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The Librarian, Jallus, met Jaekal's greeting with his own. ‘Greetings Brother Chaplain, I have information for our Lord Captain.’ Interesting, Jaekal thought silently. Not pressing further, he let the Librarian continue. ‘ My studies go well, but I have been hindered the restrictions that were placed upon members of my order. I look forward to our next engagement changing this state of affairs.’ Jallus did not break his stride as he spoke, and hurried to the bridge. This did not phase Jaekal, as he was used to the idiosyncrasies of the members of First Claw. "Sanguine as always, Brother Jallus," Jaekal said, half under his breath, as the Librarian was well out of earshot by the time he made his statement. Jaekal let Jallus gain some distance before he proceeded to the bridge, not wanting anything to be misconstrued by those of First Claw.

Jaekal was well aware of the tension brewing on the vessel, something made manifest as he entered the bridge. The Corpse-Master was eagerly explaining the interment of Shen, something Jaekal had been witness to not long prior. Just as he was, Var barged into the conversation, asking, nay, demanding the Captain remember to salvage what they could from the soon to come battlefield. Jaekal oft thought impropriety must be another aspect of the Machine-God, worshiped by those of the Techmarine cult, but Var's actions seemed rash, even for him. Not wishing to entertain any of the side conversations underway, Jaekal stood silently, awaiting the address undoubtedly to come from the Captain.
 

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The room trembled as the door slammed into place almost without giving the handle mechanism chance to close. Fundae roared as he did so trying to vent some frustration, it did not work. No matter how hard he punched the door his anger at that tech-adept would not go away. He sat back on his cot the concrete foundations of it almost cracking with the weight of his power armor. He unslung the chain axe from his back grasping it in front of him.

the weapon had a thick ceramite shaft engraved with icons of skulls and fire. The plasteel case on too mimicked a pair of bat wings with a fanged skull at the centre which contained the motor. Running along he under side of the batwings were the razored fangs that would soon bring he screams of his once brothers. He wondered what it would be like, the weapon crashing down on the breastplates of Astartes cracking ceramite and spraying gore over his armor, it brought satisfaction. The thought washed over him a feeling of joy and he wanted it so much. He thought for a second, some of these at my kinsmen, Astartes recruited from holy Terra himself but it left as quick as it came. Hey may side with the war master but that didn't mean they fought for the same cause,once the imperial palace was decimated to rubble his "sons of horus" would be prey like everyone else for the night hunter was death incarnate.

He missed his flamer, the promethium launcher was like apart of him.his very soul he felt was in the hands of an abomination of man and machine, why be machine he felt when you can be mortal. It was true that astartes were no mere mortals but still the thought that death could be around any corner comforted him but still he would not rest till he was at the heart of a galaxy in flames.

He rose to his feet sliming the weapon over his back again. Placing his helmet on his head again he blink clicked the vox signal in Azreal's armor opening a voice link to the company champion.

"I swear if bright eyes doesn't finish my flamer soon then ill rip off his stinger and hang him with it." The channel closed.

He started the descent into the ships dungeon like lower levels were Zhasal was still located,if he had to comment on anything it would be that he knew how to enjoy himself. Ignescunt now longed to decapitate a few of those captives but not before he set them loose and hunted them.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Everyone on the Bridge: There is a long moment of complete and utter silence after Azrael makes his promise to Var with the only noise coming from the background rumbling of the ship itself in the warp and the breathing of the mortal crew members who now stand in complete silence watching the gathering of their lords and masters. The silence is then finally broken as Xandrek leans forward on his throne to stare directly at Var as he speaks:

“Var, as fourth company’s chief tech-marine and as a member of First Claw I allow you permission, like all my other ‘brothers’ standing here to speak your mind and speak requests. But remember that you are on MY ship, you are apart of MY squad and I am your CAPTAIN, you will show me some respect when speaking to me and will never demand anything again or you will find yourself bolted to a slab in the Apocatherion while myself and your brothers in First Claw observe as the Corpse-Master” Xandrek motions with his right hand to Veptus standing a few feet away “Finds out just how much of you is still flesh and blood before I eject you from an airlock directly into the warp. Is that understood?” Xandrek then leans back on his throne and awaits Var’s answer before turning his attention to Jallus.

“Now then Witch-Kin, I believe it is because of you we are having this merry gathering of brothers. Speak now and tell us what secrets you have pulled from the warp.” With that the room once again falls silent as Jallus says what he has to say as each of you then digests the new in silence lost within your own thoughts before the Xandrek speaks once again. (Jallus don’t forgot to put in your post you about the Maiden arriving before most of the legion.)

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

“I see…Arriving ahead of the rest of the legion could throw out Father’s plans completely out of the window. Jallus go to our dear Navigator, Corwin, and see if there is a way for him to bring us back to arriving with the rest of the legion. Should this now be possible Jaekal gather all Claws and lead them to the embankment decks and have them ready for planet fall as soon as possible. Var, return to your forge and make sure all our ‘honored’ brethren who sleep within their metal tombs are awoke ready for the coming battle and that the Revenant (First Claws Thunderhawk) is fully fueled and armed aswell.”

“Corvis go into the lower decks and find where in the name of the Primarch, Fundae and Zhasal have gotten to before the three of you meet up with Jaekal and the others by your transports….Veptus, Azrael, Raskreia. You three remain here as we have some matters to discuss. Go, you are all dismissed.” With that those of you have been ordered to leave the bridge do so as attempting to stay would obviously incur Xandrek’s ire and punishment at the end of Azrael’s blade.

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Azrael, Raskreia and Veptus: The three of you remain on the bridge and watch the other members of First Claw disappear off down separate side doors to carry out Xandrek’s orders before you all finally turn to the captain who is looking between the three of you before he lets out a small sigh. “It seems that our dear tech-marine forgets who is in charge here, and while he is a member of First Claw and our artificer I trust him about as much as I would trust one of the Third Legion not to do his hair and make-up before going out onto a battle field.” If this small joke elects a smile or small laugh from you then it is your choice before you return to listening to the captain. “You three are perhaps the only members of my First Claw who can be trusted to carry out my orders without any complaints or demands. So tell me my dear Brothers, what do you suggest we do about our way-ward insubordinate brother tech-marine? I have a few thoughts on the matter myself but they require heading over to the Nightfall or the Covenant of Blood when we drop out of the warp.” The mention of the legion’s Flagship and 10th companies strike cruiser give you some pause while you try to think of what Xandrek’s plan is but now is your chance to suggest what could be done about Var.

Jaekal: Leaving the bridge and the Captain behind you start to make your way down to the hanger decks which will take you roughly twenty minutes as you also start to issues out orders over the general vox to all claws save first claw (the exact orders you give are up to you) and on your way down to hanger decks you wonder what exactly it is that Xandrek, Azrael, Raskreia and Veptus could be talking about in private and why you, as fourth company’s Chaplain, are not included. As you walk Jallus is currently walking with you though you know that he will soon be heading off to go and talk to the ships Navigator so if you engage him in a conversation than it is up to you, for now you have time to reflect about the up coming battle on Isstvan though when you arrive on at the hangers you will need to make sure each claw is near-full strength and all their equipment is fully operational.

Corvis: After leaving the bridge you start to make your way down towards the Labyrinth where you believe that Zhasal and Fundae are currently hunting those mortals that have been captured though how you will convince your two brothers who rarely listen to orders unless Xandrek directly orders them himself to do anything will be somewhat of a challenge, well atleast you can always force them to do what you want if you need to and as you smile at the thought you feel the stitches in your cheek stretch at the moment of your facial muscles and quickly stop smiling should you re-open the wound. Remembering your facial wound you start to plot on how you will repay the Brother-Sergeant of Fifth Claw for the injury and though you have Xheng’s help it wouldn’t be as satisfying a punishment if you didn’t dish it out yourself…perhaps you could injure him and then give him over to the Corpse-Master as a gift?

Jallus: Inclining your head respectfully to your Captain you turn and leave with Jaekal to go and see the ships navigator Corwin, who’s sanctum is located near the middle of the ship in his own tower that is part of the ships structure but it will take you a good forty minutes to get there so while you walk with Jaekal towards your destination you have time to engage him in conversation if you so wish. Though should you decided to remain silent it gives you time to reflect on the upcoming battle but not also that but you have time to try and work out why Xandrek seems to hate Psykers so much. You know that when ever a psyker gets near him he gets more aggressive and that you have discussed with Veptus before that the captain experiences severe head-aches in the presence of you and your brethren…perhaps you will have to discuss with this the Corpse-Master after Isstvan?

Zhasal: You still need to post from the previous week, So im not sure what im going to put here for you. I would suggest you post for the previous update and then figure something out with Fundae as you are both in the lower decks.

Var: Leaving the bridge your thoughts are turned towards the potential punishment that Xandrek might put on you if you demand something from him again, and a part of you wants to see if this is all talk from the Lord of Lies or if he will actually go through with it. The more logical part of your mind though quickly turns all your thoughts towards the coming battle and the fact that the Captain wants all of Fourth Companies Dreadnoughts up and about for the battle on Isstvan V which in itself will be no small task even for one such as you given you don’t have long to oversee all the correct Rights of Awakening and re-equip the Revenant for the journey down to the planet so you must decide on which task you focus on and which task you will assign to those tech-adepts and servitors under your command before getting on with your selected task.

Fundae: Stepping down into the darkness and passed automated defense systems and legionaries that make sure none of the captains find their way out it doesn’t take you long to pick up the smell of dead flesh and after a couple minutes of walking in the complete darkness you find Zhasal’s trail of corpses which eventually lead to the marine himself but before you even have a chance to start a conversation with him he disappears off down one of the side quarters to continue hunting prey to the starboard side of the ship so you decide to head to the port side where the main prisoner cells are housed knowing that there are atleast still three ork’s still wandering the Labyrinth which will prove to be a fitting distraction. It is up to you how long it takes to find the orks and how you dispatch them.
 

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"I know he is important for now but may I take his tongue and vocal cords with a rusty, and hopefully poisoned, blade Lord?"

Var did not move his eyes to where the voice came from, but he recognized the speaker, the Standard-Bearer, no doubt trying to stir up the Captain into condemning the actions of Var himself. And then the voice of the Company Champion.

“I hope you will at least grant me the pleasure of watching, if not doing the deed myself.”

Their belief in their abilities was amusing to the Techmarine and he allowed himself a slight smile, although the hideous metal jaw transformed it into a snarl.

