|This article contains PROMOTIONS! Don't say we didn't warn you.|
(Story created by: Brightfag !PMXHSFvnMI)
“M-mmommy? D-daddy?” Lofn whimpered as she awakened into sheer darkness. Beneath her, she could feel cold, flat stone. She moved her legs and felt the pain in her head – from what? She couldn't recall. But she could recall an odd sensation of – warmth? The last thing she remembered was how her mother had hidden her in that dark room, worried about someone coming to find them. Her movement brought her to the edge of her stone “bed”, stark and featureless, without a pillow or any form of comfort she could find.
She felt the texture of some form of simple cloth robe covering her. At least she had that.
Suddenly, she realized that the voices that had accompanied her through her entire life – the voices of the warp – the feel of the warp – was gone. Again, she wondered at the pain in her head. Reaching up, she gasped as she realized her long, luxurious hair – the envy of any pureblooded Mon-Keigh who might have seen it – was cut short. But her surprise at that was nothing compared to her sheer astonishment as she felt cold steel in her own skull.
Outside of her cell, Sister Superior Serenity Aldathea conversed with the Callidus assassin – still disguised as the foul Eldar Xenos known as “Taldeer”.
“... And so the Canoness has left her in my care. We must thank you again for bringing her to us. While the Eldar are irredeemable in the eyes of the Emperor, the halfbreed xenos are a rare and special kind, and have served us well in the past.”
“It was all in the service of the Emperor,” The Callidus stated flatly.
The Sister went on, not showing any sign of having heard the Callidus's remark.
“She will have to be...” The sister paused for a moment and allowed for a slight, dark smile to spread, “purified. Properly, of course. While our methods are a wonderful tribute to the Emperor, having you here disguised as the foul Xenos mother is too valuable an opportunity to pass up. We want the halfbreed in our service – and those who must be turned to the emperor through rights of castigation often harbor the darkness of heresy in their hearts.” She held up a finger, to make a point, “A darkness the Daemon is all too quick to exploit. We want her to eventually join our ranks – her talents could be of great service to the Imperium. She cannot harbor any love for her family – all her love must be for the emperor. I have a plan.” The smile was no longer slight.
They conferred for several minutes.
“Are we agreed then? We need at least a week for the rites of purification to be sufficiently advanced for what we need.”
“The Emperor's service will not recall me until this task is done. Inquisitor Tarvic has commanded it be done.”
The sister barked a laugh. “I see. And if I know Inquisitor Tarvic as well as I think, she will also dearly want this xenos girl for her special... services, once we're done properly training her.”
A slight smile spread on the face of the false Taldeer – it was rare for one of the Callidus to show any emotion when they weren't attempting to imitate someone actively, and this was a sure sign of her amusement. “Now you know why we've had her captured.” She stated, slyly.
Back in her cell, Lofn began to panic. For most psykers, the warp was a place of terror – filled with daemons and horror. But Lofn wasn't just any psyker – she was half Eldar. While the warp wasn't calmer for her than anyone else, it brought the world around her into clear focus. She was no longer able to see into the future, or sense the world around her like an extension of herself. It was like suddenly being blind.
What had happened to her mother? Where was her father? And why did she have a metal spike in her head that – she felt it safe to guess – robbed her of her powers? She still wasn't very old, certainly not by Eldar standards. Just turned sixteen, her powers were still new and uncertain to her. They were still very much a part of her – and she couldn't feel them. Her parents were gone, she was in a strange, dark place, her head felt like a spike had been driven into it, it seemed like a spike HAD been driven into it, and her psyker powers were gone. She started, very softly, to cry.
Suddenly, the door flew open and her fear was replaced by complete terror.
Through the doorway, she saw the unmistakable figure her parents had taught her to fear above all others. A woman – Mon-Keigh, unmistakably, you'd never see a jaw that thick or features so squat on an Eldar, even if they were slim by Mon-Keigh standards – with short white hair, in a suit of ornate powered armor.
“Rejoice, child!” She boomed, grinning visibly. “The Emperor has sought fit to send you to us so that you may be purified and act in his service!”
Lofn cringed back, wishing there were somewhere to hide – or that she had her powers, so she could try to escape.
“I am Sister Superior Serenity, and I am responsible for helping you in your purification. We have rescued you from the wretched Xenos Taldeer – your mother. I am sorry to tell you, girl, for the Emperor's truth is often harsh. But there are many times after today that I will not be gentle, and I cannot be today. The foul Xenos Taldeer had sought to have you killed! She became filled with hate because she had consorted with humans, and used the devious ways of her people to lure you to a place where she would have done you in. But our most sacred inquisitor happened by, and rescued you before you were killed. But sadly, she had already driven a neuro-suppressor into your brain, preventing the use of your powers.”
“Liar! My mother would never hurt me!” Lofn shouted – trembling with fear. “She and dad told me you would try to kidnap me if you could and do terrible things to me!”
Sister Serenity stifled the urge to whip the girl, and forced a calm smile. All things in due time – she'll be broken soon enough, and then she could be however she wanted.
“You poor girl. I see that the foul xenos who managed to corrupt LIVII was also able to put the taint of heresy in your own mind. But fear not – our rights of purification will ensure that your mind is put right, so that you can take your proper place serving the emperor, as your father did before he was turned. While we cannot remove the taint of the xenos, you are indeed part human, and the Emperor's decree has held for ten thousand years that those of half Eldar and half human blood are to be held above all other Abhumans, and brought into his service.”
Lofn's fear strangled brain wasn't completely gone, and the meaning of the sister's words suddenly came to her.
“You want me to... join you?”
“Oh yes,” said the sister. “You would be... well loved,” her smile became odd to Lofn, as though it contained a message she didn't understand, “By the Emperor... and especially his most loyal servants.”
“I... I want to go home.” Lofn begged. “Please!”
The sister frowned, sadly.
“There is no other home for you, girl. We're your family now – we're your mother. When you can join us, we'll be your sisters. Don't fight us. We'll start the rights of purification tomorrow – whether or not you're ready to begin. Feel happy. The foul taint of heresy will be removed from your mind and the curse of your xenos blood will turned to serve a noble purpose. You are home, now and for the rest of your life.”
With that, she turned and left the room, leaving Lofn sobbing in the dark.
The Morning brought a single, shining ray of light, awakening Lofn as though she had been slapped. The pain in her head ripped into her, and she silently sobbed, hiding her eyes.
“Good morning, Initiate Lia.”
“L... Lia?” Lofn asked, squinting at the robed woman standing in the doorway.
She suddenly felt the sting of harsh leather on her leg.
“Get up, Initiate Lia! I won't have lazy initiates training under me!”
“I... I'm not...”
Again, another harsh blow to her leg from the leather strap. She fell off of the bed of stone, standing, trying her best to back into a corner of the room and trembling.
She felt a loop of leather – a whip, she now recognized - push under her chin and force her head up to look at the woman in front of her. She had the thick features of a Mon'Keigh, like Sister Serenity, and the same short cropped, white hair. But while Serenity had a face with only a few small scars, this woman's face was lined with them – cuts across the eyes, the cheeks, the mouth, a burn one side of her face – where there should have been an eye on the burned side of her face was a brutish Mon-Keigh machine, bulky and strange and glowing red.
“Initiate. Lia.” The woman said, with firmness.
“I am Sister Unity. If you ignore my commands again, Initiate Lia,” again the same very strong emphasis on the name, leaving no doubt the woman was not mistaken as to who Lofn was, “I will have to be very harsh with you. I will not be so nice from here on out.” She leaned close, looking deeply into Lofn's eyes, less than an inch from her face. She smelled like sweat and oil and candle wax.
Suddenly, Lofn felt something slip around her throat – and a sharp click.
Her terror suddenly surged, and she flailed, wildly. She felt an incredibly strong tug around her neck as the brutish Mon-Keigh woman pulled at the collar that had suddenly been placed on her, and spilled forward.
“FILTHY!” Suddenly Lofn felt the sharp crack of the whip against her legs again, “XENOS!” and again, “CHILD!” and again. “You would dare strike ME? The taint of Heresy is deep in your mind if you would strike one of the Adeptus Sororitas, GIRL.” The whip cracked again. “No loyal servant of the emperor would strike us!”
The pain and fear welled up in Lofn, and she sobbed. “M... Mooooommmy...”
The blows did not abate. “Your mother is a foul, tainted Xenos and has filled your head with Heresy! Don't cry out for her – I'm punishing you because of the taint SHE put in your blood!”
“It's your MOTHER hurting you, girl!” Crack! The whip lashed out whip again. “Not me! I'm trying to save you! Striking a servant of the Emperor! Heresy of the foulest sort!”
“Stop, Sister Unity.”
Suddenly, the blows stopped. Lofn blinked up through her tears and recognized the voice of Sister Superior Serenity.
“She needs to be purged-” began Unity, whose face was flushed and breathing was strangely heavy. One of her hands still held the whip – the other was over her stomach, and her shoulders were hunched oddly. Turned away from her, Lofn missed the briefest of lusty smiles traded between the two Sisters of Battle.
“She has been purged enough for now, poor girl.” A flicker of concern passed Sister Serenity's face as she looked at Lofn.
“The taint of heresy is deep in her, Sister Superior! Please, let me continue her punishment!”
