It was another day in hell.

On board the Eternity of Torment.

Life is hard when everything wants you dead, but there are things in this universe that you wish you were dead before they get to you. Though the degradation of the body is a deplorable sight, the rotting of the soul deep inside is something truly horrifying to behold.

Carlos Levantia did not know what was worse: that he was no longer the human being he once knew, or that he no longer cared he was not anymore. His opinion on philosophy hardly mattered right now. Under the circumstances, he had no choice, or at least he thought so. The idealistic Tempstus Scion Carlos Levantia who once fought in the name of what he believed, in the name of humanity and of the Emperor, was gone now, dead and buried. In place, a pathetic, spineless traitor of the worst kind.

All it took was a little motivation from his undying desire to survive, despite everything he was taught told him that death was a much better option. And the Dark Eldar, too. Following a disastrous battle in which his entire regiment was wiped out in a masterful ambush by the Kabal of the Shadow Talon, Levantia was captured, stripped of his freedom and dignity, and turned into a slave.

The day started out normally with the klaxon ringing a cacophony that would wake even the dead. As soon as the cell door opened, Levantia and a group of twenty three slaves had already stepped into a line, awaiting inspection. The Dark Eldar Sybarite supervisor walked in and gave everyone a whip in the back to remind them who they served and whose mercy they were living on. There were some silent moans, but not much else. Once the lecturing was over, the supervisor separated the group and assigned each one of them to work in different places. All part of a normal day of an overseer.

There were two types of slaves on this ship: one to work, not much different from forced labor applied to criminals in Imperial society, the other entirely subject to torture, both body and mind. Levantia was amongst the former, the so-called overseers, one of the less than zero-point-one percent. In many ways, his position was enviable. Though the Dark Eldar saw both groups as nothing more than filthy inferior creatures to exploit, they regard overseers as a resource that should, at least for the time being, be used more sparingly as long as scarcity remained a problem. For an alien race with advance technology beyond the imagination, let alone the grasp, of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Dark Eldar relied surprisingly on a lot on manual labor. Levantia assumed this was partly because they lacked the psychic capability of their Craftworld kin, but probably more due to the fact almost all of their technologies were aimed at making life more difficult for their foe rather than easier for themselves. As a result of their importance in maintaining the Kabal at full efficiency, the overseers received more benefits than the others, including subsistence level of sustenance, minimum level of respect and, though far from complete immunity from, being less likely a target for torturing. And since the Dark Eldar loved to torture their victims as much as a chef loved to cook, that was enough an incentive.

Today, Levantia was ordered to go to the Haemonculus chamber for some "cleaning up" to do. A Dark Eldar Wrack led him there. The hunched, masked creature seemed to be in a pitiful state, like an old and senile person, but Levantia was not quick to underestimate it. The Wracks conserved their energy when possible and only responded to the demands of the Haemonculus, not even the Archon being able to exert authority directly over them. In battle, they could limp at one second and sprint at the speed of light the next, whatever combat drug the Haemonculus prescribed to them working in a more sporadic manner than the rest of the Dark Eldar.

As he tread across the hallway, his eyes were drawn to the displays on the walls, testaments of how the Dark Eldar were masters of the dark forms of artistry more than anyone else in the universe, surpassing even the Officio Assassinarium and the Forces of Chaos . No matter how many times he walked through this corridor, the sensation remained the same. The drawings were enthralling in a malicious way. They were glorious depictions of scenes of gleeful slaughter, decadent pleasure and twisted beauty. Next to them were trophies taken from scores of successful raids against lesser races, ranging from human bones to Ork teeth, Tyranid chitin plates to broken Necron limbs. Skulls of a dozen races were hung high on the wall, their eyes gorged out and their tough cut off. As Levantia had noted, many of them belonged to Dark Eldar, rivals as well as those that fell out of favor with the rest of the Kabal of the Shadow Talon.

As they reached the chamber, the Wrack muttered something behind his mask before heading off, leaving Levantia to enter by himself.

