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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 09-26-15, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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I apologize for being so late with this. I've been busy with college and being in a writing rut lately, so I haven't been in the mood to write anything but homework . Anyways, I'm a bit rusty, so I guess I have to start working some of that off. This update is a start .

Chapter Two

Aenaria soared above the Gates of Sorrow on ebon wings, an angelic witness to the endless carnage that the Blood God had brought before the Forlorn City. She elegantly weaved through the embattled masses that fought for the realm above the chaos. Massive beasts created from blood, brass, and honor hurtled themselves through the skies and onto the battlements. Their massive demon forged axes split fragile angelic kin in twain or crushed them into paste beneath their hooves. Around them, a horde of lesser furies swarmed the Guardian Host and tore into them with tooth and claw.

Aenaria hefted her hoplon shield and smashed another winged creature from her path. The enchanted, double-edged spear in her grip flashed from her person and struck through several of the furies’ bones as it fell. Blood sprayed from the wound as she tore her spear free in time to twirl around a Bloodthirster’s hacking blow as it swept down upon her. She could not avoid the Greater Demon’s bulk, however, and felt the thing’s iron plated knee sink into her chest as it made to crush her into the Gates of Sorrow.

A combination of raven hair and snow-white wings suddenly assaulted the Greater Demon during its descent. The beast’s twin axes whirled around its sinewy wings and bright arcs of blood fell across the blood mist in the air. Aenaria could only glimpse slivers of quicksilver shining in her eyes and the screams of the ferocious creature attempting to slay her. One moment, she was flung toward the earth as if a meteor. In the next, pieces of red-skinned gore rained down upon her and splattered her with black blood.

A momentous force slammed into Aenaria’s left flank and pulled her back into the skies. Nessana held her in one arm, the other holding a great infernal blade that pulsed with emerald light. The dark-skinned angel smiled down upon Aenaria before she released her hold and sliced through a throng of furies on route to intercept her. Determined to follow, Aenaria beat her wings furiously and entered back into the fray.

Nessana thundered from scant feet above her. “Our forces are doing well! Khorne’s talons cannot find purchase on the battlements!”

“Our fortunes are good in the air, at least.” Aenaria retorted. “I dare not look upon the battle on the ground. I pray that I sound less cowardly when I slay another of Khorne’s champions!”

“A mortal interest!” Nessana laughed. Her sword beheaded two furies in one sweep. “For you, at least. Your last attempt did not seem so successful!”

Despite herself, Aenaria snorted with brazen laughter as she threw her demonic spear through the skies. The double bladed weapon plunged through the back of another Bloodthirster that wore no armor. With a simple pull of her mind, the weapon unhinged itself from Khornate flesh and flew back into the hand of its owner. She twirled in the same moment and slammed her shield into the teeth of another frenzied winged creature.

Her laughter went silent as a shrill, keening wail echoed across the entirety of the battlefield.

A gathering of a hundred angels began to swarm beneath the pair of Guardians. Nessana descended through the battle to join them. “The Horn of the Demoness. She calls for reinforcements on the ground.”

Aenaria nose-dived into the circling formation of Guardians, formed in an impenetrable wall of shields and swords that battered away all the manifestations of malice that attempted to break it apart. Others valiantly risked one of their endless lives to ensure that no Bloodthirster could break through the aerial Cantabrian circle. The Demoness’ Horn sounded another time and the impregnable mass of immortal flesh moved toward its source.

The ground battle was worse than even Aenaria had anticipated. On the flanks, the mortal ranks of the Forlorn City managed a decent fight against minions of Khorne. Their numbers were many and their valiance was unquestionable, but it was in the center of the battle that their courage counted for nothing. Amidst countless dead, her Demoness fought alone against the relentless tides of Khorne. The enemy had deployed a great number of their champions, war beasts, and shock cavalry in order to break through the center ranks of the Forlorn City. They had been so successful that Nyst’s legions had been overwhelmed and routed prematurely in mass.

Nyst required her Guardians to shore up the breach in her lines while her rank-and-file reorganized.

The Guardians descended upon the battlefield in practiced discipline and great numbers. In perfect ranks, they locked shields over mounds of their own dead and advanced their phalanx into the teeth of the enemy. Others simply descended atop their foes and cleaved a bloody path through the throngs of Khornate Heralds and Chariots. Aenaria caught a quick glimpse of Nessana landing behind the enemy lines before she landed at the fore of the Guardian phalanx.

