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The Angels Wrath



“A spiritu dominatus,
Domine, libra nos,
From the lighting and the tempest,
Our Emperor, deliver us.
From plague, temptation and war,
Our Emperor, deliver us,
From the scourge of the Kraken,
Our Emperor, deliver us.

From the blasphemy of the Fallen,
Our Emperor, deliver us,
From the begetting of daemons,
Our Emperor, deliver us,
From the curse of the mutant,
Our Emperor, deliver us,
A morte perpetua,
Domine, libra nos.
That thou wouldst bring them only death,
That thou shouldst spare none,
That thou shouldst pardon none
We beseech the, destroy them.

We serve the Emperor with our faith and devotion, and with faith there must also sometimes come sacrifice”

Extract from Fede Imperialis, a tome of knowledge belonging to the Aduptus Soriatus.​



Part I:

"The seasoned warriors of 4th company took the assault on the Pavilios as nothing more than a simple war. The Blood Angels knew War, they were designed for war and they thrived in war. They had thought they would break the backs of the archenemy in glorious conquest and reclaim their lost planets like a father long separated from his children. They had thought that all they would face were the guns of Perturabo’s dogs and the trickery of Alpharius and what were these things against the combined might of Sanguinis and the inquisition? Nothing, However if it were that simple these accounts of the Pavilios war would not have been taken and the Pavilios sector would have been very different today."
Rememberancer Vostros An Dox​




++Blood Angels fortress monastery++
++Mess Hall++
++ 833.M41++​

“Care to prove that boast in the cages Sergeant Ando.” Quipped the first company veteran.
“I’ll do more than that Danassus, I’ll prove it on the battlefield while juggling the heads of cultists.” The sergeants retort was quick and laboured with wit. Danassus guffawed and replied, “You’ll no more do that than defeat Lord Dante in single combat.” Ando smiled at the incredulity. He may have been one of the most deadly warriors in the galaxy, tempered in fire over hundreds of years and clad in the most deadly wargear to come from the mind of a mortal. But he did not think there were very many alive who would even come close to harming the lord of the Blood Angels in single combat. Dante led by example, Ando did too.

The Mess hall was loud with conversation, Robed Astartes mingled with each other casually. They were all Angels here, brothers of 3rd company were free to eat with those of 6th or 2nd. The members of Squad Ando were no different.

Arcturus Pak: you are sat beside a fellow Acolytum. Brother Leassan had recently joined the ranks of the librarium after passing the trials set for him by Lord Mephiston. Leassan was a quiet man of nature who only really opened up on the battlefield and to a few select of the Angels. You are one of those that Leassan feels comfortable around due to your similar histories. You both were recruited from an irregular world and you both discovered your abilities without sanction. Leassan asks you, “When was the first time you used your powers in battle as a fully fledged psyker?” The newer battle brother Is obviously seeking reassurance, he and his squad are set to fulfil combat duties within the next couple of weeks and he must be feeling apprehensive. Console his nerves if you can, or just tell him the truth. In any case Leassan see’s you as someone worth copying. Your words may have significant effect on him. Just as you are nearing the end of what you had to say one of the chapters serf’s interrupts you. For a human to interrupt an Astartes could have very extreme consequences. You assume that the serf has a very important message to relay. Your guess was correct. The serf says, “My lord, Captain Castigon requests yours and the rest of 4th companies presence in the Assmilarium. I cannot explain further My lord, I must relay the message to the rest of the company.” With that the serf bows and hurriedly walks on the relay the message to the next brother. You Apologise to Leassan before standing up, you see that Sergeant Ando, Aesilius and Miles are heading the same direction as you. You go over to meet them, you might want to share any thoughts you have on the message. Or you might be content to listen to their thoughts. Whatever the case you know you can expect something big to happen in the next few hours.


Aesilius Vrath Dimitus and Miles: You have both been practicing in the cages with each other. You lost your time while fighting and so were slightly late to your evening meal. You find a seat next to Sergeant Ando who is in a hot debate with a former squad member of his on the topic of the Imperium’s best fighters. They are in agreement that Lord Dante is the strongest but they cannot decide if Lysander of the imperial fists or Grimnar of the space wolves deserves second place. Your sergeant and Brother veteran Darnassus would be very grateful for your intervention. While your debate continues to rage a Serf interrupts you. For a human to interrupt an Astartes you know something big must be happening. “My lord, Captain Castigon requests yours and the rest of 4th companies presence in the Assmilarium. I cannot explain further My lord, I must relay the message to the rest of the company.” With that the serf bows and hurriedly walks on the relay the message to the next brother. Sergeant Ando apologises to Darnassus and leaves the table with you in his stead. You see Arcturus Pak heading towards the door, he spots you and heads over in your direction. You might want to share any thoughts you have on the message. Or you might be content to listen to their thoughts. Whatever the case you know you can expect something big to happen in the next few hours.


Labrall Garnig: While the rest of the chapter eats, you drew the short straw and are ‘on duty’. You are clad in full battle plate and are patrolling the south wall of the monastery. While nothing major is expected of you and even though you are a formidable foe, the massive gun servitors mounted on the walls are more likely to fell any enemies that somehow miraculously make it past the orbital blockade and onto the planet’s surface without giving the Angels enough time to mobilise. It is your duty to uphold standards so you keep vigilant watch on the sky and the horizon. About an hour and a half into you shift your vox fizzes into life, one of your brothers in Defence station Charlie has a message for you, “Person of importance aboard Godwyn class Thunderhawk on approach, Issue stand down command to weapon mounts.” You do so quickly, without their purpose the gun servitors sit stationary staring blankly into the distance. Before long the Thunderhawk lowers into view as it descends upon wings of fire. Not much of the craft is discernible aside from the inquisition symbol emblazoned on the flanks of the craft. What are your thoughts on the inquisition’s presence? You have nothing to hide and should therefore not be scared. However only a mad man would be completely comfortable in the presence of the inquisitor. You do not have a chance to linger on your thoughts as your vox bursts into life once again, “Garnig we need you in the Assmilarium, I’m sending Brother Uzrael to cover the remainder of your shift. I’m not sure what is going on but the whole of fourth has been summoned. Might have something to do with Khartas.” The last word in that sentence makes your stomach drop, The happenings of khartas are still a fresh wound in the pride of fourth company. The loss of Captain Zorael and the arrival of the Sanguinior is something the inquisition would definitely like to know more about. With those thoughts in your mind Brother Uzrael appears to let you off, and with that you begin to make your way to the Assmilarium.


Ludovico Crivellus : Your day so far has consisted of combat drills with some of the members of 1st company, nothing has been said but it is obvious that you are being groomed for promotion to the ranks of veteran company. Your combat history, discipline and mastery of the red thirst has obviously caught the attention of a higher up. Are you glad of this opportunity to advance in rank? Or are you happy where you are in 4th company? Either way, you are not sure if you have interpreted the signs correctly and consider that this could simply be something Sergeant Ando has set up in order to improve your abilities. After all, the Sergeant does have influence in the 1st company as well as your own.
You now sit with those same marine who you ran drills with all day, Venerable Brothers Terasse, Gualad, Mair and Han. The four of them are fairly good company, while they do not share your sense of humour exactly, they are still up for a laugh and do not mind listening to or retelling any of their stories. Brother Gualad is just now retelling his first encounter with the daemons classified as ‘nlue horrors’. “….they were tossing insults at first, it soon stopped after they discovered the holes left in them from my boltgun. Then much to my amazement they melded into one significantly more upbeat beast that had changed colour to a comically bright pink.” Time goes on as you continue to interact with the veterans until rather suddenly a human serf apologetically interrupts your conversation. You know that the human would not interrupt you if not for good reason, this alone is cause for alarm. The man addresses you directly, . “My lord, Captain Castigon requests yours and the rest of 4th companies presence in the Assmilarium. I cannot explain further My lord, I must relay the message to the rest of the company.” With that the serf bows and hurriedly walks on the relay the message to the next brother. Your interest is piqued, you are not worried as if a major problem had arisen more than just 4th company would have been raised. However if it was something rather more ‘every day’ only a few squads would have been gathered. What do you make of this? Any ideas as to what could require the assembily of the company? Whatever your thoughts are you are required to make an appearance, you make your apologies to the veterans and head towards the exit of the mess hall.

Boaz Nenad : You stand beside Chaplain Omopheus and Apothecary Claun in the apothocarium, below you on a table is an initiate who is out cold and is about to have his final implantations in order to complete the process of becoming an Astartes. This man is about to inherit the gene seed of Sergeant Demos, Chaplain Omopheus felt it would be beneficial for you to witness this so that you know that the Sergeant’s legacy will continue. How do you feel about this? Do you agree with the Chaplain? Do you keep your head or start to feel the anger that you couldn’t do more to save Demos? In any case the operation goes on without issue. The apothecary and his legion of assistants work quietly on the procedure. As Claun works he tells you that the man was the best of the recruits. He reached Angels landing in near record speed and bested five of his closest rivals in single combat. He obviously thinks that this fact might console the loss slightly. Does it? Or is it an irrelevant by thought? As the procedure comes to completion the Chaplain leads you away and says this, “I hope that has helped you move on Boaz. It is important you do not feel guilt, it is one of the many seeds of heresy, and you must absolve yourself of anguish and move on.” Before you can say anything the chaplain dismisses you and walks away in the opposite direction. As you turn to leave an out of breath serf approaches you, he takes a second to compose himself before saying, “Apologies my lord, Captain Castigon has called for the company to assemble in the Assmilarium. A call to war from the inquisition has been issued.” With that the serf stand up straight and waits for you to dismiss him. As you acknowledge what he said you begin to move in the direction of the Assmilarium. What are your thoughts on the call to war? Are you pleased to be getting back into the heat of things? Or are you nervous about your first battlefield deployment with sergeant Ando? Whatever the case you will no doubt be expected to perform your duties with distinction so you will have to forget any grief at the loss of Sergeant Demos for now.

