Devlan Swain and Ghahrakk Graggamerson (Gotrek and Felix come to Necromunda).

Here is my take on Gotrek and Felix in Necromunda.
I started writing their story. A little piece on their background and how they first met. I had to shelve it though, in order to keep up with other responsibilities. I only really finished Devlan's side. So here it is.

Devlan Swain lounged back in his chair and stared accusingly at the feet resting on a nearby stool. Sinking further into his seat in a subconscious effort to escape the morose cloud that hung over him, his hand came up to rub the stress from his forehead. Try as he might, he could not escape the conclusion that yes, yes those were definitely his feet.
Closing his eyes in consternation, he pinched the bridge of his nose. The thick aroma of stale sweat, mouldering grog and over fried food mingling with the dancing cacophony of the most fashionable stims and compounds always made his sinuses ache. He was often amazed that there was any air to breathe at all.
How he loathed his familiarity with this place. This stained seat at this broken table. The very spot which he considered to be his birthplace into a world of chaos, treachery and filth. It was all he deserved.
The throng was maddening this evening. Although his presence here served a purpose, he wished to be alone with his thoughts. Lost in the depths of his personal despair instead of here on display at, what has become known as his regular table in this dingy little back alley dive. The ceaseless noise of the place was as the thunder of a racing pulse in his ears. Every glance in his direction, every pointed finger was an assault upon his person. How he longed to be free of it all.
He reached for his cup and had barely lifted it from the table when he remembered emptying it moments earlier. He threw it back down amidst a wave of disappointment and self-pity. Three drinks into his evening, wanting it to be five at least when regular as clockwork, the young man’s face swam across his mind’s eye. The muscles in Devlan’s jaw tightened and his eyes screwed shut as he remembered that nauseating expression. His fists clenched and he wished himself every imaginable harm as he drowned in self-loathing. In slow motion, he remembered watching the fearful realisation dawn on the boy as he sank to the ground. If he could travel back to that day, he would gladly put his gun in the boy’s hand and kneel at his feet.
His attention was momentarily drawn to the crowd as it started to part. Devlan could see the collected dregs thinning until the tattooed scum who stood closest to him drew aside and gave way to a small subhuman with spiked orange hair. He made his way to the table. Devlan showed no sign of trepidation at the creature’s approach.
There was a time when the name Swain stood for something in the glittering spires of Hive Primus. A name synonymous with quality and cutting-edge technology. Swain Arms and Armour were the best the market could offer. The pinnacle of personal armaments.
Marcus Swain commanded respect and admiration wherever he went. He had risen to the top of his chosen field and to play host to him was to court royalty. Marcus was a shrewd businessman, loving husband and supportive father (in public, at least). He lavished every extravagance that money could buy upon his wife, Marcella, and only son, Devlan.
In truth, Marcus regarded his wife and son as a duty that must be performed, and the lavish lifestyle nothing more than a placation. They were a family unit to be displayed to the public when his humanity as a weapons manufacturer was inevitably brought into question. Marcella preferred a secretive life, playing the part of the doting wife and mother only when company and public appearance demanded it. Devlan, however, revelled in every aspect of the playboy lifestyle that his father’s money could afford. All Devlan ever truly knew of his father was his wealth.
Devlan had been given every opportunity in life that his father’s fortune could attain. His education had been second to none, with access to the best that money could buy with regards to all and any necessities that his many chosen adolescent paths demanded. In time, Devlan found a love for philosophy, poetry and the arts. Especially, much to his father’s delight, the martial arts. By his twentieth year, Devlan was an accomplished duellist with both blade and pistol. Well versed in the psychology and philosophy of war and combat, Devlan walked with the arrogant, narcissistic air of a man who wanted for nothing and had utter self-assurance that he was the living embodiment of an unstoppable force.
As a result, Marcus was only too happy to gift Devlan all the latest products his company had to offer. Devlan strode through the streets bedecked in state-of-the-art personal armour with the finest innovations in sword and pistol technology on his hip. He was a walking billboard for Swain Arms and Armour and Marcus knew that advertising of this quality could not be bought.
The future of Swain Arms and Armour was assured. The army of technicians and scientists Marcus commanded had created an incredible new line of devices and equipment. All of which were due to be showcased at the coming year’s exposition. An event always dominated by the Swain corporation. All eyes would be on Marcus as he took to the stage in order to reveal their latest lines.
