- Objectionable Content Warnings:
Feathered wings carried Baehrax through the broken roof of an ancient aeldari structure, its bone-white dome sundered apart like a broken egg. She moved with deceptive quietness between rising pillars and sloping walls, followed closely by her flock of Scourges as they searched for an adequate perch. She made her landing atop a broken beam, her wings folding in neatly behind her.
Dark Lance held closely to her chest, Baehrax lifted back her golden mask and exposed her raptor-like face. Her modifications from the flesh-crafters did not end at her wings; bones had been hollowed, feet equipped with curled claws and her facial structure entirely altered to an almost reptilian visage. Her flat nostrils twitched as she smelled the air, glossy eyes examining the rubble-strewn plaza below.
Mon’keigh soldiers, the weak variety of flak-armoured guardsmen, were gathered in loose formation and keeping watch. One of their Sentinels, laborious two-legged machines, loomed nearby with weapons ready. They guarded their commissar as he investigated a dormant aeldari webway gate.
Were Arzurdar’s findings to be believed, that gateway was connected to a long-forgotten passage of the webway, one which would lead them straight to Scathea. Baehrax had her doubts, but after weeks spent aboard the Vilsqarn, she needed any excuse to stretch her wings and hunt hapless quarry again.
Finishing her headcount, Baehrax lowered her mask once more and signalled to the Spiteborn Aerie. Long had these Scourges followed her as their Solarite, so her gestures were easily understood. Following her silent orders, Listhek unfolded his bat-like wings and took flight again, exiting the ancient aeldari complex to give his report to Dracon Arzurdar. They had more than enough drukhari ready to deal with this infestation and every second spent idle was agonizing to Baehrax.
Minutes later, the drukhari fell upon their unsuspecting prey.
The air shrieked as Arzurdar uncoiled his Agoniser, lashing out in lightning-fast strikes that sheared through flesh and set nervous systems into overload. The Dracon weaved between the convulsing humans, immobilised by his whip and vulnerable to his blade. Arteries were sliced open in flourishes of crimson, the drukhari moving too fast for the blood to catch him as he darted between his foes. His Kabalites followed his example and leapt into the fray from their Raiders, flensing knives drawn.
Airborne Scourges offered supporting fire, unloading toxified crystals into the scrambling guardsmen and savouring the agonizing deaths that followed. Baehrax swept down on feathered wings and took aim at the Sentinel, its pilot too occupied with unloading an Autocannon upon the attacking drukhari to notice her. Her Dark Lance unleashed a beam of highly focused darklight that sliced through the air as an immaterial blade, lancing through the Sentinel and vaporizing its pilot with a series of matter-destroying explosions.
Invigorated by the slaughter, Arzurdar set his sights on the mon’keigh leader. The commissar took aim and unloaded his Bolt Pistol at the charging drukhari. One of the Kabalites was hit in the eye-vizor, the back of her helm bursting open with gore. Arzurdar weaved aside and evaded the shots, though a lone bolter round blasted against his Ghostplate armour and broke his advance. With an angered snarl he struck out with his Agoniser, the whip slicing the commissar’s hand and the resulting spasm of pain causing him to drop his gun.
Unleashing a second lash, Arzurdar coiled it around the human’s neck and pulled tight. Paralyzing pain coursed through the commissar, the Agoniser sending wave after wave of mind-searing agony through his overwhelmed nervous system. He fell to the ground, grabbing at the grasping whip to try in vain to pry it off. “Now what is it a primitive might want with our webway, hm?”
the Dracon enquired, eyes thin with malice as he stared down at the pain-wracked commissar. He planted a boot on the human’s chest and pulled his Agoniser even tighter, the whip’s coil cutting off his airways and slicing into flesh. This was his favourite method of a slow kill, one he often employed when he was still a wych in the arenas. And he planned to make this one very slow. “Dracon, it has been compromised.”
Listhek warned from above, flying away from the webway gate.
Arzurdar’s ears twitched, focus broken from his sadistic enjoyment. He looked between the inactive gateway and his ensnared victim. Only then did he notice the metal contraption held in the commissar’s shaking hand. Before he could act, the human activated it, a defiant glare in his tormented eyes. A sudden series of explosions ripped through the ancient gateway, shattering its elegant arches and scattering wraithbone across the rubble-strewn plaza.
Stood fast against the wave of dust and debris that washed over him, Arzurdar watched his main lead to Scathea collapse into rubble. Taken from him. By a mon’keigh. Fury surged through his veins like burning acid, searing him from within with hazardous intensity. His wrathful stare looked down upon the struggling commissar. The impulse to flay him there and then was overwhelming, to vivisect him before the ruined portal and feed on his wailing soul… but that would be too quick. And far too merciful. “Take this one alive.”
Arzurdar snarled, uncoiling his Agoniser and stepping off the commissar’s chest. The human gasped for breath and grasped at his bloody neck, though was quickly chained and dragged to the Raiders by Sybarite Gth’zeir.
With a billow of wind, Baehrax landed near the Dracon, wings tucking behind her. She lifted her mask and spoke, words laced with mocking venom. “The Archon won’t be pleased.” “Silence, lizard.”