The Warsmith brooded, not responding to the librarian's taunts. He was tempted to threaten further, to retaliate, but decided that neither course of action was necessary. He had options available to him that would make the librarian weep and beg him for death, even as iron-willed as he was. Yes, Pelegon could himself offer nothing worse than a painful death, but that didn't mean that he couldn't hand the librarian, trussed and gagged, to someone who would be able to do far worse things to him. Such as their Father.
Corporal punishment would be pointless. Pelegon only struck to kill, and what Coeus had done did certainly not warrant such retribution. Aside from this infraction being minor at best, the librarian was quite simply the best at what he did, and Pelegon did not have the time to personally ensure the ideological purity of the XIXth himself in the weeks that it would take for a new epistolary to be appointed, with no clear successor to Coeus. That he had his own means of finding corruption was something that the librarian was clearly ignorant of, and the Warsmith would see it kept that way for the time being. He knew that worship of any of the Dark Gods was a cancer of the mind more than it was the body, for they did not force entry; they had to be invited. However corrupt and blighted a body might appear, the mind would be far worse.
"I have allowed my own frustrations to cloud my judgement" the Warsmith grated, the realization coming forth naturally and easily from his lips. As with many in the IVth legion, Pelegon was quick to anger, but once roused, his fury easily abated. It was not without difficulty, and exercising his indomitable willpower over himself, that the Warsmith swallowed his words.
"Know that I do not doubt your abilities, Coeus, but think that you might be less driven to assist the 2nd Captain in maintaining his company's purity were he of Olympian blood. Your counsel is, I know, never given without due thought, but I would like you to consider this"
The Warsmith watched the recruits continuing to train, his eyes seeking one out in particular. It had started as a low hum in his head, but in his mind's eye Pelegon could see the hum visually represented as an aura. One of the recruits was a psyker, though he didn't know it. Likely he was not from an Imperial world, otherwise he would have been dragged off on one of the Black Ships and fed to the Emperor they so revered.
One of the advantages of an eidetic memory, given to all astartes, was the ability to perfectly picture any scene from one's past. In his mind, Pelegon saw the recruits shooting at targets, as they had all been doing, and the aura settled on the head of one. Lights betrayed the presence of other entities, not of the material universe, flitting near him, drawn to the psyker. Unfortunately, Pelegon could not assess his psychic strength, as Coeus had a similar glow, though were this ability able to assess strength he knew that the light from Coeus would be strong enough to blind him - though this was an ability he would hone with time. The hum allowed him to establish the corrupt from the pure. The last time he had spoken to their Father, the dark aura around him had almost entirely obscured the daemon prince from Pelegon's vision.
Pelegon used his armour's targeter to mark out the neophyte in question, the circle appearing in Coeus' HUD. He was dark skinned and broad-shouldered, one of the older neophytes, with harsh features suggesting that he had not had an easy life even before his induction into the IVth legion.
The Warsmith couldn't help but be pleased at Coeus' inability to contain his surprise, but continued to talk as if the matter had been nothing more than a distraction. Which, of course, it hadn't been. Pelegon liked to keep his cards close to his chest, and with that had given away more than was strictly necessary, but he didn't want to keep the Epistolary in the dark.
"Consider this; the XIXth are currently at a fighting strength of 2474 astartes, neophytes and recruits notwithstanding. Of those, we have 1312 with original IVth legion gene-seed. When I assumed command, the XIXth was at a fighting strength of 2000, all with IVth legion gene-seed. Our apothecarion was not, in the past, lacking in ability or drive; the losses have been a result of nonrecoverable deaths in combat and, some very few, from corruption of gene-seed due to Warp influence - an unavoidable side-effect of the world we now call home. We stand now stronger than we ever did during the Crusade. You view those without our gene-seed as corruption, I view them as much a part of our legion as we are. Without the gene-seed of other legions, the XIXth could not wage war as we currently do"
Leaning over the parapet, the Warsmith held out a hand experimentally and testing his newly-assembled targeter, pulling in co-ordinates and seeing how quickly he could compile multiple sets of co-ordinates for simultaneous barrages, ordering and re-ordering the firing sequences. Of course, none of the firing orders were sent to any units, merely deleted from his cogitator's memory banks as soon as they were completed. Though not as illustrious as that of Coeus and Iapetus, Pelegon's own Olympian bloodline was above question. Thus, perhaps Coeus would listen to him. If not, and the Warsmith had no reason to believe that matters would change, then affairs would continue as they always had. Were they to rid themselves of this petty bickering then the XIXth could be so much more.
