exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
It's a Tuesday when he takes the freight elevator down into the Bar's garage and starts exploring. He's never been in here before, never had any need to, but he might as well. As the song says, "Got nothing better to do."

Sahaal wanders the rows of vehicles for a while, looking at the myriad civilian and military groundcars. There's ones that look like the ones from Mad Men, but with more weapon systems. Crude tanks sit next to dune buggies. Motorcycles like the ones ridden in Easy Rider touch tyres with silvery speeders of seemingly xenos origin.

After about an hour down in the maze, he turns a corner away from a corridor of VTOL aircraft and begins heading towards a row of attack helicopters when he spots a small hatch set into the wall between a V-22 Osprey and a UNSC Falcon. It looks like most others in the Bar, but this one is different somehow. To his shame, it takes him a moment to notice the two lines of jagged runes painted in white at his eye level. That's mostly because he never expected to see them here, of all places.

They're Nostraman. Bloody Nostraman.

Specifically, a dialect of Nostraman he's never come across before. It looks to him to be a form of Hill Folk parlance, but evolved into something much more feral and martial. He can't be completely sure, he is a fluent speaker, but he knows the Nostramo Quintus dialect best, like most Terrans in the Legion. From what he can read, and with some guesswork, he settles on this meaning:

"Only those who have walked the sunless world and stood in midnight clad may enter my Tabernacle."

The second line is much clearer to him: "Death to the False Emperor."

Given that he was the First Captain, he feels entitled to enter. Besides, Sahaal wants to know why, by the Throne of Lies, there's Nostraman so far away from any other native speakers. You don't go round writing cryptic messages on doors in dead languages for no reason. He pushes the handle down, and opens it slowly, in case the mystery speaker booby-trapped the door. It's what he would have done, after all.

With a screech of long-unused hinges, the door opens. The first thing he realises is that no one has been in here for a very long time. Decades, perhaps. This conclusion is reached thanks to the plume of dust that gets dislodged by the opening of the door, as well as the liberal amount of the same stuff floating aimlessly in the air. He coughs once, to clear his throat, before looking around.

It's actually a rather large room, vaulted with steel girders and mocked up to look like the hanger bay of a Legion ship. Banners with the winged skull of the Night Lords hang from the rafters, piles of metal crates huddle in the corners and a railed maintenance gantry runs along the length of all four walls. A large fuel tank sits in one corner, rubber hoses snaking out over the grilled floor. Steps in the middle of the room lead down to an underfloor maintenance pit. Workbenches with scored wooden tabletops line the walls and cabinets made from a thin sheet metal are bolted above them.

All of it brings a smile to Sahaal's face. It's like being back home again, in the embarkation bays of the Umbrea Insidior before a combat drop. But, that nostalgia is not what grabs his attention the most. That honour belongs to the fairly large shape in the middle of the room, shrouded entirely by a oil-stained tarpaulin like a child in a ghost costume.

Cautiously, he walks over, dust puffing from his bootheels. He grabs a corner of the tarpaulin and pulls with all his strength. It takes some effort, and the oversized sheet gets caught several times, but eventually Sahaal gets it off. What he reveals makes his eyes go wide behind the tinted lenses of his goggles and his jaw drop.

He stares for a few seconds, disbelieving that anything like this could be here, in Milliways, even though he's been here long enough to not even doubt it's possible. Then, struggling to maintain his composure, Sahaal closes his mouth, forces himself to calm down and runs steadily back to the cargo elevator.

He's going to need a proper pilot.

Business

Jul. 24th, 2017 04:38 pm
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
Rorschach's World is not a planet that anyone would associate with the Traitor Legions. Once, it was a thriving hive world, with a population of almost eleven billion and six arcologies spread over two large continents. A world loyal to the False Emperor, a peaceful world, far from any wars. Well, at least, that was true a couple of millennia ago.

Strangely for a world of the Imperium, its end came not from the forces of Chaos, or the tyranid swarms, or even the ork hordes. War had not killed Rorschach's World. That honour went to the massive supervolcano on the northern continent, which had murdered the biosphere. Ash had clogged the air recycling systems of the hives, condemning millions to choke in their homes. Aerosols of sulphuric acid had corroded metal and flesh alike. The sudden global temperature drop took care of anyone outside the hives. Death had come so swiftly that not even the richest blueblood nobles had escaped, dying the same way their workers did, just in comfier beds.

The Imperium had struck it from planetary registers, and forgotten it. Others hadn't.

