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 Crossing of Hearts.

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Cavash
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PostSubject: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Aug 21 2012, 17:06

Part I.

Everybody within T’llionoch knew that something was coming their way. The skies wept tears of boiling claret, the lowest reaches of the labyrinthine habitats froze over where the shadows gathered and even the usual riots that had been considered part of what was the sparkling gem of the territory had grown out of hand. The Pierced Heart turned its guns upon the civilians attempting to usurp Lord Cavash, Hellions gathered the courage to swarm militarised positions just for an adrenaline rush and the eyries of the Scourges burnt with the infernal mayhem spread by rebel Reaver gangs.

The Grand Cavash had quickly taken action unleashing the full force of his Janissaries upon his citizens to regain order; unfortunately this had not been achieved to the extent the Grand Archon had wished.

He was not too bothered by the minor outbreaks of rebellion and the eightfold increase in the number of assassination attempts aimed at him, as Dernia Cavash knew that the rise in panic within his lands would soon be over. He hated the thought, but it made him feel on edge even when surrounded by Incubi and sealed away within his chamber. Soon it would be over, soon he would feel better. He had reassured himself for hours on end. His passion for flaying and breathtaking displays of art had been taken the moment he had been informed of the news. His body felt like it was in overdrive, the hyper-adrenalines that had replaced his blood after his death countless cycles ago could not replicate this feeling. The Coldmind being secreted by an implant in his brain was helping to keep him focussed and scheming, but now he was struggling.

If this went wrong then his domain and everything that he had ever fought for would be ruined, only to be topped off by a future of prolonged torment.

It was then that the Raider descended, the humming fields hiding away the contents even while in plain sight. The soft whiring of the anti-gravatic generators was irritating, but what caused the most discomfort was the sight of that loathed black armour as the Archon stepped down gently upon the landing balcony. That banner at his back... oh how the Pierced Heart Kabalites had to resist acts of unrestrained violence.

The figure did not say anything, but stood proud as his guards gathered behind him. Each one sported a Shardcarbine and the white helms that denoted the Archon Teyl’kor’s guard. Long whips of dyed white hair ran down from his sharp, unforgiving features and porcelain white skin. His oil-pool eyes offset his obvious vanity, the two corrupt pits giving only a glimpse of the pure malice that resonated throughout his every movement. He wore gauntlets, but no armour dared hide his perfectly manicured hands. Each long finger bore no blemish but was thin and dextrous seemingly without match. This figure Dernia knew well.

He was an item of hate, the hand of Vect in matters that were too lowly to concern the Supreme Overlord directly.
“Archon Vershnarr Gaire’h Teyl’kor of the Supreme Overlord’s venerated Black Heart Kabal, it is an honour to have you grace my palace.” Dernia bowed, every other present member of his Kabal following suit as not to offend.

“I know it, I get told so often and in much greater displays of linguistic skill.”

What do you want? Streamers? Dernia repressed his usual sarcasm and waited to be allowed to stand.

“May I inquire as to why the Supreme Overlord has ordered an investigation into my Kabal?”

“You may… on the other hand I may have you innards for clothing. Either one would be appropriate, but only one shall be the outcome of unnecessary questions.”

The Grand Archon’s hand flinched for his Blaster, a subconscious act that had luckily gone unspotted.

“This is not an investigation, Archon, this is an enquiry. Asdrubael Vect”, that name made most people tense up ,“has demanded that I oversee operations here for a while. He has asked me to meet with one Dernic Karash.”

“Dernia Cavash.”

“Yes, that’s the one. Some of these Archons have such ridiculous names. Do you know where I may meet with him?”

Maybe in those gardens, four hundred miles below.
“You are in his company, Archon.”

“Then do not just stand there, point him out to me. I demand it!”

“I am Grand Archon Dernia Cavash.” His teeth ground together so hard that his upper right fang snapped in his mouth.

“Grand Archon? A bit arrogant, is it not?”

“It was a title granted to me by Asdrubael Vect upon the stabilisation of social and military structure after the turmoil of a dysjunction that occurred many cycles before you spawned from whatever tube housed you.” Mentioning Teyl’kor’s own master is what most likely had prevented any insult being taken, on the other hand it may have been that Dernia was not so fearful of the Black Heart Kabal’s peons as to stand idly by as a hypocrite spouted his vain filth in the Grand Archon’s direction.

“Well then, allow us to move to your banqueting hall so that I may judge your skills as a host.” He quickly recuperated with a hollow smile as he began to walk towards the entrance, hair swishing along his armoured back.


A stab, a scream and a splitting of flesh. A slash, a cry and a spill of blood. A punch, a shout and the cracking of skulls.
The floor of his chamber was red that night. The servants kept on arriving and the pile of corpses grew ever larger. He had smashed furniture, destroyed portraits and murdered with the statuettes of his ancestors.

His mind throbbed, his soul burnt and his body thrashed in hatred. How dare they encroach upon his land. He knew that Vect had spies, he was comfortable with them. No citizen would notice, but now, sending a worthless lackey… the Black Heart had crossed a line within Dernia’s mind. Every Kabal throughout the Dark City, every rogue piratical force, and quite possibly every Mon-keigh within realspace would know of this imagined infraction upon his honour. That was the nature of the gossips of the Impossible City. Their words shot faster than the bitter, air splitting blast of Dark Light.

