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 A brothers love.

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sammun
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PostSubject: A brothers love.    Thu Oct 04 2012, 13:59

"You seem to forget who is master of this vessel old friend." The Dark Eldar stared past his guest and into the abyss, his crew ignoring the dialogue between their master and the stranger, their roles on the ships bridge suddenly all the more interesting in the last few seconds. The newcomers stance relaxing slightly, he leaned casually against the glass dome that protected them all from the outside void, trinkets and baubles sewn into his clothing clinking gently against each other. “You seem to be forgetting exactly who you are indebted to, young one.” The outsiders’ voice took a firm tone on the last two words, their sternness reaffirmed by the conversations turn and the gathering of his followers throughout the bridge. “The call has gone out for assistance, fleets from all sects of our race make their way to lend aid, even outcasts such as yourself heed the call.” The Harlequin stood to his full height, his hands folded behind his back as he started towards the captain.
The Dark Eldar lounged in his command throne, his feet kicked up on the pulpit before him, exotic liquors and samples of rare narcotics arrayed haphazardly around his feet. “Why is this so important to you, why risk everything I have built?” The traveller sat on the edge of the pulpit, his shoulders hung heavily with visible exhaustion. “Because, my Ard-Iadanna, I cannot go alone, I would put my troupe against any the mortal realm could offer in battle, but this will be a battle of more than Mon-Keigh and LamEldannar, this could be the end of a world.”

The crew had all forgone their act at focussing on their roles, each of them watched the pair, hanging on every word. Even the Harlequin troupe that were arrayed around the bridge were silent, their usually jovial nature had been darkened. The corsair looked into the mask his guest wore, the quartered faceplate hid the entirety of his friend’s upper face, leaving nothing visible above his lips, these shone a pale red under the bridge lights, “All of you, leave.” The captain’s eyes never left the Harlequins faceplate, the crew made their way from the bridge, their whispers echoing the captain’s thoughts. The troupe leader made the slightest gesture towards one of his company, they also made their way off the bridge, though their mood was slightly less sombre. When they were alone, the captain gestured to an empty seat; the Harlequin took the offering and helped himself to a pitcher of water, pouring himself a glass.
“Tell me of this world, help me understand.” The Harlequin finished his drink, offering the now empty glass to his host. “Take the glass.” The corsair took the proffered vessel, confused. “The world we must travel to is named Haran, it is an Exo.." The captain silenced him with a wave of the glass. "It is an Exodite world, I know of it." The Harlequins mouth showed his frustration, he was not used to being interrupted, even by one as known to him as the captain. "Quite, but it is unique in one way my rather impetuous friend." The troupe master pointed. "Take that glass, it is empty for the moment and of no particular value." He took up the pitcher once more and proceeded to slowly fill the glass. "But when you fill it, it becomes much more valuable, perhaps not to one who has quenched himself, but to one who is dying of thirst, this becomes a prize he is willing to die for." The corsair stared blankly and unmoved. "Your point is what?" He was becoming frustrated. The Harlequin sighed, "My point is that although you see this world and its inhabitants as simply rustic peasants, there are those that see them as a feast worthy of risk." It was the travellers turn to become angered, his patience wearing thin at his hosts incompetence. His agaith reacting to his emotion, the masks decoration morphing to emulate. "The great enemy marches on Haran, both in mortal and immortal form." The captain put the glass on the table, finally realising the severity of what his friend was asking. He wanted his fleet to risk their very souls in a war against chaos, the traitor Mon-Keigh and even worse, daemons made their way there. "Who calls for aid, who will we be fighting alongside, who asks for Mika Tor'issi?" The Harlequin allowed the pirates question to hang between them for several moments. Finally, he smiled, he knew he had his aid now. "Eldrad calls, will you answer?" The corsair picked up the glass once more, draining its contents in a single draught. "I will old friend."
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Lady Malys
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PostSubject: Re: A brothers love.    Thu Oct 04 2012, 20:24

I enjoyed this very much! As I read, I began to pick up hints ...events unfolded. Even in a very short piece you've built an atmosphere and sense of forboding.

