Secret War: Warhammer 40,000

Epilogue

The figure ascended a staircase which swirled and twirled around and over a vast collection of floating rocks and boulders both great and small. Everywhere around it was a backdrop of pure, cloudy, contorting chaos made up of reds, oranges, purples and colours utterly unknown to humanity.

Eldritch forms steadily moved, contorting through its depths, black things of indiscernible shape, some the size of titans, some the size of humans and everything in between.

The thing which was Wesley Jeksen lacked legs and hands instead it walked on the stumps which ended its arms at an unnatural rate of speed. It’s movements halting and flickering. As he moved, he changed, warping and crunching into a form which resembled a man, but was far from human.

His arms elongated, his hands grew back, and he sprouted short legs from the stump which ended it’s torso as it too grew in length.

Its skin withered away, replaced by purple sinus which was rough, corse like the bark of a tree. Wings sprouted from it’s back; wings made up of countless multicoloured feathers made from the same stuff as it’s skin. Its eyes bulged and moulded into circular milky white orbs, and from its face, a large, curved beak grew.

A large ornate golden staff abruptly appeared in its left hand which became three razor-sharp talons.

After what seemed an age, yet somehow didn’t, the thing found the top of the stairs. There was an unusually large rock and set upon that was a throne, its back facing once-Wesley.

The throne’s true size and dimensions were unknowable. In one second it seemed to tower over the thing, the next it was so small it didn’t even come up to its knee. The shadow it cast was a complete contradiction to the throne itself, engulfing the daemon in its darkness when the throne was tiny, but not when it was massive. The shadow also always seemed to flicker, blinking in and out of existence in a pattern unknown even to once Wesley, but there was a pattern, of that its ancient, alien intellect was certain.

The daemon fell to its knees, bowing to the throne.

“Master,” It said, but it seemed to say it in every language known, Low Gothic, high gothic, Velrosian. Sartathian, Fenrisian. Even those languages and dialects thought extinct, and those not known at all by the mortal races. It’s voice echoed through the miasma, making the floating rocks reverberate and the things in the cloudy light of reds, oranges, purples and colours unknown to humanity moan and murmur. Whether it was in fear or pain, or both could not be known.

“Everything has gone as you had planned,” said once-Wesley. “Omnartus is dead, billions more mortal souls have been fed to the machine and the Inquisitor Etuarq’s power, and influence grows.”

The Thing sitting on the throne suddenly got to its feet making the once-Wesley pause.

“His fate is sealed,” It said after a long moment. “He does not know it, but he does your work, your bidding. The one with the initials AXK is now in place, and through him, chaos will spread all throughout the Imperium of Man. Billions upon billions more will die, and billions more will know you and bow to you, as they rightfully should. It all started with the invasion of the seemingly insignificant little world of Elbyra, the invasion that you had guided through the Halo stars. All we need do now is wait for a few short decades, and all your plans will come into true fruition. The Imperium will burn, and the galaxy will be yours. My master, my weaver of fate.”

The thing looked over its slender shoulder at once-Wesley and with its massive beak of razor-sharp silver teeth, smiled.


Surrounded by her stormtrooper escort and Relcreth, her blank. Inquisitor Jelcine Enandra approached the bridge. She’d been fighting at the front, her still crackling power fist coated in gore and blood. Her armour splattered all over with the stuff. She walked by Darrance and Hayden Tresch; both were wounded and unconscious. Their backs on the wall as two medically trained stormtroopers were treating them.

She’d also heard the word that poor Attelus, Torris and Helma were in critical condition back in her medicae triage on the Audacious Edge. If Enandra were the praying type, she would be praying for them on their behalf. She just hoped they’d live, to survive the through all of that, only to die now would’ve been a tragedy.

According to Adelana, they were attacked by an Interrogator Rodyille, who was a double agent for Etuarq. She’d never known about this Rodyille until now; he must’ve been recruited during Torathe’s three-year absence. She knew all of them were formidable, young Attelus’ was skilled in particular and for this Rodyille to take out all of them single-handed spoke of great skill. Too bad Helma had been forced to kill him, Enandra would’ve liked to have...Learned from him.

