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    62 KB The Times and Trials of Klightus, Part 4 Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:09 No.13541792  
    Before I get started, since somebody always asks, here are the other three.


    This is the final one I'm writing for /tg/, so I'll answer any questions after the thread. For now, though, enjoy.
    >> Chapter 1 Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:09 No.13541798
    Klightus ran his hand over the stitching, lost for a moment. This one had come from... This one had come from a piece of bark. Yes, a piece of bark lodged itself in his arm from when a tank had tried to kill him. His eyes went to the trousers, searching the fatigues over. There. The same tank had taken offense to him for the second time. Or maybe somebody nearby. That blast had sent a piece of metal into his leg. Somehow, he hadn't noticed it until Amaia pointed it out.

    The memory brought a smile to his face. That had been worlds away, a lifetime ago. Funny how time changed so much. He'd been so scared then, utterly terrified of his own shadow. Perhaps if he'd known then what he knew now...

    No matter, he told himself. He pulled the trousers on, followed by the shirt. They didn't fit him right any more. A better diet had done him a world of good, it seemed. Problematic. He looked through the closet until he came up with his first greatcoat, the one he hardly ever wore even when he was with the Jingur Third. A long history of disuse indeed.

    "There you are!"

    Klightus spun around, startled. Almost immediately, his face broke into a wide gring. "Wiprecht! What are you doing here?"
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:10 No.13541808
    "Just arrived, actually." The other man stepped into the room, closing the thin door behind him. "You know, I'll never quite understand why you separated your room so that Sister Amaia's room was the first door."

    "Her preference," Klightus admitted. "She claims it in case of assassins, though we both know the chances of one of them making it this far. Is... Is it t-time to-"

    "Relax, old friend." Wiprecht sat on the edge of the bed, smiling. "I haven't seen you in many months. I'll keep the hounds at bay, but only if you grant me the small favor of your company."

    There were two faces to Wiprecht Eigen. There was the one that he wore when performing his duty, the one that everybody saw. A face of harsh devotion to duty. To a select few, however, there was another side to the man. A face that edged on childlike zeal, excitability, and a lust for life. He'd long since decided Klightus worthy of that face, and was already relaxing into it.

    Which was in stark contrast to his appearance. A truly massive man to begin with, made all the more massive by the armor he wore under his outer layer of clothing. The back of his head must have been removed at some point, replaced with a metal dome. An old burn scar ran along the side of his face to the dome from some old battle, making the cheerful expression on his face seem that much more out of place.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:11 No.13541818
    "I suppose I can." Klightus settled into the sole chair in the room. "Tell me, how did your one adventure without me go?"

    Wiprecht laughed. "Throne of Terra, I wish they all could be that easy. Imagine... Imagine a stream, teaming with fish. Now imagine those fish all jumping out at you, begging to be caught. Any easier and I wouldn't of even needed to step on that mudball. A nice change of pace." He leaned forward, grinning. "And what of you? I haven't seen you since you were hollowed by the hulk."

    They'd stumbled across a space hulk and had risked a hasty exploration. The conscript assigned to Klightus had fallen and gotten lost. When he'd gone to rescue the man, he'd gotten separated from the rest himself. A harrowing experience, if any, but he'd gotten the job done... and then some, though the experience had left him drained for some time.

    "We dropped him off, much a hero to his people. I hear that he's being elevated to nobility for what we brought back. Picked up a new one, got into a bit of a tussle against some cultists. He's still getting used to his augmetic arm."

    "You know that's not what I'm asking about! Speak man! Speak! I will find the confessor, drag him here and wrench it from your lips if I must!" Despite the harshness of his words, his tone was jovial and his eyes smiling. That was the quality that Klightus felt honored to see.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)11:11 No.13541819
    All good things must come to an end eh Shy?

    F5ing like a motherfucker.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)11:12 No.13541826
    Well fuck. Just as I'm about to go to bed.

    You better still be here come morning damn you!
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:12 No.13541831
    "Relax." He rose to his feet, retrieving a pict viewer. A brief glance at the image brought a smile to his face before he offered it to his companion. "I made a copy, just for you. So you can view it at your leisure. Thank Sister Ephrael."

    "When I see her next, I will." Wiprecht smiled down at it, nearly unable to sit still from his giddiness. "There are many, my dear Klightus, who would be envious of your position alone. This, this is what they should be truly envious of!"

    "And those men have no sense of duty."

    "And a lagging faith," Wiprecht admitted. "Tell me that it isn't the greatest perk, though. I dare you."

    That earned a laugh out of Klightus. "Only a fool would lie to you. Though I have been accused of many things, I would never be quite so foolish."

    The other man leaned forward, barely able to contain himself. The smile on his face threatened to split it in two. "Then, for your honesty, I wish to give you a gift! I've made arrangements for your inner circle to all receive rejuvenations! Save for the rotational positions, of course. They haven't earned it."

    Klightus' mouth fell open. "But I..."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:14 No.13541839
    "I see a wrinkle!" Wiprecht pointed with glee, almost launching himself off the bed. "The whole four of you!"

    "You just want us to remain as you remember us." He shook his head. They were still a little young for the procedure, rather young. "Your sentimentality will be the death of you. ...What about Sisters Nyze and Quintilla?"

    "I'll even throw in Sister Plath, if it makes you say yes." He laughed and pointed. "Besides, you still owe me! You lost the bet fair and square!"

    Klightus grinned. He could negate that bet with one of the four favors he was still owed... but you didn't pull that kind of thing on Wiprecht. "Fine! I concede! Rejuvenation treatments for all, then!"

    "Ha! That's the spirit! Now you're sounding like a right and proper noble!" By his expression, Wiprecht instantly regretted his words. Quickly, though, he pushed on. "Anyway, when this particular venture is over, we'll be stopping off at Beingun. I've heard a nasty rumor that you're switching to a chain blade."

    That earned an eye roll out of Klightus. "I've been using Sister Julianne's blade for far too long. From my understanding, it's all that's left of the House that spawned her."

    "Illegitimately," Wiprecht reminded.

    "Even so, her true father had it sent to her in the Program. No, it deserves to be laid to rest with her remains, not used by..."

    "Then we shall lay it to rest after this! I chose Beingun for a reason, Klightus. I'm told that House Mercer creates some of the finest power sabers in the sector, so I'm arranging for one to be created specifically for your hand. I figure this will lower me to... What? Two? Three bets I owe you?" The older man paused, grinning from ear to ear. "Unless you'd like to try and keep the score more in your favor, of course."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:14 No.13541847
    Klightus found himself smiling as he put his elbows on his knees. "And what did you have in mind, good sir? That my little inner circle, as you so eloquently put it, will kill more mutants than yours again? You always accuse me of cheating..."

    "Which is why I suggest something else! There will be more than thinning the mutant herds down there. I have no evidence, but the Emperor has put this feeling in my bones."

    "Which means you're sure the bet will be in your favor." He thought for a moment, debating. "If there are only mutants, neither of us win. If there's heretics aplenty, you win. But if we stumble across archeotech that would be of notice to the Priests of Mars, no matter how trivial, even if heresy does abound, I win. Does that sound fair?"

    "You're stroking my ego with an easy bet," Wiprecht said, standing. "I like it. I'll take that bet, and if you win, it will be two favors in your name. One if I win. Now, as much as I would like to stay and chat, if I'm going to perform my end of this bargain of ours, I must speak to the Canoness. Am I the only one who finds her creepy? Yes? Ah, well."

    Klightus rose to his feet, but Wiprecht was already walking out the door. You got used to that with him -- it wasn't until he put on his serious face that he seemed able to focus on anything. Strange man, at times. A valuable reminder that not everybody fit a preconceived mold; a lesson he'd been told applied to himself as well.

    With a private laugh to himself, he pulled the greatcoat on and turned out the lights. There, in the darkness, he allowed himself a moment to shudder with fear.
    >> Chapter 2 Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:15 No.13541860
    Amaia met him near the transport, frowning. "I don't like this," she groused quietly.

    A quiet protest could only mean one thing. "She's asleep?" Klihtus whispered.

    "I doubt that she'll wake up the entire trip. I'll wake her when it's time." She frowned, her ice blue eyes narrowed into slits. "You're avoiding the topic."

    Klightus tugged nervously at his greatcoat. "I n-need to do this."

    It was then that her arms wrapped around him in a comforting hug. Amaia's attitude had changed over the years. She'd long since fully accepted him as her brother; no small part of that was the loss of Sister Cordelia. Though all Sisters were prepared for death in battle, they were still human.

    Klightus had learned after the fact that almost all viewed Sister Cordelia as family. Within the squad, she'd been the oldest by far, her age kept in check through rejuvenation treatments. Amaia especially had looked up to her Sister Superior. Though the rest had survived the battle against the loathsome greenskins, everyone knew the squad had been broken.

    Apparently, this had caused some harsh words between Amaia and the Canoness. Klightus had heard about it only second-hand, but entering the wrong door unannounced had revealed to him the red welts on Amaia's back. Though she never spoke of it again, his own retinue had changed. Bethany, Amaia, and Ephrael had been assigned permanently to him, with the understanding that one novice and one conscript would also serve alongside him.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:17 No.13541873
    "You may not always stand tall, but your back doesn't bend, does it?" Amaia pulled away, taking a moment to brush a lock of hair away from his face. "We should have cut your hair like a conscript's."

    Klightus let out a laugh, more releasing stress than anything. "It's better this way. More b-befitting my birth."

    "I'll never understand nobles," she said with a roll of her eyes. "Come, let us be off then to see this madness of yours through to the end." She made her way up the steps. "Though I reserve the right to purge if I see the necessity."

    Somehow, that thought frightened him more than anything else.
    >> Chapter 3 Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:18 No.13541892
    "Klightus. It is good to have you home."

    His face split into a wide smile. "Sister K-Kandra," he said warmly, forming the aquila.

    "There is no need for that," his old tutor said warmly, taking him by the shoulders.

    "We are all s-servants to the Emperor, Sister Kandra." The two of them spent a long moment smiling to each other before he stepped through the great door. "I take it that they are w-waiting for m-me?"

    "No," she said flatly. "Please, allow an old woman a few surprises." Was she old? There were wrinkles in her face, but at the same time...

    "Then have they been derelict in their duties?" That took her by surprise. Yes, he had been learning. He opened his mouth to explain... No. No matter. This all worked out surprisingly well, despite the ever-increasing knot in his chest. "Then please, stay here a moment. There is one m-more surprise that I believe you will be able to appreciate. I c-can find my way." He paused, then smiled childishly down at her. "I still r-remember."