Will there be more? Smile

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Cavash
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PostSubject: Re: A brothers love.    Thu Oct 04 2012, 23:02

Very nice work so far. The ecplaination for the Exodite world is brilliant. It flows smoothly and was a great read.

Well done.

(Also, I really hope that's Sliscus!!!)

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sammun
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PostSubject: Re: A brothers love.    Mon Dec 17 2012, 01:07

Dawn, he hated times like this. Curled up in the higher boughs of the great trees, he slowly and almost mechanically flexed his joints, lest they thief his agility. The sunlight was his greatest enemy on a hunt, it allowed his target a few moments of sight that the glorious night always stole from them. His kind had an affinity with the darkness, their senses attuned to the highest point when the sun was absent.
The hunter stiffened. He could sense that his quarry was close. He had been stalking the woods for days, learning the movements of his prey, studying the subtle changes in the mans bearing as the days went by. Today was the day to strike. Now only to wait.

As the sun rose above the mountains and birds welcomed the new dawn, Helianthus made his way through the forests on the outskirts of his village. Plucking herbs and flowers while whispering his thanks to the earth that provided them.
As an initiated healer, it was his duty to gather the required ingredients for the elders, a task he usually relished as it gave him time alone with his thoughts. But recently, given his current ward, his mood was typically sombre.
As he wandered through the wooded boroughs, Helianthus allowed his mind the luxury of wandering, his thoughts drifting from topic to topic, from whim to fancy as he travelled between the natural gardens to harvest his daily offering, storing them in his satchel for the trip back to his village and back to the cause of his inner turmoil.
Tahli was dying. This was fact, no healer in the clan could help her. He had even tried contacting the healers of the other great clans, each had arrived wrapped in promises and confidence. Each left shattered and sullen. Despite all of this, Helianthus refused to give up hope. His ward was not going to die in his care. He would try anything, he had to try anything. To stop trying was to admit defeat and that was not his nature.
But despite all that was happening in his life, he knew that he had to help Tahli, no matter the cost. The chieftain and his council dismissed his requests, to them he was a dreamer, fighting a losing battle, Helanthius the little flower, ignoring the thoughts of his betters. This infuriated him, was it not in the temperament of the healer to forgo all natural thought for the sake of his patient?
Around him the birds suddenly went silent, their calls fading away. Helianthus came to a stop, although many of the predators on his world were localised to specific areas and rarely travelled this close to the villages, it was not unheard of for one of the smaller communities to have livestock, or even children taken by pack hunters who wandered into their lands.
Drawing the small pruning knife from his belt, the healer dropped into a defensive stance, the warrior training all of his kind had to do coming back to him in an instant. Helianthus had never excelled at the warriors art, he was a life giver, not a killer. But he knew enough to defend himself.
Slowly turning, he searched the tree line for attackers, his eyes darting from tree to tree, his breathing slowed to a crawl. From behind him, he heard a snap. Helianthus spun immediately, his knife sweeping upwards in a defensive stroke, but there was nothing there. The Eldars eyes ran over the clearing once more, satisfied there was no threat, he relaxed. With a sigh of relief, he gathered his satchel and started out of the clearing.
This was when his stalker chose to attack.
The figure pounced from the bushes behind him, knocking the young healer to the ground, his knife and satchel knocked from his grip. His breath knocked from his lungs with the impact, he tried to scream, but a hoarse, animal like whine was all he could manage. Roughly, the attacker pinned him from behind, his face driven into the grass. His assailant gripped a handful of his hair, Helianthus cried out in pain, he was going to die.
His would be killer started to laugh, it was an odd sound for one about to murder another. It was a mocking, almost joyous laughter. Helianthus felt the weight from on top of his as he struggled to turn over. The voice of he whose mercy he found himself at wounded him as surely as blade or fire.
“Little flower, surely you aren’t so brittle that I’ve hurt you so badly!” The laughter started again.
Kall’ys’ mocking tore through him, the way he spoke his name, the self righteous air he held himself in. “My poor little brother. Here, let me help you up.” The warrior offered his hand, strands of Helianthus’ hair still entwined around his fingers.
Helianthus slapped the proffered hand away, gingerly standing under his own strength and coming to his full height. The brothers stood eye to eye, their features akin to the statues of the heroes of old. Their fine, patrician features so alike, that many swore they were two halves of a single body. But that was where the similarities stopped. While Kall’ys was broad of shoulder and heavy in muscle, capable of terrifying feats of strength, Helianthus was lighter, his muscles more alike to those of a dancer, built for dexterity and speed over strength and power.
Where Kall’ys was tanned, his blonde hair plaited through with runes and beads, the personification of the suns radiant glory, Helianthus was raven haired and pale as moonlight, his hair pulled back into a tight braid.
The older brother broke into a smile, his mirth breaking through his younger siblings challenge. “Now now, there is no need to be so upset, I was simply playing.” He embraced his brother in a crushing bear hug, Helianthus struggled momentarily, his anger and embarrassment threatening to overwhelm him, but in his brother’s arms, his negative emotions melted away. He started feeling rather sheepish at his anger. “It was quite foolish of me to think you were an enemy, I’m sorry for my over reaction” Helianthus returned his brothers embrace. They both laughed. Kall’ys took a step back, resting his hands on his brothers shoulders, he smiled. “No, it is I who am sorry. I have shamed myself; I should not have been so rough. I often forget my own strength.”
They parted from eachother with easy laughter, the situation now chalked up to a brotherly misunderstanding. The warrior gestured to his brother that he should continue his work. Kall’ys gathered up his siblings belongings as the healer continued to harvest his herbs.
The brothers chatted idly, both avoiding the subject of the healers patient, neither willing to tear up that painful thought. The older brother boasting of his feats in the latest hunting expedition, showing off his Saur scale bracers, the beast who donated his skin was already gracing the butchering hall in the village, whilst the younger chatted idly of the happenings in the village and his work. As the sun continued to rise, the pair made their way back towards their home, their voices carrying across the woods.

