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post #71 of 105 (permalink) Old 10-15-14, 05:24 AM
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The destruction of a world was an awe inspiring site. The charred soil blackened and encrusted with fallen foes ground into it like an ant beneath a mighty boot. The thought excited the second captain as he walked into the hangar only to have his enjoyable thoughts interrupted by a foreign soul colossal in height. Where Kunzhardt stood slightly shorter than the average astartes the figure clad in incredible custom cataphractii armour stood at least a head if not two over him but was much more slender. The figure's 1st company origin stood out and was recognized as Tyranus' personal champion. He searched for the name briefly before acknowledging him.

"Kerberos."

Whispered more so to himself.

"Very Well, Kerberos. Embark with me. Let us to the surface."

Normally he would have taken a bit more pleasure in taking a Champion from another company as a spoil of war however presently he could do little in the way of trust with others and the most prized fighter of another company was not something he would take lightly. The way of bats was not an honorable one and honeyed words could hide sharp thorns.

He positioned himself opposite Kerberos within the thunderhawk encased in a defensive perimeter of Siege Tyrants. He held a total of 8 within his company and they were with him now. Likely he wouldn't be foolish enough to try something but he was well versed in the prowess that the Tyranthikos carried in close combat and a champion from that group would be no slouch.

"Tell me Kerberos. What do you think of the investigation Coeus is conducting? This. . . Spot within my company. . . This mark that I will erase. . . My concern is that the second are Unbroken. We hear the whispers like all within the Eye yet just like the hail of heavy bolter fire it drowns out behind Unbroken willpower. . . And yet the zealous purists within the Librarium who openly oppose me conveniently find taint where they want to. The only company within the XIXth that actively consorts with warp powers. . . Does this strike you as curious?"

Kunzhardt spoke of the taint in his company with colossal disdain. It was an embarrassment to him and to those under his command and it shamed him worse than anything he'd experienced for centuries. A misfire, an inaccurate barrage, all things reprehensible but only a scorn would be necessary. Taint was an entirely different matter and it tortured him internally. He was prodding the champion who was Iron much like himself and would likely speak plainly his mind. It might give him a better view of what was going on within the 1st Company. The ship jolted roughly as it broke through the atmosphere and engaged with a standard flight path for their established landing zone.

"This is the only place that truly makes sense. Take a deep breath can you smell it? The smoke, the ash, the stench of gun powder? This is the simplest place in existence. No petty politics, Just fire and iron, blood and wrath - a test between two forces. No wizardry or witchcraft just might. This is the most meditative experience an Iron Warrior can enjoy."

He shifted forward slightly his chest filling with pride over what was to come. This was where he truly shined. This was his domain. The hushed whispers could only do so much and couldn't compare to the might of a Grand Company falling from the sky. His mechanized fist crashing down into the ground like the XIXth own salute of a closed fist into an open palm.

"Kerberos does the beauty of conquering a planet ever fade?"

The door to the Thunderhawk dropped down and the stench of the battle rang to life and it was like his lungs reached twice their normal capacity and filled with a long forgotten vitality. The keep glistened in the distance, a pure gem glistening against a charred landscape. Countless tracer rounds danced across the sky pinging against the castle keeping the heads of the would be defenders thoroughly pinned.

"Launch IR smoke! Cover the Fort with it I want them blind! Maintain suppressive bursts and a thick layer of smoke at all times!"

Blackened soil crunched beneath heavy Mark III boots as he watched arching streams of smoke land within the keep popping and filling the Keep with smoke like a boiling cauldron. His own helmet echoed with a foreign voice. The Forge Lord had bridged a communication with him. It was comforting to hear his voice considering the events that were transpiring. It had worried him earlier when his own Adrius had failed to bring him the message but perhaps the tech priest had wanted to think it over before committing. He didn't really want to talk in hushed tones now. He was in his element, the grinding mulcher of a siege. It was nothing glorious -he'd engineered sieges that would make this look like a fresh lieutenant within the Imperial Guard taking pleasure in a 98% casualty success. Still it brought with it the hopes of sustained conquest.

"Yes, Forge Lord. I would speak directly with you. I trust you saw the contents of my message. We have a limited window prior to the joining of the Centurions before the Warsmith once more. What is your mind on the matter? I would not seek to fracture the XIXth but it may not be my choice. The purists would rather incinerate the entirety of the XIXth Grand Company to preserve a handful of pure bloods than to simply embrace the present situation. You will be a target eventually if their conspiracy should be realized."
He spoke of the Grand Company with great intonation hoping to emphasis the force they yielded and the bizarre idea of purging it for an ill perceived notion. It was ironic considering it was what he was considering doing with his own company to root out the corruption and the irony did not fail him. He had little proof of the conspiracy should anyone demand it but it was little secret that the purists despised those not from the charred world or with the Daemon Prince Primarch's blood running through their veins and after the events that Adruin had witnessed earlier it would not be farfetched to consider something more sinister was afoot.

"I would tighten our already Iron bond. You would have full access to whatever technology my forces uncover. . . On any world. And my ear will be open to requests to seek out forgotten technology from the Dark Age of Technology."

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post #72 of 105 (permalink) Old 10-15-14, 06:09 AM
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"Very Well, Kerberos. Embark with me. Let us go to the surface," Captain Kunzhardt spoke plainly as if he had been somewhat put out by Kerberos' request. In some ways he had been, to deny such a request of a Company Champion could be seen as a mark against the Company he represented. Furthermore, when given the opportunity to add the skills of such a warrior to a retinue it almost went without question that such a warrior be welcomed. These were however difficult and straining times within the XIXth. Kerberos merely nodded his acknowledgement of the 2nd Captain's acceptance and silently fell into line with the Siege Tyrants at the side of Captain Kunzhardt. His movements were so fluid and well drilled that were it not for the variance in his armor and the markings upon his pauldrons he could have passed as a long time member of the retinue.

"Tell me Kerberos. What do you think of the investigation Coeus is conducting? This. . . Spot within my company. . . This mark that I will erase. . . My concern is that the second are Unbroken. We hear the whispers like all within the Eye yet just like the hail of heavy bolter fire it drowns out behind Unbroken willpower. . . And yet the zealous purists within the Librarium who openly oppose me conveniently find taint where they want to. The only company within the XIXth that actively consorts with warp powers. . . Does this strike you as curious?" The voice of Kunzhardt came from within a wall of Siege Tyrants, donning Tartaros pattern terminator plate. The wall of terminators surrounding their lord. He could read in their positioning that he was not perceived as simply an additional blade to be directed on the battlefield, they were wary of his intent, and the prying questions of the 2nd Captain revealed some proof to that line of thought.

