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I did say a week and a half, though it has only been a week, but when the writing bug bites you, you can't stop. so here is some more Bleeding Out, once again thanks to Someone Else for the story.
The Atalantic Plane stretched out beneath Ahriman as they headed for the Hive Tops. He reclined in a converted gravity harness built into the crew compartment of a heavily modified Stormraven transporter, the ugly box-like transport unique to the Blood Angels and Grey Knights Legions. This particular Stormraven was modified for maximum stealth, mufflers rendering the howl of the engines more of a muted cough and light absorbing paint leaving it practically invisible in the gathering night. Though this was far from a combat entry, more of a stealthy insertion, the tension was still nevertheless palatable, though for the first time since the shooting and the vision Ahriman felt calm, having risen through the Enumerations without a hitch, his mind partially detached from the situation around him. Opposite him, Kurze sat rock still, half hidden in shadow, staring out into the night with those dark, dark eyes. As he sat there, still as a statue while his mind went over the pre-mission information, Ahriman idly wondered if the shadows followed Kurze around, not the other way.
“Look sharp Thousand Son.” Curze’s voice sounded like the cawing of the king of crows, a whisper promising the harbinger of horrors. “We approach.”
The faint twinkling lights of the Hive Tops glittered like a dusting of stars at the edge of the horizon. The hive tops were built shortly after the Crusade ended, when millions of people moved to Terra to settle, and space had to be made for them. They were ugly, prefabricated cones built to house people as economically as possible, situated along the Atalantic coastline south of the more luxurious hives such as Startseite.
“You know the mission?” Ahriman nodded. Ahriman knew the mission off by heart, had known it before it was even finalized. They would track down all known associates of Keiter, and associates of the associates of Keiter if necessary, and ‘question them’ to see what they could dig up. Everything would be done well below the radar, no-one would know they were ever there, they would be but phantoms of the night, nothing more than waking nightmares to those they would ‘question’, and unsolvable mysteries should the Arbites ever get involved. Those last few minutes as the hives grew closer and closer passed as a blur, Ahriman losing all track of time and space, everything but fading away but his lazerlike focus on what was to come, his mind searching through the possible futures to find the right pathway to the knowledge they would need.
Kurze broke his trance with a single croaked word. “Here.”
The foremost of the Hive Tops now loomed large before him, for all the world resembling a starship anchored in the vast black ocean of space. That vision brought back long memories of campaigns won and battles fought sad memories of a time when things were so much simpler and less complicated. Now the Stormraven was hovering silently over the hives surface, and Kurze and Ahriman unbuckled their restraints and approached the front ramp.
With a rush of escaping air, the front ramp of the Stormraven opened out onto the sheer skin of the Hive. Before him was an ocean of bare metal, massive plates as large as small starships creating a mirror-smooth surface beneath him. Kurze without a pause launched himself into space, and a few seconds later Ahriman did the same. For a single second he was suspended in space, before his armoured form smacked into the hives hide. He winced as he lay there watching the Stormraven depart, trying to prevent himself slipping off into space. It had been a long time since he’d had to make a low altitude disembarkation, were he in real combat he would be dead.
“Gone rusty Thousand Son?” Kurze whispered harshly. Ahriman could only nod as he pulled himself up and activated the magnetic clamps on the soles of his boots.
Kurze set of at a jog, but what was a jog to him was a sprint to Ahriman. He feared that something would detect the sounds of his footsteps on the skin of the Hive. The hives surface seemed even more an ocean now he was standing upon it, stretching out with no visible curve, no beginning and no end. The distant ground was lost in darkness, making it impossible to judge how high up they were, but the wind moaned and howled, tugging forcefully at Ahriman, trying to prise him off. Kurze finally stopped beside a low metal dome protruding ever so slightly out of the flatness. Ahriman could recognise it immediately. A maintenance hatch in the outer skin of the hive. A way in.
It couldn’t be opened from without, at least, not technically. Ahriman planted his Heqa staff on the rim of the hatch, reached out for the Great Ocean, and felt his way through the hatch. It was an older type, with only a simple wheel lock system instead of the electronic latches used on more hi-tech hives. With a strong nudge from the Warp, the wheel spun and with a sharp hiss and a roar as the unequal air pressure reacted and began to vacuum out the hive’s air the hatch opened. A few seconds later the hatch closed again.
They were in.
Yoarnnes Marsaito woke up in a cold sweat. Ever since that terrible day, when he’d come home to the news of the shooting, he had been plagued by nightmares, nightmares of a great blue vulture hunting him, calling his name. No matter how hard he ran in his dream, every time he would be cornered and wake before the vulture could devour him. Was it his punishment, his penance for his long-standing friendship with Keiter? He had known Keiter for many years, they hadn’t exactly been close but they had been on good terms. Keiter had been good to him when he first arrived on Terra fresh from the Scarus Sector of Segmentum Pacificus, another fresh face amid the many millions who moved to Terra post-Crusade, and he had repaid the kindness in full. The Arbites had already questioned him several times, every time more odious than the last. When would they realise he knew nothing, had never known anything, and wondered as much as they did why his friend had done such a ghastly deed?
For several seconds he tried to make sense of the darkened surroundings of his bedroom, only slowly realising he wasn’t alone.
One corner of his hab room was wreathed in a thick blanket of shadow, and something was lurking within it. He couldn’t see it, but he could hear it and smell it. Was it the Vulture, come to pick him clean? He reached for his bedside lamp, but it wouldn’t turn on.
“Yoarnnes Marsaito, you shouldn’t do that.” From the shadow came a voice, the sound of a murder of hell crows, a daemon of the night. Marsaito covered before the voice, and eyed the door to see if he could escape. No sooner had he eyed it than the shadow moved, covering the door, blocking any hope of escape.
“Marsaito, you are a known friend and associate of the one they call Ulysses Keiter. The one who has tried to kill one of the Daughters. One who has, in contrary to Imperial Law, considered the Emperor as a Deity, and worshipped him as such. And you, you have known about it for a long time, and concealed it!”
“I…I…I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t speak, than you will suffer the wrath of the Night Haunter.” That flat, blank statement was followed by the harsh whisper of metal upon metal, and several shadows in the shape of talons emerged from the deep pool of darkness, gesturing at him.
If his bladder wasn’t empty, he would have pissed himself. Hesitantly he coughed, trying to think of what the Night Haunter would want to hear from him, what he could say that he hadn’t already said a thousand times to the Arbites and the Treasury. Fear ate at him, stole away his courage and sapped at his sanity.
Suddenly he felt something soothing enter his mind, warm and inviting, driving out the doubt and banishing the fear. For several minutes he spoke in a near trance, hardly registering the many personal secrets he spilt as he talked. Not a stone was unturned as he spilled his guts on everything from the moment he had arrived on Terra. Every last thing between him and Keiter was revealed, many of those things he himself had forgotten many years ago, only for them to be rediscovered now.
He spoke about the times he and Keiter had gone to the Petitioner’s City, and how Keiter had been shocked that such poverty could exist on the Emperor’s Doorstep. He spoke about the one time he had caught Keiter crouched down facing the palace, reading a prayer from the Lectitio Divinitatus, something which Keiter had begged him not to reveal, and which he had agreed to conceal, and which until now had not bothered him. Everyone had the right to believe in something. He spoke nonstop for nearly half an hour, until there was nothing more left to say. For several seconds there was silence, and suddenly something snapped, the fog which had clouded Marsaito’s mind vanished.
He tried the lamp again, and this time it worked. But there was nothing there, and no hint that there had ever been anything there. He laughed to himself. It was just another dream, like the Vulture ones. There was no shadow monster out there; it had been his fears of the upcoming trial, manifested in his deep subconscious. He went back to sleep, and this time the Blue Vulture wasn’t there.
Outside, Ahriman crouched on the ledge outside the dwelling, severing his connection to the Great Ocean. The etheric flames flickering along his Heqa staff snuffed out, and his Tutelary departed back to the Warp. The preliminary scan of the man’s dreams had uncovered the fact he had hidden his knowledge of Keiter’s beliefs, and with that Kurze had forced the man to open his mind enough for Ahriman to enter it. This was the fourteenth ‘subject’ they had questioned, spending several fruitless hours roaming back and forth across the Hive Tops, and now, just before sunrise would have ended their investigations, at last the case was breaking open.
Kurze appeared behind him from out of nowhere. “Well, what did you find?”
“The man spoke true. He may have known that Keiter worshipped the Emperor, but he knew no more than that, and the news of the shooting shocked him as much as it shocked you. However that’s not all. There’s one key thing he’s been hiding, something which wouldn’t interest the Arbites, but is infinitely more important than anything he’s said to them.
“He’s been having dreams about a great blue vulture, a common form of the aspect of the Primordial Annihilator known as the Great Changer.”
“The Great Changer?” Kurze reacted almost immediately, crouching down in a combat position, his talons extended and ready to draw blood. Ahriman quickly added.
“Kurze, now we know the Changer of Ways was trying to use this man, the Changer will leave this man alone. The man was not tainted, or a worshipper, just a nameless nobody whose guard was down when a perverse god came calling. He may have been swayed if we hadn’t come, but he is free now.”
Kurze relaxed slightly, but his talons twitched impatiently. “So, what can we deduce from all this?”
“In all the dreams the location has been the same. The area around the Civil Honours Union Building in the Petitioner’s City, the one which was once a temple to the Emperor.”
“Before my brother Rogal personally oversaw its cleansing. Is that the source of the taint?”
“I couldn’t tell, the vision was incomplete. But the trail is clear before us; we have to go there next.”
It was never dark in the depths of the Petitioner’s City. Though the sky was made of the metal supports of the next level of housing, chemical fires, flickering lanterns and spotlights lit up the depths with a harsh, orange light like a vision of the ancient hells of fire and brimstone so popular in the ancient days of Terra. Shadowy shapes betrayed people, many clad in naught but rags as they moved to and fro about their business. Shrouds covered several buildings, an attempt to disguise the decay and rot and make the buildings look more homely. Watching all this finally pushed Isis to say something.
“This…this place! It seems hard to believe that such a place could exist on Terra and on the Emperor’s own front doorstep too!”
“The Imperium isn’t just Terra. There’s a million million worlds out there, and many of them are worse than this, writ large.” Julius gestured at the decay around them as he spoke. “The Emperor can’t fix every last one at once. It’ll take him many millennia, if he can achieve such a feat at all.”
Even Julius, who had known roughly what to expect, had been overwhelmed by just how bad it was down here. It seemed the Emperor’s new golden age of enlightenment had failed to penetrate down here.
“But still, we were taught such things were a thing of the past, something the Emperor banished when he reunified Terra.”
“You never focused much on Professor Qrutze’s History Lessons, did you?”
“He’s not called the half-heard for nothing, even Father calls him that. I much preferred it when Ahriman took History. He made it come alive.”
“Say what you will about Qrutze, he at least tries to tell the truth even when people don’t want to hear it.”
The Civil Honours Union building was once called the Temple of Woe, and was a hideout for worshippers of the God Emperor of Mankind. However it didn’t last beyond the Great Crusade, shortly after the Angelus Triumph a strike team of Imperial Fists and Sisters of Silence cleared it out, and the empty shell was claimed by the Civil Honours Union where they established their offices in the Petitioner’s City. The outside of the building still resembled an ancient temple, with the Doric colonnades and angelic gargoyles staring down at Julius and Isis with blank, dead eyes.
Inside was a complete shift. Unlike most of the squalor around them, the building was well furbished, with carpeted floors and Temp Regulators. The front desk was made of actual polished wood, why it hadn’t been stolen and burnt by someone from outside was a complete mystery. Several people sat at desks, typing into Typeographs or searching through thick volumes. A short man with a thick walrus moustache sat at the desk, peering vacantly into space. The moment he noticed them standing in the doorway, a smile spread across his face.
“Welcome, welcome to the Civil Honours Union, Petitioner’s City offices! How can I help you?”
The man seemed happy that people were actually visiting, and it felt slightly sad that he felt this way. As always Julius left the talking to Isis. “Excuse me Sieur; we’re with the Customs Union, and we’d like to speak with a Mr. Novandio.”
“Sieur? We rarely have people from the palace coming here.”
Julius quietly cursed under his breath. They would fit in better if Isis didn’t use the honourific style only used by those who lived and worked in the Palace proper.
“Well Sieur.” Isis Continued. “We have a few questions for you. The entire Administratum is in an uproar over the recent shooting incident, and we are trying to bring back answers so our superiors can be kept ‘in the loop’, so to speak. We have it on good authority that Keiter came here often, and we’d like to know.”
“My boss Novandio isn’t here at the moment; he’s off distributing aid to the western sector. I am Synorca, Novandio’s deputy. Perhaps you’d better come through to my office.”
They followed him into what would have been a former alcove, now transformed into an office. A statue of a blank faced angel stood prominently in one corner, and Julius couldn’t help but think it was looking at him with invisible eyes. Synorca closed the door, sat at his desk, and peered at them with sharp eyes.
“I may be posted in the arse-end of nowhere, at the grubby foot of the Emperor’s domain, but I am no fool. You aren’t with the Customs Union at all. The Customs Union wouldn’t send people from the palace; no-one from the palace would be fool enough to come down here.”
“Sieur, I…” Synorca cut over her. “And using Sieur. No-one from the Customs union uses such a high-class honourific. Only those directly connected with the Emperor and his Family would say such a thing. And I was at the palace once, when the Warmaster and his Daughter were overseeing the embarkation of several Terran Regiments bound for the fighting on Espandor.” That statement hung in the air like an accusation, as it slowly dawned upon Isis and Julius what he meant.
“Ser, we…” Julius began.
“I know why you’re here. You want answers, you want to know why. Everyone wants answers, everyone wants to know why. It’s human nature; it’s what we do when we’re confronted with something beyond our control, an event which knocks us off balance and makes us feel helpless. I will give you what answers I can, but don’t expect to like them.”

Whoops, dropped the ball there.
Julius looked over at Isis, and she looked away. She knew that he had asked her not to use ‘Sieur’ down here, but she had said that it was a generic Palace term, and no-one would be able to tell exactly who they were. He resolved to talk with her about it when they were safely back in the Palace.
Synorca continued. “First, I’ll give you a little background information on who we are and what we do. We’re the newest branch of the Administratum, and often looked down upon by older, more reputable establishments like the Departmento Munitorium. And yet our job is just as important, if not more so in this post-war galaxy. We distribute food and water purification tablets, space blankets and whatever clothing we can scrounge up to those who can’t afford it, those who live on the very knife edge. The people out there are often the second or third generation descendants of people who came here after Unification, and have waited for their summonses ever since. They are the forgotten; they have fallen through the cracks and most have forgotten the reasons why the wanted access to the palace and an audience with the Emperor.”
“But what has that got to do with Keiter?”
“I’m getting to that. After the Great Crusade ended, we were founded to provide care for those lives ravaged by the many wars of the Crusade, and our focus has expanded to encompass all of downtrodden humanity. And that is why Keiter became active with us, because he wanted to help those who couldn’t be helped. I remember meeting him for the first time, several years ago. What struck me then was that he seemed to be a reasonable man, someone who cared for others and was willing to help those whom couldn’t be helped. He was a firm believer in the Emperor’s vision of a brighter future for Humanity, and the last person I’d ever expect to commit such a horrific atrocity. We all sympathise with the Lady Morticia, we’ve seen that sort of thing happen way to often down here.”
“Why did he come here so often?”
“Ostensibly to try and help the poor people here. This is one of the poorest places on Terra, even more than the slums of the Yndonesic Bloc, or the Subafrican Hives. But I could tell the truth. This was as close as he could come to the Palace, to the Emperor. Seeing the Palace looming overhead, the domain of the Emperor must have been close to a spiritual experience for him.”
“I remember when this place was a temple. It was a place of light, and life. Something I try to maintain, even though the people who came here then are now all dead and gone. They used to bury the dead here you know; we’re sitting right now on tens of thousands of people long gone, their ashes piled beneath us. Many residents avoid us for that very reason. I don’t believe, at least not in the things that Keiter believed in, but I think I understand why he did.”
“We know things now, we know of the dark powers of Chaos, the monsters in the void and a thousand and one other things which would break a man’s sanity in terror. In the face of that, no wonder people have turned to worshipping the Emperor. It’s better to worship the Emperor than worship the dark powers.” He looked up at them. “Yes, by saying that I damn myself, but I think you two deserve the truth. You’ve come down from the mountain, and now you see the true face of Terra, a face which you and your Generation will have to change, if we are to live up to our potential.”
He stopped speaking as a banging sound came from outside. Excusing himself, he went and peered out of the door. When he looked back, his eyes were full of fear.
“Quick, come with me.” He gestured at the side door urgently.
“The Babu. Why do you think we’re still here, why do you think this office hasn’t been looted and torched yet? You’ve seen the destitution outside; how desperate most of the people are, and we in here are like kings in this ant heap, though we’re here to help them. The Babu protects us, provided we pay him well and keep him in the loop with whatever’s going on beyond the Petitioner’s City. He’s been mighty interested in the entire Keiter situation, though why I don’t know, and frankly don’t want to know. The last thing we want is for him to get his hands on you two, even if he doesn’t find out who you really are you’d still fetch a mighty nice ransom for him.”
Synorca hustled the two of them out the side door into a deserted alleyway, a tattered shroud covering the entrance to the street. “Get back to the surface.” He whispered to them. “Go as fast as you can. Don’t stop for anyone, and keep away from the thugs. They bring only death.” The door squeaked shut. Julius peeked out through the threadbare shroud, and saw several men in canvas overalls, fur cloaks and heavy ex-army combat trousers. A tattoo was prominently displayed on their upper arms. The Babu’s Men. They were standing there, smoking and joking amongst themselves, their voices coarse and uncultured. Quietly the two of them sneaked out and darted into a nearby alley, safely out of the way.
“They didn’t notice us?” Isis asked.
“I don’t think so. We’ll have to skirt around them before we can head to the maintenance elevator, but I’d rather do that than try and access the general elevator. The Babu might have guards there. With luck, we can be back at the palace in a couple of hours.”
“The Emperor Protects.”
“He really doesn’t, little girl.” A voice grunted behind her.
They turned to see three of the Babu’s thugs standing at the entrance of the alleyway. They must have been sentries, to ensure no-one escaped the Civil Honour’s Union without them knowing.
“Sers, we don’t want trouble.”
They chucked. “You don’t want trouble, but trouble wants you.” Julius noticed the heavy Stub-Pistols projecting from the waistbands of their overalls, and long knives hanging from their hips, and it suddenly hit him that these men had no mercy, and they wanted blood.
“You’re from the bloody Palace, the Emperor’s lap dogs. You expect us to pet you and send you on your way. We might do that, might, once the bloody Emperor has coughed up some hard money. You might even be almost intact, if the Babu feels like it, but we’ll have some fun with you first. A finger or two will tell the Sigilite that we mean business.”
The lead man reached down, drew a long knife from his belt, and ran it along his thumb, smiling at the blood. He gestured at Isis. “You first, pretty one.”
Did your connection shit out again, Ahriman's Aide?

Sorry, as the Anon put it, yes my connection did fizzle out. stupid NZ internet. it's back up now, but i don't trust it to last very long, so we'll se how it goes.
now where was I...
Before he could move on her, a red beam stabbed into his chest, throwing him over into a nearby waster cylinder. The other two reached for their pistols, before being felled as well with two quick beams. Julius had the dragon shaped Hellpistol out, the weapon humming faintly in his hand. “Come on, Run!” he yelled at Isis, before racing out of the alleyway. They didn’t stop until they reached the battered shell of a building several blocks away, where they ducked into it to rest. For a few seconds there was silence, until Isis turned on Julius.
“You shot them!”
“They were going to cut you.”
“But you shot them; don’t you know what that means?”
“I may have shot them, but I didn’t kill them. For some reason, Primarch Vulkan included a low power setting on this thing, which can hurt like hell, but won’t kill you. I learned that the hard way, believe you me. They’ll wake up in a few hours with some very nasty bruises, but none the worse for wear. I’d rather live and be charged with discharging a weapon in public than get killed by these thugs.”
She calmed down, and they got a chance to examine their surroundings. The building was a plain, plas-crete dwelling, a single room with all the internal dividing walls gone save one. Isis excused herself, and went into the lone room. Julius waited for her to finish, thinking about how they would find their way to the surface. They had lost their way, and it would take a little searching to find their bearings and get back to the surface lifts. And of course, once the Babu’s men found their comrades, they would be in hot pursuit…
He was interrupted by Isis returning. He was shocked to see a look of horror on her face. Without a word she dragged him into the room. On one wall, drawn in what looked suspiciously like blood, was a circle with eight arrows coming out of it. He opened his mouth to say something, but before he could he was distracted by a loud sound coming from outside.
A line of thugs were charging down the street towards them, some with weapons drawn. A massive man lead them, a monster standing far taller than his companions, with his musculature so pronounced and exaggerated Julius would say the man was Gene-Bulked, but even most normal people who had been Gene-Bulked weren’t as tall and hard as that. It looked like a poor man’s copy of a Space Marine, a reject from one of the Legions. One of the 'normal' Thugs carried a smoking Plasma Carbine, a heavy and deadly Mechanicum Weapon stolen from somewhere. It struck Julius that they might die there, killed by the Babu’s men. It wasn't a pleasing thought.
There seemed to be no way out, no other option but to use their weapons and go down fighting, much as that thought sickened Julius. He hadn’t come down here to die, he’d come down here for answers, and those answers just weren’t worth his life. The weapons were only in case of emergencies, he’d never expected he would actually have to use it. Still, these men were monsters, and there was no negotiating with them. He drew and changed the setting on his Hellpistol to the Marine killing, and bit down on the rising horror within him. Had his father felt like this every time he went into battle, that this could well be his last fight, that somewhere a bolt or a bullet had his name on it? Struggling to keep himself in check, he turned to Isis, who had her Bolt Pistol drawn and ready. Her look was grim, and she looked strikingly like her Father in his hour of wrath, a look he had hoped never to see again.
“Isis Lupercal, it has been an honour knowing you.”
She turned, smiled a sad, sweet smile at him, and leaned in and kissed him. He flushed red with embarrassment.
“I didn’t think it would end this way.” She whispered.
“It’s not supposed to end this way for you, you’re a transhumant, you’re immortal, long after I’m naught but dust and bones, you should be still roaming the Imperium, not cut down in some nameless alley.”
“Don’t say such a thing.”
“Why not, it’s true.”
She sighed. “At the very least, I’ll be with you when you go now.”
“That’s all I could have asked for.”
The Thugs now surrounded the building, silent but for the roar of the flames and the clicking of weapons being readied outside, as well as the barking orders of the not-marine. The two of them were to be taken, if possible alive, but no effort was to be expended to ensure they lived. The Babu could still use their corpses.
In the midst of this, Isis suddenly said something. “Dammit, I still haven’t handed in my final assignment.”
The sheer absurdity of that statement made Julius laugh. The end stared them in the face, another sorrow heaped upon sorrow, all caused by one madman and one bullet, in one second changing everything.
I have more, but i have a doctor's appointment, so will continue later. look u[pon it as a cliffhanger. what will happen to Julius and Isis?

on a similarn note, whatever happened to that talented drawfag who did all the illustrations of the Daughters? i'd love to see him or someone else do illustrations for Bleeding Out.
I have more, but i have a doctor's appointment, so will continue later. look upon it as a cliffhanger. what will happen to Julius and Isis?

