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post #11 of 105 (permalink) Old 09-24-14, 06:01 PM
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Lucian turns to regard the apocathery with his red helmet lens as he begins to draw his blade as Lucian's own right hand slides up to his shoulder and grips the hilt of one of his blade but releases it when the Seventh Captain intervenes. Standing there listening Lucian watches his fellow captain and the Primus Medicae as the Seventh Captain speaks of him wearing the garb on Caliban.

Shaking his head he looks at Pelegon before turning his gaze back to the 'Shipwright'. "I wear the garb best suited to stealth Captain Iapetus hence the colour of my armour and my robes." Lucian steps forward one and fixes his gaze with Iapetus's own as he listens to the Seventh Captain speak of himself and that he and his company would best be suited for the job of taking the ship. "Captain Iapetus this task that the Warsmith has set out requires subtlety and you and your company are about as subtle as World Eaters when it comes to battle."

"As soon as you lead the Wolves away and begin attacking them then they themselves will send out a call to reinforcements even if they dont the call will still go out alerting others that there are Iron Warriors in the region giving the world we are going to take even more time to prepare for an invasion."

Lucian steps forward again to stand chest plate to chestplate with Iapetus as he meets his gaze with his own. "No, you would be best employed taking your ships and entering orbit and doing what I know the Fourth Legion are perhaps the best at: Precision Orbital Bombardment, which you can use as cover to get the rest of the Grand Company planet side. If this mission required your 'technique' then there was no need for myself to be included to stay behind as any of the other captains would easily be able to simply blow holes in the ship and then repair them at a later date. Your plan will also include casualties and loses in resources while my plan will ensure that we sustain minimal loses."

Lucian turns away from Iapetus to look at the Warsmith. "The decision however is not ours Iapetus, it is the Warsmiths and as such I abide by your decision Warsmith Pelegon." Lucian bows his head to Pelegon.

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

Victory is nothing more than survival.
It carries no weight of honour or worth beyond what we ascribe to it.
If you wish to grow wise, learn why brothers betray brothers. - Khyron, First Grand Master of the Eighth Brotherhood.
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post #12 of 105 (permalink) Old 09-24-14, 08:01 PM
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Sitting in atop the Dais in within the Keep of the First Tyranus loomed over the proceedings around him, he awaited word from his Lieutenant Xareth that all preparations had been made for their battle barge The Iron Tyrant and as he waited word of something most interesting reached his ears. The message had been delivered from a Brother who stood in the shadows, his power armor, from what could be seen was mundane and refrained from the flourishes and braggadocious nature that the various war plates of the First now typically held. The warrior though was one that had no problem lurking in shadows, blending in plain sight and the kindred bond that Tyranus shared with him was that both had come gene stock other than that of the Iron Warriors. And so, rather than try to remake the man, Tyranus used him as he was, and Draxus flourished in his role. While he had a suit of Cataphractii that was his right to wear when on campaign, typically Draxus meandered about the Eisenschloss and its accompanying structures, simply picking up on any rumor that circulated and relaying it to his Lord.

"Corruption, or so they say, has potentially taken root within the 2nd, supposedly a Brother named Rorke" Draxus seemed to drag out his delivery, to the annoyance of Tyranus. He indicated as such with his questioning tilt of his head and a sweeping gesture with his right hand imploring the marine to continue, or continue to drag it out as his own peril. "Having overheard it from several within the Apothecarion-" Tyranus cut him off quickly at mention of the Apothecarion, "Did Lugerev see you?" his scowl only intensified as he continued his line of questioning, "Were you identified by your HUD link?" There was a real threat now of physical violence in the tone of Tyranus. Draxus of course did not disappoint, "No my Lord, Lugerev was at the summons with you and as we are preparing for war the Apothecarion is quite overrun with Battle Brothers seeking final confirmations of their readiness for war. To your second question, my next 'stop' was to the armory to see to it that my HUD and link systems were repaired as they do not function currently. When asked I merely said I was 'with the reserve company', they did not even bother to ask which one, so inundated were they with Battle Brothers seeking clearance to go to war on our new campaign." Draxus had taken all the steps necessary to remain unseen and that satisifed Tyranus enough. "Additonally my Lord, A Librarian named Bronsk seems to have been found in possession of occult materials, but that is mere speculation I have heard, I cannot be sure if that information is accurate. All the same, if there is one corrupted, there are likely others."

Tyranus held up his right hand, indicating to Draxus that he did not seek to hear his theories about what any of this information meant. "Draxus, you will rejoin your 10th Squad, I'm sure Sergeant Nelios will be glad of your return and his squad's return to full strength."

Draxus exited and Tyranus quickly brought up his vox comm, he had matter to address with the Third Captain. His encrypted vox link confirmed he spoke, his low, bass ridden voice carrying with it a level of enthusiasm and flattery he rarely utilized. "Brother Captain Lucian, the Third is most welcome on this campaign!" the flattery left a taste of too much butter slathered on too thin piece of bread for it was not Tyranus' typical mood to be so amicable, though he tried admirably to hide it from his tone and facial expressions.

"I do not know what endeavor you and your Third Company are to be sent on, but know that if you require additional fire support that I would lend to you a small retinue of my Tyranthikos to fight alongside your Company." The niceties were simple enough to read through, Tyranus wanted to know what was going on and sought to have some small hand in the glory of whatever secretive plan was underway. Whether the Third Captain would humor him he doubted, but he had an amiable enough history with Lucian that he did not see it as out of the question.

Lucian's reply was taciturn in regards to his mood, "First Captain Tyranus, while the offer of aid is appreciated the Third Company itself will not be deploying on the planet as our task will be carrying us elsewhere to deal with a problem far more suited to Third. As such your warriors will not be needed something which I have already told the Seventh Captain as the mission I have been given requires stealth and espionage of the highest degree and I'm afraid to say that all other companies lack such qualities."

Tyranus saw that they were both outcast to an extent among the senior officers as they were not of the contingent of the XIXth that carried "pure" gene stock of the Iron Warriors, solemn as their oaths to the Great Company and the Legion may be. As such they were potential allies of circumstance, or just as likely Captains who would eventually have to fight private wars against those who conspired to 'purify' the ranks of the XIXth. He noted that Lucian had denied The 7th a place in his mission, likely appealing to the WarSmith to have the 7th to take another assignment as necessary.

