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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-07-13, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Default Blood of Dorn

"Welcome brothers of Dorn's blood. Welcome to the Phalanx. Welcome to the Feast of Blades."

All: As you sit in transit to the Feast or wait in one of the chambers that have been allocated to you as a participant or a spectator you reminisce about the events that led you to receiving the invitation to the Feast of Blades, what heroic acts brought you to the attention of your superiors and what convinced them that you would be a good representative of your battle-brothers and your Chapter. You also think about the other Chapters that could be here, some you may be seeing around you or those that you expect will be there no matter what, what are your opinions good or bad on them.

Inhuatli Esteban: As your Thunderhawk docks in the spacious hangar aboard the mighty Phalanx you waste little time in disembarking. Serfs in the livery of the Imperial Fists move seamlessly to assist your own Chapter's servants in the routine maintenance that they are trained in. You pay little mind to this as two serfs approach you, bow reverently and low, and request that you follow them to the registration chamber. You do so, taking some time to leave the large hangar that is filled with gunships from various Chapters of Dorn's lineage. You recognize most of them on sight, the Imperial Fists of course and there are one or two from the Black Templars, but some others would require closer inspection before you could identify them. There is no time for this however and you are led through a series of corridors, the ancient proto-gothic architecture of the Phalanx is very astounding and you occasionally pass by groups of Imperial Fists on patrol. To a man they acknowledge you with a nod, some calling you cousin, they recognize your veteran status and give it the respect it deserves. You see no Astartes of other Chapters though, it is likely they have been kept to one section of the Phalanx to prevent marines getting lost, only the Imperial Fists would be able to navigate this place with ease. You find yourself grateful for the Serfs as without them you would not know where to go.

After nearly an hour of moving through corridors and antechambers you enter a large and spacious chamber lined by statues of famed Imperial Fists and with a large and beautiful chapel to the Emperor and Rogal Dorn at the far end of the room. The first thing that catches your gaze is the plexiglass ceiling that shows the cold void of space, it shines down on all of you and combined with the lumen-strips set into the floor illuminates the chamber. The next is the sheer variety of marines present here. Nearly every Chapter that descends from Rogal Dorn is present. The Imperial Fists are here in force and observe the proceedings with stoicism; the Black Templars are here though in few numbers likely due to their desire to continuously crusade without rest, only participants from the Chapter will actually be here; Executioners and Excoriators form their own groups; the Hammers of Dorn march in lockstep with each other and look fresh from the parade ground; the Invaders and Iron Knights mingle and share war stories with each other, their similar temperments making them easy companions. You see some other Crimson Fists that have arrived here before you, but before you can talk to them the serfs direct you to a lectern where a Librarian stands, silently running his gaze over the crowd. You walk over to it and his eyes flicker to you, you get the sense that he is very quickly assessing you in more ways than usual for an Astartes. He face is solemn yet wise and bears Junker scars from honour-dueling like many of his Chapter.

"Welcome cousin of the Crimson Fists, I am Epistolary Schraeder. Please sign your name here."

He points to a space in the book which is open and sits next to a quill with a bright red feather. It is sized for Astartes and as you sign your name you take note of the many names that have already registered their presence here aboard the Phalanx. Once your name is signed Schraeder nods at you and dismises you without words. You are now free to move among the crowd, perhaps you can learn something from the other Astartes present like who is else participating this time or simply to extend your greetings to cousins from Chapters that you have never met or have not seen in some time.

Marcus Alexander Helstrom: As the chamber continues to fill with Astartes from all the Chapters of Dorn's blood you continue to stand watch. Vladimir Pugh himself has charged you with ensuring that no fights break out prior to the start of the tournament, many here bear some grudges and debts against each other and though it is unlikely that any would as childish as to start a fight here, it is a chance that Pugh will not take. The Phalanx is sacred ground to all of Dorn's sons, and he will not permit it to be sullied with pointless violence between cousins. That he has chosen you to head the security detail speaks volumes about his trust in you.

You notice several particular Astartes entering the chamber over the next few hours. The first is a Crimson Fist bearing the Crux Terminatus and carrying an ornate dark red Power Fist. His bionic eye means he has been wounded in battle at some point, but apart from that he look much as the other Crimson Fists do. The next is a Celestial Lion with a fearsome pair of Lightning Claws, a Chapter famed for it's integrity and honour, and one that is always welcome aboard the Phalanx. Others include a Black Templar carrying an impressive looking Power Glaive, you can make out the word Valendol engraved onto it's haft, an Executioner whose armour has been customized so much that he stands out amongst the entirety of the crowd and draws more than a few glances, especially from the Hammers of Dorn who cannot hide their incredulity. Some others of note merit a glance, including an Excoriator carrying a rather gruesome looking whip that does not look like it came from a sanctioned Imperial forge, but the eventually the flow of new arrivals begins to slow and you receive reports from the Imperial Fists under your command that everything is moving along well.

A shout catches your attention, it is coming from the right side of the hall where a group of Astartes from the Hammers of Dorn have gathered around the Executioner with the strange armour. Their words carry across the room and while some pointedly ignore them, others are beginning to pay attention. The Hammers appear to be chastising the Executioner for his tribal-looking alterations to his armour and for carrying what looks to be an Astartes skull on the hilt of his weapon. Grimacing you start to move towards the group, prepared to quell any fight that breaks out.

Krixus Orison: All of the idle chatter around you is starting to become truly annoying. You have been in the hall for hours now after registering your presence with the Imperial Fists psyker and since then your brother Iron Knights have been sharing war stories with the green-armoured Invaders Chapter cousins that are present. A handful of marines from the Night Swords and Venom Blades have also gathered and all are sharing their past glories and battles of note with each other, either seeking to impress cousins from another Chapter or just relive their finest moments. Your own brothers are not pressing you for stories, knowing full well your feelings towards meaningless chatter, though some of the Night Swords are attempting to get you to share your own finest moments with them.Thankfully none of the others are trying, having given up in the face of your unwillingless to waste words.

Some of the marines here favour you with a nod, they are all veterans to a man and as you wait for the tournament to begin you remember arriving here early, the Imperial Fists gathering in the chapel-chamber and taking up guard positions. One among them, a veteran not only carrying a relic sword and an ornate stalker bolter but who also bore the mark of the elite Deathwatch, noticed you and inclined his head to you after a moment. You returned the nod, recognizing this man's status even though his identity is a mystery to you. He is still in the room and you catch glimpses of him occasionally, observing the room and delegating Imperial Fist guards to different parts of the room. You can see him now, heading towards a group of arguing Astartes that surround one particularly barbaric looking Executioner.

You notice that some Astartes are moving through a wide corridor, the Imperial Fists are not stopping them, though there is no guide to show where they are going. You could follow them, or stay here and observe the Imperial Fist veteran as he deals with this emerging scuffle.

Isaiah Melech: Your brothers surround you, an island of quiet contemplation and prayer in the large chamber. You are all the closest to the actual chapel ground while the rest of the gathered Astartes convene in the Narthex, the rows of cold stone pews and statues of famous Imperial Fists that line the isles are comforting and provide a fine place to reflect upon one's duty. An Imperial Fists Chaplain is present, and has offered you blessings which all of your brothers accepted as did you, however his methods of preaching and your own Corpus-Chaplains differ so greatly that he did not offer to hold a sermon for you, though neither did he comment on the practices of ritual flagellation, scarification and fasting that you have seen make Astartes not of the Excoriators discomforted. You sneer, they do not understand your Chapter's ways and never will despite that you all come from the same source. Even the Imperial Fists whose home you are in do not understand for they are descended from Rogal Dorn's elites, while your Chapter descends from those Fists who held the walls of Terra against the hordes of Horus Lupercal and his traitors.

Finally with a brief exhalation you finish your required observances and prayers and look up. Many of your brothers are still in prayer as are the other brothers present in the chapel. Two Black Templars are kneeling with their foreheads held to the hilt of their swords, beseeching the Emperor for his guidance, and a few of the Imperial Fist and Iron Knights are here as well. The other, less pious Chapters, have not been inside. You decide that it is wise for you to see what is happening outside and quietly move out of the chapel and into the narthex, several things catch your eye. The first is a group of the pompous Hammers of Dorn surrounding the most barbaric marine you have ever seen, and an Imperial Fist bearing down on them with purpose. The second is a group of marines leaving through a wide corridor, one Iron Knight in particular catches your attention as he hovers between the entry path and the group of bickering marines. The third is a new arrival that appears to be the only member of his Chapter, a marine whose gauntlets are carved to resemble fire and glow with an inner light, and his strange ruby-eyed death mask that weeps bronze and platinum immediately mark him as a Fire Lord, a particularly fierce Chapter and one notorious for their insular nature.

You begin to think about what to do next. You could see how this confrontation between Chapters plays out, see what lies beyond the corridor that is starting to draw attention, or observe this lone Fire Lord and see what he does.

Conric: The gathering that stands before you is very impressive. Marines from practically every Chapter of Dorn are here, though you are the only Executioner. It is not surprising, most other Chapters consider yours to be barbaric and some have even refused to fight alongside you in the past. Such things do not bother you, their words mean little compared to your deeds, but a slight to your honour must be avenged. Hopefully no-one here will make that mistake. As you enter the Narthex you draw more attention than any other arrival, some stay quiet and merely observe while some mutter under their breath in a tone that does not sound complimentary. One or two actually sneer at the mist painted to your armour, the blood-tallies across your helmet and the skull of the Axe-Brother that hangs from your chainaxe. None move to challenge you though. You sign your name in the registration tome, the Imperial Fist psyker welcomes you and despite his neutral tone you believe he is sincere. Once you are done you move through the crowd until a marine steps in front of you. His armour is a dark grey-blue with orange trims and faceplate, and inwardly you groan. He is one of the Hammers of Dorn, the most arrogant and obsessive Chapter in the entire bloodline. The marine does not waste time with his scorn.