The place was a laboratory for all intents and purposes, but for all Levantia bothered to care, it might have been a charnel house. The walls were lined with shelves laden with bottles and flasks containing freakish-colored concoctions, mutilated body pieces and many other disturbing items Levantia felt glad he never knew what they were exactly. Even a person who closed his eyes would not be able to escape the horror laid before him, for the air reeked of death and the floor covered in thick, crimson slime that made his boots slipped. A muffled screech echoed somewhere. Levantia hoped it was just him hallucinating.

A lone figure stood at the middle of the room. It was the Haemonculus, chemist and surgeon of the Dark Eldar. The creature was a thing from nightmares, a monster, three meters tall with six arms and a ragged skull embedded with nails. The thing's feet did not touch the ground as it floated in the air levitated by a set of ugly tentacles protruding from its back.

"You have a need for this inferior one, master?" the human asked, trying not to be afraid.

The Dark Eldar turned from what he was doing. Under dim light, Levantia saw a torture rack behind him. On top of it, whatever poor soul that was, Levantia fervently prayed it was dead. He immediately felt a dagger to his heart as he saw the figures, or what was left of it, started twitching, attempting reaching out, hoping for salvation, only to be extinguished with another surge of agony.

"Why, yes," the Haemonculus replied. "See the floor? It's been a while since I looked down, me being busy with good business and all of that." The Dark Eldar let out a chuckle that sickened Levantia on all levels. He saw nothing to understand or sympathize with these creatures, even after knowing their origin, the Fall of the Eldar Empire, the gradual erosion of their very soul and all that. They were intentional, they loved what they were doing and never wanted to stop, they showed remorse nor worry to the decline of their race. The denizens of the Commorragh existed merely to spread suffering across the galaxy, both before and after the Fall.

"It's filthy, my lord," said Levantia without looking down.

"Yes, of course," the Haemonculus laughed. "If it is so obvious that something as underdeveloped as a Mon'keigh can notice, then I must be losing my touch. Oh my, oh my. Now when have I…"

There was a slight pause. The being on the rack started to spasm. Levantia knew it was human now. No matter how much he wished to ignore that person's plight, the sight was imprinted in his soul like a dagger on wood. His heart ached. The tiny voice in his head telling him to look away was quickly drowned out by the overwhelming morbid curiosity. He wanted to shut his eyes, to run away from the sight, but his whole body refused to move even the slightest. Truly, nothing in this universe could ever ensnare the eyes, the imagination, and the consciousness of a human being more than the distress of its fellow kin. Between the creaking noises of limbs fighting hopelessly against the restraints, Levantia could make out the barely audible scream.

Help me…forgive me…kill me.

"Quiet you," the Haemonculus dropped a hand at the poor thing on the rack, and it felt silent. The Dark Eldar turned to smile at the overseer. "Normally, I would leave this to my faithful servants, but they are out now in the Archon's raiding party, bringing me new specimens, bringing me new sources of joy. The only one left is I'khor, and he is sort of a pushover. I am delegating this to you instead, overseer. Clean this place up, will you? I want every spot in this chamber spotless and sparkling, or your skull will be so."

"Yes, most almighty one."

Familiar drill by now, Levantia did not hesitate as he began his duty. He reached for the broom and began the dreary business of wiping the blood-soaked floor. The Haemonculus continued with his work and for Emperor knew how long, they went about minding their business without any notice of the existence of one another. It was as though Levantia had found a new purpose of life, one that if an Inquisitor found out about, Levantia would no doubt be executed at least two times over, one for weakness and the other for willingly collaborating with the xenos.


Work hard.

Be obedient.

Give no feeling to the situation of your kin.

No other choice. No other option.

Act like a dog and you will survive. Yes, survive, but not live.

Day in, day out, all of these have become normal, which was anything but in any sense. Sometimes, Levantia questioned how low he had fallen, what kind of heartless beast he had become, if he was anywhere better than the xenos. And every time, the answer was simple: there was no other choice left.

In another day, this would have gone fine, but today was different. Without warning, the Haemonculus seized the human overseer with two of his hands and brought in next to the rack. Levantia neither protested nor resisted; with such strength that carried him, he was better off be cooperative for now. Another hand reached for the back of the overseer's head and pressed it closer, forcing him to take a good look at the being on the rack.

God Emperor's Mercy. It was still alive.

