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Hey all. For those of you about to read this i suggest you read the Trial of Ska (The Trial of Ska) first. It is the prologue to what I hope becomes an ongoing series. Feel free to give any feedback. Hopefully I've removed any typos from this story. Hope you enjoy! (And yes, I know it is very long.)
Galaxy's Edge: Prophecy
Deneste Ska’s body floated in darkness, isolated from all, suspended forever. He could feel nothing. Not warmth, not cold. He could see nothing but the darkness. Nothing could save him. Madness began to overcome him and reality began to shift.
Gaping holes in the darkness tore wide open and grinning pits of fire and warp spilled through. The fires mocked him. The fires laughed hysterically. Deneste knew not why they laughed, but only knew that the laughter was directed at him. They circled around him, the spun up and down. When the fires reached him, they did not burn him. Instead, the fires turned into tight ropes that wrapped around him. The ropes incased him into a cocoon, and then spun him out. He was thrown up and down, side to side by the ropes. They pulled him apart, and put him back together again.
Just as Deneste could take no more, the ropes recoiled back, for they were no longer ropes, but small children. They pointed in utter horror. They began to run from him, but it was as if their legs had no traction. If anything, they came closer to him. One by one the children burned, one by one in front of his eyes. Their screams and cries to the Emperor were lost on deaf ears. All Deneste could do was stare down at his hands and see the children’s faces scream in agony on the palms of his hands as their essences went into him, saturating his hunger.
He was walking alone now on a cobblestone path. He looked at the sky. Needles fell from unseen clouds. They poured down around him and upon him, piercing the ground and his flesh. As his skin began to disappear under the current of sharp metal, he came upon the top of a hill and looked below him to see a world devoid of hope. Lunatics roamed the streets screaming of the end, people mutilated themselves with knives and fire, and people talked to inanimate objects as if they were long lost friends.
He looked around; searching for something, anything that had a sign of light, anything that had… the light within them. He found nothing but despair and madness. Soon, he came upon a great chasm.
That voice, it sounded familiar, this voice that foretold what was to come. No matter though, what would find next?
At first, nothing appeared, but soon, creatures sprung forth from the ground, hideous mutants that whined and screeched. They were pathetic little creatures that clung onto his ankles. They began to climb up his legs. They clawed at him, bit at him, tried to pull him down. His body became covered, covered by dirty little freaks of nature that smelled of ash and bile. The creatures pulled him down. He lied there, as the creatures dragged him into the ground. Once again, there was darkness.
“Why what? Who are you?” Deneste asked, though he showed no sign of interest, like the words coming from his mouth were programmed.
“You know who I am, do you not?”
“I do. You are me.”
He floated there, suspended in animation, not caring about what would happen to him next. He was near lifeless. His stoic eyes glazed over as he tried to deafen the next voice.
“Boy, boy? We have to talk. More is at stake than you know, boy? You must listen.” This was no longer his own voice, but that of a young girl, five, maybe six.
“It does not matter. Leave me be. Do not disturb me.”
“Boy, this will not do. Too much is at stake. There are certain matters you must be informed of. You are still young and naïve. There is still hope though. You are not lost Deneste Ska, I believe in you. I believe in you…”
As the voice faded away, Deneste tried to understand. “Believe in me?” he whispered softly to himself.
“The League has failed Deneste. We must retreat and regroup. Things are different now.”
“Aare? Aare, my master, is that you?”
“It is. Listen to me Deneste, the League has fallen. We must retreat and regroup.”
“Of course the League has fallen. I knew it all along. You never listened to me master. I tried…” Deneste fought back tears, “I tried so hard to make you listen. You would not. You believed in a dream. It would have never worked. If only you had listened…”
“Deneste, I have one more favor to ask of you.”
Deneste heard nothing as once again he felt all alone. He drifted through nothingness. Nothingness was a unique place. You felt nothing, you heard nothing, you saw nothing, and you could do nothing.
Suddenly, everything went out of control. Deneste could feel his head throb as he plunged into a river of pure warp powers. It devoured him. He felt his soul disappear. He became one with the river of warp. He was the warp, it was him. He was no longer whole, but merely a part of the river. It flowed and flowed until it reached the ocean of the galaxy. That is when he knew he had an audience with the Monster.