Var could feel his insides turning as the self-confident voice of the Corpse-Master cut through the silence. The fool was weak, he spent to long with the imperfection of flesh, in fact his very armour screamed with love for the stuff, the rib cage splayed from his chest, the very colour of it, as of dried blood, made Var’s servo-arms flex subconsciously. But despite the fact that Var would enjoy nothing more than driving his ‘tail’ through the Apothecary’s throat and proving that his belief in flesh was false, Veptus held an esteemed place within the First Claw, and Var could endanger his time here anymore than he had already. And so the Techmarine turned from the Captain and faced the Corpse-Master as he spoke.

“Ah Var, how nice of you to join us. I was beginning to miss you brazen contempt down in my Apocatherion.”

Continuing to watch on, his face displaying no emotion or reaction to the blatant insult, Var watched as the Corpse-Master turned and spoke to the Captain, continuing a conversation that Var had obviously interrupted with his arrival.

Veptus turned back to Var. “Now you can speak. A little courtesy goes a long way you know.”

Var’s remaining eye narrowed, reading the Apothecary’s face. Although it had been a long time since Var had felt any emotion but hate and anger, the mocking expression plastered across the Corpse-Master’s pale face was unmistakable.

It was clear that the Corpse-Master was not afraid of the wrath that he was building within Var, for around him were other brothers who, though they may bear Veptus no love, would leap at the opportunity to bring down the Techmarine. Refusing to give them the satisfaction of snapping, Var simply twisted his metallic jaw into a twisted smile and nodded in the Apothecary’s direction. If his memory was right, Veptus had a ‘pet’ in his chambers, a weak human by the name of Naomi. Var was sure he could find time to pay her a visit and use her to teach the Corpse-Master some courtesy of his own.
But it seemed that Var’s ‘battle-brothers’ were not done, the voice of Raskreia, the waver of the flag as it were, Var saw the Veteran as pestering, over talkative and weak. And yet again Var knew that to the Astartes around him, the scrap of cloth that Raskreia carried was important, and so although it was tempting to crush the Night Lord until his bones crumbles beneath the Servo-Arms moving impatiently behind Var, it would mean the end of his service, something that Var could not afford.

"Well said there Corpse-Master. Though maybe if he didn't spend so long down in the bowels of the ship with his fetishes maybe he would know some proper Nostramon courtesy."

They dared to talk of Nostramon custody, the thought made Var shake. He had experienced Nostramon courtesy, yes he had experienced it first-hand, they had torn away his skin, burnt his flesh and turned his very body into a hulk of metal, and they had torn apart his life, his body, his very soul and thrown him upon the streets. Nostramon courtesy had transformed him into a monster, a nightmare, and over time Var became that monster, embraced the nightmare. Var had not always been Var, sometimes the memories surfaced before he could push them down, he used to be human, a boy called Varius Montangro, until Nostramon courtesy had taught him otherwise. His body was still burning with pain, the pain that would never leave him, that he would never let leave him, it was what reminded him of those that had wronged him, those that he would find and tear apart until their screams echoed across the galaxy.

Var looked on with empty eyes, watching as the Standard-Bearer dropped his hand to rest upon his axe handle, the unsaid threat clear. And then the figure of the Company Champion, the vain Azrael, stepped in front of Var, attempting to use his height to intimidate the Techmarine. But Var didn’t feel fear anymore, in fact he barely felt, he simply raised his head to look the Champion in the eyes, meeting his stern gaze with a steely one of his own, one whose message was clear, that one wrong move would result in three feet of cold metal becoming acquainted with Azrael’s internal organs.

The armour presented no challenge, Var knew the things weak points and ****** so well he could have built the thing, in fact the very armour that the Champion was wearing had probably passed through Var’s forge a hundred times before, he knew it like he knew his own.

“I’ve never liked you Tech-Marine, but I respected you. The least I expect from you is that you return the respect. We all fight the foes of our Primarch and some have suffered more than you could ever dream. But it is not they who march in here and assume themselves above all others already gathered. When this war is over, I will face you in the cages and we will fight, but till then I will have respect, not only for myself but for Xandrek, for Raskeria, for Veptus, for Corvis, for Fundae, for Jaekal. Even for Zhasal and Jallus.”

Respect. They did not respect him, they hated him, and why shouldn’t they, he hated them just as they did him. He could understand the Champion naivety.

But the talk of suffering was a blatant disregard to how Var came to be standing where he was now, the pain that he had felt, the torture that he had lived through would tear apart the Astartes that stood before Var, standing tall and thinking himself so big and strong. Who had suffered more than him, Var’s gaze dared the Champion to give a name. No-one in the room for sure, in fact he doubted anyone on the entire ship had felt the flesh peeling away from their bones, liquid metal searing away their nerves, their insides being turned from flesh to machine as they looked on. Var had, he knew the pain, he knew the suffering he had endured.

But the words the Champion spoke next caused the Techmarine to smile, Var would happily meet the Astartes in a duel after the war, fighting corpses weren’t much of a challenge.

Var turned his back on Azrael and moved towards the Company Captain, even as Xandrek leant forward from his throne and addressed the Techmarine.

“Var, as fourth company’s chief tech-marine and as a member of First Claw I allow you permission, like all my other ‘brothers’ standing here to speak your mind and speak requests. But remember that you are on my ship, you are a part of my squad and I am your Captain, you will show me some respect when speaking to me and will never demand anything again or you will find yourself bolted to a slab in the Apocatherion while myself and your brothers in First Claw observe as the Corpse-Master finds out just how much of you is still flesh and blood before I eject you from an airlock directly into the warp. Is that understood?”

Despite the anger within, Var simply met eyes with the Lord of Lies and nodded in agreement. He kept his tongue, although only just. His hands clenched into fists and his ‘tail’ twitched as the Captain turned his attention towards the Librarian Jallus.

Var barely listened to following conversation until he heard his name, whereupon he raised his eyes once more to meet Xandreks gaze and registered his orders.

“…return to your forge and make sure all our ‘honoured’ brethren who sleep within their metal tombs are awoke ready for the coming battle and that the Revenant is fully fuelled
and armed as well.”


Var was no serf to be ordered around, but as it was, he did not think he could cope being upon the bridge for even a moment a longer and turned to leave even before his dismissal, his early departure a last flair of defiance.

As the ferocious figure of Var stormed down the corridors of the “Maiden of Sorrow” his mind was elsewhere. He did not doubt that even as he returned to his forge, the three Astartes that remained beside Xandrek were pouring ideas for the Techmarine’s punishment into his ear. But Var would not be found unprepared, even at the thought Var’s ‘tail’ twitched and a nearby serf staggered back in surprise and shock.

Var turned to the stunned serf and roared in anger, his ‘tail’ driving through the weak flesh surrounding the things throat. Var was moving again even as the lifeless body slumped to the ground and the blood began to pool upon the floor.

It took little time for Var to reach his forge once more; he knew every corridor within the ship, every shortcut and every chamber, every hidden compartment.

Upon arrival within the heart of the ship once more, Var paused for a moment to allow his thoughts to settle and his mind to become calm once more. The Techmarine instructed a handful of servitors and tech-adepts to begin the refuelling and rearmament of the Revenant in preparation for its departure as he moved towards the vaults within which the Company’s Dreadnoughts resided.

Var pushed open the heavy doors of the chamber with little effort, causing the few servitors moving around within to turn towards the doors. Var ordered them to inform the Techmarine’s that the Dreadnoughts must be awoken and allowed himself a smile as they hurried off. In his forge, no-one talked back to him, or assumed they were better than he was. In his forge he ruled, and he loved the taste, the feel, of ruling.

Var drew to a halt at the foot of the oldest Dreadnought within the Fourth Company. A hulking metal Contemptor-Mortis Pattern Dreadnought, a veteran of the Great Crusade and thousands of years of war. Var raised his voice, the motors within his throat amplifying voice.

“Honoured Brother Antipholus. War is upon us once more, and I must call upon you to meet it with your Brothers”

There was a moment of silence before the eyes of Brother Antipholus slowly grew brighter and the Dreadnought turned to look at the Techmarine standing before him. His voice was rich and powerful.

“What year have you awoken me?”

“The sixth year of the 31st Millennium Honoured Brother”

“It has been a long time since I was last awoken, who do you desire me to face in battle?”


Var paused for a moment, many of the oldest Dreadnoughts would not know of the Legions betrayal; in fact they may well stand against it. But Var must push forwards.

“We are going to war against our fellow Astartes. The glorious revolution against the Emperor has begun.”

There was silence as Var continued to look up into the face of Brother Antipholus. And then the voice of Antipholus echoed around the chamber.

“It will be my honour to fight for the Legion once more.”

Var nodded in agreement, his lips already moving.

“May your weapon be guarded against malfunction, as your soul is guarded from impurity. The Machine God watches over you. Unleash the weapons of war. Unleash the Deathdealer.”

Tech-adepts were already clambering over Brother Antipholus, preparing him for the approaching conflict. Var turned away and watched as a steady stream of Techmarine’s, dressed like he was himself, moving around the Dreadnoughts resting within the chamber and waking them. Var’s attention was gripped by the raised voice of a Techmarine and the rumbling roar of a Dreadnought.

Quickly locating the source of the turmoil, Var moved over to where Techmarine Egeus stood at the foot of the still dormant form of Honoured Brother Oberon.

Egeus turned as Var approached and quickly bowed his head when he recognized the form of the Frist Claws Techmarine. Egeus hastily explained what had happened and waited for Var to issue his orders.

“Brother Oberon refuses to fight against his brother Astartes. He fell into a slumber and I cannot reawaken him”

Var bore down the more junior Techmarine with a glare of steel before turning to look up at the figure of Honoured Brother Oberon.

He wasted no time in turning to a handful of Servitors and Techadepts clustered nearby and ordering them in a sharp tone that begged someone to try and disagree.

“Dismantle Honoured Brother Oberon and melt him down, he is of no more use to the Legion.”

Var turned away and moved quickly from the chamber. The First Claws departure was approaching and he must be ready for when they did.
 

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Veptus met Var’s narrowing eyes with a mercury look of his own. Light and shadows reflected and contorted within Veptus’s eyes and emanated to regard Var with a mixture of amusement, confidence and daring. Var’s metallic visage contorted into a parody of a smile, a symbol of an emotion which Veptus knew was neither within Var nor was it one that suited him. Bitter narcissists like Var never did suit happiness or pleasure, unless it was of their own design.

Others began to speak and the nervous twitches of Var’s servo-arms told Veptus that the tech-marine’s ire was reaching boiling point. Most humans, even Astartes, struggled to keep the bodies impassive and not betray emotion in moments like this. Veptus could only imagine that Var’s job of controlling every part of him was made more difficult since he had more limbs to worry about. Still, Veptus hardly needed to be an expert in psychology to know that Var despised his brothers and even being around them made his blood boil.

