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 Power From Pain

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Thor665
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PostSubject: Power From Pain   Fri Jan 03 2014, 06:14

A new story I'm writing up, and I'm not sure what scope it will take, but I will admit I am a fan of my little 'index' first posting over on Incubi so I'm going to stick to that method here as well.

This will be a story of a couple of characters, some may have been seen in my other writings, others may be brand new, there is certainly no need to have read anything else to enjoy this story. This is a story about a human in Commoragh, and what that means, and how he deals with his life when he is thrust into the middle of something he always strove to avoid. It is also a tale of a monster (or two) and love both twisted and pure, and perhaps both. Finally, it is certainly a tale of power and pain, and the power of pain, which is what keeps Commoragh functioning, after all...


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Power From Pain - Chapters

Beginnings - The deepest of horrors often begin with the smallest of shivers
Encounter - Tybalt explains life in Commoragh, and does something never done before there
Monster - Whether hidden in shadows or painted in gleaming gold, monsters are quite real
Pursuit - Tybalt runs like a coward...he's always been clever
Conspiracy - What murder begets, begets murder
Victim - Be his victim

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Last edited by Thor665 on Sun Oct 26 2014, 04:05; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Fri Jan 03 2014, 06:15

Beginnings

“What is power?”

Father walked next to her down the long staircase of his secret passage. She had the urge to reach out and take hold of his hand, she had seen the children of the slave races do this, parents sheltering and shielding their young from danger. She was scared and cold and wanted to hold his hand, but she knew he would see it as a sign of weakness, and she must not do that, not ever.

“Power is control.” She tried not to let her voice quiver.

“What is control?” Father wore ancient armor, the armor of his father, and his father’s father before him. A blood red under suit stretched over his tall and muscular body, ancient plates of white armor hooked upon it, his face was hidden behind his helmet, but his eye slits gleamed with a red glow that cast dim light upon the rough-hewn walls of the stairway.

“Control is your power over others.” She pulled the thick cloak that Mimi had given her a bit tighter around her shoulders. Mimi was a foolish creature, a mon’keigh slave that always fretted over her, always tried to keep her safe, and warm, and fed, and pretty. Mimi was weak and useless, just a slave, but right now she found herself wishing the nursemaid was here to bring light and warmth and promises that it would all be fine and well.

“What are others?”

“Others are tools.”

“Others are…dangerous tools.” She and father had reached the end of the stairway, far above she could see the light from the open panel in his study that led to this secret vault. In front of her was a door, an ancient door covered in scribbled writings, that pained her eyes to try to read, and with vast chains bound across it and sunk deep into the stone of the walls around them. There was a very small slit in the door with a weighted guard over it, but if it was lifted it would be possible to see beyond the door. She shivered, wishing Mimi would arrive with some hot broth. Father stood next to her, if he was cold he did not show it. He reached out, a finger tapping against the eyeglasses she wore. “Do you know why you wear these?”

“Because my vision is bad.”

“We could fix it.”

“Yes,” she reached up to readjust the large lenses more firmly on her nose. “But you have told me you won’t.”

“Why have I told you that?”

“You say worrying about my perfection would show awareness that I ever needed to be more than a child.”

“Yes.” Father laughed a bit, his hand reaching out to rest lightly atop her head, fingers toying lightly with her long white hair. “You are my child, my heir, but to fix your deficiencies would be to admit that one day I would not be here to rule, it would be an admission of weakness. You understand this?”

“If a ruler shows weakness he shall not be a ruler long.”

“Yes.” Father knelt down then, the red glow of his eyeslits considering her carefully. “But there is another reason, and it is that,” Father paused, as though considering his next words, almost struggling to find the right way to say it. “I, as much as I think it is possible for me, love you.”

“I do not understand.”

“Your eyes are weak, it is a little thing.” He motioned to the door. She turned to consider it, feeling a creeping cold seeping through her at the sight of it. “I faced many obstacles in my life, many would think insurmountable obstacles, I needed many things to ensure my rise to power, and there are costs for all of them.” He pointed. “Look inside.”

“I don’t want to.” Her breath fogged around her in the biting cold as she stared, wide-eyed at the door.

“Why?”

“I…I am scared of what I’ll see beyond.”

“Behind that door is power,” said Father, “dangerous power. You don’t need to look upon it if you don’t want to,” his hand fell to her shoulder as he stepped back, allowing her to retreat with him. “But, one day, my debts shall come due, and on that day, you shall look within that room, and you shall thank me for giving you the option of taking off your glasses.”

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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Fri Jan 03 2014, 07:54

Don't want to clutter your thread, but I came into this thread, fluffhounds baying, ready to rip you apart. You have changed my mind, and I am quite pleased with what you have written. Continue on, writer, for this looks to be excellent.
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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Fri Jan 03 2014, 16:11

Thank you very much sir, hope you continue to hold the hounds at bay.

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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Sun Jan 05 2014, 15:47

I liked the description in this, and the Archon seems like a cool character. Some of the conversational topics don't strike me as very DE, but I think you can make them work, so I'm going to carry on reading.

I want to know what's behind that door, so I guess you've done that to make sure people keep reading as well! I enjoyed this, especially the innocence of the child. I liked it because it's almost as if it shows that Dark Eldar are born like any other Eldar, but are corrupt by their environment.

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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Sun Jan 05 2014, 16:19

Behind the door is power, Cavash, the Archon said that very clearly Wink

To my mind, obviously, DE are born "innocent" to a degree. Certainly they are born with a bit of a need to consume souls in order to protect themselves from Slaanesh and that tends to put them on odd ground as far as their interactions with other people, but it's not due to inherent evil in my opinion, it's simply as aspect of their life cycle.

I suppose we'll have to see if my conversations work out for you moving forward though. Of course, next chapter, it's a little more mon'keigh heavy than this one...

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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Tue Jan 21 2014, 04:36

I had a lot of fun with this chapter, and it contains a lot of things I like. i sort of explain some of my own outlook about how the Dark City operates, explain night and day cycles there, discuss the currency, and show some everyday street sort of stuff. There are also probably half a dozen little side references and mild Easter eggs for any fluffnutters in the reading crowd as well. I had to do a lot of editing on this chapter to keep it focused too...otherwise I might still have been writing it. Hope you all enjoy.



Encounter

Tybalt had not reached his position by being a fool.

The life of a Rogue Trader was a difficult one. You received a piece of paper, signed back in antiquity, an agreement between your great, great, great, something-or-other and some long dead administrator of the Imperium of Man. This Charter gave you certain rights, and also certain restrictions, and you were supposed to go gallivanting around the galaxy getting involved in all sorts of places and alien races that would normally cause the Imperium to declare you a heretic and execute you for interacting with. Then, of course, they still kept sharp eyes on you and basically would declare you a heretic fit for execution even if you were doing exactly what the ancient document said you were supposed to be doing.

Generally, at that point in time, you tended to end up dead. Unless you were smart, and had prepared ways to get away because you’d suspected the writing was on the wall. That said, as any smart Trader would realize, there were not that many places where one could actually escape Imperial Law. Indeed, the forces of the Imperium tended to be a touch…fanatical in the execution of their sworn duties. So you had to be very clever indeed to find a place where you would actually be beyond their reach.
You had to go somewhere that no agent of the Imperium could go.

Maybe even somewhere that their tiny minds couldn’t even believe existed.

