Secret War: Warhammer 40,000

Chapter 14

It was early evening for Omnartus, but in this part of the hive, it may as well have been midnight, with the thick, black pollution blocking out any light emitted from the planet’s two hapless moons. It was raining as we walked to Glaitis’ building. The remaining eight soldiers and Torris escorted me, the Olinthre-thing, and Karmen Kons while Karmen led the way, chatting amicably with Torris the entire time.

I pushed my long, wet hair off my face and for a second seriously considered getting hair cut. I needed to talk with Karmen but was never allowed the opportunity. I suspected that Garrakson had left to talk to Vex about the printout.

Now I found myself inadvertently praising Olinthre for his foresight at leaving his men with Vex, but for a reason, the good major would never have thought. I could only hope they had followed Olinthre’s orders and not let Garrakson in, or if they didn’t that it wouldn’t escalate into a violent confrontation. In all honesty, I felt it would, Jeurat Garrakson was furious, not much was stopping him allowing his rage to override his judgement and to kill the Storm Troopers guarding Vex, that or they may have just let the well-respected veteran right through.

I didn’t like the amount of ‘hoping’ in that last sentence and that Karmen Kons had seemingly just utterly forgotten about it, perhaps she had an ace up her sleeve, or something again I could only hope she did.

I took another drag of my Lho stick and looked sidelong at the Olinthre-thing; It seemed just as impassive as always.

I sighed out smoke while we walked out of the alleyway and into the plaza outside of Glaitis tower. Karmen stopped and turned back to me, addressing me for the first time since out elevator ride, she said; “well I’m going to assume this ‘No One of Consequence’ is being held on the fifth floor, am I right Attelus?”

I nodded, slowly, fixing her with an intense stare, “yes, he is.”

Torris turned to me too, “any idea who or what will be guarding him?”

I shrugged, “I know that there are two permanent guards posted at his door. Otherwise, I’m not sure. last time I was there, five hours ago or so, both senior colleagues Hayden Tresch and Darrance were there, whether they’re there now is anyone’s guess.”

“Who are they?” asked Torris with a grimace indicating he already had an idea of what my answer was and that he knew wouldn’t like it.

And he wasn’t, “Hayden Tresch is a sniper, the best I’ve ever seen and like you, Torris an ex-arbiter. He’s also big, with a lot of strength and weight. While Darrance he’s small like me, and a master swordsman, but unlike me has a very liberal view on the use of combat drugs and on top of that wields a powerweapon, so all your armour is void.” I shook my head, “by themselves they are both extremely dangerous, but together, they have at least a centuries worth of experience between them, if either one is there, and you go in hostile, expect a hell of a lot of casualties, but if they’re both there...”

I let it hang, and looked over everyone, Karmen was scowling at me, Torris too while the Olinthre-thing had the slightest of smiles, “then you really should’ve brought more men,” I sighed.

“Yes,” growled Torris glaring at me under a hooded brow. “What do you suggest we do then? Send you in to talk to Glaitis? Do you think that would work?”

I shook my head, “no, I don’t think it would, but if you send in both Olinthre and me...”

“Wait!” interrupted Torris. “Why you and Olinthre? Why not just you?”

“Because it would lend precedence to the whole, “we now know you’ve been holding a senior member of Brutis Bone’s organisation without our knowledge or consent” claim if I have with me a high ranking...”

Karmen said, “But-!”

“And well known!” I interrupted through clenched teeth. “Member, of Taryst’s organisation to back it up, also I’m sure that Glaitis wouldn’t appreciate me bringing a psyker so near her without her express consent.”

Karmen glared at me angrily, she feared I would try to kill Glaitis, and I couldn’t blame her in all honesty.

I met her eyes; I swear Estella I won’t break my promise to you, I thought.

If she could read that she gave no sign, she still stared at me.

Torris frowned deeply and glanced from me to her and back, then sighed. “Well! Seems like a plan to me,” he said. “I can’t help wondering why we didn’t make it the first plan in the first place, but...I’m sure you have your reasons.”

He looked to Karmen, “well you’re the boss, so it’s you who decides, so which one? Sending the kid and the major in to negotiate or go in guns blazing and maybe, getting slaughtered to death.”

Torris grinned nervously, “I know which I like more.”

“Alright,” Karmen finally conceding it with an animal like growl.

I smiled and nodded to Karmen whose teeth grated in barely contained anger.

“Let’s go,” I said to the Olinthre-thing, beckoning it forward and we walked on, side by side toward the tower.

“You know,” It said once we were out of their earshot. “You are just getting better and better at manipulating people.”

I shrugged, “well, I did learn from the very best.”

“Ah! As did I,” It said.

I grimaced, “anyway I didn’t manipulate anyone, it was just mere logic, I just made sure it was brought out into the open. That’s what would happen if we did try to take No One of Consequence by force. I was telling the truth, and Torris saw that.”

Olinthre’s brow furrowed, “but that’s exactly what manipulation is, Attelus. Anyway, what Torris doesn’t know that Karmen or Estella, whoever she is, is worried that you will try to kill Glaitis. Attelus, now I would like to know where I stand on this, are you going to try to kill her when we get up there?”

I abruptly halted in my tracks; we were just about to ascend the steps to the main entrance and brushed my wet hair off my face again.

“No,” I growled. “I intend to keep my promise to Karmen, no matter what. I thought that went without saying.”

The Olinthre-thing raised an eyebrow, “you care about her, don’t you Attelus? And she seems to care for you too.”

“And let me guess,” I said. “You find that interesting, right?”

It grinned, “I would think that would go without saying, Attelus.”

I frowned, took the smoking Lho in between finger and thumb then threw it away. It was strange, I wasn’t scared, or angry, or anything, I was as calm as calm could be, despite the situation.

Slipping my hands into the pockets of my flak jacket, I began to ascend the stairs.

“Let’s just get this over and damn well done with,” I growled.

Side by side the Mimic and I exited the elevator.

