How does your OC display love? What are some habits your OC has picked up?
Forgive me as this is a LONG post, but I felt it would be better to show, rather than tell, this one:
Words could not describe how awkward Perturabo felt being back in the Emperor's palace. It would have been bad enough if it were just his deadbeat father, a half-rotten corpse sitting in an overglorified golden life-support casket, ignoring him as per usual. But it wasn't just his father; so many of his brothers had come for this... ...this Sanguinala... ...in many ways it almost felt like the Heresy had never happened.
Vulcan, Corvus, Fulgrim, ROGAL FUCKING DORN, Magnus.... ...hell, even SANGUINIUS had come back from the dead. Raised by the same mysterious chaos entity that had turned Perturabo's world and soul inside out. Made him live his own life over and over again, through the eyes of the people around him, until he got the point. The people he impacted. The people he used, abused, and destroyed without a second thought. The people he...
...Perturabo shook his head, the physical action somehow dislodging the poisonous psychic tumor from his soul. Even though that parasite was long gone and the Eye of Terror no longer loomed over him, it had been feeding on his twisted spirit for so long that its blasted and withered hide still bled for it. Casting his self-destructive thoughts into the warp. This was a good thing (or so the Lanky Llama said). Though sometimes, when he started to brood and sulk, things would get... ...gummed up. He could shake any errant clots loose himself, but nobody helped the darkness bleed out of him like Nehetari.
And holy shit did he wish she were here right now. When she and her robotic people were around... ...the Lord of Iron actually felt like... ...himself. Or the version of himself that he wanted to be, anyway.
But no, "No xenos allowed at a family gathering," the Emperor had said. Not that it even would have mattered if they were; it was one of those weird weeks where the lanky llama disappeared on him and holed up in her room by herself. Something about a "Necrontyr biological cycle," that would, "likely make her act inappropriately," or "embarrass herself and him," but she would say no more on the matter.
Of course it would happen over the day when he needed--erm could have used her presence the most.
"Aren't you going to open your gifts, brother?"
Perturabo snapped out of his brooding to see Magnus looming beside him. It took him a second to process what he said, but when he did he scowled.
"Gifts Magnus? Really? Do think anyone here would ever give me a gift?"
"Excuse me! What am I, grox manure!?" there was no real irritation in Magnus's voice. He gestured to table in front of Perturabo, where three gifts sat that he could have SWORN were not there before. "And if you must know, you're the only brother here I saw fit to even GET a gift for."
"Aside from Sanguinius."
"Well... ...yeah..." the Crimson King shuffled his wings awkwardly. Both primarchs stole a glance at the MOUNTAIN of gifts that their brother had received. "...b-but he doesn't count."
Perturabo sighed. He didn't feel like feeling jealous of Sanguinius right now. Instead he grabbed the first package; it was obviously Magnus's gift. Whatever was in it was so warp-touched that it levitated a solid three feet off the table and changed size randomly. It turned out to be a small inter-dimensional rift that contained a book of arcane engineering, one that Perturabo had surprisingly not seen before. He thanked his brother; something that drew a surprised look from Magnus and a complimentary hug that Turbo awkwardly returned. The second gift was from Sanguinius, as it turned out, and when he opened the box he saw his own face, reflected in a simple yet elegant mirror. After a moment of wondering if this gift was actually meant for Fulgrim (clone fulgrim), he saw the inscription on the box lid which read, "to my big brother: it brings me joy to see happiness in your eyes now. I hope with this you can see it too."
Perturabo swore under his breath and slammed the box shut, furiously hoping that Magnus hadn't heard him sniffle just a tiny little bit. It was a moving gift to be sure, but after everything that had happened... ...somehow it just made the Lord of Iron feel like garbage. Well... ...more so than usual.
Thankfully, quick-thinking Magnus directed his brother's attention to the third gift. In fact, if he didn't know better, Perturabo would have sworn Magnus seemed even MORE excited for him to open this gift than his own.
"What is... ...is this from...?"
"MHMMM!" Magnus's enthusiasm was all-consuming, his grin audible in his tone. "She asked me come and pick it up from outside her door earlier this morning."
Perturabo's melancholy dissipated into a wave of curiosity. What sat before him was a perfect cube of blackstone, though if he knew anything about Nehetari, he knew that wasn't all there was to it.
Sure enough, when he picked it up, glyphs flashed along its side.
"Necrontyr," Perturabo murmured in deep concentration. "...and not just any form of Necrontyr; this is Ksakhemet Script."
"Think of it as our high gothic. Except it's as if we had a high, HIGH gothic. Only the three Necrontyr kings and their families even knew how to speak this script, let alone how to read and write it. It is ancient, according to Nehetari... ...it's from a time even before the Necrontyr first started their galactic expansion."
