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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-10, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Default Age of Apostasy - Part One

This is something I was posting on the old BL forums (some of you may remember this), its basically a massive epic following the events of the Age of Apostasy. This is the part one of six. I'll be putting them up a chapter every other day, till I get to where I am currently writing.

Just to let you all know this is pretty long.

Hope you all enjoy...



THE AGE OF APOSTASY

It is the 35th millennium.

Since the Emperor’s accession to the Golden Throne, the Ecclesiarchy has ruled the Imperium in His name. With vast fleets of warships, and the might of the ruthless Frateris Templar, none could stand before them.

Or so it seemed.

For three millenia, their power and reach went unquestioned and unchallenged, until in the dying days of the 34th millennium, the combined might of the Adeptus Astartes, the Adeptus Mechanicum, and the Administratum were finally able to check power that had gone unchecked for too long.

For six hundred years the Ecclesiarchy languished, powerless on Terra, under the ever-vigilant eye of the Adminstratum. It was not until Benedin IV brought the Ecclesiarchy to the third richest planet in the Imperium, the Cardinal world of Ophelia VIII that they were able to reclaim their former glory. Once again the tithe fleets went forth into the galaxy, carrying the Emperor’s Word.

It is a time of civil unrest, of toil and strife, of fanatical zealots, of brave heroes and bloodthirsty tyrants. It is a time of cold-hearted slaughter; a time when the Imperium was brought to its knees by those who had turned their backs on the Emperor’s light.

This is the Age of Apostasy.


PROLOUGE

852 M35
Grand Palace
Ophelia VII

The bright morning sun shone on the hundreds of colossal towers that made up the Ecclesiarch’s Wing of the Grand Palace. The massive spires and minarets climbed miles into the sky, their tops hidden in the clouds.

The Great Square was already full to bursting point; over four million citizens were packed into its vast space. The statues of thousands of former Ecclesiarchs stared down at the gathered masses. Many of the pilgrims had been waiting for weeks now, they had come from all over the planet, many had come from off world, and some had even come from other sectors. Millions waited for the first speech of the new Ecclesiarch.

Three miles above the unwashed masses of Ophelia VII the man they awaited was eating his breakfast. His huge chambers were possibly the most luxurious in the Imperium, maybe even more so then the Emperors had once been. Dozens of glided servitors stood in place, many filling the room with the sweet cloying smell of incense, several reciting devotional litanies, and two were reading the Ecclesiarch’s speech to him.

There was a sharp knock at the door, the two red and gold armoured Frateris Templars pulled the massive gilded doors open. Several priests and cardinals passed through the towering arch and entered the presence of the Ecclesiarch. They immediately prostrated themselves before him. With a small grin their leader graciously bid them to stand.

The new Ecclesiarch was an unremarkable man, considering his position, he had little augmetic enhancement, other than a small data slate built into his left hand. He was clean shaven with light brown hair, cut close to his scalp. The most impressive feature was his size, he towered over the Cardinals, and was larger even then his Templar bodyguards. His red and white robes were made of the finest silks and embroidered with gold thread. Jewels and precious stones studded his vestments.

“Your holiness,” one of the Cardinals began “I trust you are finding your new quarters satisfactory?”

The Ecclesiarch looked around at his surroundings, “They are acceptable.” He said. Several of the cardinals laughed sycophantically. “Silence, I am not here to amuse you. The quarters are fine, the location is not.” He snapped.

“Holiness?” enquired one of the Priests.

“You’ll understand soon enough.” The Ecclesiarch responded. The assembled group looked confused, this was not how they had expected their first meeting to go.

A Cardinal broke the awkward silence,

“It may interest your Holiness to know that after examining the records we can confirm that at the age of forty seven, your Holiness is the youngest
Ecclesiarch in Imperial history.”

“Do you think that’s what I shall be remembered for?” he asked, the Cardinals were silent, “Do you remember the Ecclesiarch who was youngest before me? Of course not, I shall be remembered for something far greater.”

No one spoke; the only sounds were the drone of the servitors reciting, and the dull roar of the gathered millions, three miles below.

A clock chimed gently, the Cardinals jumped at the sudden sound.

“Gentlemen, it is time for my first address.” Said Greigor XI Lord of the Ecclesiarchy, Speaker of the Emperors Word, and holiest man in the Imperium. The glass doors to the balcony were opened by two servitors. Greigor moved into the sunlight, Templar bodyguards behind him, servo skulls hovering around him, and servitors before him.

The noise that greeted him was immense, four million voices raised in unison. Greigor stopped in the doorway, almost knocked back by the sheer force of the sound. Three miles up and it was deafening.

He walked to the edge of the balcony, and climbed the steps to the solid pulpit. The crowd roared, the Ecclesiarch raised his arms, the noise increased.

“CHILDERN!” he bellowed his voice amplified by the servitors and carried to the enormous bronze speaker horns all around the Great Square.

“Hush my children.” The noise of the crowd died down. “May the light of the Emperor shine upon you all, as it does upon me. By His Grace, I am Ecclesiarch the bearer of His Word.” The crowd screamed in praise.

“I am proud to be able to lead the Imperial Cult, to be closer to the Emperor then any man, but do you not wish to be as close to the Emperor as I?” The roared again, Greigor didn’t know if they were agreeing or even answering; he didn’t care.

“For three hundred years this great and loyal Cardinal World has been the home of the Ecclesiarchy. Ophelia VII has served us well, but it is time for change. Too long has this palace and the men of the Ecclesiarchy been separated from the Emperor, too long have we lived in darkness... Well no longer, my first act as Ecclesiarch will be to return us to the divine light of the Emperor... I will pilgrimage, and the Ecclesiarchy will accompany me... I will return to Terra!”

The crowd went mad, the noise reached the level of pain. In the Great Square glass shattered, and thousands were rendered deaf.

“THE EMPEROR PROTECTS!” Bellowed Greigor, “THE EMPEROR PORTECTS!”

The Ecclesiarch left the pulpit, and walked back into his chambers. He was shaking with excitement, he could only hear the roar of the crowd. His Cardinals looked at him expectantly. He seemed to be in a daze, his eyes looking past them.

“You heard what needs to be done.” He said whispered hoarsely. “Do it.”
The Cardinals began to protest, but Greigor didn’t hear them, all could hear was the praise of the crowd, and all he could see where the golden spires of Terra, and the beauty of the mighty Imperial Palace.

All shall be well now he thought The Ecclesiarchy is going home.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-10, 03:15 PM
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This looks pretty interesting, I don't actually know a hell of a lot about the Age of Apostasy except for little bits and pieces. Looking forward to following this.

There are only a couple of things I will CC:

Speech, I am assuming English UK is your first language, if not I apologise.

Full stops are only used immediately before closing speech-marks if the utterance is at the end of a paragraph. Otherwise it is typically either a comma, a question mark or an exclamation mark.

I will use two examples to illustrate my point:

Quote:
“It may interest your Holiness to know that after examining the records we can confirm that at the age of forty seven, your Holiness is the youngest Ecclesiarch in Imperial history.”
This speech is grammatically correct. The full stop is used because in this case the utterance is a stand alone paragraph, it would be the same if there were some form of non-spoken text before the utterance.

Quote:
The Ecclesiarch looked around at his surroundings, “They are acceptable.He said. Several of the cardinals laughed sycophantically. “Silence, I am not here to amuse you. The quarters are fine, the location is not.He snapped.
The full stops marked in red should be replaced with commas and therefore both "He"'s should use lower case h. The yellow on "He snapped." This adjectival phrase used to describe the speech and the speaker is unnecessary, unless you wish to make the second utterance into a new paragraph. However it would be easier and more standard to simply remove "He snapped." and have the second full stop remain to close the paragraph.

Other than that there is a single spelling error...

Quote:
“I am proud to be able to lead the Imperial Cult, to be closer to the Emperor then any man, but do you not wish to be as close to the Emperor as I?” The roared again, Greigor didn’t know if they were agreeing or even answering; he didn’t care.
They.

Anyway I really like the idea and I will be following it.

Last edited by Nikolai; 04-16-10 at 03:17 PM. Reason: Everyone makes mistakes. ;)
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-10, 03:47 PM
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I remember reading this! One of the stories I was actually set upon reading all the way through, have some rep! on a side note, the "new" Black Library Forums are here; http://z6.invisionfree.com/bljunkies/index.php?act=idx if you do not know

Nyctophobia- Fear of the Dark Angel.

"No one ever spoke about of those two absent brothers. Their separate tragedies had seemed like aberrations. Had they, in fact, been warnings that no one had heeded?"

