We are coming. Look to the skies for your salvation.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Something To Whet Your Appetite:
Since I still haven't had time to paint my now assembled models I thought I would bring my short story across from the Sons of Corax forums. This is rather long for a 'short story', but I promise if you tough it out, there is some gratuitous violence at the end! Feel free to comment, whether you like it or don't, all opinions welcome. Hope you Enjoy.
P.S. See if you can spot the quotes from Chronicles of Riddick
Inquisitor Elatus and the 2nd Company, Raven Guard:
As he walked through the swamp-like jungle, the smell of putrefaction was overpowering, and even with the cloth he had wrapped around his face and nose it was a constant struggle not to retch and gag. They had told him the atmosphere was non-toxic and breathable, and he was forced to admit that he was getting enough oxygen, but this was definitely not what he would class as 'breathable'. They had done it deliberately, he was sure.
Inquisitor Elatus had been sent to accompany Captain Aajz Solari of the 2nd Company Raven Guard to observe his battle tactics and leadership ability's in a purely observational role. His orders stated he was to document and record the Captains martial strategy's in an effort to share knowledge of the varied tactica used among the Imperium's various forces. They were signed by a member of the Adeptus Administratum. At least, those were the orders he had shown the Captain.
His real orders, the ones he had burned immediately after reading, were to observe for signs of heresy and betrayal. The orders had been signed by High Lord Inquisitor Archibald Henry, of the Ordo Hereticus. Despite his long standing record of success, the Captain had made enemies within the Imperium with his unpredictable nature, often rash actions and now rumours concerning his disregard for the Imperial Mandate that all Chaos forces sited outside the Eye of Terror be reported immediately to the Ordo Malleus.
Elatus had expected extreme resistance to his mission, well aware of the autonomy Raven Guard Captains were given, and had assumed Solari would rebel against being assigned a watchdog, no matter what pretence it was done under. Surprisingly, the Captain had seemed indifferent to the Inquisitors orders, and had actually offered him the chance to accompany him on a surveillance mission.
Realising the Captain was probably trying to bore him with such mundane missions so that he would leave as soon as possible, he accepted immediately. He would not be bested by such simple tactics, and felt indignant at the idea of it. He had expected something far more devious of the famed Raven Guard.
So now here he was, trudging through mile after mile of the most foul smelling, putrid looking muck he had ever laid eyes on.
“What the hell are we doing here?” he asked, addressing the back of the Scout Sergeant who had been assigned to 'take him' as Solari had put it.
“Be quiet! No noise until I say so.” issued the Sergeant, turning his head slightly in order to whisper over his shoulder.
“Hmpf”. I am an Inquisitor of the Imperium, thought Elatus. I might be new to the position, but by the Emperor I know my place, and it is not to take orders from a Sergeant, Adeptus Astartes or not.
As he felt the moisture in his boots begin to squelch, he felt a slimy substance begin to ooze between his toes. The mud was getting in. Great. Just great.
“Just what the hell are we suppose to be 'surveilling' out here, anyway, the stench?” he sneered.
Without warning the Space Marine spun around, and faster than Elatus had believed possible for a man, let alone one of such size and bulk, grabbed him by the coat lapels with one fist and ripped him from the mud. Eye to eye with the massive marine, he grabbed at the giant fist holding him aloft as his legs began to scramble for purchase.
“When you talk, you make noise. When you make noise, you give away our position. When you give away our position, you endanger my squad. If you endanger my squad again without my permission, I will kill you. Is that clear?” hissed the Sergeant.
At this point Elatus glanced down and saw that the Marine had drawn his combat blade. Elatus hadn't even heard it leave its' scabbard. Looking back into the marines eyes, he suddenly understood the situation he was in. They could kill him out here and no-one would ever know. They could simply say he had died in an unexpected engagement with hostiles. Or that he simply never arrived in the first place. Who would know?
Quickly he decided that his only chance of surviving was to do what he was told, for now at least. He stopped struggling (it was useless anyway) and nodded once, signalling his obeisance. He was lowered to the ground, gently, and without another word the scout leader turned and began walking though the dank, dark, and incredibly smelly forest.
Glancing around to see if the other members of the Scout Squad had noticed the commotion, Elatus was shocked to discover they were gone. There had been at least 20 Marine Scouts, as well as Captain Solari, on board the Thunderhawk Gunship that had dropped them off, miles away so it seemed. Now there wasn't a single one in sight except the one he was following.
