Abi sat on the window ledge, cold stone offering little comfort against the chill that pervaded her father's apartment. The lingering scent of processed stew reeked; she shuffled awkwardly and listened carefully to the hissing sound of the acid rain. It pattered against the protective paint that covered the huge city block, giving off a slight scent of rotten eggs. The dull, dank and foreboding cityscape was lit up by the explosive flare of a distant explosion; the sound startling her, yet the momentary beauty of the blossoming flames escaped her. Abi stroked her unseeing eyes and a solitary tear rolled down her cheek as she returned to the small apartment's shrine. No more than a gilded bed side table covered with litanies, hymns and her fathers most treasured possession, a tin mass produced statue of the Emperor standing triumphant in his armour. Every hour she would chant the litany of devotion and pray to him to forgive her for her sins, to give her the power of sight and remove the taint of chaos from her veins, and then she would sit at the window and wait. At the tender age of 17 she still lacked the devotion necessary to be blessed and it broke her heart, she had been born blind, and the only reason why she wasn't culled at birth was because her father had bribed the midwife. Her mother had died giving birth to her mutant child, and the father had been distraught. First he had turned to prayer, and when that had failed, he found a new master, the bottle. She rarely saw him any more, he would return from his job at the administratums warehouse sometimes in time for dinner, but mostly he would come back late, cursing her if she questioned where he had been. Often his breath would reek of the synthetic alcohol they distilled from the generator fuel, deep within the warehouse. He would slump down onto the flat's only bed and weep. Other times he would return, his eyes defocused and his clothes dishevelled. These times were the worst, he would stay awake for hours, his temper flaring and staring at a framed picture of his deceased wife. Nobody understood why she hadn't run away years ago, but Abi knew different. Abi wasn't just cursed with blindness; she had been cursed with witch sight. Not even her father knew of the depth of the heresy in which his daughter was steeped. If she dared venture out the house, she would be hunted down and slaughtered by the inquisition. Her witch sight was limited, she couldn't see objects, she couldn't see light or darkness, what she could see was the auras emanating from the souls that drifted through the world. Her prayers had just reached their conclusion when a fumbling at the door alerted her that Father had returned. He was having difficulty unlocking the door, scrabbling round with his keys until it finally slammed open. He leaned heavily on the frame, she could not see him, but she knew that he had returned from the underhive, she could smell the scent of the unwashed masses, cheap tobacco and cheaper spirits. From his deep breathing she could tell he was drunk, his breath was ragged and he sank down the door. She stood.
"Father?" she queried, her voice wavering, her witch sight picking up his aura, it was dark, a dim burgundy that glimmered grimly in her vision. Silence filled the room and she approached him warily, he had never struck her in her life, and she knew that deep down he loved her deeply but she could feel the mixture of fear and sorrow that rippled from his already cracked and wounded soul. "Father, are you ok?" she repeated, from memory she knew she was near the door, falling to her knees she crept towards him. Subconsciously she was holding her breath. The floor was damp. The iron rich scent of blood rose unwanted from the cheap plastic tiling. Quickly she ran her hands over his body to determine the source of the blood. Fear ran through her veins. A sharp intake of breath closely followed by panicked short breaths as she gulped in the air. She tracked the blood's source to his nose. She stood up and slowly moved to the wash basin to find a cloth, grabbing the nearest dry one she returned. Gently she cradled his head back and pressed the cloth against his nose to restrict the blood flow. She jumped and exhaled with shock as a hand leapt onto her wrist and gripped it tightly. "Father, what happened?", but there was no reply and the hand fell limp again. The blood flow had stopped and she rose again, laboriously tugging at the heavy lump. His arms were clammy with sweat. A cold sheen covered his body. She managed to pull him out of the doorway, but his overweight form would have been a struggle for a full grown man let alone a teenage girl, she tried to lift him to the bed, but could barely even drag him. She reached up and pulled the blankets off the bed to cover him. He must have moved when she was occupied because she tripped over an arm that hadn't been there five seconds ago. Falling heavily onto her knees, she grazed them on the hard plastic floor. The abrasive tiles bitterly ripping into her skin. His breathing was shallow as she covered him with the blankets. She bit back the tears that sprung to her eyes as she looked after her guardian, tended her father and prayed to the Emperor that he would live through the night. She stumbled over him to the door and locked it. Silently, she crept up to the empty bed and lay on the hard, bare mattress. She curled her bleeding knees up to her chest and quietly cried onto the unyielding compacted foam. The bitter cold caused her skin to prickle. She tugged her clothes closer around her.
