Knight Errant (40K)

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby InsaneTD » 2012-04-18 03:42am

That's it. Only real mention I've seen of the inner workings of the Imperium. The Inquisitor, Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader RPG books might have more.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-05-10 06:32pm

Short update, mainly a fight scene-

Ignatius led the team at the run, not out and away back along the walls- which could have been made to make sense, could have worked, but he had a better plan. Down into the transtube system.

There was one fight. Through the concourse, down a stalled escalator, Ignatius called them short just before they were visible form the lower level; too many presences there. It was doable, though.

They smelt of dried blood, as if it wasn't already obvious. 'Right, as much as we can with guns- they enjoy close quarters brawling too much, I don't want to give them the pleasure. Five seconds, then down and start shooting.'

The five seconds were to arrange a diversion- exploding the blood vessels in the heads of three of the cultist mob, the three closest to one of the exits; three short screams, three crunch-splash noises and smears of blood, skull and brains spread over that side of the gaggle.

They should be happy really., well two out of three isn't bad, Ignatius thought. A little prompting and they turned to face, started moving in the direction the head exploding shots seemed to have come from.

Away from the Imperials. They already had their cue, didn't need telling twice.

Aule was cautious; three round bursts like measured doses of light, making sure one dropped before moving on to the next. Hasek was showing off, front line grunt, taking timed- fire headshots sweeping across the cultists; Bohr ad a bad case of the dakkas, two- gunning it, hosing blasts into the mob- killing few but wounding many.

Not necessarily the best way to deal with cultists, who frequently took a lot of putting down. Albia was doing the same, stolen and purified laspistol and autopistol, and not a great shot with the las- kept expecting it to recoil and aiming too low to compensate, better with the autopistol.

Laure needed a bigger gun- she was shooting to disable really, thinking that if they enjoy close combat so much- they couldn't, how dare they pretend top be better at it than we are?- let's give it to them until they choke on it; maiming them for later dismemberment with a lot of belly and spine shots.

Ignatius had decided his psycannon was too subtle for this. Three quick shots with the heavy man- portable lascannon, one raking through the mass of them into their sharpest mind, the first to realise they had been tricked and to try to turn his comrades around;

one into their sharpest blade, denying their best berserker anything like a good or a fair fight; and a third purple line drawn across the universe into the largest single cluster of them, just for the hell of it. Searing through all the lesser cultists in the path of the violet death beam.

Even crazed blood- struck scum could react to a hint that big. They turned- under fire, still being shot at- and started to push and stumble over their dead and wounded, meaning to charge, towards the escalator well. Maybe thirty of them would get there in fighting shape, Ignatius estimated.

Five to one odds? Child's play. 'Men- keep shooting. Ladies- pointy stick time now, with me.'

The trick would be not being shot, having them fire safely past him- he did tend to fill lines of sight. Simple- move further down, give the guardsmen more of a chance to fire over his head.

He was on the right of the line, lascannon already slung and halberd ready, Laure in the middle with the huge chainblade- it did look more in proportion on her, and she was taking slow, deep breaths, telling herself not to lose it, she wasn't a penitent any more, had to keep her feet on the ground and her wits about her. All the things Ignatius had tried to convince her of, in fact.

Albia was grinning, holding the emitter of her heavy laser cutter as if it weighed nothing, was borne by a growing confidence- oh, she was still a penitent, knew she should be throwing herself at death and praying for absolution, should be shouting louder now in fact.

At the root there was still, as there officially had to be, the absolute certainty of death; but now she was warmed by the glow of the notion that she was going to die well, for a purpose, and doing harm to the Emperor's enemies in her passing.

If there had been time, Ignatius would have said 'not yet'; he still needed her blade, don't die now, later would be better. After the cathedral all bets would be off, and there was some considerable chance they would try to kill him.

Frak, if he explained it now they would probably try to kill him. It was, on the face of it, absolutely insane. Although that was another line from the praeforma- if it's crazy and it works, it isn't crazy. Actually wasn't it dumb, not crazy? No odds, I'd have to be crazy to try something this dumb.

Back in the moment, three two handed weapons, things that needed a lot of swinging room and could easily cramp each other's style. That was actually why Laure was in the middle, so she wouldn't run wild, go charging forward into the middle of them and be mobbed.

Then the cultists were in swinging range, coming in too close together too- attacking up a stairwell, cramped and at the disadvantage of being on the lower ground.

Ignatius dropped three in the first eyeblink, lunging through one's chest, pulling back and to the left and cracking another in the back of the head pitching him forward and down to where he could be stood on, a twisting cut across beheading a third and flipping his head high into the air.

Laure butterflied her heavy blade, swinging it into a figure of eight, timing the movement- speeding or slowing the stroke as appropriate- to fit in with Ignatius' halberd and Albia's las; caught one across the gut, splitting him- he poured out his intestines at her feet,

the other at the opposite extreme of the stroke in front of Albia really, catching him just deep enough across the chest to rake open his black heart with the tip of the blade; he twitched to death standing up.

The flail wielder behind him tried to barge through the spasming man, bounced off him, stumbled, and Albia mischievously timed the cut, sliced through the chains of the paired whirling ball and stick maces sending both weighted spiked balls flying back into the shrinking horde;

there was a look of dumb, paralysed horror on his face for a second- he would have recovered and tried to beat her to death with the sticks, if she hadn't sent another short flare of light through his chest.

It was an odd way to use a lascutter but it seemed to be working for her, invite them into the lethal sweep of it before they realised they were threatened, then chop them down in that precious space between her reach and theirs.

Not a tactic that could last though, they'd swarm her soon- and she was looking forward to it.

She took the head off one, his body collapsed forwards and she stepped out of the way; another cultist tried to move in to fill the gap, Laure sliced his torso open in a neat backhanded sweep, quickly returned to guard; Albia returned the favour- ducked under the sweep as she was, it was easy for her to cut the two in front of her mistress off at the waist.

Just below the hips; it was easier to cut through the pelvis with a laser than the stomach, bone had less water content, less specific heat. Interesting that she'd noticed.

Ignatius was letting himself get fancy, wielding the halberd one- handed, fencing with it; one of the cultists had obviously been a sport fencer or some such, tried to loop over and hook the halberd aside, when that failed block and riposte- quite good for a deranged nutter.

The Grey Knight reminded him there was more to it than dexterity by battering straight through his guard and splitting him in half. Hard to improve from that. Bloody cultists, can't teach them anything.

Played with another one by making a children's bang gun, pointing the first two fingers of his left hand at the cultist and pretended to shoot him; the cultist flinched, ducked- enough for Ignatius to drop the halberd down through his skull and the top of his spine.

Laure blindsided another one that was trying for Albia, an upward sweep filleting him from crutch to crown; Ignatius covered her in turn with a lightning flicker of the halberd across to split the arm off the axe wielder about to try for her.

The three guardsmen were pumping lasbolts down from their position on the stairs onto the shoulders and heads of the cultists not yet at blade's reach. No longer a matter of firing into the brown- there weren't enough of them left for that. Any sensible force would have cut and run.

This lot weren't normal. Albia found a worthy opponent; a strange female cultist, she had either had her own skin and surface fat flayed off to expose the muscle underneath, or she was wearing a bodysuit made out of somebody else's.

The cultists they were facing now were the ones who had been at the front of the charge when it had been going the other way, the most viciously enthusiastic; the credible threats. Ignatius got a glimpse inside the raw woman's head of why she was a cultist.

Wielding a long chainsword, without the bulk or probably the rending power of an eviscerator but almost the reach, that she played with offering it as a target, darting and looping it out of the way of the las, getting Albia to chase it and move far enough out of position to give her an opening.

Laure was too closely engaged cutting lumps out of a huge and apparently insensate chemgrow- enhanced barbarian slab of meat to back her up; Ignatius had nearly run out of targets, but not quite yet.

Albia glanced round to look for backup, and the raw cultist took the chance, leaped through her guard and in. The penitent managed to get her cutter to the chainblade, was hit and lightly gored by the top half of it flying off, but it didn't stop the raw woman physically charging her to the ground.

They went down in a tumbled heap, the cultist grappling her for the las emitter; rolling and scrabbling, punching and clawing at each other; Ignatius chose to pretend to ignore the one in front of him for a second, enough to reach over psychically and throw a charge into the exposed muscles, commanding them to full extension.

There was a sequence of terrible popping sounds followed by a shriek as her musculature, borrowed and her own, split most of the raw woman's vertebrae and joints apart. Arched, convulsed as she was, an easy target for the guardsmen to pick off.

The air was faintly pink, and two sharp sweeps of the halberd later, they had run out of targets.

'Nobody hurt?' Ignatius asked, knowing the answer. 'Right, finish and loot the wounded and dead, powercells and ammo. Then out of here.'

There was a long complicated rant he wanted to let go with, about cultists, about the failures of the system to protect the vulnerable, about the Arbites and the local law being the largest single agencies of recruitment for the powers of Chaos;

about how the Imperium he stood for and fought for had to be better than this, colours across the stars, the triumph and shield, the meaning and hope of the human race, had to do better than the death by squandering, handing over slices of the human race year after year as tribute to the Great Enemy.

Much better not said, on the whole; they would look at him as if he was daft- and on this subject, I very possibly am, he thought to himself. Getting worse, too.

This should make a difference though, and it would be a good idea not to make the people I've decided to bring along to cover my back think that I'm starting to lose the plot.

Right, down the many flights of stairs to the tube level he wanted, in the lower reaches of the network. One thing about Chaos, it has never, ever, ever been able to make the trains run on time.

Public transport, infrastructure in general, just didn't appeal to them ideologically; although some aspects- commuters hot and sweaty and crushed together- did appeal to Slaanesh, and others- disease vectors- held the Nurglites' attention.

On the whole punctuality, regularity, efficiency, dependability- such was the ability of the human mind to find pattern in horror and nightmare in sanity that it could be done, but these things were burdens and limits, not virtues.

Not that they would be welcome on mass transit, anyway. It was hoofing it time.

They were not long away from the airport's transtube hub when Ignatius became aware of a fascinating strand of thought, a faint whisper of something he had come across earlier; the trap.

The faint vibes calling out to the false tzeentchian, inviting him to suspect someone else to play mind games with, to come and see. An ambush suitable for a subtle being, who might perhaps be tricked into outsmarting himself.

Right, he thought, I can do that. I can play subtle. Although when that fails, there's always halberd- swinging maniac.
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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby InsaneTD » 2012-05-10 07:43pm

I love that last line. Just seems to define that character for me. :P

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby madd0ct0r » 2012-05-12 07:44am

been enjoying this so far, but i think somebody's going to fall hard when he does.
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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-05-29 05:30am

Another short update-

'I can't think of any way of doing this that doesn't involve a Samson act.' Ignatius said, dubiously. 'I have a plan, and it is to wander into the middle of that trap and blow it up by turning it inside out.

The side effects and backlash of the circle- breaking should do more or less the same to anyone else in there with me; I really can't recommend it, it doesn't tend to increase your fighting efficiency.

From the background vibes and the overtones of greasy incense, I think they're down in the engine sheds, and using one of the turntables as a ritual circle.'

Not the worst choice; cultists tended to use all sorts of round things as the basis for their mystic signs, ranging from a sewage settling tank- Nurglite, of course- a shuttle landing pad, a disused artillery barbette, and in one entertainingly incendiary case the roof of an industrial gas holder.

The last had resulted in just a tiny little bit of collateral damage, and after that the Chapter had decided they didn't want Ignatius running round in terminator armour any more.

The captain had been going bald anyway so a couple of eyebrows here and there didn't matter much, Ignatius had argued, but they had disagreed. ( "OK then, give me a tank" had also got him nowhere, unfortunately.)

'The first thing we need to do is find the edges of this,' he decided, 'how far from the centre their protected zone extends, and then you start there and quietly kill your way inwards. I do actually meant that. I need you to sneak up close to the central point.

Put down anyone you meet on the way, but no cries of 'For the Emperor' that would announce your presence, no hymn- singing that would give the cultists something to home in on, no chanting. Any prayers you need, let them be quiet ones.

