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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-10-12, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Default Calamity

The last.

Not the very last.

But the last of her kind for sure.

There was no way to know how long it had been now. Since that fateful moment when almost all life in the galaxy had been extinguished. Nobody, what scarce survivors there were, knew what had caused it. It had been a scream unlike anything else. The warp had resounded with a pain unlike any other and in the blink of an eye everything had... Everything had died. Worse than died...

Ork tribes had screamed their anger even as they keeled over and bled their last curses to the void. Humans had cried out for a salvation that would never come. Craftworlds had collapsed, the wraithbone structures unable to cope with the warped resonance of the calamity that befell them. Tyranid Hive ships had simply burst, bleeding their numerous charges to the cold of space. Even the fledgling tau had been unable to weather the shock of the psycho-galactic blast.

Even the Warp had not come through unharmed. With the psychic backlash of such a wide scale of death, even the Chaos Gods had been dealt a grievous blow. Entire legions of daemons simply winked out of existence, unable to withstand their patron’s near fatal wounds. The Eye of Terror dimmed and was snuffed out, taking with it the lives of every damned soul that dwelt within. None could explain it.

...Nearly every living thing had been annihilated. The countless souls had not died and bled into the warp, they had winked out of existence altogether...

Nonsense is our Salvation

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-10-12, 03:19 PM
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whoa!!!! talk about hanging on a thread.....c'mon man more more more
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-10-12, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Be patient.

Nonsense is our Salvation

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-10-12, 03:36 PM
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Default Hi

Having a bad day when you wrote it? Just needed to kill something or many somethings in a legal way and relieve some stress? I understand completely.

Great job at killing off the universe. Now what will I write about? lol

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
Other stories from Adrian.
Look up Adrian in the "Compendium" to find them. Thanks
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-11-12, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
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Default Part 1

‘What’s happening?!’ The child asked. She ran as fast as she could to stop from falling as she was dragged by her hand. The farseer’s dome was a throng of panicked activity as they ran.

‘I do not know, child.’ The farseer replied. ‘But we must get you to safety. Be swift!’ They shouldered through a group of eldar civilians running in the opposite direction. The girl was almost knocked from to the ground but the broad shouldered armour of her protector kept the way forward clear as they once again increased their pace.

‘But Lord Maechu...’ The girl protested. ‘What about everybody else?’ She almost tripped but was hoisted back to her feet by the powerful grip of the farseer leading her.

‘Many of us must... prepare to fight.’ Maechu replied. ‘Everyone is seeing to the safety of those who cannot. You are my responsibility now. Please, go!’ He stopped and ushered her forward. She looked to where he was pointing and saw what looked like one of the isolation domes she had seen during one of her earlier visits to the dome of crystal seers.

A tremor ran through the ground beneath their feet. All around them, fleeing or cringing eldar cried out and pointed to the sky. She followed their gazes, but whatever had their attention escaped her.

‘Lord...?’ She pleaded fearfully for some explanation. A single tear formed under her eye as the farseer met her gaze and simply shook his head.

‘Stay in there.’ Maechu commanded. ‘And please, do not come out until I come back for you...’

As the dome sealed her inside, she lost sight of the farseer. It would be the last contact she would ever remember with another eldar...

* * *

A beam of sunlight permeated the darkness, cutting her empty sleep short as the light pierced her closed eyes. She stirred with a soundless grimace of disquiet and slowly stood. Her head was almost devoid of hair, her clothes were tight fitting and almost run ragged and her once beautiful face had become a permanent expression of fluctuating anger and neutrality.

She was as tall as any of her race. As slim and flexible as any of her peoples’ warriors. As resourceful as the outcasts and as forthright thinking as the farseers. To be anything less would have meant death. And to die would mean the extinction of the eldar race forever. No matter how hopeless she felt, no matter how much she wanted to give up, she wouldn’t. She couldn’t, not with the monumental responsibility she had undertaken.

She took a few moments to stretch her joints and reached for the cloak that hung on the wall nearby. Stepping away from the makeshift bed of stretched vines and various scavenged fabrics, she donned the cloak and stepped out of the tiny room. Just outside, there was a belt and a long rifle. She strapped the belt on straight away, and slung the rifle over her shoulder. Pausing for a moment to survey what had become her home, she noted every tiny detail to ensure nothing had been here through the night without her knowing.

