[Fluff] The Siege of Bruj - Coffee Table Book

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[Fluff] The Siege of Bruj - Coffee Table Book

Post#1 » Feb 23 2015 11:34

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"Acting on intel from the Segmentum's Inquisition, the Raven Guard 3rd company deploys a scouting party to the system of Bruj to investigate reports of a once loyal chapter, the Emerald Fists, having captured the system and enslaved the populace to their own end. What they find there spits on the friendship the 3rd Captain once thought he held with the Fists and puts both chapters into battlefield roles they were not designed for."

The story details the outcome of a narrative campaign loosely based on the Badab War Campaign between the Raven Guard and my creation, the Emerald Fists. The details and events portrayed are inspired by actual in-game events as each mission evolved based on the results of the previous (some artistic license was of course taken). The heroes and events are all original and in many cases the result of dice rolls.

Please see here for the 12 mb final production quality version. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-KvgnKEUAJRRUc2Z2p4TElCSzA/view?usp=sharing

WARNING - Not Tau!

Introduction - The Schism of the Fists

“Men are raised on high in order that they may fall more heavily”
Claudius Claudianus, In Rufinum, circa M1


Not all Word Bearers have a broad worship for the Pantheon of Chaos. In the pursuit of power an allegiance with a patron god has its appeal and although uncommon it is not unheard of for a Word Bearer to refine their prayer. The dark apostle Kor Ikthon is one such individual, a master orator whose silver tongue had been sharpened during the Great Crusade itself. With his mind on the long war, Ikthon sowed the seeds which led to the Schism of the Fists. How Ikthon swayed the Emerald Fists’ Chief Apothecary, Sextus Roscius to the dark powers is known only to the pair yet the result of their blasphemy ripples through the Imperium.

Some time in early 800M41 Roscius began tampering with the Emerald Fist geneseed; making minor alterations which lay dormant and unknown to any within the chapter. Gradually, as the crusading fleet suffered battle losses, the corrupted geneseed was implanted into new recruits and their training was enacted as it had been for 5 millennia. For nearly 100 years the chapter continued its campaign around the eye of terror persecuting whatever mission chapter command had ordered and slowly the composition of the chapter swelled with battle brothers host to a dormant corruption.

In 898M41, acting on intel suggesting a potentially massive incursion from the eye of terror, fully one half of the Emerald Fists were dispatched to meet this building threat. The 5th, 6th, 7th and portions of the 1st, 2nd, 9th and 10th along with Roscius travelled at speed through the warp to reach their target. During the journey the fleet became stalled within a savage warp storm and a plague of immeasurable horror was spread throughout the fleet. Escorts, strike cruisers and the battle barge Intangible Force were enveloped one by one. At this moment the truth of the introduced gene flaw became apparent; the Emerald Fists knew fear. As the plague ravaged crew and space marine alike, the marines with the corrupt geneseed felt anathema to the thought of rotting a slow and painful death. Apothecary Roscius spread word that his battle brothers could protect themselves from the plague by cutting a three ringed mark on their chest. The veteran marines knew this for what it was and steeled themselves against this threat for no true son of Dorn would cower before the hand of death. The marines carrying the corrupted gen seed however saw the result of the plague before them and their iron resolve crumbled. In scores they followed Roscius’ instructions as did most of the Imperial crews. The veteran marines moved to take Roscius but the plague had ravaged their strength and those marines now loyal to Roscius rushed to his aid. The plague slowly and mercilessly destroyed the bodies and minds of the veterans as the traitors held them at bay.

Witnessing these events from the bridge of the Dawn Imperitus and piecing together reports from the veterans aboard other ships in the fleet, veteran sergeant Titus Latinius of 1st company, 4th assault squad gave the order to disengage before the plague gained foothold aboard his vessel. Guided by the Emperor’s light the chief navigator aboard the strike cruiser managed to escape the warp storm and bring word of the treachery to chapter command.

Over the next 5 years as the chapter’s chaplains and apothecaries unearthed the depth of the corruption and nearly half of the remaining loyal marines were purged for the good of the chapter. Chapter master Gneaus Claudius swore vengeance and set the chapter about its last crusade, to bring the traitor fists to heel. This event would be forever recorded as the Schism of the Fists within chapter records; however, no word of this would be spoken to the Imperium.

The crusade fleet, now cleansed of the loyal marines was under Roscius’ control. He now led nearly one half of the chapter’s strength; materiel and men. Having escaped into the eye of terror aboard the Intangible Force, Roscius has led numerous campaigns by proxy of his Lords of Rot into the realm of man. The Siege of Bruj is one such campaign and is detailed herein. The following details the heroic intervention of the Raven Guard as they battle against a former ally long fallen from the grace of the Emperor’s light.

As reward for his patient deceit and the corruption of a chapter during the Schism Roscius was elevated to daemonhood. Roscius, Daemon Prince of Nurgle now directs his tainted marines from the warp, targeting systems seemingly at random. Though he cannot lead his fleet through realspace his Lords are more than capable of enacting his will and summoning him should the barrier between the realms be weakened.

A Glimpse of Rot

Brother Atius looked down at his dying brother and uttered a quiet curse. "Such a coward for fearing death and giving in to the traitor apothecary's temptation" he whispered as his bolter barked. Atius turned and stepped toward the exit lift heading to the next level of the ship.

Before he could take a second step he heard a rasping, wheezing sound and spun on his heel into a ready position facing the noise. His former brother began to rise, limping toward him. The marine took 2 bolter shells to the torso as the magazine ran dry; it closed the distance but showed no outward sign of the impact save for the smell of burnt flesh. As Atius brought his mono-filament combat blade up into a defensive position the blade began to disintegrate in his hand. He looked on in disgust and charged. The abomination welcomed the charge with open arms and closed its embrace.

"It is true, Brother," he wheezed "I have known the fear of oblivion and I have been shown a path without pain, without death . Now, accept this blessing..."

Atius struggled to rip free of the embrace but his strikes were weak. He felt himself thrown to the side. Splinters of ceramite pierced his flesh as he struck the bulkhead and slumped to the ground. Atius managed to right himself but a knee impacted his side sending him to his back once more. As the ceramite-encased plague straddled him he knew he would soon be with the Emperor.

"Perhaps not all are meant to walk the true path" the plague marine spit as he tore Atius' helm from its mountings.

Atius' eyes widened and he managed a last breath through ever withering flesh. "Traitor".

The plague marine stood leaving the dessicated husk of Brother Atius to its final resting place and stepped into the elevator.



The origins of the Emerald Fists are unknown; however records of their deeds can be traced back as far as M35 near the Eye of Terror. The Fists have functioned as a fleet based chapter as far back as records are available. They specialise in siege warfare and prefer frontal assaults to more subtle methods of war holding strength, fortitude and resolve as the three pillars of their training.

Sometime near 950.M41 stories of strange sightings began to trickle in to the Inquisition involving the Emerald Fists. The first of which involved picter-feed images relayed via distress beacon showing Emerald Fist forces seemingly fighting alongside invading forces against the Imperium. The fleet-born chapter has been persecuting a crusade for the last 100 years and have not responded to Imperial Summons to defend the images.

The Inquisition has not yet branded the chapter traitor as the wheels of Terra are ever slow to move especially with conflicting stories. Many in the Inquisition have their own thoughts on the matter.

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#2 » Feb 23 2015 11:35

Chapter 1 – The Fall of Bruj

“Fear both the daemon within and without for corruption knows no bounds”
excerpt, Liber Daemonicus


Coup

With the whispers of the Dark Apostle Kor Ikthon ever in his ear, Roscius, the Betrayer, Prince of Nurgle, bid his followers to the system of Bruj to reinforce the region in an effort to pave the way for Abadon's 13th Black Crusade. Lord Kurnex, one of Roscius’ most trusted lieutenants, was given command of a large contingent of traitor Emerald Fists and a small fleet of warships. Despite their misplaced allegiance to the powers of the warp, the traitor fists were progeny of the Imperial Fist's Primarch, Rogal Dorn, and were masters of defence. They were tasked with overseeing the construction of vast fortifications around Bruj Secundus to control the major warp routes passing through the system.

Before construction could begin, Imperial control of the system had to be overthrown. Near 952.1M41 the small fleet approached Bruj Secundus to lay claim to the planet. Although the Fists were as well versed in siege warfare as they were in resiting such an onslaught, Kurnex was no fool. Destroying the infrastructure of the system only to rebuild it for their own devices would delay their plans for too long. The thought of corrupting much of the populace in place of slaughtering them brought a smile to the remnants of his face and could not be ignored. Instead, agents of the dark powers had been dispatched ahead of the fleet and had ensured that the orbital defence platform and void auspex systems were off-line as the fleet approached. With no warning of an incoming attack, Kurnex moved the fleet into high orbit above the planetary governor’s palace unimpeded. Kurnex’s infiltrators did not stop at disabling the system’s defences and placed a teleport homer within the palace. With an actinic flash the Lord of Rot and his bodyguard clad in corrupt terminator armour teleported to the throne room amid the governor and his aides. As the palace guard reached for their holstered weapons a hail of storm bolter fire traced the room. Terrified administratum adepts ran for cover and were ignored; they would serve a later purpose. Kurnex strode to the defiant governor who to his credit did not fail to meet the powered armoured gaze. The governor stood tall as Kurnex rose to his full height and lashed out with his rusted lightning claw. The palace stood for mere minutes; the remaining palace guard no match for the hulking behemoths. As dawn broke, Kurnex summoned the leaders of the Administratum, Ministorum and planetary defence force to the palace. With the planet’s government seated in the grand hall, the doors were sealed and Kurnex entered; trumpeted by screams of horror. The myriad scent of fear permeated throughout the room and Kurnex breathed deeply; savouring the aroma. Sequestered at the palace, those not swayed to the Lord of Rot’s path were slain while those foolish enough to pledge their souls began the conversion of Bruj’s populace. The planetary defence force and civilian population were set on a new path with careful instruction from the captive government and cult followers expertly integrated throughout the populace. The people of Bruj continued with their lives unknowing of the corruption subtly guiding their fate.

Within weeks, the population was tasked with reinforcing the bulwarks and planetary defence network surrounding the Departmento Ministorum stores under the watchful eye of Lord Kurnex. The work details quickly increased in duration and frequency as trenches were snaked across the landscape. Such grueling labour did not stop in the lee of the inevitable accidents and the bodies were buried among the trenches lest proper burial slow progress. As the populace toiled for months the death toll rose by the tens of thousands and corpses were sown throughout the defences. Once the trenchworks were completed, the ancient ruined walls of the capital were raised anew; built upon the graves of those who had constructed them. Overworked men and women lived in overcrowded labour camps and dug in soils ripe with rotten corpses; it was not long before a plague swept through the populace. Cults of Nurgle began to coalesce as survivors turned to the aid of the apostles walking among them.

Rumours soon escaped the palace walls of the coup when the propaganda surrounding the former governor’s absence lost weight among the concerned mercantile guilds. Staff still loyal to the Imperium managed to send word of Space Marines far removed from the light of the Emperor who were controlling the population to their own end. Along with pict images of the marine's insignia the plea for help made its way to the Ordo Malleus through various acolytes in the Sector.

