Black Library ‘Treacheries of the Space Marines’ Submission: Lucius (by Brychan Travers) Synopsis

An Arvus lighter sets down within a ruined city, amidst a disorganised Imperial rearguard. Inquisitor Tredegar and his combat team disembark, and run into the nearest building; a ruined church. Monitoring Imperial comms traffic, Tredegar has extrapolated this to be the closest sacred site to the last encounter of his quarry; Lucius the Eternal. Commanding his team to engage their audio-dampers, (to negate the debilitating effects of Lucius’s unique armour), the Inquisitor signals them to head out, initiating their mission to locate the target, and then draw him back to where the trap will be sprung. (The story will continue with no descriptors of sound until the audio-dampers are ordered disengaged.) Tredegar sets psychically resonant pylons at regular intervals, and then his wrist-mounted auspex vibrates, informing him of his team’s return. Staring intently at Lucius, the Inquisitor begins the requisite incantation. He must force himself to continue without faltering or averting his gaze, whilst Lucius is nonchalantly killing off his men; soldiers he has trained for decades for this very mission. Lucius finally seems to notice Tredegar, and as the invocation reaches its final verse, Lucius’s eyes narrow, and he flicks his whip towards the Inquisitor… but the pylons activate just in time, stark white lightning shooting out and striking the Chaos Lord, embracing him, pulling his arms down to his sides. The Lash of Torment remains outstretched, writhing and straining towards the sweating Tredegar, but he remains just out of reach. Lucius smiles at the pain. Tredegar begins to cast another spell, whilst a relaxed Lucius stares calmly at him, mouthing words the Inquisitor can not hear, yet which chill him regardless. Still, he manages to use the subduing psychic power, so Lucius loses consciousness and his head lolls, yet he is still held upright by the pylons. Though Lucius hangs limply, the serpentine Lash of Torment still strains and swings at Tredegar; it is restrained by the last survivors of his combat team, who slice it from Lucius’s armour. The tortured faces on the Armour of Shrieking Souls have

faded to a motionless pattern; Tredegar performs an audio test which shows they have also fallen silent. At his signal, audio-dampers are disengaged. Servitors arrive at Tredegar’s request, carrying a stasis-lockable crate. He starts to configure it to contain Lucius. Suddenly, Lucius’s head snaps upright, and his body begins to struggle; so much so that the pylons start to shudder with the extra effort of holding him. His face contorts to look different, and he speaks with a low, gruff voice. (Lucius’s will was keeping the subsumed souls in his armour in check, and now he’s unconscious, the personalities are fighting to come to the surface). The voice is that of Lucius’s first victim, Lord Commander Cyrius. He has had the longest to learn how to try and break out, and is probably one of the angriest at being trapped. He agonises over the injustice of his defeat and transformation, and demands to be freed. Tredegar uses the subduing spell once more to contain the raging personality, and Lucius’s body returns to its flaccid state. Almost straightaway, another personality surfaces. Now it’s the Inquisitor who initially trained Tredegar; the reason behind his crusade. Tredegar was nearing the end of his apprenticeship when his former master tracked down and killed Lucius. Afterwards, the master placed (hid) himself into solitary isolation, so that Tredegar only just escaped with his life when Lucius emerged. Tredegar subsequently dedicated his life to tracking down Lucius. The old master begs for mercy, to end the suffering, but although he admits to his former pupil that he knows he will not have his wishes granted, he can’t help but continue to plead and wail. Tredegar is fatigued by the increased concentration necessary, but he spells the pitiful voice into submission. The next personality is softly spoken, and seemingly inane. Tredegar is slowly seduced into listening whilst he prepares the stasis box. The new speaker was a sycophantic follower of Lucius, enveloped in love for pain and pleasure, fully embracing Slaanesh. All he wanted was complete devotion, so after joining Lucius’s followers, he plotted to kill Lucius, and by succeeding, had his wish fulfilled to live in eternal ecstasy/torment by becoming one with his hero. As he worships Lucius, he wishes no harm to his Lord, and asks for release.

Tredegar sneers at this ‘pathetic’ attempt. “I have done what countless others have failed to do; I have truly beaten your master. He will never commit his foul deeds again”. This third voice suddenly utters a command word. The daemon in the Lash of Torment responds and it leaps from the grasp of its captors; shoots straight for Tredegar and its barbs sink deep into his skull, forcing him to collapse. The psychic spells are suddenly broken. Lucius is now awake and fully himself; his armour shrieks again, and all the remaining members of the Inquisitor’s team are in agony, their ears bleeding. Lucius is calm and collected, slowly sauntering over to the prone Tredegar, and using his sword, makes a few precise cuts which hamper his victim’s psychic ability. A triumphant Lucius praises Tredegar’s attempts, whilst absent-mindedly playing with the buttons on the stasis box. “Ah, a time lock device. Interesting. Maybe you should spend some time deliberating your fate; a few weeks, possibly?” Desperate to escape, Tredegar lunges with a hidden blade whilst trying to scramble up from his prone position; Lucius foils his attempt with deceptive ease by grabbing his swinging arm. He lifts Tredegar into the box, reminding him that Slaanesh enjoys both mental and physical torture. Lucius then plunges Tredegar’s dagger into his own neck. As he slumps down, grinning, he pulls on Tredegar’s arm, snapping the dagger off in place, and pushes the terrified Inquisitor down into the box, as the lid slams shut…

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful