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post #111 of 173 (permalink) Old 08-04-14, 05:42 PM
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Further in the bowels of the Nightfall where the master armory laid one of the more feared and admonished members of the Fourth company resided for the moment. He wasn't feared in the same way that the likes of Xandrek were for his sheer power or Veptus for his ability to prolong suffering; rather he was feared for his profession that of a Legion Destroyer. A soul with the purpose of bringing horrific concoctions of lethal chemical efficiency to bare on the battlefield to render grown men into puddles of radioactive goo being an awesome notion some regard him as a disgusting soul tainted by his own work and destined to succumb to his own weaponry. For the past several weeks he had spent his time detached from his family aboard the Maiden of Sorrow in either the apothecarion or the armoury depending on the nature of the problem including his recent bionic additions. During a recent engagement he was aiding in bringing yet another rebellion to an end. The rebellion ended abruptly once their commander had been abducted in the dead of night and was executed while recorded by being slowly submerged into a vat of ungodly chemicals up to his abdominal area before being removed to reveal the bowels and entrails partially burned, eroded and now hanging out with the only audio of a soul shaking scream. The display came to an end when a sizeable portion of the brew was poured down his throat turning the scream into a gurgle as it eventually ate its way down leading to a liquid mixture of acid and liquified viscera to drip from the cavity that was his lower abdomen and back into the tub. That was played countless times to a sickening result and the city submitted easily.

However the chemicals had taken its toll on the Destroyer's body and so he had been dispatched to the Apothecarion to tend to the physical condition and ensure he wasn't going to succumb before his need had subsided. From there he was transferred to the amoury where his decaying suit of Mark III power armour could be tended to and repaired as best as possible including the radioactive scrubbing to protect those around him.

Patience was Serhiy's ally even if time wasn't however the familiar voices of the First Claw echoing through his helmet as the moved about the ship. He made no effort to join in the conversation. From what he could gather a son of Perturabo was aboard the Nightfall with them, an Olympian, an Iron Warrior and he was assigned to the First Claw of Fourth Company no less! The very idea seemed almost too fantastic to be truth but suddenly a new flicker joined his heads up display showing vitals.

Well I'll be. It's not just a prank, we're babysitting an Olympian. This will be most interesting if he will withstand our 'brotherhood'.

Serhiy knew that Night Lords were notorious for testing unknown persons to test their strength, their resolve, their willingness to survive and kill to ensure that. This would be no different; like brothers squabbling and constantly grating against one another creating diamond from coal either this foreigner would harden or crumble among the midnight clad.

He continued his little eavesdropping when something actually warranted his attention. Azrael, Champion of First Claw and without a doubt favored of the Lord of Lies wasn't so much requesting assistance as he was inviting others to revel in the bloodshed. Normally this wouldn't bother him at all except when he watched the vitals of several of Fourth Company's First Claws vital signs begin to waiver including the unknown addition named Pelegon, even Var their techmarine. There was definitely more than a simple squabble.

Taking his leave from the Armoury Serhiy seemed to float down the hall like a specter moving with a fleetness of foot rarely unmatched by humans but somewhat slow by Astartes standards. The thunderous stomping of mark 3 boots echoed through the halls with only mechanical wheezing to accompany it. That was when the sound of bolter fire carried down the halls and caught his ear, definitely not just a friendly squabble. Seventeenth Company were out to erase Fourth company's First Claw not just wound and shame them. He cursed himself for not making that mental connection sooner.

When he arrived there was a bizarre scene before him. Their own champion locked in a duel oblivious to the outside world with the champion of Seventeenth and numerous bodies on the floor all Night Lord save for the blood drenched plain armor of what was obviously the Olympian. Everyone seemed acceptable in health save for the respected techmarine Var. While he wasn't the most popular among the First Claw he was without a doubt important and having shared mechanicus implants he sympathized to some degree with the machine despite his absolute disregard for authority. The first thing was to end this frustrating incursion from the Seventeenth company and now there seemed to be only two left from the detestable company.

With nary a thought for his own wellbeing he stomped to fill the gap between his own and the two remaining with flamer in hand. He didn't give a moment for them to speak or attempt to stop him. With a deadly chemical brew mixed in with the volatile promethium a belch of laughably hot flame spewed forth from the Destroyer filling the corridor the two marines were still in with flame. They would seek to harm his brothers and he would seek to fuse them to their armor.

The dank corridor illuminated with a sickly green flame and he couldn't even see the two marines now and knew they wouldn't either as random bolter rounds zipped back in response some flailing off into the walls a couple meeting their mark and denting against his pauldron and greave. It carried for a moment longer until the bolter rounds ceased and when Serhiy disengaged the chem-flamer and the bulk of the fire ceased he looked down realizing that two marines with once beautiful armor covered with terrifying symbols and skulls had bubbled and liquified smoothing over and hardening into a statue. The armour plates had smoothed over and the two were locked in poses of agony laying on the floor with stumps for hands where there was less armour and unrecognizable chunks of metal for boots. Serhiy could make out the attempted convulsions as their body twitched against the now solidified power armour.

Now with the hall quiet the marine shuffled forward slowly with only the sounds of chains raking against armour and a rough wheezing that sounded something like a deep sea diver while mechanical pumps and filters fought to bring in clean air and push it back out. The marine knelt down besides the two fallen Night Lords and attempted to remove their helmets only to find them secured quite firmly to the rest of the armour having fused to a degree.

"It seem you're having trouble. . . Let me help."

He ended the sentence with a sarcastic chuckle that sounded like a daemon engine scraping against itself and struck the helmet with a firmly placed tomahawk blow jarring the still cooling metal loose and dropping to the side revealing vomit within the armour. The environmental seal having succumbed to fire filled the armour with toxic air and in turn the Astartes lungs which now burned and twisted. The same was the case for the other marine which he flipped over so they wouldn't choke on their bodily fluids.

"Apothecary. . . You're Company needs you. . . . Oh. . . Heh heh heh. . . My apologies I see you need your own. Brothers, I apologize for my delinquince."
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post #112 of 173 (permalink) Old 08-09-14, 09:24 PM
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Watching Azrael dart around Sar'Thel's attacks though certainly entertaining and a high bar of swordsmanship Raskreia instead was watching the remaining two Night Lords of the Seventeenth. Watching Yatto as he turned from the sole remaining fight and looked upon the ceiling Raskreia's eyes closed for a split second as he silently cursed himself for his foolishness in allowing himself to be caught out in an obvious trap as this hearing Yatto simply say "Hello Brothers." before falling into unconsciousness.

Quickly scanning the corridor Raskreia sees Veptus look above him as he was hit with a well placed bolt round to the head. Letting go of the standard as a weight dropped on him suddenly Raskreia twisted ramming his left elbow into the side of whatever dropped onto him falling unto the deck with a massive form on top. Seeing the similar fate befall Tyberus Raskreia twisted to his back with the brief moment the elbow had granted him. Looking at his assailant for the first time Raskreia sees Saven-Yul, Seventeenth's own Standard-Bearer atop him his massive bulk and short height signifying who it was even without the standard there. Saven's left hand shot out and grabbed a hold of Raskreia's faceplate before slamming it into the decking.

Saven slammed Raskreia's head into the decking once again causing his helmet's vision to flicker. Scrabbling for a hand hold Raskreia throws several short jabs into Saven's stomach before the larger Saven pins his left hand down and slamming his head into the decking for a third time. Right hand scrabbling for a hand hold or a part of Saven's armour to lift him off Raskreia's hand came upon the hilt of his gladius attached to Saven's vambrace. Quickly grabbing it as Saven slammed his head into the decking again cuasing the view to waver and static to blur most of his view Raskreia unsheathed it and swung at Saven's throat.

As Saven flinched back Raskreia brought the gladius around in his hand slamming it into the joint right under Saven's hip in an imitation of Azreal. Bucking his hips up and wrenching sideways with the gladius Raskreia pitches Saven off Raskreia scrambles to his feet unholstering his pistol and pointing it at Saven's head. "I think you've lost this match Saven, don't you? Of course you are more than welcome to continue and most likely lose your life." Raskreia says with a bit of arrogance in his voice.

"Loyalty is its own reward."
Lion El'Jonson.
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post #113 of 173 (permalink) Old 08-11-14, 08:16 PM
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Odd. I had to admit that of all the people I had expected to come to my aid, Var had definitely not been one of them. But it was definitely the Techmarine who erupted out the shadows just as Pelegon came barreling around the corner and slammed into one of the three Night Lords that Sar’Thel had brought with him. I didn’t care though, returning my focus to the Champion of 17th as he swung his axe in a massive two handed blow that almost hit me, only missing because I ducked under it before it could crash into the side of my helmet and cut my head in two. His next strike I caught with my sword and it sent me skidding away, giving me a moment to look back at the fight. Var was demolishing his opponent so I disregarded him and focussed instead on Pelegon, cursing as I saw his stance and realized that he was in a blood rage. His rationality would be gone and I knew without a doubt that he would kill his opponent.

This would turn into a bloodbath if I wasn’t careful.

I stepped inside the next swing of my rival Champion’s axe and kicked at his knee, buckling it and causing him to fall. It took less than a second for me to snap my right knee up into his face, sending him keeling over backwards. But as I raised my sword to finish him he used his axe to sweep my foot out from under me and I fell myself, hitting the ground next to him. I rolled away from him before he could take advantage and pushed myself to my feet, sheathing my power sword and folding my arms as I noted the rest of my brothers erupting into the fight, smashing into Sar’s three lackeys.

“Give it up Sar, you cannot win,” I said calmly as he clambered to his feet. Then he smirked at me and I felt my blood run cold.

“Hello brothers.” The words were spoken by the man Veptus had pinned and it was less than a second before the rest of 17th’s first claw fell from the ceiling onto my brothers. I glared at Sar who laughed as he advanced on me, spinning his axe in his hands. It scythed through the air and he no doubt intended it to function as a distraction but I was no novice swordsman. I was Azrael, Champion of Fourth Company. My skill was feared throughout the Legion and with good reason for only other Champions could equal me as well as a few captains. I kept my gaze fixed on Sar’Thel’s dark eyes.

“I should’ve known you wouldn’t have the courage to face me without the entire rest of your Claw,” I hissed at him, feeling my control slipping as the battle rage came to me. He snarled and charged.

Unfortunately Sar had not realized how angry he had made me through his cowardly actions and as he charged I slid my right foot forward, my right hand resting on my sword’s hilt before it suddenly clenched. I launched myself forward, leaping at him, and drew my sword in a scything slash that met Sar’s axe haft just below the head and sliced clean through it. I had followed the slash and was now standing behind him and to his left, my sword held out to my right

I flipped my sword up out of my right hand and caught it blade down in my left, driving it back at my opponent in one smooth motion and feeling it go through something before standing and turning to face Sar, expecting him to be crippled from the strike.

But Sar too was a Champion and he had already recovered from the shock of his destroyed weapon by the time I lunged. What I had struck had been what remained of his axe haft which he then proceeded to smash me around the head with, stunning me and sending me staggering away before I had to dive back from a thunderous blow that might very well had crushed my skull had it connected. One thing I had to say about the Champion of 17th was that he was bloody persistent. He just never seemed to accept that I had beaten him, no matter what I did.

I caught his next swing on my sword and the sheer power behind it sent me staggering backwards.

But I had had enough.

I stopped Sar’s next swing with a punch at the inside of his elbow, kicked him in the chest and pointed my sword at him. “End this now Sar. We can both keep going for much longer but if this does not end then it won’t matter which of us wins, for the survivor will be executed for killing a brother so close to a major campaign. If we must we will continue this fight after we have won, but let it wait till then. We will all be needed for Isstvan and what comes after.”

