“…paused only to place the stolen STC upon a stasis pedestal between the mummified head of a human technosavant and the gilded hands of Saint Cerulia the Just.”
The Rise of Vect,Warhammer 40,000 Dark Eldar Codex (2010) p17
Lady Aurelia Malys was drawn to her trophy halls within one of her inner chambers. Something was whispering to her, calling to her. It was maddening. She had sent her guards to search the area, they had report back that there was no one there. Yet the whispering continued. Unsatisfied, she sent one of her trusted lieutenants who oversaw the chambers – nothing. Still the whispers nagged at her. In the end she had no choice but go herself and see what the source of this matter was. This nagging sound so familiar went on and on as she and her bodyguard approached the halls, the ceased as they entered. Not slow on the uptake Malys knew she had to leave her bodyguard behind and enter the hall alone.
As the halls doors closed behind her a faint scintillating light came from the mon-keigh trophies. No that was a disservice to them, they called themselves humans and while the herd were little more than the derogatory mon-keigh name, many of them were worthy of their species name of human. Like pestilential vermin they had spread like a plague across the universe, and her race must thank them for that for without such a bountiful species, the nourishment to live would be so poor. Of all the alien races encountered, humans were the most susceptible to fear and the aura they gave off was one you could carve with a knife at distance.
She knew these halls well; each of the trophies brought back memories. Here the optical array of the entity Tyx from the Crone world Lyskuni deep in the Maelstrom or what the humans call the Eye of Terror. There the head of one of Bile’s primarch clones - She Who Thirsts ascended pets’ cries for vengeance at her interference. So many trophies, and yet the one she yearns for most eludes her – Vect. Like a spider spinning her web, it takes many threads to perfect her art. She will attain her prize; her heart tells her it will be so. Patience, patience…
Her reverie was broken by the voice, no longer a whisper that came from an alcove she had almost forgotten. This was not like her, she had been distracted. She cursed herself. The scintillating form she had met those many years ago now seemed to be before her.
“Why are you here Alp- arrgh.“
Malys clutched her chest where her heart was and fell to her knees. The pain was unbearable, worse than when she had cut her own heart out and plunged the crystalline object in its place. Why had she done that? Had she been played a fool from the start?
“Ah no names now Aureila, we had such fun all those years ago. I confess that I just wanted you for my experiments, but you provided me so much more. You see, I have been for so long stuck with companions that had the charm and sophistication of the larval infestation of Honra Du X. While you are a murderous and sadistic bitch and there is no way I’d either trust you or bed you, your charm and whit has been truly exceptional for one who finds none in this dreary universe. As such I spared your life – conditionally.”
“Conditionally? I can’t say I like the sounds of that, considering you say you appreciate me Al- lord.”
“While the rest of your followers vanished from your side that day – you were spared for a different reason. Oh they supplied such excellent data by the way. I left you the ‘heart’ as my data research node. It is fully self aware and while it collects myriad types of data its protocol of self protection has allowed you to stay alive longer than you have thought possible. In fact you almost feel invulnerable don’t you my dear?”
Malys was dumbstruck, she had been played. She was little more than an experiment of some alien who was using her to spy upon her people. Who knows what information she had betrayed to this alien. Did she care though? Did any of her race care for anyone but themselves? Her heart gave a lurch and she clutched at it in fear of it being ripped from her.
The scintillating being paused.
“It would appear the heart is not ready to part company with you yet Aurelia. There are still secrets that it has yet to gain, these it can only obtain once you have Vect. Well that settles matters; you live for a while longer then my dear. Enjoy your extra parole.”
“Why? Why are you doing this?”
“Why? Why? Because I’m trying to stop the second cataclysmic creation of a divine consciousness within the warp. You think She Who Thirsts is something to fear, imagine He Who Hates All for that is what the human god emperor really is. His ecclesiarchy are all about hating anything not human, anything not sanctioned by humans and the list goes on. Fear is driven by hatred and hatred is all consuming. Khorne will but a child compared to this godling when it is spawned. So I must use you to an end my dear. If you want your race to continue, then please live on and get to Vect. One day I shall return.”
The scintillating being seemed then to notice the display that it had chosen to be among. A laugh issued from it, mocking and sad.
“Oh no, I can’t have that lying around now. That won’t do.”
With those words the mummified head of the human technosavant vanished from it place in the trophy display.
“Now what else have I got to tidy up? I see her hand is her? I guess Horst would like some memory of her seeing it is all that remains of her. In reparations – let me see? The timeline… Yes it’s happening now.”
The STC case was lifted and tossed to Malys by some means she could not discern. She dodged it out of reflex and it clattered to the floor behind her.
“Tsk, tsk, Aureila. Still as untrusting I see. Just as well the contents are unbreakable. Now listen up you are going to do me a little favour to thank me for adding more years to your life sentence. Archon Helbram, you know that little abrax of a dram who cheated you to the titles of the sectors held by the Kabal of Jade Teats. Oh I see by the look of surprise you weren’t aware of that little fact. Well I see that this information may well then be all the good news you need to spur you on then.”
“As we speak a – shall we say – incursion mission is underway and I’d like to see that Archon Helbram is well and truly occupied on all fronts. I know that you’d like to reclaim your sectors which should rightly belong to you, and I need you to deliver this STC case which you clumsily dropped to some human agents acting against the best interests of Helbram. It’s a win win situation for everyone, well maybe not so for Helbram.”
Malys thought on this. The STC was a trinket of no worth to her, just a trophy. However to the humans it was something of considerable value, it was codenamed PANACEA. Did she want something that could save millions of human lives out there, allowing them to breed and multiple, fight and sow sorrow and fear for the limited resources the universe had to offer. The sweet sweet aroma of hypocrisy was delicious; her race would be feeding of the benefits this PANACEA would bring for millennia.
“Very well A-lord. I will ensure your agents are given every opportunity to perform their mission and escape. I will see they get this STC as you have directed. As you once said to me ‘may we live in interesting times’.”
Malys bent down to collect the STC case. When she looked back to where the scintillating being had been it had vanished along with the gilded hands of Saint Cerulia the Just. Now she would have to hunt the human Imperium again for trophies worthy of what had been taken. She hoped Alpharius knew what that would mean in the end.
Story (C) John A McDonnell 11 January 2019
The Warhammer 40,000 Universe is copyright to Games Workshop, no challenge is intended to their title and rights. This is a piece of fan fiction for the Dark Heresy Role Playing game from the Fantasy Flight Games edition.