The hunter watched the pair as they left the clearing, the second barbarian was a mighty example of the people of this planet. Though he would not prove a challenge for one as mighty as he, it was not yet the time to announce his presence. Though his master would not be pleased he had let the young one get away, he would know that the need for stealth outweighed the need for this prize.
Hitching his pack over his shoulder, he made his way down the tree, deftly finding purchase on the branches and breaks in the bark. As he reached the ground, his ear piece chimed, other scouts had achieved their missions and were making their way back to the portal. A cruel grin crossed his features; soon this world would be ready for the taking. Making a quick prayer to the Dark Prince, he started towards the portal; his master would want to hear of the returned warriors.


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Sorry about the break in time guys and gals! Real life has a terrible tendancy to take away from the finer things.
Ive started on the third part, should be up within a week.
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Lady Malys
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PostSubject: Re: A brothers love.    Mon Dec 17 2012, 17:48

I look forward to seeing more then! I am enjoying the story so far, and the characterisation - you have me intrigued Smile

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sammun
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PostSubject: Re: A brothers love.    Mon Dec 17 2012, 22:04

“The warp is a terrible thing. A beautiful and amazing thing, but a terrible one nonetheless.”
The words hung above the group, none willing to break the silence that their master had created. As he stared into the void, the silence grew to an unbearable level. Never had their lord kept his own council so solemnly, not even calling upon his council for guidance. But now, they stood vigil, their captain calling upon them hours before, the handful of minor lords and ladies of his void court attending upon his call. Here they were in Blight, the satellite realm within the webway their master called home. A pirate haven for not only those of the Eldar kin, but to all who reap the void. Behind them, a feast lay upon the council table, untouched. Many of their eyes turned towards the Harlequin with whom their master had taken council with days earlier, or the silent and ever present Incubi watching all who came into proximity of their sworn lord. But still, they waited.

He knew they were there, this was obvious, as he was speaking to them, but he didn’t know what to say, though they were his to command, he held his position through not only fear, but respect. If they lost that respect, they may lose the fear also. And without fear, well, he would not be the first corsair to lose more than a ship. He turned from the viewing dome, his thoughts were his own, but the turmoil he felt inside was apparent to all before him.