We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment - and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.
— Flemeth

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
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post #114 of 173 (permalink) Old 08-16-14, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Everyone: As Azrael speaks Sar'Thel stops in his tracks and casts his gaze at the dead and wounded members of his own First Claw and without so much as a word disappears off at a spring down one of the other corridors leaving the rest of his First Claw at the mercy of you and your battle brothers. After a few moments you hear the clanking of three pairs of heavy foot falls to the corridor to the right of Azrael as he partially illuminated by three spot lights mounted on the shoulders of three hulking thunder hammer and bolter wielding members of the Atrementar, with the apparent leader of the three stepping forward and casting his gaze and bolter about as he looks at the scene. "It seems, Brothers, that the feud between the 4th and 17th has spilled onto the Primarchs own ship." He says addressing the other two battle brothers with him as they move about inspecting the wounded as the leader then turns to face Azrael. "Your Captain, Sevetar and the Primarch will be hearing of this, Azrael of the Fourth. All of you get to the apocatherion and get yourselves and these other idiots patched up. We are close to the major turning point in the Great Crusade and this foolishness will not stand, go now and take the wounded before I make a cloak for each day of the week from all your hides." The leader of the three warriors says motioning back down the corridor from which he came.

It seems that due to the importance of Isstvan V you have been let off from any real punishment for now, and have been ordered to take those wounded and dead to the apocatherion to be patched up for the upcoming battle in several hours (im going off the First Heretic and Fulgrim, and saying you have 8-10 hours before the second wave) in which you will need all of your strength of body and will to carry you through the slaughter of those that you once called brothers. While in the apocatherion it would be wise to rest up and once having any injuries seen to, which no matter who you are you will be seen too by Veptus, you should get replacement ammo and repairs for your armour. Choose who you are dragging back to the Apocatherion and if they are still conscious then you may have a conversation with them if you so wish.

Azrael: While standing in the apocatherion you inspect your own armour while Veptus sets to work doing what he does best with the rest of First Claw, inspecting and administering to their wounds. To your left is Raskreia who is remaining silent for now as he inspects the dents on the back of his helmet, and to your right is Serhiy, who has been absent from the 'Maiden' as he has been aboard the Nightfall making use of its superior apocatherion and armory to deal with his slowly failing body thanks to the chemicals and radioactive weaponry that he is constantly exposed to as per his choice. What you feel about the return of one of First Claws most deadly, not really talented though, warriors only you know but when Varial (Lord Ramo when he posts) decides to make an appearance then First Claw will be almost complete once again and then the enemies of the Eighth Legion and Fourth Company will have something to truly fear. You see that after administering to Var, who you should likely thank at some point in some way: perhaps a good word to Xandrek?, he stands with Mawdrym discussing what to do about Pelegon and you see that the Iron Warrior is reluctant to even be here let alone allow any apocathery of Eighth to come anywhere near him.

Veptus: Once you are back in the apocatherion of the Nightfall you start working on patching up your brothers (in what order you choose) before turning your attention to Pelegon who seems to be rebuffing any attempt for any Apocathery to get close, if you are to deal with his injuries then you may require two of your brothers to either hold him down while you operate and show him there is nothing for him to distrust about you, or try to persuade him yourself. When you arrived though and Orrin saw that Lucan's white chestplate was smeared with what appeared to be the remnants of one of his proginoid glands he glares at you through his helmet lens before returning to his own work. After you finish patching up Var and looking for what ever little flesh he has left to inject something to bring him back into the waking world you move your attention to focus fully on dealing with Pelegon and when you look towards the Iron Warrior you feel a presence to your right, should you look you see Mawdrym standing next to you looking from you to Pelegon with his insane grin plastered across his face before he speaks to you in Nostramon: "A son of Olympia? It must be our lucky day 'brother' lets open him up and see the differences between the Fourth and the Eighth?" (Also don't forget to check on Serhiy's radiation levels, as he is a Destroyer.)

Var: Your eyes snap open and you instantly regret it as they are filled with painful white lights stationed above your head and bring your hand to cover them. After laying for a few moments listening to realize that you are no longer in the hallways of the Nightfall and from the sounds around you and the smell of blood, antiseptic and other chemicals you realize that you are in the Nightfall's Apocatherion and while your body aches from the wounds sustained you realize that they have been completely sealed. Removing your arm you see Veptus standing over you removing his Narthecarium from your body before your armour lets you know that he has merely administered the correct chemicals to re-awaken you from your sus-an membrane sleep. As Veptus moves away you are able to sit up and see the other members of fourth have already been seen to save the Iron Warrior Pelegon, and that the members of 17th are here aswell being dealt with by other Apocatheries. It seems that First Claw of 4th won, though looking over each of your brothers it seems you had best get to work making repairs before the second wave of Isstvan V in several hours times.

Tyberus: Having been one of the less injured of your brothers, having only suffered minor bruises from your opponent, that were already healing, you help carry your injured 'brothers' back to the apocatherion where Veptus gives you a quick once over and then motions for you to get off of the medical table so he can begin work on Var and the other members of Fourth's First Claw. Looking around the Apocatherion you see that 17th are being dealt with by other members of the Apocatherion rather than Veptus, most likely because Veptus would administer 'peace' before removing their gene-seed and leaving it at that, though you look at Veptus after he finished administering Var and freeze when you see ' Mawdrym' step next to the Apocathery of Fourth and can quite clearly hear him talking about Pelegon. Pelegon himself is perhaps the most injured of you other than Var, but then again the Tech-Marine is more metal then flesh and will be fine once he replaces what ever damaged parts he has. However Veptus may require help in administering to Pelegon who seems very reluctant to be here, perhaps you should either talk with the Iron Warrior or consult Azrael?

Pelegon: Sitting in the apocatherion you look at your mangled hand that was injured when you caught the Chainglaive to stop it connecting with the rest of your body and realize that you will either need to see to it yourself and see if the hand will heal or have it simply removed and a bionic one made to replace it though with such a short amount of time before the second wave at Isstvan V it might be a better idea just to remove the hand at the wrist and get a bionic replacement. Looking up you see that the tech-marine Var is now awake and looking at his battle brothers and see that Veptus and another apocathery which you've heard been called: Mawdrym staring at you, with Mawdrym speaking in Nostramon to Veptus. The somewhat unblinking gaze of both somewhat un-nerves you and should you look around then you would see the rest of Fourth Companies First Claw staring at you aswell, if you say something then that is up to you but it is likely that they may attempt to stop you leaving in someway so that the two Apocatheries may practice their macabre art on you. If you wish to speak to any of them then it is up to you, or you may attempt to try and leave the Apocatherion.

Raskreia: Saven relents in his fight with you after Sar'Thel flee's and then simply holds his injured side in silence as he follows the rest of you to the apocatherion to get his wounds seen to. While in the Apocatherion you stand with Azrael watching the others though you have a slight headache from where Saven slammed your head into the deck plates and should you remove your helmet and inspect it you see there are several large dents in it that would need to be repaired before Isstvan V incase it has made the helmet integrity weak which should result in a stray bit of shrapnel burying itself in the back of your head. Luckily however Var now seems to be awake and moving about after Veptus has seen to him, while Veptus then stands with Mawdrym whose gaze is now firmly fixed on Pelegon and you can hear his conversation with the completely insane apocathery about opening up Pelegon and seeing the similarities between the Fourth Legion and the Eighth, you may wish to attempt to get the mad apocathery to back down as in a way Pelegon is under the protection of Fourth and Xandrek and should anything too bad happen to him it could cause problems with relations between the two legions. You also have time to discuss what ever you wish with Azrael.

Serhiy: You stand in the apocatherion watching as Veptus moves from each of your fellow battle brothers of Fourth Company to the next inspecting their wounds and administering such aid as required before coming to stand infront of you and begins asking you questions about how your body is feeling, what chemicals and levels of radiation you have been exposed to since he last saw to you and then once he is done Veptus moves off to deal with Var and eventually attempt to deal with Pelegon. Looking at the Iron Warrior you see that he, like yourself, is armoured in a variant of MK III 'Iron Armour' though his is a burnished gun metal silver grey with the iron mask instead of the Nostraman skull emblazoned on his left should and you think that his armour would need repainting to something more suiting of the Eighth Legion if he is to be with the legion for a long time, especially aboard 'Maiden of Sorrow' as the three companies that Xandrek commands there do not accept outsiders very well, even new recruits send from the rest of the legion and if an Iron Warrior shows up he will stick out like a sheep among wolves, perhaps you should discuss this with him to see what he thinks?

Varial: See the everyone posts when you have posted your character sheet in the Recruitment thread mate.


- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Everyone: All of you stand in the embarkation deck by the 'Revenant' awaiting the return of Xandrek as it has now been four hours since the ambush and each of you has been seen to by Veptus and Var, having your injuries healed and your armour repaired. Two hours after the incident, Azrael was called away by the three members of the Atrementar who originally found you to have a meeting with First Captain Sevetar to explain what happened during the ambush and after explaining what happened he sent you back to the rest of your squad informing you to tell the others that your Captain and the Primarch will be notified and it shall be dealt with after the Isstvan campaign. During the hour after Azrael returns the nine of you (we have a new player joining us aswell as Lord Ramo) have time to speak among yourself and discuss the up coming campaign along with attempting to try and teach Pelegon some Nostramon speech, pronunciation and grammar though he seems to have difficulty with the fact that Nostramon could best be described as being: 'overly poetic' in its choice of words and meanings.
Finally after four hours you turn to see Xandrek appear through one of the corridors in conversation with First Captain Sevetar as they then stop after stepping onto the deck with the two facing each other. Though none of you can hear it those of you who are Nostramon (sorry Pelegon xD) see and know the meaning of the salute that Xandrek gives Sevetar before he leaves. A clawed hand over his primary heart, Xandrek has promised the First-Captain and most likely the Primarch something that he is willing to stake his life on, perhaps one of you should inform Pelegon what such a salute meant when used back on the now destroyed Nostramo.

Striding over to you Xandrek turns his bat-winged helmet to regard each of you as against his left arm his carries his 'fortress' of a shield emblazoned with his personal motto on it and his right hand rests idly at his side with his bolter being mag-locked to his right thigh guard and his masterly and ornately crafted black steel power sword sheathed at his left hip. Standing in infront of you all he gives each of you a shallow nod in greeting before handing his tower shield off to Azrael as he then steps forward to stand infront of Var, and what may shock you all is Xandrek raises his left hand and places it on Var's pauldron before speaking. "Var, I heard what you did for Azrael when he was ambushed by Seventeenth. Well done Tech-Marine you have saved me the trouble of looking for a new champion amongst Fourth Company." It seems that Xandrek is somewhat in a good mood for now though he stands completely still when he turns to look at Pelegon. "As for you, Iron Warrior, welcome to the brotherhood of First Claw. I have no doubt my men have already threatened and scolded you but know this: While under my command you Fight with First Claw, and if need be you Die with First Claw. We are your battle brothers now and until you return to your legion that is the way it shall be. Aboard the 'Maiden of Sorrow' there is no higher authority than mine, remember that and you may save survive your time with the Eighth Legion." Xandrek then turns his gaze to look at each of you in turn. "Everyone aboard the 'Revenant' we are turning to the 'Maiden' and on the way I shall inform of Fourth Companies part in the up coming campaign."