He could not see the Monster, but he could feel its presence. What evil sorcery hid it form Deneste, he did not know. He could hear it though. It breathed, it breathed heavily, like a starving, thirsty, and exhausted beast. It breathed heavier and heavier until it was right next to Deneste, yet he still could not see it.
The galaxy disappeared and he was alone, but this time in an open field, face to face with a twisted life from.
“DRAAL NIR SHALAVAR!” its mouths within mouths with a mouth echoed. “KROR DRAN KSHLAT ZHEN.”
“Who are you,” Deneste demanded as his eyes narrowed.
The creature continued its ranting, “GHOWSHU CHOLCH YURSEN. GUYYE DRAN SHEN FIRI KOR.” It continued to go on with its hateful ranting. It spoke gibberish until finally it spoke one simple message in a language Deneste could understand. In an angry, chilling, cacophony it spoke, “Reliance.”
Deneste woke up, calmly. This dream had been relatively mild. At least he did not slaughter everyone he cared for this time, only a pack of children he had never seen before. He was not placed in a sea of pure salt and had his eyes melt. The only unusual thing about this dream was the end. He had not seen the hateful creature before. He thought on the gibberish it spoke. It did not sound familiar to any language he had heard before. He had never seen a creature like it before. It had pale gold skin that was covered in blue robes? What was it? Deneste mused that perhaps he was going mad, but knew that he had gone mad a long time ago. He looked over to his side, Katherra, was staring at him with her usual emotionless stare.
“I only have nightmares. You know that.”
“The Inquisitor was not able to cure it?”
“No. He was only concerned with executing me. If only he knew of my dreams, he would have realized that the torture he forced upon me while I was conscious was a luxury compared to my world when I slept.”
“You had hoped he would be of some service.”
“He was. I learned of how little the Imperium was aware of the League, and of Aare. I doubt the Imperium will ever be a problem to us. They have their hands full.”
“You said that his fires of purgation might be able to cleanse some of the taint within you. You said his sacred oils and Emperor-bound sorcery might have been able to purge you of your nightmares.”
“I did say that. I thought it would be enough. It was worth the risk of allowing him to capture me. I have to admit, by using an untouchable, he made it far easier for me to act like the prey, but in the end he failed me.”
“Why did you spare him?”
“I do not kill needlessly. You know that as well. How much longer until we return home?”
“Two more Earth days. We will be at Reliance before the Carnival.”
“Yes Reliance, our capital city of our kingdom. It should be an interesting Carnival this time.”
“It always is.”
“Yes, I suppose that is so,” yawned Deneste, “but then again we are trying to start a kingdom here at the edge of the galaxy. Here there are horrors unknown to the rest of galaxy. Refugee xenos, banished warp deities, and far worse can be found in all of the shadows of our home.”
“You will be there to stop them though. You are the light which will brighten up the Divine Kingdom.”
“No, not really. I am just a fool with a fool’s dream. The light we find is the light we have in ourselves.”
“I have no light in me.”
“Keep saying that, and it may just come true.” With that, Deneste was back asleep. Katherra paused for a moment to look around the room at the others who were asleep aboard the Tranquility. She then turned back, and stared at Deneste once again as he slept.
The Tranquility landed. Its quiet engines became completely silent as the ship shut down completely. Men, women, and cargo came out of the ship, ready to have their feet on their home world once again. The entire trip had taken two weeks. Most would think to travel so far so fast would be impossible, but the citizens of the Divine Kingdom knew that Deneste, lord of them all, could achieve the impossible. His knowledge of the warp was more of an art than a science, an art that Deneste had mastered.
His fleet no longer resembled the Imperium ships they were created from. Weird designs, sleek features, and engines powered by an unknown force baffled all but Deneste and the techpriests whom Deneste had put in charge of manufacturing the ships and their mysterious fuel.
Deneste and Katherra walked outside and let the white sun shine rays on them. Deneste stretched out his arms and his wings in the sunlight. Many of the crew admired the two as they both seemed to be happy. The crew thought the two to be the happiest people in the world. They were strong, gifted, and had carved a magnificent kingdom that would aspire to glory. They knew so little of Deneste and Katherra.
“I see that the city is growing faster than ever. What is that dome in the distance?” asked Deneste, admiring how the city still prospered, more than ever.