“Friends, my apologies for the delay.” He motioned towards the banquet table; they took their places as he did the same. All but the Harlequin troupe master, he remained by the window, his troupe making their way to his side. Their whispered jokes and snide comments between each other akin to screams compared to the silence in the hall.
The captain poured a glass of wine for himself, the crystal decanter clinking softly against the glass, he smiled at that. Taking a sip, he spoke. “My friends, I am without words as to my despair, for the first time in many years, I am fearful.” The council was taken back, they knew their captain as a fearless warrior of the void, often fighting when others would flee, taking battle to Mon-Keigh and Greenskin like other, lesser beings would take a stick to a dog. The murmuring was deafening. Mika raised his hand, the gesture rendering the table silent once more. “I do not fear any enemy, my friends, my family, I fear you.”


Danyell watched the captain, his troupe had taken positions around him in case the council turned themselves upon their leader. He knew that the captains would find what Mika was asking them very hard to understand, it was in their very nature to run from battles like this, they were pack hunters. But without their aid, the farseers had forseen the fall of Haran, they could save it. At his side, Slaath, one of the troupes Death Jesters leaned into his ear. “These pirates are more likely to kill each other than the enemy, or raid the settlements for slaves and spoils, why do we bother with such scum?” The heavy troopers tone conveyed more than his words could, Danyell nodded, Slaath saw nothing of their kinds noble temperament in those who walked off the paths, but such was the manner of those of Alaitoc. “Ease your emotion my friend, they will decide one way or another.” Slaath bowed his head slightly, trusting in his troupe masters judgement. But the troupe master held his own thoughts on the matter. What if they decided wrong?

The council was silent. Their lords statement had rendered them such, why would he have course to fear them? It was Mahgar, captain of The Cobalt Blade of Tsy-rang who broke the silence. The old pirate stood at his chair, and stared down at the master of the fleet. “What have you done to earn such fear?” The question was blunt and to the point, tactics Mahgar favored, Mika finished his wine, the liquid leaving a slight crimson tinge to his lips. “I have answered a call, from an old friend.” He gestured to the Harlequins, Danyell bowed slightly, the table roused once more. Mahgar silenced them all by slamming his fists to the wraithbone table, knocking over bottles and breaking several plates. The pirates reacted visibly, many drawing blades or pistols. Mika sat impasive, not reacting at all. Behind the angered void hunter, one of the Incubi had drawn his Demi-Klaives, the halls collective breath hung upon Mahgars next words. “What was the call, why have you called us here?” The corsair lord stood, staring down at his unruly subject, “I have promised the aid of my fleet to the Harlequins and through them, to Eldrad.” Several of the pirates smiled at this, working alongside their craftworld cousins was always a bountiful time, with many of the ships taking on recruits from such ventures, many of the drawn weapons made their way back into sleeves, holsters and robes. The Incubi remained poised for combat. “We go to the aid of an Exodite world, many bands such as our make their way, kin from all walks and all paths make their way. I go to pay an old debt.” Mahgar turned his head to the Incubi, a feral grin on his face, the thirst of the dark kin apparent to all. “You say we go to the aid of this planet, aid from whom?” The pirate lord turned to the Harlequin, who nodded slightly, “We go to fight the great enemy.”

K’chin sat at the table with the other corsairs. Though he was one of them, his race set him apart. He was Kroot, one of the many non Eldar mercenaries on board the fleet. The soldiers he led had allowed for him to be their representative in the councils held upon their current masters ship, his voice often being the least called after, but he held significant sway with the numbers he controlled. He was often confused at the way the other members acted towards their master, does not the kindred look towards their Master Shaper for guidance? Yet these minor shapers argue and cause dissent, it was very strange to him. The chieftains all argued amoungst themselves for a few moments, many making threats and calling for eachother to rebel. He had heard enough. And in the tongue of his kind, he roared a curse upon the council, they ceased their arguments and stared at him.

