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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-05-25 01:46am
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Saw this (Chibi-Inquisition) and thought of this thread. For some reason, it my mind insists it fits this story. :?

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-05-25 08:19am
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My mind think it fits too. Maybe it could be the cover if it was ever printed. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-05-25 09:08am
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...

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It's Rogue, not Rouge!

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-05-25 10:48am
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Which, Rogue, (see I can spell it properly when I actually mean to), is actually the point- that an excess of grimdark drives people to Chaos, apparently both in and out of universe.

Between you, Rodon and InsaneTD, you've managed to illustrate that pretty nicely actually...juggling several things, one overdue, don't expect a new chapter until saturday.

[Edited in]- the really frightening thing about that picture is despite the fact they're clearly supposed to be chibi, their proportions aren't that far off the actual miniatures. Wonder what this says about the universe? :D


Last edited by Eleventh Century Remnant on 2011-05-26 04:43pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-05-25 11:41pm
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"Any plan which requires the direct intervention of any deity to work can be assumed to be a very poor one."- Newbiespud

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-05-27 10:28am
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
Which, Rogue, (see I can spell it properly when I actually mean to), is actually the point- that an excess of grimdark drives people to Chaos, apparently both in and out of universe.

Between you, Rodon and InsaneTD, you've managed to illustrate that pretty nicely actually...

That was rather the point. :lol:



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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-05-28 06:37am
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Next bit.


Getting in through the walls was going to be interesting. Laure thought she had worked it out; he looked at the rest. 'Any bright ideas?'

'We could disguise ourselves as Imperial Assassins. In fact, I'll go and do that now. Back in thirty years.' Hasek said, although making no attempt to move.

We could disguise ourselves as converts to Chaos, crossed Aule's mind before being firmly squashed- no, Ignatius would shoot us for thinking that, was his next clear fragment of mind.

I wouldn't, the Marine thought, although I would send the idea down in flames because there's no way they could pull it off through their front line. Physically maybe, but that would be beyond the psychologically possible for the two Sororitas, not and stay sane. The three guardsmen could, though, and will have to once we are in.

'Over, under or through. Not by the same route as the Sisters to preserve surprise for them, so some other bit of infrastructure, something underground- pipeline or transtube?' Bohr suggested.

'If the army knows it exists, they'll be sending infiltrators down it- if Chaos knows it exists, they'll be sending some the other way.' Hasek pointed out.


'Sssh.' Ignatius noticed something prodding him on the psychic plane, waved them to silence. 'Think in pianissimo.' Someone, something from within the walls- less subtle than a farseer by a long way, but under much less of the immediate pressure that had denied the farseer the room to be subtle.

Someone thinking about tunnels, and assassins, and hit teams, and Ignatius learned a good deal before someone else hit the one who was thinking at him across the back of the head and told him not to be so stupid, stop trying to make contact with your target, you're giving far too much away.

He was, too. There were tunnels, quite a lot of them- the city had been placed where it was by the first colonists because of rich mineral seams that had been mined out long ago, some of the caverns converted to secure farms, some used for warehousing and the mass- transit system, more closed off and filled as best they could.

Sensibly, there had been a strong leadfoot presence- that seemed to be the nickname of the local police force- in the tunnels; stations established, sector houses set up. Unsensibly, nobody had kept a close enough eye on them, and they had been the first of the forces of order to be corrupted. The place had turned into a punishment posting, and the disgruntled leadfeet had been easy prey for the cultists and mutants they were supposed to be there to suppress.


There were old lift and vent shafts, most of them diverted or sealed or capped by some kind of facility when they were recycled to other use. How to find them? How far back did the maps and records go, could they be trusted?

'Mistress Repentia, could you vox for access, have army command transmit to you a set of the ordnance drawings for the caverns of the undercity?' he asked her- in theory he could do it, but that would mean playing data-war games he didn't have time for.

She looked surprised. 'I was sure you could just veil us and walk in.'

'It's not the best possible option.' he said, thinking about trying to lead five non-psychics past two million eyes, more. Could be done, wasn't actually impossible, but it was sufficiently close to it to be a lot more demanding than he wanted at this stage of the proceedings.

She got the files he needed, and he looked over them, wondering with a spare bit of his brain how poor an outfit for mountaineering penitent's harness would really be and how much telekinetic manipulation this was going to need.


'Right, we're going to have to do this the incredibly stupid way. Down a vent shaft, there's a suitable one klick and a half that way. The people in power armour are going to have to anchor the ends of the line.'

What followed constituted a worryingly large number of calculated risks, made worse by how embarrassed he would feel if anything went wrong. Imagine getting killed by a patch of moss after fighting the nightmares of the warp.

It made more sense for him to go first, for combat reasons and also to catch anyone who did fall. All three guardsmen were struggling with their packs, Bohr especially with his greatcoat- even bundled up at the top of his pack it was a problem. Albia's movements were a little restricted by the fetters, but more by having to heft the bulk of the chain eviscerator.

On the other hand, it was actually a refreshing experience watching his picked five justify themselves by cool- headedly recalling their training and putting it into practise, refusing to panic and steadily making their way down the shaft. More successfully than he did, at points- Mark four, armorum ultimum, should have been the last word in Astartes kit, but lightweight it definitely was not.

He found himself wishing for a flight pack; then wondering if those blip packs the Warp Spiders used could actually be employed safely by non thrillseeking idiots; Ignatius' mind wandered from there onto the concept of drive- by shootings, the blip pack as a means of attacking things in the warp, enter, stab, exit- why hadn't he thought of that earlier?

Well, he had been rather busy at the time- and was now, as this was the end of the shaft. No light, coal black. Risk, briefly, a momentary flash of mind, reaching out and probing for the presence of rocks and animals but above all, other mind.


Clear of actual live thought, which meant there was either nothing there or somebody incredibly good at masking their presence, which meant a worthy opponent- almost as good, from a certain point of view.

Dead thoughts, yes; there were such things- what else was psychometry made of? The impressions left on the place by the people who had passed through it, thought of it, had to do with it- there were surges of emotion in there, there had been a disaster in the gallery the airshaft opened into and a rescue that had saved many of them. One of a billion such incidents, more, across the Imperium. Except for the survival, that was unusual.

Useful camouflage- the more thought of and storied a place, the better it was, more opportunities it gave to be lost in the noise. Of course, the more physical eyes there were likely to be.

Here? Bugs and fungus- not nurglite, no unnatural taint, just perfectly ordinary cave mould. Wait, let the senses adjust- a small drip of water, his own breath and heartbeat, faint, faint echoes used to plot out the limits of the gallery.

First down was Albia, who got tangled in the rope looping through her fetters; must have been tortuously uncomfortable- she could see nothing but felt the big Marine loom close to her to unravel her, was startled and put on the defensive before recognising who it must be.

Tortuous was normal for her now, she stood quiet, rather like a horse, just breathing, while he untangled her then she stepped to one side, sliding smoothly over the rock, weapon poised, taking up guard stations- quickly, before he could talk to her.

She was less good at stealth- even with the handicap of a huge mechanised suit, Ignatius was quieter and less obvious to the eye. She jingled faintly, too, and he thought ah, stereo. Two sources of sound to estimate with now.


The guardsmen arrived, Bohr with sore arms and backside from bashing off the rock on the way down but nothing essential, Aule and Hasek in better shape, followed closely by the mistress- she was about to light up one of her neural whips for the illumination it would provide and the readiness to engage whatever lurked, it occurred to her how mad an idea that might be.

'Don't waste time waiting to dark-adapt, there really is no light. Minimal luminance, red.' For better preservation of darkvision, probably pointless but a precaution worth taking anyway.

The dim light showed a roughly kidney- shaped gallery, a few long- dead lumps of machinery and bracing, one obvious exit largely blocked with rubble. Juggling what they had and what they needed and what was probably on the other side of that, why hadn't he remembered to steal a melta, too? How much noise, physical and psychic, could they afford, against how much time?

'Nine- sixties.' he ordered. 'You too, sister. Only fair that those of us who need the biggest gap should help make it.' he said moving in that direction himself, unlimbering the entrenching tool he had borrowed from a dead guardsman some forty- odd years ago.

'Why did you assume that I wouldn't?' she said. Realising as she said it that she had no suitable implement for the job. She joined in with her bare hands, the penitent trying to do the same- she had a small pack, which evidently contained nothing immediately useful. Still tried, though.


It would have been even more embarrassing if they hadn't been able to achieve anything, but they did- pulled aside most of the loose rock, before coming to- 'Hm. Sssh.' Ignatius paused and let his perceptions drift, seeing what was on the other side of the wall.

Right, they all heard him say telepathically within their heads. This has been vitrified- melta shot- from the other side, there are mutants in the chamber, if they are aware of us they're playing it very cool. Best guess, a hit team, squad size, poised to go out up the shaft, waiting for their digging and climbing gear to arrive. Might as well make a virtue out of a necessity- I'll mind blast a gap, we all go through hard and fast.

He waited a second- only that- for them to gather themselves, the two sororitas to ready their weapons, and put forth a single wave of kinetic force- a surge that hit the vitrified rock and splintered it apart, hurling shards and fragments and great slabs of razor-edged near-glass, shredding into the chaos band on the other side.

Through while the dust was still billowing, a giant and frightening shape, grey death come for them, nemesis halberd already swinging- body fast, mind faster; he did not outrun his own ability to take in the situation. Tzeentch's sacred number was nine, was it not; unless he had changed it recently. Two nines, then, two combat teams each shot a couple of bodies, close and ranged. Excellent. Lots of kit to plunder.

Two of them looked down for good- a solid lump through the face, a fast splinter through the heart- another four had caught pieces, and one of those four was armed with a peculiar thing that looked mostly like a melta gun with the front end more like a fire-throwing minor daemon's arms; Ignatius' first swipe of the halberd was to put that one down, rolling it out into a figure-eight that caught one armed with what looked like a parody of lightning claws.


Feint left, dart right, get in amongst them- stupidly dangerous, the wrong way to go about this, but necessary to win room for the team to come through without being met by a curtain of fire. Speaking of which- he pushed off to the right with a back- kick that crushed the ribs of a needle-gunner, then wrapped a cone of kinetic force loosely anchored round the muzzle of a flamer.

