Parchments and Bolters
Parchments and Bolters is a recent piece of /tg/ writefaggotry about
adept slave #5552, a perpetual who soon finds herself getting unwanted attention from The Emperor. It has gone through several iterations, with the first and second found below.
The first version, which ran between June-July 2020:
First thread can be found here: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73461308/
And the second one here: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73558282/
And the third one here: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73641606/
And the fourth one here: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73793884/
And the fifth one here: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73962519/
The second version, which ran in April 2021:
First Thread can be found here: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/78702562/
And the second one here: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/78828951/
The third and current iteration began in March 2022 and is ongoing. Here, slave #5552 is a perpetual serving the Techno-Barbarians during the Unification Wars until she finds herself encountering the Thunder Warriors and later, the Emperor. Here, she learns of his plans to unify humanity, and her eventual role in them...
First Thread can be found here: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/2022/83658735/
And the second one here: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/2022/83881174/
And the third one here: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/2022/84072398/
Hey /tg/ it's been a long while. From my time in uni and job I couldn't help but remember this story and wanted to give a go again. I'd be happy if you would join me one last time.
Empires rise and fall.
In this new hellish world, war was constant, disease rampantly spread like consuming fire, and tragedy was the norm where a quick death was a miracle. And amongst the chaos, the perpetual, slave #5552, did her best to remain inconspicuous as possible.
It was just another day toiling in the factory, shoving in the coals and working the machines of the metal mill. Perhaps it was steel, iron, who knew? The only thing she knew was the daily toils she had to go through. The suffocating hot air and fumes choked her lungs, her body ached from the ungodly unending work, and her throat was drier than the most barren deserts. Sweat marinated her skin and her hair obstructed her view. She would have shaved them off if not for hair being a commodity for the warlord's harem, since some could not grow their own hair properly.
“Hey Tinn, watch this!”
5552 carried the coal and as she waited in the line she saw it. A techno barbarian grabbing Slave #4242 then tossing him into the tub of molten steel. The sound of clashing metals and creaking cries of the machinery drowned he screams as usual, but 5552 watched, as a sick way of letting the man know at least he would not die alone, not that he would know. 5552 did what any right minded individual would do. Turning her attention back to work. Ever since some army led by a ‘golden’ man has been going around conquering one war-state after another, production quota sky rocketed.
“I heard that took out hundreds of our guys, those thunder warriors.” The barbarian said.
“Shut it you frakk! The last time that said that was flayed alive by the boss!”
In her ever growing wisdom, the worst of the worst, got worse. Whoever these thunder warriors were, she hoped that they would kill the barbarians soon.
It was just another day inside the “slave quarters.” Though it was more of a pit with blankets. After a day of work the slaves would be brough into the pit through a ladder which would be retrieved by the techno-barbarians. 5552, along with other slaves huddled in, in the lowest level of the warlord’s kingdom was the pit. In already cold region the pit was a freezing hellhole, on the bright side anyone that died while sleeping at least did not decompose quickly. 5552 lied on the cold concrete ground and brought her knees close to generate some kind of warmth and huddled with other slaves.
“Hey fifty-two.” Slave number 2012 said. “Do you think the rumors are true?”
2012 was a young girl, only a few years older than 5552’s physical appearance with muddy blond hair caked in soot.
“The thunder warriors?” 5552 said. “I don’t know. It’s best not to have hope. Let’s try to sleep.”
“But what if they are?” 2012 excitedly. “They have to come here to rescue us, and the mill will be an important place!”
“Maybe they’re real, maybe they can be worse than our warboss. Don’t get your hoeps up 2012.” 5552 said. “Let’s just try to survive tonight.”
“You’re probably right. Hope never did anything good anyways. Just look what happened to 4242. I bet those frakkers killed him since he did his best to keep us happy.”
“Come on 2012, let’s go to sleep.”
“Good night 5552.”
“Good night 2012.”
In the hot forge of the mill, 5552 moved like a factory machine. Unlike the usual die more slave seemed to be abused, some just outright murdered in middle of its tasks. Fear gripped 5552’s heart fully knowing she could next if she was close to them for any reason. It was not death she feared, it was her immortality being discovered. While her memory may be fragmented, phantom pain followed with any remembrance of her immortality discovered. What 5552 also noticed was the increase in the guards.
The slaves stop, and see another slave being held up in the air by his neck, flailing helplessly. The other barbarian brandished an ax. The servants continued to cry and scream, apologixing, for what he did not say, only apologizing with all his might. A lump passed through 5552’s throat.
“From now on, anyone caught slacking off will not be punished.”
The barbarian raised the ax high and stayed still, ensuring all slaves watched with pure horror in their eyes. Once the blade fell there was a sickening scream, and a body not flailing, but thrashing madly. Gore was something she could never acclimate to, even now. For further shock, the barbarian then bashed the slave’s head. Enough force to make it bloody, but not enough to make the death quick.
“I’ll make you regret it. NOW GIT BACK TO WORK!”
The slaves scattered after that. Whatever was going on, something must’ve been working. With 2012 beside her 5552 continued to shovel the coal into the flaming furnace.
“You think it was the thunder warriors?” 2012 whispered.
“Shut it 2012.” 5552 sharply whispered.
“I hope the thunder warri-”
“WHO SAID THAT!”
5552 bitterly sighed, of course a techno barbarian would be nearby. Life just happened to work that way sometimes. 2012 and 5552 saw the hulking techno barbarian, the one known as Bone-Killer, a name so stupid that 5552 wondered if the brains of the barbarians was smaller than a walnut. Bone-Killer stomped his way towards them, shoving any foolish slaves that did not notice him. The techno-barbarian stood, his intimidating height towering over 5552 and 2012.
“Who. Said. That.”
2012 trembled, and 5552 stayed silent. 2012 was a stupid girl, and 5552 wasn’t about to sacrifice herself to just-
“IT WAS HER!”
Shit. 5552 glared at 2012 with rage. But before she could say anything, she saw the world turn upside down. Then as expected, things went dark for a while. The cold void of death only welcomed for a brief moment, then rejected her for the thousandth time. 5552 opened her eyes, greeted by the familiar cold hard ground, except the space was smaller and had bars.
“Look she’s alive!”
The barbarians gathered as if she was a creature to be gawked at. After that, it was one death after another. Shot, stabbed, decapitated, few months later she became a living target practice for the barbarians. And once they found out she didn’t need food to survive, she could not find the energy to move, she might as well been a stationary target.
A bullet popped her head like a rotten melon.
This was her life. Get “fed” with moldy wheat blob, which 5552 avoided. Go out into the field and walk. She did admit, it was better than being tortured slowly. That, that was something she could not fathom. Days, weeks, months had passed in her new life. Wake up. Get shot. Wake up. In this instance, the bastards made a grenade full of nails. 5552 simply cut her own throat once she realized that. Their methods would be come more brutal, nail bombs, flame throwers, day by day it looked like their sadistic nature began to grow.
5552 once again stood in the range, eyes wide and ears sharp to start dodging once more, hoping a headshot will take her out early. The sharpnels of the previous day pierced her feet, and 5552 cursed her negligence and the barbarians.
“Hey frek!” The barbarian said. “You’re going to love this!”
The barbarians excitedly brought in a specially made explosion. The kind that was comically large and crudely put together. 5552 tried to hide behind that one rock that the barbarian let her have. She turn, but the bullets riddled her legs into shredded meat. 5552 bit her lips to not give them the satisfaction. She looked back, and saw the crude fuse lit. 5552 closed her eyes. The ear shattering explosion was only for a few seconds. When she opened her eyes once more, she found herself in the tundras, where the mill was but a small speck in her vision. Her scattering fragment flew far, and had the unfortunate luck of regenerating from the said fragment.