If everybody knew then everybody would be laughing. If everybody was laughing then they would be mocking the Cavash name. If everybody was mocking the Cavash name then everybody must be punished!

Yes, retribution was needed.

He plunged the ornately inscribed, jewel inlaid dagger into the spine of a servant after issuing a brutal kick to the stomach. Both hands grasped the handle but only one was used to retract the blade while the other threw her away by her hair.

No, only some must suffer. Last time he waged war against some of the major factions within Commorragh he had perished, his heart lanced through by the blade of a witch while shame spilled out like blood.

This was not a Wych. This woman was not like the tamed gladiators, this woman was a genuine savage witch.

No, don’t dwell on it. Do not suffer through it again.

He wouldn’t let himself. He was far too skilled for such error now. He ought to thank that woman, his nemesis, he thought. If it had not been for her he would not have been reborn from the body parts of his best Kabalites, he would not have had his fluids replaced with drugs boiled down from the corpses of his Warriors. He would not be a superior being. No, if revenge upon her was not needed then maybe the Archon that had disgraced him was in need of a soiree of constant angst and agony.

The Archon was a freak, perhaps he could not appreciate a good bout of suffering, Dernia thought.

“Tr’anrik, hither!” He spun the dagger between his fingers before slipping it into the scabbard.

“How may I serve, Lord?” he asked with a bow.

“You would carry out my every order and risk the damnation of your soul over the matter of a simple assassination, wouldn’t you?”

“Of course, Sire.” The brainwashed guard answered in his usual stoic manner.

“Good, because I need Vengeance. Vengeance!” He yelled the second time, causing a creature to scuttle from an open tub in the ceiling. The razor claws felt forward while the two functional hands clasped to the walls as it descended. The black and bone creature hissed as it scrambled into the light revealing the complex circuitry that had obviously been responsible for the creature’s change in nature.

It was a Genestealer. A gift presented to him by Archon Fernix of the Kabal of the Severed Hand. It had been snatched into the hidden dimension, deprived of its connection with its Brood Mind and experimented upon by the Twisted Flesh Coven until it had been erased of all instinct and thought. Then it had been built back up into a perfect weapon and pet for the Archon. In truth, the thoughts and actions of the beast were carried out more through machinery and science than they were the creature’s own biological functions, but it was a terrifying servant nonetheless.

“Sir, if I may offer a thought, having the Archon assassinated via Vengeance may cause alarm. Your pet is not inconspicuous.”

“You obviously have not seen him in action.” A cruel grimace that roughly imitated a grin crossed Dernia’s face as Vengeance stood beside him, coming up to his chest. “I have no plans on allowing Vengeance to slay him, however. I’d rather do it myself. Do you know of his whereabouts?”

“I shall find out now, Lord.” Tr’anrik proceeded to speak into his helmet’s communicator to contact all Janissaries located within the palace. After a short silence he proceeded to add “He is on the landing balcony. Rumour has it that he wishes to see the Depraved Reserves.”

“Then we shan’t fall prey to haste. After all, I am the host, I should join him to see if he is enjoying his experience.”


“Archon Teyl’kor, are you leaving so soon?” Dernia’s voice made the Black Heart Kabalite pause and step down from his Radier. The watchful eyes of his guards followed Dernia intently, their red lenses failing to threaten him.

“I was off to peruse your estates, Archon, maybe find something of interest to do.”

“Are my hosting skills not refined enough for you rich tastes?” Dernia pressured, wanting to see panic at the offence caused.

“No.” The word was disappointing. “I find your entertainment bland, your palace is too cold and your Kabalites go down without a whimper.”

“Well, Archon,” Dernia started, ignoring what would otherwise have been a declaration of war, “unlike your master’s palace, mine is the home of offensive, those who plot the demise of those around them. The Supreme Overlord’s palace is the home of a man who has no worries of those higher up society’s pyramid. We wage war your, Kabal wages defensive manoeuvres. We are not concerned with the entertainment of guests.” He smiled grimly. “Allow me to make this up to you. Tr’anrik. Fetch my Venom, we ride for the hunt.”

No suspicion was visible upon the Archon’s face. This was a very good sign. “Will it be just you and I, Cavash?”

“I find that hunting is best when in a pack. How does a little friendly competition sound, Archon? My Depraved Reserves have been restocked with all manner of exotic beasts.”

“I doubt that they will be new to me, but for fun, I shall join you. I presume that we shall be riding separately, then?”

“Of course. Each Venom shall have two people plus the pilot. I shall have Tr’anrik helping me. You may choose one of your guards. The others may feel free to join us; too, as I am sure that plenty of my nobles shall be out in the wastes.”

“Hmm…” Archon Teyl’kor pondered, “How shall we determine who wins the hunt?”

If you die, you can’t score.
“The victor shall be determined by the collective weight of the prey slain, not the total of victims.”

It was in the short pause while the Black Heart Archon was contemplating the rules that small flotilla cut swiftly through the air to project a colossal, disconcerting holographic face.

What was happening? Why did the Black Heart have so much interest in Dernia recently?

“Supreme Overlord.” Everybody bowed in unison and averted their eyes from Vect’s dark glory.

“Arise, Archons.” His smug image ordered. This was intimidating in itself. Nobody enjoyed looking a thirty foot shimmering mirage of Asdrubael Vect in the eyes.

“How may I be of assistance, Supreme Overlord?” Teyl’kor asked, wanting only to please his master.

