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The Intruder

by Sholto (see more of his work here)

The ice had long gone, of course, long before the seas themselves went during the sacrilegious bombardment of Holy Terra by the forces of the Great Traitor. All that was left behind was bare rock, rippled and whorled into a new sea of glassy, black stone from the unimaginable forces unleashed during those darkest of days.

Seeking new territory on Holy Terra came the Inquisition; the dread Ordo Hereticus. From one pole, already the site of their hidden headquarters, to another, new dungeons to exhume. Under this fused and newly-frozen ocean the Inquisition dug, deep into the tortured bedrock they went, new halls and chambers won from the cold, dead stone, and filled with unnameable and eldritch secrets wrenched bleeding from a galaxy of horrors, stored far beneath the surface, never to rise.

Their labyrinthine delvings continued over the decades and centuries that followed, their underground empire branching new limbs and organs in the stygian depths, but the rumours that had plagued the sunken fortress of despair could not be buried.

Rumours of a man who stalked the tunnels, the corridors, the hallways in the eternal night, wreathed in red fire and rimmed with hoar-frost. Rumours of a man who was not a man, a daemon who could not be caught, not even by those who hunted the greatest and most mortal enemies of the Imperium. A cursed revenant of ages past who appeared once every year, evading security systems that could catch the mote in a man’s eye, one breath in a hurricane, the shadow of a shadow. Locked doors could not stop him, trusted steel and adamantium like rain unto a wave, and so the Inquisition huddled in their cells once a year, terrified to fall asleep.

But sleep they must, and sleep they did. And awoke, in the fake morning of that fake night, to find by their beds a single piece of darkest anthracite and always the echo, fading away down the endless halls and tunnels.

 

“Ho. Ho. Ho.”