Shadow Fire : 50K

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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:19 am

Gaius Marius wrote:
Colonel Mustard wrote:"I'M CHARLIE, AND I'M GOING TO RUIN YOUR DAY!"

An excellent part there, Gaius; the Loyal Fiend getting as twisted as the Fire Beasts was a very nice touch, and Tyme's little speech was both quite moving and a very strong way of showing just how hard the Beasts are finding things. And then you had the flashback, which was epic. Poor old Charles... :(


See, you're doing this thing where you kill of all the minor characters I like, Gaius. I haven't accidentally offended you some time in the past, have I? :P


Well there's one guy who isn't quite dead I think you'll enjoy :lol:

Is it that Titan princeps from STC? Because I'm still holding you killing her against you. :P
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:59 pm

Colonel Mustard wrote:Is it that Titan princeps from STC? Because I'm still holding you killing her against you. :P


1/4 right.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:10 pm

Gaius Marius wrote:
Colonel Mustard wrote:Is it that Titan princeps from STC? Because I'm still holding you killing her against you. :P


1/4 right.

Ok, that's much, much closer than I expected...

Actually, all things considered, that's infinitely closer than I expected. But only because I expected zero, and that does funny things with maths. God damn you, zero...
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:18 pm

I really liked the character-focussed start of this latest chapter. Tyme's monologue was very well done, and I like that Douglas doesn't talk throughout.

Charles' end was rather awesome too. Ridiculously hopeless last stands is the bread and butte rof 40k/50K! :D
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:28 pm

Thanks LL. These two are something like breather chapters before the real action starts.


Chapter 7: A Jagged Mind

The Fiend’s command room was a redundant thing.

Few of the First Bulls of old had ever thought to use it, their companies spread out across the stars in semi-autonomous crusades. Whenever the rare need for a briefing amongst more than a few officers arose, the Chapel of Fire or the Main Armory was often utilized instead of the command room with its hololith displays and volcanic chairs. Tyme had indeed never used it during his long regency of the Beasts, rarely having another officer beside himself to discuss with.But now that the Beasts had expanded following the successful campaign on Siclemaus, he pressed the ancient room into use.

The flickering hololith at the center of the room displayed Cadia as it once was, the great, impregnable fortress of old. An entire system dedicated to war, filled with star forts and crenelated asteroids and with high anchor berths for a full segmentum war fleet. Terraformed agriplanets made it self sufficient in food, while hive worlds and forge moons made any need for outside war material near redundant. And all of it was garrisoned by the Cadian Shock, the toughest, hardest unit of the old Imperial Guard, a regiment that even Astartes could respect.

‘That will be a tough nut to crack,’ said Weyne, the youngest officer perched in a rocky chair.

All of the Astartes sat around the display: ancient, massive warlords studying the holograph like they were students in a scholam staring at arithmetic problems.

‘From my view it seems Cadia’s defenses are perfect,’ said Wallace, the Librarian out of his Terminator plate and wearing a set of simple carapace armor. His claymore was at the side of his chair and his blue woad face paint had been scrubbed off.

‘It’s naval defenses are massively impressive and any fleet that manages to break through will take horrifying casualties trying to land troops onto the ground through the land-orbit launchers and starforts,’ explained Wallace, ‘not to mention the billions of infantry contesting any landing.’

‘Pre-fall Tactica estimates calculated that any force needing to conquer Cadia’s defenses would need at least 8-5 naval superiority and 7-1 infantry and armor strength to have more than a %50 chance of success,’ said Hexile, ‘The place was a marvel of defensive design. The oldest records state that Rogal Dorn had a hand in its construction.’

‘It will have only gotten worse,’ added Wallace, ‘Abaddon’s siege of the place lasted decades, with psychic screams echoing through the warp the entire time. The Cadians slaughtered millions of his cult warriors and thousands upon thousands of Astartes before they finally capitulated. Since then, the purple eyes have bred like rabbits and Abaddon has turned the place into his capital of the despoiled. They’ll be millions of soldiers, archaeo tech orbital defenses hauled in from half the old Imperium, thousands of Black Legion Astartes and Word Bearer priests and more daemons than are countable.’

‘How are we going to conquer it?’ asked Tyme to his assembled warriors, Weyne, Wallace, Martel and Hexile.

‘We have three hundred full Astartes and a few score scouts,’ said Weyne, ‘even with our ships and MacCallister it would be an impossible ratio.’

‘An outright attack would be a slaughter,’ agreed Martel, the Chaplain for once going against the direct route.

‘So an assault is out of the option?’ asked Tyme

‘Of course First Bull,’ said Weyne, ‘stealth is our best bet. I would recommend stealing a freighter and hiding Astartes into cargo crates. We can sneak to the surface, track down the spore Wallace follows and evacuate via teleporter with Vulkan at our side.’

‘An interesting idea,’ opined the First Bull.

‘Oh out with it Tyme,’ said Hexile, ‘you have a plot and we all know it.’

‘I do,’ admitted the First Bull, ‘but outright stealth is too obvious. Although we are a minor threat to Abadon, he knows us and he hates us. The sneak attacks used by us and other lesser forces I must admit have already been seen and countered before they are even made. There are daemonic scanners I am sure, monitoring every crate into and out of Cadia. Sneaking in that way would be an impossibility.’

‘Drop pod assault from a captured ship while it makes a suicide run on a star fort?’ asked Martel.

‘We’ve done that before,’ said Tyme, ‘although it was fun the first time.’

