The sound of my heels striking the stone steps echoes out and dies into the darkness. The air is stale with an increasingly prominent scent of charcoal becoming noticeable. With one last resonating clack I reach the bottom of the stairs. Glancing over my shoulder the door at the top of the stairs is nothing but a small glimmer in the distance. Everything around me is thick dark mass, surroundings indistinguishable because of it. Despite my inability to see my surroundings I can still sense them. I can smell kerosene wafting from one of the walls. Walking through the dark I extend my arm forward to grab the torch I knew would be there. The torch left its perch silently and simultaneously burst into flame. Revealing the plain drab room wooden crates and barrels line the walls except for the wall farthest from the entrance which was cracked a scraped increasing in intensity and frequency near the center of the wall. That wall had a hole dug into it that extended halfway up the wall and three feet or so wide. Walking over to the hole I Crouch down and hold the torch forward to illuminate the interior. The height of the cavern immediately rose on the other side of the entrance. I shuffle through and stand upright once more looking around I see 5 tunnels going off in different directions. The ground is uneven and the sealing has a rib cage of wooden beams for support, all clear signs that these tunnels have been recently and hastily made. One of the tunnels is visibly a dead end from where I stand at the entrance, but it doesn’t matter I know where I am going I say to myself. Following the familiar presence, I head straight for the tunnel on the far left. As I descend I can hear a distant echo of movement. I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and suddenly the cavern shakes as the blare of bolter fire echoes through the cavern and an inhuman scream follows after three short burst of fire. I pick up my pace and ready my sword, I continue in silence for a few moments before a now much closer scream echoes forth. I stop and listen as the thud of boots and cracking of stone quickly approaches. I ready myself waiting for whatever could be approaching around the bend of the tunnel. The ground shakes as the booming steppes grow into defining crashes Broken up by more bursts of Gun fire. It is become clear that I will need to defend myself and I draw my sword. As I do so a hulking figure taking up the entirety of the corridor comes barreling around the bend. Its momentum brings it crashing into the wall. Immediately fear clutches at me as I recognize the figure as a Chaos space marine. He has not noticed me just yet as he looks down the way he just came firing down the hall with a bolter gun. Taking the opportunity I drop the torch and will the fire to strike. As the torch falls, tendrils of fire clime from the falling flame and launch forward at the Chaos warrior. As the bolts approach he turns his horned helm and I can see a brief moment of surprise and terror reflected in his glowing red eyes. The Bolts slam into his right shoulder with a shower of sparks. His arm goes limp and his still firing bolter slams into the ground as the torch I dropped hits the floor and dims almost immediately. Simultaneously I leap forward his gaze does not falter as I jump on his buckled knee and plunge my sword deep into his chest. I stare into his eyes my face inches from his and grit my teeth as he laughs. His armor creeks as his left arm moves to grab me. Not breaking eye contact I pull up hard on my sword. The blade lodged nearly hilt deep in the center of his chest glides through his armor with a loud grating noise that muffled the sinuous tarring of flesh. The laughing turned into a gargling noise as the blade moved up from the chest into the neck. My snarling grimace curls into a smile and I turn my wrist rotating the blade lodged in his neck and sharply yank the blade toward his left. As his body goes lip and audibly crumples to the ground I leap back landing near wear I dropped the torch. The light from the torch has died to a soft orange glow in the seconds since I dropped it. The soft glow from the torch is also joined by the glowing orange dripping impact points on the Chaos warrior’s right shoulder. I don’t even think to savor the victory, immediately turn the bend and continue the walk ready for more forces of Chaos. Hopefully I can use the limited space to my advantage. It is unlikely I will be able to beat a chaos space marine in a fair fight. I have decided not to continue with the torch so that I may strike from the shadows. It unnerves me that a Chaos warrior would be running so franticly. I can still hear commotion off in the not so far distance, but no more Bolter shots. As I briskly sprint through the darkness I move around two more chaos warriors that lie on the ground they were clearly shot to death by the one I had killed because the ground