    "Of course, Klightus." There was more, he could tell. It was in her eyes that she wanted to speak to him more. But he was no longer her protege, and she could no more command him than she could the governor. Which was good -- he wasn't about to bend on this.

    It felt good to walk through the halls. To look at the murals. To remember his youth, a lifetime ago. Especially in his uniform. It was a little hot in his greatcoat, but... Well, he didn't mind. Not at all. He made his way through Gramon Tower, easily finding the sitting room.

    Both Mother and Father were there. They looked well, of course. You couldn't not, with their status. Mother had that look about her that said she'd just been through a rejuvenation treatment. Good. He was glad to see that she was keeping up appearances. It was only proper.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:20 No.13541910
    "Klightus," his father said flatly. Klightus expected to hear more surprise. "You live."

    They both rose to get a closer look at him. "Y-yes, Father. I still l-live."

    "And I had thought that with the Fifth all but decimated, you had fallen with them." He could feel the venom in his mother's words. "Your name does not appear with those serving, but no matter. I suppose that the Guard has let you come home between signings, yes?"

    "No, Mother. I am n-n-not going on another tour with the-"

    He'd forgotten about his mother's left cross. But he didn't stagger. He didn't dare. Now wasn't the time. He slowly righted his head, glaring down at his mother. He could taste the blood in his mouth. "Does this make you feel b-better, Mother?"

    "How dare you?" she seethed. He felt her grip his collar, pulling his head down to eye level. "You were to be a hero of the Imperium. A monument to everything the Imperial guard is. You were to-"

    "I hope we're not interrupting anything." He could see both his parents startle at the harsh voice behind him. Maybe he'd spent too long lost in memories on his way up.

    Klightus turned slowly to look behind him. Despite being twins, he could instantly tell them apart. "Mother, Father. I would like you t-to m-meet Sister Amaia." She bowed her head only the slightest touch, her ice blue eyes glaring daggers. "Sister Bethany." Bethany didn't bother with even the barest hints of politeness. There was a flash of white behind her. "And Katla Gramon. Come h-here, Katla..."

    The little girl peeked out from behind Bethany, hesitated, then ran to Klightus' embrace. He dared a glance to his parents as he hefted her up into his arms. "Your best b-behavior," he whispered into the girl's ear. She nodded and buried her face in his greatcoat. The poor dear must have been exhausted.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:21 No.13541922
    His father was the first to regain his composure. "It is a privilege to meet the three of you. I apologize for the lack of a proper-"

    "I'm sure," Amaia interrupted, dryly looking about the grand sitting room in the same way she would a heretic's hovel. "Please forgive me, but we have traveled a long ways this day and have prayers that simply must be attended to. Might we inconvenience you for quarters to which we may attend these things?"

    "Of course," his mother said, bowing graciously. "Sister Kandra? Could you please see to it that our son and his entourage are given proper quarters?"

    Kandra stepped out of the shadows, her face even an unreadable as ever. "It is already done, m'lady." She turned to the sisters. "Please, if all of you could join me?"

    "Klightus," his mother continued. "Your father and I would greatly wish to speak to you before you retire for the evening."

    That caused the knot to tighten even further. "F-forgive me, Mother, but I must s-see Katla and B-Bethany to bed. P-perhaps afterwords." Much more polite than an outright no.

    With that, the group made their exit, following close on the heels of Kandra. As soon as the doors to the sitting room closed behind them, Klightus moved closer to the Sister Famulous. "You should n-not have done that. They now know th-that your services are not entirely theirs."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:23 No.13541938
    "This is true," she muttered, sounding faintly pleased with herself. "But they should have already known this. Though, you surprise me. You've learned the game far more than before you left. Tell me, who taught you these skills."

    "Perhaps I w-will introduce you before we leave." In a way, he hoped he wouldn't.

    A half-muffled voice from his shoulder shook him from the banter. "Daddy, why are you stuttering so much?"

    "Darling Katla," Kandra said, her voice soothing. "When your father was your age, he had a horrible stutter! One could hardly understand anything he said at all. Why, your grandparents would not be able to recognize him if he did not."

    "That's silly," she muttered before burying her face back into his greatcoat.

    A lie, but one that was acceptable for her.

    Kandra lead them up one set of winding stairs and another, taking the back route, if he remembered correctly. Finally, she paused in front of a rather familiar door, one with familiar scars. His free hand reached out to touch one particular scar, from when Gislerus decided that he wanted to play Guardsmen and Xenos without warning Klightus he was the xenos.

    "I prepared your quarters when I recieved your missive," Kandra informed him. "And you will be staying in the next room over."

    But that was Dogmar's... Klightus' head snapped to Kandra, but she was already moving to show the twins the other room. "Your bags have already been stowed. Please join us after she has been tended to."

    Five minutes to settle Klata down and say a prayer with her was far too long for Klightus, but there were orders to things. As he stormed into Dogmar's room, he was presented with another delay -- the girls were changing out of their armor. Quickly, he moved behind Amaia, his hands working.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:24 No.13541949
    "Machine spirit, please forgive my work so that you might be granted time to rest." His fingers worked the catch and he lifted the power back free from his sister's back, powering the armor down. Setting it to the side, he worked the first few clasps free before turning away.

    "Kandra, would you p-please explain to me what is going on?" He moved behind Bethany and repeated the prayer.

    "Forgive me," she said, lowering her head. "You have been gone for so long, it is hard to remember what all you have missed. Both Claus and Dogmar are dead, I am afraid." Klightus nearly dropped the power backpack in his hands. His blood felt like ice.

    But Kandra was continuing. "Claus died quite by accident. You remember how fond he was of dueling, yes? He participated in a duel to first blood, however the first blood proved to be quite fatal indeed. Perhaps his own fault for not being armored. There was quite a scandal involved when it happened." He hoped that the scandal had ended in appropriate blood.

    But Sister Kanda was pushing on. "Dogmar's death was slightly more... concerning. I saw him the night before his death. Were there ever one I expected to live to morning, it would be he. Rosy of cheek, moving with purpose and direction. He was quite pleased over something. In the morning, he did not come for breakfast. When I checked upon him, I found him... bereft of life, his spirit passed to the Emperor's Holy embrace."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:25 No.13541962
    "What did he look like?" Klightus asked as he continued working on Bethany's armor, careful to keep his back to Amaia. From how Kandra was speaking, it sounded as if it troubled her.

    "It was odd. His veins were blackened, and though he must have died early in the evening, his body was still rather warm. Limp as well. His veins had blackened unnaturally, and his face was gripped as if with terror."

    "Eyes. What did h-his eyes l-look like?"

    "Clear, but pricked with red." Klightus could think of but two or three things in all his years which could cause such a condition. "But it is of little consequence, I'm afraid. The chirugen said that a vein in his head had given way, caused by too much spirits. He was entombed with Claus."

    It would take some work to retrieve whatever remained of the body. Wiprecht moved with people who were far more familiar in such foul things than Klightus was. If he could somehow gain access to the body without earning the wrath of his parents...

    "But I am afraid that the ill news does not stop there." For the first time in his life, he wished Kandra would shut up. "Less than one Holy Terran month ago, your sister Femke went missing." He pressed his forehead against Bethany's shoulder, clenching his eyes shut. "Your father has gone to speak with various members of the Arbites privately to no avail."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:26 No.13541977
    Bethany's hand was covering his, but he could barely feel it. "Pessolt? J-Johanna?"

    "Alive and well, m'lord, though Pessolt has little to do with me these days. If I were to hazard a guess, I would think that he feels no further use of me until he has children of his own. As for Johanna, she married into Leichlin House four years ago. It was a political arrangement, one that was very prosperous for both Houses." She paused a breath. "Pessolt has moved his quarters upstars, with your parents. Your father seems to have plans for your younger brother which he has not divulged with me."

    Klightus could hear his heartbeat in his ears. Deeper inside, a wall that he had built up through decades of absence weakened and finally broke.

    The next thing that he knew, Bethany was dragging him away from the wall, Amaia holding his arms. He could barely hear her patient voice over his own snarls. "Klightus, brother. Calm yourself. The wall is stronger than your hand, and we will need your hand unbroken for tomorrow." Through blurred, hateful eyes he watched as she pulled his fingers free from the fist they'd made one by one, counting them.

    Somehow, that one act of kindness made the fight flee from him, along with his strength. In their wake, they only left the grief and... something else. Something he couldn't identify. It was enough to make his knees give and his body shake with sobs.

    This was not how he'd planned it. This was not how he hoped it would be at all.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:27 No.13541990
    Bethany maneuvered him to a chair, sitting him down. She seemed content to kneel before him, gently stroking his face, wiping away the tears. Even now, he couldn't look directly at her.

    Amaia, however, was not so content. "Sister Kandra, might I ask you a question?" She paused. Klightus couldn't see what was going on. He couldn't see much of anything. "My brother has never spoken much of his family, though some we have been able to guess."

    "What you observed might have been an indication, yes."

    "Why does he hold such ferocity over their loss?"

    That earned a bitter laugh out of Sister Kandra. "My dear. We are children of the Schola Program. Our parents are but distant memories, replaced by His Holy Light. You have not walked amongst nobles the way that I have. You cannot see. To them, their honor, their House, and their status is everything. Blood, no matter how soured through experience, is important to some of them. Though Klightus... Though he may not have been much to them, to him, they are family. No more simply put than that.

    "Tell me, Sister Amaia, has he ever been like this before?"

    That earned a bark of dark laughter from Amaia, no mirth present at all. "Hardly. He saves any wrath he might have for the enemy, the mutant, the heretic, the xenos. I have seen the Emperor guide him in combat, but I have never once seen him felled by emotions such as this."

    "I see." Kandra seemed to think this over for a long moment. "Perhaps we should give him time to recover in peace? I would like to speak with you in private."
    >> Chapter 4 Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:29 No.13542005
    The night's sleep was fitful at best, and all too soon it was morning. Out of the four of them, Klata seemed the most awake and aware, asking constant questions. Kligthus was hard-pressed to keep up.

    Some time during the night, Sister Kandra had gotten new clothing for both himself and Klata. Clothing befit of a noble for breakfast, to say the least. It was a matter of irony and pride that Klata was able to get herself dressed before him. The pride, however, was mostly on her part, ignoring the fact that her mother helped her. For his part, it had been so long since he'd worn anything but a uniform that he had problems figuring out how to get the sleeves to ruffle properly.