‘What I’m planning requires will require a hideous sacrifice,’ explained the First Bull, ‘we know from our prisoners that Abaddon plans a major campaign against the Iron Warriors. He will need ships, munitions and manpower beyond the vast resources that are easily at his disposal. The Despoiler will be hiring mercenaries.’

‘He will be hiring us.’

‘The Despoiler is as likely to fire on us as he is to hire us Tyme,’ said Hexile, ‘he will know of our actions on Siclemaus, one way or another.’

‘And to deal with Abaddon himself?’ asked Martel, ‘The Emperor may be dead, but his commandments live on.’

‘I am aware of the dangers,’ said Tyme, ‘both mortal and moral. We will do not one ounce of evil for Abaddon, merely unleash evil upon him. And he will hire us. Aside from the military strength we represent, you forget what we have in our stasis holds in the Fiend. Even a warlord of Abaddon’s strength would not throw away a thousand sets of progenoids gathered from millennia worth of butchered traitors. Especially when it comes to him at the hands of a renegade who has abandoned the chapter with a third of its strength.’

‘What renegade is this?’ asked Weyne, anger immediate upon his face.

‘Why you Captain,’ said Tyme.

‘I… see,’ said the younger Astartes, his mind working out the vagaries of treacheries false and real he would have to perform.

‘Even with deception on our side we will need stealth,’ said Tyme, ‘while Weyne and the new ships we captured at Siclemaus work their way into the Despoiler’s foul graces, the rest of the fleet will drift silent and dead in the deep void outside Cadia’s Oort cloud. When the Despoiler’s fleet leaves the system for his new war, Weyne will signal us and we shall hit Cadia when its defenses are down.’

‘Even weakened the planet will still be near unassailable,’ said Martel, ‘we will need help from a higher power for victory.’

‘I agree,’ said Tyme, ‘Forge-Master Hexile, Chaplain Martel, the time has come.’

‘Wake MacCallister.’
Last edited by Gaius Marius on Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Tyrant » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:07 pm

This story is going from strength to strength. The insight into the doubts that Tyme has was done very well indeed and Charles' last stand was suitably impressive. Shame he didn't just melta the Tyrant's face until there was nothing left of his skull but a puddle; doubt he could come back from that!

The last two chapters have both been titled "six" by the way.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:18 pm

Tyrant wrote:The last two chapters have both been titled "six" by the way.


Ah thank you Tyrant. Woudln't want the third one to be that, thus making the number of the beast and having the whole thing go recursive.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:09 am

Tyrant wrote: Shame he didn't just melta the Tyrant's face until there was nothing left of his skull but a puddle; doubt he could come back from that!


I think he might... ;)
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:54 pm

Gaius Marius wrote:‘I agree,’ said Tyme, ‘Forge-Master Hexile, Chaplain Martel, the time has come.’

‘Wake MacCallister.’

*Rubs hands together in glee*

Also, magnificent bastard of a plan, there. Now to see if they can pull it off.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:43 pm

Now the plan comes together. Partly.

Chapter 8: Night Hunt
The Wulfen’s claws sparked as they met Weyne’s falchion, the power field screeching hideously as it collided with the pinnacle of weaponized keratin. Powerful jaws snapped, severing a cable powering the Fire Beast’s helmet. Fighting blind, the Captain slashed with his elbow, the strike rewarding him with a crunch of bone and muscle as his armor hit the mutant Space Wolf’s skull.

Weyne hopped backwards, his feet sliding in the night world’s putrid muck, and stripped his useless helmet from his skull. The Wulfen pack leader growled before him, its yellow eyes and black claws shining in the light of three moons. Grey fur bristled in anger as the monster wolf viewed its prey, taking in Abaddon’s eight pointed star branded on the Fire Beast’s armor.

Shifting his grip on the falchion, Weyne took stock of his situation. He and the Wulfen were alone in a broken court yard, their only audience the bones of Despoiled nobility that had died months before. For all the Fire Beast’s size and ferocity, the mutant space marine out massed him by at least a factor of two and was capable of tearing Ceramite with its bare talons. Unless he received reinforcements immediately, there was little hope of victory.

Sounds of heavy footsteps broke the pair’s concentration. Shadowy shapes appeared on the walls above the ruined manse’s courtyard, their bulky frames suggesting Astartes. A severed head flew from the shadows, landing between the two duelists. The skull rolled, showing a pale face with a red top knot locked in a rictus of pain.

Weyne recognized the face of Captain Korimand, leader of one of Abaddon’s many subordinate warbands and the commander of the Dark Imperium’s expeditionary force. The Wulfen pack leader’s yellow eyes met the Fire Beast’s black ones and the mutant’s fanged mouth broke into a hideous smile.
…..
Weeks earlier…

‘You are going to Ascillia,’ commanded the Seneschal.

He was a vast creature, clad in black Terminator warplate of a mark ancient when the Imperium was still alive. His head in contrast was tiny, barely the size of a fist and with a mouth bristling with small fangs. He had no name, only his title as Abaddon’s aide.

‘Why?’ asked Weyne, the Fire Beast kneeling before the giant traitor marine.

In answer, the Seneschal rose from his seat on the stairs leading up to one of Abaddon’s many thrones, this one forged from the captured power armor of a hundred slaughtered Space Marine Chapter Masters. His deactivated power fist slammed into Weyne, sending him skidding across the floor to slam into the armourcrys window showing Cadia in all its corrupted glory.

‘Do not ask questions worm,’ said the Seneschal, ‘you are still subject to scrutiny over your loyalties, regardless of the geneseed bribe that persuaded Lord Abaddon to spare your pathetic life.’

‘One of my training camps has gone silent,’ said a second voice, this one cold, hard and utterly without mercy.