was damp with blood where I past them. I have covered a tremendous amount of ground in a short time at the speed I am moving. I stop as I the darkness breaks away. I am at the top of a ladder that descends thirty feet or so down. The ladder is carved into the wall below me and is clearly designed for the much larger chaos warriors. The room below is a large circular room with an alter in the center piled high with burning bodies that lights the room. There are the remains of at least four other chaos strew throughout the room. After quickly glancing over the room my eyes fall on a large monstrous creature is kneeled in front of the alter speaking in a gargled tongue. The speech is not in any language I have ever heard, but I stay atop the ledge and listen and watch considering my options. The monster appears to have been a chaos warrior, for its legs of the creature are clad in the salvaged Red and silver armor of the fallen warriors. While the upper body of the monster was a rippling mass of greyish blue scaly flesh. Its back has a row of spines fallowing its spine. The backpack of the power amore seemed to grow from its back as well. The stabilizers that normally protrude from the backpack are a pair of smaller arms that have what appear to be bone blades in place of hands. The monster has its side turned to me so I can see its entire profile. Its arms are large and hulking clearly extending almost to the ground even if the beast were to stand up straight. Its head looked as though it’s trapped between helmet and fleshy snake head. Shockingly I realize I can understand the monsters murmurings all of the sudden. I breathe slower as I focus in on its words. “Feeding not done, your subjects… they lost their faith. They ran and I denied their glorious sacrifices. I, we need more… more sheep, the glorious icons and … our temple… they require more hands, no bodies, no blood. Me must make move, must extend the hand, yes the hand of chaos. I, we are all that remains.” The beast made a loud snorting sniff and looked up at my location and screamed “have you come to join our glory… no … no you stink of him, you are him are you not? Yes you look different but yes must be you.” The beast stands up straight and turns to me, as he does so the clawed fingers on his left hand extend and slither down like blade tipped tentacles. The beast whips his hand out at me the tentacle extending outward. In an instant I leap off the ledge dragging my sword across the wall to slow my decent, the Striking claws rake across the wall above me. Dust and other rocky debris fall down with me. Making to the ground I tumble a rise upward only to immediately dive to the ground once more to dodge another rake from the beast. The clawed whip leave more gashes in the stone and slither back to the beast as it shouts “where have you hidden him … where … he is a coward … where have you left him!” Quickly recovering I ready to dodge another strike, but the beast instead begins to charge. The beast moves so swiftly despite its size, a chaos warriors armored chatters in a spray of blood and metal shards as the beast tramples over it on its charge, in but in instant in makes it across the room to me. Rolling past the beast striking its side with my sword as I do it slams its self into the wall I had stood in front of. The room shakes and taking no time to recover the beast turns with a grating screech swinging its large clawed hand at me. Catching me off guard I swing defensively at its arm severing it at the elbow. The arm goes flying but striking me as it did, knocking me on my back. Again the beast, howled with agony or rage, immediately continued its attack swinging its whip fingered hand down at me. Rolling to the side as quickly as possible, my hat fall off as I do so, the whip like tendrils slam down crushing everting in a long line across the room. A shower of rock metal and a mist of blood flies up and then falls so that the crunching slam is followed by the patter of the debris falling around the room. Before any more movement was possible the beast already began to swing its hand back up for a second strike as he simultaneously walking toward me. Panic rushes over me knowing I cannot evade this next strike. My eyes widen and I scream as the tendrils come swinging down “QUAL, Qual you bastard!” as the fear envelps me I a warm feeling of calm rage flows though me and I lose my sense of self. I rush to my feet faster than possible, the tendrils slam into me but I do not budge. The ground under me buckles and cracks from the blow. The glancing over I see the tendrils slumped over my left shoulder my arm holding the there. A familiar confusion takes me over as I am not moving yet my body moves. My Right arm moves independently of thought and cuts the tendrils with my sword. The beast stumbles back ward he must have been pulling back trying to regain ownership of his arm. Letting go of the