This article is part of the The Blue Stripe Logs series.
In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war. It's a common misconception. As it turns out, in the grim darkness of the far future there is a lot of backbreaking labor and even more busywork. It's mostly those two things. War is a distant third.
The Imperium of Man spans millions of stars and untold trillions of human souls. With that many warm bodies kicking around man-hours are cheap and automation is an afterthought. It might seem as if the various alien species, ancient undead skeleton robots, and corrupted chaos-worshipping fiends of the 41st millennium have a more exciting lot. Not so! Each race has its working class. From the gore-drenched butcher pits of Khorne cultists to the gem-encrusted Eldar spaceships, there is plenty of tedious work to be done.
Those wraithbone walls are not going to Bedazzle themselves.
Anointed Murderthrall of the Arch-Traitor Bazaban, Supplicant to Silthulius the Crimson-Hued, Hate-Colonel at the ninth hand of Lord Rebbaraeth Gristlewick, Caco-Fiend of Vilius III
The Great Slaughter of Rebbaraeth Gristlewick has encompassed six solar systems and involved more than 30 billion human souls. The Caco-Fiend of Vilius III and his Host of Hatred set fire to an entire sub-sector of the Imperium. One planet recently overwhelmed by Gristlewick's forces is the agri-world of Knoxi. The planet's meager defenses were overrun by Gristlewick's hordes in a matter of days and the population was subjected to the oath: servitude or death. Many chose death, but most survived, however briefly, to become a part of Gristlewick's twisted menagerie.
We spoke with one such new recruit on the abattoir-world Viscus Horrendus, an accursed planet on which servants of Gristlewick engage in mass-sacrifice and blood worship to appease Khorne, the Blood God. Lou Jackson was once a simple farmer on Knoxi, but now he goes by the name Violence Marrowspite and lives on Viscus Horrendus. Jackson works as an "Anointed Murderthrall" to one of Gristlewick's countless sub-lieutenants, a job that, as he tells it, sounds a lot more exciting than it really is.
We caught up with Violence on the shores of The Carmine Cauldron, a shallow lake of blood and floating corpses that stretches to the horizon.
Blue Stripe: You must be Violence Marrowspite...
Violence Marrowspite: That's me. Wretch Resources told me to come talk to some people, so here I am.
BS: Wretch Resources...was that the guy with the strips, and the, uh, the face?
VM: Yeah, the guy with the up and down strips hanging from the exposed muscle. The guy with the horizontal strips works for accounts receivable and the lady with the grid thing and the mouths instead of eyes, I don't know, I think she's in acquisitions.
BS: I understand you're fairly new here. You've been with Gristlewick, what, six months?
VM: Seven, and that ain't new for a Murderthrall. That's like a thousand in regular people months.
BS: There is a high turnover rate among Murderthralls?
VM: Oh, yeah, definitely. We are under tons of pressure from middle management to keep up with quotas. Don't keep up and you get demoted.
BS: Demoted to what?
VM: Body pile. Those mountains over there. Those are the body piles. We gotta keep stacking the corpses up there after we've pulped them and drained all the blood out. It's dangerous work and there are all kinds of body avalanches.
BS: So they take on the body pile work?
VM: Oh, no, I meant they go on the body pile after we stab their hearts and faces and empty them into the lake. Everybody ends up on the body pile eventually. Murderthralls, prisoners, it's just where you end up.
BS: Other than stacking corpses on the body pile what are your duties as a Murderthrall?
VM: Like I said, pulping bodies, draining them. I'm sorta the expert Murderthrall these days, so a lot of the newer guys look to me. I show them the ropes, give them their first blasphemous sigil scars, maybe haze them a little bit by cutting off their eyelids. You know, the usual workplace shenanigans.
BS: Your full job title is "Anointed Murderthrall". What exactly does the "anointed" honorific mean?
VM: What do I look like, King Khorne? Everybody has all these titles around here. "Desolatrix of Doom" this and "Ka-Vivisector" that. Your guess is as good as mine.
BS: So you don't take your Khorne worship seriously?
VM: Look, of course I do. All me and my pulping hammer do all day is worship Khorne. He's the best. Hooray frickin' Khorne. When you're planting soybeans one day and a guy with a skull for a head and two chainsaw axes walks out of your barn covered in blood you're going to sign up for whatever he wants. I signed up for Khorne. I got stuck with Gristlewick and this lake of blood.
BS: You don't sound entirely happy.
VM: Some lucky assholes on the other side of the planet got caught by the Perfumed Choir of the Supreme Tempter of Antioxus XI. They signed up for the Slaaneshi legions. Do you know how they're probably gonna die?
VM: Too many orgasms. You know how I'm gonna die?
VM: Not enough blood left in my neck. You see my consternation.
BS: You're jealous they have it easy.
VM: They live in a vagina. Literally. Their town is a giant vagina. Their version of this place is just a huge pit where everybody is having sex until they die or a daemon appears or something. Me? I hammer corpses until the blood flies out and I have to make sure to move every few minutes so I don't get scabbed in.
BS: Don't you think you're contributing to the cause of the Blood God?
VM: Okay, look, let me put it to you this way. Yesterday the Arch-Traitor Bazaban decided to stop by and see how work was progressing on, well, I guess filling the lake even more with blood. So he comes over in his suit of power armor and demands we build him a throne. Out of blood. Who is that helping?
BS: How did that go?
VM: (He glowers silently for several seconds before answering.) Have you ever tried to hammer blood into blood?
VM: That was a rhetorical question.
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Oh, you idiot. Don't do this. It's the worst idea anyone has ever had. Have you forgotten what an ordeal it was the last time you moved?
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