Lord Kurnex - The traitor elements of the Emerald Fists are led by Lords of Rot. Those battle brothers who were implanted with defective geneseed long before the Schism and possessed of exceptional natural ability soon became sergeants of their own squads. These traitors are rare, yet so is their prowess in battle. These exceptional individuals who would have been destined for great things among their loyal chapter have risen to prominence among the traitors. Blessed with the gifts of the Lord of Pestilence and innate ability they reap unimaginable carnage across the worlds of the Imperium serving as the daemon prince Roscius' lieutenants. Originally, a sergeant of a 7th company assault squad, Kurnex is a proficient brawler. He has risen in prominence among Roscius’ war host on the corpses of those he has slaughtered; kings, governors and champions all falling to his envenomed blades.

Raven’s Flight

Captain Aajz Solari of the Raven Guard 2nd Company had always maintained a strong working relationship with the Segmentum’s inquisition. Upon hearing mixed rumours that the Emerald Fists had fallen to chaos in 953M41, a small strike force of Raven Guard led by Solari’s second in command and protege, Azinias Rhaco, travelled to Bruj to investigate sightings of an Emerald Fists stronghold. The system was located at a major junction of two warp routes important to the Imperium’s rapid response to incursions from the Eye of Terror yet far from any trade routes. Bruj was not a heavily populated system and had been ravaged by numerous minor battles during the 3rd, 5th and 10th Black Crusades. With the resources of the Imperium stretched among innumerable conflicts across the galaxy the rebuilding of the Bruj system floundered. The remaining military infrastructure within the system consisted of a planetary defence orbital platform, a series of fortified bastions on the surface of Bruj Secundus and an automated sensor system stationed on the 2nd moon of Bruj Extremus.

Having fought side by side with the honoured Emerald Fist’s 3rd captain during the Dorek campaign, Captain Solari sought to confirm the rumours before condemning the Fists and his brother at arms. And so he sent his second in his stead to confirm the allegations brought to bear against his battle brother. The Raven Guard strike force translated into real space at the far edge of the system. Initial long range auspex scans detected nothing amiss within Bruj. Imperial beacons remained functional and vox traffic appeared normal. Ever cautious, the fleet moved silently cloaked beneath their reflex shielding. The strike force set high anchor on the void-ward side of Bruj Extremus and prepared to land on its 2nd moon designated Occulum. When asked, the librarius could sense nothing on the moon’s surface beyond feelings of impending loss as the surrounding warp storms pressed heavily on their minds. Before making the presence of the fleet known the Raven Guard would up-link with the listening post’s cogitators. Rhaco ordered 10th company Sergeant Helas Novusi, along with four squads of initiates and several Land Speeders to descend to the surface of Occulum to investigate and retrieve detailed information from the installation. Lead by Novusi, the recon team quietly descended on Occulum. Meanwhile Rhaco selected four of his battle brothers and boarded a small vessel to attempt contact with the Fists on Bruj Secundus; in their wake they left the strike force waiting behind Bruj Extremus. Against the warnings of his war council, Rhaco slowly crossed the void toward the planet transmitting on open vox channels to contact the Fists. His captain had doubts and Rhaco would see them confirmed with his own eyes.

THE RAVEN GUARD

19th among the Founding Legions, the scions of Corax have ever stayed true to their Emperor. Using the tactics and strategies perfected by their Primarch, the Raven Guard are masters of the unseen war. The tools of their trade are stealth and sabotage, used with brutal efficiency to carry out lightning raids with pinpoint accuracy. Their strikes specifically engineered to hit at the weak point of the foe.


Following the communique with Inquisitor Tritonirus, Solari had sent his most trusted friend and second in command, Azinias Rhaco, to Bruj Secondus to find the truth of the accusations that were being levelled at an Astartes he had shared a kinship with. A kinship forged through the crucible of war is one not easily broken. And so it was that Rhaco departed with nearly one half of a company of battle brothers and the remainder of Solari’s Command Squad, which he had led since its formation.

Veteran Sergeant Rhaco and Solari’s Command Squad

Centuries ago near the southernmost reaches of Imperial space, Azinias Rhaco and his squad were tasked with the infiltration and destruction of a Dark Eldar staging area in the Petus system. It was here that the PDF had been outmanoeuvred by the Dark Eldar, and the battle had come to a standstill as the pilfering xenos harried supply lanes with impunity. The location of the staging area was not known to the PDF and without the ability to bring their guns to bear on it, had operated for months unopposed.. The staging area itself consisted of several outlying buildings and munitions stores, as well as several prisons and torture cells. It was here that Rhaco and his squad turned the tide of the battle and forced the Dark Eldar onto their heels. The staging area was thought to be an insurmountable obstacle in the path of the PDF and they had all but exhausted their resources attempting to locate it. What the PDF could not do for weeks, the Ravens accomplished before dawn broke the next day. What baffled the PDF most however was the means in which it was accomplished. Eyewitness accounts gave mixed responses and reports were wildy in-congruent.


Excerpt from Trooper Rheman’s Personal Eyewitness Testimony regarding the Dark Eldar destruction

“It was dark that night, the moon was hidden by the storm overhead. We saw their sentries patrolling amongst the walls through the cages and suddenly they were gone, as if the thunder itself took them. We looked at one another, asking what had happened.. No one saw anything. Next thing we know there’s a prison break, and all power goes down in the compound. We were totally blind. How anyone could fight in that I don’t know. By the time morning broke we had made our way outside the compound. Some of us went to investigate but what we found was...nothing. Not a trace of hard battle. It was as if some terrible vengeance of the Emperor himself had been brought down on them.”

At least that’s what those faithful proclaimed. The rest of them...claimed spirits, ghosts, wraiths.....

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#3 » Feb 23 2015 11:37

Chapter 2 – Treachery Unveiled

PLANETFALL: THE RAVENS’ DESCENT
++PRE-DESCENT BRIEFING AND MISSION PARAMETERS++
Primary Objective: Obtain reconnaissance of Bruj Extremus’ moon, Occulum and uplink with the automated system auspex located on its surface.

Seconday Objective: Ascertain any actions of the Emerald Fists logged in the cogitators of the auspex. Any doubts as to the purity of our brothers should be met with lethal force.

Theatre: Ship’s surveyor databanks indicate that Occulum is a geologically inert celestial body shaped by hydraulic weathering. High precipitation and run-off paired with extensive deposition have carved vast valleys and canyons throughout the moon’s surface. Iron-rich dust storms are common as the exposed surfaces of the plentiful hoodoos are weathered.

Planetfall Strike Team: Insertion will commence under cover of darkness at 241,67.E32. Call-sign assigned to this detachment for coded transmissions...<MURDER> Enemy strength and force composition is unknown. Overall command of MURDER assigned to the Librarius in Sergeant Rhaco’s absence as per the Codex. Ground forces will be led by <name>.

Upon insertion, scouts elements to establish a forward operating base around the auspex. The use of Teleport Homers has been authorized given the nature of the mission and should be placed at immediate opportunity. 2nd squad, 1st company and the honoured 1st company chaplain will be on standby to route any and all heretical threats.

++GO WITH THE EMPEROR...++
++FAITH IS YOUR SHIELD++


Dusk’s Ambush

Warning klaxons wailed as the heavy blast doors opened to reveal the moon of Occulum. The strike cruiser Shadow Wraith prepared to disgorge a trio of thunderhawks to the moon’s surface. Stalker-pattern bolters were ritualistically checked and rechecked as scouts from the chapter’s 10th company fastened their entry harnesses. The thunderhawks also carried land speeder variants which would provide heavy support and transport for the mission. The assault ramps sealed shut as the thunderhawks raised from the decking and turned outward. With a deafening roar the thunderhawks launched from the Shadow Wraith and quickly cut power. The squadron expertly guided the craft on pre-mapped entry vectors and let momentum carry their bulky forms on a silent, gravity driven fall. The ribbing aboard the thunderhawks groaned in protest as the pilots fought the pull of Occulum in a controlled decent. Once through the upper mesosphere the land speeders were ejected under cover of darkness, loaded with scouts and materiel. As one, the thunderhawks ignited their engines and pitched vertically on an exit pattern.


Bright flares of ignition streamed behind the land speeders as they accelerated toward the earth below. The scout’s genehanced systems struggled to cope with the reduced oxygen at such height and their secondary hearts pounded to meet the demand. Through the haze of clouds and the cover of darkness a ravine coalesced into sight, the marines enhanced optics granting them clarity of vision at such extreme distance. The land speeders veered toward the ravine, the typhoon pattern speeders taking a flanking position to provide fire support to the lighter storm patterns. The antigrav plates vibrated as they rebelled against the approaching surface and the speeders levelled out meters from the river meandering through the ravine. Millennia of weathering the soft sediments had created a deep gorge with steep walls along the river bed; a perfect approach for the scout force. The auspex read no significant anomalies yet the scouts could see the brackish green hue of the water and the pungent fog floating between the skimmers and the surface. Protected by the caynon walls, the speeders accelerated to their target careful to hug the shadows.


Several moments later their destination phased into view, a towering bastion, its grounds long weathered from the harsh environment on the surface, the low levels of oxygen here allowed no fauna to grow. Veteran scout sergeant Talus and his ten man team cleared the bastion systematically and efficiently. They met with no resistance, the automated bastion still remarkably intact and with a stable power grid, they made their way quickly to the battlements. An old deep space transmitting beacon was set atop the structure, but it had long since deactivated and Talus knew that it would take a great deal of time to make it functional again without the aid of a Techmarine.


Meanwhile, the Storms and Land Speeders had secured the perimeter and began patrolling the inky darkness of the night. The haze proved difficult to penetrate, even with night vision and thermal systems engaged. Suddenly an auspex held by an initiate registered a contact, but it disappeared as quickly as it emerged. Not certain that this was an overactive machine spirit, a true contact or interference from the environment, the scout called in the temporary contact to his sergeant who immediately dispatched a speeder to the area. As Talus’ team performed the rites to wake the beacon from its dormant state, the remainder of the scouts secured the perimeter; eyes scanning avenues of approach in vane. The speeder pilot fed power to the engines and took off in a graceful arc towards the eastern plateau. As soon as he had cleared the upper limits of the of the canyon’s walls and mountainous outcroppings the pilot could not mistake the large column of dust breaching the darkness ahead and the sound of engine, which had been previously masked by the terrain. He saw searchlights bouncing off the dust particles, a violet plume of light illuminating three large vehicles; hover Rhinos, a pattern extensively in use by the Emerald Fists. His attempts to vox his commander met with nothing but static. Instantly he hauled on the controls to turn the speeder around as the loud bark of autocannon fire reverberated off the canyon walls. His helmeted head smashed against the blast shield of the speeder as he slumped forward; two holes rupturing his powered armour near the clavicle. The Masters of the Shadows were soon to fall victim to their own craft.


Auspexes raged with activity, as multiple sound and heat registers appeared on devices held by the scouts throughout the valley. The contacts encroached from all sides of the bastion and the alerted Ravens. Preferring to use the darkness and faith as a shield, the Raven Guard scouts unleashed accurate fire from their impromptu redoubts; no more than small earthen mound separating them from the advancing enemy. To both the polar southeast and northwest an armoured column of Emerald Fist rhinos approached; their hover rhinos and assault marines making easy ground over the meandering river. To the northeast and southwest, hordes of howling cultists broke the silence stirred forward by a traitor in crimson armour; the faint lines of scripture visible across every centimetre of its surface. Sniper rounds wailed from the bastion and foxholes as the scouts selected targets unerringly. With every round finding its mark a cultist’s body dropped headless only for another lunatic to takes its place.


