22 Pax Romana

Later, after I'd recovered my breath and composure I checked her over. Her shirt was torn almost completely in two from where I'd dug through it. The wound itself had been torn nearly completely back open, blood slowly seeping out, suture wire criss crossing over the gap in her chest. She sat opposite me breathing hard and glaring at me with hate filled eyes. I was at a total loss as to what the fuck had just happened.

She bore a horrendous wound and I for the life of me I couldn't understand how she'd dealt with the pain for so long. Though I was no medicae I managed to stop the bleeding and close the wound in about an hour. I felt a pang of guilt when she restitched her breast, a feeling as though I had violated her in the most horrid way despite the circumstances. As she finished sewing herself up I gave her my shirt, Xeno or not she deserved and very likely wanted to be treated with respect.

She muttered something in her own language as I sat down on the table beside her.

"I'm still alive?" She asked rhetorically.

"You saved my life on Chedoul. An Addicus doesn't forget his debts. But I have to know the truth. Tell me everything." She let out a short laugh when I said this.

"You may have second thoughts when I do." She said with a smirk.

"No judgment, I swear." She gave me a funny kind of look and let out a sigh of resignation. She rolled over onto her left side still keeping her eyes on me. She was a far cry from her earlier vicious self. She actually looked like she wanted to tell me.

And so she told me everything. The botched bodyguard mission. Her subsequent exile to Chedoul. How she'd really met the Inquisitor and killed him. That she was from Commaragh. It was hard not to reach for my weapon when she told me she was of the Dark Eldar. It was a suspicion I'd long had. I knew what they did to us, that we were like cattle to them. But I gave her my word and though she may not ever be able to be counted on for hers, my word was bond.

"Something else I want to talk to you about." I said while she finished her inspection.

"What?" She said quietly.

"In a few days were going to exit into the Soulle system. I... have family there and considering that you can't go anywhere being an alien and all...I was grasping for the right words...you're welcome to stay at my home. So long as you don't murder anyb- Lelith got up and started walking over to me. At first I thought she was going to attack me, instead she pressed her lips to my cheek, said something I couldn't understand and left the Medicae bay.

It's a terrifying thought, to know you're falling for a species of pure evil. I'd been raised in the Scholams and Cathedrals to fear and despise the Xeno. In my induction to the Imperial Guard it was reinforced. I'd had a revelation when I met my first Xeno face to face; everything I learned as a child was true. Xenos were hateful things bent solely on the destruction of man. They were evil, deceptive, unforgiving, ruthless, insane, monstrous in physique and character. They knew nothing of honor and could never be completely trusted. Isilia was all of these these things. But there was more to her too. She was as beautiful as any woman I'd ever seen, as intelligent as a scholar, and cunning as a fox.

The Dark Eldar are the most alien species I've ever known. More than Orks even. All an Ork knows is that it has to fight, no reason, no rationale. An Eldar on the other hand reasons, rationalizes, has a purpose. A scholar would tell me that the kiss was random, in keeping with their nature. That their minds drift from one extreme to the other with no cause. I think otherwise. A dog doesn't lick your face after you've beat it. But Isilia is not an Eldar, she is the depraved and degenerate shadow of her species. Hers is a culture that revolves around pain and suffering so I wondered if perhaps this viciousness she displayed was an outlet, or maybe even a form of expression. Maybe her race had hid their lives from each other for so long they'd become emotionally retarded, unable to convey their feelings towards another except through varying degrees of violence. Maybe she was trying to tell me something.

That night I laid in bed and played the memory of her kiss over and over in my mind and my hand.