Walk around, die, walk around, die. It was a cycling process until 5552 looked for the nearest settlement. It was a local town known for making food for the barbarians, now the aftermath of a destructive battle. Rubbles replaced homes, the dreadful cold preserved the corpses, any semblance of civilization was a strewn-up carcass, cruelly layered by the unceasing snow. 5552 entered the only intact home, she tossed any burnable furniture into the pile. The fire began to slowly rise, plumes of smoke creating a terrible smell that came with the glowing warmth.
Her memory always had a habit of crawling back in silence. Not the memories of the advanced world, no, the memory when humanity was young, full of ignorance and hope. The empires that once thought they were invincible, now consumed by the unstoppable wave of time.
The comfort only lasted for so long. 5552 stayed where she was, wrapped up in blankets.
5552 slowly did so and saw a hulking man. Not like any tall barbarians, not by his armor. For men clad in armor that looked like exaggerated drawings, they were somehow silent.
“Where are you from?” The soldier asked.
“I escaped from the mills.”
The soldier’s visor hid his face, but the snarl of his lips gave away his annoyance.
“You’re telling me you walked all the way to this town?”
“In this age, things are hard to believe.”
“Am I meant to be amused?”
5552 sighed, intimidation was but a useless question to her. A rhetorical question that needed no answer. She was too old for this nonsense.
“Look, either you kill me or take me to your boss. You’re thinking about asking me for another way to the mill, yeah?”
The soldier snarled again, another feign attempt of intimidation.
“Do you thunder warriors always answer with some sort of glower too?” 5552 said tiredly.
“You know of us?”
“Barbarians kill any slaves that even attempt at saying your name.”
“And you’re one of them?”
“Someone else said but they blamed me.” 5552 said indifferently, not like she blamed that young girl. “So do you want that mill location or not?”
“After I bring you to the captain.”
The eerily empty town was not densely populated, 5552 did not ask how they achieved it, there were things that were not worth asking. Not like they were going to answer her anyway. The captain, wearing a golden helmet with a crimson plume stared down at her, brandishing a bulky gun and sword.
“How did a sickly slave like you survive?” The captain said.
“Luck.” 5552 said with a shrug.
The answer to her answer was staring at the barrel of the gun.
“Luck? Do I look like a gullible frakker?”
She shrugged again.
“I can lead you to the mill undetected or you can just shoot me here and try to besiege it. Which do you want?”
“You will lead us then, but if this is a lie-”
“You’ll make me regret it, I know.”
5552 pointed toward the icy landscape, and began the journey back. Though she could not help feel an eye on her...
The thunder warriors were a strange bunch. Once she led them to the passageway they did not opt for a more clandestine way. Instead, they charged in with bare resistance. After all, the passageway was to keep the slaves in, not out. The unstoppable force of blades and bullets ripped through the techno-barbarians. It was certainly satisfying to watch, and once the assault ended the slaves kicked the eviscerated corpses.
“So you were correct, you did well.”
“I only told you where to go.” 5552 said.
“You could have easily betrayed us, not that it would make a difference.” The captain said with a gruff. “What I’m curious about is how you survived.”
“It’s just how it is.” 5552 said. “I was lucky.”
“Luck does not protect you from the frozen land and death.” The captain said. “Nevertheless, you have helped us. The mill was a strategic target for the unification.”
“The unification.” The captain said. “It is the Emperor’s will that humanity will be unified once more, then set out to the stars.”
Yes, because that went well. The uncharacteristic zeal in thunder warrior was something to note, he seemed genuine n his belief. Well, the goal was at least sounded nice, impossible, but nice.
“YOU! YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD!”
It was 2012, trembling at your sight. The captain and the rest of the thunder warriors simply stood, unsure of what to make of 2012’s rambling. 2012 began telling the thunder warrior her story, without admitting to what she did. The bitch. The thunder warriors were actually listening to 2012 as well as if what she said made sense. Stories of 5552 being shot, blown to pieces, and stabbed, but always coming back alive.
“SHE’S A MONSTER!” 2012 said. “KILL HER! KILL HER NOW!”
Once the thunder warriors stared at 5552, she took a step back. It was made worse when other slaves that were forced to watch joined in as well. The slaves then begin to do the human mob mentality, then all began to call her a monster. Which, 5552 had to admit, was partially true. No humans can simply come back from death after all.
“SLAY THAT MONSTER!”
The captain grabbed 5552 by her arms and walked toward the barbarian’s quarter, 5552 waited for a swift execution and dreaded what would happen after.
“Don’t be afraid.” The captain said. “I won’t kill you just because some slaves think you’re immortal.”
5552 let out a sigh of relief.
“However, you will come with us. You will speak with my Emperor. He will decide whether you’re a threat or not, until then you will stay with us. It’s better than facing a mob, and somehow I think you are experienced with such problems.”
“And when do I meet this emperor?”
“Soon. Rest up while you can, we make our way to meet with our emperor soon.”
For the first time in years, she slept peacefully, the uncertainty of the future could wait.
Meeting the Emperor
Lucid dreaming was not a common occurrence, but enough that she knew what was going on. She found herself dressed in a toga. She witnessed an old place, ancient even by Earth’s standard, Constantinople. More specifically, the Hagia Sophia. The beautiful arches, the lush gardens, and even the untouched mosaics that glistened like gems. It was comforting to be in the church again, even if it may be a dream.
She saw a man. Taller than the average man with rippling muscles, dressed in a white robe and red sash, glowign in the most glorious gold. With features that all men would be jealous of, and all women would lust after.
“A beautiful church, is it not?” The man said.
“It is.” 5552 said. “I was there when it was being constructed. From beginning to end, I would always visit Constantinople every decade or so.”
“Have you now?”
5552 nodded, eyes glued on to the man more than the church itself, despite its brilliance architecture. How could a man look so… divinely handsome? She calmed her heart, turning her gaze at the mosaics instead. Yes, the mosaics made for an excellent dish to her eyes.
“I did, it’s strange. I can remember them so clearly now…” 5552 said. “Especially when Constantine made it the capital of the empire.”
“It is much shame it was built for worship.” The man said. “A waste of effort.”
5552 raised a singular eyebrow, holding her offended visage.
“What does it matter?”
“It does, what has religion done for them that it deserves such a building? They should have made it for medical research, or a place for scholars to gather.”
“It’s where people find solace, be it whether their religion is real or not.” 5552 said.
“Praying does nothing but instill false hope.”
“Having hope matters, it doesn't matter how you attain it." 5552 said. "Enough of this nonsense, I'm going to awake up from this aggravating dream."
5552 shut her eyes tight, then opened them again.
The alluring warmth of the bed detained 5552 as much as possible. The soft fur against her skin and the softness of the bed trapped her in, until the booming voices of the thunder warriors awakened her sleep. 5552 groaned under her breath. The captain slammed the door open, his visage hidden by the golden mask.
“Get up, we move out now.”
5552 let out a long yawn before moving. Ignoring the slaves she walked across the tightened the straps of her new winter coat and the packs for maps that the thunder warriors found. What astounded her was the fact that the barbarians knew how to read.
“Let us go.”
And so, 5552 began the long march with the thunder warriors into the frozen wilderness. Mountains in covered in snow stretched far into the horizon. The winds howled, whipping against 5552’s face. Even with the layers of clothes, the cold seeped into her bones. Eventually, she had to be carried by the captain’s shoulder due 5552’s inability to keep up with their pace.
“So who is this Emperor?” 5552 said.
“He is the leader of us thunder warriors. The Emperor of Mankind.”
“That’s some title.” 5552 said skeptically.
“I understand the doubt you have. But he is the only hope for humanity, and the unification for the great future for mankind.” The captain said fervently. “You will know once you meet him.”
“And how far is he?”
“He is in Ghonest.”
“Your men conquered that far?” 5552 said disbelievingly.
“It is because the Emperor leads us. Nothing more.” The captain said proudly. “Once you meet his liege. You too will understand.”
And before she knew it, she arrived at Ghonest, only a few feet away from the tent where the so-called Emperor was.
