Act 2 – Rejuvenation, Chapter 9

Leaning forward in his throne, Theá closely watched one of his Wyches as she danced around a dozen or so orcs, her daggers cutting into their flesh just deep enough to hurt and infuriate them but not enough to kill or maim them.

She was garbed in the usual outfit for a Wyche.  Dressed in skin tight material hiding but the most essential parts of her pale slender form, her thin armour only protected a single shoulder and knee, and Theá suspected these were only worn for the protruding blades and spikes that the black and red amour, providing extra blades to bite into the orcs hide.

Whilst the other Wyches showed an equally graceful and deadly display – cutting apart some of the orks they had been given as a mass event for the Archon’s Kabal to enjoy, there was something about her performance that Theá found himself strangely drawn to.  The way she seemed to be drawing more orks in around her, the graceful agility of her dancing and weaving around the lumbering creatures, even the way that her teal-dyed dreadlocks were whipping orcs with tiny blades as she spun and pirouetted through them like they were statues to her.

And then it ended.

All of a sudden she stopped, summersaulted her way out of the ring of orcs she had accumulated around her and landed lightly on her feet almost as if the bow to the audience as the rabble collapsed behind, as though she had clicked her fingers and stolen their souls.

Theá found himself on his feet – he realised he had been holding his breath, his muscles were taught and his heart was racing. It had been a long time since anyone or anything had impressed him so much, gained his attentions and lured him in, just like she had done with the orks.

Somewhat annoyed at his manipulation but equally as pleased at her ability to do so Theá sat back down and tried to enjoy the rest of the games.  His beastmasters had their opportunity next – pairing some more of their newly acquired slaves with their rarest and deadliest catches.  But no amount of bloodshed or will-power could get the Wyche’s display out of his head.

Watching one ork being torn apart from a hulking bipedal creature covered in white fur now splattered with the orc’s blood, he noticed one of his heavily armoured Incubi bodyguards turn towards the entrance to his private viewing area.

Armed with a blade the same size as the towering figure, made only taller by a horned helmet, his wargear was both a display of his statues as one of the Blooded Rose’s most elite – a fact that anyone who dared to enter Theá’s box uninvited would quickly find out.

Noticing out of the corner of his eye that the Incubi had now turned back around and was trying to get Theá’s attention when it was convenient, he decided to continue watching the games a little longer.  Whomever needed him would speak on Theá’s terms and not his own.

The beastmasters had moved on now and his Haemonculi had taken to the stage, pitting the next batch of orcs against a troupe of Grotesques, beings that had once been the orcs’ kin until the Haemonculi has been set upon them.  Now unrecognisable as an orc, they were pumped full of various potions and ailments that had increased their muscle mass ten-fold and cleansed their souls of everything they had once been – now they were just hulking masses of raging muscle waiting for their master’s orders.

After watching the initial clash between the two forces, with limbs being torn off, bodies crushed and even the most fearsome orc subduing to fear, Theá finally turned around to meet his guest.

Kalistabán was knelt behind him, with a pair of his Incubi stood one on either side if he tried anything stupid.  Outfitted in a long grey cloak to cover his armour, Kalistabán was one of Theá’s Trueborn and his cousin. He’d sent Kalistabán with a group of his finest scouts to scour the galaxy for relics and devices that would increase the value of his armoury and the offensive capability of his kabal – his return could only mean that he had found something.

“Kalistabán!” Theá said as he rose from his throne, his arms outstretched in a welcoming gesture.  “What has my favourite cousin brought me this time from his travels?”

“My Archon,” he responded, standing up only as the Incubi watching him signalled that he could, “I bring you very tidings of a great fortune.”

“Tidings?  That sounds like you didn’t bring me anything at all,” Theá replied taking a step towards his cousin.  “Now when I sent you to gather things, I meant physical objects, not the promise of objects.”

“My apologies lord V’all, allow me to explain.” Kalistabán responded, trying to appear confident in front of his Archon but instinctively taking a small step backwards to keep some distance between the two of them.  They may have been related by blood, but that wouldn’t stop Theá from gutting him out of displeasure.

Stopping his advance, Theá lowered his hands and placed on the hilt of his Djinn blade.  “Well… Do go on?”

“We found, what appears to be, a device that a Farseer Taldier was creating in the ruins of the planet Jorn.”

Removing his hand from his hilt, Theá sat back down and made himself comfortable ushering Kalistabán to continue.”

“A device so powerful that the craftworld kin exiled him for it…”

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