The Seneschal nodded in respect as a comparatively tiny figure entered the gigantic chamber. Weyne rose from his position on the floor to see Grasceila Creed march into the Blackstone Fortress’s throne room. The commander of the despoiled Cadians was old, short, broad and tenacious, her iron grey hair shaved close to her scalp. A hideous scar bisected her face between her purple eyes and her teeth had been replaced with steel. Her ancient carapace plate had belonged to her loyalist ancestor and fit her like a glove, although the eight pointed star was a more recent addition.

‘Do the Despoiled ask for Astartes help?’ asked Weyne.

‘No,’ snapped Creed, ‘the Cadians can handle whatever pathetic warband is behind the attack. I ask for you and a unit of proven Black Legionaries as a distraction. The Khornate morons or Slaaneshi hedonists will surely charge strait at your armored asses and allow my troopers to butcher them. Just like we butchered your chapter on Siclemaus.’

‘It is not my chapter,’ snarled the Fire Beast, ‘Tyme was a fool thinking he could take on Abaddon with the help of the Old Breed. He paid for his mistake and it was I who brought you the news when the rest of your fleet fell victim to the Sorax Imperium’s ambush.’

‘So you claim,’ said the Seneschal, ‘Lord Abaddon besieges Siclemaus as we speak. He will soon return with verification. One way or another.’

‘I have proven my loyalty,’ claimed Weyne, ‘I gave you a chapter’s worth of geneseed and crushed two rebel warbands did I not? I pissed on the Aquilla and burned Abaddon’s star into my breast. I am the Despoiler’s and no one else’s.’

‘That is irrelevant to me,’ said Creed, ‘I want my training world back. Ascillia is the blackest, harshest night world in three sectors and I have nine regiments waiting to conduct blackout training. Go there and bring back the head of whatever fool violated it and I will vouch for you the next time your loyalty is questioned.’
….

‘Speaking to them never gets any easier,’ Weyne voxed to Kaa as he left the throne room.

‘That is a good sign,’ said Kaa, the veteran sergeant sharpening the barbs of his chainaxe with a file. He was forever enhancing the axe’s wicked bite, even though it could already punch through Ceramite faster than the mythological snake that was the Sergeant’s namesake. Kaa had been leaning against the wall opposite the opening, engaged in a silent staring contest with two Black Legion terminators.

‘If it was getting easier that would mean you were turning,’ said the Sergeant, shoving the file into his belt and spinning the two headed axe in his hands, ‘and that would mean I would have to kill you.’

‘Thank you for that,’ Weyne replied.

‘It is no problem Captain,’ said Kaa as the two walked away from the throne room. The Sergeant made eye contact with each of the traitor Astartes and slid his armored finger across his gorget.

‘I’m taking half the company to Ascillia,’ explained the Captain, ‘to put down some rebellion or other. You and the remaining squads are being left here.’

‘I don’t like being divided sir,’ complained Kaa, ‘it makes us weak. Easy to destroy.’

‘I know,’ replied Weyne, ‘so keep your eyes open. But it is an opportunity; there was a riot in the Alcazidar Prison yesterday. Many guards were killed, as was the warden. I put the remaining half of the company forwards as a replacement, with you in charge.’

‘Alcazidar is Abaddon’s black hole, whoever goes in there never leaves’ mused Kaa, ‘the perfect place for Vulkan.’

‘That is what I think’ said Weyne, ‘find the deepest, most secure cell and be ready to break it open when I return.’

‘That still leaves escaping Cadia,’ replied the Sergeant, ‘in case you didn’t notice, there are a few billion cultists, thousands of Traitor Marines, a few fleets and a Black Stone fortress or two to get through after that.’

Weyne looked about at the fortress, at its cyclopean architecture consisting of hallways a hundred meters high and just as broad, the enormously thick armor and ridiculously huge weapons emplacements. Thousands of heavily armed Cadian soldiery thronged its hallways and patrols of daemons and dark Astartes made frequent checks of passerby.

‘I’ll think of something,’ he said.
…..
It was a three week journey to Ascillia, the perverse currents in the Eye speeding along Abaddon’s minions. During that time, Weyne trained his forty eight Astartes and attended briefings given by the expedition’s commander.

Lord Korimand was a typical Black Legion Captain, proud, arrogant and strong. His ancient carapace bore scars from a hundred crusades and captured skulls jangled about his belt. He allowed little discussion and ruled the junior officers like a dictator, backed up by six squads of Black Legion veterans.

Weyne did not like him.

‘Your men will be going in first,’ said Koriband, subtly insulting the Fire Beasts by referring to them as mortals.

‘You honor me,’ answered Weyne, playing the sycophant and wishing to put his blade between the Chaos Marine’s eyes.

‘Recon the main barracks compound and then secure the landing zone for the rest of the expedition,’ continued Korimand, not bothering to note the interruption, ‘I and then the Cadians will follow in strength.’

‘I would prefer it if my men were the first on the planet,’ objected Cult-Colonel Salamar, ‘Ascilla has been a world of the Despoiled for centuries. We deserve to be the ones to take it back.’

‘The despoiled managed to lose the planet,’ said Korimand, ‘it falls now to their betters to reclaim it.’

‘Go now and prepare your men for planetfall,’ the Captain commanded with a wave of his armored hand, ‘my Astartes are readying to break the enemy once they have been identified.’

The two lower officers exited Korimand’s command chambers, alone in the depths of the Black Legion daemon ship.

‘Korimand is certainly arrogant, is he not?’ asked Weyne.

‘He has a record of success going back centuries,’ said Salamar, ‘he has a right to be.’

