He's been left to die on an inhospitable world, surrounded by criminals and enemy forces. Enough is enough, and Walters doesn't care who knows it.
viernes, 17 de diciembre de 2010
ALOF - Chapter Two
Asmode's Lair Spindle
The Artefact itself lay forgotten below the blood-stained throne. It was a curious design, resembling nothing more than the thigh bone of some medium-sized animal. At either end of the bone was a shimmering circular indentation and the body of the item was criss-crossed with a tracery of thin and strangely woven runes.
Demon-infested priests had tried to mould it to their will with the death and binding of souls to its purpose, yet it had lain inert, dormant until today. Now a faint vibration shuddered it. The thing shook ever so slightly in time to some unheard of tune and the air around it shimmered.
It seemed as though it hid itself from view, although it lay in plain sight, until an Ori slave passed by. She started with repugnance and swept it up with the rest of the effluvium. Then, she began her daily walk to the rubbish mounds heaped outside the main laboratory. There, she threw her bag of rubbish and the bone became hidden amongst a pile of rotting corpses.
Before she left, she could have sworn that she heard a haunting, yet somehow familiar tune, but the rough hand of one of the guards impacting against her cheek made her forget.
In the main plaza, Cormach stopped and listened. He too, heard the lilting tones and felt a strange yet irresistible drag on his consciousness. As K’san led the multitude out of the plaza, he lingered, his head tilted to one side. Another, gold-armoured figure stood by his side, pistol held loosely between his hands. When Cormach set off towards the main entrance, he followed.
Galleon Uncharted Space
Walters stood in the centre of the control room and stared at his new hand. The fingers were an exact copy of human flesh and bone, but their metallic sheen gave lie to the effect. He was the embodiment of an animated temple statue; hair was made of thin slivers of metal, bones and vital organs had become redundant when his spirit had infused the construct. A simple thought caused the hand to reform into a metallic blade and he laughed in enjoyment at the responsiveness of Arshavin’s original design.
It was then he felt K’san’s call and answered. Now he had the next piece in the puzzle. Instinctively he replied, channelling his power through his servant. He could taste the taint in the warp and the familiar flavour of the decaying Shan. There was also the response from the K’ran trapped on that far-off world, and something new.
“Arn,” he growled, “we need to be leaving. K’san has found what he was looking for and it appears that our old friend Shan has followed him there.”
“You have some specific co-ordinates?” asked Arn, the only one who could see through the shining body to the essence beneath.
“Of course,” Walters said, “I will give them to you shortly. First though, go and wake Berbatov up. He would hate to miss anything, of that I am positive.”
Arn bowed and left his Lord to his contemplation. One thing was for sure, life was always interesting onboard the Galleon, especially when Walters was making up one of his plans
Asmode's Lair Spindle
Cormach walked in a daze. The music filled his mind, sending bursts of bliss and pain in equal measure. He blundered on, careening from one side to the other with his ever-present golden guardian behind him. Ever downwards they went, until they reached a long dark corridor, at whose end shone a sickly red light.
They had reached the laboratory complex. Here the Master’s minions carried out his sick experiments on those tortured souls unlucky to have been chosen. Past glass jars holding body parts they walked, through rooms of half-completed monstrosities and birthing chambers, where K’ran struggled to break free. It was a riot of sound; screams, guttural cries, things which pleaded for a mercy which was never to have been their’s.
At last the corridor arced upwards and on unsteady feet, Cormach reached the horrid charnel pits. Here, failed experiments and the refuse of pain were left to rot and moulder. Without a break in his step, he trudged on. Bones broke beneath his feet, gore and excrement clung to him, but he went on.
Behind him, his companion waited. Pistol turned back towards the sickly light and the now whispering sound of dragging feet.
“You need to hurry up,” it was said quietly, yet forcefully and seemed to touch a chord in Cormach’s sodden mind.
The Ori reached down, into the horrible mess and drew one bone clear. There was a ringing sound of completion and a silver glow covered his hand where he held the Artefact. From each end of the bone poured a cleansing light. Two symmetrical shards burst clear, coalescing into rigidity and he raised his weapon high.
Creatures shrank back into the tunnel away from the cleansing fire. They were hideously deformed, neither human nor beast and their eyes shone with malice and hate. Cormach waded clear and stood by his companion’s side.
“Come,” he said and strode forward. His right arm swung rhythmically and the weapon became a blur. The shards seemed to flow together, producing a shimmering circle. On he went, a battle cry bursting from his lips and without pause he ran, straight into the monsters’ midst.
Arshavin’s constructs had reached the outer city now, and their beams of destruction struck deep into K’san’s new forces. He hurried them away, even though his only thought should have been battle. They were mostly unarmed, weak and wasted. There would be time to repay the slights and suffering they had been put through. Half of his men he sent to chivvy them on, the others stayed with him to act as a rearguard.
Shan knew that he was close. He could feel the power of the artefact and he had little concern over its current master. The demon-spawn had fled back to the city and he strode at the head of his twisted Immortals.
In front of them was nothing but prisoners and slaves, freed in the insanity of his attack. They would provide him with new followers in time, but first he needed to secure his prize. He was still congratulating himself on his success when brickwork and bodies exploded out from the main building. As the dust cleared he saw one man, a gold-armoured figure at his side and a silvery blur of light.
Lilith knelt before her Master’s throne, leathern wings trailing along the blood-soaked floor. Above them were the sounds of bombardment, yet here there was calm. She had not reverted to her normal shape as she felt the call of battle. As it was, she was but a pale parody of the being who filled the bloody throne.
“It seems,” his deep voice boomed, “that the tales of my brother’s avarice are true. How far he has fallen. I can taste each breath of his lackey here on my world.”
“Why do you not crush him?” hissed Lilith, “The death of his servant would be a clear message.”
“My Dear Lilith,” he rumbled in laughter, “that is your job. Even I would not flaunt the Accords.”
“But, My Lord...?”
The room trembled with Her Lord’s rage and Lilith cowered. He was as close to a full Demon that one of the Tauran’s could be and still retain his own sense of identity. After generations of worship, he had climbed to the pinnacle of power, crushing and burning his enemies as he rose. Old, he breathed an arrogance which brooked no question, yet even so, Lilith felt he was wrong.
“You will do my bidding! This Shan comes for the Artefact, which even now sings its horrid dirge of death. Bring me its new owner and I will break him to my will, as I have done so many others. Shan you will ignore for now. Group together our forces and ready them for my signal. When the times comes we will send my brother a message, one than his disease-ridden spawn can take to him personally.”
This was more like it. Lilith licked her lips in anticipation; death and torture would stalk this world once more.
Her Lord stopped, sniffing the air with a strange motion as though questing for an elusive scent.
“There is something else,” his stentorian whisper still causing the bones in her chest to vibrate, “another comes...”
Lilith looked up, there was something in her Lord’s voice she had never heard before...fear!