Adelana had also claimed that Rodyille hinted there were others of his kind out there. More elite, unbalanced agents working for Etuarq somewhere which scared Enandra more than she cared to admit.

She’d also lost communication with Arlathan and his kill squad hours ago. She’d only found out about the injured Darrance and Hayden a few minutes ago. There was no sign of Arlathan and the rest.

Enandra couldn’t help feeling great concern; she’d come to like the ex-magistratum detective over the past three months. She saw great potential in Arlathan. Attelus too. But his was a different potential than Arlathan. Attelus could be a great assassin and spymaster, perhaps one day even surpassing his father in skill. He could also be a leader, a great planner and manipulator. Attelus’ mind was complex, labyrinthine and imaginative according to Selva. Along with willpower and strength of character beyond belief.

But Arlathan! Arlathan Karkin had even greater potential; he could be genuinely great. He could be a true leader, cunning, forward-thinking and manipulative beyond compare and perhaps even more willful than Attelus. But he could also be charismatic; something Attelus Kaltos was not. Attelus had too much of his father in him. Enandra had already decided Arlathan would make for an excellent Interrogator. She had to admit, not many would see it, but Enandra did. That was one of the many reasons why she was an Inquisitor, she saw potential when others didn’t or wouldn’t, and so far, she’d never been wrong.

Enandra just hoped to hell she hadn’t already sent him to his death.

The turned the corner directly leading finally to the bridge of The Imperial Crusher. Enandra had ordered all her troops back, she wanted to take the bridge, she wanted to confront her former master, but she saw something unexpected. Something that made her stop dead in her tracks along with her escort.

She’d expected the huge adamantium doors to the bridge to be closed. The bridge staff inside waiting for their meltabombs to blow through, with their weapons raised.

But the door was already destroyed, and the scene inside took Enandra’s breath away and bile to rise in her throat. If she weren’t more versed in seeing such visages, from her decades of service to the Golden Throne, Enandra would’ve vomited onto the deck there and then.

Corpses laid everywhere, almost floating in a knee-high sea of blood which expanded out into the corridor.

With her powerfist, she hesitantly waved the others onward.

Their boots sloshing through the blood, they slowly approached, with guns raised.

Her stormtroopers were first in, fanning out with admirable calm and professional ability, Their hellguns covering every inch and corner.

Enandra, when she was a young Interrogator, must have been on this bridge countless times and besides the numerous dead, it hadn’t changed at all. The bronze walls with silver edging and the piloting cogitators and navigation view screens.

Enandra also recognised many of the dead, some she’d known for years like captain Qyalt and many of Torathe’s longest-serving warriors.

She then saw a few of hers, six of them all of them. Fultol Smetrel, Ukulth Nerlark, Olik Smarl, Kilvt Plyrth, Kajl Jofet and Serl Jorl. All of whom she’d sent to accompany Arlathan Karkin.

Relcreth’s hand laid on her shoulder, but she didn’t even flinch, she’d long ago gotten used to the presence, and even touch, of a psychic blank. He pointed, and Enandra looked to where he indicated, and she saw him. Inquisitor Devan Torathe laid as dead as everyone else; he wore his trademark grey carapace armour and grey storm coat. His once handsome features now creased with age, he was bald on top, but his long white hair around it grew down to his hips. Enandra could see his throat had been slit.

Her eyes narrowed, not sure how to feel about this, not sure at all.

“Search for survivors!” she snapped and was about to say more, but suddenly one of the cadavers shuddered slightly.

Then something burst out from underneath, letting out a strangled scream.

In an instant, every gun including Enandra’s plasma pistol was aimed at the blood covered figure.

“I’m on your side!” the figure cried, raising his hands in supplication. “Don’t shoot!”

“Who are you?” demanded sergeant Kollath.

The figure swallowed and instantly seemed to regret it before answering, “I am detective Arlathan Xathrian Karkin of the Omnartus Magistratum, and I’m on your side! I’m on your side!”

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