Don't get too close, either. This is likely to end in open psychic war, and that's not too healthy to be standing next to.

Once the circle eviscerates itself, and trust me you will know when that happens, then you can go noisy- but not before. Necessity is going to have to rule this one. We do what needs doing, and let the Emperor's glory be written in the cauterised entrails of the traitor. Right? Right.'

They were not happy, but they were wise enough to be averse to being turned inside out, and therefore to do as they were told. He needed to let them have a go at functioning without him, anyway.

Not bad work by the Administratum; the transtube network map seemed to have been updated in the last century. Hopefully it was an actual map, instead of what they hoped existed and hadn't actually bothered to check.

There probably wasn't much difference in the deep tunnels, the ones with the weight of the city above pushing down on them that made them ferociously difficult to drill or renovate; that and the feeling of the circle meant it would probably be, hm, there.

They knew where they had entered the system, which made it easier to approach stealthily- didn't have to sense for it, could afford to find their way by hand and eye and handy datadevice instead of following the psychic trail.

Not that it really mattered for him, but for getting the team in and undetected, yes. Not yet time to dive into the support tunnels.

Pass through a station just before the line divided- and they came across the site of a massacre. Two trains had collided- one stationary and picking up and setting down (made it sound as if they were equipped with robot arms- maybe on a forge world, maybe)- and the other deliberately crashed into it by cultists.

After the wreck, the berserkers on board the chaos tube train had piled out and started slaughtering the civilians- shocked, disoriented, crammed in and trapped, the tracks must have run red with blood.

It would have happened early in the fall of the city, but most of the bodies were still there, rotting where the cultists had played with them; amidst and largely hidden by death and decay, though, there was a faint, strange thread of incense.

'Don't do anything reverent,' Ignatius instructed. 'This is their outer marker. Say proper rites for the dead, their psykers would detect them and know that we were coming.

First deal with the problem, then help the living, then bury the dead.'

'We should expect them from here?' Bohr asked.

'More or less.' Without the grey veil they would have been detected already, and a large part of the team's ability to sneak in would be dependent on Ignatius' managing to hold the attention of the watchers.

'That way,' Ignatius pointed them up onto the platform and through a set of smashed- open doors; 'masks on for those who have them, Albia hold your breath as long as you can.' Avoid breathing the fumes off the dead.

He was careful not to look ahead with the mind's eye, not to probe psychically- not that he really needed to; it was signposted. Foot and brute access to depot, this way.

How a species of handcart got that name was anybody's guess- beast of burden perhaps?- but the access corridor was designed to admit two of them abreast, and that naturally led into what at second glance was a very peculiar trap indeed.

There were two small stands, on top of each of them a large steel sphere; chained around and spreadeagled over the surface of each was a hermaphrodite slaaneshi cultist.

They could not dare to strain towards each other, to do that- give in to desire- would be death before the fulfilment of desire; but that as a damned odd trap for a Tzeentchian to set, depending as it did on the idea of change, of the steel spheres coming out of balance, being lethal.

Not that that made it a particularly good trap to spot a fake Tzeentchian, because surely anyone capable of faking it thus far would at least be capable of having absorbed at least that much knowledge?

As far as he could tell the world was quiet, the grey veil still held; they were unaware of the team. Ignatius hand- signalled them to go down an accessway off the main corridor and proceed from there- they did- then turned to holding the cultist's attention.

he said loudly, for the benefit of any scryers, 'I wonder what the answer to this riddle that you want is. it would demand incredible delicacy of hand and eye to set them free; it would be entertaining to free one of them and let them try to free the other, or more likely couple, overbalance and die. On the other hand, frak it, they're only Slaaneshi.'

He pushed first one then the other off the plinth, rolling them on the giant steel marbles down the accessway ahead of him.

The first may have been a hybrid of man and woman, but he/she certainly screamed like a girl. Briefly. The sphere rolled over and crushed the cultist to a relatively quick but still painful death.

The second saw this happen, of course, and howled in loss and rage, a scream that turned rapidly to fear as the ball tumbled off the plinth then brief agony as she/he was crushed to death under their own steel marble.

Both of them kept rolling of course, down the corridor to the workshops and accessways of the rolling- stock yard. There were a series of tremendously loud clangs, clattering noises, screams, a rattle of small explosions, then silence for a moment.

Ignatius strode boldly forward, through what had probably once been a well prepared ambush; the two steel balls' tripping traps and landmines had done a great deal of havoc- evidently one had gone over an antitank mine and gone up like a frag bomb in it's own right.

Dead and wounded everywhere, made worse by that the second ball rolled into one of the trains and ruptured the battery pack, spraying hot charged liquid metal over many of them- first the blast, then it electrocutes, burns and poisons you, Ignatius thought; wonder why we don't use it in grenades?

Maybe it's as simple as nobody thought of it; well call it plan C. The mechanicus already think I'm deranged, so what the hell.

'You would be the welcoming committee, then.' He announced loudly. 'There have been some wonderful fun and games, but my tolerance for elaborate play- acting is at a low ebb at the moment, so let's stop arsing around and achieve something. Who thinks they're in charge?'

There were groans and screams, no coherent response, one shot that glanced effortlessly off his left pauldron, and that, Ignatius thought, makes the first time I've been hit so far.

Picked up one of the fallen cultist's las guns, thought better of pulling the trigger, threw the thing like a javelin- impaled the cultist through the head. 'Anybody?' Ignatius asked, as if nothing had happened.

A robed man emerged from the shadows, which was quite impressive as he hadn't been there a second ago. The faint surge and tingle of sorcerous energies was unmistakable, too. Not actually a teleportation.

'Interesting. You have a remarkable talent for astral projection, ser- wait, I remember you from before the changes.' The advantages of an Astartes memory; Ignatius had gone through the local who's who, looking for odd industrialists, criminals, politicians, artists- the sort of people who might end up in positions of leadership in the armies of darkness.

He hadn't met any of them yet- the one chaos cult leader he had, the slaaneshi, was too junior to be included in the sources- but hadn't really expected to, so far.

This one was. Looking at that kind of data was fascinating in theory and probability, would help understanding and reconstructing the descent of the world, but this was the first time it had been of use. 'You are Ribbell Payter, formerly of the Neopolarian Party, are you not?'

As Ignatius was expecting, he spouted off a long line of pompous self- aggrandizement, hero of this, arch- that, defiler of the other. All bait, all nothing more than little shiny things to rise to. His eyes didn't boast enough.

'Which part was more fun,' the Grey knight asked mischievously, remembering though that he had to play the part of someone capable of playing the part of himself, 'doing all of that or thinking about how you could make it sound afterwards?'

'Life's too short for modesty.' Payter said, with eloquent false modesty. 'What about you? You certainly... look the part. How can you stand to be around all those horrifically authentic looking purity seals?'

'Method acting.' Ignatius deadpanned. 'My original plan was to infiltrate the armies of the Imperium; sneak out, pose appropriately and convince their commanding general to all sorts of self- destructive stupidity,' which was easy enough to say as it wasn't all that far from the truth at all, just the arrow was pointing the other way,

'until it occurred to me how much more there was to be gained within the walls. Hm. Almost forgot to introduce myself. Brother- kidding.' he grinned at the chaos cult leader's evident discomfort. 'Endomandeyaso Fazzoletti- Spazzolini, at your service. Of the Antediluvian Order of Freeplumbers.'

It wasn't the most ridiculous false name he could come up with- although it did come fairly close. still slightly less ridiculous than the truth, which was that he wasn't kidding.

'The...what? never heard of you.'

'For a secret society, that's supposed to be a surprise?' Ignatius pointed out, adding 'We have our roots in a profession that was forbidden after the Golden Age of Technology, in a time and a state where man and world were not separate and hostile;

Free plumbers and janitors, from when the common man was not forbidden to know the technical and industrial basis of his world, before things changed- for the worse. We are not kidding about the antediluvian part.

'Normally, we keep a fairly low profile; will do so yet. However, there has to be some kind of escape valve for the odd individual looney. An overflow. A storm drain. Me, and the cell who helped with this. Who may or may not actually exist, of course.'

'The odd individual looney- how in space did you come up with...this? A plan to impersonate one of the Imperial Marines?' Payter asked, mixture of demandment and wonder. Interestingly not using the term 'grey knight' at all in there. Hmmm. The purity seals weren't the problem. The copy of the Liber Daemonica would be more of an issue.

'Once the audacity to conceive of it was there, the pieces fell into place so readily it must have been fate. Practically, you'd be amazed how much of power armour's capabilities can be replicated by the contents of a well stocked arcology repair workshop, the biosorcery is easily doable by other means;

more to the point, we saw an opportunity to salvage a transcendent victory from the tactical defeat I hope you realise you are about to suffer.' That part, at least, was absolutely true.

'Hm. Walk with me-'

'Most people call me ZZ.' Ignatius lied, moving with the cultist, listening carefully for Imperial and other sounds. A faint vommm of las- cutting, and a couple of bodies hitting the ground.

'What about this lot? Even if none of them are worth tending to, at least a couple might be worth cutting up for spare parts. Besides, the impulse to clean up a mess dies hard.' Ignatius asked.

'You did create the mess in the first place.' Peyter pointed out.

'You did kind of leave them there to have it happen to them- did they know they were sacrificial, at all?' Ignatius prodded.

'Of course not. They weren't-'

'-until things worked out that way.' Ignatius interrupted. 'You don't always get to sacrifice what you think you're going to.' All right, let's see what destiny makes of that one. 'Speaking of which, I believe you have a plan, and a thaumaturgical working group?'
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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-05-29 03:19pm

That was fun.

Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:Dead and wounded everywhere, made worse by that the second ball rolled into one of the trains and ruptured the battery pack, spraying hot charged liquid metal over many of them- first the blast, then it electrocutes, burns and poisons you, Ignatius thought; wonder why we don't use it in grenades?

Maybe it's as simple as nobody thought of it; well call it plan C. The mechanicus already think I'm deranged, so what the hell.
At the lab I used to work- the experiment next door was designed to replicate the fluid dynamics of the Earth's core, but sped up and scaled down to something the good doctor and his minions graduate students could stick instruments into without digging thousand-mile boreholes.

To do the trick, they ended up with a ten foot wide steel sphere, holding three tons of liquid sodium, spun up to... I think they peak out at 240 revolutions per minute.

You might say I learned a bit about safety, with that looming over our shoulders.

And so the obvious reason, I'd say, is that you want your grenades to be something it's safe to throw uphill.

It wasn't the most ridiculous false name he could come up with- although it did come fairly close. still slightly less ridiculous than the truth, which was that he wasn't kidding.

'The...what? never heard of you.'

'For a secret society, that's supposed to be a surprise?' Ignatius pointed out, adding 'We have our roots in a profession that was forbidden after the Golden Age of Technology, in a time and a state where man and world were not separate and hostile;

Free plumbers and janitors, from when the common man was not forbidden to know the technical and industrial basis of his world, before things changed- for the worse. We are not kidding about the antediluvian part.
So that's where the Adeptus Custodes came from!!!

'Most people call me ZZ.'
For some reason, the words "Star A Star" drift through my head... only inside out and upside down.
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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby PhilosopherOfSorts » 2012-05-29 09:38pm

'Most people call me ZZ.'

If he had a guitar and a long beard, he'd be a the Top of his game.
A fuse is a physical embodyment of zen, in order for it to succeed, it must fail.

Power to the Peaceful

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-07-12 03:54pm

update and explodery.

Payter's antennae were twitching. 'Psyker, warrior- you would practically have to have the talents of a Space Marine psych- adept in order to fake it.'

Well, I could say that I was chosen before birth and have been in training to embrace destiny since before I learned to go potty in the potty place,' Ignatius said, thinking there he goes again not using the term grey knight; either he genuinely doesn't know in which case he was sent as expendable too and is too up himself to realise it-

or I'm overthinking it. I could expect to be recognised by daemons, but not by cultist rank and file, or command even, any more proportionately than I would by the guard or my brothers in the Astartes. The inquisition occasionally has the balls for operations like this, but even on detachment, they wouldn't send the Marine.

