Disclaimer: I own neither Inheritance cycle nor Warhammer 40k. Both of these and their characters belong to their respective owners.

Prologue: Monster

The half moon hung in a cloudless sky, illuminating the river below. The wind blew gently through the leaves of the trees that lined the river. It would have seemed to be an entirely benign night, except for the lack of animal noise. For there were none. Aside from the rustling of leaves the night was silent. Every creature, even the insects, had fled the area by a certain bend in the river, sensing the fell presence that lurked there, waiting.

The monster crouched amongst the trees, its serpentine shape coiled and ready to spring. Silently, it waited for its prey to come near. It had searched long for its goal, and now nothing would keep it from accomplishing it. Everything would go perfectly tonight.

Around it, 60 humans also waited. They were tall and dark skinned, as befitted a race that lived in the desert. Dressed in light linens, most of them also wore leather armor. Many of them clutched bows, while the rest fingered daggers and other weapons. All of them were hiding, camouflaged amongst the plants lining the river.

The monster hissed as one of its minions sneezed. They shrank away, fearing the monster's wrath. The monster fumed. His current minions were a far cry from the warriors it was used to commanding, be they daemons or Astartes. Indeed, against the foes they were about to face it would have been far better to have brought more capable followers with him. But breaching the wards that protected this world had been hard enough alone. Forcing even a small force would have been impossible. So for now, these humans would have to do.

It was those same wards that protected this world that also prevented it from using the full extent of its powers, binding its sorcery to a xeno language. It hissed again, this time in disgust at the thought, hating that this world had made him dependent on a foul alien language. But it was a price he was willing to pay for the mission.

It had stumbled upon this tribe of nomads soon after it arrived in this world. As mere mortals, they were easily aligned to its cause through the powers granted to it by the Prince of Pleasure, Slaanesh. Only their shaman refused him, but that was no obstacle. A few minutes were all that was necessary for it to enslave the shaman's mind. After that, it had been easy to convince the nomads to help it.

Now it sat in its hiding place, waiting. It forbade its followers any movement, anything that could give their position away.

For hours, they remained as thus, the mortals exhaustion kept at bay by fear of their master and anticipation for what he could bring. Then their target came into sight.

A ship came around the bend in the river, its sail gleaming faintly in the moonlight. On the deck, it spotted a few beings, beings that looked markedly similar to the Eldar. The exception was the one with dark blue fur and fangs. That one also had a strange aroma surrounding it. The monster paused, analyzing the scent, then smiled. This would make its plan much easier.

And there near the prow of the ship stood its target. He stood tall, his features a mix of human and Eldar. An elaborately worked scabbard hung at his hip, and a bow and quiver were slung across his back. He was swinging a sword, obviously practicing. His movements were fast, fast as an Astartes' attack, but with a grace akin to a harlequin. He seemed to epitomize the ideal warrior. The only flaws on his body were the white calluses on his knuckles. The monster frowned. Why he had the calluses the monster had no idea. They would have to go, or maybe be replaced with something more aesthetic, like claws.

Behind the ship swam the largest threat to the plan. A sapphire dragon's head and back were visible in the river, her scales glinting in the moon light. To any other creature she would have seemed the epitome of magnificence. The monster was not so easily impressed.

The monster waited for a moment, modifying its plan, then initiated the first phase. As quietly as it could, it whispered the words to a spell, resenting its reliance on such means for its powers. The spell worked perfectly. The aroma surrounding the furry figure suddenly intensified dramatically. Within seconds more figures emerged on deck. The female ones instantly mobbed the furry one, shrieking all the time. The males, milling around in confusion, tried desperately to relieve the furry one of the aroused females attacking him. The monster smiled. Phase one was complete. Time for phase two.

Attack, it commanded telepathically. All around him, the minions with bows drew them back, arrows nocked, then released them at the cluster of beings on the ship. The monster growled another string of syllables, making sure the brown haired figure was unharmed by the volley. The rest of the beings on the ship were cut down by the murderous volley. Half of them fell, slain, while the rest who were unaffected by the aroma spun around, wounded, searching for the ones who had done this.

"Garjzla" the monster said. Purple bolts exploded from its four arms, shooting across the river and impacting on the remaining males. They fell, burn marks marring their features, eyes wide in pain and shock.

Now the only threat left was the target and his dragon, which had taken flight and was headed straight for the monster's location. With a roar, the dragon's jaws opened and fire as hot as a promethium stream billowed out. The monster itself was unaffected, but some of the monsters minions were caught in the conflagration. They screamed as they were torched, fire marring their features before it consumed them. As the dragon passed overhead, the monster unfurled its own wings and rose into the air. With a hiss, it abandoned its minions and shot toward the boat. Its target had just enough time to mouth a spell, one of the death words in the xeno language. It had no effect on the monster, who promptly knocked him out and grabbed him.

With a victorious roar, it flew away from the river, the dragon in hot pursuit. She cursed the monster as a coward and called it all manner of vile names. The monster would have dearly loved to have turned around and killed her, but now was not the time. It could not afford to alienate his prisoner too much. Later however…

The monster continued forward, ignoring the insults and threats leveled at it, until finally reached its route away from this world. A derelict arch lay in front of him on the ground. It looked innocuous enough, but its appearance belied its usefulness. Casting energy forward, the monster opened up a section of the Eldar webway, the only way to access this world at supraluminal speeds. Lightening cracked as the portal opened, exposing the white swirling tunnel of the webway. Putting on a sudden burst of speed the monster dove straight through the portal and closed it, leaving its pursuer behind. The dragon was left hovering in the material universe, roaring and shrieking.

ERAGON! She wailed.

The monster flew through the webway, using a route it had gleaned from the mind of a harlequin. Under one of its four arms its prisoner rested, safely unconscious.

The monster smiled. The sixth son had been retrieved. Abbadon the Despoiler's 14th Crusade would take place with the six champions of Slaanesh leading the charge, and the hated corpse emperor would be toppled. Humanity would be…

A psychic bolt hit the monster in the side. It roared in agony and ecstasy as pain lanced its body. It spun around to see a shadowy figure flit into view. Despite the stark white of the tunnel, all the monster could make out was a silhouette. It was reminiscent of an Eldar, but the monster couldn't see any more details.

The silhouette sent another bolt of psychic energy at the monster. This one impacted on the monster's muzzle, charring it. The monster roared, angry at the scar that now blighted its jaw. As one of Slaanesh's greatest devotees, it could not stand imperfection of any kind. And now this thing had the audacity to blight its perfection. It was so tempting to attack this interloper. Indeed, if it had been Khorne's disciple it would have. But it couldn't. It must master this impulse.

The monster tried to turn away, but the silhouette's mocking laugh stopped him. Before the monster could react another bolt crashed into its chest. Roaring again, the monster charged the silhouette, its own psychic might gathering in its palms. The silhouette gave way before the assault, dancing and dodging around the attacks and responding with its own bolts.

They dueled each other, tearing rents in the webway as they sped along the tunnel. The conflict dragged on for hours, then days as the monster and silhouette continued their battle. Then the silhouette dodged to the side and made a slashing motion with its arms. The monster turned to see the webway opening in front of it. The monster yelped as its momentum carried it out of the webway and onto a sandy surface in the material universe. It impacted, plowing a furrow in the desert sand.

The monster got up and took stock of its situation. It had just been ejected from the webway… right into the middle of an army of Necrons.

It looked up to see its antagonist outlined by the light of the webway. The last glimpse he caught was of the silhouette, Celgorach the trickster god, laughing at him. Then with a crackle, the webway closed, leaving the monster to its fate.