II. Parasite (part of the ongoing Warhammer journal)

Disc_of_Tzeentch

Izobella watched the putrid smoke from the most recent fracas drift solemnly to the sky like a coiling serpent, catch a wind, and disperse into gray, tattered wisps.

Like Tzeentch, she told herself, like Tzeentch. It is no-thing, yet an all-thing, a whirling pandemonium of form encroaching upon emptiness, a storm eternal, a full harvest without having planted the first seed.

“Here she comes,” grunted the Chosen, his mind torn between the sounds of pillaging that yet welled from beyond the valley, and a glimpse of the dark elf casually treading their way with wary step. He could tell from the woman’s face that she was only in a lightly sour mood, for its embittered alter-ego, anger, was now a thing of the past.

“You are right, magus,” Raavana said, staring into Izobella’s glazed yellow eyes. She dropped a collection of severed heads to the magus’ feet, presenting due sacrifice to the mortal, but not to Khaine, the Bloody-Handed God.

She was now apostate.

“Tzeentch,” Izobella said, eyes wide, “manipulates even the gods and heroes of your dark elf kindred, so—“

“—why serve the low instead of the exalted,” Raavana finished the statement flatly.

“It is much to drink in,” said the Chosen, his eyes lingering on Raavana’s sharp nose, chin, eyes. All things with this woman, he mused to himself, was a sharp angle. He liked his women wily and wild, sharp like an ax, driven like a storm.

“I am sure you are the very prophet of the hour,” Raavana sneered.

“I have had no profit in this endeavor,” he remarked, “but you and I might join forces to aid Tzeentch repopulate the world with those worthy of anointment.”

“Do so, Chosen,” Raavana, “and you’ll wake with a dagger in your craw.”

“If we three cultists,” Izobella said calmly, but this time from the back of her disc, “are you going to spread this dream we have been given by our lord and master, we must agree to disagree.” Naked flames licked suggestively from her fingers.

“The fall of a siege engine begins with the rust brought by the dawn,” the Chosen said, nodding, remembering the dream that brought them together. “We are that rust.”

“And you, dark elf,” Izobella asked, “do you yet possess the dream?”

Ravanna nodded, remembering the night weeks ago when she—like her fellow cult members—awoke from that shared revelation. “My powers are granted to those—”

“—willing to say no to what was,” Izobella said, finishing the dream’s strange statement spoken to them undoubtedly by Tzeentch himself.

“Leave us briefly,” Izobella murmured to the Chosen, “for there is more to be said between Raavana and myself.” Izobella’s yellow eyes shifted to the man quickly, her reassuring smile strangely unsettling.

Izobella let Raavana have a moment. She watched the woman, shoulders sagging, world crashing down inside her. Black Guards were driven from youth to kill relentlessly. Kill others not of their own tribe. Kill those within their tribe. Kill in general when to kill was not ordered.

The shadows of early evening lipped greedily at them when Raavana finally turned.

“Do you remember what I taught about the forest ant and the mind-worm,” Izobella asked softly.

“Of course,” Raavana said, sheathing her sword. “The ant who crosses the path of that worm will find it is no longer truly just an ant.”

“And why not?”

“The worm finds its way into the ant, just like how the beliefs of the dark elves, the sacred hierarchy, and the prideful stories of murder found their way into me as a child,” Raavana said.

“So what have you done about?” Izobella pushed.

“I have taken control of my existence. I am no longer an ant possessed by the worm.”

“Such is the wisdom of Tzeentch,” Izobella praised, “for even a tiny grain of sand over time may become a pearl by way of a shellfish.”

“You are wise, magus” Raavana whispered, feeling her past shatter within her. Tzeentch was greater than all gods, for Tzeentch was undefinable, continually defining, redefining, evolving into and out of its last form.

“What about your sister? The Disciple of Khaine adhrent?”

“Let me deal with her,” Raavana said, raising her chin. “She has always been a most unreasonable child.”

“Be a grain of sand,” Izboella said from her disc, smiling suggestively.

“I’ll try, but it will likely be the hammer that is required.”

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