Eliphas' Hovel of Pathetic Mortal Pleasures and Trainsets
They came at night, the living metal coating them, binding their essences to eternally toil for the Star Gods glittering in the moon light like the shells of beetles-
"We're not playing night fight faggot, I don't have to roll to see your guys."
Passing under the unrelenting gray ceiling of clouds stretching to every horizon, their mechanical bodies clanked and stamped in time, approaching the accursed life essences they perceived across the river, dimmed and hidden by armor they may be. Silently, wordlessly, like a well honed machine they approached, a necron with part of his body fused with a hovering mechanism lined up his destroyer, aiming for the foolish commander who-
"Buttonfucker, he can't draw LOS."
Took aim for the dreadn-
"HEY! YOU CAN'T FUCKING CHANGE YOUR TARGET!"
Uselessly sent a blast of green lightning sailing through the air above the enemy army, in a rare flicker of personality drawn up from a soul it wasn't sure even existed any more.
"Are you fucking done yet, or should I just run off and WRITE MY WILL."
The Necron Lord gazed up from the table wearily to stare at his opponent behind his armored mask.
"CAUSE I'M GOING TO AGE. TO DEATH. FROM YOU TAKING REALLY LONG."
The Necron Lord, ignoring his opponent's jibes, returned his gaze to the board. Nope. Nothing else it could do. Though it was still suspicious about the line of sight business. The Lord passed over the shooting dice to the space marine, reaching over for the rule book.
It had just gotten to the page describing cover when a clatter resounded from the far end of the table, and a warrior ricocheted off his face.
The Necron Lord lowered the rule book slowly, gazing at half of his army strewn across the floor (And in certain places, embedded in the ceiling), as Brother Iratus and Eliphas once more launched into a familiar argument about what the legal definition of vandalism was, and whether or not Eliphas' threats to ban the angry marine from the store constituted fascism. In the room over from the wargamer's, another familiar debate raged.
"If you had just TOLD me what a gazebo was, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place!"
"Abaddon, for the last time, that was nineteen encounters ago. Move on."
"I'm just saying, I wouldn't have used my Fucktover +4 on it, and then I would have had it here for this encounter, and I could have used its passive ability to enchant my Gyrspike with rending, and then I wouldn't be dead!"
Khârn's face settled into his hands, "What's Abby's AC again?"
"You can't hit me," said Abaddon, taking on a lecturing tone, and raising his character sheet to protect his face, "I've been using suggestion on you when you're sleeping to change your level of devotion to me to fanatical."
"You have, have you?"
"Yeah huh! I've been passing notes to Cypher whenever I take my turn to watch our camp!"
Cypher, from behind the DM screen waved a fist full of Abaddon's notes in the air.
"Did he also tell you that suggestion only works when you make eye contact with the target?"
"Whuh..." Abaddon stumbled for a moment, uncertainty and panic breaking over him, before coming to clarity again, "I opened your eyes."
"Let me get this straight, every time you've been on watch you've come over to me with your," A momentary struggle for the character sheet, "Three in move silently, leaned over, opened up my fucking eyelids, and whispered suggestions that I should fall in love with you to me, over the course of our two months-"
"Tree," murmured Shas'o Kais.
"Tree? What the fuck, tree- oh, THREE months adventuring together, and I never fucking noticed."
"Well, yeah, I've been rolling for the suggestions, and I got a 23, a 18, a natural 20, a 22, a-"
"Have you been rolling move silently!" shouted Khârn, what little patience he had used up.
"It doesn't matter since Abaddon is dead," LIIVI started, opening his hands, "So let's just cool our jets and take down the dragon-"
"Shut up elf boy!"
"Yeah, I was saying that I shouldn't be dead, because I shouldn't have used up the charge beca-"
This was the second session that they had spent on turn one encountering the Dragon of Balonor. Cypher shook his head. He had at least hoped to get to turn three with the dwarven attack by now. He turned, looking at Big E snoring on the table. He gave him a nudge.
"You have initiative."
"Hrmph?" The man blinked heavily, staring at Cypher, "Oh yeah, mmfuggin, uh, full dodge, dump everything to parry."
Captain Boreale breathed in and out on the street, pacing back and forth outside of "Eliphas Hovel of Pathetic Mortal Pleasures and Trainsets." He was repeating a mantra to himself, a mantra taught to him by the kind Brother Tullus to help him with his difficulties.
Boreale knew war. And in a war, one must never cease striving, to collapse on oneself in self pity and fear. One must assail every obstacle with courage and might, and never relent. Every moment resting, and not tackling the enemy was another gift to his opponents.
"Robber- Roober- Rubher- Rubber behbee-" Three times in a row before entering. That's what he had vowed.