on a similarn note, whatever happened to that talented drawfag who did all the illustrations of the Daughters? i'd love to see him or someone else do illustrations for Bleeding Out.
Stupid NZ internet again.
When Ahriman's Aide is finished, I'll be posting what I've written since the last thread. It's...voluminous.
I'm back, and just finishing the next instalment. will post it soon.
Konrad Curze’s head snapped up from the graffiti he was examining in a dark and dirty side alley of the Petitioner’s City. A split second later, Ahzek Ahriman’s autosenses too heard it. The unmistakable sharp ‘crack’ sound of a Lasgun beam. They had been there nearly seven hours, searching the forgotten depths for any clues as to where the Chaos Taint lay. So far, there had been nothing. They had found the area where the man’ dreams had occurred, and slowly spread the net wider and wider around that general area, Ahriman questioning several passersby questions while fogging their minds to make sure they didn’t realise just what he was. All of it had so far come to naught, not a solitary scrap of evidence that Chaos was involved anywhere. Ahriman could see Kurze getting more and more frustrated. His talons twitching more and more frequently like they had a life of their own, and they wanted to sink into something, or someone. Ahriman could get nothing out of him about how his daughter was, but that silence spoke a lot, and Ahriman resolved to try and accommodate Kelly when lessons started again. After the excitement.
“Five blocks east.” Kurze reported, before taking off towards the source of the shot, Ahriman in tow. For a second he wondered just what they would be getting themselves into, before relaxing. They were a Primarch, and the most powerful Astartes Psyker in the Imperium. Who could possibly face them?
The source of the gunshot turned out to be near the Civil Honours Union Building, the first place they had searched when they had arrived. The workers arrived, never knowing the entire office had been checked by the two of them less than an hour earlier. Outside were a number of men in rough work clothes, with gang tattoos prominently displayed on their upper arms. One of them was gesturing at the others, saying something which Ahriman couldn’t pick up.
“Three of their men have been found, stunned by some las-weapon.” Kurze answered before Ahriman could ask. “They’re going to find the culprits, and do some pretty nasty shite to them.”
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What the bluberry muffin meatballs is this tl;dr?!?
Ahriman's Aide is writing a fan story of my Warhammer High story Bleeding Out. Neither one is finished yet.
“It’s none of our business, this sort of thing happens all the time. We have our own priorities Kurze, to track down the source of the taint. If we don’t, many millions more could die. Next to that, what are the lives of whoever shot those men worth?”
“You may have a point.” Kurze grunted. “But I want to take a closer look. We might gain a clue as to where the Chaos taint is, the shooters may be part of it.”
Ahriman didn’t want to argue with him, and so he followed Kurze as they stealthily followed the men down the street. Soon they reached a crowd of thugs, standing outside a decaying building. Some had weapons drawn, and were chanting obscenities at the building. At their head was a massive man, his musculature exaggerated and resembling a cheap knockoff of Ahriman’s own frame. Ahriman turned to Kurze to voice his suspicions, only for Kurze to be staring at the building, his dark eyes widened and the barest hint of a snarl at the corner of his lips. “The fools, the stupid fools, what are they doing down here, what have they got themselves into?”
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“My…Kurze? What is it?”
Kurze turned to face him, all emotion drained from his face. “My Nephew, Isis Lupercal and her Beau are the ones inside that building. They came down here for the answers my brother and father wouldn’t give them, and now they are a few seconds away from death if we don’t do something now. My Father expressly wanted me not to kill anyone, but he never said anything about maiming.” And with that, before Ahriman could register what he had said, he took off towards the thugs.
Ahriman? Your internet fry again?
Stupefied, Ahriman tried to think of what to do. If he was Pyrae, he could’ve set the thugs all aflame with but a blink, Pavoni like his friend Hathor Maat, and he could’ve boiled the blood in their veins or sucked the air from their lungs, incapacitated them all before they could even realise the danger. But he was Corvidae, a scryer of the future, and that would be of little use here, he could already see what was about to happen. Instead he channelled his power through his staff, and leapt after Kurze. Kurze ploughed into the thugs like a runaway train, within a few seconds most of the Thugs were down, some with broken limbs, others creaming in agony. Most of the remaining ones fled from the hulking shadowy figure with the massive talons, but a few brave or foolhardy ones remained. The man with the Plasma Carbine howled as he fired it at them, but the crackling beam missed and stabbed into the side of a nearby building. The man didn’t get a second chance, Kurze knocking him away with a contemptuous swing of his talons. Ahriman swooped into them, striking them with blows from his staff, careful not to hit them with the bladed end. Each blow left the assailant collapsed on the plascrete, in a coma. All that was left of the Thugs was the not-marine, who before Ahriman even realised it was upon him, grabbing hold of his stall and trying to wrestle it away from him.
Yep. bloody annoying.
The hulking not-marine was surprisingly strong, as strong as Ahriman, and for several second the two heaved and pushed, each trying to wrest the staff of the other in a vicious game of tug-of-war. Ahriman gritted his teeth, determined to see of this travesty, this false copy of what one of the Emperor’s Angels of Death was. He so wanted to reach into the great ocean, obliterate this creature’s soul and send it screaming into the Great Ocean. The thought was so tempting Ahriman began subconsciously to reach into the depths of the Great Ocean, sucking power into himself. Suddenly the not-Marine let go, clutched his chest, and sank to the floor. Ahriman didn’t need to check to know the monstrosity was dead, before he could taint himself by destroying its body of light. Relieved, he let go of his connection to the Great Ocean, and let the power drain from him. Kurze stepped up to it. “Someone’s committing illegal Gene-Tech experiments down here, trying to create their own private army of Space Marines.”
“The Emperor will need to know about this, the last thing we need is a re-run of the Unification Wars. Do you think this has anything do with the vision I saw?”
“Professor Ahriman?” a rather plaintive voce came out of the ruined shell of the building, and two figures emerged from it. Ahriman immediately strode over to them.
“What in the name of the Great Ocean are you two doing down here? If we hadn’t been here, you’d…”
“I know Ser, I know. We screwed up. All we wanted was answers…”
“That’s all anyone wants. That’s all I want, or Lord Kurze over there.”
For the first time the two of them noticed Kurze, standing there staring at them with that cold, dead stare which so innerved Ahriman. He would hate to be those two now, Kurze was well known for his punishments. “We’ll take them back to the Palace. Let the Warmaster dole out the punishment. He won't be pleased that his Daughter has disobeyed the rules so.” The two started to head back, under the watchful eye of Kurze. “Sieur?” that was Isis. “There’s something in there, which I think you should see.”
Inside the building was a single room, the only room left standing. Entering it, Ahriman saw an unmistakable sigil painted in blood on the opposite wall. The eight pointed star of Chaos.
And that is 6,260 words, a full weeks worth of work. and apparantly Someone Else has well over ten times that to post. so without further ado, over to him.

and can we please have some drawfags up here?
The Emperor clenched his hand over his fist, resting them on his chin. His granddaughter Isis and her friend Julius, bruises and all, sat in chairs before his desk, with Ahriman and, true to form, his son Konrad, standing behind them. On his desk was a report from the coroner’s officer, detailing the scene of grisly genemodding Curze had found. Next to it was another report, from the Tetra hive Praetor’s office, describing how several unidentified genemodded men had been found with various contusions and burns on their bodies, splayed out in a garbage bin nearby. Yet a third report, this one penned by a very confused Arbitrator Judge, bespoke the seeming contradictions that the Civil Honors Union suffered regarding their opinions of their sanctioned status and governmental funding.
The Emperor slowly looked up at both teens. Julius, he noted, was swooning in nerves and fear, and Isis just looked sullen and exhausted. Ahriman, on the other hand, looked so embarrassed that it was honestly quite distracting, while Curze…was Curze, and looked no more or less stable and rational than he ever did.
“Well.” The Emperor stacked the three reports on his desk and swept them into an envelope. “Seems I’m not the only one who’s had an interesting evening. Let’s start with you, Sieur Pius. What on Terra possessed you to think that discharging a Hellgun in public was wise?”
“Knowledge of the alternative, my Liege,” the dark-haired young man said, his voice nearly cracking under the strain. Then, he was sixteen. “Those Babu thugs were going to gut us. Better alive and penalized than…well, dead. Sir.” The Emperor nodded slowly, wondering where the kid had even gotten his hands on that kind of hardware, and suspecting that the answer would involve pointed questions with either his father or one of the Legions with which he had fought.
“Isis, why did you go into the hive?”
“Because I think – I know – there’s more to this than we’ve found out,” Isis said urgently. Her tone bespoke disappointment and genuine concern. “I can not believe that a single junior maintenance technician could have possibly smuggled a sniper rifle into Startseite without assistance.”
“And thusly informed, and sure in the solidity of your intelligence, you then ventured in the absence of any sort of protection, into the depths of the poorest and most crime-ridden hab of the most impoverished block of the most dangerous Cube in the entire Hive Grid,” the Emperor finished.
Isis squirmed. “I know it was unwise, now. But we did find out some useful things.”
“Yes, I’m sure. You’ll have all the time in the world to relay them to your father when you see him next,” the Emperor said, his voice laden with hidden meaning. Isis blanched.
The Emperor lifted one hand slightly, as if it were the cup of a scale. “Both of you disappoint me. Such recklessness…you thought to find some hint of a conspiracy, didn’t you?”
“We did, Sire,” Julius said, a bead of sweat gathering on his brow.
“And if you had found it? What then? Fighting? Flight? You were equipped for neither,” the Emperor said. “You were nearly killed by a group of criminals.”
“Had we gone with backup, we would have found nothing,” Isis said bluntly.
“Which, conveniently enough, is what you found anyway,” the Emperor said. He lowered his hand, tapping the envelope. “You see, now I have to deal with the fact that my own granddaughter was seen shooting someone in the hive, mere days after her own cousin was shot. Now, I have to deal with the fact that Terrans are wondering if perhaps there was more to this shooting than random terrorism, when previously there HAD NOT BEEN,” he said, his voice rising. The blood in Julius’ face drained. “You two have, in a stroke, complicated this investigation to the extent that it may not conclude peacefully. Now, we have a brooding gang war in a hive on my own doorstep, and the fact that one of my warriors is a criminal mastermind has been aired to any who were watching.” There was neither mercy nor regret in his demeanor as he leaned forward. “Neither of you are ever to enter the hives again. Isis, should your father choose to levy some other constraints upon you, I will voice no objection. Sieur Pius, I would think carefully if I were you, regarding the possibility of being seen in public for a few months.” He didn’t need Warp mastery to interject the specter of something terrible into his voice.
Both teens recoiled, but stayed silent. The Emperor glanced over both older men, but neither said a word, with Curze practically radiating his disgust for the entire affair. The Emperor leaned back in his seat, reining in his temper. “Now. Both of you, get home. I imagine I’m not the only person waiting to speak to either of you,” he said coldly. Both stood, Julius looking like he was ready to vomit, Isis just looking sad. As soon as they were out of the room, the Emperor turned his anger on the two older men.
“Now. They’re sixteen years old, with no security clearance to speak of, and desperate for insight. What are your excuses?”
Ahriman spoke first. “I apologize for not mentioning it sooner, but I sensed it would be unwise to make mention of this in front of the children.”
“Mentioning what?” the Emperor demanded.
“Our search was not so fruitless. We have found more to this than the Arbites detected,” Curze finished. “One of the witnesses to Keiter’s…deviancy…bore the taint of Tzeentch. Not enough to control him,” he said, correctly anticipating his father’s next question, “but enough to confuse him. Render him useless as a witness.”
“I obtained that much from him. But as to whether Chaos plays a role here or is merely seeking an advantage, I suspect the latter,” Ahriman confessed.
The Emperor sighed, staring through the tangled mass of futures and pasts into which he could look. Ahriman was right, of course. There was no sign of the taint on Keiter. He had seen as much before, but couldn’t shake the suspicion that there had been more to it than that. This little investigation had proven him wrong.
Keiter had acted alone. That was the end of it. And now he had an entire criminal organization on his doorstep, howling for his granddaughter’s blood. Curze’s growling voice cut through his reverie. “Father, if you will allow it, I promised Kelly that I would be there when she needed me.”
The Emperor looked up sharply, but withheld his rage. “Very well, Konrad. Do be sure to tell your daughter what you’ve found, regarding Isis’ willingness to see this to its end. Do not, however, make mention of the Chaotic element you found. She’s scarred enough.”
“I agree.” Konrad bowed shortly, backing out of the office. The door closed behind him, leaving Ahriman alone with the Emperor. The Emperor slowly stood, but before he could speak, Ahriman took a knee.
“My Liege. I feel that I must ask you something,” he said. “I know that the taint of Chaos we have found was not the causative factor behind this catastrophe. Is it possible that my own sight is tainted? Was I lead on this hunt?”
The Emperor stared at the Librarian, his disgust rising. “If that is the case, Sieur Ahriman, COUNSEL is not what you need from me. Now…abandon this foolish quest. See to your students. And never take it upon yourself to perform interrogation upon my citizens ever again.”
“As you will it, my Liege,” Ahriman said, feeling the hand of shame clenching around his heart.
“This shrine of Ruin you found,” the Emperor said next, glaring furiously at the Librarian. “It was a decoy?”
“It was. Not a hint of the taint on it,” Ahriman admitted. “It was just decoration, as far as we can tell. Or a taunt.”
The Emperor’s hands gripped the envelope of reports. “A taunt?”
“So I sense.” Ahriman shrugged uncomfortably.
“Then perhaps, Brother Ahriman, you should spend a little time in the company of Lord Magnus, who will, no doubt, be quite willing to aide you in the clearing of your ethereal senses,” the Emperor retorted. “The mere existence of an Icon of Chaos in MY city suggests that there is far more to this gang than we thought, and even if they are dupes, somebody here knows its source,” he added, a quiet anger at the affront coloring his words.
“I shall indeed, my Liege, and I agree entirely,” Ahriman said, bowing respectfully. “I shall meditate on this with my soul cleansed of distraction.”
“Then I suggest you wait until the school year ends, Ahzek, since your obligations to your students ends in a few days, and I am more than capable of following this up on my own,” the Emperor said angrily.
Ahriman bowed contritely. “So it shall be, my Liege, thank you for your understanding.” Ahriman took his leave, as the Emperor slid the reports into his desk, clenching a fist. After a moment’s introspection, he stood, the confrontation forcing an uncomfortable realization upon him. He had dispensed the punishments the situation called for. Now, it was time to make amends.
Morticia leaned on the railing of her bed, testing her weight. With an effort, she swung her bare legs over the edge and stood, gripping the stainless steel bar tight. Grant clutched her arm, helping her balance, until she nodded, and he backed up a bit. “Okay, ready?” he asked through his mask.
“Yep, let’s go,” she said. He marveled at her resilience; her voice was almost back to normal after less than a week. He gently guided her across the room to the small bathroom at the end, and helped her ease in, closing the door behind her. While she saw to her needs, he quickly changed the bed and swapped out several IV bags. He was just finishing the sterilization of the IV feed when the bathroom opened back up. Morticia took a few steps towards the bed, then paused and accepted Grant’s help on the return trip.
“Okay, ready, ma’am?” he asked, leaning over. By means of response, she swung herself over the rail by herself, just remembering to tug her surgical dress into place to preserve her modesty. Grant smiled behind his mask. “You’re recovering faster than any patient I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“Thanks,” she said happily. She grabbed the pillow on the table beside her and gingerly slid it down behind herself. “What time is lights-out around here?” she asked. “I’ve usually gone back under before then.”
“Well, we’re technically past it now,” Grant said. “It’s supposed to be 2200 local.”
“And tonight, no sedatives unless I need them, right?” she asked.
“No, not any more, ma’am. I suspect that your biology would reject them at this point anyway,” Grant said.
“Yes. Did I ever tell you about that? It might be important,” Morticia asked. She irritably flipped her lank grey hair back out of her eyes. “I need a haircut…”
“No, my Lady, you didn’t,” Grant said.
“Please call me Morticia, Grant. There’s nothing noble about me right now,” Morticia said. Grant fidgeted in professional confusion for a moment before acceding to the instruction.
“I’ll forget a few times, I promise…but very well, Morticia.”
“Great. Then I think you should know that I’ll probably be up for a few more hours.”
“You need your rest, ma’am,” Grant pointed out.
“That was fast.”
“Morticia. Sorry.”
“Well, I’m not human,” Morticia said with a shrug. “We don’t need as much sleep.”
Grant stared. “I’m sorry?”
“I’m not baseline. I told you yesterday, remember?” Morticia prompted. “All of us are genemodded.”
“I see…and nocturnal behavior is part of it?” Grant asked.
“Basically.” An uncomfortable silence followed.
“Well, Madam…Morticia, I think of course that you should do what makes you most comfortable.”
“I’ll tell me what would make me more comfortable: solid food,” Morticia said emphatically.
“I would imagine,” Grant said, making a note. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Mortarion watched the news from his office, seething. The Head Du Jour was talking about how Ahzek Ahriman, of all people had been sighted with – surprise, surprise – the Night Haunter. In the hives below the Palace, no less.
“’Subtle,’” Mortarion said bitterly. “Yes. Subtle indeed.” He fumed at the holograph before stabbing the display with a finger, switching it off. He glanced at the clock. The tiny digital readout said 2230. He swept his personal belongings into his satchel and swung it up, determined to visit his daughter again before he went home. She should have still been up.
Grant returned to Morticia’s room, shaking his head ruefully. “My apologies, Morticia, but your case file says no solid food for a bit longer.”
“Damn. I’m getting tired of this liquid stuff,” Morticia said ruefully. “Still, thanks for checking.”
“No problem, ma’am…Morticia. Sorry.” Morticia grinned as the nurse visibly shook himself. “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Actually, do you know how the case is going so far? They won’t let me watch the news,” Morticia asked.
“I’m sorry, I don’t,” Grant replied. “The news is mostly biography and speculation. The Arbites are keeping it quiet for now.”
Mortarion stepped from his limousine to the cold concrete of the garage, brooding. “I will return in some time. Don’t bother leaving the car running,” he muttered to the driver.
“As you say, my Lord,” the driver said, rolling the window up. Mortarion ignored him, walking into the hospital, acknowledging the salutes of the guards with a distant wave. The waiting elevator carried him down to where his daughter was resting.
Morticia chuckled. “I think I would probably be best served by a news blackout. I don’t want to just make myself too anxious.”
Grant smiled. “I’m very glad you’ve been able to keep yourself in good spirits, Morticia. I know it can be tempting to get into a spiral of despair after such an incident.”
She shrugged slightly. “Not much else to do but think about how badly I want to leave,” Morticia said. “But thanks.”
A loud rap on the window caught both their attention. Mortarion was hovering behind it like a green thundercloud. Grant glanced over at Morticia, catching a nod from her, before moving to the door. No sooner had he opened it than Mortarion was inches from his face.
“Your conduct, nurse, has been highly inappropriate,” Mortarion bit off. “Every single time I’ve seen you here, you’ve been acting rather casually towards my daughter.”
“By her specific request, my Lord, as you are welcome to ascertain,” Grant said curtly. Without another word, he turned on his heel and walked out of the isolation room. Mortarion glared daggers at his back until the door closed behind him.
“Dad, quit it,” Morticia said. Her voice carried through the glass to Mortarion’s superhuman ears. “He’s really nice.”
“Too casual, for someone whose responsibilities involve tending to royalty,” Mortarion said coldly, tapping the speech button on the window.
“Too bad,” Morticia said with a glare. “He’s a very bright guy. He’s not being inappropriate at all.”
Mortarion seethed, but couldn’t find the spite to argue with his daughter. “Fine. How are you feeling?”
“Better,” Morticia said. She raised her hands, moving them normally. “No nerve damage at all. The doctors say I should be able to walk on my own really soon.”
“Good,” Mortarion said, his tension fading a little.
Welp, enough of the depressing bit. I'd like to spend a bit more time with the Daughters themselves now.

Any comments thus far?

Also, I'd like to clarify: Chaos isn't involved with any of Keiter's activities. At all. Tzeentch is just being opportunistic.
Jake noted the black hovercar outside the lot near his home with a jump of his pulse. Snatching up his bag, he parked in his usual spot and nearly leaped out, jogging back to his apartment. Pushing the door open, he was greeted by the sight of his mother and Venus giggling their hearts out over a holomag, while father was hovering nearby and trying to look stern. His heart sank. “Uh, hi, everybody,” Jake said.
“Hee hee hee hee, hi, Jake,” Venus said, suppressing a laugh with great difficulty. His mother coughed once, slapping a hand over her mouth to fight off her own giggles. “How was it?”
“I thought I did perfectly,” Jake said, walking over to the group. “Now I’m not sure.”
“Aw, I’m sure you did fine,” Sandra said.
“Thanks. What’s so funny?” he asked self-consciously.
George sighed. “I don’t think it’s funny.”
“You were laughing,” Venus accused.
“Yeah, but at least I had the good sense to be ashamed of it afterwards,” he grumbled. Jake stared.
“Here,” Venus said, handing him the holomag with a giggle. “You look good.”
“Well, that’s a given, but…” Jake trailed off as the holomag picture came into focus. It was him, in his school clothes, walking around the Palace gardens with Venus, not two days before. “What?!”
“Must have been a long-range camera in one of the skycars near the Palace,” Venus said. “It happens,” she said with another giggle. “Look at the headline.”
Jake glanced it over with apprehension. “‘…Mystery Consort?’ What the flailing fuck?!”
“Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha!” his mother laughed, grabbing the edge of the counter for support. “Oh my god the look on your face!”
“Mom, this isn’t funny!” Jake said angrily, dropping the holomag down on the polished plastic surface. “I don’t want to be in a tabloid!”
“Oh, it’ll pass, once Vicky gets her latest fling, I’m sure,” Venus said. “But for now, enjoy the envy of the rest of the planet while it lasts,” she said airily, tossing her hair back over her shoulder with a prim little flick.
“Sure,” Jake grumbled. He paged through the article with one finger, skimming the contents. “…so they don’t know where I live. Good.” He kept reading until he reached the end of the small article. “How macabre. Morticia’s still hospitalized, and they’re already voyeurizing her cousins.”
“Well, more specifically, you,” Venus said, batting her eyes innocently.
“Ugh.” Jake pushed the mag away. “Well…anyway. As long the school year ends soon, I can live with it. As long as they don’t follow us to Kouthry.” He whipped his head around to stare at Venus. “They won’t. Right?”
“Of course they will. It’s their jobs,” Venus said.
“They’re not going to harass us at the apartment, are they?” Jake asked, crestfallen.
Venus gave a sly little grin. “Sure, for the first few days. To their own embuggerment. A few beehives and a Fire Drake or two will put that sort of behavior to rest in a hurry.”
“Well, that at least sounds fun,” Jake said. George picked up the holomag and started reading it. “I guess I can look forward to the show.”
“Heh.” Venus stood from the seat at the counter and hiked her jacket across her shoulders. “How did the presentation go, for real?”
“Well enough. They liked the topic. ‘Support Structures for the Mentally Disabled in Private Schools,’” Jake said. “The speech was rough. I was the only one who didn’t have a custom holographic diorama or something. But they liked the envelopes.”
“Yeah, that was a nice touch,” Venus said. “Mine was ‘Preservation Versus Removal of Statutes of Detention from Terran Civic Law.’”
“Very brave of you,” Sandra said. “Nobody seems to want to talk about that.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve never been one to shy from controversy. Just ask my Mystery Consort,” she said sweetly.
“Oh, for fucks’ sake,” Jake growled. “I’m never gonna hear the end of this, am I?”
“Nope!” Venus said cheerfully.


