We stand and sniff the air briefly, our enhanced senses picking up the familiar scents of the oils used to clean and anoint our armour, among other day to day aromas of the fortress. Our eyes cut through the darkness like a hot knife through soft flesh, the simple metallic chambers we are situated in housing nought but a bed and our armour. We move towards the armour and begin to meticulously assemble it upon our body, layer by layer, taking extra care with our chest plate and pauldrons, each bearing the large embroidered “T” with “Tigers of Ravanont” encrusted into the silver plate in gold trim. Our tiger-skin cloak clasps to our pauldrons and another drapes at our waist, plates laced with runes adorning much of our greaves and chest.
When finished we admire ourselves in a large mirror, our long fair hair pulled back in a ponytail, our goatee trimmed and tidy, our sparkling emerald green eyes wander up and down the stunningly polished plate. When we are satisfied that no imperfections are present we make our way to the War Room. We smile and softly say, “Come Strafe,” as a large tiger stretches and saunters off of the bed, our fingers running softly through his mane as we make our way along the hall. Something about the cold steel of the hallway is almost comforting until a cold chill passes through our body as we round the corner and look into the twisted faces of the man standing there...
Chamber of Sem’ael Elear
Twenty-Nine Days before the Fall of Ravanont
I awake in a cold sweat, my blankets drenched as I recoil from the evil presence that I felt in my dream. Though some believe that dreams hold no significance the Eldar know better. I would not question the fact that, even for a farseer, this was an odd dream. Never before had I dreamed I was someone else and the experience is somewhat unpleasant. As I try to ponder it the face, “our” face, vanishes from my mind into nothingness and I shake my head, dismissing it for the time being. If it is important I shall remember it later. My current pressing issue is how I shall address the council today. I know what must be done, but I must convince the other seers and the Autarchs that this is worth the time of day and will be beneficial to take action.
I stand in front of a mirror in my personal chambers, a simple cream coloured tunic rests over my chest and a pair of black leggings below. My black boots come to my knees and my black gloves come half way up my forearms. I sigh softly as I take a simple blue cloak and pull it over my shoulders, my soulstone used as a broach to hold it in place. My long sandy hair is straight as I use a colour wand to highlight strands with pinks, blues, and greens and I smile as I clasp a belt to my waist to complete the ensemble. One nice thing about being in my position is people don’t often question my style, though what I wear is often thought to be a bit outlandish and akin more to the raiders that sail in black ships across the stars.
I hail a grav-car and make my way across the different institutions of our Craftworld towards the Dome of Eternal Light, also known to some as the Council of War due to the actions that most often take place there. As I approach I feel the heart of the Craftworld flowing through me, each breath filled with life. Activity is everywhere as we go along; to our right at one point a troupe of Harliquins performs the War of Heaven, further along a sculptor reveals his latest sculpture of Asuryan, further still we see a symphony preparing to entertain the masses. I smile as I remember that Yvette Ashra, a beautiful young woman had invited me to see this particular symphony, though I had to politely declined due to knowing that I would be busy today. I told her that perhaps I could see them next time they performed and though she looked slightly upset she smiled and rested her hand gently on my cheek as she said she would hold me to that. I doubt now that day will come.
As we draw nearer to the Dome of Eternal Light I begin to feel the minds of the assembled seers at the council. We will discuss the business of the Craftworld as always, what different seers have seen, and, if any are dire, what consequences should be taken. The world’s top strategic minds gather as well, the Autarchs. They represent the martial aspect of the world and are as wild and unpredictable as many of the other warriors of Saim-Hann. I notice a large amount of jetbikes surrounding the dome and chuckle, thanking my driver as I step out of the grav-car and move towards the magnificent structure in front of me.
The dome itself looks like a hive. Hexagonal planes of glass separated by wraithbone line the entire building, though to look from the outside one would see nothing more than mirrors. Non-Eldar may think this building extravagant were it to be compared to one of their own structures, but compared to many of the Eldar structures this is quite plain. I approach the building and a door materialises in front of me, the entrance only accessible to those of the path of the Seer, or one of the three Autarchs of the world. Many revolutions passed before I was allowed access, being of offworld origin originally and not necessarily of as high a standing as I was on Asha’dar. My tactics and worth have since been proved on many occasions and I have been giving access to many places seers who once had higher standing than I are not allowed to wander.