Once aboard the 'Revenant' and strapped into your flight harnesses Xandrek once again stands at the far end of the Storm-Eagle where you can all see him as Malek lifts off and begins the flight back to the home of Fourth Company, on the way Xandrek explains to you that Fourth, will be stationed with at the far side of the Legion near to where the Word Bearers will make their landing and that it is there duty to target the Raven Guard heavy weapons teams, transports and pick out commanders and slay them to break down the chain of Raven Guard command. While listing the many objectives he mentions that they will also be targeting the Imperial army as while an Astartes may not feel fear, un-augmented humans still do and that while other legions don't have experience in fighting and killing other Astartes, the Night Lords do as they have been killing each other since the finding of their Primarch.

Do you have any questions for Xandrek? Do you wish to know more about any specific part of the campaign? Do you ask what it is that he promised Sevetar over a private channel? Pelegon do you ask the others more about Xandrek or speak with the Captain himself? What are your thoughts and feelings on the up coming campaign and the objectives that you have been given.

OOC: For those who possess Massacare, book 2 of the FW horus heresy series please look at 178 and 178. We will be doing Stage 1, 2 and 3 with Fourth being positioned at the top of the map. We are 2-3 updates away from Isstvan V itself so you all know *nods* was going to add it into this update but next weeks once should be pretty long and I need to work on some GM stuff for it, as later today ill be posting in the homebrew section with reference sheets to all the characters we have met so far and characters that we will be meeting!

Already, you exalt me for my triumphs, When I ask only that you remember me for my treacheries

Victory is nothing more than survival.
It carries no weight of honour or worth beyond what we ascribe to it.
If you wish to grow wise, learn why brothers betray brothers. - Khyron, First Grand Master of the Eighth Brotherhood.

Last edited by revan4559; 08-16-14 at 02:29 PM.
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post #115 of 173 (permalink) Old 08-24-14, 06:52 AM
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Tyberus had unwillingly dragged the wounded Raptor to the apothecarion at the behest of the Atramentar and he would not violate the laws of Sevetar and his Brothers, especially on their own ship. As they arrived, a trail of blood that leaked from the broken face of the Raptor ran behind them in droplets lining the floor from the corridor all the way to the apothecarion. He was in rather good shape, despite some claw marks on the chest and gorget of his armor, they would be rather simple to repair if given the time, but they caused no real structural damage, but some of his 'Brothers' were worse off.

Var had taken quite a bit of punishment, having absorbed several bolt rounds, though the machine likely just needed to replace his parts, Tyberus wondered if he even had blood in his veins anymore and not just some sort of oil or piston driven fluid keeping him doddering on. Still, the intervention of the tech marine had certainly aided them in their victory, and they would definitely advertise this as a victory for the First Claw of Fourth. They had beaten the Seventeenth so bad, that the Atrementar had to take pity on them to save them, not out of kindness, but out of necessity for bodies to land on Istvaan. That was likely what the First Claw would claim, but the truth of it was they were lucky to get out in one piece, or in some cases, as few pieces as possible. If not for the unlikely intervention of Var and the surprising willingness of the Iron Warrior to truly embrace Night Lords doctrine and kill first without ever asking questions they could have found themselves on the wrong end of the Seventeenth's ambush.

Tyberus was prideful, arrogant to the core, but he was not a fool, he knew they had been lucky in many ways, they over confidence of the Seventeenth and then their lack of drive for the kill had cost them many of the Brothers of their First Claw, but the Fourth had been caught and dragged into their trap all the same, against another Claw or Company it could have gone very differently, Tyberus wouldn't forget this had been a pretty close call.

Pelegon, the Iron Warrior whom Tyberus had a modicum of respect for and had been honing in the ways of the Night Lords was on the medical slab, observing his mangled hand. Tyberus eyed the badly damaged appendage and immediately thought of their mutual duels that would be decided before they made planetfall at Istvaan he hoped. There would hardly be any time to heal such a wound. The Iron Warrior was clearly uneasy with Veptus looking him over, the sadistic apothecarion looked for any chance to inflict "treatment" on Astartes, Tyberus supposed that to Veptus the thought of attempting to fix and inflict pain onto an Iron Warrior would be quite the attraction, given the renown of the durability of the children of Perturabo. Tyberus could vaguely overhear what was being spoken between Madwyrm and Veptus, two sadists, both in the position of Legion apothecaries, it was cruel irony for any who needed wounds tended to.

Tyberus quickly grabbed a combat knife from the body of a dead member of the Seventeenth and marched over the vulnerable Pelegon, who lay on the medical slab, caught amidst a sea of circling predators of various dispositions. The marine grumbled in his bass ridden voice "I have staked my reputation onto your word that you would defeat The Apostle of the Word Bearers if you were to issue him a challenge. He accepted your challenge and you will be no match for him with only one good hand!" Tyberus cursed in Nostramon at the foolishness of Pelegon, for having followed some silly custom and left his weapon in the care of The Apostle until the time of their duel. He swore again, calling Pelegon and his Iron Warriors backwards fools. Tyberus grabbed at Pelegon's vambrace, ripping off the Iron Warrior's forearm. Pelegon looked up at the Night Lord he thought had been his friend, this was as close as friendships got within the Night Lords he would learn soon enough.

"I have staked my reputation on you delivering on your boast Pelegon," Tyberus clamped down on Pelegon's bare forearm, the form of his mangled hand twitching slightly at the power with which he gripped the Iron Warrior's arm. Pelegon for a moment looked down, as if seeing if his hand would heal itself before the brooding Astartes took action. Tyberus snarled, shaking his head at Pelegon, again cursing his foolishness in Nostramon, "I will make sure that you have the tools necessary to kill The Apostle, remember how much you want to take his head and this won't be so bad Iron Warrior." Tyberus almost smiled, there was a part of him that really did enjoy the spilling of blood, he could sort of see why Veptus had so much fun in his line of work. With that macabre thought, Tyberus brought the combat knife down on Pelegon's forearm just above the wrist, the blade sank into the flesh effortlessly, then suddenly stopped, as if it met head on with a rockcrete wall.

Tyberus' eyes went a bit wide as he examined his cut momentarily, but he was interrupted by Pelegon himself who grunted as the combat knife dug into his flesh he then reached out with his other arm, and grabbed Tyberus closer, more in irritation than actual anger. Tyberus was taken aback, removing the blade from the deep wound, which began healing itself as soon as the blade came free. The stocky brooding Astartes couldn't help but let himself laugh out loud as he noticed the grey of the Iron Warrior's adamantium bone as he pulled the blade free, "Pelegon, you whore son, you've had a couple tricks up your sleeve this whole time!" There was a complimentary tone to Tyberus words and then he slashed again with the combat knife, this time cutting between the wrist joint, cleanly severing the hand. Tyberus' rumbling voice barked out at an Apothecary who's name he did not know, he would not make such demands of Madwyrm, or even Veptus for that matter "Apothecary! See to it that this hand is stored in a cryonic sleeve for reattachment at a later time! And make sure the Iron Warrior has a Bionic replacement that is fully functioning within the next few hours, I need him to be ready to kill again as soon as possible!"

Tyberus then leaned in to Pelegon and spoke so that only they would be privy to his comments, "I did what was necessary, had I left you to the vultures," implying Veptus and Madwyrm, "I don't know if there would have been enough of you left to fight The Apostle, and I would very much like to see his head removed from his shoulders. Be ready Pelegon, they may look to settle our challenges as soon as possible, I certainly hope they do, I want to be the one to kill that bastard Rashel, not some errant bolt round on Istvaan, I want their blood before we drop planetside."

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post #116 of 173 (permalink) Old 08-24-14, 03:08 PM
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Azrael was illuminated by the shoulder-mounted spotlights that the Atrementar wore. Sar’Thel had run like a coward and Veptus had laughed as he had done so. He had a minor hole in his helmet and several other smaller cuts in his armour but he had managed to escape this fight as one of the least bloodied. He was lucky, especially when he considered that he had felled three of the Seventeenth’s First Claw. "It seems, Brothers, that the feud between the 4th and 17th has spilled onto the Primarchs own ship." the leader of the three hulking brutes said, more to his comrades than anyone else.
“Yeah, it’s a shame that the Seventeenth can’t just play nice.” Veptus said, his voice a sing-song of mocking tones. The Atrementar threatened them , saying that such fighting was foolish so close to such an important battle. Veptus was decidedly un-phased by the Night Lord’s threats. Even on this ship he had friend who would not let him die for defending his Company Champion. It was the Seventeenth’s fault. They had started this madness.

Still, the fact that Sevetar and the Primarch would be told of this did unsettle Veptus slightly. Whilst Night Haunter had taken less and less of an interest in the Legion’s antics of late, his threatening presence still hung over them and did a good job in curbing the worst of the Legion’s excesses. Ultimately, if he decided that the First Claw had over stepped their marks, no amount of favour with Xandrek, Orrin or anyone else would be enough to protect Veptus. Best not to think on such things, Veptus decided. Not when there was much more amusing work to be done. Veptus made his way to Lucan and administered a hearty does of stimulants. It took seconds for the Primus Medicae to wake from his induced coma. “Wakey wakey eggs and bakey.” Veptus said, his voice cooing like a mother but his avian eyes inspecting Lucan’s waking form the way a vulture regards a carcass.

Lucan felt the cut on his throat and knew what had happened. “You bastard” he spat, reaching for his weapons. Veptus’ pistol was under his jaw in a flash, freezing Lucan still.
“You have lost, your ambush has come to nothing and your brothers are mostly dead or wounded. They require assistance, as is your mandate.” Veptus didn’t need to threaten Lucan to not attack him. The only reason such a fight had broken out was because the Seventeenth believed they would have numbers on their side. Lucan wouldn’t attack Veptus again until he believed he would have the advantage. Besides, Veptus’ reputation was well known and that was an unspoken threat in and of itself. Veptus left Lucan to get up by himself and made his way over to Var. He gave him a cursory examination he quickly realised that he was in a sus-an membrane induced coma. Nothing would wake him save Veptus’ intervention. Good, he would see to the other members of the First Claw first then.

Veptus dragged Var’s limp frame to the Apothecarion. As he walked in Orrin glared at him. Veptus realised Lucan had beat him here and was attaching a fresh Narthecium, although his chest plate was still stained by Veptus’s handiwork. A touch excessive? Maybe but it would serve as a lesson to the Seventeenth’s Primus Medicae not to try something so foolish again. Veptus left some servitors to dump Var on a medical slab as he tended to the others. First he saw to Azrael. Sar’Thel had dealt very little damage to the Fourth’s Champion, a fact that filled Veptus with a small measure of pride by association. He toyed with Azrael’s head for a while. His jaw had hairline fractures, but nothing that required any form of operational work on Veptus’s part. It would heal over time, Veptus just advised that Azrael try to not block any blows with his head any time soon, else they my develop into full blow fractures and breaks. Thus discharged, he moved on.

Next was Raskreia. He came to Veptus with his helmet off, its front dented and buckled from what seemed to be repeated strikes against a flat surface. When asked he complained of a slight headache and confirmed Veptus’ suspicions. He suspected it was nothing more than a concussion. However, he told Raskreia to report any intensifying of pain or additional symptoms such as blurred vision or impaired balance. If those occurred then Veptus might have to open Raskreia’s head up and reduce the swelling of the brain but hopefully it would not come to that. Tyberus was Veptus’ next patient but he had done even better than Veptus had. Nothing more than a few bruises. For a Claw that had so effectively mauled another Claw Veptus was surprised at the lack of serious injuries.

