Saw

In the souls' battle of attrition between good and evil, good may gain the initative and outflank baser morals by shining examples and shaming harangues, yet evil ultimately possesses greater reserves and superior logistics. For the nature of life itself is one of consuming other life; of survival at all costs; of biting into your prey and savouring the taste of your victim while you can, for you too shall perish in this grim world.

Questions follow of their own accord: What evils are we capable of? What fell deeds may our hands perform? What ruthless plans of action may our minds concoct? And the answers lie close at hand. They are to be found here and now in everyday life, in the endless petty malice children heap upon choice victims, in the lies and deceit of adults, in the dark impulses boiling beneath the surface of humans everywhere. They are to be found in ages past, in a grand parade of cruelties and an orgy of bloodletting, plunder and inflicted misery. But most of all they are to be found in ages yet to come, for man is set to plunge the bottomless depths of his soul, and there he shall descend into hell on earth and remake the world in his diabolical image.

Behold the grim darkness. Behold the future that awaits our species. Behold the Imperium of Man, the decaying domains of the God-Emperor of Holy Terra, an empire of a million worlds maintained by ceaseless sacrifice, an endless lack of mercy and everlasting hatred. Gaze into the Imperium, and you will bear witness to the baleful excesses festering in the heart of man.

For in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable, human lives have become a currency to squander in the billions. Here, sweat and blood are shed on a titanic scale in order to uphold the rigid order of the Imperium, in a neverending treadmill of human suffering and drudgery. Here, violence, hardships and starvation are ever-present companions to life. Here, draconic punishments will be arbitrarily visited upon anyone who fails in their duty or steps out of line. Sometimes such retaliation will be carried out with passionless monotony, at other times the penalties will be dealt out with righteous furor. And sometimes the punishment will be executed upon the offender with a poorly concealed sadistic glee.

To be branded a heretic, malcontent, deviant or infidel in the Imperium, is to face a host of imaginative possibilities. There are the possibilities of instant death at gunpoint, of beheading, lynching, hanging, blinding, maiming, burning,stoning, quartering, flaying and drawn-out torture, or lobomization and slavery as a cyborg thrall or guilt-ridden Arco-Flagellant. Among a myriad of possible punishments are to be found that archaic one of sawing, wherein the wrongdoer is shackled and extended helplessly from a frame, usually hanging upside-down. The executioners will then slowly work through the sinner with a crosscut saw or two-man eviscerator, the sawyers usually chanting, damning the criminal or shouting admonishments to the crowd of onlookers while the teeth of their tool tear through flesh and bone.

Oftentimes, such executions by sawing will be recorded by vox-units and captured by pict-casters, to be cabled out to public loudspeakers and pict-screens distributed throughout the more decent parts of cities and voidholms. This is done in order to benefit the betterment of the people's wetched souls, as the shrill shrieking in pain and agonized yelling of the sawed one will warn sinful humanity to take heed, resist temptation such as hunger pangs, and blindly obey their superiors without question or tardiness.

This public butchering of deviants, criminals and heretics will usually be followed by their flawed flesh being burnt upon the pyre, or carted away to be recycled into the foodstuff known as corpse starch. Wild rumours claim that if you saw an Ork in half without burning the remains, two whole Orks will regrow out of the halves. This abominable phenomenon has only been observed in mankind a rare few times with grossly mutated humans tainted by the touch of Chaos, wherefore the mutliated husks of mutants will as a rule be burnt to ashes in order to not contaminate the dull ration bars of the populace. Trust in flames to cleanse corruption and filth.

And so every day, somewhere in the Imperium of Man, thousands of bystanders view the spectacle of executioners sawing a man, woman or child to death. The crowds view it with their own eyes, listening with their own ears to the noise of suffering and slaughter, as saw teeth rip through fibres and cartilage. They see the suffering and the righteous punishment visited upon the wicked, and they ken the warning. Thus all is well in the sacred star-realm of the Emperor on Earth, for what is happiness but the feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome? Just as the saw of justice overcomes the sinner's flesh and bone.

Such is the malevolent fate of unknown numbers of deviants and heretics. Such is their fell demise.

It is the fortyfirst millenium. Humanity has banished remorse from its heart of stone. Truly, the Age of Imperium is an epoch of lives crushed under heel and naked evil at full display. And so the future of our species grinds on, its rusted prison a doomed empire, its bloodstained tormentor man himself.

Such is the fate of our species. In the darkest of futures. In cruelty unending.