Secret War: Warhammer 40,000

Chapter 5

I lunged, the crackling power sword in my hands, slicing a horizontal arc at my opponent’s torso.

My movements were so sure, so fast, so skilled that my eyes could barely follow, never had I known myself to be this good and never had I ever wielded a power sword either.

But somehow despite my incredible speed, my breathtaking confidence and skill, blindingly fast my enemy still managed to dodge, Serghar Kaltos back peddled just away from reach, and the handsome, grim-faced man that was my father slid in, slashing through vertically with his power sword.

Never would I ever had dreamt I could fight my father to a standstill Serghar Kaltos’ skill was legendary, his speed and agility rivalled that of an Eldar’s and these immeasurable talents, were honed from decades and decades of experience and training. When I was young, he and I would spar for countless hours. I was good, very good but I would never win no matter how hard I tried, never could I ever even begin to touch my father and I could tell even then that he was just forever toying with me, forever holding back his real skill and strength.

Now he wasn’t, but still, my blade was able to come around and knock his attack off course, my body seemed to move on its own like water and fire in one. In the blink of an eye, I riposted and stabbed forwards in perfect balance the tip of my power blade aimed in impaling his chest.

The ever practical Serghar Kaltos simply sidestepped the thrust, but my body followed on as if expecting such a trick, keeping the thrust forwards I turned my hips, causing the crackling blade to follow after my father’s movement.

Serghar didn’t hesitate; he parried with his blade on an angle, so my momentum caused my sword to slide up it and off-course throwing me into being overextended and overbalanced then he came in to perform the killing blow. A short slash aimed to disembowel.

I cried out knowing this to be the end, that no matter how good I was there would be no way I could ever hope to counter. And yet despite my overbalance, despite my overextended position my body moved, with extreme cat-like dexterity beyond my comprehension I slipped clear in a move of extreme audacity I slid forwards, sliding around and behind my father while he was still in mid cut and then I stabbed my power sword through his back.

I wanted to scream out no to halt the blow! But my body wouldn’t let me. I resented my father, he was a hypocrite and a liar, but I never wanted to kill him. He was still my dad he was always the one who looked after me, put up with me, who taught me how to shoot a gun, how to wield a sword, how to read and write, how to survive I had no intention to ever hunt him down in some mislead vengeance.

Without my permission, my body lent in and said something into the dying Serghar Kaltos’ ear, but what I uttered I could not hear.

Then abruptly, I pulled back and tore my blade from his torso in an angle which caused his body to spin around to face me and for one brief moment I was able to look into my father’s face, but now it wasn’t Serghar Kaltos. No, the wide-eyed dying form which faced me now was that of Glaitis. Who despite the ugly gaping hole in her chest, grinned at me with hideous, terrifying insanity but it was when I looked into her glazed eyes it was then I screamed, as utter terror tore through me, terror which far exceeded anything I had ever felt before, terror which consumed me and drove me to brink of insanity.

Because it was in the reflection of her large, blue beautiful eyes I saw myself, I saw my face so much like my father’s but framed by my long brown hair, but my expression was contorted, twisted and deformed into an insane, hideous, and grinning maw, a mirror of Glaitis’ own.

My screams turned into muffled yells as I awoke back into the medicae ward, back into the agony of the real world but despite the pain relief washed over me as I realised it was a dream, and I lent back into my pillow my yelling turning into strangled gasps.

It was then the medicae rushed through the door and to my bedside I instantly recognised him as I had met him the first and only time I remembered to visit Torris after his injury, but to my annoyance, I could not quite recall his name.

“Mr Kaltos are you alright? I heard screaming.”

I could not answer, it still hurt to talk I could only look up at him.

“I see,” he said, “it was a nightmare.”

He pulled out a small flashlight from his white jacket pocket and shone it into my eyes, “after what you had gone through I would not expect any less young man.”

When he pulled away I caught a glimpse of his name tag, Feuilt that’s right, medicae Yarran Feiult, the guy, seemed decent enough from the very brief bits of passing dialogue we have shared

“It’s good to see you are finally awake Mr Kaltos, everyone was beginning to worry, it has been more than a week since you last woke up.”

I clenched my teeth in disbelief, a frigging week!