There were many trade ports in the galaxy, and Tybalt had been to so many over the course of his life that they had started to blur together in his memories, strange and exotic locales, teeming with alien races trading their goods and seeking the goods of others. Tybalt had negotiated mercenary contracts with Hrud warriors, their distorted bodies hidden in their deep cloaks. He had managed a shipment of Snuvil Slug-worms to a Galg trader, whose bloated face had split into a wide smile even as Tybalt had overcharged him. He had been in the audience and experienced the ‘Understanding of Seven Sensations’ by a Viskeon synth-dancer, and though he had left with his nose and ears bleeding and his head ringing, he would not trade that moment for anything.

All of those ports, all of those so-called lawless and wretched hives, all of those mysterious and strange alien races. None of them, not a single one, came remotely close to equaling what he had found in the greatest Port City of all. Small jutting side spurs of the port rose in spiraling columns that dwarfed the largest Hive Cities of the Imperium of Man. Where the average Hive World would have a hundred billion people upon its surface, this place could have a hundred billion people die in a day and hardly notice save to smile indolently about it. Even the grandest city he had ever seen up to this point, the fabled fortress world of Terra, a city covering the entire surface of a planet, seemed a small thing when he looked up upon the High Spires at the heart of this city, reaching up like the proud clawed hands of some fearsome god, they stretched beyond the limits of his vision, and strained the credulity of his mind to even comprehend as they seemed to twist and shift in architectural flourishes that should have been impossible.

Commoragh.

The Dark City.

The city to end all cities, a space port that was adjacent to every part of the galaxy simultaneously, and yet unreachable unless you had heard certain whispers about it, and paid small fortunes in bribes to walk its winding streets and jagged minarets.

He’d been here for over twenty years now. A large portion of his life, an age for a human, but barely a flick of an eyelash for the ancient masters of the city, the Eldarith Ynneas as they called themselves, the Dark Eldar. So long lived as to be near immortal save for death from betrayals of their own kind, cruel beyond measure, capricious and playful when it suited them, achingly beautiful and sensuously deadly, and unquestioned masters of Commoragh. For though hidden here, in the Warp, the Dark City provided a place of almost unimaginable opportunity for wealth and power to anyone interested in trying to take it, and so many pirates, mercenaries, traders, and entrepreneurs would seek it out, would quest their whole life for a chance to come stand upon its shadowy streets and barter and sell goods that could be purchased nowhere else, and seek wealth that was as beyond their ability to comprehend as it was to try to see from the ports to the high spires.

“You are making me wonder if I should be laughing or trying to kill you.”

The pirate lord’s voice was gravely and rough, emitted from a voxcaster set into his ravaged throat. He was a tall man, broad of the shoulders, and his cybernetic eye glowed with red light as it focused on Tybalt’s face. The pirate lord’s hands rested on his broad brocaded belt, where a well-worn bolt pistol and curved chainsword waited. Behind him the other members of his crew in attendance gave vague mutterings of agreement.

It was quite funny to watch, really. Back in realspace this man was unquestionably a force to be feared. A raider with seven vessels in his fleet, a man capable of taking apart an Imperial convoy or even leveling a small planet if he so desired. He had probably paid bribes to find the route here that could have purchased him a planetary holding the size of a continent, perhaps even a governorship. But here, in The Dark City, he was what the Dark Eldar would call a mon’keigh. He was nothing.

Tybalt smiled pleasantly as he glanced up from where he had been going over the pirate lord’s trade manifest and noting down with his electro-stylus his offerings for the entire lot. He reached up to brush some of his sandy blonde hair away from his face as he considered the pirate lord’s words for a moment. They were a study in contrasts. Whereas the pirate lord tried to look scruffy and rough and dangerous, Tybalt kept himself clean shaven, his clothing impeccably neat and ordered, his skin wasn’t very tan though, a side effect of living in The Dark City.

“You feel…cheated?”

“I was told that you were the man to see in Commoragh. I was told to come to Port Heiden and see you.” Tybalt certainly hopped that’s what the man had heard, heaven knew he spent a substantial amount of money making sure almost everyone who might be able to direct some ambitious trader to Commoragh would also know to mention Tybalt’s name. “I was told you were the man to see about getting a shipment of Argonite Whisperers. I was told,” the man leaned forward, his eye whirring slightly as it adjusted, he sneered, his black mustache curling around his lips menacingly, “that you were the sort of man who would cut a fair deal.”

“I thought I rather was.”

“What?” The pirate lord laughed and then then slammed his fist down on the table, the data slates there rattling and clicking together from the force of the blow. “I should string you up by your gizzards for this insult!”

“And what insult is that, pray tell?”

“You’re trying to tell me that you’ll take eight tons of gold at less than an eighth of its actual value and you can’t puzzle out why I’m insulted?”

“Oh, the gold…would you rather keep it?”

Behind the pirate lord one of his lieutenants moved to draw her weapon, earning her a warning growl from Yug. The Tarellian dog soldier had been lurking silently behind Tybalt up until this point, but now it stepped forward. Flipping up from its neck came a red crest that vibrated unnervingly, a garish and vibrant color next to Yug’s normal green-grey scales. He hadn’t drawn his weapon, a large multi-barreled pistol slung at his side, but he did bare his reptilian fangs, they gleamed brightly in the thin light of the trade room they were sitting in. The pirates eased back a step and Yug’s neck flap dropped down against his neck again, he glanced at Tybalt, his long black tongue snarling out words in a strange mish-mash of low-Gothic and Eldarith language.

“They are fools, let me kill them and we take their wealth. Sell ships. Make profit.”

Tybalt smirked a bit but held up his hand to forestall Yug’s violent tendencies. The loyal dog-soldier snarled a bit as it stepped back. “I think we’ve been inside of this little shack for a bit too long with each other, we’ve grown tense and lost sight of what it is we’re trading for. Why don’t we step outside for some fresh air to clear our heads?”

He smiled charmingly as the pirate lord glanced at his two lieutenants. The hawk-nosed woman with the large chest wearing a blouse two sizes too small for her, and for that Tybalt had already decided he liked her, seemed doubtful, likely trying to encourage her captain to ignore the fool endeavor. The quiet man with the power sword strapped to his back and the facial tattoos of a penal-colony man seemed more relaxed, though he kept his gaze meaningfully on Yug.

Tybalt wasn’t too worried about any treachery. He paid Yug quite a bit, and felt the dog-soldier was well worth it. Though shorter than a human, that bulky reptilian frame packed almost as much muscle as an Ork, and with his thick scaly hide he was almost as tough. Tybalt had once seen him take three las rounds to the chest while walking up to contentedly bite the throat off the gunman. No, he wasn’t worried about the pirates trying anything, though he was wearing a refractive set of body armor hidden under his long rogue trader overcoat and blue silken shirt. No need to be too confident in the hired help after all.

“Okay, let’s step outside.” The pirate lord stood up.

They had, as was common for visiting tradesmen, rented out one of the many trade shacks that littered the Ports near the bases of the great docking spars that rose out into the wildness of the Warp all around them. The trade shack was little more than an enclosed room, supposedly listening and recording device free, though Tybalt knew for a fact that was a lie, it rested on the spur that the pirate lord had docked his fleet on. Somewhere, high above them, connected to the spur and having access to hundreds of high speed magnetic elevators, the pirate lord had a crew of literally hundreds of thousands of men, almost all doubtless armed to the teeth.

They were of no consequence here.

