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Perfect Warriors

Discussion in 'Role Playing' started by Colapse, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. Colapse Colapse Forum Beta Tester

    <Command Meeting>
    @matt23 @Draconion @Vulpas + @Jorimel @dx144

    "White Scars agreed to offer us the necessary supplies," Nykar spoke but the stopped as he saw Khagan's gaze. Primarch's voice was melodic, strong and commanding, just like every other son of the Emperor had.

    "The Raven speaks true. We shall give you what you need, as much as we can spare. Ships, ammunition, crew," Jaghatai continued, stretching in his seat, the act disturbingly similar like that of a bored feline. "As for my brothers, the situation is grim."

    "Horus fooled the Wolf King into burning Prospero. I went and saw the ruins myself, as well as proof that Magnus finally decided to let go of the chains. We spoke of moderation, but he ignored it all and brought his sons with him. XV Legion pledged themselves to the Warmaster fully. As for Leman, the last I saw him was in Alaxxes nebula where he fought against the Alpha Legion. They also attempted to practice their warfare on us, but the arrows of Chogoris fly much higher than their veiled daggers."

    "Of the rest, we are unsure. Roboute is out of our reach as long as the Ruinstorm rages. Of the Angel I have no word and the last I heard from the Lion is sporadic reports we found on traitors. Dark Angels seem to be fighting the Eight on the Eastern Fringe."

    "If I might add," Reclusiarch Kul's ashen tone interrupted Jaghatai, but Primarch didn't seem to mind it, "My father, Lord Corax, survived the Massacre and he continues to wage the shadow war against the traitors. Of Vulkan, there was no sight and many claim he died on Isstvan V, although no body had been found." There was a moment of silence as Khagan's eyes went a bit wide, the Primarch offering a smile and a nod to the Raven Guard.

    "What Khagan speaks of, the Ruinstorm," it was Lord Yesugei who continued, up until then silent, leaning against his staff. "It is a...disturbance of the Warp, very hard to traverse. Traitors summoned it with their yaksha allies, cutting us off from Ultramar and Terra as well. This is why we came to Ios, to find another way."

    "But..." the old legionary's brow tightened, "I will require more time to understand it. But for you, loyal brothers of the Third, path through the Ruinstorm is impossible to navigate. You need psykers which you don't have and the loss of your Chief Librarian troubles me deeply."

    "Be that as it may," it was Jubal Khan's turn to speak now, a monster of a warrior the Lord of Summer Lighting carried himself with a certain savagery that was a direct copy of his father's aura, "While you lack a potent force, the wars are won by the strength of arms and martial skill. I'm in accord with Chief Apothecary's and Forgemaster's words. War should continue but we must shorten the front, fight smaller battles instead of this...unfortunate deployment. After all, what use are we on Terra, sitting behind the tall walls, where there are traitors still here to kill. Leave Rogal and his sons to do what they were born to do and let us do what we do best."

    It was obvious that Jubal spoke to his father more than actually answering Jendon and Vitaly, but Jaghatai didn't seem to take his officer's words as an insult where some, if not most Primarchs, would probably fling Jubal out of the closest airlock. Another silent moment which was once again, broken by the Raven Guard Chaplain.

    "Lord Commander Minteril reports that his campaign against the Night Lords was a success. The humans were saved and their supplies as well as a contingent of Imperial Fists defending that fortress joined Minteril's force on "Battleborn". He also sent a second message, requesting Lords Jendon's and Vitaly's presence on his ship, although I would leave that decision up to whoever of you decides to help our wounded Praetor and take the reins while he is in this state."
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  2. Imperius matt23 Curator

    Arnock took off his helm as he walked away from the group a few feet, placing it under his right arm before turning back. His face was now scarred to a point that would be familiar to all within the ranks. Scars that bore the tail of what they all now faced. His eyes now carried a weight to them that was not hard for any to read. The weight of all the loyal brothers they had lost wore heavy on his mind and heart.