The statuesque Champion took a long moment, collecting his thoughts and opinions on the matter, perhaps seeking the words that would lend themselves best to neutrality. However, when the man spoke, his voice was low, but he was almost soft spoken, as if he knew he did not need to yell or parade about with theatrics to be heard. "If there is any taint within our Grand Company it must be snuffed out, regardless of its origin." He looked to the Captain, his helm masked his visage, but their was sincerity in his tone, he was being truthful when he said any taint should be cut out and dispatched. "Whatever The Seer finds, it is his realm of expertise, but that is perhaps the problem...A man who associates so intimately with The Warp may begin to see it, or even unknowingly bring it upon that around himself. Strong of will as our Librarians are...They claim mastery over powers that have infinitely more time and experience." He stared at Kunzhardt as if to add additional impact to his statements. " I trust no warp touched wizard for I have seen them fail. Whatever the decree of our WarSmith though, I shall enact it in so far as I can." There was a weight to his tone that was clear, he would follow the WarSmith of the XIXth.

The ship rocked as they broke the atmosphere of Pelexis III and the 2nd Captain began to boast. "This is the only place that truly makes sense. Take a deep breath can you smell it? The smoke, the ash, the stench of gun powder? This is the simplest place in existence. No petty politics, Just fire and iron, blood and wrath - a test between two forces. No wizardry or witchcraft just might. This is the most meditative experience an Iron Warrior can enjoy."

"This is the most meditative experience for any who would call himself an Astartes," he called back, standing closest to the hatch that flung open as they hovered. Leaping onto the surface of Pelexis III the charred and tattered remains of the planet kicked up under his weight in the form of dust from the craggy and now barren surface. "Captain Kunzhardt it is secured!" the massive warrior called, looking up to the hatch that the Captain and his retinue stood in the precipice of. Being first out of the ship would possibly irritate the 2nd Captain, a man who was known to be prideful and seek too much meaning in too little of a slight. For Kerberos it was simply due diligence to be the first into the fray to secure any path for his acting Captain. He drew his massive relic sword, the power field glowed black from the null rod forged and fused into the lower portion of the blade, the superbly keen edges of the blade wreathed in a more typical blue power field. He would eschew the use of his bolter for this mission unless absolutely necessary or directly ordered by Captain Kunzhardt. He hoped he might meet a champion of the Wolf's Claw and face at least one worthy challenger this campaign, perhaps taking a vaunted space wolf axe or frost blade as a trophy of his kill.
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post #73 of 105 (permalink) Old 10-15-14, 02:23 PM
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I could feel the Ferra Perpetua tremble beneath my feet as Kunzhardt blasted the mewling wretches below to sweet oblivion. Iapetus would have had a command for me if I had been fighting in this stage of the campaign, but no sooner had the sirens called Adriun away from me that another shrill voice barked in my vox and told me that Pelegon had denied me a place in the siege at this early stage, his concerns about the purity of the Grand Company more important than my desire to spill loyalist blood. In fairness, maintaining what mangled scraps of purity the Grand Company could claim was one of my highest priorities, but it seemed a waste to be dragged on a mission that seemed to have no consequence only to be side-lined. Still, it would give me time to formulate my next moves, rather than forming them on little more than instinct, hot readings and precognition.

The Librarium aboard the Ferra Perpetua was smaller than the one on Medrengard, the more exotic and less frequently referenced tomes stored there. Almost everything in this Librarium was a copy of an original, hand-copied by myself or one of the other members of the Librarium in a practice of scholarly devotion incongruous with the bulk of the Grand Company’s work. However, for now, it was mostly quiet. My subordinates were all scattered to their respective companies, many of them having only just compiled their initial reports. I poured over them as the serfs went about their business, scouring tomes for glints of knowledge that a librarian might extract or recording the actions of the Grand Company.

I had sent a message to Iapetus, explaining that Pelegon had with-held me from the initial stages of the invasion in order to compile a report for him on the results of my investigation. As such, the bulk of my attention was focused on the reports and what I would do with such information, a small section of my brain toyed with Adriun’s proposition. Sophacles had given him an interesting task, which Adriun had dutifully relayed to me and now I was not sure what to do with such an offer. Of course the technology, if harnessed, would prove to be immensely valuable to the Grand Company as a whole. However, there were other implications of his offer.

The ability to rapidly generate null fields could protect from the touches of the warp, which included myself, and given how happy Adriun was to share his technology with Kunzhardt the last thing I needed was the half-breed’s company devising a way to shield their taint from me. I could devise a way to break the seal, but then that would defeat the objective which Adriun was trying to achieve. Daemons were insidious things and if I could devise a back-door, certainly the most powerful daemons would be able to find it. Adriun’s purpose was pure at heart and one I could admire, but I feared what it might mean if such technology was widely available. I would need to think on this more.

I was aware of Pelegon’s approach before the door had opened. It was like feeling a fortress walk towards me. The door hissed open and rolled away. “Greetings Warsmith.” I said, turning to face Pelegon as he entered the Librarium. By stench of him and the state of his appearance, I surmised that he had been working in his personal forge recently. A single gesture with his mauled hand sent the serfs scattering into the halls and we were left alone. Pelegon began pacing, although I perceived not with malcontent or hunger but with thoughtful inquiry in his steps. His eyes kept locked on me as he paced.

His steps kept him clear of the several objects cluttering the room although his gaze never wandered from me. Was he testing his powers of perception? Or was it a mental exercise? Pelegon, for all our irreconcilable disagreements, was a thoughtful man usually and I knew he would speak when he was ready. "Coeus, I have matters that I would discuss with you, on the topics of corruption and purity within the XIXth" I had figured as much, although I held any sardonic remarks back.

Pelegon ceased his pacing and turned to face the viewing port, currently filled with the crumbling, fiery ruins of a once noble Imperial world and hundreds of attack craft swooping down to put the rest of it to the sword. "I feel that it has been too long since I exerted myself, and would ask that you wrestle with me, as our fathers, and their fathers before them, did on lost Olympia, while we do so. I cannot allow my body to waste while my company goes from strength to strength, and I am sure you feel the same way about yourself" I nodded approvingly. It would be good to engage in another of Olympia’s traditions on the eve of battle.
“I will obliged Warsmith, but only so clothed as yourself.”

With that I began to remove my armour. I could do it mentally, but it gave me time to ask questions doing it by hand. “You seem particularly concerned about the purity of the Grand Company, and keener to see it enforced. Whilst I do not condone such an approach, I must ask; why now? Why this sudden haste?” Pelegon remained stoic as he answered.
“Our next mission comes with an increased risk of temptation and taint…” I wondered if I would have to bleed him for information, the Warsmith being sometimes deliberately obtuse and secretive about his information. No doubt Lucian’s influence. However, as I removed my chest plate he continued. “…We are going to destroy a warband of Word Bearers known as Blooded Crescent.”

