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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-05-15, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Default Of Machines and Men

I know it looks like a wall of text, but please do read through it! Any feedback and comments is greatly appreciated, even if it's just pointing out glaring errors!

Appointed by the Fabricator-General of Mars, Archmagos Kresas; a senior Tech-Priest from the red planet itself, was chosen to lead an Explorator mission, escorted by a contingent of Space Marines from the Gilded Lions Chapter, to explore a recently discovered planet in the infamous Koronus Expanse. Dubbed by the Adeptus Mechanicus as Akra, nearby orbital sensoriums close to the planet have been reporting spikes of energy decidabley alien in origin originating from Akra, as well as what the Tech-Priest believe to be a transmission, some kind of a distress call in a language none could understand. Kresas was tasked to investigate these energy pules, as well as locate the origin of the transmission and claim any alien technology for the Priesthood of Mars. Wary of the dangers of the Koronus System, as well as the threat of resistance upon arriving at Akra, the Adeptus Mechanicus had decided that the Tech-Guards on board the Explorator Ship, an ancient Ark Mechanicus “Pertas”, would be insufficient, and therefore a task force of Adeptus Astartes of the Gilded Lions Chapter, led by Captain Matri, accompanied the mission.

Upon reaching Akra itself, the sensors on board the “Pertas” detected no life on the planets, but several centres of construction which, while alien in design, resembled a number of cities scattered across the planet’s surface. Deciding that these ‘cities’ must be the source of the transmission from the planets, Archmagos Kresas led a small landing force down into the largest of these ‘cities’, leaving the “Pertas” in orbit above the planet. This landing force consisted of Captain Matri, along with ten of his battle-brother Gilded Lions, Tech-Priests Banum and Morlus, as well as Kresas himself. They were also accompanied by a twenty-man strong Tech-Guard Unit. Upon landing just outside the largest ‘city’ of Akra, the landing party found the very ground itself blackened and burnt. Vast towers of unknown design had been shattered and lay half broken, the streets were cracked and scattered with rubble and twisted metal. It became immediately obvious that there been some great war upon the planet’s surface, yet even as the group moved deeper into the ‘city’, heading towards a still standing tower at the heart of the ‘city’, did Kresas realise that not only had there been a war, but that it had happened countless millennia before their small landing force had arrived. The proud and towering ‘city’ around them had been all but torn apart, and the Archmagos found strange alien technology that he had never seen the like of before, nor either had Banum or Morlus. At the heart of the city itself, it was evident that the conflict had raged most vicious. The buildings that circled the square were nothing more than shades of their original power, rubble spilling out onto the streets, all of it blackened by some unknown burning. But it was what rose from the centre of the square that fascinated Kresas; a towering structure, still standing despite the gaping, charred, scars that covered it.

After contacting the “Pertas”, still waiting in orbit above, the Tech-Priests still aboard the millennia-old starship confirmed that it was from somewhere within this structure that the transmission was originating from. Briefly pausing to confer with Captain Matri, Kresas led the small Imperial force into this mysterious structure, stepping inside a building that had not seen life in millions of years, and had never before known the human race.

Inside, the structure was little more than a skeleton, strange metallic walls bare, but at its centre was a mass of thick cables and faintly glowing displays. Somehow protected from the terrible conflict that had all but destroyed the city around it; this alien technology, which the Tech-Priests managed to identify as some kind of Data-Hub, was automatically emitting the transmission that had attracted the Adeptus Mechanicus. While the rest of the landing force secured the structure, ensuring that they were safe, Archmagos Kresas was left alone with the Data-Hub, and it was then that he first heard the voices; distant, echoing in the back of his mind, whispers that swam out of the blackness and formed words, stringing together syllables in the manner of someone who is only now learning a new language.

