- "What we do, who we are, what we will become, all of this is a fickle as the wind and as ephemeral as smoke. Nothing shall ever last forever, but is that the product of random change or the per-ordained conclusion of fate? Are we pawns of greater forces or merely our own decisions, and how are we to tell? Such a delicious paradox!"
- —Psycho-Transcription of the Visceri Gravemind Vshyyr'meleth
The Visceri were a race of highly psychic humanoids native to the Sephadollion Sector, masters of warp-sorcery that in ancient times lorded over it's human inhabitants in the name of their fell god, Tzeentch. They were thought to be exterminated twice, once during the Great Crusade at the hands of the Luna Wolves Legion and once during the xenocidal campaign known as the Lak'Vrey Retaliation. However, while the Visceri may be long dead, the unspeakable artifacts and unholy arcana they left behind has lately begun to haunt the inhabitants of the Sector...
The Lak'Vrey Retaliation
Like many things about the Visceri, their biology is neither understood nor well-documented, though not due to the lack of cadavers and corpses to be studied, but rather due to a lack of any semblance of a cohesive pattern. The powers of the Great Changer had warped and twisted the Visceri to the point where otherworldly mutations were practically commonplace, each one stranger and more ill-understood than the last. Indeed it is unknown what their species might have once resembled, thus forcing the Imperium to cobble together a rough understanding of the Visceri's appearance based on similar traits, if nothing else.
For the most part, the Visceri were tall, gaunt humanoids, roughly 7 to 7.5 feet in height, with skin coloration ranging from lavender to deep violet in color. Their craniums were large and elongated, housing extraordinarily massive brains from which their prodigious psychic talent manifested. In addition, many Visceri had thick, bony plates sweeping back from their temples and terminating at the back of their skulls, likely the result of an evolutionary adaptation designed to protect their otherwise vulnerable heads. Sprouting from underneath the back of these plates were of long, tentacle-like protrusions saturated with nerve endings, which could often be observed slowly floating around a Visceri's head as if caught in a nonexistent breeze. These "nerve-cords", as they were labeled, apparently contributed to the Visceri's high level of psychic sensitivity in some way that still escapes even the most ardent Genetors of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
From there, the similarities between individual Visceri begin to diminish, as their every other biological feature differed from the other in some way. Some had multiple limbs ending in dexterous four-fingered hands, others sported bony talons or crustacean-like claws. Facial features ranged from compound eyes to lipless maws of teeth to nests elongated feeding pseudopods, and yet no two were exactly alike. Even the Visceri's internal systems had not been spared from the warping touch of their fell master, sporting strange organs and vestigial growths that should have not been able to function in the first place, and yet they did regardless, leading to even more questions pertaining to the nature of Visceri biology.
Society and Culture
Visceri society was one that was had fully given itself over to the capricious whims of the Lord of Change, and as a result many of it's facets and traditions are so bizarre and unknowable that many simply defy human understanding. What is understood about the Visceri is that at it's heart both their society and culture were built upon a desire to create change for it's own sake, a whim so simple and yet so complex and myriad in the ways it was undertaken. Indeed, their conflict with the Imperium and the instigation of the Lak'Vrey Retaliation was in itself little more than another one of their schemes, millions upon millions of lives sacrificed only so that they might observe what sort of consequences their actions might have upon the galaxy.
The structure of Visceri society is also not well-known, although some solid facts have been unearthed in recent years. Their species was ruled by a conclave of it's most prestigious members known as the Council of Nine, the number nine being the holy number of the Architect of Fate. From there they were divided up into a series of castes, three of which have been identified by the Imperium: The Aethershaper Caste, who utilized the reality-bending powers of the Aetherforges to create the Visceri's malefic technologies, the Overseer Caste, who directed the advances of the Thrall Legions by serving as commanders and battle-sorcerers, and the Aberrator Caste, the practitioners of the Paradoxical Path.
