Old Acquaintances (1,085 words, excluding title)
As the army slowly awoke beneath Mithrahc’s decrepit palace, the cryptek Seprin made his way deeper into the underground labyrinth than even the spyders knew to tread. Here he had buried long ago his most precious of prizes; the last of Mithrahc’s “servants” still to hold loyalty to him. Seprin was under no illusions that the coming of Nemreth had tipped the odds firmly against him. If the cryptek was ever to take his vengeance on the old phaeron, he would need the support of those he could count on. Even though Mithrahc had not ordered the awakening of the other two crypteks, Seprin could easily claim a misinterpretation of the order.
Once Lirac and Neka were awakened, there would be little the old fool could do. He passed through an archway barely remembered in his crystalline circuitry and walked a corridor utterly devoid of light or ornament. His eyes saw not the physical walls of this pathway but instead the layout of the complex before him. He navigated by a projected map on his senses, the absolute dark having rendered him all but blind.
Finally he reached the chamber his circuits told him was his destination. With a hard to recall thought command, the large room illuminated. A dim green glow revealed the details and contents that Seprin had all but forgotten over the long sleep. Innocuous cabling was scattered about, simple glyphs adorning the walls in ancient script, and in the centre of the room lay two sarcophagi that were twins to each other in every way.
If Seprin could smile, he would have as he prepared to return this place to awakening...
* * *
With Alkvar to one side and Nemreth and Arakyr to the other, Mithrahc watched as his legions rose from their tombs by the dozen. Adding to the lychguard and immortals that had already stirred, uncountable Necron warriors emerged from their alcoves and fell into marching order, overseen by clusters of Canoptek Spyders and nanoscarabs. Adding to their ranks were the ponderous Ghost Arks and Annihilation Barges, supported from behind by the lethal Doomsday Arks and Monoliths.
‘This day, has been too long in coming.’ Mithrahc spoke with an air of nostalgia. ‘And now we finally prepare for our return to power.’
‘Indeed my lord.’ Nemreth added. ‘With what we have here, capturing the god shard I reported will be within our means. With it in our control, few will be able to stand between us and our victory.’
Gibbering laughter could be heard as somewhere out of sight, the Flayer Re’kyt responded gleefully to the newly arrived of his own kind. Drawn by the mobilization and the promise of blood, more flayers had begun to gather and instinctively sought out the former noble as a dominant and cunning leader.
‘Brothers and sisters come to me!’ The deranged killer bellowed with a cackle of ecstasy. ‘We will feast tonight!’
His ramblings were largely ignored by the nobles except for a slight chuckle by Mithrahc himself. This would indeed be a day to remember.
* * *
All had gone well so far. Despite the ages and the barely generated power being sent here, the two sleeping crypteks had survived stasis intact. As Seprin watched the final stages of revivification playing out, he could barely contain his anticipation. On the left, one of the vibrating sarcophagi finally cracked as its occupant sought release into the world.
‘Lirac, step forth my able apprentice.’ Seprin called.
‘Sixty million years... And still am I beholden to you?’ Came the answer as Lirac stepped forth. She had been not long out of childhood when biotransference had been instigated and only her status as a cryptek allowed her mind to remain intact. It was unusual for a woman to hold a title of importance in necrontyr society, yet Seprin had taken it upon himself to tutor two female apprentices, the second of whom even now stepped forth from her own erstwhile bed.
‘It is our place.’ Neka said, speaking to Lirac. Both of them spoke with a metallic tinge of a typical Necron, made eerie by the feminine tinge they both carried.
Neka’s form was one of a multi-limbed goddess, slender and seeming to lack physical presence. Her two legs were reverse jointed like a swift running beast of old times and her six arms rested in a myriad of peacock-like patterns, framing her teardrop shaped death mask.
Lirac by contrast was an intimidating figure, appearing as a simple mask and spine surrounded by a swarm of nanoscarabs that constituted her body and limbs. Neither one had been designed with combat in mind, but in the past when needs were dire, both had proven themselves capable of massive devastation. Neka wielded raw energy and plied her craft as a plasmancer, while Lirac was far more subtle and employed the craft of an ethermancer to destroy her foes from afar.
Seprin laughed. It had been too long since he had enjoyed the company of his most able servants. Mithrahc feared what they could accomplished and had barred Seprin from both awakening them and from wearing the true body he had crafted for himself. But that time would come, and when it did his rebirth would be complete. For now, this small victory would be enough.
* * *
‘If I could feel...’ Mithrahc began, speaking to the many thousands of Necrons marching before him. ‘I would feel reborn. I would feel the power of millennia coursing through embattled veins. I would feel the promise of conquest and glory waiting to be seized by my own gauntleted fist!’
Countless empty eyes stared back, utterly uncomprehending of what their king spoke. From his Command Barge above the throng marching through the main assembly chamber he watched. It was a massive and vast room that would fit his legion fully one and a half times over, stretching several kilometres in all directions.
‘Instead...’ Mithrahc continued. ‘I feel nothing. I have no joy in this. I have no anticipation of what we will accomplish...’
Of course you don’t.
Seprin sniggered from afar as he listened via the Tomb Matrix. Your emotions belong to me now you senile old fool.
‘But even so.’ Mithrahc concluded. ‘We will conquer everything. We will re-capture the gods themselves and bring the upstart young races to their knees. They will serve us as is their place! And we will reign supreme forever. My legions...’
Silence pervaded the vast chamber as Mithrahc slowly raised his arms above his head.
‘ONWARDS MY CHILDREN, TO CONQUEST!’