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post #91 of 105 (permalink) Old 10-30-14, 12:16 AM
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He listened intently, picking out the subtleties of Coeus' word choices, he sought to incite fear and mistrust among a group that could never have any of the former and already had plenty of the latter. It was an admirable strategy and Tyberus appreciated the man's zeal with which he pursued his agenda, that the half breed's error must have been with the most vile of intentions. Certainly the forces they dealt with and were confronting in this 'trial' were vile, but the underlying ill will within the Grand Company as a whole was no less serious of an issue. Tyberus did what he could to remain as calm and unreadable as possible, but doubtless The Seer could pick up on the tinge of irritation at the numerous additional half-charges the Seer sought to float out into the thoughts of those present. His tactic was a simple one- Coeus would throw what accusations he could think of and see which might stick or hold some credence in the eyes of those in attendance and more importantly in the eyes of the WarSmith. It was a tactic that Tyberus himself did not like as he preferred more to deal in absolutes.

One of the more circuitous accusatory theories that Coeus aired was the idea of Tyberus utilizing his own spy Draxus in an effort to view his surroundings and as a means to preemptively disguise his murder as the killing of a man tainted.

He looked to Pelegon and he opened his mouth as if to make a request but was cut off by nod from the WarSmith signifying he would hear his rebuttal. "Coeus on the one hand you remark on me as but a simple, untrained and weak psyker in the midst of the Grand Company, then on the other you seek to paint me as a psyker of great ability. Certainly I saw you, as did all of our Brother Captains in the WarSmith's chamber when my Honor Guard obeyed the WarSmith's orders. Surely in the moment, the act of even passively viewing the surroundings through the eyes of my Equerry would have been detected by one so magnanimous as yourself. You did not sense it because I did no such thing." He looked to Coeus, who would sense the truth of his words in both his aura and the fact that Tyberus had not used his abilities at all in such a way and did not even possess the capability to do so. Never the less, the suggestion that he might have still hung heavily in the air.

"My purpose for executing Draxus was simple, to close off the looking glass, whatever was on the other end wished to see things that only a First Captain's equerry would be privy to, which could involve matters of great import to the Grand Company as a whole. Rather than give that being any further time to sink its claws into my Brother or any others I severed its link. Likewise, I wished for the execution to be brutal and excessive in its nature for the sole purpose of showing whatever was on the other end the looking glass what will happen to it and its minions should they ever attempt to trifle with the XIXth Grand Company."

He looked around to ranking officers that were assembled and their equerries, lieutenants of company's, members of the Librarius and the WarSmith himself. "I am not a Librarian, nor do I ever seek to become one. I am a warrior through and through, my abilities do not hinder my abilities to fight and lead those under my command. I am no rogue, I have always answered to the WarSmith who judges whether or not I am an adequate commander or not." He looked to Coeus, "Perhaps one reason that the most well trained Librarians among us can fall to the sway of the Warp Gods is because they seek too much knowledge of things they should not. I hold no such temptation, I utilize my ability, yes, but I do not have any desire to delve into tombs of ancient and uncontrollable knowledge," he noted the Tombs that sat in the hands or mag locked to the hips of many of the Librarians. "-In the manner that the Librarius seems all too eager to do, unfastening locks to the immatereum because of their arrogance and their thirst for more knowledge. I accept what I am, but I am a warrior above all, that is why I have sought to keep my own abilities concealed. I have managed my abilities for 6 thousand years through regimented training and daily annointment within the Reclusium, I hold no marks or whispers of the Warp within me. I have concealed my abilities because I am best suited to fighting on the front lines and did not wish for any to view me as anything other than the greatly accomplished warrior and leader of close combat operations that I am."

He sensed Coeus' thoughts on his vambrace that lay close by on the dirt and he wondered if the Seer was baiting him, trying to suggest he take action that would most assuredly see him dead. It was an underhanded tactic, but Tyberus forced himself to face straight ahead to the WarSmith, ignoring the weapon that lay just a meter or so away from him. "I have made my rebuttal WarSmith, whatever your ruling I shall accept."
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post #92 of 105 (permalink) Old 10-31-14, 12:06 AM
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“Frankly Tyberus, I don’t think you have a choice whether you will accept the Warsmith’s ruling…” I interjected, my voice oddly serious although Tyberus’ constant assurances that he would accept the ruling whatever it was made me laugh inside. “…That is the nature of his position, to say how you shall respond and for you to do so. Or have your fantastical illusions of power distorted your view so much you think the Warsmith requires your permission to pass judgement.” I looked to Pelegon who motioned with nought more than a move of his fingers that I should continue.

“Let me begin your education here Tyberus. It is not duplicity that allows me to examine you as both an untrained psyker and one who has potentially learnt mastery over whatever powers you have. It is simply the recognition that because we cannot verify either one at this point, we must hold both truths in tension until one is disproved…” It sometimes amazed me how people could still view the universe in such black and white terms, even after all we had seen and done. “…It is true that if you are, as you claim, a psyker who has been repressing his abilities, an attempt to exercise them would have been obvious to me and by brothers.”

Tyberus’ thought still churned, he knew I would not give ground like that so easily. “However, since we only have your word for that, and the fact that you are on trial…” My hands moved smoothly to encompass those around us. “…does not allow us to place any great faith in your words, we must entertain the possibility that the same entities which may have given you your powers also tutored you in them and how to disguise them, so that your allegiances would not be revealed before their time.” Several of the gathered warriors understood and agreed, I saw of felt as such. At least they listened to reason. “Again, I would remind you that you have no one but yourself to blame that you killed Draxus before he could be used to corroborate your story.” I heard a few chuckles from that remark, one which were swiftly silenced by stern looks or swift jabs to the side.