The Paradoxical Path
- "What is shall be, what is not will come to pass."
- —The Ysshlyr'Mhan'Vollrr, or the First-and-Last Tenet
The Paradoxical Path was the backbone of Visceri culture, though it was not so much a religion as it was a philosophy, despite it's obvious reverence of Tzeentch. In summation, the Paradoxical Path taught that permanence in any form is a lie, as everything is subject to the will of the Great Changer and therefore prone to random change. By that logic the Path itself acknowledged its own lack of permanence and encouraged its followers to contemplate the nature of change itself, and therefore expand upon the Path itself. As a result, even amongst the sorcerer-philosophers of the Aberrator Caste no two Visceri had the same notion of the Paradoxical Path, making it ever-evolving and in some cases contradictory, much like the Visceri themselves.
Largely because of their disregard for permanence, the Visceri tended never to do anything the same way twice, something they applied to all facets of their culture. Visceri architecture and visual atheistics alone were described as "a riot of strange angles and stranger colors with no obvious patterns to be found".
(MORE TO COME)
- "If the pawns will not fall in line on their own, then they will be forced to fall in line."
- —Psycho-Transcription from the Visceri Gravemind Eshka'hrrdo
Thralls are psychically brainwashed non-Visceri about as commonplace within the Visceri society as Servitors are within Imperial Society. They serve as menials all kinds, from workers to servants to the bulk of their armies within the infamous Thrall Legions. Due to their sheer usefulness, Thralls are considered a sort of resource, and many Visceri raids on unsuspecting planets have been merely to refresh said resource.
Thralls are created through a process known as Mindscourging, in which an unfortunate individual's mind is wiped of personality and independent thought by the means of a Mindscourge Gauntlet or similar device. In place of those traits, psycho-hypnotic guidelines are implanted, forcing the newly-created Thrall to obey any and all Visceri that might command him or her, and said process can also be fine-tuned so that a Thrall only obeys a specific master. A Thrall's mind cannot be restored by any known means after being subjected to Mindscourging, as they are little more than fleshy shells programmed to obey a set of directives.
(MORE TO COME)
The Visceri homeworld is known as Viscerath, located at the very border of the Pyssel Sub-Sector within the Sephadollion Sector. Though no non-Mindscourged human has ever set foot upon it's surface to date, before being subjected to Exterminatus Viscerath appearance from orbit was described as "a chaotic menagerie of structures chained together through no comprehensible pattern, like an architect's worst nightmare, stretching as far as the eye could see". Given this description, the Inquisition classified Viscerath as a sort of xeno-constructed Hive World before ordering it's destruction.
Viscerath is now classified both a Dead World and a Forbidden World, as both it and the solar system in inhabited were declared quarantined by the Ordo Xenos in the wake of the Lak'Vrey Retaliation. The thermonuclear fires of the cyclonic torpedoes burned away most of the planet's atmosphere and penetrated so deeply into the crust that the molten mantle began to spill out on to the surface, the fumes from which created a new toxic atmosphere of deadly and volatile gases, transforming Viscerath into a volcanic hellhole completely devoid of life.
One unique feature of Viscerath was a naturally-occurring mineral that formed within it's crust, known as Lumen by the Visceri. It appeared a bluish, crystalline substance, usually taking the form of large gems that while as fragile as glass, retained incredible psychoreactive qualities. Akin to the psychoconductive crystals used in the creation of Psychic Hoods and Force Weapons, Lumen not only focused psychic energy but amplified it, allowing even a being with the barest amount of psychic potential to focus his power to devastating effect, so long as he or she remained in contact with the Lumen. It was an essential material in many Visceri weapons and technologies, and it was once hypothesized by xeno-researcher Cutler Kar that Lumen could be used to create superior Force Weaponry.
It was also discovered that the Visceri could synthesize Lumen, though there were some drawbacks. This artificial substance, while more durable than natural Lumen and easy to produce, could only store psychic energy within rather than focus and increase it. It too was also heavily utilized by the Visceri for a number of different purposes, one of the most notable being the the binding and subjugation of summoned Daemons.