What caught Veptus’s attention was the shudder that Veptus traced across Var’s metallic form at Raskreia’s mention of ‘Nostramon courtesy’. There was something in the word. A thought. A memory. A lingering sensation of who Var had been and what had happened before he had transformed himself into this cold metallic beast. Veptus’s constant half smile betrayed nothing as he silently stored away that information. Even if it was just a scrap, there was something human in Var. Something in the techmarine still felt fear, still felt pain. Veptus knew what he could do with a scrap. He knew he could take the smallest ***** in a warrior’s psychological armour and tear it open into a gaping chasm that pulled the rest of them into a world of darkness and pain.

Throughout the whole discourse and Azrael and Raskreia echoing the accusations of disrespect Veptus had raised. To his credit Var faced down each accuser with unflinching eyes. Veptus pondered for a moment if he understood the precarious position on which he rested. Three of the most prominent members of the First Claw warned him against further disrespect and, whilst Veptus’s eyes never moved from Var, Xandrek was surely incensed by such blatant disregard for respect or loyalty. Clearly the techmarine knew nothing of the Night Haunter’s teaching. Those who could not submit would be punished until they would. Or they would be disposed of and someone more ‘compliant’ found.

Even if he could best one of them, Var could not take the whole ship and overthrow Xandrek by himself, and between the captain himself and the other allies of the First Claw, Var would find himself largely on his own. One man could not flaunt the traditions of the Legion and the Primarch and expect to continue indefinitely. Yet Var seemed to rest on the cold assurance that everyone was beneath him and could be crushed like a bug if he would only exert the slighted modicum of effort. Such an illusion of power would have to be shattered if Var was to remain useful.

The moments of silence ticked over painfully slowly. Veptus’s eyes wandered from Var and to the bridge crew. Many of them stood in stunned awe. Veptus imagined how curious is must look to these mortals to see these gods-amongst-men arguing and disputing respect, such a human notion. Veptus’s obsidian gaze met a few and they understood they had other duties they should be attending to. Even if they didn’t, they should find some.

The creak of Xandrek’s armour drew Veptus’s attention back to the matter at hand. Var faced their lord with the same mechanical ease he had faced everyone else, more proof of his arrogance. “Var, as fourth company’s chief tech-marine and as a member of First Claw I allow you permission, like all my other ‘brothers’ standing here to speak your mind and speak requests. But remember that you are on MY ship, you are a part of MY squad and I am your CAPTAIN, you will show me some respect when speaking to me and will never demand anything again or you will find yourself bolted to a slab in the Apocatherion while myself and your brothers in First Claw observe as the Corpse-Master…” Xandrek’s right hand gestured at Veptus without looking at him “…finds out just how much of you is still flesh and blood before I eject you from an airlock directly into the warp. Is that understood?”

Veptus’s mouth still hung in its half smile. Watching an Astartes nod in acknowledgement of a threat from the Lord of Lies had never seemed so satisfying to Veptus as it did watching Var in that moment. Such submissiveness must be paining Var greatly. Xandrek began to talk to Jallus as to why they were all gathered here, but Veptus’s eyes lingered on Var a moment longer to watch one of his mechandrites twitch and his fists curl into balls. Var definitely needed to be watched carefully, or else disposed of at the earliest convenience.

“I see…Arriving ahead of the rest of the legion could throw out Father’s plans completely out of the window. Jallus go to our dear Navigator, Corwin, and see if there is a way for him to bring us back to arriving with the rest of the legion. Should this now be possible Jaekal gather all Claws and lead them to the embankment decks and have them ready for planet fall as soon as possible. Var, return to your forge and make sure all our ‘honored’ brethren…” Veptus slowly chuckled at the thought that Shen would soon join the unfortunate souls cased in their cold metal coffins. “…who sleep within their metal tombs are awoke ready for the coming battle and that the Revenant is fully fuelled and armed as well. Corvis go into the lower decks and find where in the name of the Primarch, Fundae and Zhasal have gotten to before the three of you meet up with Jaekal and the others by your transports….Veptus, Azrael, Raskreia. You three remain here as we have some matters to discuss. Go, you are all dismissed.”

Veptus stood in silence until his comrades had left the throne room, although he doubted Xandrek would ever term it as such. There was a moment of tension as Xandrek waited for all blast doors to close; he held his inner council in eager anticipation. The Lord of Lies lightly sighed and the tension dissipated like mist. “It seems that our dear tech-marine forgets who is in charge here, and while he is a member of First Claw and our artificer I trust him about as much as I would trust one of the Third Legion not to do his hair and make-up before going out onto a battle field.” The joke at the 3rd legion’s expense elicited another chuckle from Veptus’s throat and his half smile spread into the full toothed grin of a psychopath.

“You three are perhaps the only members of my First Claw who can be trusted to carry out my orders without any complaints or demands. So tell me my dear Brothers, what do you suggest we do about our way-ward insubordinate brother tech-marine? I have a few thoughts on the matter myself but they require heading over to the Nightfall or the Covenant of Blood when we drop out of the warp.” The mention of the Primarch’s personal vessel caused Veptus to cock an eye-brow. +Interesting notion, for certain.+ was Veptus’s thought. The mention of Covenant of Blood was also interesting. Veptus knew of an Apothecary called Talos who dwelt there. Favoured by the Primarch. Given the chance, Veptus would want the chance to meet this infamous member of the Apothecary cadre which tended the legion. Perhaps Var’s disrespect would give him a plausible reason.

Veptus scanned the room in the silence. Azrael and Raskreia kept their council for a moment and the mortals all avoided his piercing gaze. Veptus addressed Xandrek in Nostramon. High Gothic would normally be reserved for an Astartes of Xandrek’s rank, but his inner council spoke freely in the native tongue of the Legion. Azrael adapted with the ease and speed as was to be expected of a Terran blade-master. Despite his fluency, the regal tone of his Terran roots bleed through the harsh Nostramon syllables. Veptus had wondered, since they had discarded their questionable oaths to an Imperium which neither acknowledged it needed them nor appreciated their efforts in the dark so they may live in the light, how Azrael would respond to watching his home-world burn.

“Captain, that Var should be punished for his insolence is sure, and something I’m sure my ‘brothers’ here agree with.” Veptus arm moved through the air to motion at Azrael and Raskreia as if he were dissecting it. “He believes himself to be emotionless, to have purged himself of the flesh. But he nearly struck you when you put him in his place, and he flinched when Raskreia mentioned ‘Nostramon courtesy’. There is a memory there; one, I would guess, of blood and fear before joining the legion. That can be used as leverage I believe.” Veptus paused. Thus far he had simply offered his observations on the Astartes himself, not what should be done. He was certain Xandrek would appreciate them, but he asked for solutions and a council which could offer nothing was of no use to him.

“In my opinion, Xandrek,…” Veptus invoked his lord’s name carefully. Only those he had gather could call him by name and hope to survive unscathed. His pace had become less frantic. His words were measured and applied carefully and with precision. His voice was soft like a scalpel sliding into wet meat. “…Var believes you to be weak, and we much show him otherwise, as is our father’s way.” Again, more information Xandrek likely already knew, but no solution. The unasked question still hung over Veptus, begging an answer; what was an appropriate show of force? “My suggestion would be to remove one of his mechandrites, preferably that spike he seems to have such an affinity with. Each one is like a limb to him, and so it would send a message as surely as cutting of an arm or any other First Claw. Plus it serves no purpose save prowess in combat, so his skills as our artificer would be unimpaired. That is my council, do with it as you will.”

Xandrek nodded slowly, as if mulling over Veptus’s words like a particular vintage. Veptus had kept his tone respectful, even if his words were informal. Despite being a trusted brother and Apothecary Primus, Veptus could still find himself in Var’s position, with a council debating his fate. The subject at hand was Var insolence. It went without saying that Var’s request for all possible munitions, armour and artillery would be gathered. Such a request was sound and they all realised that. It was the manner in which the request had been presented which had earned Var Xandrek’s ire. If Xandrek honoured Veptus’s council, it had the obvious benefit of allowing Veptus the chance to carve up Var. Now there was specimen he hoped he would have a chance to open. So, Veptus’s soft, surgical voice fell silent as the Lord of Lies awaited the council of his other two brothers…
 

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“gghhhhhhhh!” the gurgled noise of the orks throat overflowing in his throat was so pleasing.The orks limp body tumbled to the floor a huge tear in his chest from were fundae’s axe had struck him before sending the xenos tumbling over his own intestines. when the weapon specialist had walked along the cages a lot of the slaves had already been slaughtered nearly all that were left were 3 orks who atleast would go down attempting to fight. Ignescunt had let them loose before setting off and he just killed the second.The hulking warrior liking a demonic barbarian in his modified plate patrolled the labyrinth listening and watching for any sign of the greenskin.

A sound a few paths along brought Fundae into a run. The familiar sound of ceramite soles on metal decking rang through his ears and he knew that the ork would investigate aswell. Sprinting along one of the corridors he could see the Ork right in front of him but there was a junction before then and the ork was running for it to try and catch who ever was to the other path.

The mechanical churning of his chain axe whirred into action moments before he arced it upwards colliding with the orks jaw and exploding the xenos’s skull.

“brother Ignescunt. are you so bored that you must hunt creatures too dumb to know they are prey?” spoke Corvis mockingly.

Fundae smiled and shrugged as he took off his helmet to speak with his nostraman battle-brother.

“our illustrious captain orders us to prepare for embarkation to istvaan. I am to collect you and Zhasal. speaking of which, where is that upstart?” asked Corvis with one eyebrow raised.

“of course,the lighting of the blaze is finally at hand. Corvis came down here not long ago and he had killed almost all our slaves,the orks were of the few left. As to his were abouts good luck, tried to strike up a conversation and he had split before i could even open my mouth.” Fundae looked at the astartes in front of him, the frustration on his face wasn’t well hidden and Fundae knew he might be searching for hours.
“ill help ya look if you want. I think i have an idea what direction he headed.”

Coirvis regarded Fundae with an icy look. “we both have hunted the laberinthe long enough to know these winding paths brother. But yes, i will accept your help.” Corvis started along the corridors again. “Tell me broher Fundae, does it trouble you that Terran Astartes are about to die by the thousands?”

It was clear that Corvis was trying to pose the question like a knife against Fundae’s throat and try to bring an emotional response from the terran born night lord. Fundae pondered the question in his head a little. true he was their kinsmen and he was about to kill them, also true that he was slightly upset to have his brothers die by his own hand but that was all. “A slight.i remember little of home and hat which remains is little more than pain.my brothers back the father that cares not for their lives and spends them like a gambler spends coin. They desrve what’s coming to them and i will take great pleasure in bringing it. Besides my sanity would be disgusted and sad by my kinsmen dying but i think we both agree i have not left.” smiled Ignescunt as he patted Corvis on the pauldron.
 

