Big Game V – Chapter Forty Five: A New God
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Soft green light reflected off of the blood red armor of Lord Esarhaddon and his servants, and faintly lit the entirety of the navigational chambers within The Promise of Absolution. Several of Esarhaddon’s veterans stood before rows of monitors, which brought in reports from scanners long scattered across the Chasma Spica. The Chaos Lord sat on a throne made of limestone, carved with intricate murals and pictograms depicting some of the greatest battles and victories of the Sicaraii.
From this throne, he had directed the movements of his fleets for millennia. Now, he mused, here in this long-forgotten realm, he would finish that which he had meticulously plotted for so long. Thousands of years of searching, with secrets torn from unwilling victims, a long tale of atrocities written in the lifeblood of foes upon parchments of flayed skin, and now he would have that for which he had sought for so long.
Beside him stood Barabbus, motionless and imposing in his ancient suit of Terminator armor. While others looked upon tactical maps and plotted battles, his Exalted Champion stood ready to be commanded at any moment. Eventually, Esarhaddon dismissed his crew, leaving servant and master.
“Barabbas, Champion of my Host, do you understand our purpose here on this planet, within the domain of those so long dead?”
Barabbas stood mutely for a moment, and answered. “I know not, Lord Esarhaddon, Bringer of The Word, Despoiler of Souls, what it is that has brought you to this place. I but serve as First among your Chosen, and by your favor alone. It is at your behest that I reap the souls of the innocent, and carve their false temples into altars to the Pantheon. I stand ready to tear planets asunder, to cast moon and star from the sky at your word. I need no explanation, my Lord. Only your command.”
“Do you remember, my Exalted, that which is the cause of our long exile? Does your mind, carved by the ravages of the millennia, still speak of those ancient days, as Lorgar sought to find an answer to the vexing question, brought on by his Emperor’s betrayal? Of the proclamations that followed? Have these memories remained with you, Barabbas, or has time purged them from you, as they have been purged from so many of our brethren?”
“I remember it well, Lord. As I stood by your side then, I stand with you now.”
“Then you remember the words well, those that commanded our Legion unto the path of damnation and slaughter in the name of the True Gods?”
“’Ours is a universe filled with Daemons, and more terrible things,” intoned Barabbas.. ”Better to make a pact with the greatest of those Daemons and rule, even in a reign of blood, than to toil for eternity without purpose.’”
“And we found that purpose, have we not?” Esarhaddon looked upon his Champion, who stared back with alertness. “The Ancient Ones have provided us with knowledge and power, and most of all, they have given purpose to our hatred. They have nurtured that bitter longing for revenge against the Imperium and the weak race of Man. For our dedication, they have gifted us with ten thousand years of a Long War, which has not seen an end, nor even great victories, whose battles in their name bloodied our Legions, tearing them into warring Tribes and Houses. The Gods of Chaos are the greatest of Daemons, but our pact with them has given them all, and us nothing.
“A new god, Barabbus, shall rise from the ashen wastes of Iperin. A new god of Man, formed from the remnants of the old.”
Esarhaddon watched as understanding came across his Champion’s face. If Barabbas felt any misgivings about the revelation, he did not show it. He stood silently at his Lord’s side, the wicked lightning claws that had served him for thousands of years ready to shed blood in the name of his master. It was good, Esarhaddon thought, for much blood would soon need to be shed.
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