Sahaal is standing on one of the planet's motorway sections, five kilometers from the nearest petrified hive. A layer of greasy ash covers everything, from the scattered and rusting hulks of civilian groundcars to the dead illuminator strips mounted on gantries above his head. Even now, two millennia after the first eruptions, more ash is still falling, burying his armoured boots like snow on a more peaceful world. A chime in his ear takes his attention away from his surroundings to the chrono in the top left of his helm display. It is time to start.

Working quickly, he blink-clicks the Spotify icon on the right of his vision. A few more eye movements, and the music streaming app is linked up to his armour's vox-system. Sahaal selects the pre-arranged song, and waits as it broadcasts its message to the one set of ears listening on this dead world.

"Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
Hey you..."

The song continues to play, its melodies soothing Sahaal's nerves. He's slightly nervous, but that's to be expected. Arms deals are not his forte, but then again, Bar can't get him bolt shells and fuelcells. This is a necessity.

Roger Waters gets to the line "Together we stand, divided we fall," and then he sees the sea-green Rhino coming on the horizon. A blink cuts the song off before it can properly echo out, and Sahaal readies himself for a potential firefight. He has his bolter, with a pair of magazines, that represent fully half of the ammunition he owns. He has his claws of course, and his combat knife, but what worries him is that he doesn't have his jump pack. Rationally, he knows that he couldn't bring it, that it would be useless in this ash, but still, he wants it. He is a Raptor, after all.

The APC stops fifteen meters away from him, beside a jackknifed haulage truck. For a moment, only the wind moves. Then, the side hatch swings open on well-oiled powered hinges and two Astartes step out.

Both are in the same colours as the Rhino, and fully clad in warplate like him. Ceramite scales decorate their armour and hydra emblems grace the right pauldron of both legionaries. Each has a Godwyn-pattern bolter with a sickle clip loaded mag-locked to their thigh. Apart from their patterns of warplate, one in Mark IV, one in Mark V, they are identical. Then again, the Alpha Legion usually is.

The legionary in Mark V speaks first. "Do you have the payment?"

Sahaal might not have done an arms deal before, but he's seen enough in films to know what to do. "Not so fast. I want to see the munitions first."

Muted clicks from their vox-grilles betray a private conversation between the two sons of Alpharius. This goes on for a few seconds, then the one in Mark IV nods once and heads back to the Rhino's side hatch. He returns with an olive-green munitions crate in each hand, a standard Imperial pattern with identification codes indicating their contents to be Astartes .75 calibre bolt shells. These are placed side by side on the ash-covered tarmac. Mark V goes down on one knee, and pulls out a pair of steel keys from one of his hip pouches. Swiftly, he unlocks the heavy padlocks on the pair of crates, and places the locks on the ground. With a flick of each hand, he flips up both lids, revealing the contents. Row after row of dull brass shells glint in the weak light, enclosed in protective black foam blocks. Sahaal looks over the munitions with a practiced eye. Not Legion-grade, but certainly fit for his purposes.

He nods once in approval. "Yes, these will be fine. And the fuelcells?"

Mark V closes the crates and replaces the padlocks. Neither party wants the ash to foul the valuable ammunition. He gives a series of hand signals to his comrade in a type of battle-sign Sahaal doesn't know. Mark IV inclines his helmed head in deference, and heads back to the APC. A minute later, he comes back out, lugging a black plastic crate. Immediately, Sahaal can see this container has a wildly different provenance to the other two. There are identification codes, but not ones he recognises, printed in stark bone white. An iron skull leers at him from the crate, the stylised reflection of mortality the unmistakable mark of the Iron Warriors. Warning icons are arranged along the bottom of the Legion emblem, promising potential radiation poisoning, corrosive contents, Mechanicum technology and a risk of explosions if the goods inside are tampered with.

"Where did you get these fuelcells from?" Sahaal really doesn't want to be hunted down by kill-squads from Medrengard. He's got enough enemies already.

Mark V answers in a flat, calm tone. "Surplus trade goods from the Fourth Legion. Do not worry, these are not stolen."

Sahaal's not too sure of that, but he really can't compromise this deal by pressing the issue. "Alright then. Let's do this." He reaches into one of his belt pouches, the worn grox-leather and canvas parting beneath his armoured fingers. Out comes a small silver iPod Touch, perhaps a generation or two out of date, but certainly still usable. Much too delicate to throw, so he steps forward a few metres and holds it out to Mark IV. The Alpha Legionnaire takes it gingerly in his gauntlet.

"What is this? We agreed beforehand that this transaction was to be in Imperial Throne Gelt. We hope you do not intend to purchase these goods for less than the stated value."

