The deck was in chaos. Brother fought brother as friends became enemies in a heartbeat. Lethis was dead. Lehron IV burnt and the empire was lost. Instincts older than memory awakened as each man fought for himself. The void-ship was careening haphazardly to and fro as it failed again and again to ignite its web way portals. The engineers at least seemed to be trying to save the ship even if the rest of the crew cared only for their own petty rivalries.
Dracon Harakon the Red cut a bloody swathe through his former crew-mates with his dual cutlasses. This was his moment. He tasted the air; relishing the iron tang of blood upon his tongue already wet with ecstasy induced saliva. Pain is the pleasure of the dark eldar and the suffering of their own kin is a delicacy to be relished. Harakon smiled gleefully as he sliced another reaver in twain spilling entrails across the gore-slicked floor, ripples of euphoria filling every corner of his being. With Lethis dead the time for mutiny had come; the ship was ripe for the taking and glory awaited those who could take it. It hadn't taken his men long to reach the deck and any loyalist had been easy prey. Depravum reavers had soon arrived in a counter-attack and provided some resistance but the mutineers were beginning to prevail. The red harvest was brutal with heavy losses on both sides; rivers of blood gushing across the deck set to the symphony of the dying.
In the confusion of the melee little could be heard above sounds of ringing steel and cries of anguish, but slowly all noise died as more and more of the combatants heard the echoes coming from beyond the deck. A wet, rasping reverberation of laboured breathing recognisable to all those assembled; cowing them into a state of dread and apprehension. Blood-dreanched corsairs paused as that sound grew louder, acts of violence forgotten as breath after tortured breath agonised themselves into existence. The rebreather had never been perfect, a poorly constructed relic that did little to alleviate a ruined pair of lungs. With each tortured exhalation he heard Harakon nervously readjusted his grip. He would not be cheated now, surely this was his time. The Depravum Empress had fallen, now he would take up the reins of power with all his guile, cunning and skill. But...the sound of air being drawn through malformed throat...no, this was his time.
Slowly, walking at an almost casual pace, Admiral Karzein Depravum entered the deck. His Kraken mask glinting in the cold light of the dying star above betraying nothing of the hideous visage beneath. All eyes were upon the admiral as he steadily came to a stop a few feet before the area of carnage. He had nothing in his hands and did not seem to move beyond his head twisting slightly to survey the scene.
"Well, gentlemen" his voice hoarse as ever between breaths "I was below decks checking that the web way portal generators were being fixed when I hear a terrible row." He paused "Now I think to myself: what could be the cause of this commotion?"
The admiral took a step forwards, the attention of his crew fixed wholly upon his impassive mask.
"Well, I think to myself that it couldn't possibly be a power struggle now could it? After all Archon Durizael is still alive and onboard this ship in part due to the heroics of this crew. He is your rightful liege after all isn't he?" several of the crew half-nodded in agreement unsure as to whether this was a test.
"But then..." he swept his gaze across them all once more "I think to myself, what if they don't care? What if they see this as an opportunity to seize power for themselves? What if the death of my beloved cousin was enough to cause...now, now I forget the word. Having not heard it myself for many long years; perhaps you could remind me of it Harakon" the Dracon smiled in response
"Mutiny captain" he said arrogantly
"I'm sorry, in my old age I fear deafness is catching up with me. Could you say that again for me, louder?"
"Mutiny captain" he repeated less sure, staring intently at the Kraken mask.
"Yes. Mutiny" the admiral said it slowly, annunciating every syllable "And we all know the penalty for...mutiny" the word felt like lead, heavy on the mind as Karzein took another step forward
"Mutineers" he held both hands out showing them his empty palms "Die"
His first victim had not the time to act as the admiral leapt forwards in a blur, grabbing his splinter rifle by the barrel, wrenching it from his grasp and smashing his face in with the stock before spinning the weapon round and shooting the reaver next to him. By this point the rest of the room began to move, loyalist shouting Depravum war cries and renewing their assault on the mutineers. Karzein fired another shot causing the head of one of his former officers to explode in a fountain of red rain, then raising his weapon he spun in time to skewer a charging mutineer on the bayonet. He let the gun fall from his grasp as the corpse it was imbedded in collapsed, trading the firearm for the knife now held limply by his victim.
