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- "The wisdom of Tsara'noga flows through me, and with it the knowledge of what must be done. The rest of our kind will feel his touch as well, be it by choice or by force."
- — Szereth, Harbinger of the Outsider
Szereth, more commonly known as Szereth, Harbinger of the Outsider, or even The Maddened One, is a Necron Cryptek who is completely enthralled by Tsara'noga the Outsider. The potency of his psychomancy has risen greatly as a result, and he is now one of the most powerful among their number.
Before biotransference Szereth was a renowned Necrontyr psychologist and a treasured researcher for a therapeutic organization that tried to alleviate the suffering of Necrontyr nobility. This line of work ended for Szereth when he was recruited by the Triarch to serve the Necrontyr in a more direct way, and he began to interact with Necrontyr nobility and other notable Crypteks. Szereth quickly integrated and made a positive impression on almost everyone who spoke with him, though they often felt unsettled when near him. These feelings were largely forgotten by the common nobility and his fellow crypteks, and as a result he kept his position up until biotransference. When Szarekh made his pact with the C'tan and changed forever the Necrontyr people, Szereth willingly traded his mortal form for an eternity of knowledge and experimentation, and put his years of research to use.
Szereth knew great amounts about the minds of every living creature in the galaxy, and as a result was able to render entire fortresses useless during the War in Heaven without losing a single warrior, instead utilizing his vast knowledge of the enemy to reduce their forces to gibbering fools or otherwise convince them to surrender. These feats spread his fame even further through the empire of the Necrons, and as a result he came into direct contact with Szeras, who was able and willing to modify his body to greater fit his role as one of the greatest Psychomancers among the Necrons. When Szereth emerged from his time with Szeras his body was changed completely. Long, thin tendrils came from his back along with bladed spider-like limbs that served to better instill fear in the hearts of those who would oppose the Necrons and the Silent King, and his face had become one that would stain the nightmares of many unfortunate Eldar. Still, the time came when the C'tan were set against themselves in a contest greater than any mortal can comprehend, and the star gods feasted on one another in a great display of cannibalistic madness. From this chaos emerged Tsara'noga the Outsider, the C'tan that would become the mentor and idol of Szereth.
Tsara'noga touched the mind of Szereth, and the cryptek was forever changed. The voice of the star god seemed to whisper and scream, plea and command, all at the same time in a cacophony that enthralled Szereth completely. When Szereth went to grab onto one voice, to hold and dissect it as he would with any living mind, he would find three more springing up in its place. This was no living thing he dealt with, no, Szereth had found an infinite, malignant hydra of madness. And in that maelstrom of insanity he found purpose. Here was a psyche he could study for eons and still not understand, a mind so deep and fractured it was truly unknowable. Such promise held him in the C'tan's sway, and when the time came that Szarekh ordered the Necrons to overthrow their traitorous gods Szereth stood with The Outsider. The madness of the C'tan had managed to destroy the command protocols imbedded within the cryptek and during the rebellion Szereth and The Outsider were able to free other Necrons from the protocols, each of them becoming servants to the C'tan and Szereth in the process. As a result the mad god was able to escape being shattered and fled to an unknown location, leaving Szereth to spread his madness in his wake. As a sign of his status as the Outsider's chosen, Szereth's body bears yet another modification: a large eye upon his face that maddens any who dare make eye contact with the enlightened cryptek.
- "You saw your system collapse into anarchy, and you did nothing. Your people went mad and screamed of what they saw for all to hear, but you were deaf. And yet you ask for mercy."
- — Szereth to Planetary Governor Alexander Lionsbane
- 002.M42 Fall of Argunta - The Fall of Argunta was a campaign fought across the Imperial Argunta System between Szereth's forces- the Disciples of the Outsider-, A Tau force lead by a naive commander whose name is lost to history, a small force of the Adeptus Mechanicus, a genestealer cult, and the system defense forces of Governor Lionsbane. The campaign began with the seizure of an Imperial space station by Szereth's forces, using widespread outbreaks of madness and the manipulation of Imperial machinery to accomplish the feat. After this event Szereth expertly manipulated the Tau into fighting the Imperials, who were distracted by the genestealer cult, for him. Once the Tau had bested most of the Imperials and landed upon the Governor's world they asked when the Necrons would appear to aid them as the cryptek had promised. The response was the destruction of the remaining Tau ships as Szereth's flagship Ometa, along with its escorts, opened fire on the vessels. Before the Tau could properly respond they were taken back by the sight of the space station crashing to the surface of the world, aimed to eliminate the Tau ground forces and clear a path to the Governor's mansion. The crash did just that and within minutes Szereth had confronted the Governor, who pleaded for his life. Szereth ignored the man's pleas and executed him, followed by the rest of the humans in the system, as he sought to reawaken a long-dormant tombworld and make it his own.
