1. Entry 2 Wolfs16
2. Entry 10 Tsurugi /Entry 13 Revenant /Entry 15 T'oturi
The contestants will stay unnamed, until the voting is over.
(Index of Tau words at the bottom)
Aloh'Ka Personal Log:
They attacked my home. My Home! Everyone from Bork'Upt Tor, dead. No building was left standing. Bastards. They will pay for this. I will kill every last one of them even if I have to kill them with my bare pulse pistol! I need to convince the Aun the let me go. I just have to.
I have just been assigned to command the Cadre that is reclaiming Bork'Upt Tor. Revenge is a dish best served cold Por'Nan. Very cold.
In transit now to the southern Polar Circle. My Cadre is still wet behind the ears and I don’t know how they will respond to the Y’he, but I’m confident they will perform. If not, I’ll make them.
We found them. 170 Tor'kan south-west of Bork'Upt Tor. Tomorrow we will attack. Por’Nan and I will be ready.
So'Roo Communication Log:
I’m nervous. The first time leading my Helios La’Rue and…
>"Shas'Ui So’Roo, this is control, ETA 5 Raik'ors."
I’m actually more nervous about serving under Aloh’Ka. Rumour has it he was trained by O’Shovah himself. That explains that odd weapon of his. I wonder if he uses it.
>"Team So'Roo, drop in 10…5,4,3,2,1"
Team, thrusters on! Follow my lead.
By the Aun… there are so many of them...Focus!
Team, move to that ledge and engage with plasma. Let them advance and…
D’Al! D’Eio get your brother! I’ll cover you!
I thought Y’he where close-quarter fighters. Why don’t they advance! We’re being out-gunned.
D’Eio, take cover!
Control. Man down! Need support at location Y5-X17-Z213!
Repeat. Man Dow.. AAARGH!
NO! Not on my first command! Damn bastards.
>"So’Roo, this is control. Reinforcements inbound."
Where are those reinforcements! We are being overrun. What the? Thrusters?
D’Eio stay down! Don’t use your thrusters!
>"Ehm, that’s not me sir."
>"Mon Por Cal Bork!"
That warcry. Its Aloh’Ka!
D’Eio, cover his flank.
No way! He also cleared the vicinity in the time it takes me to power up my rifle! That sword. Its like its liquid. And boy can he use it. He came just in and...
When I woke up in the hospital D’Eio told me about Aloh'Ka. He continued to single handedly cut a path straight to their leader, a Hive Tyrant. D'Eio described how he charged right up to the creature while continuously firing his rifle at other Y’he. When he came so close that the Tyrant could retaliate with his claws and scythes, he managed to evade and block all its attacks. Seeing the effective shield, the Tyrant decided bite it, and the arm attached to it, clean off. So as it extended his head, Aloh’Ka feinted to counterstrike with his blade. Seeing the blade coming the creature retracted his head instantly. But Aloh’Ka never wanted to strike. He stopped mid-swing, levelled his weapon-arm and fired a pure discharge of plasma straight through the creature. All Y’he fell into chaos at that time and the battle was effectively over.
Tau word index (in order of appearance ):
[spoiler=]Aloh’Ka: (Shas’O) Coldstrike
Bork'Upt Tor: Ice Mountains sector
O’Shovah: Shame on you if you don’t know this one
Tor’kan: one kilometer
Por’Nan: Wave Blade
So’Roo: (Shas‘Ui team leader) Artful Mind
D’Al: (Shas’Ui) Small Twin
D’Eio: (Shas’Ui) Tall Twin
Mon Por Cal Bork!: Be as deceptive as water and as tough as ice! Motto/Warcy of Aloh’Ka (later Adopted by Bork’An Yanoi 1st CAC)[/spoiler]
-I meet with Shas’El Sa’cea Lynu’nan as he begins a controversial training exercise using live Y’he specimens. Lynu’nan speaks to me through the comms of his new “T’pel” pattern Xar’vesa.
I suggested we conduct the interview during his rest time. He replied that this is his rest time.-
“I protected the honored Aun’El Elro’gal for seven kai’rotta, but all that changed on Tenu’ro. Overwhelmed by Y’he on all sides, Elro’gal refused to leave. He said he would not abandon his people in their time of need."
[About twenty Hormagaunts, are released.]
“Because of the Aun’s presence we fought hard and held them back. Could’ve held longer if the command center hadn’t been infiltrated.”
[Two approaching Gaunts are vaporized by his plasma carbine.]
“Lictors. We must’ve killed at least six as we fell back to the main chambers. Still, my squad was slowly picked off…..I was bonded to each of them, you know.”
[About ten Y’he now attack. Lynu’nan shoots two, before charging the rest. Despite this his cold voice never wavers.]
“Eventually we reached the center, but the Lictors got there first. We fought hard, but were simply out maneuvered. I was the last surviving guard.”
[His fusion cutter activates.]
“Just when I thought the last Y’he was dead, I turned to see Elro’gal get flesh hooks shot through his chest from a Lictor I thought was dead. I was a fool to not have checked.”
[The Hormagaunts reach him, the energy blade cutting several in half. The beasts soon swarm over Lynu’nan. He continues talking as if nothing were happening.]
“After being recovered I led the remaining defenders till reinforcements arrived. The planet was saved, but at great cost.”
