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This is a quick piece I wrote today to go with my new Warp Talons: Squad Babylon: Warp Talons of Slaanesh by Majere613 on DeviantArt (Deviantart link)

It follows on from the 63rd company backstory, which can be found here: The Thelenic Curriculum: The Emperor's Children, 63rd Company

There are a couple of mature themes, though nothing explicit, and I'm not trying to make any sort of Statement on transgender issues, just in case anyone thinks I am.

Apotheosis: Babylon

The carpet was in a good mood today.

The access hallway to the warp engine core of the Emperor's Children Strike Cruiser Virtue of Excess did not look, to the untrained eye, like part of the engineering deck of a warship. The walls, which would normally be crowded with power conduits and maintenance access panels, were instead decorated with lavish silk tapestries, though the vital systems of the ship still pulsed beneath them. The ceiling was hung with soft red lamps and incense burners which spread a perfumed musk throughout the deck that could send a man into a coma filled with lurid dreams for a week. And then there was the carpet.

Tyka walked her rounds of the deck, her bare feet pressing deep into the luxurious, blood-red pile. Today, the fibres stroked them sensuously, sending electric tingles through them, massaging out the tiredness. On another day, or even in another second, the psycho-reactive thing that covered the floor would bite with every step, never causing real damage {oh i'm sorry darling i never meant to hurt you} but setting nerves aflame with exquisite agony. Each pace brought either needle-sharp pain or near intolerable pleasure, and until you got used to it the experience was almost overwhelming. When Tyka had first been brought here by the Sky Warriors, there had been six girls from her village taken to serve on this deck. Two had not survived their first breath of the incense, and another had lasted almost a week before she finally succumbed to the urge to lie down on the hallway floor {it will be so much better down here with me}. Tyka had killed Ania, the fourth one to die, herself, throttled the life out of her with a silk cord from one of the tapestries. She had just wanted to know what it felt like.

She hadn't seen Lyanna for a few weeks. She hoped they'd cross paths again soon. Ania's knife was getting bored.

The main access doorway had begun to tremble with anticipation. Tyka eyed it warily- the doors liked it when people walked through them, liked to brush them with a tendril or two, maybe take a bite if the visitor was unwary or merely chose to let them. Someone was coming. She looked around quickly for somewhere to hide- there was a tapestry hanging almost to the floor a few feet from the door..

{yes i will hide you. She'll never find you here}

Perhaps not. She settled for concealing Ania's knife as best she could behind her back. The silk shifts the helots wore were of a translucent white, the better to display their dusky skin, so that was no help. She didn't make the mistake Ania had of letting the blade touch her flesh, though she could feel it writhing in her hand. {just a taste, dearest, i will be faithful}

The door burst open with a cry of joyous relief, and Death stepped through it. The knife lurched again in Tyka's grip and broke free, landing on the carpet, which devoured it greedily before it could escape. The slave girl stared in a mix of fascination, horror, terror and lust.

Another Legion- the barbaric World Eaters, or the stern Iron Warriors- might kill a serf where she stood for the gaze Lyka swept over Her Dark Majesty Karyn the Lewd, but the former Captain of the Emperor's Children relished in the attention. Millennia ago, Captain Karras had revelled in the cheers of crowds of citizens at the muster of the 63rd Company, and Karras the Lustful coveted adulation even more, though there were less to give it. After her rebirth, Karyn loved nothing more than flaunting herself before her peers. And everyone else.

Perhaps she stood a little less tall than her brothers in the other Legions, but Karyn made up for this with a long, pink topknot that bounced playfully behind her as she walked. Most of her power armour had long since been subsumed into her skin, giving her the illusion of vulnerability, with the exception of her ornate pauldrons of lacquered black, pink and gold that still glittered with the proud heraldry of the Emperor's Children. Her soft, black boots and gloves reflected the red light enticingly, but Tyka knew that whatever was underneath was as resilient as any armour of the Sky Warriors. She had seen it when the young men of her tribe, presented to be recruited by the Warriors known as the Excoriators, had attempted to repel the horrifying armoured women who had come in their stead. The slim blade riding at Karyn's hip had killed several of the lucky ones. The rest had been.. less fortunate.

With Karyn walked Lady Suspiria, the Sorceress known as the Painrider. The former Epistolary Susurrus had been similarly changed by the great ritual aboard the Palace of Diversions, though her mane of hair was a pure white. She bore a great staff surmounted with the many-pointed star of Chaos, and tipped at the other end with a slender spike. The carpet moaned every time the spike stabbed into it.

Much to Tyka's relief, and disappointment, the two ignored her. Even though she knew it meant certain doom, she followed them. To let Karyn out of her sight would be worse than death.

They walked the halls until they reached the access portal for the warp core itself. Months ago- if a measurement of time had any meaning in the Warp- the Raptors of Squad Babylon had been hurled, screaming, through that aperture at the start of what the Warband now called The Transitioning. This had been well before Tyka had arrived on the vessel, of course, but the ship had told her the story in her dreams.

Only.. she never slept, not any more. And the Transitioning had taken place on a different ship? {details}

“Open It.” said Karyn. The words reverberated down the hallway, though it seemed like she was whispering in Tyka's ear.

“My Dishonourable Lady, are you certain? My auguries have not spoken of this.” replied Suspiria. Karyn turned a smile on her that was a sea of razorblades on black silk.

“You have not been Listening, my Lecherous Friend. Some part of you still clings to the Old Ways, closes your Mind off to the Song. You Scream for Knowledge with Power, when all you Need to do is whisper your Question and Embrace the Answer. They have Returned to Us.”