    Arnock took a deep breath before he spoke, "And so it falls to us then in times of unknown." He looked around the room, looking everyone within in the eyes before he spoke once more, "I say we ride out." Arnock continued to pace, making sure no set of eyes within the room could avoid his gaze, his voicing carrying every emotion that had weighed down on his shoulders, "I say we ride out to every planet we find. We answer every cry for help. We show every planet we trend upon that loyal sons of the Emperor still hold true. We rally all the fighting forces we can and gather them to our cause." Pausing in place, Arnock nodded, "We show them we have not forgotten.... We have not forgotten our oath to the Emperor and the Imperium. While this situation with the warp storms is solved, we shall muster a force and be ready to make for Terra." Looking to the great Khan next, Arnock paused and shook his head, "Lord Khan, you know Horus better than any in this room. Tell me now, do you believe he has done all this draw out your Father and our Emperor?... I think not. The so-called Warmaster has let his ego get the best of him and show his hand. All this warp disruption and surprise attacks have been done with one end goal in mind, and you know what that is don't you... Horus plans to attack Terra with the full might of all his traitorous followers. He knows the Emperor and Terra are a symbol, and that if they fall, so shall the Imperium itself. So, Lord Khan, I must disagree with your advisor and stress that we must get to Terra at all cost. And that we use you as a symbol, for all that we find still ready to fight for the Imperium, to rally to you." Arnock sighed before continuing, "I understand that you may not like this idea, Lord Khan, but you know as well as I do that in these dark times symbols of hope shall be what all of mankind looks to. With you leading the force we gather, we shall cut a path through the traitor ranks straight to Terra."
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  3. dx144 dx144 Well-Known Member

    Pholax remained silent through most of the talks, nothing really his area of interest, logistics for this, deaths and wounded there, nothing he could help or reason about. The news of many of his old squad wounded and even the loss of Elymas and Denatus was a bitter pill to swallow. No tombs for them, that was where there story ended, only carried on by the Third Millennial.

    Remaining still and silent, his arm still missing as there was obviously, more pressing issues than repairing a dead man's tomb. The news of all these losses was likely able to weigh down even the strongest around. All that seemed left for them to get was pyrrhic victories, with the memory of the great victories long behind them.

    Then the word spreading, all of the legions stuck in their own areas. All unable to assist, nothing but horrible depressing news to follow another. The only consolation being the White Scars are still kicking and some fists were recovered by Minteril.

    Only with Arnock's words of what we should do next concerned him.

    "While I agree we should try to assist as many as possible, we're unfortunately in a weakened position. We need to now pick and choose our fights wisely. As I have said before, all these minor skirmishes are a prologue to the war at Terra. The Emperor beloved by all, we just need to gather our ranks around him and like the dawn burning away the night, shall he rise." Pholax spoke slowly, taking note of his sensors and his damages.
  4. Brother_Draconion Draconion Well-Known Member

    From the Private Journals of Vitaly Sokolovsky, Entry #650, dated 551.007.M31

    Only the truly venal and/or unimaginative would insist that Horusian Insurrection is being fought with material gain as its prime cause. Materiel drives the gears of war, it is true, and without mines, machineworks and farms to feed their incessant appetites, armies would never march and fleets would never sail. Yet, to claim that economic factors are the prime causators of the current civil war is to place the cart before the horse. The goods are vital because of the war, not the other way around. In fact, Horus could lose every system he currently holds tomorrow, and the war would persist.

    This is because it is a war of ideas. So long as the central, driving idea of Horus' rebellion persists, finding traction in the minds of those willing and determined to act upon it, I would go so far as to say the war could well outlive Horus himself, its fires continuing to burn for uncounted centuries past the deaths of all of us who fight in it today.

    The idea at the heart of the Horusian Insurrection -the supposed impending disempowerment and marginalisation of the Legions in favour of a vast, faceless bureaucracy composed of baseline humanity - has been discussed elsewhere. The focus of this entry's discussion is war at the level of the abstract - the struggle of ideas and symbols for dominance in the species gestalt psyche. The traitorous enemy has certainly demonstrated both a grasp of and a taste for symbolism at every turn. Demonstrations of power through elaborate displays of brutality have become the norm - barbarous acts of torture and execution are common public spectacle under the reign of Horus and his lackeys, to promulgate their own supremacy, and the utter powerlessness of those who would oppose them. Esoteric and disturbing rites provide a form of mystery theatre, evoking human fear of and fascination with the unknown as the Horusians display their allegiance with otherworldly forces from which they draw power and legitimacy.