'This is bad', thought the Inquisitor. 'Very bad. He's taking me out to die.'
Easing the catch on his Plasma Pistol holster, he slowly gripped the handle. Perhaps he could simply open fire? Even a marine couldn't survive a direct hit from a weapon like this, could they? And he wasn't even in full Power Armour. Just scout armour. No helmet. A head shot would do the trick, he wouldn't even see it coming. Gently, ever so gently, Elatus eased the weapon from its holster.
Without warning, he felt a presence over his left shoulder. He didn't hear anything, he certainly hadn't seen anything when he had glanced around just a second ago, but sheer instinct told him something was there, about to strike...
Whirling madly, he brought the pistol up to fire... and then it was gone! Snatched from his hand like an adult might take a dangerous toy from a child.
“Don't do it,” whispered the marine, “you'd be dead before you fired a shot.”
The full shroud and hood of his Camo Cloak made his giant face seem disembodied. This close, Elatus could just make out the outline of the Scouts form, but he knew now why hadn't seen him before. The marines hadn't gone anywhere, they were all around him. They were just invisible.
Elatus gulped. How close had he just come to receiving a silenced sniper round to the head at point blank? The marine handed him back his weapon, seemingly unconcerned that he was giving it back to the man who had just been considering the murder of his Brother Squad Sergeant.
'There's probably another one with their gun pointed at me right now,' thought the Inquisitor. 'Or several.' The thought was unsettling.
“This isn't a surveillance mission, its a kill team. Stay quiet and keep up, and you'll make it out alive. Don't worry, we'll keep you safe.” said the marine, again in that same soft whisper that barely seemed loud enough to be heard at all.
With that, the marine slipped his rifle back into the folds of his Camo Cloak, and moved off, gesturing for Elatus to do the same with the hand that had taken the Inquisitors pistol from him, before that too disappeared inside the cloak.
Elatus glanced back at the Sergeant who had stopped, and was now waiting for him to catch up. He turned back to the marine to offer a gesture of gratitude, some kind of acknowledgement for saving his life. But the marine was gone. There was no sign of movement in the dark, plant thick mass of vegetation. No swaying leaves or moving vines to give away the Scout's position. Nothing. Just silence, and nothing more.
Turning back again he walked up to the sergeant, expecting him to say something, but without a word the marine turned and once again began leading the way. Elatus was confused, unbalanced. Without knowing how he knew, he was now sure that Captain Solari had known he was on a covert mission, not the one he had declared, probably before the Inquisitor had even arrived at the commanders warship.
Solari had played him into coming on this mission, for the Emperor knows what reason. He was surrounded by ghosts, armed, armoured and completely invisible - except the one who had to stay seen so that the Inquisitor could keep up. He was soaking wet and covered from the waist down in the most disgustingly rank grey-brown slime ever to have a home on an Imperial world. He had had one Space Marine threaten to kill him, and another promise to protect him in the space of just a few minutes. His thoughts turned bleak as he considered all of this.
'If I owned this place and hell, I'd rent this place out and live in hell.' he thought grimly.
Elatus decided to endure. He would handle this task and anything else they could throw at him, and he would complete his mission, by the Emperor he would! He stayed silent, and kept up. He even tried to walk as quietly as he could, but try as he might he couldn't seem to imitate his guide's step, which somehow seemed to avoid the sucking and squelching noises of the mud. It would be another two hours in this blighted marsh-jungle before they would reach their destination, but in that entire time, Elatus didn't say a single word...
He had begun to think they would just walk him until he collapsed of exhaustion, when he began to hear noises up ahead. Not just noises, shouts. There were people shouting up ahead, cheering by the sounds of it. And other noises. Thumps, like wet flesh meeting wet flesh, as though two men were hitting each other. But it was far too loud to be that, surely?
The sergeant pulled his Camo Cloak around his shoulders, and slipped the hood over his head. Turning, he pulled a second cloak from his pack and threw it around the inquisitor's shoulders, tying it and pulling up the hood. It was far too large, it trailed in the mud and the hood obscured his vision unless he held it back, but he said nothing. The sergeant took him by the wrist, as one might lead a small child, and led him forward.
Elatus was both resentful and relieved by the marines grip on his arm. He did not like being handled yet again by this Astartes, however gentle this was compared to the last time. But he doubted he could have followed him without it, and he most definitely did not want to be left behind. Moving up into position around a clearing, he saw a camp fire up on a low rocky outcrop. In a whisper even quieter than the ones Elatus had heard so far, the sergeant gave orders to his squad via the Vox headsets they all wore. The Inquisitor could barely make out the words.