The Chosen of the Demoness’ shield came up in sync with a hundred others to blunt a collision charge of Bloodletters mounted atop iron-and-brass clad steeds. A hundred spears thrust forward in the blink of an eye. Khornate riders became speared and thrown from their mounts with precise strikes. A dozen of the brass beasts fell beneath the thrust of a dozen spears for each. Others crashed through the phalanx, crumpled shields, armor, and flesh beneath their hooves as they gored others and wreaked havoc.

One courageous Herald of Khorne leapt from his Juggernaut and landed with his full weight upon Aenaria’s shield. Upon seeing their commander’s fearless act of bloodlust, Bloodletters on foot sounded their war horns and crashed into the ranks of the angelic Guardians.

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-08-15, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Aenaria thundered a defiant cry as the Herald of Khorne crashed against her shield with it’s all of its weight. Despite her human strength, her muscles waned and she fell to her knees. The Hoplon shield in her grip became pinned to the blood-slathered earth and she desperately hunkered beneath it’s weight to avoid the pressing mass of a thousand seething blades cutting at the phalanx. She hefted her spear into an overhead grip, shattered through the Herald of Khorne’s spine with a single lance through the small of the foe’s spinal chord.

As the Demoness’ Chosen made to remove her weapon, several Bloodletters charged into her kneeling form. Their gazes locked eye-level with the standing chosen, their hooves scrabbled over Aenaria’s shield as it she raised it over her body. The Daemons leapt from the hoplon shield and onto the waiting spears from her comrades that caught them in mid-jump. Blood rained upon her shield from the speared corpses from where they dangled mere feet above her.

Aenaria’s sisters waited until she rolled onto her feet before they discarded the bodies. Other Chosen had swarmed around her in order to protect the weakened gap in the phalanx. Even now, they fought ferociously on the frontlines, traded ten blows for every one that a minion of Khorne could manage to land.

“Sisters and brothers!” Aenaria bellowed over the cacophony of battle. She shouldered her way into the front ranks. “Wipe this filth from our realm! To your master!”

All Aenaria could see were the quick-silver flash of spear shafts and great swords in the malestrom she had entered. In her grip, the double bladed spear tore through guts and rent through armor with every thrust. It ripped away the innards of demonic fiends with every reversed arc. Her inhuman strength allowed her to wield the great spear as if she used two hands. The weapon spun and parried and whirled around her back to cleave away an unsuspecting foe’s head.

Hours passed, but they felt like fleeting minutes to Aenaria. Despite herself, after she killed her twentieth Bloodletter, she realized that her arms ached sorely from overuse. Yet the effort had not been in vain. The phalanx proved implacable in its advance, in spite of the number of chosen fated to die in the struggle. Kindred spirits that Aenaria had known for decades, she had seen split open and crushed to pulp beneath the Khornate meatgrinder.

We will arise again, one day… and celebrate our eternal victory over this nemesis!

By the time Aenaria and the first ranks of the Chosen had reached the Demoness, their master had already cleared a great path through the hordes of the Blood God. Aenaria marvelled at the sight of Nyst. Her alien form glistened with sweat, her veins thick and oily on her skin, her armor dented and rent in a hundred places, decorated with the viscera of her enemies.

Nyst smiled without looking. Two of her relic blades flashed from her person and cleaved through a Skull Cannon. “Ah, my Chosen. My heart was filled with woe that you may have fallen before your time. I still have need of you, you know?”

Aenaria slammed her fist against her chest plate. Dozens of Chosen shouted their war cries as they advanced past her. “I am here ever to serve by your side, mistress.”

Nyst quirked a grim smirk. “I have a quest for you, my chosen. I have looked into the skeins of the future. I desire you to return to the forlorn city and prepare a second warhost. You will not be coming to reinforce the Gates of Sorrow, but instead I order you to help the Prophet Mirathir.”

“Mistress?” Aenaria would have bawked, if she were not in the moment of spearing another Bloodletter through the eye. “What about the battle?”

Nyst spared her a fleeting glance and winked mischievously. “I shall take control of this chaos. Do as I bid, immediately.”

Aenaria rested her spear on her shoulder and bowed her head reverently. “Your bidding, eternal, mistress. I shall do as you command.”

Nyst replied. “I also have one more request before you take flight. A special… ambassador of another realm desires my ear for a time. Please, indulge him before you go. You may find him in the Chamber of the Infinite within my palace.”

“Of course,” Aenaria said. “At once, your grace.”

