A sound of thunder split the air, accompanied by a brilliant flash of light. Commissar Ciaphas Cain was nearly left blind and deaf, and he found himself left with ringing ears and spotted vision. The Ork, however, was much worse off. For as it had fallen towards Vaarsuvius, intend on disemboweling the puny Elf, it had subjected to a point blank lightning strike to the face. V had simply raised her hand towards the Ork, and unleashed a concentrated dose of her arcane might into its skull. The Lightning Bolt had caught the Ork completely off guard, and done its job with frightening efficiency.
The spell had only been in effect for a split second. The lightning had swiftly arched from V's hand and into the Orks face, from which point the current had carried on and looked for an exit point. The surge of energy had ran from the Ork's head, into its chest, up its arm, and then into the most conductive thing it could find - the sword. Almost as soon as the lightning had left V's hand and entered the Ork's face, it errupted from the tip of the Ork's sword in a shower of sparks, and spider-webbed into the air above them in an awe-inspiring display of what could happen when nature and the arcane worked in tandem. The force of the lightning strike was enough slow the Ork's momentum, and it landed limply on its back at V's feet. Its smouldering form twitched a few times, and then laid still. The Ork's brain had been cooked, its heart had ceased to beat, and the majority of its central nervous system had been seared - it was very much dead.
Cain could barely believe his eyes. He'd only seen such power in the hands of powerful Psykers, and this Eldar didn't seem to even think twice about throwing it around casually. "That was…" Cain gulped nervously, "Impressive."
"Thank you," V acknowledged him in a nonchalaunt manner. She then looked up at the top of the trench, surveyed the area around her, and then arched an eyebow. "Is the assault at an end already?"
"I… uh… I'm afraid so?" Cain answered sheepishly. He wasn't sure if the Eldar was confused, or dissappointed. And if it were the latter, he didn't want to be the one that ruined her fun. "We're not in a heavily contested area, so the Orks in this section do not have the vast numbers to spare that they usually posses. Their last few assaults were similar to this, consisting of a handfull of Boyz and possibly a Nob."
"Just a handfull, you say?" V turned to face the man, who was still sitting in the mud feebly trying to hold up the strange weapon in his hand. "Why do they not just charge this position en masse? Wouldn't that be more effective?"
Cain found himself trying not to laugh at the thought of Orks using "effective" tactics. "Because Orks do not work that way," he replied with as much of a straight face as he could muster. "They don't fight to win. They fight for fun. I would assume that they attacked us in waves as some sort of contest. Most likely to see who could last longest, kill the most "humies," or make the most noise. If any of them saw your display of power, they'd probably forget about the game and just try to come get in on the action themselves."
"But I don't hear anything," V cocked her head the side slightly, noting that she found herself unable to make a Perception check, even though she could hear quite clearly. "What does that mean?"
"It means that was the last wave," Cain smiled, inwardly releasing a sigh of relief. "Which would also explain why it was so small compared to the others, and why there were no Gretchin amongst them."
"What is a Gretchen, dare I ask?" V asked, ever-curious about this new world and its occupants.
Her answer came in a form she did not expect.
Vaarsuvius suddenly found herself thrown forcibly forward. She wheeled about as she flew to the ground, and landed on her back. Her eyes went wide as she suddenly discovered a strange creature perched on top of her chest. It looked like some sort of midget goblin, or a rather angry gremlin. Small and green, with long pointy ears and burning yellow eyes, the small creature let out a shrill cry as it raised a crude dagger over its head. V realized, to her horror, that if she didn't have to make attack rolls, neither did this thing. All it had to do was bring the knife down, and she was dead. There was no time to cast a spell, and the strange man was probably caught off guard as much as she was. Just as the creature brought the knife down towards her face - it exploded.
The Gretchin was hit by a burst of angry red beams. Las rounds strobed across the trench, catching the small goblinoid creature in the head and torso. The force of the impacts sent its charred remains violently cartwheeling off to the left, and the knife dropped harmlessly into the mud next to V. She blinked dumbly, trying to grasp what had just occured. She turned over slightly, and looked towards her right. Sprawled out in the mud several feet from her lay the unconscious man she'd seen when she'd first arrived, though he was now wide-awake and holding a long, clunky metallic object in his arms. Covered in mud and a fur-lined uniform, the man's face was a mixture of messy hair and skin conditions. V didn't know if she should thank him, or recoil in horror. "That's a Gretchin," he remarked without much emotion, and his breathe made V's head spin.
"Ah! Jurgen!" Cain exclaimed, struggling to rise to his feet. "I'm happy to see you're awake! I was quite worried about you…" Perhaps he was over-exhaggerating, but he knew better than to let Jurgen feel unimportant or unappreciated. The man had saved Cain's life many times over the several decades they'd spent together, and he deserved to think he was cared about. "Nice shooting, by the way. How did you know not to shoot the Eldar?"
