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The Exonerators (Black Templar Crusade) - W.I.P.

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ACT 1 'The Beacon Is Lit'

Crusader Fleet 'Exonerator'
, an asembly of Black Templar strike cruisers called forth to lead a squadron of allied Imperial battleships in pursuit of the most criminal Orks who slayed the Emperor's Champion: Barrion 'The Blackblade' of the formerly named Crusader Fleet 'Retributor' (of Armageddon, under Marshall Mihilas.) The Battlefleet was made up of two companies of Black Templars, a small contingent of Veteran Armageddon Steel Legionaries with armored vechiles, and a Militant Interragator unit from the Inquistion employing a rag-tag bunch of Ork Hunter mercenaries.

Crusader Fleet Retributor was a force tasked with exacting swift punishment on, and the eradication of all Ork encampments in addition to pirate outposts in the Armageddon Subsector. With the untimely slaying of 'The Blackblade' the Retributor mission of justice and liberation became one of relic retrieval and retaliation on a deeply personal level for the Templar Brotherhood. Despite considerable losses against the Orks the Templar fighting companies quickly reformed, and reinforced under the banner of a new sanctioned crusade: 'Exonerator'.

Battlefleet Exonerator would be spearheaded by Emperor's Champion 'Machidiel', a young Initiate elevated to the rank after deemed of exceptional skill, and heroic in countless deeds for his age. Machidiel would be the tactical spear of the operation, while the Castellans in council with the Chaplain 'Tyfor' assumed strategic direction and company command; as Marshall Mihilas suffering mortal injury aiding our fallen Emperor's Champion could not lead it.

Marshall Mihilas was severly mauled while valilently defending Barrion's body from further desecration by the Orks who managed to steal off with the sacred blackblade. Now our Marshall lay in critical care of medics on the Battlebarge. This new crusade would be sent out in penance to avenge our fallen hero's honor, to vindicate our Marshall's sacrifice, and to bring the blackblade of Barrion back to the Battlebarge for re-consecration.

This Endeavor would however not see fruition as the Armageddon Sector succumbed to warp storms with the opening of the 'Great Rift', came great upheaval. The Crusaders would be thrown off course in this violent event, and were now scattered and lost.

Of Those Ships which did not perish, albeit suffering significant damage found themselves re-distributed somewhere off in the Segmentum Obscura; worse still in the immediate vicinity of a massive unidentified Xenos Armada out numbering the crusaders one hundred to one. Certainly, facing down the Xenos force against overwhelming odds would have made an honorable death, yet their duty was not for their redemption alone. Their duty was to the reputation of The Legion, to a Representative of The God Emperor, our fallen Brother and his noble legacy; for Barrion died facing down the Ork in battle. With his now missing blackblade, Barrion fell scores of the troglodytes that dared to engage our forces head on. It is imperitive the Templars regroup with their brethren and return to the cause.

The Battered Crusaders acted quickly, attempting an evasion with hopes of reuniting with their lost comrades, but were followed by Xenos scouts which rained fire down upon their already compromised cruisers. The survivors managed to escape in a crash landing on an adjacent, believed to be ancient, Terran-like world. Marshall Mihilas, the Castellans, the Chaplain, along with many battle brothers, and several of their Imperial allies perished. Numerous arms, equipment, and supplies were lost as well.

The remaining Templars re-organize, and elect the Judiciar 'Brahm Dahm', the senior most member of considerable wisdom and standing on his way to becoming a Chaplain, as the stand-in Marshall. Brahm acknolweging the urgent need of leadership over the crusade, agreed it would be just cause to break his vow of silence and assume temporary command.

Judiciar Dahm, Michidiel, and two surviving Sword Brethren survey the wreckage and assess the damage that lay before them. Judiciar Dahm initiates a roll call of survivors, and orders the servitors to take an inventory of salvageable items. Machidiel, and the Sword Brothers split up, each leading a scouting party to identify any nearby threats and locate a safe place to establish a base camp. The Tech Marine and Artificer address repairs, while "The Hospitaller" (as his fighting company refers to him, otherwise known as the Apothecary), tends the wounded, and gathers the dead.

The Templars then divvy up to carry out the tasks at hand. Once separated the Templar scouting parties find themselves harassed by primitives with bows and other projectiles who they ultimately repel with little effort. Later as the Templars reunite and begin to share the news of their encounters, they are alerted by one of the neophytes keeping watch that the primitives have returned, except this time, they appear to be leading a formidably armed Techno-Barbarian warparty riding ATVs.

With gestures from the on comers indicating the warriors come in peace, The Templars receive the Warlord as their camp subsequently becomes surrounded. The Warlord following introductions in a distant, but discernable tongue demands they surrender their best weapons and become his vassals in exchange for servants and supplies if they will join his warband.

The Judiciar rejects these demands outright, shouting "IN THE NAME OF THE GOD EMPEROR", up he swung the 'TERMINUS ULTIMERE', the executioner's blade, and before him to and fro, Brahm, Machidiel, and the Sword Brethern charge into the Warlord's bodyguards who are disrupted and dispersed. A ferocious fire fight ensues that ends with the Templars driving back the bewildered heathens from whence they came.

With the dark fast approaching the Templars forgo any further action choosing instead to shelter in place. They secure a defensive position among the wreckage and place neophytes around the perimeter remaining on alert throughout the night.

Following the battle with the Templars, the routed Warlord, he and his wounded warband, humiliated in front of their subjects, are enraged. The Warlord swears vengeance and sends forth messengers to all chieftains within his domain to send their greatest skilled warriors with their heaviest of weapons. For this will not be a battle fought by old men nor boys, but rather one requiring the most battle-hardened of warriors.

The Beacon is Lit...
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very cool story. intrigued to know what happens next.
Thanks, if I can resist the urge to keep revising this, I will move on to ACT 2.
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