“But believe it or not you have been through the worst of it you’re lucky you are young. Another, solid month of recovery and you should be back in working order.”

A month of recovery? Wait, another month! I have been unconscious for that long! By the Emperor! But I shouldn’t have been surprised it was a miracle that I was still conscious at all, actually going from what Castella had said a month was way too quick really.

I don’t believe in “miracles” and to be honest, I didn’t believe any of Castella’s earlier claim either. There was no way in hell that I could have held off that beast for so long that all of those people could have escaped, I remember well the size of that room, and the size of the crowd stuffed into that space.

There was no way in hell that there couldn’t have been collateral damage, I would have had to dodge and weave its attacks. Perhaps she had just worded it wrong, but I doubted Castella would not be so sloppy. If Glaitis had concocted this lie, she would have engineered it to sound more legitimate, surely.

Or perhaps that I am just legitimately that excellent or perhaps Castella just wanted to give good news when I finally awoke and she would tell me the truth later? But that would piss me off because she lied and-.

I wanted to scream, to roar out the frustration and anger which just suddenly flooded to the surface. Do you have any idea what it is like to live in a world that you can’t believe in anything! That everyone who’s close to you lies about anything and everything, that you are forced to question any act of kindness that just in case there may be some treachery behind it? Everyone has their own petty agenda, everyone! And there would be nothing they couldn’t resort to see their ambitions through I am an idiot, a complete and utter idiot that it has taken me this long to realise that.

“Trust nothing, suspect everything” a saying which now seemed so redundant it was laughable.

It was then I realised that medicae Feuilt was studying me, his beady eyes glinted with concern

Suddenly he turned, grabbed the nearby stool, slid it next to my bed and sat down.

“Now I am no psyker, but I can tell when a patient is in distress and well,” Feuilt paused, grinned and scratched the back of his skull, “but you wouldn’t need to be a psyker or a thirty year veteran of the healing arts to tell that you must have a lot of questions.”

I set my jaw and treated him with the best glare I could dare, oh you could not imagine the stockpile of questions I have gathered and needed answered, I thought.

“And well you are not exactly in the condition to ask them, so I will tell you what I know and of the best of my ability,” he sighed. “When you were first taken into us you were in bad shape, well to be honest saying that you were in bad shape is like saying a star going supernova is a bad thing for the planets orbiting it. It is an understatement.”

Well, I would have never figured that out, I thought sardonically.

“Almost every bone in your body was broken, well, shattered, but remarkably your skull and spine were mostly still intact, and you had the slightest of life signs.” Feuilt’s expression turned hard. “Honestly, we had pegged you for dead. As I said, your bones were shattered there was no way we could re nit them and even if you did survive, the trauma of the impact which caused it, that your brain would have been damaged beyond repair. But your employer; Glaitis, she wouldn’t give up and under her orders and too much, much sweat and toil we managed to stabilise you for the first week. So you lived long enough that she could,” he hesitated, and an almost incredulous expression creased his already old face. “So she could bring in a new surgeon, who uhm, worked by interesting methods, for only an hour at most we were not allowed to enter this room while that new surgeon worked, whoever it was, it never even asked us anything, but I could not deny the psychic presence emanating from this room.” Feuilt shivered, “after that, that hour whoever it was just left, as quickly as they came.”

I wasn’t too sure what to make of this news so far if Feuilt was telling the truth which I did believe, or at the least, he thought it was true. Then perhaps, the story of Castella’s “you were stubborn and held on to survive” was complete and utter frig but I could see that Feiult wasn’t telling me the whole truth. Like if the healer were indeed a psyker who somehow didn’t get its healing of me get detected by the local authorities after the incident at The Twilight Bar, indeed any new psychic activity would have been treated with extreme suspicion if it was sensed of course and then why did Taryst allow it? And also why would Glaitis go to so much effort to save me? A mere, lowly apprentice?

But all that paled in comparison to one substantial huge lingering question, why where we still here? After Glaitis’ “extracurricular” activities and the subsequent chaos at The Twilight Bar wouldn’t Taryst at the very least fired Glaitis for going behind his back? I could hazard a myriad amount of guesses at this, but one seemed to fit, that Brutis Bones’ was still at large, whether they had confronted and killed or captured that man I had fought at the man meant he wasn’t Brutis or that was Brutis, and he did escape. Or that the whole “independent” operation was known to Taryst and for some reason, Glaitis had lied to us about it.

