Augustine held the torch steady. The flickering of the votive candle inside cast strange and iridescent shadows upon the shelves beside him, left a trail of green sparks that sputtered and died amongst the detritus littering the floor. Shelves lined the corridor. Row upon row of books, dusty and half decayed in the damp air, half collapsed in their rot and ruin. Just what the master expected to gain from such tomes eluded him.
He shuffled on. Such things were not to be understood. There were greater things at stake, his life being one of them, and men more important than he were relying upon is ability to get in and get out with the minimum of fuss.
He tried not to think of what had gone before. Three others had disappeared into the library’s depths, men better trained and equipped than he. None had reappeared and so his services had been called for.
Augustine concentrated. The torch made the walls come alive, distracting him from the task at hand. He stumbled over fallen books, areas where the shelves had collapsed disgorging their contents into great sodden piles. Something beneath his feet, buried beneath tome upon tome, glowed feebly in the dimming. Pay it no heed and carry on. Nothing could be gained by inspecting the Warp pollution of a thousand years of decay.
It was in the third gallery that he heard it, a thumping slightly out of time with my own. It stopped moments later, no more than a soft padding, muffled and heavy, high up on one of the floors above, lost within the plaster, contained within the wall spaces. There was silence, but not quite silence enough.
When it came again Augustine was ready. The sound, louder, seemingly closer. The shape of the rooms created an echo. He could not be certain of direction. It was definitely there, definitely somewhere within the plundered network of rooms and connecting halls.
He went out into the hall, looked with unease at the dilapidation, was looking still when a shadow slipped from the wall at the end of the corridor, coalesced, congealed. He forced his eyes to make something of the darkness, tried to ascertain detail.
It moved again, a pallid white something, ridged and heaving, taller than a man yet wiry, nimble enough to fit between the shelves.
Augustine hit the limits of his curiosity then, fled through the galleries, through the connecting hallways and stairwells, the storerooms and anterooms, the prison that his master had built for his Grendel, his Lampton Fiend.
The Inquisitorial libraries of Terra are said to hold some of the most dangerous and damaging texts known to mankind. It is said that for those who are unprepared through years of psychic conditioning, the simple recognition of a single word can tip a man into insanity, and perhaps more dangerously, open him up to the possibility of daemonic possession.
Unfortunately, from time to time, members of the Ordo Malleus have need of such tomes and employ specialist Librarians to retrieve them from the hidden depths of their ancient libraries. Such henchmen must be well trained, well equipped and perhaps more importantly, psychicly attuned, for some tomes have often decayed and corrupted to such an extent that they themselves provide an easily traversed bridge between the Warp and the Materium. Who knows what falls through these holes in reality?
This guy was actually a really quick build, carried out over the course of two evenings. He is an amalgamation of Empire Flagellant, Empire Handgunner and various other bits and bobs.
The weapon is intended as some kind of Dragon's Breath Shotgun, charged with blessed shells. An anti-Daemon weapon of a sort. These types of Librarians are not expected to live for very long, but the simple opportunity of laying eyes on their master's forbidden lore makes sure that there are always a pool of volunteer replacements to draw from.