What is it about the scenes with the consorts that is just so much more rewarding to write than the silly conspiracy crap?
To each his own. some like the simple stuff, others want the heavy conspiracy and action. we are very comples beings.
The next few segments I've written with the audience in mind. I want to spend a bit more time emphasizing those facets of each Daughter's personality and even appearance that most reflect (or contradict) their fathers'. Also, I want to spend some more time describing how a teenager would see the Warp in a world where Order won.
Cora let her feet hang from the edge of the Spire, feeling the sun shine on her face. Eyes closed under her shades, he listened to the omnipresent hum of passing vehicles, and wondered about when she would be obligated to step in.
Remilia hadn’t been in school today. She had said she would have been, and she wasn’t. What did it mean? Had Freya’s typically blunt confrontation failed? Had she hurt herself? Or did she just not feel safe at school?
The hot spring winds swept across her skin, a sign of the hotter summer to come. She tugged her jacket off, leaving her arms bare. Her skin was as white as the clouds overhead, in contrast to the dappled grey, white, black, and navy blue décor of the Spire. In the white vest and school skirt of Imperator, she was almost invisible against the white trim of the building, except for the long black hair she splayed around her head as she lay back down.
Her vox was off. Her implants were on low-power mode. She was incommunicado, and she was on top of the tallest building around, with the exception of the hive wall against which the Spire was backed up. She had the sky to her self. More or less.
With a long-suffering sigh, she grabbed a few specks of gravel off of the top of the building, letting them run through her fingers back onto the building top. She watched them fall through the nearly-opaque lenses of her glasses, seeing every tumble and turn with her gifted eyes. Her father’s eyes.
Fire Away
Her jaw tightened a bit as her frustration returned. She did her best thinking up here. It was warm, it was beautiful, it was quieter, and best of all, thanks to the impermeable holoscreen of the building and low flight ceiling of the neighborhood, it was the best place to steal a quick rendezvous with her friends and sisters if needed, or a boyfriend if she was feeling more salacious. Her lips twitched into a smile as she let herself remember the last time she had done that, and the thrill as she had surrendered to his gentle touch. At the moment, though, she had the roof to herself, and her thoughts. Unlike the vast patches of blue overhead, however, her thoughts were unclear. She grabbed a few more specks of rock again, watched them fall back down. Remilia’s quiet pain was distracting her. She knew it. She wanted her to get better. They all did. So what could she do?
“What would your father have said?” she asked the air. “What would Rogal have done?”
The air didn’t answer. She lay in silence, letting the light from the sun sink into her skin, never darkening it. It couldn’t overcome her biology.
She sat up as inspiration struck. Could she help Remilia that way? Get her to overcome her own self-destructive tendencies?
A streak of grey and red appeared over the blurred lines of cars in the distance. Cora squinted to make it out, grabbing nervously at her jacket…but then she relaxed. She knew who it was. The streak passed through the holoscreen with a suddenness that always startled her; the blur faded into total clarity in an instant. Angela, complete with her custom rocket pack, resolved at the head of the exhaust trail, hovering to a halt above the Raven’s daughter.
“Nice entrance,” Cora said casually, coughing through the updraft of the engines. Rocket pack travel was the pastime of the obscenely rich, even here in Startseite, but for Angela, it was more like a way of life. Given her heritage, who was surprised?
“Sorry ‘bout that,” Angela said, disengaging the jets. Cora, as one would expect of a Raven Guard’s daughter, had an appreciation for rocket packs. She looked over the one Angela was wearing with undisguised envy, watching its flaps retract, the coils of smoke from the engines disappear on the wind. Angela unclipped the harness and hefted the pack down on the roof, fluttering her wings to work out the cramps. “How are you feeling?”
“A bit dusty, now, but largely ok.” Cora cocked an eyebrow behind her mirrored shades. “Yourself?”
“Great. I had a morning speech, so it was cake,” Angela said brightly. “I suspect I aced it.”
“Yeah? Good for you,” Cora said, leaning back on the rooftop. “Mine’s the very last one. In the whole class.”
“Ouch. That’s Friday?” Angela asked.
“Yep,” Cora sighed. “My topic’s a boring one too. I thought it would be fun, but it’s so dry!”
“‘Effects of Pre-conditioned De-orbiting of Non-metallic Orbital Wreckage,’” Cora sighed. “Also, less pretentiously, known as ‘Blowing up Shit in Space.’”
Angela laughed. Cora smiled quite without meaning to. Her cousin’s laugh was infectious. “So, Angela, what brings you over?”
“Well, I just wanted to make sure you were OK, and to see if you had any plans to drop back in on Morticia,” Angela said, sitting down beside her cousin.
“I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?” Cora asked.
Angela shrugged, her feathers twitching in the wind. “I dunno. The thing with Morticia’s been hard on all of us, and I know you and Kelly were closer than she was to me.”
“I guess.” Cora peaked a brow again. “What about you? You’re looking awfully saccharine.”
Angela flushed furiously, and looked away, into the wind. Cora wondered what she could have said to provoke such a reaction. Perhaps a touchy nerve? “What?” she giggled.
“Nothing,” Angela said into the wind.
“Can’t hear you,” Cora lied.
Angela glanced back at her, tugging the red leather of her jacket’s collar a bit higher. “Nothing.”
Cora’s eyes picked a line of tiny red spots on her cousin’s neck out against the glare, and smiled knowingly. Angela flushed again. “…It’s not that visible, is it?”
“Not unless you’re looking,” Cora said. This time it was true. “Lucky girl.”
“What? I’m happy for you. But seriously, back to the topic at hand. When are we dropping in next time?” Cora asked.
“We, uh, we aren’t. Not as a group. I meant individually.”
“Oh. Well, after school on Friday I’m studying with Freya for finals, but after that I might go by.”
“Great!” Angela proclaimed. She stood back up, effortlessly balancing her weight with her natural counterbalances. “Sorry if I, um. Made you uncomfortable.”
Cora waved it off. “I brought it up.”
“Yeah, I know.” Angela fidgeted. “Sorry, you want privacy,” she said, picking her pack up.
“No,” Cora sighed. “I want answers. How do I stop Furia and Remilia from hurting themselves?”
Angela grimaced, setting the pack back down. She stood in silence, then walked over to where Cora was still lying, sitting down next to her. “I don’t know. Furia…she’s already stopped. Simon threatened to end it, right there, when he found out. Said it was a slap in the face. Her father nearly blew a gasket when he found out, too.”
“A slap in the face?” Cora asked.
“Simon’s little hospital journey. Remember? It was some drug peddler from-”
“Right, right.” Cora thought that over. She glanced up at her cousin from her back. The sun was glinting off of the zip on Angela’s jacket, and the glare almost hid the look of intense concentration on her face. “Hmph. And Remilia? She sucks at hiding it. She didn’t even come to school today.”
“I think she’s stopped too, but…I don’t know why she wasn’t at school,” Angela said.
“You know who else wasn’t? We had a substitute for Warp Studies.”
Angela looked down at her cousin. “Yeah? No Ahriman?”
“Nope. Some random sub.”
“Huh. He got in deep shit for that little stunt with Konrad,” Angela pointed out. “Maybe he had somewhere else to be.”
“Maybe. I bet Grandpa was livid,” Cora snorted.
“He was. I don’t think I’ve ever felt him that angry,” Angela whispered. “Not from that close.”
Cora looked up at her, blinked in surprise. Angela’s face was haunted, her eyes focused on something far below. “Were you there?” Cora asked.
“No, I was in the same wing of the Palace but nowhere near him,” Angela said. “I went back to him to get some advice on something after the rest of you went home.”
“Wow. What did it look like?” Cora asked earnestly. Psychic phenomena fascinated her. Some part of her envied Miranda’s and Angela’s powers, even though she knew the risks were still huge, even now.
“Scary. Everything went all twisty,” Angela said. “The lines that hold everything together got shaky. They weren’t going to break, though, that was really obvious. Still kinda scary.” Cora nodded sympathetically, her cousin’s attempt to describe the Warp percolating through her head.
“Well, don’t let it spook you,” she advised. She balled up her jacket and stuck it under her head like a pillow.
“I can’t even imagine what it would have looked like up close. Miranda might have seen it in more detail,” Angela continued. “She’s way more powerful than me, now.”
“I’m a beta, she’s an alpha-plus,” Angela explained.
“Holy shit.” Cora propped herself up on her elbows to get a look at her cousin. Angela squirmed a bit under the scrutiny. “What does it feel like?”
“What? Looking into the Warp?” Angela asked. Cora nodded, speechless. “Oddly comforting, sometimes. When I’m near another psyker, it kinda feels good. But if I’m not, or if there’s a huge outburst of emotion nearby, it’s really chaotic.”
“That’s so cool.”
“It can be, yeah,” Angela allowed.
“What do people look like?”
“People look sort of indistinct when I’m just looking at them. Like, I can see them perfectly clearly, but…hmm.” Angela struggled for a metaphor. “Before my power manifested, I saw people normally. Then my powers awakened, and people look the same…but if they have a little psychic power in them, they glow a bit. I can hear them clearer, even if my normal ears are working fine. And if they have anti-psychic power, they’re a little darker. I can hear them fine, but they look a little dark. Really emotional people glow in colors. And a really powerful psyker like Dad or Miranda…they glow so bright that it’s impossible to ignore them. But it’s not blinding either. It actually feels more like…like…” Angela pursed her lips and rubbed her hands together.
“Like what?” Cora asked. Angela glanced down and grinned. Cora was up on both elbows, spellbound.
“Like…like a tiny hole in a piece of metal. It lets some light through so you can see, but as long as you don’t stare into it as hard as you can, you’re not going to be blinded. So like that, only it’s in every direction.”
“What does it feel like? That must be distracting,” Cora put in.
“Not at all. It’s more like if you’re trying to read something and someone turns a light on behind you. It’s clearer. It’s helpful.”
“What about Malcador or Grandpa?”
“They glow so bright it’s amazing. And Uncle Magnus too. It’s breathtaking. Even Miranda, she’s so bright, but it doesn’t draw the eye, either. It’s just sort of there. Like how you might notice if someone has a new haircut, but then you don’t even notice after a few minutes. And that’s all passive. I don’t have to look to see it. If I really stretch, actively look into the Warp, everything looks even weirder. I really don’t think I can explain it.”
“What about that Eldar Ambassador? What does he look like?” Cora asked.
“He’s super bright. Like a bonfire. Light pouring out everwhere. But it’s more directed. A human psyker is sending light out everywhere. Eldar look more…focused. They only send light where they want to. It’s really alien.”
“They’re aliens,” Cora said sagely.
“Yeah. But being near a human psyker with that kind of power feels really good. Like stepping into a hot bath on a frigid day. It’s incredibly comforting. It’s…there’s a soul here, and it’s really complex, and it’s so bright. It’s tempered by people’s emotions, too. And when I’m near Grandpa, the whole world feels straighter. Even the ripples in the Warp from the passage of time calm down.”
“That sounds like it can be a lot of fun,” Cora said wistfully.
Angela’s face darkened. “Not when you’re near someone with bad waves going on,” she said.
“Someone really angry. Or scared. Or nervous, or apprehensive, or bitter. Or if you’re near someone who’s dying. That’s terrifying. It’s…there’s a little ball of light inside them, and it’s going out, and you want to grab it and put it back in, but it’s going, and you can’t stop it,” Angela said darkly. “And if you look into the Warp at JUST right time, you can see the soul there. The mind’s gone, the body’s meat, there’s just this tiny little ball of emotion and pain, and then it’s gone, swept away by wind. If they’re lucky. If they’re not, it lingers, lost, confused, terrified, hurt, so deeply hurt. And if they’re really unlucky…CHOMP,” she said, slamming her hands together. “Eaten intact. And aware of it too.”
“…Holy hell, Angela, that’s awful,” Cora said, utterly aghast. “Eaten by what?”
“Take a guess,” Angela said, a little horror creeping into her voice. She looked down at her cousin, and somehow, a smile crept onto her lips. “See, though, that feels good. You saw I was getting scared, and you wanted me to feel better. Subconsciously. And you changed colors a little, and your soul moved a bit closer. That feels really good. The benefits outweigh the costs, believe me.”
Cora was a bit taken aback. “All right…wait. When did you see someone dying?”
“At the hospital, before,” Angela said. “One floor up. And when I was there to see Furia and Simon that one time. That was in the room right next to Simon’s. I don’t know how Uncle Magnus managed to stay focused. That one wasn’t so bad since he…the guy who died, I mean…he knew it was his time. Sedated. He just kinda went out. That’s not so bad.”
“Huh.” Cora seemed to be thinking over the mountain of information Angela had given her, then suddenly blinked and recoiled a bit as she realized her deific cousin was staring down at her with a knowing grin. “Er, keep it to yourself,” she mumbled. “I mean, it’s none of my business.”
“I don’t mind,” Angela laughed. “It’s really peaceful. Blissfully relaxing. Nearly fell asleep once.”
“What?” Cora giggled despite the mood. “You nearly fell asleep mid-boink?”
“Yeah. You think having an ARM fall asleep feels nasty,” Angela grumbled, jerking a thumb over her shoulder at her folded wings. Cora pitched her head back and laughed. Her voice carried over the edge of the colossal building, bouncing off the hive wall in a musical echo.
“It wasn’t that funny,” Angela said after her cousin’s hysterics faded. That, naturally, launched her into another bout of giggles.
“See, now I don’t feel quite so envious,” Cora managed.
“Mmm.” Angela looked down at her in mock exasperation as her laughter finally faded. “Feel better?”
“Much,” Cora sighed happily.
“Mission Accomplished,” Angela declared. She stood up again, snugging the rocket pack over her wings, and smiled down at her black-haired cousin. “You know you can talk to me whenever, right?”
“I know,” Cora smiled gratefully up at her. “It means a lot to me, but I’m not sure I’m ready yet. You know? It still kind of stings.”
“College,” Angela said, tugging her gloves on. “It’ll salve the hurt.”
“Is that a prophecy?” Cora joked.
“Yes,” Angela said, shocking her cousin. She took off without another word, plummeting several dozen stories down the side of the Spire, before leveling off and streaking into the distance. Cora watched her until she suddenly lost resolution behind the holofield. She smiled to herself, leaning back on the jacket bundle, and twirling a tiny sliver of gravel between her fingers.
“Thanks,” she whispered to the morning wind.
All right. Now for a bit of time exploring the backstory of the Daughters. This part was really hard to write.
Grant finished his checklist, exhaustion pulling at his eyes. His shift was nearly over, and he was ready to go home. The last (and in fact only) patient on the floor was Morticia, and after the confrontation between him and her father, he was in little mood for any distractions. Opening her door, he noted with relief that she was feeling well. She was busily reading a holomag when he walked in, and immediately looked up and smiled as he walked in. “Hi, Grant. Sorry my father put the fear in you, before.”
“I understand his concerns, Morticia, fear not,” Grant said. “Trust me, he wasn’t the first jealous parent I’ve had to deal with.”
Morticia’s eyes sparkled with some hidden mischief, which she kept to herself. “Really. Well, I may be having another guest later tonight, sorry.”
“That’ll be somewhat difficult, since the hospital’s now closed,” Grant said. He unhooked the last IV bag on the tree and placed it on his cart, completing his tasks.
“That didn’t stop him, I see,” Morticia said happily, gesturing over Grant’s shoulder. He glanced over to the waiting room, where a group of three men were discussing something with the Death Guard serf.
“I’m done, now, actually, so I’ll leave you to it,” Grant said, wheeling the cart out. “See you tonight.”
“See you then,” she said, putting the holomag down and feeling a tremor of nerves race through her stomach.
Grant wheeled the cart past the cluster of men in the middle of the room, noting that they stopped their discussion as he went by. One rather gaunt man stopped him with a question. “Nurse, is she comfortable enough to speak?”
“She should be, sir, but she’s quite tired,” Grant said, wondering which branch of the Royal Family this one represented.
“Of course. I won’t be long, I suspect,” he said, bowing his head for a moment.
“As you will, sir,” Grant said wearily, wheeling the cart to the hallway and starting down towards the elevator.
“That’s the one Lord Mortarion told me to watch, Sire,” the serf told the Emperor and his Companions. “They’re entirely too close.”
“I’ll see to it,” the Emperor promised, letting his sorcerous disguise dissolve. In a moment, the aura of power that surrounded him flooded the room, lighting its corners and banishing the shadows from the window. His true appearance restored, the serf began to take a knee, before a gesture stopped him. “I will be as discreet as possible. Please do not allow anyone else in behind me.”
“As you so command it, my Liege,” the serf said reverently. The two Custodes Librarians behind him, sans their more visible accoutrements of office, quietly stood to the sides of the door into the isolation room.
Morticia grinned widely as the Emperor walked into the isolation room. “Grandpa! I hoped you would make it!”
“I would have come the instant I heard, had the Arbites not needed me to hold their hands throughout the ordeal,” the Emperor groused. “I assure you, I would not have delayed otherwise. Are you feeling better?”
“Yep,” Morticia said, overlooking the weakness of his statement. “I can walk now, and they IVs come out tonight.”
“Excellent,” the Emperor said, smiling fondly. He stopped at the foot of the bed, shaking his head at the state of things. “My dear child. I can not tell you how much it pains me to see you hurt so gravely.”
“Grandpa, believe me, it’s worse on this end,” she said, smiling gamely. The Emperor returned the smile despite himself, coming around to half-sit on the edge of the bed.
“I would imagine so. It’s not a fun experience, is it?”
“You’ve been shot too?” Morticia asked.
The Emperor laughed shortly, rolling his left sleeve back to reveal a circular scar on the back of his hand. “A few times.”
“Oh wow.”
“Still, my child, I’m built for it, and you aren’t. Is there anything I can do to help? Perhaps that nurse Mortarion dislikes so much must be replaced?”
Morticia huffed impatiently. “Graaaandpa, he’s a great guy, and he’s been completely professional!”
“I should sincerely hope so,” the Emperor said sternly. “I put him through the most rigorous background check of any position I’ve tried to fill since I appointed the High General of the TPDF.”
“Well, he’s been really nice, and he doesn’t treat me like I’m made of acid-laden ceramic cups, so Dad can deal with it,” Morticia said primly. The Emperor grinned.
“I’m glad.” His smile faded as his trans-human eyes followed the grotesque map of scars on her body. “Morticia, my dear girl, I am sorry.”
“Stop it. Neither you, nor the Treasury, nor the Custodes, nor the Arbites, nor Dad, nor the army of Praetors and Enforcers that I’ve seen since I got shot are remotely responsible for this. One asshole with more ideology than common sense did this,” Morticia said firmly.
“He worships me as a god, Morticia,” the Emperor said softly. “I have never felt such shame.”
Morticia’s eyes softened, and her shoulders slumped. “Please stop. Okay? For me?”
“I will try.” The Emperor went silent, his eyes inscrutable. “Do you know why your Uncle Konrad and his ally Ahriman went into the depths of the city last night?”
“Because Uncle Konrad is paranoid?” Morticia sighed.
“Well…that’s true, yes. But they are convinced that there is more to Keiter’s motivations than ideological blindness,” the Emperor said.
“I don’t know,” Morticia said, shifting her shoulders. “I think I’d be more comfortable with there being nothing more to it than one psycho.”
The Emperor nodded. “It would be disingenuous of me to say that I have not harbored similar doubts. But their investigation, if you can call it that, turned up nothing. For now, I shall continue to view the Arbites’ theory as accurate.”
Morticia shrugged uncomfortably. “Your call, Grandpa. Do I have to attend the trial?”
“Technically, you must do so only if you are healed enough to make it safely. So…yes, you do,” the Emperor regretfully replied.
“Okay.” Morticia peered up at him with her odd grey eyes. “You look like you have something else to say.”
“I do.” The Emperor, for the first time in a long while, found himself struggling for his words. After a moment’s internal debate – rather more of a literal concept than it was for most people – he decided the story needed to be told in full. “Morticia, do you know the true reason I created you and your sisters?”
“The ‘true reason?’” Morticia asked, with the sense of creeping dread that had haunted her lately wending its way back through her stomach. “Uh…I guess not. Unless there’s more to you wanting our fathers to have something to come back to?”
“Oh, that was entirely factual, make no mistake of it.” The Emperor thought back to those chaotic, trying days of ceaseless conflict. “Your father…all the Primarchs, in fact, whether they saw it or not…were exhausted. I had driven them and their Legions to conquer as much space as the bounds of the Astronomican allowed. Millions of planets, well over one point two million stars. The Imperium was much, much larger than I had originally thought it would be. Our Alliance with the Eldar helped. Our brave Houses of the Navigators helped. But…there were supposed to be twenty one of them. Twenty one super soldiers, all guiding humanity to its rightful, glorious future.”
“Then my uncles died,” Morticia supplied.
“Yes. Then your uncles did something so…monumentally stupid, so unforgivably foul, that your uncles Leman and Roboute had to…put paid to them.” The Emperor closed his eyes in remorse. “I may never forgive myself for allowing their weakness to persist as long as it did. But the survivors, those of your uncles who remained, and your father…they had to divide the responsibility of governing the Imperium up amongst themselves. Had they received the tutelage I had planned for them when I began…it does not matter. We found ways.” The Emperor tilted his head back and stared into space. “We created councils and councilors, and counselors too, and Admirals and Lord Commanders, and we divided up space like a puzzle. As the Warp Storms receded, more and more worlds came back into the fold. We conquered them too, and the Legions expanded alongside the Army, and the Navy, and all the branches of my military.”
He looked down at his granddaughter and smiled. “I knew that even the super men I had created would need a reason to stop fighting some day. Some…reward. Some motivation. Not just to lay down the swords, but to want to never pick them up again. So I gathered my scientists, a fresh batch this time. I repaired my long-neglected genelabs on Luna and Terra, and I got to work. In the interim, I sent my sons to the edges of space, to take and fortify the systems at the outermost reaches of the Astronomican’s light. I even added more seats to the Choir of the Beacon, at the heart of the Astronomican, so that its range would be increased, beyond its point of diminishing returns. Until the Imperium was as physically large as it could be. And while they fought…I worked.”
Morticia shifted on her mattress, a little uncomfortable, but listening enrapt. The Emperor stood, started pacing. “My…confidant…Eldrad Ultran, perhaps the one person left in the galaxy at that point whose powers of foresight eclipsed mine, warned me against my initial plan to tap the Webway and turn it into a teleportation network for the Legions. He saw the device I had reclaimed to serve as its core, and found its flaws. Instead of relying on it to become a psychic gateway for me, we turned it into the core of the project we dubbed the Carpe Noctum Experiment.”
“That’s High Gothic for Seize the Night, isn’t it?” Morticia asked.
“It is. Four Eldar Farseers and myself…we journeyed to the very, very edge of the Astronomican, where several Eldar Craftworlds were looking to establish permanent colonies for their people. There, we interred the Golden Orb, the device that would have powered my Webway portal, and used it to create a psychic bridge between the core of the resurgent Eldar Empire and Terra, such that Webway or no, all travel on that pathway would be orders of magnitude faster.”
“Wow. What went wrong?” Morticia asked, wide-eyed.
The Emperor blinked, his speech interrupted. “Nothing. Nothing went wrong, it’s there now, still fully operational.”
Morticia winced in chagrin. “Oh. I thought you were building up to something.”
“I am,” the Emperor said with a grin. He sat back down, looked his granddaughter in the eye, and continued. “You see, the Primarchs thought that that signaled the end of the Crusade. It wasn’t, of course. I had much more in mind. As soon as the bridge was declared safe, I returned to Terra, and I instructed my scientists to begin work on…well, you. I sent the Primarchs to their Legionary worlds, and to recruit their numbers back up to full. When you, and the other Royal daughters were completed, I sent word for your fathers to come to Terra, and receive their reward for completing the work I had set out for them.”
“‘Reward,’” Morticia echoed, stone-faced.
“Well, not in so many words. But I will not deny that I was proud of them.” The Emperor’s face lifted slightly at the memory. “You can not imagine the glory we felt. A million star systems, more, united by our force of arms, our technology, our creed, our species.”
“Well, how did the Primarchs take it?” Morticia asked.
The Emperor’s good spirits vanished. “Well, to be fair, I didn’t really use your life, the lives of your sisters, as collateral. I can see that you’re thinking along those lines.”
“Kinda hard not to,” Morticia said, distantly offended.
“I see.” The Emperor sighed heavily. “Then I will be frank. When I recalled them and declared, at that private ceremony, that the Crusade was over, several were relieved, even before I said anything else. They knew. They’re bright lads, you know.”
“Some more than others, sure,” Morticia joked. The Emperor smiled, quite involuntarily.
“I would never say that,” he chided gently. “Anyway. Your uncle Roboute, for instance, had had enough of killing. He wanted to govern. Perturabo…less so, but he did as well. Rogal, and Fulgrim, and even Lorgar, they wanted to lead people, to be teachers and princes, not just Generals. Vulkan…he was happy at war. He found comforts in it. But had just wed, anticipating my recall, and took to it gladly. Leman wanted to start a family, too, I think. So did Corax. But the other Primarchs…including your father, I am sorry to say…did not. They wanted to keep fighting. Forever, if need be. Or, at least, they could not think of themselves as anything but fighters.”
“Dad didn’t want me?” Morticia asked, stunned.
“Please, never say that. Not to me, not to him, not to anyone, not even yourself,” the Emperor said, his face darkening. “I said that I wanted them to start families before I said I had already created them. Or parts of them. He had no idea you existed when he said he did not want a family.”
“But…” Morticia said weakly. The Emperor was devastated, the girl was clearly crestfallen.
“Please, PLEASE, let me finish, Morticia,” he asked, his voice rising. “Your father…was quiet. He said little, it was…certain others of your uncles who objected. I will not say which. But they did, and they said that they would be horrible parents, and horrible husbands, and so on. I let them voice their opinions, and I did listen to them. Then, those who had said nothing were asked their opinions.” The Emperor lifted his hand, palm open. “When Horus asked Magnus what he thought of fatherhood, he surprised us all. He said he couldn’t wait. Vulkan and Lorgar chimed in. Lion too. They had thus far been quiet.” The Emperor closed his hand, letting a tiny bead of golden light play along it. “We were all a little stunned. When asked why, each said the same thing. They wanted LEGACY.” The Emperor clenched his fist, extinguishing the light. His eyes pierced Morticia’s. She recoiled, surprised by his fervor.
“Your father, he came to think of you not as a burden, to restrain him from doing his role as a leader of the Imperium, but as a model. He wanted to make the best Imperium he could, for you to live in. And Vulkan, and Lorgar, and Lion, and all of them, they were told, by me, by their own consciences, by their old cultures, by whatever they listened to, to make the best Imperium to live in.”
He stood, his eyes ablaze. “I had instructed them, Morticia, and carefully too, to create the best Imperium in which the species could survive. Now, I wanted it to THRIVE! I wanted the leaders of the Imperium to find their company, of noble wives and brilliant, beautiful daughters, and to find in you contentment. I made them ambitious, Morticia, so ambitious, because they had to be. Because I wanted them to be driven by a desire to conquer. But now there were no conquests left. Not unless I wanted to rip open the Warp or the Webway and send them in after the monsters that reside therein, which I will never do. I wanted their instincts to be honed and focused, on you, on making the best worlds they could build.”
“And…how is that different from what I had already been told?” Morticia asked, resentment fading into genuine confusion. Aside from the thing about her uncles taking it poorly, it wasn’t anything she had not already known.
The Emperor sank back down into the bedside, his eyes losing their fire. “Because, Morticia, there is more. When I created the Primarchs, I made…mistakes. I committed errors. I built flaws. You know them, they know them, I shall not list them here. But they are there.” He took up her hand, squeezing her cold flesh in his own hand. “Morticia…when I created the Primarchs, and the Custodes, and the Legions…the very first geneseed was contaminated. Those flaws are not supposed to be there. And three thousand, six hundred years is a very, very long time. The end of the Crusade came upon us slowly, but come it did. I no longer had the luxury of rooting out old errors. When I created you, and your dear sisters…I simply reused a modified version of the original geneseed, methods and all.” He stood, still holding her hand, and crouched by the bedside, bringing his eyes down to hers. Her face was locked in a mask of complete astonishment.
“Morticia, my dear girl…I must ask your forgiveness for three things here.” He closed his eyes, finding his words. “The first mistake…is not preventing the sort of ideologues that spawn vermin like Keiter from existing. I have the power, you know. If I felt the need, I could send an army without limit into the hives, scour them down to metal and stone, and start over. Erase every single mention of me as anything other than a politician. You know why I do not. Beyond common human decency, I know what that could trigger. I know what I would become. But I have the power to keep people like Keiter from existing, and I do not use it. Will you forgive me?”
Morticia stared. “Forgive you…for what? Not being a bloodthirsty, tyrannical, despotic, genocidal executioner? Why would you even ask? Of course!”
The Emperor nodded once, acknowledging her statement. “Thank you. The second thing I have erred in is…more personal. I viewed your creation as necessary. I still do. I do not regret it, and by and large, neither do your uncles. You know your father doesn’t. So…the problem of your core geneseed remains. When I created you, I used geneseed from which the taint had not, COULD not be completely erased. If I had not, you would not exist as you are, do not mistake it. If I had used pure geneseed, you would be nothing more or less than a female Custodian. But you would be whole. No scarred lungs. No wings. No third eyes. No burning visage and endless flames under the skin. You would not be cursed with the same mutancy that the contamination forced on your fathers. So...will you forgive me?”
Morticia leaned back in her bed, a sense of absolutely surreal disconnection filling her. “Grandpa…I’m no more or less perfect than any other human. And I think, if you had gotten clones of yourself, you would have resented it later. Of course I forgive you.”
He nodded again. Then, he felt his breath catch in his throat a little. The first two mistakes, he had suspected she would forgive, but…the last was much more personal.
“Morticia…the last mistake is one of which I do not yet think I deserve to be absolved. When I created your fathers…some of their flaws ran deep. I do not speak of mutancy, nor madness, nor overambition, nor any other affliction of mind or body. I speak of something subconscious, something between the soul and the mind. Flaws of personality, of perception. They are intrinsic parts of who they are, and I have come to know them better for it. Some of them overcame their scattered, piecemeal youths and became better people for it. Others…did not. I do not hide it, neither do they. And do not assume that I assign such flaws or lack thereof to any specific Primarch, either, for I’ve known them far longer than you. But…at some level, Morticia, I allowed my own personal experiences to cloud my judgment.”
“How?” Morticia asked, confused.
“I allowed my expectations, my desires, to alter and distort what I could perceive of their expectations, their desires. Morticia…the addition of the geneseed in your creation occurred before I spoke to your fathers. To this day, I do not fully understand my own reasoning. Perhaps I wanted to ensure that they did not say no. Perhaps I wanted to make sure the process was well under way before they were committed. But, Morticia…I think that I also wanted a chance to correct those flaws. Your sister Kelly is not plagued by uncontrollable psychic torment, your sister Venus is not harmful to the touch…you can breathe without a mask. But the flaws of the mind, I sought to cure those as well. Rather than let your fathers choose, rather than let you choose…I chose for you.”
“Is that any different from random genetics playing dice with normal people? Isn’t that really better?” Morticia asked, that sense of numbness spreading.
“It is not, Morticia. I saw in you more than a chance to anchor your fathers. More than a chance to provide them, and indirectly myself, with a legacy. I saw in you, to some extent…a means of starting over,” the Emperor confessed, regret tightening his throat again. “I owed your fathers more than seeing them as a failed experiment. And…I certainly, undeniably, owed you more too. You should be princesses, Morticia, the Royal Daughters of the species, and the pinnacles of humanity…but my greed, my self-pity, robbed you of that. Your futures will not only be marred by the flaws your fathers could not escape, but will be restrained by my own inability to let a poor result stand. I used geneseed I knew to be flawed because I had to know whether I could do better, regarding my ability to guide my offspring to a greater future.” He closed his eyes, not to stifle tears, but so that he could not see the tears in her own eyes.
“I have regretted that decision since the moment Isis looked at me, at a mere ten months, and spoke her first word. I missed the childhoods of each and every one of the Primarchs; they were robbed from me by the machinations of a force beyond my control and your reckoning. But yours…your formative years, the years that imprinted within you the behaviors and personalities that will create your entire lives, they were here, on Terra, within my reach and protection, and even then I did not do enough to ensure that your lives could be safe, could be healthy, could be productive, and most importantly of all, could be filled with the love and the stability that were so uniformly and permanently taken from your fathers.”
He opened his eyes and met his granddaughter’s, and now his tears gathered too. “…I put the lives of nineteen innocent, eternal children into the hands of men who had told me outright that they could not be entrusted with them. I forced fatherhood on them as I forced flaws on you, without thinking, without using the one asset I have in greater abundance than any other soul in the entire galaxy save a few: foresight.” He tightened his grip on his granddaughter’s trembling hand, his vision tracking the exact path the frag had taken through her body, mashing her guts to pulp and pouring forth her blood. He saw the scars already beginning to form on her lungs, not as a result of the air she breathed, but as a result of the damage to Mortarion that he didn’t – but perhaps could have come to – fix. “Morticia, every mental and physical and psychological flaw that every single one of your sisters bears is directly, indisputably, my fault. So…I ask now, completely beyond any hope of finding it…will you forgive me?”
Morticia sobbed, a racking cough seizing her fragile chest. She clamped her hand her mouth, catching a few drops of blood as they escaped, and wiped her hand on the cloth at the edge of the bed without even thinking consciously. “Grandpa…please. Stop. I can’t blame you for this. This, this is NOT your fault.”
“It is. All of it. If I had waited but a few more years, I could have removed the flaws from the geneseeds I used to make you. I could have taken your eternal illness. I could have taken Venus’ fire. I could have taken Angela’s wings and Omegan’s crippling self-doubt. But…I did not. And even if I had, even if their personalities had remained intact and whole after the fact, it would have remained, stark and undeniable: fully one third of your fathers wanted daughters only after I gave you to them.”
“Grandpa…how can you ask me to choose?” Morticia asked, tears soaking her cheeks. “I can’t! I can’t choose! I can’t decide! What option do I have? I could have never had a life at all if you hadn’t done it, if I had been a different person! And how much of who we are…” she paused to arrest the trickle of blood again, “is defined by WHAT we are?! Do you know that? I don’t! Grandpa, please…don’t ask me that…” She sank back against the pillows, her eyes clouded with anguish. “Grandpa…stop it. I forgive you. How could I not?!”
The Emperor hung his head, letting a tear of his own work its way down his cheek. “…Again, Morticia…you shame me. And once more…I am selfish. Thank you, my dearest child, thank you so much.”
“Grandpa…” she sobbed, squeezing her own hand back against his at last.
For a minute or two, the room was silent, save the sound of her crying, until she was all cried out, and restlessness set in. The Emperor slowly stood, his bearing and visage regal once more.
“Thank you, Morticia. I can see by your soul I have burdened you, here, far more than I had any right to. A task at which I seem remarkably adept. I can stay longer, and so I shall, because if, bucking the trend, I am to learn from this…I must do so now.” He sat back down at the side of the bed, earning a smile of weary approval from the grey-eyed girl. “Morticia, my dear girl…tell me more about your life, and those of your sisters. I am far too small a part of them, for my liking.”
Morticia settled back against the pillow, thinking. “Well…I think Venus and Freya are thinking of going to visit Nocturne and Fenris after graduation. They want to see what their fathers’ homes were like.”
“Do they? Interesting. Do they know when they will go? College commitments seem to have taken them both,” the Emperor noted.
“Well, yeah, but they won’t get another chance for a while, and it’s good timing. I don’t want to go with them, though, even if I could. I’m thinking of going on a bit of a vacation of my own, if I can, to see Terra a bit more. The cities, the hives,” she said, cleaning another ribbon of blood from her mouth.
The Emperor nodded, thinking that over. “That should prove educational, too, I would hope.”
“I hope so,” she responded, and so it went, for over an hour, before duty called the Emperor back to his role, and sleep called Morticia to rest. But the Emperor knew, as he walked back to his motorcade, that her forgiveness had been sincere, and for all he had left unsaid as much as he had said aloud. And that, he supposed, was good enough.
So, my attempt to humanize the Emperor. Yea or nay?
Horus stood at the entrance to his daughter’s room, watching as she deliberately avoided his gaze. She hadn’t come to greet him when he had returned from work the previous night. She had avoided him while getting ready for school that morning. Now, when he had finally cornered her, she had nothing to say.
“Isis. I want to hear about your little excursion,” he said evenly.
“I nearly got killed by a bunch of genemodded gangers, and it was entirely my own damn fault,” Isis said quietly. “I marched Julius into a trap and it took the goddamned Night Haunter to save my dumb ass.
Horus raised his eyebrows. “Well, I’m glad you said it first.”
“I can’t believe it.” Isis ground her hands into her eyes, muffling a snarl. “Fuck it. I was…”
“Isis. My daughter. I understand exactly why you did it,” Horus said, standing back in the door a little. He didn’t want to look too imposing. “You want there to be something more to this. Do you understand how things have been complicated by your actions?”
Isis sighed, finally meeting her father’s eyes. “Yes.”
Horus nodded slowly. “Good.” He stood quiet a moment longer, before turning to leave.
“Dad, what about Julius?” isis asked suddenly.
“What about him? He fired a hellpistol in public,” Horus noted. “Would you have me make an exemption to the law for him?”
Isis clenched her teeth, fighting back her emotions. “I…I don’t want him to suffer for trying to do the right thing. He was protecting us from a murder! He was defending himself and me!”
“Yes, he was. A situation that should have never arisen, resolved by brute force and intimidation,” Horus said. His tone never changed. It was driving Isis crazy. “He will go to juvenile court and be tried, found not guilty by means of extenuating circumstances, and go about his life with a mark on his record. A just punishment for his misbehavior. You should feel fortunate you didn’t fire that bolter you conveniently forgot to ask to borrow.”
Isis’s face twisted, her concern for Julius overriding propriety. “Dad, please...I don’t want Julius to suffer for my bad idea.”
“Was it your idea?” Horus asked. “Or did he propose it?”
The question brought Isis up short. “It…he was…”
“He proposed it,” Isis said. She buried her face in her hands, utterly ashamed. “…There was no way this was going to work out well, was there?”
Horus sighed, paternal instinct tugging at his professionalism. “Isis…I assure you that Julius is going to be found not guilty.”
“But he still has to suffer! He has to miss the last weeks of school, he has to miss Morticia’s trial…he’s going to turn seventeen in jail, he might be tried as an adult!” Isis cried.
“And if I demand that the Arbites make an exception for him, what does that say?” Horus asked. “What would you have me do?”
Isis thought desperately, her mind racing. “Can…can we find an alternative? Something that doesn’t leave him with a felony arrest on his record? Community service? Something?”
Horus stared at his daughter. “Community service for Willful Assault with a Deadly Weapon? A fine for Concealment of an Automatic Weapon?”
“Ask the Judge to take pity on him. Dad…” Isis’s eyes welled up in tears. “I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t think this wasn’t fair.”
Horus inhaled deeply, let it out in a rush. “…I will ask the Judge to remove the felony arrest from Julius’ record when he is found not guilty. That is the extent of it.”
Isis felt a lump of tension in her stomach dissolve. She rose, walking over to her father, and hugged him, overcome. “Thank you Dad,” she said faintly. “It’s the most I can ask, and I won’t forget this. I’ll do whatever I can to make this up to you.”
“If you mean that, then do me a favor and make it abundantly clear to your friend that my patience has reached its limit,” Horus said, all business again. “I will never stick my neck out for him again.”
“Don’t worry,” Isis said, humor gamely coloring her words. “I’m told the Pius family never forgets their friends.”
Remilia sat down, feeling strangely detached from the world around her. Miranda noticed her discomfort, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze. “Just us, Remilia.”
“I know.” She flipped her ponytail over her shoulder, glancing from side to side from nerves. “When does he get here?”
“When he means to, and not a moment before or after,” Miranda said dryly. “But don’t worry. He knows how much it means to you to get this done quietly.”
“I hope so,” Remilia said. Behind her, the door squeaked a bit on its hinges. Remilia started.
Magnus the Red walked in, nodding serenely at his daughter as he did so. She beamed a smile back at him, then turned it on her cousin. “Should I...?”
“If you don’t mind,” Remilia asked sheepishly.
“Sure thing,” Miranda said. She gave Remilia another squeeze for good measure before standing and heading out through the door her father had used. Magnus turned to face his niece, sitting beside her at the little table in his study.
“I want to make it clear that I understand the responsibility you’re asking me to shoulder,” Magnus said by way of greeting. His voice was in the range of bass that could vibrate small objects off of tables, but somehow didn’t feel too loud. “However, Remilia, I feel I must ask. Why are you asking me for help?”
“Because I’m absolutely ashamed of myself,” Remilia said, her voice catching in her throat, sudden bile and hatred clogging her voice. “I’m…I’m sixteen goddamned years old, and I…” she slammed her hand down on the table.
Just in case you are worried that no one is reading, I most assuredly will be reading all of this first thing tomorrow. Keep it up!
Magnus watched the display in silence. He could see her soul as plain as day. It was a deep, throbbing red of anger, dashed with yellow of dishonesty. Was she lying to him or herself? “Remilia, please.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, instantly contrite. The yellow faded. The teal of self-loathing flooded in behind it. Lying to herself.
“I can help,” he said softly, “but I will say now that I am not a doctor. I may not know when I’ve found the problem.”
“I will,” she said coldly. “I’ve had enough. I can’t look my father in the eye and tell him…tell him…”
“Tell him that you have done as he asked,” Magnus began. Remilia nodded, her eyes locked on the table. “And stopped this pointless self-mutilation?” Remilia’s eyes snapped up, wide and uneasy.
“…Yeah,” she breathed. “Did…did Miranda tell you?” Magnus took Remilia’s hands and flipped them. A tracery of little red scars – most old and faded, two very fresh – webbed the skin.
“Dear child, these leave marks I don’t need both eyes to see,” he said gently. “Each act of self-destruction scars your soul as deep as your body.”
Remilia’s eyes turned downward again. “I know,” she said softly.
That's always welcome.
“No, you don’t,” Magnus said coldly, in complete contrast to his demeanor moments ago. Remilia flinched. “Remilia, you think of the mind. When you think of a scar one can not see, you think of the mind, the activities and processes to which and through which you body acts. I speak of the soul, the facet of personality as lasting as the body or the mind can even be. You think of the pains of the mind, the shames and despairs that leave with death, and ease with time.” He leaned forward again, and there was something terrible about him. “I speak of ETERNITY.”
Remilia’s skin paled as some part of her genehanced mind started to fully comprehend what her uncle said. He continued, hammering his point home. “The body is a vessel, the mind a lens. The soul is a diamond, borne by one and empowered by another, until they fade and it is cast adrift, and it rests in limbo. When you draw that knife through your flesh, you damage yourself in a way that CAN NOT BE FIXED,” he thundered. Or so it seemed. In that little room, a whisper would have been a scream, in his voice.
“Never?” Remilia asked, in mounting horror. “I-I’m damning myself?”
Magnus leaned back in his seat. “Yes. Your soul already bears its wounds. I can see them as plainly as the scars on your flesh.”
“…I can do nothing to erase them?” Remilia asked. Her instincts screamed to fight, to avoid the danger, but if what Magnus was saying, it was already past.
“You can not erase them. You can, however, patch them.” The red-headed man nodded slowly. “Your father also bears those scars. If he has not told you…I care not. He should have. The moment he sensed your own behavior.”
“Dad cut himself too?” Remilia asked. Somehow she wasn’t surprised.
“He did not. He subjected himself to a more…debasing treatment. That, I shall leave to him.” Magnus cocked his head back, remembering. “He reveled in pain. He loved it. It was a focus. It was a tool. It was a reward. It was a punishment and a blessing. He found his strength in it.” He peered down at his niece. “Then you were born. Tell me. Do you know why he wants you to stop feeling this pain when he felt it himself, and enjoyed it, for three and a half millennia?”
“Because he never looked in the mirror while he did it?” Remilia asked.
Magnus smiled. “You are wise, child.” Remilia shrugged, still feeling a creeping horror in her stomach. “Your father came to view hurting oneself as indicative of a lack of strength, not a sign of strength. Do you share this belief? You came here, yes?”
“I asked Miranda for help. She said I should…let you do whatever it is that you do,” Remilia confessed. “So…I guess so.”
Magnus smiled again, all truculence gone. “Dear child. If your father and you are correct, you should leave.”
Remilia blinked. “What?”
“If you had no strength…or not enough…you wouldn’t have come here.”
“I can’t stop myself,” Remilia said. The dread in her stomach pulled itself higher, tightening her throat again.
“Yes, you can. But you don’t want to. At some level.” Magnus softened the barb with a caveat. “At least, that is what I would have said. If I agreed with your own conclusion. There is strength left in you, child. There is. Would you find it? Even if that means you have even less of a means of dealing with the pain, of whatever incident robs you of your stability?”
Remilia stared straight back at her uncle, terrified. His voice promised some horrible trials, she was sure, some grilling or test that would scour the weakness from her…but suddenly, she didn’t care. She couldn’t even look her mother in the eye at dinner now. Her cousins were confronting her in front of her friends and family. Enough was enough.
Magnus smiled once more. “Good. Tell me,” he asked, drawing a small blue card from his robes of office, “have you ever seen one of these before?”
Remilia leaned closer. “Not sure. What is it?”
“Here,” Magnus said, passing her the object. Remilia held it up, staring at it.
“…It’s a business card-” her voice choked off as she blacked out, sinking down onto the table with a *thunk*.
Magnus took back the unoffending card, resting his hand on the back of her neck. “Rest, child. The hardest part – for you – is over. Now, my work begins.”
Magnus effortlessly lifted the girl and laid her down on the table, glad she had chosen a modest outfit for the occasion. He, of course, had seen more intimately into the souls of men and women then mere eyes ever could, but he was certain he’d never hear the end of it if her blouse had fallen open in the middle of the process.
Once she was down, and snoozing peacefully, Magnus glanced over her arms. “Such pain you inflict upon yourself, girl. You should have sought help years ago. Rogal…you are a fool.” Shaking his head again, he rested her hands over her heart, and sat down at the table side. “Now…let us see how deep your scars lie, Remilia.” He leaned forward, casting a small part of his mind across the insignificant gulf between him and the girl. She was a restful light blue, at the moment. Her mind was blank of dreams and thoughts, and in the absolute peace of her rest, was the absolute honesty of her spirit. It could not lie to Magnus.
“…Poor thing,” he whispered. Her soul was not the brilliant, undimmed beacon of his daughter. The sheer brilliance of her light drew a tear to his eye when she wasn’t looking, out of paternal pride. Nor was it the endless complexity of Magnus’ brother Horus, nor the swell of selfless kindness of Venus or the life-loving energy of Freya…but instead a darker pall. It frayed, it wore. And in it he sensed the same resignation and lack of motivation that plagued Furia, that which had only begun to heal after she had come so terribly close to loss.
As he examined it, he was struck by its similarity to Alpharius’ daughters. They, too, felt a lack of direction in their lives, exacerbated by a sense of inadequacy. They, at least, knew their feelings for the weakness it was, and attempted to overcome it. Remilia, he realized, hadn’t had the guidance that the Twins had had: each other. She was alone. Badly, deeply, painfully, alone. That, he could not cure.
He set his mind’s eye on the glowing crevasse in her psyche. There. It was from there that her pain stemmed. The slashes across her self-esteem and the frayed edges of her kindness, they stemmed from there. He closed his eye, allowing more of his untrammeled Warp mastery pour loose, bathing her soul in light.
“Oh, Rogal,” he said bitterly. “You selfish bastard.” The crack in her mind was more than loneliness. She did not solely feel alone, she felt incomplete. She saw in herself the design the Emperor had imparted, her genes twisted for great beauty, wisdom, longevity, health…but not success. She saw the wondrous Imperial Palace, the gleaming ranks of the Imperial Fists on parade, and she despaired of ever equaling her glorious father.
“Have you ever even told the girl how deeply you love her, you arrogant craven?” Magnus hissed. Her memories parted before his psychic wake. He saw his brother lift the young Remilia over his head on Remembrance Day, rest her on his shoulders as a parade went by, hold her hand and look encouraging as a boyfriend walked out on her…but he saw also the look of stone on Rogal’s face as Remilia scrambled through her bag for a report card, forgotten in a desk at school. He saw Dorn’s cold face of disapproval as Remilia sobbingly hid her ‘injured’ arm from her weeping mother. He saw…
“You son of a bitch,” Magnus snarled under his breath. He saw her vision turn white from the blow as Dorn slapped his daughter across the face for daring to lift some trophy weapon from its cradle in the hall.
“No wonder the girl bleeds from the wrists, you churl,” Magnus said darkly. “You made her bleed from the lips.” He pulled back, looking carefully at the rest of her memory. Her sports career. Her glee as she found her first puppy love, and her pride as she beat out even his own daughter Miranda at some academic achievement or another. Nowhere else in her entire mind did he see the pain and fear and loathing of that slap. “I wonder,” he said to himself. With exquisite care, he pulled her remembered memories aside, looking for something buried more deeply. With a glance at her body on the table – she slept still – he leaned into her mind, seeking the places where the character of her soul filtered through the sheen of her mind.
It is well written, but probably the most compelling part of the Emperor as a character is despite his profound insight into the universe, his is so blind to the flaws of his children, the unstable foundations of his Empire. Having such a realization ahead of tragedy robs him of that a little, I think.
Bampin. this is awesome. want moar from both of you.
This is turning out to be much darker and depressing then I had originally thought. Also, you plan on updating the 1d4chan page any time soon?
Man, I sure do enjoy your writing. Exploring some of the less well developed characters is nice.
As always, Someone Else overdoes me in sheer weight of material. love the work. I have a little more to post later on.

