Fuzzy Logic: the Tale of Imotekh the Stormlord

“My lord?”

“Speak.”

“There is a transmission coming in.”

“Source?”

“The ID matches Nemesor Zahndrekh.”

“Ignore it.”

“But, my lord-”

“I said ignore it.”

Imotekh looked down impassively. Zahndrekh. Always Zahndrekh. The Gidrim Dynasty was powerful, yes, and a glorious weapon for the Sautekh Dynasty to wield, but its leader tried even Imotekh’s patience.

“My lord, transmission coming in.”

“Source?”

“Trazyn of Solemnace.”

“Put him on.”

At least Trazyn knew what was real and what wasn’t, even if his priorities were completely cockeyed. It was almost a pity the two were rivals. Trazyn would make a splendid Nemesor if he weren’t already a Phaeron in his own right.

“My dear Imotekh, so good to see you again. I trust you are doing well?”

“Get to the point, Trazyn.”

“Can I not simply call in for a friendly conversation?”

“No.”

“Oh, well. In any case, do thank Zahndrekh for me. That Ork bosspole was perfect, just what I needed. Ciao!”

“What do you mean ‘chow’?”

The screen went blank. Trazyn, as usual, was just being annoying, but he mentioned Zahndrekh and something about a bosspole.

A bosspole…

“Is that transmission from Zahndrekh still waiting?”

“No, my lord, it looks like he stopped when–”

“Call him. Now.”

The screen crackled for a moment, and then the image of Vargard Obyron solidified into view.

“Obyron.”

“My Phaeron.”

“Trazyn extends his thanks.”

“My lord?”

“The bosspole.”

“Oh. Yes, my lord, he requested it after the battle. Speaking of which, I tried–”

“Explain.”

“Of course, my lord. An Ork fleet entered Gidrim space and attacked a world on the fringes of our territory. We put down the invasion, with some help from Lord Anrakyr. I–”

“LORD Anrakyr?”

An unusual slip of the tongue on Obyron’s part. Imotekh knew that it was most likely simply a misguided attempt at showing proper deference, but it was important to keep Vargards on their toes about this sort of thing. He also would have questioned the phrasing had Obyron simply referred to him as Anrakyr.

“My apologies, my lord. I did not mean to imply that my loyalties had shifted.”

“See that they do not.”

“I attempted to contact you a short while ago to inform you. I received no response.

“I mistook you for the Nemesor, Vargard.”

“Understandable.”

“How big a part did Anrakyr play in this skirmish?”

“Negligible, my lord, though you would not think so to hear him tell it. He turned a decisive victory into an overwhelming one, but we were going to win regardless.”

Imotekh turned this over in his mind. Of course, the Vargard could simply be telling him what he wanted to hear, but that did not negate the possibility: perhaps the Stormlord had been giving Zahndrekh too little credit.

“Bring your master. I wish to speak with him about how he defeated the…?”

Obyron did not respond for a moment, then looked down, unwilling to meet Imotekh’s eyes as he answered.

“‘Ohr’kssh’ Dynasty, my Phaeron.”

“Yes. Bring him, that he might enlighten me on how to properly fight the…’Ohr’kssh’. Their strategy has eluded me for far too long. It is time I corrected that.”

“Immediately, my lord.”

Stressful Negotiations: the Tale of Anrakyr the Traveller

“What ho, down there! Make way, the Traveller is coming ashore!”

Anrakyr loved saying that. The title of “the Traveller” had appealed to him ever since he took it. It had such a wonderful sense of danger and adventure to it.

Come to think of it, so did his life, now. Well, unlife.

The Orks had been smashed, thanks to his timely intervention. Zahndrekh’s forces were doing fairly well, he had to admit, but surely the day would not have been won if Anrakyr hadn’t leapt in to drive the greenskins back.

Now if only these damned Gidrims would recognize that and pay their tithe.

“We cannot spare anyone. Go away.”

“Surely you can’t be serious. I just saved your world! I’m entitled to compensation. 5 companies of warriors, 2 squads of immortals, and 3 Canoptek battalions. That’s all I ask. Surely you can spare that?”

“We cannot spare anyone. Go away.”

How was he supposed to unite the tomb worlds if all of them refused to help him keep up his army?

Anrakyr looked back down from the commscreen to his databanks. The intervention had cost him a great deal of manpower. The Orks couldn’t stand against his armored divisions, but his infantry had been ravaged, torn apart under the green tide. Scarabs had been trampled, warriors had been ripped apart, and he was pretty sure he’d seen a few immortal heads on the trophy poles of a number of nob corpses.

Anrakyr turned to the crew of the Tombship.

