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 Trueborn - completed

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Thor665


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Join date : 2011-06-10
Location : Venice, FL

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeWed Jul 11 2012, 01:25

Chapter 10: The Fleshcrafter


The young boy child was of an odd race that Obessa didn’t recognize, though he was fair enough of form and face, with small purple tufts of feathers extruding from his scalp in place of hair. He was currently stripping off his meager covering of gold mesh and beginning to coat his body in the fragrant red oil of fel’ya unguent, the aromatic bouquet hit her nose sharply with a spicy headiness that left her feeling light headed.

Cali’q the Counter lay sprawled on an anti grav cushion, his battle attire lying at his side as he stretched out his fully nude body languidly. Nearby the Klaviskar twins were toying with each other, one of the sisters lapping at a small cut on her twin’s arm as the other worked on some sort of special mix of post-combat drugs she was planning to inject. All around her the Bloodbrides of the Bloodied Kiss Cult were taking their leisure.

“I’m not sure I understand.” Cali’q let out a purring moan, a low rumble of agreement in his muscular chest as the boy child crawled onto him, rubbing his own body against that of the Syren to massage the fel’ya into his flesh. Cali’q’s normally pale skin began taking on a crimson glow.

“Douraal wants us to find the lair of The Howlers and attack it directly.”

“No, that makes perfect sense, I’d do the same in his position, it’s an excellent way to flush them out and properly kill their leadership cadre.”

“Then-“

“What I don’t understand, is the idea of leaving here to go squalor around in some detestable corners of the city to find said lair.” Cali’q smiled happily at her as the boy ground his body against his back. “After all I’m sure you and…that, are well qualified to do the slave work.”

Obessa glanced over her shoulder to follow Cali’q’s motion. The Incubi Dourall had assigned to aid her, Zak Phaer’irr stood out starkly in the bathhouse compared to all the other naked bodies, or even Obessa’s sparse Wych outfit. He was still wearing his full suit of black body armor despite the muggy heat and steam of the bathing area. His klaive was strapped across his back and ready for action, and his arms were ready at his sides. One of the Bloodbrides, Kella, was even pressing up on him, sliding her hands across his chest though failing to get any reaction out of him and eventually just barking an order for a pair of boy toys to join her in the baths as she walked away in disgust.

“Really,” sighed Cali’q, “could you possibly have brought something here that more offended my sensibilities? You’re making me lose my pleasant afterglow of an otherwise stimulating fight.” He smiled up at her as he rolled over, Obessa felt a touch of heat on the tips of her ears as she fought to keep herself looking at his eyes. “Perhaps you’d care to disrobe and help me find it again?”

“I suspect at least one of us should go and try to find The Howlers before we waste a few hours on that.”

“Oh,” he winked wickedly as he reached down to guide the slave’s massaging ministrations, “let me assure you, Obessa, that, for you, I’d take more than a few hours.”

“We’re going.” She turned and motioned to Zak as they began to head for the exit.

“Obessa, there’s something you probably want to know before you go. I didn’t include it in my report because I wanted to see your face when I told you.”

She turned around, her face flushed from anger and arousal and realizing Cali’q would only have more of the same. Still, if this wasn’t just another barb to get a rise out of her it would be important to hear.

“The Hellion we fought that killed Grexel.” Cali’q leaned forward, clearly intent to watch every nuance of her face as he spoke. “It was Kyssindree.”

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

The five Hellions rode their skyboards across the purple hued skies. In the distance lay the Maerrett Rift, the crackling thunderheads shimmering with blue arcs of lightning that pained the eye to look at, down in the ruins nearby was Perception’s Warp Alley and the center of The Howlers’ power. Below them sprawled the neighborhoods of Lost Angles, a disreputable trade center and barter neighborhood where many of the less reputable Kabals did most of their trading and hiring for mercenary work.

At a motion from Tael they swept down, spiraling in elegant loops as they descended upon one of the market circles. The hair on the back of Ben’rik’s neck stood on end as he spotted dozens of gunmen lurking in armored balconies or lounging in hidden shadows of buildings, their weapons watching the approaching Hellions carefully. Clearly the mercantile masters of this trading circle were not fond of Hellion gangs raiding their supplies, and considering The Howlers’ reputation they were being watched quite carefully.

At street level they slipped their boards into hover mode, gliding along with them just a foot or two above the pavement as they made their way through the crowds. The spiked hulls and bladed wings of the boards helped to clear them a path through the throngs of shoppers and sellers alike. They passed alien merchants screeching about their exotic wares as the carnival cries of a local slaver extorted about the quality of the latest piece of meat on his auction block.

“That’s it.” Tael motioned with one shaky arm, his features even paler now than they had been. It was fairly clear the work Jorik had done on him was not good enough, and that if he didn’t get proper medical attention soon he would collapse from blood loss.

Of course, mused Ben’rik, if that happened they could all go home sooner rather than later.

The building Tael had indicated was a squat and unimaginative edifice, devoid of ornamentation, style, and even windows. The polished brass sign hanging above the door announced it simply as ‘Cavalcade’. It was clear enough what it was though, for standing quietly in front of the door was a misshapen figure, a Dark Eldar wearing a metal mask around his face and thick robes splattered with various viscera and bodily fluids. A vestigial third arm curled out of the corded muscle of his bare upper body, and the knotted flesh there was rife with scars and metal studs attached to chemical injection units hardwired into him.

A Wrack, a servant of the Haemonculi, this one stood as simple announcement as to what dwelt within the building, and also as a watchdog to prevent unwanted intrusion.

“Jorik, you’ll wait here with the skyboards.” With Wren’s help Tael eased off his own. Kyssindree lightly leapt down next to them, the red scarf she’d taken from Tael still flapping around her throat. Though she was moving better than she had been, it was clear she was still feeling the effects of her own exertions. It didn’t do Ben’rik much comfort to think that probably the two deadliest amongst them were so weakened before they walked into a Haemonculus’ den. The deranged fleshcrafters barely saw themselves as part of Dark Eldar society anymore, and acted as though they were above such petty concepts. It was rather unwise to walk amongst them when you weren’t fully capable of defending yourself.

And they were very dangerous to cross even when you were.

“The Little Tailor, we need to speak to him.” Tael approached the Wrack unafraid, his posture shifting as he hid any signs of weakness, his words containing no insult, but also suggesting a sure awareness of command.

“Four soul chits per living body seeking entrance, or acceptable barter.” The Wrack’s voice echoed hollowly in its helmet, sounding wet and dribbling as though being spoken through a throat filled with syrupy liquid. One of its hands held up a small locked box with a slit in the top of it, the other hand held a rusting scalpel-like dagger.

“No, you don’t understand, I’m not here for one of his shows, the Little Tailor, tell him Tael is here. He’ll know me.”

The Wrack’s helmeted head tilted slightly to the side as it seemed to consider this request before speaking again. “Four soul chits per living body seeking entrance, or acceptable barter.” It rattled the box slightly.

“I understand the rate for the show, but to see The Tailor-“

“Four soul chits per living body seeking entrance,” The Wrack leaned forward, a musky stench of decay washing out of the holes drilled in the helmet that had been bolted into the bones of his shoulders with steel spikes, “or acceptable barter.”
“Your master’s sense of business acumen remains about the same,” sighed Tael as he dug into his pocket and dropped some glittering chits into the box. The Wrack paused for a moment, shaking the box a few times as though gauging the weight, then it slowly motioned with its blade to the door next to it.

“What are we doing here?” Ben’rik stepped up next to Tael as they entered the narrow and dark hallway beyond the door and headed for a large set of blue curtains drawn across the far end. Behind him he could hear the black bird on Wren’s shoulder let out a half caw of displeasure as they entered the narrow hall…he shared its opinion.

“Apparently we’re seeing a show, and then we should be able to see the Little Tailor.”

“And why do we need to see him?”

“Well, partly, of course, to patch up the gaping hole in my belly, which would be quite helpful at this juncture. Secondly, because he’ll tell me if I’m finally allowed to do what I’ve been waiting to do for years now.”

“And that is?”

Tael smirked at him. “Well, most importantly, be in a position to finally reward The Howlers and yourself as I promised.”

They brushed past the dark curtain and into a small auditorium. The floor beneath their feet was a metallic mesh that held them above a pit that was too dark to see what it contained. The room was filled with chairs, cushions, and other seats. Most of those were occupied by lounging figures dressed in Kabalite armor. Ben’rik almost instinctively drew his blast pistol until he noted that most of the Kabalites had their armor half off and were clearly relaxing. Some fornicating, others toying into each other’s’ flesh with blades to record combat victories, still others lounging happily as they injected some recreational concoction into themselves, a few were happily crowded around a vidscreen watching the data recordings from their targeting cams as they debated the finest kill shot of the last raid. They wore the markings of the Burnished Blade Kabal, the bronze and orange armor glittering menacingly in the darkness – the Kabal well known for its depravity and love of close combat.

At the far end of the auditorium was a raised stage, hidden behind a red velvet drape inscribed with the symbol of the Kabal as well as a smaller seal of coiled thread and needle that was invariably the mark of the Little Tailor. Tael motioned to the others to join him as he eased into a small chaise lounge in a back corner.

“Clearly they’ve paid for a proper honorific of their latest conquest. The Tailor won’t wish to disappoint.”

“So we’re just going to wait now?” Ben’rik snarled.

“What else,” Tael shrugged, “the show hasn’t begun yet, I suggest you all try to relax.”

Ben’rik snorted in exasperation as he motioned over a menial and snatched the bottle of alcohol from her platter before plopping down into one of the divans in the corner. Kyssindree seemed more contented than the others, happily strutting forward to start a conversation with a few young Kabalite Warriors who had been eyeing her lasciviously. Wren sprang up onto the back of the couch Tael slumped into, eyeing him with concern before uneasily scanning the crowd. The young Hellion obviously displeased with their current situation.

Ben’rik couldn’t particularly disagree. Tael had been jerking them around for the better part of two days now, dragging them from one danger to another all for…what? They’d broken into an inner vault of a Trade Consortium, penetrated deep into one of a Kabal’s treasure troves, an area Tael clearly had scouted out and knew an amazing amount of detail about. All so they could…kill someone who looked just like Tael and leave without claiming anything of worth.

Was it a clone? Why would a Kabal have a clone of Tael? Ben’rik frowned, wishing he could recall any Kabal markings from Tael’s armor the day they had found him. Nothing came to mind however, at the time it had never even occurred to him that it might be important.

Was it time to kill Tael, then? These risks, this private war with the Kabals, it was all quite dangerous and Ben’rik was starting to see less and less chance for fine profit from it. It was problematic right now, despite him being the one to recruit her it was pathetically and painfully clear where Wren’s loyalties lay. Kyssindree and him also lacked much of a worthwhile relationship. No, not yet then, but soon enough. At some point Tael would have his back turned or Ben’rik would be back with enough of the other Howlers loyal to him that he could sort out this situation satisfactorily.


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

Kyssindree lived.

Cali’q had seen Kyssindree and she lived and fought alongside the Hellions.

Kyssindree lived and hadn’t bothered to contact her in any way.

“I’m going to kill him,” Obessa announced as she stalked down the dark alleyway. Though the residents of the alley were undoubtedly dangerous and normally likely to decide to attack two lone travelers, the scowling anger of Obessa paired with her blatant armor markings of both Cult and Kabal loyalties caused them pause. The black armor of the figure walking alongside her decided the matter and made them all cringe back into the shadows.