Suddenly the words were clear, one word repeated time and time again; “Dragon”. Drawn inexplicably closer to the alien hub pulsing before him, Kresas raised his hand and placed it upon the glowing heart of the machine, and screamed. The noise was unearthly, tearing through the air as burning power poured up the Archmagos’ arm, filling every part of him, the knowledge of an entire civilization overwhelming his very soul, but most of all a warning, a warning of death, of the end of times, of the day the Dragon will wake and burn away life. It was only the actions of Captain Matri, charging across from where he had been standing vigil at the entrance and all but throwing Kresas to the floor, tearing him away from the Data-Hub, that saved the Archmagos’ mere mortal body from being stripped away by the sheer power flowing into him. But in the instant that the Space Marine made contact with Kresas, the moment before he pulled the Tech-Priest away, some of that power, that burning warning, flowed into him, touching his mind and showing him images of fire, of the apocalypse. And so they lay there, two proud warriors of the Imperium, brought low by the echoes of a civilisation that had been dead for nearly sixty million years.

Its power spent, the Data-Nub sent out one final flash of brilliant light before fading to darkness and falling silent. With the technology all but destroyed, it was Kresas who roused first, his eyes flicking open as his Servo-Arms pulled him to his feet. His eyes, or rather the one that had not been replaced by a bionic augmentation, was jet black, all colour gone from it. When Captain Matri also rose to his feet, helped by his battle-brothers, his eyes too were jet black. Some power still resided within the two very different men, and they now shared one thing, the warning of the end. Kresas made contact with the “Pertas” and when he spoke, his voice was wrong. It echoed, reverberated with some raw power, and it seemed to infect the very soul, seeping into the mind and bending the will. The Archmagos, if that is what he still was, ordered that, once the landing party had returned, the Ark Mechanicus would withdraw from the planet, never to return. And yet, before his orders could even be finished, a screeching of metal tearing filled the air. The landing party all turned towards a pile of twisted metal and rubble, which fell away to reveal a creature, slowly crawling out of the wreckage. A hideous creation of cracked stone, the monstrosity rose to its full height; it towered over even the proud Space Marines, easily standing at almost twelve feet tall, and even as the Imperium forces watched, lightning appeared to flicker and dance across the stone, as it seemed to notice them for the first time. There was a moment of silence, as this creature looked upon the world for the first time since it had been crushed in a war countless eons ago. Millenniums of slowly healing itself, and the pulses of energy that the Data-Hub had sent out, had woken it from its slumber. The silence was broken by Archmagos Kresas, his voice still echoing and powerful as the creature turned to face him. “A child of the Dragon still remains”.

With an unholy roar, the creature hurled light itself at the Archmagos, power flowing down his arms as crackling lightning soared through the air and slammed into the ground where Kresas had been only seconds before, leaving charred and blackened ground. Its roar was cut short by the cacophony of noise as centuries of training had already led the Gilded Lions to form ranks and unleash the full power of their Bolters against this monster. The explosive bolts crashed against the creature, stone cracking, but the monster did not fall. In fact, it barely flinched under the onslaught, instead turning towards the Space Marines and hurling it’s lightning again. This time the bolt of lightning struck true, slamming into the chest of a Silent Lion and sending him crashing back, his armour on his chest burnt and melted away, the flesh beneath blackened and horrible to look upon. Again the lightning came, and again a Space Marine, who had seen hundreds of wars, who had fought against nearly all of the Imperium most dread enemies, was killed in burning, indescribable agony. For a brief second, the thunder of the Gilded Lions seemed to falter, but the voice of their Captain, somehow cutting through the deafening roar, ordered them on and once more they fired upon the monster, moving to better firing positions even as Kresas ordered his Tech-Guard to engage the creature, their ancient and archaic weapons already barking out as they too fired upon the monster. But still the creature did not fall, hurling its terrible lightning as it began to move, somehow pushing back against the hail of gunfire and starting a lumbering charge towards where the landing party stood. The Tech-Guard too felt the lightning, the pure death-touch charring their very flesh, burning away the metal and leaving them as nothing but still remains on the city’s streets, their weapons falling silent as they fell.

