The Eldar were a worthy foe. Physically, they were effeminate and gangly and they spoke in a complex, high-pitched warble. Their war gear also looked flimsy and impractical and was more in harmony with the stage than the battlefield. But as soldiers, they were formidable, fast and deadly and their weapons were lethal.
They had caught the patrol in a text-book ambush and cut them down like a scythe through ripe wheat. Thirty seconds after walking into the clearing it was all over. Sixteen Troopers had been reduced to quivering jelly by the Eldar’s wicked Shuriken catapults. They never had the chance to return.
And that was indeed was the question that perplexed the watcher. Where did the Eldar appear from? How were they able to destroy the patrol so effectively without being discovered? Why were they even here in the first place?
He suspected that he knew the answer.
It did not make sense. This was Imperium territory, a well-established human settlement in a system ruled by the iron fist of Terra. Yet these bone-white warriors with their red horsehair plumes and shining gemstones managed to slip in and butcher these men. They had killed the men and risked discovery for what? There was something here that had brought the Eldar out.
Now they were preparing to leave.
And I will follow
, said the watcher, climbing slowly to his feet and tucking himself in behind a thick gorse bush. His chameleon cloak would ensure that these suspicious, diligent harp-singers, would not detect him.
He who allows the alien to live, shares in the crime of its existence
He remembered the quote he had heard from Inquisitor Apollyon, of the Ordo Xenos.
We shall make them reap the whirlwind for their arrogance. I swear my blood oath as a servant of The Holy Orders of the Inquisition that you will rue the day that you let Ferrand de san Martinez into your labyrinth of little secrets.
+ They are on the move. All units stand-by +
It had taken his team years of careful study and hard work, sifting through an infinity of information and rumours, until they were finally lead here to this green and blue planet with its rolling hills and valleys, a veritable paradise that had still not been contaminated by the vulgar dismemberment of the Mechanicum and its machines.
Yes, but Martinez trusted his instincts.
The Eldar had once claimed that this planet was theirs and theirs alone. They had terraformed it long ago to await their return. The Mon-keigh
had no right to be here, no right to pollute their lands.
Two companies of The Emperor’s Vengeance Space Marine Chapter repudiated their claim to the planet and in one week of annihilation and destruction had sent the xenos running.
Now they had returned. But how?
Martinez believed he had the answer. He had finally found what could not be found. He had found the mysterious Webway so ruthlessly protected by the Eldar and their secret guardians. They would not let it fall into the hands of the Mon-keigh
… or worse.
The Heretic Czevak, once of The Holy Inquisition, was rumoured to have discovered it, and tales say he still wanders its paths to this day.
Tales and rumours.
The Eldar moved into single file and weaved their way back into the undergrowth. They would soon be out of sight. Martinez could not lose them, not now. A single Eldar remained stationary to the rear of the column brandishing a Death Spinner in his arms.
+ Sister Balakhnova. Dispatch the rear-guard… silently. We will loop around and trap the xenos +
+ It will be done +
Martinez smiled inwardly. Although she was Adepta Sororitas, she was also a Nunciate Advance, a diplomat, and able to use the spoken word. This was very handy, as Martinez had never mastered their complex battle signs.
He knew that the Battle sister would already be moving in for the kill and the result was a foregone conclusion. He must look to the rest.
He pushed aside a tall mass of bracken and found the beginning of the clearing. He could not see them yet but he knew that Captain Gustloff and his Stormtroopers were over to his right and to ground, Brother Berezovsky and a section of Soroitas to the left. He knew that The Crimson Sabres Techmarine (Excommunicate Traitoris)
would consider this task as demeaning and below him. Skulking in the undergrowth was not his way, he was Astartes and on a penance crusade, and wanted to be in the thick of battle and visible to his enemies.
A raised eyebrow from Martinez was all it took. Even an Astartes paid reverence to a Lord Inquisitor.
He would hide in the dirt and await his orders.
He skirted the clearing, keeping it to his right and then he was there, he had found them, but above all, he had found it. The entrance.
Now he would unleash the power of the Inquisition. Now he would make the Eldar pay for their bluster and conceit. Two words, two words that would bring him renown incarnate.
+ Take it +
A hundred Stormtroopers and three squads of Sisters erupted from the undergrowth and swamped the surprised Eldar. They fell easily, overrun and outnumbered.
+ The entrance. Secure the entrance at all costs +
Suddenly and without notice, the entrance lit up as bright as a star.
Dazzlingly fast, a flurry of colour and shapes, a howl as loud as the loudest thunder. It was a Harlequin, one of the keepers of the gate. It dispatched two of the Stormtroopers in the time it took to blink, a second later it had pinned Brother Berezovsky to the ground, impaling him through the shoulder with a slender sword. It smiled as the Techmarine attempted to swat it away and then nimbly somersaulted back into the Webway as quick as it had arrived. A black skull-helmeted avatar of death wagged a warning finger towards the Inquisitor before spraying the front of his men with a hammering weapon of untold destruction. Martinez howled with frustration.
+ All weapons, concentrate on the Death Jester +
But it was too late. The guardians of the web had seen to that.
What was found was now lost in a calamity of sound, violent colour and energy, and as if it never existed, the entrance disappeared for ever.
There is no art more beautiful and diverse as the art of death.