Port Heiden, stretched out in front of them, a vast cityscape in its own right that could swallow up crews on leave as easily as Tybalt could swallow a candied sweet fruit. The streets were shadowed, and the tepid gray light that was cast down on them was like dusk on any given world, yet here this was the height of the day, the brightest that Commoragh would get, for it was The Dark City both literally as well as figuratively. Three captive suns produced the power for the City, giving it just enough light to live by, but not so much as to offend its masters’ delicate senses. Each ‘day’ the solar cults would stoke the captive furnaces, powering them up like Tybalt might stoke a fire. The suns would grow stronger for a time, until they reached their peak approved power, a point of time known as high peak, that marked what most humans would consider noon. Then they were allowed to dim down again, until they reached low peak, the darkest time in The Dark City, a time where even those who walked the shadowed streets considered it potentially unsafe to be out alone without an armed escort of sizable numbers.

Mist and droplets of rain spattered against them from the nearby Warp Storms of the Invernill Gap, and Tybalt pulled his long greatcoat a bit tighter around himself. He motioned to the pirate lord as he pointed out to the port. “What do you see, my lord?”

“I see opportunity,” growled the pirate lord as he came and leaned upon the railing of the porch, glaring out at the tradeport with his bio-mechanical eye. The streets were choked with passerbys, and the side alleys filled with temporary shops of all shapes and sizes. Tradesmen and merchants hawked their wares in a hundred different languages as they sold goods from a hundred thousand different worlds. Even from here Tybalt could see shops selling everything from poisons, to high grade weapons, to works of art, to collections of rare flowers. Eldar Pirate Lords in gleaming red armor walked down the streets alongside nervous faced human Rogue Traders as a Hykosi haggled in the background. Amongst them all walked the Dark Eldar, acting almost as though the lesser races weren’t there at all. Tall, powerful, hauntingly beautiful, with wicked grins and eyes alive with a passionate madness and intensity that still scared Tybalt when he saw it.

“No, right there, specifically.” Tybalt pointed out the fortress of House Heiden, the Port Lords of this spar of Commoragh. Their towering fortress rose up from the assembled shacks and smaller buildings like some great and terrible ancient beast. Its huge walls and myriad gun emplacements bristled in eager readiness. Walking its walls could be seen Dark Eldar troops wearing their dark purple battle regalia and holding a wide variety of weaponry.

“A fortress,” sniffed the pirate lord, “I have seen enough similar to it in my time.” He considered it a bit longer with a practiced eye. “Give me my men, let me purchase a few hundred tanks, and in about a week we shall be feasting in its great halls.” Tybalt rather thought that was a foolish prediction, but decided it unworthy mentioning, he had his own point to make.

“What do you think of his decorations?” Tybalt indicated massive statues that stood alongside the towering spire of the Port Lord’s fortress. Each statue was hundreds of feet tall, and carved in the likeness of Lord Heiden who had ruled the Port with unquestioned iron control for the past eight hundred years. Tybalt had been impressed by that for a while, until he had learned more about how the Dark Eldar truly considered the passing of time.

“They’re plated in gold.”

“No,” Tybalt laughed, “they’re carved from gold.”

There was a moment as the pirate lord considered this, just attempting to wrap his head around what that meant. “Those diamonds in them…”

“In their own language they’re not called diamonds by the Dark Eldar, it’s a bit hard to translate correctly, but the proper term is roughly ‘decorative carbon’ as I understand it.”

“So the High Lords of this city have a lot of gold and gems,” the pirate lord began uneasily.
“No…” Tybalt turned and pointed out into the darkness. “Do you see that spire there?”

“Where, behind the mountain or-“ The pirate lord’s voice trailed off as his brain finally reminded him there would be no mountains here. He bent his neck backward, straining to try to grasp the scope of what he was looking upon.

“That spire that you are looking at is the fortress of The Kabal of Cerulean Storm, a Kabal of notoriety and prestige, but one that is considered to be somewhat waning in its glory nowadays, also I feel I must add that they are an ancient noble house and never really had the wealth or focus to maintain their holdings in the much more grandiose and expensive High Spires when the Kabals took true control, this was, I believe, considered a secondary fortress for them, like a summer home, if you will. The first building we looked at is the home of a minor Port Lord, what you and I might think of as a basic merchant family. They are using gold and diamonds as decorations because that’s what they are, true wealth is in how well you use the materials. It’s about hiring an artist to do something meaningful with them. The materials themselves…” Tybalt reached into his pocket and produced a slim bar of pure gold, enough to easily purchase a new and fine home on any one of hundreds of Imperial worlds. He casually flung it out into the crowds below.

The large breasted pirate woman instinctively lurched for it, giving Tybalt a somewhat pleasing display as a button on the front of her blouse fought valiantly against the laws of physics. The gold bar spun end over end, twinkling in the dim light as it fell and clattered to the pavement below. The first Dark Eldar who approached it casually kicked it out of his way as though it were only an annoyance. It was not until a few moments passed that a street urchin snapped it up, probably figuring it could be bartered for a bite to eat.

“The materials are just materials, and are worthless beyond that, you might as well scatter some nails and bolts on the ground.” Tybalt glanced back at the pirate lord as he smirked and pulled out a small graven coin marked with xenos engravings. “Now this, this if I threw it out there, this someone would pick up.”

“What is it?”

“It is called a Ra’til, or, if you wish, a soul chit.” Tybalt held up the ancient coin and turned it around for them all to see. It was a weighty piece of metal, intricate artistic images were carved into it, and a small seal was stamped into it. “This represents one full soul worth of value.”

“Soul?” The female pirate glanced uneasily at the coin.

“Just their language,” Tybalt laughed, “if you prefer you may wish to think of it as one…slave, one life.” He flipped the coin in the air and caught it before slipping it back into his coat. “That coin says I own someone, and it indicates which Kabal stands as promisor of the soul in question. That is money here, because that is power, not something as silly as gold or diamonds.”

“I was told that they used a barter system here.”

“They do, if you want I could show you a phial of condensed fear of spiders that I own.” He saw their faces and wondered if they thought he was joking or not. Though, to be honest, even though he owned the phial, he wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not himself. All he did know was he’d had to pay quite a bit for it, and had already received some interesting offers for the exchange. “But that’s the advantage of the chits, they have a set value, unless you think you’re smart enough to haggle with a Dark Eldar about what the taste of sorrow is worth in Argonite Whisperers?”

“This…” The pirate lord was just starting to understand what he had got himself into as the true scope of what The Dark City was, and the true realization of just how little and pathetic he was came into clarity.

“Now, look, what I do is provide an excellent service for people like you. You see, you’ve come here, you’ve paid an awful lot for even the chance, and you’ve shown up with your holds full of goods that are, basically, mild amusements or, at worse, fanciful junk, and you think you’re showing up with a vast bounty, am I right?”

The pirate lord nodded his head slowly.

“At this stage you are also probably wondering about those supposed docking fees you’re going to owe. Let me assure you, Lord Heiden is not likely to need another golden statue, now is he?” Tybalt took his arm companionably around the pirate lord’s shoulders as he led him back into the trading room. “So, like most newcomers here, you’re about to be faced with a harsh choice, and that is deciding how many of your crew you need to surrender to pay the docking fees, or trying to fight your way out.” Tybalt motioned for the pirate lord to sit down again.

“I must tell you, in my entire time here, I’ve only even heard of one fleet fighting its way out of Commoragh. It was a Space Marine Battle Fleet, they suffered…extensive casualties.” He sat down across from the pirate lord and picked up his electro-stylus. “Now, what I offer is to transfer your meaningless and worthless wares into a currency the Dark Eldar will actually care about. Trust me, you don’t speak their language and you don’t understand their desires, if you sat across from a bargaining table with a Dark Eldar he would simply convert you into some soul chits out of boredom. I do this all at great cost to myself, and also expose myself to all the risks of haggling with the Dark Eldar, and both of those costs are, indeed, passed back to you the consumer. However, you should have just enough to buy your way back out of Commoragh in one piece, a bargain at any price, as they say.”