"Unbelievable. To think that the Imperial Fists would allow a marine who so flagrantly violates the Codex Astartes to board the Phalanx. Your armour breaks an untold number of regulations within the Codex referring to Squad disposition, rank denominations, approved and noted colour schemes and official designations as dictated by Guilliman. And... that," he points towards the skull that hangs from your axe, "is behaviour I would expect from one of Russ's dogs rather than a son of Dorn. Your barbaric ways are a disgrace Executioner."

His words are clearly a slight upon you and your Chapter. You have killed for less. You notice that others have backed off and you are ringed by four members of this conceited and foolhardy Chapter, the cousin insulting you making five marines that are intent upon offending you. You also notice an Imperial Fist with the mark of the Deathwatch moving through the crowd towards your group, and you can guess his intent. You could start a fight here and now, you have been given more than enough cause, but that will not win you any points with your hosts, if that matters to you at all. Respond however you wish.

Caderyn: As you enter the Narthex you see a large gathering of the Adeptus Astartes, and you are the only Fire Lord among them all. The strike-cruiser Fire-Wyrm carried none of your battle-brothers here, and none have arrived from other ships nor will they. The Chapter is content to have you alone represent it, an immense honour and one that it is clearly expected you live up to. Many champions from different Chapters are here, you see the Imperial Fists here in large numbers which is obvious, the Black Templars are few but very visible, and many other Chapters are represented such as the Invaders and Iron Knights, the Excoriators and Hammers of Dorn and the Celestial Lions apparantely, though you can only see a small knot of them near a veteran with a very large pair of Lightning Claws. He looks to be an exceptional warrior. Perhaps you may be able to face him in the tournament.

One group catches your attention. A number of the Hammers of Dorn are surrounding one marine from the Executioners who stands out as much as you do. Where your armour is ornate and finely carved his is simply painted and adorned with trophies, where your armour depicts the righteous flame his is wreathed in mist and blood, and where you carry your fine double-edged blade Illuminos he carries a brutal two-headed chainaxe with the skull of an Astartes hanging from the hilt. It appears the Hammers are accosting him, not surprising consider his appearance and the Hammers obsession with the Codex Astartes. You get the sense that if you had been the one to walk by them instead of this Executioner, the result would be the same. It is up to you, you could get involved with this and back up the Executioner against these self-righteous fools or you could stand back and see how it plays out.

Solomon Feunand: As you enter the gathering the very first thing you notice is the gaze of an Imperial Fist that appears to be observing the entire chamber from a higher position. You note that he bears the mark of the elite Deathwatch, a fellow alien-hunter and perhaps one you have heard of or recognize from your service, even . Many brothers acknowledge your presence, the honourable nature of the Celestial Lions being well-known, this combined with your veteran status and Deathwatch honours make sure that the cousin-marines here show their respect to you. Some of the Iron Knights and Invaders hail you, welcoming you to the Feast and direct you to the registry where the Imperial Fist Epistolary welcomes you to the Feast of Blades. Your fellow Celestial Lions stay close to you but begin to converse with marines around them. As you move slowly through the crowd you notice a small number of Astartes are beginning to leave through a wide corridor, though it does not appear as if the exit is required, though there is no guide or sign to show what they are heading towards. You consider follow them when something else draws your attention.

A fight looks like it will break out. A group of the Hammers of Dorn, a fine chapter but one known for their obsession with the Codex Astartes, is accosting an Executioner and a particularly fearsome loooking one at that. You cannot hear what they are saying but from the Executioner's body language it seems very very likely that violence is about to erupt. You frown at this unbrotherly display, the Hammers of Dorn are likely the ones who started this conflict. You also notice another marine observing the brewing fight and it appears he is mulling over the same question you are. Should you get involved or stay back and see how this plays out?? The choice is yours, though the Imperial Fist veteran with Deathwatch markings is approaching the group and his intent appears to be to break up the fight, but he may not arrive in time before the Executioner attacks or is swarmed.

Antaeus: Your prayer to the Emperor is simple, a beseechment for his favour and protection in the coming battles and tribulations, and for victory in the name of the High Marshall and Rogal Dorn. Your brother Black Templars, few in number at this gathering as very few Templars wish to observe a fight rather than be a part of one, are here solely as your honour-guard and pray alongside you. Once you all finish you exit the chapel, noticing an Excoriator doing the same while his remaining brethren continue their muttered prayers. There is no space for them to whip each other bloody so they must suffice with simple prayers, their way contrasts so greatly with yours that it is incomprehensible. Each one of them is heavily scarred, though because of their ways you cannot tell which is a battle scar and which is a ritual scar. As you exit the chapel you return to the large gathering of Astartes, many of them pay you the respect due your Chapter which continuously crusades against the Emperor's enemies, never resting and never stopping. None of the Chapters here can claim such an honour or such a duty.

Your fellow Templars shadow you, making sure that your status as a Champion of the Chapter is recognized by all. Ahead you notice a red and orange and yellow armoured marine enter the room, a Fire Lord and he appears to be alone. Their chapter is quite insular and it is surprising to see one, though of course they would send a representative here. You examine him briefly and from what you can see he appears to be a formidable warrior, his power sword looks ornate and well-maintainted as does his shield though it is of an odd appearance. You have heard strange things about this Chapter, mainly about their tribal and primitive ways, in some cases superstitious and perhaps even borderline heretical practices, but this marine before you does not appear heretical in the slightest. You turn your head to look at what he is looking at and see one of the most barbaric marines you have ever witnessed. An Executioner, without a doubt, and he is being accosted by a group of Astartes from the Hammers of Dorn. You can see the Fire Lord and a Celestial Lion tensing as if they are considering moving to the Executioner's aid, you wonder whether you should get involved. But on whose side? The Executioner who clearly looks like a barbaric throwback to primitive times, or the obsessive and arrogant Hammers of Dorn? The choice is yours.

[And with that welcome to Blood of Dorn. A quick note to all players, the All section at the top does not need to be followed first. It merely offers suggestions for filler material in your posts, things your character can think about while he is waiting. Things will pick up in a few posts, but the first few updates are about the characters meeting and the main story beginning. I hope you enjoy this first post, rest assured things will get more exciting later on. Have fun.]


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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-07-13, 08:31 PM
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I look at the Night Sword stood before me, my head slightly raised towards the taller man as he continues to babble about his victories and once more seeks to engage me in chatter. It is beginning to become irritating, my armor and honor markings speak enough of my deeds and all shall soon enough see my skill at arms within the tournament, I have no need to boast and extoll my own virtues. I raise my hand and stall his words causing him to frown at me as I see the Imperial Fist who had been observing me begin to walk across the chamber, focused on something. I turn and walk from the Night Sword without a word looking to see where the Fists gaze is directed, anything to spare me from the Swords useless tirade. As I walk two of my brothers follow me as does on of the Invaders they were speaking to.

I make my way through the gathered warriors and many more begin to turn their heads towards raised voices. I continue to move towards the noise and the source of the commotion is revealed to me as I see a group of Astartes approximately 20m away. Around 4 Hammers of Dorn are stood in front of me they are berating a warrior from the Executioners chapter who bears many outlandish decorations, one or two I recognize from fighting alongside them in the Fornarix campaign. The Hammers of Dorn are a young chapter who's roll of honor has only just begun and it raises my ire to see them speaking in such tones to a warrior from such an older and established chapter. It is true that the Executioners are somewhat unorthodox and barbaric but they have a harsh code of honor and are willing to fight to defend it. I have seen this before. It appeals to me. What is dogmatic adherence to a book when honor and service are concerned. The Hammers are shouting about the Codex and it again inflames my senses to hear them refer to it as "Holy".

As the Fist bearing the mark of the deathwatch draws closer one of the Hammers begins to face up towards the Executioner. I fold my arms across my chest and watch. "This is about to become interesting" I vox to my brothers.

Expecting violence to erupt I am surprised and taken back when the Executioner politely enquirers to the Hammers name. I am once more impressed by this man. I can see the violence is barely restrained, the fiber muscles of his armor stand tense, ready to spring. I smile behind my Helm tilting my head slightly as I see the Yellow armored Fist approach.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-08-13, 01:05 PM
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Isaiah Melech stands to the side of the entrance to the small chapel watching the proceedings with a grim look on his face. It was only a matter of time before some sort of commotion would start, there's always is when this many fellow astartes are gathered, at least this time he's not baring the brunt of it.

A Black Templar who clearly thinks he's better than most, strides past followed by his lap dogs as if proclaiming the coming of Sigismund himself, he has no time for the overly overt piety of that chapter, the Ecclesiarchy he can deal with, they are but men and occasionally women dressed in some sort of mocking mimicry of Astartes, but his cousins, the Black Templars, should know better.

He turns and takes a look into the chapel to see what his brothers are doing, rolling his eyes at the various figures in silent prayer, if you're not donning the mantle then prayers and other verbal proclamations border on superstition to Isaiah, the only true form of showing reverence to the father is shedding your own blood in his name, be it on the front line or at the end of a whip.

Isaiah turns his attention back to the commotion, noticing several figures walking towards it, for the sake of Dorn he'll stay to make sure none of his blood is shed. He grasps the handle of his newly received whip, he'd spent time prior to arriving on the Phalanx practicing it's use. More of a last resort weapon in his eyes as he prefers the use of his combi flamer, the weapon had a certain amount of practicality to it, it could rend limbs or slice armour at a pretty useful distance, equally when not powered it could simply coil around a limb to restrain it, or it could be used to disarm an opponent.

For the sake of the Feast, he hopes he's not put in the position where it is required..

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Conric sat on the Bridge of the Executioner's frigate Garroter.

He slowly ran his tongue over the front of his teeth beneath his lips. Whenever he was aboard a ship re-entering realspace, he could never tell if the tingling feeling in his bones was real or just his imagination. He sat slightly hunched to the left at the seat of an empty station facing the vessel's commander, Brother Ahnyk. Though his body faced the captain's chair, his face was toward the viewport...

