Mardrax strode through the streets. His body blending into the shadows, his skin mostly hidden beneath a long coat. The keenest of observers would have seen a strange glow to his eyes – but there were none. There were only a few drunkards, and some other outcasts of society in this part of the city, unaware of what stalked amongst them. He had perfect clarity. For he was hunting.
He saw many easy victims. A man holding a bottle in his hand, slumped against a wall hidden by the starless alley. Or a woman who wiped sweat from her brow as she took staggered steps, seeking support from the walls. Flies surrounded her and some tried to eat at her flesh. None of them sufficed. Any other of his kind would have already struck, but Mardrax was beyond that. He needed more. Not just a body, but the mind as well.
He glided through darkness as if he was part of it. He paused, fascinated as he saw a man rush out of a building. Mardrax probed his mind, to feel what he did… The softness of her skin, the sweet sound of her laughter… Once I was whole, now I am… nothing. Such an uninteresting thought. What was individuality but fragility?
No… One mind, one thought, one purpose – no weakness!
Unity above fragmentation of self comfort and empathy. Truth, not the unconsciousness from which lies are drawn. The imagination of humanity is weakness – only in evolution can survival be eternal.
No longer interested, Mardrax moved on.
Humans were such primitive creatures. All that mattered was how they ‘felt’, what they ‘wanted’. Even now the tendrils of his family were extending across the stars. Through their individuality, they break the perfect order of the universe. To evolve there must be unity and adaptation.
A sudden dread overwhelmed him. Perhaps there was nothing here for him. This place was a mistake and soon he would run out of his course. All this time and effort, wasted. He briefly revealed his hand in the light, a row of needle-like claws in place of nails and the pale colour of his skin gleamed against the light. He quickly returned it beneath his coat, and he –
A man walked in the distance, carrying himself with a lordly poise. Mardrax could sense his mind – full of self-importance, but also a spark of… something else. Intrigued, Mardrax decided to follow the man.
The man swaggered his way down the thoroughfare, occasionally entering the shops and then talking about himself in a manner that Mardrax sensed the staff found internally loathsome, but yet they overtly fawned on him. The man was… overflowing with a sense of his own importance. But his wealth and status were genuine, undeniable from the cut and material of his clothes and the bowing and scraping of those he encountered.
Two hours Mardrax stalked the man, before he came to a large mansion. The guards greeted him – a greeting he ignored – and entered through the heavy set of twin doors.
Mardrax calmed the guards with his mind and stepped to a window.
The exterior of the building already had an air of luxury to it, but the interior was opulent. Filled with paintings portraying people who held themselves high. He saw the man greeted by two small children who threw their arms around his legs. A woman descended the stairs wearing a form fitting gown with intricate patterns. Her slender form weightless as if she almost glided. With his keen sight, he could see the woman feign surprise as the man handed her an expensive looking box, covered with gold linings.
One by one, the lights in the building went out and only one room was lit. It was the same person he had been following, now sitting on a chair in front of his desk. Tinkering with a small object. Mardrax stepped out of the shadows and his eyes began to glow. The man in the chair noticed him, but he did not see a man in a long coat. Instead what he saw was a woman who aroused … feelings in him.
Mardrax stepped away, and the man bolted upright from his seat and ran out the door. The guards looked startled, but the man waved them away with irritation and ran to the window he’d seen Mardrax.
Mardrax led the man in a chase, always in his sight, too far to catch but close enough to pursue, led him away from any prying eyes, led him ultimately into an alley with only a person who had had too many drinks for the night, completely unconscious.
The man ran into the alley, out of breath panting but still determined to catch his quarry, and saw a woman who had aroused an uncontrollable lust in him.
Mardrax beckoned him with his needle-pointed finger; he saw a woman laughingly beckon him close. He obeyed.
There it is. He thought. A deep desire to fulfill his lustful dreams. The man leaned in and they kissed. Mardrax’s serpentine tongue flicked inside the man’s mouth and stabbed him in the back of the throat. The man tried to tear himself free, too late, Mardrax’s needle-hands holding him tight. The infection began to take root, the first step to a new breed, a new generation. Anyone who walked by the alley then would have seen just two men sharing an intimate moment and, depending on their proclivities, either ignore them or seek to report their heresy. Mardrax released the man and looked up to the sky, a sudden strong longing deep inside him.
When they come, the mission is finally complete, the insatiable hunger truly sated. And the truth of the world, the only truth of the universe… Adaptation is not just a means. There lies the truth of the world. The only true intelligence and evolution.
Adaption is survival.
The Great Mother.
Our Hive Mind!
About the Author
Jeremias is trying to be more active on story writing and has several projects in the works. Other than that, he’s a massive Warhammer fan – especially of the Eldar – and has read and written many stories in both the 40k and fantasy settings.