“It is the new gymnasium. The people wanted to include a number of games in their Carnival.”
“I see. I am quite impressed.”
“Nothing gets past you, does it?” Deneste paused for a moment. “No, I am not impressed. It is exactly what I would have expected. I pulled together the greatest minds in the galaxy from all different species to work together. Transportation, economics, agriculture, and everything else are performing at peak performance. More importantly, the will of the people, our people is ever supportive.”
The two stopped as they were greeted by Aetius, Arch-Commander of the legions. The man was once an Astarte, one who was a lone survivor from a random encounter with Aare. An entire company of his brothers had fallen mercilessly to Aare. Deneste could never let the marine return to his chapter. He knew far too much. So, Deneste took Aetius in and made him into the man that was standing before them.
“My Liege, you are requested to speak before the new recruits.”
“How many were recruited into this legion Arch-Commander?”
“The full 500,000 my Liege,” bowed Aetius. At first, the proud Astarte had been troublesome. He continuously had tried to escape until he had first accompanied Deneste on the battlefield. Although Aetius was suppose to stand idly by and learn by watching the battle from afar, he rushed in recklessly.
The enemy they were fighting that day was known to them as the Banra. The Banra were tall, lean, muscular fiends known for their martial skills in close combat. Aetius without his armor and war gear was outmatched and out skilled. When a Banra priest came after him with a daemon blade, Aetius saw his end. Deneste saved his life as he brought his fury against the priest and vaporized the creature. As Aetius knew, his lord was powerful against any foe, but against another psyker, he was invincible.
Aetius owed Deneste a life debt and broke all ties from his former chapter. He pledged his entire servitude to serve Ska, wherever he went, whatever he did.
“Excellent. Then let us make haste. Tell me Aetius, will they be here for the Carnival?”
“They leave for the front the next day.”
“Good to hear. Let them celebrate.”
In seconds, a car pulled up to pick the three champions of the people. The swift metallic vehicle hovered over the cobblestone path as it sped towards the inner city.
The city was paradise. There was no unemployment, there was no poverty. The people worked as one, each performing his or her duty to their fullest. People had leisure time, which most used for healthy habits such as reading and exercise. The people in the Divine Kingdom were safe. The war was far away from them. No Ork offensive had come even close to this world, let alone the city itself. Buildings stood half a mile high. Breathtaking sculptures of Deneste and his best warriors could be found in all areas of the city. Large paintings portraying the victories against the Banra and the first Ork-held world were depicted on large banners. Beautiful flora grew in all corners, tamed animals roamed the streets and provided comfort or labor to anyone who caught their attention. The Divine Kingdom was a resounding success. It was unfortunate that the Imperium would never know the secrets to what made it all possible. It was a shame that the Imperium would never know of its location or its existence. Uthrin de Loire, the Inquisitor whom Deneste had hoped would purge him of his nightmares would seem like a babbling fool to his peers. Talks of kingdoms and conspiracies would fall on uncaring ears. Uthrin, a poor fool.
Everywhere he looked he could see peace and serenity. Families had picnics in wondrous parks. Music could be heard from the schools. He noticed a man under water in a lake. As they passed he asked Aetius what the man was doing.
“Probably testing the new underwater breathing equipment. They developed a gum that when chewed, can slowly produce the oxygen one needs for ten minutes.”
Deneste nodded as they continued. Another asset that set the Divine Kingdom apart from the Imperium is that new technologies were created weekly. Even if the Imperium knew of these technologies though, they would have no way to mass produce most of the discoveries his scientists had made. The material was too rare, or the process too expensive. Money here was not an issue as the entire city took care of itself. No business left out to dry, no family allowed to go without their four daily meals, and not one public service was unused.
“Tell me Aetius, how goes the front line?”
“We are in a stalemate my Liege.”
“For what reason? We had been steadily advancing on all their positions.”
“They have a new leader. His name is Big-Head Bug-Eyes. He is a psyker my Liege.”
“With a name like Big-Head Bug-Eyes, I would assume so.”
They arrived at a mighty fortress. The car was stopped and they walked out to enter the large doors. The hall was lit brightly. Tapestries hung from the ceiling, displaying the seal of the Divine Kingdom. Three curved lines, the two on top curved down, the one on the bottom curved up. The flags proudly displayed the dark red, white, and grey colors of the kingdom.