Silently we walked down the corridor, me with my hands in the pockets of my flak jacket and another smoking Lho hanging from the corner of my mouth and It still in the form of Olinthre, It’s expression utterly devoid of any emotion.

I had expected the fear to appear as we ascended in the elevator. That it would come in a sudden rush, which would cause me to clench my teeth to fight it back, but still, I felt nothing even as we approached those glass doors and our footfalls echoed on the shining marble tiles. Just a clarity of mind, only an emptiness.

I have felt like this before, many times; in fact, it was the feeling I got when I was in a fight. I felt good, no more than good; I felt great. Despite how badly I ached all over.

Without a further word we shoved the doors open and stepped inside.

Of course, Glaitis was still in that room, with the cold black marble floor and stark white walls, which made for a harsh, almost unnerving, contrast to me. Behind her was a huge window made of reinforced one-sided glass, affording her a fantastic view of the dark, dank, depressing hive below. I have never seen her ever look out it before, which in all honesty I couldn’t blame her for and still, she sat, with her feet on her desk and reclining back in her chair while casually appraising a data slate.

“Ahh,” she said with false friendliness. “I see that you two have joined forces, young one, you seem to have a skill to gain allies in the most unlikeliest o-”

“Shut up.”

She was interrupted in mid-word, leaving her jaw hanging open slackly as she seemed to try to comprehend and I ignored the equally shocked look of the Olinthre-thing.

For a good six seconds, she was like that, her mouth working as she struggled for words.

“D-did you just...” She managed through clenched teeth; then a hideous smile suddenly curled her lips.

“Yeah, I just told you to shut up,” I confirmed softly. “I’m not in the mood for your small talk.”

She grinned and glared at me from under a hooded brow, a disturbingly familiar expression, that sent shivers up my spine despite myself.

“And pray tell, young one, why is that?” She queried, laying her elbow on the table and her heart-shaped jaw into the palm of her hand.

I clenched my teeth and clenched my fists, “because...” I trailed off.

“Because you’re angry aren’t you, young one?” she finished the smile somehow turning even more insane. “Because you are so full of rage and hatred? For what I have done? For what It had done?” She said, indicating the Olinthre-thing with a wave of her hand.

I smiled then began to laugh, I threw back my head and bellowed out at the top of my lungs, and Glaitis and the Olinthre-thing’s confused expressions made me laugh all the harder. I even laughed so hard that when I finally finished, I had to wipe tears away with my forearm.

“N-no, it’s not that,” I giggled, as I saw Glaitis glare at me, her jaw twitching with barely contained rage. “It’s not that at all.”

“What is it then!” Glaitis demanded as she angrily slammed her hands onto her desk

“No Glaitis, It’s not because I hate you, I don’t hate you,” I said, and my face hardened. “How can I hate you, when you aren’t even worth hating in the first place.”

Glaitis’ eyes widened, and for a few seconds, we stood silently our attentions locked.

I smiled, about to continue when the Mimic finally chose to intervene.

“Mamzel!” It cried, stepping between us. “W-we have much to report.”

That made me grin all the more, “yes, yes we do indeed.” I agreed.

“Yes, I am...sure, that you have much to say,” she said haltingly.

I sighed, “well, where should we start, eh Xenos?”


“I know,” I interrupted. “Let’s start right at the top, right at the meat of the issue, shall we?”

“Your theatrics are beginning to get on my nerves, young one,” she growled.

I smiled, “only just now? You truly do have the patience worthy of sainthood.”

“Attelus,” said the Mimic warningly through clenched teeth.

“You’ve been outplayed, mamzel,” I said.

“What?” Glaitis growled.

“You’ve been outplayed and betrayed, Glaitis. Inquisitor Edracian is on Omnartus.”

Fear slowly crossed her face, that almost took my breath away with its potency.

“He’s here? Now? How?” she yelled.

I raised a mocking eyebrow, “you really didn’t know?”

“Tell me everything, child, tell me everything you know, now!”

I grinned, “as you wish.” Then I told her and enjoyed every second of it.

“F-Feuilt?” she stammered. “H-he was Edracian’s spy?”

“It seems so, yes,” I answered.

She sighed heavily and placed her face into the palms of her hands, “how was this not foreseen? I cannot believe this, how?”

I shrugged, not sure what to say, never have I ever seen Glaitis so pale and taken aback before.

“So you must see mamzel,” said the Mimic. “We must speak with the captive; we need to find Edracian, even if that means we must release him and ally with Brutis Bones.”

“D-do you really think that he would do that?” asked Glaitis. “He would ally with his enemies?”

“If we can convince him the circumstances have changed,” It said. “Maybe.”

I frowned and folded my arms, on that thought, why didn’t we ally with Brutis Bones in the first place? I sighed and shook my head, I could hazard many guesses on that but just couldn’t be bothered anymore.

“You-you still have the means to communicate with the Arbites and Magistratum leaders?” said Glaitis.

“Yes, mamzel and so does Karmen Kons.”

Glaitis rolled her eyes, “of course she does.”

I furrowed my brow and took a step closer to the desk, “the Adeptus Arbites and the Magistratum?”

“Yes,” said Glaitis. “They have been on Taryst’s payroll from the very start, that is why we have been able to work without their interference.”

The corner of my mouth twitched, I should’ve guessed that, frig it. Estella did mention earlier they had intercepted Brutis Bones because of the information was given to them from contacts inside of the Arbites and Magistratum.

“So what should I do about you, Attelus?” said Glaitis. “You have, for all intents and purposes, betrayed me.”

“And you had Elandria killed,” I growled. “I think we can just call us even.”

She moved so fast I never got any chance to blink let alone react, she was out of her seat, her fingers wrapped around my throat and she slammed me against the wall.

“No!” she roared right in my face as I gasped in vain for air and felt the stinging pain of her fingernails digging deep into my skin. “No! We cannot ever “call it even” child! I have had enough of your new found insolence! You have betrayed me, you have cooperated with our enemy, and I will not let this pass as I did with your incident with Vex Carpompter. You must face the consequences of your actions.”

