1000 Words: Codex Edition

Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim, dark future there is only war.

1000 Words: Codex Edition

Postby TheEyeOfNight » Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:27 pm

This idea came from a nugget in a Bloghole interview with Laurie Goulding from 2011:
"Your first submission should be something which could have come right out of an army book or codex (except written as character-driven prose rather than gaming background) and conforms entirely to the established universe."

Plus the following, courtesy Gav Thorpe in this thread:
And if you're serious about writing, you should be able to pump out a different 5,000 word story every month or two at least.

So, with those in mind, I'm grabbing my old pile of random codices dating back through 3rd edition, and doing what I can to crank out a codex-based 1000 word exercise when possible. Feel free to join in if interested, I find it's a decent writing workout.

* * * *

From Codex: Daemonunters, circa 2002.
The Daemon has many forms. You must know them all. You must tell the Daemon from his disguise and root him out from the hidden places.

“I understand, m'lord.”

“Do you, Captain? This I wonder.” Inquisitor Jharro's voice filled the room with an unchallenged authority. His keen eyes were fixed not on Imperial Captain beside him, but on the three prisoners before them: each bound and masked, with sigils of warding wrapped around their throats. A respected veteran of the Ordo Malleus, Jharro had put thousands of daemons to the sword, and his blade was etched with a small, ornate rune for each one. He was a hunter, pure and simple, and his hunt had led him to the 31st Cadian Regiment on Irisad.

On making planetfall, he had discreetly demanded the assistance of the young Captain Mykhos, a newcomer to the unit, and in the span of two days had rounded up the three men whose psyches made the best potential hosts for a daemonic force. They were not great men: a cook, a supply officer, and a communications repairman, but their deaths would ensure that the malevolent force Jharro felt on this world would not be able to claw through their minds.

And as was his nature, Jharro was making it a lesson.

“Tell me, Captain, where do you first look for signs of the daemon?”

The officer blinked rapidly, trying to formulate an answer. “In...in the eyes, m'lord.” It emerged as more of a question than an answer, and Jharro's quick shake of the head silenced any additional guesses.

“No. The daemon's deceit begins with the eyes. They pour innocence and comfort from the eyes, and mask their true selves with human emotion. You watch their hands.”

Jharro snared the first prisoner's wrists, wrenching it upwards painfully to show his impromptu student. The man screamed under his mask, and his fingers curled and contracted in a vain grappling motion.

“The daemon has no form of its own. When it possesses a mortal body, it must acclimate itself to bearing such solidity as a heart, lungs, or fingers, and seldom will these move properly while the daemon is freshly born.”

Jharro's fist opened, and the prisoner slumped back down, quivering in pain and terror.

“I understand, m'lord.” Mykhos bowed his head, forcing a bit more emphasis into his understanding. He was quickly tiring of Jharro's lectures

“Do you? Then purge the daemon, Captain.”

The patronizing tone did not shock Mykhos, but the challenge set his eyes wide. He raised his gaze to the inquisitor, but Jharro was not watching him. His eyes were set on the prisoners, as if mentally gambling on which one Mykhos would choose to execute. The captain's hand closed on his service pistol, and he drew it clear with the soft rasp of metal on leather.

It had been a long two days with Inquisitor Jharro. Two days of merciless searching, interrogating, and battling their way to answers. The men of the 31st, who had only just begun to accept the new captain, would never forgive him for dragging these men away into the terrible clutch of the Inquisition.

But somewhere on this world was a daemonic force, of this Jharro had assured him. And it would, without question, chew its way into the mind of one man in this room.

He gritted his teeth hard, leveling the pistol at the first prisoner, and pulled the trigger. The back of the man's head exploded in a shower of bone and blood, and his feet kicked forward in spasms as his nervous system collapsed. Without a moment's hesitation, Mykhos turned the weapon on the second prisoner, and fired again, heedless of the man's panicked screaming. The third prisoner, understanding his imminent fate, screamed and thrashed and pulled against his bonds. He died as the first one did, in the violent clutch of a meaningless death.

Jharro allowed the smoke to clear, and the ringing echo to dissipate before stepping forward. He nodded in approval, and rested his hand on the hilt of his sword. The young captain showed promise, but now that the potential hosts were destroyed, Mykhos and his knowledge of incident would have to be erased too. Pity, such ruthless spirit was something Jharro admired.

“Well done, Cap-”

The pistol barked again, tearing a spinning round into Jharro's stomach and ripping out his back in a spray of thick gore. The surprise, more than the impact, caused him to stumble back, clutching at the red stain spreading over his cream tunic. The pistol kicking twice more in Mykhos's hand, thudding into Jharro's torso with enough force to knock him from his feet. The elder inquisitor went down hard, crashing to the floor as the bullets made a ragged mess of his insides.

Mykhos crouched down, keeping the smoking barrel trained on his target. His eyes had gone cold: the hollow look one might see when staring into a bottomless well, or into the void of space. His lip twisted in a mocking grin.

“You were watching my hands, were you not, sire?” He raised his left hand, flexing it curiously, and working his thumb around in a circle.

“I confess, it was hard to master the finer motions. This 'thumb', particularly so.”

Jharro tried to speak, but only frothing blood came from his lips, running freely over his chin and pooling around over the Inquisition seal on his chest. Mykhos leaned forward, and pressed the searing hot barrel of the pistol against Jharro's forehead. The skin reddened beneath it, and Mykhos smiled a slow, cold smile.

“You should have watched my eyes.”
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