“Don't look directly at the fire, it will damage your night-vision, use your peripheral unless selecting a target.” It was a shock to Elatus, and a sudden reminder that these weren't fully trained marines, they were just scouts - Space Marines in the making, so to speak.
'Except the sergeant, and Captain Solari,' the Inquisitor reminded himself. 'If Solari is even still here.' He'd had no Camo Cloak, and Elatus hadn't seen a hint of him since they had walked into the swamp-forest he had come to hate with true passion.
As his eyes adjusted, he saw where the noise was coming from. Around the large fire was a bunch of what looked like Astartes, but they were stripped to the waist. Their leg armour was red, and their chain-swords and chain-axes were resting in their laps or by their sides. Another Thump echoed through the clearing, and Elatus saw that two of the giant men were indeed fighting, to the cheers and encouragement of the rest. Each time one would land a blow, blood would fly off in an arc like ocean mist made by waves crashing against the rocks.
He studied these Astartes closely. There was only eight of them, and they all seemed to have markings of some sort over their bare chests, arms and backs. Red markings. And scars, lots and lots of scars. These were combat hardened men, no question. The two fighters were slick with each others blood, and seemed wild eyed, drunk or intoxicated, perhaps on the violence itself.
Suddenly, it dawned on the Inquisitor what he was seeing. These were Chaos Space Marines! Followers of Khorne, the so called 'Blood God'. Elatus went stiff, his muscles preparing him for a fight or flight scenario, he wasn't sure which yet. As if sensing his agitation, the Scout Sergeant turned and gestured to him with a finger to the lips. The meaning was obvious.
Elatus felt stupid for having almost panicked, of course the Raven Guard knew they were Chaos, these traitor marines were their target! But how had they found them out here, in the middle of nowhere? He remembered the words of the scout who had kept him from essentially committing suicide.
“This is a kill team,” he had said. So, they would shoot these heretics, from the shadows. The sergeant drew his rifle up.
And then one of the Khornite followers leaped to his feet, gripping two huge chain-axe's, one in each hand. Elatus took note of his size, he was massive, even for an Astartes. Crossing his arms, he brought the head of each weapon up to the opposite shoulder and flicked the ignition. The weapons roared to life, the chain blades whirring instantly, he moved forward with a speed that belied his bulk and with a massive grunt brought the blades together from opposite sides... and cleanly severed the head of the combatant who had just sunk to one knee.
“He lost!” snarled the behemoth of a man, “Blood for Blood God! Skulls for the Throne of Khorne!”
“Blood for the Blood God!” the others chanted.
Elatus had heard of these Berserker marines. When no enemy was to be found they would kill each other to slate their blood lust. Before being recruited as an Inquisitor, Elatus had been a Commissar in the Imperial Guard. He had shot and killed his own men in the line of Duty, to prevent cowardice and to keep them in line. It was their job to die in the name of the Emperor, it had been his job to make sure they did theirs. But this was different, and it was shocking to see clearly the sheer joy these heretics felt whilst killing their own.
“If your going to give the skull to your god, won't you be needing this” boomed a deep, commanding voice from the shadows.
The Chaos Marines were on their feet in an instant, snatching up their brutal looking weapons. From the shadows, stepped Captain Aajz Solari. He wore no Camo Cloak, no makeup to disguise his ornate and beautiful armour, and now that he stepped from the shadows the white ceramite plates on his arms, shoulders and helm glowed fiercely in the firelight, clearly showing that this was no rank and file Astartes.
'How could he have remained hidden?' thought Elatus. It was then that he recalled a captain's full title among the Raven Guard. The title they only used among themselves, but was known to others nonetheless. They called their company commanders 'Shadow Captains', and the Inquisitor realised this title was not born of idle boast.
The severed head of the Khorne Berserker had rolled away from the rocky outcrop, over to where the Raven Guard Captain now stood. Deftly he kicked it back, seemingly unopposed by the mud that had made every step of the Inquisitors a labour since landing on this planet. The head flew threw the air and landed on the outcrop with a dull thud and a slight bounce, a mere foot from the one who had severed it.
“Gladius, free our brother from the shackles of the false-emperor, and teach him the ways of the Blood God!” growled the massive marine, the red tattooed symbols of his evil god more visible now he had turned to face them.
