Heresy, Brutality and Mutation
The slaughter had been immense that day, and the minds of the soldiers dwelled with some fear on the wrath of their leader, should they fail to return with sufficient… tribute. The haemonculi were known for murderous rages in any case, often seizing warriors who displeased them as test subjects for future experimentation. Junior Warrior-Sybarite Arkath, who had led the expedition, was particularly concerned for the state of his health. The haemonculus, who delighted in the unlikely name of name Mxyzptlk, for reasons known only to himself, had demanded a tribute of prisoners. Preferably warriors, he said; their hardened constitutions made breaking them all the more exciting a challenge.
But this battle had been fierce. These women soldiers of the corpse god, mighty in resolve, had proved… difficult to subdue. They were dirty fighters, almost as cunning and cruel as he, and he had considered himself a god in such matters compared to mere humans. Had he but known, he told himself, he would have come equipped specifically to subdue, not kill.
Instead, they had come equipped for showy, deadly cruelty. And against the regulars who fought in the name of the corpse god, or against the worshippers of Khaine, it usually worked. These battle-maidens, though, laughed in the face of his cruelty – the one he had butchered personally, in front of everyone, had laughed as she struggled with him, had spat in his face as she died, giving him not even the satisfaction of a single scream of pain.
And now, it seemed, they were all dead. Their blood was everywhere, forming a mist that hung low in the halls of this once-sacred place. Arkath directed his warriors to stop trying to sniff out life – their heightened senses were overwhelmed with the gore and filth. Instead they began the time-consuming chore of hefting bodies one by one and checking for vital signs.
He was starting to consider fleeing, with or without his warriors at his side, when one of them laughed gleefully, then shouted to him. “Sybarite Arkath, we have found a survivor! Crippled she may be, lord, but she breathes yet!”
It snapped him out of his mood. He removed his blade-crested helm and sneered back at the warrior who had called him so. “Bring her to the Raider, then, Warrior.” He chuckled, and checked the edge on his blade. “We shall hope she proves… fitting.”
Another few minutes of searching uncovered the bodies of more survivors – one as crippled as the first, for they had bled from deep wounds, and though the spark of life was within them, they would not last long without the blessings of the haemonculus. The third, though… Ah, she fought still! It seemed, from the bashed helm, still hanging in scraps of metal from her gorget, that she had taken a minor head wound and been laid senseless, though not otherwise injured, save for a few small scratches.
“What a pretty, pretty face,” said Arkath to his warriors, in their battle-dialect. Two warriors were pinning the woman to the hull of the Raider, though she fought them like a cornered bitch – even her tiny fangs, which the humans have, flashed in the light of the burning shrine. Her eyes, one flesh and one metal, glowed with fury. Arkath felt the lust rise in him again at the sight. Mxyzptlk had asked only that the prisoners be alive and intact of soul; he had never said they had to be… unmarked.
“What a pretty, pretty face,” he said again, this time in the courtly High Gothic, knowing full well that such a remark spoken in the high dialect was a killing insult against a woman of high station. “You will make a fitting consort, my lady, on our journey to Commoragh.” As he spoke, part of his mind was focused on the implanted glands and polymorphic tissues that had been installed, against his will, by a particularly playful haemonculus. This time they would prove useful. He would debase this woman more intimately, more cruelly, than he had debased her comrade, the one he had flayed with his knife – the electrified barbs he was growing would cause excruciating pain, yet would do little harm to her flesh; or at least, little harm that Mxyzptlk, twisted sculptor of life that he was, could not easily repair.
Somehow, though, she knew. Whether it was his stance, as his uniform trousers became increasingly uncomfortable, or the gleam in his eyes, or the more subtly predatory grin across his cheeks, she knew, and fought back. Like a cornered bitch, he remembered later; she had been saving that kick for a good opportunity, and his loins were the perfect target. She grimaced at him, then, in fear – the first time he had seen anything other than hatred, anger or that perplexing amusement in the face of these women – and then put her entire body into the kick. The muscle power of eighty kilos of angry human, amplified by the servos of a hundred-kilo powered suit, slammed into his crotch, lifting Arkath well off his feet. He was lean, but quite strong; he was quick as a cat, or quicker; but in the moment of thought necessary to phrase his insult to her, he had neglected to defend himself.
