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warhammer40k - In My Spirit Lies My Strength

warhammer40k - In My Spirit Lies My Strength

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Published by kartar5
imagine you must kill the man who you admire the most in the universe, while your most hated enemy enjoys the situation he helped create.
imagine you must kill the man who you admire the most in the universe, while your most hated enemy enjoys the situation he helped create.

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Published by: kartar5 on Sep 25, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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In My Spirit Lies My Strength
 August 4, 20111
In My Spirit Lies My StrengthBy
It still hurts to think about him, even after all these years. He
was like a god to me and though I suppose Iwas never really the closest person to him, I was probably the one most affected by his death. Of course, it alsohurts because the tattoo on my forehead reacts to such thought and sends a spike of pain into my brain every timemy memories from everything I used to be grow too strong. The closest thing I can remember without pain is them
holding me down as the scriptomancer’s ink needle descended onto me, but that is enough to fuel the hate that
keeps me alive.I have tried to escape them on four occasions and every time I expected death when they eventually caught me, butinstead they laughed that vicious, shrilling laugh of their kind as they summoned the scriptomancer to tattoo more ohis witchery art on me. In addition to the pain-sigil they gave me the day they caught me, I now have two burden-locks resembling thorn vines etched around my ankles that make my feet feel heavy as lead unless I fight, a flower-shaped neural enhancer on the side of my chest that multiplies a hundredfold the pain of any wound inflicted thereand a wither-ink in the palm of my left hand that gradually cripples my fingers, one after another. They wereparticularly happy about that last one, because each new finger lost would be a cause for a renewed rush of bets onmy death in their arena.Fuelled by pain, hate and the memories I have of him, I have never lost. I have killed former comrades with tears inmy eyes and I have emerged bloody but victorious from confrontations against alien nightmarish creatures. I do allof this to be more like him, closer to the ideal he incarnated: a warrior of perfection, devoted to his task and to theEmperor. It grieved me to have to be pitted against children and women, but once all was over and I wept quietlywith their blood still over me, I remembered the teachings he gave us: the warrior must show compassion, but hemust also understand that there will be those he cannot save. Had I not killed them, someone or something elsewould have.I do my best to apply what he taught us, even if I have to suffer the torture of the headaches. Like him, I neverthrow away my weapons. Like him, I keep my spirit unbroken. Like him, I use my rare moments not spent fighting ortraining to hone my concentration and steel my will. I fight without relent or pause until my opponents are laid lowwith their life blood drenching the ground and the crowd is erupting in cheers and jeers. I do not listen to them,because they are Xeno. I wait for the day I can submerge them with my anger and destroy their impure existences,but a warrior must realize that he cannot achieve all of his goals at any time. I must wait for the perfect chance tostrike.My first target knows I want to kill him. I remind him of it after every fight, standing over the bodies of myadversaries, as I point my weapon at him and he smirks. I know he is protected by some force field in his arenahonour throne, so I do not waste my strength throwing it. I roar my challenge so loudly it drowns their delightedwhooping, weapon firmly held in my right hand as my left index finger at the extremity of my outstretched armmarks the Xeno leader with the death-touch, the invisible symbol of those about to be slain.Every time, the pain spikes through my mind with such burning intensity I have to fight back the tears as I repeat hisbattle-
cry in a homage they can’t understand. The words give me strength and purpose as they roll and echo around
the enclosed pit:
 “Courage and honour, for Guilliman and for the Throne!” 