The room was silent once more. At the other end of the table, K’chin stood. The Kroot was a terrible foe and a truly loyal ally. His years of fighting alongside Mika had seen him in contention with other Eldar as much as any other species and his dress showed it. He had looted a suit of Eldar armor years earlier and in the habit of his kind, had emulated those he had consumed. His quills had slowly formed long follicled growths, these eventually grew like hair. His combat methods became more focused on close combat, his bloodlust grew incredibly and under his guidance, his kindred grew accustomed to these changes and embraced them themselves. It was often a rather confrontational sight, the Kroot warband that emulated the paths of the Eldar. The many sights and combat methodology of his race, brutalized and converted into the barbaric form of the Kroot.
The council watched as K’chin walked to stand beside his master, many of the captains had members of his mercenary band on their ships and in some cases, in their entourages.
He stared at the captains for a few moments, allowing his thoughts to pull themselves together. "I will follow to this world." A handful of the council members did not take this news happily. But none dared speak when the mercenary was so clearly angered. "My kindred will follow me, those who will not honor the wishes of the shaper will be without my aid in their own clan."

Danyell stood aghast. The creature was going to sway the council. The next moment will be the most dangerous.

Mika rested his hand upon K'chins shoulder plate. "Thank you my friend. But I cannot make this decision for any other." Turning towards the captains again, he took his seat once more. "Who will follow me, I can promise nothing. We may die one and all, but we must try." Mahgar looked from captain to captain, he could see that many of them had made their minds up, they were going to follow Mika to their doom. Those who were undecided were waiting for him. He could leave now, lording over a diminished fleet, or he could follow in this insane venture. But a thought took form in his mind, the dirty barbarians were often rather canny and courageous fighters, prized in the arenas as gladiators, he could surely snatch a hold full in the confusion and be on his way to the Dark City before anyone noticed. But even if that bastard Tor'issi did notice, he could be taken care of. A cruel grin took to his lips. "Well, I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't, you've got my vote on this one. Don't make me regret it." The remaining council members called their support to their lord, pledging their ships, their crews and any allies they could call to the fleets aid. As one, they roared their war cries in approval and Mika allowed himself the pleasure of joining them. "Now, my friends, my family." Grabbing a bottle of wine, he stood up and raised the bottle in salute. "We go to war." The cheering was deafening.

Danyell and the troupe joined in with the cheering, to keep up appearances he thought. Mika Tor'issi had done a great thing, but it wouldn't be enough. They needed more, more warriors, more ships, more of everything. The door to the hall opened, one of the fortresses servants ran in, making his way to the ships master. He whispered something into Tor'issis ear, something that made the corsairs smile even bigger. The servant left as the captain stood and waved for silence. "Friends, family, I have received news, it appears I have a guest." He opened his arms to the doorway, all eyes followed, all voices remained silent as the figure stepped into the room, his reputation stunning even the harlequins.

"May I present to you all, Duke Traevelliath Sliscus."

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I lied, it didnt take as long as i thought.
Im not 100% sure about the language in this one, but I am still getting through the start up of my storyline, so I am cool with it for now.

Lady Malys - thanks for that, intrigue is what our kind lives for, is it not?

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Kinnay
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PostSubject: Re: A brothers love.    Mon Dec 17 2012, 22:17

That is very good indeed! Nice use of vocabulary and - much to my personal delight - little to no errors. Razz

Grammar mode being switched off, I did enjoy the story itself a lot. I'm a little confused about whether or not the Hunter is an Eldar or something else, but I guess that is a good thing. Smile

Do write more!

EDIT: Ooh, nice continuation! My favourite part so far. Although I am again confused: is Mika an Alaitoc, a Corsair Prince or a very soft Archon?

And OHMYGOD Sliscus! Way to raise expectations for your story! You have a standard to fulfill now... Wink

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sammun
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PostSubject: Re: A brothers love.    Mon Dec 17 2012, 23:05

Hahaha, I'm glad you're enjoying it so far!

In answer to your questions!

1. The hunter is something. Maybe Eldar, maybe not. You'll just have to keep reading.
2. Mika is a corsair. This is now clear to me how it can be confusing. Slaath is from Alaitoc. I may have to clean that part up a little. As to Mikas current "softness", this is his turmoil showing. I picture him as a rather caring individual, but one willing to take what he can if needs be.
3. I was unsure how to end this part, taking a quick look at my hobby space (World War 3) and saw a WIP of the grand old duke. But what the heck am I gonna do with him now? I guess we will see. Twisted Evil
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PostSubject: Re: A brothers love.    Tue Dec 18 2012, 00:13

Quote :
And OHMYGOD Sliscus!