Everything he had ever learned or taught to the scouts at his command screamed at Sergeant Talus to order a retreat; yet it was his duty to take control of the Sensorium suite. The tactical value of the facility vetoed nearly a century of combat indoctrination under the teachings of Primarch Corax. His scouts were dying. This was no stalemate or battle of attrition; simply the slow advance of betrayers and their mortal slaves slaughtering the Raven Guard. Talus knew he had to hold the line and wait for reinforcements yet he did not have the men to do it. Even if his scouts were fully developed space marines this battle would have been a route. Talus slipped through the shadows towards the oncoming rhinos and assault marines. Among them he identified their lord, the baroque armour and ornate weaponry he carried clearly marking him a tier above his honourguard. With finese he wraithslipped into the perceived path the assault marines were taking and as the lord passed, Talus rose to his full height and sank his powersword to the eagle shaped quillon into his back. A bright blue-white light erupted in the distance as if to mark the strike and as the light and smoke faded, Chaplain Damiken knelt in benediction ahead of a squad of terminators. The lord thumbed his jump pack and in one motion burst away from his would be assassin and landed metres away to face him. Cocking his head to one side as if puzzled or amused by an insect’s disregard for it’s own life, the lord sized up Talus before igniting his pack once more and soaring into the air. Talus rolled to the side to avoid the aerial assault, his scout armour giving him an edge in maneuverability yet the lord’s continued swipes and jabs from his power axe while stodgy, were expertly placed keeping Talus from regaining his balance. A master of the shadows, Talus could avoid detection of the most trained eye, yet against this hulking marine he could not hope to survive. Talus dodged and parried, attempting to hold the lord off for as long as he could. The lord had been elevated to his position through trials of combat and persistence of character and his final swing showcased his right for the position. The axe cleaved Talus wholly in two. To celebrate the kill the lord gurgled nonsense and stared at the power sword wound in his abdomen which had already scabbed over. The wound slowly began to bubble and puss erupted from the hole in his stomach. His armour liquefied and his skin decayed in moments. He raised his hands to the air as Father Nurgle infused him with his blessing. As his form grew disproportionate to his former self his mouth split to his ears and boils covered his flesh. Taking on a haunched appearance he slowly lowered himself to the ground as a single horn burst from his forehead. His right eye fell from his disfigured face as the left tripled in size and centred itself above his massive mouth. Although he had risen among the ranks of the Emerald Fists, his ambition could not elevate him indefinitely. Moving akin to a long extinct reptile of ancient Terra,the commander hurried off to share his fate with the Raven Guard; no longer a space marine or even a fragment of his former self.


Dust storms spun around the plateau steps as Kor Ikthon surveyed the landscape that stretched before him. The engagement was nearing its finale as his forces had managed to keep the Astartes from gaining foothold on Occulum. In front him he saw a sea of acolytes exchange blows with the Space Marines. Perhaps, he mused, that was not the correct term. Rather, they were being fed into a meat grinder, where the Raven Guard, fierce as they are, were bogged down by sheer weight of numbers. The wind sang a rising crescendo as the storms rose in intensity. Then a voice, vox altered, broke through the cacophony of sound.


“DIE HERETICS!!!! Let none of these wretches survive, lest you stain your honour brothers!” At the forefront of the battle, a huge, imposing figure stood. His ceramite a deep black, the storms causing the purity seals attached to his Terminator armor to flail about wildly and his eyes, set deep within the skull faced visage that was his helmet burned a vibrant cobalt. A group of cultists set after him, drool spooling from their lips as the spittle was caught by the wind and carried away. The warrior loosed his storm bolter into their ranks, every round precisely placed for maximum carnage, and no cultist was able to breach the hail of shells. He stood alone with his faith, his brothers fallen or incapacitated around him. The pile of dead surrounding him was considerable enough to block the greaves of his armor from Kor Ikthon’s view.


This would require his personal attention…


Kor Ikthon strode towards the impending arena that would see him battle the final remnant of the Raven Guard filth on Occulum. As he strode forwards, a momentary gap opened between him and the Chaplain allowing their eyes to meet for the briefest of moments before again being swallowed from view. He need not see his foe to know his direction for the barrage of curses was as thick as the rain of bolter fire. Kor Ikthon brandished his power mace and fired the activation stud. A gentle haze of power swept over the weapon and Kor Ikthon allowed his hand to pass over the tome attached to his waist. His Master had seen to it that the apostle had a part to play in the song of the universe, and he knew this would be no massacre would be no different. The thought was wrestled from him as the mass of cultists were blown backwards.


“Through the destruction of our enemies do we gain our salvation!” The Space Marine held aloft his weapon, the double headed eagle of the corpse Emperor at its head. He lowered the weapon until it was leveled directly at Kor Ikthon and muttered one of his countless litanies no doubt memorized by rote.


“Your time is at an end lapdog, here you will fall to decay and be born anew in the boon that I have brought to this system.” Kor Ikthon charged at the Chaplain, bringing his weapon high overhead before bringing it downward in a diagonal arc. At the point of impact a brilliant red flare of light lashed out at him, repelling the blow.


The Space Marine was fast, much faster than the armor he wore seemed to allow. He let loose with centuries of hate empowering every swing. He struck out with his boot, catching Kor Ikthon in the quadriceps which sent him reeling. “Let his wrath fill our hearts!” The storm bolter was brought to bear. “Smite now the scions of Chaos!” He let the weapon free, bolt rounds tore at the ground where Kor Ikthon has fallen. He scrambled for cover behind a nearby boulder and felt something crawling up the base of his spine, making its way towards his neck.


“That is fear, heretic. Gaze upon me and know despair, for your kind has no mettle, no honor!!” Kor’ Ikthon would not, could not be bested by this warrior.


“Fool! Does your mouth not tire from the useless and pointless drivel that spills from it?” Kor Ikthon steeled himself with his strength of purpose and moved to benefit from another pack of cultists swarming the Space Marine. There were dozens of them harmlessly clawing at his armor and although they would not fell him, they would slow him.


Still, the black clad warrior fought, relentless and undaunted, his fierce cries could still be heard above the roar of the storm and Kor Ikthon saw his chance, the opening he needed. He withdrew an orb from his armor, within was a sickly green haze. He crept around the side of the covering boulder and saw that the Space Marine was preoccupied with dispatching the horde of cultists. He sprung into action, speeding towards the Terminator. He launched the orb at the chaplains feet where the glass cracked and split open. The sickly green haze flared out towards the Space Marine and clouding the area in a putrid, rank smelling fog. Using the temporary distraction to his advantage, Kor Ikthon shattered the knee joint of the Terminator armor, its strength nullified by the chaotic power he had unleashed. The Space Marine buckled and turned his head to meet the new threat. His Rosarius had been depleted; the power gone from fighting the myriad of cultists.


“I told you I would end you, and I will do so to the rest of the misguided filth that followed you.” Kor Ikthon swung towards the helmet, smashing the ceramite skull. The armored form of the Chaplain staggered backwards, Kor Ikthon heaved a large breath, and spat in the direction of the Space Marine, closing for the kill. Then a new note was heard in the night’s song; the roar of engines announcing the form of a massive black Thunderhawk rising over the plateau. Flashes of light erupted all around him as missile blasts launched Kor Ikthon from his feet. His world went dark for a moment and he heard something incomprehensible yet undoubtedly the Chaplain’s rhetoric.


As Kor Ikthon staggered to his feet, he struggled to see the black form of the Thunderhawk melt into the night. So it had been ordained he thought to himself. The fates were ever changing and no path was absolute. He again put his hand upon the book at his hip and breathed deeply. Perhaps the chaplain was part of another song he thought to himself as he turned away.


From the skies above, three thunderhawk gunships flanked by storm ravens split the darkness with roaring heavy bolters and las cannon flares. The black enamelled hulls of the vessels were as shadows to the darkness with only the flash of their heavy caliber guns illuminating the outline of the birds of prey. A defiler sheltering behind a hoodoo erupted in a mushroom cloud of prometheum and gore as the concoction strapped to its hind quarter in drums was pierced by a las beam. Scores of cultists huddled around the daemon engine were thrown from their feet as vile green ooze rained from the sky above. The cultists rolled about as if bathing in the caustic sludge, their skin sloughing off amid incoherent ramblings before all movement stopped. The gunships circled for another pass as the host of plague marines and cultists closed their grip on the pockets of remaining Raven Guard. Unleashing their hellstrike missiles on the horde, cultists were incinerated instantly with no chance of rising once more in service of their dark gods. The Emerald Fists although struck, were not so easily dispatched despite being thrown clear of the impact zones by tens of metres. Their hulking forms appeared undamaged, no new superficial damage visible on their disgraced armour. With a buffer cleared around the survivors, the transports opened their bay doors and the Raven Guard clattered aboard still firing bolters into the settling mist. As one the thunderhawks raised their ramps and sped into the darkness toward the Shadow Wrath.


“Attack, withdraw and attack again”.
-Lord Corvus Corax, savior of Deliverance, survivor of Istvaan V, Primarch of the XIX Legion



The Raven Guard would not fight the Emerald Fist’s war of attrition. The teachings of their gene-sire spoke to such battles and it was not their way of war. The Raven Guard would regroup, reinforce, and take the fight to the traitors on their own terms for their is no honour in a meaningless death.

Recovering from the impact of the missile barrage, Kor Ikthon rose once more to his feet. The raving mass of cultists that were still able to draw breath, and some that were not, stared dully toward the heavens transfixed by the contrails of the fleeing thunderhawks. With the Emerald Fist commander reduced to a slavering puss sack of death, the Word Bearer took command of the war host and signalled his charge to the bastion. The Emerald Fists had work to do on Bruj Secundus and could ill-afford to hold ground this far on the outskirts of the system. The Fists were scions of Rogal Dorn and their strength lie in bolstering the planet; not prolonged void battles. Although Kor Ikthon was not of their lineage, he knew that to divide the forces Rothos had commited to Bruj would prove detrimental to their success. Melta charges were placed around the array to ensure that no boons to the liberation fleet would remain. The darkness of night was temporarily lifted as the melta bombs superheated the ferrocrete structure reducing it to a mound of molten slag. Kor Ikthon, satisfied that the Raven Guard’s next move would be done blindly, gave the order for the Emerald Fists and their worshippers to board their transports and prepare for evacuation from the surface. The cultists he had lead to battle, now fully pledged to the plague father, would serve as invaluable ambassadors to the people of Bruj Secundus expediting the full conversion of the populace. As his rhino crested the hill, the Word Bearer Apostle kept his gaze fixed on the former commander of the war host whom they had left behind. Loosing a wet guttural sound the thing bound towards the once pristine river and disappeared beneath the frothing green mucous which covered its surface. Remarking to himself that the patron god of death held weakness of character and flesh in low esteem, Kor Ikthon closed the hatch to the rhino and set his mind to future glories.