"You should invest in a hobby, get into a social situation Mr. Ba- Boreale," Had said Tullus, "Find people, talk with them. Your problem is all up here," Tullus had said, pointing to Boreale's face.
"What hair, er, no, I meant in your head. It's all because you get uncomfortable. Find a hobby, relax around people. You'll be able to express yourself then."
Easy to say in the Convent, but out here? Boreale shook his head. No! Fear was the voice killer. He squeezed his eyes shut, gritted his teeth and hissed, "Rubber baby buggy bumpers." Then he opened them. Perfect! Even through clenched teeth! But, he wavered, he had had these moments before- No.
He stopped, turned, breathed in, and set his path. Strike while the iron was hot. He would not be stopped. He stepped forward, pushed open the doors, repeating it, again, again, "rubber baby buggy buggers, bubber baby baggy bumpers, babber buddy buggy buppers- "BABY RUBBER BUTTY HUMPERS!"
Eliphas leaned over the counter, staring at his ruined window, as far away the distant sprinting of powered armor feet fleeing echoed across the town.
It had told itself it wouldn't do it. That Monday's encounter was merely the latest in a long string of grievances, designed to make it stop playing Warhammer 40,000. Yet somehow, the Necron Lord found itself once again at Eliphas' counter, buying yet another box of necron warriors. Another fifty gelt down the drain.
"Excuse me sir!" It had just managed to work out the currency when some interruption came from below it.
"I could not help but notice you are buying the substandard pieces labeled necrons, distributed by the soulless company Monolithshop!" Somehow, the faceless ocular lenses and synthesized managed to get across the cheerful chirpiness that only the radio DJs and the criminally insane could muster in the morning, "So I must ask, why support an organization of morally bankrupt automatons devoted to scourging all life from the universe when you could support-" With a dramatic pause, the small armored figure reached out on the counter and pulled out, "Games Tauwork! A mere forty gelt, and you could be a proud owner of fire warriors in miniature defenders of peace and- Uh, are you listening?"
The Necron Lord of Kronus turned, proffering forth the box of necron warriors and the necessary money to complete the exchange. The young girl behind the counter silently completed the transaction, before turning her attention to the Tau warrior, and reaching for the box.
"Please do not take these items," she reminded the tau, before settling back to stare over the counter, awaiting further customers.
They had failed. Eliphas had realized this by the time the second cult's temple had fallen, and the enemy's vengeful armies had crept up the mountains to his gate. They had failed because they had not faith. The pathetic cowards and mercenaries he had to rule over were motivated by mere glory and pathetic bribery.
He had shown them the way, but they were blind. He had told them the truth, but they were deaf. He offered them the taste of true immortality and salvation through strength, and they instead preferred to rut in the dirt and feast upon the filth that man imagined was what they wanted.
"They reject the word of chaos my lord," He could feel the daemon's presence before he heard it, "The faithful here are not strong enough."
"IT IS A POOR SHEPHERD WHO BLAMES HIS FLOCK, APOSTLE. THIS FAILURE IS YOURS, AND YOURS ALONE." The daemon boomed, and an unfamiliar prickling of fear welled with Eliphas then, but more than fear, resentment. Hate. To be blamed for the failings of others, again?
"No! I will not go the Basilica of Torments again!" He had shouted, bringing up his plasma pistol, firing it unheeded and blindly at the daemon before him.
"FEAR NOT, APOSTLE. THE BASILICA IS RESERVED FOR THOSE WHO MAY REDEEM THEMSELVES."
And then he was brought up, up, up high, screaming in agony, and sent down into the ground, crushed, obliterated. The Daemon's mocking laughter the last thing he had heard.
He recalled thinking then, in the muddle of pain, that mere death was a mercy.
"Tiny, feeble, mortal! I have instructed dozens of your kin for the last time, I DO NOT BUY YU-GI-OH CARDS!"
"You bought Tim's," sniffed the child.
"Only because that was a unique misprint where the succubus's nipples were seen bUT SINCE THEN I HAVE REGRETTED IT FOR ALL THE MOCKING TORMENTS I FACE DAILY FROM YOU! BEGONE, FOUL CREATURE LEST YOU BRING RUIN AND DEVASTATION UPON YOUR HOUSE! FASTER! No, wait, don't run I don't want to have to put that pile of board games up again KEEP WALKING! No, no, that, that's the entrance door THE ONE ON YOUR LEFT- Gah, that's my Golden Demon entry you- BLAST AND DAMNATION!"
The child fled, out of the reaching hands of Eliphas, his foot trodding upon the artfully designed diorama of Eliphas in victory at Kronus, already broken in three.