“You may not!” Vect spat, causing the vain Archon to tremble. “Grand Archon Dernia Cavash, there are traitors in your midst. Chief amongst them is one Fer’ivaan Ky’rll. Do you wish to hand over this upstart?”

“Sire,” Dernia began, “I do not know of that name.”

“Are you calling me a liar?”

“No, Master.” He remained as calm as possible. “To lie would be to betray your magnificent, omnipotent nature, Lord Vect. Your every action exudes the purity of your very soul, and innumerable thanks are in order for all that you do for us on a daily basis. You saved Commorragh from the duplicity of the noble houses, may you reign victorious and ever glorious for time without end! May the Dark Muses screech in awe at your deeds and venerate your name!” This kind of display made Dernia feel like he was going to pass out. No kind words ever fell easily from his lips, but he knew how to stay alive.

“I always did like you, Cavash. You are one of the wisest descendants of the noble houses in my service. You keep this up and big things could be coming your way.” That smile, was it meant to threaten or praise? Either way, it was horribly intimidating.

“I shall find the traitors for you, Master. I guarantee it.”

“Good.” He waited for a long moment. Some of the Warriors were trembling uncontrollably. Rumour was a powerful thing within the Dark City. Word spread and got amplified turning a simple murder into an act of genocide over time, and time was one thing that Vect had. Simple acts of assassination upon his subordinates were enough to spread fear through the minds of the Commorrites. “I think that I may stay here for a while, if that is okay with you, Dernia. I like your palace; I don’t want to see rebels remove power from your hands.” That smile returned causing almost enough anxiety to strike the Grand Archon down.

The next few hours would be crucial.

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Last edited by Cavash on Sat Oct 20 2012, 16:06; edited 1 time in total
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Lady Malys
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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Aug 21 2012, 23:53

I really enjoyed reading this. It's interesting to see the interplay between Vect and his Archons, Grand or otherwise. Dernia's rage-fuelled artistic frenzies are pure Dark Eldar. You have some really striking turns of phrase in here as well. All in all I very much want to see how this develops Very Happy


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Nobody enjoyed looking a thirty foot shimmering mirage of Asdrubael Vect in the eyes.

The same is almost true for smaller versions, let me assure you! Wink The one exception being of course, Vect.

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Wed Aug 22 2012, 15:41

Thanks Malys. I am rather pleased with how the mass murder turned out. It was fun to write. Very Happy

More shall be coming soon, I assure you!

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Sat Aug 25 2012, 02:14

Acknowledgemet: Special thanks to Lady Malys for performing the laborious task of proofreading.
_________________________________
Part: II

“Tr’anrik, round up my Archons and my Dracons!” His voice was a cacophonous growl that kept the forty advisers and scribes around him on edge. “Althianesh, where are you?”

“I am here, my Lord.” She announced herself as she forced her way through the crowd to be at her father’s side.
“Find me that Hellion!”

“Which one?”

“What do you mean which one? It is not like I mingle with every one of those sky rats now, is it? Get me Lord Krass’ull Thryck’ytrhys’killion, I demand his presence!”

“Father-”

“Sire!” He cut in, correcting his daughter’s lack of respect.

“Sire,” she shuddered, loathing his power over her, “the whole of Terno’jth Slums is being plagued by his infernal gang. If I face him then you risk losing me.” She smiled while admiring herself in a passing mirror.

“Nobody would dare to touch a Cavash. Find him!”

“You cannot find a Hellion that does not want to be found.”

His burning stare cut into her thoughts creating a terrible discomfort. “Do you see this knife?” he asked after drawing the perfectly polished blade. He let off an angered scream as he grabbed the long hair of a servant and plunged the knife effortlessly through her sternum. “Let this remain as the only murder, child. Fetch me the Hellion!” Althianesh fled immediately. She knew how bad these fits of rage could get and did not wish to be anywhere near them.

“You do conduct your investigations with an admirable authoritative form of shouting, Dernia.”

“Are there not more important things that you could be doing, Teyl’kor?”

“No. I am quite at home watching your methods of ruling.”

Dernia ground to a halt, causing many of his servants to trip. He span on his heels to face the black armoured Archon and slowly lifted up the servant who was coughing up blood. “Are there not more important things that you could be doing?” He repeated himself while the Archon looked into the sorrow-filled eyes of the dying woman.

“Maybe there are… I think that I shall go to your training halls and inspect the new recruits for your many armies.”

“Your skills would be better used inside of you chamber for now, Archon. I recommend that you stay there. I shall provide whatever entertainment you wish.”

“Preposterous! I shall not be confined like a rodent in a cage! I am a servant of the Black Heart Kabal-”

“This is none of the Black Heart’s business. This is Vect’s business until he orders his pawns to claim my head.”

The Black Heart Archon was stunned as Dernia continued walking into his throne room. Teyl’kor’s guards could feel the tension and proceeded to subtly switch their Shardcarbines to active approach their master.

“You listen to me, Grand Archon-”

“No, you listen. I am Grand Archon Dernia Cavash. Servant only to Supreme Overlord Asdrubael Vect. I shall not be bullied by a vain tegorth’ylliuckzhiv!” Archon Teyl’kor raised his pale hand and attempted to slap Dernia with the back of his knuckles. Such an insult without punishment would cause Teyl’kor to lose face and be the laughing stock of Commorragh.

