Lack of Story? I decided to begin my own Backstory

Black Smile. Pt I

My cage swung gently as it was buffeted by the wind and rain, the creaking of the rusted chain piercing the hiss and gurgle of the storm beating against the darkened Cathedral. The water stung my eyes and tasted foul on my lips as it coursed down my face, oily swirls spiralling down the massive stones of the wall.

I don’t think I’d ever been so cold. My jaw juddered as I shivered uncontrollably, my arms and legs trembling so forcefully my muscles ached. If I had any teeth they’d have been chattering but they had all been removed, pulled out with pliers as punishment for my Transgressions at the beginning of my penance.

I gingerly shuffled around in my cage, wincing as the metal chain squeaked and squealed as I shuffled to look along the length of the cathedral. There were dozens of cages similar to mine mounted on a huge and rusted metal gantry of misshapen scaffolding set into the dark stone wall, each cage held a sinner serving their penance for crimes against the Emperor.

Those in cages closer to the ground were often pelted with insults, filth, old food, rocks and worse. Those too high quickly died of exposure or were savaged by the shadowy Doomcrows that lived in the old rookery, high in the spires of the Cathedral. At first I thought I’d got lucky being stuffed into a cage halfway up the wall, relatively safe compared to the other unfortunates but once I’d managed to find a position that was vaguely comfortable I’d seen the real torture in store for me, for the scaffolding securing my cage to the wall was rusted and broken.

The metal supports holding my cage had long since rusted and bent, the metal parting from the crossbeams that supported it. There were no bolts or anchors securing it to the main gantry and the hook holding my chain onto the beam was in similar disrepair. I hung suspended in a cage from a single old and battered two five inch thick metal beam, attached to the wall with a solitary ancient bolt held in place by a stone figure carved into the wall. I could see the figure with her arms outstretched to give the impression of holding the beam in place, and the Emperor’s divine light bursting from her chest. I could make out the word ELANA chiselled into the stone beneath her, but nothing else. She looked battered and disfigured, but her face was strangely calm.

That statue and bolt became my obsession, my fixation. I watched as every subtle breeze bent the beam a little further away from the wall and every creak of tortured metal made me wince and shudder with fear. I begged Elana to keep me safe and whole, whimpering my frantic prayers through my cracked lips and bloodied gums. I had nightmares of the metal dissolving into nothing, and the cage plummeting to the ground where I was dashed into pieces like a broken pot. My waking hours were filled scrutinizing the creaking metal, hoping against hope that I would survive another tortuous day.

I clamped my hands around the bar and stared through the pelting rain at the bolt holding me safe, begging Elana to hold me tight through the torrential storm.

I was whispering urgent prayers to her when the Emperor Spoke.

Thousands of feet above us a bolt of holy lightning hammered into the spire, surging down the side of the cathedral to slam into the flagstones of the plaza below. The concussive force of the Emperor’s voice blinded and deafened me to the point I couldn’t even hear my own screaming, although I could smell the sharp tang of ozone, the scent of burned and blackened metal and the sickly aroma of scorched meat.

Wincing as I blinked the spots and flashes from my eyes I gazed into the storm, vaguely making out the slumped shapes of charred and blackened prisoners in their cages, gently steaming in the freezing air. Sparks still flickered from the gantry and the air whirled with smoke. Cages either side of me contained the dead , yet I lived. I gave out a crazed yelp at my survival, although to my deafened ears it sounded muffled and distant. I scuttled gently around into my cage and gripped the freezing bars, brushing my matted hair from my face and pressing my forehead against the freezing metal to look at the bolt.

A single tear sprung from my eye and trickled down my cheek, instantly lost in the rain as I looked up to the serene face of the statue.

“Thank you.” I whispered.


The sun was high when I yelled myself awake from my nightmares, my jerking legs making the cage swing precariously. I rubbed my hands together,cracking the stiffness from my knuckles and squinted down into the plaza many feet below.

Several Acolytes with auspexes were measuring the damage to the plaza flagstones, pointing and gesturing at each other. It looked to me like they were arguing as they compared their readings but they were too distant to hear their words. As they bickered a short dumpy figure limped from the shadows and merely looked in their direction. They abruptly stopped and bowed their heads, turning to face him as he waddled across to them. I could hear him shouting at them when suddenly he lashed out, slapping one of the acolytes hard across the face with the back of his hand. The acolyte yelped as the man gave them another ringing blow across the ear. A loud tap of wood against stone interrupted the attack.

My head snapped around to see another figure stood alone and aloof, looking across at the group. The man had a plain, deep red alb tied at the waist with a black rope, and pure white Stole draped around his thin frame. He held a simple staff in his hand and I could just make out his fingers caressing the wood. Maybe one of Atoma’s clergy, here to oversee the penitents although I couldn’t make him out clearly and he appeared to have an authority over the others that belied his plain clothing. As I looked down the man looked up, turned his head toward the Cathedral and called a command before staring back up the wall.