I had not particular affinity for Lorgar’s heathen brood, despite how informative their tomes on daemonology were. Although, if we were fighting against those silver tongued snakes I could understand why Pelegon was more wary than normal. If there were a band of warriors capable of exploiting the weaknesses in the will of men and Astartes, it was the Word Bearers.
“Presumably your concern is they will be able to exploit any chink in our wills and turn us into their slave-beasts.” Pelegon nodded knowingly.
“We will be fighting them on their cathedral world of Seriphea. Their honeyed lies will be more potent for the attention their worship brings them in that place.”

I agreed and donned my robe, setting my armour to one side and pushing the furniture and obstructions to the side with a thought.
“You are right to be cautions Warsmith...” I could tell him the other thoughts I had and other possibilities that might lead men astray, even without the Word Bearer’s influence. But Pelegon trusted me to know and to deal with them. If he appreciated them was largely unimportant. It also didn’t answer the question that still hung over the whole situation. “…but why? What do we stand to gain from decimating such a brood of vipers?” Pelegon’s face twitched into a brief smile.

“Perturabo ordered it done.” Was that smile pride? Pride that a low born Olympian had been graced by their Father’s presence rather than me, whose family had always been at the side of the Lord of Iron. Or was it simple pride of a son being trusted by his father? In any case, from his tone it was clear that Pelegon did not feel that any further justification of their mission was necessary or relevant to my safe-guarding of the Grand Company. “Does that satisfy you Coeus?” It wasn’t really a question I could say no to, but I didn’t need to.
“Aye Warsmith. Would you like my initial findings now or…”
“No…” Pelegon said cutting me off “…First, we will test our iron against each other. Then you will tell me what you have learnt.” I nodded and dropped into a low crouch as Pelegon adopted a similar position.
“As you say Warsmith.”

Wrestling was less about brute strength than it was about the technique one used. The smallest fighter, with the correct technique, could easily beat the biggest lumbering brute. Me, Iapetus and several other Olympians had taken part in such sport as children and in the legion. For me, it proved a useful exercise in my raw abilities as a combatant. My powers were impressive, but meant nothing if not also coupled with skill at arms and brute strength. As such, I made a point of never actively engaging my powers in such matches. Occasional perceptions would leak through my intentional blindness, but such things could not be helped. For the best part, this was as close to fighting as a ‘normal’ Astartes as I would ever get.

Whilst I could easily best men larger than myself, Pelegon was blessed with not only a massive physique, and the additional strength it afforded him, but also a skill and dexterity that had allowed him to rise to his position. Whatever faults he had, he had not gotten here by mere accident. But I had not risen to command by blind luck either. We had both crouched as low as we could and spread our feet wide apart to create a solid base for ourselves. We circled each other for a few seconds before slamming into each other with the wet slap of skin contact, both gripping the other’s shoulders. I could crouch lower, but Pelegon had more strength than I did. We briefly pushed and pulled at each other before breaking apart.

This happened twice more, us coming together before breaking apart. Testing the other’s strength and evaluating his weaknesses. The fourth time we collided, we stayed locked together. We had grown confident enough in each other’s abilities to actually try to win. Pelegon began by trying to drive me down to my knees with sheer brute force, but I used his force to rotate us around. As we spun I lashed out at his legs, but he hopped over my kick to his shins.

I felt myself lean into a throw I hadn’t realised was coming. Both of us were sent rolling along the floor, both fighting to be the one to remain in control. We briefly came apart but I was the first to retaliate. Neither of us bothered to stand. I simply dived at Pelegon, low as I could manage and aiming for the softer lower belly rather than the ribcage. It should have been enough to knock him over and I could try to get a hold on him. Unfortunately, even my full body weight was not enough to shift Pelegon. Improvising I grabbed him in a bear hug and fought to lift him.

As I did this though, Pelegon reached forward and grabbed my waist. He lifted me over his shoulder. The angle meant I was forced to release him or have my arms dislocated. The moment I had let go I came crashing down onto the metal floor, the impact knocking the wind from me. Before I could recover Pelegon had a knee on my sternum and a hand on my neck. It was a situation I could escape in a mortal situation, but the rules established long ago meant that I had lost. I tapped the floor with my palm and Pelegon released me, his chest hiking almost as much as mine after the exertion.

I caught my breath as I stood, my head briefly swimming. Pelegon seemed satisfied with this mild combat and waited expectantly for me to tell him of my findings. I walked over to the table with my data-slate on it, moving the furniture back into position as I did so.
“Whenever you are ready Coeus.” Pelegon said, although such a phrase was the antithesis of its true meaning.
“These are only the initial findings of the last 36 hours, and they are only for the companies present. I left a detachment back on Medrengard to investigate the 4th and 5th companies, although word of their progress will come much later.” Pelegon nodded and motioned that I should continue.

“Starting with the 10th, they appear to be free of taint and malcontent. I’m sure Vargus could tell you that they are still impressionable and undergoing psycho-indoctrination. However, whatever taint ails the other companies, their separation from the main body has spared them from the attention of those who might corrupt the initiates...” I wandered and gesticulated as I spoke, my gaze flitting between Pelegon and the data-slate in front of me.

“The 9th Company seems similarly free of taint. The 8th had a few individual battle brothers who refused my librarians access to their chambers or their minds. Each of them had built small fanes in their quarters, although further investigation showed that they didn’t know of each other’s presence or allegiances. They have been purged and I still have librarian’s investigating whether further taint lies there.”

Next was Iapetus’ company. This would likely be a sticking point for Pelegon, whether I had found taint in my brother’s company and if not, why. “Then we have the 7th. As of yet, we have found no taint there. I have briefly inspected a large portion of Iapetus’ men and did not find anything of note…” I could still feel Pelegon scrutinising this. He doubted me, I felt. “…Whilst this only my Librarium’s initial findings, the fact that the 7th are host to over twice the librarians of any other company at any given time, it would not surprise me if the final result proved to only confirm the absence of taint in their midst.” Pelegon seemed to be thinking about this information for a moment, weighing my words against his own concerns about whether my results could be trusted.

Once again he motioned that I should continue, although we both paced now, thinking as we walked. “The 6th shows no evidence of chaotic taint, although there was a coup uncovered by several veteran sergeants to depose one of the lieutenants. Captain Bahran had them stripped of their rank and flogged. Now the 3rd…” What did I say about the 3rd. From the looks of things, this was an area of the investigation I might have to be personally involved in at some point. “…they remain as enigmatic as ever. Whilst that is of great use in their line of work, it makes the process of investigating them significantly more difficult. I would tentatively state that thus far we see no evidence of taint, but I will need more time to confirm or deny whether a brood of vipers lays in waiting.” Not that that mongrel’s tainted company wasn’t already full of asps. The trick was discovering if they meant harm to our foes or to us.