The massive space drifting fortress monastery, The Phalanx, lay ahead of them, with distant starlight shimmering off of its edges and sides like a small moon; half of it eclipsed.

Four of his battle brothers were with him on the Garroter for the long journey to the Feast of Blades, Captain Ahnyk among them. None of them were from his company. It was simply a group large enough to escort him to the tournament, and defend the ship from a mild warp invasion if necessary. No astartes from the Executioners chapter had any interest in an escort mission.

"An Unimaginable sight." Said Ahnyk in what was probably the softest pronounced sentence Conric had ever heard one of his brothers mutter.

"If it was unimaginable, it would never have been designed, built, and floating before your very eyes." Conric jested in return.

Ahnyk gave a single, short, half-hearted laugh. But it was still heavy enough to make his chest rise for a moment.

It was the first time any of the five Executioners had seen the home of the Imperial Fists. When Conric had fought alongside the Fists for the first time in the decade long war against the orks in the Hassla sector, he had heard The Phalanx was in-system for a time. He probably saw it, thinking it was just another star in the night sky.

He sat admiring with this heavy battle axe in both hands resting over his knees. He was holding it still, while a group of serfs huddled over its twin bladed headstock, aching as they put the final touches on the most recent addition to its paintings. This fourth piece would be the final one, all four plates on the head of his chain-axe now covered. But, Conric knew, it would certainly not be his last deed painted on something. He tore his eyes away from the viewport to watch the tiny brushes held in bionic hands as the soft, tightly wound mammal hairs were dipped in inks and delicately brushed over the cold metal surfaces. Such tiny lines, such a grand realistic portrayal of himself, bloodied and bruised with no weapons but his clenched fists, standing over nine defeated brothers of his chapter in the Flag ship's training arena. They weren't dead, but all were unconscious. This was the deed that made him champion select to be sent to the upcoming Feast of Blades. The Executioners didn't have one or a few pre-decided individuals for such a thing...they weren't normally invited. The Emperor's Warbringers chapter elected the Executioners to attend in their stead, currently preoccupied with a significant foe.

The Executioners didn't know how else to decide their representative other than to fight for it. Conric battled hand to hand with nine other veterans of the chapter, no armor, no weapons. The truest meaning of close combat, and Conric came out on top.

His eyes slowly wandered over to the other half of the side of his axe facing upward, where a previous great deed worthy of remembrance was intricately portrayed. He broke half a smile remembering the campaign fought against the bastard Iron Warriors legion on the many orbital plates surrounding the mineral rich gas-giant named Golan. The beautiful artwork was a gory display of him mutilating a Chaos Champion who led the Iron Warriors' last stand on the final orbital plate to be cleansed. Cleaning up Iron Warriors had made him very proud indeed, being the archenemy of his Primarch and founding legion.

The Executioners had fought alongside the Fire Lords during that war. He leaned back for a minute without adjusting his arms to keep the axe still. There was one Fire Lord in particular who he had fought closely with throughout the missions to expunge the Traitors from that region of space. In fact, Conric would go as far to say he fought more smoothly alongside this Fire Lord than he does most of his own battle brothers. The Executioners had gotten along with the Fire Lords like no other chapter they had ever allied with before. Both chapters had a strong sense of warrior honor and chapter tradition, even despite the 'oddities' of their traditions. Both preferred being up close and personal when killing the enemies of Man.

Caderyn was the Fire Lord's name, and though not sure if the Fire Lords would be sending anyone to the Feast of Blades, Conric was certain that if they did Caderyn would be among their number. He chuckled silently remembering the warrior's skin being completely covered in blue paint, but respected it all the same. Though he found it humorous, he knew it was similar to the blood markings on his own helm.


With the final painting on his battle axe now completely finished, he held the large weapon upright in his left hand, his helmet hanging at his waist on the right as he stood in the now docked Garroter looking into the Phalanx and the two Imperial Fist escorts standing at the other end of the tunneled catwalk. He turned back to the four Executioners he had come to know well in the past month's travel and felt an unfamiliar wrench in his chest and gut. It occurred to him as odd. He knew there was a good chance some number of brother-cousins would detest his arrival. He was unperturbed by this, but still he suddenly realized, it would be the first time he would be entirely alone, separated from the rest of his chapter until the ending of the Feast. It dawned on him in a crashing wave of sudden awareness that the furthest he had ever been from another Executioner since becoming one was maybe a few kilometers.

He thought no further on the matter. With a kurt grunt he nodded his dismissal to his battle brothers and started through the walkway. He turned his cheek back towards them and said aloud, "Ahnyk! Make sure to tell the High-Executioner when you get back, that I demand nothing less than the four of you being sent straight into glorious combat upon your return, and that I could have handled the Frigate alone!" he laughed, as did they, and then the ship's doors sealed shut.


The bright red feather shook vigorously over his hand as the quill scratched its onyx path on the dense paper in the registration tome: "Conric Alnun - Executioners Chapter"

He appreciated the genuine nature of the Librarian's welcome and made his way further into the Narthex. His eyes darted to many things seemingly at once. The Imperial fists watching over the gathering...he quickly accumulated that despite being amongst friends, even now their positions were, quite frankly, perfect in case they needed to gun down everyone in the room for some reason. This made him a bit uneasy but he shook it off as instinct. With each step Conric became more aware of an increasing number of faces and battle helms turned towards him. He was alone. They were in groups. No one knew him. No one liked him.

He knew there were always twelve chapters that attended. He noted ten of them besides himself. There were Imperial Fists, Crimson Fists, Black templars, Excoriators, Invaders, and the Iron knights who he held much respect for in this festival knowing their chapter's winnings and the legacies of Hervald Strom and Champion Cadulon. Then there were hammers of Dorn, Celestial Lions, Night swords, and Venom Blades...the latter two he knew nothing about but their chapter names and colors, if he was to be honest.

His ears picked up the cowardly mutterings of disrespect towards him and his chapter. He closed his eyes as he continued forward, and locked away the sound of their voices in his memory. He would know them again if any of them ever spoke to him in the future.

With his eyes still closed, footsteps fell in front of him. Then moved slower to surround him. They were within arms reach, big mistake, the footfalls were louder than the others in the room, revealing steadfast intent, the number of footfalls in front of him was ten, five enemies. Conric opened his eyes narrow, brows deeply furrowed. They had him out numbered, and the ring around him revealed caution, weakness.

Black and brass filled his vision. The Hammers of Dorn. A healthy young chapter with quite an honorable list of victories tallying up quickly. But thats exactly all that it was. Young and healthy and everything that came with it: arrogance, foolishness, over-confidence, and some form of reversed rebellion by trying to be different in following the same combat doctrine as everyone else. Outshine the Ultramarines...Conric almost spit on the floor at the thought. He was the real rebel here, the Executioners were the real standout chapter here. After all, it was him everyones' eyes were on while he strode through the Narthex, not them.

After the leader of the group made his opinion known, Conric could already see and sense movement that indicated interjection. He wouldn't have to do a thing here and now. It was only when Astartes from the various chapters began to part, moving back in preparation for the fight surely about to break out, that Conric saw the red and yellow colors he had hoped for. The Executioner stood tall and straight, relaxed in fact, a smile on his face as his gaze ignored the Hammers of Dorn and looked upon Caderyn the Fire Lord.

"He's here after all. He too, the only marine from his chapter. He too, a rebel in his demeanor and decorum." Thought Conric, and with a nod of his head he indicated to his friend that he would not need to do anything here, at this time, at this very moment.

Already one of the Imperial Fists, and at least one of the the Celestial Lions as well, was making haste towards the spectacle. As much as it boiled his cold blood to see others approach as if he needed aid, he let the insult of the Fists and Lions slide for the time being.

Conric returned his gaze to that of the Hammer of Dorn who so crudely offended him and said,

"What is your name, and are you participating in this Feast of Blades?"

You can never be prepared for the unexpected

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The metal interior of the thunderhawk shook as it docked with the Phalanx, the void-bound home of the Imperial Fists, blood-kin of the Crimson Fists. Veteran Sergeant Inhuatli Esteban immediately began to ponder of the Astartes that were gathering on this most momentous of occasions. All were of the blood of Rogal Dorn, meaning that all of those gathered at the Feast of Blades carried his legacy within them. Inhuatli's mind began to wonder back to the victory over the accursed Greenskins that proved him worthy of the honour of attending the Feast. His power fist-clad hand clenching slightly at the thought of the wretched xenos, the doors of the craft hissed open thus breaking the Crimson Fist from his memories. Flicking his ebony scalplock, gently stroking against his reddish skin, the Veteran rose to his feet and gave one last quick dust-over of his ornate power armour before stepping out of thunderhawk.

As he found himself outside of the transport's azure and crimson hull, Inhuatli took in the sheer vastness of the Phalanx's hangar. It took a lot to make him feel small and this most mundane of places on the planetoid made him feel like a star in the vastness of the void. A flickering sensation manifested in his ocular implant, prompting the Veteran to pound his fist gently against it. This always happened in those rare moments when the Crimson Fist felt awe from a great sight. With the flickering now ending, Inhuatli took attention at the craft that were gathered here. It was mostly the craft of founding Chapter; out of the sea of vibrant yellow however his organic, amber coloured eye caught sight of black. No doubt the most fanatical of Dorn's sons, the Black Templars, were here as well. The Veteran always thought of them as odd, to say the least; that they accept the Imperial Creed of ordinary men unto themselves seemed the most strange of all. Given their record of successes however, Inhuatli was never one to question results, Emperor knows they needed. Throughout his ponderings, the Crimson Fist barely noticed the serfs bowing to him and aiding their fellows in his chapter. He paid only half of his attention to them, only noting that they were asking him to follow him. The Veteran simply nodded as he followed the lesser men. As they left the hangar bay, Inhuatli's eyes widened at this new sight he saw. If he thought where his thunderhawk landed was impressive, then what he saw was clearly a feast for his senses. The hallway's architecture was ornate, its beauty spoke of a time of long lost glories, a time when all of Rogal Dorn's sons stood under the banner of the Imperial Fists. Stroking his beard in intrigue with his unarmed hand, the Sternguard Sergeant continued following the Serfs.