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Watching Azreal walk towards Var and tower over the Tech-Marine and say in a soft voice, “I’ve never liked you Tech-Marine,” before his voice rose and became firmer,“But I respected you. The least I expect from you is that you return the respect. We all fight the foes of our Primarch and some have suffered more than you could ever dream. But it is not they who march in here and assume themselves above all others already gathered. When this war is over, I will face you in the cages and we will fight, but till then I will have respect, not only for myself but for Xandrek, for Raskreia, for Veptus, for Corvis, for Fundae, for Jaekal. Even for Zhasal and Jallus.” The silence following it near deafening as the mortal crewers stopped what they were doing to stare before pointed glances from the Corpse-Master set them back to work.

Hearing the creaking of Xandrek's armour Raskreia turns to look as he leans forward, staring straight at Var his eyes seemingly boring right into Var's head as if willing him to speak out or defy him once more as he slowly says, “Var, as fourth company’s chief tech-marine and as a member of First Claw I allow you permission, like all my other ‘brothers’ standing here to speak your mind and speak requests. But remember that you are on MY ship, you are apart of MY squad and I am your CAPTAIN, you will show me some respect when speaking to me and will never demand anything again or you will find yourself bolted to a slab in the Apocatherion while myself and your brothers in First Claw observe as the Corpse-Master” motioning with his right hand to Veptus standing a few feet away, “Finds out just how much of you is still flesh and blood before I eject you from an airlock directly into the warp. Is that understood?” Leaning back against his throne Xandrek then turns to Jallusa slight frown upon his features as he asks the Witch, "Now then Witch-Kin, I believe it is because of you we are having this merry gathering of brothers. Speak now and tell us what secrets you have pulled from the warp.”

Turning to Jallus as he says they will be arrive ahead of the rest of the Fleet ignoring the form of the Tech-Marine completely. Though looking at the psyker Raskreia sees Veptus scrutinizing the idiotic Var. “I see…Arriving ahead of the rest of the legion could throw out Father’s plans completely out of the window. Jallus go to our dear Navigator, Corwin, and see if there is a way for him to bring us back to arriving with the rest of the legion. Should this now be possible Jaekal gather all Claws and lead them to the embankment decks and have them ready for planet fall as soon as possible. Var, return to your forge and make sure all our ‘honored’ brethren who sleep within their metal tombs are awoke ready for the coming battle and that the Revenant is fully fueled and armed aswell. Corvis go into the lower decks and find where in the name of the Primarch, Fundae and Zhasal have gotten to before the three of you meet up with Jaekal and the others by your transports….Veptus, Azrael, Raskreia. You three remain here as we have some matters to discuss. Go, you are all dismissed.” Hearing the Captains words ring out Raskreia notes that Var left even before being dismissed further proving the point that the Marine is an idiotic fool who does not understand the Legion. When the others had left with a mounting tension and the doors closed once again a sigh escapes from Xandrek's lips dispelling the tension before he says, “It seems that our dear tech-marine forgets who is in charge here, and while he is a member of First Claw and our artificer I trust him about as much as I would trust one of the Third Legion not to do his hair and make-up before going out onto a battle field.” at which Raskreia chuckles slightly to himself and Veptus laughed as well before grinning like a sociopath.

“You three are perhaps the only members of my First Claw who can be trusted to carry out my orders without any complaints or demands. So tell me my dear Brothers, what do you suggest we do about our way-ward insubordinate brother tech-marine? I have a few thoughts on the matter myself but they require heading over to the Nightfall or the Covenant of Blood when we drop out of the warp.” Eyes widening a bit at the mention of the Primarch's own vessel Raskreia thinks to himself, That would be a most unpleasant journey to the Primarch's ship and not just to Varius but the whole First Claw as dealing with him should be kept within First Claw and flaunted in front of the Night Haunter. Though that may be why he suggested it to keep the rest of us in line as well. But why go to the War-Sage's ship? I do not understand that choice at all and that is not something that is usually pleasant to experience with Xandrek. Missing what the Corpse-Master had said while trying to figure out what the Lord of Lies had planned Raskreia focuses attention and hears the last part in Nostroman, “My suggestion would be to remove one of his mechandrites, preferably that spike he seems to have such an affinity with. Each one is like a limb to him, and so it would send a message as surely as cutting of an arm or any other First Claw. Plus it serves no purpose save prowess in combat, so his skills as our artificer would be unimpaired. That is my council, do with it as you will.”

Responding in Nostroman himself Raskreia says, "Ha! That would indeed be a good idea though only a start as he also left prematurely throwing even more contempt on your own generosity of not killing him Lord." dipping his head towards Xandrek before continuing, "Taking his remaining eye would be in addition to taking that tail spike thing he has. Though for his temerity replace it with the crudest of all our remaining optics instead of any of the better ones, so he truly is the "Bright-Eyes" of the Eighth Legion, even flay the skin from one of his legs, possibly even taking some of his fingers away from him though not enough for him to become a liability on Isstvaan, or an unfair advantage given to you Azreal in the cages, and let him walk into battle like that. Motioning towards the Champion with his left hand, his voice filled with a light hearted tone. "Of course any digging into his skin would be by using a rusty, chipped and coated with enough chemicals to prevent his own Astartes immune system to let him bleed. Performed by the Corpse-Master of course, though I do wish to remove his eye from him under your gaze of course Veptus. It is however up to you Captain." Raskreia finished with a tone that showed respect to the others standing there.
 

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"Jaekal gather all Claws and lead them to the embankment decks and have them ready for planet fall as soon as possible". The Captain's words were like music to Jaekal's ears. "At once, Captain!" Turning on his heel, he opened a vox-link to the Nightlords within the barracks level and training halls. "All Claws, report to the embankment decks at once". Switching his link to the sergeant's frequency, he gave strict orders. "All Marines are to be in full battle dress within 20 minutes. I will rendezvous on the embankment deck for inspection".

Following a cacophony of responses from the Sergeants vox-links, Jaekal, already prepared for battle, made his way down the corridor to the lift. As he depressed the insignia to open the door, he thought briefly of what the others could be discussing on deck. He was aware that he was not well-liked, though it would matter little in the coming battle. Their strategy was sound, that of arriving before the other Legions and laying in wait. He grinned beneath his skull-helm at the thought of entering glorious battle once more. This was the doorstep, and Jaekal was ready to charge full force through it.

As the lift indicator showed it was nearing the hangar deck, Jaekal checked his plasma pistol and meltagun, and with everything in order, he stepped from the lift as the doors opened. Before him was a grand sight, all of the Claws amassed, ready for battle. Walking down the line, he met each Sergeant as he passed, and each gave a chest-salute as he did. As he passed, he checked one or two of the Nightlords' weapons for functionality, asking their name as he did.

Approaching one Nightlord, he put out his hand for his bolter. This Nightlord's armour looked relatively unscathed, and he stood at attention while Jaekal looked down the breech. "Name?" Jaekal's voice, bass and distorted by his vocal implants, was calm. "Martek, Chaplain!" Jaekal continued checking the weapon, before handing it back. "Martek, how many men have you killed?" The Nightlord responded, "Hundreds, Chaplain!" The Chaplain continued, "That is good, though all those combined will have been easier than one of our enemies in this battle."

Having concluded his inspection, Jaekal walked before the gathered Nightlords. "We stand at the precipice, Brothers! Tomorrow, the worshippers of the False-Emperor shall know true terror! They shall break upon us, and be scattered to the wind! Be true with your aim, with every bolt, with every stroke of your blade!"
 

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After my statement to Var there was a moment of deafening silence. My hands stroked the hilts of my swords as I watched the remaining human eye of the Techmarine, waiting for the inherent twitch that would tell me he was moving to kill me. I hoped I would see it, it had been too long since I had faced a foe truly worthy of my blade and Var, though he hid himself behind shields of metal, would be a fine fight. Logic was all very well, but Var would never feel the battle frenzy and that made him weak. A man needed to feel the heat of battle, the frenzy, and the warmth of his foe’s blood on his skin. Once he had experienced that, he was nigh unstoppable as I had proved time and again, fighting beneath the banner of the Fourth Company. Var had given that up a long time before, choosing the path of logic, giving up the joys of war for the coldness of steel

Var’s arrogance was astounding as he faced Xandrek. The Lord of Lies leaned down from his throne and addressed the mad Techmarine.

“Var, as fourth company’s chief tech-marine and as a member of First Claw I allow you permission, like all my other ‘brothers’ standing here to speak your mind and speak requests. But remember that you are on my ship, you are a part of my squad and I am your Captain, you will show me some respect when speaking to me and will never demand anything again or you will find yourself bolted to a slab in the Apocatherion while myself and your brothers in First Claw observe as the Corpse-Master finds out just how much of you is still flesh and blood before I eject you from an airlock directly into the warp. Is that understood?”

I watched Var carefully as Xandrek spoke, noted the clenched fists and the twitch in his mechanical tail. I noted Xandrek turning to Jallus out of the corner of my eye but my main focus was Var. My right hand flexed involuntarily. I felt the battle itch, the urge to let my blades taste blood. All I could see was Var. I noted every tiny detail: the way his tail twitched with his every breath, the contemplative gaze in his remaining eye, the hum of servos as he shifted his weight slightly. I noted the weak-points on his armour: the place where his mechandrite would be the easiest to sever with one quick cut, the exact angle I would have to cut at to remove his head.

Xandrek’s voice broke my concentration. “I see…Arriving ahead of the rest of the legion could throw out Father’s plans completely out of the window. Jallus go to our dear Navigator, Corwin, and see if there is a way for him to bring us back to arriving with the rest of the legion. Should this now be possible Jaekal gather all Claws and lead them to the embankment decks and have them ready for planet fall as soon as possible. Var, return to your forge and make sure all our ‘honoured’ brethren who sleep within their metal tombs are awoke ready for the coming battle and that the Revenant is fully fuelled and armed as well. Corvis go into the lower decks and find where in the name of the Primarch, Fundae and Zhasal have gotten to before the three of you meet up with Jaekal and the others by your transports….Veptus, Azrael, Raskreia. You three remain here as we have some matters to discuss. Go, you are all dismissed.”

We remained on the bridge as the other members of the First Claw disappeared down separate passages to carry out Xandrek’s orders. Then I turned back to Xandrek. He was looking between the three of us and finally sighed. “It seems that our dear tech-marine forgets who is in charge here, and while he is a member of First Claw and our artificer I trust him about as much as I would trust one of the Third Legion not to do his hair and make-up before going out onto a battle field.” I smiled grimly but did not laugh at his joke while Veptus and Raskreia chuckled. Var was doomed, but a wild animal is at its most dangerous when cornered.