'Killing a man is like fucking, boy, only instead of giving life you take it. You experience the ecstasy of penetration as your warhead enters the enemy's belly and the shaft follows. You see the whites of his eyes roll inside the sockets of his helmet. You feel his knees give way beneath him and the weight of his faltering flesh draw down the point of your spear. Are you picturing this?'
'Yes, lord.'
'Is your dick hard yet?'
'No, lord.'
''What? You've got your spear in a man's guts and your dog isn't stiff? What are you, a woman?'
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-16-10, 03:55 PM
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loved it loved it loved it!! More please!!!!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-10, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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Though I said I'd post once every two days, the sheer number of Chapters I have to get up means I'm going to be posting once a day. So heres the Chapter One Part One.


Part One
Chaos, Damnation and Death

865 M35 – 958 M36



I
869 M35
Thermion
Flavia III



The chapel lay in the bottom of a valley alongside the river Therm, the valley floor was covered in forests. At the other end of the valley was the small village of Thermion, many of the houses were at the end of the valley bordering the large ocra fields. Every day the village’s fifteen large families would attend mass and pray to the Emperor.
Father Malachi was happy here, he had been born and raised in the hellish urban sprawl of Flavia IV, it was incredible the peaceful lives these people led when compared to the short brutal and painful lives of those on his world. He had chosen a career in the church mostly due to his low chance of survival in the gang culture of the cities. He was too small and weak to last in such an environment, a wasting disease in his youth had left his body fragile and his bones weak. At thirty nine he already looked like a man in his eighties. So for the last sixteen years he had been tending to the spiritual needs of his parish in this quiet and secluded corner of the Imperium.
However the message that the battered old servitor was reciting to him threatened to change all that. The message had come from the Ecclesiarch on Terra commanding that planetary tithes must be raised once again.
The people here were poor and the what little money they had left after buying ocra crops, food, and paying their taxes was often spent on farming goods, or donated to those less fortunate then themselves.
A sixty percent rise. Malachi thought they can’t afford that, and I’m the one that has to take it from them.
Malachi sighed, there was little he could do about it, and even if he had the ability to it would take years for the request to reach anyone of importance. Suddenly the servitor began to beep that it was time for mass. Malachi lifted himself out of his old wooden chair, his joints creaking in protest, and made his way over to the churches bell pull.
Gradually the gentle peals of the bell began to ring around the valley, and the citizens began to make their way towards the chapel.

The Johansson family were the first to arrive, a young couple with twin baby daughters. Malachi greeted them at the entrance, they chattered briefly before the family went to their pew. Next Diminar Trask and his teenage son Mtan entered, Diminar’s wife had died last year during a storm. They went their pew. Gradually the whole of the village trooped in. Malachi had a word with each of them. He got on well with these simple folk, they were so much quieter and more polite then those he grew up with.
Malachi moved to the front of the church and stood at his lectern,
“We’ll start with hymn fourteen, Emperor deliver us from the tempest.” Organ music began to grind out of the servitors vox unit as the congregation began to sing the familiar words.
As the hymn came to a close Malachi went back to his lectern and opened his prayer book, and began to recite the mass.
Twenty minutes later the congregation finished singing the closing hymn Death is our sweet deliverance.
“Before you return to your homes I have an announcement to make.” Began Malachi “I am afraid to say that his Holiness Ecclesiarch Benedin VIII has decided that it is necessary for tithes to be raised once again.”
There was a groan of dismay from the gathered villagers.
“In two weeks time I will be collecting the current tithe... with a rise of sixty percent.”
“We can’t afford that!” protested Diminar “The current tithe is bad enough.”
“My children I understand your frustration, but there is nothing I can do about it. I am afraid that in two weeks I will need the money.”
Several more families voiced their opinions on the matter, and Malachi only gave the same response. Finally the congregation began to file out; Malachi could not make eye contact with any of them.


Mtagard, Flavia III’s capital was not like the majestic cities of Imperial worlds, it lacked any mighty spires, or triumphal arches. It was instead comprised mostly of two or three story, grey, prefab buildings, which housed the many thousands of adepts necessary to run a planet. The only exception was the Ecclesiarchy Cathedral, a massive building of gleaming black metal, with all the usual gothic towers, and gargoyles. The Governors palace was a modest stone building, set in pleasant country grounds, some way outside the city. It had been the seat of Flavian government since before the coming of the Imperium and was believed to be one of the oldest buildings in the system.
Governor Monroe looked at the document in front of him, then back at his cabinet ministers,
“Sixty percent?” he said “Can we afford that?” he asked Gaston Ibanez his minister of finance.
“Not even close, we’d have to get rid of the PDF, and probably shut down most of the state run hospitals.”
“So what do we do?” asked General Modine “We can’t demobilise the PDF, and we can’t just not pay... can we?”
“It does seem to be our only option.” Said the Governor “It takes years for anything to be processed by the Administratum, they probably won’t even notice we’re not paying.”
“It’s the fourth raise in the last six years, how much longer can this go on for?” asked the General
“The Ecclesiarchy can’t stay this way forever, it’s in chaos.” Said Ibanez “Ever since Greigor moved back to Terra it’s been nothing but trouble. We’ve had three Ecclesiarchs in four years.”
“That’s the trouble” said the Governor “One starts a huge project, a massive cathedral or a monument or whatever then he dies, so the next one has to finish it and then go one better.”
“So do we pay or not?” asked the General “Clearly we can’t afford it, but this planets crawling with priests, they’d soon tell their masters we weren’t paying.”
“We can’t pay.” Decided the Governor “But we still need away to deal with the priests, not to mention the Templars that guard the Cathedrals.”
“We could kill them?” suggested Modine.
“No.” Said the Minister of the Interior “That would quite quickly get back to Terra, and that would certainly not help the situation. We just need to keep them quiet till all this sorts itself out.”
“Prison.” Said Ibanez, “We round them all up, and just keep them away from any means of contacting their masters on Terra.”
“That can’t be simple,” said the Governor “We’d have to find them all, and their Templars are bound to put up a fight.”
“My PDF can deal with the obvious places, the Cathedral and garrison here and in Mtakador, and I imagine that the population will have more than a few words to say about this.” Said Modine.
“So when do we take them?” asked the Minister of the Interior
“The tithes due to go to Terra three weeks, I expect that the people will pay the first time, we act after that.” Said the Governor.


Malachi smoothed down his old red and white robes, and tried to flatten his hair, in an attempt to look presentable. It was two weeks since his announcement at mass, and the mood of the village had not been good since then. Both the Hanidin family and Diminar Trask and stopped attending mass, whenever Malachi tried to speak with them he was turned away at their doors. He was now finding that the rest of the village shared their view of the Ecclesiarchy, even if they did continue to attend mass. He had been to three of the villages small stone and thatch cottages so far, and twice had the door slammed on his face. The Johansson family had protested that they simply couldn’t pay, even if they wanted to.
Malachi approached the door of Diminar Trask’s home. One of the larger in the village, the Trask family had once been wealthy, before the tithes began to chip away at their wealth. After the death of his wife Diminar had given up trying to take care of his home, now large sections of the thatch were rotten or collapsing. Malachi took a deep breath the rapped sharply on the rough wooden door. There was no answer, Malachi knocked again louder this time. From inside the house came the sound of cursing, followed by the crash of a heavy object hitting the stone floor, accompanied by the smash of glass breaking. Suddenly the doors shutter was wrenched open, to revel a pair of angry bloodshot eyes.
“What do you want priest?” barked Diminar
“Ahh... Mr Trask I am here to collect the tithe. It amounts to...” Malachi checked his data-slate “Three thousand six hundred Imperial credits.”
There was a pause a Diminar processed this information,
“Get off my property, you blood sucking scum!” he growled. Malachi was taken aback, he had been treated rudely today, but he expected that. Trask was being outright hostile.
“Mr Trask I really must insist that you pay the necessary amount.” Malachi stammered nervously. Diminar’s eyes moved away from the shutter, Malachi heard the sound of a bottle opening, followed by the noise of Diminar drinking greedily.
“Mr Trask are you... Drunk?” asked Malachi nervously. The answer became clear when the barrel of a laspistol was pushed through the open shutter.
“I ain’t paying that money, now get out of here before something unfortunate happens.” Malachi took a step backwards in shock,
“Mr Trask... Am I to believe that you are threatening a member of the Holy Ecclesiarchy with a weapon?”
“I’ll do more than threaten.” Trask growled “No get out of here!” he roared, putting a shot into the ground between Malachi’s legs. The priest yelped and scampered away as fast as his weak body could carry him.
Malachi stopped in the small village square, he caught his breath and tired to regain his composure. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. After having lived amongst these people for sixteen years he would have counted them as his friends, to see a hard working friendly man like Diminar Trask reduced to that made him worry. If good man like him were acting like that, Malachi hated to think what would be happening in the urban jungles of Flavia IV.
Suddenly movement in the corner of the square caught his eye. Assuming it was Diminar he dived behind the small statue of Saint Fibulas in an attempt to hide.
“Father?” a voice called out “Father?” It wasn’t Diminar Malachi could tell that much. He poked his head around the side of the statue, and was surprised to see Mtan Trask.
Oh Emperor he’s here to finish what his father started.
“Ahh Mtan, I was just on my way back to the chapel, there’s really no need to do whatever your father told you...” Malachi babbled nervously.
“No father,” Mtan said “You’ve got it wrong, I’m here to apologise for my father’s behaviour, and to offer my assistance in collecting the tithe.” Malachi nodded his head not really listening. The enormity of recent events had only just hit home. A man he considered a friend had threatened to kill him.
Throne he thought I’m not safe here, and I certainly can’t try and collect the tithe alone. I need help.
“Mtan.” Malachi said grabbing the young man’s shoulders “I’m not safe here; the actions of your father prove that. I need help, and I need it fast.” He pulled a sheet of parchment and a quill out of his satchel and quickly scribbled a message on it. Mtan took sheet the priest forced at him.
“Take this to the Ecclesiarchy Convent in Mtakador. It requests the assistance of the bishop. If he decides to send Frateris Templars then return with them. Bring them directly to the chapel. Do not let the villagers see them. Do you understand?”
“Yes father.” Said Mtan nodding.
“Very well.” Said Malachi, he reached into his robes and took out several coins, he passed them to Mtan “That should be enough to see you to Mtakador. Now go.”
Mtan ran out of the village square, and Malachi began to make his way nervously back to the chapel.


