Honour Among Fiends (Short Story)
|Collected in||Heroes of the Space Marines|
Scaevolla, warrior of Abaddon's Black Legion, is on the hunt. His quarry is Captain Demetros of the Imperial Fists, the target of an ancient grudge. As the net closes around the unsuspecting Space Marine, Scaevolla has doubts. His quest is ten millennia old, and he tires of it, but does he have any option other than to bring his prey to ground?
Scaevolla, a veteran of the Great Heresy, Black Legion champion and squad-leader, is compelled to seek out and duel the genetic descendants of his once-friend and eventual enemy, Captain Alpeh of the Imperial Fists. As much as he enjoys such hunts, he also despairs at his personal, seemingly eternal role in the Long War, apparently blinded to the easy way out by his Chaotic masters...
The polluted warzone of Zincall VI, where Imperial forces under the command of Captain Demetros battle the forces of the Traitor-Lord H'raxor. The main battles described surround and eventually penetrate an industrial city, where Scaevolla and Demetros have their duel.
- The Black Legion
- Scaevolla - Once a Luna Wolf of the Great Crusade, Scaevolla was honour-brother to Apleh of the Imperial Fists, the pair having fought together in several encounters. During the Siege of the Emperor's Palace they sought one another out and dueled. Emerging the victor, Scaevolla angrily swore by the Chaos gods that he would hunt and slay Aleph's descendants to the end of time. After the end of the Heresy, he dedicated Aleph's skull to the Four Gods of Chaos upon the daemon world Sebaket, and would go on to take around 500 more, descendants of Aleph all, over the 10,000 years since the Heresy. He had prayed at the resultant altar of skulls to be released of his oath many times, but was always denied, coming to realise that the gods demanded his actions purely for petty entertainment. Disillusioned, he felt envious of those who died, but did want to die himself except on the blade of one of those he hunted. This of course, would stop the gods of Chaos enjoying the hunt and so, much to his dismay, Scaevolla found that he had been made immortal...doomed to the hunts, fovever.
- Lieutenant Larsus - Enthusiastic and committed to fighting Imperial forces in general, but especially during a hunt.
- Ferox - Once the joker and backbone of the squad, subsequently rewarded by the Chaos Gods with mutation and cannibalistic fervour. Looked upon with awe by everyone in the squad except Scaevolla, who missed the older and more entertaining person Ferox once was.
- Icaris - Close-combat orientated, Icaris wept tears of blood when killing, as he was denying mortals the opportunity to know real joy in the worship of Chaos. Despite being impossibly ancient, he retained the basic appearance and demeanour of a youngster, earning him the epithet 'boy'.
- Manex - Gunfighter, armed with two bolt pistols. Regularly operated under the intoxication of several poisons pumped directly into his brain and could go out of control as a result.
- Opus - The biggest and strongest in the squad, Opus possesses an autocannon and a tuneless singing voice.
- Sharn - Flamer-trooper and wearer of a distinctive totally-blank helmet.
- Surgit - Duelist, choosing only to engage enemies deemed he worthy, such as leaders and champions.
- Imperial Fists
- Captain Aleph - An Imperial Fist of the Great Crusade, he was slain by his honour-brother, Scaevolla, during the final stage of the Heresy. With his last breaths he spurned Scaevolla's offer to save his life if he forswore his oaths to the Emperor and mocked his killer. This provoked Scaevolla to doom himself with his oath.
- Captain Demetros - Genetic descendant (through gene-seed donation) of Aleph, he lead the Imperial forces on Zincali VI. Assaulted and forced into a duel by Scaevolla, he succeeded in landing a fatal blow on the Chaos Marine...at least, a blow that should have been fatal if Scaevolla had not been made immortal by his Chaotic masters/tormentors. Demetros was struck down by Scaevolla, who once again seemingly blinded to the import of his actions, took Demetros' skull but left the body of his eternal prey otherwise untouched...allowing the gene-seed to be recovered and used to create a successor once more.