Something slender, cruel and sleek slithered through the shifting awful of The Warp. A daemon. Tethered as it was to a weapon of equal description, which rested in the material realm. A weapon that sat in the belt of an Acolyte selected exclusively for this purpose. Bred for this. Born for this. Trained for this. The Acolyte probably wouldn't survive the night. The mortal shivered in the rain, and slipped his hand around the daemon-knife in his belt. The daemon felt a pulling sensation, then...
The material world CRACKED into existence around the daemon. It was night. He sucked in a breath through the hosts mouth. His ethereal mind flowed through the mortal creature like ink into water. A liquid was hitting the hosts, (no, this body was his now), HIS skin. The daemon peeled open his new eyes, and found himself staring down at his Vessel. The knife sat in his new hand, black, serrated, with a wire wrapped hilt. The weapon to which he was truly bonded. This mortal was a puppet, and this knife was the set of strings that kept him dancing to the daemons tune.
It was raining. A tongue that was slowly turning black with taint crept from between his mouth. Tasted the rain. It was composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and hints of sulphur from smog stained its molecular makeup. The daemon observed its movement through his new digestive system: sustained ingestion by a human mortal would result in eventual failure of vital organs. The daemon toughened these organs to resist the pollution with an errant whim. He noticed his bodies bladder and bowels threatening to release The Acolytes last meal, and quickly tensed the surrounding muscle. Other mortals would notice that sort of thing.
The daemons influence reached The Acolytes brain exactly 4.283 seconds after the hilt had been touched. Mine, thought the daemon. A flash of identity crashed against it, loaded with regret. The remnants of The Acolyte. It shattered against the daemon. The warp spawned fiend revelled in the fools internal death, plundering the mortals memories. He flicked through days of life, like a book, searching for his objective. The last pieces of the mortal writhed and screamed. The daemon exploded his mid-brain and the mortal was gone. The mission objective was clear now. The daemon plucked a coveted little morsel from the catalogue. A name. Karai-bor. The daemon liked it. He'd never had a name before. "Karai-bor." spilled from his new mouth, lips and tongue twitching behind clacking teeth. "...Yes." Corruption turned speech into an awful whisper. That was unacceptable. The daemon, (no, Karai-bor was his name), Karai-bor, rebuilt the twisted parts of the mortal shell.
Then, craning his neck, Karai-bor lifted from the foetal position into which he had curled. His spine rippled with moist clicks and cracks. The assassin sighed. Rain slick marble stretched out around him. It stank, the moist earth smell of tin and dirt that accompanied this rain. His olfactory perception was functioning optimally. Excellent. He poured power into his senses. Olfactory increased. Auditory increased. Visual was at maximum capacity. Tactile increased.
He panned his head around to see mortals, mortals he recognised as servants of the cursed Imperium. Approximately 16 males, ranging from 32 to 67 of their years of age. Approximately 17 females, ranging from 19 to 39 of their years of age.
They were dressed in finery and many of the males, and a few of the females carried concealed weaponry. They laughed and talked as they walked through the rain, protected by primitive energy fields. The Acolyte, his body now slave to Karai-bor, the assassin, looked like them. They passed him, with a few odd looks in response to his piercing stare, and previous foetal position. But none had noticed the daemon within. They simply carried on to the building before them. A vast, baroque testament to Imperial architecture. The Estamen Rex.
The mission: Karai-bor was to infiltrate The Estamen Rex, where the Planetary Governor was holding an exuberant celebration of a recent victory against a Dark Eldar raiding party. The Chaos Dragon warband, Astartes all, had deigned that Planetary Governor Merea Tenjes would not see another morning. They had employed an agent of The White Hand assassin cult to make that a reality. Not for the first time, and Karai-bor heard that the warriors paid a handsome sum of squalling Eldar souls to successful assassins.
A sum that Karai-bor dearly desired.
The daemon had a sneaking suspicion that this... Would be fun. Karai-bor smiled.