With a bestial roar the bloodied winner of the fist fight Elatus had just witnessed leaped from the rocks and charged the Shadow Captain. Two-handed chain-glaive whirling, he was upon Solari in an instant. He swung his weapon in a downward arc, left then right, forming a figure eight in the air with the blade. Each blow looked as though it would carve the the proud captain in two, yet each time he would lean aside just enough to let the blade pass by him.
Again and again the one called Gladius attacked with the same fast, seemingly unstoppable sweeps, yet each time the Captain would avoid the incoming blow with the most minimal of movements in a stunning display of prowess and incredible discipline. The bare-chested Chaos Marine began to look wild, slow and ineffective now that his ability's were being matched with the grace, fluidity and economy of effort of Aajz Solari.
But the most telling sign of how this fight was destined to end – Solari had not yet even drawn his blade. Finally, tiring of the same brutal attack, Gladius showed surprising skill for one so savage, and reversed his grip on the handle of his weapon. Stepping straight into the Astartes he brought the whirring, roaring, smoke-spitting chain-glaive around in an uppercut motion designed to land between the Captain's legs and split him in two from beneath.
It was a devastating attack, and would have caught most fighters off guard, but Solari had clearly anticipated the move and had side stepped the instant the brute had moved forward. Caught swinging at thin-air, the Khornite warrior stumbled forward, right beside the aptly named Shadow Captain. In a single fluid move, Solari drew his sword from over his shoulder and slashed out sideways without so much as turning his head to look.
The sword lit up in mid stroke, the crackling-white energy's of the power sword cascading down the onyx surface of the blade. The potent weapon just cleared the top of the Berserker's bald head by an inch, the Power Field peeling back the heretics scalp, exposing the white skull-bone of his pate. Caught with his forearms just above his head as he desperately tried to control the momentum of the too-powerful upward stroke, both of Gladius's hands were severed in the one quick, decisive slice.
The chain-glaive flew from the injured warrior, hands still attached, as blood squirted from his wrists, like the water pistols Elatus had played with as a child. Howling with pain and rage, the scalped, unarmed and unhanded Chaos follower turned to face the captain, fury in his eyes. The captain turned also, and struck a lethal looking pose.
Right leg forward, left leg back, still slightly side on but head turned to face his opponent, Solari raised his blade above his head, the point leaning back just slightly, almost vertical but not quite as he gripped the haft with both hands. And with a single word, yelled with such force that it alone should have killed its opponent, he struck.
“Kaii!”, he yelled, slashing downwards with a blindingly fast, but perfectly controlled attack. Down and up the sword went, seemingly without pause to correct its direction, creating a solid arc of crackling blue-white energy. At the far end of that arc, the Berserker's head split perfectly in half, the two sides bursting apart from each other like an over-ripe melon. The blow ripped through his face, skull and heavily muscled neck, stopping perfectly where the two clavicles met at the base of the throat.
A geyser of blood shot high into the air, at least twenty feet or more, propelled by the traitor marine's two hearts as they worked furiously to compensate for the massive damage he had sustained. But no one, not even a Space Marine, could survive having their head torn in half by the awesome force of a weapon encased in a Power Field. The would-be champion of Khorne was dead on his feet, the rest of his body just didn't know it yet.
Lowering his weapon to his side, Solari reached out with his free hand, one finger extended, and in an almost comical manner, gently pushed against his defeated opponents chest. A cheek on each shoulder, neck and wrists still fountaining gouts of red blood that was staining the white parts of the Captain's otherwise jet-black armour, the muscle bound brute slowly tipped backwards, landing in the muck with a loud, wet, splat.
Looking at the other chaos marines, who had been content to watch on, Elatus expected to see fear, or shock, or some similar emotion at the display they had just witnessed. Instead they seemed even more blood drunk then before, eyes wild with lust and nostrils flaring. The sheer quantity of blood that had sprayed up in the air had misted over to them, drenching them as though they stood in a light shower of rain. If rain was red, and had that tangy, metallic, sickly sweet smell.
They looked ready to charge, but the big warrior, clearly the leader, screamed at them to stay back. He had switched off his huge chain-axes during the fight between Solari and Gladius, but now he hit the ignition switches and they roared back to life. Hopping down from the outcrop almost casually, the contempt in his approach obvious, he spoke.
“Gladius. One of my best.” he indicated the fallen Chaos Marine with one of his brutal, blood-stained weapons.
“If you say so.” answered Solari.
