OK, here we go. Apologies for the gender-neutral pronouns and the slightly home-brew version of the Obliterator virus; the former fits with the character's idea of shedding the past and becoming something more, I think, and the latter allows for some weird body horror/sexuality stuff that hopefully fits in with Ironwolf's original specifications (particularly the 'what is the sex life of non-Slaaneshi cultists like). It'll hopefully work well in a freeform game, but isn't all that powerful, given that it takes time and resources to have a significant effect (if I was running zir in Black Crusade, I'd probably be looking at a lot of the rules for rites, and a few limited psychic powers, rather than massive combat abilities); besides that, zie is an (admittedly pretty tough) civilian with a revolver and barely any combat training, so hopefully zie shouldn't be overpowering or overshadowing anyone.
To answer Hairy-Heretic's question - sort of, zie used to be a ship-born serf and has spent some time eating low-ranking tech priests in order to masquerade as them, and is fairly adept at technology, but isn't a full blown member of the Mechanicum. I also wanted to stress zir focus on weird mysticism in chaos-worship - we've got couple of people with seemingly pragmatic reasons for turning to the worship of the Pantheon, so I thought it'd be cool to have someone who was a bit more of a frothing-at-the-mouth zealot - someone to chat to Orin, maybe. :)Name
: Azhi DahākaAlignment
: Undivided. Zir reverence towards flux, mutation, and dissolution pushes zir towards the Changer of the Ways, while zir inclination to act as a vector for zir pathogen and revel in the joyous oblivion it brings pushes zir towards the Lord of Decay, but the two forces together keep zir balanced.Age
: 35 Lathe years; 27 standard Terran.History
: Azhi Dahāka cannot remember where zie comes from, and honestly, that’s the point. ratherFor all that Dark Apostles and demagogues rant that the the Imperium is an empire of self-delusion, ignorance, hate, or selfishness, it’s actually a kingdom of fear that the corpse-god has presided over for ten millennia - fear of letting go, of being liberated from your history, of having the chance to begin again, of being sinking in joyous ecstatic union into the rest of Creation. It’s this chance - of the possibility of starting anew, of shedding one’s old body and letting the flux of the warp flow through you - that zie believes in, and will bring to a suffering humanity whether they like it or not.Still
, just as you can see where a wandering comet once was by tracking its orbit, its composition, what it’s left behind, so too can you track the origins of the being now calling itself Azhi Dahāka.
To function, any vessel of the Imperium depends on slave labour on a frankly staggering scale; this much is obvious to anyone who even considers how a ship works. But even so, this doesn’t begin to conjure up the vast, ornate societies of reeking deck-hands, manual labourers, and serf-technomats who live in the claustrophobic crawlspaces between decks, who’ve never even had the space to get up off their knees, let alone see light, that support that slave labour. While you couldn’t imagine what that life is like, it’s a safe guess that these societies are rife with abuse, rape, violence, and exploitation. It’s also a safe guess that - though most people in such a society would be broken by their surroundings, there’d be a few who just couldn’t take it, who’d crawl down out of the main service-ways and into the dark bowels of the sub-sub-sub-underdecks, and just try to end it all. One such serf-girl - her name’s not important - did just that, dragging herself on skinned hands and knees into the deepest, darkest corner of the ship, like an animal dragging itself away to die. She despaired, she wept, she begged to the ship-mother to sink into a blessed oblivion and union with the vessel itself, the only trustworthy and reliable constant in a world of suffering. She’d seen the delicate, intricate machinery that made it up - the precisely-machined gear-trains, power capacitors, and plasma siphons that maintained its functioning throughout the Empyrean. They didn’t fight, steal, cannibalise, gang-rape each other - they existed in harmony, as part of a greater, unified whole, that swam through the Warp with ease. Alone, they were useless scrap, but together, their bodies interlocked and intermeshed, they were something better.
Like I said - this is something that happens on a hundred voidships every day in the Imperium. The incoherent ramblings of a voidborn suicide giving way to blood loss and internal trauma are nothing unusual. But it is
unusual for the ship to answer the dying serf’s prayers. Maybe the Gellar field flickered; maybe something hibernating in the ship’s structure for long millennia since some minor skirmish with a vessel of the IV Traitor Legio Astartes; or maybe it was just the purity of the girl’s wish be part of a better world, to let herself flow away into a shared world of energy and light that created the microscopic pathogens of the Obliterator strain within her.
Or maybe that’s a whole load of grox-shit. Whatever. The past is gone, and that’s the point. Azhi Dahāka rose at some unspecified time in the next few months, body repaired, made whole - more than whole - by the warp. Shuddering mutant energies ran through zir; hunger for strange beings that don’t exist in this world, to fuck and be fucked and to be in joyous union with the vessel, and, slowly, to introduce others to it. At first, zie was just another predator aboard the lower decks of the ship - not much more than a hullghast preying upon the weak and unaware (though with a certain taste for their bionically-enhanced overseers). But in time, this newborn being began to refine zir tastes, seeking to direct its hungers towards more productive goals - to greater union with the machine. Donning the robes (and bionic finger-print) of an enginseer zie’d cannibalised, Azhi Dahāka began to infiltrate zir way back into the ship’s society, looking to work zir way into one of the ship’s nerve centres, its bridge perhaps, or its enginarium. Not to destroy, or to sabotage the ship - what a waste that would be - rather zie sought to merge with such a majestic specimen of mechanical ingenuity, becoming one with it, and turning it to zir will. Turning zirself into a daemonship was an ambitious plan, and may have worked, for all zie knew - but it didn’t. Zir route to the primary logic-engine banks took zir past one of the secondary astropathic choirs, who smelt the warp-stink on zir at fifty metres, and alerted the authorities. Pursued by a whole battalion of armsmen, zie took several grievous wounds in zir escape, but even as zie fled, zie rejoiced - jinking and weaving through galleys and service tunnels only zie knew about, zie could feel the ship protecting zir, wrapping and cocooning zir behind protective layers of blast door and plasteel, shielding zir from the deluded, fearful apes that pursued the glorious unity of flesh and metal that zie had become. Returning to the deep under-deck where zie had awakened, Azhi curled up to seal zie wounds, to recover, and to hibernate until the heat had died down. The ship rumbled away around zir, a mighty cruiser of Battlefleet Calixis, the Unbowed Ark
, rocking zir away into peaceful sleep as it fired up its warp engines to investigate a routine etherics blip in the sleepy Skjor system.
