For those who have red and liked Rosenstein -story, I'm extremely sorry because I'm about to change my style of writing a bit... at least a bit. In the story we have such a juicy part that I just have to try my limits as a writer that might mess the whole thing.
I don't mind about it, at least I got this written, I have looked this situation Rosenstein is in at the moment from different point of views and not one of them gave looked really encouraging... So, here is how the story continues for now.
It was kind of relieving to know that I had nothing to do.
It had been a long, long time since I have had time only to chill out. Part of inquisitor’s life but of course there are other things that make it up for you.
I walked lazily in market area where giant statue of space marine stood grimly holding its brass sword in its oxidized hands. Space marines didn’t smile ever for sure. Statue’s eyes were open and it gazed to the horizon in silence.
Around the statue was small, or at least very crowded, plaza that was filled with different coloured stalls and pickup trucks that were filled with all kind of stuff. Planet of Phantoms held infamous reputation in Inquisition as trade with xenos was way too common. Fact was that there were too many and too small settlements to watch over all people. Thing was that Raxan xenorace wasn’t actually hostile at all. It was all just Imperial propaganda. Raxans were peace loving xenos with low level psychic activity and too dangerous weapon technology. Ordos Kjipr announced in M39 after execution of inquisitor Bassenheim that this so called Raxan xenorace should be wiped out immediately. Well… two thousand years after they still linger on couple planets.
Only thing that makes Planet of Phantoms a death world is the vast jungle and volcanic steppes not to forget the Devil’s swordgrass. Animals on Planet of Phantoms weren’t as dangerous as Catachan fauna and the weather wasn’t actually as nightmarish as it is on Fenris, for example. It is though true that nasty sulphur-rain comes in time to time but it happens. People here were sturdy, tanned and usually had curled deep-brown hair. On Velgram’s World where I’m from the most usual colour of hair is blond and platinum like it is on Ferghost Colonies. Though, of course many variants are to be found.
Sellers shouted prizes and to each others, they argued of the quality of wool thread or reliability of stab-proof vest. Praising their own stuff they waved their hands like lunatics and criticized other salesmen.
A man behind red stall leaned over his stuff and grabbed me of my hand.
It came so unobtrusive that I almost popped his head off. Grasping his mind with my psyche I made the salesman gasp for breath.
“Help… help me…” he got out of his mouth. “I can’t… breath!”
Fastly I checked around me. The stall area was so crowded that none seemed to notice one dieing salesman. I rushed around the stall, placed my flute and Raxan-blade on top of the stall to free my hands.
Oh man… I thought this was going to be a fine day.
Salesman gasped for breath his eyes rolling with insane speed round and round. And then came the spasms, salesman kicked furiously before he started to slow down.
“Hey, where the stallkeeper is?” I heard a voice on the other side of the stall. No… no, no, no! Man stopped kicking and his eyes fixed on air. And there was a customer…
I rose up placing respirator on my face and hiding my rosette under my shirts. And started smiling: “Hi, I’m Undrad Ylysses, I was just checking my…” I said and left the sentence unfinished as I watched the guy on the other side of the stall.
On the other side of the stall there was a bit younger man than I was. He had blonde brown hair all clean and combed neatly behind. His deep green eyes flickered in a way as psykers’s eyes sometimes did, like stars in the night sky, and he smiled casually.
Tearlach ‘Vermintongue’ Rosenstein stood in front of me. Five years younger version of me scrutinized my/his Raxan-blade in his/my hands and clearly used his psyche to the weapon. How did it come to this?
“I wonder…” Tearlach in front of me started. “…how have you achieved this kind of xeno-artefact?”
I gulped. What the fuck… Tearlach’s rosette hung on his breast.
“I have my means, sire. Are you interested in it?” I asked.
“Oh… funny you asked, I’m actually interested in you”, Tearlach answered with a wicked smile on his/my face.
“M’lord inquisitor, what if you just take it and I’ll run away?”
Tearlach clearly measured what I said hiding it in scrutinizing of the blade. “Yes… maybe I do. What about the flute?”
I checked my bone flute that was still on the stall.
“Oh no, it is just a flute. I’ve crafted it myself from the shinbone of Raxan… please let me keep it, I like music.”
“Oh… I couldn’t even play a flute anyway. So let us do so that I’ll pick this blade with me and you collect your stuffs and leave?”
“My lord, consider it done”, I answered so Tearlach nodded and walked away.
That, was unexpected. I stared after Tearlach… myself walking between the stalls fingering the Raxan-blade.
Well, at least I/him got the blade as I had got it in a first place.
Give this to Tearlach Rosenstein, the woman had said. Her words echoed in my head…
I grabbed my flute and walked away, quickly, limping my left leg a bit… just like I had said to Huntor Fuchs in the psyker-prison of D’Anglos… I hadn’t even noticed it before. So ‘Undrad’ was a name I’d figured out in a first place… or was it? I’d heard it first time in here and used it afterwards and started to use it when I came back to 555M41.