The polymorphic organ retreated rapidly into its dormant state, and Arkath’s lust was replaced with an all-consuming pain. Excruciating pain. He was barely aware of the warriors on either side of the human soldier cutting her out of her armor and hurling her, forcefully, into the Raider. The last thing he felt, before the pain took him into the dark, was his helm being taken from his belt and his arms tied securely behind him. He despaired, inwardly: the Dark Eldar were not known to be merciful with failed leaders.
Katherine Evangeli was barely conscious of the passage of time. She lay, crudely bound, in the bowels of some xenos vehicle – surprisingly clean, though she suspected the metal itself was tainted, tainted down to the last atom, by the xenos influence even as it was blessed by blood that oozed from her wounds and those of her injured sisters. They were cradled in the arms of some foul technological artifact that lurked over them, monstrous, preventing them from dying – though Sister Superior Evangeli suggested they would have chosen, were they able, to tear the tubes and wires from their body and grant themselves the Emperor’s peace. But they were not. Whether it was the blood loss, or the drugs that these demented techno-spiders pumped into their bodies, they were too weak to move, too weak even to communicate, whether by speech or hand-sign.
She was pleased, though, with her last attack on the Eldar leader. Leader he must have been, for the helm he had carried had been more ornate, and the others had treated him like acolytes treated their Inquisitor – although she could see his body now, bound, mutilated, strapped to the far wall of the cargo bay in which they rested. The xenos breeds were as brutal to each other as they were to the children of the Emperor, only increasing the depth of their perfidy, of their noxious evil in His sight.
Still, she felt she was being taken somewhere, with her sisters and this vile, mutilated once-Eldar… thing that bled and shuddered on the far wall. Somewhere so dark, even the Emperor’s light could not reach. For the first time in many years, Katherine Evangeli knew fear. Not for the state of her body, for she had known always that her physical life belonged to the Emperor and was His to do with as He pleased. No, she feared for her very soul. The Eldar leader had planned to rape her, of that she was sure; his words and his manner had betrayed him, much like the human scum she had dealt with on four worlds already. The Daughters of the Emperor were not subject to vows of celibacy, but rape was a fearful violation, harmful to both body and soul. Rape by a xenos monster was… unthinkable. It was awful beyond words. For the Emperor to allow it…
And here was the origin of her fear. For a Daughter of the Emperor to be raped by a xeno meant that the Emperor wished it to be so, and if the Emperor wished it to be so, could He be good and just? Such doubts were as much of a spiritual peril as this travel to the places in which the xenos breed lived and worked, without the tools to destroy them or be destroyed, trying. Bereft of her sacred weapons, and shorn of her holy armor, she was going naked into the den of the most evil, where her very soul would be consumed, unable to return to the arms of the Emperor and be eternally merged with His glory.
Her combat training allowed her to estimate time intervals with reasonable precision. It had been about six hours since she had awakened to find herself here, rather than in the Eldar troop-carrier. No-one had attended to them during that time. The butchered pirate across from her had stopped bleeding, but hadn’t done anything other than squirm slightly against his bindings. Her two badly-wounded Sisters were still immobile and incommunicative.
Their vehicle lurched to a halt. Suddenly Sister Evangeli’s personal world was full of leering faces and jagged architecture. Something stung her shoulder. Poison! She stood up and fought back – she tried to stand – she tried to keep herself from sagging to her knees, but failed, ending prostrate on strange dark stones at the feet of these xenos. She could see what was in front of her, she could hear the loathsome chatter of the aliens in their vile tongue, she could smell the pestilential reek of death and corruption around her. She was adrift on a sea of isolated perceptions, though, dazed and confused, aware briefly of being carried bodily by a shambling monster, then laid on a hard, cold surface. A voice, somewhere out of her field of view, spoke soothingly in the Eldar tongue, as though to a beast, to a pet… and then the speaker stopped.
She had a distinct feeling that whoever, or whatever, was in the room with her was now staring at her, clad in only her armor-lining jumpsuit. While it was flame-retardant and gave slight protection against blows or bullets, it was also rather more… form-fitting than even the briefest of Novitiate gowns. She had been ogled before, even once by an Astartes officer, but she had been clad in her armor, then, and known that no sane man would make an offer to a Sister of Battle which might be unwelcome. Here, she felt more naked than she had ever felt when unclothed.
