30/07/2009 in Warhammer 40K
It is the mask that I wear that makes me who I am. You take the mask from me, and I just become another face in the crowd, another face that looks no different than from the person I am standing right beside. Of course, every mask that I have, that I wear, is different. Only I am able to see the subtleties of them for they are as unique to me as one star is from another in this galaxy. If you were to view them all you would say is ‘Oh, what pretty masks’ and that would be all. Silly mon-keigh, that is why I have no interest in trying to educate you in the ways of why I chose my masks, the ways of the dances that I dance on the battlefield, the ways of the Harlequins.
Yes, I am a Harlequin. Or if you wish to be more specific, I am a Solitaire. I wander the Webways as you mon-keigh have come to call them, seeking out Eldar that I believe would make fitting Harlequins and pass them along to receive training. I was once like that to, I suppose, but that time has long since passed me by and I remember very little of it.
What was that, you say?
That I am one of the ‘Soulless’ as you Inquisitors have come to call us? I do not know what you mean, silly mon-keigh and even if I did I would not speak of such things to you. Where do you get such information? From an Ork passing by? Because it surely seems like that. I am an Eldar from the Webways, one who simply wanders freely to and fro when the whim takes me; I care not where I end up and not where I go. A rootless existence to many Eldar as you know from your own extensive study of my race, but then you have humans who do the same thing, am I right?
Why am I so emotionless, you ask?
Does it really matter? I will tell you why I am devoid of emotion if you wish to hear, Inquisitor. Because what I do, what I have seen requires no emotion. I only need to think and remember, not feel. Feelings are wasted in my profession, just as they are wasted in yours. Do not think me cold, for you are exactly the same way; judge not lest ye be judged is a favored saying for you mon-keigh, am I right or am I right?
No, I am not stepping around the subject. I am simply offering you my answer. It is you who are trying to read between the lines when there are none; another thing that you have been taught in your line of work. I suggest you stop before you give yourself a needless headache.
But then we both know the real reason why you have come before me, risking both life and limb. Not to chatter on inanely as we are doing, but for a darker purpose if one will. Because you seek answers to questions that have plagued your mind; answers which you believe I have. About the supposed Black Library, the one that you mon-keigh believe is myth. What is myth but something that was once legend and what was once legend was something that was an actual fact?
No, I am not stepping around your question; this time I have given you an answer. Yes, very good Inquisitor, I see you are not as stupid as you look and you have done your research well. The Black Library does indeed exist, but few know of it for certain and even fewer have entered and come back out alive.
Do I have access to the Library?
Silly mon-keigh, do you really think I will answer that question for you? I am a Harlequin; it is my duty to put on a mask, any mask, and attempt to play a part given to me to the best of my ability. How do you know I am not wearing a mask now? Not literally but figuratively speaking, of course. Please do not swear in front of me or this meeting will be over with abrupt swiftness, I assure you that.
Inquisitor, everyone wears a mask. Your own profession dictates that to you; you have most likely changed your appearance so many times in your life that I am sure you forget what you originally looked like, just as I have worn so many masks I forget the day I placed the first one on to hide my features. Even planets wear masks and the repulsive Orks as well; even Tau be they aware of it or not.
Well, judging from your body language and the way your face has taken on that unhealthy red tinge to it, I have decided to call this meeting to an end. You draw your sword at me, dear Inquisitor, and you will find that you will not be able to use it when your hands are on the floor. One thing that you should always remember: Do not anger a Harlequin. Despite all your research, all of your questions and supposedly highly classified answers, everything you know is rather… how should one put it… misleading. That is another thing among us Harlequins: We mislead people. We even mislead our own race; we have good reason to just as I am sure you have good reason to hold back some secrets from your own organizations.
Now, I will try and educate you in this one mask that I have here. Pretty, is it not? Look how the image changes in the light, the colours dancing across the surface, how it almost seems to come alive in my hands when held at the proper angle. Well Inquisitor, that is because it is alive; this mask has a trapped life within in it. It is the Mask of the Great Enemy, one of such potency that were I to place it on right now, you would die with horrifying swiftness, your screams echoing down this portion of the Webway for a millennia or three I would imagine. This mask I hold is dangerous even to my own kind, but because of my seniority within the ranks of the Harlequins, I have been given the honour of holding onto it, protecting it.
Now leave, Inquisitor. Down the hall until you come to the portal and do not deviate from the path I have set out before you. If you do, then you will become lost here and never find your way out. I will watch you to make sure that you do leave; you try to turn and come back then I will kill you on my word as a Solitaire. What you know now is of little use to anyone but you, so I am assured of your silence, until the next time we meet and I know that we will.
What? Why do you wish to know my name, because you have told me yours?
Very well. I am called Tetsu-ko, Inquisitor. A name of no significance for your kind but one of great meaning among Eldar. No, I will not tell you why. Next time we meet, I will impart that knowledge to you.
But in the great scheme of the Webway, I am still a Harlequin, one who wears many masks as my kind is prone to do.
(by Anne Marie)