An Endless and Unfathomable Void

3.69/5 (4)

Pink clouds meant that the rain had passed and the morning had come. Shifting grey mist floated through the shrine, as water dripped silently from the green tiled eves. The aun’s assistant crossed the pebble garden, hoof-steps on the wooden path announcing his presence.

Aun’Heu, it is time,’ he said.

My fast is complete, I am ready,’ she replied.

+++

An endless and unfathomable void, shapeless darkness, oppressive quiet, weightlessly falling upwards. Falling ever further. Never moving yet always falling through infinite space.    

+++

Three Rotaa Earlier:

A small Tau girl floated above the hospital bed, held down by padded restraints. Beneath her light blue skin, something seemed to move, as if parasitic life forms were inhabiting her body. Aun’Heu watched as ghastly things crept along the girl’s arms, across her face, and down her legs—ugly things, many-legged things, things with claws and spikes. Now and then faces would appear under her skin, tortured and distorted faces, faces with open mouths and jagged teeth. Sometimes Tau faces.

Your excellency, the child is dying,’ said the Water caste physician. ‘We were able to ameliorate the worst effects, lowering her blood pressure, reducing her fever, and easing the swelling in her brain. We even managed to stop her seizures; however, she has but three to four rotaa to live.’

What happened to her?’ asked Aun’Heu.

Your august excellency, there was a tour group viewing the Imperium ruins at Naweh,’ said G’ad, the Kroot shaman. ‘The child Li’yi here wandered away from her parents, attracted to a piece of coloured glass on the ground. Unfortunately, the decorative “stained glass” she picked up contained an entity from the M’vash’an.’

You mean a m’vash’an’la, what the Gue’la call a dae’mon?’

That is correct aun.’

Alarums sounded, and lights flashed from medical devices hooked up to the child. The medical staff hurriedly attended to the child, as the aun and the shaman quietly left the room.

+++

Standing on the balcony the grey clouds drifted with the wind, the rain was returning.

The girl is dying aun because the dae’mon inside her is dying,’ said G’ad leaning on his staff.

How is that my Jikita’vesa?’ 

The shaman looked out over the white Tau city, his blue and brown quills quivering. ‘Tau’faan cannot be possessed by dae’mons the way either the Gue’la or Ar’cea can. To a dae’mon the soul of a Gue’la or Ar’cea is a mighty conflagration, bright enough to be seen from space; but tau’faan have no souls, and therefore, are no brighter than a bioluminescent insect. To a dae’mon, tau’faan are an endless void with nothing to feed upon, and therefore, they soon fade away to nothing.’

+++

An endless and unfathomable void, shapeless darkness, oppressive quiet, weightlessly falling upwards. Falling ever further. Never moving yet always falling through infinite space.

+++

But how then was the child possessed?’

She is young and does not yet know the teachings of the Tau’va, and so cannot control her emotions. Perhaps the glass cut her hand, and together her anger and fear were a spark bright enough to entice the dae’mon?’

How long before the dae’mon…’ the aun struggled with her words. ‘…dissipates?’

Ten rotaa perhaps.’

By then the child will be dead!’

There is another way aun…’ said G’ad turning towards her.

+++

Is the child ready?’ asked the aun.

She is,’ replied her assistant, but then blocked her way. ‘Aun’Heu I must protest…’

I have decided,’ she replied, and stepped around him.

Downcast he followed her to the shrine’s main pagoda, where she stopped and said, ‘Stay outside and wait.’

Weeping, he tried to follow.

Aun’ui, do-as-I-have-ordered!’

Yes, aun’el.’

Inside the pagoda coloured sand had been used to make geometric shapes on the floor. At the centre of the design floated the child Li’yi, bound in homespun fabric and tethered to the floor by fibre cords. In a circle around the child stood five blue and yellow Caecilian psykers holding hands; behind them stood Kroot warriors with rifles.

Aun’Heu was met by G’ad. Rattling his quills, he whispered, ‘Are you ready your august excellency?

Yes.

Good,said G’ad and joined the Caecilians, who then opened the circle to allow Aun’Heu to enter and place her hands on the child. The Kroot outside the circle now aimed their rifles at their heads, two aimed their rifles at the Aun’Heu, while another aimed his rifle at G’ad.

What must I do now?’ she asked.

Aun, do the opposite of everything you’ve ever been taught or believed. Call up your anger, fear, and hatred, and let the emotions burn inside you. Meanwhile, the Caecilians and I will assist by creating a mind-science inferno so intense, the dae’mon cannot ignore it!’

Aun’Heu let loose with her emotions, screaming, ‘Release the child thou uncivilised entity! Take me instead! Snaet’as m’tsarai qy kir’ajii ynege’kir ea!’    

A green fire ignited suddenly in the eyes of one of the Caecilians but then jumped rapidly from one to another until all were engulfed by the green flame. G’ad’s eyes began glowing with golden fire, and he touched one end of his staff to a Caecilian and the other to the aun.

+++

An endless and unfathomable void, shapeless darkness… THERE! A BLAZE OF SOUL-FIRE!

+++

We’re done aun,’ said G’ad.

Wait… we’re done?’ asked Aun’Heu looking confused.

How do you feel?’

Fine, except for a slight headache.’

A Caecilian reached out and touched the aun’s hand and croaked its approval.

Congratulations aun, you are possessed by a dae’mon.’ Turning to another Kroot, he said, ‘Take the child to the medical team, but be gentle!’

+++

Eleven Rotaa Later:

How do you fair aun?’ asked G’ad cracking an uneo nut in his beak.

Well, thank you. The child is safe and healthy, and my headaches went away,’ answered Aun’Heu, sipping her tisan.

G’ad touched her hand, ‘T’ah, the dae’mon is gone.’

Where to?’

Annihilated,’ he said rattling his quills. ‘Cut off from the warp, dea’mons cease to exist.’

+++

Endless unfathomable…  void…   shape l e  s  s. . .  d   a     r      k       n         e         s          s—

About the Author

In the grim darkness of the upper mid-western US, on the storm driven shores of the great inland sea called Anishinaabewi-gichi-gami, lies an underground bunker. Within its depths is where you’ll find Mr. O’Duffy, spending his time writing Warhammer 40,000 fiction, as well as works of Gothic Horror, and Fantasy. When not writing, Mr. O’Duffy continues his fight for truth, justice and the American Way.

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