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Fanfic Info
Title Maledictus
Genres Drama, Action, Mystery
Author TwiceBorn
Timeline Approximately 6 months to 1 year after Walpurgisnacht
Canonicity Status Non-Canon
Completion Status Ongoing


Eileen Corneille, Culexus of the Second and hunter of traitors, must deal with the consequences of the devastating Walpurgisnacht as she tracks the most loathsome of prey. Her unwavering faith drives her ever onwards--though whether it is to salvation or damnation, she cannot know until it is too late...


“Bear the Word of the Lady
And her Word will bear you”
-Annalise de Anjou
"Recitation of Grace", The Epistles

The sky is a wound, weeping blood from sightless eyes, and the broken earth drinks deep the red bounty that sheets in an endless torrent.

It is the battle of battles, the greatest Hunt for the once-human in generations. It is slaughter, two sides tearing each other apart with sword and claw and flame, their own lifeblood spilling and mingling with the rest already pooling on the battlefield. It is a graveyard, strewn with the broken bodies of warriors slain in glory and agony.

It is the Walpurgisnacht, and the Faithful of the Fourteenth are dying.

She is on her knees. The gaping wound in her side is only a vague distraction. Her sword lies in front of her, discarded, the once-pristine blade spattered with sanguine rain, sullied by blood of the sky and the legion of Familiars it had cut down. Her breath saws in and out. She can taste bile on her tongue Her strength has left her body; her sense has fled her mind. She does not, cannot comprehend the scene before her.

Butchery. Slaughter. Blood and skulls.

She looks up. She can see her Warmaster desperately rallying the shattered remains of the Fourteenth’s elite Triarii. The Emperor is a golden figure amidst the gore-soaked battlefield, but even her shining light seems dull, flickering, as though the carnage is drowning it out. Nero Pendragon is bellowing orders, no longer the radiant embodiment of the Lady’s Grace on earth but a desperate commander on the verge of defeat.

A crack of thunder, and it takes her dulled brain a moment to realize it is the roar of something akin to a gun. In the distance is the golden figure with a bulbous head, with writhing, twisting ribbon-serpents for arms. It is death given form, and it has come to kill them all.

Something lands in front of her—the sound of ragged meat slapping onto broken concrete snaps her out of her shell-shock. It is a half-cooked, brutalized corpse of a Triarius. A friend, a comrade, a fellow sister of battle, from what seems like a lifetime ago—now a lump of dead flesh she can’t even recognize. The body’s remaining eye, glazed over in death, bores into her own, and the sight drags her mind screaming back into comprehension.

She realizes what it is. The numbness. The pain. The nausea. The thundering sound of her pistoning heartbeat somehow drowning out the wails of pain and battlecries and the clashing din of battle.


For the first time in a long time, she is afraid.


She sups the word, and it tastes foul on her lips. Understanding gives way to disgust, disgust becomes loathing, and loathing becomes rage. My friends are dying, she realizes, and here I sit, like a coward. Useless. No, worse than useless.


The rage seeps into her body, grasping the fear with fanged jaws and shaking it apart until only fury-born strength remains. On trembling legs, she takes up her sword as she stands, and grinds a prayer out of her split lips.

“Domina Beata, I pray to you now.” She spits out a gobbet of blood and something else. “Let my words be heard by the Blood Knight, the Herald of Courage, the Brass-Clad Warrior...”

She stumbles forward, each step gaining purpose and strength.

“Lead me from death to victory, from falsehood to truth. Lead me from despair to hope, from faith to courage.”

She begins to run, leaping over the fresh ruins of city skyscrapers, a white-knuckle grip on her weapon. The anger driving her onwards is red-hot, rushing through her veins, thrumming through her heart, so hot it cauterizes and numbs the pain.

“Lead me to Her strength, against the eternal Dark! Let Her wrath fill my heart!”

A pack of creatures leap into her view—familiars of the Witch, twisted parodies of serving girls, caricature of red-headed maids brandishing serving trays and spears. As one, they pounce upon her. As one, they fall to the ground, cut into pieces with ease by the charging swordswoman.