    Finally, however, he and his daughter dressed per their lineage, his wife and her sister dressed in their robes, all made their way to the dining hall under his careful guidance. As soon as they passed those grand doors, Klightus regretted it.

    "Ah, so the prodigal brother truly has returned!" Pessolt had lost weight since the last time Klightus had seen him, but had made up for it by wearing more layers. His hawkish eyes played over them fondly, though he didn't bother to rise from his seat. "Klightus, won't you please introduce me to your guests?"

    He could feel Mother and Father's eyes boring into him expectantly. "P-Pessolt, this is Klata Gramon, my daughter." She made a proper show of a curtsy. "My b-bride, Sister Bethany." A slight movement of the head. "And h-her s-sister, Sister Amaia." A full not from Amaia. "Everyone, th-this is my younger b-brother, Pessolt Gramon."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:30 No.13542013
    "It is a pleasure to meet the four of you," he said, rising at last. "Especially you, little one." Klata smiled bashfully as she stepped behind her father. That only made Pessolt smile brighter. "Please, sit, sit. I must admit, I am most surprised, but no less honored, by the company we dine with today."

    A show, for their sake. Last night, he'd might have been surprised. By now, he had time to prepare how he would present himself to the Sisters. No matter. The four took their places. Oddly, Amaia positioned herself closest to Klightus' mother, with Klata wedged between Bethany and Klightus.

    "Kandra has informed me of what the Orders Militant usually have for meals," Father said proudly. "I have instructed the cooks to prepare breakfast accordingly."

    "Thank you," Amaia said gregariously. "It will be a pleasure to dine with you this morning."

    "And what of you, Sister Bethany?" Mother's eyes were sharp as ever. Klightus found the odd realization that he'd missed them. "I cannot help but notice that you have not spoken. Is everything all right?"

    Klightus opened his mouth, but Amaia spoke up before he could. "Shortly after we joined our Order as Novices, my sister was blessed with a Holy Vision by the Emperor himself. I am myself aware of her speaking only three times hence."

    "Three times?" Pessolt seemed horribly fascinated by this. "Forgive my rudeness, but might I inquire as to what those might be?"
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:32 No.13542029
    "Two of those times were in dire circumstances in our fight against corruption within the Holy Imperium. She called out, demanding that the heretics pay for turning against the Emperor's guiding light. In both cases, despite outstanding odds, we won the fight with fewer than expected casualties." She looked to Klightus, a benevolent smile on her face. "The third time was within the Chapel of Saint Thomel Knoedel where she, before the eyes of two assembled Orders, three representatives of the Inquisition, a Cardinal, and the eyes of the Our Father, the God Emperor of Mankind, took the hand of Klightus in Holy Matrimony."

    Klightus looked away, his cheeks burning. A pleasant memory, to say the least.

    "It must be difficult to perform your duties if you are unable to speak," Mother said thoughtfully. Bethany just smiled and shook her head. "How do you manage?"

    "She c-can write just fine," Klightus said quickly. "And often, th-that is unnecessary itself. One can understand h-her intentions j-just fine, if they p-pay attention."

    Mother looked as if she were about to ask another question, but the servants entered with trays. Praise the Emperor for small favors. As the trays were set before them, Father smiled and scooted his chair in a little closer. "Would one of you care to lead us in prayer?"
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:33 No.13542037
    As one, the four of them put their hands together. As one, three voices spoke aloud with reverence. "Oh Immortal Emperor of Mankind, have mercy upon us. Emperor, please cleanse us from our sins. Master, bless this food to give us strength to purify Humanity of their transgressions."

    Klightus was aware of a fifth voice speaking with them. Naturally, Kandra would know it by heart as well. "Glory to the Emperor, Defender of Humanity, whose Blessed Vision keeps us whole. Glory to the Emperor, whose Holy Light guides Humanity in its endeavors. Glory to the Emperor, whose Divine Wrath sweeps away our enemies. Glory to the Emperor, Immortal and Forever. Ave Imperator."

    "Ave Imperator," his family repeated. He would have preferred it if they'd said it at the same time as everybody else.

    Breakfast itself was rather simple, as far as nobility went. Some sort of egg which had been scrambled; thinly sliced strips of meat, which appeared to have been taken from the belly of a grox and fried; some sort of cut and fried tuber; and a pudding. All served with zhaza juice and some sort of milk to wash them down. Truth be told, he was still worried about Klata's digestive tract...

    But Mother was eager to talk. "Tell me, Kllightus, how exactly did you end up in the company of the Orders Militant?"
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:34 No.13542049
    That was a conversation and a half. Klightus spared a moment to sip his juice before answering. "It w-was at the battle of Hentamar IV. The F-Fifth were fighting a p-particularly nasty group of h-heretics, and the Sisters c-came to our aid. I w-was injured, and they n-nursed me back to health."

    Amaia chimed in. "Even as he was still recovering, he proved his purity, bravery, combat abilities, and skills as a chirugen several times. The Canoness saw these and decided to have him translate the war cant of the various regiments for us. He not only recovered several artifacts but was instrumental in winning several battles. It was then decided that he remain with us."

    "Both the Third and the Fifth regiments were decimated in that fight," Father mused. "I'd heard that the remnants were absorbed by the Berith Seventh regiment, but heard no news about you. We had assumed that you had died."

    "Not for lack of trying." Amaia seemed amused by the memory. "No less than three times did I personally see him charge into the enemy without thought for himself. You should be proud over his sense of duty."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:36 No.13542057
    "Indeed." Father spoke with a pleasant tone, but the undercurrent hinted at the truth. Klightus had failed the one duty they'd set before him.

    "So now you serve as a translator?" Pessolt asked. He seemed genuinely curious about all of this.

    "Officially I-I am the l-liaison between their Order and either the Imperial G-Guard or the l-local PDF for the Deparmento Munitorum. I keep b-both sides updated t-to the other's t-troop deployments, offer t-tactical advise, supervise j-joint operations, ensure compatible armaments, f-file after-action reports, and act as a-a Departmento Munitorum representative on the f-field."

    "Daddy kills heretics, too!" Klata exclaimed proudly.

    That earned a smile out of Amaia. "Indeed. He seems to fufill his role mostly from the front line. Usually he just relays tactical information between the Canoness and the Guard over vox while fighting. Occasionally, however, he has been known to put both in their place."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:37 No.13542069
    That made Klightus' cheeks glow, but she didn't stop there. "He understands more than most give him credit for, and is wise in how he applies that knowledge. It would do no good to have our Celestines charge into artillery fire, for example. Even if he himself tends to ignore it." That earned a small chuckle from Mother. "But he does far more than that.

    "Though not officially a member of the Ministorum, he does a great deal for us as well. He assists in training, teaching us about the Guard not only so that we might fight alongside them better, but so that we might more easily identify corruption within their ranks. His retinue includes both one conscript Guardsman and one novice Sister so that both might learn the value of the other. Between deployments, he stays with us, not only continuing his official duties, but also serving as a chirugen."

    "Impressive indeed," Father said, nodding. "To wield such power is impressive. Tell me, what does your commanding officer think?"

    Both Amaia and Bethany laughed at this, though Bethany's was seen and not heard.

    Unfortunately, this did nothing to soothe Klightus at all. "T-truly, that is up to some debate. Um, officially, I technically am my superior officer, w-with only the Lord Solar or high c-command above me. I'm apparently the o-only one with such a job."

    "It's an odd position," admitted Amaia. Apparently, she didn't like to hear him try to force words out. "Officially, he is the head of his department. Where his reports go is beyond me, as one can handrly expect the Lord Solar to read them, let alone his high command. It actually causes him some great difficulty. The first time he attempted to secure a new uniform along with other sundries, he was arrested. Because he isn't attached to a regiment and the paperwork lists no superior officer, they assumed he was a thief. Occasionally, we still have issues with this."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:38 No.13542075
    "It's n-not that bad, really. I j-just-"

    Klightus' words were cut off by an audible commotion. The servants sounded upset, yelling over something. Klightus turned in his seat just in time for the heavy doors to slam open... Revealing Sister Ephrael, her leg still raised from kicking the door. Her hands were occupied with a storage crate, no doubt containing the gear of his office.

    The young conscript, still little more than a whiteshield, moved around her quickly, giving a sharp salute. "Major Grammon," he barked nervously. "Inquisitor Eigen apologizes for the interruption at this early hour, but the operation cannot wait any longer."

    "Inquisitor?" Father was on his feet instantly, followed by Mother and Pessolt in quick succession. His tone was surprised.

    Amaia and Bethany were on their feet instantly, hurrying back to Amaia's quarters to don their armor and retrieve their weapons. Klightus, for the first time since coming to this world, felt himself calm. This was easy. Fighting was easy, you either won or died. Leading was easy, you found a hole and you plugged it. Preparing for battle was easy -- you just did it. Dinner conversation? With family? That was hard.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:39 No.13542083
    "Sister Kandra," he said, calmly wiping his mouth with a napkin. "Could you please take Klata to the spaceport and ensure that she is taken safely aboard the transport?"

    "You trust me with much," she muttered as she made her way to her feet.

    "Should anything happen to us, I trust you to care for her as you would me." A simple fact, nothing more. Now he turned to his daughter. "Darling, I expect you to listen to Sister Kandra like you would any other Sister while Mommy and Daddy are away, alright?"

    His daughter's face lit up brilliantly. "Daddy always comes back. The Emperor wills it so." She wasn't stupid, she knew what fighting meant the possibility of death. But her encouragement was infectious, as was her faith. He couldn't help but give her a kiss before rising to his feet.

    "M-Mother, Father, P-Pessolt, if you will excuse me, I must attend to m-my duties." With that, he turned to the assembled. "Sister Ephrael, Conscript Mekel, Novice Bess, with me please."

    They made no hesitation in following him. He liked to think that they were as happy to get out from under the bewildered gaze of his family as much as he was.
    >> Chapter 5 Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:40 No.13542096
    The fact that Conscript Mekel helped him gear up only served to give Klightus more time to think. Even moreso as they traveled to the entrance to the underhive. The more that his mind worked, the more uneasy he became. The more conflicted. In the past twenty-four hours, his life had been turned upside down, with a great deal of bad news heaped upon him.

    There simply wasn't enough time.