"I know that your brother feels the same way regarding blood purity, and I order that you do not allow your dislike to affect your professional relationship with the Second Captain, among others. Iapetus can draw the remaining Olympians around himself like some sort of cabal, if he wishes, but drifting in the cold void they only distance themselves further from what we were meant to do" the giant dropped down to one knee, knocking the ceramite bricks beneath him with a knuckle, before rising to his feet as a servo skull drifted toward him, bearing news from the Master of the Forge. Pelegon listened to its message before dismissing it, pleased with Adriun's progress. Such was the rate at which work could be done without obstructions.
"To re-forge the earth and rock of enemy worlds with our hands, and to drown the Imperium in both their blood and our own. While the siege of the Wolf's Claw plays out, you are to conduct a full scan of the entire XIXth Grand Company, and report any anomalous findings directly to me. If anyone questions your judgement, they are to be viewed as obstructing the investigation and will be castigated appropriately. I will not have these petty arguments tear my Company asunder, and if you find any whisperings of malcontent, whether from the Olympian or adopted factions, I expect to be informed"
Tyranus allowed himself to grin, Kunzhardt couldn't get rid of him fast enough. "Very well if you wish to discuss a strategem for our assault we can continue it aboard the Ferra Perpetua." There was a flash of danger in his eyes as he continued, his voice barely a whisper, "I have it on reliable sources that a man under your command by the name of Rorke was taken into the Apothecarion, he bore wounds that could have been marks of Chaos. From what I was told he was taken to be examined under the warp tainted vision of Coeus the Seer."
"You speak so readily of my past and my gene stock, but your man Rorke is not of Olympian birth either and has likely been put to death at the hands of the Seer." Tyranus held back the waves of rage, he cared not that a man under the command of another was dead, but a straw in a hay bail. "I am not of Noble Olympian blood, I am of low born Nostramon, I have the blood of a mongrel bat running through my veins, but because of that I am overly familiar with the preambles to a coup. Be wary, for when The Seer investigates your Company and likely the Grand Company as a whole he will make sure he finds "taint" where he wishes to see it."
Tyranus then bowed his head in respect once again, "Perhaps we shall speak again aboard the Ferra Perpetua, if not, Glory to you in our campaign Captain Kunzhardt." The brooding tank in Cataphractii plate then made his leave, quickly enveloped and surrounded by the seven Honor Guard around him as they proceeded to board their Crusader before making their way back to the flagship of First Company.
Iapetus gently placed his finger tips on the side of Lugerev's sword, pressing it downward. The Apothecary allowed its downward movement, and dropped it low to his side, standing straight again though he was still on edge.
The rest of the conversation became a blur to him. He stood there, motionless, scouring as many of his memories as possible, trying to figure out if he had missed some important detail concerning the First Legion.
The Seer had come back rather quickly. Lugerev tried to hold respect for the Librarian out of his like of Iapetus, but it was difficult to manage at times. Coeus's presence, like it did for so many, caused his face to contort, and his muscles to itch. He was a Warp dabbler, and there was always something to be wary about behind that. They could snap, and at any moment become the host of a powerful Neverborn.
When Pelegon made his leave with Coeus, the door shut leaving him alone with this Lucian, and Iapetus.
He was the first to break the silence this time.
'Iapetus, explain to me who this is.' he said, indicating Lucian with a wave of his hand, frustrated.
'Have I been in the Apothecarium so long that I missed the First Legion deciding to turn their backs on the Imperium, and join our cause? What is this madness? How has he come to be a Captain? Are we not Iron Warriors anymore, but some amalgamation of traitors?'
Lugerev turned away, holding his head in his unarmed hand, breathing heavy, grimacing, growling.
He spoke to to the air now, 'What is going on? What is happening? Is there something wrong with me?"