The creature still came on, its eyes, two burning red fires staring out from among the broken rock, were focussed on the Archmagos, but even as it closed on its target, Captain Matri stepped into its path. With his Relic Blade, centuries old and dubbed “Lion’s Roar” by the Captain, already in hand, the Space Marine let out a war cry of the Emperor before charging to meet the creature. For a moment, the lightning stopped, and the power instead poured into the monsters hands themselves, a weapon of pure energy growing in its grip until it wielded a sword of lightning almost six feet long. And so the two figures both swung their weapons, and the two blades, one of Adamantium, glowing with power and wielded by a warrior of immense skill and grace, and one of lightning, flickering dancing even as it swung through the air, held by a monster that should have died eons ago. When the two weapons crashed against each other, the sheer power, the force of the collision, sent out a shockwave that knocked all but Matri and the monster itself, flying backwards, to crash down against the hard streets. The noise, like a thunderclap, was deafening and echoed around the ghost of a city for what seemed like forever. Again the two blades struck each other, and again a mighty thunderclap echoed around the city. The two warriors moved too quickly to follow, flowing from thrust to parry far too swiftly for the human eye to even comprehend, let alone follow. And so they fought, again and again their weapons crashing against one another, until all at once, it was over. The monster raised his blade above his head, bringing it crashing down towards the Space Marine Captain. Matri raised his own sword to block it, only for the Relic Blade, forged with almost forgotten technology, shattered. The creature’s weapon cut through the Space Marine’s armour as if it was nothing, carving a bloody gash through the proud veteran and killing him with one strike. Falling to the ground, blood quickly pouring from what was left of his body, surrounded by the shattered fragments of “Lions Roar”, Captain Lucas Matri died.

Roaring out a bloody vengeance for their Captain, the Gilded Lions moved to charge towards the creature, only for the creature’s cry of triumph to be cut short as it faltered slightly. A crack was all that signalled it, but a mighty thunderbolt, an energy weapon of a forgotten age, split the creatures head, and it stood for a moment, before slowly falling to the ground, the stone crumbling to dust as the lightning flickered and faded, the fires of its eyes going out. Before Kresas even turned, he knew what he would see. Soulless, metal for flesh, a Necron Lord stood on the street, his hand still outstretched from where he had fired the Tachyon Arrow that had finally felled the beast; at his back ranks of Necron Warriors, their weapons gripped tightly in fists of cold metal. Archmagos Kresas opened his mouth to call out to the Necron Lord, only for the air to fill once more with the shifting of rubble and screeching metal, coming from all around. Dragging themselves from beneath the buildings that had fallen upon them, clambering to their feet, more of the monsters crawled from where they had lay since the war that had all but destroyed what was now called Akra and wiped a civilisation from existence. This time there was no pause, Kresas turned to what was left of the landing party and ordered them to fall back to the landing craft. Setting off at a run, back down the street that would take them out of the cursed city, the Archmagos paused only to gather the fragments of “Lions Roar” before ordering his Tech-Guard to join the Gilded Lionsin fighting a desperate rearguard as they withdrew from the city. Still the creatures barely seemed to feel the weapons of the Imperium, and still the terrible lightning reaped a bloody toll on Space Marine and Tech-Guard alike, melting flesh and metal with ease.

It seemed as if the landing force would be overwhelmed, cut off and slaughtered, when the Necrons waded into the fray. Green crackling energy flashed across the streets as the Warriors fired in perfect unison, the Necron Lord ordering them forwards as they formed up around what was left of the Imperial landing party, their weapons crackling alongside the roaring bolters of Space Marines. Between the raw energy of the Necrons Gauss weapons and the sheer explosive force of the Bolters, for the first time the monsters seemed to be faltering, stone cracking and shattering, but still they came.