“But…the Argonite Whisperers…I need…they said that here I could…”

“Oh, yes, them.” Tybalt smiled as he made a few notes. “The way I see it you have two options. You can either return to realspace, perform some raids, and capture living prisoners, or you can turn over some of your crewmembers. I’ve noted down the exchange rate I believe I can get you as regards the Whisperers. I don’t think you’ll be able to find a better deal this side of the Spire.”

The pirate lord took up the data slate, a look of stunned incredulity still on his face. When he had first arrived here in Commoragh he had doubtless thought of himself as a man of import. A man able to destroy his foes, take what he wanted, and sit secure in his riches. But here, here in Commoragh, he was simply a mon’keigh, and not even likely to be thought of as particularly skilled in the arts of piracy, combat, or anything else the Dark Eldar remotely respected. Here, he was a small flea, an insignificant speck of dirt on the bottom of Commoragh’s boot, and they would use him as they saw fit…or, if he was smart, he would take Tybalt’s deal and just manage to escape with his life…and then it would be interesting to see if he ever decided to try and come back.

Tybalt grinned as he sat comfortably in his chair and smiled.

He had not reached his position by being a fool.

----------------------------------------------------------


Tybalt steered a wide berth around Yr-Selka’s ‘Emporium of Wilde Beasts’ It was not that he was scared of the great furry Vyrskeer wild wolf that she kept chained up front, but he had never particularly trusted the situation. That chain was so very delicate and thin looking, who was to say when it would break, and what poor fool would be standing closest when that happened? Most Dark Eldar wouldn’t even be bothered by the happening, likely they would consider it great sport and free entertainment. The Vyrskeer seemed to watch him hungrily as he passed, four beady red eyes glittering as they lingered on him, teeth that were so large, and straight, and perfectly white, muscles bulging, firm and strong beneath the bristling coat of short, wiry, brown fur, all held in check by a chain that was so frail. That was Commoragh in a nutshell, a vast array of deadly situations all washed in a veneer of presumed safety. If you were foolish you would be dead, but if you could spot the dangers and minimize them, well…there were ample rewards to be had too.

“You were too nice to them, they don’t understand what a soul chit is worth, you could have got a better deal.”

Yug hissed the comment out unhappily as they moved through the streets of the Port back towards Tybalt’s shop. Tybalt frowned at his bodyguard as he paused by a street vendor selling blood pork on a stick. The sticky-sweet meat glistened brightly, its outer flesh slightly charred by the merchant’s copper fire.

“What would that have gained me, exactly?” Tybalt ordered a pair of the skewers. The merchant indicated the price and Tybalt sneered at him while indicating that he suspected the price was overinflated and the meat probably rancid. The merchant quickly burbled an insult while puffing out its throat glands in displeasure. Tybalt, of course, hated having to haggle with a species that didn’t actually have any facial features to speak of, but he was still pretty sure he could talk it down.
“Well, a better exchange rate, for one.” Yug leaned in and sniffed doubtfully at the skewers. He liked his meat rather more on the rare side, and preferably still moving.

“You need to think of it as an investment, my friend.” Tybalt finally accepted the merchant’s counter offer and slid him over a sixteenth-chit, a broken sliver that represented part of a full chit. The merchant considered it carefully, double checking the marks of the Kabal emblazoned on it, then burbled in agreement as it handed back the skewers. “If I had taken him for everything he was worth then I would have had a single decent payoff. However, if he is as proud as I suspect him to be, he’s going to want to prove to himself that the Dark City can’t get the ‘best’ of him. So he’ll go back to realspace, and he’ll collect items from my suggested list, and he’ll be back. At that stage, of course he’s going to want to deal with the one person who helped him out, and you know I will be the only one. Anyone else he talks to will offer him worse or try to kill him because, like you, they think they can take advantage of him.”

“So you get less now in the hopes of getting more later?” Yug glanced suspiciously at a passing human wearing a faded Imperial Guard uniform in tattered disarray and a slave collar on his neck. He hissed slightly and bared his fangs, but the human passed by without paying him any heed.

“Exactly.” Tybalt took a bite of the blood pork and savored the thick juices and sweet and tender meat happily. “Every deal is the opening to a potential future business relationship. There’s a reason I handle almost all of the xenos traders in four different ports.”

“Because you’re a mon’keigh and so are most of them,” grunted Yug.

“I sort of thought it was my charm and natural good looks,” Tybalt suggested around a happy mouthful of food. As he looked over at Yug he spotted something that made him come up short. His bodyguard dropped a hand down to his bulky sidearm as he glanced around too, ready for any danger. Serpentine eyes narrowed as his thick black tongue slithered sharply out of his mouth as he tried to spot what had upset his employer.

Yug didn’t notice it though. Truth be told, most of the other inhabitants of the market hadn’t either. Tybalt had probably only noticed because he was fairly observant, and also a human, and so even though he tried to act jaded and understanding of Commoragh even he was caught sometimes by its strangeness, cold indifference, and brutal capriciousness.

It was a girl, an Eldarith Ynneas girl, alone. That wasn’t really what had caught his eye though, there were enough street urchins and youth gangs of Eldarith parentage. But it was the way she looked. Her hair was long and gleaming white, hanging down almost to her ankles. Her large eyes were a metallic copper color, wide and looking about the port market with a look of guileless bewilderment that almost mirrored the comically pathetic look the pirate lord had held only an hour before. A set of gold-rimmed glasses were perched on her perfectly formed and porcelain white nose. She was wearing bedclothes, her nightgown hanging limply off her slender shoulders. She was also splattered with blood, a lot of blood, her nightgown was sodden with it and it was splashed about her angelically white face.

“That child…” Tybalt knew there was something that wasn’t clicking with him yet. In the grand scheme, lost children in blood spattered clothing were, sadly, not exactly an uncommon sight in the ports. But something had caught his attention here. As she eased her way out of the alleymouth she’d been lurking near and shambled across the street, still a look of confusion on her face, Tybalt noticed that she was barefoot. Her small, tender feet were torn up, coated in grime and blood, probably some of it her own from walking across rough surfaces that she was unaccustomed to.

“Do you want to eat her, boss? I can get her.” Yug, as usual, was eager to please but not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

“Her feet…” Tybalt frowned, unhappy that this was taking him so long. Many had been the time he’d survived an encounter simply by being a little bit quicker in the thinking game than the person sitting across the negotiation table from him. If you could figure out that your bidding partner intended to kill you before they’d realized it themselves it was incredibly helpful, especially in Commoragh, where life had a very specific and agreed upon price.

Her feet, they were torn up because she was not used to walking on rough surfaces.

She was not a common street urchin then, because she would have been quite used to it by then.
It suddenly clicked for him, and Tybalt let out a small breath of pleasure. “She’s wearing a nightgown made out of Shaa-dom shadowsilk.”

Tybalt had once participated in a very important deal that had involved trading over four thousand slaves for a single square yard worth of the fabric, with his usual cut off the top, of course. The girl was literally wearing a fortune, a gown that could literally purchase the deaths of over ten thousand souls. She was no ordinary girl, she had to be Trueborn, and the daughter of some high ranking Kabalite, or noble, or something similar.

“Come on, Yug,” he said as he started off after the girl, praying that no one else in the square had spotted her and figured out the clues, though he was suspicious he wouldn’t be so lucky.

“What’s the plan, boss?”

Tybalt smirked as he uttered a phrase he suspected was almost never spoken in The Dark City.

“We’re going to save a child’s life.”