The being was in such pitiful shape that Levantia was reluctant to refer to as anything other than "it". There was no distinction of what sex this person might have been, or anything to indicate this was human in the first place. What was left was an unholy mess of skin patchwork that had been flayed and glued back, a horribly deformed face and testicles overlapping outside the body.

But there was beauty in it. The concept. The design. The execution. The symmetry. The shapes and sizes of cuts. They were all perfect. It took Levantia a while to realize this was beyond a pile of mess: it was a work of art. A dark one, that is.

"Is it not remarkable?" asked the Haemonculus. "They told me you have a good eye for it, that you stared at my works outside more than anyone else on this ship. So, how does this one look?"

Levantia felt his blood boiling. The hatred he felt for this being was becoming unbearable. Humanity sometimes ha to degrade itself to step further in the long run, but the Dark Eldar degraded humanity simply for the fun of it. This was the breaking point. No longer would he tolerate the filthy xenos. Even in death, he would at least show them…

"Mon'keigh overseer," came a voice Levantia had become strangely acquainted with. "I need you to the deck right now."

"Awww," cooed the Haemonculus, turning around to address the woman standing at the door. "Don't tell me you are here to take away my critic. It's so hard to have people with good taste for high arts these days."

"Save it for later," said the female Dark Eldar. She had slender tight body, sharp face and jet black hair fashioned into a braid that ran to her feet. All in all, she was attractive and more endowed than most of her kind. "The Archon's party is returning from the latest raid. We should all not try to displease him."

The mention of the Archon might have had some effect on the Haemonculus, because he let go of Levantia immediately. Holding back the vomit in his throat, the human overseer rushed towards the door as soon as possible, the image of the tortured victim still burning hot in his brain. Another second in this room and he would be sick.

"You really saved me there," Levantia thanked the female xeno.

"No problem," she replied. "Crox has a tendency to scare the shit out of people. Nobody here shares his obsession. And his artworks stink like an Ork."

Darelyn was the sanest Dark Eldar Levantia had even known, and that was not saying much. If he were to rank, her level of lunacy would be somewhat between a Commissar with chainsword and pistol and a Lord Commissar in a Baneblade, both of whom Levantia was always glad have on his side, even if he wanted to stay away from them (especially the latter) as much as possible. For some bizarre reason, this particular Dark Eldar had become fond of him. At first, he thought it was a trick and tried to ignore her. After a while, they could be said to have something close to a relationship. Of all the xenos on board this ship, Darelyn was the most childish, apparently the result of a lifetime within Commorragh being sheltered inside a well-protected fortress surrounded by bodyguards without any fear of imminent danger and any notion of what was really going on out there.

Darelyn had tried to explain to Levantia during one of their conversations the reason why her people was so cruel. She stated as though it was them the good guys in this story. The Dark Eldar were bound to the being known as She-Who-Thirsts and had to consume the souls of others to stave off their death. However, all of this will soon change, as after centuries of research and struggle against the daemonic tide, they had come close to finding the way to lead their race to salvation. A cure would be produced, and soon, the predation of She-Who-Thirsts would be over at last. Long under the delusion of their own arrogance, the Craftworld and Exodite cousins would finally open their eyes and come to them, hailing them as saviors, begging to join, and the Dark kin would embrace them with open arms. The Eldar empire would be restored. An alliance with the Imperium of Man would be forged, now that the Eldar no longer required human souls for survival. The forces of Chaos, Orks and Great Devourers would be forever vanquished while the interstellar empires of Tau and Necron would bow before such unstoppable might. In the meantime, however, the Dark Eldar needed sustenance and, since humans were so ignorant of this fact, this coming of a magnificent event, they had no other choice to take it by force.

Oh, Darelyn, how naïve you are, Levantia thought. Such fantasy did not exist in the universe. If the extraction of the soul was the only reason why the Dark Eldar took prisoners, then half of all of this would have been necessary. The truth was they thrive on pain of others, in order to enhance their hedonistic lifestyle, whether or not She-Who-Thirsts held a clutch on them. It had been like that since before the Fall, and that would likely be the case until their whole misbegotten race went extinct.

