Lycoris Maidens: Origins – Lilianna I, Part 1

“The Hive is hell.
Anyone born on this rock learns this early on. The ones that choose to come here, learn quickly. But then there are the ones that end up here against their will. They learn the quickest of them all. To them, the Hive can be something much worse than hell.

It doesn’t matter how you came to be here, the Hive can take everything from you.

Yeah, things worse than hell do exist. I’ve seen them.
And the Hive… at one point… took just about everything from me too”

Lilianna, First Queen of the Lycoris Maidens

Chapter 1

Cerra and the Misfortunate Trader

Cerra, a young girl with bright red hair, was just one of the countless insignificant orphans roaming the Hive. She lived a very typical life of poverty and, well, straight-up survival. She had been alone since quite a young age, when she escaped from a hive orphanage. The title ‘Orphanage’ sounds benign and well meaning. But it was anything but. It was, in fact, a front for a slavery ring. One that sold children into lives of labor and… worse fates. Kids regularly ended up missing. There one night. Gone the next morning. And no one really had any answers as to why. Though some restless kids claimed to see men take the kids in the middle of the night while everyone slept. It was scary.

Cerra wanted none of any of that, and orchestrated her escape. Since then, she had been on her own, though she really didn’t know anymore how long she has been surviving inside this rock. The Hive has little use for things like age. And things like time and days, they all blend together after a while.

One of the things she was best at was keeping a low profile. This is not so much a skill, as it is a necessity for a young girl on her own. Sure she had experienced dangerous situations before. But she was always light on her feet, and could escape anyone who was after her. Her familiarization with her surroundings always helped too.

Cerra spent most of her time in the alleys and hiding between bulkheads where the steam conduits are for warmth. She even made a hideout for herself in one such secluded area. It was her safe haven where she could control things. And in truth, she quite liked the solitude. If she needed supplies, she would just sell scrap for credits and then purchase what she needed at a market nearby. She always stayed nearby as it was a personal rule to not venture too far away from her ‘home in the wall’.

It was a day like any other when during a trip to the market, she passed by a completely downtrodden and disheveled trader, and slowed to a stop. She had seen people in this state many times before. In truth, it was not at all out of place. But the woman before her was a complete mess. It became apparent to Cerra that this woman had been through all kinds of fresh hell upon her arrival to the Hive. Traders from all over the stars would occasionally make their way through the markets, peddling their wares. But none ever looked like this. This woman was… defeated.

Spread out in front of her were trinkets of various kinds. But honestly, it looked mostly like a lot of junk. Cerra had likely sold better stuff to buy rations. ‘She probably had all of her better wares stolen, by the looks of her’ she thought, not realizing that she had been standing there for long enough to draw attention to herself.

As Cerra turned to walk away, the seemingly broken woman called out in a soft voice, “Girl.”

This caused Cerra to freeze and turn back hesitantly. She knew better than to interact with the traders. Off-world merchants were known to be swindlers more often than nought. At least the local merchants would trim a little off of their scam prices for locals.

“Girl… Yes, you” Her voice was devoid of any kind of confidence one might expect from an off world merchant. “How old are you?”

She looked and sounded broken. Could someone like this possibly be a threat? Perhaps, it was the sorry state of this woman and her broken voice that prompted Cerra to reply. Though she didn’t quite know how to answer the question. 

“I… umm, I really don’t know.” The young girl cautiously replied, keeping her eyes moving. 

This was the truth. Cerra really didn’t know much about herself, save the fact that she was an orphan that had escaped a slave ring. That she knew that her name was Cerra, was only because that is what they called her at the orphanage. If she had to guess, her age was around 15. She had seen other children around about her size that claimed to be around that age.

“I mean you no harm, girl.” The trader sighed, sensing the girl’s hesitancy. “You just reminded me of someone or something. Your face. And your hair…” the weight of multiple world’s shown on her face now that Cerra could see it more clearly. “Would you sit and talk with me for a bit? I have met nothing but misfortune since my arrival. Yours is the first face that I have seen in this place that actually looks…well… kind.” 

Receiving a compliment such as this was new to Cerra. She honestly didn’t have much interaction with other people. Nevertheless, the hesitant girl proceeded to take a seat one the floor near the woman. Still keeping her guard up though. For reasons unknown, she was drawn to the woman sitting here.

“I assure you, I mean you know ill will, and I am unarmed. My pistol was taken… the night I arrived.”  she winced, “Along with… much more…” Cerra had read the scene correctly, the woman had been robbed. This was not an act at all. 

