Ahmontekh, called in ages past the "Crimson Scythe" for the blood in which he drenched the Jericho Reach that was his home, is a Necron Overlord and the once and future phaeron of the Necron Suhbekhar Dynasty.
The Phaeron Ahmontekh was at one time counted amongst the most puissant of warriors and his name was feared across countless thousands of worlds. He fought at the side of the C'tan themselves, and is said to have once struck a blow that slew a god.
He bore a warscythe of such potency that it is said to have shattered the planet Maldek into a billion chunks of rock in a single blow, an event which several of the Aeldari mystic cycle-singers make reference to many aeons later.
Were it not for the all consuming hatred in which the phaeron holds the rival dynasty of the Charnovokhs, Ahmontekh would in all likelihood be leading the reawakening of the Suhbekhar Necrons as they rise across the Jericho Reach.
But it was not to be, for that sliver of intense hate that the phaeron bore inside his consciousness as he lay down in his stasis casket refused to slumber with him.
Distilled for sixty million solar years, that iota of resentment grew to consume the sleeping phaeron's entire consciousness so that, when the Hollow Sun Tomb World's control program attempted to awaken him in response to the transmission from the Charnovokhs, it burst forth like a tsunami breaking through a fatally breached dam.
All that Ahmontekh had once been was gone, consumed over the aeons by his own hatred even as the last residue of himself looked on helplessly. Perhaps had the Necrons not sold their souls to the C'tan, something of him might have survived to fight back against the raging bitterness within, but it was not to be.
Now, the Crimson Scythe of old is no more, and that distilled essence of his resentment of his own cousin dynasty is all that remains of his consciousness.
To the detriment of the Necrons of the Suhbekhar Dynasty, however, there is far more locked up inside the living metal cranium of the slumbering phaeron than the Overlord-Regent Ahhotekh or most of his Crypteks are aware.
The overlord-regent has guessed something of it, yet even he is not party to anything like the whole truth. The awful secrets lurking in the ruined consciousness of the phaeron of the Suhbekhar Dynasty are hinted at in numerous disjointed sources, yet no one observer can see their entirety.
The regent knows that the phaeron bears the dynasty's command protocols, and is coming to see that Ahmontekh was the architect of far more than the miracle of the Hollow Sun, his legacy cast across the countless systems of the Jericho Reach and beyond.
Others still have glimpsed something more of the truth, including the aeons-dead compiler of the Derleth Lexicon as well as a number of the Crypteks Overlord-Regent Ahhotekh has tasked with attending to the blasted phaeron.
Unbeknownst to the regent, his most trusted counsellor, Ozkan the Codifier, has caught a glimpse of something an order of magnitude greater even than the miracle of stellar engineering that is the Suhbekhar Dynasty's magnificent crownworld.
Exactly what the Cryptek has glimpsed may or may not be the truth, for the phaeron's consciousness may only be examined one blasted iota at a time. Initially, the venerable Cryptek feared that the phaeron had fallen pray to the dreaded Flayer Virus, and in truth this fate remains a possibility.
The dark visions that have thus far been rendered up hint that the Crimson Scythe was blessed with terrible knowledge of the future. He saw that, because he had slain one of their gods and laid waste to vast tracts of the Webway, the Aeldari would never rest until he was hunted down.
The Star-Slayer knew that the Aeldari, or their heirs, would stand eternal vigil over any region they believed might harbour his secret resting place. So he set in motion certain contingencies to ensure that, when he awoke, the Aeldari would be overwhelmed and the attentions of any other watchers drawn away from the Hollow Sun long enough for all of its serried legions to fully awaken.
To date, none can tell if these visions of dark splendour represent the truth or some scrap of intent drifting upon the ocean of raging bitterness that is the phaeron's slumbering consciousness. Ozkan has thus far kept what he has seen to himself, as have those other Crypteks attending to their lost phaeron.
There is another facet of the phaeron's nature that the vast majority of his subjects are entirely unaware of. This is that fact that in addition to being a great warrior-king, Ahmontekh shared the grief that Szarekh, the Silent King, master of all the Necrons, felt at the terrible price paid in return for their immortality.
