Ok, a few bits of a thing I'm trying to write, based around a daemon-host. Whaddya think?
It felt the insistent tug on the warp, created by a summoning. It could tell that while it itself was not the focus of the summons, a nearby entity was.
It found the focus of the summons, slew it, took its place. As it was drawn into the physical plane, it could see those performing the dread ritual. The fools. They had no idea what they were doing.
Somewhere, deep inside itself, it smiled. The mortals would once again bow before it, or perish.
I slumped, my energy drained by the summoning. The host just sat there, unmoving. This was unusual. Normally they would scream, or thrash around, or, if something went wrong, explode. But this one did... nothing. Nothing at all.
I checked the psychic augurs. There was no increase in the host’s warp-presence, nor did it seem to be producing psychic emanations of any kind. The bio-monitors showed much the same. Nothing had changed.
Even at this early stage of possession there should have been some preliminary mutation. The psychic augurs should have been able to detect the daemon’s presence in the human body.
I frowned. I had felt some...change, some form of disturbance halfway through the ritual. Perhaps I had simply failed to summon the daemon.
But, no. I had sensed something enter the host body. It must be there, in hiding.
I peered over at the host. He had been a young man, slender, fine-featured. He had brown hair. His eyes were closed.
He opened them. I stumbled back in shock. They had turned milky white, with no pupil or iris.
That proved it. He had been possessed. The eyes are almost always the first sign. The windows into the soul, my master had once called them.
I spoke. ‘Bar’athas, daemon of the blood-god. You killed my master. Now I will have my vengeance.’
The thing smiled. It spoke, the voice low and husky, the words faltering. ‘I...am not...him.’
‘You lie, foul creature! I summoned you. I know your name.’
‘My kind...does not...lie. Surely you know that...Mikael’
I blanched. ‘How do you know my name?
‘I...know all. But back to...your first...subject. I...did not...lie. I...am not
‘Then who are you? What is your name?’
‘I...have...no name. And you ask...the wrong...questions. It is not who...I am...that concerns you. It is...what
I sighed. The creature had an odd inflection to its words, not quite an accent. It was beginning to irritate me. But still, I admit, it had made me curious.
I moved closer. ‘Very well. What
I leaned closer, intrigued by this creature. Besides the wards were all up, and the summoning had been binding. It could not harm me.
Then the daemon-host’s hands wrapped themselves around my throat and pulled me close to it.
The illusion broke. The psychic augurs were screaming. The bio-monitor lay smoking on the floor, the burnt and broken remains of blessed chains and seals beside it.
The thing whispered in my ear. ‘I...am... the Lord...of Hosts. And I...have come...again.’
Its hands tightened around my neck. Distantly, I was aware of burning pain, and then a sickening snap as the thing shattered my spine. Then the darkness came.
I was sitting playing cards with Jerek and Blayne when it started. An alarm siren pierced the air with its discordant screams. We dropped the deck, grabbed our hell-guns. The tone of the alarm’s wail told us where the emergency was. Inquisitor Mikael’s private chamber. Bloody fool had probably burnt himself with a hair-straightener or something.
Still, an alarm was an alarm, and seeing as we were his storm-troopers, we were paid to check it out. We ran down the corridor leading to his rooms, getting closer with every second.
We reached the door.
It blew up in our faces.
I woke up to see black smoke billowing through the corridor. I yelled out to see if anyone had been hurt. ‘Jerek! Blayne! You guys okay?’
Jerek’s voice answered my shout. ‘I’m fine. Blayne was knocked out, but he’s coming round. You come and keep an eye on him. I’ll go check on that fool Mikael.’
I walked across to where I had heard his voice. Blayne was sitting up against the wall, one hand pressed to his side. I heard him mutter something about broken ribs. Jerek walked towards Inquisitor Mikael’s chamber as soon as he could see me approaching through the smoke. I followed his progress, my hell-gun’s targeter scanning the area in front of him as best it could.
When he was about two yards from the door, I registered something moving slowly, just inside the room. I thought about what it might be. It was probably just the inquisitor, dazed by the explosion. Then again, it might not be. Memories of inhuman screaming, lupine howling and a sound like the roaring of an angry god assaulted my mind. We had all heard the sounds coming from the inquisitor’s chambers late at night. God-Emperor only knew what he had kept in there.
I used my helmet’s vox-system to speak to Jerek.
++Jerek, there’s something moving in there++
++Okay. You got a visual?++
++Negative. It’s probably just Inquisitor Mikael. But be careful++
I saw him go in the doorway. He had his vox-unit set to broadcast.
++Inquisitor Mikael, are you there?++
His helmet’s audio-sensors picked up the reply and patched it through the vox-unit to my helmet.
I frowned. It certainly sounded like Mikael. But it wasn’t quite right. I contacted Jerek via the vox once again.
++Jerek, can you send me that audio message again? I want to run it through voice recognition++
++What audio message?++
++The one you just sent me. What are you, a geshing idiot?++
His reply made me freeze up with fear.