“I have seen him fight, are you good enough to take him?”

She couldn’t even tell if Zak Phaer’irr was joking or calmly serious. His full face helm hid his features totally, and in the time she had spent with him his voice never seemed to shift from its calm and modulated commentary.

She spun around and he drew up to a stop a few paces away from her. His hands folded complacently in front of him, almost like a servant awaiting an order. His helmet tilted to the side, the shadowed black lenses of his leering skull mask regarded her without betraying a hint of emotion. She couldn’t miss, however, that his pose, relaxed though it seemed, was like a serpent coiled to strike. His posture and positioning allowed him easy access to the klaive strapped to his back, the distance between them favoring his long blade rather than her short knives.

“That’s not the point,” she snarled as she glared at him.

“It makes all the difference.” He shrugged softly. “Do you kill them in open combat, or use other means like hired blades or perhaps something as simplistic as poison.”

“I don’t use poison to fight my battles and you’re over-“ She paused as she drew in a breath and let it out slowly as she eyed the dull white finish of the skull face engraved upon his faceplate. “This isn’t important right now.”

“If you say it is so.” He offered that partial half shrug of his, a noncommittal dismissal that indicated nothing of his actual opinion on the matter. He lifted a hand, inviting her to lead on down the alley they were passing through.

“What’s important is finding Kyss-, is finding The Howlers.”

“I agree.” His tone remained calm and distant, making her wonder if he’d even noticed the slip of her tongue. “Do you have a plan for that besides plotting against our allies in your Cult?”

“Allies? They’ve been given orders to hunt down the Hellions with us. Yet Cali’q would rather let some boy slave rub his backside than actually see this through to the end!”

“They haven’t.”

“Haven’t?” Obessa set her teeth on edge as her eyes narrowed. She was starting to feel like the Incubi was toying with her just like Cali’q had, like so many others had lately. “Haven’t what?”

“Haven’t been ordered to hunt down the Hellions, they were ordered to kill them. A fine distinction perhaps, but a pointed one” The Incubi shrugged his shoulders slightly as he paused to glance up the alley. A brace of Kabalite warriors with a joychild who had been about to enter the mouth of the alley quietly turned away and walked off under his gaze. Zak turned back to her. “They adhere to their orders, as must we.”

“That seems a very choice interpretation of Douraal’s order.”
“An order is an order.” Zak gave that small half shrug yet again, dismissing the thought. “We Incubi obey our orders, and we obey them well, and that is our strength.”

“That and big pointy swords, of course,” Obessa smirked at her jibe. There was no clear indication of Zak’s opinion, however, his mask remaining motionless. She coughed slightly as she turned and began walking along the alley again. “Neither of us strike me as detectives by nature.”

“Agreed.”

“My plan is to just start shaking down merchants and other dealers in the area. Someone should know about The Howlers or at least will get word back to them so maybe we can capture one of them sent to kill us and beat the information out of them. How does that sound to you?”

“I have heard worse plans.”

Obessa frowned over her shoulder at him, wondering if he’d been joking and still found it impossible to tell. She sighed as she turned away again. Her thoughts were muddled right now, and she knew why they were muddled.
Kyssindree.
If she was alive that changed things somehow. Obessa had always followed Kyssindree, always, and it seemed so odd to not be following her now. Kyssindree was always so easy to follow. It was hard to remember a time she hadn’t…

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

It was cold in the maintenance bay. A thin drizzle of rain fell outside, a sharp wind cutting through it to hurl icy specks of water through the massive bay doors that were open to the dark skies of midday in The Dark City. Flashes of actinic lightning crackled in the distance, promising that the storm would get worse before it got better. The maintenance bay was deserted, the racks of jetbikes sitting silently, lit by bursts of lightning, their sharpened blades glittering menacingly. Only one figure still worked there, quietly going over a dutiful check of the one jetbike pulled out from the racks.

Obessa didn’t mind that she was here alone, and indeed found it rather relaxing to be away from the noise and activities of the rest of the Cult. They were currently celebrating with the Kabal of the Poisoned Fang, whom they would be performing for this evening. Obessa expected to be part of the festivities at some point and was taking pains to ensure her personal jetbike was in pristine condition and full battle readiness. She was busy working on cleaning the barrels of the splinter rifles when a pair of arms encircled her, one hand clutching at her breasts under her tight bodysuit while the other tugged at her tightly braided hair.

“Can’t even wear your hair down when working on your bike?” The voice whispered playfully in her ear as the spicy smell of her perfume and haunting wisps of alcohol, drugs, and the other debaucheries happening below wafted out like a cloud around her. Obessa felt a heat tingle in her cheeks and the tips of her ears.

“Kyss…” She half-heartedly attempted to untangle herself.

“Wryn’kill finally announced her partner for the race tonight.” Kyssindree was referring to the upcoming conflict between her and her former squad commander, Wyrn’kill. The two were slated to have a race in the arena, arguably a simple grudge match over Kyssindree upstaging her commanding officer, but everyone knew that Wryn’kill’s position and Kyssindree’s life were what was really at stake.

“Who did she choose?” Obessa dreaded to hear the answer. Wyrn’kill was already accredited as the finest jetbike rider in the entire Cult and, as the reigning Champion of Champions in Reaver Death Races for the Cult had the right to pick her wingman from any rider in the cult before Kyssindree would be allowed to. It had been an obvious strategy for Wyrn’kill to delay her announcement till so late, giving her opponent almost no time to plan for the challenge or find a suitable partner.
“Cali’q.”

“The Counter?” Obessa winced. She was not fond of the name on either a personal basis, or hearing of him as a partner to oppose Kyssindree. Cali’q was a Wych of supreme skill and talent, known for predicting the exact number of moves it would take him to end an opponent. He had risen quickly through the ranks and even now stood as one of The Bloodbrides, the fighting elite of the Cult. Though he was renowned for his skills in hand to hand combat, he was widely considered one of the finest riders in the Cult. Considering the team of Wyrn’kill and Cali’q there would be few partners willing to enter the arena alongside Kyssindree, for even if they didn’t die they would make some powerful political enemies.

“So serious?” Kyssindree laughed as she released Obessa and spun away from her. She was wearing a loose blue chemise that was half falling off her pale shoulders. When the lightning flashed behind her it offered tantalizing views of the slim shape underneath. Obessa felt none of the flush leave her face as she watched Kyssindree saunter towards the vast entry doors of the bay. Pale white feet and perfectly formed toes delicately splashing in the small pools of water on the decking. “I couldn’t have asked for this to go better for me.”

“Couldn’t be better?” Obessa wiped some grease from her hands as she followed Kyssindree out onto the launch pad. The icy cold drops of rain splattering off her wychsuit even as they slowly plastered Kyssindree’s chemise to her athletic body. “You’re facing two of the finest riders in the whole of the Cult and they’re going to kill you.”

“Unless I’m better, and smarter, than Wryn’kill, of course.” Kyssindree laughed as she raised her hands skyward, lightning flashing in the distance. “She’s such an old goat and she doesn’t even know it.”

“She’s had more kills than any other rider in the history of the Cult, she’s never lost a death match, she’s placed in the top five for twelve years running in the Black Races, she has two Olympiad medals, she-“

“Why, Obessa, you almost sound worried.” Kyssindree smiled as she came forward to hug her again. Her wet body pressing against Obessa, long black hair sliding across her skin, the smell of her filling the air around Obessa again.

“It just seems that,” Obessa began. Wanting to point out the dangers, wanting to try to steer Kyssindree away from this risk, but not sure how.

“Be my partner.”

“What?” Obessa blushed deeply as she looked into Kyssindree’s eyes, they sparked with inner fire, a fire of passion and danger that seemed hot enough to consume Obessa whole.

“My partner, you’ll be my partner.”

“I’m not as good as any of you. You need someone-“

“Someone I can trust, of course. Also, you and I both know that you can give me the most important advantage of all. You can speak to Cali’q before the race and help him understand the…benefits of letting me and Wryn’kill settle our differences ourselves. Between her and I, that is a battle I am quite certain of.”

“But.”

“Wryn’kill made the mistake I expected of her. She has no taste for glory anymore, she chose a partner who was the most deadly she could find, all without knowing I would have the perfect counter for him in you.” Kyssindree laughed. “Isn’t it beautiful? She’s helping me kill her, it’s painfully delicious how foolish she is being.”

“You’re mad,” whispered Obessa, already knowing she would do it. Even as much as she detested Cali’q and feared Wryn’kill she would do it. For Kyssindree, for that fire in her eyes, for this feeling when she was close, Obessa knew she would dare almost anything, do almost anything, just to be allowed to feel this way forever.

The lightning flashed in the sky and Kyssindree laughed.

And Obessa was lost within her.

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

The show had started interestingly enough. Dead bodies of fallen Mon-Keigh soldiers had paraded out onto the stage as multiple screens lifted up around the theatre, each screen playing a different vid feed from the helmet of one of the Kabalite Warriors during the raid. The bodies were held up like marionettes, bronze hooks pierced their flesh and allowed them macabre life as they began a not unhumorous rendition of claims of their species’ greatness and mandate to rule the stars.

As the vid feeds reached the point of the attack the bodies were slowly torn apart by the hooks, spraying blood and other life fluids across the stage to splatter the patrons as the videos reenacted the glory of their strike and the slaughter of the Mon-Keigh encampment in an almost overwhelming blur of images that titillated and excited.

Still, for Kyssindree, it was a somewhat simplistic show, appropriate for the lesser Kabal present, but hardly worthy of her attentions. She noted, with some disdain, that Wren appeared entranced by the display. Tael, appropriately, looked half asleep, though she supposed that could be a side effect of blood loss.

It wasn’t till the finale that things became remotely interesting. A living Mon-Keigh, arrayed in blood spattered battle garb that marked him as a military officer of no small rank, was dragged out onto stage by a pair of Wracks. Gleaming barbs were inserted into his skin as he rattled out invectives in his gibbering child language. Kyssindree scowled slightly at the inelegant garble of the noise. Then Tael was there, leaning forward to whisper to her softly.

“He’s praying to his God-Emperor, calling upon him to deliver his soul into hallowed halls of victory and to smite the brutish alien heresy from the stars.”

“How…quaint,” she noted with a smirk as the Mon-Keigh was hoisted upward by the barbs in his flesh before being swung out over the audience. She laughed in amusement as some of the Kabalites who weren’t too lost in drugs and sexual distractions took out their blades and attempted to delicately shave off small bits of the Mon-Keigh in attempts to elicit the most artful scream. She smirked at their attempts and smiled at the Mon-Keigh as it swung overhead, taking note of which delicate spots hadn’t been marked by blows yet as she drew out her own blade.

Kyssindree drank in the babbling fear language of the Mon’keigh as it swung close to her again, she aimed out a very delicate strike that elicited howls with its careful caress and earned cheers from the rest of the crowd. The Mon-Keigh’s babble had grown louder now as it blubbered in its base language. She looked over at Tael, her face speckled with blood.

“What’s he saying now?”

“He’s still praying,” Tael slowly turned to look at her, a smile on his face, “but now he’s praying to us for release.”

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

The bare feet of the Wrack rasped with a harsh sound across the dusty steps as it led them down the winding stairwell. The rusty stink of metal, dried blood, and an odd acidic tang of some chemical filled the air and caused Kyssindree’s eyes to water slightly.