When the speaker spoke again, it spoke in Imperial Gothic, though its accent was harsh to her ears, and its tones dripped with casual scorn. “Welcome, my dear, to Commoragh.”
And she knew, then, that she was lost.
Arkath had survived the torture administered to him by his former subordinates. It was their intent not to destroy him: rather, they believed, delivering him among the prisoners to the haemonculus Mxyzptlk would amuse and delight him, endearing them to him and protecting them from further depradations. For Mxyzptlk was well-known as a remarkably strange man, and among the haemonculi – themselves a remarkable collection of remarkably strange men – this was a remarkable distinction. Mxyzptlk did not generally waste his time with prosaic matters such as improving the grotesques that inhabited his lair, or developing ever more-lethal poisons. Rather, he worked on devices and techniques of humiliation, developing methods of torture that required as few wounds as possible to inflict the maximum amount of suffering. Some derided him as a mere prankster, but most knew of his dark genius, and shuddered at the thought of crossing him.
And when Arkath found himself dragged by one of Mxyzptlk’s grotesques into a laboratory chamber, and shackled to the table, he knew the end was near. Not of his life, or at least his continued biological existence; and even his soul would probably remain. But it would no longer be the life of Arkath. Arkath the warrior would be dead, replaced with something stupid, slow, and animal, losing the casual, cunning viciousness that characterized his race of Eldar.
The dark tormenter appeared to him, then; and Arkath did not know whether it was a fever-dream, if his wounds had become infected and were poisoning his brain, or if his former employer truly stood before him. But he spoke thus:
“Arkath, I am both gravely disappointed and more delighted than you can know! Certainly you have debased yourself before your warriors, allowing yourself to be struck so grievously humiliating a wound by a warrior such as this human woman you took captive. But you have brought her to me, and two of her siblings, so they say, and I am greatly pleased. Greatly pleased, Arkath.”
The leering mask of the haemonculus continued. “Our code, our agreement, does not allow me to allow you to leave this place alive, as Arkath. Ah, but! You mustn’t flinch so! You have pleased me, as I have not been pleased in a great while, and I shall reward you, yes, a proper reward for so dutiful a leader of warriors as yourself! Ordinarily you would merely be made into a mindless grotesque, armed with teeth and claws, to do violence to mine enemies. This, you know.”
He stopped, as though waiting for Arkath, but Arkath did not reply, merely hawking up congealed blood and spitting it over the side of the slab.
“But I will reward you,” Mxyzptlk repeated. “Instead of that grim fate you would have endured, you will become one of my test-platforms, yes, you shall! And if you perform well, ah, you shall live on, whole of mind, if not unchanged of body,” and here the haemonculus laughed, “as a reliable servant, a trusted pet.”
He drew a blade from Arkath’s gauntlet, then unshackled one of the warrior’s arms, placing the knife in his free hand.
“It is your choice now, dear Arkath,” said Mxyzptlk, or the hallucinatory image of Mxyzptlk. “Will you take the easy way out? Will you ritually cut out your heart before me? Or will you accept my challenge?”
Arkath brought the blade to his lips, and tasted it: it was truly his own. If he were to take his own life now, an honorable death, he would escape the horror and torment of Mxyzptlk’s transformations. He brought the knife to his chest, point pressed against the thin fabric of his tunic. And there it stayed, for a long moment, before he flung it aside. Released from its owner’s grasp, the wraithbone blade shattered as it hit the wall, then vanished into mist.
“I see reason has got the better of your impulses, dear boy. And in truth, I am glad. What potential you must have! I see you almost got some use out of your implants, this recent time. Ah, well, I must save those, mustn’t I? Now, don’t worry… hold still, dear boy.” Mxyzptlk, for it was him, now, Arkath knew, pressed an auto-injector into his neck, and in seconds Arkath found his body immobilized more completely than the shackles could have. He couldn’t even breathe. He felt his heart falter.
As the surgical machinery descended from the ceiling, and darkness enveloped his mind, Arkath heard Mxyzptlk say, as though a long way off: “I would say that this will be over quickly, and won’t hurt a bit, but that would be a lie.”