Still, consider the other option- leading me into the trap. Fine, that's where I want to go anyway. '...but I'd be kidding. Some people are just naturally gifted. Or unnaturally, considering.'

'Being nine feet tall is a natural gift very few people get.' Payter pointed out.

'The biosorcery I admit I'm having problems coming to terms with myself,' Ignatius pretended to admit, 'but the armour was so easy to counterfeit I'm surprised we don't do it more often.

Piping and energy gear from the geothermal spike, valves and actuators from the plumbing network- actually you could probably fake up credibly effective armour from the contents of the yard. Ergonomics would be a bastard, but it could be done, you have the metals, the reactive polymers, the power systems, the motors and mechatronics-'

'You're speaking a language that I don't understand.' Payter interrupted.

'The old jargon, the language modern mechanicus argot is a debased, befouled patois of...that is a natural gift. The transformative sorcery was the part I have a loose grasp of, but all I really had to do was dance round the circle a couple of times and eat my girlfriend.'

Peyter took a second to parse that; looked as if he was thinking hard and trying to maintain a properly chaotic approach. Ignatius prodded him again by saying 'I was getting tired of her anyway, and it was time for a change.' He grinned; utter, utter lies.

'Recovering from the biosorcery, on the other hand, was a cast iron bitch. I think I understand why Marines tend to be quite so bad tempered now.'

Payter said 'Eating your girlfriend- that could be considered to be a fairly bad tempered thing to do to begin with, surely?'

'You're still thinking like a politician.' Ignatius said. 'Did you never want to stand up in council and say something like that, just to see the eyes bulge and hear the blood vessels pop?

No? Really? I'd have thought the temptation would be almost overwhelming- although of course there would be party discipline to contend with. The whip, and that.'

'I never submit to the whip.' Payter said, and almost certainly lied.

Laure's going to have fun with you, Ignatius thought, but said 'The derivation actually does go back to beasts of burden, and it is what it sounds like- junior members of the assembly little more than legislative oxen, made so hungry with ambition, enticed into the harness by the party bosses and fed on the illusion of power;

but you rose in the ranks of a party that had or pretended to have such discipline; avoided the dying spasms of the old order- and avoided the temptation to use the levers of internal power to get your own way? I doubt it. We all breathe the same oxygen, after all, at least until the winds of the warp take you.'

Moving towards the circle, through the abandoned rolling stock then- some of which had clearly been vandalised and cursed, poor engines; all they had ever wanted was to be Really Useful. Now they had been condemned to be anything but, and there was as great deal of machine spirit anger there that might be usable.

'So, your voting record.' Ignatius said, to keep him distracted. 'Looking back it seems as if the neopols were always essentially a Tzeentchian front; virtually every concrete proposal, certainly all the proposals that involved concrete, were for something drastically different.

Building and moving to north and south pole planned superhives, leaving the corrosion, maintenance nightmares and rotten old underlevels in the middle in an official wasteland- and we all know what practically would have happened- was almost genius, but I think you overdid it a bit with the warp- attracting patterns in the street grids.'

'You noticed that? The Adeptus Astra Telepathica didn't.' Payter said, and Ignatius wondered why he gave that organisation, of all of them, it's full proper name.

Hm. True names. maybe, he thought- oh, that did indeed make sense. Get me into the circle and call me by my true name, although there's realistically no way they could know it.

Unrealistically? well, there were ways- the most likely and most common being a daemon one had met before, coming back after a too short period of banishment, with the knowledge of how you had beaten it last time.

Wouldn't be that unlikely, really. The plan just got a little more complicated- although it would do for a warmup.

'Once I guessed it might be there and started looking for it, it was obvious- but the, not the party, what did you call it, the withinmost party- the cult cell; they made too many concessions.

It'd practically be Chaos Undivided in there, and how much front office and how much back room, you remember the public debates- it was obvious there was something you weren't saying, and that put the scent of blood in the water.

That got everything far too heavily talked about, and it wasn't really subtle enough at all- or far enough the other way.'

'I argued in favour of the compromise plan; it was more practical politics. In order to happen at all- we were not dominant, not at the time;' and still not really, but he was choosing to look past that, 'it was necessary to use what we had to work towards more, make many building moves.'

'The problem there,' Ignatius, wondering if he should apply for a transfer to the administratum after this, 'for anyone with the eyes to see it- and looking at who emerged as what I'm pretty sure the Nurglites did- is that the building game doesn't give you momentum, and the lack of momentum is what really held you short of victory.

it brought everything too far out in the open and made everything happen before it was fit to happen, which is why there are robot genitals bouncing through the streets and you're down here.

A bolder move sooner, a long-shot, would have rewarded success and made a much better situation in the long run- I know, I was late to the party too, but kitbashing takes time.

Worse yet, you're almost as bad as the sons of Karneth at peace,' as close as human tongue could come to the true name of the Blood God, and Payter reeled in horror, if there's nothing that can be done to the outside world you turn on and try to change each other.

'That may leave more of you standing than it does the blood and skulls, but not necessarily in much better condition.'

'Which- to who- where does your allegiance lie?'

'It doesn't lie still, if that's what you mean; Chaos undivided, but there isn't such a thing, is there? Chaos Prefigured, you would be better thinking, the chaos to come, the reformation of the universe.

Did you never wonder what the great plan is, what the universe is supposed to look like, what the mind-that-makes-itself of the Warp, born of four brothers, will be- whether the chase had a beast in view?'

As he watched Payter's mind wander over the idea, Ignatius thought, crap on a stick, it's working- I've made a convert. I have to stop trying to persuade people of things.

Is there anything that can usefully be done- is there the manoeuvring room to start my own gleefully counterproductive chaos anti- cult? Not by the shape of things- not without sacrificing the primary objective to a target of opportunity.

Then, into the main 'shed', and they were there. There were seven in the well of the turntable, and they looked like a successful cult; utterly disparate. The whole robe and dagger image only really came into play when the cult had either been started by an idiot, or had been or were preparing to be underground for a long, long time.

A successful underground movement drew in- was perhaps successful because it drew in- people who could make a success of normality, weren't the normal shrike- spirited social outcast who made up most cults.

This lot included one sorceress with an absurdly smooth complexion over and absurdly wrinkled soul, and she would be a suitable target if a demonstration needed to be made.

A tall man with another of those absurd hood-headdress-yoke things that Ignatius had come across so long ago, yesterday. There was an instant flicker of psychic recognition, and Ignatius tried to bury the the thought that part of his defence here was audacity.

Basically, no-one within blithering distance of sanity would accept that a genuine Marine, still less a brother of Chapter 666, would ever be in this position. He, Ignatius thought, is the only one who might actually believe it.

There was one man in a rich gown muddy from being put on- looted, obviously- over stained overalls; angry representative of the working class, probably a latent, undetected psyker until the strangeness broke forth and sparked his gift into life. Might be shrewd, but probably little to no conscious cunning.

One in a smaller version of the yoke- headdress, an apprentice of some kind, and a rebellious one- there was a giveaway in the way the senior of the two was careful never to present his back square on to the junior; the seventh a paint- stained artist, a narrow aspect of a being, capable in what he was pointing directly at, but a little oblivious beyond it.

The sorceress was the first to react- melodramatically in the extreme. She shrieked, pointed a finger at him, screamed 'Peyter you moron- what have you done- you've led them right to us!'

'He's on our-'

'He's real, he's a Marine,' the shrieking sorceress, who had obviously used her powers to do everything but change, demanded; she had passed the point of self- parody, having used her powers to preserve her seductiveness- creamy flesh in low cut black lace with a little spike and glitter, long black hair, too much makeup.

'You of all people,' Ignatius said looking at her, 'should know appearances can be deceptive.' She was the one to remove.

This was probably the most difficult part of the day- actually smelling like a chaotic psyker, here in the circle; he whiplashed a wave of turbulence in he warp over her, too raw to be very subtle or to show much in the way of fingerprints, that battered and collapsed her illusions and cosmetic mutations in a hash of carbolic- smelling curdled light.

What was left standing was a draggle- haired, snaggle- toothed, wrinkle- faced old squidbat of a harridan; Ignatius added insult to injury by popping into existence a small puddle in his left hand, expanded it and stilled the ripples, held it up to her as a mirror.

She screamed and tried to claw his eyes out, but the weak bones and hunched stature of what was left couldn't reach; he drizzled the puddle on her and her makeup ran.

'Opinions differ,' he told the rest of them, seemingly ignoring the frantic hag trying to claw her way up him, 'on the nature of change. Some believe that it is essentially an elastic collision, two identities, two soul- substances colliding, reshaping each other, deforming and being transmuted to new forms.

Others think that change is not organic and not necessarily mutual, that it is something that is done, can be made to happen without changing the actor, given a leverage, a firm place to stand;

Others yet say this misses the most essential factor, growth, change from within, planned and programmed development, call it destiny if you like. I- decide what to believe, and act according to, on a daily basis.' Which was technically true, if it didn't matter that he came to the same decision on each and every one, to stand against the darkness and remain true to the Throne.

'You chose not to change, in a way- to maintain the glamour of youth because you have no core, only appearance- and what was the opportunity cost of all of this, what futures have you sacrificed, what have you not done, o wrinkled one, to freeze in an eternal present?'

He plucked the small wrinkled thing off his armour and dropped her, while he had the verbal upper hand, before she could come up with a riposte. Her knee landed on a bolthead, she screamed; he ignored her.

'On the other hand, you look as well dressed for this party as I do.' he said to the other chaos sorceress, who was bearing the archaic appearance of a personal assistant or confidential secretary; starched white shirt, skirt, suit-jacket.

She looked completely unchaotic, which he found fascinating; it was obviously in some way the secret of her success, and the other half was to be found in the searing hate in her eye; if anyone was likely to be about to do something violent to test him, it was her.

Ignatius fixed her with a glare, the kind he used on minor daemons just before turning them into warp soup. 'I recognise you; the one who thought you were stronger alone, needed no-one- a little afraid of being needed- wanted to be alone. You got what you wanted, and found that it wasn't much of a prize after all.

Trapped yourself into being a living, grinding gear in a clockwork world, afraid of what the system would do to you if you weren't; making yourself the role as protection and place, fighting off anyone who tried to reduce you to a vulnerable individual- at the same time as you were secretly hoping and praying that someone would.

As you were building your wall higher and higher, with less and less chance- it was the gods of the warp that heard you, was it not? The secrets of the job paid for your steps into the world of thaumaturgy, but you still cling to the notion that the same thing can happen in the same way twice.

And,' he added, 'you're still alone.' She nearly swung for him there and then, but he was still looking at her, looking into her soul. A tzeentchian puritan was such an odd concept...for a moment he wondered if she was a well disguised agent of the officio assassinorum.

The ex gravedigger believed that anyone who claimed to religion in that sense must inevitably be a hypocrite; from his point of view, even the genuine prelates of the church were con artists and scammers disguised as priests.

'We do not know you.' the one in the ridiculous head- dress that made him look rather less capable than eh really was said. 'You come here posing as an Astartes in order to murder devotees of the dark gods- how do you manage to look so thoroughly a Marine?'

Fifteen years' training and two hundred and sixty years wandering the galaxy hitting things in the Emperor's name, Ignatius didn't say. 'Would you believe an accident involving two rubber bands, a liquid lunch and an irrational costume shop?'

'No, I would not.'

'Fanatics.' Ignatius spat. 'No sense of humour- either you weren't scrying hard enough on the explanation I gave Ribbell, or you want me to go through it all again in a phase where minutes count. How good are you at time manipulation? What, in fact, is your plan?'

And time to start taking charge and steering this the way he wanted. 'I see five options,' he said- and it was an ideal venue for railroading them, was it not? 'Forget tactical victory- there's too much Imperium out there. The Slaaneshi want a rift and you think you need to beat them to it.

Except the only place you can do it is the cathedral, it's the point of power- funny, isn't it, how the god emperor of the canaille, the common man, the greatest achievements of Chaos are only possible on formerly consecrated ground-

Option one, you could try to confront them and take the place from them. Tell me you weren't trying to do that last night, and got nowhere.'

