Tales of the Eight Legion: Thramas Crusade
It has been six months since the Massacare at Isstvan V and the beginning of what will eventually become known as the Horus Heresy, having decimated the Raven Guard, Salamanders and Iron Hands at Isstvan, the Night Lords Legion under the command of their Primarch: Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter. Has been tasked with occupying the Dark Angels Legion and their Primarch Lion El'Johnson in the southern parts of Imperium inside of the Thramas region.
For the last six months the Night Lords have been staging hit-and-run attacks on the Dark Angels, with no full scale battles between the legions coming to the for except for on a world known as Tsagusala where in the foundations of a partially constructed fortress did the Night Haunter and The Lion come to blows with both legions committing fully to rescue their Primarch's before pulling back to lick their wounds.
While most of the legion deployed to the surface to protect their gene-father, Fourth Company remained in orbit aboard the battle barge: 'The Maiden of Sorrow' commanded by their captain: Xandrek Kealisar, named by the Primarch himself for unknown reasons: The Lord of Lies. It was at Tsagusala that Xandrek once again proved to Fourth Company, The Legion, the Dark Angels and to the new comer from the 4th Legion: The Iron Warriors named Pelegon. That while being a murder and true son of Nostramo that Xandrek was a truly formidable Void-Commander working in concert with the Naval Admiral and other ships captains to cripple and delay the Dark Angels fleet as the Night Lords legion returned from orbit.
So it is that so far throughout the Thramas Crusade (as it has now become known) that the Night Lords have been fighting on-and-off with the Dark Angels, with irregular attacks to keep the First Legion off balance and wondering where the Sons of a Sunless world would strike at them next.
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Aboard the 'Maiden of Sorrow' Xandrek Kealisar sits at his desk within his Spartan quarters, his newly forged suit of armour resting upon its armour rack next to his weapons writing with a white feathered quill upon parchment as he listens to a human female that stands barely to his chest with pale skin, black hair and black eyes of a Daughter of Nostramo recounts to him a tale of something she has heard from 'Shadow-Mark' a place within the ship where the human crew live, work and trade among themselves forever in servitude to a legion that destroyed their home world and cares little for their well being save a few who either serve the legion directly as personal serf or become sport for their masters to hunt and kill.
The information that the female recounts to the Lord of Lies causes him pause as the scratching of the quill ceases as the woman finishes her report and the room is filled with silence save for the back ground thrum of the ship itself. Turning from the desk, leaving the quill next to a half full ink post and leaving what ever was being written half finished the Captain stands and moves to his armour as the female waits patiently. Once the captain is fully armoured and once again in Midnight Clad and his sword sheathed at his hip he turns to the woman and issues a command through his vox speakers that comes out in a draconic-growl. "Go to the Corpse-Master. Have him meet me in Shadow-Mark."
Veptus (Deus Mortis): You stand in the apocatherion of the 'Maiden of Sorrow' fully armoured with a surgical plastic apron on over it as you observe Apocathery Xheng go about the next stages of implantation of the last recruits and human teenagers ever to come from the shattered world that once was Nostramo. Like you Xheng works affectively and efficiency considering he is still adjusting to his left arm which was replaced with a bionic after Tsagusala when the 'Maiden' was boarding by Dark Angels during the fleet battle as the legion extracted the Primarch. In which Xheng along with his fellow members of the Apocatherion guarded their charges who are the Legion and especially Fourth Companies future, with Xheng having lost his arm to a Dark Angel plasma gun. During the battle you and First Claw had been stationed aboard and near the Bridge where you remember standing infront of the command throne as Xandrek calmly issued and relayed orders to over half of the fleet, and you remember the look on Pelegon's face when he saw that not all Nostramon born Astartes were mass-murderers with little else they were proficient in.