The next few hours were a blank, shuddering horror for Katherine Evangeli, a Sister of Battle of the Adeptus Sororitas, the Daughters of the Emperor. She thought she had experienced pain before, having taken severe wounds in combat. But this… this was worse, by far. Dimly she remembered lectures from the old Magus Biologis at her schola, saying that in combat, a true warrior’s body would naturally produce drugs to dull pain and promote valor. But this wasn’t combat. Either it wasn’t combat, or she was not a true warrior, for as the knives of the mad flesh-sculptor who lived in these tombs bit into her, she felt every cut. Every incision felt as though it was being inscribed into her brain with a hot wire.
In her past – so she remembered – was it real, or just a dream? She had faced down a witch who had the gift of control, and he had entered her very head. He had mind-raped her, and her ears and nose had run crimson and bloody with the strain. The agony of it had been terrible. But somehow, this was worse. She had convinced herself, after that event, that the pain had just been imagined – her way of picturing the struggle of wills between herself and the psyker, a struggle which she had narrowly won. This pain was worse, for it was real.
The machines had not even bothered to remove her garment, as Imperial medicae always did before surgery. Where the synth-weave got in the way of a blade, it was simply sliced through. The machine which dug its talons into her head was different, though; every time it made an incision, it first skinned her skull and peeled back her scalp before cutting into the bone.
Screaming was no use, as she felt she had lost the ability to breathe on her own… ages ago, or was it hours? The machine had run a tube down her throat, and was keeping her sustained despite the massive trauma inflicted elsewhere on her body. Nor was she ever allowed to truly pass into unconsciousness, for every time she did, the loathsome master of this place would dose her with a stimulant, saying, “The subject so honored by the art of pain should have better manners than to sleep through it!”
But then, after an eternity, it was over. Her skull had been pieced back together, her scalp seemed to be back in place, her lower body and extremities were intact. A full inspection would have to wait until the paralytic wore off, but until then…
The slab she was on moved. It was on wheels, she suddenly realized. Something rank and foul of breath, something that snuffled at her like a beast, was pushing her gurney through the tombs – where to, she knew not. But in a few minutes, by the beat of her heart – even artificially driven as it was – the gurney stopped. The beast behind her turned some lever, and Sister Evangeli found herself being tilted forward, almost into a standing position. Immediately she felt terribly sore, her abdomen and groin feeling bruised, and she realized with shock that the Eldar carnifex, for all his gruesome evil, had very cleverly put her back together – with the best techniques of Imperial medicine, her guts would have been looping about her feet right about now.
Slowly, slowly, her ability to move on her own, to breathe, returned. The bestial attendant pulled the tube out of her throat, and she saw that while it was bore the telltale pink tint of internal bleeding – her own – it had done only minimal harm. Her heartbeat was strong. She could turn her head and observe that the room contained…
She was shocked. The room contained two… no, three other gurneys, though one was almost hidden in the shadows. The two well-lit ones bore Sisters Emelia and Marin, who were even now looking about on their own, breathing under their own power. Their lining-garments bore marks of having been cut apart, but were now clearly intact. As whatever traumas they had experienced wore off, they became excited and greeted each other with some warmth.
“Hail, Sister Superior! Throne bless us, I thought we were doomed.”
“Hail, Sister Marin. We may yet be, but not alone.”
Sister Emelia, who had the sharpest eyes of the three, peered at the figure on the gurney in the corner. “Is that… Is that one of the Eldar enemy? Restrained so?”
The figure turned and spat. The sound of the cough came from no human throat. It was an Eldar, she saw, as her augmetic eye focused and zoomed, or it had once been an Eldar. Now, it was something else. Its face was slack, somehow, its fangs longer than even those of the Eldar, whose predatory teeth had frightened her the first time she saw them.
And yet the thing saw her looking at it. It spat what must have been a curse at her, lisping in the Eldar tongue, and then said to her, in terribly accented Gothic: “You can kick me all you like, you deluded woman. You’ll be my consort yet.”
Sister Evangeli shouted, then, overcome by fury, and strained against the bracing that held her against the gurney. It was no use, though; and after a few moments she felt a terrible pain ripple through her midsection, and she gasped and went limp.
