Gardus’ breath rasped loud, cutting through the fevered pound of his heartbeat.Every step was a herculean struggle, dragging his limbs through thigh-deep, sucking ordure. Were it not for the fires of faith burning within his breast, he would have been dead days ago.

‘Only the faithful,’ he gasped, ‘only the faithful.’ The words escaped his bleeding lips again and again. They had become a mantra that kept his limbs moving, kept his abused lungs snatching in filthy breaths.

‘Why dost thou flee, little morsel?’ the voice boomed from the haze behind him. ‘Can we not promenade Grandfather’s glopsome gardens together?’

He had fought the daemon, and been found wanting. In this place, so close to the seat of Nurgle’s power, he stood no chance at all. So Gardus fled, on and on through the endless filth. He forced down a choking giggle of madness at the thought he might keep doing so forever. Yet suddenly, the haze ahead lit with a flickering, golden light. So beautiful was the sight that his clotted breath caught in his throat. Wherever that glow originated, it could not be of this hideous realm. Feeling a surge of hope, Gardus pressed ahead, wading on toward the swelling, lambent light...

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  • The Quest for Ghal Maraz.