They were led into a cavernous chamber. Above them Kyssindree could see the grated metal floor of the performance chamber above, droplets of blood occasionally still dripping down from the show as the Kabal wrested the last moments of enjoyment from their entertainment. Rusting chains dangled down from the grating, some of them supporting cages or strapped directly into grotesque…things, that dangled like misshapen decorations.

Other shapes moved about the room with methodical slowness. Their alabaster flesh was pocked and marked with scars, strange pieces of black and gleaming bronze metal erupted out of their flesh, connected via cabling and gurgling tubes to their mishappen spine. Wracks, the servants cum students of the twisted Fleshsculptors. As Kyssindree stepped off the stairs she realized the floor of this level was also a grating, and below her loomed further darkness, as though she had just started to descend down a pit and had only reached the second level of horror on a descent to the bottom.

“There are at least four levels,” noted Tael to her softly as he was led by Wren into the room, leaning heavily upon the thin girl. “I don’t know how deep it goes in the end.”

“Not deep enough to bury the stink, I’d wager,” Kyssindree offered as she wrinkled her nose. She’d never been fond of the Haemonculi. They served an important role in the City, no doubt, but they were detestable creatures who had long ago given up any art within themselves besides their skills at life, death, and the application of pain. Though those matters were great and wonderful indeed, what did it matter how fine of an artist you were, if the sight of you brought no aching desire to the performance?

There was a scraping sound of metal on metal. Kyssindree glanced over her shoulder to see one of the Wracks hauling on a series of rusting and blood-soaked chains. Gears spun as the pulley system creaked and groaned, something far below them rising up from the viscera-spattered depths. The other Wracks in the room grew quiet, a few hurriedly adjusting their work spaces, others simply going motionless as they waited.

“Don’t do it.” Tael’s warning was a comment to Ben’rik who had dropped a hand to his blast pistol. “We’re all quite dead here unless we please our host.”

The platform rose into view slowly. A square of beaten bronze, stained with untold centuries of operations upon its corroded surface. Large sheets were hung between poles to provide a privacy screen, at one point the sheets may have been white, but now their color was more of a brackish brown with odd highlights in strange and lurid splashes of color from liquids Kyssindree couldn’t even begin to guess at. One of the sheets was pulled back slightly, offering the narrowest crevice of an opening into the inner web of the sheets. There Kyssindree could see a glittering operating table, with a figure upon it. Strange barbs of metal and glittering and pulsing tubes of liquid entered into the body through every orfice and also through the innumerable holes that had been carved into it.

A short figure, standing upon a stepstool, stooped over the body on the operating table. Cloaked in the shadows of the platform, Kyssindree could not make out the figure, though it was clear it possessed more than two arms, and all of them were currently lost within the corpse upon the table. The arms moved around rhythmically, an odd click-clacking sound emanating from the inside of the chest cavity they were working within. The bowed head of the slight figure tilted up slightly, wisps of hair drifting slowly around features that could not be seen upon its face. The only thing that could be made out was a glittering red light that stabbed out of the darkness, a pinpoint where an eye should be, that now shined outwards to look upon the Hellions.

“Who are you?”

The voice seemed to hiss, and had a strange echo to it, as though it was coming from more than one mouth at a time, or perhaps was already in her head before her ears heard it. Kyssindree winced at the sound, falling back a step.
“Don’t you recognize me, Little Tailor?” Tael stepped forward weakly, daring to push himself away from Wren as he took a wobbly few paces towards the platform.

The hunched figure within the shadows shifted slightly, the red glowing light of its eye widening as it flickered over Tael.
“…it is you, my precious son, forgive my old eyes, I did not recognize you. So young now, so full of fresh life. Like a newborn babe. Have you come back to me, is life too much? Do you want to be rendered back down into my warm embrace?”

The figure let out a tittering laugh that sent a wave of cold chills cascading down Kyssindree’s spine. She spared a glance at Ben’rik and Wren and saw similar reactions on their own faces.

“That is not why I am here, I-“

“You are hurt?” The red light of the Tailor’s eye was now focused on the wound upon Tael’s chest. “You want me to make it better? For you, my sweet, precious, boy, you know I cannot refuse.” The clacking stopped for a moment and, as if upon a signal, some of the Wracks moved forward, already readying their tools and instruments. “There will be pain, but you will be stronger afterwards. You understand that, of course, pain and strength, strength and pain, so tightly interwoven as you must tear a muscle to make it better. Tear, and tear, and tear again…”

Unearthly moaning drifted out of the corpse on the table, and Kyssindree started in surprise as she realized the thing was both alive and awake. The Tailor clucked his tongue like a parent chiding a youngster as he reached into its throat and gave a start as he twisted something. The moaning fell silent instantly, though the body was still feebly twitching in pain.

“I also have a question for you,” said Tael as the Wracks maneuvered him onto one of their operating benches. “I have arranged for a…sizable transfer to your accounts. I do hope that you were able to finish crafting me what I asked for.”

“The empty container?” The Tailor let out another horrible peal of tittering laughter as the click-clacking sound resumed. “I built it for you ages ago, it is still ready and good and fresh. So fresh, so young, yet so empty, not like the others.”

“That is good, my thanks to you.”

“Of course, of course my dear boy.” The click-clacking paused as the Tailor glanced upwards, its red eye pulsing with intensity. “He knows you’re killing them, but he has no idea that I allowed you to kill the one I have, and he still has his, of course, of course.”

“No others then?” Tael smiled tightly, wincing somewhat as the Wracks went to work on him, injecting him with drugs as they cracked open his chest. “That is good.”

“Good, yes, so good, so good, my son. When you wake up you’ll be strong again, and as whole as you can be at this stage. But soon, so, so soon, you will be whole in all other ways as well. You’ll be so beautiful then, I think, so beautiful and wonderful indeed.”

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeWed Jul 11 2012, 01:29

This chapter was a lot of fun to write - Wracks were a real gem to work with Wink Also, some more backstory for Kyss and Obessa, which should be fun to see, as well as getting to play with an Incubi as well.

Also, I'm pretty sure the story is officially 'over the hump' as it were. I've got the rest of the story mapped out and should be better about slamming through some updates (I want to manage one every two or three weeks for the rest of the tale now). Don't worry though, plenty of bloodshed, torture, half-naked dark eldar, poison, parties, races, betrayals, double-crosses, triple-crosses, and maybe even a few comeuppances as well are all yet to come.

Next chapter;

Ben'rik is going to betray Tael.
Wren is maybe pushed too far.
and Obessa and Zak dine out.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeWed Jul 11 2012, 19:47

cheers

Sir, you have made my night!

You understand how the Dark City works, and how its denizens work, and you do so through engaging and authentic characters. And that is why I come back to this story and through the story, to the site as a whole. Not to say there's nothing else here, but this was the initial glittery, shiny tempting jewel of twisted politics and dark debauchery that brought me back.

And jetbikes. The world needs more jetbikes.

Very Happy

- Malys

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeThu Jul 12 2012, 00:15

Thank you VERY much, praise like that helps keep my hubris levels high Wink I'll admit I'd let this thing slump a bit, but with how potently I won the Dark City award for fluff I figured there were at least that many people who'd tend to appreciate me getting off my duff and finishing this thing.

There will be more Jetbikes soon enough, I do promise. After all, clearly there will come a point I'll be showcasing the race between Kyssindree and Wryn'kill.

It also is a lot of fun to write Dark Eldar. Because you get to write some really awful villains, and then you write "heroes" who are just really awful villains who you've chosen to allow the reader to like a little bit - though you do have to remind them every now and then just how awful they are before trying to make them likable again.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeThu Jul 12 2012, 00:18

I agree 100% with Malys on ALL POINTS!

Amazing work Thorr, and can't wait for the next chapter. Looking forward to see how Dark Eldar 'date' so to speak ;o

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeThu Jul 12 2012, 11:51

You have the ability to make Commorragh seem like the kind of place the most decadent of ancient Romans would look at and murmur, "Now steady on ... that's a bit extreme..." without going to alienating levels. One gets the flavour of the place and how the characters interact. And the characters themselves are believable and three-dimensional, so even when they're despicable, one wants to know what happens to them.

It's easy to make evil people. It's not as easy to make convincing evil people who function in a believable society, and this is what you've done, in my opinion Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeThu Jul 12 2012, 20:25

Thank you again, both of you.

I had a good writing stride last night, a bit more today I suspect. Looks like at least for the next few chapters I'll hold to my 2-3 week schedule comfortably (I'm just such a wimp and like the chance to go back and alter chapters to adjust for new stuff I want to include that I dread 'locking' myself into a final posted version.)

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 13 2012, 04:03

You know what Thor, if I didn't spend all my money on new models etc, I would seriously consider having someone publish this just so I have my own hardback copy to gloss over. It'd probably give the rulebook and codex a run for their money as most prized possession. Seriously, I'm enjoying this more than some of those bestsellers that I read. If the whole world played warhammer, I reckon you'd be up there with J. K..Rowling. This stuff is just amazing!

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeWed Jul 18 2012, 05:15

Thank you very much.

I'm a little clogged up in Chapter 14 currently, but that shouldn't hamper Chapter 11 coming out (I'm just hoping to stay enough Chapters ahead I can stick to my release schedule...on the plus side, I suspect Chapter 14 is the last 'tough' Chapter to do, and all the others will mostly be full of fun characterization, bloodshed, and general mayhem - so should come out of my head to 'paper' much easier).

This weekend will see Chapter 11 released - The Betrayal (you knew that was coming Wink )

After that will try to stick to 2 weeks per chapter release schedule till finished. (possible slowdown or bonus chapter in late September due to a Greece vacation) But that does mean I should have it all finished before the end of the year, which will mean a touch over a year to write the thing - whew!) And if I finish the writing sooner we'll just speed up the release dates, maybe biweekly or so.

Maybe something shorter after this Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeWed Jul 18 2012, 15:44

Quote :
This weekend will see Chapter 11 released

The Dark Muses have looked favourably upon our sacrifices.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeWed Jul 18 2012, 23:43

Another great chapter!!! I loves it!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 22 2012, 05:14

Chapter 11: The Betrayal


“What do you think is in it?”

The black casket was attached to tow cables, Ben’rik and Jorik being given the job of hauling the odd prize back to Perception’s Warp. A purchase from the Little Tailor that Tael had seemed quite entranced by. Ben’rik’s good eye narrowed slightly as he looked ahead to where Tael led the small group as they flew back to their hideout. Once more Tael stood proud and strong upon his skyboard, the work of the Haemonculus having pieced his insides back together again, leaving him full of life and vigor once more.

“They were very explicit, that the container was empty.” Ben’rik glanced back at the casket and frowned. “Though Tael said he spent a lot on it…”

“That doesn’t make sense,” offered Jorik, “why would you pay a lot for an empty container?”

“Because the container itself is somehow valuable, of course, you dolt.” Ben’rik spat. “Not that it matters, deals with Haemonculi never end well for the buyer, we can be assured that even Tael paid more than he received.”

“The man has grown mad,” agreed Jorik. Ben’rik glanced at him out of the corner of his eye in surprise. Jorik had long been one of the stauncher Tael-loyalists within the gang, and to hear him talk so was…promising.

“Perhaps not mad, simply misguided,” Ben’rik offered, a more neutral stance that still invited discussion.

