Story:The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k section17

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Section 17: The Webway Wars: The Net BreachedEdit

The warp churned as never before, as the Emperor finally expired. His presence rippled through the warp, and the realm of madness fought and twisted in furious eternity. His seal upon the web way ruptured, and daemons spewed from both sides. The Webway flexed and gagged as devils ploughed through the corridors of ethereal speed.

The flickering forms of the harlequins fought like legends, fighting off daemons from every angle of approach. The Webway was their ally in this conflict. As the Masque of Slannesh led the daemon hordes through the complex labyrinth dimension, the very passageways of the Webway distorted and flexed, constantly in flux. Even the daemons of Tzeentch, madness incarnate, couldn't scuttle their way through the complex realm. Hordes of foes were funnelled into ambushes led by Harlequins, and vast forces of devils, that would have otherwise doomed all the Eldar, were turned against one another, the inherent hatred within each daemon's nature used against them. The Dark Eldar, eager to keep their shadowy realms secure, aided the Harlequins wherever they could. The howls of insane hellions and the grunts and bellows of numerous daemons from beyond nightmares echoed throughout space and time, throughout the Webway network. At the central nexus, where time was irrelevant, the Solitaires fought their devilish foes for a billion years, before darting, bladed shapes from Commoragh came to their aid, and together the jesters and murderers pushed the daemons from the Webway. Of course, this act was one of selfish self-interest on the part of the Dark Eldar.

While the Harlequins were hard-pressed to defeat the daemons, Ahriman took advantage of their over-stretched positions, seizing an area within the Webway for himself. His Cabal of sorcerers used foul artefacts to dart through the Webway in a similar method to Warp Spiders, allowing them to travel from world to world, sowing discord and gathering knowledge for their twisted master. For Ahriman determined that he would take the secrets of the Black Library, by any means necessary. Previously, before the Emperor's fall, the guardians were too powerful to overcome. Now, Ahriman had free reign across the whole galaxy, to find and exploit whole planets, just to find artefacts of arcane power, powerful enough to unleash upon the guardians, and breach the defences of the Library, and hence uncover all the secrets of chaos.

During this period of woe, the Biel-Tan alliance of Craftworld Eldar made extensive use of the Webway, in order to prosecute their wars of conquest, often disregarding the wishes of the laughing guardians of the realm. In their belligerence, the Biel-Tan considered themselves the unbridled rulers of the Eldar. Their wars with the Thousand Sons and the Dark Eldar lasted well into the fiftieth millennium. Vect and Asitar fought a war of feint and slight of movement, their forces prowling for each other amidst the twisting corridors of the interstellar network, while the automata of Ahriman's Thousand Sons blundered around the Webway, causing havoc and mayhem wherever they passed. Warp Spiders and Mandrakes hunted and killed with joy born of ancient rivalries (and, in the Mandrakes' case, literal hunger). On the World of Kastir, a world half-submerged by the warp, where the Webway criss-crossed across insanely, a vast force of Incubi, led by the Dark Father, engaged another force of Striking Scorpions, led by their Phoenix Lord. None can know the outcome for certain, but most believe the conflict remains unresolved. For, as the legends say, the final battle of the Phoenix Lords would see them all dead. This is yet to occur (and may never do so, for the paths of the future are fickle threads of snapping silk. Nothing is certain).

Vect repeatedly sent assassins to murder the Biel-Tan leadership, in various unique ways, but was relatively unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the Dark Eldar continued on their old ways of pillage, slaughter and slave-taking, regardless of what else transpired in the wider real world. Often, the Kabals would fight each other, both within Commoragh and the wider environs of the Webway. Sometimes, ambitious Archons would storm into the empty ghost Craft Worlds, and there set up bases of their own. War even began to spill into those cold dead realms too, as Biel-Tan forces and Harlequins battled the degenerate children of the Dark City, battling amongst the cold forests of crystal trees, smashing the ancient monuments to the Farseers' folly.

Some of the settlements within the network even sent distress signals to their various allies, with claims of rampaging green beasts, but none save the master of the Webway can verify such insane claims. Even the twisted abominations from the Crone Worlds have made attempts to enter the Webway once more. How these horrid things survived the fall, none can say. All that is known is that they seek to cast down the Webway, and open it to Slannesh. The lithe and perverse beings, that may once have been Eldar, cavorted through the arteries and capillaries of the Webway network like lustful daemonettes, murdering and fornicating like base monsters as they went.

Cegorach and his Harlequins watched this carnage from afar, orchestrating the Webway passages in such a way as to direct their various foes against one another in the manner they desired. They could not, however, oust Ahriman, as his Webway city was shielded by daemonic wards and hexes. However, in the materium proper, his clown-like emissaries manipulated the various petty empires and kingdoms of the galaxy, often tricking them into attacking and destroying planets where Webway gates owned by Ahriman's followers were located, thus attempting to cut him off from support. Of course, Ahriman played his own games, often capturing bellicose or tyrannical xenos species, informing them of the Webway network, and directing them to the nearest gates. Thus, Harlequins often found their gates besieged by xenos and human empires, eager to take advantage of the secret network. Though they couldn't get into the Webway, it nevertheless made leaving the Webway difficult for the Harlequins.

Even more disturbingly (for the Harlequins), by M49 word began to reach them from worlds all across the galaxy, of a charismatic immortal who has been using subterfuge and lies in attempts to trap Ahriman and his followers for some reason. It would seem this stranger (know often as the voice of honesty, or sometimes simply the messenger) wishes to breach the Webway, as the chaos sorcerer did before. Perhaps coincidentally, Necron raiders have been particularly active during the Second Age of Strife, hunting down the former Inquisitors of the old Imperium. Some claim they are searching for one Inquisitor in particular…

The Deceiver, despite his loathing for the immaterial, seems to be trying to enter the Webway somehow, perhaps to find an advantage against his rival C'tan, or perhaps simply through the desire to slay Cegorach. No one knows, and to second guess such ancient beings is to invite madness. In any case, this was only one of many schemes of the Deceiver's, and paled in comparison to the Ophilim-Kiasoz, and the events within the Gates of Varl. Compared to the horrendous edifice of the Kiasoz, what did breaching the Webway matter?

Thus, the Webway has become dangerous as never before. Breached in some places, and embattled in most other places, the war in the Webway has led to many Eldar and other races' worlds being cut off from the network, and generally, the Webway is not the safe, secure route it once was.


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Continued in Warhammer 60K: Age of Dusk