Now we came to the cause of this debacle. “Now we come to the 2nd Company, where this all began. My librarians believe they have identified a further 4 of the 6 remaining conspirators. Two are battle brothers, one is a sergeant and another is a veteran sergeant. However, they have not moved against them yet for fear of scattering the other two, whom I am told they believe may occupy even higher positions of authority. They are also investigating those who they have dealings with in other companies, and evaluating the risk of cross-contamination. Which brings us to the Tyranthikos. There are…whispers of things. My librarians are not yet sure if it is taint, a coup in waiting or simple animosity.”

“However, there is another matter which has been brought to my attention because it concerns my librarians, and it concerns me.” Now, this especially had to be handled carefully. “Kunzhardt keeps his men in perpetual war, always bleeding one another, always keeping the blood flowing. He himself if prone to erratic outbursts, which of late have increased in frequency and violence. After the briefing he nearly slew Lugerev in the corridor for acting on my orders to purge a tainted man from his midst. He then returned to his company and put his enquiry in the Apothecarion, beaten nearly to death.” I paused. This could not be seen a direct attack, merely as an observation of my investigation.

“It is possible that such a constant state of blood-letting draws unwanted attention, either by accident or by design. If it is by accident, then a perpetual state of threat and death is bound to wear away at the wills of men. However, if such a scenario is engineered by design, then it would speak of a greater sickness within Kunzhardt himself.” Pelegon took this information with impassive acknowledgement. Hopefully he saw it for an observation, one which could be a benign accident or one with a more sinister motive.

“Unfortunately, Vhalos was not the only one brutalised before we broke into real space. Tyberus…” Even before the Warsmith I could not call him his false name “…wounded and then had his men kill Draxus. You remember him, the one with the slowest trigger finger when you ordered the Night Lord slain? Arguably the most loyal to the 1st captain and, from what I gather, also served as his enquiry of sorts. Now he is dead, and why?” I stopped speaking and played a vox clip one of my librarians had taken. Tyberus’ voice filled the room.
“This man, he has betrayed each and every one of you my loyal brothers, it pains me, but he has betrayed us all.” That was sheer gold.

I let the silence hang for a moment before continuing. “Now I ask you Warsmith, what significant action occurred between Draxus being a trusted member of the Tyranthikos to being branded a traitor…” Pelegon scowled, evidently wanting me to get to the point. He could forgive my theatre to a point and it was approaching its end. “…My librarians had not interrogated him yet, although initial light probing of him revealed no obvious taint. His battle record is exemplary. The only action he was guilty of was obeying your orders, and for that Tyberus felt he had to die...” The Night Lord might have just given me enough rope to hang him with. “…you asked me to report to you with any signs of malcontent, and I observe the precursors to such things in these actions.”

I wasn’t done yet though. “Individually, the events of the 1st and 2nd company may seem unconnected, and they may well be. However if you or I felt our actions were under investigation and we wanted to conceal them, likely the first thing we would do is remove those who knew too much and ally ourselves with those too powerful to remove but had just as much to lose. So when I hear of events like these, enquiries savaged and reports of private meetings between the 1st and 2nd captains, I become suspicious.” More so than I already was of the half-breeds.

“Now of course, a few scattered events don’t make a conspiracy. As I said though, these are the findings of my initial reports. I will need more time and more evidence to either confirm such a thing or put it to bed. But it would be remiss of me to not warn you of potential threats that I saw.” I ran my tongue over my teeth with my lips closed. “As for the Apothecarion and the Forge, both appear to be free of taint, although the bulk of my resources have been directed at investigating the fighting companies of the Grand Company. I also have not investigated any captain personally, yet.” There was a lot of information to digest in my report but Astartes, especially those in command of entire Grand Companies, were well versed in absorbing vast swathes of data. I ceased looking at my data slate, it falling to my side. I focused instead on Pelegon, expecting questions about my report and possibly whether or not is could be trusted…

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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post #74 of 105 (permalink) Old 10-15-14, 04:59 PM
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It didn't take long for the Second Captain to reply, the line was secure and the signal crisp, he stood near the spire as Kunzhardt spoke his piece.

"Yes, Forge Lord. I would speak directly with you. I trust you saw the contents of my message. We have a limited window prior to the joining of the Centurions before the Warsmith once more. What is your mind on the matter? I would not seek to fracture the XIXth but it may not be my choice. The purists would rather incinerate the entirety of the XIXth Grand Company to preserve a handful of pure bloods than to simply embrace the present situation. You will be a target eventually if their conspiracy should be realized."

Adriun listened as he tweaked with components in the spire, welding and connecting wires to the engines within, and making sure that the conveyor would work properly. As he worked he looked out to the fort, wondering when the wolves would show, or if they would continue to cower in their box. It was no mystery to the forge lord that he could end up a target, but neither did he wish to make himself one early. He felt the only thing that kept him in favor with the Purists was that their were 'worse' mutts than he, he at least had Iron Warrior gene-seed. It was sad though that any should be judge by such a petty thing, however he felt Pelegon would see to the end of such opinions over time, it would be a slow death for the ideal of Olympian purity, but one that would eventually be snuffed out.

"I would tighten our already Iron bond. You would have full access to whatever technology my forces uncover. . . On any world. And my ear will be open to requests to seek out forgotten technology from the Dark Age of Technology."

This peaked his interest though, he could ally himself while maintaining a secure position with all the Companies of the Grand Company, and yet get the benefits of an alliance. He smiled inwardly at the proposition. "Well I see your point and I agree, we who would be judged wanting in the Eyes of Olympian Purists should band together." He agreed but he had more to add.

"I don't know of any Plans beyond their obvious distaste, and I for one believe their prejudice can easily be beaten by proving one's Iron in an undoubtable manner, through skill and iron of will. This of course is more easily said than done, but it will work in the long run. However if their ever should be a time where they openly tried to eliminate opposition, I would gladly stand by you. For now though we must focus inward, because like it or not sons of nurgle have been found in your company, and I know it pains you as it would shame me just as much."

He paused he knew where his words tread, but he was trying to be wise about this. He knew the Second Captain would do the same, but he found the Immovable's anger to be troubling if it were to burst again at a bad time. He finished up with the conveyor engine he was tweaking and sealed the panels shut. He stepped out of the Spire's Shadow and looked out to the trenches as they were dug out, looking at the large smoke screen that the Second captain had put up.