tendrils they slump to the ground at my side, in the same motion my now free arm lunges forward. I look at my own actions with curiosity, lighting arches off my arm tangling together to form a massive pair of jaws. The jaws open wide and lung forward and clamp straight down on the beast as he stumbles back. The beast is hidden by the jaws waist up. A noise like a squished fruit echoes though the rooms as the jaws close completely. The jaws remain for a brief moment more arches of lighting striking parts of the room leaving blackened strike marks randomly across the room. The lighting died into a series of popes from its loud menacing crackling before fading away. The beast’s body is scorched black from the waist up. It swayed a little and then toppled over splitting into two halves the legs still where the beast stood; the torso fell forward with some momentum nearly striking me landing at my feet. My arm is at my side and I flex my fingers, realizing I have control of my actions once more. A sudden sharp pain courses though my skull and light begins to fade from my vision. I am not concerned though just dazed and confused. I relax right before the pinhole of consciousness I have left is enveloped by the enriching darkness.
I focus in on the Clang of my staff each time it strikes the cold steal floor. The echoing clang gets louder and louder as I focus in on it. Despite my attempts I cannot block out Nathan’s feeble attempt to strike up a conversation. Everything around me has devolved into meaningless noise. Nathan’s rambles on and my mind hears what he is saying but is not processing anything it’s just part of the ambiance along with the clang of my staff the echoing of footsteps in the distance and the humming and wiring that is inescapable anywhere on the ship. I fight a losing battle in my head as I try to ignore one thing I unintentionally focus in on everything. We pass a trio of workers as we cross each other they glance at Nathan. All three immediately avert their gaze and one even goes white in the face. The dark feeling one gets around Nathan is not easy to get used to and if he were not my constant watch dog I am sure he would still make the pit of my stomach drop every time he walked in the same room. The fear he instills in people without doing a thing infuriates me. I know I cannot seem to affect him with my powers, but other than that he has never displayed a single special display of skill. I can crush a man to dust with a thought yet no one ever fears me until the moment before their death. What can Nathan do? Making a quick glance at Nathan I take in his appearance to judge whether I consider him a menacing looking man. He walks with a smile on a smooth clean shaven face and clean shaven head. No remarkable features besides his amber eyes make his face even slightly memorable. His attire is even unremarkable. He wears a matt black shock trooper uniform; his helmet held under his arm. He wears heavily armored gloves, shoulder guards, armored boots that might as well have been full leg greaves, and a thick looking chest plate that is standard on guards men uniform. Instead of the normal military uniform he wears what he has said is called an Etherium. If you covered his ridiculously welcoming smile with the helmet he might be a threatening figure. Even acknowledging his appearance and knowing him very well after five years of him being my close partner nothing about him should be threatening or disturbing. Yet even after all this time with him if I maintain eye contact with him too long I can feel the pit of my stomach fall out. Suddenly I snap out of my thoughts as I hear Nathan” Reed, Reed are you ignoring me?” he exclaims in his monotone voice. I immediately space out again as we walk through a pair of automatic doors and say “always Nathan.” Nathan chuckles at this. As soon as we walk in to the control room a tall women with a tightly tide braid steps down from a thrown like chair in the center of the large circular room, her brown haired braid sways as she turns around. She stands tall and confidently, she wears a skin tight once peace uniform; the neck of it extends all the way up to her jaw, it has no sleeves, and it only extended downward into shorts that end more than six inches above her knees. All that is visible of her arms and legs are a dull silver color; they are mechanical and from rumor are equipped with numerous hidden functions. She looks at the both of us with a smile. On her back she has a dull silver spine following her spine up to where the spin meets her skull and stops there at a circular point. This woman Bel’ann intrigues me; she is the only human being who I have met that is not put off by Nathan, but also enjoys his Company. I consider Nathan a good friend but he still makes me uneasy. Bel’ann waves and Greets Nathan and I, “How was your excursion boys?” Nathan looks away blushing, as I address the