As the market bustled around them, Cerra listened for what seemed like hours as the woman, whom she learned was named Lillianna, told her tale. She was a trader that ended up here by virtue of a faulty drive core on the transport she had chartered. And this was only where her misfortune started. After the transport made an “emergency approach” to the hive for “repairs”, and after the 5 passengers had disembarked, the ship miraculously took off again almost immediately. She further explained that It started to feel like she had been delivered here to the Hive. In fact, there were people at the port attempting to herd the new arrivals away. Not quite using aggression, but not quite going about it pleasantly either. They appeared to be expecting Lilianna and the four other passengers.

Cerra knew, all to well, about the trafficking of people trade. But she just continued to listen.

She recalled seeing a couple of the passengers go with the traffickers. Once they had rounded a corner, thinking they were out of sight, the men kicked the backs of the unsuspecting people. Recognizing this danger, Lilianna had separated herself from that scene quickly. Carrying all of her wares with her in some bags, she attempted to charter another transport. The trader was expected on another world in a matter of days. In doing this, she was met with hostility, theft, and… other transgressions. Cerra would later learn that she meant various forms of assault. 

Along with her pride and dignity, all things of worth in her possession were stolen. Including her aforementioned antique, yet still very functional laspistol. This was her only means of protection in her travels.

In the course of a week, the woman had been thrust into an absolute nightmare. She had also barely eaten anything. ‘This poor woman’, Cerra thought as she sat there quietly.

As she told her story, Cerra began to notice that the woman was not guarding her meager wares. Instead, she was paying more attention to the young girl in front of her. Cerra, on two occasion’s thwarted a theft of Lillianna’s goods. The first time smacking the seemingly bodiless hand that appeared from behind a nearby crate using the small metal rod that she carried for self protection. There was a howl and thump as the hand retracted. The second time, Cerra actually chased a child across the market and tackled him. The boy spouted various swears, dropped the item and wiggled free. Before sprinting off into a mass of people. With the seemingly useless trinket in hand, she quickly returned to Lillianna.

Upon her return to the broken trader’s space, Lillianna’s face was slightly shocked. “I thought you had run off on me. Perhaps you and that boy were working together, hmm? That would’ve been… about right, wouldn’t it? But here you are…“ She sighed. There was a tiny hint of happiness in her voice, Cerra noted. Albeit extremely tiny.

“Here, please watch your wares in this market, Lillianna.” Cerra sat near her again. She noted a slight change in the woman’s tension, for the better, as she was holding the returned ware in her hands.

“Where have you been staying this whole time? Where do you sleep?” Cerra asked, as she felt the day was getting long. 

“Sleep…is… something I don’t do much…” Shaking her head. “How can you, in a place like this…?” She twirled her finger in the air, before her voice caught as the statement escaped her lips. “I’m sorry, this is your home.”  

She had a point, Cerra thought. “You’re not wrong, Lillianna. I guess we just do our best. I have a…” She stopped her statement cold. What was she doing?! Was she really about to share her secret with a stranger? Lilianna looked at her, a little confused as to why Cerra suddenly went tight lipped.

Cerra thought for a few seconds before she did something that she swore she would never do.

“Will you come with me? I have a safe place.” The ‘safe place’ part was spoken in a very hushed voice, as she leaned in to Lillianna. Cerra tried to assure the woman with her eyes, but she knew full well that the woman had no reason to believe nor trust her. Especially after all she had been through.

Lillianna went to reply, but paused as she observed the small girl, instead she only made one small nod of her head. They both began packing up the unsold trinkets. Cerra noted that the entire time they sat together the only interactions Lillianna had with a potential customer was one man that only stopped to eye the woman, not so much the wares. He had something sinister about him to be sure.

The day was definitely getting long. The more unsavory types were about.

Once they had swiftly packed, Lillianna indicated she was ready, and in a soft voice only said one word.


Hiding places are aplenty in the Hive. But the good ones, the truly safe ones, those are few and far between.

Cerra’s hideaway was not so big, even for a teenage girl, but it was safe. It was as well hidden from the dangers that the Hive posed to a young girl as a place could be. Cerra always made certain she was not followed, and she had a rudimentary system for confirming if someone had entered her hideout while she was away. To this day, no one except Cerra had ever entered her home. Inside were basic amenities. Rations, bottles of “clean” water, a few changes of clothes, some scrap to sell later, a makeshift bed with tattered linens. There was a chemical toilet next to a sewer grate. The absolute basics for a somewhat acceptable life inside this rock. 

After they arrived, Cerra motioned for the woman to take a seat on the makeshift bed. The girl then rummaged a bit and gave Lillianna an old armored vest she had picked up in an alley, as well as a beat up knife. She couldn’t replace her old pistol, which Cerra later learned was Lillianna’s mentor’s. A hand-me-down antique to him that was in turn handed down to her. It had a long history apparently, and had seen many worlds. It may yet see more worlds, just not in the possession of its rightful owner.