It was a bright light that first enveloped her vision. A golden armor so intricately carved that she had never seen before. In all her life she witnessed countless art, but what she saw now, this was not art, but something far more, something she could not describe with mere words. Then his face, his light dark skin was practically flawless and his visage was as if God himself crafted with the finest clay! Not to mention his height, the thunder warriors around him was now but a mere child next to the god.
The man’s mouth did not move, yet he spoke, with a voice of silk and rich baritone that echoed inside her mind, like a drop of water that would make a pond ripple once. 5552 swallowed the lump in her throat, she quickly fixed her hanging jaw. Should she bow? Prostrate?
“G-Greetings…” 5552 said nervously.
“My captain tells me that some slaves saw you die, and that he saved you from the violent mob.”
“He did… my Emperor. I’m thankful.”
“It is good that you are here. You are like me are you not?”
5552 nervously laughed, out of confusion more than anything else.
“Forgive me for not believing that, Emperor.” 5552 said. “There is not a single thing that makes us the same.”
“You have walked with humanity have you not? Far longer than I have.”
“I have not done much I’m afraid.” 5552 said.
“Have you now?”
The Emperor placed his golden gauntlet over 5552’s head, he moved so gracefully, so kindly, that 5552 did not fear the giant. Warm light flooded in her mind, bringing memories that even she did not remember. Her first child, Sabium, he ruled Babylon as the first king. Hannibal, her second son, with a heavy heart, she knew he who ould grow as a warrior, much to her worry. Socrates, her third son, he drove her mind with his inquisitive mind. A single tear rolled down to her cheek.
“How… how can I forget my sons?”
“You have lived for millenniums, it is not your fault. You have sired sons that shaped this world, a mother that changed the course of humanity.”
“I… thank you. But it was not I should be commended.” 5552 said. “I simply raised them.”
“And now, you will be needed once more. Once I take humanity’s reign, I will be the guiding arms and mind of humanity. You shall be its heart, place your trust in me, and my plan.”
“And what is your plan?”
The Emperor smiled.
It was a grand plan. Unify humans under his rule, and that meant all humanity including those that disappeared into the stars, and establish human dominance over the entire spanning galaxy. But with the Emperor… it just might be possible. They talked, mostly being 5552 answering the Emperor’s question of her time in humanity as he shifted through her memory. Babylon, Greece, Rome, Byzantine, and even a small memory when she used to live in Utah, what on earth was she was doing in Utah?
And dear god, she had so many famous sons that she forgot about! Even a mother to a famous rock star! Sitting across the Emperor in a makeshift chair, holding a hot cup of spiced tea. Now the discussion of the ‘Primarch’ project was being discussed. Twenty genetically created children from the Emperor’s gene, and it was her job to raise them. Motherhood was already a daunting task, but raising twenty? No experience would help her with that. But seeing the Emperor’s trust in her, and the unification of humanity… it was certainly worth trying.
“Then what are we to do now?”
“I will continue to reunify terra, and you will stay where I am, to witness the unification with me.”
“I’ll be of no use.”
“Not now, yes. But you are an invaluable factor in my plan. It is better you are with me than to risk of your capture.”
“I’m honored, my Emperor.”
Thus, her journey began.
It never ceased to amaze to witness the Emperor and his thunder warriors conquering kingdom by kingdom. Yes, there have been obstacles but her trust in the Emperor never waned, or so she thought. It was a long journey, and the longer she traveled with the Emperor, the less she thought of him as a perfect being.
Inside their newly constructed fortress, 5552, now officially seen as a queen, and to those who were not so respectful, a concubine. But by now, being insulted behind her back was something she was already used to. Inside their temporary quarters, 5552 rubbed the bridge of her nose, trying to hold herself back.
“I am not to give them names?” 5552 said, holding her anger. “They’ll be our sons.”
“They have no need for names.” The Emperor said. “They are a tool to my plan, nothing else. Calling them son will simply instill loyalty in me.”
“Children, made from your DNA or not, need to be raised with love and care. like all children need Your treatment as some tool will not end well for you.” 5552 said. “All those years ago you said this was my charge. What am I to do if I cannot raise them as I see fit?’
“You are to raise them as a mother, but the rest is my authority.” The Emperor said calmly. “I must go now, stay here, Constantin will accompany you.”
5552 sighed as the Emperor left, and with the silent protector in the room together, it was just as same as being alone.
“Tell me Constantin, do you think the same?” 5552 said.
The man clad in golden armor pondered, long and thoughtfully.
“It is not in my place to question the Emperor, as you are as well. We must place our trust in him.” Constantin said wisely.
5552 rolled her eyes. It seemed no one was on her side, as usual. In the silence, perhaps in an act of defiance, she began to think of names of her sons she would soon raise, the war was almost at its end after all. And the first name of her twenty sons was Horus, Horus Lupercal.
It was all so sudden. One day she was with the Emperor, once again arguing how they should raise the primarchs. 5552’s patience was slowly bent under the weight of the Emperor’s absolutely certainty, or dare she say his arrogance. For a being that calls himself the “Emperor of Mankind” he did not have the heart of a man. Then, she was to go to Luna. No warning or even a hint of telling. Simple as informing her like her shoes were untied.
“The initial steps of the project is done, you shall go and begin your bonding with the primarch.”
“And you’re telling me this now?”
“Your job requires little preparation, and anything else you need will be provided for.”
‘Primarch Project’... 5552 did not like the words at all. Fifty years later and he had yet to understand the importance of love when raising children, super human they may be, but they were still children.
With the unification war so close to the end 5552 understood the births of her sons to be soon, but not done without her knowing and she certainly expected to be told. As always, the Emperor remained certain as he ever was. Inside the deepest part of Terra, 5552 walked along side the custodes and their footsteps softly rang agains the hard metal floor. The underground chill creepily crawled on her skin. The mighty steps of the custodes softly rang in the metal walls of the facility. At the end of the hall was the facility itself, and a woman who stood, she dipped her body to a deep bow.
“Greetings.” 5552 said, with a more wary tone.
The woman, with sleek yet shapely body sauntered over to 5552. She cupped her hand on 5552’s cheek, then softly moved 5552’s head with her gentle grasp of her chin.
“You are no psyker.”
“I’m afraid not.”
“Are you a warrior as well?” Erda asked.
“Not at all.” 5552 said with a nervous laughter.
“And you are to be their mother, someone who is so useless that despite living for all these years achieving nothing?” Erda said with a restrained anger. “You? Just because you sired some kings and knights of old?”
5552 looked away from the woman’s furious gaze that bore into her soul. The grip on her chin began to turn into a sharp pinch.
“I… I don’t understand. Just who are you?”
“I am Erda, the donor of gene-stock that my sons have. The true mother of the primarchs.”
Edra reluctantly released her grip once she saw the custodes inching in close. 5552 nursed the sore spot, though she can see the twisting anger controting her face, 5552 could not find the anger in herself. More so, frustration took half of her confusion.
“Why did Neoth choose you?” Erda said.
“Who?” “The Emperor, you fool. Why did he choose you, there must be more reason than your above average off springs.”
“That is not your concern. Step away.”
Behind 5552, a custodes stood between. His golden armor glistened under the fluorescent light, and the daunting height made even the perpetual psyker think before acting. 5552 visibly flinched at the baleful glares Erda. A twinge of guilt began to fester in her doubt, infecting it ever so steadily. She walked alongside the custodes.
The air vents lowly hummed wherever she went. Sometimes there would be random sounds of high pitched squeals of machines, but silence eerily followed. The floor was hard, nothing like the soft earth above, and the metal walls was cold to the touch. The halls of the facility stretched far up, like jaws of a gigantic beast. 5552 finally arrived to her quarters. It consisted of a metal table, lether chair encased in chrome frame, and a simple bed. And that incessant hum of the ventilation was also present. 5552 gritted her teeth, it was going to take time to get used to it.