"We must continue cooperation with the Purists companies, they are still our brother's, as deluded as they are. They will not strike any time soon, it would be the end of the company and they know it. I would fear that this pursuit of purity may become something worse for them if they decided on open purging, it would certainly please the warp gods that such a 'perfection' was being sought, or the blood being shed may please another. I just don't see such an event as not having consequences for them as well, I doubt their iron will would remain unrusted as the Iron Warrior way is an ideal and not a planet's heritage." He finished with his final comments on the matter.

"We shall remain in our Iron bond but we should also maintain as strong a bond if not stronger with the company as a whole. Anyways, I wish you luck in your overseeing of the....slave corralling..... with the first. I had thought we would not stoop so low as slaves, but Pelegon must know something we don't, he always does."

He felt like scratching his beard, a habit of his, but he did not wish to remove his helmet with stray rounds careening through the air, even with his Reductor field, it was better that a low velocity round impacted armor rather than flesh. He walked over to several Thrallax Cohorts and began ordering them around, getting them in positions around the spire. He also saw to the pouring of Rockcrete to make cover and a small bunker from which to have a small command center. Mostly having these buildings done to keep them all busy, he knew that neophytes were present, and it was best to give them a taste of every facet of entrenching and fortification.

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So. In his rage Tyranus had slain a member of the Tyranthikos, and for no other reason than that he had followed the Warsmith's orders. The librarian could see the muscles in Pelegon's face clench at the news, his neck becoming increasingly vascular as the ancient warrior contained himself. He slicked a few stray hairs back from his forehead, and his great roofbeam shoulders sagged momentarily, but otherwise he gave nothing away.

As the librarian spoke, the Warsmith became increasingly unresponsive; of course he took in the information, but digested each bite with less and less pleasure as the report carried on. A weak, corrupted company that had appeared pristine - Iron whose exterior remained untouched, but whose heart had been eaten away by rust. That would have been manageable, perhaps, but a potentially usurping First Captain was a matter that could not be ignored. Though Pelegon processed the rest of the report, the matter of Tyranus stayed at the forefront of his mind. It was a bitter combination of disappointment and anger.

Of course, it was not a full betrayal, but the First Captain's actions had a traitor's taint to them. To usurp the Warsmith's command in such a way could not be tolerated. Pelegon felt no sorrow for the slain Draxus, but the ideal he represented. A loyal warrior, who had done as his Warsmith had asked him - and it had cost him his life for no reason beyond the Night Lord's insecurity. They would have losses enough in the upcoming war without tearing themselves apart from the inside. The fool.

"Perhaps I would have called you a liar, Coeus" the Warsmith growled, now pacing around the room again, all those thoughts and more now set aside "looking to further your purist agenda by purging my Grand Company of foreign blood. I do not think that you could accuse me of paranoia had I postulated that"

Pelegon ceased pacing, and turned to face the psyker; he could not smell the rich stink of fear on Coeus, and that was another nail in Tyranus' coffin. Had he been lying, Pelegon would have known. There would have been a giveaway, a tell, some sign...whether tone of voice, glint of eye or chemical taint of sweat, a lie would not have passed under Pelegon's eye. The voice recording served only to reinforce that opinion. Whatever information Coeus was presenting, he was confident of its veracity. This would also serve only to strengthen the growing schism between the purist and foreign elements of the XIXth - proving the twins right, as it were. But - the Warsmith realised - something could be salvaged from this situation. He was confident of Kunzhardt's loyalty to the XIXth - selfless, even, to a large degree, and now the 2nd Captain could prove it.

"Kunzhardt" the Warsmith tapped the microbead in his ear, and waited a moment while it patched through to the ship's transmitter arrays, before being beamed to the surface below on a frequency that only the 2nd Captain could receive. Each of his commanders had their own receiving setting, to ensure some degree of privacy between them and the Warsmith.

"My lord" came the reply, a little distorted; the barrages would have thrown ash clouds up in the air, which would, in time, induce an artificial winter over Pelexis. For the time being, all they did was serve to make communications somewhat less clear, though the sophisticated arrays that the XIXth had at their disposal served to minimize this.

"The First Captain, henceforth to be referred to as Tyberus, has shown himself to be inadequate. You are to apprehend and disarm him; strip him of his armour and weapons and keep him detained, awaiting my arrival planetside. Iron Within"

Before Kunzhardt could reply, Pelegon disconnected and pulled the microbead from his ear, and crushed it between forefinger and thumb, rolling the shards around between leathery, scarred digits.

"Coeus...do not take what I did as a sign that I trust you, but as a recognition of the quality of your work. I will conduct an investigation of my own among the Tyranthikos, and if you spoke truth - and I cannot see how that is not the case - an example will be made of Tyberus. Armour yourself, we will journey planetside together. If your proclamation is the one to send the man to his death, I expect you to look him in the eyes as the sentence is passed"

Looking somewhat more pensive than before, Pelegon took his leave, his movements as graceful as they had been upon entry, but now somewhat more strained. The wrestling had loosened him up, as all good exercise did, but the librarian's information had truly been surprising. It was, perhaps, mostly because it was such a pathetic thing for him to kill Tyranus over. A true coup would have been somewhat more satisfying. Not this almost passive-aggressive lack of self control.
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The champion took out before him thumping into the surface causing a small kick of dust.

"Captain Kunzhardt it is secured!"

The Captain's boots hit the soil no more than a quarter second afterward. He didn't particularly mind it. This was a battle environment and regardless of how meaningless it was should always be treated as such. He moved to the 1st Champion's flank and marched forward. He was still involved with Adruin and could not respond or speak with Kerberos.

"I don't know of any Plans beyond their obvious distaste, and I for one believe their prejudice can easily be beaten by proving one's Iron in an undoubtable manner, through skill and iron of will. This of course is more easily said than done, but it will work in the long run. However if their ever should be a time where they openly tried to eliminate opposition, I would gladly stand by you. For now though we must focus inward, because like it or not sons of nurgle have been found in your company, and I know it pains you as it would shame me just as much."

The knife twisted. The comment of taint stung him deeply it was already well known of his anger towards the presence of Nurgle worshippers within his company blood boiled and he seemed to exhale steam for a moment. Why now? Why at the dawn of conquest? At any other time in the countless years since they last saw glory he would have cut apart his legion to find the cancer but this situation made it all the more difficult and left a sour note in his mouth after savoring the destruction around him. He held his tongue and didn't answer.