“Mad,” assured Jorik meaningfully. When I think of how many men we lost on that raid at the Consortium, and all for what? Nothing, save a few snagged trinkets. It was a waste of manpower and was costly in many ways. It was never like that when you were in charge.”

“No…no, I suppose it wasn’t.”

“Have you considered that?”

“Considered what,” asked Ben’rik innocently.

“Being in charge again.”

“Well…” Ben’rik smiled softly to himself “I will admit the thought has crossed my mind a few times.” His gaze returned to Tael’s back. If even someone like Jorik was beginning to doubt their course, then it was perhaps the perfect moment to finally make the move he’d been planning for a long time.

A dead Tael.

A triumphant Ben’rik.

He laughed as they roared back towards Perception’s Warp, his mind already ablaze at the possibilities.


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

Vollio met Ben’rik as they landed. Tael was busy about the casket, having it carted off to one of the ruined and crumbling buildings wedged in the walls of The Alley. Most of the Hellions cheered their return, though it was a cheer that crumbled as they came to realize that none of the vault invaders had actually escaped with any riches, striking home how bungled of an operation the entire raid had been. Tael had led them on many successful raids, but you were only ever as good as your last campaign, and for the first time Tael had not only failed in the eyes of the gang, but had failed in spectacular fashion.

“Walk with me.”

Ben’rik sprang off his skyboard and motioned to Vollio. The snarling trainer fell into step alongside him, the two slinking off away from the others.

“I am pleased to see you back in one piece,” lied Vollio. Ben’rik grinned, recognizing that Vollio had been set to become the new leader of the gang until his return. “I am surprised to see Tael back as well, I would have thought you could have arranged for an accident.” This part, at least, Ben’rik knew Vollio spoke truthfully about.

“You expected me to kill him right in front of Wren perhaps?” Ben’rik scoffed. “And I suppose my natural alliance with Kyssindree would have helped see me through the rest? Don’t be foolish my friend, he intentionally enmeshed me with his allies, I could do nothing…then.”

“But now?” Vollio grunted happily.

“Now, now we are at a special point, I think. Never has his popular support been so low. Even Jorik speaks against him.”

“Really?”

“From my ears to yours he does,” Ben’rik smiled, “what of the others here?”

“Ssinssilla and more than half of the lesser races still appear to hold loyalty to him above all others.”

“To be expected, he treats them with more care and attention than they deserve, easy enough rabble to be bought, but hardly a serious threat.”

“Glynn and most of his men still side with Tael, as does, most assuredly, Wren and those loyal to her. Plus there’s the Wych, a few might side with her no matter which side she picks, she has a bit of a…following now.”

“Glynn will be easy enough if we take an early advantage, he’ll not want to risk his skin, but Wren…”

“She’s dangerous, and she won’t be caught unaware.”

“Agreed,” Ben’rik smirked, “but even the most alert watchdog can be distracted by something that concerns it more. Leave Wren and the Wych to me, I think I can handle them.”

“Fair enough, when will we do this?”

“Spread the word amongst only the most trusted agents.” Ben’rik slapped Vollio on the back as he turned to depart. “Tael dies tomorrow night.”

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

Kyssindree silently slipped into Tael’s chambers. He wasn’t alone, which displeased her, but Wren was not present, which was less troublesome. He was in conversation with a few young touts – Dark Eldar children earning a living as messengers and runners in the dark and twisting streets of Commoragh. They were an inferior messenger service, naturally, to the options used by the Kabals, but they were talented enough in their limited ways. Tael sat upon the black casket he had purchased from the Little Tailor, treating it like the most elegant of thrones. He was handing over cases of data crystals to each tout along with some measure of their payment.

His eyes flicked up, spotting her lurking in the shadows of the entryway, and Kyssindree instantly, and unconsciously, shifted her stance to a proud one as she strode towards him.

“Am I interrupting anything important, my lord?” She dipped her head at him very slightly, an acknowledgement of his rank here, if not his superiority to her. Not for her was the fawning and pathetic devotion of Wren, and it was best he understood that if their partnership was to go anywhere worthwhile.

“It is important, but you are not interrupting.” Tael turned back to the touts. “Be off with you, and those messages had best be suffusing the city by dawn. Understood?” The young children nodded, some in fear, others in eager anticipation of their rewards, and then they scurried off like vermin. Tael smiled to himself as he watched them go, obviously pleased by the progress of his work, before he turned back to her. “What can I do for you, my dear?”

“Do for me?” Kyssindree smiled as she sauntered forward, “perhaps it is what I can do for you?” She still wore his red scarf, and toyed with it as she came towards him. She was not wearing much else, and his expression barely hid his flicker of surprise and lust at the sight. She had known since she’d taken the scarf from him in the vaults that he desired her, had seen it in his eyes, and was not one to cast aside such a useful situation.

Tael managed a smaller, if perhaps more honest smile, “I see you have some thoughts already about what sort of help I need.”

“I have some ideas.” She moved up to straddle his legs, easing herself down to sit on his lap, her eyes watching his stormy blue ones carefully as she smirked at him. “You don’t need a lost waif child following you around, or some cyclopean lieutenant looking to stab you in the back at every opportunity. They are pawns to you. Expendable and of limited use.” She began to rock her hips a bit as she spoke, leaning forward to nibble at his ears as she whispered to him. She smiled as she heard him let out a small gasp of surprised pleasure. As well he should, her body was perfect, and her techniques had taken many years to master.

“What do you want, exactly?”

“A partnership.” She stopped stroking him and leaned back to regard him carefully once more. “You’re better than this rabble, aren’t you? You are like me, born from something greater.”

There was a flicker of emotion across his face as she said this, so quick she was almost unsure she’d seen the darkening of his brow. But then the confident Tael smile returned.

“Of course, it is easy to see that my connection to the Kabal is…deep.”

She nodded. “And it also isn’t hard to see you have plans, and that you’re smart enough to plan to end up on top.” She smiled as she reached down and began toying open the buckles of his fighting leathers. He did not oppose her. “However, what concerns me,” she danced her fingers playfully across his belly as she peeled back his clothing, “is that I suspect your loyalty to this gang is…limited?”

“They are of definite use to me.”

“Yes,” she smiled at him as she took firm hold of him with one of her hands, he gasped in pleasure again and smirked back at her as he reached up and began unwrapping the scarf off her chest to reveal what lay beneath. “But I’m not planning to be tossed away like one of them when that use is over.”

“Toss you away?” He smiled as he leaned forward to trace his lips along her collarbone.

“Yes.” She increased the pressure of her grip to non-pleasurable levels and he snarled slightly as he pulled his head back, she twisted her hand a bit and he let out a half groan of pleasure and pain as he eyed her carefully. “I’ll dance for you, in all the ways you may wish.” Her free hand began to finish the unwrapping he had started, pulling the scarf away from her alabaster white skin, her breasts bared to his hungry gaze. “But there will be a cost.”

“What,” his hips bucked slightly underneath her, “what sort of cost, exactly?”

“Equals,” she stated flatly, “you tell me the plan and I get to share in its rewards commensurately with what you ask me to do for you.” She smiled as she leaned in closer, her tongue sneaking out to lick softly across his lips. “And if I think for one second you’re turning your back on me…well, it won’t go half as nicely for you as this has.”

His hand suddenly snapped up, grabbing a handful of her wild black hair and pulling on it painfully, forcing her off him as he drove her to the ground. Recognizing the ‘attack’ for what it was Kyssindree half purred and half snarled in pain as she was dragged down with him atop her.

“How about this for the deal,” his sharp blue eyes cut into her as positioned himself. “Your loyalty will be unquestioned because I won’t explain my plan, but I promise you a fair reward.” She laughed as he kept pinning her to the ground, his finely muscled body sure and strong atop her.

“What do you take me for,” she hissed between some gasps for air as he bit and kissed savagely at her lips, “one of your silly gang girls willing to roll over and accept what scraps you’ll toss her?”

Her legs arced up, hooking his shoulders as she twisted to the side, rolling him onto his back and leaving her atop him. Her hands clamped on his throat to pin him down, her own body possessing a strength he had probably not anticipated as she held him, taking what she chose from him, her hips moving quickly now.

“You’ve seen what I can do. Either I’m worth something or I’m not. Either I have a place here that matters or I don’t.”

“By the Dark…” He gasped and grunted beneath her, fighting her a bit, though not strongly. “Yes, you are worth something.”

“Then either I’m worth more than the rest of this scum, and I get to learn the plan and my part in it, or you aren’t offering me a reward worthy enough to keep me, and I walk away and take my chances elsewhere.”

He wristlocked her then, twisting hard to break her grip as he sat up, his hands locking onto her bucking hips tightly as he held her to a pace that was also of his choosing. His lips met hers, fiery and hot, she bit back hard, drawing blood that dribbled down his lips as her tongue sought out the crimson drops. They both laughed.

“Equals,” he announced.

“Until one of us becomes bored,” she promised.

“Until then.”

His eyes glittered as they met her own, and Kyssindree knew it had been a negotiation well worth the having. Thankfully, there were yet many smaller details to iron out.

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

“Of course I know where to find The Howlers. Everyone does.”

“I see we’re going to need to be more persua- wait…what?”

Obessa stepped forward to look at the Hellion whom Zak was currently lifting up by his leather harness and dangling over a rather dangerous drop to the veranda garden below them. Zak glanced at her and then back to the Hellion who was trying to look helpful.

“Repeat that.”

“I said I know where to find the Hellions, pretty lady, pull back your skull faced dog here and I’ll be happy to tell you. I’m not a fan of difficult landings, y’know.”

Obessa walked up, placing a foot on the edge of the roof and glancing down to the open area below. A few onlookers were pointing up at them in interest and others were already hunting for good seats near the impact point. She returned her gaze to the Hellion, reaching out to poke at his blue Mohawk.

“You’re one of the Blue Spines gang, right?”

“Heard of us, eh?” The Hellion smirked proudly as he almost seemed to try to puff out his chest. “I wouldn’t mind getting to hear a bit more about what you’re all into,” he winked lasciviously at her, “if y’know what I mean.”

“I think I do,” Obessa grinned warmly at him as she leaned forward, and pointedly dug the razor sharp tip of her dagger between his legs. His eyes grew wide as all color drained from his face. “Now, unless you’d like me to show you exactly,” she twisted the blade slightly, which elicited a meep of surprise from him, “what I like to get into, I suggest you tell us all about The Howlers. Trust me, when I’m done you’ll need all the care and attention of a Haemonculi Cult to return what you’ve lost.”

“Sure, doll, sure, no need to get all excited on my account. Word is out all over the streets, it’s no secret. Howlers are hosting a huge shin-dig to celebrate their big raid at that merchant vault. Took a real black mark to the Kabals on that one, they did. Planning to show off to anyone they can get to show, I reckon, but with enough food and gifts promised I reckon enough will show all right.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Got the address and invite on a data crystal in my left thigh pouch.” He grinned hopefully. “What say we call it fair trade for not dropping me, eh?”

Obessa pulled out the crystal in question and scanned over the info on it. Sure enough, the invite was right there, not even any real encryption worth noting on it. She showed it to Zak, who, if he had an opinion, made no sign. She then glanced up at the Hellion and shrugged.

“Thanks, that will help.” She turned to Zak, “you can set him loose now.”

Zak did so immediately. The Hellion screamed all the way down.

“Really?” Obessa sighed. “I actually meant let him go, as in set him free.”

