Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Imago: Octavius Baptist

-That then, is loveliness, we said,
Children in wonder watching the stars,
Is the aim and the end.

Being but men, we walked into the trees.

Dylan Thomas, Poet

Octavius Baptist, Ordo Xeno's psyker


Act I

Day one, Jactura

"The only way not to breathe the fog, is not to breathe" You would say, my beloved Lord and friend, Nicolas; and Your sentence suits perfectly to Verno's weather. Don't You think it is quite odd that this 
planet's name means, in ancient Terran, 'spring', while its elements behave as death?

Since the fully-automated drone left your Light-Cruiser, in the vacuum near Stygies' atmosphere, I've felt a sense of urgency in my mind... would we ever reach our destination? I mean not the Ghost Planet, for those mindless blabbering Mars' engines guiding your landing shells are more trustworthy than humans to my eyes... I mean Xenarites. I mean Nexus; that sublime union I saw as heresy, before You opened up my eyes, sixteen terran years ago.

Jactura, this 'town', is empty. You said we would find some of its inhabitants eager to help us reach the Catacombs, but no one's here. There are only distant voices in the wind full of sand, few automatas wreckages, and us.

Three Imagists, me, Octavius and Procate, our five man escort, the Hereticus, and the Girl. Ten souls in total wandering this rock forgotten by the Emperor, searching for a new Dawn, the Nexus. Actually, my Lord, the latest distress calls You received on your vessel brought those terrible news about the fall of Cadia: indeed, we really need a new dawn.
Heberald, having taken command of the armsmen you gave us after Captain Appian's death, says that chances to survive on this planet are very low.

It was a funny death, Appian's one. I'll tell you later of him, my beloved Lord.

I feel we can do this, in spite of now-Captain Heberald. I can sense it within me. I can sense it looking at the girl... her purity is beyond belief, her resolution to find the Nexus inspiring.
Her resolution to find the Nexus and becoming Your Mater, my Lord, is inspiring.

I can clearly recall your last words to her, those ancient verses:

In futurity
I prophetic see
That the earth from sleep
(Grave the sentence deep)

Shall arise and seek
For her maker meek;
And the desert wild
Become a garden mild.

In the southern clime,
Where the summer's prime
Never fades away,
Lovely Lyca lay.

It is her standing fast that guides me, here, where You are not at my side painting my world with Your bright colors, Nicolas. It is her beauty and grace that pushes me over.

That makes me smile again.

Day 2. Searching Jactura

The night was very difficult. Jactura screams, night time. I am not mad, my Master; I don't mean the town itself... but there is something wrong, something evil in this place. Its very walls have eyes. Its very air has a noise, like a terrible music, a sound fabric that covers everything, never letting you think, or sleep. 
We decided to remain a few more days here, just to evaluate the mission.

 Oh, Nicolas I would really like that You were here.

Everyone of us is upset this morning. Every single man, the girl included. Everyone but Octavius. He always seems to thrive in darkness, to revel in the other's upsetting. He remained there, 'staring'  with his white hollow eyes at the girl for most of the time. How could it be, since he has no eyes anymore? He can sense the girl's movements, follow her persistently. 

He has a book, too, on which he writes blindly, furiously, from time to time. You said we need him for his connection to the warp, for he is our one and only chance to get in touch with You, my dear Nicolas, or with someone that could help, extracting us at the end of our mission... though this cannot be occurs, since he said the planet is "some-way outside the warp, part of it but like in a bubble placed on its very edge. We cannot contact anyone by the warp. Not for now." with his crackly voice.

Thus, why is he with us? I know, he carries the Eagle and as an Imagist he has full rights to stand here, but he makes me feel uneasy.
Sometimes during this night I found myself wondering if You took his eyes as You did for the Hereticus' ones. Those lovely gloves filled with tools... "... the surgery has to be made with the prisoner fully conscient, and alive. For he lost his sight, losing the Emperor, but he couldn't notice it, until now. By removing your eyes I make it clear to you, damned one; that you cannot see His light, nevermore."

It's a comforting thought.

Day 3. Leaving Jactura

We cannot remain here. 
The Devil is here. 
We have to move now, my Lord, because the touch of Chaos is around us.

Baptist is covered in blood. He screams.
Someone or something has slaughtered one of our men.
Not him anyway.

I have to run, since the psyker couldn't help me to talk with You, oh glorious Lord, I chose to write my thoughts as doctrine commands me.

I can't go on now, if I survive...

...Aeternus suppliciis affectus?

Brother Tadeus
Ordo Xeno's Remembrancer

Copyright Notes:
Second and Third picture are from Tsutomu Nihei's Blame! vol. 1 Collector Edition.
They have been briefly modified just to increase amount of blacks.
Poem during 'Day 1' is from William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul, "The Little Girl Lost", 1794.

Thoughts on the Baptist's making

I bought the old Necromancer from Warhammer Fantasy range, years ago, to use him as a Psyker in my once Inquisition's army: goal was to create a very grim unit, but i wasn't really ready to do it, being stuck to bright colors yet. 

So i modified him just to fit 40k (removing upper part of his staff and levigating the wood, adding few easy features such as the eagle and a xeno's pistol to left side and removing his collar), played few games, making my friends gasp in awe for i really seldom play with no painted miniatures, and forgot it. Until few days ago.

When i took the model in my hands i said to myself: why not making him in a different way? So i decided to use only black and white and all the greys in between, at least for 90% of the miniature... metals are metals, with rust effects and parchments are made in a warmer tone but the challenge was the rest of the model.

There are only greys, mitigated with washes and glazes, black, yellow, light brown, black again, medium, black again and so on. Even for the base i used powders in grey's tones.

Although wasn't so hard to make the outcome really pleased me and i decided to put him in a context, creating 'Imago' section in the site, and going on making similar "grim" models for that.

Thanks for reading!

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