The murder-machine crooked a finger and the wallscreen fell went dark, filling the room with silence. The sole occupant leaned back in his chair. If you had asked him yesterday and he had given an answer instead of slaying the questioner, he would have said he did not care. If you had asked him an hour ago and he had been feeling generous, he would have said that for him only the discipline mattered. Most of the survivors would have taken him at his word. He would have even believed it.
But absence had revealed it's importance. The foundation of his life, his assumptions, had been removed and what he had not thought about in decades rushed in. His kind were ruthless, pitiless, sadistic monsters and even by his people's standards he was a cold, death obsessed killer. It was the nature of his folk that he was admired and respected for that. That he had a rare sense of integrity and self discipline that made his word far better than that of most of his kind was viewed as a beneficial quirk and not questioned. His order was both deadly and useful among the intrigue and treachery laced spires.
That was not all that he was. He had shaped himself into an instrument of death and denied other aspects of himself, but other emotions rose surging in him now. That he was cold and cruel did not mean he could not feel anything other than cold cruelty. That he was a murderer did not mean that he wished all lives ended.
No human could experience the surging tides of emotion that washed over him. He was not one of their slow, clumsy, dull kind. He felt incomprehensibly profound grief and the the blackest sorrow along with towering hate and the aching lust of vengeance. Memories of joy swept him only for tides of loss to drag him back down. He sat still, motionless as they surged within him and he bound himself with his discipline and his iron will and bade that all he had sworn off to leave him. It did not. The storm gathered strength.
He sat silently seething for a personal eternity before throwing back his head and shrieking. It was a wild, terrible keening sound that filled a room that was no stranger to shrieks of pain. He sprang from the chair, his teeth bared in a wolf's snarl and landed at the base of a weapon rack. His hands closed on the hilt of the great, single edged sword and he swung it of the rack, sending it dancing through the air as if it weighed nothing. "Yes," he said in the tongue of his people. "Yes," he said as he swung the weapon through the air, letting the hilt leave his hand and the great sword spin twice before catching it again. "Yes!"
The expression on his not human face was one that a human could read and understand. Such a hypothetical witness would have shuddered to see it, but he would have called it glee.
Mass murderers ran blade drills and spared under the gaze of a huge iron statue cast in the form of a demonic eldar warrior. The least of them had slaughtered hundreds. The greatest of them was in his personal quarters. The wore segmented black warplate that fit perfectly with no visible gaps between plates, adorned with spikes and blades as was normal for their people. Each suit was crowned with horned helm and emblazoned with a cracked jewel, a horrific trophy of their initiation rites that bombarded their enemies with pain. The Imperium of Man used codewords derived from terms for mythic witch cults to classify the Dark Kin and these warriors were the ones they called Incubi.
One of the killers stopped in mid strike. She raised her blade back to a ready position and stood still. Others turned, the tracking systems in their helms showing them what they never expected to see again. The klaivex had emerged from his private quarters and garbed for war, but not wearing Incubi warplate. Instead he wore the midnight blue plate armour of lightweight resins that had been his harness when he joined the shrine. A pistol and a barbed whip girded his hips and a carbine was slung over his shoulders. His klaive, the killing blade from which his title was derived and the signature weapon of his discipline, was in his hands. Around his neck was an amulet set with a large, blood coloured gem.
The klaivex walked slowly to his left until he was directly under the statue of the Bloody Handed God. "I am leaving," he said to the silent room. "My armour and position go to the strongest." Silence answered him.
He took a step and then another. "The bloodstone," said a male voice, musical and beautiful, "is a talisman of our order."
"So it is," replied the former klaivex. "A talisman that is seized. You may try me Ivarian Seszk, if you wish."
The other did not reply. The klaivex continued forward, the the great ebony doors that were the exit of the shrine. Behind him he felt the heat of the flames that burned in the heart of the statue of Kaela Mensha Khaine and flared from its eyes and mouth. The memory of that day, that day that had changed his life as this day had also changed his path coursed through him. He bared his teeth in a silent snarl. Enough with this.
The last incubi spoke. "No one has ever deserted this shrine," he said. "In here there are only incubi, aspirants, and prey." The former klaivex was accutely aware that there were a score of killers at his side and back. The speaker had chosen his moment well. The air was heavy with impending violence. The incubi were not in position to strike, but that was meaningless. It would take them mere fractions of a second to raise their blades and close.
"Do I need to kill you again Meshesz?" the former klaivex asked. "Do you think that this time the homunculi will succeed and drag your soul screaming from the warp and into new grown flesh and feed it with pain or will this time be the time they fail? If you were strong enough to be a worthy klaivex, you would have already struck. Instead you are a weakling that hopes others will do your work for you."
"Only a fool fights fair. And you are no longer klaivex."
"And you will never be. Azaria will mount your skull on a trophy rack first. And I have not relinquished the bloodstone. Or my plasma grenades. Who wishes to test the honour and skill of the humunculi they have contracted with by matching their warplate against my aim and my ghostplate's field defences? And for what gain? To avenge the defeat of this fool who will never be klaivex and wants you to do the dying for him?"
The incubi took a collective step back. And then another. The former klaivex blurred into motion, fast even the by standards of his people. His klaive fell and Meshesz barely paired, the power fields sending out fat sparks as they interacted. Another strike, diagonal and impossible fast was barely blocked. The crackling powerfields shrieked as Meshesz's blade was knocked out of position and the incubi fell back a step.
The klaive's next sweep came too fast and too low for Meshesz to recover in time. His left leg ended at the knee as armor and flesh came away in a spray of blood. He lost his left hand before he hit the ground and then the klaive opened up his abdomen and spread his guts on the floor.
"A gift to you," the former klaivex to his former followers. "Drink his pain or finish him as you wish."
No one else tried to stop him as he left.