The Deceiver, also known as Mephet'ran or Mephet'ran the Deceiver, is the C'tan or Necron Star God of trickery, lies, manipulation, and deception. Many millions of standard years ago, it was the Deceiver that presented himself before the ruling Necrontyr Triarch, and offered the Silent King Szarekh knowledge of the biotransferance process, granting the Necrontyr bodies of Necrodermis to help them fight against their ancient enemies, the Old Ones. The Necrontyr agreed and their consciousnesses were transferred into waiting Necrodermis bodies by the C'tan. This transfer ultimately dulled the minds and eliminated the emotions and compassion of the majority of the race, and they became the horrific, soulless Necrons, harvesting life energy across the galaxy to feed their C'tan masters. Despite its legendary guile, in the end Mephet'ran was betrayed and tricked like his fellow C'tan by the revolting Necrons, his essence shattered into fragments, each entombed within a Tesseract Labyrinth. However, recent, scattered events hint at the fact that one or more of the C'tan Shards of the Deceiver might still be at large in the galaxy.
Before the Necron Rebellion
The Deceiver is, as its name implies, a difficult entity to track down. It enjoys using trickery, deception and lies to achieve its own ends. The other C'tan quickly learned to distrust and shun the Deceiver, and its nature was displayed most prominently when the Deceiver tricked the Necrontyr into giving up their organic bodies in favour of metallic Necrodermis husks. When the Necrontyr first encountered the Deceiver, they gave it the name Mephet'ran, the Messenger, and hoped it would be able to bridge the gap between the Necrontyr and the C'tan.
The Deceiver was the C'tan that offered the Necrontyr an edge during the war with the Old Ones, by using its words to hint at a way to equal their power and ageless wisdom. Eventually this led to the transformation of the Necrontyr into the Necrons, which in turn led to the next major incident in the history of the C'tan. Eldar myth says that the Deceiver was the first to set C'tan on C'tan, convincing them that each other were the "best of all feasts," but despite this the Deceiver remained one of the physically weakest C'tan and only survived by avoiding the more violent C'tan, such as the Nightbringer and the Void Dragon. The Eldar gave the Deceiver the name "the Jackal God" and recorded that it helped both sides in the War of Heaven equally. It then employed a number of guises to accomplish its goals.
In recent times, the Imperium has come in contact with either a Shard of the Deceiver directly, or translated accounts of its past accomplishments:
Translation of the Eldar Artefact
An ancient Eldar artefact tells of the signs that will portend the return of the C'tan. It has one line dedicated to the Deceiver, "...and the Jackal-God shall turn brother against brother." This confirms the abilities of the Deceiver in trickery and deceit and also gives a slight reference to time, as the Deceiver would need a longer time to turn brother against brother than the Nightbringer would need to kill them both.
This is an account of the attempt by a Callidus Assassin to assassinate a Planetary Governor named Takis. She used her C'tan Phase Knife and attempted to kill Takis, but she failed and her weapon passed straight through him. He knocked her aside and took her weapon and absorbed it into his hand. We can then probably assume she was absorbed as the last line talks about how her polymorphine drug "gives human essence such a delicate flavouring". The fact that the being could absorb the C'tan Phase Knife meant it could only be a C'tan Shard, as its body was made of the same material as the weapon which would have destroyed anything else. Also, we can assume that it is a Shard of the Deceiver, as he is the only known C'tan with a modus operandi of deception and trickery. This is proof that the Deceiver is operating to attain power in the Imperium of Man for purposes unknown.
The Deceiver has traveled far and wide around the galaxy, and is known, in form if not in name, by multiple still-extant intelligent races and cultures:
- He is known as Artemorra to the Jokaero
- He is known as Sathsarrion to the Initiates of the Gethvar
- He is known as Mohagg to the Cornochinae
- He is known as Harrimoch to the Vendichi travellers
The Deceiver and the Nightbringer
This is a brief account of the Deceiver convincing the Nightbringer to consume the other C'tan, kept within the recesses of the Black Library. This text hints at the possibility that Cegorach, the Laughing God of the Eldar Harlequins, is in fact The Deceiver in another form -- although there is also much evidence against this proposition, as well as the possibility that both entities have masqueraded the other on numerous occasions.
The Silvae were an agrarian society with little technology. They were visited by the Deceiver early in their development and it convinced them to worship it. It returned occasionally to reinforce their devotion and they quickly became a superstitious people. There is a sentence that merits attention: "Here, it seems to be testing them, promising the race as a whole greatness at its side should they prove worthy". This could be seen as an attempt by the Deceiver to recruit new races and create new Necrons to bolster its forces.
The Silvae were then introduced to the Imperium and they soon turned to violence, but the Deceiver did not show up to help them. Instead he found them "slipping back to barbarism" and was dismayed. He then sent in Necrons to wipe out all of the Silvae. Most of them were killed but a few survive although there was insufficient variation in the DNA to continue the race and they eventually died out. This account shows the Deceiver's ability to sway the minds of entire planets, but also its instability as any failure is punished by destruction.
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pp. 6, 7, 40
- Codex: Necrons (3rd Edition), pp. 5, 8, 27-28, 30-31, 50, 63