The dark tormenter appeared then, from an archway. “Careful, now, ladies,” he said, in clear if accented Gothic, loathsome in the way the alien tongue curled around the syllables. “We wouldn’t want you to tear anything. My sutures are healing fast, are they not? And see, leader of women,” he said, turning to Katherine, “your sisters are whole in body and in spirit once again, are they not? Can you deny this?”
Sister Superior Katherine Evangeli was trained well in dealing with xenos: to even converse with them was foulest heresy. She clenched her jaw, and stared at him. Would that my hatred should strike like a dagger, she thought, and you would be dead, O Butcher!
But he smiled his terrible smile, then, and turned his back to her.
Before he left, he said, “Dear ladies, the sutures I’ve put in place in your bodies are healing fast. They should have finished their work and dissolved by, aha, noon tomorrow, in your time-reckoning.” Then, without a further word, he disappeared the way he had come.
The lights in their chamber went out half an hour later. The Sisters exchanged a few more words, then went into their meditative trances, trying to fall asleep in this realm of horror. Somehow, they knew they would need it.
“Arkath, my dear boy.” The haemonculus Mxyzptlk stood before him, holding a small device in the palm of his hand. It was a remote activator, of the kind the wyches used to spur their slaves into wild frenzies. “Arkath, tell me, are the women whole? Are you pleased?”
Arkath shook his head, unused to his new, hulking body, still adjusting to the changed reflex patterns. “Lord Mxyzptlk, your work may be devilish, and some would say insane. I have said so. But in its execution you have attained mastery.” He spread his hands, now taloned paws. “I was but a warrior, and now I am a beast for your sport. What shall I say to you, then, of surgery? I destroy on command, I ravish and kill for my own delight. Your art is still foreign to me. And yes, before you remind me, I am aware of the irony of saying that now.”
Mxyzptlk’s broad grin didn’t change.
“And you, your body is healed? Are you ready for tomorrow’s games?”
Arkath laughed bitterly. “My body is gone, Lord. This one is something you made after you took me apart for the pieces. But yes, it is whole. It aches slightly at the stretch or the turn, though that will be healed by tomorrow. Am I ready? I trust you have left the equipment intact, for I have not yet had the opportunity to test it.”
Mxyzptlk smiled a fatherly smile. “Indeed I have, young Arkath.”
Arkath shrugged his massive shoulders. “Very well, then. Show me to your games, Lord Mxyzptlk, and I shall do my utmost to ensure that you are satisfied with your handiwork.”
Twenty hours had passed, by the reckoning of the Sisters, before they were released from their bindings, although even their heightened sensibilities could not precisely track the passage of time while they slept. Sometime during their night, though, the Eldar leader that Sister Evangeli had encountered had been removed from the cell. It was nothing she could do anything about, nor did she have any interest in his fate. She stretched, gingerly, and was surprised to realize the xenos flesh-crafter had been right. She was healed. There was no pain. Her garment, too, was intact, although it bore the same stigmata of damage as those of her sisters. There was a slight discomfort, though, as strange as it was to be free of actual pain.
She turned away from the other two Battle-Sisters, seeking the source of the discomfort. She opened her jumpsuit and looked down the front of her body. As her eyes traveled down, she noticed the scars – her old ones, standing out boldly on her skin, and the new ones, being as fine as hairs, without pucker or keloid. But she also saw, with some horror, a… a male member. It was attached to her, more or less as it would be naturally on a male. The lightly armored padding of the suit hid the bulge, she assumed, as neither of the other Sisters had remarked upon any such thing.
It was a shock, though, and she immediately resealed her garment and sat down on the floor, hard, her back to the upright gurney. She stared blankly into the infinite distance, musing on matters of identity. The organ was definitely attached to her, a part of her body; to cut it off would be excruciatingly painful. It had no doubt been put there during the butchery performed by the cruel-faced Eldar who had addressed them so formally the day before.
An experimental flex of certain muscles told her that she was not without her feminine organs as well, which made her… what was the word? Hermaphrodite, that was it. A mutant. Abhuman. Tainted. And while these were shocking, what stunned her most was the loss of womanhood. It wasn’t that the organ by itself was unfamiliar to her; she knew well what it was for, and had even delighted a few times in the pleasures of the flesh, with the assistance of a certain sub-deacon. But it was a thing of man, not of woman.