“Most Archons like to be clever when they say ‘kill him’ to me, I must have over thought your request. My humblest apologies.” Zak shrugged. Obessa stared at him for a moment, seriously wondering whether the Incubi was joking with her or not. “In any case, it is best that The Howlers don’t hear that we have this information, it was foolish to suggest letting him go unmolested. I take no pride in the kill, but I do take pride in the proper execution of the mission.”

“Whatever, let’s go.”

Their next stop was a small eatery and wine bar. A glance at Zak and Obessa and the lumbering Sslyth doorman slid happily out of their way. Inside the smoky room lurked dozens of figures, most having hushed conversations that fell silent as new figures entered the bar. There were representatives from a multitude of races. Mon’keigh Rogue Traders with frightened expressions bartered with Hrud mercenary captains. In the back an Eldar Corsair in gleaming blue armor spoke softly with a fork tongued Cluvian Devil. A lithe Dark Eldar in high end scarlet fashions from two cycles ago and a scarred face eyed them suspiciously as they walked into the room.

“It makes no strategic sense.” Zak’s normally unreadable voice now certainly conveyed confusion.

“It makes me happy.” Obessa selected a booth in the back and began depositing chits in the privacy generator. “You aren’t going to allow yourself to be happy about it, though, are you?”

“It’s not a question of choosing to be happy about an occurrence. It’s a question of understanding what it means.” Zak joined her and motioned to the proprietor, indicating the two of them desired meals. Obessa and he waited quietly until they were brought out, along with a wine selected by Zak. Then Obessa activated the privacy generator – a shield of white noise and anti-eavesdropping generators fluttered to life.

To no surprise to her, Zak produced a portable privacy generator and activated it as well. It was a good practice, many merchants had recording devices set up within their generators to allow them access to the secrets revealed there for future sale or blackmail.

“I do not disagree that this is an apparently fortuitous turn of events, I simply question why it should happen at a perfect time for our purposes.” Zak shrugged as he reached up with his spare hand and unclasped his helmet, pulling it off. “I would prefer to consider the possibilities.”

“If it pleases you,” she noted dryly.

Obessa found herself studying his face. He was certainly handsome, though not as much as he perhaps once had been. Touches of age were clear on him. Silvery traces snaked into his shortly cropped black hair, edging in at the temples and in a small silvery-white streak just to the right of the middle of his head. His features were hard and sharp, imperial and noble in bearing, and a firm jaw with a mouth set in a thin line. His eyes were potent and dark, like pools of deep water that seemed to drink in everything with careful consideration.

“We know that we had spent nearly a full cycle hunting for information on The Howlers and found nothing, those who were willing to talk knew nothing, and those smart enough to know something were able to evade our grasp or hide the truth from us.” He wasn’t even looking at her as he spoke, instead he was cutting up his meal and starting to eat. “I would tend to imagine you as a woman intelligent enough to understand how strange it is then, that we suddenly hear of a gathering The Howlers are hosting and, conveniently, that they are offering invitations to all the Hellion gangs to attend.” She couldn’t even tell if he was trying to be insulting, or simply blunt. The amusement she’d had died away.

“It’s unusual, certainly.”

“It’s foolish.” The Incubi placed some meat in his mouth and chewed at it contentedly as he eyed her. His eyes were very sharp indeed. Dark and deep, he didn’t miss much she suspected. “What would you do if you had successfully stolen from a powerful Kabal?”

“Hide or find a more powerful ally to protect myself.” Even as Obessa answered with the obvious answer she frowned as she considered the situation. “I certainly wouldn’t advertise a party to celebrate my victory mere days afterwards when the wound is fresh and there is no doubt agents are seeking me.”

“I concur.”

“It also doesn’t make sense,” Obessa mused, “we know they barely managed to steal anything, yet they’re advertising their victory and wanting to allow the other gangs to witness their spoils? It’s a scam.”
“Agreed.”

“A trap, for us?”

“I considered that but,” Zak shrugged, “one gang, even with assorted guests, and even presuming every guest decides to join the fight against us, versus a combined assault from a Kabal and Cult?” He took a bite of his meat and chewed at it for a while. “They’ll still be massacred.”

“And, even knowing this, Douraal will still attack, even if it’s part of The Howler’s plans.”

“I suspect so.” Zak motioned to her untouched food. “That bothers you?”

“No,” she answered too quickly.

He didn’t say anything as she took a quick gulp of wine. He just sat there chewing, those dark eyes studying her quite intently as he did. She found his eyes as unreadable as his mask, indeed, in some ways, there seemed to be no difference.

“We’ll finish our meal and then inform Archon Douraal,” he announced softly. “I suspect, plan or not, that it will end poorly for The Howlers.”

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

Wren was easy enough to find. The waterfall into the Invernill Gap that marked the boundary of The Howlers’ territory had always been one of her favored haunts. She sat on an outcropping of rusting metal pipes, perching on one of them that jutted out over the edge of the precipitous drop. Her coat was soaked by the spray of the icy water that fell down in a torrent only two dozen feet away from her, her spikey hair plastered to her scalp, her dark eye makeup running in streaming rivulets down her pale white cheeks as she hugged her knees to her chest.

Ben’rik had always hated this place, and never understood why Wren liked it so much. It was a dangerous place. Below, in the chasm, lurked things best forgotten, strange beings and truly twisted Dark Eldar who lived and died in murderous shadowed violence. Above him the ever pressing gloom of the city gave way to the darkened sky, home of the Scourges, and the gliders of the Kabals. A world to yearn for, perhaps, but on no less dangerous than the one below. Even here, in the middle territory that was his, the Invernill lay at the boundary of their gang turf. Here was a meeting point for clashes and wars with other Hellions and even pathetic groundlocked gangs of young Dark Eldar fighting for something better than what they had. It was far from the safe center of his power.

But, Wren was here, and so he had to be too.

That hideous bird that she had been gifted from the Beastmasters perched still upon her shoulder. Its head rotated around to look backwards so that it saw his approach, malevolent, beady eyes watching him in a way that made him want to draw froth his pistol and incinerate the foul thing.

“Wren!” She didn’t start in surprise at his call of greeting. Whether that was because she was so relaxed as to not care, or that she had been well aware of his approach, he was uncertain. “I’d like to speak with you!”

This last caused her to turn her head to regard him. Her eyes narrowed somewhat as he grinned at her, her thin lips pursing as she considered his offer. Then, with a slight scraping, she shifted over on the pipe enough to offer him a seat there. The wretched black bird squawked at him as it ruffled its feathers, apparently unpleased by its mistress’ movement…or perhaps just by the company approaching.

Ben’rik sauntered out onto the pipe, pulling his own cloak tighter around himself to shield his clothing from the spray as he gingerly found a spot that wasn’t too rusting or corroded for him to sit upon.

“I’m worried for you, Wren, I thought you could use some advice.”

She let out a short hiss that suggested she wasn’t much convinced she needed advice.

“I led the gang for a long time, you know,” Ben’rik continued on. Wren would listen to him, even if she didn’t invite the conversation, it was in her inquisitive nature. “I’m sure you remember the day I found you, don’t you? The little waif child covered in filth and in far more trouble than she’d ever expected to be in.”

She hunched her shoulders slightly but did spare a slight glance at him. He smiled warmly at her, not bothering to point out that his actual recollection of the rescue was probably a bit different than hers.

“You fit in well enough and were always a loyal trooper…” He left out that he felt she’d been loyal up until that wretch Tael had shown up, of course. “I also like to take a bit of pride in how well you’ve done for yourself. Whatever he says when he jokes about with me, we both know that you are his true trusted ally and right hand here. I’m, at best,” he shrugged, “just an old advisor.”

Wren was looking fully at him now. Her eyes were still a little narrowed, but her brow was furrowed in what, he hoped, was concern for her old boss. He paused for a moment, just to give the image that he was struggling to come up with the next words. He allowed a slight creak of emotion to enter his voice.

“I’m worried about you though…worried about some of our…new members.” He shrugged and shook his head, running his hand through his damp hair. “Maybe I’m just fooling myself though, your relationship with Tael is still excellent, I’m sure. I’m probably just seeing things.” He made to stand up. “Ah, this was silly, I’ll leave.” Even as he made to depart a steely strong grip settled on his calf and held him back.

“Seeing things? What things?”

Wren didn’t speak often, and usually just to snarl insults or threats when it suited her. If she asked a question she very much wanted to know the answer. Ben’rik allowed himself a smirking grin of triumph before he painted his face with a look of anguish and turned around to face her again.

“Well,” he sighed as he sat down again. “It’s just the wych. Kyssindree. I sort of find myself thinking…” He glanced down at her and saw how intent her gaze was on him. “Look, it’s just she and Tael shared their beds earlier, right after you left the camp. I’m sure it’s just a fling for sport, but the way she and he look at each other sometimes…”

Ben’rik honestly had no idea if Tael and Kyssindree had become physical. But, the sparks were definitely there, and the only important matter was that Wren believed it was true. The young Hellion’s eyes narrowed again, color draining from her face as she considered this news.

“I’m probably wasting my time even telling you this, though. You know how loyal Tael is to you, surely, and I can’t imagine he’s flitting around with the wych just to see if you’d fight to hold your place or anything.” Ben’rik shrugged. “Besides, you probably would want to avoid dueling the wych, of course, no offense but I am afraid you wouldn’t even be a match for her.”

Wren let out a small growl in the back of her throat, low and dangerous.

“It’s all silly talk, though, I’m just seeing things, like I said. I’m sure you’ll be back to sharing Tael’s bed as soon as he bores of her, and there is no way he could think of replacing you after all you’ve done for him. Kyssindree has ample…charms.” Ben’rik chuckled as he stood up again, “but nothing compared to what you do, I am certain. Ignore me, little one, I’m being silly.”

Ben’rik tilted his head to her in farewell as he gingerly worked his way back off the pipe and began strolling back towards the encampment. Vollio was waiting for him with their skyboards a discrete distance away. He shrugged as Ben’rik appeared.

“Well?”

“Have no fear, my friend.” Ben’rik mounted up. “Poor little Wren’s head has always been fertile ground for well planted seeds. I get the feeling that Kyssindree is about to have an interesting day tomorrow, and when she does we’ll be there to make sure Tael is handled as well, and then the gang will be mine again.”

“Ours, you mean,” clarified Vollio.

“Ours, yes,” Ben’rik and Vollio eyed each other carefully as they fired up their boards and began flying back to camp, “of course, my friend, ours.”

They both nodded in understanding of what that meant.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 22 2012, 05:21

August 5th or so is the next planned update. The Party promises all sorts of interesting points, but here is my teaser anyway;

Kyssindree vs. Wren - 'nuff said.

Finished my clog up chapter, now having a bit more fun, updates look to be likely to stay on course.
Already toying around with a couple of side stories that I may do - a series of shorts starring some of the characters from this tale, we'll see how that goes, but, as is par for me, I'm already writing some of them...one is even for a character that hasn't even shown up yet, and, even if the character does appear, will likely be a bit part...go figure.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 22 2012, 05:58

I love the 'negotiation' there was enough action but not verly graphic.
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 22 2012, 06:56

Thanks - the DE are, by their nature, fairly hyper-sexual in a fluff sense. Kyssindree perhaps moreso than some, as she certainly extroverts her pleasure in it. That said, I have little interest in writing quite like that (plus, I'm pretty sure it would break site rules). So, you get hinted action - it carries the flow but without needing censor bars Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 22 2012, 16:01

If I could only use one word to describe my feelings towards this, it would have to be... jealous!
I am just jealous at work this superb. Watch your back... you never know who may be waiting to steal your description-gland. Very Happy

Great work, splendid description and awesomely believable charecters. I love it and I really cannot wait for more!