and where are the Drawfags?
Someone Else doesn't seem to be here, so I'll post a little something to keep all the fans happy (if there are any.)
Ahzek Ahriman waited on one of the many windswept landing platforms of Lions Gate Spaceport, waiting for the transport to land. Barely half an hour ago the Thousands Sons Strike Cruiser Photep’s Sceptre had entered Terran orbit, and in time it too would land at Lions Gate. However first a single transport would arrive, carrying some very important cargo, and a single passenger. Ahriman had spent the last few days meditating, scrying into the Warp and trying to make sense of everything which had just happened. The Emperor’s Reprimand had wounded him deeply, had made him question everything. He had finally come to a difficult decision, which he had yet to pass on to his Liege Lord or his Goddaughter. He would do so, and soon, but first he had an old friend to greet. In the distance, a small speck rapidly revealed itself as a Thunderhawk of the XV Legion. The Thunderhawk’s engine’s flared as it came in to land, the backwash blowing into Ahriman, making his robes flutter around him.
The front hatch of the Thunderhawk hissed open, and several tracked servitors carrying chests drove out. Behind them was the familiar form of an old friend.
“Ahzek, still as ugly as ever!” the newcomer called.
“Maat, not everyone can choose the look of their face, otherwise you’d be as ugly as me.”
The two engaged in a bearhug, chuckling loudly. Hathor Maat, head of the Pavoni Cult of the Thousand Sons and Ahriman’s oldest friend. Maat was wearing his armour, the colourful feather of the Pavoni where the Raven’s head of the Corvidae was on Ahriman’s armour. Ahriman hadn’t worn his armour since the incident, it felt too painful.
“I’m surprised the Emperor sent for you. From what I heard, he had the whole thing stitched up. What are you needed for?”
“Nothing too critical. All I’ll do is try and help the Lady Morticia as she transitions to solid food, monitor her blood and internals and ensure she’s healing right. You know how many things can go wrong after an injury of that magnitude. As a Pavoni, I can manipulate her blood and fluids should something go wrong, which throne willing it won’t. I’m just backup.”
For a few minutes Maat brought Ahriman up to speed on what had been happening on Prospero. In short: little. Life went on there as it had always done. This moved Ahriman to speak.
“Life on Prospero sounds so simple, and so much easier. Things were much simpler during the Crusade. Back then we knew what our mission was; we knew who the enemy were. Not anymore.” He had been tricked, and he had paid the price. It was time, time to test the waters and see if his plan was right.
NO!... yes :D
You need to post your stuff up as well. Figure out a system with SE so you both update the same page.
“When the Photep’s Sceptre heads back to Prospero, there will be an extra passenger on board. Me.”
“I’ve had enough of Terra; I need some time away, time to tend to my vines and to the Corvidae Library. I heard there are some new books there from the Eastern Fringe, and I’ll need to read them, make sure they’re appropriate.”
“But isn’t your place here, you teach the next Generation of leaders, the ones who will rule the Imperium after us…”
“Term will be over soon, and Zulane is capable enough to take over Warp Studies for a year or so while I’m gone.”
“But Lord Magnus, won’t he be…”
“I know what he’ll be. I know what he’ll think. I know even more what lady Miranda will think. She’s the one I worry about the most. But I messed up, I really messed up, and I can’t take it. The Emperor may be the Emperor, but when He is angry, He can be one hell of a Bastard. You only need to experience that once to know you never want to see that again. He is not human, he is so far beyond human he makes us Astartes look primitive, and though he hides it well, when it shows, it shows.” He took a deep breath.
“I made a mistake Maat, by now no doubt you will have heard about it. I thought something, and I let it blind me. I need to get away, clear my head and get out of this funk. The Girls will survive without me, even Miranda, though it will break her heart to see me go. But enough of this, you have a Daughter to visit.”

you know, if you have any more of that lovely 'the Lioness' story done, you should post it. make this a general Warhammer High Thread.
Not yet. I gotta fix up the original part, plus I have new ideas. I was planning on making it a one off, and now I got other ideas. I need to bring back some humor to this dark and twisted world you and SE have created.
I'll make an offshoot page on 1d4chan at the end of the story.
“I see,” he whispered. He had feared that she simply felt that she would NEVER equal her father…but she saw instead a competition. She would never lead armies and Legions, and she knew it. Instead she would surpass his outward advancements. She sought to overcome every obstacle in her way, not because it was there, like he would, but because he would have done it. And when she hit a wall, some problem her competitive spirit could not surmount…
“Then you take your own blood, sweet girl, in punishment,” Magnus said. He opened his eye, staring at her prone form on the table. Her cheeks were caked in tears. They had not been there when he started. “You care for Morticia as much as Kelly does. I dare say you care for her nearly as much as brother Mortarion, who sees his wife as much as he sees his daughter, in her.” Magnus carefully dried her cheeks, sighing to himself. “I shall see what I can do.” He sat back down, focusing on the memory from which all the pain stemmed. “I will not take this from you, child. It is not mine to take. But…you deserve better than this.” His mind sharpened, focusing his efforts. With the greatest care, he tamped the ragged edges of her conscience, her compassion. As he did, he saw her father, offering up a smile of approval as Remilia bounced a goal off the bar, sliding under the goalie’s hands. He saw both of her parents, hands held, as they watched Remilia accept the Junior Combined Activities Award, on stage, with rivals and friends alike applauding.
“You do love her, Rogal, you just can’t bring yourself to show it sometimes,” Magnus said, his displeasure fading. “…You and I must speak, when this is over.”
Remilia stirred. She blinked grime from her eyes, wiping her hand over them, and looked around herself. Magnus was sitting in the corner, cradling a vox in his hands. “Uncle Magnus?”
“Remilia.” Magnus looked up, exhausted, but clearly happy. “You awaken.”
“Is it over? Am I still…damned?” Remilia asked tremulously.
“No, child, and I was very glad to see the worst had not come to pass. There was more strength in you than either of us guessed,” Magnus admitted. “I owe you a sincere apology. The last soul from which I removed such a taint was…beyond salvation. Yours is very much on the right path.”
Remilia recoiled, betrayal and relief battling for supremacy. “I was scared over nothing?” she asked.
“Far from it,” Magnus said gravely. “Your soul was in very real danger. But…do you feel different?”
“No,” she said. “I feel the same.”
“I see.” Magnus stood. He dropped the vox into a charger, looking down at Remilia as she rolled off the table. “Give it a few days. Go see Morticia. You’ll feel like a new woman.”
“Okay…who were you calling?” she asked in sudden suspicion.
“Your father. You and he are going to have a very important conversation when you get home.”
“What did you tell him?” Remilia asked.
“That strength comes from action as much as will,” Magnus said darkly. Remilia shook her head, uncomprehending. “Fear not, you will see. Go, my child. And please…be well.”
“Thank you, Uncle Magnus,” Remilia said.
Arthur Hane wheeled a metal cart through the hall of the courtroom, parking it behind his desk at the front of the room. His counterpart, Keiter’s lawyer, Felger, was pushing a similar cart over behind his own desk. They exchanged a quick nod, before the door swung open, and admitted a third party. Fourth Provost Marshal Rachnus marched up the center aisle, stopping before the bench, staring impassively up at its occupant.
Third Provost Marshal Mako stood, gesturing all to rise. Both lawyers and the lesser Judge stood respectfully. “Gentlemen. I understand I’ve been called upon to mediate a dispute in the case of the Imperium V Ulysses Keiter,” Mako said. The bailiff gestured for the three men to sit. The lawyers did, but Ranchus stood, hands at his side. Mako lifted the dataslate in front of her, reading down the motion. “Counselor Felger, why have you seen fit to ask for the dismissal of Fourth Provost Marshal Rachnus in this case?”
“Comments that His Honor registered while I filed my motion to dismiss the case lead me to think that he had allowed himself a bias against my client,” Felger said. He stood and carried a sheaf of paper to the bench, passing it up to the Judge. Mako did not remove her helmet except in bench cases, but here she did, and she examined the paper Felger had given her with her own eyes.
“Counselor, your claim seems to hinge on Judge Rachnus having a desire to convict your client before the evidence had been presented,” Mako said.
“That is correct,” Felger said.
“Counselor, nearly everyone on the planet has heard of this case. If you’re trying to find a way to prove that Judge Rachnus went into the meeting with too much knowledge of the case, you are out of luck.” Mako lowered the papers, gauging Felger from her high vantage.
“Not too much knowledge, your Honor. A desire for a certain outcome. I direct your attention to line forty two,” Felger said. Mako looked down the sheet to the page in question.
“‘Counselor Felger, your client was attempting a change of the status quo of the Imperium through killing someone,’” Mako recited.
“That sounds to me like he was assuming an outcome to the charge before the trial began, your Honor,” Felger said. Hane’s jaw tightened. Rachnus stared at his superior, expressionless.
Mako read the entire transcript, beginning to end, then folded it on the table, sat back with her fingers steepled, and thought carefully. “It seems that Counselor Felger may have a point, Judge Rachnus. Have you anything to say in rebuttal?”
Rachnus steeled himself. “I do not, Judge Mako. And I respectfully tender my withdrawal from this case. I can not allow even the appearance of bias to color such a vital proceeding.”
Hane stared. Mako nodded slowly. “I accept your request, Judge Rachnus. As the position of Fourth Provost Marshal is an exclusive one, I shall be handling the case myself.”
“Very well, thank you, Judge,” Felger said, nodding his assent. Hane risked a glance at Rachnus again. Rachnus looked more resigned than angry; Hane interpreted that as a good sign.
That little segment, of course, is a prelude to the final arc of the story, Useless' trial. That will be in the next thread, and will conclude the story.