“I am pleased that you believe that every force in the universe can be cowed in submission by showing them your very sharp sword…” my voice was dripping with sarcasm. It was beyond me how someone in such a high position of authority managed to be so foolish. “…but to those of us not handicapped by the same brain tumours you seem to suffer from realise that there are many mortals and creatures which do not fear death. What purpose did your execution serve then?” I waited for an answer that was not forthcoming unsurprisingly. “…Nothing, other than to further demonstrate your own foolishness and deny those who might have been able to ascertain the source of the threat to our Grand Company a chance to do so, and thus better anticipate their next move.”

There was still one matter that was left to be resolved. The Night Lord had deliberately challenged the integrity of the Librarium. It was an insult that made my blood boil, beneath my unreadable veneer of calm. Why should we have to answer the question of this mewling half-breed who had already proven several times over his idiocy by his actions? What could he possibly know about what we did or what we sacrificed that the name of Olympia and the legacy of the IVth legion might live on? Only those unenlightened questioned what we did in the name of our Grand Company, and we were not answerable to men such as these.

My posture and voice were calm, even if behind my mental walls I railed at the half-breed’s accusations. “It is not given to you to determine what the Librarium should or should not seek to learn. Any warrior knows that to get the best understanding of your foes, one way or another, you’ll end up covered in his blood and entrails. Such…unpleasantness is unavoidable. It is such knowledge, which you are so fit to dismiss that allows us to protect and serve the Grand Company as we do. If you believe ignorance will serve you better, you are free to try that. But I promise you now, ignorance will not save you. After all…” I gestured to the looming figure of the The Wolf’s Claw in the background. “…it will not save them.”
“Your rebuttal, Night Lord, consists of nothing more than more of your own empty words and no evidence to back them up. We still cannot be certain of what powers you possess, where they came from, whether you may have knowingly or unknowingly consorted with powers from the warp, who used Draxus or if in fact this corruption is merely a convenient excuse you are using to cover your own malcontent. However…” I switched between Pelegon and the arrayed captains. This was a public trial after all. “…what we do know is that you have deceived us for six millennia and now ask for our trust. We know that you took matters into your own hands and have deprived the Librarium of a resource it could have used to prevent a greater attack on the Grand Company, in a display of sheer foolishness. We know that untrained psykers, which you claim to be, are a liability which must be trained.” I didn’t turn back to Pelegon this time. I felt no need to reiterate my advice; it had not changed. Instead I searched the eyes and minds of those arrayed, seeing where they felt. I doubted mine and Tyberus’s voices would be the only ones for much longer…

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post #93 of 105 (permalink) Old 10-31-14, 01:03 AM
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The Master of the forge watched this discussion go back and forth as well as his entourage of high ranking tech marines, known within the Factorum as the 12 Masters, only eleven were currently present. Adriun was weighing both of their arguments, and even though he had distaste for Coeus' personal beliefs, he could not find fault with his arguments. However the nightlord left much to be wanted, because at most his testimony could be considered speculation or blatant lies if he consorted with daemons. This much was true though, Draxus was the conduit for another mind, at least at one point. The fact that Draxus was dead however was not necessarrily as much of a hinderance to discovering his possessor as Coeus Implied, and he only thought this because of the tutelage of Sophacles the Warptek.

The Exchange was finished for the most part till either Pelegon decided on the judgement and punishment, or Tyberus continued the argument. Adriun was content to watch it play out, as he had little to contribute, having nothing to say for the defense or persecution of the fellow captain, but then Sophacles who was next to him, unreadable with his machine skull for a head that so seamlessly melded with the flesh of his neck and body, turned to Adriun and spoke to him in Binary.

His mechanical vocal augments hummed a high paced static that couldn't be understood by un-augmented ears.

Binary spech



Adriun raised an eyebrow but nodded, and said in static-code, "01010000 01110010 01101111 01100011 01100101 01100101 01100100 ."

Sophacles turned away immediately, and stepped forward, he looked to Pelegon and his metalic jaw imitated normal speech as his vox broadcaster uttered his mechanical voice in Gothic.

"Warsmith, I have been listening to the proceedings and have made some calculations...I would make a suggestion for how the Captain of the 1st should be handled. After Interrogation, which I suggest fully, do not turn him over to the Librarium for training." He paused and looked at each in kind, Coeus, Tyberus and Pelegon.

"My processors have come to a consensus that the safest route to handle Tyberus would be the rite of True Thought, and expulsion of warp mutated Grey matter, that would preserve Tyberus as the Warrior he is as well as remove the risk of such a low powered Psyker from becoming an unwilling or willing conduit to warp entities."

He pulled out a device, sort of like a Geiger counter, but with more intricate parts, it was custom detector that read residual warp energies. It flared in the presence of warp entities, giving readings that are higher in the presence of denser warp entities, denser also equating to more powerful.

"It was unexpected that Tyberus had warp powers, I only calculated a 15% chance, and this device never picked up significant readings beyond background residuals. He was overshadowed on Medrengard due to high background energies, out here in real-space I now detect a higher presence, double the background residual." His comment was meant to place a sort of power level for classification on Tyberus, which was apparently very low from the reading.

