A/N: Thanks to Korazell for proof-reading
The eerie echoes of nothingness and dark twisting shadows that seemed to have lives of their own that could’ve chilled the blood of even the most ruthless of Commorrites. The haunted city of Shaa-dom had once been a great challenge to Vect - until the tyrant had sent a human vessel crashing into it. Now the demon army that once posed a threat to Vect turned on their master and his allies and destroyed the realm which was then sealed up by Vect to protect the rest of Commorragh. Now ages past, the rotted defiled corpse of El'uriaq’s grand ambitions lay lonely and forgotten.
A small flicker of silver light etched a shape in the air, slowly tracing the way forward. It slowly opened into a portal and two small figures peered out before exiting the silver arch. They were only children, un-identical twins, rarer than soul opals amongst the Eldar. Both had thick manes of ebony hair and unusually large, cat-like eyes that seemed to watch everything. The younger of the twins was a girl with her hair a cascade of wavy ringlets and unlike her older brother she was cautious. She watched everything around her, wielding two daggers in her hands. “Diaval, I think we should go back it feels….wrong here” she said. Outside of the wardings of Commorragh she could already feel She Who Thirsts tugging at her soul. Her brother turned and smiled teasingly.
“Scared Sinyxl? Don’t worry I’ll protect you” he teased, wielding the splinter pistol he’d ‘borrowed’ from the armoury of the Black Heart. Despite his ‘devil may care’ attitude he was starting to feel that coming here was not a good idea. His sister Sinyxl could see through his bluff, the twins had a link that bordered on psychic, they could look at each other and know what the other was thinking; a simple glance could say 1000 words between them. They were true born to Sindel Khaylart, one of Asdrubael Vect’s prized assassins. Vect had raised the twins as his own but even at their young age they suspected he was not their natural father. Despite this, Vect seemingly had big plans for them, grooming them as if they were pupils, infant prodigies whose deviousness matched his own. They were tutored by the best scholars, politicians and warriors in Commorragh and while they may not be Vect’s blood they saw him as a father figure.
The twins advanced along the ravaged ruins of what would have once been a stunning palace. Cracked busts of El-Uriaq and his bloodline lay smashed and defiled on the floor. Both twins felt the strong feeling like something was watching them, the strange shadows continuing to move as if they had a life of their own. “Sinyxl! Look at this” Diaval called running to the end of the hall and sitting himself on a throne that would’ve once been stunning but was now brown with tarnish from millennia of isolation. “I am the Overlord of Shaa-Dom” he said mocking the ghost of El’Uriaq. Sinyxl sniggered as she looked through the piles of bodies Corpses (Bodies maybe? How well preserved are they? ) and rubble.
“It seems there is nothing to be found here” she said with a hint of disappointment.
“There must be something” said Diaval getting off the throne. The two headed up the crumbling staircase where they wandered the halls and empty rooms finding only bones and ruin. So far the twins were utterly disappointed. They had come to Shaa-dom to seek treasure and fight demons and so far they had come across neither. Sinyxl peered around a large door into what seemed like a bedroom seeing only bones that lay still coiled in horror. She pushed the door open and a haunting music began to play causing her to jump immediately, drawing the daggers she had until she realized that she had only knocked over a music box. She picked up the box that was stained with dried blood; various items were still in the compartments that had been broken, spilling their contents like entrails from a carcass. She immediately smiled as she fondled the age old jewels. “Diaval! I found something” she called. Diaval swiftly followed her and smiled at the jewellery glittering behind millennia of dust and taint.
“Good find” he said, his eyes scanning the room. “This room looks like it belonged to someone important” he said eyeing the now torn drapes, smashed mirrors and demolished artwork. It wouldn’t have been El’Uriaq’s but someone important to him, perhaps a general or less favoured mistress? It was hard to say. The twins wasted no time in scavenging for more to bring back to Commorragh.
Diaval found a broken and smashed armoire; it would’ve been quite the piece in its day, Black Eloh tree wood with gilded carvings of a thousand different torments and deaths expertly made into the wood. Diaval looked at the smashed shards of stained glass on the floor and couldn’t help feeling a tinge of sorrow for what happened here, such beauty and power destroyed in a single moment. This was not just a satellite dimension with an ambitious archon with delusions of grandeur making a play for power; this was the fate of the Eldar race. This was what the most powerful race in the galaxy had been reduced to, scurrying about like rats in the webway clinging to their existence. No, he and Sinyxl would change that when they were ready, that was what Vect was preparing them for, the galaxy had once belonged to them and would come back to them. Diaval reached inside the armoire and pulled out its contents, mostly fragments of ornamental armour but deep within was a sharpened blade forged from bone, a huskblade. Diaval’s eyes widened as he picked up the power sword. Despite its age it was honed to perfection. The young Eldar playfully swung the sword a few times. “Diaval!” he heard his sister call and his momentary trance was broken. “Did you hear that?” she asked a grain of anxiety in her voice.
