‘What’s your name?’ he asks from the flagstones, hand pressed down over the wound in his gut. Blood dribbles from his mouth, past the stumps of his remaining teeth, mixing with the juice pouring from the ruin of his eye.
‘You know what it is, more than anyone’ I reply, not looking at him. My senses reach out, searching threefold for the foe. My eyes squint, my ears strain and my mere presence draws him in.
‘I suppose I do … are you here to save me?’
‘No. You cannot be saved; I doubt your kind ever could have been saved.’ I feel the prickling on the back of my neck, feel the contractions in the muscles around my eyes. The foe is close.
‘Then what are you doing here?’ the man gasps.
‘What you made me to do Inquisitor, what you made me to do.’ I say to him. He cannot know it, for to his ears my voice is booming thunder, power the likes of which he has never seen. But I hear the weariness in it, the loss, the pain. I know how weak I am compared to what I once was. His existence drains us, drains us horribly. But I will be strong enough here, I have to be. That’s what they made me to be.
The door explodes inwards, wood and metal shrapnel putting the witch hunter into further earthly misery as they penetrate his body. His dead retinue are blown about like the refuse they are; empty shells of protein, fat and nucleic acid abandoned by what lived behind their eyes. The lethal whirlwind bounces off me like hail, not even scratching my surface.
The Blood Thirster is behind the gale, warp-born might interacting with the material. Two can play at that. I meet its charge across the abandoned court yard, a blur of silver slamming into a tower of crimson and bronze. As my fist digs into its gut, puzzlement crosses the scarred face of the Blood-God fragment. I doubt it has seen or heard of my kind before, for we are older, forgotten and the daemons do not speak amongst themselves.
My foe bends over, vomiting out the people it has eaten in a gush of bloody bile. Even as my left fist drives into its stomach, my right raises my spear. The angle is bad, the range is short and only my arm is behind my thrust, not my body. For this, it is enough.
Skin forged at the foot of the skull throne parts effortlessly beneath the spear tip. Bronze rips are pushed aside by the old weapon’s passing. A heart of hammered plates ruptures, spewing out the molten blood within in great fountaining jets. They fall upon me but do not stain my plate, for it is made of older stuff than it. We are immune from our own after all.
I let the mammoth corpse fall from my spear and step back from its fall. It is already dissolving, the representation of its spirit falling apart. First goes the skin, flaking away in great red sheets. Then great muscles unwind themselves, stringing out like meat pasta. Finally the bronze bone are all that remain and they corrode away to ash, which blows away in the wind.
The spirit of the beast roars in pain as on the other side of the veil its own kind turn upon it. Whatever mental identity controls its power falters as its own kind sense its weakness and turn upon the daemon. But I… I take its power, absorbing the raw strength gathered from a thousand sacrifices, taking the power that pulled it into the mortal realm. With this I might have enough to live for another year, if I use it right.
‘Thank you,’ the Inquisitor moans from the fortress’ floor, blood pooling around him and staining his priceless robes, ‘he would have shriven my soul from me.’
‘The blood god will have it still,’ I inform the Imperial, ‘behind the veil his servants are thick. When your soul detaches from its shell, they will tear it apart.’
‘Can you stop them?’ he asks, fear in his voice.
‘How human,’ I comment, ‘you are afraid for your soul, how human of you to consider it now. You didn’t when you order a planet viral bombed, when you burned a thousand innocents at the stake for imaginary crimes. I cannot stop them Inquisitor, nor would I if I could. Your soul belongs to them and has for years.’
‘But then why did you kill the Daemon, why slay it if not to save me?’
‘It would have killed innocents Inquisitor, ones somewhat more deserving of the title, although there are precious few of them left in your master’s Imperium.’
The man closes his blue eyes, opens them and swallows, ‘Then I commend my soul to the God-Emperor, may he on Terra take me into his dominion. And may He damn you, servant of the false one, of the failed gods.’
‘We’re all damned Inquisitor,’ I reply as I turn to leave, ‘but sometimes we can think we’ve reached salvation.’
He closes his eyes and waits for his unforgiving God’s judgment.
‘You’re not going to die by the way,’ I tell him as I go.
‘You have one hundred and twenty eight years of conscious life left to go through, before you are declared Heretic and servitorized. That’s a lot of time left to think about things.’
Now this I like ;)