Sahaal smiles behind his helm. "Believe me, I'm not ripping you off. I just don't have any Throne Gelt. But, whilst I have been out of the loop for a while, I'm pretty sure archeotech is still a valid currency." Real archeotech, the wonders of the Dark Age of Technology, is worth worlds. He's not stupid enough to hand the genuine article over for something so mundane as ordinance, but the Twentieth doesn't know that. To them and to the rest of the 41st Millennium, the little silver music player and smart device is nigh on a miracle. It would be to anyone who uses punch cards and the equivalent of floppy disks.

Mark V doesn't speak, but from his minute twitches of body language, Sahaal can tell he has him surprised and on the back foot. Finally, he asks: "What is it?"

"A miniature cogitator, but it primarily plays music. Not so useful on its own, but I'm sure you can find a purpose for it."

Mark V jabs gently at the buttons, finally finding the one that turns it on. Blue-tinted light adds even deeper shadows to his decorative chestplate scales. "The machine-spirit desires an activation code."

"One-nine-eight-seven."

Impassive, the Alpha Legionnaire taps the short string of numbers into the iPod. "How did you know that?"

He knows it because that's the passcode he set in his room last night, after he paid Bar for the device using a sheaf of U.S dollars. Those had been the winnings from a high-stakes Pyramids game in one of the back rooms, or at least a large chunk of them. Sahaal makes a mental note to thank Guide for teaching him how to play, then lets a lie flow from his lips.

"I had a heretek in my employ crack it for me. It took some doing, but he got there in the end."

Mark V nods, clearly unconvinced, but just as unwilling to put the deal in jeopardy as Sahaal is. "This is more than acceptable. You shall be considered for further business with the Twentieth Legion." He pockets the iPod, and indicates for the still-silent Mark IV to head back to the Rhino. The apparently senior legionary stays where he is for a moment, staring at Sahaal with what he swears is disbelief, but he'll never prove that. The moment passes, and the one in Mark V walks back behind his Legion-brother.

With a roar of the APC's engine and a strong stench of promethium, the two Alpha Legionnaires head back the way they came, leaving Sahaal in the light drizzle of ash. As soon as they get out of sight, he walks over to the trio of crates and collects them. It's a long walk back to the remote waystation holding the door to Milliways, but that doesn't matter. This went much better than he expected.

Upgrade

Jun. 3rd, 2017 07:30 pm
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
One Saturday night, Sahaal walks up to the Bar and asks for something to alleviate his boredom. It's not a request you'd usually hear at a bar, but this is Milliways. When you've seen a man go up and order a pitcher of ethanoic acid with ice and lime, solutions to abstract problems seem plausible. Truth be told, he had no idea what to expect, but he's certainly not expecting a small piece of lined notepaper to appear on the wooden countertop, reading: "Check your warplate".

He rushes back to his room, worried about what the Bar had done. The idea that his armour, his most important implement of war and easily his most precious possession had been altered in any way by not just someone not him, but a sentient bar that was almost certainly some sort of eldritch being, is disturbing beyond words. He pushes open the door with almost enough force to take it off its hinges and starts to hurriedly don his warplate. Throughout the familiar ritual, amidst the clicking​ of ceramite plates and the buzz of connection cables, right up until he twists his helm onto his gorget and snaps the seals tight. It takes a moment for the suit's heads-up display to come on, and then his vision is washed in red, icons flickering into existence. Sahaal blink-clicks the rune for armour diagnostic, and then waits, impatiently tapping his midnight-clad boot on the carpet as strings of analysis code stream across his eyepieces. A minute and a half later, as his patience is truly beginning to fray, a soft chime sounds in his ears and the jagged Nostraman runes for "New Software Installed" resolve themselves.

Sahaal lets out a small murmur of confusion at this, but dismisses the notification, and is treated to the same view of his HUD as he has been for the past four centuries of life. However, he notices a small icon, a green round representation of a speaker, in the upper right-hand corner of his vision. Definitely new. He selects it, and a list of what appear to be music compositions with names like "Don't Fear The Reaper", "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", "Live to Rise" and "Guerilla Radio".

He selects one, and hears an electric guitar begin, distorted by unknown means and backed up by drums. It's not like the music of his universe, the Imperial marches of orchestras and bugles, the discordiant screams of the Noise Marines, the strange ethereal melodies of the eldar. After a few seconds, words kick in: "Hear the Rime of the Ancient Mariner,
See his eye as he stops one of three.
Mesmerizes one of the wedding guests,
Stay here and listen to the nightmares of the sea..."