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 22 2012, 20:43

Ah. more Trueborn. My weekend instantly improves Very Happy

I hadn't realised Wren was Tael's concubine, I thought she just followed him around kind of ... moon-eyed and hoping. Kyssindree has underestimated her ... And I agree, you handle the situation - all those kind of situations - with suitable discretion without losing the Ynneas Eladrith character.

I have a small bet with myself on whom the casket is intended for; I can't wait to see if I'm right Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 22 2012, 21:20

I like the thought you have as to what the casket will be, and why an empty container is valuable.

As for Wren, you've been betting on her being underestimated for a while now. Maybe she's just as helpless and foolish as she appears? (don't worry, I do at least promise she'll have a moment to show Tael what she thinks of how he treated her...or is that a moment to prove Tael predicted her perfectly...I forget, at least one of the above, I'm sure.)

I will say, I'm plotting to write that Ben'rik meets and recruits Wren tale at some point. I have the idea clear in my head and it's very apropos for both of them.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeSun Jul 22 2012, 21:57

I look forward to that. Yes, I have a bit of a soft spot for the little savage amid all the pretty, flashy people Very Happy Not that they don't have their place. Or the stoic, stern warrior types.

Was that Incubus humour? We will never know, for they will never tell .... but Arhra remembers.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeMon Jul 23 2012, 12:45

This is brilliant. Very well written, a very capturing and intriguing and interesting and thrilling and just awesome plot so far. Good character development, good turns and excellent suspense especially now we have to wait for the next chapter. Really good stuff, I actually read everything from chapter 1 up to now, all in this afternoon, despite intending only to have a brief look. I love the way you're portraying the Dark Eldar and the relationships between the different Kabals, Cults and Gangs; this is really quite a superb piece of work, even just so far, for providing insight into the internal machinations of the Dark City.
The hyper-sexual, overtly hedonistic aspect you bring to them is great as well, something that "officially" would never be explored as GW is after all a "12+" hobby.

Keep it up, I'm hooked and might cry if I have to wait 'till August 5th for more.
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 24 2012, 13:48

I'm going to add my praise to the list it seems. Very well written and consistently engaging. I'm really glad to see it extend and keep going and I'm looking forward to the rest of it. My sincere apologies for taking this long to getting round to reading it.

I agree with the above as to how you've handled all the more mature subjects that come part and parcel with our kind, suitably evocative and descriptive without going anywhere near the 'line' of unreasonable, leaves it predominantly in each of our heads but with all the rights bits keeping it relevant and not obscured by too much flowery language, very nicely done.

Also as to the plot; equally impressed, weaving threads in for a longer work and then plucking them at the right times is not easy - why I'm working on short stories myself at the moment ((not that that doesn't take it's own range of skills)) - and you're doing it very very well. I look forward to the next installment and then crucially to the one after it - assuming I've not lost track of where we sit on your projected chapter list - where it all comes together.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 24 2012, 16:42

Thank you all. I'm glad I hit the right run speed with some of the mature themes, it felt obligatory to have those sorts of things in there, but at the same time if you focus too much on some of them you become a different type of story - and my goal is an action-adventure tale primarily, so I don't really want to dwell on some of the nastier habits some of the characters have (and there are many). I'll keep the future chapters pretty much the same style as it's clearly a win for everyone.

@PartridgeKing - I will note that the chapter you're talking about is officially titled with a 'Part 1' but, yes, things will be shaken up in that chapter, most assuredly.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 03 2012, 05:30

Chapter 12: The Party


“Tael!”

Kyssindree sighed muzzily as she stretched herself out across the carpet and furs on the floor.

“Tael! You need to come quickly!”

“In a moment!”

A pleasing warmth along her side departed. She cocked open one eye at the continued disruption. Tael stood with his back to her, a few trailing scratches from sharp fingernails crisscrossing his muscular shoulders. Kyssindree allowed herself a small smirk of remembered pleasure at the sight of them. He pulled his dark brown leather pants on and began working the buckles back into place.

“If you do that, it will take me some time to undo them again,” she drawled huskily as she propped herself up on one arm, her hair cascading along her bare flesh, tickling her sensitive skin and poking sharply at a few bruises and scratches of her own. She licked her lips as Tael glanced back at her and allowed a slow smile to spread across her face. “I’m not quite done with you yet.”

“I’m afraid it sounds like duty is calling,” he noted with a shrug as he slipped into a loose silken shirt. She rolled her eyes at the thought and sank back into the furs. “You may wish to come along for this.”

She poked her head up again in curiosity. “Why?”

“I haven’t told you my plan yet since you did seem to have…more urgent purposes for my mouth.” She smirked at him again as he winked, “but this is the beginning of the final play.”

“Really?” She stood up and allowed herself to enjoy the way he couldn’t quite take his eyes off her. She picked up a few sheathes and strapped them into place on her forearms and inner thigh, securing the knives inside. Then she simply plucked up one of the furs, a long haired dark red creature, and flung it around herself, concealing just enough to draw the eyes of others to the shadowy recesses. “I’m dressed. Let’s go.”

“As you will,” he allowed himself a Tael smile as he motioned her to follow.

His rooms were part of a half-buried and forgotten building that had once been a noble’s palace. They walked along the marble entryway and down a set of wide steps that descended into the heart of Perception’s Warp alley.

The boring and studious Hellion medic, barely a man, who she was fairly certain they called Jorik waited nervously by the stairs. His eyes flickered over Kyssindree and she toyed with him a bit by shifting the furs just enough to reveal almost all of her outer thigh and some of the secrets he so wished to see. Tael’s presence, though, spoiled the mood for poor Jorik who swallowed nervously and turned his gaze to Tael.

“We seem to have a lot of guests arriving.”

“Guests?” Tael smiled but his voice revealed nothing.

“Um, yes, quite a few of them actually. Representatives from over twenty gangs already, and they all have invitations to a party…that we’re hosting.” Jorik became more confused as Tael remained calm. “They all had maps! Maps that led them right to our hideout, and promises of rewards and gifts just for showing up, and…and they seem to expect to be treated to a party…”

“Well then,” Tael nodded sagely, “shouldn’t we start breaking out some food and music?”

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

“What is going on, Ben’rik?”

Vollio had been asking the same thing for about the last ten minutes and Ben’rik was starting to toy with the idea of just stabbing him in the throat to shut him up so he could have a few moments to think. He and Vollio had gone off deeper into the alley with their chosen allies to plan how exactly they were going to manage the murder. Ben’rik had explained the embers he’d planted in Wren and how he suspected the hot-headed girl would be likely to attempt to murder or duel her rival, either way it would remove the deadly duo as a threat to worry about while killing Tael.

They had described how they’d get him away from the other gangers, purportedly for a meeting, and then would descend on him in a whirl of flashing blades. Ben’rik himself had looked forward to seeing the expression on Tael’s face as he sunk the knife in, he suspected the proud bastard wouldn’t have been smiling at that point.

And then they had headed back, ready to do the deed and…had come into this.

“Ben’rik!” A hand clapped down on his shoulder and Ben’rik almost spun around to lash out with the poisoned dagger he was intending for Tael. He jerked his head around to see the laughing face of an older Dark Eldar with multiple metal piercings in his face and his teeth sharpened into fangs. “It’s me, Yolsyn of the Darkcutters! You don’t remember me, do you? Ha ha ha!”

“I…” Ben’rik was forced to sheathe his poisoned blade to accept a bottle of some potent smelling wine that Yolsyn was shoving at him.

“The raid at Enterin,” laughed Yolsyn, “your gang and mine were both hired by Archon Asdrubael himself to aid in a realspace raid. Ah, I remember the screams like they were yesterday. You and I, in that odd building they put all their women and children into? Good times, eh?”

All around them raged the party, and never before had Ben’rik seen such a party. Hellions from dozens of different gangs walked together, laughing and drinking. Slaves hustled around with food and drink, some of them being pulled away from their duties to pleasure the Hellions in ways ranging from simple sex to being carved up to compare the quality of two blades. Drums beat wildly as other Hellions sang songs of pillage and profit. Dancers, stripping off their clothing as the heat got to them, capered around huge burning bonfires that must serve as beacons to any of the dwellers in the Alley…and certainly not all of them were pleasant.

“You have to tell me though,” Yolsyn pulled Ben’rik in closer to him, his gleaming red eyes suddenly not seeming so confused with drugs and alcohol, “what is your man, Tael’s, plan here, exactly? I could make it worth your while if you let me know if the promised sharing of loot is to be trusted, and what his angle is even if he isn’t.”

“Well, I don’t…”

“Come now, Ben’rik.” Yolsyn’s voice dropped to a whisper, barely audible over the beating drums and howling songs. “You and I both know how large my gang is, and you know my boss didn’t come here because of the possibility of treachery. Sure, he may avenge me, but I’d rather make sure I land on my own feet, if you know what I mean. It can be worth your while, you understand?”

“Yes, of course, of course.” Ben’rik offered a conspiratorial nod. “Just remind me, what were you promised for coming here?” He sloshed the bottle in his hand. “I may have partaken of too much.”

“Don’t play coy with me,” snarled Yolsyn,” I’m talking about the ten thousand soul chits for each gang that comes here and entertains Tael’s new scheme regardless of if we sign on or not.”

“Ten…thousand.” Ben’rik uncorked the bottle and took a hefty swig of whatever was inside of it and his insides still felt like they were going to ice. He glanced around, his eye spotting no less than twenty different gang markings, and there had to be more than that, so many more.

“You all must have cleaned up on that raid on the Black Sail Consortium, I never did see anything like that,” chortled Yolsyn as he attempted wheedling politeness again now that veiled threats had failed. “I mean, if it’s something like that again…well, you’ll have some interested ears.”

“Yolsyn, let me assure you, I will find out exactly what is intended, and Tael will not have a chance to double cross you in any way that will harm you. We’ll discuss your payment later.”

Ben’rik shoved away from the sputtering Hellion and began to claw his way through the thronging crowds. The blasting music tore at his senses as The Howlers and their guests continued the wild party. Ben’rik stormed over two dancers…or perhaps lovers, kicking them out of his way as he and his conspirators moved towards the center of the party. A large bonfire that had a large chair formed out of lashed together animal tusks and set before the fire like some sort of pseudo-throne. Tael sat upon the throne, holding ‘court’ with that sickening smile on his face. Ben’rik stalked towards him.

“Oh, look, the Cyclops.” Kyssindree lounged upon the throne wearing mostly just scant skintight scraps of leather and dozens of jewels on her fingers and hanging from necklaces around her neck. She raised a goblet of some bubbling liquid to him as she took a deep draught, her eyes happily glazed with some drug. “I already feel him ruining my mood.” She began to fish for a knife from her thigh sheath, though Tael’s hand fell upon her, stopping her from drawing it forth as he massaged her smooth white skin deftly.

“Ben’rik, my dearest friend,” his blue eyes seemed to crackle red with madness in the firelight, “what can I do for you on this day of joy?”

A half-naked girl of some bothersome alien race shuffled forward to offer him some food, but Ben’rik batted the platter aside as he walked closer to Tael. “I had come to discuss some strategic considerations and I find…” He looked around helplessly at the roaring party that filled the main cavern of their lair, and even seemed to be spilling out into some of the nearby passageways.

