The monster craned its head toward Shuck, held helpless against the cold steel, sweat running down his face as he struggled to breathe. Its voice lowered to a conspiratorial whisper. "This world, brief mortal, has danced to the tune I play for three thousand years. An eyeblink, yes, but brevity is ever the soul of wit. Be honored, now, to witness the crescendo."
Beyond the beast, the passage to the room reverberated with running feet. The daemon turned as a bellowed order sent a volley of bolt-fire roaring toward it. It raised a long, clawed hand, conducting, and the missiles whipped around it, orbiting rapidly, before shooting back toward their origin to detonate.
Marines rushed in, firing as they advanced. Warpfire swept over them, melting and unmaking. Liquid flesh ran from cracked armor, extending pseudopods and swaying to the rhythm of the daemon's waving claws.
A man stood in the door, his bald head bare, black armor ornately inscribed with the columns of the Inquisition. He held a long sword, crackling with power, and an urn marked with sigils of blessing and exorcism.
"I name and bind thee, Hatherak the Shifting! And by your bane, maiden-blessed mercury, I lash and subjugate thee! Bow, before a true servant of the Emperor!" He swung the open jar, flinging shining beads of quicksilver toward the cackling abomination, where they passed through without resistance, as if through a shadow.
The daemon crooked a finger, and the steel ceiling collapsed atop the Inquisitor.