Lycoris Maidens: Origins – Lilianna I, Part 2

Chapter 2

Broken and Alone… Again

Once coming to, Cerra sat there undisturbed for what seemed like hours, but in reality it was probably just a matter of moments. It took some time for the ringing in her ears to subside, as well as her vision to clear. Once it did she found herself crying uncontrollably. A stark reminder of what had just happened, lay all around her. It was dark and cold. There was trash, scrap, blood… and there was Lilianna.

Lilianna, who was still lying there dead, in a pool of her own blood. It was so gruesome that Cerra almost passed out again. The pain in her head returned, but somehow she kept her bearings.

When she had finally regained control of her breathing, Cerra came to the devastating realization that she had to do something with Lilly’s body. While it was not a busy thoroughfare, it was only a matter of time before someone passed by. There was a real likelihood that passers-by would just turn a blind eye to the bloody scene. How many times had Cerra seen such a sight and kept walking? There were always gangers face down in a corner with a slug through the skull, or a knife in the chest. It is far more easy to just keep walking than to raise an alarm about this stuff. Then again, there was also a possibility that someone would not just ‘pass on by’. She didn’t want to risk the latter.

She was covered in the slain woman’s blood after all.

The girl did her best to come up with something, but her thoughts were an absolute mess. She wondered just how many people had passed by as Lilly was being assaulted, and turned that blind eye. Or if anyone had passed by as she lay there dying in the trash. Crying for help. Cerra’s head hurt so bad.

“No!” she cried and shook these morbid thoughts from her mind, finally settling on the only real option. Leaving the scene briefly to check if it was viable.

Mustering all the strength she could, she dragged Lillianna’s cold body to a nearby incinerator. Her deceased friend was not a large woman by any stretch, in fact she had lost a considerable amount of weight since arriving here in hell. But Cerra was almost completely void of any kind of strength. So moving the woman took good bit of time. All while leaving a bloody trail behind on the floor and grating. But it was dark in this alley, so the blood could hardly be seen. Blood was not exactly a strange sight in the Hive. Dried blood stains are regularly found on walls and floors. Everywhere, really. Sometimes, you don’t know if it is paint or blood.

The incinerator was cold to the touch. Cerra pressed the button that ignited the machine and waited a moment or two for the temperature to rise. As it did, she stole glances at Lilly’s body, which was now leaning against the wall, partially obscured by the shadows. The heat from the machine felt ironically good, considering what had just happened, and what she was about to do. Was it really okay to take comfort in something that was about to be used to dispose of her best and only friend in this existence?

She didn’t have the time or willpower to ponder this any more.

When the green light indicating the machine was ready flickered on, Cerra looked down at Lilly one last time. She recalled that the first time the two met. Cerra was also standing as the woman was seated on the ground. Looking like she was defeated and dead inside. Now she was dead. She closed her eyes for a moment. Shaking a bit. Her eyes burned from the tears.

“Goodbye, Lilianna…” Choosing not to vocalize her thoughts beyond those two words. Instead keeping them within.

It took every bit of energy she had left in her body to raise the woman up into the machine, and there was a loud thud as the body fell into the inferno. She half expected to hear screams of agony, but the only sounds she heard was that of the fires within the machine itself.

‘This was the only way’ her internal thoughts confirmed.

She could only imagine what would happen to her friend’s body had she just left it in that alley. Odds are it would have just been eaten away at by vermin. But there are also a surprising number of uses for a lifeless corpse in the Hive. She shook her head rapidly. Either way was unacceptable.

“No! This was the only way!” She spoke defiantly towards the machine.

It only took a matter of moments for the remains of the trader Lillianna to be reduced to ash at the bottom of the incinerator. Cerra found an empty ammo box nearby amongst the scrap and garbage that didn’t make its way into the machine. Once the incinerator was cool enough, she scooped the ashes into it using another piece of metal. She sobbed the whole time. With the can closed up tight, Cerra just stood there for a while, holding it to her chest, as the last bit of warmth from the garbage burner was fading. The cold and darkness of the metal alley returned.

Having completing her impromptu funeral, Cerra turned and made her way slowly back to her home in the wall. Utterly broken. On multiple occasions she almost fell over, having bumped into something. Her feet felt like concrete slabs.

Upon arriving home, she didn’t check for followers. She didn’t check her hideout for signs of entry. She didn’t change her bloodied clothes. Nothing really mattered nor registered now. She grabbed her gifted flower holo and together with the ammo box curled up in the corner near the warm wall. Lilianna’s blood was still on her face and hands too. Having long since dried.

In a little less than a year, Lilly had become a best friend, or perhaps even an older sister to Cerra. Yeah, she definitely was the closest thing to family Cerra ever had. They had become inseparable, and talked about everything. Except one thing, really.

