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TrojanWolf
31-05-2011, 06:33
Hi everyone, I'm going to put up a sort of half background, half short story type thing about the rise of my Archon, Lady Ahtalia Tyrantslayer, and her seizure of the Kabal of the Frozen Talon, formerly the Kabal of Cold Fury. I'll put up one section, such as where she was at each major period, with each post. Hope you enjoy!

***

The pitiful thing beneath the hunter screamed again as she buried her short sword into it, choosing non-fatal areas with an eye made keen through experience. Each fresh howl of pain only served to invigorate her further, driven on to sample its agony like a starving predator with a fresh kill. Almost delicately she peeled away a section of skin off her prey's forearm, shuddering in delight as waves of pain exuded from her victim.

It had not always been like this. She had once been something more, though just what was buried underneath a desperate denial of what fate had reduced her to. All she could remember was the colour red, something or someone who was associated with it and something they had done to her. Now, reduced to skulking around the ruined ports of Low Commorragh with the rest of the Parched, the predator still refused to admit she was weak. She would survive.

Turning her attention back to her prey, it was almost as suddenly captured again by the arrival of new interlopers. She froze in terror, her long white hair not obscuring enough, seeing a small group of faceless individuals armed with all manner of hideous medical apparel. Compared to any other of the True Kin, they were all hulking muscular beasts, though it was not the wracks that had her backing away in horror, it was their leader.

Seated on a floating palanquin made of heaving flesh and muscle was a gaunt, pale figure, watching her straddling the weeping mess beneath her. He was draped in a black medical coat, the flayed faces of many adorning the rich fabric while several arms twitched from a grotesque spinal hump jutting from between his shoulder blades. What scared her most was the pleasant smile he seemed to be regarding her with, an expression that bore only malice and the promise of hell. Sparing only a second, she ran, desperate to be as far from the haemonculus as she could get. Neither the haemonculus nor his attendants gave chase, the ancient creature instead alighting from his palanquin to examine the remnants of her meal, still twitching feebly.

"I do wish the younger generations would finish what they start." Zheriaq Gaunt mused to the wracks, not expecting any answer from them. "I was quite enjoying the show."

***

Ahtalia begins her quest for power from the lowest any can sink in Commorragh, as one of the desperate Parched hoping for any glimmer of pain to sustain them. She has a keen survival instinct, which gives her the drive to hunt others through the twilight streets of Low Commorragh, actively seeking out pain rather than waiting to take whatever scraps she can get off others after an aerial battle.

She was once a part of the Kabal of the Crimson Talon, one of the Trueborn along with her brother Xerrial, when he slew their father to take control of the kabal. His first act was to have her killed, though Ahtalia fled into the desolation of the ruined ports to escape. For seven years the Trueborn hunted for her, though she evaded all of them until they finally gave up, assuming her dead at the hands of some other creature.

Once they were gone, it was too late for her to plan any revenge. She had spent too much time in hiding, and had become feral and wild. The only possessions she has left at this point are her prized short sword and a few rags to ward off the worst of the cold. Ahtalia now hunts any weak or stupid enough to wander the ports alone, drinking in all the suffering she can manage.

Xelkireth
31-05-2011, 06:41
Nice. I love the backstory start. I want more.

Very grimdark.

TrojanWolf
31-05-2011, 07:42
Bhariss swore as he ran through the ruined ports of Low Commorragh, cradling his shardcarbine tightly in both hands. It just wasn't fair that the archon had decided to send him as a messenger to Null City. It wasn't a job fit for one of the Trueborn, especially without an escort. He was fairly certain that one of the others had told the withered old husk that Bhariss had been planning some sort of treachery, even though it was completely untrue. He served the archon well! They were just jealous of the favour he had been regarded with!

Turning a corner, even the lightning quick reflexes of the dark eldar were useless against the blur that slammed violently into him from behind, dashing him to the ground and sending his shardcarbine skidding away. He could feel the barbs of his kabalite armour digging into his flesh even as a blade was pressed to his throat, long white hair falling across his face and violet top knot as something pressed him into the ground.