[Bursting from the writhing mass, Lynu’nan shoots and slices the Gaunts. More join the fray, but are quickly cut down.]
“The Por said I was suicidal and had lost focus on the Tau’va, fighting now for vengeance…..They were right. I wanted every Y’he dead. They had taken my Aun and robbed our people of his guidance. “
[The last creature lunges for Lynu’nan. He ducks, catching it by the tail.]
“I was allowed to operate as a monat and volunteered for every suicide mission I could.”
[Swinging the gaunt, Lynu’nan slams it against nearby rocks.]
“Only problem is, I always survived. That’s why I volunteered for the ARC initiatives special weapons division. At least in death I could provide tactical data. Look at this gem.”
[Lynu’nan drops the tattered carcass on the ground.]
“Apparently I was the only volunteer for this suit. I honestly can’t blame them, it’s a barbaric design. But we needed something that could operate in close quarters, behind enemy lines.”
[A hidden Hormagaunt attacks from behind the rubble. Lynu’nan activates his blade and slices its head off in one swift motion.]
“Using this suit will probably kill me. But before that happens, I’m going to take as many down with me as I can.”
[Lynu’nan turns to the severed head and smashes it with his foot.]
I remembered that fateful dawn when the Cleansing begun, standing in that rain-soaked earthwork trench lines as one of the last Auxiliary survivors to guard the Arch-Gates. Supplies had already run dry days ago; the troops were out of ammunitions, food, clean drinking water and any hopes of survival. We all knew that this would be our final stand against the thrice-cursed greenskins, we stood exhausted, covered in mud and slime here in the heavy rain, with the filthy air smelt of the dead and wreckage burning inside our lungs.
The ground shook once again as the sound of crude war engines starting, and the battle drums and maddening shouts and screams of countless Orks as they all cried out for yet more pain and bloodshed like a distant thunder.
Then came the ‘Waargh!’ and an icy cold terror washed over my feeble bones like a death shroud.
Through the thick dark clouds came a lone, shining spark on a fiery trail. Coming down at impossible speed, the spark became a burning shooting star as it cut through the grey sky.
As the unstoppable Ork tide thrust ever closer to our pathetic defence lines, the flaming star suddenly took a sharp turn and came down directly towards us. Slowing down, I clearly saw the star was in fact a distinctive XV-8 Battlesuit, painted in a fiery shade of crimson. Keeping the momentum, it then kick-started its powerful boosters and the hunt began.
And a heartbeat later was the first time I bore witness to the terrible destructive powers of the legendary Scarlet Devil.
The Ork Bikers at the front of the charging horde were the first to fall. The crimson Battlesuit smoothly shifted into a battle stance in mid-air and took up aiming positions in a blink of an eye, then unleashing a torrent of phantom blue plasma blasts with its wicked weapon. The ramshackle Ork Bikes offered their riders no protections against the hail of fire, many of them crashed and burnt before they could even react to the threat and others veered out of control on the slippery mud as they tried to evade the incoming shots.
Three larger Ork transport vehicles soon rolled into view, readying the crossbow-like weapon again, the crimson Battlesuit took quick aims on the transports. Firing in rapid successions, searing plasma beams like arrows found their marks on the Ork vehicles. A series of bright explosions soon followed, burning wreckages and body parts alike were sent flying in all directions.
My attention was once again drawn skywards as more lightning torn the dark clouds asunder. An absolutely massive craft – a small starship even, ponderously descends through the eye of the raging vortex.
My vox-bead crackled into life, fuzzy with atmospheric interference, received a message spoken with an accented voice: “I am Shas’O Vior'La Korst'Sun'yi commander of Task-Force Crimson Cross, daughter and First Lieutenant of the revered Shas’O Vior’La Mont'yr He’La. In the name of the Greater Good, we will take it from here...”
...Shas'O Re'Lai's skin quaked as he saw his comrades become overwhelmed by the creatures, their battlesuits slowly sinking into the horde of enemies. He could see Shas'El Te'Ryn panicking and using the arms of her XV8 battlesuit to bash the red fiends aside, trying to stop them from attacking her squad. This allowed them to fire in a short interval, dispatching some of the creatures as they continued to fall back. Re'Lai turned, and fired numerous missiles from the pod on his back into a rhino transport, which cracked at the seams, and tore itself apart as it haphazardly careened into a rock formation.
He then heard the blood curdling cries of Te'Ryn as she was finally dragged to the ground. She thrashed and kicked the creatures as they attempted to cut her out of the battlesuit cabin with their elongated glowing swords and dagger like claws.
Despite his better judgement, Re'Lai engaged the primary thrusters on his back and accelerated into the air. His experimental stabilizing thrusters engaged, allowing him to target the enemies closest to Te'Ryn and successfully launch a cascade of plasma rounds and missiles, tearing a couple apart and leaving others revelling.
His battlesuit recoiled as its feet plunged into the sand beside Te'Ryn, knocking down a few of the daemons close to her battlesuit. More enemies came and turned their attention to Re'Lai, leaping into the air and trying to drag him to the ground. He smashed a couple aside with his arm, while their sharp. The last daemon scurried onto his back, and plunged its blade deep into the battlesuit's fusion core and the cabin. Re'Lai disregarded, managing to grab the daemon and squeeze the life out of it as his battlesuit seized and collapsed.
