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
“Ho. Ho. Ho.”