And so it continued, this desperate withdrawal of both Necron and man, side by side, forced together in the face of a foe far stronger than either of them. Even the Necron Warriors, older even that the city that they now fought in, felt the wicked taste of the creatures lightning, their metal bodies twisting and warping as they fell to the ground, another Warrior stepping to fill their place in the line. Finally, the ragged remains of the landing force reached their landing craft, piling into it, engines already roaring. Only four of the Gilded Lions, along with just seven Tech-Guard, the two Tech-Priests and Kresas himself had survived. The Archmagos looked back at the Necrons, the Warriors now formed in a line to hold back the creatures from the landing craft as it rose into the air. The Necron Lord looked toward Kresas, their eyes meeting and their souls seeming to reach out and touch one another before all at once the ancient soulless warriors vanished in a flash of green light. The landing craft soared into orbit, quickly reaching the Ark Mechanicus high above the planet once more. Kresas did not hesitate with his order, Akra would burn. The full force of the terrible weapons on board the “Pertas” was brought to bear against the planet, and the creatures that plagued its surface. Ancient and forgotten technologies unleashed their deadly payload, and as the Nova Cannon fired, the planet seemed to split apart, the sheer power of the onslaught breaking the world apart. The Archmagos could only pray to the Omnissiah that the foul creatures died as the planet did. Kresas had barely stepped off his landing craft and back onto the deck of the “Pertas” when the air fluctuated before him and the Necron Lord seemed to step out of thin air and into the path of the Archmagos. Before anyone could react, the Lord grabbed hold of Kresas and they vanished again, falling out of phase.

The two of them faced each other, one a man who strived to become one with the machine, and one a soulless machine who yearned to be flesh again. Kresas’ jet black eye staring back into the dark green of the Necrons. When the Necron spoke, its voice was grating, harsh, cracked, barely understandable, but Kresas heard its words, as they reverberated through his very being.

“You have seen the Dragon. I can feel it inside of you, you are more than a filthy human, you have the knowledge of a civilisation…”

Cutting across him, Kresas spoke himself, his voice echoing even out of phase as they were, resonating with power.

“I have not just seen the Dragon; I know it is waking from its slumber. The Dragon will rise again and burn the universe, we cannot stop it; but we can slow it down. I have been shown how it will wake, what will happen, who will wake it. If the Dragon wakes, it will tear apart the very heart of my civilisation, and it will hunt your kind, those who have shattered its kin, and burn them from the face of the universe. Together, united, we can slow the slumber down until we know how to stop it, how to kill a god”

The Necron Lord stared back at the Archmagos, his gaze staring deep into the Tech-Priests soul, staying silent for minutes that stretched out for the two of them, until finally he spoke.

“I have known of the Dragon’s waking for centuries, I have scoured the stars, found the worlds that it has burnt, found the warriors that it left behind, and yet it is you that has found the lost cities of the Ur’kar, you who has found the knowledge of the civilisation that almost managed to slay the Dragon. If you had not, I would have left you to die in that city, but I find myself in need of you.”

Kresas grabbed the Necron Lord by the shoulder, inhuman strength coursing through his body as he pushed the ancient alien back, speaking through gritted teeth, his voice a dangerous growl.

“I am not something you will use. I recognise that you strength will help me in my mission to stop the Dragon, but we are equals. That Data-Hub also showed me that Necrons have been to that planet before, it showed me how to kill you, how to really kill you and your kind; I’ll slaughter you if you try to cross me”

Low and grating, the Lord seemed to almost be laughing as it looked back at the Tech-Priest.

“You have a fire, but know that our agreement works both ways. You think your ancient ship protects you? I can bring it crashing down in an instant, for I am countless centuries older than even your most forgotten technology. My legions will march at your side, for as long as we are fighting against the Dragon. For understand that we are not friends, we are not allies, we fight simply for our continued existence.”

With that, the Necron Lord was gone again; fading away as Kresas came crashing back to reality with a start, falling to the floor only to be caught by the Space Marines at his side. Steadying himself once more, Kresas was silent and still for a moment before setting off quickly towards the ships bridge.