Re'Lai opened his eyes, and a jolt of pain shot up from the back of his neck to behind his retinas. He was immersed in an eerie red glow, and without hesitation typed into one of the panels in front of him. The battlesuit lurched, and white light seeped into the cabin. Before Re'Lai could blink, he heard a cracking noise, and was launched from the front of the battlesuit. For a brief moment, he could see the air filled with blue pulse rifle rounds and his forces advancing forward.
He landed abruptly, and without the slightest uncertainty ran to Te'ryn's downed battlesuit. He collapsed beside the battlesuit, and shuffled to remove the main plate that covered the battlesuit cabin. He threw the plate behind him, and stuck his arms inside the cabin to help Te'Ryn get out as her battlesuit lacked any form of automatic ejection. He looked at her, but to his dismay she looked petrified. He felt something cold on his back, and touched it with his hand.
His hand was covered in a burgundy liquid and fear overwhelmed him as a cold jolt shot through his spine. His vision blurred and Te'Ryn's voice became muffled as he fell backwards...
The rise of El Goyus, the first Kroot to be promoted through the Tau cadres to the rank of Shas’El commander, owes much to the role of his mentor, El’Quixo. Having witnessed the meteoric rise of the renegade O’Shovah, and that Tau’s xenophobic attitudes (including the banning of Kroot from the ranks of his Cadres) El Quixo sought to prove that other races in the Tau empire were indeed worthy of promotion, and trust. Raised in the Borkan tradition, El Quixo believed that merit was the first criteria to judge a Tau citizen rather than race. This search lead him to promote a Kroot of great promise, by the name of Goyus, to the rank of Shas’El commander.
Although a native of Pech, Goyus spend his young adult life in the training academies of Borkan, where his instincts were controlled and channeled; where he learned discipline and the importance of knowledge. As his progression to battlesuit pilot was imminent, Goyus received an unexpected message to join his childhood tribe on Pech for a ritualistic prize giving, and boarded a fast shuttle to attend. Donning his Kroot attire with mixed feelings, Goyus presented himself at the Shamans altar… but something was strange. No sacrificial hounds.. no spiritual chanting. Instead, he was called forward and presented, to his astonishment, with a set of Knarloc incisors. The Shaman explained to him ‘we are proud of you, Goyus. You prove to us that we may progress, in our understanding, in our contribution to the improvement and greatness of our peoples, and that of the greater good. Not all of our kindred understand your achievement, but we do’. As a further thank you, the Shaman had cast a powerful enchantment on the Knarloc incisors – ‘You see how they shine, Goyus?! Yes! They channel the natural energy and flow of one’s surroundings; focus the innate power of nature which surrounds us. Your enemies’ under-estimate this power of nature at their peril!’
El’ Goyus knew what he must do. On his return to Borkan, on the authority of El’Quixo he had the sharp-minded battlesuit engineers of Borkan put to work on modifying his crisis suit, through use of experimental fast-acting servos, so that the incisors formed a natural part of his offensive armament. The incisors became integrated into what are now known as the ‘Gauntlets of Nature’, which El Goyus always wields in battle, and whose mighty power he unleashes against the enemies of the Tau Empire!
To prove his loyalty to the Tau, and to avoid charges of cronyism, El Goyus does not include Kroot troops in his cadres. Furthermore his primal Kroot instincts are still firmly a part of his identity, and his aggressive battlefield propensities are well known (such as his relish of close combat and ruthless mastery of the Gauntlets of Nature). Therefore an army commanded by El Goyus cannot include Kroot and has limited heavy support options (Farsight counts as).
Shas’Ui Kavash strode carefully through the gaggle of Gue’vesa, obviously pleased by his presence. If an enemy tank appeared they’d be mowed down, so his XV88 was a welcome addition.
“Don’t worry,” the Shas’El had said, “it’s a quiet sector, you won’t have cause for concern.” Kavash wasn’t concerned about the Gue’vesa, but rather his own inexperience which fortunately didn’t show on the outside of his suit. Kavash was no stranger to combat, but everyone has to be new at piloting a suit sometime. A quiet assignment was good having just qualified on broadsides.
Kavash examined the terrain carefully. An old imperial scrap metal yard provided excellent cover for the infantry, but was clear enough to allow him to pinpoint some good fire lanes. He recalled his training, worked out alternative positions, co-ordinated with the Gue’vre, and then…waited.
The Gue’vesa set sentries as Kavash relaxed. His suit was old, but in excellent condition. The Earth caste had kept it in working order, and looking almost as good as new. He’d seen the pride they took in their work the first day he was assigned to broadsides.
The incoming target data brought Kavash sharply out of his day dream, sharpening his focus. The whistle of a shell roaring past and exploding in the distance brought back the familiar gut-twisting feeling of fear, tempered by training.
An ork battlewagon lurched unsteadily, but all he could see after a moment was a trail of exhaust smoke belching out of the cover in front of him. Booming out a warning to the scattering Gue’vesa, Kavash strode to his alternate fire lane, moving steadily through the metallic refuse. A few stray rounds skipped off as he focussed his mind. The suit locked, then the recoil of the twin railguns threw Kavash into his harness, the magnets hurtling two slugs at the battlewagon.
Kavash sighed. "Everyone misses sometimes, but please Ethereals, not now!” He adjusted his position, concentrating on the target. Carefully he lowered one railgun, resting it on the scrap metal heap in front of him. Staying calm, Kavash took his time, then mentally squeezed the trigger, the neural network passing on the command.
