- Objectionable Content Warnings:
Arzurdar had his sights set on a new and far more dangerous lead to find the elusive world of Scathea. After torturing their commissar prisoner and wringing every available drop of information from the maimed mon’keigh, he divulged that he was tasked with clearing aeldari ruins from several key worlds within this Sector, the last on his list being a Feudal World named ‘Cerecope’. Upon closer inspection, Cerecope had recently been ravaged by a Warp Storm, leaving the world’s surface defiled by the corrupting powers of Chaos. Problematic though that was, Arzurdar had a plan.
Assembling fifty of their captives, Arzurdar had them chained and dropped onto the planet’s surface. He planted a filled Soul Trap on the commissar, to make him extra appealing to the world’s new Warp-spawned residents. They would serve as a living distraction, luring any daemonic threats away so that the drukhari could see to their task uninterrupted.
Leaving the stranded prisoners to their wretched fate, the drukhari sped to their objective. Anti-gravity barges and soaring Scourges raced over the blue-leafed trees of Cerecope as they arrived at the remains of an ancient aeldari temple complex. It sprawled through the forest like the displaced bones of a great sea creature. Every pillar was its ribs, the pale walls its far-reaching fins, while the central sanctuary served as its sloped skull.
The drukhari leapt down from their Raiders and found a variety of terrified humans hiding amongst the ruins, taking much delight in hunting them. Arzurdar kept to task and led his retinue of Kabalites into the main temple complex, entering a far-spanning chamber formed from wraithbone and filled with spiralling columns and sloping walkways. Beneath an intricate mosaic of fluted crystal depicting the dead goddess Lileath stood a tall webway gate, its arches shaped to resemble aeldari knelt in veneration.“That looks promising.”
Solarite Baehrax flew down, perching herself atop a nearby column.“Sybarite Lagaeth. Examine that gateway and see where it leads.”
Arzurdar ordered. “Quickly.”“Fast as a daggersnake, Dracon.”
Lagaeth slung his heat lance over his shoulder, setting forward to the inactive webway gate with a contingent of Kabalites. Formerly a Fire Dragon of Saim-Hann, Lagaeth’s savagery far eclipsed the restraints of his aspect armour and eventually led him to the crueller corner of aeldari society. Unsurprisingly, he found himself quite at home among the Kabal.“How do you think our bait is faring?”
mused Sybarite Gth’zeir, running a taloned finger over his sharp jawline.“Dismally.”
Arzurdar answered, briefly entertaining the thought of their captives fleeing from ravenous daemons.
Gth’zeir gave a wicked laugh, amused by his Dracon’s answer. That was until his sensitive ears picked up on an unexpected sound from the nearby ruins. Among the screams of humans begging for mercy, he heard a drukhari wailing in agony. A few seconds later, another of their kin added to the agonized choir, then several all at once.
Soon, many of them heard it, their focus turned to the temple’s doorway in grim anticipation. A few Kabalites ran inside, tailed by airborne Scourges. “We have been found!”
one of them shared, Splinter Rifle aimed at the doorway. “She Who Thirsts has sent one of her princes after us.”“Dismally indeed.”
Gth’zeir bemoaned, drawing his Venom Blade.“Lagaeth, we need that portal opened now.”
Arzurdar snapped as he uncoiled his Agoniser, holding the whip ready at his side. Lagaeth scowled in focus and continued to investigate the nexus of power around the webway gate, trying to discover how to reactivate the inert portal.
Light began to refract and swirl within the temple’s doorway, a gentle radiance rolling through as a towering figure approached, cloaked in golden resplendence. His skin was milk white, body tall and lined with statuesque muscles. Four arms opened welcomingly, two wielding slender blades of ever-shifting silver, two ending with long purple pincers. His face fused both bestial and divine into one alluring amalgam, crowned with horns and tasting the air with an obscenely long tongue. Around his feet, Chaos-touched abhumans followed, armed with weapons raided from Cerecope’s fallen palaces.
The sight of the Daemon Prince was enchanting, as was the soporific aroma that spilled through the temple following his arrival. Though freed of the Thirst by Yvraine, each of the drukhari once again felt the weight of Slaanesh upon their very essence, the Dark Prince’s claws caressing against their depraved souls. They loathed this daemon, a scion of their Great Enemy, yet they were totally captivated. “You stand before a paradigm of excellence, the Dark Prince’s brilliance given new form.”
The Daemon Prince’s silvery voice massaged at their minds, like skilled fingers soothing aching skin. “Surrender yourselves to Parsephelos, Dark Ones, just as this world has.”
Parsephelos took a single step closer, beckoning them towards him with a jewel-lavished claw. But before any could approach, a beam of focused Darklight lanced into the Daemon Prince’s chest and seared through his pristine skin. Baehrax took to the air after her shot, releasing a raptor-like shriek to alert her Scourges to battle. Sobered from the Daemon Prince’s allure, Arzurdar felt control of his limbs slowly return. Activating his combat drugs and feeling them pump through his swollen veins, near-instantly washing away the lingering lethargy, Arzurdar shouted. “These aberrations want our souls. Give them only pain!”
Battle erupted as the abhumans spilled forth towards the Kabalites. Those few drukhari still under the daemon’s spell were unable to protect themselves, skewered upon extravagant blades and golden spears, their souls stolen from Ynnead as Parsephelos beckoned them into his waiting maw. But those unaffected by his spell fought back with hateful zeal, cutting down the servants of Slaanesh with ferocious loathing. Splinter Rifles shredded through the reckless abhumans while others were decapitated by the Kabalite’s blades.
In contrast with his wild followers, the Daemon Prince moved with obscene speed and grace. He sliced one Kabalite in twain with his claw while skewering a Scourge upon his ever-changing blade, their cries of death drawn out as he devoured their souls. All manners of drukhari weaponry were levelled against the daemon’s unnatural body with only some managing to scar his perfect form. The pain fuelled Parsephelos as he set his claws upon a Raider, rending it apart with a shrieking of metal.
A pulse of energy filled the room. Light and dark spun in tandem within the webway gate as Lagaeth successfully reactivated the portal, opening a glowing tunnel into the labyrinthine webway that had not been traversed in eons. “Dracon, the portal is ready!”
he shouted, standing silhouetted in the webway’s azure light.
Slicing open the throat of a grey-skinned abhuman, Arzurdar looked between the re-opened gateway and the Daemon Prince, glancing just in time to see the daemon tear an unfortunate Kabalite apart. Pained as he was to admit, this was not a fight they could win. “Into the webway! Fall behind and die.”
Following his own advice, he dashed towards the webway portal.
Alas, the Dracon had caught Parsephelos’ eye and soon felt the daemon’s wretched presence upon him. He spun around just in time to evade a swiping claw and ducked away from a hissing bite from the Daemon Prince’s snake-headed tail. Arzurdar’s senses were whip-sharp thanks to the potent drugs coursing through his veins, but they would not be enough to save him.
Just as Parsephelos readied a final blow with his blades, a shower of plasma grenades fell upon his horned head and detonated. They burnt like miniature suns and seared through the daemon’s ivory flesh, causing him to release a mind-piercing scream. Baehrax soared through the portal right afterwards, not wishing to attract the Daemon Prince’s attention for what she had just done.
It felt wrong to be saved by one of his own treacherous kind, but Arzurdar did not pause to question why. Spinning around, he joined the last of the Kabalites, Scourges and Raiders that raced away from the stalled Daemon Prince, fleeing into the glowing arteries of the webway.