1041 words, not counting title
Carnage… chaos… All of the things that make a battlefield what it is. An enemy, a mission, a purpose is what drove the Canoptek machinery from the dark catacombs of their Tomb World. It did not matter who the enemy was, it was of no concern what they might want or where they might have harkened from. They were not of the Tomb World, they were not part of the Dynasty, and they were not welcome. Such was the inexorable truth that dominated the battlefield. However, unlike other similar worlds with similar guardians, Tepmosi was vastly different.
The many and varied guardians of the tombs had, in a very basic sense, a mind of their own. Each of them, while interconnected, did not always share the same ideas about how to go about a given task. One in particular, a Wraith, held the notion that its Phaeron would be more pleased if it were to dispatch his enemies with greater volume than others of its kind. It held the belief close to whatever mockery of a heart it possessed that his Phaeron expected more from it than he did from the other Wraiths that swarmed around the grand complex.
For the machine’s part, it was not entirely wrong in its logic. The Ancient One did take notice of it, he had gone so far as to etch a dynastic glyph upon the thing’s ‘head’ to distinguish it from others. Its master had done so for the practical purpose of being able to find the thing among the swarms of other Wraiths, but that didn’t change the fact that it considered itself special. And with such an infantile sense of pride and drive to perform, the Wraith entered the fray with great abandon.
As with any great battle upon the long dead surface of Tepmosi, the Ancient One stood impassively above the field of combat aboard his Command Barge, silently surveying the carnage wrought by his people. Very rarely did he issue forth orders, and on such occasions they were brief and exact. The Wraith would steal a glance once in a while, between the waves of interlopers, at its beloved Phaeron as if to see him looking in his direction.
The line of code was registered within the Wraith’s thoughts as it cleaved through the torso of an Eldar soldier with the retractable blade that usually resided in its front leg. The scream of anguish that the Eldar let out went unregistered by the Wraith as it sweeped across with the other front leg and severed the head completely off the body.
Phaeron Observation: Status?
The Wraith glanced up at its master and caught a glimpse of a look from the Ancient One. He had indeed been watching! Renewed drive gripped the machine as it leaped forward unto yet another group of Eldar Guardians intent on making some headway on the field. Several Warriors had been locked in a firefight with the invaders but hadn’t made much progress in eliminating them. The Wraith took stock of the situation and decided it could do much better.
The Wraith leaped over the group of Warriors and weathered a hail of fire, most of the shuriken projectiles from their weapons glancing off the living metal that comprised the Wraith’s outer armor. The Wraith’s advance was swift, efficient, and unimpeded by the debris that had been littered about the battlefield. It skittered over rubble, bodies and even ruined vehicles as if they were flat terrain, being slowed by nothing.
When the Wraith was upon the Eldar it unleashed a barrage of slashing strikes with the razor sharp talons it possessed. Each strike with the weapons found purchase in flesh; each retreat brought with it a great amount of the lifeblood it sought to drain from its enemies. It lashed out with its tail as well, impaling one of the Eldar upon it like it were little more than a fish on the end of a spear. Fountains of Eldar blood issued forth as the Wraith cut each and every man in the squad down with ruthless indifference. When all the screams subsided, and each of the Eldar had seen the last drops of their blood drained away, the Wraith turned back to the collection of Warriors that had been having such a difficult time putting them down.
The Wraith gazed at the Warriors as they slowly advanced, their motions slightly hesitant, their footfalls slowed by uncertainty or perhaps simply because of disuse. Either way, they did not move with the same fluid grace the Wraith possessed. When they drew near enough, the thing motioned to its handiwork and angled its head twenty degrees to the left as if in inquiry. The effect did not go unnoticed or become lost as it might have in another dynasty. Each of the Warriors was more than just a shadow of the Necrontyr they had once been. Each remembered their old lives and knew what they had become. It was the curse of the Sakir-Har, and the Wraith knew it.
The Warrior in the front of the group narrowed his eyes at the Wraith in displeasure. The thing had shown them up, and rather effectively, while their Phaeron watched on. A machine had turned the battlefield into a contest, and it was far better a combatant merely by design. The fact that the thing could do such a thing at all was utterly unnerving to the Warriors but useful even so. The Warriors could do little but raise their gauss flayers and continue on into the fray with the futile hope of reclaiming their pride from a mere machine.
The Ancient One had seen the entire display from on high and couldn’t help but be pleased, even if it had not inspired any actual pleasure. His pet was a lethal combatant and a driven and loyal subject. There was little doubt left in the Phaeron’s mind that he had made the right choice to allow the abomination that had developed during the Great Sleep to remain intact. The pseudo-intellect his Canoptek machines possessed was proving to be a remarkable tool, and an amusing distraction when one of his minions decided to play games with its Necron masters…