It's been a little while since I've posted anything for C+C but I've just finished a new story about Talek Varn and his pirate crew, aaarr mat... ahem, excuse me.
Anyway, the story began in my head with me wondering 'what would happen if one of the Fallen came to Talek Varn's door?' and then 'what would happen if the Unforgiven came knocking on Talek Varn's door?'. It was also an opportunity to try and take another subtle look at the character and motivations of the big bad himself. This story is the result.
C+C would be very welcome, hope you enjoy it!
The servo-skull moved deftly in and out of the high shadowy alcoves of the darkened chamber, weaving around pillars and through arching supports. Far below it sat a figure clad in grey armour with a long staff resting across his knees. A curving ceramic hood rose above his head, his eyes were shut and an expression of intense concentration twisted his features.
Without warning, a loud klaxon shattered the silence. At the sudden interruption, the servo-skull jerked sideways, crashing into a buttress and dropped to the floor. After a few moments the pained electronic wail ceased and a disembodied voice blasted from the ornately carved vox unit sculpted into the wall, the harsh and hurried tone of the speaker clashing with the unit’s angelic finery.
“All officers to the command deck! All officers to the command deck! This is not a drill!”
Brother Degier, sorcerer of the Iron Gods, sighed in irritation. The servo-skull was a gift from Talek Varn’s technical advisor, Magos Octavius, and was apparently attuned to Degier’s own psychic imprint. However, simply controlling the device was proving difficult and though Octavius had assured him that all that was required was practice, Degier was still unsure of it’s worth. Whatever the case, it seemed that this would not be the opportunity to learn he had hoped.
He stretched, servos in his ancient MK VI power armour mimicking his movements, and stood. He walked quickly to the door and out into a high, broad hallway. At the end was a wide portal that led into the command centre of the Iron Gods asteroid base. As Talek Varn’s personal ‘witch’, Degier needed to be close at all times and only Varn’s own inner sanctum was closer than his chamber to the hub of the fortress. Two Iron Gods, warriors of Varn’s own retinue, stood on either side of the heavy door and nodded respectfully as Degier passed through the portal.
The command deck was a hive of activity, with nearly a score of scurrying serfs and non-Astartes junior officers scrambling from console to console, all overlaid with a tumult of voices declaring weapons readiness, void shield status and a multitude of other information. While at first glance the bridge appeared to be in utter chaos, Degier knew that Talek Varn kept his support staff as well drilled as his Marine combat forces.
Another door, protected by two more members of Talek Varn’s personal guard, hissed open and the lord and master of the Solios Nebula stalked grimly onto the command deck clad in his massive Terminator armour. His very presence in the room brought with it an aura of authority and fear that must have been palpable to all, yet none of the officers stood or saluted. Egocentric as he was, Varn knew that in a crisis there was no time for bowing and scraping, and he made sure that those who served him knew it too. He strode quickly to the great command throne at the heart of the chamber and sat, before speaking just two words in a calm tone that nevertheless cut through the chatter immediately.
A short, scrawny man dressed in simple grey tunic and trousers looked up from beside a servitor monitoring one of the long range augur displays. While Lechtus was no Astartes, he had served as Talek Varn’s aide and command deck primary officer for many years. Despite the alert, his voice was calm, efficient.
“A fleet of vessels has just passed the outer sensor perimeter and is taking up position along the edge of the minefield, my Lord. Augurs indicate they are Astartes ships; a Battle Barge, Strike Cruiser and several escort squadrons.”
“Designation?” Varn asked tightly. Degier could feel his master’s well hidden concern and shared it. He could immediately picture the familiar shapes of the mighty ships approaching the asteroid base from the blackness of deep space; with their long, angular hulls, powerful bombardment cannons and myriad launch bays. These were potent vessels in their own right, but of greater worry was the possibility that they might be carrying up to four codex companies of Astartes plus their support vehicles – a serious threat to the Iron Gods, even in their fortress home.
Lechtus nodded hurriedly and looked back at the display.
“Coming up now, Lord Varn. Their Imperial transponders identify them as… the Battle Barge ‘Spear of Absolution’ and the Strike Cruiser ‘Lion’s Hunter’, both of the Angels of Absolution Chapter.
Degier frowned, now even more concerned. The Dark Angels Chapter and their successors were notorious for their intolerance of any less than ideal citizens of the Imperium, let alone renegade Astartes. He looked over to see Varn’s reaction. Oddly, the only thing he could feel was a momentary sense of relief, followed by cold amusement. Varn caught Degier’s stare and must have noted the confused look on the young psyker’s face for he grinned and gave him a conspiratorial wink.
“Hail them. Invite their commander aboard to enjoy our finest hospitality.” Talek Varn waved his hand floridly, seemingly totally at ease.
Lechtus looked equally nonplussed but nodded and gestured to another man seated at the comm. station, a bearded serf with an aural augment that covered most of the left side of his head. After a few moments, the second officer swallowed uncomfortably and nervously swivelled in his chair to face his master.
“Captain Admiel of the Angels 3rd Company refuses your most generous offer, my Lord. He says… he says that he does not consort with renegades, he kills them.”
Varn nodded as though this was to have been expected, but his predatory smile only widened.
“Transmit my exact words. Advise Captain Admiel that though we may be renegades, we have not fallen so far as some. Further, tell him that I have information that should be of interest to any inheritor of the true legacy of the Lion.” He paused as the message was transmitted, then continued. “When he agrees to meet, allow him an honour guard of three, but suggest to him that it would be for the best if they were members of the Inner Circle.”
Degier frowned, trying to puzzle out his master’s cryptic comments but Varn suddenly stood, his interest focussed elsewhere.
“Find Ghoran. Take his and Sargas’ squads, prepare a reception for Captain Admiel and his men in the docking bay. Make sure there are no unpleasant surprises aboard his transport, and then bring them to me in the Auditorium.”
“Have Brother Zachariah attend me there too.”
Degier nodded and Talek Varn turned to leave the command deck. Though the psyker had no idea what it was, the tyrant of the Solios Nebula clearly had a plan.
I'll post the next Chapter soon! Thanks for looking!
Edited by Strike Captain Lysimachus, 24 February 2013 - 08:27 PM.