The Talos Pain Engine is a Drukhari construct and the most widespread of their many so-called Engines of Pain. Festooned with multiple surgical apparatus and grotesque weapons of war, the Talos is a part organic and part mechanical device conceived by the creations of a mad genius.
Created by the insane Dark Eldar masters of pain known as the Haemonculi, the Talos was first constructed as a torture device, but is now employed across the galaxy's innumerable battlefields. Sweeping forward upon anti-gravitic motors, the Talos catches its victims with its razor-sharp claws and then incinerates them from the inside out.
The death spasms of those captured propel the Talos towards its enemies as its unique Sting wildly spews death in all directions and its many-bladed arms cut through armour and bone alike with lashing blows.
These semi-sentient machines are invaluable to the Haemonculi, as they serve as both guardians and mobile torture chambers, inflicting punishment upon all those that displease their master. The fate of those caught within the death-grip of a Talos does not end with death. The remnants of the victims caught within its grasp are siphoned out to be used in the creation of potions and elixirs.
In battle, this gruesome process is immensely pleasing to the Haemonculus owner, for not only does it provide an entertaining spectacle but it also affords the Talos even greater motive power as it harnesses and consumes its fleshy bounty. Clacking and twitching as if revelling in the kill, the Talos advances with renewed vigour, its high-technology weaponry spitting indiscriminate death into the ranks of the foe.
When it catches its next quarry the process begins anew, but the fate of one caught by a Talos does not end in death -- upon the Engine's return to its Coven's oubliettes, the constituent parts of its victims will be siphoned out from within its metal shell and used to create yet more potions and elixirs.
When Haemonculi send their Talos Engines to accompany a Drukhari raid in realspace, the monstrous servants are often tasked with collecting specific samples for their masters. Typically this involves devouring certain types of creatures from a planet's populace or subsuming a specific individual such as a Planetary Governor. However, at times the demands of the Haemonculi are far more nuanced.
When raiding in T'au space, the Talos known as "Marrow Giver" was once instructed to consume only those Fire Warriors who had witnessed the rest of their Strike Team slaughtered before them. Failure to complete such a task -- or worse still, deviation from instructions -- inevitably sees the Talos dismantled and discarded.
To outside eyes such stringency may seem wasteful, but in their craft the Haemonculi require absolute precision. Different types of harvested material carry different properties, each of which has a unique purpose. Musculature and nervous tissue are combined in ways unimagined by nature, and the emotions absorbed in flesh at the time of a creature's death are extracted, enhanced and fashioned into weapons.
To pollute such work with impurities -- meat from the wrong species, or blood permeated with the wrong emotion -- would be to spoil the Haemonculus' work, which they may have slaved over for solar decades, and would deny a new morbid creation to the entire galaxy. Furthermore, the Haemonculi often wish to reconstitute the soupy remains of a Talos' victims and instil them with life so that they can be questioned in the oubliettes. More than one general has died only to end up in the torture chambers beneath the Dark City, bleeding secrets to the Haemonculi in a vain attempt to end their torment.
- 1-3 Talos Pain Engines
A Talos is valuable to the Haemonculi not only as a shield -- its metal shell and twisted mind make it all but impervious to harm -- but also as a tool, for it allows its master to punish the slow and the impudent without lifting a crooked finger.
The forelimbs of a Talos can be mounted with a variety of cruel implements, such as macro-scalpels that can scissor even an Ogryn into bloody chunks, chain-flails that can rip flesh and metal with equal ease, or ichor-spewing funnels that siphon fluids from a Talos' thorax to reduce lightly armoured victims to primordial ooze.
Additionally, the creature bears ranged armaments on its scorpion-like tail. But it is the manipulators and scalpel-keen claws that hang underneath a Talos' segmented carapace that are truly to be feared. When a Talos catches an enemy warrior, it holds them tight with a pair of grasping steel limbs and begins a rapid and efficient disassembly of its victim with the rest.
Motors hum and drills whine as it works away with its surgically sharp implements, drawing each constituent part into itself, stripping and rendering down the physical form of its prey layer by layer until nothing is left but a few drops of blood.
- 2 Splinter Cannons (tail-mounted)
- 2 Macro-Scalpels
- Ichor Injector (as replacement for 1 Macro-Scalpel)
- Twin-linked Liquifier Gun (as replacement for 1 Macro-Scalpel)
- Chain-flails (as replacement for 1 Macro-Scalpel)
- Talos Gauntlet (as replacement for 1 Macro-Scalpel)
- Stinger Pod (as replacement for 2 Splinter Cannons)
- 2 Heat Lances (as replacement for 2 Splinter Cannons)
- 2 Haywire Blasters (as replacement for 2 Splinter Cannons)
The Talos is just one type of Pain Engine employed by the Drukhari Haemonculi, who are endlessly inventive in discovering new ways of dealing out pain and horror. Each of the Haemonculi Covens is always seeking to create their own, proprietary Engines of Pain that will give them a leg up over their rivals. Several of these variants of the standardTalos include:
- Chaingoul - The Chaingoul is a clanking, cumbersome Engine of Pain favoured by the Dark Eldar Haemonculi Coven called the Prophets of Flesh.
- Shrivener - The Shrivener is a drill-legged Pain Engine used to guard facilities of the Haemonculi Coven called the Everspiral.
- Flayer - A Flayer is a smaller variant of the Talos. Even though it is smaller than the other variants of Talos Pain Engines, it bears the same malevolence and thirst for blood and screams as its larger counterparts.
- Codex: Drukhari (8th Edition), pp. 72, 103
- Codex Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pg. 40