'Iron within, Iron without, Iron within, iron without, Iron within...'
Iapetus listened to Lucian, his fingers curling into massive, crushing fists. The way he spoke, with that flair of arrogance, angered the Shipwright. When the Dark Angel stepped forwards, chest-to-chest with the Olympian, Iapetus almost laughed. He, although unarmed, dwarfed the Angel - Terminator Armour afforded not only strength and shields, but also powerful, unrivaled strength. Iapetus was confident that even if Lucian drew his twin-blades, he would twist the little Angel's head off.
When Pelegon spoke, on the other hand, Iapetus felt only irritation. By right, this task should have fallen to him - He lorded over the Grand Company's fleet, he had proven himself time and time again, and he would not, could not, serve under the Dark Angel. He was a serpent, striking from the shadows, a coward. His lip curled, his temple throbbed, as Coeus drew nearer. Iapetus and Coeus shared a bond, a split-consciousness of sorts, a faster, more reliable method of communication than the vox-system afforded.
The Warsmith and the Seer left, the doors sliding shut behind them, and left Lugerev, Iapetus and Lucian alone.
It was the Apothecary, half-mad, half-lucid, who spoke first.
Lugerev and Iapetus were long-time comrades. When Iapetus had first met him, Lugerev had been smeared in gore and ash, having fought, killed and healed on the fields of Terra. Iapetus had stood tall, his armour largely unmarked, and clasped hands with the Apothecary. Since then, there had been a bond - Though, one that was often strained, - And remained friends. Their shared lineage, that of lofty Olympia, bonded them together.
'We are Iron Warriors,' Iapetus drawled, when Lugerev was done. 'We always have been, and we always will be, brother,' He stepped closer to Lucian, looking down at the Dark Angel. 'Our Warsmith has seen fit, Lugerev, to allow the introduction of oathbreakers and castaways into our ranks. Captain Kalistarion, the Exiled Knight of Caliban, has ruined the Third Company. Alpha Legionaries, Dark Angels, more - All corrupt it.'
He bared his teeth, addressing Lucian, now.
'I am Kheledakos, worm,' He growled. 'Brethren of Cold. Whilst you slink and slide in the shadows, like some gutter-vermin, I rule the stars. If you are wise, Lucian, you will trust to me. This ship will not be taken by deception.'
Lucian watched the Seventh's captains hands curl into fists in his anger and then watched silently as the Warsmith relayed his orders before leaving with the librarian and simply watched Iapetus as he spoke to the mad Primus Medicae and then stepped back shaking his head before speaking. "Captain Iapetus, you are wrong in thinking that I do not trust you. I trust all the captains under the Warsmiths command, it is why I am with this Grand Company and not with one of the other legions. The Fourth still understand honour and loyalty especially the 19th, this mission will not work well if the two of us keep butting heads like two bull Grox so let us be civil with each other."
Lucian looked at the apocathery for a moment then looked back to the terminator armoured captain. "Let us plan this mission together as fellow Captains and Brothers-in-Arms under the Warsmith if the two of us are to work together. Between the two of us the ship will fall even quicker than the two of us acting alone if we combine our plans. For example I could lure a sizable portion of the Space Wolves off of their ship and onto the one that I have asked for where we shall ambush them while you and your men enact your plan in taking their ship. Divide and Conquer." Lucian inclines his head into a nod as he then begins to head for the door.
"Either way I shall be bringing the entire of the Third Company to command and the 'Shade Wraith' should we encounter any unexpected reinforcements. I will contact in two hours to go over the plans for taking the ship Captain Iapetus. Iron Within." As Lucian stood before the doors and as he pushed them open he turned his gaze to regard Lugerev for a few moments and then left without another word making his way to the part of the fortress where Third were currently stationed as he voxed his lieutenants and begin issuing orders to them.
Pelegon admitted that his frustrations had clouded his judgement. He was wary that I would not be so driven to purify the company of an Olympian. "You misunderstand Warsmith..." I said, and concern I had about retaliation swiftly draining as the Warsmith gave ground to my sound council. "...I would prosecute an Olympian just as thoroughly. It is just fortunate that such cases are far rarer than the cases of corruption amongst our other brethren." The last words dragged as I spoke them. I censored my language, but Pelegon would know what I meant. Pelegon expressed a trust in my abilities, which stroked my ego but ultimately changed nothing. It was good to know ones power, and that was something that me and the Warsmith shares; we needed no one to remind us of the power we wielded.