Decimus Roth: As you send yet another Training serviator sprawling on the floor brother Kaurova of 4th squad calls over to you, “food will be getting cold Decimus, might want to join us sooner rather than later.” You nod curtly and he walks out of the room. As an Astartes food in not a daily essential, you can easily go for weeks while skipping meals so you decide that you will continue to train through meal time. Your mastery of Juryosa in taking leaps and bounds, even Baelor the company champion has begun to be wary of your prowess during duels. How do you feel of this? Are your proud of your acomplishments? Or is it an irrelevant milestone on the path for perfection? In any case, you have noticed many of the higher ups notice your dedication to the chapter and the emperor. With recent losses around the chapter a great number of positions of distinction have come available. Do you aspire to hold a rank of command or are you pleased to stay among the 4th company. As you continue to relentlessly batter the training serviators you notice a human serf hurriedly enter the training room. He knows better than to interrupt and Astartes during combat but it is obvious that he wishes to speak with you. You finish up your current serviator and turn to face him as the programme halts. “My lord Captain Castigon has called for company assembly in the Assmilarium. The Knights of Baal have been called to war by the high lords and the inquisition.” With that the serf renders a quick bow and quickly ducks out of the room to further spread the message. You shut down the training program and exit the cage. You know that you must not delay so you quickly pull your robe over your head and make to move towards the Assmilarium. How do you feel at the coming opportunity to kill on the battlefield? Are you relishing the thought of displaying your raw power as an Astartes? Or are you nervous about your first battlefield deployment under sergeant Ando?

(OOC: So that’s the first post. Pretty self-explanatory as to what you are to write about. Next update will be on the 20th of May, all updates will be weekly on Mondays after that.)
 

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Roth surged forward, lashing out with the butt of his combat blade and forcing his opponent onto the defensive. The training servitor brought its shield arm up to cover the exposed target points on its chest and head, its motorized servos whirring. Circling for just a moment, the half machine hefted its saber high over its head and brought it down in a brutal vertical arc, determined to end the promising young Blood Angel right then and there. Decimus had waited for this and drew back, allowing the eager servitor to finish its downward strike, the momentum of such a powerful swing briefly unbalancing it; sensing the right moment he leaped forward.

The servitor quickly regained its balance, but nowhere near quickly enough. Roth set about the creature, a horizontal slash from his combat blade created the opening, severing the mechanical sword arm neatly at the joint, immediately followed by a two round burst from his training pistol to the now exposed chest, the Ay-sorin. The defeated machine flew backwards into the far wall of the training cage, its damaged limb sparking and leaking oil onto the cold metal floor. Decimus glanced at the timer above the cage’s door, the harsh red digits showing 00:07.76 and the words New Record underneath. Roth smiled, another 2 nanoseconds shaved off his best time.

“You keep this up and Brother Anthar is going to run out of spare parts!” looking over his shoulder Roth saw several members of 4th squad filing out of the training room. Only Brother Kaurova had stopped, a wide grin upon his face. Decimus couldn’t help but laugh quietly. “I’ll have to test that theory Brother.”
He had a great respect for Kaurova, both for his combat record and the man himself, and since his addition to the 4th company Kaurova been quick to make him feel welcome. He was not as familiar with his own squad however, recently reformed after the death of the former sergeant. Some of them he knew well for all angels were brothers here, but some were still mere acquaintances, names he recognised from passing conversation or for deeds in battle.

“Food will be getting cold Decimus, might want to join us sooner rather than later.” Kaurova shouted back with a chuckle as he turned and jogged out of the room. Decimus looked down at his arms, he noticed the definition of his muscles and felt his raw strength as he tensed, but felt no hunger, he enjoyed the companionship and comradery that were often found in the mess hall, but his practice well not yet complete and after all, one meal was a small price to pay for perfection. The form was getting easier, more fluid and he was able to move through it faster, he smiled as he remembered the words of his old mentor. ‘It’s amazing how many things get easier with enough practice.’ His smile almost faded as he realised it had been almost five years since Volsaris had fallen, but he had accepted it long ago and vowed to continue his legacy. Taking a deep calming breath Decimus walked over to the combat cogitator and keyed it for another round with a higher difficulty.

Several rounds quickly pass as Roth worked through the Juyosa forms, his stance was perfect and his movements precise. As he dispatched his last opponent, a hooded serf wearing the dark red robes of the chapter rushed over to his training cage and bowed low. “My lord Captain Castigon has called for company assembly in the Assimilarium. The Knights of Baal have been called to war by the High Lords and the Inquisition.” His message delivered the serf bowed once more and quickly departed, no doubt bound for other members of the company.

‘The Inquisiton’ Roth thought as he pulled on his own crimson robe. He had answered the call of the Ordos many times in his decades of service to the Chapter, but the events of the Dead moon had soured his opinion of them. Nine of the finest Astartes he had known, dead because of one Interrogator’s foolishness, he took another deep breath and brought his right hand to his chest in respect. ‘To judge all by the actions of an individual is folly.’ Sanginius’ words spilled from his lips as if they were his own, truly his Primarch was a being of supreme vision and wisdom; Roth, like all sons of the angel felt an unyielding love for their Primarch but deep inside them was a lurking darkness born from his death.

As he hurried towards the Assmilarium, Decimus felt a great swell of pride, once more he would serve his Chapter and Emperor and bring ruin to the enemies of man. As he quickened his pace Roth’s thoughts shifted to the battles that lay ahead, his first combat deployment with Sergeant Ando his new squad commander, how would he compare to the late Sergeant Demos? He smiled and looked forward to finding out.

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https://soundcloud.com/will-carter-11/the-angels-wrath-part-1 Also make a audio version. Enjoy :)
 

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Apothecary Claun was nothing short of meticulous in his operation. Boaz would have expected nothing left from a master medic and nothing less for a man as great as Demos. His sergeant had never aspired to the lofty positions of Captain or, even should Lord Dante’s strength eventually fail him, Chapter Master. But the man had been an example of everything it meant to be a Blood Angel and a mirror to what Sanguinius had called them to in their defence of the Imperium. Boaz wondered if this was how Sanguinius felt watching Meros’ gene-seed being implanted into the first recruit after the death of one of the Chapter’s most decorated heroes. Had he selected the best of the intake, as no one else would have been fit to bear the seed of one so noble? Had he placed a burden of expectation on the young marine, waiting for him to live up to the legacy which lived in his chest? Had he looked on the frame of that initiate and seen his friend as Boaz did now?

For all the reverence in his head, none showed on Boaz’s countenance. As usual, Boaz stood firm, looking tensed with his jaw locked in what could turn into a snarl of displeasure with his crimson robes draped over his taught muscles which looked like they would explode into a fury of blows at the slightest agitation. Chaplain Omopheus looked in between the recruit and Boaz. Omopheus had requested him here, although Boaz doubted how much freedom there was to that ‘’request’. The Chaplain had thought it would be beneficial to watch the legacy of the man who had helped him become the Astartes he was now be passed onto another initiate. Given the frequency with which the Chaplain had to regard Boaz, he reckoned the Chaplain was still undecided as to whether his actions had done more harm than good to the marine who stood beside him.

Boaz did not usually take the death of a brother this hard; probably because he struggled to form attachments with many of them, given his disposition. Not that Boaz minded. They were free to think of him as they would, but he would not apologise for the way he was or the way he acted. Demos was different. Demos had understood the needs of the squad, and of Boaz. He had helped him to grow, and challenged him. And for all that, all that training, all that preparation, nothing had allowed him to save his sergeant. The blasted Eldar had destroyed the closest man to Boaz and pointed to the own ineptitude of him and his squad. Sometimes Boaz thought that they should have stayed and fought, but then would realise that would have accomplished nothing. Other times he would try and find flaws in the plans they had made, until he would realise that it had been Demos’s plan all along to sacrifice himself, even if it had not been Boaz’s. Still, the burden of failure rested levelly on Boaz’s shoulders and he bore it. He did not know what could have been done to save his mentor, but he would not make that mistake again.

Claun’s voice broke into Boaz’s internal monologue. “He was one of the best, this one.” The apothecary explained.
“I’m sure he was.” Boaz responded with a harsh growl. The Blood Angels only recruited the best. Claun continued, as if to qualify his earlier statement.
“He reached Angels landing in near record speed and bested five of his closest rivals in single combat.”
“What is his name?”
“Yigael is his birth-name.” This time Omopheus spoke.
“Well, I hope Yigael has as much strength of character as the Brother who died so that he may be one of us.” In Boaz’s own head, he knew he would keep watch of this youngling and correct him whenever possible. It was the least he could do to make his sergeant’s successor as noble as he was. At least the youth was competent in what he had demonstrated thus far. Still, he had to pass through the trails of being a scout and over-come his Thirst. That would be his first test and Boaz knew as well as any that strength in arms meant nothing to the Flaw.