The three walked up a flight of stairs. Silent armored guards stood motionless on either side. Though they showed no signs of emotion, Deneste could feel their awe to be in his presence. Deneste thought it was a pity. He had no expectation to live forever, and there would come a day when his kingdom would have to survive without its founder, its false god.
One more set of gold, ornate doors blocked the way. It depicted the final battle when his forces had finally destroyed the Banra on this world. Deneste hoped the chaos worshipping xenos were gone for good, but somehow he doubted it.
Aetius knocked on the door. The loud banging echoed through the hall behind them. After the fourth knock, Aetius stopped and they waited until after a few moments the doors slowly opened on their own. They walked onto a balcony and before them stood the newest Ska Legion.
Deneste’s eyes scanned this newest legion. Drur elites stood side by side with Joza scouts. Men from the desert world Viir’Sol were next to a small detachment of Warp Drifters assigned to the legion. If it were not for the three arch tattoo and the distinguishing colors of their uniforms, they would have seemed to be a sloppy mess in regards to unity. Warp spawn beasts waited anxiously as their riders calmed them down. Hulking mutants straightened themselves up, some larger than fifteen feet tall. In fact, only the Mord, the small, vicious grey devils whom the kingdom relied so heavily upon seemed not to give praise to Deneste’s arrival.
Deneste began to speak. His voice could be heard clearly from the back, yet seemed soft and pleasant to Aetius and Katherra. Deneste’s ability to manipulate his voice was but another simple skill that made leadership far easier for him than for any other man.
“Soldiers of the 24th Ska Legion, I commend you!” He could here as 500,000 soldiers cheered at his approval. They quickly silenced themselves and Ska continued. “Soon, you will be sent to the front line. It has been brought to my attention that your fellow brothers and sisters in arms have had difficulties against the evil Big-Head Bug-Eyes.” Many in the legion began to chuckle as Deneste smiled and continued. “There, you will face the savagery of the Snakebite Orks known as Da Red Toofs. Their next offensive will crash upon your lines and will disperse. It will be at that moment that I will personally slay the Ork leader.” At this point the legion was in frenzy. After all, their glorious leader would be there with them. They would prove their worth to him in front of his very own eyes. “Train long, train hard. In three days time though, you are ordered to relax, to go crazy, and to do what you will during the Carnival, for we leave the next day. Take this time to question your values and to determine what it is you fight for. Divinity triumphant!”
With that Deneste turned and walked away to the chanting of “SKA! SKA! SKA!” shouting behind him.
“Divinity triumphant?” Katherra asked.
“It has a good ring to it. Anything that lacks my name will do.”
Deneste could feel his skin melt and his internal organs exposed to an arctic breeze. The organs shivered, as if they each had a mind of their own. Uncaring, Deneste still trudged through the snow. He moved on cold muscles and an exposed skeletal frame.
Spirits came from the sky and replaced his skin. He could feel their torment, their pain. They had each led a virtuous life, but had been left to suffer in the warp. Innocents who had been faithful, sent into the depths of hell. Tears of blood ran down Deneste’s face at this thought.
The tears continued to come down until the sky itself poured burning tears of blood onto the snow. The ground beneath Deneste melted and he sank deeper and deeper until he was completely submerged. He lost his sense of direction. Which way was up? Which way s down? It was unknown.
He could feel daemonettes stroke his body as they swan past him. There was no mistaking that feel. Fighting the Slaaneshi cultists had given him a few opportunities to fight the beauties. He used to sport a few scars from them until the day he no longer had scars. At least, not physical ones.
“Boy, boy? What are you doing now? What are you trying to accomplish?”
“Go away,” said Deneste with no feeling behind his words.
“Boy, we must talk. There are matters you must be aware of. You are not ready yet. The galaxy depends on you. You must listen to me…” The voice faded away.
“Aare, are you there?” Deneste asked. He did not care, but on many occasions he had the chance to speak to his master. Only silence responded until he felt his body disperse into billions of atoms.
The atoms soared through the galaxy until they reached the city of Reliance. Then, he was once again face to face with the creature from the other day.
“DRAAL NIR SHALAVAR. KROR DRAN KSHLAT ZHEN.”
