[FIC] Dark Future (Hellsing/40k Crossover)

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Chris_Stork
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[FIC] Dark Future (Hellsing/40k Crossover)

Postby Chris_Stork » Wed Mar 10, 2021 1:24 pm

My most popular story. It's by far my longest and it will take some time to me to completely post it all. It is fairly dark and violent so be warned, it's not going to be a happy story.





*Transmitted: Aloreux IV
*Destination: Holy Terra
*Date: 2 217 M45
*Telepathic Duct: CLASSIFED
*Author: Chris Stork
*Title: Warrior-Saint
*Clearance: Vermilion
*Path: 100000003487862/57920754527.7890
*Thought For The Day: Cruelty is the Compassion of the Wise



Brother-Sergeant Michael cut through the foliage, his chainsword nearly clogged. The dark red power-armour stained and the Great Seal of the Hellsing Order almost obscured by the sickly yellow of the battered plants. The landscape was a twisted nightmare, filled with horrible, pestilent overgrowths of warp-tainted 'life' Michael did not want to contemplate. The air was nothing but rot and decay; the ground was covered in a sickly greenish pus. Still seeking any sign of his Brothers and Sisters he snapped left and right; no sound, no trace. The assault had scattered badly. He raced over the foetid hills; towards the target, a ruined Imperial city, straining to heard any sound.

He stopped; a sound, there! He barreled through the hellish brush bearing down on the noise. Louder and louder it grew, he could pick out the clash of metal, the shriek of claws on armour. The warp-spawned copses terminated abruptly and Micheal beheld the battle. Five Sisters and four of his Brothers fought desperately, hacking and shooting where they could, against the tide of twisted and deformed creatures that dripped with pale ichors. The daemons advanced, slashed with plague-tipped claws and bit with broken fangs, in moments his brethren would be lost.

Michael yanked out a smoke-charge and pitched it into the melee. The tube popped and covered his Brother ans Sisters immediately. He drew his bolt-pistol and charged. The first daemon barely had time turn its head before Michael bought his sword across, sending its head arcing skyward. The second he shot blasting viscera in all directions, it came on regardless. They fell back, momentarily confused by the new attacker.

“Secondary flank left!” Michael ordered as he cut into another creature. He raced forward along the right edge of the mass, slashing and shooting. With a strained shriek the chain-sword finally gave out. Micheal swung the dead weapon in a wide arc and launched himself as far away as he could.

“OPEN FIRE!”, Micheal yelled. Bolter shells ripped into the plague-bearers, limbs tore off and and necrotic blood splattered the ground.

“Brother-Sergeant”, Michael heard as he inspecting the remains of his sword. He turned and saluted. He could see them more clearly now. By their gilded heraldry they were Initiates in the Order of the Valourous Sword. Cultists never held command positions.

“Sister”, he said, ”Have you had contact with the rest of our brethren?”

She shook her head, “No Brother-Sergeant, you are the first.”

Michael looked around, hoping for a Sign. They could not stay, and he didn't have the numbers to assault the Death Guard in the city.

“We must press onwards, we will find the main force.”

“Yes Brother-Sergeant.”

Michael set forth, seeking the rest of their Order and engaging the Arch-Enemy where they found them. He gathered what few that could be found, a few came within range of the vox, several he blundered into. By the time he broke through the tainted jungle, he had found a mere three dozen. The heavy weapons team had four heavy bolters and a plasma cannon, the rest were split between tactical weapons and assault, no power weapons.

It was the sounds of screeching and hollow bangs that caught Michael's attention. He ran forward over to the cresting hill and saw the target. Once this had been the thriving, industrial heart of the world, it was no more. The buildings were rotten and collapsed; each coated with corrupted, blasphemous sigils wrought from what looked to be human flesh and the Marks of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos were burned into the structures. The warped and twisted symbols threated to draw his mind in, but he turned away not willing to waste his effort for no purpose. Michael scanned the area, hoping to see any of the Order. He did not have to search far.

A brutal melee was being waged not a hundred metres from him. The sickly greens and yellows of the Death Guard blurred together, but could not obscure the deep reds and rich blues of the Hellsing Order. Even at that great distance he could determine their heraldry easily. The Agrios Chines, The Saint's Guard. She was near. They stood in a circle around a building, barring all entrance. The Traitors tried, pitifully, to force their way through, each time to be torn apart with lighting claws or smashed asunder with thunder hammers.

