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Lord Balor
18-03-2005, 07:54
Balor's Big Project Lives on! Well here are my Stories once more, they've been touched up a bit and more are to follow. This is the first of ten short stories depecting the Rise and Fall of Balor, The Black Count. Being the first, its not as well written as the others, but still provides the backgound to it all.


The Saga of the Black Count, Lord Balor

Death and Rebirth


Part 1: Death

Under the eerie night sky of perpetual darkness, Garran dashed through the bloodied fields, swinging his Daemon hammer at the gibbering hoards that surrounded and clawed at him. The eternal moonlight illuminated the horrific scene; Knights in shining armour were slowly being dragged down and torn apart by the swarms of daemonic creatures emerging from the Portal where a single solitary Marine stood, their target. An unholy tome in one hand and a flashing staff in the other, the chaotic warrior’s chants reverberated across the entire battlefield. Cries screamed out as one of the small pockets of Eldar resistance was overwhelmed, their defence shattered leaving several others exposed. Distracted momentarily and caught off guard, a massive Talon came down on him.

Garran winced, but the blow never landed. Looking up, he saw an unblemished sword hold the creature’s arm at bay. To his left, an Inquisitor of the Ordo Zenos struggled as the creature redoubled its efforts, but suddenly it buckled. Another flash of energy sent it off balance, giving him the time to bring his Hammer down upon the foul creature, banishing it once more to the warp. To Garran’s right was another fellow Inquisitor, but of the Ordo Hereticus, his eyes still burning with psychic might.

Together the three continued their desperate charge towards their target, casually hacking away at the nightmarish beings that blocked their path. Slowly, the Sorcerer stopped its psychic assault on the Eldar lines and turned to face the approaching Inquisitors, its eyes fixated upon his own and a voice echoed throughout his head. Words distorted and seemingly unintelligent, yet somehow familiar and almost comforting bombarded his mind relentlessly, weakening his resolve before he simply blacked out.

As the world slowly faded back Garran stood up, his face awash with cold sweat. A figure behind him motioned and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“I assume the Nightmares have returned to plague you once more Garran” it spoke calmly.
Turning around, he was met with the youthful eyes of his lieutenant.
“Aye Moran, after all this time, they have returned to haunt me once more”
“It’s because we’re going to see him isn’t it”
At the mention, Garran flinched and guilt consumed him.
“It wasn’t your fault, you did what your duty commanded and he paid the price for faltering in the Emperor’s service.”
The young guardsmen continued, but the sounds of that battle had already filled his mind and closed his ears. A single Tear fell down his cheek as the shameful memory he had buried so long ago had once again been revealed.

************************************************** **********************

Balor Von Riley stared through the open window of his family citadel upon the vastness of the city below while the morning sun’s radiance warmed his built frame, taking with it the chill of the night while a gentle breeze rustled the leaves of the orchid below. Turning his head slightly to bathe his face, Balor began, his words confident yet carrying the brilliance of the morning, “Walter, has the Imperial Agent arrived?”

A figure motioned behind him, holding out a fine undergarment for him to put his arms through. “Yes my Lord, he is with your father right now, they are in the conference room”, replied the elderly retainer.
“And how goes his initial assessment of our fine planet so far?”
Handing over the rest of the royal uniform, the elder man answered “He is quite pleased with the result; apparently this planet is much like that of ancient Terra herself, sharing many geographical and meteorological similarities.” With that, he motioned himself towards the door while his charge finished dressing himself.

“Before you leave Walter, how has my older brother taken the news?” Balor questioned as he lifted up his family’s sword and placed it by his waist, its flawless blade glistened and reflected the sunlight.
“Lord Chronos, he has not taken the news so well, you know he disproves of any association with the Imperium.”
“Aye, too far and too greedy is what he says, but we need this relationship, the rumours of entire planets being laid waste to are far too dire to ignore any longer.” Fully garbed in his crimson and black uniform, Balor followed the retainer out of the room and they made their way to meet their guest.

