I’m no longer sure what to believe about this world, only that I must do everything in my power to ensure that it doesn’t end a screaming, rending, terror of a planet. The Borers have, or nearly have, fallen prey to the dark whispers of chaos. That a single psyker within their midst could become a demon was proof enough, but there is more at work than a few angry young men fallen into the worship of Khorne. I’m certain of it.
In the aftermath of the Battle of Moraine I was back on Cadia again. I could hear Marcus screaming for his mother over the ridge, as the demon hounds closed in. I watched, again, as Theotiva was rent apart by the word bearers. As the plague marines wrought their unspeakable horrors on the hive city below, I watched our earthshakers blot out 20 million lives that we couldn’t hope to save. And then I watched from Moraine station once more, as the commissar put nearly a quarter of the surviving men to death for cowardice.
The next day was clearer again. Or perhaps I’d just found stronger spirits. My face appears on the Nyxian Nightly News, slaying a Khorne-spawned demon alongside that same commissar. It’s decided that I’m a hero. That I should join with the Inquisition, as a bodyguard for “Leylios”, another one of Waylon‘s false names. I’m assigned an honour guard, though I couldn’t say whether they’re for my protection or my containment. Jacques and Jane. Jacques looks like he’s never see real combat, a stuffed suit, probably has family connections on Augustana. I’d trust Jane with my back in a fight though.
Waylon and I investigate the hab complex in the morning, and it is here that I begin to worry for the planet. This is where civilians waited to board the evacuation train during the battle. The Kriegs ignored the main battle, and instead entered the complex with haulers. They were not kind to those within. While they have not yet begun the direct worship of Chaos, their cult is dangerously close and will doubtless enter that phase soon. Jane doesn’t have a stomach for this sort of thing, but I’m sure she’ll toughen up. Waylon suggests that we rendezvous with Ramirez. He’s got better information, and there may be a connection between these atrocities and the strangeness at Granite Shore.
Before we depart, I consult local records to determine the fate of the second Borer party
- assigned to render the train inoperable. The report is surprising. Not only did they block the tracks, they ambushed and killed the commander of the regiment of Janissaries stationed here, along with his entire retinue. Something’s not right about this, so we plan to visit the ambush site the next day.
Ramirez looks like he forgot to shine and polish this morning. Some kind of lightweight oil is smeared all over him. Strangely, he smells of cedar wood. We meet him in a private lounge at the spaceport train station, and have barely recounted recent events when a commotion at the door distracts us. Jaques and Jane are attempting to stop a twelve year old from entering the lounge. On second glance, it becomes apparent that he’s actually older, but scrawny and wearing what appears to be the remnant of uniform that’s much too large for him. His shout of “Inquisitor Leylios!” gives away his purpose at once, and he forces a scroll into Waylon’s hands. Shockingly, Hadrius has chosen to make Waylon an acolyte. It seems he knows of the disguise however, as the scroll is addressed to W. Q. Leylios.
I am invited to dinner with Commissar Laag, so we agree to spend the night in the main hab complex along the promenade, and determine the fate of the earlier Borer’s in the morning. Dinner is an odd experience. The commissar’s quarters are spartan, but the meal is opulent. My flamers are taken, but I am allowed my sword. Laag has a letter from Mehmed. It says what I expect, what I already know. Mehmed wants me sent back to Istia. The letter says death by firing squad, but Mehmed has already told me that it would be slower than that. For the first time in weeks I feel actual fear. How many guardsmen did I pass on the way in? 20? 30? Will I have to kill all of them, or only Laag to escape? I’ve seen the man fight. He’s nearer to his weapons than I am to him. No hope of a quick strike, thanks to the table. It’s too bad about Jacques and Jane. I was starting to like them.
Luckily, the Commissar decides to burn the envelope. Apparently as repayment for saving his life at the Moraine. Says that if I were under his command, I’d be shot like the others. I think about telling him that I didn’t give the orders for millions to die, that I didn’t watch my friends and squad-mates be defiled and slaughtered in front of me by the hundreds, in order to kill civilians that didn’t want to be in the Imperium, or to watch a man like this kill a bunch of barely trained children who pissed their pants when a bloodthirstier came calling. Instead I nodded. For now it’s better to not to fight him. The imperium still offers the best hope for keeping this planet from falling to Chaos, and that’s something worth fighting for. Maybe even something worth fighting alongside evil men for.
I’m unnerved after the dinner. Jacques and Jane follow me to Milo’s, under the tracks. It’s the same as ever, except that Waylon’s there for some reason. I can barely suppress the shakes. Too many memories dredged up in the last couple of days. The evening is a blur in retrospect, but Waylon assures me it went well. In the morning, my head is clear again, and Cadia is far away.
We take the train to Pallet station, and hence to the site of the ambush. The tracks are faint, but it soon becomes apparent that it was not blind luck that carried the day here. The Borers had help. Camo gear for lying in wait, and even some sort of monofilament weapon. We’ll have to be careful if we proceed, though it seems only the Table Mountain faction is armed thus.
After our foray, we return to Pallet for a war council. The Imperial forces on Nyx are all but annihilated. They have no more than 30 or 40 men able to hold a lasgun. An initial plan to strike at the Borer-controlled stations long the line is abandoned for want of men. Instead we plan to move against possible Borer activity near Peratum Temple in the south.