He spends several hours like that, sitting in his warplate and listening to the music, adding tracks to playlists and discarding others, before he finds the mobile phone and headphones in the bedside table. There's another note next to them, on the same paper and written in the same delicate female cursive hand. This one reads: "For when you aren't wearing your armour".
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
As it turns out, trying to skulk up in the Bar's rafters will only result in screams of alarm and drawn weapons. Yet another thing to keep in mind around here.
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
1. He, like most Night Lords of Terran extraction, came from one of the many ancient prison-sinks, which were massive lightless caverns filled with crumbling ruins and prisoners left to die. Sahaal was not technically a prisoner, but the child of two people condemned to suffer in the darkness. Most of his childhood was spent scavenging the network of caves for food and supplies. Even now, he's still quite good at looting ruins and wrecks.

2. He never really knew his parents, and his only memory of them is a man's voice, calling his name. Or, at least, Zso Sahaal. It's entirely possible that that isn't the name he was born with, but it is the name he gave to the Legion recruitment squad that found him in the air shafts of a collapsed starscraper.

3. He dislikes firearms intensely, and while he tells most people that the disdain comes from the fact that they are glorified fireworks, it actually stems from his early training in the Eighth Legion. A faulty bolt round detonated in the chamber of the pistol he was using, and he almost lost his fingers. Ever since, he has always put his trust in blades and his lightning claws. He still carries a bolter, but in any situation, he'll look for a way to fight in melee.

4. Due to him growing up underground, he absolutely hates being in open spaces for long periods of time, especially when he can see the horizon. Cites and indoors are preferable, but thick forest will do in a pinch. He'd never even consider willingly going out into the countryside, and anytime he has to, he usually keeps his eyes on the ground as much as he can. The lake at Milliways is generally alright for him, but only because he thinks of it as some sort of pocket dimension.

5. Sahaal isn't an atheist as such, and does acknowledge the existence of gods, but he doesn't like them, worship them or particularly respect them. He is civil with the ones who patronise Milliways, but usually because he can't see any of them actually being worshipped. This may be down to the grimdark nature of deities in his home universe.

6. He prefers to keep to himself, most of the time. This means watching films in his darkened room, mostly moving around at night and spending his time outdoors after dark, to avoid other people. This isn't him being rude, he's just not the sort of person to want to socialise much. Generally, the most socialising he does is chatting to the occasional fellow patron over drinks, almost invariably when the Bar is at its quietest.

7. He has absolutely no concept of racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other form of discrimination against other human beings, apart from loyalty to the Imperium. He's genuinely baffled at the thought of hating someone over what he sees as trivialities.

8. When it comes to films, he likes fantasy and sci-fi, and he's not quite sure why, but he thinks it could possibly be down to the escapist aspect. He's surprisingly not a fan of action and military films, but this is due to him being able to poke holes in them, and the fact that the his willing suspension of disbelief doesn't go very far at all when it comes to things he feels should be accurate. The jury is still out for him on comedy that isn't black humour, and he just doesn't get rom-coms.

9. Politics is beyond him. He tries to hide it, but he has no idea about such matters, and given his experiences with the Administratum and spire nobility, no desire to learn.

10. He has a strange liking for young women with short hair and a sharp mind, which stems from his travels with Mita Ashyn after Equixus. Not in any romantic or sexual way, he's incapable of that, but he just seems to be more at ease around them.
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
The exotic spices tingle his taste buds as he struggles to put a name to the flavours encased in the little pouch of pastry. He knows it's a mixture of potatoes and peas inside, but the tastes that overlay them are beyond his recognition. Still, he certainly likes this "samosa", whatever​ is in it. He ends up ordering a dozen, taking​ them back to his room wrapped in a tissue and eating them whilst he watches a film on Netflix. It's been a good day.
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
Sometimes, Sahaal thinks, the Bar has to be telepathic. He knows full well it's sentient, somehow, but how else can he explain the doors?

For the past couple of months, a door has appeared in the hallway outside his room every Saturday morning, at exactly 2:45am. At first, he was quite perplexed, even concerned that Acerbus had found him here and decided that the Corona Nox was too good of a prize for the little barrier of universes to stop him. He'd stepped through the portal gingerly, expecting to find a warband of killers waiting for him.