++I didn’t send you an audio message. What in the name of the God-Emperor are you talking about?++
I thought, quickly. If Jerek hadn’t sent me the plea of the person in the room, it must have been inserted into my mind, psychically.
++Jerek, get out of there! Whatever’s in there isn’t Mikael. It’s a psyker of some kind. You know he hates them++
Such... a clever...little...man. What...a pity...that...you...must...die.
Something flew through the smoke, hitting the wall with a snap reminiscent of breaking bones. I looked, then turned away. It was Jerek, or what was left of him anyway.
I ran. Behind me I could hear Blayne, screaming curses at me, damning me for abandoning him. Some part of me wanted to go back, to help the man, but the part of me I could never control, the animal inside me, told me to run.
I listened to it.
Soon, Blayne’s shouts of rage turned to agonized screams. They went on and on, for far longer than they should have, given the sickening, wet, tearing noises that accompanied them. Those screams haunted me for many months after. They haunt me still.
The first indication I had that the creature that had killed my companions was following me was when I was seized from behind, and thrown against the wall, hard. I felt my left arm break along with a couple of ribs. I slid down to the floor.
Then I saw it. It had been a young man, of average height, with a slim, graceful build. His hair was brown, mostly straight, but wavy in a few places. His arms were stained with bright, arterial blood from the elbow down, and there were more smears around his mouth. His eyes were pure white.
But his face. His face was formed into a mask of pure horror, as if he was terrified and ashamed by the things he had just done. Suddenly, he knelt down beside me and took my head in his bloodied hands. I tensed myself, ready for the end, but instead the thing held me close, cradled me like I was a child. It looked down at me and spoke, said something in a language I couldn’t comprehend.
Funny thing is, it sounded a lot like my name.
Then it picked me up. As it began to walk down the corridor, towards the shuttle bay, I passed into blackness.
When I awoke, everything had changed.
I was in an old, abandoned ruin or something. There was a fire blazing in a corner. I couldn’t see any fuel. I turned my head.
The thing was there. I scrambled backwards, trying to get away from the creature that had killed two of my friends and probably my boss as well.
When it saw my fear of it, it held its hands up and started spouting words without any meaning. I sure as hell didn’t know what language it was speaking. It certainly wasn’t Gothic. When it realized I didn’t understand a word it was saying, it paused, then said something I could understand. A name.
As much as this thing scared the tath out of me, I was curious.
“You’re after Peter? No, no, see, Peter’s in Squad Alpha. I’m
from Squad Omega.”
It looked at me, the expression on its face questioning. Then it closed its eyes, and I stiffened as I felt it edge its consciousness against mine. Images flowed through me. A plain of brass. Beautiful gardens filled with irresistible fruits. A room, the walls melting and then reforming, each time giving a view to a new place through a massive window.
A figure, hooded, cloaked, and carrying a scythe dripping slime.
As it pulled its mind back, I saw one last image. A little boy, his eyes turned pure white, surrounded by, and speaking to, a group of robed men with beards.
It opened its eyes and looked at me again, this time with a sort of understanding.
“Petar. Not Peter. And yet so very like him.” It leaned closer, still speaking, “I wondered why you could not understand the old tongue.”
“The ...old tongue?”
It turned away. “Never mind. You are not him. I should not have spared you. It was weak.” It whispered to itself quietly, its voice barely audible over the flames. “Love does not strengthen, but only enfeebles. What’s done is done. I will not give way to the past again.
It spun around once, and clapped its hands. It seemed to have come to a decision. “Very well. You’re here, that’s all that matters. A companion to share the journey with. We shall begin...tomorrow!”
Part of me snapped. Maybe I’d been a bit shocked by this thing. “What ‘journey’ are you talking about? And how in the name of the God-Emperor did you manage to get us out of the Inquisitional fortress?”
It didn’t like that. The second the name of the Emperor passed my lips it jerked back, as if stung. Then it picked me up, set me on my feet and turned me around. The sight before my eyes froze me to the spot.
It whispered in my ear. “Don’t say that name, or I will kill you. Just like I killed every man, woman, and child in that god-damned place.” I didn’t answer. My mind was still trying to take in the implications of what my eyes were seeing.
We weren’t in an old, abandoned ruin. This ruin was fresh. In front of me was a half-kilometre high mountain of rubble, with some pieces allowing me to understand that I was standing in the ruins of the Inquisitional fortress. I had seen the walls of this place withstand the assault of an elder phantom titan, and the thing standing behind me had taken the entire place to pieces. And judging from the condition he was in, it hadn’t been that hard for him either.
I looked closer. What I had thought were smaller pieces of rubble were bodies. All of them pretty much torn apart. There was something strange, something methodical in the way they were laid out.
I squinted, tracing the outline the bodies formed. An arc here, an arrow there. I began to feel dizzy, my mind clouding over.
I’m not normally one for fainting, but I made a habit of it that day. I blacked out.