“It is a good gathering, my friend.”

“I am certain, but the security strain is…what steps did you take to increase our perimeter guard?”

“Perimeter guard?” Tael pursed his lips as he considered this for a moment before glancing at Kyssindree. “Did I remember to place any at all?”

Kyssindree giggled merrily as she took another drink and lounged against his shoulder.

Ben’rik’s blood felt like it wasn’t even flowing through his veins anymore. This was…this was madness! They had gained nothing from the last raid, and to pay out the soul chits to all of these gangs would totally deplete the stores of wealth they had stockpiled over the last few years, even presuming there was enough to pay them all off. And if they couldn’t pay them off, the repercussion of insulting so many gangs? They were ruined, Tael had ruined them, the entire gang was as good as dead right this second.

Ben’rik smiled. “It is indeed a great day, but I really do need to talk with you about some matters of import, perhaps in private?

“Oh, don’t go,” Kyssindree leaned down to nibble Tael’s ear, “I was just about to dance and show these wretches how clumsy they really are.”

“I shall be gone but a moment,” Tael took Kyssindree’s hand and kissed the knuckles before patting it reassuringly. He lurched up to his feet, swaying drunkenly as he raised his arms theatrically above his head. “I must depart momentarily, but I declare that all efforts at debauchery must be doubled! More wine! More slaves! More!”

His pronouncement was met with rousing cheers from all present save Ben’rik and his small group. Tael laughed merrily as he stumbled down from his throne and allowed Ben’rik to lead him off towards his private quarters. Behind him trailed the others loyal to him, poisoned blades hidden beneath their cloaks.

There was still a chance for some good to come out of this madness, at least for those who kept their priorities in order. Ben’rik felt very ordered as he led Tael away from the noise of the crowds and into the shadowy solitude of the large building. He led Tael down a winding set of stairs into the dark chambers that hid the vaults of the gang, and were also quite quiet and secluded from any odd interruptions.

Tael leaned heavily on Ben’rik, in his drunken stupor occasionally pawing at Ben’rik’s cloak in search of a bottle. Tael was somewhat satiated when Ben’rik shoved his own half drained drink into his hands. He laughed as he took a sip and declared it to be of fine quality.

“I’m going to enjoy this,” Ben’rik announced as they reached the vaults and he shoved Tael off him. The Hellion leader stumbled along awkwardly but managed to maintain his footing, and his grip on the bottle, though he did cluck alarmed at how close it came to sloshing out onto the floor.

“What is this, Ben’rik my dear frie-“

“Oh shut your damn mouth, you fool!” Ben’rik motioned at the men with him, “we’re the only sane people left at this gathering, you’ve killed everyone else, but I’m not going down like one of your blind sycophants!”

“Doomed?”

“We barely have enough money to pay the gangs above, and whichever ones we don’t pay will…will, you are a fool! Here is what we are going to do, you are going to open the vaults, and we are going to,” Ben’rik smirked, “rescue our hard earned profit before you spend it so sloppily. Then, if you beg appropriately enough, I may just let you live…at least until your idiocy gets you killed.”

“I don’t understand,” slurred Tael.

“Just open the vault.” Ben’rik indicated the retinal scanner that was keyed to Tael’s eye.

“I still don’t understand,” muttered Tael as he leaned down to look into the scanner. The bronze vault door hissed as it rolled down. “What makes you think we have any profits worth stealing anymore?”

The vault was barren, only a few meager supplies and small bags of chits remained. Barely enough to keep the gang running for another few days. In the middle of it sat the casket, still sealed tight.

“You already paid them? You…no, you haven’t, not yet,” Ben’rik turned to Tael. “Where is it all?”

“Wherever the Little Tailor keeps his profits, I suppose. Hopefully not with a Trade Consortium, their protection is lacking. I may have overpaid him a bit, naturally, but you need to do that for good and speedy work.” That insufferable Tael smile spread across his face as he stood up straighter, no longer looking the least bit intoxicated.

“You think you’re so smart,” snarled Ben’rik, “but you’re-“ his voice trailed off as he reached under his cloak for his blast pistol and found an empty holster.

“Really, Ben’rik, old friend,” Tael drew forth the gleaming blast pistol and casually leveled it towards the group of conspirators. “What sort of man would let his enemy paw drunkenly around his weapons belt?”

“You have no right to act so confident, you bastard,” Ben’rik felt like screaming, but managed to keep his tone level and threatening. “You haven’t outthought me, there are eight of us, and only one of you.” He pulled out his poisoned dagger. “We’ll kill you before you can shoot more than one or two of us.”

“True,” Tael shrugged, “and I suppose I could issue specific threats, like I’d shoot you first…but then probably Vollio would get all excited and jump the gun.” Tael shook his head and chuckled. “So, I just figured I’d bring enough guns for all of you.”

Behind them they heard an ominous hiss. Glancing over his shoulder Ben’rik saw Ssinssilla and a few of her fellow alien slaves. The massive female Sslyth held a large splinter cannon in her hands, pointing it meaningfully at the group, the other slaves held pistols with no less determination.

“You’ve lost again, old friend,” suggested Tael.

“End it already then,” Ben’rik spat, “I grow sick of hearing your voice.”

“Oh, it’s not over yet, it is just the beginning.” Tael laughed as he tossed Ben’rik back the blast pistol and headed for the stairs, motioning for them to follow him. “Come, you’ll not want to miss this.”

“Miss what?”

“The destruction of the gang, the victory of my enemies, and my death, of course.”

“He is mad,” breathed Vollio.

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

Kyssindree danced and they worshiped her with their eyes and with their cheers and with their desire. She was the most beautiful thing here.

She danced in the firelight, her skin gleaming orange and red under its light, a thin sheen of sweat on her sparkling like stars, her wild hair whipping around her as she moved. She danced barefoot near a high wall that was actually a floor, as it lay right at the border of one of the gravity shifts in the Alley. Thus her dance defied gravity, as she sprang back and forth between the wall and the floor, moving seamlessly between the two planes as she twirled and danced for her enjoyment and the adulation of the masses.

Even some of the other dance circles had died down now, the others watching her supple body as she sprang high into the air to suddenly twist and land upon the wall in a spinning pirouette, her hair splayed around her as she twirled into a sitting posture. Her breasts heaved as she gasped for air and the sweat glistened on her body as she looked up to the crowd watching her. A smile played on her lips as she reached out, beckoning to them, seeing if any dared to come play with her.

A flash of light and a metallic snarl as the blade wedged between two stones of the wall Kyssindree was sitting on heralded the arrival of a thrown knife. Kyssindree craned her head back, looking up at the crowd. From her perception it looked like they were standing upon a huge wall that stretched away into the darkness, crazed sideways burning fires belched out smoke towards the other wall as one of the figures began to advance down towards her with a purposeful stride.

Wren shucked off her own cloak, her thin body wrapped in her fighting leathers, her wet, blood red, hair was plastered to her pale features and framed her wild eyes as she glared down at Kyssindree. She motioned meaningfully at the knife as she drew one of her own off her hip.

“Really?” Kyssindree’s head rocked back as she howled in laughter, some tears leaking from the corner of her eyes. “Oh, child, oh dear little brat.” Kyssindree’s hand snaked out as she plucked the knife from where it stuck into the wall.

Kyssindree stood up slowly, taking her time so they could all appreciate the smooth flexing of her muscles as she rose. Then sauntered down the wall towards the ground, stepping out to put her foot upon it as she passed through the gravity well with such ease it was as though she just walked off a wall and out towards the waiting Wren as casually as one might stroll across a barren field. It did take some supreme efforts in balance, but what was life without a little show? Kyssindree’s hair danced lightly in the breeze and her sparkling lips parted in a gleaming smile.

“What a gift you give me, you wretched little pup. Are you that surprised he tossed you aside? You’re built like a boy and have the brain of ghul-rat. I can only imagine he toyed with you out of some morbid curiosity. He certainly doesn’t seem to prefer boys…in my experience.”

Wren’s face screwed up in a bestial snarl as she bared her fangs.

“I’m going to really enjoy this, and give these fine folks a show they should have had to pay admission for,” Kyssindee breathed happily as she licked the blade of her knife and then pointed at Wren’s left leg. “Starting there, I’m going to incapacitate every limb on you, and then toss you to the slaves for them to take their pleasure, however they so desire.”

Wren made no bold promises, she just set her feet, readying for a charge, and gripped her knife as she snarled again. Kyssindree tried not to laugh more, the coming charge seemed so obvious, it would be a simple matter to slip to the side and slash open the tendons behind the girl’s ankle. She couldn’t wait to leave the little she-cat crawling around on the ground, helpless. Maybe she’d keep Wren around long enough to watch from a corner while she and Tael celebrated again this evening.

“Come to me, child, I will make you famous, for a moment.” Kyssindree lightly twirled the knife in her hand, letting it dance over her fingers as she raised her other hand and beckoned Wren to come for her.

The guttersnipe Hellion launched forward, and Kyssindree blinked in mild surprise at the speed of the girl. She’d have to adjust her stance quickly, maybe just dodge this time and reassess…

THOOM!

Even as Kyssindree sprang out of Wren’s path a blast shook the cavern. Everyone stumbled, a few losing their footing, at least one unlucky slave toppled into a bonfire and howled in anguish as he thrashed his way out.

Looking upwards, Kyssindree could see the roof of the alley splintering inwards. Rocks and support metal came tumbling down, crashing amongst the guests and claiming more of their lives even as they began to stagger back to their feet. The ceiling was being torn open by focused fire from dark lances, she realized, seeing the purple actinic flashes as they lashed out and tore open a hole.

“Raid!” She screamed the warning but moments before the first wave of Reaver Jetbikes and Venom skycraft hissed through the opening, the first wave of the assault. Kyssindree hardly needed to waste time noting the symbols and battle markings of the units. It was the Cult of the Bloodied Kiss and the Kabal of Splintered Soul. The price of Tael’s antics had come back for him, and had come in murderous force.

There was a moment as she and Wren locked gazes, the two of them having considered the assault and now returning their attention to one another. Wren snarled and Kyssindree smirked, but both of them understood the real level of the threat coming for them and it superseded their own squabble.

Later, their eyes each promised the other.

Wren took off like a shot, scampering on all fours like the filthy mongrel she was, as she darted off for cover. All around Kyssindree the guests were running and screaming. Some fought to get their weapons and seek cover, others took the tack of fleeing for their transports and escape, a pathetic few, mostly slaves, just curled up wailing in terror at the sight of their death coming for them.

Kyssindree loosened her shoulders as she took a few steps forward and saluted the oncoming waves of troops. As she did, her eyes suddenly lit up in amused surprise. She could see one of the Reaver Jetbike squads that was already sweeping over the crowd, using their bladevanes to cut bloody swathes through the fleeing partygoers. Kyssindree marveled at the elegant arcs of blood spraying out in their wakes. Then she paused, spotting the tightly coiled purple braid and the distinctive battle markings painted on the side of the craft.

Kyssindree laughed as the lead rider also seemed to notice her, and pulled up out of the carnage to turn towards her.

Obessa.

This was going to be fun!

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

She was just standing there. Smiling, beautiful, deadly, and just standing there, almost as if she was waving.