A shrieking cacophony to Michael's left pulled his attention away from the battle. Across the streets a tidal force of putrefied bodies, pestilent limbs, and bloated rot poured toward the unhallowed edifice. A plan flared to life. Not ideal but he had nothing better.

“Support, purge the filth!”, he ordered the heavy weapons team, pointing to the wave of daemons, “Tactical, advance ten metres left and screen them, Assault team secondary flank from the right remain unseen, primary with me!”

The heavy weapons teams moved into position and began to rain holy fire upon the obscenities. The abominations shrieked and tried to turn, but there were too many to wheel about effectively. The assault team lined up behind Michael and readied their weapons as the secondary raced into position.

Michael surveyed his warriors, the terrain and the Enemy. He wanted to find more of the Order before the final assault, he wished to find any ranking officers, he hoped for some sign as to what was the best course. He would simply have to trust in the Saints and the Emporer.

“FOR THE LINE OF SAINTS!”, he yelled, thrusting his sword at the Enemy and charged. He heard the echoing chant, hoping it was loud enough to attract all their attention. Some of the Traitors heard and turned from the battle to face the new assault. They shambled into a wavering line and waited, scythes and axes bobbing. Michael began the Litany of Purpose and Being.

“In the Name of the Immortal Emperor”, he began, the warriors around him picked up the Litany.

“Blessed be His Name!”

They thundered down the hill, the chants echoing across the ruins.

“The Debased souls of the Traitor and the Heretic!”

“Cursed are their Names!”

Micheal kept an eye on the auspex, the secondary team was not advancing as quickly as he thought.

“Shall be banished into Eternal Damnation!”

“The Light of His Judgment shall prevail!”

They wouldn't hit in time, he would have to improvise.

“HALT! Open fire! Aim low!”

Slamming to a stop he fire his bolt-pistol at the legs of the Death Guard, he heard his Brothers and Sisters do the same. Catch off-guard they staggered backwards before they tried to counter-charge. By then the secondary had the time they needed. Sparks flew and metal shrieked as chain-sword bit into tainted armour. The line crumpled from the onslaught, but held. It would not do so for long.

“Charge” Micheal ordered. Moments before they hit the traitors, Michael remembered to complete the Litany. “Amen.”

Ground between the two-pronged assault the traitors were slaughtered, chain-blades broke open the battered armour and shredded corrupted flesh and bone with ease. The rest of the Traitors aware of a rear-attack scattered, trying to prolong the battle. Micheal ducked a swing and shot the Traitor in the face. He rushed the next one and knocked it to the ground where an Agrios Chines eviscerated it. He plowed forward, intent upon reaching The Saint.

Suddenly a fell keening shattered the air. The walls of the rotted building tore outward and wave of charred daemons issued forth. Micheal crushed the 'face' of one as it ran to him. So maddened by pain it made no attempt to dodge. He hacked and shot at the rest as he charged through. Unlike their brethren before these collapsed at the merest touch.

Michael broke through the melee, his footfalls heavy on the sludge that coated the ground. He knew that the Saint was in the building, knew that one of the Arch-Enemy captains was there. He was determined to aid in any way possible. Michael turned his shoulder and smashed through the wall. It was over.

Rythun had lost, his deformed armour was charred and pitted from Her Presence, his attacks wild and erratic. The Saint, clad in her death-black power armour adorned with skulls, advanced mercilessly. Her much smaller form easily forced Rythun back. Unable to match her strength he fell back and swung his scythe at her. Almost casually, she twisted around and brought the Eternus Odium upon Rythun's scythe, shattering it into a thousand pieces. Her free hand ripped out the armour plating of his torso, and with a swinging blow smashed the ancient daemonhammer into his chest. He flew across the room, visibly denting the wall he impacted. She launched herself at him, the Eternus Odium raised to strike. Rythun pawed at something on his wrist moments before the death-blow, he spastically jabbed. She brought the daemonhammer down, and hit nothing. Rythun had completely vanished. She paused staring at the spot Rythun had been. Her righteous fury was palatable. The Saint pulled the Eternus Odium back and locked it into place on her back. She turned and faced Michael.

“Sergeant Michael, sweep the compound, kill all the Fallen and take any prisoners to the west courtyard.”