    On the one hand, symbols are theatre - base entertainment for the hoi polloi, who spend their days with eyes closed and minds asleep. Yet, almost every military savant of Old Terra - from Soncius to Makiavellio to von Klauswitz - repeatedly underscored the point that, at their greatest scale, wars are won and lost in the hearts and minds of men. The Horusians seem to understand this keenly, as demonstrated by their grand theatre of mystery, cruelty, and grotesquerie. Set against that, the Imperial Truth of reason, informed scepticism, and secular humanism seems bland, inadequate to task. Yet, it must be made to suffice, for it is the heart of what we stand for.

    From one perspective, this could be as simple a matter as adjusting optics - how the cause is seen by the common man. Thus far, the image of the Imperial Truth is some crusty old Iterator, pontificating at length on the virtues of rationalism and secularism with rather more or less tedium, depending on one's choice of speaker. Hardly the image of strength and resolve that people in troubled times would look to cling to. Therefore, it is contingent upon defenders of the Imperial Truth to present its other face to friend and foe alike - Imperial Law, in the fullness of its strength, majesty, and severity. For, as mentioned in previous discussions, all functioning societies are built on the keeping of promises, and law is the formalisation of those promises, and the consequences of breaking them.

    Scholars of jurisprudence have commented that punishment for crime should fulfill three purposes.

    1.) Retribution: The oldest principle of law - an eye for an eye. Restoring the imbalance to society by extracting from the criminal an equivalent price to the harm done to society.

    2.) Prevention: Ensuring the act is not repeated, whether by successfully educating the offender of the error of his ways, or else by removing an incorrigible diehard from society - and perhaps the living - altogether.

    3.) Deterrence: Ensuring that others are disincentivised to emulate the original offender in his acts with an object demonstration of the severe consequences of such acts.

    The natural conclusion to the above means that we, the defenders of the Throne, must answer the gibbets, crosses, pyres, and sacrificial altars of Isstvan - and countless worlds since - with a dose of severity in equal or greater measure. An affirmation of resolve - a clear declaration of intent - must be made in no uncertain terms, so that the entire galaxy knows where we stand. Only in this way will the loyal take heart, and the traitor understand the stakes he plays for. In the latter case, the message must be clear - lay down your arms and surrender willingly, for you stand to lose *far* more should you force us to compel your submission by force.

    Command Council

    "So far, we seem agreed," says Vitaly's hololithic projection, "May I suggest we move on to specifics - where to go to do what, how, and where to go and what to do from there? Given the nature of our supply situation and my duties, I am compelled to push for a resupply and refit foray. The damage to our materiel requires drydock facilities and planetary manufactoria to truly correct. Furthermore, while I appreciate the influx of materiel from our Vth Legion cousins, that does not change the fact that it is merely left hand paying to right hand. Our entire joint force is in need of resupply, and more resources have to be injected into this otherwise-closed system to ensure continued viability. With that in mind, I vote we move on a system with sizeable void docks and manufacturing capacity. Not necessarily the closest, as the traitors will be watching for us at the more obvious destinations, but certainly one not more than two sectors away. If we could find a Forgefleet to commandeer, that would alleviate our situation even better in the long run, but we all know what they say about wishes and fishes. Still, keep an eye and ear out for traitor Legion Forge assets - never know what might waiting just within reach."

    When Nykar Kul reports the latest news from Minteril, Vitaly replies, his featureless helm betraying no sign of the calculating expression beneath.

    "Compliments to the Lord Commander on his successful mission. I am unable to attend upon him at this present time, but I will communicate with him in some other form at earliest opportunity."