Now obviously I took a huge amount of creative licence on this. The 'Dragon' that's referred to, is the Dragon under Mars, which is also, while I know it's not official, the C'tan Void Dragon. The stone and lightning "creatures" are the warriors of the Void Dragon, very briefly mentioned in the Elder history as being able to "channel lightning", and be "almost indestructible", which should hopefully explain how incredibly powerful they seem...

Damaging, let alone shattering a Relic Blade is pretty much unheard of, but I wanted to stress how ridiculously powerful the Void Dragon's creations are, he was after all the master of the Material Realm. The power and knowledge now flowing through Kresas acts as visions, showing him what needs to be done to prevent the Dragon from being woken. This can range from killing a civilian whose descendant, or future actions, will lead to the dragon being woken, to stopping entire wars. What I've tried to achieve with this Space Marine/Adeptus Mechanicus/Necron "alliance", is to allow me to fight against pretty much every 40k army, as well as fight alongside many of them! I can fight beside the Imperium, just as much as I can fight against them, I can side with the Necrons, the Eldar, any race that realizes the disaster that an awoken Void Dragon would cause

The interaction between the Necron Lord and the Archmagos I understand could cause some annoyance, I know a lot of people didn't like the Necrons moving away from their "kill everyone evil robots" and even allying with Space Marines and the like, but I want to stress that, just as the Lord says, there's no alliance, just a mutual understanding. Kresas can see what must be done, and alongside the Necrons, he can achieve it.

This is obviously not a full background, and I intend to expand on the Gilded Lions Chapter, the Archmagos himself, the Necrons that fight with them, as well as the group as a whole, but this is as good a start as any, so any feedback is welcome



The Silent Lions Chapter

Winter Falls

Darkness

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-07-15, 04:01 PM
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It was an interesting concept. I actually like the idea of Necrons working with the Imperium to stop a common enemy.

My only recommendations would be. I would say stay with either calling them space marines or Adeptus Astarte. You switch it back and forth is a little confusing to maybe a person not familiar with 40K. The charred burned out city try to add more detail to the description of it. You repeat charred, burned towers a few times see about maybe using other words for charred or burned. Also after so many years is there any signs of life that the planet is recovering? A few cracks in the streets where a single wild plant has taken root with a lone bloom is the only sign of life in the city.

Also this sentense was a little long and hard to read especially if you say it out loud. "It was only the actions of Captain Matri, charging across from where he had been standing vigil at the entrance and all but throwing Kresas to the floor, tearing him away from the Data-Hub, that saved the Archmagos’ mere mortal body from being stripped away by the sheer power flowing into him." If you broke this up into two or three sentences might work better.

Anyway interesting story keep up the good work.


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-07-15, 05:40 PM
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That was well written. You also switched in the middle calling them silent lions like your chapter, then back to gilded.

I would add that unless the planet is lifeless your story had some problems with geology. If the planet still has animals, plants, fungus, and weather; after millions of years there's going to be very little left of a city (basically nothing), even a magnificent city from an advanced civilization. Wind and rain erosion are incredibly powerful over millions of years, also consider volcanic eruptions and tectonic moment. So there might be some evidence remaining if it were sheltered in some other way, caves, secluded valley, etc. or maybe it would be fossilized and preserved under meters of sediment? Then it could be excavated by the magos.

For example, on Earth the Dinosaurs died out more than 60 million years ago. The earth of 60m years ago is totally different than ours is today.

If the city is 60m years old what makes it so special that it could have survived so long?

[Edit] p.s.- per my other response, this post came up in my tapatalk timeline view because @morfangdakka posted to it.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-07-15, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback guys! I'll go back over it and try and mix up the description.

And sorry for the change from Silent to Gilded Lions, I decided last minute to not make it my home-brew chapter because I know the Necrons hate psykers, but I must have missed some.



The Silent Lions Chapter

Winter Falls

Darkness

Give a man a match and he will be warm for a day.
Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.
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