“You three are perhaps the only members of my First Claw who can be trusted to carry out my orders without any complaints or demands. So tell me my dear Brothers, what do you suggest we do about our way-ward insubordinate brother tech-marine? I have a few thoughts on the matter myself but they require heading over to the Nightfall or the Covenant of Blood when we drop out of the warp.” The mention of the Night Haunter’s flagship and the 10th Company’s Strike Cruiser gave me pause as I contemplated what Xandrek’s plan was.

Veptus spoke first.

“Captain, that Var should be punished for his insolence is sure, and something I’m sure my ‘brothers’ here agree with.” Veptus’ arm moved through the air to motion at myself and Raskreia as if he were dissecting it. “He believes himself to be emotionless, to have purged himself of the flesh. But he nearly struck you when you put him in his place, and he flinched when Raskreia mentioned ‘Nostramon courtesy’. There is a memory there; one, I would guess, of blood and fear before joining the legion. That can be used as leverage I believe.” The Corpse Master paused. Currently he had only offered observations, giving me the feeling that he was dodging the issue.

“In my opinion, Xandrek...” Veptus spoke our captain’s name carefully. Only us three could name him and survive unscathed. Veptus’ hurried tone slowed and his every word was spoken with precision. “...Var believes you to be weak, and we must show him otherwise, as is our father’s way.” I was almost tempted to hit him, or at the very least snarl that we had been given enough evasions. Only the facts that I counted him as a friend and that Xandrek would quite probably kill me if I struck Veptus kept me from doing so. “My suggestion would be to remove one of his mechandrites, preferably that spike he seems to have such an affinity with. Each one is like a limb to him, and so it would send a message as surely as cutting of an arm or any other First Claw. Plus it serves no purpose save prowess in combat, so his skills as our artificer would be unimpaired. That is my council; do with it as you will.”

Raskreia responded as well. The two of them had been speaking in Nostroman, but though I was Terran born I knew the tongue as well as that of my birth.

"Ha! That would indeed be a good idea though only a start as he also left prematurely throwing even more contempt on your own generosity of not killing him Lord." Raskreia dipped his head towards Xandrek before continuing, "Taking his remaining eye would be in addition to taking that tail spike thing he has. Though for his temerity replace it with the crudest of all our remaining optics instead of any of the better ones, so he truly is the "Bright-Eyes" of the Eighth Legion, even flay the skin from one of his legs, possibly even taking some of his fingers away from him though not enough for him to become a liability on Isstvaan, or an unfair advantage given to you Azreal in the cages, and let him walk into battle like that.” Motioning towards me with his left hand, his voice filled with a light hearted tone Raskreia continued. "Of course any digging into his skin would be by using a rusty, chipped and coated with enough chemicals to prevent his own Astartes immune system to let him bleed. Performed by the Corpse-Master of course, though I do wish to remove his eye from him under your gaze of course Veptus. It is however up to you Captain." Raskreia’s voice was respectful as he spoke.

Xandrek turned his head to gaze at me, evidently awaiting my input. I stepped forward and began to speak. “Both Veptus’ and Raskreia’s suggestions are excellent ones Xandrek, however I believe them to be half measures at best. They will teach him to guard his tongue but one day your armour or weapons will fail you and he will be standing behind you and laughing. You need to kill him and soon, or he will kill you. However I would recommend leaving him till after Istvaan for his skills will be valuable in that conflict and I do not believe he will strike so soon.”
 

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Azrael, Raskreia and Veptus: Xandrek sits in absolute silence as the three of you give your opinions and suggestions on how best to deal with Var as the Lord of Lies unblinking black gaze shifts between all three of you. Once each of you has had your turn to speak Xandrek nods his head slowly before finally speaking, “Your suggestions are noted my Brothers and once we have finished on Isstvan we shall deal with Var’s insubordination once and for all, For now I want the three of you to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get up to any ‘mischief’ until he has been dealt with.”

Xandrek then shifts his attention from the three of you to look out across those mortals working at their stations in absolute silence before he issues out his orders to the three of you. “Azrael, head to the embarkation decks and meet up with Jaekal to oversee the organization of each and every squad with the correct wargear load out to be fighting against brother Astartes. Raskreia, I want to know what is taking those idiots down inside of the Labyrinth so long so go down, find them and if you have to drag them back in hooked chains. I want First Claw fully assembled by the Revenant within the next hour.” Xandrek then turns to look at Veptus. “Veptus, We are sure to sustain casualties at Isstvan, not only to Fourth but the entire legions. Make sure all Apocatheries onboard have been briefed to gather the gene-seed of any fallen Night Lords along with destruction of Salamander, Raven Guard and Iron Hand gene-seed which you can get your hands on. The three of you are dismissed.”

As the three of you leave the Bridge together you have time to talk with each other before you set off to carry out Xandrek’s orders though just as the blast door closes behind all three of you your Astartes hearing picks up Xandrek issuing an order to one of the serfs and it is unsettling. “You there, get me a channel to First Captain Sevatar. I want to speak with the ‘Prince of Crows’.” (Santaire also check Jaekal’s update for your mention, Raskreia check Fundae’s for your mention in there aswell.)

Jaekal: While inspected the full three companies, the 4th 78th and 127th, all of which Xandrek commands after having personally killed the 78th and 127th’s captains, you carry on your speech about casting down the False-Emperor in the name of the Warmaster and your Primarch and while you are half way through one of the main entrances opens and fourth companies champion, the Terran Azrael strides in and begins his own inspection of the each and every squad giving out orders for different squads to head to the armory and change their war-gear load out in preparation for specific roles once the companies make planet fall. This somewhat annoys you as you are still trying to light a fire in the twin hearts of the Astartes here to urge them on to greater acts of bloodshed in the Warmaster’s name. How you do with this intrusion is up to you though getting into a duel with the Company’s Champion at this moment would be highly ill-advised.

Var: Leaving the chamber you make your way up to the hanger where the Revenant is stored with a large group of servitors in tow to help you equip and make sure that First Claws personal transport is ready for battle. Looking up at the large form of what is known as a ‘Thunderhawk’ you can’t help but remember with fondness the form of the original Revenant which was that of a Storm Eagle before it was shot down ten years ago on some world you no longer have an interest in remember. While not as sleek and agile as the original transport of First Claw the extra armour, weapon and troop capacity more than makes up for it and you know that atleast three full squads are able to fit inside even if one of the brothers interred within the shell of a Dreadnought was also embarked onboard. You have plenty of time to busy yourself and calm yourself as you work on the flight and weapon systems of the Thunderhawk before you while stirring its mighty Machine Spirit from its slumber into battle readiness and if you could of you would of smiled as its Machine Spirit expresses its desire to hunt like a bird of prey for other air born transport of the other legions. For now you are left by yourself with those servitors you brought with you and the Revenant itself so you have time to think of how to deal with your fellow battle brothers after the battle of Isstvan V.

Fundae: As you and Corvis make your way through the winding tunnels of the Labyrinth following the sounds of Ork war-crys and the sound of blade on blade you eventually find that you, Corvis and Zhasal are not the only ones down here as you soon come across a fight between a group of eight orks and around triple that number of human guardsmen captured when the legion first turned ‘rogue’ as they fled from the Imperium after destroying Nostramo. For a few moments you and Corvis stand still observing the fight going on between the two sides but before either of you are able to step in and have your own fun while searching for Zhasal you hear the sound of a bolt pistol ring out with four of the orks dropping to the metal deck missing their heads and crackle of a power-axe shifts your attention to Standard Bearer Raskreia as he makes his entrance having obviously left the company’s standard behind seeing as it would he impractical in the lower levels of the Labyrinth, something tells you that the Captain has lost his patience and has send his standard bearer to retrieve you and your brothers. What you do now is up to you but I would suggest sticking with Raskreia.

Corvis, Jallus, and Zhasal: OOC: You three have not posted in awhile so im going to put your characters in the background for now until you either pm me or post in the recruitment thread. If you don’t wish to continue then that’s fine and ill open up your positions in the recruitment thread for others to join.
 

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By the time Var reached the ship’s hangers, his breathing was calm, his mind focussed once more. He didn’t feel pain, he hadn’t known he could feel pain, but they had found a ***** in his armour. Var did not doubt that even now they were plotting against him, seeking ways to humiliate and break him. But Var was machine, and machine was him. And he would rather die than be brought to his knees for some arrogant creatures he was to call “Battle-Brothers”.

Var moved towards the “Revenant”, the Thunderhawk craft that was to bear the First Claw into battle once more, like it had a thousand times. As Var approached, he could see the Tech-Adepts and Servitors moving around the ship, refuelling the machine, checking its armour, ensuring it was ready.

But Var saw another “Revenant”, the original “Revenant”, the one that Var had first connected with, the one he had repaired by hand until he could repair it no more. When it had been blown from the sky so many years ago, Var had been the first to join a rescue mission, but the only Astartes that day that did not care whether the craft’s inhabitants, he only cared whether the proud, powerful, beautiful ship was salvageable. And when the Chapter mourned for its losses, Var was the only amongst them who remembered the “Revenant”, the only one who cared.

“How shall we arm the “Revenant” Honoured Techmarine?”

The voice of a fellow Techmarine shattered Var’s memory, and as he turned he felt anger begin to rise within him.

“Prepare it for troop insertion. Turbo-Laser, Lascannons and Heavy Bolters. How damaged is the “Revenant”?”

“Minimum damage Honoured Techmarine, we have repaired the hull breach that was inflicted over Nostramo and replaced the wounded Co-Pilot”

Var simply nodded, moving away from the Techmarine towards where a Space Marine , clad in armour as crimson as his own, crouched beside the Thunderhawk, connecting a Heavy Bolter to fuselage.

The Thunderhawk’s Gunner turned as Var approached, and upon recognizing the First Claw’s Techmarine, brought his fist to his chest in salute.

Var spoke first, intent on ensuring that the craft was fully ready for its latest mission.

“Is the Thunderhawk armed and fully supplied?”

“Of course Honoured Techmarine. 2,400 Heavy Bolter rounds have already been loaded.”

“May you shoot straight and your weapons find their targets”

The Gunner saluted once more, this time making the “sign of the cog” as Var mirrored his actions before moving towards the Thunderhawk itself.

Var dropped down onto one knee beside the “Revenant” hull and reached out his hand, pressing his palm against the craft, as his eyes closed and he awoke the Thunderhawk’s Machine Spirit from it’s slumber.

The Machine Spirit spoke within his mind, its voice low and steely.

“You have awoken me. Do we fly to war once more?”

“We do Honoured Thunderhawk, are you ready to fly once more?”