    Despite how he wished he wouldn't have had time to think, all too soon, he found them approaching the Inquisitor. Wiprecht pulled away from the assembled, his face stern as he approached Klightus. "Forgive me pulling you away from breakfast, but the Canoness saw no need to wait. She had late dinner with the Governor last night, paving the way for our work. I could only stall for so long without earning her ire."

    "Understandable," Klightus said, his mind only half there. He debated for a moment before grabbing Weibrecht's arm, pulling him further away.

    "I need to use a favor," he whispered quickly.

    "Speak fast, Klightus, and I will see if I may grant it."

    Now or never, then. He drew in a deep breath, not feeling comfortable with this at all. "We aren't using the PDF or any Guard f-for this purge. You don't actually need me here. I have m-matters which I must attend. Personal matters." He paused a beat. "I need to see a cleric, talk to some people. Attend to my family's crypt." He drew in a slow breath. "Please."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:42 No.13542119
    Weibrecht frowned for a long moment in some great internal debate. The servo skull connected to a socket in the back of his skull scanned the assembled Sisters. At last, he spoke in a hushed tone. "Will you need your retinue?"

    Klightus shook his head. "Personal matter, l-like I said." Weibrecht's glare forced more information out of him. "Plausible d-deniability on their part. I shouldn't have to resort to violence, but if I must, I don't want Bethany or Amaia dragged into it. They're already on edge after meeting my f-family."

    The other man sucked in a deep breath. He wasn't happy, that much was plainly visible. But he gave a nod, a firm hand clutching Klightus' armored shoulder. "Be careful. I can't pull you out of any trouble you pull yourself into."

    Of course not. That would make him look weak. "Thank you, sir. Please, move s-safely, and may the Emperor guide your weapon."

    "And yours, too." Klightus hoped he wouldn't need that blessing. "Clare, your adept, is here. I was hoping to have her fill out some real-time reports of your activities. It can wait for later, though. For now, I'll put Amaia in charge of your squad. Good hunting."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:43 No.13542131
    The temple wasn't much, but it was one that Klightus had always been fond of. It was the closest to his tower, though little more than a well-fortified hole in the wall, trussed up to look its role. He wasn't sure where to start, but as a general rule he found that if he was in doubt, a place of faith was always a good choice.

    As he stepped inside, though, he couldn't help but find himself smiling. In all these years, it hadn't changed at all. How many times had he hidden here as a child? How many times did Sister Kandra bring him here?

    One of the clerics disengaged from a quiet discussion they were having to approach. "Greetings, my child. I welcome you to the Temple of the Reflected Light. I am-"

    "Brother Tobias," Klightus said, half of his face twisting up into a grin as recognition dawned.

    Tobias blinked for a moment before laughing. "Emperor bless you, Klightus! Klightus Gramon! I didn't recognize you at first. Not in armor and... It's been years!"

    "It has indeed," he said with a faint smile, looking around. "But it feels like just a year ago, you were trying to coax me out from under the pews."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:44 No.13542138
    "Indeed! Indeed it has! Now look at you... carapace armor, weapons..." He sobered up a little, nodding. "You've come far, lord Gramon. Farther than any of us could have imagined. Tell me, have you come to confess, or..." His words trailed off as Klightus' smile faded.

    "I wished t-to speak to you a-a-about Dogmar."

    Tobias winced, motioning Klightus to follow. He didn't speak until both were seated in a pew. "Of course you would wish to speak of him. A tragedy, what happened to him. Truly a tragedy. Though your parents worship at another temple, they insisted that his service be held here. So many nobles were packed in here, so many women sobbing. More came for that one service than I have ever seen here before, or I am likely to see again. We ourselves felt his loss terribly. There was a time when he was considering becoming a cleric himself, you know."

    "Truly?" That was a detail that Kandra had neglected to tell him. "What happened?"

    "Ah, Claus." The brother shook his head. "With his accidental death, so much pressure was put on Dogmar to be ready to assume the mantle of heir. He knew that he could not devote his life to the Ministorum and properly care for your House at the same time. He was so sad when he told us the news. In just one misguided stab of a blade, he went from being here every day, almost all day, to only appearing twice a week for service. At least..."

    Tobias seemed hesitant to continue. That said at lot. Klightus put his hand on the brother's shoulder, offering a comforting squeeze. "Brother Tobias. Y-you have always been my guide when I have needed it. You sheltered me, and taught me the t-true meaning of being an Ostagarian. Please. Do n-not hold anything back. I know of the... unusual circumstances behind his death."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:45 No.13542149
    Tobias relaxed somewhat, nodding. "It was most odd, wasn't it? However, you only know the half of it, I suspect. He... had grown concerned before his death. He started visiting us again, seeking guidance from the Emperor. He would speak little, but he said that your parents had become... withdrawn after the death of Claus. He began to worry. A week... Maybe two weeks before his death, he came to me and asked if I knew of a Priest of Mars familiar with the underhive. I... I think that he suspected that one of the other Houses was moving against yours."

    "Brother Tobias." Klightus looked in the other man's eyes, his own burning with need. "You h-have always been there in my times of need. Understand. M-my b-brother is d-d-dead, my s-sister is missing... If these are c-connected... If my brother was s-stripped of life by murder most foul, and my family torn asunder by the p-plotting of others, then he m-m-m... I must avenge him. I beg of you, help me. Help me shine the l-light of His righteous wrath against those w-who would harm the well-being of our Hive."

    Tobias said nothing for a long moment. Indeed, he thought that he might have broken the man. But when his mouth opened next, he began to give directions...
    >> Chapter 6 Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:46 No.13542158
    Klightus was thankful for his uniform, for his ability to march when everything inside screamed at him to run away. People scurried out of his way. Though he still wore a heavy pack, he was dressed in armor and cape befitting of a Major. Who knew what his purpose was, with the purging going on?

    The cusp of where the middle hive gave way fully to the underhive was barely fit for human habitation in Klightus' mind. Why anybody would live here, or lower, was beyond him. Better to give themselves to the clergy, the Guard, anything better than this. Still, despite his dislike, this was the next stop on his hunt.

    The presence of the servo skulls was the first announcement that he'd reached the right place. He couldn't even count all of them, zipping around. But they seemed focused around one hovel, a hovel that bore the skull and cog next to the door. With the utmost hesitation, he stepped through the door.

    The inner lair of a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus were rarely a comforting sight. All sorts of machinery laid bare, seemingly in disarray, greeted Klightus. In the middle of it all, a red-robed figure stood, holding a servo skull.

    "A member of the esteemed Imperial Guard stands before me. One who bears weapons which hold the markings of the Ecclesiarchy. A rare trait indeed. He comes at a peaceful stance, obviously seeking knowledge. Perhaps the kind of wisdom that only I can afford." He stood fully upright, lowering one of his hands. Instantly, one of the three mechadendrites moved to stroke the servo skull. "I am Meinhart. Who are you?"

    He took a deep breath, squaring his own shoulders back. "I am Major Klightus Gramon o-of the Departmento Munitorum, and a liaison to the Adepta Sororitas. I was hoping that you might have some information for me."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:47 No.13542163
    "I have a great deal of information. But what I have to offer depends on what you seek. Do you seek the knowings of the Machine Spirit? Information of my time as an Enginseer? My knowledge of flesh, servitors, maybe the use of one of my lovelies? Or perhaps you seek my theories? Maybe you just wish a primer of the Lingua-technis? Come, my boy, speak!"

    Klightus removed the pict from his belt, holding it out. "H-have you ever met this man?"

    The techpriest leaned forward to peek at it with his augmetic eyes. "Hmm. Yes, I have. And you are not the first to ask of him, but the first to ask and not be followed. Oh, yes. Two women, both followed from the shadows asked about him. They paid good money to learn what he did. One of them... did not fare well, but I could spare no time to watch."

    "Who were they?" Klightus took a step forward, but a mechadendrites came up, warding him to keep his distance.

    "I know not for sure. They spoke in currency, not names. Beyond my concern. They wanted what he sought, just as you do now." He shook his head ruefully. "None armed enough to do what I wish. But your machine spirits sing for battle! Perhaps we could make a bargain?"
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)11:48 No.13542167
    Wait...is his daughter's name Klata or Kalta?
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:49 No.13542178
    The idea of dealing with this... man did little to sooth Klightus' stomach, but he had few options. "It would depend on what you want. Otherwise, I do have coin."

    "Feh. Coin. Coin coin coin. Everybody thinks that coin is my driving goal. No! It is... Bah, wasted on you anyway. I will tell you, and then you will pay or do as I ask, yes?" Klightus nodded. "Good. Good. You see, my loves move about the tunnels of the underhive. Once the middlehive, if you would believe it! They are mapping, you see, finding the changes the hivequakes make, seeking out the patterns. Trying to find the entrances to what lie beneath the underhive.

    "And believe me, there is more beneath it, if you can find it." He seemed pleased by revealing that tidbit. "But, you see, there is one area that troubles me. Guarded well, by those that reject the Omnissiah's favorite pets. They shoot my loves! Destroy them! Unacceptable! Unacceptable!"

    Meinhart lifted the servo skull in his hand, looking into its face. It seemed to calm the priest down significantly. "Unacceptable." He resumed petting it with his free hand. "He sought this place, your man did. The women just wanted to know. None did anything about it." He looked at Klightus now. "You will want to go there, I am sure. I will provide you with a map, yes. But! I want you to take revenge. Glorious revenge, not for your Ecclesiarchy, but for the Omnissiah! Let none survive the wrath!

    "Do we have a deal?"
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:51 No.13542195
    Klata. I'm sorry if I screwed that up, but I couldn't find my editors for once.

    Yeah, yeah, less talking, more posting.
    >> Chapter 7 Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:53 No.13542212
    The air was foul, to say the least. Choking would have been a better term. The smell of rot and ash clung to the air, invading the senses. A strange damp humidity made it even worse, leaving Klightus to wonder what exactly it was that he was breathing. He had the feeling that by the time he walked out, he might as well have spent a lifetime chain smoking lho sticks.

    Klightus had been forced to put on his mask well before Meinhart had warned that the air would become "bad." That was worrisome indeed.

    But anywhere that the air wasn't fogged with ammonia, there was light. Not necessarily because there was power, either. Some sort of fungus grew on the walls, emitting a red glow when the ammonia wasn't misting. Occasionally, pipes would lead down, some of which glowed a hot red. Even more worrisome, great pits sometimes appeared almost randomly, with a disturbingly frequent number of glowing toxic pools at the bottom.