Emelia saw her, gazing blankly as though shell-shocked, where she had been sober and well-oriented moments before. “Sister Superior, is something wrong? I mean… more wrong than everything else?”
“Oh,” said Katherine, “oh, Throne, I don’t know anymore. Why don’t you tell me?”
“Your pardon, Sister, I don’t understand.”
“Look down, Sister Emelia.” And when Emelia glanced at the floor, confused, Katherine swore loudly. “Down the front of your jumpsuit! Look! We’re turned away.” Indeed, Marin had turned to face Katherine, confused, and Katherine herself was staring at her knees. In a moment, though, Emelia whimpered. “Emperor deliver us, was this His plan? To send us to this dark city and make men of us?”
A rustle beside Katherine suggested Marin, too, had just inspected her own body, and she sighed. “I, too, sisters, bear the… the mark of xenos meddling.”
They stared at the floor, at the walls, the ceiling, their own feet, anywhere but each other’s faces.
Marin spoke up first. “Consider this, Sisters – for Sisters we still are, in spirit though not in flesh – we yet live. The alien butcher may have altered our bodies for his sport, and the Emperor allowed him to do so for reasons we do not understand, but our wounds are healed, our blood lost has been restored. We may now act on our own terms – fight until we are martyred, or… or we may accept the Emperor’s Peace from our own or each other’s hands. We need only a weapon, or weapons.”
“Sister Marin?” Katherine looked her in the eye for the first time in many minutes.
“It should be my job to think the way you did, but in my grief I have become unworthy of my title. Address me only as Sister.”
“As you wish, Sister Katherine.” And with that, Marin knelt before Katherine, and put an arm around her shoulders, pulling close both to comfort Sister Evangeli and herself; for they both found themselves weeping. A moment later Sister Emelia joined them, with tears in her eyes as well. They knelt there, arm in arm, for many minutes, praying together. They had accepted their fate; it was to die, here in this dark place, but they were determined to take matters into their own hands, and to be loyal each to the other until the end, just as always.
They were prepared, then, when the xenos warriors entered the cell, weapons leveled. The Sisters attacked – or tried, but the warriors had been expecting their attack. The Eldar are fearsomely quick and cunning; in an all-out battle, the fury of the Imperium could match their speed and cruelty, but one on one, the Sisters were outmatched. And they were outnumbered, as well. The warriors quickly pinned them down and cut away their lining-garments, leaving the unnatural organs of the Sisters exposed, and binding their arms and legs with scraps of jumpsuit. Although the knots were neither particularly tight nor particularly complicated, the Sisters were unable to free themselves for long enough that each received a slap to the buttock with an auto-injector. Then the warriors backed off, lining the walls, as a monster stepped through the doorway.
The Sisters had enough training in battlefield recognition to know a grotesque of the Dark Eldar when they saw one. This was one such beast, but while it bore the aspect of a deformed, hyper-muscled Eldar, it did not slouch or drool like a dumb animal, which by all accounts the grotesques were. This one looked the Sisters in the eyes, standing erect – in more ways than one: its posture revealed a male organ, fully engorged, and covered in small spines. A corona of energy gleamed around it, the occasional crackle and the smell of ozone marking the powerful electric field emanating from the points.
And then it spoke, addressing Katherine directly in her native Gothic. The words were slurred but recognizable.
“Where is your famous fury now?” It took a step toward her. “It is I, once-beautiful Arkath. Oh, lovely one, do you not recognize me? Not a kick to spare?”
Marin, Emelia and Katherine moved as one to encircle it, and pummel it from all directions, but it was faster than any grotesque had a right to be. It planted an open paw into Emelia’s belly, then cuffed Marin with a backhand to her face; the Sisters went down, spasming, as though hit with power-maces – and Katherine realized that his paws were, indeed, electrified, with a fine tracery of wires in their skin. She tried to back away, but one of the warriors behind her struck her in the small of her back and she fell, groaning, to her hands and knees.
