One Thousand lights, and yet each of them end in darkness. Save one...
As his garments of bone and ebony danced in the wild winds that roared and raced over this world, Tyrioq gazed up at the firmament. It was dusk, and the sun was in full retreat below the horizon as her radiance waned and the moon's night grew strong. Between them the heavens were at war with colours - golden yellows withdrew into burning oranges towards the sunset's epicentre, while before them the sky banded into a haze of creamy white and faded into pristine blue before the final ominous velvet of the encroaching twilight and the first glittering stars that swam in it.
It was an untamed world that the Farseer stood upon. Above it was an untamed sky that roiled with clouds one moment, and was clear as the centre of an eye the next. Somewhere in the distance rang the keening song of one of the untamed birds that called this planet home, white creatures with long slender crests that soared in the winds. They knew no fear of the alien, which was a sure sign that they saw little of invasive civilisation. Before him stretched out and endless expanse of flat grass-filled wilderness strewn with dust and broken only by the occasional crooked tree, though futher out could be seen clusters of darkly verdant woodland, blossoming from the horizon in long blisters of shaded moss green. One might almost be forgiven for thinking that the planet was deserted, but in the distance sparse clusters of twinkling lights, springing into life as darkness fell in a strange mirror to the stars above them, betrayed the presence of permanent settlement by outsiders. They were few and far between, and Tyrioq fathomed that there could be now more than a hundred or so souls at the largest, but they resided there nonetheless, islands of culture in a sea of land that knew no true master.
Of course, were the Farseer to look through the augmented vision of his ghosthelm, he would behold an ever-growing forest of identification runes denoting where the many webway portals, survival pods, traps and other such positions that now lay secreted across the face of the world, hidden from prying eyes by all the deceptive concealment known to the Eldar. Tyrioq's bonesingers had outdone themselves in the intricate trap now set for his prey that hung far above the planet. But his ghosthelm lay by his side, so his vision was marked only by the occasional lock of midnight hair that blew across his face.
However, Tyrioq did not need any aid in spying beyond what lay within mortal perception. As twilight continued to descend upon the world, the Farseer's second sight opened and in the deep dark window to the universe beyond that loomed over the surface, his mind could trace the shapes of pathways through time and fortune in the stars. These were dark times for the galaxy, and darker for none more so than the Eldar. The unveiling starscape was infinite, and yet of all the many thousands of those tiny pricks of light that he could name, Tyrioq could count on one hand the ones that did not witness warfare and bloodshed. Uncountable billions were dying in agony in that vast black space, and even worse were the thousands of Tyrioq's beloved Eldar kin. For a fraction of an instant the Farseer winced as his soul recoiled in pain at the suffering inflicted on his people. Then he shuddered as his inner self recoiled in horror at the distant searching presence of She Who Thirsts as the abomination quested for his psychic essence. The spirit stone which lay buried beneath his robes radiated a reassuring warmth in sympathetic comfort.
The Great Enemy was strong, and growing stronger by the day. Soon they would unleash a tide of destruction unprecedented in scale. Tyrioq had scryed innumerable different futures and outcomes, and all of them ended in darkness and death. All save one, a single shining golden path that stretched through the madness and turmoil. Eldrad, the greatest of his kind, had pointed the way. Tyrioq had followed it intently to its ultimate conclusion. The way ahead would be difficult. There would be many battles to fight, and much calamity. But in the end, through the fire and turbulent maelstroms, rising from the ashes like the Phoenix reborn, Tyrioq could see the Eldar forged anew in glory, returning the galaxy to the rightful rule of their noble empire. But first the way needed to be prepared. Tyrioq could already see across the medium of the sky that his kin were on the move - Taldeer's wisdom was guiding them to the Spear of Khaine on Archeron, and Eldrad himself was embarking on his crucial first steps at Coheria. All was falling itno place, but Tyrioq had uncovered a problem.
The world upon which Tyrioq now stood would be completely insignificant were it not for what was above it. The alien upstarts that were the Tau had long ago chosen it as the site for a space station of great honour and prestige, where the best of their warriors would gather to train and study. For years now the Eldar had known of it and secretly watched from below as the Tau who dwelt on it fought off horrific assaults, first from the minions of Chaos, then from the Mon-Keigh barbarians. Every time they had fought, they had triumphed. Tyrioq had forseen that these Tau warriors, though primitive weaklings, would pose a grave threat to his master's plans if left unchecked. Thus, they would have to be stopped, but Tyrioq had no doubt they would be on this day. Everything was going according to the edicts of fate.
So lost was the Farseer in his thoughts that he did not notice the figures approaching him in the gloom. Only when the faintest of shadows in the dying light fell upon him did he break his concentration and turn to his companions.
"Has there been any word from Alaitoc yet?" Tyrioq asked.
"None," replied the figure closest to him, a tall imposing amazonian warrior in elegant vibrantly coloured armour with a brightly-crested helmet cradled in her hand, "Though surely with your foresight you would know what part they play in the coming battle."
"None of us can truly know for certain what will pass on this coming day Illyriel," replied Tyrioq, "Only Fate can see with that much clarity, I merely see possibilities and what must be done to reach them. It is no matter, I suspect that Alatioc will answer the call if Fate deems it necessary. Tell me Autarch, what do you see in the stars above us?"
"A hundred thousand worlds, each one yearning to be liberated of the alien filth that plagues them and host the glory of the Eldar once more!" Illyriel said, "And a hundred thousand battles to free them."
"Spoken like a true warlord!" Interjected one of the two figures beside them, a roguish Eldar bedecked in crimson and white, whose mane of copper hair waved freely in the wind, "I tell you what I see Farseer, I see legend. I see the skies in which the gods themselves fought across and a thousand victories of the greatest heroes."