Aenaria unfurled her ebon wings and beat them furiously until she soared into the crimson skies once again. The aerial battle above the Gates of Sorrow was still frantic and relentless, but it was no longer her concern. She weaved elegantly through the fighting, toward the endless labyrinth of the Forlorn City in the distance.

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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The gateway into the Chamber of the Infinite was thrown backward with a resounding peal of thunder. Silence pervaded these hallow corridors like it were the stuff of the void itself. Robed mortals dressed in ebony robes blended into the shadows, barely visible as they flitted forward to receive Aenaria’s weapon and shield. It required several of them to hold each, but to their credit, they managed their task. The Angelic Guardian strode through inky darkness beyond the gateway into the chamber proper.

The chamber was encompassed in all-consuming shadow, broken only by runes that pulsed into light around her feet. They forged a broken trail through the darkness until she reached the first of the braziers. Aenaria snapped her fingers and purplish-crimson light blossomed from crevices carved into the emerald walls. Their presence was enough only to light the area surrounding her and nothing beyond.

An ominous voice echoed from beyond the veil of darkness. It dripped with revulsion and… unnatural properties. “Ah, the ambassador of the Forlorn City, sent on errand by the Matriach herself… Come closer, creature.”

Aenaria strode forward without fear. She knew how fearsome an opponent she must have looked. Her armor was slashed open and dented in a hundred places and she was covered from head to toe in viscera.

Larger runes lit up beneath her metallic boots as she neared the center of the chamber. The infernal characters pulsated with a thrilling power that Aenaria found intoxicating. Her emotions were second to the whims of her master, however, and she reigned them in deep within herself. Suddenly, more braziers blazed into light around the broad chamber until it bathed in the dark energies of the immaterium.

The Chamber of the Infinite was Raven Prophet Mirathir’s favorite scrying chamber, Aenaria knew. The eldar kept abreast of all events that spanned the Marathan Sector from this quaint little room. The chamber was a massive dome that blotted out every glimpse of sunlight. The light from the braziers reflected off the crystal ceiling with a brilliant light that made even her sigh in awe. The room was empty, save for a dozen massive thrones that flanked a raised dais meant for the Prophet’s scrying attempts.

Upon one of those thrones was a Greater Demon of Tzeentch, marked for its avian features, multicolored feathers, and white robe. In one hand it held a staff that tapped impatiently against the chamber floor and in the other was a great crystal ball that swirled with condensed energies. The servant of Tzeentch observed Aenaria with a disturbing disquiet, almost as if looking upon a mere rodent of interest.

The Greater Demon chortled. “So this is what your Mistress passes as a Greater Servant? Somewhat smaller than I suspected. In my experience, the smaller the creature, the more irritating the bite.”

Aenaria laughed at the Demon’s jest. She said as she approached. “Wise words. That is a lesson that minions of Khorne are still learning. Much to their frustration.”

“Tazaryn.” The Greater Demon replied. “You may know me be such a name. Come, let us discuss the future. Take a seat.”

Aenaria flew onto a throne and perched herself upon it. The Guardian extended her hand in an indication that Tazaryn explain himself. “Tazaryn. You desired audience with my mistress? Has your God sent you?”

Tazaryn flexed his mighty wings. He rasped. “I arrived at your realm of my own accord. Though at the behest of another and to represent the interest of my patron. I have an offer for your mistress, brave Aenaria.”

Aenaria smirked. “I admire your politeness, dear Tazaryn, but I must ask that you come to your point quickly. The Forlorn City is in the midst of a war.”

“Allow me to regale you with a little prophecy.” Tazaryn held his crystal ball toward Aenaria. The demon quirked its avian-like head to one side in askance. Aenaria reluctantly nodded her consent. “Good, good… The Blood-Tide howls like a gale – an all-consuming hurricane that shall annihilate the immortal host gathered against it. The golden spires of the Abyssal Palace shall be torn asunder and the Forlorn City shall be sacked. One endless night of bloody and endless macabre torture shall the denizens of this realm know.”

“Sacked?” Aenaria rose from her seat, her veins thick on her skin from seething anger. “To be sacked is to be conquered for a day! It is unacceptable! You dare bring this news? You must have brought some twisted scheme with you to stop it?”

Tazaryn droned. “The Forlorn City shall be sacked – not conquered. One endless night of bloody and endless macabre torture shall the denizens of this realm know. Countless souls lost to the thirst of the Blood God.”

Aenaria gritted her teeth. “What can be done?”

