1,024 words, excluding title.
*** *** ***
The joint creaked with every step, as Nemreth's left leg struggled to flex as the necron lord walked. In his hands was the cube he had almost been destroyed to bring back here, the tesseract labyrinth that now writhed with the contained essence of a fragmented god. The Dragon shard had been instrumental in shaping several orkoid incursions upon the space surrounding its refuge until the god hunter himself had gotten wind of its presence.
It had been a victory, albeit a costly one. Several dozen units of immortals had been lost permanently, their minds and bodies erased from existence by a creature of limitless power and cruelty. That same creature now resided within this cube like artefact, bound forever to the service of those who had vanquished it. Now however, Nemreth faced a task equally daunting. A confrontation with what would no doubt be a very angry Phaeron...
'Explain this to me.' Mithrahc demanded, fury underlining his metallic voice. 'Nemreth? Seprin? I demand answers as to why it came to this, and I will hear them now!' The lord and cryptek were on their knees before the Phaeron's throne, here to explain themselves. Arakyr stood to the side, for the moment forbidden from proceedings but allowed presence from respect to his duty to Nemreth.
'My Lord, forgive me.' Nemreth began. 'I admit I had underestimated the power of this shard. The losses we have suffered are regrettable, but I feel that control of this shard will in time allow us to leverage our way into a greater position of power.'
'Not that, you simpleton.' Mithrahc replied, gripping his staff tightly. At his side, even Alkvar shifted slightly at the pure rage the overlord was emitting. 'I was referring to THEM!' His staff jerked upwards to point to the two figures that sulked in the shadows behind them. The previously slumbering forms of the crypteks Neka and Lirac jerked nervously as Mithrahc’s attention came to rest on them.
‘I do not understand.’ Nemreth shook his head in confusion. ‘The two crypteks were instrumental in the shard’s defeat, I had assumed their revivification was under your sanction.’
‘You assume incorrectly!’ Mithrahc snapped. ‘However, due to your ignorance, I will forgive your part in this. Seprin however...’ Nemreth stood and removed himself from the Phaeron’s path as Mithrahc strode from his throne dais and looked down at Seprin’s form.
‘My king, I am sorry but I saw no alternative.’ Seprin started. ‘Nemreth had committed our forces to attacking a foe whose strength we could not be sure of. Had I not sent Neka and Lirac to the battle we would have suffered far more permanent losses than a few dozen immortals.’
‘I admit, my judgement was flawed.’ Nemreth bowed in humility. ‘Were it not for the energy manipulating technologies of these two crypteks, the day would have been lost.’ He neglected to breach the topic of Socous’ destruction, the former Deathmark who had been one of the last survivors of Nemreth’s old court.
‘Nevertheless, I had forbidden them from waking.’ Mithrahc growled. ‘May the two of you consider yourselves fortunate that I allowed you to live in the first place. And you as well Seprin, be thankful that your services outweigh your insubordination.’
Seprin began to rise to his feet, only to stop when Mithrahc continued; ‘Be aware however, that this margin has narrowed considerably with this act.’
‘Lord Mithrahc.’ Neka stepped forward, her many limbs cupped in a gesture of peace. ‘I sense that something troubles you beyond our awakening. Please, for the sake of our old bonds, speak and unburden yourself?’
Barely controlled rage flickered in the Phaeron’s eyes for the briefest of moments before memories of old comradeships tempered his rage. The grip on his staff relaxed and he walked calmly back to he dais and sat once more upon his throne.
‘We recently received a communication from an emissary of the Triarch.’ Mithrahc announced. ‘He names himself as Lord Praetorian Neytu, and has demanded the commitment of our forces in the retaking of a Crownworld that has fallen under alien invasion.’
‘Refuse.’ Nemreth replied. ‘His jurisdiction is to enforce the Codes of Battle, our forces are not required to serve on battlefronts at his whim.’
‘It is not his whim that concerns me.’ Mithrahc shook his head. ‘I am beholden to the one who sent him here. Lord Sekra Teph, Phaeron of the Obliesce Dynasty. He has demanded my assistance, and it is not without consequence that I can deny him. I remain indebted to him for an act of great sacrifice he underwent for the preservation of our... well, I’m sure most of you can guess.’
Alkvar and the crypteks all nodded in agreement, leaving only Nemreth and Arakyr unaware of the story.
‘It was due to Sekra Teph’s intervention that we were able to survive Nayten’s... betrayal.’ Mithrahc muttered bitterly. ‘I will honour this debt. Furthermore, Neytu carries the authority of the Silent King in this transcript, leading me to believe that King Szarekh himself holds stakes in this war we have been called to. I am left with little choice but to mobilize.’
‘If it is your wish.’ Nemreth conceded. ‘I will begin the muster as soon as my own repairs are seen to. Tell me which percentage you intend to take with you?’
‘Everything but the basest of necessary defences.’ Mithrahc responded. ‘Neka, Lirac, since the two of you are here regardless, I am issuing the command that you begin the revivification of our remaining forces immediately. Seprin, once you have seen to the essential maintenance of those in need of it, turn your attention to mustering our war machines and my own flagship.’
‘As you will it my king.’ Seprin bowed. Neka and Lirac did likewise, the three of them left to attend their duties. Nemreth remained for a few minutes more to continue the initial planning.
‘The shards, my Lord?’ He enquired.
‘Bring them both.’ Mithrahc nodded. ‘Should they be required, I would rather they be available. Stars forbid we should need them however, for that would indeed signify a very dark time ahead of us.’
Nemreth nodded his agreement and turned to leave, Arakyr stepping in behind him.
Nonsense is our Salvation