Story:The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k section26

The shape of the nightmare to come MYOC BANNER.png

Section 26: Of the C'tan and the Ophilim KiasozEdit

Though the most mighty of all the C'tan, the Void Dragon, was roused and trapped within the Solar System, due to Abaddon's devilish guile (as we have already covered), this was far from the curtailing of the threat of the Star Gods, and their Silver fiends.

At the close of the forty first millennium, humanity at large was ignorant of these dread legions. They were mere myths, rumours, legends told by wary adventurers to the gullible or the foolish. Even those of the very highest power, the High Lords, the Adeptus Mechanicus, and the Inquisition, had only the mere inkling that the seemingly random attacks by metallic alien androids, were in fact, parts of a grander and more terrible threat.

As the New Devourer swept across the galaxy like a vile cancerous disease, the Necrons purged their Tomb Worlds of life, cunningly evading the predations of the new threat, which they weathered, as they have always weathered the storm. Then, the Astronomicon, over decades, spluttered and blinked out of existence, heralding the doom of the Imperator, and the disintegration of any semblance of unified galactic order, seemingly forever.

Into this universe in turmoil, the Necrons were in a strong position. Their fleets and forces were independent of the warp, and could span the galaxy in mere days. Yet, the scattered Necron worlds, despite their dread might, were near automatons, simply reacting to events as they unfolded, utilizing pre-programmed responses. Some of the more delusional or insane Necron Lords, driven utterly psychotic by the loss of their physical form, crafted grandiose necrodermis bodies for themselves. These Necrons would override the nodal automated defence systems of their Tomb Worlds, and unleash the dreadful mechanical legions against whole sectors, slaughtering billions upon billions of innocents.

Though these forces were sporadic and rare, word began to spread amongst the petty Imperiums of man. The silver phantoms were rising, exterminating all who stood in their path. Paranoia, already strained to breaking point by the various tensions and threats which were the norm during the Second Age of Strife, turned into outright lunacy, as hearsay and superstition overturned reason and obedience. At least dozens of worlds erupted in 'mirror-devil' related riots, throughout the period. For instance, in 215.M44, the world of Illiros, in the Imperium of Null-Quenta, destroyed all their servitors and machinery in a single month, during the destructive 'soul riots' of that year. The terrified citizens murdered serf-Tech Priests and engineers too, fearing the Ad Mech were the source of these monstrous metal devils. Unfortunately, the world soon fell into desperate poverty and starvation, as the now-machinery-free world found it could no longer support the three billion citizens, who now starved and rioted in the streets. Wars sprang up between rival armies and gangs of starving people, who raided the processing factories and star ports, desperate to find sustenance. Inevitably, cannibalism was rife, and 'meat-orgies' cropped up across the planet, where carnivals of degenerates would murder people in the street, and immolate them in vast bonfires . The Null-Quenta Imperium, being a small and impoverished Empire of only seven worlds, had too few vessels to spare to aid the planet, and soon the entire world died.

This was an unforeseeable consequences of increased Necron activity. However, the fears of the general populace were misplaced. The Necrons were merely the servants, to the greater, unseen evil, directing the majority of the Necron race. Like a puppet-master plucks the strings of his charges.

The C'tan. The dread Star Gods. Every race had their own legends regarding these fiends, but few believed in them, and thus, when the Necrons began to fully mobilise under their cold, heartless stares, the galaxy at large was largely unprepared for their rampages.

Of the three C'tan abroad, the dark force known as the Reaper, was by far the most overt and blatant of the threats. While its grand rampage came late in the Second Age of Strife, occurring during M47, it was no less devastating for this.

For millennia, the unloving servants of the Reaper had been brazenly gathering and capturing beings of psychic potential, and bringing them to the world of Tovanis, in the Ultima Segmentum. Though the Reaper made no secret of these attacks, there was no force which could prevent it from taking these potentials, as the self-interested and cowardly petty Imperiums sought to protect themselves and fight their rivals, while the majority of the Xenos empires fought amongst themselves likewise, or ignored this growing threat in the east in favour of expanding their colonial assets in the momentous power vacuum created upon the death of the Emperor.

Thus, unimpeded in their baffling work, the Necron Lords gathered these psychics together, herding them to the world in night-shrouded vessels, under constant guard by hundreds of Pariah Cyborgs. Upon this world, hundreds of captured Tech Priests, and Dragon Cultists fooled into believing the Reaper was, in fact, the void Dragon, began work on a vast machine. A unholy meld of psychic technology, and Necrontyr artifice, crafted using C'tan knowledge of the physical, with domesticated psykers' knowledge of warp-craft (and the endless toil of billions upon billions of mind-broken slave workers whipped into work by careless pariah), a great edifice was constructed.

