the soil of Holy Terra itself and beyond.
++Log Entry:- 471 -b
Date:- M41 999. 48
Void Time:- 02.36
Finally a moment of peace in this world of insanity. What urges me at this moment to chronicle the events of my life is a mystery; is it the realisation that the work of my entire career is about to come to fruition? Is it the Emperor calling to me from the void, to confine the events of the Calixian Schism to the histories so that such calamity may never be repeated again? Is it the Daemon calling me from the depths of his fortress to bring all of my journals together from the past three decades, so that someone may pick them from the ashes of war to know what has passed. Or is it the fact that my muse, the love of my life lays in my bed again, not ten feet from me, my wife of ten hours and now ten years my junior...ironically after starting out two years my senior. The life of an Inquisitor...who would trade it eh?
So I write this forward as a catalogue of my current state of mind on the eve of battle, yet I look not to the fight ahead, I look at what has passed and what it means. I try to find some meaning from my life, and if not a meaning, a message that I can pass onto those who read this log of my life. I suppose, looking at her, my mind free of pain, I can finally conclude the following, dear reader:
Life is service; service to the Emperor first of all. We must repay our debt to him at all costs, even if some must suffer...nay all must suffer in this world of ours, as he suffers each day and has done for ten millennia. Service to our allies, past and present. This is twofold; we must appreciate those we class as friends because in this lonely existance they are our true family. Fairness is the key to friendship, appreciate them and you shall in turn be appreciated. Trust is a powerful thing in this world, and when lost it is hard to get back. Understanding of actions. When you lose your friends you lose a part of yourself, and in my life I have lost too much of myself for my liking. It hurts...
Finally, dear reader. Love. Even in our merciless world of pain, mistrust, war, hate, love can prevail. Against all odds there is a chance for love, no matter how hopeless the situation looks. Love has the power to make a man change the world he lives in...of this I am sure. Days of starvation, warfare, trenches, bogs, Chaos, Xenos, heresies! The Crippling torment can evaporate with a simple glance and smile. Truly in my life, I have never seen such a power; neither psychic, sorcerous or political more powerful than love.
Cherish those little victories in life dear reader, this is what I have learned, because no matter how your life pans out, if you have those victories then you have lived the life of a God, and nothing, not the breath of Daemon nor the hand of fate can take that from you.
And in this hour of great discontent, one final thing that comes to my mind. Reader, always remember one special thing. One magical thing that will always remain, can survive army and Titan and Daemon and all manner of death in this world.
The Emperor Protects
Lord Inquisitor Thaddeus Augustus Drake
The Perils of the Rosette
The Hax-Orthlack Armsman 10 Service Pistol; a bulky, high capacity slug pistol, often used by Enforcers, mercenaries and Naval Officers throughout the Calixis Sector. A copy of the more traditional Scorpio pattern Naval pistol, the Armsman 10 has been mass produced under contract from many law enforcement agencies throughout the Golgenna Reach for centuries now. Its imposing size more of a symbol of power rather than an indication of stopping power, it is designed more to strike fear into the hearts of mutinous crewman, renegade criminals and fearful citizens than to kill them. More to the point, it is most certainly not something that a young agent of the Throne would prefer to have thrust in his face by an angry heretic in the course of an investigation.
“I'll ask again! Who do you work for, you frakking witch?”
He felt the bastard's signet ring pound against his jaw as his captor struck him hard across the face. The blow burst his lip as the emerald encrusted ring on the man's fore-finger gouged a deep laceration in the soft pink tissue. He saw the blood drip from him onto the cold and sad rockcrete floor below him. He felt the crimson liquid's warmth drip down to his chin, pooling, clinging to him, not wanting to escape the safety of his body. He reckoned he had been in this cold, stone room for near enough three hours now.
“Percival, again!” his captor screamed at a figure behind him.
Agony. Sheer agony enveloped his being as the figure grasped his skull and massaged it roughly. Chains of ice bound his head, worming their way through his conciousness, cutting through his senses until the only thing left was gut wrenching pain. This time he screamed; balled, cried with rage and pain. It was too much, fair too much for a mortal man to comprehend, like a scarab had been loosed into his nervous system and was having a buffet on the pain centre of his brain. But as the pain built and built, he stopped screaming and started laughing; little chortles coming through the cries of pain, then a full bellied laugh replaced the screams, building into a horrid crescendo, with such diabolical wrath that it took his assailant and his captor by alarm. The one called Percival stepped back and both captors looked upon him with curious rage.
“Why do you laugh witch? What is the meaning of this?”
He spat the gore from his bleeding mouth onto the cold floor, it landed black, congealing, almost like the venom of a python.