But if the former were true, I would once again emphasise the full extent of Taryst’s desperation that he would keep us around after that incident. That he needed our skills so badly brought this into an even larger light, and now I know that perhaps Brutis Bones or that man I fought has connections with the Holy Inquisition. That would explain the enormous funding it has and them being able to keep a pet Arcoflagellent and if they were Inquisition why couldn’t they make contact with the local authorities seen as though Taryst seems to be going to insane lengths to hide from them?

What that man in the Twilight Bar had said then echoed ominously through my thoughts; that there was more at stake than I could imagine, now his words could not ring with much more truth.

“When we were finally permitted to enter your room,” said on Feiult, “we found that you were still completely unconscious, but you were completely intact, your shattered bones had miraculously been re nit, and your brain activity was back, functioning at normal parameters.”

I expected more elaboration from the medicae, but he trailed off once more confirming that he wasn’t telling me everything.

How had this psyker who apparently completely healed me but yet here I am, still lying in this bed where even the slightest of movements causes complete agony? How did he even know that I would be at full order in four months time?

Damn it Feuilt your explanation was creating nothing but more questions, and if I couldn’t get those missing details during the next month, once I get well I will frigging ring them out of the old bastard, and Emperor damn the consequences!

Feiult smiled almost nervously. “Also during your month long coma quite a few people came to visit you, Garrakson, young Elandria, Torris and if you are wondering; Torris has recovered from his injuries he now has a new augmetic for his missing eye, and he is out on the field working at full capacity now. Even Taryst himself once visited you.”

I felt glad about Torris’ recovery but felt a pang of guilt, the guy had visited me during my injury, but I had hardly visited him, the next time I will have to apologise. But at the medicae’s mention of Taryst I sighed, he would have only come to have his psykers withdraw the information he needed from my mind.

“A few new people as well, a light, snarky man named Darrance. He came once. A friendly, big man called uhm Hayden a few times but most prolific of all was that woman Castella she came in every day and every day prayed over you, it was no coincidence that she was there the first time you woke up, your lucky that you have so many who care for you so much.”

I could understand Hayden and Castella (though her coming in every day was quite shocking) And even to an extent Elandria, but Darrance? Perhaps Glaitis had forced him to or something, that was the only explanation I could theorise.

“Well,” said Feuilt as he got off of his chair. “That is enough exposition for today young Mr Kaltos. I really should not have told you so much, but I felt you deserve some explanation at least, and as your medicae, I advise for you to not stress too much over the information I have given you, and stress no matter how small will slow the healing process. You need to relax. I will inform everyone you are awake,” and with that Feiult turned and walked out the door.

I sighed to myself once Feuilt had left. Did he just ask me not to stress out about all the gigantic holes in his “exposition?” And now that I am stuck here immobile and alone as well? Medicae Yarran Feuilt really didn’t know me, did he?


For the next three hours as I lied alone and I lost myself in thought as I stared up at that white, tiled ceiling.

I thought over a myriad amount of subjects, the first being how interesting it was that a psyker had repaired my shattered body. I really didn’t know that it could be used in such an extreme healing aspect, though in retrospect it made perfect sense. With the power to be able to manipulate much of your surroundings and warp other people minds to your own will, why couldn’t psychic talents be used to re-nit bones?

Perhaps that was the reason why I was still bedridden; I am still suffering from the trauma of having my shattered bones repaired by a completely foreign and unnatural force.

But my body was destroyed beyond repair, the skill and power of that mystery psyker must have been beyond phenomenal to accomplish such a task. Perhaps the psyker brought in was one of Taryst’s cadre? But why would it then take a week before he/she or on a more frightening note “it” could be brought in to repair me and once again my thoughts went to that one question I really wanted to avoid thinking about; why would Glaitis go to so much trouble to save me? This question I wanted to avoid as much as possible as I was unable to make a coherent theory on the answer, was it because she genuinely cared for my well being? That I doubted, everything she did, good or bad, seemed to have something behind it which aided her mysterious agenda in one way or another.

I always knew I was but a pawn in that agenda, but now, apparently, I was a slightly more special pawn.