A thing that did not matter until yesterday.

“I never even learned when her birthday was…” Cerra softly thought out loud, as the tears slowly came again.

Completely defeated and drained, she switched on the holo, placing it next to her head, and cried to herself until exhaustion at last completely took over.

Alone once again, Cerra didn’t leave her hideout for quite some time. Though she could never recall exactly how long. She only really moved to go to the chem-toilet. Which even that became less frequent, as she really hadn’t been eating or drinking anything. During this period, she occasionally glanced at Lilly’s belongings, which were exactly where they had been before she died. Cerra didn’t dare disturb them. She couldn’t. Not yet. It was as if she was expecting Lilly to come home some time soon. However, these delusions were always broken with a simple glance at the ammo box. Cerra knew exactly what was inside that can. If that was not enough of a reminder, sitting atop of it was the knife Cerra had given to Lilly. The knife that was given to her for protection. The knife that was impaled in the trader’s stomach. The knife that still had Lilly’s long-since dried blood all over it.

Every time she looked at anything that reminded her of Lilly, an emptiness filled her. She felt more alone now, than before she had met the woman. The jumbled thoughts that drifted through her brain during this time began to gradually eat away and change her outlook on life. After some time, the thoughts that brought sadness were eventually quickly followed up by anger. It had taken long enough, but it would seem that life in the Hive had finally gotten to Cerra.

It had, at last, taken just about everything from her. Like it does so many others inside this rock.

Sure she had bad days in the past. How could one not? But she endured, and tried to keep a positive outlook. Then Cerra witnessed a poor innocent woman die in her hands… This woman wasn’t of this world. She wasn’t born into this life, she was delivered to it against her will. She was her friend, and didn’t deserve such an end!

Yeah, Cerra had finally reached her wits end. With that, a lot of conflicting thoughts began to play around in her broken mind.

‘If I ever find these bastards…I’ll…’ 

‘Eh… What would I do? I am just one small girl.’

‘Who were they anyway?’ 

‘It would be impossible to find them… they are long gone’

‘How long has it been?’

‘How long have I been here?’

’They are definitely long gone, there would be no way to track them down.’

‘What would I do anyway?’

‘Unless there was some kind of…’ 

A thought came!


“I got one tho…Cerr. Slashed him across… eye… ear…” Cerra could hear Lilly’s dying voice in her mind. Only this time it did not illicit pain or sadness. It gave her a start. She had a clue. One of the people that did this to Lilly was cut. From eye to ear. At least that is what she took from Lilly’s dying words.

Cerra found the strength to stand. Though she wasn’t exactly stable. Her brain was moving faster than her body would carry. She wanted to get out and start searching right now, but she was weak from lack of sustenance. Her stomach was growling. How long had it been doing that? She didn’t know. There really wasn’t much to eat, remembering that Lilly had ran out to grab supplies on the day she was murdered. So Cerra’s first action was to dig her emergency rations out. Making note that she would have to replenish her stores later.

When she was well enough to venture out into her scum infested ward in which she lived, she bought supplies and started her search for anyone with a slash from their eye to ear. A futile task, really. Once she had gotten her strength back, many days and weeks had passed staking out various areas near where Lilly was murdered. There were countless sleepless nights as well. During those late night sessions, she would bundle herself up in old rags for warmth. This also helped her blend into the surroundings. The few passers-by rarely shot her a glance, or even noticed her. Just another homeless kid that would be dead soon anyway.

During this time Cerra wondered exactly what it was that she was doing. She would have internal conflicts on a daily basis. Her mind was clearly still a mess. There was times that she wondered if she was losing her grip on reality, and chasing ghosts.

However, her internal struggles proved to be moot, as her searches eventually struck pay-dirt! On one evening a small group of uber-lawless punks passed by her stakeout spot. One of them was sporting a bandage wrapped around half of his head. She followed them, being sure to stay well hidden, and quiet. Their hangout was not far from where Lilly was murdered. It was all adding up.

These maggots were unaffiliated, and just did whatever they pleased. They called themselves the… something too long to give two shits about really. Cerra watched their comings and goings for a few days. Making detailed notes on her data pad. Only when she had enough information would she begin to develop her surely life altering plans. ‘No one would miss them.’ She thought angrily

How did she confirm that these were the right men? Well, that one man whose head was wrapped did. After some time watching these insects, the man finally removed the bandage. His wounds had finally healed. Revealing a fresh scar and a missing eye. It must have been painful, and taken forever to heal. ‘Good’, Cerra internalized.