Those statements alone were like a different language to Magnus, but his lust for ancient knowledge ignited like a blazing inferno. He would absolutely have to grill both Perturabo AND his xenos companion for more information once she was.... ...*ahem* no longer indesposed.
Perturabo turned the cube over and over in his hands, reading the ornate lettering as best he could. He'd only just started learning how to read Ksakhemet; he couldn't speak it properly because he lacked the extensive Necrontyr vocal range, but the lettering started to make sense the more he plied his fantastic mind.
"It is... ...a puzzle cube. I believe."
"D'AAWWW... How sweet...!"
Perturabo punched his brother in the shoulder, but it phased through his immaterial form.
"Shut your mouth!" He could already feel the heat creeping up his neck and he HATED it. Although he had to admit he was a little touched, if amused, that Nehetari had put together such a... ...thought-out gift.
And well-thought-out it was indeed! It became clear to the Lord of Iron that this wasn't just some slide and lock, physics based puzzle toy for mortal children. It was a custom-made testing tool designed to challenge his understanding of spacial compression, sub-atomic energy transfer, and even Necrontyr cultural theory. Each segment was challenging, unique, and soon he found himself absorbed. Magnus tagged along for the ride of course, and his respect for Nehetari grew each time he heard his brother growl in frustration, or give a small "...Ha! So that's it..."
"She has... ...quite the impressive mind. Especially for a xenos."
Perturabo grunted his affirmation. "...you don't know the half of it. She makes the Hrud look like a bunch of children." With a click the puzzle changed shape in his hands again, "...I would even say she has a mind similar to ours."
"...you don't say..."
"Hmph, she's DEFINITELY smarter than Dorn. I know that for sure."
Magnus chuckled. Of course she was.
The Lord of Iron didn't realize it immediately, but the puzzle cube was meant to serve another function, not just being an intriguing mental exercise. The more he fidgeted with it, the more time passed. Not by some technomantic power or magical means; he was just so absorbed in Nehetari's gift that he didn't notice his brothers packing up their gifts and starting to drift around and away from the throne room. Magnus, realizing he wouldn't be much help with this exercise, had taken notice of the custodes' Captain General (the one they call "kitten") and had begun to chat with him. Sanguinius was now at the Emperor's side, trying to pacify an impatient and belligerent Angron who just wanted to go celebrate Khornnuka with Lotara and Kharn. Corvus had dissapeared to... ...somewhere, and Vulkan was... ....had he somehow jackknifed himself into the psychic fireplace that the Emperor created!? Russ was laughing at him and drinking himself stupid (not that he had many IQ points to lose in the first place), but thankfully nobody was paying any attention to Turbo. Huh, who'd have thought; Perturabo was actually HAPPY that he was being ignored right now.
With a satisfying ding the cube shifted again, and to his surprise, glyphs flashed indicating that this was, in fact, the final challenge.
"Let's have it then. I'm ready..." the Lord of Iron grinned. He flicked the raised pad below the text and the final task scrolled across blackstone. Surprisingly, this time it was in High Gothic.
"...who is... ...my... ...favorite... ...human?"
He stared at the screen, dumbfounded. "Really? After all that, the last puzzle, is 'who's my favorite human?' Really?"
But wait... ...was the answer actually as easy as it appeared? Perturabo wanted to put his own name, but what if he was wrong? What if he wasn't her favorite human? He was hardly even "human" in the first place. Maybe she meant a true, normal human? But if this was supposed to be a present for him, why would she blatantly make him answer that her favorite human WASN'T him. What if...
"Hey nerd, the answer's obviously you."
Perturabo jumped to see Leman Russ passing him.
"What the-! Whe-how did you... ...you can't read!" Perturabo stammered. There was no way Leman just waltzed over here...
The Wolf Lord grinned, "Hey, ye nerds aren't the only ones who know how teh learn things. If I taught meself teh read Fenrisian runes, I can teach meself teh read some wolfin' High Gothic!"
"...that and I may or may not have used some of meh own psychic powers to read yer mind. You know, teh fill in teh blanks."
Considerably less impressed, Perturabo grumbled as he keyed the letters of his name into the cube. With another ding and a flash of green light, previously invisible cracks along the cube's surface began to glow and the cube began to shift one last time. When it finished, a tiny black tray was left in its place, revealing... ...a letter? And a pict?
"What's all this now?" Leman reached towards the tray.
Perturabo snatched it away, "Fuck off Russ! This is MY gift!"
"Oooh, is this from yer GIRLFRIEND!?"
"SHE'S NOT MY GIRLFRIEND!!"
"Hey fuck you Leman!" Oh boy, here comes Magnus, "Like you could ever understand the subtlety and genius that went into that puzzle box! Let him enjoy his gift in peace!"