The creations that would be on show were, in truth, just the tip of the iceberg. Swain Arms and Armour had a comprehensive line of new products. Each scheduled for independent release at specific points over the next five years, and each product more amazing than the last. Sales were forecast to climb exponentially for the foreseeable future as the rest of the industry ran to keep up with the wonders on offer.
In Marcus’ mind, it was no risk whatsoever to invest the majority of his fortune in his product. He would see returns that were sure to make him and his family one of the wealthiest in the spire.
The day of the exposition came and, as always, Swain Arms and Armour were set to take the stage at the end of the day. The organisers knew that saving the best for last was a sure-fire crowd pleaser and Marcus was only too happy to be the main event.
Marcus watched from the wings as William Macready took to the stage. Macready was the main contender to the Swain throne. Always nipping at Marcus’ heels but never quite surpassing him. In truth, Marcus took a dark pleasure from watching William make his pitch at these events. He would revel, with sickening glee, at Macready’s inevitable failure to snatch the crown.
It is widely accepted that, at certain times, there comes a dynamic and unpredictable leap forward in the evolution of a species. A Leap which heralds a new era of development and changes the path of a species through the history books. The same thing can be said for technology. Every now and then an innovator will appear with a fresh idea which changes the course of the world and opens the way for astonishing possibilities.
On the day of the exposition, Marcus Swain experienced just such a dynamic and unpredictable leap forward.
Macready took to the stage in silence and, without saying a word, unveiled the latest creation from his design house. The audience fell in awed silence. As the lights started to dim and everyone present strained for a better look at the phenomenon on display, the great vid screen on the back wall came to life. The short film showed creations that were the stuff of which dreams are made. In Marcus’ case, each one of those dreams was a nightmare.
As the film revealed more aspects of the new systems on offer from Macready, Marcus quickly came to realise how they were leaps and bounds ahead of the end product waiting under wraps in the Swain Arms and Armour vault. Watching in horror, Marcus Swain saw all of his future plans and investments falling apart. The product he had been so certain of, the pinnacle of his five-year projections was already obsolete. He had nothing.
By the time Macready took his final bows to thunderous applause, Marcus’ mind was completely blank. He looked to his entourage of Scientists and technicians hoping to garner some scraps that could be shown for more than they were worth. They had nothing to give. It was quickly decided, in order to salvage what they could, that they would send the head of the marketing department on in Marcus’ place. Although a stellar performance was given, everyone in the audience who knew how the industry worked could see this for what it truly was. This performance was the death knell of Swain Arms and Armour.
Within six months the Swain dynasty had crumbled to an almost unrecognisable state. All of the products that had been scheduled for future releases had been brought forward in an attempt to recoup some of the investment losses. It had not worked. Next to the innovative systems from Macready, everything Swain had to offer was found wanting.
The popularity of the Swain brand dwindled in tandem with their sales figures, and a once proud name was reduced to pleading for recognition at events that had, in the past, begged them for patronage.
Marcus Swain tightened his belt and made every effort to save what was left of his dying empire. His wife, Marcella, became even more of a recluse. Now that she no longer had to be seen on Marcus’ arm at all the torturous social events, she took to shutting herself away in her rooms. As the money dried up, so did the pantomime of their loving relationship. She was all too happy to be separated from the monsters she found herself imprisoned with.
Devlan, however, barely broke his stride. He cared little for the troubles of his mother and father. Money had been the only thing in his life which had shown him any affection. Devlan had been raised to realise that people didn’t matter. That those closest to you, those who a person is told they could rely upon in life, would leave you to fend for yourself as soon as they were able to do so. The money, however. The money never let him down. These influences, of course, cannot help but breed a certain type of person.
Devlan was a cruel man. An arrogant man. In many ways, a pitiful man. Although he believed himself surrounded by friends and admirers, the only acquaintances he had were those that could suffer his presence long enough to reap the rewards of his family name and wealth. A circumstance of which Devlan was blissfully unaware.
Although Marcus had demanded that Devlan change his lifestyle on many occasions, his words had fallen on deaf ears. Devlan considered his father to be a fossil. A relic so out of touch with modern society that he could not possibly understand how things were done.
It was a night much like any other that brought all of Devlan’s misapprehensions kicking and screaming into the light.
Devlan strode, with terminal reassurance, into The Diamond Phyrr Cat. From the vantage point of the main entrance, one could see the entire club. The glittering bar to the left, dance floor to the right and, on a raised platform in the centre of the back wall, the VIP seating area and Devlan’s usual spot. Only this evening, someone else was sitting there.
