"The worm that walks has come for us all…"
- — Found carved into a bulkhead, Watchpost Hazeroth / Sentry-17. All Hands Lost: attacker unknown, 123.M40
Perhaps one of the vilest xenos races known to exist, the Slaugth are terrible and monstrous beings steeped in evil with whom only the most depraved or utterly desperate have dealings.
Considered largely mythical by most that have heard of them, they are named in a few scattered tales as the "Maggot Men," "Dream Eaters" or "Carrion Masters," but aside from a few wary Rogue Traders and superstitious starfarers, few take the nightmarish legends seriously.
The manifest horrors of this species' anatomy and desires are only compounded by an implacable and utterly alien intelligence, and an ability to exploit human corruption and terror to meet their own needs. Mercifully few in number, it seems that they are not given to open warfare and show no interest in acquiring territory.
Instead they favour stealth and secrecy to attain their goals, while their seeming physical near-immortality and powerful technology makes them dreadfully powerful opponents when encountered. From the depths of the void their tenebrous ships slip unseen into Imperial space to work their evil, infiltrating isolated outposts and void stations to glut their hunger before disappearing, or trading artefacts of their baleful arts to human Renegades in exchange for slave stock to fill their grisly larders.
Some evidence even exists that they have slowly destabilised several Imperial frontier colonies in order to kill and devour, unseen in the shadow of anarchy and civil war.
Aside from what little can be gleaned from the historical record, the true nature and dangers the Slaugth represent are largely unknown to the Imperium, as are their origin and numbers. Some xeno-savants and Rogue Traders believe that their home system (and perhaps even a great hellish Slaugth empire), lies far out into the Trailing Halo Stars beyond the Imperium's borders.
The history of Mankind's involvement with the Slaugth is uncertain, but if some sources are to be believed, the species may have been encountered at the edges of what is now Imperial space as far back as the Age of Strife.
During the three campaigns known as the Rangdan Xenocides fought as part of the Great Crusade, the Rangdan species was known to possess Slaugth "murder-minds." This suggests that the vicious Rangdan may have been a slave or servant species of the Slaugth. In this case, the Slaugth may have orchestrated the most serious attempt to prevent the expansion of the Imperium of Man at the time of its birth.
After almost a standard century of research that took him from the edge of the Halo Stars to the depths of the pre-Imperial archives on Terra itself, the Slaugth Maggot Men were codified and declared Xenos Horrificus Maxima by Inquisitor Lord Quater'maz Knael in the 37th Millennium.
His standing orders were that the Slaugth and any that had contact with them were to be exterminated without mercy wherever encountered, with any information pertaining to this xenos species to be brutally suppressed. Despite these measures, the last several Terran centuries have suffered a slow but steady increase in contacts with these foul beings across the Calixis Sector, a development causing alarm at the highest levels of the Inquisition.
The Holy Ordos remains unaware of the Slaugth's involvement with the Amaranthine Syndicate and the threat it represents, although encounters with the Slaugth in the Calixis Sector have been spiking dramatically in the last several Terran years. There are several reasons for this, not least of all the Slaugth's own abilities as infiltrators and puppeteers, and the degree to which they have already spread their network of agents in the sector.
At present, the Inquisition has no expectation of the Slaugth being behind such a subtle and widespread conspiracy; they know them only as raiders and abductors -- extremely dangerous, but few in number and limited in scope. The Ordos of the Inquisition, the Calixis Sector, and indeed the Imperium have been blindsided by this strange and subtle invasion. If its true nature is not soon uncovered, then billions of lives stand in dire peril.
Anatomy and Physiology
In appearance, the Slaugth are truly horrific to look upon, taking the form of a vague humanoid shape composed of seemingly hundreds of writhing, half-melded maggot-like worms covered in viscous, necrotic mucus.
Capable of stretching and reforming their body-mass at will, they move with an obscene, boneless fluidity and are capable of regenerating injury with startling speed.
They are impervious to age, poison, diseases, and all but the most extreme injury. Their minds are as alien as any encountered by Humanity -- coldly savage, psychic voids filled with a monstrous hunger for the dead.
- Slaugth Overseer - The Slaugth "principals" behind the Amaranthine Syndicate conspiracy that has grown recently in the Calixis Sector are, if anything, more dangerous and powerful than those encountered as infiltrators. Whether they constitute some leadership caste or particular cabal remains unknown.
- Slaugth Vassal Construct - The vassal is a common biomechanical construct creature, animated by the Slaugth to tend devices and serve as menial labourers, guards, spies, or observers. Like most examples of Slaugth technology, its appearance inspires immediate revulsion in humanity. Though widely differing in appearance, most appear as hovering asymmetrical columns of mottled, fungal-looking flesh, shot through with pulsing veins and lattices of metal threadwork and crystalline studs. Their heads are no more than clusters of waving frond-like sensory growths, and skeletal pincer-limbs erupt from their body mass as needed.
Slaugth science and technology is likewise nightmarish and powerful, seamlessly melding the organic and inorganic to achieve its ends in a blasphemous symbiosis of form and function.
The Slaugth seem capable of manufacturing strange techno-organic construct creatures of a bewildering variety, carrying out their master's wishes as need be.
Slaugth weapons and artefacts are indeed so advanced and strange as to appear to be the products of Warp craft to the uninitiated -- a fact that, coupled with their hideous appearance, has misled some into believing them daemonic in nature.
- Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods (RPG), pp. 78, 80
- Dark Heresy: Game Master's Kit (RPG), pg. 20
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 99