“I was there you know, when your chapter nearly met it's end. Pity we didn't finish you pathetic little ravens when we had the chance. They cried you know. Cried to your false emperor to save them. Cowards and weaklings, all of them. I see not much has changed.” He grinned manically as he shook his head, gesturing to the shadowed woods surrounding the encampment.
'So he knows we are here,' thought Elatus. 'Probably why he held the others back, he didn't want to get shot down. He wants a real fight. He wants combat.'
If Solari was angered by the traitors words, which were most likely lies anyway, he didn't show it. Calmly he assumed his combat pose, sword held high and gleaming brightly. Only this time he put his left leg forward, right leg back, and his two handed grip on the sword had swapped positions. It was common knowledge among the Imperium's troops that almost all Astartes were ambi-dextrous. It had something to do with the genetic modification to their ears. Apparently increased balance resulted in increased motor skills with the 'off' hand.
“Cowards? Shall we talk of Courage, you and I? You, who have killed how many countless innocents? Men, women and children? I think not. If you seek to insult me, you will need to try harder.” Solari's answer was spoken with all the skill of a powerful orator, and it filled the glade with the warmth you can only feel when in the presence of a champion of the Imperium.
“I am Bhael, the Gore Reaper, and I will take your skull for the Blood God!” snarled the gigantic brute.
With what sounded like utter calm, Aajz answered. “Your name is unimportant. You will not be remembered.”
Bhael roared with fury, whirling his axes in a blindingly fast criss-cross pattern, his prodigious strength letting him wield the huge weapons with surprising agility. But he was clearly not finished with the exchange, and as he half lowered his weapons, he spoke again.
“Even if you do kill me, you will be doing my God's will. All blood shed in battle is Blood for the Blood God. You only make his legions stronger. The end of your precious Imperium and it's false Emperor is inevitable!” he exclaimed, smiling the way a rabid dog might smile.
“Wrong.” Answered Solari, and despite the foul words of his opponent, the Shadow Captain's deep, confident voice had only gained in righteous power. “Your blood does not belong to your god any longer. Nor does it belong to the Emperor, rightful ruler of mankind, as you turned from him when you chose to follow the path of Chaos. Nor does it belong to the souls of the many you have unjustly slain. I am Shadow Captain Aajz Solari, Second Company, Raven Guard, and your blood belongs to me!”
With a savage cry, Bhael launched himself forward, his fury giving him speed beyond anything Elatus could have imagined. If the Inquisitor had stood before such a charge, he would have died, without question. The courage and valour Captain Solari was showing was breathtaking in it's symbolism for the Imperium. But if his courage had left Elatus short of breath, his skill almost stopped his heart.
As he launched himself, Bhael had once again crossed his arms, and struck out with both blades as he barrelled towards the black and white armoured Astartes. Solari Stepped back with his left foot, bringing it to rest just behind his right foot in a new pose altogether. The chain-blades screamed past the captain, barely skimming his chest plate, though the well detailed artificer's armour seemed unscratched by the contact. Bringing the tip of his blade down and to his left behind his back, he turned as if to strike at Bhael's extended left arm.
In immediate response Bhael tucked his left arm in, and leaning hard to his right he reversed the direction of the chain-axe in his right hand, showing off his incredible strength as he stopped it's momentum with just one outstretched arm. Clearly he intended to bring the roaring blade back in an arcing sweep that would separate the captains head from his shoulders. But it was too late, too slow.
Without changing position, or telegraphing his intended attack in any way, the captain struck. Again he employed an economy of effort that was simply awesome in its simplicity. Keeping his body perfectly still, he simply brought his arms down and to his left, the cut impossibly quick, the blur of his sword ending with the haft held a foot off his left hip, the blade's tip angled out to the side while it's length was perfectly in line with the side profile of his body.
The primal scream that came from the captain as he attacked was so shocking it caused the Inquisitor to jump.
The Berserker's body tore apart, from his left clavicle to just above his right hip. The massive torso was split diagonally in two as the energy of the Power Field surrounding the Astartes' blade literally tore through mounds of flesh, muscle, bone and organ.
Still leaning to his right, the right side of Bhael's upper body fell away, pulled from the rest of his form by the momentum in his arm as it attempted to bring his axe back for another strike at the captain. The left side of his body, now headless but still carried by his legs, continued to run for another step before the legs went limp and the rest of his body crashed to the ground. Blood and organs poured from both halves, the massive, fatal wound felling the great savage in a single blow.
As his enemy's body hit the ground, twice, Shadow Captain Solari gave the order the Scouts had been waiting for.