The inside of the chapel was dark. Malachi was hunched in a corner with the alter blanket wrapped round him. It was three days since Mtan had left for Mtakador, Malachi hadn’t seen anyone since then. The villagers had stopped coming to mass.
Suddenly there was a sharp knock on the door. Malachi’s hand tightened around the wooden chair leg he was holding. He nodded to the servitor which lurched to the door and opened it slowly.
Standing outside was Mtan, he was filthy and looked as if he had been running, but that wasn’t what Malachi cared about, as behind the boy stood four figures, clad in red and black armour. Three carried autoguns and the fourth held a chainsword and a bolt pistol.
“Emperor be praised.” Sighed Malachi as he got to his feet. The Templar with the chainsword nodded to Malachi,
“Sergeant Frazen,” he introduced himself “We hear that the villagers refuse to pay the tithe?”
Malachi nodded,
“Yes, they won’t even attend mass any more. One of them threatened me with a weapon.”
“Very well father, you will accompany us to the villages meeting point. We’ll gather everyone there and see if they won’t pay then.”
“We must take the boy,” Malachi said indicating Mtan “The villagers may be hostile towards him.”
The Templars closed around the two civilians and began to march into the village.

As they passed the first of cottages Sergeant Frazen activated his vox horn,
“CITZENS OF THE IMPERIUM” he boomed “BY ORDER OF THE FRATERIS TEMPLAR AND THE MOST HOLY ECCLESIARCHY, YOU SHALL GATHER IN THE VILLAGE SQUARE AND PAY YOUR TITHE.” The villages poked their heads out of doors and windows to see what was happening. Drake Hanidin slammed his door after seeing what was outside. Sergeant Frazen pointed his chainsword at the building.
“YOU PEOPLE REPORT AS ORDERED... THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE.” Nothing happened. The Sergeant nodded towards the cottage, one of his men pulled a sliver orb out of his webbing, he fiddled with it briefly, and then hurled it onto the thatch. There was bright flash, and the cottage began to burn. Soon smoke was pouring out of the house. Drake ran out a child in each arm, his wife followed, leading their eldest daughter. They looked at their burning home, then at the towering Templars.
“YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. DO NOT DISOBEY, DO NOT RUN, DO NOT HIDE, REPORT TO THE SQUARE AT ONCE.”
By the time Malachi, Mtan and the Templars reached the village square all of the people had gathered, waiting to see what was going to happen. They all looked hostile, even the children were scowling at the priest and his guards. Mtan was greeted by shouts of abuse, he cowered behind the Templars.
“Citizens!” began Malachi, his thin reedy voice barely heard in commotion “I implored you to pay your tithe, I was abused and threatened. You forced my hand in this.” There was an angry murmur. The Templars closed around Malachi.
“FORM A LINE,” the Sergeant boomed “YOU WILL PAY YOUR TITHE, WHICH YOU OWE AS A DEBT TO THE EMPEROR!”
“The Ecclesiarchy doesn’t speak for the Emperor anymore!” Someone shouted in the crowed
“WHO SPOKE?” Growled Frazen “WHO DARES TO DENOUNCE THE ECCLESIARCHY?” Diminar Trask stepped forward.
“I do.” He said firmly. Frazen clicked off his vox horn.
“Father” he said to Malachi “Is this the man who threatened you?” Malachi nodded. Frazen reactivated his vox horn, and drew his bolt pistol.
“YOU THREATENED A HOLY MAN OF THE ECCLESIARCHY WITH A WEAPON.” He thumbed back the pistols hammer “YOU WILL PAY THE PRICE.” The bolt pistol cracked. The round smashed into Diminar’s face, spraying blood everywhere, his neck cracked as his head shot backward. Then the round detonated. Diminar’s head burst, showering the crowed with pulped brain matter, blood and scraps of bone.
As his body fell to the ground an old laspistol slid out from under his shirt. The Templars looked at it then back to the crowed. Suddenly Drake Hanidin dived for, two autoguns fired off a burst, Drakes body twitched under the sustained fire. A bottle flew out of the crowd trailing smoke. It smashed against one of the Templars wreathing him in flames.
“OPEN FIRE!” Bellowed Frazen as the crowed surged forward, “FATHER RUN!” Malachi grabbed Mtan and turned to leave. He saw Frazen driving his whirring chainsword into Isa Johansson’s belly tearing her open.
Malachi lead Mtan out of the square, they both ran down the empty streets towards the chapel. Then a rock crashed down behind them, followed by more. Malachi turned to see several of the older children pursuing them. A rock smashed into the priest’s leg, knocking him to the ground.
“Father!” yelled Mtan trying to lift the priest,
“Run Mtan, get to Mtakador, tell them what happened.” Mtan paused, looking between the priest and the pursuing mob. Then he jumped up and sprinted down the street. Malachi pulled himself to his feet.
“Children.” He shouted “I am a Priest of the Emperor, if you harm me your soul is forfeit.” He was still shouting when they knocked him to the ground, he only stopped when they cracked his head open, spilling his brain onto the dirt.

Sergeant Frazen came too in a daze. He opened his eyes slowly. His right eyelid was glued shut from the crusted blood. What he saw wasn’t good. He was about two feet off the ground standing on top of a pile of logs and thatch. When he tried to move he found he was strapped to a wooden pole thrust into the ground. Around him the surviving villagers were wearing bits of Templar armour, some held weapons. Some held flaming torches.
“Release me at once, and you may die swiftly!” he commanded “I am a soldier of the Ecclesiarchy, as were my men, you cannot even begin to consider the punishment this village will suffer.”
They ignored him and pushed the torches into the thatch below him. The Sergeant struggled with the ropes and tried to get free, but it was no use. The flames spread, their heat was beginning to scorch his legs now. He looked down to see his skin begin to blister.
“Emperor deliver me!” He began “Let Your light shine done upon me, and Your Grace guide me to Your side...” He screamed as his flesh began to burn and contract, his skin tore as it blistered and shrunk. He screamed again as the meat of his legs began to fall off and hiss in the fire. At last his hair ignited and his face began to burn. Frazen threw back his head and tried to scream, the fire filled his mouth and lungs. It was only as his eyes burst from the heat that he slipped into unconsciousness and died.
The villagers watched until the fire had died down to embers. Then they burned down the chapel. Smoke filled the once pleasant Therm Valley.


The massive battleship hung alone in orbit around Flavia III. It measured over five miles from stern to bow, and was serviced by over ninety thousand crew. Its huge towers and spires hide massive deadly cannons cable of reducing a rival ship to nothing or levelling a planet from orbit. The name Greigor XI was written in massive gold letters on its red hull.
On its bridge Templar Captain Gatakar began the preparations for his mission.
“Target?”
“Flavia III” an Ensign replied “Agri world forty million citizens.”
“Cause?”
“Refusal to pay tithe and murder of Ecclesiarchal personal.”
The Captain tapped his fingers absent mindedly,
“How long ago was this?” he asked
“Three weeks since the tithe was refused.”
The Captain sighed, life in the Templar navy was very repetitive, in the last six weeks he had obliterated four planets for similar reasons. He was sure that he would do the work of the Ecclesiarch on many more yet.
“Let’s have a change.” He announced “Ready the virus bombs.” The ensign nodded nervously,
“Aye sir. I will need you to enter the deployment code.” The Captain did so.

