Ahriman: Sorcerer

Ahriman: Sorcerer by John French Read Free Book Online

Book: Ahriman: Sorcerer by John French Read Free Book Online
Authors: John French
Tags: Ciencia ficción
see?’
    I saw hell made real, she thought. Memories opened in her mind, scratching against the emotional dams she had built around them. I saw nightmares walking the spaces between stars. I saw reality torn open, and carrion swarm to its blood. I saw the doom that awaits us all if we fail. That is what I saw, what I still see when I can sleep .
    They had gone into the Eye of Terror, where the physical realm and the warp overlapped, and the laws of reality danced to the laughter of madness. They had found what they sought and more, and returned alive… barely. Another great outpouring from the Eye was coming, they all knew it. It waited there just beyond the horizon of the future. The old seer, who stood weeping in silence before them, was the last of their psychic auspices who had survived to tell of what else they had found.
    ‘The mission was a limited-duration operation,’ said Erionas, his voice clipped and clear. ‘Psycho-synthesised impressions were taken from a volume that extended at least into the tertiary zone of reality breakdown. The quantity of data was considerable despite losses among the auspices. We–’
    ‘Of course such a mission gathered much of extraordinary value.’ Izdubar broke through the monologue with another smile. ‘But even such learning would not cause you to call us all here.’ He glanced around the chamber, leaving the statement hanging between an accusation and a question.
    ‘We found the remains of a war,’ said Iobel.
    ‘Yes?’ asked Izdubar, turning his gaze back to her.
    ‘A war that had scarred the warp itself.’
    ‘Such things are–’
    ‘Something was, or will be born out of it. A storm that will come for us.’ She laid emphasis on the word storm, and saw a flicker in Izdubar’s eyes.
    ‘The Despoiler…’ began a voice from a lower tier.
    ‘No,’ said Iobel. ‘The name carried on the aether was that of another.’ She looked at Izdubar. He met her gaze, his face impassive and unreadable. He must know already. He would not be here otherwise . And besides us three, he is the only one who will know what the name of the storm means . She gestured towards the seer at the centre of the web of chains. ‘Hear for yourself.’
    Izdubar held her gaze for a second longer and then nodded.
    ‘Light,’ she said. The word was soft, but it carried up the stone tiers with complete clarity. A second later a low grinding filled Iobel’s ears and she felt the stone beneath her feet tremble. Iobel braced herself. She, like the half-dead seer held in the web of chains, was a psyker. Ever since she had entered the fortress, null fields had shut the warp out from her mind, blunting her ability. It was uncomfortable, but so would be the sudden return of her psychic senses.
    A crescent of light appeared at the apex of the chamber’s domed roof. Every eye in the chamber turned upwards. The crescent became a widening smile of sky. The Eye of Terror looked down through the open hole, visible even in the noon light.
    The seer twisted in her chains, hiding her blind eyes in her hands. She began to moan.
    The null fields vanished.
    The warp flowed back into Iobel’s senses, fragments of thoughts and sensations carried on it like driftwood on a floodtide. She gritted her teeth as the psychic reality of the chamber settled in her awareness. She was not powerful, not in the sense of some that she had met, but even so she heard surface thoughts and emotions bleeding from the minds around her. There was curiosity, excitement, fear even, all focused on what would happen next, on why they were here. Only Izdubar’s mind stood clear and calm.
    The old seer began to unbend, spine popping as she straightened. Her hands fell away from her face. The soiled emerald of her robes hung sheer against her skeletal body. Her head turned upwards, lank hair falling away from her face. Empty eyes met the rays of the sun. Her mouth opened a crack. Air rattled from her lips. And then, as though it was

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