"Very well Brother Captain Lucian, of course I understand and respect the specialized nature of your mission and will ask no further of its content. However, I would ask only that you be wary around Lugerev and the Seventh, they do not see the true value in the work you do and may look to undermine you. If you should have need of myself or my Tyranthikos, do not hesistate Brother Lucian. Glory to the Shadowed."

There was a moment of silence as Lucian thought over the words of his Brother Captain, Tyranus, knowing the nature of Lucian was not surprised as the crackle and static of the cut off vox fizzled before he too closed the channel. His Brother Captain had given him some valuable snippets of information, but they were indeed just scraps, pieces, the nature of Captain Lucian interested Tyranus in that it was very much akin to how he had operated a lifetime ago.

"We are assembled as per your orders Lord," the heavily digitized voice came from the vox-grille of the most senior of his Honor Guard, the seven that would ride with him in his Crusader pattern Land Raider when they attacked Pelexis III were in front of him. He rose to his feet and though he was at best the same height as the Honor Guard around him he dwarfed them in sheer size and intimidation, his customized Cataphractii plate easily larger than those of his warriors, he held the HUD linked storm bolter and shoulder mounted frag launcher lent to the appearance of a walking tank. "You shall accompany me to the domain of the 2nd, I would speak with Captain Kunzhardt about our newest campaign."
-----------------------
Disembarking from the Crusader dubbed Exterminatore Tyranus was at the head of a cadre of his own personal honor guard, warriors who did not technically belong to a squad within the First, they answered directly to the First Captain, ever watchful over their lord, their right pauldrons glistened in worn and aged gold signifying their station as sworn guardians to Tyranus. They entered the massive Hangar that housed the training exercises of the 2nd Company. This day he was accompanied by seven, these men made up a core component of his command squad, the other was lead by his Lieutenant Xareth and his first squad.

They were not here for conflict and as such their weapons were at this moment not powered and all had their storm bolters securely mag locked to their waists, however in what could only be described as hostile territory they were on high alert, their heads moving with a level of hyper awareness, scoping every possible angle for any sign of hostility.

Tyranus spoke to the first veteran of 2nd Company he saw, his retinue of Seven formed around him so as to protect him from all sides. "I would have words with Captain Kunzhardt," The Veteran gave a look that revealed how unsure he was of what to do. The Veteran clearly knew that Kunzhardt was not overly fond of Tyranus, and must have wondered if this incursion into their training grounds was to be interpreted as an act of aggression or challenge. "I wish to speak with the Mechanized Fist about how we might best crush our adversaries underfoot in our newest campaign."
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post #13 of 105 (permalink) Old 09-24-14, 11:47 PM
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My legs were crossed but no part of me touched the floor. My mental powers kept me suspended, but that was less than a background thought. What was important was the deck of psychoactive cards that circled him. His mind moved them facing outwards, random paths and random directions. This tarot was a way that the servants of the False Emperor scry the future. They wouldn’t cast their souls into the warp like I would, but it was interesting to hear what their best voices would offer me.

I turned over the card in front of me. A sword. War. Pelegon would ask for him soon then. Next was a glaring wound. Opening like a maw. No wait, that wasn’t right I realised. It was an eye. It was an evil eye that burnt but offered no warmth. I felt a chill run up my spine at meeting its hateful glare. Was this a portent that the servants of Imperium would quake at, or was it a sign of infighting for the Grand Company. The room disappeared from around me and I soared into the Immaterium, searching for the truth. A burning world, the howl of wolves, the separating of flesh and spirit. I drank the emotional tides in, and caught a close approaching wave. Someone approached.

My eyes flung open and I opened the tumblers on my chamber doors. A serf, Borigan from hot-reading his thoughts, stood with his fist raised about to knock. “My lord…” he began.
“I am called to war?” I said, already sure of the answer.
“Yes, but there is another matter I thought you’d like to know.” Borigan continued, no doubt wondering why he bothered to inform a man who wore the title The Seer.
“Oh?” I said, collecting all the cards into a single deck which fell neatly to the floor. I uncrossed my legs, standing at my full height with my robes falling flat against my skin.
“Captain Iapetus will be arriving soon. Hanger 6.” I picked up the Iron Grimoire and Eternal Schism, strapping one to either hip.
“Thank you Borigan.” I said making my way past the serf.

I was about to walk out without pause, but a sight stopped me. Two men were shackled. One I recognised, for he was one of mine, Librarian Bronsk. As well as the physical shackles, he was bound with a psycho-dampening collar. How solemn it would be for a man who had always heard the voice of the warp whisper to him to suddenly separated from his constant companion. My mind quested, why was he bound? Possession of sorcerous tomes, contraband. I kept my face impassive, but chuckled to myself. The other, who was he. A hot-read told me his name was Rorke and he was from the 2nd company, but I didn’t need to look for his crime. A steadily weeping collection of abscesses marked his forearm. They were my problems and my duties to deal with, but at a later date. After I had seen my brother.

I walked into hanger 6 to find myself surprisingly alone, except for the lobotomised servitors who scuttled around guided by whatever machine-code that was running through their simple brains. My robes began to billow as one of the 7th’s Stormbird’s landed, but I didn’t move. The exhaust fumes caressed my robes until the engines finally died and the entrance ramp lowered. My larger twin stood, his form accentuated by his Tauros Pattern Armour and no less lethal for the lack of weapons. 'Brother,' Iapetus said, descending the ramp. 'It is good to see you.'
“Brother…” I said opening my arms to embrace a man to whom may greeting was far more than a mere formality. “…it is good to see you too. How fairs the 7th?”

Iapetus stepped back, clasping Coeus' hands between his gauntlets. One thought, one muscle-twitch, and he could crush the bones to dust.
“They are well.” He said, smiling. “A well-oiled cog…” His voice dropped and took on a harsh tone “…in a rusted machine.” Iapetus surveyed the hanger, perhaps looking for some intruder “And your witches?” The way he spoke about my charges was harsh, but not like the others. They spoke with a tone of derision that I hated, although I had long since grown accustomed to their ignorant mutterings. Iapetus’s term was born from familiarity, not contempt. The ramp to his Stormbird closed behind us as we began to walk towards our master’s chambers. “My librarian’s serve me well, mostly. They brought one to me, a man called Bronsk, to be tried. Interesting, they also brought me Rorke from the 2nd.” I left an empty space for Iapetus to comment, he would no doubt have something to say about the half-born’s bastard son.