“If you are require anything, ask of us.” The cutodes said.
“When will I see my so… the primarchs?”
The custodes did not move, but fixed his gaze at 5552.
“You are to rest for today, you will see them soon. Soon the night cycle will activate, sleep.”
5552 nodded, then lied on the hard bed. If there was one thing she can do well was sleeping. That was until she heard a shrilling cry.
The facility was anything but welcoming. Chrome dominated the entire facility, everything always carried the scent of the medicine, Wih a facility meant to hold hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, living in such facility. The cried continued to echo, and in her thoughts all she wanted to do was find the infant. It may not be her son, but her instinct guided body.
5552 was still unsure if the baby’s cry was real, or just another dream. There was no possible way that an infant’s cry can be this bellowing. 5552 placed the thoughts behind her head, only wanting to find the source of the cry.
5552 followed the harrowing cry. At the end she was separated by a steel door, and the other side were twenty infants wrapped in sterile white blankets, trapped inside a pill shaped pod. 5552 pressed the open on the blocky console on the metal door. A metallic arm slithered out of the ceiling then scanned the infant with a red blinking light. 5552 watched in horror as the metal tendril lifted the infant and began feeding it.
5552 gasped at the strange blue content almost force feeding the infant as the metal tendril held the baby’s head in its claw. Then the claw pat the baby’s back agonizingly slow. Obvious to say, the infant did not burp. She needed to go in there, just what kind of logic made the Emperor think this was safe? 5552 banged on the glass, tried to find a way around the console.
“You should be asleep.”
5552 yelped at the sudden voice, it was one of the custodes.
“How am I supposed to sleep where they’re in this horrible condition. Just look!”
The custodes did look, then with the same emotionless helmet stared back at 5552.
The next morning cycle Erda;s lip split wide as she let out a long yawn. She almost spilled the mug of recaff at the incubation room. There was a custodes, guarding 5552 with Number Nineteen in her arms, soundly asleep.
Morning arrived, well, the morning cycle that is. 5552 grogilly rubbed her eyes, arms instinctively steadfast with the infant in her arms. The abnomally large infant smiled, even giggling at 5552’s tired yet grinning visage. The infant flailed its arms, then accidentally grabbing a lock of her hair.
“Ow ow ow…” 5552 said calmly. “Careful little one, that is not a to-”
She shut her teeth tight as to not shout in pain, in the infant’s hand was her lock of her hair. 5552 chuckled softly, she set Number Nineteen to the pod, lovingly swaddling the infant. It took a considerable amount of tickling to let the infant release her lock of hair. What she wanted now was some recaf, lots and lots of recaf.
Striding toward the pantry 5552 stopped. What if… what if one of her sons needed her again, what if she wasn’t there to help them? The worries of a mother grabbed her need of sustenance. She’d rather die of hunger than to let those unfeelign tendrils touch her children. 5552 walked toward the large messhall, where Erda was gripping on the mug. Her brow creased and her lips snarled back.
“Is… is she alright?” 5552 said.
“She is speaking with the Emperor psychically.” The custodes said. “Stay behind me.”
5552 peeked from the custodes’ leg. As Erda’s rage silently manifested the tables around her begin to float.
“Well… that doesn’t look goo-”
Utensils, tables, chairs, just about anything around her suddenly launched with great force. The custodes merely stood still as the plates shattered against his armor, save for one that he caught.
“I HOPE YOUR SONS BETRAY YOU ONE DAY NEOTH!”
Amidst the pressuring silence, Erda glared 5552 with a rage of thousand suns. Without much of a care, the custodes turned his attention to his ward and handed her a plate.
“The food paste is in the fridge.”
“Yeah…” 5552 managed to croak out. “Thanks.”
If not for the food paste having flavors, 5552 was sure that she would have been driven insane. With Erda refusing to even interact with her, the custodes that was standing next to her might as well be a statue.
“So, nice day we’re having.”
The custodes neither yawned nor shook his head. The ever-vigilant protector he was, the custodes’ attention was sharpened to a fine edge, it was just that 5552 was not part of his worries. 5552 squeezed the package of the food paste. Then 5552 unscrew the container for pills she was to take and washed it down with a mug of lukewarm recaf. 5552 threw away the package then began her new job.
Out of all infants, 5552 found Number Sixteen to be the best behaving. Whenever she would have Sixteen in her arms the infant would laugh, arms outstretched to touch her face, but never pulling or wildly slapping her face. 5552 cooed Sixteen, with the custodes outside 5552 sat on the recliner chair. Loving she may be, but the infants were heavier than they looked.
“I was going to give the name Horus to Number One, but I can’t help but feel that you deserve the name. Horus Lupercal, do you like that name? My little Horus, my little wolf-cub.”
The infant giggled, gently holding his mother’s finger.
A few days have passed since her arrival at the facility. While the infants were asleep 5552 indulged herself in the quiet time inside her own room, turning the page of an ancient book from Terra. Unless there was an emergency 5552 was not allowed to be in the incubation chamber. She did wonder, why call it an incubation chamber when they were already fully grown? 5552 knew such a question would not be answered and simply prayed the children would be safe. The door opened with a sharp hiss the custodes entered.
“Erda wishes to speak with you.” The custodes said monotonously.
5552 confusedly cocked her head.
“Let her in.”
Erda walked past the custodes, moving with grace and immovable arrogance. 5552 stood to meet Erda.
“Come with me.” Erda said.
The lights were dimmed during the night cycle, save for the leaking lights from the windows of other rooms. The other side was the incubation room, Erda placed her hand on the window wistfully. There was a tearful pain in her longing gaze, and an itch to hold her children.
“The Emperor had forbidden me to speak with you,” Erda said quietly. “He believes I will be an ill influence on you and his sons. I’ve accepted that you will be their mother, but have you no shame?”
“Is it because of what the Emperor plans to do or how he sees his sons as tools?” 5552 saidd. “Of course, I feel shame.”
“If you know it, why do you allow it to happen?”
“I cannot stop the Emperor and his plan. If I were to rebel, then he would have all the control to his sons.” 5552 said dejectedly. “All I can do is be their mother.”
“So you’re fine with the Emperor using them as such?”
“I can’t defy his orders. I am not a warrior or a psyker. Even if I was no one can stop the Emperor.” 5552 said hopelessly.
“That is true, no one can.” Erda said darkly. “You were a mother once, what would you do to protect your children?”
5552 replied without hesitation.
“I suppose we are the same in that regard.” Erda said. “I bid you good night.”
Erda walked off toward the lowly lit halls, where she became one with the darkness.
Among the primarchs there was always one mischievous child, Number Nineteen. It became a game for the infant. 5552 would spend equal amount of time with each of the children, an hour for each of the primarchs to be held in her arms. Then before bed 5552 would kiss each of them on their forehead but one night, she panicked.
Nineteen was missing. Corvus was missing. The only reason she had yet to use those names was due to the custodes. They were the Emperor’s eyes and ears, their loyalty was for their Emperor.
“Nineteen?” 5552 said again with a raspy whisper, as to not wake the other infants.
5552 looked around the room, there was no way that the child could escape, not even Magnus could! Under the pods, corners, even with brightly lit lights, she could not find her son.
Then a bubbly coo caught 5552’s attention. Corvus was right below her feet, tugging at the hem of her plain dress and apron. A long breath of relief escaped her lips as she picked up Corvus.
“You worried me for a moment.” 5552 nuzzled Corvus’s cheek with hers warmly, she spoke with a gentle whisper. “My little Corvus.”
It has been few weeks since 5552 arrived in the new facility. By now the infants did not need to stay in the incubation pod for majority of the day, and after much discussion with the Emperor 5552 managed not only to let them crawl in a more spacious room, but also to be named. It was difficult at first, having all twenty of her children was certainly a terrible idea. And much to the Emperor’s ire, 5552 chose to ignore his warning to forbid Erda to be with her children.
