A Deadly Feint"Here's what I heard from my contacts, Thanarach.' Over the Whisper, Thresyn Neverbreath's voice sounded heavy with urgency. "Lady Anielyn's torturers couldn't get any useful information from the Parched. She's now convinced we know more than she wants about Hurrikhaine. The Bleaksouls are on the move to bring her any of us."
"Very well..." replied Yrule "Inghfar, what about the Shards and our employer?"
"Lord Verkhosian didn't make any overt move" came the Ranger's reply "But voices have reached the Shards he will pay them with our souls. Apparently, he's not satisfied. The Shards couldn't track us, but are shadowing the Bleaksouls."
"All is in place, then" Yrule pondered with satisfaction. "Thresyn, I'm sending you support, Excrucia in the lead. Keep both our friends busy. Give the impression you are after captives, just like them. Do not take any unnecessary risk. I repeat, do not take any risk. I only need time to take a peak at Daisan's secrets."
The Void Phoenixes stepped out of the webway portal onto the chill air of the Sorrowshards. Jair and Halt’har primed Bhanlhar and readied their shuriken catapults.
Excrucia and Uless advanced to the left of the Sorrowshards while Fachean joined Thresyn to their right.
The Bleaksouls were in front of the Kabalite and Corsair, taking shelter from their fire in a structure hosting a Couldron of Souls.
Some distance away, the Shards placed their heavy weaponry on a crumbling balcony. A towering Sslyth nodded to Kaerathir and each took a fighter with them towards the nearest webway portal.
Morghdrax and Lakbyrn peeled off from the rest of the Bleaksouls and jumped through another portal. They stepped out of two different ones at either side of the portico leading to the Sorrowshards.
Excrucia seized on Morghdrax's confusion and charged the Hekatrix. The two started sparring, as they had done for so many years in the arenas.
The portal behind them flared again and in rapid succession the Sslyth and Des'rashi joined the fight.
Lakbyrn and Uless saw the danger for their leaders and rushed to their sides.
Mazrayth and Ynado've started pouring fire into the mass fight. A Dark Lance beam slammed onto Uless, but the Rune of Ynnead wrought into the former Wytch armour absorbed the shot.
The Sslyth lashed at Excrucia, seriously injuring her and leaving her exposed to Lakbyrn opportunistic thrust. Uless felt Excrucia's spirit leaving her body, together with all the other souls she harboured.
Uless wounded Morghdrax, ducked under his resposte, grabbed Excrucia's body and run for the Sorrowshards. Behind her the whistling of the Shards' fire mixed with the wailing of departing aeldari souls.
Buffled by Uless' suddden retreat, Morghdrax was unprepared for the Sslyth's assault. Lakbyrn stepped in just in time to stop Des'rashi finishing the Hekatrix off.
Under the cover of friendly fire, Uless made it to the Sorrowshards. Screaming for Fachean and Thresyn to retreat, she raised a silent prayer to Ynnead, reached for Excrucia's vanishing essence and tethered it to herself. The Sorrowshards started to thrum and glow as they absorbed the other souls that had been in Excrucia.
No longer threatened by Thresyn's flamer, the Bleaksouls moved to meet Kaerathir, which was advancing towards them.
The fight between Lakbyrn and the Sslyth at the portico was at a standstill.
Although injured, Kaerathir withstood the assault and took Bahreneq down.
The Shards hammered the Void Phonixes with fire. Her Rune of Ynnead now spent, Uless succumbed to her injuries, letting slip of Excrucia's soul. Jair just managed to hold onto it before she, too, was hit by dark light.
Gasping for air, Jair dragged herself to the closest crystal. Her scanner had picked a unique frequency and the Guardian knew there was only one chance. Only one hope.
She placed her hand over the glowing, thrumming surface and poured all the souls she carried into it. The vibrations reached a fevered peak, as the damaged crystals struggled to contain all the energy pouring onto them.
Suddenly, the crystals flared, blinding light spearing the false sky before inverting its trajectory and streaming into Excrucia's body.
The body jolted. Excrucia's eyelids slammed open and a banshee's howl filled the air.
In a distant, even darker corner of Commorragh, Yrule saw the light spear and heard Excrucia's howl. He prayed to Ynnead her suffering would be short. Then, he spread his Swooping Hawk Wings and glided over the ruined streets. Hunched, snarling shapes stirred and followed his shadow.