Ajax silently slipped into his room when the group had finally arrived back at the house. Drinking what little remained of the keg from the previous night, Ajax kept to himself for a long while. With the death of Gibson, Ajax was now the last surviving member of the Mordian 13th. Nightmarish thoughts of self doubt and worry plagued his mind and dreams.
How had he survived, why had he survived? If it were not for the interception of Inquisitor Creed he would have been upon the planet and died with the rest of the regiment. In his youth why was he the only one left, when the Orks massacred his tribe? What if the Flayed One’s claws dug just a bit deeper into his chest and punctured his heart? That indescribable madness that held him steady in the face of adversity where did that come from? Restless and tired he needed to relief, he needed prayer and someone to listen to it.
After a couple days of contemplation and worry Ajax left the house in search of a salvation. His quest through the labyrinthine streets eventually led him to a cathedral a couple levels below the house. Large gothic arches and hanging gargoyles towered ominously above him, leering down at his frame questioningly. Stained glass windows covered the outside of the church depicting saints and heroes of the Imperium long since passed back into the Emperor’s light. Taken aback by the immensity of the cathedral, it took Ajax some time to approach the large wooden entrance.
Opening the massive engraved doors Ajax stepped inside. At the far end of the pew filled room stood alone unattended altar. Behind that rose a colossal pillar that stretched from the floor to the ceiling, several stories up. Shelves of candles spiraled up the column each one lit and burning. The wide body of the pillar housed several massive golden Aquilas. Servo skulls and cherubs flittered around the pillar and above Ajax’s head, cleaning and maintaining the spotless room. A pair of hunched figures continued praying, appearing unaware of the newcomer.
Just as outside, Ajax paused to take in the majesty. On his homeworld, the missions were small white domed constructs with warehouse like buildings surrounding it. Efficiency and protection was more important than appearance. While this building’s entire surface was covered in sacred symbols and iconography. Ajax stood mouth a gapped.
“Beautiful isn’t it? In my works I often overlook the majesty of this place,” interjected a voice to his right.
A young robbed man had fallen in beside Ajax, his eyes slowly looking across the walls and murals about the chamber. His robe comprised of a mixture of red and gray fabric forming geometrical patterns on his sleeves and hood, a large book slung tightly to his belt and side, and small amounts of gold trimmed his robe.
“I just have never seen a place like this before.” Ajax finally replied.
Gracefully the young priest turned to Ajax, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to disturb your reverence.
However, I must ask what brings you to the Emperor’s house this day?” Spoke the man through a thin smile.
Quickly straightening himself, “my name is Ajax. I am a warrior of the Emperor and am faithful to his teachings. Since I have gone to serve, I have not been to His house. This is something I want to change.”
The man’s smile grew as he extended his hand. “It is an honor to meet you Ajax; the Imperium needs men such as yourself to fight on the fields for her. My name is Joshua and I am one of the priests that tend this monastery.”
Joshua’s hand was engulfed by Ajax’s as they shook. Yet to his surprise the priest’s shake was strong for a hive worlder. “So from the look of you, and the scars you bare you’ve seen your share of warfare. Would you by chance have time to regale me of your travels? Very few guardsmen come to through the hive, since they’re usually here on leave and I would so much like to hear of your tales.”
Ajax was taken aback by this young man. None of the ecclesiarchy of his home world cared much for him or his tribe. They only stood around complaining and ordering people about. Only the young missionaries that joined the tribes seemed to show any compassion towards them. Yet this young priest wanted to talk and listen to what he had to say. The emperor had granted Ajax his audience.
To be continued…