My teeth clenched as the anger suddenly raged through me and with one violent tug I tore her hand from my neck.

“That...” I gasped and clutched the painful, forming bruise on my throat. “That...That is all I have been doing lately, master! Facing the consequences, the consequence of hurting Vex, the consequences of being too over berating to myself and forgetful! In all honesty, if I hadn’t cooperated with Edracian, we wouldn’t know what we know now.”

She just sneered and glared.

“Y-you taught me that I must do what I must to survive until the mission is complete, I was just doing as your teachings demanded, I did what I had to, too survive.”

“And that leads us to another question, Attelus,” said the Mimic. “Why did Edracian let you live when you know so much? Why didn’t he inject you with legitimate poison and just not give you the cure?”

I shrugged and sighed, why hadn’t I thought of that? “P-perhaps he’s already off world?” I ventured. “Or perhaps he’s just insane, frig. He certainly seemed to be, too me.”

“Or who is to say that he didn’t just have you injected with another poison?” said Glaitis. “One that is far slower to act.”

“Except for the aches and pains from the beating your pet Xenos dealt too me earlier and being barely able to breathe,” I said. “I feel fine.”

The Xenos’ punch came from nowhere, smashing into the side of my face, knocking off Karmen’s bandage and sent me stumbling, clutching at my already beaten and bruised face.

“Do not ever call me anyone’s ‘pet’, ever again,” It said dangerously. “Or so help me the beating I gave you before will be nothing compared what I will do to you, you understand, Attelus?”

My smile hidden behind my hand, hit the berserk button did I? I thought if only I’d known of this earlier.

It’s certainly something I could exploit in the future.

I slowly picked up my bandage and placed it back, then stood back up.

“Frig it!” I snarled with feigned anger. “Why is everyone hitting me today!”

“It’s because you deserve it, young one,” stated Glaitis as she returned to her seat.

I met the Thing’s anger ridden attention. “I’m sorry, ” I sighed. “I was wrong and idiotic; I shouldn’t have called you that, I apologise.”

Olinthre’s features just sneered and glared, in an exact echo of Glaitis before.

“So, you want to talk the man who named himself No One of Consequence, to try and get him to lead us to Brutis Bones. So you can negotiate an alliance to track down Edracian and stop him am I correct in that?” She said.

“Essentially, yes,” I said. “Assuming, of course, he isn’t off-world by now.”

She smiled without warmth and curled her fingers together in front of her face.

“He is still here, young one, of that I have no doubt.”

I raised an eyebrow and glanced briefly at the Mimic who looked back just as confused.

“And how the hell do you know that, mamzel?”

She shook her head and reclined back on her seat, now as smug as smug can be.

“It is pretty obvious, child, and explains why he let you live, this, quite simply, is a trap.”

My eyes widened, “what?”

Glaitis rolled her eyes and swivelled in her seat, “both us and Brutis Bones are his main enemies, we are the only ones who know of his conspiracy, we are the only ones trying to hunt him. He, obviously, like us, doesn’t know where Brutis Bones is so he is waiting for us to make an alliance so he can ambush and kill all his enemies while we are all together in one, convenient, location.”

I stood for a few seconds, my jaw working as I struggled to make my next sentence. Glaitis was right, damn it why hadn’t I thought of that?

“S-so what are we to do, mamzel?” stammered the Mimic.

She shrugged. “Why we are going to fall for it, not doing so would be...” She paused and smiled, “...Inconceivable.”

That jolted me out of my stupor, and I glared at her hard.

“We are?” asked the Mimic timidly.

“Of course!” she yelled abruptly, causing both the Mimic and me to flinch in fright. “We’ll play Edracian at his little game.”

“That’s still assuming he’s still planetside,” I growled. “He could’ve just left his mooks to ambush us and left.”

Glaitis sighed, “could you, just for once in your miserable life, trust me, young one. Edracian is on Omnartus, this I know without doubt. Now you can go back down to your friends waiting down in the lobby and tell them; they have my permission to talk to No One of Consequence, I will send word to Hayden, Castella and Darrance. You are both dismissed.”

The Mimic immediately turned to leave, but I still glared at her balefully, I had never mentioned of Edracian’s catchphrases during my report.

Did the Eldar tell her of them or was there something else behind it?

She just looked back, mocking me from behind her glasses.

“Uhh, Attelus?” asked the Mimic.

“Whatever,” I only growled and left without further word.

We stepped out of the elevator and into the black marble walled lobby to find everyone waiting for us, including much to my surprise, Garrakson and the two stormtroopers who Torris had sent to help him.

“Well, that took a while,” said Karmen without greeting. “Did you get permission or not?”

I only managed a slight nod, my attention on Garrakson, who strangely seemed his usual grim, unreadable self.

Standing next to Karmen, Torris frowned, “that a yes then, Attelus?”

I nodded again as Garrakson slowly approached.

“If you wondered where I was, kiddo, I was looking for medicae Feuilt,” said Garrakson and I could barely hide my relief. That would explain why Karmen Kons was so calm.

Or he could’ve met with Vex and was lying about it.

From now on I certainly had to keep an eye on Jeurat Garrakson. Perhaps it would have been a better idea just to have told the truth?

I wasn’t sure, but it was too late now, we’d lied so now I needed concern myself on how to reinforce that lie.

“And let me guess,” said the Mimic for me. “He was nowhere to be found?”

Garrakson grimaced and looked away, “yeah, I even checked the surveillance recordings, and got nothing. I don’t know what that implies, but it cannot be good.”

“A-and no sign of El’s body?” I asked haltingly.

Garrakson grimaced even more and shook his head, “nothing, sorry kid, he might have hidden her somewhere I had no time to look, it’s a bloody big tower. Or took her with him, either/or, I dunno.”

I furrowed my brow and sucked air through clenched teeth, why the hell would Edracian want Elandria’s body? This was truly getting weirder and weirder.

“Alright,” said Torris with a smile and a nod. “I think it’s time we got to doing this, then.”

