Chapter 1: The One and the Four
"Blood! BLOOD! BLOOOOODDDDD!!!"
The sword shrieked in ecstasy as it descended, trailing a faint plume of vaporous energy. The Fallen One rose a thin wicker shield in a hurried attempt to block the incoming blow. A pointless and pathetic attempt. The twisted, screaming blade cleaved through the imp's upraised buckler and continued down easily through the demon's body. A spray of bright red ichor fountained into the air. The Fallen jerked spasmodically before toppling in two flopping parts.
"YES! YES!!! REVEL IN THE SLAUGHTER!!! REJOICE IN THE CARNAGE!!!" the bellowing voice was deep brass in tone and sounded like the din of unending battle.
The blade swept horizontally, propelled by a gauntlet crafted from metal black as midnight. A Fallen, stumbling back in sheer terror, was caught in the hissing, broad-edged weapon's lethal arc. The imp's head was detached neatly, the sword having effortlessly hewn through the muscles and vertebrae that connected it to its neck.
"SEE THE FLOWING LIFE FLUID!!! DRINK IN ITS FRAGRANCE!!! GLORIFY IN ITS PRESENCE!!!"
Another of the whimpering demons turned to run, only to be impaled in the back by a wickedly sharp tip. The imp half screamed and half sobbed as it was lifted up, legs kicking madly, by the blade. The Fallen wailed as cavernous maws opened up along the sides of the corrupted sword and drank in its spilled blood in greedy gulps. The keening cry of suffering slowly dropped to a listless gurgle as teeth filled orifices sucked every last drop of fluid from the demon, leaving it naught but a desiccated husk.
"MORE! WE MUST HAVE MORE BLOOD!!!"
"Correction brother… You must have more blood," the voice was a woman's, sensual and filled with seduction.
"Sister Saenesttra is right. While the butchery of these creatures was amusing at first, the three of us have grown bored of such witless and feeble opponents," another joined in. This one's tone was throaty and laced with contagion.
"Indeed, only the mindless minions of the Blood God would be so enthusiastic in slaying lesser beings," the fourth and last one articulated, its timbre filled with a mysterious air.
"FOOLS! ALL OF YOU! KHORNE DOES NOT CARE WHOMST'S BLOOD IS SPILLED! AS LONG AS IT IS SPILLED!!!"
"And therein, lies the problem," a titillating sigh escaped from the female.
"FOUL WENCH OF SLANNESH, YOU DARE INSULT THE GREATNESS THAT IS THE LORD OF HATRED?!?"
"She is not the only one," grunted the diseased voice.
"BY THE MIGHTY AXE OF KHORNE!!! I WILL RIP YOU APART WITH MY BARE HANDS!!!"
"But you can't, for you are trapped in this accursed sword like the rest of us," sneered the last being.
Varus Talladar grimaced as he examined the dried corpse still hanging limply from his daemon blade. With a casual flick of his plated gauntlet, the black clad warrior flung the dead Fallen from his weapon. The demon landed messily among the slain bodies of two dozen of its brethren, their lifeblood staining the earth beneath them a reddish hue.
"He means you, Gargorath," the female purred.
"No. I mean all of you," Varus growled.
"And what have I done to warrant such a reprimand?" the purr turned into a pout.
"By existing. It is times like these I reconsider my decision to have freed this possessed sword."
"Ahhh, but my beautiful, beautiful lord, do you reconsider the perfection granted to you by She Who Thirsts?"
"Or the immortality gifted to you by the Great Lord of Decay?" scolded the pestilent one.
"Or the powers of sorcery bequeathed on you by the Changer of Ways?" added the enigmatic one.
"OR THE STRENGTH IN YOUR ARMS ENDOWED BY THE LORD OF RAGE?!?" roared the angry one.
"Why out of all of us, must you need to continuously shout to be heard?" chided the silky tone of Saenesttra.
"WORTHY DAEMONS OF THE BLOOD GOD ARE BRAZEN IN ALL FORMS OF LIFE! THIS INCLUDES SPEAKING!!!"
"Well. Now I know why the lackeys of Khorne never get laid."
"Enough," Varus interrupted Gargorath's sputter of fury, "even though what you say is true, the constant bickering in this blade is enough to drive men mad."
"But you aren't mad my young apprentice. At least not yet," the sibilant voice dripped with self-confidence, "something you can thank Tzeentch for."
"Wrong Dreamweaver. It is through Father Nurgle's gifts that our Child remains strong and filled with purpose," snarled the diseased one.
"If your fat oozing sloth of a god had his way with our lord, he'd be nothing more than a dribbling, contagion-filled wreck."
"HAH! THE OVERGROWN AVIAN INSULTED YOU, BOKUKAZ! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?!?"
"I am going to stuff my Plague Sword up your shiny red arse if you don't shut up Bloodthirster!" the Great Unclean One spat.
"Provided you can actually move those flabby arms of yours you obese sack of pus."
"Oh bite me bird brain!"
"I would if you didn't taste like a dead quill rat someone buried for a month and then dug up."
"HAH! THE ROBE WEARING BIRD SAID YOU TASTED FUNNY! I FIND THAT TO BE HILARIOUS!"
"I am surprised 'hilarious' is in your vocabulary Gargorath. Obviously my presence in this sword has rubbed off on you. It only took what? Five thousand years?"
"YOU BASTARD BIRD MAN!!! THE FIRST THING I'M GOING TO DO WHEN I'M FREE OF THIS TRAP IS TO STRANGLE YOU!!!"
"You're first going to have to maneuver Bokukaz's sword from your ass."
Varus Talladar sighed despondently. To hold such a valuable weapon in one's hand was truly both a blessing and a curse.
Saenesttra took notice of her liege's distress.
"Don't be worried, my lord Talladar. Even if you turn out to be a 'dribbling contagion-filled wreck', I'll still love you… provided one of your mutations is a very, very long tongue."
"Thank you Saenesttra. That certainly is an endearing thought," the black armored warrior replied sarcastically.
"I heard the word 'long' and 'tongue' in one sentence, and now I'm interested," a pestilent wheeze jutted in.
"Ignore the Keeper of Secrets, my apprentice. If it's mutation you want, I can most certainly grant you a copious amount," whispered Dreamweaver.
"WAIT!!! THE SLANEESH WENCH MIGHT BE ON TO SOMETHING HERE! YES! WHY HAVEN'T I THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE!!! QUICKLY MY CHAMPION OF KHORNE! COLLECT AS MANY TONGUES AS YOU CAN! THEN FORM THEM INTO AN AXE AND WIELD IT AGAINST THESE DEMONKIN!!! DROWN THE UNIVERSE IN BLOOD AND SLOBBER!!!"
Varus sighed again, and tramped toward to what he hoped was the right direction to the Rogue Encampment.