Overture: A BeginningEdit
Jericho and his allies arrived on Atosis III. Their goal was simple: discover source of the RED(?!) orks on the planet, and destroy it. They landed on top of a large bluff, secluded from the aliens. Danger Aphoran looked out over the ork-covered plains.
"This ain't right, boss," he said. "Greenskins are supposed to be just that: GREEN. What makes these buggers red?!" The unease in the mercenary's voice was obvious.
"That's why we're here, Danger," Terrius replied, "We ALL know that they're green. We need to find out what makes them red. Hopefully, the change is only cosmetic."
The others remained silent, and observed the the red-skins. The orks were still, as if in a trance. The stillness broke: The xenos began to fight amongst each other. They killed each other for an hour straight, then went back into their trance.
"WHAT ON TERRA WAS THAT, BOSS?!" Danger exclaimed, "ORKS DO NOT DO THAT!"
Jericho closed his eyes, and allowed Terribus to take control. He spoke in a flat, almost menacing tone, "These orks, evidently, do 'that'. We need to start moving. We have remained still far too long."
The group began their descent from the bluff, assisted by a mountain of boulders that stood south of their landing point. Ko'Vash reached the ground first.
"It is safe on the ground, Jericho," the pathfinder called. He scouted into the forest while the others continued down the large rocks. Danger finished next. He assisted the others down, and they walked in the direction Ko'Vash went. Then the heard the orks begin their battling again, the roars and shouts piercing the air.
The inqusitor and his group met up with the tau shortly, in a small clearing. The team decided that the fastest way to learn what they were dealing with would be to fight one. They prepared to attack.
Suddenly, an ork charged out of the trees. "BLOOD FOR DA BLOOD GOD!!!" it screamed. Corsus fired his bolter, splitting the beast's skull.
"Well, Danger, you wanted to know what they were. Now you do," the techmarine said.
"Throne on Terra..." The mercenary's voice was barely heard.
"Chaotic orks, devoted to Khorne. Fitting, isn't it?" Vengelia spoke for the first time since they arrived. "Makes you wonder, why don't the orks worship the Blood God anyway?"
Jericho replied, "The orks aren't easily tempted by the Ruinous Powers. They usually are content with how their lives work, since they almost always have something to fight. It seems, though, that these orks needed an adversary. My hypothesis is that they simply had nothing to do, and grew bored. Then Khorne stepped in and offered them enough bloodlust to last them for eternity, and threw in power for good measure."
Kalu'Katlu agreed with the inquistor,"That would explain why they attack each other; the rage of Chaos combined with the orks' yearning for war would be uncontrollable."
The team continued into the forest where they found an entrance leading underground. The piles of disembodied ork heads around the entrance made it clear what it was: a temple of Khorne.
The team began walking into the temple, when they heard an ork shout.
" 'EY DERE 'UMIEZ! I'M COMIN' WIFF' YA!"
"This one's untainted," noted Kalo'Katlu. Indeed, it was green. Jericho's suspicion was evident.
"Don't come any closer, greenskin," the inquisitor said, raising his bolt pistol,"or I will end you."
The ork slowed to a halt, and spoke: "Yer goin' in there wiff yer boyz ain't ya? I'm comin' too. Dese red 'uns ain't orky."
"Do you know what happened to these 'red ones'?" Remembering that an ork's WAAAGH! field tells them who's in charge, Terribus applied some pressure to the alien's mind. The greenskin looked startled, but answered the question.
"Yeah, boss. Ya see, back den, we was fightin' all the time. We was clobbin' dese litt'l 'umiez, runty, dey was. We ran outta dem real fast. Den, Warboss Grotstompa started actin' funny. Wuzn't orky of 'im. 'E started goin' off to da caves and talkin' ta sumfin'. Afta' a while, he came back red and bigga. He told us boyz that "the Blood God is gunna make us fighty and smashy!". I knew it wuzn' orky, an' I left. All dem otha boyz got bigga and started fightin' each otha cuz dey got nothing ta fight."
"Have they changed at all besides the growth and turning red?"
"I seen an ork wiff a big shiny choppa, and 'e 'ad dese big stabby fings growin' outta 'is 'ead."