Instead, he got a glimpse of a barren desert and blue sky before his sensitive eyes had scorched in the light. He scrambled back through the door, weeping blood and reaching for the goggles around his neck. A week later, he went through the next one to appear in midnight clad, with his claws ready and bolter mag-locked to his thigh. It brought him out into a small box canyon on the coast, with high sides, strange silver towers that shot bolts of blue energy into the sky and a a crashed dropship that seemed to be human in origin. He'd explored for a couple of hours, documenting it with his armour systems and gun-cam. Once he'd had enough, he turned back. Perhaps twenty seconds after he stepped back into Milliways, the door disappeared.

It's​ became a routine for him. Head through the door every Saturday morning, explore and document the area around it and head back, with the door closing behind him. He's not afraid to admit that over the past two months, he's begun to enjoy it, the exploring. It puts him in mind of the simpler days of Crusade Expeditionary Fleets, when not every planet needed to torn apart. The campaigns of terror were and still are fun, but not even a transhuman can do the same thing for centuries and not get tired. He's seen some strange sights as well. A city called Ankh-Morpork, where pollution was worse than Nostramo Quintus, the buildings were​ packed together like crates on a Munitorum supply ship and he barely stood out. Two castles filled with children practicing magic, one with multicoloured pupils, the other with a lake that looked a little like the one at Milliways. A region blocked off by the world after a reactor disaster, where reality was twisted, nature was on the march and scavengers searched for mystical artifacts. Once, he'd even landed in the middle of a battle between a ragtag group of fighters and an xenos armada in a proto-hive called New York. He hadn't been seen, thankfully, and he'd taken the time to watch them kill the invaders. And, he knew there was more to see, always more, and that with a multiverse at his fingertips, he'd never run out of new sights to see.

He was enjoying this new routine. A lot.
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
Good:
- Amasec
- Red Wine
- Vodka
- German Beer
- Lemonade
- Cherry Coke
- Coffee
- Spaghetti Carbonara
- Bacon Rolls
- Meatball Paninis
- Pain au Chocolate
- Pizza (All Types)
- Dark Chocolate
- Chicken Vindaloo
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Beefburgers
- Headcrab Meat Skewers

Bad
- Gin
- Champagne
- Prosecco
- Tea
- Steak and Ale Pie
- Military Rations
- Sticky Toffee Pudding
- Bread and Butter Pudding
- Chicken Nuggets
- Anything​ With Mushroom
- Sushi
- Shawarma
- Coconuts
- Pineapple
- Fire Ant Fricassee
- Canned Peaches
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
Boing.
Boing.
Boing.
Boing.

He likes the way the little figurine's head wobbles on a spring when he flicks it. So far, its name of bobblehead is well-earned. The blue jumpsuit it wears and its blonde hair remind him a little too much of the Thirteenth, and its smile is downright creepy, but he likes it. Apparently, it's from a video game, which is like a civilian combat simulator, called Fallout 4. It's been highly recommended to him, and he's certain that the device needed to play it will be in his room when he gets back. For now, he's happy to just flick this new possession of his idly while he polishes off the chicken wrap in front of him. No sense in rushing, he's got nowhere to be.
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
Sometimes he wishes his room had a window, but he decided when he first came to the Bar that he didn't want one, and so far, he always goes back to that opinion after any mental debate on the subject.
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
For a dark, unhealthy solid in a shape that reminds Sahaal too much of ration bars, this thing called chocolate is rather nice. According to the wait-rat, this is brand called "Cadbury's", and there are many more varieties. He is literally salivating at the prospect.
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
As he closes the book, careful to avoid getting grease on its pages, he still has one or two questions.

"So who in the Warp was that Wandering Jew? Was that supposed to Leibowitz, or their god, or both?" he mutters into the basket of ketchup-drenched sweet potato fries next to him.

Iron Mun

May. 26th, 2017 11:01 pm
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
For jedi_interrupted:

It's early evening, and Sahaal is returning from the Bar to his room with a large plate of cheesy nachos. It's been a slow day, what with a significant percentage of the Milliways residents hung over from the celebrations last night. He's never seen Star Wars before, so his plan is to work his way through the films tonight and tomorrow, so that he can finally understand what those Warp-damned​ toy laser swords are about.

Now, he's got Netflix, and he's had the films on his list for a couple of weeks, but he has been told to skip the prequels. Usually, he​ wouldn't follow the advice of someone he barely knows, but the man calling himself Sam Wilson said that he really wouldn't wish the dialogue on anyone, including the characters. Apparently, they got some details wrong when they recorded that universe's history for posterity. Although, some people apparently enjoyed them, so who knows?

Anyway, when he gets to his door, there's a pair of packages, one in the brown ridged cardboard of an Amazon delivery, the other in a small crate with holes for air and light. Cautiously, he sets the plate of Mexican food down, pulls out the combat knife he keeps on his belt and opens the Amazon package. Inside, once he's stripped away the cardboard and a cocoon of bubble wrap, is a loose action figure, like the ones he's seen on eBay. This one is, well, strange.