    The Management of Savagery @Vulpas

    Time: 24 hours after the command council

    Location: Unused Sub-deck 64, The Sovereign

    Illuminated by the harsh white glare of high-powered floodlights, Astartes prisoners dressed in orange detention overalls kneel in ordered ranks, hands shackled behind their backs and feet hobbled by manacles, all linked to heavy plasteel collars about their necks. Ten rows of ten - a hundred prisoners of war in all. In the front row are five tormented figures on punishment racks. Legion Captains, all, taken in various combat actions over the 4th Millennial's year of merciless guerrilla war behind enemy lines.

    Taken, broken by torture, and saved up like precious treasures for a moment exactly like this one.

    Karon - the Iron Warrior, first of the lot, seized in the void battle over Isstvan V. Tormented and starved the longest, he cuts the most pathetic figure, drooling, emaciated, hair long since fallen off, skin dull and sagging over wasted limbs where once it had swelled over transhuman sinew.

    Batorei - the Night Lord, taken when the 4th Millennial reversed a would-be void ambush upon their pursuers in the aftermath of Isstvan V. Subjected to a vicious, scientific beating that had broken every bone in his body but left him in absolutely no danger of dying or significant brain damage, his broken bones had been deliberately set wrong and left to heal crooked, trapping him in a cage of anguish.

    Zoster - the Death Guard, captured in a raid upon a XIVth Legion supply convoy. Repeated strikes from Vitaly's Lightning Field had destroyed his voluntary motor nervous system, and he had been left suspended from joints long-dislocated, a nerveless sack of wasted flesh, drooling and helpless as he awaited his fate.

    Gorgo - the Son of Horus, sole survivor of a commando raid upon Horusian-held orbital facilities at Adrastes V that left his entire command dead. Used by Jendon to test experimental neuroactive drugs, the administrations had left him a shaking, palsied wreck, no longer able to control his own bodily functions and constantly soiled with waste as a result.

    Domitian - the Word Bearer, a prize from a chance encounter with an isolated XVIIth Legion fleet bound for the Shadow Crusade against Ultramar. The recipient of especial hatred from Vitaly and his like-minded comrades, the zealot had been stapled by his hands and knees to a metal plate, bound on all fours in a supplicatory position before an Imperial Aquila. Upon his back and head rested heavy anvils, forcing him to constantly exert himself to hold them up lest his spine snap or his head be smashed into the deck.

    Lining the walls, a mixed cohort of line Legionnaires and Techmarines - mostly the younger, more junior ones - stands guard over the prisoner contingent, reinforced by hulking Thallaxi and Skitarii from the force commandeered by Vitaly over Isstvan V. Tyrion and Ulysses, as Prime Convenant, flank their Primus at the foreground, while a servo-skull hovers close at hand, providing remote presence to Jendon, who is currently still convalescent in the Apothecarium. Floating ahead of the entire assembly, a small constellation of camera drones hovers, creating a three-dimensional recording in high-definition of the entire scene. The haft of Vitaly's axe crashes upon the deck plating, bringing the low murmur of conversation and the uneasy shuffling of feet to a halt as he prepares to speak.

    "Humans of the galaxy," his cold, metallic tones ring about the metallic walls. Through the vox-modulated flattening of emotional nuance, he somehow manages to convey the true frigidity of his inner world to listeners.

    "This is a message from the 4th Millennial of the IIIrd Legio Astartes. While the Legion itself is by now widely known to have turned traitor, having repudiated its oaths to Emperor and Imperium, know that that the 4th Millennial has not. We stand loyal to Throne and Terra. We - and those like us - are the last remnants of the loyal IIIrd Legion, the true IIIrd Legion. To the Emperor and His appointed lieutenants on Terra, we hereby declare our unfailing allegiance to Terra, and our solemn intent to prosecute war on behalf of the Emperor upon the oathbreaking traitors led by the arch-traitor Horus."

    Vitaly's axe haft slams down upon the deck once more. A silent signal goes out to the Astartes in attendance, flashing a cue upon their helmet HUDs. As one, they thrust their weapons in the air and shout, "Children of the Emperor - death to His foes!"

    A little bit of drama to leaven the theatre of cruelty about to follow. All this was, after all, drama for the hoi polloi.

