Preface (Out of Character)
I felt the urge to write up my latest gaming session from the point of view of the Xenos.
An empire of sentient Wow-esque Fey Dragons that resided in a mountain and after hearing about the Human Imperium, imitated it as much as they could. My players dropped a Nuclear bomb on them, looted as much as they could from the wreckage (whilst wearing power armour) and one of them specifically decided to go around skinning every Fey Dragon he could get his hands on in order to make shiny/shimmering clothes to sell. Enjoy!
The following is a collection of accounts from survivors of the Massacre, mine included, where our species may have narrowly avoided Xenocide. We all know what generally happened; a Nuclear Bomb was dropped on our glorious mountain civilization, millions died in an instant and our Imperium died with it. Hopefully these four choice accounts will shed more light on the less known and more personal details. Anyway, the first is my story.
First account by Librarian Martin, survivor of the Nuclear Massacre
I was an assistant to Master Librarian Methuselah, helping to keep our books in Alphabetical order, handling borrowing and returns etcetera, etcetera but on that specific day I was assisting him with his latest research project – a study on apple trees and their effects on the local fauna. As I was reading a particularly interesting treatise on Apple Variants a thunderous roar reverberated throughout the Library and the room began to oscillate and quake dramatically; bookshelves tumbled and masonry cracked causing dust and debris to shower down in rivulets. The vibrations seemed to intensify and whole sections of the ceiling caved in burying aisles, exits and frequenters alike.
In the aftermath, I helped poor old Methuselah who had fallen to the floor and then frantically attempted to rescue any survivors who were stuck under the rubble. Unfortunately everyone I dug out was already dead or dying. Not knowing what had happened we assumed it was a natural event, maybe an Earthquake, and believed that our Citizens and Soldiers would already be attempting to dig out survivors. We resolved to wait and whilst Methuselah settled down to read his book I began to return other books to their shelves and collected any damaged ones with a plan to restore them later on.
After a few hours we began to hear the sounds of digging and wreckage being moved above the ceiling and so our spirits soared for we believed rescue was here and it was faster than we had hoped. As light began to pour down through the new hole in the ceiling, it was swiftly obvious that whoever or whatever was digging down was not a rescue party; we could see massive armoured gauntlets the size of our chests ripping chunks of concrete from the ceiling and we could also hear the whine of huge servos as they took the weight of the rubble and moved it and so Methuselah and I took cover, hiding behind an aisle at the far end of the library. It was then that a figure dropped down into the library and it was massive; a hulking form five times the height of a Fire-Drake stretching the the ceiling of our tall library. This giant was clad in chunky power armour with limbs thicker than our bodies, it had four arms – two of which appeared to spring from its back clasping axes large enough to bisect us in a single swing. I don’t mind telling you, I was terrified.
As the Colossus began to ransack our precious library, Methuselah ordered me to hide and then bravely sallied forth to confront it. As I shuffled under some rubble – pulling sections and flakes over myself, I heard Methuselah challenge the Leviathan and so I watched through the dust that hung in the air like a fog. Methuselah shuffled along with his walking stick, having long lost the ability to fly, and whilst he barely came up to this Ogre’s knee he appeared like a titan to me; steadfast and defiant in the face of this Behemoth.
I find it hard to talk or write about the following moments without tears of rage and frustration coming to my eyes but in Methuselah’s memory, I shall find the strength. The monstrosity brutally punched Methuselah’s frail form and killed him in an instant by shattering bone with a crack that broke my heart. The beast stepped forward and then slid out a knife the size of my arm with which he literally skinned Methuselah before my very eyes. I tried not to watch but the sounds were horrible enough; the sawing grate of metal through flesh and hair, the tearing slaps as hide was torn from muscles and bone and then the wet splatter of blood and viscera upon the cold, hard floor. I looked up at the end, seeing the shine of blood all over the floor and upon the arms of the monster who had slain my friend and mentor. In revulsion I saw that it was holding his dripping skin up and studying it like a scientist with a prize specimen. I will never forget that moment, the cold lifeless lenses of that vile fiend and the large, heavy bag into which Methuselah’s skin was stuffed, the way that the bag moved – as if it was nearly full. I shudder to think how many other skins that brute had harvested that day and how close I came to joining them.