The pirates of the Commorragh had escaped fate far too long. They had overstayed their welcome in this universe. But none can do that forever. One day, every Dark Eldar on board the Eternity of Torment would perish, the Emperor's justice finally served and his holy angels banishing the corruption from this ship forever.

But Levantia made a promise to himself. He would be the one who kill Darelyn, out of what little love he had for her. She was innocent, kind of, and he wanted her innocence to persist till the end. A quick, merciless death. Something none of her kin deserved.

"Everything's alright with you?" asked Darelyn asked as the two made their way to the deck. "You look kinda green. Is it natural for a Mon'keigh or have you caught a fever?"

"You don't need to worry about me, Mistress," said Levantia, shaking away the images in the Haemonculus chamber. "This humble one can still serve."

Darelyn gave him a whole-hearted smile. "Very good, then."

The deck of the Eternity of Torment was crowded with Dark Eldar, overseers and lesser slaves, standing in preparation for the arrival of the raiding group which they would accommodate. Levantia joined his human overseers and Darelyn walked to her lot with other Trueborns.

The Webway portal opened and sleek skimming vehicles painted in black emerged. An order came from the Dark Eldar commander to get ready.

Something was wrong. Levantia and the others realized that as soon as the battlegroup of Raiders and Venoms stepped out from the portal. They were ragged, riddled with holes, scorched and overall bearing signs of heavy damage. Some were limping laboriously, traversing left and right like a drunken man. On top of that, out of the hundred vehicles that made up the raiding party, no more than two dozen had made it back, their cargoes filled with wounded soldiers instead of slaves.

Cries of outrage were heard, coming especially from the Trueborns. Every Dark Eldar in the chamber wore a facial expression as though they had been forced to swallow a lemon. On the other hand, Levantia and the overseers felt rejuvenated somehow witnessing the defeat their hated masters, even if that would not do them any good. Of the lower class slaves, they seemed unaffected, either because experience had taught them to be more pragmatist or the tortures they endured had rendered any positive emotion impossible.

The vehicles came to a halt and the crew disembarked. Out of the lead Raider came Archon Feharuln Snaketongue flanked by a retinue of Incubi, the corrupted version of Eldar Aspect Warriors that had taken the role of bodyguards for the nobles of the Commorragh. Though his face was hidden behind the mask, his heavy, rapid footsteps spoke of unquenchable anger.

"We welcome you back like the stars welcome the moon, my lord," one of the Dark Eldar Trueborns said, bowing in front of the Archon. "Thanks the Father it seems you are unharmed. We were so worried about…"

The poor bastard did not even finish his flatter as his master swiped off his head with a dagger. As the decapitated body hit the floor, everyone in the chamber, Dark Eldar and overseers alike, watched in wordless shock. A tiny screech came from the xenos group. Levantia's heart throbbed as he realized it belonged to Darelyn. Apparently, she had remained utterly ignorant of Feharuln savage and ruthless, yet astonishingly fair, nature until now. Levantia still remembered the fit he threw when one prisoner somehow escaped before the raiding party entered the Webway. Back then, the Archon had a hundred other prisoners and ten more Dark Eldar flayed alive in front of everybody else, giving them both a lesson as to what kind of prompt, indiscriminate chastisement would take place when his will went undone.

Unperturbed, the enraged Archon and his men stormed out of the chamber, leaving the rest to perform their maintenance duty.

Back in the cell, the discussion about the recent was lively. Returning from a long, hard day of work, all the overseers bore a satisfying grin on their face. If there was any reward truly worth their labor and humiliation, that was the independence they enjoyed. No form of supervision existed in this chamber, or at least that was what the Dark Eldar promised. In here, everyone could afford to be themselves without fear of punishment. The problem was, nobody was themselves anymore. The whole experience was taking its toll and they had become altogether negligent of what kind of heresy they were committing and what fate their fellow humans at the lower deck were suffering while they still gloated.

"Fuckers got what they deserve," Bruno whooped. "I say, that is how the Emperor's justice is served."

"Hold your horses, Bruno," said Sveltanar. "There are still enough of them here to make any break out attempt unfeasible. And I am sure they can get reinforcement to compensate for that."

"I don't care if I am going to die here," countered Bruno. "You saw those bastards react when…that happened, Throne be praised, that was priceless."