5552 refused to be cruel as the Emperor. From that point on 5552 and Erda became amicable acquaintences. 5552 knelt on the carpet, watching Magnus moving the blocks with precise control, she wondered how Magnus was going to be once he grew up.
“All this time you have been living and you never met a psyker.” Erda said. “That is some luck.”
5552 shrugged. “I suppose, or perhaps I’ve forgotten.”
“Didn’t the Emperor unlock your potential, yet you still don’t remember all of your life?” Erda said. “You must’ve lived very long. What was your first memory?”
“I was sharpening a stone ax for my father, then got in trouble making grass crowns.” 5552 said fondly. “It wasn’t as if I was going to just play with the others.”
“Stone tools, you were making stone tools.” Erda said disbelievingly. “You… you must be older than the Emperor. You’re older than I am.”
“I am not that old.” 5552 said. “When was he born then?”
“Not during the stone age I’m certain of that. But it does make me wonder, how does a man become so powerful? Even I do not know how the Primarchs are fully made. He must be hiding much more than he let on.”
Erda had Number Four in her arms though she did not pay much attention. 5552 watched Magnus lifting a wooden cube in air with his psychic ability.
“Yes… I suppose he does.”
The low hum of the facility by now well accustomed to 5552. The cold floor, the unwelcoming silence of the custodes, and even the darkness during the night cycle. It had become home. 5552 sat across Erda and as always she had a mug of recaf in her hand. The glimmering golden armor of the custodes later became a background piece for the two women. The “Greatest Warriors Genetically Made” looses its awe after a week. After all, the two perpetuals saw stranger things.
“So that’s all you did? Hunt and gather?” Erda said curiously.
“It is in the name.” 5552 shrugged. “It was a simpler time. I miss those days.”
“Yes, back when the world was ripe to be explored and the hills were green.” Erda said wistfully. “My life used to be so peaceful before I met Emperor. Even among us perpetuals he was a pariah.”
The custodes remained silent, but both knew he was listening. Erda knew that, and in a way, this was her way to bite back at the Emperor.
“What do you mean?”
“There are more of us you know. Not just the Emperor and I.” Erda said. “We all flocked to the Emperor, aided in his quest for humanity’s greatness. But all of us eventually left.”
‘Aided,’ that did not go unnoticed for 5552.
“What made them leave?”
Erda smirked, an older perpetual she may be, but she was naive as a young maiden.
“His plan was radical to some of us. Accelerating humanity.” Erda said with a scoffing huff. “As perpetual he should know how stubborn humanity can be.”
“What did he try to do?”
“Oh I would tell you, but with your friend there I’m not sure if I should. Dogs are always loyal to only one master you see.” Erda said with a venomous pompous. “I have some studies that need to be attended. I’ll take my leave first.”
“Wait you can’t just say that and not-
The custodes did not move at the obvious provocation even as Erda walked past. When 5552 tried to reach Erda, the stout gauntlet stopped her.
“Finish your meal. You cannot leave it unfinished.” The custodes said.
“I need to talk to Erda.”
“She will only plant doubt into you.” The custodes said.
“I think there’s something you don’t understand, custodian.” 5552 said firmly. “I never trusted him in the beginning. So you’re far too late for that.”
“I will not move regardless.” The custodes said. “I will escort you to the incubation room.”
5552 gritted her teeth, but what was she supposed to do? She sighed, and moved back to the incubation room. She would find a way to speak to Erda later.
5552 yawned, but her steady arms did not tire, spiritually that is. Sitting back on her soft recliner chair her darling Number Twelve. She pondered long and hard for the perfect name, she was her son after all. Or a degree, while Erda became friendlier, there was uncertainty in her. No mother could have easily concede to let someone else become a mother of her sons after all. 5552 sighed, keeping her doubt in her as best as she could.
5552 looked around the room, yet Erda was not there?”
“What are you looking around for? Haven’t you spoken with the Emperor before?”
5552 blinked, she was so used to speaking with the Emperor psychicially that she did not expect anyone else to do so.
“Erda?” 5552 replied in her thoughts. “What if the Emperor finds out?”
“He is busy with Malcador.” Erda said. “Don’t you want to know what the Emperor’s plan is?”
5552 bit her lower lip, she caressed Number Twelve’s head. Erda continued regardless.
“His plan is to…”
5552 heard all of it. The part that was left out all those years ago. The war, the annhilation, the killings that would take to “perfect” humans. Humanity was not meant to be led this way, not with betrayal and manipulations. How can “Emperor of Mankind” be so inhumane? 5552 stared at her son, tears in her eyes as she wept, for her sons, and the Emperor’s cruelty.
Number Twelve began to cry as well, despite 5552’s struggle to eke out a smile. There was an attempt to be sure. 5552 pulled Number Twelve close to her heart as she continued to weep. It was Number Twelve’s bellowing cry that snapped 5552’s sorrow. 5552 cradled her arm and gently swayed her arm with Number Twelve on her.
“Sssh, hush my little one.” 5552 said. “Don’t cry, mother’s here.”
5552 felt Erda’s presence still, more tepid than sympathizing.
“What will you do now?” Erda said.
“What will I do?” 5552 said hopelessly. “What can I do? I can’t go against the Emperor, I’m not psyker that can go against his will.”
“What if I tell you I can save them?”
“But that would going against the Emperor.”
“Do you wish to leave them to such cruel fate?”
5552 bit the nail of her thumb, gnawing on it as she thought of the offer. Reasoning with the Emperor wouldn’t work, but she also could not trust Erda’s words. The primordial instinct within her told her not to.
“And what do you plan to do with them?”
“I will take them far away from the Emperor’s influence. I can guarantee you that they will be safe. All you need to do is distract him.”
5552 swallowed hard.
“You can’t escape from the Emperor, he isn’t someone you can trifle with. You will fail.” 5552 said.
“I won’t. He is not omnipotent as he thinks he is.”
“Let me reason with him, I don’t think this is a good idea.”
5552 felt Erda’s anger spark, silence followed.
Late into the facility’s night cycle 5552 gently set Horus into his pod, with tired eyes she rubbed her temples and yawned longer than she thought she would. Fatigue bore into her, but she still could not worry about Erda. Betraying the Emperor was simply unthinkable. His plan was cruelly pragmatic, but 5552 knew he was also someone who could be reasoned with should one appeal to his pragmatic side. Erda spoke again.
“You cannot reason with the Emperor. That fool only listens to that shriveled old man Malcador and it is not guaranteed he will listen to him.” Erda said. “All you need to do is distract him.”
“Distract him? Where will you even take them that they cannot be found?”
“I know a place far from Terra. I am their mother, if you truly care for them you will help me.” Erda said pressingly. “
“I’m sorry Erda, I can’t help you.”
Another jolt struck her mind, 5552 clutched her head as she felt the needles piercing her brain. It was short, but the few seconds of pain felt like hours. 5552 gritted her teeth and withheld her scream.
“Apologies, I let my emotion run.” Erda said with an indifferent tone. “Why will you not help me? Is it because you are loyal to him, just what dribble did he sell to have your loyalty?”
“He has my loyalty, for now.” 5552 admitted. “I don’t fear what will happen to me. I fear what will happen to my- your sons.”
“You only fear him because you are weak.” Erda said venomously. “You are a coward.”
“I am weak, that is why I will do what I can to protect them.” 5552 said determinedly. “It is best for both of us to noy defy the Emperor. If you truly care for them Erda, you would try to reason with the Emperor as I will.”
The psychic link shattered in a fit of rage. 5552 rubbed the bridge of her nose, she kissed all of her sons a good night’s kiss and begin the walk return to her quarters, hoping that tomorrow will be a better day.
Number Seven, secretly named Rogal, was a peculiar infant. He was quiet, rarely cried, and always played with blocks or materials that could be built. Primarchs were strange, they acted like infants, crying and babbling, and at times they were just intelligent. And just like Rogal, Perturabo was the same. Both began to stack blocks with eager glee. To 5552’s innocent thought, she thought it would be perfectly fine to have Perturabo and Rogal together.
