I28 : Shades of Grey
Leviticus’ hand exploded as the bolt round struck flesh. His ancient symbol of office tumbled to the floor and the old man look on helpless as Lockhart aimed for the kill shot. Tenenbaum’s man was there, spinning like a dervish. He thrust high and low simultaneously, his ritual blade driving Lockhart back.
Leviticus wanted to deliver the killing blow but was content to watch the smug interrogator be pummelled to the floor. Quintus had joined the fray and Lockhart found himself swiftly out manned and out manoeuvred. Lockhart stumbled to the floor after a titanic blow to the head. In rage Leviticus pushed through the two henchmen and crushed the interrogator’s skull beneath his heavily armoured boot.
‘Scum.’ Leviticus surveyed the surroundings. The palace’s forecourt was a carnal house. Blood and gore reached the high balcony above. Leviticus stooped to pick up his chainsword as he limped down the length of the hall. His sword hand was a mess- he would never wield a blade again. The priest saw the slumped corpses of his favourite pets. The brothers Udo were good servants and they deserved a better death than this.
Leviticus spied Tenenbaum tending to Armitage. The ex-detective was a mess, but that was to be expected. Leviticus leant on the interrogator’s shoulder,
‘We need to talk.’ Tenenbaum shrugged him off,
‘Now.’ The priest hissed through teeth. Tenenbaum looked into the old man’s tired eyes and nodded. He patted Armitage on the shoulder and they walked into a recess.
‘You have matured quite wonderfully my friend.’ The priest hissed.
‘What… What do you mean, father?’ Tenenbaum looked confused.
‘The Pontifex has been watching you for some time. You seek the forbidden lore of the heavens.’
Tenenbaum looked at the priest as if for the first time, what did he know about this man? He was little more than a drill abbot, sent to watch over this world by his cardinal.
‘You are mistaken, father.’ Tenenbaum turned to leave.
‘It is you who are mistaken. You have harboured a daemon in our midst and coveted secret lore. You are further down the path than you could know heretic.’
Tenenbaum drew his pistol from its ornately wrought holster.
+++Shoot the priest+++
‘You consort with daemons even now. You have killed a fellow interrogator. You are a heretic, Tenenbaum.’ The interrogator’s aim wavered for a moment, but his gaze was firm. ‘Fear not my child, this was your destiny, this was why the Pontifex sent me to watch over you. Come, let us leave this place of death and sorrow. He is waiting.’
Tenenbaum held the pistol level…
Gungnir’s ethereal voice whispered his name as it always did when it was drawn in anger. The voice never came alone; there were always other sounds, just audible below the arcane murmurings of the weapon.
Discordant chimes as if struck from a cracked bell, quiet as if carried on the wind from miles away. At first these… ‘phenomena’ had troubled Tenanbaum, but he had travelled far and seen much since the day Gloriana gifted Gungnir to his stewardship.
In truth he had begun to relish those few seconds after freeing the weapon from its warded holster. Those few microseconds when reality seemed to flex before snapping back, somehow clearer than before overlaid with geometric patterns which gradually fade to nothingness like a dying pict-feed. As if for the briefest moment he had been able to see the machinery behind the curtain of reality.
This time he saw the priest above the barrel of Gungir, for a second he saw past the wizened, self-righteous exterior. A seconds pause, Gungir’s scratching encouragement reached its peak. With a grim sigh Tenanbaum returned the ancient weapon to his holster – perhaps the priest would be of use. Certainly Gloriana would want to get her hands on this ‘Pontifex’.
‘We will address this later padre. We have the matter of Frayne to attend to’.