With a horrible clang, the railgun picked up every pot, pan and other sundry metallic detritus from the Imperium of Man's scrapheap within range of its magnetic field and flung it all, along with its projectile, directly at the orks. The metallic screech of the junk on the railgun filled Kavash's ears, followed by the cheers of the Gue’vesa as the battlewagon brewed up, the scrap metal doing a fine job of shredding the few surviving orks.
“Nice job, ‘Shotgun’.“ smiled the Gue’vre. “Never seen one of you pull that off before!”
Kavash grinned sheepishly as his headset continued to be filled with the celebrations of jubilant Gue'vesa.
“I’m sure the Shas’El will be pleased,” he mused, “but the Fio’s going to kick my shrimptail! It’ll take forever to get those scratches out of that railgun...”
“The birth of Jikita Ret”
At the time of the battle against the invaders of the planet Kookhel Berk, inhabited by a Kroot population, the fire warrior Shas’Ui Ghaab was terribly wounded and left for death.
Several nights after the end of the slaughter, a Kroot carnivore squad was walking through the battle field in search for flesh when, suddenly, they heard Ghaab groaning of pain. The Kroots brought him to their village where he was cured little by little thanks to the medicinal plant knowledge of the local shaper, Krah Klun. At the end of one season spent within the Kroots, he was familiar with their culture and their food, and finally, he strongly appreciated the taste of raw human flesh which he ate daily.
When Ghaab returned on T’au Sept, he decided to call himself “Jikita Ret”, which means “Saved by The Kroots”, in homage to his savers. For his heroism during the battle of Kookhel Berk, he received the title of “Shas’Vre”. As new Tau elite, he obtained a XV8 Crisis battlesuit which he equipped with two flame throwers, in remembering to the perpetual fires which heated his body when he was suffering in the kroot hut.
In spite of his return in the Tau civilization, the taste of Shas’Vre Jikita Ret for the raw flesh, and particularly human, still persists today.
A long time ago a young warrior by the name of Hir'O was killed in battle defending a group of refugees on a world within Farsight enclave named O'Si'Ris. The warrior was sent with his cadre to escort the refugees off of the planet to another one closer to the bulk of the enclave. His entire cadre was slaughtered in a unlikely seige by the Necron race. The cadre was no match for the Necrons as they had never encountered this race before. Ancient gods and teleporting skeletal creatures with staves that reigned destruction everywhere the beams of light struck. Horrified as the refugees were, the warriors held their ground, knowing they couldn't prevent their own deaths let alone save the refugees. Hoping for some kind of miracle, they fought this ancient death with everything they had, even activating their grenades and charging head first into the enemy lines. As the cadre was slaughtered Hir'O stood out from the rest. Armed with no more than a XV-8 Crisis battlesuit painted like the sand from the deserts of their homeworld and white to show his status as a 'Vre. With the fire that burns deep within every warrior, he used not only the battlesuit’s equipment as weapons but the suits limbs to defeat each Necron that came within his reach. Firing the Tau's incredibly powerful weapons at point blank range, he obliterated swarms of wraiths and when his suit was all but destroyed he ejected using his parachute to glide to a safe fall. When he landed he drew his bonding knife and stabbed it straight into another wraiths spinal column, causing it to collapse on top of him. His body crushed by the sheer weight of the corpse he lay there for what seemed to be hours. After the battle had ended and every Tau wiped out the Necrons scoured the field for any signs of life, consuming their very souls. Though Hir'O was considered dead by the historians archives, lone heroes who survive a impossible battle claim to have seen a battlesuit with white wings fighting along side them, protecting them from harm and dissappearing into thin air before their very eyes once the threat has been stopped. The warriors of the Tau empire believe that Hir'O lives on, always defending them from failing as his cadre did. Though the Gue’s would never admit, some of the lower ranked warriors of the imperium have reported seeing their squads ripped apart by a Tau battlesuit that didn’t even exist.
Shas'vre Sa'cea K'yeshi of the Tau'shan 22nd HESRT (Hostile Extraction Search and Retrieval Team) Stood at station onboard her teams modified Orca. She was awaiting for any emergency ejection signal that alerts the rescue teams, that a pilot has ejected from one of the many Battle suit that where in combat far below on the surface of Tannhausers Gate. The Gue'la had staged a unexpected massive counter attack that threatened to overrun the Tau positions, many Cadre's had begun tactical withdrawal and redeploying to cover the other less mobile units, until more support could be brought to bear to the beleaguered sector 7. Shas El Larshi and his cadre were in the thick of the fighting, holding off the Gue'la's advance until the med teams and Broadsides of the Shas ar Tol command bunker could be evacuated.
The Gue'la were throwing everything they could towards the command bunker, with laser and pulse fire dancing across the battlefield.
Lar'shi had just put an end to two sentinel walkers before turning around to see a Leman Russ traversing it's turret towards him, suddenly a blinding flash filled his vision as the tank was destroyed by a fusion blaster hit, relieved he turned to look for another target, just as the ammo cooked off within the tank sending shrapnel in all directions with its turret being blown clear from the wreckage hitting Lar'shi across the back of his XV9. The force of the strike was such, that it had crippled his jet pack and his weapon systems were down with subsystems failing across the board, there was no choice he had to eject.