************************************************** **********************

“Greeting your majesty, I am Polonius, Imperial scholar and representative for diplomatic relations” pronounced a well rounded man, bowing as he did so.
“No, no you are not my subject” replied a built but aged man, “Victor will be fine, just so long as you introduce you’re friend over there in the shadows.” The hidden figure took a step forwards, the sun revealing a stern hard face with a scar cutting deep into the left cheek. “And this is Garran, from the Emperor’s most holy Inquisitorial order.” Another step and the veil of darkness left the figure, the massive armour he wore betraying his tall frame.

“You bring an Inquisitor here; this was not discussed before, for what purpose?”
“He is here to evaluate the populace, while I am here to evaluate the planet, or have you forgotten Imperial policy on all the Emperor’s subjects!” The scholar replied sharply.
“Yes I know, I went through the holo-disks you sent, but you must understand, we are a centre of trade in this far region of the galaxy, and as such we are a hub for all manner of people. We care not about petty distinctions.”
The small Imperial man paused for a second, contemplating a thought, “Well, I’m sure Inquisitor Garran will be as lenient in his judgement as your generosity when it comes to tithes.” Upon hearing this, the Inquisitor made ready to interrupt, shocked at the offer, “This is madness, there is no quarter to be given!” He demanded.

“See father, I told you it was useless to negotiate with the Imperium” accused a forth figure, entering the room. “I told you that they would want to sap us dry and strip us of our independence.”
“Wretched child” bellowed Garran, “You are no better than the criminal filth you try to protect. This planet is in Imperial territory and as such, it is ours to claim.”
“Garran” yelled the scholar, “You are not the negotiator here, I am.”
“Chronos, back down this instant!” added Victor.
As quickly as he had entered, the young Prince turned and stormed off, leaving a deadly silence looming over the Conference room.

Balor entered the code on the locking device to the Conference room, “Well Walter, money is a small price to pay for the safety of the populace don’t you agree?”
“Yes my Lord, and so does the general public, only your brother scorns on this deal. I have other matters to attend to so if you’d excuse me…”
With that the massive door swung open and Balor was almost knocked off his feet as a figure pushed passed him from the other side.
“Father, you’ll bring ruin upon us all” The figure then turned to Balor, “and you, you’re the worst of them all, brining Father into this whole mess in the first place. I could have dealt with them myself; we’re strong enough to stand alone.” The enraged Chronos stormed out and Balor stood up, composed himself and entered the tension filled room.

************************************************** **********************

Lord Balor
18-03-2005, 07:55
The Inquisitor felt a sharp pain as Balor entered the room, his eyes void of any kind of recognition. For five long hours, Garran painfully watched the negotiation proceedings as Antiga Prime, its resources, populace and manpower was studied over by the two representatives. Unlike Polonius, he was not here to listen to the affairs of petty politicians; his position in the affairs was nothing more than a ruse for his true mission. After all these years, he had returned and was most likely after Balor once more.

It was near the end of the proceedings that the Inquisitor stood up as his small earpiece crackled to life. Finally Moran had contacted him with details of what he had feared. The Corrupter was sighted appearing out of Warp Space, a small vessel with a dangerous load; containing the man he was ordered to execute all those years ago. Only when briefed had he found out that the man hadn’t stayed dead. So the three would fight one last battle he thought, staring at Balor. But this time it was on opposite sides of the field. Hopefully Balor’s skills were not as entirely forgotten as his memories were. The Channel once again came to life and as he listened to the news, his heart clenched. He was not given the resources to deal with and did not like the extreme measures he was going to have to take.

Hurriedly, he turned to Balor, “What do you know of the Planet Delevon?”
Confused, the Prince replied, “It’s our closest neighbour and we are on trading terms with her, she is part of the Imperium and since we do not have an Astropath, all news we get is directly from her, why, what has happened?”
“My ship in orbit, The Repenter, just picked up a distress signal from it, and she will not respond to our hailing. Prove you’re loyalty to the Imperium and rally as many fighting men as you can, you’re servitude may just be enough for the discrepancies to be overlooked. Transporters will arrive at your starport shortly.”

The door to the room opened once more and Chronos stood in its doorway. “I will do so, not to honour our agreement but to prove that we are strong enough to stand alone. No younger brother of mine will take away my responsibility.”
Turning around, Chronos left the room with Inquisitor Garran following behind him. Balor’s attention turned back onto his father while the Scholar leafed through documentation regarding the available natural resources. Victor’s eyes had lost their shine; in his older years age had caught up to him and the weight of ruling alone had burdened him so long.