Tazaryn put away his crystal ball as he replied, “An alliance must be spun between the legions of the Changer and that of the Forlorn City. Fear not, Aenaria, for your master does have an unlikely ally hiding in the shadows. One that seeks to come to her aid from the abyss.”

“Let me guess.” Aenaria said. “Such an ally would be you? Do not make me laugh.”

A hint of knowledge glinted in the Greater Demon’s eye. Tazaryn cackled maniacally. “A great Demoness of a once proud kingdom. One who your mistress believes is long gone from the immaterium. Hidden away in the Crystal Labyrinth, she possesses legions at her back, waiting to be unleashed.”

Aenaria gasped. Realization quickly dawned on her. “That is… impossible.”

The immaterium began to shift and transform around the chamber as Tazaryn meant to vanish from the Forlorn City. Aenaria cloaked herself with her ebon wings from the ethereal energies of the Crystal Labyrinth. As his body became ethereal, he screamed over the howling winds of the warp as they began to take him.

Tazaryn said. “Tell your mistress, that power can either be shared in the coming alliance or Bazariah will take back what is hers!”

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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The courtyards of the Abyssal Fortress brimmed with a second army of immortals. Aenaria overlooked the assembly from the hundred stair that zig-zagged from the inner sanctums of the palace and into the skies. The chamber of the infinite and her master’s throne vault loomed over her as if the shadow of an incomprehensibly large mountain. The golden spires transformed into limestone peaks that glittered in the sun. That jutted from the throne chamber as if the points of a magnificent crown.

Hundreds of Guardians arrayed themselves in formation beside their mortal worshippers. Together, they proved a glorious spectacle in all of their furled wings, infernal armor, and lavish robes. The angelic host presented golden shields, interlocked into an impregnable wall while their demonic weapons rested upon their shoulders. The mortals could only bear one weapon, such was befitting of their status. None would ever hold the sacred shield unless proven in battle, endurance, and faith.

An ancient pride burst in Aenaria’s heart at the sight of her kin rallied and ready for war. For one fleeting moment, she had almost forgotten about Tazaryn and his dire prophecy. Strange enough, her thoughts became more concerned with the Raven Prophet’s plight with every passing hour. What task had Nyst bestowed upon Mirathir? What mission could be so important as to warrant an invasion into the mortal plane?

Despite her centuries of wisdom and experience on grim battlefields, Aenaria had only seen the Forlorn City embark upon one venture into the mortal world. Unfortunately, she had not been there to witness Bazariah’s fall. Aenaria had heard the stories, however, and knew the fighting had been gruesome and chaotic.

The Greater Demons beneath Bazariah’s heel were a different breed altogether from the angelic guardians. Nothing less than cunning beasts. Whatever vision of hell they were spawned from, Aenaria knew not. Bazariah was always known as a secretive creationist and breeder.

Aenaria hawked and spat. “Good riddance.” She could only hope that Nyst would discover some treacherous flaw in Tazaryn’s prophecy. If that proved to be the case, Aenaria would be the one to plant her spear through his all-seeing-eye.

A great clamor arose from beyond the fortress walls. Aenaria snapped herself from her reverie and looked to the heavenly palace gates as they were thrown open. The Demoness emerged from a crowd of vaunted voices and weapons being clashed on shields. In spite of the hero’s welcome, Nyst looked far from pleased, and stormed across the courtyard toward the hundred stair. Nyst’s pristine armor was marred completely with the blood and viscera of her foes. Even so, joy resounded in Aenaria’s heart to discover that the four demon-relic swords remained whole and intact.

Even a Demoness could perish by those swords. Aenaria thought. Such weapons were forged for true Gods, not the puppets that rule in their stead.

“Greetings, master.” Aenaria banished the thought as Nyst began her climb up the hundred stair. “I have conversed with our mysterious ambassador as you requested.”

“Not here.” Nyst shook her head. The uncountable fangs in her maw were bared in a vicious snarl. “Walk with me back into the chamber of the infinite.”

Nyst replied once they reached the throne vault. Her voice became caustic poison upon Aenaria’s ears. “How is she alive?”

Aenaria shrugged. “Tazaryn mentioned that Bazariah resides somewhere in the Crystal Labyrinth. She regains her strength and an army at her back whilst we spend our own fighting off a petty invasion.”