It was a giant cave, a hole in the ground. There was no way to say that delicately. The myriad of trinkets and technological artefacts stared back at her, unmoved and untouched since she placed them there. She nodded to nobody but herself as she began to walk towards the hidden exit at the far end of the dome sized cave. Her eyes flittered over the many things she had scavenged or found along the way, each one with a story to tell. Each one a relic of a dead race.

There was a crude metal shaping of a twin headed bird taken from a fallen place of worship. There was a ramshackle weapon which by all scientific rights shouldn’t be able to fire the misshapen bullets in its ill fitting magazine. A round autonomous unit that sported several mechanical limbs fitted with various tools and attachments. And a group of gemstones that once glowed with the brightness of living souls...

She stopped walking, ever so briefly at the last one, to stare into those relics that had been so sacred to her kind. Now they meant nothing. Their purpose was hollow as they now had no souls to harbour, and the malevolent deity that thirsted after them was but a mewling shadow of the all encompassing terror it used to be. She resumed walking with a sigh. Though they were empty, and always would be, they still served to remind her of the traditions and the memories her people left behind. Just as she preserved them, she saw fit to preserve the Aquila, the Shoota and the tech drone. Each in their own way, these objects were sacred to the races that created them.

They were all now testament to a galaxy that had been teeming with life. And now that life was all but gone. Reaching the end of the cave, she brushed aside a thicket of thorns and woven branches. Slipping the hood of her cloak over her head, she slipped through the small gap she had created and stepped onto a ground littered with twigs and dying foliage. With practiced ease she moved through the clutch of trees that concealed the entrance to her underground hideaway and scaled a nearby tree. It was one of the oldest on this planet by the looks of it, sturdy and broad and immovable. She climbed to the highest branch and surveyed the land that surrounded her...

She couldn’t bring herself to call this place home. Home would always be Ulthwe, but instead of the immense craftworld plying the stars, it had become a memory scattered through her thoughts just as the flaming wreckage of Ulthwe itself had come crashing down on this planet. She didn’t know why, but she had always assumed that Maechu had steered the craftworld to this place in his final moments. Somehow he had known what was coming even before it had hit. There had been no warning. The Calamity that had claimed everything had not sent a precursor. It had simply happened, without warning and seemingly without cause.

The Calamity. That was what it had come to be called. The End of Life and the End of Hope.

Her feet landed softly on the ground once more and she broke into a jog. At the edge of the small forest was what looked like a pit of thorns and poisonous blossoms. With one clean leap she cleared the obstacle to land inside another hollowed out underground section completely hidden from view. This cave however was nowhere near the size of the other one. This cave only needed to harbour one thing. She allowed herself a few moments so her eyes would adjust to the dark before picking out the sleek shape before her. Mounting the saddle, she triggered the ancient machine to life and pushed it forward. With a soft shriek of engines, the jetbike roared into life and carried her back out into the daylight.

The machine did not resemble the elegant jetbikes of the craftworld, indeed all wraithbone structures had begun to deteriorate after the Calamity, instead it was the metal form of a corsair vehicle. Perhaps it was good fortune that such a band had graced Ulthwe with their presence at the right time to...

She dismissed the notion with a contemptuous snort. It was nothing but blind luck. Fortune had died along with any other ideals of destiny or purpose in this bleak universe and the only constant anymore was the need to survive. As the ground zoomed past her in a silent haze, she made for where she had left off yesterday. She would have to make more progress today than before however or risk starvation. Already her stomach had begun to speak to her of its emptiness and displeasure.

The hours of silence preceded yet more silence as she reached her destination. Unlike the empty fields of before where at least there was still grass and vegetation, this place was completely devoid of anything living but her. With a grim sense of numbness and a deep breath, she lowered her craft and began to search.

++Entry 2158++

I don’t care anymore. Or at least, I have to keep telling myself that. For every corpse I come across, for every empty waystone I find, every dropped relic of lives long extinguished, I have to remind myself that I don’t care anymore.

I have to keep fooling myself, or else I’ll go insane.