"Such low power levels are unnoticeable, though there is only a 5% chance that he is hiding far more power. With my Proposal...I deem it a better use of company resources than training a low level psyker whose powers are questionable...as they come from mutation rather than birth, which brings me to a conclusion of 65% chance of further mutation, which adds in dangerous variables."

He put the device away, and walked a bit closer, his unreadable machine face looking directly into Tyberus' own, as if he was examining a specimen. " Coeus, it is not only a matter of insult, he may indeed have a cancer of the brain that gives him these abilities, further investigation is required."

He stepped back towards Adriun, but remained just outside the group of Tech Marines in case he was addressed for further inquiry.

"That is all I have to add. I shall run further simulations to see if I arrive at other alternatives."

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The trial, if it could be called that, continued onward and several revelations were laid out seemingly one after the other. First that Draxus, Tyberus' personal equerry was murdered for not just for show but for his taint was a striking one, and that Tyberus himself was a Psyker was another. At this point it struck Kunzhardt as whoever had the last card hidden up their sleeve would win but that did little to slow the hounding prosecution that Coeus had brought to bear. Kunzhardt's features belayed nothing but inside he was a volcano. He wanted to rend the Night Lord apart and cast him to the wind for concealing his psychic presence. He likely had played the Second Captain all along and used him as a pawn to further his own ideals now like some twisted word shaper of Tzeentch. He felt his fists clenching and unclenching again and his teeth like a steel trap straining under the pressure his jaw was exerting.

The whole deal could possibly be overlooked and accepted if it weren't for the fact that cannons were erupting around them and they were contented to this little political fiasco. He felt like a starving child thrown into a magnificent bakery and forced to only smell the food. At this point he didn't care at all about Tyberus, or Coeus or anything in the area. All he wanted was battle and to bring glory to the XIXth.

He said nothing but silently fumed at the fervor of Coeus seemingly throwing anything he could at Tyberus trying to get something-anything to stick to see his pursuits meet fruition. Part of him was surprised that this was allowed to continue. The other captains, specifically one of the Tech Marines servants chimed in calling for the lobotomy of Tyberus which despite being another annoying hindrance to the end of this trial did bring a slight smile to his face as he thought of the smug captain reduced to little more than a slightly more capable servitor.

He didn't speak, nor would he, he was captain of the guard here he was to watch over the proceeding and ensure Tyberus was safe from any incursions but also that Tyberus would not attempt any escape or last second killings before he finally died and at this point with all the revelations that he wouldn't release some greater daemon into their midst. It was precisely this reason that he preferred to remain in the battle field. Things were simple there firepower killed and might was currency spent to win. He allowed his mind to wander towards his new heavy tanks. He briefly thought about how wonderful it would be to command one of the beasts and to see everything in a straight line reduced to cinder. There wouldn't even be screams aside from the gun itself. Just an immediate obliteration. The thought lasted only a second and he was back at the trial.


It could be said that Coeus and Tyberus were fighting their own kind of war one of words but this form of 'combat' bored him and made his muscles ache for combat especially with one occurring quite literally a bolt round away from them.

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post #95 of 105 (permalink) Old 11-01-14, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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As the trial progressed, the Warsmith found himself increasingly disinterested in the outcome. On a fundamental level he understood that it was of paramount importance that he make the right decision, both from a perspective of good leadership for the 1st Company, and that of maintaining his own power base - yet, somewhat more wishfully, he had the urge to go purify himself. All this politicking, infighting and instability. Of course it would have to be worked out, for like an air bubble in a sheet of steel it could eat away and destroy the structural integrity of the whole without the correct attention. It had been centuries since he had last taken to the field of battle, and the Warsmith had thought himself rid of his own baser urges to commit violence, yet now they returned. To plunge the blade of his sword through an opponent's chest with enough force for its pommel to crack the breastplate. That would be good. To stick it through Tyberus' head and feel the spray of hot blood on his face and its rich stink in his nostrils...a quick solution, but ultimately not constructive.

"I have reached my decision" Pelegon stated, and was pleased when every eye - bar the Epistolary, who was already looking at him - set itself on him. The Warsmith stepped forward, his tread heavy with the weight of ages, until he towered over the disgraced 1st, who looked up to meet him. The Night Lord's pitch black eyes bored into Pelegon's own dark brown pair, and the Warsmith reached forward, and tapped Tyberus' forehead with a finger.

"The Warp changes us, this you all know" he turned and looked over his assembled captains. That the Epistolary had managed to rouse them so did not please him. They would be, in all likelihood, eager to see Tyberus' blood spilled. They would draw some satisfaction from his judgement.

"As the Iron rusts and warps, so it flakes and falls by the wayside. We all knew at least one lost to the whispers of the Dark Gods, and that is good. By excising that which is weak, that remaining is stronger. But what do we do when the corrosion and rot does not remove flakes? What is to be done when the rust eats out the heart of our Iron?"

Without apparent effort, the Warsmith grabbed Tyberus by the neck, his huge right hand clamped over the 1st Captain's windpipe, and lifted him up. Though the two were similar in breadth, Pelegon had the height advantage. Tyberus did not fight back, though all present could see that breathing was impossible while being held so.