"We must continue cooperation with the Purists companies, they are still our brother's, as deluded as they are. They will not strike any time soon, it would be the end of the company and they know it. I would fear that this pursuit of purity may become something worse for them if they decided on open purging, it would certainly please the warp gods that such a 'perfection' was being sought, or the blood being shed may please another. I just don't see such an event as not having consequences for them as well, I doubt their iron will would remain unrusted as the Iron Warrior way is an ideal and not a planet's heritage." He finished with his final comments on the matter.

"We shall remain in our Iron bond but we should also maintain as strong a bond if not stronger with the company as a whole. Anyways, I wish you luck in your overseeing of the....slave corralling..... with the first. I had thought we would not stoop so low as slaves, but Pelegon must know something we don't, he always does."


Well his mission had been accomplished. He didn't seek to actively remove the purists, his distaste for them ended there rather he wished to forge some form of deterrent against the menace and if he could stand beside the Forge and the Tyranthikos then that would be a very worthy force and the Twins would be foolish to attempt anything.

"Yes, Forge Lord. I do not wish to remove the two captains-rather I wish to ensure they do not attempt to remove us and this union will serve just that. . . . I do not enjoy this act. . . Whatever it is. . There must be more to this plot of his. We have never taken slaves. Regardless, Iron Within, Adruin."

And with that the line cut leaving him to his own thoughts once more bringing his attention to the chaos and destruction around him. In the distance the 1st company were dragging along weak humans that had somehow survived the destruction each one of them looked about the size of the terminator clad's greaves giving it a comical appearance. He knew they did not enjoy the task trusted to them but their loyalty lied with the XIXth and like he they knew that conquest begat conquest and this would not be the only departure for the Unbroken. Unfortunately his thoughts were dragged away again with a grating that seemed like the growl of one of the warp tainted Daemon Engines rattled through his ears. None other than the Warsmith himself.

"The First Captain, henceforth to be referred to as Tyberus, has shown himself to be inadequate. You are to apprehend and disarm him; strip him of his armour and weapons and keep him detained, awaiting my arrival planetside. Iron Within"

And just like that the line was dead leaving a lump briefly in his throat. Had the witch convinced the Warsmith of something? Was this the first step? Did it have to do with Draxus earlier? Too many questions that he couldn't permit himself to think on in much detail. Regardless he had been ordered by Pelegon himself to bring the 1st Captain. . .Tyberus. . . Into custody. He remembered Draxus now, slain for his following of the Warsmith's orders. There was something odd about it. . . Perhaps the 1st captain knew something he didn't regardless he didn't want the 1st Companies Champion to also be an enemy, such outstanding warriors were not readily available.

He opened a vox link to his collection of Siege Tyrants and with Kerberos as well.

"Let us investigate the trench fortifications. Kerberos join your brothers in the 1st for the time being I will summon you when needed. There's faint opportunity for battle there. . . That's an order."

They thundered forward, the fire coming from the Wolf's Claw had all but stopped, they didn't seem to want to spend ammunition half hazardly while blinded by smoke that was replenished every so often. The odd round echoed from the castle but that was it leaving only the thumping of launchers, the occasional punctuation from heavy bolters to suppress and the all familiar shlunking of spades into soil bringing forth fighting trenches and battle lines quicker than arguably any army in the history of time. It was a bittersweet feeling as he moved forward and all at once he and his Tyrants stood the line above the trench with all manner of assault cannons, Reaper Auto cannons, Heavy flamers, and a couple that preferred the humble Storm Bolter. Regardless the half of them that had power fists and the other 4 that held chain fists all crackled to life in unison. Even Kunzhardt's own power arm crackled to life sending out sparks and small thunderclaps.

"First Captain Tyberus. By order of Warsmith Pelegon the Ironheart you are under arrest and are to be held in detention until His arrival."

The taste of the words was odd, on one side he was somewhat happy to have a shot at the Bat, it had been something he'd wanted for some time. On the other they had just forged an alliance against the purists and he would not want one of his allies to fall.

"I would urge you to come peacefully. . . It may assist your situation."

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post #77 of 105 (permalink) Old 10-17-14, 06:07 AM
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"Let us investigate the trench fortifications. Kerberos join your brothers in the 1st for the time being I will summon you when needed. There's faint opportunity for battle there. . . That's an order." Captain Kunzhardt's voice came over the vox with a strange reuqest...No, it was an order. What in the trenchlines could possibly be worthy of a Captain and 8 Siege Tyrants Kerberos wondered to himself. Something was amiss, but the vaunted warrior could not quite discern what is was.

"Very well Captain Kunzhardt, I shall seek out Lieutenant Xareth and join up with his efforts." The massive warrior moved at a double time pace, calling for the 1st Lieutenant of First Company and making his way towards his coordinates. His mind cast back to what purpose the 2nd Captain might have in the trenches, something about the man's voice had seemed on edge, but there was nothing to do about it now, whatever it was Captain Kunzhardt and his retinue would be more than capable of handling it.

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

The charred smell of burnt soil and bodies wafted across the landscape, passing through the rebreather unit in Tyranus' helm. Still, that refreshing scent of conquest always reassured him of his purpose. His armor, had a light marring of soot on the greaves gained through hours in the trenchline, the perfectly crafted shovel in his hands moving the earth in well calculated and practiced strokes. The gunfire coming from the Wolf's Claw had died down to a drawl, the occasional thud and thump of gun emplacements roared over the deathly silent planet, but the defenders knew on some level that they were encircled and now had no choice but to wait on their attackers.

With nothing but the light call of the wind Tyranus heard the heavy crunching footsteps of what had to be terminators given the weight of their steps. Eight of them? He thought as he looked up to the ridgeline created by his efforts in the trenches.

The hiss and crackle of power fields broke the silence of his work, eight members of the Siege Tyrants stood over him their chain and power fists readied for battle, and at their center the 2nd Captain as he too brought his power fist to life.

"First Captain Tyberus. By order of Warsmith Pelegon the Ironheart you are under arrest and are to be held in detention until His arrival." Kunzhardt decreed, his posture was that of a coiled serpent ready to strike. Tyranus' posture however was completely calm, almost serene, though the mention of his former name he couldn't help but crack a wry smile beneath his helmet Tyberus would have struck all of you down the moment he heard you coming he thought to himself, amused by how calculating he had become as this new persona 'Tyranus'.