“Interesting.” Nyst muttered as the throne doors closed shut behind them. “The Crystalline Labyrinth? I have served the Great Changer, many centuries ago, before I realized that creating your own destiny is so much more fun than having someone else doing it for you. I witnessed her premature fall into ruin, myself. She was always masterful in her use of sorcery, she used her spells to utterly decimate any that stood before her. Can you believe what felled her in the end? A simple overcharge of the immaterium. When she channeled her last spell – crack! Her body was immolated in a blinding flash, but she was too tough. Not even that had ended her reign. In the end, I was forced to eliminate her escape route. I rescued Mirathir from the claws of death and ended an entire invasion by myself.”

Aenaria could not conceal the shame written on her face. “Very heroic, your majesty.”

Nyst clucked her tongue empathetically. She gave Aenaria a sideward gaze that hinted of slyness. “Still reprimanding yourself because you were not there? My loyal little angel, you can never be everywhere at once.” She sighed irritably. “What is the matter now?”

“Demoness,” Aenaria fell onto one knee, a fist clashed against her blood-caked breastplate. “I beg you, should you desire to fight Bazariah, I would be by your side. Do not send me away on the eve of the most pivotal battle in our realm’s history.”

Nyst approached her throne and perched herself upon it. The four relic swords were thrust into their scabbards carved into the arm rests. The Demoness planted one hand firmly on her knee and the other three on the hilts of her blades. “You and Mirathir are of one mind in your stubbornness. Once your mind focuses one aspect of something you deem important, you grow this peculiar and humorous obsession. Even in my infinite wisdom, I can only reveal the other paths that you cannot discover.” Nyst’s lips curved into a genuine, pleased smile. “I admire your obsession, it shall not only serve my ambitions, but fuel your own.”

Nyst continued. “Bazariah will not become intimidated by an army of Guardians. She understands how you will fight and more importantly, your weaknesses. Mirathir could use your talents to a greater effect. Have you ever raided in the mortal plane?”

“No.” Aenaria said.

“Hah!” Nyst barked. “What mortal world is safe from our reach? Can you name a Greater Demon that has never spilled the blood of the alien? Leave my sight, Aenaria, and do not return until you bring news of victory. Do not concern yourself too much with my wellbeing, I have no intention of fighting Bazariah.”

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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Nice update.

The Book of Grudges will know their name.

The Worlds of J.D. Barbera
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treesnifer View Post
Nice update.
Thanks, Treesnifer !

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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The command center was a claustrophobic cell with an appearance of a prison warden’s staging area rather than a planetary head quarters. Mirathir tread gingerly over a metallic floor covered in dense wiring that writhed its way into every crevice. The hologram projector in the center of the small chamber hummed as it revealed the planet Tarmathon IV. A dozen different emblems and markers pulsed across her surface. The floating, transparent globe was surrounded on all sides by servitor-manned cognitor stations. None of them paid Mirathir or her entourage of Sorcerers any heed as they crowded themselves around the projector.

“I have gleamed the future.” Aitan, a dark-skinned apprentice of some repute, gestured toward a crimson marker that pulsed on Tarmathon’s ancient and ruined capital. “I am aware that our mistress has witnessed the portents as well? The Tau Empire are mere days away from invading our plantary stronghold. The old Imperial capital should be considered as one of their potential deployment zones.”

Mirathir smirked. “True enough, Aitan. None of our strongholds are within reach of the old capital. The Tau Empire could deploy their forces without fear of much reproach. Unless, of course, we mobilized an army with the task of contesting Shailon in mind.”

“Too much risk.” Illyia replied. The young sorceress crossed her arms beneath her chest. Her full lips were creased in a frown. “Maintaining sufficient supply routes could prove bothersome, if what I’ve heard about the Tau Empire is true. That does not even address the issue of potential loss, should that display of raw force be met with overwhelming firepower and destroyed.”

“What do you suggest then, Illyia?” Mirathir touched upon the hologram and the entire planet transformed into the ruined capital of Shailon.

“Raven Prophet,” Illyia intoned. “Allow the Tau their deployment and let them attempt to claim our fortresses. Our forces shall certainly outnumber their own by a vast margin. Once the aliens commit themselves to three or four sieges, we can then mobilize from our hidden strongholds and take the enemy by surprise.”

Aelius the elder dismissed Illyia with a wave. “Fooling the Tau into thinking that we are weakened will require much sacrifice. Defeating them through your strategy could well mean losing those fortresses entirely.” Aelius shifted his gaze to Mirathir. “You must not underestimate your opponent, Mirathir, the Tau Empire have won victories against more unfavorable odds.”

Decimus added. “Whose to say that the xenos won’t deploy anywhere else? Or will not assault our strongholds directly from orbit?”