For a dread moment I thought he was looking directly at me, but the reality was far worse.

To my astonishment a Battle Sister strolled out of the shadows into the sunlight, her copper armour polished to a mirror finish. She wore a deep green tabard over her immaculate armour and a bolt gun and chain-sword were scabbarded at her hip. She greeted the man with a curt nod and he looked up, gesturing with his staff. The Sister didn’t even look up as she drew out her Boltgun, bracing her stance as she pointed it up at me.

I could hear a distant wailing spiralling on the breeze and closed my eyes, the madness of the cage surely beginning to unravel my soul. I murmured another prayer to Elena as the wailing became louder and deeper, waiting for the hallowed bolt-round fired from the blessed gun below to send me to the Emperors side. I opened my eyes and looked up just in time to see a cage spinning through the air as it fell, the wretch inside somehow locking his gaze with mine as he plunged to the ground.

I watched the cage and the screaming man within smash to the plaza below, cracking yet more flagstones and spattering the stone with blood. The acolytes wailed and whimpered, one of them clutching their mouth before turning to vomit profusely.

A split second later a Doomcrow surges past in a dive and slammed into the bloodied cage, letting out a terrifying shriek as it landed.

As big as one of the Atoma Felines that prowled the plains, the Doomcrow stood a meter high at the shoulder. Covered in jet black feathers it walked on four legs,each one ending in a huge black-clawed birds foot. With a wingspan of up to 6 meters the shadow cast by a Doomcrow often signalled the impending death of lonely travellers. Hunting had dwindled the numbers of Doomcrows on Atoma to the point they were becoming the stuff of childhood scare-stories. The Ecclesiarchy had never found the resources or the reasons to scour the Spires of the Cathedral to eradicate them.

The plaza below erupted into chaos.

The concussive boom of the Battle Sisters gun hammered through the screams and yells filling the air as the Doomcrow pecked hard at the bars of the smashed cage. Two more shots hammered into the bird before it took to the air, pouncing on one of the Acolytes and snipping off one of the unfortunates arms with its huge beak. The Battle Sister strode forwards, bellowing a hymn and pumping bolt-rounds into the Doomclaw as it fed messily on the dying Acolyte. Suddenly it weakened and slumped to one side and flapped its wings in an attempt to flee. Three more shots boomed out as the Battle Sister executed it, the words of the battle-hymn still on her lips as she reloaded her gun.

The priest hadn’t moved, he simply stood watching the carnage unfold before him. I couldn’t see the short fat man who had attacked the acolyte earlier.

I looked down in awe at the devastation below entirely unaware of the second Doomcrow until it slammed into my cage. It perched on the tortured and rusted beam and attempted to peck down through to me. I heard the sister begin a second verse of her hymn as the beast hammered it’s beak into the cage, causing it to swing violently and causing a horrifying squeal of twisted metal to pierce the air.

Realising it couldn’t get to me with it’s jaw it attempted to reach down through the bars to hook me with its claws. I shrunk down against the floor as the cage rattled violently, the clawed forearm of the bird scooping the air as I yelled for Elana to help me.

More booming shot from below drove the Doomcrow from the cage, but it circled and landed again, bending the beam and reaching down through the bars to claw at me.

It was then that my beloved Elana let me go.

The metal beam screeched as it ripped from the lonely bolt that had held it in place, and out of instinctive desperation I reached out and grabbed at anything to save myself.

In my panic my fingers closed around the Doomcrows ankle above the claw and held on as it bucked and buffeted against the cage. We fell together, the bird flapping it’s huge wings but unable to break free as my grip held it in place. The claws scored my arms and I heard more shots booming out as we spiralled in a crazy descent, the bird unable to free itself from my grip and it’s huge wings slowing us enough to crash lazily into the plaza. The cage bent under the weight of the predator and as it sought to right itself, the Battle Sister continuing to fire into the beast.

It was on its feet frighteningly fast and span on the spot to face the warrior.

I kicked at the bent cage door, forcing it open with a yell and I clambered out, my vision swimming at the sudden effort. The battle sister continued to fire but the beast move deceptively quickly.

I was turning to flee when the two meters of metal beam that had held me aloft clattered onto the flagstones. At the sound of the metal clattering onto the paving the Doomcrow turned to me, blood leaking from a wound in it’s breast. Pink foam bubbled at the corner of it’s mouth as it screeched and clacked it’s massive beak at me.