We rode the elevator up to the fifth floor all of us barely fit in the small space, and I suspected the weight our combined weights was well over its limit.

Just then I couldn’t help wonder, how many times have I ridden up and down elevators this day alone? I began a quick calculation in my head.

Mathematics has never been my strong suit so it took a little longer than it really should’ve, but what I came with up with was twelve, I’ve been up and down elevators twelve times today, since my miraculous recovery. By the Emperor that was a hell of a lot and it seemed after every time, I found some new tidbit of information, some new revelation that turned everything on its head. Sacred frig, today was indeed an eventful day.

I smiled to myself and turned to meet Karmen Kons’ impassive gaze as she stood right beside me, now that was the understatement of the millennia, I thought.

She looked back unflinchingly, and we played ‘who can stare at the other the longest’ for the rest of the ride.

Finally, the elevator found the fifth floor and immediately we quickly filed out into the dark, brown-walled corridor.

Waiting for us was Castella, Darrance and Hayden.

Hayden, a big figure barely able to fit into the thin corridor stood with Darrance and Castella at his sides just in front of him.

I was one of the first to file out, and all three couldn’t hide their shock when they saw the state of my face.

“W-what happened to your face?” Demanded Darrance, with wide eyes.

I looked at all three, a little surprised that Glaitis had neglected to tell them what happened.

“I-I fell down some stairs,” I lied.

Immediately, Darrance eyes turned into suspicious slits, evidently seeing straight through my fib, but he left it at that.

Garrakson’s jaw clenched with impatience, and he started forward, growling, “alright, alright enough mucking about we’re-”

Hayden’s outstretched hand interrupted the ex-guardsman in mid-sentence and mid-stride.

“No,” said the ex-arbitrator in a tone with so much finality it would’ve envied Major Olinthre. “That wasn’t to the conditions, those three and those three only.”

With a brief wave of his hand, Hayden indicated, “Olinthre,” Karmen and me as he said it.

Garrakson who I never thought could be intimidated by anyone, flinched back from Tresch, who stood with such stability he could’ve been an adamantium bulwark, then the ex-guardsman directed a withering glare at me.

“Why didn’t you tell us we couldn’t come?” He demanded.

“I didn’t know,” I said with wide eyes. “Mamzel Glaitis neglected to tell us this when we met her, right, Olinthre?”

“Yes, yes she did,” confirmed the mimic, it’s voice so deadpanned it could’ve echoed.

Garrakson turned back to Tresch his fists clenching open and closed, and for a few scary seconds, it seemed that he was going to strike out at Hayden. But Tresch stayed deathly still, and in the blink of an eye, both Castella and Darrance reached for their weapons as did Torris and the ten soldiers escorting us.

I watched on, with my heart in my throat, unsure what to do, or even if it came to blows, which side to take.

Finally, Garrakson turned away and snarled out a “frig it!”

Then he turned his glare back to me, “I know when we’re being hoodwinked, let’s leave this farce. let’s go.”

With that they left, filing back into the elevator, all the while Garrakson glaring accusingly at me and I couldn’t help wonder; what the hell did I do?

We walked in silence through the cramped, brown, dull lit corridor. Treash was at the front with Castella and Darrance just after him, Karmen and I the last was the Olinthre-thing.

I had my hands in their pockets and every few metres I had to rub my eyes with my fists.

I felt tired and as sick as all hell and my face stung and throbbed.

Shacking away the dizziness and while avoiding Estella who walked beside me, I said; “Darrance?”

Darrance frowned deeply and looked over his shoulder at me, “What?”

I forced my eyes to stay open, I needed something to distract me, so I can keep my eyes open, and I had a question I wanted to ask the veteran assassin.

“When I woke up, medicae Feuilt told me something.”

Darrance grimaced and turned away, “I assume he mentioned that I visited you while you were in a coma? Is that what you are alluding to?”

“That’s exactly it, yes,” I said through gritted teeth, not liking his tone at all.

Without looking back, he shrugged, “and you are wondering why Darrance the complete frig head, who seems to hate Attelus Kaltos deigned to bother to visit you? Am I again, correct?”

My jaw twitched, “yes.”

He shrugged again, “well it was your birthday, I thought I might as well, as it may very well have been your last.”

My eyebrows raised with bemusement, “m-my birthday?”

Darrance looked back over his shoulder at me, “don’t tell me you forgot? You turned twenty-four standard, did you not?”

“Y-yeah, but with everything that’s happening, surely, I could be forgiven for forgetting my birthday?”

Darrance shook his head and sighed. “That is where our opinions yet again differ, apprentice. When one is in our line of work, one must appreciate every birthday they live to see as the next is far, far from guaranteed. Isn’t that correct Castella?”

Castella seemed to suddenly flinch and hunch forwards as Darrance turned his attention to her. “Y-yes that’s right, Darrance!” She said then she looked over her shoulder, giving me a nervous grin. “An assassin must appreciate every birthday they live to see! A-and happy birthday, Attelus!”

I could only purse my lips and look to the floor, unsure what to think, never did I ever comprehend that Darrance would care for such a small thing or, anything, for that matter and Castella, well I didn’t know what I should say to her or why she had reacted to Darrance’s question so strangely. Was it because of my reaction to her treatment of the prisoner?

“You need not look so perplexed, apprentice,” said Darrance, shaking his head. “Believe it or not I have a personality as well.”

“Yeah,” growled Hayden. “Happy birthday, kid.”

This was echoed in turn by Karmen Kons and the Olinthre-thing.

“Th-thanks, everyone,” I stammered, rubbing my eyes again.

I’m so frigging tired, I thought.

We came to the door soon afterwards and the guards, looking as bored as they did earlier again nod respectfully to Castella and Hayden, who both returned the nods and absently they opened the door for us.

We all filed inside and gazed through the one-sided glass, into the cell beyond, where sat the man that we had beaten and hurt brutally, but who we depended on so much.