‘After seeing his tactics here I don’t doubt it,’ countered Weyne, ‘it is hard not to be successful when you send in Astartes to soften the enemy up and then mob him with waves of brave, loyal Cadians. I doubt anyone else would be left to challenge him for his success.’

‘You think Korimand wishes to claim all the credit for the campaign?’ asked the Colonel.

‘I didn’t say that,’ said Weyne, ‘all I say is that it may look better for us if there were other voices besides Korimand’s claiming victory.’
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:14 am

I liked that. Shows the Fire beasts being clever.

Bit confused on the Creed thing. Has the despoiled General taken Creed's name?
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:27 am

She's supposed to be a descendent, its mostly inspired by Mustard's piece.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:25 pm

Oh right. Fair enough. :D
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:15 pm

Yay, I contributed to a in-universe continuity! :D

Another enjoyable part, and you've set up an interesting little mystery with the leadup to this fight with the Wulfen. I'll be looking forward to seeing more!
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:03 am

Chapter 9 is here. Challenge for those paying attention, in the past 2 chapters several new characters have been introduced. 2 of them have names from the same piece of classic children's literature. First one to guess it wins a cookie.

Chapter 9: Fanged Hunter

‘We have no movement in the compound Captain,’ the assault team voxed in.

They were floating high in a re-purposed Valkyrie, waiting for Weyne’s word to strike. Until then, they were providing reconnaissance.

‘I hear you Sergeant,’ Weyne said to Tavi, one of the few veterans in his company. His other squads were gathered near him, hidden in the nightworld’s paradoxical flora. Unwilling to risk either of his two Thunderhawks, Weyne and his Astartes had grav chuted in from high orbit. They had fallen for over thirty minutes before landing in the pitch black landscape surrounding the overrun Despoiled compound.

‘1st Squad,’ ordered the Captain, ‘move to the gate and keep to the shadows. Such as they are.’

The Astartes, only recently promoted from scouts, moved out with well practiced stealth through the foliage. As his other squads followed at staggered, covering intervals, Weyne took his helmet off to smell Ascillia’s air.

Ascillia was a paradox, totally pitch black and yet covered in jungles. It’s bizarre green dwarf sun produced no spectrum of light visible to the human eye, yet more than enough heat and radiation to allow for a plethora of native plant and animal life. The only light to human eyes came from three artificial ‘moons’, low orbit refueling stations who eternally scrapped across the upper atmosphere, casting tiny sparks across the sky.

To Weyne, the air smelled of rotting plant matter, a smell common to any jungle, lit or not. But behind the plant reek was the smell of wood ash, ozone from overrun electrical engines and blood. Vast quantities of old blood.

‘Stay alert,’ said Weyne as he put his helm back on, needlessly for his Space Marines were already at full readiness, ‘this is a site of conflict.’

The Fire Beasts moved through the jungle, each squad covered by the others. Their bolters, long barreled models fitted with serrated bayonets, were held snuggly at their shoulders, ready for either ranged or close combat. Soon their loping gate took them to the vast clearing burned from the dark jungle where the Despoiled training compound stood. The small fortress was silent and unlit, its many spot lights unlit and its walls unmanned.

‘Move in,’ ordered Weyne, ‘stay calm and keep your eyes wide.’

Moving into the fortress, Weyne was struck by the massive damage done to the place’s gates.

‘Captain Korimand, we’ve entered the base,’ voxed Weyne, ‘no activity yet. The gates have been torn off their hinges.’

‘Rammed or blasted?’ asked Korimand from the safety of orbit.

Torn,’ insisted Weyne, ‘physically.’

The rest of the compound wasn’t much better. Scores of barracks had been burned and the others had been smashed apart with a deliberateness that did not suggest collateral damage. Whatever had destroyed this place had done so after its garrison was already dead, showing extreme such extreme hate it was not content to leave even its dead enemy’s homes standing.

‘1st squad with me,’ ordered Weyne, ‘we’re going to the motor pool. 2nd to check the walls and 3rd hits the warehouses. Devastators stay here as a reserve. Sergeant Tavi, keep circling.’

His squads moved across the ruin, twelve square kilometers of blackened rubble. 2nd Squad found that the gun batteries on the wall had been attacked from within, their barrels bent and their mechanisms fouled. But their magazines and power cells were full; they had not fired a shot during whatever battle had taken place.

Weyne and 1st squad found that the tanks and APCs in the motor pool had been destroyed to vehicle. Treads had been torn into individual sections and cast wildly about, engines had been ripped out and piled in a sacrificial stack, explosive payloads and fuel had been used to blast open the remaining shells.

3rd squad discovered that the vast warehouses filled with supplies for sixty thousand men had been burned to the ground. However, analysis of the ashes found that they had been filled to capacity when fired. Greed had not been a motive in the attack.

‘Sir, I have movement on the ground,’ voxed Sergeant Tavi from the Valkyrie, ‘we’re investigating now.’

A half dozen bulky shapes fell from the circling aircraft, their backs lit with the exhaust flames of jump packs. They zig zagged through the air to avoid any fire from the ground and landed silently in the jungle outside the camp. Tavi and his unit were not outside long before voxing in.

‘You’re going to want to see this sir,’ said the Sergeant, ‘it’s one of … ours’

‘I’m incoming. Is it alive?’ asked Weyne

‘In a manner of speaking,’ answered Tavi.

It took Weyne a few minutes to cross the ruined camp and its broken perimeter, finding Tavi’s squad in a guard position in the black bush. A Cadian officer was staked to the ground, wooden spars hammered through his wrists and ankles. It was obvious from their jagged angles that the long bones in the man’s arms and legs had been broken, his tongue ripped away and his purple eyes had been plucked out. His body was covered in unhealed wounds, each scar replicating the same symbol over and over again.

