Space Wolves, Traitor Guard, and Night Lords, oh my!
Inspired by fellow hobby-blogger Thor’s recent 40K storytelling on Creative Twilight, I’ve decided to repost my Space Wolf fan fiction story, Hunted. This is the story of Volstag Dragonclaw, a Space Wolf of the Warhammer 40K universe, a brutal but loyal Chapter of Space Marines. He is the last member of his unit of Wolf Scouts, trapped on an icy world invaded by Chaotic Night Lords Space Marines.
What makes this story different from all the other Space Wolf fiction out there, you may ask? Two things: Volstag is alone, naked, and unarmed, and he’s cursed with the Mark of the Wulfen. Not sure what that means? Read on...
I will post one short “chapter” of the story every day for a week, leading up to the big Amazon Countdown Deal on my fantasy novel Tarnish and the related novelette The Prince of Luster and Decay. Next weekend, May 2-4, the Tarnish ebook will be reduced from $4.99 to $0.99 and Prince will become free. (And on Amazon
UK, they’ll be
0.99 pounds and free, respectively. Free translates the same from dollars to pounds.) This
will mean that from May 2nd through May 4th you’ll be
able to buy FOUR of my SF/F/H ebooks for a total of only THREE dollars!
Disclaimer on 40K: As I said, this is Fan Fiction, meaning I have no more rights to the Warhammer 40,000 universe than any other fan of that science fiction realm. Space Wolves, Night Lords and the like (when used to reflect these specific character-types) are all intellectual property of Games Workshop. If you’re a 40K fan, and even if not, I think you’ll enjoy this story. It’s packed with military sci-fi action.
The cold was fierce, the wind howling, the snow blinding. It reminded him of home.
Volstag Dragonclaw drew a deep breath and released it slowly, the warmed air visible as steam from his nostrils. Would he see the icy peaks of Fenris again? As a Space Wolf he expected to die a thousand light-years from home but in the thick of battle, going to the afterlife with his honor intact and enemy heads in hand, trophies with which to greet his dead wolf brothers in eternity. That was how a Space Wolf was to die. Not like this. He was a hunter, not prey.
Volstag looked down at the snowy forest floor several meters below. He was seated in the boughs of a great fir tree, straddling a thick branch and leaning against the trunk. And he was all but naked. And though the cold gnawed at his skin, it could not penetrate it. This was a natural environment for him, so much so that he almost felt camouflaged in it with his bare skin as pale as the snow and dark body hair breaking up his human-shaped color. From a distance no one would notice him in the tree. But how in the Emperor’s name did he get up there? There was a foggy void in his memory. His instincts, however, told him he’d not be alone there for long; they’d be looking for him.
What is my last memory? he asked himself, closing his eyes. Behind his lids he saw the Night Lords’ laboratory: walls of metal and glass, dangling chains and glass canisters of bubbling, viscous fluids. The sweltering humidity and dim crimson glow of the room seemed to swell and recede as he lay there, as if the entire Chaos vessel itself were breathing with him inside. He was bound to a hot metal table, pinned there while heretical attendants in dark blue robes shuffled back and forth, preparing him for today’s round of torture.
Then the chamber doors scraped open. Abaenon stood in the threshold, face hidden beneath his hood, barely perceived lightning playing across the deep blue power armor beneath his robes. The depraved apothecary thought that standing there, prolonging his entrance, would somehow heighten his victim’s fear. It did not. Rather, Volstag’s jaw tightened in anger and his teeth ached. His tongue lolled impatiently against the back of his growing fangs. He felt an unusual hunger for more than vengeance. Abaenon finally sauntered in, pulled back his hood, and leaned in close to smile at Volstag—or what limited grin such a distorted and augmented face could manage. One yellow eye was still flesh, the other flickered red in a skull of black bionics and glistening wet tubing.
“Good morning,” the Night Lord said in his raspy metallic voice. “Allow me to tickle you.” He raised his hand and, on cue, an attendant slid on a heavy mechanical glove. The scalpel-like blades hummed and vibrated with a bluish hue. Abaenon’s crooked teeth showed in a one-sided sneer.
Volstag opened his eyes and the damp heat of the torture chamber vanished. He was outside again. His lungs filled with fresh, chill air. His sigh was steam.
The Claw of Agony, Abaenon had called it. Volstag traced the crisscrossing lines on his bare chest, thin slices through hair and flesh that still burned with a quiet fire. Even his superhuman biology could not heal these wounds. They were scars of shame he’d bare for whatever remained of his life. The thought angered him, and something beneath the surface of his mind stirred, its rage even greater than his own.
I was in the Night Lord’s torture chamber. Then what happened? he wondered.
He mentally assessed himself for pain and injuries. Aside from the mild burn of his torture wounds, his only real discomfort was... in his teeth. He licked his lupine fangs. Was that the taste of blood in his mouth? Was it his own? He looked down at his chest again, realizing what his eyes had seen but mind had been too preoccupied to notice: there was red-brown crust under his finger nails and dry gobbets of gore in his chest hair and beard. He remembered now the rage, the blind fury of Russ that had welled up inside him. As the poisonous sting of blades had raked through his flesh, the torture chamber’s crimson glow had seemed to burn even brighter. That red glow had consumed his vision just as the growing rage within him had consumed his heart, a terrible pressure that could no longer be contained. Something inside had broken free and reached out with elongated claws and hungry fangs…
Was Volstag Dragonclaw cursed by the mark of the wulfen?
Perhaps not a curse after all, he thought. If it were true, if he did bear the mark, it was the beast within him that had escaped captivity. And it might yet be by that beast alone that Volstag would avenge his fallen wolf brothers.
Another gust of wind. His ears perked and nostrils flared. Snow was not all that the wind carried...
* * *
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel!
(Disclaimer: I also do not hold any rights on Bat-Time or Bat-Channel.)