“Bronsk?” Iapetus said, raising an eyebrow. We had known Bronsk for a while, a low born Olympian, but one of the true IVth Legionnaires. “One of us” I knew what my brother meant by that. I had to spare him. I pressed my consciousness onto his, something he was familiar with by now. It was the only sure way to know we would not be heard. *His sin is minor enough. Possessing contraband from what I could hot read. I’m sure he’ll be fine.* Of course he would, I held his life in my hand. He was still worth interrogating though, to find out what he knew.

I switched back to my audible voice “Kunzhurdt’s is certainly problematic. Some sort of infection. Perhaps I will have to investigate them closer.” My face remained fixed but Iapetus would have felt the wave of pleasure I sent him.
“Are there others? Among the Second?” Iapetus asked, his voice growing cold. He smiled, a knowing and sinister smile “Of course there are others. A formal investigation will have to be launched, will it not, brother?” It was not a question, but I could have launched one with less evidence. “And Kunzhardt? How could he have missed such a terrible thing - He should be charged with incompetence at best.”

I felt my curled lip turn into a smile briefly. It would do me good to see the Gorgon-spawn feel the icy breath of the Librarium down his neck. “Well, we can hardly expect a half-born to do much better than stammering impotence. You remember how Gneous fell?” I referred to my Ultramar born predecessor, and laughed unkindly. We knew the truth of his demise. “It’s always the half-born.” I tutted, making no attempt to hide my disgust.

“They are unworthy at best. Worse, still, is that bastard Night Lord,” Iapetus grunted. “Tyranus, bah.” I spat and left my saliva to burn a hole in the iron floor. He would always be Tyberus. The warp still sung his true name and the smell of his former brothers clung to him like the stench of a rotting corpse. Nothing could wash that off him.
“Where has our glory, our pride, gone?” He raised a hand, clenching it into a fist. “They stain us, this mongrel-breed. Blood, so pure, so glittering, has blackened and congealed. But we serve, brother, and faithfully. More faithful than the Night Lord, or the bastard-born, ever could.”

We were almost at the meeting hall now, ahead of the others, but we were not done. I walked down an adjacent corridor, pulling my brother aside. “Peace brother…”
*…we will purge them from our proud legion…*
“…let us not focus on what has been, but on what is to come…”
*…their reckoning will come and we will cast them down and grind them to dust under the hammer of Olympia…*
“…these half-breeds will have their day…”
*…and their end is neigh. We will see to that my brother…*
“…and we will be mighty, loyal and pure iron once more.” I spoke with two voices. Most regarded us as prejudiced relics, and secure conversations helped maintain that illusion of benign disgust.

I smoothed a crease from my robe and saw the Primus Medicae walk past. All the players were being summoned. “Do you know how Lugerev fairs these recent days? I heard one of your Apothecaries was at his side, but I’ve not been able to check on our troubled friend.” Iapetus sighed.
“Tirgivil, yes, he reports to me, on times. He is Lugerev's pet, that I know, but he is a true Iron Warrior,” He pursed his lips. “He fears for Lugerev, as do I. Has Lugerev grown worse, Coeus, or has he always been so mad?” He stepped towards the war-chamber. “If we watch his back, he shall watch ours. Lugerev is an Olympian, a friend, Coeus. We need him and his Apothecaries, so does the Grand Company. So long as Tirgivil warns me, I will look after him. I only ask the same of you, brother.”

I ran my tongue over my teeth, a habit when I am thinking about what to say. “I have not grown so old yet that I struggle to distinguish friend from foe, Iapetus...” I retorted with more than a little venom. “…I just wondered if Tirgivil had seen any marked change lately. As I said, I have been otherwise engaged.” Iapetus knew better than to pry into exactly what had consumed my time, especially given the lion’s den they were about to enter. “Rest assured, I will watch over him as surely as I watch over you.” With that we entered into this war council, infected as it was with those gene-seed abortions and deserters they were forced to fraternise with.

I took my place, two seats removed from our ally Lugerev. Iapetus sat between the two of us. I only half listened to the briefing, but then I was used to devoting half my attention to various things and taking it all in. If the other Astartes round this table had heightened senses, mine was on another plane of existence. As I listened to Pelegon I stroked each of their minds. Tyberus’ was a hot bed of rage and arrogance. Entirely misplaced. The Gorgon-spawn’s mind was a strange cocktail of joy and anger. Lucian tried to hide from him, but his title was the only thing deceptive about him. He was open before me whenever the pleasure took me. None of them knew, I wasn’t reaching deep enough into their minds to raise attention to myself.

The only being in this room who could resist my probing was the one who spoke. Only once had I ever managed to gain entrance to his mind, and that was when he had allowed me to erase my own name from his memories. I wondered if he knew he held me out, or it was just a natural thing he did without noticing. If Pelegon ever fell, I would take him for myself and break his mind open and gorge myself on his memories. We were to be killing the Space Wolves. The howling of wolves as the world around them burnt. Whilst blood-letting was always enjoyable, killing for killing’s sake seemed a frivolous waste of resources. However, before he got to the point of this mission, Pelegon concluded the briefing. Curious. Iapetus was asked to stay, along with Lugerev and the orphaned Dark Angel.

Iapetus grabbed my hand before I left. *I’ll be watching* I promised him, leaving a portion of my consciousness resting in his mind. Many struggled with another active presence in their mind, so I would simply observe unless my brother asked. At least I would know what the Warsmith was keen to hide from the rest of us. While my allies put this half-breed in his place, I had two prisoners to attend to. The warriors of the Eisenloss parted before me like water. Some sneered as me and I burst the blood vessels in their noses or eyes, depending on my fancy. Some bowed respectfully whilst others just moved out of my way.

As I reached the Librarium, I heard the quiet echo in my mind from the ‘private’ meeting of Lucian asking for me by denying my brother his right as Shipwright. Fool. Iapetus would feel that sentiment, but they would be in accord. “You will bring Rorke to my study.” I said as I moved towards my chambers. The shuffling grating of iron chains followed me whilst my mind resounded with the sound of metal on metal as weapons came out of their sheaths. “Leave us.” I spoke and the men who had forced Brother Rorke into my study left, shutting the door behind them.