“Yes, Beati.”

Michael saluted and ran to execute Her Orders. The battle outside was finished, a few minor injuries suffered. Quickly he formed a search team and though he scoured the ruins for the Traitors they had all fled by Rythun's warp-craft. Leaving only their deluded followers behind to face the justice they evaded.

He had the last of the prisoners dragged to the appointed courtyard. All told, one quarter of a hundred had surrendered rather than face their wrath. Clothed in rags and covered with filth and grime Micheal forced them to kneel in the dirt and slime and await their reckoning. As the still highest ranking officer he went forth to inform the Saint.

By the runes on the auspex she remained near that desecrated structure Rythun had been bested in, doubtlessly hunting for proof of where the coward had fled. He moved with casual speed through the ruins; able to trace Her path through them by the burned and blackened icons of the Ruinous Powers. The distance was covered quickly and he found himself before a great circle of the Agrios Chines with the Saint sitting in the center. One of his Brothers had fallen.

His armour was rent and torn and his blood seeped into the ground, his shield shattered and stained with daemonic ichors, his hammer splintered with the force he had dealt with his blows. His mind and soul had fought and fought, until his body could no longer support them. She held his head in her lap, breathing quiet words in a language of her youth on Holy Terra. She had removed both of their helmets. Michael knelt, honouring his fallen brother with quiet prayers and exultations before commending his soul to the Immortal Emperor.

“Sergeant Michael”, he heard the Saint whisper.

He started, thinking that he hadn't been noticed. Regaining his composure, he delivered his report. After Michael had finished she moved her fist across her eyes, a gesture he had never seen her initiate before, locked her helmet into place and rose. At a command several of her guard followed behind, the rest stayed to watch over the fallen.

Michael waited a moment, to give a last farewell to his fallen Brother. As he recited the last valedictions he noticed a few drops of clear liquid on his face. He briefly wondered at to its nature, it wasn't sweat, before putting it out of mind. It was not important. With a final word, he turned and proceeded after the Saint.

The prisoners still remained on the earth, shivering with fear. Moving with terrible purpose the Saint drew her ceremonial bolter-pistol, chambered a single round and strode behind the column of the heretics. Leveling it at the back of the first's head she asked:

“Do you ask forgiveness for your crimes against the Imperium?”

The man, who looked like a fish with his wide staring eyes and a gray pallor, took some moments to respond through his terror.

“Y-Y-Yes, I-”, whatever he tried to say was cut off when the Saint pulled the trigger and his head exploded. Screams rose in the throats of the heretics. Now that they truly understood their fate. Even now, after all his years in the service of the Emperor, he still marveled at Her capacity for mercy. Offering these things absolution in death was not something he could do. He would have burned them alive and sent them to the hell they had so willfully bargained for.

Uncaring, the Saint reloaded, walked to the next, and asked again. A woman this time, stricken with a wasting plague, answered faster.

“Pleeeease don't killl mee...”, the Saint quickly snapped her free arm down, dropping the woman to the ground and stunning her. Before the apostate could gather herself two of the Initiates dragged her off. Ready for the long, arduous task of reclaiming her soul for the Emporer. Idly he watched as thick metal pins were hammered through her arms, legs and into the ground. She started screaming, begging for mercy. She didn't seem to realize that the Saint had offered mercy and she spat in Her face. One of the Initiates was trying to work one of the saws. It seemed to be damaged. He'd offer his chain-sword but it was in even worse condition.

“Blades?” another Initiate asked. The first nodded. A long serrated blade was drawn and pieces of the heretic's leg were cut off. Her screams became one long wail. Vox-contacts, Micheal pressed the sending rune and tried to raise them.

“Brother-Sergeant Micheal here, can you hear me?”

Static and pops, but voices underneath. The screaming was making it hard to hear. A loud crack and the wail pitched into monotone shriek. If their work were not so important he'd shut her up immediately. Activating a few more runes the background noise dropped to a manageable level.


Unhurried and unconcerned by all around her, the Saint carried on with her work. As the numbers thinned, Michael sent the unneeded guards to search the ruins for any marks and traces of where the Traitors could have fled to. He turned back and watched the last of the Emperor's Justice be dispensed.
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Chris_Stork
Posts: 60
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Location: NLV

Re: [FIC] Dark Future (Hellsing/40k Crossover)

Postby Chris_Stork » Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:36 am

Next chapter, this one is rough.