‘His wounds still bleed and he has not yet been killed by the planet’s fauna. This was done recently,’ reasoned Weyne, ‘possibly as we we’re coming in from orbit.’

‘The symbols in his hide, what do they mean?’ asked Sergeant Tavi.

‘I’ve not seen their like,’ admitted Weyne, ‘they’re not chaos symbols that’s for certain. Too regular, too angular. They look almost Old Imperial but they’re too… savage for that. But this, this is a message. Whoever did this wants us to know they’re still here.’

‘My pilot is reporting lights in the jungle Captain,’ said Tavi, ‘it’s a structure, a large one. About ten kilometers from here.’

‘We’re hitting it now,’ decided Weyne, ‘Thunderhawks come in for pickup. Korimand, the main camp is clear for any landing. We’re moving to a secondary target.’

‘I will land at the camp and make my way there,’ said the expedition’s warped commander.
…..
The structure proved to be a manse, the fortified home of the night world’s Governor-General. It was built along Dark Cadian lines with high dirt berms and angular walls studded with firing ports, covered in frescoes of the Chaos Gods. A battalion could hide within its windowless depths and every external light blazed.

‘Our enemy wants us inside,’ said Weyne, ‘the place reeks of an ambush. It is probably wired with a few megatons of explosives.’

‘I doubt that,’ argued Tavi, whose lethal lightning claws were unsheathed at the prospect of indoor butchery, ‘the deaths at the camp were done with hand weapons, or just hands in most cases. This foe does not use explosives.’

‘Still, caution pays,’ said Weyne, ‘we’re blasting through the walls. Take your men high and go through the roof. All tactical squads, plant demo charges on the wall. Detonate and move on three.’

Each squad’s demo-carrier placed a fat satchel charge bursting with high explosives to the walls, while the squads stacked up next to the gaps. When it came, the explosions were large, but directed inwards and away from the Astartes. The Beasts poured through the gaps made in the structure, which was where they were hit.

Scores of hulking grey shapes hit the Astartes, attempting to overwhelm them with claws and teeth. In every case the foe was Astartes size or bigger and their strength was prodigious. But the Beasts were in barbed plate and their bolters bore bayonets. The rooms where the fight took place were small and soon filled with clanging steel and gushing blood.

Weyne’s opponent slammed into him as the Captain entered a fire charred sitting room. He had brought a storm shield from one of the thunderhawks' armories and the electrified Ceramite was the only thing that saved his life. The shield crumpled under the enemy’s assault as grey shape easily Weyne’s size slammed its shoulder into the storm shield. The Fire Beast blocked another blow with his falchion, the energized steel ringing as six razor sharp claws met the blade.

Snarling, Weyne brought the ruin of the shield into his opponent’s face, scattering teeth across the room. In response, the monster tackled him, screaming as Weyne raked its side with his sword. Up close, the Fire Beast could see that his enemy was some horrible fusion of Astartes and wolf, its fur grey and its eyes yellow. The monster’s remaining teeth snapped for the Space Marine’s skull and judging by its massive neck muscles, Weyne had no doubt it could bite through the Ceramite. He dropped his falchion and pulled a knife from his belt, slamming the dagger repeatedly into the monster’s side. Blood, bright and rich, poured from its side and the animal howled in pain as it scrambled off the prone Astartes, a cry that sent the Fire Beasts senses on fire.

Answering howls ripped from the combating wolf-things fighting the Fire Beasts, from inside the manse, from out in the jungle. By the Captain’s judgment there were scores of them. Hundreds.

‘All squads, fall back to the Thunderhawks now,’ ordered Weyne, ‘Valkyrie One, give us a strafing run for cover once we break off!’

‘Have Vulkan’s sons truly fallen so low?’ asked a voice. It was deep and wet, a low leopard growl that would have instantly caused Weyne to draw his blade were it not already in his hand. The voice’s tone spoke of wisdom earned through centuries of difficult experience and hatred built by a lifetime of disaster.

‘Not as low as you monster, your form shows your corruption’ Weyne said to the still unseen speaker, he and his Astartes still attempting to fall back. At the first syllable from their hidden spokesman the wolf creatures had backed off, their heads held low and their yellow eyes still shining with hate.

‘Captain,’ said Tavi, ‘look, there is armor beneath their fur. These were Astartes once.’

'As were you,' said the voice, 'you wear Abaddon's symbol do you not? Were the gifts of the Dark Powers really so great as to make you replace the Beast's skull and Vulkan's flame so easily?'

'The Beasts do as ordered,' said Weyne, finding himself drawn into an argument with his apparent enemy, 'no matter the cost to ourselves.'

'We were the same once,' was the counter, 'there was no mission we would not complete. No brother the Vlka Fenryka would not slay at the Emperor's command. All it took was a word and we would die to see it carried out. We were butchers and murderers, the Golden Throne's leashed dogs. We were hated for that, but we basked in that hatred. For the fact that mankind could spare the effort for hatred meant the Emperor's flock was safe.'

'You are Space Wolves?' asked Weyne, incredulously, 'Impossible. Abaddon crushed the Fenrisian Imperium centuries ago.'

'Embers survived,' came the reply, 'loyal embers that sought to start the fires of man anew.'

'Astartes alone cannot rebuild the Imperium,' said Weyne, 'we have learned that at our peril.'

'No, not alone,' said the hidden man, 'but there are those that can. Those that will. Those that must.'

'How?' asked Weyne.