The cultist with the flamer did not notice the sharp little glitter, stepped away to open arc and pulled the trigger- rocket propelling the cone into, curving as it flew, a renegade leadfoot, and directing most of the fire back at himself- another lunge and shove with the flat of the halberd propelled the burning cultist down the corridor to where he could detonate in safety.

Right, enough fun, Ignatius thought, I have their attention and my lot have their opening, and that leadfoot was bodyguarding, ah, time to go back to work. Psyker. Looked unsteady, not in charge- probably an ex- sanctionee, female, dangling a broken suppressor at her neck and with a crown of iron spikes protruding directly from her skull.

Close quarters, what to do- reach round behind him, not bothering to look, catch an incoming blade on the hilt of the halberd and twist the blade, hilt pushing the sword up and away, blade scything round low and up slicing the cultist from groin to bottom rib. Hm, rest could be left to the team- grab the psyker, pull her close to him. Mind war.


It was a dirty trick, but a necessary one. He burst through her psychic defences in a heartbeat, far too fast for her to summon the strength that would have made it harder- which was actually what he wanted of her, but on his terms. He flashed into her, shouted into her, images of red and brass, of blood and skulls, of slaughter by thirsty axes.

Confused and already half defeated, she did what the grey knight wanted- surrendered herself to her patron and screamed for help. Invited in the daemon. She was already damned, after all. Possession, sacrifice of self to the changer, treachery and blood-greed of the mindless slayer- the lure worked.

For all of half a second, as the daemon flooded into her but had no time to do anything, to make sense of the blur in her eyes, to notice that she was already under control- before Ignatius laid the flat of the halberd on her head and sent a blast of cleansing and clearing force through it, a field rite of unbinding and banishment.

Her eyes cleared, returned to their natural colour, the iron spikes fell out of her head and she curled up in a ball, weeping, wailing- hard to notice over what else was going on. Possessed (however briefly) and cleansed of possession- interesting things should be possible there once she stops crying.

Right, the grey knight thought looking for the rest of the fighting, I've sown confusion- the Tzeentchians should now think it was Khorne cultists that turned on them- added another one to my score, not a particularly good banishment but humanity should be safe from that one for a century or so, and got a source of inside knowledge. Now is there anything left to kill?


Albia had managed to miss with the eviscerator, dodge the power maul the cultist wielding it had undoubtedly stolen from the arbites armouries, and instead of bringing the huge, clumsy weapon up again was apparently trying to beat him to death with the loose end of one of her chains. It was working much more effectively than the chainblade.

The guard team had dropped one with laserfire, riddled the carapace armour- Aule had a rent in the flak armour over his shoulder but his bayonet was wet, Hasek was stabbing one again to make sure, Bohr was engaging one with the chainsword, fence, fence, fence, you do realise I have a laspistol and you have a face? Zap.

One of the cultists was down with his head quite literally kicked in- a power armoured foot would do that. The last, Laure whiplashed her neural stingers one round each arm and pulled- outwards. Ripping his arms off, the body stumbled towards her and she finished him with an elbow into the top of his skull, breaking it.

'All of that practical experience breaking heads, and most of you still go into battle without your helmets on.' Ignatius said to her, conversationally, signalling that the fight was over. The rest of the team couldn't believe it for a second, adding up how many they had been responsible for, how many there had been, looking at him and thinking; bloody hell.

'Of course, brother. The emperor protects.' she said, deadpan, but the corners of her mouth turning up. 'What of-' she gestured with a whip towards the crouching sanctioned psyker.


'A complicated subject, but my specialty to deal with, don't hurt her.' Ignatius said, as Albia went over, blade disengaged, to sit by her. That might work, Ignatius thought. Ah, damn, not quite over yet. Simple telekinesis this time- tear open the side of the tunnel and kill the four remaining cultists, the ones who had been sent for tunnelling and climbing gear, with a shower of splinters.

Did Chaos have better forensic science than the Imperium? Could they tell that this was not the work of rival cultists? The only massive giveaways were in the immaterium, the banishment most of all, and he could blur the traces of that himself. His work to do.

'Hm- tell me, mistress repentia, would it be desperately irreverent of me to suggest equipping your penitent with something more practical than an eviscerator?' She looked askance at him. 'Think about it,' he said, 'it's the weapon you give to your errants when you want them to die. It's so heavy and clumsy to wield that only the Emperor's grace can keep someone alive when they try to fight with it.'

'I have considerable affection for the eviscerator.' she said, for her own personal reasons and knowing she didn't need to elaborate. 'If that is laid down as one of the challenges that must be overcome on the way back to the light, then thus it shall be.'

'Remember all the times when you hadn't- and even if,' he said, 'this is the alternative?' a few long steps to the four stray cultists, pick up what they had intended to use as cutting gear, check it briefly for damage- scuffed but not breached by splinters, much tougher than the beings carrying it; hadn't been in their hands long enough to be tainted. A backpack- fed lascutter.


She could see the practical aspects of it- eyes lit up in fact, and she was fighting hard against temptation. 'The penance I would have to require of her for laying aside the holy eviscerator, and of myself for allowing it, is...daunting.'

'I won't imperil her salvation. If this is necessitate medii, then that is all there is to it, but- not for an Astartes, actually, or other troops attached, there is a verse of the praeforma that covers this.'

'Praeforma, brother?'

'I wasn't joking when I gave that sermon, the Imperium really is built on the human past and all those who have come before- and the praeforma is the collection of wisdom and sayings of the past the Astartes have found useful and worthy to be carried on and made our own. Most of it restated in the codex anyway. One of the earliest verses; Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.'

She looked desperately confused. If she thinks she has trouble now, Ignatius thought, it's only going to get worse. 'While you reason through the theology of it, I'll deal with the psyker.'

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-05-28 01:14pm
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"you do realise I have a laspistol and you have a face? Zap."

And that lascutter... you are in evil form today. :mrgreen:



Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
What is this 'favourite character' you speak of? I have walls lined with bookshelves, having a single favourite character would be like having a favourite brick.
-Story of my literary tastes.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-05-29 04:49am
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Hm, so lets see, we've got a few guardsmen, a couple of Sisters of Battle and now a Chaos cultist whos been illuminated (i believe thats the term for those who had been possessed then freed of the possesion?)? Interesting, very interesting.

Edit: THat is if the cultist made it through with sanity intact.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-06-10 10:14am
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Next bit.

The Grey Knight moved over to, crouched down by the possessed and possibly redeemed psyker. Albia stood to move away, and as she did she gave Ignatius a look of total anger and hate- she didn't realise he was going to be looking back at her, pulled her eyes off him quickly, horrified that she had been caught, but the damage was done.

Must talk to her, to correct her perceptions if nothing else. This wretched shell is not to be pitied, or envied. Well, pity perhaps. Did that too fast- no wards and containments at all. Happened within my psychic shadow, which is why it didn't touch the rest of the team.

Humanly understandable that the penitent should have some venom in her now, seeing this, what they were brought up to regard as an abomination, fallen so far and so deep, apparently redeemed and shown mercy, while she, for what was undoubtedly a lesser crime, was doomed to death- who would not be angry and hateful?

Understandable but awkward. Have to be addressed. Worst first, though.

Banishment could be as delicate and detailed as cellular surgery, or it could be as blunt and brutal as grab, rip. This definitely fit the upper end of the scale. A fast, field, brute force rite that had left little coherent behind- a few fragments though.

Question is, is there enough integrity there to rebuild on- knit the ragged pieces of her soul together? Was she a willing victim who gave herself to chaos or someone who was taken against her will? It did matter- mattered immensely in fact. In this, intention was all.


Let me see, service worker- shop assistant- in a fairly mainstream- civilised world, power manifestation was indiscreet but not destructive- except of reputations and careers that if there was that much to find, probably deserved it anyway. Sanctioning was brutal and forceful, left her a gibbering wreck- and then she was shipped to the first world that needed one, which spoke a dialect she couldn't understand.

Surrounded by people treating her as if she was an object. Less than an animal- most pets are better taken care of. People shouting incomprehensible gibberish at her and enjoying it when she cried. Hating and hurting her, who had never meant to do any harm.

She would not have lived long under such a regime, would have died of misery and maltreatment, but for one exceptional sadist who had noticed that going under and coming out from the psychic suppressor was a spine-knottingly traumatic process- and enjoyed himself by doing exactly that, activating it and deactivating it to watch her squirm.

In the moments of clarity and unleashed ability, she had screamed her despair to the warp, and it had heard her. Now, well. She had touched, for a moment, the transcendent inhumanity of chaos, of the daemonic mind which consisted of ideas taken to their illogical extreme, far beyond the point to which the human could go without being shattered.

As bad as the situation could be, in fact. She had turned to chaos more than eagerly, desperation-driven to embrace it thinking it could not be worse than what she was going through- to find out that she was wrong, and it could.


There were few specific crimes at her door, she had been so damaged by revelation and counter- revelation that they had been unable to make much use of her- why she was under something like control; but by the same token, she was too badly damaged to be of service to the light.

Physically, he noticed, catatonic. Mentally- that he was thinking deeply into her was the only way to get a response at all. How desperately different the world would have to be from what it is now, he thought, for clawing her back to mean anything at all.

The vision of a society that could organise and operate things like support and rehabilitation centres for recovering possessees was so fantastically unpossible that it was that of life which is comedy, to those who think. Yet that was what she needed. Deep, prolonged therapy to make her useful again, and infinite patience and kindness to lead her to want to be.

And while I'm daydreaming, Ignatius thought, I'd like a pony. In my size. Understanding must not imply sympathy, not in this case, not even knowing how much she had to suffer. She turned, was driven to it but turned, of what will she had left allowed to her. Damn it. There is no time- there are too many others I have to prevent reaching this state.


Nastassia, he whispered in her mind, can you hear me? She screamed back at him, a flood of rage and hate and fear, enough to make him wonder if he had missed and she was still possessed- but only metaphorically, only by the horror that would never leave her. Within fingertip reach to save her, but not within grasp. Not without a decade of spare time and no one else who needed him.

Nastassia, I can feel through you the wounds that were given you through your body, those dealt directly to your soul, life has lost it's charm but the end holds newer, greater terrors- I can make a clean end of it for you. Make the emperor's mercy just this once more than the sick joke it usually is. Send you and shield you on your way to quiet, calm oblivion, there not to know sin nor sorrow any more.