Perhaps it was just the amped up sensations of the drugs she was on, but it was as though time seemed to slow down for her. Kyssindree was there, and her life had been declared quite forfeit by the Cult of Bloodied Kiss. Still…was that what Obessa herself wanted? If she got Kyssindree out of the battlezone what might happen to her, to both of them? Or would it be better to simply kill her quickly and honorably, to spare her any indignities that Douraal might visit upon her. The thought of allowing anyone to avoid Douraal’s ministrations was a comforting thought.

She could see Kyssindree nodding eagerly, waving with both hands for Obessa to come for her. Her only defense a high wall at her back, which she was barely standing close enough to to get any cover from, even if Obessa couldn’t have sliced her apart without touching the wall even if Kyssindree had been pressed to it. But was that what she wanted to do?

Obessa hesitated.

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

“Come on, Obessa, don’t fret your tiny little skull trying to think this through. You and I both know you’re just going to open your bladevanes wide, swing to the left, and come in at the safe approach angle.” Kyssindree grinned to herself as Obessa did just as she expected. She was such a predictable and unimaginative creature.

“Come on, faster now, come and get me.” Kyssindree raised her hands and beckoned Obessa to her, laughing merrily, “I’m going to make you famous, for a moment.”

Obessa’s course was sloppy by all accounts, even for her, but it still did what Kyssindree needed. She bunched her legs and sprang to the left, Obessa shifted to follow her even as Kyssindree slid on the ground, perfectly balancing herself along the gravity plane.

Unaware it was there Obessa’s left course correction was suddenly a nosedive course, her attempt to adjust sent her skating across the gravity well, her bike corkscrewing wildly as she attempted to right herself. First one bladevane, then another caught on the ground, sending up streamers of sparks as they shredded away and further cast the bike out of control. With a resounding crunch it careened out of the gravity shift and spiraled into the air to smash into a far wall of the cavern and then crash to the ground below.

Kyssindree laughed out loud as she skipped lightly across the battlefield towards her prey. All around her dark lance fire lashed out to strip away defensive barricades. Dark Eldar Warriors in Raiders floated overhead, aiming the powerful weapons and using them to destroy any protective nests the defenders claimed. Meanwhile a fusillade of splinter cannons erupted from the Venoms as they swarmed through the sky overhead. Gunners in the platforms on the back operated pintle mounted guns with relish as they sprayed hundreds of poison shards across the battlefield, tearing their victims apart and leaving them to die from either blood loss or the deadly toxins in the ammunition.

Nearby she watched with some admiration as the first landing parties descended, their thrusters screaming in fury to stop their descent as the pilots basically dropped them onto the battlefield to avoid any risk of enemy firepower. One Raider disgorged a squad of ten Kabalite Warriors who slid down the chains adorning their craft in unison as they lay down suppressing fire with their splinter rifles. Their polished armor gleamed in the firelight as their spiked helmets rotated to track any potential targets of worth. Nearby another Raider disgorged Wyches. Forgoing the slave snares and chains for disembarking, the Wyches sprang from the craft even as it landed, hitting the ground hard and bounding up out of combat rolls, already sprinting pell-mell towards their intended targets. A brace of armed Hellions barely had a chance to scream as the Wyches were suddenly upon them, blades flickering in the firelight as they danced a glorious lullaby for them.

Not that the defenders were all simple meatsacks, even though they were hopelessly outclassed. Hellions rose up from the carnage on their skyboards like hornets from a disturbed nest. Their hellglaives gleamed as they swept over the decks of the enemy Raiders, hooking their large blades into soft flesh and pulling the occupants from their vehicles to send them plummeting to their deaths on the ground below. She could see Wren up there now, desperately leading a wing of The Howlers as they attempted to break a hole in the closing net of the enemy. She fondly wished the gunners firing at the whelp the best of luck.

Obessa had just managed to cut herself free of her restraint harness and pull herself gamely from the wreckage when Kyssindree arrived. One Kabalite Warrior, seeing Kyssindree as a simple lone woman, opted to spring at her, intent on pinning her to the ground for some, doubtless, inelegant pleasures. Kyssindree, calmly gutted him and kissed him farewell on his helmet as she disdainfully shoved him aside. His pathetic and unknowing sacrifice did allow Obessa to get back to her feet and see Kyssindree coming though.

“Kyss…” Obessa’s normally husky and scratchy voice was even rougher now as she coughed up some of the fumes she’d inhaled in the crash.

“Rough landing, huh?” Kyssindree hurled her dagger. Obessa barely had time to react, and Kyssindree had accurately deduced that her right leg had been injured, so though Obessa managed to twist mostly out of the way she received a painful slice across the front of her right thigh that would further hamper her movements.

“Kyss, wait, I don’t want this.” Obessa still lifted her own dueling blade to the ready though. Kyssindree snorted as she said one thing and did another.

“What was that?” Kyssindree had already drawn he matched daggers from her forearm sheaths, “all I hear is the croaking of a toad.”

Her attack came in beautifully, arcing in high with her left blade, then coming up low with the right one to catch under Obessa’s weapon as she blocked the first strike. Twisting the blade to the side Kyssindree planted a careful slice along Obessa’s forearm and dug it deep enough to sever muscle.

Obessa wasted no time, dropping her blade from the nerveless fingers of her right hand down into her left, she quickly responded with a sharp thrust to the heart that had Kyssindree dancing backward, her bare feet lightly moving over the dark stones.

“A kill thrust as your second move?”Kyssindree clucked her tongue. “How gauche.”

“I don’t want to hurt you,” Obessa announced, “I…I don’t know what you’re doing here.”

“Winning.” She danced forward again, a few quick slashes had Obessa blocking wildly and then Kyssindree snapped out with a sharp leg kick to the wounded leg, causing Obessa’s right leg to buckle under her. Kyssindree sank just the tip of one of her knives into a nerve bundle on Obessa’s left shoulder as she again withdrew, raising her blades high for the cheers of a crowd that was not there.

“Listen to me, Kyss, you’re in danger here, you don’t realize how badly Douraal wants you all dead. I can get you out, I think.”

“You think?” Kyssindree laughed merrily. “Oh, Obessa, you’re not even very good at offering bribes.”

“It’s not a bribe, it’s…“

Kyssindree paused for a moment, considering things, and then it slowly fell into place for her. Oh my, how delightfully funny, the silly little thing was still besotted with her. Not, Kyssindree supposed, that one could blame Obessa. Certainly Kyssindree was, by far, the best thing that had ever been offered to the other Wych. She smirked at the thought of it.

“Obessa, it’s okay, it really is.” She palmed one of her blades as she moved forward, locking eyes with her prey. It would be so funny, so funny to see the glimmer of hope in her eyes right before they kissed, and then Kyssindree could stab her through the heart and watch her hopes leave her at the same time as her life. A more elegant death than the croaking Obessa probably deserved. “I think I understand what you mean, but I don’t see how we could possibly get out of here now.”

“Maybe my access codes? One of the Venoms that has landed or something? They did promote me to a field commander.”

Kyssindree tried hard not to sneer at the stupidity of whoever had made that particular call. She knelt down by Obessa, taking the wounded Wych’s hand in hers as she lightly kissed the fingertips. The blade in her other hand stood ready and waiting.

“I think the first thing is first, we need to get you out of this killing field.”

Obessa smiled, Kyssindree leaned forward…

The armored figure dropped down out of a passing Venom. His blade raised high and already in mid-stroke. Kyssindree pushed off with her legs, rolling backwards and coming up in a combat stance as the large sword crashed down on the ground where she had been but moments before. Even as she shot forward to attack again, figuring her opponent was wide open, she came to the grim realization of the armor he was wearing.

Incubi!

A klaive, despite its appearance, always seemed to flow like the lightest branch in the hands of any Incubi, and this one moved with the precision of a master. His parry not only blocked her right blade, but caught the left in a swordbreaker notch. A casual twist that was part of the same move to return the klaive to a ready defensive and offensive positioning close to his chest also snapped the blade of her dagger and tore it from her hand.

Kyssindree danced back again even as the blade snapped out for her throat. His footwork was amazing, never once leaving him the slightest touch overbalanced. His movements with the klaive were a marvel to behold as well. He used it as a sword, a spear, and a pole-arm, switching his grip along the multiple handles within his moves as easily as she might remember to draw breath. Every strike was an attempt to kill her, his artistry was in his motions, his goal was simple destruction, she didn’t even have time to quip at him as she spun away to avoid another deadly cut, each of his blows driving her purposefully away from Obessa.

“Wait, Zak, you don’t understand!”

Kyssindree actually allowed herself a moment to regret handicapping dim-witted Obessa now, her bungling attempts to help might have opened an exploitable hole in the Incubi’s onslaught. But, no, he was deaf to her pleas, contentedly focused on seeing his opponent dead. She took a moment to pull aside her brassiere slightly, offering him a tantalizing flash of skin, he attacked, but it was a sweeping blow at her legs, well away from the trap of being drawn in to strike at where she had revealed weakness, or even a momentary pause to appreciate the shape and firmness.

Quite insulting.

She back flipped away from him, snatching the splinter pistol from one of the fallen bodies nearby, Hellion, slave, or Kabal attacker, she couldn’t tell, nor did she care. She fired…and he actually deflected the first shot with the flat of his klaive blade. She let out a half gasp of surprise and amazement and almost lost her head to his return stroke as he again closed the distance. She backpedalled, squeezing off another shot, but now he was in tight enough to just twist his body out of the way, again lashing out with the klaive in a blow she barely deflected with her dagger.

Salvation suddenly appeared in the form of some Hellions sweeping by. One of them was foolish enough to dip low and take a slash at the Incubi from the backside as they roared overhead. The technique was crude, the blow telegraphed, its only saving grace was speed. The Incubi twisted into the blow, hooking his klaive on the hellglaive and using it to pull himself up into the air. She almost expected him to have made an error, but he shifted his grip and used the klaive to sheer off an entire span of wing from the skyboard, the massive blade cutting through the tempered metal like a razor through flesh, sheering it off clean and perfectly in a blink of the eye.

The incubi dropped to the ground lightly, easily disengaging his blade the instant he chose to, as the Hellion sang out in terror before plowing into a wall with a sickening crack that sent brain matter splattering ten yards beyond his impact point.

“Kyssindree!”

She glanced over to see Tael standing proud and strong, his signature scarf once more around his face as he gathered a resistance force to his position at the shattered entrance of his private palace headquarters.

She nodded, Tael would have an escape route, if anyone did he would, and it was foolish to stay out here with only more support coming for her deadly opponent and her lacking the best fighting tools to deal with that deadly sword. She shrugged and spared a glance towards Obessa, regretting not having had a chance to kill her properly.

“Kyss, don’t go!” Obessa reached out a bloodstained hand to her, beseeching. Kyssindree grinned at her and bowed her head slightly, before turning and running back towards Tael and the others.

Above her and behind her, the forces of Archon Douraal closed in like an inescapable net of death.

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Zehra
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 03 2012, 05:33

Ooh, this is so exciting, can't wait to see more!!!
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Thor665
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Trueborn - completed - Page 3 I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 03 2012, 05:38

So the party is coming to an end, and the next Chapter is titled The Death of Tael (Part 1).
Is it a hoax, a trick, an imaginary tale?
Tune in next chapter to find out, dear viewer Wink Here's the preview for you;

Tael does die (nuff said)
Douraal's forces win.
Ben'rik is a little cowardly wretch.

ebwop: And Zehra actually ninja'd me on my preview post - egads.

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