Danger blurted,"They've been mutated?! Jericho, we need to get out of here. We can just call in Exterminatus can't we?!"
"Daniel, if the Imperium performed an Exterminatus on every planet that had a problem, there would be no need for the Inquisition." said Terribus with a steeled tone. He turned to the ork: "What is your name, greenskin?"
"Miname's Smashateef, and I'm da biggest, I'm da strongest, and I'm da meanest dere iz! 'Cept fer you, boss..."
Indeed, the ork's size could pass him for a warboss.
"Alright, Smashateef, have you seen this 'Grotstompa' since you left the rest of your kind?"
"Nah, I ain't seen 'im. 'Ey, boss, ya don't look too good."
Terribus felt his counterpart using all of his psychic power, trying to push through. The force of the action caused Jericho to cough up blood.
"Not yet..." Terribus whispered. He started to black out...
"JERICHO!" Vengelia shouted. Danger and Corsus rushed over to the fallen inquisitor.
"Sorry, guys, I'm fine. Just a little stressed out, you know? Haha..." Terrius was in control now. He wiped the blood from his mouth, then clapped his hands together. "So, we going in here or not?"
Danger seemed uneasy: "Uh... You sure you're okay bossman? You were a lot more serious a minute ago."
"Danger, we've been over this before: just because I seem to let up a bit doesn't mean I'm less serious. I just got tired of sounding like the universe was about to collapse."
The mercenary relaxed. "Fair enough. Just weird, is all. Let's go blow this hell hole up so we can get our asses out of here."
"Couldn't have said it better myself."
The team entered the temple, with Corsus lighting the way. The ground within the tunnel was not dissimilar to the ground outside: it was littered with skulls. Crude Khornate markings covered the walls, and even some of the skulls. The place smelled of blood and death.
Ko'Vash and Danger took the lead, as they were accustomed to moving silently through unknown territory. Kalo'Katlu and Jericho followed closely behind, with Smashateef, Corsus, and Vengelia in the rear.
Terrius could hear the chants of the ork cultists up ahead. They grew louder, and the group jumped when they heard a scream.
The inquisitor spoke softly to his Eldar friend, "What do you think is up there Kal?"
"I am not certain, but it could be a daemon."
"A possessed ork?!"
Danger silenced the pair with a stern look. The group reached the end of the tunnel, and entered a massive torch-lit cavern.
"Oh look, they bothered to put the skulls in piles in here," Jericho said in a hushed tone.
Ramps cascaded down to the bottom level of the cavern, where at least three hundred orks were gathered. Sitting on a throne of bloodied bones was an enourmous redskin, easily four times the size of the biggest warboss any of them had ever seen.
The Eldar inquired, "Is that Grotstompa?"
Smashateef replied, "Yea, that's 'im... Gork, look at 'im, all red therr! S'not orky!" He shook his head.
Jericho spoke, "So that's the warboss of a Chaotic ork warband? He doesn't look that tough. Danger, did you bring any melta bombs?"
The mercenary's face split into a wide grin. "As always. Would you like to give our gracious hosts a thank you present for all the trouble they went through to decorate?"
"I think I would. Let me move to the other side of the pit, I want to see the beasts clearly as they are incinerated into nothingness." Terrius ran silently to his new position, and signalled for the melta. Aphoran held it in his hands, when a pained, but overjoyed scream came from the pit.
Jericho felt warp energies resonating from the source of the scream, and shouted, "THROW IT NOW!"
The melta bomb hit ground and disintegrated all of the orks, leaving superheated air in their place. What it didn't kill was the possessed ork.
The monstrosity roared with pure rage. "BLOOD FER DA BLOOD GOD! KILL! SMASH! KILL! SKULLZ FER DA SKULL THRONE!" It began to charge toward the inquisitor and his group.
Realizing that he was no match for the Khornate beast, Terrius allowed his double to assume control. Terribus quickly drew his relic blade, prepared for a battle. The other members of the team were opening fire. The addition of Eldar and Tau technology made little difference, but managed to slow the daemonhost.
Jericho began to recite a litany of prayer to the Emperor:
"I am His blade, I shall not dull. I am His armor, I shall not break. I am His judgement, I shall not falter."