    "To the worthless arch-traitor Horus, and his coterie of snivelling lapdogs, let this be a declaration of intent and an oath of moment. You tried to murder us unawares, stabbing us in the back on Laer and Isstvan. Know that you failed. Know that we survive. Know that we come for you, with the full force of the Emperor's law, with vengeance for our brothers you betrayed and foully murdered, for the oaths you so cravenly broke. And not all the base perfidy in the galaxy, nor all the otherworldly fiends in the Warp, will stop us."

    *SLAM*

    "Children of the Emperor - death to His foes!"

    Walking over to to Theophrastus Karon - who looks on with glazed eyes, just barely cognizant of the proceedings but well aware by now of his impending fate - Vitaly grasps the sunken cheeks between thumb and forefinger and roughly turns his face directly toward the main camera.

    "To Perturabo, traitor Primarch of the IVth Legion, we give this message - behold your son, as broken and hollow as your pretensions of strength, faith and honour. Once, I honoured and revered you equal to my own gene-sire. Now I spit upon your faithlessness and hypocrisy. Know that I see your pettiness, your selfishness, your vainglory, your weakness for what it is. Know that I will hunt your sons from one end of the galaxy to the other and visit such fate or worse upon them. Know that whatever you build, I will tear down. Know that whatever you treasure, I shall appropriate for my own. And know that, one day, you and I shall come to a reckoning, and I shall inflict upon you such a blow as to mark you till the end of your days, spending even my own life to do so if I must."

    Moving on to Zoster, he likewise forces the man to stare into the camera.

    "To Mortarion, traitor Primarch of the XIVth Legion, we give this message - I trust you remember the blow I dealt you from behind on Ios? That is but the first of many installments on the vengeance due you from the dead of Isstvan. As you slew them by perfidy, so will you be dealt with perfidiously, again and again and again, until you have had the full measure of your crimes dealt back upon you a thousand times over. If we cannot touch you personally, then we will visit our vengeance upon your sons in a thousand thousand shades of misery and anguish, until there are none left. Then, and only then, do you have our permission to die."

    Pointedly bypassing the Son of Horus in an unmistakeable snub to the Warmaster, Vitaly moves on to Batorei, the Night Lord.

    "To Konrad Curze, traitor Primarch of the VIIIth Legion, jackal of Nostramo, we give this message - that you and your Legion of bottom-feeders and throatslitters weren't purged long ago was an inexplicable oversight. We aim to rectify that, and you scavengers will learn how it feels when the shoe is on the other foot. Prepare to be hunted and harried at every turn, and finally exterminated like the vermin you are."

    Finally coming to Word Bearer, trembling with strain under the burden of his own bespoke torture, Vitaly turns once again to face the camera.

    "To Lorgar, traitor Primarch of the XVIIth Legion, architect of treason, runt of the litter, we give this message - you and your gaggle of snivelling children seeking comfort from the dark will be wiped from the galaxy like you should have been long ago. Why you lying, treacherous weaklings were tolerated and indulged for as long as you were, we can never know, but you are a mistake we aim to correct. Your faith is as weak and hollow as the gods you serve, and we will prove it upon the flesh of your sons today."

    Returning to his place front and centre, Vitaly continues to address the camera.

    "Finally, to our degenerate gene-father, Fulgrim, and his bastard traitor sons, we give this message - we repudiate you and your works in totality. You effete castrati are unfit to bear a Legion number, much less the name of Emperor's Children. We disown you all and declare everlasting vengeance upon every last last one of you degenerates. We will never rest until we have scoured the galaxy clean of your ilk and torn down the last of your works, though it take a thousand millennia."

    "To all the Legionnaires that serve the arch-traitor Horus and his Primarch lackeys, let this be our sole warning - cease and desist in your treason, and surrender yourselves to the authority of Terra immediately. If you do not, and attempt to resist us with violence when we come for you at last, know that this fate awaits you."

    A squadron of high-grade medical servitors trundles into the space. Fully-equipped with the precision tools and sophisticated cogitators for bionic and neurosurgery, they move into position to attend the first row of prisoners.