She practically leaped backwards into his head looking for a way to make him do it, demanded it, and the idea of a bargain would fail- she was too gone to understand it. He dissolved her soul away to nothingness, without resistance, and simply picked strands out of her mind as it faded apart- people, places, identities, targets.

Stood up from the lifeless corpse. 'Bohr, Albia- mutilate the bodies, if you please. You have chainblades, make the damage done to these look as if it was done by crazed axemen. Hasek, Aule, stand guard.' They recognised that "if you please" actually meant "I am in a perfect mood to spread the first person who crosses me in a one cell deep layer across that wall".


Anger, they were told, is a powerful primal thing and a valuable source of spiritual energy, but also a wayward one. It will follow it's own path, and try to take you with it. It may drive, but it must not decide- draw strength from it by all means, but not direction, cool learned judgement must be and remain in control.

Once in the company and down to on the job training, the strictures were actually more severe than that- old Captain Lothar had taught his men to suspect the primal, to experience and understand but not to trust, to always, always second- guess the base impulses, and third- guess as well if there was time. Never forget, he had said, that our enemies are primal forces too.

I am not, he forcibly reminded himself, a creature of moods. At least, I wasn't. I may have got somewhat more whimsical over the last fifty years. The other four were doing as he had told them, and Mistress Laure had the sensitivity and sense to say nothing, just walk into his field of vision and silently let him remind himself of her own trials, of her responsibilities for the damned.

Ah, he thought. Displacement. Judgement and wisdom and direction against the main enemy, but against the failures of the Imperium, never specifically taught the same self restraint, not intinctively applying it to the same degree. I allow myself more wrath against my own side. And how depressing that is that I managed not to make that connection until now.

'She doesn't have to abandon the eviscerator. More of a burden in fact, more of a trial, if she kept it with her and fought most of the way with another heavy, clumsy killing-tool. And no, it was not in their hands long enough to be tainted.' He decided to change the subject- it was healthier.


She nodded- surprised that she could actually clearly hear him over the sound of chainsaws, and wondering if it was entirely right, knowing that it was but her gut was reacting otherwise, to simulate the powers of darkness. Head said yes, and that she was an idiot for not pondering this before, gut nearly went into rebellion, but held in check- he had been right about the penitent's harness, she did drive herself.

Among the eldar who attacked you earlier, he decided to think at her- easier than shouting- there was one who, hm. There is a cycle of passion plays they stage from time to time, of their great heresy and the destruction of most of their race- and of the players, there are a handful whose role it is to act out the part of the great power of darkness that devoured them.

It cannot be done without total dedication, and inevitably, most of those who play the part of the dark power do end up living the role, do become tainted, and damned. Do you remember that wall we spoke of? For them, for their race, for their cause, the wall barely exists. They can cross it easily. Some do.

For us, whether the barriers are stronger or whether we are less able to transgress them, debatable, but it is at least potentially easier for us to stay within the light. And really, your turning to chaos is only a shade less likely than me doing so. Such acting as needs to be done is going to have to be done by those who are believable in the part. The guardsmen, actually.

She was damned, he gestured to the psyker's corpse currently having an eviscerator taken to it, but she would not have been so if others had done their duty, their human duty by her; if she had not been cast out, treated as subhuman and made easy prey- tossed over the wall like rubbish for the hounds of hell to scavenge. I am angry- I am furious at that, but not with you.

Well, it's done now, and I got enough from her to scent a fruitful target. Follow.


He broadcast that to all five of the team- no compulsion, but they could sense his wrath, and in the last analysis would have chosen to go no other way- and they finished up and followed him.

The Grey Knight on point, Albia immediately behind him- the lascutter would do a very thorough job even on his armour (or titan plating, if it came to that) and he was wary of having her immediately behind him, but she probably wasn't that kind of threat. Watch but take no action that might unsettle her further. Bohr and Aule in the middle, Hasek and Laure bringing up the rear.

Surprising how much time he had to stand and stare, but it really shouldn't have been- his older, higher spec armour could move him much faster than any of the rest. Plus the individual superiority of the being in it.

They were moving at a fairly rapid pace, as fast as they could without making too much noise or too many mistakes; infantry work was a young being's game, but they were all young- Laure, late in her third decade but with armour to support her, was the oldest, at a shade over a tenth of his age.

What was it that had been said once very long ago about light fast shock cavalry- the only possible explanation for any of them managing to live past the age of thirty had to be cowardice?

How many generals would dare issue the order, in person, face to face- "You're not dying fast enough, take more risks"? Yet the man who had said that, a brigadier, had- and been killed in action himself at the age of thirty-one. Amazingly by the enemy, rather than his own men.

Considering the hazards the sisters cheerfully threw themselves at, something like it was probably true for them too- although the cutoff age probably wasn't even that high. Well, maybe with warp journey time.


Anyway, they were here at the garbage dump he had been heading for. Old enough that the lower strata had ossified, and needed some rummaging through. He followed the faint glimmer, pulling bits out of the heap and tossing them aside, came up with four precious relics- fist-sized white eggs. Intact, but then they were tempoplast- designed to last a long, long time.

Anyone got a ration bar?' he asked, was handed one- astartes rations really wouldn't mix with these- split it into four and put one part in each egg. 'Aule, this is your business. These are med eggs; products of the age of technology and the other side of the STC system. Intended for the transitional period on a new colony before the complicated facilities could be set up, they're basically drug factories.'

Aule nodded for a second, thinking 'Oh, okay'- before the ridiculousness of that caught up to him. 'What? Quality, sterility, it's, they're buildings aren't they? How?'

'This is what the human race used to be able to do.' Ignatius said. 'We have a broad- spectrum antibiotic, an analgesic- anti-inflammatory, something that enables self-retrotyping whatever that means, and an anti- psychotic. A good combination. Oh, and before I let you wander off with these, they're actually illegal, declared tech- heresy by the Adeptus Mechanicus.'

'Ah.' was all Aule said, while trying to come up with a reasonable excuse for asking why. Made no sense, they could be so useful. But authority, but practicality, field resupply-

'Most pharms are big buildings, and big business- run and managed by tech- adepts. Too much technology like this lying around would seriously eat into their profit margin.' Ignatius said. 'Now, sssh. We have ick people to sneak up on.'


They made their way out of the rough rock into more regular spaces, at route pace- worried by it, but trusting to Ignatius' senses to warn them. A couple of detours round groups of enemies not yet ripe, before arriving at what was probably a disused siding for underground trains, long since derelict and lit by portable lamps- with a collection of misshapen figures, and one pus-smeared soldier standing guard.

Ignatius had wondered how the servants of the plague god managed to solve that problem, of soldiers being too ill to fight- they did tend to crossinfect each other with all and sundry- and actually it looked as if they didn't. The guard was coughing a lot, occasionally doubling over wracked by it, and that made him quite easy to sneak up on.

A simple prod of the halberd into the back of his neck, and it was done. Decant the drug eggs' production into the ration bar wrapper and use it as a water balloon of sorts, tell the retinue 'we go in once they start screaming', and lob the wrapper into the crowd of them. With a little psychic amplification of course.

Using a health-giving bomb on the servants of the plague god was an old trick. It burst, they screamed and scattered-diving out of the way to avoid being touched by it; the effect was mostly psychosomatic, it took a lot longer to cure than it did to infect, but they were mostly too late, they clawed at the patches of clear skin starting to appear.

The six Imperials charged in; Ignatius firing a three- round burst from his psycannon on the run, splitting and splashing the head of the only cult magos they had, before letting the thing dangle off it's sling and picking his target, that one, the possessed. Just because they were chaotic didn't make them immune to mind control.


On his right, there was a delighted 'squeee' noise as Albia pointed the lascutter at the largest and most easily hit nurgle cultist she could reach, and was pleasantly surprised when he, his armour and his shield came apart in the blue- white beam as easily as ripping paper. It was useful, too, that las weapons tended to cauterise the wounds they made- which eviscerators definitely did not. They could do without having pus sprayed about.

Laure was leaving her penitent to it, and was off on the other flank enjoying herself- yes, she did. She had a fast, twisty, spinning style of fighting that was probably inevitable given the weapons she had, that actually reminded Ignatius of the dark eldar although she wouldn't want to hear it.

There was no such thing as the flat of a neural whip, so they all had to split the difference between herding and coercing their charges and actually killing the enemy. Laure tended to err on the latter side, and her first stroke was a masterly- mistressly- judged crack of the whip, sending the tip supersonic just a centimetre off the cultist's orange pus weeping eye and ripping half the side of his head away.

The other of her paired whips bit half a second later on the next cultist along, low and upwards cracking and flickering through the nurglite's tumour-ridden testicles. Damned cultist or not, all four imperial males winced in sympathy.

The inside of her head was a fascinating thing to behold, too- she was not stupid, had seen life from too many different angles now to have no thoughts about it, but kept her private self to her private self- she had arguably shown him too much- and used it to drive her forwards, held her ideas and harnessed them. Couldn't last, the Grey Knight thought, she's pushing out of the mould.


The three guardsmen, two were firing semi-auto bursts, Bohr was taking single shots with the heavier sniper rifle, picking off any of the cultists who looked organised. One of the cultists, armed with what looked like a pair of circular saws, dived at them, but was caught and more or less garrotted himself by a backwards- flickering whip; the mistress using the pull of his weight to spin herself out of the way of an autogun burst, that was answered with a heavy laser shot.

They were gelling well, working more adroitly together than he had any sufficient reason to expect; the cultists had some heavy support, and he took care of that- glancing away from the mental destruction of the possessee he was working on to throw a cone of searing white light at the fireteam, three beings with a twin- barrelled heavy stubber or light autocannon.

They resisted, but not well enough- called on their dark god, who apparently had too much wax in his ears to listen. The blast of light stripped the furniture off the gun and the flesh off their bones, leaving three skeletons, one holding what looked like a half- finished machine. Purification, of a sort.

There was no organised resistance, no shafts of clear light in the minds of the enemy; his team could be left to do the mopping up. Ignatius had batted the daemon- possessed cultist to the ground and had the tip of his halberd inserted into the cultist's brain via his eye socket- careful, controlled destruction. He had a purpose for this one; going to repeat the earlier trick, in mirror image.