Instead of making contact, however, he dropped his knees as Dernia grabbed his wrist and forced his foot down on the rear of Teyl’kors knee. Without much effort Dernia ground the armoured knee against the hard crystal floor until his Ghostplate armour started to split.

Dernia was concentrating on the Archon too much to notice two Shardcarbine shots enter his left bicep, blood starting to stain the material beneath his armour. His vision shot towards the Black Heart Trueborn. Dernia was able to shrug off the simple mass-produced venoms used in Splinter weapons, and with a smile he slammed his palm on a jewel on his chest, activating his Shadowfields. He released the Archon and walked towards the Trueborn, cracking his knuckles with a smile. The Trueborn started to shake and took half a step back while looking to the other Trueborn. They just stood, watching. None of them were foolish, or loyal, enough to open fire at Grand Archon Dernia Cavash.

With his left hand, Dernia hit the tip of the Shardcabine away while his right fist came forwards, bloodying the nose of the guard idiotic enough not to be wearing his helmet. As the Trueborn stumbled with shock Dernia moved forward on featherweight feet, issuing a number of blows to his opponent’s neck and chest, winding him before he fell.

The Trueborn landed one his hands and felt his face, anger enveloping his rationality in an all-consuming torrent of incendiary wounded pride at the sight of his own blood. He stood slowly, stretching his arms before taking a fighting stance. He only had time to get his hand to his knife before the razor edge of Dernia’s gauntlet split the skin and muscle of his throat, leaving him too weak to stand any longer.

His armour clattering to the floor echoed in the silence that seemed to haunt the throne room. Usually there would be applause from the Grand Archon’s Kabalites, but he had just declared war against the Black Heart Kabal with a Black Heart flotilla not more than a couple of miles away.

“You are mad, Dernia!”

“Do not speak my name, wretch!” I shall be the end of you and your master.

“Your home shall burn, your family shall be paraded as trophies and your daughter shall be a plaything for the Kabalites!”
Dernia had not cared, nor paid attention to his threats, but speaking about his daughter in such a way was far too serious to ignore.

Gut him! Flay him! Hand him to Haughraskaivaach and burn his master!
“Archon Teyl’kor, you are at the mercy of the Pierced Heart Kabal. Do you have any further words?”

“Asdrubael Vect shall muster furious vengeance for my death! You have not seen the last of the Black Heart!”

“Death? Why would I issue you death when I could hand you over to the Supreme Overlord, unscathed with a perfect reason for slaying your bodyguard? I would rather have you live to fight me another day than have Vect’s wrath descend upon me.”

“Then what will happen now?”

“You will be returned to your quarters until I negotiate your release.”

“There are no negotiations with Vect, fool!”

“Silence your tongue, lest I have it sown to your lips.”


“You called, Grand Archon?” A voice came from the window. A man was stood upon the balcony, backward-spiking hair dyed the brightest shade of yellow to exist within the Dark City. His bare arms were covered with the long, forking lightning bolt tattoos that each of his Hellions had adopted as their markings.

Dernia had been sat in meditation when Lord Krass’ull Thryck’ytrhys’killion had arrived, but the Hellion’s presence had not gone unnoticed. Dernia had his hand upon his ornate dagger, ready to face any would-be assassin.

“I see that my Daughter managed to locate you?”

“I received no message, my Lord.”

Dernia raised his head in confusion. “How did you know that I needed your assistance?”

“I ‘ave ears everywhere. Nothin’ can happen without it gettin’ back to me. I’ve ‘eard of a lone Raider leavin’ your palace, but I ‘ave also ‘eard that you were in need of my aid.” The Hellion Lord’s thick accent was tough to translate, but eventually Dernia was able to understand the unrefined peasant tongue.

“If you know so much about my territories then you can definitely be of use.”

“I am glad to ‘ear that, Archon.” He stepped forward confidently, a wide smile on his untrustworthy face. “But first, let’s discuss my payment.”

“You parasites cannot do anything that is just an order, can you?”

“Well, parasite’s a bit ‘arsh. I’d say I am a servant of high value. I ‘ave many clients, so, naturally, the highest bidder wins.”
“I see… I think I have the perfect payment. How about, if you do something for me I shall not turn the full force of my Kabal against your gang. That sounds fair.”

“But Archon,” Lord Krass’ull tilted his head to the right, eyebrows raising high upon his long, trickster’s face, “I am a respectable gentleman. Surely you can give a few gems to a man of my stature? Think of my gang. I can’t return empty ‘anded, can I? What message would that send out? We’d be seen as pushovers, then nobody would ‘ire us and we’d end up havin’ to raid your lovely domain just to survive. Then, you’d hunt us and you’d be down one very loyal servant.”

“Well,” Dernia grabbed a small pouch from the table beside him, “you certainly are not a respectable gentleman and you certainly are not a loyal servant. You are a man of impeccable logic, however.” The Hellion caught the diamonds with one hand and tied them to his waist sash.

“I’m glad we can agree on somethin’.” He waited for his orders while brushing a hand over his long, yellow spikes.
“Would you like a drink?” Dernia asked while looking at the filthy bare feet of the Hellion spreading dirt over the silk-brush floor.

“I’m fine.” He said. “Who do you want me to kill?”

“I do not want you to kill anybody; I need you to find Fer’ivaan Ky’rll. He is a traitor who may be able to lead me to a contingent of rebels that the Supreme Overlord wishes to see extinguished.”