In the meantime, here's forty more pages of this stuff!
Freya tried not to break the vox in her hands. “What does that mean?” she asked, keeping her voice level.
“It means nothing. Truly. Mako is one of the most level-headed, rational Judges in the Arbites,” her father answered. “Trust me, she will side with Hane.”
“I sure hope so,” Freya said quietly.
Leman went quiet. “Don’t worry. Keiter can’t win this. How is your project going?” he asked, diverting to what he hoped was safer grounds.
“Awful,” Freya moped. “The presentation is fine, but the paper is crap.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“I just reread it, and I don’t quite meet the citation standards,” she complained. “I had to go rewrite a bunch of it.”
“That sucks,” Leman said, glancing out the viewport to his left. He was standing on the launch platform for Lightning fighters on the Lunar platform on which his meeting was being held. “Do they let people watch?”
“No, just the moderator,” Freya glumly reported. She blew a strand of red out of her eyes. “Otherwise I would totally let you come intimidate them.”
“That’s I’m for,” Leman said sarcastically. “I’ll hear all about it when I get home, OK?”
“Sure thing, Dad,” she said wistfully. “See you tomorrow.” She clicked the vox off, dropping it in the cradle. Alex tapped his stylus on the papers in front of them, lost in the work.
“What did he say?”
“He said not to worry about it,” Freya said, dropping back into her seat. “Any luck?”
“The principles of higher calculus continue to elude me,” Alex reported.
Freya huffed. “All right. Is it answers in the back time?”
“It may very well be,” Alex said heavily, turning to the back and pouring over it.
Remilia stood patiently at the door of her father’s study, waiting for him. Dorn stared at the news ticker at the bottom of his monitor rack to catch up, grimacing in displeasure. “They went with a different Judge. What the hell is Keiter up to?” he snarled under his breath. He spotted his daughter at the corner of the room and switched the monitors off, beckoning her in. “Remilia, welcome home.”
“Father,” she said formally. Dorn sagged in his throne, suddenly seeming much older.
“I had a chat with your uncle Magnus, you know.”
“I was there,” Remilia pointed out.
Dorn closed his eyes, fighting down his anger. “Yes. So I’ve been told. Remilia…why didn’t you just…” he clenched his fists under the table. “Why didn’t you just ask me?”
“Ask you what, Dad?” Remilia shot back. “Ask you why you slapped the shit out of me?”
“No! Why did you need Magnus to pick over your brain when all it would have taken was a question to me?” Dorn riposted. “I would have told you!”
“Then why DIDN’T YOU?!” she roared, civility completely gone. “What could POSSESS YOU to think that was a good idea?”
“Do not speak to me of possession, my daughter, not for one second,” Dorn said darkly.
“Stop dancing!” she barked. “I went to Magnus because I was powerless, because I couldn’t stop turning my life into a competition, and then, HEY! Surprise, surprise! YOU DID IT TOO! And then, Magnus tells me you changed your tune when I was born. Did you get a revelation you’d like to share?”
Remilia’s cheeks were beet red, tears pooling in both eyes. “What did you learn, Dad? What secrets did you stumble upon that made it all worthwhile? Tell me, damn it, I want to know!” she said, loathing and regret cracking her voice. Dorn clenched the edge of the table. Very hard.
“Remilia,” he ground out, “I realized that it took more than tolerance for pain to grow stronger.” He tore his eyes off the desk to stare into his daughter’s red-rimmed gaze. “I wanted you to arrive at the same conclusion.”
“Why…” she asked bitterly, tears pouring down her face now, her voice barely more than a whisper. “Why didn’t you just tell me?”
“Because some lessons can’t be passed along,” Dorn rumbled. “Some have to be learned.”
“Is that why you hit me?” Remilia choked out.
Dorn closed his eyes again, pinching the bridge of his nose. “It may be meaningless to say so. But I have regretted that since it happened.”
“Odd way to show it,” Remilia snarled, a little fire creeping back into her voice.
Dorn’s eyes snapped open, and he shot the glare straight back. “I have never once handed you the knife, Remilia. I’ve never once carved a line through your flesh. You did that. Not me, not some memory of me, not some instruction or…or failure. You. It was a conscious choice, every time. The same as when I did it to myself.”
“Small words, Dad, small words,” Remilia said, though she couldn’t deny them either. “When did you offer to help?”
“Some lessons are meant to be learned on their own!” Dorn repeated.
“SOME!” she suddenly screamed. “Not ALL!” She grabbed the hem of her long sleeved shirt and ripped it off over her head, exposing the tracery of scar on her arms. “When did you plan on giving me ADVICE? Or a little guidance? Or even asking me why I did it?!”
“When did you realize you couldn’t justify it?” Dorn asked coldly.
“When did you realize you weren’t interested in stopping it?” Remilia asked, lava and ice mingling in her voice in equal measure.
Dorn shot to his feet. “Would I have told you to stop if I didn’t want you to?”
“God knows you weren’t trying very hard,” Remilia hissed. “Something made you stop hurting yourself after three and a half millennia. What was it, and why couldn’t you share it with me?”
“I already told you. I realized that I was gaining nothing,” Dorn said, staring his daughter down.
“Would it have killed you to tell me? Clearly you didn’t figure it out in time, don’t know why you expected me to. And we both know that you’re not happy unless I’m not quite measuring up to you,” Remilia said, glaring at him.
Dorn recoiled. “I have NEVER said that! Ever!” Remilia started her rejoinder, but Dorn cut her off. “No, damn it, we have this out now! I have NEVER, even ONCE, said that you had to match up to me for me to be happy, or even the reverse! NEVER!”
“There’s a lot you don’t say, Dad, and sometimes I don’t catch it,” Remilia said, loathing, for herself and her father, dripping from her voice.
“But sometimes I get enough. I can’t lead an Army or design the Palace or break an Ork in half, but I can read between the lines well enough,” she said, neatly ignoring her own argument for how her father should have told her to stop and explained why outright. “When have you ever actually helped me accomplish anything? When have I struck an obstacle, and had you there to help me over it?”
“I am proud of you every single time you accomplish a goal alone,” Dorn said.
“But I shouldn’t have to do it alone,” Remilia said angrily. She drew herself up to her full height, and slapped a hand across her heart, clenching her hand in the sports bra’s strap. “If you see me struggle with something, no matter what it is, and you’ve overcome it yourself, you have NO REASON not to help me! Not do it for me,” she said angrily, cutting her father off. “But help me! Is that so much to ask, damn it?”
Dorn stared at her, his own anger boiling under the surface. “I am…not a good father, Remilia. I didn’t need Magnus to tell me that. But I have looked to make you stronger the same way I made myself and my Legion stronger. I showed you what it was to overcome an obstacle. I showed you how to find power in a challenge.”
“No. No, Dad. You’re not a bad father because you showed me all that shit. You’re a bad father because you left me to figure it out by myself, and never told me when I got the answer wrong,” Remilia said, her exhaustion and anger burning a hole in her emotions, until all that was left in her voice was emptiness. “I’m not one of your solders, Dad. I’m not a Space Marine. I’m a sixteen-year-old girl. I have one cousin on the edge of a drug addiction, one in the hospital for a gunshot wound, and one whose mind is falling apart. And when you see me hurting, and see me wanting the pain to stop, your approach is to berate me. I don’t care how much pride you find in me getting shit done. That one reaction is all I need to know about what you think fathering is about.” Remilia’s eyes were flattened, her voice dead and cold. She shrugged her shirt back on in silence. “…I think I need to go see somebody. I don’t know who. I have my vox. Call me some time, tomorrow maybe. I need to get shit figured out.”
She turned on her heel and walked out, her knees weak. She wandered down the halls of the manor, scooping random detritus from her room into a bag and throwing it over her shoulder. She dropped her copy of the graduation paper in the bag, too. It was her day tomorrow, after all. Couldn’t forget it. Tears stung her eyes, and she blinked, trying to push them back.
She grabbed her vox, switched it on. With a final once-over of her room, she grabbed her dataslate and slung it on its strap. She walked down to the drive, bags and sling in hands. She knew her father would be watching from his study, but she didn’t turn around. Let him stew. Let him rot, in fact. She didn’t care. Not yet. She walked up to the family limousine, opening the rear door. The driver, an elderly Legion serf, huffed up to it as she got in. “I do apologize, Madam Dorn, I didn’t see you come out. Would you like me to take you somewhere?”
“Please. Sorry I crept up on you, this is unscheduled.”
“Indeed not, Madam, it is no trouble at all. Where shall I take…oh dear,” he said, noting the state of her. “Madam, are you all right?”
“By no means,” Remilia said hollowly.
“Is there anything I can do?” the chauffer asked worriedly.
“Nope. But you would if you could. I’ve learned how much that means.” She turned her tear-streaked face up to him and managed a tiny, completely empty smile. “But yes. Right now I need to be somewhere else.”
“…Your father will ask me where I’ve taken you,” he said, sitting down behind the controls.
“Tell him. It’s not a secret,” she said as the vehicle started up and hovered of the ground.
“Back to Lord Magnus’ manor, Madam?” the man asked.
“No, no, no, no,” Remilia said hastily. “Sorry, somewhere else. Uh,” she said, quickly thinking it over. “…Lord Russ’ place. Please.”
“Straight away, Madam,” the driver said, entering the course.
Man, I sure expected that to end differently. But the characters wanted it to end a different way than how I had planned, so it did. How about that?

Lunch break. Any comments or critiques? The Editor, you out there somewhere?
I'm not the most discerning of readers, but I enjoyed that a lot.

I'm not quite sure I really get Dorn, ATM. I assume that'll pass in time.

And I would have liked to see the conversation between Dorn and Ahriman, that absence felt like a bit of a bump.
Magnus and Remilia discuss it later.
Could someone update the 1d4chan page for Bleeding Out and Ahriman's Aide's side story?
Freya sat at the table, tears gathering in her eyes as her cousin relayed the entire story. The soul-healing, the argument, the cutting and when it had started, all of it. “Oh my…oh my god, Remilia, come here,” she said, the tears breaking free. She stood up and stepped to her cousins’ side, crouching beside her chair and wrapping her in a crushing bear hug.
“T-thanks, Freya,” Remilia managed. Her own tears stained Freya’s skin-tight denim top, but she hurriedly broke the hug. “I need to tell someone.”
“Hell yes you do,” Freya said, wiping her own tears away. “God, Remilia, the pain you’re in.”
“Right now it doesn’t hurt,” Remilia said brokenly. “Right now I’m just tired.”
“Yeah, I bet.” Freya wiped her eyes again, sitting down. Alex was waiting awkwardly in Freya’s room, still, where he had been since his woman’s cousin had shown up at the door in tears. Freya thought hurriedly, wondering if the schedule for the night was still set in stone. “Um, listen, I didn’t want to interrupt, but I know a few of the others are already going to come over tonight. Is that OK? You can sleep in the guest wing, you don’t have to talk to them.”
“It’s your house, Freya,” Remilia said. “I just…I can’t be home right now.”
“You can stay as long as you want,” Freya promised. The doorbell rang, and she hurriedly looked at her blond cousin. Remilia sniffled, then looked up at Freya and nodded.
“OK, I’ll be in the guest wing if you need me,” she said, grabbing her bags and walking off.
About one hour later, she was sitting in the chair in the guest suite she had picked, watching the fields outside sway in the moonlight. Her eyes weren’t as sharp as Freya’s, of course, or even as sharp as Isis’ or Cora’s, but they were still a genetic marvel. She watched the tiny movements of grass as animals ran by at the base of the stalk, and envied them. Their lives were simpler.
A quiet knock on the door brought her out of her reverie. She checked to make sure she was still dressed, and cracked it open. A Space Wolf serf stood there with a tray of something that smelled really good. “My Lady Dorn. Compliments of Lady Russ,” the serf said, placing it on the table by the door. Remilia nodded.
“Thank Gairwyn for me, then, would you?” she asked, lifting the lid on the little pot.
“Lady Gairwyn is on Luna, Lady Dorn. I meant it was Lady Freya,” the serf corrected. “And I shall pass it along.” He bowed out, closing the door behind him.
Remilia sniffed the fragrant liquid in the tiny silver pot. “Oooh. Onion broth. Good call, Freya.” She put the lid back on, smiling despite herself.
“I’m never calling you ‘furball’ again,” she promised. She sat down by the table and dug in, mopping the soup up with some crackers. Just as she finished, another knock came from the door.
Remilia quickly wiped down her mouth with a napkin. “Come in,” she said.
The door swung open. This time, though, her visitor was no servant. “Remilia,” Venus started, her eyes dim and drawn, “talk to me.”
“Venus,” Remilia said, surprised. “Didn’t know you were coming over tonight.”
“Sure. I had to. Finals and presentations all this week, remember? Freya wouldn’t let that happen without observing the ritual,” Venus pointed out, sitting down at the table.
Remilia blinked. “Ritual? What ritual?”
“Oh, yeah, you’re not in on it yet…” Venus said, suddenly bashful. “Well, I imagine she’d let you in on it if you asked nice.”
“What is this ritual?” Remilia asked, completely confused.
“Well, whenever we have a big test coming up, a bunch of us get together here before it happens and we all swap boyfriends. It’s so incredibly helpful. Haven’t you seen how much Freya’s grades have gone up since she met Alex?”
Remilia stared at her cousin in absolute shock, until a hint of suspicion crossed her face. “Wait. Wait, are you fucking with me? You’re fucking with me, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” Venus said, nodding slowly. “Yes, I am fucking with you.”
“Oh, fucking hell,” Remilia scoffed.
“I had you. Hook, line, and sinker. You believed every single word,” Venus said, smiling. “That’s a problem, too, you usually see through my terrible lies.”
“I’m in a bit of a rut right now,” Remilia admitted.
“Yeah, Freya didn’t tell me anything, but she’s also really bad at hiding things. I could tell you were here,” Venus said sadly. She reached over and squeezed her cousin’s hands, catching them between her own. She trained her eyes on Remilia’s, and they were a far dimmer red tonight. “But I’m a hopeless softie. I need to try to make you feel better. So come on out of here and be with us for a while, OK?”
“Ah, I would, but I need to work on the paper too,” Remilia said, scrambling for an excuse.
“No, you finished yesterday,” Venus pointed out. “And you did the speech too. All rehearsed.”
“How did you know?” Remilia asked in surprise.
“I know you, Remilia. That’s why you need to be with us, tonight.” Venus stood, pulling Remilia’s hands with hers. The blond soccer player, however, stayed in her seat, her eyes betraying her torment. Venus looked at her for a few moments longer, before letting her cousin’s hands fall through her own. “…All right. I understand.” She turned to leave, walking back through the open door, closing it behind her.
Remilia sat at the table, staring at the empty dishes in silence, fuming, until she leaped from her seat and jogged after her cousin. “Wait, wait,” she called after her. “You’re right.”
“Yep,” Venus said contentedly. She waited in the hall for her cousin to catch up, offering an encouraging little smile to her cousin. “Ready?”
“Yeah,” Remilia breathed. “Lead the way.”
Are you required to read Ahriman's Aide's stuff to get a hang of Someone Else's writing from this thread onwards?
At this point, I decided to show a bit more of the interactions between my favorite group of characters. I also decided that maybe it's OK for Faith to be dating, even though I said she wasn't.
Nope. I started my story weeks before he started writing his spinoff.
“So, I look at the guy on the stage asking the questions, and I realize he’s quoting the interview section of the book I read to source my argument,” Jake explained. Alex tilted his head back and laughed raucously.
“Fuckin’ serious, man? He was quoting it?”
“Yep. It was a test. He wanted to see if I had actually read it or not,” Jake said. “So I started giving the specific answers from the book back to him. He nodded, so I assume I passed.”
Alex tilted his glass to him. “Nice.” He turned to see Remilia emerge from the side corridor with Venus. “Hey, there she is. You feeling better?”
“A little, yeah. Thanks for the snack, Freya,” Remilia said. She turned to Jake, forcing a smile on her face. “What was your topic?”
“‘Support Structures for the Mentally Disabled in Private Schools,’” Jake said. “Aside from the one bit where the interviewer started quoting my sources to see how closely I had been reading them, it was rough. I couldn’t really do a visual, so I just made these little paper handouts in envelopes. Seemed to work.”
“Good. I bet you did great,” Remilia said. She took a discreet headcount as she listened. Jake, Venus, Alex, Freya, herself, Faith, and Pietro. Good. No psykers. She may have been doing a poor job of hiding her feelings, but at least there were no mind-readers in the crowd. “Anyone else go yet?”
“Me,” Pietro said. “‘The Core Systems and Their Means of Economic Stabilization of the Expansion Zones.’”
“Me too,” Faith said. “‘The Balance of Mechanicus Doctrine with Post-Educational Requirements.’”
Freya nodded glumly. “I think I need to put a bit more work into mine. Plus that Math test Thursday. Blargh.”
“Yeah, that’s a mean one,” Pietro said ruefully.
“I can help you study for it if you need me to,” Jake offered. “Math is my best subject, after Chemistry.”
“No, thanks. I think I can handle it,” Pietro said, downing his tea.
The little group sat there, discussing the few parts of their lives that could be called ‘normal,’ until Remilia felt her bone-weariness set in. “Sorry to break it up, guys, but I’m really tired. I think I’m going to turn in.”
“Okay,” Freya said sadly. “Feel better tomorrow?”
“I hope so,” Remilia said. She stood, turning to the hall, but lingered a moment, catching Jake’s eye. He stood, curious, and followed her down the hallway to the guest suite. The luxurious room didn’t look a thing like the décor in the rest of the house, with its rough simplicity. Everything here was more ornate, designed to look old-fashioned. Remilia pushed the door open, then nearly collapsed into the chair next to the door. Jake paused at the threshold, somewhat nervous.
“Did you want something?” he asked.
“Please sit down,” Remilia said quietly. “I want to ask you something.”
Jake did so. The serf had been back to clear away the detritus of her snack, Remilia noted distantly. “Jake, I’ve never seen Venus happier. I hate to burden you like this, but can you help me figure some shit out?”
“If I can help, I will,” Jake promised.
“Okay. Can you keep a secret?”
“Sure I can,” Jake said, a bit nervously. “What is it?”
“Jake, I’m really, really scared. I have the best sisters I could ever want, but I can’t…” she struggled to find words. “I can’t…I’m afraid of my father. I’m afraid of him now. It only started a few hours ago, but it’s there.”
“Remilia, I’ve never even met Lord Dorn,” Jake pointed out, feeling like the ground was falling out from under him.
“I know, Jake, but I…” Remilia clamped her mouth shut, thinking furiously. “I’m sorry. I can’t ask this without sounding like a horrible person. But…how do hivers deal with this kind of shit? Family trouble? You have so few places to go.”
Jake nodded slowly, thinking her words over. “…I don’t know where to start, Remilia. My family, we’ve always lived in the hives. Even my Grandfather, who was one of the greatest Magi of his temple, always lived in the hives when he could. We’re spread out all over the hab, it’s true, but we always have each other.”
“Of course,” Remilia said in a small, contrite voice. “I’m sorry. Like I said, horrible.”
“Remilia, don’t beat yourself up. I didn’t know how surfacers lived before I went to Imperator. I don’t expect you to know how hivers live.”
Jake leaned forward, trying to sound more helpful than patronizing. “I thought you people lived in apartments made of gold. Well, no, not exactly, but the thought was the same. And in the time since I come up here, I’ve wanted to strangle a few of our classmates for wasting as much as they do. I don’t know if that sense of waste and entitlement extends to the actual nobility themselves, in their lives and families, but the others at school sure have it. Now, I’ve never met your father. From what I’ve heard, he’s a scary son of a bitch and a powerful leader of men. But…from the sound of it, the two of you…had it out today.”
“You could say that,” Remilia muttered. “What does wasteful living have to do with anything?”
“Because, Remilia, I don’t know if the troubles you’re having stem from the natural filter of disposability through which the people up here see everything, or if you’re having a problem I can address,” Jake said bluntly. Remilia jerked her head up, stung.
“I don’t think of things as disposable.”
“This table is worth more than four months pay in my weekend job,” Jake pointed out. “That necklace Venus made, the one she’s wearing tonight? I could buy the apartment my neighbors live in for a month with it.”
“Having something and wasting it are two different things,” Remilia argued. “And we’re getting off-topic.”
“Yeah, all right.” Jake sat back, working through his own nervousness. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to go on a tangent. But I know some guys at school who got into pretty dumb fights with their parents over shit a hiver would shrug off.”
“This is a little more serious, I bet,” Remilia said.
“Remilia, I gotta say, I don’t know how much of a help I can be if your father frightens you. From what I know of you, from what we’ve said to each other since we met, I think you’re a pretty strong girl. I don’t know you said to him, and what he said to you, to make you so scared. So what is it?” Jake asked reasonably.
“I…he told me that he was a bad father, and I agreed,” Remilia said, letting it tumble out. “I…hurt myself, and he did it when he was younger too, and rather than help me stop, he just yelled at me and didn’t say anything that would help.”
“…Okay,” Jake said. “Wow.”
“Yeah…it wasn’t fair of me to ask you to help me, was it,” Remilia said miserably. She stood up from the chair, tottered over to the bed, and collapsed, facedown in the cover. “Sorry. You can go.”
Jake stared at her for a moment, before standing and closing the door. He sat down next to her on the bed, his mind racing. “Remilia…all I can tell you is what I would do if I were having a problem with my own father. And we’ve had a few fights, believe me.”
Her voice was muffled by the covers. “Yeah?” she asked. “Like what?”
“Well, when he found out I was dating Venus, he asked me to stop. He thought I would embarrass her family,” Jake said truthfully. Remilia popped her head up to look at him.
“Really? What did you say?”
“‘If you say so, Dad,’” Jake recalled. “Then I went ahead and dated her anyway.”
“Wow. Was he pissed off?”
“Livid,” Jake said. “I didn’t care. Then I brought Venus home one day, and she got to meet him. And of course they hit it off just fine. I think Dad made the same mistake that a lot of hivers make. They think of you and your family like demigods or something.”
“Yeah. One of them took it so far that he shot someone who wasn’t in perfect accord with Grandpa, or tried,” Remilia said darkly.
“I really, sincerely hope you’re not comparing George Seager to Ulysses Keiter,” Jake said.
“Fuck, fuck, no, of course not,” Remilia said hastily. “I didn’t…argh, damn it!” she said, slamming a fist into the bedspread. Jake sighed.
“The next big one was when the Treasury got involved with us,” Jake continued. “The Emperor had put us on the VIP list, since he had misinterpreted my name being on the Special Guests list for the Museum Wing opening party at the Palace. When I came home, Dad was standing there in the main room, just waiting to grill me. Know what I did?”
“I called Venus on my vox, but pretended that Vulkan had picked up. ‘Yes, Lord Vulkan, I can ask. By the way, I didn’t make too much noise with your daughter last night, did I?’” he pantomimed.
Remilia actually giggled. “You didn’t.”
“I did. ‘Did I exacerbate her back too much? I certainly wasn’t trying to.’ Come to think of it, I still don’t know if Dad’s figured out that it was Venus at the other end.”
“Hahah, that’s great.” Remilia crossed her arms under her chest and smiled up at Jake. “So…aside from trolling and ignoring him, how do you deal with problems?”
“I talk it out. I try to remember that he’s been through some shit in his time too,” Jake said. “I don’t know if he’d want me to tell you this, but when he was seventeen, he was arrested for possession.”
“Yeah. He got off, but it was close. Arbites wanted to make an example out of him. So I remember that he’s got reasons to telling me to do or not to do shit.”
“Yeah. I guess I just want Dad to tell me when he has some reason for the bullshit he pulls,” Remilia said angrily.
“Well…assume that he has one. He’s not stupid. But ask when he doesn’t tell you outright. That’s about what I can provide.”
“All right.” Remilia went quiet, staring at her arms. “Um…I did have one more question. Two, actually.”
“Please don’t answer this if it makes you uncomfortable, all right?” she asked, looking sidelong up at him. When he nodded, she continued. “Do you and Venus ever fight?”
Jake hesitated. “Never about anything meaningful. I mean…once or twice, yeah, but not something we’d break up over.”
“Like what?” Remilia asked. “Sorry to be nosy.”
“See, that gets me! Dad wants me to stop, so I do, but he wants me to stop for the worst possible reason! He cares more about me figuring out why I should stop than the fact that that it was happening in the first place!” Remilia exploded.
“I can’t speak to that,” Jake cautioned, “but if he really didn’t care about you, would he want you to stop at all? Since he thinks it made him stronger?”
“…I don’t know. Maybe. He was the reason I was cutting in the first place,” Remilia said bitterly.
“Really? How do you figure?”
“…Fuck, I don’t know. I’m too tired for this shit,” Remilia grumbled. “I don’t think he likes seeing me angry. I want to think he just…can’t understand why I’m so disappointed in him.”
Jake nodded sadly. “Do you know why?”
“Because he never once helps me figure things out. I’m always on my own.”
“What about Lady Dorn?”
“Mom’s never around. She’s always off championing some charitable cause or other. Never here when I need her.” Remilia sighed heavily, her shoulders shifting under the weight of the world. “…I should apologize to Miranda and Magnus for dragging them into this.” She looked up to see Jake looking down at her, clearly pained. “I guess…I’m just angry at how little it means to him that I be a part of his life.” The pale hiver didn’t say a word, just looked down at the princess in silence. She held his gaze for a few seconds, before her gaze unfocused. “…Faith is completely full of shit. But she’s right sometimes. She once told me revelation doesn’t heal.”
Jake reached over and grabbed her closer hand, running his fingers along hers. “Do you want me to say here for a while longer, or should I go?” he asked. Remilia felt her pulse quicken a bit before shaking off her irrational impulse.
“I should sleep,” she said.
“All right,” Jake said, offering up one last smile. “See you after the presentation tomorrow.”
“Yep,” she said faintly. Jake stood up to go, reaching for the handle. Her voice caught him up short. “Jake?”
“Do you really think surfacers are wasteful?”
“Do you want me to be honest, or nice?” he asked hesitantly.
“Honest’s worked so far,” she pointed out.
“I think the cruelest thing the Emperor ever did was build a world where his chosen live in such splendor, and everyone else lives in such deprivation,” Jake said truthfully. “It took effort not to resent surfacers.”
“Mmm.” Remilia thought for a moment. “Is it wrong of me to want to do something nice for you for helping me get my shit together?”
“No, but I won’t accept anything too expensive. I’ll feel bad. I’m full of contradictions like that,” he joked.
“Okay.” Remilia smiled into the downy cover. “You have a nice shoulder. Can I lean on it again some time?”
Jake chuckled. “If you need one.”
“Good. Say goodnight to everyone for me, okay?” she asked.
“You bet.” He turned the lights off with a wave. “Sleep well.”
Going to take a short break to let people catch up. Any commentary?