When I finally raised the courage to leave I found the remnants of our glorious mountain strewn across the valley with bits of wreckage poking forth from boulders like the clawing hands of survivors begging to be rescued. A thick, clogging dust covered everything in a layer like icing on a cake and a sickly cloud hung overhead as if it was just begging to rain upon what remained of our civilization which I soon saw was virtually nothing apart from the odd survivor like myself and whatever personal treasures they carried with them. I remember thinking to myself that this was our extinction event, we would either survive and rebuild or die out and become a footnote in someone else’s history books.
Second Account by Empress Jamyl, survivor of the Nuclear Massacre
That day began like any other. I, Empress Jamyl, woke up and flew with my husband as we looked upon the bright beacon that was our Empire. Our people were happy, our borders were protected, the economy was flourishing and our species was in the height of a golden age of science and progress. Then those barbarians ruined it in an instant.
I was in the throne room at the time with my Lord husband the Emperor, who was greeting the daily petitioners, when a shadow crossed over the crystal skylights, dipping the room into darkness for a brief moment. I don’t know what caused the shadow but moments later the room became brighter than it ever had before, I closed my eyes and yet I could still see the room through my eyelids. The heat became unbearable and I screamed yet I couldn’t hear it, I couldn’t hear anything. I had been robbed of that sense by the screeching of the throne room’s void shields, a noise that I could feel vibrating in my bones. I don’t know what happened after that because I passed out, a mercy I think.
When I came to, the Throne room was a mess and the floor was settled at an odd angle as if the entire room had been knocked over like a toy. Sections of the walls and ceilings had fallen, crushing some petitioners and Custodes, our personal bodyguards. My husband, my Emperor, perched regally on the throne and declared that we were under attack. He ordered me to retreat to our quarters and followed soon after with a cadre of surviving Custodes. With access to our computers in our quarters we attempted to piece together what had happened which was not an easy feat with all of our networks cut and external cameras offline. It was quickly considered a lost cause because camera recordings weren’t stored on our personal computers and there was nothing we could do to re-establish connections to networks which may or may not have existed any more.
Not long after that, the Custodes reported that well armed and armoured foreign entities had breached the walls of wreckage and were as of that moment entering the throne room. My glorious husband at once ordered the majority of the Custodes to fall back to the main quarters and hold it against these invaders, he also ordered me to hide in our wardrobe and to stay there until he told it me it was safe to come out. I started hearing clashes of battle, sharp cracks of gunfire and the screams of our warriors. I thought the sounds of fighting was bad enough but somehow the silence afterwards was worse, not knowing what had happened and imagining all manners of horrors coming for me. Suddenly the door to my wardrobe was thrown open and a bipedal warrior stomped in. I held my head up high and closed my eyes, expecting to die.
Instead I became a prisoner and was treated abominably; I was tied up, questioned, disrespected and allowed no dignity whatsoever. As I was carried away I saw my husband, my Emperor, carried aloft by the celebrating marauders who trampled over the torn and battered bodies of our Custodes, scattering pieces of their armour and blood across the floor. All manner of horrible thoughts raced through my head. Was I to be kept as a trophy? Was I to be executed publicly? Would it have been better to kill myself?
I was carried to the surface and from my position on the Conqueror’s shoulder I saw what had become of my beautiful empire. There’s only one way to hurt a Fire-Drake who has nothing; give her back something broken. That’s exactly what my captor did, he gave me back my life and released me into the wasteland that had been my home. At the time I thought he was showing me mercy but now I know better. I wish he had killed me.