"Armoured prey..." a feminine voice hissed into his ear as a trickle of blood dripped along her blade, Bhariss starting as he realised it was from his neck. Driven into action, he used his superior weight to throw his assailant into the ruined wall, leaping to his feet and sprinting after his fallen weapon. Slight footsteps behind him told Bhariss that he was too slow, spinning around only to be tackled once more by the predator, almost losing his grip on the weapon yet again. Now he was face to face with the predator, seeing a determined and disshelved girl straddling his dark blue armoured body.

"You are no simple street trash!" he gasped, noting the exquisitely crafted blade pressed against his throat and her relatively calm demeanor. "You are Trueborn like me!"

"No talk!" she screeched, gripping his cheek with her nails and digging into the flesh, drawing more blood. "Scream!" Bhariss bucked against her, causing the predator to lose her grip as he got to his feet, though his speed was insufficient compared to hers, and he found himself pressed to the ruined wall, the blade at his throat again.

"Don't you want more than this miserable existance?!" he gasped in a bid for mercy. Eyes closed, the first he knew he had been successful was that for several seconds he didn't feel the blade bury itself in his body. Slowly he opened his eyes to see her regarding him thoughtfully, almost as though she had received a revelation.

"I was like you once." she thought aloud, more to herself than Bhariss, drawing her blade away from his neck. A faraway look was in her eyes, shattered an instant later as the blade stabbed at him again. He stiffened, though quickly realised that he was not her target. The mandrake fell out of its shadow, its featureless face having been pierced by the short sword even as Bhariss raised his shardcarbine to fire it one handed at the shadowy forms of several more of the tainted creatures that had surrounded them in their struggle. Both dark eldar disengaged from each other, the predator leaping at the closest of the mandrakes and slicing its arms off while the Trueborn laid down a suppressive hail of poisoned splinters at the others, causing them to back off from the dark eldar.

"Follow me or die." she hissed, clutching the amputated creature by its greasy white hair and staring down the rest of them. For several seconds the mandrakes regarded one another, hissing in their shadowy language, before cautiously approaching her. Deliberately they gripped their wounded kin before hacking him apart further, letting the pain of their fallen comrade energize the rest. Bhariss felt his own wounds beginning to heal, looking over at the predator as she regarded the spires of High Commorragh, a strange look on her face as she remembered what she had once been.

Perhaps now she could take her revenge, casting down the Crimson Talon and hanging her treasonous brother out for the scavengers. The Trueborn's earlier comment suddenly registered with her, and her ambitions seemed petty. Her star would rise until even the Supreme Overlord would be forced to acknowledge her, until even the mighty Asdrubael Vect knew her name.

Ahtalia.

***

Ahtalia and Bhariss are what passes for friends in Dark Eldar society, and will later rise to archon and heirarch respectively. Perhaps even now Bhariss knew her potential, impressed by how such a feral savage could sneak up on and defeat an armoured Trueborn warrior.

Having been little more than a mandrake herself, it's really no surprise that she would make much use of them, using the warped creatures as spies and assassins not only because she feels that no resource should go wasted, but because she sees a little of herself in them. It didn't take her long to decipher their language, and soon she and Bhariss led them on missions to steal warriors and equipment from the weakest kabals.

Xelkireth
31-05-2011, 08:02
*grin* When I said I wanted more, you sure as hell delivered.

So uh... MORE! And check your PM!

TrojanWolf
31-05-2011, 09:22
"If they were foolish enough to leave their weapons and raiders poorly guarded, then they do not deserve to have them." Ahtalia snarled to Bhariss, while the warriors and mandrakes went about looting the kabal's hangar. Her warband had swelled to include twenty six warriors and the entirety of the Hand of Death mandrake clan, which doubled the numbers to nearly sixty altogether. All the dark eldar kabalites wore the same coloured armour, a midnight blue broken up with an icy blue on the gauntlets, shinguards and breastplates. The mandrakes were similar in colour, their hands wreathed in blue fire from the feeding they had received from the slain guards.

Ahtalia herself wore a similar suit of kabalite armour, though she bore no helmet and still carried her short sword to go with her new splinter pistol. Bhariss had repainted his own armour to match hers, though the shardcarbine still had preference even with his newly acquired pistol and agoniser. He was even now picking up a phantasm grenade launcher, slinging it onto his back to properly attach it later.