When he had awoken again from the pain, conscious once more after the agonizing seconds of raw oblivion, Eliphas had thought the gods had given him a second chance. He had rejoiced, then sat up, and wondered why he was in a cot, and why there was a strange poster labeled "Neon Exterminatus Evangelion" on the far wall. After that, things rapidly proved to be on a distinct downhill slant. He should have known not to accept that he somehow inherited a common house of barter.
Truly, he grimly reflected, the Dark Gods were capable of atrocities beyond even his comprehension.
The game had finally broken up with the resolution that Abaddon had still wasted his most powerful artifact upon a harmless piece of architecture, however he had coincidentally found another one just like it aside from being a +3, that Abaddon had tried to use suggest on Khârn's character, and that the second attempt had awoken Khârn and that the barbarian had brutally beaten Abaddon until he forgot the suggest spell, and that Emperor, because he was sleeping at the time, would use a resurrect potion on Abaddon when he failed his Use Magic Device roll.
Leaving next session for the actual fight. Liivi shook his head as he moved from the table, the other players drifting around him drifting to work or home for the night. He was kind of disappointed in a way that Abaddon hadn't gotten his retcon, because then hopefully they could have tried talking to the dragon rather than Khârn interrupting the conversation halfway to drop the dragon's eggs he had found on the dragon itself... Whatever.
"Hey, can I get a..." Liivi looked left then right, not seeing Eliphas' familiar face, before finally noting the little girl's head barely poking over the counter.
"A little young to be working, don't you think?"
"Hm... Oh well, anyway, could I get that set of dice there?"
The little girl looked, turning to gaze behind her, before looking up again, "No."
"Uh. I have the money you know. Barring it being- okay can I get another dice set?" Maybe he had chosen one she favored accidentally?
"Okay, can I get any dice sets?"
"Are you sure?"
"Will you say ANYTHING but no?"
For a moment, it seemed the little girl was considering something, before looking up and saying, "Please do not take these items."
"Oh for fuck's sakes!"
Behind the counter, there was a doorway that led to some stairs leading up to the second floor, presumably where Eliphas lived. Liivi had never actually seen him not be in the store, come to think of it.
"Damn it Noh! Are you not serving the customers again?"
The blank stare turned to the owner of the store, far above her.
"Ah fer-" Eliphas rolled his eyes, and turned to Liivi, "What'd you want."
"Uh, the dice please?" Said Liivi with some uncertainty. At this Eliphas turned to his misbehaving employee.
"Dice. Get them for him. When people ask for things, you get them, and wait until they give you the money like I showed you, and then you give them the object. Okay?"
The child tottered off, to reach for the dice above her, and Eliphas turned, shaking his head, "Sorry about the kid, she's got all the brains of an ogryn and the memory of a ripper."
"Why do you keep her then?" Asked Liivi, dumbfounded, as he passed the money to Noh, before glancing at the glass eyed girl and feeling immediate guilt, "I mean, I don't mean to sound cruel but-"
"Not one theft since I hired her," replied Eliphas with no small satisfaction. "Don't ask me why or how, but nothing gets stolen," A scowl manifested on his face, "Except for this one time that somebody tried to bodily take her from the store. That was fucked up."
Unsure how to respond, Liivi could only nod, and walk off with his new set of dice, feeling profoundly awkward.
A new day. A new attempt. Underneath the sweltering noon day sun, Boreale summoned his courage, standing before "Eliphas' Hovel of Pathetic Mortal Pleasures and Trainsets." To be sure, he had failed last time, the taped over hole where a window used to be testifying to such. But this time, he would not fail. He drew himself to his full eight feet and seven inches, took a moment to form the aquila, and entered, pushing aside the door.
The dwellers of the dark den gave only a momentary glance to the intruder, then returned to their machinations. Somebody brushed past, chattering nervously on a cell phone to some female speaker, and then all returned to what they were doing. Boreale was amazed. Some sat about tables, undergoing military simulations, others were on the floor, carefully constructing civil transportation mechanisms, still others stood in a library, carefully reading over arcane tomes, filling themselves with knowledge.
Boreale had feared that he had chosen the poorly in inspecting this shop, but in fact, he had chosen wisely! All manner of intellectual interests were here to stimulate and occupy his mind, and these people were not ones to judge because of a mere speech impediment and cosmetic issue! No! He stood in the presence of comrades in arms, trusty and worthwhile citizens that he- "Hey, aren't you the guy that ran in here and yelled about baby hump-"
Eliphas returned from upstairs, bearing a box of Unknown Armies Fifth edition books, and saw that his other window had been smashed After taking a moment to draw in the view, he turned, gazing around before settling a finger on Shas O'Kais.
"You're paying for that."
"Khârn, check out this image I got from /gt/ at 4clover!"