However, he also asked me to consider something. He reached out and marked the neophyte that I had spotted. What was this fresh devilry? I was not inclined to show my emotions, but I cocked my head at the Warsmith's...what did I call it? Intuition? I had not yet felt that the man was a psyker, but I also did not believe in coincidences. Perhaps it was just being in the warp for so long, he had developed some form of pseudo-sixth sense? It shed light on why his mind was guarded so heavily. What else was he capable of. If nodded in approval of the Warsmith's choice as I pondered this. My mental walls were impregnable, but that didn't mean the Warsmith hadn't tried to breach them. Maybe he stroked my defences even as I tested his. If I was wary of the Warsmith before, I had a new reason to be so. Until I could assertain what he was capable of, I would have to redouble my guard.
There was something in his hands too. He gestured and the marking appeared. Likely some technical marvel of his own devising, but I wasn't interested in that. What had before been an interesting quirk had become a new factor which I would have to consider in any plans. How had I missed it? Was this a recent development? Some quirk of spending time in the warp for so long, or was it a talent Pelegon had possessed all along and I had never realised. Warp-damn him. He shouldn’t be able to surprise me. All that registered was my surprise but behind my ever higher reaching bastions of mental fortitude I was still processing this revelation as Pelegon explained the benefits of letting these half-breeds infect our beloved Grand Company.
“My concern is not merely blood purity, but purity in the holistic sense…” My voice was serious, equal parts threat and a promise. “…if an Olympian, even Iapetus, knelt before the Dark Gods, rest assured I would be just as quick to pass judgement over them.” It was mostly true. I expected purity from the Olympians. They had to show the half-breeds what it truly meant to be “Unbroken”. However, even heretics could recant, a luxury I rarely afforded those already tainted in their flesh. The Olympians had proved faithful thus far and I never imagined I would have to make good on the words I said now to reassure Pelegon.
The Warsmith ordered a thorough investigation of not just the 2nd, but the entire Grand Company. “I will bring the full force of the Librarium to bear in this investigation, Even so, a thorough investigation of every member will take time. I hope you realise this Warsmith.” Pelegon nodded. I assumed he would rather I was certain every member of the Grand Company was utterly clear of taint than it be rushed and stones left unturned. “I will start with the 2nd Company and if any further roots of corruption emerge, I will follow them. If not, I will simply make sure each company is fully investigated.” I switched my vox channel to the 10th Company Captain, Vargus. Another half-breed. I would undo all the damage he had done in the would be Librarian in due course. “Captain Vargus, after your training session, would you send the recruit at station 16 to the Librarium.” I killed the link.
I turned my attention back to the Warsmith. “I will keep you informed of any developments in my investigation...” I held a closed fist across my primary heart. “…Iron Within.” With that, I left the outer walls of our fortress and began to work my way back to the Librarium. I could mentally apprise the members of my not-so-small cabal of the investigation, but sometimes it did good to be seen and not merely heard. In total there were 27 psykers of varying levels, excluding myslef, in the Librarium and they were spread between all the companies, although not equally. The 7th had five librarians to themselves, six when I accompanies them which was frequently. It meant I had 1 psyker for just under every 100 battle-brothers. Although none of them possessed my powers of discernment, all of them were skilled enough to spot taint at the very least. If they met resistance past that, their superiors would intervene. Failing that, I would break the unfortunate soul.
It was several minutes before I reached the Librarium, and I took the time to mentally summon all those who were not ship bound. When I got there, there was at least one psyker of some rank which was attached to each company present. I told them that they were to perform a mental sweep of each member of each company and that I would wander between companies, offering further interrogations where my subordinates had concerns and otherwise ensuring the thoroughness of the investigation. There were no questions. It was rare that we had to enact a Grand Companywide investigation, but all of us were trained in the arts of telepathy and spotting the taint of the warp in the hearts of others. I dismissed them back to their companies to begin their own personal investigations.