You are pulled from your thoughts when you hear someone behind you clear their throat to get your attention, and when you turn you see a black haired pale skinned woman with the black eyes of Nostramo who would be considered beautiful in a statue like way. You instantly know who this is with her delicate yet knife like facial structure and utter fearlessness, which is odd for humans, in the presence of the Night Lords as this woman, who you know is also one of the oldest living humans on the ship thanks to her minor augments and juvant. The woman standing before you is none other than Elena Kealisar the grand-niece of Xandrek and if it means she is here then the Captain wants something. As soon as she has your attention Elena simply states. "Lord Xandrek wishes to see you in Shadow-Mark and asks you bring your weapons, My Lord"
Serhiy (Boxagonapus): Although you are apart of First Claw you have spent much of your time, save when the war calls and you join your battle brothers, training with your original battle brothers of Tenth Claw who are now back to full strength after Xandrek simply replaced the dead and wounded members with members from the Night Lords 47th company, who along with the 82nd company also share the 'Maiden of Sorrow' with their captains answering directly to Xandrek, in essence making Fourth Company over three hundred marines strong though often Xandrek leaves the running of the two other companies to his two subordinate captains. Since Isstvan you have noticed that Sergeant Phalx of Tenth Claw has been mainly absent from training and sparring and each time he has joined you and the other destroyers have noticed more and more of him has been replaced with bionics and his armour has been modified with even more life-support equipment. As the oldest Destroyer in the legion, having come from Terra itself it is very likely that soon Xandrek will either remove Phalx completely from active duty or soon Tenth Claw's sergeant might simply be killed and replaced by one of the others.
You and Tenth Claw are within one of the training halls of the 'Maiden' with several other claws present aswell in a rare dual training operation as Xandrek has ordered all Claw's be prepared to combat the Dark Angels which after the first couple of engagement shows that in a straight up fight Night Lord legionaries do not match up well against other legionaries, as it is always said about the Eighth Legion (especially Nostramon born): "Murders First, Last and Always." Thanks to the aid of the Mechanicum this training hall has been converted into the halls of a space ship or the halls of the space ship making it the perfect training ground for the Thramas Crusade. You are on the side of the 'Attackers' using Dark Angels doctrine in terms of boarding and storming a ship using interlocking zones of covering fire, moving up bit by bit and scanning each hall way and intersection before moving on. You know that somewhere in the training hall as part of the Night Lords defence force is the Iron Warrior Pelegon who has been spending alot of time Sergeant Kirik and Ninth Claw meaning that you are expecting an ambush at some point, and that on the side of the attackers with you elsewhere is: Tyberus, Kesh and Helek while Corvis and Zsavo are on the 'Defenders' side.
Tyberus (Krymson86): You are currently along side Sergeant Volkyr and Third Claw who are Fourth Companies best squad when it comes to corridor fighting, ship assault and defending the 'Maiden' when it is under attack, they are also Fourth Companies only 'Breacher' squad meaning that all twenty of them are each armed with a boarding shield almost the size of a legionary though nowhere near as powerful in defence as the shield that Xandrek uses, which makes you wonder is the Captain also used to see alot of boarding actions and thats why he uses it or if he simply enjoys a 'fallen knight' persona with his Sword and Shield favoured fighting style. As you are with Second Claw you have been given a boarding shield aswell and currently stand in the third rank of the squad with ten of your 'battle brothers' in two ranks of five infront of you with their shields interlocked and keeping their heads down as at the far end of the corridor, firing training rounds at you and your current squad are 'The Young Blood' Corvis and Fourth Claw under the command of Sergeant Voss who is bellowing orders at Corvis and Fourth Claw to as he so eloquently puts it: "Keep those Sons of Leprous Whores pinned down."
Battle Brother Kaelic goes down to your left as a practice round slams into his helmet and thanks to the recording equipment stationed in the training hall that is being observed by Tech-Marine Malek allows him to simulate death by remotely shutting off the power of any marines suit and locking it down. Playing back the shot in your mind as rounds ping off of your shoulder and shoulder pad you realize that the shot that took down Kaelic was from Corvis and it seems that the 'Young Blood' may of been getting tips and pointers from the Corpse-Master. The thought of Veptus being in this might make you smile as the Chief Apocathery of Fourth is the best shot in all three companies aboard the 'Maiden' and he would of dropped every single one of you by the time you got down the corridor, especially if he was with Kirik and Ninth Claw. When Kaelic hits the floor one of Second Claws battle brothers moves up from the rank behind you to take his place before you hear Volkyr's voice echo over the vox. "Keep your heads down and shields up lads. Remember we are using First Legion doctrine under the Captain's orders. In another ten feet we charge as one, a solid wall of adamantium and ceramite to smash Fourth Claw."