“Yes. She is very deeply tainted. Stained inside,” Said Sister Serenity. Lofn felt dirty. “But it isn't her fault. She'll have to have the impurity of her mothers heresy purged from her, but not all at once. Come, bring her to the main hall.”
“Yes, Sister Superior,” Stated Sister Unity, meekly. Lofn, already on the floor, crumbled in relief and thanked the Laughing God for having Sister Serenity come by at that moment.
Suddenly the two were alone again, and Sister Unity's sharp voice spoke again, harshly.
“Rise, Initiate Lia.”
Lofn struggled as her legs, more like to her Eldar mother than her Mon-Keigh father, strained to straighten as the welts rose. There was a sharp click as Sister Unity attached a leash to the collar.
“Follow me. It's time for class.”
With that, Sister Unity swept out of the room, pulling Lofn behind her.
The halls of the cells she passed contained a lot of people. Some were children, like her, boys and girls. They were bruised and all of them had an odd, hazed look to their eyes. Many were smiling, but it was a distant smile, like they were seeing something she could not. Some of them were bound in tight harnesses, hung from the ceiling or hands tied behind their back.
Others were full grown women, dressed in red rags and showing signs of being horribly beaten. Oddly, they too seemed distant and smiled a lot. They moved with an intensity that was scary. There was always a woman like Sister Unity with them, carrying a whip.
Once they left the dungeons, however, the place lit up, the color of polished pearl and crimson. Skulls and overly ornate gold gilt covered everything. She was again struck by the difference between where she was and the Eldar world's she'd glimpsed, as her mother and father fled to them, seeking refuge. Behind the absurdly blocky, gaudy, poorly made decorations she could still see the pre-fabricated Imperial architecture, square, ugly and blocky.
She stumbled more than once, her bruised legs hurting with each step. She quickly lost any sense of how far she had traveled, or where she was.
“We're here.” Spoke Sister Unity.
The room she led Lofn into was small, square, and with a single item – an oblong pod, with a chair inside. Like everything else here, it was covered in heavy gilt. Despite that, it still seemed oddly ominous to her. She felt something, but she wasn't sure from where. The spike in her head throbbed.
She stood looking at it for a moment. Suddenly, she felt the sharp pain of the whip, hitting her behind.
“What are you waiting for, Initiate? Get inside.”
“I...” Lofn started, not wanting to get struck again, “I was wondering if I could get something to eat... or drink. I haven't had anything for days.”
Strangely, Sister Unity did not seem upset. She even gave an odd kind of lopsided smile. “It's a part of your training. The Emperor's fast helps purge your body of the impure things you put into it before coming. Don't worry. You'll be able to eat – as soon as your lessons are done. You'll be able to eat for hours and hours.” The odd grin expanded, and some kind of odd light began to shine in Sister Unity's normal eye.
“But when will-” Lofn began, but was stopped by another painful swat to her behind.
“Enough delays. Get into the Seat of Redemption. It's time to learn.”
Reluctantly but quickly, fearing another blow, she moved in and sat down inside the pod. The seat was made so she could only sit one way, with deep depressions where her arms and legs should go.
As she sat, she suddenly jumped as she felt restraints, previously hidden, clamp down over her limbs. Her head was forced back, and she found that she couldn't turn it at all.
Then came a sharp pain in her arms and legs where the restraints were, like she'd been poked with something sharp. She suddenly noticed the tubes sticking out of them, flowing with some kind of liquid. She struggled as much as she could, but to no avail.
“Stop fighting, girl.” Said Sister Unity. “The Seat of Redemption is there to help you. Just relax, and let it do it's work.”
With that, she saw the sister manipulate some controls on the outside of the pod, and it slid closed.
Darkness surrounded her.
For several minutes, there was nothing but silence. But then, at the very edge of hearing, she thought she could hear a noise. Like static, maybe, or someone talking very fast.
She listened, trying to hear more of it.
Then she began to notice that she could almost see. It was like there were flashes of light.
“What's going on?” she wondered. “Are my powers coming back?”
She continued to strain. It seemed like hours, but could have been minutes. The noise continued to get louder, until she could almost understand it. The light continued to increase, until there was no doubt there was light. It kept flashing, over and over and over again, not constant.
The noise kept getting louder. It was clearly static, but there was still something odd about it. It kept getting louder until it started to hurt. The light kept getting brighter too, until she had to close her eyes to keep it out. Oddly, closing her eyes didn't make it any darker.
The light and noise were beginning to hurt, now. They were there, and they kept getting louder and brighter, and she couldn't shut them out. Could not. They hurt. They hurt. They kept hurting.
She began to scream.
She screamed until her voice was raw and she could scream no more. Then she began to sob, low and bitter, until she had no more tears left to cry.
It could have been hours. It could have been days. Lofn wasn't sure.
Slowly – she couldn't tell when – the pain started to go away. That was when she could start to see images in the light, and hear words in the static.
“Dirty...” They said.
“Unclean...” They whispered.
“Need to be clean...”
“Need to be purged...”
The images showed her pictures – pictures from her own mind. Her mother. The Eldar worlds she'd seen. But they were wrong. Distorted somehow – twisted and sinister. Her mother's loving smiles became sneers. The beautiful cities of the Eldar were alien and terrible. The grace of the Eldar she'd seen was replaced by haughty arrogance and disdain for her.
The voices didn't stop.
“Eldar... need to be purged.”
“I am tainted by the Eldar.”
“I am dirty.”
“I am unclean.”
“I need to be purged...”
She found her strength again.
“No!” She shouted. She struggled at her restraints again. The words changed back into static, and the images faded – but now the static hurt her ears again, and the light burned her eyes. She closed her eyes as hard as she could, but slowly her will faltered; the pain was too great, and the images and words flooded her mind again.
Her mother's face, covered in blood. Her blood. Smiling. Her, torn and dead.
“The Eldar are evil.”
“The Eldar hate you.”
“The Eldar will never accept you.”
“The Eldar will never love you.”
Then the images changed. Light again – but soft and brilliant, like a morning dawn. Gold.
Gold glinting off of power armor. There was a man clad in power armor. It shone like a nova, and he was strong and powerful.
“The Emperor loves you.”
“The Emperor hates the Eldar.”
“The Emperor wants you to serve him.”
“To serve him, you must be purged of the Eldar taint in your blood.”
She struggled – but not to escape. She could feel it now – bone deep inside of her. Dirty. Dirty. Oh so dirty. Tarnished. Stained. Stained and filthy. She wanted to be clean. She wanted to shine like gold. Like that man who loved her. She wanted to claw her tainted blood out of her.
The blood of her mother...
“No!” She shouted. The lights and noise changed back to static. She held on, this time, nails digging into her palms, eyes wide open and straining against the pain, as if to challenge it. She. Would. Not. Betray. Her. Mother.
As quickly as it began, it stopped. The pod opened. She could see Sister Unity's face, smiling on her.
“The taint in you is deep. It will take many more sessions to convince you that you need to be purged. Only then can the healing begin.”
The restraints clicked off.
“I...” She began. The woman looming above her shone brighter than before. She shined a little bit like gold. How could she not have seen it before? She...
“NO!” She shouted, leaping from the seat. She dove for the woman, trying to tackle her to the ground.
“I will not betray my mother!”
She impacted with Sister Unity. Sister Unity did not move – as Lofn impacted with her it was like striking a wall – she bounced off, falling to the floor.
Sister Unity's serene face immediately became a snarl. She raised the whip.
“You would try to tackle ME?! ME!?!” Crack, went the whip. Crack again.
She tried to stand, but her hunger, her time in the pod, and the whippings were too much. She collapsed to the floor again.
Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack. She couldn't tell how long it went on. It seemed like forever. Just like everything in this place. In her mind, she held the image of her mother, with her gentle smile, and it kept her warm.
Lofn awoke on the floor only a few minutes later, having passed out. She could hear voices.
“... went too far. There's still more training today!”
“She tried to tackle me! It it weren't for my augments, she might have done it!”
“Emperor's blessing, Unity! Do you know how many sisters have come home to participate in this girl's first purification rite? She'll be worthless to us if you've whipped her too much to move!”
“Like you've never given the Emperor his nightly praise while thinking of it.”
“Of course I... wait. She's awake.”
Realizing the deception was no longer working, Lofn opened her eyes, looking up.
Sister Serenity looked down on her, eyes worried.
She tried to stand, but could not.
“Poor girl. There's no way you'll be ready for the rite of purification today.”
Purify... she remembered something about a need to be purified. For some reason, she touched her ears.
“Come here, Initiate.” Said Sister Serenity, who kneeled down to hold her in her arms. She felt warm, and nice. Kind of like... kind of like someone she couldn't remember. The woman holding her was shining.
“You've been cut...” The woman said. She smiled. It seemed warm but there was something else to it... something odd. Her eyes were gleaming.
“Don't worry. Sister Serenity will kiss you all better.”
Lightly, gently, Lofn felt lips brush against one of the cuts on her head. It stung a little. But it felt good. Like being touched with gold light.
She saw a drop of blood fall down past her eye. Then, the sister pressed herself closer, and the gentle kiss was harder. Lofn thought she could feel a tongue flick across her forehead. She felt dizzy and lightheaded.
“So sweeeeet...” Sister Serenity whispered.
“Sister Superior...” She could hear Sister Unity say.
“YOU-!” Sister Serenity pulled away, but didn't let Lofn go, apparently looking at Sister Unity.