Kor Ikthon


The dark apostle Kor Ikthon was instrumental in creating the Nurgle cults on Bruj Secundus and lead his cult followers in battle during the initial ambush against the Raven Guard on Occulum. After blooding the population of Bruj Secundus and sealing their fate, Kor Ikthon translated out of system to further his own goals leaving the Fists to their own devices. Shown here, the daemon infused power armour worn by Ikthon has been imbued with lesser beings through rites of binding. The Book of Lorgar is carried at his side, its words capable of turning entire planets to his whim. Sacred texts have been inscribed on both armour and flesh offering wards and boons to their bearer.

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#4 » Feb 23 2015 11:38

Chapter 3 – The Raven’s Call

~Only in Death does Duty End~

As Rhaco and his combat squad of Ravens approached Bruj Secundus a derelict vessel registered on the auspex. This ship had remained stoically silent and all attempts to make contact met without success. Rhaco allowed himself a moment of reflection as he remembered leaving his veteran brothers behind. Captain Solari had ordered his command squad act in his stead, coordinating the actions of the 3rd company throughout the Segmentum on missions similar to Rhaco’s. Reality snapped back to him as he drew nearer to the dead ship. Seemingly adrift, there were no prow lights of any kind, only a weak vox signal emanating from within. He readied his boarding party and as the vessel drew nearer he let his powerfist snap with static and retracted the field immediately after; a habit he had picked up that had slowly turned to a pre-battle ritual. Forced entry was not necessary as automated protocols within the docking port were activated and guided Rhaco’s shuttle aboard. Something had happened to their brothers in the Fists, and Rhaco readied his men. Bolters were given final rites and Hastus checked the levels on his flamer as Rhaco squeezed his fist together. Satisfied, they released the docking seals and entered the ship.


The squad disembarked into a brightly lit docking bay; however, years of training sent them silently to the shadows. Auspex readings showed only one source of activity aboard the ship; the bridge itself. Rhaco needed answers and the deck officer’s log would aid him in uncovering the truth. They moved with purpose towards the bridge and as they entered the central junction, Rhaco’s suspicions confirmed. Here the ship took on a grossly different form. The corridors darkened and what little light there was passed through a noxious haze, turning bathing the corridor with a sickly hue. Even through his respirator Rhaco could taste the pungent copper tinged medley of bile and blood in the air. The squad’s boots which had been successfully muffled to this point, now slid through a grueling paste of excrement. The beacon suddenly stopped transmitting and Rhaco knew, they had fallen into a trap.


The first to fall was Graccus, bolter rounds tore through his armor and disciplined fire from the darkness forced Rhaco to fall back into the transit shaft of the ship. He could easily hear the sloshing of boots on the deck plating as he gave the order to fallback and rally at their shuttle. Not 30 m down the shaft they found their way to the shuttle blocked by grotesque, vile marines, if they could even still be called so. With their white armor split at several seams and hemorrhaging humours, they looked as though their bodies would soon overtake their power armored shells. They moved with a speed belying their size quickly closing the gap to Rhaco’s squad. But the Ravens were faster and more agile. They tore through the marines, boltguns barking and combat blades tearing at bloated flesh and ceramite. To their frustration, damage that should have felled an astartes scarcely slowed their attackers. Their rotted forms afforded them more protection than Rhaco anticipated and his squad fought for every inch they gained. The squad approached the docking back and Rhaco ordered Hastus to hold the traitors at bay with the deadly flame weapon as he let loose with his storm bolter. Rhaco checked his combat overlay within his visor, confirming that Graccus had succumbed to his injuries as his vitals icon went black. Dessius had been split off from Rhaco and Hastus during the fierce fighting yet his icon still blinked battle ready.


Throughout their retreat Rhaco had made several attempts to raise vox communication with the fleet but he could not confirm his messages were being received. As they neared the final seal before the docking back Rhaco made a final attempt to establish contact in vein as he felt a sudden drop in ambient temperature. With the dreaded plague marines cleansed by holy fire, Rhaco opened the final seal and entered into what should have been the docking bay; however, the space had shifted into something else as though a powerful force had reconstructed the ship.


Through the haze in the docking bay Rhaco heard something far more dangerous than the plague marines they had fought, the slow heavy tread of walking tanks. His gene enhanced body quaked in rage as five hulking brutes clad in dilapidated terminator armour moved to block the obvious escape routes. His brain quickly contemplated their options few as they were; the battle clearly pitched. Without knowing whether his vox commands were making it back to the fleet, and the loss of the docking bay, there was only one option.


Chaos terminators

While those strong of character may rise to become lords, those strong of purpose can be sidetracked by such single-mindedness. Among the Emerald Fist traitors, those who fully embraced the touch of Nurgle and fought for prominence among their peers were granted the gift of tactical dreadnought armour. The terminator armour fashioned by the Dark Mechanicus on Juro IV is a gross interpretation of the STC and appears to encourage integration of its wearer's flesh with the outer shell. Once encased within the battle plate, the wearer quickly begins to bond with the ceremite; warping its plates and penetrating breaches with warped flesh. Although the armour appears compromised by disrepair, plasma burns and bleeding metal, the hulking mass is all but impossible to stop with anything short of antitank weaponry.


Hastus and Rhaco knew no fear and charged headlong into their adversaries; the flamer bellowing righteous fury and the powerfist arcing with power. The terminators would not be felled as readily as their powered armoured brethren; for they were clad in armour as strong as a battle tank with weapons to match. Hastus was raised from his feet in the grip of a power fist as the terminator needlessly buried a burst of mass reactive shells into Hastus’ chest before crushing him in his grip. Rhaco dashed by one of the terminators taking its right arm cruelly off in his power fist. Rhaco knew that challenging these behemoths on even ground was a fool’s errand. With swooping grace Rhaco weaved in and out of the abundant shadows of the transmuted docking bay and felled another terminator with a blow from behind. He wheeled on the others through a torrent of storm bolter fire when suddenly they stopped firing, slowly parting as another figure entered the fray. Rhaco did not pause to grant them opportunity, and leapt from the darkness. Suddenly his body stopped, his mind willing him further but his limbs unable to respond. The darkness within the room seemed to grow until only the glow of the terminator’s helms was visible. A glowing aura of decay illuminated the newcomer; a trail of rust and corrosion spreading from his feet as if the ravages of time ate away at his surroundings in an instant. Rhaco fought, willing his body to move slowly forward, baring his teeth in anger. He screamed the Primarch’s name, and as he did so, Dessius slipped through the darkness towards the shuttle; he had made his way alone to the docking bay. Rhaco could sense his presence as only a Raven could. He needed not give the order; Dessius needed to get word to the fleet. Before he could reach the ship, a permeating laughter filled the darkness, followed by a rising crescendo of buzzing. A swarm of rotted flies assailed Dessius, entering through cracks in his battle plate. The poisonous plague of filth spread through his body, rotting his gene enhanced form to nothing.


The psyker’s attention on Dessius gave Rhaco the respite he needed. He brought his fist around and fired his storm bolter with unerring accuracy despite the darkness. He was rewarded with a heavy thump as another terminator fell. The remaining terminators fired and swatted at him in the darkness, and each attempt to kill him went unrewarded as he managed to close to within a few metres of the psyker. Without the protection afforded by the Librarius, Rhaco only had once chance to strike this vile enemy down. He hurled his powerfist upward in a powerful uppercut, aimed to tear the psykers skull from its spine. But the enemy was cunning, and as the fist found its mark, a blinding light erupted from the psykers frame, hurling Rhaco backwards. The psyker turned to face him, and his gaze seemed to pierce into Rhaco’s soul. The psyker stretched out his gnarled arm, and lightning erupted from his finger tips. Rhaco’s black and white armour was wreathed in balefire, his visor screaming temperature warnings before failing completely. His armour bubbled and the black enamel peeled before his flesh and bone ignited. The inferno gathered in intensity as it consumed the last of what was once Veteran Sergeant Azinias Rhaco.


Their deaths had not been without purpose, for although Rhaco would never know he had succeeded in his mission, his hails had reached the fleet as their hurried replies were lost to the void.


Morteus, Sorcerer of Nurgle

The Schism of the Fists was not limited to line astartes. Neither Lexicani nor codicier, fused with the tainted geneseed, were immune to those blighted events. Although they may have held out longer than their comrades, secluding themselves to rigorous meditation to ward off the pressing tide of corruption, the young librarians inevitably ceded to Roscius as their battle brothers died around them. Once removed from the shackles of the Librarius’ edicts designed to protect those wielding the powers of the warp, the traitors were free to delve into the rotting wonder of the Lord of Decay. Most of these new sorcerers had not yet steeled their minds to such power and perished or worse, devolved into gibbering masses of flesh spawn. Few, such as Morteus, harnessed this power to their will. With but a look Morteus infects his victims and wracks their flesh. The sharing of his gifts with all those he sets his gaze upon has become his only impetus. Those who earn his attention are rewarded with a death experienced throughout a lifetime in a state between worlds; neither in the material world nor the immaterium, his victims suffer for an eternity at the blink of an eye before crumbling to dust at his feet. Large swaths of the population of Bruj were inevitably cursed to fates worse than death by his hand.


Vengeance


The strike cruiser Tacita Nocte approached the drifting Emerald Fist frigate cloaked beneath its reflex shielding. Although vulnerable to incoming fire with the void shields turned inward to mask their presence, the silent running protocols and reflex shielding made detection a near impossibility. The Dauntless-class frigate slowly rolled about its length in orbit and showed no response to the approaching strike cruiser. As if sensing its stalker’s presence the outclassed frigate appeared to present its underbelly as a subdued dog would to a wolf. Librarian Romitius watched from the command throne of the Tacita Nocte as the dead vessel listed by. He would recover the bodies of the fallen Ravens; their heroic actions to bring light of the Fists’ treachery had earned them this right. The recon mission to the Bruj system had not gone well thus far and Romitius vowed to alter the course of the campaign; this day would bring the Raven’s fury to the Fists. With the enlightenment of the full breadth of the Fists’ fall from the Emperor’s light, the Raven Guard would avenge their fallen brothers. Although a simple command would see a hellish barrage of lance weaponry tear the frigate apart, Romitius would not see his fallen brothers avenged so coldly. Instead he ordered a single salvo which although not destroying the vessel, its fate as a tomb for those aboard would be sealed. Bright lances of light flashed across the void from the depthless nothing created by the reflex shielding and tore into the drifting frigate Secondary explosions flared across the ship’s superstructure but it did not buckle. A sharp pain struck his mind as he felt a psychic backlash from the attack. Whatever had murdered Rhaco was a powerful if not corrupted mind and yet still lived. Satisfied that he had euthanized the Fists’ vessel, Romitius left the bridge and headed to the boarding torpedoes; he would see this mission to victory himself.