Corvis (Nightlord96): You sight down the barrel of your bolter and pull the trigger sending a practice round into the helmet of one of the members of Third Claw dropping him to the ground as Tech-Marine Malek shuts off his power armour remotely and locks his limbs to stop him from moving to simulate death. You smile to yourself that the Corpse-Masters pointers on the finer points of picking your targets carefully and firing only when you are ready pays off as between yourself and all of Fourth Claw you keep Third Claw which includes Tyberus slogging through the tunnel towards you and your temporary squad as you continue on with the training exercise under the orders of the Captain though you know that Xandrek and even Veptus are not taking part mainly because when the ship gets boarded Xandrek is always on the bridge and Veptus is either with him or at the Apocatherion.
You know that also somewhere else in the training hall which has been altered to make it look like the halls of the ship you are currently on or any other in the fleet or another legions that your fellow brothers of First Claw are currently engaged in similar situations with Pelegon and Zsavo joining in the defence with elsewhere on the ship. When you think of the Iron Warrior Pelegon you wonder at how the Fourth Legionary has changed since his secondment to the Night Lords Legion and that he has been spending a lot of time with Kirik and Ninth Claw who are most likely ambushing some poor Claw elsewhere on the deck. Zsavo you know is currently with Sergeant Xho and Fifth Claw, Fourth Companies main assault squad which like the 'Night Raptors' have a habit of clinging to the ceiling of the ship when they are on the hunt when they are preparing their ambush, and you know that Sergeant Xho and Sergeant Voss have been in communication the entire time that you've been firing at Third Claw with you being able to tell what is about to happen to Tyberus, Volkyr and Third Claw.
Kesh (Andygorn) and Helek (Nacho Libre): The two of you along with Sergeant Nilhus and Eighth Claw are having a hard time trying to get to your allocated objective as a hail storm of bolter fire is coming in your direction from Second Claw. While cumbersome in open battle or for fast assaults Terminators armour is not well suited. But for when it comes to holding objectives and passages within fortress's and in the insides of a ship it is almost impossible to get past. A full half of Eighth Claw including Sergeant Nilhus are down which if the rounds being fired were true bolter rounds and not practice rounds they would all be piles of ceramite wrapped meat with chunks blasted free. To both of your annoyance instead of coming up with a plan on how best to take down Second Claw and moving onto your objective for this training exercise the remaining members of Eighth Claw are infact arguing and swearing at each other to determine who is in charge. It would be better of if each of you simply split up the squad and took command of a five-man squad each and attacked from two fronts which you decide to do with Kesh and his marines remaining behind to keep the Terminators pinned down.
Kesh (Andygorn): You and your five man squad remain behind to keep Second Claw focused on you, which if you were using Night Lord battle tactics all of you would of gone and drawn the Terminators after you however since you are being forced to use Dark Angel boarding tactics it means that you have to hunker down behind the make shift cover of crates, pipes and in true Night Lord fashion, the bodies of your own battle brothers which you ordered your squad to do seeing as if your intending on coming out of this on the winning side you need to make use of all the cover you can and you can hear the downed members of Eighth Claw through their armour grumbling and talking to each other over an open channel to those Astartes who have been 'killed' complaining about being used as cover. All you can do is hope that Helek and his squad manage to circle around without encountering too much resistance, ready for a two pronged attack. Though given that after several minutes you hear the vehemence cursing of Rasiel as he goes does you realize that the other combat squad of Eighth Claw have run into Ninth Claw, including Pelegon leaving you and your marines staring down the ever firing barrels of Second Claw.
Helek (Nacho Libre): After splitting off from the rest of Eighth Claw you lead your five man squad of marines through the other passages of training hall that has been made up to look like the hallways of a ship, back tracking the way you came to make sure that the rest of Eighth Claw isn't going to be ambushed by some of the 'Defenders' of the ship and you find there aren't any. You begin to circle around being careful to clear each hall way towards the other side of Second Claw to begin a two pronged attack and divine their attention and arcs of fire that will allow you to take the objective that you were designated at the start of the training session. You can hear the rest of Eighth Claw walking over the vox, and while other legions would punish their marines for casual banter and insults the Eighth Legion has a sort of grim comradely that only appears in battles. As you and your squad enter the final junction that will allow you to circle behind Second Claw and begin your pincer attack Battle Brother Rasiel goes down with two practice rounds slamming into the spot just above his eye lens. Given that you didn't hear the gun shots means only one thing. You've run into an ambush set by Ninth Claw: Sergeant Kirik's recon squad and you see a small flash of silver to signify that the Iron Warrior Pelegon is amongst them though like all good Snipers they are already moving from their firing position.