The predator was the first to hear the arrival, throwing herself behind the hull of a raider in order to escape the hail of splinters that tore through the space she was occupying. Bhariss spun with incredible speed to return fire while moving to join her, though many of her followers were not so fortunate. Poisoned crystals shredded kabalite armour and pierced tattooed skin alike as her warriors were thrown into disarray, having been caught unaware by the kabal that owned the hangar they were ransacking.

Not even a minute later the hail stopped, those warriors not slain holed up in whatever cover they could find. Ahtaila had accounted for at least four of the enemy with her pistol, but it was too little too late. She glanced over at Bhariss, seeing the sybarite grimly return her look. They both knew that their chances of survival were slim.

"Well, I'm surprised at the audacity of such a pathetic rabble." a clipped, precise voice drifted down to them, piquing her interest. "You have no true base of operations, very little numbers and no support from a stronger faction within the Dark City. Did you really expect to steal from me without consequence?"

The sound of armoured boots on the floor alerted Ahtalia to her persecutors coming into view, an armoured archon striding confidently into view flanked by the menacing forms of several incubi. Some of the pinned warriors took aim at the lord and his bodyguard, but desisted at a curt gesture from the predator. If they wanted to live through this, attacking was a foolish option when they were still expecting it.

"I am however, impressed." he drawled, looking Ahtalia straight in the eye. "You show a commendable level of bravery, something I could use. Join me, and you will at least be able to make something of yourselves." Ahtalia stared at him for a long moment, recognizing a more powerful individual than herself. Slowly, begrudgingly, she bowed her head to the archon. Kor'vin Vontahl smiled, beckoning for Ahtalia to follow him with her dead. They would need mending...

***

Everyone needs somewhere to start, and for Ahtalia it was the gathering of forces. Raiding the weakest kabals was the best place to begin, before gradually working up to stronger prey. Sadly, Ahtalia misjudged a raid and paid for it with her command.

Vontahl has allowed her to command her warriors still, the strongest of the dead being revived by the haemonculi to stand at her side once more. Now she is part of the Kabal of Cold Fury, and slowly clawing her way back to the top.

Xelkireth
31-05-2011, 09:49
I love it. Can't wait for the next installment.

TrojanWolf
01-06-2011, 08:48
"What is that foolish woman doing?" Vontahl asked the incubus standing next to him, watching as Ahtalia's raider sped forward to join those belonging to the Cult of the Seventh Woe as they screamed over the masses of tyranids. He had been swift to pledge his kabal to the Seventh Woe after they brought the weapon beasts to Commorragh for the first time, feeling that even to be included in the plans of the ruling Succubi was a good investment. "She's insane."

Ahtalia focussed only on one thing as her squad fired their weapons into the swarm, and that was the monstrous hive tyrant at its core. She had been willing to follow the archon's plan until catching sight of the leader beast, her blood singing at the sight. No matter what, she had decided, she would kill it.

Little time was spared for more thought as the beast lifted its symbiotic weapon at the raider, firing a salvo of jagged crystals much like the ones fired from their own weapons as the Trueborn leapt to the ground. Several of them were caught in the hail, torn to bloody chunks by the bioweapon, but she gave them no notice. Even as she ran at it, Bhariss shadowing her and keeping up a stream of shardcarbine fire, the hive tyrant swung its monstrous lash whip in a wide arc. Ahtalia threw herself flat, only dimly aware that the beast had killed the remainder of her Trueborn with its assault, even Bhariss' body thrown back in a pile of broken armour and bones.

Once more she paid her predicament no heed, resolving that whatever it took she would kill it. Ahtalia resumed her headlong dash at the beast, firing her splinter pistol at it. She nimbly dodged to one side to avoid its bonesword crashing down when she had been, leaping onto the back of its arm and running up to its head. She leapt onto its head, straddling the massive brow even as it tried to shake her clear. Screaming a wordless battle cry, she rammed her short sword into its eye and drawing a hideous scream from the hive tyrant as the blade pierced its brain. Unprepared for its violent death throes, Ahtalia was flung to the ground unceremoniously, the kabalite armour she wore absorbing the worst of the blow as she landed in a heap. The predator rolled over just in time to see the hive tyrant fall, crying out in agony as it crushed her lower body under its dead weight.