“My lord, I swear…” the man began to frantically plead. He knew my reputation to not suffer fools or corruption. I paced him, searching his mind with none of the subtlety I had exerted earlier. These were scalpels, cutting away at memories and secret thoughts. “…I am not a servant of the Dark Gods. I would rather die than worship at their feet. I…”
“You will be silent Rorke.” My voice was empowered by warp and forced his mouth to dry up. I tore the corner of a blank page off and dipped it into his sores. The papyrus immolated in my hand and the black smoke screamed with a daemonic face in the short-lived flame. Rorke’s eyes were wide with horror.

At last, I stopped facing and stood in front of the man under Kunzhurdt’s command. “I know you don’t worship the Dark Gods, but sadly, they seemed to have taken notice of you regardless.” Slowly, Eternal Schism came into my hand. The signals etched into it burnt brighter. “You have been judged, and you have been found wanting.” Telekinetically, I etched the symbol of the Librarium into Rorke’s forhead. Smoothly, the axe-head separated the man’s head from his body. Normally that would be enough, but if this was a Nurglite infection as I suspected, the body needed to be thoroughly cleansed. Fire poured from my fingertips and engulfed the body. With a thought, the door flew open and several serfs rushed in to clear the room of the smouldering remains.

“Borigan.” My voice boomed harshly. The serf rushed in and performed a hurried bow. “Take the head of Brother Rorke here to Captain Kunzhurdt. Inform him that I will be speaking to the Warsmith in due course about the investigation of his company. He has until then to purge and heretics and fanatics from his midst. After that, his company is to be judge by the Librarium.”
“Of course my lord Coeus.” The serf left to do the business I had bid him, and I had another prisoner to interrogate.
“Bring in Librarian Bronsk.” I said as I listened to my brother tear the Caliban heathen apart. Things were getting tense in there, and the results of my investigation thus far gave me ample cause to disturb a meeting I may as well have already been in.

Two Librarian’s flanked Bronsk as he was shuffled into my now cramped chambers. One of them presented me with the materials he was found with. As before I bade them to leave us and as before they did. I turned the books over in my hands. Most were slender, but I could feel the weight of the secrets they held. I stared the Librarian down with my serpentine glare.
“My lord, you know I do not serve the Changer of Ways.”
“Why not?” I asked, an air of mischief about me. Bronsk seemed stunned. He began to stammer. “I mean, why wouldn’t you? The god of all magic in the galaxy and you aren’t at least tempted to bend a knee just to sip from his cup?” Bronsk hardened his face.
“No.” he said resolutely. I nodded for a moment.
“Liar.”

With that, a spear of thought drove into the Librarian’s mind. It pierced to the very core of him, where the darkest secrets were held. “I know you are lying…” I said as I tore down mental fortresses and uprooted the worst parts of the man. “…because I feel that temptation too. I feel the draw of power calling me, asking for just an inch of compromise in exchange…”
“I will not yield!” Bronsk screeched. I stopped my mental onslaught for a moment. The man showed me the memory himself. A young Librarian haunted by mocking voices on a battlefield far from home. Playing on his paranoid. A great winged beast, taunting him. It was an obsession, but not the black kind. Bronsk needed a vendetta fulfilled and had resorted to forbidden tomes to break the hold a daemon had over him. It offered him power even as Bronsk tried to destroy it. He was tempted and he was ashamed.

But he was not tainted, at least no more than I or any other member of our order was. We all needed our weapons. “You will be demoted to a Lexicanum. I cannot have the weak leading the strong. Until you have overcome this daemon you will shadow Librarian Kolvax. He will notify me of your success or death.” With that, I unlocked the many chains that bound him. Had he been of impure stock, I would have dealt with him as I did Rorke, but he was my own and I would not abandon him. He was not broken yet, and this may only be his tempering. “Dismissed.”

My official duties attended to I spread my arms out wide. If I was going to disturb the Warsmith’s little council I would do so ready for war. Besides, Kunzhurdt would likely come looking for me after word reached him of his guilt. My monastic robes peeled off of me and my armour started to be drawn to me as if I were a new star being born. Usually serfs would dress their senior captains but I needed no such help. It took moments to slot everything into place and secure the Iron Grimoire to my shoulder and Eternal Schism to my hip. Now armed and armoured, I strode quickly back towards the meeting chambers of my current Warsmith.

The doors opened before me and I withdrew my splinter of consciousness from my brother’s mind. I didn’t need it now I was there myself. Lucian had just finished prattling about deferring judgement to Pelegon without even revealing his ‘grand plan’. Plucking it from just below his surface thoughts, it was hard to understand why he was so embarrassingly proud of it. It was foolish and Iapetus was right to dismiss it out of hand, even though he hadn’t heard it. “My Lord I thought it best to inform you directly of the results of my investigation. Unless I’m interrupting a meeting where I am not required?” Lucian, and possibly the Warsmith, would be irked by this intrusion. However, with a possible infestation of Chaos worship up my sleeve and Lucian’s express mention of me, I would be very surprised if I was sent away…

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post #14 of 105 (permalink) Old 09-25-14, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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Pelegon firmly believed in a little sibling rivalry, but it was a tool that required careful and timely usage. Like a cinder, it had to be carefully tended to in order to burn bright, and right now the Warsmith had blown strongly enough onto it to give the heat that he wanted. It was merely a matter of ensuring that the fire didn't grow large enough to hurt him. The captains destroying each other would be a step too far.

The Warsmith enjoyed watching them sniping at each other, though both presented valid points. He had a good idea as to what Lucian would do with the materials he had requested, and if it was as he assumed, it was a solid plan. Pelegon was pleased with his third captain for forming a fairly comprehensive plan so quickly, but he would have expected nothing less. The seventh captain's assurances and reservations were also well-judged, given the lack of information that he had furnished them with so far.