“I am ready. I have been waiting for this moment, to fly above the battle and hunt those crafts of other Legions that think themselves my equal. They will not see me; I will strike like a bird of prey.”

“Soon Honoured Thunderhawk, soon you will fly once more.”

Var pulled away his hand even as he felt the Machine Spirit come to life within the craft. Turning away, satisfied that the “Revenant” was ready, his mind drifted back to those he had left upon the bridge.

Each member of the First Claw had a reason to hate Var, every one of them would leap at the opportunity to strike him down. Var did not doubt that they were plotting against him even now. But they would not have him, not now. Var opened a closed channel and spoke quietly.

“It is time”
 

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Fundae and Corvis wondered the steel corridors of the labyrinth before finally entering a large box like chamber. To their left side was a squad of roughly twenty four guardsmen backed up against a wall most of them cowering in fear or soiling themselves. On the right side was another opening that spat out eight ork prisoners all charging bare fisted into the group of human slaves. the fight erupted quickly and the two marines simply watched the amusing conflict as the pathetic excuse for fighting by the humans was beaten ddown by the raw fury of the orks.

Fundae drew his chain axe from hi back unable to resist anymore and took one step into the chamber but he was beaten to it. shots rang out through the confined spaces around them as Four ork heads were practically vaporized by bolts fired from an astartes pistol. Brother Raskreia emerged from the right hand entrance with bolt pistol, the honoured standard bearer left his banner elsewhere and instead bore very little equipment minus his battle plate. He continued to gun down the slaves and as if given a command Fundae leapt into the group and with one swing tore many of the humans in two. The three astartes quickly disposed of the cattle before regrouping in the centre of the room.

“ I assume the time is at hand, has the captain lost his patience? I will head to the embarkation deck once i retrieve my lost companion from Var, good luck finding Zhasal you’ll need it.”The banner carrier turned to face Fundae, even through his helmet the stare of loathing as undeniable.

"Hmm now there is a thought. But now I have to ask why you couldn't have had it earlier than now? You know save me the trouble of trying to find you scraps of First Claw and having the Captain himself order me down here to find you three but it comes to you only now? Maybe we should leave you down here for others to hunt if that is the extent of your own intelligence. Corvis however I would have thought you knew better than to keep the Captain waiting Young Blood is seeming more and more fit for you. Fundae there is no one around Var at the time besides his own kind so please do not think about doing anything rash as his fate has been decided. As for Zhasal we shall find him before heading towards the embarkation deck, and it shall be done within the hour as that is Xandrek's will."

The Veteran marched down the corridor with great haste as Fundae caled after him.
"You take me for a fool Nostraman, We have been down here in search of Zhasal for he is not easily hunted himself."
it was clear he was not listening but Ignescunt couldnt care less, He charged towards the exit and out of the Laberinth.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The armoury was overflowing with servitors and it did not take long for Fundae to find the techmarine.

"oi Bright eyes, where in the progenitor's name is my Flamer!"
 

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Veptus listened to Raskreia’s and Azrael’s words on Var. The half machine whoreson was problematic to be sure and traitorous without a doubt. He was certain the both of them felt he was being uncharacteristically kind towards the techmarine. In truth it wasn’t being kind, it was manipulation. The Night Haunter had taught them that foes should be scared to rebel. Fear should grip their hearts. Their limbs should freeze at the thought of rebellion or taking arms against their masters. Astartes, even those as inhuman Var, could be forced into compliance. They did not feel fear, but they were mortal and could feel dread. Veptus knew that more than most. To Veptus, the effort to force Var into compliance was worth it, for the techmarine was almost as skill at his craft as Veptus was at his.

However, given Xandrek’s next words, Veptus wagered that he would have to get use to a new techmarine. A shame, but necessary he supposed. “Your suggestions are noted my Brothers and once we have finished on Isstvan we shall deal with Var’s insubordination once and for all, For now I want the three of you to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get up to any ‘mischief’ until he has been dealt with.” Xandrek shifted his weight before he next spoke. Veptus watched the mortals. None of them spoke, either because they dared not to or because they wanted to hear the conversations of demi-gods. His steely gaze hovered over each of the mortals before Xandrek’s voice snapped his attention back to the dais.

“Veptus…” Veptus nodded, ready to serve “…We are sure to sustain casualties at Isstvan, not only to Fourth but the entire legion. Make sure all Apocatheries on-board have been briefed to gather the gene-seed of any fallen Night Lords along with destruction of Salamander, Raven Guard and Iron Hand gene-seed which you can get your hands on. The three of you are dismissed.”
“As you say my lord.” All three of them bowed to their lord before turning to leave, each of them having duties to attend to before the impending battle. As they left, Veptus caught Xandrek speak again. “You there, get me a channel to First Captain Sevatar. I want to speak with the ‘Prince of Crows’.”
“Now what do you suppose that is about?” Veptus whispered both to the two marine’s to his side and to himself.

As arguable the three most exalted members of the First Claw walked through the cold metal corridors, Veptus was once again struck by the vast emptiness of the ship which the called home. He very rarely left the Apocatherion for reasons other than to speak with Xandrek. Most other came to him, and he was well known to take his rests on one of the operating tables of the Apocatherion. There were always people, living or dead, in the Apocatherion to keep him company, even when all the other Apothecaries tended to other duties. It was a finite space that he knew every inch of and had arguably shaped to his liking. By comparison, the rest of the ship was bland and, in preparation for battle, mostly vacant except for the scant few mortal scurrying about. Sometimes, Veptus forgot there was a ship outside of his dominion.

"Well that was interesting hearing that Xandrek wanted to talk to First Captain Jago.” Raskreia spoke. “But why send me down to fetch the others like a grox hound? If the Captain sent either of you they would listen without compunction as they know they are no match for you Azreal even with numbers you would most likely still walk away from the fight a bit battered but still whole while they would fear what you would do to them while on your table Veptus and would follow…” Veptus couldn’t help but smile at the reputation of his work. Their father would be proud that word of his ‘retribution’ caused even Astartes to reconsider their actions. Such a thought never failed to make Veptus proud.

Veptus continued to wear a proud smirk as Raskreia continued. “…Sending me seems a bit more diplomatic but more troublesome as well, at least for me. Though that may be why Captain is sending me instead as I would simply play upon the fear they hold of him and get them moving whereas you, Azreal, might be tempted to just cut a hand off or two especially from Zhasal. While you, Veptus, would merely torture the poor fools when they next rest upon your "tender mercies" we all know about. Though talking about it out loud seems to have brought me to a conclusion and I apologize for talking your ears off again."
“I myself find talking out loud to my patients helps me reach conclusions. However, there is an option that you haven’t considered.” Veptus added. Raskreia turned his head to look at Veptus, begging the question of what he had missed. “They might simply be more afraid of you lecturing them for so long that they miss the battle of Isstvan, so would come without a word.” Veptus laughed a soft but honest laugh. Astartes humour was often stunted and awkward, and Veptus was certainly no comedian. However, he felt his joke had merit and so he chuckled, even if no one else did.

“On that note…” Veptus said as he stopped and turned his full body to face his brothers. “…I’m afraid I must leave you. Apothecaries to brief and all.” Veptus bowed his head slightly to both of the few Astartes he truly respected or called ‘brother’ with and sincerity. With that he turned and left the pair, swiftly making for his lair. He strolled boldly through the doors of the Apocatherion and was greeted with Xheng and the other members of the Apocatherion waiting at ease. He stopped and grinned his psychopath’s grin once again. “Brothers…” He hissed as they stood at attention. “…today, is a good day.” With a slow and controlled wave of his hand, they stood at ease again. Veptus looked over each of them. He was Chief Apothecary and was moulding them into his likeness. Jaekal could keep his baying hoard of faithfuls, this was the only company Veptus needed.

“As you well know, we will be on the surface of Isstvan very soon. We are about to betray our ‘cousins’ and strike fear into an Imperium that thinks itself safe. We shall prove that notion false.” The got him a few grins and smirks from this small cadre of sombre murderers. “You all know your duty to preserve the legion. However, we are given an extra duty by our captain today. We are to destroy the legacy of our cousins. Their gene-seed is forfeit to us, and we shall wrench it from the still living bodies and destroy it before their eyes.” Veptus’s fist was held in front of him and he closed his ceremite clad fingers in a memory of a deed he had done many times before.

Hardly to his surprise, the arrayed Apothecaries were more than happy with Xandrek’s ‘request’, if anything their lord said could be considered a request. They mumbled amongst themselves, anticipating the battle to come. “One final thing…” Veptus’s voice cut all conversations short. “…this is my request to you. Kill every apothecary. I don’t care who else you kill, but find our cousins and cut their hearts out. If of our cousins manage to escape, I want no one who can treat their wounds alive. If they don’t die on the sands of Isstvan, I want them to have a slow and painful death. I want them to feel every second of their miserable lives tick away knowing that there is no one to continue their legacy.”

There was a chorus of agreement. This was meant to be a decisive strike, but rarely in any theatre of was could total annihilation be achieved. Most likely to slip away were those of the Raven Guard, but when you were trying to cull a legion, there was always the possibility a few would slip through the net. He wasn’t going to make it a command for the other Apothecaries, but he would take himself a trophy. He wanted to capture an officer of the other legion, and see if he could turn him. That would be an achievement. Slaughter his brothers and then break him. Veptus’s lips contorted into a gleeful smile. “Brothers, we strike in midnight clad!” The Apocatherion was briefly filled with the noise of cheering. Veptus smiled. These warriors were his, and with them, he would destroy legions…
 

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Xandrek was sitting silently as we gave our opinions and suggestions. The Lord of Lies nodded his head slowly before speaking. “Your suggestions are noted my Brothers and once we have finished Isstvan we shall deal with Var’s insubordination once and for all. For now I want the three of you to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get up to any ‘mischief’ until he has been dealt with.”

He then shifted his attention to the mortals who worked at their stations, gazing at each and every one of them until he turned his gaze back to us. “Azrael, head to the embarkation decks and meet up with Jaekal to oversee the organization of each and every squad with the correct wargear load out to be fighting against brother Astartes. Raskreia, I want to know what is taking those idiots down inside of the Labyrinth so long so go down, find them and if you have to drag them back in hooked chains. I want First Claw fully assembled by the Revenant within the next hour.” Xandrek then turned to look at Veptus. “Veptus, We are sure to sustain casualties at Isstvan, not only to Fourth but the entire legions. Make sure all Apothecaries onboard have been briefed to gather the gene-seed of any fallen Night Lords along with destruction of Salamander, Raven Guard and Iron Hand gene-seed which you can get your hands on. The three of you are dismissed.”