My constant, circling and futile train of thought were eventually interrupted by my first visitors, three of them to be exact.

Elandria was first through the door, her pale face as impassive as always but she treated me to a slight, almost respectful nod. Then she silently went and leaned against the wall, crossing her arms over her chest and gazed off looking generally bored, her attention sometimes came back to me and when she noticed I noticed she quickly looked away. I had always found it sad that it was such a rare occasion when she smiled legitimately it would have been nice to see her smile, especially now.

Garrakson was next, wearing his usual scarred old guard carapace armour, with a big grin plastered on his equally marred face.

“Hey kid, good to see you’re finally awake,” he said then he frowned, “damn it though, you bloody well took your sweet time.”

Yeah, I thought in good humour, having most of your bones shattered would do that to a person.

“Yes,” said Elandria as she unknowingly spoke my thoughts but was completely devoid of humour, “but that is what would happen to most people after they had most of their bones shattered.”

“Now that’s where your wrong kiddo,” corrected Garrakson, “no, most people would be dead.”

“Well Attelus Kaltos isn’t “most” people is he?” said the third person as he entered. The tall and dark-skinned Torris grinned at me widely with the white teeth that contrasted his complexion and though I knew one of his eyes was an augmetic yet it was hard to tell which. It seemed that Taryst had spared no expense for the ex-arbitrator and I was glad to see that.

“He is the mighty hero of the Twilight bar who sacrificed himself to rescue the young partygoers from a monster of horrible power, no, Attelus is now a hero, a legend, a god amongst men.”

My eyes widened, did everybody already know of what had happened? Except for perhaps medicae Feuilt, he didn’t seem to, but I was extremely sure he was also not telling me entirely what he knew anyway.

“Yeah, yeah keep it down Tor,” said Garrakson, “by the Emperor, I swear you and Taryst should have a competition to see which of you can chew more scenery.”

“But,” added Elandria, “whether he actually “sacrificed” himself is, really, up for interpretation.”

Not liking at all were Elandria was taking the conversation I tried to shoot at her a death glare, attempting to make her shut up but it was an attempt which failed miserably, going completely unnoticed and Torris and Garrakson gave her bemused glances.

“What does that mean?” asked Torris almost accusatory, I could tell he had an idea where this was also going.

Elandria grinned wickedly “I think the real reason behind it was Attelus Kaltos meant to use the “innocent” party goers as human shields to protect him from the arco-flagellant until back up arrived and he was just extremely lucky it did.”

“No!” I managed to exclaim even though it caused me pain to do so, “no! That wasn’t what I intended to do at all!”

Her words were cruel and truly callous, but perhaps they weren’t without merit? Perhaps all her, Castella, Darrance and Tresch had found was a bloodbath and this may be even more evidence pointing to Castella lying to me.

She shrugged, seemingly almost frightened at how genuine my heartfelt rebuttal was, “I am no psyker I can’t read thoughts,” she said, pouting, “it’s what I would have done, if in that situation.”

Everyone stared at her in utter shock. So this was the true Elandria? Someone so inherently evil and brainwashed that she couldn’t even begin to comprehend that someone in the same line of work as she could do any good. That what she said wasn’t meant to be cruel, that it was from genuine ignorance, which made it even worse.

“Elandria,” said Garrakson with an icy calm, the ex-guardsman’s face was dark, as hard as a stone and for a minute he was utterly terrifying.

“What?”

“Get out.”

“What?”

“I said get out! And that’s a frigging order!” snarled Garrakson suddenly and that was the first time I had ever heard him raise his voice in anger. Even Torris who had worked with Garrakson for a long time seemed surprised by the outburst.

Elandria flinched at the intensity but then irrational rage began to spread over her fine-featured face, and for a second, I could have sworn that it would come to blows, as she glared up at Garrakson and while he stared down stoically. To be honest, I wasn’t sure who would win if it did, Garrakson had the obvious advantage of size, strength and reach and he was well versed in basic brawling and guard CQC drills but Elandria was even my equal in close combat, she was sly, agile and very, very fast. But in these confined quarters, Garrakson had the upper hand so to speak as Elandria had little to no room to manoeuvre.