The festering, scabby cultist was a bit big for use as a grenade, but at least he was self- propelled. Get the damage to his brain just right, and he would even think that the command to turn on his allied cultists came from his own patron power. Another seed of Chaos' self- destruction sewn.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-06-10 12:08pm
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
What was it that had been said once very long ago about light fast shock cavalry- the only possible explanation for any of them managing to live past the age of thirty had to be cowardice?

How many generals would dare issue the order, in person, face to face- "You're not dying fast enough, take more risks"? Yet the man who had said that, a brigadier, had- and been killed in action himself at the age of thirty-one. Amazingly by the enemy, rather than his own men.
What, de Lasalle? Looking at the numbers, I think he made it to thirty-four, though not for lack of boldness.

Come to think of it, yeah, hell of a character- same leadership style as Alexander the Great, though obviously going to look different superimposed on a general and not a king. Which explains how he got away with it right there. He was looking down on the rest of his command from the uncontested high ground of sheer, daring aggression, and they knew it.

Basically, when you are the kind of man who leads cavalry charges, your cavalry will let you get away with telling them that you should be as bold as the kind of man who leads cavalry charges.

Quote:
Considering the hazards the sisters cheerfully threw themselves at, something like it was probably true for them too- although the cutoff age probably wasn't even that high. Well, maybe with warp journey time.
The ones still alive at 25, or 28, or 30 are the only ones sane enough to be placed in command?

Tactically, the Sisters don't need someone to lead charges; they need someone hauling frantically on a leash to keep them from charging at the wrong moment.

Quote:
'This is what the human race used to be able to do.' Ignatius said. 'We have a broad- spectrum antibiotic, an analgesic- anti-inflammatory, something that enables self-retrotyping whatever that means, and an anti- psychotic. A good combination...
Self-retrotyping... is that an antimutagen, perverse as the idea sounds to my poor abused twentieth-century-issue ears? Also, wow, that is not something Nurgle would want to see- counterattacks on so many levels. Plus the symbolic, the thematic, attacking the minions of the god of despair with something out of, literally, the dreams of science fiction. ;)

Quote:
The inside of her head was a fascinating thing to behold, too- she was not stupid, had seen life from too many different angles now to have no thoughts about it, but kept her private self to her private self- she had arguably shown him too much- and used it to drive her forwards, held her ideas and harnessed them. Couldn't last, the Grey Knight thought, she's pushing out of the mould.
Mold in question- that of a mistress repentia in specific, a Sister in general?

Quote:
There was no organised resistance, no shafts of clear light in the minds of the enemy; his team could be left to do the mopping up. Ignatius had batted the daemon- possessed cultist to the ground and had the tip of his halberd inserted into the cultist's brain via his eye socket- careful, controlled destruction. He had a purpose for this one; going to repeat the earlier trick, in mirror image.

The festering, scabby cultist was a bit big for use as a grenade, but at least he was self- propelled. Get the damage to his brain just right, and he would even think that the command to turn on his allied cultists came from his own patron power. Another seed of Chaos' self- destruction sewn.
...Okay, brain surgery via force halberd really is a little much...



Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
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-Story of my literary tastes.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-06-10 04:31pm
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I thought it was actually thirty two; and knocked a year off to represent inaccuracy in the retelling- two assumptions; most of the colonies established up to M25 or so, before the great discontinuity of the age of strife, would have a fair amount of cultural baggage with them also, the common property of the human race- and this was likely seen through a distorting mirror even at the time, and a lot has been confused or classified or chinese- whispered almost beyond recognition. The past is there, but it really ought to be more garbled.


Laure, remember, was an ex- penitent herself who asked for the job of mistress repentia because she thought that she could do something positive with it, help the fallen back to grace- and the disconnect between the two sides of that equation is starting to get to her. Partly because she fell and rose again through (she thinks) her faith, she's physically hard enough to do the job- but but not psychologically hard enough to do it without scars, insufficiently embittered and cynical; she's a true believer, born again, and that's the last thing a job which is more than a little part executioner needs.


The bit with the force halberd is actually the least fantastic of the lot; this (with an icepick) is exactly how lobotomies were done at first, for a good thirty-odd years before it was realised the procedure did more harm than good. Insert icepick through the upper eyelid, at a tangent to the eyeball never meeting it with the point, push up and back into the frontal lobe, and wriggle. Quite a lot of neuroanatomy was established through the means of lopping off bits of some poor bastard's brain and seeing what stopped working; this is, unfortunately, not fiction.

I'm assuming the force halberd is actually shaped like a halberd- axeblade on one side, flat hammer like surface on the other, spear point in the middle, in some versions more like a byrnie-biter or estoc, extending forward from the shaft. A very crude lobotomy, up and under the forehead and who cares about the eyeball, probably could be done with the spearpoint. No mercy for the damned, and all that.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-06-10 06:03pm
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
I thought it was actually thirty two; and knocked a year off to represent inaccuracy in the retelling- two assumptions; most of the colonies established up to M25 or so, before the great discontinuity of the age of strife, would have a fair amount of cultural baggage with them also, the common property of the human race- and this was likely seen through a distorting mirror even at the time, and a lot has been confused or classified or chinese- whispered almost beyond recognition. The past is there, but it really ought to be more garbled.
Oh, absolutely; I'm discussing what really happened based on my own (relatively low-grade) knowledge of de Lasalle, not on what a man thirty-eight millenia in the future would know.

Quote:
The bit with the force halberd is actually the least fantastic of the lot; this (with an icepick) is exactly how lobotomies were done at first, for a good thirty-odd years before it was realised the procedure did more harm than good. Insert icepick through the upper eyelid, at a tangent to the eyeball never meeting it with the point, push up and back into the frontal lobe, and wriggle. Quite a lot of neuroanatomy was established through the means of lopping off bits of some poor bastard's brain and seeing what stopped working; this is, unfortunately, not fiction.
I know, and it's doable given that this is a very brute-force exercise.

I have no doubt of the feasibility of damaging the brain with a large spiky axe; the sentence sort of speaks for itself. It's mostly a question of the feasibility of doing it with anything like precision, which I somehow got the impression Brother Quixote Ignatius was attempting, based on the phrase "get the damage to his brain just right."



Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
What is this 'favourite character' you speak of? I have walls lined with bookshelves, having a single favourite character would be like having a favourite brick.
-Story of my literary tastes.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-06-30 03:45am
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In the rest of the cavern, the screaming had stopped; the Grey knight looked round, asked 'Anyone hurt, anyone slimed?' The answer to both questions appeared to be yes, unfortunately. Bohr had a tear through his armour that left it flapping open, didn't seem to be bleeding though; Hasek had stabbed something excessively poisonous and his bayonet had melted, there were spots on his uniform.

Laure was looking irritated as a cover for extreme embarrassment, and Aule- with a whip scar across his left arm and shoulder- was trying to tend to Albia, who had claw- marks across one hip but was trying to push him away and stand up.

Surprise had done it's part, and the team had done most of the actual killing on this one, there were bits of some twenty- odd dead cultists littering the place and starting to smell; there had been some attempt to fight back, not really effectual. It did look as if their self- inflicted wound was the worst.

Ignatius moved over to them, told Aule 'The spiritual aspect of her wound is more severe; look to yourself first.' Aule wasn't focusing, kept flapping away. The grey knight considered waving his halberd under the medic's nose, but it was still covered with bits of cultist frontal lobe.

Telekinetically picked up the medic, drifted him over to a reasonably clear patch of antique concrete; Aule looked up in shock and surprise, Ignatius said 'I hate having to repeat myself.' That got through.


Knelt down beside the slightly gored sister penitent, started psychically probing for traces of corruption in the wound. Ignatius was physiologically blessed, and he knew it. Most normal humans, there's hardly anywhere that they can be hurt that doesn't matter, not with reasonably technish arms; damage people badly enough and bits, capabilities, tend to fall off. The flesh wound was damn' near a myth.

This wasn't actually too bad, was still sending endorphins through her system but when the shock wore off it would hurt like hell, and make it difficult to move. Fortunately, he had a trick for that- knew a little biomancy, had a fair grounding in the basics of most disciplines although no more than that in most, could clean and accelerate the healing of the wound- not as well as an expert, but enough.

'You know,' he thought at her, 'that squeal of joy was the first deliberate noise I've heard you make.'

She looked at him guiltily, remembering how she had seen him as a mainstay of the system and had decided to hate him earlier. Big, dark blue eyes- obviously not quite penitent enough to actually be reconciled to her guilt.

He wondered how she and the mistress really got on, what worked and did not work between them. Humility, authority, penitence, penance- there were too many trap doors to damnation in there, power really did corrupt, which was why there were so many heretic cardinals; he had hardly ever met one he wasn't tempted to shoot, anyway.


'Was it your tongue that led you into error? Said something, to someone, that you shouldn't have, and you still think you were in the right at least in part- was part of the penance imposed on you a vow of silence?' he asked.

She nodded, looking surprised that he understood.

He could do this telepathically, but for the psychic noise it would make- perhaps there was an alternative. With flickering fingers- as he waited for the biomantic fix to take, anyway- he made to her in gothic sign language, can you understand me when I do this?

She smiled, signed back yes.


Good, and let me tell you a tale; once, before the heresy, there was a group called the sisters of silence. The imperium hardly even recognised the existence of the daemonic, then; He was trying to do all the work of shielding us Himself, and blessed ignorance for all the rest- well, almost all; the sisters knew the truth.

They were the Imperium's warriors against the warp-spawned, which is the main reason they were silent- they knew too many terrible truths that must not be spoken of.

And they communicated with each other in sign, Albia guessed accurately. What happened to them?

In the Heresy? The organisation didn't survive- too many of them died fighting to hold the Imperium together, and who could dare say how much worse things would have been without them? Death claimed most of them, but Chaos- none. Even in the darkest depths, they held true.

The survivors were dispersed out to other Imperial institutions, being among the first of the Inquisition- and the Assassins. Supposedly some served with the Adeptus Custodes, for a while. Forgotten heroes- and only those of us half way into the shadows with them remember, he signed.

I suppose there's far too long between them and the Sororitas for there to be any connection? Albia signed.

