The sky was clear for the first time in an age. Light blue and streaked with errant clouds, clear and crisp from horizon to horizon. Looking up into the sky, Haruk wondered what it’d be like to have open skies and clean air every day.
Even his breathing, usually harsh in his ears through the ancient rebreather, rasped through his throat and filled scarred lungs until they stretched and ached. It was a beautiful sort of pain, like the throb of a well-trained muscle after a day of honest work. Haruk was no stranger to strain; it was the honest work that seemed so alien and distant to him. Out here, honest folk got stepped on. They got pushed down. They got killed. In the waste, honesty was more lethal than ash storms and solar flares combined. And it was contagious too. Trust and rust rhymed for a reason. Both would eat away at the firmament of things, make them brittle. Give them weak spots. And Haruk felt his weak spots all too clearly.
There were the scarred lines where his hardsuit had rubbed his skin raw over years of constant wear. Lumps in his arms, his neck, and his groin that wept black blood whenever the needle-man sliced them open. The grating movements of his bionic eye whenever he looked from side to side. His hair was chopped short enough to stand on its own, and the braids of his beard fell lank and silvered over his chest. That silver was turning to grey now, faded by baking sun and scoured by unyielding winds.
The sound of engines made him look down, towards the northeast. A great plume of dust marked a distant convoy, picking through the maze of rocky outcroppings towards the trade towns on the other side. The path was treacherous, but short; a frequent temptation for waste merchants with little patience and even less sense. Rockfalls and raider bands were commonplace, and anyone coming through would need to be armed, armoured, and would still be lucky to make the pass unscathed.
“Enjoying the view, old man?” The voice had a low, grating edge that made Haruk’s fists clench. He replied without turning, eyes still fixed on the dust plume.
“Convoy is coming in. Looks like a landcrawler. You going to lead the charge with me, Kralk? Whole bunch of credits when we haul the loot away.”
“Way I see it, only one of us needs to be at the front of that charge. And you’re not in the running, greybeard.”
At this, Haruk turned. Kralk’s hair, styled into a red mohawk thick with engine oil, nearly came up to Haruk’s neck. The smaller man’s eyes were bloodshot, fixed with manic intensity on his older companion. Haruk took a couple of steps forward. If Kralk was scared to be in Haruk’s shadow, he didn’t show it.
“Why now, Kralk? There’s all we need on that landcrawler down there. Can’t afford to make ourselves weaker by-”
“We’ll be stronger without dead weight like you.” Kralk’s hand had begun to creep closer to the shotgun at his waist. The whir-click of Haruk’s eye made him pause.
The two men stood for a long moment, at an impasse. Haruk’s fingers traced the handle of his cleaver in a slow, lazy circle.
“Dead weight? That’s rich. How much juice did you have to do before you had the stones to come up here?”
Before Kralk could begin to answer, Haruk had already moved. The flat of his cleaver-blade struck the shotgun from the smaller man’s fist and a savage backhand sent him sprawling in the dust in a shocked, retching heap. Juice wasn’t kind to a man’s system, especially in high doses. Haruk took another deliberate step and stood over Kralk like the avatar of a furious god, the red glow of his eye pinning Kralk to the ground more surely than any blade.
“I should put a bullet in you right now for pulling something like that.” His hand fell to the well-worn boltgun on his hip, and Kralk cringed back into the dirt, waiting for the end right there and then. But it didn’t come. He opened his eyes to see Haruk once again looking out to the dust plume, which had drawn still closer even as they fought. Haruk spoke again.
“Go down and get the others ready. We’re taking that crawler.”
I always loved the term ‘techno-barbarian’. From the works of John Blanche down to modern interpretations, the mixture of savagery and technology creates this potent feeling of loss and decay. For Haruk, leader of my Necromunda Goliath gang, I wanted an impression of fading strength added to the mix. His time is coming, and he won’t go down easy.
The mini itself consists of a Blight Kings body, goliath boots for the legs, a Space Wolf head, and MkIII bolter and decorative badge from the Imperial Knight kit. The whole thing is held together by greenstuff and far too much superglue.