There was no doubt of Chronos’ prowess upon the battlefield, but he was power hungry and impatient. This weighed heavily upon his father, having his eldest son a fool, and so he and the general population looked to himself for future Leadership.
“How many” murmured his father, “how many will he take to war”
“Out of our standing army, twenty thousand can be organised and equipped in the time frame for the transporters arrival. After that, how many depends on how prolonged this war goes on and with whom are we fighting.”

At the mention of the enemy, Balor saw a momentary glitter of recognition in the scholar’s face. Staring through all the statistics, Polonius smiled, yes this world would make him rich, being the Imperial representative, he would take over when the Von Riley line ended. A shadow fell across his papers and he looked up, the imposing figure of the young prince towering over him. Hands reached down and picked him up,
“Whom do we fight, you know don’t you” Bellowed Balor, pressing the small man against the wall, his legs kicking furiously trying to break free. Staring down at the floor far beneath him, Polonius whimpered,
“With yourselves, with an enemy we thought would be here.”
“What enemy, what species, who do we fight” repeated Balor, more desperate than before.
“No, not species, alignment, you fight traitors and heretics.”
“You mean we fight our comrades and neighbours because of your Greed!”
“…Yes…” was all the little man could answer.

Balor blinked and put the scholar down, who scampered back to his notes. His father was almost catatonic; the prospect of war horrified him, reminding him of the last son he sent to his death. He knew he could not trust the Imperium, but he needed their support. It appeared the cost for safety would not just be their independence; the thought of this amused him. Turning back around, Balor prepared to sign the agreement, hoping that what he was doing was the right thing.

************************************************** **********************


Looking down at the latest war report, Balor felt physically sick. For eight long months war with Delevon had endured, both planets too far into the eastern fringe for any immediate Imperial support. Half a million men, both enlisted and conscripted were sent over and forced to fight. Roughly a third came back, and half of those had lost their sanity, and were subsequently put down as a result of the new Imperial Standards. The Inquisitor had left without a word of praise, following the enemy vessel as it fled the Antiga system. Whatever had happed over there was far more than the battle reports that were provided by Garran. How could so many men die in combat?
Logic told Balor that the amount of those who fell in battle did not make up the entirety of the deaths, meaning something was being covered up. Chronos had arrived back earlier that morning, a shadow of his former self. His body weakened and wounded, his eyes blank and face worn. The war had only intensified his hatred of the Imperium and none who returned knew of what had happened other than quelling a rebellion.

Balor was pulled out of his thoughts by a sudden pain in his arm. “There, all done”, “Thank you Walter”, Balor responded as the elderly man finished bandaging his body. Chronos had not taken Balor’s greeting warmly after finding out he had signed the agreement. “Where is my brother right now?” he inquired.
“Your Father is trying to talk some sense into him; they’re in his room right now.”
“And the guest that Chronos brought back with him?”
“He is with them also, and still has that cloak over him. I wish Lord Chronos would teach him some manners.”
“Hmm”, Balor was bemused by this, in such dark times; Walter could always make him laugh. The stranger had not given his name yet, and Walter had aptly called him the Dark Wanderer. The day was filled with sorrowful celebrations to commemorate the end of the war. It was the day that would restore order and peace to both worlds, to bring life to how it had once been. But that night, everything changed.

************************************************** **********************



Part 2: Rebirth

“Father, you are old, let me give you a drink and we can discuss this later” Chronos said, dipping his finger into a chalice the cloaked figure had given him. “The very finest in all your lands” he continued, passing the cup to his father.
“Thank you my son, you still haven’t lost you’re respect for your Elders have you” Chucked Victor, tacking a generous sip of the red fluid. Chronos grinned and lifted up his hand. With a single flick of his wrist, the liquid from his finger splattered against the undergarment his father wore. Staring down at the droplets, Victor noticed that they were green, and in an instant he realised.