"I would urge you to come peacefully. . . It may assist your situation." The warning was unnecessary, Tyranus had no intention of fighting Kunzhardt or his men. "Of course Brother Captain Kunzhardt." He slowly walked up the slope until and as he reached the crest the Siege Tyrants formed a perimeter around him if he were to attempt anything. He removed his helm first, looking Kunzhardt squarely in the eyes "Your Siege Tyrants may take my weapons and armor, I have no intentions of resisting the WarSmith's decree. I need you to take my left vambrace and not let it out of your sight Brother Captain Kunzhardt, it holds in it our vindication."
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There was a bizarre situation within this bubble of trench digging and gun fire at the onset of campaign Kunzhardt had been relegated to arresting his fellow soldiers. Had it been anyone else he would have slain the offender outright and move on but it was a Captain and it was Pelegon's orders. Further it was Tyran. . . No Tyberus that he was arresting. It seemed odd using a name he was unaccustomed to but it would soon come more naturally although he hoped that wouldn't be the case. A few of the other recruits digging the trenches stopped to look up at the Captain and his retinue only to be barked down.

"And WHAT are you looking at!? Move that soil or I will slay you where you stand!"

He didn't need to say any more the green recruits dug into the soil with a fervor that had been absent a moment ago. The 1st Captain crawled forth from the pit with fresh grime staining his armor and seemed quite docile with the situation considering. Perhaps there was something the master of lies knew that he didn't? He made his request of the left vambrace. . . Was that the one the hidden sword had been produced from? Yes it had to have been.

"Let us leave the firing line."

He didn't choose to respond to the comment just now rather he'd prefer to do so away from the fire and blood of the lines where the Bat Lord would wait for Pelegon's arrival. The retinue escorted Tyberus away from the trench and back towards the auxiliaries where the temporary HQ was established. It was nothing compared to the pompous comfortable accoutrements of the likes of the Imperial Guard but it served its purpose and precisely nothing more. A reinforced rockcrete structure recessed within a pit to reduce profile and aid in concealing. It was one large room and four smaller rooms used to detain and interrogate. Within it Legionnaires from the Forge as well as from the Second scrambled about laying forth firing arcs and keeping track of the course of the battle. They didn't acknowledge either of the captains upon entry so concerned with their own duties. It would've been odd had they. . . Such show was inefficient. They moved to one of the holding cells at the right end of the hallway and halted. He didn't enjoy being in such tight corridors with one so accustomed to fighting in those situations but that couldn't be helped. From there Kunzhardt put his left hand out palm up.

"Alright, Tyberus. I'll follow your ploy. Your left Vambrace, give it here and leave your equipment in this room and from there you will be detained in the adjoining room."

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"Let us leave the firing line." Kunzhardt spoke, ignoring the request to take the left vambrace. Tyranus wondered if perhaps this was the last battle field he would see, it seemed increasingly likely that it would be. Despite that reality he preferred not to fight, to what end? Killing men that would be loyal to the XIXth and what it truly stood for was not something he wished to enact. His glaive was taken from him along with the shoulder mounted storm bolter. The frag launcher was left in place though its munitions were removed, leaving it as good as useless. For whatever reason he had been allowed to keep his Cataphractii plate for the time being. The march to their forward HQ was a grim procession.

Captain Kunzhardt and his Siege Tyrants carefully watched his every move, the flickering and humming power fields around their weapons spoke as much. He was marched to the chambers that he would be detained in. Captain Kunzhardt then motioned for Tyranus to enter the cell, offering his left hand palm up. "Alright, Tyberus. I'll follow your ploy. Your left Vambrace, give it here and leave your equipment in this room and from there you will be detained in the adjoining room." He carefully removed the left vambrace, handing it to Kunzhardt with the concealed blade facing himself. He proceeded to remove the rest of his massive Cataphractii plate, placing it on an armor rack. He wore a simple tabbard about his waist, covering down to his knees as he was marched to his final holding cell where he would await the WarSmith. He stood in the center of the room, going through the motions of melee with his glaive, it was an art he had always done, practiced endlessly to hone his skills as a warrior. It was meditative and helped to keep his demeanor calm and his spirits up given the dire circumstances.
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Upon exiting the Warp, Lugerev had quickly met up with Loakk, and took the first shuttle out toward the Wandering King. He was expected, and docked quickly. The Primus Medicae was now in his full set of Wargear, and likely would be much more often than nought, now that he realized he was no longer safe even among his own Grand Company. He had worn a MkIV suit once, and he was a bit frustrated that the Mk V didn’t seem to be much better. In fact, some of its internal systems were actually, worse. Still, it held up better than the MK IV defensively, which is what he needed most when attending battlefield wounds.

He escorted the Techmarine to the battleship’s Apothecarion, where he asked him to wait while he spoke to the Captain about the details of the mission. Fortunately, there were several research projects Lugerev had nearly forgotten about, that were in various locations of his lab to keep the Genetor occupied with interest for some time.

And so, Lugerev made the long trip to the ship’s bridge, as the fleet began to split in two; the bulk of it going straight towards the primary target Pelexis III, and three of the ships going to kill the Space Wolf Strike Cruiser, the Fist of Russ. Normally, Coues would be on board with his twin, to keep each other in good company, and coordinate their efforts. He would have to fill that gap today, he supposed.

Iapetus was standing at the tactical display, a large, hololithic table that showed the planets of the system, the relative location of the XIXth's Fleet, and their target - The Fist of Russ.

‘Hail, Captain. I have brought the Techmarine Genetor of Adriun's lot on board as well. He has stayed in the Apothecarion for the time being. I will have to rearrange some things. I think Tirgivil feels he owns the King's sick bays...’

'Lugerev,' Iapetus said, cordially. He looked up, at the Chief Apothecary, and arched an eyebrow. Lugerev was staring off, at the bridge's primary view-port - A huge pane of reinforced glass - With widened eyes. 'Is there something amiss?'

Lugerev stared out into the gray moon that concealed their prey.

'Luna...just look at it.’ He said, pointing an armored finger. ‘I've never seen so many dead ships...' he puts his hand down and turns his head sharply to an angle. 'That one, that's the White Feather, one of the Scars'. I was aboard her once. And there, the Unbreakable...she did so well at Phall. Even in the craters, on the surface, you can see their corpses.' he looks down shaking his head. 'How could we have lost, brother?'

Iapetus thought for a moment, rising in his posture from busying away at the holomap, considering.

'We lost, brother,' Iapetus said, returning his attentions to the tactical display. 'Because Terra was the ultimate fortress. A palace that spanned continents, her walls manned by the Emperor's finest, against a horde. All waves crash, in the end.'

Lugerev looked at Iapetus, the Captain's face a bright blue; his skin and armor reflecting the light from the table. Lugerev's expression turned uncertain, his stance loose. 'That's not Luna, is it?'

'Not at all,' Iapetus smiled, though the question neither wanted, or needed, an answer. 'Loakk is aboard?'

He looked out the viewport again, seeing this less significant moon, and its master Pelexis II, in the distance behind it.

‘Loakk is aboard, yes. He wanted some Space Wolf gene-seed to toy with.'