When Lugerev drew his weapon, Pelegon did not move an inch, remaining as statuesque as he had been throughout the discourse. In his mind, he egged Lugerev on, urging him to swing at either him or Lucian. Had the Medicae done so, it would have been his last act; Pelegon would have crushed his skull between his fingers, helmet and all, and that way rid himself of another problem. Had the medicae assaulted Lucian...the Warsmith was not a gambling man, given as he was to stacking the odds in his favour, never playing them, but he would have been more comfortable wagering on Lucian than Lugerev. The First Legion, whatever his fellows thought of them, could not be found wanting with regard to their bladework. A pity that origins mattered so much to some.

"A trap, Shipwright?" Pelegon rumbled "they expect nothing, and know even less. Likewise, Lucian..." the Warsmith turned, and made long, slow strides for the door, patting the third captain's pauldron as he did so, noting how the other marine flinched from his touch "...I am aware that they will send a distress signal..."

The doors slid open and Coeus made an entrance, informing Pelegon that his investigation was concluded. The Warsmith paused; the Epistolary would not have interrupted him unless the matter was of at least some import, and that was enough. Regardless of how busy he was, the Warsmith made a point of always having time for his cabal of psykers.

"...indeed, I was counting on it. After all, how else will the rest of the Imperium know what we will have done on Pelexis? They will come and see our work"

The Warsmith turned to face them as he stood in the doorway, his huge frame filling it out, barely large enough for him not to have to stoop or angle himself sideways. His armour was as grey and metallic as the surroundings, the black and yellow hazard stripes on his shoulders making them seem even larger than they were. But contrasted against the light of the corridor, Pelegon appeared as a black silhouette with glowing blue slits for eyes.

"If I cared about the means, then I would have overseen the assault myself. As it is, only the end matters to me. Had I thought one captain sufficient to complete this task to satisfaction, then I would not have given it to the pair of you. Consider that before trying to assume command again. Coeus, with me"

Punching his left hand into the palm of his right, the Warsmith took his leave. Being out of the same room as Iapetus, despite having Coeus tagging at his heels, helped him remain calm; the siblings' dogmatic love of Olympia and its sons sickened him, as did Lugerev's degeneracy. There would be a day when no original Olympians remained, when the bloodlines ran dry, and he had to ensure that that did not propagate the demise of the IVth. They were a set of principles and doctrines as much as they were flesh and blood, and he knew that the iron of their ideals would have to outlast the iron of their armour. Those born or assimilated into the ranks of the XIXth since the destruction of Olympia were already ample proof of that, it was just necessary for the Warsmith to ensure that the idea didn't die with him.

As they walked, Coeus reported his findings to the Warsmith, who did not reply. The marines who passed them did not bow or show deference, knowing that Pelegon had no love for those who abased themselves at his feet. He was confident of his own power, knowing that he reigned over the life and breath of all who called the Eisenschloss home, and viewed those who felt the need to display their power as weak. They needed the validation of others to maintain their power base, something that he viewed with as little regard as the worship of the Dark Gods.

-----

The Warsmith looked down at into the palms of his hands, rotating them. Countless thousands had died as a result of their direct work, and Pelegon's latest pet project would serve only to add to that count. The targeter arrays that were built into his armour allowed him to mark out targets using the armour's built-in cogitator, exact markers that would show up on the HUDs of any units that he wanted to fire. The full destructive might of the XIXth could be brought to bear exactly where he pointed a hand. None of Pelegon's subordinates knew of this, nor was it at all visible externally. Once on Pelexis the Warsmith would demonstrate the array's immense power to Kunzhardt, and give him the second one he had built. The original, made from archeotech pre-dating the Age of Strife, he would keep for himself.

The ancient warrior returned to his present setting; the training ground by the outer wall of the Eisenschloss, and Coeus at his side. Neophytes, ranging from twelve to sixteen standard Terran years of age, were carrying out shooting drills before him, the relentless pace of training unaffected by the news of mobilisation. At their tender age, they lacked the strength to wield full-sized boltguns. As a result they were given large-calibre autoguns that had, relative to the neophytes' body size and mass, recoil and firing action similar to the boltguns they would wield as fully-fledged marines. The librarian, he noticed, was observing them with narrowed eyes; likely scouring their ranks for any psykers he could take under his wing.

All had freshly-shaved heads, and a large single scar on the backs of their skulls where their Catalepsean Nodes had been implanted. With their Larraman's Organs inside them, they could have had the surgery yesterday and be combat-ready today. The youths fired with commendable accuracy, and Pelegon was aware that though young, none had the expressions of fear or joy on their faces that human infants usually had in such settings. All those assembled here were suitable for their future careers mentally as well as physically, the conditioning that would turn them into the most fearless and intractable of warriors having already taken effect, as was proven by the fact that they were still mentally functional. To produce the fifty or so assembled before him, there would have been over three hundred initiates, to use the statistical averages of their creation process. Just over half would live long enough to become complete space marines. They looked like children, but had been put through unimaginable physical torment, had watched hundreds of their fellows die by their sides...and had pushed on.

Pelegon knew that the training process for the XIXth was much more rigorous than even that of the Imperial marine chapters, unwilling as he was to set any other than the highest of standards. He wanted each of his men to count for ten of those he faced, had to know that every component of his war machine would function exactly as needed. To wage war as he did, the vetting process had to be as thorough as possible. The neophytes were suffering under the burning white sky of Medrengard, the sweat pouring freely from their bodies as they fumbled for new magazines with slick hands. The guns were growing hot in their grip, but the Warsmith knew that the instructor would have given them a fire rate that they would have to maintain.

"Your findings do not cause undue concern" Pelegon eventually concluded. The weight of command was a heavy one, and any who viewed a Warsmith's throne with envy were, in his opinion, fools. He led because he knew that he had been born for it, knew that he could devote to both his father and legion the entirety of his existence to its fullest extent. He didn't trust anyone else to do what he did.

"Nor do I view Captain Kunzhardt as unreliable or potentially corrupt. You don't need to play games with me, Coeus, I know you don't like him because of his bloodline. But none of the positions of the senior commanders is fixed" the threat was slight, but coming from the Warsmith, who was not given to striking with warning, it would be a sign that his displeasure was great "were there anyone better than Kunzhardt, they would already have his title and command"

Pelegon watched as the Tenth Captain roared at one of the neophytes, grabbing his gun out of his hands. The Warsmith's hearing was, as of that of all astartes, enhanced to beyond human levels, and even at the distance at which the pair stood he could hear the exact reason why. He had been repeatedly firing down to the last round, then manually re-racking the gun, rather than counting his shots and keeping one in the chamber so as to greatly increase the speed of reloads. He would be beaten mercilessly and given some tiresomely unpleasant duty as punishment, no doubt, but Pelegon knew that the captain knew when to give the carrot and when to use the stick, and trusted his judgement. That he was able to personally oversee the training of most of the initiates without detracting from his other duties and tasks was indicative of the man's skill.