“Supreme Overlord? I ‘aint the kind of fella to have anythin’ to do with that… fine Archon.”

“I have already paid you, Hellion, so unless you want to feel my wrath, then Asdrubael Vect’s, I suggest that you do what I say.”

“Look, I’m ‘appy to ‘elp you, Archon, but I don’t want to do anythin’ that will make the Supreme Overlord know my name. If he knows my name then he ‘as reason to call upon my services.

Dernia smiled in a fashion that made the Hellion on edge. “You really think that he does not know your name, or the name of your Night Hydras?”

“Did you tell him about us?” he demanded, stepping forward with his Hellglaive clenched tight between his hands.
Dernia unsheathed his Huskblade at the attempted intimidation and stepped forwards, showing no fear. “Of course not. If I told him anything about you then you, and your irritating swarm, would be no more.”

Their eyes locked for a brief moment while Lord Krass’ull Thryck’ytrhys’killion realised the threat he had just been given.
“Alright then.” He backed off with his charismatic smile and cheery voice. “Let’s go find this traitor!”

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Sat Aug 25 2012, 02:30

You are welcome *bows*

Quote :
“You do conduct your investigations with an admirable authoritative form of shouting, Dernia.”

“Are there not more important things that you could be doing, Teyl’kor?”

“No. I am quite at home watching your methods of ruling.”

I love this little exchange Very Happy It's so typically sharp and waspish.

It's interesting to see the contrast between Dernia's inner thoughts and his actual responses. As though he doesn't usually have to exercise restraint like this, and the strain is showing (if only inside).

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Sat Aug 25 2012, 18:19

Thanks, Malys. I am pleased that you have enjoyed this so far. Much more to come, I may do it up to four, five or even six parts, depending on how creative I am feeling.

Yes, Dernia does not normaly have to hide his thoughts, although this isn't really showing him at his most insane. I shall maybe write a story about that another time. Very Happy

I didn't realise until I had started writing the Hellion's dialogue that I had actually given him a cockney accent in my mind. Razz That's what I get for watching too many Jason Statham movies!

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Sat Aug 25 2012, 19:10

Great stuff! Really like the East End Londoner Hellions. Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Sat Aug 25 2012, 19:25

Thank you, Mushkilla.
I am really glad that you like him. I shall be writing his background story out properly in a few months, so if you like warm hearted, east end antics of the loveable pickpocket Lord Lord Krass’ull Thryck’ytrhys’killion look out for the epic tale: 'Night Hydra'! Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Sat Aug 25 2012, 19:58

@Cavash wrote:
Thank you, Mushkilla.
I am really glad that you like him. I shall be writing his background story out properly in a few months, so if you like warm hearted, east end antics of the loveable pickpocket Lord Lord Krass’ull Thryck’ytrhys’killion look out for the epic tale: 'Night Hydra'! Wink

Can't wait! Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Sun Aug 26 2012, 12:44

Shameless self adevertisement FTW! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Fri Sep 07 2012, 00:18

Very short update time!
______________________________________________

Teyl’kor had felt it instantly. The pressure throughout the room dropped and a thin layer of frost coated the walls, the doors and the windows, sealing them tightly shut. As he muttered the words over the fresh corpse of one of his guards, spreading blood over the body in thick runes that froze over with the growing sensation.

Teyl’kor himself had stripped down to the barest of garments, only possessing a black loincloth and a coal black knife that he used to complete the ritual. Cold didn’t usually bother him, but this was different. This was not a feeling that sensational pleasure could be drawn from. This was a cold to be feared, to be hated.

His muscles tensed tightly to keep heat in, but he had to finish the Incitement of Malediction lest his soul be stripped for falsely disturbing the shadow entities.

The words grew faster, the chant grew louder, the air stung at his bare skin yet he knew that he could not falter.

The water on the corpse’s eyes became solid, glassing over his deathly gaze. The Archon was starting to feel fear now as he slashed his bare wrist, offering his own life to the creatures. The hot blood fizzled upon the freezing body and steamed in the air. The fear grew as he raised the blade in both hands.

What if this is not enough?

The blade pierced the long-still heart, the chamber echoed with a penetrating scream and the candles of scented wax flickered out of life.

He was not alone.

The room had heated up ever so slightly, yet he could feel the eyes of a tyrant-slayer stab at him like daggers. A gust of wind blew in from sealed walls, the ethereal current bewildering and alerting the Archon.
“Who goes there?” He demanded, blade poised.

“Who… are you…?” The voice lingered from the absolute dark. The eyes of the Ynneas Eldarith are perfectly adapted to see in the dankest; dingiest of labyrinths, but this was something completely different.

“I am Archon Gaire’h Teyl’kor of the Supreme Overlord’s Black Heart Kabal. Who might you be?” Inquiring voice probed. He had heard myths of what he was but wanted to know a name.

“I have no time… for riddles… Archon.” The creature’s face was only a centimetre away from the Archon’s, hollow eyes examining every detail upon the pale face. “Tell me who…”

“Grand Archon Dernia Cavash.” the Archon gulped, hiding his emotion. “What is the fee?”

“For Dernia…?” the Mandrake smiled, head tilted to the side with empty eyes wide open in curiosity and excitement, “for such a feared… revered Archon… a jewel of extreme value is needed.”