Would he help us? And if he didn’t could I blame him? I decided a certain, no, on the last question, no I wouldn’t at all.

Next to me, Karmen Kons with her arms folded grimaced and growled, “I knew we shouldn’t have given you this building.”

Tresch turned to her and smiled although it lacked any humour, “well, it’s a bit late for that regret, mamzel,” He said.

Karmen shrugged, “I never said that we regretted it, assassin, just that we will learn from it.”

“Like you also learned how to not fall so easily for traps?” said Castella darkly.

Karmen’s attention snapped straight to Castella, her face as hard as stone, “yes, we have certainly learned not to trust supposedly trustworthy allies, ever again.”

That caused all my colleagues, and Darrance included, to suddenly burst out in almost riotous, contemptuous and cruel laughter.

Karmen Kons grimaced with barely contained rage and balled her hands into fists.

I had got that one, they found it incredibly amusing that Taryst and his group had even slightly trusted us in the first place, which on hindsight was, actually, kind of funny. But I had no intention to laugh along with my colleagues, their laughter was harsh on the ears and horrified me. It was the laughter I could imagine from a group of predators would laugh once they had cornered their prey.

“Can we talk to the prisoner now?” growled the Olinthre-thing with such force my fellow assassins’ laughter was cut short. “Or are we going just to waste time standing around exchanging petty jokes?”

Castella smiled and shrugged, “well, I enjoy the petty jokes more, personally, but if you insist, Mr major,” she said while giving the Olinthre-thing a mocking salute and a playful wink.

Treash frowned at Castella, “alright, we’ll go in, and talk to him first, you three just wait out here for awhile.”

With that, the assassins walked down the corridor and into the cell while we approached the window to watch on.

“So,” said no one of Consequence, after Castella gave him a long sip of water. “You here to ask more questions?” Then he glared accusingly at Castella. “Or just to beat the crap outta me again?”

“Why don’t you take a guess?” Said Castella. “I bet you won’t even come close.”

I grimaced, tuned out and turned to Karmen Kons.

“You do know, Attelus, that you are scarred for life now,” she said bluntly. “That wound Elandria gave you, will never go away.

I frowned and absently touched the bandage covering the wound, “I know, I’d thought so,” I said sadly.

A short silence followed before the Olinthre-thing grimaced and turned to us, “I’ve gotta say if you two were trying to convince everyone that you don’t know each other, you are doing one terrible job.”

We glared at it and said simultaneously, “what?”

It returned our glares unflinchingly and shrugged, “well, the whole staring into each other’s eyes thing during half the elevator ride up, your little confrontation before we entered the mamzel’s residence, yeah, they weren’t clues toward a prior relationship at all.”

I immediately turned away as I felt my face flush with embarrassment, but Karmen Kons remained unfazed.

“We never had a prior relationship, Xenos,” she snarled. “It was a...friendship, nothing more.”

The Olinthre-thing smiled, “so you two did know each other, before these events, then? Thank you for the confirmation,” then It shrugged. “Well, from the vibe I got from you two, it seemed like a prior relationship to me. I apologise for the misunderstanding.”

Karmen Kons gritted her teeth, about to reply but was interrupted as Castella, Tresch and Darrance entered into the room.

“He is yours,” said Darrance, with an evil twisted grin that churned my guts. “We will stay out here.”

Karmen treated with him a dark look but gave a slow, deliberate nodded.

“Thank you for the honour, assassin,” she growled sardonically.

Darrance only replied with a brief, mocking bow.

Karmen grimaced then turned to the Olinthre-thing and me and motioned us to follow.

“Let us see how this goes, shall we?” She said.

We filed into the interrogation room, and the beaten and broken form of No One of Consequence looked over his shoulder at us.

“So Taryst’s bitch psyker finally deigns to see me personally,” he growled, and I couldn’t help but have my attention snap straight to Karmen with surprise, how did he know about her?

“And you, kid, I see someone gave you one hell of a beating since we last met, believe me I know how you feel,” with that he spluttered out laughter at his horrid joke.

“We have come to negotiate,” said Karmen through clenched teeth as she walked around to face the captive directly.

“Negotiate, huh?” said No One of Consequence, who seemed genuinely perplexed. “Negotiate what?”

“We need you to lead us to Brutis Bones,” she said sternly.

With that, No One of Consequence threw back his head and bellowed out a brief bark of laughter.

“Well, well, we’ve gone from torturing to ‘negotiating’ what makes you think it’ll make a difference?”

“Because now the situation has become vastly more complicated,” said Karmen. “Now we find our goals, coincide.”

No One of Consequence sniffed and cleared his throat, “the situation was already ’vastly complicated, how could it get even more complicated?”

Karmen looked at me briefly, then to the one-sided glass that my colleagues stood behind.

“Because Taryst is dead,” she said simply. “And with him the intent to hide the truth you and Brutis Bones know.”

I flinched at how easily Karmen had given such a secret over and was suddenly supremely glad that Garrakson and Torris weren’t here to hear it.

Now that brought a genuine look of shook to the throne agent’s bruised, destroyed face.

“Taryst is, dead? How?”

Karmen Kons shrugged, “if I told you the details it would take all day, let’s just say...”

She trailed off and glanced over her shoulder accusingly at the one-sided glass, “that it was, an...internal...conspiracy.”

No One of Consequence sniggered and shook his head with utter contempt, “of course it was,” he lisped.

Karmen smiled coldly, “not just that we also have irrefutable proof that Inquisitor Nonin Edracian is planetside.”

“Oh?” said No One of Consequence, disarmingly calm about it. “Has that frigger finally decided to show his face, huh?”

“Yes, and it is our every intention to stop him, as it is yours,” said Karmen. “And if we are able to cooperate with Brutis Bones, the chances would increase exponentially.”

“Oh. I’m sure they would, that’s if we actually cooperate and you don’t betray us.”

“You have my guarantee,” said Karmen as she raised in front of his face the right of trade. “As long as I hold this, the organisation is mine to control.”