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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Tue Jan 21 2014, 20:04

Oh, how terrible! my golden idol, gilded!

Seriously though, its a great start to a story.
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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Tue Jan 21 2014, 20:27

A gilded idol? What a social faux pas!

Glad you're enjoying it,, now the only question is what sort of trouble is Tybalt going to encounter down that alley, and how will he slime his way out of it?

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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Tue Jan 21 2014, 21:05

Yes, good storytelling, an old hand wouldn't notice anything ordinary, but he would immediately spot something strange, wouldn't he?

This is the way true experts work.
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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Thu Sep 25 2014, 21:36

This is really good. Although i am new and have only read the lore from the codex, this is really good and well written. I have read many fanfictions in my time and i have to say this is better than all of them. Can't wait for the next one chaptor.

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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Sat Oct 04 2014, 23:10

And the master writer is at it again. I await.the conclusion of Incubi with great anticipation and you already dangle a new story under my nose ;-)

I really enjoy your explanation of how currency works in the dark city. It's the closest thing to an understandable exchange rate I've read.

An eldar with glasses is also a first. I've always presumed they were born without psysical defeciensies at all. It's kinda like Legolas wearing a hearing aid. But I place my trust in you and am looking forward to read more from you!

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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Mon Oct 13 2014, 23:24

Okay, I'm hooked.

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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Sun Oct 26 2014, 04:04

Monster


Father sat upon his throne, his red robes draped over the gleaming white armor. His face, as always, hidden behind his mask, eyes glowing with red light as they looked out with unblinking disregard upon all who stood before him. His honor guard, the Crimson Bones, his elite Trueborn, stood in perfect lines in front of the throne, their armor polished to a gleaming white, their bodysuits the color of blood, their gilt golden weapons held at the ready. Usually when nobles and dignitaries visited they would grovel and cower and scrape and bow. They were scared of the Crimson Bones, or scared of Father’s cold voice. She was used to seeing them blanch slightly as they looked at father, or wince at the sight of his dreaded bone sword, the Weeping Blade.

The golden woman didn’t flinch, nor did she grovel. Her face was hidden behind a mask of gold, sculpted with perfect features of a beautiful Eldarith Ynneas woman, a single ruby tear marked under her right eye. Her chest plate was sculpted like a nude body, lean muscle and smooth and firm jutting breasts over a trim and muscled abdomen. She wore a flowing gown of red underneath her golden armor, her raven black hair worked up in coiling drapes and interwoven with anti-gravity jewelry that kept it dancing in an illusory breeze.

Next to her stood a golden man, he also wore red robes, but his were open to reveal his bare chest that had been lightly dusted with golden powder to give it a luxurious sheen. As much as her sculpted muscles in gold were perfect, so were his real muscles, made gold by his makeup. His face was equally perfect, bright blue eyes shining out of a face made the color of gold, and a single bright red ruby marked upon his cheek just under his left eye. His long black hair was pulled back by golden clasps to hang in a long braid that fell to his lower back. He rested his hands casually, almost contemptuously, on a wide brocaded belt inlaid with ivory carvings of various beasts and creatures. His perfect features were almost too beautiful, but were marred by a wicked and knowing smirk on his face, a creature well aware of his own brilliance.

He wouldn’t stop staring at her, and she shivered slightly.

“You presume much, Lady Itolin,” Father’s voice was calm, but edged with a hint of danger to it. “You risk much in asking this question in public instead of having the decorum to ask it in private.”

“I am not certain I risk anything.” Lady Itolin’s voice echoed oddly out of her mask, sounding cold and mechanical. “You can parade out your soldiers, and hold court here in your great hall and would doubtless impress many, but I can count your men, and I can see the cracks in the pillars, I can see the frayed edges of their cloaks, I can see how many servants wait in the empty slave holds below.”

“You speak of trivialities.”

“Do I?” Lady Itolin walked up to one of the Crimson Bones, pausing to consider him carefully. Her eyes gleamed from within the shadowed recesses of her golden mask. She reached a hand covered in sleek flayed skin gloves dyed a brilliant scarlet hue, her fingers lightly brushing at a chip in the armored chestplate of the Crimson Bone warrior. “I think not. You are a House of old fame, a proud name, and ancient rites, with useful ties to many other Great Houses and young Kabals. But you are weak, and many are those who might seek to usurp what is yours. But a younger organization, an alliance borne of blood, would refill coffers, provide fresh waves of slaves, and strengthen you enough to not just stave off hungry minnows, but to once more be a predator worthy of fear, a predator that could improve itself once more.”

“It is an interesting offer, I shall admit, but it cannot be done.”

“You seem so opposed to the matter.” Lady Itolin flicked a few fingers dismissively at the Crimson Bone as she stepped away from the warrior, rubbing her red glove covered hands together delicately as her perfect mask looked up at Father. “You have one child, young, and sole heir, and I have one son, a perfect son.” She reached out, her hand lightly brushing along his muscular chest, a small shiver quaking through her as she breathed his name. “Faed Itolin, the Golden Son, sole heir to my Kabal, he is a prize so dear, so desirable, it is a perfect match, and none can question that I am offering you a worthy prize.”

Faed’s eyes seemed to gleam with an inner light, pale blue sapphire eyes staring at her and she found something unhealthy about them. She wished Mimi had given her a fan so she could hide herself behind it, her hands dug uselessly into the folds of her thin gown as she stood next to Father’s throne.

“It cannot be done, Lady Itolin,” Father raised a warding hand and Faed’s eyes moved off her, filled with shock and confusion about the rebuff. “She has duties that are spoken of for the House already, pacts that must be fulfilled.”

“And what pacts are these?” Lady Itolin’s voice purred like a knife sliding from a sheath. “I have found that all pacts have a certain price and can always be…renegotiated.”

“You still think like a Port Lord,” growled Father, “and that is why you and your childish Golden Dawn shall ever be looking up to your betters no matter your accomplishments. There are pacts, ancient and important, and no merchant coin can change their course, pacts of blood may only be answered in blood, both in the keeping and the breaking.”

“I am saddened and distraught to hear this,” Lady Itolin bowed stiffly and almost ungraciously, “you would do well to be mindful of your choices, your name has value, your holding has value, but the lives of your Kabal…those are not so valuable that you should cast aside your few friends in the face of your foes.”

“The day this House needs to curry the favor of a Port Lord is the day we are already doomed. I do not seek to antagonize you unduly, but the matter of her future husband is already spoken for, and it is a matter long and assuredly settled. Perhaps we could arrange for one of my Court’s daughters, I believe-“

“No, my lord, no” Lady Itolin bowed again. “You need neither shame yourself nor me with such offers, I understand what you are saying and apologize for this waste of time and the awkward position it has put you in. I had simply hoped to secure our friendship in a more lasting way.” She stood up, snapping her fingers as she turned away, “come, Faed.”

Faed spared one last look at her, his eyes smoldering, before he turned amidst a swirl of red robes and gleaming golden skin and strode after his lady mother.

“You have upset them.” She glanced over at Father, “they are powerful allies.”

“And they will remain allies, The Kabal of Golden Dawn are upjumped Port Lords, nothing more, and they know they need my patronage to continue their operations else one of the other Great Houses would acquire them in moments. Lady Itolin is simply bartering, like the merchant she is. She will hem and haw like a hawker in the street, and then she will accept a fair price for her beloved boy, one of Lord Auvymyr’s daughters, I suspect.” He glanced at a grim faced Trueborn standing nearby in the armor of The Crimson Bones, his hair thinned and slightly gray, his face marked by a long vertical scar across his left eye and cheek, “your youngest, the one with the whip and the laugh, she has no mate yet, does she?”