I see Sky has a rival for the Duke's affections Razz

Sammun: indeed it is! Intrigue, and plotting, and scheming ...

This time around I particularly liked what you did with the Kroot; the way you played up their peculiar synthesis, and the group hierarchy. This and the fragile balance of power in the fleet really stood out for me! Very Happy

I look forward to more Smile

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sammun
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PostSubject: Re: A brothers love.    Tue Jan 29 2013, 21:57


The prisoner was unconscious again.
Although that didn’t surprise his torturer, it did inconvenience him. There were still half a dozen other guests who were as of yet to receive his attentions and this one’s ever present ability to fall into unconsciousness had caused more issues than he was worth. The Interrogator was clearly more frustrated than he was; he had started pacing the length of the room, cursing the subject in his own guttural tongue. The Surgeon watched the pathetic display of frustration and hated him for it. Not as much as he hated the Eldar subject though. By the gods, how he hated the Eldar.
The Surgeon would tell you that the Eldar were a pitiful example of existence if you asked him, that their Dark Kin should have wiped them out millennia ago. If you asked him, he would have told you innumerable ways to punish such individuals. Not only with physical pain, any creature can be tortured, but by taking advantage of their psychic abilities. These were, in some cases, more of a hindrance to a prisoner than a benefit. The Kohkarah plant for example, to non psykers, was just another plant. Not a very attractive one, but of no real concern to anyone. But to psykers, the plant was a weapon.
Cutting or burning the plants tendrils would cause a reaction, a scream from within the plant of psyonic capabilities. None with the gift of an otherworldly mind could stand the screams, with ongoing exposure to the phenomenon causing irreparable nerve and mental damage, even death. Or that their muscular structure could be manipulated with certain compounds, causing spasms and muscular contractions so severe, that to stop moving for even a heartbeat could cause a prisoners spine to be snapped under its own strain. Or other materials could be force fed to the captive, causing the digestive system to slowly liquefy, causing the digestive acids to eat through the subject stomach and internal organs, ending their life often bursting with the swelling from internal gas build-up.
The Surgeon would have told anyone these little titbits if they had asked him, but after several hundred years of self mutilation and experimentation, very few could get words from a creature with no lips, tongue, or vocal chords.
So in little sessions like this, he had no choice but to put up with The Interrogator and his pathetic mewling displays of frustration in front of the lesser races.

The room had been converted from one of the many caves that in aeons past had been carved into the side of a mountain. The dirty stone walls covered in filth and bodily waste. Runes and sigils that seemed to move of their own accord and hurt the eyes of any who dared to focus on them were carved every few feet into the granite. Torches were mounted throughout the room, providing a flickering light under which the figures either worked, or were worked upon. The current prisoner had been chained spreadeagled over a rough stone altar; the shackles were barbed, tearing deep furrows in his arms and legs. Ribbons of skin had been carved from his body, nerve endings had been burned out, muscle shorn away from bone, strand by strand. But despite the masterful work, this useless, defaced lump of misshapen meat had been able to answer none of the interrogators questions.

Children, what worth were they anyway?

Gesturing to one of his apprentices that crowded the caves throughout the network to remove the subject, The Surgeon moved to replace his tools in their dirty brown case. The apprentice hobbled his mutilated form over to the altar, uncoupling the prisoner from his chains as two more of the nightmarish servants gently lifted the child’s small body and shuffled haphazardly from the cave. A rough table had been constructed from a pile of rocks, beside the case, a decanter of viscous fluid and a single drinking vessel rested upon it. The irregular and badly beaten metal of the cup glinted slightly in the torchlight. Pouring the gelatinous fluid into the container, The Interrogator stared at the remaining six subjects, sipping the congealed concoction as his eyes narrowed in focus. They had watched the bloody work that The Surgeon had performed upon the child, screaming at first, promising to maim and kill all of those who had committed such terrible and sinful acts, but as the hours went by, their screams and oaths came from coarse and broken voices. Their strength fading as it dawned on them.

They were next.