Only inspiration, and you could look to far worse for that, Ignatius said, carefully not adding what he thought about the actual roots and foundation of the warrior sisterhood. He had done the bit of morale raising he had meant to, and that would only spoil it.


He did notice Bohr about to take an entrenching tool to the neck of the cultist he had lobotomised. 'No, leave that one.'

'But it's still moving.'

Ignatius psychically prodded it, and it shambled to it's feet, stumbled, found the way out and limped, accelerating, away- 'Hold your fire.' The grey knight said. 'That's the next part of the plan.'

'But you stuck your halberd in it's head.' Bohr objected.

'Not very far. Same thing the AdMech do to turn a human into a servitor.' Ignatius informed them. 'Destroy the frontal lobe, destroy the physical anchor of the soul- of abstract thought, anyway. That thing now no longer has the intelligence to be an effective servant of chaos, and is off- if I tweaked him right afterwards- to go and do something primal and stupidly counterproductive. After it.'


They moved out behind him, following the trail of blood and ooze; it was never all that hard to track Nurglites, although it was often wiser to do it in NBC gear. Aule was actually the best at it, paid most attention to and thought most clearly about the details, although didn't look up often enough. Hasek was a close second, and less likely to blunder into a trap and get killed.

Laure and Bohr were relatively useless at this, fieldcraft was not part of their training and they needed to be pointed at the target, Albia had some natural grasp of it. Laure was actually looking worried.

'I don't quite understand- the physical anchor of the soul?' she asked. 'The theology-'

'I could spend years going into the details, but the very short version that's actually good for you to know? Think of the soul as the, hm, the footprints of the mind. The record of the things you have done and the choices you make, the places they took you to.'

'Chaos being the step that leads over the cliff?' she said, more of a statement really.

'If only it was that easy, they would be much less difficult to fight against.' Ignatius pointed out. 'The truly terrifying thing isn't how much humanity they lose when they turn to chaos, it's how much it's possible to retain- hm. wait.'


Something up ahead; not exactly a well organised ambush, though. Two people, youths, a male and a female, arguing. Ignatius motioned the team to hold and wait while he listened to the show. They had been courting or whatever the local custom was before Chaos arrived- had nearly been loves- and then the dark gods had decided to have fun with them.

'I wanted to be a warrior hero for you,' he was saying, 'to win you, be your man, be the man.' He looked ridiculous in partial armour made of sports gear with scraps of offcut steel bolted to it, but there was nothing comedic about the blood- encrusted chainaxe he had over his shoulder.

She on the other hand had sold her soul to the lord of pleasure, and was dressed in the scant harness dripping with chaos charms, and being moulded towards the shape of, a sex- beast daemonette. 'I wanted to be loved.' she said. 'wanted to be taken, held-'

'You played with me,' he snarled at her, 'never said what you wanted, yes one minute, no the next, always, always maybe. Why couldn't you have-'

'Why didn't you notice when I did?' she shouted at him.

'That was yes? That was a signal? Only in your head, gods, dark gods-' he grabbed her, demanded 'Now.'

She twisted out of his grasp. 'I-I can't, I'm not for the blood, I am to dance for the lord of the senses and not be a warrior's thing, our gods-'

'I threw over friends and kin,' he snarled at her, 'and god, for you, and you did the same for me, for this? For no?'


He was boiling with rage and anger, and Ignatius decided the passion play had gone on long enough. The Grey Knight whispered to Laure 'Soon he will kill her, then you kill him with whip and claw. Make it look painful.'

She grasped what he was about, nodded, and he pushed things to a conclusion by shoving the lad's head in the direction it was leaning in already. Seized by murderous rage even he thought came from his patron power, he activated and swung the chain- axe, slicing her arms off as she tried to protect herself, ripping her belly open, flinching as she screamed his name but managing another slice into her chest that burst her heart covering him in blood.

Poised between triumph and horror, he failed to beware, failed to be alert, and one fast slashing whipblow took his eyes and most of his face, another his windpipe and left jugular vein. Laure hissed at him, and he died believing in the treacherousness of both chaos powers.


'Good.' Ignatius said. 'Now who was keeping track of goo boy?' They moved off after the nurgle cultist, trail of dripping still evident.

Like most hives and proto- hives, ground level had little significance to the common being- what the planet chose to do had long since ceased to matter, unless you were actually an architect. There was an access/inspection tunnel that led through a disused mining gallery full of two thousand year old beer cans and graffitti; through that, up and on.

The hewn rock opened into concrete which opened through a rusted-away hatch into the sublevels of a complex that had once been some kind of freight depot but was most recently a shopping centre. There was a disused mechanicus facility converted to a bazaar, that had runes of evil daubed all over it, and the place was well populated, many milling around.

Ignatius waved the team back. This was just soft tissue in bulk, too many minor cultists, too many witnesses- and what was about to happen would be enough anyway.


The brain damaged cultist headed straight for the templum/bazaar, from limp to lumber to clumsy, flailing run, barging and blundering through the crowd- there were a couple of pistol cracks, nothing enough. He screamed 'Grandfather!', shoved the door aside, disappeared from view.

Ignatius could track what happened next, but really didn't need to look all that closely at the plague-strewn details; pushing his way into the building, the cultist, trailing miasma, charged the largest bunch of Tzeentchians he could find and threw himself at their leader, bursting like an eighty- kilo toxin bomb.

The cultists staggered out of the building, some visibly rotting already, others violently ill, one that just seemed to be dissolving as his tissues evaporated away in stench, a couple burning as they sought refuge in the powers of the god of change, all gurgling, hacking, coughing, screaming.

How much more do we really need to do here, Ignatius thought. Cultists all nicely ripe, and probably not a good place to stand next to any more actually. 'Gather round, it's time to be invisible.'

They moved away under the grey veil; hiding in the blind spots of the mind's eye, blending in with the fleeing locals, unseen as they moved up to the city proper.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-06-30 12:07pm
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
In the Heresy? The organisation didn't survive- too many of them died fighting to hold the Imperium together, and who could dare say how much worse things would have been without them? Death claimed most of them, but Chaos- none. Even in the darkest depths, they held true.

The survivors were dispersed out to other Imperial institutions, being among the first of the Inquisition- and the Assassins. Supposedly some served with the Adeptus Custodes, for a while. Forgotten heroes- and only those of us half way into the shadows with them remember, he signed.

I suppose there's far too long between them and the Sororitas for there to be any connection? Albia signed.

Only inspiration, and you could look to far worse for that, Ignatius said, carefully not adding what he thought about the actual roots and foundation of the warrior sisterhood...
?

Hmm. In keeping with his usual attitudes, argument would be, what, that having them be that silent, and especially the decision not to tell the Marines about Chaos, was deeply counterproductive?

Or... what, exactly?

Quote:
Ignatius psychically prodded it, and it shambled to it's feet, stumbled, found the way out and limped, accelerating, away- 'Hold your fire.' The grey knight said. 'That's the next part of the plan.'

'But you stuck your halberd in it's head.' Bohr objected.
A reasonable objection, I must say...

Also, one has to wonder how many trillions of times that particular Khornate-Slaaneshi dialogue has been repeated over the course of the ten millenia since the Heresy... [shudders]



Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
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-Story of my literary tastes.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-07-01 05:07am
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He was actually biting his tongue about what he thought of the Adepta Sororitas- their foundations are dodgy indeed, considering they outright fought for the wrong side, most of their holiest early figures being from the personal bodyguard and probably harem of Goge Vandire.

They then betrayed him to side with Sebastian Thor, and when in the shakeup of the Thorian Reformation the Ecclesiarchy were forbidden to deploy armed men, they basically grabbed the job. Not really all that much to respect there, is there- from being the jewelled claws of a fascist's fascist, through betraying him in crocodile tears and sackcloth, to being the holy murderers of a religion most of them don't understand?

By comparison, the Sisters of Silence were towering examples of virtue- and yes, most/all of them were blanks, which is the main reason they never spoke, it would be just too obvious. As such, they were simply not aware of the psychic currents that could and should have warned them that the Emperor was making a mistake leaving it all to them and Himself- no blame attaches to them; they were given an impossible situation to deal with and most of them died trying.

Admitting that the Emperor could and did make mistakes is vastly easier out of universe than in- Ignatius could stretch to it, but this (in the story, that is) is definitely not the time and place for that particular discussion. More soon, I hope.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-07-01 10:44am
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OK, I got mixed up about which warrior sisterhood you meant in the "roots and foundation" sentence. Thanks for clearing that up.

I think it'd be pretty damn hard even for Ignatius, which isn't really disagreement with "could stretch to it." Certainly be difficult on anything but, oh, the one blindingly obvious one: "The Emperor should never have trusted Horus so." That you could probably manage as an Imperium citizen without your head imploding from cognitive dissonance.



Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
What is this 'favourite character' you speak of? I have walls lined with bookshelves, having a single favourite character would be like having a favourite brick.
-Story of my literary tastes.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-07-01 02:27pm
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Simon_Jester wrote:
OK, I got mixed up about which warrior sisterhood you meant in the "roots and foundation" sentence. Thanks for clearing that up.

I think it'd be pretty damn hard even for Ignatius, which isn't really disagreement with "could stretch to it." Certainly be difficult on anything but, oh, the one blindingly obvious one: "The Emperor should never have trusted Horus so." That you could probably manage as an Imperium citizen without your head imploding from cognitive dissonance.

Or the nearest Commissar's bolt pistol.



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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-07-01 02:56pm
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Well yes, but... honestly, the existence of the commissariat is less decisive in this role than the internal censorship. The dogmatic, absolute-autocratic, trust-the-Man structure of the Imperium has less to do with its overt and explosive social control mechanisms than it does with the 'inner commissar' of the average citizen, the fact that most Imperials have a very strong sense of "crimethink," of things it is simply not permitted to consider.

"The Emperor screwed up" is very high on the list of crimethink.



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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-07-19 06:08pm
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More wierd and twisted bits, not sure the tone is right- but it was interesting to write anyway.




The capital city of a planet with extensive trade connections- all of which would now need to be scrutinised, the Inquisition's work was truly never done- it was inevitable that most of the hive towers would have something to do with that; corporate and governmental offices and headquarters, speckled with housing of varying qualities for the workers who served them, manufacturing and reclamation to serve the communities that served the nerves of the world.

