Monday, January 31, 2011

The Dolgath Legacy Part 18: The war is done

Dolgath sat unnoticed in a dark corner on the seventh tier of the tactical command center. It was a tall, circular chamber located in the most secure core of his battle cruiser, the Subjugator. He had never used it himself, preferring to conduct operations from his private audience chamber. Shortly after taking command of the campaign, Nelthas had moved her operations here – systems dark for centuries suddenly flickered to life, servitors long dormant slowly twitched into motion, fitful glow-globes cast reluctant amber illumination upon ancient heroes carved millennia before in immutable bronze and immaculate marble standing in silent vigilance.

The tactical command center was designed to provide full situational awareness. At the center of it was a holographic sphere that displayed an incredibly detailed, three-dimensional representation of the battle zone. One morning, after not meeting with Nelthas for their customary breakfast, Dolgath discovered her in the newly awakened command center standing at the nexus of the holographic sphere like some towering avatar of war.

Dolgath was at first surprised, not pegging Nelthas as a war-monger, yet she had never before been given full command of a campaign. She seemed to embrace it with frightening force and efficiency. Her victories were quick, efficient and brutal. She wasted nothing. Every asset at her disposal was utilized to its utmost; every advantage was exploited for maximum effect. Although the xenos invaders possessed superior resources and technological capabilities, Nelthas outmaneuvered them at every turn. Her victory was almost frightening in its speed and ruthlessness. Inquisitor Welch was sent packing back to Ordos command even before he was fully settled into his new quarters.

At the dawn of the twenty-seventh day of the campaign, Dolgath entered the main floor of the tactical command center. The guards did not challenge him; they were his own men after all. Nelthas still hovered at the center of the holographic sphere – she had not left it since the beginning of the campaign. She was like a dark god, her arms outstretched, and her eyes like faintly glowing emerald embers. Only a few tiny red indicators remained in the entirety of the battle zone – a few last pockets of feeble resistance…

“Nelthas,” Dolgath said tentatively. She did not respond.

“Nelthas!” Dolgath shouted.

The god’s eyes flickered uncertainly and then focused on Dolgath.

“Come, the war is done,” Dolgath said with his arms outstretched.

Nelthas descended from the battle sphere like a puppet whose strings had been cut. She literally fell into Dolgath’s arms. He bore her back to his private chambers; a tiny slight bundle. It was fourteen days before Nelthas was well enough to join him once again for their customary morning breakfast meeting.

On the fifteenth day, Nelthas glided into his audience chamber, all slight of stature and demure, adorned in cream and sea-foam. Dolgath glanced up with a lopsided smile.

“It seams the Ordo Hereticus congress has recommended you for consideration for Lord Status for your work in this campaign…” Dolgath commented casually.

Dolgath watched as Nelthas carefully picked up her customary liquid nutrient glass, inserted the straw between the succulent full lips of her psychomorphic mask, and took a long drink…

“Swell…” she replied noncommittally.

Dolgath lowered his head and began to laugh – slightly at first and then growing in volume…

Nelthas watched him for a moment, and then began laughing herself…

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