Dariel’s eyes strained to adjust to the near-perfect darkness of his cramped cell. As an acolyte of the inquisition he had expected better than the meagre quarters the group had been offered, but their rescue from Veneris had been unplanned and hasty, with little thought given to comfort.
Nevertheless, he felt more rested than he had for months. It could be hard to sleep with an explosive collar around your neck and the constant threat of theft, or worse, from your fellow draftees. The quiet lullabye of the ships engines reverberated through the hull, gentle as a mothers whisper. It reminded him of his childhood, before he had been singled out by the wandering preacher. For the first time a long time he felt safe enough to really sleep.
And yet, sleep didn’t come.
As the weight of the constant threat had lifted forgotten anxieties had set in. They had failed in their mission to apprehend Moran and his associates, and he knew that the rest of the cell held him at least partly responsible. Whether Inquisitor Kane felt the same was yet to be seen, but the fact remained that one of their number had been left behind, and someone would have to answer for it. The others had been keeping notably distant from him since their rescue, but that wasn’t what weighed on his mind. Dariel had survived
As a tool of the inquisition he was servant of the Emperor first and nothing second. Dariel’s faith had always been a quiet part of him, less of a belief than a certainty. He ‘believed’ in the Emperor’s grace than same way he ‘believed’ in his lasgun, there was nothing metaphysical about it, just a simple fact that there was no reason to question, and if he did his best by it it wouldn’t fail him. He was blessed, he’d been told so since he was a child, and he’d always felt the Emperor’s gaze smiling on him. He didn’t need scripture or speeches, candles or prayers to remind him of who he was and why he served, he just knew.
But the things he’d seen since coming to Veneris had awoken something in him. Seeing the people in Sharaga going about their daily business with unholy symbols scrawled on the walls all about them, the casual, unthinking, heresy of it, had made him realise that perhaps his quiet faith wasn’t enough. If he was to be an instrument of the Emperor he must give himself completely. Not just his eyes, or his skill with the rifle, but his voice and mind.
Brother Lazarus, with his naivite and simple ways was a far greater threat than he to the heretical forces they faced. Not through his undeniable skills at arms, but through his unshakable, vehement and vociferous faith.