The pale moonlight reflected perfectly in a small puddle, oblivious to the chaos of battle raging on in the distance, it lay undisturbed, until a splash from a hurried brown boot disturbed its peaceful reflection. That boot belonged to Lomendi.
"I just HAD to pick the path of the outcast!" He hissed to himself as he ran through the underbrush of the forest's edge. As he ran past a tree he tripped on an outstretched root. Has he fell he carelessly dropped his Long Rifle. Lomendi watched in a slow motion horror as it fell to the ground and discharged in a loud bang, scattering the birds sleeping in the trees.
Lomendi reached his hand out to grab the gun, but has he did so he looked behind him. And there they were. All six of them, six of the most horribly twisted and fetid servants of chaos who allowed even their own flesh to be possessed by the ruinous powers. The leader of the pack stood in front, his sword still shining in the moonlight from Eldar blood.
But it wasn't the sword that was scaring Lomendi as much as what was in the champions other hand. A red ruby soul stone. Lomendi searched his mind wondering which of his compatriots was contained in that sacred stone, was it Fenri, Rhitori, Zelphana, the names and faces echoed in his brain.
Lomendi was in the tree line with his fellow Rangers, it was his first mission since beginning the Path of the Outcast. Lomendi decided to take the path because he had grown tired of life on the Craftworld. Zelphana was the squad's leader, and although she had doubts about bringing Lomendi with them, she also felt that Lomendi could either prove himself or die trying. Such was the ideology of the Path of the Outcast, a lonely but incredibly less complicated then the other warrior Paths.
Despite the simplicity of the Path of the Outcast, they still had an obligation to the craftworld. The Farseer Darlyth had foreseen an ancient device on this planet, one that if uncovered by the agents of chaos could cost millions of Eldar lives. They were sent to scout out the planet. Zelphana who was quite experienced at fighting against the ruinous powers warned all of them to be ready for anything, and to not be fooled by any sorcerous tricks, but Lomendi didn't pay well enough attention to this simple instruction.
Right there in Lomendi's sight, there he was, the first Exarch, Asurmen. Without thinking Lomendi lowered his gun and got up and started walking towards the famed Phoenix Lord.
"LOMENDI GET DOWN!" Zelphana screamed. Startled Lomendi turned to quizzically look at his commanding officer. He saw Zelphana, Fenri, and Rhitori each had their Long Rifles drawn and pointing at him. "GET DOWN!" Zelphana hastily repeated. Lomendi still confused looked behind him and instead of the great Asurmen behind him, it was six of the most vile and disgusting Marines ever dedicated to Slannesh staring him straight in the face. Lomendi ran. The footsteps of the Chaos Marines right behind him. Lomendi ran past his brothers and sister, too afraid to look back.
Terrified and still where he had fallen he watched as the chaos champion took the stolen soul stone to his mouth. The champion chomped down. A loud crunch and then a despicable laugh. He had broken the soul stone in half. One of Lomendi's friends, one of his family, was now gone forever, a meal for She Who Thirsts.
Lomendi's horror turned into rage, as he withdrew his pistol and fired at the loathsome Marines. Lomendi closed his eyes as he fired, the un-numerable rounds of Shruikens sped at the enemy. Lomendi kept pressing the trigger until he realized he had used up all the ammo. He then looked at his foes, they all had fragments of the Shrukiens embedded in their armor, but they looked more angry then hurt.
The possessed let loose a terrifying scream and before they were finished Lomendi was back up and running. The trees seemed to strike out at him tearing his cloak as he ran, he quickly replaced the cartridge and fired behind him. He heard screams, but he didn't know if he had drawn blood. At this point Lomendi didn't care about anything but running as fast as he possibly could.
Lomendi turned around, running backwards and fired his pistol again, he saw that they were gaining on him. All five of them. As he turned around another tree he saw something that made him stop in his tracks and fall to the forest floor.
"No" Lomendi silently whispered to himself as he stared into armor that was only too familiar. "How could they sully the image of the greatest of hero like this?" Silently the form of the Phoenix Lord walked right in front of him and raised his wrist mounted Shruiken Catapults.
The roar was deafening for Lomendi as he saw the shots fired from Asurmen's catapults burst through the bodies of his pursuerers, shredding the vile agents of chaos to little more then a seeping mass of black blood, bone, and muscle.
Lomendi's heart jumped, this was no illusion, this was the real Asurmen, the first Exarch, the founder of the paths, the strongest Eldar warrior since Eldanesh was right there in front of him, saving his life.
The stench of blood was horrendous. Lomendi looked up at the idyllic Asurmen only to see him pulling out the glistening Sword of Asur. Asurmen raised the sword just as the champion arose from underneath his fallen warriors. The Champion may have sold his soul for power, but such power was miniscule in comparison to the Phoenix Lord. Asurmen made three strong sweeps with the sword before splitting the chaos worshippers head in half. Lomendi was still amazed at his survival as Asurmen walked back towards him.
"You dropped this." Asurmen said as he tossed Lomendi a forgotten Long Rifle.