"What are they going to do to us now?" asked Corinna, his voice trembling with fear. They did not call him Corinna the Pessimist for nothing. "They are not going to take it on us, are they?"

"Not likely," said Levantia. Though what he saw at the Haemonculus place still haunted him, it made up for but a small fraction of his mind, the rest dedicated to the celebration of the revenge by proxy that had just occurred. "Now that they are thinner, we are more valuable. At least until they get fresh troops, they will have to show us respect."

"They have already extended their respect far enough," said Sveltanar skeptically. "I doubt they will…"

The door to the cell opened and a figure was tossed inside just before it shut once more. All the eyes in the room were drawn to it. The overseers circled around the being that had just been dumped into the cell. Under the faint light, Levantia could make out it was human, a young female with slender body and white clothes. She did not seem to be moving, though her heavy breathing was evident.

"What the heck?" asked Corinna.

"Fresh meat?" asked Relius.

"Does not look like an overseer to me," said Bruno. No woman had ever made it into the rank, for obvious reasons other than them being physically inferior. "Is this some sort of trick? Are they playing with us, putting a woman in here?"

"Whatever it is, we need to investigate," said Sveltanar cautiously. "I am sure there has to be a rational cause for this. Who will volunteer?"

"I will do it," said Levantia. His time spent with Darelyn had made him aware of certain tricks the Dark Eldar were fond of pulling with their victims. If anything, at least a couple of red flags should be raised about the awkwardness of the situation. Though he was far from ready, Levantia doubted the others were any closer.

"Be careful," said Sveltanar.

Levantia approached the woman and bent down to examine. Her body twitched slightly on the touch. The cloth that covered her body was formfitting and made from a material that was smoother than any silk or fabric Levantia had ever seen in his life. Strange symbols adorned the suit, bearing a strange resemblance to the icons employed by the Dark Eldar as well as those the overseers had taken up without any understanding of their meaning, but they seemed much gentler and lacked any malicious undertone. The only exposed parts were her head and her feet. Her face was hidden behind a cascade of golden hair, but looking at her bare feet, Levantia could see the woman was unnaturally pale.

As he cleared out the wisps of hair that fell upon her face, Levantia noticed a disproportionately large ear that took on the shape of a dagger. As a matter of fact, all her facial features seemed too pointy and lean than any normal being. Though the differences were subtle, they were more than obvious to the naked eyes. With a rude awakening, Levantia realized this woman was belonged to the same species that enslaved him.

"What is it," asked Sveltanar. "Anything wrong?"

"She is…," Levantia stammered. "She is an Eldar."

The news sent a shockwave across the room. It was not uncommon for a Dark Eldar to be dropped into a slave chamber. Most of them ended up in the lower part of the deck where slaves tortured to the point of hysteria tore them apart viciously as soon as they were thrown inside. The upper one was for those who could redeem or prove useful only.

"I told you they were going to kill us all," cried Corinna. "They sent this bitch in here and now she is going to slit our throats when we sleep."

"There is one of her and twenty four of us," Relius assuaged. "If she does anything fishy, we can take her on."

As the other overseers discussed on what to do, Levantia continued to remove hair locks from the woman's face. She was lovely, not in the same way as Darelyn, but possessing different attractive traits. It was such a shame that the only beautiful women Levantia met in his life were filthy xenos, bane of mankind and enemies of the Imperium. But there was something more to it. Looking closer, he realized she had none of the deeper, more implicit characteristics of the pirates he served. Her body was tender and frail where they were brutishly lithe, her skin white but not unhealthily so like the Dark Eldar, her fingers and toes evenly shaped and not elongated in twisted fashion. Levantia came to the conclusion this woman might not be a Dark Eldar, she was…

"Craftworld," he spoke out. "I think she is from the Craftworld. Which one I cannot say."

"Does it really matter?" asked Bruno. Like Levantia, he was former Guard, from the Garalian 4th, a regiment renowned for its hatred against all sentient alien life forms. "Xenos all the same. I say we beat her up and hang whatever remains of her body on the wall, so that when the Dark Eldar see it, they will know what fate awaits those who mess with us." Some of the overseers expressed their approval, much to Levantia chagrin.

