Big Game V – Chapter Sixty Nine: An Oath

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The High Lord Esarhaddon lowered himself into the thick stone edifice that had served so long as his throne. Deep inside his chest, he could feel the metallic pumps and tubes that replaced his old and ruined organs strain as they sought to keep a balance within his chest. Noxious chemicals that dripped from the new organs combined with aeons of mental control to dull the pain of their settling, but the sting he felt was deeper.

Once more, he had been denied. Fate, circumstance and the machinations of beings even he could not comprehend had all come together to defeat those plans that had been so carefully laid out over hundreds of years.

The vast blue orb of Iperin was fading away now, and around it, the Imperial forces drove off Chaos ships quickly, tasting quick revenge before consolidating their spoils. They could not know what it was that slumbered beneath the surface. Doubtlessly, the Eldar had seen to it that the relics of ages long past had been rendered impotent, so that none could ever again plumb their secrets.

Now, as The Promise of Absolution dipped back into the Immaterium, the weight of defeat began to lurch in upon the Chaos Lord’s soul. Had the Ancient Ones plotted this all along? Did word of his betrayal echo through the chambers of the Ether, to the ears of those beings who had granted him life and power in order to fight their wars? It did not matter now. There was a galaxy to conquer, and Esarhaddon knew that gateways still existed to the power that he sought.

“No, Imperium,” he whispered. “Your salvation from this terror has not ended. I shall seek you as long as you stand. I shall remake you in His image, and crush your worlds under the heel of my empire. For ten-thousand years, I have sought this, and I will have that which has been denied to me. I shall have you, Imperium. I will return to claim that which is mine – the race of Man.”

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