question. “Uneventful.” Bel’ann is clearly not paying attention to me as she walks up to us looking at Nathan the whole time. As she stops in front if Nathan, I disengage from the situation as she tries to flirt with a brick wall. Walking up to the throne I lean my right shoulder against it taking some weight off of my leg. Letting out a deep breath I close my eyes and let all the voices flood in. “Have you seen Autumn?”, “They won’t ever know it was me”, “ maybe I can catch some sleep in the engine room”, “ I don’t think I am ready”, “ His arms are so strong, I would like a piece of that.” “I wonder how the captain lost her limbs, what would happen If I asked?” “Does that Parks guys scare anyone else?” “We are wasting so much time on the good for nothing planet” “where is the closest bathroom?” “How long before someone finds out I don’t know what I am doing” “I wonder if lady Moncel can read my thoughts when I think about her.” “We never get to see any action” “I think by big toe is infected” ” These ‘flashlights’ suck” “in the emperors name the constant buzz of this ship is going to drive me insane.” “how do you get permission to get a power sword” “what’s with black everything is black.” “Do Inquisitors get paid?” As I rest against the throne more and more voices join in. the expanse of my mental reach spreads past the ship to every living being below and onward. I snap back into my mind suddenly realizing if any of the claims about cultist activity are true it could be dangerous to reveal my presence. The Clamor of voices dies to a soft buzz in the back of my head. Looking over my shoulder I see Bel’ann is still throwing herself at Nathan, looking forward again I watch the seven or so copilots idly sit around at their stations. I know the only reason they are even here is in case Bel’ann is incapacitated. Bel’ann is Neuro-mechanically linked to the ship so that she may pilot it with her thoughts. This creates wasted staff, but it also gives unparalleled accuracy in maneuvers. Deciding to slink away while Bel’ann has Nathan occupied, I sighlently walk to a small side door that connects to the East bunking hall. Along the hall are two or three dozen doors that all connect to small dorm like rooms that include a bunk bed two desks and bathroom. The walls in every room are multi tool walls. The owner of the room can select a multitude of options to customize their room. I count the doors I pass on my left. On the fourteenth door I stop and will the door open it slides to the side. I broke the door long ago so that it is a cumbersome wall of steel. To open the door one would need to either blast it apart shred the door with an upper class power weapon or have the mental capacity to unlock and slide the door open with their mind. No one else on this ship is a Kinetic so that leaves Liliand whom could probably melt the door with her freakish powers or use that holy sword of hers. Bel’ann possible has the means to open the door. I have heard the rumors her mechanical limbs have the same strength as a power glove. This thought is rather terrifying since I have seen that she does not move slowly she is swift and agile and it is common knowledge that before her injury she was a master in all forms of close combat. I analyze everyone’s abilities as if I was powerless, I am self-aware of my power and the only people I have ever met that I am not sure I could immediately crush are Liliand and Nathan. I do not know the extent of Liliands powers. I also do not know how my kinetic powers interact with her Warp magiks. Nathan I know is an anti-Psyker, I have gathered that, but I do not know what tear to place him. I have encountered blanks and other lower level Anti-Psykers, and my powers have been strong enough that they could not fully suppress them. With how little I actually know about Nathan it might be odd to consider him a good friend. I have never known anyone well though, and I do not lend my trust easily. I see everyone as a potential enemy, but I trust Nathan. Standing at the open door still thinking I walk in slowly, looking at my bare single bed room. The only things in my room our a pile of books at the foot of my bed and a manikin in the corner to the right of the door. As I walk to my bed my armor and cloths fly off and rest on the manikin. The only things that do not leave me are an iron circlet that I wear on my head and my boxer briefs. I sit down on my bed and star at my leg no marks no identification that it is in pain. The screaming pain only ever subsides when I am in the midst of rage and bloodlust. I know the pain I have been cursed with has influenced my development as a violent individual. No matter how great the pain in my leg I do not endanger situations just to elevate my pain, I simple revile in the moments when I can give in to the bloodlust. I know it will only be minutes before we arrive at our next destination, but I will make Nathan come find me so that can add a few more moments. I lie my head down and close my eyes and hope for horrific dreams to come and take the pain away. Even if it is only for a moment.