    "As Legionnaires, not only your wargear, but your flesh and very lives are property of the Emperor. The act of insurrection is therefore an act of theft in addition to other offences. Therefore, we have deemed that the appropriate restitution is a sentence of live servitorisation. Your stolen bodies will be reappropriated for Imperial service, and you will be turned to aid the loyal war effort in various ways. Your minds, meanwhile, will be shorn of all unnecessary capacity, dimmed to a level where you will just barely comprehend the magnitude of your punishment, but be unable to do anything other than serve in the capacity allotted to you, and suffer."

    *SLAM*

    "Children of the Emperor - death to His foes!"

    Turning to the servo-skull, he nods.

    "Over to you, Chief Apothecary."

    A rune blinks on in Jendon's remote display upon his work tablet as Vitaly transfers primary control of the servitors to him. As Vitaly steps back to allow the Chief Apothecary to go to work, the whine of powered surgery tools joins angry shouts and defiant curses as the prisoners fully digest their impending fate. As the clinical whines turn to wet, gristly splatters where cutting edges part flesh and section bone, so too does the shouted defiance turn to screams of agony, ending in gurgles as brains are butchered of comprehension and rewired to serve narrow, unidimensional purposes, their bright flames of sentience dimmed to just a few degrees above total extinction.

    A arterial spray of bright, transhuman blood paints Vitaly's armour with a slash of sanguinary colour from helm to poleyn. Unflinching in his faceless panoply, the Forgemaster may as well be a statue, watching in impassive stillness as traitor Astartes are clinically butchered and reshaped for eternal slavery before his eyes. Beneath his featureless helm, his face is likewise stony, but a terrible light of merciless satisfaction dances in his eyes.

    Sic semper traitores.
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  5. Jorimel Jorimel Well-Known Member

    Aleph was not, unlike bold Arnock or clinical Vitaly, a man well versed in strategy. He had a Legionary's grasp of it, for certain, but it was not where he shone. In that - if he allowed himself to reflect upon it - he was like the long-dead Captain he so revered, Akurduana, though he had heard that the man was also a talented cook and expressive artist.

    He did not allow himself to reflect upon it. In the days since he'd dragged back the battered vehicle that had both drawn enemy fire and saved his life, along with a handful of others, all Alephoros had been able to do was rest in a hospital bed, and it was driving him to distraction. It was as if he were suspended between two points: despair and rage, melancholia and numbing accidie opposing rageful restlessness and corrosive anger. The first day or so had been a blank, and on the second, his gift for a return to full consciousness had been to learn that two of his original cohort had passed from the world. Elymas had never felt like a Brother to him, not because of the psyker gifts he'd wielded, but because the Librarian himself had not wanted it. Jendon would miss him, he knew. Denatus, however, had always been ready to share a drink in the Clubhouse and leavened many situations with his dry sense of humour. Any death left the Millennial diminished, yes, and a Destroyer expected no country farm, but still he would miss the warrior. When Aleph learned of the manner of his death, he grieved still, but it was alleviated by pride.

    At the end of the second day he'd learned who was next to him in a comatank, and managed to turn his head enough to catch the wink of a sus-an membrane through Jendon only knew what wires and potions.

    "You'd better only be mostly dead, old friend," he told Extrovious. "This is no time to start down that metal box route. As appealing as wrestling matches with Pholax might be for you." And so he kept on, knowing Extro couldn't respond, but also with the shadow of an idea that what was said to an unconscious man would somehow pass through into his awareness. If it helped at all, Aleph was going to talk until he had nothing more to say, and then start again at the beginning. He even sang an old Sulpha fighting song, banging out the rhythm on the frame of his bed until he got one too many disapproving looks from orderlies. The last one threatened the Palatine Exemplar with psych-eval and he couldn't be taxing whichever young pup had been entrusted with the mental wellbeing of much older and much more cynical men.