“Your blank...if he knew what he was doing...,” he coughed, choking on black gore.
His captor bounded swiftly to him, grabbed him by his bindings and threw him to the floor. Kneeling down, his captor grabbed his face and forced it to within an inch of his own.
He spluttered, and let the blood drip from his ruined mouth as he spoke the words, “He would have checked my coat...”
His captor stood, nodding to the figure behind his crumpled body. He saw the man clearly now, albeit only the back of him. The man wore a tailored suit of grey, moderately expensive looking. Slicked blonde hair running down his neck gave a very professional look to the man. His shoes shone even in the low light of his cell, black leather, very suave. Ass hole in short. He took the black-fitted long coat from the back of the chair, lifting it in the air. A gorgeous piece of tailoring so he thought, the black wool and fabric exterior adorned with black stone buttons complemented perfectly by the dark crimson and jet black interior. Perfect for an agent of the Inquisitor in his mind. Unassuming to the untrained eye, sharp yet casual and fitting for any situation. Part of the image of the perfect field agent. Whilst it hadn't helped him blend into the crowd on this occasion he was sure it was just a mere oversight on his part in some other area, rather than the ballroom guards recognising him as the man who took a pot-shot at the leader of the House Umrico the previous week.
Reaching into the left inside pocket the ass hole grasped something and removed it, immediately freezing.
“Five...” murmured, broken on the floor.
His captor looked at the ass hole with impatient rage.
“What is it?”
“Shut up scum, Percival, what the frakk is it?”
“I told you to shut up you bastard! Percival!”
Percival held it aloft. His captor's face fell.
“One... ass hole.”
The wall behind Percival vaporised, knocking him off his feet and sending him crashing into the chair he had been sitting in not 15 seconds before. Las fire streamed in, pulverising fragments of falling rockcrete, liquefying glass in lamps and spraying splinters of wood in all directions. The air was filled with war. He caught a glimpse of his captor escape out the ceramite entrance to the cramped cell and the distinct locking of a heavy bolt on the other side over the cacophony of the carnage within. The pain in his head was still there, but to a lesser degree now, the ass hole must have fled into the hall with his captor.
“Clear,” he balled, coughing and spluttering in the cloud of vaporised wall that filled the room. Bolts of energy still flew in.
The shots ceased, and the pain left him, only the mild tinnitus from the explosion that ruptured the wall remaining. Something began to pull at his rope bindings, releasing his burning wrists and ankles. A figure in black ruffled his greasy hair and yanked him to his feet.
He spluttered again.
“Little late aren't we Igance?”
“My apologies Drakey, I was too busy with that blonde that you so graciously left on the balcony.”
The figure reached at something at his feet and inspected it as the dust began to clear.
“Armsman 10...very you Thaddeus.”
“What did you do with my Bolter?”
“Well you see...there was an accident with that and my arms locker.
“Frakk you Igance...”
The figure placed the Armsman into his hands.
“Come on we have work to do.”
At that, the figure retreated out of the room, back through where the wall used to be. As the dust settled, he looked at the place where his life had been a hell for the past three hours. It couldn't have been more than ten feet by ten, rockcrete floor and ceiling with oak panelled walls and a ceramite sealed door, most likely guarded. A ruined oak chair and a pool of dusty gore on the floor. Ass hole. He would pay. He took a moment to breathe, closed his eyes and took in the world again. He felt Igance outside, and four, maybe five others going west away from the cell. He felt anger from Igance, a protective urge perhaps. He felt from the others a great coldness to the situation; seen it all, done it all, rescuing a rookie was nothing to them. Must have been Stormies he thought. From the other direction, to where his captor and the ass hole went he could feel nothing. Frakking bastard, using a blank.
He hated blanks.
Thaddeus, are you coming?
Igance's voice projected into his head, sounding impatient.
“Coming...” he whispered.
He examined his new firearm. Definitely not a Boltgun. Chunky, black, ugly. He checked the chamber for a round. Yes, one big ugly round chambered. Checked the clip; twelve remaining. Checked the sight; straight as a razor's edge. Definitely not a Boltgun though. Lifting his dusty coat from a pile of broken chair on the floor, he shook off the rockcrete dust and oak splinters. Ass hole...he would pay. He slid it on, feeling it's warm embrace on his shoulders. Finally he went to where the ass hole, Percival had stood and knelt to the ground. He picked up the article that had struck so much fear into the hearts of his captors only seconds before. A dustly little medalion of gold and platinum, indeed if that were all it was it would be innocent. However his medallion was shaped into the most terrifying symbol in the Imperium. The golden “I” with a platinum skull in the centre. The symbol of the Inquisiton of Mankind. Blowing the dusk and oak from its face, He looked deeply into the skull's black eyes.