High above the battlefield, the deployment alarm sounded Immediately upon receiving the alert, the Orca dived from its holding position ,thrusting it's engines to get the drop ship into the optimal drop position for the onboard Crisis team, to jump in, secure and extract the downed suit pilot.
All as one the team powered up their suits to full combat readiness, waiting , watching in tense anticipation as the Orca's rear ramp lowered, team K'yeshi finally leapt into action.
K'yeshi's tactical display flashed with data and targeting solutions from the battlefield below, suddenly the pilots ID flashed across her vision, Shas El Larshi was their intended retrieval.
Lar'shi had taken cover behind a smouldering section of the Leman Russ whilst still coordinating his crisis teams. The Gue’la were closing in on his position, he popped out of cover to take a few shots at the approaching enemy with his pulse pistol before ducking back down. Las fire peppered his armoured sanctuary when suddenly his comms crackled to life as a calm voice sounded in his ear saying just three words “Shas shas shas” , Lar’shi took cover as the Photon barrage began.
The attack had stalled and K'yeshi and her team had arrived and begun to systematically fire upon the disorientated Gue'la , the Orca came down a short distance away, keeping low Lar'shi dashed onboard to the safety of the dropship. the team disengaged back to the Orca, Lar'shi giving his thanks, K'yeshi stopped and simply replied "Tau'va".
Sparks bounced lightly off Tsuki's welding mask. Her cutting torch melted the steel of the crude gue'la walker nearly as effortlessly as her fusion blast had punched through its boxy torso. The combat arm with the hardened, deadly pincers fell free from the frame of the hulking monstrosity. As she lashed the scavenged part to her kor'vesa assistant, Tsuki couldn't help but ponder the circumstances that caused her to undertake this unusual chore.
Shas'ar'tol transferred Shas'El Sa'cea Tsuki to Carthian IV at the request of her brother, Shas'El Tsurugi. Tsurugi had been assigned to lead a contingent to liberate Carthian II from the gue'la who had attacked and wrested the colony from the empire. When Tsuki arrived Tsurugi immediately began taking the newly formed contingent out on maneuvers. During one of these maneuvers, six rotaa into her stay on Carthian IV, the gue'la made their presence known. The orbital bombardment had come as a complete surprise to the troops on the ground. The gue'la had managed to penetrate the orbital defenses and from what they gathered, dispatch the fleet that was circling the planet. The only mistake made in the gue'la's planetary invasion was their apparent ignorance of the maneuver. Beyond that, every barrack, comm tower, supply depot, Kor, and Fio was obliterated.
Tsurugi took immediate action against the gue'la. Tsuki helped her brother lead the contingent in a series of hit and run attacks on the newly landed enemy, hoping to prevent them from making a foothold. Though initial engagements went well it became evident that without air or technical support and without a supply convoy to feed and replenish expendables, the Tau were going to lose this conflict. What changed things for the contingent was Tsuki's revelation after a failed skirmish. The damage had been significant; an XV-8 had taken a hit to its power core and the barrel of an IX-56 Ion Cannon had bent. Instantly, Tsuki understood how the Tau needed to fight this war. She stood in front of the rest of the contingent and said, “If we are going to make it through this, we need to think like orks.” She stood a moment to make sure they hadn't diagnosed her with battlesuit neurosis. When they didn't restrain her, she continued, “The gue'la's supplies are limitless. We must beat them, strip their technology and repurpose it to help us beat them again. They will be our supply convoy.” And that is what they did. Since then Tsuki has served as combat engineer for the contingent. She has developed an almost Fio-like understanding of the equipment of both her people and the gue'la. Most of the equipment in the contingent has received modifications by Tsuki, including her own battlesuit that she reassembled from the damaged gear that first inspired her plan.
She was drawn out of her musing by a flash on her wristband.
“The gue'la are bringing us another delivery, mam?”
“Lock and load, soldier.”
Through the darkness comes a solitary figure. Well built, slightly taller than average, and clearly of the fire caste, he wears a simple, dark robe, and carries a small package. Pausing in front of the entrance to a communal garden, he checks around to be sure he is not seen, before proceeding on to, a small temple, for want of a better word, dedicated to veneration of the Greater Good. For the most part, Sha’is felt his actions were more than sufficient demonstrate his faith in the guiding principle of his race, but tonight was special.
Discarding the top half of his robes, Sha’is sits down in the centre of the temple, and reverently unfolds the package. A small metal ring engraved with Tau script, a copper medallion bearing the sigil of the Au’taal sept, an igniter, a small knife, and a simple candle lay within. Placing the candle in front of him, he lights it, and then takes the ring and medallion in turn and touches each to his forehead. He sits still for a while, as if deep in thought, watching the candle burn. Without thinking, he begins to trace the scars of the ta’lissera ritual on his chest, as he does each time he returns here. He remembers the first time he came; the pain of the ritual, the intense pride in the pledge he made, and the fierce burn of the ky’husa on his tongue. A mere Shas’Ui at the time, he was now a Shas’El, a veteran of many campaigns, and revered leader of his men. His bondmates had not been so fortunate. At the time, they were all young, and despite having been bloodied in battle together, they were so sure of their invincibility. Just over two years after taking the ta’lissera, He’ra became separated from his unit and never returned. The medallion was the only personal effect he left behind, a souvenir from a training campaign on Au’taal. Three years after that, Sho’ka fell in a border war with the Gue’la. He had lived long enough to give Sha’is the ring. Both had been able warriors, and their loss had cut Sha’is deeply. Now, he has outlived them by many years, and has come possess the focus and the wisdom to balance his fiery youth. So the greater good was served, and he found it gave him some comfort to think of it as such.