"Aye Faoldir," added his companion, a wild defiant maiden who rested a large impeccably-crafted power axe beside her tresses of burning gold, "And I see a fitting backdrop for a mighty battle, all the better beneath which to test ourselves against the warriors of this so-called 'ATT'."
"The recklessness of your kind never ceases to astound Frayja." Said Tyrioq before turning to his other side where a towering, monstrous form stood, vaguely and menacingly humanoid and possessed of cold unliving stillness. "And what of you Ythirion, what do you see in the firmament above us?"
The Wraithlord tilted its head upwards. Through its hardened wraithbone shell, the spirit within the construct beheld a dark, turbulent sky with a whirlwind of stars dancing in it. He beheld the great adventures he once had across the stars as he led the armies of Iyanden to triumph after triumph. He saw tremendous victories and hellish battles, proud comrades and gruesome monsters. He saw the reflection of a face he once loved, with hair of sunlight and eyes of the open sky. And he beheld the same fateful cold clear night on a hellscape of icy mountains long forsaken by any gods, where he lay bleeding with the blade of one of his greatest champions running through him as the heavens wept in tragedy.
His answer resonated from the cold robotic shell in the hollow voice of dust and eternity. "The past," he said.
Tyrioq now turned and peered into the gloom behind him, where a barely visible shape stood shrouded in blackness, with only a grimacing skull-mask visible. "Might I ask what you see?" he asked.
The figure simply gave an ominous laugh, and faded back into the shadows.
"Well," Said Tyrioq, bringing his gaze back upwards, "I will tell you what I see. I see a myriad of futures and events yet to pass, and each one is as terrible and likely as the last. But I also see the path that will take us to victory." He pointed now at a tiny speck of light that was beginning to make its way across the twilight sky from the horizon, "And I see our quarry for the day, the orbital station which circles this world."
At once a warlock clad in bone and darkness emerged from behind the party and strode towards Tyrioq. "Farseer," he said, "I report that all of the preparations are in order, and the rangers have completed their observation of the settlements. The Tau suspect nothing."
As the Farseer listened a shooting star streaked across the path of the orbital above them. This was the sign, he knew. Fate had spoken, and their destiny was certain.
"Very well," said Tyrioq, "Prepare your warriors for battle, we will attack at sunrise. Let us begin."
"There it is again, how strange."
The Kor'la on watch peered closer at the luminous readout before him, a bright glowing strip of photographic map showing the area of the planet directly below the ATT orbital's path as it made its way around the world. Over the image was superimposed a patchwork of information graphics labelling a plethora of features ranging from Tau settlements and infrastructure to local weather phenomena. Above and below it on the holographic display like layers in a cake were identical depictions in other spectra, both visible and invisible, as observed by the orbital's numerous surface-following sensors. Just at that moment the multiple readout displays had all suddenly flickered for just the slightest instance of a second. It could have easily been the system refreshing itself, except that the next refresh wasn't meant to happen for another 5 decs. Even more disturbing was that this was not the first anomaly that the Kor'la had noticed. Ever since the last sunset he had counted a number of similar occurances - sometimes the readout would shift or blank out, at other times it would stutter like it just had - and while indistinguishable from glitches, there was something a little too regular about them for the Kor'la's liking. He had even started to predict when they would happen next after identifying an unmistakable pattern to them.
"And you're saying they only started a few decs ago?" Asked his compatriot, a fellow Kor'la monitoring the global condition readouts.
"Yes, that's right. Just as we started to approach Starport YK-7."
YK-7 was a secondary starport, small and situated just north-west of a forested region that contained one of the planet's larger colonies. In truth none of the permament infrastructure on the surface was particularly noteworthy, and the world would hardly qualify as even a second phase colony, featuring for the most part only scattered outposts and a few starports needed to help service the orbital, some larger administrative centres and supply bases and a handful of temporary barracks to accommodate Fire Caste troops on planetside training exercises. The Kor'la could not think of any reason why this starport would be significant, especially with larger ones in other areas, but nonetheless the disturbances seemed localised to the area around it.
"Wait a minute," said the second watch Kor'la, "Did you say YK-7?"
"I remember noticing a small spike in magnetic and electrostatic activity in the lower atmosphere near there at sundown. I didn't think much of it at the time, but there was another one just a few Rai'kor ago. I started to think it might be an incoming stormfront, but there's no clouds over the area at the moment."
"That doesn't sound right. Do you think we should alert the Kor'Ui?"
Most of the orbital's security watch was currently focused in other directions. For the last few Tau'cyr the ATT orbital had faced violent assaults and insidious takeover attempts almost constantly at around this time, and it was suspected by many that there would be another attack soon. The bulk of attention was outwards, with many monitors watching over information streaming in from the large comprehensive network of sensor probes and early-warning beacons that the Tau fleet had spread throughout the system, looking for any sign of an approaching threat from space. Yet more eyes and ears were pointed inwards, monitoring the various upgraded internal security systems installed as part of the station's new internal layout. Several of the more wary - some might almost say paranoid - Shas'Os and Shas'els had begun to send frequent vigorous patrols to scour the orbital for any inside threat that might have slipped through, and the orbital's security drone contingent was on maximum alert.
But almost no-one was looking downwards, on the planet below. It was assumed that any force would have to go through either space or the orbital itself in order to get there, so observing activity on the surface had been given a reduced priority. It made sense at the time.
"Well," said the second Kor'la, "We still don't really know what it is just yet. I say we just make a note of it for now, and if it happens again we notify the Kor'Ui. It will be morning soon."