He fired his bolt pistol, which gave off golden sparks. The shot penetrated the ork's skull, causing it to stop. It began to raise its head once more, when the Inquisitor finished the prayer, "I am His, and His will shall be my command," and delivered the finishing blow, slicing from the top of the head, down to the center of the chest.
The warboss hit the ground with a thud. Jericho sheathed his relic blade, and Terrius came forth once more.
"That wasn't so bad," he said.
Smashateef ran over to the fallen ork. "Dat's it boss! Ya beat 'im right! Juss shows dat yerr da strongest dere is!" The greenskin kicked the monster, knocking something off of it. " 'Ey, boss, whats dis funny litt'l knife?" he asked, holding up a black dagger, that seemed to bleed.
"Drop it!" Jericho blurted, knowing it to be an artifact of Chaos, possibly containing a daemon. Smashateef held it in his hand, staring at it with child-like wonderment. The ork roared, and fell in agony. His flesh began to change, his skin turning crimson. The inquisitor fired three bolts to no avail.
"BOSS WHATS 'APPENIN TO ME?!!?! AAAAAGGGH!!" The transformation was complete. Before Jericho stood another daemon-controlled ork. This one, though, was even larger than the last. Terribus took charge for the inevitable combat approaching, drawing the relic blade once more. Danger drew his power knife and rushed to aid his friend, along with Kalo'Katlu, wielding a diresword, and Corsus, with a chainsword.
The dagger that Smashateef held had grown, becoming nearly 3 meters long. Terribus noted that it mushroomed at the end, making the weapon ideal for cleaving.
Reciting more prayers to the God-Emperor, Jericho charged forward with his sword raised. The Chaos ork slashed his blade, and would have cut the inquisitor in half if Jericho was any slower. Instead, the blade met the air above Terribus's brow as the man slid on knees and struck at the red beast. The relic blade cut deep into the ork's torso, but did not defeat it. Danger, Corsus, and Kalo'Katlu began attacking from behind.
As Smashateef began his next attack, Jericho sent a blast of psychic power into his enemy's head, throwing it off balance. Corsus was quick to take advantage of the situation, and beheaded the daemonic ork.
Though the body fell, the head of the creature continued to speak, "DA BLOOD GOD'S GONNA KILL 'EM ALL! DA OLD BOSS WILL GIT SMASH'D BY DA FIST OF KHORNE!" Terribus sliced the head in half.
The inquisitor walked down to the throne of disembodied heads, and noticed a tunnel behind it. "I've found something down here, I'm going to investigate," he called. Walking into the tunnel, he saw a faint blue glow emanating from around the corner. Jericho kept his wits about him as he entered a smaller cave, which contained a ring. The ring was made of a silver-looking metal with a large gem, and was the source of the blue light he had seen. The inquisitor was cautious to approach it. Only after reciting hymns of purity did Terribus dare touch it. He looked into its jewel, seeing his reflection.
The switch was made unconciously by either of the men known as Jericho. Terrius placed the ring on his finger, and returned to his companions. The group exited the temple to find that many of the orks had returned to their original size and color, and the rest seemed to be following suit. Ko'Vash hypothesized that the taint utilized the WAAAGH! field of the warboss, which may have been amplified through the dagger. To ensure that none of the greenskins could be corrupted by the blade again, Danger demolished the entrance to the temple.
The team returned to their vessel, content to leave the orks, as Jericho put it, as somebody else's problem.
Seven years had passed since Jericho had found the ring. Nothing exciting happened to the inquisitor in those seven years, except for events concerning the ring itself. He quickly found that while he was Terrius, the gem was a sapphire blue. When Terribus was in control, however, it turned a dark emerald color. While this interested Jericho for a while, he became used to it.
The ring had two more effects. One was much more useful, but at the same time, came with a price. It seemed to amplify psychic power nearly three times normal strength. This was discovered when Terribus attempted to create a small light to show his path, and instead conjured a large flame, similar to the one created by a flamer. When he used his psyker abilities, the gem glowed faintly.
The downside to this was that it still drew on Jericho's strength to use such power. Jericho could use his skills almost effortlessly at his level, but the amplified abilities made him unbearably weak. That being said, the inquisitor's psychic strength gradually began to grow, adapting to the demand of more power.