“Finish it.” he issued, and Elatus could faintly hear the command echoed in the Vox earpiece of the sergeant he had followed to this killing ground.
What sounded like at least three score of sniper rifles opened fire simultaneously, the dull 'chink' of the firing mechanisms followed by the whisper like 'ffthunk' sound of the compressed air exiting the high powered rifles through the huge silencers attached to the tip of each barrel.
The remaining five Berserker's, so obviously filled with battle lust, were suddenly perforated from all directions, blood-mist sprouting from all over their torsos, like bright red flowers blossoming in an instant as the rounds punched straight through their muscle bound bodies. Almost as one, they slumped to the ground, dead or soon to be.
Solari whirled his blade in his right hand, a complicated move ending with a hard flick to the side. It seemed an antiquated gesture to Elatus, as though to clean blood from the blade. But blood didn't stick to power weapons – not with the field on anyway. With that, the Raven Guard Captain switched off his weapons power source, and in one fluid motion sheathed it in the scabbard on his back.
“Sergeant Varras, confirm the kills.” he ordered.
The Scout Sergeant beside the Inquisitor drew his combat blade and moved forward, slinging his rifle across his back as he went.
“Inquisitor, come forward.”
Hesitantly, Inquisitor Elatus stood up from his crouch, his legs aching from having held it all this time. He walked forward and stood before the giant Captain, who removed his helmet to talk.
“Inquisitor, you are here to test my loyalty, but you succeed only in testing my patience. As you can see, the reason we have ignored the mandate is simple. We have chosen to deal with the problem ourselves. Any questions?” said the now forthright commander.
The Inquisitor looked poleaxed. He was completely stunned by the honesty of the Astartes Captain. Why go through all this just to tell him the truth straight out? Did he expect the righteousness of his actions would exempt him from Imperial Law? The Inquisitor needed a moment to think. He was exhausted, wet, cold, hungry, and his nerves were frayed to the breaking point. To buy himself time he asked a question.
“Where did they come from?” he queried, clearly meaning the traitor marines.
“When the Ultramarines destroyed that Chaos Warfleet last year they failed to clean up after themselves. A Khorne vessel survived, managing to make a random warp jump before the rest of the fleet was obliterated. Recently, they came out of warp space in this segmentum. Something had happened aboard the ship while it was in warp space, and it's leader was dead, or at least no longer in control, we're not sure which was the case yet. We destroyed the vessel as fast as we could, but not before it could jettison dozens of warbands in smaller crafts, headed for the various inhabited worlds nearby. Most of the warbands are a few dozen strong at most, though some number over two-hundred.”
The Inquisitor should have been elated, but felt dejected instead. He had completed his mission, and in hardly any time at all. But if he was being told this information, they must not be planning to let him go. However noble, their actions were in violation of an Imperial Mandate.
“So what now?” Elatus asked, trying to sound confident.
“Now you choose.” answered Solari.
“Choose?” asked the Inquisitor, confused.
“Yes. Sergeant Herron!” Solari called, and from the darkness on the other side of the clearing walked a very scarred looking Veteran, leading a squad of ten Scouts that had not been in the transport that had brought the Inquisitor and the Captain to the surface of this horrible planet. That meant these Marines had already been on the ground. Clearly they were the ones who had found this troupe of Chaos followers.
“Your first choice is you can continue your foolish pretence of 'gathering tactical information', and accompany my scouts on their next mission, which is to track down the larger group that these traitors broke off from. Intel says they are somewhere here in this region of the planet. I expect that will take some time, at least three months I should think.”
Elatus blanched at the thought of living in this rotted hell for three months. He couldn't imagine a more horrible fate.
“What's my second choice?” he asked.
Captain Solari smiled, something he did rarely, though probably more often than most of his fellow Ravens. When he spoke it was with an amusement that had seen him labelled as a trouble maker amongst his people from his early youth.
“You can return with me to the ship, then get onboard your own vessel and leave. If you choose the second option, be sure to tell Archibald that he can stick his Mandate where I'm sure it most pleases him.”
There was a few chuckles from the nearby scouts. Apparently they thought this was funny.
Inquisitor Elatus was too shocked to see the humor, however. He had been put through this whole ordeal for no other reason than to make a point. He had been so confident he would outsmart the Raven Guard Captain, instead he had been bested in a day.
The Inquisitor sighed. “Do you ever lose?” he asked, resigned to his failure.
The Captain answered with a simple phrase in High Gothic,