Tearlach watched over his shoulder as I limped away. Now he knows it. Or I do…
After couple of hours I found a craft which transported me to merchant ship orbiting the planet. Its captain let me travel on it to Velgram’s world that lies in Dust Region -subsector. I’m actually from there, found from an old, ruined cathedral in a ghost town. At least when I used to live there it was a ghost town, I made it so.
Merchant ship had to collect some rubber from Velgram’s world and then, at least the captain said, he was going to Ferghost Colonies and continuing his route to Exhelon subsector.
I didn’t really care what he was going to do after Velgram’s world. I didn’t need to go there but I honestly didn’t know what I needed to do. I have to finish the Nightmare Doll for sure, but after that… well… I said to Il’Hothyn and Cornelius that I’m going to meet them in 557M41 on Ferghost III. So I have some time now.
What should I do?
In the merchant ship there was one large lounge area, not nearly as neat as Cornelius’s lounge on Elenna, but comfortable enough to kill some time. Brightly coloured plastic benches surrounded also brightly coloured plastic tables that had been sprinkled around lounge. Long metal counter covered narrow end of the lounge and there were counter-servitors, cook-servitors and waiter-servitors who just stood there when no one talked to them and if someone did talk to them they mumbled only half understandable Low Gothic. Next to the lounge there was large room full of beds, hammocks and mattresses. All of them just thrown in the room so the travellers don’t have to sleep on the floor.
There were men, old and young playing dice and some card-games for money in tables. If I’m not totally wrong, there was even one preacher aboard the ship. Though he showed up only once and even then he just whistled some old Imperial chant. Didn’t recognize it either.
After three weeks we arrived on Velgram’s world. A small transport flew onto planet’s surface and let us out. Half of the ship’s travellers left on Velgram’s world, other half probably waited for Ferghost Colonies.
I walked out of the hangar where transport had left us into chilling air. There wasn’t snowing but freezing wind blew so my coats lapels flapped furiously in the wind. Anonymously I walked through spaceport’s gates into the small city. Storehouses stood grimly in cold wind as icy drops started to fall from the sky.
So I walked in a rain then.
Somehow after all these… impulsive happenings… what have occurred in past two months, I felt pretty empty. I wasn’t going to kill anyone, in this distant frontier world I didn’t really need to hide my identity, true or false, or be on my heels all the time.
So, even it rained, it was pretty fine day after all.
I walked until I reached so called central area of city. There was large park, flowers and bushes already withered because of coming winter. In the middle there stood a statue of broad-shouldered inquisitor; Velgram D’Ark, saviour of Iox sector. An ancient protector looked firmly in the distant sky holding huge broadsword in front of him. Broadsword, that I too had wielded back in D’Anglos. Now it was wielded by Velgram’s descendant; Ceridwen Lothringen.
It was quite funny when you think; an inquisitor was married to some random frontier worlder and their grand-grand-grand-grand-and-so-on-daughter married one of the Lothringens centuries afterwards. And then again centuries afterwards there was born a angry, righteous, full-of-herself bitch called Ceridwen Lothringen. Though she is more proud of the weapon she got because of bloodline than her venerated ancestor. Velgram D’Ark purged Iox sector in Crusade for Iox in 493-507M40, snuffed out Lothringen Heresy 510-532M40 and was then fatally wounded, retired and died in 603M40… There is admirable career, one that every inquisitor should follow.
“Can I help you?”
I woke up from the coma I had lowered into while staring the statue of Velgram. I felt how someone grabbed my arm and I turned my head.
A young girl, or a woman, younger than me anyway I guess, stood on my left and held my arm. Her grey eyes seemed dark and dull and were nigh black. Her skin was pale and bleak and deep blue dress she wore was all wet… hopefully not ruined.
She had questioning look on her quite expressive face and loosened her grasp as I turned so she saw my las-pistol.
“I don’t know…” I answered. “I could use a place to keep the rain off.”
“Shelter, you mean?” she asked of me and smiled. “Where are you coming from?”
“I came from Lothringen Primus”, I lied. Even though I didn’t need to hide my identity or my acts I didn’t suppose that openly speaking of them would do any good. “I’m about to collect some oddities from your dialect and register it on the database after I’ve arrived on a new planet.”
“So you are an adept? From what department, if I may ask?” she continued. She sounded almost jealous… everyone living on Velgram’s world wanted out of there.
I continued lying: “I’m an adept of Estate Lingua department… controlled by Administratum of Adeptus Terra.”
“And you are collecting dialects?”
“Yes, well it is an important duty… we are um…” I tried to come up with something but already saw how this young woman gave a small burst of laugh she tried to hide, badly. “We are trying to calculate what makes humankind to change their way of speak into dialects and ciphers. It is a unifying project for the Imperium as whole.”
She gave me wondering look and opened her mouth but shut it. She smiled, a bit awkwardly perhaps and said: “Why wouldn’t we go for a drink?”
“I don’t know… I think I’ll look for a hotel.... you know is here such a place?”
She looked me maybe even a bit disappointed but answered: “Sure… I’ll take you there.”