5552 set Rogal and Perturabo in the pen, once the box of blocks was placed the infants began to take the blocks out. Perturabo built a small circular tower, 5552 gently stroked Perturabo’s head with a proud smile.
“My little artificer.” 5552 said proudly.
Perturabo prattle with a smile and bouncing with his arms flailing, 5552 swore her heart would stop at such endearing smile. Then she saw Rogal’s creation… a big wall of blocks.
“And what a fine wall you have made Rogal!” 5552 said. “You will become a great architect I’m sure of it.”
Then, a stray wooden block flew across, and crumbled the wall. 5552’s eyes widened, Perturabo begin to giggle.
“Perturabo!” 5552 said chidingly. “What do you think you’re doing? No! Bad!”
Another block flew and destroyed the constructed tower. Rogal, neither crying nor angry glared at Perturabo across. Then a war began. That day, 5552 decided to never put the two brothers together.
After the first thread, Parchment Anon was banned for two weeks. Continuing after the ban:
Leman, he was quite the rebellious one. 5552 cradled young Leman in her arms, gently placing the bottle close to his lips. Leman turned his head away, then to the right, then to the left. With puffed cheeks Leman hit the bottle out of her hand.
“Come on Leman, everyone ate except you~” 5552 cooed.
5552, groaned, she quickly went to the pantry for sugar syrup then dipped the bottle. Leman was stubborn as well, almost refusing play with others. Magnus for now was engrossed in a book, 5552 was unsure if Magnus actually reading the text or just liked the pictures.
“Must you indulge the Primarch?” The escorting custodes said. “They are to be generals, they should not be coddled.”
“The ‘primarch’ is a baby, I’m sure he’ll grow out of it.” 5552 said.
The cusotdes merely nodded and continued on. There was a loud crash, without a moment of hesitation 5552 rushed in. The bellowing cries of all the Primarchs thunderously filled the air, almost deafening her. 5552 handed the bottle and quickly placed Magnus in her arms.
“There there, mother’s here don’t you wo-”
Then the blanket hit her face full force, luckily Magnus was unharmed. 5552 lifted the blanket to see Leman in his pod, pouting. The blanket floated up in the, surrounded by shimmer purple light, then in an instant, Leman was struck by the blanket. Thus, began the second rivalry between the primarchs.
It’s been days since she saw Erda after her anger. She has been silent, and absent in the facility. Large as the facility may be, it should have been impossible to not see one another. Inside the empty mess hall, 5552 idly chewed on the nutrient block baked to a terrifically average texture. The custodes was there as well, the same custodes, at least 5552 thought. They all looked the same to her.
“Hey custodes, where is Erda?” 5552 said.
“I do not know.”
The nutrient paste was an ugly beige, with small specks of black like crushes sesame seeds. 5552 stuck the fork into the meal and shivered as the paste block made a squelching sound once she took another portion from her fork. She wanted meat, bread, anything that looked like food.
“You must finish your meal.” The custodes said.
“Yes yes, I know.” 5552 said, she rolled her eyes. “You know I never got your name.”
“My name is irrelevant.” The custodes said.
“Will you at least tell me?”
“Longinus.” The custodes said.
“Like the spear?”
“I do not know.” The custodes said.
The silence was there again, save for the hum of the ventilation systems. 5552 forced herself to finish the rest of the meal. At least the water washed the terrible aftertaste away. 5552 placed the plate into the washer and strolled happily to the incubation room.
Inside there was an unexpected guest. An old man, draped in a black cloak like the night. In one hand he held a staff in hand bearing the mark of the aquila. The bony arms held Horus, a hand so wrinkled like dried-up leather that’s been stretched to its limits, the old man placed Horus back into his pod.
“Malcador, what are you doing here?” 5552 said venomously.
“Our Emperor wanted the state of the primarch project.” Malcador said.
“Perhaps it was the Emperor’s wise decision to deny a mother to see her children.” 5552 said. “A
“Where is Erda?” Malcador said.
“I don’t know, she has been practically invisible for the last few days.” 5552 said. “Even if I knew I wouldn’t tell you. I know what the Emperor’s plan for the primarchs are.”
“His plans? What would you know about his plans?” Malcador said.
“His plan after the Great Crusade, he plans to make his children kill off one another so he could rule all on his own in the end!” 5552 said. “Erda showed me what he had done to the thunder warriors, the only reason I’m still here is that I want to speak with the Emperor. Just how much more are you hiding? I demand to speak with the Emperor! If he truly planned this madness he will fall, betrayed by his own sons. Let me speak with him.”
Malcador remained silent, staring down at the perpetual’s baleful glare.
A bright golden light showered the room, and 5552 watched as she felt the Emperor’s presence descending. The comforting light lost its touch against 5552’s silent rage. Should the children not be here, and her belief that the Emperor could be convinced, she was certain her voice would lash out. Most important of all, the children were here. Their psychic conversation began.
“Enough with the theatrics.” 5552 said. “Answer me Emperor. Was this not your plan?”
“You are angry.” The Emperor said. “Calm your mind first then speak.”
“How astute. Was this or not your plan like Erda said?”
“I only intended half of their destruction. She has deceived you.” The Emperor said.
“Deceived me… are you mad?” 5552 gritted her teeth. “Humans are not something you can manipulate, I have said this so many times to you!”
Malcador, stuck between the argument only listened, as she knew this was the best he can do. He was well aware of the difference of the two perpetual. The Emperor’s intention was to lead mankind as its master. The former-slave’s hope was to raise humanity into species that would aspire to higher morals, an impossible goal paved with wasted hope.
“And should I spare them, what guarantee do you have that they will not betray me or fall to their flaws?” The Emperor said. “With or without my plan, they will rebel.”
“That’s because you have set them to by implanting faults in the beginning!” 5552 finally shouted psychically. “I promise you, Emperor. If you do not listen to me on this matter you will fall, as all manipulative and paranoid kings have. You have seen it, I have seen it. Your God damned arrogance is something to behold, to plan against mere infants. You call them sons but they are tools, even techno-warlords don’t betray their own children. Heed my words now, Neoth. Not as your companion but as your elder.”
There was silence, a brief yet painfully tense silence.
“I will concede, only this once.”
Relief flooded in her heart, knowing full that her fear began to dester in her courageous stand. Even Malcador seemed impressed by this judging by his slightly wide eyes.
“It’s the first time that I’ve witnessed the Emperor take an advice other than myself.” Malcador said. “I only hope you are right. For all of mankind.”
She could never trust the Emperor and Malcador. In the grand picture of the Emperor’s plan she was just another tool for him. Erda was nowhere to be found when she was moved to the new facility of Luna. Other than the vast blackness that was the space, not much had changed. Except that the Emperor would ‘check in’ through a psychic call. On another day cycle, 5552 held on to her son, Horus. Her mind wandered on the uncertain future, hidden by her motherly attention to the infant. The door suddenly opened with a pressurized hiss.
“Erda! You’re finally here.”
“You… you don’t look so well.”
Erda rubbed her eyes with a tired groan. From last time you saw her she now looked skinnier, and paler than before. Her eyes were sunken and the bags underneath were horribly sagged. Not to mention her hair was frazzled out of control. The way her eyes seemed to be darting around as if something was following her.
“I was worried about you, where have you been?”
“I’ve been… speaking with the Emperor.” Erda said.
She reached out her hand to gently cup Horus’s cheek. 5552 handed Horus to Erda.
“I’ve spoken with the Emperor, he said-”
“I’m aware that you have convinced him. Why did he listen to you but not I? I’ve done more for him, supported him for thousands of years. But why did he listen to you, just because you’re older than he is?”
“I don’t know, I’m sorry Erda.” 5552 said.