One does not simply break into The Estamen Rex, as the saying goes. And how apt that saying is. The immense structure was at least 3 miles high, and three quarters that in width. Marble, identical to the plaza that surrounded it, coated its walls, as if it had grown from the ground, rather than being a structure made by mortal hands. The majority of construction was owed to rockrete and ceramite however, and it could survive the blows of mad Battle Titan. Teleport bafflers strutted from the roof and there were no external doors or windows, bar the main entrance: a 10 foot door ringed by gargoyles. The only way in or out.
The entire building bristled with heavily armed Arbites guards. One does not simply break into The Estamen Rex. So Karai-bor didn't.
He strolled right through the entrance.
Karai-bor walked up to the doors in the shadow of the others guest and socialites. His limited psychic abilities had allowed him determine that this was a celebration for the social elite exclusively, hence his hosts attire. Two intensely muscular Arbites were checking some sort of pass at the doors. Karai-bor didn't need his staggering intellect to determine what would happen when they realised he didn't have a pass. Autoguns gleamed, full of threat in impact toughened fists. The Arbites appeared to possess 150% the strength of his current host. Statistically, he could kill them easily, but would have to forgo the stealth element of the mission to do so, decreasing his chance of success by 32%.
May all of the curses of the warp fall upon the fool who chose this weakling as my host, thought Karai-bor.
He'd have to this the hard way.
Karai-bor reached the Arbiter. The glided name signet on the mortals chest reminded him that they called themselves Judges. The Judge had just assured a laughing couple in good and silver through the doors. Karai-bor could literally see the lust, pride and joy leaching off the two mortals, the emotion spilling into The Empyrean. Karai-bor knew a Herald of the Youngest God who would delight in the taste of the females soul.
"Pass!", more of a grunt than speech from the Judge. The mortal was a fair, unshaven thing, with a cruel resemblance to the human genetic ancestor.
Karai-bor turned to the Judge, pulling a grin across his face. "Ah, I do not have a pass, but I'm sure we can come to mutually beneficial agreement as long as you don't do..."
A gun barrel swept up to his face. "...that." He sighed. Well, it was worth the attempt.
Karai-bor blurred into motion before the other Judge had even released that his partner was in any danger. He struck the barrel of the gun away from his face, right hand, open palm, impact ringing up his arm. The Judge dropped his gun, deftly switching to hand to hand stance. Karai-bor ignored this. He flicked out his left hand, a curled fist. Remade the mortal bones in the hand to resist the impact. Sharpened them. And broke the Judges jaw. Shattered the mandible bone. An insult died on his bleeding lips.
A hand came up to the shattered jaw. Karai-bor pressed the knife handle into it and....
Seize the bowels and bladder, prevent voiding. Attain control of the heart muscle, hyperactivity invariably leads to mortal death. This mortals soul was not going The Empyrean yet. Karai-bor took an experimental breath, carrying the air to his new lungs. Yes, this will do. He reached the Judges brain in 3.657 seconds, record time. A flicker of bravery and will stood on his way. As the Judge assailed him valiantly, trying his hardest to cast out the invader, the daemon rooted around for his innermost thoughts, specifically those in relation to the bare neck, arms and back of the girl who had just walked past. He found them, ripped them from their place, and used them to show the Judge just what that Herald would do to a pretty little thing like that. The mortal blanched for a moment, and Karai-bor crushed him. The mid-brain ruptured.
The mortal shell was his now. He blinked a few times. The guests stood back agape, having seen the fight, but not the possession. Fortunately.
The Acolytes vacant body hit the ground. The other Judges gun was smoking. Karai-bor smiled, and felt blood flow down his new mouth. The broken jaw. He quickly stowed the knife away in the his belt. The other Judge waved some more guests in as stepped over the corpse, as if it was a piece of debris, rather than the remains of a person.
Karai-bor failed to hear the start of the mortals sentence, (what was he saying?), and pushed his will into his shells hearing, and.... "-damn hive gangers, you need to get quicker on the draw mate. Go down to the med-bay, get your ugly mug patched up, would you." The other Judge was grinning, the badge announcing him as Judge Catin. "Go on, you're scaring the girls. You look worse than an Ogryn mate." Karai-bor gave him an awkward nod, and headed off towards the med-bay, picking its location from his hosts memory.