It had been almost a full hour since Inhuatli had set foot upon the Phalanx, still in tow with the serfs. Apart from the Imperial Fists, who he saluted and in return their acknowledgements as cousin and gestures of respect towards his rank, he saw no other Astartes. It made sense, since the Imperial Fists would not wish for their kinsmen to become lost within the Phalanx's depths, so therefore they would be kept in one place for the time being. The sound of speech then echoed closely, they were close. Eventually the serfs brought the Crimson Fist into a vast chamber; whatever words the Crusade Company Veteran was about to say, was taken away at the sheer number of Astartes gathered. All of them he could recognise. The Imperial Fists obviously and the Black Templars were instantly the most recognisable. Next was a single representative from the Executioners, his tribal-esque armour conveying a fierce air about him. Next was the Celestial Lions, whom Inhuatli respected for their honour and then there was codex-fanatic Hammers of Dorn and more Astartes of the Primarch's bloodline aside. In the corner of his bionic eye, he noticed a familiar glint of dark blue and red, more Crimson Fists were here. Before he could go to them the serfs pointed him towards a lectern. Upon the table lay a book and a red quill. Behind it stood an Astartes clad in the familiar blue of the Chapter librarius. The Librarian looked at the Veteran, who felt a little uneasy as he felt the Imperial Fists psyker gaze deep into his soul. He spoke:

"Welcome cousin of the Crimson Fists, I am Epistolary Schraeder. Please sign your name here."

And so Inhuatli did, writing his name and Chapter into the ledger. Afterwards he marched towards his battle-brothers, who saluted him with clasped fists, who stood next to the Celestials Lions. Before he managed to speak, a series of shouting broke the friendly chatter. It was the Hammers of Dorn criticising the Executioner for his deviations from the codex. Sighing, the Crimson Fist turned to an ornately clad Celestial Lion, no doubt a Veteran.

"Nothing like a gathering of kin to bring out the best of us eh?"

When the sky falls down, The Dead sleep no more. Can you survive as your world slowly tears itself apart?

"When life gives you lemons...BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD"
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The ancient halls of the Phalanx were alive with a riot of movement and colour, chapter serfs hurried about the many new arrivals and flocks of cherubs swooped overhead; the lumen lamps they carried briefly illuminating the cavernous ceilings. Only in times great war or great celebration does the Phalanx see so much activity, this occasion was the later, the legendary Feast of Blades. I recall well the aura of excitement surrounding the last great feast a full century ago, many bonds of brotherhood had been forged and many more renewed. I had recently been promoted to the first company but my service in the Gath-herd Rebellion had kept me from observing the proceedings, upon my return my brother fists recounted the many tales and glories of those they had met.

Now one hundred years later I stand watch over the Narthex, a ceremonial yet spacious chamber home to a small chapel and mediation garden that, for today, plays host to the many guests and participants of the Feast. My Lord Pugh has honoured me with the duty of ensuring security for the event, and even now my marines cover the halls and entrances. Any time Astartes of differing ideals and traditions gather there is friction, even between blood brothers; old grudges resurface, dispositions clash, and some may even seek to prove the superiority of their chapter with challenges. In most cases honour and mutual respect are enough to keep any disagreements from escalating, but one must always be prepared.

As the stream of new arrivals began to ebb, I looked around at the assembled warrior, most veterans of their respective chapters as denoted by the terminator honours proudly displayed in varying places on their armour. To the unknown multitudes of the Imperium we Astartes must all appear similar, each chapter is a force of destruction encased in Ceramite and Adamantium, arriving from the sky to crush the enemies of man. But standing there in the midst of warriors of a dozen different chapters I took note of just how different we truly were. The armour of my brother fists and I is freshly painted and Spartan in decoration, the assembled Venom Blades appeared fresh from crusade, their warplate worn and chipped. One, an Executioner I believe stood alone from the rest, his armour covered in chains and trophies and I noticed a large skull on the hilt of his weapon.

I cast my gaze over each of them in turn, observing the differences in their chosen weapons and armour trappings. Most, presumably preferring a balanced load out carried standard issue weapons such as the Bolter and Chainsword, though many were highly decorate. A few however carried specialised equipment, a Celestial lion with a pair of vicious lightning claws, one of my crimson cousins with a mighty power fist and an Excoriator with a bladed whip of a design I did not recognise. I had learned long ago that one could tell much of a warriors fighting style and history by the weapons he chooses to carry, it pays to watch carefully.

--"Shogun 3 status update, all is proceeding well."--
It was a routine message, as was my response. Every fifteen minutes my com would buzz to life and the teams would report in. The last of the attendees were scheduled to arrive within the hour and then the ceremony could begin.

A group of Black Templars caught my eye as they entered the chapel, their ornate ebon armour was adorned with litanies of duty and flowing parchment. One in particular stood out to me, he wore a tabard emblazoned with the crusaders cross and carried a truly monstrous glaive, a member of the Sword Brethren if I was not mistaken, recalling the stories of my Deathwatch brother Seighart.

A shout from the far end of the chamber caught my attention, I turned to find the source and caught sight of the Executioner I had noticed earlier surrounded by half a dozen Hammers of Dorn.

--"Watcher to all Praetorians - possible situation, I am moving in to diffuse. Pattern 44."-- I moved through the assembled Astartes at a fast pace, hand on the hilt of my relic blade, broadcasting my authority and intent. Already a crowd was gathering around the Hammers and their boastful leader, I arrived in time to hear him finish his tirade.

"..is behaviour I would expect from one of Russ's dogs rather than a son of Dorn. Your barbaric ways are a disgrace Executioner." In preparation for the Feast I had studied the Executioners extensively, they were a sight all too rare at the event and though their combat record was worthy of the honour they were insular and their trust was not easy to earn. The appearance of the brother before me was indeed reminiscent of the Wolves of Fenris, but as I had learned so too were the Wolves honourable and fiercely loyal. On occasions such as this I missed Lorthar's broad smile and quick wit, he would have seen the funny side.

"What is your name, and are you participating in this Feast of Blades?" The Executioner's response was far more level headed than I initially expected, the marine exuded confidence and power, but must have thought better than to rise to the bait of the young Hammer. My respect for the Chapter increased as I had learned during my research that the Executioners took slights against their honour very seriously indeed, they had chosen their representative well.

The Hammers of Dorn stood in a half circle around the Executioner, a formation designed to intimidate no doubt. They were a young chapter, eager to prove themselves worthy of the legacy they had inherited; however as with so many others before them, they were brash and boastful in their youth. The Hammers adhered to the codex astartes rigidly, almost fanatically and took great pleasure in imposing this dogmatic viewpoint on all they encountered. This had gone on long enough.

"You dishonour yourselves Brothers." My voice rang deep and loud in the chamber, many of the assembled marines turned to face me, as I moved to position myself between the Executioner and the Hammers

"The only dishonour here is that this savage was allowed to board the mighty Phalanx in the first place, he is flagrantly in breach of key codex tenants in his appearance alone." The Hammer, short for an Astartes, looked up to meet my gaze, he advertised his ignorance and naivety plainly, a shame that such a shortfall had not been corrected earlier.

"The wise commander will recognise the differences in the troops he commands and will seek to use their individual strengths to boost the effectiveness of his attack and bolter his defence. Codex Astartes, Commander Tactics, Chapter 19. I advise you to read it." I had known his type before, youthful arrogance left unchecked for too long, he still had much to learn before he would command loyalty from any outside his own chapter.

The Hammer seemed momentarily taken aback, he had not been expecting that, he raised his hand as if to lecture me on some clause or paragraph. I would not give him the chance.

"You and your brothers are guests of Vladimir Pugh and you represent the honour and voice of your chapter in a tradition started by Rogal Dorn himself. You will remember that well and show our other guests the respect they deserve or your invitation shall be....re-evaluated." With that I turned and walked back my post, letting the full gravity of my words linger behind me.

--"Watcher to squads Tarsis and Shogun stand down, immediate situation resolved, keep the Hammers of Dorn in sight."-- The Imperial fists I had ordered into flanking positions fell back to cover the exits, with luck it would set an example and allow the rest of the feast to proceed as planed.

Strike Force Crucible <--- deathwatch army log

You are charged with the crime of existance Xenos! - Watch Librarian Auron

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Hive Jaarus was atomised in a retina-burning flash. The clouds parted, a lance of golden light - The Emperor's Fury, the Guardsmen called it - Spearing downwards, striking the Hive's poisonous heart. The light, utterly blinding, turned night into day for a brief moment - Visible for miles - Before fading away, leaving the landscape glowing an angry red, the ground a glassy, uninhabitable wasteland.

Caderyn watched the spectacle unfold, alongside his Captain - Antigonus the Black, Foe-hammer, Scourge of the Orks - Arms folded across his chest, helm locked in place. Two hundred other Fire Lords, a task force from the First, Fourth and Ninth Companies, surrounded them; weapons mag-locked to thighs, heads tilted skywards. Guardsmen of the Eliktoni Rifles, in their gold frogging and white shakoes, crowded around in their tens of thousands. Some moaned, blinded by the bombardment, others cheered and punched the air and some even twitched, where their hearts had given out, ignored by their fellow Riflemen.

'What of Captain Gaelan?' Antigonus grumbled, fingering his beard. He alone went without helm, his skin scrawled with fire motifs, painted a dark, near-black, blue. Clad in tactical drednought armour, Antigonus resembled a tank more than a Space Marine; his head dwarfed between giant, rounded pauldrons.