Next was Serhiy. He had no marks from the fight, seemingly having arrived late and missed the brunt of the assault but it was rare that Veptus got to run a full biopsy on the Destroyer member of their First Claw. He took blood, tissue and marrow samples. The complete works. He asked Serhiy a series of standard questions; any physical abnormalities? Any pain or discomfort concentrated in any areas? What weapons he had exposed himself to recently? Whilst this was happening his Narthecium was working away at analysing the samples Veptus had fed it. At the end of Veptus’ medical interrogation, it dinged and gave Veptus a steady stream of information. “Well Serhiy, are you ready of the latest diagnostic?”

Veptus didn’t wait to hear if Serhiy was. Frankly he didn’t care. “You have radiation poisoning, no surprise there. It’s not acute and within the tolerances that your body can handle and mitigate most of the damage from. However, it is higher than last time. You have two forms of aggressive cancer, one in your right lung and one in your stomach. Again, nothing you can’t handle and it shouldn’t cause you trouble for a while, but I will be bringing you back here after the battle to remove those. Lungs and hearts working at 84% efficiency. That might be the cancer or it could be the high level of toxins in your blood. So more antibiotics, more chemical treatment and more surgery when we return.” Veptus paused and looked up from his Narthecium data-screen. “So, same old same old really.” It was not the first time Serhiy had heard any of this information and it would not be the last. It was unlikely that any of this phased the Destroyer. It was all risks that came with the job.

Finally, Veptus came to Var. Veptus was tempted just to hack away at Var, tear him open and explore every little nook and crevice in his body. Discover if there was some small whimpering child, dried up at the centre, who controlled this spiteful machine. Later, Veptus assured himself. The time to take Var apart in totality would come later. For now, he needed to focus on the techmarines injuries. He had taken several wounds to his shoulders from Sicarius’ power claws. Veptus set to work, putting bones back in place, pouring metical concrete to help the bones set quicker and hold them together while they did, re-joining tendons and fusing together torn muscle. Once he was done, Veptus reattached all of Var’s armour plating before finally waking him from his coma. Var woke up and squirmed under the harsh glare of the apothecarion’s lights. “What a shame, you’re alive.” Veptus chuckled, only half joking. “I repaired the damage to your shoulders, but left your servo-arms untouched. I know how much I’d hate it if you walked in here and started mutilating my patients. Although, I’d do it soon. I reckon several of our brothers will be begging you for repairs and the like pretty soon.”

"A son of Olympia? It must be our lucky day 'brother'…” Mawdrym cackled to Veptus, having gotten several members of the Apothecarion staff to tie Pelegon down to a medical slab “…let’s open him up and see the differences between the Fourth and the Eighth?" Veptus smiled at that thought. It would be interesting to flay Pelegon’s flesh slowly and uncover the secrets of the Fourth Legion. Perhaps he would if Xandrek was displeased with him or he insulted Veptus in some grevious manner. But he would not do that now.
“Calm yourself Mawdrym, there will be plenty of bodies for you to mutilate in a few hours.”
“Yes, but we could have this one now!” Mawdrym protested, incensed that Veptus was not a eager to join in with his sport.
“His life belongs to the Fourth Company, and as the Fourth Company’s Primus Medicae his body is mine to do with as and when I see fit!” Veptus spat at Mawdrym who recoiled, muttering nonsensically to himself. “Go amuse yourself with the Seventeenth. I’m sure they could use the…‘help’.” His attentions momentarily diverted Mawdrym skulked off to find one of the Seventeenth unattended and mutilate them. Such was the price of failure.

“Apothecary!” This was Tyberus. He demanded that the Iron Warriors hand be stored in a cryonic sleeve to await reattachment and a fresh bionic one be attached. Apparently the Iron Warrior had business to attend to before the drop. Tyberus began to whisper in Pelegon’s ear words that Veptus could not hear.
“I hope you don’t presume to demand a service of me Tyberus.” Veptus said, a firm hand gripping Tyberus’ shoulder a little too tightly to be considered friendly. Tyberus began a response, but Veptus let go of Tyberus’ shoulder to strike his neck with the side of his hand. A gurgling noise came briefly from Tyberus as the words he was about to say were drowned in a sudden release of saliva. “Silence.” Veptus hissed. “Go have your armour seen to or something. You may have your pet back when I’m done with him.” Tyberus looked like he might stay but a firm start from Veptus discouraged him from it.

Veptus turned back to Pelegon who was still strapped to the table, though he strained against his bonds. “I don’t know whether you still have no trust in me or what I do. Frankly I don’t care if you do. Mawdrym wanted to open you up and see how different you are from us. I sent him away. Don’t confuse that for affection. Such a fate is only reserved for those who displease me or the Captain and so far you have done nothing to deserve it. You even seem to have acquired an admirer.” Veptus nodded in the direction of Tyberus. “Besides…” Veptus’ voice dropped to an eerie whisper. “…I would not let Mawdrym deny me my right at Corpse-Master even if you were to meet such an end. In any case…” Veptus voice resumed its usual unnatural levity as he took a cryonic sleeve from a waiting orderly. “…your hand is ruined, more so now that Tyberus made such a hash of separating it. I can re-attach, but it would impair your combat abilities. I suggest giving you a bionic one. Whilst you will still be getting used to it by the time we drop, it’ll be of considerably more use than that mess you had previously. The choice is yours.” Veptus didn’t care about whatever other petty grievance that Tyberus had embroiled Pelegon in. His job was to make the First Claw battle ready and now that he had done that Pelegon could either live with his handicap or take the sensible option…

My contribution to the Renegades saga. Check it out

My growing IIIrd legion stuff:

17th Millenial (Homebrew Fluff) - "Children of the Emperor, death to his foes!" (Project Log)

Also my 30k tacticas, for those of you interested:

Crusade Army List tactica - Individual Legion tactica

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post #117 of 173 (permalink) Old 08-26-14, 11:14 PM
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After discussions with their new heavily-armoured peacekeepers had been concluded, Pelegon set about preparing himself for the journey to the apothecarion – as he had dispatched two of seventeenth’s finest, it would be down to him to see that they were appropriately transported. Pelegon took first his shovel, clipping it into its mag-lock, and then bent down to take Jasen’s chainglaive in his good hand, examining the weapon. The grip was well-worn, with a series of notches engraved down its length, and its teeth shone in the subdued glow of the lighting. Though not as fine as the specimen in the vault, it was certainly nothing to turn his nose down at, especially considering that he no longer had his thunder hammer. The Olympian clipped it onto the mag-lock on his backpack.

“Now…” Jasen started colloquially, and Pelegon punched him in the face. He felt the crunch of the marine’s nose being broken beneath his knuckles, and there was a small spray of blood as it was crushed to a pulp. Another scar, which would doubtless make the Night Lord happy when he regained consciousness. Pelegon picked up Jasen’s helmet and stuck it on over his head, and then grabbed the now limp form in his good hand, and swung it over his left shoulder. Though he had no grip on that side, he could cradle him between shoulder and elbow, and the loss of both an arm and a leg had rendered Jasen somewhat lighter.

Pelegon then went over to the dead Raptor, whose name he still did not know, nor cared to find out, and swung him up over his right shoulder. Thus laden with two marines, the Iron Warrior followed the rest of First Claw to Veptus’ dread domain, porting both with little difficulty. The apothecaries looked up as Pelegon dumped the two on separate operating tables with a clatter, their hands straying toward their weapons, but the Iron Warrior shook his head to indicate that he had nothing to with any of this, and they returned to their work, one moving to the dead Raptor to recover his gene-seed. Then the Iron Warrior sat down at one of the tables to examine his damaged hand, removing the vambrace and gauntlet that protected that part of his body.

The burning was extensive, that much was certain, and a lot of the flesh would need to be amputated, damaged as it was beyond repair. However, the basic bone framework beneath it was intact, as was the interface port just below it in his wrist, and some of the muscle tissue and tendons were serviceable. He planned to strip away that which was too damaged and replace it with servo-muscles from scavenged power armour, and the dead Raptor would serve to that end – after sealing with synskin, he would again have a perfectly serviceable appendage, without having to replace it with a bionic. He didn’t know why, but somehow the idea of chopping off the hand when its core structure was essentially sound struck him as terribly wasteful.

Of course this was all his fault; if he’d fought properly, managed to stay clear-headed, then none of this would have happened. He should have shoulder-barged the Raptor and crushed him beneath his weight, should have pulled him into an embrace when he grabbed the blade, and he should certainly not have stuck it into a jump-pack’s exhausts. These moments of uncontrollable hatred were common, despising as much as he did, but it had only twice before ruled Pelegon like this. The injury was a fitting punishment for his foolishness, and as the Iron Warrior considered how best to avoid Veptus and another apothecary who was muttering to him while casting glances at Pelegon, Tyberus approached him.
The stocky marine was growling something about his reputation, brandishing a knife. He seemed annoyed that their duel might not be able to go ahead while Pelegon was incapacitated, but did not come across as threatening. The Iron Warrior wanted to explain that he had accounted for all this, and could fight perfectly well with just the one hand, could repair the injury fairly quickly, but could not bear having to justify himself. If the reasoning was not apparent to the Night Lord then Pelegon wasn’t going to waste his time. Tyberus didn’t suspect that the Olympian knew how to medicate himself, how to repair and reconstruct that which had been damaged, and he would keep it that way. Better to be underestimated than overestimated.

Tyberus grabbed Pelegon’s exposed forearm, continuing to rant, but he did not move, or even indicate that he was aware of what was going on. He could not resist, for he was vastly outnumbered – better to let this little episode play out, though he realised with a sense of disappointment that it looked like he was going to lose the hand. As predicted, Tyberus swung the knife, and even as the blade descended the IVth legionnaire could see where it would land, and what would happen. It cleaved the hard muscle aside, the pain an almost refreshing sensation, until it jarred against his adamantium skeleton. Tyberus looked dumbfounded, as though unable to comprehend what was going on. Good.

The Iron Warrior leaned forward, and with his good hand took the blade of the knife between forefinger and thumb, extracting it from the already healing wound, and gently guided it until it was over his wrist, where it would cut only skin, tendons and muscle, avoiding the iron-hard bone. Tyberus recovered, and, laughing, sliced the hand off. Pelegon didn’t react, but braced himself against the agony that would have had a mortal man screaming uncontrollably. It was purifying, made him know that he was still alive and still functioning, and of course he deserved it. Sticking his hand into an exhaust vent indeed.

Tyberus picked up the hand and tossed it to a junior apothecary, who stuck it into a cryo-tube, which was duly presented to Pelegon. For the first time since the stocky marine had approached the Iron Warrior, he moved, accepting the tube with a nod to the apothecary, and clipped it to his waist.

"I did what was necessary, had I left you to the vultures I don't know if there would have been enough of you left to fight the Apostle, and I would very much like to see his head removed from his shoulders. Be ready Pelegon, they may look to settle our challenges as soon as possible, I certainly hope they do, I want to be the one to kill that bastard Rashel, not some errant bolt round on Istvaan, I want their blood before we drop planetside."

Pelegon merely nodded, unsure how else to reply. It looked increasingly unlikely that their duel would take place before they made it planetside, but if belief in it kept Tyberus happy then he would play along. It was at that moment that Veptus, lord of the realm, decided that it was time to intervene, and he did so by hitting Tyberus in the throat. Why he did this the Iron Warrior did not know, as Tyberus had not at all directed his enquiry toward First Claw’s erstwhile medic. Perhaps there was bad blood between them for other reasons.

Pelegon drew his meltagun beneath the table, and it was trained firmly on the apothecary throughout the little discussion they had. If he made another move, Xandrek’s protection or no protection, he would get vaporised. Fortunately the marine seemed content to be as unpleasant as possible without getting any more physical, and having concluded with the unfortunate gagging Tyberus turned his attention to Pelegon, whose meltagun was kept firmly trained on him, safely out of view.

