Ignoring the pain, Azrael gathered himself up and limped over to where the Autarch had sunken down. The last of the eldar warriors that had been with them in the Wave Serpent and fought at Fitheak’s side to the end was with her.
“Call in reenforcements and a rescue team. I will look after her” Azrael told the Avenger, suspecting that she could not understand his words, but would be able to read their meaning directly from his thoughts. Judging from the Eldar’s reactions, he was correct.
Azrael turned back to the Autarch.She sat in the snow, propped against an ice-coated boulder, her head leaning backwards. With practised movements he unclasped her plumed helmet and took it off. Fitheak’s skin was almost as pale as the ice, her white hair blending with the snow, only the features of her face seemed to float disconnectedly above her armour.
“Fayak? Lady?” the Marine asked, kneeling down beside her, and the Eldar opened her eyes, strange pools of vibrant spring-green amidst the white of eternal winter. Her gaze went unfocused over his shoulder into nothingness.
“Oh! The stars have come out… That must surely be a good sign.” she murmured, barely audible to normal ears. Azrael need not turn around and look to know that the sky was still as overcast as it always was in this icy wasteland, and that there surely were no stars to be seen.
He pryed the dull crystal sword from her hand, and then removed one of his heavy gauntlets to check for wounds and feel for her heartbeat. Suddenly, her eyes focused on something near her, but not on him: “Who are you? …I know you!” she demanded. The Marine knew that no-one was behind him.
“I have Seen you… But this is not …the way I have taken! How can you be here..?” she continued in a whisper.
Satisfied, but by no means reassured, Azrael removed his index finger from her jugular, and working quickly, he used her sash to apply a tourniquet to her thigh to stop the worst bleeding. Gently he ran his finger along the line of her jaw bone.
“Come, Fayak, it is time we go and get you back to base camp.” With an effort, he gathered her up, carefully cradled her in his arms, and started to walk back towards the downed grav tank, leaving her sword for someone of her shrine to pick up. They would not, could not miss it, he knew that for a fact.
“…’back to him’..?” Fitheak murmured faintly, her eyes slowly closing, “How could it be me..?”
The warrior shook his head sadly, not knowing what she meant.
“One of these days this forsaken sword is going to finish what it started, and by the Emperor, I do hope I will not be around to see it kill you!” he told her unconscious body, his voice hoarse from the cold wind, as he gently put her down in the lee of the wrecked Wave Serpent. Exhausted, he collapsed beside her, his many wounds finally taking their toll.