I feel connected instantly to each seer in the room, our minds connecting in somewhat of a mental handshake. We each touch base faster than conceivable by the human mind before each seer moves to take his or her seat, myself and the other farseers seated near the center of the room with the Autarchs dead center. Your status dictated your seat, Dy’aer and myself seated in the centermost ten seats reserved for Farseers who have tread the path of the seer longest and gained highest honours. He subtly nods at me and I return the gesture before turning my attention to the center of the room. An Autarch in black armour with an ornate power sword strapped to his waist stands to his feet and speaks first. He is Prince Eldred, most powerful of all of the Autarchs of our world.
“Children of Isha hear me!” his voice is hard, hoarse from centuries of yelling orders in battle. The scars on his face tell the tale of his battle torn past, from losing his family at a young age to the Orks to rising quickly through the ranks of the Eldar through sheer will and determination. None could boast more victories than he, though few had also lost as much. The room goes silent as he speaks. He addresses the state of the Craftworld and the surrounding worlds, as well as the current threat level of nearby enemies. He covers newly awakened Necron tomb worlds, sending many an angry groan upon the lips of the Eldar, knowing oh too well of the past with the once mortal Necrontyr. He speaks of recent battles and soon each Autarch and Farseer has his turn to address the council with their own reports, other Farseers from the inner circle presenting delving into the Skein, though none are pressing matters. When the time comes for me to speak Dy’aer nods once more and I stand, clearing my throat before I go to speak.
“Sons and daughters of Asuryan,” my voice flows like honey in its soft tone as I begin. “I stand before you today distressed. Last cycle I had a disturbing vision of the near future, one that is very strong on the Skein.” I see many of the seers start to listen more attentively as I begin to explain what I saw, going into vivid detail as I present my case. “These beasts are the Mon’kiegh known as the Tigers of Ravanont, we have encountered them before. They are ruthless and if they fall to She Who Thirsts they will be unstoppable. I share this with you because I believe that there is a way for me to stop this. In fact I believe that somehow I am the only one who can stop it. Though the Skein is clouded and the path unclear I feel as though there is something that can be done for these people so that She Who Thirsts shall be cast out of their ranks and they will not suffer this fate. I know that most of you wonder why should we care about the happenings of these Mon’kiegh,” I notice a few nods from the others, “but I assure you if they fall we will not be safe. They will come for us and they will destroy us.” Murmurings occur now, seers turning to their neighbours to ask if they believe this to be true. I see one seer stand up.
“With all due respect Farseer, how do you know they will come for us? Mon’kiegh are self destructive, surely they would most likely destroy one another before they become an issue to us.” Many nod at this comment, though I saw this coming. Dy’aer stands now, I knew he would. He looks at the seer who spoke and speaks in his distant voice.
“These Mon’kiegh have a...history...with our people. One of their leaders was dishonoured when he was told he could not slay Farseer Elear and myself by another. Though they are not all corrupt my belief is that were they to fall that leader would come seeking blood to bury his past shame, and the Tigers of Ravanont are known as hunters, they would track us here.” Another thing I had not thought of, though I should have. Drake’s brother had come after us after we spoke, promising that when next we met one of us would die. Many of the council look to us now, we can read them like opened books. They wish us to be cast out, which, although not ideal, would allow us to carry out our task. The Autarchs sense this and mutter upon themselves before one of them stands and asks for silence before Prince Eldred speaks once more.
“Sem’ael Elear, Dy’aer Agaieth, the two of you have brought a potential threat to this Craftworld. Most here would ask that we banish you and I would not be wrong to agree with them.” More nods at this comment, I look to Dy’aer who shrugs. “But that is not our way. Prepare your host Farseer Elear, gather those who serve you loyally. You will go to Ravanont, and you will do anything you can to fix this. If you return it will only be on the condition that She Who Thirsts does not make this vision come to pass, and furthermore he who would have you dead shall be killed, and his head brought to me.” The entire assembly agrees with the notion, we look at one another, knowing that this is nothing less than what we had expected. “I will not have more Eldar blood spilled than needed. Tel’darian Halst shall accompany you,” one of the autarchs stands. He is adorned in red armour and lifts a large pike in salute as his blonde hair flows down to his shoulders. “He will report back to us on your progress. I do not want your mistakes brought back to haunt this Craftworld. Go to the Exodite world Kelmath, by your old home of Asha’dar, there is a webway gate there close to Ravanont.” Dy’aer and I bow before exiting the chamber early, dismissed from our duties to prepare our hosts. It seems we are preparing for war, and from the way things on Kelmath were last we heard we very well might see war before we land on Ravanont.
The aftermath is red. The ground is stained with blood. Death is everywhere. A god laughs. All is darkness...