I Stand a Heretic
05/03/2009 in Warhammer 40K
”Will you aid us?”
It was a direct question, but at that moment, it was the only one I could muster. My mind could not work, all chains of thought dull and numb. To stand next to something so utterly alien turned my stomach. There was no grasp of it. No hint, nothing to hold on to. To watch it was a marvel in itself, to stand next to it was the stuff of nightmares. Enigma personified, in the flesh, a mystery incarnate. And our only hope of survival.
I am Scribe Overlord of the Adeptus Administratum, Adept Marckush van der Falsch. I was a humble servant under Imperial Governor Osric Hammel of Mespys for many a decade. I shall tell you of the time when we, humans, were in dire need of aid; A shadow had emerged out of the darkness and was threatening to consume us all. Two months before, surveillance-satellites at the edge of our system had detected a large splinter fleet of Tyranids heading our way. It was slowly emerging out of deep space and was perhaps less than a year away from reaching the systems outer reaches. Defenses were being prepared, but Imperial aid is not to be relied upon; Out here, in the Eastern Fringe, the dominion of man is fragile at best. Instead, the system of Mespys had reached out for support at an unexpected quarter.
My valiant lord and master, Imperial Governor Hammel, had gotten the Adeptus Administratum in an uproar. Who could blame them? Who could blame him? Lord Hammel was under the threat of excommunication. But he persisted. I personally witnessed when Lord Hammel told the Pontifex Mundi that he would gladly sacrifice his own life if it meant the salvation of the systems population. It gave me hope that day.
I felt uneasy in the aliens presence, leaning against my cane for support now that my old bones cry out for rest. Wrapped in the robes and garments of my elevated office, I must have seemed like a wretched sight next to such splendor.
The creature stirred, it hardly moved. It gave me the shivers just to watch the thing. Its garbs were ethereal in appearance, regal and simple, material yet godlike. Soft yet strong. The very fabric itself rang with the soft chime of bells as it stirred. It emanated a barely noticeable shimmer of light from within its own substance. Glyphs and runes, golden rims and silver patterns, ivory decorations and sparkling gems.
As it kneeled next to a flower arrangement, I admit, I marveled at the ease it wielded in its movements. Unearthly grace, a fluent agility beyond words. Long, tendril-like fingers softly embraced the crown of a bright yellow flower. Its head tilted upwards, those three-slit eyes scanned the sky beyond the protection of the biodome. The gaze traveled slowly from one side to the other, then down to a sparkling pond of purest water found mere yards away. The hand was removed from the flower, the fingers ever so gently stroking the texture of the beautiful creation.
As the alien returned to its full regal stature, I couldn’t help but to recoil a step or two. It was tall, well beyond seven feet, yet it was not gangly, thin or hunched. Its back was straight, like a beam of adamantium its majestic stance never faltered.
Where I found the courage to speak I do not know. But as I caught the things attention, my stomach twisted and I recoiled yet again. Those narrow eyes; Crystal clear, sparkling, emerald and ruby, slitted thrice, each slit a dark chasm that was in itself a mirror that reflected my soul and hinted on a fire more ancient than the Immortal God-Emperor Eternal Himself. The skin was fair, soft and firm. The head long and slightly oval, a narrow jaw, the nose a long and thin ridge, the hair a cascade of softest strands that almost seemed to move in an unearthly breeze that gently caressed the flowing velvet of gold. It is heresy, I know, but I have never ever witnessed something so magnificent and beautiful to behold ever since. Yet, I have never been so afraid as then, when I stood face to face with the alien.
”We will what we will. The stars moves as the universe shrinks”.
My jaw dropped as it answered. High Gothic, never has it sounded so clear. Never has the true beauty of it come across with such song like splendor ever before. I confess, I was afraid to speak after that, for my crude tongue must have been an affront to the long pointed ears of the xeno before me. It did not do my own language justice, no human ever has. But this alien, this xeno, this creature perfected the human tongue so now when I think back upon it, it brings tears to my eyes. It was a voice that sang from the everlasting meadows of a godlike heaven. Unimaginable.
”The fates are all interwoven, young one. The Devourer approaches. We stand on the edge of a cliff and beyond lies the expanding conscience of knowledge. Tread softly, to stray would be to delve into an abyss of understanding. To understand the Hunger. We move with the winds of the Beyond. There our past, present and future collide with our dreams. There our dreams merge with the birth of stars. The Devourer passes by, then should we by edict stand and die or to safety fly? Come tell me young one, weep and tears of sorrow cry”.
”I… I do not understand”.
My voice was weak at that point. I had been asked to convince the Eldar to aid us against the Tyranids. Without them, we would all surely die. But there I was, unable to speak, unable to comprehend, unable to understand.
I knew if I failed, it would bring doom to us all. Eldar; As alien to our mind as they are regal next to our hunched form. The Eldar moved, I could not take my eyes from it. He seemed to float. An agility I can not put into words. A grace beyond any human. Like a projection out of sync. Moving without moving. Yet it was only for a few steps. He kneeled suddenly. I remember it well. Standing, the next moment kneeling. It was unnerving to behold and witnessed, yet I would not trade that meeting for anything in this galaxy. The Eldars fingers, long and slender, stroked the cobbled stone floor. Feeling its texture. I can still hear the chime emanating from his garbs. As clear as silver bells.
”Rugged is the present”.
I simply stood and marveled at the creature as it moved its fingers across the floor, eyes fixed on something distant. Perhaps the illuminator at the far corner; I will never know.
”The stars foretold us. The unbirthed and the undead whisper. Rugged and cracked with pits and shallows. Ebb and flood. Such is the Beyond. Feel the chill and embrace the warmth of it. Sing and dance the macabre vision. Devour the Devourer. Pierce the dark with lances of light. We move with the currents of our forefathers. We smile with the blessings of our mothers. We weep as we remember the Fall. The Fall haunts us still. We, who in our folly doomed a universe to eternal torment. Prevent. Prolong. Belong. We belong. As do you, young one. You belong here. You can prolong the inevitable defeat. You can prevent it. You young one. But you must make it beyond this engulfing maw that will swallow your past whole. You must survive”.
”Craftworld Fasheyla’Haim will sail the stars and answer the call. We will stand with you against the beasts of the night. You, young one, must survive”.
What he meant with it, I am not sure. I am even afraid of finding out. But for now, all we can do is wait for the Great Devourer to arrive. As I turn my gaze upon the skies above, I know that out there somewhere, a culture beyond my understanding has decided to aid the people of an empire intent on their destruction. I stand in awe. I stand a heretic for it. But I will live. Emperor, praise the xeno.