Friday, December 05, 2014

Come To The Sabbath

  The Death Walker crew emerged from the smoke-choked battlefield. Their black and crimson armor shone in the waning dusk. Waiting at the entrance to the ancient Stormbird was Kefron, a wise and most evil sorcerer lord. The followers of Khorne cared not for magic, but Kefron had promised them power of unimaginable heights. He knew of dark and forbidden places few remembered. He promised them the Blood God’s favor.
“Is it done Gath? Do you have what I asked of you?” Kefron groaned.
 “Aye, wizard I do. But take me for no fool; I shall let you have it soon. Take us now to this altar you claim.” Gath said prominently.
 Kefron paused, looking over the remaining World Eater party. There had been at least sixty when they landed. Now only twenty remain, Gath included.
 “Worry not Gath. I know the way.”
 They boarded the Stormbird, heading north over the vermillion sea.
Kefron once belonged to the Night Lords legion, but over time he grew mad with his pursuit of knowledge. He ventured from world to world, lending his black arts to the Traitor Marine Lords. Nothing seemed to quell his appetite for all things arcane and magnificent. In previous times he used the Night Lords to fulfill his wishes; now though, he used any that answer his call. Many did, so long as they too reaped powerful rewards. Such is the fate of Gath the Death Walker.
“There it is!” Kefron groaned, pointing out the hulking stone edifice.
 It was ominously antiquated, covered in thick, web-like moss. The Stormbird descended to the rocky hill top, as the planets emerald sun vanished beneath the horizon. The Berserker party trudged down the ramp, holding their position at the vanguard of the titanic temple. The crude steps leading up to the passageway were littered with weapons, armor and bones of another era. Kefron stood behind Gath and whispered.
 “So, my friend, now your fate stands before you. Shall you answer the call of your god?”
 Gath turned to the sorcerer, raising a leather bloodstained pouch.
 “This shall be yours once we return to our ship.” Kefron frowned, and nodded.
 Wielding Snagga in his right hand, Gath continued.
 “Lead the way, wizard.”
Kefron lumbered up the steps careful no tot trample any objects.
 “This way my friends. Come; come to the Sabbath of Khorne.”
 With a wave of his hand the rotted moss parted, revealing a rusted egress emblazoned with the symbol of Khorne. Gath and his Berserkers stopped short, unsure of themselves. The brazen door opened slowly and Kefron ventured into the gloom. Gath followed suit, wondering what lay in the heart of this shrine to the Blood God.
The long hallway seemed to stretch out into another realm altogether. Reaching what appeared to be the main chamber, Gath heard…no, felt voices in his head.
 Come; come; feed me; bring me skulls.” the voice beckoned.
 Gath shook his head and gripped Snagga tighter. He looked over his shoulder; Jagee and Fausto had obviously heard it too, for they stood with their backs to each other, waiting for an attack. Vaakon, Bael and Xerzes had also stopped in their tracks. Gath slowed his pace; still heading towards the dimly lit altar that Kefron now kneeled before. Gormaar, Torg and Harek flanked Gath. The rest of the Berserkers waited in the darkness.
 “Kefron,” Gath whispered, “what now?”
 Kefron rose to his feet, and lit a large candle. It illuminated the chamber, revealing blood stained walls and mounds of skulls, human and alien alike. Kefron pulled a silk cover to the floor, revealing a grim brass statue of a horned and mighty daemon. Axe in hand, he sat, hundreds of skulls at the base of his feet.
“Your Lord Khorne;” Kefron began, “Here his presence is felt like no other. Stand before him Gath Deathwalker, receive his blessings and do his biddings.”
 Gath knelt beneath the blazing idol. Silently he spoke to Khorne, asking for power; strength to defeat any who stood before him in battle; strength to suffer grievous wounds and fight on. The temple quaked. A harsh hot wind rushed in, blowing out the candles. Thunderous laughter shook the altar.
 “Bring me his skull and it shall be done.” the voice boomed in his head.
 The Berserker party backed away from their commander, who now glowed red in the pitch black of the shrine. Striding towards Kefron, Gath switched on his double-headed chain-axe, savoring the thought of killing the sorcerer. Kefron, sensing he was endangered, leapt backwards, unsheathing his great sword. He cleaved a Berserker’s head clean from his shoulders and cursed the Blood God.
 “Bring me the wizard!” Gath shouted to his troops, his voice deep and twisted.
 Several Berserkers rushed him, chain-swords and axes wailing. Kefron unleashed a pulsating wave of warp energy. The Marines fell; their heads exploding in a shower of crimson. Gath leapt over his fallen comrades, wildly swinging his axe. Kefron blocked his attacks, desperately trying to escape. The World Eaters stood watching the mighty battle, Kefron and Gath both glowing in the darkness.
“Fool! You attack me after I have led you here! Your power you owe to me!” Kefron bellowed, deflecting the onslaught of blows.
 “This matters not to Khorne; only that your skull sits at his feet and your soul reaped in his name!” Gath proclaimed.
 Kefron kicked out, knocking Gath to the floor. Kefron ran for the hallway, stopping short he began an incantation, trying to bring the wrath of his magic upon Gath.
“Your parlor tricks won’t work on me wizard…Khorne commands this hall! Tonight you sleep in Hell.”
Kefron began to panic, falling on his ass and begging for mercy, like a dog. Gath raised Snagga and drove it into Kefrons’ breastplate, splattering bone and blood across the floor. Kefron, screaming in agony, Snagga bit down again, nearly cutting him in two, the ancient chain-axe screaming and spitting sparks. Choking on his own blood, he reached out for Gath only to be swatted back to the gored, stone floor. Gath delivered the killing stroke; the sorcerers head rolling back down to the altar, his life force spilling everywhere.
Gath walked back to the altar, still glowing, his men standing about in confusion. He placed Kefron’s decapitated head at the feet of the idol.
 “Yeeeesssssssss.” the voice boomed in his head.
 Gath stood in front of the altar, his body violently shaking. His men began running for the exit not sure what was going on. Kefron’s carcass hovered above the floor, electric currents running over the body. Gath was suddenly thrust to the ground; the chamber began to hum and vibrate. Looking up, Gath saw the very fabric of reality tear, the warp spilling through into the shrine. A whirlwind of colors surrounded Gath. He dragged himself to his knees, struggling to see what was happening. Kefron’s body was being dragged into the warp by the hounds of Khorne, their daemon master howling and laughing. Gath finally rose to his feet, gazing into the Immaterium. The giant daemon saluted Gath, his hounds still fighting for Kefron’s body. Gath was thrown across the shrine as the portal closed.
Stepping out into the rising dawn, Gath walked past his crew. Only eight now remained. Their eyes followed him as he boarded the Stormbird.
“What is the plan Captain?” Vaakon asked, unsure if Gath was even coherent.
 He reached into one of his satchels and produced an ornate amulet of shimmering violet. The Berserkers all stared at it, dumbfounded.
 “The wizard said this rune was a key. To what, I know not. I do know his next destination was the Purgatory system. He was to liaison with a Night Lords force en route. I say we join them; take skulls for Khorne and see what this key opens.”
In the depth of space, amongst the stars, Gath sat listening to the voice.
 “Skulls; skulls for my throne…blood for the Blood God….skulls for my Sabbath…”
‘Come to the Sabbath…’ Gath remembered the wizard saying.
 The Sabbath of war is all Gath the Death Walker shall live for.

written 2006, revised 2011

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