Holding off on my research was a good call. After all there will be plenty of time while we are in the warp for that. Observing how the cults are established on Harlocke planets seemed a much more practical use of my time. Taking Karoleen and Canto with me, we arrived on world and immediately made our way to the grand cathedral. Thankfully we managed to race ahead of Evinco and prepare ourselves. The cathedral was packed wall to wall with the faithful and the archbishop was screaming to be heard over the zealous throngs. Slowly but surely, we made our way to the front and waited. Then a thought came to me. If we stopped Evinco before the cult was established we’d be saving an entire world and Drake would have one less planet to root out heresy from. Of course, we couldn’t just shoot the man in broad daylight, but he was heavily mutated. If someone were to take his hat and reveal these mutations, well, as good Emperor-fearing citizens we’d be obliged to purge such heresy. Canto, the brave sod, volunteered himself for the task. With that determined, we steeled ourselves for the inevitable. We didn’t have to wait long. Soon everything grew dark and cold. The massive doors to the cathedral were thrown open. Our quarry had arrived. Given the nature of what we were about to fight, prayer seemed the best preparation and I strongly recommended Karoleen repeat after me. I don’t think she quite understood at the time but she was about to.
As Evinco boldly strode down the aisle (no honour guard, arrogant, stupid, vain) Canto ripped the hat from him and tossed it to Chirpy who safely stowed it away somewhere high in the cathedral’s spire. Then we saw his true face. It was awful, yet in a sense hauntingly beautiful. Everyone around us started losing their minds and Karoleen was praying a little more intently than before. Didn’t slow her down much though as I heard the roar of a chainsword and she charged forth towards the monster, smashing him with such force that even if it were blunted it would crush lesser men. But this was no mere man, his skin was hardened and daemonic. His wounds, no matter how grievous, began knitting themselves back together. Such is the power of the warp. Then the real target revealed itself as Evinco drew his sword and a horrific siren song echoed throughout the cathedral. What little sense the mob around us had was gone as brother turned upon brother. Evinco then began his assault on Canto, his sword cutting deeper than mere wounds if it truly is similar to my own. Then Canto provided his retort, to the tune of three, point blank shotgun shells to the chest. It’s a testament to the toughness of the daemonic that there was a torso left afterwards, as Evinco was blown backwards onto the floor. Even his prodigious regeneration was having issues with this and he was bleeding profusely. It was obvious after seeing this that my las would not be enough so instead I trusted in my faith. I ran to the font, dipped my pistol in its holy water and told the archbishop if he wanted to live to bless my gun. Litanies were chanted and hymns to the glory of the God Emperor were sung. Karoleen continued her assault with surprising grace, her superior swordsmanship besting her foe. It was then something curious happened. Evinco’s sword swore at him and began biting him for his failure. The downsides to partnering with a vindictive, psychopathic perfectionist. Unfortunately, Karoleen’s assault was not enough and after removing a glove Evinco pressed his hand onto Canto’s face. The poor bastard had the symbol of Slaanesh branded onto his face so hard it melted his brain. I don’t think anyone realised he had primed a grenade, as shrapnel and fire exploded right in Evinco’s face. There was no more time to waste, I strode forward, raised my pistol and prayed that the Emperor was truly with me and the archbishop actually consecrated the font. Instead of the red glow I have come to love there was instead a blast of pure white light which pierced straight through him and Evinco screamed.
Before he was panicked. Now he was afraid. He was right to be.
Then came the shout of “READY. AIM. FIRE.” I looked up to behold Tapt, Dalton and Karpath-6319 unleashing a torrent of lasgun fire into the prone monster. Admittedly, most of these shots did absolutely nothing but Karpath’s found its mark. A shot clearly guided by the Emperor himself, it landed square on Evinco’s head, causing it explode in a fountain of gore and fire. With the wielder dead, the sword fell from his grip and slid across the floor, helpless. I strode forth and cleaved it in two.
It was over but I wasn’t sure how to feel. We had actually saved a world, destroyed some hideous mutated monster and a daemon. I couldn’t be prouder of Karpath for his truly inspired killing blow or of Tapt as his drilling kept them together. Yet, Canto was dead. I suppose it was inevitable, he was getting more reckless by the day. I can’t help but feel that going out in a hail of gunfire and explosions, fighting something truly terrifying is the way he’d want to go. At least he’ll be forever remembered as a hero and a martyr by this planet. As Evinco’s body was incinerated, light and heat returned to the room. I could have sworn that, for a brief moment, I felt the grace of the Emperor and all was right with the cosmos.
Then Karoleen rather forcibly enquired what exactly was going on and how I knew that Evinco was rather daemonic and other awkward questions of that nature. She was rather insistent so I gave her the briefest, vaguest outline I could on what daemons are, trying to strike a balance between stuff that needs to be known but also minimising moral hazards. Awful curious that one, a dangerous trait. I should know. Anyway, the evening afterwards was quite amazing. Daemon-slaying heroes make the best wingmen.
After that however we had to inform Ventium. We had come up with a story that essentially just had us happen upon the scene afterwards, with us not involved at all. He didn’t really buy it though. Fortunately, he jumped to the conclusion that we were lying because Silvanto was involved. Ah, being able to blame our actions on someone less subtle than us is such a refreshing feeling. Even more so for the irony that it brings us ever closer to ending him. It was at this point that Ventium promoted me to captain of the Redeemer of Illumination. I won’t lie, I know my actual purpose here and I intend to see it through, but I was genuinely honoured. Three decades I’ve pursued such a position and now I’m a captain of a ship far greater and older than any that I’ve ever dreamed of commanding. A shame it will be a temporary position.
Not much of import happened after that. Came across another one of Drake’s men the next day, at a ball. Judging by his musculature, extensive scarring and that the first thing he asked me was if we had any bigger guns I’m going to assume he’s a combat specialist. We certainly are lucky to have such a steady stream of highly skilled new recruits.
Well, one down, five to go.