'Something you made materially more difficult by stirring up the slaaneshi against us.' The hooded man pointed out.

Ignatius laughed at him. 'Since when have the powers of the Warp- or the Ecclesiarchy for that matter- cared about mere material difficulties? They're for the merely material. Besides, wheat from chaff.

Brings me to point two, anyway- among those who are alive thus far, your warpcraft is superior to theirs and they know it. Offer to assist the ritual then subvert it from within. Plausible? Think on it.

Option three, thaumaturgical attack on the ritual from the outside; along Ringway One, perhaps? Problem is that it's all still in the family, even if you win it'd be back to square one, still the Imperium outside, and less to work with and the goal still to get.

Option four, ride this out and wait for the fire next time, go underground and emerge in the aftermath to burrow into and destroy the new system- although for those with public names and reputations beforehand that could be a slow route to a very churchy execution.

The fifth option is this; if the Slaaneshi get their way they'll be looking at lance fire in the face, cathedral or not- you know the astropaths and navigators can see something like that coming. The shield dome's too badly battered to take much more. They're not that stupid- a major warp thing happening, the first resort is going to be broadside fire and the hell with retaking the city.

If it's played right, though- I don't think this world is going to fall, but we could gain a thousand others- do you know what the organs of the Imperium are afraid of? The obvious is only an approximation of the truth.

The Ecclesiarchy occasionally remember to be afraid of chaos, in the odd moments when they recall they're not supposed to spend all their time squabbling with and anathematising each other, but they usually don't know all that much about it all- sometimes they actually blunder into it by accident, which can be entertaining.'

Of all the idiotic comments I never want to hear again, near the top of the list has to be "What, you mean His Majesty doesn't have tentacles?", Ignatius thought to himself.

'The Munitorum, though...they're not afraid of Chaos in the field, the total immersion in hate that the front line brings is effective protection- far more so than the supposed armour of contempt. Terrified of it in garrison, though, where men's minds can wander to the intricacies of the warp.

Not so long ago, actually, in cosmic terms, that they used to routinely exterminate troops that had come into contact with the armies of the Four, which must have made life very gratifying for the wise cultist; set the wheels in motion, withdraw, have a single daemonhost waiting to say 'ooga booga' as the Imperial armies come over the horizon, and then sit back and laugh.

They had to call a halt to that eventually- the policy itself was breeding rebellion, inevitably once the rumour mill started to work; the navy guys horrified by what they had to do, it spread out from there until regiments, divisions, entire armies were defecting as soon as they came into contact with the chaos horde;

a horde is a more human thing than an army, after all, and the possibility of eternal glory under the heavily deformed stars seemed better than certain death at the hands of the Imperium- let' face it, anyone who would do that sort of thing isn't exactly on your side any more, are they?'

Peyter glared at him, remembering the bodies in the entrance. Ignatius carried on- 'It rarely actually happened, but what if we live the dream? Mask reality, mist the city in a subconscious, growing atmosphere of chaoticity?

Weave a web of subliminal signs beneath the level they can notice it to fight back against, that will grow and prey- poison them, tempt them, give them enough to weave a matrix in their own minds-' if only this was being holocorded, I could explode the brains of half the Ordo Malleus, Ignatius thought-

'Lead them into temptation and deliver them unto the lord of change; from the defeat that is about to befall, a thousand victories!'

I have got, Ignatius thought, to stop trying to persuade people of things. That or get myself appointed a Cardinal. I really shouldn't be this good at preaching at people, especially not when I'm pretending to be a heretic.

Their eyes were shining- whatever warp powers they were in touch with weren't ringing alarm bells in their heads, am I benefiting from cognitive dissonance here, the Grey Knight thought- or is this somehow fitting in with their plan?

Have they passed the point at which it is remotely credible that I am an actual marine- hells, have I passed that point; this is not going to sound good at confession- and are just going with it?

'You're actually almost half way there. Considering the bait you left out for me, a vibe, a taste in the air- the technique, it exists. How did you manage to counterfeit the taste of religion, incidentally? Ex- acolyte?'

Theoretically it was bad technique to ask, to give them some idea of what they could use as the basis of an answer that you wanted to hear, but Ignatius thought that it could be a useful mistake to make anyway;

Now that he was here at the centre of the effect- and to get what he wanted out of it this would have to be a very complicated explosion- he didn't think so, actually; there were too many overwrought notes, it had the scored, juggled corrections of a parodist trying not to produce a parody, not the sideways fire of an apostate's.

'I was a gravedigger.' one of the others said, 'Saw them go through the same nonsense each and every time, for the ones they bothered to bury or cremate instead of shoving into recyclers- and only the bereaved changed. Watching the corpse god's priests fleece and mock their followers- I sought a true god.'

And you found Tzeentch the lord of change? Well, there's no accounting for taste, Ignatius thought.

'This was not your original plan.' fountainhead man said.

'What, infiltrate Imperial command and get them to do something suicidally stupid? it was a good idea but it fell apart on the details. They're not all completely stupid, I suppose sooner or later they had to run out of donkeys, and there's nothing that I could convince them of that they would actually be willing to carry out, that would tip the scales.

So here I am, apparently a representative of one of the most distinctive and hard to fake chapters in the galaxy. I'd be better off pretending to be from the Twenty- Second Founding. In fact I'm surprised you didn't pick up on that.'

'Presumably you intended to die.'

'Ach, as a cultist- or as a Marine for that matter- you do what you have to do, survival's optional; aim to win and if you're still alive at the end of it, yay, next challenge.' Ignatius could see their plan now; trap him in the circle and implode it.

Fortunately, he had left one of them deeply traumatised, and most of the rest in some doubt; they knew what they were doing wasn't working, and he had promised them glory in the name of the dark gods...

This is why we don't get to do undercover work, Ignatius thought. Not that I do all that often, but I'm sure I can hear the universe laughing.

'Take the earlier blanket, it's still wound to the totem; change it, move away from the faint taint of incense and axle grease- careful, there needs to be the power to disperse it but it also needs to be a miasma, that cannot be traced and acted against, in nomine imperator- ready?'

I can afford to taunt them a little, and I damn' well need the reminder myself- I should stop messing with them, we're here now, in striking distance for me of the totem at the centre of the septagrammic circle. It's supposed to be wrong to play with food- but I might need that half second's confusion and hesitation.

'What did you say?' the apprentice demanded.

'That if it is too obvious, it will be instantly traced and acted against in the name of the emperor. How good a cultist can you really claim to be, if even the mention of He on Earth's name makes you jump? Show some backbone, man. At least it wasn't the chapter battle cry.'

He left half a second's pause after that, enough for a social reaction, that the apprentice was very jittery, and at least one of them to think wait, what? before adding the extremely obvious.

The only battle cry that ever really made sense, the only thing anybody can ever remember if they really are about to try to kill somebody in close combat, is some variation on 'grr, argh'- essentially an animal noise. Anything with actual words in is far better held back at the pre- contact, pre- battle pep talk. Maybe swearwords, sometimes.

Ignatius didn't actually say it very often; this time, couldn't resist. 'If you were wondering, that's I Am The Hammer.' Shrugged the halberd off his shoulder and swung it, with unnatural, planned motion, the speed at which Astartes muscles think, into and clean through, bisecting the central totem.

There was a complicated implosion- explosion and the world felt highly peculiar- loud and bright and inside out- for a frozen eternal second.

Ignatius, as he had arranged, was the one in the best position to resist and survive, being in the flash shadow of his own nemesis force halberd. Psychic destruction has one peculiarity; it does not happen faster than the mind can follow.

Physical forces of destruction moved by the mind, pyro and lightning and kinetically hitting people, yes, but not mind to mind, the deep arcane. There is time for the skilled, trained consciousness to react; it is certainly possible to be too stunned and confused to react effectively, to waste that time on realising that you're doomed, but to react in any case.

Ignatius was ready to react, and had time to anchor himself against the warp and weather the blast- not yielding, there was no compromise with this, but angling against it, pushing back, deflecting it- turning it aside, not as a road untrodden but as ethereal armour turning psychic blow.

The cultists were less fortunate; too much of that shred of warp based non-time they had was absorbed and wasted by being perplexed, horrified, ashamed- and by their dark patrons laughing at them.

The realisation that he was real, a fake fake, a true Astartes and soldier of the emperor with the mother wit- or perhaps it had come from his father, unlikely though that seemed- to insinuate himself through sheer boldness and gall, hiding in plain sight, unbelievable but all too terribly true.

The time they took to overcome that was time they would have needed if they were to try to survive.

With it wasted, their screams were lost in the blast, of the contained energy of the circle in mid- rite rupturing and, as Ignatius had picked the moment for, blasting mainly into the Warp; they were trapped, caught in the vortex, unwarded and ripped apart- no solid fragment of their souls survived, lost to immortality and to Chaos.

The glowing head of the halberd, bright soulfire channelled through it, broke the force of it; pushing back against the rest, taking what he could on the many and layered defences of his counters, wards, armour-

the flash of physical force fields collapsing as his refractors overloaded, the screaming of wordless choirs as the pentagrammic and hexagrammic wards flared higher and higher, pinking, screeching sounds of layered ceramet-composite armour deforming under pressure, muttered prayer and brute determination-

It never reached the status of a rift; the blasted circle contracted to a point, imploded, nothing.

How often do you have to do this, Ignatius thought- braced against the inner wall of the turntable, still more or less in one piece- it's like being hit repeatedly over the head; how often do you have to have it happen before the process makes you lose enough brain cells you start thinking it's fun?

Because it is. What have I forgotten? he thought, and then a small piece of roof tile fell at his feet.

Ah. I've just set off a large explosion in a space far too small to properly contain it, and whose walls and ceiling- especially ceiling- are not indefinitely strong.

Crap, I'm back at plan B. After all the options of fields and wards and auras are exhausted, it comes to feet as usual.

'Run for it.' he shouted, hopefully to the team- who he could now afford to look for again but wasn't taking the time to do so, vaulting out of the pit and sprinting for the nearest tunnel entrance that looked likely to stay in one piece.

Running through the sides of collapsed burning carriages, vaulting over bogeys- he made the tunnel, and looked back and actually felt slightly disappointed that the roof wasn't caving in with dramatic appropriateness.

That happened when he actually found the rest of the team, holding at a junction of tunnels where one working line branched off to the maintenance yard, waiting for him to rejoin.

They were all there,a little more battered and dinged, but Laure's face was practically glowing, Albia had a fresh bandage around one thigh, and Aule had a handprint on the side of his face. Hmm.

'Did anyone spot the deliberate mistake?' he said, taking his helmet off and grinning, as the clouds of dust billowed up the tunnel behind him.

'We felt it, Brother. The foulness, the lies, and then the magnificent flash of utter light.' Laure said. 'I-'

'Three for the price of one, then. Their psykers would have noticed that too, of course- and I think it is time to begin the endgame. This tunnel slopes upward, does it not? Good, that way then.'

'I have to stop doing things like that in places with ceilings.' He said as they walked along. 'Or walls, or other buildings nearby,' or Brother- Captains, 'or, well, anything really; and the main thing is that I really need to stop playing with my food.

As I was blathering my way in there, trusting to the idea that it was so blatant they wouldn't think I was being that obvious, I kept thinking of ways to turn what they were saying and doing to advantage, to trick them and spin them into greater and more effective self destruction, to spread weakness throughout the chaotic horde;

all good fun in a way, but there's only so much of that you can do before you start getting bits of it on you. There'll be tricks still to play and moves to make, but little in the way of deception,' and that chiefly of my own side, considering the use I plan to put the Sisters to, 'and the time to just shut up and hit things fast approaches.'
The only purpose in my still being here is the stories and the people who come to read them. About all else, I no longer care.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Andras » 2012-07-12 07:30pm

It was very difficult to follow who was speaking due to the lack of beginning quotes on new lines when the same speaker was still speaking.

for ex

'Opinions differ,' he told the rest of them, seemingly ignoring the frantic hag trying to claw her way up him, 'on the nature of change. Some believe that it is essentially an elastic collision, two identities, two soul- substances colliding, reshaping each other, deforming and being transmuted to new forms.