Elandria seemed to realise this as after what felt like an eternity her face twitched back into its atypical impassive, then she turned and walked out the room, muttering, “whatever” as she closed the door behind her.

Garrakson turned back to me, “I’m sorry about that kid,” he said, “both Tor and I know that you wouldn’t do such a thing.”

At that line I looked away, feeling extreme guilt welling at the pit of my gut as I acknowledged just how close I had come to abandoning those people which in my opinion would have been equally as monstrous.

“I-I,” I swallowed back the pain which had come with that utterance, my earlier exclamation must have done more damage than I had initially thought, “I was, the one who, had lead that Arcoflagellent to those people, I was responsible for it, so I had to try to make up for it.”

“Fair enough and noble words Attelus,” said Torris but he and Garrakson exchanged almost guilty glances, “but we heard about what you did to Vex.”

“And that was one frigging hard pill to swallow,” growled Garrakson his harsh tone somehow making me feel even more guilty.

“Now Attelus we don’t know why you hurt that kid and to be honest don’t care,” said Torris, “we just want to know if that you did in that club whether or not you did it was mostly out of guilt for what you had done to that kid.”

Despite myself sudden irrational fear pounced to the surface, fear which turned my heart to ice, I did indeed do it in part to that guilt, but I wasn’t sure whether they would agree with that. I had been left to guess about oh so much while working under Glaitis but never before had I felt this weight of consequence, and uncertainty and it terrified me beyond belief, Torris and Garrakson were mercenaries, hired killers, selfishness was all part of the job so why the hell was this so damn important to them? Why did they care!? Why couldn’t my actions be enough?

“W-why? Why the hell, do you want to know?” I managed.

“It’s a simple question Attelus,” said Garrakson, “and a simple answer yes or no, you can take your time, but we aren’t moving until you answer.”

I desperately looked from Garrakson to Torris back and forth, back and forth desperate to find some clue in their impartial expressions but to my dismay I found nothing.

Finally, I sucked in air through clenched teeth before saying, “yes, it was, a partial contributor to my action,” and it was almost physically painful to admit.

Both Garrakson and Torris exchanged looks then Garrakson finally said, “yes, we thought as much.”

“It was pretty damned obvious,” said Torris, “but it was good to hear you say it.”

“So? You two already knew, but you still were still, willing to put me through that?” I said sounding more exasperated than I should have.

“You were willing to throw away your life then, and there weren’t you Attelus?” said Garrakson, ignoring my statement, “and doing it because you felt guilty about what you did to Vex would have been stupid.”

“You are extremely lucky to survive,” said Torris, “if you had died you wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to apologise to that kid legitimately, and so your sacrifice, to him would in all likelihood seemed hollow and self-important.”

“What you really needed to do was to face the music in the first place. You should have built up the courage to say you’re sorry to his face and you are extremely lucky to get a second chance to do it,” said Garrakson then immediately his face lightened. “But it is also good to hear you didn’t do it just because of that.”

“W-what would have happened if I had?” I asked, feeling an extreme mix of both guilt and relief.

“Well let’s just say that this lecture would have gone on for longer,” said Garrakson, “we maybe ruthless mercs kid but we still care about a few things.”

“A very few things,” emphasised Torris with good humour.

“Kid, we’ll leave this subject only if you promise us is that the very first thing you do once you recover is you find Vex and you frigging well apologise.”

It was deja-vu all over again when I was a child I remembered that my father and had given me similar lectures after every single time I had fallen into that blind rage and had hurt others because of it. Like every time, I had found it extremely hard to face the person I had hurt afterwards. But once I had worked up that courage and confronted the kid, and said sorry it was like a weight was taken off my shoulders.

No wonder Glaitis insisted on calling me “child” as I was still one on so many facets.

“No,” I said with new found determination and much to Garrakson’s evident surprise, “I swear it.”

We conversed for the next half hour, with Elandria all the while staying outside and through them, I found out that now everything was back to square one.

“We’re still running into dead ends,” Torris had said, “still chasing our tales.”

“Though our bloody encounters against the hammers have been a lot fewer kid,” said Garrakson with a sniff, “it seems that they have gone even further into hiding.”

