Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tales of the Rancid Blade: Part Four: Sabotage Grotesque

Viewed from above one could see piles of bodies were scattered across the ground. From the prospect of a jetbike flying high it could be seen that once this area had been a manicured lawn of a stately house. However, many years of war between the Tau and Humans had brought it low. It was now an overgrown rubble strewn field. An old impact crater could be seen beside what looked like some sort of empty fountain. Nearby was the brown and black husk of the long bombed out mansion. As with the ruined field the ruined forms of dozens of Tau warriors lay about. Recently slain by Eldar Pirates. Some of the forms still moved, slowly though. It was the quiet movement of the mortally wounded. The light colored earthen yellow and blues of their uniforms were contrasted with their highly oxygenated blood. The dark, almost black, of their blood was strewn all around. Dark Eldar warriors walked about seeking those Tau still in pain. Seeking to prolong it.

When the wyches descended on the Tau their fate had been sealed. Many of these young warriors had been expecting to fight humans. They were felled before they even saw the sudden arrival of the wyches. From warp gates activated in secret dozens of yards away in the ruin of a guest house three raider skiffs had appeared. The transport platforms were moving at full speed when they came out of the gates and it only took a matter of seconds for them to reach the Tau firing line. The few shots that the Fire Warriors did get off missed and were made more in panic than resolve. Thirty wyches leapt from the raiders in a mad frenzy of hatred and blades. Attacking over twice their number didn’t phase them because in a moment the Tau were reduced to only a hand full of warriors and mech battle suits gathered around their revered Ethereal.

Nets had been used to pull down the Mechs. Their robotic arms twisted oddly against the monophiliment wire that cut into the metal. The had Ethereal whirled about striking back at the wyches with a double bladed weapon. He inspired his few remaining kin to hold fast but he eventually succumbed. A Noose Foil swung by Gladiator Usanti looped around the Etherial’s head and one of his arms and pulled him off his feet. The Tau leader’s white robes had torn when he hit the ruddy grass. The strangulated leader had rolled about pathetically, captive and gasping. At the same moment Succubus Fynash’s Agonizer had cut across the last Crisis Suit’s hard exterior. The electrified poison had fried its internal workings and the massive wreck crashed to the ground smoke pouring from the joints.

Now the battle was over and Hosphel’s Jetbike slowly lowered to the ground stopping about three or four feet from the grassy earth. The bike had been augmented for two. A rider sat in the forward position and a second saddle had been added for the Drachite. Hosphel stood to step off the bike and indicated to her pilot to remain. Dark Eldar warriors moved quickly away as she strode confidently across the field. She walked toward a group of her fellow wyches that stood around one of the fallen battle suits. They parted as she approached revealing the object of their examination.

The bulk of the ruined Crisis Suit served as a platform. Its massive torso was shattered but the wide surface of its chest served as a table. The Ethereal lay on the platform. He had been placed there by his eldar captors. Still alive he struggled against the restraints he had been placed under. His deep dark blood seethed from beneath his bindings. He was tied face up with his arms and legs spread wide and secured by cables to the hulk on which he laid. His head twisted back and forth as he pulled fruitlessly at the cables. His robes had been pulled aside revealing the curve of his wide grey alien chest which was adorned with the circular tattoos of his rank. Hospheld stood over him looking down at him. The Ethereal’s dark eyes fixated on his tall pale enemy. The Ethereal’s mouth moved and odd sounds arrived. The Drachite ignored them.

She reached into a pouch that she had inside the breastplate in her amour. From it she pulled several small bean like objects. Not taking her eyes from the Tau’s dark orbs she crushed the beans between her fingers. Sickly black ichors appeared from the shell. She placed her long fingers against the Tau’s chest and rubbed the ichor into the creature’s pores.

“This is a gift from the Grand Archon Actev Nu” she said in the Tau’s odd language. As she forcefully rubbed the liquid into the grey skin of her captive the ichor seemed to run into the crevices of his body of its own accord. The Tau began writhing in pain as the liquid entered his body through his flesh. Spasms overtook him as he cried out. The eldar nearby seemed excited by the occurrence, some licking their lips as they watched his suffering. Hospheld continued to rub the toxin into his chest even as he bucked. She forced him down with the palm of her hand.

The Tau eventually relaxed and went quiet. Hosphel grinned. She took her hand, still with the seemingly alive ichor on it and rubbed it to her own chest. She could feel the small particles that made up the ichor moving on her skin, entering her pores, small robotic particles. She winced in pain as the microbe sized machines entered her. They would enter her body and then her brain as they had done with this Tau. Tonight, when in her chamber, she would enter the trance needed to activate her probes and would see through the eyes of this Tau. Through her microbes she could see through his eyes. She could control his actions. She could manipulate him without him even knowing it. This Tau would return to his home to his leadership role and Hosphel would go with him. He was her Sabotage Grotesque.

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