“Foolish question.” Mirathir scoffed. “Our orbital batteries will give them enough problems, let alone them attempting to fall right on our heads. And our numbers? We would massacre them piecemeal.”

Decimus added more scoldingly. “Then that leaves only one question unanswered: how do you intend to match the Tau Empire’s firepower? You cannot hope to triumph because of numbers alone. I despise having to play Devil’s Advocate for every strategic plan-“

Mirathir’s eyes turned to slits. “Then do not. You are trying my patience.”

“But we could use stalwart allies.” Decimus continued. “A pity that the siege of Tyrannus has undone so many years of diplomacy. As the ancients used to say, when the war is over, make alliances.”

Aelius inclined his head agreement. “Decimus speaks the truth, my lady.”

Illyia placed a hand over her heart as she said, “I have confidence that you can win this war, Raven Prophet. I only doubt that you will be victorious in the way that you intend to. There are still lingering strands on the skein that can be tied to our own.”

Aitan said. “Shall I commune with the warp?”

“Unnecessary,” Mirathir replied. “I shall appeal to our Demoness for aid and to those whom I desire be forgotten from your minds. I sincerely doubt that Captain Tyrioc would arrive to our rescue after his humiliation. He suffered much at the hands of Tyrannus’ Imperial forces after Nyst took her premature leave of the battle.”

An elegant, ethereal voice originated from behind Mirathir, by the entrance into the command center. “Perhaps this Captain will listen to the whispers of his patron?”

Mirathir recognized such a voice immediately and spared a long glance over her shoulder. “Aenaria?” She said more casually then she would have liked. “What dire news has brought you here?”

“So,” Aenaria furled her ebon wings around herself to avoid catching them on stray wires. She approached the hologram map and gazed into the image for long moments, tantalized. “A mortal world?” She answered Mirathir without looking at her. “Important matters bring me to Tarmathon IV, Raven Prophet, but for your ears alone.”

“Come,” Mirathir smiled warmly. “I would gladly show you Tarmathon IV then spend another moment in this pit. Everyone else, get out of my sight!”

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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post #18 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-16-15, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Enter the Tau!
Chapter Three


The cabin room 36-01 was one of the higher quality infantry quarters provided by the Kor. The barracks had been designed with the air caste crew in mind. One could tell by the lavish furnishings that decorated the sleek white metallic sheen that dominated the room. Two suits of Fire Warrior armor were locked into their hover-stands beside bunk beds. Dataslates and monitors cluttered a long desk pinned against the far wall.

Shas’la T’au M’yen Mal’caor watched the empty world beyond the viewport. Legends spread amongst the Fire Caste about the great battle that happened on Aloh Fio, the ‘Earth of Cold Winds’. The Gue’la of the Imperium knew the planet as Tarmathon IV and had abandoned it long ago as a cursed world. An icy smile crossed M’yen’s pallid cobalt skin at the thought. As he continued to polish his pulse blaster from his bunk bed, he imagined what the surface of the planet was like those ten years ago.

An empty city, void of everything except blasted ferrocrete and the lifeblood of shas and gue’la alike. The perfect ground to draw an enemy into the waiting ambush of the Kauyon or slay them outright with the mont’ka. Much of the fighting would take place at close quarters, building by building.

What was he doing? These visions of war and hunger for honor and glory were childish notions. They had no place in a shas’la’s thoughts. There was only the Tau’va. Only the Greater Good.

“Beautiful world, M’yen?” Something malicious was hidden behind Shas’la Or’es’ voice as he made to sit down at the desk. “The graves of countless thousands are buried somewhere down there. The remnants of the last Tau Expedition are scattered across all of that green earth. To think that we could be next… excited yet?”

M’yen laughed. “Ever pessimistic, Or’es. Whatever calamity has transpired on Aloh Fio, it appears that the worst has passed. There’s only gue’la left for us to kill now. I am thankful that is all we will have to face.”

Or’es swept aside digital text upon the hologram monitor. “You won’t be so enthusiastic when you hear about this! Shas’ui Re’Shi has just messaged us. Breacher Team Shadow Hunter is being deployed in the first wave.”

“Ethereal’s blood.” M’yen felt a slight tremor in his heart. “The first wave?”

Or’es continued. “That is not all. Shadow Hunter is deploying with three other Breacher Teams alongside an Infiltration Cadre on a special assignment. It seems that we will be deployed behind enemy lines… the target is a concealed gue’la outpost. The operation will be part of a larger offensive, but the details will be discussed next briefing.”