"On Olympia, when a dog bit the hand that fed it, we cut its belly open. A fair judgement, I think you would all agree" and they nodded, and Pelegon inclined his own head to show his agreement "but sometimes that dog could bite for reasons outside its own control. Our 1st Captain developed psychic powers, but he is not alone in his alteration. I too find myself touched by the Warp, and will tell you all now that I have developed the talent, if you want to call it that, of witch-sight"

Silence, as they digested his statement. Pelegon had spoken slowly and carefully, Tyberus' face growing redder and redder all the while, yet still he did not struggle. Had he done so, then the Warsmith would have broken his neck then and there.

"Know that I do not blame our erstwhile brother for his gift, but his ignorance as to the implications that it could have. I myself did not detect his psychic presence, and while my abilities pale in comparison to those of our esteemed colleagues in the Librarium, the amount of time I spend with the 1st Captain on a regular basis should have made his changes easy for me to detect. But I did not, and it is my failing as much as that of the Librarium, so neither you nor I should hold them in any contempt over this"

Tyberus' face had gone an interesting shade of purple - by now the body of any mortal would have shut down due to hypoxia. The 1st Captain, for all his strength of body and will, was not far from entering sus-an membrane suspension.

"The song of the Dark Gods wails loudest for those with the curse of the psyker. Catastrophe was narrowly avoided, as no hint of taint was found on the 1st Captain. For his ignorance and endangering us all, I turn him over to the tender care of Brother Sophacles. I trust that you will excise the witch from his mind and body - but leave them both whole enough to function"

With a contemptuous curl of his arm, the Warsmith hurled Tyberus, who sailed a metre or so through the air before landing in the mud, sliding along until he hit Sophocles' armoured boots. For a few minutes, the only sound was Tyberus' strangled coughing and gasping as he wrestled air back into his lungs.

"If the accused and his curse can be separated, a place awaits him in our ranks. But for his lack of diligence, failing to report what he had done to me or the Librarius, his rank is stripped of him. Let him be known no longer as Tyranus, Hand of the Warsmith and 1st Captain of the 19th Grand Company, but let him walk among us as Tyberus, battle brother of the 1st Company. For his history of service, his life will be spared - but my clemency extends only so far"

The Warsmith broke through the assembled circle, waving an arm dismissively to indicate the hearing was at an end, and approached the foot of the newly-constructed tower. It was an imposing thing, some forty metres in height, tapering to a platform at the top, and covered in spikes, a conveyor belt running up the back. He grabbed one of the stanchion-like spikes, and began his ascent, scaling the object with little difficulty despite his size and weight.

"A new captain will be appointed in due course" the Warsmith continued, and though he was now well above them, his voice came as clear as a bell through their microbeads, as though he were breathing in their ears "for now, Captain Kunzhardt remains their commander. Assume positions. Three-metre spacings on the trench line, Tyranthikos in orbit awaiting deep strike"

The Warsmith now stood atop the tower, watching the fortress. The smoke bombardment had ceased, and all around him ancient warriors in battle-plate of burnished iron took their positions, standing on the lips of the trenches. Behind them, lines of more warriors made lines toward the slave corrals, from where the mortals would be ushered. They had already been scanned for potentially suitable recruits - all that remained were those unsuitable for implantation. No loss.

Pelegon took a moment to look around him, drinking the sight in. Now came the time to set the bait.

"IRON WARRIORS" he roared, the ironclad giant's monstrous lungs capable of making the sound carry over the two-mile diameter of the trench ring "BRING OUT THE PRISONERS!"

As watching the cogs in a clock move, the Iron Warriors opened the doors on the slave pens, and the crowds pushed forward, prompted through the firing of bolters and the promise of violence. Those that stumbled or hesitated were crushed by the wave that surged behind. They flowed like a liquid, moving between the lines of Iron Warriors and ushered into the trenches, and each Iron Warrior standing on the lip of the trench line grabbed one - a human in one hand, and a knife in the other.

Pelegon felt the rumble beneath his feet as the conveyor belt in his tower started up, and waited patiently. The Iron Warrior operating its base, the navigator Jurgen, had been given orders to send to the Warsmith a very specific type of prisoner, should one be available. As the sound of infantile cries reached his ears, he knew that he had not disappointed. Jurgen had once served as Pelegon's weapon-bearer, back when such a position had still existed. An efficient and loyal warrior, Jurgen's creativity had in part inspired Pelegon to make the plan he now enacted - indeed, the navigator had suggested to the Warsmith that a young mother made the perfect starting victim.

At the top the conveyor belt dumped exactly what he had been expecting - the woman, barely more than a girl, was almost paralyzed by fear. Her hair was matted and filthy, and her clothes were torn and damp from the mud and sweat of the press of a thousand bodies. In her arms she clutched a wailing baby wrapped in grimy rags, her attempts to calm it undermined by her own palpable terror.

"Shh" Pelegon activated the microbead built into his armour's gorget, and the speakers set up around the entrenched position broadcasted his words, projecting them over the battlefield, to where the Wolves would be listening "do not worry"

The girl looked up at him, eyes wide and brimming with moisture. The stink of fear, human waste and sweat disgusted the Warsmith. Was this what the Imperium had been reduced to? To think that once he would have given his life to create a better one for people like this. To think that he had seen his brothers die in battle for the betterment of this unworthy filth. He held a huge steel hand out, and caressed her face with it. She screamed, and the baby's wailing intensified, amplified by the huge speaker arrays.

"My child, why do you shy from my touch? I am an angel, sent to save you. Look around, how you stand over your fellows. Do you not see my armour and sword?"

The woman stopped screaming, and stared at him. Her eyes were full of mistrust, but now, deep in their depths, he saw the beginning glimmer of hope. As expected.