'Negative, sire,' Caderyn said, his voice bitter. He, along with the entirety of the Fire Lords, knew that Captain Gaelan and his fifty Astartes would not be returning from Hive Jaarus.

'Very well,' Antigonus returned, nodding his head. He turned away from the smoldering plain, marching towards the command tent of Lord Militant Drayvon. 'Walk with me.'

Caderyn complied at once, falling into step behind his commander, gauntlet tightening around the hilt of his blade, Illuminos. False-muscles in his armour tensed, expecting violence. Humans, Eliktoni and Cadians, Tallarns and Skyrans, moved aside as the two giants advanced into the camp - Past makeshift defences, messhalls and whorehouses - No-one, not even the most pious of Guardsmen, wishing to slow their revered angels. Tired, dust-rimmed eyes barely acknowledged Antigonus and Caderyn, following the Space Marines disinterestedly. Hive Jaarus had been a meat-grinder of a campaign, exhausting the lives of untold Guardsmen, and it showed. Vehicles were scorched and boots scuffed, many of the Guardsmen displaying bandages over their grey-green flak armour. An entire armoured Regiment - The Cadian something-or-another - Had been battered, routed and systematically destroyed at the Hive's monolithic gates.

A pair of storm-troopers, faces hidden beneath mirrored visors, stamped to attention as Antigonus marched into Drayvon's tent. The First Captain ignored them completely. The command tent was bustling with activity, Regimental commanders and aides crowded around the central hololith table; some were solemn and brooding, others sipping away at wine - Their faces set in cheerful, victorious smiles. At the head of the table, wearing snow-white and blood-red, was Lord Militant Drayvon.

Lord Militant Dravyon was a pot-bellied, bald-headed buffoon. He was balding, with a short, pugnacious nose and great white whiskers. He was a Scholam graduate, and Caderyn doubted that he'd ever been face-to-face with the enemy. The Fire Lords, upon arrival in the sector, had unanimously took a dislike to the arrogant, condescending Drayvon. Caderyn was no exception - He despised the man with a passion - And now both he, and Lord Antigonus, had every right to. Dravyon's orbital strike, Caderyn knew, would be his last blunder.

'Congratulations, Lord Militant,' Antigonus grunted as he entered. His hands clenched into fists, servos whinning angrily. 'You have just comitted genocide.'

Dravyon wheeled, piggish eyes narrowing further, and nodded. 'Necessary losses. The infestation is contained. Your presence here is no longer required, Lord Antigonus.'

'Fifty-one of my brethren were still within the boundaries of the Hive, Lord Militant,' Antigonus stepped closer and Dravyon visibly shirked away. 'They were given insufficient warning of the bombardment.'

'A great loss, yes, I'm sure,' Dravyon said, with a sad smile. 'But as I said, it was necessary. The Xenos infestation has been-'

'Contained? Exterminated? What?' Antigonus's voice was a volcanic crash, a clashing of syllables. 'Twenty thousand Guardsmen, over a million other Imperials and fifty-one of the Emperor's Astartes. That is the butcher's bill, Dravyon. You are an incompetent fool. You have condemned yourself, Lord Militant. The losses are unacceptable, your callous disregard for life has nigh-on ruined the crusade group. Blood calls for blood.'

And, with that, Antigonus drew his storm-bolter. Dravyon lost control of his bladder, pissing himself, as the huge barrel reared before his face.

'I am the Lord Militant, you'll never ge-' Dravyon managed, before his world ended in fire and noise. His headless body stumbled, striking the table, pulling it over with him. Blood was gushing from the Lord Militant's shoulders; a fine, crimson mist hanging in the air. Two of his aides cried out, fearing a similar fate, and made a run for it. The Imperial Guardsmen within stood, mouths agape, shocked.

Antigonus said no-more, spun on his heel, and left. Caderyn glanced one last time at the corpse of the Lord Militant, muttered a curse, and followed his lord. He caught him, pushing through the Imperial Guardsmen - Hundreds of which had gathered at the sound of Antigonus's shot - A murderous glint remaining in his eyes, like a whispered promise of violence.

'Tell me, Caderyn,' He said, as the Champion reached him, hand still locked around Illuminos. 'What do you know of the Feast of Blades?'


And so it was, that six months later, Caderyn now stood on the bridge of the strike cruiser, Fire-wyrm. It was an ugly vessel, three kilometres of warp-beaten ceramite and adamantium, shaped like a vast dagger. A city of cathedra rose up from the vessel's back, like a gargantuan spine, dotted with world-killer cannons and cavernous torpedo bays. The prow, a giant's cleaver, flickered in the distance - Starlight dancing across the scuffed, battle-worn surface. The bridge was, for once, quiet. All eyes, from the lowliest of serfs to the shipmaster, Keylon, were turned upon the behemoth before them. It was the largest starship ever constructed by the hand of man, resembling an uprooted city - All towers, sensorium domes and battlements - Rather than a starship. Caderyn had never before set eyes upon it, though he knew of the vessel's potent destructive powers, of her labyrinthine depths and proud history. The name was holy amongst the Imperial Fists and their descendants, one of Dorn's greatest achievements, perhaps his greatest.

'The Phalanx,' Caderyn breathed, after a moment of silence. 'Spectacular.'

'That's putting it lightly,' Keylon said, smiling coolly. He was a bag-of-bones, with hollow cheekbones and sunken, blind eyes. The Fire-wyrm was his, and had been his, for nearly a century. His tactical acumen, his prowess in naval combat, was legendary. And despite his detached, calculating nature, Caderyn had warmed to his company. Indeed, he would be sad to part ways with the shipmaster. 'It makes us look like a toy. Look, here,' He pointed, through the bridge's viewing ports, at a forest of cannons. 'This section alone outguns us. I wouldn't fancy our chances against her, nevermind the escorts.'

And, of the escorts, there was no shortage. Caderyn counted thirty - Strike cruisers and battle barges, frigates and destroyers - Most in the sun-kissed yellow of the Imperial Fists, though others bore the livery of son-Chapters proudly - A Crimson Fist frigate, a striker cruiser of the Black Templars and, more interestingly, a lone vessel in the colours of the Executioners. Caderyn licked his lips, noting down the presence of his brother-cousins. Less than a century earlier, on the Golan Orbital Plates, an Executioner by the name of Conric - A vicious, cunning bastard, - Had served besides Caderyn. Their ways, their morbid fascination with head-taking, had been all too familiar with the Fire Lord. Their frigate was, the Champion thought, a more-than welcome sight.

A strike cruiser, Titus, was maneuvering towards the Fire-wyrm with almost-gentle bursts of her secondary and tertiary engines.

'Fire-wyrm, Fire-wyrm,' The vox crackled, filling the bridge. 'Please stand down and prepare for boarding.'

'My vessel hasn't been boarded in half a damned century,' Keylon grunted to Caderyn. 'But the Fists suspect foul play? I hope Antigonus sent you to remove that stick from their arses, Caderyn.'

The Fire Lord laughed, a loud, raucous sound. Keylon was busying himself, tapping commands into his control panel, streams of data hovering before his face. The Titus drifted alongside the Fire-wyrm, extended boarding vestibules, and connected with a great trembling. Along the Fire-wyrm's length, armoured seals twisted open, permitting Imperial Fist boarding teams aboard. One, led by an Astartes garbed in the blue of the Librarium, strode directly onto the bridge.

He was tall and broad, with a shock of blonde hair and a nose that had been broken too many times. Dull, grey eyes flickered to Caderyn briefly, before returning to Keylon. He bowed his head, though there was little respect in the gesture, and asked for Keylon's permission to come onto the bridge.

'You're already here,' The shipmaster answered, with a tut. Caderyn grinned. 'Aye, come on. Close the door, you're letting the cold out.'

The Librarian, an Epistolary, curled his lip. For a moment, Caderyn expected a surge of violence; he saw it, in his mind's-eye - Keylon slumping, pierced by the warrior's blade, the bark of bolters echoing throughout the bridge - But, then, the Imperial First nodded.

'Cousin,' Caderyn interrupted, extending his gauntlet. He went unhelmed, teeth shining against blue lips as he spoke. 'I am Caderyn, Champion of the Fire Lords.'

The Epistolary's escort - A pair of dour looking Marines with bolters held across their aquila-bound chest - Bristled. Something flickered in the Psyker's eyes, the briefest glimmer, one that Caderyn knew all too well - Disgust.

The ways of the Fire Lords, were by many, considered damnable. It was evident now, Caderyn realised, that not all of his cousin-brothers would be welcoming. Hesitantly, the Epistolary took Caderyn's hand - His grip strong - And shook.

'Epistolary Varrick,' He drawled, though his attentions were back on Keylon. 'Lord Pugh has entrusted me with guiding the Fire-wyrm into her berths. Your helmsmen are no longer needed, shipmaster.'

'My helmsmen,' Keylon warned. 'Are not going anywhere, Epistolary Varrick. This is my ship. That,' He pointed a talon-like finger at the Phalanx. 'Is your Lord Pugh's. The Fyre-wyrm is mine. Now, you may aid my helmsmen, but there will be no restructuring of my command.'

'Lord Pugh is Chapt-' Varrick began. Keylon silenced him with a raised hand.

'I don't care. This is my ship. It's safe and secure, is it not?'

Varrick grunted a yes, begrudgingly.

'And that is what matters. Your Phalanx is impressive, Varrick. But my helmsmen are skilled. They have navigated the shipping lanes, and the depths beyond, for decades. I won't have you - Or anyone else - Stepping on their toes. I trust that you, and your Lord Pugh, will respect that.'

Varrick seethed, unlight dancing within his psychic hood, before calming. His companions hovered fingers over triggers, eyes set on the Epistolary. They were, Caderyn realised with a half-smile, watching the Librarian as much as Keylon.