 He was my ideal, my hero and my commander. He fought for us even when so many others had fallen already. Untilhis end, he was a martial legend and a just war leader, a demigod we would have followed to the confines of theGalaxy had he but asked. He was a Space Marine in a glorious livery of blue and white and much more to us than just a member of his Astartes Chapter: to me and every other resistance fighter, he was so legendary he was knownunder a single nickname designed to strike fear into our enemies by letting them know who they were up against. Hewas everything I can never become. He was Ultramarine.#I have been a soldier since I was sixteen, the year of life during which they attacked us in the first of many raids tocome. When the Planetary Defence Forces resisted them, they grew crueller and stopped taking prisoners, attackingwithout relent until our military was splintered. It was then most of the able men took up arms and formed isolatedresistance cells, myself included. We thought grimly that they would hunt us down and kill us, but that did nothappen. They did not even try to starve us or cut our weapon supplies. It seemed that the Xeno were content with
In My Spirit Lies My Strength
 August 4, 20112
the level of opposition we provided, and looking back on it now I think they must simply have found it very dull toraid unopposed.Whenever one of their raids would stumble upon my cell, we fought back with all of our hatred for these monsterswho had taken or murdered our families. Yet even then they rarely fought back, instead trying to ignore us andevade our bullets. It was a game to them, a test of strength to see who could pass closest to us without being hit.Only when we killed one did they retaliate: fifty lives for each of their dead was the price and they delighted in notreaping this toll from us but from the prisoners they had taken instead. They would bring them forward and torturethem just out of our reach to goad us out of hiding. As we learned the hard way, whoever leapt out of cover thenwas killed by them or taken away.I had been fighting the raids for four years when he arrived and by then I had been bred into a powerful man by theconstant state of war. I was, at the time, the leader for a little urban resistance cell of five men and six women
allwomen able to keep pace with us joined us gladly, for it was all too notorious what specially refined horrors the Xenohad in store for the women they caught. The raid came without warning as usual and in broad daylight, which is howI was able to tell one of them would pass under the window I was at when I saw the shadow of his anti-grav surf gliding over the wall. In a split second I saw the chance to hit a Xeno with my bare hands and that was what mademe jump out and into him as he sped past.Judging by the cry he made, I think he had been as surprised to be struck as I was to actually hit the mark. Westruggled for the briefest moment before he slipped off his surf and we both crashed to the ground. He got up firstwith a grin that promised me all kinds of hell and took out a barbed knife as I pulled my bayonet blade out from my
belt. I don’t remember how long we fought –
it felt like hours to me but it could very well have been only a minute orso. I was entirely focused on him, but I could tell some of his comrades had stopped to see us fight. He was fast butI was strong and my skill matched his, or so it seemed until I noticed he was laughing and not even breaking a sweatwhen I was panting and heaving. It was then that I saw two things very clearly: the first was that he could kill mewhenever he wanted and the second was the trail of fire coming down from the sky, right onto us. I dived away andheard the sneering taunts of the Xenos turn into screams of agony as a jarring impact shook my entire world.He was there when I opened my eyes, offering me his gauntleted hand to get up from the rubble and thedevastation the combined effects of the drop-pod and his squad had inflicted on this portion of the street.
 “You did good,” were his first words to me. He said something e
lse after that, but the shock overcame me and I didnot hear him.#The arena is different this time. Not the grounds themselves, but the attitude of a crowd that for once seems less
enthusiast in its mocking or at least doesn’t direct it entirely at me. W
hen I see my opponent I understand and Ismile because for the first time, I know I will finally kill one of them.He is tall and thin like they always are, but his posture lacks the trademark arrogance and his protective gear is tornin many places, dirty, ragged and lacking more than a few plates. I note with pleasure as we circle around each
other on the black sand that he isn’t smiling and that his eyes resembling slits don’t have any arrogance in them.
Rather, his scowl is one of hatred and it makes me glad. Hate me, so I can hate you back even more intensely thanbefore. Fear me, so I can grow stronger and erase your impure existence.They gave us knives with blades shorter than my hand as our only weapons. I know they do that when they want aprolonged fight and both fighters suffering, when they want screams of pain and drawn out agonies. I remember Iwas only given a blade that fit in my palm when they pitted me against women and children they had captured.My opponent lunges in first, I dodge his jab and the lethal dance begins. Ultramarine taught me how to fight with aknife: with a blade so short and a finger guard so small, it is best to rely on dodges rather than parries. He showedme how to use my entire body as a weapon without limiting myself to the short piece of sharp metal I hold. Of course that was easy for him to say
my fists can’t break bones and my forehead can’t cave in skulls, but still I
always did the best I could to follow his teachings.
Focusing on Ultramarine’s lessons brings th
e migraines back in a flash of pain so sudden and so searingly painful that
I almost let the Xeno’s knife rip through my abdomen. The last second dodge I throw in desperation isn’t enough to
prevent the tip of the blade from carving a bloody line across my chest that thankfully misses the pain enhancer by abreath. My opponent jumps back and smiles, looking rather pleased with himself 
so much in fact that his postureslackens and his guard lowers. I wonder why at first, but the moment of relief is as welcome as it is unexpected. Icontrol my breathing as Ultramarine taught me, relaxing my muscles one after the other to regain as much staminaas possible without dropping my own guard.