Holding the blade in a reverse grip he calmly turned to face Harakon. Beneath the kraken helm the Dracon could hear the steady, rasping breathing seemingly unaffected by the admirals actions. A rebel corsair ran at the admiral from the side, sword raised above his head. Karzein never looked away from Harakon, as the sword came down the admiral caught the blade in one armoured fist and buried his knife deep in the would-be assassins gut. Blood sprayed across admiral who stepped slowly over the corpse and walked un-armed towards Harakon.
The mutineer raised his two swords in a defensive stance, he was wary now. The two of them began to circle one another; Harakon with dual blades at the ready and Karzein looking almost as if he was taking an evening stroll. The admirals breathing continued its steady pace, a deep bubbling of his fluid-filled lungs creeping into the usual tortured exhalation.
"This was foolish of you Harakon, Lethis may be dead but I am still your captain" the admiral managed a small laugh "You really thought you could kill me?"
"You're just as killable as anyone else" replied Harakon. The upstart Dracon was beginning to realise that his followers were succumbing to the loyalists; his mutiny almost over. He just needed to kill the admiral, none would dare to challenge him them.
"Perhaps" the admiral stopped suddenly as if waiting for something "Unfortunately you are already dead"
Karzein disappeared in front of Harakon; a look of confusion being the last to pass his face as his neck snapped. The admiral allowed the body to fall to the ground in front of him; a testament to his Clone Field and the enduring unwarranted hubris of his officers. He reached down to his belt where from a pouch he took a Soul Trap, holding it above Harakon. The eldritch device glowed a pale blue as it absorbed the soul of the slain Dracon bursting into ghostly flames for a few seconds before returning to normal.
The admiral sighed: he had expected more. He returned his soul trap to his belt and surveyed the deck. The mutiny was ended with any remaining rebels cut down where they stood.
Karzein gestured to the nearest reaver.
"Congratulations, you're my new first mate" the reaver fell to his knees offering the admiral his sword. Karzein took it and drew the blade across both their palms before returning it to him. "Now gather the men and get this mess cleaned up. Do what you will with the bodies, I have far more pressing matters to attend to." The newly made officer rose and saluted as Karzein left the deck. The admiral began his slow walk back to his cabin, the screams getting louder every step he took. Durizael was not reacting well to Aringrax's surgery and nothing the Haemonculus did seemed to be able to restore the Archon's face. It was almost as if the dying madman wanted to lose his previously handsome visage forever. Karzein sighed as he activated his helmets comms-system.
"Engineering, can we generate Webway portals yet?"
"Yes captain. We can be in the dark city within minutes, sir"
"Forget Commoragh, we can't go back there after this debacle. Set a course for Kharcis Prime, I wish to speak with the Inquisitor."
"As you command Admiral, charting a course now and commanding all ships of the fleet to follow"
"Very good, as you were" Karzein closed the channel and continued his journey though it wasn't long until his comms crackled back to life.
"Admiral we have mutineers on Deck 42, the Quartermaster has stolen the Exarchia and means to active it"
"Very well, we shall have a new Quartermaster then." Karzein sighed as he made his way to the nearest elevator.
This was going to be a long night...
This is perhaps my favourite HQ for my Dark Eldar. Everything from the arrogant 'come at me bro' pose to the colour scheme and sinister mask. I will be using the admiral as either an Archon or a Haemonculus depending on the game size equipped with either a soul trap or similar arcane technology. The rest of my HQ choices will soon be appearing on the blog as I continue to revive my Dark Eldar though I think my next post will be on some of the Game of Thrones stuff I have been working on.
Now that all of my exams are over I will be posting far more regularly with a variety of content which will round off all of my current projects. This will clear the way for two new exciting projects that I will be starting later this year. Finally below is a quick teaser for my Vampire Counts army; much of which has been repainted and several new units have been added. I have a last unit of Ghouls to paint and then I will be ready to post some army shots.
Feel free to comment, share, follow, etc to see more.
|The Empire of Ushoran will be restored!|