As far as he can tell, it's a plastic representation of some sort of bipedal xenos, with backwards bending knees and brown skin. Most of it is covered by brightly coloured armour, comprising of thick orange-red plates and an underlayer bodysuit of green scale-like material. The face is a little off-putting, with its four mandibles full of sharp teeth and a bright yellow breathing apparatus jammed into its mouth. But, whilst it does look like something he'd have killed in the Great Crusade, he quite likes the figure, in a strange way. Why, though, escapes him at the moment.

Instead of dwelling on the strange figure any more, he turns to the other package. He cuts away at it with neat, precise slices to the seams, and after a few moments, it opens to reveal a plant in a terracotta pot. Sahaal, his face sporting a look of confusion under his goggles, inspects it a little closer. Given that his knowledge of botany ends with photosynthesis, he's​ not really able to comment on many details, except for the fact that it has thin stems with broad leaves and smaller leaves at the top, and that's it green. It also has quite a nice smell, one that reminds him of the breath fresheners that used to be included in Imperial Army ration packs, except more natural. There's also a small label sticking out of the dirt in the pot, and it reads, in neat but slightly smudged print: "Mentha × piperita - (Peppermint)"

As Sahaal picks both of the items up, he notices a pict tucked into the second package. It's a good quality one, very good in fact, framed almost professionally. However, the subject matter is quite informal. It shows four figures, human by the looks of it, and all male, sitting on a fallen log in a forest at night, the scene lit by a small campfire. On the far left, there's a man with pale skin, a small tattoo of a spider on his hairless scalp, a wide grin on his face and a finger up at the camera. He's wearing dark clothing, and a few glimpses of bare torso can be seen​ through the coat he's hugging against himself. Next to him is a very tall and slim figure, wearing a richly embroidered longcoat and wearing a peaked cap at what Sahaal assumes he thinks is a rakish angle. Two of the cap-wearing man's fingers are augmetic, and good quality.

The next one to him is young, very young, perhaps only twenty Terran standard. He's in a black t-shirt with a cog symbol on it and grey fatigue trousers, and he's making a very goofy face at whomever is taking the pict. The last man on the log, though...

It's him. It's Sahaal, with the same goggles he's wearing now reflecting the firelight. He's smiling, showing no teeth, but smiling none the less, with his hands in his lap and holding a small glass of what looks like some sort of amasec. He's got no idea how this is possible, he's never met any of these people before and he'd certainly remember a strange bunch like that. To be frank, he's been up for three days already, so he decides to just take the photo, figure and peppermint plant into his room for now, and figure out what to do with them in the morning. Given the strangeness of the entire situation, he probably should sleep on it.
------------
Three hours and seventeen minutes later, Sahaal's eyes snap open. He'd been having a strange dream, about nachos that had been forgotten and cried out to be eaten and enjoyed, but even in his slumber, his enhanced senses are still hard at work. Right now, his hearing and sense of smell is telling him there's someone in the room with him, they're walking over to his desk and they smell of lilac and gun oil. Slowly, and trying his hardest to avoid rustling the thin sheets, he turns over, his eyes picking out the details in the darkened room as it were noon.

A person, a female human in some sort of military uniform he doesn't recognise with short blue-black hair and a sidearm in a holster is rooting through the detritus on his desk. As he watches, she pulls the pict from earlier off a pile of books and slips it into her thigh pocket. Something makes her turn around, and she pivots on her bootheel. Her eyes go wide in the darkness, and with the barest whisper, she says in an unfamiliar accent: "Go back to sleep. It is fine."

Of course, Sahaal would beg to differ, and he jumps out of bed, knife in hand and sheets draped around him. A small smile​ forms on the woman's face, and she presses a button. The blue-white flash that comes after blinds his sensitive eyes, and he stumbles back, blinking tears of blood from his eyes. After perhaps three minutes, or maybe close to four, he can't tell through the pain, his vision heals itself enough that he can see that the strange woman has gone, taking the pict. Nothing else is gone, nothing else is disturbed.

In its place, however, is a small note, written on lined paper torn from a notebook. The language is too formal to come from a native speaker or rather writer, and the letters are traced out with great care.

"We cannot let you keep the note. Keep the figure and plant, they were gifts for another. He says you should have them. I am sorry for disturbing you."