Most of the towers had walls thick enough to be armour, weapons to match- quite a lot of them pointing at each other. The organisations involved hadn't trusted each other even under Imperial rule. How much of that, Ignatius wondered looking up at the defence arrays on Starswirl Traders Inc., could one being control? How much havoc could be caused by an override or three? Pencil that in as one of the late- game moves.

They had emerged into open air and fading twilight in a concrete courtyard of housing blocks, one side cantilevered off the back of a tall tower and the rest to match, eight grey- brown floors of identikit worker barracks.

There was a gap smashed in the roof line on one side, as during the revolt a Guard Vulture- too burnt out to tell now which side it had been on- had been shot down, clipped the building and scattered most of its' wreckage in the centre courtyard. There had been enough fire to sear off the miasma that looked to cover the rest of the city, although if dropping VTOLs on them was to be the way then this would be a very expensive campaign.


This was a relatively clear spot, and there were a few people shuffling about- Ignatius measured them briefly and discreetly, realised they were as he would expect in such a place, the regretful fallen.

There were always shades, and these were the ones who had given themselves to chaos or tried to, and not been wholly taken; retained enough of themselves and their awareness to know that they had sinned and were damned- had sold their souls too cheaply.

Some would drift further into darkness, others it may be tactically useful to dangle false promises to, dangle the hope of salvation before them- but Ignatius preferred not to, because it could not be so, and that was the tactics of Chaos anyway.

Even as they were, he would not lie to them and tell them they could be saved when they could not. Deception is a legitimate tool of war, and he had no qualms about it in general, but there was no need to sink so low; the team should be able to cope. Sooner or later most of the regretful- fallen would be preyed on by more dedicated servants of evil, not that he intended to give them a later.


Move on? No, wait, a mind, and a relatively powerful one at that, approaching. In response to what had happened at the temple of spume? Probably- a servant of the changer of the ways, in any case. Wary of this place and scanning, probing as he went- and giving himself away thereby.

Strange how few of the chaos crew really had a deep grasp of their warpcraft- no, from the flickering, tentative nature of it, he was theoretically wise to it, but expected no-one capable of being a threat on the immaterium, and was more worried about residual Imperial loyalties at this point.

Was this the time and place for that kind of clash- could a major event be staged to good end? Actually, yes.

'Right,' he said trying not to let his voice carry, this is going to take subtlety- basically we're going to play the part for misdirection purposes of a team of slaaneshi ambushing a tzeentchian investigator.

Try not to sound Imperial if you can help it, and don't move more than you have to, don't even think loudly, and certainly no signs of the aquila. Laure you're going to be doing a lot of the work here because of your whips. I intend to keep us all partially veiled, but do try to sound like insane people once I give the word. make ready.'


They reacted with mixed feelings to that, the sisters most ready for another scrap- not that the guardsmen were unwilling, but he had been setting quite a pace, a life or death struggle every couple of hours was a lot for the merely human.

They would do it, would push themselves forward to it, would go on as long as they had to- which was part of the problem, they would drive themselves, at his bequest, on past the point where they lost their edge and their chances of being taken climbed too high. Breathing time would be good- after this, maybe, what he had planned on the walls wasn't a split second thing.


The tzeentchians approached- the first of the party to enter the inner courtyard was a mutant, ex- PDF probably, the ridiculous ceremonial helmet with the brass bits and multicoloured enamel would have been a suicidally good target on any battlefield. Not that realism would stop them, of course.

Unfortunately, it sat on a demon's face, chaos as so often honouring and blessing its' servants by deforming them; the mutant had a flamer, too- reasonable weapon for the circumstances, bit too tainted to pick up.

Let him enter the killing zone, let him see nothing but dregs and irrelevant scum, wave the others on- and the refreshing predictability of Chaos struck again.

Mostly, as Ignatius had expected, ex- Arbites or planetary justiciars, and they had torn and marked and splashed pigment on their uniforms to break up the issue black until they looked like the inglorious dead of the Great Paintball Wars. Bohr was scandalised, and Hasek was trying not to laugh.


Their leader, the mind- the psyker, was wearing a multicoloured yoke/head-dress thing that made him look like a cross between a snowplough and a small fountain; was holding an ornate antique longbarrel lasgun with a force rod for a bayonet. Right, Ignatius thought looking at it, plan B covered. Failing that, a new toy for the collection.

Was he the one that had given me the hint about the tunnels, Ignatius wondered? At least trained in the same school, the fingerprint and style was alike- probably not the one who hit the first over the back of the head and told him to stop thinking at me, I can't picture that mind in that costume.

The entourage were the usual bag of mixed nuts, couple of hulking ex- Arbites and a pair of neon- clad death cult assassin-girls skipping merrily along, a forensic servitor that had been chopping samples out of itself and analysing them, three more ex- planetary defence goons.

Ignatius could not- would not- directly duplicate the powers of dark magic, but counterfeiting them with a little bit of cunning and misdirection was just within the lines of the permissible.

Grabbing the flamer- wielder's glandular system telekinetically, in many invisible hands, and squeeze- shoot him up with so many biological secretions, the effect was indistinguishable from that spell of the lord of sensation's that paralysed and mesmerised the victim with pleasure.


A little extra twitch on the nerves, and Ignatius almost got him to spin round and flame the rest of the group; but one of the death cultists was too fast for the goon, jumped him, forced the gun down and tried for pressure-point paralysis; he was too far gone for that, groped her back and tried to kiss her through her spiked facemask- quite a slaaneshi thing to do actually.

While she was wrestling with him and winning, and he was wrestling with the biochemical balance of his brain and losing, time for move two. Laure, striking out of the invisibility wrapped around her- two glowing blue- white lines flickered into activity, and she chose dangerous prey, then other assassin- swiping one across the breasts and one across the buttocks of the other neon woman.

Very pleasure-god thing to do, in fact. Ignatius didn't have time to scent the air to see if chaos was trying it's luck, but that would be something to bear in mind for later.

Laure deactivated her whips and danced out of the way as quietly and dexterously as sororitas power armour would allow, the cultist shook herself out and went through a brief kata to dispel the pain, which gave time for the guardsmen to make it much worse by shooting her in both knees.

Aule picked the forensic servitor which was standing there like a dumb thing, shot it cleanly- forensically- through first one eyeball then the other, and ducked as a shower of return fire came his way.


Ignatius sighted on one of the flashing lasguns and placed his shot very carefully. Had missed a trick, hadn't had time to unload, dammit- would have to make sure the rather incriminating psycannon bolt was completely destroyed. That meant aiming for the powerpack- and he nailed it, the cell detonated and the cultist got a faceful of energy and superhot battery-alchemy.

A little playing on the sense- data of that- the roasted flesh smelt absolutely delicious, and the two remaining ex-PDF cultists looked at each other, realised the other was thinking exactly what they were, and levelled their guns at each other ashamed that they were both thinking of the last sensation, the taste of your corpse. Flash-crack of Aule shooting at both of them and missing, and they both pulled the trigger.

Albia was surprisingly adept at this, looming, smelling like a live thing and managing to do what Ignatius had not thought possible, inflicting a wound with a lascutter- flashing half a second's worth of blade close across her target's face so his eyeballs melted, and then , how did she know to do that, rubbing herself up and down against him.

She played the part of an invisible succubus well- well enough that one of her victim's fellow cultists levelled a spray of lasfire at both of them, which she ducked forward and rolled under, coming out of the roll just rightly placed to split the cultist in half, which she did. Behind her the eyeless and now lungless first cultist keeled over as well.

Two, the death cultist and the flamer- man left standing, and Laure started and Ignatius finished the process- she flicked her whip round the neck of one, sidestepped and lassooed the other, drew them together, and Ignatius couldn't actually squish them together into one spawnlike thing- wouldn't, anyway- but he could amplify their fears and make their skin crawl so it seemed as if they were about to be.

In panic at becoming a flesh-melded mutant, fairly understandably so, the death cultist brought her blades up to try to cut them apart, separate them; another little twitch to disorient their proprioception, and she cut both their faces off.


Not all of the change-cultists were actually dead, but all were at least no longer fit to fight, apart from the investigator who was lost in the fireworks- still trying to comprehend what was going on. Like many schemers and plotters, the sheer bloody confusion and chaos of actual combat was too much for him.

He was trying to figure out what was going on and what it all meant, and the most obvious thing for him to do was to sense. He made to release a wave of material light and immaterial radiance from his fountain- headdress, shouted 'Show yourselves, damn you-' and the Grey Knight spotted an exploitable weakness.

Not much knowledge of physiology, another one without adequate centeredness-in-self. It was not an unreasonable flaw for a Tzeentchian to have, to be uncomfortable in his or her own skin; he didn't really know how his own eyes worked.

On the other hand with that splurge of resonating warp- presence, more like a sounding charge than anything else, the chances were he would pierce the veil. Ignatius had a plan for that. He zapped the cult magos in the optic nerve, and fed it illusions.


For a second, long enough to be utterly confused and terrified by it, the tzeentchian psyker saw with his minds' eye the grey veil part and luminous souls smelling of incense and wrath before him, aquilae and purity seals and bright-bladed devotion; what he saw in the materium was a pinkish-purplish miasma hiding luscious curves of flesh glittering with dark promise, wonderfully cruel lips and liquid temptation in motion- and that was just the men.

His brain did a double-take, trying to sort the two conflicting scenes out, and the Imperial took advantage of that to turn the picture upside down, make the pink vision seem to come through the imagination and the grey through the eyeballs, confusing him beyond composure.

He was a pumice stone of a soul- hard enough and well protected, but too many pits and fissures, too many poorly guarded ways in; there was an excess of what-iffery in his head and the volume of stray nonsense made too many dream-paths to the centre.

Ignatius demanded of him what he had changed, essentially; what he had managed to achieve- what the desire to change for change's sake had done and where it had gone.

This was the dubious part; the part that involved playing advocatus diaboli, the part that involved borrowing the mental tools of the darkness. It would be much easier just to kill him, and a damned sight cleaner as well but if he was going to get them all to kill each other in the long run, this was probably how it was going to have to be done.

Prepared line of blather four (of twelve), then. Try not to think too hard about the words, he thought. There I was full of hate for them, and here I bloody am myself playing Solitaire...