Known as the Domphir, this device was colossal, easily covering the entire planet's surface, and tapering to a thousand mile high spire, the apex and focus for the grand machine. It is a supreme irony that the largest warp engine ever constructed, was devised by a C'tan, as it loathed the realm it sought to breach.

In M46, the Domphir was engaged. Like a vast and blinding torch of psychic energy, it punched through the veil of un-reality. The vast beam of conceptual nothingness surged through the sea of souls like a spear, ensnaring something, hidden deep within a warp fold, before dragging the thing out of the warp violently. Emerging slowly from the portal of madness, came the Scythe of Kaelis Ra, the great flagship of the Reaper's fleet. Yet, the entire Necron force was forced to retreat, as the warp spilled outwards like an avalanche of sense and madness. The C'tan knew nothing of how to control the warp, and the reaper fled in hatred and loathing, fearing the dreadful danger it posed to its forces and itself. Tovanis was consumed, as the Necron fleet surrounding the planet vanished in the blink of an eye, dragging their prize with them. Of Tovanis, it was doomed. The Domphir overloaded, spilling warp-stuff across the world, and pulsing vile ethereal energies into the very core of the planet. The Cowering tech Priests and slaves were destroyed by daemons formed from madness and woe. The psykers were possessed and destroyed, paving the path for ever greater daemons and monsters to be born. Within years, the warp consumed the planet, and at last, its core shattered, and it collapsed upon itself. There were no survivors.

Yet, the Reaper had his prize, at last. After a century of purging and restructuring, the C'tan's warship was finally purged of any lingering warp-stuff, and then it was ready.

In 536.M47, the Reaper made its presence felt in grand style. Spreading rapidly from the far north-eastern sectors of the galaxy, the Reaper's war fleet purged systems and destroyed entire populations, while enslaving the rest to be later fed to the monstrous star god. Xenos civilisations would rise up to challenge his fleets, only to be shattered by the devilishly swift and lethal vessels of the Necrons, whose terrible arcs of eldritch lightning destroyed vessels with a mere flicker of their arcane energies. Xenos homeworlds were simultaneously assaulted. As their fleets died in the void, their capitals were suddenly assailed by thousands of towering monoliths. Some of the great floating edifices were said to be as tall as mountains, emitting triumphant, sonorous horns, which blared across entire continents, as they unleashed millions of immortal Necrons from their ethereal portals.

These were not the scant and mysterious Necron raiding forces of the forty first millennium. These were the full warhosts of the Necrons. Multiple-mile long columns of silver death marched wordlessly across the devastated planets, firing their lethal green gauss weapons seemingly in unison at pre-determined targets. In several volleys of combined gauss arcs, whole fortress cities were slagged, whole armies reduced to billowing ash, or smoking skeletons. Wraiths swarmed the skies and streets like silver clouds of incorporeal doom. Scarabs, like a moving carpet, destroyed anything which moved or breathed. Smaller Monoliths followed these great phalanxes, their weapons just as devastating, and their payloads equally terrifying. Needless to say, these worlds were rapidly dominated by the Necrons. 80% of all life upon these worlds were massacred in the first few weeks of occupation. The rest were enslaved. As the main host phased off the worlds, to rejoin the main Necron fleet, many remained upon these worlds, forcing the populations to construct towering statues in the name of the Reaper, and massive shimmering machines, reminiscent of the arcane devices upon Phobos, fed humans into them, thus being broken down into energy, and pulsed directly into the Scythe of Kaelis Ra, directly enriching the Reaper with their energies.

It was claimed that within three years, six sectors were cleansed of resistance, and virtually all life exterminated. Within a decade this area of devastation soon bordered upon the Thexian Trade Empire, which pulled thousands of its vessels and millions upon millions of its mercenary troops, slave soldiers, and professional Tallerian armed soldiery, from the Tau front, in an attempt to curb the Reaper's relentless, systematic advance.

The Thexian war machine, hardened by long and bitter border wars, and financed by the double-dealing Thexian Elite, was a formidable force. The Ulthian bone-eaters, employed specialist trans-phasing torpedoes, which used miniture warp teleporters to teleport within enemy vessels, detonating inside. These were effective against even the god-like Cairn Class Necron Vessels, blasting them from within. The Ellicin Colosine, vast grey juggernauts built by the Gorngolem, also held their own against the immortals, using their powerful anti-matter cannons and scavenged dark lance technology to great effect.