There is no signature underneath, no mark of who wrote it. Sahaal would write it off as just the craziness of Milliways, but this feels different. Whatever it is, he's not going to figure it out tonight.

Run Time

May. 25th, 2017 05:31 am
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
Every day, he runs. Contrary to the portrayal of his kind by the remembrancers of the Crusade, the physique he has has to be maintained. He can and does lift weights, he has a routine of squats, push-ups and jumping​ jacks, but nothing compares to the feeling of running. He had used to do it around the decks of the Umbrea Insidior, but Sahaal has found a couple of dozen laps of the lake just before dawn is much nicer than the cramped hallways of his old ship.

For one, there is better airflow. The new route also has a more agreeable smell, the flowers and fresh air are certainly better than​ lubricant and incense. There are also less people around, and he doesn't have to avoid or smash into crewmen underfoot. All of this means that the runs he is now taking at Milliways aren't just keeping him fit, they actually make him happy. And that emotion is hard to come by for him.

Al Fresco

May. 22nd, 2017 06:45 am
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
Ten thousand years of sleep is enough for one lifetime, so Sahaal doesn't really do or want much of it. Of course, he does need to, but for four or five hours every few days. This gives him a lot of spare time. He's never had spare time before, so he's not sure what do with it.

One night, he sits by the side of the lake with a large bottle of something called Jack Daniels, and spends seven hours skipping rocks across the calm, cool waters. He makes a game of it, one sip from the bottle for each time he can skip the stone more than five times. By the time the sun comes up and sends him scurrying back inside with burning eyes, he's nicely buzzed. He's also drenched head to toe thanks to a reprisal by the squid for hitting him by accident, but he doesn't mind. Too much.

It was a better night than most, and that's what matters.

Reflections

May. 1st, 2017 04:10 am
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
One day or night, he's not sure, he looks into the mirror in his little bathroom. He sees a gaunt, pale face, jet back eyes set into sockets surrounded by the dark circles of insomnia and a countenance twisted by too many scowls and frowns. Lank, greasy, black hair falls down to his shoulders, the result of months of apathy towards his appearance. Blue veins shine through marble skin, like the lightning that winds its way around his war armour.

At the same time, he sees the same face, proud, full of life. Ivory eyes glitter with determination​ and purpose. His scalp is shaven, the stubble tracing the outlines of his hairline. There's a health to him, a vigour about his being. It only lasts a moment, then the face is firmly that of him as he is now.

"Ahhh, Talonmaster, First Captain of the Eighth Legion, Heir of the Night Haunter," he says in a raspy, dry, mocking voice, "how the mighty have fallen."

Looking back, he realises that it was at that moment he decided to rise again and be more than his past failures.
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
Zso Sahaal stares into the dull scarlet of his helm's vision blocks, and wonders. It is not usual for him to be out of what is effectively his second skin for this long, but then again, he cannot deny the passage of time. No matter how much he sometimes wishes he could. An entire month has passed without him being midnight clad.

That is no excuse for being lax with maintenance. Even with the rules of this place as iron-clad as they are, the patrons include​ mutants and xenos. Rules mean nothing to them, and at any moment, Sahaal still expects to hear cries for his blood in some unknowable tongue. So, he keeps his weapons and warplate in battle-ready condition, as is his duty as a Night Lord.

He has finished the diagnostic procedures on his armour systems, checked each ceramite plate for structural integrity, applied lapping powder and run a soapy cloth and a piece of polishing fibre over the suit of Mark IV to remove any specks of dust that had gathered in the week since he has last performed this rite. Sahaal has even made sure to use a fine paintbrush to touch up the the bone-white skull on the faceplate and his Legion insignia on the right pauldron. As always, the bat-winged, long-fanged daemon skull is impeccable, a reflection of Sahaal's pride in what it represents. The same goes for the white lines of lightning that wind their way across the warplate, each one lovingly jagged and arcing out from its source.

After a minute, he is satisfied that the eyepieces are free of cracks, and he goes onto his weapons of war. His primary weapon will always be fear, but fear doesn't need to be oiled or test-fired. Those are excellent qualities usually, but it isn't cathartic like caring for a tangible instrument of death is.

First is his bolter, the Mordax Tenebrae, or Dark's Bite. Sahaal is not a fan of such weapons, they are simple fireworks to him, without finesse or grace. But, it had been a gift from his father and master, and thus deserves only his utmost care and devotion. As such devices go, it is certainly a cut above most, with its finely constructed stock, skull-mouthed barrel and ornate chambers. With a small vial of unguents and a set of brushes, he sets to work scrubbing and lubricating every part of it. Then, he applies a small amount of polish to bring out the adornments and cleans the barrel of residue from its last test fire.

