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Part I: The Escape.
The dank hold was rife with the stench of blood and filth. Even more oppressive was the suffocating sense of terror that permeated the cramped cell. A tangible air of desperation.
There were several people in this dark and cold space, though the exact number could not be discerned. No one spoke. No one seemed to dare breathe. The prisoners sat in silence, contemplating the unimaginable pain and torture they would soon endure at the hands of their obscene captors. Each man, woman and child reflected on their life...and the agonizing end it would shortly come to. All knew too well what the Black Kindred were capable of; all had grown up hearing the gruesome tales of their sick, gleeful torments. Those stories seemed like impossible exaggerations meant only to frighten unruly children into obedience. But here they sat...
Next in line.
One of these prisoners, a boy of twelve years, sat against the wall, knees drawn close to his chest. The pain of his battered and swollen face throbbed in rhythm with his heartbeat. He could barely breathe through his broken nose, and his right eye would be useless for weeks, perhaps longer. He tried to shut out the pain and the smell of his surroundings in a vain attempt to escape to the peaceful inner sanctum of his mind, but his surroundings were too bleak to ignore, his pleasant memories far too few. His thoughts raced, desperately searching for a means to free himself. One such thought was of suicide. Sharp pain shot down the side of his face as the boys jaw tightly clenched. He could not bring himself to flee his captors in that manner. His mother had given her life to protect him, and he would not so easily relinquish her gift. He planned to go out fighting.
He silently promised he would face his fate with courage, but he longed to be rid of this heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach and bowels. This sensation was nearly as unbearable as his broken face.
Just then, he could see the smiling visage of his mother. â€śGrazie got to make poopie?â€? she would say whenever he would use their small habitat's sani-purge unit. She seemed to take special pleasure in making this embarrassing inquiry whenever he had his playmates over. How he hated those words! Ironically, in this nightmarish place, his most fervent wish was to hear those words again. He missed her so.
His mother, an unmarried low-level administrator for one of Necromunda's several thousand industrial corporations, had labored for 8 years, regularly working 20-hour shifts to afford the meager lifestyle that would keep him away from the depravity of the Hive planets fearsome gang wars. She was able to afford a pitiful, closet-sized habitat which actually had the luxury of a single soot-streaked window. For her and her fiercely curious little boy, it was as close to heaven as she could imagine.
During the day, he was watched over by a retired factory worker named Shadry who lived in the adjoining unit. Shadry, who was a former guardsman who lost the use of his legs in battle, greatly enjoyed the company of the bright-eyed lad. He took pleasure in acting as a grandfather of sorts, and against mother's wishes, had shown him the how to defend himself and even taught the young boy how use a las-pistol.
A thin smile crept across the boy's lips as he remembered those times. His mother's gentle voice singing to him while they sat and watched half-glimpsed sunsets through that dirty portal; she called it the magic window. He thought now of how it really was magic...many lives, many hopes and dreams vanished into thin air, just beyond that small circle of plasteel.
Although it had only been 4 years, it seemed like an eternity since that terrible day, the last time he would ever hear her soft voice again. Suddenly, a familiar anger began to build as he could once again hear her anguished screams. An eternity prior, she was brutally raped and murdered by a grotesque pig of a man, Cladius Helmawr, a fringe member of Necromunda's ruling family, while the boy was forced to helplessly listen to this unspeakable act from next door where he had been visiting Shadry. He wanted to save her, wanted to end her misery, but Shadry held the boy in check, although it took all of Shadry's strength to muffle the boyâ€™s desperate cries. Mother had known of her impending fate, and had begged her neighbor and friend to protect the child at all costs. The old man had saved his life, but the lad would never forgive that act. He would have rather died alongside his sweet mother than to endure those terrible screams; they would haunt him until the day he died.
Only a distant cousin of the Helmawr lineage, Cladius was barely associated with the family at all (he had actually adopted his motherâ€™s maiden name to cling to the notion of royalty). However, the name did grant him certain privileges, and without any real talent or ambition, he had risen to a position of moderate importance. He spent his days groping and fondling any female that entered his reach, as surely his grotesque obesity and even worse mannerisms and hygeine prevented him from enjoying any legitimate pleasures of a womanâ€™s touch. Mother made the fatal mistake of showing kindness to this pathetic creature, which he mistook for love. When she made it clear that she had no real feelings for him, he repaid her kindness with savagery. Ultimately, he could not accept the fact that the only woman who had ever shown him anything but revulsion, did not reciprocate his affection. Embarrassed and infuriated by her rejection, his twisted mind reasoned that if she would not give her love him, she would never give it to anyone. He meant to take her son, the joy of her life.
Intense storms ravaged the skies that night, as if the heavens mourned the terrible fate soon to befall this innocent girl. When Cladius and several Delaque gangers appeared that night she bravely attempted to fight them off, refusing to relinquish the whereabouts of her only child. As the intense rains lashed the city outside, she was subdued and violently ravaged by both Helmawr and the gangers who accompanied him. Afterwards, as she lie in a pool of her own blood, she, with tremendous effort, turned her head slightly. Through her magic portal she could make out the magnificent rainbow painted across what would be the last dawn sky she would ever see. She managed a weak smile. In her mind, she had beaten them. Her final thoughts were of her baby boy; she prayed that he could somehow survive this vile planet. With a final shudder, she escaped the brutal grind that was life on Necromunda .