Witchfire


The Emerald Fists’ vessel was of Standard Template design and its schematics were readily available within the cogitators of the Tacita Nocte. The assembled strike force led by Chief Librarian Romitius had reviewed its layout and planned their attack. From various angles the boarding torpedoes silently approached ship while the Raven Guard recited battle litanies and rites of accuracy to their bolters. Meters away from its hull retro thrusters engaged and magnamelta blasts tore through armoured plating. As one, the elements of the strike force emerged from their craft at key junctions identified before they had left the Tacita Nocte. They had chosen their entry points based on the ship’s features and, until they had forcibly docked, could not detect the crew. Life readings had been a haze and it had appeared that the entire ship was alive. Now however, with such proximity their auspex could detect large masses of life. Whether such readings indicated squads of troopers or something more horrendous could not be discerned. With a steady pace Romitius lead a combat squad of tactical marines toward the central chamber. His prescience could easily detect the Nurgle witchmind at its centre and he was sure it knew of him as well. From across the ship, two more tactical combat squads approached along two separate entry vectors. A three pronged assault would allow them to find the quickest route to the central chamber. The assault elements avoided life signs which appeared stationary and took the most direct routes they had memorized for the mission. Ever present whispers sounded down the corridors as if from chattering teeth. Morteus they whispered. Morteus Commands. As they neared the central chamber the auspex became more sonorous and seemingly at once, they had contact.


Squad Darius was met with a horde of crew, half clothed and uncountable. Squad Toren found something far more horrendous. Occupying the entirety of the corridor, giant flesh sacks with legs slithered toward them, first as glowing eyes and then their flesh seemed to illuminate as ichor errupted from bolter wounds. Romitius’ squad continued unhindered to the central chamber. He had taken a narrow gangway and made all speed. He could ill afford to be bogged down assisting his brothers. The Emperor would lend them aid. Each squad would operate independently for the mission required haste lest they be engulfed by whatever ill-fathomed creatures still roamed its decks. Darius and his command opened fire on the horde. His plasma gunner loosing a sun-hot salvo of plasma toward the mass yet onward they came. With nothing which could be described as haste, the crew shambled forward. Bolt rounds ripped cloth, flesh and limbs from the beings and yet still they closed. Darius had no wish to die on the accursed vessel against a foe unworthy of his life and ordered his squad into an ordered retreat. He voxed the other squads, alerting them sharply in battle cant. He would draw the enemy toward the periphery of the ship in an effort to clear the path for his brothers. Those dead crew, who died once more, were quickly swallowed underfoot by those behind them as the squad was pressed further and further back to the assault craft. Satisfied they could do no more, Darius and his squad boarded the torpedo and jettisoned from the ship.


Squad Toren was embroiled in a vicious confrontation with the flesh beasts. Taking cover behind fallen debris among the corridors, the squad exchanged bolter fire with the daemon spawn who in turn ejected steaming globules of puss from fetid wounds opening on their hides at random. Although inaccurate, the acidic bile erupted along bulkheads to splash and drip onto sergeant Toren’s battle brothers. Brother Hoget fell quickly, putrid slime eating through his helmet and into the flesh beneath. The sound of dissolving organic matter quickly drowned out by the cacophony of the surrounding battle. Toren ordered his squad’s flamer to the fore and bathed the creatures with roiling promethium until its fuel canister sputtered empty. The foremost creature reeled from the attack, open wounds cauterized by the Emperor’s fury before the beast was reduced to ash. Another spawn moved forward to take its place; having been shielded from the flame by the bulk of its fallen pack member. Squad Toren fell back with discipline, avoiding the erupted mucus sacks coughed forward by the beasts. With precision and salvod bolter fire the four remaining space marines hit the spawn as one. The bolter shells buried deep into its flesh and erupted as one. A shower of rotten flesh covered the corridor; motes of decay rising from areas of impact.


Sergeant Toren alerted Romitius to the all clear over the command vox and made to the large blast door sealing the central chamber. As his squad placed melta charges Romitius cleared the gantry approaching the chamber from above. At his command, the melta charges were released and white hot metal seeped away from the door and through the floor grates. The smell of burning plasteel was overcome by the utter decay emanating from the central chamber. Against reason the odours permeated power armoured rebreathers and the space marines felt weak. The advanced constitutions of the marines and environmental regulation of the power armour should have been proof against such assault and Romitius knew this to be the work of sorcery. His aegis hood pulsed with energy and he focused his mind. Through gritted teeth on the open vox he commanded his men to steel themselves against the treachery and the psychic assault lessened. Morteus can free you . . . A whisper sounded in the back of his skull and Romitius almost turned to look for the source of the voice.


The chamber was permeated by a thick fog which Romitius had no doubt was anathema to life. Any compromise to the integrity of their armour seals would be met with an agonizing death. Within the mist a shambling horde of dead crew serfs began to stir and move toward Romitius’ position on the upper gantry. Stumbling upon one another to gain purchase and raking at his feet.


A tide of carrion beetles rushed toward squad Toren as a bow wave of clattering mandibles. Driving the onrush of insects was a creature easily dwarfing the spawn which had ended Hoget’s service to the Emperor only moments earlier. The daemon spawn was immense and nearly the size of a rhino transport, entrails trailing behind it. Toren placed his teleport homer and thumbed the activator. In an instant the encroaching mist parted as arcs of electricity jumped from the ancient device and along the grill work of the corridor and bulkhead walls. Five immense terminators of squad Naphon stood fast as the arcs of power died down and the mist returned to strangle the temporary void. Thunder hammers clashed against storm shields as the veterans of the first company formed a solid wall of ceramite and pressed toward the beast.


The daemon opened its mouths and let loose an atonal growl which seemed to emanate from within the marines’ skulls. Spittle splashed the terminators’ armour and paint bubbled and ran to the floor. It charged among them, smashing battle brothers away from its immense bulk. The marines encircled the fiend, storm shields raised and deflecting blow after blow from multi jointed limbs extruding from every direction. A misshapen hand from its hind quarter grabbed at a storm shield and tore it free before the daemon kicked backward. Its cloven hoof hit the adamantium breastplate square on and drove the terminator through a bulkhead. The armour held but the marine inside could feel his black carapace shatter and many of his internal organs liquefy from the concussive force. Sergeant Naphon had fought banished spawn akin to this daemon in his near century of service in the chapter’s first company and knew that to delay would lose more of his brethren. To divide their forces and attack piecemeal was folly as the creature was deadly from every angle. Naphon rallied the rest of his squad to his side and pressed the beast into a tunnel barely able to contain its girth. With each powerful swing of the squad’s thunderhammers the daemon retreated a step until it could move no more. Backed into a corner it was controlled yet more dangerous. Its many limbs were unable to be brought to the melee yet sensing its imminent demise it reared back and prepared to smash forward. Naphon swept forward with an upward arc of his thunderhammer connecting to the distended jaw of the creature. As one, with a practiced strike born of decades of brotherhood, Naphon’s battle brothers struck the outstretched and bulbous skull from its left and right. The head exploded in a shower of gore and rot showering everything within the passage in a viscous slime.


Squad Torin fell in behind Naphon and his storm shields to move on the central amphitheatre. Flashes of light could be seen within the cloud of pestilence that floated within the confines of the dome. As the marines moved to lend aid to their commander, an invisible field barred their entry. Motes of fluorescent green dust seemed drawn toward the Raven Guard enveloping them in a sickly haze even as they back away from the dome. Fingers of translucent death wrapped their limbs and sapped their strength as they backed away. The Emerald Fist witch was strong indeed; and this fight would be won or lost by Chief Librarian Romitius.


Within the central chamber Romitius and his combat squad stood abreast. Salvos of disciplined bolter fire were unleashed into the advancing horde of plague ridden crew. A wall of explosive bolt rounds was slowing the advancing undead yet they were making ground as they shambled onwards. Romitius could offer no aid for his focus was on the witch, this Morteus creature; the shattered ceramite armour of its power armour hung loose about its engorged flesh. It appeared as though centuries of life had been drained from its parched skin. The pale blue of the librarius was evident beneath beads of puss and other bodily fluids which erupted from both flesh and armour at once. Romitius scowled as he contemplated the weakness of this space marine; once a loyal servant of the Emperor of mankind. His moment of reflection was ended as bolts of aetheric lightning coruscated across his armour and arced to that of his Raven Guard. The circuitry of his psychic hood glowed a deep blue as Romitius focused his mind; mentally gathering the electricity into a ball and smothering it. The horde was getting closer, outstretched limbs of ragged flesh nearly able to touch the Raven Guard. Romitius needed to end this before he and his brothers were dragged down by the sheer volume of the foe. His combat squad tossed their bolters aside as the clips ran empty and the barrels red hot and switched to their chainblades and combat swords. They formed a wedge of determination with Romitius at its centre and pushed forward. The nearest dead erupted in flame mirrored by a fire in Romitius’ glowing amber eyes as the wedge moved ever closer to the Emerald Fist psyker. The bottomless black smoke that billowed from the smoldering undead mixed with the pervasive green smog in the chamber and as if it fought its own battle, the black smoke was choked out as the sickly air embraced the dead and smothered the flames with an armour of rot. As quiclky as the Raven Guard had begun to move so did they stop. The fire in Romitius’ eyes weakened to a dull ember as a marine to his right fell and was dragged off into the mass of flailing limbs. Romitius could not see the Emerald Fist librarian among the din of battle but he could feel his presence bolstering the vitality of the horde. Romitius turned and parried an arm with his force axe, the stump of it continuing to swipe at him as if it had not been amputated. Its eyes were not the glassy empty eyes of the dead but alight with energy and Romitius could see Morteus deep within them. His power was vast, able to translate his will onto the dead and with this power it lunged toward him. Parry after parry kept Romitius on the defence as his axe glanced off the bare limbs of the puppeted crew member as if they were adamantium. The Raven Guard were pressed back once more as they struggled to keep their pocket of resistance from collapsing around their commander and his duel. Romitius’ clenched his teeth as his force axe thrummed with infused power. A blinding light erupted from its haft as he pushed his weight from his back foot and translated it forward into a dolorous blow which cleaved the puppet in two. I will have need of you later . . . Morteus intoned into Romitius’ mind. As the Raven Guard prepared for the next wave nothing came. The air around them cleared and the shambling horde fell to the ground. Morteus had used the distraction to escape the ship; a few meagre crew but a small sacrifice.


Squads Torin and Naphon joined with Romitius and brought a small hand flamer to bare. A single burst prepared for the event. A gout of super heated flame washed over Rhaco’s rotted corpse purging the corruption so that his wargear may further fight the Emperor’s enemies. As the Raven Guard gathered their fallen and re-boarded their torpedoes, Romitius declared that the ship be scuttled for its taint could not be cleansed. Once aboard the Tacita Nocte its lance batteries ignited the upper atmosphere around the Emerald Fists ship and it nosed down toward Bruj Secundus, a symbol of the Emperor’s fury delivered straight to the enemy’s heart.

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#5 » Feb 23 2015 11:39

Chapter 4 – Resolve

“To know the enemy would be to invite a terrible madness into one’s soul”
Nykona Sharrowkyn of the Raven Guard, circa M31


Holding high orbit above Bruj Secundus, the Tacita Nocte monitored ground communications of both the enemy and small pockets of Imperial resistance as the latter were slowly extinguished. The Raven Guard strike cruiser was invisible to those below; its reflex shielding masking it to prying eyes from the surface. The Raven Guard had been in the Bruj System for nearly a month since the battle on Occulum and the destruction of the Emerald Fist frigate; yet in that time they had not encountered other vessels beyond the destroyed frigate. It was as if the entire Emerald Fist contingent had disembarked and been abandoned by their fleet. Romitius had ordered precision strikes across the planet to disrupt enemy activity but their actions were limited to minor engagements due to the reduced combat readiness of the force and the overwhelming strength of the Emerald Fists and their heretical followers present planet side.