"Are there any among them that catch your eye, Coeus?"
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Always watching always waiting like a spider waiting for the fly to catch itself in a web. The other captains seemed intent on seeing to his downfall. Whether it was a vendetta, to secure the might he commanded, or to topple one they saw as impure. It mattered not they slunk in the shadows whispering hushed treason dripping with venom. He would plunge his hand into the darkness and tear their geneseed from their still living bodies but to do that would cross a great canyon and draw wrath to him. He had dealt with the Master of the Forge who, through honeyed words no doubt, dismissed Kunzhardt's worries and reassured the second captain of the purpose of the tanks but what of the others? There was a cult within the XIXth that would see not just purity from corruption but also purity from foreign blood and it was common knowledge he was one of the Bastard's. Yes he was born of an Iron Warrior Fortress World and bled with Maloxdraxian recruits but those not from that broken dead world were seen as less to them.

The frustration built up in him as heavy boots trudged in a forced march back his own lair. He'd have words with Pelegon before the mission and express his own anger over things. His anger turned to rage as he entered his own quarters to discover a wall of 1st company honour guard mingling within his quarters. His own soldier was taken by them and was being questioned as to his whereabouts it would seem. Had pelegon sent his hounds for Kunzhardt? Would they be used the same way the Vlth legion was ordered to deal with the llnd and the Xlth in their own purging? He felt the twitch almost instinctively as his power fist drew back just past parallel with his body in a somewhat cocked position. The only saving grace was that none of them had their weapons drawn. Did they expect him to surrender with civility? He would die there in his own home with his hands drenched in their blood.

"Cease fire!"

A bellow rang throughout the room magnified by his vox link to the casters throughout the hangar and at once the room was quiet, no bolter rounds, no explosions, just the hiss of singed metal as every iron clad astartes in the room turned to face him and the group. They would not find his courage wanting, and if it came to it, he would not find their firepower wanting. He marched past them to where they were questioning his subordinate and took his place dismissing him back to his own duties. His fists clenched and unclenched and adrenal glands brought forth their potion readying the soldier for anticipated conflict. With a slightly bladed defensive stance he addressed the lot of them his words dripping with defensive venom.

"Why are you here, Hand of the Warsmith? Why have you brought your. . . retinue to my domain?"

He censored his remark towards the honour guard. His disdain for the first captain aside Kunzhardt highly admired the veterans of the first company. They were able soldiers second to none and served as fantastic frontline soldiers to allow his guns to pound enemy positions into mulch. Still if this came to blows he would make it his final act to rid the first company of a bat that had long overstayed its welcome.
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post #16 of 105 (permalink) Old 09-25-14, 02:23 AM
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Tyranus turned as he heard the commanding voice of Kunzhardt shout of "Cease Fire!" above the fray. He was a man that Tyranus rather liked and respected, as much for his tactical acumen and service beyond reproach. Beyond that Kunzhardt, much in the way that Tyranus envisioned himself was a great leader and molder of men, it was admirable how he took the raw -for an Astartes- recruits given to him and transformed them into the best siege fighters he had ever seen.

At Kunzhardt's command the entire complex was suddenly deathly silent as the 2nd Captain approached, Tyranus took note of the entirety of the assembled Astartes turned and all attention was now on their Captain and himself. "Why are you here, Hand of the Warsmith? Why have you brought your. . . retinue to my domain?" The harsh tone Kunzhardt spoke with was softened as he referred to his Honor Guard, which he took as a sort of professional courtesy given by Kunhardt.

Tyranus lowered his head in something akin to an apologetic bow, "Captain Kunzhardt," he spoke the man's name with an inflection of respect and while the two were hardly on good terms, he had no ill intentions though and sought to make that as clear as possible. He calmly put his hand up, motioning for his retinue to remain where they stood, he did not want to accidentally create a scene of bloodshed by having the vertible wall of Tyranthikos move with him.

Removing his helm so as to speak with Kunzhardt face to face he began, "I believed it would be best to come and speak with you in person. My retinue accompanies me only as we are so close to the launch of our campaign." He gave as manner of explanation, which while possibly believable, was not the truth, were they at readiness for war or not, the Honor Guard would have accompanied him to the lair of the Mechanized Fist. " I wished to speak with you on matters regarding the coordination of The First and Seventh Companies in the coming campaign. I will always welcome the aid of the The Mechanized Fist and his company of the greatest siege fighters known to the stars. I believe that my Tyranthikos are the perfect hammer to your anvil, or vice versa." He took note of Kunzhardt's lazily cocked powerfist and prepared himself for anything, gauging the distance between himself and the 2nd Captain to be just enough that he could draw his power glaive if needed. In a pinch he had his retractable power sword in his left vambrace, but he would do all he could to diffuse a rather tense situation.

"There is also another matter that I would like to discuss with you, something best discussed in private." He did not wish to reveal the information he'd obtained from Draxus in front of line soldiers as this was a matter to be discussed by the respective Captains.
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More honeyed words. Would the entirety of Eisenschloss seek his ass for their lips? What games were being played? He would entertain them and run their gauntlet; they would find his iron strong and his ego unflattered. The complete show of pacifism from the 1st captain and his guard disarmed the 2nd Captain who would either think it to be a trick or a ploy to garner some favour. At his formal greeting Kunzhardt bowed his head in return and slammed the powerfist into his open hand once more acknowledging the greeting and honouring the position if not the person. It would be a fantastic battle should a round be let loose. His own infantry clad in traditional power armour cobbled together from countless battlefields and what the forge master could procure, injured and likely tired from the days drilling and down ammunition vs an elite force from the 1st. It would be wonderful but utterly pointless.

With a single sweeping motion his right arm swept from his side up to his side parallel with the ground and then dropped back to his side and with it so lowered the countless firearms in the hangar only to resume an alert pose and at this he finally spoke. He growled the first bit like an enraged animal only to resume a harsh tone.

