It was one thing to know when a foe had been defeated. But it was another to insist that the process be seen through to its extremes. Following Mithrahc’s order, the Necron legions had been sent to the planet once known as Kathaakras, a once luxurious world that formed the hub of entertainment for the nobility of the necrontyr. Following the Immortalization process it had been rendered into neutral territory where negotiations had taken place. When the great sleep had been initiated, the world had been abandoned altogether.
Until this day. Nemreth felt the presence of several thousand Necron minds tied to his own as he ordered the descent to the planet’s surface. Behind the Fleet, the Dolmen Gate shuddered and screamed at the unwilling transgression of the unloving aliens but the intrusion could not be halted. With the Phaeron’s authority, Nemeth would scour the krork colonies that had taken up living here, and he would capture the creature that dwelt among them. The C’tan shard that posed as a warboss in order to escape the clutches of god hunters.
‘Begin landing.’ Nemreth ordered. ‘Deploy beacons at the co-ordinates to follow.’ He initialized a scan of the world beneath, locating the hub of krork activity. With a malevolent chuckle, he transmitted the co-ordinates to the several dozen ships behind him, and looked down upon the doomed world in anticipation. The Flayers would be down there in moments, that lunatic Re-Kyt among them.
‘We’ve been sighted.’ Arakyr said at his side, looking to an outer orbit where several junk heaps had begun to move in their direction. Nemreth had to look twice to make sure the hulks of random scrap were in fact space faring vessels.
‘Good.’ Nemreth nodded. ‘If they come to us, we can eliminate them that much faster. Order all craft to return fire and prepare a mass teleport to the surface.’
‘Yes My Lord.’ The Lychguard replied.
* * *
Leaving the battle in space to the ship commanders, Nemreth joined the teleportation attack. One moment he was surrounded by Lychguard, including Arakyr, and the next he was amid a sea of green skinned savages. Their ferocity was seemingly undimmed by the hordes of Skin flayers already running rampant among them, but bravado alone was not enough to stay the Necron attack. As the freshly teleported warriors and immortals began to open fire upon the krork, metallic cries of anger and frustration could be heard from the flayers as their potential trophies were reduced to subatomic ash before they could be harvested.
‘Lord Nemreth, I believe I have a lead.’
The familiar voice of Socous sounded over the Tomb matrix, and the acting Nemesor reacted immediately.
‘Report!’ He ordered, ignoring the carnage around him as his guars fought doubly hard to keep the roaring greenskins from reaching their charge.
‘It is just as we thought.’
The Deathmark relayed his report from out of phase, where he scoured the battlefield completely unmolested by the barbarians that infested this rock. ‘It is a C’tan shard, posing as the krork warlord and manipulating them to its own will. I will attempt to identify it... and...’
‘Socous!’ Nemreth bellowed. ‘Report! Report at once!’
It was too late. ‘It has... seen me...’
A garbled though escaped the assassin’s mind. A sheer malevolent force momentarily disrupted the entire Necron assault. Across the battlefield, Necron screams of pain and fear could be heard as a force like no other attacked the Tomb Matrix directly. Nemreth fell to his knees, his bodyguard doing likewise. One of the Lychguard was cut down in the moment of weakness, a crude metal axe separating head from torso in a hail of sparks. Nemreth tried vainly to resist the onslaught but was as powerless to resist as even the lowliest Necron warrior.
Then suddenly the pain stopped. Through it all Socous had been doing everything he could to sever himself from the others, to allow himself to perish alone without being responsible for the doom of an entire Legion. Nemreth was stunned into inactivity for almost a full ten seconds as he slowly rose to his feet. Socous... He had been a loyal servant of Nemreth for millennia now. Even the creed of the Deathmarks he had cast aside in fealty to the Lord he had deemed worthy of exclusive service.
It had been so long since Nemreth had felt an emotion such as this. What was it? Sadness? Certainly not. Regret? Possibly. But one thing was undeniable, the burning desire he felt to imprison this foul creature was now strengthened a hundred fold.
‘Forward.’ He uttered simply. Without a word, his legion complied. Across the entire ork settlement, glittering Necron warriors scythed down krork brawlers without mercy. Flayers tore the flesh from those that tried to flee. Enormous Monoliths and ponderous Doomsday Arks unleashed utter destruction upon the war machines and structures of the crude city. Little by little, they grew closer to the target that lay in the city centre.
Nemreth knew who it was now. There was only one C’tan who was so well versed in the laws of the materium, able to bend every facet of the physical universe to its whim. Only one C’tan had ever been able to exert such a degree of control over the most minute functions of technology and machines. And when it had been shattered alongside its brethren, each and every shard had inherited this insidious power.
The Beast of the Void... Mag’ladroth... The Void Dragon.
Socous had looked into the mind of this creature. And he had suffered the ultimate price for such a transgression. The once feared assassin had been taken apart at more levels than could be understood by a creature born of the universe itself. But even knowing what he faced would not dissuade Nemreth from taking vengeance for his fallen comrade. Vengeance for...
Had there been another reason?
It didn’t matter. His warscythe cut a bloody path through the krork as the structure that housed the Dragon Shard came into view. He rested one hand on the cubic device at his waist and paused for a moment to reaffirm his grip on the situation at hand. He was facing down a Star God.
Only a shard,
he reminded himself. ‘All Necron units, prepare to move in.’