“Anything.” His voice failed to convey certainty.

“Once this contract… is spoken… it cannot be broken… lest there be dire punishment…”

“I understand that. I shall pay you anything, money, jewels, the tears of my children! Name your price and it shall be so!”

“Althianesh Cavash…”

The moment shattered as realisation struck him like a Thunder Hammer to the face.

This was unreasonable.

This was cunning.

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Sun Sep 09 2012, 05:27

Calling on the darkness was very tense, with a real sense of menace. I found the visceral nature of the exchange compelling. And I thought the Mandrake came across as the thing even Dark Eldar fear very welll ...

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Sun Sep 09 2012, 16:00

Thanks Malys, I am glad that I got the dark feeling across. I did take a bit of inspiration from the process of binding a Daemon to a Human's body, but Deldared it up and changed it to make it acceptabl for Mandrakes.

Thanks for the kind words. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Wed Sep 12 2012, 20:10

Really liked the summoning of the mandrake. Great stuff! Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Sat Sep 15 2012, 18:25

Cheers, Mushkilla. I did like writing about Mr. Shadowtail (as I have affectionatly called him Razz ).

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Dec 04 2012, 12:54

“ ‘Ave you seen this kind of thing before?”

“Yes. Many times.” They kept their voices to hushed whispers as their lone Raider plummeted unnoticed through the layers of carnage. Scourges hung in the shadows, looking out for new prey. Ur-ghuls invaded what once inhabited areas now existed in shadow and blood. As they made their way through the mists of blood and the corrosive fog of the Weaponry-Complexes the number of people in the streets became fewer and fewer, madder and madder. The Archon hid his newly crafted face under his hood, keeping his thoughts to himself and avoiding eye contact with any of the feral creatures in these depths.

After many minutes more of travelling he noticed that the healthy, war waging citizens had perished and now the Parched fed upon their corpses. Teeth and claws ripped away at corpses stiff with rigamortis and icicles. In places anywhere up to a dozen of the hunch backed fiends squabbled and murdered brutally for the last morsels of life that remained in the body of a freshly slain wanderer.

“How much further?” Dernia demanded with a forceful whisper. Yes, he was Grand Archon Dernia Cavash, but down in these depths his name meant nothing. Nobody would find his corpse if he was killed. He only had his martial prowess to save him here.

“This Fer’ivaan Ky’rll fella’, ‘e’s not the kind of man that’s easy to find. Like me, ‘e ‘as eyes everywhere. ‘e’ll know that we’re coming. We just ‘ave to make sure that ‘e don’t run far.”

“How much further until we reach his hovel?” Dernia was becoming impatient. The loud and careless talking of the Hellion could be the downfall of their mission.

“Just past this spire, then down in to the slums. No doubt ‘e has some folks down there waitin’ to cut you open the moment you trespass. Over the last cycle down in these parts only the mad and the brutal ‘ave the will to-”

“Enough.” Dernia raised a single, leather adorned hand. “Your voice is drawing attention.” He whispered, looking at the bat winged beasts that had started to stir and mass in the sky.

The Raider sliced silently through the black, cutting around a spire of shattered glory. All of the spires of T’llionoch had once been carved from great jutting crystals until the Kabal of the Pierced Heart claimed it for themselves. They evicted the already settled Kabals and constructed their grand palaces above the naturally occurring rock, the original crystal spires had been reserved for nobility, at first. They had ornate spirals and runes carved into every surface, great poems and epic tales that were scribed along the robes of the statues of the Dark Muses. Once the Palaces above had blocked out the moonlight and the air became murky and treacherous the spires had been left for the citizens of the Kabal. Now the statues lay cracked and shattered, corpses in their thousands hung from ever criss-crossing bridge and balcony, every civilian lay cannibalised or impaled upon high thorn pikes that bled them dry. Dernia did not like seeing his people like this. Not out of any sense of compassion, just because people were his currency.

“We must split up.” The Archon said while the Raider still resided in the shadow of the spire. “If we come at the hovel from two angles then he shan’t escape.”

“Wise thinkin’, boss. Do you know where to go?”

“No. Enlighten me.”

“Through the slums you must traverse, over rivers of blood and waste, through gorges of pestilence and-”

“Just tell me. This is no story, Hellion.”

Looking a bit disappointed, the Hellion continued. “I was only trying to brighten your day. Go through four ‘undred or so cross streets an’ you should start to reach a hill with a rapid incline. On either side of the main path will be some buildin’s. You want to go into a sewage pipe on the right ‘and side, an’ crawl until you come to a chemical dump. From there you should be able to find hatch that leads into Ky’rll’s drug lab.”

“And where will you be going?” Dernia pulled the scarf up over his face as he took control of the Raider so the Hellion could get his board ready.

“I’ll be flyin’ low between rooftops, cuttin’ up their spotters so you don’t get shot, sir. Then I’ll land on the roof, break in, and we’ll get the traitor your after.”

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Dec 04 2012, 13:16

Quote :
“I was only trying to brighten your day.

Made me laugh. A nice short but sweet passage, kept the tempo well. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Dec 04 2012, 13:22

Thanks, Mush.

I might have more up soon, depending on how quickly I feel like writing.

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Dec 04 2012, 14:08

It had taken until the servants arrived with food, drugs and wine for Archon Teyl’kor’s nosebleed to stop. The presence of that… thing had shaken him to the core. His head felt like it was going to explode, his eyes had shed the same vile fluid as his nose and he was starting to imagine things. He was getting paranoid. It surely was not good.