---------------------

The moon shone brightly tonight, the gentle blowing of the wind carried the still peace of the plains. The long grass swayed in the breeze around the traveller’s small camp fire, the gentle crackling of the burning wood echoing slightly, the glow of the low fire reflecting off the small beads sewn into the lone figures clothing and braided into his hair.
The travelling Eldar sat cross legged in the clearing, whittling away at a small, off cut piece of firewood, his blade deftly removing tiny slivers of wood as he hummed gently to himself. A half eaten meal lay next to him, the dried meat and track bread cast aside in favour of his crafting. His belongings were piled under his blanket, tied together with strips of leather thong. Several tiny carvings, much like the one he was working on now sat together atop the pile. The creatures they resembled were not like anything this planet had ever seen. But still the traveller carved them, the creatures he knew and dreamed of, humming his tune.

Inching towards the clearing, the scout leader gestured to his team to stop moving. His raised fist armoured in a cruel, spiked gauntlet the colour of dried blood. The dirty brown of the team’s uniforms made it harder for anyone to see them in the moonlight, the long grass aiding them in their mission; in many places it eclipsed even the height of a man. The scout leader allowed himself a moment of respite, taking a flask from the inside of his fatigues and taking a swig of the liquor it contained. They were no more than a thousand feet from the glowing fire, but they were far enough that hushed orders could be issued without risking themselves to detection. The group had all taken the quick stop to partake in their own stores of drink, the half dozen strong hunting team drinking from flasks or canteens as they waited. This was their third such operation in as many days, finding Eldar who were by themselves or in pairs, kidnapping them to be questioned by their master’s pet freaks. The leader shook his head at the thought of them in disgust. The scouts hated the torturers; none of them were free of scars from the attentions of those two, with even the slightest failure or hint of disloyalty repaid with their full, torturous attentions.

But the sense of fear would always override the feeling of hate. And the fear they had towards their master was all encompassing. Lord Diokhan wanted to know where the population centres of this planet were, the Exodite cities were often hidden from the likes of them. The thought bought the scout leader back to the moment, signing directives to the team they split into two groups of three, one under his control, and the other under his underling. Each group struck out towards one of the camps flanks, the scout leader continued watching the lone figure, noting the advance his team were making. He allowed a slight smile to sneak across his scarred visage; he would take the fool by surprise, while his men attacked from either side. As soon as he has this peasant tied up, he was going to have a lho stick and eat whatever food the prick had on him before they had to drag him back to the landing zone and the awaiting transport. Spitting a wad of phlegm into the grass, he continued forward.

Thorin's ears pricked slightly, throwing his focus on his work into disarray. Putting his knife and carving aside, he reached for the plate of discarded food. Chewing on the rough trail bread, the traveller breathed deeply of the fresh plains air, the grass smelled sweet to him, he loved the open air, his ancient lungs stretching gently. Swallowing the last of the bread, he started to whistle, a soft and sombre tune, reaching over to his piled belongings; he untied the thongs and removed a wrapped object, laying it next to him. Focussed once more, he picked up and continued on with his carving. After a handful of minutes, he had finished his latest creation and had sat it alongside its fellows, another vision from a past life. Things he had tried to leave behind, but always followed him. With a final sigh, he called out to his stalkers in their own primitive language. "There's no point slinking around anymore, I can smell you." His voice carried out to the hunters, freezing in their places to a man. The scout leader stood, brushing off the dirt and broken blades of grass from his uniform. "Smelled me huh? Spose that's a useful trick." Making his way at a now more leisurely pace, the leader got to within several feet of the Eldar. "It still doesn't help you though." His cruel grin framing his stained and diseased teeth, they had been filed into crude points. Pulling a lho stick from a small case within his thigh webbing, the scout examined his soon to be prisoner. The Eldar was ancient, his skin had stretched over her wizened bones over what must have been centuries. His long hair had bypassed grey and rested on the platinum silver of the moon. He was dressed in a pair of crude, leather pants and vest. Their rough stitching adorned with feathers, bone and bead charms and slivers of some sort of bone. The traveller was bare foot; the rough, calloused skin was covered in intricate tattoos, some snaking up onto his chest and neck. His belongings were piled up next to him, but the lone camper had some food with him as well. "Looks like you even made me something to chew on the way back, might have a bit now." Breaking the threshold of the encampment, the scout stepped into the Eldars clearing. "If you value what is left of your life Mon-Keigh, you will turn around and leave me be. There are forces here that you will not defend against." The travellers threat made the scout laugh, the wet phlegmatic bark rang out across the plains. "I'm the one with the big surprise you pointy eared bastard, don't you frakking forget that." Spitting a dirty wad of phlegm, the scout leader took another step forward. "And the name is Massif, not monkey you prick!" The team behind the Eldar stood almost as one, their weapons at the ready. The scout drew a long whip from his webbing, lashing out at Thorin and tearing a jagged gash into his cheek. "Now come out over here before you make me mad and I cut you up some eh?"