"Man, fuck /gt/," Grumbled Khârn, turning away from Abaddon's laptop, "All they ever talk about there is Unknown Armies, and I'm fucking sick of seeing the front page clogged with Abel and Naked Goddess fanart. All of them, Stolzefags."
"Awww c'mon, look, you can see that it's reverse gendered, see, Abel is getting reamed by the Na-"
"Where's Liivi?" Said Cypher, just coming to the table with a fresh can of skub.
Shas O'Kais looked up, and rapidly explained not only where Liivi was, but his judgments of the entirety of the Imperium, this gaming store, and the essential unfairness of the law.
"What'd he say?" Abaddon, again, presumed that the group was capable of translating what their blue skinned cohort could say.
"It's all moonspeak, retard, none of us speak his damn language, we've told you something like eighty times. Why'd we let a tau into our game anyway?"
"He was the one that answered the ad and played the cleric."
"But he didn't. He's playing a dragonborn with a katana and shurike-" Khârn's point was interrupted by Cypher again.
"WHERE is Liivi?"
"Oh yeah," Abaddon fell into a fit of giggles, "His GIRLFRIEND called, WH-CHHHH" he imitated a whipping motion, which only succeeded in slopping skub on Emperor sleeping across from him.
"We can do it without him," Khârn said with confidence, "Run this dragon at us, we don't need a mage."
"Especially, heh, especially a mage with -10 Body stat!"
"Shut the fuck up Abaddon. C'mon Cypher! While the day's yet fucking young!"
"And Liivi's character?"
"We'll play for him, don't worry."
Liivi returned, panting. Just his luck his girlfriend's car broke down on the way to work. He reentered the store, hoping that his friends would understand. Of course, he reflected upon entering their alcove, and seeing Abaddon giggling behind his claw, perhaps he had been a bit premature labeling his fellow gamers as "friends"...
"You pimped out my character to the attacking dwarf king."
"You'd already lost your legs and spellbooks to the dragons, we just figured we'd put your character to good use," sniffed Khârn, offended at the notion that there might have been personal reasons behind his strategy.
"My character isn't meant for melee!" shouted Liivi, "And she isn't meant, to, to, to, to be whored out to a dwarf to distract them while you could set fire to their tunneling equipment!"
"To be fair," started Cypher, "You and the dwarves were IN the tunneling equipment when it happened, so it was two birds with one stone."
"Dwarves?" Liivi glanced to all the players, "There was more than one?" Silence. "You sold my character to be gangbanged by a bunch of DWARVES so they could all be in one place so you could burn them all to death?!"
"You die honorabry," pipped in Shas O'Kais, smiling.
"It was a random encounter!" Liivi shouted, looking around, "Did you just COMPLETELY disregard my characters attributes? Here, right here, 'loathes dwarves- promised to King Merrowyn of the Captured Kingdom of Lorn- Honorable to a FAULT' that was completely out of character!"
Khârn counted on his hand, "You were part of a plot that killed a bunch of dwarves, you were honor bound to help us despite being crippled, and, uh," Khârn hesitated a bit, "The dwarves were plotting to kill King what's-his-face, see, it all works out!"
"I was paying more attention to your character portrait, I mean damn," said Abaddon, craning over to look at the picture Liivi had agonized in drawing, "Them's some nice gams, I think those dwarves died happy."
Liivi, defeated, looked around at the table, "So that's it then? My character, dead, in a flaming dwarven gangbang?"
Silence. Eventually Cypher shrugged, parting his hands, "You weren't here?"
Friday night. It had painted and assembled the new miniatures with speed - a byproduct of not having to eat or sleep. They were safe and ready in their case, prepared to conquer whatever opponent they faced. It returned to the store, resolving, this time, it would not know the shame and ignominy of defeat. It was the mere foolish whim of the dice that had destroyed it last time was all.
But... entering past the two tape covered windows, it paused. There, in the corner. Its eternal nemesis. Sitting, mildly shaking, muttering curse words under his breath, large thumbs attempting to work the combination of stylus and DS-
"WHAT THE FUCK? WHAT THE FLAMING FUCK?! FUCK YOU JACK FLASH!" With a sound of shattering plastic, the portable game system slid across the floor, trailing electronics and shards, "NOW WHAT, HUH? YOU NOT FUCKING JUMPING NO MORE, ARE YOU? HUH? HUH?"
The Necron considered the scene from the doorway. Its optics desperately scanning the building for another player of 40k, anything, anyone-
Over there. Demure, quiet, sitting at a table, examining its miniatures. The one in the horned helmet. Yes. This one would be its opponent.
The Necron approached with a song in the facsimile of its heart (passing the hole in the wall where there were four arguing players of fourth edition Dungeons and Dragons). Perhaps, this was the start of a better day.