"Y...you're a...a space marine, aren't you?" she managed, her voice a barely audible whisper "b...b...you...you look different...to the others...in..." she nodded toward the fortress, which sat like a silent rock in the distance. The Warsmith continued, his voice warm and gentle, and now when he reached out and touched her shoulder, she did not shy away.

"I am. We are your salvation. Our father sent us, to bring our message to all the Emperor's loyal subjects and followers. Tell me, are you a loyal follower? Do you love your Emperor?"

She nodded, and Pelegon nodded back, pointing at the baby in her arms.

"Tell me, does he love his Emperor?"

The girl nodded again, and the Warsmith held his arms out, and beckoned with them.

"Please, may I give him my blessing? To tell him the message that my father gave to me?"

Slowly, hesitantly, she disengaged the howling baby from her breast and offered it to Pelegon, who took it in one huge hand as easily as a mortal might a particularly choice fruit.

"Thank you" he said, and rose up again to his full height, turning to face the Wolf fortress. The baby cried and cried, and the Warsmith turned his full attention to its pink, scrunched-up face - and smiled.

To all the Iron Warriors present, it was like seeing the dark side of the moon. Never before had they seen such a look grace their grim commander's features - love and affection shone from it, twinkled in the wells of his eyes. The baby was silenced, and even giggled, reaching out small pink fists. The Warsmith offered one huge finger, and the baby wrapped both arms around it, hugging it close to its body. Even through his armour, Pelegon could feel the small, vital heat of the baby's bare skin as it clung onto him, strong in spite of its size and young age. In that moment, the light shining off his armour, Pelegon was the picture of the man he could have been; protector of humanity, its greatest hero and most loyal servant. The crowds of human servants stopped their wailing, too awestruck by the majesty of his posture, and he could feel the hope, palpable in the air. They thought that he was their salvation.

"What is his name?"

"Sanguinius"

The Warsmith stopped, and for a moment his facade was stripped off and the true man beneath was laid bare. To those watching, it like watching a dark cloud passing over the face of the sun, before he broke again into a smile and turned his head to the girl, who was standing by his side, clutching at his leg.

"Named after the hero, I take it?"

She nodded, and the Warsmith sighed.

"I thought so"

In a single smooth motion, Pelegon drew his arm back and swung it like a catapult, hurling the baby as far as he could. There was stunned silence from the assembled mortals, and then the mother began to shriek. Without sparing a moment, Pelegon pushed her off the edge, and her screams were cut short as she landed right on one of the spikes far below, killed by the impact. With a distant thud, the baby landed right outside the gates of the Wolf's Claw, kicking up a small puff of dust.

"That was the first one" Pelegon spoke, his voice again cold and mechanical, and he replaced his helmet with one arm as he grabbed the next mortal to be sent up the conveyor belt - an old man, bent with age, defiantly refusing to cry out or show his panic. Commendable, but pointless.

"With every hour that you hug that pathetic excuse of a bastion like the puppies you are, more of these mortals will die - and not well" miniscule blades were projected out of the fingers of his gauntlets, and holding the old man up in one arm, he used the other to begin to skin him. The man's screaming carried out over the field and acted as the signal for the gathered Iron Warriors to start doing the same with their own prisoners. The air was soon filled with a cacophonous orchestra of torture and the expression of abject horror and misery.

"Come and face us - you are all condemned one way or another, but you would hold, surely, that they do not deserve this suffering? Once we have killed you all, we will withdraw and render the planet purgatus. Until then, enjoy this siren song of pain"


-----


The Fist of Russ

((I don't hugely want to give you the specifics of the ship-combat, but I suppose I'll have to, Revan))

Down the corridors there come only acolytes - Fenrisian one and all, they fight bravely to their last, but are absolutely no match for the speed and fury of the 3rd Company, who move with typical speed and efficiency - no bolt round or sword swing is wasted, and in your progress to the bridge you cut through over fifty of the acolytes. It seems that the Wolves are saving what astartes presence they have on your level for the Bridge.

The Bridge of The Wandering King

The Fist Of Russ' shields are rapidly collapsing under such heavy bombardment, their generators unable to maintain any form of serious defence against the sheer tonnage of firepower that the 7th Company are capable of putting out. With a set of sparks that cover the Wolf ship, their shields sputter and die out entirely - it is up to you whether or not you keep shooting. They maintain a gallant, if pointless barrage of firepower as you close the distance.

As you stand on the bridge, Iapetus - lord and master of his domain - you are aware of flashing signals on one of the control panels indicating that you are within range to eject transports more or less safely. Deep-striking range will be reached within a handful of minutes.
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I have reached my decision.

The borderline Pavlovian trigger of Pelegon's voice snapped Kunzhardt back into reality. He had been paying attention and had been watching the proceedings but had been mostly ignorant to the arguments. It seemed like both sides were slinging at each other and he wanted it to end. He watched their body language and listened to the tones but he really wasn't present until the Warsmith spoke and when he brought Tyberus aloft by his neck the second captain assumed the fate of the former First Captain.