“Well, brave hearts, it looks like we might have some more fighting ahead of us. Organize a landing party. Launch on my command.”

The crew around him stared vacantly for a few moments, then got to work.

Anrakyr waited a few minutes to give them a head start, and hailed the surface once more.

“Last chance. I’m willing to bargain a bit. 3 warrior companies, 1 squad of immortals, and 2 Canoptek battalions?”

The Lord on the viewscreen stared directly at him for several minutes. Anrakyr wondered at the meaning of this hesitation.

His wondering stopped as the Lord looked down, and the viewscreen collapsed into static.

“Launch,” sighed a resigned Anrakyr. He went to his personal shuttle, to prepare his command barge for the raid.

Hall of Mirrors: the Tale of Trazyn the Infinite

Such a wondrous, beautiful artefact. So marvelous, so perfect. And this was the perfect place for it.

Trazyn carefully set into place his latest acquisition for his collection. That fool Zahndrekh was finally good for something. Trazyn at last had a genuine, intact, Orkish bosspole for his display.

It didn’t matter that the bosspole had come from an Evil Sunz warboss and he was putting it on a replica of a Goffs warboss. That wasn’t the point. The point was that a warboss should have a bosspole, and this one didn’t have one.

Until now, that is. As he slid the pole into place, he beamed with pride as he looked around the gallery. He knew he was beaming with pride. He could see himself doing it. His surrogate, in the hall, was watching it all, and applauded the completion of the display.

Trazyn would have grinned from ear to ear if his face still had that kind of flexibility. Another surrogate came around from the other end of the hall, and joined in the cheering. Soon, Trazyn was receiving a massed standing ovation from himself, surrounded by twenty-eight overwritten Lychguard and Lords.

Graciously, Trazyn dismissed his best friends to their own business, and downplayed the importance of today’s triumphs. He wouldn’t want to develop an ego, after all.

Trazyn strolled through the Ork gallery to the end, and went to check on Robby.

“Why, hello, Robby! And how are you doing today?”

The vast man didn’t answer. He couldn’t. The stasis field held him in place.

Trazyn almost wanted to find a way to dismantle the field. It was very insolent of this being not to respond to a friend’s greeting, after all. Still, the pose was absolutely perfect. That frozen open-mouthed expression always drew the eye right to it. Long ago, Trazyn had decided that the figure was in awe of his new surroundings, gaping and staring, unable to form words to describe the museum’s majesty.

Trazyn had chosen the name “Robby” because what he had scavenged from human civilizations suggested it was a fairly common nickname. Besides, his exhibit looked like a Robby. Or a Robert. Something beginning with Rob.

“Well, I’m afraid I must be off, Robby. As always, it’s been a pleasure to see you, and as always I can tell you are at least as pleased to see me. What was that informal greeting you humans use again? Hmm…oh, yes, I remember now. CIAO!”

Trazyn continued on through the gallery, nearly bumping into another surrogate as he did so. The surrogate bowed graciously in apology, and Trazyn bowed back. As Trazyn left the room, the surrogate wordlessly inclined his head toward Robby as he passed by.

Robby did not respond.

As he walked through the halls, Trazyn pondered what his next move would be. Now that the Ork display was finished — well, as finished as it would probably be for some time — he would need to pursue a different collection. Perhaps the Eldar exhibit needed a new acquisition.

Trazyn mused on the peculiarities of this race. still wasn’t sure why some of them had smooth armor and some of them had spiked armor. Perhaps it was intended as a sexual signifier? Eldar biology was so difficult to keep track of. Maybe the males wear the spiked armor to broadcast their sex to the females? But why do some have those strange chest-bumps and others don’t?

Trazyn looked around. His wandering had brought him to a wing he hadn’t visited in a long time. A long time. And he knew exactly why.

He looked to his right. There, he saw it. A portrait hung on the wall. A picture of a Necrontyr female, flesh-and-blood, before the change. She was smiling and wearing a small, scaled headdress. In front of the portrait was a pedestal. On the pedestal, in a glass case, sat a gem the size of Trazyn’s fingertip. The woman in the portrait had formed a small divot, at the top of her sternum, large enough to fit the gem.

The portrait was labelled with a name. The gem was labelled with the same name. Trazyn refused to look at the label. He turned around, and cast the wing from his mind, as he always had. An image formed in his mind, of a much younger, much more alive version of himself, dressed for a wedding. He held the gem, the same gem, in his hand, and was looking around, smiling.

Such a wondrous, beautiful artefact. So marvelous, so perfect. And this was the perfect place for it.

Whistle While You Work: the Tale of Illuminor Szeras

“I am the very model of a scientific Necrontyr
I’ve vivisected species from the Eldar to the…damn.”