Karai-bor smiled and it sent blood trickling down the front of his carapace armour. He was in The Estamen Rex. He quick stepped through the main hall, filled as it was with guests. A man in red squawked at the sight of a Judge with a hideously broken jaw. The mortal hurried away, pulling his partner away with him. Karai-bor ignored them. The main hall was a vast space, filling the majority of The Estamen. The space expanded as it went up, in a reverse pyramid within the rectangular Estamen. Balconies lined the sloping walls, and the highest level, immense screens glared down at the amassed guests.
A glass and iron box sat among the screens, a pinprick of a thing from this distance, but it was, in reality, easily large enough to hold several people: that is where the Governor will be. At the apex of the celebration, Merea Tenjes would give a victorious speech. And then, she will die, thought Karai-bor. He could almost taste those Eldar souls.
The daemon rounded the corner to the med-bay, the pneumatic door hissing open automatically. He stepped through, manually shutting and locking the door behind him, the moment he was through, and stepped further into the room, panning his broken head around, taking in a clinical room, 4 beds lining the white wall opposite him, empty, a pair of shelves filled with medical supplies, syringes, bandages, and gleaming sharp edges. A red alarm button on the far wall. He was one of two occupants in the room, the other a male nurse, a white medical uniform encompassing a slight frame, topped by a youthful, unshaven face. The nurse turned to him. Opened his mouth to greet what he thought was an Adeptus Arbites Judge. A flicker of fear at the sight of the cracked smile.
Then the flesh began to twist. More teeth. Black tongue. A red-hot light at the back of the throat. Karai-bor rebuilt the mortal jaw in his own image, and it was horrific. The nurse stuttered with fear for a second. Then ran for the alarm. Karai-bor spurred into his own motion. Closed the distance. Closed his hand around the nurses wrist, skin discolouring at the tightness of his grip. Stopped. Inches from the alarm.
The nurse writhed and twisted. Struck Karai-bor across the face, to no avail. Sobbing: "Monster, heretic!" "Assassin" corrected Karai-bor. The nurse went for the daemons eyes. Karai-bor flicked him across the room by the wrist. He slammed into a bed, toppled over in a tangle of limbs. Karai-bor watched him straining to get up, and let him get to his knees. He waited until the nurse tensed his legs to dive away, then opened his mouth, and spoke in a language that he was more accustomed to. The language of daemons. The words inscribed in the earth of countless doomed worlds. Enuncia.
The words tasted of burnt sugar, rotten meat, blood and ozone on the mortal tongue. It was a relief for Karai-bor to speak his own language rather than mortal gargling sounds.
"Keoth'a'tol bar teth'a-gok, ki-arth li xem'ril'ath fngly'kfletg."
The first sentence felled the nurse, and blood began to beed at the corner of his eyes. The mortals neck craned he was forced to make eye contact with Karai-bor. The daemon assumed his eyes were glowing. He liked it when his eyes glowed.
"Bael'ftheth uil Mol'ftheth. Isk'ri'gllan kol Artor'wth."
Karai-bors voice was raising now, his shadow crawling up the wall opposite. One of the light strips popped. Static began to raise their hair. The nurse was convulsing. The blood was flowing freely from his eyes now, joined by streams from his nose and mouth. The hair and his temples started to crisp and curl, as if burning.
"Tael-batarwth mol Ytt'ri'gth. FYLGNLIA HU DAEL'GORATH...."
Karai-bor was shouting by now, leaving out the last command, letting the incantation go unfinished. Veins stood out like cables in the nurses neck, and he was pale from the amount of blood that flowed from his face. A pool of blood and waste had formed around the nurse. A moment of eerie silence, then...