The apothecary gave him a very considerate little speech, and the Iron Warrior felt that he should make an act of feeling honoured that this level of attention was being bestowed upon him. So he nodded at the right moments, even leaning forward and resting the chin of his helmet on the bloodied stump, the sharp point causing it to start bleeding anew. It was not only blood that came from the end, but darker synthetic fluids, and it was possible to see strands of metal among the muscle fibres where his assimilation had taken root.

“You assume too much, apothecary” Pelegon replied sweetly, his usually bassy growl coming out instead in a clear, high tone that was a mockery of Veptus’ voice. “You know nothing of my physiology, or how it may have been modified. Perhaps I have a meltabomb instead of a lung? Or that perhaps I have a protocol that would trigger the self-destruction of my geneseed unless my body were opened up in a very specific way?”

Pelegon adjusted where he was sitting, aiming the gun up through the table so it would blow straight through the looming apothecary’s torso if he made a false move. His targeter and innate marksmanship would be able to account for any form of attempted movement, and his finger squeezed down to the first click of the two-stage trigger.

“Of course I could be lying” the Olympian continued, with a slight shrug; where he had previously been a statue, he was now all body language and differing poses “but you don’t know that. So let me conclude with your final assumption; you believe that I require your attention. I could talk to Var about a bionic hand, or I could take one of those” he said, pointing his stump at a row of bionic limbs on one of the tables “and do the rest myself. I respect your ability to inflict pain and to intimidate, Veptus” Pelegon stood up, the meltagun again clapped to his hip in a single fluid motion “but I can assure you that it would be wasted on me. Though we have much to discuss in that regard; it is an area in which I confess ignorance, and would wish to learn. Take care now”

With a respectful nod that was completely at odds with the mocking, almost sarcastic tone of his voice, Pelegon moved over to the row of bionic limbs, grabbing his vambrace and gauntlet as he did so. They were bloodied, and most looked to be in various stages of disrepair – clearly recently removed from the dead or those too heavily injured to make use of them. Likely hurriedly amputated, and the chunks of flesh that clung to them indicated that the amputations may have been carried out by bullets and explosives rather than surgical tools.

There was only one left hand, and it was an abused-looking thing, heavily scorched with little charred flecks of soot that were all that remained of its original wearer. This one looked heat-damaged (appropriately, Pelegon thought), but after picking it up and giving it a cursory examination, the Iron Warrior realised from almost invisible markings near the wrist that it had been crafted on Nocturne. Whoever its last owner had been in life, he had clearly had ties to the Salamanders; considering current affairs, perhaps it was for the best that he was (probably) dead. Flames would not have affected its function; indeed it was likely that it had been made especially for working with and tempering hot materials.

“I’ll have this one” Pelegon announced to Veptus, turning to wave it around, keeping his thumb over the markings on the base in case the apothecary managed to somehow see them or read them. “I can repair it, and” here his voice now adopted the same high-pitched imitation as he spread his arms expansively, as though basking in the adoration of a crowd “think how considerate I am, clearing up your rubbish for you”

With that concluded, he nodded to each of the present members of First Claw in turn, before taking his leave of the apothecarion.

-----

Pelegon clenched and unclenched his new left hand, at last more or less satisfied that it was working, bar the thumb which responded a little too sluggishly for his liking. Feeling around in the fragments of his little toolbox, he grabbed a spanner that would have been small even in the hands of a mortal, and with the utmost delicacy used it to adjust the tightness of one of the valves on the underside of the thumb. The tool looked like a toothpick in Pelegon’s enormous armoured mitt, but he handled it with the grace and care of a true artificer. Without a hand, and thus a palm, he had not been able to properly engage his interface port into his little box and had had to smash it open – he had no attachment to the thing, at least no more than he did to any object, but it would be inconvenient to carry his tools with him all the time. The hand, in fact, had not been the work of a great artificer as he had expected, and had taken two hours of modification and rewiring to get it to make the correct movements at the correct signals. Pelegon had found it a trial, even with his technical expertise and body augmented to receive bionics, and wondered how awful it would have been to calibrate for one unprepared. Far from a heroic death in enemy hellfire, the Iron Warrior now concluded that it was most likely that the hand had driven its previous owner so mad with frustration that he had resorted to cooking his own arm off rather than deal with it any further. It worked well now, however, and would be flame-retardant. What it lacked in quality of circuitry it made up for in sheer robustness.

The Iron Warrior finished adjusting the valve, and then moved his thumb; now it moved as naturally and fluidly as if it had been his own, with a full range of motion. Clearly the hydraulic inside had been losing pressure, a flaw that could have been potentially fatal if he had lost grip strength on the field of battle. Despite its excellent hydraulics, the hand’s grip still wasn’t as strong as his own, unable as it was to exert the same crushing pressure that his own massive paws could, but that was a problem to be addressed once Isvaan had been concluded. The perfectionist inside Pelegon was loathe to accept this substandard piece, but knew that he did not have the time to make one of his own or to reattach his actual hand. He sorely hoped that they would be fighting the Xth legion, for their bionics were reputed to be of the highest quality, though he had never had the chance to see this for himself. On Istvaan, even in the field of battle, thanks to his assimilation it would be the work of a moment to rip this bionic off and replace it with a better one.

There was a smooth hiss as the door to his little cell opened, and Pelegon turned to see the hulking frame of the destroyer, Serhiy. The rattling, whirring wheeze of his mechanised respiratory system had been inaudible through the door, indicating the cell’s degree of sound insulation, but now it dominated the tiny space. Pelegon set down the spanner and rose, punching his right hand into the palm of his left in the traditional IVth legion salute, inclining his head slightly.

The destroyer said nothing, and Pelegon took the time to scan his body with his siege auspex, the readouts from his armour and the noises coming from him. The marine was kept functioning now by augmentations and cybernetics, and despite those Pelegon knew that it was only a matter of time before his body failed him entirely. He had worked with destroyers plenty of times before, and whenever he had held a command position had made keen use of their ability to clear out breaches – though their method of warfare was ultimately self-destructive, it was one that he respected and had a great deal of time for. How the VIIIth legion’s destroyers would compare to his own he did not know. Likely they took their time over killing their foes, savouring the sloughing of flesh from bone through phosphex and rad-rounds as slowly as possible. Serhiy certainly seemed to move with slow but certain purpose.

"Hail. . . son of Perturabo. . .child of Olympia. . . You have bled at my side. . . You are my brother now and I yours. . However we've not had the formal pleasure."

Serhiy held out his left hand, and Pelegon christened his own bionic by engaging in that strange greeting once again. Never in a century and a half, and now twice in the course of a few hours.

"You are Pelegon. . delegate to our Family heh, aheh-heh. And I am Serhiy...Legion Destroyer of 4th Company."

The laughter was a diseased and evil-sounding a thing as had ever graced Pelegon’s ears, and he knew immediately that it was the sort of thing that made mortal men quake and children scream. Coming through layers of mechanical and then vox distortion, it was something that he would have once registered as deeply unpleasant - he didn't know why he thought it might terrify a mortal. Previously all that he would have noted from it was that the mechanical gearbox in Serhiy’s throat was riding a bit high and needed readjustment in order to tamp down the wheezing sound and allow the destroyer to speak in a slightly less broken fashion.

“I've heard you've already been acquainted with. . Much of our chapter. . The wolves you encountered upon the Nightfall are leashed to their masters…however in the trenches there will be little to stop the more daring…from attempts on your life…I also understand that you wish to know more of our chapters inner workings…a daunting task indeed. If I may…it would serve both of your interests to blend in more with your new brotherhood for the duration of your stay…to deploy on Isstvan in something more reminiscent of Midnight Clad would be beneficial to you."

The Iron Warrior appreciated the low gothic, but he had been listening to and analysing the recordings and texts that he had through his armour’s cogitator while working on his hand, and had a good grasp of the concepts of Nostraman. The language defied logic, with the slightest variation in intonation or spelling altering the meaning of a word entirely, and no set of grammar, adjectives or even nouns bearing any similarity to any language that Pelegon knew. His understating would be fine, as would his vocabulary and ability to construct sentences. His accent, however, was truly abysmal.

“I thank you, Serhiy” Pelegon managed, his mechanised snarl distorting the words even further “for your kind greeting, and appreciate the sentiment. I feel that while you speak sense, some of your brothers would not take kindly to one of Olympia wearing your legion’s colours. There is, to me, a strong sense of needing to prove oneself, and though I have killed in First Claw’s name, it was a killing of another of the VIIIth legion. I have been tasked to remain with the VIIIth until the end of this civil war, so I believe that I have plenty of time to earn those colours”

Another disturbing chuckle emanated from the near dead one. This was a lot more pronounced as it seemed to strike the destroyer as humorous.

"Olympian. . . Most honour secured in the VIIIth Legion has come from killing other Night Lords."
Pelegon paused as he slipped his vambrace and gauntlet on, readjusting it to fit the bionic more smoothly, thinking. He needed as many allies as possible, and while he could likely count Tyberus (and perhaps even Azrael) among that number, the others had no love for him or his kind. The destroyer would be a worthy addition to the little conclave of those that he did not entirely distrust. Unfortunately, damaged as he was, the destroyer would also be almost entirely dependent on the clemency of their apothecary.

“Allow me to make a proposition, Serhiy” Pelegon continued in Nostraman, careful to stay on a private vox-link “I do not trust Veptus, and believe that he is the one most likely to stab me in the back, whether proverbially or literally, though I can assure you I bear him no ill-will. If you could assist me in keeping him as far away from me as possible until he has decided to cease loathing me, you will have me at your service with maintaining your bionics” and here Pelegon reached out and tapped a finger on Serhiy’s armoured breastplate “and weaponry. I was offered the position siege-breaker, one I declined in favour of being a liaison officer – but from that offer alone you will now know that I am familiar with your variety of armament, and I believe that we could work well together”

Pelegon was not too keen to engage in this variety of destructive warfare; for that he could have stayed in his own legion and blown things up from afar, and instead wished to see how the units of the VIIIth more unique to them operated. But he would have time enough over the course of his assignment, he suspected, and in any case it would be a good chance to show off his abilities.

“What do you say to that, Serhiy?”

The destroyer paused, as though in thought, and after a few moments passed, Pelegon thought that it looked as if he was looking for a way to let him down. He was to be proven wrong.
"Veptus is a curious sort. A truly skilled Apothecary but...but with a more sadistic side that is not lost on anyone…if it aids your study I will do what little I can…I know how meticulously the IVth legion treats their tools…you will find our method of combat much more intimate than your distant destruction. Your siege will be welcome…and I will assist your study as long as my body holds”

-----

Pelegon stood with the rest of First Claw to receive their captain, and at this the Iron Warrior felt pleased – at last some degree of control would be exercised, and he would meet the man to whom his life had been sworn. And in due course he appeared, speaking to the one he knew as Sevatarion, and he looked exactly as Pelegon had expected; his own IVth eschewed trophies and fine livery, viewing it as weakness and pomposity made manifest, the need to make oneself appear stronger than they were. For some this was the case, as with Guilliman’s sons, who viewed themselves as being paragons and exemplars of warfare despite being thoroughly mediocre. Xandrek wore livery and gruesome trophies aplenty, but carried himself differently to his brothers. He at last saw the pack mentality of the VIIIth made manifest, the final piece in the jigsaw; that the others of Fourth Company were vultures feeding off the remnants that their alpha, Xandrek, deigned to leave for them. The First Claw were merely those deemed useful or worthy enough to get a little more for themselves, but none could truly challenge him. If they at all posed a threat, he would have killed them.