Upon discovering the breadth of the corruption the Fists had visited to Bruj over the last year, it became apparent that the small strike force was insufficient to end the chaos threat to the system. Now in command, Chief Librarian Romitius had sent astrotelepathic shouts through the warp to hail Captain Solari’s battlefleet. Romitius’ combat strength in the system was limited to Squad Darius and Torin’s tacticals, Squad Naphon’s terminators and Chaplain Damiken. The force’s allotment of scouts had been murdered to the man; their speeders destroyed on Occulum, Solari’s command squad under Rhaco was lost discovering the Fist’s treachery and the remaining squads were understrength due to battlefield loses and injury. Captain Solari would undoubtedly be tearing through the warp with battle brothers and heavy armour to bolster the Raven Guard strength in the system and form an assault force capable of laying the Enemy low. Romitius knew however that he could not wait for reinforcements.


On Bruj, the small pockets of resistance fighters were gradually pushed back to the last remaining holdout loyal to Terra; Omega Nine. The population of Bruj Secundus was localized around a small number of bastions peppered across the planet and the loyalists had garrisoned the last remaining fortress untouched by plague. Until now the Emerald Fists had more pressing concerns and had largely left them alone. The picket walls around the fortified community had kept the roaming plague victims from coming into contact with those inside and the winds had not been unkind in keeping Nurgle’s breath away. The time had come however and this island of hope and ignorance of Nurgle’s kindness on Bruj had become an insult to His power.


From the Tacita Nocte, an armoured column could be seen moving on the bastion. Their intent to wipe the stain of cleanliness from the face of the planet was obvious in their numbers. Romitius would not allow those who had stood resolute against corruption to be destroyed while he watched. It is said that the Emperor helps those who help themselves and the Raven Guard would bring the Emperor’s aid to those courageous men and women, with or without Captain Solari’s reinforcements.


Turning Point


With the armoured column moving at speed across the wasteland, Romitius and those remaining under his command made for Omega Nine. The Emerald Fists force resounded across the auspex albeit with numbers indiscernible. From the east a vast rolling tumult of murky ash hundreds of meters high preceding the approaching Fists concealed them from the Raven Guard landing craft. Turbulence struck and Romitius felt the storm raven fall, his mag locked armour pulling him down. A haze had enveloped the bastion and the pilot pulled up at the last moment more on instinct than sight or readouts. As they set down within Omega Nine’s meagre port, landing ramps blew open and the Raven Guard emerged with purpose. Each had been given a strategic point to defend and with haste made to his given objective. Romitius was met by the ranking officer of the impromptu defence, lieutenant Berkstrom of the planetary defence force. Without a shred of hesitancy, a credit to his resolve, Berkstrom saluted and briefed the towering space marine. The defence force was quickly reorganized and sent in squads to bolster the Raven Guard positions. A hail of lasfire from a defensible position forms the raw iron shield of humanity; yet in the presence of the Emperor’s finest these men would be transformed to tempered steel. Romitius could feel the bow wave of psychic energy pushing the visible wave of dust in front of the Emerald Fist force which was now cresting the horizon. The storm ravens and lone thunderhawk which had taken the Raven Guard to the surface were ordered to circle beyond the storm’s edge to avoid being smashed apart like a ship upon a rocky shore. Romitius was a veteran of countless battles and knew that this would be his most trying challenge, yet his faith in the Emperor told him that he would not be alone. Chaplain Damiken could be heard roaring across the vox. His resolve was immense, and his battle brothers spread across Omega Nine reiterated his words to those guardsmen manning the walls around them. Within each man and woman a sense of determination surpassing mere survival washed over them as the litanies of battle were repeated again and again.


Omega Nine was surrounded by large ferrocrete walls and dragon’s teeth, impassable to vehicles and sure death for infantry attempting to scale them beneath raking las fire. Romitius understood this the instant the settlement became visible on their approach and had ordered the eastern gate as the primary defensive position. Two large gate houses bolstered the gate and the heavy weapons remaining to the Raven Guard were stationed here with clear firing lanes downthe approaching avenues. Abandoned habs in near-collapse following previous skirmishes lined the roadway. Romitius knew he had been correct when the murky wave washed over the walls, its tendrils enveloping everything around him. Guardsmen unfortunate enough to not have respirators quickly lost the contents of their stomachs before turning red faced and teary back towards their stations. Heralded by the nauseating wave the Emerald Fist column of armour, headed by Land Raider transports, came into view. Instantly las cannons roared from Omega Nine’s defensive positions only to deflect harmlessly off of the defiled armour. Romitius saw this for what it was and immediately ordered the las cannons to focus on other targets. The Emerald Fists had placed their heaviest armour at the fore to protect the smaller more vulnerable rhino transports following close behind. Within moments, a rhino ground to a halt, its armour penetrated by a high energy las beam. Plague marines disembarked from the immobilized craft and continued their implacable advance. A second rhino attempted to push through the broken down transport and threw a track. Its doors opened as if triggered by the cessation of movement and a viscous ichor oozed out of its passenger compartment. The ichor bubbled and frothed, loosing giant gnats from the bubbles as they broke. The vegetation around the fluid wilted and dissolved and the flies dispersed without trace.


Dorn’s fallen children would not be stopped so readily. The main spearhead was flanked by columns of siege units both material and immaterial. Thundering vindicators crashed through the derelict habs followed by daemonic spawn while daemon engines picked their way towards the ramparts; throwing aside fallen debris. Screened by the armoured prow of the vindicators the daemons gained ground while the roar of demolisher cannons forced the defenders into cover. Romitius could lend no aid to the flanks while the enemy drew ever closer to the gate; Sergeant Darius would need to marshal his remaining tactical marines and hold off the infernal beasts on his own.


From the southern flank a wall erupted as a defiler engine pushed through the shattered ferrocrete obstructing its main battle cannon. It loosed uncontrolled bursts towards the walls of Omega Nine, a blanket of acidic gore splattered where it hit. Unlucky guardsmen sloughed their skin in agony as they died. Sergeant Torin granted those nearest to him the Emperor’s mercy with his combat blade before returning fire. Waves of ethereal creatures ignited beneath the onslaught of las fire and bolter rounds yet the defiler was proof against these weapons. Romitius ordered his las cannons to loose at the engine. The ruined buildings stopped all but one of the heavy weapons from finding its mark. With an inhuman roar the defiler pitched forward, a seemingly important component of its form having been damaged. Its mechanical claws flailed in anguish as it slowly dragged itself forwards. With its main weapon incapable of elevating to an appropriate target and its advanced slowed beyond significance, Torin gripped his bolter tight and continued to express the Emperor’s rage at more immediate threats.


As the traitors neared the northern wall the vindicators turned south and unleashed their ordnance on the gate itself. Darius was in his own battle and despite his enemy splitting in two, the remainder had neared the battlements. Large toad like creatures with an agility unfathomable for their sheer girth launched over the wall. The defenders fired into the air striking the passing creatures from below. A rain of rotten viscera fell across Darius and his charges before two of the creatures caught one of his battle brothers. The frog-things pulled him in two, their mouths clacking together as they fought over the scraps of the fallen. The humans screamed in terror as the plagued reptilians crushed them underfoot. In moments Darius’ remaining marines and scant few humans formed an ever shrinking circle around him. Large bore wounds erupted from the daemons as bolt rounds found their mark. Yet Darius could see no slowing in the beasts. Unrelenting they advanced until the loyalists were shoulder to shoulder draining their last rounds of ammunition.


Upon the gatehouse Romitius watched the armoured column grind to a halt as it converged on the gate. His heavy weapons, requisitioned from squads Torin and Darius, had immobilized numerous of the smaller rhino transports. Movement became difficult for the remaining vehicles which were hemmed in by burning hulks. This came at a cost and the constant shelling of the guard towers by the Fist’s vindicators had reduced the parapets to rubble sending their defenders to the Emperor’s side. The Emerald Fists would not be deterred by a slow approach and their passengers had disembarked from their transports and marched on the gate. As a defaced land raider smashed aside an immobile rhino, a massive daemon engine strode past with ethereal claws held ready. Romitius knew their hold on the planet was lost.


Naphon and his terminators stood at the ready just inside the gate; it would soon fall leaving him and his veteran brothers to stem the tide of corruption. Romitius hurried past to Omega Nine’s port and signalled lieutenant Berkstrom. His enhanced senses cleansed the cacophony of battle from the vox feed as Berkstrom acknowledged. Romitius ordered the remaining human defenders to disengage where able and head to the landing platforms along with any civilians who had been unable to take up arms. He then sat. Amidst the tumult of battle and the swirling plague winds he began to chant. Cross legged in his powered armour and hands clasped to his temples, his long remembered prayers to the Emperor were his focus. With crisp speech, he repeated texts read long ago during his trials at the Librarius and his eyes rolled back in his skull. A faint glow emanated from his open eyes and the faint smell of ozone permeated the area as the circuits on his psychic hood sparked in fury. His arms shot outward and his head snapped toward the sky. A burst of the Emperor’s divine will shone to the heavens penetrating the psychic storm, pushing its vile effects beyond the boundaries of the landing platforms.


The plague toads had bathed the defenders in corrosive ichor, melting skin and armour with equal ease. Lasbolt and chainblade had taken all but one of the beasts down but as Darius wiped blood from his eyes he was alone. Hatred coursed through him as he side stepped his fallen battle brothers, their midnight black armour pocked and pitted. The toad, nearly two meters tall and twice as wide, arched its head back as if to clear it’s throat. With a grotesque sound it hurled forward, maw wide, ejecting a fluorescent green bolus of death. Darius rolled wide and plunged his chainsword into the thing’s neck. Carrying his momentum he leveraged himself up onto its back while it flailed violently. Grabbing a protruding horn from the beast’s head with one hand Darius held fast while working the chainsword through its neck. An impossible volume of putrid chemicals gushed from the wound, soaking into the stonework. Pustules on its back vented caustic fumes which ate into the soft components of Darius’ armour. He screamed in fury as his skin boiled and his foe was slain by his hand, pooling beneath him. Looking up from his victory his eyes were met by a horrid simulacrum of a space marine.


With the defenders of the gatehouse slain under the oppressive fire of vindicators there was little the Raven Guard could do to protect the gate. A bipedal war engine nearly as tall as the gate itself sank its ghostly claws into the reinforced ferrocrete. Flares of light erupted from the punctures and traced along the bracing before disappearing into the gatehouse mechanisms to either side. The metal began to rust as the ferrocrete began to weather and crumble. Within moments the gate appeared to age beyond function and the daemon removed its weapons and stepped aside. In its wake the Emerald Fists land raider surged forward and shattered the gateway in a puff of dust and flaked metal. As its assault ramp opened Naphon and his squad formed a shield wall and prepared for whatever emerged.


Through the eye of the storm bolstered by Romitius’ focus, the Raven Guard storm ravens and thunderhawk returned to set down within the landing area. Hundreds of civilians and wounded planetary defence troops crowded toward their ramps and those of the few bulk landers at Omega Nine. As the rabble hurled themselves over one another children were trampled and the injured were left to their own. The loading master could do little to control the situation and the craft merely took off when their holds were at capacity. The space marine vessels pitched toward the Tacita Nocte, hopeful they could make a second approach. The bulk landers, outfitted to ferry foodstuffs from the surface to awaiting merchant vessels, had not been used for evacuation as there had been nowhere to run. With the Raven Guard to foster them however, the people of Omega Nine tore through the doors of grain hoppers and made space where ever able. The massive landers struggled against the planets gravity as they gained altitude; there would be no second run.


