Hey guys great stories all around this month. This is my entry, it is the prologue to much larger story idea which I will post independantly, but the theme was such a good fit I couldn't help but submit. Having said that it is my first writen piece in well over a year so c+c is always welcome.
Shadow of the Hydra
Fate is a curious thing. To some who spend their lives running from it, fate becomes as solid and relentless as an avalanche at their back. To those who struggle and push against it, fate becomes the weight around their neck or the shackles at their feet. And to others who accept it, fate is the path underfoot and the stone upon their tomb.
But to those few who understand it, fate becomes a path ever-changing. To tread the shifting sands of fate is to control one's own destiny and the destiny of others. However it is also a most perilous path, for a missed step along the shifting road may set the unwary adrift, and spell doom for unnumbered souls.
Feluna dodged as another of the snarling creatures lunged at her, its bladed limbs unnaturally quick. Throughout the craftworld, the children of the Bein-Fae were fighting bravely against these savage beasts, fighting and dying. The Hormagaunt charged in again, fangs bared and talons raised high. Feluna narrowly sidestepped a horizontal slash and the overzealous tyranid was sent skidding across the blood slicked floor.
Holding her ancient spear in a two handed grip Feluna rounded on the beast and brought the weapon down in a fluid, practiced arc, severing her attacker's head neatly; adding the stain of black ichor to the wraithbone floor.
Dozens more of the creature's foul brood scrambled over the bodies of the dead, hissing and growling, cold hunger in their eyes. Reversing her grip on the singing spear Feluna braced herself, the runes on her gore-soaked armour began to glow. Eldritch energies danced across her fingertips, she channelled them into the psycho-reactive spear. With a grunt of effort she slammed the haft of the weapon into the ground, unleashing a storm of raw psychic power. The charging Hormagaunts were smashed aside like leaves in a hurricane as the psychic bolts engulfing their chitin plated bodies, leaving nothing but ash.
With the immediate area temporarily secure, the exhausted Farseer took cover behind a broken wraithbone pillar. Breathing deeply and forcing her mind to slow, she closed her eyes.
'Lileath guide my steps.'
In her mind she could feel the heat of the battle, the pain of her kin, the shadow of the hive mind. She slowed her thoughts allowing the familiar calm of her trance state to wash over her, soothing the ache of her muscles and calming her mind. As she breathed deeply the world around her slowed to a crawl, seconds became hours, then days, the sounds of battle fell away and for a few precious moments she imagined there was peace.
Reaching out with her mind across the sea of infinite possibilities, Feluna saw the whole battle. She saw the brave sacrifice Excarch Haldur would make forty two seconds from now, she saw the Trygon beast poised to strike at a weapons team, the hundreds of termagants that in less than two minutes would overrun the last barricade. Expanding further she saw the hundreds of thousands of tiny ripper creatures burrowing through the Craftworld's vast irrigation system, and the vampiric Zoanthropes that even now fed on the immortal souls of her ancestors.
Straining the boundaries of her sight she saw the Craftworld itself, a gleaming jewel upon the unending void, and the monstrous hive ships the held it in their deadly embrace. Feluna searched the threads of chance and fate, a thousand battles unfolded before her sight, yet each outcome was the same. The death of a Craftworld, its soul broken and lost under a tide of claws and teeth.
Returning her mind to the her immediate surroundings, she cast a last lingering gaze at her home and felt the deep sting of loss in her heart. Mere hours ago this place had been a haven, a paradise even. Bein-Fae was a Craftworld that adored nature, its halls once displayed the most beautiful and exotic plants and wildlife of the Maiden worlds, its great forest cities were a marvel throughout the Webway. Now it was a corpse strewn warzone, dust and spores clung to every surface and the air was full of the scent of blood and death. Where once there had been bird calls and the songs of maidens, now there was only the sound of battle and the screams of the dying, and she was powerless to stop it.
Feluna cast a vengeful eye upon the beast leading the swarm, a massive Hive Tyrant. The sands of time moved so slowly through the hourglass, the beast seemed frozen in place, it's giant leathery wings spread wide above it as it impaled a brave guardian with its talons. Just beyond the physical at the very edges of her mind she sensed the cold, dread intelligence of the hive mind, vast beyond measure, devoid of pity or mercy...and it sensed her.
Feluna's eyes shot open, blood filled and wide. She instinctively erected the strongest metal barriers she could muster, it was not nearly enough. The cacophony of battle once again assaulted her senses, her head swam in a sea of agony as her synapses overloaded and she registered the hot coppery tang of blood in her mouth. Her vision darkened and she struggled to breathe, her body felt heavy and unfamiliar, and every nerve sung with white hot pain. Gasping for air she removed her ghost helm, letting her long black hair fall free, dust filled her aching lungs, causing her to cough up more blood.
Using the ornate spear as a crutch, the weary Farseer slowly rose to her feet and prepared to face the end.
'I will meet my fate with.....' Feluna felt a sudden impact and had the faint sense of falling. The molten pain that coursed throughout her body began to ebb away, along with the last of her strength.
The broken Seer forced her head up, determined to look her killer in the eye. The last thing Feluna saw as her eyes finally closed, was the maw of the Hive Tyrant descending upon her.
In the place bioluminescent glow of a low hanging Kaevyr plant, Farseer Feluna of the Bein-Fae Craftworld bolted upright in her bed. Her silk robe was drenched with sweat and it clung tightly to her rapidly moving chest. She crossed to her water basin and saw terror reflected in her own emerald green eyes. The rune tattooed on her forehead was aglow with a fierce blue light.
Understanding and resolve began to form in her mind, once again she would walk the ever shifting road, for this fate must not come to pass.
1,100 words excluding title.