His favoured weapons, the Unguis Raptus, are part of his armour, and so the relic lightning claws have already been serviced, along with his company's signature over-foot claws, so he moves on to his knife. Before Equixus and his exile, he'd never needed to carry a simple blade. His regular armament had been sufficient. However, the months after Acerbus's attack had made it abundantly clear that sometimes it was not enough. He has taken to keeping a simple Astartes combat knife, taken from a Night Lord who had tried to kill Sahaal when he was denied his rightful command, on him at all times as a holdout weapon. Even power armour has its weak points​, and for someone like the Talonmaster, it is easy to exploit them. This has also come in handy in Milliways, given that they seem to disapprove of him striding around in full warplate with claws out.

As an added bonus, maintenance is easy: a simple whetstone to sharpen its already keen edge and a check of its leather-wrapped hilt to ensure it is still up to the task. When both are done, he slides it back into the small scabbard he keeps on his belt.

Sahaal glances at the chrono mounted on the wall, and sees that he has spent about two hours on the maintenance. He sighs. He'd have liked it to have been more, but as he'd noted earlier, he can't control time. That still doesn't stop Sahaal from wanting to smash the Warp-damned timepiece in frustration.

With a deep breath, he calms himself. He still needs to service his jump pack, after all, and that will take a couple more hours.
exiled_heir_of_the_eighth: (Default)
041.017:M3 (February 11th 2017)

It was painfully obvious that no man, woman, xenos or other vaguely sentient creature from his universe had ever set foot in this place, this "Bar at the End of The Universe". The looks they had given his armour and weapons smacked more of surprise and curiosity than the terror and abasement he was used to. He was glad they hadn't been able to see under his helm, his shock at the sheer variety of beings in this place had left his mouth hanging open like the flaps of skin around a chainsword wound. Nothing like it was possible, not where he was from, not in the thirty-second millennium or the forty-first.

Their technology was inconceivable, like nothing he'd ever seen. No civilisation could fix such damage as he had sustained on Equixus, but the proof was there in front of his eyes. His arm, the one made useless by the foul eldar, was as good as new, the nerves and muscles working just as they should. He didn't know what to make of it. He had a sneaking suspicion that they didn't know what to do with him, either.

They'd given him a room, 819 according to the small plaque on the door, and told him to settle in. He'd had worse accommodations. A massive bed took up most of the space, the mattress and duvet comfier than anything he'd experienced outside of the suites of uphive nobles. The door in the opposite wall led to a small bathroom, with a shower just large enough to accommodate his unarmoured form and stocked with a wide variety of scented soaps and lotions, a ceramic sink with pure hot and cold running water and a toilet he was fairly sure would hold his weight. His new room also held a small writing desk with a supply of good paper and ink, and a large wooden cabinet in which he had stored his warplate in. There had also been a bright glow-globe mounted on the ceiling, but his fist had taken care of it.

The most interesting thing, however, was the decent-sized pict-screen mounted on the wall directly opposite the headboard of the bed. It was thinner than any he'd ever seen, and was devoid of any Mechanicum icons or even the vague whiff of incense. A small glass shelf below held a device connected to the screen by thick black wires which proclaimed itself to be a "Blu-Ray Player", whatever​ that was. Next to it was a stack of thin blue plastic boxes, each wrapped in brightly coloured paper and holding a shiny disc with more writing and pictures on it. These had strange nonsensical names like "Lost In Translation", "The Usual Suspects" and "Inglorious Basterds". For a moment, he wondered how he had got to this point in his life, standing in the dark in a loose tunic and trousers, bare feet digging into the carpeted floor and staring at technology that shouldn't exist. It was only for a moment, though, and then his nature as a hunter and survivor reasserted itself.

The large olive-green munitions crate filled with bolter magazines and frag grenades was pushed into the space under the bed. His master-crafted bolter, though he held nothing but disdain for such weapons, he tucked beside the cabinet with his armour in, in case of emergency. The most care was given to the velvet-wrapped relic he kept in his eyesight at all times, which he placed in the air vent next to the bathroom door, the cover left slightly ajar. After a minute of deliberation, he decided that those who ran this place probably did not know of the sleep patterns of Astartes. He stripped off his new clothing, and climbed into​ the insanely soft bed, sliding his bulk between the sheets like a mortal would. Above all, he made sure that the way he positioned his body would hide any trace of the combat knife he kept tight in his fist.

Zso Sahaal would not make it easy for anyone​ or anything to take him alive.
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