I liked writing this scene with Jake and Remilia. One of the things I tried to do when I started this project was ensure that the story didn't get locked into the Daughters only talking to their specific consorts.
I do like the idea of more interaction between previously separate characters. It really makes it feel like a persistent setting instead of distinct tales.

leading with Jake is a good move i think as he is one of the more fleshed out characters besides the daughters
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Pick related. Very much related.
Thanks, guys.

Displaying the traits of the Daughters is probably easier than it would be if they weren't all the same age. Showing off the animal tendencies of the animal-themed Daughters (Venus, Freya, Angela, Cora) without seeming fetishy is hard even still. Nobody ever mentions it, so I guess it's going well enough.
Venus and the others were waiting for him when he got back. “Is she going to be all right?” Freya worried.
Jake smiled wearily. “She’ll be fine. She just needs about three days worth of sleep.”
“What she needs is a hot dicking and a father that doesn’t wish he had a son,” Freya growled.
“Hey,” Jake said, frowning at her. “She’s a mess. Just let her be. Can you get her to school tomorrow? She said she would want to visit Miranda’s to thank Lord Magnus for his help after the presentation.”
“I’ll do it,” Freya said.
“All right.” Jake grabbed his jacket. “Then, if you don’t mind, I think I need to head out.”
“Me too,” Pietro said, fishing his keys out of his pocket. “Thanks for having us over, Freya.”
“Hey, any time.” The perky redhead watched the others file out and say their goodbyes, until she was alone in the room. A serf popped his head in from a side dor.
“Freya, may I tidy up a bit?” he asked.
“Yeah, sure,” she said, standing up. “We’re done.”
“Very well,” the serf said, making for the pile of dishes in the middle of the sitting room. Freya stood up, brushing her knees free of crumbs.
Remilia was pulling the covers up when yet another knock came from the door. “Who’s there,” she asked blearily.
“Me,” Freya called back. “Can I come in?”
“Uh…okay,” Remilia said, yanking the covers up a bit higher.
Freya pushed the old-fashioned wood doors open and walked in, closing them behind her. “Hey. I’m glad you got to talk with Jake.”
“Yeah,” Remilia said wearily. “He’s good people.”
“He is.” Freya didn’t wave the lights up; her eyes could see through the darkness like there was a searchlight in each one. “Are you going to be OK?”
“Not for a few days, but eventually, I suspect so,” Remilia said, letting her head fall back to the pillows.
“…Do you want to know what my Dad would say if he were here?” Freya asked hesitantly.
“What?” Remilia sighed.
“‘Your cousin needs a vacation,’ I think,” Freya intoned.
“Hah! He’s not wrong.”
“After graduation, I think we should go on a tour. You, me, Venus, Alex, Jake. Just a few months. Go see the galaxy a little,” Freya said.
“…A road trip? Really?”
“Yeah. Fenris, Nocturne. Venus really wants to go home, see it. I do too.”
“I can’t say I’m fucked to see Inwit, but a vacation sounds grand,” Remilia said. “Maybe I can guilt Dad into loaning me the Phalanx.” Freya didn’t answer for a moment, and Remilia huffed. “It was a joke.”
“Oh. I was really unsure for a moment.” Freya padded silently over to where her sister lay, and gingerly leaned down next to her. “I mean it. Stay a while. Get your head together.”
“Thanks, Freya,” Remilia said. Freya nipped her ear. “Now go get some sleep yourself, OK? Presentations.”
“Right.” Freya straightened up. “Good night.”
Alex pulled his shorts down, admiring his physique in the mirror in the bathroom of Freya’s suite. Glancing over his reflection, he finished his bathroom processes and thought over what Freya had said. A road trip? Really? To Fenris and to Nocturne? As much as it sounded awesome, he had his doubts. He knew Leman Russ was slowly growing to like him, even if he was still openly uncomfortable around him. But would the other Wolves tolerate some non-genemodded human in their midst?
The door to the bedroom swung open. He hurriedly cracked the door open, catching a glimpse of Freya’s red hair in the bedroom. “Hey. She OK?”
“She’s fine. She loved the idea of a trip,” Freya answered, replacing him in the bathroom.
“Yeah? I’m a bit nervous, myself,” Alex admitted. The door to the bathroom closed behind his girlfriend, cutting off his words. He slid into the bed, waving the lights down to total blackness. After a few minutes passed, he tensed up, waiting. He strained his ears, listening for any sign of her return. The door to the bathroom opened up, and he caught a hint of her outline in the darkness as she turned the lights off. He stretched his hearing out to its limits, trying to find her.
“Give up,” she whispered from his side of the bed. “You won’t catch me until I let you.”
“Unless I get lucky,” he whispered back.
“You will only catch me if you’re about to get lucky,” she corrected him, crawling across him and snuggling under the covers.
“Well put.” Alex wrapped an arm under her shoulders, pulling her in. “To that end…”
“Sorry. I can’t enjoy myself with Remilia falling apart at the seams a few halls down,” Freya said apologetically. She kissed him on the forehead. “I’d feel bad for her.”
“Aw. The one night her father’s nose isn’t in the house and she doesn’t wanna fuck.” Alex leaned back against the headboard and snapped his fingers. The window creaked open, letting a little of the light and sound from the field outside filter into the room. “Did you hear me when I said I was a bit off-kilter about this whole trip thing?”
“Yeah. Dad’s old friends put the scare in you?” she asked.
“Baby, your friends are eight-foot tall killing machines with serrated canines and mongoose reflexes. They scare the shit out of me. How are they gonna react when I stroll into the Fang hand in hand with you?”
“Catcalls, challenges to drinking contests, pats on the back, and at least one semi-serious offer to induct you into the Wolves. Then Dad will hold a feast to welcome himself back to the Fang, and we’ll have a grand old time, while you draw the eyes and envy of every serf in the fortress,” Freya predicted happily.
“…You’ve thought about this, haven’t you,” Alex accused.
“Yep! You’ll like them, you really will,” Freya promised.
“Hmmph. If you say so,” Alex said.

>captcha: Sanguinious etinese
oh god
Outside, Jake lifted his car off the ground and started out. “Hey, you want to do something tonight?” he asked. “It’s only 2200.”
“Hmm…” Venus thought it over, then shook her head. “No thanks. Can we just head out? It’s been pretty rough.”
“That’s what I mean,” Jake said, keying in her address anyway. “Something to take the edge off.”
“Um…actually,” Venus said, “could we divert to your place instead?”
He shrugged. “Works for me,” Jake said, keying the pad. “But won’t the Treasury get on your ass over it?”
“Eh, not again,” she said, waving off his concerns. The car soared over to the airlock, queuing up behind the usual evening traffic. Jake looked out at the row of Seeker drones by the lock. The little machines weren’t remote-controlled, but they weren’t completely autonomous either, he knew. They had set instructions to scan passing vehicles and divert their autopilots if need be. What they did to manually-piloted craft, he didn’t know. But then, who flew the airlock manually?
“Can I ask what you and Remilia talked about?” Venus asked, breaking into his thoughts.
Jake grimaced, wondering how private she was asking her to be. “She…really confided in me. I was surprised. She wanted a ‘hiver’s perspective.’”
Venus gaped. “Are you serious?” she asked. “That’s so rude.”
“Yeah, but…I can’t get mad at her. She wanted to know how hivers settle family disputes. I couldn’t really find a polite way to tell her that we’re a fairly complex group and can’t really be shoe-horned into one group like that, so I just let it slide.”
“Well, I’m sorry she put you on the spot like that,” Venus said.
“Don’t be. It’s not your fault. And I didn’t mind answering her other questions. She wanted to know if I ever argued with my father, or with you.”
“What did you tell her?” Venus asked. She wasn’t judging, she just wanted to know.
“Nothing too intimate. I think she just wants someone to talk to. Frankly, I think she needs a guy,” Jake said, as the car slid through the lock.
Venus made a non-committal sound, thinking about what he had said. “Do you like Freya’s road trip idea?”
“I think it’s awesome. I can’t wait,” Jake said, grinning from ear to ear. “I’ve always wanted to go into space.”
“I’ve been to Mars a few times, but I’ve never left the Solar Core,” Venus said, using the technical term for all bodies within the Jovian orbit. “Went to the experimental EASTF plant on Mercury with Dad when I was four. So boring. Had to stay inside the radiation shields the whole time.”
“Probably wise,” Jake noted. The car swooped over the token Praetor vehicle under the lock, flying for the apartment. “I’m really looking forward to this,” he continued. “You’ve told me a lot about Nocturne, but what is Fenris like? Freya never talks about it.”
“It’s a glacier world. Mostly. Some jungle at the equator, I think,” Venus said. “The Wolves rule over it as tribal gods. The hardiest tribal warriors’ children join the Wolves as inductees and go through training like the rest of the Legions. Or did you mean the culture?”
“Well, if it’s a tribal world, there won’t be too much technology, will there?” Jake reasoned.
“We won’t be going outside, much, trust me,” Venus promised. “Predators on Fenris can grow the size of aircars. And those are the birds.”
“Awesome,” Jake said happily. “When do we leave?”
“Heh. It’ll be a while. I think my parents are going to want to hold a get-together after the ceremony. Graduation party, you know. And I will definitely need to find a ship to carry us,” she went on. “I want this to be somewhat low-key. Maybe a Salamander ship.”
“Hadn’t thought of that,” he admitted. “…Do you have your own ship?”
Venus shook her head. “No, even we aren’t allowed our own ships. We’d be diverting Navigators from the Merchant fleets for nothing.”
The car coasted to a halt in the lot outside his hab structure. As they climbed out, Jake discreetly palmed the little plastic box under his seat and slid it into his pocket before locking the car and following Venus out.
His parents were sitting in the eating nook, chatting over the remains of a late dinner, when they spotted their son and his girlfriend. “Hey, you two,” George called out, brushing his hands off and standing up, as he always did by instinct when he saw Venus. “How was it?”
“Horrible,” Venus said heavily.
“What was wrong?” Sandra asked in surprise.
Venus glanced at Jake for support before continuing. “Remilia’s having a lot of trouble at home.”
“Aw, that’s a shame,” Sandra said, standing too. “Is she going to be all right?”
“Eventually, I hope.” Venus glanced at Jake again, this time in mischief. “I think the road trip will help.”
“Read trip?” George asked.
“Yep. She, Freya, and I are going on vacation after graduation,” Venus announced.
“And I’m going with them,” Jake said proudly.
George blinked. “You are?”
“Yes. Me and Alex are going with,” Jake explained. “Three months or so, from graduation to just before school starts up again.”
“Well, that sounds like a lot of fun,” Sandra said. “Where are you going?”
Venus’s smile took on a sly grin. “I’m going home.”
“Nocturne?” George asked, stunned. “You’re going to Nocturne?”
“Yep!” she declared happily.
“I’ve wanted to try going into space since I was a kid,” Jake said excitedly. “We’re going to go do Nocturne and Fenris, for about a month each, with the rest of the time in travel.”
His father nodded. “Wow. Well, good on you, Jake, that sounds awesome,” George admitted. “How long before you head out?”
“Right after graduation party season,” Venus said cheerfully, “and I need to actually book us a ship. Nocturne and Fenris are both technically Death Worlds, so no passage on civilian ships, but I’m sure Dad or Horus can whip up a reason for us to go.”
“Will you be bringing Morticia with you? I’m sure she’d love to get out of the hospital for a while,” Sandra pointed out.
Venus’s eyes froze. Clearly she hadn’t thought of that. “…I bet she would, but A) her homeworld’s atmosphere is very, very toxic, and B) she may not be ready to go in three weeks.”
“Shame.” George smiled proudly. “Still, I’m sure it’ll be a grand time.”
“Have you ever been to space?” Venus asked the both of them.
“I’ve been to Mars eight or nine times,” George said.
Sandra shook her head. “Never.”
“Well, I’ve only been outside the Core once,” Venus said.
“Hmm. Should be fun. Send pictures?” Sandra asked teasingly.
“Mom, we don’t leave for three weeks,” Jake laughed.
The four of them sat back down at the table, discussing the logistics of the expedition, until George looked at his watch and realized the time. “Well, some of us have work tomorrow, so I think we need to turn in.”
“All right, then, see you both tomorrow,” Jake said, standing too.
“You’re heading somewhere?” Sandra asked.
Jake stared. “Uh, no. Just…saying good night.”
“Oh. All right, good night then. See you later, Venus,” Sandra said, making for the tiny bathroom.
Bathroom tasks accomplished, both elder Seagers retired, leaving Jake and Venus alone. Jake let the nervous grin he had been holding the entire time out, reaching across the table and grabbing her hand. He lifted it up to his lips, as much out of romance as to hide the goofy look. “Stay with me tonight?” he asked softly. Venus bit her own lip, casting a stare at the closed door to the master bed.
“Can you? Won’t they hear?”
“Not if we’re careful,” Jake counseled. He pulled the little plastic box free with his other hand and flipped it slowly across his fingers, grinning broadly behind her hand. Venus squirmed a bit in her own seat, a smile working its way across her face too.
“…Sure, I’d love to.”
“Superb,” Jake said eagerly, pocketing the box again. He stood up, squeezing her hand again, and switched the lights off in the main room, opening the door to his own. “Show me where to go,” he said quietly.
One of the two glowing red eyes – now the only light in the room save the clock over the oven – narrowed a bit as Venus cocked an eyebrow, but she dutifully stood and walked up to the threshold of the bedroom, then backed slowly up until her legs hit the edge of the bed. Jake walked up in front of her and slid his hands down her back to her waist, then lifted gently and pushed, easing her down onto the bedspread. She clenched his jacket with both hands, pulling him down after her.
Jake pushed the door closed with his foot, kicking off his shoes as he did so. He let his fingers slip back up to the small of her neck, running his thumbs across the line of her collarbone. She leaned upwards a little, her eyes narrowing yet further, but actually getting brighter as her blood started pumping a bit faster. “The key,” he whispered, “and the thing that every hiver learns more or less as a matter of course, is silence.” He tugged his own jacket off, dropping it into the darkness beside the bed. “So,” he continued, “let me know how you feel…quietly.” He unhooked his belt and slid his pants off to join the jacket on the floor.
“Good idea,” she said softly, her voice thickening a bit. She undid her own clothes, dropping them down to his. “Like that?”
“Quick learner,” he said, his voice barely louder than his breath itself. He reached down to where his clothes had fallen, extracted the little box, pulled a condom out, and quickly applied it, the act illuminated by Venus’ hungry stare.
Her eyes ran back up to his face, bathing it in hot red light, as he settled into his rhythm, and went out completely as she closed them. He moved against her again and they flew wide open, but a finger to her lips kept her silent. She wrapped both arms around his back, holding him close, and moved one hand up to the nape of his neck, gently guiding him in for a kiss.
“…Silence is golden, it turns out,” she said almost inaudibly, shaky but jubilant. Neither of them said a word for the rest of their quiet lovemaking, just enjoying the simple intimacy of the moment.
When it was over, Venus lay curled up next to him as he cleaned up, the lights on now. They were just bright enough to get the job done. He pulled the towel he had laid out beforehand, just in case, out from under them, dropping it with the rest of the laundry. Venus looked over at him as he tugged the covers loose. “Should I sleep above the covers?” she asked faintly. Jake shook his head in confusion. “I’m kinda hot.” Jake nodded, accepting the great truth she had imparted, and ran a fond hand up her flank. She giggled, slapping his hand away. “I mean my skin.” Jake shook his head, pulling the covers back from the mattress with a smile. Venus looked at him for a moment, then wiggled under the covers. He slipped up against her back, planting a kiss on her neck. She made herself comfortable on the thin padding, lying on her side to save room. Distantly, she wondered what people did with single beds when they found a partner. Jake wrapped his arm around her middle, splaying his hand over her waist long enough to deliver a playful squeeze, before rolling over to lie back-to-back to her. From the sound of his breath, he was asleep in minutes. Venus lay there, dreamily content, and wondering about the logistics of their trip, until sleep took her too.
Remilia stumbled out of bed the next morning, glad she had thought to set an alarm before falling asleep. Finding her clothes cleaned and neatly deposited by the bedside by a servitor in the night, she ignored them entirely for the favor of the set of much nicer formal uniform clothes in her bag. Finding them suitable, she laid them out on the bedspread before starting her bathroom protocols.
Freya was busily devouring a stack of bacon and eggs in the kitchen when her cousin emerged, already in her nicer uniform. “Morning, Remilia,” she mumbled through a mouthful of toast. “You ready for your thing?”
“Well, it’s an early one, so I’m a little nervous, but I’ll be okay,” she replied. “How about you?”
“I’m good. Wide awake. You always sleep this late? I was up at 0530 to go work out,” Freya said.
“No, I’m usually up much earlier, but I was really tired.” They didn’t need to discuss why, of course. “What’s your workout routine, anyway?” Remilia asked, examining the obscene amount of food in front of her cousin.
“Mmph,” Freya said expressively, then forced herself to swallow before continuing. “Start with a four mile run around the lot, then a one-seventy rep hauler’s circuit. Usually do some free weights too, but I skipped that today.”
“…Uh huh,” Remilia said, eyeing the stack of food. Suddenly such a caloric intake seemed much more reasonable. “Where can I get some of that?” Freya jerked a thumb over her shoulder to the cooking servitor, and Remilia walked over to place her own order.
By the time Freya’s driver had announced that it was time to depart, both girls were ready, and climbed in. Freya noted that Remilia wasn’t turning on her vox. Remilia shook her head silently, when Freya asked why, and her redheaded cousin decided not to press the issue.
“So, when’s your presentation?” Remilia asked.
“Thursday morning,” Freya said, “and it’s Wednesday now, so I think I’m going to just chill here and work until I can call this paper finished,” she grumbled.
“Okay.” The two of them clambered out of the car and walked in, Remilia nervously straightening her formal uniform. “How do I look?”
“You look fine, you’ll handle it perfectly,” Freya shushed, following her down the hall to the classroom they had chosen for the presentation. “Now go, knock ‘em dead.”
Remilia managed a little smile. “Thanks, Freya.” She was reaching out to grab the door when a thought struck her. “Wait, wasn’t Alex with you last night?”
“He had to go home early,” Freya said regretfully. “You just missed him. Practice for the semis.”
“Ah, okay.” Remilia drew in a deep breath, let it out. “Okay. Wish me luck.”
“Luck,” Freya said happily, closing the door behind her cousin.
Aaaaand I complete the circuit, more or less. Only two Daughters haven't had a chapter to themselves now.
Omegan picked up her envelope and sighed under her breath, trying to dispel last-minute nerves. She knew what grade she had received, down the point. Alpharia had already gone, there was nobody else in the room but the proctor. So why was she nervous?
Irritated, she brushed the nerves aside. She grabbed the envelope, pulling the paper inside out, and scanned the first few lines. A shiny, red A decorated the top of the page. Omegan relaxed. “Excellent.”
“You did very well, Omegan,” the proctor said. “The visuals on your paper were very clever.”
“Thank you, Miss Cortel,” Omegan said, sliding the paper back into the envelope and dropping it into the bag. “I admit to some nerves beforehand.”
“You wouldn’t be the only one,” the art teacher noted. “I was nervous when I did mine, too. And I picked a much broader topic than you.”
“What did you pick?” Omegan asked, as she picked up her things to go.
“I picked ‘The Negative Effects of Hive Cube Stratification on the Economic Future of Terra,’” the teacher said.
“Cheerful,” Omegan noted. “Well…I guess this is goodbye, isn’t it?” she asked, shifting awkwardly from foot to foot in the empty classroom.
“It is. Have a nice summer, Omegan,” the teacher said, waving slightly as her student moved to go.
“You too, ma’am,” Omegan said as she closed the door.
Alpharia and Victoria were waiting in the lobby, under the watchful eye of a pair of beehives. A few well-wishers and sycophants were dispersing as she arrived; clearly, they’d been there a while. Alpharia noted her sister’s approach with a smirk. “See? Nothing to worry about.”
“How do you know how it went?” Omegan asked.
“I have my sources,” Alpharia said happily.
“Yeah, and they’re loud and annoying,” Omegan grumbled. “How did you do, Vicky?”
“I scraped the visuals. But the speech went perfectly, and the paper was fine, so whatever,” Victoria said, shrugging. As per her usual tastes, she had somehow contrived for the buttons on her shirt themselves to be loose enough for the motion to set up some interesting echoes in her ample cleavage. “A-.”
“That’s still good,” Omegan said.
“Yeah, the paper was really just an end cap, I’m done with this place,” the platinum blonde said airily. “I’m looking out for the trip.”
“Trip? Where are you going?” Alpharia asked. Victoria turned wide eyes on her cousin.
“Wow! Really? I managed to get a piece of intelligence past the Twins? That’s a first,” she said.
Alpharia sighed patiently. “You going on summer vacation?”
“No, I’ve decided to take Mom up on her offer,” Victoria said, pushing the door to the outside. “I’m taking a year off. She wants me to start learning how to run the Foundation.”
“Huh. I thought you decided to go to college and get that degree of yours first,” Alpharia said.
“I did. Then…Morticia happened,” Victoria said, climbing into the stretch limo in the parking lot.
“Why did that change your mind?” Omegan asked.
“Well…maybe I’ve just had enough of school for a while. But I also want the chance to spend some more time on my own, you know? Learning how to run the Foundation,” Victoria hedged.
Omegan and Alpharia didn’t need to exchange a sly grin. They both knew the other had one. “That’s your choice to make. What does Uncle Fulgrim think?” Alpharia asked.
“He’s happy with it, too. But I think he would have been happy if I didn’t wait, either.” The aircar lifted off, soaring into the heart of the noble district.
“I’m not taking a year off. Straight to college with me,” Omegan said. “Already got accepted at Newbanks. Political Science.”
“Same for me,” Alpharia noted. “But I’m going to Kouthry, like Venus and Cora.”
“Really?” Victoria asked, looking back and forth between them. “Different schools for the first time?”
“Yeah. It’s about time,” Omegan sighed dramatically. Alpharia couldn’t help but grin. She’d have said the same thing.
“What program, Alpharia?”
“Education, for now.”
Victoria leaned back, idly passing her envelope between her hands. “Since when are you even remotely interested in teaching?”
“I’m a multi-faceted girl, Vicky,” Alpharia said mysteriously. “And I think I would do it really well. I was always good at finding out everything I need to know to talk to people for the first time.”
Morticia knelt, lifting the little metal cube off of the floor, and stood straight up, shifting her weight through her knees as instructed. Her therapist nodded. “Good! Any pain in the back?”
“No, it feels fine,” Morticia said, experimentally working her shoulders. “No pain, no shortness of breath…”
“Then, my dear, in record time…I think you’re ready,” the therapist said, smiling indulgently.
Morticia beamed. “Fantastic. No offense, but I’ve had enough of this hospital to last a lifetime.”
“So I would imagine, my Lady,” the therapist said. “And just in time for graduation,” she added.
“Yeah, I was really hoping that I would get out of it,” the gray-eyed teen said dolefully.
The therapist cocked her head. “You…wanted to miss graduation?”
“I HATE ceremonies,” Morticia grumbled, swapping out the thin surgical shirt for a thicker black and green number she’d had sent from home. Grabbing the pile of clothes, she scooted behind the privacy screen while the therapist politely averted her eyes.
“I’d think that going to your graduation after you were told you couldn’t would be something to look forward to,” she said, turning her attention to the paperwork.
Morticia snorted, pulling her own pants back on. “For you, maybe. I’m going to be gawked at by reporters and various other bottom-feeders for months, starting the second I set foot outside. I’ll pass.”
“I think it would make your family very happy to see you walk across a stage,” the therapist said. When Morticia didn’t answer, she backpedaled. “Though of course it’s your decision.”
Morticia sighed quietly as she finished dressing. “I guess you’re right. It’s only a few hours long of a ceremony. I just wish people didn’t attach such importance to it.”
And a little additional break while I surf the wild Gmails.