“Enough with your ramblings, what do you want?”
“GHOWSHU CHOLCH YURSEN. GUYYE DRAN SHEN FIRI KOR.”
“Is this more than a dream?”
“Carnival,” is all the creature replied with.
Deneste woke up in his bed. Golden sheets covered his nude body. He got out of bed and looked outside his window, down at Reliance. It was the morning of the Carnival. The events would not take place until dusk came. He could see two miles below him with complete clarity as children began setting up stands and the parents laughed and discussed some of the previous Carnivals. This was only the sixth one, but it felt like an eternity ago when the first one was roughly ten thousand soldiers celebrating their final victory over the Banra.
He walked over to his closet and opened up two doors to reveal a whole new room filled with armor, weapons, costumes, disguises, and equipment. Today, he would not adorn armor though, not unless he had to. He picked out a simple formal outfit. It was made from silk-like material and slightly revealed Deneste’s built frame. Deneste had not once considered the path of other psykers to deny any physical labor. More than once Deneste required his skills beyond his incredible psychic powers. He considered doing some pull-ups that morning, but instead decided to use his psychic abilities to strengthen his muscles physically. It was irony, but it allowed him more time to perform his duties as a ruler and occasionally as a phony Inquisitor of the Imperium.
He opened the door to see Katherra standing right there, waiting for him.
“I asked you check up on all the agents’ progress.”
“Most are ahead of schedule. A few are on track. Only Choltz, the Joza spy, is behind. Apparently the Orks have hired some mercs. He is currently trying to determine the impact this will have on Da Red Toofs.” Katherra was not only Deneste’s right hand, but she also was in charge of the single most important group in all four worlds of the Divine Kingdom, the agents. They were anything from scouts to slaughter machines. They were sent on the most difficult assignments and succeeded. The Divine Kingdom would never come under attack with less than a months warning. No enemy force was going to be fought without its strength pre-determined. No capable enemy leader would live long enough to test their skill against the Ska Legions.
“I want to ask you why you are not preparing for the Carnival but…”
“You know I have everything already taken care of.”
“Very well then, I will see you later tonight.” Deneste knew she wanted to spend time with him this morning, but he could never let it be. She was in love with him. Although she displayed it in the strangest ways; awkwardly staring at him, always being ready to kill anyone with a ten foot radius if they threatened him, questioning him in her seemingly emotionless voice. However, her feelings were obvious to him. He knew she loved him. She knew that he knew that she loved him. They both knew that he loved her too. The only thing that Katherra did not know was why Deneste refused to give them a chance. He never planned to tell her.
He took the elevator down the tower. He watched through the clear windows as the sun came up. He had a busy day this day. The first task of the day was particularly displeasing. He had to meet with the Overlord. Deneste sighed as he reflected on the last time they had spoken.
“Deneste Ska! I will rip your heart out and feast upon your people! You dare try to quell my wrath with your lies and trickery! Give me one reason why I should let you live!”
That had been one of the best meetings between the two. It was one Haven year ago, the day of the Carnival. It was because only during the Carnival would the Mord leader come out of his abyss and come to Haven, capital world of the Divine Kingdom.
The Mord were a cruel, vicious race. There were billions of them, maybe even trillions. They lived in deep caverns on their planet. Not only were they numerous, but the beasts they tamed were giants. Large creatures that resembled any number of horrid, terrifying mixtures of fangs and claws served in fear under their Mord trainers. Some looked like insects, others the undead, and a few looked like large daemons. The Mord came on in a great horde, their riders took the brunt of the enemy until they were swarmed with the main Mord onslaught. Deneste had been able to convince the Overlord to make a pact between the two by offering them a chance to leave their filthy rock of a world. Without the Mord, the Banra would have been victorious. Outnumbered and out strengthed, not even superior tactics would have won the day. In the final days of that war, the Mord swept up the Banra and devoured them. If only their race could be contained. However, the Mord were more bloodthirsty than the Orks, which was why he needed a hundred million of the creatures on the front line. The Overlord would not be pleased hearing this. Then again, the Overlord, leader of a backstabbing, untrustworthy, evil species had nothing to be pleased about. His own underlings would most likely be the death of him, unless Deneste thought he could ever do so himself without causing a war.