Looking down at the broken and charred man at my feet, I can feel my lips curl into a smile. Knowing Parks and Reed were watching the sick satisfaction I feel as I break this man’s body I begin to voice some words of reassurance for Parks. “Stop feeling bad for this traitor Parks, he deserves no sympathy from us. If he or his cohorts managed to gain the upper hand you know they would inflict the worse form of torture their corrupt minds could conjure up.” The man at my feet began to sob and closed his eyes. An uncontrollable feeling of disgust rushing through my body at the sight of the retched man at my feet turned my smile into a scowl. Turning away from him an impulsive order leaves my lips. “Reed dispose of him now, he is useless, but make it clean this time I don’t want to find bits of this cur in my hair.” I can feel the glee Reed feels at his new orders as he nods with a sadistic smile plastered across his face. I take in every small movement Reed makes as he thrusts his palm out over the man. Reed no longer leaning on his staff for support he stands steady and tall no indication that doing so causes him intense pain. As he slowly closes his hand loud audible cracks emanate from the body of the man on the ground. The surface of his skin ripples with small movements as if worms were crawling right beneath the surface. Hearing my name I look up from the now clearly dead man. Parks is talking to me. ”Do you hate them?” The question puzzles me but I answer regardless. “Of course I do, they are traitors to the God Emperor.” Looks down at the corps and began to talk again. “The Emperor did not hate Horus despite everything he did.” My blood started to boil at this “The Emperor had love for Horus before he was corrupted by Chaos, do you know what I have for Chaos! I have hate nothing but hate, I have never sympathized I have no love for them that can shine through the hate.” Parks sighed and looked away from me. Reed was glares at Parks as he now heavily leans on his staff. Parks actively avoiding Reeds glare looks back at me. “You have never suffered any grievances at the hands of the heretics so how can you hate them?” I look at Reed who is fuming at this point and say. “It’s not what they have done to me it’s what they have don’t to mankind as a whole. “Parks turns and looks at Reed who was burning a hole in the side of parks head with his stare. “Despite any personal vendettas against Chaos, it is not our job to hate them it is our job to pity them.” Reed looking ready to explode spoke through gritted teeth. “Pity, I am supposed to pity them! I was raised by Sorcerers that only saw me as a pawn to be sacrificed. When I started to show promise as a Kinetic and a psychic they readied my sacrifice to the dark Gods. If Liliand had not been raiding the area for the three sorcerers, I would not only be nothing but a husk for the dark gods, but also one of the most terrifying demons to ever walk this plain. During my salvation the demon that was trying to claw its way into our realm and clung onto my soul though I was able to force it out it left clawing and biting with rage. I still feel the unholy pain linger in my right leg; it is a constant reminder of the life that was taken away from me. I am not a person I am an instrument, I was raised as a tool for summoning a greater weapon, but I am a weapon I only live for vengeance.” Parks unblinkingly responds with “I pity you as well.” Reed looks ready to lung at Parks but Reed glances at me as if to remind himself not to attack Parks before turning away from the both of us to collect himself. I give myself a second to process everything Parks and Reed just said. Parks has an incredibly pure and unbiased view of the world and that is one of the reasons why I have included him in my talent. Reed is a much simpler addition in terms of motivation. However what complicates him he is one of strongest Psykers ever recorded. In the event Reed mentioned he was able to force what Intel concluded would have been a demon demigod from his mind and back into the Warp. Reed did all of this as a child with little to no training, since then he has been trained by the best for the last couple decade or so it has been confirmed that he could easily be an Alpha plus grade Psyker. He is in fact so powerful that a great portion of his early training was simply to detect if he was a Demon. It is only in recent years that he made the effort to seek me out and join my team. I have known that his intentions were petty and his motivations misguided, but that is why Parks is his constant partner. I hope that Parks rubs off on him, just not too much; Parks agitates me as well with his constant need for justification or reasoning behind every action is irksome; more