The Unbowed Ark
was the second ship hulked in the ensuing space battle. The captain had ordered them to speed forward into the Ork formation to deliver a stinging riposte to their first salvo, and had his ship behaved precisely as ordered, it’d have been a great success. But something - some glitch in its void shields, some warp-spawned bug in its plasma drive firmware - took down its shields at a key moment, leaving it defenceless where the Orks could tear it apart. Some escaped in saviour pods, some even made it to other ships, but within an hour, the Ark
was a slowly expanding cloud of debris slowly de-orbiting into Skjor VI’s atmosphere. Most chunks burned up in the atmosphere - but one chunk, a ragged fistful of adamantine and plasteel from the Ark’s
deep underdeck, made planetfall on the Skjor’s surface, throwing up a cloud of dust that dimmed the sun for days afterwards.
Azhi had made it to Skjor, and what’s more, zie’d made it to Skjor relatively unharmed, zir hibernating form cocooned in fleshmetal and saved by zir ship-mother. Though zie hadn’t been conscious during the destruction of the Ark
, the trauma of its death wounded zir deeply - zir world, the sea of souls zie’d plunged zirself into was gone, and without warning zie’d woken up alone, almost naked of its support, feeling dirt under zir feet and the pull of natural planetary gravity beneath zir. But somewhere - deep in the virus-addled depth of zir mind - zie could still feel the Ark’s
presence, a reminder that the gift the warp had given zir was still there. Pulling zirself together - so hungry from zir long hibernation - Azhi Dahāka began to pick zir way towards a plume of smoke on the horizon. Maybe it’d be from a settlement of some sort. Maybe there’d be spirits
: Azhi Dahāka can maintain a pretty good likeness of skin - pale, greyish skin that sweats industrial lubricant and bleeds thick impure promethium, though that doesn’t exactly stand out in the Imperium - and in zir ‘resting state’, without the recent consumption and predation of a machine spirit, zie doesn’t look too out of place among the teeming masses of the Imperium - a slender, androgynous, waif with gunmetal eyes and a tired but contented look somewhere between chem-stupor and religious rapture. When zie’s hunting, has recently fed, or drawing upon the powers of the Obliterator-א strain, however, things are different; zir flesh roils and undulates the steely grey of a storm-lashed sea, warp-sparks play across zir skin, and zie often takes on some aspect of whatever Machine Spirit zie’s just gorged zirself on. Zir smiles reveal a mouth full of chainsword teeth, zir anger burns promethium-hot, and zie moves with the whip-crack of a lasgun’s report.
TL;DR - a touch of this
with a touch of this
: pansexual - Azhi Dahāka sees sexuality as a kind of sacred union, and is more picky about its mystic significance than about the outward appearnace of zir partner.Gender
: postgender (zie/zir/zir/zirs/zirself pronouns; the ‘first host’ that XXX used to occupy was female, and zir body is vaguely feminine in its resting form, but when you’re infected with a virus that slowly turns you into liquid metal, ‘genderfluid’ is a literal term)Skills
: Azhi is a relatively skilled mechanic
and technomat, capable of bodging together most common Imperial equipment into a semblance of working order, but lacks any formal training beyond their initial shipboard work; barely any combat skills
, formal initiation into the Obscene Mysteries of the pantheon, and the like. Infection by the Obliterator-Aleph strain has given them a fairly keen (though untutored) psyniscient
sense, and an intuitive understanding of the warp’s currents
, as well as a number of more obvious abilities (see Assets).Starting Wargear
: baggy serf’s robes (perfect for hiding an inhuman physique), weathered combi-tool (mostly just for show), stub revolver which never seems to have fired all its bullets.Assets
: Azhi doesn’t keep anything zie can’t take with zir, or, more accurately, inside zir. Azhi is a host to the א strain of the Obliterator virus - zir most treasured possession, and zir awakening to the dark glories of the warp. Zie isn’t yet one of the hulking tank-sized monstrosities with anti-tank weaponry bristling like quills from zir back (though since zie awakening on Skjor, zir has noticed that no matter how many rounds zie fires from zir sidearm, zie always seems to have more ammunition that just appears
in zir hand when zie reaches to reload). Rather, Azhi’s gift seems to be in union with the mechanical and manufactured; zie can soothe, rile, influence machines of many forms, coaxing greater performance or impossible insights from them. Given time (and great risk), zie can even hunt down and consume Machine Spirits, incorporating into zirself an auspex’s relentless perspicacity, a chainsword’s merciless fury, or the personhood and sense-of-self that once went into some poor tech-priest’s now-severed bionic arm. Consuming these essences sustains zir for a little while, but not forever, and after zir long hibernation aboard the Unbowed Ark
, zie is without much in the way of technical assets, but intends to acquire more soon.
Obliterator-א isn’t contagious, thank the Throne - Azhi thinks that the ability to gift others with it is likely to be a gift that the warp hasn’t yet granted zir, but that may have something to do with zir ability to incorporate spirits into zirself, but in reverse. Zie intends to have a lot of fun testing this, though.