“She would be honored, my lord, of course,” Lord Auvymyr bowed his head.

“You see,” Father’s chuckle echoed out of his helmet, “it is all a show, you need to remember that.”

“Father…” she glanced at him uncertainly, “you said I was…I was already promised. To whom am I promised?”

All the sense of humor and comfort left him as he grew stiff, this helmet turned to regard her long and hard, red eyes burning brightly. He shook his head slightly. “You will find out sooner than you ever wish to, I assure you, but you will not ask that question of me again. Is this understood?”

----------------------------------------------------------


The alley the girl had gone down had some gang markings scrawled by the entrance in a strange green paint that glowed with an inner luminescence. Tybalt paused for a heartbeat to consider the marking, but sadly didn’t recognize it. That was annoying, things would have been easier if he already had a working relationship with the gang claiming the back alley. He loosened up his power sabre in its sheath and reached under his coat to keep a hand on his laspistol. If he was very lucky he wouldn’t need the weapons, but it was best to be prepared. Yug slipped his hand onto his sidearm as well, as ever, ready for combat.

The two stepped into the alley, almost immediately even the dim gray light of the City grew dimmer as the shadows of the tall buildings enveloped them. They moved down the twisting alley Tybalt immediately glancing upwards, trying to gauge how far it was from the rooftops to the ground, and looking for any hidden murder holes. Street gangs in Commorragh tended to like to attack from above and below in their ambushes, and he had been a near victim of more than one second-story murder mob in his days. He spotted them quickly enough, small windowsills and architectural recesses that held dark, huddled shapes in them.

The girl was ahead of him, standing in confusion near the middle of the alley, two figures in tattered green robes already circling around her, giggling to themselves. A long chain unfurled from above, snapping down in front of Tybalt’s face, its end tipped by a razor-sharp barb glinting wetly with some sort of poison that had been smeared upon it.

“The girl is ours now, mon’keigh.” The figure holding the chain could only barely be seen in the shadows overhead, wrapped in a faded green cloak, perched on a slim support bar that stretched across the alley. “Leave your weapons and you two can walk out. Or don’t, and stay here forever.”

They were speaking the Eldarith language, which meant this was no lesser gang of xenos rabble trying to survive in the streets or seek revenge on a lone Dark Eldar. No, these were young dark eldar, barely out of their birthing tubes, no doubt, full of avarice, hungry for pain, and eager to get into a fight over their territory or claimed spoils. Tybalt cast around in his head for a few moments a dozen different plans on how to deal with them. But most of his ideas of trying to quick talk his way out of the situation seemed unlikely to work. Also, frankly, even though they were offering him escape, it was most likely that a few gang members were already circling around to cut off his and Yug’s route. No dark eldar murder gang worth a spit was going to let two mon’keigh walk out of their chosen turf.

He made his decision about what to do. He felt a cold chill creep along him, goosebumps rising on his arms.

“My apologies, great one, I did not realize you had claimed her.” His words hissed out softly, misting about his face in the uncharacteristically chilled air of the Port. “Please, accept my weapons and my humblest apologies.” He spoke the Eldarith tongue quite well, better than any other human he had ever met, and he hoped his words of supplication would put the gang at ease. He then drew out his laspistol, moved to set it on the ground, and then snapped it up and let loose with a few rounds into the rafters overhead.

Of course, to a dark eldar, he probably looked like he was moving in slow motion. The gang tough sprang to the side, easily darting away from the attack. Yug stomped forward, drawing out his own gun and firing the autopistol with wild abandon as he sprayed down the rafters. Dozens of hidden shapes darted to life, slipping away and ducking for cover. Tybalt cursed as he realized exactly how many of them there were.

“Cover me, we need to get out of here!” He drew his power sabre, he had modified the safety release, in a supposed dangerous and illegal way according to Imperial law, to cause it to activate the instant it cleared the sheathe. Some would call that a risky move, leaving you as like to lop off your own leg as hurt the enemy. However, when fighting dark eldar, Tybalt was of the opinion that you didn’t have the luxury of wasting time thumbing activator switches. When he drew his sword he needed it right then, and not a millisecond later.

He charged forward towards the two dark elder by the child, and attacked with a sharp advancing lunge that would have left his Drill Abbot back at the Schola nodding in approval. The dark eldar didn’t even notice his attack till partway through the lunge and then still had time to draw its knife to deflect the blade. Tybalt snarled as he pressed in, bringing his full weight down on his sword. With a pained squeal the shoddy dagger of the ganger sheared apart and his sword cut down into the ganger’s side, spilling his entrails across the ground.

Not that this momentary victory filled Tybalt with too much hope. Even now the other ganger was laughing eagerly, her eyes seeming to come alight at the sight of her companion dying miserably on the ground. It was a damned annoying trait, but the more dark eldar you killed, the faster, tougher, and more eager the others would become. He raised his pistol and let loose a barrage of wild shots at the female ganger. She ducked and weaved, darting away from him in spiraling circles as she evaded his shots. Then she sprang up, landing against a wall and performing a spinning back-flip off of it. Tybalt could guess well enough where she was coming so simply jumped to his left, leaping away from the kill zone as he continued to fire wild shots at her. One of the las rounds hit home, punching a hole through her leg, but she landed on the injured limb as though she didn’t even feel it, and charged in again, still laughing.

Then Yug was there, cutting across her path as he slammed into her with a flying tackle. She screeched unhappily as the Tarellian muscled her to the ground, his long snout snapping down on her throat as razor sharp teeth tore through her flesh. Tybalt had a moment of satisfaction before he heard the snap of a chain whip and felt a lancing pain erupt across his shoulder. His laspistol dropped from nerveless fingers as he staggered forward to one knee. The chain whip wielding ganger was coiling up his weapon, and Tybalt issued a silent prayer of hope that his refractive body armor vest had prevented the poison barb from breaking his skin. Four more gangers were dropping down into the alley, their breath misting eagerly around their faces as they readied their knives.

“What are you doing?”

The girl walked forward slowly, hobbling a bit on her battered feet. Her coppery eyes glittered from behind her glasses as she regarded him carefully. A small, delicate, white hand reached out to help steady him as he pushed himself to his feet.

“Rescuing you,” Tybalt offered with a shrug, “stick close behind me when I charge.” He glanced at Yug who had risen up from his kill, hissing to himself as he flexed his claws and moved up to stand by them. “Yug take the rear.” Tybalt didn’t offer to lead the charge out of any sense of decency, but knowing dark eldar they would be likely to dance around his charge and then close in on the rear guard to tear him apart. Hopefully Yug would last just long enough to buy Tybalt the time to get away with the girl.

“Rescue me?” The girl looked at him very carefully, her expression almost comically serious as she considered his words, then she turned and stepped between him and the gangers. “All of you, leave. Now.”

There was a moment while the gangers glanced at each other, and then the laughter began. It was a throaty laughter that filled the alley with its mocking ring and left Tybalt feeling very small and weak indeed. He reached out to try and pull the girl back behind him so he could begin his charge, but she stubbornly shook his grip off. She was certainly of some sort of high birth, he mused, for only a high born Eldarith Ynneas would think she could threaten a gang wearing nothing more than a bloody nightgown and backed by nothing more than a wounded, and frightened, human and a single Tarellian Dog-soldier.

“What happens if we don’t leave?” The question was spoken by a slim female figure crouched in a shadowy alcove above them. Her breath clouded around her pale features, catching frostily in her long dark hair as she licked at a barbed blade attached to her gauntlet.