Three hours later the ship left orbit. Leaving a barren lifeless rock, that had once been a lush verdant agri-world.
“Ensign?” asked the Captain “How many worlds relied on that planets food production?”
“Seventeen sir. Twelve in the system. Five in the sub-sector.”
“Do they have the equipment to produce their own food?”
“Unlikely sir.”
“Oh.” Said the Captain “Never mind.”
The massive Frateris Templar ship jumped into the warp to its next destination.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-10, 09:23 AM
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interesting so far Dusty.... :-) little spelling and grammer but thats already been mentioned... great second last line from the captain :-P

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Rambling since ...... hmmm now you see I cant remember but when i was a little ripper.......

Honour & Vengence: (finally has the forgotten finishing bit)https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...ad.php?t=28272

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-10, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Cheers Sniper, heres chapter 2


II
891 M35
Verevya District
Sanctus Lys [Shrine World]



Franz watched grimly as Karl landed another punch on Bishop Harmon’s jaw. The man cried out in pain, his ruined face already a mask of blood. Next to him, Dieter grunted, though whether in empathy or satisfaction, he didn’t know. Frankly, he didn’t care.
“Enough,” he said. Karl drew up straight, wringing the knuckles of his right hand in the palm of his left, and then deftly caught the laspistol Franz tossed. He pressed it into the side of the bishop’s head, grinning as the old man thrashed and screamed; but the ropes held him tight.
“Pathetic,” Franz spat, and nodded to Karl. The man turned his head away from the bishop and pulled the trigger. The single shot echoed dully in the confined space of the basement.
“Alright,” Franz muttered, “finish up.”
Dieter moved forward, drawing a scalpel, and Karl lit a small blow torch. Then they began the grim task of mutilating the corpse’s face.
“Why do we do this?” asked Dieter resignedly, as he dug the scalpel into the bishop’s right eye.
“Because we want the Cardinal to think we’re heartless, bloodthirsty murderers,” replied Franz, not looking up from his chrono.
“So why don’t we do it before we kill them?” Dieter asked again, moving onto Harmon’s cheek.
“Because we aren’t heartless or bloodthirsty,” answered Karl, putting down his blowtorch to draw a pair of pliers and set to work on the corpse’s teeth.
“But we are murderers,” pressed Dieter.
“Pretty much,” said Franz. They both moved away so he could see the result.
“That’s fine,” said Franz, nodding. “Dieter?”
Dieter nodded, and drew a hefty knife with a serrated back blade and started hacking and stabbing at the corpse’s neck. After several minutes’ work the head came away with a sickening crunch of snapping bone and tearing flesh. Karl took the head and dropped it in a black box marked with the winged skull of the Ecclesiarchy, with an X of the bishop’s blood smeared over it.
“Konrad?” said Franz looking around the room. One of the shadows in the corner slid towards the group. It crept up behind Franz and whispered something.
“Throne!” exclaimed Franz in shock. “Don’t do that.”
Konrad grinned, and stepped into the light.
“Best to stay in practice,” he smirked.
“Well good, I’ve got more practice for you,” said Franz, as Karl passed Konrad the box. “Outside the Cardinal’s private chambers. I want it given to him while he has his breakfast, clear?”
Konrad nodded, took the box and disappeared up the basement’s stairs.
“I’m glad he’s on our side,” said Karl.
No one disagreed.


Master-Steward Dolan walked through the massive golden doors, trailed by two servants; the doors swung open automatically as he approached. He strode into the Cardinal’s dinning chamber. As usual he was momentarily in awe of the massive room, the arched ceiling more than a mile overhead, the walls decorated with colossal frescos of the Emperor and past Ecclesiarchs. However it was the gigantic hjavawood table that dominated the space that caught his eye, over two thousand chairs on each side, all empty at this hour. At the table’s end, sat in a huge high backed platinum chair decorated with diamonds, and covered in carved jade, was his Holiness Cardinal Bordelon. Who was currently eating his breakfast, two servitors stood on each side of him, both with multiple arms. They held, trays laden with food, decanters of the finest wine and spirits, and data slates with the mornings news displayed on them.
Dolan walked to the Cardinals side and coughed loudly try to be heard over the choir of thousands of young children in the near corner of the room.
“What is it Dolan?” Asked Bordelon testily, “I was enjoying my breakfast.”
“Holiness I am afraid that we received bad news concerning the whereabouts of your close friend Bishop Harmon.”
“What’s that fool done how? I do not wish to have to go all the effort of having a family burnt for heresy merely to cover up another of his sordid affairs.”
“Unfortunately it’s rather worse than that...” The Master Steward clicked his fingers and the two servants behind him moved forward and gently put red clothe covered objet on the table. The Cardinal eyed it suspiciously, before he whipped the red cover off. Revealing a black box, with a defaced Ecclesiarchy symbol on it; the symbol of the resistance.
“Is it safe?” he asked nervously
“It has been searched, and run through numerous scanners and it contains no explosive, or gas.
Bordelon motioned to the servants with a wave of his hand. They slowly undid the clasps and removed the lid. The Cardinal craned his neck to see inside, he recoiled with a look of horror and disgust.
Dolan reached into the box, and withdrew the mutilated head of Bishop Harmon.
“We thought it best you saw this yourself Holiness.” Said Dolan as he saw the Cardinals shocked expression.
“Who left it?” Bordelon gasped
“The resistance, other than that, we don’t know. It was at the entrance to your personal chambers, there was a guard on the door all night, as well as constant surveillance from four skull drones.”
“This is, I believe, the fourth such incident in the last seven weeks?”
“That is correct Holiness, Bishops Jason, Pius and now Harmon, and of course Templar Marshal Constantine.”
The Cardinal was silent as he considered his next move. Dolan slowly put the head down on his plate.
“Triple the guards on my quarters increase the surveillance of all districts, have them all burnt, publicly.” He said waving a hand at the choir, which continued to sing. Dolan turned to go, “Oh and Dolan send Templar Marshal Kozak to me immediately.”


The room was dark, six figures sat around a small wooden table, on which rested a single candle.
“So, we go tomorrow.” Said Franz.
“Correct.” Replied Wolfgang, sat opposite him “I’ve had my team priming the Templar barracks for the last eight weeks, the charges are to go off at twenty one hundred.”
“Right, I have the ground plan for the Palace and the Cardinal’s chambers.” Added Manfred, the resistance’s head of intelligence, dropping a sheaf of papers onto the table “These were not easy to get; I had to break into the Palace just to find out where there kept.”
Konrad picked them up off the table and began to leaf through them.
“My teams ready, I’ve got twenty men, all of whom are more than capable. As soon as the barracks go, we’ll be moving.”
“Right the drop-off point is back here,” said Franz “If you mange to reach the target, get him back to us ASAP. Clear?” Konrad nodded. “Herman, is your team ready to get him out of here and back to the safe house?”
“I’ve got three speeders, all prepped for a long ride, and enough men to deal with any pursuit.” Answered Herman
“I wouldn’t worry about that,” said Otto “If your being pursued it means something’s gone very wrong, and we’re probably all dead anyway.”
“Thank you Otto,” said Franz “Is the ship ready for take-off if we need it?”
“I’ve got the crew on standby, the second you give the word I’ll have it ready to go.”
“Where from?” asked Franz, Otto chuckled.
“You know I won’t tell you that Franz. What if you get captured, I don’t think any of us could last long under the blades of Ecclesiarchy. If you need to get off world make then the call, then and only then will I tell you where to go.”
Franz grinned,
“Ok, get to your positions. Konrad, after the barracks blow, you need to be fast. That’ll take most of the Templars out, but some won’t be in there at the time, and you’ll still have the Palace guard to deal with.”
Konrad nodded.
“We’ll manage.” He said grimly.


The explosion tore through the Templar barracks. The massive eight story structure sprawled for over two miles in all directions. It housed the Verevya Districts entire Templar strength, over forty thousand men, as well as the Cardinal’s personal guards. But most importantly it was the headquarters for all Templar actions in the sector.
The colossal explosion ripped the whole building to pieces, the massive munitions stores detonating added to the force of the blast. Buildings all around were knocked down by the sheer power of the explosion.
Then as the fires still raged around the ruins and the District was recovering from the shock of the attack, the resistance struck. The small group of highly trained commandos began the process of infiltrating the Cardinal’s Palace, with only one aim in mind.