“No matter, I’m just glad he has been convinced. For this will be my last time seeing my children, the Emperor has forbidden me from seeing my children.” Erda said forlornly. “Why must he be so cruel?” “He… he has forbidden you?”
“We must escape here, you know the Emperor is man who will not listen other than those who are his lapdogs. Do you truly believe that the Emperor will spare the children? Do you? We must escape.”
Erda grasped 5552’s hand, with a pleading gaze.
“How are we to do that? The Emperor has his eyes everywhere.”
“You must distract him.”
5552 stared at Erda as if she was hit twice on the head and proposed to attack the Emperor. In a way, it was. To even dare go against the Emperor, disregarding his authority and power, the Emperor was not someone to be trifled with. 5552 placed Horus back to his pod gently.
“Erda, I understand how you feel but we can’t go against the Emperor.” 5552 said.
“You do not have to fear that man. With me, we can save them.”
“And if we don’t? If we fail the Emperor will deny us and he will use the children as his weapons. No.” 5552 shook her head. “I won’t let you jeopardize them.”
A sharp sting of pain exploded as Erda’s hand flew across her cheeks. The bellowing cry from Horus now filled the room, and the attention of Longinus was brought into the room. 5552’s arms tightened around Horus as Erda grabbed 5552 by her collar.
“They are not your children, they are mine! You are nothing but an usurper of my legacy and my place in this world! I will be the Empress and I will be the Primarch’s mother. Not you!”
“Longinus.” 5552 said.
The custodian in middle of barging in froze. 5552 nodded to Longinus, then gazed back. Erda simply placed 5552 down then walked past Longinus to exit the incubation room. 5552 sighed then quickly trotted to Horus.
“There there, hush my child.” 5552 cooed. “All is well.”
Horus gently grasped his mother’s finger, giggling. Doubt sprouted in her heart. What if, just what if, the Emperor lied to her?
The thorny vines of doubt began to coil around her heart. Erda, as desperate and pitiful she was had pierced a stake of consternation in her trust in the Emperor’s words. What assurance does she have that the Emperor would keep his words? 5552 stared into the warmed-up nutrient paste, alone inside the vast mess hall save for Longinus who stood outside the entrance. The black void of space lost its charm weeks ago and she now only saw it as an eternal night.
Be it a mistake or all part of encompassing plan, the Emperor’s light unlocked most of her memories. Whether he chose to block some to resurface or not, that was also in her mind. But 5552 remembered the kings and emperors that declared to lead mankind into greatness, but the difference between those who declared and the Emperor was simple: The Emperor had the power to do so.
And with his ability, the Emperor would drag mankind toward glory, it would not matter if they were kicking and screaming. Even if meant leaving a trail of bodies. The Emperor’s powers would reinforce his righteousness, his moral compass permanently fixed toward one direction. Against an omnipotent being, what could she do?
Immortality was all she had after all. 5552 finished her meal and continued her day, spending her time in the incubation room, etching the names of each Primarchs she had named, she had yet to name them all, names were important and she wanted to find the right name for each one, usually by searching in deep wells that were her memory. It was until Erda arrived, looking much worse than before but with an apologetic frown. 5552 placed Sanguinius into his pod gently.
“Fifty-two, can we talk… in private?”
“Sure. Would my quarters work?”
5552’s quarter was simple, almost downright spartan from how little she had.
“I ask you again, to help me in this endeavour.”
“And I said the failure is a steep price to pay.” 5552 said. “Or is your grand plan worth more than your ‘children’? I grow sick of this, Erda.”
“They are my children!”
“They are nothing but your bargaining chip into the throne!” 5552 said. “I thought you understood what it meant to be a mother, but you were blinded by your own glory!”
“Glory is passed down to the children!” Erda said. “They are my children, mine!”
“No,” 5552 said defiantly “They are not. And so help me God, I will do everything to protect them. You had your chance.”
“No, I still do.”
Within seconds Erda unsheathed a dagger with a sheenly blue blade. 5552’s attempt at screaming was but a bloody gurgle as air escaped through the gash on her throat. The split second he heard the gurgle, Longinus kicked the door only to see 5552 alone in the room. Then, the Luna base trembled as sickly purple lights began manifesting everywhere. As blood flooded from her open throat her world began to fade into darkness.
Death was but a temporary state, a mere simmer inside the cold void of darkness. 5552 opened her eyes soon; where an ungodly amount of gold filled her vision as she slowly awakened. Instead of the usual white sterile light, a dark red hue dipped the facility’s light. The gold that obstructed her vision was her squad of custodians, two standing behind her and the other two in front of her.
5552 covered here ears immediately as the sound of bolters and the blaring alarm sound screeched like nails on a chalkboard. The squelching howl caught 5552’s attention, and her face paled at the sight. Gangly flesh monsters crawled everywhere, puss and ooze, wrinkled bodies of disproportionate flesh. 5552 screamed at the sight.
“WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!”
The custodians ignored 5552’s panic, instead, another custodian picked her up and placed her at a corner.
“Do not move.”
5552 merely ducked her head and waited for silence, ignoring any soft fleshy text that she felt hitting her and the haunting screeches. 5552 plugged her ears, hunkering down until it all ended. 5552 pried her one eye open. The warmth of the golden light melted her fears away, and eased her panicking mind.
“Are you well?”
“You must listen calmly, my sons are missing, taken by the forces of chaos. And it’s time that you learn what they are.”
“It’s more surprising that you have not encountered them in all your life.” Malcador said.
Dejected and wrought with worry, 5552 slumped over her chair inside Malcador’s study. A dreadfully lit room that was the definition of controlled chaos. From a satellite of the ancient Terra and to an odd brick sized phone, it was being inside the museum.
“That’s because I was content with just living without making some world breaking change.”
“Wasted years and wasted gift.” Malcador said while shaking his head. “You beared sons that changed the course of the world yet you have not done that yourself.”
“Is there a point you’re trying to make?” 5552 said irritably.
“Only to express my disappointment.” Malcador said plainly. “The primarchs will take years to find.”
5552 grasped the fabric of her dress tightly.
“What will I do until then?”
“Your psychic potential is inexplicable. You do not control it yet it is finely tuned. ” Malcador said matter of factly. “If you learn your ability, perhaps you can be the link to find your sons."
“Is that possible?” 5552 said hopefully.
“We can only try.”
5552 closed her eyes shut, trying to grasp the connection to the warp to light the candle on fire. As always for the past decades, it did not work. 5552 sighed at the failure. Malcador continued to read the translated play of Death And The King’s Horseman, though she could not understand his fascination for ancient literatures.
“Frustration will only lead you to more failures.” Malcador said.
“Then you can be more specific on how to achieve this damn training. I can’t feel the warp at all, and as you said everyone has a link to the warp.”
Malcador did not pry his eyes away from his other parchments, nor the bolter that was resting on the side of his room for some reason. His silence was enough to tell 5552 she just needed to keep trying. Despite her failures and her complaints, she continued on. Malcador slowly turned, but his eyes were still on the parchment.
“Indeed, but you are a rather unique specimen. Something must have happened that made you hidden from the warp, you are not a blank that is for certain.”
“I told you I don’t remember. Even when the Emperor unlocked my memories not everything was recovered. Even so, that’s not going to help me with my psychic problems.”
“I am aware of that.” Malcador said. “My theory is that something happened to you, the lost memories… either forgotten by your own choice or something made you forget. I do have another theory, perhaps your ability is not physical, but innate.”
Malcador silently sat in his chair, pondering deeper.
“That will be the end of the study. I believe you have a social party to be part of.”
5552 rolled her eyes. The recent unification of Terra meant dealing with nobles as well. Why they weren’t simply killed only the Emperor knew.
Entertaining The Nobles
The Emperor had to be a human to an extent. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have such terrible obsession with gold. The Imperial Palace was a labyrinth, a behemoth of a building despite the initial construction. 5552 had to admit however, the rate of construction was faster than she had expected, but what shocked her more was the plan, it was going to take centuries to actually finish it. Despite the state of the construction the Imperial Palace was already a marvel to behold, the interior was rough but still far more elegant.