'Very well. I will input the coordinates into the Fire-wyrm's noosphere.'

'Good. I am glad we could come to an agreement.' Replied Keylon, his tone unmistakably sardonic.

Caderyn never realised how much he respected Keylon until he was aboard the Phalanx.


He was accompanied, like a prisoner, by a pair of Imperial Fists. They fell into step on either side of him, a pair of golden sentinels, faceless beneath their helms. Neither of them offered conversation, speaking only to direct the Fire Lord down a new hallway, unto a new elevator, across a new gantry. Varrick had returned to the Titus after the Fire-wyrm's docking procedures were complete, dishonoured and embarrassed by a mortal. The size of the Phalanx was incomprehensible; swallowing the strike cruiser whole. Caderyn couldn't shake a feeling of claustrophobia - A smothering, hollow embrace - As he marched along the vessel's hallways. It was, he realised, an alien feeling; completely out of place, something distinctly human.

'How many souls dwell aboard the Phalanx?' Inquired Caderyn, after a while.

One of the Fists shrugged. 'Thousands, tens of thousands? Who knows?'

You should, thought Caderyn distastefully.

'The Emperor Himself walked these halls,' The other laughed, a deep-chested, warm noise. He swept a gauntlet out, indicating the marbled expanse before them. Hundreds of serfs and pilgrims thronged here and there, under the scrutinous eye of Imperial Fists. A lone Black Templar, in the black and white of his Chapter, was kneeling before a statue of Rogal Dorn; lost in prayer. 'And you are concerned by mortals? You Fire Lords are a strange breed, cousin. Is it true? What they say about your Chapter?'

Caderyn smiled beneath his faceplate. 'That would depend on what is said, Imperial Fist.'

The Imperial Fist snorted. 'The flames, cousin. They say that you are one with the flames - That you breath fire and drink promethium.'

'Ah, yes,' Caderyn nodded. He, personally, strayed from the more extreme of rituals - But there were those, the Fire Lords more closely tied with their Chaplaincy - That engaged in wild, pyromaniac rituals. 'We also eat children.'

There was a moment of silence, the Imperial Fist trying to decipher fact from fiction, before he laughed. 'I like you, cousin. I am Tyrias, called the Strongarm.'

'The honour is mine, Tyrias. I am Caderyn. Are you to take part in the Feast of Blades?' The Fire Lord was appreciating a bust - That of the legendary Camba-Diaz - Stroking the hilt of Illuminos.

'Me?' Tyrias laughed for a third time. It was as loud and as lively as the first. 'Throne, no. I am no swordsman! I do not possess the finesse or the patience for sword-work, cousin.'

'A pity,' Caderyn sighed, disappointment evident in his tone. 'I was hoping to cross blades with you.'

'That's not a mutual feeling,' Another laugh, another grin. 'Here, look. There's the Narthex. Enter and sign your name, cousin. I must take leave - Duties, duties, duties - I wish you luck in the tournament, Caderyn.'


The Narthex was impressive. It was well lit, a ceiling of plexiglass revealing the void - Distant stars and nebulae glittering - Casting the chamber's inhabitants in a myriad of colours. Caderyn recognised the colours of the Invaders, having served alongside them almost two centuries before - Standing in conversation with Marines of the Iron Knights - Boastful and loud. There was a scattering of Black Templars, armour draped in battle honours and purity seals, watching their cousin-brothers with that passionate, religious zeal of theirs. He noted a Celestial Lion, gauntlets ending in wicked, barbed claws - His stance all confined rage; an expert warrior, Caderyn noted down. Perhaps, were the fates kind, Illuminos would cross those claws.

Hammers of Dorn - Caderyn knew them by reputation alone - Were present in large numbers. Five of them surrounded a lone figure in blue, bearing a great, double-headed axe. His armour was chipped and stained, like that of a beserker, but Caderyn knew these were honour-markings rather than damage. He was unmoving, still as stone, fury bristling beneath his plate. The Fire Lord knew him instantly, recognising the smallest of movements, the tiniest of scratches. Caderyn had saved and been saved by this warrior a dozen times - He was a bond-brother, a brilliant warrior - Though, Caderyn admitted, more of a brawler than a swordsman.

Conric, the Executioner. Grim bastard. Always causing trouble. Illuminos will be red before the Feast begins.

As though hearing his thoughts, the Executioner turned and nodded. The Fire Lord returned it, knowing it well-

Sutured-shut eyes, a mouth pulled open far too wide, tendons glistening beneath raw, red meat. A writhing, blackened tongue. Pincer-claws that were crusted with blood. Hellbrute.

-It was a nod, that upon the Golan Plates, had begun their friendship. At least in his loneliness, Caderyn thought, he was not alone.

The Feast would begin. And Caderyn now had another tough bastard - This one a brother-in-arms - That needed beating.

Nyctophobia- Fear of the Dark Angel.

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

'Killing a man is like fucking, boy, only instead of giving life you take it. You experience the ecstasy of penetration as your warhead enters the enemy's belly and the shaft follows. You see the whites of his eyes roll inside the sockets of his helmet. You feel his knees give way beneath him and the weight of his faltering flesh draw down the point of your spear. Are you picturing this?'
'Yes, lord.'
'Is your dick hard yet?'
'No, lord.'
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-13-13, 07:14 PM
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Default Blood of Dorn

“I said stop the bombardment!” Captain Saul roared down the vox. The response was from a man who was keeping surprisingly calm under the wrath of an Astartes. Solomon reckoned that it was because the man couldn’t feel the Captain’s hand wrapped around his fragile mortal throat.
“I’m sorry sir this order comes from the highest authority. You cannot countermand it.”
“If you don’t stop this madness…” Captain Saul began but the vox link died, cut at the other end. Saul roared slamming his hands onto the console hard enough to deform the metal top-plate. Sparks showed the Captain’s breastplate, leaving tiny scorch marks on the golden paintwork. Captain Saul bowed his head and kept his hands balled in the dents his fists had made.

Solomon simply stared out the window. Captain Ricard was still healing from his wounds he sustained on Orsh, and in the interim Veteran Sergeant David had loaned Solomon to Captain Saul since the death of his own Company Champion. As he watched Khattar burn from the view-port, Solomon wished he hadn’t. He wished David had kept him with the Third. He wished he had been forced into a Sus-membrane trance by his wounds instead of Ricard. He almost wished he had died in the sorcerer’s warp flames. He wished that the fates had conspired to keep him from being here at this moment.

But they hadn’t. Fate had forced him to be here. It was fate that forced him to watch as the same soldiers him and his brothers had bleed and died alongside burned the world they had fought to save. It was fate that watched as the Inquisition that was supposed to protect the wider Imperium condemned innocents to their death for nothing more than the sin of proximity. It was fate that forced him to ask whether his brother’s deaths had been in vain. “How did it come to this?” Solomon voiced the only question his mind could form. Saul looked up from his position to stare out the view-port at the burning world below.
“I don’t know Solomon. I don’t know.” So the Lions watched impotently as the Inquisition butchered the world they had fought to protect.

“We are on the approach to the Phalanx.” The pilot of the Emperor’s Shield chimed over the vox and snapped Solomon out of the memory. He had been staring into the visor of his helmet. Khattar was burned into that helmet and no amount of paintwork and data-scrubbing of the helmet’s pic-fed could ever erase that. This helmet would never let Solomon forget what he had seen through its lenses. Every Lion who had witnessed the murder of Khattar was tainted by being party to it, and they could never forget.

Solomon turned the helmet over in his hands and donned it, its seals locking with a hiss. David nudged Solomon. “All is well brother?” the veteran sergeant probed. Solomon nodded slowly.
“Aye brother. Just remembering Khattar.” David nodded and asked more about Solomon’s thoughts. All of the Lions felt the same on the matter, but those who had seen it happen had found it even harder to keep quiet about it. That was part of his mission here, to bring this issue to the attention of the rest of the sons of Dorn.

Within a few minutes, their Strike Cruiser had landed in one of the docking bays of the Phalanx and the group of Celestial Lions were being led to the Narthex by a party of half a dozen Imperial Fists. David apparently knew their leader and they embraced with the dull clang of ceremite on ceremite. Their conversation dominated most of the way to Narthex, with the rest of both parties having small introductory conversations along the way. No doubt once the finally got to the Narthex, the group would disperse further, many of the veterans with Solomon knowing cousins from other chapter who they hoped would be here. Solomon was more interested in forming new alliances than reigniting old ones, although he was sure that would occur.

Solomon and his group entered the Narthex. Solomon had only stepped in this vaulted hall twice before and only briefly both times. Now, just as it had then, its architecture held him in awe. He scanned the rafters, enjoying the artistry of the place. Solomon was no artificer, but to behold such a vast craft that had such intricacies at its heart was something he could not help being marvel by. As his gaze swept over the heads of the crowds of Astartes gathered here, he noticed a lone Imperial Fist in the heavens. The man wore the honours of his service in the Deathwatch, and Solomon had a suspicion he recognised the heraldry. He waited for the Fist’s eyes to meet his and then inclined his head. Solomon determined that he would talk more with that Fist at some point.

As Solomon walked towards the Epistolary waiting to register their company, several cousins hailed him. “Do my eyes deceive me?! Is that you Solomon?” A voice called out. Solomon turned to see who spoke it. An un-helmeted Iron Knight shouted over the general murmur that pervaded the room.
“Aldo you tough git! You’re still here?” Aldo waded through the crowd and embraced Solomon. They had served together in the Deathwatch but neither had seen each other since then. Aldo chuckled.
“Aye, I’m still here. A few new scars, but they look worse.” Both Astartes laughed. Solomon clasped the veteran Knight’s wrist.
“I need to register my presence, but we shall have to talk later. Perhaps in the sparring cages?”
“Indeed.” And with that Solomon made his way to the lectern behind which one of Imperial Fist’s Epistolary.

