Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tales of the Rancid Blade: Part 24: I remember when the stars were young

A dark courtyard. Cobble below. Shapes of buildings in the night stood all around. The only lights were from the flicker of Obolis' suit. His large form stood in the darkness. Targeting lights blinked and watcher strobes slowly struck on and off. Obolis' Crisis Suit stood almost twenty feet tall. The ruins about him seemed to cower from the brilliant white of his form. Stars called their promise from above. His sophisticated targeting lights spotted the eldar before the Archon stepped from the darkness. Some called him Ozymandias, others named him Hateful, his own kin called him the Grand Actev Nu. The tall elf was dwarfed in size by the towering crisis suit, but not in stature. Ozymandias wore dark leather armor. The smell of the oiled leather penetrated the air. His long hair hung abut his shoulders and the majesty of a ten thousand years of night hung on his words. This elf was old. His eyes were old and though his flesh seemed infused with new life and energy, the ages of eons hung on him.

"I see in you a distrust of us." Ozymandias spoke in a language well familiar to Obolis, that of the Fire Cast. "Do not fear us. We have come to serve the greater good".

Obolis cast his robotic eye toward the eldar form, its green light scanning the long eldar face. Though Ozymandias knew it was there, the hate in Obolis' eyes did not show in the green orb of the crisis suit. Obolis hated how this elf twisted the words of the Tau. When Ari’Arshi, the Etherial that was a god to him, had walked through the warp portal with this creature, he could not believe his eyes. The teachings of Ari'Arshi had formed Obolis' path in the Fire Cast since his most young days. He had followed Ari'Ashi's teachings as a philosophy through his entire life. Move fast, strike hard, strike close. These were tenants, taught to him, and to Anemos long ago. The two leaders of the Cemiphon expansion had studied under the teachings together. Hundreds of other Fire Warriors had the tattoo of Ari'Ashi formed into their flesh and the marking of his teaching formed into their minds. How Ari'Ashi could now have walked through the gates of the accursed, flanked by merchants of the twilight house, was a horror to him. Only hours had passed since that event and now the dawn was drawing near. Obolis recalled that at first he had looked to his general, Anemos. He saw that her eyes were full of awe at the arrival of her teacher, philosopher king, and god. Then he looked to Sylax, the human preacher. Obolis' horror and hate had focused on the betrayal in that human.

"Do not pretend to me". The snarl in Obolis' voice was almost audible through the translation unit on the suit. "I know the ways of this universe. I know that you are cursed. You dwell in the crimson realm of blood and though Anemos won't acknowledge it, she knows it too". Anemos had accepted the word of her god. Ari’Arshi had spoken of peace with the the eldred kin. He had spoken of collaboration and the hope of salvation for these thrice cursed eldar. Ari'Ashi had asked Anemos and Obolis to see this as an opportunity. Both the Fire Warriors had nodded in consent to their master. But Obolis' anger continued to twist inside. There was nothing that could be done for these horrors and no salvation to be brought. Afterwards he had voiced his concern to Anemos. She had tried to soothe him. "Do not be fear the word of your king" she said. "These aliens will bend to the will of our dominion as all others have" she said in confidence.

Ozymandias grinned revealing etched teeth. He spoke in his own dark tongue now, relying on the suit's translation software. "You are brave, hidden in your mechanical suit. Very brave, cloaked in the metal of your new empire" all pretence had been replaced by sarcasm. "I remember when the stars were young." He began again. "I recall when the very stars that glitter through your realm of promise were as new as you appear to me today. I remember those days. They were not so long ago" the Archon looked toward the darkness as though looking to the past. "I have seen many civilizations grow on the ground that you now seek to conquer and I will look on this ground long after all your optimistic kin have toiled their lives away in my pits."

"I know that your pits were once the glory of the stars. Once your kind ruled in beauty and now all you rule is the hatred in your own heart" the speaker issued.

"This is true." The Archon nodded. "What you fail to know and that one day I will make you understand, is that the glory and beauty of the stars and the hated in my heart are one in the same." Supreme confidence carried his words. "You will understand, before the end, that my pits are beautiful."

Obolis shuddered within his suit. "I will cleanse your kind" he snarled in anger.

"Not today. Not while your god commands you otherwise" the eldar lord grinned while speaking. "Do not underestimate the fate of a heretic" the dark lord spoke "I know it well".

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