Claun and his servants started to finish up the procedure and so Chaplain Omopheus lead him away. “I hope that has helped you move on Boaz. It is important you do not feel guilt, it is one of the many seeds of heresy, and you must absolve yourself of anguish and move on.” Before any more could be said on the matter, the Chaplain walked off to continue his business elsewhere. Boaz was sceptical of the sincerity of this gesture. It was pleasing to know that Demos would not be forgotten and that he might by indirect action be able to achieve vengeance through his young initiate. However, the Chaplains were the Watchers, as much their guardians as their doubters, looking for the slightest hint of the Flaw manifesting. How much could one so distant understand a loss such as this when they condemned Brothers and Sergeants and, when needs demanded it of them, Captains and Chapter Masters to certain death?

Boaz turned the opposite direction to the Chaplain to walk back to his chambers. It was meal time, but after watching the true end of his mentor’s saga, he was not in the mood for eating. A serf came running down the corridor, clearly in order to talk to Boaz. He continued to walk for a few paces until he met the serf in the corridor. The man bowed deeply and lingered longer than usual. Clearly he was trying to catch his breath. Finally, he spoke “Apologies my lord, Captain Castigon has called for the company to assemble in the Assmilarium. A call to war from the inquisition has been issued.”
*The Inquisition?* Boaz thought to himself. The serf still lingered in front of Boaz. Boaz scowled at the man, his feature appearing even more stern and harsh. “Have you ever encountered a deaf Astartes serf?”
“N…n…no my lord.”
“Then why do you stand here wondering if I have heard you? Surely there must be other to whom you have to deliver the same message.”
“Yes my lord. Apologies my lord.” Boaz nodded his head absolving and dismissing the serf in one gesture and the man ran back down the hallway he had just come.

Boaz walked at a medium pace towards the Assmilarium. He had no intention of being late for his Captain, but he was in no rush either. In truth, Boaz would be pleased to be back to war. It would give him some focus and clarity and a chance to prove himself. It also would give him a chance to get to know the new Sergeant, Ando. Boaz knew virtually nothing of the man except by his reputation as an honourable, proficient and veteran Astartes. A small part of Boaz wondered how he and Ando would get on, and if the man would value or demean him. The rest of his psyche was largely indifferent, but still struggled with the idea of having any other sergeant than Demos. He had practically been under Demos’s command since his induction and the thought of anyone else was just out of the ordinary. It didn’t fit with the plan in Boaz’s mind, but he would have to get used to that now. Still, one thing was certain; in the coming battles, Boaz would honour Demos’s legacy and not forget the lessons he had learnt…
 

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Aellisius worked through the motions, sweat beads staggered along his brow. Miles pressed at times, but the overall session had been nothing more than a warm-up. It wasn't the physical aspect of the sparring that drained Aellisius though. Each time that Miles pressed, his features distorted as their Primarch's final moments pressed in. At times, an involuntary shiver ran the course of Aellisius's frame as his mind fought the urge to lash out at the illusion of a traitor standing before him. The urge to bask in his blood as the last of his life energies drained from his body.

A hard grunt managed to force its way from his clenched jaw as a hard strike found the tender flesh above Aellisius's right hip. Stepping back quickly, he fought to regain control, white knuckled fists clenched at his side. As the inner struggle raged, again Aellisius relived the final moments of Sanguinius' life. The hint of tears found their way to the rim's of his eyes. Whether the burning imprint of scars from the Primarch's curse or the more recent, not quite healed, wounds of the flesh were the cause was unknown. However, the reprieve brought with it the understanding that the session had extended past the beginnings of meal time.

As good a time as any, Aellisius motioned to leave, "Next time, your showing will not be so dominant." The words came out hollow, but Aellisius did not believe that the Miles would discern that. He was still new to 4th company by the standard of astartes, and lacked any reputation from a previous company, so did not fear any special visits regarding his struggles during their sparring. Still, he had made little headway since his return with his reign over the curse. It was different here. Everyone struggled with it in their own way, but the proximity with his brothers seemed to intensify the battle within him.

The conversation during meal time fell on deaf ears. Aellisius agreed that Lord Dante was the finest, but blocked out any other discussion. Turning as the serf approached, he brought him back to his surroundings. His meal lay untouched before him. The discussion between Lysander and Grimnar still debated back and forth. Turning from them all, Aellisius gave a small bow to the others before making his way towards the Assmilarium. Another thought came into his mind then...how would the others react to his post battle rituals?
 

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Vico’s cackle echoed to the vaulted ceiling. It reverberated around the armory, amid tables laden with gold-plated bolt weaponry and between orderly stacks of ammunition crates. It’d always been one of his better qualities, his cackle. Come to think of it, it was tied for first place—the other contender being his perfectly smooth skull. Very important, having a sightly cranium. Why, poor Brother Garrus’s skull had been marred with a trio of creases running along each side, as if some feral wallaby had pounced on his head and clung on for dear life as it suffered a massive seizure. If there was one aesthetic trait Vico was proud of, it was his unblemished—

“What’s so funny?”

“Eh?” His green eyes focused on the speaker. “What’s that now?”

The veteran, Gualad, was a stud of a Space Marine. His features were sculpted and noble, barely marred at all by the slight frown creasing his brows. His armor was gorgeous, too. The golden trim, the jeweled studs—it was a work of art. Everything one would expect a 1st Company veteran, all in all.

Gualad sighed. “I asked what you were laughing at.”

Comprehension dawned. “My apologies, brother; I was reflecting on how important it is to have a shapely skull. And before that, I reckon I was laughing at the way you say ‘horrors’. It comes out all wrong, you see. You sort of clip off the second syllable, so you wound up saying, ‘blue whores’.” Vico grinned toothily. “I couldn’t help myself.”

The four veterans exchanged a placidly wry look, silently debating amongst themselves how to deal with this nonsensical whelp who’d blundered into their midst.

Although ‘blundered’ was the wrong word. In truth, Vico suspected Sergeant Ando had arranged this meeting. It was a little too convenient to be happenstance—obeying the sergeant’s impromptu order to show up at the practice hall, finding a quartet of veterans had occupied it, being invited to join them in their daily drill before he could hastily excuse himself.

If the meeting was arranged, it’d been very decent of Ando. Because the session had gone very well. How could it not, when Vico had no less than three hundred and fifty years of experience to work with? The veterans had made no secret of it: his performance had impressed them.

Could it truly be? Was Sergeant Ando grooming him to join the ranks of the esteemed 1st Company?

Well, Vico felt just fine about that. He’d always wanted to try on a suit of Terminator armor. He’d heard the restroom facilities were fantastic.

Mulling that over, Vico went back to unloading a boltgun magazine. He tended toward his melta, but today he’d opted to employ a boltgun instead. It was good to stay in practice, just in case the melta decided to inconvenience him by imploding or something. With a wrist motion born of three centuries of practice, he cycled all twenty bolts out of the spring-fed box in less than six seconds. A servitor waiting on the other side of the table blurted an agitated stream of binary and hurried to scoop the scattered bolts into an organized row.

Carefully setting the magazine down, Vico glanced back at the veterans. “You were saying about blue horrors, Brother Gualad?”

That seemed to placate the veteran, who jumped right back into his story. “Well, they were tossing insults at first. It soon stopped after they discovered the holes left in them from my boltgun. Then, much to my amazement, they melded into one significantly more upbeat beast that had changed color to a comically bright pink.”

It actually managed to be a good story once Gualad got his stolen rhythm back. The veterans weren’t a bad bunch. From afar, Vico had always imagined they’d be a dull lot. But they had an easy camaraderie that 3rd Squad so far lacked. Recently cobbled together from a variety of companies, the squad members weren’t familiar enough with each other to be anything more than a collective of taciturn ramrod-stuffed asses, but that state of affairs could only improve with time.

By the balls of the Blessed Angel, Vico would squeeze some humor out of those bastards yet.

“So Brother Vico, tell us,” prodded Terasse, “what’s the most irksome foe you ever faced?” Beside him, Gualad, Mair and Han watched him expectantly.

Vico thought very hard about this. “Well, on Jardei VI against the greenskins, I glanced down in the midst of a battle to see a gretchin picking away at my boot with a toothpick of a dagger. The ankle biter saw me looking and scuttled. He’d chipped my paint, though, and I wasn’t about to be having any of that. So I reached down, grabbed the nearest of his little friends, and crumpled him up into a nice, tight ball. Then I hurled it as hard as I could. Pegged the stabby one right in the spine, broke him clean in half. One of my finer moments, I’d say.”

Before he had time to drink in the other marines’ perplexed faces, he heard the swish of a robe behind him. A chapter serf had appeared, bowing apologetically. “My lord, Captain Castigon requests yours and the rest of 4th companies presence in the Assmilarium. I cannot explain further my lord, I must relay the message to the rest of the company.” Then, with another bow, he was gone.

“The whole 4th,” Vico mused, his interest piqued. He glanced back at the veterans. “This ought to be good, eh?”

“For you,” said Mair. “Not for whomever you’re sent to kill.”

Han added, “Best be on your way, brother. It was good to drill alongside you today. We’ll repeat it sometime soon, I expect.” To Vico’s amusement, the other veterans nodded in agreement. It seemed he’d passed his first test, after all. Somehow.

“Oh, for sure. It was my pleasure, brothers. Farewell, and off I go!” Securing his meltagun to his thigh and tucking his razorwire-crowned helmet into the crook of his arm, Vico made his exit. Always good, attending a company gathering. It meant many bad things were going to die, and soon.
 

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Labrall Garnig stood vigilant. Watching the horizon for any unwanted or unidentified visitors. But even in his silent watch he thought. He thought deeply and thoroughly.He thought about many things. The oddest probably being thinking about thinking. Not only was it his favorite pass time, it gave him insight not only about others, but himself too. He learned a great many things by thinking, and made many interesting points. Among other things, he contemplated about the point of fighting this pointless war, though to many it is not pointless. Many would call this man heretical if his thoughts were openly shared, but any of his comrades know he is loyal to the Emperor until death, and he would die a long and painful death if it meant serving the Emperor.

