As the last of the Orks fell and no more enemies remained, Varek felt the anger and hatred seep out of him, along with most of his energy. Collapsing onto his knees from exhaustion, his vision of the world started to return to normal, his body was once again his to control and for all the emotions he could feel, shame was the one that filled the void that the anger had left.
Varek tried to recall everything that he had done, tried to make the memories of the hunt his own – but in his heart, he knew they weren’t. Not having his own body was one thing but to not be able to control the one he’d been forced into was another hell altogether.
After waiting a moment to recover his strength, Varek finally looked up to see his faithful and ever present Lychguard in a ring around him. Sworn to protect their overlord, they could be relied on to give their lives for him.
Looking past them he could see his Warriors and Immortals striding through the thousands of dead, finishing any ork off who showed even a glimpse of life.
Now that he was closer, he could make out the bright blue war paint that his troops had painted on their bodies – both on their silver skin and their crimson red armour. This was a tradition that Varek had reinforced after the great betrayal, to give his loyal followers the glint of their individuality that they deserved after having it wrongly taken from them.
Even he had painted his body before the battle, although he imagined that now it was likely to be caked in the deep crimson ork blood that stained the ground around him.
Raising himself up onto his feet by using his mighty warsycthe as a lowly cane, one of his lychguard broke rank to stand next to him.
“My Overlord, do you require any assistance?” a lighter voice said as Varek acknowledged Antara, who had come to his aid. He also noted that her right hand was without a hyperphase sword.
“Your offer is appreciated but unnecessary Antara, now that this filth has been cleansed I will be able to leave this place happy.” Pausing he turned to look at her “I’m afraid I shall have to replace your hyperphase sword with a new one, you should know it proved a faithful companion until the end.”
“I am honoured that it served my Overlord well,” she replied.
During the hardship they endured whilst they were flesh and blood, many women had wanted to learn to fight and be counted amongst the men, however most Dynasties forbade this. Even when he was just a general, Varek had taken on those wishing to fight no matter of their sex – a good warrior is a good warrior, no matter the way they’re built. Of course when they were all forced into these new metallic forms, there was no difference between man, woman and child, all for most of the Dynasties, they fought as though a machine of a Crypteks design.
The Udin Dynasty was different now though; Varek would only allow those who still had an essence of their soul left to stay in his ranks. Whilst this meant that their numbers were few, each and every one of them would be able to fight with the same skill they had done whilst in mortal bodies – and Antara was one of the finest.
This was not the first time that she had fought and stood a victor over many enemies without her blade, Varek sometimes thought that maybe she fought better without it and only used it to even the odds. What she had always been missing was battlecraft, to be a master tactician like Varek was. If she was half the strategist he was, she would have been promoted to Lord an age ago – but she didn’t care for it. She was happy to be pointed at an advisory and let loose upon them, and Varek was happy to have her reliable skill always to hand.
“How is Lord Ümabar faring?” He asked her?
“Lord Ümabar encountered resistance,” she replied “but ultimately succeeded in destroying the ork’s vehicles and reserves.”
“Good, and what of our losses?”
“The Cryptechs have estimated that 30 warriors are beyond repair, a hundred are so are in need of a longer healing process and a few hundred more should be back to full health within days.”
“Very good, the thirty beyond repair, were they-“
“Twenty eight of them were accompanying Lord Ümabar my Overlord,” she interrupted. Any other Lord would have had her executed for interrupting their Overlord. Varek however, encouraged it, as a sign that they were all equal and that they will survive this ordeal together – although he was sure she only did it because she had been ordered to. “The other two were piloting an Annihilation Barge as a lucky ork shot sent the energy flux into a cataclysmic explosion, dispatching a good few dozen orks as they perished.”
“A fitting end if I ever did hear one. It seems I shall have to catch up with Lord Ümabar to hear his tale,” he replied before raising his voice to the rest of the Lychguard, “Come! It is time to rest and regain our strength.” Turning to walk towards his monolith which had appeared behind the group to transport him back to their ship, he turned to face Antara and looked at the skull white war mask she and the rest of his Lychguard wore. He could remember her face from before, she had been slender and beautiful, her skin slightly tanned and yet, for all this elegance, she would dance her way around any opponent in the arena and bested all those who dared challenge her. He had even entertained the idea of marrying her once, but for now, thoughts like that were too few and far between.
“Come,” he said, “let’s find you a blade worth of your skill… I think I may know of one in need of a partner.”