Others think that change is not organic and not necessarily mutual, that it is something that is done, can be made to happen without changing the actor, given a leverage, a firm place to stand;

Others yet say this misses the most essential factor, growth, change from within, planned and programmed development, call it destiny if you like. I- decide what to believe, and act according to, on a daily basis.' Which was technically true, if it didn't matter that he came to the same decision on each and every one, to stand against the darkness and remain true to the Throne.

Should be

Opinions differ,' he told the rest of them, seemingly ignoring the frantic hag trying to claw her way up him, 'on the nature of change. Some believe that it is essentially an elastic collision, two identities, two soul- substances colliding, reshaping each other, deforming and being transmuted to new forms.

'Others think that change is not organic and not necessarily mutual, that it is something that is done, can be made to happen without changing the actor, given a leverage, a firm place to stand;

'Others yet say this misses the most essential factor, growth, change from within, planned and programmed development, call it destiny if you like. I- decide what to believe, and act according to, on a daily basis.' Which was technically true, if it didn't matter that he came to the same decision on each and every one, to stand against the darkness and remain true to the Throne.

At least, in American English, which would use double quotes instead of single quotes as well.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-07-12 07:56pm

The opening quotes business again- is this an internet thing, or specific to American English? I think it must be because I don't recall being taught it at all.
Granted that I easily might not, but it seems to me to be wrong; it makes more sense that the lack of opening quotes on a new line is because the original speaker is still speaking, it's still the same piece of dialogue.

As opposed to something that could easily cause more confusion, to me, by continually seeming to interrupt the flow with what amounts to "and another thing...", and possibly making it seem as if a new speaker has started and I just forgot the end quote-

no, I can't see that making sense, and I think you're manufacturing a problem that doesn't otherwise exist.

Apart from that, what about the story?

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-07-12 09:04pm

As the beginning of the endgame it works, given that the protagonist is in fact a superman- wouldn't work so well otherwise, but then that's the whole point, make a Grey Knight as something more than just a very brawny version of a human being and one that happens to fight demons.

Various iterations on Chaos sorcerors, interesting, that's one thing I like; this story gives the excuse to look at the demographics of Chaos.


The version I was always taught for multi-paragraph quotes is that you begin each paragraph of the quote with a quote mark, but only end the last paragraph with a quote mark. That distinguishes and makes it clear that the quote never stops.

I'm sure there are consistent rules, but they're damned obscure, I'll say that.
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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Andras » 2012-07-12 09:13pm

In proofreading and editing your writing, remember that quotation marks always travel in pairs! Well, almost always. When quoted dialogue carries from one paragraph to another (and to another and another), the closing quotation mark does not appear until the quoted language finally ends (although there is a beginning quotation mark at the start of each new quoted paragraph to remind the reader that this is quoted language). Also, in parenthetical documentation (see the Guide to Writing Research Papers), the period comes after the parenthetical citation which comes after the quotation mark" (Darling 553). ... tation.htm

Writing Dialogue

Write each person's spoken words, however brief, as a separate paragraph. Use commas to set off dialogue tags such as "she said" or "he explained." If one person's speech goes on for more than one paragraph, use quotation marks to open the dialogue at the beginning of each paragraph. However, do not use closing quotation marks until the end of the final paragraph where that character is speaking.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-07-12 11:15pm

Well, I must say I never actually had trouble following it. ECR's writing feels like a variant stream of consciousness style to me, at times, but I don't have a problem with that.
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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby drakensis » 2012-07-13 01:12am

Honestly, my biggest complaint is the paragraph breaks. It's the inverse of wall-of-text - far too many breaks, sometimes mid-sentence.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby madd0ct0r » 2012-07-13 02:00am

there were a few times when i had to double check wether ignatius was speaking or thinking aloud to himself.

But the general sotry was easy enough to follow.

Probably the best part of the story is the corrections to the worse excesses of the fluff.
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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-07-13 06:44am

Ah, I thought it was an Americanism. Never taught that way, you see.

On the paragraph breaks, I used to write in walls of text- actually, most of this and the other stories get handwritten first, I tend to wander round with a notepad in my pocket and scribble things when I have time;
so it's often in fits and starts, and I try to get as much onto the page as possible so I can pick up my train of thought more easily, see where I was going. I get about four hundred words to a side of A6. (about two square millimetres a character.)

On the screen, however, I have been persuaded- well, yelled at really- that this is too dense and needs to be opened out, so I do add a lot more space than I used to, each double space is a paragraph break, each single space a line break.

More soon, anyway.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-07-13 09:23am

Whoever yelled should probably have done it quieter.

A typical healthy paragraph can safely run to, say, 100-120 words long. More might be pushing it in this format because the lines of text the reader will tend to be much longer, with less vertical spread. When dialogue is between different characters, of course, most statements will get interrupted sooner than that unless one side is giving a speech, but that 100-120 figure really is about right.

It's when said paragraphs run to 200, 300, or 400 words that you have a problem. If I had as much free time as I did this time three weeks ago I'd probably accompany this with a text sample with some of the paragraphs run back together, but such is life.

Also, text density, Hell's... brazen... hinges! To me that sounds like something to be transcribed with a jeweler's loupe.
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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-08-30 08:52am

Not overly happy about this one, for two reasons- I wanted there to be more zapping staight off, but somehow the process took over and it got talkier. The other reeason is that the five he's dragging along perhaps ought to be having screaming fits at what Ignatius is saying. He's laid some of the groundwork already; but....


Brother Ignatius set a fast pace; time seemed to pass more slowly, was easier to lose track of, here in the tunnels- and expecting as much as he did of haphazard, random violence along the way, no amount of time in hand would be too much. Any left over would find a use, to rest and prepare.

'We're all still alive.' Laure said, sounding surprised. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, for doom's bill to come due.

'Disappointed?' Ignatius asked her. Obscurely, she was, but she was also thinking about how absurd it would be for her to be unhappy that Chaos had not won an points back off them so far.

'I shouldn't be, Brother, I know, but normally there is some price to be paid, and the later it is the higher it may be.'

'Especially against such opposition.' Bohr agreed. 'I can scarcely believe that we have come so far and done so much.'

Your head may not believe it, but your bones are practically broadcasting the fact- I am setting a damn' fast pace, because that seems the best route to victory; move and strike, before they can track us and hit us. We are still outnumbered, oh, about a million to one.'

Which was better odds than usual for Grey Knight, come to think of it- although not all at once. And, he thought, I'm cracking gags to dodge the issue, which is how this is going to sound in their heads.

I'm going to have to tell them a lot of the ugly truths that we do not speak of, I'm going to use them as the shock- shield of their comrades; possibly unfit them for civil life in any way, shape or form. I'm tired, too. Tired of the maze of lies. It is, however, my job.

Can I do this to them- considering what it might take, can I not? Damn.

'A pace more fit for an Astartes, in fact, and trusting to the burn, the sense that you are pushing past your limits, becoming more than you could be against lesser enemies, driving on on wings of devotion and adrenalin, towards what I intend to be quite spectacular. And I'm starting to think I may have been doing a bit of it wrong.'

They all looked at him, perplexed. Laure wondered if she knew what he was on about, and decided to let Bohr make a fool of himself first. He was about to when Hasek pre- empted him. 'We've been hitting the targets you've pointed us at, what more could we have been doing?'

'Not what or anything along those lines, but why. I could have been telling you more about the object of all of this,' Ignatius admitted, 'especially how I expect it all to end. I have a moral question for you- a new possibility has just swum into view, and to give a sensible answer on behalf of your comrades, you should probably know more.'

'More than you told us already, about the four and their minions?' Bohr did ask.

'Somewhat more, yes; because I believe now that we may be- have worked our way into, through their efforts and ours- in striking distance of something extraordinary, and to tell you how and why, you need some more truths to show you the way.

How much were you ever told- how much do you know- of what the Warp is? You know that ships sail through it, and that there are monsters which dwell in it, and you can piece together that the dark gods are the largest and nastiest of the monsters; it's actually more complicated than that.

The Warp is, essentially, dreamland, nightmareland, mindland; the universe of thoughts and impressions, of feelings and qualia, of the echoes of the head; but it is also the ocean of storms, where those thoughts come together and hang together.

I am a psyker, of course, and that does not quite mean what you have been taught to think it means. As a good first definition, a psychic is a man who can swim, in this terrible whirlpool-riven, storm- wracked ocean universe; and it my be best to understand a powerful psyker as a man who can make waves.

An idea that the Imperial Cult in most branches chooses to run away screaming from, but that is nonetheless the case, is that it is not possible to experience dryness- there is no safety. The only way to be completely out of the Warp is to cease to be a mind, and you can look to the Necrons as an example of a people who tried.

As long as you are alive, at least, it can see you- we are all dipped in, touched by the Warp. The difference is that to be a psyker is to know it.

Not really what you were taught at the Schola, is it? A great deal of the Imperial cult, that you were all brought up and trained to believe in, is a defence against the truth- it is not, was intended not to be, the truth itself.

It does contain fragments of it, though- the Warp is a place of madness and monsters, weak psykers are the worst- just enough splashing around to attract the attention of the great pelagic predators without being able to fend them off; and the warp is also the place of mind, the land of dreams. Make the obvious connection.'

It was Bohr who did. 'The dreams...are the monsters. Anything that- how old, what are the powers of darkness?'

'The most primitive- most primordial and powerful needs and fears and the echoes of them in quintillions of minds down the millennia, flowing together as the weather patterns, the gyres and storm centres of the soulscape.' Ignatius stated.

'Critical masses of human and inhuman feeling- and recall I said earlier that each of the chaos powers is really something very simple at the core, something actually normally human, just reduced to absurdity by taking itself to the furthest lengths of extremism? I didn't? I should have.

It is how they work, they call out to something in man- and to almost all the other races- because they are ultimately derived from us, from humanity and all the other intelligent races and most of the semi- intelligent ones; we, collectively, made the warp, it is us in a darkened, distorted mirror- shattered and splintered, taken vastly out of proportion and magnified into nightmare.

The alternatives to being plunged into the warp amount to the death of the species anyway. The Necrons tried to rebuild themselves in safe, soul- less, unaffected metal, and accidentally deprived themselves of minds in the process;

the Tyranids, there is a theory concocted by a notably loony Istvaanite disciple of Kryptmann- forgive the triple tautology- that I think has the ring of truth to it; what we know them as is the remains, the aftermath, of an intelligent race that tried to build, to breed, their own vast and living intelligence systems to shield them from the warp; but their artificial gods turned against them and ate them.

There's not much that can be done against the warp without fighting it with it's own weapons; passive resistance is no resistance at all.'

Laure was horrified- as were they all. She was the one with the courage to say it. 'Brother, this is barbaric- it cannot be true, what of faith? What about grace? What of the God- Emperor watching over us?'

'He does more to calm the waves and shield and defend us all from the excesses of the warp than even you can understand, without knowing the currents and tides; but do we truly do him loyal service in being no more than shielded and protected?

Before the Heresy. he was of the opinion that he could afford to teach us- for the time being- to disbelieve in the warp, that it was just the realm through which starships pass between worlds, not the ocean of all things reduced to absurdity; he knows the truth, the terrible reality of what he is shielding us from, more profoundly than any other man who ever lived.

I believe we honour him poorly who merely crawl at his feet- he is the shield of humanity, yes; but what of the sword? Is that not our part? Faith must amount to more than accepting his protection. You are all soldiers, I'm preaching to the converted; but how many do not?

The other part of the plan, well, the Imperial Cult- even the Emperor's shield- is essentially a fortified field position for the soul, but it is not the whole of the battle, and behind the shield we were meant to gather, to grow in strength and to rise.

There are a second and a third reason why I do not refer to him as the God- Emperor, Astartes ancestry aside; do you know how many times, while he walked among us, he claimed to be a god- and how many times he claimed not to be?

None- and at least twenty. To each of his sons he said something along the lines of, "I am not a God." The first of them being that it is not good for the human mind and soul to be worshipped as a deity- as a different order of creation. He knew the monsters of the Warp too well to want that, and the snivelling wretches who follow them too well to want his people reduced to the status of cultists.

