Faith and Betrayal
Forbidden Lore - The Story of Dante's Fall
“This is the way the story is commonly told. It is told in whispers with fragmented secrets. Spoken in the darkness. Words stolen from obscured mouths in darkened hallways by lingering ears and flaccid bodies.”
“It begins on the planet Iio. An ordinary yet out of the way planet which had the fortune of housing this centuries Consecrator initiation trials. Participating in the trials was a certain unextraordinary young man. Foolish, feeble, weak. He stumbled about and managed to catch the eye of the elder overlooking the initiates.”
“Needless to say the young man failed. But the Elder saw promise… He saw a growing potential within the boy and quickly a place was found within the chapter for the boy in hopes he would someday find a purpose. He operated for years as a scribe’s underling. An unspectacular scholar. A loser. Until the day came where he was unceremoniously cast from the chapter in exile.”
“The boy would wander for a lifetime until he found a backwater planet where he would settle. Start a family. Die. Unextraordinary. Unremarkable. Irrelevant.”
“So the story goes… But tell me, what is in a story? What makes a tale into lore? What defines knowledge and separates it from the useless errata of the world? The details. That which whispers cannot lie, nor be stolen by vengeful ears. My boy, details are what make the real story…”
“On Iio there did exist a boy. And the Elder did watch him closely. He saw the boy outclass his peers with ease. Saw ambition, determination, strength, and resolve. He watched the boy pass every test thrown his way without hesitation or fault… and yes, he watched as the boy failed the trials. He watched as the boy stood in line as his less remarkable brothers were given glory and he received nothing in return.”
“He took the boy, as was planned, back to the Consecrators. Young Dante began his study, he learned, he researched, he trained, all in secret. He readied himself for the day when he, along with equal young men from every other Unforgiven chapter, stood before their masters and where cast out unjustly. Thrown into exile. Sent… on their missions…”
“Dante worked quickly. He followed his leads and eventually found his way to Chataar, a simple backwater world with nothing of value to offer the rest of the void. There he would find her, Malina… Daughter of the Fallen. A legacy to the traitorous ancestors. And there he would wait.”
“It took nearly a year for her to approach him, he could not afford to draw her suspicions. She could not know he was on to her, for if she did… the plan would fail. It was an expected a relationship as could be. With two partners each trying to play the other, ‘love’ was quick to follow and they were married within mere months.”
“It did not occurred to Dante how futile his mission was for years. He waited, patiently, until word began reaching him of deaths… Deaths of men, rumored to be in exile. Men unknown to him. Men, who like him, had failed. It may be said that Dante is the worst kind of man, for he realized in his brilliance that to infiltrate the Fallen, to truly gain their trust, one must make an unbreakable pact. The Daughter of the legacy, must have a son.”
“A boy, bred by lies, indoctrinated by the corrupt, but with the resolve of the just… The Consecrator’s sleeper, must be his son. It didn’t take long for Malina to bring the boy into the world, and it took even less time for Dante to take him under his wing. He trained the boy, formed an unbreakable bond between father and son. Unlike with the woman, this love was real. For this boy had forced unto him the most important mission imaginable… But it was not to be so easy a task.”
“For all his faults, Dante was ever vigilant for the boy’s safety, and for his own. When word came to him of his impending assassination he did not run nor hide. He managed to get word to a contact of his, a commander Vashton Cole of the Dark Angels. The commander sent word that he was on the way as Dante braced himself to faced the coming end. The boy watched as his father unsheathed his long forgotten chainsword and readied himself as their door buckled inward.”
“The two black clad invaders moved swiftly in the dim light of the fire, but Dante outclassed them in every way. The boy watched as the sword cut deeply into the first invader. Watched the jet black armor stain red with the flowing blood. Heard the hiss of anger escape from the dying, echoing out from beneath the crimson streaked helmet.”
“The second intruder put up more of a fight as the two giants traded blows. A swift kick from Dante sent the man flying backwards and set up a perfect kill shot. As he raised his sword to deliver the final blow, a shadowy streak sprang on his back. His wife sunk a long Stiletto downward through the back of his neck. The boy watched as his fathers blade fell from his loose grasp just as the tip of the knife struck his heart.”
“With a cry, the boy lunged forward, flailing wildly and trying to cling to his father’s ever colder growing corpse, but a kick from the intruder sent him flying downward. He felt the warm blood of his father pool around him and breathed in the sickening scent of death. Through tears he could see the shadows of his overlords above him as they debated his fate.”
The old man puffed on his pipe as he stared into the crackeling fire. Across from him, a young boy sat on a log in the darkness listening intently to him. Behind him, the small herd of goats nestled in the grass and awaited the coming day with quiet bleats. After a few moments of silence the boy piped up.
“What happened then Grandpa? Did the commander ever make it? Did he teach the Fallen a lesson?” The old man continued to smoke on his pipe as he changed his focus from the fire to the boy.
“Who knows? It wouldn’t be such an interesting story if it had such a stagnant ending. That’s the problem with the details. Even with the great lore of this world, some of them get lost in the ages that follow their birth.”
“What about the boy? Did he become a Fallen like his mother?” The boy continued his questions but the old man merely shrugged.
“Nothing is known about the fate of the boy. Perhaps he may not even exist, it is simply a story after all.” The boy looked confused for a moment but quickly shook it off. Picking up a small nearby stick he stood up and began thrashing it around.
“I bet he did become a fallen. And when I find him, I’ll kill him! Hiya!” He lunged forward, cutting the air with his imaginary sword. The old man pulled the pipe from his lips and leaned forward, his face being lit ablaze from the glow of the fire.
“My dear boy, why would you want to do that? Have you not been listening to the story?” He set the pipe back between his teeth and crossed his arms. “You should really pay more attention when your elders speak to you. You’ll never learn anything if you don’t.” The boy looked downward in quiet shame and tossed his stick into the fire.
“Rest now, son. We have a long day ahead of us.” The old man stood up and began walking away from their makeshift camp. He trudged up a small incline and stood atop the grassy knoll staring into the darkened sky at the multitude of stars that dotted it’s surface. The light breeze of the night tugged at his robes and allowed the soft silhouette of his Consecrator’s badge to peek out from beneath its cover.
As the star’s light reflected in his aged eyes, he casually rolled the pipe from one side of his mouth the other as he softly chewed on the tip. Allowing his head to fall slightly, he stood poised stoically atop the hill staring ever forward. The corners of his mouth turned upward into a wild grin as his eyes shone with the anticipation of the coming dawn.