“What have you done, Chronos, you would poison your own Father, why?”
“Why Father, I’m taking my rightful place upon the Throne. You just wouldn’t die and leave me be. Instead when age clouded your mind, you had my brother, my younger brother advice you. You had him by your side while you ruled. You had him, not me in mind for your successor didn’t you. I was the one who protected out lands from uprisings. I was the one who enforced your rulings. I was the one who went to War, not Balor, ME. I bled for this world, and you would have it turned over to the Imperium. They hadn’t even realised we existed until a few years ago.” Victor grasped his throat and began to choke violently.
“You are deceived my son, we strive only for what’s best for the people.”
“No Father, it is you who are deluded. I will sever our ties with the Imperium and forsake the false Emperor. Antiga Prime is strong enough to stand alone, as it has done so for countless centuries. I will rule, not you, not my brother, but me, as it should have always been!

Chronos watched as his father’s grip on the chalice loosened, allowing it to hit the ground and spill it bloody content. It would all be over soon, it would all work out, just like the wanderer had said it would. Both he and the cloaked figure turned around and left the room as Victor collapsed onto the floor, his body convulsing. Yes thought Chronos, now there was only one small problem to attend to.

************************************************** **********************

Lord Balor
18-03-2005, 07:58
Balor woke to a sound of loud knocking at his door. Getting up, senses dulled by sleep, he mulled around a pile of clothes until his hands found a robe, which with little difficulty, managed to put it over his undergarment in total darkness. The knocking persisted as he made his way to the source of the sound, removing the large bolts that kept the ornate wooden door locked. The hinges creaked and the door swung open, light from the corridor momentarily blinding him. One of the silhouetted figures spoke,
“Lord Balor, you are under arrest for the murder of his royal highness, Victor Von Riley and the Von Riley retainer, Walter Turner.”

“What! I have done no such thing, how dare you accuse me of such heinous crimes!” Balor’s eyes dilated and the shadows became men, his family’s elite guard. Behind them were his brother Chronos and the dark wanderer. “Chronos tell them that they are mistaken, that I have done no such thing” he pleaded.
“I’m sorry brother, I cannot, and the evidence against you is too strong” was the stern reply.
“Evidence, what evidence, I haven’t done anything wrong!”
“Look at your clothes Balor, the blood seeps through the gown you wear.”
Looking down, he saw his brother was right, red stains were blotched against his robe. Frantically he torn away at his clothes, revealing blood soaked undergarments. “How, how did this get here, I don’t understand”, Balor voice shook with uncertainty.
“Your sword was at the scene of the crime, it had been used to, to…”
“To what”
“To cut up Walter, his remains were found scattered around the room.”
“No…Walter…” Balor touched his arm, the bandages the retained had wrapped around it was soaked with his blood. Voice trembling, Balor summed up the courage to ask,
“And Father…”
“Poisoned, one of your hairs was found by the chalice. I’m sorry little brother, this is out of my control” At that, two of the burly guards grabbed each of his arms and dragged him away; the remaining men followed the screaming prince, all but two. “It is finished” whispered Chronos, who then hurried down one corridor to arrange the trial. Left alone, the dark wanderer smiled, on the contrary he thought, it has just began.

************************************************** **********************

The trial was short and swift, the jury despondent at having found their charismatic prince guilty, sentencing him to death. However, under the advice of the dark wanderer, Chronos as reigning sovereign used his influence to downgrade the sentence to life in prison. Balor was not to see the light of day, nor was he to be ever set free. Solitary confinement in a small damp cell located in the little known catacombs was to be his exile from society. After the case ended and Chronos left victorious to his own coronation, the Dark wanderer approached the dumbstruck Balor.
“The Black Count, that’s what the people are calling you, yes,” Questioned the cloaked man.
“I did not do anything, I am innocent, why doesn’t anyone here realise I was framed” “They do not because they cannot” chuckled the figure. “They will not hear your pleas, nor comprehend the concept that you are innocent…

Balor reached over and grabbed the tall man by his cloak. Guards ran to subdue him, but the dark Wanderer called them off. Alone, the Wanderer with surprising strength easily overpowered Balor and cast him to the floor. “I can set you free” he whispered, “Give you power, the unity and stability you’ve strived for”.
“I will not listen to you serpent” Balor spat, “You caused this, you poisoned my brother with your words!”
The cloaked man lifted up his arm and Balor was levitated upright. “I can give you everything you have ever wanted. I can set you upon the throne. How long do you believe this planet will last with your brother in control? Days? Months? Years? Are you willing to risk the lives of all who live here? The Wanderer circled Balor as he spoke and doubt formed on the prince’s face. “All you have to do is forsake the Emperor in favour for a greater cause, a power that respects your potential. This power would be willing to offer things that mere men could only dream off. Let go of your loyalty to the Imperium and its weakling emperor. Join me.”