The other effect was the reason the inquisitor was headed toward the Disdoparus space station.
Jericho walked out of his quarters, feeling hungry. He poured himself some tanna tea, and grabbed some nafar biscuits. Looking in his pocket mirror, he noticed that he needed a shave. His jet black hair was disheveled, and his eyes looked like he hadn't slept in a week.
"Gotta stop having those drinking contests with Danger," he said to himself, resting his head on the table. The ship's dining room was small, but had a bar and a few decorations. Jericho's favorite was the portrait of himself, which depicted the inquisitor standing triumphantly upon a pile of foes he had defeated (including a necron, tyranid, ork, and Thousand Sons sorceror).
He finished eating and returned to his room. He entered to find Vengelia walking out of his personal washroom.
"You wouldn't have any pain relievers in here, would you?" she asked.
"Err... No. Why would you check my quarters of all places? We should have some in the dining room, or if all else fails, ask Danger. The way that man drinks, he's bound to carry some with him... Why do you need pain relievers?" Jericho's hangover stunted his patience, and his voice showed it.
"Headache. I've had it for at least an hour."
"Oh. Well, I'm going to lay on my bed until my body stops feeling like its going to implode. I'll probably see you tomorrow."
Vengelia laughed. "You know, you're not like other inquisitors when you're on the ship, but whenever you have work to be done, you go in and out of being deadly serious, and jokingly serious. It's a bit strange."
"Well, someone's got to be different eventually."
"I guess so."
"You're not going to leave until I make you... Are you?"
"Get out of here," Jericho said, then added, "Oh, when we arrive at the space station, come knock to wake me up."
Terrius locked the door, and let out a sigh. Walking over to a mirror mounted on a wall he spoke, "You know, you could lighten up a bit. People aren't so unintelligent that they can't realize the difference between us."
Terribus replied in the mirror. "We are an inquisitor. We don't have time to 'lighten up'. In reality, you should take things more seriously. We shouldn't be wasting time stopping."
"Its not wasting time. We need supplies."
"Yes, but you've decided to stay for a full day."
"There's someone there I need to talk to."
"You don't need to know."
Jericho fell onto his bed and fell asleep.
*BAM BAM BAM*
Jericho woke up, falling off of his bed.
"WHAT THE HELL IS IT?!" he shouted.
Vengelia returned his shout: "We've just finished docking. Let's go find that guy you want to see."
Terrius opened the door. "Alright, let's go find him."
The woman laughed. "You're going to see him looking like that? No, go get cleaned up."
"I'm fine, what are you-" Vengelia interrupted.
"Go look in a mirror, and while you're at it, shave, fix your hair, and wash your face." With that, she walked away. Jericho walked into his washroom. There he put his head under the faucet, and let the recycled water run over him. He then proceeded to make himself look like he could pass as a member of his occupation.
Ko'Vash Y'Eldi and Kalo'Katlu passed him on his way out of the spacecraft. He nodded, knowing that the two aliens were headed to the secret room hidden in his washroom. Danger Aphoran would be the only person to accompany him.
The mercenary was waiting for him outside of their ship. "Took you long enough, bossman," he said.
Jericho laughed, "Its your fault, you know. You drink like no one else."
"Aw, you should've known when to quit. Its not my job to tell you when to stop."
"True. Come on, we have to catch him before he leaves."
They began to walk. "Alright. Who is this guy again?"
"Ezekiel Cornatus ."
Danger smiled. "The frontman from Ezekiel and the Limit Pushers? I didn't know that guy was still living."
"Oh yes. Inquisitor Harlannon did try to kill him at one point, but as you may come to find, he has an unnatural luck about him."
The mercenary's grin grew wider. "Can I run back and grab my Limit Pushers shirt? I want it autographed."
"No, we need to be fast. I don't want our two friends back there to be discovered."
"Fine... If we ever run into him again, though, I'm wearing it."
The two men walked into a bar. Jericho looked for a cards table. Once he had found it, he took a seat. The man next to him wore an eyepatch on his left eye.
"Hello Zeke," he said. Ezekiel instantly stood up, and began to run for the door. Danger grabbed him by the shoulder.
"Don't worry, buddy, we ain't gonna kill you. Bossman over there just wants to ask you some questions. He figures that with your luck, you might be able to figure out the right answer."