The first touch of the monster’s paw was an electric blow that knocked her flat on her belly, aching with uncontrollable muscle tremors. But then she found herself lifted, and hung helplessly from Arkath’s massive paw, watching with unfocused eyes as he slammed one of the gurneys to the horizontal so hard it sank the better part of a meter into the floor. Then he draped her upper body over it, placing a knuckle against her spine and delivering a lower-voltage, sustained charge. “Watch, worshipper of your corpse-god, as your Sisters lose the very strength of will that gives you power!” Katherine was paralyzed by the current coursing through her body, almost deafened by the ringing in her ears, and had no choice but to do so.
The warriors lining the walls watched Marin and Emelia recovering from being stunned… but something, maybe the injections, had caused their… their male organs to become erect, as much so as that of the monster pinning Katherine down. That of Marin was noticeably harder and thicker, though both stared in numb horror at the behavior of their own bodies. Arkath barked something in Gothic at them, and they both cringed. Marin spat at him. The warrior behind Marin slugged her, hard, and she went down and curled up to protect herself as he continued to kick her; Emelia moved to aid her, but another warrior restrained her, taking her arm in a hold that, if tightened just a little bit, would have torn her arm out of its socket. And then the warrior holding Emelia put out his hand, and grasped her member, squeezing the tip – not as roughly as he had struck at her, though, and Katherine watched with numb confusion as Emelia’s erection hardened against the warrior’s gauntlet.
Arkath barked his command again. This time Katherine heard him. “Stroke them, you foolish women! Or you will be beaten until you do so!” Emelia moved as though in a trance, and began to stroke herself as the monster had commanded, and within moments was clearly deriving physical pleasure from it, but the horrified expression on her face told Katherine that Emelia was losing control of her body. The mumbled words of “I Beseech” told the story even more truly. Then Marin reluctantly began to stroke herself; immediately the warrior beating her let up and stepped back to his position against the wall, watching as Marin, too, began to masturbate, also possessed by horror.
Arkath grasped Katherine by the shoulders and shook her roughly, letting up his electrified grip but holding her too tightly to escape. Her muscles were too weak from the continued shock to fight, in any case. She could only hang her head in shame, seeing her own erection at full mast, as she heard Arkath order Marin to… to penetrate Emelia. And Marin obeyed, her body clearly displaying a mind of its own. She pushed Emelia to her hands and knees, then knelt behind Emelia and entered her thus. All the while, Marin and Emelia were both sobbing, Emelia wincing and groaning with pain as Marin thrust violently into her; the drugs, it seemed, acted only on the male part. Emelia was bleeding considerably in short order, continuing to whimper the words of the prayer nonetheless; in a few moments Marin joined her.
Arkath whispered in her ear. “Their wills are broken by our combat drugs. Are you pleased to see this? The one on top surely enjoys rutting like a beast into her fellow worshipper, for she moves faster and harder every minute; and though the one below is certainly in pain, see how her male organ leaks, preparing to spurt. I shall show you more. They are but toys. With you, understand, it is personal.”
And he then pushed her down against the gurney, touching her with his electrified member. Though it was not as powerfully charged as his paws had been, it was still quite painful; making it worse, he thrust it inside her, where the pulsating current forced her muscles to clamp down on him in time. And his barbs snagged against her, each time delivering a stronger jolt. The blood flowed inside her as Arkath ravaged her like a beast, for beast he was; although Katherine realized, with the same jolt of horror that Marin and Emelia must have felt, that her own male organ gave her ripples of pleasure as it was rubbed roughly across the table by the beast’s thrusts, and that she was pushing her hips against the table in order to rub harder. This was a rape worse than she could have imagined – not only was the rapist taking her body for himself, he had taken her ability to fight, had made her body like his, such that she would be forced to enjoy it the way he enjoyed it: brutally, senselessly, in the manner of a male beast rutting mindlessly against the lifeless corpse of a female.