“Codicier Felix, Codicier Gnore and Lexicanium Harvald. You will accompany me…” I paused for dramatic effect. Everyone here was a true Iron Warrior, each carried Perturabo’s seed. Most importantly, they shared my vision for the rise of the Grand Company. There was a note of mischief in my voice. “…We are going to investigate the 2nd Company.” The three of them smiled like hungry wolves. We stalked the halls. The halls cleared before our imposing form. As we marched to the 2nd Company’s lair, I reach out to Iapetus. *Brother, when you are done shaming the Calibanite, wait for me in my chambers. We must talk about some revelations I have had.* I withdrew from my brother’s mind. I had to prepare my entrance.
As we entered the 2nd Company’s training hall, I noticed wandering members of the Tyranthikos. They had no earthly reason to be here. Unless their Nostraman captain was also here. How delightful. I reached out and found both the Gorgon and the Night Lord, their consciousness huddled together. Tyberus was unveiling a plan and Kunzhardt was dismissing it. Then Tyberus, with self-satisfied glee revealed that he knew of the taint. Now how was that. A name, just below the surface which I plucked, the Night Lord’s emotions running to high and too volatile for him to realise. Draxus. Marvelous. My mouth contorted briefly into a grin.
I smothered any such glee from my expression as I entered the room where both the captains were ‘discussing’ matters.
“…Be wary, for when The Seer investigates your Company and likely the Grand Company as a whole he will make sure he finds "taint" where he wishes to see it.” I could not have hoped for a more perfect moment to enter.
“Is that so Tyberus?” I said, my voice carrying with it the icy chill of judgement. “Best you get back to your company and make sure to remove such taint from your menials before I do.” I was tempted to smile saccharinely at the Night Lord, but I resisted the urge. “You will find several Librarians hopefully already beginning an investigation of your men. On orders of the Warsmith, you are to afford them every privilege, comply with their wishes and assist them in their investigation. In due course, I will make my way to your Tyranthikos.”
With that, my attention turned to Kunzhardt. “As for you, my friend,…” the words were almost spat with no doubt left as to the irony of the term “…I have come to investigate your Company first, since this is where the taint first showed its diseased flower. You may continue with your preparations for the coming campaign, but me and my men will move amongst you and examine each and every warrior under your command and ascertain the depth of this infection.” My entourage filled out behind me to begin the necessary work. They didn’t need Kunzhardt’s approval. They had mine, and I had the Warsmith’s. “I would like…” I began, meeting the Gorgon’s flinty glare, feeling waves of impotent animosity wash over me. “…to begin by interrogating your man Rorke’s squad-mate’s and commanding officer.” It was not a request, but I sincerely hoped that Kunzhardt tried to deny me my right. Such a move would imply harbouring taint, and the sanction for such a crime would be up to me to decide…
He was glad to have his helm on at the entrance of The Seer, "Is that so Tyberus?” Coeus spoke with a glaring smugness as he spoke his former name that made the man even more unbearable. “Best you get back to your company and make sure to remove such taint from your menials before I do,” His helm shielded the visage of the snarl that his face took on, and his response was measured and hid the boiling anger that welled up within him. "First Captain or Tyranus will do, furthermore I will not impede your investigation, but my right to be present for any such investigation will be enacted."
Tyranus could feel the icy cold of the warp touched aura of Coeus clawing at his mind, he strained to shield what he could, but he knew that he was not a psyker and his efforts were likely in vain. He exhaled and sought to rebuke The Seer any way he could, "You shall not find any taint within The First. The only weakness within The First was purged millenia ago and now are harbored within the Seventh." His reference to the Veterans who had abandonned their oaths to the First Company was hardly veiled.
With that he and his Honor Guard took their exit, Tyranus was left fuming over the encounter though. "Our plan has changed, bring us to The Keep, I shall not have The Seers minions digging their claws into our Brothers without being properly supervised." Tyranus was unsure of what he would do, to unleash his rage and strike down one of The Seventh's warp touched servants would have catastrophic results, still the very notion of being under any form of investigation stung at his honor like not other.