    Klightus was presented with traversing one pit that sank straight down through the tunnel he traversed. Though somebody had lashed a bridge in place, he didn't trust it in the slightest. It wobbled from the immense heat rising from the molten waste at the bottom of the shaft. No, instead somebody had carved out a ledge that ran around the edge, large enough for a human to pass. Not safely, but he trusted it slightly more than the bridge.

    He didn't want to think too much about it as he moved -- the metal seemed slightly soft, as if it had not set properly. He kept his eyes on his footing, moving as quickly and surely as he could until he made it.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:54 No.13542219
    This was it. Close to the location that the techpriest had told him of. Whomever had taken control of this portion of the underhive had enough weaponry to destroy the servo skulls, and enough want to continue to do so. That alone was telling. They wanted their privacy, and if Dogmar had shown interest in it mere days before his death, that was enough for Klightus.

    Meinhart had assured him that this was the least heavily defended area, and Klightus was inclined to agree. Only the foolish, the insane, or the desperate should trust that bridge. Drawing his blade and the melta pistol at his hip, he paused briefly. "Sister Julianne, thank you for allowing me to use your family's blade in the pursuit of Righteousness once again. May you rejoice in the Emperor's embrace. God Emperor of Mankind, please give me the strength of purpose to see this through, steady my resolve no matter the cost, and should I encounter your enemies, the power to smite them in your name. Ave Imperator."

    With that, he began a slow, purposeful march into the passage ahead. No enemies would sneak upon him, no powers but the Emperor could stop him. This he told himself with every step.

    Shortly, he came to a door, and behind it a different light ahead than the fungus. Some powered illumination, some from fire. Voices as well. Good. Now he would discover what his brother had died trying to learn. Now he would discover who moved against his family's name.

    As he rounded the corner, however, the sights revealed the words he somehow couldn't make out. The pointed star that hung on the wall. The stained alter. The statues. The wretches chanting in front of an elegantly robed figure. "Chaos," he seethed.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:55 No.13542228
    Immediately the chanting stopped, all turning to cast their eyes upon him. The leader sneered to himself. "So the commander of the PDF deems himself worthy of investigating our little abode during our sermon. How fitting you should join us on this day. You will be much better than our planned sacrifice."

    Klightus raised his blade, ready to lunge forward at the first one who moved. The leader, though, just raised a finger, smirking. "Tut-tut. How impolite. Elgast! Bring this one to me alive!"

    It was then that one of the statues moved, rotating its head. A hulking form, far too tall and massive to be normal. The height of an Ogryn, clad in metal armor, bristling with spikes, claws, and mutation, both within the armor and without. It threw its head back and laughed. "For Chaos!"

    There was something off here. Even for a Chaos Space Marine, this creature didn't look right. However, Klightus had not time to think -- already, it was charging. Klightus wasted no time coming up with a plan to defeat this monstrosity.

    He turned and ran.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:56 No.13542233
    No thought, no time. The hulk didn't move as fast as Klightus did, giving him the edge of speed. But if Klightus chose to keep running, he would inevitably become lost, giving the creature the edge. Which was fine; he didn't have any intention of running any farther than necessary.

    He sprinted across the bridge so quickly he wasn't even aware of the wobble, the shake barely slowing him down. The tunnel ahead of him branched many, many times. There was no telling how easy it would be to get lost, or how easily the cultists could move to cut him off. Perhaps it was foolishness not to bring Bethany, Amaia and Ephrael.

    He glanced over his shoulder, stopping dead in his tracks. The corrupted traitor was already within sight. It charged relentlessly, advancing with a howling madness. The armor didn't look right, at all. Klightus had seen enough Adeptus Astartes to know that much just by looking at it in this light. Somehow, that only served to make it that much more fearsome.

    One of its feet hit the bridge. Time seemed to slow as Klightus turned slightly. A second footfall, heavy. His hand moved. It crouched, ready for the pounce.

    And Klightus pulled the trigger on the melta pistol.

    Immediately, the bridge gave way, sending a shower of sparks out. As it toppled, the creature leaped... but it wasn't enough. Too late to make it to the other side, it fell out of sight. A moment later, he heard a screeching impact against metal. Steeling himself, he approached the edge, already knowing what he'd see.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:56 No.13542235
    The claws of the beast had imbedded themselves into the wall of the pit, keeping it from falling any further. It stared up at him, howling in fury. Naturally. Nothing was ever that easy. Klightus sighed softly as he fell to one knee at the pit's ledge. He watched as it ripped one clawed appendage free, striking higher, pulling itself up. It paused as he leaned over, his melta pistol pointed down, and pulled the trigger.

    A few moments later, it began to laugh and continued its ascent. "Fear me, pitiful one! Your weapon does nothing!" Klightus said nothing, but didn't stop. "It doesn't even tickle! Soon, you shall be offered up on the spear, not the alter! Soon, all of the underhive will sing as one as we destroy your precious city!"

    The melta finally stopped humming, but not by Klightus' will. The fuel was spent. Calmly, he re-holstered it and opened a pouch on his pack. "Great God-Emperor, Watch over Your servant, And bestow upon him the skill and patience..."

    "Pray all you want! Nothing can save you now!" Its howls of laughter, though, suddenly came short. A clawed hand dug into the metal and pulled to haul itself higher, only to tear free a fistful of softened metal. It looked up with surprise as Klightus' intent became apparent.

    "To time the moment, And make the kill." The grenade fell from Klightus' fingers, falling a depressingly short way before exploding in the face of the mutant. The force of the explosion ripped its claws free from the wall, sending chunks of its armor flying as it fell. Fell a long ways, as a matter of fact, directly into the pool below. Klightus could barely even hear the impact, but he could see it. A small sizzle, and then nothing more.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:57 No.13542245
    Klightus made his way around the edge of the pit much more quickly this time. He was expected, after all. A short sprint down the hall, and he rounded the corner. "The mutant you dressed up as a Marine is dead," he proclaimed loudly, drawing his hellpistol from its shoulder holster and firing at the nearest cultist.

    Instantly, all of the wretches charged. Just as expected. As he shot the next one, they all became focused on the pistol, trying to overpower him so that he might not be able to get another shot off. They never saw the blade until it began to rend flesh.

    A slash, a stab. Quickly, they fell to his blade, their flesh rent apart by the powerful energy field. Two, three, four. They seemed mindless in their assault, mindless in their quick deaths. All who charged died, by blade or by pistol, until finally only the priest remained, pressed back against the wall.

    "You aren't with the PDF," the cultist cried in fear. "Who are you? What are-"

    His words were silenced by a blade pushed into his throat a moment before Klightus activated the energy field, freeing the head from the body. A wave of relief washed over him. The battle, at least the worst of it, was over. There might be more, but not in a flurry like that. It never ceased to amaze him just how stupid cultists could be.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:58 No.13542250
    Stupid... The word resonated in his mind until he kicked himself silently. He should have interrogated their leader, not killed him immediately. Now, he was left with nothing. Unless...

    His hand went to his helmet. "Klightus to Inquisitor Eigen, do you read?"

    There was a pause before he got a staticy reply. "Klightus, this is Sister Reikhilda. I can barely hear you. I'll see if I can link you through."

    Leave it to Reikhilda. After a moment, the vox crackled to life again. "Klightus, this is Wiprecht. What's going on?"

    "You won the bet, sir." Klightus looked around, frowning to himself. "You may wish to come to my location with your retinue. I think I'm in the middle of their stronghold."

    There was a long pause before he received another response. "Give me a vague idea as to where you are. I'll have my techpriest discern your location from there."

    Within ten minutes, they'd finally got to the point where Wiprecht could at least draw near. Ten agonizing minutes of trying to explain levels, landmarks, and points of easy reference that could be used in the underhive. Unlike the rest of the hive, it was a labyrinth of disuse. By Klightus' best guess, assuming that nobody got lost and they all made it with best speed, it would be at least an hour.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)11:59 No.13542259
    An hour. He looked around the room again, bile churning in his throat. Seeing heresy in your home hive was a more bitter pill than anywhere else. But he could either stay in the sacrificial chamber, awaiting more heretics to arrive, or he could explore. Exploration brought the possibility of not only bumping into more of them, but also meant the possibility of exposing himself to artifacts of the Ruinous Powers. Staying meant remaining here, restless, staring at twisted statues and a sacrificial alter.

    Though he knew it was foolish, Klightus chose a door at random, opened it, and began to walk through twisted, corrupted hallways. Whatever foul sorcery they had worked here had left its mark, indeed. The Sisters had brought meltas, he was sure. They'd have to put them to good use.

    The original purpose of this area was lost to time. The walls were thick, meters thick in most places. Everything still seemed to vibrate slightly, though if that was due to the sorcery or some unseen mechanics was beyond him. He simply kept walking, peeking randomly into rooms, trying to distract himself from feeling the fool.

    Opening a door just enough to peek inside, he was presented with someone's back. That made him call back upon previous experiences. People usually stood like that for one reason -- to keep somebody from crossing. Which meant that they were guarding it from somebody. Probably an entrance. Taking it out would clear up resistance for the Inquisitor.

    Taking a page from Sister Ephrael's book, he kicked the door as hard as he could, sending the guard sprawling and revealing another on the opposite side of what appeared to be a long hallway. Klightus raised his pistol quickly, firing a shot at the far target. At that range it was a hard hit, forcing him to hold down the trigger for a moment to correct his aim. A much faster follow-up shot ended the one on the floor.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:00 No.13542264
    Two, on opposite ends of a hall. That could only mean one thing. Slowly, hesitantly, he made his way inside. Makeshift cells lined the walls of the hall. The first two were empty. The third held a man who seemed more than happy to drool on himself. Best not to let him out -- who knew what they had done to him. Klightus crept further down the hall.

    "Who are you?" a woman demanded from one of the cells. He didn't lower his weapon as he turned to face her. Better safe than stabbed in the back. He couldn't quite make her out from the back of her cell. "I suppose that I should be grateful that you killed those bastards, but you can't be too sure down here with the vermin. Though you are rather well equipped for vermin..."

    She took a step closer, but not enough for him to make her out clearly. "Let me out, please. Give me a gun. I can make it up on my own if you'll just give me a chance. Please! They... They tried to turn me from the Emperor's light. They said things... did... things. Please, either let me out or just kill me!" She stepped forward, grabbing the bars to her cell. "I won't become a pawn in their games!"