Everything I do now is for profit, survival or both. I have no cause to devote myself to but my own continued existence. A century ago, harvesting wraithbone to sell as power sources to humans and greenskins would have been unthinkable. Today, it is simply another facet of life. With the warp all but dead, everything that was connected to it began to bleed away. The once holy and imperishable material of our homes was no exception, and it gave off a healthy dose of energy as it did so.

But it wasn’t just energy that radiated from that substance. Memories flowed out of it, dreams of a time full of life. To hold the stuff as it faded away was like having a vivid dream of a happier time.

My parents had told me otherwise once. They said to me when I was a young girl, that the galaxy was full of nothing but war and death.

But for that... there had to have been lots of life didn’t there? Sheltered away on that craftworld for all of my childhood up to the Calamity, I had never known what life was really about. And now, with everything gone, it seemed I never would.


Nonsense is our Salvation

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-12-12, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Default Part 2

Like all the children, she had gathered to see the return of the Ulthwe Strike force. The adults all formed a parade in the streets below and welcomed back the brave warriors who had come back from waging war on the humans. Like most children here, the girl had never seen a human before. When she asked her mother what a human looked like, she had been told it was as though Isha had thrown the dregs of Life’s broth onto the ground outside and it had festered into a shallow mockery of Eldar Majesty. From which the child could only infer that humans looked at least vaguely similar to her own kind.

Her father would be down there in the parade somewhere. He would be a returning warrior. From the elevated walkways and balconies above she and her friends kept out of the way where they could see without causing undue stress on the warriors’ minds. Or at least, that’s what she had been told. One of the elder farseers had told her that the warriors weren’t ready to see their families straight away when they came back, that they needed to remove a stained mask from their souls first.

‘So where is he?’ One of the children beside her asked. His eyes displayed a hint of concern despite his youthful smile, but she could see straight through it. The same concern had gripped her already.

‘He... He should be with them...’ She pointed to the dark armoured eldar sporting skull masked helms and bone themed armour. There had been five of them when the strike force left, and now only three of them returned. ‘He might be... one of them...?’

‘Or one of... ‘ Her trembling lips stopped forming words the instant her eyes landed on the unmoving eldar forms that were being carried on hovering funeral units...

* * *

She heaved as hard as she was able to, but the wreckage refused to budge. With a grimace of resignation, she returned to the bike and withdrew several tools that had been stashed permanently in the rear compartment. Withdrawing a laser cutter presumably of human design, she approached the enormous chunk of spacecraft and aimed the cutter at the weakest point she could find. As she worked, pieces began to detach and she immediately stowed them on her jetbike as they did. This simple fighter would be a start, but fragments of what used to be a human cruiser had also dotted this landscape where the death throes of a plummeting craftworld had dragged the human armada to a fiery death with it.

Metals and other raw materials were in dire need, less so to her than to the fledgling human colony she intended to sell them to. But what had value to them by extension had value to her for one primary reason; She was the only one crazy enough to venture out here and find these increasingly rare resources. In return she was able to barter weapons and food, materials she herself had more direct need of. With the pieces of metal she had been able to scrape from the hull of the crashed fighter, she would probably be able to trade for half a day’s food. Which would be delightful no doubt, but having travelled this far she would have infinitely preferred something more. So it was with little needed self encouragement that she made the decision to explore further. If she was truly fortunate, she might yet find pieces of wraithbone...

Once more she found herself shaking her head at the unconscious use of that word. Fortunate... She climbed aboard the jetbike with rushed inelegance and jetted further into the wasteland that had once been a paradise. Every day she ventured further, but this was another step still, to go even closer to... them.

If the eldar was honest with herself, she was glad to have found nothing after three more hours of searching. She could go no further without being caught out after the dark had fallen. And that was something she did not wish to repeat. With a neutral sigh she spun her craft around and started heading towards her next destination.

Not every psychic sensitive creature had been wiped out, though survivors were invariably a tiny fraction of the whole. On this world in particular, in reality the only world she had known since the Calamity, there was only one settlement. This world, once a thriving industrious colony of human manufacture, had been reduced to a barren shadow of its former self and barely a few dozen souls still called it home. Aside from her, the vast majority of these individuals were humans, and it was towards their fading echo of a town that she zoomed now.