He had cleaned himself, groomed his nails and rinsed his hair in an exotic array of perfumed liquids before the servants had arrived. He could not have them think of him as dirty!

The fact that he was cleaning himself was irritating enough. He had a whole court just to dress him. He could wake up in the mornings and not have to do a single thing, but watch as the rabble of sycophants ran around, the occasional one getting brutalised for some early morning entertainment.

There was a thrashing at the door.

“Who is it?” He demanded from his bed, admiring the ornately inscribed dagger he always carried with him.
“Fluid and nutritional sustenance, Archon.” A voice came from outside. It seemed satisfactory so he ordered one of his guards to let them in. Four servants walked in, dressed in long blue robes embroided with gold thread. They seemed like simple people, really. The certainly weren’t assassins. Three carried platters, one walked with a hood over its head.

Each one bowed as they placed a silver platter down upon a black, polished table of obsidian. The first had an assortment of vintage wines upon it infused with different emotions extracted straight from a Medusae. A six thousand year old dark wine laced with the ecstasy of a child’s first kill was by far the most exquisite. Next came meats in al forms. They weren’t overly interesting, but he thought it best not to argue with whatever his captors had to spare. Finally came another tray with a dozen different phials. Some contained fluids, others housed brightly coloured powders and others held onto vapours that could easily melt somebody’s mind. Each one stepped out individually, leaving the last servant present.

“You are dismissed, wench.” He ordered, but the woman still stood while Teyl’kor examined a fluorescent red substance. Whatever it was it would most likely kill him. It was wise not to touch them. “Woman, what is your business here?”

“She is a pleasure girl, Sire.” A guard spoke up, answering his question.

“What? I have no need of a pleasure girl! Have her sent away!” The guard grabbed the young woman by her arm and took her towards the door while the Archon mumbled to himself, outraged at the insinuation. Then a thought flashed into his mind. “No, wait. I may have some need for her after all.”

After a short silence where the Archon thought to himself his concentration was broken by the smirk of one of his men. The last thing the guard saw was the scowl of his master and the blade flying to cleave his head open.

“Escort this woman to my chamber.” He ordered, injecting himself with a substance from his own private collection.

“What are you doing, Sire? She may be an assassin.” One of the faceless Trueborn whispered to him as the woman was thrown into his room and left under the watchful eye of a guard.

“No. She is not an assassin. This woman is the way out of here.” He answered, supping at the wine before placing his most charismatic smile upon his sharp face and gliding back towards his bed.

“Woman, what is your name?” He asked her as she sat upon his bed, failing to entice him.

“My name?”

“Yes, your name?”

She was confused for a moment.

“Come on, even Syrens have names.” It was awfully apparent that his flattery worked. She couldn’t help but keep her face from going red. She had never been treated like a person before.

“Te’uillian Hyrith.” She answered with a wide smile on her face.

“Ah, such a lovely name. Well, I suppose a name matches the person that owns it.” She giggled at his remark as he opened a draw and found his stash of drugs. He had plenty of Hypex, but had no need for it at the current moment in time. He did, however, have something else that would be far more useful.

“Here.” He knelt before her and placed the drug capsule against her throat, emptying its contents instantly. Her eyes dilated and she lost control of her thoughts. “You should feel calm now. How are you?”

“Fine.” She answered, not managing much else.

“Which pleasure house is it that you hail from, Te’uillian?”

“Phoenix Heights.”

“Ah, yes. A wonderful place.” He had never heard of it but now he didn’t have to hide his lies or be charismatic. She was too intoxicated to notice. “And who is it that runs the house? It’s been a while since I last visited, so ownership may have changed.”

“Mistress Vel’trana.”

“Who does she pay her tithes to?”

“The Kabal.”

“Well, of course.” He pretended to chuckle, bored of the low-blood’s presence. “But who in particular? I heard that Klaughr’yth Cavash was responsible for the Drug Dens and Pleasure Houses in this area… of course, until her tragic death.”

“Such a shame. She was so young.”

“Yes, she was. Now, who has taken her place?”

“Princess Althianesh.”

“Ah, wonderful! It has been a long time since I have been graced with the fine Princess’s presence. We are good friends, you see. I would like to speak with her. It’s all well and good having drugs and common streetwalkers, but when all alone I just need somebody to talk to.”

“Yes. Company’s good.” He sighed, noticing how he had slipped with the drug.

“How often does your mistress meet with Princess Althianesh?”

“Once every lunar cycle.”

“Oh? And when will the next meeting occur.”

“Tomorrow.”

“Well then, Te’uillian, would it be rude of me to ask you a favour?”

“Anything!”

“Can you send this to your Mistress to be given to Althianesh?” He asked, writing something down onto a piece of cloth. She took the cloth and stashed it in her robe pocket, then proceeded to smile at him in what she believed to be a seductive manner. “That is all that I require of you, pleasure girl. My guards will see you safely escorted out.”

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Dec 04 2012, 14:47

I have missed this! It's good to see your writing here once more. And I also got a double update Very Happy

I like the balance between Dernia's chapter on the one side, and Teyl’kor's on the other - each of them making moves and counter-moves, each trying to outmanoeuvre the other. I am most intrigued to see how it will end!