*Transmitted: Aloreux IV
*Destination: Holy Terra
*Date: 2 217.M44 
*Telepathic Duct: CLASSIFIED
*Author: Chris Stork
*Title: Martyr-Saint
*Clearance: Vermilion
*Path: 100000003487862/57920754527.7890
*Thought For The Day: Life is a Prison, Death its Release



The city screamed. Everywhere inflections of the warp, taint, and worse grew. Like cancerous rot it devoured this once glorious city. Lydwida pulled her robe closer as her body ached in sympathy. The minds of the others, the newly landed soldiers and augmented warriors in the first wave, were laced with disgust and revulsion. Her mind cried with them. She watched as the body of an Agrios Chines was carried onto the lander for burial onboard The Song of Hate, and her soul screamed out. 

His eyes, they were peaceful. She remembered when one had lost his helmet in a drill. The pain, the agony had driven him mad. Only She was able to calm them. The Saint's Pain had left his eyes, in death he know peace.

Lydwida turned and looked at the poor city. She had seen dozens places just like this. The causes changed names, but what remained was always the same. Khornate blood-drinkers, Tzeentchian soul-eaters, plague-zombies, it was always the same. The pain, that was to be her penance. She had caused the drop-ship to be five minutes late.

Leaning on her walking staff she limped into the city, dwarfed by the buildings that soared hundreds of meters into the sky, and crushed by everything that had happened in it. Millions and millions of people lived in this city, billions in this planet. None but the forces of Hellsing were here now. Tears flowed down her face. It was no concern to her, it was not the first time and it would not be the last. Soldiers marched by keeping a great distance from her. It was not her unnaturally thin appearance they feared. She was the worst thing a human could be. She was a pysker.

She could not move things. She was of no use in battle. She could not heal or inspire like the Saints. All she could do was feel the past, the thoughts and emotions that still lingered in the air, and here the air was filled with such things. 

She could feel the joy of a factory worker going home. She saw him being pulled down and devoured by plague-zombies . A child skipped merrily down a street as she played with her friends. A moment later she shambled back, crying out for her mother as her flesh melted off. There an old man lie, organs and viscera torn out, his last thoughts of his long dead wife. The determination of a soldier to die fighting as he pulled the pin, but did not throw the grenade. Terror as widow was dragged into a dark alley.

A newer, clearer pain. The few unfortunates left in the city the Saint had granted Peace. Their pain had ended, they were with Him now. As she walked on more and more visions came. She trembled painfully as they rushed through her, but she did not, could not, would not turn away. 

It took the normal men half an hour to run through the city. The augmented soldiers took mere moments. For her it was three hours before she reached the Saint. Finding Her was not hard, She was a great beacon of light in the darkness. 

She wore black armour, Lydwida had never seen it before. No mark or adornment graced it. Her helmet, fashioned in the shape of a fanged human skull, hung from her waist. Her head was wreathed in a halo of iron, five skulls of human and xenos were chained to her armour. Her hammer was locked on her back, the head of which was nearly as large as her. As Lydwida approached She turned to her. 

Involuntarily, Lydwida trembled. Her eyes, Her eyes were filled with terrible agony. All the torments, all the horrors that she had seen and endured. They were nothing, nothing to Her Pain. How many has She seen fall? How many died before Her? Lydwida thought. How much had She seen only to be lost forever? The Saint walked closer and Lydwida moved to kneel. Before she could finish the Saint grasped Lydwida by the shoulders to stop her.

“You are hurt,” Her words were barely audible.

“I... I am still able, Beati.” 

She did not look at all convinced.

“You need rest... it will be difficult.”

The Saint put her arm around her and led her to a bench. “You should not strain yourself, there are transports available.”

“O-Others needed them more”, Lydwida knew from experience that She did not approve of the penances that she and others undertook. 

The Saint still did not look convinced.

“You will need some time to be ready.”

“W-What is Your Will?”

“The traitors have escaped. Several teams are looking for any trace of where they have fled. There are four places that need to be searched.” 

Lydwida 'felt' four small nudges in the direction She wanted her to look. Lydwida cast out and after a moment found them. Four dark maelstroms of horrid emotion and polluted thoughts. Unlike the feelings in the city, these had a purpose. She felt cold. 