On Deneste’s request, his driver took him the scenic route. Deneste had the chance to watch a pond children were playing at. They had wooden boats which they raced. He glanced above him to see aircraft flying overhead, taking citizens from one side of the planet to the other. He envied his peoples’ lives. Though they had peace and security, a chance to live blissful lives, Deneste also wished that for himself. It would never be though. He was a monster, and did not deserve such peace.
“My Liege, we are almost at the Diamond Hotel.”
“Take me one more lap around the area,” replied Deneste. He would have to face the Overlord sooner or later, but he was in no mood so thought that later would be better.
In the dark room Deneste Ska could here grating laughter. It was mocking him, acting superior. He could barely see. He could feel it though, feel its malice. Deneste became illuminated and he could see in front of him a giant serpent with arms and legs. On top of it sat the Overlord.
“Bah! You dare shine light upon me! I slaughter thousands for less than that. Tell me why I shouldn’t have you crushed beneath pet’s foot?”
“Because you would never make it out alive.”
“Yes, of course. Now make it quick Ska, I have my world to attend to.”
“I want Mord reinforcements.”
“Five hundred million.”
“I will not give 500 million to act as shield to your puny forces.”
“Then how many would you be willing to spare?”
“You are joking Overlord. I am in no mood for games. You know the pact we made years ago.”
“You tricked me. You acted like I got better of deal. I planned to kill you when arrive for that crime, but maybe I let you live.”
“For what price?”
“I new leader of Divine Kingdom. You answer to me.”
The Overlord within a moment had a sword pressed up against his throat. “You listen to me Overlord, you will not be my master. Now, let us make a compromise.”
“Yes, do you not remember? That is when we make an agreement. Something in between what you want, and what I want.”
“What you suggest?”
“How about 250 million? No, I have an even better number. How about you give me only a hundred million?”
“Fine, but what about me in charge?”
“What about a promotion. You will become an official member of my inner circle.”
“I a part of your inner circle? Yes, that will do. Next year I want more though.”
“Then we will discuss it then.” Deneste removed his sword away from the Overlord. He stared into its cruel red eyes. Unlike his brethren, his skin was much lighter, almost pale, though it was still grey. It wanted Deneste to die. That was fine by Deneste. Another year and it would be harder for them both to live with the other.
The day went by slowly. Deneste had to meet with a representative of the Joza. Their Warchief was battling on the front line. This Joza was one of the lesser chiefs. His feral eyes and his bestial features did no justice to the intellect of the race. Though the Joza lived as savages, they did so by choice. The Joza discussed philosophy and herbal lore. They had lived peacefully until the Orks had come to their world. Now the front line, some Joza seeked refuge within the Divine Kingdom. The rest of them wished to be armed by their allies. Deneste was more than willing to accommodate both.
The Joza were concerned that too many of them were being lost in the war, but Deneste only had to remind the chief that it was their world that was being liberated and their death count was a far lower percentage wise than the Ska Legions.
“Percentages mean nothing to the Joza, Deneste. We are few in number. Every death of one of our own has a far bigger impact than a hundred human deaths,” said the Joza, its feral eyes staring at Deneste.
“Be careful to value one life compared to another Grevzh. I am in no mood for lectures about species superiority. If you must know, another legion and a hundred million Mord are setting off tomorrow at high noon. They will take the front line and if the Joza wish, they may take that time to mend their wounds. Now if you would excuse me, I still have other matters to attend to.”
The Joza prided themselves on their reasoning skills, but none had been able to pin Deneste down. That is what frightened the Joza about Deneste. Grevzh turned and left to give Deneste’s reply back to the Warchief. He had no need to celebrate, to indulge himself in debilitating rituals. Blood and honor was his code. The Joza needed freedom, not some… Carnival.
Deneste rushed to one side of the city to the other, and then back again. He had to help lift up a new monument to commemorate the city founders. The psyker in charge of the side project had gone ill, so it was up to Deneste to lift the giant, heavy piece of art.
He met up with the Council, a group of very old and intelligent humans and xenos, who were masters of economics and society. They were the ones who had helped Deneste create the perfect infrastructure of not only Reliance, the entire world of Haven, but all four worlds within the Divine Kingdom. Soon, it would be five.
