Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Dolgath Legacy part 11: Impervious and Cold

The coming battle would be the crucial stroke that decided the doom of New Boston, the fate of the planet and the security of the entire sector. Dolgath had no choice but to activate his hidden assets, dangerous assets, assets that would demand a price…

He stood before a vault which he had never opened. The massive circular door bore the Inquisitorial Seal, but also the mobius serpent symbol of the Officio Assassinorum. To open this vault was death to anyone other than an Inquisitor. He did not hesitate as he pressed his rosarius into the receptacle and stood back. For a long moment nothing happened. Dolgath wondered if this vault might have been keyed to open only to Math’s personal cipher, but then he heard something faint, the sound of ancient cogitators coming to life. A red gem in the serpent’s eye began to blink and then fired an intense ruby beam that scanned Dolgath head to toe. As suddenly as the beam appeared it winked out, followed by a hiss like the intake of a long slow breath between clenched teeth. The massive half meter thick adamantium door opened like an iris so perfectly designed it made no sound. The chamber beyond was pitch black; a low throbbing came from somewhere within and after a moment cold florescent strips along the floor flickered fitfully to life.

Dolgath stepped forward, his breath steaming in the frigged air. The chamber was circular, empty save for four black capsules side-by-side in the center of the room. The capsules were suspended at a 45 degree angle several feet above the floor with no visible support. Each capsule was two and a half meters long and utterly featureless save for a single symbol centered on the upper side. Dolgath paced slowly down the line – Eversor, Culexus, Vindicare, Callidus… He paused for a long moment considering the skills of each of these deadly specialists, then touched his rosarius to one of the capsules. It split along a seam that was not visible before and slowly opened. Dolgath stepped back rather more hastily than he intended, but nothing happened immediately. It was several long minutes before he noticed signs of life. He moved forward to carefully peer inside – he saw the outline of a body, a human female, nude, upside-down, face obscured. Her legs came out first, slowly, revealing their long muscular perfection, then the rest of her glided out in an effortless back flip that ended with her standing in front of him facing away. She stretched – a long luxurious cat stretch – reaching for the ceiling elongating her impossibly perfect body. At the same moment, an iris opened in the ceiling and an apparatus descended in a spiral motion traveling the length of her body, applicators spraying a substance on her body that quickly solidified into a glossy black whole body suit. The applicators quickly withdrew, but were replaced by a rack of equipment and manipulator arms which rapidly attached various arcane devices to her body. Lastly she pulled a strange pistol-like weapon from the rack and holstered it to her hip, and finally fitted an outlandish sword-like weapon to one hand. At last she turned to face him. Her face was unrecognizable hidden behind the black mask and a set of enhanced optics. Her exquisite body was as erotic as he had first seen her, her nipples erect and jutting from her perfect full breasts, and yet the black skin that covered her now made her into something else, like a marble sculpture, impervious and cold.

He turned away without saying a word and walked out. She followed him, or at least he guessed she did, he could hear no sound of her movements. The vault sealed behind them with a motion that Dolgath felt more than he heard. He had one more asset to activate, and this one was going to be a fair bit more unsettling. Having a Callidus at his back would give him at least a modicum more confidence for what he must face…

The summoning chamber was lit by five corpse candles that provided a somewhat more warming light than that in the Assassinorum vault. Yet the ice gripping Dolgath’s chest was far worse. Both his familiar Daemonhosts lurked at the periphery of the chamber. They were gruesome, frightening creatures to anyone else, yet they were a strangely comforting presence to Dolgath, particularly on this day. He imagined the presence of the Callidus did not go unnoticed; after all she could exterminate both of them utterly with one swipe of her arcane weapons, but they pretended to give no sign. The vessel, a Beta Level latent psycher, had already been prepared at the center of the summoning circle. Dolgath allowed himself to feel for the poor unfortunate for a moment; he told himself, when he no longer felt sorry for the victims of his machinations was when he knew his humanity was slipping…

The ritual was strangely foreign to his lips, even though he had performed similar rituals many times; he had never summoned this particular entity, even though he was more than casually familiar with this particular hellspawn. The screaming of the host subsided as his flesh took on the characteristic violet hue that Dolgath had come to recognize as belonging to Trellphegore the Thrice-Cursed. This particular entity was the favorite of Math, his master, yet Dolgath did not trust it for a moment, in fact he suspected it was responsible for his master’s death. Dolgath had prepared the vessel with three times the order of magnitude of restraints than he normally accorded his daemonhosts. To bind them in this way was to severely restrict their power, and hence their usefulness, yet it also provided greater constructs to control them, and Dolgath was taking no chances with this one. The corpse lights guttered until only the faintest violet hue lit the chamber. The vessel arched its back violently and then became quiescent, all seemed unremarkable… Dolgath knew better.

“Dolgath,” it said, its voice reverberating around the chamber. “The student becomes the master. I have been looking forward to this day. Many great things we will accomplish…”

Dolgath motioned to the heavily augmented servitor waiting silently nearby. It rolled forward on a tracked chassis its hydraulic-enhanced arms wielding a particular apparatus. It rammed a red-hot sanctified iron bolt up through the jaw of the daemonhost and swiftly rotated a similarly red-hot plate and nut down the threaded shaft and affixed a brass Inquisitorial sealed lock to it all. Trellphegore’s eyes bulged in indignation as he tried to open his sealed mouth, uttering nothing more than a few muffled groans. To his right, Dolgath’s other daemonhosts snickered mockingly, although he noticed their exclamations seemed muted. Behind him the Callidus was utterly silent. Suddenly, Gomezibub, the bulkier of his two daemonhost, began screaming in agony. Dolgath glanced in his direction and saw a bloody rift beginning to form in its massive chest.

“I forgive you, young one,” Trellphegore said from the mouth emerging for Gomezibub’s chest. “Math favored me over these rubes and I intend to demonstrate why, if you give me the chance…”

Dolgath considered this momentarily. The fact that it could do that to another of its kin revealed that it was an entity on another level all together. Dolgath replied. “There will be no parlay between us, no pleasant reminiscences. I give you one task and one task only: you will feed upon Dark Eldar, as bitter and unpalatable as they may be. That is your task and if you fail it, I will seal you into a crystal matrix and launch you into the next passing neutron star to await the rebirth of the universe in the next 20 billion years.”

Trellphegore’s eyes bulged once again, but the mouth in Gomezibub’s chest sealed over. Dolgath nodded. “Very well, I will soon provide you with a battlefield where you may indulge your appetites. Do not consider even the most insignificant rebellion.” Dolgath punctuated this comment with a brief glace over his shoulder. He wasn’t sure if the Callidus was still there, but if she was, it would be suitably dramatic. Every bit helps, he thought…

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