No snap came, no disemboweling, no blood-just a monologue from the warsmith speaking the flowery analogies that he was so accustomed to with the XIXth speaking of Iron and Rust and other metallurgical terms that were implanted within the being of the Ivth legion. The only revelation of the monologue that left an impact was the admission of psychic powers within their own Warsmith. How had he hidden such a curse from the rest of the XIXth? The one who's Iron was supposed to be purest of all tainted by the warp? The pot simmered but did not come to a boil as Pelegon continued and ended the sentence with the sentencing of Tyberus. A lobotomy, the purging of tainted brain matter to ensure the purity of the soul. He would reduce the bat to little more than an automata leaving a bittersweet taste in the Second Captain's mouth yet again. He would be happy to see a proud bat reduced to menial labor with little to be called a person but he also had an alliance with the 1st through Tyberus and as despicable as Tyberus was he was still a familiar devil that would fight by Kunzhardt's side while any of the potential candidates could be purists aligned with Coeus making his stations' footing all the more tenuous.

Then whatever the Warsmith's plans were unfolded and he bellowed out for the prisoners to be brought forth and countless mud and shit covered souls herded out like the cattle they were. There was no sympathy in either of the Second Captain's hearts. They were weak and put up no contest accepting their fate with passivity; whatever Pelegon's plans were he welcomed what would fall to these Humans that stained their very species. Pelegon seemed to take pity on one of them in particular, a young woman with child in hand. Kunzhardt wished to gut every man that dared to stand by her that had been taken without struggle for not defending her. The feeling quickly dissipated though; that was an Iron Warrior's thought from a different time. . . A different age.

He cooed the child and the woman revealing his angelic face. While marines were tools built for war and for conquering they maintained a visage that could only be described as Godlike to those left to wallow in squalor and being surrounded by these nigh perfect beings made those 'normal' humans all the more disappointing. He hated them all in that moment and wished he had a Eviscerator that he might rend them all apart and bath in their screams. . These weaklings. And at the moment in which Kunzhardt had entertained the thought that Pelegon had snapped mentally he thrust out and sent the babe flying from his spire the infant screaming like a falling shell as it sailed to the fortress to thump lifelessly into the ground and the plan was realized. . . .Break the spirit and the body. . . Then break the wolves.

He grabbed the closest unfortunate soul with his left hand by his shoulder and brought him close with the look of grim contempt as he looked over the weakling. Emaciated, dirt covered and with somewhat sunken cheeks and the general appearance of a soul that's been worked past exhaustion most of its life. The middle aged man looked at the towering monster and spittle drizzled down his leg dripping onto the floor bringing even more disgust from Kunzhardt.

"I free you from your shame, worm."

The colossal powerfist grasped about the man's torso with ease and he didn't even bother to engage the power field he just slowly squeezed yielding a painful grunt from the man that quickly escalated into uncontrollable screaming as he heard multiple things within the man's torso pop and crack. Blood poured from his mouth that he in turn choked on and pawed helplessly at the armoured pauldron that coldly ignored the cries. It continued briefly until the man stopped squirming and was cast aside like a used cup which led Kunzhardt to grab another. This wasn't honorable fighting. It was far from it, there was no proud combat here - at least not yet but these disgraceful souls didn't deserve the title of human's and so Kunzhard would eradicate this weakness in the species.

His eyes turned to the castle and the only thoughts that swam in his mind consisted of a demanding almost begging desire for the Wolve's to leave their hovel and to attack.

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Sophacles looked down at the muddied 1st Company veteran, the former Captain, and hauled him to his feet with relative ease. A retinue of Tech-Marines then gathered around, coupled with a few servitors and the few Tech-Priests that had come planet side.

"Come Brother Veteran, you will be placed into holding for preliminary testing, to ascertain the nature of your mutation. When the battle is over, the operation will take place in the Apothecarion under the directing of the Master Genetor and Forge Master. I will run a calculation to determine the severity of Mutation upon further testing." He said as he walked Tyberus along and brought him into the bunkers.

They then brought him to a cell that had been jury rigged with some testing equipment, and they laid him down on a gurney as they began to perform scans, Sophacles merely watching as the others performed the tests.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Adriun was surprised at the turn of events, he supposed the Warsmith didn't want to allow another unregistered Psyker, Pelegon being the exception. He watched as Sophacles took Tyberus away before returning his attention to Pelegon who had now ascended the tower.

What happened next though he had hoped to not see, a woman and child were brought up to the spire, where the Warsmith talked to them, he could not hear from ground level though, but it seemed strangely kind of the Warsmith. The mere thought of kindness brought hope to Adriun just as it quickly dashed it away, for he sensed this to be a ruse of some sort and his heart began to sink.

When Pelegon tossed the infant though, that caused something entirely different to rise in Adriun. It boiled forth like molten iron, pure and fiery his anger frothed to the surface, he flashed back to his child hood and heard the chattering again. The gnashing of teeth, cracking of bone, the chewing of flesh it was all so vivid to him and the fear that had been present in that memory was gone, having left with his ascension as an astartes, now only a rebellious anger to lash out at fate and to slay the monsters who had slain his youthful fellows and their families. Except the monster now was his master, he looked up to Pelegon but was always guarded in his views on mortals, but now he wished to fight, and to condemn the actions of his fellows who seemed little more than death hungry beasts.

He clenched his fists tightly, trying to reign in his anger, his gritted visage only hidden by the Helmet he wore, he only hoped the wolves came soon, for he needed a recipient for his fury. He would forge death with the heat of his hate and anger soon.

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post #98 of 105 (permalink) Old 11-13-14, 06:00 PM
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Tyberus forced himself to hold back his laughter at the ruling of the WarSmith. This had been a mockery of justice, and only further highlighted the hypocrisy of Pelegon. Tyberus himself, an unregistered psyker had been stripped of his rank of First Captain, sentenced to have whatever 'infected' parts of his brain containing warp mutation cored out, all at the words of Pelegon the WarSmith who suffered the same ailment as him and who had over the past millenia made far greater errors of judgement.