“I-I see them.”

“Escorts are at the first one. A transport will run you to it.”

“I-I understand.”

“Prepare yourself; it will be hard.”

Lydwida nodded, and started focusing herself. The Saint helped her up and walked her over to an armoured car. “Be careful”, she said as Lydwida stepped in. As the transport rumbled towards the site she thought of how selfish she had been when she took her penance-march through the city. Others had needed her elsewhere while she walked. She would think of another suitable punishment for her craven actions later. As she waited she constructed her defenses, stopping only when she felt the transport crawl to a stop.

“You're here,” she heard from the driver.

Awkwardly stumbling out, she nearly fell until she managed to get her staff under her. Dragging herself along she saw the soldiers assigned to her and walked over to them. Ten in total, they carried equipment Lydwida assumed was needed. She recognized the vox-caster one of them carried, but nothing else.

“Lydwida?” one asked her. She nodded, still preparing herself. “Where to?”

“That way”, Lydwida said pointing to the closest dark swirl of pain and fear.

“Move out! Cover by numbers!”

They moved out in a pattern that made no sense to her, but she presumed they knew what they were doing. Slowly inching along Lydwida summoned what little strength she had. The places were not far from each other, so the physical strain would not tax her. The mental and emotion strain would leave scars for years. It did not worry her, where She had suffered and even the Emperor bleed for humanity, she would gladly follow.

The buildings were corroded even worse here. Blackened and seared, as if by fire, they were twisted and mutated looking almost organic. Some should not even be able to stand. Lydwida could feel the unholy traces of daemons from their summonings. She did not wish to think about the number of people that had been butchered to allow such a massive breach in real-space.

She could see the first one clearer now. It was a small structure coated completely in strange runes and warding sigils. Even from a distance she could feel the miasma of it. It wasn't until they reached the closest side that her apprehension began to grow.

She stood before that building and trembled. It was not the endless pain and terror just beyond the door. It was the Mark on the threshold. It was not the symbol of the Rotting God Nurgle, the god the Death Guard supposedly venerated; but its antithesis, Tzeentch, the Ever-Changing God. Lydwida shivered as the reason why it might be there tore through her mind. She reached out and pushed the warped door open. A short flash of fleeting and meaningless emotions skittered across her mental defenses as the portal swung wide. The inside stretched nearly a kilometre in width and length and over a hundred in height. Lydwida heard the soldiers mutter benedictions as the impossible dimensions unfolded. 

No words could ever hope to convey the horrors in that chamber. Masses of men, women and children lay strewn upon the ground, mutated almost beyond recognition. Forms twisted into beasts and creatures unimaginable were piled in the center of that vast chamber. Some looked like they had grown and melted together. Dancing runes and sigils twitched all around. 

Gathering her thoughts, Lydwida dove into the layers of warding for any slight piece of evidence of where Rythun had fled. Piece by piece she unwound each thread until that fell tapestry imploded. With no cage to hold back the emotions in that terrible place they exploded at her. She saw countless things, nearly sending her into shock. A mother watching her child ripped open, creatures prancing forth from her innards, an old man tied down and slowly vivisectioned for some obscene ritual, a rotund man pleading for his life to a Fallen Astartes, a young boy's skin flowed off and formed a chittering monstrosity, the animated body parts of the children murdering the broken parents, and on and on, millions upon millions of voices. Nothing, there was nothing of use to the Saint here. Letting go of the breath she wasn't aware of holding, she turned. 

“T-T-There is nothing here.”

The soldier in charge, Sergeant was the word?, nodded and ordered the others out. Lydwida limped out behind them, her mind filled with questions she did not want to answer.

Another door, another Mark. This one was the simple and brutal Mark of Khorne, Lord of Skulls, surrounded on all sides by skull cast in brass dripping gore. Lydwida could fell the insanity and bloodlust beyond, the beating white-hot anger that raged against everything. She reached out to push open the door, bracing herself for the mental whiplash. Pain, hatred, and rage careened against her mind. The simple and brutal assault cracked her defenses; but they held. 

No runes, no sigils, and no wards adorned the walls of that vast altar-room. Mysticism enraged the Lord of Battle. Carnage was the only thing Khorne demanded of his slaves, and carnage was all the described that chamber. Blood soaked every inch of the chamber, even the air was still humid with it. Mutilated bodies were strewn haphazardly, limbs mangled and organs punctured and tossed aside. She had seen the foot-soldiers of Khorne at war, death had come quickly at least. Most corpses looked like they had been savaged even long after dieing. A few looked like they had killed each other. Lydwida gathered herself to dive through the pain once more. 