He reached his hands to the edge of the table, and peered down at the holo-display the Seventh Captain was looking at and manipulating.

‘So, what is your plan? My role is simple enough, but I need you to get me there.’ said Lugerev, lightly opening his hand to point towards the miniature Fist of Russ.

Iapetus pursed his lips. 'A three pronged assault - Wandering King, Lonesome Queen and the,' He adjusted the tactical display, enhancing the Third's Cruiser. 'Shade Wraith,' He said the name distastefully. 'Corner the Wolf and snap its legs. Lucian can take the bridge and the armoury - I want to bleed his Company dry - Whilst the Seventh take the enginarium,' A tough fight, indeed, Iapetus knew. 'And the Apothecarion.'

‘Yes, our fallen angel friend is more than welcome to take the petty glory of killing the vessel’s commander.’ Said Lugerev, releasing his grip from the table’s edge, pushing himself away in order to begin pacing the deck.

‘Good. I’m glad to hear we have the important parts. I’m sure getting rights to the Apothecarion wasn’t too difficult. It never is.’

A pause.

‘Iapetus, Pelegon has yet to inform me why these Wolves are holding Salamander Gene-seed. I suppose I shouldn’t think on it too much. Little outside my medical work makes sense to me anymore.’

‘And we shall hope, brother, that Lucian will get himself killed,' Iapetus grinned. 'Should the Wolf prevail, I will shed no tears,' He stepped away from the table, stepping towards the centre of the bridge. 'It makes little sense. The Wolves are many things - Unwashed barbarians, near-feral, mortal-lovers - But thieves? That they are not.'

It was Iapetus who paused, now. 'I do not trust Pelegon's judgement. Something is wrong, here. I am certain of it.'

‘But apparently, we are.’ Said the Apothecary, still on the bit about thieves, throwing his hands up and half rolling his eyes.

‘I’m sure something is wrong. We will probably all die. But what does it matter? If I am to be perfectly honest with you I kind of hope we all do. I’ve seen so many deaths already-death, dying death!’ he yelled the words loudly, then shook his head violently. His wrist mounted bolter slung forward on its rack and its ammunition belt lost its slack as he thrust his arm out pointing it at random Legionnaires on the deck below. Some turned, looking up in alarm and hesitation. He groaned, switching from target to target with enraged grunts.

‘Save lives! Save them! I have to save your lives!’

His breathing slowed. His posture straightened, and his bolter retracted.

He turned his head to the side just enough for Iapetus to see a grinning face.

‘Iapetus.’

His body turned, and he walked back to the Captain, saying his name again but elongating each of the vowels.

‘Iaapeetuus. What are you doing?’

'Lugerev, brother,' Iapetus said, retreating, towards the tactical display, towards his spear. 'Enough. Come to your senses, Apothecary,' His voice was calm, almost soothing. 'You cannot act like this, not here. Not on my ship.'

He stepped closer, angry, veins beginning to throb.

‘All I asked is what you are doing! That gene-seed is mine! You understand me? Mine, my hands only!’ he shouted, ruthless.

'What would I want with Gene-seed, you fool?' Iapetus bellowed back, face twisted into a snarl. 'Were it a ship you were after, you mad bastard, I would gladly pilfer it,' He shook his head. 'You are the flesh-smith.'

A smile returns to Lugerev’s face, accompanied by a downward tilted chin, a furrowed brow, and a shaking of the head half whispering.

‘Third Company. Third Company.’

Without a moment’s notice Lugerev’s sword swings out, the murderous blade whistling through the air and coming to a frozen state of deadness.

He laughs softly.

‘You know, an angel can lose its wings and fall into the mud, but unfortunately, that doesn’t quite make it a dead angel, now, does it? His emphasis was filled with bassy puncture.

He begins to laugh harder, staring hard into the green, glaring eyes of Iapetus.

The Seventh Company Captain chuckled in return.

‘Yes, brother! Maybe the Wolves will only take a bite out of him, and he’ll come to me!’

Lugerev steps to Iapetus, grabbing hold of his metal cloak and shoulders, wide eyed and happy, laughing between syllables.

‘Can you imagine? Lucian, the Dark Angel, laying on my surgery slab, waiting for me to fix him up?!’

The laughter could be contained no longer. And once it began to die down, Lugerev raised a finger to try and wipe the moisture that had collected at the corner of his eye. He spoke further.

'I believe you were about to go into more details about this plan before I interrupted you. So, tell me, tell me more.' he says, twirling his hand.

After a few moments, a female officer of sorts stepped up toward the table.

'Lords,' A voice said. Iapetus turned his head, and saw Lumiana - Uniformed, carrying a wafer of dataslates under her arm - Standing there. 'We are within visual range of the target.'

Lugerev almost spoke up to the Equerry, but couldn’t quite remember the old lad’s name. He had served under Iapetus since at least the beginning of the Legion’s decision to go turncoat, he knew.

'Thank you,' Iapetus said. He turned back to the Apothecary. 'Come, follow me,' The Shipwright took up his spear, gathered his cloak about him, and walked into the centre of the bridge. The mortals quietened, in reverence of their lord. 'Open communications with the Lonesome Queen,' He ordered, coolly. 'Magnify. Show me our quarry.

The Fist of Russ filled the view-ports. Long and sleek, painted in the icy-blue of the Wolves, her flanks bristling with cannons. 'A fine ship,' Iapetus said, leaning on his spear. 'I present our prey, my brothers,' He smiled darkly. 'Pelegon wants it. Our Legion wants it. I want it.'

'Target acquired,' His gunnery officer called.

Iapetus turned towards Lugerev. 'It is about time, brother,' He said. 'We show the thin-bloods what true fury is.'

The Master of the Fleet smiled, waiting a moment before finally turning and giving the curt order.

'Fire.'

Lugerev stood beside Iapetus, hands folded behind his back and watching the viewports intently.

'Its suddenly clear to me that we do the same work, Iapetus, merely on different scales. I believe that little jewel of a ship already belongs to us. Still, I have the same feeling I did on Medrengard. There's something about this one...my gut tells me it likes to slip its leash.’

The Shipwright laughed. 'Ships do not escape me, Apothecary,' He watched, as the cruiser rolled, cored by the lances of Iapetus's ships. Debris, organic and metallic, shoaled around the vessel. 'Your escort awaits, Lugerev,' Iapetus smiled, clasping his brother's wrist. 'Watch yourself, brother. Watch the Third.

Lugerev nodded, accepting the embrace with warmth. A pod had been designated for them, he and Loakk. Along with Adriun’s associate, Iapetus made sure that a good plenty of warriors would be by them on their fight to the enemy’s Apothecarion, which in all likelihood, would be the easiest path during the battle for the ship.

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