(Thank you all for reading; I could have not made it through this without your support. Here I am wrapping up my very first story, and I feel that I have accomplished something great. I have just recently reached 100 reviews, and all of them, good and bad, are highly appreciated and instrumental to my developing fanfiction writing skills. Since this is the final chapter, I would like to ask as many of you as possible to give a final review of the completed work, please. I have already highlighted a few areas where I need to improve. 1. Battles, my battles especially sucked early on, though I believe I have gotten better. 2. Coherency from one part of the story to the other, this can be handled with better note keeping. 3. A love I have with massive and expansive conspiracies, intrigue, and moving the Warhammer 40K storyline forward from the frustrating stalemate it has been at for years. I have many creative ideas for this type of storyline, but I probably should have held off on them for a different story. Overall this was Nathaniel's story, and it ultimately revolves around him, and I may have gone overboard with the conspiracies. In the back of my head, it was my way of showing that Nathaniel is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things, even if he has some small idea about what is going on as he pieces everything together as the years go by. 4. My sense of scale, this one is so common that there is even a trope for it "Sci Fi Writers have no sense of scale". 5. My grammar issues, I am not perfect when it comes to grammar, especially since I do most of my writing late at night when I am half asleep, and I will strive to get better at this. Any other criticisms or compliments, things you liked, things you were impressed with, please feel free to share. I have had a few successes, my depiction of the Dark Eldar was very good, everyone loved the Freeport idea, good amounts of drama and humor for appropriate occasions, tearjerker moments are appropriate and powerful, Nathaniel is a very believable, likable, and relatable character, even when he does very morally questionable things, which plays into the tragic nature of the Inquisition and what it must do to protect the Imperium because the price of failure is simply too high. The Mechanatites were hit and miss; they raised a few eyebrows when they were first introduced, leading to a few more raised eyebrows when I tried to make them more grimdark. I like what I did with the Horkhesh Dynasty; they are a powerful regional threat with a lot of dysfunctional personality. My biggest bomb was the Fall of Tian arc, which started out well, but just went downhill. I have learned from that incident, taking the outrage of this fiasco in universe where Imperial Scholars are still trying to figure out every reason a curb stomp battle turned into a rout, with most of the blame being placed on the now Phaeron Cleandra Wei, her merger with the Necron Phaeron is one of my favorite moments in the story, especially when the extent of her xenophilia comes to light for Nathaniel.)
Things had wound down; Nathaniel was back in the capital, cleaned up in a fancy kimono, oddly countered with his Mantanyan Cowboy hat and weapons, attending his own private funeral for Chun. For the sake of convenience, he decided to use the funeral customs of the planet and set her body on fire on a pyre. He has officially given the world to the Crimson Sun Space Marines, with the hostile Shogun being crucified on his palace walls as a lesson against treachery. The city itself was completely demolished, what wasn't destroyed in the initial attack was destroyed in the counter attack. His retinue was fine but banged up, any chewing out from them was stopped when they discovered him carrying Chun's body with a broken look on his face. Once he issued the necessary orders, such as the execution of the Shogun, the banishment of his family, the transfer of the water Tau to his ship's holding cell, and the transfer of control over to the Space Marines, as well as getting cleaned up and dressed. Taking command of the Shogun's private garden for the funeral, he built the pyre and got the funeral underway, with strict orders for no one to disturb him with the exception of Methuselah, who had now entered the garden.
"How are you doing kid?" Methuselah asks with genuine concern in his voice.
"Right now I feel dead inside, rescuing the only woman I ever loved only to kill her on her request can be a bit much, even for an Inquisitor."
"Do you need a hug?"
"Why would I need a hug?" Nathaniel is genuinely perplexed at this.
"A hug isn't only an act of intimacy; it can be an act of comfort as well, especially when it comes from a friend."
"No hugs, though I would like your companionship right now."
Methuselah walks on over to stand next to Nathaniel.
"I am curious Methuselah, were you Chun's father?"
Methuselah lets out a chuckle at this. "No I was not her father; Huian was the one of the only women I have never slept with. Chun's father was the Inquisitor who taught her mother."
"Did you know her personally?"
