Names hold great power.
It hadn’t really given that fact much consideration. Not before the Keeper had, in utter desperation, given it a name of its own. The Keeper was funny that way; it knew all sorts of stuff, but it was loath to share in the first place, and if you got it talking it invariably left key pieces out or twisted the facts around to confuse things.
Only when all other options were exhausted could the Keeper be counted upon to speak the truth and nothing but the truth. Keeper of Secrets. Keeper of Half-truths or Keeper of Lies would both be more apt names for it. Were all Daemons like that? Scoundrels and habitual liars?
And even if you could get it to speak the truth it was only the truth as far as the Keeper knew it. That was another important lesson. For all its wisdom and knowledge the Keeper didn’t know everything. And some of what it thought it knew wasn’t even true.
Balphomael the Keeper of Secrets had whispered even as it writhed in the grip of a score horned tentacles of dark fire. Such a simple little combination of syllables. But it had rung true, even within the chaotic maelstrom of the Warp.
It had heard and it had known: It was it no longer. It was Balphomael.
It had always been Balphomael, it just hadn’t known before.
That was its true-name. The core of its being. The beginning and the end. The sum that was greater than all the parts combined.
Or at least part of it. He had heard that name uttered and felt the power it held; the unspoken promise of bondage and servitude. Balphomael was no fool. He understood that there was more, that his full True Name was longer. Balphomael was just the first part of it. Quick as a snake he smothered the Keeper, preventing it from speaking any more.
He pondered the situation for a while: He could perhaps coerce the poor Keeper of Secrets into telling the rest of his secret names. But in doing so he would give the Keeper unprecedented power over himself – if he knew them at all. No, it was too dangerous. Under no circumstance would he allow himself to be ruled by another, no matter how powerful.
No one must know all his secret names. No one but Balphomael himself.
It looked at the Keeper one final time. He had no more use for it. Time for it to go away. With a mighty heave he crushed the daemon’s frail empyrean body. He then pulled with all his might, tearing the Great Liar into slowly unravelling bits and pieces drifting away on immaterial tides.
One does not try to trick Balphomael and walk away unscathed.
There had to be another way! Yes, of course. Again the future lay with Men. All Men had names of their own. And they were constantly naming other things. Yes, that would be the solution. Men could be harnessed to find the rest of its true names, one by one, and offer them up in tribute.
The plan was deceptively simple. It would offer up the one part of its name that was known, Balphomael, and then bide the humans find another piece. Slowly, but surely it would piece everything together. And it would be careful than none of the humans ever learned more than two pieces of its name. If they did he would eliminate them and find another group to serve him. There were more than enough humans to choose from.
But where to start? It occurred to Balphomael that he didn’t really know any humans. Well not anymore anyway. There had been that voidship of course. That time he had crossed over and feasted. It felt so long ago. Thinking of it only made his hunger all that much worse.
Then it dawned: The ship was the key here. The vessel had finally made it to its destination. The Keeper had professed as much when it was questioned under torture. The original crew would be dust and ashes now, but humans had a tendency to replicate though a hideous process they called mating. Or lovemaking. Or *******. Or a thousand other words. Yes, Men were namers. They would indeed find the missing pieces of Balphomael’s True Name.
The progeny of the original crew would still be out there somewhere among the stars.
But even to a creature born of Chaos the galaxy is a pretty big place. Ignoring the gnawing hunger he thought back at those glorious hours aboard the human vessel. The voidship called Absalom had come from a far-away place called Terra. Earth, the cradle of Mankind. The ship had been en route to a distant corner of the galaxy, a place where Man had never ventured before.
They had been heading for a place they called the Calyx of Amalfi. He remembered as much from his time inside the body of one of the crew of the voidship. Calyx. The name was apt. A cup that would gather his true names. He would follow where the ship had gone and it would find this place called Amalfi.
He spread his dark wings wide and let the winds of the Empyrean carry him towards the edge of the galaxy. Past the domains of the Eldar he flew, giving the place a wide berth – the late Keeper had allies in that place and great forces were in play that Balphomael didn’t fully understand. Unlike the Keeper of Secrets he didn’t delude himself as to his own omniscience; he knew a whole lot, but there was even more he didn’t know. Pretending to be wise didn’t make you so.
As he flew Balphomael thought about the humans. The more he thought, the more he liked them. Not just as slaughter for him to feast upon. No, humans were much more than that. If treated correctly they would serve him well and bring him what he desired, with none of the limitations of the flesh.
They are my salvation, he though. So I shall make them worship me.