“I heard nothing.” her elder twin answered.
“There! Listen!” she said. Diaval listened and he noticed what she was referring to. A faint laughter, or perhaps gibbering, but it was not natural, it was like hearing the dead speaking. A momentary chill went up the twins spines.
“I think we should leave, sister.” said Diaval. The twins pocketed whatever they could and made their way down towards the hall. The unnatural laughter was getting louder and despite their increase in speed as they approached the end of the hall a strange creature began to emerge from the walls, a pink bulbous ever-changing mass of mismatched limbs with a twisted face that smiled with a madness that the twins had never seen before. As it appeared through the wall it laughed and babbled madly its long purple tongue licking its swollen lips. The sound was a cacophony of unholy terrors and un-natural sounds that would’ve driven the lesser willed to insanity. Diaval fired his splinter pistol at the creature before it had finished emerging. It shrieked jovially as crystalline shards sunk into its skin, the virulent poisons now coursing through it. Its body slumped to the ground but just as the twins thought it was dead the creature turned blue and split into two. These two blue things moaned and grumbled constantly unlike the larger pink being it had been. Sinyxl drew the daggers and readied herself as the two ever shifting blue things charged the two of them. Diaval fired a volley of splinter fire as Sinyxl slashed and kicked at the creatures which whined and tittered incessantly. The creature’s flailing limbs hurled themselves at Sinyxl who momentarily gathered her thoughts as she ducked the creature’s punches. She plunged one of her daggers deep into its swirling abdomen and sliced it vertically as she returned to her fighting stance. The blue creature screamed as it turned to smoke and she turned to see Diaval finish off his foe. The twins smiled at each other for the brief moment of safety before they heard the maniacal laughter again. They looked around and more of the twisted pink abominations emerged from the walls, floor and ceiling, skittering, jumping and running towards to the two children.
The twins stood back to back holding their ground, their hearts pounding furiously within their chests. A bolt of warp fire forced the twins to separate, fighting desperately for their lives. With each seeming victory the vile change daemons split into two blue abominations that contrary to their pink counterparts moaned and wailed. More and more were spilling through. The twins easily dodged the attacks thrown at them but struggled to do any substantial damage as more of the pink things joined the fray. Diaval put his new prize to work carving up those who got too near and Sinyxl was beginning to find her momentum sinking her blades into any and all who came near her. The twins knew though that soon they would be acting out of blind instinct. They were children, not fully trained and were now tiring. The daemons were growing in numbers and had no sign of stopping. Sinyxl screamed as one of the beasts cut through her armour and sliced into her tendon, sending her young body into shock. Diaval cut down his opponent and ran to his sister’s aid. He bravely stood to defend her but the horde of daemons now surrounded them and were encroaching. Now it was just a case of making them work for it. Then as if some form of avenging angel had arrived, volleys of splinter fire and blasts of darklight swept through the demonic horde. Diaval was shaking from the adrenaline, it took a moment to realise what had happened. A large squad of warriors of the Black Heart skulked forward, quickly disposing of any emerging enemies. The squad’s Sybarite approached the children, the bright green visors on his helm glowed angrily as he looked down at the shaking children. “We’re going now.” he said coldly. This was an order, not a statement. Diaval supported his wounded sister and the two were escorted out by the kabalite warriors.
Asdrubael Vect’s fingers drummed as he waited. He turned to Sindel whose usual calm and cold demeanour was swiftly unravelling. The ebony haired assassin was like a caged animal and she would snap soon. Her children were out there and she was made to stay here, while Vect appreciated her maternal instinct, this would be as much about her punishment as it would be the children’s. A kabalite warrior approached bowing deeply. “My glorious overlord, I bring word from the squad sent to recover the dark twins” he said. A light hand movement form Vect allowed the warrior to continue. “They were found in Shaa-dom, overwhelmed by horrors. Sinyxl has been wounded.” He said. Sindel’s eyes lit up and she looked like she was about to kill the warrior for bringing her this news.