The small knife was easily concealed, but it was quite dull. In terms of protection, what she provided the woman was definitely not much, but she didn’t want Lillianna to be completely unprotected. Not after learning what had happened to her since her unscheduled arrival.

The two ate something and chatted a bit more before turning into bed. Cerra noted that she will need to get more foodstuffs soon, now that there are two mouths here. She let Lillianna sleep where she usually would in the bed. It was closest to the warm wall. The woman definitely needed a warm bed to rest in. Cerra was just fine huddling nearby with a tattered blanket. To which Lillianna at first tried to object after seeing how the young girl would be sleeping, but her host would not have it.

The broken trader had trouble getting to sleep that first night. Every sound ripped her eyes open and made her tense up. Each time Cerra, who decided to take only small naps to watch over the scared woman, would explain what each sound was. “That is just the vermin in the walls. They won’t bother you”, “That was just a groaning bulkhead”, or “That was an incinerator being switched on down the alley”. These explanations helped Lillianna ease her mind somewhat, and when she finally dozed off, she slept for what seemed like an eternity. Cerra was sure that she must have been absolutely exhausted, and didn’t leave her side. She kept busy with an old data pad that she had found one day in between naps. 

While sleep came easier as each day passed, it took Lillianna about a week and a half to work up the courage to leave the hideout. The entire concept of going back out there, where all had gone wrong, was terrifying now that she had found safety. Cerra had to go out occasionally to find supplies and get water though. During this time Lillianna waited patiently at home. Often clutching her knife, as she was still a bit jittery at the sounds that carried through the walls. When she finally found the ability to leave the safety of the hideout, Cerra insisted on going with her. Informing the older woman, “I am your bodyguard now.”

Cerra and Lillianna, who now insisted on being called Lilly, continued this life together for about eight months following their faithful meeting. They had both become very dependent on each other for support. Cerra tried her best to show Lilly the best ways to survive and how to be vigilant in the Hive. Lilly, in turn, taught Cerra of other cultures and odd things that were not found in this rock. She also heard stories that were far more eye opening. Stories of war, of daemons, and of heretics. She was always vigilant, as the Hive had a lot of unsavory people and things, but these stories made Cerra’s hair stand up. 

They made almost daily trips to the market now, to try and sell her wares, as well as sell some scraps that the pair had found. Though Cerra was the money-maker, Lilianna was actually able to sell some things here and there too.

One day, following an eventful day, the topic of birthdays came up as they ate dinner. “When is your birthday, Cerr?” A very relaxed Lillianna asked between chews of a questionable, yet surprisingly delicious, meat-product.

“Birthday… Hmm, I don’t really know. It is not something I have really thought about, I guess.” The older woman shook her head at this.

“Well, that just won’t do” Lilly mused as she began rummaging through a bag. With an, “Ah-ha!” she produced a small trinket. “Here, close your eyes and hold out your hand.” She reached her hand out, as Cerra did as requested. “I want you to have this!”

“For me? What is this?” Cerra opened her eyes to see something that she hadn’t seen before amongst Lilly’s wares. She turned it over in her hand. It appeared to be just a metallic disc about the size of the palm of her hand. 

“This was given to me by someone very close. When I was about your age, I would guess.” She slowly let out a sigh at the thought. “So,  you say you do not know when your birthday is. I say we make today your birthday. And this is your birthday present. Do you see the small flat button there? Press that.”

Cerra flipped the device over, and pressed the button. With a very faint whirr, a hologram appeared. It was a strange red flower. She sat there staring at the slowly spinning holo-image. It was unlike anything she had ever seen here in the hive. It was beautiful. 

“This is a Lycoris. It’s a rare flower from my home world. It is also called a Spider Lily, because the petals look like a spider’s legs.” It did look like that.

“Lily?” Cerra thought. “Your name is Lilly.” She was lost in the image before her.

“Yes. Thats right. My father picked my name, and gave me this.” She paused. “When I first saw you in the market, I saw your hair. The bright red strands. It reminded me of this flower.” She turned her head away, embarrassed. “ It’s silly, I know. But it did.” She paused, “It also reminded me of my father.” Cerra knew now that her mentor in the trading-craft, the same man that had gifted her the laspistol, was her father. He had been killed during his travels some time ago. Though she didn’t know how.

Cerra was silent for a few moments. Mesmerized by the beautiful holo-image. “I. I… Thank you, Lilly. No one has given me anything like this before.” She couldn’t remember the last time that she cried. But a few tears did streak down her face today.

