“All power demands sacrifice… and pain”
a Librarian of the XXth
“It should be noted that although Rogue Traders are shipmasters who travel the vastness of space, their authority to do so comes not from a Merchant Charter, but rather a letter of appointment that elevates them to the authority equalling Space Marine Chapter Masters, Inquisitors and Planetary Governors[1a] Some of the more ancient ones are dated from the very beginnings of the Imperium, and some were even signed by the Emperor himself. Others were signed by Primarchs or other leaders of the Great Crusade. These charters are very valuable and give its owner great leeway. They are tailor-made and unique. They cannot be re-appealed as according to Imperial law and Imperial religious dogma no one is empowered to overrule these persons”
Fething Feth! I have lived a long life, a full life, more than enough horrors and drama for my five decades, and enough decadence for a century.… Things no man ought to see, compensated by the rewards reserved for those willing to sacrifice the most. I’ve traveled more than a hundred planets. Sampled the galactic scum wide and deep. Evaded the Inquisition, fought pirates, committed all kinds of creativity in service of the family. I have seen Space Marines in action, twice and indeed I wonder if the Masked king is of the Adeptus Astartes of some esoteric purpose.
Yet this. This time here. This is unlike anything that I’ve experienced before. Everything I have been told is lie. The very fabric of my worldview and identity he’s been systematically destroyed and is now built again.
Day seven is when it started. Every day the masked king’s surgeons would work on me. I would sleep a drug assisted nightmare of a pain. Only for a new day to start with more. But at the end of that second week I had been remade. My reflexes, my martial skills, and my perception, as if I’d been given a sixth sense and new powers to capitalize on it. The construction of my legs, previously the best bionic limbs that money can buy, where vastly improved with superior servos and the motion controller unit unlike anything I had previously seen. My chest, shoulders and arms are stronger, nimbler, faster. All good and well, but also part of my face is missing. Replaced with something that enables me to see in the dark, and at times, around corners.
On the 7th day of that second week, the butler came to get me like each morning. But we did not go to the apothecary. We traveled deep down into that lair, to parts of the castle I hadn’t been to before. The King was waiting. It was part an armory, part laboratory, a massive reinforced cave somewhere way below the palace. We sat down by a simple table of steel and utility, comically big to mere human proportions. And then he told me. Told me things you would not believe. Told me things I would not have believed possible. But he showed me. Each time he sensed I did not believe, somehow he showed me. I was there. I saw Planets demolished, a galaxy in flames. I saw the Xenos and Malleus. I felt them. I saw the extent of his vision. The vision of his Kingdom. Nothing made sense and everything made sense.
For the Emperor!