    Perhaps, Aleph told himself, if he repeated it often enough he would start to acquire the kind of internal gravitas everyone else seemed to think he had won simply through surviving. He wasn't even sure how he had done that. Nevertheless when he found himself called to a meeting with the Great Khan himself, he still did not feel that his advice on what course to take had any real merit. No matter. He was asked, and so he spoke, though he felt that the Standard-Bearer was the true inspiration.

    "My Lords, Sire," he said, putting the level of respect in ascending order as he bowed his head to the Khan. "I too thank you for your succour, both on the field and off. Like my Brother, I believe that we must head for the Throneworld. Let us save whom we can, let us gather as many of our scattered Loyal Brothers as we may find, but in the end, the fight - and this whole damned struggle - will be decided there."

    "I am a swordsman, Sire, though not as fine by any means as you. But I what I learned from my craft, and from my long-dead people, is that there is a time for a feint, and a time to cease all pretence and stab straight for the heart."

    "I say we head for Terra."

    Aleph listened closely as the list of surviving Legion-Lords was told, and he was relieved to learn that the carnage was not greater. He looked at Nykar Kul as the others spoke. The scarred Raven, one-eyed now like the Traveller his namesake had once served, was alert as always. Turning his head to look more keenly at something with his singleton made him look fittingly birdlike. Aleph couldn't be certain he hadn't seen Nykar doing it before. But underneath the attentive listening posture, he still had something, a certain essence or liveliness that spoke to Legionary Aster of one thing. Kul did not believe that Corvus Corax was dead. And if he didn't, then nor did Aleph.

    Sidon, old Sidon still lived as well, even if only just - like Extrovious he would be needing metal flesh. And Minteril had been successful in his mission. That had to be good for morale among the newer warriors, as well as giving hope to the the veterans. Alephoros didn't smile, not quite yet, but he felt the beginnings of a sense of purpose as he listened to the discussion.
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  6. Colapse Colapse Forum Beta Tester


    The Khagan listened patiently to the words of loyal Emperor's Children, nodding slowly to Pholax and Vitaly while grunting in approval to both Aleph and Arnock. As they finished speaking, Jaghatai leaned forward, narrowing his eyes at the mention of his brother, not quite able to hide the sadness within them. "Horus has gone mad, but...his actions tell me he is not crazy. He still possesses the tactical acumen for which he is famous, rightfully so. I agree with you, Lord Arnock. His ultimate goal is Terra, but he cannot attack it outright. He needs to build his force significantly if he is to bring battle to the Sol System and for this, he needs time."

    "Which is why he summoned this Ruinstorm and sent his servants forth to cripple Guilliman's realm" he straightened now, hand placed on the chin and beard which flew freely down, "He wants to cut us off, that part is obvious. But the problem is, he is stuck here with us. Therefore, while Terra remains our distant goal, it is here, in this grey part of space with shifting allegiances, where we must hunt the traitors down and destroy their plans before they have come to fruition."

    "But make no mistake, true warriors of the Third," Jaghatai raised his head now, his storm-blue eyes piercing through every Emperor's Children present, "Your fate will be your own. Do not call upon me to command you, for I am neither the Phoenician nor my Father."

    "That is one of the reasons for which I..." Nykar Kul began to reply but he was cut short as he spotted movement and felt a firm touch on his left vambrace. Two Apothecaries present finished their work and the Reculsiarch bowed. The voice that came through was weak but only in physical sense as the voice cords and the throat were damaged by promethium burns. Under the obvious injury, the undertone was hard, commanding, even a bit business like. Just like the 4th Squad remembered it.

    "As far as I remember, I'm still in command of our Millennial and I'm yet to go and greet my ancestors," Sidon spoke and rose up in his chair, with the help of the medical staff. He would live, that was certain, for there was strength in the old Terran bones, but whether he would be able to wield that winged mace of his as well as he once could was hard to gauge at this moment. Thankfully, he didn't lack conviction.

    "Hear me now, brothers of the Third and cousins of the Fifth and Nineteenth. Ever since Laer, through Isstvan and darkness beyond, our oaths remained the same. We will go to Terra, not because of Horus and his devious plans or like some beaten dogs to come back to heel. We will go to our Homeworld because we must be judged for the sins of our father. Only the Emperor can decide our fate and it will be up to Him to tell us, whether we should all burn or live to stand on the Eternity Wall once the traitors arrive. And they will arrive, make no mistake. But before this, we will make them bleed."