This deep thought and vigil watch were interrupted though. Interrupted by his VOX device crackling to life. On it came the voice of a brother from Defense station Charlie with a message,“Person of importance aboard Godwyn class Thunderhawk on approach, Issue stand down command to weapon mounts.” Garnig did so quickly, thinking about the ship might be carrying.

These thoughts were not given a long time to manifest though, for the Thunderhawk soon arrived. Almost immediately, Garnig recognized the insignia emblazoned upon the ship. It was cause for great suspicion, but also alertness. Wherever an Inquisitor went some sort of trouble followed. Garnig recognized the need for the Inquisition, for common men were too weak willed and Astartes too valuable and rare for them to the job the Inquisition did, but that did not mean he liked the organization. He truly disliked their absolute power and thought it unneeded. Garnig believed that power should be spread out over a number of people, so that it is impossible for any one man to gain absolute power as history has shown possible. Although, he did not think that the common man should hold equal power to a military general, but he certainly thought that he knew what he needed to tend to his crops much more than any general would. Once again though, his thoughts are cut short.

Garnig's VOX bursts to life, “Garnig we need you in the Assmilarium, I’m sending Brother Uzrael to cover the remainder of your shift. I’m not sure what is going on but the whole of fourth has been summoned. Might have something to do with Khartas.” It is at the mention of Khartas that Labrall gets a clear idea of why the Inquisitor came. He felt it in all of his guts, this was very likely the reason he, or possibly she, came.
When Brother Uzrael arrived Labrall Garnig hastily made his way to the Assmiliarium.
 

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I could sense Leasson's apprehension. Sure it was barely noticeable, something only a chaplain or fellow member of the librarius would notice, but it was there. Not as a fear of death, but a apprehension of failing to fulfill the duty to serve the chapter, and the Emperor.

Setting down my food, and looking slightly upwards at the ceiling in thought, I then looked back at him as I spoke in a confident tone.

"Steady your self brother, we are psykers, a part of us is anchored in the warp; because of this, our battles started the moment we left the sarcophagus. You know this as well as I. The ruinous powers constantly scratch at our mental walls, yet so strong are we that we can hardly even sense it, and I am certain you would not be here if the librarius did not think you ready. But be mindful, an unguarded wall, no matter how strong, can be scaled. '

As for my first combat " I paused momentarily, going over the event from my past, "Took place just after I had become an acolytum. It was against the ruinous powers. With none of my battle brothers beside me and with nothing but a handful of a ships crew, we faught back the corruption that had tried to take over the ship." I then went into detail of what happened and how I earned my scarred hand and the Imperialis, ending with a lesson to always be watchful for the influence of corruption, and that my first combat experience was not "normal" for an Astartes.

Both Leasson and myself were aware of the approaching serf and his intent to talk to one of us, finishing our conversation before he arrived.

After delivering his message and walking away, I gave a respectful nod to Leasson as I rose from the table, and he returned the gesture.

Approaching the others on the way to the assimilarium, I wondered about the new seargent and how the others would react, and to an extent, how he would react to having a librarian under his command.

The squad had a perfect symmetry of parts; able to react to each others subtle movements in battle, and to an extent, each others intent Having a new sergeant could change that symmetry, and all the pieces would have to fall together just right to maintain that after such a change.
 

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(sorry for the delay)

Miles was impressed. Aellisius was matching him blow for blow, strike for strike, never relenting. He seemed to have the grace of the Primarch upon him. Miles smiled at his younger companion as the fight went on, but it slowly faded as he realized his comrades mental struggle. The red thirst was calling - he had seen it too many times. He remembered each of his brothers that had fallen to the gene-curse, and he would not let it happen again.

He continued fighting, his experience finally winning over his less-experienced brother as he scored a hit on Aellisius' side. He pushed his friend back, realizing his hardship but knowing that if he relented now it would do nothing to help his comrade in the long term. Inwardly, he was in turmoil - he was forced to continue fighting despite Aellisius' pain to help him. He wasn't sure if he should keep going and risk further physical injury or end it and risk potential mental weakness. Luckily, his companion chose for him by withdrawing and lowering his weapon. "Next time, your showing will not be so dominant". Miles laughed quietly. "I should hope not".

The pair returned to the dining hall late, but still they were able to grab some much needed food. As the pair ate, Miles noticed that Aellisius was rather withdrawn from conversation, but was soon distracted by talk of heroes. "Of course Dante is the strongest tactician, but I would hesitate to call him the Imperium's finest warrior. He leads by example, yes, but his true strength lies not in brute force or skill - though he has both in abundance - it comes from his impeccable knowledge of when and where to strike most effectively. Could he defeat either of those two? Yes. With ease. Were he given time. At close quarters, however, Lysander certainly could destroy him if our leader was unable to get away. The probability of such a situation ever arising in a conflict between the two is so small, however, that it can be ignored. So yes, Dante is the strongest. I would have to argue that Lysander comes second, if only for his brute force."


Having finished his tirade and assisted the much less experienced - though higher ranked - brothers of his, he returned to his food to see a serf come between the two, still debating. “My lord, Captain Castigon requests yours and the rest of 4th companies presence in the Assmilarium. I cannot explain further My lord, I must relay the message to the rest of the company.” The serf left quickly. "Well, that's that sergeant. Let's go".
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)



++Pavilios sector++
++833.m41, incident minus twelve++
++Pavilios Primus, Iron Yard++​

“STRING HIM UP LIKE THE DOG HE IS, I WILL NOT TOLERATE ANY MORE INSUBORDINATION AND YOU WILL BE THE FIRST EXAMPLE TRAUN.” Spittle and phlegm flew from Warsmith Yurxan’s lips with the pure bred hatred from war that never ended. “YOU THINK WE NEED MEGENDRAD’S HELP TO DEAL WITH AN INQUISITORIAL WHELP? WE HAVE THE BIGGEST GUNS AND MOST IMPENETRABLE FORTRESSES ON THIS SIDE OF THE EYE. TERRA HERSELF WOULD BE JEALOUS.” The warsmith paused for a moment to survey his warriors. Five thousand of Megendrad’s best stood like statues before him in a great wide plaza with an iron floor. Behind him stood his retinue, what seemed to be an automaton in power armour, a massively bloated marine in rusted armour that must have stood 2 feet taller than any other marine, A lithe marine with violently drawn tattoos and a spiked lash on his him, a silent but tense marine who’s armour seemed to burn without fire and a massive ornate axe with a head that resembled a daemon strapped to his back, and finally the unmistakeable bulk of an obliterator grinning at the violence he knew was coming. In front of the Warsmith lay another space marine, his face was bloodied and his armour damaged, any human would have died to the wrath of the Warsmith long ago. But he was a space marine so even now his enhanced body worked to repair the damage. “AND YET YOU SEE FIT TO DRAW MY GAZE ELSEWHERE TO ALLOW YOUR SERGEANT AND HIS SQUAD TO ESCAPE ALONG WITH TWO OF MY BEST PSYKERS? WHEN MEGENDRAD ARRIVES ALL SHE WILL FIND IS CORPSES OF THE EMPORORS LAPDOG AND YOUR HEAD ON A SPIKE ABOVE THE HEADS OF THEIR COMMANDERS.” With that the Warsmith’s reserve buckled. He let out a viciously savage kick to the floored marines jaw. His head flopped backwards with a crunch as his neck broke. The Warsmith bore down on him like a benevolent god. “ON SECOND THOUGHT, YOU DON’T DESERVE A SPIKE ALL TO YOURSELF.” The Warsmith placed one hand under the marines jaw and the other firmly gripping his torso. The Iron Warrior then ripped the marines head from his body and brought his spine along for the ride. “THE EMPORORS DOGS WILL BREAK UPON OUR IMPENETRABLE WALLS, AND THEN WE WILL TURN THE TIDE AND STRIKE BACK WITH THE POWER OF A THOUSAND ARMIES. LOOK TO THE SKIES MY IRON WARRIORS. THAT IS WHERE IT WAITS. OUR GLORIUS CONQUEST IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD PRIMARCH. THAT IS WHERE HE WAITS.” The Warsmith threw down the disembodied head to the floor with contempt. “IRON WITHIN.” Shouted the Warsmith. “IRON WITHOUT.” Came the reply. “NOW RISE MY DECIMATORS, SHOW THE GODS YOUR FURY.”

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

The Warriors of 4th were a striking presence to say the least. Row upon row of super human soldiers who unrelentingly lived by a code of honour. It was no surprise that the high lords had chosen the knights of Baal to spearhead their attack. Among it’s ranks stood 100 proud warriors who had been tempered in the fires of war. Ever since the Khartas incident the angels of 4th had not suffered a single incident of the black rage and even though a great deal of the Astartes standing in the hall were not present to witness the events, the seeds of brotherhood had been sown. So when captain Castigon stood before them to bring tidings of war, it could be said that the angels were eager to show the archenemy their wrath.

++833.m41, Incident minus nine++
++Blood Angels fortress monastery, Assmilarium++​


“Some of you will know, others will not. Our call to war is one sanctioned by the high lords themselves.” The captain paused for a moment as he surveyed the room. “An Imperial Fleet to be commanded by none other than the radical inquisitor lord Bellamy whom some of you will have no doubt heard of. Has been sanctioned to retake the Pavilios sector, a sector which according to our records was originally conquered by us, the Blood Angels, back during the great cruisade. Alas the sector in recent years has been covered with warp storms and has been fortified by the archenemy. The first fleet sent to reclaim the sector to imperial rule was woefully outmatched. We are their replacement. Sons of Baal ready your blades, they will soon taste the blood of the enemy.” The captain paused once again to let the information sink in. “we leave berth in two hours, the ship is being readied as we speak. Report to the armoury, I have had your wargear brought through for you. It will be waiting you there.” With that the Captain walks away towards a thunderhawk with his Blood champion in tow.