“I bow before your wisdom, oh Supreme Slattern. You are, after all, the Harbinger of the Transition. I have invoked the access charms- the way will open for us.”

Without sparing another glance for the Sorceress, Karyn strutted forwards. With a look of pure, exultant malice on her face, Suspiria quietly began to back away, moving further from the portal. Tyka scurried back to avoid getting in her way- she was enthralled, but not suicidal. Without warning, the aperture slammed open, and a howling, roaring, screaming whorl of power blazed forth, enveloping Karyn completely. She let out a shriek of ecstatic agony.

“Yes!” shouted Suspiria. “I knew it! The Dark Lady never favoured you, you were always just a tool towards my ascension! Don't worry, I'll be sure to give your mewling remains pride of place at the next feast.. maybe as the main course!” She stabbed her staff down into the floor, which moaned with pleasure at the contact, and the portal closed.

“Great Sky Spirit!” whispered Tyka, briefly forgetting where she was.

Where once had stood the magnificent form of Her Dark Majesty, now stood six. Five were figures almost as tall as Karyn Herself, and similar in form, but each bore a pair of huge, pink, leathery wings from their back. Their twisted faces each bore a wild shock of electric-blue hair, and their hands seemed to be in a state of flux, shifting from almost human one moment, to huge daemonic talons the next. One, the largest, was more richly-appointed than the rest, a huge golden Aquila on one pauldron matching the Legion symbol on the other. Her right talon was shod in gold and silver, and her left hand gripped a cruel lash. Tyka wondered what it would feel like. The sixth figure had her back to Tyka and Suspiria, and when she spoke the Sorceress recoiled in terror.

“Welcome, Aurora, welcome, Sisters of Babylon. Long have you Dallied in the Orchards of Sin, long have the Handmaidens shaped you. Now your Hunt Begins.”

Even as those watching attempted to process what had happened, the leader of the newcomers threw herself at the transformed Karyn, screeching in fury. The lash whipped out, the claw struck with impossible speed. The Chaos Lord seized the claw in her gauntleted left hand, and took the blow of the lash to her right wrist with a hiss of pain, winding it around until her attacker was drawn in close. Seemingly without effort, she gripped the claw with her right hand, freeing up her left, and seized her attacker by the throat. The uneven struggle continued for a moment more, the newcomer's burning blue eyes blazing hate into the bottomless black jewels of Karyn's, before she was flung away. Rather than falling to the floor, the daemon-thing flapped her wings lazily, impossibly slowly, and simply hung in the air, staring at Karyn a moment longer. Then she dropped to the deck, and fell upon one knee, the motion matched by the rest of the squad. The carpet, wisely, didn't try anything.

“Good. Your killing instinct is undimmed, Aurous-that-was. Come.”

She turned on her heel, and began to stalk back down the corridor. Now Tyka could see the extent of the transformation- as well as the wings, and those eyes {swim in them, drown in them, die in them} Karyn's hair had been replaced by a tousle of the same blue as the others. The silver sword was gone, replaced by a pair of pulsing black blades that seemed to float in the air at her hips. Suspiria, realising the depths of her peril, crashed to her knees.

“M-my Lady, I-”

Karyn glanced at her, and back up the hallway. “Suspiria. Bring me That.”

Suspiria looked up, confused. Karyn was pointing at a slim pattern bolt pistol that lay on the floor, the carpet forming a respectful ring around it.

“Y-your gun, my most supreme-”


On the edge of insane terror, the Sorceress hurried to obey. She had to flatten herself against the wall to get past Karyn's new retinue, and one of the tapestries, sensing weakness, tried to envelop her. Suspiria ripped it to shreds with a single surge of magic, and the carpet saw to the remains. She picked up the gun warily, and presented it to Karyn.

Tyka had been rooted to the spot since the portal had opened, and now, incredibly, Karyn turned and looked at her directly. She fought to retain the memory of who, what, where she was.

“You lost Your Toy.” Karyn said, favouring her with a smile that was a promise of a thousand explicit tortures.

“M-my knife? Yes, Ka- my Supreme- ah..”

The Chaos Lord laughed, musically, and after a moment her bodyguard joined in. Tyka's heart welled in pride- she had entertained the Mistress, if only for a moment. Her!

“Well, you must Have a new One. Here.”

Karyn took Tyka's hand and pressed it open. As the slave-girl's mind reeled with the shock of contact, Karyn placed the pistol in her hand. It was a slim-pattern weapon, designed for assault troops and bikers, but still massive in the grip of a normal human. The Chaos Lord gently placed Tyka's finger on the trigger, and pressed it in, before turning to Suspiria. “Tell Her.”

Suspiria looked deep into Tyka's eyes. “So, Helot, you have been gifted with Lady Karyn's personal pistol, Deliverance. You have also been gifted with a single bolt. Should you release the trigger, that bolt will fire. If the bolt strikes your target, all will be well for you. If you miss, the bolt will instead return and..” she gave a twisted smile. “Well, I do not recommend that you miss.”

She turned, and hurried after Karyn. Tyka looked down at the heavy gun. Already, her finger was trembling with the effort of holding the trigger in. Slowly, arms quivering with the effort, she raised it towards the Sorceresses' retreating back. {Yes...}

No. Even hitting the bitch by surprise wouldn't be enough. She had seen how much punishment they could take, and how much they playfully returned.

She had to find Lyanna, and quickly.
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