It appeared as a small jagged strip on an otherwise empty horizon ahead, the speed of her approach rendering details visible within minutes. She glanced sideways to ascertain the position of the sun and deduced it to be late afternoon. The short days of this planet were ever a thorn in her side, restricting as they had her ability to travel any meaningful distance in the sun’s light. She set her jetbike down at the edge of the small village and stepped off with a liquid grace. A small dot of movement caught her eye and she cast back her hood, revealing herself.

‘Well if it ain’t Stick Legs back from da wastelands!’ A gratingly familiar yet annoying voice called out.

‘It’s wonderful to hear your voice as well Spiv.’ The eldar woman replied. Her own voice was a dry and joyless tone, far at odds with the melodious song voice of her childhood. ‘Why don’t you stop hiding in garbage and lend me a hand?’

‘Stick Legs wants Spiv’s help?’

‘Sure, why not.’ Came the dour reply. ‘Come here, grab a few handfuls of scrap and help me get hem to Consou’s shack.’

With unfettered eagerness, a small almost naked green form darted out from under the pile of garbage he had been using as a bed. He practically dove into the junk heap that had precariously been placed in the jetbike’s saddle bags and cargo compartment, sending the scraps of metal scattering to the ground. With undiminished enthusiasm he gathered up as much as his scrawny green arms could carry and fell into place behind the much taller eldar as she gathered an armful of scrap herself and led him towards an unassuming shack near the centre of the town.

Her senses caught the presence of another set of eyes watching the two of them approach even before Consou made himself known. The man was dressed in a ragged set of work overalls and his skin was covered in the dirt and grime of a forge. Flickering fires of his trade could be seen through the doorway of the building he stood before as he nodded sombrely in greeting to the odd pair of xenos.

++Entry 2159++

I don’t understand why they let Spiv stay. Or even live. And yet, it is curious. I have never heard of a gretchin being so eager and helpful to non greenskins. My old teachers, and my parents who had encountered them first hand, described gretchin as cowards and sneaky thieves that took orders from only themselves and their larger ork cousins. Maybe Spiv understood on some primal level that he was most likely the last of his kind on this world.

I once asked the little greenskin how he came to be here. From what I could decipher of his poorly worded ramblings, he doesn’t seem to know. Consou and those who live in this town tolerate him more for the amusement factor than his supposed willingness to be a helping hand I suspect, as there’s no denying he’s an ineloquent clumsy oaf. Though even I will admit, on the few occasions I’d deemed necessary to spend the night here, he was immensely entertaining when they let him into the alcohol reserves that Harkinson brews from time to time. In a way, he was almost a subject of some twisted affection from a few of the townsfolk. I will admit to occasional smiles generated on his words and deeds, and he was helpful after all. Sometimes. I almost didn’t mind giving him a share of the half grown vegetables I received in exchange for the scrap metal Consou would turn into more useful things.

These same thoughts cross my mind every time I see him. When I see any of them in fact. I can flick this record back perhaps a hundred or even a thousand pages and find entries almost identical to this one. My mother... I think it was her... used to say that the warp was our dreams and memories. It was our emotions and imaginations. It had given rise to She who Thirsts... Thirsted... and when it was all but snuffed out I can only imagine that much of who we were died with it.

Is that why the few remaining humans no longer cling to meaningless beliefs of sovereignty and a long dead Emperor? Their pride and faith was wiped out?

Is that why Spiv is devoid of the malice that his kind were once famed for? His aggression is spent?

Is it why I no longer fear Slaanesh? A fallen god whose name once burned a person’s lips to even speak and whose horrific visage haunted my dreams? Now a pathetic blind husk whose decadence and need for indulgence have no place in this grey world...

At times... I wonder if the Calamity was a blessing or a curse...


Nonsense is our Salvation

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-12-12, 05:02 PM
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wow serp loving it
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-12, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Default Part 3

‘Full swings.’ Her father said. ‘One motion, one swift kill. You won’t get a second chance on a battlefield little one!’ He chided, then motioned for her to follow through again. She grinned back up at the lean figure of her father and swung the fallen branch in the same movement he had shown her.

‘When will I be able to join the temple?’ She asked eagerly.

‘When you come of age, girl.’ He answered. His eyes were warm yet serious, the mark of a doting father who wished nothing but the best for his child but knew full well the weight of the galaxy would be upon her shoulders soon enough. ‘But don’t rush into it. There are many things to do on the grounds of Ulthwe before you feel the need to shed another’s blood.’