"I suppose I have little choice in the matter, for if I am correct, your 'bossman' is an inquisitor."
Jericho smirked. "Thats right. Take a look at this," he said, showing his ring.
"Its a ring, and not a very charming one at that. What is your point?"
Jericho hesitated. "Danger, go stand watch outside," he commanded. The mercenary went without a word. "Ezekiel, what I am about to tell you, I have told no one else. Ever. Can I trust you to do the same?"
The man's face did not conceal his curiosity. "Yes. What's this about? Who are you?"
"That, my good man, is a very simple question, with a very complicated answer."
Ezekiel became confused. "Do tell."
Terrius explained his alter ego, how the two identities conflicted one another, and that they really were as seperate as two sides of a coin: they shared the same shape, but the detail was drastically different.
"Now, you see, I have this ring. When I let him take over, this jewel turns green. But it does much more than just that-"
"Hold up. You expect me to believe that you have two completely different people living inside one body? I'm not an idiot, Jericho," Ezekiel stood again.
"Wait. I can prove it. Just let me change..." Terribus took control.
"What... What's up with your whole... I'm not sure what to call it. Presence?" The man sat.
"That fool has no idea what he's talking about. He should know that he has no way to prove this at all. You could simply say that I am Terrius, and that I am acting like a character I called 'Terribus'.
"But the ring is green, like he said. Well, its more of a deep emerald, but that's beside the point."
"Perhaps I am just able to change the color."
"But still... You give off a different feel than Terrius."
Terribus smirked. "That makes sense, I suppose. We are as different as he said."
Ezekiel relaxed. "So its true. That is rather interesting."
"You could say that. Still, I don't know why he wanted to tell you this, so its best I let him do the talking." The ring turned blue.
Ezekiel spoke, "See, now the intimidating air you were giving off is gone!"
Jericho shook his head, as if he had been falling asleep. "Of course it is. I told you, Terribus is no fun at all. In fact, he scares me a little bit."
"I still don't understand what you want me to do."
"Ezekiel, look at your past. If you were a normal man, you would have been killed dozens of times over."
"You have luck. Luck that has always protected you. What I'm asking is that you use your luck to answer my questions."
"Alright... What are your questions?"
"I used to be able to hear Terribus's thoughts. Now I got this ring, and I can't. Why is that?"
"How am I supposed to know?! I have no basis for any theory."
"That is where your luck will kick in. Just guess."
"I don't know, maybe it just intercepts communication between you two?"
"How would we be able to trade control of the body then?"
"Damn... I don't know. I'm sorry."
"That isn't going to work. I need an answer."
"I can't give you one." Ezekiel got out of his chair. "Really, I'm sorry. I hope you figure it out, or you could just take off the ring."
"I don't think you realize that I'm not giving you a choice any more, Mr. Cornatus. Sit down." Jericho drew his bolt pistol. "Perhaps your luck needs some prompting. I'll give you to the count of three to give me an answer."
"OKAY! Maybe the ring holds the personality while its not in control? And it allows the switch?" Ezekiel's eyes were wide.
Jericho lowered the weapon. "That's a thought... Let's try your theory." Terrius removed the ring. "Hold this." He gave it to Ezekiel. "Now, I'm going to try to give up control." The inquisitor closed his eyes. "Nothing."
"So what does that mean?" Ezekiel asked.
"I'm not sure. I'll have to ask him what happened in there."
"I thought you couldn't speak with him anymore?"
"Not directly, but when I'm not the one in control, its like I watch everything happen. I feel it, smell it, hear it, taste it. The only things I can't do are hear his thoughts or control the body in any way, including psychic."
"Psychic? Why would that matter?" Ezekiel asked, although he began to bore.
"I'm not sure, really. I just accept the facts. Please excuse me for a moment." Jericho produced his pocket mirror. He took the ring from Cornatus and put it on. Then he began to talk to Terribus.
"What happened on your side?" he asked.
"Well... It's interesting." Terribus replied.
"I think, knowing you as I do, that you need to experience it yourself."
Terrius sighed. "Fair enough." He closed his eyes, and felt himself lose authority over his own body. He watched as Terribus reached for the ring on his finger. Right when he placed it on the table, Terrius's world went black.