"Save your breath-Don't shower me with flowered words, bat. . . Now, Captain of 1st Company, if you wish to talk battle that is fine. . . Leave your guards I will not be captive in my own domain."

He moved slightly to his side and bid Tyranus move with him, he would stay abreast the Night Lord though as he would never allow his back to Tyranus and would expect the same from him.

He removed his own helmet revealing a jaw like iron and rightfully so with bionics making up his throat left over from a history as a Destroyer marine. His recessed eyes almost in a perpetual glare allowing little to discern what he was looking at. He scrutinized the marine like a man accustomed to being lied to and betrayed, skeptical of every word that was being uttered. They were in the corner of the titanic hangar with no souls near them but still completely within view of both the 1st's honour guard as well as the 2nds forces in training.

"You and I both know this fact. Your veterans are unmatched within blooding distance. Mine beyond. We are masters of our domain but I don't like you. I hate your lineage of cowardice and dishonour. However, you fight with fervor and earned the respect of Tyranthikos, no simple task and for that you are tolerated. Now think on your words, Tyranus, what do you want to discuss?"
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post #18 of 105 (permalink) Old 09-25-14, 06:44 AM
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Captain Kunzhardt returned his formal greeting in kind, which Tyranus was somewhat pleasantly surprised by, before the Mechanized Fist spoke, bringing the stark realities back into the light. "Save your breath-Don't shower me with flowered words, bat. . ." The words were spoken as if they were accusations and Tyranus couldn't help but smirk just a little at the remark 'Bat.' It was one he had heard before, though few would say it to his face, and he appreciated that the 2nd Captain was at least honest with his opinions. Still, with one wave of Kunzhardt's hand the myriad of weapons that had been directed at them were lowered and the Astartes and aspirants wielding them hesitantly went back to their tasks at hand.

The Mechanized Fist stepped aside and motioned for Tyranus to continue on with him, "Now, Captain of 1st Company, if you wish to talk battle that is fine. . . Leave your guards I will not be captive in my own domain." Tyranus nodded cordially "But of course," his hand went up, but he reiterated his intentions anyway, "wait here." The Tyranthikos Honor Guard silently acknowledged and stood motionless, like grim statues, but at the slightest provocation they would leap into action at their Lord's word.

Kunzhardt revealed his battle scarred and rebuilt face, numerous bionics and restructurings had taken place, but none minimized the man's effectiveness as a warrior or a leader. They were within sight but out of earshot of their respective forces, and as such Tyranus hoped this would be a meeting of equals. The Mechanized Fist was not a man to mince words and perhaps his tact of seeking to prop up and flatter the man had not been particularly well advised. The tone with which Kunzhardt spoke seemed to confirm this to an extent. "You and I both know this fact. Your veterans are unmatched within blooding distance. Mine beyond. We are masters of our domain but I don't like you." The 2nd Captain started in, before lacing in the requisite barbs about Tyranus' origins. "I hate your lineage of cowardice and dishonour. However, you fight with fervor and earned the respect of Tyranthikos, no simple task and for that you are tolerated. Now think on your words, Tyranus, what do you want to discuss?"

The mention of his past again brought forth a certain glimmer of disdain and anger to his eyes, but he simply huffed out of his nostrils, as if somehow that would cool his ire. It did not, but Tyranus was not here to begin another war before commencing the one on Pelexis III that was sanctioned by the WarSmith. "In our respective disciplines you are correct, we are unmatched and thus I look to you as an equal." Tyranus furled his lip as he spoke, he would dispense with the flowery and complimentary language as that made him appear weak and Kunzhardt would not have ears for it anyway. "My lineage is not that of a coward, I am at the forefront of any operation undertaken by the Tyranthikos, I do not simply bask on a throne and bark orders. My loyalty is unbound and completely to the XIXth Great Company, near seven millenia of service to it speaks to that." Tyranus, clearly agitated was about to cast aside his original intentions and felt himself tense as if to strike at Kunzhardt, but his inner voice cooled his temper, reminding himself that he needed to at the very least not make another bitter enemy.

"Regardless, I appreciate your candor Kunzhardt, but I do have real matters to address with you, matters that far outweigh any personal feelings." He composed himself, pushing his hatred and anger away, he would unleash it later on any poor souls who sought to impede him on Pelexis III. "I would request that you limit your use of any thunderfire cannons that you were planning to utilize to embattlement towers on the Wolf's Claw itself and as also refrain from using them as a means to destroy any forward defenses outside of the bastion itself. I realize that we have had great successes using such a tactic previously, but in this instance I had intended to move in at speed with my Tyrant Siege squadrons with our Land Raiders, I believe that the mobility they present will allow us to destroy any ad hoc defenses they can muster without wasting the fire power of your thunderfires on so soft of targets. It also will limit any potential collateral damage to any assaulting forces from our respective companies. I believe a mobile assault and siege will be our best way of breaking their line defenses and ripping open their bastion to be gutted."

Tyranus paused for a moment, as if he were rethinking the offer he had decided he would make. "I understand that such a course of action will leave your armored divisions potentially vulnerable to counter assault as they will not have entrenched and protected positions as would be the case in a protracted siege. As such I would offer the assistance of several Tyranthikos squadrons to cover your armored division's advance if you deem them an asset to your operation." He was sincere in his offer as well as his estimation of how he believed they would best carry out their assigned mission.
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“Coeus, with me.” from his reference, I assumed he was more frustrated with Lucian than Iapetus. Iapetus had proposed working with the 3rd, he just wanted control over a boarding action. Something my brother was known best for. It was Lucian who had dismissed his company entirely. Now that the Warsmith was gone, Lucian could not hide behind him and would have to confront Iapetus and Lugerev directly, something I sincerely hoped ended in blood.

Pelegon bade me to report what I had found. I started with my own subordinate.
“My judgement of Librarian Bronsk is thus; he is tempted but he is not tainted. One of the inherent risks of being a psyker is we must endure the constant whispers of the warp and its promises of power. A particular entity has plagued him for some time now, and the tomes he was found with were, as he protested, for combatting a foe. However, such single-mindedness does not befit someone of his rank. His vision must be broader, or else he risks falling prey to some unknown foe. As such, I have demoted him to the rank of Lexicanum and placed him under the supervision of Librarian Kolvax until such a time as he has dealt with this vendetta.”