M’yen shrugged his shoulders. “I cannot tell if this is supposed to be good news or ill. On one hand, we are taken off the frontlines.”

Or’es finished. “And on the other we’re being asked to infiltrate enemy lines.”

M’yen glanced at the armor beside his bed and took in the sight of its onyx complexion. The only hint of color that betrayed it’s presence whilst in shadows was the soft glow of the Breacher helmet lenses and the white shoulder pad emblazoned with the Tau Empire’s icon. That sturdy piece of equipment had seen him through many gruesome combats.

He wondered how long it would be before it was finally broken open.
~***~

Two Days Later

“Greetings, M’yen.” Shas’ui J’karra said as four Earth Caste Members worked diligently to seal her into her bulky XV25 Stealth Battlesuit. The wane crimson light from the hangar bay’s ceiling made her lock of fiery red hair burn ever brighter. She was young, around M’yen’s age and beautiful, in spite of a pair of nasty scars that criss-crossed along her face. “I heard your team will be operating with my own. Are you ready for deployment?”

“Greetings, shas’ui.” M’yen stepped to attention, his armor making his footfalls resound across the Orca’s hangar bay. His helmet cradled in his arm, his gaze picked up subtle readings from J’karra’s intentful stare. She was interested in him. “I am ready to get on the ground and do what I was trained to do.”

“Good.” J’karra picked herself up from her kneeling position. The stealth suit gave her an appearance of a mobile tank. She tested the weight of her fusion blaster in her grip and smiled at the Earth Caste technicians. They quickly moved on to the next shas’la. “I cannot vouch for what will happen on the ground. Despite the confidence of our commanders, our intelligence knows so little about our enemy on Aloh Fio.

“One would think that the victors of a four-way war would require more analysis rather than overestimation. But our leadership will hear none of that discussion. They believe the Tau Empire is destined to take Aloh Fio without much of a fight. Once we deploy behind enemy lines, we must protect one another as if we were all bonded by the Talissera.”

Shas’ui Re’shi quipped from behind M’yen. “Occupying my shas’la with more of your doubts, Shas’ui J’karra?” The aged veteran had a suspicious and unwelcoming look on his face.

J’karra glared at Re’shi. “I simply advise caution and a supportive attitude. Though I understand why you Breacher Teams may frown on the idea. Each of you are too hot blooded for your own good. M’yen seems the wisest of your group, so perhaps he will listen and save some lives? But I digress, I will not degrade myself to petty argument. I wish you luck, Shas’ui.” At that, J’karra turned and vanished deeper into the Orca transport.

Re’shi shifted his gaze to Myen. He chastised, “Do not listen to J’karra and her cautious tactics, Myen. We are Breachers, the first in the fight and the first to die. There can be no room for hesitation on the battlefield if you truly value your life. Follow my orders and you will be fine.”

M’yen nodded. “Of course, Re’shi.”

The Shas’ui smiled. “Join your team, shas’la.”

Another Shas’ui organized the Breacher Teams further within the dropship. “Everyone, take your seats! Place your weapons into their lockers and strap yourselves in. Trust me, you do not want to be unsecured when we enter atmosphere. Breacher Team Shadow Hunter on the far left! Breacher Team Untamed Hunter in the center! Breacher Team Patient Hunter in the far right!”

Ro’va called out. “Look who the ethereals decreed join us. Greetings, M’yen.”

“Good morning, M’yen.” Tel’kyse said enthusiastically. She was already secured in her harness and polished a pulse pistol. “You’re late. You aren’t sick with nerves are you?”

“Are you talking about M’yen?” Or’es arched a brow. “Veteran of half a dozen battles?”

Tel’kyse shrugged. “Sometimes our fears can catch up with us. I did not mean any disrespect.”

M’yen sat himself down between Tel’kyse and Ro’va. He pulled down his safety harness. “I’m fine. Our enemies will not be after the Rotaa, however.”

Eldi slammed on his helmet. “There is no need for nerves. Command does not expect we’ll face much trouble. Just another trial by fire in my eyes. Another test.”

Re’shi joined Breacher Team Shadow Hunter. “We shall soon uncover the truth of that, Eldi. But it is bad habit to be so overconfident. Treat this mission as you would any other. This operation is part of the first phase of our invasion. If it were not important, then we would not be asked to accomplish it. Understood, shas’la?”

The Fire Warriors intoned as one. “Understood, Shas’ui.”

Re’shi nodded, satisfied. “Then prepare yourselves accordingly.”