Balor’s face hardened and he spat into the other’s face. “My honour is my life, do you really think I would forsake it. I have given my word and I will stand by it to the end.” At this, the Wanderer seemed to smile, pleased with the outcome, leaving the room he replied,
“So be it.” Balor fell back to the floor and before he could compose himself, two men were dragging him away.

************************************************** **********************

Within Twenty-Four hours, Balor found himself imprisoned, betrayed by his own flesh and blood. Through his anger, rage and frustration, the impenetrable walls of his mind were breaking down. Chronos had come to see him shortly after his imprisonment, had explained how he poisoned his father and murdered the retainer. What had happened to his brother? How had he become so evil? To gloat after all the atrocities he had committed was what he found unbearable. Tomorrow would be the day he said, the day of liberation.

Liberation Balor thought, more like the day of destruction. The Imperial retribution would be swift and ruthless. After the Delevon campaign, the Imperium had garrisoned nearby worlds more heavily in case of another outbreak. To renounce loyalty would be suicide. He had tried to reason with Chronos, but his brother was convinced that after the renunciation the dark wanderer would bring help, call forth others that had made the same pact. A piecing wail broke Balor’s concentration; the walls themselves seemed to cry out. The more he thought about his brother the angrier and resentful he became. This seemed to invigorate the howling around him, from the cries of the innocent to the screams of the dying.

Every morning the Dark Wanderer came to his cell, making the same offer. Each time he refused it outright, and then the cloaked figure would give him an update on the situation. The seventh day was the last time he came, before he disappeared. Under the grim guidance of Chronos, the people’s oath to the Emperor and the Imperium had been renounced, his corruption completely hidden from the unknowing public. This is what he had been told, although he questioned its reliability.

The wailing was ousted by a loud crash, followed by several more, probably outside the palace. He tried to ignore it, tried not to be curious, but his eyes always crept to the foreign object. The Stranger had left a Jet Black ball in the cell during his final visit. He said it would reveal to him what he wanted to see, what he desired. For days he ignored it, but the walls themselves whispered to him to look. Betrayed, tormented and alone in the darkness Balor fought within himself. His life consumed by a single decision, to look or not to look. Another week passed before he lost track of time. Time he thought was the only thing he had, and that was taking its toll, aging his body and wearing his soul. Hunger invaded his weakened body; the guards had not given him a meal in days. The whole world seemed to conspire against him, and in that moment of weakness, he looked.

************************************************** **********************
Garran grasped his Daemon Weapon nervously as he watched Lieutenant Moran lead his elite Storm Troopers into the Boarding Torpedo. The Corrupter had been silent for hours, drifting along with no change of direction or speed. He was going to board the wretched ship and finish off what should have ended over a decade ago, no amount of pleas or empty promises would stop him a second time around.
As the last Trooper entered, Moran’s warm but hardened face popped out and he began to speak.
“Inquisitor, we are ready to launch, with eleven of us, it’ll be a tight squeeze, but my men have been through far worse.”
Despite the severity of the situation, Garran let out a chuckle and forced his way to the entrance, finding a seat reserved for him. While the safety belts were set in place and the door closed, his mind wondered off once more. His lieutenant was barking orders as the dream cam back to haunt him once more.
“All Right men, lean back and hold on to something, cause we’re about to have our hides shot right into the hostile”
The nine assembled Storm Troopers grunted in reply and followed Moran’s Lead, grabbing firmly at the safety belts and making quite prayers to the Emperor. Within Moments, the Torpedo shook violently and was disengaged from the Repenter’s Hull.