“For in vengeance I serve the Lady and the Blood Knight!!”

The rage is painful now, like nails being hammered into her brain. Every lesser abomination she cuts open soothes the tic-tic-tic of fury for a heartbeat’s time, and it is not enough. She needs more.

More familiars hurl themselves onto her path. They stab, they slash, they claw, the grasp, they scrabble against the shredded remnants of her armor and costume to bring her low. Her curved sword, almost as long as she is tall, bisects one, two, three, four, five, more, graceful strikes turning more and more into frantic hacks with every blow.


Her blade is torn out of her grip. She doesn’t bother trying to find it amongst the bodies and the muck, but instead throws herself forward, hammering Witch-spawn with her fists, ripping into them with her teeth. Her litany is no longer prayer, but the scream of unspent fury seeking release.


The familiars begin to flee—whether out of fear or something else entirely she cannot know, for thought and reason had fled with her victims. She grabs a fleeing creature by the ponytail and yanks it back, then grasps it around its neck and begins to pull until with a tearing noise it rips free. A spray of red ichor drenches her, anointing her face with a crimson mask. With a roar, she lifts her trophy aloft, letting the eldritch life-fluids drip onto her chestnut hair.


She hurls the head away and for the second time snatches up her sword. The head bounces once, twice, before it dissipates back into whatever nightmare spawned it.


Up and down, up and down, the curved blade falls again and again, adding more death and more corpses to the bacchanalia of slaughter that is Walpurgisnacht, to the swirling chaos of battle, finding more monsters to slay, more foul servants of the Dark, more victims, more souls for the Tetrarchy, more skulls, more foes to kill, and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and KILL AND KILL AND KILL AND KILL AND KILL AND KILL—


“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Eileen, happy birthday to you!”

It’s the five of us inside the Emperor’s Palace in Italy, inside my small room where all my things are boxed up and ready to move out. It’s a rare treat, not because the buttercream cake sitting in front of me is so fancy it looks like it’s worth its weight in gold. Or because of all the paper-wrapped presents sitting around. No, it’s because of the four people sitting at the table with me, smiling at me while they’re singing “Happy Birthday” hilariously off-key.

Elana; Nashandra; Nadalia; Alsana. Friends. Sisters. People I’d give my life for. People who’d die for me. Me: a miserable Culexus who’d probably make them throw up all the cake they’re about to eat, a boring, shut-in nerd who just reads books all day.

It’s a wonderful thing to have friends. Sounds cheesy, I know, like a lesson right out of a kid’s cartoon, but it’s true. Real friends, too—not just people you can trust to watch your back in a fight, or someone to hang out with—but people who love you. People who want you. People you can...just be yourself around, without having to worry about anything. And when you’re a Culexus like me, spending the last couple years of your life in a walking prison-suit and alone because pretty much none of your colleagues can be near you without going up like some sort of puke fountain, companionship is a real luxury.

And so here we are in early November, at the Emperor’s Palace in Italy and, well, it’s my birthday. This one’s kind of special. For one thing, next week I transfer to the Second; Italy and England aren’t too far away, but for someone who’s lived alone, being ripped away from the few people I really like being around isn’t the best feeling in the world. Ah, but duty is its own reward, so sayeth the Word.

For another thing, the prognosticatrixes are all starting to get the same answer, whether they’re gearheads from the Fourth or the Culexus division from the Ninth: in about two month’s time, the biggest incursion of the Dark into our world is going to happen. Some call it Walpurgisnacht—we in the 14th call it the Black Crusade. The oldest girls are saying it’s going to be especially bad, this time. That most of us are probably going to end up by the Lady’s side by the time it’s over with.

But enough about depressing things. Humanity has a long tradition of drowning fears in vein-clogging, cancer-inducing food and drink, and I’m not about to spit on custom.

Elana’s the first to get up after the birthday song. She’s a lithe, ridiculously tall girl, definitely the tallest I’ve ever seen and I’d bet the tallest in any Officio. I remember her saying she almost got a basketball scholarship for some big-name school in America, and I still believe her. Her long chestnut braid, coming down to her knees, swings around and almost knocks a cup over. “Alright! Presents first, or cake?” She grins and holds up several long-necked glass bottles. “Or we skipping right to the booze?”