The walk along was an hour long to her room from Malcador’s it is only by the Emperor’s trust that she given short cuts to do so. Another reason 5552 knew the Emperor was more human that he let on was her change of guards Yes, there still was Longinus and her squad of custodes. Now there was Sisters of Silence, the newly formed of the “nulls” as they were classified as.
It took time to learn to speak their hand signals, but thankfully they were not deaf. 5552 learned to shove the uneasy sensation of the nulls, it wasn’t their fault that they were born that way. The tall golden clad women, 5552 wondered what kind of a life they had before arriving here. Then there was the talk of Schola Progenium…
“Yes that’ll be fine, thank you.”
5552 stood as the sister clasped the latches of her necklace of gold, bearing the Aquila, a rather heavy piece of necklace along with the gold knitted dress, and… just about everything she wore was gold, even her eyeliner. Any accessories? Gold. 5552 wasn’t sure if she should be happy or be conerned about the Emperor’s fixation on gold.
The door to her personal quarters opened, and with four custodians and 3 sisters of silence, they marched to the banquet hall. In the long walk, her thoughts were still of her sons, scattered across no one knows.
Along with her grief, it was now her duty to entertain the guests.
The double gate of the Imperial banquet hall opened. To the lords of Terra and nearby planets, they watched with bated breath. The Empress of The Imperium, rumored to be old as if not older than the Emperor himself. First were her custodian guards. For the first time spectators, they gasped at their sheer presence. Giants in gold, weapons not only lethal but a master word of their own, the very ground they walked caused the floor to shake. In two separate lines they marched the stood facing each other for the procession
Then, the Sisters of Silence, marched, taking placed in the gaps of the custodians. Some of the lords whispered, the rumors of the Sisters of Silence and the Empress’s ascension was too coincidental. That, and the fact that they were more zealous of the Empress’s protection. No lords could understand how the Empress could withstand the uneasy aura the sisters have.
"The Empress… just where is she from?” One of the lord said.
“No one knows, some say she was with the Emperor since the day of his unification.” The other lord replied. “I heard she knows the ancient knowledge of Terra. An immortal like our Emperor."
“She must be quite the woman of beauty and intelligence then.” The lord said. “But no one knows her origins, truly?”
Another lord, fat as a pig with a busy moustache huffed annoyedly.
“She is the woman that our Emperor chose, her origin does not matter, only that she is worthy of the Emperor's affection, and our respect. You’d do well to remember that Lord Faust. She does not attend to these gathering so you should be grateful.”
“Of course of course…” Lord Faust said. “It is mere curiosity. Is she allied with any of the houses such as-”
“There she is.”
There was a footstep, and a warm aura that flooded the banquet hall. It was the Emperor, as glorious and regal as the day they saw him. Beside him was the Empress, walking along side him silently as the Emperor's presence shrouded hers.
She was but a mere woman, yet… unlike the Emperor she carried an aura of warmth that drew the lords and ladies in, like a mother they have never met. There was no gold glow, she was not a woman of tall stature, nor did she have a presence that demanded respect. She was but a woman.
But why was it that there was something about her
The lords and ladies were curious to find out, they wanted to speak with the woman that had become the most powerful woman in the Imperium. But first, they needed to get past her guardians.
Meeting The Empress
There she was, the most powerful woman in Terra. Lord Faust watched the lords and ladies attempting to talk to her failed. If they were not afraid of the custodians, the sisters of silence drove them away quickly. Cowards, all of them. Lord Faust huffed his chest, and walked toward the Empress, as he neared the custodian’s head turned toward him.
As Lord Faut came closer their spears crossed to block him from walking any further. Lord Faut simply breathed steadily. They were intimidating, but they were men of reason.
“I wish to speak to the Empress.”
The custodians looked back then nodded.
“Any sudden movements. And you will die.” The custodian said plainly.
“Of course.” Lord Faust swallowed hard. “I would never hurt our Empress.”
The custodians did not reply, only moved their spears. Then, the dread clawed at his composure. The sisters of silence merely stood there… menacingly, surrounding the Empress in a small formation. Lord Faust cleared his throat.
“My Empress, it is an honor…” Lord Faust wiped his forehead. “I am Malarius Faust of House Faust.”
The sisters moved aside for the Empress, Lord Faust bowed. Like he saw before, it was just a woman, an average looking noble woman.
“Greetings, Lord Faust.” The Empress said gracefully. “Are you enjoying the banquet?”
“Tremendously, my Empress.”
Lord Faust noticed his clothing absorbing sweat, an unknown sense of fear began to slither his mind.
“I see that you are enjoying the wine.” He said. “My home has a vineyard. If you would like I can send a bottle of our finest wine. Perhaps visit our beautiful winery.”
“That would be wonderful Lord Faust. I’m afraid I cannot visit just yet, the Emperor still requires assistance you see.”
The sisters stepped forward and Lord Faust almost ran away, it was the Empress’s presence that kept him from running.
“It seems like there’s another guest, please do enjoy your stay.”
Lord Faust quickly exited the sister’s presence, realizing how sweaty he had become. In their short meeting the Empress was more elusive than he thought. How could someone tolerate their presence?
It was said after the Lady Mira fell in the Empress’s presence, many did not dared to approach the Empress in the future banquets.
Dreams And Deceit
A city of complete darkness, murder, rape torutre, any atrocity was but a normal day for this place. Then another world, so vile but not worse as the first world, but violence was a constant. Another world she saw was pure toxic, tained by vile sorcery that raised the dead. Every world all so uniquely abysmal continued to be in 5552’s mind over and over. She felt the pain and confusion, who she didn’t know.
It gnawed at her, crying to be saved. Her children, all of them all confused and afraid. They needed their mother, they needed- 5552 shot up from her bed, heart pounding and her heard heated up as if it was going to explode. It was that dream again.
5552 stepped toward the veranda, watching the continuous construction of the Imperial palace. Wherever Erda was, she could rot in the deepest pit of ravine. The custodians accompanied her as she wandered the imperial palace. The outside of the palace was lit by the moonlight, where the custodians roamed the halls. She entered Malcador’s chamber.
“Empress, what brings you this late into the night?”
“I’ve meaning to ask, does dreams have relation with the warp?”
“It is possible. Be more specific.” Malcador said.
5552 nodded and sat on Malcador’s chair, she clutched her hair as she tried to remember it again.
“I see places… planets. All equally horrifying to be in. I can feel someone is suffering there.” 5552 said. “I also heard voices in my dreams before. Calling out to me. The dreams got more intense so I hoped you have an answer.”
“But you saw no one?”
“Not a soul.”
“Then I’m afraid I can’t help you, my Empress.”
“Of course, I was just hoping you’ll know something.”
The door clacked with a clear mechanical thud. As Malcador entered The Emperor beckoned him to come closer.
“What is it my friend?”
“My Emperor. I believe there is a way to find the primarchs.” Malcador said. “It seems that our Empress has a psychic connection with them.”
“But Magnus has yet to contact her?” The Emperor said.
“As I said before, her abilities are rather small. A giant cannot easily spot a needle.” Malcador said. “Does Magnus know?”
“Not yet it seems. But he does remember her.” The Emperor said. “But if she has connections to my sons. It is possible that we can use her to expedite the search with Magnus.”
“I believe that as well, but I sense that you are wary of that idea. Do you not trust her or do you believe she will manipulate the primarchs like Erda wanted?”
“I do not want her to become a target to the warp.”
“But she can bring us the primarchs. You brought her because you knew she would be the instrument to orchestrating the primarchs.”
“I am aware.” The Emperor said. “If she is harmed, there is the risk that my sons will blame me for her injuries. Continue speaking to her and look for my sons without having her finding out.”
“What of Magnus?” Malcador said.
“He will know when the time is right.”
Images to be inserted Soon™