ALL: You stand formed up as a squad listening to the Captains speech. What do you make of the Pavilios’ sectors plea? Are you happier about a chance to reclaim the planet like your brothers of the Great cruisade era, or is it the bloodlust to rip out traitors throats the force that drives you? Whatever the case it would be uncharacteristic of an Astartes to not be eager for war. What are your feelings about this being your first major battlefield mission with both Sergeant Ando and Captain Castigon. You have no reason to doubt either of them but sometimes people just don’t get along.

The captain now begins to talk of Inquisitor Bellamy. The inquisitor earned a name for himself after disobeying the orders of a senior inquisitor and then outright attempting to kill said senior inquisitor with the aid of a company of space marines. They would have succeeded if it were not for the intervention of the ultramarines. While it was assumed that it was Bellamy who had gone rouge. It came to light that the senior inquisitor was actually the one who had turned his back on the emperor after one of the ultramarines chaplains noticed a strange behavioural trait. When conftronted the Lord Inquisitor revealed his true form as a greater daemon of Tzeentch. During the conflict Bellamy’s cell was broken open and the inquisitor let loose. Bellamy then attacked the Lord of Change along with his retinue and eventually defeated the Daemon. After many tests by officials Bellamy was cleared of taint and was given the rank of Lord inquisitor. Bellamy has been in many similar situations similar to the one that rose him to fame, but he always seems to make sure the imperium comes out on top. No matter what his means are. The captain then finishes his speech and leaves you to report to the armoury to collect your wargear from the armoury.

As you arrive in the armoury you see that your squad’s armour and wargear has been gathered up on a big table with a legion of human serfs to assist you with equipping your armour. You all step towards the table and allow the serfs to suit you up in your armour.


Arcturus Pak: It takes slightly longer for your armour to be put on because the intricate machine spirits in your psychic hood take a little while longer to appease. Once they are finished they direct you towards a section of the table, laid out on a piece of cloth that bears your personal heraldry is Your force sword, combi-handflamer and a set of 4 frag grenades and 2 krak grenades.

Aellisius vrath Dimitius: The serfs don your armour very quickly but they take care to do everything correctly. They put on every part of your armour apart from your helmet, they know that a death mask is to sacred for them to touch. So they have placed it on a piece of cloth that bears your personal heraldry along with your sword Absolution, a relic boltgun with a selection of different drum and belt magazines full of Dragonfire, Vengeance and Helfire rounds, and 4 frag grenades and 2 krak grenades.

Samael Sangue: Your armour takes a little while to put on as the MK IV and VI components do not fit perfectly with the standard Aquila patter armour. Although thankfully their hindrance is not transferred to the battlefield. As the serfs finish up you take a step towards the table where there is a piece of cloth with your personal heraldry with your boltgun and Umbra-Magnus bolt pistol along with ammunition for both and 4 frag and 2 krak grenades.

Labrall Garnig: Since you are already wearing your armour from being on gaurd duty the serfs direct you to the end of the table where there is a piece of cloth with your personal heraldry. On the cloth lies your bolt pistol and 4 frag and 2 krak grenades, to the left is your plasma gun with 4 fuel rods in a marked black box to make sure pre mature plasma stimulation does not happen.

Miles: You stare blankly into space as the serfs don your armour, you have been through the same ordeal hundreds of times before so nothing excites you enough for you to take notice. The serfs finish up and point you to a piece of cloth laid out onto the table. On the cloth is your personal heraldry, a relic boltgun with a selection of different drum and belt magazines full of Dragonfire, Vengeance and Helfire rounds, and 4 frag grenades and 2 krak grenades.

Ludovico Crivellus: The serfs take great care not to harm any of the golden vines and other adornments that populate your armours surface. However they still manage to work at a good speed and have you suited up in next to no time. They then direct you towards a piece of cloth that bears your personal heraldry. On the cloth lies your bolt pistol and 4 frag and 2 krak grenades along with your meltagun and a few more fuel cells to keep you stocked up.


Decimus Roth: The serfs take care not to damage any of your adornments on your armour as they put your armour on. They still manage to work at a good speed and are finished very quickly. As they finish they then direct you to a piece of cloth with your personal heraldry printed on it. Atop the cloth lies a relic boltgun with a selection of different drum and belt magazines full of Dragonfire, Vengeance and Helfire rounds, and 4 frag grenades and 2 krak grenades and Zephyr, your relic bolt pistol with the blade attatchment sitting loose below the bolt pistol.

Boaz Nenad:The serfs take their time with appeasing the machine spirits of your armour as the different marks don’t fit together perfectly. However you realise that it is better to take your time here and ensure the armour is in 100% condition than to have it malfunction on the battlefield. What kind of a plan would that be? Once the serfs finish up they direct you to a piece of cloth that bears your personal heraldy. Atop this cloth is a relic boltgun with a selection of different drum and belt magazines full of Dragonfire, Vengeance and Helfire rounds, and 4 frag grenades and 2 krak grenades and your combat dagger.

(OOC: So a bit of a lazy update for me with pretty copy and paste updates for you all individually. Mainly looking for you to describe your opinions in your posts but if your stuck for something to write you could describe the heraldry the adorns your respective pieces of cloth. Also i hope you like the introduction to the people your going to have to try and kill.)
 

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still as a rock they stood, rows of giant muscular statues fill the hall and at their head the captain makes his speech. The Brothers of 4th company listen carefully to the captains speech as they debate in their heads wether they want to reclaim the honor that was lost with pavilios’s corruption or just place the chaos servants heads on spikes.

Samael listens intently, this inquisitor was an interesting character undeniably but how he has managed to achieve so many anti chaos victories is worrying.most who can stay one foot ahead of chaos are either the greatest heroes of mankid and favoured by the throne or are secretly in line with chaos and are being tipped off as to make themselves look saintlike. After the closing of his speach castigon leaves and the red warriors move once again. Squad Ando leave through their marked door towards their squads private arming chamber. In a line the battle brothers adorn their wargear with the aid of the chapter’s serfs.

Sangue stands in front of one of the tables, over the top lies a piece of cloth adorned with his personal heraldry. A giant blood drop falling upon a planet, within the drop is the imperial aquila. his heraldry speaks of him surviving Khartas and that worlds unholy events. Sangue runs his hands over the surface of his boltgun feeling the engraving’s upon its surface placed their by its former weilder.

“begin,” says Samael and the surfs around him start to adorn his battle plate.

As the last measures of adornment are complete he moves his limbs once again and looks down at his wargear. Firstly he picks up his combat blade inside its scabbard, the long bladed knife would be a mighty sword to a mortal but to the astartes it was a mere side arm, he straps it across the back of his left shoulder’s pouldron so that it may be drawn with a diagonal swipe of his right gauntlet. next he picks up his bolt pistol, the reliable weapon inside its holster has seen many a war and has been tallied with each enemy it fells, he straps this across his waist with the pistol lying on his right leg for easy access. Next he holds his boltgun, for the countless time he glances over the modifications that cover it clearly marking it as a blood angles weapon, finally he grabs his magazines for his two bolt weapons placing them in the pouches that run across his waist. Now fully equipped for war he turns on his heel to see his brethren.

“May blood guide us my brothers, let us march forth.”
 

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Labrall stands there, listening to the speech. His weapon, from when he was patrolling, is pointed downward, and he has taken a more relaxed stance. He takes in every word the good Captain says, and analyzes what they mean in this situation. He takes note of the little details about how the Captain is talking, and what it does to change the meaning. Overall, Garnig probably understands the speech in such a way that if he were to explain it, it would almost sound like an entirely other speech.

During Captain Castigon's speech, Garnig decides, though partially sub-consciously, his feelings on the matter at hand. He feels the small bouts rage that could erupt whilst fighting the wretched and traitorous forces of Chaos. These feelings, for now, were suppressed and under control. Although he felt great amounts of rage slowly building inside of him, Garnig felt a wave of joy sweep over him as he realized he was going to be able to relive the days of the Great Crusade, as his ancestor's once did. Albeit under much different circumstances.

When the speech had ended and the squads directed to their sections within the armories, Garnig was brought to the table that his weapons sat on. He had no need to equip any further armor, for his had already been equipped for his patrols. He hands over his Bolter and the small amount of extra ammo he carried from when he was patrolling. Slowly, he picks up his Bolt Pistol, examining the fine details of it. Garnig was never one to engrave his weapons, but he never had them refurbished, for he thought the scratches and marks would make for good stories for any new recruits that were ever inducted into the squad. He equipped it onto his side, for ease of access. Next, he grabbed his six grenades and put them on without a second thought. Finally, he slowly and carefully grabbed his Plasma Gun to ensure there were no accidents.
He had only had to replace his Plasma Gun twice in his lifetime, and it had been many decades since he had last done it. Both times, Garnig had been able to dispose of the weapons before they exploded due to overcharging, but the first time had left his right forearm and hand scorched.
He looked over the weapon, checking for anything that might cause an overload or premature firing. There was nothing of the sort. He prepared his ammunition, and then waited.

Having finished getting ready before everyone, Garnig heard what Samael said clearly. And responded accordingly, "If blood is what guides you, then I fear we have lost already." This was said not with suspicion or accusation but rather as if he were merely stating a fact.
 

