The shadows lengthened. Lilleathana shivered in the chill. She looked around, but she was alone.
None had followed her to this desolate place, near the border of Aalindrach. This was good. Nor was there any sign of her contact, which was not so good. Had she been betrayed?
If it was a trap, the grim and foreboding wasteland offered little protection. The only cover was the cloak of darkness that shrouded the twilit plains.
Lilleathana crouched low, hand hovering over her pistol. She brooded there, watching the shadows shift and come alive, feeling the blackness swoop around her with malign intent. After some time, and her customary paranoia check, she decided that she was safe enough to proceed.
Slowly, carefully, she withdrew a small brass orb from a pouch at her belt, and laid it on the grey sand. Lilleathana had hoped to hand it to her contact in person, but as her mysterious connection appeared reluctant to show himself – herself? Lilleathana didn’t even know that – this might have to do. She then placed a token of her hated enemy, K., and her payment beside the orb. She was loath to part with it, but consoled herself that her reward would be more than worth the cost.
Furtively, she slunk away from the benighted place.
Two weeks later, news came that K. had suffered an unfortunate, and terminal, ‘accident’. Lilleathana dissembled surprise, but wasted no time in claiming the now vacant position of Dracon.
Life as a Dracon was good. And when Lilleathana returned triumphant from the raiding party that devastated Hyber IV, at the head of a colossal train of slaves and booty, she even earned her Archon’s praise.
Although Lilleathana basked in the glory, the limelight brought numberless parasites to her. More and more, she uncovered intrigues against her, and thwarted nefarious plots that would disgrace or end her. For every new step she took, she had to fight even harder just to hold on to her place.
One day, she came across a small brass orb in her dresser. She had almost forgotten about it; after it was left by the remains of K.’s body, she had quickly removed it and stashed it safely away. Now, she regarded it, and thought about the choice it represented.
After a few moments, she reached for the orb.
The price had been higher this time. The journey to the forbidding outskirts of Aalindrach had been harder. And now that she was more widely known, it had been difficult to disguise her intentions. Difficult, yes; but Lilleathana was equal to the challenge.
The results spoke for themselves. The chief conspirators in the internal plots against her were all viciously murdered in one night. In a masterstroke, Lilleathana had arranged for the slaughter to look like the work of rivals at other Kabals; on the pretext of revenge she led a reprisal mission and eliminated them. She was better placed than ever before.
As an advisor to her Archon, Lilleathana enjoyed unprecedented power. And having brutally put down several attempts on her life, she enjoyed a period of comparative calm. No-one dared to plot against her. She used the time and space to mount realspace raids of grand design, to outmaneuver rival Kabals, and to increase her own personal holdings. So it came to pass that her quarters, in a spire high above the ground, became lush with the trophies of success.
She was in her quarters now, giving instructions to a Scourge through the open window. When she dismissed her courier, Lilleathana closed the window against the sudden cold, and turned to seek refuge in her bed.
Laying beside the bed was a small brass orb.
Curious, Lilleathana padded across the room. She certainly hadn’t left it there. After checking it for contact poisons she picked it up and frowned. Why was it not in her safe? Was this someone’s idea of a joke?
A chilly wind toyed with her curtains. Absent-mindedly she turned to shut the window, only to find it already shut.
Lilleathana, hissed a sibilant voice in her mind. She recognized it immediately.
“What is it?” she snapped, to the orb. “I didn’t call you!”
No, came the hiss. With a start, Lilleathana realized the voice was coming not from the orb, but from the corner of her room. When she looked, she saw shadowy skin emerge from the darkness. A wicked sickle gleamed in the sudden twilight.
Someone else did.
All around her, the shadows were coming to life. Sunken eyes, glimmering steel, and cold, cold fire crowded around her.
“No!” cried Lilleathana, as they raised their blades.
The Dark Eldar and Dissynergy.
3d printed Dark Eldar bits on Shapeways.