“I... No. No, you're right, Sister. It's too soon. And she isn't ready for the rite of Purification in the state she's in.”
Sister Serenity pulled back, face heavily flushed, one hand pressed hard to her stomach, her legs clenching and unclenching like she had an incurable itch. There was blood on her lips. Lofn felt good inside.
“Come on. Help me pick her up, and let's get her back to her cell.”
“... Sister...” Lofn whispered.
“Yes, Initiate?” Sister Serenity responded.
“...Could I... Food...?”
The woman was silent for a moment.
“It's not supposed to be done so soon. The Seat of Redemption helps keep you nourished. But after this... you need to keep up your strength. After all, you can't go through your right of purification if you can't walk. We'll have some bread and water sent to your cell.”
Purification? Yes. That's right. Lofn was dirty. Had to be purified. Purified of... what was it? She couldn't remember. It would feel good, though. Like gold inside.
The two sisters carried her back, and her mind was filled with the love of gold.
Morning came. Lofn rose, stiff and in more pain than she had been the night before. Everything seemed strange and hazy. The remains of her small loaf of bread and the mug of water were on the floor.
The world was clearer than last night, though. Her memory of her time in the Seat of Redemption was not totally back. She couldn't remember what it was they wanted. Something she didn't want to do, yesterday. She couldn't remember what it was.
She had dreamed of her mother. Her warm face, so thin and unlike the square mon-keigh faces she saw here. She had held her, and sung the songs of the craftworlds, the songs she still sang to her only a few years ago.
But then something was wrong. Golden light had flooded her dream, and under that light, her mother seemed sinister and strange. She had struck Lofn on the head, and she had started to bleed. And then her mother had become Sister Serenity, licking off the blood, with an odd light in her eyes Lofn still couldn't understand.
Sister Unity came to her cell.
“Rise, Initiate Lia.”
She rose. She unbent herself, slowly, painfully.
There were no beatings this morning. Sister Unity showed marks of her own, and she seemed to walk even more stiffly than Lofn as they moved toward the room she so loathed to go.
She didn't know why. The memories weren't all there. They'd... faded after the whipping. The longer she was out of the chair, the less she could remember. But she didn't want to go back in.
They arrived. The Seat of Redemption stood before her. A small corner of Lofn's brain screamed at her to turn around. Screamed, begged, pleaded for her to run away, hit Sister Unity, crawl into some small corner and hide.
“It's time for you to purify your mind some more, Initiate. Get in the Seat of Redemption.”
Inside her mind, she lashed out. She howled. She pushed where there should have been a well of warp energy she could use to tear down the walls and claw her way out. The spike in her head throbbed.
She walked forward. There was none of her own will in it. She was a prisoner in her own mind. Her body sat down in the chair, as her mind screamed for her to stand. Her body put her arms and legs into the depressions in the seat, while her mind begged for her limbs to flail.
The restraints came down.
The pod closed.
Again, it seemed like an eternity. The sound stayed at the edge of her hearing for ages, and now that she was in, the pod closed, she remembered the sound, and the light, tearing into her mind.
Her body was hers again. She struggled, and flailed, as much as she could. The restraints held her. She tried to pull her arms out, and her skin tore, and her arms and legs bled. She could not remove them.
The sound was loud now. And she could see the flashes. The words were almost there. She could almost hear them. The pictures were almost there, like fuzzy holovids looked at through smoked glass.
“No!” She sobbed. “No! NO! NOOO! Mommy! MOMMY! MOOMMMYY!!!”
And she was there. Her mother was in her mind. Stroking her hair. Singing her lullabies.
Lofn relaxed. Her mother was there with her...
Her mother's lullabies were odd. Her face was strange.
She tried to pull back. This wasn't...
The pain flooded back. Pain. So much pain. Too much pain. Her eyes burned like they'd been coated in flaming promethium. Her ears split like a Daemon had screamed into them.
She wanted her mother.
And her mother was back again. The pain eased. Her mother was there.
The lullabies were sinister. They weren't the craftworld's songs. They were songs in the Eldar language – songs about killing humans. About the joy of slaughter. The joy of chaos, and evil, and hate.
Her mother's face was covered in blood. It was not her blood. She could see her father...
“NO!” She shouted again. Her mother wouldn't hurt her father. She knew it. She knew it absolutely.
The whispers changed.
“No!” Lofn shouted. “My mother isn't like that! She loves me!”
“The Xenos cannot love.” The whispers said.
“The Xenos is hate.”
“It's not true! It's not true!”
She fought again. She tried to close her eyes, to cover her ears, to focus her mind like her mother had taught her to block out the Daemons of the warp. The spike in her head throbbed.
The pain of light and static came back. Pain.
Pain. Pain. Pain.
She sagged in the restraints. The whispers returned.
The images came with them. Images of the sisters.
“They shine like gold.”
“Gold feels good.”
“They are purified.”
“Being purified feels good.”
And it was true. She could see it in the images. Their caring faces. Their soft hands. They sang chants to the Emperor, and it felt like her mother's lullabies should have felt.
“... Want to be pure...”
“.... Want to be clean...”
“... So dirty...”
“... So tainted....”
She tried to fight. She tried. But there were the women, shining like gold. And fighting hurt. It hurt so much. She wanted to bathe. She wanted to bathe and scrub and clean herself with soap. With acid. Clean herself until the taint was out of her.
“The Xenos are impure...”
“The Xenos block the light...”
Yes. The Xenos block the golden light. That was what it was. The light... it was good. It felt good. It felt nice to see it. What would it be like with the light inside of her all the time, like those women? What would it be like to be filled up with it?
“Your mother is Xenos..”
“The Xenos block the light...”
Her mother was Xenos. That was true. She knew it was. The Xenos blocked the light. The xenos blocked her happiness. Her mother was blocking...
She screamed again. Screamed and cried until her voice gave. Then she kept trying. She glared at the light, pushed her ears at the sound. Defied it. Fought it. Fought it with everything she had. The spike in her head burned like fire. She almost felt like...
The word was clear. This was from around her, from the same place as the whispers, but not a whisper. It flooded her mind. It was a shout.
The word hit her like a hammerblow.
Lofn's mind could take no more. She fell into darkness.
“... stronger than any of us anticipated. We might have to push her rite back another day!”
“No one lasts that long. She was in for two days that time.”
“The seat will do it's job. She'll walk to her own rite of purification! I swear it, by the Emperor's name!”
“Maybe she should get it early. She might respond better to the feelings in there than she would to the Seat. She is a powerful psyker, her body might respond more readily than her mind to the desire for purity.”
Lofn's eyes flickered open. She saw the face of Sister Serenity, looking at her. Her face looked so peaceful. So happy. She shined like gold. She radiated it. She felt warm... and dirty. So dirty.
“That's right, Initiate.” said the Sister. “But some of us don't think you're ready to be purified.”
Purified! She felt a strange surge of pleasure go through her, in places she'd never felt pleasure before, between her legs, in her head, rolling over her. The word made her stomach clench and unclench as the waves of joy rolled over her body, and her breathing became heavy.
“I... I... nn- no...” Something was wrong. She knew it. Something was wrong with all of this. It felt good. It felt like golden light inside to hear the words. Pure. Clean. Clean felt good? But no. Some part of her still screamed. The spike in her head hurt.
“Rise, Initiate Lia.”
Lia? Was that her name? No. She still had a different name, but the golden women still called her Lia. Was that name better? Was it gold like their names were? She couldn't remember, but something about the old name made her feel dirty. It didn't matter, she decided. She'd figure it out later.
She looked down and realized she was still in the chair. She struggled to get up. Sister Serenity smiled at her.
“Spending so much time in the chair has weakened her, sisters. Let us help the initiate. She is not ready for the full rite of purification yet – she is still fighting her tainted blood – but we shall take her through the daily ceremony instead.”
Lofn realized there were several sisters other than Sister Unity and Sister Serenity. At the announcement, they all smiled broadly.
One of the sisters left the room, running.
Lofn felt hands lift her. Below her arms – on her legs, her chest. They seemed to be trying to grab every part of her they could. Their hands slid up and down her, gently caressing.
Her bare feet touched the floor. It was cold, but the hands of the Sisters were warm. Warm.
She could not stand on her own, but they lifted her, and the world felt light. She felt strange, inside. Still dirty, but still with that feeling of wrongness.
She looked around, past the shining golden women, and saw the walls. Covered with the signs of the Emperor – the signs of the Sororitas. How had she not noticed how beautiful they were before? They were clean, and gold, and glowed. They were what it meant to be good. The cities of the Eldar she'd once seen were ugly, monstrous things next to this simple, pure beauty. Why had she ever liked them?
She began to smell something in the air – odd and high scented and almost sweet. The air filled with a kind of smoky fog, and her legs began to tremble.
She didn't understand what was happening. She felt so warm. So nice. The waves of pleasure returned, just a little, not so strong. Not so good, but still rolling over her, slightly. She breathed in deep, and it wasn't until she exhaled before she realized the sisters around her had been encouraging her to breathe the “holy incense”.
They came to an enormous chamber. Inside were hundreds of Sororitas, garbed in simple white robes.
Sister Serenity went up to a strange and imposing woman covered in scars and with an augmented eye, like Sister Unity, but much older, and spoke to her. The woman smiled. Sister Serenity stepped back, and the woman threw her arms wide, speaking to the sisters assembled around her in a broad circle.