As he was escorted away by the retinue of Sophacles and his Tech Marines he wondered just how long Pelegon thought he could maintain order over the XIXth with the fissures so wide between the Companies. Without Tyberus at the helm of the First Company there was no Fist of the WarSmith to be feared by the other Companies. They will run free, like unleashed hounds. With his relegation to merely a battle brother of the First Company he was unsure of who he would be taking orders from, on top of that he wondered if there would be attempts on his life from within the First Company or any of the rival Companies.

At the forefront of his thoughts though, was one thought above all else, If there is anything left of me after these bastard tech parasites are done with me I will have vengeance for this injustice. If I have to burn a thousand planets, a hundred galaxies, I will have vengeance for this.
--------------------------------------------

Kerberos stood idly, but as the WarSmith admitted his own psyker abilities he felt hard pressed to begrudge Tyberus. Surely the First Captain had acted somewhat erratically, but no real harm had come from it, and despite the picture that was painted by Coeus, he knew his Captain to be loyal, perhaps moreso than any other of the Captains within the XIXth. The Champion was stunned by the sentencing, he expected that Tyberus would be made an example of, perhaps lashed excessively, but to be stripped of his rank was quite shocking, but he remained silent, it was not his place to speak.

His mind quickly skipped ahead past whatever might befall Tyberus, he had certainly played a part in his own undoing, though Kerberos felt the sentence was excessive. Tyberus had created quite a fanatical following within the First Company and Kerberos wondered who among them would be able to lead the First, who had over the millenia been stockpiled with warriors handpicked by Tyberus. Kerberos gave a serious thought to the possibility of dissent within the First, a full company of veteran warriors, the majority of whom were not of pure Olympian blood, the First having had their loyalty dogmatically enforced to the XIXth and the First's Captain for seven thousand years. Who among us will be able to break the tyrant's hold?

His attention then turned to his station on the battlefield, he would be at the fore of the assault, whenever they were finally ordered to attack. He saw the WarSmith's tactics of holding the populace hostage as unnecessary and bordering on a display that the Imperium might use, but not one that they should employ. He of course did not mention his opinions, he was a dutiful warrior beyond reproach, and it irked him some to have to look to Captain Kunzhardt for his orders.
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Sophacles stepped forward to offer his insights. Such a shame that the Grand Company had lost a psyker of his pervious talent, but he at least knew what he was talking about better than anyone else. I wasn’t annoyed that he offered an alternative fate to my suggestion. It would be useful to have the Night Lord under my thumb but if the Warpsmith saw fit to lobotomise him, that worked just as well for me. Besides, he agreed that I should be able to tear Tyberus’ mind apart looking for answers that I doubted were there and that knowledge was the most important thing I could hope for. As the techmarine spoke I looked for Kunzhardt. His body tension was stiff, so close from fighting and yet unable to spill blood. What monster strains against its binds in your mind, Gorgon? He was silent and that amused me. If there was a coup forming amongst the half-breeds, it clearly wasn’t one I had to fear if they were willing to abandon one another at a moment’s notice.

I looked back to Pelegon. The crowd was getting restless and there were few words that were worth saying left. Tyberus could probably harp until his lungs gave out, but I had said my piece and had no plans to add anything else. If it did it would only serve to diminish the flames I had already lit, and it was this heat under Pelegon’s arse that would force him to act. There were more, subtle, ways to force someone’s hand and that was something few in the Grand Company seemed to understand. Probably best too, otherwise they might disapprove of my actions and see them as nothing more than duplicitous.

Pelegon declared he had reach a judgement. I did not care for his oratory. Chiefly Iron Warriors were men of action and usually only respected action. It required a skilled wordsmith to be able to hold the attention of so many virile bodies on words alone and Pelegon was not so skilled. He was however respected, and so all those gathered listened vigilantly. He grabbed the half-breed by the throat and held him aloft for everyone to see. He let the oxygen slowly drain from the Night Lord’s face and he spoke about change and how they were all affected.

Then he did something I did not expect. He revealed his own ‘talent’, although I would never call it that. An untrained accidental leakage of psychic power was no talent, it was a liability. As a wave of silence briefly swept over the crowd I could feel others think the same sentiment. Pelegon would not be lauded as brave or bold for his shared revelation. He would be shunned and feared. Any hope of catching another coup became smaller. Men would hold their thoughts closer to their breast and it would only serve to stoke the paranoia that so often festered in the hearts of the IVth legion. It certainly made my work easier.

The Warsmith did very kindly exonerate myself and the Librarium of responsibility for having not spotted Tyberus’s taint, although I was not quite sure why. A lot of Pelegon’s actions he been directed to limit my influence and he had passed up an remarkable opportunity to keep his own secret hidden and to put doubt in the Librarium. It was interesting if nothing else. It mildly irritated me that he turned the half-breed over to Sophacles for his surgery without an assurance that he should be interrogated. That meant it was at the warpsmith’s discretion. Luckily, if he resisted, I at least had a bargaining chip I could use. Whether I would or not would be a choice I would leave until later.

