Over the next several weeks Ajax returned on many occasions to tell this young man of his many battles against the voracious Tyranids, horrific mutants, and even of the nightmarish Necrons. All the time censoring his speeches by excluding his employment in the Inquisition. The young man was entranced by Ajax’s stories of valor and glory.
As he listened, Joshua would interject with stories of saints of heroes in the holy writing. He also spoke of his grandfather who served in the guard as a priest, until eventually the Ecclesiarchy pulled his grandfather from the field and stationed him on this hive. He would tell Joshua of the places and battles he fought, and now Joshua would do his best to recollect and recite the stories. This continued for an hour or so at a time before Joshua was called away on duty.
Ajax enjoyed his chats with the priest. It was like telling a child of his life and accomplishments. However, there was always that feeling of worry. He couldn’t shake it and often haunted his nights. Ajax would often attend Joshua’s sermons, hoping to hear some holy solution to his problem, but alas there came none. So one day he told Joshua of his fears.
“Joshua, I’ve enjoyed our swapping of triumphant adventures. You’ve taught me much of the saints that was before me. However, I have not told you of my failings. Which is more why I came here in the first place. I need advice.”
Joshua’s child-like smile vanished in a moment and in its place was the stern look of a concerned parent. “What is it my son?” His voice deepened as he often did when he turned to a grave issue in his sermons.
“I. . .I am the only survivor of both my tribe and of my regiment. I know it sounds…cowardly, but I’m worried that I can’t avoid death forever.” Ajax then told him of his tribe’s massacre, and how he hid from the Orks. Then of how he heard of his regiment being killed while he was “on leave.”
Joshua sat silently for a moment, “I unlike many of my brothers in the Ecclesiarchy understand the stresses of life, and in this stress there is doubt. Doubt in oneself can sprout doubt in the Emperor. You are a faithful man and follower of the Emperor our talks have made this much clear to me. I want to meet more often then we have and you and I will go over the scriptures until we find some passages that will help.” He paused to pat the book on his side, “The Emperor has given us this life and protects us with his will, and you just need to be told that in a way you’ll remember.”
With time, Ajax had become very familiar with many lines of scripture that would aid him. The tables had turned from Ajax being the teacher to Joshua. Joshua would make him read page after page of holy books and often from the one Joshua had on his hip. While testing him verbally each day of the particularly useful passages they learned the day prior. He would even make Ajax lead mock sermons and those sometimes held an audience.
After departing from Joshua’s daily guidance, Ajax would recite the scriptures in his head to help quell the thoughts and nightmares of possible deaths. He found many of them particularly useful and even calmed him down when he became frustrated.
As the months came to an end, Ajax needed Joshua’s guidance less and less. Until one day Joshua’s book was once more strapped to his side and he didn’t ask Ajax what they’d learned the day before. Ajax just smiled and told Joshua how he got the scar across his chest and head.
When he got home that day he felt worlds better, he knew the Emperor was watching over him and that he would some day have to face death, but it was his duty to keep fighting and protecting the Imperium and the God-Emperor. He planned on meeting up with Joshua the next day to continue his story telling, until he looked outside. Several figures were coming up the walk towards the front, three were his companions, but the forth had their eyes covered.