The boy, named Gray after his father, closed his eyes and laid his head on the cool steel of the reinforced wall behind him and like everyone else, reflected on all he had endured during his short life. The boy had become quite familiar with death and cruelty; nearly every day of his orphaned existence had been a struggle for even the most basic needs. He had spent the last 4 years in the dirty corridors of Necromunda, able to scrounge food and shelter wherever it could be found. Shadrys knew Cladius would soon send Delaque scum to seek out the young man, and though he hated to send the boy into the streets, there was no other choice.
Gray's existence was a constant game of hide-and-seek from gangers and slavers eager to exploit a boy on his own. Intelligent and resourceful, Gray was well-liked by whomever he'd meet, but surviving alone in Necromunda was no small feat. He'd stay put for a day or perhaps a week, but always either the authorities or the gangs would begin to see him around too much and ask questions. He lived in various drainage systems and air ducts, becoming an excellent climber and acrobat. He was in excellent condition, and often performed tricks and dangerous stunts for credits. The youngster survived as an urchin until one day, his luck finally changed.
Or so it seemed.
He had stumbled across an old access duct in one of Necromunda's hangar bays, and was able to stow himself aboard a trade ship, The King, set to sail the webway for the Eastern Fringe. Necromunda was a coffin. A teeming city of despair and evil. He saw The King as his chance to leave this graveyard, to leave the pain of his nightmares behind. With only the clothes on his back, a body suit he had recovered from the body of a dead Van Saar juve, he ducked into the ships cargo space and braced for a new life.
Gray's time as a stowaway was brief. He had been quickly discovered stealing food from the ships galley by one of the mess attendants, a tall, lanky beanpole appropriately named Long Jean. Jean, who also began his space faring days as a stowaway, immediately felt compassion for the lad. Gray was brought before the ship's captain, a ragged lifelong rogue trader everyone simply called Cap, and his beautiful but severe wife Marda. At Jean's behest, they allowed Gray to help with kitchen duties to earn his berth. Gray had never been happier. He greatly enjoyed the regularity of his new duties, and the swashbuckling tales that only hardened space farers could tell. He loved hearing Jean's enthralling stories of harrowing Xenos encounters, narrow escapes from the hazards of space, and clandestine meetings with hot Eldar wenches. The latter he had great doubts about considering the general homeliness of this crew, but he enjoyed the telling of these tales nonetheless. In the following months, he had settled nicely into the life of a ship hand, as day by day passed uneventfully. Gray had finally found peace.
It was one such lazy afternoon that the blare of the ship's klaxons shouted their alarm. For several moments, pandemonium reigned. The mess decks were swirling with shouts and frantic activity as the crew rushed to see what the emergency was about. Gray tried to stop several crewman, in order to see what he could do to help, but the ashen looks on the faces of the men shook him to his core. These were not the faces of swarthy travelers, but of frightened little boys. Only once did Gray see these faces before: During the tales of the ever-present threat of piratical Dark Eldar.
Cappy's frantic voice of the tore across the ship.
"Lock Down!" he screamed. "All hands...."
His commands were abruptly cut short. Cappy's voice was replaced with harried shouts and sounds of a scuffle
"Noooo! MARDA!!!......" the speaker squawked.
The voice that next came over the loudspeaker froze the very blood in veins of all who heard it. It's malignant nature was evident.
"You now belong to us. That is all." the voice chuckled.
Emergency protocol dictated the crew lock themselves into their spaces, and to barricade themselves from the boarders. There were few if any warriors among them. Now that it had been confirmed that it was indeed an Eldar Pirate raid, and there was little hope for any of them. The only chance was that the distress beacon would reach someone who could rescue them, but help was unlikely.
Gray suddenly felt very alone as he stood near the kitchen unsure of just what to do next. Stubb Stuby, the portly head cook rushed past Gray and ripped a gigantic cleaver from his rack. Seeing the dumbfounded boy, the cook then selected a smaller knife and pressed it into his shaking hand.
"I can't fight with this!" Gray cried frowning at the short blade.
Stubb looked somberly into the boys eyes. "It's not for them, son...it's for you. Whatever happens, donâ€™t let them take you." he said gravely.
Without another word, Stubb abruptly wheeled and ran towards his cabin to await his fate like the rest to the crew.
A surreal calm had settled over the ship as the klaxon had stopped so suddenly it jolted Gray from his trance. Nothing could be heard save the deep hum of the refrigeration units. He had been alone on the mess decks for several moments, the small knife in his hand feeling like it weighed a hundred pounds. He slipped the blade into a hidden vest compartment and grabbed a much larger knife from the nearby sink.