"Or how about you let me handle this," said Levantia vehemently. Despite all the indoctrination and training, despite years of combating the aliens and first-hand witness of her kin's unforgivable depravity, Levantia could not help but feel sorry for this woman. He sympathized with all slaves on board this ship, no matter where they came from, even if expressing it would mean a death sentence.

"What gives you the authority?" asked Bruno contemptuously.

"Nothing," said Levantia. "But you will all have to kill me and displease our masters before you lay a single hand on her. This is not who we are, murderers and rapists."

There were mutters amongst the other overseers. Levantia did not expect all of them to understand him, but he would stick to his gun no matter what.

"Fine then," Bruno conceded. "Since have already stooped this low, how worse can it possibly get? But if she ever creeps up to try and murder me in my sleep, know that one of my eyes is always open."

"You can shut both of your eyes and your mouth and sleep peacefully," Levantia assured him. "I will take care of her."

As the crowd dispersed, Levantia turned to look at the Eldar woman. Her face was like an angel when she slept, even if that comparison was heretical in the extreme. Her gloved hands were clasped together beneath of her chin as though praying. Her exposed feet rubbed against one another and the toes curled, probably from the cold. The woman seemed to have already experience so much pain, even if that was a drop in the ocean compared to the human he saw in the Haemonculus torture rack. Her clothes were shredded at several places and the flesh underneath them mercilessly cut. A few of the cuts were opened further with the help of some tools, intensifying the agony even more.

"Hey, wake up," said Levantia as he shook her shoulder lightly. He was not sure if doing so was the best idea, but it was worth a try.

Slowly, the Eldar's eyes opened, gazing at Levantia inquisitively, her amber looking straight at his emerald. The rest of her body remained still, too painful to even budge. As their eyes met, Levantia could see no malicious intent, no sadistic desire, no hunger for violent. Instead, he felt he was captivated by those two golden orbs, more than any piece of Crox's artworks. Within them, there was a mixture of fear and uncertainty. She had the look of someone who had once had hope, but chosen to abandon it altogether, unlike the overseers who simply hid it away for the time being.

"Do you understand what I am saying?" he asked, trying to get her attention.

The pause seemed to last forever.


That was the first and only word she spoke to him. The voice was tender and carried a melodic tone. It was as sweet as honey, but as bitter as gall at the same time. There was sadness in it, mixed with annoyance. And contempt, too. A great deal of contempt.

The Eldar woman turned around with considerable effort, withdrawing from Levantia's stare. In doing so, some of her wounds reopened and blood began to gush out. Letting out a slight moan in pain, she cuddled her knees like a pillow and sewed her eyes shut. Levantia could see droplets of tears dripping from them, despite her effort to resist them.

Her body was hurt, but her pride was probably even more. Levantia knew the Eldar took such thing with great seriousness and cursed himself for being the ignorant one around here. She obviously wanted nothing to do with him.

He had tried to get her attention. And he had failed. His attempt to make contact with the Eldar of the Craftworld kind had actually made the situation worse for her. He would not repeat that any time soon.

Am I really an idiot? Levantia asked himself. His Dark Eldar masters referred him with many derisive words and phrases in Low Gothic, and probably even more in their tongue.

But an idiot?


Author's note:I always enjoy Eldar and human romance, so here is my take on it. The human character feels like a bit Gary Stu-ish, but bear with me on that one. I want to have the human character playing a big role in the overall plot about the great struggle and not just there for the romance. Don't worry, he is not going to win that fist fight against a Bloodthirster any time soon.

I really hate the way the Eldar can bring Dark Eldar as Battle Brothers but I cannot put Tau next to Imperial Guards who are CLEARLY in a better relationship without them watching out for each other's betrayal. The Dark Eldar exploit their kin in every way possible, and the Eldar wished nothing more than to get rid of the Dark Eldar as soon as the common enemy is vanquished.

The way the Dark Eldar are portrayed are so one-dimensional in a lot of cases. They want power and slaves because they are evil and sadists, that's it. OK, they still follow the same stereotype, but with some newer flairs into it. This story takes on a new approach on them, with some inspiration from slavery system in America.