The night passed slowly. For hours she couldn't sleep. Her fathers breathing echoed in her mind. The cold denied her the warm embrace of her dreams. Eventually exhaustion overcame her and she fell into a light sleep.
She heard the alarm chime after what seemed like no time at all. Memories of the night before flooded to the surface of her mind. Her father had been drinking and she feared his hung over anger. Although it didn't register at the time, the complete silence filled her with a dread. She crawled over his prone form on the floor and went through the motions to make him his coffee. Careful not to burn herself, she mentally counted down the seconds of hot water. She, added the splash of milk and then with her fingers checked that she was adding the right amount of powder. Leaving it on the work surface she knelt by his side whispering.
"Father, it is morning." Pausing and hearing no response she cheerfully said, "I have made you coffee", she reached up and stroked his course, stubbly cheek. His skin was ice cold. His head rolled to one side as she realised with a shriek that she couldn't hear his breathing. Crawling into the room's corner, she wailed. Utter despair filled her as the sudden awareness hit her that she knew nobody other than her father. She had never left her house before, and the city was filled with people that would do her harm. Her bastion against that had been her father. Although his faults were legion, he had protected her. He earned the food packets and provided her with a place to live. Now she had nothing, nothing at all. She looked behind her and gripped the tin statue of the Emperor. She prayed fervently for deliverance.
At midday, she was shaken out of her reverie. She heard a faint clinking at the door. A smile tugged at her lips, as her heart rose at the thought of her father returning and then she remembered that her father was dead. Creeping over the cold floor she reached out and touched his corpse to make sure. Her hand recoiled like a snake. The clinking sound started again and her heart leapt into her throat. A silent scream struggled to emerge at the thought of someone entering her home. She had never known anyone other than her father. There was a clunk that reverberated in her mind. She tried to make herself small as shrunk into the corner. She was too scared to make a noise. Her mouth opened uselessly as she tried to cry out for help. Footsteps padded across the room. Whoever it was had ignored her. He had stopped by her father. Her body was rigid. Her heart was pounding. She dimly recognised from the footsteps that a second person had entered the room. Her witch sight flickered into view unbidden. She saw the jet black souls just two metres in front of her.
"Ttt-told you he was dead. You don't drink pure mm-moonshine and survive," a weaselly voice stuttered before sniggering.
"Ain't so mighty now are you boss?" A dull thud sounded across the room as a second voice planted a hobnailed boot into her fathers gut. She clamped her unseeing eyes tightly and shuddered.
"Hh-hey… ll-look our precious b-boss has left us a pp-pretty gift, Isn't that s-so, my pp-pretty." Excitement agitated her invaders' stutter and his companion silently moved to the door locking it so that they couldn’t be heard. Not that anyone in the block would have reacted. The sniggering was closer. Her terror mounted. All she could manage was a small moan as her heart pounded ferociously. Her eyes opened and then closed as they suddenly laughed. For some obscure reason, despite the fear, she suddenly became amazingly self-conscious and buried her face into her knees.
"Ere, look at her eyes, they are all white, she is a mutant!" The words cut into her.
"Nnn-not a mutant, she is bb-blind, ff-father was an mm-medic"
"He ain't no medic. He was executed for operating without a license, he was a fake!"