than that Parks is a powerful Anti-grade Psyker known as a Pariah. Parks could very easily kill Reed and I, it is insurance in case either of us ever snap. I pull myself out of my head finding myself blankly looking at the corps and address Parks. “Call Bel’ann, we are done here and Parks I want you to look into the next report we have received, Reed will be accompanying you I still want to look into something here.” Reed was now absent mindedly looking at the flowers in the garden. I almost laughed at how much it looks like he was sulking at the thought of spending time with Parks alone. Parks was blushing now and asked “can you not call her?” This time I did let out a snicker as I said” But she won’t want to hear from me as much as she will want to hear from you.” Parks turned away from Reed and I as he pulled out a communications device and made the call. Reed stopped staring at the flowers to look up as the canopy of green was pushed aside by a descending craft. As it approached the field Reed had set up to stop the rain retreated and the rain once more began to fall upon us. Reed and Parks walked underneath the long slender craft as a bay door near the hind opened up the ship is slightly larger than the whole courtyard that we are standing in so it stayed in the air almost four or five stories up. Reed did not even bacon he just looked at the open doors and Reed and Parks began to ascend to the open doors Parks looking uneasy at first, but then shrugging it off. As the doors close and I lose sight of them I begin to walk toward the thrust open iron doors before I can make it to the doors rain begins to strike me once more the ship no longer hovering over the courtyard to block the decent of rain. Walking through the grand entrance of this gothic structure the sweet scent of rain and the lingering scent of burnt flesh almost immediately are replaced with a stale scent of stagnation. The interior of the building is bathed in a dim orange light. I look up at the source a large stain glass mural depicting Saint Celestine bathes the center of the empty room with its majesty. While I look up at it I grip a gold bead Rosary that hangs from a clasp on my belt and fingered the beads one by one. I silently make a prayer before continuing. The dim light projected dark shadows in the corners of the room and pitch black shadow leave long lines by columns that come down from second floor pews. I know no one is here so I just continue to walk to the pulpit at the end of the room under the mural. My heeled boots make a loud clacking echo as I make my way down through the pews. A door is located on the wall under the mural. It looks old and out of place in the gothic structure the. I grasp the cold iron handle of this greying wooden door and gently pull. It is locked, so this time I pull hard and a loud splintering crack echoes multiple times over before dying out. I let go of the iron handle and it hits the ground with a clang and a crunch. The handle and a large chunk of the door around the handle lie at my feet. I gently push the door open now it creeks the entire time it drifts open. A stair case descends into darkness on the other side of the door. Staring into the pitch black I grasp the hilt of my sword, though I cannot see though the dark veil I can see a familiar aura deep in the catacombs. I think to myself have I found you, so eagerly that I actually whisper it out loud. I begin to descend into a blind world.
Darkness is broken by a thin shining ray of light fighting its way into closed eyes. My torso feels as though it is caked with drying mud. As I lift up my cheek from the cold ground, pushing my body up. I can feel the dry layer of grime crack and hear a soft crinkle like that of crumpling paper. Swallowing hurts, letting out a cough of pain I struggle to open my eyes but my surroundings seem entirely too bright for my eyes as they fight me to stay closed. As I manage to put my knees under me, hands flat on the ground I gasp for air suddenly realizing I don’t have enough in my lungs. My chest expands, and for a brief moment relief spreads through me with the air I breath. My expanding chest lets out audible crackles and I feel the dry caked on grim as it begins to fall away in little shards. I move one hand up to my chest to aid gravity in its removal of my filth. But on my way to my chest I feel warm droplets hitting my hand. My surroundings are slowly clearing up as my eyes gradual allow more sight. A weight pulls my head down forcing me to look at my open palm and see the Crimson impact points of the droplets. Thoughts are slowly falling about themselves as I suddenly realize I am bleeding. Falling on my side I roll onto my back and look down at my chest. I just stare at the broken and black cracked land scape that covers my chest. A numb curiosity guides my hand to the swollen flesh around my Icon to Chaos. Without any control I peel away