Terrius found himself in an empty room, with no doors or windows. The walls were dark green. What interested him the most was that he had a body.
"Well, this is a bit different than what I expected."
He walked in a circle around the room. "What am I supposed to do now?" he wondered.
Suddenly, a door appeared on the wall in front of Jericho. He exited the room, curious what the door had opened to. The inquisitor found an island in the middle of a bottomless pit, with only a narrow plank as a means of crossing. He decided to take his chances, and found that the beam was actually quite strong. He reached the island, where he discovered a chest.
Terrius opened it without hesitation. Inside was a locket. He held it in his hand for a moment, then put it around his neck. Somehow he knew that he would find it. Jericho crossed the abyss once more. Then he heard a voice.
"You are not the one who I saw before," it said.
Terrius was startled, but replied, "No, I'm not."
"Yet you look like him. Amusing."
"You could say that. Who, or what, are you?"
"I am the one who dwells within this gem, and has done so for millennia."
"That doesn't sound like you thought that sentence through all the way. Couldn't you have said something better?"
"SILENCE! I have a task for you, little inquisitor."
Jericho rolled his eyes. "Seriously? You've been here for millennia and you can't even say something that sounds like I should give a damn."
"You must go to Ardaton Prime, and go to the ruins of the temple there." the voice grew impatient.
"Why me? Make some other poor fellow do it. Like Ezekiel Cornatus. He's sitting at a cards table right now, and he's got nothing better to do."
"NO! It must be you! Go now! If you do not, I shall hold you within my domain for eternity!"
Jericho felt himself become part of his body again as Terribus placed the ring on their finger. Terrius quickly removed Terribus from control.
"I have to go to Ardaton Prime," he told Ezekiel.
The man's face failed to hide his confusion. "How did you get that necklace? Were you always wearing it? You just don't strike me as the necklace type of person."
"What are you..." Jericho looked down, and saw that the locket from within the ring had stayed with him. "No, I was not always wearing this. But this is why I have to go." He gave Cornatus a pat on the back as he walked out of the bar.
"Come on Danger."
The mercenary jumped, having been deep in thought. "How'd it go? Did you get your answers?"
Terrius looked at the ground as he walked. "I got my answer, but more questions followed."
"Where are we headed next?"
"Where is that?" Danger asked.
"I'm not sure."
Two years later, they arrived at Ardaton Prime.
"FINALLY, WE FOUND THIS BLOODY PLACE!" Jericho cheered.
Corsus laughed. "Considering there were almost no records of it, its a miracle that we were able to find it within our lifetime. Would you like me to escort you to the surface, or am I needed here?"
"Ko'Vash is going with me, so you'll need to pilot the ship," replied the inquisitor.
The techmarine nodded, and made off for the helm. Danger entered the room.
"Well, bossman, we're here. What are you gonna do now?"
"I have to find the temple... Throne, I hope it doesn't have anything to do with the Ruinous Powers. Remember when we ran into those nurglings?" He shuddered.
"Don't remind me."
Ko'Vash Y'Eldi joined the two men. "Jericho Terrius, when will we begin descent to the planet?"
"Ko'Vash, remember, you have to talk how I taught you," Danger said, "What you just said sounded awkward and weird."
"Apologies, Daniel Aphoran. Allow me to try again." The tau coughed. "Hey there big man, when're we headin' down to the rock?" Ko'Vash looked to Danger for approval.
"Better." The mercenary tried to hide his laughter. Jericho punched Danger's arm. The laughing stopped.
The inquisitor spoke: "We will begin our descent in one hour Ko'Vash." The tau went to prepare himself.
"You can't teach him to speak like a clown, you know."
"Sorry, I made a joke a few weeks ago and he caught on, thinking I was serious. I couldn't resist." Danger's grin faded. "Why is it that you insist on only having Ko'Vash and myself on this mission, Jericho? Vengelia and Kal are concerned about why you are not letting them come too."
Jericho looked down at the locket wrapped around his fist. "I want to keep our team small so that we don't attract anything."
"Kal isn't easily seen."
"I want Kalo'Katlu to stay here with Vengelia. He will at least ensure that she does not follow... Anyway, we need to get ready ourselves." The duo went to their respective quarters.