From within the belly of the Emerald Fist land raider hulking suits of armour manufactured by the Dark Mechanicus emerged. Five in total their dilapidated armour dripping grime and unknowable fluid. The armour moaned in disrepair as the walking tanks stepped onto Omega Nine’s soil with combi-bolters roaring. Naphon and his three brothers were all that remained to stop the deluge of chaos from entering the holdout. Gathering speed they ran forwards, shields down as a wedge, toward the Emerald Fists. Naphon struck the central chaos terminator with his stormshield with such force that it strode back three steps to be pinned against the land raider. In the space created by the Raven’s wedge, he moved aside in time for a thunderhammer to decapitate the traitor. With now even odds, they turned again to face their foe as the land raider vacated the gate. Power fist met storm shield as bolt rounds erupted harmlessly from terminator armour. Miniature novas of energy burst between the power fields of chain fists and thunderhammers as the two groups parried and struck in a slow dance. Naphon and his squad moved with purpose to reposition themselves between the forces of chaos and the landing pads but were too embroiled to halt an oncoming rhino until it was too late. Veteran brother Ranus lurched in front of the rhino in an attempt to stop it and was spun aside as the rhino careened into a group of civilians desperately hoping for a return flight of the bulk landers. Ranus’ was caught in the left arm by a chain fist which sunk deep, tearing through adamantium and bone with ease before he could bring up his shield. The rhino detonated in a indigo conflagration which threw those around it to the ground. As the fumes from the explosion settled on the masses they began to choke on their own vomit. A cascade of illness passed almost as quickly as the panic. Naphon and his squad fell in on Ranus and disengaged toward the landing pad under an onslaught of bolt rounds.


Face to face with the Emerald Fists’ warlord, the embodiment of prowess and decay amongst the fallen chapter, Darius knew he could not outrun this foe. Having held the northern flank this long he knew he would die with honour. Darius was about to prime his remaining krak grenades when a thunderous roar signalled Chaplain Damiken’s arrival. Bellowing in fury the chaplain shouldered into the traitor marine. Over the crack of ceramite Damiken ordered Darius to fall back. He would not let more of his battle brothers fall to this creature. The assault on Omega Nine would not continue while he lived. Darius faltered at first not willing to abandoned his chaplain yet when the order was repeated through gritted teeth, Darius’ psychoconditioning overrode his will and he turned back toward the landing pads.


Lieutenant Berkstrom had arrived at the landing site and was struggling to maintain order. The remaining populace was attempting to force itself onto the landing pad to escape the spreading plague as numerous rhinos began to vent their toxic cargo. Incoming plague marines could be seen fanning out through the fumes. Darius as well as squads Naphon and Torin had made it to the landing pad and were loosing shots into the Emerald Fists wherever line of sight permitted. From those who had fallen beneath the pungent clouds released by the Emerald Fist rhinos individuals soon began to rise; crying and drooling blood. Berkstrom reacted quickly and ordered the last bouts of promethium available to him sprayed into the panicked crowd. Their deaths were inevitable and expediting it would slow the tide of corruption. The cleansing flame flashed to life forming a screaming barrier against the plague, its light forcing back the sickening hue from the landing pad. As if heralded by the moat of fire, the Raven Guard transports touched down at speed. The Raven Guard dragged the unconscious Romitius aboard and loaded themselves onto the three vessels and what civilians they could. Engines pushed to their limits, the craft followed the ever closing within the tumult previously held at bay by Romitius. As the swirling winds closed behind them and the Raven Guard breached the atmosphere, Chaplain Damiken’s indicator light blinked out.


A vast majority of the traitor armoury is comprised of relics stolen during the Schism. These machines are kept fighting by the warband's warp smiths and supplemented with new and horrifying creations touched by the warp. When the Emerald Fists fled into the Eye of Terror they quickly set to forming allegiances with the Dark Mechanicum and the denizens of their twisted forges. The Fists, caring little for tech-lore, have pledged their future plunder to the flesh metal overlords of the Dark Mechanicum in exchange for an endless supply of war machines to persecute Roscius’ eternal war.

Reports of Emerald Fist forces fighting alongside the forces of chaos rarely involve tales of full scale daemonic incursion; for tales of this magnitude do not leave the sanity of the few survivors to whisper them. Far more common are descriptions of strange mechanical beasts flying support or walking among the Fists. Of particular note are the flying constructs known as blight drones. These foul machines can be heard approaching with a sound akin to a swarm of flies. A large mass of flesh protected by thick armour plating is held aloft by two rotors. Whether this merger of armour and flesh is spawned directly from the warp or hammered into existence by Emerald Fists' warp smiths aboard their fleet vessels is unknown. A popular suspicion among the Ordo Malleus is that of fatally wounded marines giving themselves fully to the corruption of the warp and becoming engorged with unknown plagues; destined to live on and spread rot and suffering from their bloated selves.

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#6 » Feb 23 2015 11:39

Chapter 5


At the dawn of the fifth month of the campaign, the Tacita Nocte maintained its orbit of Bruj Secundus. The maleficent weather patterns experienced during the battle for Omega Nine had intensified and spread further across the globe encompassing all historically populated areas. Surface scans returned anomalous results at best with the exception of the thermal auspex. Vox traffic was non-existent and and visuals were limited to aerial views of the storms. Time-lapsed imagery of the dust clouds showed faint suggestions of formless faces screaming toward the sky, to anyone staring too long. Reduced to near blindness, and unable to lock surface targets for anything which would classify as a bombardment, the Raven Guard were an impotent force. Unable to confront the enemy, Romitius sent two-man recon teams to the surface, to trek into the storm. He felt for the first time in his life a helplessness he’d long since thought bred out of him. The teams were without contact for a week at a time before retreating to areas untouched by the warp weather to relay their findings. For weeks this continued with updates offering nothing positive. The population of Bruj were either dead or dying, offering up worship to their pestilent overlords. Fortifications were extensive and becoming more reinforced with each passing day, the craft of the Emerald Fists losing none of its obstinacy with their fall to Chaos. Beyond the reach of their walls, the Fists had begun to construct shrines to their worship with their flock tending to their worship. Romitius could sense the dark powers focusing on the shrines as the human’s chanting intensified.

As a hand to a drowning man, a pressure built behind Romitius’ eyes and he knew all was not lost. Vox traffic on board the Tacita Nocte was restricted during battle operations in order to effect their stealth yet he knew what this was. Arriving seconds early, the view screen was already focused beyond Occulum, toward the system’s Mandeville point. Limited by range, enhanced details were an impossibility yet the tear in realspace could not be missed. A gaping wound in reality ripped open in a torrent of colour before snapping shut soon after. A single blurt of scrap code followed shortly after, a meaningless snippet seemingly identical to standard system interference. The vox officer readily identified the code broadcast on a narrow band frequency. The communique in itself stated nothing, but to a Raven Guard vessel listening for such a broadcast it announced the arrival of the Battlebarge Selue Rhonar; Captain Solari’s command vessel.

[title to be determined- section added April 11]
The Tacita Nocte announced its location to the Selue Rhonar and eagerly awaited reinforcement. Solari’s forces would include the remaining bulk of 3rd company and support elements from the 1st, 10th and reserve companies.
The battle barge and its support vessels joined rendezvoused with the Tacite Nocte on the dark side of Occulum 20 hours later. In the months since evacuating Omega Nine, Lieutenant Berkstrom and the other survivors gave their account of the Emerald Fist invasion. Vague recollections of shrines, rituals, fortifications and incoherent memories were given in equal measure. No detail was spared in the briefing Romitius provided Captain Solari who stood silent throughout the proceedings. Once complete, Solari cleared the war room to hold private vigil for his fallen Sergeant and protege. Though he felt loss for a fallen comrade, Romitius did not understand the urgency of the vigil nor why Solari had not issued orders. As Imperial bulk landers tore an inelegant rift in realspace Romitius realised Solari had already set his plan in motion. The Siege of Bruj would now begin in earnest.

Before Bruj, Solari’s forces were entrenched elsewhere in the Sector; enacting strikes on prime targets while the Imperial Guard waged a war of attrition on a much larger scale. Using his influence, Solari requisitioned a score of bulk landers and diverted them to Bruj. Their previous contents likely dead or destroyed a sector away, they lumbered toward Occulum and held position.

The Raven Guard vessels raised their reflex shielding and returned to Bruj Secundus; their numbers hidden. Scout teams were dispatched to locations identified by the human survivors and Romitius’ observations to confirm strategic centres, key to the Fists’ dominance of Bruj. While a protracted siege was central to the Imperium’s war strategy it was not so for the Raven Guard; Solari was determined to find the heart of the Emerald Fist forces and excise it.

Key structures were quickly identified; the Emerald Fists had accomplished much during their occupation. Newly raised ramparts, bolstered bunkers and fortified strong points were ever present. While cataloguing these areas scouts identified a debased ritual site amid the wastelands. This information allowed Romitius, aided by codiciers aboard the Selue Rhonar, to focus his attentions and could feel the veil between realspace and the immaterium weakening planetside. A pang of thought assaulted his mind and he was forced to close himself off from his 6th sense.

Before the Raven Guard could drive the Emerald Fists from Bruj they would have to stop a warp rift from forming and releasing untold horrors into the realm of mankind. Powerful void shields protected the ritual site preventing precision bombardment from orbit. Solari ordered the bulk landers to move from Occulum toward Bruj Secundus with a distant target from the ritual site as their destination. With luck, the Fists would expect such an attack and would divert resources to defend against a landing; drawing forces away from the ritual. The traitors would have no way of knowing the landers were but hollow shells.

Romitius sensed the vile communion was nearing an end and the Raven Guard could wait no longer. With drop pods at capacity and guided by a scout team on the periphery of the ritual, 3rd company launched for war. Thunderhawk gunships trailed behind the fiery contrails of reentry carrying assault squads, land speeders and Romitius himself.

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#7 » Feb 23 2015 11:42

The End (placeholder title) - Section added May 14, 2015

With a fury yet unseen on Bruj, the Raven Guard struck en-mass. Drop pods crashed throughout the compound sending clouds of dust aloft from their retro thrusters. Already thick with the choking fumes abundant where Nurgle walks, the air became opaque to to the eye. Doors blew open and tactical squads hurried to the earth followed by a sternguard veteran squad, hellfire rounds blazing. The denizens of Bruj Secundus were amassed in revelry and it became impossible to miss in spite of the momentary blindness. Land speeders arriving at speed skirted the drop site picking off stray bodies with each pass.

Despite the shock of the attack, the Emerald Fists had not been remiss in defending the ritual and the defences flared to life. The ritual had been arrayed around a standard template construct bastion with defensive lines surrounding its perimeter. Hyperios anti aircraft batteries locked on and began to track the Raven Guard land speeders as they banked hard to shake the locks.
A torrent of missiles streaked from the multiple batteries in an instant; felling a trio of speeders.

Thunderhawk gunships soared overhead and unleashed their hellfury missiles on the ritual sites before disgorging a score of assault marines with Romitius at the fore. The ordnance exploded with unnatural hues against the strong point’s void shielding doing little beyond burning away the overlying plague fog.