My tone was calm and collected. I did not believe there was anything to alarm the Warsmith in this minor infraction and I did not need him becoming overly interested in areas which did not concern him. Bronsk tomes would of course be scoured for weapons to use against our daemonic foes, but exactly how that was done was a process Pelegon deliberately avoided knowing about. Likely he feared that the truth of how such weapons were obtained would displease him and for him to reconsider using them, despite their necessity. He was right, how such information was obtained would likely chill him to the bone, but he had thus far avoided knowledge of it. I imagined he would continue to do so, as long as it proved useful.

Moving on from my brief analysis of the warrior in my care, I spoke of Brother Rorke. “The Gorgon’s man, Rorke, however is quite a different story. As expected, his wounds were a blessing from the Plague Father and had to be purged with fire before I could let the serfs dispose of the remains, lest they become infected too. My chief concern is that it is likely others members of the Company are infected or actively spreading such a contagion. I think it best if the Librarium conduct a full inquiry of the 2nd Company and eliminate any further fanaticism from the Mechanized Fist.”

We had reached the outer walls of the Eisenschloss. Pelegon was inspecting his hands, apparently fascinated by them. I considered trying to breach his mental barriers to hear his thoughts. Leaving the Warsmith to his own thoughts, I cast my mind over the recruits slaving away under the false sun that hung over Medrengard. My eyes flitted between them. Mostly, it was fascinating to hear their thoughts. Such young ambition and determination. It was a shame so many of them would be forcefully infected with the gene-seed of a less worthy legion. One boy in particular I felt a kindred spirit in. I mentally noted him. I would have to call for him after I was done here.

“Your findings…” Pelegon rumbled, apparently having stopped considering his own hands. “…do not cause undue concern. Nor do I view Captain Kunzhardt as unreliable or potentially corrupt. You don't need to play games with me, Coeus, I know you don't like him because of his bloodline. But none of the positions of the senior commanders is fixed…” The warsmith was threatening me. How quaint. “…were there anyone better than Kunzhardt, they would already have his title and command.” I was certain I could find an Olympian who could do the half-breed’s job just as well, if not better.

Pelegon was a man most feared. He was strong, driven, methodical. He was most things you would want in a leader. Many, especially the lower ranks held him up as an object of fear and adoration. He expected his word to be obeyed without question and was not one to suffer fools. The tyrannical warsmith was known for many horrible and cruel deeds within the warp and the Imperium. None of that stopped me grinning and chuckling to myself.
“You can dispense with the threats Warsmith. The worst you can do is kill me.” I risked my soul as well as my body to keep this Grand Company pure and Pelegon thought he could intimidate me with demotion and death. Spoken exactly like someone who had never seen the true face of power.

Pelegon asked me if any of the initiates caught my eye. “Well, my esteemed Warsmith, I figured you might be able to tell me which of them I should be looking at, since you are more adept at spotting the Warp’s influence than I am.” My voice dripped with sarcasm and Pelegon’s anger burnt through his mental block like a solar flare. I was sure he was about to berate me for my insolence but I started talking before he could. “A Nurglite plague is a sickness of the soul, not a malediction of the body. If one of his men is afflicted, then it is likely there are others with rusted souls too. Men who would rise up and pollute this Grand Company.”

I turned my head to face the Warsmith, defiant even though his stature meant I could not look down at him. “You appointed me as Chief Librarian to safe guard the purity of this Grand Company because I can sense the warp’s influence more keenly than anyone else in your service. I intend to do just that.” Pelegon’s rage still simmered. I was probably on shaky ground, but I had been in more precarious positions before. “I didn’t ask for Kunzhardt’s head, and such an inference says more about your paranoia than my ideology. I simply asked for the Librarium to investigate his company and uncover any taint where ever it hides.”

I looked back over the recruits, my face the same furrowed near snarl that it almost always was. “If there is nothing there, at least we will confirm that. And if there is, then you will know that those who would sacrifice us on their alters to their gods will trouble us no longer.” Pelegon might still be fuming at my disregard for his authority, but that was his problem not mine. Even if Kunzhardt wasn’t a mongrel, it would be foolish not to verify that the taint hadn’t spread further than one man. If Pelegon still protected his 2nd Captain, they the Grand Company would learn that their Warsmith would rather protect his chaos-worshiping half-breeds than execute sound leadership. Worse still, if there was a taint to be uncovered and Pelegon hid it unknowingly he would find everything he loved ripped from him by the Dark Gods. I wouldn’t hesitate to burn it all to the ground, if it meant I could purge the tainted from our midst…

My contribution to the Renegades saga. Check it out

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

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The immovable noted a change in the Night Lord. Something he had said struck home with him and the faintest of smirks curled the corner of his lip before being dismissed and he could almost feel heat at his neck from where Tyranus was no doubt focusing even if his eyes weren't staring. He'd never really talked at length with the captain of first company and as thus didn’t know much underneath. He knew the man was not of Iron and had been assimilated into the group. A lesser alloy. Perhaps he was being too harsh on the captain; no man can choose his stars.

Others within the XIXth would remind him of his bastard blood and the redundancy would be noted for he constantly reminded himself of his own short comings. Perhaps this bat found comradery in the XIXth that he couldn't within the VIIIth. He'd heard stories of how they flapped about clawing at each other looking for weaknesses. A pack of starving wolves nipping at each other to find the weakest. The 1st captain was ranting now, proclaiming his own glories as support to an argument and by the sounds of it had misunderstood Kunzhardt's intentions. Tyranus finished his full dissertation leaving the 2nd Captain in silence.


"Yes. . . Your lineage. . . But an apple does not always rest by its tree and your apple rolled far from Nostramo and you have shown your aptitude in the warsmith's eyes and in the eyes of the Tyranthikos. . Now. I have not had an audience with Pelegon and don't know his full plan. We should resume this conversation aboard the Ferra Perpetua. The Warsmith will speak more then and we can detail a strategy. Don't worry I wouldn't hinder the 1sts glory and don't suspect to need your guard. A lone bastion on a forgotten world in an insignificant sector is unlikely to be well secured. Again we can speak in more detail then."

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