Heh. Typical.

“I don’t believe you,” snaps Nashandra from her seat on the couch. For probably the hundredth time in the last hour, she does that thing where she adjusts her blue-and-gold framed glasses with her hand. “You know Alsana can’t hold her liquor and Eileen doesn’t like to drink, but you still brought wine?” Nashandra’s a short, thin girl with shoulder-length, feathered hair, and the kind face that always looks like it’s frowning. I don’t blame her for that—the stick up her ass aside, she’s ex-Twelfth and thinks physical combat is for barbarians, and here in the Fourteenth that’s not exactly a recipe for superstardom. Hence the personality, though I bet some of that’s just her being her.

I chuckle, and like just about everything I say my helmet’s vox system turns it into a hissing shriek. Lucky for me, it’s never bothered my friends. “Relax, Nasha, it’s fine. I can handle a little wine.” I nod to my left, at a girl with long, stringy black hair that hides most of her face, kind of like a ghost from a Japanese horror movie but not as creepy. “What about you, Alsa?”

The long-haired girl peers out from out of her hair and gives me a sweet smile. “It’s alright, Nashandra,” she says, her voice somewhere between a rasp and a whisper. “It’s Eileen’s birthday, after all.” She then dissolves into a fit of coughs, which makes Nasha run for a cup of water.

...poor girl. As a Magical Girl, she doesn’t make much sense. The Daughters of the Lady pretty much don’t get sick, that’s the rule...unless you’re Alsana. Pious, our Incubator, said there was a flaw in the process of making her new Magical Girl body back when she contracted, and long story short her regeneration-aura magic was a little haywire. For one thing, it was always at least slightly activated, so if you ever had a paper cut you just had to sit next to Alsana for a little while. For another thing, it was also always creating symptoms in her that looked like illnesses—pain, nausea, trembling, headaches, coughs. They never seemed to bother her, though. Almost nothing did.

And last, but not least...

“I think the occasion calls for a libation,” says the soft, honey-sweet voice across the room. “It’s not just any birthday we’re celebrating, after all.”

Nadalia turns to me with a dancer’s grace and gives me a smile that’s like the sun. She’s wearing her flowing Chaplain’s robes, and as always she looks and sounds like an angel. “Happy birthday again, Eileen.” It’s times like these when I’m thankful for my face-obscuring Culexus helmet, because I’m blushing a little. It’s hard not to, when you’re in front of a bombshell like her and she’s making you feel like you’re the most important thing in the world.

I can’t really come up with anything else to say other than look awkward and mutter a “thanks” (which also comes out as a vox-hiss). Luckily for me, Elana distracts everyone by sticking her tongue out and giving Nasha a “I told ya so ”.

Then we get to partying, and it all goes by too fast. The cake was amazing—I’d bet the four of them blew a whole month’s pay getting some high-class French baker to make it, it was that good—and I honestly enjoyed the wine. The gifts came and went, too, and after talking long into the night, it’s time to leave.

They all pile in for a big group hug. It might have been a little cheesy, yeah, like something out of a chick flick, but we were full, we were drunk (some of us, anyway), felt right.

“We’re gonna miss you, Eileen,” chuckles Elana, but I can hear her tearing up a little. The other hold me tight, telling me their own goodbyes, and I hug them back just as hard.

And with that, one by one they leave, heading back to their own rooms to sleep off the food and wine. I’m left alone in the candle-lit dark of my spartan apartment, and the quiet emptiness reminds me of the warmth and laughter that took place here just a few minutes ago.

Friends. Friendship. Like I said, for someone like me, that’s something more valuable than money, or glory, or even a happy retirement package on a sunny island somewhere. Elana, Alsana, Nashandra, Nadalia; they mean the world to me, and the fact that I mean the world to them is the thing that gets me up in the morning.

So imagine how I felt, a year later, when I’d killed them all with my own hands.