For this last themed round I'llonce again stroll off my habitual historical path and will enter the grim darkness of the far future. All kinds of threats are roaming between the stars, the home of a mankind beset by enemies from the outside as well as from within. It's the 41st millennium and everything is dark and humorless.
No, not everything, at least not everyone. Amidst all the darkness
surrounding men there's light. Commissar Ciaphas Cain - Hero of the
Imperium. Together with his trusted and malodorous aide Gunner Jurgen,
Cain time and again braves all kinds of threads a remorseless galaxy can
throw at him.
Cain is a political Commissar in the Imperial Guard, the hammer of the
Imperium, the last line of defense between mankind and utter
destruction. Commissars are meant to lead by example. They are meant to
inspire the guardsmen under their 'care' through uplifting speeches and
the occasional bullet through the head should a soldier not feel
inspired enough and fail his duty and thus the Emperor.
Not so Commissar Cain.
realized 'inspiration' as dealt by most of his fellow commissars often
leads to a short life expectancy in the heat of battle, finds it far
more useful to have soldiers watch his back instead of shooting at it.
he's by his own accounts a coward. A coward with a reputation to lose.
And as this very reputation means all kinds of privileges he normally
wouldn't be privy to, he's anxious to hold that - in his eyes unmerited -
reputation of heroism upright.
Unfortunately for him this, more
often than not, means he finds himself in the thick of it, despite of
his best efforts to stay clear of anything even remotely smelling of
danger. But his instinct and sheer will to survive sees him besting any
precarious situation thrown at him. But fighting off the most wicked of
the enemies of mankind leads to his reputation growing even further with
every dangerous mission he returns from. This in turn means he has to
fight even harder to maintain it... a vicious circle indeed.
wouldn't have lived into his second century without the unquestioning
loyalty of his personal aide Gunner Jurgen. Jurgen, a Valhallan by
birth, is of a - to put it mildly - somewhat unprepossessing appearance.
He's with some certainty the dirtiest and smelliest soldier in the
whole of the guard, and would probably not smell out of place amidst an
orcish warband. Cain has grown accustomed to his aides body odour over
the decades but still does his best to stay upwind of Jurgen.
hidden behind the dissuasive facade of Jurgen there's a rather peculiar
ability. Jurgen is a blank. Meaning he's unaffected by any kind of
psychic abilities the enemy may field to further his goals. More so he
also creates a kind of psychic void around him, meaning those in his
immediate vicinity also are safe from (psychic-) harm. Of course this
means Commissar Cain stays as close to Jurgen at all times as breathing
allows. A second, more mundane quality of Jurgen that Cain has learned
to appreciate is his unquestioning loyalty towards the Commissariat and
Cain in particular.
No matter what Cain asks of him, Jurgen - with
a single minded determination - will do everything to fulfill his task,
even when this means he has to put his life on the line. More than once
Jurgens determination alone was all that stood between Cain and death
dealt by one of his enemies.
is probably evident from my enthusiastic ramblings, I'm an avid fan of
the Ciaphas Cain novels by Alexander Michael Stewart aka Sandy Mitchel.
With Cain (as well as Jurgen and the rather uncharacteristic female
Inquisitor Amberly Vail) he has succeeded in creating a set of
believable* and even funny, but not not hilarious, characters amidst the
grim darkness of GW's Warhammer 40k universe.
Ever since I first
read the novels I wanted to create my own Ciaphas Cain. And truth be
told I'm rather chuffed by how my interpretation has turned out.
*at least more so than most of GW's Uber-humans that seem to lack any sort of human emotions as well as any kind of humor.