As the door closed I heard Xandrek speak. “You there, get me a channel to First Captain Sevatar. I want to speak with the ‘Prince of Crows’.” I contemplated what business Xandrek had with the First Captain, but not for long; such concerns were Xandrek’s alone. Raskreia, Veptus and I walked side by side for a time. Raskreia broke the silence

"Well that was interesting hearing that Xandrek wanted to talk to First Captain Jago. But why send me down to fetch the others like a grox hound? If the Captain sent either of you they would listen without compunction as they know they are no match for you Azreal even with numbers you would most likely still walk away from the fight a bit battered but still whole while they would fear what you would do to them while on your table Veptus and would follow. Sending me seems a bit more diplomatic but more troublesome as well, at least for me. Though that may be why Captain is sending me instead as I would simply play upon the fear they hold of him and get them moving where as you, Azreal, might be tempted to just cut a hand off or two especially from Zhasal. While you, Veptus, would merely torture the poor fools when they next rest upon your "tender mercies" we all know about. Though talking about it out loud seems to have brought me to a conclusion and I apologize for talking your ears off again."

Veptus responded, talking about how Raskreia would lecture the marines he had been sent to find and that such a lecture was the reason Xandrek had sent him. I smiled and nodded to Veptus as the Corpse Master peeled off to head for what was jokingly and yet accurately called his dominium, the Apothecarium. I continued walking with Raskreia and again, he was the one to break the silence. We talked for a while until eventually he split off to head down to the Labyrinth to get Zhasal and the rest.

I stepped into the embarkation decks where Jaekal was preaching to the 4th, the 78th and the 127th companies. I strode forward, ignoring the chaplain. “Caerolion, take the 78th to the armoury. I want sergeants carrying power weapons, all bolters loaded with Kraken rounds and plasma guns in every squad. When we hit groundside we’ll be against astartes sergeant, I want the company ready for that. If they aren’t I’ll skin you myself and give you to the Corpse Master to play with.”

“Nikas, do the same for the 127th, I want those soldiers ready.”

Then I strode over to the 4th. “Squad leaders, get over here now,” I shouted.

They walked to me and most of them slammed their fists to their chests. One of them didn’t and I stared him down until he did. “Thank you Clamoribus.” The words were spoken slowly and with a great deal of threat hinted but not spoken out loud. “Now that we have that sorted,” I said brusquely, “we can get onto equipment. Take your squads to the armoury with the other two companies and get yourselves armed ready for Isstvan.”

I turned and opened a private link to Jaekal. “Yes, you were in the middle of a speech. No, I don’t care. Once I’ve ensured these soldiers will survive, then you can fill their heads and rot their brains with whatever you want.”
 

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In the middle of Jaekal's sermonizing, the blast door to the flight deck opened and forth came Azrael. In full battle dress the Company Champion was impressive to say the least. "Here Brothers, is the model for you all." Pointing to the Champion with his Crozius, the Chaplain continued. "Champion Azrael, have you any words of exhortation for the flock?"

The words echoed around the walls, though there was no response. Azrael continued issuing commands to individual squads, each departing smartly as he did. Jaekal thought to say something, though this was not the place. After the Nightlords had dispatched to the reconfigure their load-outs, Azrael opened a vox-link to Jaekal. "Yes, you were in the middle of a speech. No, I don’t care. Once I’ve ensured these soldiers will survive, then you can fill their heads and rot their brains with whatever you want.”

Jaekal grinned behind his helm. "But of course, Champion. My life is to serve the Warmaster's vision and by extension, Captain Xandrek's. If you are in need of spiritual aid before the battle, we can recite passages as we descend on Isstvan, if you wish." Not expecting a response, Jaekal began heading to board one of the vessels headed to the surface. "As for the men, survive or not, it matters little. The flesh is your responsibility, the souls are mine."
 

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Listening to Azreal's declaration that the Tech-Marine should be killed Raskreia was caught off-guard as he still had some uses for the Legion. Nodding his head slowly Xandrek said, “Your suggestions are noted my Brothers and once we have finished on Isstvan we shall deal with Var’s insubordination once and for all, For now I want the three of you to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get up to any ‘mischief’ until he has been dealt with.” Looking over the mortal crew who work on in silence Xandrek reaffixes the three Astartes with his gaze before adding, “Azrael, head to the embarkation decks and meet up with Jaekal to oversee the organization of each and every squad with the correct wargear load out to be fighting against brother Astartes. Raskreia, I want to know what is taking those idiots down inside of the Labyrinth so long so go down, find them and if you have to drag them back in hooked chains. I want First Claw fully assembled by the Revenant within the next hour.” Of course the Captain sends me to for that part. Couldn't send Veptus or Azreal noo has to send me. Leaving his internal monologue there Raskreia walks out of the bridge with his confederates and as he does so they hear Xandrek ordering, “You there, get me a channel to First Captain Sevatar. I want to speak with the ‘Prince of Crows’.”


"Well that was interesting hearing that Xandrek wanted to talk to First Captain Jago. But why send me down to fetch the others like a grox hound? If the Captain sent either of you they would listen without compunction as they know they are no match for you Azreal even with numbers you would most likely still walk away from the fight a bit battered but still whole while they would fear what you would do to them while on your table Veptus and would follow. Sending me seems a bit more diplomatic but more troublesome as well, at least for me. Though that may be why Captain is sending me instead as I would simply play upon the fear they hold of him and get them moving where as you, Azreal, might be tempted to just cut a hand off or two especially from Zhasal. While you, Veptus, would merely torture the poor fools when they next rest upon your "tender mercies" we all know about. Though talking about it out loud seems to have brought me to a conclusion and I apologize for talking your ears off again." Raskreia says as they walk together along the deserted corridors.

“I myself find talking out loud to my patients helps me reach conclusions. However, there is an option that you haven’t considered.” Veptus added. Turning his head to look at Veptus, Raskreia merely looks at him with open curiosity before Veptus continued, “They might simply be more afraid of you lecturing them for so long that they miss the battle of Isstvan, so would come without a word.” "Haha maybe so." I laughed at his small jest before saluting as Veptus made his way towards his "dominium" I continued along the corridors with Azreal making some conversation before splitting off to store the banner inside the Revanant. Stopping only briefly to ascertain that the Revanant was ready and waiting to be flew into combat. Walking towards the embarkation doors Raskreia puts his helmet on and increasing to a loping jog that would see him down into the bowels of the Labyrinth quickly.

Arriving after a few minutes of jogging Raskreia turns towards the steps to take advantage of the lattice work above it to find the errant members of First Claw. Sighting a large number of guardsmen fighting a number of orks roughly a third of their numbers. His choler getting the better of him Raskreia drops down before unholstering his bolt pistol and firing shots into the heads of the orks instantly killing four of them before drawing his Power Axe and charging into the resulting confusion. Leaving very little to the imagination Raskreia just hacked left and right erasing his choler in the cathartic release of violence. "I assume the time is at hand, has the captain lost his patience? I will head to the embarkation deck once I retrieve my lost companion from Var, good luck finding Zhasal you’ll need it.” Turning to face his gene-brother Raskreia responds acidly, "Hmm now there is a thought. But now I have to ask why you couldn't have had it earlier than now? You know save me the trouble of trying to find you scraps of First Claw and having the Captain himself order me down here to find you three but it comes to you only now? Maybe we should leave you down here for others to hunt if that is the extent of your own intelligence. Corvis however I would have thought you knew better than to keep the Captain waiting Young Blood is seeming more and more fit for you. Fundae there is no one around Var at the time besides his own kind so please do not think about doing anything rash as his fate has been decided. As for Zhasal we shall find him before heading towards the embarkation deck, and it shall be done within the hour as that is Xandrek's will." Raskreia turns on his heel heading in search of the last member before either of them had a chance to respond.
 

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Azrael: Hearing Jaekal speak of your battle brothers souls and their flesh you cant help but correct him that it is the Corpse-Masters job to make sure their flesh is whole and that it is your job to try and atleast reduce the need to visit Veptus in the first place. You have time to speak with Jaekal privately over the vox before you get the summons to make your way to the ‘Revenant’ and you do so with Jaekal at your side moving over to the next hanger as all three companies return with their new wargear load outs and then make their way onto their transports to await the arrival back into real space and the Isstvan system. Walking with the chaplain you head over to Var, Fundae and Tyberus who are already stood waiting by the ‘Revenant’ and while a Thunderhawk can carry three full squads easily it is only First Claw that are allowed to deploy on campaigns within the ‘Revenant’ though where this tradition, if it can be called one, came from you do not fully know and though you suspect it came from the first Nostraman Captain to take command of the Fourth Company while you were still in the simply ranks of being a Battle Brother. Walking up to your three brothers First Claws squad vox opens up allowing you to greet them as you wish and as you settle in place leaning back against the transport Veptus enters and within five minutes of his arrival Raskreia, though the Standard Bearers hands are covered in blood which clearly is not his own and without the other members of First Claw. Something is wrong.

Raskreia: Corvis lingers a few moments longer beside the bodies of the guardsmen as you head off in search of Zhasal leaving Fundae to make his way out on his own. After five more minutes of searching you some across what has happened to the errant member of First Claw, well you come across several ‘happenings’ of him anyway. You first find a large trail of blood on the floor which is not enough for a group of humans and the wrong shade for orks so you follow it to the next corner where you find the managed and broken body of a Night Lord. Not being trained as an apocathery you can only look at the wounds inflicted to the body before you: half of the helmet has been seared away but what looks like an axe taking part of Zhasal’s face along with it but not enough to kill him but the part of the helmet that was removed also took out his vox link. Zhasal’s chestplate has been broken open and cracked in several places by heavy caliber bullets which was the cause of his death as the bullets hard torn through both of his hearts, he is missing both of his legs below the knee and also his left arm below his elbow. Kneeling down next to your fallen brother you place your hands within the ruined wounds of his chest to make sure that his proginoid glands and still intact and thankfully they are allowing you to remove them with your combat knife. Deciding to leave the body where it is for now you make your way back to the embarkation decks with your battle brothers blood still coating your hands and as you step out onto the deck where the ‘Revenant’ I held you notice both Jaekal and Azrael turn their attention to you but what catches your attention is that Corvis is nowhere to be seen.

