One hundred years ago, I died upon the petal strewn fields of fair Myiathra where I felt no sorrow. For that century I was at one with the abiding spirits of my forebears, immersed in the collective wisdom of the Circuit. It was from that whispering spirit world that I was stolen, my soul entombed in a prison built for the destruction of our enemies; a wraith. On the battle scarred emptiness of a nameless moon, beneath the ruin of my home, I felt all things end.
On pallid rock the life of my Seer faded, each beat of his punctured heart sent forth a pulse of faint light, illuminating reality, offering my soul solace from the great emptiness of the void. He had marshalled us well, the vengeful dead, conducted us to hold, even as the ravenous, ferric claws of our enemy tore hatefully into the flesh and bone of our people. Their spiteful rage, held so fervently in soulless eyes, wantonly purged our grace from the universe. I alone was witness to the Seer’s final moments. I felt his sense of failure, his desperation and grief, his fear of what awaited us beyond. I hungered for these emotions, patched them onto the gulf in my own soul, drank deeply of his terror and loss, for they were all I had. I had not felt such dread on the meadows of Myiathra. There I had wept at the beauty of paradise. It had been such a good death.
Here in the inferno, Craftworld Eliathos, last of its kind, had held its ground against the madness of the galaxy’s most brutal children. Our jets had flashed in billowing twists of fiery death, as if cinders stolen from fire by a fierce wind. Our warriors fell, hewn down like ten thousand wild flowers before the sweep of a scythe. Even the eternal spark of Khaine, upon whose spear countless foes were slaughtered, collapsed with a dreadful lament as the ceaseless barrage of unrestrained brutality broke its divine form. One by one even the dead fell once more, but I endured. When one blank eyed assailant shattered my shield arm, I endured, cleaving it asunder, a century of fury poured into a single axe blow. Even as a stray shot splintered my leg, I endured upon my knees. When the last of the enemy expired under the cracked gemstone knuckles of my fist, I endured against the rock. On this moon, the ruins of my people lay burning, the scattered remnants of our people shattered amidst the ashes. A sea of coloured glass to be feasted upon by the barbed jaws of the Sai’lanthresh. On Myiathra, I had been bested by a beast of stunning grace, lost to the hunt as it should be. I had been worthy of Kurnous.
The Seer called to me, a whispered swirl of silvery light twisting through the dark. It was by then difficult to see anything, his powers so frail that only a thin thread of reality existed between us, painting a blotched triptych of death, loss and torment. He knew not what orders to give, our people were gone, the last gasps of our glorious luminance faded like embers hidden within the deepest cracks of an ashen branch. He could no longer think, all his body could muster now were the most visceral of emotions. The rawest toxin of sickening fear, a guttural revulsion at the gulping of his own life’s blood. I had once smelled lavender on the air and felt lilac petals on my cooling skin.
Far above, beyond the reach of my real sight, Eliathilos, that eternal palace of discipline and grace, lay sundered, it’s many great domes and arches stripped cruelly from its elegant form. As celestial rain they fell with vivid fury upon the scarred remnants of this desolate moon, an iridescent stream of agony. Far beyond the pulses of reality I heard Isha wail in despair. I had preferred the cool blue skies of Myiathra.
I felt the last gasps of reality breathe across my perception as he died. The ground fell to nothing as my link to the corporeal realm, where my tomb lay hunched upon the ashes, was severed. My people, who had brought grace to this hateful galaxy, who had once brought to heel the perfidious legions of the C’tan, who endured the depravities of Chaos, had now taken their last breath. The love and melancholy that had held perfect balance in the heart of the young outcast I once was, felt like a dream slowly unremembered. What scant emotions remained slid from me as a silk veil is stripped from skin by a breeze. I longed for the feeling of Myiathra’s wet grass, my perfect death; here my wraithbone form feels nothing.
I now walk the Path of the Ghost. I endure in the absence of all things, imprisoned, an eternity without feeling. From this point, the dying of all things, I will know only a longing for the passion stripped from me which will never come. Even after the fires of my dead world cool to a trillion sparkling particles in orbit above, my broken form will remain motionless on this skeleton of a rock. When the Devourer comes for the souls of my people, I will endure, locked away in an eternal nothing. Memories will become shrinking tapestries, sliding away before aging eyes. The feeling of touch lost to a formless paralysis, both the radiance of warmth and coarseness of cold long forgotten. Birds had sung a sorrowful song to my death before, yet here in the void I know no longer the resonance of sound nor beauty of music. I will endure, a shade of the Aeldari, last of their kind. The terror of eternity has me now in its ceaseless void. A lone shell hidden deep below an endless sea, beyond the ken of all. I feel nothing, and yet I long for Myiathra.
About the Author
Craig is a teacher from Scotland who recently got back into the hobby and enjoys a little bit of writing on the side.