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Prologue - Fall of the Phoenix

Xenan 7

Princeps Vaser winced as his Warlord class titan, Phoenix took another hit. A howling Chaos construct staggered in front of him, the gigantic weapons smoking. Phoenix's void shields sparked and died. The howling titan in front if it fired it's bolters. Explosive rounds punched into the Phoenix's head. A stray shell smashed through the plexiglass window, smacking through his neck, severing the interface unit that wired him up to the Warlord. The grand war machine groaned and lazily listed backwards. It crashed into the fortress wall backwardly. Its lights died out as the generators went dead. It settled in the breached fortress wall, partially supported by it. Its hand-mounted weapons flickered and went cold. The Chaos horde overran the fortress. Although the heretical warriors were pushed back weeks later, the loss of the Phoenix was a heavy blow to the Imperial presence on the planet. Years passed and the planet was clean of any heretics. But the Phoenix slowly was covered in foliage and local fauna and forgotten about. Only the tribes of warrior women spoke of the legend that a grand war weapon was resting deep in the jungle, but no-one dared to go after it. Those who did never returned. Hundreds of years passed. And the tide of war washed over Xenan 7 once again. A splinter of Hive fleet Leviathan was upon the world. The planetary defenders retreated to scattered fortresses. The warrior women hid in the jungles. The situation seemed bleak. There seemed no way to win.

Exactly 619 years later...

Hakkara felt a bead of sweat roll down her neck. Kirrff in front of her bared its teeth and growled. The cat-like beast wasn't moving. But this was a mandatory task to perform. Every woman of Artheda tribe required a Kirrff to ride. These mighty beasts of burden also provided them with milk, meat, hides. They were also fiercely loyal when tamed, remaining trustful until the last of their breath, but they were extremely difficult to appease. It would take months, if not years for a Kirrff to be completely tamed. Hakkara picked a slab of meat out of her pouch and threw it to the Kirrff. The beast instictively jumped back, but then sniffed at the meat. It then gobbled it in one go. It licked its nose and took a step closer to her. She understood what it wanted - more meat. She picked another piece of meat from her pouch and showed it to the Kirrff. It reached out with its tongue. The long teeth nibbled at the meat. And slowly pulled it out of Hakkara's grasp. The creature had been tamed. She scratched it behind the ear and the Kirrff purred dreamily. She would have to name it, saddle it and take care of it in general. A low booming sound pulled her out of her daydream. A hulking transport ship burned across the sky. Hakkara grumbled. These ships were coming to the planet a lot nowadays. They were fighting Tyranids all the time. She hopped on top of her Kirrff. It didn't protest, and kept chewing the tough meat Hakkara handed him. She patted him and ululated. The beast jumped forwards, up the tree. She pulled on the reins and directed it towards her village. The Kirrff was at home in the trees, never missing the branch and never faltering in its step. She was having the time of her life. The bounding was roughly interrupted when she saw the transport ship from before. It was flying low, for unknown reasons.
 
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