‘I wanna protect the craftworld!’ The naive girl exclaimed. ‘I wanna fight off all the aliens that try to wreck our home!’ She swung the branch in the same sword patterns that her father had showed her while the stoic warrior looked on proudly. Though he dreaded the day his daughter’s life would be put into the hands of fortune on the battlefield, he would never do a thing to dampen her spirit.

He suddenly became aware of a pair of sharp eyes glaring at him from a short distance away. The child’s mother waited no longer than was necessary to let him be aware of her displeasure. He said nothing as the woman left, and continued to watch apprehensively as their oblivious daughter continued to play with her imaginary sword.

* * *

‘Do you think you’ll make it back?’ Consou asked.

‘If I hurry.’ The eldar replied. ‘There’s still a good hour before the sun sets. I might be able to get back in time if I push the engine...’ Even as she spoke the words however she could see that it was a slim chance at best.

‘You might as well stay.’ Consou said. ‘You know I always have room, and it’d be better if you not get caught outside when those... things, start skulking around.’

The last eldar thought for a few moments, as reluctant as she was to stay here she could not deny the logic behind the decision. She was not going to make it home in time to avoid a confrontation with the creatures that owned the night on this world. She accepted the smith’s offer with a gracious nod before turning back towards the edge of town. If she was going to stay here, her jetbike would have to be hidden.

‘Spiv.’ She said, grinning wryly as the grot looked up with bright eyes. ‘How strong is your arm?’

Half an hour later, a tired eldar and an exhausted grot sat on the floor of a dirty living room. The forge worker had hardly made it a point of his life to keep the place clean, and she grimaced slightly at the state of the old mattress he had rolled out for her use. An apologetic shrug was her only reply but in truth it was not a great deal worse than the barely kept tangle of vines she used back home...

Home. The word seemed wrong to her. Even after everything that had happened, Home to her was still Ulthwe, still a scattered and broken vessel strewn across the wastelands of this world in an ever decaying state. She huddled her robe closer to herself as she contemplated the once mighty vessel’s fate. It had come to crash on this world shortly after the Calamity had hit, but she could not for the life of her understand why. Ulthwe, indeed all craftworlds, had always made a point of avoiding human held planets. Why had it been heading here?

She put the thought from her mind and began to meditate. In this frame of mind she was easier able to rest while not rendering herself completely unaware of her surroundings. It was a habit she had formed whenever circumstances prevented her from sleeping in the security of what had become her shelter. In the next room, Consou began dousing the fires of his forge while Spiv settled into a pile of junk which he seemed to inexplicably find comfortable. Soft snores could be heard from the grot within moments. As the eldar’s thoughts began to flitter away and her heart rate and breathing slowed, the small human village resembled a town in more peaceful times.

She roused herself a number of hours later and focused. She thought she had heard the faint scuffling of footsteps outside. Moving as silently as death itself, she rose and crept silently to the sole window of Consou’s house. The eldar pulled her hood tighter, trusting her life to its camouflaging power. The night outside was a deep darkness permeated only by the dim light of the stars. But even the starlight was enough to make out the terrifying silhouettes stalking slowly through the town.

Even having seen the same sight almost every night she had been living here, the sight of these malevolent figures stalking through the shadows so close was still enough to freeze the blood. Every light in the town had been doused, giving the impression of a dead empty village as devoid of life as all the others. One of the figures scraped its claws across the window of the small house opposite Consou’s, while another crawled slowly just in front of it. After a few moments of inspecting the structure they moved on.

The window was suddenly filled with the dark shape of a hunched figure leering as it glared inside. The unmistakeable humanoid form peered with glowing red eyes through the glass, looking directly through where the woman was knelt. She stared back with baited breaths, not daring to move, not daring to break eye contact. For a few agonizing moments it looked as though she had been discovered. Then the contact passed and the creature moved on.

She didn’t sigh in relief, but instead remained on full alert. Complacency would only cause death, and she had survived too long and endured too much to forfeit her life to such a stupid mistake. Not for the first time, the same cloak that had once adorned a corsair’s back had saved the last eldar’s life...