Yet, for all their resources and manpower, the Thexian trade Empire could only slow the relentless forces of the Reaper. Whenever there was a prolonged stalemate between navies, the Scythe of Kaelis Ra would arrive to break the stalemate, the vessel was vast and terrible beyond comprehension. On the planets, even the diverse and deadly forces of the Trade Empire couldn't vanquish the legions of Necrons, which swept all before it. On the world of Tatisan, it was said an entire Krieg Serf Battalion marched directly into open combat with the Necron host. Scouring green arcs of malevolent gauss energy played across the battlefield, destroying them within minutes. Yet, never once did the Kreig falter. They marched fearlessly to their dooms, firing their lasguns, as they chanted ancient Krieg war hymns through the dark respirator masks.

Several of the less important colonies were evacuated wholesale. The Thexian Empire needed workers for its monstrous Capital-based society, and it couldn't allow the Necron legions to bleed them dry in this manner. In most cases, the evacuations occurred just before the Necrons arrived. Yet some cases, like that of Horosa, were too slow. As the starport of the single city upon the world became flooded with desperate, fleeing citizens, the dark, crescent shadows of the Necron vessels loomed in the darkening, discoloured skies. A great wail erupted from the predominantly serf-human populace, as they floundered to get upon the last transport, as it idled in the port's docking bay. People bit and tore and found, as they all desperately surged towards their final hope of salvation. With grave regret, the Actonian pilot engaged the thrust systems, and the ships slowly rose from the port, the backwash of its engines boiling away hundreds of civilians, too slow or too weak to fight their way aboard. Yet, on the horizon, stabbing spears of luminescent energy stabbed from the sky, signalling the teleportation of four monoliths onto the surface, mere hundreds of metres from the port. Sure enough, the towering machines hovered into view. Their arcing weaponry was drawn along the mass of planet-bound humans, scything them down like a reaping machine across a Wheatfield. Within moments, the monoliths would be finished with the planet-bound, and would e targeting the single transport, which climbed agonisingly slowly into the sky. Just then, springing from its hiding place amidst the rubble of the ruined city, emerged the bulky form of Vengeance, a Krieg bane blade, representing the last of the military forces upon Horosa. Its cannons blazed, as the super heavy drove towards the monoliths. In its first salvo, a lucky hit struck a monolith in its crystal nexus, detonating the alien death machine with a throaty roar. Gauss arcs and particle projectors fired upon the tank, blasting off panels, burning the crew, and pulverising its whirring innards. Yet, the machine spirit, outraged at the mere existence of the diabolical Necrons, continued, pushing the vehicle forwards at an ever faster pace. Necrons began to emerge from the closest monolith, as the bane blade closed the gap betwixt them. The skeletal nightmares were ground under track, as the vehicle finally slammed into the machine, simultaneously firing its demolisher cannon, directly into the alien machine. The two vehicles exploded spectacularly. With the tank's sacrifice, the transport escaped, and the world it left behind was utterly slain.

Similarly hopeless situations were repeated, across dozens of worlds, hundreds of battlefields.

The situation became so desperate that the Thexians began to make overtures to nearby empires and conglomerates. Some, such as the Nihilist League, openly murdered their representatives to show how little they cared for the duplicitous Thexians. Amazingly the Tau -the most powerful local faction in the Eastern fringe- did agree to send troops and supplies to their old foes. This was in exchange for the Thexians agreeing to join the Tau Empire. Grudgingly, the Thexians accepted (in later years, they broke away from the Tau, and the second Thexian/Tau wars began, but that is beyond the scope of this background section). Tau vessels and materiel flooded across the neutral borders between the two local Empires. Though distrustful, the two forces worked together well, held together by the mercenary professionalism of the Thexian forces, and the technological powerhouse of the Tau empire.

Even more fortunately for the allies, the Tau had discovered a form of advanced D-cannon technology, upon the dead world of Janis, a few hundred years before the invasions of the Reaper. Some said mysterious and colourful aliens had left the weapons there, and this chronicler could well believe this in light of the Harlequin's activities across the galaxy at that time.

Even the relatively intact Iron Lords Chapter of Space Marines, usually so aloof and disdainful of aliens, aided the xenos war effort, by directing the Barghesi, their main foe, against the Necrons. This was not due to kindness or camaraderie with the Thexians, however. Master Ho'Taa of the Iron Lords, secretly hoped the Barghesi and Necrons would destroy each other. As it turned out, the Barghesi were able to deeply challenge the Necrons on the battlefield, due to their hyper-violent and destructive biologies, yet were unable to overwhelm the immortal forces of the star god.

Using these new allies, weapons, and the sheer manpower of the combined Thexian/Tau empires, the Necrons were halted, and the Reaper forced to consolidate his forces.