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Vico leaned casually against a wall, arms folded as he watched the servitors fitting Samael with his battle plate. He'd always hated those things--servitors, that is, not the plates. They stank, and they twitched. A good melta blast would fix either.

The only reason he was entertaining such thoughts, he knew, was the nature of their impending mission. Soon he would be facing Chaos once again. His gaze roved inexorably downward to the helmet tucked under his arm. The razorwire crown reminded him just how badly his last encounter with Warp taint had gone. It was an unwelcome memory. It sent an unwelcome surge of anger pulsing through his veins.

Being pissed off was no fun. No fun at all.

So Vico swallowed his increasingly-dour mood and spoke aloud to no one in particular. "Queer fellows, inquisitors. I dealt with their like, once. I was there at Kalagazaar, you know. Kalagazaar--fun to say, isn't it? Ka-la-ga..." Noticing some miffed looks, he shrugged.

"Anyway. I think I was there. We entered orbit... and the next I remember, we were still in orbit, about to quit the system. There was a bloke in front of me shining a light in my eyes, asking if I remembered anything. And of course I didn't. The mind scrub, you understand. Bloody annoying, being asked daft questions like that. I told him so. And he said, 'Good. It's best you don't remember. You ought to be thankful.' I asked, 'Why's that?' And he said, 'Because the Emperor is merciful.' Which is just begging the question. By the balls of Saint Celestine, I hate it when people do that."

He kept on this way for quite a while, wondering when someone would wise up and tell him to be quiet already.

As it were, he'd just been practicing his battle drills with the veterans, and he was already suited up. But the servitors were kind enough to repaint a few nicks and scratches he'd just accumulated. They were especially careful with the golden vines etched into his vambraces and shins, which he was thankful for. He'd worked hard on those. The gold had come from the teeth fillings of literally dozens of orks. He'd smashed out the teeth and melted the gold out himself. He wasn't in any sort of mood to do that again.

What he was in a mood to do was murder some Chaos things. Lots of them. The sooner they left, the better.
 

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Aellisius listened, his mind drifting back to past memories as the company stood in attendance. Once again he lived out the final moments of Sanguinius, fighting his way to Horus. Desperately, he struggled to free himself and come back to the present. When finally he looked up, he realized the speech was over and others were dispersing to don their battle gear.

Making his way with the rest of the squad, he took another look over his battle brothers, unsure of himself. It had been a long time since he had undertaken such a task with any other Astartes, let alone his true brothers. The servitors took their time in the armory, instituting ritual after ritual, prayer after prayer. When they were finally finished, Aellisius moved closer to his gear. Offering another glance to those present, he marvelled at the ornate inscriptions and other heraldry of his squadmates.

Kneeling slowly, Aellisius began his own rites by offering a prayer to Sanguinius and that his blood within him would guide his blade in the upcoming campaign. He followed that with a prayer to the Emperor before beginning the proper rites and rituals to appease the joining of the Death Mask with his Aquila pattern power armour. He moved and spoke softly, taking great care as he finally donned the helmet, content in the knowledge that he had done everything correctly and the machine spirit within would assist him in his trials ahead.

His grenades quickly fastened to his armour, as did his ammo and boltgun. When he finally reached for his combat sword, Absolution, he again offered prayers to Sanguinius, before initiating more personal rituals with the sword. Nearing the end, he produced a small vial and slowly dripped the contents over the length of the blade. Finally satisfied, he secured the blade to his back by way of one of the available di-pole maglocks. Turning, he realized he had taken much longer to prepare than some of his squadmates.

Again he noticed the details of each of their armour, a story told of each of the past exploits and trials they had undergone. Looking down ever so briefly, Aellisius felt a smile find his lips for the briefest of moments before his stern expression once again dominated his features. Still, he was content with his plain armour and lack of personal heraldry. The two of them had survived their own trials, armour and occupant, and forged their own bond, indifferent of identifiers. He was a servant of Sanguinius and the Emperor, and when called to bring justice, he doubted the dead remembered the details.
 

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Boaz stood with the rest of squad Demos in the Assmilarium. He had not yet adjusted to mentally referring them as Squad Ando in his mind. To him, they still belonged to his friend and would for a while yet. Ando, no matter what reputation he held or what prowess he was rumoured to have, had still not fought and bleed alongside the squad. To Boaz, he still had to prove himself. As of right now, he was an uncertainty. Captain Castigon began his address to the members of the Fourth Company and Boaz snapped out of his internal monologue. “Some of you will know, others will not. Our call to war is one sanctioned by the High Lords themselves.” The captain paused for a moment as he surveyed the room. Boaz cocked an eyebrow as he looked around the room. As much as any Astartes, Boaz held the upmost respect for the High Lords. They spoke with the Emperor’s voice and their word was law. But, this was a war like any other and just because the order came from a high echelon of command did not mean that it carried more significance or deserved the attention of the Knights of Baal and more or less. Any such person who would only respect rank and not sense was hardly worth the time or effort it took to reason with them. Boaz was looking for any such fools. Fortunately, he saw none and thus no one was deserving of the icy stare he gave them.

Captain Castigon continued “An Imperial Fleet to be commanded by none other than the radical inquisitor lord Bellamy whom some of you will have no doubt heard of. Has been sanctioned to retake the Pavilios sector, a sector which according to our records was originally conquered by us, the Blood Angels, back during the Great Crusade. Alas the sector in recent years has been covered with warp storms and has been fortified by the archenemy. The first fleet sent to reclaim the sector to imperial rule was woefully outmatched. We are their replacement. Sons of Baal ready your blades, they will soon taste the blood of the enemy.” Boaz’s lips twitched momentarily into a mirthless smile. *Aye, that they will.* Boaz thought to himself. “We leave berth in two hours, the ship is being readied as we speak. Report to the armoury, I have had your wargear brought through for you. It will be waiting you there.” Captain Castigon left with the Blood Champion of the Company following behind him. Boaz and his squad left shortly after for the armoury.

As they walked Boaz recalled what he knew of this Inquisitor Lord Bellamy. The man’s reputation preceded him. He had fought his mentor and exposed him for what he was, a servant of the Ruinous Powers. He had been accused of being in league with them himself, but no truth had been found in that claim yet. Captain Castigon mentioned that he was a Radical, which Boaz could not put any real meaning too. He knew that many Inquisitors differed in their theological and methodological ideas, but quite what made him a Radical was not known by Boaz. Still, his presence was a good indicator as to the level of threat they faced and his knowledge of the enemies they would face was sure to invaluable when it came to planning their assault. Boaz entered the armoury and went over to the serfs who had his armour. It was distinctive and a relic of the Chapter from a bygone age. Perhaps his armour had even visited Pavillios before. Funny that it might well be returning to a point he had already been. Boaz stretched out his arms and that was enough to tell the serfs to begin their work.

The serfs had to take slightly longer on equipping Boaz. His Mark VII chest-plate had trouble integrating with the Mark V of the rest of his armour. The machine spirits took more placating that usual. Boaz was used to it. He would rather the serfs took an age to prepare him for battle than his armour fail him for a second on the battlefield. One had enough variables to consider in the heat of battle without having to worry about the integrity of one’s armour. Certainly Boaz would never wield the temperamental plasma weapon Labrall did, and Boaz would be sure to position himself as far as possible from a weapon which could fatally fail at any moment. “May blood guide us my brothers, let us march forth.” Boaz sighed audibly at Samuel’s foolishness.
"If blood is what guides you, then I fear we have lost already." Labrall responded.
“If the fool wants be doomed to the Death Company, that’s his choice. I’m sure Aellisius would welcome the company.”

Vico was babbling away. The man never stopped talking it seemed and he always thought he was hilarious, even when it was obvious to everyone else that he was far from that. …You ought to be thankful.' I asked, 'Why's that?' And he said, 'Because the Emperor is merciful.' Which is just begging the question. By the balls of Saint Celestine, I hate it when people do that." Boaz laughed with a cruelty that was not uncommon. “He was right though. You should be glad that the Emperor is merciful.” Boaz nodded at the razorwire crown his squad mate bore. “Especially you.” With that Boaz picked up the cloth which bore is heraldry, The Winged Sword, and equipped the last of his equipment in short order. He was ready for battle…
 

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Standing in formation alongside my battle brothers, I wondered what in the system was so valuable to warrant taking the system back. As far as I was concerned, the ruinous powers deserved nothing more than an exterminatus. However, I was more than happy to personally rip the system from their grasp while killing each and every traitor I would come across, and I could feel my right hand grow warm in anticipation

Standing in the giant ornate chamber full of my fellow astartes, I was somewhat surprised to hear Captain Castigions recount of Bellamy's past. Apparently I was not the only one with experience of inquisitors turning traitor.

When we were dismissed, we walked to our squads armory where a group of serfs and artificers awaited us.

Walking through the armory lined with alcoves with each marines armor within - though a few were already empty, I approached the one with a blue shoulder pauldron and an Imperialis on its chest. Around it's waste was the tabard with the symbol of the librarius; signifying my rank as an acolytum.

In front of the armor were two mark 7 boots facing towards me. Stepping forward, the serfs removed the helmet from my armor, and I noticed immediately a new component to my armor that was behind the helmet.

There was no mistaking it, it was a psychic hood. A small one, that was no more than a small square behind the helmet, designed to give the bearer maximum movement and no restrictions to line of site while wearing a helmet. Which explained why I could not see it before.

Turning around and stepping back into my boots that were locked into the floor, I could hear the serfs removing the armor from its alcove before placing it on me.