The Council was very pleased with the information they received about the Joza home world. It had open space and many deep resource deposits that would come in handy for the battles to come. It was unknown what enemy forces were on the last three worlds to be conquered, but whatever was hidden, it would be far easier to dislodge them with enough materials to begin work on an armored legion.
Afterwards, he traveled outside the city to the observatory where he was informed that Tyranids had been spotted in the area. He made a mental note to himself to reach out to the Hive Mind the next day and see if they were in its path.
Finally, he talked to the Carnival’s head staff. He was relieved to learn that everything was prepared, some good news for once, and went back to his tower to change into his Carnival attire.
“Have you been waiting here for all this time?” Deneste asked Katherra as he passed her to go into his room.
“No, I had lunch earlier.”
Deneste ignored her and took off his attire. He knew she was watching him, but he did not care. If anything, he preferred it this way. He walked over to the closet, opened it up, and with a simple thought, his outfit floated towards him. He put it on and walked out of the room.
“That is all you are wearing?” she asked.
“Yes, it is.” He wore a white outfit. A shirt, vest, and pants were all he needed. He walked barefoot as was common, but not mandatory of citizens of Reliance. He wore no jewels, no crowns, no expensive one of a kind pieces of cloth. He could have, but felt it unnecessary. He did not need any of that to prove that he was the leader of this system.
Deneste turned to look at Katherra. He had noticed her new outfit as he walked in, but he had looked away before he could see too much of her. Her dress was a simple and black. It brought out her curves and clung to her skin. There was a white flower on her shoulder strap. Her hair was pulled up except for a few bangs, which she let curl downwards. She could have worn a hundred pounds worth of dress, gold, and jewels, but chose a simple dress instead.
“You decided not to wear the attire of royalty either I see.”
“I guess we are both fools then.” The two of them laughed for just a moment, but in that moment the weight on their shoulders was lifted. Deneste had to admit, they were both fools. They ruled over four worlds, soon to be five, yet both decided to forego the entourage, the gigantic costumes, and the pride.
The two went down in the elevator together. Although their relationship had been strained for a long time, ever since they had realized their feelings for each other and Deneste chose not to pursue it. However, tonight was the Carnival. Deep within the galaxy there were countless wars. Worlds were being destroyed. Murder, rape, torture, poverty, and countless other wrongs were saturating the stars with sorrow. In this tiny kingdom, in this tiny world, in this tiny world, everything was fine though.
“So tell me Deneste, the Overlord did not threaten your life too many times, did he?”
“Not as many as usual. I had to point my blade at his throat, but he complied.”
“Did you really have to use your sword?”
“No, but I wanted to.”
Rockets soared into the sky and exploded. Hearts, diamonds, figurines, stars, all sorts of designs illuminated the sky. The city was ablaze. People danced across the street. They let their inhibitions go with the wind. People sang and drank. They hollered and cheered. Children played games in every neighborhood. Old couples walked in the park together, remembering times less fortunate as they gave praise to Deneste and the world he had created for them. It was paradise.
Inside the great stadium athletes battled with one another. They pushed themselves to their limits, trying to outmatch and outmaneuver their foe. They leapt high into the air. They lifted great weights and heaved them into the air. The audience screamed for more. Whenever an opponent was bested, the winner would help them up and allow them a challenge for next year. Deneste and Katherra watched from high above on their private balcony.
“Can you see that woman over there, the one who can run faster than all the men?”
“Yes I can, but she is not nearly as inspiring as the gentlemen over to the right trying to wrestle down the Joza. If he is not careful, the beast will tie him in knots.”
“What fine soldiers they would all make.”
“Let us be fortunate that they are not needed. Besides, I recognize some of them from the new legion.”
Katherra did not question Deneste’s memory from the other day. She had been use to his seemingly perfect memory. “We could always use more soldiers.”
“We do not need them though. They can train and become stronger because they want to, not for survival. They are not common animals after all, bred for needless slaughter. This is not the Imperium.”
“I suppose you are right. After all, you are a human.”
“I came from human stock.”
Katherra reached for his hand, but he sensed it and moved his hand back. He turned to stare into her blue eyes. His heart pounded, his head became heavy, but he knew what would happen next.
“You look breath-taking tonight Katherra, just as you always do, but even more so tonight.”