Anyone who's ever lived in a college dorm knows what I'm on about here :V
Remilia walked out of the classroom in which she had made her presentation, checked to make sure nobody was looking, then let out a sigh of relief. She had aced it. She had NAILED it. And now…she was done. Bar a few exams in the coming week, she was well and truly done at Imperator. She straightened up, a giddy squeal escaping her lips. Looking side to side, she didn’t spot any of her usual cohort of friends and relatives, so she took off for the library, hoping to catch Freya.
Freya herself was buried in a Calculus textbook when Remilia nearly tackled her. “Gurf, geddof,” she managed through her cousin’s headlock. She swatted the offending arms away, and stared up at her cousin. “Well?”
“I aced it!” Remilia squealed happily, throwing her arms around Freya again.
“Yeah? Good job!” Freya said, finally returning the hug. The student behind the counter looked over at her pointedly, tapped his lips. Freya took the hint and lowered her voice. “Do you want to head out now, or stay and get ready for the test?”
“Might as well stay,” Remilia said regretfully. She sat down next to Freya and dislodged her textbook from her bag with an effort, opening it up the Review section. “The presentation was tricky, but I think I got the point across.”
“Good. How many judges?”
“Only three,” Remilia said. “I thought there were supposed to be five.”
“That’s for the honors students only,” Freya said. “Roberta had five.”
“Oh.” The two girls sank into silence as they worked, passing notes back and forth as required, until Freya glanced at her watch.
“It’s 1600. Want to head home?”
“Yeah, I’ve had enough of this for one day,” Remilia said irritably. Checking to make sure the student at the desk wasn’t looking, she opened her vox and checked.
She looked over the tiny screen and sighed. “Two messages. One from Mom, one from…also Mom, but using her office vox.”
“Are you going to call her?” Freya asked, as they packed up their stuff.
Remilia thought for a moment, her eyes downcast. “I think I have to.”
Freya nodded in sympathy. “If you want to wait…”
Remilia’s grateful smile betrayed much weariness. “Thanks, but I need to get this over with.” Both girls trooped out of the building in silence, climbing into the car that had sat patiently in the lot for them. Once they were in, Remilia engaged the vehicle’s soundproofing, and started to dial the number for her mother’s office…and stopped. She fidgeted a bit, then hit the END button before the call could go out.
“I think I need to wait,” Remilia said. Freya looked at her, her heart aching.
“Take your time.” The car zipped over the noble district, depositing the pair at the Russ mansion. Remilia paused at the driveway, then looked down at the vox.
“Freya…can you take this in? I want to do this out here,” Remilia said, hefting her bag.
“Sure. I’ll be in making a snack if you want something,” Freya said, taking the bag, with one last worried look over her shoulder before she walked up the steps.
Remilia sat down on the stoop, flipping the vox on and hitting the CID key. After one ring, her mother snatched up her own vox. “Remilia! My god, sweetie! What happened?!” she gasped into the speaker.
“I lost my shit, what else,” Remilia growled. Suddenly the opportunity for a peaceful reconciliation was out of reach, it seemed. “I asked Dad why he never tried to help me get over my problem, if he had done it himself. He gave me some garbage about strength through adversity.”
“Well…he never wanted you to know about his own history. He didn’t want to scare you, I think. Remilia-” she said hesitantly, before Remilia’s curt reply cut her off.
“Bullshit, Mom. If he had overcome it himself, the very fucking LEAST he could have done was help me do the same. Like a FATHER. But nooooo, he just had to threaten me with hospitalization and lecture me about weakness,” Remilia snarled.
Remilia’s mother was quiet for a long moment. When she spoke again, her voice was tremulous. “Remilia, sweetheart, I’m sorry he said that. Can you come home? I want to talk to you.”
“We’re talking now,” Remilia pointed out. “And you’re not at home. I hear the fans in your office.”
“I mean…” the voice on the other end struggled for words. “I want to talk to you. How did your presentation go?”
“Aced it, I think,” Remilia said, allowing a brief change of subject. “Aside from the Calculus test Monday, I’m done.”
“That’s really good to hear, I know you worked hard on it. Are you…coming home for graduation?”
“Mom, I’m sitting on the stoop of Freya’s mansion, I can see our house from here,” Remilia pointed out.
“Remilia, you essentially told your father that you were leaving indefinitely. I am well within my rights to be worried sick,” her mother said, a little anger flaring in her voice.
Remilia grimaced. “Mom, damn it…I’m disappointed enough in this year as it is. Morticia gets fucking SHOT, I nearly come to blows with Dad…I’ve had enough of the house for a while. I’ll be home before the road trip, I’m sure.”
“…Road trip?” Lady Dorn’s voice took on the tones of someone waiting for the other shoe to drop. “What road trip?”
“I’ve had enough of Terra for a while,” Remilia said. “I’m going on a vacation with Venus and Freya, and their boyfriends.”
“Oh, well…that sounds fun. Where?”
“Fenris first, then Nocturne,” Remilia said, privately enjoying the little gasps of surprise her mother made at the names. “One month of each, then home before school starts.”
“That…Remilia, sweetie, those are Death Worlds,” her mother said, worry replacing anger again. “You won’t be safe!”
“Out on the plains, maybe, but we’ll be staying in the Fortresses,” Remilia said. “It’s decided. We’re leaving in…let’s see…nineteen days.”
“Well…all right. Is Morticia coming with you?” Lady Dorn asked.
“She can if she wants to, but I suspect that she won’t be up to it,” Remilia said. She sensed her aggravation fading and tried to redirect the conversation. “I’ll ask her anyway.”
Lady Dorn squeezed the vox in her hand, trying to find something, anything, that could help to explain what her daughter was trying to do. She couldn’t. “Remilia…you know you can talk to me about things, right?”
“When? Over our ever-so-cozy family dinners, which we hold so often? Perhaps when you’re there when I’m crying in pain the bathroom?” Remilia shot back. “I go weeks without seeing Dad, I go a week or two at a time without seeing you. When exactly can I talk to you about things?”
“Remilia, THAT is not FAIR,” her mother snapped. “You’re not the only person who ever needs my time.”
Remilia stared at her vox, overcome with disgust. “Right. And the ability to prioritize them is one you have in abundance. I’m going to go thank Magnus for helping me. I’ll call you some time.” She hung up before her mother could say anything else, or before she could apologize for herself.
A distant black speck appeared outside the holofield, slowly growing larger as Remilia turned the vox off, fighting the instinct to throw it into orbit. The speck suddenly resolved into a vehicle, flying in over the Treasury line to settle down in front of the house. Not wanting to inspire questions, Remilia pocketed the vox and walked up into the house, to get ready to fly to Mangus’.
After freshening up a bit and changing out of her school clothes – maybe for the last time, she realized – she walked back into the greatroom to see a pair of Custodes and a full squad of un-armored Space Wolves already assembled. They were deep in conversation with Freya about something, and didn’t pause to address her, so she simply waited out of sight in the kitchen. Freya, after a few minutes indistinct discussion with her guests, wandered in, looking a bit harried. “Ah, there you are,” she said, yanking the fridge open and pulling a jug of water out. “Sorry about that, the arrangements for the trip are stepping on people’s toes.”
“I wouldn’t want to trouble you,” Remilia said.
“Oh, hush,” Freya scolded, “it just means we’ll be going on a Salamanders ship instead of a Space Wolves one. You ready to go to Magnus’ house?”
“Yeah, I am,” Remilia said. She fidgeted for a moment. “…Freya, what do I ask?”
“What’s to ask? Just thank him for helping you get your shit straightened out,” Freya said, pausing to slug some water.
“But it didn’t help at all! Now my parents are reaching for my throat!” Remilia complained.
“But it’s better than the alternative,” Freya said. “And you said you would.”
“I guess I did, didn’t I,” Remilia grumbled. “Fine. Can I ride with you?”
“You can go alone, if you want,” Freya said. “I’m gonna go hit the gym.”
“Oh.” Remilia looked down to the floor, her courage faltering. “I should.” She took a deep breath, steeling her courage. “All right. Freya?”
Freya paused, halfway out the door herself. “Yeah?”
Remilia wrapped her arms around her cousin’s waist. “Thanks for everything.”
Freya grinned, squeezing Remilia’s hands against her flanks. “Don’t mention it. Don’t get too mad, OK?”
“I promise,” Remilia said sadly. She released her grip on Freya’s midsection and walked out the door, looking for the limousine. The driver must have been notified from inside the house that she was coming, because he was waiting in the lot beside the house, already idling.
Remilia climbed in and the car accelerated into the air, leaving Remilia to her troubled thoughts. What would she say to him? She gripped the armrest of the seat, her stomach rumbling in nerves. Her distraction lasted until the minute the car settled down.
Steeling herself, she nodded to the driver as he opened the door, and walked up to the imposing front door of the mansion. The slabs of metal, emblazoned with an ourobouros design, had no visible seam, thanks to their careful design and placement.
Before Remilia could knock on them, however, they swung open, betraying their deceptively low weight. Remilia took a step into the darkened antechamber, when a hang reached out and grabbed her, pulling her into the house.
>“Have you ever even told the girl how deeply you love her, you arrogant craven?”
I am Remilia...
Remilia stiffened, her hands gripping her assailant to throw them, but relaxed just in time. Her attacker had thick red hair and jasmine perfume, and was crying profusely.
“Remilia, I’m so sorry,” Miranda sobbed. She clamped her arms around Remilia’s shoulders and squeezed like a vice. “Please, please forgive me, we had no idea that would happen!”
“Miranda, it’s okay,” Remilia said, trying to soothe her cousin. “Really, I don’t blame you.”
Miranda pushed back from the blonde soccer player, her hands tightening on her shoulders even more. Her bandana was off; her eye was flaring with an unnerving light. “Yes, you do! Don’t hide it,” she said, her voice dropping to a miserable whisper. “I deserve it. I though Dad and I could help, but…but…we d-drove you out of your own house,” she wailed, burying her face in her hands. Her knees wobbled, and she tipped against the wall, absolute humiliation dripping from her soul. “I’m so sorry,” she managed, her breath shaking. She clamped her hands over her mouth, squeezing all three eyes shut, looking unsteady.
Remilia stared at her, guilt twisting her own stomach. Nerves, guilt, and exhaustion combined, until she felt a tear gather in her eye too. “Miranda, please don’t cry,” she said, letting her weariness show. She sat the weeping girl down in the chair in the alcove, trying to let her resentment, or whatever Miranda was seeing inside her, fade.
Sorry, dude.
Miranda’s back heaved in grief and self-recrimination, as her despair overwhelmed her. “It never fails. I try to use my insight to help people, and I ruin it.”
“Stop that talk NOW,” Remilia said, anger pushing her guilt aside. “I will NOT hear that again. If someone else’s insight could bring things to a head with Dad like that, then it was inevitable. Or worse, it would NEVER happen, and things would just get worse. So stop it. Okay?” She leaned over to stare into Miranda’s eyes, tricky enough when she had three, harder yet when she was avoiding eye contact. “Stop crying, all right? I promise I’m not angry at you.”
Miranda sniffed, her sobs quieting. “What are you going to tell Dad?”
“What I’d like to know more is how you even found out,” Remilia said, dodging the question. “It only happened last night.”
“I was studying for my final test on Monday, and I felt something like a dam giving way, from your house. Then I see a car heading for Freya’s house, and it wasn’t hard to figure out,” Miranda said tightly, dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief. “That, and Rogal wasn’t at work today until noon, and…and nearly beat the shit out of Dad when he got in.”
Remilia gasped. “WHAT? Dad tried to-”
“They didn’t fight, but only because there were two full platoons of Custodes in between them,” Miranda admitted, her hands twisting the kerchief. “Or Rogal would have done it.”
“If he was dumb enough to blame Uncle Magnus, fuck him,” Remilia said coldly. Miranda looked up at her in wonder.
“…You mean that. You really do.”
“Like I said,” Remilia said, her voice still frigid. “All your father did was head the problem off.”
“That does not excuse it,” Magnus’ resonant voice said from the hall. He walked up slowly from the stairs to his office, head hung in regret. “Remilia, whether you think you need them or not, please accept my heartfelt apologies, and my desire to pay recompense. You did not deserve that. I would not have done it if I thought it would have ended so poorly.” He turned his gaze to the side for a moment, as Miranda’s own eyes narrowed suspiciously. “No,” he amended, “I would have tried my best to heal the rifts in your soul, and hoped that you would have been able to reconcile with your father, but I would not have called him to let him know you were coming.”
“Why did you do that?” Remilia asked.
“Because I was hoping that a brief discussion of his shortcomings would make your own, inevitable confrontation more equitable. It has worked before, if you can believe that,” Magnus said. “I failed. Regardless, you are welcome to stay here until you feel comfortable at home once more.”
“Well, I do appreciate it, but Freya’s already put me up for as long as I need,” Remilia said tiredly. Miranda offered her a tiny smile as the small amount of blame towards her and her father vanished from Remilia’s heart. “But…I have to know.” Apprehension flared in her, striking a distinct tone in both psykers’ vision. “Am I…you know, healed?”
Magnus nodded. “The trauma you have suffered may have scarred your mind, dear child, but your soul was tempered, not broken. You have nothing to fear.”
“Well, that’s a relief,” Remilia allowed. She passed a fresh tissue to Miranda, before glancing at the door, where the limo was still visible, idling on the drive. “Hey, what are you doing after graduation?”
“In the short term, I want to go to work at the Scholastica Psykana office where Dad works,” Miranda said, a touch of pride filling her voice. Magnus nodded serenely.
“I mean after graduation, as in, what are you doing this summer?” Remilia asked.
“Oh. I’m going on vacation to Carshim, the resort world,” Miranda said. “Why do you ask?”
Remilia fidgeted a bit. “I guess I just want to make sure we can all keep in touch after school ends.”
Miranda smiled ruefully. “I know that feeling. I hear you’re off on a…’road trip?’”
“Yeah, I’m going with Freya and Venus on their home tour,” Remilia said, glad for the change of subject.
“Well, that should be fascinating,” Miranda said. “Can’t say I’ve ever been to a Death World before. Oh, and speaking of vacations, have you heard that Professor Ahriman has submitted a request for a sabbatical?” Remilia shook her head.
“No. Is he going to write a book or something?”
“He wishes to return home to Prospero, to contemplate,” Magnus interjected. “After what has transpired because of him…I do not blame him.”
“Who’s going to replace him?” Remilia asked.
“Another former member of the Thousand Sons,” Magnus said. “And a former student of mine.”
“He offered to use psychic healing on Morticia,” Miranda supplied, “but Mortarion and Morticia both refused outright.”
Remilia grimaced. “Can’t blame them. If she’s going to heal on her own, anyway.”
Miranda nodded glumly. She flicked a lock of red out of her eyes, looking at her cousin askance. “Well…I don’t want to keep you.”
“Uncle Magnus, Miranda, I mean it. I do appreciate what you did. This couldn’t have done me any good just festering under the surface,” Remilia said, standing up.
“Perhaps, dear girl, but I wish it could have been resolved better,” Magnus said wearily.
Remilia nodded, a grim smile on her face. “So do I.”
All right, I'm all caught up. That's all I have written.
Well golly, did they at least fuck in that wall of text?
A pleasure to read as always. looking forward to the trial part
Thank you very much.

The Editor, you around? Any comments to register?
Bump so people have time to read.
And I thought my 14,000 words was an achievement.

Looking good. why is the best stuff always posted when I'm asleep?
Because you live in the middle of goddamned nowhere, Oceania.

That's true. but we get Peter Jackson!

Anyway i will dump some more, i have a plan for Ahriman's storyline, and a few other bits and bobs which may work.
I am now THIS far in the thread
Nifty. It's like an unboxing thread.

OK, just keep an eye on that bit I put in about Morticia refusing psychic treatment (which was the plan from the beginning, if you'll recall).
Phew, finally read your stuff. I enjoyed it, and that thing with Remilia hit home (Im >>19531598)

Would read again.
Writefag here, I'm looking to do a larger writing project to post online, does anyone know of a place to host such a thing? Or would /tg/ welcome more threads like this?

It's kind of /tg/ related, but only in that it takes place in a fantasy setting with a few references to tabletop rpgs.
We have a channel for writefags on the same server as the #4chan IRC. It's #writescribbles . As for the content, I think as long as it occurs in the setting of a game of some kind, it should fit in fine here. If it isn't, try fanfiction.net.
Morticia gripped the brace she had clipped to her arm, leaning it on the tiled floor of the hospital. Dressed in her street clothes, which her father had delivered, and with a handful of serfs following her with her possessions and the gifts she had received. Several of the doctors who had worked with her during her stay were waiting on the route out of the ward, with well-wishes and advice. Morticia thanked them in turn, and paused as she reached Grant in the line.
“Good luck out there, Madam,” Grant said, offering her a formal little bow.
Morticia patiently sighed.
Grant quirked his lips, as he tried not to smile in front of the staring guards and doctors. “Good luck out there, Morticia.”
“Thanks,” she said, finally returning the bow. “I appreciate the effort. Maybe I’ll see you under less horrific circumstances some time.”
“I would like that,” Grant said. Morticia smiled at him and continued down the row, until she reached the elevator. Punching the button for the roof, she watched the numbers above the door crawl up to ninety. As the doors opened, a pair of Death Guard serfs flanking the door bowed formally, both proffering their arms. Morticia waved them off, determined to make it across the garage on her own. Limping into the open structure, she crossed the curb and parking lines, reaching her waiting car. She looked around the interior, hoping to see a familiar face, but it was empty.
Shrugging in disappointment, she waited for the serfs to fill the car with her possessions, then braced herself against the armrest as the vehicle lifted from the ground.
The vehicle swooped over the cityscape, flying the short distance to Mortarion’s mansion. Morticia allowed the driver to assist her in climbing out, and walked slowly to the door of her home.
Before she could even reach the handle, the door flew open. Mortarion himself appeared inside, crossing the threshold in an instant. He dropped to one knee to more conveniently embrace his daughter. “Morticia, welcome home,” he said softly, taking care not to aggravate her wound.
She squeezed her eyes shut, holding back a tear of relief. “Hi Dad,” she replied, returning the hug with equal care. “It feels good to be home.”
“I bet it does,” Mortarion said, ushering her inside. The procession of serfs that had followed the limo in their own vehicles silently transported the goods they carried into the house and trooped up to Morticia’s room to deposit it, while the girl herself sank into a chair, tired from the trip. “How long must you use that crutch, Morticia?” her father continued.
“At least until graduation, sadly,” Morticia replied dolefully. “It’s better than a wheelchair.”
“I took the liberty of calling the school and having your finals and presentation delayed until the end of the exam period,” Mortarion said, gesturing at the pile of papers on the table in front of his daughter. “So you can get back into the swing of things at a more restful pace.”
She nodded in gratitude. “Thanks, Dad, I really appreciate that.”
“No trouble, Morticia,” her father replied, placing his hands on her shoulders. She reached up and gave one a reassuring squeeze. “I don’t want you to feel rushed.”
I have a little something to post. it wraps up a loose end on my part and hopefully ends a disagreement.
Okay, rock on.
Great stuff! I really like Remilia's portion.
Hathor Maat paused outside the Mortarion Residence, gazing up at the smog-wreathed façade with unusually grim earnest. The Emperor had called from him just after the shooting, but now it seemed his talents were no longer required. However to avoid a complete waste of time the Emperor had asked him to do a Psychic scan, to ensure all was well within her, and that the healing process was working as intended. It was nothing more than a courtesy, but one Maat was glad to take. Ahzek had insisted upon it. Ahzek, Maat thought sadly. He was in quite a mess; he had locked himself in his chambers and refused several visits by Miranda, which was almost illogical for him. She seemed hurt by it, and hurt by something else, but that was not Maat’s business. He resolved to do something for both of them before he and Ahzek returned to Prospero.
Two Death Guard warriors stood outside, Bolters at the ready. They nodded ever so slightly and moved aside to let him pass. Inside the halls were misty with faint vapours, and dank smells filled his nostrils. A normal human would easily choke here, he was glad of his gene-enhanced lungs. Navigating through the mess of corridors, he smacked into something. Liking up at the hooded head and the massive scythe, he immediately bowed down. “My Lord Mortarion.”
“You are the one known as Maat, correct?”
“Yes My Lord.”
“Make one thing clear, I am not pleased you are doing this. I have always disliked Sorcery, but my father was insistent that you be allowed to do this one thing.” The emphasis was on the ‘one’. “She’s on the next left, do your thing and go. Anything you find out my Father will tell me.” Without another word Mortarion left, the shadowy shapes of the Deathshroud following him.
Morticia was sitting by the fire, slender and gaunt, her cheeks sunken and her eyes staring blankly. He had seen similar in wounded veterans, and resolved to see the school councillor and find out if she could help. First things first however…
“Good afternoon Ma’am, I am Hathor Maat of the Pavoni cult of the Thousand Sons, and I have been asked by the Emperor to give you a psychic check-up, make sure your healing process is all well and good.”
She looked up at him. “Is that quite necessary, I was told…”
“I know what you were told. I was sent for just after you were shot, they thought you might need my special skills. However you pulled through better than anyone had expected, but I was already halfway here and so to prevent my journey from being a waste I’m doing this now. Don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing.”
He clasped his hands together, worked his way up the enumerations and gently extended himself over her subtle body. For a few minutes he examined her physical frame psychically, marvelling at her Gene-enhanced body, and pitying the illness which would forever ravage away at her. Finally he was done; he returned to his mortal flesh and opened his eyes.
“Your internals are normal, your grafts are almost indistinguishable, and your vitals are good. You’re healing far better than the projections I was sent.”
She didn’t move, or say anything, but he heard her breathing relax. “That’s it? That’s all you came for?”
“Did you want more Ma’am?”
“No, but it does seem a waste for you to have come all this way just for that.”
“Believe me Ma’am; I think I was summoned for far more than just this. The Emperor sees things that we cannot, and he wouldn’t have called for me if he didn’t need me for something.”
and that is finally of my chest. now, i have a Johor Tull scene to write.
All right, I'm writing the trial scene now. This is more or less the end of the story, but it could take a day or two to finish.
Thank you Someone else and Ahriman s Aide.for the great story you've written.
Finally, I find the thread.
It's...terrific. Really heartfelt. The confrontation between Dorn and Remillia is just so emotionally _RAW_. Heart-rending, and strongly authentic. Words sort of fail me here.
The Emperor's confessions are also very memorable. Reading that section was kind of fascinating; the confrontation the kind of monumental hubris tempered by a little actual insight made Big E both very deific and very human -not an easy trick for a character that GW has admitted a strong desire to avoid characterizing about.
And as always I like the even hand -the ever present bureaucracy, the bodyguards and the press.
I like that Dorn's the one struggling with his daughter. Conventionally one would think a Primarch who "fell" in the canon HH would be the least suited, but Dorn's inflexibility makes for an excellent tragic motivator (I wonder who'd be second -Lion perhaps?) . Most of them who turned to chaos did so out of some very human flaw -and yet those same flaws make them strong fathers.

Even Angron's fall began with him loving his slave army more then his distant interstellar destiny. Or Kurze, who really needed something worthwhile to fight for got it in Kelly.

Field too long, con't
On that note I'd like to see more Victoria and Faith. Both of them might be hard to write properly but they could have some serious depth. Maybe Faith is a know-it-all? Self-assured, a little sarcastic/acrid/irritable (she's got glasses, how does it feel to be the only Daughter with bad eyesight?) and ambitious -but also typically correct. Smart on a level challenging to anyone. Not to push the /tg/ button to hard, but maybe something like a mild Aspergers? Like that Faith has a hard time not correcting people and/or considering their perspectives -but she does so as an expression of affection as much as by compulsion? Maybe she lacks Lorgar's open-heartedness, or is embarrassed by it as teens can be, and instead hides behind a kind of precise, icy demeanor.
As for Victoria? She and Freya could make a terrific Wink-and-Nudge pair of "been there, done that, have the grin to prove it" wild girls. More then anyone else they have that Lust of Life attitude, even as it's expressed by two sides of the same coin -Freya's being more kinetic and Victoria's being most carnal. Mayhap them and Furia could make for an interesting trio. They could be the catalyst for Furia breaking away from her father's legacy of anger and, perhaps more accurately, frustration. I like Furia, and she calls out for a kind of elemental, primal kind of personal transformation.

Though the name Omegan makes me wince, I do like that she and Alpharia have kind of a collective inferiority complex that's also reinforced by their relative outsider status. That and the snooping fits the Alpha Legion very well -I wonder if they'll end up in political rivalries with Roberta much as their fathers would have clashed over doctrine and later in battle?
Both fields require a talent for insight, logic, and information management -things both families excel at from different approaches. A and O could be fantastic administrators for example, but head-on they'd probably never match Roberta for sheer charisma and speaking power.

Ahriman's Aide is excellent as well, I welcome him to the ranks of the /tg/ Writefags. The pay is crap, but what you do people will remember. I'll have more to say about him as time passes, I hope.
Thanks for the review, Iron Lung.

Faith and Victoria are indeed hard to write. Maybe I'll come back to the setting and show them a bit more, but for now, I'd like to wrap this story up.
It's all good really, SE.

One last inspiration for interactions: Angela and Victoria are probably ripe for a rivalry.
Their fathers, and so by extension them, were the two most "perfect" primarch. Beings of wisdom, leadership, and tremendous martial ability -Fulgrim by ambition, Sanguinus by "accident" (this bugs me somehow. The _Winged_ Guy, he's the Critical Success of the Primarch program by most accounts. How odd is that?).
For a lighter tone, the two of them, with probably Victoria initiating, having various contests and dares to trump each other might be good fun.
Also, snogging. Delicious angel/temptress snogging.
Anyway, whatever. Just tossing stuff out for whenever.
Thanks, I appreciate your time.
I'm writing the trial scene now. It's interesting, to superimpose the incredibly harsh and unforgiving laws of the Arbites onto the largely noblebright setting of WHH.
The daughters all made out and swapped consorts around until everyone fell asleep. Then they had oatmeal for breakfast.

The End
10/10, would fap again
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>you will never have a jet black superhuman waifu with glowing red eyes
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I know, right? It's tragic.