"The only time I saw Chun was when she was a baby. I still remember the night when Huian got word that her daughter had been kidnapped by Dark Eldar. That was the only night I ever saw her drunk and crying uncontrollably. She never believed that she would see her daughter again, which is why you were so dear to her, you personally knew her daughter and was close to her. She once told me that there was little she could do for her biological child, but that she would fight the legions of the warp to make sure nothing bad happened to you, her adopted child. It still pains me, thinking about how she betrayed us both when she willingly joined with Phaeron Cleandra. My only theory is that she had been pushed to the edge, with the destruction of her homeworld, her disgrace and general disillusionment with the Imperium, her xenos friends abandoning her, and the death of all in her retinue, she desperately attached herself to something that would give her meaning and purpose again, and the Necrons provided that meaning and purpose."
"I figured as much, I am still upset with her though, she betrayed me and the God-Emperor. Not to mention that I was completely correct about Marltona and how she couldn't be trusted."
"Yeah, even I was caught off guard with that one, considering we had Trianna together you would think she would have been a little more sentimental."
"Do you think Chun and I would have been happy together?"
"I don't know, the only long term relationship ended with the woman I loved abandoning me for some idiotic hunter and taking our daughter with her. People still love her, which irritates me like you wouldn't believe. Though she has fallen on hard times and is suffering the humiliation she deserves, with a new man who is too good for that treacherous harlot." Nathaniel picked up a lot of anger in Methuselah's voice, wondering who this woman is.
"She caused you a lot of pain, didn't she?"
"Life is pain; you know this better than most. In many ways you and I are kindred spirits, the galaxy has thrown a lot at us but we persevere through it all. Don't dwell on Chun's death, but don't forget about her. Remember the time you had together, also, there is nothing wrong with dreaming about the life you could have had together. You can still find love, though I would strongly suggest a rejuvenation treatment. Not only will it make you look younger but it will also help you when you get into a fist fight."
"Thank you for your support, and your friendship. You are the number one person I trust. I know that you keep many secrets from me, but it's probably for my own good, and I appreciate everything you have shared with me so far."
"Thank you Nathaniel, it is my fondest dream that at least some of my scattered brood turned out as well as you did. You're like the son I never abandoned."
Nathaniel lets out a chuckle. "I would tell you to find every single one of your children and claim them, but for a lecherous old womanizer like you that would probably take the rest of your life."
"I am not flawless, I am human after all."
Both men detect a two presences silently sneaking into the garden.
"Reveal yourselves; I gave strict orders that none were too disturb me other than Methuselah." Nathaniel is on edge at this intrusion, but is relieved to see that it is just Kage Hime and a 12 year old Kyotoan girl.
"I am deeply sorry that I had to disturb your mourning Inquisitor, but I have some business to discuss with you in private before you leave, and this seemed like the best time."
Methuselah nods his head to Nathaniel and heads on out. He travels through the palace until he comes upon the astropath Jasmine who is still shaken after her exposure to the N'Tac/Old One presence earlier. Methuselah walks on over reaches into a pocket and pulls out a hard candy, handing it over to her. "Here, take this kid, it will help you. Good thing I took out that psionic disruption weapon the Haemonculus brought along or else you could have suffered some serious damage." He smiles at the confused Jasmine as he continues on his way. Meanwhile Nathaniel engages in some business with Kage Hime.
"This girl with me is my granddaughter, Tsubaki; both of her parents were killed by the Shogun during his purges. I am too old to take care of her, so I would like to hand custody of her over to you, to serve as a second apprentice."
"You do know that the life I live isn't an easy one, people hate me and I have to make some very tough decisions."
"The life of a Kyotoan Shinobi is not much better; our actions are so dishonorable that we do not even bother with family names that would be disgraced by our actions."
"Does the girl speak and read Imperial Gothic of both varieties?"
"Yes she does, I taught her myself."
"Good, that will make this easier." Nathaniel reaches into the folds of his kimono and pulls out a container, he opens it up and he pulls out a writing quill, ink well, and contract. "Thank goodness I remembered to have this brought down from the ship. Now Tsubaki, I want you to read this carefully, normally I don't bother with formalities but considering the hazardous lifestyle you will have to endure as an apprentice to me, I want to make sure that you know what you will be getting yourself into and are ready for it." The contract reads as such.