Abruptly he comes out of his reverie. He takes up the small knife and blows out the candle. As he passes the blade across his palm, he murmurs a soft benediction. “By my blood, by my memories, and by the tokens I now hold of you, I honour you my brothers.”
- A Tale of Shas’El Soulblade, of The Falshia 9th -[/center][/b]
Exhaling deeply, Soulblade skidded to a halt amidst the swirling red sand and scurrying gue‘kak. He flicked on his communicator and spoke: “Fio’Vre; lower torso still feels tight, recommend adjusting the rotary dampeners again”
“Understood Shas’El” The technician replied “Is the upper control interface still giving you trouble?”
“That’s a negative.” Soulblade replied “You do your job well Fio, it seems like you fixed the problem”
Returning to the task at hand, Soulblade cycled through a list of commands and prepared for the next stage of tests. “Commencing secondary stage of test run……. Now” he called as he sprinted towards the edge of the cliff. Clearing it easily, he felt the slight shudder of the thrusters engaging “Thrust levels at maximum efficiency.” He reported as he glanced over at his status monitor. Quickly, he began uploading the trajectory program into his mainframe. “Beginning atmospheric maneuverability…….” his voice trailed off as he the cockpit lights dimmed briefly. Looking up at his H.U.D he saw a rapidly blinking chevron. Expanding it, he cursed under his breath. “Control, we have a problem, these blasted sandstorms seem to ripping up the thruster intakes again.”
“Repeat that Shas’El” The technician said loudly “Were loosing your signal!”.
“Control. We have a PROBLEM!” Soulblade repeated, louder this time. No reply. He felt the suit shudder as the thruster began to shut down. Frustrated, he called up a specification screen and quickly adjusted a few controls for the energy distribution matrix.
Grumbling to himself, he swiftly knocked the left thruster with the battlesuit’s arm. Sputtering, he heard it whine back to life and a smile crossed his battle-ravaged face. “No matter how advanced this tech gets, that always seems to work doesn’t it,“ he thought to himself as he pulled the Battlesuit out of its leftward arc and lined up on his previous trajectory.
“Ta’myr!” Fio’O He’Bentu’s anxious voice called out over the comm. “Ta’Myr, what is your status?”
“Ah, He’Bentu! You sound worried about me old friend!” Soulblade quipped, trying to ‘wind up’ the Fio’O.
“Hmmph! Preposterous! My only concern is for the integrity of the battlesuit!” He’Bentu shot back.
“Of course Fio’O.” Soulblade said, trying desperately not to crack a smile. “Recommend converting the intake filter assembly to a M-15/2 dual media type. There seems to be filtration issues with this Aun-cursed sand.” He continued.
“Noted” Said the Fio’Vre technician. “Proceed with the maneuverability test.”
Sighing softly, Soulblade gunned the acceleration control and immediately, he felt the battlesuit shudder. Almost simultaneously he felt the strange tingling sensation throughout his body as his interface began shutting down…
Everything went dark.
“Ugh, He’bentu is gonna owe me a drink for this one!!” He said wearily as the battlesuit began to tumble lazily back towards the surface of the planet.
Shas’Vre Kor’Sua’Ka - “Stormstrike”
Dawn was just breaking over the skyline of the capital city of the arid planet Persentia. From atop the roof of an abandoned apartment building pathfinder Shas’Ui’ Lem’Rotaa could see well out across the city. However the streets were winding and still dark, making it difficult to discern much activity below. Beside him was a Shas’Vre who many years ago he had called his pupil, before she earned the name of Kor’Sua’Ka. She looked lost in mental preparation. Ui’Lem did not need to guess as to what she had planned. The pathfinder training ingrained in her always led to an surprise Mont’ka that befitted this hive of buildings and alleys.
The gue’la had originally welcomed the 7th Vior’la Response Cadre when it had air dropped in to turn back an Ork Waagh. After the Orks had been defeated, the Ethereals were careful to ensure that the gue’la culture was largely kept intact. This peace lasted for over 3 years.
Rebellion spread like wildfire seemingly overnight. City fighting became a common occurrence, with the Tau finding it difficult to bring their heavier vehicles to bear in the cramped streets. Conversely, the human armor thrived in this situation. They were easily concealed and able to sweep streets with minimal support. It fell to the crisis suits to meet the threat.
She had always been unconventional as a young ‘la, but her elevation to Crisis pilot only served to highlight her temperament. Originally assigned to a Crisis team, Kor’Sua’Ka was known to break off and pursue her own objectives more often than not. It had been on one of these pursuits that ended with the wreckage of 6 tanks and one tattered crisis suit. A week later she appeared back at a Tau outpost half dead. When she returned from medical leave, she found herself promoted and gifted the title of Stormstrike.
Gunfire quickly brought Lem out of his reminiscence. Down below, the street still untouched by dawn lit up with muzzle flashes as the kroot burst from shops and alleys, putting up a fighting withdrawal from the gue’la still out of Lem’s view.
“Prepare your squad, Shas’Ui. We will be upon them in but a moment.”