“Rejoice, sisters! The Xenos child recovered less than a week ago has been judged fit to join us in our daily rite of purification!”
The word sent shivers up and down Lofn's spine, and the waves of pleasure became rushing torrents for a moment.
“She is still fighting her Xenos blood, but she desires to be cleansed of her taint!”
Again, the pleasure. Again, the shivers.
“Sisters, today we shall forgo our own pleasure to help see this poor child is set on the right path – the path to the Emperor!”
A roar came from the crowd, and Lofn giggled, slightly. It smelled so sweet...
“This is not the full rite for initiates!” The woman screamed. “But we shall ensure that all but the final step is taken!”
The roar was even louder, this time. Lofn finally noticed the women around her were as flushed as she was. Some had their hands inside of their robes, between their legs, moving slightly. She giggled again.
“Sisters!” The woman cried, “It is time to be pure! Disrobe, and let the oil of purification flow!”
The cheers were interspersed with moans, low and harsh, as hands suddenly came at Lofn from all sides.
There was some kind of altar in the center of the room. She was gently pushed towards it, and she felt hands tugging at her robe.
She was laid on the altar, and the robe was taken away. She felt a slight chill at the touch of the stone below her, but the hands caressing her were warm. So warm.
The sisters caressing her were all smiling. Some were robed, some were like her and nude. One of them came forward with a small barrel, a ladle in it. The sisters around her crowded around, holding out their hands, an expression of hunger on their faces.
The woman poured the oil on them, and the women slathered it on themselves with their hands, moaning in joy and holding and touching one another.
Then they started to touch Lofn. The oil burned like fire. It felt hotter than she'd ever felt in her life, but it was a good hot. A wonderful hot. It spread like the pleasure that came from between her legs and made her clench her stomach but stronger. Her eyes widened.
The hands caressed her. Her face... her arms... her legs... she could feel hands gently running over her lips, under her arms, on her feet, slowly circling her nipples, only then to lightly pinch them. Hands slowly, gently running between her legs...
She twitched. Nothing had ever been like this! Joy shot down her legs, up her body, through her arms, through her head. The caressing made a huge knot of joy in between her legs, and fingers were swirling around her center of pleasure, never quite touching it, and swirling around her sex, never quite entering it.
“So wounded.” A voice came so low she wasn't sure if she'd heard it spoken aloud or in her mind, “Let us kiss it better. Like mommy.”
The whip marks still hurt. Kiss it better. Like mommy.
“Yesss....” She mouthed, hoarsely.
The hands changed into the feel of lips. Gentle kisses rained over her. Tongues lightly flicked over every inch of her skin, slowly and languorously. Her fingers were played with. Her toes... women were sucking her nipples, sliding down her chest, her stomach, sucking on her throat, leaving painful hickeys. Oil was poured on her, burning like rapturous fire, and greedy tongues licked it off.
Then a head came between her legs. The first feeling was a light kiss, followed by the feel of a rough tongue, and joy shot through her.
She could feel it, too great to be contained, shooting down her legs, twitching, jerking away from the women sucking her toes. The mouth on her sex greedily lapping up the oil poured there.
She opened her eyes again. They all looked like gold. Pure.
The pleasure shot through her, waves rushing over her, like lines of pure gold, crushing her mind, crushing her thoughts, crushing everything with joy.
Gold. Gold. Gold. Gold. Goldgoldgoldgoldgoldgoldgold...
Then it stopped. She sighed, deeply. The tongue on her felt terribly rough, and her mind started to come back. She felt tired...
A splash of oil covered her face, into her open mouth. She sputtered, but swallowed some.
The fire filled her from the inside out. Her sensitivity faded. The warmth returned, slowly. The woman below her changed with another woman. The mouths covering the other parts of her body changed. The lips kissed, the hands caressed, the tongues flicked and licked and every inch of her felt rapture.
A mouth pressed against hers, kissing her in ways she'd never been kissed before. Lightly, then firmly, sucking on her lower lip. An hand grabbed her chin, and the Sister of Battle's tongue met hers. It tasted like the oil. Like the smoke. It explored her mouth. Not knowing what to do, she let herself be kissed, let the woman's tongue run over hers. The lips pulled away. She tried to raise her head, to find them again.
A tongue ran around her ear, around the sharp point.
“Do you want to be pure?” It whispered, teasing.
“Yes...” She said. “If it feels like this... if it feels this good, I want to feel like this all the time!”
The woman at her ear made a low, moaning sound.
“Sisters!” Came the voice of the older woman she'd head speak earlier. “The taint is in her blood! Let us help her purge herself of it! For the Emperor!”
The hands caressing. The lips stopped kissing. The tongues stopped licking. She felt so empty. So alone. She opened her eyes, unable to see clearly, trying to reach for someone. Anyone. Someone to touch her. To feel her. To purify her.
Then she felt a sharp pain along her leg. She looked down and saw a shallow cut, dribbling blood, and a sister standing with a knife, a lust-filled expression on her face. The oil seeped into the wound. It felt good.
More sisters came, then, knives sharp, cutting shallowly, Lofn crying in pain and joy. And the tongues returned. Licking. Lapping. Taking the blood. Taking the taint. Purifying her. Spreading the gold inside of her.
She was covered in red, covered in hundreds of tiny, shallow cuts – but she'd never felt so happy in her entire life. They were cleaning her. Their tongues were carrying the taint in her blood away. She felt dizzy.
“Sister Serenity.” The older woman's voice spoke. Lofn could barely make it out over the feelings of joy in her body, barely focus on them.
“You have done an excellent job with her training. I will reward you with being the first sisters to perform the 'Meeting of the twin valleys' ceremony.”
“Thaaank you, Cannoness...” The woman moaned.
Again the hands pulled back, but it was only moments until she felt two strong hands grip her legs, and the older woman's legs entwined with hers. Her legs stretched past Lofn's face, so much taller was she.
Then they met. Twin sexes touching. Oil poured between them.
“Nnnggg!” Lofn said, crying out unintelligibly.
They slid. They rolled into one another, around one another. They ground themselves as hard as they could – her body knowing what her mind was not experienced enough to. Her hips thrust out, the older woman's stronger, pushing her back, fiercer. Lofn turned to the sisters legs, running her tongue over them, trying to lick off the oil. She tasted blood – she wasn't the only one who had been cut – and it tasted like copper and sweet fire.
The waves of gold rushed over her again and again, becoming fiercer and fiercer, pulsing and rushing with fiery intensity.
“Do you want to be pure?” She heard the voice whisper in her ear again as the woman grinding against her stiffened and cried out.
“YES! YES! PURIFY ME!”
“Then renounce your Eldar heritage! Scream your hatred for your mother!”
The waves of joy were there. The feelings of gold were in her. Her mother was Xenos. Her mother was blocking the golden light. If she said she hated her, if she renounced her, she could feel like this all the time.
“...no...” she whispered.
“What was that?” the voice whispered back.
“NO!” She cried. “MOOOOOMMYYYYY!”
The movement against her stopped. The room full of moans and screams halted. The hands, the legs wrapped around her, all of the golden women pulled away.
“So disappointing.” the voice said.
The women moved away, leaving Lofn alone on the Altar as the moans continued in other parts of the room. She had never felt so alone in her life.
Lofn did not remember the trip back to her cell. She didn't remember being put back in clothes. She didn't remember anything, except for that feeling of incredible loneliness, and emptiness.
She was warm. Not the intense fire of earlier, but hot. Hot and alone. She remembered feeling good when they touched her. She rubbed her hands over her arms. They felt slick and raw, like they were overused. They felt sharp and painful from the cuts running up and down them.
She could remember something about the ceremony. Pure. They wanted her to be pure. As she thought about the word, the waves of pleasure rolled over her, briefly. She wanted to feel that feeling, that golden light...
Then she remembered. The sisters touched her all over, and it was so good it was like a dream. But the feelings were best in one place. One area. Between her legs. Her sex.
She couldn't remember why they hadn't let her feel the golden light inside anymore, why they had stopped touching her there. Something about her being dirty. Something about her refusing to be purified. But it didn't make any sense. She would give anything to be clean. She felt so dirty, all over, and she wanted that golden light so badly.
Maybe their hands alone weren't the only way she could feel that light. Maybe she could feel the light of the Emperor by herself.
She pulled one of her arms inside of her shirt, sliding it down her torso, over her breasts like the Sororitas had done, tracing around them in spirals before flicking her nipples. She felt odd, but good. Her breathing sped up. She could sense it there. The light of purity. The golden light they'd filled her with in the big room.
She slid her hand down, over her stomach, down further, and then...
If she hadn't been so focused on trying to feel the sensation again, she'd have noticed. Like panties, but made out of some kind of thin metal. It didn't matter. She'd just slip her hand under and...
She couldn't do it. Her hand was there. It was touching the metal. It tried to slide under, but... it was like her skin was gone. But no. When she focused on the sensations, she could feel her skin under the metal underwear sliding around. But she couldn't reach under it!
The warmth was getting worse. It still wasn't as bad as the hall, but it was like an itch she couldn't scratch, getting steadily worse. Lofn whined in frustration.
Desperately, she used her nails and tried to dig at the metal, but they could find no purchase. She scrabbled, and her fingers slid off again and again. Blood ran freely again as her nails dug into her flesh along the seam.
But the pressure...