The other being that we hail him as the first and greatest of mankind in order to use him as a living example, our waystone; and follow his plan to transform the human race, to raise it above itself in it's own image, to be a free people able to look upon the face of evil without fear and smash it back into oblivion where it belongs.

If he is one of us, then we should at least be trying, approaching the state of being many of him...I should have a hundred trillion brothers. Instead, we are what we are, frightened and confused, lost and deluded, a fragment of our proper selves- but not done yet.

Daemons are not destroyed like mortal creatures; when I told your regiment that the best they could do was to pour fire into it until it went away,' he said to the three Guardsmen, 'that's the best you can do with ordinary weapons; make them go away.

It doesn't stop them coming back. It costs them their grip on the mortal world, but they could still be summoned- given a foothold- as soon as someone can. This can be very frustrating, when you've taken time and energy and effort and casualties to beat one of the bastards back to the warp and some smartarse chaos sorcerer calls it back five minutes later.

Banishing them properly, as I am trained to do, disrupts them- breaks up the ripples that they are, means they have to coalesce again first. Humanity is safe from them for a little time- perhaps a century, perhaps a thousand years, more, less; time in the Warp does not flow as clearly as it does in the Materium.

Actual and complete destruction, to sunder a daemon permanently and make the human race safe from it for ever more- that's a lot harder. We call it a Chamber 101 result. Worth taking a few risks for.

The only kind you can feasibly do it on are the ones so weak they're hardly worth it anyway; the tiny zephyrs of the warp. Unless special circumstances obtain, and they might just be arrangeable here- depending on how much spiritual strain your comrades can stand.'
The only purpose in my still being here is the stories and the people who come to read them. About all else, I no longer care.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Tandrax218 » 2012-08-30 12:22pm

Bravo sir :-P

I liked the part with the Tyranids.

Will brother Ignatius tell more things to the profane and humble guardsmen in the next part??

I like how this is written, how it captures Ignatius's train of thoughts in all situations.
Does his name have a reference to Prometheus/Lucifer as the bringer of wisdom and knowledge?? Since "ignite" in english means to start something , usually a flame??
Or am i looking for things that are not there.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-08-30 04:07pm

You do know that smiley is usually used to denote ironic disagreement, don't you...

Anyway, you're looking for the wrong in joke. It's- maybe it's just me, but I find it humorous in a sort of tragicomic way just how much of the furniture of the Imperial Cult is stolen and copied from actual religion; so why not?

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Lerryn » 2012-08-30 05:17pm

It's entirely possible that they are just too stunned by the blasphemy to respond right away...
I find it quite amusing that despite him not wanting to be revered as a god, by he became one anyway, at least going by some definitions. (A being of great power who derives that power from the faith/belief/worship of its followers.) Or maybe I'm misremembering my 40k lore.

Anyway, zappy or not, this was great! Although the bit about the reasons Brother Ignatius doesn't call him the "God-Emperor" was a bit confusing in the numbering of the reasons. It seemed to me like he listed 2, and 3, then went back to 1, and then 4, when there were only supposed to be three reasons.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Tandrax218 » 2012-08-30 06:17pm

It was not my intention to appear sarcastic.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-08-30 06:26pm

Didn't think it was, but that one is usually the "yeah, right" smiley- just so you know. (At least, unless I've been doing it wrong the last few years...)

Thanks for commenting, if you have guessed what he means to do don't spoil it for anybody else, and more soon, I hope.

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Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-10-30 05:21am

Not as soon as I had hoped, but-
carries straight on, esentially, a continuation of the same conversation.

'They don't actually need to know or be told all, or for that matter very much, of this; what I need them to do is- remember PW2? No? Different format, obviously- physical weapons and primitive warfare, killing things the old fashioned way.

Boarsnout; you might know it better as a wedge formation. One man in front, actually pushing back against all the rest shoving forward, building pressure, building momentum- at contact the point man stops pushing back, surges through and hopefully shatters the enemy formation.

Basically, I want to do the spiritual equivalent of that. I'll have to be on point of course, considering what we'd be hitting, you've been read in at least so you'd be just behind the tip, metaphorically speaking of course.

In practise, all the complications and dark truths and horrible bits of the universe, I tell you because I expect you will have to shield your comrades from them- you can take it; they wouldn't be able to. I need the thrust of their faith, the psychic pressure of it, but to turn that push into a pierce you need to know the target, to guide them into it, to choose where to strike.' Ignatius said.

'Doesn't the point person in a flying wedge almost invariably get killed?' Laure said. 'And usually those immediately behind?' She blushed almost as soon as the words were out of her mouth- sounded cowardly, sounded wrong, unworthy.

'It's been known to happen.' Ignatius admitted. 'If it's done properly, though, their side usually wins. I've never really been easy with the entire concept of sacrifice- too close to the dark powers' methods.' Ignatius said, damning whole tranches of the Imperial Cult. 'Calculated hazard, on the other hand, is only essential.

'The first thing we have to do is actually physically get to the target. That means getting to the top of the cathedral tower, and it would be useful to do along first then up, sweep it on the way, which means six or seven thousand feet worth of stairs to climb.' He said, in a tone of bright artificial cheerfulness that made them hope he was kidding. They had already come from about two thousand feet underground.

'I might be able to follow you, Brother, but- climbing a small concrete mountain, without the assistance of power armour,' meaning the other four of them, 'and as preparation for a major battle with the forces of darkness?'

'Would you trust your life to a possessed elevator?' Ignatius asked a fairly rhetorical question. 'We can't use their methods, glossing over the problems of time and taint, doing something like capturing a flying disc, breaking it to, have to be my will, and compressing it down to where it became obedient and reliable would make vastly too much noise.'

‘Won’t they be-‘ Hasek said, and stopped.
Go with that thought.’ Ignatius demanded of him.
‘Unless they’re already crazy, they must know we’re likely to try to break up their rites. There’ll be defences, guards, ambushes.’
‘Good.’ Ignatius said. ‘Some of them will be already crazy, but some won’t; there is a fault line there that we could exploit- if there was time. Given that there isn’t and we can’t afford to do that much fighting, what’s the way in?’

Hasek and Bohr raced each other to the solution, and Bohr came up with the worst idea possible. ‘Up the outside of the tower.’
‘Might work, but a seven thousand foot free ascent? Worse than the stairs.’ Ignatius said.
‘Go somewhere else entirely, steal a flyer, start at the top.’ Hasek said, and the Grey Knight looked on the plan and found that it was good.

‘Energy efficient. I like it. Better than the power armoured people trying to play horsey for you up six hundred flights of stairs, and praying for high ceilings.’ Ignatius said, wondering if in some Imperial buildings it had actually been a design consideration. ‘The point of having a root around the lower levels of the tower; that’s where the archives of the entire diocese, the sector priesthood, are kept, and I would like a sniff at what Chaos has done to them; how corrupted, how exploited, subverted- but it’s not massively urgent’ He sighed, theatrically. ‘Oh well. I suppose we’ll just have to do it the easy way. Now, where?’

Flashes and crackling of las and smallarm fire, not far at all. ‘Over there?’ Laure suggested. A, hm, one tower down and two over; a knight’s move. Good omen? It was interesting that it was that particular firefight that had caught her attention, because there was a hint of piety in the air, Aquila shapes- it was supposed to be, or to appear, a loyalist rising against Chaos.

If they’re genuine, he cautioned himself. Could easily be too good to be true. Such things did occasionally take place, and mostly out of fear of what Imperial retribution could do; sometimes the people rallied around and inspiring preacher, sometimes acts of faith showed them the way, sometimes the existing revolutionaries that Chaos loved to tap into realised they were being played for fools, and sometimes the lesser cultists realised they had opted out of a system that was largely indifferent to their suffering and into one that was quite interested that they suffer as much as physically possible.

Ignatius knew in his head that the gut reaction ‘ha ha, sucks to be you’ was counterproductive, but that didn’t necessarily stop it. Schadenfreude was still human, more or less. What about this lot, then? There was another possibility, that it was a trap. A false or managed rising, to suck in and destroy insincere followers, remnant loyalists, Imperial infiltrators.

If I ever manage an Imperial revolution on a Chaos held world, Ignatius daydreamed- it had happened, at the hands of a fellow Brother of the Chapter at that, although the end of that tale was only barely enough to justify the extremely theologically dubious circumstances of the beginning- there will certainly be traps, complications in the fighting intended to sucker in and sucker- play the servants of darkness.

Speaking of the theologically dubious, I can think of a good move to do with them that materially increases our chances of success in the main aim, albeit at the cost of lots of semi- innocent blood. Assuming that’s what they are. Best go and find out.

It was a varm, a vertical hydroponic urban farming tower, for crops rather than beasts; there were stray shots flying out of the windows on half a dozen levels, and firing out of the windows down at the troops around the base. Someone was thrown out from near the top and a Khornate berserker dived after them, slashing at him as he fell- the Khornate looney’s cry of triumph as the other body came apart, a victory in freefall combat, was followed by a moment of howling panic as he realised the logical end of freefall combat.

Fighting Khornates was always fun- a good abrupt, intense bash- up without much in the way of tedious tidying up afterwards. They were practically a self- eliminating problem, and diseased minds like that were why.
Nurgle was expensive to clean up after, but not boring, not as long as there was a streak of pyromania about the cleanup team. The lies and lawyer’s tricks of an accused but unproven Tzeentchian were frequently enough to make ‘kill them all, the God-Emperor will know his own’ start to seem a reasonable proposition;
as for the Slaaneshi- that was the one Ignatius hated hanging around for, feeling that Purity Commissions too often descended into prurient commissions, with a sour sado- masochism of their own that needed to be closely watched for infiltration, subversion, covert resurgences of Chaos.

This lot besieging the varm seemed to be mostly mixed Slaaneshi and Tzeentchian, and quite a lot of their energies were going on shooting each other. Good.

‘Slaughter the besiegers then follow my lead with the defenders, I’m not sure how much of a trap this is.’ Ignatius told his team, not telling them about the possibilities he foresaw- they should get the meaning of it quickly enough. Time for a little psychosurgery- where was the slaaneshi warband leader?

There, the clawed hermaphrodite. Faint scout through the ether around- some interest, some connections of destiny and interest, others watching, the feeling- which if it wasn’t there he’d be worried- of something great and terrible approaching. Not too cluttered, though- clear enough to find a path into the Slaaneshi champion’s head, find the voice the cult leaders spoke to them in, compose a message in that voice; it was an invasive and unpleasant trick, not fit for use on fellow loyalists, but on a cultist the only rule was what did and what did not work.

Using the cultist’s own inner voice, he said- the Tzeentchians have turned against us; would rather see the empire win and us all lose than one power get ahead of the other. Kill them- kill them all.
Sat back and watched the cultist relay what they thought was the will of their patron. Watched the hermaphrodite realise he/she had no idea why those words had come out of their own mouth and there was something wrong , and put a psycannon bolt through their head before they could do too much thinking about it. Said ‘Attack.’

Laure and Albia ran out on the right flank, the three guardsmen started shooting at the rest of the command group of the chaos band, Ignatius on the left- first tactical objective was to take the erstwhile champion’s bodyguard, lieutenants, specialists and harem.
The chief sorcerer/ess, another hermaphrodite and probably part rodent as well, started a chain- dance with two of the harem; an informal ritual building up to a serious release of arcane power, probably a hosting.

Three psycannon bolts, through groin, single breast, mouth, put paid to that- already dying, backlash from the broken rite crisped the sorcerer/ess in black chaotic fire, the two dancers caught by it, converted into screaming mostly- human torches; one blundered into an overturned agritruck, exploding it in promethium and flour, Bohr shot the other through the head- they dropped and the body started melting down into the ‘crete roadway.

The bodyguards sprayed volleys of autogun shot into the grey veil-not drawing blood, but close, too close. Albia had to duck and roll under one hornet- swarm of shot, Laure disdained to dodge- she did get hit by a burst that glanced off her armour.
Ignatius picked for his first target one of the close- fighters, a mutant, a five- armed musclewoman in strappy harness and jingling bells and pendants; she posed and feinted, flourishing the whips and the knives and the thing like a feather duster crackling with lethal electricity, trying to get him to look in five directions at once.