Veptus: After briefing the other Apocatheries you and they received orders over the vox to make your way to the embarkation decks and their squad transports to prepare for re-entry into real space and soon after that the battle of Isstvan V. Giving your own wargear a final check and making sure all Apocatheries were fully stocked on the tools to do their trade you lead them all down to the main embarkation decks and once you set foot onto the main deck all of the Apocatheries behind you move off to join different squads while you yourself make your way over to Azrael, Jaekal, Fundae, Tyberus and Var with the only members of First Claw still to arrive being Captain Xandrek and Raskreia. Walking over to your brothers of First Claw your gaze shifts to look up at the form of the ‘Revenant’ and you remember the first transport to bare that name. Shot down on some hunk of rock with you and all the other members of First Claw bar Var still inside which resulted in a bone jarring crash with the transport spinning end over end four times before coming to a rest. You remember blinking your eyes clear of blood which was not your own and looking at its source, Brother Manroth, pinned to the wall opposite you by a piece of wing that had pieced the hull and burst open his rib-cage destroying both of his proginoid glands. You have time to while waiting for the capture to bring up the memory of the ‘Revenants’ last flight with your brothers around you and the skirmishes that followed before meeting up with the rest of the company.

Jaekal: You stand there watching and listening to Azrael over the private vox link for several minutes before the summons for all claws to embark on their transports calls out across the vox speakers dotted about the embarkation decks. Turning in one smooth motion you walk side by side with Azrael to the neck deck where First Claws transport, the ‘Revenant’ is docked and awaiting the single squad of marines that use it in battle. Looking at the three brother Astartes stood infront of the thunderhawk transport you see that it is Var, Fundae and Tyberus with Veptus, Raskreia and the Captain still obviously on their way here from their respective locations. Looking over your other three brothers you see First Claws squad vox link light up when you get closer and have time to greet your brothers or begin preaching to them over the vox knowing full well your brothers in First Claw would rather head butt an Ork bareheaded than listen to one of your sermons for any given length of time. Coming to a stop roughly in the middle of your brothers you hear foot steps behind you and turn to see Veptus stride forwards the group in full battle gear and you incline your head to the Apocathery knowing he will be needed to kept safe in the coming battle should you or the others get injured and after several more minutes you notice that Raskreia has returned though covered in blood and without Corvis and Zhasal, something which Azrael has picked up on aswell.

Var: Upon opening a channel to your ‘brothers’ including the Captain the only reply you have for several minutes is utter silence with only a serf on the bridge contacting you (however if the others reply then it is up to them to do so in their posts). “The Captain will be with you shortly honored Tech-Marine, he is currently engaged in conversation with the First Captain.” Mention of Captain Sevatar some what piques your interest though you have no idea what the two captains are talking about unless you decide to try and hack into their conversation and while the potential knowledge gained from listening to this conversation could be great, is it worth the rest if Xandrek finds out? You have time to decide what it is you do before you are interrupted by the sound of over three hundred pairs of feet marching through the corridors, onto the embarkation deck and into their transports with the other members of First Claw, with Tyberus arriving first and looking you over in silence, Fundae appearing and demanding his flamer followed by the Champion Azrael, Chaplain Jaekal and eventually Veptus and Raskreia leaving only Xandrek absent though you suspect that he is already on his way now all three companies have gathered. OOC: PM me when you are able as I need to talk with you about the next update and what you will need to do.

Fundae: Leaving the Labyrinth you mark your way back up into the workshop decks that are the domain of the tech-marines and tech-priests that serve the legion and inquire about your flamer from Var. (Depending on his reply you will either have your flamer for the coming engagement you or will not so I suggest working something out with him before hand). After leaving Var by himself (to either recover your flamer, or find a substitute weapon, message me in a pm and ill give a list) you return you’re the armory for one final war-gear check by one of the many tech-priests that move about the place before once again returning to the embarkation deck to stand before the ‘Revenant’ and await your brothers. You are not waiting long until you hear the pounding of over three hundred pairs of feet on the steel decking as all three companies that make the Maiden their home enter the embarkation deck and get into the transports and as a member a First-Claw you are able to link in to each and every squads private vox channel and listen to them or make enquiries though most of what you hear is each squad member better the others about how many Astartes they will kill.

Tyberus: You were utterly silent during the meeting with the Captain and the other members of First Claw on the bridge and when dismissed you returned to your private quarters to fully arm yourself and check over every last piece of wargear. Due to your quite nature you are mainly ignored during meetings of First Claw unless you decided to speak up but this meeting was of more interest to you given its nature so you decided to remain silent. While it was originally to do with the fact Fourth Company would arrive before most of the other elements of the fleet it quickly turned into most other members of First Claw berating the Tech-Marine Var. While you and Var are completely indifferent to each other the Tech-Marines attitude and actions are slowly causing him to become one of the most hated members of all of Fourth Company, will Var eventually become another brother that you will have to remove to keep Fourth Company and First Claw especially in balance? While thinking on this you make your way to the embarkation decks after hearing the summons for all squads to board their transports and stepping out onto the steel deck you see the Var standing alone, as you approach him you regard him silently as you stop several feet away from him. As the silence drags on you are eventually joined by all the other members of First Claw and all three companies that mark the ‘Maiden’ their home. Now you have time to talk with your Battle-Brothers if you wish or merely observe them as they interact.
 

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Tyberus' ceramite boots clanked heavily on the metal playing of the embarkation deck as he moved through the adjutants and maintenance personnel that cluttered the massive hangar aboard the Maiden of Sorrow. His movements seemed deliberate, as if each stride was carefully weighed before the next like a giant predator stalking some as yet unseen prey.

His modified MK III helmet clamped to his left hip, exposing his stoic and seemingly distant features. His ice blue eyes seemed to cut through the cacaphony and bustle of the last minute preparations for war as he spotted the "fellow" Astartes with whom he wished to speak, or rather confront. But Tyberus would not simply allow his opinion to be swayed by others, he would see for himself, and test with questions before deciding how he felt on the matter at hand.

What the hell are you up to Var?

Tyberus approached the his brother techmarine, feigning a smile as if the two were longtime bonded brothers. They were not. Tyberus respected Var for what he did, what he provided to the Company and as a result what he provided the Legion. If there was another techmarine the equal of Var within 4th Company, then Tyberus wouldn't have even concerned himself with the fact that the techmarine was burning what few bridges he had in the first place.

Tyberus approached Var with little in the way of pleasantries beyond the predatory grin, which could only be misinterpreted as friendly from a distance. "Brother TechMarine Var," Tyberus low voice rumbled and boomed like gravel in a landslide, "Is it true that you had our Honored Brother Oberon dismantled and disposed of?"

Var turned and looked down at his slightly shorter battle brother, he paused in his duties as his techmarine apparatus whirred and clicked back into their inactive positions. His response was curt and to the point. "Yes, Honored Brother Oberon refused to fight for the 4th Company in our war against the False Emperor. His disloyalty gave me no choice. With the coming war, I am sure we will be able to find another deserving battle brother worthy enough to be entombed in his Dreadnaught armor. Perhaps even one so honored as yourself, should you fall and be unsavable by the Corpse Master..." Var's little jab did not go undetected by Tyberus, the techmarine was baiting him for a response as much as he was testing Var.

"I suppose if that is to befall me I would proudly carry on in service to the Legion and the 4th Company." Tyberus continued on as if unphased by the techmarine's slight insult, possibly it was even intended as a threat, Tyberus was unsure. "Your sentiments are very true though Var, I agree with you wholly that those who would stand in our way deserve to be stricken from this universe and cast into the warp."

The techmarine nodded as if running out of patience with the younger member of First Claw. Rather unexpectedly Tyberus proferred his stormbolter, his low voice booming out "I have performed all of the necessary maintenance, but would be honored if you would perform the liturgies of maintanence and war." Tyberus did not truly care what the techmarine did, he was testing to see if he was willing to do so.

"Why of course 'honored veteran'" the sarcasm nearly dripped out of the statement as Var took the stormbolter from Tyberus. With great care and purpose though, the techmarine went through his liturgies, ensuring the spirit of the stormbolter was at ease and eager for war.

Upon taking his stormbolter back, Tyberus nodded in thanks to the techmarine, before walking off with a distinct sense of unease about Var. Perhaps Var would not betray them this moment, or even this campaign, but certainly something was amiss with the techmarine.

Tyberus felt a need for sanctification and purification and, unlike many of his fellow brothers in the 4th Company left the presence of the techmarine and sought out the Company Chaplain Jaekal. Tyberus felt need for his spirit to be made pure and sanctified before setting out for war. He quickly pressed on, pushing servitors out of his way as he did seeking the skull masked purifier and bringer of death that was Jaekal Sarn.
 

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As Jaekal boarded the craft, he could not help but feel something akin to euphoria. This was different though, as there was a distinctive hint of psychosis within his glee. It had been too long, in his reckoning, since last he did battle in the name of the Legion, and Primarch who’s geneseed he carried. Walking amidship, the Chaplain went through the routine he had a thousand times before, mentally checking himself and his kit before this most momentous of battles. “This is the first step…” Jaekal said as he sat down on a folding restraint. “On a glorious path…” he continued to speak, half whispering as he checked his melta-gun. “I shall not falter from this course…” he said, checking his grenades as he did. He did not have time to finish his prayer, interrupted instead by the image of Raskreia, covered in blood as he was.

Veptus had entered just before Raskreia, how important he would be in the battle, Jaekal thought. But there was time to talk with him later- the more pressing matter was what had happened Raskreia, why was he covered in blood? Where was Zhasal? Such a drama, as First Claw was to engage in battle would likely have deleterious effects on the unit’s abilities. “Is that blood your own? Or did someone challenge you to a duel on your way across the hangar?” The words hung in the air as Jaekal awaited a response.



Sitting back down, the Chaplain produced his Rosarius, meditating on the Litanies of Hate as he passed the beaded chain through his fingers. As he began in earnest, he was interrupted once more, but this time, it was not by a condescending Battle Brother, but instead one seeking the Chaplain’s council before the battle. “Hail, Brother Tyberus, what do you ask of me…”
 

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"Well met Brother Chaplain Jaekal!" Tyberus extending his hand, Jaekal meeting his and the two exchanging a rather firm handshake that likely would crush the bones of mere mortals. "I would seek purification before our war for freedom begins," he paused and lowered his voice so as only the two of them would hear, "Also, I have just spoken with our brother techmarine Var. The meeting has left me feeling rather amiss in regards to what his machinations are. I would request of you to bless me with the liturgies of hate."

Jaekal nodded, almost eagerly as he allowed Tyberus to continue to speak. His skull masked helmet's red eyes glowing with approval of this fellow veteran who still held to some semblance of tradition.

Tyberus' looked up to the skull masked Chaplain and nodded, "I would be grateful Brother Chaplain if you would also give me an Oath of Moment." At his request of an Oath of Moment several other battle brothers turned to face the two, almost in shock. Few, if any had requested such a thing since the declaration had been made that the Night Lords were to join Horus in his war for freedom. Tyberus' eyes momentarily took notice of the eyes of fellow astartes upon them, and then back to Jaekal, awaiting his reponse.
 
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