Though my favorite to write is actually Freya, and the one with the best art has to be Miranda.
Delicious, redheaded viking waifu. Though she should be blond really, to be a viking (redheads are my favourite color though).
There is enough blonds in this series as it is. Strangely enough, I think we are lacking brunettes.
Eh. I think Angela or Isis would be good waifus.
By Friday, the entire planet was holding its breath. The trial of Ulysses Keiter was about to begin. Naturally, a Trial Seclusarius meant no cameras, but it was still a spectacle. An army of journalists lined up outside the Precinct, facing off with the army of Arbites – and, behind them, Custodes – protecting the proceedings.
Hane stood behind his desk, mind racing. He and Felger had arrived, exchanged the usual arrangement of pleasantries and paperwork, and set about preparing their places in the courtroom, waiting for Mako to arrive. The witnesses had arrived one at a time, being security screened piecemeal. Morticia, he noted, was sitting such that he was directly between her and the defendants’ seat. He found it very, very hard not to feel sorry for her. Mortarion had insisted on being present for the trial, and had been rebuffed every time; court decorum would no more accommodate him than any other of the Primarchs.
The seven witnesses the two lawyers had called were sitting silently behind the defense desk, fidgeting under the scrutiny of the Arbites Bailiffs. Hane recognized two from his own work: a ballistics officer from the crime lab and a member of his staff who had interviewed Keiter before the trial. The others were an eclectic mix indeed.
One was a member of the Civil Honors Union, and Keiter’s closest friend. One was a member of Morticia’s family that she had outright insisted be present, as a witness or not. Two were members of the Treasury VIP office. The last was a member of the Hive Tetra Organized Crime Unit, which handled drug and weapons trafficking. Hane stiffened to attention as Mako walked in behind her seat and saluted the Bailiff, signaling the beginning of the trial.
“All rise, Her Honor Mako presiding,” the Bailiff loudly said. The people in the courtroom straightened up, nodding their respect. “The Adeptus Arbites of His Royal Majesty’s Courts are now adjudicating. Justice be done.”
Mako nodded once, removing her ornate helm and letting it rest on the bench beside her. “We, the Arbitrators of the Imperium, are called upon to settle a matter of criminal law. By the right of the defendant, the rules of Trial Seclusarius are invoked. Defendant Keiter, stand.”
Useless stood, rubbing his hands over his chin. His manacles clanked against each other as he did so, sounding impossibly loud in the room. “Do you understand the nature of these proceedings?” Mako asked.
“I do, your Honor.”
“Lady Morticia, as the offended party, do you also understand the nature of these proceedings?”
Morticia struggled to her feet, wiping a drop of blood from her cheek. “I do.”
“Then let the trial begin. Sieur Hane, present your case on behalf of the Imperium.”
Hane stood, holding a file folder in his hands. “Your Honor, I have here a transcription I wish to submit as Article 0.”
“Bring it forth,” the Judge said, holding out her hand. This portion of the trial was routine paperwork, the submission of charges. She rifled through the papers, noting their contents. “Do you, on behalf of the Imperium, submit the charges of Attempted Murder in the First Degree, Discharging a Weapon with the Intent to Kill, and Concealment of a Deadly Weapon without a Permit?”
“I do, your Honor.” The Emperor and Hane had had a barely civil argument over whether or not the charge of Regicide should have been lowered to murder, but in the end, the Emperor’s pragmatic side won out, and he acceded to Hane’s counsel. Adding the charge of Concealment had been wise, since neither man thought that Keiter would be able to avoid it, and its presence may have dissuaded Felger from pushing his luck with Rachnus’ resignation.
“Counselor Felger, have you received notice of these charges?”
“I have, your Honor,” Felger said, looking up from his dataslate.
“Sieur Hane, present your evidence,” the Judge said, tapping her gavel once. The witnesses shuffled around a bit, removing coats. Morticia let out a ragged breath, trying to relax. Keiter shot her a glance sidelong, but said nothing.
Hane walked back to his desk. “Your Honor, I wish to call to the bench Witness One.”
“Let the record show that Witness One is recorded as Senior Technician Seller,” the stenographer noted, speaking into the tiny microphone at her desk.
The first witness, the ballistics tech, walked up to the bench, and sat down after a cursory swearing-in. Hane walked up to the bench, brandishing a paper. “Please state your name.”
“Senior Technician Ezekiel Seller,” the tech said, leaning forward to speak into his microphone.
“Sieur Seller, I’ve called you here because of your experience in slugthrower weapons, sometimes colloquially called stubbers. Can you attest to your experience?” Hane asked.
“Sir, I am licensed to perform level One ballistics examinations in all portions of the continental Crime Labs network, and have testified at…exactly two hundred such trials,” the tech said, “this being the two hundredth.”
“So you know your guns, don’t you?” Hane offered.
“I certainly do, sir.”
Hane lifted the rifle on the rack behind him, carefully putting his fingers only on those parts of the gun that were coated in padding by the Crime Lab. “Can you identify this weapon?”
“I can, sir.”
“What is it?”
The tech leaned forward again. “That is a Gannet .402 rifle, sir, chambered for the MacMinister .402 cartridge.”
Hane carried the rifle up to the stenographer. “I wish to submit this as Article 1.”
“So noted,” the Judge said, looking down at the stenographer.
Kelly sat cross-legged in her room in the hospital, watching the news coverage. She twisted the piece of paper in her hands, staring at the holoscreen. They had nothing to say, of course. But they were talking. They were the talking Heads, after all. One of them was blathering on about the possibility of concurrence of the charges, should Keiter be found guilty. That idea appealed to Kelly not at all.
She flipped the channel to a different news station. This one was going on about how Julius Pius had been arrested and placed under house arrest for the stunt he had pulled in the Hives, and how Lord Warmaster Horus himself had testified at the trial, which was almost as sensational as the trial being held publicly. Kelly shook her head. Julius was a brave one, no doubt. The verdict was expected soon, since there was little room in the hearts of the Arbites for the gene-modded criminals Pius had shot.
Flipping the channel once more, she finally found something that didn’t worry her too much: a dispatch about a new class of Astartes candidates being selected from Terran PDF volunteers for induction into the World Eaters and Salamander Legions. They and the ships the Mars and Saturn shipyards had produced would be flying out to their respective homeworlds within a few weeks, the news reported.
Kelly turned off the holovision, settling back against the pillow in her chair. She had already sent in the final paper she had written. The final exams were, as far as her grades went, miss-able or already excused. Morticia was fine. The shooter was going away forever.
So why, she wondered, did it still feel like there was a bullet aimed at her back at that very moment?
It was paranoia. She knew it. The therapist had said it. The Emperor himself, who had stopped in after visiting Morticia, had said it. So why couldn’t she get rid of it.
She grabbed the remote again, fighting the urge to slam it through the holoscreen. She gripped it until the plastic cracked, a little of her helpless anger leaking through.
Morticia had been shot, and she was recovering. Kelly felt helpless. What would it take? Why did she still feel so scared?
“Paranoia. It’s paranoia. That’s all it is,” she whispered fiercely, dropping the remote on the table. “Just a specter in the night.”
The trial ground on. With a Seclusarius trial, the testimonies were swift and productive, with neither side stopping for much more than meal breaks. As the second witness stepped down from the box, Hane glanced back at Morticia. She looked absolutely wiped out. Exhausted, enough that he felt sorry for her. She caught his eyes and offered up a tiny smile, but it couldn’t eclipse the weariness in her expression.
Keiter was fiddling with a dataslate, discussing something in muted tones with Felger. Neither of them had had more than cursory questions for the two forensic officers thus far, which was to be expected. Their entire case hinged on being able to convince Mako that Keiter had felt threatened enough by the ‘degredation’ of the people of Terra that he had taken leave of his senses. The forensic case was untouchably solid, so they would have to find another means of convincing Mako.
Hane now had two options. He could call up the witness that Keiter had named, his friend from the Civil Honors Union, or he could call up the law enforcement officers to confirm Keiter’s guilt. He suspected that the former option would serve him best; leaving the proof of Keiter’s guilt until later would make Mako less willing to allow a sympathy defense to fly.
“Your Honor, I call Witness Four to the stand,” Hane said aloud.
Keiter’s friend, Novandio, took the bench, sweating bullets.
Hane walked up to the witness bench as Novandio was being sworn in. “Sieur Novandio, please state your profession.”
“I’m a regional director for the Civil Honors Union,” Novandio said. He pushed his hair out of his eyes, blinking myopically in the brilliantly-lit courtroom.
“And what is that?” Hane asked.
“We’re a charity. We distribute mutancy testing kits and fund local libraries,” Novandio replied.
“How are you funded, sir?” Hane inquired.
“Mostly by private donations from local companies,” the Union worker said.
“Looking for tax writeoffs?” Hane supplied.
“Possibly. We don’t judge,” Novandio said.
“Do you receive any funding from the Imperial government?” Hane asked.
Novandio shook his head. “We do get some money from the Cube authority, but none from the Imperial government.”
“Am I to understand that the defendant is a former employee of yours?” Hane asked.
“He is not,” Novandio stated.
Hane nodded. “What is your relation to the defendant?”
“He used to volunteer for us,” Novandio said awkwardly. “He assisted with mutancy testing kit distribution.”
“And under what circumstances did his volunteering conclude?” Hane asked.
Novandio shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “…He was arrested for attempted murder,” he admitted.
Hane sensed his point being carried. “Thank you, Sieur Novandio.” He walked back to his desk, jotting a few notes down on his pad as he did so. Felger stood, taking Hane’s place in front of the witness bench.
“Sieur Novandio, how long did my client volunteer for you?”
“Approximately nine years,” Novandio said.
Felger nodded. “And in those nine years, how many times did my client perform any violent acts?”
“Never. Not once,” Novandio insisted.
“Did he ever carry a weapon on these distribution runs?” Felger asked.
“Not that I ever saw.”
“Did he ever pick a fight with anyone, verbally or otherwise?”
“No,” Novandio said.
“So in your experience, there was no reason with my clients’ character to have performed the acts of which he stands accused, was there?” Felger asked.
Novandio hesitated. “…No, there wasn’t.”
“Thank you, Sieur Novandio, I have no further questions,” Felger said, dismissing the witness with a nod.
The trial reached recess minutes later, as Judge Mako retired to her chambers to weigh the evidence. Morticia sank into a seat in the hallway, feeling the affair take its toll. Keiter hadn’t deigned to look at her much, but when he had, it had taken all she had in her not to shudder.
A warm hand squeezed her shoulder, jolting her from her brooding rest. Her bodyguard from the Treasury office, the woman been protecting her when she had been shot, was standing behind her. “How are you holding up?” she asked.
“It’s been rough, Sergeant,” Morticia admitted.
The bodyguard nodded in sympathy. The little Velcro strip on her breastplate named her Marchenka, the pips and chevrons on her shoulders declared her an E-6 Sergeant. “I bet it is.” She hesitated, trying to find words. “I want to apologize for that day, Morticia. If I had seen the bastard…”
“He would be dead, and better for it, I know,” Morticia said. “But don’t let it bother you. He was two kilometers away, and indoors. You had no way to know. Dad doesn’t blame you either.”
“That’s good.” Marchenka nodded once, then stepped back. “Well…I best get back out there. You make it through this, okay?”
“I promise, Sergeant,” Morticia said, wearily leaning on her crutch. She walked back in, nodding as the Sergeant held the door for her. “Wish me luck.”
Oh dear god, yes.
I agree, but it's just an observation that vikings and celts/scottsmen/whathaveyou tends to get mixed up/together regularly. People from scandinavia tends to be blond and natives of the british isles redheads.
I'm fine with Freyas hair either way, Im just sayian.
I suck at courtroom scenes SO MUCH you guys.
Go watch some JAG, that might help
Author of the OP's picture here. Now working on Victoria/Farah/Venus picture. Drawing too slowly due minor hand injury.
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>more arts
stop writing goddamnit I have things to do. every time one of these threads pop up i lose an hour at least of painting time or sleep

but really your awesome
So in conclusion, Angela and Cora should make out and Venus needs to be naked. Does that sum up /tg/'s judgement?
I suppose this sort of silliness is inevitable.

I'd still prefer people talked about the actual content, though.
I like what I read, SE
Thanks. I was going to write some more, but there's no way I'm getting more done on a night with The Fair Folk and Strike Withes Quest up at once. Thanks for the ride. I'll make a new thread Fridayish, unless this one lingers a bit longer.
Every time I get off to get some shuteye the good stuff happens. I should stop sleeping.

If you're unable to post anything, I suppose I should take over. I have a few scenes done last night, including Oll and Julius and Johor Tull.
Sure. Just let me finish the trial, I already know who the witnesses are.
By which I mean go ahead and post so long as you leave the trial to me.

The Trial was always your swan song, like the Petitoner's City was mine. anyway, i'll have Johor's scene up shortly. however my Internet is once again acting up, so that may be a while.
School was operating again, which came as a relief to Johor Tull. He could temporarily forget that he was not long for this planet much longer, and concentrate on his lessons and Graduation. As always the gossip flooded the hallways, flooding into his enormous bat-like ears with impeccable clarity. The trial was the next day, and a lot of talk was about the potential outcome, with some thinking that if the accused was let go, there would be riots across Terra, in the Petitioner’s City, Diementsland and the Yndonesic Bloc among others. Others were twittering about the fall of Lady Isis, who had nearly got herself killed down in the Petitioner’s City with her Beau, something which alarmed Johor. Lady Isis was one of his closest friends here, along with Ladies Farah and Venus, and she often stood up for him against those who called him ‘Mutant’ and ‘Xenos Lover’. If she was in trouble, he would have to try and help. And mixed in with all that was the usual stuff about boyfriends and girlfriends, schoolwork and exams, and the usual mundane topics of life, which Johor tried to filter out to no avail.
As he stared into his locker, thinking about what he would do that afternoon, he left someone tapping on his shoulder. It took a few seconds to recognise the boy standing before him; he had seen him last at that lounge in the Imperial Palace a few days ago, along with the Daughters and their ‘Consorts’. He was there due to his importance as the lone Interex, something which grated. Even there he was treated differently, like he was an alien intruder on the Daughters.
“You’re…Andrew, Lady Hana’s Beau, right?” his Aria wailed beneath his voice, betraying his confusion.
Andrew looked at him quizzically, before nodding. “Her boyfriend, yes. I forget that you Interex speak Gothic differently.” He looked up at Johor.
“Listen. My bike has broken down, and I need someone to help me fix it. All my other friends are at lessons or Examinations, and Hana is with her cousins preparing for the trial. I know we haven’t spoken that much, but I need help and everyone comments on how helpful you can be.” They also comment on how much of a Mutant and a Xeno lover I am as well, Johor thought bitterly, but he nodded and followed Andrew.
His bike, an old pattern ground-pounder instead of the newer civilian Jetbikes that were gaining prominence stood outside. A set of tools and a prop were sitting beside it. Andrew immediately set to work on it, asking Johor for a tool every so often. Soon Johor, to break the monotony began to speak to him.
“So, what do you intend to do after you Graduate? I heard Pius mention a Military Career?”
“Pius would know, with me pestering his father so much. Yeah, I was thinking of the Janizars or the Chiliad, both have need of warrant officers, and both have seen service against the Orks, Jorgall, Dark Eldar and others. And of course, there are rumours of things from beyond the void, those Eldar visions of the ‘Great Devourer’, whatever that means. No matter what, there will always be a need for soldiers. What about you, what awaits you back in the Interex?”
“Strangely, much the same as you. All Interex youths must give one year’s compulsory Service. Knowing my Father, I might become a Sagittari.”
“Half man, half mechanical steed with a Powerbow. Only nobles’ sons get the privilege, but my father has risen through the ranks ever since he met Garviel Loken, and likely I’ll get the same chance.” For several minutes more Johor helped Andrew, holding his bike steady while he oiled and refitted the chain drive, passing him the right tools and generally helping out. Soon the bike was almost done, and Andrew turned away from his work to Johor.
“You know Johor, you’re a nice person, and yet you always seem so bitter. Why?”
“You really want to know? Fine. If I was a normal human like you, I’d be the male version of Victoria around this school.” That was true, he was tall, blonde and incredibly handsome, and his features looked like those from a marble sculpture of ancient Terra. “And yet I’m feared and shunned, and for three reasons. These.” Gesturing to his massive, bat-like ears. “This,” tapping on his Aria. “And the fact that back home many of my best friends are Kinebrack, or as you call them, Xenos. My Genetics are significantly different from yours, and for that I have been shunned all this time. Now I’m about to go home, and yet I don’t want to go for some reason. And I don’t know why. Ever since that shooting, the Galaxy has been going to hell in a handbasket. Every one of us, even those who have no personal stake in this like myself have been caught up by this act, and we don’t know what to do or how to make sense of it.”
“We manage. We carry on, that’s about all we can do. You may be different genetically from me, but you are far from a mutant. They fear you, for you are better than they are, more civilized, and have much greater horizons. Remember that next time they tease you.”
Those words moved Johor, more than he had expected. His Aria began to wail, a soft melody which was striking.
“And that.” Andrew added. “You can speak with Techpriests thanks to that, you can speak to the Eldar with that. I think most of Imperator High envies you because of that music box around your neck.”
Johor decided to change the subject, before his Aria could betray any more emotion. “The Trial is tomorrow. Will Keiter get convicted?”
“He must. If he does get acquitted, there will be riots across Terra. I’ve heard they have activated several Regiments, in case the Arbites need backup. Even if he gets off the charge, Keiter will never be able to stay on Terra. Someone will off him the first chance they get. He’ll have to move somewhere far, the Thousand Worlds of Ultramar perhaps, or the Praxes region around the Eye, or the Scarus Sector. Anywhere where the news takes a long time to penetrate. His life will never be the same again.”
“Nor will Lady Morticia. Speaking of the daughter’s, have you heard from Lady Isis? She’s fallen of the radar since her sojourn in the Petitioner’s City.”
“I’ll ask Hana about it for you. It’s unusual for Isis to be behaving like this; whatever happened down there has seriously riled her up.” He got on his bike, and with a grumbling roar the engine started.
“Thanks for that Johor; I count you among my Friends.”
Johor nodded and left, barely concealing the smile on his face.
That's me done, i'll have some nore stuff after the trial is concluded. back over to Someone Else.

is The Editor out there? what do you think of my mass contributions?
By nightfall, all but two witnesses had been called. Seclusarius was a remnant of the older age of the Arbites, where justice had been meted out swiftly, and the Arbites had been little more than a military police force with civilian jurisdiction. Its methods were simple and harsh, with minimal interaction between the two sides of the debate beyond calling witnesses, and all of the actual decision-making left up to the presiding Judge. Some defendants believed that that arrangement conferred a greater advantage to them. In reality, the Judges tended, by and large, to come down hard on a defendant in this context.
Hane finished interviewing the second-to-last witness, and caught Mako’s eye. The Judge nodded, rising to her feet. Her shock maul clanked against her armor as she stood. “As the hour grows late and not all evidence has been presented, I hereby call this session of the Courts of the Emperor to a close. We shall convene at 0830 tomorrow. Justice be done,” she concluded, re-donning her helm. As the witnesses rose to their feet, the Judge climbed back down from the bench. The Bailiff prodded Useless into a side door, where the transport to carry him back to the lockup waited. The witnesses filed out one by one, as Felger took his leave with his client.
Hane turned over his shoulder to smile at Morticia. “You did quite well, Lady Morticia.”
“Thanks, Sieur Hane,” Morticia said tiredly. She wobbled to her feet, leaning heavily on her brace. “Think it’ll be over and done with in one more day?”
“I think the last witness will seal it up tight, Lady,” Hane said confidently.
“I bet,” Morticia said, exhaustion pulling at her soul.
seriously, make it into a novel, I'd buy it
This Thread Has Been Bumped

also good story Se and AA

Come on SE! Don't tease us!
Btw, some typical asstard is spamming down this in /suptg/, so I suggest backing it up elsewhere.
Does this thread need a bump? I think so.
Someone Else is usually away for a while around now, i may as well take charge until he returns.
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Old sketch, not related to the story. Isis, her minion Abbada "the armless failure" and Ollanius Pius

If you are the Drawfag, than you ser are a genius. i'd love to see some drawfagging of 'Bleeding Out'.

I have a scene with Julius and Ollanius nearly done. I'll post it as soon as my internet calms down.
Sorry for the Delay, 4chan fell of the radar sor seveal hours, and then my internet failed...again. anyway, have some more Bleeding Out.
Julius Pius was not happy. For the last few days he had been under more or less house arrest awaiting his eventual fate, confined to quarters until his father returned from the Cadian gate. Something which would was alarmingly soon; a call had come through that his father would be planetside within a day, having cut his tour short. Now Julius was worried, facing the Emperor was one thing, he had been physically sick under the influence of the Emperor’s rage, and he understood clearly why so many could hate him, he was so far from humanity he was almost irrevocably divorced from it, something which alarmed Julius, but facing his father was something else. His father had stood up to the Emperor over his Catheric faith…and won. No other normal human in history had achieved such a feat. There was no human in the Galaxy who was more badarse than his father, and now he was angry at him. What was possibly worst of all, he hadn’t heard from Isis since their sojourn. He thought, he thought he could get them in and out safely, they could find the truth and it would solve all their problems. He’d been wrong, and now he was paying the price.
He paced around his room, his mind so bored he had accurately measured it to six paces by five exact. All the books he was meant to study for his End-Of-Year exams, his father’s copy of ‘Soldiers of Terra’, the book he had written after the Crusade which became a bestseller and over which Andrew, Hana’s Boyfriend had pestered him for weeks before he promised to get his father to sign his copy, and that now hated Hellpistol all sat on his desk, where he had been several days before, where he had first got the news of the shooting, where everything had started to go wrong. At least he had his Vox, and he could listen to the news.
The first day of the trial was over, and a whole world, possibly the entire Imperium was holding its collective breaths as they waited for the conclusion. The entire world rested on a knife edge, there were rumours of mass riots planned if the shooter was released, extra Imperial Army regiments ready to be sent into hives and cities in case of emergency, additional Arbites called up and even Mechanicum Guards sent over from Mars. Tomorrow could either bring closure, or else send Terra into a bloodbath not seen since the Unification Wars. That however was the least of his problems, let the Emperor deal with the biggest upheaval on his planet since the Crusade began.
He wished Isis would call, would do something to contact him. He still had his own hearing to attend, several days after the trial, and he knew what would happen. A black mark and likely Comserv work somewhere bad like the Yndonesic Bloc. The work wouldn’t be too much of a problem; a week of hell was nothing to get into too much of a fuss over. No, it was the black mark which would upset everything. You couldn’t get officer’s training in the Imperial Army, his father’s preferred career choice. He himself wanted to tour the Imperium first, see the Eye, the Thousand Worlds of Ultramar, Chemos and Colchis and the many other sights the Imperium had to offer. Then he would sign up if his father wanted it so desperately.
Thinking about his father forcibly reminded about Faith’s recent presumption that his father was a ‘Perpetual’ a biological child of the Emperor. It sounded nonsense, but there were times when Ollanius said things which made no since. He remembered one time when he was small and his mother still alive, the hacking cough caused by Ork Fungus Gas slowly killing her without him realising it, his father had started talking about learning how to use the bayonet at a place called Verdun, which sounded like no place Julius had ever heard of. Other times he talked about battles which sounded impossible, weapons long obsolete and people who seemed to come straight from the pages of fantasy or history books. One time he talked about a battle on Terra, which Julius looked up, only to find it was a real battle where a ‘Captain Persson’ almost single handedly held back a Techno-Barbarian force for several hours, long enough for re-enforcement to arrive and turn the tide. It made him wonder sometimes…but only sometimes. And Faith seemed to use the theory as an excuse to try and drive a wedge between him and Isis, or else justify her beliefs. He was very open minded when it came to that, his father after all was an open Catheric, but there was a line, and Faith seemed determined to cross it, much like her father.
He resolved to try and get some shuteye. Tomorrow would be a hell of a day, no matter what happened.
well, its well past midnight here, so i will do like my character and retire (who said real life never writes the plot?)

Someone Else should be around in a few hours, so until then, keep on bumpan. i hope he likes what i've done.
Bumping at 3:00am, also keep up the good work.
Well, now that 4chan has passed its fort save, I can resume. Things are pretty hectic up here, but I'll be littering updates across the thread over the next few hours. The thread is close to the bump limit, however.
make a new thread perhaps? or should we wait until this one has reached its bump limit?
I think I'll ask people to go back and delete their bump posts, actually.

I'm back, and I can write some more now.

I still suck at courtroom scenes though. ._.
Saturday rolled around, as the more media-conscious residents of Terra stayed glued to their holoscreens. Mako resumed the session of the trial, as both parties made their traditionally brief statements about the day’s activities. Hane cut a glance at Morticia, gauging how ready for the rigors of the day she looked. If anything, she looked a bit more stable now, but she was a far cry from being good as new. Still, she managed a hopeful grin as the last witness of the trial made his way in. Hane stood at the front of the courtroom, looking up at Mako, as the Bailiff sealed the doors.
“Your Honor, I wish to submit Article 19a,” Hane said, gesturing to the small object on the cart next to him.
“So noted,” Mako said, peering down at the little metal cart. The stenographer recorded the evidence’s presence as Hane lifted the box up to the bench.
“I have here one memory card, your Honor, containing Sieur Keiter’s personal journal,” Hane said. “The card is encrypted, with a normal corporate cipher, Aurex Four. The Arbites cybercrime lab has decoded it, and its transcript is present here, as Article 19b,” he continued, placing a data card on the cart.
“Objection, your Honor.” Felger stood. “My client’s personal thoughts are not subject to this court. If they were, the Emperor would have authorized psychic interrogation of my client.”
“Your Honor, the defendant stands accused of a crime of premeditation,” Hane pointed out. “His thoughts are very, very much a subject of this court.”
“I agree, Counselor Hane. Continue,” Mako noted. Felger sat down, disgruntled.
“Within the journal, which dates back approximately four years, the defendant details his increasing belief that the Imperium is under attack by those who have forgotten those who sacrificed to ensure its peace and stability,” Hane said. He lifted his data card and brandished it. “I submit that the contents of this card supply ample evidence that he planned this act of murder long before he carried it out.”
“Objection,” Felger said again.
Mako nodded slowly. “I will examine the transcript myself, Sieur Hane, after this session has concluded. Have you any other evidence to present?”
“I do, your Honor,” Hane said, pushing the cart over to the empty jury box. “I call Ulysses Keiter to the stand.”
Felger stood at once. “Your honor, my client has not been listed as a witness in this trial.”
“He stands accused of a crime of which he has proclaimed a lack of guilt, your Honor, and yet here he is,” Hane pointed out. “He is under an obligation to speak in his own defense.”
“No, Sieur Hane, he is not. However, he has been called as a witness. As such, he need not take the stand if he chooses not to do so,” Mako said, staring down at Useless.
Useless squirmed. Felger grabbed his shoulder and whispered urgently. “Ulysses, you don’t have to do this. I strongly recommend that you don’t. We called for a speedy trial because it would hamstring the prosecution; if you get up there I can’t protect you.”
“But if I don’t, Mako will wonder why I’m pleading innocent!” Useless whispered back. Felger glared half-heartedly at his client, but Useless’ mind was made up.
Keiter stood. “I have no problem with fielding the prosecution’s questions, your Honor.”
Mako nodded once. “So be it, then. Since you may choose not to speak in your own defense, you need not answer questions which would force you to incriminate yourself.”
Useless hobbled over to the witness box, pausing to have his manacles chained to the seat and floor. Hane waited until he had situated himself before beginning. “Sieur Keiter. Do you recall what you were doing the day before you were arrested?”
“I was just working. It was a normal shift,” Keiter said.
“And do you recall any unusual instructions from your bosses?” Hane asked.
“Unusual? No,” Keiter said, shrugging.
Hane looked over to where the evidence they had been discussing was piled up. “Sieur Keiter, at the time you were arrested, you did not request a public defender. Is that correct?”
“And yet, you did request one shortly thereafter.”
“I did.”
“Why did you change your mind?” Hane asked. Felger shook his head infinitesimally, but Keiter ignored him.
“I decided I wanted expert defense instead,” he said.
Hane nodded slowly, thinking. “The charges for which you were arrested are not the charges for which you have been brought to trial. Nonetheless, you requested legal counsel almost immediately after arrest. Almost.”
“Your Honor, I don’t see any relevance here,” Felger said.
“I assure your Honor that I am pursuing a very specific and relevant question,” Hane shot back. Mako nodded.
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Awaiting further updates with interest. Will delete this post if necessary and if SE asks/tell me to (to avoid auto-sage).
I'm just going to make a new thread in a few hours.
Off to bed for me then.
Thanks for the writing SE, I hope to see a link to the next thread in this thread (threadception) when I wake up.
Well, the thead did well, and unlike last time, it was't attacked by flamers and trolls.

I'll have stuff ready for the next thread when it comes around.

New thread here.

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