His carriage was magnificent, every move self-confident without being boastful, his words quiet yet commanding, authoritative without being pompous. This was a man who would lead through order, fear or loyalty enforced or earned, and the Iron Warrior simultaneously the parallel between the captain and his own Warsmiths, and that this was a man he could follow the orders of without complaint.

When Xandrek approached him, Pelegon suddenly realised that they had met before - though Xandrek had been very different then.



27-4-18 had not been a siege of any particular note. On dataslates and reports these campaigns were given neutral terms such as ‘pacification’ and ‘compliance’, but they did not convey in any way the brutality of what they comprised of. The enemy? Standard separatists, a colony on an unnamed rock of a planet in a forgotten corner of some forsaken system who had been separated from humanity during the Age of Strife, and had since found harmony by living side by side with xenos. Now they would pay for that betrayal of their race.

The fortress was the principal bastion of the whole planet, a multi-tiered affair that was not dissimilar to the hive cities of the Imperium, though it was built as a military structure first and foremost, and residential one second. The 23rd Grand Company, under Warsmith Lykourgos, had been given the task of breaking it, with promised assistance from the VIIIth legion, who had as of yet failed to make an appearance. The fortress was, in due course, reduced to rubble and its occupants and those they defended put to the sword.

Eighteen days in and the siege was nearing its conclusion. The bastion’s main strength lay in its energy weaponry, which was on the upper two (10th and 11th) tiers, protected by an ancient energy shield system that was archeotech from the Dark Age of Technology. The batteries of volkite carronades, themselves as venerable as the shields that protected them from bombardment, had destroyed the initial human armies sent in to test their strength, and so the siege had been not one of exchange of fire, but of sapping and undermining. There was no point in engaging in armoured assault or setting up counterbatteries if the defender’s guns were untouchable. The fight had been bloody, with the city falling tier by tier as breacher squads, supported by the able Iron Havocs, fought their way up the bastion. Their principle objective was to disable the generators that powered the shields and carronades, enabling full armoured assault; bombardment was not to be used as the Warsmith wished to capture the shields and the carronade batteries, with the intent of refitting them for his own use, priceless as they were.

The first five tiers had fallen, and it was known that from the sixth tier and upward there were no more separating walls; this was the final assault on the final keep, and yet despite this the carronades were silent. Though unable to depress their barrels sufficiently to scour the lower levels of the city, with their seemingly limitless energy reserves they made shots at any vehicle of the foolish supporting Imperial Army that showed their faces. The human soldiers were unhappy, and felt the urge to prove themselves as being useful as more than just targets – as of yet they had been nothing more than shields for the IVth as they advanced through the fortress, tier by bloody tier.

Pelegon, sergeant of the XIIIth squad of Iron Havocs, stood fifty metres distant from the breach. Hours ago, in the dusk, his squad had effected this hole in the wall through sustained krak missile fire, and now they were preparing to enter behind a squad of breachers twenty-strong, led by none other than his brother Loxias. There were twelve other such breaches, with similar units assigned to them, and as soon as the sun broke over the horizon they would assault and clear out the remaining six tiers. By sundown that day, the fortress, and its precious weaponry, would be theirs, and its defenders dead. There had been fire from the breach initially, but after a few hours it had died out. They were likely saving the last of their ammunition, for they would give no quarter and expected none in return. Mortals though they were, Pelegon admired the defenders for their tenacity. Not that it would at all change his course of action.

Knee-deep in corpses, most of which had been completely dismembered by the murderous firepower of the combined arms of the breacher squads and havocs, Pelegon received the order to attack, and, shouldering his missile launcher and arming it, gave the signal to advance. The breachers moved forward as one, their shields forming an impenetrable wall over which the fronts of their bolters pointed. The havocs moved behind them, their weapons primed and ready, loaded with different varieties of ammunition.

They were braced for incoming fire…and met none. Nonetheless they advanced, and Pelegon took his auspex in his left hand, glancing at it as they pushed forward into the gloom. The lighting had been disabled, which immediately struck the sergeant as odd. No movement, no signals indicating mines, tripwires or other traps. He couldn’t see the front through the line of breachers, but…

“Pelegon, see this” came Loxias’ bassy growl, and he patched his visual feed through the vox-net to Pelegon, so the Havoc could see what he was seeing.

There was an improvised barricade made of sandbags and ceramite plates, with a mounted heavy bolter and two mounted heavy flamers, covering the breach and blocking off the corridor behind it, and into the receding distance were similar barricades. All had been deserted, with discarded weapons lying around, rifles scattered like toothpicks. There was blood everywhere, dripping off the walls, furniture, they even stood in it. Of course, this paled compared to the corpses. They had been suspended from the ceiling, all hung up by the heels, red raw masses of meat that had been flayed and disemboweled, glistening slightly. Pelegon signaled that they should hold, and bent down to dip his fingers in a little of the blood, briefly lifting his helmet to taste it.

It was human, and its occupant had died screaming in agony, several hours ago. This was apparent from its consistency and the fact that the bodies had been drained, no longer dripping fluid. Pelegon patched his vox in straight to the Warsmith, intending to report this new development.

A corpse dropped down in front of him, smashing into the ground with a wet splatter that mostly dismembered it. Pelegon and his havocs aimed up as one, launchers locking straight onto their targets; twenty figures in dark blue power armour chased with gold, squatting on supporting beams, clinging from the walls and ceiling. They were not perturbed by the veritable arsenal aimed at them, though they would surely have been obliterated in a single hail of fire, and did not even have their weapons drawn. More disturbingly, they had not been there seconds before.

“Is that how you greet your friends on Olympia?” one of them, with wings on his helmet and a pair of power swords crossed over his jump pack asked, before dropping down the fifteen metres to land right in front of Pelegon, in the midst of the havocs, who still had their weapons up, but no longer trained on the Night Lords above them.

“Xandrek, Sergeant of the Night Raptors of the 4th Company of the Night Lords” he said, with a small bow to Pelegon, recognising him as the commanding officer.

“Pelegon, Sergeant of the XIIIth Iron Havocs of the 23rd Grand Company of the Iron Warriors” he grated back, nodding by way of greeting as he was unable to salute with his missile launcher in hand. Over his vox came in reports from the other breaching units that they too had encountered the sons of Nostramo.

“Havoc? Legendary, I have heard, for your ability to spot the slightest chink in an enemy’s armour and tear it asunder with those…cumbersome weapons of yours” Xandrek continued, his voice oily smooth “a pity you failed to notice the company of marines infiltrating your siege”

“Our battle company is positioned out of range of the carronade batteries, out of the range of our large auspex scanners. I have no doubt that our masters of signal may nonetheless be censured for failing to detect your presence” Pelegon replied evenly, realising that there would be no fighting for him on this level of the fortress. “Kindly explain your tardiness – assistance was promised on the outset of the siege”

Xandrek chuckled, shaking his head from side to side. “Manual labour up until this point, the systematic overwhelming of entrenched defenders and the smashing of walls and barricades. Our method of warfare does not fare well against those who are sure of themselves – we could not strike until breaches had been effected. Nor do I think a shovel or breaching charge fit as well in my hand as a sword does”

The Iron Warrior bristled, though the slight had been implied rather than outright stated, which was better than his legion usually got from his brothers.

“Then inform me, Night Lord” Pelegon stated, his voice ice-cold and threatening “why we should accept your assistance when the siege is practically over? To have you take the glory for yourselves?”

The sergeant sighed, as though the answer were so obvious that he would not have to point it out.
“Because, o iron one, I know that your commander, Warsmith, whatever you call them, wants the volkite carronades that top this bastion’s towers. A timed assault against a prepared, organised enemy would allow them to destroy these weapons long before you reached them. However…” the Night Lord leaned forward in a conspiratorial manner “…were the enemy to be thrown into disarray, be left swinging in the dark at a foe they cannot see…well then they could not rally themselves to destroy your objective. The inner keep of this bastion is an ample hunting ground, let us do what we do best – the joy of hunting and skinning mortals in so perfect a cage will be reward enough for our efforts, and at the end of it all you may salvage the gun batteries. All that we ask is that we be left undisturbed for as long as it takes”
Pelegon had been patching this conversation through his vox to Warsmith Lykourgos, and the silence at the other end was proof enough that this turning of the assault over to the VIIIth grated on their commander.

“You are famous for your logic, Iron Warrior” Xandrek concluded, drawing the swords over his shoulders and sticking their points into the ground “let me see you use it. You can tell your Warsmith that we’ve already disabled the generators that power the guns”

Pelegon waited for the response, and after a full minute of nothing other than the slight crackle of static came Lykourgos’ growl.

“All units stand down and hold position outside the breaches. Secondary support units are to move in to your position, with transporters following behind. Iron Within, Iron Without” and the vox went dead.
Pelegon nodded to Xandrek, holding his free hand out to indicate that the fortress was his.

“Good hunting, Night Lord. May it prove profitable for both of us”

In the end, it did prove very profitable for both parties concerned. The VIIIth spent two days inside the central keep, clearly savouring and drawing out the experience – it seemed gratuitous, with the 23rd Grand Company redeployed and ready within two hours of the order to stand down, the plain outside the bastion transformed into a veritable city of parked vehicles and fortified encampment, but there was ultimately little point in complaining, for the Night Lords were as good as their word.

Pelegon didn’t see Xandrek or enter the bastion again, relegated as he was to logistical duties, but Loxias and his breachers were sent in as manual labour to assist the techmarines with dismantling and moving the priceless carronades, and he showed Pelegon some of the recordings he’d taken on his armour’s built-in picter – the carnage that they showed was more than ample proof that the Night Lords were true masters of their bloody art. The occupants had been slain, and the weapons and generator systems were unharmed – of the Night Lords, there was no trace. They had signalled that the battle, if the massacre could be accorded that title, was over by firing a flare from the top of the highest tower, but that was it. No marines were noted entering or leaving the encampment, nor were any ships detected leaving the system.




“Lykourgos had the masters of signal turned into servitors, you know” Pelegon stated to Xandrek’s retreating back, and the Captain turned to look at him, and the Iron Warrior nodded in acknowledgement of his recognition.

“I thank you for your words of greeting, Captain” he intoned in Nostraman that was grammatically and verbally correctly worded but terribly accented, dropping down to one knee and smashing his left fist into the palm of his right hand with an audible clang “and swear to serve you as loyally as ever I served the commanders of my own legion. My iron is yours until the day it breaks or you no longer have use for it. Ave dominus nox!”
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post #118 of 173 (permalink) Old 08-27-14, 02:02 PM
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As I spoke Sar’Thel froze in place, only his eyes moving as he scanned the area and saw the dead and wounded members of his own First Claw. I saw the fear in his eyes then and nearly scoffed. I had faced far worse than First Claw without fear. Fear is a paralytic that prevents you from acting so I brushed it aside whenever I felt it.

Then the cowardly Champion turned on his heel and fled down one of the other corridors, leaving his brothers at the mercy of mine. But it seemed that my luck had turned on me yet again for I heard the clanking of armoured boots before three spot lights were focussed on me. “Well shit,” I muttered as I saw the three heavily armed Atramentar walk out of the shadows. Keeping my left hand well clear of my weapons I slowly slid my power sword back into its sheath before holding my right hand out as well. We may have outnumbered them but the Atramentar was feared for a reason and I would not be responsible for the needless deaths of my brothers.

