Since the nightmares had gotten worse Heinrich was spending more time almost lucid. Occasionally he dared so much as speak and the others were beginning to take notice. Rollo looked like he was just about to say something. The insane Necrarch, Oliver, just looked like Hans with a new toy and began buzzing about the Gorgon studying him.
And then they were back in the Shadowfell, the voices began taunting him. ‘Broken’ they accused. The Warp had altered the flow of the Winds of magic here, the others pressed on to hunt down this Surgeon vehemently but the creatures that attacked us seemed more controlled by the voices. But then maybe they were one in the same, or maybe the Surgeon was just as ensnared as the voices taunted Heinrich he would soon be.
But there was another voice too, more distant, alien. It scratched at the edges of Heinrich’s mind and as he stared at the Warped sky above the distant stars seemed to throb with the pain behind his eyes.
‘Burn them,’ it whispered. The Gorgon froze as Heinrich stared up into the black sky, through the roiling Warp, and into the darkness beyond. There hung stars, bright distant points, cold and sharp but distant and foreign.
What are you? Heinrich wondered and the voice whispered back, ‘I slumber. Your fire wakes me, creature, what is it you desire so much?’
An end. Heinrich thought disconsolately only to be rocked by the heated response from beyond. ‘DO NOT LIE TO ME SPECK, such a worm would not speak to the Eternal Ones. You dream of FIRE, you dream of VENGEANCE, you hunger for FREEDOM!’ the voice in Heinrich’s head echoed and raged through the Gorgon’s empty shell and he cowered back from it, but there was some truth there. ‘I shall grant you power, I will fill you with my fire until all that stands before you turns to ash if you will but serve ME,’ the voice coaxed.
Heinrich recoiled, Another master, he almost spat derisively, And what is it you want? Waldenhof? Templehof? Drakenhof?
But the voice rumbled a terrifying deep laughter, ‘You overestimate the significance of your tiny corner of your single world. No, I care nothing for the matters that concern you. My bargain is simple; I grant you power. You consume your foes with it. Take your vengeance, take your freedom, rule or retreat, all that you do in however much time you may exist amounts to nothing.’
Heinrich was suspicious, was this some deeper Von Carstein plot? A test? A trap? What is it you gain then? If nothing I do matters why bargain with me at all, you want something, he accused.
‘Do not think to understand one so far above your station. Perhaps I will command you, I doubt it. Your doubts and questions betray your weakness. The fire in you is but kindling. For now do as I have said, destroy your enemies, brand them with my mark before they fall, and I will spread among your foes like wildfire reducing them all to cinders.’ The voice spoke passionately but the coaxing was done, there was the memory of purpose there in its voice but now it rang with the same hollow sound as Heinrich’s thoughts within the Gorgon.
Perhaps there was something to this. Such pacts had been struck before. Heinrich pondered this as more battles raged about the Gorgon, more voices demanded his service. They wanted things destroyed, or protected, they wanted him to go places, find things. But that distant voice in the stars, it didn’t seem to want anything. At least not yet.
Heinrich looked up once more and raised one scarred and gloved hand, I accept.