Captain Kalistarion...Suddenly it came back to him. The schism within the First Legion, Lucian coming to the XIXth after a joint battle that left them without transportation, and his rise to Captaincy.
The chamber doors shut once again. Lugerev straightened his spine, taking his hand away from his face and relaxing. With a deep breath he turned to face Iapetus, his eyes still and clear.
‘He’s an odd one,’ he motioned with his thumb pointing towards the doors, indicating Lucian.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone’s opinion change so quickly.’
‘First you will only hinder his success, and now things will most assuredly go smoother if the two of you combine your efforts. That is quite confusing.’
Iapetus grinned at him, looking rather amused at something. 'He hounds glory,' the Shipwright said, after a moment. 'The Dark Angel is Pelegon's favoured pet, an assassin, a spy - Creeping closer and closer to the Warsmith,' He shook his head. 'How long until Pelegon lays with a slit throat?'
‘That’s a very good point, actually. Being such a master at sabotage and born of what is still considered a loyal legion to the throne on terra, should cause our warsmith a bit more concern. I rather miss Endymion and Krotas’
'Don't we all?' Iapetus countered. 'We are a dying breed, Lugerev. On times, I regret ever fleeing Terra. We should have stood, stood and died, rather than face this long-death.'
‘Yes..stood, as stubborn and unfaltering as any of the Iron Warriors before us. Perhaps it is there we lost ourselves, then. I think it is safe to assume we were not the only ones, at least, who lost our way that day.’ Lugerev said this, with his eyes wandering over the ceiling.
Iapetus leant against the table. 'We keep the company of Dark Angels and Night Lords. Half of our brothers' hearts pump with the blood of our enemies.'
‘Pelegon justifies this mission over ten pairs of geneseed. I lost another one of Kunzhardt’s men today, due to a training accident. Geneseed is quite fragile. Most likely, all ten, if captured, wouldn’t make it into a final product fully intact and stable anyway. I suppose I am good enough...’ His tone wandered off a bit at the end.
Lugerev glided back to the table edge, where he began sliding his finger tips over the metal surface in a delicate manner, back and forth, then swirling them in circular motions.
‘Iapetus, I do not like the idea of mutts in our midst. Mongrels, hybrids, half-breeds...
He turned and cocked his head toward the 7th Captain with an all too happy smile.
‘You know this.’
'Our breed is endangered. The Iron Tenth, Ultramarines, Imperial Fists,' He ground his teeth together. 'And now Salamanders? Those which we fought against, those that bled us dry, haunt our ranks.'
Lugerev danced his fingers around some more. He gave a stern look to Iapetus.
‘Just make sure I get to that geneseed first. I don't want anyone else touching it.'
And with that, the Chief Apothecary took his leave.
Sorcery. Of all the miserable filth that tormented this fortress the abominations that haunted the librarium were by far the worst. At the head of that horror show was the prince of it all. The inbred twin that touted his own sanguine purity over the rest of the fortress. The presence of his twin at the head of another chapter only added to the disdain. Perhaps they were Alpha Legionnaires that had done such an impressive job of infiltrating the Grand Company. He'd never bore witness to proof of their descent from Perturabo. He held no special place for the Librarium and knew that there was no place for a non-Olympian with them. There was a clawing at his mind that seemed to herald the coming of one of those warp touched monsters every time they entered the room. It was different than the millions of whispers every soul within the Eye felt; the promises of power, the whispers of betrayal, hungry immortals toying with Astartes like marionettes it was like the tendrils of Slaanesh working their way through his very brain and every time he'd encountered a sorcerer Kunzhardt wanted nothing more than to blast the foul thing from the face of existence.
The presence of Coeus and his cabal were ill omens within his hangar especially considering the foul news that had barely just escaped Tyranus' lips. The captain of the second said nothing during the two's altercation, silently hoping that whatever anger he'd stirred in the 1st captain only moments ago would find an outlet in the entrails of Coeus. Alas there was enough calm left over to drag the Captain and his Tyranthikos away from the hangar leaving only a few sorcerers and a full regiment in armour and bolters, another fight waiting to happen.
"And your zeal could not have been more accelerated if a Dark God was present in the flesh of this much I'm certain, witch."