Szeras pulled his scalpel away from his latest “patient”, an Ork nob delivered to him by Zahndrekh’s lackey. What was his name again? Obituary or something. It didn’t matter; what mattered was the song. Szeras couldn’t work without a song. He NEEDED music to underline his work, and the screams of his “specimens” would not suffice; he shut off his audio receptors to block them out anyway.

But he needed SOME sound. He needed MUSIC, something he could hum or sing to himself while he tried to extract that final missing piece, the last secret to show him how to help the Necrons ascend to the next level of existence.

But what in the name of the C’tan rhymes with Necrontyr?

The nob in front of him spat curses from his harness as Szeras stared off into the distance, lost in thought.

“Dok! Dose bitz on da table! Put ’em back! I need ’em, ya git!”

Szeras couldn’t hear. He couldn’t work, either. Not until he had a song.

And then one came. It was a foreign song, recovered when a Tomb World awoke to find itself covered in human civilizations. Some of their culture had been scavenged from the ruins. Szeras had always liked this song. It helped that he didn’t need to make up any lyrics to it.

Wielding his scalpel again and humming for a moment to check that he was in tune, he resumed his noble efforts.

“Grey skies are gonna clear up…Put on a happy face…”

Infuriating: the Tale of Nemesor Zahndrekh and Vargard Obyron

The Nemesor could be so infuriating sometimes.

“My lord, unidentified vessels have entered Gidrim Dynasty space. Preliminary scans suggest they are of Orkish make.”

“Ohr’kssh? Again? The Ohr’kssh Dynasty is trying to rise against the Sautekh AGAIN?”

“…yes, my lord.”

Obyron would have sighed if he still breathed. The Nemesor couldn’t be made to see reality anymore. Where the rest of the dynasty saw hulking, wretched greenskins trying stupidly to stand against the Necrons, Zahndrekh saw only living Necrontyr. Obyron braced himself for what he knew would come next.

“Hail them on my behalf. I can never quite wrap my mind around their accent. I’m sure you can handle the negotiations fine, Obyron.”

Pleased though he was at his lord’s faith in him, this task frustrated Obyron too much to take any joy. He would issue the typical ultimatum, and the Orks, as usual, would reject it and attack, and STILL the Nemesor would wonder about their obstinacy.

Obyron delegated the task to a Lychgard and watched the conversation from out of the camera’s view. He didn’t feel like talking to a greenskin again. The greenskins never felt like talking anyway. It was a formality, demanded by a senile old coot who was barely even fit to lead a cleaning crew anymore, much less a dynasty.

The ultimatum was rejected. As usual. The Orks continued their wild voyage further into the system. Battle was now inevitable.

Obyron wearily shambled back to the throne room. News like this was always a pain to give. As usual, the Nemesor would pontificate about how their brethren were so lost, and ramble about how shameful it was that such rebellions should be so common, and mourn that Necrontyr should die without being shown the error of their ways.

“Why do they persist? Why can’t they see that we should be on the same side? Why can’t we be allies in this? Why, Obyron? Why?”

“The …Ohr’kssh Dynasty is renowned for its warlike nature, but not its intelligence, my lord.”

“Such a pity. We shall strike swiftly. Be merciful, my dear Obyron. Mercy is the mark of a great man, and we are nothing if not great. Accept their surrender as soon as it is offered and bring me their commander, that I may speak to him.”

“…yes my lord.”

Obyron turned to leave the throne room and begin marshaling the Gidrim Dynasty’s forces. It would not be a long war. Barely worth the trouble, even. It was simply another annoyance in an eternally annoying unlife.

As Obyron reached the door, he heard the Nemesor speak again.

“And Obyron?”

“My lord?”

“When this is through, drinks are on me.”

Unbidden, a memory flashed into Obyron’s mind. Zahndrekh was still flesh-and-blood, and had just come of age a year ago, inheriting his father’s lands and title. Obyron had just similarly inherited his office from his own father. The two of them had just led the conquest of a neighboring province on the surface of Gidrim, incorporating it into Zahndrekh’s substantial territory. In celebration of their victory, the two drank the night away in the biggest settlement in the province. A perfect, almost photographic image came to mind of a crowned Necrontyr leaning on his bodyguard as they staggered back to camp, happily inebriated, in the wee hours of the morning. A conversation replayed in Obyron’s mind, as if recorded.

“Obyron, what do you call a province on the other side of Gidrim?”

“I don’t know, sir.”

“Mine by the end of the year!”

Obyron couldn’t breathe, but he could have sworn he felt an all-too-familiar choking sensation. He touched a metal finger to his cheek. No moisture. Of course not.

“…yes, my lord.”

The Nemesor could be so infuriating sometimes.