Konrad pumped the rest of his clip down the corridor; he was reward with a thump as a round hit flesh, followed by a scream. He ducked back behind the marble statue of Greigor I, threw his spent magazine onto the growing pile on the floor and slammed his last clip home.
“Very last one!” he bellowed to Lukas, who was huddled behind a fallen chair.
“Take these!” he shouted back, rummaging in Karl’s webbing and pulling out a pair of magazines bound with tape. Konrad caught it neatly and blasted another two rounds into the defenders
A few palace guards, they said, a few. There must be a whole unit of Templars up there.
“HERETICS!” Boomed an officer “YOU ARE TRAITORS TO THE EMPEROR AND THE ECCLESIARCH, AND WILL BURN IN HOLY FLAME!”
“Dieter!” Yelled Lukas “Kill that idiot.” Dieter rolled out from behind a plinth, and blazed away with his two bolt pistols, before ducking under a table on the opposite side of the corridor. The officers furious bellowing was abruptly cut off.
Konrad looked around him, three left from twenty. They had got into the Palace then had to fight running battles with heavily armed guardsmen; they had finally gone to ground in the corridor outside the Cardinal’s chambers, when a massive rush of Frateris Templars forced them to halt.
We were betrayed thought Konrad there’s no way this many Templars were in the Palace by coincidence, someone tipped them off.
“Konrad!” screamed Lukas “We have to fall back!” a grenade went off on next to Konrad’s cover,
“How the hell do we do that?!” he bellowed coughing in the smoke.
“You go I’ll hold them!” Dieter yelled.
“No!” replied Konrad “We don’t leave a man behind.”
“We don’t have much choice here Konrad, you need to find out who betrayed us, and warn the rest of the cell.” Konrad looked over at Lukas, who was blasting away the rest of his ammo.
“Ok!” yelled Konrad “Dieter gives some cover, Lukas let’s go!” The two of them broke cover, as Dieter began to open up on automatic into the mass of Templars.
“THEIR RUNNING” One of them boomed “AFTER THEM!” The Templars surged forward, Konrad and Lukas dashed out of the corridor, and away from the fire-fight. Dieter emptied his ammo into the charging red and black horde. A round clipped his shoulder knocking him down, then another cracked into his kneecap. He hooked his fingers into all his grenade pins and pulled.
Konrad and Lukas both paused briefly when they heard the blast then continued running.


Cardinal Bordelon walked down the corridor, the corpses of several Templars still littered the floor, many fine statues and tapestries had been destroyed. The explosion which ended the attack had destroyed a huge portrait of Bordelon himself. He scowled at the damage,
“Dolan!” he snapped, to the steward as he picked his way around the bodies, “I shall retire momentarily, when I wake in the morning I expect this area to be restored to its usual condition. Do I make myself clear?”
“Its original condition?” gasped Dolan “But of course Holiness.”
“Thank you Dolan, I would hate to have you burnt.” Said the Cardinal absent mindedly
“Well... thank you Holiness.” The Master Steward turned to leave,
“I include my portrait in that.” Added the Cardinal.
Marshal Kozak walked towards Bordelon from the other end of the corridor. His red and gold armour was still scarred and dented, and he had yet to holster his autopistol.
“Holin...”
“Spare the honorific’s and get to the point.” Snapped the Cardinal “Tell me how they managed to escape?!” He shrieked, going red in the face, and spraying spittle onto the Marshals face.
“Holiness I assure you, only a small number of heretics have evaded my forces, two or three at most.”
“What about the three speeders, seen leaving the Verevya District during the attack, at some speed?” The Marshal turned white, then opened and closed his mouth,
“Holiness... I... that is...”
“Don’t bother with excuses; you and your family will need them when questioned by my finest flesh smiths.” The two Templars flanking Kozak grabbed him.
“Holiness, please, I... I beg you spare my family.”
“How noble of you. Very well you may conclude this ugly business. You will be killed at the end of course. If you’re successful though I shall spare your family.” The Marshal fell to his knees and kissed the Cardinals offered hand.
“Is our man still with the heretics?” asked the Cardinal,
“Yes Holiness Serpent remains in position.”


Thirty miles away, in the back of the lead speeder, Otto clicked off his receiver.
“Thank the Emperor those idiots didn’t think to check Karl’s body for his radio.” said Lukas “And that Herman got to us in time. What happened?”
“They got everywhere at once, most the cells were just waiting for the news, I’ve got word from one or two survivors. Wolfgang held them off for almost an hour at the plants before they got him. Most got slaughtered.”
“So we were betrayed.” Said Konrad disbelieving
“We can get to the bottom of this later,” Otto said firmly “Right now we need to get the emergency safe-house.”
Lukas nodded in agreement, Konrad slide his magazine from the handle of his autopistol.
“One round left.” He said grimly “One left from that fight. I’m keeping it for Serpent, whoever the hell he is.” Otto nodded in agreement. The three speeders shot off into the sunrise to the safe point.

Franz’s hand smashed down on the table,
“How dare you accuse me of this!” he bellowed,
“No one else knew the schematics of the mission!” Otto bellowed back even louder. He stood on opposite side of the table to Franz. Konrad, Lukas, Herman and the twenty or so survivors stood around him.
“You all planned it!” Franz screamed with a wave of his hand.
“We only planned our own areas, only you knew the whole plan before last night!”
“Anyone could have got hold of the plans, anyone!” countered Franz “What other evidence do you have?!”
Konrad leant across the table and smashed his fist into Franz’s jaw, within seconds Lukas and Rudi, had him pinned to the table.
“This.” Konrad said, ripping the struggling mans shirt open.
“You scum!” Herman boomed as he saw the black coiled serpent tattooed on Franz’s chest
“It proves nothing.” Argued Franz still struggling “Konrad for the Emperor’s sake you surely don’t believe this?” he asked with fear in his voice.
“I lost good men in that fight, and good friends. Do you now that Dieter died to save us?”
“Konrad... please.” Franz cried desperately “You know I wouldn’t betray you.”
“It’s no good Franz” snarled Otto, “Konrad you do it.” He ordered. Konrad raised his pistol to Franz’s head.
“No, Throne! It isn’t me... you’ve got the wrong man.” He protested as Konrad wrenched back the weapons cocking handle.
“One round left from the fight.” He said “One for the Serpent!”
“It isn’t me!” Bellowed Franz “It is...” The shot sounded loud in the small room. Lukas and Rudi released Franz, his body slide of the table and thumped on the stone floor.
Otto nodded to Konrad.
“Well done.” He said “Now back to the speeders. Its time you found out where the ship is kept.”


After a two hour flight the three speeders landed in a run-down and mostly abandoned area of the neighbouring Orlanda District. Otto leapt out of the lead speeder and rushed to a doorway, he pulled the door open and gestured for the others to follow him.
The quickly made their through a network of corridors, all in half darkness, with pipes running along them and condensation dripping from the ceilings. They reached a dead end.
“Otto, where the hell are we?” asked Lukas. Otto replied by pulling a panel off the wall, to show a small keypad. He tapped seven digits into it, and the wall next to the rebels began to swing up.
Light poured into the dark corridor. Facing the rebels was a large landing bay, with a decent sized long range craft on its supports ready for take-off. But it was not that the rebels were staring at.
Dozens of Frateris Templars had their weapons ready and pointed at the rebels. Konrad turned quickly to see more Templars coming out the corridor behind them. Trapped.
“YOU ARE HERETICS,” boomed an officer’s vox horn “YOU WILL PAY THE PRICE!” The Templars readied their weapons.
“Wait! Wait!” cried a thin, reedy voice from the Templars. A small bishop pushed to the front of the crowd “Serpent?” he said
“I’m here.” Said a voice behind Konrad. The rebles all tunred to see Otto pushing his way out of their ranks and walk to the Bishops side.
“You!” Exclaimed Lukas “All along it was you.”
“What about Franz’s tattoo?” Asked Herman. Otto shrugged,
“It was just a tattoo.” He said grinning,
“Why?” growled Konrad “Why did you turn?”
“I didn’t, I’ve been working for them all along.” Konrad looked at the faces of the rebels, maybe half held rifles, some had pistols, and a few had nothing.
“I had a round for you.” He said “I killed Franz on your orders.” He pulled out his autopistol.
“Empty.” Sneered Otto, Konrad smiled. He sprung at Otto before anyone had a chance to react; he smashed the pistol into the traitors head, caving his skull in with a single blow. Otto slumped to the ground, the pistol still lodged in his skull. Seconds later around smacked into Konrad’s head flinging him backwards.
Then the docking bay burst into life, fire from both sides cut down the small Bishop. Herman flicked his weapon to full auto and managed to fire over twenty rounds before a volley of Templar fire tore him to pieces.
One by one the rebels were brought down, the overwhelming fire of the Templars devastating their ranks.

Lukas lay on the cold, hard floor of the docking bay. His breathing was slow and difficult, he had a red, glistening wound in this stomach. Two Templars cast their shadow’s over him. One of them pressed a foot onto his wound, he closed his eyes against the pain.
“Take him to the Marshal.” He heard one of them say.