‘We are all of us born into sin and corruption,’ said the speaker, his form seeming to congeal from the shadow’s inside the manse, ‘but it is in us to overcome it. Bloodlust can be mastered, change directed purposefully, desire quenched to a subhuman level and decay halted entirely. Chaos thrives on emotion, human emotion. If we make ourselves beasts we get rid of the pain of being a man.’

‘That is from our holy books,' declared Weyne, 'those are the words of First Bull Douglas from millennium ago. Show me your face, you who know our words.'

The figure that stepped from the manse was ancient beyond years and battered beyond measure. Its powder blue armor had been through so many cycles of repair and damage that it was one vast spider web of cracks and chips. A moth-eaten black wolf pelt that had been holed in a thousand battles and shrank by endless years under alien suns was nailed to his back. Two yellow eyes stared out from a face that was a network of crisscrossed scars. His hair was long, grey, matted and filled with eagle feathers and knuckle bones. A snarling chainsword was in his hands, the barbs of its chain made out of strange teeth.

‘My name, errant son of Prometheus, is Ragnar Blackmane,’ said the Fenryka, ‘and I have been sent to help you.’
Last edited by Gaius Marius on Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:41 pm

Ragnar? Awesome!

I can't answer the children's story quesiton (I've been looking over the chapters for ages now, and I just can't work it out. Gah!)

Still, love the close quarter ferocity of the scene. Good stuff.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:55 pm

LordLucan wrote:Ragnar? Awesome!

I can't answer the children's story quesiton (I've been looking over the chapters for ages now, and I just can't work it out. Gah!)

Still, love the close quarter ferocity of the scene. Good stuff.


:D Here's a hint: '“I have seen all the dead seasons,” he said at last, “and the great trees and the old elephants, and the rocks that were bare and sharp-pointed ere the moss grew. Art thou still alive, Manling?
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:15 am

Things coming to a head here!

Chapter 10: Betrayer

Korimand arrived with a rattle of armor and the fall of dark trees, hundreds of chained skulls shaking against the sides of his personalized Land Raider as it crashed through the bush. The jet black superheavy was part of a convoy of Black Legion vehicles carrying the Captain’s company, eighty post-human veterans of thousands of years of war. Looted razorbacks with the colors of the Imperial Fists and Space Wolves showing through their paint pulled up alongside antediluvian Rhino’s produced when the Emperor walked amongst men. Captain Koriman stepped from his possessed Land Raider, the black grass turning yellow and curling to ash as the fouled metal touched it.

‘You have called for my assistance thin blood,’ said Korimand, his head unhelmed and his dark eyes shining ‘yet I see no foe to fight.’

‘He has fled inside the manse,’ said Weyne, his armor covered in blood, ‘it took half my Beast’s to drive him there.’

Only a score of Astartes stood outside the ruined mansion with their Captain, their armor similarly battered and gore stained as their commander. Korimand noted that neither the assault nor devastator squads had survived whatever battle had taken place.

‘You stink Vulkan spawn,’ observed Korimand, sniffing the reek coming off Weyne, ‘you smell like…but that is not possible.’

‘Space Wolves,’ confirmed Weyne, ‘half a company of ancient curs tried to ambush us here. We smelled their doggish reek before they struck and hit first, but they still killed twenty Beasts. The Throne slaves fell back to the manse and carried their dead with them. My fallen are being tended to in the Thunderhawks.’

‘So, a few strays survived the sack of Fenris,’ said Korimand, ‘I will soon set that oversight aright. Abbadon always hated Russ’ dogs; even before the Great Betrayal they were an insult to true Astartes, to have so much potential and to reject it.’

‘I imagine the reward will be great,’ said Weyne, ‘for finally putting the Vlka Fenryka in their graves.’

‘Indeed,’ confirmed Korimand, ‘your remaining men will be going in first. My heavy weapons will cover you and my tactical squads will be right behind you.’

‘I will take your word on that,’ said Weyne, not believing the Black Legion Captain’s word for a moment.

The twenty five remaining Fire Beast’s set out, six squads of Black Legionaries with Korimand at their head following behind at a respectable distance. Scattered bolter fire came from the upper windows of the manse and if Korimand noticed that relatively little of it hit the Fire Beasts, he assumed it was because of their lower numbers. The Beasts pounded through the holes their previous assault had made in the walls, the two squads easily fitting in the gaps that forced the Black Legionaries to bunch up.

Once Weyne saw the last of the Black Legionaries cross into the Manse, he coughed into his throat mic. Five missiles burst from the undergrowth around the manse, slamming into Korimand’s land raider. The heavy tanks armor resisted the impact, but one of its treads was blown off and its weapons sponsons were destroyed.

‘Damn your soul Weyne, there are more of them!’ yelled Korimand, ‘All squads, fall back to the vehicles. We’ll hunt the bastards through the jungle and nail their tails to my tank!’

Further orders were choked off as swarms of Wulfen hit Korimand’s squads from all sides. Transformed into the perfect avatars of primal slaughter, the Vlka Fenryka poured from hidden doorways and disguised passages. Tearing apart their foes in a bloody, lethal duel. Horus’ treacherous sons were not quite the match of the Beasts in combat and many of them went down in the time it took for them to draw close combat weapons.

For a moment, the Beasts under Weyne’s command engaged picked packs of the mutant Astartes, those Ragnar suggested had the greatest control of their actions.

Korimand drew a howling daemon blade from his hip, a sycophantic parody of Abbadon’s hideous sword. He struck down two of the Wulfen with it, their bestial, pure souls screaming as the daemon devoured them. For a moment he threatened to rally his squads, but that was when Ragnar walked from the maelstrom of the melee, appearing from thin air.