I... I killed it... she thought triumphantly as her consciousness began to fade.

Ahtalia heaved, coughing up a lungful of amniotic fluid as she staggered from the regenerative cocoon only to fall on her hands and knees, naked and dripping. She looked at the boots in front of her, craning her neck with effort to see Vontahl staring down at her with curiosity.

"It was an impressive feat you displayed." he said, before indicating several other pods around the haemonculus chambers. "The rest of your Trueborn are recovering well, including your pet Bhariss. Once you're recovered I expect you to return to the kabal, Ahtalia Tyrantslayer." Even as the archon turned to leave, she directed a venomous glare at his back.

He had seen her skill, and had spared her from death. It was the action of a fool.

***

Here we see Ahtalia discovering her love of hunting tyranids, or as I say it "Ahtalia loves tyranids like a rich person loves the safari." She's also realised that Vontahl is weak in her view, having spared a potential threat to his own position. The seed of treachery has been planted...

Xelkireth
01-06-2011, 08:55
Awesome, yet again. I thought tyranid blood was corrosive like all Alien-style. I'm not real up on their fluff, so I'm not 100%.

TrojanWolf
01-06-2011, 09:14
The dark eldar were in disarray from the Black Legion counterattack, scattering in all directions to make themselves harder targets to track. Ahtalia swept her sword in a wide arc, finding the vulnerable neck joint in the armour of one Chaos marine, even while the few remaining Trueborn gunned down the last of the enemy squad. A single flick of her hand had the dark eldar gathering their fallen, Bhariss signalling their raider to pick them up. The craft flew close to the ground, slowing long enough to let them pile the dead of her squad onto the craft while Vontahl and his sole remaining incubus watched. Their dead were on the craft already as the predator and her Trueborn boarded, the raider screaming back towards the haven of Commorragh.

"I cannot believe they had such forces at their disposal!" Vontahl gasped, fingering his broken shadow field projector. He had recklessly thrown his squad at the Chaos lord and his terminator armoured bodyguards, and paid for it with a humiliating defeat. Ahtalia stared at his back, contempt dominating her eyes even as she thrust the short sword through his neck.

"If you had actually planned with some thought, it would have been irrelevant." she hissed into his ear, the incubus making no move to stop her as she kicked the former archon's corpse off the raider mere seconds before it flew through the portal back to the Dark City.

With the incubus and Bhariss at her side, no guard made any move to stop her. With arrogance and weapons sheathed, Ahtalia made her way to the throne room of the Kabal of Cold Fury, letting her entourage open the doors for her to stride in. She didn't slow even a fraction, swaggering up to the throne under the eyes of the warriors, who even now were still whispering about the coup. She halted before the throne, turning with deliberate slowness while Bhariss moved to her right side and the incubus to her left, before gracefully lowering herself into the rulers position.

"My lady, your incubi recover rapidly, and will be standing guard within the next twenty four hours." the incubus murmured, unsure whether or not she would reprimand him for speaking out of turn. She merely nodded, smiling.

"Very good." she replied, her gaze sweeping the room. "Bhariss, gather the warriors. I will need to address the entire Kabal of..." she paused, reluctant to say Cold Fury. She had never really liked the name anyway. "The Frozen Talon." she finished, a vindictive smile crossing her features.

***

Ahtalia has finally taken on her full title of Lady Ahtalia Tyrantslayer, ruler of the Frozen Talon, the Huntress. Things are certainly going to change, beginning with the stagnation of the Kabal of Cold Fury.

Xelkireth
01-06-2011, 09:48
Woot. I love incubi. Will they be playing more of a role in Ahtalia's tale?

TrojanWolf
01-06-2011, 10:02
Woot. I love incubi. Will they be playing more of a role in Ahtalia's tale?

Thanks for all the replies, BTW. I'm glad that you're enjoying it!

I don't really see the incubi showing up as more than some bodyguards unless I can think of a decent idea for a klaivex. You also brought up a question about tyranid blood, and I don't think that all tyranid blood is acidic. Just how I pictured it, but it kinda makes sense 'cause acid blood is an upgrade in the tyranid codex. I'll probably write some more another time, but thanks for reading!