`***`

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879

Last edited by Myen'Tal; 11-23-15 at 12:37 AM.
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post #19 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-17-15, 02:28 AM
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The Tau. This was an army I've seriously considered picking up when Anfo was getting into 40k and we were playing Dawn of War. Only, in DoW, I couldn't get out of my deployment zone...

Very cool. I haven't seen any other Tau activity, so this is a nice change of pace and I most certainly like this introduction!

The Book of Grudges will know their name.

The Worlds of J.D. Barbera
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post #20 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-30-15, 04:19 AM Thread Starter
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“Helmets on!” Re’shi thundered over the roar of the Orca transport’s engines. The shas’ui of Shadow Hunter locked his helm lenses onto the holographic image provided by a nearby data drone. “Be advised, shas’la, one Rai’kor until atmosphere entry. Brace yourselves, the journey to our deployment zone could get rough.”

The fire warriors strapped into their seats reached for their helms latched onto their weapon lockers. M’yen slammed on his ebony helm in the same moment a wave of turbulence slammed into the Orca. The world vanished beneath a dark filter that lingered for long moments. Crimson data soon streamed upward onto his screen as the lenses in his helmet powered on and provided real-time information on his surroundings. The rest of team Shadow Hunter and the interior of the Orca hangar bay flashed into brilliant life. M’yen assessed the vital life signs and thermal readings that his comrades possessed – and he knew they were also reading his own.

“Re’shi.” Tel’kyse spoke into Shadow Hunter’s personal communication link channel rather than shout over the roaring flames of an atmosphere being breached. “How many Orcas are being deployed on our mission?”

“Tel’kyse!” The Shas’ui scolded sharply. “How many times do I have to tell you? Remember your briefings! It could mean the difference between life or death.”

“Forgive me, shas’ui.” Tel’kyse muttered and M’yen was certain that beneath her helmet was a flustered expression. “But how many?”

“Two, precisely.” The shas’ui stated. “Ours and another carrying pathfinder and strike teams.”

“Ethereal’s blood,” Or’es moaned over the channel. “I am going to be sick! Can’t this pilot enter atmosphere any faster?”

Tel’kyse stretched out her open hand in offer. “Take my hand, Or’es. We’ll make it.”

Or’es nodded weakly, his trembling hand taking Tel’kyse’s own. “This will end soon… This will end soon…”

An explosion rocked the Orca transport so abruptly that M’yen scarcely had time to blink before swathes of the metallic interior imploded inwards. Shrapnel scythed through the chamber amidst a secondary explosion of rubble, acrid smoke, and blue gore. When the hangar bay halted its violent trembling and his vision clarified, it was only then that he saw that an inferno had broken loose. A gaping wound in the Orca gunship existed where several members of squad Patient Hunter had been seated. Survivors that had not been shredded screamed in agony as they were consumed by the licking flames.

One of the Shas’ui thundered over the chaos at a shas’la attempting to detach his harness. “Ye’Kais, stay in your harness! The Drones will put the fire out!”

If the Fire Warrior had heard the plea of his superior, then he did not deign to show it. Amidst the white-hot flames, Ye’Kais bellowed in agony as they charred his armor. With a solid click and whir of machinery, the safety harness came off of the shas’la. M’yen looked away before Ye’Kais was lifted into the air with such force that he became crushed into the ceiling. Maintenance Drones whirred by moments later and began to douse the flames with flames retardant chemicals.

The violent pressure of the atmosphere suddenly fell away from the Orca ship as it broke into the skies in a free fall. A sense of vertigo slammed M’yen squarely in the gut as thrusters blazed into life and slowed the descent. M’yen gazed into the crystal blue sky beyond the massive breach in the Orca’s flank, where a handful of Patient Hunter had once been. The remaining survivors of that squad remained in their harnasses, beside the pulverized corpses of their comrades.

“Out of my way!” J’karra’s voice echoed over the hissing of dying flames. A squadron of maintenance drones cleared from her battlesuit’s path. “My team, prepare for deployment.”

Several hatches in the Orca’s hangar bay detached their locking mechanisms and buckled open to allow a gust of whipping wind into the gunship. M’yen could scarcely see any of J’karra’s stealth team – their stealth camoflauge fields no doubt activated. One moment, there was only a glimmer of light against a transparent hexagonal field and in the next, the contained flames of jet packs blazed into life. Then almost as quickly as they had come, J’karra’s team had vanished onto the surface of Aloh Fio.


~***~

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879

Last edited by Myen'Tal; 11-30-15 at 10:51 PM.
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