What Price Victory (Anthology)
What Price Victory is a collection of stories set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It was first published in 2004 and is currently out of print.
Thorn Wishes Talon
By: Dan Abnett
After receiving a cryptic message, "Thorn Wishes Talon," Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor and his warband divert to a backwater world to meet with the sender. When they come under attack from a Chaos cult, Ravenor, Kara Swole, and Patience Kys press into the cultist stronghold, while Carl Thonius, Zeph Mathuin, and Harlon Nayl remain behind to engage the cultists outside.
Inside, Ravenor (aka "Talon") meets with "Thorn" - his old mentor Gregor Eisenhorn. With the aid of his demon companion Cherubael, Eisenhorn dispatches the remaining cultists and a Chaos Dreadnought that is about to kill Thonius, Mathuin, and Nayl.
As they are leaving the planet, Ravenor confides to Nayl that Eisenhorn had a warning for him: the cult has foreseen the manifestation of an immensely powerful Daemon into the Materium, and its arrival is somehow linked with Ravenor and his upcoming investigation on Eustis Majoris. But that is all Eisenhorn knows, and Ravenor can only promise him, and Nayl, that he will be watchful.
The story acts as a prequel to the events of Ravenor (Novel).
- Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor
- Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn
- Kara Swole
- Patience Kys
- Harlon Nayl
- Zeph Mathuin
- Carl Thonius
- Members of the Divine Fratery
- Author: Mitchel Scanlon
- Author: Simon Spurrier
- Author: Darius Hinks
- Author: Andy Hoare
By: Sandy Mitchell
About eight months into the Slawkenberg campaign, Ciaphas Cain is getting bored. The Valhallan 12th Field Artillery has been doing its part for the Emperor, while remaining a comfortable distance from the actual enemy. Cain's boredom stems from the fact that he has exhausted the planet's limited recreational opportunities, but his friend Lieutenant Divas misreads this and suggests that Cain do a reconnaissance sweep of the forward positions, since there have been reports of something strange happening. Cain, interested enough to do a bit of exploring, agrees.
Accompanied by Jurgen and two eager young Gunners from the battery, they are driving a Salamander Scout to the forward observation post, when they see a roadblock manned by Nurglite cultists. Cain hurriedly calls down an artillery strike and Jurgen steers the Salamander off the road. The attackers are obliterated, but so is the road, forcing them to find another route back to base through the thick forest.
They are approaching what looks like a settlement, when a damsel in distress hurtles out of the woods, screaming for help. A few Nurglite pursuers appear and are dispatched without much difficulty. The next thing Cain and the Valhallans know, they are being effusively thanked and welcomed by the nubile students of the local finishing school and their headmistress, Emeli Duboir. Without much persuading, the Guardsmen agree to spend the night.
After an evening of being wined, dined, and fawned over by Emeli and her charges, Cain is invited to Emeli's private chambers. But before accepting, Cain tells Jurgen to get back to the Salamander and vox the battery; as pleasant as their circumstances are, something doesn't feel right...
In Emeli's bedchamber, she starts to entrance Cain, confessing that the girl they found was bait to lure the Nurglites, but Cain and his guardsmen are much better prey. She encourages him to give in; she can already see that, under whatever face he puts on for the outside world, he is first and foremost a self-seeking rogue, and his soul already belongs to Slaanesh. However, Cain's will to survive trumps his selfishness, and he breaks free of her hypnosis and shoots her between the eyes with his laspistol.
Staggering downstairs, he is too late to save the two Gunners, who are consumed before his eyes by the female cultists. Just then, a troop of Nurglite soldiers storm in and start shooting up the place. Cain flees outside and is relieved to see Jurgen waiting for him in the Salamander. Cain calls in an artillery barrage, obliterating both Chaos factions. In the aftermath, Cain makes up a story that praises the two fallen Guardsmen's valour and omits the part about them being used as possible Daemonhosts.
Cain would be happy to close the book on the event there, but admits that, even a century later, he still sees Emeli in his dreams and worries about where his soul is really bound for...
- Commissar Ciaphas Cain
- Gunner Ferik Jurgen - Cain's loyal adjutant.
- Colonel Mostrue - C.O. of the 12th Valhallan Field Artillery
- Lieutenant Toren Divas - junior officer and aide to Colonel Mostrue.
- Gunner Grear
- Gunner Mulenz
- Emeli Duboir - Headmistress of the Slawkenberg Saint Trynia Academy for the Daughters of Gentlefolk