With the serfs starting with my greaves before moving onto my chest piece, I pondered for a moment about the psychic hood. Sure it wouldn't be any less powerful than the more cumbersome hoods, but they were much more rare. For me to be given such a hood was recognition by the librarius, especially since my lower tabard still had the markings of an acolytum.

As the serfs moved on to assembling my shoulders and gauntlets, a brother with the unmistakable symbol of the Adeptus Mechanicus stood watch. I nodded to the tech marine, letting him know I understoood his presence.

The tech marine returned the nod in kind. Just like Librarians, tech marines were also known to surrounded with an aura of suspicion.

After fully assembling all my armor, save for my helmet, the serfs bowed while backing away, prompting the tech marine to come forward.

The tech marine walked to my side before grabbing my helmet from a serf's arms, performing several rights and prayers on the psychic hood behind head. Then as he placed the helm on my head, I too accompanied him in a right and a prayer, joining the machine spirit of the psychic hood and armor.

There was a quick hum as the helmet and psychic hood activated, and suddenly all my senses became even sharper than they already were. Like a perfectly clear vox screen becoming sharper and more crisp.

As the psychic hood amplified my psychic energies, I could feel my right arm now begin to grow slightly warmer than it already was. Looking around the armory as my armor fully activated, and my boots unlocked, I could sense my battle brothers in the room thanks to the psychic hood, along with seven artifcers, 23 serfs, 12 servitors and the tech marine.

Turning towards the table to my left, my armaments were laid out before me on the cloth bearing my heraldry. I remembered every battle distinctively, with an Astarte's memory I could recall every action and could review every critical moment, including the death of our previous seargeant. Though no matter how many times I reviewed the events in my mind, our seargeant had taken the best course of action, for if he had done differently, it was possible more servants of the emperor could have died that day.

Grabbing my force sword off the table with my left hand, I held back my psycher energies to keep it from activating as I slid my hand down the side of the blade, saying a prayer before swinging it up and around to the mag lock on my back. Grabbing the combi hand flamer pistol, I held it directly in front of my helmet in a ritualistic manner as I tilted my head down and said another prayer before placing the pistol on my right thigh.

Looking at the grenades on the table, I pondered at their usage. The krak grenades I always saved, but the last time they gave me 4 frag grenades, I remember using a jump pack to land in the middle of a line of orcs, throwing all four of them around me as I landed, with them exploding as I contacted the ground in a thunderious eruption, causing the enemy to run in terror.

Grabbing the grenades I turned to the rest of the armory where my brothers were already prepared for battle. Responding to Sameal and Labrall, I spoke with a matter of fact voice, "Regardless if it guides us, the enemies blood will flow like that of a river, and we, shall be its tributaries."

Directly across from me, brother Aellisius donned his death mask. This was the first time I had the marine. I know he served in the deathwatch as penitance, but he he had performed his duty, and his experience would be a welcome addition to the squad. "It is good to have you with us brother."
 

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Aellisius was waiting quietly to the side of the others, paying little heed to the ramblings of one of his new squadmates. He did hear the mention of the Death Company and then his name in nearly the same breath. "Be weary of talking of that matter in such a casual manner, brother. The rage within us all should be spoke of with much more reverence and such a fate should not be sought nor wished upon another."

Casually, he continued to wait, his gaze passing over the squad's librarian. Like the others, he was unfamiliar with him, and when spoke directly to Aellisius, it caught him off guard for a moment. "It is good to have you as well, brother." Aellisius said, offering a nod to the librarian in return.
 

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Decimus strode into the assimilarium and quickly took his place among his brothers of third squad, he took a quick moment to glace over at the assembled might of the Knights of Baal, his new company. Over seventy Astartes stood assembled with more filling in to the chamber through various doors, it was a stirring sight to say the least and Decimus could not help but wonder what unfortunate foe warranted the attention of a full company. Most wore simple robes much like his own, although several Astartes including Roth's squadmate Garnig has already donned their power armour and stood resplendent, chapter markings proudly displayed on their shoulder guards. Among these was the company captain.

Castigon stood before the assembled angels; a paragon of wrath and virtue. His full plate armor only serving to further amplify his mighty presence. “Some of you will know, others will not. Our call to war is one sanctioned by the high lords themselves.” As the Captain paused to survey the room his gaze seemed to linger upon third squad just a fraction to long, as though he knew some secret or was silently making mental notes before continuing. “An Imperial fleet to be commanded by none other than the radical inquisitor Lord Bellamy, whom some of you will have no doubt heard of, has been sanctioned to retake the Pavilios sector; which according to records was originally conquered by the blood angels during the great crusade.” That name caught Roth's ear, and his collar began to rise, he suppressed it with the litany of the moment and continued to listen.

“The first fleet sent to reclaim the sector to Imperial rule was woefully outmatched, we are their replacement. Sons of Baal ready your blades, they will soon taste the blood of the enemy.” An almost palpable wave of anticipation rippled throughout the 4th company, this is what they were bred for, supreme warriors forged to wage and unending war. “We leave berth in two hours, the ship is being readied as I speak. Report to the armoury, I have had your wargear brought through for you. It will be waiting.” That captain cast one more lingering gaze at the Knights of Baal, before turning and making his way up the open ramp of a waiting thunder hawk, his command squad silently following him.

‘Bellamy’ just thinking the name seemed to rekindle the sense of loss, despite Roth’s constant efforts to release such unwanted emotions. He had witnessed other brother’s die before, many in fact; such was the life of a warrior. The Astartes were only called upon to fight where mortal men were not enough, only the most dangerous and critical of missions. Missions like the Dead Moon, and though death in service to the Emperor was the greatest glory an Astartes would achieve, Lord Bellamy’s apprentice had squandered the lives of nine Blood Angels. Lives that could have been better spent tipping the scales of wars, breaking defenses or cleansing the filth of Chaos.

A servitor floated towards the squad and broke Roth’s reverie, its chassis was cast in the form of a golden nimbus and mounted on an anti grav generator, it motioned for Ando squad to follow. It led 3rd squad from Assimilarium, through wide corridors thick with incense to their personal arming chamber. Inside dozens of chapter serfs stood waiting around a large metal table that bore the squads wargear proudly arranged on sheets of Makarth silk, each bearing a brothers personal heraldry.

The serfs worked quickly and carefully, adorning Roth’s armour. He noted that it had been freshly shined and the golden script that flowed over the plates glinted in the lumen lit chamber. With their task completed the serfs bowed low and retreated to the corners of the chamber, Decimus worked through the rites of arming and gave thanks to the machine spirit of each piece in turn. It was mostly just habit, but he believed in being thorough, after all a small malfunction during battle could often prove fatal. Roth turned his attention to the wargear that had been laid out for him, a Boltgun with a shot selector and various ammunition clips, standard issue frak and krak grenades and a mono- serrated combat blade, he inspected and equipped each in turn, until all that remained upon his cloth was Zephyr.

The bolt pistol was a true relic of the chapter, ancient, powerful, and crafted by the greatest artisans in Baal’s long history. The casing was gold inlaid with a large red gemstone in the shape of a blood droplet and surrounding it was the name of each brother who had earned glory in battle with the venerable weapon. As always Roth paid his respects to his forbears and prayed that should he fall he would be found worthy enough for his name to join them, he fitted the vicious curved combat blade to the pistol and moved almost uncounsiously into the first juyosa stance. Reaching down into his discarded chapter robes, Decimus retrieved the last piece of his wargear, a small charm upon a simple metal chain and hung it around his neck. Often he wondered why he had kept the eldar’s trinket, by rights he should be disgusted by its xenos nature and origins, but he had found himself compelled to not only keep it, but carry it into battle; though as a reminder of what he had lost, or the prophecy of what lay ahead he did not know.

Satisfied that his body was ready, Decimus revisiting his mind and the subject of Lord Bellamy. The man himself had done Decimus no wrong, only by way of his orders and the strange fanaticism his followers showed. After a few moments meditation he resolved to let the past rest for now, after all his duty would always come first, and right now the archenemy’s destruction was his duty. Several other members of his squad were exchanging light banter, and Roth heard the deep throaty laugh of brother Vico, he had put names to faces and was excited to see his new brothers in action. Roth took a deep cleansing breath and quietly intoned the litany of brotherhood. As he turned to join his squad, Roth caught a glimse of his reflection in the glass of one the arming chambers many pieces of inspiring art. What he saw emboldened him, an Astartes, a god of war, whatever horrors the dogs of chaos had constructed,whatever secret plots or schemes Lord Bellamy had in store; Decimus Roth, son of Sanguinius, Knight of Baal and brother of Ando Squad stood ready for war.
 

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Discussion Starter #18


The warp jump was a very short one in relative terms. The immaterium was thankfully calm meaning the Blood Angels reached the rendezvous point after 36 hours. After reaching the drifting imperial fleet the Astartes invited the commanders of each respective body of imperial forces over to the Blade of Vengeance. The Lord Inquisitor Bellamy, Lord Commander Oberos of the imperial guard, Solar Admiral Knox of the imperial navy, Magos Cyriel and Captain Castigon met upon the bridge of the blade of vengeance to talk tactics.

“The Magos here has been working with Admiral Knox to construct a new battleship with an astounding amount of prow armour.” Explained the Inquisitor to the Captain “We calculate that the battleship will be able to take 2 or 3 rounds of fire from the enemies defence lasers. Which will give your Astartes enough time to board the defence lasers and deactivate them while the rest of our battleships occupy any enemy defences. From there we can make planet fall with our ground forces supplied by Lord Commander Oberos.”