"It seems, Brothers, that the feud between the 4th and 17th has spilled onto the Primarchs own ship," the sergeant said, addressing his fellows first. Turning to me he spoke again. "Your Captain, Sevetar and the Primarch will be hearing of this, Azrael of the Fourth. All of you get to the Apothecarium and get yourselves and these other idiots patched up. We are close to the major turning point in the Great Crusade and this foolishness will not stand, go now and take the wounded before I make a cloak for each day of the week from all your hides."

I bowed my head in acquiescence and left with the rest of my Claw, though not before picking up both halves of Sar’Thel’s ruined axe and grabbing Sicarius Helven by the collar of his armour, dragging him behind me as we made our way to the Apothecarium. I lifted the broken body of the Techmarine onto an operating table before stepping back and taking the time to inspect my armour and think on the events of the fight. I had not expected even Sar to stoop so low as to have his entire Claw with him in what should have been a one-on-one between me and him. It was a mistake I would not make again.

Veptus broke my reverie as he approached. He looked me over, toying with my head and jaw for a while before dryly remarking that I had better avoid blocking anything with my head until my jaw healed. I chuckled quietly at the poor joke before the Apothecary moved on to my other brothers. Raskreia was standing to my left, silent as he examined the dents in the back of his helmet. To my right was Serhiy who had been absent from the Maiden as he took advantage of the Nightfall’s superior Apothecarium and Armoury to deal with his own failing body.

The return of one of First Claw’s most deadly warriors was almost unimportant to me however for he had arrived too late to be of any aid to us during the fight and I did not doubt that he would have arrived in time for Isstvan. The sick bastard lived for combat after all and on Isstvan he would have plenty of opportunity to practise what he probably viewed as his ‘art’.

The only true good thing about his arrival was that as soon as Varial turned up First Claw would finally be completely gathered and ready for the war that would no doubt be coming.

***

It had been two hours since the ambush and First Claw was gathered together. Some were talking, some silent. I was one of the latter, leaning against a wall with my arms folded across my chest. I knew that soon someone would be coming for me and I would be explaining the events to either the Primarch or the First Captain. I must admit I was hoping for the latter for if this had already reached Curze then the chances were that I wouldn’t be walking out alive.

So it was with trepidation that I followed the Atramentar who came to collect me and bring me to whoever would be conducting the interrogation. I felt a small sense of relief when I saw the black orbs of Sevatar but quashed it instantly, ensuring that my face remained completely blank before the scrutinizing gaze of the First Captain. I met his gaze for a few seconds before being forced to look away from those pitiless eyes. The first question was spoken in a sharp voice. “So Champion, what happened?”

I was standing straight before him, my hands clasped behind my back.

“We had just arrived aboard the Nightfall and seen our Father, you and the Atramentar gathered. You called the captains to a meeting and Xandrek left me to direct my brothers and to attempt to ensure no embarrassment for the Company came from their actions. After he had left we were greeted by an Iron Warrior who announced he was to join our Claw for the foreseeable future. After dealing with that my brothers went their separate ways.”

“While still in the hangar I saw one of my brothers being followed by three of Seventeenth’s First Claw. You are no doubt aware of the rivalry between our companies and I chose to follow them in the hopes of ensuring my brother was not murdered. They cut into a side passage when they saw me and before following them down it I called my brothers and told them I was likely going to be walking into an ambush. I was correct in that belief as it happens for as I turned a corner I was greeted by the three I had seen as well as Sar’Thel, Champion of Seventeenth. He has been out for my blood ever since I removed his eye in a duel and decided to try and finish me off the cowards way, trapping me in an area with no aid and bringing his friends to help.”

“He attacked me and I defended myself until my brothers arrived. Oddly it was the Iron Warrior, Pelegon, who was first to arrive. He killed one of Sar’Thel’s lackeys and that is where the whole encounter started to go downhill. Var, our Techmarine, was the next to arrive and he also killed one of the marines. Veptus, Raskreia and Tyberus also arrived, they being our Apothecary, Standard Bearer and one of the Veterans respectably.”

“It seemed the fight was as good as won for I was driving back Sar’Thel and we outnumbered the brothers he had brought with him but it seemed he had a trick up his sleeve. The rest of Seventeenth’s First Claw had also come and they attacked out of the shadows. What happened between them and my brothers I do not know for Sar had redoubled his efforts to kill me and I had to focus on him to avoid getting an axe in the chest or head. I fought him to a standstill before he fled. Then three of the Atramentar arrived and told me you would be informed, along with Captain Xandrek and the Primarch. Beyond that we dragged those marines who could not stand to the Apothecarium and I remained there until called here.”

Sevatar examined me as if looking for the lie in my words before asking a second question. “Why did you follow the members of Seventeenth even after they stopped following your brother?”

Ah. This was one question I had hoped would not be asked, considering my only answer when asked previously had been a shrug. “I am unsure First Captain. I could tell you I wanted a fight or that I wanted to make sure they weren’t planning anything but in truth I do not know why I did follow them. It was instinctive, a gut feeling that told me I should. Maybe I was wrong to trust it but my instinct has never led me wrong before”

Again Sevatar examined me. This went on for a little while longer, him asking questions and me answering to the best of my ability. Eventually however he sent me back but not before telling me Xandrek and Curze would be notified.

***


It was an hour after I returned, four after the ambush, when Xandrek finally arrived. He walked over to us, though not before giving the First Captain who had accompanied him a salute with a clawed hand over his primary heart. I wondered what it was that Xandrek was willing to stake his life on.

He strode over to us and gave a shallow nod in greeting before handing his shield to me. I took it carefully, knowing that if I dropped it or allowed any harm to come to it then Veptus would be practising his arts on me before I could blink. The captain then proceeded to step towards Var and place a hand on the Techmarine’s pauldron, an act that surprised me considering what we had been discussing less than a day before.

"Var, I heard what you did for Azrael when he was ambushed by Seventeenth. Well done Tech-Marine you have saved me the trouble of looking for a new champion amongst Fourth Company." It seemed Xandrek was in a good mood considering his words to the Techmarine and those he spoke to Pelegon as he turned to the Iron Warrior. "As for you, Iron Warrior, welcome to the brotherhood of First Claw. I have no doubt my men have already threatened and scolded you but know this: While under my command you Fight with First Claw, and if need be you Die with First Claw. We are your battle brothers now and until you return to your legion that is the way it shall be. Aboard the 'Maiden of Sorrow' there is no higher authority than mine, remember that and you may save survive your time with the Eighth Legion." Xandrek then turned his gaze on each of us in turn. "Everyone aboard the 'Revenant' we are turning to the 'Maiden' and on the way I shall inform of Fourth Companies part in the upcoming campaign."

Once onboard the Revenant I strapped into my flight harness and watched as Xandrek stood at the end of the Storm Eagle where we could all see him. He explained that we would be stationed at the far side of the Legion near to where the Word Bearers were making their landing. He said that it was Fourth’s duty to target the Raven Guard heavy weapons teams, transports and pick out commanders and slay them to break down the chain of Raven Guard command. I knew the last one would be my task for Raven Guard commanders were normally excellent combatants. After all, the Legion had one of the finest fighters in the Imperium in its ranks, Nykona Sharrowkyn.

While listing the many objectives Xandrek mentioned that we would also be targeting the Imperial army as unlike the Astartes they still felt fear and thus we would break them. An odd decision I felt, for very few legions had the same experience when fighting other Astartes that ours did. After all, ever since Curze was found Night Lords had been killing each other left, right and centre. It was a miracle we still had a legion to speak of.

I spent the entire flight after Xandrek fell silent fighting with my conscience. It was so easy for my brothers. They had been born on Nostramo, been brought up in a world where betrayal was commonplace and the most important thing was to look out for yourself. I was Terran. I had been brought up to be honourable. The idea of fighting those I had once called brothers, those who were fighting for what I had believed in for almost two hundred years, left me feeling sick. I would not fail Xandrek, this I promised myself. But whether I would come back from Isstvan the same man who went there was a different matter entirely.

We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment - and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.
— Flemeth

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
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post #119 of 173 (permalink) Old 08-30-14, 07:18 PM
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The three monstrosities gave off an aura both ominous and relieving as the battle ceased. The powerful crackle of their weaponry filling the dead silence as the two groups stared at one another before the more heavily armoured group gave their orders. The destroyer would not argue with them. The 4th company were guests aboard their vessel for the time being and they had done nothing that would warrant the spite of Serhiy.

With the deliberate dragging of someone in quick sand Serhiy grasped both of the unfortunate souls that were for the time being cocooned within their own armour and dragged them down the hall with a hideous grinding with every step. He took a bit longer than the others to arrive but when he did the two were left just inside the door to the Apothecarion where they could be chiseled out from their shell.

He spoke little during this process and simply reveled in being a part of his claw once more. The Apothecarion was very used to Serhiy and he felt just at ease here as some would on the training grounds. The fact that his body could collapse under its own toxins at any moment demanded that high level of scrutiny. He noted Azrael to his side and more importantly the Iron Warrior over on his own table being antagonized by one of his own claw members. The smell of medicine and antiseptics meshed bizarrely with the stench of blood and burnt flesh and it always seemed to be present here. A constant reminder of the birth and death of their brethren. This was the gateway both into and out from the life of a Night Lord.

Now Veptus stood before him and interrogated him with questions like normal and poked and prodded him. Serhiy had grown so accustomed to the pain and discomfort he hardly noticed the additional work. Only his own modified flamer had tainted himself and likely the hall of the ship from its use earlier but it was more than enough to cause more damage to him.

---"Well Serhiy, are you ready for your latest diagnostic?"

No response, none was needed. Veptus wouldn't care and continued on with his analysis. The Destroyer was used to this dance and knew the steps well. Two forms of cancer, general degeneration, nothing
unusual. He'd already replaced most of his circulatory system and petrified his bones as a result of the growing level of toxins.

When Veptus finished and pronounced everything and the need for additional surgery the Destroyer chuckled in a grating way and responded with a jest making light of the situation.

"Doctor, if this continues. . . You'll have more of my blood on your hands. . . Than the loyalists."

He awaited the additional administration of medicine and chemicals to reinforce his failing body and left.



The Destroyer felt now might be the best time for him to get acquainted with their foreign asset and eventually found his way to where the Iron Warrior had made a temporary home. The Iron Warrior would no doubt hear his shuffled steps and rhythmic clanking as the chains that hung from his armour raked back and forth. As he neared he spoke aloud and crossed a palm down fist across his chest in welcoming. His breathing grated as the mechanical valves and pumps whirred making his circulatory process sound more like a deep sea diver.

"Hail. . . son of Perturabo. . .child of Olympus. . . You have bled at my side. . . You are my brother now and I yours. . However we've not had the formal pleasure."

His low gothic seemed slow, deliberate, and almost wispy as though a phantom were trying to deliver a private message directly into the ear of his intended recipient.

He stuck his hand out to shake the Iron Warriors hand.

"You are Pelegon. . delegate to our Family heh, aheh-heh."

He chuckled slightly although it came out distorted from his new lungs, it would be something he would grow more accustomed to. Even his method of speech had become even more slow paced than he was before out of tune with the rhythm of his breath to his speech.

"And I am Serhiy. . Legion Destroyer of 4th Company."

"I've heard you've already been acquainted with. . Much of our Legion. . The wolves you encountered upon the Nightfall are leashed to their masters. . However in the trenches there will be little to stop the more daring. . from attempts on your life. . . I also understand that you wish to know more of our Legions innerworkings. . . A daunting task indeed. . If I may. . . . . It would serve both of your interests to blend in more with your new brotherhood for the duration of your stay. . To deploy on Isstvan in something more reminiscent of Midnight Clad would be beneficial to you."