The nurses name was Jaret, and his life was laid bare to Karai-bor, the Enuncia incantation allowing him to read the mortal like a book. He could see the boys smiling mother as he obtained a place on the medical schola, he could see the moments he had shared with the girl he loved and he could see the terror filled haze that the last few moments had been for Jaret, and more. The daemon plucked out what he needed. The quickest route to the Governors box and the guards he would find on the way. More Judges and... Something else. Something so bad the nurse didn't want to remember it. Karai-bor couldn't wait.
The daemon went for the door, his jaw returning to mortal shape, his path clear to him know. He decided to leave the nurse alive. Crippled, he wouldn't raise the alarm, but he'd tell stories of Karai-bor, and the daemon liked that. He was at the door when the mortal made a mistake. His voice wet with blood, the nurse whimpered: "God-Emperor protect me..."
Karai-bor snarled. That corpse, on his burning bright throne, was not a god. He turned, growling, and he knew his eyes were glowing with the heat. The words were difficult to form through the anger, "He... Is... Not... A... God!"
Karai-bor's hand snapped up, and he finished the incantation:
He spat the Enuncia with enough force that cracks spidered across the ground at his feet. The nurse twitched.
Then his heart exploded from his chest, staining his nice white medical uniform.
The organ drifted away from what was rapidly becoming a cadaver. Karai-bor let it float. The daemon turned back to the door, and it hissed open as he deactivated the lock.
The other Judge from the door stood there. Shock slowly seeped across his face. Karai-bor smiled.
By the Throne on Terra, and all the Saints, did Judge Namus hate this job, all the standing in corridors, doing nothing, what was the point in having guards in an impenetrable fortress anyway, it was just a waste of time.
He clicked the safety on his autogun off and on again a few times, yeah, that's just how damn bored he was, what he'd give for some entertainment. Seriously, just one person to Throne damned shoot. One of the nobles downstairs was probably a little mutated. They were all inbred anyway, so it was likely, and if one of them was, he would actually have something to do with this autogun rather than fiddle with the safety. He missed las weapons. Literally the only thing that anyone would ever miss about the Guard, those weapons were the Swords of Angels compared to autoguns. But then, he'd seen an officer with a bolt pistol once, and that thing had made his lasgun look like a Throne damned flashlight in comparison, Holy Terra, had it been powerful. Yeah, to hell with his autogun and to hell with las-weapons, he wanted a bolt pistol!
Then there was the thing that was carried by the Governors personal guard.
The personal guard herself was bad enough, Throne was she a monster, you couldn't look at her without feeling guilty, the "repent or die" motif didn't help. But Holy God-Emperor her weapon made Namus want to cry, it was like hate made into a gun. He shivered. Best not not think about... Her. Especially since, at the end of the corridor, the corridor he was supposed to guarding, curse this job, was the entrance to the Governors quarters. And in there was, well the Governor, Miss Tenjes, and... Her. Namus shivered again.
He looked over at his partner, Tarek. The ginger, stoic, stubborn, Throne damned po-faced waste of skin was staring dead ahead into the middle distance, boring as ever. Let's mess with him, thought Namus. "Oi, Tarek." He was ignored. Try again.
"Tarek, why don't we shoot one of a' guests?"
The other Judge looked at him, slowly squinting in disbelief: "What?"
Namus grinned. "You heard me. Come on, tell me you ain't bored? They're all inbred, I reckon one of 'em has jus' gotta be a mutant. We go down an-"
"No, Throne, no, Namus." His partner was equally parts done with the Judge and disgusted. "You've got serious issues."
Namus snorted, "Oh I got issues 'ave I? I saw what you did to tha' hive ganger tart in the holdin' cells you freak." He grinned, pretty pleased with himself. Tarek just shook his head in disbelief, adding to the gesture with a tired and used: "Shut up, Namus."
Namus just grinned and turned away from his partner, the boring waste of skin, couldn't have fun if you handed to him.