I turned my back on the beast and ran through the sunlight and shadows towards the beam, my legs trembling and my heart hammering in my chest as I waited for the powerful claws to clamp on my shoulders. As my fingers closed around the metal beam I heard the revving of a chainsword. Blood spurted across the stone floor as the Sister reach the Doomcrow first and attacked.

My head swam with dizziness as I looked down at the old metal. The beam had sheared off into a wicked spike and I gripped it like a spear, my battered knuckles white as I turned to the beast.

The Sister was locked in fierce combat with the Doomcrow, hacking, parrying and dodging as it attacked with beak and claw. Although it was wounded I could see deep scars in the Sisters burnished armour and her tattered tabard fluttered as they fought. The sister stared into the distance, her head fixed in place as she dodged and hacked at the creature.

I stumbled towards the fight irrationally angry that Elana was no longer there, no longer able to keep me safe. As I closed on the beast it flapped it’s wings, leapt backwards and attempted to fly away but it was clearly too weak and wounded and crashed to the ground between me and the Sister. It’s head flicked back and forth between the warrior and I before decided I was the easier target. As it was limping towards me the battle sister surged forwards, hammering the chain-sword into the creatures wing.

It screamed and turned attempting to kill the sister, but she pulled the sword free, revving the engine as she thumped it into the beast again, sending blood fountaining through the air and across the floor.

My blood surged in my ears and I blinked black spots from my eyes as the vicious fight continued in front of me, the Sister fending off the claws and beak of the bird as it snapped at her. I thought of Elana and felt a strange fury fill my chest, an anger at her loss. It had to be stopped. Stop. My heart felt on fire and I screamed as I ran towards the beast and skewered the metal beam into the flank just behind the elbow, my intense anger forcing the sharpened metal through the hide and into the soft innards. I worked the makeshift spear back and forth, screaming and bellowing, hoping to cause some damage before it turned and destroyed me.

The beast gave a strange harrowing shriek and bright red blood gushed out of the wound onto my hands and arms. I let go of the metal, leaving it embedded in the beasts side and stumbled backwards, slipping on the slick of blood as my legs gave way beneath me. I scuttled backwards as the beast lay flapping and dying and rolled onto my side as the weakness and sickness overcame me. The Sister stood over the beast, revving her sword before placing the tip against the beasts heaving chest alongside my spear. I watched as she murmured a prayer before simply leaning on the sword, driving the blade into the beast and covering herself with sheen of spattered blood. I lay on the flagstones and my head lolled to one side.

It was then that I saw her. Her face. A piece of smashed masonry lay within arms reach and it was the serene face of Elana. I reached out a grabbed it, my bloody fingers closing on her disfigured features. I sobbed as I felt the warmth of the sun.

I was laying on the floor when a shadow loomed across me. The battle sister stood above me, a terrible and terrifying sight. Blood coated her armour and her tabbard had been shredded and torn. One of her Pauldrons had been ripped free revealing surprisingly pale skin beneath. A deep wound scored her forearm but she was so covered in gore I couldn’t tell how bad the wound was. I looked up into her pale face, spattered with a spray of blood and dared to meet her gaze. I blinked in exhausted confusion as I looked into the milky whiteness of her blind eyes.

“Confessor!” She yelled, her harsh and rasping voice making me start.

A moment later I looked up into the age-worn face of a dark skinned man, his staff in hand, his robes pristeen, his demeanour unruffled.

“She fought.”, the Sister growled.

“I saw” The man said as he raised his eyebrows.

“Why does she serve a penance on the wall?” The sister said still looking down on me, the idling chainsword in her hand dripping sticky blood.

“Blasphemy” The man said. The battle Sisters face hardened and she revved the sword, pointing it at me.

“Sister Collette” the man said, placing a hand on her arm and forcing the weapon down. “She may yet serve the Inquisition before her execution.”

Sister Collette nodded reluctantly, before leaning down over me and tugging the piece of rubble from my limp fingers.

The man turned his head and called over his shoulder.

“Yoruban! I don’t know where you’re skulking but get out here and summon a medicae.”

“My wounds are light.” Sister Collette said, puzzled.

“The medicae is for …her, sister.” the man said with a hint of distaste as he strode away.

“Elana” I murmured through my broken lips and bleeding gums.

“What?” Sister Collette said, looking into the distance with contempt.

“Elana, she saved me.” I said, my vision swimming.

“The Emperor Protects” Collette admonished.

“My faith protects me.” I whispered.

The sister snorted before turning away.

I had almost passed out when a fist grabbed my hair. I looked up into the cold glittering eyes of the man who had hit the Acolyte. He wiped his nose on the back of his hand before his face cracked into an ugly smile. I winced as he ran his little finger down my face and across my lips before darkness took me.


Almoste made me get late to an appointment because i wanted to finish the story, good stuff, dude. Feels perfectly 40k.