Then the claws on Arkath’s bestial paws dug into her flesh, and she knew a deeper horror yet. They were envenomed, but the poison entering her blood caused no injury, and certainly no pain, of its own right. Instead, she felt the flow from her body change – it was less blood, and more lubricated. Much more lubricated. Even as the electrical jolts from his member continued to course through her body, making her writhe and groan in agony, the movements of her body were changing, complementing his thrusts into her. She began praying, focused on the words of the prayer, at first: “A spiritu dominatum, Dominus, libera nos.” From domination of the spirit, free us, Lord! But the words quickly lost meaning, in the face of her agony, and her deepening humiliation as she saw Marin jerk and cry out, ejaculating in climax, and then Emelia, in reaction, shudder and begin ejaculating as well, moaning in agony and her own shame. Katherine herself was coming closer to climax with every thrust, hating her body for it, cursing her weakness of the soul that allowed herself to be conquered by mere drugs.
As the pressure inside her built, her prayer became wordless begging to the Emperor. She envisioned His face, stern but loving, benevolent, a glow of infinite brilliance watching over her and guarding her soul in her hour of need. As her ejaculation began to spurt across the gurney, sticking to her skin, she felt that light fade, becoming ever more distant. And she realized she was wholly and irrevocably lost to the Emperor’s grace when her own, natural climax began to build. She tried to tell herself it was just the drugs affecting her brain and spinal cord, but part of her scoffed at the explanation even as she screamed with the pain of Arkath’s penetration. You’re enjoying this! Your male member was an artificial addition, but your feminine organs cannot lie to you. Sunk in an abyss of shame and tearing agony, she surrendered. She pushed harder against Arkath’s brutal assault, her body desiring only more and more sensation, interpreting pain as pleasure, until it could take no more and she squeezed his member tightly, shuddering violently not just with the now-constant shocks but with a powerful orgasm.
Then, satisfied that he had degraded her and desecrated her body as completely as he could, Arkath allowed himself to achieve release. The electrical power coursing through his body, through hers, reached a peak, filling the room with the smell of charred flesh as he released his burning seed within her. Much of it stayed inside her body, though as he pulled out, the barbs on his shaft tearing at her, some of the corrosive slime dripped out and smoked on the surface of the gurney, slowly etching its way into the material.
Sister Katherine Evangeli lay on the gurney, unable to move and wracked with pain, as Arkath and the warrior guards filed out of the cell. She watched Marin continue to rut against Emelia’s body, though Emelia had for some time lain inert underneath her, barely breathing; from the amount of blood Katherine saw, though, Emelia was sorely injured, as badly as before. Then Marin shuddered and pulled out of Emelia, stroking her own shaft feverishly until she ejaculated again. This time she brought forth dark blood, for the dose of lust-drugs that merely drove Eldar to heights of ecstasy was a destructive poison to human bodies. Though Marin stared in horror as it happened, she could not stop herself from continuing to masturbate, and she sagged limply against Emelia long before the spurting blood slowed to a mere trickle.
Katherine didn’t even have the energy to close her eyes. She was prepared to enter the meditative trance for the last time when she saw the wall before her shimmer and fade, seeming to run like molten gold until it was shoved aside by a gleaming figure in awesome and terrible armor. It was a giant of a man, with skin the color of copper and hair the color of the night sky, and a crown of laurel upon his head. It was the Emperor Himself.
Mystified, terrified, she desperately tried to abase herself before him, as would be proper. She saw that her Sisters were doing the same; but the Emperor held up his mailed hand and spoke. The voice she heard was sound so intense that it was not sound at all, but the meaning of his words she perceived in her soul, a still, small voice, which said to her,
Kneel not, my daughters, for I know your love for me without such gestures. But quickly, there is not much time. Come away from this place.
Though she knew her body to be broken beyond repair, and that her Sisters were dying, all three stood upright before Him.
“But,” she said, “My Lord, I thought we had been forsaken, that we had been taken to a place that did not know your light. I thought… My Lord, forgive me. I feared you had abandoned me.”
No place is outside my sight, he said, and never would I abandon my faithful. As He said these words, tears fell from His eyes. Now, my daughters, come to my arms and let us leave this dark place. Don’t look back.
Katherine came to Him then, and threw her arms around Him with her Sisters, and He enveloped them in His arms and strode away from that cell. Though He had told them not to look back, she caught a glimpse of the cell over His shoulder before He entered the halo of infinite light from which He had emerged. For an instant, before she was united with Him on the Golden Throne, she saw a charnel scene, three bodies lying broken and ruined amid blood and foulness.