Web of Uncertainties
Word Count: 1,097 w/ Title
“The answer Eldar really seek lies in being able to discern the difference in what is fate and what is merely dire misfortune. Promise me you’ll know when the time comes.”
“Betrayer! Outcast! You are no kin of mine!” Reiko’s words were dripping with controlled venom, her expression a mix of scorn and desperation. The eldest of the twin Howling Banshees recalled her deceased father’s words dangling from a sharp precipice of an anti-grav disc meant to ferry members of the council from one entrance of the crystal dome to another.
Beneath her was an unmeasurable drop deep into the abyss that lingered beneath, where it led to, Reiko could not fathom, but it would certainly hold the somber embrace of death. Where utter blackness should be, an ocean of balefire and writhing bodies that burned, but never turned to ash seethed restlessly. She couldn’t bear to look down into their haunting eyes, it would strike uncontrollable fear in her and that was the last thing she needed in this moment. She clung steadfastly onto the platform with armored fingers, thanking Isha that it wasn’t her sweat slick skin keeping her from the warp she feared so irrationally.
Glaring down upon her struggling form with a disapproving frown and uncompassionate eyes, her younger sister Lhadu knelt down in her armor to finally address her. She gently brought one end of her executioner mere inches away from her elder sister’s right eye, a loving smirk doing little to hide the cruel intent of her eyes.
“They have all gone, any Eldar with a functioning brain would have left this abhorrent place far before the warp storm had ever engulfed the Craftworld. Why then, am I not surprised to be finding you within the Crystalline Dome? Why shed tears over our prison, which has held everything that make the Eldar superior above any lesser life in check since our birth?”
“Are you insane!? The Aspect Warriors haven’t given up on our only home and neither has the council!” Lhadu’s smug grin flared Reiko’s temper and made her veins bulge through her pallid skin. “You helped create this, under the Seer’s noses, bastard child! What darkness have you given yourself to? She who Thirsts or perhaps the Dark Kin are behind this heinous slaughter!?”
“That, my sister, is something you’ll never know…” Lhadu’s words suddenly trailed off, leaving Reiko’s blood to run cold as she raised her unpowered blade for decapitation.
The hellfire that blazed endlessly below her suddenly belched powerful gusts of ether in that moment, causing Reiko to grimace as her soul stone began to burn fiercely upon her chest. The wave of heat washed over her as the blade inevitably came down to part her head from her body, hitting with such force that the platform began to wobble unstably in the backlash. Lhadu’s stance faltered and suddenly the platform dipped backwards, causing her to slide back in a free fall. The balance of the platform lifted Reiko just enough that she was able to throw herself over the lip moments before the anti-grav disc began to stabilize.
Her younger sister easily recovered, carving her halberd deep into the disc until she halted in her fall. She naturally came into a kneeling position when the platform up righted itself, coming face to face with the mirror image of her elder twin.
“Answer me!” Reiko unsheathed her pair of mirror swords and bounded across the platforms within the space of a heartbeat. She lacked her banshee’s mask, but her defiant roar was long and proud, bringing her blades into a closing x around Lhadu’s waist. Her younger sister jerked her blade free and leaped backwards with a quick spin, easily knocking both blades away from her. The elder twin braced herself against the onslaught her sister unleashed with desperate ripostes and retracing of her previous steps.
Lhadu unleashed an unearthly scream, continuing her barrage of lightning attacks against Reiko’s dodgy form. She struck blindly against one of her swords, pulled back in a sudden reverse and stabbed in with the blunt end of her weapon. The opposite end of the pole-arm slammed into the thin armor around Reiko’s stomach, knocking her off her feet and sending her skidding back towards the edge of the platform.
With well-timed practice, she utilized her legs into a twirl and came back up to her feet in a fluid movement. She came mere feet away from Lhadu before taking up a combat form. Her younger sister did as well, cruel eyes glinting with a hint of hidden pride at her sibling’s inner strength.
“Are you not even going to say why you did this?” Reiko studied her opponent with an air of caution. Lhadu was perhaps far younger than her by a century, but she was not without great skill and promise. She wondered who could have this level of influence over her to make her turn against her own kind in such a terrible fashion. “How did father not foresee any of this?”
“Careful, sister!” Lhadu seized the initiative while Reiko was distracted, smashing the non-lethal end of her executioner once again into her inferior defense. This time the strike struck her across the side of her face, unrelenting despite Reiko’s cry of pain. She brought the crackling blade around in an overhead sweep and thrust for her now exposed back. “Take your mind off our struggle now and you’ll join those souls below!”
Lhadu boasted in her well-earned triumph. Reiko shouted in uncontrolled agony as the blade parted her armor and slid smoothly in between her rib-cage, the electrocution by the blade’s magnetic field proving too much for her. She stumbled towards the sharp precipice she had been at the beginning and fell on her knees. Her younger sister, towering over her so proudly, brought her blade down and lashed out with her foot to kick her own sibling’s headless body off into the abyss waiting for fresh souls.
Utilizing the last of her strength, tuning out the searing pain through her enhanced psyche and war mask, Reiko parried the overhead strike with both of her weapons. Her injured form took the brunt of the kick, but she halted the momentum by clinging to Lhadu’s outstretched leg, pulling herself back from the fall and dragging Lhadu’s ill anchored body down and over the edge of the precipice in her stead. There was a shrill scream lost on the ether winds, snuffed by the moaning of souls chained to the gaping portal, soon followed by a quiet peace.
Had to cut a few corners to get this under the word limit, hopefully you won't realize it too much.