Something moved. She snapped around; but nothing was there. 

No, it's just my mind, that's all. 

Pushing her thoughts away she descended, searching through the agony. Faces screamed by, terror and madness gripping those poor souls tightly as they were destroyed. She almost was ready to stop when a face flashed by. The man from the first chamber, the pleading one, wounds and bloodlust twisting his features. His efforts to save his life had clearly failed, delivered from one cruel fate to another. 

She drew back. Only two left, she had to bring something to Her. Too much depended on it. They headed for the next site. Lydwida could smell it long before see could the door and knew what Mark was branded there. It did not make her feel any better.

The Mark of Plague-God Nurgle was lazily drawn into the rot, rust and other filth that was its sacrifice-vault. Lydwida reached out and pushed open the door. Despair, helplessness and dysphoria fell into her defenses. The assault enveloped her. The attack pressed heavily into her, the filth seeking a crack to get into her. She nearly collapsed under the pressure of it. Spasms wracked her body, almost throwing her to the floor. Lydwida rallied her minuscule reserves and pushed back against the tide, unconsciously reciting prayers. Moments, minutes, hours went by, she could not tell the time of her struggle. Slowly, so slowly she pushed the flood back. Exhausted from the effort, she opened her eyes and vomited.

Billions of bodies were flung about, all afflicted with hideous rot and decay. Skin and bone had been eaten away by gangrenous plagues. Corrupted organs, bloated and burst from the pus and gases, were exposed and lie about on the floor. The smell was beyond description. The few faces that had not putrefied were locked in expressions of utter terror. The images would forever be seared into Lydwida's mind.

Slowly the spasms ceased and she tried to push herself up. Out of the corner of her eye she saw shadows shift, eyes blink out a second too slow. They were being watched. It would not be long before they decided to do more than watch. 

The sergeant knelt down beside her and handed Lydwida her staff. With a surge Lydwida pushed herself closer to her face.

“We are being followed.” 

Surprised, her head jerked around, scanning the area.

“No,not here” Lydwida said, tapping the ground for emphasis “in the shadows.”

The sergeant tilted her head, but said nothing. Lydwida gathered herself up and began limping into the chamber. She heard the soldiers recite orders and codes, but none of it meant anything to her. She turned her whole attention to the task before her. It would not be easy.

She closed her eyes, so she would not see the people lying there. It helped a little. She took a moment to steady herself, and then stepped inside. 

The last moments of those poor people played out before her eyes. Parents watching their children waste away in front of their eyes. An infant's cry for for his dead mother. A husband trying to kept the rats from eating at his invalid lover. A teen shaking her mother, attempting to wake her. Flies covered their mouths. Vermin picked at diseased flesh. Their cries for help, unanswered. Sobs overtook Lydwida as she shared their suffering. One dissent emotion attracted her attention, joy. 

She knew that only maddened forces of Chaos could find happiness in this plague crypt. She moved closer, and saw two beings. One, a towering figure in power armour, dripping pus and slime, with terrible Marks and obscene runes adorning it. She had never seen him, but Lydwida knew it to be Rythun. The other she had seen. It was the man who had pleaded for his life in the first chamber. He had Fallen. She would waste no more tears for him, the man he once was was no more. She listened to them, picking out words; something about a cult... 

She felt a sudden shift in the atmosphere - a trap! In an instant she was overwhelmed. Despair ripped her flesh off, plagues ate her organs, she was buried under a mountain of corpses, each reaching for and crushing her. She heard the plaintive wails for mercy that each poor soul in that room called out for. The Dead and the Damned paraded before her eyes, each more horrific than the last. She tried to pray, to scream her throat was filled with blood, she saw into the vast corpse pits of Nurgle. 

Just as fast as it started, it ended. She was being dragged, with blurry vision she saw the doors pull away. She saw dark red forms surge around her. Thin red lights lanced out from all around and stabbed into that terrible place. She heard someone scream out and several small objects were thrown into it. 

I failed.

Whoever was dragging her dropped her and left to join the others, leaving Lydwida with her thoughts.