Solomon waited for the Crimson Fist in front of him to sign his name before stepping forward. “Greeting cousin.” Solomon said warmly, his face wearing its near permanent smile.
“"Welcome cousin of the Celestial Lions, I am Epistolary Schraeder. Please sign your name here." The Epistolary said, gesturing to the vast tome in front of him with one hand and passing Solomon an Astartes-sized quill with the other.
“Certainly.” Solomon said. He noted the Crimson Fist’s name that had gone before him, Inhuatli, and added his own name to the roster underneath before passing back the crimson quill to the Epilstolary.

No sooner had he turned away to allow the next Celestial Lion to sign his name, a rather heated argument broke out. A group of Hammers of Dorn had surrounded a lone Executioner, oddly the only Executioner Solomon could see, and seemed to be berating him. I was likely about some breach of the codex. Solomon admired their adherence to the codex, but the arrogance of their youth let them down. The Crimson Fist, Inhuatli, noticed this sceptical too and turned to Solomon.
"Nothing like a gathering of kin to bring out the best of us eh?" Solomon chuckled at that.
“Quite.” The dispute seemed to get louder, as if the Hammers were trying to cause a spectacle. The Executioner’s body language told Solomon that if the Hammers didn’t hold their tongues soon, a fight would break up. Solomon excused himself from Inhuatli’s presence and made his way through the crowd.

As Solomon approached, he caught the end of the tirade which the Hammers of Dorn had subjected this lone Executioner to. …Your barbaric ways are a disgrace Executioner.” Solomon placed both of his hand on the back of the shoulders of two of Hammers of Dorn in a mock-brotherly embrace. He forced the two of them aside but kept his hands on their shoulders, his fingers finding the gap in between their chest-plates and their shoulder guards. His fingers pinched the fibres, causing the muscles in the two Hammers’ necks and shoulders to spasm. They forced themselves rigid to try and not recoil under Solomon’s vice-like grip. However, if a fight broke out, Solomon would have both of them on the floor before they had even drawn their weapons.

Solomon spoke firmly, his smirk twisting slightly with contempt. “And your arrogance disgraces you even further. We are drawn together in an ancient tradition of brotherhood and mutual respect laid down by Rogal Dorn himself. Perhaps if you were not so bust fawning over the Codex Astartes you would not have forgotten that it is Dorn’s blood, not Guilliman’s, that unites us here at this time.” The Executioner offered no return insult, no challenge to a murder duel that his chapter was near-famous for. Instead, he offed a surprisingly calm and measured response. "What is your name, and are you participating in this Feast of Blades?"

Before the Hammers of Dorn could respond to either Solomon or the Executioner’s remarks, another voice resonated through the Narthex. "You dishonour yourselves Brothers." It was the Imperial Fist that Solomon had spotted earlier.
"The only dishonour here is that this savage was allowed to board the mighty Phalanx in the first place, he is flagrantly in breach of key codex tenants in his appearance alone."
“At least this ‘savage’…” Solomon stressed the word carefully, to show he meant it with none of the sincerity of the Hammers of Dorn. “…understands honour and respect, something you have forgotten.” The Imperial Fist’s response was almost as unexpected as the Executioner’s.
"The wise commander will recognise the differences in the troops he commands and will seek to use their individual strengths to boost the effectiveness of his attack and bolter his defence. Codex Astartes, Commander Tactics, Chapter 19. I advise you to read it." Solomon laughed to see the Hammers being baffled by the same tome they held as sacred.

The leader of the group looked as if he was about to respond, but the Fist would not allow this to escalate any further. "You and your brothers are guests of Vladimir Pugh and you represent the honour and voice of your chapter in a tradition started by Rogal Dorn himself. You will remember that well and show our other guests the respect they deserve or your invitation shall be....re-evaluated." Everything in the Fist’s body language told Solomon that he was both willing and able to follow through with that threat. The Fist turned away, presumably to return to his previous position, but the Hammers remained in their circle around the Executioner.

Solomon waited for a second before speaking again. “I suggest you leave to lecture someone else, before you say something you can’t back away from.” The leader fixed Solomon with a scowl. “This isn’t the last you will hear about such a blatant breach of the Codex.”
“Oh, but it is.” Solomon said, his smile briefly contorting into a snarl under his helmet. The Hammer seemed to be considering whether to take this further, but for any number of reasons which Solomon could guess but didn’t particularly care about, decide against it. With no more words, but body language that bleed displeasure, the circle disbanded and the conversations around them resumed, the possibility of a fight breaking out firmly dismissed.

Solomon released the two Hammers on either side of him and watched them roll their necks and shoulders. It was unlikely that he would be making friends with them any time soon, but he had no time for the arrogance of that Chapter. Perhaps once they had been tempered and learnt honour he would find them more amicable. Instead, he engaged the Executioner. “I apologise for such unpleasantness. Hopefully you will find that not everyone here is so hostile. I am Solomon Feunand and…” Solomon’s voice trailed off as he noticed the Executioner’s eyes following something or someone over his shoulder.

Solomon looked behind him and found that the Executioner’s gaze landed on a warrior in the colours of the Fire Lords. “Hmmm.” Solomon acknowledged to himself. The Executioner was probably tolerating him, having already found someone he actually wished to converse with. Solomon turned back to the Executioner. “…and I hope we shall have a chance to talk at some other point. But I shan’t keep you any longer from your comrade.” Solomon placed his hand on the Executioner's shoulder in an attempted display of friendship, before leaving him.

Solomon resigned himself to the fact that his companionship was neither wanted nor enjoyed by the Executioner and instead tried to spot where the Imperial Fist had gone. He spotted him on the outskirts of the crowds about to go down a corridor, presumably leading to his previous vantage point. Solomon once again forced his way through the crowd and ran after the Fist. About half way down the corridor Solomon slowed up to draw alongside the Imperial Fist. “I appreciated your reference to the Codex. The look of bemusement on that Hammer of Dorn’s face was worth a thousand words.” Solomon chuckled lightly again, as if to show the sincerity of his words. “I believe we have met before, in the Deathwatch. I was just leaving to return to my brothers as you were arriving. I am certain I recognise your heraldry. I am Solomon Feunand. May I ask who you are cousin?” Solomon walked alongside the Imperial Fist, noting the turns they took in case the Astartes dismissed him, forcing him to have to find his way back to the main gathering…

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

Originally Posted by Angel of Blood View Post
And for two fucking grand, I could buy enough rum and hookers to 'artistically' recreate the better part of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Last edited by Deus Mortis; 10-17-13 at 10:29 AM.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-20-13, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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All: The room suddenly fills with the a voice coming over the internal vox-system. It is an austere voice, once used to giving commands and seeing them followed without hesitation, but also tempered with wisdom and an indomitable will to earn victory or die denying the enemy their's. Only Marcus Helstrom recognizes it without hearing the name, but the rest of you quickly realise who is speaking when the voice declares his own name.

"Welcome to the Phalanx my brothers of Dorn's own blood. I am Vladimir Pugh, Chapter Master of the Imperial Fists and Lord of the vessel whose hallowed halls you now stand in. In Dorn's name I welcome you to the Feast of Blades, and request that all in attendance make their way to the arena-auditorium where I shall address you personally."

Pugh's request, obviously an order but one he is diplomatic enough to phrase as a polite request, is followed immediately by all those around you. The Imperial Fists under Helstrom begin guiding the various groups of visitors through the corridor portal that others were leaving through before, apparantely they were heading there to save time, and you all move along with the crowd. The hallway you pass through is lined by statues of famous Imperial Fists, you all see statues devoted to marines whose names you may know or not such as Quiron Octavius, Lexandro D'Arquebus, Halbrecht, Rhetoricus and Pausanias.

After some time, during which some of you have drifted together, you all enter a grand hall. The roof is vast and domed, cyber-cherubs carrying lanterns and incense-bowls drift across the vast space allowing their hymns to the glory of the Fists to wash over you all. Imperial Fist Teminators stand sentinel at the entry points, weaponless in respect to you all and serving as a symbol of the First Company, while Serfs of the chapter move through the room serving goblets of ceremonial wine. Many gather in their respective chapters, though those that have travelled here alone are not surrounded and seem to take their own place in the hall wherever they choose.

After a minute Vladimir Pugh himself arrives on the dais that stands at the head of the room and solemnly looks over the crowd, which falls silent immediately. Pugh himself wears ceremonial robes over his armour, ornate and very impressive even to veterans as yourself. Your feelings may be mixed, but none can deny that he is a great warrior and one of the finest leaders the Imperial Fists have ever known. Not one for hesitation Pugh begins to speak, a servitor standing next to him amplifies his words to carry across the vast chamber.

"Welcome brothers. It has been many years since we last gathered like this, since the blood of Rogal Dorn stood together in unity and brotherhood. Our duties across the galaxy make this a difficult task, but an easy task is not one worth performing. This sight before me, Astartes of different chapters united by a common blood standing together as one, is why Rogal Dorn first created the Feast of Blades. So that no Son of Dorn, no matter his chapter, would ever forget that he and his chapter are not alone, that there are brothers who may not bear your colours but who share your blood and gene-seed. And so with that in mind, I once again welcome you to the Feast of Blades in the name of Dorn and our shared brotherhood."

The applause is thunderous, every chapter assembled shows their respect to Pugh in their own ways. The Black Templar salute with their blades and chant a prayer, the Iron Knights clash their blades together and cheer, the Hammers of Dorn salute in perfect Codex formation, the Night Swords howl and give an ovation. Some chapters content themselves with merely clapping, the Imperial Fists included, but many choose more exuberant methods of applause. Pugh waits until the applause dies before speaking again, the noise dies as soon as it becomes apparant he wishes to continue.

"Now we shall call the names of those who will compete and earn glory for their chapters, I..."