Xelkireth
01-06-2011, 11:17
Regarding tyranid blood: Fair enough. I didn't know.
Regarding Rise of the Tyrantslayer: I enjoyed reading this very much.

TrojanWolf
01-06-2011, 11:48
BTW, I'm in the process of commissioning a portrait for Ahtalia. I'll be posting it when it's finished!

In the meantime, a picture of one of my units to show what they look like.

Xelkireth
01-06-2011, 11:50
Nice. It's refreshing to see some Dark Eldar that aren't painted the same way over and over again.

TrojanWolf
02-06-2011, 22:25
The mandrake's hissing had confirmed her suspicions, the warped creature having pulled itself out of Ahtalia's shadow even as the raider sped over the ranks of Necrontyr, dodging nimbly through the green blasts that issued from the metallic warriors. The archon grimaced, turning to Bhariss standing next to her while the incubi kept their eyes open for any sign of danger to her.

"I was right, the Moonless Night means to use our strength to bleed that of the Necrontyr before unleashing their own warriors." she told the dracon, glancing back at her opposite number's raider as it followed at a much slower pace. He had used his kabal's superior power to coerce her into joining with him, and Ahtalia had accepted in order to use his power to protect her fledgling kabal from other opportunistic archons.

Bhariss glanced at the dark purple raider before returning his gaze to Ahtalia. She had dispensed of her kabalite armour since rising to the rank of archon, wearing only a backless black dress with a slit running up her left leg up to her hip and two cut out ovals on the front, one just below her breasts and one at the top of her clevage. She had a pendant around her neck in the shape of the Frozen Talon's symbol, in reality a powerful shadow field generator. In addition to her short sword, held in her left hand, she had also armed herself with an electrocorrosive whip, wielding it expertly so that it wouldn't cut off a single strand of her long white hair during battle.

"Have your squad kill the archon of Moonless Night, any way you see fit." Bhariss rasped in the mandrakes eldritch speech, learning it as part of his responsibilities as heirarch. The creature nodded even as it dived back into his shadow, leaving them to their own task. At a signal Ahtalia leapt from the raider, Bhariss and the incubi following without hesitation to land right in the middle of the metallic horde. Weapons slashing out in every direction too fast to follow, the archon and her bodyguard carved a ruinous path through the machines, laughing as she did so.

The first she knew the Necrontyr were striking back was when the warscythe carved through her right wrist, passing through her shadow field as though it didn't even exist. The Necron Lord, standing a foot taller than her, stared down at her menacingly with its hooded blank visor even as it prepared another attack with its cruelly curved weapon. At least three of the incubi had fallen to the surprise assault of its pariah bodyguard, though the rest along with Bhariss had avoided the vengeful warscythes with some luck.

"I won't be killed by some metal monster playing at time control!" she shrieked, stabbing up with her short sword to catch the lord in the throat, the newly installed power field generator allowing it to slide freely up through the Lord's jaw and pierce what passed for a brain, frying all the circutry in its body. Her bodyguard counter attacked savagely, klaives and agoniser reaping a bloody toll on the psychic abominations. Ahtalia paid them no notice, raising her blade again to sever the Lord's own right hand, before lifting the metallic appendage and examining it with a grim smile. It would do.

Executioner's crew watched Ahtalia and her bodyguard kept up the attack, the Moonless Night ravager drifting lazily forward to pour disintegrator fire into the Necrontyr. Watching the supposedly invulnerable creatures being torn apart like they were nothing was why the crew had decided to pilot it in the first place. Even as they paused to find the next group, balefire crashed into the side armour to scorch the purple paint and draw the gunners attention. The mandrakes were already retreating by the time Executioner opened fire, the crew following their path even as they leapt up, realising too late that they had drawn the disintegrator fire onto their own archon. Now nothing left of them, the mandrakes pulling themselves into the shadows again.

"Moonless Night, this is Lady Ahtalia Tyrantslayer, your new ruler." a female voice issued over the communications array scant moments later, no shortage of arrogance in her tone.