No One of Consequence tilted his head forward and sighed, “I can’t frigging believe I’m doing this, but, alright, if Edracian’s on Omnartus and you’re truly willing to forge an alliance. I’ll take you, despite all the deaths and horrid actions your organisation has done to my people. But on one condition.”

“Give us the coordinates of where his base of operations is,” said Karmen. “Then lead us there.”

No One of Consequence grimaced, “why?”

“So we can send in the Magistratum and the Adeptus Arbites, to make sure that it isn’t an ambush beforehand.”

“Ha! So much for trust!”

“Show us that we can trust you, No One of Consequence, then we will.”

“Alright, alright. I will. But you need to tell me exactly how you know Edracian is planetside and the events that led up to you realising this stuff,” He said.

“We don’t have the time-!” tried Karmen.

“Then make the frigging time!” he interrupted with a force one who’d been so badly beaten shouldn’t be capable of. “Just like I need to earn your trust, you need to earn, mine.”

Karmen sighed and turned to me, “okay, alright, Attelus...?”

I gave her a wide-eyed look that asked; “why me?”

She just furrowed her brow, shook her head and impatiently ushered me forward.

I sighed and walked past Karmen to let No one of Consequence look at me directly, wondering what exactly to say and what not to say.

“Hey kid, long time no see, was it Inquisitor Edracian who did that to your face?”

I shook my head, “no, no it wasn’t,” I paused to think. “I-it started just after I talked to you I was...ambushed.”

“Ambushed? Ambushed by who?”

“It was a group of well-dressed hammers who wielded axes, they ambushed me, and after I fought them for a while, Edracian chose to show himself.”

“Okay, what did he look like?”

“H-he wore blue power armour with a brown cloak on his shoulders, and a large “I” emblazoned on his chest.”

No One of Consequence nodded but did nothing else.

“I tried to escape, but they captured me, injected me with...poison, poison, I found out later was fake, and he ordered me in the exchange of the antidote to...Infiltrate Taryst’s condo and take a pict of the Interrogator, if she was dead, the Interrogator you told us of earlier, with this...”

I took out the pict taker from one of my flak jacket pockets and showed it to him.

Despite their swollen condition, No One of Consequence’s eyes widened with distinct fear.

“And tell me, boy!” He yelled so loud and desperately it caused us all to flinch in fright. “Did you succeed!”

“Y-yes I did,” I stammered, taken aback by his sudden ferocity.

“Oh! You stupid, stupid, stupid boy! Now you’ve doomed us all!” He roared, and he looked to Karmen. “Yeah I’ll cooperate with ya, I’ll give ya the coordinates ya need,” then he turned back to me with an intense, accusing glare.

“But thanks to this little fool’s actions I think it’ll be too little, too late.”

I couldn’t contend a reply at No One of Consequence’s statement, I could only stand around my jaw dumbly agape, my heart lodged in my throat and my eyes wide.

“W-what do you mean?” asked Karmen for me.

He let out a frustrated groan and hung his head forward, “typical, frigging, merc always thinking about how to save your own bloody hide! Typical! Frigging typical!”

“What the hell do you mean!” Karmen snarled.

No One of Consequence sighed deeply, “what I mean, psyker,” he spat out “psyker” as though it were a curse. “That seemingly innocent pict has spelt-”

“I know that!” roared Karmen. “You have said that already! Tell us why!”

“I’m not sure I should, yet,” said the man. “Brutis might want to know this before I do.”

“Oh! You!” and she drew her hand back to punch the captive in the face, but the Olinthre-thing caught her fist in mid-air before the blow could land.

“You mean that this...Simple pict, Attelus took is going to contribute to Inquisitor Edracian’s...Goal?” said the Olinthre thing as Karmen struggled to break from its grasp.

“More than any “simple pict” ever bloody well should,” answered No One of Consequence as he spat more blood onto the floor. “That pict wasn’t just of my master’s Interrogator; she was more than just that, she was...Her name was, Amanda Heartsa, God-Emperor rest her soul and she was more than just an interrogator, she was his daughter.”

My attention snapped to the Olinthre-thing’ It’s back.

“And, well, frig it. It gets worse from there, but you’re gonna have to wait ’till we find Brutis before you find that out,” said No One of Consequence.

The Olinthre-thing nodded and let go of Karmen, “we are willing to make such a compromise are we not, Karmen?”

She grimaced and rubbed her wrist, “yeah, whatever,” she growled, and she turned to the captive. “So now will you give us the coordinates, throne agent?”

“Why of course, mamzel,” said No One of Consequence with mocking politeness. “And I’d like you to know if young...Attenlus or whatever his bloody name is. Hadn’t told me he’d taken that stupid pict I wouldn’t have told you the real co-ordinances.”

The Olinthre-thing folded its arms and sniffed loudly, “I didn’t, think that you would’ve, that was way too easy.” And I couldn’t help but agree.

No One of Consequence, pursed his lips and shrugged, “oh, I was that obvious? Was I? Ohh, gosh darn it!”

The Xenos shrugged, “better luck next time, I guess.”

“Would. You. Please. Tell. Us. The coordinates, now!” Roared Karmen right in No One of Consequence’s face through clenched teeth, her attractive face now beet red with rage and I could see the old man close his eyes to shield them from her spittle

“Okay! Okay!” This is where they will go after what happened at the Twilight bar it’s in the underhive, it’s 20036 by 33299, it’s an old Factorium.”

My eyes widened at that, “wait! I know that place! It was one of the first we investigated!” I exclaimed.

“Yeah, well, they wouldn’t have moved there ’till a month ago,” said No One of Consequence. “So don’t feel bad. There’s other things you should be feeling bad about, right now, kid.”

I sighed and facepalmed, the search for Brutis Bones seemed pointless now.

“Alright! Here’s the plan!” Said Karmen. “Olinthre! I need you to get in contact with Arlathan Karkin at the Magistratum and Tamlorst Toroun of the Adeptus Arbites, tell them we’ve found Brutis Bones, he’s at 20036 by 33299 and tell them to surround the area, but not to go inside until we meet them there!”

