Traitor’s Sight

4/5 (1)

Dogma once blinded Kyser Tremon, and now fate was intent on doing the same, though in this case more physically than spiritually. He knew not what had detonated, and frankly, it did not matter. What mattered was that his eyes, if they still existed, saw nothing, and no quantity of mud removed from his face rectified the problem.

As a former hive dweller, darkness was not a foreign concept; he prided himself on his umbral navigation, but there is a great difference between darkness and the lack of light.

‘Fragging mud!’ Kyser spat, unable to see it was mostly blood. ‘When I get the fool who threw that grenade, I’ll make them pay…’

Now was not the time for vengeance; survival was all that mattered. He knew he was somewhere in no man’s land, forced to charge at the threat of almost lethal pain by his Word Bearer masters. Doctrine, for lack of a better moniker, says to add his blood to the countless litres spilt in the fruitless assault, to end his life then and there for the glory of Khorne, yet two factors stayed his hand.

The first and major factor was that his knife had been mounted in the bayonet slot of his lasgun for the charge. The lasgun in question was ripped from his hand during the detonation, its location on Terra itself for all he knew. As for the second factor, well, he knew all too well what fate awaited him: unending pain as his very essence is ripped to shreds by bloodthirsty daemons, a meagre sacrifice unable to barter him anything beyond spiritual annihilation; at least those corpse-worshippers believed they would stand at their god’s side for their sacrifice.

Kyser couldn’t help but reminisce about when his regiment ‘fell’. It was on a world now long dead; its name abandoned long before the last resource was stripped to feed the war machine of Chaos. He and his childhood friends had been those unlucky fools tasked with ‘covering the retreat’, the vox constantly chattering of their imminent retrieval… yet retrieval never came…

With a shake of his head, the memory was dismissed, flowing down the side of his face. Wait, that was real, and he knew it wasn’t raining. That day, when his regiment chose survival under Chaos over sacrifice to a deceitful deity, still haunted him, especially the fate that befell those who stood their ground in their faith.

Regrets for past actions were scared from his thoughts with the screeching of a chainsword, particularly because he knew not which side they belonged to. Imperial tactics did call for Astartes’ response to the deployment of their heretical kin after all, and in the blast, Kyser’s sense of direction had been well and truly scrambled.

The former guardsman lay flat in the mud when a second chainsword joined the first, clearly intent on opposing the first as the two scraping blades swiftly clashed.

The duelists were Astartes, of no doubt, the sound of metal on metal intertwined with whining motors and the thrum of the giant reactors those superhuman warriors carried upon their backs. He had witnessed these demi-gods fight on many occasions, both before and after he changed allegiance, but never had he heard such power in their every strike, each echo announcing their fury.

All he could do was lay still in the mud, doing nothing to alert them to his presence lest he be smote for interfering with their duel, praying to anyone who’d listen that they wouldn’t accidentally crush him beneath their bulk.

It didn’t take long for Kyser to realise another, more important factor: whoever won this conflict held his fate in their hands. He could only thank avoiding Tzeentch’s gaze that it wasn’t a World Eater he served under.

Thus, as blade repeatedly struck blade, the mud-encased former guardsman listened intently, hoping there was some detail, some sound, to tell who was who and which side was winning. One reactor thrummed with energy, the other pulsed with power, that didn’t help. The whine of their suit’s motors? No, that didn’t help. The chainsword itself? One did scream louder than the other, but whether it was due to aged decay or infused power was unknown. Damn, these Astartes!

Kyser decided on Plan B, clumsily fishing the symbol of the eight-pointed star from his fatigues. He held it tight within his grasp, so tightly that his fingers bled and flowed along the grooves carved into each accursed arrow, pooling to fill the unwavering eye glaring at the centre.

‘I beseech thee, Khorne, accept this offering and infuse my master with your strength…’ he began, his coagulated blood returning to its vibrant liquidity as scabbed wounds flowed once more.

‘I Sacrifice the memories of my youth to the great deceiver; grant my master the knowledge to succeed!’ he declared, feeling the faces of his loved ones blurring into nothing.

‘I welcome Nurgle’s touch; grant my master the resilience to withstand any attack.’ Bile filled his mouth, and insects buzzing rang in his ear.

‘I welcome this pain in the name of Slaanesh. May my master’s enemy’s death be swift yet agonising!’ His senses roared into overdrive, the wind like sandpaper scraping slowly across his skin.

A priest he was not, but chaos did not care as long as one provided the right level of belief, and Kyser was ready for anything, just to live one day more, no matter what state that would be in, and perhaps the Word Bearer would reward his devotion…

The clang of metal upon metal increased, one side gaining the advantage until metal teeth no longer ground one another, but ceramite was carved, and a loud thud scattered dirt. The duel was over, but who won?

He didn’t spend long wondering as heavy boot falls approached, his pain vanishing as he focused purely on the approaching winner.

‘P—praise Chaos?’

‘For the Emperor.’

Kyser’s heart would pump no more, shredded to atoms as the gods claimed their spoils.

About the Author

An avid Warhammer fan, Liam likes to dabble in all aspects of the hobby, from writing short stories and assembling, modifying, and painting miniatures to creating sketches and artwork of whatever strikes his mind, though none ever truly feel ‘finished’, no matter how much time he spends constantly improving.