The indignation broke over Devlan like a tidal wave. There, in HIS chair, surrounded by HIS fawning friends, sat Anderson Macready.
Anderson was the eldest of William Macready’s three sons. Devlan knew of the boy but had never paid him too much attention. Three years younger than Devlan, Anderson had been present in a few of the same social and educational circles. William sought to emulate Marcus in every conceivable way and endeavoured to give his children access to the same opportunities in life as were lavished upon Devlan. Of course, having three sons and only a fraction of the Swain wealth, this had proven difficult. Devlan considered the Macready brothers to be little more than poor imitations. A facsimile of greatness. Always chasing, never leading.
Anderson had only appeared on Devlan’s radar when he earned the adulation of the fencing instructors they shared. Devlan had seen the boy fight on several occasions and, although he hid his thoughts on the matter behind a veneer of dismissive scorn and ridicule, he could not help but see that the boy had talent.
This was not enough, however, to excuse the fact he now thought himself worthy of taking Devlan’s throne. Striding over to the bar, Devlan struggled to hide his fury. He would order the barman to deliver his usual libation to his table, then extract the troublesome youth from his chair. By use of a twisted ear if necessary.
As Devlan neared the bar he waved his usual gesture to the barman and was shocked to his core when both he and it were ignored. He fixed the servant with a stare, but the man refused to return his gaze. Approaching the bar and making no effort whatsoever to conceal his fury, he let fly with as many derogatory terms as he felt his polite standing would allow. Yet he continued to be ignored.
With his rage threatening to erupt, Devlan was set to launch into tirades of abuse when he felt a hand at his elbow. Turning swiftly to demand an explanation, he found himself face to face with the manager’s most nauseatingly placating smile.
Devlan stubbornly refused the manager’s offer to conduct their conversation in private and, instead, chose to direct all of his anger towards the condescendingly winsome grin.
After he insinuated that it might be poor judgement on Devlan’s part to create a public scene, the manager delivered the knockout punch. The credit of Marcus Swain was no longer acceptable here, and that perhaps, Sir might like to sample the delights of a different establishment?
Unconsciously, Devlan’s jaw tightened and his fingers started to curl around the hilt of his sword. A slight motion in his peripheral vision broke the death stare with which he had affixed this slug of a man and Devlan realised that the heated conversation, and his subsequent gestures, had drawn the attentions of the security staff. Although he was certain that he could handle at least two of them, there was no way he could handle them all. It also dawned on him that a hush had fallen over the room and he was now centre stage.
With bitter words on the tip of his tongue, he took a moment to consider the best way of making an exit with his dignity intact. As he opened his mouth to speak, the words that echoed in the silent void of this cavernous room were not his. They came instead, from the lips of Anderson Macready.
A deep and dreadful silence waited to swallow the last echoing syllables. A silence filled with a thousand staring eyes, and Devlan felt the weight of each and every one of them. With his wrath burning in his chest and threatening to burst from his throat in a roar that could petrify the God Emperor himself, he turned slowly to meet the boy’s gaze making no effort at all to conceal the rage that sought to destroy his last shred of rational thought. If he could reach into the boy and pull out his heart he would have done so with glee.
The room held its breath as Devlan slowly advanced on the boy and his mockingly self-assured smile. One thing was clear to everyone present. This whelp wished to make a laughing stock of a once proud man. To offer him a seat at his own table! To offer him a drink in his own club! That Devlan may wish to pay him audience! This spec of dirt, this sputum thought himself the new ruler and was announcing it to the world from Devlan’s throne.
The boy’s smile didn’t change as the distance between them shrank. His hand was still outstretched as he gestured to an empty chair for his new serf to rest upon in worship. The seat remained empty as Devlan stood before him, his knuckles white as they gripped the hilt of his sheathed sword.
“You are sitting in my seat!” Devlan growled.
“Your seat? Oh, but haven’t you heard? The Swain family no longer have a throne. Here or anywhere else.”
As the boy proclaimed this to the room at large, his self-assured smile turned to the wicked grin of a man who knew the death strike was his to issue. This was the last straw. Satisfaction must be had. It was time to teach this runt a lesson.
The room gasped as one and a murmur struck up as Devlan reached into the recesses of his cloak and took out a small black heart cut from the finest silk and embroidered with his initials. He cast it down, with gusto, to land on the table before Anderson.