Teeth grated and fists clenched. He would revel in the opportunity to tear the entire length of tongue from Coeus' throat and to strangle him with it but again there would be no glory here. He returned the glaring knight like helmet to its place sealing his armour once more. He had shown Tyranus a consideration not normally shown in his domain. The battle training within the second was not meant to halt. It was meant to inspire the greatest glory; true training in a true battle to yield strong warriors and that meant full battle regalia. At this point he realized that his men had been idle far too long for his liking and anger swelled up within him.
"You would conduct an inquisition mere days before a battle!? Would you see XIXth blood spilt? You may have your hunt, Coeus but know I will hold you accountable for every soldier that falls because they were being given physicals instead of training. . . Squad Kon'tu Report!"
The last line was barked into the hangar as he engaged the vox casters and within scant moments five additional soldiers had scrambled from the trenches and were in a line before the Captain. Kunzhardt closed with each of them walking down the line like a lion sizing up the prey scrutinizing their stench for impurity seemingly exhaling steam from the grill of his mark III helmet in anger. He turned finally to the sorcerer's before him.
"They are yours. . .Seer but I will stand watch over your investigation."
Upon leaving his brothers at the end of the Warsmiths words, he sent a short Vox message to one of his sergeants
"Brother Dantioch. News."
He was greeted by a moment of empty silence before the reply was received as his fellow instructor likely finished berating a recruit for some small failure. " Seventy percent of the current rotation are meeting their required firerate-accuracy quotas. Recruits Oron and Elean continue to meet sub par standards on the range. However they show aptitude for their close combat drills. They have been assigned additional duties pending your confirment. Addittionally Recruit Zacherie continues to show conspicuously high results on all training regimes. Report ends. What news from the Warsmith Brother-Captain?"
He had served with brother Dantioch back when he was still a raw recruit and along with brother Kennoch of the Fifth Company they were the only two of his squad who survived the events of the Carens Grace conflict.
"We are leaving here, Inform the others to be ready."
As Vargus entered the training fields he saw the Stage Six recruits going through their firing drills. Scanning around the group for failures, he sought out his senior instructors from the group. As he advanced over towards his brothers he noticed a number of recruits not following the training they had received. "Recruits! What are you doing wrong?"
All of them paused and looked at Vargus "Erm-" The three at fault stammered.
"Dont stop firing" Vargus snapped, eyes scanning across the three recruits, pulling their names from his memory.
"Sir, we werent counting our rounds, sir." they responded in unison. Yes thought Vargus, recruits Oron and Elean, he would have to do something to ensure they learned, the hard way that this wasnt acceptable. He was surprised by the third however, Recruit Aphessius normally an above average achiever within the ranks of the tenths recruits. "Good, you recognise your failings. Dont, let this happen again." Vargus strode off to meet with his instructors leaving the recruits to wonder on what he said and likely with an elated feeling on escaping without a visible punishment. Little did they know that he had a plan for them before leaving for orbit.
As he reached the collection of his three other instructors he paused hearing his vox come alive with a message from the Seer “Captain Vargus, after your training session, would you send the recruit at station 16 to the Librarium.” He paused turning to observe the recruit at the station referenced. Activating his vox he turned back to his instructors "How many of the recruits have failed in their training this cycle?"
Dantioch was the first to answer "Thirty eight percent of the total training force have incurred some minor failing, I have compiled it into todays archive." Vargus could tell Dantioch was puzzled by the request such a thing was not nomally of immediate relavance to the captain. "What word from the Warsmith Brother-Captain?" pushed instructor Elogan his impatience for glory clearly showing. "We prepare to march brothers,but first we have one last trial for our charges. Ready the training fort." He switched his vox to the channels of the tenth "All instructors collect those who have failed on todays cycle and direct them towards the training fort, give them one hour to prepare their defenses using the armaments available to them. Then send the others to assualt it. Those that survive we will take with us to orbit when we mobilise." With his orders acknowledged he closed the vox and began to prepare for his role in the coming conflict whatever form that may take. The Seers request would have to wait, he just hoped the recruit was better at defending a fort then he was at firing a gun.
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