***

Ahtalia's learning what it means to be an archon, which combined with a little luck and great skill can mean a great deal of accumulated power.

Xelkireth
03-06-2011, 11:52
Awesome. I think the last sentence should be revised to "a little luck and great skill."


My two slaves worth, right there.

TrojanWolf
03-06-2011, 12:06
"My lady, I present Haemonculus Zheriaq Gaunt."

Ahtalia stopped her negotiation with Succubus Maiahvel of the Seventh Woe to glare at the warrior before letting her gaze fall on her visitor. Floating a single foot off the ground on leathery wings, the haemonculus bent at the waist in what passed for a bow. Ahtalia used the bow to get a better look at him, though her attention was drawn to a pair of defining features. Not only did the haemonculus have the head of a tyranid gargoyle to go with the wings, the most disturbing feature of all was the enormous pulsating brain growing out of his back, every now and then showing a synaptic pulse race over the grey matter. He regarded the archon and the succubus with a friendly smile, a gleaming row of needle sharp teeth flashing in their direction.

"Please forgive my interruption." he rasped, the gargoyle's tongue hissing through the sentence. "Had I known that you were entertaining, my lady, I would have arrived later, though it is still an honour to see you again." Ahtalia narrowed her eyes.

"Again?" she asked, standing to face Zheriaq. "I should hope I would remember someone with your defining features, haemonculus." He smiled apologetically, bowing again.

"My mistake. Sometimes I forget that I have not always been as I appear." he replied. "It was but for a moment we met, many years ago when you were little more than one of the Parched yourself."

"That was you?" she said, hiding her surprise carefully. "Regardless, it is neither here nor there. Surely you are here for a reason."

"It has come to my attention that both you and your friend are considered the foremost experts on tyranids." he explained, indicating Maiahvel. "It just so happens that I am very intrigued by the weapon beasts myself." Ahtalia raised an eyebrow mockingly.

"Really?" she asked sarcastically. "I hadn't noticed." Zheriaq tactfully ignored the comment.

"Yes." he said. "I would consider it a great honour to be a part of your mighty institutions, though I am afraid I bring no great coven with me. They have been redistributed amongst my peers, for they were... not tyranid enough for my tastes." Synapse waves arced over his exposed brain, and slithering into the chamber came three raveners. Each of the tyranids were collared and blinded, as well as swollen to stand at least twice as high as any other beast of their kind. "I am, however, working on a way to bend the hive fleets to my will. I should like to benefit from your expertise, and you in turn would certainly enjoy the more practical benefits."

"Intriguing." Ahtalia mused, casting a glance over at Maiahvel to see the succubus nodding thoughtfully. "The hive fleets could be used to shepherd the lesser races into our slave chambers with ease."

"Not to mention a never ending tide of beasts for my wyches to duel with." Maiahvel agreed. "What have we to lose, archon?" Ahtalia nodded, turning back to Zheriaq.

"You are welcome to aid both the Frozen Talon and the Seventh Woe." she pronounced. "You will, however, understand that you are below both of us in this partnership, as Maiahvel and myself are now equals."

"Your terms are acceptable." Zheriaq replied, bowing again. "One more thing, my lady. Would you not rather allow me to regrow your original hand?" Ahtalia raised her right hand, letting the fingers of her modified Necrontyr hand click along each other as its power field crackled.

"I see you are not aware of just how much I paid to Archon Khromys of the Obsidian Rose to have this modified." She answered, letting a cruel smirk play across her face.

***

Lady Ahtalia Tyrantslayer. Succubus Maiahvel. Haemonculus Zheriaq Gaunt. This is the beginning of an interesting partnership...

Here's a picture of Ahtalia I had commissioned, as well as my own model of Zheriaq.

Xelkireth
03-06-2011, 12:13
I think the tyranid head on the Uriel model looks a little oversized. Is there a smaller head you could use? Nevertheless, that is a very cool conversion mirroring your fluff.

TrojanWolf
03-06-2011, 12:22
I think the tyranid head on the Uriel model looks a little oversized. Is there a smaller head you could use? Nevertheless, that is a very cool conversion mirroring your fluff.

A ripper might fit, but I don't know if it'll get the look I want. I'll need to check that in the morning.