- 010.M42 Birth of an Empire- Szereth knew he would need more than one tombworld and a few ships if he was ever to spread the gifts of The Outsider to the rest of his people. To that end he utilized the maps in the tombworld, now known as Reason's End, and found that he stood in the only awakened world of a long dormant dynasty that had not yet heeded the call of the great awakening. This made the cryptek's task considerably easier, and he swiftly woke and corrupted two more tombs before the rest of the dynasty's worlds, its crown included, were roused from their slumber by an alert spread by an automated system. The newly awoken Phaeron, at the time known as Obrekh the Intolerant, was not pleased with the news and swiftly gathered his legions to aid him in repelling the maddened cryptek from his domain. In the earliest stages of the war Szereth won victory after victory as the waking tombs could not stand against his forces, and with each battle he grew only stronger as he added the occupants of the tombs to his own army. However, this string of lightning victories could not last forever, and as Phaeron Obrekh's armies finally awoke and assembled together Szereth began to lose momentum. Taking on the Phaeron directly was a fool's errand, for even if he could fight his way to Obrekh and spread to him his blessing, he would lose half or more of his forces doing so and the battle would be a waste. No, there had to be a better way. Szereth fell back upon his knowledge of the Necron psyche and taunted the arrogant Phaeron into battles that slowly drained the forces of Obrekh and allowed his own to slowly grow in correlation. Eventually, though, the time came for the final confrontation between the two, and Szereth had to enter pitched battle with the overlord. The cryptek knew he had to turn Obrekh to his side and quickly, lest the armies wear each other into nothing. As such he sent Arakhet to challenge the proud overlord to direct combat and, as the overlord prepared to land the finishing blow upon the lychguard, Szereth made his move. Suddenly Arakhet disappeared, having been taken by the cryptek's veil of darkness and moved to safety, leaving Obrekh staring into the eye of Szereth, his mind instantly linked with The Outsider. Immediately both armies froze as Obrekh heard the myriad voices of The Outsider speak to him, and mere seconds later the Phaeron emerged as yet another of the C'tan's disciples, the first of his station to fall. With him came his armies and his worlds, as their leader ordered them to stand down and they could not disobey. Each and every Necron and construct in the dynasty was turned to The Outsider, and Szereth gained the army that would be the foundation of his people's enlightenment and the maddened extinction of all else.
- "My mind has been blessed with wisdom none save the Necrons could ever hope to comprehend. It is my timeless duty to spread this blessing to all our people and unite them in its guidance, whether they wish to be or not. The weaker races cannot withstand the knowledge of our god, and so they shall perish under the tide of what their weak minds shall deem madness."
- —Szereth, Harbinger of the Outsider addressing Arakhet, the First Disciple
When Szereth was still a mortal Necrontyr serving the Triarch he was held in high esteem by many of the nobles and Crypteks, though they experienced an unsettling feeling when near him. Most decided it was likely nothing, just an unfortunate result of some feature borne by the Cryptek that couldn't be helped. Given Szereth's seemingly limitless patience and even kindness, most wrote it off as such and ignored the feeling. None of them knew that the creeping worry was infinitely more truthful than any charade of Szereth's, for in truth the Cryptek was painfully curious about the minds of living creatures, and this curiosity lead him to develop a form of sadism. For Szereth no experiment was too extreme, no method too base as long as he learned what he wished to. He saw every living mind as a puzzle waiting to be solved, a shell praying to be opened and defiled. It was for this reason he was invited to serve the Triarch, though the other nobles knew it not. This overwhelming hunger for knowledge is undoubtedly what pushed him to dedicate himself so utterly to Tsara'noga and what allowed him to not only withstand but be able to so efficiently spread such madness.
Szereth had learned to expertly hide his true feelings after years of working in psychology and talking with others. In that time he learned to eliminate the behavior and mannerisms that drove others away and showed his more honest nature, and instead adopt those that helped to support his mask. He learned to display for all to see a facade of limitless patience and eager kindness that drew upon a well of empathy and desire to aid those in need that shone with such brilliance as to hide the truth beneath. Even those closest to the cryptek were blissfully unaware of his sadistic nature and utterly removed view of his fellow Necrontyr, but somehow the Silent King had picked up on the predator that lurked just behind the caretaker. Szereth knew at once he'd been discovered, but was shocked to discover he was to be recruited, not punished. This shocked but pleased the cryptek, as he could now engage in work that more directly satisfied his true nature, which largely consisted of prying information from traitorous or suspect nobility. Occasionally he was even granted the authority to torture his wards to the point of insanity, breaking apart their minds until they were nothing even resembling intelligent life, feeding Szereth's insatiable hunger for knowledge and giving him a sense of joy so rare for the dour Necrontyr.
- Necrodermis- Like all Necrons, Szereth's body is made of the self repairing metal known as Necrodermis. Though Szereth is no Overlord, his body is still one to be feared as it has adapted many additional limbs suitable for slaying the weaker races of the galaxy.
- Nightmare Shroud- Appearing as a small, black cask carried by most Cryptek Psychomancers, when opened the Nightmare Shroud unleashes untold terror upon the user's foes, assailing them with dread as dangerous as any other weapon.
- Veil of Darkness- A device allowing a Cryptek Psychomancer to summon near tangible shadow that will envelop his allies and disappear along with the Necrons. When the shadow fades the Cryptek and his comrades have reappeared some distance away.
- Abyssal Staff- The signature weapon of Cryptek Psychomancers, an Abyssal Staff emits gouts of shadow that render those who succumb to their despair mad husks of their former selves if they survive the experience.
- Eye of the Outsider- Szereth's face bears a special design, one that infects any who make eye contact with him with an inescapable madness as their mind suddenly links with that of the Outsider. Such an experience usually leads a member of the weaker races to commit suicide or abandon reason and fire upon their former allies, but the effect occasionally manifests instead as turning the afflicted into something like a cultist that will follow Szereth to the death. When used on Necrons they universally join with Szereth, as the touch of the Outsider compels them to do so.
Artwork of Szereth done by an artist you can find on instagram @leidolfr. Paid for/commissioned by myself.