Highlights for me would be our Cockney Hellion ('ellion?) who is growing on me (despite my feelings about sky rats in general), and Archon Teyl’kor's highborn affront at not only being forced to wash himself, but being offered a tart for breakfast. The very idea! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Dec 04 2012, 14:55

lol, thank you for the kind words, Malys!

I had completely forgot that I was writing this, then when searching through all of my documents I found it and remembered how much I loved this story. I thought it would be good to show Dernia being a true Dark Eldar for once and actually getting his hands dirty instead of just cutting them up and barking at them to be quiet.
As for Teyl'kor... I have fallen in love with his character. His vanity and eccentricity make me want to write more about him, and I may when this has ended!

Thanks, Malys. I should have this story finished by the weekend. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Dec 04 2012, 15:09

I look forward to it. Teyl'kor must be special. It's rare I have anything good to say about anyone from the Black Heart Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Dec 04 2012, 15:23

lol, thanks, Malys.
_________________________________
Not thinking to see what it was behind him, Dernia made a break into the open to cross into the next street. Every crossroad was a lethal kill zone that any number of twitching locals watched over and patrolled with their cheaply produced Splinter Rifles. The guards that the traitor had hired or scared into following him resembled a poorly constructed militia more than a formidable military force. Many of them wore armour over their legs that they had managed to scavenge from fallen Kabalites while their torsos were adorned only with ripped sleeved tunics, exposing their bare arms. Dernia was surprised that they could survive out in the blistering cold without more clothing. Even with his face scarf, his hooded cloak, his Ghostplate Armour and a layer of tightly knitted insulating fur he was suffering. It wasn’t the good kind of suffering, either.

He pressed his back against a wall and looked up to the next street crossing. On the roof opposite him and a little further up he could see the black figure of one of the militiamen. This one wore more armour than the others and sported a Shredder. He was most likely a Kabalite Warrior bribed to join the Traitor and his mission. His armour was old and in need of cleaning. It had lost the slight colour that it had once clung to and the blades that adorned it looked old and weathered. He stopped and looked around before looking to the street, causing Dernia to stop still as not to be sighted. He could easily take the warrior down with a shot from his Splinter Pistol, but that would draw too much attention.

Satisfied that nothing was out of the ordinary the Warrior made one great leap between the poorly constructed shacks and waved over to two more grunts to follow. They did so without question; although one almost slipped to his death while the other laughed harrowingly.

Poking his head out into the street, Dernia hit the stud on his Power Sword once to turn it on, and another time to deactivate it. The blue flash of it igniting signalled for the Hellion.

A screeching whoop and the burst of engines heralded his arrival. Splinter shots raked the rooftops, killing one of the men and injuring the other before he had got close enough to hack at them. His Hellglaive swung low into the face of the Warrior as he turned to see what was causing the commotion. His body descended into the street, Making the Archon rather satisfied. The Hellion screeched through his amplifiers as he stormed along the length of the road Dernia was on, filling all enemy positions with Splinter damage. They were distracted. The time to move was now.

Dernia broke out into the street, hurtling over bodies in varying states of decay. His legs carried him furiously as one fortified position in the distance combusted.

That was more than useful.

These streets were filled with the Parched and other, more horrifying beings beside, the flames would certainly grab their attention.

Occasionally he chose to take a side street to loose any would-be predators, but in his eagerness to get out of the small scale citadel he forgot to watch the floor.

The first hand to grab at his ankle was danced around with ease, the second got shot off and just when he thought that he was free of the darkness hands came out from all directions, dragging him down into the dirt.
Fervently he fended them off. Large, pale, emaciated fingers that turned his robes into tatters. He kicked some back, and slashed at others, but they kept on coming.

What was happening?

He scrambled back across the ground into the next cross street, outside of the reach of the Parched and sat for a moment, contemplating.

It seemed that some of the militia had been brave enough to round up the majority of the creatures and lock them in the buildings, no doubt to be released upon any large invasion force. Stepping back and activating his drug dispenser, Dernia through a Plasma grenade into the open street and started the sprint away.

He needed them to loose his scent quickly.

He had no intent on killing them. Why destroy a perfectly good distraction?

The flash erupted like a star behind him, burning out the eyes of those who dared to watch. Many of the Parched died, but their numbers were few compared to the dozens that still lived.

Knowing that they would not be far behind he turned down the street, planted is foot on the tip of a metal wall panel, vaulted up onto a flagpole and swung onto a balcony. Here he crouched, watching out for anybody that may be attempting to spot him.

In moments many of the Parched had fled past in all directions, being hunted by the Hellion and the militia, but he could hear something else other than pained screams… something odd.

Against every instinct he opened the door into the hovel and looked inside.

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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Tue Dec 04 2012, 16:08

Live update and cliffhanger! You made my afternoon! Very Happy

It's an interesting contrast to see Dernia in the front line; we're seeing another side to him here Smile

Also
Quote :
Dernia was surprised that they could survive out in the blistering cold without more clothing. Even with his face scarf, his hooded cloak, his Ghostplate Armour and a layer of tightly knitted insulating fur he was suffering. It wasn’t the good kind of suffering, either.

he needs someone to make him a nice woolly jumper. Khymera wool ought to do it.


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PostSubject: Re: Crossing of Hearts.   Wed Dec 05 2012, 21:25

Thanks Malys, I am glad that you are enjoying the story. Smile

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