++Entry 2160++

It was... unusual to say the least. To know the face of death and to gaze upon what could be the harbinger of your own cruel fate. They only seem to come out at night, and were it not for them I may not have survived my childhood. The childhood terrors told to me by my parents and Lord Maechu had suddenly become real, and in the face of that fear my survival instinct went into overdrive.

Because of them, I exercised a caution like none I had known as a child. I knew what real survival meant now. The frivolities of finding a Path now seemed insignificant compared to the ever present task of simply staying alive. These ghoulish creatures had instilled in me the same drive that my father used to in their own twisted way.

I was told that the humans tried to fight them the first time they appeared. I was subsequently told there used to be several hundred human survivors compared to the paltry few dozen who lived here now. These things could not be fought. The only way that had proven successful to survive against them was to remain hidden.

But I try not to limit my thoughts like this. As time goes on and my will to live becomes ever more eroded, I begin to entertain foolish notions of fighting back. Will I ever act on these insane plots that unravel themselves in my head? Perhaps. In a few thousand years, when my body begins to fail me and my mind finally cracks, perhaps I will seek my end. Maybe I will lure as many of them to myself as I can and rig myself to explode. It would be a final victory of mine.

But it would be just another tiny bump in a long road for you.

You... You who have taken everything.

I hate you so much.


Nonsense is our Salvation

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I like the combination of real time events and diary entries; it works very well as a device for revealing background without large chunks of exposition.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-17-12, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Default Part 4

‘Why do you insist on planting these ideas into the girl’s head?’ The eldar woman demanded, confronting the father of her child in an accusatory manner. ‘Do you want to se her die on some battlefield?’

‘I want nothing more than to see our child flourish, woman!’ The warrior retorted. ‘A life of peace and stability does not come without cost. Without the Priests of Khaine and their disciples, the life of serenity that you enjoy so much cannot be!’

Neither of them knew that their child was hiding forlornly just a few short metres from where they stood. They believed themselves alone in this section of the Park Dome, the same place where they had met and fallen in love. But the young girl who was the object of their debate kept herself hidden between a clutch of trees and listened with sadness as her future threatened to tear her parents apart...

‘There are plenty of eldar who place themselves on the Path of the Warrior!’ Her mother retorted. ‘All who feel the need to vent their anger will find their way there without your... encouragement.’

‘My encouragement?’ Her father fumed. ‘Have you never seen the child when we depart for battle? Have you not seen the light in her eyes? The eagerness in her heart? And when we return! The joy of our victory is celebrated the craftworld across! Why would you discourage that?’

The eldar woman looked averted her eyes from his and instead looked at the ground. ‘And when you don’t return one day? What will I say to her?’

* * *

With the return of daylight and the disappearance of the terrifying creatures of the dark, the eldar and her erstwhile housemates once more saw fit to step outside. Droplets of blood marked their passage where they had draped the flesh of earlier kills around themselves. Consou shivered as he looked at the abnormal footprints they left behind and the deeply indented scrapes their claws had left behind.

Spiv had vanished t do whatever a lone grot would do when not trying to kiss up to somebody else, and so the eldar offered her thanks before returning to the junk pile she had used to conceal her jetbike. Hurling several pieces of scrap aside from where Consou stored her finds, she hauled the vehicle free and kick started the engine.

‘Be careful out there.’ The smith cautioned.

‘Don’t worry.’ She answered. ‘With any luck I’ll be back earlier today with more materials and maybe something else if I find the time.’

‘We’d welcome it.’ The man nodded gratefully. Not seeking to waste any more time than this, the eldar boarded the jetbike and activated the turbo boosters. Jetting off to the north, she angled her craft in order to increase her altitude by half a dozen metres to avoid unwanted obstacles on the ground. The ground beneath her zoomed past at extreme velocity, blurring into a muddy green haze as she sped along.

In a matter of two and a half hours the green had given way to a dead brown as she returned once more to the wastelands and their hidden bounty of raw materials. She did not stop here though, instead veering to the west and towards the forested areas that bordered her camp and the craftworld’s crash site. She slowed only enough to keep an eye out for anything that shimmered in the light of the risen sun that may turn out to be something of worth.

The next few hours yielded the same assortment of scrap that had become typical of this place. Abandoned Imperial vehicles and the remnants of structures buried under the craftworld’s crash onto this planet were difficult to unearth, but worth the search for the materials they provided. As she prepared to leave the current area she paused. A wave of familiarity swept over her senses and for the briefest of moments she felt the faint flicker of Home.