    He grunted and swayed a bit, but didn't fall, shrugging off Nykar's help and pushing both him and the Apothecaries away. "Lords Jaghatai, Jubal and Yesugei. Your help in this hour will be remembered and I swear, as long as any of us live, when you call we will answer. If you order us to turn back and sail into the bulk of Mortarion's curs, then we shall do so without question. You have given us new life and a chance for redemption. For this, we are in your debt, from now until the universe itself burns out. This I, Sidon Polemarch of the House Eneus, Praetor of the Emperor's Children, swear to you and all your sons."

    At Sidon's words, Jubal clapped his fist against his breastplate, Yesugei lowered his head in a bow and Jaghatai smiled. "You honor us, Praetor Sidon," the Primarch replied softly, "I accept your oath and let these warriors be our witnesses." Sidon gave the signal and a servitor arrived, bringing a fresh piece of papyrus and ink, the words written down and attached to Praetor's armor, after both him and the Warhawk placed their marks on it, sealing the oath of moment.

    "My friends, comrades in arms, my brothers," Sidon turned back to the group of Emperor's Children legionaries, his eyes filled with pride but the wounds began wearing him down and he had to sit back. "The road before us is filled with uncertainty and even though I would love nothing more, the reality is that many of us may never reach Terra, myself included, so listen closely. Consider this as my final set of orders for you, before we arrive on the Throneworld."

    "Vitaly and Jendon. The shadow war must continue and as Jubal Khan said, we must adjust. For this, we need unorthodox minds such as yours. Reclusiarch Kul and his men have much experience in this, but so does our Commander Minteril. Once we are resupplied and the White Scars provide us with runner ships, I want you to go and link up with Minteril's company and bring the Raven Guard with you. Prosecute the war from there, behind enemy lines, burn everything you can and hurt the traitors as much as possible. Remind them why the Third was once considered as the most vaunted of Legions. We are killers all in the end and our Legion always bred the finest ones."

    "Arnock. You spoke of hope and the gathering of force. Know that while we are on the run, there are allies loyal to the true Third Legion still out there. With their help and the help of those who are currently besieged by traitors and cut off from their main command, a great tide could be raised, enough to cause the Warmaster enough pain that he has to reconsider his approach. I want you to head out and seek them out, find everyone you can gather and bring enough reinforcements that we break whatever barricades the traitors have set between us and Terra."

    "Aleph. I have a special task for you, our Palatine Exemplar. Nykar supplied us with plenty of information on the fate of our former brothers and while I know that the ways of Terran Ravens differ much from what we know of the XIX, this mission requires a set of skills you trained for, long time ago. Names like Kenjiro, Camille and...Cautorious appeared on these reports, so if vengeance is to be had, I want Night's Edge and Daith'wyn to be the blades to enact it."

    "Pholax. While your new status prevents you from going out on such covert missions, there is still so much work to be done. Of outmost importance is that the "Sovereign" remains in our hands throughout this war. It will act as our base of operations and you will command it in my medical absence. I'm promoting you to a Captain, effective immediately. This promotion has been long overdue but I trust you will accept it still. If you do, I want you to gather the remains of 27th, 28th and 29th companies and forge them into a new force. Much of our men are left shattered after Ios and what remains has to be brought from the ashes yet again. Once this is done, we will continue onward. I've heard of an Iron Hands warrior called Meduson who has gathered troops to fight the traitors in similar way like we are discussing, calling themselves the Shattered Legions. Perhaps contacting him could help us better organize our effort."

    "This is my will," Sidon finished and lowered his head, very exhausted after all this talk. "Whatever happens next, know that I was always proud to be your officer. Ever since your first deployment on that jungle world, I knew your group was special. We've lost many along the way but the spirit of the 4th Squad remained intact. Remain true to it and trust me, this goal will be your guiding beacon through this dark age of horrible betrayal and fratricide."
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