Pelegon (Nol): You lay in wait behind a large cooling pipe with your rifle resting on it for extra balance allowing you a moment to once again take in your surroundings with the rest of Ninth Claw scattered about the hall way. You are able to see Alric and Tealion clinging to the ceiling above the door way at the far end of the hall by one hand and by their clawed boots with their other hand holding a bolt pistol (Tealion) and a combat knife (Alric) waiting for the foolish marines of Eighth Claw's combat squad to arrive. Having heard from Sergeant Nyx that Eighth Claw had split up most likely seeking to outflank them and begin a two pronged attack. The rest of Ninth Claw like yourself is hidden within the shadows of what cover they can find with their rifles aimed and ready at the far end of the passage way awaiting to ambush the ambushers, something the Night Lords enjoy. Every since the battle above Tsagusala where you saw first hand that Xandrek wasn't just another petty tyrant of the Eighth Legion but a masterful Void-Commander, relaying and giving orders to almost a full half of the Night Lords fleet as it did battle with the Dark Angels as the rest of the legion 'rescued' their Gene-Father from the surface and a fight with the Lion of the First.
Since that day Xandrek has ordered all three companies aboard his ship to almost continual training of boarding ships and defending them, each time using a different set of Legions preferred tactics and today's training session see's the attackers using Dark Angel doctrine against that of the Eighth Legion, which so far is resulting in a stalemate. As you still have time to reflect you think back on all you have learnt from the Night Lord's over the last six months that while you have now almost mastered Nostramon, which after a pointer from the Captain that: "It is better to ignore trying to find any common ground between Gothic and Nostramon, and act as if Gothic does not exist at all" your 'Battle Brothers' within the company still remark on how horrible your accent is. You also know that while other Legions have a standard hierarchy that the Night Lords companies seem to each follow one of seven specific captains who are considered the legions greatest and that they are known as: The Kyroptera a sort of informal gathering of captains but the closest thing to 'Chapter Masters' the Eighth Legion has and that Xandrek directly takes his orders from only the First Captain and the Primarch. You snap out of your thoughts to see the door at the end of the corridor open and six marines of Eighth Claw step through, including Helek of First Claw in their lead and as they step fully into the corridor it is you that places the two practice rounds just above Rasiel's eyes.
Zsavo (Farseer Ulthris): You hang in darkness on the 'ceiling' of the training deck that has been modified to resemble that of a ships interior looking down at the large expanse of bare steel below you, surrounded by the other twenty members of Fifth Claw including Sergeant Xho awaiting Fourth Claw to spring their trap on Third Claw which involves them leading Third Claw straight under you and your current squad. You find it interesting that no-other legion has a habit of hanging from ceilings while waiting in ambush and that in a way the Eight Legion are more like bats in the same way that the Space Wolves are like the creatures they take their name from. Through crimson tinted lens you stare at the ground below listening to the sounds of bolter fire coming from several hallways away in complete silence and sigh to yourself that while these almost continual training sessions of 'Boarding' and 'Being Boarded' stave off the boredom of waiting for the next true engagement. Their near continual cycle has become quite tedious in your opinion as it is the same thing over and over again. Always fighting other Astartes who unlike mortals 'Know No Fear' and that means that the Eight Legion has a disadvantage, your a legion of murders.
You hear Sergeant Xho's voice come on over the vox and all others remain silent as he speaks and you see his darkness shrouded silhouette motion to something below. "Well well well, it seems Seventh Claw (Heavy support Squad) has decided to make their presence known brothers. This will bode ill for Fourth Claw as they will run head long into Seventh Claw's weaponry, however if we attack now then we shall give away our position. My my what a quandary however we need to draw in Third Claw and deal with them aswell, in the close confines of the ship their boarding shields give them a great advantage and I doubt Fourth Claw will be able to overcome them. Vaunted Zsavo of First Claw. Take nine other members of my squad and descent upon the Seventh, dispatch them and hide their bodies from sight, strike fast and aim for the throat. Do not allow them to sent warning to the brothers of Third."
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.