As the seven limbed she- hulk focused on him, she realised it would not be a classic Slaaneshi showing- off fight that ideally would retroactively become rough foreplay, realised too that she had nothing with the mass and leverage to stop a halberd; changed stance and style, tried to catch his descending blade on her crossed knives- too little too late, he corkscrewed round her late, high parry and turned it into a centre-of-mass lunge through muscle and rib, heart and windpipe and backbone; she tried to reach him with the electric duster, clutched with two other hands at the edge of the wound, collapsed, died.
By the time she had finished hitting the ground there were four others there too, in nine pieces.

Fighting wasn’t really a thing, to most slaaneshi; most of those who took up arms did so for the rush, for the adrenalin and lung- bursting, heart- pounding exertion of close combat, for the burning calves and hips, numb feet, leaden knees and saggy, stringy spine of a long forced march, for the pounding, brutal stresses of the life, the intermittent periods of rest and recovery and then under the cosh again- for, in a word, the physicality of it.
The need to actually be good soldiers didn’t occur to them didn’t occur to most of them until a long time in, longer than this rebellion would last if Ignatius had his way. Which, so far, he was.

The cult leader’s general staff officer had also been the group’s Chief Prostitute, the one responsible for keeping track of everyone, their usefulness and their state of mind, what they wanted, what they needed and what they were going to get whether they liked it or not; their whore-mother was dressed accordingly in a parody of a Commissar’s outfit, peaked cap and gloss, nightblack storm coat, and Bohr lined up on her and froze.

He couldn’t do it, tried, demanded his finger to move, started to pray, found that it took everything he had to focus on the right god- she was screaming instructions to the warband, relatively sensible ones too; Hasek and Aule fried and flash- boiled her with two long strings of las pulses into her torso, Hasek finishing it with three shots through her peaked cap as it tumbled to the ground.
Bohr shook himself back together, joined in blasting down what looked like a human/octopus fusion emerging from the building.

Those were the dangerous ones; the rest were all relatively easy kills, especially the ex penal legion troops one of the warband’s subcommanders had been in charge of. Imperial criminals condemned to the bomb, they had murdered their officers too quickly for retribution for the most part, only a few had been exploded, then hoisted the eight- pointed flag;
Chaos had of course rewarded them by leaving them in chains and auctioning them off in lots to the highest bidder, most of whom had been rather more forceful than the Imperium when it came to teaching them to love their submission.

Ignatius’ first clue to this had been when he batted one of their bayonets aside and sliced them in half, and their head exploded. Bit unusual behaviour for a force halberd, he had thought; oh.
There are quite a few of them, too- any of them redeemable? If they were freed, who would rally to the Eagle? None; chaos has had them too long, those who would not bend- and few anyway to begin with- are long gone. Makes this simpler. Where’s the controller? There, right. Fry the codes and over-rides, switches to ‘select all’ and ‘detonate.’

That made the Chaos force usefully smaller, their shooting at each other made it smaller still, and the ground floor of the tower was retaken- the controller having his/her head burst by the flat of the halberd Ignatius slammed down on it.
The two sororitas were practically glowing; they had found many, many righteous things to kill, and had proceeded to do so- Ignatius had at seen them fighting side by side, at one point back to back. Their fighting instincts trusted each other absolutely, there was a bond of sisterhood there that would have been exemplary in normal circumstances- but was rather more debatable between mistress and penitent.

They fought as faithful equals, not driver and driven; either would be traumatised by the other’s loss. What to do about them- what resolution would serve the sororitas, and the Imperium, and themselves?
Another worry that could be usefully served for the moment, deferring that. ‘Laure, take one of the guardsmen, you and Albia go up the west accessway, I’ll take the other two up the east.’

He didn’t need to listen to her think to know what was going through her mind- Hasek’s the best soldier, but Bohr’s the one who could most do with being taken aside for a good talking to. Ignatius wouldn’t be offering me that choice unless her wanted me to take it, unless (and this, she did surprise him a little by thinking) he reckons my fortified field position for the soul will do the cadet more good than his complicated oceanic faith.
Good thinking, he sent to her and said ‘Bohr, you’re with the sisters- Hasek, Aule, with me.’

He set off up the wagon ramp, the guardsmen running to keep up; hearing behind him Aule quietly asking ‘What do you think the sisters will do to him?’
‘Something kinder and gentler than the chaos whore-commissar would have done to him, but not by much.’ Hasek said, realising that Ignatius could hear him anyway- but keeping it down in case the sisters did. ‘He’s wound too tight, he’s going to snap.’
Much safer not repeating the first part, Ignatius thought, but he’s probably right about the second.

The first five levels were grain elevator, and one clearly had suffered a dust explosion, probably at the start of it all, long enough ago for the torn metal edges to start rusting anyway. Above that, loading hoppers, the remains of a ritual circle around the exploded one. That and a scared Tzeentch cultist there to cause a dust explosion, and to die in the fire.

The Lord of Change went to war because, considering the interplay of factors, of terrain and climate, illumination and atmosphere, and the endless shades of courage and cowardice, devotion and dereliction, leadership and followership and misfithood, talent and technicality and terror, the ready and the raw- in a lot of ways it really was the grandest throw of the dice of all.
In this case, the power was gambling that a lonely, foolish man befuddled by threats and promises would pull a trigger.
He might have done, if Ignatius had been slow enough to give him a chance- the blood vessels in his brain blew up too quickly for that.

On and up, then. A group of fleeing cultists running down, away from someone who smelt almost wholesome; oh good, Ignatius thought, and decided to get really arrogant about this by not being fancy.
Three cuts and a thrust straight out of the drill book, and four dead cultists. Hasek shot two more, Aule nailed one, and then the last of them, playing rearguard and exchanging lasbolts with someone on the floor above, backed on to the ramp.
Time for some arrogance, Ignatius thought, and loped quietly forwards. The cultist didn’t register the silence behind him, only caught out of the corner of his eye the body of one of his fellows; backed into the Grey Knight, like a scene out of ten thousand bad horror movies and twenty thousand worse comedies.

‘Boo.’ Ignatius couldn’t resist saying, and slammed his fist down on the cultist’s head and burst it like a ripe melon. The cultist dropped, and he looked to the people who had been chasing him, the people who smelt of incense and were mostly saying things like ‘A Marine, we are saved’ and ‘God- emperor protect us’, and making signs of the Aquila.
‘I suppose you would claim to be the loyalists, then.’
The only purpose in my still being here is the stories and the people who come to read them. About all else, I no longer care.

Eleventh Century Remnant
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2361
Joined: 2006-11-20 06:52am
Location: Scotland

Re: Knight Errant (40K)

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-12-12 01:06pm

Follows straight on-

There was a reason Ignatius had phrased it that way, and looking at them they knew exactly what it was. There was a reserve to their rejoicing, when you looked closely- didn't really need all of his abilities for this, but they helped. Let's see how they go about telling it.

'It is good that you are fighting for the right, but why now of all times- who leads you?' As if I couldn't tell. The one who accepted responsibility for them all did come from near the front of the group, as he had to do- they were a mob, not a unit. Some guns, mostly farm implements. Soon somebody is going to have to invent the outplement, Ignatius thought.

'My lord Astartes, we-' their debatably glorious leader fumbled to a halt. So that's how they're going to tell it, the Grey Knight thought; badly. 'There was no, what could we do against the hordes of the ruinous powers? There-'

I missed you on the initial sweep, Ignatius thought but didn't project, because you weren't there; would have been happier to keep your heads down and even make mouth noises, formal obeisance to the powers of chaos, as long as they chose someone else to sacrifice.

Only stood up and fought back because they did threaten you and yours personally, who was it, a daughter,a wife, a son? Ah, a grandmother. Well, that's slaaneshi for you.

'There are two answers to that question, depending on how bad things are. When the professionals are winning and the dark is far away, your duty as ordinary working citizens of the Imperium boils down to little more than being ordinarily human; do your jobs, live your lives,. keep the faith, don't make it worse for each other than it has to be.'

Some of the theoretical loyalists looked distinctly guilty at various points of that, as well they might. Good. A bit of anger, self- hate and need for redemption might work wonders- it was possible that it would literally have to.

When it all starts to go to hel, when the Great Enemy gets its' act together and starts to locally win, then we do have right and reason to expect everyone with a pulse to stand and fight for the human race. When something as fundamental as our human identity is threatened we must all be soldiers of humanity, only difference full- time or part time. You took a while working that out.'

The two guardsmen didn't know where he was going with that, but even the medic could take an educated guess- a band of somewhat shabby but at least not actively chaotic militia in the middle of the city couldn't possibly expect to be left alone, something would come and eat them all.

Unless the Grey Knight had thought of something better to do with them- which arguably he had, and even if it was largely suicidal, there was little life waiting for them down any of their possible paths. They had been spared thus far, but obviously in anticipation for this.

It was Hasek who asked 'Is the rest of the tower secure, and how many more of you are there?'

The stuttering, stammering answers emerged as 'All the cultists are dead we think, there are about a hundred of us but-' and saying with demeanour what could not be said with words, most had done no more than lash out in desperation and wanted only to be allowed to hide.

'Shame you're arable farmers; there was an interesting diversion possible with grox, but I don't believe anyone has yet fled in terror from a stampeding herd of lettuce.' Ignatius said, with apparent whimsy that would soon harden. 'With more time in hand I'd be tempted to consider that a challenge but- ah. Getting ahead of myself.

I was about to take it for granted that now that you have overcome your terror and let your faith inspire you to rise up against the darkness, you would want to make a difference. Don't you want me to make that assumption?'

Not entirely a rhetorical question; there were some on the verge of cracking, of admitting that they would rather curl up into a ball and wait for the noise and the shouting to stop. There was a proper limit to compassion, and it was where you started forgiving things that would ultimately lead to more, unnecessary suffering.

He stopped far short of most of the instruments of Imperial law himself, but there was an old saying that he had decided made good sense; to show mercy to the guilty is to practise cruelty upon the innocent. This lot may only have been guilty by association, but they certainly were not as pure as they were making themselves out to be.

Didn't make tactical sense to purge them, though. Headquarters' Revenge would suffice; let the enemy deal out the punishment. 'We're infiltrating ahead of the main force to strike a specific target. You've risen in counter- revolution too soon if you want to be physically saved, the main army won't be here until tomorrow morning.

Spiritually, you have much to atone for, and in our souls you know it. Who did you pray to, during the nine days when darkness incarnate stalked the face of the earth? To the god- Emperor for deliverance,' and I know damn' well not many of you did, not loud enough anyway, 'or to the ruinous powers for mercy?

"Take somebody else"- that was it, was it not? Do you think your place is secure in the ranks of the righteous?' Now that was, obviously and entirely, rhetorical. Most of them looked embarrassed and ashamed, as well they may.

Some looked as if they expected him to start laying into them there and then. If there had been a purpose to it- but the overall purpose would be better served by letting the enemy do it.

From the tendrils of attention he could tell Laure was listening in over the vox- not his, the guardsmen's- and to her he linked and said 'Wait, hold action. They may well be irredeemable- propitiatory worship of the dark powers is grounds for execution and quite right too- but I think it would further the aim more effectively to trick them into position where the enemy can do it.'

Turned back to the assembled horde. 'You have taken a step on a path to saving yourselves, but is the first step on that journey of a thousand leagues. Take the stand that as humans you should have done to begin with; direct defiance of the ruinous powers in the name of the Emperor.

Of course, faith and works, work and faith- you are going to need to do an enormous amount of praying, for forgiveness for your errors and for strength in the good fight. For that you need a templum, and I think I see the next necessary step on your path.

Trying for the cathedral wouldn't work, you'd simply die.' He could feel Laure's surprise at that, that had been the plan she was expecting. He had come up with something different in the twenty seconds since it had been his first plan, too. 'The mercer's chapel was pretty badly profaned even when it officially wasn't; where's the parish?'