    Klightus' brain wasn't entirely working any more. Slowly, he holstered his pistol. His hand moved up to his mask, unclasping the seals, pulling it down. The rancid air hit him hard in the face once more. But he wasn't able to close his eyes. He was absently aware of his mask hitting the ground as he pulled off his helmet, letting it fall as well.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:02 No.13542273
    "Is that... Klightus?" Femke took a step back, her hand going to her mouth. "No, no..." She took a step back as Klightus took one forward. "No... No, my brother's dead. This is a-another one of your tricks! It won't work! You're dead!" She fell back against the far wall, sliding to the floor. He could barely make out the words amongst her sobs. "You're dead... You can't be you... They told me you died... They said..."

    He had to say something. Anything. Something to prove to her his identity. "Your porcelain doll was so strange, b-but kind of p-pretty." His voice sounded so weak in his own ears. "I... I just wanted to l-look at it. I d-didin't mean to break it. It... slipped. From my hands. And you g-got so mad. I wouldn't go down the main stairs f-for a year after without S-Sister Kandra there. Because you would always push me down them."

    "And you always told Mother you slipped." Her eyes were the size of saucers as she stared up at him. "Are you... What are you going to do?"

    Calmly, he activated his blade and struck once. He spent a moment staring at his handiwork before sheathing it. Yes, he decided, that would do nicely.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:03 No.13542279
    Almost immediately, Femke was against him, hugging him tight. To him, it was all so surreal. To have a member of his family truly happy to see him, beyond the curiosity, beyond the pleasantries, beyond even history. Honestly and eagerly happy to see him. He didn't know how to react to the sobbing woman clinging to him. All that he could do was wrap his arms around her, holding her tight.

    "They tried to break me," she sobbed into his chest. "They... It doesn't matter any more, does it? They're dead. And of anybody who would rescue me, it'd be you. Tall, gangly, useless Klightus..."

    For the first time, oddly enough, he felt at peace with her calling him that.

    The peace was short lived, though. A loud clang of metal against metal somewhere caused them both to jump. "What the damnation was that?!" Femke cried, hugging him tighter.

    "H-hide in the cell," Klightus said quickly. "D-don't worry. I'll take care of it."
    >> Chapter 8 Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:04 No.13542289
    "So you discovered a techpriest who has been mapping the underhive and a cabal of cultists, and managed to kill their false traitor marine whilst removing the head of their leader." Wiprecht frowned and nodded in appreciation. "Truly, you should engage in personal matters more often, Klightus. It would probably save the Imperium years of work."

    Klightus wasn't stupid. He knew what Wiprecht was trying to do. Even with Clare making records of everything that was said, Wiprecht was trying to take Klightus' mind off of the other room. The Inquisitor's personal confessor had gone in there three hours ago. An hour ago, the screaming had stopped.

    "It wasn't my intention, believe me." Klightus pulled his knees up under his chin, a feat in his armor. "W-would you please just... J-just tell m-me if she's s-still alive at least!" Bethany wrapped an arm around his shoulders, a welcomed bit of comfort.

    "I would not believe it," Wiprecht said softly. "Here is a man who can stare death in the face. A man I have worked with on many levels throughout the years. Who handles everything thrown at him with the kind of strength and determination that even an Adeptus Astarte could appreciate. And yet, here before me, he is turned into a wreck of a man."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:05 No.13542297
    Klightus shook his head. Wiprecht, for all his good points, could never understand. Even if he were to try for another century, he couldn't understand why this shook Klightus to his very core. All that he could do was bury his head in his knees and try not to cry.

    When the door finally opened, he jumped to his feet.

    Hals closed the door behind him and walked right past Klightus, not even sparing him a glance. Instead, he walked to Wiprecht and nodded once.

    "She is alive," Wiprecht said, heading for the door. "And is in a condition to speak with us. Please." He opened the door, looking at Klightus evenly. "After you."

    Klightus ran past him, into the room. The ruinous symbols had been removed, but somehow it still seemed foreboding. Femke looked exhausted, worn. Covered in sweat, though she shivered as if cold. Her pupils were slow in reacting, but they were better than expected. He took her hand, and she gave it a gentle squeeze, trying to avoid looking at the servo skull that hovered above her.

    "Hals is very thorough," Wiprecht said calmly, waiting until the three Sisters and Clare had all entered before closing the door behind him. "And she was in no condition to resist to start with. Starvation does that to a person. That said... I suppose I will let her live. Though I'll probably regret it."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:07 No.13542307
    "Thank you," Klightus said softly.

    Femke licked her lips to speak. Klightus went to get his canteen, but she refused to let go of his hand. Instead, Sister Ephrael let her have a drink from hers. Finally, she could form words again. "I thank you for your generosity, Inquisitor Eigen. Though, I must ask... You seem less than... fond of me."

    "Hmph." Wiprecht crossed his arms over his chest, not looking directly at any of the assembled. "Klightus, did I ever tell you about when I became an acolyte?"

    He shook his head slowly. Wiprecht didn't really talk about himself much if he could help it.

    "I was young, then. Only thirteen years old. But I somehow earned the interest of three different Inquisitors. Three, at the same time. So they all came to me at once, to interview me. To figure out which of them would add me to their retinue. They were all marveled by my actions, my abilities. And yet, the moment that I opened my mouth, two of them decided they wanted nothing to do with me.

    "Why? Because I had a stutter that would put yours to shame. The third, Inquisitor Otmar Guilliman, stared at me for a long moment before shaking his head. He tried some methods, but they didn't work. So he took me to a forge world for one purpose." He tapped the metal dome on the back of his head. "A surgical procedure. Not the prettiest, but it worked, and left room for an upgrade or two."

    Wiprecht looked over to Klightus. "So, when I met Klightus here... Well, he responded to the non-surgical treatments better than I did, at least. We've gotten him to the point where he can often go an entire conversation without a stutter." His eyes turned to look at Femke directly. "Until you even skirt the subject of his family. Then it comes back in full force. Tell me, why is that?"
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:08 No.13542311
    Klightus looked away. He didn't like it when Wiprecht got quiet with his anger.

    Neither did Femke, apparently. But she began to talk slowly. "Klightus was... He was the little one. Taller than the rest of us, sure, but still. He always acted before thinking. Leading with his heart. Always getting hurt, always tripping over himself, always getting into trouble. He always had the stutter, though. Always. But..."

    She took a deep breath, shaking her head. "The boys picked on him, and he never fought back. We started picking on him, and he still didn't fight back. The only time I saw him fight back was... It was right after the second time that he got kidnapped. Dogmar took one of his toys... I don't even remember what it was. I was right there..."

    "Baneblade," Klightus whispered. If he could shrink into nothingness, he would have been a happy man.

    Femke laughed softly. "That's right... Eleven barels of fury. Anyway, Dogmar was taunting him with it, keeping it out of reach. Klightus accidentally... Well, bumped him below the belt. Not enough to hurt, but it was enough to make Dogmar mad. So he hit Klightus with the baneblade. In the face. And it broke. Klightus... just laid there on the ground for a minute, staring at the pieces. Johanna was laughing, but I realized he wasn't crying. Just... staring. Then..."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:09 No.13542317
    She shook her head, lost in the memory. "I didn't even see him move. Just one moment he was on the ground, and the next moment he kept punching Dogmar in the face. Dogmar pushed him hard enough to send him sliding across the room, but that didn't stop him. He just got up and ran. Tackled Dagmar right through the observation window, and they fell into the sitting room. I remember laughing, like it was the most entertaining thing I'd ever seen. It wasn't so funny, later. Dogmar got lucky and hit the couch right, but Klightus broke his collar bone."

    She looked back up at Wiprecht, her voice regretful. "But it was always like that. The only time we ever cut him some slack was after his third kidnapping. But that was more because he settled into that harshe regime under Sister Kandra more than anything. But he still got plenty of it. Like... When Claus convinced you it was Dress Like Your Sister Day. Or when we had a Janus Simulacra. She was exceptionally well built. I made a big deal of it when I caught Klightus staring at, uh..."

    She made a frustrated noise, looking up at Klightus. "By the Thone, it was so stupid! We treated you like dirt, and you were our brother!" Tears began to fill her eyes. "We were horrible to you, even Mother and Father. Yes, you weren't like the rest of us, but you honestly tried in your own way. You worked harder than all of us. And we were all so glad you were gone. No more accidents, no more passing out at dinner. No more trying to be patient to hear what you were trying to say."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:10 No.13542321
    Her hand covered his, gripping it as tight as she could manage in her state. "No wonder you survived. After what we did to you, there's no way you could have died. And after everything... Everything I've done to you, you still... You're the one who saved me. You're the one the Emperor lead to me. And then you..."

    Klightus smiled down at her, shaking his head. "You're still f-family. How could I not help you? I m-mean... In the Guard, yeah, they picked on me, too. B-but... They still fought alongside me, and I s-still fought to keep them alive. I c-couldn't just abandon you. I swore that I w-would kill whomever was responsible for k-kidnapping you and killing Dogmar. And..."

    But she wasn't looking at him anymore. He'd said something that made her look away like he'd struck her. He glanced up at Wiprecht, but he was making an avid point of not looking at Klightus either. Even the servo skull flew off so Klightus couldn't look at it.

    "Emperor have mercy," Ephrael said from beneath her helmet, her voice tinged with disgust. Out of everybody in the room, even Clare, he seemed to be the only one who suddenly wasn't uneasy.

    "What did I say?"
    >> Chapter 9 Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:11 No.13542329
    The door opened readily with his cognomen, accepting his identity readily. The spire was oddly silent, the footsteps on the marble floor echoing. Yet somehow, despite all of this, it only served to make him feel oddly claustrophobic. It did absolutely nothing for the trembling in his hands. Even the servants seemed to still and quiet when they saw the silent march.

    The doors squeaked when they opened. Mother and Father were sitting, sipping a cup of tea. They looked... worn. Tired. Father set his book to the side, peering at him. "Klightus. How goes the underhive purge?"

    "W-we're done for the day, F-Father. How are the f-forges?"

    "Your purge seems to have increased the work rate. Your coming was better than we could have guessed. Everything is better than expected."

    A voice rang out behind him. "And I suppose the news of my death only aided in this." Femke stepped out, walking into the room to stand beside her brother.

    "Inquisitor Eigen sent you that l-little message," Klightus added, his face as hard as steel. "He found so much p-p-paperwork. So much correspondence that even I h-had to belive it."