The Blackmane howled as his frostsword struck Korimand’s weapon, the daemon within the Black Legionary’s sword screaming in agony as the purity of the kraken-toothed weapon struck it. Korimand was massively more muscled than the Vlka Fenryka before him and the warp’s maleficent effects had halted his aging process in his prime, in comparison to Ragnar’s wasted body. It mattered nothing, as the feral potential of Russ’ geneseed pulsed through the Blackmane’s veins, heightening his reflexes and sharpening his already formidable swordcraft. He turned three blows with ease and each riposte carved a chunk from Korimand’s face. Finally, the bleeding Chaos Marine missed a step and Ragnar took his skull off.

Weyne stopped his farce duel with a wulfen pack master as Korimand’s ugly face landed next to him. He was glad to see the fight ended in truth, for the hulking mutant before him had almost landed a killing blow five times in their duel. It took several moments and a sharp command from Ragnar before the wolf-man had stopped snarling at Weyne.

‘The enemy tanks are dead,’ reported Sergeant Tavi, ‘my command has disabled them completely. Tanks cannot fight beasts at close quarters,’ he paused for a moment before continuing, ‘although the missiles from the devastators helped.’

‘Perverted Cadian’s still prowl the planet,’ said Ragnar, ‘I would prefer not to let them live.’

‘They can be dealt with from orbit,’ said Weyne, his squads filing back together, only having lost a few wounded from their earlier fight with the Wulfen, ‘we have bigger game to hunt.’

….

Weyne stomped onto the Waste Song’s bridge, the Harrismont built warship shaking under the tread of three Astartes. The dozens of officers and armsmen about looked at him in alarm, obviously not expecting him to return from the planet so quickly. A map of the ship was spread on a table, many sections in green and only a few in red.

‘Captain Sylvia, Armsmen Lieutenant-Gwain’ said Weyne, nodding to each in turn, ‘the bridge is certainly a busy place today.’

‘Weyne,’ snarled Gwain, an autogun moving up in his robotic hand.

‘Oh shut it Gwain,’ snapped the Fire Beast, ‘put that away before you hurt yourself. Your courage does you good, but if you go pointing a gun at every Astartes who surprises you you’ll quickly run out of limbs. Captain Sylvia, give me a broadside onto Korimand’s cruiser. Its shields should be down.’

‘You mean you knew…,’ began Sylvia, a saber half drawn at her hip.

‘That you have been leading prayers to the Emperor of the Wastes every night or that Gwain there has been murdering any crewmember that tries to turn to Chaos and making it look like an accident,’ explained Weyne, ‘or that you were planning just now to mutiny and make your way back to the Chapter. Of course I knew. Tyme Crookedmind put me in command here, he would not have done so if I had been a fool.’

‘The smell of their relief is palpable,’ commented the ancient Blackmane

‘Is it true that the Space Wolves can smell corruption?’ asked Weyne.

‘Intent we cannot smell,’ answered Blackmane, ‘but mutation and the daemonic stands out.’

‘That will suffice,’ said Weyne, ‘please have the more lucid Vlka Fenryka go through my crew, to make sure that there are no deviants in hiding. It will take a load off my mind to know there are no traitors.’

‘It is the least I can do Captain,’ said Ragnar, the ancient Astartes starting to circle around the room, instantly putting the crew on edge.

‘Who is that?’ asked Captain Sylvia.

‘A hero,’ said Weyne, ‘and he may be the device for our success. Give me that broadside into Korimand’s ship please Captain and I promise that you and your crew can be a part of mankind’s salvation.’

‘As you order Captain Weyne,’ said Sylvia, barking orders for firing solutions to her gunners.

‘Lieutenant Gwain,’ said Weyne, ‘you have the remaining ‘loyalists’ locked up inside storage correct?’

‘That is right sir,’ said the Lieutenant, ‘they can babble with the best of them but the damn warp followers don’t have much of a grasp on tactics or discipline.’

‘I am glad you do,’ replied Weyne, ‘tell your men to fall back and lock the doors into storage behind them. Several hundred insane fusions of Wolf and Space Marine are going to come into our storage bays by a process I do not fully understand very soon. To be inside when this happens will not be… advisable.’

‘I’ll relay the commands immediately sir,’ said Gwain.

‘Oh and Gwain,’ said the Captain, ‘thank you. It must not have been easy to stay loyal to the chapter that shot your arm off. But I am glad you did. Relay your commands please.’

His underlings and peer set about their tasks, Weyne walked over to a vox-caster, the technician bowing as he approached. He nodded at the man and picked up the caster’s phone, setting its signal for a cross ship broadcast.

‘To everyone still alive on this ship,’ began Weyne, ignoring the hideous howls coming up from the storage bays ‘know this. Your loyalty to true humanity has proven itself worthwhile. The Beasts never turned from Vulkan’s fire and because you held true to that flame even when its bearers seemed to have fallen into the dark, you will be rewarded. For in the coming days we shall go to Cadia and we shall free Vulkan from his prison there! And when He launches his new crusade to reforge mankind anew upon the fires of war, you will be at his side!’
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:44 pm

Chapter 11: Belly of the Beast

Weyne’s chamber on the Waste Song was small, simple and utilitarian. It held only a rockhard cot, a tiny chair and mostly empty weapons racks. The Captain was spending his daily fifteen minutes of free time etching fresh symbols onto a new storm shield, the hieroglyphic representations of slaughter past and future personalizing the new piece of wargear after its predecessor had been destroyed by the wulfen. He was crouched over the circular shield, using a file to scratch a depiction of Korimand’s death onto the Ceramite surface when the knock came at his door.