Kor’Sua’Ka was halfway into her XV-8, the camouflage netting discarded onto the ground. Lem nodded affirmative and radioed to his pathfinders scattered in the surrounding buildings. Clicks acknowledging the orders came in quick succession. He steadied his carbine on the roof ledge, zeroing his markerlight sight onto the open street below. Rumbling treads filled the air and Lem patiently waited for his target to come into view. He felt the rush of air pressure as Kor’Sua’Ka effortlessly boosted her Crisis Suit beside him, perching on the ledge like a giant bird of prey. In the precise moment that the armored behemoth rolled into view all of Lem’s senses dulled for a silent, almost serene point in time.
“The calm before the storm” he whispered to himself, and pulled the trigger.
A gravelly whisper comes over the the comms:
"It is no use. We are alone and in the dark."
"What must we do, honored Shas'El?"
"Surely Shas'El, there can be no escape from this doom."
Slowly, the gravel speaks again:
"... Quiet your hearts, my dear Shas. You must know your enemy as your enemy surely knows you. And this adversary knows nothing, but the taste of fear."
With an eerily silent hand, the XV-8 Commander draws his bonding knife.
"This knife... this bond, knows no fear. It knows only blood and fire."
And heads begin to rise.
"This is not your blood. This is our blood. Our fire. And as these dread pirates are the stuff of nightmares and shadows, so too, are we creatures of burning conflagration."
Hearts-rates too, begin to rise.
"You are warriors of the great Shas, the arrows of the Empire of the Tau. You know only fire, as you were born unto it.
The battlesuit slowly stands and brings its arms together, the twin halves of a sheild generator arcing energy between themselves and showering the warriors with a golden sheen.
What once was gravel, is now a rogue cascade of boulders.
"My name is Shas'El Bork'An Arul Alkan'Yr! Commander BrightOwl! And you are Fire Warriors!"
The soldiers stand at arms, their hearts replaced with furnaces.
He can see the Dark Eldar Raider barreling down on their position, and so he closes his arms together at last, creating a disc of protective force. He is an earthquake:
"FOR THE GREATER GOOD!"
The sound of twisting metal screeches through the night air. The back half of the Raider slams into the ground and dances around the dislodged Dark Eldar Warriors. Laughing with the joy that only insanity can harbor, the gunner fires his dark lance. The beam sprays off the commander's shield, with each force creating and destroying light respectively.
More missiles escape from the BrightOwl's shoulder mounted racks and end the lives of the gunner and the pilot. The front half of the raider is now dragging into the ground as it skids forward, warriors holding on with glee. Splinter shells and pulse rounds meet in the air as the engine from the rear of the raider explodes in the distance.
A brave Shas'La removes his helmet after his ballistic lens is rendered useless by splinter fire, and begins hurling photon grenades behind the wreckage. The dazzling flare and cacophonous bursts stun the Dark Eldar long enough for his brethren's pulse rifles to finish the job.
"MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! THIS NIGHT IS NOT OVER MY SHAS'LA! AND EVEN AS THE FIRE OF THE EMPIRE BURNS IN OUR HEARTS, LET US STRIKE THE GREATER GOOD INTO THEIRS! AND IF FEAR AND PAIN IS WHAT THEY SEEK, THEN WE WILL BRING AND END TO THEIR SUFFERING, AND SAVE THEIR BODIES FROM THE CORRUPTION OF THEIR SOULS!"
Shas’vre Kais D’yan’myr drew in a deep breath: the incense in the air burned inside his lungs. The hanger deck of the Manta-class “Ebon Spear” shook beneath his feet; his Crisis suit only a few tor’leks behind him. He heard the call for Commander Farsight’s Shas to prepare for the assault on the Be’gel outpost: it was time. As numerous Shas and Fio scrambled to prepare for the coming battle, Kais remained still. Instantly the calm was replaced with a strike with his bonding knife. He shifted his posture and spun into a guard. Like water flowing through a stream he transitioned from strike to guard and back to strike again like fire. This was the ka’ta: his “warm-up” to tune his mind and body up for the coming battle. Every movement reflected a strike or firing position he would use in his Crisis suit. ‘Parry, low-stance, guard, strike, return, counter, strike, riposte…’ The sequence of movements that made up his ka’ta was all that filled his mind. He had spent many tau’cyrs perfecting the ka’ta based on his battle experiences. He crouched low on his left-leg, his bonding knife held in a reverse-grip guard with his right hand striking out like a claw. Sweat trickled down his face as he held this final pose. His mind and body were perfectly in tune: he was ready for battle…
‘Vre Kais leapt on super-heated vents from his battlesuit’s jet-pack; the suits advanced neural feedback making reciprocal connections to and from his own nervous system to control the leap. The “Burning Eye” variant battlesuit landed gracefully next to his commander and charge. The optical sensors built into the head cluster adjusted as if they were Kais’s own eyes. He could see the sea of green-hides off on the horizon, their bellows demonstrating their appetite for battle. Kais’s commander, Shas’el Shi’ur’myr, was leading a small strike force to engage the Be’gel flank while the main Kau’ui, under the command of the legendary Farsight, fought the bulk of the brute horde.