“Time to go to work Drake...”
Interrogator Thaddeus Augustus Drake, re-invigorated threw himself from the broken room and began to catch up with his rescuers.
One week before...
The two sat at the table and politely ate their boiled vegetable dinner. Neither wanted to say anything because it would inevitably lead to both either getting a slap in the face from the boarding house owner, a vile and crusty old crone by the name of McVey or them blowing their cover by silencing the old shrew with a shower of thrones or a round to the face. Whilst Drake preferred the former option, his counterpart undoubtedly would take the latter.
Interrogator Igance Hydra sat across from him sour faced. Sweat sat in beads atop his pale bald head, occasionally sliding down the rear to drop down his chestnut ponytail, tied with black lace in a tight bind; or down his face and off his pointed nose and into the grey slop that seemed to be being passed off as a meal. Every now and then he would grunt as he saw a murky bead fall and make the already intolerable food that little bit more gross. His emerald shirt was rolled up at the sleeves and had numerous dark patches of sweat soaking through, and he shuffled uncomfortably as his black trousers began to bother him as he sat.
“Mistress McVey, when did you say that the environmental controls would be seen to by maintenance? “ Hydra asked agitatedly.
“Ocht son, Ah dinne ken whin the mahn'll be. I telt ye affour.”
Drake found it funny that even when Igance Hydra spoke with such tones of annoyance and impatience he was never altogether unpleasant to listen to. Maybe it was due to his perfect grasp of low gothic, little if any accent meant that he could be understood on any occupied planet you could choose. He always had such a way with words, always saying whatever was needed in any given situation to give himself the advantage, often without the party being spoken to realising what has happened. Drake often mused that a speech from Igance Hydra could do many great things, inspire troops to go to their deaths, make an arch heretic confess his sins, comfort the victims of the damned and raise their faith in the Emperor of man to unfathomable levels again or even, more sinisterly topple a sector government. Thank the Throne he was on the right side of the fight.
Must we suffer this much longer?
Igance, you know we must, now stop projecting, you heard what Inquisitor Wolf said, this guy hates psykers, he's no doubt got something to pick us up.
Come on Drake, you know no-one is looking here, we are in the arse end of the universe! No one has seen a psyker here since the Emperor was a boy!
Be that as it may, if you want to argue with Wolf be my guest!
Well, I don't mind, Thad, I'm the golden boy after all, haha!
Yeah, yeah, how long have you been Interrogator now Hydra? A decade was it?
Okay, okay new boy I concede, but it's only because Wolf needs someone with a little style on his team. The old man won't let me go until we get someone as attractive as me as a replacement.
Have you seen yourself Igance?
Have you Thad?
He was right, Drake was a mess too. His raven hair was greasy with sweat and he stank of cologne, trying to mask the smell of his damp bedsit. He wore only his black combat fatigues, naked from the waist up, beads of sweat running down his chest making damp pools at the top of his belt. He looked down, thinking of how long it had been since he had hit the training facility, he would have to go back once the mission was over. A bead of sweat fell from an acne sore on his forehead into his sky blue eyes.
“Frakk,” he exclaimed angrily as he rubbed his eye, trying to relieve the pain from the oily drop.
“Langwidge yung mahn!”
He hated always being a “young man” to people. So young for an Interrogator he had guessed, not that he had much experience in the matter. Nineteen years old...too young for all this maybe. Inquisition all his days, no real parents but the scholars, trainers, Acolytes and Agents that had been around him. He didn't know how or why he had ended up in the Inquisition; files classified as usual. All he knew was that he was a psyker and they said he was going to be a great one too. Since eight they had monitored him, sanctified him, tutored and tortured him to such a degree he now unconsciously murmured the Litany of Protection whilst in his sleep; much to the annoyance of Igance Hydra, who for the last two weeks had been sharing a bedsit with him. He and Hydra were in the service of Inquisitor Hastus Wolf, a well respected member of the Calixian Conclave for over two centuries now and a powerful player in the Calixian Malleus and the Tyrantine Cabal. Inquisitor Wolf had always been there for him since he was a child, a father, and Hydra had proven over the last decade to have been a real big brother figure to him.
“My apologies mistress,” he curtly replied, reprimanding himself begrudgingly.
Oh shut up, you're like a teenager.
Like you, dear Drake?
Shut up Igance...I'll meet you back here in 4 hours, it's time to go to work.
Good luck Thaddeus, make sure they don't know it's you.
“Mistress McVey, I'm going to take a stroll through the district, can you suggest anywhere of interest? Social areas, retail districts, a museum?”
“Aye cahn yung mahn.”