Terrius spoke into the mirror. "What do you think is going to happen down there?"
Terribus answered in a solemn tone: "I only assume the worst."
"What is the worst?"
"The amulet will activate a Chaos ritual, and bring an immensely powerful daemon into reality. That is one of many scenarios."
"Ugh, I don't want to hear it," Terrius said, removing the ring from his finger. He left his quarters and walked into his personal armory. There, he comtemplated what to take with him. He looked at the shattered remains of his relic blade, the same sword that had slain Smashateef. He grabbed his master crafted bolt pistol, and his new power saber. Although he usually favored the feel of a heavier blade, Jericho enjoyed fighting with the saber. It was not as heavy as his previous sword, and he could attack much quicker with it.
"Ready, bossman?" Danger stood in the doorway.
Jericho slid a combat knife in his boot. "As ready as I'm going to be."
Once they had located the temple, the group landed on the planet. They were in a desert, one kilometer away from the entrance.
They walked toward the ruins in silence. Jericho still carried the ring in his pocket; he did not want to take unnecessary risks in this unfamiliar territory.
The rocky desert was unbearably hot. Ko'Vash did not seem to mind, but Danger and Terrius seemed as if they were going to die.
"Why, of all the places in the galaxy, did this damn thing have to be in a bloody desert?!" Danger shouted.
"Shut up, Daniel," Jericho spat, "It wasn't going to be placed in the middle of a recreation world."
Cresting over a hill, the temple came into view. It was made of stone of the purest white, with a pyramid mounted upon a column standing behind it. Much to Jericho's relief, it did not seem to be devoted to Chaos in any way. Once the team reached the entrance, Jericho gave his orders.
"Ko'Vash, I want you to remain out here. If anything happens to go wrong, call for immediate extraction. Don't worry about Danger and me-"
Danger interjected, "Hey, speak for your self!" He turned to the tau. "Ko, my friend, if something happens, I want you to run in there and pull my ass out."
"Quiet! I'm still talking! Don't worry about Danger and me, we can handle whatever situation we come across. Just be sure to call for Corsus to extract us."
Ko'Vash nodded. "Jericho, what do you expect to find inside?"
Terrius looked in the temple's entrance. "I'm not sure. Come on Danger."
The men entered the structure, unsure what was to be found. Jericho was extremely cautious, and made no contact with the ring whatsoever. Danger looked at the walls, the floor, the ceiling for threats. When daylight no longer lit the path for the duo, Terrius produced an arc of lightning stretching between his palms. Danger chuckled.
"Is there a reason that you couldn't create a simple ball of light, sir?" the mercenary asked.
"Of course there is. This looks far more impressive," came the reply.
"Ah... I should've known." Aphoran's face relaxed. "Jericho, I don't think there is anything to be afraid of here. We detected no life signs, and as far as I can tell, this temple isn't even devoted to anything."
"We'll determine that later, I don't want to take any risks."
"Of course not, bossman. I would never suggest dropping our guard completely. There could be a threat anywh-"
The locket began to glow a bright blue, that matched the sapphire hue of the gem on the ring. Jericho ceased creating his lightning, and the glow shot out of the necklace. "Follow it!" Jericho shouted. The two men ran after the light, chasing its trail. It suddenly came to a halt.
They were now standing within a large, dark chamber, with a small beam of sunlight cutting thorugh the blackness in the center. The strange blue light flew back into the locket.
"Got a light?" Danger asked. Jericho conjured a simple orb this time, and it floated above his palm.
"What is this place..." the inquistor whispered.
The walls of the chamber were covered in tomes of knoweldge. There were many human books, but there were also alien documents.
Ko' Vash's voice came through the vox-caster: "Jericho, what is happening inside? There are runes lighting up on the side of the temple."
Danger spoke his confusion, "Ko, are you saying there are words shining on the walls?"
"That is correct"
"Can you read them?"
Ko'Vash hesitated befpre answering. He searched the walls for anything recognizable, for there were hundreds of different languages. Finally, he found one phrase in Eldar that he understood.
"It could be interpreted multiple ways, but I believe that it means 'Temple of Limitless Knowledge'."