“My birthday” she pondered out loud as Lilly sat there smiling.

The two talked more on Cerra’s birthday until they both dozed off. Cerra had expanded the bed a bit some time ago, so they now shared the space by the warm wall every night. When she awoke the next morning, she was still clutching the gifted trinket, but Lilly was not there.

A note left on the data pad said that she had gone out to purchase some supplies. This was not an uncommon thing these days, going out on her own, and Cerra didn’t think twice about it. However, when half a day had passed, and she still had not returned, Cerra became quite anxious. Lilly had become better about going out on her own, sure. Even insisted on it. But this? No, this didn’t feel right. 

Cerra, getting more nervous with every passing moment, gathered some things, left a note on the data pad just in case Lilly returned, and headed out to search for her friend.

She looked in all the usual places. The market. The tunnels. ‘Where is she?’

The rations merchant said that Lilly had been there some hours ago. A massive pit in her stomach formed. On her way back to her hideout Cerra made a small detour down a dark alley that she hadn’t gone down in some time. Probably not since before meeting Lilly, actually. But she was drawn here today. It was the one place she hadn’t checked. This alleyway was one that she rarely took as it was infrequently taken by some of the rougher individuals in the sector. She proceeded cautiously.

Halfway down the alley Cerra heard the raspy breathing of a woman as she approached a small alcove. She quickened her pace. Upon arriving at the source of the sound, a nightmarish scene lay before her.


Lilly lay crumpled in a heap against the bulkhead inside the alcove, surrounded by garbage. Her clothes were in tatters or outright missing. The simple knife that Cerra had gifted her was now impaled in her stomach. She was bleeding out from there and various other wounds. Her body was covered in bruises and scratches. Her hair was caked with blood. It looked like her head had been smashed into the wall. Which was confirmed by a splatter of blood behind her.

Cerra, in an absolute panic, tried to stop the bleeding. Ripping strips of cloth from her own shirt, as well as from Lilly’s tattered clothes. She broke open her emergency medpack, and covered Lilli’s wounds as best she could. The blood slowed here, but continued there. This was a fight Cerra could not win. But she continued to scramble.

“I’m sorry, Cerr. I…” Lilly convulsed and coughed up a decent amount of blood all over herself. It was horrible.

“…I got chased… these guys…they… wan…” She trailed off. Her head getting heavy and her eyes drooped.

“I got one tho…Cerr. Slashed him across… eye… ear…” Lilly’s voice became faint

“No. No. No. No. NO! You’re going to be okay.” A frantic Cerra cried out.

“Hang in there! Calm down. Let’s get you home. Come on!”, as she tried to move her. But in doing this she found that the bleeding was far worse than she initially thought. Lilly was in a pool of her own blood and her body was cold to the touch. The severely injured woman also barely registered the girls attempts to move her.

“Thank you… caring for me, Cerr… Thank y… listening to me… that day… in the mark…” Her voice was growing more distant, though her lips were still moving slowly. “…ank… you for every… “, “…on’t forg…  birthd…”

Cerra was crying like a busted water pipe, and was having trouble controlling her breathing at this point. She felt light headed. Everything was out of control.

“No… Lilly! NO!! Please!! Let’s go home… together! PLEASE!”

Lilianna’s bloody hand reached up towards the girls red hair, the hair that reminded her of the flower from her home, but missed. All strength in her body was at last completely depleted. Her hand only grazed Cerra’s face, leaving a bloody smear behind. 

Her arm crashed down at Cerra’s side with a thud and unnerving splat, as it came to rest in a pool of the woman’s blood. The sound echoed through the panicking girls head and triggered a cascade.

Her vision blurred. Her ears rang.

The pain was intense. Her equilibrium faltered

Cerra, who had been crouched on one knee while trying to save Lilly, fell backwards against the wall. Hard. Her breathing uncontrollable now, as the impact took her breath completely away. Her head and her limbs fell. Her eyes closed.

Lillianna, the misfortunate trader that had been delivered here to hell some 8 months ago…

The only person Cerra had ever called a friend… was dead.

The story of Cerra and Lilianna will continue in Lycoris Maidens: Origins, Part 2.

This story is a work of fiction that is loosely set in the Warhammer 40K/Necromunda universes. Any likenesses to any other works is completely unintentional.


All of these are true except for one:

Robert is: a Hobbyist, a Music Lover, an RPG Gamer, a Mustard Lover, Chaotic Neutral, a Japanese Speaker, a Veteran, an Otaku, a Table Tennis Player, an Anime Fan, an Aviation Professional, a New York Rangers Fan, a Chaos Lover With Loyalist Tendencies.

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