“What do you offer us as tribute?” The gang leader smirked as he readied his chain whip again, “what do you have that is worth us sparing you?”

“Your lives.”

The way the girl said it sent a small chill down Tybalt’s spine. She was so young and innocent seeming. She was so helpless in appearance, all skin and bones in a sodden nightgown, battered and weak looking, like a delicate morsel for this gang to eat up alive. But the way she had issued the threat, with a cold and hard certainty, felt like she was a ruler in full battle regalia at the head of a massed horde of warriors. The gang leader paused, his smile growing brittle, his fingers coiling tightly around his whip, his red eyes narrowing dangerously from under the shadows of his hood.

The girl met his gaze evenly, her coppery eyes bright and unafraid. She raised her arm, pointing very meaningfully at the dark haired female in the shadows. Her gaze never shifting from the gang leader, she spoke.

“That one.”

The screams started immediately and Tybalt nearly jumped out of his skin, fearing that the gang had started to attack. Instead what had happened was the female had been pulled back into the dark shadows. Her feet kicked wildly for a half second and then slumped forward as she fell out of the alcove, her throat had been torn open vertically in a line that continued down almost to her navel. A wave of gore spilled out across the cobbled alleyway in a bloody wash as her body toppled out of the alcove. It came up short however, jerking to a stop as her intestines had been pulled from her body and looped around her neck like a makeshift noose that was tied around something in the dark recesses of the shadows above. She hung there, strung up like some macabre puppet, slowly swinging back and forth as she still kicked feebly and gagged out the last of her life.

The gang started moving slowly at first, but as soon as one of them turned his back and scampered off into the shadows the others followed suit, fleeing back into the warrens and bolt holes they’d prepared for themselves.

Tybalt licked his lips nervously as the girl slowly turned to look at him, her eyes seemed to gleam with an inner light in the dark alley, seeming even brighter than his crackling power sword. Small, pale, pink, lips quirked upward into a crooked smile as she regarded him thoughtfully.

“You have saved me.”

“Yes…well…” Tybalt managed a pained smile of his own and shrugged. “Maybe you’d like us to see you back to your home?”

“Is that what you want?” A look of confusion came over her for a moment. “You want to help me back to my home?”

“Well…yes, that’s all we desire.” Which was true enough, all Tybalt wanted was to get her back to her family, and reap whatever reward he could get out of the affair before he quickly walked in the opposite direction fast and for a good while.

“That’s a nice thought.” She paused, biting her lip slightly as she considered this. “We will go back to your place first, we will need to plan this out and I am in no condition to do so right now.” She looked up, nodding in agreement with her decision. “Yes, you will take us to your home.”

“Take you to my home?” Tybalt smiled warmly, though he feared it might look a bit brittle. “Don’t you think you’d be more comfortable at your own estates?”

“No, I do not think that.” The air seemed to grow even colder around him as Tybalt looked into her eerily gleaming copper eyes. “Are you suggesting you know something I do not?”

Tybalt looked into that face, and into those strange eyes for a long moment. He could still hear the splatter of blood dribbling off the hanging body of the dead ganger, and he could remember her screams. His breath came out of his mouth in a great cloud as his shoulders slumped slightly in defeat.

“Very well, my place it is then.”

The girl smiled brightly. Her perfect white teeth shone from her face, and Tybalt couldn’t help but think of the chained up Vyrskeer wild wolf. He was safe, for now, but how secure was the chain?


----------------------------------------------------------


Tybalt’s Trade House was a well-known place in Port Heiden, reputed to have most anything you could want, or at least to know where to find it. It was also widely known as the place to go if you were not dark eldar and wished to cut a deal with them. Tybalt had also heard, and he found it mildly amusing, that he was considered the second most powerful human in all of Commoragh. Now…he was forced to admit that was an honor a bit like being the second best trained dog in all of Terra, but still, it did say something about him and his skills.

He kept his shop modest looking, occupying a mid-sized shop rental space in one of the more spireward districts of Heiden Port. He preferred to be a little away from the port spurs themselves as they tended to be noisy and a bit dangerous, but his neighborhood was well known as a respectable place of business. Indeed, very few second story murder mobs or slave press gangs roamed these streets and they were even far enough away from the Blood Sump to not notice the smell. Still, I paid to be careful, so when he noticed the door to his shop was a touch ajar he paused uneasily.

“What is wrong,” the girl whispered the question uneasily in his ear. She had been lagging behind, her feet clearly causing her discomfort, so Tybalt had been forced to pick her up on his back and carry her. He would have ordered Yug to do it, but suspected the dog-soldier would not have taken kindly to the idea. As it was, it had taken a bit of convincing on his part to let her allow him to pick her up. She had clearly been put off by the idea of even touching a lesser race like him, and he’d been forced to try to describe it as no different than riding a beast of burden before she had grudgingly acquiesced. That said, almost as soon as he had her up she’d fallen asleep, her head resting on his shoulder and nuzzling in the torn shreds where his coat had been slashed open by the razor-edged chain whip. Her fingers had curled up in his sandy blonde hair and she murmured soft words to herself as she fitfully rested.

She was awake now, and he could feel the tension in her body even as she hugged herself closer to him.

“I didn’t leave the door open,” Tybalt told her softly. It could mean many things, naturally, he had experienced dark eldar who had broken into his shop and then tried to barter with him over goods they hadn’t managed to steal yet, still, it was best to be safe. He glanced over at Yug and nodded his head to the door. The mercenary nodded knowingly as he pulled out his autopistol and slid back the action to arm it as he slinked up to one of the slit side windows and peered inside. Tybalt remembered the last time his shop had been broken into he’d ended up with a broken nose, a few new scars, and a rather profitable business transaction as well. The dark eldar were unusual trading partners, to be certain.

“Five of them, armed, and they have Golt.” Yug announced as he returned.

“Who is it?”

“Looks like some of the pirates from earlier. Maybe they didn’t like your deal?” Yug smiled, his teeth gleaming as he raised his pistol meaningfully. “Permission to pacify the area?”

“Do they have their weapons drawn?”

Yug paused, the smile fading from his face as he hung his head slightly. “No.”
“Let’s try talking first then.” Tybalt glanced over his shoulder to the girl. “You should maybe wait outside.”
“No.” Her fingers pulled tighter on his hair, making him wince. “I’m staying with you.”

“As you wish it,” he kneeled down so she could at least climb off his back so he’d have his hands free. Also, Tybalt rather suspected that he would hold a more respectable mien for negotiations without a young girl peering over his shoulder the entire time. She winced slightly as her bruised and bloody feet touched the ground, but made no sound of complaint. He motioned to Yug to stand close as he walked up to the door and stepped inside.

There were five of them, all armed, just as Yug had said there would be. Tybalt recognized them easily as some of the pirates sure enough. There was the penal colony man, his face still bearing his prison tattoos, his sword strapped and ready on his back. The woman was here too, her long copper hair tied back in a ponytail and held in place by a blue bandanna, her white blouse still straining mightily over the impressive geography of her chest. Two fellows, one with a bristly black beard and droopy eyes and another, wiry, erratic, and with the spiked up hair and pale complexion of a Deep Hiver, stood near the door, hands on their pistols. The last pirate wasn’t human at all, that much was clear. It wore a long green hooded robe that danced around its ankles and hid it from view save for slim feet, but the unnaturally light way it moved made it clear it wasn’t human, and in Tybalt’s opinion, probably some form of eldar.

Golt, his abhuman ex-bodyguard and current shop warden was sitting contentedly behind the counter, making goo-goo eyes at the female pirate as she and he shared a bottle of amasec. The brutish Ogryn perked up slightly on seeing Tybalt and waved merrily. “Hi boss!”