‘Enter,’ growled Weyne, making sure that one of his hands was near a weapon just in case.

The circular door to Weyne’s cell slid open, revealing the backlit corridor beyond and the ancient form of Ragnar Blackmane. The Fenrisian’s battered armor had seen some much needed repairs in Waste Song’s armory, although it retained many of its cracks and scars. A human skull was gripped in the Astarte’s fist by the hair, its eye sockets bare and dripping gore.

‘This belonged to one of your crew,’ stated Ragnar, shaking the macabre trophy for emphasis, ‘we smelled the Wyrd on him and tore it from his flesh. Someone had done something to his brain, turning it into channel for seeing into the ship. I hope that he saw nothing that would alert his masters.’

‘He would not,’ said Weyne, rising from where he crouched by his shield, ‘we’ve been careful to play Abaddon’s dupes aboard ship as well as on Cadia. It has been excruciating.’

‘To see evil and not be allowed to tear it from this universe, you mean?’ asked Ragnar, ‘I know how you feel. Once I saw the spires of Holy Terra itself before the fall and the stench of corruption and petty greed that came off those ivory towers made me want to vomit or to kill until my arms fell from my sockets. And Cadia is worse.’

‘Yes,’ agreed Weyne, ‘Abaddon has slaved it to his will. Everything good and pure about mankind he has taken and bent to propagating Chaos across the stars. The worst thing about it is the purpose with which it is done. The Despoiler has a clarity of mind and a purity of focus which I have seldom glimpsed in this galaxy.’

‘It is true his host is mighty,’ said Blackmane, ‘but he is not the only power in the galaxy. In the oldest, darkest places the Emperor’s heirs gather and soon they will strike.’

‘The Primarchs,’ said Weyne with grim finality, ‘we have searched for Vulkan long and we believe that he is held prisoner on Cadia. Do you search for Russ as well?’

Ragnar’s face took on a sad, resolute air, ‘When the Astronomican failed and the Imperium fell, we to preserve a zone of sanity and safety in the space around Fenris. We slaughtered cultists and aliens by the million on a thousand worlds, piling them in tribute to a dead Emperor and an absent father. But our travels through the warp were too slow and our communications too unreliable. Fenris fell behind us to an unimaginable force and the Great Wolf vanished fighting the Necrons. With Grimnar dead the Chapter’s command fell to me and I lead a chapter with no future. Our genestock can only recruit from Fenris and Fenris was gone. In the end, I gathered the last few hundred Rout left alive and embarked upon one last hunt, to find Leman Russ or die trying.’

‘And dead Emperor help me but I succeeded,’ said Ragnar.

‘You found Russ?’ asked Weyne, ‘One of the twenty still walks?’

‘We searched the borders and depths of the Eye for years,’ explained Ragnar, ‘more and more of us falling to the curse of the Wulfen every day. There were less than thirty of us still in possession of our minds when we found our Primarch on a world of daemons and black sand. Leman Russ had hunted the warp for more than ten thousand years, seeking his brother Corax when the Raven had gone mad with grief. Along the way he had gathered a legion of monsters, those whose forms had fallen to chaos but whose hearts remained pure. He had found Corax and in some ways saved his mind, although the pale son of Deliverance was still mad when we left them. Russ healed the minds of the Wulfen, installing within them clarity of purpose we had not felt since the Great Crusade.’

‘If you have found Russ, then why are you still not with him?’ asked Weyne.

‘He is planning a great campaign,’ answered the older Astartes, ‘a war to throw Abaddon’s empire into chaos as Russ and Corax hunt for their other brothers. We have gathered many recruits from shattered chapters and forsaken worlds, those who wish to make themselves immune to chaos. To become a Wulfen, and that is all we can make anymore, is to lose one’s mind and thus become resistance to the temptations of the Maleficarum. I have brought many of these with me to strike the first blow against the Despoiler, to beard him in his own lair.’

‘And you need us to ferry you onto Cadia,’ said Weyne, ‘it is lucky we met.’

‘Ascillia was a trap for whatever forces Abaddon sent to investigate,’ said Ragnar, ‘we were lucky there were loyalists hiding with their ranks, but if you had fallen we would have just killed you and taken this ship.’

‘I believe you,’ said Weyne.

‘So tell me, Vulkan’s son who smells so little of fire and so much of darkness, what plan do you have for Cadia? How will you free your captured Primarch, assuming he is there at all?’ asked the Space Wolf.

‘You said previously that the only way to truly resist chaos is to make oneself a beast,’ explained the Fire Beast, ‘well my chapter happens to possess the perfect beast.’
….
Waste Song slipped into the Cadian system less than a day later, the only apparent survivor of the Ascillia expeditionary force. Upon viewing the fact that only one ship out of ten had returned to Cadia, Abbadon’s Seneschal and Lady Castellan Creed immediately summoned Captain Weyne to explain the situation aboard the Blackstone Fortress Pure Faith. The comparatively tiny cruiser slipped into the cavernous docking bay of the mighty space station, alongside dozens of warped Black Legion warships.

Ragnar went to rouse the sleeping packs of Wulfen from their temporary lair in the cruiser’s storage bays, while Weyne’s task took him to his ship’s astropaths.

‘Tyme Crooked-Mind,’ said Weyne, ‘Kaa Great-Snake, Wallace Free-Wyrd. I am here and it is time. Fire and Shadow. Vulkan will return.’
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:14 pm

A brilliant part but I am confused by the chronology. This is still 50K yes? or is it towards the end of 50K/start of 60K?
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