The challenge had been made.
Anderson rose slowly to his feet, his eyes fixed unwaveringly on Devlan as he did so. Reaching down to the table, he picked up the heart that had been presented, raised it to his lips in a symbolic gesture and deposited it in the recesses of his own cloak.
The challenge had been accepted.
The entire establishment emptied as the two men made their way out into the street. Devlan lead with Anderson and his entourage following closely behind. After them, came the rest of the club. Rushing into the street in order to get the best view possible, but taking every care not to jostle either of the two murderous men.
Devlan took his place. His feet planted firmly and fury seeping from his every pore as he waited for the boy to emerge from his gaggle of admirers.
The arrogant smile on the boy’s face as he took his mark washed over Devlan. He could find no more anger to throw at it. As his target took his stance and drew his blade, he uttered words that brought Devlan’s rancour to its peak;
“Now, let us see if there is anything worthy of note left in the Swain name, shall we?”
This despicable object was not worthy of his blade, not even the time taken to wipe away the blood. Like a creeping cancer, this offending thing must simply be removed.
Of some men it can be said, they move so quickly their actions are little more than a blur. This was not so in the case of Devlan Swain. One moment his hand hung relaxed by his side. The next moment, without seeming to pass through the intervening space, or even appearing to twitch, his hand was by his hip and holding the beautifully crafted plasma pistol gifted to him by his father on his twenty first birthday.
It was a small weapon. Devlan had requested it to be so. All the easier for drawing at speed. He had also asked that the weapon have a hammer, much like a six-shot pistol of the ancient West on Holy Terra. This would enable the weapon to be charged and discharged with greater accuracy and control. For its small stature, however, it lacked none of the potency of a full-size plasma pistol. The neat hole that had just been seared through the boy’s chest was testament to this.
The blast rang out across the hushed audience and reverberated from the buildings and down dark alleyways. A cacophony of villainous thunder that had the effect of an icy trickle down the spine.
Every high-pitched echo reported back to Devlan bringing with it the promise of revelation, battering his every sense as it washed the red mist from his eyes. The white-hot rage that possessed him moments ago dissolved in an instant and Devlan found himself faced with a startling new reality. He had practised his draw many times, yet no rehearsal ever ended like this. With growing anxiety, the world before him was dragged, kicking and screaming into sharp focus and he saw the face of the young man standing before him. A face he was all too familiar with, yet a face he was seeing for the very first time.
Their eyes met. The look of wincing pain and confusion in the boy turned slowly to fear and Devlan felt it like a punch in the gut. His mouth was dry as he watched the young man slowly raise a trembling hand to the charred flesh under his beautifully tailored coat. The cautiously probing fingers did not reach their destination. Instead, the boy glanced down at his chest and then back up into the eyes of his personal death. Pleading now, he looked at Devlan as tears started to well in his eyes. A deep gaze, imploring him to undo this. To take back the last few moments and pretend none of this had happened. It was, of course, a thing impossible.
Devlan instinctively swallowed but found his throat so rasping dry that the sting halted his attempt. His breath came in lumps as his lungs fought his pounding heart for room in his chest. Confusion reigned with nausea hot on its heels.
The young man suddenly found the superbly crafted sword in his hand far too heavy and the ringing metallic ‘tink’ as the tip hit the floor made Devlan flinch. His fingers unable to keep their hold any longer, the hilt slowly slipped from his grasp and his weapon hit the floor with a clatter that seemed to signal several of the closest onlookers. They rushed to the boy’s side just in time to catch him and arrest his descent, laying him gently in the street as he fell.
Seeing him as he lay there now, a growing dull ache in his bicep brought the heaviness of his own arm to Devlan’s attention. He looked down to see the pistol in his trembling hand. His head snapped up and looked around the collected audience for a friendly face. He found not one. Even the faces of those he believed to be his friends either bore the expression of disgusted horror or were turned to the stricken boy instead. In a flash, he sheathed his pistol in the subconscious hope that maybe nobody had noticed.
A young lady, in floods of tears, now cradled the boy’s head in her lap but as Devlan looked, his eyes had turned to glass and all life had left him. Only one course of action presented itself through the static noise of Devlan’s scattered thoughts and turning on his heels, he strode away. As he neared a corner that took him down a side road his step quickened and as he moved out of sight, his feet finally betrayed him.
Devlan Swain ran