"He was nn-not! It was l-lies, anyway, s-she is b-blind!" Their argument didn't register in her mind. Her brain was slowly shutting down. Her heart beat stabilised as she rocked gently back and forth, moving into the sanctuary of her soul.
"If she is blind, then she ain't gonna mind us playing then is she? After all, she is such a pretty little thing. Watch the door. You can go second."
"Nnn-not fair! I found h-her f-first." Abi didn't even notice the sound of footsteps coming closer.
"Life ain't fair, argue with me again and I box your pox ridden ears." Hands were on her, groping silently. One hand moved to tear the statue out of her hand. Numbly she resisted the unwanted theft.
"Don't fear princess, I am the Emperor and I am going to take you to heaven". A sniggering erupted from the other side of the room.
"SHUT UP!" The scent of decaying flesh erupted from his hot, fetid breath as he fumbled desperately at her dress. His other hand succeeded in tearing the idol out of her grip.
Time stopped it seemed. Abi awoke out of her trance at the loss of the statue. All the despair and fear fled from her mind. One thought remained, there were intruders in her house. They were violating her space and her body and she had enough. The tin statue clanked as it hit the unyielding floor and she knew hatred, hatred against the world that had spawned such evil creatures as these, the world that had stolen her sight and tormented her by taking away the only person in her entire life. All her hate and anger flowed through her mind tearing open the tenuous connection to the warp that gave her witch sight and projecting it as an eruption of hell spawned power from her screaming mouth. The would be rapists never knew what had happened before their bodies disintegrated under the full power of the blast. The wave of power continued shredding plascrete walls like paper and tearing a corridor of destruction through the corner of the hive. The wave slowly dissipated but not before it smacked into the hive next door, shattering a full third of the windows and knocking the surprised citizens to the ground. Emotionally exhausted, she sank to the floor, tears rolling down her cheek. Plaster and dust fell down onto her as the corner of the building began to collapse in on itself. She didn't hear the crackling and never noticed the materialisation of a huge giant, hulking armour covering his seven foot frame. She would never know about the gun aiming at her skull.
Magnus had been on his flagship. He was preparing to teleport down to discuss the results of the council of Nikkai with his first in command Ahriman, who had co-ordinated the pacification of the planet Kelbos. It was at this moment that he had caught the tail end of the psychic shockwave. He had felt the sheer power even from orbit and knew on the planet there existed a psyker whose power might even rival his own. The council had reinforced the Emperor's message that no psyker was to be tolerated. All new psykers were to be eliminated as a threat to humanity and existing ones were to cease training. Already Magnus had begun preparing the speech for his legion, which would end their explorations into the arcane. He turned to the tech-marine operating the teleporter. Moving him to one side he keyed in the new co-ordinates.
"Teleport me down there, speed is of the essence". Loading his bolt pistol he sighed. He had no wish for violence. He was a scholar not a warrior. Yet he doubted any others in his legion had the capacity to survive an encounter with a psyker of this power.
His vision flickered and then snapped into focus as he emerged into the crumbling room, his bolt pistol raised he prepared to end this threat.
Then he saw the girl. She was small, just 5 foot 6. Her clothing was ripped and she was cradling a dead man in her arms. He could feel the sorrow rippling from her and it momentarily overwhelmed him. He blocked her unintentional emotional broadcast, but the sight still shook him. His trigger finger wavered and he knew he could not obey the council's decision. He wouldn't kill her. He would train her. He would make her safe for humanity. There had to be another way. The senseless slaughter of innocents could not continue.
Abi looked up at the man who now knelt before her, her heart warmed at the rosey aura, being blind she failed to notice his blue skin, she couldn't tell he had only one eye. All she knew was that at the time in her life when she most needed it, she was able to cry on the armoured shoulder of giant with a warm heart. Magnus shifted uncomfortably as she clasped him, not used to the response. He gingerly patted her back, then held her, one mutant to another.