She tried pushing the metal in, and... there! She could feel it! She pushed as hard as she could against her sex, but it wasn't enough. The fire was there, in her sex, and she couldn't put it out. She couldn't fill herself with light!
She whimpered, silently, and pulled off her shirt. Moving like she was in great pain, she straddled the edge of the stone bed, riding the corner of it, pressing herself against it as hard as she could, desperately trying to increase the pressure.
It was there – the pleasure. The joy. Just at the edge of sensation, she could feel it. But her oiled sex inside of the metal panties couldn't generate enough friction, and she wasn't strong enough to create enough pleasure.
Desperately, she rushed to the door, to the iron bars in front of it, and wrapped her legs around them, pressing her spread legs against a bar, hands flung wide and holding them, grinding herself against the metal in a mad passion as tears streamed down her face. She cried out – some kind of low, bestial, animal moan; a sound she'd never have made when she was trying to be more like her Eldar mother.
“...pure...” she whispered.
She ground herself against the bar with all the strength she could muster. It wasn't enough.
“... I want to be pure...”
Gritting her teeth, it was all she could do to keep from smashing her head against the iron bars she had pressed herself so firmly into.
“ I WANT TO BE PURE!” She screamed, hips thrusting against the bar to the sound of metal on metal.
Hours later, she crawled up off of the floor where she had fallen, no longer strong enough to hold herself against the bars. The door had opened. A now familiar figure stood silhouetted in it.
“Rise, Initiate Lia.” Sister Unity spoke. Her whip was coiled and ready to act.
“...please...” Lofn whispered.
“It is unfortunate what had to be done to you, girl,” Spoke the Sister of Battle, speaking down at her. “But rarely have we seen the taint run so deep in any girl.”
“...please... the light...”
“We have had to keep you drenched in the Oil of Purification for far longer than any initiate is normally allowed, and put the belt of castigation on you. It was hoped that by keeping it in your mind for the entire night, the desire for purity would cause you to see the error of your ways and seek true redemption.”
“...how... please... touch me...take this off...”
The sister smiled her cruel little lopsided smile.
“It's simple. Just deny your mother. Deny your Eldar heritage, and seek your redemption through the Emperor.”
Lofn didn't speak. She couldn't. She had burned for hours with the need to be purified, with the need to be filled with that golden light. But now she remembered. She remembered what she'd screamed. She remembered what she had done, again and again. Her mother's face was in her mind even as her body burned with need. But that face was faded and twisted, cracked and warped.
The silence continued for a few moments. The sister sighed.
“Rise, Initiate. It's time for class.”
Lofn was still there. Still seeing the images in her head – her warped, fractured, twisted image of her mother, and the women cloaked in gold and covering her with their lips and fingers. She couldn't renounce her. She wanted to be pure so badly, wanted to feel good but... it was still there. Warped and twisted and wrong, but still there. She couldn't abandon it.
The whip cracked, and she felt pain.
She made a short, high-pitched cry, but then she remembered. The sisters had cut her, hadn't they? Hadn't that felt good, even when it hurt? They'd whipped her before too, and said that was a part of the path to purification. Maybe... maybe there was more than one way to be filled with the joy she so desperately wanted. A way that didn't involve renouncing her mother. The pain changed. The pulsing hurt – it was a little like the light. She could have more of that.
“...yesssss....” She moaned.
“What was that, Initiate?” The Sister asked, angry.
Lofn rose to her knees. The Sister almost stepped back at the look in her eyes.
“Good... feels so good to be pure. Whipping makes us pure. I want to be pure. I know you like to do it, sister. I see how you hold yourself, bathed in the golden light whenever you strike me.”
The sister began to raise her whip, hesitantly.
“The pain feels good. The pain feels... there's light. I can have the light!” She started to crawl toward Sister Unity, who did step back, now, and lashed forward with her whip.
“Yes!” Lofn cried, still crawling forward, a hungry light in her eyes.
“YES! Hit me! Hurt me!”
Sister Unity's grin broke. The whip struck out, three more times, each time connecting – but by then, Lofn's mind was in ecstasy, the pain rolling over her like the fire of the Oil, bounced off of the Oil, bounced back on itself. Her stomach clenched and unclenched, her tongue rolled out, eyes blazing. She was almost there. Just a little more...
Sister Unity tripped over the door frame and fell backwards, landing on the floor. A memory returned to her then – lips pressing against hers. Licking her tongue, mouth on mouth, hands on her breasts, hands on her sex, lips on her hands. She needed so little...
Sister Unity tried to scoot back further, throw the little girl off of her, but Lofn's Eldar heritage made her fast, and lean, and dexterous, and she clung on. One of her hands grabbed the older woman's breast, while the other slipped between her legs. Lofn pressed her face forward, eyes momentarily meeting the startled and almost frightened one eyed gaze of the Sister of Battle who had seemed previously invulnerable - then she slammed their lips together.
She ground her crotch against the woman's leg, hands caressing, tongue dancing, pain pulsing over her body like the throws of the Purification ceremony. Sister Unity let out a half-frightened moan.
“Do you want to be pure?” She whispered in the older woman's ear.
Suddenly, she was flung away from Sister Unity, slamming hard into the wall, the wind being knocked out of her on impact. She looked up through lust-hazed eyes to see the figure of Sister Serenity above her. It was hard to move. She remembered a face between her legs, tongue dancing over her sex. If kissing felt that good, maybe that would feel even better! She started to crawl forward, hoping to bury her face in between Sister Serenity's legs.
What felt like a bolt of lightning struck her in the throat. The last thing she remembered seeing was the still shocked face of Sister Unity beside Sister Serenity's stern scowl, her finger on a small switch.
Sister Unity's face still reflected the shock of the experience, even after Sister Serenity had struck her. The red palm mark stood out on her face in stark contrast to the highly white scars.
“How in the Emperor's sorrow did you let the situation get so out of control? She's just a little girl, no different than any of the others you've trained over the years! I can't believe a veteran of so many battles would be taken so completely off guard!”
“I...” Sister Unity began, but another harsh slap caught her off guard. Sister Serenity silently cursed; the damned woman's augmented eye had caught her hand and there was now a deep gash on it. No matter.
“There is no excuse! If not for your extended record of service to the chapter, I'd petition the Cannoness for you to be inducted into the ranks of the Repentia!”
A shiver ran down Sister Unity's spine. A former Mistress, reduced to a Repentia? It was unheard of. She'd be thrown in the Seat of Redemption herself, drugged up on histeriat and red vapor and be as mind scrambled as the girl in the cell was. As a volunteer sister, like almost all sisters in her chapter and all sisters in some chapters, she'd never had to go through the process she'd led so many others to endure. It was impossible to contemplate.
She brought her head up, and focused hard on the Sister Superior.
“I've trained Initiates for almost forty years, and inducted initiates for nearly twenty more. In all that time, ALL that time, I've never seen an initiate act like that. Not once. I've seen older sisters and Repentia beg to be whipped, and a few initiates, but never as aggressively as that. Not trying to tackle me and... and molest ME! If I hadn't done it before to hundreds of children, I'd say that chastity belt and the histariat laced oil had driven her insane.”
Sister Serenity looked incredulous.
“Histeriat makes women who aren't used to it submissive. Everyone knows that. That's why Vandire was so confident he had us under his control all that time ago, and why he started using it in the first place. But only women who've been taking it for years and with fierce self-determination can overcome it. It's one of the reasons we use it for the trials, and a small dose of it every day.”
“That girl,” Said Unity, pointing at the cell, “Has fought the Seat of Redemption for longer and harder than anyone I've ever seen. I've seen full grown men and battle scarred sisters broken in just a few hours inside of it. She's lasted almost a week with most of her time spent in that pod, and she's even made it through the ritual of purification, even if it is just the daily one. Most initiates going through that for the first time would sell out their own mother for someone to touch them, and...”
“That's it.” Said Sister Serenity. “It's her mother. That's what makes her resist.” For a moment a hint of jealousy tinged her voice. “I don't know what kind of relationship those two had, but that foul xenos has a hold on her mind the whips and oil and seat of redemption cannot break. We're going to have to do something more drastic.”
“What do you mean?” Asked Unity.
“I'd had something planned for after the rite of purification as a final test of sorts to make sure she was purged of her lingering affection for her family, but I don't think we'll be able to wait for it. For now, toss her back in the Seat. I hate to do it, because she'll never be the soldier of the Emperor she could otherwise be – but switch from a desire for purification to a desire for obedience to the sisterhood. The sisterhood WILL have her, no matter the cost. The Cannoness wants her broken by the end of the week, and I will NOT disappoint her.”
“You have no right to criticize me for the extremity of my actions at this point, Sister Unity. You've already stepped over the line more than once yourself, and you let a drugged up child get the better of you. I swear to the Emperor that if I get demoted over this, you'll be a Repentia before my rank is gone. Am I understood?” Sister Serenity's voice was anything BUT serene as she glared at Sister Unity.
“Understood... Sister Superior.”
“And get that damned belt off of her. If she wants to give her nightly praise to the Emperor, let her. It's better than her trying to tackle Sisters in the hall.” Sister Serenity turned to walk away.
“Sis... Serenity.” Sister Unity said. The Sister Superior turned around.
“You used to care about me, once. How did it ever go this wrong?”
Serenity's face didn't soften, but there was... something.