"You hadn't shot her yourself, sir," Jurgen responded with his usual flat tone and pragmatic logic. "I thought you had a reason for keeping her alive."
"Er, of course!" Cain exclaimed. "Excellent deduction, Jurgen…"
"If we're done dealing with the… what did you call them? Boyz and Gretchin? Perhaps you would not mind answering a few questions I need answers to…" V chimed in as she rose to her feet from the mud. "Prestidigitation…" she muttered, and her robes instantly became spotless and clean.
"Careful, sir…" Jurgen warned, "She might be trying to trick us. You know how the Eldar are…"
"Fear not, Jurgen. I know fully well the perils of dealing with the Eldar…" Cain did his best to put on a grim and brooding expression. He then turned towards V and flashed a smile. "You did help us, though, so I suppose I must owe you something. I'll tell you what I can, though some answers are best kept secret. Classified information, you know…"
"Right, of course…" V pretended to know what he was talking about. "First of all, who are you?"
"My name is Ciaphas Cain, Commissar and servant of the Emperor," Cain grinned.
"You forgot 'Hero of the Imperium,' sir…" Jurgen added.
"Thank you, Jurgen…" Cain smiled nervously. "I don't think she needs to be bothered with such petty details, though…" Especially since she might decide such petty details made him a good target for assassination. "And this is Ferik Jurgen, my aide-de-camp. We're currenly serving with the 57th Cadian, on the planet of Dakka Dakka Tree, ror DDT for short."
"Dakka Dakka Tree?" V arched an eyebrow yet again. "What does that mean?"
"Its an Ork world. "Dakka Dakka" is an Ork phrase, and "Tree" is supposed to be "Three," if our translators are to be believed. It is currently being used a spring-board for WAAAAAAAAGHHH!! attacks, so the Imperium has decided to remove it from the Orks' possession. "Remove the head, and the body dies." You know the old saying…" Cain explained.
"Fascinating…" V scratched her chin, listening to the information she was being provided with. "And the Imperium… is…?"
Cain and Jurgen both looked at each other with dubius expressions. "I though the Eldar were supposed to be smart?" Jurgen eyed V with suspicion.
"As did I…" Cain narrowed his eyes. "Is this some sort of joke?"
"Oh yes, I'm pulling you leg, Mister Commissar," Vaarsuvius frowned. She was starting to lose her patience. "I don't even know what that means, either. And what is an Eldar, and why do you keep calling me that? I'm not an "Eldar," I'm an Elf."
"Elf?" Jurgen looked at Cain.
"I've never heard of it, either," Cain shrugged. "Maybe its an Eldar term? She doesn't know what a Commissar is, so I suppose we can't be expected to know what an Elf is, either…" Cain then turned his attention back towards V. "A Commissar is a loyalty officer, tasked with keeping the servants of the Emperor concentrated on their objectives and away from the foul lure of the Enemy," he explained proudly.
"The Emperor? The Enemy?" V shook her head. "I assure you, Sir Cain, I have no comprehension of anything you speak of."
Cain and Jurgen looked at each other incredulously. "Something here isn't right, sir…" Jurgen tightened his grip on his lasrifle. "What if its a trick?"
"It could very well be, Jurgen…" the Commissar eyed the Elf suspiciously. "Amberley did say the Eldar are mysterious and hard to understand."
"Again, you talk of things I don't know about as though I should," V frowned. "Who is this Amberley you refer to? Maybe she could give me better answers…"
Dead silence followed. Finally, Cain spoke up. "You want to talk to Amberley?"
"Sure, why not?" V threw her hands in the air, her patience finally reaching its limit. "Would she be able to answer my questions better than you?"
"Well, she is an Inquisitor in the Ordo Xenos, so you are right up her alley…" Cain scratched at one of his sideburns, slightly confused. "But she's not on this planet, or even this system. It might take her days, or even weeks to get here…"
"I do not appear to have any other choice. I doubt I'll get anywhere with the Orks, so my only option seems to be going with you and waiting for this Amberley…" V sighed.
"Well, in order to do that, you'll have to… uh… say we captured you," Cain smiled sheepishly. V simply stared at him. "If we don't give a good excuse as to why you're with us, all three of us will be shot. You for being an Eldar, and us for being traitors and working with you. But if you're our "prisoner" and we say we're holding on to you until Amberley shows up, it will remove a large number of questions people might ask."
V sighed. "I suppose I do not have much of a choice in this matter. Very well. I surrender," she hissed sarcastically.
"I think she's upset with you, sir…" Jurgen muttered.
"I do believe you're right, Jurgen…" Cain nodded, praying she didn't grow too annoyed and decide to turn him into a guinea pig for her next experiment with Warpcraft. "I suppose we should find a Vox unit and call in the situation…" Once Jurgen helped him to his feet, the two men began to search the trench for a radio system.
"Is there some sort of rulebook or starter guide I can just flip through?" V sighed as she followed after the Commissar and the Imperial Guardsman.
- End Chapter 4 -