Saturday, January 02, 2010

Tales of the Rancid Blade: Part Eighteen: Do not fear me my daughter

Sylvie could remember it clearly. It was so long ago. So many years now. At the time, when she had awoken that morning, she never perceived that her life would change so much that day. There were so many days that she could have marked as the one that charted her new life. It could have been the day she fled her cloistered home with Yanaloo. Or perhaps it could have been the day she succumbed to the Dark Eldar's guile. Perhaps the day she made a pact with the master of this shanty town, Ozzymandus. But the day she began her path back to the Inquisition, that day in the heart of the underhive, the day that she began her aprentiship, began with Sylax.

She had lived in the slums of Modia Prime's spires for years now. She had fled with her lover, was cursed by her sisters, and pursued by her old mentors. As they walked past the old agitator mills, deep in the hive slums, on that day, about a half a mile from their hole, Yanaloo had noticed it first. Her dark eldar eyes saw the flash of gun metal first and like a cat sensing trouble she paused. Yanaloo wore a hooded robe to conceal her elvish features and pale skin. As soon as she sensed trouble her hood came off revealing her sickly beauty, dark coarse hair, and black eyes. Tattoos. She was looking up toward one of the towers alongside the mills. She could sense their stalker hiding in the tower above. Sylvie looked toward the tower also but was unable to see anything. A gunshot rang out from far above but the bullet was too slow for the wytch. Yanaloo deftly moved and with a strong arm nestled Sylvie out of the way of the incoming shot. The snipers bullet passed by. It kicked up dirt some distance from them.

They were both running, firing in to the darkness of the night city. Other shots rang out from the darkness as their hidden pursuer's cross hairs followed them. They took shelter between several pillars that held a combine tank above them. The shots fell silent. Sylvie's breathing came hard.

"I don't understand, we're deep in Ozzymandus' territory, we're protected here" she cast the words from her mouth as she drew breath.

"It seems the tretchery of the gangs is more pliable than we relied on." The dark wytch spoke, not appearing to be engaged by the labor of their flight at all. "Perhaps your Nurse has returned to claim you once again."

"Perhaps". Sylvie stole a look beyond the pylons that sheltered them. A shot rang out and she retreated. She cast her gaze about frantically. "Who else would send an assassin to us".

"There are many I can imagine, many foes walk this city" said the elf. As she spoke the two were startled to see a figure appear from the darkness within the same cover that sheltered them. Both women raised their stubguns but the figure spoke before they could fire them.

"Do not fear my children" the voice was old, yet familiar. "Yanaloo, Sylvie, you both a precious to me".

"Then state your name, who is it that hunts us today?" Sylvie asked. As the old man approached his bearded and deep lined face came into view. His silvery eyes inspected them. He wore a simple blue cloak and carried nothing save a simple walking stick.

"I am Sylax, a friend to both of you." he paused. "Yanaloo, I first met you deep in the goblin pits when you were cast low. I saved you and consoled you." The dark girls eyes cast a look of remembrance.

"I remember you Confessor. I remember you pulled me from the goblin pits." Yanaloo Snarled recalling the utter defeat of that day.

Sylax then continued her sentence. "All true. And you will recall that I took you to my cloistered sisters far out in the wastes of Mordian. There, as you know, you met Sylvie and the both of you cast away in rebellion. Cast away to the great city here. You must know that the great Archon Actev Nu cast you down. He thrown you out of his halls. Made you fight goblins for sport. It has been long since you carried the title of Succubi and walked the great arenas of Commoragh".

"It is true" she replied in hateful pitiful sorry.

"And you Sylvie, do you really believe that Ozzymandus gives you protection here because his eye favors you. No. It is I who hold back your pursuers. It is I who has given you the freedom to walk these shanty towns and grim cities." Sylvie's eyes became hard. She had known much of preachers and confessors and feared a return to the convent and the penance of the Nurse.

"If your words are true then who hunts us now? Who fires at us now?"

"Your pursuer works for one who is beyond my power to control. There are those that seek to unravel my plans and know your part in my designs more than yourselves". The confessor cast an eye toward the waiting assassin.

"Actev Nu?" gasped Yanaloo.

"No. The great Archon cares nothing for me and my designs. All our debts are settled. Though he has given me this key." The Confessor held out what appeared to be thin branches of a tree. Not more than twigs between his fingers. Three small silver buds held fast to the twigs. The Confessor broke one of the buds from the branch and cast it to the ground, muttering beneath his beard. The bud hit the stones and broke into petals that seemed to grow and swirl about. The petals grew and spun as if blown by a wind. Their color becoming a full white from budding green. As they swirled they revealed a magical stair down into the darkness. "The Actev Nu has taught me the ways through the webway. And when the mood strikes him or it suits his purposes he gives me the keys. Now, be quick, the agent that fires upon you will not wait long, he will swiftly descend to complete his grim assignment at close quarters." Without a hesitation Yanaloo lept from the shadows into the magical passageway that the petals had formed. Sylvie looked into the eyes of the Confessor with suspicion. "Do not fear me my daughter, for you sprung from my loins and while you breath I shall protect you with all the devices I have."

Sylvie's eyes widened and she swallowed her hesitation and entered into the gate.

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