After that, the ad hoc jury disbanded and moved in fluid motions to their assigned positions. I had none so was free to move as and were I chose. I opened a private link to Sophacles as he lead the half-breed away.
“I hope that your enthusiasm for the interrogation of our erstwhile brother was not an empty claim, brother. If you require me or my brethren’s assistance, you know where to find us.”
I hoped to be able to pry the Night Lord open and learn what foes I must watch for, as well as all the less interesting facets of his existence, but only time would tell. Sophacles would act as his processors dictated, and such calculations were unlikely to have changed now that he had control of Tyberus’s fate. Computers were far easier to predict than mortals with their petty agendas and schemes.

Then came the simple expenditure of the slaves. It was a strategy to be sure, trying to play on the Wolves love of their pets. However, it lacked something compared to the simple nature of cracking open the fortress and purging it with fire and blood. Either Pelegon was beginning to lose his mind or he had something else planed. Some grand gesture? Some show of force? I wasn’t overly concerned, but I didn’t like this strategy. It wasn’t out of squeamishness or any moral objection, I had cast aside such things long ago. It wasn’t that Iron Warriors way and that was what I objected to most. Although, another being stood out, hate radiating off of him. My face contorted briefly into something between a smile of amusement and a sneer of disgust.

I walked alongside Adriun. He was not bloodying his hands, but then again if they all did their stock of slaves would be swiftly depleted. Despite what Pelegon or others might say, mortals were the oil that kept the machine of the Legions running. To spend such a resource so needlessly when we had the materials to break open the fortress anyway seemed frivolous. “I take it you do not approve Adriun?” I asked as I stood beside the Forge Master. As I spoke I linked myself with my brethren, our psychic consciousness’s merging. We caught up the mortals fear, despair, betrayal, pain. We caught all their suffering and hurled it at those in the fortress. These were projectiles walls would not protect them from. The Wolves would feel their charges die and any mortals they protected would likely kill themselves. No mortal soul should feel the weight of dying and still live to speak of it. Most could and would not handle it. Hopefully that would help to force the Wolves’ hand, necessitating open battle and end this pointless display of barbarity…

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Adriun stood there seething beneath his helm, his fellow Tech-Marines returning to their duties, to busy to slay the humans needlessly. He knew they felt similar about the slaughter, but it was a matter of resources and not life, for Adriun it was both Resources and a moral stand-point. He noticed Coeus was standing next to him, no doubt to continue their previous discussion from the Ferra Perpetua. He was still seething with fiery hate and anger, his iron becoming white hot and ready to scald any foe unfortunate enough to meet his blade and gun.

Then the Seer spoke,I take it you do not approve Adriun?

Coeus was as perceptive as ever, his emotions would show like a beacon to the psyker, he didn't doubt that being in real-space was a blessing, as his anger would have been a beacon for things much worse than a prying Psyker. He sighed, audibly, and through his vox it sounded like the super heated air escaping the vents of a furnace, he felt no need to disguise his frustration from someone who already knew his emotions without effort.

He glanced to the side, looking at Coeus through the eyes of his helm as the psyker made war on the mental plane against the wolf fortress.

"I shall speak plainly, Yes I do disapprove. I have no need to hide that from you, nor could I." He said and paused.

"These men, women, and children are as valuable a resource as the Metals needed for bolter and blade. That is a statistical fact, we need them to expand our numbers and influence, and they could be quite easily swayed to our side, and the youth could become devout to us entirely and our cause."

His words were meaningless though if he intended to paint them as some calculated variable, Coeus already knew his real reasoning.

"You know my past, no doubt that you read it from me long ago as a Neophyte, or learned it from Lugerev. I am sentimental, but not without reason Librarian. I see their use for expanding our influence, and building a new Empire with The Legion's Ideals. I see it as giving a chance to those oppressed by the Ignorant Imperium, with their false Corpse god, a new life reforged in Iron."

It was a lofty Goal, but it was something Adriun was personally convince that the XIX Grand company could accomplish, he felt they were destined for it, being the last vestige of purity in a daemonically plagued Legion. He wondered if the Iron Father would approve, but then was the Approval of the Ironically corrupted head of the Legion even needed? Adriun thought not, the Ideal would outlive its creator and remain true.

It felt like he had cooled off after spouting all of that, it was rather useless in the end, because he was to follow orders. He could do little to assure the Company was headed down this idealized path, besides wrest control of it from Pelegon, but he knew Pelegon had goals as well, it was just difficult to see if they lined up with his own interpretation of their creed. Maybe, just maybe it did, even if it was an act, what Pelegon had showed on the spire, if only for a moment, hinted at a kindness and empathy he had not seen any any of his other Battle-brothers. He would have to put faith in that for now, and deal with the fact that such aspirations would not be bloodless.

"However my thoughts on this are neither here nor there, if this is as he wishes, it will be done. And hopefully put to the past soon." He looked up to the smokey sky, a broken world was all he saw, reflected in the pitch black ashes that blew around in the slipstreams of the upper atmosphere.

"Now, have you considered my proposal on the Null Field Wards? Sophacles has proposed plans for a machine that would be able to replicate the wards, but they would need the initial spark from your Librarium's Rituals to work. Other wise it might be an overly decorated Etching machine."

It was better to discuss something else, to get his mind off of the brutality around him, not that he was unable of committing similar brutality on far more deserving opponents that still hid in their fortress. He pulled out a data-slate and pulled up the blue-prints for the machine, as well as its specs, it was an interesting device, and incredibly time intensive to perform its tasks. This would mean that it would not be entirely possible to outfit the whole Grand Company with these wards, but it would be more specialized to only those who needed it, like veteran's that specialized in combating Psykers or daemons.

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