As he turned away, looking down the damn boring corridor, with its flat marble walls, and boring grey floor, he saw Judge Catin, who should be stationed at the main doors, what was he doing here? Ah, well he's good for a laugh thought Namus, waving at him. Tarek rolled his eyes. Namus ignored him, the boring waste of skin. "Oi Catin!" He called out, and this guy would like the noble killing thing, Namus just knew it. Not that he'd actually shoot one of the prissy things, that'd get him free ticket to the other side, but it was still a funny idea. "Hello Namus." The other Judge waved back, a touch blocky, odd. "Tarek." Catin nodded at the Namus's partner. Tarek saluted, stuck up waste of skin. Namus wasn't going to salute anyone but an Imperial Guard officer again till the day he died. Tarek saw that Namus was about to start talking again, so took up the conversation, turning to Catin: "My partner here was just suggesting that we shoot one of the most important people on the planet. Now, I know that he's an idiot, but this, this is a new level of stupidity. Eh?"
"No. Actually, I think it's a great idea. In fact. Why not kill the Governor?" Catin looked blank as all hell as he said it, so he had to be joking, but for some reason it wasn't funny. Namus tried to lighten the tension, as Tarek's jaw started to drop, and started to laugh. "You know, Catin," Tarek joined in the nervous laughter. "You know, you are riot, but there a line." Namus continued. Catin stared at them, and said, vacant as ever: "Amazing."
"What's amazing?" Tarek asked, genuine fear creeping into his voice.
"It's amazing how blind you both are." There was something wrong with Catin's shadow. His smile seemed too wide. Namus realised that he hadn't blinked for the whole conversation. "But I suppose that's the thing about mortals." said the thing that wasn't Catin, oh Throne on Terra that's not Catin!
"That's not Catin!" Namus yelled, his autogun swinging up, safety clicked off.
Not-Catin smiled: "Clever boy."
They opened fire, the corridor lighting up. But Not-Catin wasn't there anymore. He was moving fast, too fast, much too fast for Namus too see. Marble exploded with stray shots. The autogun pumped in his hands.
Something red sailed past Namus. He flicked his head around. It was Tarek. Part of him. With a wordless cry Namus whipped his head at around to face...
The butt of a knife, broke his nose, a splinter right across the bridge, so much the pain. Shattered the nasal bone.
A boot, right in the centre of mass, broke two lower ribs. Sent Namus moaning to the floor.
The floor was wet with what could only be blood. Namus rolled rapidly. Something slammed into the ground next to him, bouncing him off the ground, Holy Throne, what could do that to marble?!? Namus kicked out and felt something solid. It staggered away. Namus scrambled back. Not-Catin was a foot away, a dent in the marble between them. The cruellest knife that Namus has ever seen was held in a hand that was quickly melting into a claw. It spilled fear into his heart to see his friends flesh twist. He picked himself up, took a step then ran at the Throne damned thing, autogun coming up and...
Karai-bor kicked the autogun out of the mortals hands. Grabbed him by his hair, the second he was in range. Slammed his knife into the jugular five times. On the first time he screamed, on the second, third and fourth he choked and spat. On the fifth stab, there was no sound, bar the wet slide of the blade going in and out. Dead. The guards in this place were either completely inept, or Karai-bor was better than he had previously thought. The daemon decided on the latter.
Karai-bor strode through the bloody corridor, the entire space stinking of weapon fire and the coppery tang of blood. He wasn't bothering with stealth anymore, there were no guards left to hear, and the guests were all far downstairs. He reached the door to the Governors box, and entered, the door hissing open.
The space within was dark. It's sole occupant was presently Karai-bor. One of the walls was glass, and through that he could see the main hall, far below. This is where the Governor should be. But she wasn't. A camera sat in the centre of the room, presumably to broadcast the Governor to the hall screens. Karai-bor snarled: "Where are you..." There was no reply. At first. Then something moved behind him.
It, no she, towered over him. She was mortal, but by the Ruinous Powers, her armour was huge.
Ornate, curling thorny vines, each terminating in a viciously barbed Fleur du Lis, stretched across the trim, cast iron, over layers of ceramite. She was un-helmed, and her face was a mass of scar tissue. One of her eyes had been replaced by a gilded augmetic. Another Fleur du Lis was tattooed on her cheek.