“Calm yourself, Sindel. It is quite impressive that my twins survived a daemon horde with only one wound” Vect said without even having to look at her. “How bad is her wound?” he said apathetically.
“There is a little damage to her ligament, her body took the trauma shock badly so it looked worse than it was. The wrack sent word that she will be running and jumping normally in less than a week”
“Very good, I want them both in here the moment they get back” Vect said, his glacial voice branding the commands into the warrior’s brain.
“It shall be done” the warrior saluted and turned. Sindel was far more nervous now. She wanted to hug her children but that would be seen as weakness, besides they left without permission, they needed discipline. The Lhamaens of Vect’s court snickered while watching her inner turmoil over the thought causing Sindel to glare at them. This was a moment when she would be happy to plunge her blades: Heartripper and Throatcutter into those little harlots’ eyes. That thought soothed her as she imagined twisting the blades while watching the little strumpets squirm and writhe in agony.
“Sindel” Vect’s voice commanded her out of the daydream. “Come closer” he said. Sindel cautiously walked towards her master, she had little option, despite her beauty, skill and brains she was a slave-born and Vect owned her. As she approached his throne Vect grabbed her arm and pulled her onto his lap. Sindel briefly struggled but that only seemed to excite Vect more. She submitted to the tyrant’s caress and he smiled viciously. “You know that my twins must be punished, yes?” he said in a way that sounded like an order. Sindel nodded sadly.
“Yes, my lord”
“Would I be any sort of Father if I did not guide them on the right path?”
“No, my lord” Sindel’s heart felt like a million nails were being hammered into it. She felt the urge to cry, to unsheathe Heartripper and sink it deep into the tyrant’s chest but that would do little for her, one tyrant would be replaced by another. The agony she felt now, it was what Vect wanted her to feel, she was a good mother who loved her children and that was the most delicious type of agony for Vect. This was her punishment and it was a good one, she felt Vect’s lips upon hers and the pain became overwhelming. She needed to go, to leave and scream away all the hurt but again this was a sign of weakness. She choked back her pain, anger and despair and let her master have his pound of flesh.
The twins could’ve been face to face with She Who Thirsts and it would’ve been less terrifying. Their faces where tear stained, they snivelled as they tried to hold choke back their tears. They looked to their mother whose expression was one of disappointment and anger. She shook her head letting them know she would not step in. “Stop that snivelling!” Vect snarled finally reaching the end of his patience. “Why did you go to Shaa-dom? You know it is forbidden?” neither said anything for a moment. “Answer me” said Vect, he wasn’t shouting but the fear could be felt from even the veteran warriors in the room.
“My Lord” said Diaval, “We just wanted to find some treasures, we thought maybe we could reclaim Shaa-dom” he continued, Diaval suddenly felt a wave of shame and embarrassment at his childish endeavour. Vect rolled his eyes, he would’ve laughed if anyone else had said this but those he had raised as his own should know better.
“What made you think you children would be able to reclaim Shaa-dom?” he asked with disgust.
“We were foolish, my Lord” said Sinyxl ashamedly. Both twins felt very small and stupid. The cold humiliation and judgment would only be the beginning of their punishment.
“A good answer, but no children of mine will be foolish” Vect said gesturing to a badly scarred warrior. The twins shook with fear, as he approached. They looked pleadingly at their mother and Vect but neither showed a sign of mercy. The scared warrior drew his blade and the twins turned allowing him to slice through their clothes, exposing their backs. A contented buzz sounded as the scarred warrior’s electrowhip came to life, the small charges of electricity danced inside the whip like a tiny lightning storm. The warrior looked to Vect for a sign of approval and the great tyrant gestured again. Diaval & Sinyxl clutched their hands as if they were praying. The vicious whistle of the whip lashing through the air was finalised with the burning sensation across the twins backs. The twins opened their mouths to scream but no sound came out. The second lash was worse adding a shredding sensation to the burning skin. Again and again the lashing ripped into the twins. Sindel flinched at each lash, her instinct to rescue her children adding to the sensations of physical, emotional and mental anguish. When the whip began to draw blood Vect raised his hand halting the torment. Sections of the twin’s skin hung from the whip, like wet tissue. Vect got up from his throne and approached the children who were wailing in pain, tears pouring down their cheeks. The tyrant tilted their chins turning their heads to look at him and smirked slightly. “Remember this pain, children. Remember this humiliation and this moment of frailty and make sure that this weakness never returns.” he said, his voice now had no tone of scolding but a twisted compassion.