Sure it could have been a coincidence. There could have been another waste of flesh with the same injury in this sector. Just about everyone has been roughed up at some point. Cerra had scars, from escaping some men. One was from a stray bullet that ricocheted around the ward one day. Luckily it only grazed her arm. But this was no coincidence. These punks had on multiple occasions traveled down the same path that Lilly was murdered in. The man with one eye. It all added up. They were definitely the ones.

When that time came to put her long thought out plans in motion, she needed a little help. No, she needed a lot of help. She weighed her options very carefully. Because approaching the wrong people about something like this, could spell disaster. The House of Blades had a strong presence in this ward, and Cerra originally thought to seek their assistance outright. Like actually contracting them for ‘help’. But she didn’t have those kind of credits. Instead she decided to seek out the aid of one someone close to them, and paid a visit to one of their chymists. Which was not an easy feat in it’s own rite, as their operations weren’t exactly out in the open and advertised. The act involved almost as much effort as it took to track the One Eye and his punks down.

Cerra stepped into a makeshift lab, after following a skinny bald woman with goggles atop her head, for what seemed like an hour. It was not lost on Cerra that thin woman had taken a crazy route to get here. “What do you want, girl? You should not be here.” The wiry woman, now with a gas mask around her neck, queried without even looking at the young girl. Apparently she was aware she was being tailed. Thoughts of running away came, but were put down quickly.

‘I’ve come this far! Just spit it out, Cerra’ she internalized.

“I have business for you.” Cerra got straight to the point. The chymist slowly turned, half of her face was covered in scar tissue. It looked like it would have been excruciating. “Well, I… I need some things. For a personal mission. First, something to make a man unable to move. Then, I need a poison. A painful poison. I have some creds…” Cerra stuttered a bit. When she wasn’t tracking murderers, she had been selling scrap, skipping ration shop visits, and saving as much as she could. She even found the nerve to try to sell some of Lilly’s things.

The chymists response took a few moments. ‘Is she even listening to me?’ As Cerra was speaking the poison maker began milling about the lab. “I have what you need. But can you afford it? Hmm?” She questioned while still working.

Cerra was beginning to get shaken. Maybe she hadn’t thought this out well enough. And that feeling came on quicker when the chymist named her price with a laugh. It was high. Very high.

And Cerra was short. Substantially so. The girl completely wavered “That is… very expensive…I…”

“My work does not come cheap, girl!” the wire of a woman shot back. Finally stopping her busy-body work, turning to face Cerra. She was terrifying in the dim light of the lab. Cerra stumbled back a pace.

Realizing that she had failed, her head dropped and Cerra spun, slowly stumbled away. “I see… I… I’m sorry for following you here…” was all she was able to muster in her retreat. The sounds of the lab grew louder to Cerra.

“Hang on!” The chymist blurted.

“How much do you have?” To which Cerra responded in a low voice without turning to face her, “Not hardly enough. Maybe a third of what you requested”.

There was a moment of intense uncomfortable silence, as the girl was almost to the doorway.


Cerra spun after the word. “What? But…” The terrifying poison maker’s attention was now fully trained on Cerra.

“I said, done! But I have a stipulation.” Cerra’s hopeful face turned cold again. There was always a stipulation, or an ultimatum. Good will was as rare as seeing the sun in the Hive. “Go on…”

“Prior to the exchange of goods and credits, you speak to my Matriarch.” She continued, “You have a bitterness in your eyes, girl. But you are also pathetic. Your tough act, is not tough enough. As I am sure you are aware, seeing as you were able to find and follow me for as long as you did, you are standing deep in Purple Blades territory. No doubt you have seen the tags, have you not?” The wiry woman was correct. Cerra was well aware of the Purple Blades and their reputation. The woman kept talking “You are asking for our tools. Our calling cards. I need to make sure you don’t piss off the wrong people and bring heat on us. On me. You got it?” 

It was fair. Turf is everything. Groups go to great lengths to protect what’s theirs. Cerra had her hideout after all. With the exception of the day Lilly was murdered, she was very careful in ensuring it stayed hidden. 

“Okay…” Cerra replied after pondering her options for a moment. “I’ll meet your Matriarch”

“Good”, the scarred woman then told Cerra to wait in the corner and to not touch anything as she left the room briefly. Lest she truly did have a death wish. When she returned she informed Cerra that her Matriarch would be here shortly. 

However, ‘Shortly’ was kind of a stretch.

Matriarch Imal, a large muscular woman, and a leader within the Purple Blades gang, arrived about 1 hour later. While she waited Cerra just sat in a corner of the room on the grating as the wiry woman milled about with various containers and concoctions. The room smelled funny. At times it felt like Cerra had lost the ability to smell, and her nose hurt. Her eyes became scratchy too. The chymist didn’t seem at all phased though. Cerra mused internally that the chymists never once used the goggles nor the gas mask that were attached to her body in her work.