Couldn't control his own psychic voice that well, just speak softly and let the target's imagination do the rest; mocked him with the plans- a kaleidoscopic swirl of plans- that ate their own tails, the schemes that tied themselves in knots; asked what they had done to the shape of the universe.

Bodies that tied themselves in knots had turned the universe inside out, after all.

Tzeentchianism was a game for mere intellectual masturbators, and there was nothing necessarily wrong with self-gratification- unless it was all you had. Truly sad was the inability to find another being, beings, to join your games- and what were the tzeentchian games?

Change, change and change again, change, change and change some more- and what happens when you go round and round the carousel over and over again? Endless motion to make no difference at all and worse, and worst, when does the engine of change ever re- write itself?

Tzeentch doesn't play his own games, after all, the same now as he was at the dawn and not even true to himself; it was the Slaaneshi, the birth of Slaanesh that cut the star- lines, set the warp in turmoil and broke the threads that held the planets together, threw the worlds of the galaxy back on their own resources and their own inner selves.

You saw Imperial ghosts, Ignatius tried not to chuckle at this one while accusing him, because you know, deep down- beneath where the surface turbulence of your god can reach- that the changer of the ways can't change the map. He practically was a force for Imperial order.


Ignatius hammered all these things into the cult magos' head, and while the nail, the spike of deception, was pure pretence the hammer was his own unshakeable determination, and it crushed the cultists' defences entirely.

The cultist crumbled, curling into a foetal ball, the grey knight stood up and moved away, and Laure whispered to him 'What have you poisoned this one with, brother?'

'Self- doubt...' he took a deep breath, feeling slightly light headed, mainly through psychic reaction. Also the thought of what he really ought to do next. 'be glad I didn't do that out loud, but to complete his misery authentically, we really ought to physically violate, sodomise him, it's what a good Slaaneshi would do...I think I've just found the place where I personally draw the line.'

Didn't add the obvious, or ask for voulnteers although at least two of them were probably capable of it, with a suitable artifact. Not the force rod. That would pick up psychic fingerprints- and the thought of what imprint it would pick up from the other end was bad enough.


Albia raised the lascutter, gestured in his direction. No, Ignatius signed, I need him to live to spread the lies I've fed him with. She then mimed ripping off his testicles.

Strange the places we choose to draw the line, isn't it? he signed back. If you can, go to it. Don't forget to cauterise afterwards.

She took a deep breath, reminded herself to do this without overt reverence- as if it was appropriate anyway- and did exactly that. One at a time, with dance accompaniment; a fascinating mime to the effect that she didn't think they were being appreciated where they were, and she was going to take them away and give them to a good home where they would be warm and happy.

All three guardsmen were mesmerised/terrified; Aule, who had been having fairly intricate fantasies about the sister repentia anyway, was deeply repelled- not to the length of shooting himself or her, but definitely finding it hard to bear. Bohr was imagining explaining this to his teaching officer, and was trying not to laugh with demented hysteria. Hasek was determinedly looking away, watching the perimeter, and trying not to listen.

This was a semi- public place, after all, and holding the veil against so many individuals whose attention was being drawn by the screams- well, easier than it ought to have been actually. They were probably quite used to the shrieking of the damned by now.

Laure was still trying to sort out whether she ought to be proud, horrified or furious, and just about managing all three at once. 'Worryingly good at this, isn't she?' Ignatius whispered to her. 'Serves the purpose, but I don't think I would have permitted it if I had foreseen how she'd take to it.

I think we need to find a hide, and sit down and think about how far we can reasonably go, how far it is necessary to go- and how far we end up going for the hell of it anyway.'

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-07-19 07:39pm
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You know, I almost hope Albia does crack under the lunatic strain of it all; there really ought to be boundaries on the definition of Faithful Servant of the Emperor that excludes this.

You really don't like the Sisters, I think, and not without reason. Which leads to a fairly good job of pointing out the lingering lunacy of the institution and just how small a push it takes to drive them far enough around the bend that they can't see it from where they're standing anymore.



Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-09-07 08:35am
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Very talky-thinky this one, should be more explosions later.



Abandoned buildings weren't hard to find; Ignatius, relying on material senses mostly, led them to a lesser tower a mere four hundred stories tall- not the grand metal mountains of the major corporate towers, but more than enough to hide in.

From the symbols on the side of the tower and endlessly repeated within the walls, it was the home of loose feudatories of the mechanicus- doing it again, he thought- a bonded reclamation company, the building serving as factory-workshop, dwelling, office, all things.

Largely hollow, a central courtyard bridged at various levels by work floors connected by freight elevators, the main outer shell layers of work rooms and living chambers. There would be some stray individuals still here, but practically speaking the place had been sacked and abandoned.

There were a few visible dead who had tried to tamper with the wrong piece of machinery, a few more who had been cut down by the mindlessly loyal servitors who could not turn to chaos even if they wanted to, but few of the living- good enough.


They scaled the building, mostly by the simple method of Ignatius and Laure scrambling up and pulling the others after them. Nobody hurt- up through the freight spaces, all of them using weapons or entrenching tools to fend off the walls as the people in power armour reeled them in.

Reaching the upper level- none of them saying what they were all thinking, that it would be a long, slow climb down and Ignatius had an unhealthy fascination with rooftops.

Quick survey of the city, and the psychic turbulence was fascinating- the pressure from outside and within was definitely starting to have an effect. Trying not to scan too hard, there were undoubtedly sensitives and traps out there, but it was obvious enough.

On the merely material, the city's shields were buried too deeply to be reached directly by anything short of a naval bombardment, and there was none of that- no bombardment cannon, either, which was disappointing but not surprising.

The shield dome was fluttering and flickering, being pushed temporarily back by the artillery barrage, splitting and reknitting, folding and popping out again when the pressure was off- there were moments when a warhead got through and did some real damage to the defences which were spitting everything they had back.

Not many of them were firing on each other, yet. That could be made to change.


Ignatius did notice that Laure was moving very slowly and stiffly; 'Problems?'

'Too many observances and obeisances foregone in the heat of the moment.' she said. 'Permissible in extremis, but the spirit of my armour is ill at ease.'

'Hm,' he said, looking at the telltales on her armour he understood and she evidently did not, 'That's part of it, but when you are at prayer, do your chapter serfs- the equivalent, the women in the facemasks- do they not move among you and minister to your armour's physical needs?'

'Yes...' Laure said, slowly.

'Trust me, if it is anyone's business to know exactly where the physical and spiritual begin and end, and overlap, it's mine. Your suit runs on organometallic cells, does it not?' she looked blank.

'You are never far from a vehicle or a ship or the walls of your priory, and I see that the routine of your day is designed to serve, more than that, to hide the simple physical needs of your armour, and yourselves. Periods of meditation and prayer are periods of physical rest and recovery, after all.'

She looked distinctly disgruntled at that, and it was a factor Ignatius had been largely choosing to bypass. To be tied down by matter that she thought she had burnt through the limitations of when driving herself on to grace- she was having difficulty coming to terms with that.


She was still only flesh and blood, and her armour still only ceramet and quasomer, after all. 'The solution to this difficulty, brother?'

'Astartes armour of this vintage is usually powered by crystallic fusion; mine certainly is. I could run round the world if there was anything to be gained by it, and I can charge your suit from mine. You'll probably need to take it off for that- you can pray without it, can you not?'

'It would feel very strange. Like being a novice again- or a penitent.' she said, and he worried about how she said it.

'That may be appropriate.' he replied, careful not to sound judgemental. 'I think it would befit us all to be a little penitent over what we have had to do- sometimes the way of righteousness is not as straight as it seems it should be.'

She seemed to accept that as enough for the moment, and stood like a statue, dropped her whips- she had no intention of being unarmed-, shut down and unlocked her armour, disengaged from it- it was a severe shock for her, and she whimpered at the first surge of pain, then set her face and choked back the pain as the panels unfolded around her.


Under the armour she was wearing a fresh snow white bodyglove with red spiral patterns down her arms and legs, a silver-coloured harness like a metal bandage over her wound; she didn't actually look that much smaller without the armour to protect and support her- obviously was, no human had shoulders like that.

She had the physical frame of a labourer, tone rather than bulk, lean and hard, burnt down to the essentials; perhaps too far. Still projected the same aura, though, and she was probably actually stealthier in the armour, he thought as she picked her whips up. The curves of the bodyglove would draw too many eyes.

Walked over to join the others, clearly thinking about it- balance and posture under control

It was only this afternoon, really, she was stabbed with an Eldar power sword, Ignatius reminded himself; shouldn't let her iron resolution not to show weakness blind me to the fact that she has every right and reason to be weak.


He thought of doing the same himself, shedding his own armour and quite literally coming out of his shell for this, if the symbolic gesture would be worth more then the practical loss of protection; stepping down to their level, underlining the fact that we were all human.

It was in more than one way, true- I am vulnerable to these people, he thought, having taken responsibility for them; as Laure was to her charges, and she was coming apart because that vulnerability was being exploited time and time again- there was an undercurrent of worry about them even now.

On the other hand, it meant losing the protection of the shields and fields and wards and barriers built in, and he was only wearing a pair of shorts under the armour; perhaps not.


Plug the cable in, loop it out, move over to the five of them and squat down- how to begin? We are here in the midst of a stronghold of the enemy- no, not going to work. Ask them how they thought they had served the Emperor? Might get a few rather awkward answers to that.

Rigid high- church sermonising, not really him and probably not going to work anyway. 'The Emperor often works in mysterious ways.' Well, that was always a safe enough beginning.

'His enemies are frequently downright incomprehensible, and most of the time the easiest way to make sense of them is to blow them up, that's what the army's here for.

The ones from the warp, though, don't die the way flesh and blood dies, they cannot be killed the way people are killed. My purpose here is to kill the architect of this, in the way that it can be killed, and getting to that point- what we have already done is unsettling enough, and there is much more to come.

It is a good moment to pause, and contemplate, and take stock- I would have your doubts; you all have them, and the open air may do them good.'


A fascinating thought crossed Hasek's mind; Ignatius hadn't thought the guardsman was that inventive, but he clamped down on his own thought almost at once, in fright- which was a shame, the Grey Knight thought, I could use that.