I, (Insert Name), testify that I am of sound mind and will and willingly agree to the terms of this contract. All food, lodging, equipment, and training will be provided by my Inquisitor; in return I forfeit my freedom in service to the Inquisition, and my master. Among my benefits are included healthcare and funeral arrangements if necessary. I accept that I am completely at my master's mercy, and will obey his every word when given. Failure to do so will result in a level of punishment that my master deems appropriate, up to and not surpassing drawn out torturous execution, as is befitting a lowly, vile, untrustworthy, ungrateful vermin spawn who reneges on their duties to the Emperor and to the Inquisition. In addition to my master, I am to obey the orders and wishes of all full Inquisitors, as long as they do not interfere with the wishes of my master. Only an Inquisitor Lord or higher has the authority to overwrite my masters will. Life in the Inquisition is harsh, and often very short, I acknowledge and accept this. However, I also accept that direct service to the Emperor is the greatest honor that could be given to me, and that in serving his will and hunting down his enemies I prove myself worthy of his love and the salvation he brings to all true believers.
Oath of the Inquisitors of Byzantium
I am but a lowly tool, wielded for a higher purpose.
I will not allow myself to be taken in by the falsehoods of daemons, foul aberrations that are a perversion of pure human emotions. Such creatures will be hunted down and eliminated. I acknowledge that these things exist and in so doing put my fate into the hands of the Inquisition. I will never falter in my vigil to guarantee that these nightmares from beyond do not devour the souls of man.
I will not allow the vile mutant, unsanctioned witch, misguided traitor, and dangerous heretic to live. I will not heed their words or accept any of their teachings. By acknowledging their existence and their threats I reaffirm my faith in the God Emperor and his true teachings. I will never falter in my duty to protect the minds of my fellow citizens from their lies and corrupting mutations.
I will not submit or collude with the Xenos of any variety. No Xenos wishes well for the human race, all are a threat to human dominance of the galaxy. I acknowledge that every place that harbors the Xenos must eventually be purged, and repopulated with pure human populations. I will never falter in my duty to secure the domains of the Emperor from these outward threats.
"Are the terms agreeable, once you sign this you can never go back?" Tsubaki looks up at him, smiles, and fills out what she has to.
"Inquisitor Clark, I am your weapon, use me as you see fit to serve the Emperor. There is no greater honor for one such as myself to give myself over entirely to the security of his glorious domain."
Nathaniel applies signature, pulls out his seal and presses a button, warming it up. He applies it to the paper, gently burning the seal into the contract by his signature without setting fire to the paper. "Welcome to the Inquisition, Tsubaki, may you never regret this and may you serve the Emperor for a long time."
Both look around to see that Kage Hime has disappeared.
"I guess you are my problem now, come along, my business is done here, it's time for me to return to my ship, the others should be on their way there as well."
A few hours later Nathaniel is relaxing in his office, surrounded by many of his collectibles. Behind him the wall is completely covered by his bookshelves containing his extensive collection of works, Inquisitorial academic journals and encyclopedias, instructional manuals for investigative research, tomes of Tianese poetry and philosophy, mythological works of every planet he has visited, books that had been banned by the Ecclesiarchy, with a few gems dating to the Dark Age of Technology, and his own personal journals and academic works. His desk is large, solid, and made of mahogany. He sits in a large swivel chair with two smaller wooden chairs on the other side. His desk is scattered with papers and books, with a few nick nacks everywhere. His drawers are filled with even more books, and a wide collection of vid logs. On the opposite end of the room Nathaniel has put up the armor and katana of the Shogun he has just executed. It is right between the Alban kilt and bagpipes and his shelf filled with several Tianese fans, a tea set, an incense set, and a jade Tianese dragon statue. A large Tianese kite in the shape of a dragon hangs from the offices ceiling. On the wall to his left is a collection of Mairian Tribal masks, and a large painting from Kali depicting how they view the Emperor's creation of humanity, with the Emperor having blue skin and a lot of arms. There is also a large galactic map on the wall. To his right is a collection of gold and silver statues. The crowning gem of his collection is the spirit stone of Farseer Marltona in a sealed display case, with her armor hanging right next to it. Every so often he got the odd feeling that Marltona's spirit was watching him, he just made an obscene hand gesture in her direction and left it at that. He hears a knock on the door and wonders who it is.
"Come in." Jasmine and Melissa walk on in, he beckons them in and they sit down in the chairs. "What is on your minds, are you here to complain about me taking on the Archon on by myself, I did know the Space Marines were on the way."