“I did care. And I still love you. I stood by you when no one else would after the incident on Uath Prime. But maybe I was mistaken. The Emperor cannot abide failure... and neither can I.” With that, she turned to walk away again, and Unity knew better than to say anything further.
As Sister Unity watched the Sister Superior walk away, she could still feel the presence in the cell next to her – where her own fate as a Sister of Battle rested entirely upon breaking the mind of a sixteen year old girl.
When Lofn again awoke, the almost painful desire for pleasure, the insane feeling of overwhelming stimulation, was gone. Though her eyes were still closed, she could also feel skin against skin in her genital region – the miserable skin bonded underwear was gone.
She smiled and giggled, slightly. She had won. It was a little victory, but it was a victory. Her mother's image in her head was covered with filth and decay, and her memories of the lullabies were disturbingly distorted – but they'd been enough. Enough to keep her from submission to pain or pleasure. Enough to keep the part of her that was Eldar.
Eldar. The word made her feel like she was covered in filth. It made her feel like she'd dragged herself naked through a pit of grox-manure. She hated it. It was wrong. It was distorted. But it was who she was – who her mother was. She loved her mother. Her mother had stood in her mind and kept her from submitting to purification again and again. Her mother had kept her filthy. But being filthy was what she was.
The smile faded. She began to cry.
She was filthy. Every word in her head screamed it, over and over again.
She was mud on the inside. She was lower than ork dung. That's what she was. She no longer burned for the feeling of purification, with that wonderful feeling that began at her sex and in her stomach and radiated out in waves to cover her entire body in waves of golden light. But she still felt like she was covered in filth, alone, in the dark.
Silently, she remembered what she had tried to do so that she could be purified. She'd rubbed herself against everything in the room, practically screaming in frustration. If she still had her warp powers – she still couldn't believe her mother had taken them – she'd have torn up the walls trying to feel that feeling.
Lofn slid her hands over her body under the shirt. She was sweaty, but her body had been washed at some point, the oil removed. Her outsides were clean.
But the texture of her skin – the smooth, milky white – made her think of the texture of Eldar skin. Smooth, flawless. The feel of herself under her hands made her ill. It no longer felt flawless. It felt too smooth, too pale – like some slimy thing that lived under a rock.
In her mind, the words echoed.
“... Do you want to be pure?”
She didn't know. She wanted to feel that golden light again. She didn't want to feel sick every time her hands felt her own body.
The sisters weren't here. If she felt the golden light while they were gone... would it be betraying her mother?
Her breath quickened. Slowly, her hand moved down between her legs, her fingers rigid.
A few hours ago, she had been desperate for this.
Her fingers curled, and she tried to remember where the sisters had touched. The way their fingers and tongues had moved.
There. She could feel it now. Only a tiny bit, but it was there. Her fingers traced an intricate dance over her skin, and a little bit of that feeling of being pure came to her.
It was like someone poured a bucket of water on her slowly, washing off the dirt and grime of her Eldar half.
She touched herself harder, moving her fingers between the fold of flesh there, around the little bump, like the sisters had done.
In her mind, unbidden, came the image of one of the sisters, naked, standing over her while the voice whispered in her ear over and over again, “Do you want to be pure?”
The feeling was greater, now.
Suddenly, the sound came of the cell door opening. Flushed, she pulled her hands off of her sex and put them back out of the arms of her robe.
Sister Unity stepped in, firm and confident as ever in her stance. But something about her told Lofn that she was... scared?
The woman didn't say anything. She did not raise her voice. She did not hit Lofn with the whip, which was looped on the belt of Sister Unity's robe. She merely walked over and clipped on the leash to Lofn's collar, and pulled.
Lofn rose, reluctantly. A few hours ago, she'd wanted this woman to hit her. She'd tried to make her hit her with that whip. She didn't now. The bruises and cuts stung as she moved.
They walked down the corridors they'd traveled down days before this, to the place with the awful chamber. She couldn't remember why she didn't like it.
When they arrived, the Sister still didn't talk. She unclipped the leash and pointed to the pod.
A sense of dread overtook her. She didn't want to go in. She looked at the sister.
Sister Unity seemed as stern and strong as ever. Could Lofn really have tackled her? She thought she tried with everything she had the other day after... what was she doing?
It didn't matter. She'd defied her only a few hours ago and won. She didn't have to do what the sisters told her – and more than anything, she did not want to go into that pod.
Sister Unity stood in the doorway. Maybe if she was strong...
“No.” She said. She made to dash past the older woman, maybe dart through her legs.
Faster than she thought possible, the Sister's outstretched arm hit her across the face, and she flew back, hitting the pod. Still dazed, she sunk to the floor, and felt a trickle of blood come out of the corner of her mouth.
Before she had time to scream or gather her wits, she felt herself lifted, shoved into the seat. She tried to struggle.
Sister Unity calmly pressed her arms, one at a time, down into the depression in the seat, holding her body in. They clamped down. Then she pressed her legs in, and her head.
Lofn was trapped. Her struggles were futile. She squirmed, and struggled, and kicked, and screamed. Her body unable to do anything, she shouted inside of her own mind. The spike inside of her burned like it was on fire. The feeling was intense; horrible. Still, it was better than the pain of the pod. The fire in her head did not abate.
The pod closed.
The pain rushed into her head, as she desperately struggled, pushing with all of her might against the pod; and against the spike in her head.
The world exploded in darkness.
She had expected darkness and the penetrating light, and the whispers, and pain.
Instead, she awoke on the floor inside of the room with the pod where Sister Unity had just forced her. The pod was blackened and charred; the top section of the pod lay several feet away, smoking and charred. Sister Unity slumped against the wall, bleeding.
“...What?” She whispered aloud.
Reaching up, she touched her head where the spike should have been. There, she felt a hole; a gaping wound in her head.
There, on the ground, she saw it. The thing of evil; the thing of control. A simple black spike; that fizzed and crackled as if it were on fire.
In her head, she realized she could feel the warp again. The torrent of vile terror and chaos; swirling. With her Eldar senses – she shuddered for a moment as she realized that – she could see where it was going, creating order out of the raw chaos; finding structure and pattern in a formless, timeless place of madness. No Mon-Keigh could ever feel that. She wondered for a moment if it were wrong.
But no. Her mother. She needed to find her. She needed to escape. Then she could figure out... things.
Already, outside, she could hear the pounding footsteps of someone rushing toward the room in a hurry.
Attempting to stagger up, she realized her arms were still held down. Focusing her mind for but a brief moment, she felt the inside of the mechanism – felt the parts that held it together. This was a machine of the warp. A machine of...
It could change a person. She didn't know... she couldn't remember what it did. What...
She'd been in it. She remembered that, now. She'd been in it before. What had they changed? It hurt, inside, like her brain was trying to fly out of her skull; like a daemon had been inside of it.
The footsteps, the sound of powered armored boots on stone, were audible now.
Shrugging it off, she emerged from the remains of the pod. Sister Unity... she couldn't remember. It was like there were two people inside of her. One thought Unity was a monster who had hurt her. The other thought she had been helping her try to be... pure?
The word sent shivers down her body to her knees. Waves of pleasure rolled over her.
Whatever Unity had done, Lofn had always tried to be a good girl, and she'd never hurt anyone if she could help it. Whatever happened when the pod exploded, if Unity was alive, she'd been punished more than enough.
Wavering, she turned to face the door. A figure strode in – a sister of battle. No; an older initiate in training armor. She focused her mind on the older girl's.
Lofn knew she'd always been loved by her father. Her mother wavered in her mind, and the two minds each said something different about her. One said she'd loved her more than anything, and the other said her love was twisted and foul. Whatever the case, they'd been the only ones who had loved her. They'd always had to hide, fearing the Mon-Keigh and rejected by the Eldar.
On the worlds she'd been on, she'd always been alone. She hadn't had any friends – she often didn't see anyone but her parents for months at a time.
The animals had always been her friends. They'd always been her companions. Wherever she went, they were there. But some had been dangerous. Many had; the Imperium's worlds were full of things that were made to kill.
She'd never seen them like that, though. Desperately lonely, desperately alone, they had purpose, and friends, and she could feel their minds, simple and chittering. With her power as a psyker, she'd never been in danger from the claws and fangs. Their emotions could be matched to hers. They could feel her love.
In her mind, she could feel the fear of the initiate as she looked at Lofn; it danced in her head like the memory of a half forgotten song. She could feel the rage, bubbling under the fear.
On one world, Lofn had found Tyranids. Before her mother had taken her away through the webway, Lofn had felt their minds – their hivemind. There was fear, and rage, and the desire to consume.
Like the rippers she'd encountered, she reached towards the song in her head that reflected the initiates thoughts. There was a wall there – not like the honeycomb of thoughts in the ripper's head from the bleed-through of other minds, but like a wall. It wasn't finished, though. It was built out of faith and devotion and desire for purity. It would be strong, in many years. Iron, Ceramite, instead of what it was now. Now, it was mud; piled high and hardened slightly, but still mud. Compared to touching the mind of the Ripper, slicing through it was no more difficult for her than putting her hand through water.
In her mind, she reached in and grabbed the tune. The pattern, high and shrill, slowed, stretched, became regular.