In Eerie silence the Torpedo lightly shook as its guidance systems transverse the most direct path between the two vessels. The seconds passed slowly as the men turned and looked at each other, knowing that there would be no reinforcements and they were all each other had. Garran had kept his actions hidden from others, and only the scholar Polonius Knew he was even in the sector. In the awkward silence, it was noticeable that the boarding vessels was slowing down dramatically until it felt as if it was only drifting in the empty void of space.

A Rumbled sounded as the Magnetic Clamps at the tip of the Torpedo collided with the Corrupter. Despite the Shock Absorbers, Garran was almost thrust out of his seat, its safety barriers woefully inadequate. A second rumble, far more powerful than the first shook the ship and a loud explosion sounded, sending dust and fragments everywhere. Looking up to Moran, his lieutenant shrugged and simply replied ‘Explosive Charges’. The Storm Troopers readied their Weapons and Charged headfirst out of the Breach, and at once, Garran knew that he had been played for a fool.

Lord Balor
18-03-2005, 07:58
The entire Vessel was a Ghost Ship, no sign of life and he could only a sense a faint presence of the one he hunted. He had been here, he had directed the ship but had somehow left, and quite some time ago. Looking out the Bridge Window, Garran knew where he had gone. He was after Balor once more, attempting to seduce the man he knew a lifetime ago. A Bright Flash flared and the ship was rocked by a mysterious Force.

Recovering from the blinding light, Garran looked back up and saw a massive vessel, followed by many smaller craft emerge from Warp Travel. He instinctively recognised the Antagoniser, The Twisted Pride of the Daemon Prince Lord Garathos. In a Brilliant and fearful display of sheer Power, he watch as its countless gun batteries opened fire on the Repenter, smashing her aside as if its bulkheads were paper thin and igniting the onboard munitions. In a matter of seconds, his ship had been reduced to liquid fire and twisted metal. Ignoring the Corrupter, the small armada continued on its journey, disappearing almost as soon as it had arrived. There was no way the traitor could have planned this event to such fine detail and timing. Almost shaking from the loss of his faithful crew, only one word escaped his lips, ‘Balor’.
************************************************** **********************

The ball clouded and images began to form, knowledge shot painfully into Balor’s mind, invaded it, defiling it. The Black Legion had arrived to claim this newly corrupted world, their drop pods slamming into the citadel grounds and around strategic locations. The image seared itself into his mind. The image faded and was replaced by another one, his brother. Chronos came out of the citadel, his father’s crown upon his head. Arrayed before him were hundreds of armoured warriors and thousands of citizens, despicable stars etched and seared into their flesh. Anger flared in Balor, forming into a primal rage at the betrayal. A massive abomination stepped forwards, half man, half daemon, but all terror. The Winged beast easily stood ten feet tall, dwarfing all that it passed. A voice rang in Balor’s head and a name flashed before his eyes, ‘Lord Garathos’. The Image faded as Chronos knelt before the beast.

Another image formed, an Imperial Fleet arriving, more drop pods landed. Grand silver warriors backed up by Noble Crimson Red marines stepped out, a combined force. One man, their leader seemed familiar, another name, Marcello. Battles flashed before his eyes, great victories and sorrowful losses. Each battle was more furious than the last, each flickering faster than the one before it. The Black warriors fell back to their ships, a retreat, and a hasty withdrawal that left many behind. The short but bloody war was over; the planet was under Imperial control once more.

The ball was slow to show the next vision, another familiar man, yet another name, Polonius. His small well rounded figure could be seen amongst the regiments of Imperial Guard that had landed. Before them was the fallen citizens of Antiga, all herded up. The little man yelled something and the Imperial Guardsmen lifted up their rifles. Another order and the barrels spat death. Balor’s hope faded and was replaced with despair and agony, the will to endure overcame him.