The Olinthre-thing grinned, shook it’s head and said; “finally, they’ll have to start working for all those bribes, huh? Bet they’ll be fuming!” And it reached up to its ear to start tuning its link.

Karmen reached up to hers’.

“Garrakson, I need you and your men back here, now. We need an escort back to the main tower.”

She nodded at the reply I couldn’t hear, then lowered her hand.

“You’re sure we can trust him?” I asked, hesitantly. “Because I know he doesn’t trust us.”

Karmen shook her head and grinned, “Jeurat Garrakson is a man of honour, Attelus, you know that. He will follow what I say as long as Taryst ordered him to.”

I frowned, feeling she was, again, vastly underestimating Garrakson. “But he didn’t” I pointed out.

“Well we have something that can rectify that,” she replied nodding over her shoulder at the Olinthre-thing as he quietly spoke into his link in the corner, in what I guessed to be Taryst’s voice.

I shrugged and looked curiously at the man tied to the chair, wondering what he thought of that brief bit of dialogue, but he immediately turned away once he saw my attention was on him.

“So what are we doing, now?” I asked Karmen.

“We are taking poor, poor, No One of Consequence here to be fixed up at our medicae,” said Karmen as she began to untie him. “We don’t want our guide to be in bad shape.”

“You just don’t want them to see the condition your lackeys left me in,” growled No One of Consequence.” Which I also knew, without doubt, to be true.

Karmen leaned her head over his shoulder and briefly pulled the ropes tighter, causing No One of Consequence to gasp out in pain,

“Same, difference, really,” she said sweetly. “Now Attelus can you help me here.”

“O-okay,” I stammered and moved to comply.

It had stopped raining while we walked back to Taryst’s tower. The going was slow as Garrakson, Torris and the ten Stormtrooper escort checked every inch of every of every corner of the maze of twists and turns which made those alleyways with a zeal that would put even the most overzealous Ministorum priest to shame. Also with us were Castella, Hayden and Darrance who watched the back, but in a far more casual fashion. Castella had her left hand laid on her the hilt of one of her sheathed swords while in her right was her raised plasma pistol. Hayden held his Long Las low; the barrel pointed at the ground while Darrance had his ornate, curved power scimitar drawn but carried it casually at his side.

I was happy to let them guard; I was too preoccupied with my churning stomach, my painful throbbing face and my thoughts.

The three assassins were, easily, far more intimidating and professional than Torris, Garrakson and the Stormtroopers combined, their casual confidence just added to it somehow. They were skilled extremely, I’ve seen all three at work during my seven years under Glaitis’ employ and knew this well.

But yet, despite this, I knew even they paled in comparison to my father.

Serghar Kaltos could easily slaughter all three before they could even blink. With this, my thoughts wandered back to my dream, the one in which I had fought mono a mono against my father and defeated him.

I looked down and clenched my gloved fist, could I one day be that good? By the Emperor, it would take a while, although.

Again, I glanced over my shoulder at the senior assassins, although I had sparred against my father on countless occasion, I’d never actually saw him at his full strength, he was always toying with me, but still, he’d always defeat me with ease.

While he was no doubt good, but, perhaps I was overestimating Serghar Kaltos true skill?

Perhaps I was even underestimating my own? While I doubted I was as good as Serghar Kaltos, perhaps I was on par with Castella, Darrance and Tresch? In the last six months, I’d seen more action than many veteran guardsmen would see in years, I must’ve killed dozens of hammers on the edge of my sword. I must’ve learned something from all of that crap even if those months of toil and killing now turned out to be utterly useless.

Then I looked to No One of Consequence who stumbled handcuffed and blindfolded beside me. I had also gone one on one against him, a man who must be a very experienced throne agent and almost came out on top, then I had held off a rampaging Arco-flagellant long enough to allow everyone in the Twilight bar to escape with their lives.

I did not doubt that now, that I’d somehow accomplished that seemingly implausible feat. Not a shadow of a doubt, Elandria wouldn’t have lied, especially if it were her last words.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath through my nose; I missed her, would I ever get over her? I would, I would, one day, without doubt, I’d get over her untimely death, but I wouldn’t forget her.

My heart suddenly hurt, and my hand reached up to touch the bandage on my face, I’d surely never forget her, especially with this forever marring my face.

This made me quietly sigh and shake my head, now wasn’t the time to be lost in thought! Or as Elandria would’ve said; ‘lost in my little world.’

I smiled sadly at the thought and then I noticed Karmen was looking over her shoulder at me her large blue eyes wide with concern.

I met her gaze, giving her a slight smile and a nod. In all honesty of all the people involved in this, I understood her motivations the least. During our time together in the war-ravaged Velrosia, while we travelled south, I’d gotten to know Estella Erith well. She was a kind woman, with great charisma and intellect, but was extremely passionate and proud. It’d been that pride which had almost driven her to throw her life away, once.

But now, as I stated before, I think Karmen Kons is a completely different creature, sure the pride was still there, in fact, I’d say it was even worse, but she was also far more cruel, ruthless, manipulative, controlling.

A sudden shiver went up my spine as another realisation hit me, she was just like Glaitis.

But yet, sometimes, I’d see hints of Estella Erith break through the Karmen Kons persona, when her dialogue became more formalised or at times like this. The concern with which she looked at me now was completely genuine. Genuine in a way Glaitis could never hope to be. I could tell this because it wasn’t Karmen looking at me, it was Estella. How I knew, I truly didn’t know, I just did.

Estella gave me a great big grin that made my heart flutter, then turned back forward.

The rest of the trip went without incident, which surprised me. If there were a time that Brutis Bones and his secret squad of crack commandos to strike it’d have been now, while their erstwhile ally was being escorted out in the open and despite everything I felt like I never wanted it to end. It did of course, but it was the last time of peace and contemplation I had before everything went to hell in a handcart.

And by the Emperor now that was indeed the understatement of the millennia.