Cardinal Bordelon watched as the rebel twitched and trashed on the end of the rope.
“Your sure that’s the last of them?” he asked Templar Marshal Decessio
“Yes Holiness.” Replied the Marshal, who look uncomfortable in his new uniform.
“And Kozak?”
“Scheduled to hang as soon as the rebel is done.”
“Good. Before you hang him, make sure he knows I had his family burnt yesterday.” Decessio nodded,
“Yes Holiness.” He said nervously.
The Cardinal watched Kozak screaming and struggling on the platform before he was hung. Then he summoned Dolan, and enjoyed his lunch.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-19-10, 08:15 PM
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Glad I've found you Dusty :-) . I really liked your work when you published it on Black Library forum and i was a bit worried I'd never get the opportunity to read it again.

The Emperor protects.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-20-10, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Cheers Keen4e, glad to see people from BL are still posting stuff. Hope you enjoy the next chapters.

III
901 M35
District 12
Jagga (Ork World)



“Come on,” whispered Captain Stratton Archer. Very slowly the six strong team of snipers inched over the edge of the sand dune. As they reached the ridge they saw the lights and cooking fires of the massive ork settlement laid out below them.
Captain Archer pointed two fingers at Danny Hendrick, and Josia Thaba, the darkness, combined with their cam-cream and ghillie suits made them almost invisible.
“You two, go left,” he said pointing further down the dune. “Mik, you’re with me. Jess, Kim, go right.” The two female snipers nodded and began to crawl on their bellies to a good spot.
Captain Archer watched his team disperse, and then slowly settled down into a comfy position. He pulled his ghillie clock round him, to even the sharpest eyed ork he was now just another patch of sand. Mik did the same.
“Alright Mik,” whispered Archer, as he nestled his long las into his shoulder, “find me some targets.”

On the far right of the dune Jess very slowly panned her binoculars across the ork positions. Suddenly she stopped and a wicked grin spread across her cam-cream smeared face,
“got one.” Kim took her eye away from the long las’ scope.
“Where?” she whispered.
“One o ‘clock, from us. Range eight hundred...” Kim fixed her eye back to the scope.
“Got him, big fellow, red armour, banner pole?”
“That’s the one.” Said Jess
“Right,” said Kim slowing her breathing and letting the rifle’s sight fall naturally onto the massive orks head.
“Wind?” She asked
“Minimal.”
“Ok bro,” Kim said to the ork, “this one’s from the Emperor.” She breathed out, and then gently squeezed the trigger.

Right down the other end of the ridge, Danny lifted his head as he heard the shot,
“was that the girl’s or the boss?” he asked Josia.
“Who cares bro, we ain’t goin’ see no kills here.” He was right. This far left there was very little of the ork camp in site. Only the odd grot running to and fro on some errand, nothing worth revealing their position for.
“I hate this place,” announced Danny, “it’s damn too hot in the day, too damn cold at night.”
“Will you stop complaining and find me something to kill.”
“Eight weeks we’ve been here bro, how much longer this gonna take, eh?”
“I don’t know Danny, I’m not the CO. There’s still half a frigging planet left to conquer, its gonna take a while.”
“I know bro, it’s just...” Suddenly the two of them were bathed in light. They both dropped their heads to the sand and stayed still,
“They spotted us?” asked Danny, on his vox bead. There was a low drone as the ork deffkopta passed overhead.
“I think it’s just a patrol bro.” The light moved off and the two snipers raised their heads, just in time to see the muzzle flashes from an artillery battery.
“Emperor!” exclaimed Danny “Run bro!” The two of them jumped up, looking like two running pillars of sand. A series of huge explosions behind them lit up the night, and hurled tons of sand into the air.
“Call for the extract!” bellowed Josia “Get the frigging chimera here now!” Danny tuned in his vox as they ran,
“Zero alpha, zero alpha, this is Charlie two alpha, we need to extract. Coordinates follow.” As he gave the extract point a second round of explosions echoed on the dune, this time further away from the original spot. The deffkopta’s were still circling round the camp trying to find the snipers, fortunately they didn’t go near the other two teams.
“Lucky escape, eh bro?” said Josia, Danny nodded in agreement.


Captain Archer swore viciously into his vox bead, as he saw his targets head explode in a shower of blood and gore. Mik flinched at the language,
“cheer up sir, we’ll get the next one.”
“Those damn girls! They always take the best kills. That was a boss, I’m the damned Captain, I should have those.” He blew the head off a grot in anger.
“Their pretty good, eh sir?”
“Their damn good, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get those kills.” It was then they heard the deffkopta and saw the artillery landing on Josia and Danny’s position.
“Idiots,” sighed the Captain. “Where are those guns Mik?”
“Eleven o ‘clock, on us.” Archer found the artillery park and picked out a large Ork commanding a battery of mortars.
“Wait for it,” he whispered “wait for it.” as the grots dropped a shell down one of the tubes, the Captain fired his rifle. The lasbolt blew the ork’s head clean off. The body fell forward onto the gun barrel, knocking it over as it fired. The shell crashed into the batteries stock of munitions, the whole area suddenly lit up, and the noise was deafening even to the snipers.
“I think that’s enough chaos for one night eh?” Mik nodded. The two of them slipped back over the dunes ridge, and began to run towards the extract point.


The whole team sat in the back of the chimera. As they were still in enemy territory they were still running silent, and the cabin was lit by dull green lights. Mik lit an iho stick.
“I can’t believe you idiots get spotted,” he said to Danny, and Josia
“They didn’t spot us bro,” protested Danny.
“The what where they shooting at, eh?” asked Jess, stealing Mik’s iho stick.
“I don’t know,” said Josia “target practice.”
“Target practice!” said Kim “You frigging idiots were the targets.”
“Alright, shut up,” said the Captain “You are idiots,” he said the Danny and Josia “but you did us a favour by making them reveal their artillery.”
“Exactly!” said Danny clicking his fingers, “we did it on purpose.” The six of them burst out laughing.


The heat in the tent was stifling, the eighteen officers, were all sitting on camp chairs, or perched on the edge of the map table. Colonel Vanclure took off his bush hat and wiped the seat out of his eyes.
“So as things stand, we’ve reached a stalemate?” he asked.
“Afraid so boss,” said Major Henrik pointing at the map. “We’ve got over six hundred kilometres of front to patrol and only six thousand troops to do it with.”
“We can hold them, no problem,” said Major Mamello, “but we can’t try and take any ground.”
“Frigging orks, frigging Jagga, frigging Guard!” swore the Colonel. He took deep breath, “how are the other regiments doing?”
“Not so good boss,” said Captain Nombecko, regimental intelligence officer “the Kentoki have been beaten back in the third District, and those frigging Narmans can’t hold onto anything their assault teams capture.”
“So what you’re saying is that in the last six weeks we’ve made no gains at all.”
“We had speed and surprise on our side after we landed,” said Captain Elko. “It took the green bastards two weeks to get their act together; then they hit back.”
“Alright enough of this, it’s depressing us all,” said Colonel Vanclure. “Captain Archer how did your recce go?”
“Not too bad sir, no casualties, thank the throne. One boss, confirmed kill; sniper Kim Lodewijk. An artillery park destroyed, leading to considerable chaos and loss of life in the enemy camp.”
“Well done bro,” said Captain Elko.
“Yes thank you Captain, make sure to thank your squad from me, eh.”
“I will Colonel, I’m sure they’ll appreciate that.”
“Good. I’ve got another job for you Stratton, there’s rumours of an ork Gargant somewhere in the mountains, something like that could easily tip the war in their favour.” Archer nodded, and began to speak, when a young Lieutenant burst into the tent.
“What do want boy?” asked the Colonel.
“Sir, there’s an Ecclesiarchy delegation here,” the young man said breathlessly.
“Frigging priests,” one of the officers muttered.
“Watch your tongue Captain,” warned Vanclure “Alright boy, we’ll come out to meet them.”
The Colonel led his officers out of the tent, into the painfully bright sunshine.


The group of officers abruptly stopped as they saw what was outside the tent. Three huge landing craft were sitting on the camps landing pads, each one jet black with the winged skull of the Ecclesiarchy picked out in red on the nose. Standing on front of them was an entire Frateris Templar regiment, over eight hundred black and red troopers stood to attention in company groups.
“What the hell’s this?!” asked Colonel Vanclure “who’s in charge here?”
The ranks of Templars parted to allow a group of priest and other Ecclesiarchy personal to the Colonel. Their leader was dressed in Bishops robes; he had a massive grey bread, and a mane of hair the same colour. The priests and confessors around him carried a mixture of holy icons, artefacts and weapons, servo skulls and servitors surrounded them and the sickly-sweet smell of incense hung in the air around.
“Are you our reinforcements?” asked Major Mamello soundly slightly puzzled. The bishop ignored him and turned straight to Vanclure.
“Colonel I am Bishop Jasone.” One of the priests handed the Bishop a scroll which he unrolled, “The Ecclesiarchy formally accuses you and the entire of the 101st Dolumar Rangers of heresy most foul.”
There as a stunned silence, the Rangers looked more confused than afraid at the accusation.
“Are you frigging joking!” said Captain Elko.
“Be quite Captain!” snapped Vanclure, “Perhaps we can discuss this in private?” he said to the bishop.
“Very well.”
“Major Mamello, Major Hendrick can you both accompany us to the HQ tent, the rest of you return to your units.”
The Colonel led his two majors back into the tent followed by the bishop and his retinue. The Templars remained unmoving outside.

