Big Game V – Chapter Thirty Nine: With But a Whisper…

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The lights snapped on, brighter than they were before.  Gehn squinted reflexively.  He heard his unnamed interrogator enter the room again.

“I’ve got it.  I know why now, Gehn.”

“Did your blasphemous gods tell you?” Gehn snapped.

“No, this was much simpler.  I reviewed the battle in which you were captured.  An encrypted transmission was detected after you fell, minutes before a full retreat.  When I saw this Gehn, I knew it even before Tzeentch told me.  You were abandoned.”

“No…” Gehn said.  But he remembered the retreat called for.

“Yes Gehn.  Duty above all.  Does that sound familiar?”

Gehn sharply inhaled.

“I knew it.  She told me, but I thought it was another of your mindless psalms to the Corpse God.  Now I know.  Duty above all means that you were sacrificed.  Your Lord Atrus knew.  Tzeentch tells me he had a vision.  Do you think it included you?  Do you think he told your captain to abandon you?”

“He would…” Gehn stopped.  He might have.  His talk aboard His Hammer II with Atrus may have been the reluctant farewell of a guilty Chapter Master who had to sacrifice his men.   “Who are you?”  he asked.

“You know my name.  Say it.”

“…Matthius, prophet of the Four.”

Matthius smiled.  “Tell me of the boy, Antonius.”

“He was promoted by Atrus’ orders.  He merely survived the trip to Iperin, and he lost his Sergeant.  He got lucky on Morvan, saving Tenkath hive by accident!  He should still be in Scout Armour!”  Gehn’s voice rose as he spoke.  “I have worked so hard!  It took me a hundred years to make Sergeant!  I slew a Carnifex!  I broke the line at the Traitor’s Gate on Yttran!  I captured the Rebel Council of Arkh!  Why?  Do your gods know why Antonius was recognized decades before I was?  I must know!”

Mathhius bent over Gehn and whispered.

Gehn’s pupils involuntarily widened.

“We will recognize you, Gehn.  You are a talented warrior.  We will spread your name across the stars, and burn those who held you back with their primitive battle doctrines and blind faith in an absentee Emperor.  Real gods will know your name, and exalt you.  You need only say yes.”


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