"LeT HiM eNjOy HiS gIfT iN pEaCe!" Leman crooned. "Shut her trap and go back teh yer boyfriend, yeh big red canary."
Magnus puffed up in outrage and looked about ready to turn Leman inside out. When Perturabo noticed Sanguinius inbound, no doubt to dissolve the impending battle, he took his chance to dip out. And by "dip out" I mean grab the tray and its contents, and duck under the table. It would hide him for all of a second, but that would be as long as it would take him to read the letter.
Or it would have, if Leman hadn't, SOMEHOW, been able to reach the tray before him. He snatched up the letter, practically from between Perturabo's fingers, and with utter horror the Lord of Iron watched as his brother brandished the page, cleared his throat, and began to read:
"FUCK YOU LEMAN THAT'S NOT YOURS!!" Magnus howled. Perturabo roared in fury. Both brothers made a mad lunge at the Wolf Lord but he dodged, shit-eating grin on his face as he continued reading.
I'm sorry, but I...."
At the mention of the word "failed", Perturabo's onslaught faltered, as did Magnus's. Leman's grin died on his lips as he read the next line, his eyes widening for a moment before they squeezed shut. He then passed the letter back to Perturabo, mumbled a barely audible apology, turned, and without a word walked off.
"That's not what I... ...uh... ...expected?" Magnus muttered. "He looked like a kicked pup. What did that letter..."
Perturabo clutched the paper looking the most feral Magnus had ever seen him.
"...you know what, never mind. That letter's meant for you anyway." He added quickly. "I'll be in the library if you need me, brother."
And just like that, Perturabo was alone. Well, mostly; the Emperor was still there, but he was oddly quiet. Sanguinius was watching him too, but from a discreet distance.
The Lord of Iron backed up into the corner of the room, still riled up but looking a little less crazy. Once he was satisfied that NOBODY ELSE would attempt to confiscate his stuff, he finally began to read what Nehetari wrote for him.
I am sorry, but I failed you. You said you wanted your brothers' appreciation for a Sanguinala gift, but of all the ones I interviewed asking for an appreciative memory they have of you, the only ones who gave me a response were your brothers Magnus and Sanguinius. So instead I instigated a situation to make one (please reference the included image). If your brother's expressions are to be believed, then I believe they all enjoyed attacking your snow bunker. I certainly enjoyed helping you defend it.
May you have a somber and pleasant celebration,
Nehetari of the Szarekhan Dynasty.
Heir to the Silent Throne."
...Perturabo couldn't believe it.
He's asked for that as a JOKE. He hadn't actually been serious. When she's approached him, asking what he wanted as a "Sanguinala gift," he'd been in the middle of a complicated programming script and had said that just to get the point across that he didn't want to be bothered.
Slowly, and with a shaking hand, he lifted the pict from the tray and turned it over.
And she was right. This shot must have been taken by one of her tunneling scarabs. Or maybe one of her guard as they were circling the perimeter, hurling snow and distracting Russ. But however it was taken, somehow it was able to get a perfect shot of every primarch, including himself and Nehetari, hurling fucking snow or getting completely dunked on, but every single one of them had varying degrees of stupid fucking grin on their faces. Even Corvus was smiling!
It struck him: had that been her plan all along?
Minutes passed, and finally the Emperor himself spoke up. "My son, you're shaking like a Dark Elder nightclub on a Tuesday."
Perturabo didn't hear him. It took everything he had just to hold the pict in his trembling hands.
Why? Why. Why would she bother. How did she... ...why, why, why WHY? HOW!? When did she even have the TIME to plan this out!? There was no way. And not for him. Why? Why for him? And ALL OF THEM. How could she have known they would ALL come?
"Brother, are you ok?"
Perturabo snapped out of the loop to see the Angel standing beside him with a hand on his shoulder. He hadn't realized just how loudly his two hearts had been thundering, how BADLY his whole body had been shaking, until he felt that steadying touch. Instinctively he tried to regain control over his mind and body, and stowed the pict away in his belt.
Sanguinius asked no questions; he simply nodded.
"I'm going to find her..." Perturabo's voice sounded like sandpaper. He could feel the tears rolling down his neck, but he ignored them. "...I don't care if she FUCKING KILLS me; I am going to find her. She has no right.... ...she had no right to... ...to..."
"...go ahead brother." Sanguinius's smile was warm with understanding.
Salvaging what little dignity he felt he had left, Perturabo straightened up, turned on his heel, and walked shakily out of the throne room. He disappeared into the darkness, leaving his father and his brothers to stare after him in wonder.
(Sorry this is such a long post, but I started writing it and just went to town. I wanted to SHOW, rather than just tell, the kinds of things Nehetari does for the individuals that are important to her)
@gracia-regina @ask-a-scheming-sorcerer @luwupercal
9 notes · View notes