“Do not fear, biped. We Stryxis are no threat to you, just poor scavengers and merchants, not like yourself, biped---with your ship and friends. They are good friends, yes? Good friends, strong and pretty. Are they for sale? We Stryxis have pretties too: deadly weapons, secrets, lies, hatreds, and joys. All of these can be yours, biped. Tell us, what is your pleasure?”
–Sirred Fain, Stryxis Merchant Master
The Stryxis are a sparse, nomadic race with a reputation as untrustworthy traders, wanderers, and sometimes slavers and pirates. Encountered infrequently in Koronus Expanse, their reputation is a dark one. Many consider to be untrustworthy. They have established a permanent presence in the asteroids and system on the edge of the God-Emperor's Scourge storm in the Koronus Expanse, though most roam the region as nomadic tribes in fleets of barely space-worthy ships trading anything they feel to be of interest. The Stryxis are a truly hideous xenoform to look upon beneath swathes of ragged, bone-colored cloth and trinkets, described variously by human onlookers as a gangling and multi-eyed creature that resembles a human-sized, skinned, dog embryo. Yet they communicate easily with willing humans through a common language of greed, curiosity, and self-interest. Scavengers and obsessive hoarders, they possess a wealth of technology stolen and bartered from countless races.
Perhaps of all the Expanse’s xenos, the nomadic Stryxis have the most ‘human’ outlook on trade. Though strange to look on, Stryxis caravans offer an often bewildering variety of goods, many perilous and outright prohibited within Imperial space. However, their inscrutable masters drive a hard bargain, and are never to be underestimated. They delight in trade, attaching worth only by perceived value and rarity of things they can grasp in their bony talons. They seem to care nothing for conquest or territory, abstract wealth, nor even their own species, but are driven instead by avarice and viperous petty intrigues. This being said, they are not to be underestimated and can be extremely dangerous and treacherous. They are creatures wrapped in subtle lies and conceal dark intellects behind their eccentric behavior and obsession with trinkets and baubles. They will not hesitate to betray those they deal with if they perceive a great profit in doing so. The Stryxis will trade with almost anyone, human or xenos, even the worshipers of the Ruinous Powers, but they despise the Eldar. They will kill them if they can, and avoid them otherwise.
The Stryxis inhabit wandering caravans of ships plying commerce routes between distant worlds. These caravans are often salvaged mishmashes of patchwork vessels and hollowed-out asteroids, fitted with engines and augmented with numerous stolen or traded technologies. These caravans contain relatively few adult Stryxis, along with larger numbers of slaves, mercenaries, ‘acquisitions,’ and gene-engineered servant creatures. Aside from the adult Stryxis---who continuously politic and backstab each other for rank and prominence in the caravans---no young, gender variations, or other culture to speak of has ever been encountered. When questioned about their own species, the Stryxis will spin endless and often contradictory lies about the matter.
Stryxis Caravans interest Rogue Traders who don’t mind dealing with these nefarious xenos for their myriad opportunities for commerce and profit. In addition, as inveterate wanderers and collectors, Stryxis are often troves of secrets, legends, and information. Their contacts span the Koronus Expanse and beyond---if the Rogue Trader has the wit to separate the truth from the lies. There is a concentrated effort on the part of the Stryxis to move alien weaponry into the Calixis Sector.
To those enamored with xenos craftsmanship, the Aether Lance is a hauntingly beautiful---and highly sought-after---work of art. The two meter-long haft seems to have been grown---not crafted---from exotic blue-gray alloys, and a smoky, flickering mist-blade perpetually dances from the tip. Despite its obviously alien origins, the weapon is at once both mysterious and alluring to all but the most Puritan of individuals. However, others desire it not for its beauty, but for its strange ability to pass through any material like smoke, and kill without leaving a wound.
A few scholars of xenos lore attribute this weapon to the Eldar, but others claim that the Eldar consider this device and its ilk anathema, its existence not to be tolerated. Under interrogation, some agents of the Cold Trade have confessed to purchasing these weapons from a race of void-nomads known as the Stryxis. However, official Ordo Xenos records claim there is no such race within the Calixis Sector.
The blade of the Aether Lance is completely insubstantial, and will pass through almost any material---including flesh---without leaving a mark. This makes it very difficult to parry the attack of an Aether Lance, and those who attempt to do so suffer a –10 penalty. The weapon also ignores Armor, Toughness, and psychic defenses, and the user cannot add his Strength Bonus to the weapon’s damage. Aether Lances seem to wound an individual’s very essence.
However, the blade does not damage non-living items, machines, or any creature with the Daemonic Trait or the Machine Trait (5+). In addition, if the Aether Lance’s blade comes in contact with hexagrammic wards, an untouchable, or a similar psychic blank (such as other wards including a starship’s Gellar field), the blade flickers and dies. The weapon remains inactive for 1d10 days.
Melee, 2d5, E, PEN 0, Unwieldy, WT 3.5kg, Cost 50,000, Very Rare
This elaborate document, written in alien characters upon unidentifiable xenohide vellum, is a trade agreement signifying the bearer as a (somewhat) trusted trading partner of the nomadic Stryxis. Normally found in the possession of only the most unscrupulous Rogue Traders, the bearer of a Styxian Compact receives a +20 Bonus on all Interaction Skill Tests when dealing with the Stryxis. Though each Compact is supposedly issued only to specific humans who have earned the trust of the race, the Stryxis care little about the identity of the bearer, respecting the terms of the Compact regardless of who presents it.
WT .1kg, Extremely Rare