While he may, if the dark wisdom suggested by the disparate sources is correct, have set in motion a plan to devastate the enemies of his people, he also had some manner of plan to ensure that the Necrons would inherit all that they had lost.
This indeed was the last promise of the Silent King before he took his leave of the known galaxy sixty million Terran years ago, and it may well be that the Crimson Scythe, the Star-Slayer of the Suhbekhar Dynasty, shared that vision.
If so, what dark fate might yet await the Jericho Reach in the aftermath of the revelation of the Dark Pattern? Having scoured the stars themselves of his waiting foes, what darkly glorious future did Ahmontekh hold in store for his dynasty?
Of course, it is entirely possible that this vision of dark slaughter is nothing more than the fevered construct of a mind that has fallen prey to the blight of the destroyed C'tan known as the Flayer, whose final curse upon the Necrons was a slow-burning and lingering insanity that would only become manifest in aeons to come.
The Crypteks cannot entirely discount the possibility that their phaeron has fallen prey to this terrible malady, though if this is so it must surely be the first case of one so highly placed being afflicted by the insanity. If it is the case, what vile evils might be enacted upon the galaxy should the Necrons determine to disinter their accursed flayer king?
The Ordo Xenos is largely aware of the existence of the class of Necron monarchs known as "phaerons," and so accept that such a powerful individual must surely lie slumbering in some unknown stasis crypt somewhere in the depths of the Jericho Reach.
Neither the servants of the Holy Ordos nor the Battle-Brothers of the Deathwatch have thus far encountered such an individual in the Jericho Reach, though neither has any notion of the fate of the phaeron of the Suhbekhar Dynasty.
Unbeknownst to the masters of Watch Fortress Erioch, however, the Deathwatch have in fact fought a battle against a being that the lone survivor of that bitter confrontation has identified as a Necron of the rank of phaeron.
The outcast alien-hunter intended to follow up on a passage of dark wisdom he had apparently unearthed in some dead world bordering the Hecaton Rifts in the distant Koronus Expanse, though the nature of this lore was never revealed.
By all accounts, this small force intruded in places long forbidden to mortals and in so doing called down the wrath of a being of impossible power. All that is known of the incident is a psychic warning bellowed into space by the team's leader, an Epistolary of the Red Hunters Chapter.
The warning was later received by a fellow Librarian, who was wracked by visions of a being of living metal clad in blood-stained rags like those of a long interred corpse and wielding a scythe that splattered long arcs of bloody residue wherever it passed.
Most of the few granted access to reports of this incident concluded that the Kill-team was lost to some manner of daemonic incursion, though the Inquisitor has not been tracked down to confirm or deny this.
Those of the Dead Cabal that have read the pages of the Derleth Lexicon suspect otherwise and keep their own, silent counsel on the matter.
The Crippled King and the Derleth Lexicon
There is a particular chapter in the forbidden tome that is the Derleth Lexicon that some amongst the Dead Cabal have related to the as yet unidentified slumbering phaeron of the Suhbekhar Dynasty.
This passage claims that the being that Derleth called "the crippled king" has arisen on several occasions throughout the ages, released by the hand of some unknown secret ally within his household.
What most take to be accounts of visitations by daemon princes of Chaos might in fact represent instances when the Crimson Scythe has arisen from his tomb, or been released from it, and set loose upon the worlds of the outer Jericho Reach.
In each instance, such utter slaughter has been unleashed that scant few witnesses have survived to record the awful truth of what transpired and, even if they had, most of these worlds were cut off from the Imperium or even in the grip of the Ruinous Powers.
And yet, there remain certain passages within the Derleth Lexicon that hint at the dire possibility that the crippled king has risen to reap his bloody harvest across the Jericho Reach, and shall do so again.
Can it be mere coincidence that many of the worlds this mysterious figure has scoured have been close to, or even part of, those of the aptly named Dark Pattern?
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pp. 114-115