I failed.

Heat washed over her and then all was quiet. After a moment she could hear the sergeant speak on the vox.

I have failed. I have failed the Order. I have failed the Saint. I have failed the Emperor. I have failed everyone. Tears clouded her eyes and spasms wrecked her frail body. She had failed completely and utterly. She was close to sobs when she felt a hand on shoulder.

“Are you alright?”, it was the sergeant.

It seemed like a joke. She had learned nothing, done nothing and her wellbeing was being asked after?

A thought occurred to her, if they believed her unable to continue on then She would learn of her incompetence sooner. Lydwida nodded. More time, that's all she needed. 

“She says she's alright”, the sergeant reported into the vox. Then she turned away and pitched her voice lower, trying to keep Lydwida from hearing. “She looks like she went ten rounds with an Astartes, send a medicae team.”

Lydwida ignored that and concentrated on standing up. Her left arm moved stiffly and her right leg would not move at all. It took several moments before she got her staff under her. She was spared further effort when two hands grabbed and picked her up.

“You need to eat more,” he said. 

“I-I am fine.”

He didn't seem to accept that, but did not argue. Lydwida closed her eyes and began the slow process of rebuilding her shattered defenses and calming her racing heart. It was soon, too soon, that the footfalls stopped.

“Here,” she heard the sergeant say.

Lydwida asked to be put down. She raised her head, hoping that the Mark that she knew was there was not. It was.

The Mark of Slaanesh.

Her hand trembling uncontrollably, she reached out to open the door. Her hand seized up with tremors just before she touched it. She thought of the Saint and all she had endured. Steading herself she tried once more. Her fingers had just grazed the metal surface when she was attacked. 

A thousand poisonous feelings and alien thoughts shredded her mind, eviscerated her soul. The endless gibbering of uncountable souls in rapturous pain and ecstasy assailed her senses and overwhelmed her in their excesses. She stumbled back, screaming and clutching her head. The soldiers reached for her but she collapsed before they could reach her. Sobbing, she fervently prayed to Him for help. 

A scratching noise brought her fractured attention upwards. Across the rune-covered walls and ceiling twisted, horrible forms clawed their way from between the spaces of light and shadow. The daemons set to guard this place sensed a soul to claim.

“CONTACT! CONTACT!”

“We're cut off!”

“SECTOR 45/A, IMMEDIATE SUPPORT REQUESTED!”

“Grenades!”

Screams and noise filled the air. Lydwida clasped her hands and prayed; it was all she could do. Cold resolve flowed through her. She would not survive this. The knowledge gave her little strength. Strength enough to do what wouldn't matter. 

She gathered what small powers she had and threw them at the wards on the ritual-vault. Not caring what happened to her, she forced her way through, leaving pieces of herself behind. Sensations and feelings attacked her, but she ignored them all. She felt them lodge in her mind, leeching filth. She didn't care, she wouldn't live, so what was the point? She tore though the last moments of billions of lives looking for one person. She felt the daemon's presence claw at her mind, felt her mind crack, she didn't have much time. 

There! She saw that fat, deluded cultist speaking to Rythun. It was so hard to hear their words...Itasion, a word, a name, a place? It didn't matter. She whispered it endlessly. Hoping someone would hear. With tremendous effort she forced her eyes open, and saw her death. 

The daemon lunged for her. A thing of terrible lust, its sinuous limbs joining its boneless body in impossible angles, its twisted and warped 'face' held a look of impossible glee as his hand reached out, ready to devour her soul. 

It never made it. It snapped back as flames engulfed it. A moment later a burning sword cleaved in two. Lydwida tried to look around, her neck move stiffly and her eyesight failing. Dark red and blue blurs and pink and violet shadows surged warred against each other, she didn't notice any of it. 

Someone stood before her, a figure in shining golden battle armour. Images of eagles and votive icons chased with pure silver and inlaid with bright and perfect gemstones covered the armour. Lydwida titled her head back as far as the pain let her. As the figure tore through the shadows with speed and ferocity no human could hope to match, she saw her face. She had short, spiked blonde hair and burning red eyes, she could not have been twenty. All around her savior the walls, the daemons, the whole world burned.

Tired, broken and exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually Lydwida slumped over, whispering that word endlessly, hoping someone would hear. Itasion, Itasion... Itasion.......Itasion.

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