a large flake of the caked on blackness. Underneath is pink and as my gaze just sits on the bare spot pores begin to well up with many little red flecks and over flow into a little red steam the cascades with a horrifyingly insignificant trickle. Everything becomes crystal clear in an instant the patter of rain, the rustle of trees, the clatter of people moving and talking; the smell of burning meat, damp grass, flowers, and the smell of freshly turned soil; the taste of copper, the cold wet ground, the weight of my own clothes, and the numbing pain the pulsates from my chest. Over everything I could feel piercing presence looming over me, forcing my eyes wide open. I see a fair featured face looking straight down at me, as my vision clears I can see it is female. My initial thought is how this pale woman is beautiful, but as my eyes move from her smiling lips up the small bridge of her to her eyes. Her Lightning blue eyes encapsulate my gaze and terror fills my body as what just transpired comes flooding back. Her gaze crushing more than the pain, bringing an overwhelming feeling of dread and emptiness, knowing I had to escape it I do the only thing I feel my body will allow me. I close my eyes and begin to silently sob. I can feel the dread and fear flow from my bleeding torso and my weeping eyes as I try to beg, but no sound will leave my throat. The only thing I can hear leave my lips is a crackle, the only thing my body will do is lie still and drown in its own sorrow.
A woman sits on a stone bench staring down at her feet. The grey sky lets down a slow patter of rain. The grey stone path that lies before her has become a long mirror walkway. Lighting blue eyes stare back at themselves in the reflective sheen of the walkway. Water trickles from the rim of the woman’s black capotain; her reflection is dashed by the pouring water. She glances over her shoulder to address a man standing behind her. ” Parks, go get Reed.” Parks looked up and began to speak, “Are you okay?” She shot him a dirty look with furrowed brow and piercing eyes. She quickly averted her gaze and looked down at her reflection once more, hiding the anger in her eyes. Her voice was still thick with malice as she spoke softly, “Reed, now.” Parks began to walk down the stone walkway though a quaint garden full of crimson flowers, their color intensified by the rain. At the end of the walkway, two large iron doors sat atop four stair steps. Even more imposing than these monolithic doors, a Gothic church-like structure seemed to grow from these out-of-place doors. Parks pushed the iron double doors open effortlessly despite their size. Stopping halfway with the doors, he looks back at her and says, “Liliand.” Before he could get another word out, Liliand looked up and shouted, “Enough!” The rain seemed to slow, as if afraid to fall for an instant as her voice died out in an echo. Parks sighs as he walks through the double doors. The doors silently close behind him. Liliand’s gaze hangs on the Iron doors as it follows a Relief sculpture depicting a cluster of bodies and spears clashing with a twisting horde of fangs and fire. After studying the scene, her glance shifts to the smooth stone walls surrounding the entire property. The looming grey walls are only broken up by the occasional vine trying to scale their smooth surface. With not much to see, she looks up into the pouring rain; the sky is almost invisible through the thick canopy of foliage that stretches above the walls and hangs over the entire clearing. Despite the heavy canopy, the rain still pours through at an increasingly steady rate. Without the smooth-looking, gray walls that encircle the plaza and church, everything inside would surely be overtaken by the flood of vegetation. With her face now soaked from looking up into the green and gray sky, she looks down into her reflection. Taking her hat off and placing it on the empty space on the bench to her right, her short, black hair is quickly soaked by the rain. She studies her pale skinned reflection that is stark white in comparison to her matte black wardrobe. Her blue eyes shimmer and flicker with bright intensity like a flame. She stares into her own flickering eyes quickly becoming oblivious to her surroundings. Her gaze breaks suddenly as she looks down at her black-gloved hand that has moved to the sterling silver sword hilt. She grips it tight as a strange heat creeps through her glove from the hilt. She stares into the empty eye sockets of the silver skull that adorns the bottom of the hilt. Knowing that it wants to be drawn, she pulls it out of its matte black sheath. The sword slides out silently, the blade so brilliantly silver that it looks like it was crafted out of a mirror. Holding the blade upright in front of her, she looks into a perfect reflection of her face and surroundings caught by the blade’s brilliants. Her reflection winks at her and she