However, Lumen appears to be a mineral only produced within the confines of Viscerath's underground, and thus many a corporation and/or Mechanicus instillation has petitioned to establish mining operations on the planet in an attempt to discover if any viable Lumen deposits still remain remain. So far, each and every one of the prepositions have been denied, courtesy of the Emperor's Inquisition.
- "Rather than let themselves be limited by the laws of the physical universe, the Visceri turned to the Immaterium in order to accomplish their designs..."
- —Inquisitor Edrith Cambion, regarding Visceri Technology
Most of the Visceri's technology is not well documented, mostly due to the strange nature of the technology itself. Most attempts to fully understand their devices have only led to more questions, as most of the technologies recovered and studied have been altered or at the very least influenced through psychic manipulation, allowing them to preform in ways that ordinarily would be impossible according to the laws of the material universe. The Visceri had somehow managed to harness the Warp's ability to alter physical matter and twist it to their own purposes, thanks in no small part to the energy-focusing properties of the Lumen crystals. The rest of Visceri technology currently known to the the Imperium are mostly weapons and vehicles salvaged from the battlefields of the Lak'Vrey Retaliation, giving them a good understanding of their offensive capabilities, if nothing else.
- Aetherforges - Massive energy-focusing receptacles used by the Visceri to create more exotic devices, Aetherforges were simultaneously operated by small groups of Visceri Aethershapers. When used, a deposit of material containing the nessacery atomic structures would be placed within it's confines. Then, the Aethershapers would each pour a small portion of their own psychic strength into the machine to activate it. Once active, the Aetherforge would use the newly-acquired energy to influence the materials on their most fundamental levels, reshaping them into the form designated by the operating Aethershapers. Aetherforged materials were essential to the creation of many Visceri technologies, but anything created by this process constitutes a moral threat due to the inherently Chaotic nature of these unholy receptacles.
- Quietude Technology - A type of stasis-inducing technology used by the Visceri, Quietude Stasis Pods and other such devices entailed the manipulation of the time-altering properties of the warp via arcane Lumen-fueled generators, causing the flow of time to stop in a localized area once activated. However, studies showed that Quietude-induced stasis led to insanity in sentient beings, as their own subconscious's could not comprehend being trapped within in a space with no past or future, thus resulting in the mind fracturing from the strain of trying to understand it's condition. Thus the Visceri used Quietude Stasis as a means to store their Thralls, due to them not actually possessing minds but rather simple psycho-induced directives, and thus allowing them to live indefinitely so long as they were periodically kept in such a timeless state. Even now, Sephadollion Explorators and Xeno-Archeologists are still stumbling upon hidden cashes of stasis-locked Thralls, awaiting their fell masters' commands even so many years after the Visceri's defeat.
- Psionic Beacons - On worlds once controlled by the Visceri, Imperial forces encountered massive tower-like installations that when active emitted a form of psychic resonance similar to that of an astropathic beacon, but far more malign and alien in nature. No one is exactly sure what purpose these strange towers served, but shortly after their discovery, the Inquisition immediately declared these areas Xenos Horrificus and cordoned off all known sites. Within the boundries of the Sephadollion Sector, trespassing on the quarantined areas without explicit permission from an Inquisitorial operative is a crime punishable by death.
- Prismatic Weaponry - The most common form of ranged weaponry utilized by the Visceri, Prismatic weapons are a form of laser weaponry utilizing high-intensity amplified light to produce lasers, but altering the process by focusing said laser through artificial Lumen crystal-lenses located within the barrel of the weapon, each one inscribed with microscopic Cerith runes. The result is a beam of focused energy manifested as a ray of intense multicolored light rather than the typical red, striking with a different effect each time it was fired. Some Prismatic beams would burn through flesh and armor like standard las-weaponry, while others would twist and warp anything they touched into piles of scrap and shredded flesh, or simply vaporize all that they touched. Regardless the myriad effects appeared to be completely random in nature, making Prismatic Weaponry both deadly and unpredictable.