The chymist spoke to the Matriarch for a few moments as Cerra, now standing, waited while trying not to seem like she was eavesdropping. Truth is she couldn’t hear anything over the lab sounds. Occasionally they would both shoot a glance at the girl, and when their talk was over, the very imposing Imal strode over. The woman towered over the girl.

“I’m told you have business with us, girl? Do you not fear the situation you’re in? Do you not fear doing business with people like us?” The hulking woman asked.

Cerra replied after a moment, trying to put on her strong face. Remembering the chymists comments about her toughness. “Why would I? I have lived my life in these alleys and halls, alone. I have seen bigger things than you Matriarch.” Cerra replied, taking a gulp after the sentence had concluded. That was a little too strong. She was going to die here, wasn’t she?  

However, to Cerra’s surprise,  Imal let out a boastful laugh with her hands on her hips. “I like you, girl. You have steel ones. Tell me your name and story. Koril…” she motioned to the wiry woman with the gas mask, “…told me what she knows, but I want to hear it from your mouth. Why did you come here today? The whole story, girl. Out with it.” The woman went from laughing to imposing again in a single sentence.

At first Cerra thought of keeping everything quiet, and refusing. Nothing good comes from loose lips in the Hive. But she knew better than to cross a Matriarch. 

So Cerra spilled the whole story from the beginning. She told Imal about Lillianna, what had happened to her when she arrived in full detail, and how they lived together and supported each other for almost a year. Cerra spoke of her feelings towards Lillianna and even of her birthday present. Being as in-depth as possible could only help her case. To the Matriarchs credit, she stood there quietly and listened. Nodding occasionally. Cerra then told the Matriarch about Lilly’s horrible death, how following her mourning, she had spent her time tracking these murderers and saving the credits over the past year for this meeting. Then she told Imal of her plan to get revenge. 

After Cerra had finished. Imal gazed at her for some time. She was in deep thought. Finally the matriarch glanced at Koril briefly, giving her a slight nod. “We will give you what you ask for. At ⅓ the price quoted by Koril, here.” To this the chymist moved to interject, but was met with only a stone gaze. 

“You will!?” a shocked Cerra’s voice broke. This generosity was not charity. There was more. There had to be more, and she knew it “What, do you want from me in return?”

“Perceptive, this one!” Imal laughed to Koril. “What I want from you in return, is: after you complete the act, you come to see me. If you are successful, and survive, you will join the Purple Blades. Think of this as a tryout.”

The word ‘survive’ was striking.

“Join the Purple Blades?” She hadn’t wanted to gang-up. It never once crossed her mind in her life. But Cerra was in no place to say no. Her life was pretty much over anyway. She saw this as a suicide mission. On the other hand, she needed what they offered. Nevertheless, she took a moment to ponder everything.

“I accept those terms.” 

“Very well. Koril,” she turned to the chymist, “Give her what she asked for, as well as a needler.”

“Yeah, yeah, okay” Koril subserviently responded, in a slightly angry voice, and made the preparations. The whole time Imal studied everything about the young girl. When Koril returned she gave Cerra everything she needed as well as detailed instructions. A small pill, was also prepared and placed in a small bottle. An antidote, just in case. This was all done under Imal’s watchful eyes. A demonstration of how the Needle Pistol worked was also provided. Shooting at a crate in the corner of the room. Cerra had fired a small stub gun she had found before. This was similar, but ‘much lighter’, she thought. Everything was placed in a small nondescript duffel.

When the business had been completed, Cerra paid the ⅓ price for the materials. Imal counted the credits and pocketed them. Save for a small amount, to which she gave back to Cerra. “Get some food, girl. You look famished. I‘ll be waiting to hear from you.” 

”Thank you, Matriarch. Koril”

Cerra exited carrying the small bag across her chest with crossed arms. She heard a heated conversation between Koril and Imal begin, but she was soon out of earshot. It wasn’t a long road back to her hideout. But she walked swiftly anyway. She did however, stop off at a food stall on the way. Grabbing something to eat. On the Matriarchs orders. In truth Cerra was starving. She wondered if her stomach had growled while in the lab.

After arriving home, she made her checks to see if it was safe, ate her food, took stock of the things she just received, and reviewed her notes. It had been almost a year exactly since Lilly died. A year of pain. A year of searching, both figurative and literal. A year of preparation. A year of holding festering feelings and thoughts inside.

The time had finally come…

The story of Cerra and Lilianna will continue in the final installment, Lycoris Maidens: Origins, Part 3.

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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