I sat stripped to the waist, sitting on a gurney in the medical facility the big black bruises covering my torso a stark contrast to my pale white skin, and I tried hard to ignore the pain as medicae-assistant, Hasin stitched up my face, for all the frigging good it’d do.

There were five medicaes, hired by Taryst excluding Feuilt; the four others were now busy attending to no one of consequence, while Garrakson and everyone else stood to watch, everyone but Karmen, who had said; “I need to retrieve something of the utmost importance,” then left alone.

“I am sorry to say,” said Halsin as he carefully added another stitch. “Your face will be permanently scarred, no matter how many stitches I do. You would have been scarred permanently, even without the trauma you suffered to open it and make it worse, can I ask, how did it happen?”

My jaw twitched, “my cheek was cut by a monomolecular enhanced blade,” I informed with forced neutrality. “Then I was punched in the face, a hell of a lot.”

Halsin nodded, he was tall and thin and couldn’t have been much older than I was, with a gaunt, sallow face and large bulging, thyroid eyes which looked even larger from behind his thick glasses. I hadn’t met him before, as Feuilt was the only medicae I had contact with until now.

“And I am assuming that is all the information you are going to give?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, Halsin had given me some chewy tablets to help with my sick stomach, but it either hadn’t kicked in yet or wasn’t working at all, as another strong wave of nausea hit me.

“And then I am going to assume, again. That you won’t tell me what happened to head medicae Feuilt, after you, him and major Olinthre left suddenly around six hours ago?”

“Yes,” I repeated.

Halsin sighed, “I had thought as much, I should be used to it by now, everything is a secret around here.”

I furrowed my brow; I would’ve thought of something deadpanned and ironic too...Think, on Halsin stating the obvious, but felt him just saying it was enough.

“Well,” he said on, “well, even if you’re scarred, you can still wear a layer of false flesh over the scar.”

I shrugged slightly, being careful not to disturb Halsin’s work with the movement, in all honesty, I didn’t mind the scar until now I had been able to avoid being heavily scarred during my career even after going through some particularly heavy engagements.

Then the door slid open and in walked Karmen Kons, her long blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail, she was grinning from ear to ear and now wore battered black flak armour with white trim and was carrying behind her back a long, blue ornate box.

I immediately recognised the armour; it was the uniform of the Velrosian branch of the Elbyran Planetary defence force in which she had once served as a sergeant, it was the very same armour Estella Erith had worn the first time I’d met her, a lifetime ago now.

She nodded to me and quickly approached the gurney.

“Almost done, Halsin?” She asked.

Halsin paused in his work, glanced at her and blushed distinctly, “j-just finishing now, mamzel.”

Karmen smiled, placed her hands on her hips and nodded, “thank you, I wish to talk to Attelus in private, please.”

“O-of course mamzel!” he cried and after quickly finishing the stitches and placing on a new bandage, said; “It seems that none of your ribs were broken, Mr Kaltos, although I can tell by the density of your bruising that the impacts of those punches should have broken at least a few of your bones. I really do not know what that psyker did to you, Mr Kaltos, but it did not just re-nit your bones, it also somehow made them stronger.”

Before I could make a reply Halsin hurriedly turned, nodded to Karmen and walked out.

My eyes widened, not sure quite what to make of Halsin’s words. My bone structure was enhanced? But how? Why? Just as I thought this couldn’t get any stranger, it just did.

Karmen pouted, still looking at the door then turned back to me.

“He is an interesting one, that, Halsin,” she said absent minded, then suddenly shoved the blue box right in front of my face.

“For you,” she stated.

With a nervous grin I hesitantly took the box and looked over it, it was made from high-quality wood and was ornate but not overly so.

“Aren’t you going to open it?” She asked.

I did, quickly unclasping the metal clips and opened it, inside I found to my minimal surprise; a sword, a sheathed longsword, in a simple scabbard, with a basic but practical handle and guard.

I looked up at her, wide-eyed, “I uh...”

“Unsheathe it,” she said encouragingly, “and don’t worry Attelus, it’s yours .”

Nodding, I slowly took the sword out of the box and immediately I could tell it was lightweight and balanced even before drawing it, which in the blink of an eye, I did.

It was a sword of masterful make; I could tell that at a glance. It also was of Velrosian design, the blacksmiths of Velrosia had always adhered to simplicity in design, but the quality of make and this one was of the highest quality even to Velrosian standards.

It was also old, very, very old, yet exceptionally well maintained.

But that wasn’t what got me, what made me blink was that it was also a powersword.

“It was my family’s,” informed Karmen, knocking me out of my reverie. “It had been handed down the Erith line for generations, even since the time of King Royd Antares.”

I looked at her taken aback, “this, this is over a thousand years old?”

She nodded, “that it is, Attelus or that is what my grandfather and father said, anyway.”

“I-I,” I managed. “I can’t take this; this is yours! This is your family’s!”

Karmen smiled and shook her head, “no, Attelus, it’s yours. I am the last alive of the Erith line, and I gave up a long time ago on practising Valisuth. It deserves someone with skill enough to wield it, and I believe you to be more than qualified.”

“H-how did you-?”

She shrugged, “I had Taryst retrieve it for me, it somehow managed to survive the bombardment that destroyed my city and killed my brother and was kept until a few months ago in a museum in Varander, so Taryst pulled some strings and got it for me, somehow.”

“I don’t know what to say. Thank you...Estella.”

Karmen grinned and raised an eyebrow, “oh I am sure you will get ample opportunity to use it soon, Attelus.”

I nodded sadly and sheathed the beautiful sword, “I just hope, I just hope that pict I took, that it isn’t as bad as the Throne agent said it was.”

Karmen’s face darkened, “I’m sorry Attelus, but I have very little doubt, it is. You will just have to make up for it by helping stop it. That is what life is about, dealing with the consequences of our actions, whether they be good or bad.”

I nodded again, got off the gurney and began to slip my body glove back on.

“You’re right, Estella,” I said, “and with this powersword, I will, even if it costs me my life.”

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