He looked around, actually looking past the merely visible, feeling for it; profaned of course, but- 'Ah. Start by retaking that, then we'll be able to see what comes next, if you prove yourselves worthy of having light shone on you.'

They were shouting lead us, lead us back to the light; tried that ten days ago and you weren't listening, Ignatius grumbled, but not out loud. 'Good- Laure? as if you weren't listening- sorry about this but I think I've just got you about fifty more penitents.

Treat them as expendable cannon fodder, show them no path to redemption, try to get them killed. Not is it the only way they might actually rise to the challenge, it's also probably true.' To the militia, 'Everyone to the ground floor, loot the cultists as you go.'

A few minutes of anxious sky- watching later, no Chaos reinforcements in sight though, most of them had managed to assemble themselves, some had clearly come running and done too little looting on the way. 'Those of you who picked up the weapons of the dead, how many of you remembered the ammo as well?'

Not very many, not many at all. 'Oh well, just have to do what you can with what you have got. Who still only has a farm implement?' The other half of the team were among the last to arrive, and all was not well. 'Mistress Laure, would you take charge of the assault team- I'm going to need the commissar- cadet back. Considering how funny he's walking, I think definitely support fire. '

Bohr was, indeed, walking like a crab in their general direction, unsteadily, legs crossed, making small shuffling motions with his knees, unable to restrain an expression of total hate. She only went and overdid it, didn't she, Ignatius thought. 'Aule, the eggs, I think the analgesic might be in order. Well, did you learn anything?' he added to the commissar- cadet.

Bohr was finding it difficult to speak without whimpering; he had at least partly expected to be shot, and that may have been less painful. She had considered it but decided it would be too wasteful, and squashed him in an entirely schola- approved fashion.

The preparatory barrage of quotes and doctrinal sayings had only been a lead in to the most cruel trick of all; self- examination. Being forced under ideological pressure- and two crazy women with lethal weapons- to dredge out and face up to, own up to, his own failures.

The first of them being, problematically, that the schola had left him with an unhealthily intense fascination with women in authority, in uniform. Saying that to the sisters could easily have got him eviscerated; appealing to their egos would have had the same effect- and if he had actually chanced his arm, he could probably have looked forward to being hung and quartered as well.

He was trying to think of a line of thought that would leave him unmangled when Laure, no stranger to either side of the process, said 'Stop trying to rodent your way out of it. You let one of the powers of darkness lead you astray by your sex,' which was a strangely coy way of putting it, 'and if it had not been for your comrades you would have fallen.

You have to face that weakness and overcome it; the purpose of penitence is to improve us as people, as servants of the God-Emperor, by burning out our weaknesses and mistakes.' Which is why, both of them silently recited the grim old joke, those insufficiently penitent in themselves are so often set on fire.

'Your crime is especially deserving of correction because you are supposed to know better, trained to be more proof against the powers of evil- intended to be able to keep others from error. What would be appropriate for your own?' she had been caressing the hilt of one of her electroneuronic whips and looking at his groin when she had said that.

He had suffered from another unwise impulse, anger. This pair of psychotic harridans, including the one in chains who was trying not to giggle, were seriously proposing to maim him over a kink in his head that their kind had put there in the first place?

He had bristled, she had noticed and decided to do it the hard way. 'I could cure you of your fixation, but we don't have time for a full course of terror therapy. The lessons would take too long to sink in and the scars too long to heal-

although if you cannot turn your anger against the enemy trying to corrupt you instead of the faithful trying to purify you, perhaps you are not worthy of your authority or your life.'

'Faithful- it was you and your kind who warped me in the first place.' he had said, angrily, and that was when she had flicked him in the groin with the neural whip.

As he had doubled over, she had grabbed him by the throat, pulled him upright again and snarled 'If I have to castrate you to set you back on the straight and narrow, boy, be assured I will. Scuttle back to your duties.'

He was still walking squinty when he returned to the spindle side of the party, and apart from pain and hate, in a state of real unease, if anything she had made him significantly less penitent for his crimes.

Ignatius started with the plan, anyway- 'We're going to be dancing the military one- step, you put down suppressive fire- still too intricate, you shoot and they charge. That's it, I don't think they can cope with anything more complicated. Are you in working order?'

'Did you see what she did to me?' Bohr protested.

'No, but it is kind of obvious. I'll have a word with her. Form up, I'll go and get that lot into order and ready before the cultists launch their spoiling attack. Open when I shout.' Meaning open fire of course, putting it in a way that might help the militia not to go off too soon.

Moved over to the assault group, found Laure trying to decide whether she could in decency divide her command and allow Albia to lead the other part. 'Well, you punished him, I don't know about correction. Distinct lack of spiritual grace over there, and you're not smelling massively happy about it either. A mis- step?'

'I played the legend.' She admitted.

'Is that the one where the Adepta Sororitas are all blood- crazed amazon psychotics, man- hating, ball- breaking harridans who think getting signed up as the Hereticus' hired guns was the best con the feminist movement ever pulled, and an open license to torture and kill anything without a vagina?' Ignatius said, humourously enough, but-

'That would be a...fairly extreme version of the red legend.' Laure said, but acknowledged it also. 'If that's what Bohr's gone away thinking, then I may have overdone it. I was trying to make him angry, use righteous wrath as the vehicle of his self regeneration.'

'You have materially reduced his prospects of survival if he can barely walk in a straight line, which doesn't leave him much time for that internal reformation.' Ignatius said, and knew she would feel gloomy about it.

'This was originally going to be a feint, a bluff to draw out and fight in isolation some of the defenders we'd otherwise have to face during the main event; I think now we may need to push it through, if only for the sake of spending some time in front of an altar.' he added.

'I see, and I believe- Albia, take that group there, make ready to swing in on their flank on the left.' Laure acknowledged, and added 'One thing, Brother, that version of the legend of the red rage was very, ah, specific.'

'It's more or less the words of a pre- battle sermon given by Celestian Sister- Superior Bridett of the Order of the Radiant Heart to her combat team, and accidentally to an assault squad of Astartes she underestimated the hearing of. Who also happened to be on the vox to a Guard artillery regiment at the time.' Ignatius said.

'The radiant heart are an order famulous.' Laure said. 'Not militant.'

'After the fallout from that incident settled they were, yes.' Ignatius said, adding

'That's the theoretical reason you don't take a vow of chastity, incidentally; not because of the other legend, which is almost entirely legendary, but because it doesn't serve to let you sever yourselves in principle from and become hostile strangers to half the human race, especially not the half you're most often called upon to police. Doesn't do to let sheepdogs develop quite that level of contempt for the sheep...ready?'

She was still trying to make sense of that, but nodded anyway. 'Wait for it,' he told her, then called to the firing party 'Shoot.'

The three guardsmen were the first by a clear second, then the rest realised and joined in. Bohr and Aule had swapped weapons; the commissar- cadet would be shooting crosseyed, unable to do much good with the long, heavy sniper weapon.

The medic was at best a second class shot, but he did score- three of the milling crowd of cultists dropped, one trailing a red ribbon downward from the corona of pink mist where his head had been, one dead quick from a blasted chest and the third dying slowly and noisily from a bolt in the gut.

Then the fire from the more-or-less loyalists arrived. They were actually quite well tooled up, apart from ammunition; the cultist penal troops having issue lasguns, and the militia should have had more of them but some had obviously not been picked up.

The parish templum itself was not a massively tall building, but it was a broad one, intended to serve several city towers, it had a catchment of roughly a million- in other times with fewer of them on fire, anyway. Someone from towards the end of the second millennium would have said it looked more like a sports stadium than a church.

Intended for the masses, it didn't have gates as such, more of a concourse through which worshippers passed and were streamed to the stairwells to their assigned seats. The most privileged got seats closest to the altar, which meant the lower tiers so they could afford to arrive last.

Highly dubious architecture, theologically speaking, Ignatius thought. I'd rather burn it to the ground and start again with something less likely to breed discontent and ultimately revolution- something in which the rewards of mortal power and wealth do not quite so obviously include freedom from the faith.

Depending on how messy this brawl gets, that could perhaps be made to occur, which was a cheerful consideration. Most of the lounging, lazing, sneering, graffiti'ing cultists scattered under the fire, some of them ducking back behind something solid, some running into the main building, some scattering. A few fell. He gave the word; 'Go.'

There was nothing and no-one of sufficient danger to warrant a lascannon shot, still less a psycannon bolt; I need another minion- potting piece, he thought, should be a suitable one available once there are a few dead minions.

He could have been amongst them in three seconds, Laure in seven, Albia in ten; it wasn't likely to be that desperate a fight though, probably easier than the transtubes- they weren't Khornates, more shockable, could be made to break and run.

He held the Sororitas back, saying for public consumption 'Steady; give them their chance at redemption.' Albia looked confusedly at him- she had initially meant that to be a glare, but half way through figured out what he was saying was a con, and wanted to know what he did mean.

Tell you later, he signed quickly, saying 'Support them where they're starting to lose- come on.' It was unwise- although he had seen cultists do it time and again- to assault through the beaten zone of the suppressing fire. Most of the militia didn't know any better; a few had learned fast from fighting the cultists, and they were the ones who got it right.

There were some stray bolts and some friendly fire casualties before reaching the building, stabs of horror and guilt as farmer shot farmer breaking up the general tide of slowly kindling righteous hate. Neither of the sisters were shot in the back by the commissar- cadet, although Ignatius could tell he was thinking about it. For the rest, guilt and shame were driving them, but they had fallen far and had an enormous amount to win back.

Some of them may have known better, but enough of them were stupid and desperate enough to think they had a chance. Most of the cultists were just cultists, nothing special; the ones that weren't were singled out for attention- the single Tzeentchian who could be credibly called a dark apprentice got a halberd through her head before really figuring out what was happening.

The bulk of the action was small- c chaos, unit cohesion was beyond cultists and farmer militia alike; blurs of people slashing and ducking, looking for backs and trying to cover their own. The attack lost momentum quickly, except where the full time soldiers of humanity were- and they were moving too fast to keep up with.

It was back to the slice-hockey field for them- the two Sororitas practically herding the cultists, those they could identify anyway, towards Ignatius who had sprinted round between the bulk of them and the right hand entrance to the nave of the arena- temple; driving the cultists before them as if they were pucks and the Grey Knight was keeping goal.

Some Chapters made a common practise of such things, allowing the Brothers sports and pursuits outside the Codex- approved rounds of prayer and drill and training; the Space Wolves were notorious for it. The Grey Knights, although hardly codex, had an enormous amount of prayer and drill and training of their own to do and a Marine was lucky if he got twenty or thirty seconds off a day.

It had been a long time since Ignatius had done anything of the sort. On the other hand it involved hitting things, so he picked it up fairly quickly. There was still the occasional lasbolt falling, but the cultists- telepathically he sent, Right, ladies, the cultists are about to try to break and run past you, don't hold them, let them run and let the farmers chase. I want the word to spread.

The cultists could have won, there were enough of them, but Hasek- doing more than his share of the work- was guiding the other two in picking off those who looked like they were organising anything; could have beaten the farmers in melee, but for the sisters and the paladin of the Emperor's light cutting down all of them they could reach.

He was right; they broke and ran for the left hand entrance to the seating of the complex, and for a wonder Albia did what she was told and managed to avoid being trampled; it was Laure who tried to play matador.

Having people stand on you matters rather less in power armour than it does at most other times, but she was knocked to the ground, did have the eviscerator knocked out of her hand, and as Ignatius picked her up he wondered where she had been hit. Hadn't; it was just moral shock.

'I made a mistake.' she said, dazed, as Albia found the two handed chainsword for her and folded her hand around it. 'That was daft. Silly. Unworthy.'

'Why do you think I decided we need an altar?' Ignatius prodded her. 'Ah, crap.' Looking at the horizon, through the shattered windows of the nave. 'That would be their reinforcements. A plan coming together may be a wonderful thing, but two at once? Oh, well.'

He turned to shout at the firing party; 'Come on, get over here. You're not going to save your souls by dithering about it. Loot the dead on the way, and remember the ammo this time, you're going to need it.'

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