Chapter 7

It was only after brushing a thick layer of dust off an old washroom mirror that Leth was able to catch her own reflection.

"And when were you going to tell me that I'm naked!?"

"Mmm... Maybe after we searched a few more rooms I might have," Triss joked. "You just seemed very focused on your search looking in every room and.. bending over every crate.." Triss did an exaggerated bend forward while looking in some draws to put the extra emphasis on her tease punch-line. Leth was unsure whether to rearrange what remaining rags she had on, or to cover her now bright red face. "And how exactly, Guardsmen, did that cheek serve you in your duty?"

Triss could see Leth was just being defensive from embarrassment, but the question was still cause for her to straighten, the smile lost from her face. "You should ask my CO. My commander had a lot of love for the Emperor, and even some to spare for the men and women under his command. He kept me close, probably for his own amusement, but that also to keep me from others who would have shown less.. restraint." Triss fiddled with her bandages. "My 'cheek' kept me in the spotlight where everyone could see me, and that saved me from certain people and.. things I dare not think of. I suppose it doesn't matter anymore, they're all dead now. Every last one of them..." She trailed off into her own thoughts leaving Leth unsure what to say. Finding a little self-courage she stepped up to Triss and lightly rested a hand on the girl's shoulder. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get defensive." Leth again caught her reflection in the rooms large wall-mounted mirror. She stood, caked in mud from face to toe and Triss sported a fifty/fifty of dirt and blood covering her bandages and rags that were once her uniform. The two of them looked battered, bruised, filthy and absolutely soaked in sweat. "It's ok," Triss said, pulling Leth's gaze back from the mirror. "I know you didn't mean it.." A partial smile returned to Triss as she took a step closer closing the gap between the two, just close enough for Leth's breasts to sit atop her own. Triss teasingly walked two fingers starting at Leth's waist moving up her side. It tickled as the fingers got higher, moving over Leth's left breast up towards her neck. "Also I'm sorry.." Triss said forcing her gaze upward to look at Leth's face. "What for?" Leth replied unable to think of anything else to say with the Guardsmen pressed up against her. "I'm sorry for hiding these clothes from you I found two rooms back"

Leth's eyes went wide. "Oh for Fu.. "

Of all the menial jobs a Sister of Battle could ever be faced with; washing and cleaning was something so criminally below their stature that giving such a job to a Sister would be grounds for execution, immediately, preferably by fire. But such heresy was exactly what it was going to take to get Leth's armour usable again. The vile gunk covering her suit needed dissolving and scrubbed off, and with the limited cleaning supplies found, it looked as if the job would be done by hand. Triss stood next to the arranged, laid out armour looking very unsure what to do. "Well, on one hand it would be my place to do the scrubbing for you, but on the other," Triss shuffled nervously, "This suit is sacred armour. Am I even allowed to touch this?" "Normally not," Leth frowned getting straight to work scrubbing the first piece, "But at this rate you may be the more worthy to wear it." She looked up at the Guardsmen, "A Guardsmen in Sororitas armour might just be the secret weapon we've all been waiting on." Triss snorted at the idea. "No you need white hair to get away with that look, not to mention I'm not tall enough, And don't even get me started on the bust size you need to fill out that armour!" "Hey! I am not that.." Leth gave up knowing any point she made was void so long as Triss got a reaction out of her. "Helpful comments aside, you should rest up," Leth gestured to the medical bench. Triss however looked at it with a cool hatred. With her wounds, she could hobble around but that tall bench continued to be just too high for her." Leth saw Triss' disliking to the idea. "Or, you could keep looking for supplies if you're feeling up to it. Whatever is good by you." Triss didn't take another single look at the medical bench. She about-faced, grabbed Leth's flamer, and proceeded straight out of the room, almost skipping. Leth's eyes followed her as she left. 'By The Emperors Thrown; That girl could be missing both her arms and she'd still be skipping around with a smile'. Still hunched over the armour, Leth called out after the Guardsmen, "Don't go too far!" A cheerfully mocking "Yes ma'am" returned as its source ventured down the hallway.

It was the sixth partially flooded room Triss had found in her search, but what immediately separated this one from the rest was the smell of unsettled dust and the second doorway on its opposing wall. The other rooms only had the one entrance connecting it to the main hallway. A hallway Triss was starting to suspect never actually ended. Stepping forward into the room, Triss let off a short burst from her borrowed hand held flame thrower, it's light dousing the rooms old cracked walls in a short but warm brightness. The second door however remained dark and concealed. The water wasn't deep enough to come up to her knees but was so black that Triss could not see her own submerged boots. There was the slightest sensation of moving air pushing past Triss, perhaps a sign of another escape path. Raising her flamethrower again to momentarily combat the engulfing darkness, Triss felt a strange sensation, like she was being watched closely. She kept the flamer firmly aimed at the secluded entrance as she stepped forward. Again the weapon triggered, producing another burst of light, Triss still struggled to see past the exit. Egregiously what did come to light was the nature of the archway; it wasn't a door, more like the end of a tunnel that had worked its way into the room forcefully. Strange symbols were engraved or 'burnt' into the rock and the cracks in the room's walls all stemmed from the hole.

Triss gasped and took a firm step backwards. Her heart skipped a beat. She couldn't quite hear it but, sensing it in the moving air, her mind was absolute; something was rapidly approaching. Without even a second glance she turned tail and bolted for the main hallway as fast as her legs would allow her. A huge dose of adrenaline surged her veins as the sound of something in full galloped behind her echoed through the tunnel. "Leth! HELP!" Triss's wet boots slid on the dirt floor as she tried to round the corner, sending her flying into the opposing wall. A flash of pain swept over her as her head bashed against the hard rock surface, and for a moment all Triss could see were stars, and all she could hear was the sound of something running towards her at full pelt. Either there was more then one pursuer, or it had more then two legs.

The stars and static gave way to vision as Triss looked up from the ground. Facing towards her, bolter raised, stood a partially armoured Lethaine. What armour she did have on glistening wet against the flickers of surrounding candle light. She was missing her left gauntlet, both shoulder plates, her right legging and boot, and she didn't have her sword. Leth's eyes pierced the darkness with a firery rage aimed at the approaching sound. Without glancing down she hissed "Behind me, now!

Helspawn does approach".