Where the Wild Things Roam
sinewy, tall, black, untouchable, deadly
My people have always hunted. When this was our world, The Star King watched from the heavens flanked by his angelic tribesmen. He blessed us as we hunted for food to support ourselves. Then when we were able to feed ourselves with domesticated animals, He became The King of the Hunt flanked by his angelic huntsmen, who blessed our weapons. The hunt was no longer for survival, but a way of life. That is how we lived, and that is how things were.
Then they came.
The elders of our elders called them the Cog Men. What were they to call them? Machines? Techpriests? We were a planet of tribes with bows and arrows. The legend says they came from His court, so it was surmised by the elders that the Cog Men must have come in his name. They gave us guns and they gave us his real name “The Emperor”. In return, we gave them our planet, and, unknown of us, the largest Adamantium deposit the Imperium had ever known with the ancient buried factories of the first men to process it. In that generation of our tribe, our world was changed, earth became metal, mountains became towering spires, our world became an imperial forgeworld.
My peoples’ culture and tribes were not dissolved to phase in with the machine cult and their Machine God. Now there is only the hunt. With no need for farming, herding, building (all these things given to us by the techpriests) we only needed to focus on honing our people to the hunt. We have become hunters attuned to a world of constant sound and metal landscapes, constantly moving and thiving. It was this way for countless years. We are The Emperor’s people, employed by the machine cult to live within the machines, to seek out The Emperor’s and the Machine God’s foes within these metal mountains, kill them, and preserve the machine mountains.
This was the way of life I was born into. Yor’el Syn, Son of Char Yor’el, chief of the spire W-2113. W-2113, the most precious of territories – the main power junction between the generator fields, and the refineries themselves. We have claimed countless servitor cogs from our prey, rouge servitors whose programming has glitched to the point of refusing orders from the techpriests. To us and the machine cult this is heresy, and must be dealt with accordingly. The cogs are trophies, proof of our abilities. With the cog of our first kill on a metal sinew around our necks, we prove we are worthy of the Emperor’s blessing.
Except for me.
They say that my birth was an omen of dark days ahead. They had no name for what I was, they would have killed me at birth if I had not been the son of the most powerful chieftain of our people. The elders had to convince everyone that I was a blessing in disguise, a chamber for some unknown evil that may have been unleashed on our people if I had not came to be. So I was simply shunned. Sent off alone on hunts, avoided, and when asked, no one would know why they did these things, it seemed with my presence came revulsion. So I grew alone, loved and hated by my parents, shunned by family, no friends save my rifle. That is how I lived.
But all things change. While I dealt with a life of solitude and anger, other forces took root in the belly of our metal jungles. It is during my generation the Heretic showed its fangs on our homeworld. They came under the guise of the Emperor’s people, and when they were found out they escaped to the belly of the old refineries. While we hunted them, they called more of their people, and preyed on the younger tribes of ours, convincing them that the dark gods were the ones to be worshiped. I would come to know later that our world was to be the first. Like a stack of cards, our refineries were to be the card pulled from the bottom, then across multiple sectors, sleeper cells of heretics would rise up and take down the emperor’s refineries, crippling the Imperium.
So he came.
The inquisitor. With his hunting party they came to the techpriests and then to our people, we would lead him down to the bowels of the metal mountains. They were strong, fast, trained. Against the heretics, many of my people fell in the various assaults into the under regions of our forgeworld. But we made it to the heretics and their shanty city, and with the dark rumble of the machines above us, we delt out righteous fury from rifle, and knife. The leader ran from us, towards some type of alter made of metal and flesh. The last of his forces, crazed with the power of the dark gods, held us at bay while he enacted his dark arts calling something from the warp into his flesh. As the demon entered into our realm the backlash killed most of his men near the alter. He rose form the ground and turned to face us with a face no longer human, but one of insane hatred for all who followed the emperor. Three of my people approached the alter with weapons raised, with a flick of his wrist he turned them into piles of maggots and feces. Then he rose his arms and started an unholy incantation. Around me men started to real in pain, but I was strangely unaffected. I picked up a weapon dropped by one of the inquisitor’s men, aimed true and fired. The power of the gun was something I had never known existed, but it seemed there was some other force guiding my hands across the weapon, widening the aperture of the barrel, drawing the full energy of the weapon’s energy cell, calibrating myself to the site of the gun. The being before me, without any knowledge of my actions, simply spoke his blasphemous words until everything from his diaphragm up exploded in a spray of ichor. After the men composed themselves, I would learn that the beast was not fulling pulled into this world, and killing his host sent him back into the warp.
The inquisitor before leaving approached me with a proposition, in exchange for my services in his hunting party he would make sure my people were well equipped and supported by hunters known as guardsmen in nearby systems. I agreed to his proposition, but he didn’t have to promise me such things. He had guaranteed all that I required in his description of what it meant to be an acolyte in his retinue: I would do the emperor’s will, and hunt.
So I went.