Karandras, Shadow Hunter

A red sun gleamed above Shaltoc, its glow making the planet’s atmosphere seem red. The effect was appropriate, for the ground below was spilled with the blood of hundreds of Eldar.


Karandras sliced his way through one of the Dark Kin, then reversed his blade’s swing and cut down another. He aimed his shuriken pistol at three more, and cut them down with precise shots. They fell screaming and clutching their torn chests.

With no feelings for those who had once been his own kind, Karandras continued to slaughter the Eldar who had assault Shaltoc. Yet for every one he killed, another two seemed to take its place, gleefully trying to cause as much pain as possible.

An Eldar leapt upon Karandras. He threw it off, then shot it with his shuriken pistol.

Something caught his eye. Black armour, with a hint of green. It seemed to radiate a dark malice. The figure wearing it held a powered halberd in his right hand, and was using his left to taunt Karandras.

Karandras instantly recognized him. It was Arhra, the Dark Phoenix who had fallen from grace. Karandras felt a burst of adrenaline. He began cutting a path through the Dark Kin to reach the Eldar who had once been his master. Looking up while dispatching his foes, Karandras noticed Arhra moving backwards, into an ancient shrine of the Striking Scorpions.

It took Karandras several long minutes to clear a path through the deranged fighters around him. He looked back at his personal entourage, saw them caught in the midst of the Dark Kind.

He would be alone in this fight.

Cautiously Karandras walked up the steps of the shrine, holding his weapons at his side so he would have them ready.

No sound came from the shrine as he stepped up to it and hesitated before its open marble doors. The place had not changed much since he had come to study there earlier in his life. Carved columns that were covered with intricate designs held up the roof of the temple. A statue of Khaela Mensha Khaine could be seen inside. Sunlight spilled in through the clear glass of the ceiling, bathing the whole scene in crimson.

Slowly he walked into the shrine, his armoured feet making a clacking sound on the hard stone floor. He saw his opponent standing in a corner, holding his halberd by his side, leaving himself open to Karandras’ attack.

Karandras charged, bringing his sword up to swing at his old mentor.

Arhra quickly lashed out with his foot, catching Karandras under the chin and then sweeping out to knock his pistol out of his hand.

"Always the reckless one," Arhra taunted.

Karandras regained his balance, then glared at his opponent.

"I suppose this is where you’ll say you’ve come to kill me?" Arhra asked.

"No," Karandras said. He then raised his sword and began a wide arc to slash at Arhra’s left arm. Instead it was parried by the halberd, which had been moved up so quickly that he hadn’t noticed it.

The other end of the halberd came crashing into Karandras’ face, following by Arhra’s right fist. The force of the two blows knocked his helmet from his head and broke his nose. Blood began running down his face.

"Did all those years of training teach you nothing?" Arhra asked, slowly circling around Karandras. "You were my brightest student. Now, you seem like nothing more than an amateur."

Karandras merely scowled.

The halberd came up quick, almost too quick, and he had barely enough time to duck to the side and use his sword the sweep the crackling blade away from his neck.

Arhra spun with the movement, sweeping the halberd down low and then up in a move designed to catch Karandras’ abdomen unprotected. Karandras was quick enough to see the incoming blow and parry it, but the force sent him staggering backwards.

"Ah, you have learned something! Good! This shall be more sporting," Arhra shouted, backing away from his former student.

"You think you will kill me," Karandras said in a menacing tone, "like you slaughtered those children on Kaern? Not a chance!" He regained his balance and brought his sword up.

But his words had set off something in Arhra. The Dark Phoenix leapt forward at Karandras, ducking to the side as Karandras’ blade came toward his head, then slashed upward viciously with his halberd, catching Karandras mid-swing.

The blow tore off Karandras’ right arm, leaving a bloodied stump with half-melted armour. The Eldar screamed out in pain, then turned to regard his opponent once more.

"I suppose we should finish this here and now," Arhra said. He raised up his halberd, then ran toward Karandras with it.

Karandras jumped backwards, kicking out with his legs and catching Arhra under the chin. Arhra was sent reeling, and Karandras landed heavily beside his severed arm. While his enemy regained composure, he pried his sword from the arm and came up into a kneeling position.

Arhra began to thrust the halberd downwards, toward Karandras. But the Phoenix Lord was prepared. He jumped out of the way and slashed at his foe with his sword, catching him across the chest and stomach. The action caused Karandras to fall down.

The Dark Phoenix stumbled, then almost fell. He straightened up, then looked down at his torso, which was now losing blood at a considerable rate. He glowered at his old student, then touched a rune on the side of his armour. A dark portal opened beside him, the inside of it swirling with a multitude of blues, purples, and black.

Arhra turned toward the portal, then stopped and turned back around. "Remember this, little student: You are nothing compared to me. You are, and always will be, but a pale shadow when compared to my strength and skill."

With those words, Arhra turned again and walked through the portal. It closed behind him.

Karandras leaned on his left arm, using it to lift him up so he could get a better look at the departing Arhra. "No, my old master, I am not a shadow. I am the Shadow Hunter."