Since then I’ve been a beggar Empress, entreating other survivors for scraps or aid. I have cursed those destroyers every day since then and especially that one warrior for leaving me alive and struggling to simply survive. That is not a living for one such as me.
Third account by Captain Flavian, survivor of the Nuclear Massacre
I was in charge of an anti-armour wing patrolling the Northern border of our Empire, the two soldiers under my command being Titus and Vespian. We received reports of an invading force breaching the Western border and so Wing Commander Galba summoned the Northern patrols together, nine wings in total, in anticipation of relocation or engagement orders.
The first contact reports from the West stated that the foes were heavily armed and armoured but were ground-based only. That was the last dispatch we received.
Within minutes four massive vessels screeched down through the cloud layer; an unexpected surprise that caught us all off guard. From our position we could see them streak down faster than anything we had ever seen before and I sympathise with our central patrols because whilst they valiantly attempted to intercept them, they simply weren’t fast enough. Within seconds of them appearing a bomb dropped from one of the jets and then all four rocketed back up and away into the clouds.
At the time, I felt sense of foreboding; it’s just one bomb I told myself, what can one bomb do? Somehow I knew I was wrong, maybe it was the way they dropped just one or the show of force by coming as a group of four but as each second passed and the cone dropped faster and faster towards home, my dread grew and grew.
The white flash burned my vision away and moments later as we reeled in the sky, a shock-wave smashed into us and scattered us. I remember hearing a scream from one of my wing-men and I think it was Vespian but I will never know. As I tried to right myself in the air, the heat hit and then there was only my own screams as my wings burned and my body seared. I hit the ground moments later and broke my left wing and arm, I still can’t use that arm and the wing hasn’t worked properly ever since.
I survived by crawling around, feeding on the only food source that I could find – the dead. I was reduced to a crippled, blind cannibal and even to this day I hate myself for what I had to do. For all I know, I may have even eaten one of my own men and that’s just something no-one should ever have to go through.
Fourth account by Civilian Tiria, survivor of the Nuclear Massacre
We didn’t know at the time what had happened, the mountain seemed to simply collapse around us and whole residential caverns caved in. Ours swiftly became swamped with refugees and survivors pulled from the wreckage of the surrounding caves, it had survived in quite good order due to being centrally placed beneath the reinforced hatchery.
Whilst caring for the wounded, we waited for rescue, knowing the Emperor and his forces wouldn’t leave us to die. We waited for three days but with the air growing foul and our provisions non-existent, we were forced to try and make our own way out.
In the end, we were able to clear a route into the hatchery but what we found there was beyond words. Each and every egg had been broken open and it wasn’t from wreckage, the reinforced roof had held against the collapse, they had been deliberately cracked open. We found the skinned bodies of the poor, poor younglings just dropped on the floor like so much rubbish. It shocked us and we couldn’t comprehend what was going on but it was our first clue as to what really happened, we hypothesized that some form of attack had brought our mountain low and that some unknown enemy wanted to annihilate us. Even then, there were holes in that theory for this obviously wasn’t just genocide otherwise they would have simply smashed the eggs. This savagery was something more. We never found the answer and probably never will.
Eventually we reached the surface and everything was gone. You can’t imagine it. It was a sea of steaming rubble covered with a dirty ash that swirled in the wind. So many bodies. We made our way down what remained of our mountain, our home, hoping against hope to find more survivors. For a while we thought we were the last ones alive.
Our species is on the brink of extinction. Many of us suffer daily with residual radiation poisoning and burns or wounds suffered in that cataclysm, we also deal with growing cancers and birth defects among the newborns. There is a very real risk that we will be unable to rebuild and repopulate and in that case all that will remain of our society is what we can record and build now. Recording this, a history of our very worst day, may be of more importance than anything else we can leave behind. In the memory of those that were lost and to any who read this in the future, Never Forget.
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And they made the finest suit words could possibly imagine