++833.m41, Incident minus 1++
++Blade of vengeance battle barge, Bridge++​

Squad Ando entered the bridge to a waiting Captain Castigon, the Captain gestured the marines around a pict screen where he thumbed the activation rune.

(Imagine it looks more 40k-y)

A diagram of the layout of a defence laser appeared on the screen. “It is quite simple brothers, you will be launched in breaching torpedoes through the walls of the defence lasers. Once there you are to make your way to the generator and plant charges, you are then to meet with teams 1 and 2 to be teleported back aboard the Blade of Vengeance. Your job is important; if you do not succeed we will have no way to teleport you back as their shields will block the signal. Expect heavy defences but you should not be overwhelmed as the corridors are narrow so only 3 marines can fit abreast. You will be launched from a custom designed imperial vessel specifically for this mission. A Thunderhawk awaits you in the hangar to take you there now.” With that the captain dismissed the squad. They all should have understood exactly what was needed from them even though the brief was very short. Astartes are designed for war, they don’t really need someone to tell them how to wage it. However just as Sergeant Ando turns to leave the captain says, “Sergeant could you stay behind, I have some things to discuss with you.”

ALL: You arrive on the Battle Barge after being ferried from Baal aboard a Thunderhawk. The bridge crew make haste to leave as soon as possible so you barely have enough time to reach your quarters before you feel the battle barge leaving the dock and the uneasy feeling of making a warp transition.

The warp jump to meet on the rendezvous point was a very short one but you are free to do whatever you wish during the journey. You could visit the chapel to take part in the chaplains sermons, you could hang around the bridge to try and find out more about the mission, you could visit the training cages for some last minuet practice, you could stay in your quarters and reflect upon past events or read something new, The ships librarium is always kept full the the ordinators so you could find something new to learn there or you could even make your way down to the workings of the ship and offer to help out with anything that still needs to be done. However your sergeant reminds you to keep combat readiness at all times while on this mission so you cannot simply go to your quarters and sleep.

After 36 hours you feel yourself transition back into reality and this is confirmed by news over the intercom alerting you that we have arrived at the rendezvous point at the edge of the Pavilios sector. You may want to make your way to the observatory to inspect the imperial fleet yourself or you may be content to continue with whatever you were doing previously.

There is a bit of a buzz on the ship as officials from the fleet arrive in the hangar to make council with Captain Castigon, The politics of the event are unimportant to you but you do know that as a result of the meeting you will soon get your orders. A few hours pass before your vox fizzes into life to bring you Sergeant Ando’s voice, “Meet on the bridge, the captain will brief us now.” You drop whatever you’re doing because you know it is unwise to keep your officers waiting.

You reach the bridge where the captain explains your mission to you, you are team 3 and you will be expected to shut down the generator. The explanation does not take long and you are dismissed afterwards to board a Thunderhawk.

You are left waiting for about 10 minutes in the Thunderhawk until Sergeant Ando arrives carrying a teleport homer. “Aesilius take this.” Says the Sergeant as he hands the marine the teleport homer, and shouts to the pilot to take off.

The Thunderhawk lands in the hangar bay alongside two others which you assume must have arrived earlier. You exit the Thunderhawk to an imperial guardsman who has a lot of badges and honour markings, he salutes you and says, “This way my lords.” He then proceeds to lead you out of the hangar.

You walk with him for a good hour or so. The battleship is colossally large, if you have any questions about the mission or the ship now would be a good time to ask either Sergeant Ando or the Guardsman respectively. You eventually reach a room somewhere on the port side of the ship which after a little bit of inspection is clear to you is a modified firing bay. A number of customised torpedoes are laid out ready for you. You see that the members of team 1 and 2 are already being fitted into their torpedoes. There are 5 Terminators on loan from 1st company and 6th tactical squad from your own company. You acknowledge them with a curt nod but you are soon rushed to your own torpedoes so that the servitors can get to work in strapping you into them. It takes roughly half an hour for you to be loaded securely into the torpedo and loaded into the launcher.

(OOC: Quick update, I’m scrapping minimum word count for this update because all it does is give some information. If I progress any further I would have to keep going for quite a bit and the post would be a bit too overwhelming. So anyway, what im basically looking for here is for you to repeat what I wrote from your characters point of view but with more detail and some opinions.)
 

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Aellisius stood quietly as Captain Castigon outlined the general concept and goal for the squad, designated team 3. The plan was fairly simple in design and didn't require a lot of information. That would come once they had successfully breached the gun and were faced with whatever opposition and information firsthand. Leaving the briefing, Aellisius was mildly curious what special information or instructions Sergeant Ando was receiving, but it was not his place to entertain that curiosity.

Instead, Aellisius found himself wandering without intent, his mind having drifted back to his last time serving besides his fellow Blood Angels. The memory was over a century old, but still ingrained in his mind as if it was only yesterday. His footsteps echoed loudly, too loudly to his oversensitive ears. It was too quiet, and the whole squad felt eyes watching them from the darkness all around them. Other squads were moving in other sections, the occasional vox sparking to life. No one had encountered anything, yet. As an Astartes, there was always a yet in that sentence. They were never deployed just in case. Something was lurking in the darkness, waiting to strike. With everything still quiet in the immediate vicinity, it was nearly startling when the vox suddenly came alive with chatter. 4th squad was only a few hundred meters away and facing heavy opposition. Aellisius, moving at the point, didn't hesitate in quickening his step to join his brothers in battle. It was then the xenos struck, quick as lightning. Already outside the main perimeter of his squad, he could only watch for a moment as two of his squad were cut down. His blood boiled within him, and he strode forward with Absolution in hand. When 4th squad finally found him, he was initially thought dead. It was later discovered that Aellisius's Sus-an Membrane was overly efficient, protecting him from the severe lacerations and poisonous infections he suffered to his head.

The glazed effect left Aellisius's eyes as looked around, bringing him back to the present. Looking around he wasn't extremely surprised to find himself near the sparring cages. His earlier performance had been lackluster at most and the haunting similarities between then and now only accentuated both failures. Seeing one of his squadmates approaching, Aellisius involuntarily cracked his knuckles. Fortunately, his Death Mask hid the ravenous light that entered his eyes and the wickedly cruel snarl that played itself out over his face. Shaking himself from the darker thoughts and his desire to bathe in the blood of his aquamarine, he strode away. "Perhaps next time." Aellisius says, before muttering too quiet even for his own ears. "This rage shall be better spent upon the enemy of man and not my own inner daemons."

The remainder of the trip, Aellisius continues a restless walk, awaiting the squad's summons. Finally, he makes his way to the Thunderhawk, and without much pomp or ado, receives the squad's teleport homer. 'Really?' He thinks, 'Of all the things to be responsible for.' Instead of voicing his concern, he simply remains silent, allowing himself to be lead to the firing bay.
 

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Vico swiveled to avoid a fresh jab. Like the others before it, this thrust was so quick and clean that the recycled air hissed with the knife’s passage. Boaz was quick, his ferocity honed into precision that would have terrified him, had he the capability to feel such a pedestrian emotion as fear.

As it was, the Blood Angel gave a winded chuckle as a second thrust came his way. His vox grille distorted the laugh into a noise akin to a spacefarer choking out his last breaths in a venting airlock—harsh, discordant and metal-tinged. “Talent, brother,” he giggled as he circled his opponent at a crouch, his knife held to his breastplate in a reverse grip. “What a dreary existence this would be if we didn’t recognize greatness when we saw it.”

He could imagine Boaz snarling behind his helmet. The poor bastard had no discernable sense of humor. Maybe one day he’d learn—embrace the blissful joy of being a fool. For now, his taciturn brother’s knife dipped a centime as he irritably flexed his grip.

Vico grinned. “Well come on then!”

And he did. Boaz rose to the affable taunt in a bare instant, darting in with his arm raised for an overhead slash. The movement was bowel-voidingly fast; to a mortal, Boaz would have appeared a blur of scarlet.

Jester though he was, Vico was Astartes first, and his reaction time was measured in microseconds. And this time, he didn’t dodge, as his opponent had come to expect. He charged straight in, his offhand sweeping up to deflect the incoming slash. His vambrace banged against Boaz’s with a dull clang of ceramite on ceramite. Crimson paint chips flew. At the same time, he swung low in his reverse grip, the edge of his knife aimed at the bundle of cables at his brother’s waist.

Of course he would have withheld the blow at the last instant—no point breaking each other’s bodies or battle plate with actual combat nigh—but the precaution proved unnecessary. Boaz’s offhand swept around in a clockwise motion and deflected the blow.

Undeterred, and still laughing a bit, Vico threw a wicked elbow that glanced off Boaz’s pauldron. The strike connected with the force of an industrial piston. Boaz lost his balance for a bare half second—all the time needed for Vico to grab him by the collar guard and haul his torso down to meet his rising knee.

This one took him full force in the helmet. His neck jerked. Ceramite tolled. Even as he reeled, Boaz commendably fought on, his knife cutting silver traceries in the air in an attempt to fight off Vico’s killing blow.

It was of no use. Still holding Boaz in his stooped stance, Vico held the tip of his knife poised at the nape of his neck.

“Lord Vico, point,” he muttered in a sing-song tone that only Boaz would hear.

“Lord Vico, point!” came the serf’s excited voice from the side of the chamber.

At that, he let his opponent rise. Boaz looked rather miffed, but he supposed that was the helmet. Or maybe it was Boaz, after all. The latter seemed likely.

“Thank the Emperor indeed,” Vico said with mirth. He inclined his head. “Best of three, then?”
 
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