Friday, 18 July 2014

Dark Heresy: Genesis

 

The girl who walked in from the street was known to them, but unrecognisable. Rain billowed through the entrance of the kwan and plastered grimy strings of hair to her face and back. Old blood, black with coagulation, ran down her chest and soaked her shift. She held the stained and torn rags close to her body, preserving whatever dignity she had left. She could not reach the great slash in the fabric across her back, where the las-round had creased her skin, but the agony of rain dribbling onto the wound told her it was there.

Kane did not stop her as she approached the threshold, where the wooden panels of the entranceway met the reed mats. Perhaps others would have, but he knew that many of their star recruits came off the street looking this way. At least the first time. He did nothing as she slipped off the tattered remains of her shoes, spattering blood on the wooden floor. She bowed to the open space before her, then dropped to one knee and bowed to the master, before prostrating herself completely before the shrine of the God Emperor. She stood on shaky legs as Kane watched, nonplussed. But as she stepped onto the mat he began to move, instinctively.

“Why are you here?” said Sojiro, from his kneeled position in the main shrine.
“I couldn’t save her.”
“No, that is not the reason.”
Kane drew his Fenwood stave and stepped onto the mat behind her, guard high. She sensed this; a small turn of the head. He did not stop, the advantage was his.
“I could not kill them.”

“This is truth.” Sojiro made a chopping gesture with his hand and Kane struck. The girl dropped, rolling. Kane took a sliding step backwards, then lifted his front foot as she swept at it. He stepped in and stomped viciously, but she scissored his back leg and pitched him forwards onto his knees. In desperation he cast the stave aside and fell towards her, seeking to crush the life from her in his arms. She moved like quicksilver; extracting her legs from the grapple, gaining her footing, pulling him off balance and pivoting away from him. He felt her emaciated shoulders against his as she spun past. He could not turn fast enough to see her scoop the wooden stave off the reed mat with her foot. She spun it around and brought the blade down on his exposed neck. “TRAITOR!”

“ENOUGH!” The authority in Sojiro’s voice was absolute, reaching beyond the depth of thought to the very synapses of the combatants. “A killing blow. Struck cleanly and without hesitation.” He stood in a single fluid motion, crossing the floor to her in an instant and slipping the blade from her nerveless grasp. Her body folded as she knelt before him, head in hands. “Whatever weakness you perceived is gone, child. Next time, you will be ready.” Her body heaved with a great sob of grief. He cupped her bruised face in his other hand and she closed her eyes.

Kane rose to his feet gingerly. He was not accustomed to being bested. “Take her to the clinic. They have broken her in ways that are difficult to mend, but we have to try.” Kane hesitated, perhaps remembering the brush of Death’s fingers on the nape of his neck. His hand stole there unconsciously. “What if she wakes up?” Sojiro resumed his sitting position in the main shrine. “She will not. Not for a long time.”

 Kane slipped an arm under her knees and another beneath her shoulders. She seemed smaller now. Fragile. He lifted her up with very little effort and walked towards the entrance of the kwan. “Be gentle with her Kane. It is Hana.” Kane searched her face and finally saw her. Shocked and ashamed, he clutched her more tightly to himself.

 “Indira?”

A shadow detached itself from the rafters and dropped to the floor like molasses. “Contact Mathias. I think I have found a person that will interest him.” The shadow sheathed a vicious spatha behind her back. Its fractal edge abraded the reality around it, creating twisting eddies and prominences of darkness in the air; utterly inimical to life. “You were hard on her.”

"She must believe that everyone she meets is one step away from treachery and act accordingly. Mathias will expect this. The Emperor demands it.”

 “The Emperor protects.” Sojiro watched her melt into the shadows of the alleyway.  “Not everyone. Not always.”

 

The artwork above was derived from an original work by sakimichan called Red Haired Samurai. I used this artwork as inspiration for painting my miniature of Hana and wanted to acknowledge that here. Please follow the link and have a look at the original, it is awesome. 

Hana is my fictional roleplaying character in a Dark Heresy Campaign. Her story is not intended to reflect that of any real person, past or present. This series of short stories is an exploration of her a character that can't be achieved in-game. Violence against women is unacceptable. If you are a victim of violence, or know of someone at risk, I implore you to contact relevant authorities and services (WhiteRibbon and ReachOut may be useful).