- Ectoplasmic Weaponry - "Ectoplasma" is the term given to Chaos-infused plasma utilized by those who have fallen to the Ruinous Powers, and thus due to the similarities between it and Visceri Plasma Weaponry, the term "Ectoplasmic" was used to identify these weapons during the Retaliation. glowing a strange violet color, Visceri-manufactured Ectoplasma appears to have been psychically manipulated, causing it not only to burn with even greater intensity but also infect anything it struck with cancerous warp-energy. The hulls of vehicles would twist and contort into unrecognizable shapes, flesh would begin to rapidly mutate, some Imperial Soldiers even devolving into Chaos Spawn right before their comrades' eyes. Needless to say, the Visceri oftentimes utilized Ectoplasmic weaponry for no other reason than to watch the myriad effects it had on Imperial forces.
- Aetherpulse Weaponry - Jokingly referred to as "Rainbow Guns" during the Lak'Vrey Retaliation, Aetherpulse Weaponry is rare and deadly example of the Visceri's prowess of weaponizing the otherworldly powers Warp. Most Aetherpulse weapons consist of a bulky chamber in which a single psychically-charged Lumen crystal is held, the power within said crystal focused and directed through still-misunderstood processes out of the weapon's bulbous barrel in a blast of concentrated warp-energy. The resulting discharge resembles a burst of bewilderingly multicolored light (hence the nickname), vaporizing anything it comes in contact with before vanishing just as abruptly. While somewhat hindered by their short range of fire, Aetherpulse Weapons were incredibly dangerous due to their ability to destroy virtually anything, their immaterial blasts reducing all that they touched to nothingness.
- Shard Weaponry - Used mainly for anti-infantry purposes, Shard Weaponry utilized modified crystals of artificial Lumen as ammunition, fired from a special chamber that imbued said crystals with kinetic energy as they were propelled from the weapon's chamber. The Lumen-shot would strike the target with the force of a Bolt shot, exploding into razor-sharp fragments once it had reached critical mass, killing the target and lacerating anyone standing nearby. Because of this, Shard Weaponry could wreak devastation on lightly-armored units, shredding them to pieces under a hail of glass-like fragments. Typically most forms of Shard Weaponry took the form of large rotary cannons, as this design gave them the rate of fire they needed to be efficient in their killings.
- Grenades - The Visceri utilized a number of grenades and grenade-like devices during their battles with the Imperium, for a variety of tactical purposes. Most commonly encountered types of these devices were:
- Shard Grenades - Functioning using the same technologies as Visceri Shard Weaponry, Shard Grenades exploded into a spray of razor-sharp Lumen fragments, which upon striking a target would then shatter into smaller sprays of lacerating fragments, thus creating a chain reaction that could wipe out an entire squad of lightly armored enemies with a single well-timed detonation.
- Quietude Grenades - Named "Stillfield" Grenades by Imperial Soldiers, Quietude Grenades were a rare type of stasis weapon that once detonated trapped anything within a five-meter radius within a temporary temporal loop, freezing them in place. Once immobilized, any trapped with the blast radius could be easily cut down by Visceri forces, unable to react so long as the temporal field persisted. Quietude Grenades were also used by Visceri to capture Imperial forces, trapping scores of Imperial Guardsmen long enough for them to be secured, transported, and transformed into Thralls.
- Aetherpulse Charges - Used mainly as breaching devices and anti-tank weapons. Aetherpulse Charges could be magnetically secured to almost any surface, were they could then be primed and detonated from a safe distance. Like most forms of Aetherpulse Weaponry, these charges exploded into blasts of prismatic warp energy, vaporizing anything they came into contact with.