Before he can say another word the Phalanx shakes. It is not a horrific quake but it is still noticable, enough that many serfs fall over and wine glasses and bottles are dropped to shatter on the floor. The Fists immediately go on guard, but there appears to be no sign of anything untoward or strange happening beyond an electric feeling that passes through all of you. What just happened??

Inhuatli Esteban: As you go through the corridor along with the others you notice a statue dedicated to Alexis Polux, the founder of the Crimson Fists, and you take a moment to look at it. The likeness is very impressive and it could easily stand amongst the statues of him on Rynn's World, it is perhaps even better than some of them. As you move on, your own Crimson Fist brothers making the aquila at the statue before joining you, you find yourself standing next to a veteran of the Iron Knights chapter. He has a sneer though it looks to be inflicted by wounds rather than an indicator of his mood, and three service studs line his eyebrow. He seems like an impressive warrior, you could converse with him or simply nod and continue ahead with your fellow Crimson Fists.

Marcus Alexander Helstrom: You lead the exodus of Astartes through the Hall of Heroes, one of them at least, and make sure that everyone is proceeding along correctly. You are aware of the history of all the statues around you, being an Imperial Fist it is important you know your chapter's heroes when you see them, and you notice your Imperial Fists making the aquila when they pass certain statues. You notice certain marines conversing with each other, but you keep yourself apart for now for unlike them you have a duty to prosecute, and there is no time for idle conversation while you are doing your duty.

Krixus Orison: As you move through the corridor, the statues of dead and great Imperial Fists watching you with their stone-eyed gaze, you find yourself moving next to a veteran Crimson Fist. His head is tattooed with his chapter's symbol, a crimson fist surrounded by a red circle, this with his reddish skin tone and scalp-locked hair make him quite memorable. He looks to be a veteran of many years service. He seems to be observing you discreetly as well, you could converse with him or simply nod and continue ahead.

Isaiah Melech: The gaze of great Imperial Fists look down upon you as you move with the crowd. Ahead you see a statue of the great Demetrius Katalfaque, founder of your Chapter, and the sight is enough to impress you. The statue appears very well maintained, and it reminds you of the statues of the man on your own homeworld of Eschara. You notice that the Celestial Lion you saw in the confrontation early has been nudged towards you by the flow of the crowd. You could converse with him, learn more about this chapter and this man that you may be competing against, or simply nod and move ahead with the crowd.

Conric: The crowd seems to flow around you, creating a zone where none walk next to you. This isn't surprising, many of the Astartes here are uncomfortable with your presence and those who are not are unsure of how to react to you and simply decide to keep their distance until they are sure. The statues of dead Fists watch you as you walk through the halls they once walked, caught up in observing one or two of them you are surprised to see Caderyn walking beside you. Your old friend nods at you and you both walk together, an island among the sea of battle-brothers with their chapters. You are both the only brother of your chapters here, but neither of you are alone.

Caderyn: The crowd moves on, you keep pace with it but interact with nobody as you walk under the shadow of the heroes of the Imperial Fists rendered in stone and marble. Nobody approaches you, perhaps unsure how to address you or kept at bay by your unique armour markings that very clearly show your chapter as the mysterious Fire Lords. Ahead you notice Conric moving alone, the Astartes keeping a certain distance from him leaving the Executioner as a lone island in this sea of power armour. You move ahead with a burst of speed and end up next to him, he turns after a moment appears not to have seen you coming. You nod at him, which he returns, and the both of you continue on ahead together.

Solomon Feunand: The dead gaze of the ancient Imperial Fists is a presence all around you as you walk through the Hall of Heroes, Astartes of your chapter and other chapters moving all around you. It is odd to be surrounded by so many Astartes in so many different colours. A few of the statues catch your eye and you find yourself wondering how they would have reacted to Khattar, what would they have done in response to it? Could they have prevented it? After a moment you find that your train of thought and unconscious steps have brought you close to an Excoriator veteran. His white mohawk and ritually scarred face are quite distinct, the scars not surprising for an Excoriator though, and he appears to have noticed you as well. You could strike up a conversation with this cousin that you have never met, or simply give him a nod and continue ahead to the arena-auditorium.

[Right and that is it for this update. Not much happens so this update depends on your characters speaking to each other. The personal updates take place before you all enter the Grand Hall and listen to Pugh's speech. The next update will be more exciting I promise. Hope you all enjoy this one such as it is.]


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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-25-13, 11:12 AM
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With the immediate commotion dealt with and the upstart Hammers suitably chastised I began to walk back to my post. As I traversed the gathering of warriors a Celestial Lion approached me, the one with the menacing lightning claws I had noticed earlier.

“I appreciated your reference to the Codex. The look of bemusement on that Hammer of Dorn’s face was worth a thousand words.” He laughed between his words I could see the look of a man who shared my opinion of the situation, a moment later his face assumed a more serious expression, he turned to face me.“I believe we have met before, in the Deathwatch. I was just leaving to return to my brothers as you were arriving. I am certain I recognise your heraldry. I am Solomon Feunand. May I ask who you are cousin?” His hand of friendship and tone of voice seemed warm and genuine.

"I am Marcus Alexander Helstrom, 1st company and Head of Security for the Feast." I said reaching out and resting a hand on his left shoulder plate, a gesture of respect and friendship among the many brothers that have served in the Deathwatch. I leaned in closer "Though to friends, I am simply 'Watcher'." As he replied my helmet vox chimed, Shogun squad checking in.

"My apologies Solomon but duty demands I must take my leave, I trust you can find your way back" He nodded and turned back towards the Narthex

With that I returned to my post overlooking the gathering of Astartes. It was an inspiring sight indeed, over one hundred brothers from a dozen chapters; entire systems had been won with less. My contemplation of the view was soon interrupted by the heavy chamber entrance doors as they creaked on their ancient tracks and closed with a sound as loud as a thunderclap. A momentary hush fell over the chamber as the guests of the Phalanx stopped their private conversations to find the source of the noise. Suddenly the chamber was filled with another strident noise, however this time it was just once voice, projected from every corner and commanded the attention of all that heard it. I recognised it immediately and smiled with pride.

"Welcome to the Phalanx my brothers of Dorn's own blood. I am Vladimir Pugh, Chapter Master of the Imperial Fists and Lord of the vessel whose hallowed halls you now stand in. In Dorn's name I welcome you to the Feast of Blades, and request that all in attendance make their way to the arena-auditorium where I shall address you personally." Silence filled the hall once again, but I would not let it remain for long, it would not do to keep the Chapter Master waiting.

"Brothers, please make your way through the exit and we shall proceed to the Feast." With that I walked to the far end of the hall and left through a smaller, yet highly decorated set of doors. The warriors under my command had been briefed on procedure ahead of time and moved to execute their orders with a well practiced haste, they fell in line with our cousins and guided them in groups towards the door.

After leaving the Narthex I led the assembled warriors through the Hall of Heroes, the air was thick with incense and thousands of candles burned in respect to the greatest of our fallen brothers. Each side of the corridor was lined with grand statues of marble, sorvin and other precious stones, preserving a brother's deeds and likeness for the ages; the heroes of the Emperor deserved no less. I had been here many hundreds of times during my service to the chapter but standing in the presence of such mighty legends never failed to humble and inspire me, and glancing back at the brothers behind me a saw many of them paying respect in their own ways.

After around ten minutes we emerged into one of the station's central halls, large enough to accommodate all ten battle companies, though such gatherings are exceedingly rare in these times of constant war. My brother's of the first company stood as honour guard, resplendent in their mighty terminator armour, weapons stowed out of respect. I took my place at the foot of a large dias towards the opposite end of the hall, a servitor built to resemble mortal hero of ancient Terra approached me, bowing low and handing me a chalice of ceremonial wine. I unhooked my helm setting it down on the dias, and took a sip of the smooth liquid, it was refreshing enough but it would not intoxicate me, it was merely a symbolic gesture.

A moment or two after the last guest had arrived, another small group of Astartes entered from a side door, one of them leapt up onto the dias and looked out at the crowd before him. My Lord himself, Vladmir Pugh, stood as a hero upon a vanquished foe, his polished artificer armour shone brightly in the low lit chamber. A vox servitor approached him from behind and bowed low ready to broadcast his words.

"Welcome brothers. It has been many years since we last gathered like this, since the blood of Rogal Dorn stood together in unity and brotherhood. Our duties across the galaxy make this a difficult task, but an easy task is not one worth performing. This sight before me, Astartes of different chapters united by a common blood standing together as one, is why Rogal Dorn first created the Feast of Blades. So that no Son of Dorn, no matter his chapter, would ever forget that he and his chapter are not alone, that there are brothers who may not bear your colours but who share your blood and gene-seed. And so with that in mind, I once again welcome you to the Feast of Blades in the name of Dorn and our shared brotherhood."

The applause was deafening in the cavernous chamber, hoots, cheers and whistles could be heard, though I could not pinpoint their source. The Imperial and Crimson Fists clapped or raised their closed fists over their chest in respect as is our custom. Lord Pugh simply smiled and raised his hand high to signal he had more to say.

"Now we shall call the names of those who will compete and earn glory for their chapters, I..." Before he could finish the Phalanx shook violently. The Astartes, trained from childhood to respond with inhuman swiftness to the unexpected kept their footing, but I saw a dozen serfs and servitors crash unceremoniously to the metal floor, spilling wine, ink and holy oils. Anything that could cause such a tremor within the Phalanx itself was no accident. Without hesitation I refitted my helm and opened a vox channel to all Imperial Fists station wide.

"Watcher to all Praetorians, full alert, sound off and report." I instinctually loaded a clip into my bolter and chambered a bolt. Chances are, it would be unnecessary but none, not foe or blood brother would find the sons of Dorn wanting.

Strike Force Crucible <--- deathwatch army log

You are charged with the crime of existance Xenos! - Watch Librarian Auron

Last edited by Kaiden; 10-25-13 at 10:16 PM. Reason: updated.
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