The Four Strands Modeling, Painting, Gaming and Storytelling

Big Game V – Chapter Twenty Four: Two Wolves

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The sky was black with smoke.

“How long will the fires last?” Irnst Morkai asked the Wolf Guard next to him.

“I know not, Rune Priest, but I suspect until their filthy buildings have no more fuel.  Orks build their settlements like fire traps, it’s a wonder they all don’t burn as well.”  the Wolf Guard answered him.  Irnst nodded.  They had come halfway across the galaxy in search of Glory, and all they had found was a splinter of an Ork Waaaagh that had broken off from the Arch Arsonist of Charadon’s recent push in the Mordant Zone.  The Orks had died to the man, but they would be back.  This moon, whatever it was called, would be plagued by Orks until its star exploded.  As Irnst surveyed the wreckage of the Ork encampment, he felt the whole world spin for just an instant.  Something was about to happen.  He immediately ran over to one of the Ork ruins, and wiped a clear place off the primitive foundation.  It has to do, Irnst thought to himself as he reached for his Rune Pouch and scattered the Runes within around in a rough circle.  He focused his will on them, and divined their meaning.  There, two runes, the Rune of Motion laying atop another at an angle.  A journey.  Five runes in a star.  An Evil power.  A circle with the Rune of Fate central to it, orthogonal to the Rune of Life.  A great victory.  Irnst’s hearts froze as the Rune of Life twitched, and slowly turned.  It was now parallel to the Rune of Fate. Death.  It twitched again, and returned to its former position.  Victory.  Then, the Rune flew across the pattern, and landed out of the Ruins, in the dirt.  It smoked, as if burning the dirt around it.  Irnst gathered up the Runes slowly, saving the Rune of Life for last.  As he picked up the Rune, it was noticeably warm through his gauntlet.  Irnst shivered.

Aboard the Land Raider Leman's Fist, Irnst meditated. A battle lay ahead of the Wolves now, he knew. A battle of legend and song, of great heroism, and terrible doom. A doom like that which was said to hang over the destiny of the Brothers Morkai. For too long, these visions had come to him, of an end that none would record in the Sagas. Ignoble and worth nothing. Was it only his own fear, manifest in dreams? He could only hope, and hold faith in his own strength, and that of his kin.

He was interrupted by an Iron Priest. A transmission from the orbiting Fang of Glory awaited him.  Irnst walked to one of the terminals, and keyed in his authorization code.  His brother’s face appeared, cheeks red with drink, a grin splitting his face.

“Brother!  Wonderful news!” Erik Morkai shouted a bit too loudly.  Irnst lowered the volume slightly.

“We have been called to war.”  Irnst replied, soberly.  Erik’s face darkened.

“I never get to surprise you.  Why can’t I call you one time and share some good news that you have not already divined?”

“My apologies, Wolf Lord.  You may surprise me with our destination, as the Runes do not mention such trivial things.”

“The Chasma Spica!” Erik shouted, then turned his back to the monitor. “Garth!  I need to send that file we received to Rune Priest Morkai!”  Erik turned back.  “You should be receiving it momentarily. We go to slay traitors."

Irnst read the communiqué.  An Inquisitor had sent it.  “Really brother," he sighed. "You would follow the orders of those...puppets?”

Erik pounded on his keyboard, producing an audible thump. “No!  These Orks were nothing.  Glory awaits us as we drive the Chaos scum from these worlds, and kick them all the way back to the Eye!”  Applause sounded from behind the Wolf Lord as he roared with laughter.  Irnst sighed.  It was inevitable.

“Very well, Brother.  We shall go to help the Inquisitor, but mark my words, great danger awaits us.”  Irnst rolled his eyes as Erik continued laughing, and punched a key to terminate the transmission. He turned to the Iron Priest.

"Prepare our ships, Iron Father. We go again to war," The Iron Priest bowed and left to tend his craft.

"...and," he whispered, "perhaps...finally...to our doom,"

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