There. Now she felt inside of herself. She wasn't still, like she had been. But inside, she still felt love. Pounding, throbbing fiercely, whenever she looked at anyone. Even people like Sister Unity. She could feel what they were inside, better than anyone. Everyone was the same. The Initiate's mind was there – she could see it. She could feel it. The desire for that pulse, that rhythm, the one that screamed for love, and care, and closeness. She'd found it in the sisters. It's why she had worked so hard, so long, with such faith, to become one.
That feeling... the loneliness, that desire for love. It was the only thing Lofn, who could feel enough of it to fill the whole world, couldn't find for herself. The initiate didn't love her.
She'd stopped in the doorway, jaw slack, an empty expression on her face, devoid of all emotion.
Lofn wanted her to feel love. She filled the older girl's mind with the emotion that filled her, that burned inside of her, pulsing with throbbing rhythm like that feeling of golden light she'd felt in the purification room.
The Initiate fell to her knees. She smiled, and her eyes filled with tears.
Everyone wanted love. Lofn had given it to her.
She wanted to sing. To dance to the rhythm in her head, echoed in the thoughts of the initiate, to take her new friend and play.
She couldn't, though. She needed to get home. She needed to see her father. Needed to see her mother. More than anything else... her mother.
The initiate had fallen to her knees, now. Tears streamed down her face, her mouth formed into an awe-filled smile.
Lofn giggled, for the first time in a week, and her feet moved to the rhythm of love. She spun in a circle, arms stretched wide.
Inside the Initiates mind was all she needed to know. The layout of the place, the passages and corridors.
Others would be coming. Sisters with minds like powered armor instead of mud. She wouldn't be able to make them all feel her love. They had the golden light, but it wasn't the same.
Was it... better? She stumbled and her head swam for a moment. The initiate on the floor started to rise to her feet, her expression already changing. The golden light was in her.
Lofn waved her hand, and the initiate's rhythm flattened. The older girl crumpled to the floor, asleep.
She was confused. She needed...
The world swam, and spun. She felt like two people again, for a moment. The one who wanted to stay, to find that golden light with all these women. More people than she'd ever known. She'd always given other people love, it whispered. The sisters loved her – they said they did. That's what the golden light was. She should stay. She should feel that love...
The other throbbed with the beat she'd always given to everyone else. Love for everyone. Love without hate. Love given to others because no one besides her father and her... mother, she remembered, had ever given it to her.
The pulsing of the light and the rhythm of the song... for a moment, they pulsed in time, like two sides of the same thing.
She was confused. The sisters confused her. The light confused her. She needed to go home; she would know what to do when she saw her mother and father.
Stumbling, she walked outside the room.
The chapel was still alight with fire and explosions. Never before had such a disaster come to pass within these hallowed halls. Even the pull of Inquisitor Tarvic would not be enough to justify it. Oh, it wasn't the first time a psyker had gotten loose in a chapel – the chapter was old enough that almost anything short of outright destruction that could happen to it had already. But things had gone much too far.
As she sat on her throne reading the dataslates showing the full extent of the destruction, the Cannoness knew that she could never fully justify the expense of capturing this one xenos girl and converting her to the emperor's service. At the same time, she also realized that she could not justify letting her get away, either. She had already lost a great deal – nearly an entire class of trainees had been influenced by the powers of the girl, and were still running amok across the chapel. Several veteran sisters had been injured – thank the emperor the girl had naively avoided killing anyone – but the damage was done nonetheless, and the effect on the order's reputation would be far more severe than a few deaths ever could. To stop the trainees, lethal force was being used – flamer and holy chainsword striking down their possessed bodies in their practice armor. At least the veterans could be counted on for silence.
They were surprisingly effective – but she knew that made sense. The girl was apparently the daughter of a traitor Vindicare assassin and an Eldar farseer, and both had taught her a great deal of their martial skills – or she'd at least seen enough to impart a fraction of those skills to the initiates. If nothing else, her powers as a psyker were impressive. Definitely not an alpha, but powerful enough to disable even well trained sisters, despite their innate resistance to the powers of the warp.
In all, the girl had definitely cost her far more than she would ever repay – in her personal loss of reputation at least, if nothing else. But the chance to capture her had not passed, and perhaps she could mitigate some of the damage with that. Tarvek did owe her big for this one if the girl lived, and that extra clout would bring her the authority to expand the chapter further. A larger chapel – more girls and boys to train, more opportunities to slay heretics on countless worlds and claim their children as the spoils of war. More than anything, she wanted to serve the emperor, and spread his righteous will across the universe. But right behind that, she wanted those spoils – those human commodities that were beyond price, beyond measure.
She could still mitigate the damage this fiasco had caused. But first, she had vital business to which to attend.
She stood up from her throne, crafted in the likeness of the golden throne on terra, and descended the steps to the two figures practically cringing below.
“I gave you two a simple task,” she said. “Train a sixteen year old girl. Break her spirit, cleanse her of her taint, and bring her to the service of the emperor. Not only have you failed, the girl has taken control of an entire class of initiates, and done major damage to the chapel – to say nothing of the damage she has done to a precious artifact from the Dark Age of Technology. Six veteran sisters have been injured, and we now have absolutely no idea where the girl is. Fortunately, I can still capture the girl and save the chapter from the disaster you have brought upon it. Unfortunately, I cannot save you. You are stripped of your status as sisters, and reduced to the ranks of the Repentia.”
At this, sister Unity wailed, and sister Serenity collapsed, fainting, only to be caught by the two sisters standing next to her.
She stood and waited as their vestments were stripped from them, the rags later saved to be their only clothing from that day forward. She then watched as the Mistresses entered, whips crackling with power, and delivered the ritual strikes to their bodies. Finally, with gloves firmly on, she poured the triple strength histeriat oil over them that they would be forced to wear for the rest of their lives, driving them into a perpetual frenzy of lust, anger, and frustration, and locked into absolute obedience.
They were dragged away, bleeding, sobbing, and orgasming uncontrollably. Their sanity would erode into a bestial state with time, focused purely on sex and murder. Perhaps. If they were lucky. Some kept their minds, and prayed to the emperor to lose them.
It was a shame – Sister Serenity had potential, even if she was the night sister of that disgrace to the Imperium, Unity. Still, someone had to be the scapegoat for this fiasco – and she had failed, after all.
Well, there was only one way now. She was loathe to do it, but when only one option was available, it had to be taken.
“Are you still here?” She spoke aloud to the seemingly now empty room.
From the shadows, the assassin stepped, still wearing the disguise of the xenos farseer Taldeer. Assassin or no, the lithe Eldar form she wore was pleasing – she might demand that Tarvek have her share her bed for a while as an additional concession once this was over.
She put such thoughts aside, however. She had business to attend to now.
“Good. The original plan has changed. The false escape attempt has become a real one. We cannot locate her as she is, so we must draw her to us. We will be forced to use our most sacred artifact to accomplish this task. It is believed it was created by the Emperor himself, and left hidden on this remote world over 10,000 years ago – abandoned for reasons we still cannot yet understand. Against most foes and in most situations it is no use – but here, it will call her like a moth to the flame. Only an Eldar psyker would possibly even know it exists. Listen carefully to this plan, for nothing must go wrong.”
The true power of the Eldar had never been their devotion to their paths – that was merely a defense against the forces of chaos. Nor was it their technology – no tool, no matter how advanced, could save someone who was too foolish to save themselves.
No. Their true power had always been their farseers, and the Webway.
Linking to almost every world in the galaxy, and some several times, the webway was the thing that allowed the Eldar to move nearly anywhere in the galaxy, instantly. They existed on countless Mon-Keigh controlled worlds – a legacy of a time when the Eldar were far greater and more powerful than now, and their empire had spanned the galaxy. There they sat, invisible to the simple Mon-Keigh, or anyone without both the powers of a psyker and knowledge of what to look for.
Lofn had just sensed a gate. A gate – here, on this world. A way home.
For days she had skulked and hidden herself inside the massive city that was almost a hive city, right outside the sister's chapel. She had feared she would have to try to steal a ship and sneak out off of the planet – a risky thing to try. The Sisters undoubtedly had control of the skies. Signs of their control were everywhere here.
She shivered every time she saw one of their beautiful symbols on a building, or vehicle, or elsewhere. Several times she saw buildings full of children – orphanages, perhaps, where sisters and nobles regularly visited.
She shivered inside at the thought of it. A part of her desperately wanted to go inside – to experience whatever those children did. If it involved the oil, or the all-consuming golden light.
Her body shivered uncontrollably. Here, perched on top of the city near to the clouds, it was blisteringly cold. But she'd been shivering and sick ever since she left the chapel, even when she was warm. Perhaps it was her xenos taint – the taint she was so unaware of before. She felt weak, and she desperately wanted to feel the oil on her skin again – she knew, somehow, that it would fill her with that golden light, and it would make her strong again. She slipped her hand down to her sex occasionally in an attempt to feel the feeling she'd had before, but it wasn't the same. It did not fulfill her. She knew she needed the sisters.
But even so, she wanted to see her mother more. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw her terrible face – her dark, cruel eyes, heard her bleak, disgusting lullabies. She wasn't sure if she loved her or hated her now, but both love and hate were attracting forces. She could not control herself. She was pulled to her like a moth to a flame, and when that desire met her still painful headaches, and met her craving for the golden light, she felt an unstoppable, unending desire to see her. She resisted the calls to find bliss in the golden light, covered in oil and blood and joy, but she could not resist this.