Squad Darius unleashed round after round into the worshipping undead, bolt shells puncturing one rotten corpse before exploding in another. Limbs tore and skulls pulped yet the chanting continued. From among the ranks of decaying humans plague marines strode forward, bolters barking in time with their slow advance. Battle brothers to either side of Darius fell a moment later; their lives given in defence of the Imperium.

With proximity to the despoiled site, Romitius gained a clarity of mind despite having cut himself off from the immaterium. His head throbbed with the ambient psychic stench that surrounded him, yet still he sensed the signs of ritual in three distinct loci. They would divide their forces and disrupt the event utterly or die in the attempt.

The Raven Guard continued to push onward but were slowing against the mass of cultists and prolonged exchanges with plague marines threatened to deplete ammunition reserves. The assault squads broke into small support units and engaged the horde in brutal close quarters combat while the tactical marines focused on the corrupt marines. Black ceramite wedges begin to form and drive ever closer to the shrines.

As the sternguard veterans continued to harry the opposing plague marines with precision shots, a throb of light blossomed from a nearby shrine as a monstrous quadrupedal beast appeared amongst the gloom. With teeth nearly half as long as a mortal the daemon tore its muscular head from side to side impaling those who had summoned it. Instantly tired of rotten meat the beast paused to sniff the air. Rounding on the spot toward the emplaced sternguard the beast began to charge. Hellfire rounds unerringly struck its hide sending mounds of viscera raining down upon the masses which seemed ever more energized by the gore. The spawn was not slowed and plowed into the sternguard, crushing a veteran brother underfoot while clamping its maw upon another.

With chainblades choked on gore and the assault beginning to falter without the guns of the sternguard, Solari materialized on the surface clad in ancient terminator plate. With him, two full squads of tactical terminators formed a half circle of unobstructed firing lines. Assault cannons roared to life and in an instant shredded the massive daemon. The Raven Guard redoubled their efforts, inspired under Solari’s command the the presence of the terminator elite.

As the strike force drew ever closer, the shrines pulsed again releasing a plethora of lesser spawn, warped beyond recognition from an amalgam of ancient Terran creatures. Romitius, guarded by a squad of terminators followed in the wake of the assault marines in their push toward the nearest obelisk. As the last of the cultists encircling the shrine were dispatched the true defenders became evident. Content to let the undead and near-dead slow the Raven Guard, an Emerald Fist terminator cadre had stood stoically defiant of the intruders, letting their ultimate devotion fuel the occult ritual. Upon their jetpacks the assault marines propelled themselves away from the superior foe to bolster squad Darius and the assault on the remaining shrines.

As Romitius and his honour guard engaged the chaos terminators the opposing shrines continued to pulse as lithe bipedal cyclopean creatures with engorged and distended abdomens began to emerge, headed by a giant worm like creature. Their blades showed the rust of centuries and the green pallor of their skin heralded far worse to come. Darius and his squad, bereft of ammunition began to exchange blows with the daemons. Decapitating strikes quickly became evident as the only method of truly destroying the creatures. The blades seemingly beyond disrepair were honed to a razor’s edge. Where they did not carve flesh, ceramite began to flake and adamantium tarnished. A heavy flamer from Solari’s honourguard drove the fel creatures back as the Raven Guard pressed on.

With the warped terminators downed, at the cost of two honoured Raven Guard elite, Romitius strove with purpose toward the glowing statue. With his hands outstretched they disappeared within the putrid light before embracing something either solid within the material realm or coalesced within the warp. With his mind sheltered from chaos and his psychic hood sparking in protest, he attempted to recall neigh forgotten lore which could close the rift.

With ever increasing tempo, the shrines pulsed further, as a mechanical daemon engine came into material being. In a grotesque approximation of a Mechanicum war walker, a hulking daemon was chained to a six legged machine. Belching clouds of smoke and oozing puss the construct lurched forward. Solari, a veteran of centuries knew the fight would end soon with the Raven Guard’s chance to be the victor diminishing rapidly.

Breaking his concentration, Romitius was apprised of the deteriorating situation and accepted the realization that his mental barriers would need to be lowered in order to end the ritual and ultimately close the developing rifts. His eyes began to glow with the Emperor’s divine light while the shrines dimmed. They pulsed in further rebellion and the daemonic hordes appeared to falter. A soft whisper begins to echo within Romitius’ mind “Morteus claims thee”. As the psychic chant grew louder Romitius understood his mistake but his hands could not be removed from the otherworldly realm. The white light in his eyes began to cloud as the shrines pulsed brighter than they had ever shone. “Morteus claims thee” chimed one last time before his head dropped forward and his knees hit the earth. A psychic scream erupted from his soul as the sorrow of his failure transcended realspace. The small tears in reality bled together, fueled by Romitius’ soul scream.

As the rift grew in size, scouts across Bruj Secundus reported and additional six confirmed ritual locations. With Romtius revealed as an unwilling lynch pin in the opening of a huge warp rift and similar scenarios unfolding across the planet’s surface, Captain Solari ordered a full withdraw. In disciplined ranks the Raven Guard backed away from the site, all the while brandishing combat blade and chainweapons while Solari and the terminators covered the flank. As they reached the outskirts of the strong point, waiting Thunderhawks, which had long since run their hoppers dry, swallowed up the Raven Guard. Solari watched in resignation as the hatch closed and the thunderhawk fled for orbit.

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#8 » Feb 23 2015 11:43

Epilogue

The Raven Guard had contained the Emerald Fists to Bruj Secundus and silently blockaded the system for months while corruption enveloped the world. Precision strikes had delayed the inevitable but ultimately could not break the Fists. Aboard the Selue Rhonar, with the Tacita Nocte in close formation, Captain Solari stared at the rotten orb below that was Bruj Secundus. The Raven Guard’s hubris had led them to believe a decapitating blow was possible in the face of the implacable Emerald Fist advance. Like a cancer the traitors had spread their worship among the populace and had transformed the surface into a bulwark against the Imperium’s reprisal. The Emerald Fists truly had fallen and were no longer the honorable force Solari had once bled beside.

The sector’s Inquisition would be advised of the recent events and the fate of Bruj ultimately lay in the Ordo Malleus’ hands. Whether by exterminatus or smashed beneath the hammer of the Imperial Guard, Bruj would not be left to the traitors. Either path would ultimately banish the chaos taint; albeit without the Raven Guard’s expertise which counted for little in such a prolonged conflict. The rescue of precious few mortals from Bruj Secundus and the recovery of a majority of the chapter’s gene-seed served as bitter consolation as the Raven Guard fleet reached the system’s Mandeville point and translated out of realspace.

The true Siege of Bruj had yet to begin.

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#9 » Feb 23 2015 11:46

Thanks for reading!

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#10 » Feb 24 2015 12:47

I'm liking the historical style of writing, which I prefer when reading narrative accounts. There is a lot here, and I will take the time to give it all a read.

Incredible effort Ambit!

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#11 » Feb 24 2015 06:10

modelglue wrote:I'm liking the historical style of writing, which I prefer when reading narrative accounts. There is a lot here, and I will take the time to give it all a read.

Incredible effort Ambit!


I tried very hard (and a friend of mine) to avoid using dialogue to move the story along. There's some sidebars with dialogue just to add variety but the main story was told from an observer's point of view or at least that was the intent. An omnipotent perspective without bias.

I've read through it myself a few times and it definitely takes on the 'bolter porn' genre but I'm ok with that. Light reading for my coffee table haha.

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#12 » Apr 11 2015 08:02

I've added a new section to Chapter 5 above. Basically I was going to have a battle in chapter 5 which would segue into more daemonic presence on the planet, followed by a final apocalypse battle which would ultimately save or destroy the entire planet.

However, my buddy who was helping with this 'retired' from helping last year so I've had less motivation and no proof reading. Instead, I've decided to use the chapter 5 battle (which we played a few months ago) as the final battle. I plan to have the ritual still be the focus, but it's likely going to end with a really grim twist that the Raven Guard didn't really accomplish anything and a long drawn out battle with the Imperial Guard is the only answer, because in the grim dark, there is only war.

Basically the Raven Guard are going to try and stop the ritual but ultimately abandon the system to its own end. This way I don't have to write more chapters afterward. A bit anticlimactic but it is 40k so a clean ending isn't really fluffy :)

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#13 » Apr 12 2015 02:02

I'm still reading, but I'm loving the entries, TheAmbit. I agree with modelglue that the blend of historical (almost codex like) storytelling mixed with the first hand accounts has got me hooked.

A quick question-

TheAmbit wrote:Some time in early 800M41 Roscius began tampering with the Emerald Fist geneseed;


Is this part of his corruption that only he and the Kor would know about? It seems like such a big, conspiracy worthy act to manipulate and tamper with the gene seed that I was hoping for just a little more as to either the "why" or "how" he managed to do so without setting off 'alarms' within his chapter or the tithing of Mars.
~Good Hunting

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TheAmbit
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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#14 » Apr 12 2015 03:38

Calmsword I'm glad you like it!

I believe only Kor Ikthon and the silly apothecary would know about it at that time. I was debating leaving that out since it wasn't a direct involvement in the story and could probably be a few pages in and of itself. I'm sure there could be a few plausible reasons for how they escaped the Tithe of Mars - perhaps they were off crusading, or being head apothecary, he didn't infect everything and knew what to send.

I tried to just clear it up in the first paragraph and say 'this is how it is' but maybe that isn't enough?

Maybe something simple like a rephrasing to
'Sometime in early 800M.41 Roscius, long under the sway of Kor Ikthon, began tampering'

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#15 » Apr 12 2015 04:47

Sometimes all it takes is a sentence.

Your edit, done quite artfully (!!!), banishes any confusion I might have had. "Long under the sway" conjures up images of secret dealings, solutions to avoiding the Tithe and general nefariousness. Good job, I look forward to reading more.

:D
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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#16 » Apr 12 2015 06:06

I appreciate the feedback. I'm sure there are lots of things that could be better written so any comments are much appreciated.

I spent four hours this afternoon formatting images and stuff and adding a sentence here and there to Chapter 5 since after re-reading it, it didn't make sense. It's quite a slow process but I've uploaded a new draft of the book (With pretty pictures) if anyone is interested.

Link to the pdf

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-Kvgn ... sp=sharing

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj

Post#17 » May 14 2015 08:34

Updated the story 'ending' with "The End". This was supposed to have another chapter based on an apocalypse battle but since this is a couple years into the telling so far, and my friends and I don't play anymore, I wanted to wrap it up. I will still have to write an epilogue but for now it's done in so much as the fighting anyway. If there are any errors (I just wrote this up) please let me know. I'm sure there is polishing that can happen and I'll probably do some rewrites next week.

I'm sitting in the realm of 20,000 words which I think is about 19,000 more than I've ever put to paper so it's a milestone :) I think it qualifies as a short novella?

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Re: [Fluff] The Siege of Bruj - Chapter 5 - May15

Post#18 » May 16 2015 05:40

Finished! Now to do final formatting, then I'll print off a rough copy and do a final edit before sending this to the printers.

A reminder, the 26mb pdf with images, more backstory etc. is here as draft version 3.0 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-Kvgn ... sp=sharing

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