Thorin smiled at the scouts attack, wiping the blood that was now running down his face, he bought the bloodied fingers to his lips. His expression changed suddenly into something hungry and cruel. The scout leader hesitated, thrown by the sudden transformation in his quarries expression. The Eldar leaned over and retrieved a small bundle from where he was sitting and started to unwrap it.
"I tried explaining to you, just walk away, your pitiful life was short enough before you threatened me. But your kind has never been anything but prey." The Eldar stood, laughing cruelly. In his hand he clasped a rough leather mask. Much like his clothing, the item was sewn through with rough stitching, several bright feathers crowning the brow. Raising the mask to his face, Thorin reached back and tied it to his face. His laughter becoming hysterical, like that of a madman, plummeting to his death. Massif could see the terror rising in his men as he watched them take steps away from the Eldar, every one of them had his weapon pointed at the lone figure. Never had he been so terrified, not when it came to a target. As the Eldar finished tying the masks strings, his laughter suddenly stopped. Thorin looked up at the retreating scout leader, his mirth clear as day. “Goodbye Mon-Keigh.”

That was the final straw, Massif charged at the Eldar, bringing his knife up in a murderous stroke, one that would have ripped through the thin leather and then the Eldars stomach, releasing his entrails in a thick rope of gore, if only he had managed to retain his arm. The scouts had barely even seen the traveller move, he was still several paces away from the scout master. But there he was, his right arm missing below the elbow, blood spurting from the stump and staining the encampment, a long slender warknife in the Eldars grip, the dirty streak of Massifs blood running down the jagged blade. The scouts broke their circle as their leader dropped to his knees in shock, they were fleeing back towards their landing zone. Thorin watched them run as he whistled gently. From within the grass came two creatures of nightmare. There were two of them, each stalked into the clearing from either side of the Eldar. They resembled giant skinless dogs, their faces could have been likened to that of a canines skull crossed with an arachnid, a handful of eyes dotting the area above the snout. They came to the side of their master, he reached out and petted one idly as the other chewed on the scouts amputated arm.
He had missed the two of them, though they were always with him he could not bear to look at the beasts. But these were the beasts he carved into the wood, the beasts from a life he tried to leave behind, but fate had a different plan for him tonight. Moving over to the scout, Thorin knelt down in front of him, his aching bones creaking as he stared down at his victim. His mumbled prayers amused the Eldar. "The dark gods cannot save you now, but fear not. You will be meeting She-Who-Thirsts soon enough." The scouts eyes met those of the Eldar, he offered his killer the slightest of nods and with that motion, Thorin ripped his throat out.

After a few moments the Eldar got to his feet. His muscles invigorated with the energy of the scouts essence, his skin smooth again, his very life renewed.
Uncovering his former trappings from within his packed belongings, he mounted the skyboard he had refused to destroy, the sun slowly rising in the distance.
His gaze returned to the fleeing scouts, they were easily three hundred feet away by now. In the language of his true people he spoke to his pets, words he had not uttered in a generation.

“Kyuhlaheen numa geh’lo.” Hunt now my children.

Not a single scout saw the dawn.

---------

So that one took a bit longer to get up and done, but i finally got there!

Taking things a little darker with this entry, but its all helping me set the scene for whats coming.

hope you enjoy!
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THE DARK CITY :: 

OTHER DRUKHARI DISCUSSION

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