“Hmmm, not surprising really,” I managed, “and it also seems that Brutis Bones is in, someway, involved with the Inquisition, which explains the organisation’s funding as well as Taryst’s paranoia, I had a slight suspicion, but when I went in there I wasn’t exactly expecting they’d have a frigging Arco flagellant.”

“Fair enough,” said Garrakson with another sniff, he didn’t seem at all surprised at my conclusion. But he wasn’t stupid he would of at the very least guessed it also or on a more darker note, knew it.

“Well we’d better go,” sighed Torris as he got off his seat, “we’ve still got to take our newest report to the big man himself.”

“Right,” agreed Garrakson, “we can’t keep him waiting in eager anticipation to hear more of our ‘exploits’.”

“Garrakson wait,” I said causing the ex-guardsman to halt his exit, “do you truly think that an apology would be enough for Vex?”

Garrakson smiled and shrugged, “maybe, maybe not, kid, but it’s something which is better than nothing.”

Then he turned to leave but once again I stopped him,

“Just one more thing, could you, send in Elandria for me, before you go, I need to talk to her.”

Garrakson looked to Torris who shrugged and said, “I don’t see why not boss we can spare a few minutes.”

The ex-guardsman sighed, “sure kid but don’t take to long we all know that it will be tough but we don’t have all day to wait around for you have your fun.”

I felt my face flush, and Torris sniggered in agreement, then they left.

“We’ll wait outside the medicae,” I just managed to hear Garrakson inform this to Elandria before he shut the door behind him.

I only had to wait a few seconds before Elandria entered.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“Could you please close the door, Elandria?” I croaked.

She looked at me with a strange uncertainty, then she turned and hesitantly complied.

“So now will you tell me what the hell is it you want?”

“Thanks, El, I just have one thing I want to know. No, one thing I truly need to know, in the Twilight bar, what the hell exactly happened?”

“Hah!” she exclaimed suddenly and with a resounding bitterness so potent it took my breath away, “didn’t the great Castella Lethe tell you when you first woke up? Or don’t you trust even her now?”

“I-I truly don’t know who the hell to trust anymore,” I admitted, my words sounding more strained with sadness that I had intended.

“What did she actually say to cause you to be this...?” she trailed off.

“Suspicious? She said that all of the people I had attempted to protect had survived that they all fled and had escaped the arco flagellant’s wrath, but in all honesty, it seems far too good to be true, I just wish I could remember it.”

And the reason why I couldn’t remember I could hazard a myriad amount of guesses on.

She grinned, “Oh indeed, I guess that would be suspicious, but you know what? I’ m not going to tell you.”

“What?”

“Oh no and you know why? Because you don’t deserve it!” she suddenly closed on me from across the room so fast it made me flinch in surprise, and she brought her face so close to mine that our lips almost touched. Her expression was one of cold rage, and horrible fear gripped me as it seemed she was going to kill me and I would be utterly incapable of defending myself.

“What you did was beyond stupid,” she hissed, and I could feel her spittle speck on my face. “To throw your life away like that out of some misguided self-righteousness just makes me sick and for what? To save the lives of a group of pathetic nothings who you don’t even know! For such complete and utter idiocy, I believe you need to be punished. In fact, I would have let you die for it, but for some reason, quite beyond me, mistress Glaitis wanted to keep you alive. No I won’t answer your question I will let you lie here and writhe in your own uncertainty, it is the very least you deserve.”

It was then that the realisation hit me and the pain of it was beyond description, “Glaitis put you up to this didn’t she?” I cried, “she had Castella tell me that, and she knew I wouldn’t believe it! She knew that the disbelief would eat at me, this is the punishment for what I did, oh no! No!”

That was cruel, even for Glaitis it was cruel, could this be the one reason why she had me saved, to torture me this way? What kind of people do I work for, who would do such a terrible thing?

Elandria got back to full height and grinned that disturbing grin “maybe or I could just be doing this extracurricular but that I won’t answer as well. Oh, I do hope that you have your fun Attelus Kaltos, I know I will.”

With that she turned and walked away, leaving without a further word, ignoring me as my desperation overwhelmed my pain as I writhed in my sheets and pleaded out after her impervious back; “please don’t do this, please don’t be this cruel Elandria, please Elandria. Please! Elandria! Elandriaaa!”

Her only reply was the slamming door, leaving me all alone once more.

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