The first C'tan incursion was curbed, but at a terrible cost.

Of course, throughout the thousands of years of the Reaper's preparations for epic warfare, the Lying God was abroad and active for far longer, and far more covertly.

Across the galaxy, from M44-M49, nearly seventy petty Imperiums, independent human secession colonies and xenos enclaves, were approached by mysterious emissaries, from the so-called 'Rigny conglomerate' (more vigilant readers can see the obvious implications of the title, I'm sure…). These smiling human orators, in their simple silver garbs, offered advice and/or military and social aid to the governments of these various empires.

However, their advice was venom disguised as sage wisdom. These messengers fed false information to the gullible leaders of these petty empires. Some were guided to attacking Exodite worlds, killing thousands of innocent Eldar in the process. Some tricked empires into conflict with one another, or turned them against the ancient warrior races. Covertly, the messengers sent disguised Necrons deep within enemy territories, spreading lies, misinformation and rumour, as well as snatching those sentient beings considered worthy of conversion to the next phase of C'tan warrior constructs; the Pariah cyborgs. In some cases, covert Necron cells, would clash with other espionage centred organisations. In darkened streets, Alpha Legionnaires, spies, brigands, assassins, and silver fiends, clashed silently and brutally. 

The Lying God set traps and fabrications across the galaxy, seeking to ensnare Ahriman or one of his Coven, eager to learn the secrets of entering the Webway, and punishing his ancient nemesis. Not only this, but a mysterious man calling himself simply Ralei, went abroad in the galaxy, asking any settlement he came to, where he could find an Inquisitor Czevak.

Yet, the very worst of the Liar's machinations occurred late in the Period. Leading a band of Necrons, through the grim blockage around the Gates of Varl, the Deceiver passed through the incomprehensible portal. None can say for sure what it fashioned in that dark and dreadful region. Perhaps it crafted it, or maybe merely used the power afforded by the inverse sun at the centre of the galaxy to awaken it. Whatever it did, it had awoken and unleashed the Ophilim Kiasoz.

I can name this terror easily, but this is because my order researched the old tales, the legends that were legendary amongst even the Eldar. Mercenaries and bounty hunters were hired to search the haunted corpse-craft worlds, and find the scriptures, the psychically active manuscripts of the old Eldar… of the First Ones themselves. It spoke of a war. The Yngir, the great Khaine Bloody-handed, the Asuryan, the ancient gods, the cyclopean hordes. Mirror devils drowning the gardens of paradise in silent death. The puppet-masters, seeping through the cracks in sanity. These legends were self-contradictory and metaphorical in the extreme. They were as abstract as they were dreadful in their implications.

One passage informed us of what spread from the Gates. The great net, cast by the hunter Kurnous. A black net, forged with Vaul's magics, and Khaine's hatred. Subverted, driven into a new form. This black net was known as Kiasoz. Yet, when it was cast upon the Yngir known as Avelor, the breaker, the Yngir star-hungry wriggled free, and cast the net into the wasteland, the realm beyond the realm. The place where the Ophilim, the godless ones, resided. Such was the grim artifice present in the Kiasoz, it ensnared the greatest of the Ophilim, and drove it mad. Even Khaine feared to touch the black net, as the rending horror thrashed like a mad thing. When the war ended, and the other realms finally sealed off the outer realm, the realm not of the ether and not of the other realms, was sealed too. As was the Ophilim Kiasoz.

Until the Second Age of Strife, countless millions of years later.

Reports vary on the appearance of the foul force. All that is known is that, when the Ophilim enters a system, all things die, and the star at its heart withers like a rotten fruit. Ships which escape, claim it cannot be seen, though others say it can be seen only by the stars in the sky it obscures. Is it machine, or is it living? We cannot know. How the Deceiver roused and/or tamed the thing, we also cannot know. All we can know is that it is free, and it is something…wrong.

I have already said too much I fear, for this log was not intended to look to the future of our universe, but to document the horror of these past ten thousand years of hell. I have barely touched upon the great Orb of the Mad One, but I fear if I were to continue, I should drive myself mad. Sufficed to say. As dreadful and hateful as the Second Age of Strife has been for all of us, cowering from the monsters at our door, at least it IS living. No matter how wretched life is, it is still life. Long may our misery continue, but if it means we survive the coming shadow, falling upon our galaxy once more.

[A man enters, carrying a censer. The author waves him out. There is an argument. The censer bearer leaves. Extract ends]

The Shape of the Nightmare to Come: Section NavigationEdit

  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 26: Of the C'tan and the Ophilim Kiasoz

Continued in Warhammer 60K: Age of Dusk