‘Vre Kais D’yan’myr kept pace with his commander as the Tau pressed the attack. The command team darted between the large rocks that littered the battlefield, harassing the Be’gel warriors whenever possible. As the command team maneuvered to take another shot, a group of Be’gel’la was ready to spring an ambush. Scores of the brutes came screaming at ‘El Shi’ur’myr; but the Shas’vre was ready. Kais barreled into the swarm of Be’gel’la while his plasma rifles tore into green flesh at close range. All Kais D’yan’myr was thinking was of the ka’ta: ‘Parry, low-stance, guard, strike, return, counter, strike, riposte…’
Shas’vre Sid’Vektor orders were clear from Aun'T'Pel. Ensure the escape of the Fal’shia Air Caste in orbit around the planet so to return the valuable research of the warp to the Tau home world. The final battle raged against the Imperium and their allies to gain control of an Orca drop ship, and then escape from the planet Medusa V before it was destroyed in the Warp. The battlefield was at Hydra's Tooth near the River Lethid and Sybilla Primus. Many Tau Firewarriors gave their lives to protect the data acquired form the warp storm over the many Tau’cyr. Realizing the odds were against the Tau Empire being able to repel the Imperial control of the drop ship, it decided to destroy it to prevent the enemy from escaping the planet and threaten the Tau Mantas - a last sacrifice by Sid’Vektor’s Fal’shia cadre for the greater good.
However, there was as special mission for Sid’Vektor… to destroy the Imperium power station north of the main battlefield at Geryon Strip Mines. This mission, upon its success will prevent more enemy forces from escaping with Tau weapon technology acquired during the battles. No support Crisis suits could be afforded to accompany him on this mission… this will be a Monat’s task. Requests for a twin-link fusion blaster retrofit to his battlesuit were denied, but Shas’El T0nka was able to spare two gun drones, controller, and a single EMP grenade. With no time to spare, Sid’Vektor jetpack were thrust into overdrive to cover the distance quickly form the River Lethid to the mouth of the Geryon Strip Mines. During the frantic movement across the barren landscape, imperial guard mortars and lasgun fire were directed at Sid’Vektor. The Gun Drones returning cover fire as his battlesuit weaved and bobbed to evade the enemy fire. Finally, with his battlesuit overheating and jetpack and weapon systems on the verge of thermal shutdown, Sid’Vektor arrived at his target, the Imperium power station. Sid’Vektor exited his battlesuit cautiously as the Gun Drones were put on auto-defend to provide cover as he sprinted to the entrance of the power station. The electronic lock to the door was blasted away by his Pulse Pistol. Now with his only EMP grenade, he arms the device and mounts it to the power station’s control console. Sid’Vektor sits down on the control console chair while listening to the timer from the EMP grenade count down. Now he can have a few minutes of peace with his mission on the verge of completion. He closes his eyes and meditates about his fellow Tau, his Cadre, and his precious life only like a Tau Firearrior can. With his mind resolute, he opens his eyes watch the EMP timer 3, 2, 1 – flash – oblivion.
Shas’ui T’olku Li’Sun’Yi (Wild Flower) is one of the most respected female Shas in the T’olku Cadre. The T’olku Cadre is a small force that has not seen many battles on the outside of the dome yet, and they have evaded many wars by diplomacy. Now their world finds itself besieged by a greater treath, one wich does not negotiate, a race only yearning to bring death...
As per Aun’O’Kar’Tyr’s orders, the T’olku Cadre advanced trough one of the evacuated cities on the southern rim of the planet. They had picked up a kroot kid and Li’Sun’Yi was to lead a La’Rua to the evacuation vessel. ‘Sun’Yi? I feel uncomfortable. My stomach tells me something bad is bound to happen.’ ‘I can sense it too, Co’Cal. I feel a hunger wich is not my own. We should be prepared and watch over the young Shas’la.’ both Shas’ui’s strode further, each occupied by their own thoughts.
The La’rua had reached a large, open space. The nagging feeling of an unsatisfied hunger was now reaching its zenith. Li’Sun’Yi’s heat sensors were spotting movement in all directions. ‘Stay where you are. Something is upon us...’. The fire warriors beneath her stopped and tried to watch every direction. They waited.
As if controlled by the same mind, several small creatures suddenly burst from their hiding places. The Shas’la released every pulse round in their backpacks, all but downing the entire wave of tyranids in front of them. Already the Shas’la were getting reckless, laughing and cheering upon their victory.
‘Quiet! It is not over yet, this was only a taste of what is coming!’ The youngbloods calmed down a little and were now advancing on the square, but they were still moving fast and unaware of their surroundings. A whailing sound filled the air and the shas’la were hit by a ponderous giant. Those who survived the impact of the thing fled right away. But Li’Sun’Yi could not turn her back on the thing. To flee would mean as much as to release this monster on the remaining citizens of this city.
‘Co’Cal, take the shas and the kid and get them to the vessel!’
‘Take the kid? Are you not coming with us?’
‘Don’t be foolish, Co’Cal. You know those youngsters cannot outrun this monster. I will distract it and lead it away.’
‘GO, before more shas’la die! I’ll join you later on. GO!’
She watched the shas’ui leave, knowing she would never see him again, but that did not matter. She would die in the knowledge that by doing so, she would save the young Tau under her command. She would die for the Greater Good.
Li’Yun’Shi took cover behind a low wall. She had ejected from her suit, wich was damaged by a sour that ate its way trough the armour. While she tought of the best way to get out, the wall behind her collapsed, and, looking up in horror, Li’Yun’Shi saw the last tyranid she would ever see.