'Guardsman, you had a notion there that I think deserves an answer.' Hasek turned white, regretted letting the idea cross his mind now. Courage was one thing, but the moral courage to speak your mind came hard to most Imperials, especially when the thought verged on the blasphemous.

He psyched himself up for it, then came out with the thought- 'How do we know we can trust you?'

The other four hissed at him, and he flinched expecting glowing halberd- shaped things to come his way.


'I don't think you meant that to cover quite as broad a spectrum of possibilities as they think you did,' Ignatius said, without anger, 'but it's an interesting question anyway. There are many temptations, and in some ways the harder you push yourself, the greater counter-pressures the universe applies, some of those pressures do tend towards temptation.

There is one in particular that we are all vulnerable to, even the thousand- times tried, endlessly blessed and sanctified;' Ignatius said, and watched interestingly the mix of confusion and confidence on all of them, as first they were sure they knew the answer, and then they thought a little and realised they hadn't.

'Heroism. The temptation to throw caution to the wind and yourself at the problem, to make a difference- to hold your own life too lightly and expend it too readily in pursuit of the objective; to give less than you could to the Imperium and the cause of mankind, because of the temptation to be the light that burns twice as brightly- and only half as long.

I've known more good men gone that way- not corrupted, just killed before their time, men the Imperium needed murdered by their own dreams of righteous glory. And yet we are continually exhorted to it...that most unlikely of concepts; a praiseworthy sin.


I have asked myself if this is not one such- if, in addition to literally chasing demons, we may not also be doing so metaphorically; if this is not too great a risk, a gamble too far.

Your gut is right to question,' he said to Hasek, 'because this really is borderline; I recruited you all because I didn't think I could do it on my own. I may have underestimated the spiritual strain this puts you under-

oh, you do realise that saying that to the overwhelming majority of bosses would almost certainly cause them to kill you as a deviationist?'

Hasek nodded, and Ignatius decided to take him to the next level- he asked 'Do you think it's right to have to trust someone who has no answer but that for their followers?'


The guardsman didn't know where to look, what to say; his stomach wanted to give the right answer but his head knew it would be potentially suicidal.

Laure saved him. 'I would be content to die, even at the hands of my sisters, if I knew that my death would serve some purpose.' Not actually the truth, but it was what she felt she had to say.

'The official, righteous answer.' Ignatius noted. 'Not entirely what I was expecting from the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Hereticus. How many errant lords and officers have you taken a sarissa to? You know that power corrupts, and the rot here started at the top- the planet fell when the governor, whose power is absolute and whom it is death to question, declared for the dark powers.'

It was easier for him to pluck the objection forming in her head out of it and put it in his own words; easier, but less useful- he wanted her to get to this on her own.

'But the system cannot work like that, we have to trust those set in authority over us or it all comes apart, the entire shape of the Imperium depends on- brother, where are you going with this?'


'Through the dark valleys of the human soul, in quest of half- glimpsed light.' Ignatius said. 'You, too, have doubts...'

'You never refer to the God- Emperor, only to Him as Emperor- frankly Brother, I doubt your theology.'

Ignatius couldn't help it; he laughed, rocked backwards and forwards laughing, almost rolled on the floor laughing. She looked distinctly disturbed by it. 'You have no idea...you're right. I don't believe as you do, and there are two reasons why, one you will very definitely regret hearing.

First of all, it's not exactly a secret, but- when a youth is chosen for the Marines, he does not become a superman just by willing himself to be so; there is a great deal of-' he chose to use the older term- 'science involved; the gifts physical and metaphorical that make an Astartes are controlled and coordinated by a genetic key...that key ultimately descends from the genetic code of one of the Primarchs.

Now the Primarchs, as we almost all do, called the Emperor father, but it was more than figurative, they were the work of his hands, and there are innumerable passages and fragments come down to us in which he acknowledged them as his sons. Now, the Ecclesiarchy want us to treat him as a god? Grandfather?

There are many of the Astartes out of step with the ecclesiarchy, venerating the Emperor as a hero, a champion of mankind and our ancestor, because quite literally, he is- and you think you have the right to judge us on the correctness of our theology? Damn' right I disagree.

The other reason why I doubt your theology is much uglier and darker than that, and I know that you would be very much worse off as a human being for having heard all of it- I can see you as you would be afterwards, and you would definitely prefer not to have been told.'


She looked at him open- mouthed, wide- eyed, utterly dumbfounded; 'Do we serve the same Imperium, brother?'

'Good question.' he said. 'Strictly speaking, probably not- you serve the Imperium as it is, and I deal with the Imperium as it is, but serve the Imperium as the old, the true and secret histories tell me it ought to be and become.'

'How is this...' she began, unable to get the words out.

'How is this not heresy?' Ignatius filled in for her. 'Simple. How many mysteries are there in the Imperial faith? How many matryoshkas of mysteries within mysteries? Many, but how many- who knows? Were you never a child- do you not remember the dawning of reason, coming into them? You have better reason to see that clearly than I do.'

'I want to say this is too subtle for me, but it isn't. What it is is terrifying.' the sister said. 'Layers of being and meaning, levels of grace that the lords of the Imperium know and inhabit, closer to Him on Earth as they are-'

'But you know people better than that.' Ignatius said.


'I'm lost, brother. I don't understand what you mean any more.' she said, by now actively trying not to. Even pain and sin and grace, which she thought she understood- the confusion and misery of her penitents- even that was clear. Ignatius was heading into very murky waters indeed.

'I certainly don't know where you're going with this.' Aule decided to say.

'There is a point- which we will go well beyond- past which faith in authority is not enough, mere obedience is not enough, just being what your rank and station has made of you is not enough. There is a point when rank and station and authority are not on the firing line, and you are, you only.

They, the they behind you, cannot help, nor would if they could, being as how you are expendable. The strength that you need can only come from within, because that's the only place there is that you have to rely on.

Which is why I want you to doubt, to think, to take a good look at that place, to rummage out your weaknesses and strengths, and be ready.'

'But the wall, the dividing line, how can we be certain?' Laure asked him.

'Did I say it was easy?'


'So,' Bohr said, 'You're basically asking us to accept- to fall into the sin of relativism?'

'Where half the problem lies. Have you ever known anyone who did not think they had a justification for their own cause? Anyone whole, that is? When you step inside someone else's head and look out through their eyes, you start to notice patterns- everybody has a story, everyone is the hero of their own story.

There are very few beings, and those mostly those someone else has sat heavily on, who think themselves to be the bad guy. Relativism is primarily a fact- even the powers of darkness think right is on their side, as far as they think at all.

It gets called a sin because of the many, the very many, who wish the world really wasn't that shape, that we unquestionably were the good guys and everyone else admitted to being the bad guys- and try to enforce that it be so. Preaching to the converted of course, but that's not what offends me about the idea.

What I personally despise about the idea is that there is no measure to it, no balance, no confidence in mankind, the lords of the Imperium as it is are so certain the truth would destroy us.


No, I'm not contradicting myself- there is a measure in this, and a degree, and there are many things that can be borne and should be, long before we get to the point of looking abominations in the eye. Lesser inhumanities it would do us good to openly defy.

It's also an open and ready path to defeat. There was a man, many thousands of years ago- you know the Emperor walked quietly among us for a long time, guiding and building, before emerging from the maelstrom of the Dark Ages to openly lead us- I think it has his mark; "know yourself, and know your enemy, and in a hundred battles you will not be defeated."

Relativism denies both parts of that. There are enemies of the Emperor that are mad, bad and dangerous to know- obviously- but why is it not thought possible to know at least some of them well enough to out-think, outguess and defeat them, and not still believe that they are enemies? Isn't being human- being attached to three thousand generations of suffering, struggling humanity- enough of an anchor?'


It was Albia who came up with an interesting answer to that one. So why, she signed, remembering some of her early church history, did the Primarchs fall?

He had a rough idea, now, of what she was doing in chains and on death's shortlist; what she had done was understandable, but equally unforgivable- Laure was right, the system could not let her go unpunished.

'Not all of them, don't forget, but- they knew that they were supermen. You think I've just left a hole in my argument you could fly a battle barge through, don't you? How far up do you think your idea goes before you find yourself in rebellion against the Adeptus Mechanicus, and denying the divinity of the Emperor?'

She thought it through and hit the brick wall he was talking about. Oh, she signed.

'You can't sensibly object to the more than human- we are all supposed to become more than human is at present, that was the plan, the Imperium as it exists does so in order to buy time, and that is what for. You can to the less than human, to the not knowing oneself, to the not being sufficiently connected to the rest of the human race.

Which is another good reason for me to bring all of you along.' he pointed out.


'Not that we're not sensible of the privilege,' Bohr said, recovered a little, 'but...you wouldn't be telling us all this if you expected us to survive.'

'You wouldn't be worth telling anything to if I was certain we were going to die.' Ignatius countered. 'The chances aren't brilliant, but survival is definitely a distinct possibility- coming through unchanged is not.' He sniffed the wind. 'Trouble- gear up.'



"I beseech thee, In the bowels of God, think it possible that you might be wrong."
-Oliver Cromwell to Parliament, 1647
"It is good to keep an open mind; but not so open that your brains fall out." Attributed to James Oberg

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-09-07 07:05pm
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"You can't sensibly object to the more than human- we are all supposed to become more than human is at present, that was the plan, the Imperium as it exists does so in order to buy time, and that is what for. You can to the less than human, to the not knowing oneself, to the not being sufficiently connected to the rest of the human race."

Should the underlined portion read "You can sensibly object to the less than human...?"



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What is this 'favourite character' you speak of? I have walls lined with bookshelves, having a single favourite character would be like having a favourite brick.
-Story of my literary tastes.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-09-07 07:41pm
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Basically, yes.

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 Post subject: Re: Knight Errant (40K) PostPosted: 2011-09-08 04:09am
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Simon_Jester wrote:
"You can't sensibly object to the more than human- we are all supposed to become more than human is at present, that was the plan, the Imperium as it exists does so in order to buy time, and that is what for. You can to the less than human, to the not knowing oneself, to the not being sufficiently connected to the rest of the human race."

Should the underlined portion read "You can sensibly object to the less than human...?"

Yes, and it would be redundant to spell it out, since the sentences directly follow each other and the latter obviously refers to the former.



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