    Mother, for all her faults, seemed so dignified. There was no cowering, no fear. She knew what was going on, and knew better than to fight. "So you know everything, then."
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:13 No.13542334
    "No." Klightus' throat felt dry, swollen. "There's o-one thing that I s-still don't understand. Why? Why do all of this?"

    The two glanced at each other for a long moment. Finally, Father spoke. "Claus. You don't know what it's like to lose a child. You-"

    "So you kill another a-and offer a third up for s-s-sacrifice?" He couldn't keep the fury out of his voice. His own vision danced and bobbed due to the tremors that wracked his body.

    "They promised us," Mother said firmly. "Dogmar? Inherit the House? He spoke of increased wages, lesser hours, actually paying the mutants to haul away the waste. He spoke of education programs. Him? Lead the House? He'd destroy it. Even Pessolt, that little deviant... He'd waste it away everything that had been built here for his own perverse pleasures!"

    "We needed a true heir," Father said calmly. "And we were unable to produce one on our own."

    "And then the priest came. I don't know how he knew, but he spoke with us a great deal about it. He told us that he could bring Pessolt into his flock, to give him a focus, to keep him from allowing the House to crumble underneath his feet. He showed us rituals, that would allow me to carry a child again. It would work! He just needed help setting it up."

    Father found his way to his feet, squaring his shoulders back. "We weren't stupid. We had a plan. Once the ritual was complete, mercenaries would come. While they were engaging in their dark rituals, the mercenaries would kill them to a man, and-"

    "You t-turned your back from the Emperor f-for this?!" Spittle flew from Klightus' lips, his face turning red.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:13 No.13542337
    "And what did the Emperor do for us?" Mother countered. "We served him faithfully, and he only gave us one child worthy of inheritance, then allowed him to die! We both know what happens if the House falls! The forges close until another House can refit them for the designs they're permitted to use, and that will take years! Millions, perhaps billions will die of starvation! What then?"

    There was silence. Klightus' face had grown almost purple in color from his rage. He could hear the blood rushing in his ears, almost so much so that he could not hear Sister Ephrael approach. Calmly, he took her flamer, still connected to her backpack.

    Femke spoke quietly. "In retaliation for the attack on their stronghold, lead by the heir of House Gramon, cultists sneaked into the tower through unknown means. Though forces of the Inquisition were quick to the scene, their path of bloodshed was quick. Though they did not escape, the damage was done."

    Klightus spoke, but his words seemed to come from elsewhere. They didn't feel like they came from him at all. "Herdeinus Gramon. Melicent Gluckshalt-Gramon. By the power invested in me by Wiprecht Eigen, Holy Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus, I do hereby deliver the verdict that he has passed down upon you. For the crimes of turning your back against the Emperor, he finds
    >> Epilogue Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:14 No.13542342
    Wiprecht lifted his hand from the page, staring down at what he'd written. Even if he hadn't of been there, lurking in the background, even he he hadn't of had his servo skull recording the entire procedure, Clare had been there. Under his orders, she took careful records of everything involving Klightus. Every word, every story, every action.

    Somhow, though, it still felt impossible to write now.

    He set the quill to the side, looking over this small room. Some might call it a shrine, and they might be right. His hand passed over the helmet of Sister Ephrael, carefully avoiding the bolter hole on the far side. How many nights had they spent together? How badly he wished to have her back?

    Forcing himself away, he found his eyes drawn to the pict slate. The sound was off, but the images repeated over and over. Klata, enjoying a very pleasant birthday. She was six... No, seven then. Sitting on Bethany's lap as she opened a present. At the edge of the screen, he could see a profile of Klightus, gnawing on his lips with nervous excitement. Wiprecht found himself lost in a sad smile as the girl received a small token from the shrine world of Solovei.

    He found his eyes looking over other picts. The wedding of Klightus and Bethany. Them showing off Oldric. Their squad after the battle of Bantencamp Hadi, attending to prayers. It was enough to make a man's eyes mist.

    Wiprecht retrieved a single page of paper, setting it in front of him. This took more courage than he cared to admit.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:15 No.13542346
    >Otmar Guilliman, Ordo Hereticus

    >I know that it has been many decades since we last spoke. We have always been of differing mindsets about a great many things, and I fear that has soured our relationship. And yet, oddly, I still think of you as more of a father than the one who reared me. In times like these, I feel I should reach out to you for guidance or help.

    >You once said that of all of my faults, there would be only one which would kill me. My desire for contact with other humans on a personal level. My desire for friendship. I always scoffed at you, and continued as I saw fit. I know that it was a disappointment in your eyes that I would do this. However, in times like these, I fear that your concern may not have entirely been unfounded.

    >When I have a friend, I tend to keep a close eye on them. Partially out of professional curiosity, to see if they would betray me. You taught me that much. But also to ensure their safety as best I can, as well as to live their life vicariously. Many of them have moments of happiness which I know I will never have on my own.

    >One such friend, the closest of them all, is Klightus Gramon, the head of House Gramon on Nujema, centered within the hive of Yenbar. You may have heard of him once or twice; his illustrious career within the Departmento Munitorum acting as a liaison for the Order of the Wounded Hand proceeds him.

    >In recent years, as a method of stepping down from his position with the intent of proper retirement, he has taken to training in the Schola Program on Ockohr Prime. He taught battlefield communication, and often assisted with fencing lessons. I am told that he was regarded highly by both his fellow faculty and the students there, becoming one of the favored teachers. He was accompanied by his wife, one Sister Bethany of the Order of the Wounded Hand, and his second son, Rudiger, who continued to serve as part of his retinue.
    >> fin Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:17 No.13542355
    >My sources tell me that all communication with Ockohr Prime was recently lost. The cause of this is currently unknown; truly it could range from a simple warp storm, to the accidental death of the astropath, to causes which I would prefer not to think of. I cannot interfere myself, of course, but I am told that one ship of the Imperial Navy has been dispatched to investigate. At the time of this writing, there is still an estimated four weeks before it arrives.

    >In these times, I attempt to console myself by writing a biography of sorts. Perhaps the word novelization would be better. Regardless, I do this not to fictionalize the events which propelled him to greatness, but for a more noble purpose.

    >You have spoken many times about how the Imperium needs heroes. Indeed, it was one of the few subject matters on which we both agreed completely. Heroes inspire the people, keep them faithful, and pacify them. Be they military heroes or saints, they are perhaps the first line of defense in the war for the purity of Humanity.
    >> Oops! Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:17 No.13542358
    >Should Klightus be declared dead, I wish to ask of your help. I wish to see him elevated to the position of Saint. I do this not for his House -- his daughter Klata is a more than competent leader. I do this for his status. Within these writings, I believe that you will find him to be a noble spirit. Though Ostagarian (I know of your opinion on them) in belief, he has shown the utmost humility and grace throughout his life, no matter the position he has taken, no matter what he has been forced to deal with. This, as an icon to the masses, will be most beneficial.

    >Please, Otmar. I beg of you. You have been instrumental in raising one other to the position of Saint. Read through my writings, and tell me that you find him worthy of your support in this endeavor. And should I never get to see my friend again, perhaps my final friend, please take up this crusade along side me.


    >Wiprecht Eigen, Ordo Hereticus

    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)12:19 No.13542364
    Guardsman, if I was a chick, I'd have your babies.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)12:19 No.13542366

    GODDAMN you shy with your cryptic open ended endings.

    But bless as you as well. :(
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)12:21 No.13542377
    One of these days, I better put this up on 1d4chan.

    Also, we need some drawfags in here.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)12:25 No.13542396
    Let's see here...

    >I pet my servo skull
    advice techpriest
    >I love you servo skull

    >they shot my servo skull
    advice techpriest
    >There were no survivors

    Well done Shy! In fact I almost missed CLANG!

    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:28 No.13542416
    Thank you, I think. I... Hng.

    What's the one thing more horrible thank somebody dying?

    Ha! I wasn't sure if somebody would get it or not. I'm just sad that I had to take out Dark Tower. (Newfags won't get this.)
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)12:36 No.13542476

    Uhhh...not knowing if someone is dead or not?

    At least you granted my wish and left his daughter unambiguously alive. :(
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)12:42 No.13542508
    Cut me some slack. You all talked me into giving this a novel treatment. I have to leave myself something to work with.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)12:59 No.13542639
    No more writefagging from Shy?
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)13:05 No.13542686
    I writefag regularly. I usually just do it Anonymous. Every few days I post some bit of short work to /tg/, usually inspired by something that I see in a thread. I'll write something else. This is just the end of Klightus for /tg/.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)13:23 No.13542799
    Can we get an example?
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)13:27 No.13542826
    I don't save most of them. Nng, let me look and see if I can find something.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)14:00 No.13543086
    The only other /tg/ related stuff that won't take me an hour or more to post is some writefaggotry I did the other night for that pic of the terminator escorting the little girl to help her find her mom. Sorry.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)14:36 No.13543340
    beautiful story but the end was a bit fuzzy for me...

    so the inquisitor purges the entire family?
    how does the main character end up dead and put up for sainthood?
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)14:50 No.13543451
    Figured it'd give some people pause. Hence my offer to answer questions.

    The entire story has been the Inquisitor writing it. Yes, the Inquisitor ordered the family purged -- they killed their son and offered their daughter as a sacrifice as well. Klightus, being the honorable guy he is, does the deed himself. Saving face for the House, as it were.

    The epilogue is the Inquisitor taking a break from the writing. This is many, many years after the fact, long enough for Klightus to have another kid. The world that Klightus is on suddenly went off the radar. Any number of reasons for it, but in the world of 40k, no reason is good. Naturally, he suspects the worst. So he takes the time to pen a letter to the Inquisitor who trained him.

    Klightus might be alive. He might be dead. And his old friend wants to put him up for sainthood if dead. Because in my mind, even Inquisitors occasionally want a happy ending. Most are simply justifiably jaded enough never to reveal it. This is just Wiprecht's way of trying to ensure the story has one, no matter what.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)14:54 No.13543493
    >Inquisitors occasionally want a happy ending
    How the hell do you get this?
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)14:57 No.13543511
    If you post a sentence from your stories, we should be able to find them via the easymodo search.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)15:00 No.13543546
    Short version: I'm not very good at grimdark.

    Long version: Because that's their ultimate goal. They arguably sacrifice all chances at meaningful happiness and put the weight of the Imperium on their shoulders so that they can keep humanity alive. Sure, some are sociopaths of psychopaths. You get that. But I prefer to write about people. People with convictions, beliefs, hopes and dreams, not just one dimensional entities.