It was enough. She knew that there was wraithbone in the area after that and had no reservations whatsoever about searching for it here and now. Very rarely had she ever opened her eyes to the warp since instructed in basic defences by Maechu as a child. For most of her life it had been unnecessary and pointless, but now it would help her unearth a treasure of a forever lost time. Focusing her mind and tapping into the potential once possessed by her entre race and now her alone, she looked out upon a barren dead landscape to see the pockets of bright psychic energy embedded beneath the surface of the dusty ground.

With a disappointed sigh, she made note of the nearest pocket and swiftly rode her jetbike to its location. With a grimace, she removed one of the small tool kits from the rear saddle bags and flicked a switch. For all of their pride, she was thankful that the corsairs who built this machine had the right mind to get dirty when the occasion called for it. The device in her hand extended and formed a laser excavation tool. With a good deal of patience and precision, she found herself able to cut away chunks of ground and rock to unearth the precious psychic substance buried beneath.

When she was almost there, she stopped. Wraithbone could not simply be taken from where it lay without risking instant deterioration. With a moment to reflect on the task at hand, the same task she had performed dozens of times before, she returned to the tool compartment and withdrew a translucent container of multicoloured hue. With the reverence one normally afforded a holy relic, she carried the sphere like object to the hole and gently twisted the two halves apart. Only now did she complete her digging.

A light suddenly assailed her senses. Not just her eyes, but a cacophony of melodies and a feeling of warmth and joy permeated her very being as the tiny shard of her shattered home was finally revealed. She reverently picked up the wraithbone shard and lifted it slowly in her hands...

A song once sang by a bonesinger artisan flickered through her mind as the wraithbone shard shared with her the moment of its birth. Hundreds of thousands of conversations passed through her mind as it spoke to her of the many eldar it had been in the presence of during its long existence. Screams of fear and pain tore into her senses as it recalled the craftworld’s sundering.

With immense reluctance, she placed the wraithbone shard in one half of the sphere and quickly replaced the other half. The flood of memories and thoughts ceased as the psychic essence was contained. It was a surreal sensation, to have the scattered memories of a hundred lifetimes passing through her before suddenly being once more alone in the vast expanse of a dying planet in a dead galaxy. With a few moments to gather her thoughts, she gazed forlornly at the prismatic orb and the misshapen shard contained within and mourned the los of what they both represented...

Suppressing tears, she bundled the cargo up and turned her jetbike back towards the human settlement. This haul would pay much better than the pile of mere scrap she had returned with last time. She gave one more look back, making a mental note to return here at the next opportunity and dig up the rest of the dying remains of her old home...

++Entry 2161++

At times I cannot believe the depths I have sunk to. The lows you have driven me to with your relentless pursuit of everything that still breathes. Wraithbone. Waystones. You have driven me so far as to use the melted and reshaped waystones I scavenge to contain the shards of my own home. Two of the most sacred materials known to my kind are reduced to bartering fodder under the duress you mercilessly push me through.

I slowly came to realize that what I am doesn’t matter anymore. The last eldar? Meaningless. If there can be no more after me then why does the history of my people matter? If every craftworld has met the same demise as Ulthwe what purpose is there to preserve it? Harkinson told me once over a night of drinks that the past only mattered if there would be any to remember it.

You have taken everything that would have been important. I had not a future, no present and the past had been rendered hollow. When you finally manage to wrap your icy talons around me, your victory will be complete. That which a thirsting god could not do in ten thousand years, you accomplished in one fell swoop. In a single moment you eclipsed what the combined might of the Great Enemies of old couldn’t accomplish in over sixty million years.

You annihilated life itself, and you destroyed what little hope we might have had. Consou, Spiv, Harkinson... They may believe rebuilding is possible. But every time I look upon the fading memories of a piece of home, I see the same fate that awaits the few lingering souls that remain. To fade and fall into your uncompromising grip.

I am an eldar. I will live for thousands of years to come. I will outlive all of them, all of anything that is left. But it will not matter. It may take you longer, but you will have your triumph over me all the same. You will have the lifeless void you crave.


Nonsense is our Salvation

Serpion5 is offline  

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