A Melta-gun sat in her gauntleted fists. A chainsword across her back.
An Adeptus Sororitas, one who would appear to be the Governors personal guard.
Karai-bor, in a surprisingly mortal display, swore viciously.
They stood opposite each other, The Sororitas running a hand along the top of her Melta, snarling. She could wield it one handed if she wanted, Karai-bor had seen it before. But two-handed, at this range, she couldn't miss. That gun could rip a tank apart in a single shot. He was an assassin, it would turn him to ash, sending him screaming back to The Empyrean. He wouldn't win in a straight up fight. He was going to have to cheat.
He was, bar the knife, unarmed. She was encased in ceramite, and wielding a weapon with the power of a sun, and she hated every ounce of his existence. There was no hiding his daemon nature now, black tongue, glowing eyes, sharp claws.
"You're going to die here, you filthy creature." The Sororitas was grinning, the words coming out as a snarl from her rictus grin.
Karai-bor returned it with a smile of his own: "That's my line, mortal." The knife snapped out of his belt, spinning across the back of his right claw, before rolling into his grip. The Sororitas almost laughed, "There's a mortal expression, don't bring a knife-"
"-To a gunfight," Karai-bor finished, before adding, with a tilt of his head: "but I'm not mortal am I?"
His shell's heart beat once.
The Sororitas dropped her smile, and lifted her gun.
Karai-bor was already in motion by the time "mortal" had left his lips. His right arm stretched and distorted. Muscle split the skin. Veins stood out like cables. Levering his arm towards the Sororitas, the knife glinting in his claw.
White hot heat built up in the barrel of the gun.
He threw himself to the left, as he cast the knife forth.
The air screamed as the Melta spat impossible heat into the room.
Pain lanced through him. The Melta had glanced him. The pain was unbearable. His left hand was... Gone. The stump was cauterised, and black with heat. Molten fat ripped from the limb. The Sororitas laughed now. She unharmed. "You missed, daemon," she seemed surprised, "Looks like the forces of Chaos are lacking in assassins of quality." she said. Now that, though Karai-bor, is past the line. The Sororitas stalked forwards, recharging her Melta, preparing to finishing him. She began talking, but Karai-bor wasn't listening. "I am going to send you back to the unholy hell from whence you came, liberating the innocent that you have invaded, in The Emperor's Name, I shall enact this." Karai-bor stood, ignoring her sermon. She pointed the Melta right at his face. "Any last words, monster?"
"Just a few." He smiled, fangs twisting. "The Assassins of Chaos are fair better than you think. Why, you ask? Well..." He made a 'come here gesture' with his remaining claw.
And the tip of the knife punched through her mouth. The Sororitas gurgled, dropping her gun.
"Well... That would be because we always strike from behind." The knife pulled its way through her face, severing her head above the jaw, and sending her still warm corpse toppling to the ground. The weapon floated into his hand. He licked the blood from its edge, and saw, through the eyes of The Sororitas, the escape route the Governor was taking.
Karai-bor turned to the glass wall, broken by the Melta. The crowd below were parting to allow a running figure through. He could sense the panic.
He crooked his arm back.
Tensed the muscle.
And threw his knife.
He smiled as it sailed through the air. Those Eldar souls would be delicious. Oh, how he loved being an assassin.
He didn't miss.
+++ Request for Imperial Aid.+++
+++Tamus 892 has fallen into civil disorder, after The Planetary Governor was assassinated on the eve of celebrations. The culprit is believed to be a high ranking noble, and the planet has fallen into disorder as a result of the ensuing distrust. The murder weapon is currently in the possession of High Magos Katok, who has been reported to exhibit odd behaviour, but will be reliably safe-keeping the weapon for the foreseeable future. A Chaos Dragon fleet has been spotted at the far edge of the system. S.O.S. Send help ASAP.+++
[Extract found on the ruined world of Tamus 892]