Jasmine starts out first, "I have received a message from Byzantium, they want to congratulate you on a job well done, oh, and Nicodemus is dead with Inquisitorial Master Agatha being promoted to Grandmaster, with Inquisitor Lord O'Peak being promoted to the rank of Master of the Ordo Xenos. Also, Master O'Peak wishes to promote you to Inquisitor Lord for your service and accomplishments."
"Great, more paperwork, can you reply back that I humbly accept the promotion, and that I wish to discuss the disturbing development of a alliance between the Horkhesh Dynasty and the Tau Empire with him, along with the imminent threat for Farsight Enclaves."
"I will do my best; communication in the warp isn't very reliable as you know. Also, I thought you didn't like the Tau."
"Normally no, but oddly enough I have respect for Commander Farsight, and the continued existence of his conclave is an insult to the Tau Empire, and a reliable buffer between us and the Tau Empire. What about you Melissa, what do you need to talk to me about?"
"It's about Tsubaki, are you trying to replace me?" There is some apprehension to Melissa.
"Melissa, I trust you utterly and completely, you are my greatest student, though I wish you would take my teachings more to heart. I am not trying to replace you, if anything takes this as a compliment. You have greatly progressed in the time we have been together; your handling of the battle in the capital is proof of that. I am looking toward the future; I want my beliefs to spread in the Inquisition, and for that to happen I need more acolytes to become Inquisitors to spread my teachings. I want you to be a big sister to her."
"I understand Inquisitor."
"Has she been settled into her quarters?"
"Yes, she didn't bring much with her so we will need to get her clothes and supplies."
"I leave that in your hands. Now if you two don't mind, I have book I have been wanting to read for awhile."
Meanwhile, on the Miss Liz, Methuselah is enjoying a glass of brandy on the bridge as his second in command walks in, a young looking woman with a cold gaze. "Malitatle, you can drop the disguises for you and the crew, we don't have any guests." In a flash of light, the young human woman is replaced by a large female Slann, with various Saurus and Skinks taking the place of the crewmembers.
"Master, can we turn the heat up; you keep the ship too cold? Also I would like to voice my disapproval with you revealing yourself so blatantly."
"Of course you can turn the heat up, and you are not the only one who finds a human body restricting at times. I thought you would be more upset about me saying humans must rule the galaxy alone, you certainly don't like it when your race is mistaken for mine."
"My race is dying, I am the last Slann child born in 3000 years with no viable mates, when man rules this galaxy, we will end our existence. Unlike the Eldar we can accept oblivion gracefully."
"I will miss you guys, I still can't believe my luck that I was able to stumble upon your world."
"We hid ourselves well, but we could not hide from time. As far as I know the other Slann worlds perished a long time ago, with the possible exception of the homeworlds in the halo stars."
On the planet of Nefertitia, Phaeron Cleandra Wei observes the events brought back my Miragera with great interest.
"Are you sure that they didn't see you?"
"Of course, no human or Eldar ever realized I was there, my tech is too good for their primitive sensors."
"So our relationship with our Tau pawns have been discovered, and my adopted son has killed my Huian's birth daughter as an act of mercy, that should be rough on him."
"Are you upset, both are technically your children?"
"Sharing this body and these memories can be confusing for us, but I do view them as my children. I know Nathaniel well, and if your recordings are correct it was not an easy decision. I will trust that my son did the right thing, who knows what horrors Chun faced in Commorragh."
"What about our alliance with the Tau pawns being discovered?"
"We will need to move up our plans for the Farsight Enclave sooner than expected. I don't want that wrinkled old gray raisin thinking I double crossed him."
On the world of Tau, Aun'va prepares to rest ushering his attendants from the room. Today had been a busy day; the hybrid colony was prospering without any knowledge of the Imperium, though that isn't what caught his attention. A smile spreads across his face as his eyes begin to glow deep blue. "You were sloppy on New Kyoto old friend, even with all these light years between us your presence shined for me, now I know that you are still out there. When I find you, you will join me or die. I will not let anyone stand in the way of the realization of my dream, not you, not the Imperium, not the Necrontyr, not the Eldar, not the Orks, not the Tyranids, and not the forces of the Immaterium. This galaxy will belong to my children, not yours." He knows his friend cannot hear him, but talking to himself is a habit he had picked up over years of loneliness and despair.
There are many threats to the Imperium out there, many I don't even know about, I will find them out and I will face them down and defeat them. With the Emperor by my side, who can stand against me?
Inquisitor Nathaniel Clark of the Ordo Xenos