"That is completely justified inside here. There are books and documents and scrolls everywhere in here. Let us know if anything else happens, I think Jericho is starting to do something now." Danger put the vox-caster back on his belt.
Holding the locket by the chain, Jericho walked toward the center of the chamber. The glow returned to the necklace, and shot a small beam of light into a raised pedestal. The inquisitor looked at his closed hand once more before placing the locket into a perfectly fitted socket. Then he waited.
"Bossman, was that all you came to do?" Danger asked.
Jericho's reply came slowly. "I'm not sure. We will have to stay here until we know for certain that nothing else is going to happen."
They looked at the boundless information around them, which ranged from collections of small pages of notes, to data slates. Danger found an ancient device that, when interfaced with his vox-caster, played music.
"Ha, Jericho look at this, the calendar on this only ranges from 2001-2099. And its from Terra!"
"We should give that to the Adeptus Mechanicus, or at least Corsus. Who knows what kind of secrets are held within that... How did you even get that thing to work? Surely it must have run out of power."
"It was easy, all I had to do was-" The mercenary lost focus as he looked at the device's screen. He pressed a button, and the air was filled with a peculiar, almost growling sound.
"What is that...?" Jericho was transfixed in the rhythm of the song.
"It says 'Green Day- Welcome to'. Hold on the text is moving. It says 'Green Day - Welcome to Paradise - Dookie'.
"I think that we're going to have to take this with us."
"I agree sir."
Jericho reached into his pocket and pulled out his ring. "I'm going to try something, and then we can leave."
He walked back to the pedestal. As he grew closer, the ring began to shine as the locket did. The thought crossed the inquisitors mind "Put it on...", and he placed the ring on his finger. Almost instantly, a saphire beam of light connected the necklace with the gem, pulling Jericho closer. He felt himself losing conciousness, and he reentered the dark green room.
Oracle: The DreamEdit
"Damn. Did NOT want to come here again," Jericho moaned. "Always the same, never anything else but green. This is enough to drive a man insane."
"That's the truth." Terribus appeared beside him. Terrius jumped.
"Woah! That was different. How are you here?"
"I was going to ask you the same thing."
"....of course" Terrius looked around the room, and noticed something new. "There's a red splotch over there."
Terribus turned his head. "Let's check it out, then." The two walked across the room, and inpected the crimson splatter on the otherwise evergreen wall. It seemed to be moving fluidly, seeming almost like oil and water in their unending seperation.
"Should we touch it?" Terrius asked.
"No. We have no idea what this could be. What would become of us if you touched it and became a daemon-possessed lunatic?"
"What if it opens a door or something?"
"The risk is too great. We'll have to wait until we're released from this place."
"When will that be? I'm not going to wait here until our body starves to death!"
"I'll think of something."
Impatient, Terrius thrusted his arm into the redness. It slid in without sound, then began to pull at him.
"FOOL! I warned you, now look at what's become of you! It will surely corrupt you, and quite possibly me!"
Terrius laughed. "Its not a daemon, or related to Chaos in any way. I'm not sure how to explain it, but... It's like it's trying to convince me to see something."
"I have to destroy it! That is your only hope!" Terribus roared. Blinded by his rage, he failed to notice the swarm of yellow circling his feet. "What is this?!" He began to sink...
Vengelia stared at the temple.
"Danger, what exactly is going on in there?" she said into the vox-caster.
Inside the library chamber, the mercenary laughed. "I have no idea. Jericho walked over to some statue thing, then fell over. Now there's a blue-hued rainbow connecting his ring to his pendant and I don't know what's wrong with him!"
Ko'Vash grimaced. "I believe I saw a few blue-hued runes earlier, but I do not see them anymore. Nothing has changed out here aside from that incident."
Vengelia pounded her fist against the wall. She rarely expressed her anger so openly, but Jericho's condition worried her. "What do you think is happening to him Kal?"
The Eldar had been standing beside her silently. "I don't know. His ring has always been a mystery, and so has the pendant. It could be anything."
"That doesn't help..." Vengelia looked at the temple again. She stared silently for a moment, then spoke once more: "I'm going in."
She turned around and started to walk, but was stopped by Kalo'Katlu. "Sorry, but Jericho gave me specific instructions to keep you here."
"And now he needs my help!"