Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tales of the Rancid Blade: Part 29: Gifts

Anemos walked into the seeing chamber. It was a broad circular room with sloped and curving walls. It was perched high above the body of the ship and a wide viewing window gave an aspect of the planet below. She was dressed in the robes of her office. Long red and orange vestments. She walked cautiously across the chamber. The lights were dim and only lit by the illumination of a thousand star that cast their will into the room. Standing to one side, in the shadows, stood the form of Ari'Ashi. He wore a hood and his face seemed to shrink inside the vale. His wide dull eyes peered from the gloom that seemed to surround him. As she approached she could hear the sound of her bare feet padding on the cool surface of the floor. She swallowed hard as she approached. She had faced down the guns of the Humans and stared down their most evil perversions dragged from the warp. She had shown little fear to them but now as she approached her god she felt hesitation. When she saw his dark and lonesome eyes she became afraid. She saw his face was now littered with tattoos. Curved lines and bizarre features. She had seen many of the same illustrations appearing in blue throughout her fleet. Painted onto gunships and the Crisis suits. The Fire Warriors and Earth Cast brethren had begun mimicking their god. As he drew tattoos on his skin so too did they adorn the weapons of war. He spoke.
"You look at me with fear, my beloved" his voice seemed frail "Are you afraid?"
"I fear disrespecting you my master. Beyond your will there can only be chaos". She knelt before the hooded figure.
"This is true". The Etherial's hand arrived on her shoulder "I have gifts for you". He spoke in an almost imperceptible tone. He walked past her and she turned to see the form of a battle suit illuminated in the opposite corner of the room. She rose and followed her god professor to the suit. It was much smaller than her Crisis Suit. Much more like the stealth suits. It had a harness behind it that held a variety of weapon options that could be fitted to the suit depending on the occasion. The harness hovered over the suit ready to deploy support systems and weapons at a moment's notice. "It is a newly crafted suit of my own concept. I made it for you. You are my warrior, my strong arm, my devotee". She stepped forward approaching the suit as if it were someone new she were meeting for the first time. As she neared the breastplate arched up and opened, ready to receive her. She could see that within the suit the same intuitive system was ready to read her intentions.
"It is beautiful" she said.
"With it you will lead the Fire to victory on the planet below". She nodded in silence.
A new voice came from the silence. It intruded from the dark "I have a gift for you too".
Anemos cursed herself as she turned toward a silky shadow that we emerging. She too reliant on her suit's sensors and had missed a third presence in the room. It was unlike her to have missed something so simple. Now that it approached she felt the malice and evil consume her. She heard the footfalls of long heels. The slow creek of leather. The saunter of evil. The Lady Hosphel approached. The Wych Queen of the Rancid Blade drew near and with her the darkness followed.
Anemos gasped at the appearance of one so evil in the presence of her god. She had witnessed something so foul on the planet below, when the Archon had walked from the web portal. To see this horror here now aboard the flagship of the fleet was almost too much for. She glared at the fiend as it approached. Hosphel was dressed in the combat armor of the Dark Eldar. Orange and black and sickly crimson. Blades and brabs and hateful whips. For a moment Anemos thought she would have to fight this thing. She was totally unprepared.
"I too bring you a beautiful gift" the eldar said. Anemos looked to the Etherial.
"Take it" he said. The Eldar held out along silver blade with gold and red symbols etched into the edges. It was large. Almost as tall as Anemos herself. Yet it looked small in the hands of the elf. She obeyed. Her first thought when taking it was that it was so light in her hands. So light. He second thought was that of someone else. It was a thought on far off wind. Like someone calling through the windy passes of Fre'Ash. She couldn't hear what it was saying.
"Is this of your making?" she asked of the Wyche "Did you craft this for me?"
"No." The dark one spoke. "It was forged a long time ago. When the Eldar themselves were young. Forged in the fires of the night. When your world didn't even exist".
"Why do you give it to me?"
"Because you do not believe that we are now kin".
"You must welcome this gift" Ari'Ashi said in the slow silence. "It too will drive the humans before us. It will hew them as wheat is cast by the Scythe.
"I do welcome it, if you command me" she said watching the light play on the symbols. Hosphel grinned slowly.
"It will strengthen your arm in combat as never before. It will guide you in your path" said the wyche. "Take this gift from your new friends". Anemos held the blade and it felt good in her hand.

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