    So, yes, they want happy endings. Their definition of "happy" might just be different from yours, though. Why? Because you've never had to declare exterminatus and had to live with the fact that innocent people died "just in case." The act of justification changes a person over time.

    But I'm getting philosophical.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)15:00 No.13543547
    I agree human nature is still human nature even if it is 40k.
    Allthough i think their underplaying the effect the tau would have on the population. Humans would tend to side with them i think. That is, unless human technology is really on par, even though it doesnt seem so.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)15:05 No.13543593
    Okay, here's a couple.

    You know, whenever I see that, I can't help but think about the lone Black Templar left behind.

    And one other, and yes, I'll admit to it if it's on easymodo.

    Kinda hard to shoot when you don't got no eyes any more.

    Like I said, I don't save most of my stuff because I shoot off a post or two and I'm done, so I don't remember a lot of lines.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)15:09 No.13543630
    I'm still researching the Tau. I'd like to write some honest stories about them, but I need more material to cross reference first. That's the hard part. So I can't comment on that with any certainty.

    What I can say is that I try and draw off of more dark ages human nature than modern when I write for 40k. But that's just because its easier for me to write like that. It's the closest real-world analogy that I can draw to the overall environment, so I can think easier in those lines.

    But then again, I'm a writefag. You don't have to be an oddball to writefag, but I'm told it helps.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)15:14 No.13543672
    >Every few days I post some bit of short work to /tg/, usually inspired by something that I see in a thread.

    >I don't save most of them.

    Shy, this is UNACCEPTABLE. Just tossing your stories out into the weft where they are at best difficult to find and at worst lost entirely is a shameful disregard for your own considerable talent. You should be saving everything.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)15:20 No.13543713
    Why? I mean, it's not like I'm writing anything than a post or two. It's usually flash fiction that's situational. If you aren't familiar with the conversations that are going on around it, it won't make sense. So why bother to save something that a week later I'll just be asking "what the hell is this all about anyway?"
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)15:36 No.13543867
    Klightus piles twin sisters on himself for special occasions.
    >> Titanium Man 01/16/11(Sun)15:37 No.13543875

    Here's why: ego.

    ...well, that's why I do it...

    Oh oh, better reason! Fodder to fill a writefag thread. There. Good reason that isn't totally egotistical. Yes.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)15:38 No.13543887
    First one: http://archive.easymodo.net/cgi-board.pl/tg/thread/13509996#p13513979

    I'm not finding the second one on easymodo.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)15:50 No.13543997
    That and if I posted it when I namefag, people might yell at me and claim I'm stealing shit? And I like people not knowing who I am when I troll?
    >> Titanium Man 01/16/11(Sun)15:58 No.13544045

    This hasn't happened to me yet. Then again, I've become assosciated with monstergirl fiction in my own way...make that little identity for yourself and people won't give you shit.

    As for trolling, can't help you there.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)16:43 No.13544439
    Now I have proof Shy Guardsman is Thin Fa/tg/uy.
    The inquisitor who trained Wiprecht was named Otmar Guilliman and he spoke of needing heroes. In the Guardsman Jim stuff the inquisitor in the final chapter was named Guiliman and the sister from that story said he felt the imperium needed figureheads. By how she said it you can tell that she means heroes. Gotcha.
    Why change names? Thats what I don't understand.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)16:56 No.13544566
    too long didn't read
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)17:13 No.13544723
    Valid point made, I suppose. I guess I'll start saving stuff.

    Yes, I am Thin. How much scraping of the archives did you have to do for that?

    As for why I change my name, it's just something I do. I prefer to have each story stand on its own merits and flaws. I'm a dork like that. That and I spend most of my time anon. Heck, the only reason I went by Shy is because somebody asked me to namefag.

    Understandable. It weighs in at about 1450 words, if memory serves me correctly. No stress.
    >> Titanium Man 01/16/11(Sun)17:23 No.13544799

    Well, whatever your silly name is, you've inspired me to do some /tg/ writefaggotry threads with their own stories...after I finish the tale I'm working on.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)17:29 No.13544855
    Just wanted to say how much I like your story, the one with the termie and the little girl was great, too. It feels really W40k, but without the usual grimdork, and with actual characters that make me hope that Klightus didn't become corrupted by the warp. Please, continue this tale, and if not with Klightus (Emperor guide his soul), then with his daughter. Please!

    Just one thing: I like the name Katla better than Klata. But that's really the only thing I could criticize (besides a few typos, but whatever).
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)18:03 No.13545144
    This story is excellent, would read again.

    >Why change names? Thats what I don't understand.
    Can't speak for Shy/Thin, but I produce every creative work I put on /tg/ either anonymously or under a new name and/or trip. They should stand on their own merits.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)18:12 No.13545226
    This Pleases Shy... I shall keep an eye out.

    In the last thread, they talked me into rewriting this and submitting it to Black Library in May. I'll have it primed to go as per their open submission requirements well in advance. I might even have the full 100,000 words by then. (So far, all of this is approximately 44500 words, so halfway there!) If by August I haven't heard back, I'll consider doing something with the family. No promises, but I'll think about it.

    ...Actually, something with his daughter might be interesting. Raised by Sisters, but a proper noble, her father a hero. How does she cope with her lot in life? Worth debating.

    Lastly, after rolling both names around for a while, yeah, okay, Katla is the better name.

    Gratzi! And thank you, it's nice to have somebody who understands.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)18:50 No.13545543
    Dammit I missed another one of these threads!
    Hey you said last time you'd done a bunch of other stories on /tg/. Were you ever planning on revisiting Guardsman Jim?
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)19:02 No.13545649
    I have a few ideas. I've had them for a while, actually. But there's something missing, if that makes any sense. I'm missing something about the plot that will let it all sink into place. And my stupid muse just won't tell me what it is. I mean, I have a plot, I have a cast, but there's just something...

    Meh, one of these days, I'll figure it out.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)21:04 No.13546750
    In the Emperor's name, BUMP!
    >> Commissar Edson 01/16/11(Sun)21:38 No.13547094
    Shy, Is what was the name of Klightus's planet? I feel the need to convert my guardsmen army. maybe a 6th remiment 'Klightus's Augers'

    I loved this story sooo much. I just about loved all of your characters, and the techpriest made me laugh my ass off. But yeah, thank you for writing this wonderful series for us.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)21:38 No.13547095
         File1295231915.gif-(1.91 MB, 330x229, bump.gif)
    1.91 MB
    >> Panzer_Faust 01/16/11(Sun)21:46 No.13547174
    shy I don't think you ever mentioned but what is the sister's color scheme...

    must add a unit or two to my IG army... haha
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)21:59 No.13547306
    Jingur! I had to look it up actually. When I say I'm bad with names, I mean that I had a separate wordpad document just for names alone. (Also that would be awesome, thank you!)

    And believe it or not, you just made my day. I always imagined the techpriest as being played by a classic John Astin, believe it or not.

    That I can't tell you, beyond it had red in it and that the right gauntlet is red. The other was black. Other than that, I could never actually decide on their colors. It's odd how I can have faces down perfectly in my head, but not uniform colors.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)22:04 No.13547354
    Did you base any characters off of anybody other than the techpriest?
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)22:11 No.13547423
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    Wiprecht's part in this was as touching as the first chapter. That was unexpected.

    >...His hand passed over the helmet of Sister Ephrael, carefully avoiding the bolter hole on the far side. How many nights had they spent together? How badly he wished to have her back?

    Even the Inquisitor had a waifu ;_;

    >>13543546 is going to make me see Inquisitors in a new light, I think.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)22:14 No.13547450
    Father I like to think of as a mid-80's Christopher Lee.

    Mother was, in my mind, Katherine Hepburn.

    Ephrael was actually rather closely based off of one of my former coworkers. I haven't seen her in years and once a week she still sends me texts demanding her spiderpony. (Long story, don't ask.) I'm officially her older little brother in her book.

    The Canoness I saw as Charlotte Rampling. (Bonus points if you can guess why.)

    A companion. A confidant. Somebody that he could be close to, in every way. He... didn't take her death well, and we all know what happens when an Inquisitor doesn't take something very kindly. Let's leave it at that.
    >> Anonymous 01/16/11(Sun)22:46 No.13547811
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    >The final part of Klightus' and Bethany's story.
    >final part
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/16/11(Sun)22:51 No.13547869
    Final part for /tg/ at least. Hopefully, BL likes the novel treatment when I submit it. They might be able to bribe me into making it a series. And even if they don't accept it, I might still write about their daughter and other kids.
    >> Anonymous 01/17/11(Mon)00:51 No.13549273
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    You said you like criticism so take this as a compliment.

    Part 1
    -When you rewrite you'll want to go more in-depth into the first scene. Don't bog it down too much but just beef it up a bit. If you're opening with action make it good for the novel.
    -That's it!

    Part 2
    -Your first and last combat scenes need reworked badly. Find somebody to help you with that.
    -Find a way to make us get to know Julianne better. Otherwise she's pretty much just a corpse.
    -You don't have to add much but a little more time with the guardsmen would be nice.

    Part 3
    -More time at least mentioning his day to day activities would be nice. If he's supposed to be in over his head after the paper work is done it would be nice to see why.
    -More Clare might be nice. Otherwise she seems a little thrown in. Somehow adorable though. I see her as Velma myself.

    Part 4
    -The fact that you broke it up into chapters helps. Unfortunately some of them are kind of short compared to the rest. Look into either combining them somehow or making them bigger.
    -The fight with the cultists is a little weak. Look into it. Though the fact that they suited up a mutant to look like a CSM was pretty smart on their part. Maybe capitolize on that.
    -You had to do a lot of talking about the inquisitor. It makes sense why you did it but you might want to introduce him in-depth earlier. That way it won't look like you have a hard on for him.

    I'm not saying this isn't good! It's great! I just thought I'd offer a helping hand. Also I see the inquisitor as this guy for some reason. Might have to do with the plate on the back of his head.
    >> Shy Guardsman 01/17/11(Mon)01:12 No.13549455
    Thank you! Thank you thank you thank you! You sir, get an internet! I'm always happy for constructive criticism.

    As for Peter Weller, I actually had to look him up. Of course he'd remind you of Robocop. Why didn't I see that before? AWESOME. That said, on the part of his head that isn't metal, he still has hair, but that's just a minor difference.

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