Gray looked around the now empty deck realizing that he didn't have a secure space to run to-- he had been camping on the hangar deck with the stores for the duration of his trip. Just then, he felt rather than heard the approach of light, careful footsteps just beyond a nearby doorway. Looking around frantically, he scrambled into a nearby garbage duct entrance and closed it behind him in just enough time to hear the slow squeal of the doorway carefully opening to the left of where he had just stood. The boy could not resist peering through the small seam in the disposal door, and his curiosity was greeted by something out of a nightmare. A slim, lithe figure clad in tight-fitting studded black leather slid into the deck, pitch black eyes slowly scanning the room.
Gray had never seen an Eldar, and his heart began to race with fear. This wicked creature's hair was held back from his high, sloping forehead by a pony-tail, his pale face was splattered with blood. Grey gasped as he realized the seam of the pirate's pants were lined with what appeared to be human fingers. Though terrified, the boy held his breath and tried to remain still. From his hiding place, Gray was suddenly aware of muffled screams and shrill laughter from seemingly everywhere at once. The horrific slaughter had begun.
The Eldar interloper made his way through the deck, moving with fluid grace between the tables, like a deadly viper granted human form. Periodically he would stop and turn his head this way and that, probing the air with his pierced and surgically split tongue. He would occasionally pause to check under tables and behind doors, constantly sniffing for a hint of something to hurt. Something to kill. Gray was convinced the vile creature would pick up the scent of his considerable fear and, but after what seemed to be an agonizing hour-long survey of the mess decks, the Eldar finally reached the far door. Gray felt the weight of his terror fall from his shoulders as the fiend opened the door and cautiously stepped through the threshhold.
Just as Gray began to exhale, the Eldar suddenly burst back into the galley, his evil gaze fixed on the disposal unit. The terrifying realization that the fiend MUST have heard his hasty retreat settled over Gray like a shroud. The excruciating inspection had been a ruse. The Eldar slowly began to advance towards the unit, slowly drawing a long curved blade from itâ€™s sheathe. He purred wickedly as he advanced, accompanied by an unnearving squeal as he scraped his blade across each table he passed. Gray had to look down to confirm that the knife was still in his sweaty hand, his fingers had went numb. â€śPlease, please, If you can hear me, I need youâ€? he silently prayed to no one in particular.
Someone answered his plea.
At that moment Long Jean crashed through the galley door, soaked in blood from head to toe. He looked around wildly and with a maniacal scream, launched himself at the stunned Eldar. From his hiding place Gray could see that John had suffered several grievous wounds. There were several deep gashes across his arms and neck, and he seemed to be missing an ear and several fingers. Gray sat motionless as the Eldar deftly sidestepped John's clumsy attack, and drove his blade deep into the chest of the affable cook. As he slumped over the arm of his killer, Jean's eyes briefly locked with Gray's, the vaguest shadow of a smile scrawled across his lips. Jean had escaped. With a knowing wink, he died.
A wave of anger washed over the lad as he watched the last flicker of life slip from Jean's once expressive eyes. In a blind rage, Gray clambered from his hiding place, and with a shrill screech, jumped onto the back of the encumbered Eldar. He began hacking blindly at the face and shoulders of the Dark Elf, but his would-be victim simply grabbed the boys arm, and and in one smooth motion dropped to a knee, and flipped the boy over his shoulder. Gray landed on the bloody deck with a thud, disoriented by the force of the impact. Before he could begin to get to his feet, he was suddenly blinded by a white light as the Eldars studded fist came crashing down across the boys face. A sickening wet crunching sound resounded in Gray's head as his nose and right orbital socket were crushed, and through the blinding pain, he could vaguely hear a satisfying chuckle from somewhere above him. The last thing he saw was the blurry shape of the Eldar's face, blood pouring from several deep wounds on his face and neck.
Gray took comfort in the damage he had done, satisfied with the way he would die. As he faded into the black void, he was glad this thing called life was finally at an end, that he may again see his dear mother.
Fate would not be so kind...
are you going to write more? or is that it . id like you to write more because that was very entertaning
Thank you. I appreciate the comments, thanks for taking the time to read and respond...Originally Posted by concon360
My original outline called for three parts, so there is much more in store for our young freind. As I write, the story gets bigger and bigger, so this may eventually be four or five chapters, depending on the interest.
wow, that's good! I'm looking forward to reading more about the boy, good job!
Great story, can't wait for more!
Originally Posted by Brett on Quidditch[ 1500pt. Chaos List, C&C! ]
-=W: 2 -D: 0- L: 3=-
I'm sorry I missed this when you posted it, its very good. Looking forward to the next installment. Your writing style is great, you make your fluff read very easily.
My Blog: http://thepaintingpauper.blogspot.com
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where is the rest?
i can't wait to read it
really great job on the story, wel done:yes:
"Ask not the Eldar a question, for they will give you three answers; all of which are true and terrifying to know"
Thanks alot for the kind words, these comments really make me motivated to continue. I'm currently doing a good deal of research for part II, it's important to me that this fluff be consistent with current lore. Should be up within a couple weeks, sorry for the delay.