She leaped from the building, her powers as a psyker guiding her down. Down to the undercity, filled with mutants and darkness, in search of the webway gate that would take her home, to see her parents once again.
She left the mutant hivers dancing to the rhythm of her love, their steps made to a beat set by her heart. They had posed no threat. They, like everyone else, desired love, and she loved everyone. Everyone except the filthy Eldar. They would dance and feel her love until she was long gone.
She was deep into the undercity, now. Filled with chaos and mutants and heretics, it was a place of dark and decay. The supports creaked above her head as twenty thousand year old beams of metal struggled to hold under the weight of new construction.
The gate was near. She could feel it, like electricity. Taste it like ozone. The warp-senses inside of her were dancing with delight, whipping and shifting like something wild. She stumbled forward, step by sideward step, barely steady enough to stand.
She was going to see Mommy! She smiled and laughed and dragged herself forward another step. She would hug her and love her and kill her and burn her and ask her if everything was going to be alright.
There. The archway up ahead. Step. Step. Step. Step. Hahahahaaaaa...
It was so funny. Mommy was already here.
She stood in front of the strange little Webway gate. Her skin was the pale white of a slug's belly. Her stringy black hair hung down like it belonged on some dead thing. Her eyes burned a distant alien blue, unsettling and completely inhuman. Lofn wanted to throw up.
“Mommy!” She cried, running forward.
“My daughter.” She said, calmly. Her voice sounded strange and decayed. She calmly reached down to hold Lofn in a calm embrace.
Lofn's mind danced with delighted revulsion. She was here! She was here! Shewashereshewashereshewashere!
“I've been so worried,” her mother said.
“I'm sorry mommy. The ba-” her voice faltered for a moment. Bad people? “People you said would hurt me if they took me took me away.”
“I... I... they wanted me to hate you and hate the Eldar and serve the Mon-Keigh emperor and fill me with golden light and kiss me all over and it felt so good but I had to find you and I did, Mommy! Now I can go home with you and see daddy again!”
“I'm glad you found me, my daughter.” Lofn looked up into her mother's strange and alien eyes. They shined with malice. “Now I can kill you.”
“I have to kill you honey. Now that the sisters told you the truth about us.” Her mother's arms tightened around her. “It took me forever to manipulate your idiot father to fall from the Emperor's service. Years to produce and raise you. Years running, pretending to be an outcast.” Taldeer smiled at her daughter, kindly.
“What?” Lofn's features twisted with fear and confusion.
“Slaanesh, daughter. Slaanesh hungers for Eldar souls. I've told you that every day since you were born. But I never told you there was a way to buy a temporary reprieve from his hunger. Why did you think I would ever sully myself with the seed of a filthy Mon-Keigh? Why would I tolerate a daughter whose veins are half filled with sludge? I couldn't sacrifice another Eldar, but better a million Mon-Keigh die than a single Eldar. That's what your grandfather always said. Or one half Mon-Keigh daughter. Thanks to you, I have another few hundred years of life. I'm so glad I found you before those stupid sisters could take you from my reach forever.”
“I... NO!” Lofn Screamed. The forces of the warp whipped in her head, swirling like a cyclone. She forged the swirling chaos into a focused weapon, hurling it at her mother's figure.
Her mother's grip released and she jumped back, with the sickening inhuman litheness only an Eldar could display.
The air crackled and spat as the warp ripped open in a thousand places, each spitting forth a bolt of lightning.
Her mother raised her hand, and the lightning stopped short of her. She smiled darkly.
“Your idiot father is already dead. Killed before the sisters ever arrived to save you. One more day, and you would have been mine.”
Lofn's thoughts raced with anger and confusion. Her father – HER FATHER!
“Burn Xenos FILTH!” She screamed. Fire burst out of her hands in a broad fan in front of her, filling the entire small enclosure. Still, her mother stood, the bubble of protection around her unbroken.
She raised a strange, small pistol.
“Did you really think I would teach you all of my secrets? A filthy little halfblood like you?”
The pistol fired. The air between Lofn and her mother rippled and waved as though with heat. Lofn put up her mental barriers, safe from fire and explosion, confident she could handle whatever came her way. She stood as the wave ignored those barriers as though they weren't there and... rippled. The warp inside her rippled too, back and forth, vibrating faster and faster and faster, ripping the inside of her mind apart. She screamed, a long piercing cry and collapsed.
Her mother strode forward, confidently, strange and bulky pistol in hand, and pointed it at Lofn's head.
“A thousand more years...”
“HOLD, XENOS SCUM!” The cry came, from the entrance to the webway chamber. The sound of power armored boots on cermacrete echoed in the dark chamber.
The cannoness stood in the rippling light of the webway, a pistol just like the one her mother carried in her hands.
“In the name of the emperor, we have saved this girl from your power and will purge her of her Xenos Taint!”
“In the name of Slaanesh!” Taldeer cried. “You have an Eldar's bane pistol too!”
“Yes.” The cannoness grinned. “I do.”
Lofn watched as her mother raised her pistol to fire at the cannoness, but too slowly. The ripple of the cannoness's fire passed harmlessly over her head, smashing into her mother, who rippled and cried out, collapsing to the ground in a heap.
The cannoness walked over to her, kneeling down.
“Hello, my daughter. Are you ready to be pure?”
“Mother...” Lofn said, grinning. She had finally found her mother. Passing out, she did not notice the Callidus assassin stand up moments later, putting her neural shredder back in its holster.
Lofn breathed in the sticky smoke with joy. The golden light hung like a haze in the room, as hundreds of naked sisters moaned and writhed. She was covered in blood and oil and sex fluids, and had never been happier.
“IT IS TIME!” The Cannoness cried. Everywhere the sisters turned from their moaning, panting pleasure to turn toward the alter, their eyes alive with the golden light. It burned everywhere.
The older woman, battlescarred and heavily muscled, turned to Lofn alive with youthful energy. “Today you will be purged of your xenos taint, once and for all, and become soulbound to the Emperor of Man! Bring for the Emperor's Will!”
Two sisters stepped forth with an ornate golden chest, covered in holy symbols and carefully worked purity seals. Flipping the catches, they opened it to remove a smooth golden cylinder, worked with images of the Emperor.
They fixed it into a black holster and walked to the Cannoness, sliding the device up her legs.
“Today, daughter, you become an official initiate of the order! No longer will you be a stray girl, rescued from the foul depredations of the xenos! The sisterhood asks – Do you want to be purged of your taint?”
There was no doubt in Lofn's mind. “PURGE ME! PURGE ME!!!”
The Cannoness grinned, stepping forth, oil pouring down onto the golden member, and grabbed Lofn's hips.
A thousand voices cried in one voice, and Lofn cried with them. “PRAISE THE EMPEROOOOO-!”
The Cannoness thrust forward, and Lofn felt something inside her tear. The oil soaked into her from the inside, the pain and pleasure mixing to something beyond description as her entire body shook. She shook inside, her mind, she could feel the part of her connected to the warp glowing with brilliant light! Suddenly, she saw a vision in her mind's eye, the daemons of the warp parting around it in fear of its brilliance. A man in golden armor, his smile warm and all encompassing. He reached down to her, and for a moment, she imagined the light was pink, and she could hear rasping laughter on the wind of the warp.
Then he reached into her chest, and pulled, and part of her soul went out from her, torn.
Time stretched, the voices sounding like echoes down a distant tunnel. She felt dizzied. The hand reached back, and placed her soul back into her chest. Her eyes burned as she saw the golden light everywhere, surrounding everything.
Then it slowed, and the world returned to normal. And she knew that the golden light would never leave her. She would never be alone again. The xenos taint in her soul was gone, and the light of the Emperor filled her.
The cannoness withdrew, the golden shaft now smeared with blood.
“Welcome to the order... Initiate Lia.”
Thirty Years Later.
“Sister Lia! The sniper has taken out three sisters! We need your might!”
“Understood,” she replied. She reached out with her mind's eye and saw where the man stood concealed in the treeline. Reaching within her, she sought out the power of the warp and brought it forward, empowered with the Emperor's golden light.
“DIE IN THE NAME OF THE EMPEROR, TRAITOROUS SCUM!” she cried. The area he lay hunched in the trees erupted in flame, and she could feel his old frame giving out.
The warp erupted, as a cry of absolute anguish raked across her mind. An attack from the Xenos witch.
She gritted her teeth and focused, concentrating on the source of the emanations... there.
She focused her powers back, as she had been taught to do a lifetime ago in a period where she had been sullied by her Eldar blood. No longer.
“NO LONGER!” She pushed with her mind, sending a bolt of purest warp lightning out from her hands and burning a path through the foliage concealing the woman. She could still feel the anguish in her mind as the Eldar collapsed to the ground.
She shook her head briefly. That had all seemed so familiar... but no. She still had a job to do.
She walked forward into the small hut the heretic and the Eldar witch had been cohabiting. The tricks inside were nothing to her – she maneuvered around every lock and hidden passage without any hesitation, confident in the power of her mind's eye and her memory for xenos tricks to allow her to bypass it all.
It only took a short while before she found what she had been sent here to seek. The most prized of all finds in the Emperor's eyes.
A young girl, with long black hair and the features of a half Eldar. She sat in the corner and sobbed, clearly terrified of the large imposing woman in powered armor in front of her.
Taking off her helmet, she smiled warmly and said, “Little girl, do you want to be pure?”