scowls, and in reaction her reflection begins to silently giggle. Turning the sword around, she rests the tip on the smooth stone at her feet. Without pressing down at all, the tip of the blade buries itself in the pavement. As she waits, the rain picks up and begins to fall in sheets. The foliage above is rustling so ferociously that it is almost louder than the now strong patter of rain on stone. Water is rolling off of Liliand’s black matted cuirass and armored trench coat in streams. The air turns stark blue for an instant and a second later, the sound of the rain and rustling foliage above is drowned out by the deafening crack of thunder. Liliand reaches over for her hat as the wind picks up and puts it back on. At the same time, the iron doors slam open with so much force that the left door’s hinges crack and snap with a noise that could compete with the crashing thunder. The door wavers and then falls over sinking a few inches into the ground and pavement with a dull crunching thud. Liliand watches the preceding inquisitively. A moment later, a tall man with shoulder length black hair and a dark 5 o’clock shadow steps though the doors. The heavy wind throws his black hooded cap around immediately upon exiting the doors. His silvery cuirass shines out from his dark cloak. The second his silver tipped black boots touch the last step, the wind and rain stop. Liliand makes a quick glance up seeing the rain roll off of thin air over the stone walls. The man walks briskly towards her, his right leg moving stiffly. His steps are followed by the clang of metal on stone as his staff punctuates his steps. He stops feet from Liliand, with a scowl he waves his hand back at the now broken wide open doors as if beckoning someone to follow. A bald man in brown robes flies through the air as if he was being dragged by a noose and hit the ground at the dark haired man’s feet with a damp thud. The bald man starts to stand, but before he can get off his knees, the dark haired man strikes him with the butt of his copper-colored staff directly in the forehead. The man keels over and starts to rub his head. Liliand looked up at the dark haired man and said, “What does this man know, Reed?” Reed says with a hiss, “He won’t talk, but he is most certainly a traitor to the emperor.” As he said this, he made a flick of the wrist and the chest of the bald man’s robes split open to reveal an eight-sided metal star bolted into his chest. Liliand glances up from the man and asks, ” Why have you not infiltrated his mind?” Reed responds with a growl, “If he is associated with Chaos, there is no telling if he is possessed or has other traps that lie in wait.” Reed looks back at the doors. Parks is making his way back to them. As Parks walks up to them, he looks up at the rain rolling off of the air and calls out, ” Don’t like the rain Malcus?” Malcus Reed glances up as he says “No Nathan, not at all.” Liliand stands up during this exchange, twirling her sword around her wrist and sheathing it. She then bends down and grabs the man on the ground by the metal star, her fingers digging into his flesh as she lifts him of the ground with a single arm. The man lets out a groan and upon hearing it, Reed turns back to the man with a sudden look of delight in his eyes. Parks unlatches the gold buckled clasp of an ornate crimson book with gold lined pages from a sheath on his belt made to hold a book. Reed takes a step back so he is level with Parks as he is staring unblinkingly at what is transpiring. Parks has flipped to a bookmarked page in his book and is now reading under his breath. Liliand stares directly at the man’s face as he clutches at her arm. Liliand shouts out, her voice still dripping with malice, “If you comply, I will send you to your false gods swiftly!” The man stopped struggling and looks into Liliand’s eyes, then spits at her. Unflinchingly, Liliand maintains her stare as the spittle hits her face and begins to dribble down her cheek. Liliand uses her free hand to reach up and wipe the spit away without breaking eye contact. Liliand said in a hiss, “You have made your choice.” As she said this, the flickering firelight nature of her eyes suddenly changed to a steady burning blue glow. The man looked down at where Liliand’s hand was holding him up by the metal star. With a look of disbelieving horror, he watched as the metal star began to glow orange and white as if it had just been taken out of a forge. The man began to scream with a horrific twang of terror and pain. Liliand just looked up at him and smiled as the man’s skin began to sizzle and darken like cooked meat spreading outward from the now glowing white hot star on his chest. Despite the visible heat that is wafting off of the star, Liliand’s gloved hand shoes no signs of burning. Flailing like a helpless child, the man in an already cracking scream looks into Liliand’s burning blue eyes and screams, “WITCH!”