“Yes, hi boss,” The female turned, leaning her elbows on the counter as she stretched out her back and smiled at him in a way that almost made him forget all the tribulations of the day thus far. “I’ve been waiting for you to get back, Golt was nice enough to let me in.”

“Da boss says let in da pretty ladies,” agreed Golt with a rather horrible attempt at a knowing wink in Tybalt’s direction.

“I did say that,” agreed Tybalt slowly, “though I would like to think heavily armed ladies with equally armed escorts were not part of that basic invitation, especially when I specifically told you not to let anyone in while I was gone.”

“But,” Golt’s brow furrowed as he struggled to find the right words, a process that could often take some time, “last week when I not let in da pretty near naked lady, you said-“

“Golt, why don’t you head into the back and count the rebreathers, I have business.”

“You are no going to fire me again, right boss?” Golt’s big blue eyes looked downcast and pleading as he lumbered up to his feet, “I no want fired.”

“Just go in the back, Golt, count the rebreathers, we’ll talk later,” Tybalt sighed as he rubbed the bridge of his nose, still uncertain why he kept that lump around…then begrudgingly recalling a number of scrapes that Golt had saved him from due to simple bull-headed loyalty and toughness. Loyalty was a very rare commodity in Commoragh, and whatever his faults Tybalt always knew that, when lives were on the line, Golt would have his best interests at heart. “I’m not going to fire you,” he called out. The big Ogryn got a wide smile on his face and stomped noisily into the back warehouse, the floor creaking in protest as the nine foot tall behemoth trundled off. “So,” he turned back to the female pirate, “to what do I owe the honor of this visit?”

“You’re not what I expected,” she offered as she considered him carefully, her hands toying with a Mael dannan board set on the counter, her fingers running slowly along the sharp, angular, edges of the Archon piece, which was both the single most powerful piece in the game, and also the most vulnerable, for if you lost it then you would lose the match.

“What did you expect?” Tybalt smiled as he walked up to the counter across from her, an affable smile on his face. Behind him Yug was already slumping down into a crouch on his stool. The move was meant to make the other pirates relax, but also would put Yug quite near the hidden sawed-off burstgun hidden within the cabinet next to his stool. The young dark eldar noble seemed lost in thought as she started circling around the shop, her eyes wide behind her glasses as she considered the wide array of oddities and valuables he had available for sale.

“I’d heard a lot of stories about Tybalt, the Mad Butcher of Sal-dyss. I expected so much more, you seem barely worth one tenth of the bounty on you. You certainly don’t look like you murder people in the thousands and drink blood.”

“Keep your hands away from your pockets,” offered the wiry man as he drew his pistol in a smooth and fast motion that left Tybalt little doubt of the man’s profession. The custom modified laspistol muzzle pressed lightly against Tybalt’s temple. He raised a warding hand to Yug, who had started growling menacingly. He kept his eyes on the woman, not sensing any immediate desire from her to see him dead.

“No, I don’t drink blood, though I have partaken of bloodwine and find that quite pleasant, could I interest you in a bottle, maybe with some candles, and a bit of music?”

“Do you have any idea how many creds they’re offering for your head, attached or not?”

“I stopped paying attention to that a while ago, it seemed to just be a point of vanity.” Tybalt kept smiling as he glanced at the other pirates. “You’re not regular members of the crew, are you? Bounty hunters, that much is obvious, and judging by the xenos I would hazard that you’re not Imperial sanctioned. So…fortune hunters then.”

“Why are you so calm?” The woman seemed more intrigued than annoyed. She was clever, this one.

“Well, for a couple of reasons.” Tybalt stood up and walked over to a cabinet nearby, ignoring the laspistol still trained on his back. “The first is that, since you’re fortune hunters, by definition you have a price, and if I can meet that price it means that I don’t need to worry about whether you’re planning to take me, or just my head, anywhere. That makes this not a fight, but a negotiation.” He turned around, having pulled a bottle of bloodwine and two fine onyx goblets from the cabinet. “And, I’m very good at negotiations.”

“What’s the second thing?” This was asked from the xenos. Its voice had an odd tilting sound to it, soft and musical.

“Pardon?”

“You started your conversation by saying you had a couple of reasons, but you only told us one. A couple is, by definition, two.”

“It is, isn’t it? Well, the second reason,” Tybalt smiled as he set down the glasses and found himself a finely hand carved bottle opener inlayed with small studded rubies, “is that I don’t stock rebreathers.”

He allowed himself a small smile when he saw the look of alarm pass over the female pirate’s face. She was a sharp one. But by then it was too late. The rear door crashed outward as Golt reappeared, a large Ripper Gun in his hands. The man with the facial tattoos and sword spun around, reaching for his weapon, but Golt sharply backhanded him, sending him sailing through the air like a cast aside ragdoll to smash hard against the rear wall and drop motionless to the ground. At the same instant Yug tore out the sawed off burstgun, leveling it at the xenos bounty hunter who had already turned towards Golt, a chain flail with three crystal skulls attached to it slipping out from under the robe and held delicately in one thin hand, spinning them in a twirling motion. Tybalt simply pressed a small stud on the bottle opener, multiple automated lasgun pods lowered from the ceiling, already zeroing in on the still standing bounty hunters.

“I should warn you all, those are automatically primed to fire on anyone who isn’t me or my employee who fires a weapon in this shop.” Tybalt pressed a second stud as he used the bottle opener to pop the cork on the bloodwine. “I have also now just told it to shoot anyone who points a weapon at me.” He glanced pointedly at the Deep Hiver who had drawn out a second las pistol.
“Lower that burner you daft fool!” The bearded bounty hunter stepped forward, slapping down the Hiver’s arm as one of the pods had spun to target the pair of them.

“Don’t act like a spazzed Juve,” the Hiver frowned as he considered the laspods. “Say the word, boss?”

“Stand down, for now.” The female pirate sighed as she glanced at Golt, Yug, and the laspods. “I thought this had been going too easy.” She turned to the bearded man. “Check on Dannik,” she motioned to the downed man with the penal colony tattoos.

“Drink?” Tybalt offered her a glass as he walked back over. “I don’t begrudge you the effort, but this is Commorragh, a man would be a fool not to have enough defenses to protect himself from…well, everything.”

“You have the ability to have those guns kill every one of us, why aren’t you?” She took the drink from him and he admired the movement of her chest under the tight blouse some more.

“Well…” Tybalt turned to regard the small girl poking around in the corner of the shop. True to her dark eldar lineage she had barely even paid attention to the violence erupting around her. After all, to her, it was nothing much more than a squabble amongst lesser races. Worthy of the same sort of attention Tybalt might pay to some alley cats fighting in the corner. He sighed as he considered her. “Like I said, this was a negotiation, not a fight, and I prefer to negotiate from a position of strength. Besides, I think I might have an interesting business offer for you that is more valuable than even my no doubt impressive bounty.” He smiled as he turned and clinked his glass to hers. She looked at him, incredulous for a moment, and then smirked.

“I take it back, you are worth the price on your head. Okay, let’s talk business.”

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Tengu
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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Sun Oct 26 2014, 09:25

Whoa, hes caught his prey, but she bites!
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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Mon Oct 27 2014, 04:50

She is dark eldar - it's kind of their thing Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Power From Pain   Tue May 01 2018, 16:55

@Thor665 wrote:
She is dark eldar - it's kind of their thing Wink

WHERE THE HELL IS THE REST OF THE STORY!! AUGH!
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