- Phylacteries - Constructed from warp-altered Lumen and other arcane materials, Visceri Phylacteries were malefic talismans used for a variety of purposes, mostly concerning the trapping of psychic energies and entities within their crystalline structures. Several offensive varieties of Phylactery were:
- Phylacteries of Binding - These Phylacteries were used to bind and trap summoned Daemons, storing their essence until such a time when it's Visceri master had need of it. When the proper incantations were spoken, the Daemon was unleashed on to the battlefield to destroy its master's enemies, the Phylactery serving as it's anchor within the Materium. Then, once it's power was no longer required, the Daemon could be withdrawn back into said Phylactery with the utterance of a counter-incantation.
- Phylacteries of Torment - Containing the essence of a powerful Psyker, Phylacteries of Torment served to slowly drive the soul of this unfortunate victim insane, kept in an unending state of half-life within the Phylactery's confines. When activated, the device would tap into this insanity to send waves of maddening energy towards it's victims, causing entire droves of opponents to fall upon one another in an orgy of maddened violence.
- Phylacteries of Soultheft - Rather than containing any sort of energy, Phylacteries of Soultheft were designed to do exactly that, steal souls. When active they existed as a sort of psychic vacuum, devouring the essence of all that it targeted and imprisoning that energy within it, leaving behind a trail of souless husks. Then, once it's energy threshold had been met the Phylactery could release said energy in a burst of sheer psychic force, utterly devastating anything within close proximity. Thankfully, Phylacteries of Soultheft were rare, only seen in the hands of the most powerful of the Visceri.
- Mindscourge Gauntlets - As the name implies, Mindscourge Gauntlets were glove-like apparatuses that manipulated neural impulses in order to scrub their victims minds of thought and personality in preparation for reprogramming. When a Gauntlet was activated, all they required was skin contact to reduce a hapless victim to a lobotomized husk ripe for conversion into an equally mindless Thrall. However, the Imperium also recovered military variants of this device, complete with long finger-spikes to pierce armor plating in order to gain contact with the target's flesh and shred his or her mind to pieces, rendering them effectively brain-dead and thus all the easier for the Gauntlet's wielder to finish off.
- Visceri "Reaper Blades" - The first recorded usages of this particularly deadly form of melee weapon came in the form of scattered reports of Visceri wielding blades that could apparently "wound the air itself". Later named "Reaper Blades", these weapons seemingly utilized some unknown form of technology to infuse Aetherforged blades with the destructive power of the Warp itself, allowing them to cut through virtually any substance with contemptuous ease when activated. Reportedly, these rare weapons mainly took the form of long swords and polearms, their blades as black as the void and bleeding unearthly miasma, leaving long ebony rents in the air itself when swung that "hung there with silent menace before finally fading away".
- (MORE TO COME)
- Credit goes to Supahbadmarine for originally coming up with the idea for the Visceri. I sorta just built upon what he had already laid down.
|Hive Worlds||Triam · Estomor · Lak'Vrey|
|Forge Worlds||Dedriton · Sillicalon|
|Other||Tangaroa · Bythantis · Vilgalan · Halcyon · Fractus · Three-Hundred Fifty · Qenia · Ancheron Prime · Cicholos · Sulakta · Assila · Carnivos · Sharash|
|Tenebarite Cabal||Jacki Vulsen · Alexei de'Ossmann · Bradan Peregrem · Avarious Van Hohen · Cherrice Bauyon · Rayas Mearas · Alexander Buhoveckey|
|Others||Mordred Troy · Dante Buhoveckey · Florianus Buhoveckey · Cutler Kar · Dalila Isiminger · Edrith Cambion · Sophia Riyeko · Skarek Usid · Dorianus Ven Adrien · Morgan Jome · Bartholomew Arinus · Zerath Devorian · Erlösung XI · Lin Mai · Mitchell Ramone|
|Human||Blazing Claws · Vitores Tenebras|
|Xenos||Visceri · Hive Fleet Erebus|