“Do I?” Katherra asked. She asked him in truth to prove that he meant what he said.
“Let us walk together outside.”
Without attracting any attention they left, just as a human wrestled a flailing Joza to the ground. At that scene, the crowd became ballistic in amazement.
Deneste and Katherra traveled outside the city into an open field. They danced around as they gazed up at the stars.
“Do you know what I find amazing Katherra.”
“Besides you. The stars we see tonight are just light, that started off from their destination so long ago, far before either you or I existed. The sky we look at is an ancient galaxy, one that we know nothing of.”
“You talk of such grand ideas and thoughts. What about right here, right now? Does that not matter?”
“Of course it does. It always matters Katherra.” The two looked into each other, letting the power of the Carnival overcome them. Then the ground began to shake.
“DRAAL NIR SHALAVAR! KROR DRAN KSHLAT ZHEN! GHOWSHU CHOLCH YURSEN! GUYYE DRAN SHEN FIRI KOR!”
“Who are you” Deneste shouted as he covered up Katherra, protecting her from the dirt that had been thrown into the sky and came back down, raining on them. “What do you want!”
“Reliance. Carnival,” the creature said as it slid on unseen feet towards them. Its pale skin looked dead. His eyes burned yellow with malice. Its blue robes were covered with chaos runes. “Your blood will be the end of this paltry kingdom. Daemons will rain from the sky, cults will spread like wildfire, and the Chaos gods will have their way with you Deneste Ska.”
“Who are you?” Deneste repeated. His eyes lit up, his wings spread out.
“Zaphrael, Prophet of Chaos.”
“What do you want?”
“Your blood will destroy. This kingdom is doomed. None shall mourn its end. Peace is forbidden in this galaxy.”
“Your blood will destroy! This kingdom is doomed! None shall mourn its end! Peace is forbidden in this galaxy!”
Deneste gave a mighty war cry and launched a psychic assault upon the creature as he flew into the air. Lighting emanated from Ska’s hands as rage overtook him. The psychic arcs bounced harmlessly off an unseen shield. Deneste prepared for a second attack when Zaphrael pulled out a daemonic tome. Deneste realized what it was. It was a compellation of the plans of the Chaos gods. Only this creature could read from the text though, as it was a prophet to them. This creature was far older than the traitor marines. This creature was a harbinger of woe. It was a fissure in reality. The Prophet of Chaos before him was not wholly real. It was reality and illusion combined. It was a concept made real. There was only one other whom Deneste did not know if he could defeat, but he would try to defeat this being tonight.
“We will meet again Deneste Ska.” Zaphrael faded away, but not before it showed off his power. With his gaze, he brought Deneste crashing into the ground.
Katherra cried out his name and ran to his aid. She wept for him as she held his barely conscious body close. The sun began to rise, bringing the end of this year’s Carnival.
In a galaxy ripped apart by forces too powerful to comprehend, Deneste had wanted to create a new way of living. If only for a few, he wanted to create peace. He wanted to carve a kingdom where his followers could live. Now, a Prophet of Chaos claimed his dream would end by his own blood. Just another day in his life where everything seemed to go wrong. He was used to those days by then. One more enemy, one more obstacle. Tomorrow though, he would head off to the Joza home world, and crush to Ork hold on the planet.
In a few weeks I'll have the next installment, Galaxy's Edge: Front Line up.
I am heading off to the Peace Corps. It is bery likely I will not be back. Good luck to all of you endeavors.
i can't believe nobody's commented on this. it's a good read, definitely a bit different from the normal 40k fluff. i wasn't able to read it in full detail, since it is 4:30 in the morning, but from the bits i've read, i'd like to see more. good job man
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Wow, awesome story. I'm just about to read part 2, so expect some comments on that thread. Rep'd.
Originally Posted by Brett on Quidditch[ 1500pt. Chaos List, C&C! ]
-=W: 2 -D: 0- L: 3=-
imperialis has a point, that space marine did turn too quickly. space marines are normally indominatable, though some fall to chaos, but it really detracts from the story if the reason for his fall is weak. for example, horus' turning to chaos. that was drawn out well by the authors of the horus heresy miniseries. i'm not saying do what they did, because we don't want just another version of horus, but for further stories think of ways to enhance this point
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