In My Spirit Lies My Strength
 August 4, 20113
Something seems to be disturbing the Xeno. He stares at me in what looks like incomprehension, glancingalternatively at my wound and at his blade as his smile slowly turns into a grimace of anger. The adrenaline of thecombat recedes, freeing my ears from the sound of my own beating heart. The noise of the arena washes over me
like a tidal wave of sound, but it isn’t what I had expected it to be. The spectators are laughing, pouring a cascade of 
mocking sounds not at me but at my opponent, some of them pointing and laughing so hard I can see them doubledover in their seats. It is then the realisation dawns upon me: my opponent must have been convinced there waspoison coating his blade.Maybe there is, maybe this is another of their elaborate mind traps, one in fact intended for me. But the pain
throbbing across my chest isn’t excessive, my mind doesn’t feel clouded and my muscles show no sign of weakness.
Then again, what could the Xeno possibly have done to earn himself the shame of becoming little more than alaughingstock destined to be killed? I shut my mind to such questions. Ultramarine taught me there was little point intrying to understand the Xeno. Wanting to know why they fight or how they fight is the first step to warming up totheir cause. Let scholars study the ruins we leave behind, he said to me. Warriors like us need not understand to kill.I do exactly that. My opponent is still spitting insults back at the arena when I barrel into him in full sprint, bringingdown my knife at the same time I slam him backwards. Even surprised, even wrong-footed the Xeno manages tokeep his balance and deviate my swinging arm. He does not see, obscured by my body, my heel slam down hard onhis unprotected foot.He gives a short yelp and the short moment for which he remains pinned is what I needed to make him lose hisfooting. As he stumbles backwards I weigh down on him, savouring the lurching feeling of the two of us falling to the
ground. Both of our knives escape our hands in the stumble, but he is underneath me and his frail musculature can’t
unpin him. His hands reach for my face, scratching and clawing as my fingers close around his throat. I lean close tohim to deny him the satisfaction of gouging my eyes or my lips, his fists then only able to thump uselessly againstmy back. I am vaguely aware of the pain he causes me, a pain that is almost entirely eclipsed by the pleasure of hearing his agonising gurgles, feeling his blood-tainted spittle on my face and, at last, crushing his throat in a wetcrack.The arena cheers at me, the first time it has ever done so. They are actually cheering, not mocking me, not laughing.
I can’t make out their usual sarcasm and that has me distracted for a moment as I get up, letting go of the Xeno’s
limp body. I want to maim it more, to have revenge for the suffering they inflicted to me, but what I want above all
that is to honour Ultramarine’s memory. He explained to me that we need only worry about destroying the Alien.
Once it is dead, we must banish him from our thoughts.
 “For Guilliman and for the Throne of Terra! Courage and Honour!” 
 Emboldened by my kill, I cry out the words with more passion than usual. Maybe it is why I can see, as I point athim again, the Xeno leader rise up from his seat and whisper something to the figure next to him. I squint my eyesand I can just about make out his arm indicating my general direction. My posture of challenge does not waver aninch to betray how high this simple mark of attention lifts my fighting spirit. I have killed one of his kind today
notthe first I have killed in my life of fighting them, but the first since my capture. Soon it will be him.#They let me the choice of weapons today before they unshackled me, presenting me a rack of blades of all lengthsand shapes. I hesitated a long time before choosing, not because I did not know which one to choose but because I
didn’t want to willingly take a Xeno
-made weapon. It is one thing to be forced to fight with one of their weapons butquite another to taint my mind and my hands by deliberately selecting a weapon of alien origin. Ultramarine insistedupon that very often, because we used to be so impressed with the sorcerous-like power of their rifles and cannonsthat we wanted to seize the weapons of their dead. He took great care to teach us how that was in fact spreadingthe taint of the Alien, until we saw the error of our ways.There is, almost lost in the array of exotic weapons, a bastard sword that I have seen as soon as they brought me infront of the rack. It does not look to be the product of their forges
too blunt, too unsophisticated for their tastes. Itis a brutish tool of war and so it is all that I require.I stretch my muscles before the barbed doors of the arena open. I feel good doing that and I realize I am fitter than
I used to be. Training whenever I wasn’t shackled seem
s to have paid off or maybe there was more than symbolism
in Ultramarine’s words when he told me that strength lied within ourselves, waiting to be tapped. The desire to kill
one of them again, channelled into cold fury, has bestowed upon me the physical ability to carry out my justrevenge.The noise of the arena does not faze me as it used to. I have purpose and I am focused now, more than I ever was.Tasting the death of one of the Xeno under my bare hands has been the wake-up shock I needed to becomestronger. My mind is set. I do not waver, even when I see the female walking towards me on the black sand. I know

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