The vision was replaced once more, and Balor watched as his world was sucked dry by the greed of the Imperium, as its natural resources were wasted away. Dirty and pollutant Hive Cities sprang up, as did mining communities, when it was found that Antiga Prime was richer in raw material than previously thought. Each sapped the life out of the planet he loved, the planet he would die for. The blue skies turned black and the trees withered and died, his people forced into slavery unto death. Pure hate consumed him, how many years had he stared into the ball no longer mattered. All that mattered was the destruction of the Imperium. Balor now understood the wisdom of the stranger, and the logic behind his brother’s betrayal. In tolerance with the Imperium, he had received nothing but treachery and Betrayal. It was in that moment that he dammed his soul, and gave up all ties to the Imperium, and it’s false God. After swearing featly to his new deities, Balor embraced chaos itself, each separate aspect would play its part in damning the fools of the corpse God, and each was resourceful in its own way at one time or another.

Balor, still trapped inside his nightmarish cell, was a shadow of his former self. No longer was he tall and proud, but gnarled, twisted and gaunt, some unnatural power had kept him alive while he wasted away watching the ball. More Images flashed before Balor’s eyes, black armoured warriors stalked the wastelands, split into Warbands due to the lack of leadership. The forgotten company that had been left behind had been in hiding. A final image flared more brightly than the rest, the one who brought this upon his Planet, the one who would suffer eternally for his sins, the one he would kill, Garran. The visions stopped and the Ball was no longer jet, but as grey as the stone walls that surrounded him. Balor now knew what he had to do, he knew what had to be done and nothing else remained in his mind, all had been erased. With that, he accepted the task the Dark Wanderer had set for him.

************************************************** **********************

A searing pain shot through Balor’s body, his muscles burned and blood boiled, veins stressed all over him. Pressure built up in his chest and the clothes on his back began to tear. His hands clutched his head in agony as the transformation took place. Bones shifted and hardened while muscles expanded far beyond their normal capacity. Organs mutated and grew as did the rest of his body. Within minutes, no longer was he man, but a super human in all aspects, Khorne had fulfilled his promise and elevated him to a mighty warrior, standing higher than even than the Space Marines. Without any effort, Balor ripped the steel bars from his cell door and stepped out. He strode through the catacombs and came to the secret entrance that led into the normal jails above. Balor thrust his fist into the wall and the stone gave way, someone had tried in vain to wall him in.

Cries of surprise from the other side changed into wails of agony mid-flight as Balor bashed his way through the secret wall. The jailors clutched their face in pain as their bodies withered away before his eyes, becoming bubbling mounds of puss. The Lord of Decay had cleared a path for his escape. Led by wild and raw emotions, Balor made his way through the citadel, mounds of puss could be seen in every room and corridor. Hate directed him towards an ornate wooden door that somehow seemed familiar, perhaps in another lifetime. With a single front kick, the doors collapsed on themselves, utterly shattered. Inside was an elegant bedroom, and shivering in the corner was a bloated form. A name came to mind, one that had been seared there, Polonius. Balor strode up to the pathetic form and picked it up by the shirt with a single hand, lifting it to meet his gaze. There was recognition in his eyes, but Balor could not remember the man, he only knew that he hated him. The man’s eyes went black as Balor put his fist straight through his chest and out the other side. This creature would not die, but live for an eternity of pain; the Lord of decay had fulfilled its promise.

Revenge now guided Balor through the somehow familiar corridors. His every movement led him to the armoury, its door torn off. Each corridor and turn led him to the same room; they would not let him leave until he entered it. Confusion among other emotions forced him into the room, and he found it defiled beyond any recognition by the ruinous powers of Chaos. In the Centre stood a suit of gleaming power armour, all manner of glyphs and runes depicting chaos had been etched on. By its side stood an arcane weapon, rare among even the loyalist legions and next to that an oversized power fist leaned. Clutching at the armour, he realised that someone had seen this fate and made prepared for his escape, most notable the work of the servants of the Lord of Change.

When Balor emerged from the twisted room, he no longer even resembled a man, but a mighty champion of chaos. Across his shoulders was the tattered remains of the cape he once wore so proudly. Behind his left shoulder, the stranger materialised, removing his cloak once and for all. All at once Balor understood, and everything now fit into place. The mistakes of the past had come full circle, Haunting the present once more, but this time there could be no failure. The Stranger motioned Balor towards him, his huge staff crackling with unholy energies. “Come, tend to your flock, find your sheep and watch over them.” The stranger then held out his hand, and Balor took hold of it. In an instant, they were both gone.