“Ok, so what exactly is my regiment being accused of?” Vanclure asked.
“You are accused of heresy mos...” began Bishop Jasone.
“Yes I know that part, why are we accused?” The Bishop snapped his fingers and a priest handed him another scroll.
“By order of his Holiness Ecclesiarch Alexis XXI,” he read “all units of the Imperial Guard, Adeptus Arbites and Imperial Navy, must have a serving Ecclesiarchy contingent of no less than thirty.”
“Go on,”
“This Decree was issued four standard years ago, when His Holiness Alexis XXI was pronounced Ecclesiarch. Upon recent examination of your regiment it became clear that you do not have a single priest, confessor, or bishop serving with you. That is why you are accused.”
“Do even know what this regiments role is?” Hendrick asked, the Bishop glared at him for his interruption.
“I have not been given that information.” He said icily.
“We’re a scout/sniper unit,” said Mamello “that means recon, it means stealth.”
“What is the point of this?” asked the Bishop.
“The point is,” replied Vanclure “that we mainly work by infiltrating enemy positions, and we have to be quiet to do that. Priests are not quiet. I have been a soldier of the Imperium for thirty years, I have been a devote follower of the Emperor for fifty six years, and I have kept my regiment alive time and time again by putting soldiering over prayer!” The priests looked shocked at this.
“That is why you are accused. Nothing can be put before the Emperor, nothing.” One of the tent flaps was pushed aside and a Templar strode in.
“This is Templar Colonel Isaac Angevin,” said the Bishop “he is your senior you for the duration of this investigation.” Vanclure scowled at the red and black armoured warrior.
“I know about the Decree, alright,” said Vanclure “I spoke to Lord General Militant Patraeus myself on the issue, he assu...”
“You are clearly not aware that the General was charged of heresy six days ago and burnt at the stake.”
“That doesn’t change anything,” said Vanclure quickly getting over the news of his Commanders death. “This regiment cannot operate with an Ecclesiarchy unit attached to it.”
“Your units combat efficiency, which given the state of this campaign is clearly lacking, is not my concern. The spiritual welfare of your men and officers is.”
“Fine. Begin your investigations, but right now I have an attack to plan.”
“I’m afraid not Colonel,” said the Bishop, as more Templars entered the tent. “Corruption often comes from above, you and your command staff will be interrogated at once.” The tent flaps were swung closed.


Captain Archer ignored the salute of the two Templar Guards as he walked into Intelligence tent. They were posted all over the base at present to ensure that none of the Rangers tried to interfere with the Ecclesiarchy’s ‘processing’ of suspects.
Captain Nombecko looked up from the maps covering his table. His eyes were red from lack of sleep and stubble covered his jaw, an iho stick hung limply from his mouth.
“Alright bro.” He said to Archer “Close the flap.” Archer unhooked the flaps bindings and let it fall over the tents entrance.
“You sent for me?” asked Archer. Nombecko gestured towards two camp chairs next to the table, Archer sat down. Nombecko passed him a glass of amesac and an iho stick.
“Remember what the boss said about the Gargant?” he asked, Archer nodded. “Well since these Templar scum have arrived the chain of command has fallen apart.”
“I know that bro, things are looking bad. I haven’t taken my team out on a hunt in days now.” Nombecko nodded, and took a drag on his iho stick.
“So I’m the only man in the regiment not under interrogation that has access to the necessary information.” Archer nodded,
“Go on,”
“Right, it seems that this frigging Gargant is real, it’s defiantly there. District 14, 227 West. I need you to get rid of it.”
There was a brief pause, Archer stubbed his iho stick out in an ash tray and knocked back his amesac.
“A Gargant?”
“That’s right, and there’ll be guards, lots of them, but you’re the unit’s best bro.”
“Ha, I know it,” said Archer smirking.
“As there’s no one who can officially give you the orders, this missions going to stay quiet. I don’t want anyone outside your unit to know about it.” Said Nombecko “Also the Templars don’t like the idea of anyone leaving the base so we have to make sure they don’t find out.”
“They won’t let us conduct missions?”
“Not a thing, the forces already off base aren’t being allowed back on and we aren’t allowed out.”
“So not only do I have to get past ork lines and cripple a Gargant, but I also have to get past hundreds of Templar Guards.”
“I’m afraid so bro.”
“When do I go?”
“Right now. Put a team together, brief them and go.”


Mik, Danny, Jess, and Kim all nodded in agreement as they finished listening to the Captain’s brief. They were all too well aware as too the threat of the Templars after Josia had been dragged off for interrogation. In his absence Chad Tarik would take over as Danny’s shooter.
“Alright guys, you’ve got twenty minutes to get all our kit, get cammed-up and get back here.” Said Captain Archer “And remember, don’t let anyone else know about this, if someone asks tell them you’ve get a kit inspection, or your having gear replaced, but try and stay quiet.”
The team nodded and set off to prepare their gear.
By midnight the whole of the six strong unit was assembled in the bases far West corner. Captain Archer noted the professional application of cam-cream, and the excellent use of ghillie suits. Had he not known they were there, his team would have been invisible; even to him.
“Ok,” he whispered “let’s do this.”


The Templar smashed his armoured fist into Nombecko’s face again. The intelligence officer grunted in pain, through his cracked lips and shattered teeth.
“Speak! Damn you!” roared the Confessor. Nombecko spat a stream of blood and bits of tooth at the two Templars and the Confessor, spraying them all. More fists crashed into his face, he had stopped trying to avoid the blows, and struggling against the ropes tying him to the chair. Now all he was doing was keeping his mouth firmly shut.
“We know that Captain Archer and five others left the camp.” Said the Confessor “We know they did this on your order, where are they?!”
“Even if I wanted to tell you I couldn’t,” said Nombecko wearily, “Stratton Archer is the best sniper commander in the this unit, if he doesn’t want to be found you won’t be able to find him.”
Keep them talking, he thought keep them watching my face. His fingers were almost free of the ropes and he would soon have his hands free. He kept his gaze away from the Templars autogun propped on the table less than twenty centimetres from him.
“He left five days ago, his target was a Gargant, located in District 14, 227 West.” The Confessor said smugly “We have received reports that the Gargant has been crippled, but we have had no word from the Captain or any of his unit.”
Nombecko was silent, looking at the ground, the Confessor nodded once and the Templars once again set into his face.
“Where is he?!” roared the Confessor, Nombecko was silent for a second. Then he raised his head,
“Alright,” he said “I’ll tell you.” The two Templars stood back to allow the Confessor space to get close to Nombecko.
“So where is he?” Nombecko grinned,
“He’s coming back, and he’ll kill all of you!” The Captain pulled his hands free and grabbed the autogun. With his feet still tied to chair he couldn’t go anywhere, but he still managed to empty the weapons clip into the priest and the two Templars. The three bodies slumped to the ground trailing blood.
Nombecko quickly began to work on freeing his feet, suddenly the tent flap opened and two more Templars rushed in, Nombecko swung up the autogun and pulled the trigger. A dry click came from the weapons barrel.
“Frigging thing...” he said as the two Templars emptied their weapons into him.


The Ecclesiarchy forced the whole base to watch, as the Colonel and his two Majors were burned at the stake, along with several of the senior Captains. The Templars formed a ring of red armour around the pyres as the smoke climbed into the sky. Not a single one of the Rangers burned that day made a sound. The Priests and Confessors called to them, saying that if they admitted to being heretics, if they begged for forgiveness then they would be freed. The gathered Rangers watched with anger, in two weeks their entire senior staff had been decimated, many NCO’s had also been executed less publicly, as had several soldiers. The mood of the men was rebellious, and the Templars were constantly on alert. It was only as the ashes from the pyres cooled and the smoke began to blow away that the regiment was dispersed and ordered to return to their duties. By then however there was no one left on the base to give them orders.