The way the words left Serhiy's mouth were peculiar, he wasn't choosing to hide his emotions and his words echoed his feelings. His words of brotherhood and family seemed to drip with spite as a thief would towards another however at the mention of Midnight Clad his voice become hollowed and reverent. Despite his feelings towards the actions and intentions of others within his chapter he truly believed in and felt pride at being a part of the VIIIth legion and would gladly waste away in the Primarch's Name.



Having left the quarters of Pelegon the Destroyer went about his business getting his armour examined and repaired where necessary likely for the last time by Night Lord's if this agreement were to follow through. He was of little concern to the Tech marines aboard the vessel after their little altercation with the Seventeenth. He made his way to the embarkation deck prior to the arrival of the others. Patience was his friend and the nature of Destroyer marines killing themselves by constant exposure to their own weapons was not lost on him. He knew many marines that had since fallen either to their own toxins or to enemy fire. Others were joining them now and he sat in quiet inner contemplation. It wasn't until he saw Xandrek speaking with First Captain Sevetar that his attention was piqued enough to remark. A salute such as that would not be one taken lightly, what had their own promised to Sevetar? What would he value so dearly as to make such a vow? It seemed to visibly affect him as his quiet statuesque pose was replaced with slight movement back and forth in deep thought over the implications. The only visible response from Serhiy was a slight shift in his posture.

When their own leader stepped forward and acknowledged each of First Claw Serhiy felt a bit of pride swell in him. He was proud to count himself among 4th Company's finest and he nodded in respect to Xandrek. His attitude always seemed to contrast some of his brothers. While they skulked and shifted about like prison inmates looking for a fresh opportunity Serhiy contented himself to take pride in his destruction and to think on how much suffering would come to those that crossed him or his First Claw. Sure they would beat each other's heads in but that was their right as members of the First Claw and no one elses. Serhiy's own body would never see him to the grand achievements that the VIIIth would accomplish once the betrayal was complete but his legacy would in the corrupted and tainted worlds wreathing in toxic fumes much like parts of his own former world. When Xandrek commended Var it astounded the Destroyer who thought that it was only a day or so before Var would eventually be melted down for scrap. It astounded him further that Var would so quickly come to Azrael's aid, perhaps he simply wanted the honor of bleeding the champion himself? One could never be certain what thoughts ticked inside the cyborg's mind. The oath of allegiance from the Iron Warrior was quaint, perhaps it was just a general untrustworthy aura that Night Lord's carried but aside from the Nostraman death oath he wouldn't trust his brothers as far as he could spit. However Pelegon's willingness to absorb the life blood of the Midnight Clad gave some reassurance. Serhiy found himself whispering Ave Dominus Nox in response to the Iron Warrior although it wasn't intended to be heard.

Upon dismissal Serhiy joined everyone else within the Revenant. The orders were simple enough and would likely get expanded upon later but the Destroyer grinned at their role. He was a bit familiar with the Raven Guard, they were more practical than the other more brash legions and they also used a good number of scouts which didn't benefit from sealed armour quite like the more seasoned Astartes and that would play nicely for his tools as it would with the Imperial Guard. The Destroyer marine patted his toxin flamer with mild content, it would be well used in the coming hours, days, weeks, years, even centuries if by some bizarre fate his body should sustain him for so long.
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Veptus’s face was hidden underneath his helm, but even so he kept is impassive save for his constant psychotic smirk. The Iron Warrior was certainly interesting, if ignorant. He believed he could hide such augmentation from him. His augury scanner could reach great lengths on the battlefield, enabling him to find injured and dying battle-brothers. At short range, Veptus could see everything about Pelegon, even through his bulky artificer plate. He could see the framework of his adimantium skeleton. He could see the Olympian’s lungs, heart, blood vessels. Nothing was hidden from him. He could even see the outline of the meltagun aimed at him underneath the medical table between the two of them. Cute, but misguided.

Veptus leant forward, spreading his hands over the medical table, putting his chest even more firmly into Pelegon’s cross-hairs. As he did so, he blink clicked several notices to standing by Apothecaries who were meandering around. Veptus could order them to descend like a flock of crows at a moment’s notice. They would tear out his eyes and throat with their beaks, but they would leave the best morsels for him. Pelegon talked about not needing Veptus’ help to medicate himself. He seemed content to take one of the spare bionics that the Nightfall had knocking around and tinker with it. The man was so sure of himself, so confident in his abilities to adapt and meet every obstacle. Such confidence was admirable, but in Veptus’ experience only for the brave or foolish. Likely the outcome of the days, weeks, months and years would determine which Pelegon was.

One thing that Veptus had noted was the change in Pelegon’s demeanour. It had been almost instantaneous. He had gone from a mute statue to an Astartes Veptus could only describe as vibrant. He was a fast learner. But then he wouldn’t have been assigned as a liaison officer if he wasn’t. Such a task, especially on a VIIIth legion ship, would have been suicide for anyone not used to moulding their person to their surroundings. The more Veptus thought about it, he wondered if Pelegon was in fact Alpha Legion and not Iron Warrior. Mutability was not a well noted trait in the IVth Legion. However, as Pelegon spun, flamboyant and guarding some small portion of the bionic hand with his hand, Veptus could feel him reaching.

He was reaching too high though. He might have Tyberus wrapped around his finger, but the Veteran was not enough. Joining the fight with Azrael was likely a calculated ploy as well. Who would be next that this Iron Warrior would try to draw unto himself? Var would be an obvious guess, although if Pelegon was smart he wouldn’t trouble with the techmarine. Var was already balanced on a knife edge, and Pelegon could quickly find himself robbed of his ally. He would not move against Azrael, Raskreia of Veptus until he had a substantial following, again if he was wise. Veptus could feel a familiar sense of foreboding. Pelegon would likely be a thorn in his side for some time.

Pelegon left the Apothecarion with his prize. Veptus watched him go, cockiness and naivety bounding behind him like jackals. The shadows of the hallways engulfed him swiftly. Pelegon was surrounded by the shadows, but he was not one with them. He was not one of the VIIIth Legion and no bastardisation of their culture would make him one. Still, he was a rising threat and Veptus would not be caught unawares. He spoke to Tyberus over the vox, his voice and eerie whisper “Careful, or else your dog will slip his leash. And you know what happens when attack dogs no longer listen to their masters.” Veptus put thoughts of Pelegon and his schemes to the back of his mind. There was work to do in the Apothecarion.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Veptus had kept himself busy for the hours that him and the rest of the First Claw had been stationed on the Nightfall, implanting more organs into aspirants and tending to wounded members of the VIIIth Legion, hastily trying to patch them up for the coming battle. Him and Orrin had conversed about what had happened in the minor altercation between the Fourth and Seventeenth companies, and how he had only removed one of Lucan’s progenoid glands.
“It was to show him what it meant to fail, and to discourage him from…similar antics.” He had stated plainly.
“You always were a cold bastard Veptus.” Orrin sneered. Destroying the progenoid glands was a waste that Orrin had never been particularly fond of. For Veptus it was like salting the earth.

After that he had descended through the bowels of the Nightfall, to make the necessary repairs to his helmet. He could hardly go into battle with a hole in his head. He had seen Var go about his trade, but the two had barely acknowledged each other. It felt strange to be in another creature’s domain. It made Veptus feel unsettled. He was not scared, for no Astartes felt fear, but he was definitely more wary. In the Apothecarion he knew that those around him would come to his aid at a moment’s notice. Here he had to rely on his wits alone. A perceived slight could be disastrous in another man’s domain. In the Apothecarion, he was the lord and master. Here, he was a subject. Veptus got what he needed and left as quick as was possible without betraying his racing cautious mind.

Now he stood on the deck of the Nightfall waiting for their captain with the rest of the First Claw. The command echelons had gradually began filtering back into the hanger, taking their Claws back to their respective flagships. He had seen Zha Shal return to his mauled Seventeenth Company with a look of thunder plastered on his unarmoured face. The Fourth had not lost a single man in their altercation and this, coupled with the Seventeenth’s own casualtied, would only exacerbate Zha Shal’s foul mood. Veptus gave an incongruously enthusiastic wave to his brothers in the Seventeenth as they departed. Zha Shal yelled a vile stream of curses in Nostraman. Veptus’ maniacal cackle in response reverberated through the decking as they departed. Damn fools, it served them right.

Finally, Xandrek appeared. He was talking with First Captain Sevetar, although the exact words were hidden from Veptus. However, the meaning of the clawed hand over the heart was a meaning that Veptus plainly understood. An oath unto death. Xandrek had committed himself, and likely the First Claw, to something he was certain they could accomplish, even if it cost them their lives. Xandrek would not sell their lives or his own cheaply. Either he was confident in their abilities or deemed that the cost of a few of their lives was worth whatever mission they had been given.

The Captain made their way over to them, his mood clearly flamboyant. He even thanked Var. Perhaps he had done just enough to not fall on the blades of his brothers in the coming battle. Xandrek greeted Pelegon as well. The Iron Warrior eagerly pledged himself to the Fourth Captain, but that wasn’t what interested Veptus. It was the fact that Xandrek acknowledged some quip Pelegon made about Masters of Signal being turned into servitors, which Veptus did not understand the meaning of. He had to conclude that it was a reference to a past event. *So, they have met before.* Veptus tried to place the name Lykourgos. Perhaps a commander in his early years as an Astartes? Or perhaps he was still a neophyte at that point. The archives would reveal all. Still, if Pelegon was plotting against Veptus, a relationship with Xandrek would make his life more difficult than it need be.

After that, they were all aboard the ‘Revenant’, discussing battle plans. Their targets were the Raven Guard. There was no small measure of irony in their mission. The Raven Guard were a stark juxtaposition to the Night Lords. They were an image of what could have been in a different life. It would have been such a dull existence Veptus concluded. They had a duty to eliminate the command elements of their cousin Legion. That suited Veptus just fine. He had planned to do that anyway. It suited his disposition to break the chain of command with a swift sniper round through the brain pan.

Unsurprisingly, the Night Lords had also been given the job of breaking the Imperial Army auxiliaries. Whilst Veptus imagined that the shock of their demi-god saviours turning and savaging their lines would be enough to break to spirit of any mortal, he wondered if there was more they might do. “My lord…” Veptus chimed in gleefully “…I have devised a serum which I use in my labours…” The word had a bizarre intonation to it that would most people’s skin crawl “… It degrades the integrity of the blood vessels. Whilst this only caused excruciating pain in Astartes, they could recover from the damage. Mere mortals however would leak blood from their eyes, their ears, their very skin. They would exsanguinate and their leaking blood would carry the pathogen as well. I could compress it into a gaseous form and distribute it. I’m sure at least one person would appreciate that…” Veptus nodded over at Serhiy. “…Our rebreathers would keep us safe for the most part. I’ll also keep a supply of the antidote on hand, should anyone be unfortunately ‘affected’.” Veptus switched to a private channel. “Xandrek, what did you swear to the First Captain?” The Apothecary Primus waited for what he hoped would be an approval and an answer, although Xandrek was not obliged to give him either…

My contribution to the Renegades saga. Check it out

My growing IIIrd legion stuff:

17th Millenial (Homebrew Fluff) - "Children of the Emperor, death to his foes!" (Project Log)

Also my 30k tacticas, for those of you interested:

Crusade Army List tactica - Individual Legion tactica

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And for two fucking grand, I could buy enough rum and hookers to 'artistically' recreate the better part of Pirates of the Caribbean.
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