среда, 26 мая 2010 г.

Сколько же было волков на Просперо?

THE THOUSAND SONS formed up on the edges of the once-verdant park of the Great Library. Hathor Maat and Sobek formed the Scarab Occult and ragged warbands in a line of armoured bodies across the park, their guns pointed to the north. A mist of burnt sap and greenery clogged the air, and the smoke from the ashen forest hung low to the ground, like a noxious fog swirling around their ankles. The Great Library was in ruins behind them, its structure now barely recognisable as a pyramid. Its glassy sides were bathed in golden light from the fires raging throughout its many galleries. Its tip had caved in, and smoke poured from its collapsed summit like billowing spurts of lava from a steep-sided volcano.
Ahriman started as a memory overlaid his vision of the Great Library.
'What?' asked Hathor Maat, seeing his look of consternation.
'It wasn't Nikaea at all,' said Ahriman. 'I did not see the volcano at all. It was this… I saw this.'
'What are you talking about?'
'On Aghoru,' said Ahriman with mounting horror, 'I foresaw this, but I did not recognise it. I could have warned Magnus. I could have stopped this.'
Hathor Maat dragged him around.
'If you saw this, it was going to happen no matter what. There's nothing you could have done,' he said.
'No,' said Ahriman, shaking his head. 'It doesn't work that way. The currents of the future are all echoes of possible futures. I could have—'
'Could have is irrelevant,' snapped Hathor Maat. 'You didn't see this. Neither did Amon, Ankhu Anen or Magnus or anyone else in the Corvidae. So stop worrying about what you didn't see, and pay more attention to what's right in front of you!'
The sheer incongruity of Hathor Maat giving him advice broke the spell of immobility that held him. Ahriman nodded and turned from the Great Library, concentrating his attention on their defensive line. It was easier to defend than the last one, but still too long for the number of warriors they had left.
The parkland was filled with ruined pavilions, low walls and decorative follies. On any normal day, its paths and arbours would be filled with citizens and scholars reading words of wisdom beneath the balmy sun. Ahriman had spent many a day beneath its green and pleasant boughs, ensconced in many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore. Now he looked on its walls, fallen trees, broken plinths and shaded hollows as defensive positions.
'We'll hold one attack, maybe two,' he said, reading the contours and angles of the devastated park. 'Then we must fall back to the Pyramid of Photep.'
'I think that might be optimistic,' said Hathor Maat, as Leman Russ led six thousand Astartes and Custodes towards their position like the closing jaws of a hungry wolf. It was a sight calculated to break the defenders' will, but Ahriman recalled a quote from a leader of Old Earth and lifted his voice so every Thousand Sons' warrior could hear him.
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