Captain Archer and the four remaining members of his team cautiously edged towards the top of the dune. After seven days away from bases they were all tired and haggard. Having to leave a badly wounded Danny behind to as the Ork guards chased after them was still upsetting the squad. When the chimera failed to meet them at their pick-up point two days ago they had began to worry about the situation at the camp. An hour ago as they made their way back they began to hear gunfire, since then they had quickened their pace, and now they were finally back they were beginning to slowly put together an idea as to what was happening in the base.
The rows of tents and pre-fab buildings were lit up by the full moon and also by the roaring flames that engulfed the southern section of the camp. The rattle of autoguns and the snap-hiss of lasrifles was clear from their position. All over the camp figures were engaged in close quarter fire-fights, running battles, or stand up shoot outs. As they watched a petrol bomb arced up into the air, trailing flames.
“What the frig is going on?” Asked Kim in shock.
“Are the orks attacking?” said Chad.
“No,” said Jess as she took her eye away from her binoculars, “we’re fighting the Templars.” They all jumped as Captain Archer’s rifle cracked,
“Who was that boss?” asked Mik
“A Priest who was about to take off the RSM’s head.”
“Emperors teeth,” breathed Jess “look over at the parade square.” As one all scopes and binoculars moved to where Jess was indicating. Chad was sick loudly. Over two hundred Rangers, officers, and NCO’s were in the square, each impaled on a long iron pole, blood and faeces was crusted at the bottom of each pole. As the team watched they saw several of the bodies twitching and moving.
“Oh Emperor...” said Kim, as Chad was sick again.
“What do we do boss?” asked Mik. Archer said nothing, his face gave away nothing but his eyes showed the rage he felt.
“Boss?” prompted Kim
“Jess, how many Rangers can you see over the rank of Corporeal down there?” he asked.
“The RSM, two or three CSM’s no officers anywhere.”
“That’s what I thought,” Archer said “We need to get down there, the Rangers will fight to the death but right now what they need is leadership, someone to coordinate the fight.”
The snipers all readied their weapons.
“Let’s do this.” Said Jess. Captain Archer nodded, and the team began to run towards the camp.


“Hold the scum!” bellowed the RSM as he swung his lasrifle by the barrel, crashing the butt into the face of a Templar. The Rangers around him fought like demons, most were out of ammo, and were using bayonets, rifle butts or their bare heads. After being forced to watch so many of the Rangers brutally executed on the parade square the regiment had cracked. The RSM himself had fired the first shot, putting a round between the eyes of Templar Colonel Angevin, since then the fighting had been none stop. The Rangers lacked numbers, ammunition, and most importantly coordination. The RSM and the few remaining Sergeants had tried to gather men around them to regain control, but the situation had rapidly got out of hand and now small groups of Rangers were fighting separate, desperate battles all over the camp.
“SURRENDER NOW AND YOU SHALL DIE SWIFTLY!” bellowed a Templar officer, on the far side of the vehicle park. The Rangers roared in anger and refusal.
“Here they come again!” shouted a soldier. The red armoured Templars poured around the Chimeras and Salamanders.
“Get at ‘em lads!” screamed the RSM. The two masses of men charged each other, sprinting between the big transports. Petrol bombs, rocks, and grenades flew from both sides crashing down in the midst of the soldiers. Weapons raised, both sides smashed together, within seconds dozens of men on each side lay dead.
The vox amplifiers of the Templar officers boomed over the carnage, the Priests and Confessors howled prayers and devotional chants as they fought. The Rangers screamed in defiance and rage. The RSM swung his weapon into a Templars groin, then smashed the butt into his head as he fell, snatching up a fallen autogun he sprayed it’s ammunition into the Templars.
A massive Confessor jabbed his war hammer at the RSM, who blocked it deftly with his stolen weapon, the two exchanged blows while the battle raged around them. The RSM slammed his fist into the Confessors nose with a satisfying crunch, knocking him to the ground, the man’s hammer swung in an arc across the ground hitting the RSM in the ankle knocking him down. The two of them grappled together of the sandy earth, punching, kicking and biting. The Confessor brought a knee up into the RSM’s groin. He jumped up and raised his war hammer over his head,
“HERETIC, I CAST THEE OUT!” he boomed as he brought the war hammer down onto the RSM’s head, cracking his skull open. When the Rangers saw their RSM’s death they let out a cry of dismay. Sensing the advantage the Templars pressed forward with a roar of victory.
Suddenly the Confessors head exploded in a shower of gore.
“Rangers!” Captain Archer screamed “Straight at ‘em!” Before the headless corpse had even reached the floor the Rangers surged towards the Templars, butchering dozen’s who stood in shock.

After a further hour of close combat slaughter, the Templars were pushed out of the vehicle park and the Rangers took back the munitions shed, allowing them to re-arm. Captain Archer gathered the highest ranking survivors around him. Four sergeants, twelve corporals, and one terrified supplies Lieutenant.
“This it?” he asked “This is it, from over five hundred officers and one thousand NCO’s this is it?”
“I’m afraid so sir,” said one of the sergeants “Apart from the companies with the Narmans on the front line, were all that’s left.”
“And how many men have we got?”
“Just over two hundred,” said the young Lieutenant “and many of them are wounded and have been fighting none stop for two days...”
An explosion behind them followed by a brief exchange of gunfire reminded them that the fighting was still going on.
“Ok, we’ll form a perimeter here, we’ve got the supplies and munitions stores with us, so we should be able to hold for some time.”
“Then what sir?” asked a Corporal. Captain Archer opened his mouth to answer when several dull thuds sounded from outside the base.
“What the frig was that?!” asked someone.
“Do they have artillery?” asked Archer, the NCO’s shook their heads, “Then it must be...” they all worked it out at once, and those that didn’t soon recognised the high pitched squeal of Ork shells, and the coughing roar of their rockets.
“Find some cover!” shouted Archer, the Rangers around him dived under pre-fab buildings or merely dropped to the ground, hands wrapped around their heads.
Then the shells landed. Explosions tore into the southern side of the base, the orks firing into the flames. The noise was deafening, the heat unbearable, and the flames lit up the night as if it was day.
After what felt like hours the bombardment ceased.
“Up!” shouted Archer “Get up!” He could hear the same command coming from the Templar lines. Then he heard the familiar roar of the orks, in the darkness it was only possible to see the path of their advance due to their muzzle flashes. The unstoppable green tide burst right through the camp’s low sandbagged wall, the Templars roared and charged the Orks, and the Rangers did the same. The three armies crashed together.


When the sun rose the next day the camp was still caught up in the heat of battle, the fires had spread from the southern side, until they covered most areas, smoke filled the air making it impossible for combatants to tell friend from foe. The fires had cut groups off from each other, so now small desperate battles were being fought, with fires raging round the combat.
Captain Archer had seen little of the orks since the first charge. His unit of around sixty men had been pushed out of the battle by a group of ork dreadnoughts and heavy armoured warriors, forcing them back away from the rest of the Rangers. They had ended up trapped in the Templar controlled section of the camp, and for several hours had been fighting off near constant attacks. Only Jess was left from the sniper team, Mik and been decapitated by an ork dreadnought, Chad had dived on a grenade that landed next to Archer while he was unconscious, and Kim had been shot in the stomach in the last Templar attack of the night.
Jess’s rifle crack off three shots in rapid succession, three Templars dropped dead, as they charged. The female sniper calmly changed clips. The rest of the Rangers blazed away unconcerned about ammunition conservation. Archer stood by an open window and threw grenades one by ones from a wooden box containing over forty.
They had turned the munitions shed into a fortress, the Templar’s had been beaten back time and time again, and their dead lay thick outside the walls. The Rangers positions meant that the Templars had been unable to use, rockets, grenades, or flamers. So all their attacks had to be straight charges.
“There can’t be many left now, eh boss?” asked Jess.
“I frigging hope not.” Archer replied firing an autopistol on full auto into the charging crowd of Templars.
Suddenly a commotion on the left flank caught his attention. The Templars were turning to fight something also coming out of the flames. A huge scorched and blackened ork dreadnought burst out of the wall of fire and smashed into the panicking Templars. It spun around wildly, its huge buzz saw blades tearing off limbs and opening up the stomachs of the Templars. From behind it came more orks.
“Emperors teeth!” yelled Jess, “they must have broken the Templar lines.”
“Target the Orks!” ordered Archer “Kill the orks.” The dreadnought made short work of the Templars and began to lurch across the open ground towards the Rangers.
“Bring that frigging thing down!” boomed Archer. A barrage of rockets whooshed out of the ammunition shed and crashed into the charging dreadnought.
The orks responded in kind. The first two missiles shot over the top of the ammunition shed. Then a stick bomb smashed through a window and landed between Captain Archer and Jess.
“Oh fu...” breathed Archer.
The world turned white. The camp was incinerated.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-20-10, 01:12 PM
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Great book hope to keep reading!
Have you asked anyone in BL or GW what they think about it and if they could maybe see about producing your short story for a BL book?



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