Sunday, 13 March 2016

Mandolf's Legacy Chapter One

The boys here at A Galaxy in Flames have been partaking in some DeathWatch Roleplay. The games have been so much fun, and so engaging and cinematic at times that we have often been talking and talking about what happened in each session for days after. Our guest writer, Dean Ferguson has expanded upon our post game chatter to write some fiction depicting what happened during the games. What he wrote was so good that we decided to try keep a running story of the dramatic encounters of Kill Team Praetorus Gamma.

Hope you enjoy.

Dramatis Personae

Astartes of the Deathwatch:

Kahn-Sarro: Squad Sergeant, White Scars Chapter

Rylath: Techmarine, Salamanders Chapter

Ezekiel: Devestator, Dark Angels Chapter

Kayzar Solaro: Tactical Marine, Raven Guard Chapter

Galmech Kaargul: Apothecary, Iron Hands Chapter

Iagos: Apothecary, Lamenters Chapter

Asani: Tactical Marine, Raptors Chapter

Artemis: Librarian, Lamentors Chapter

Members of the Inquisition:

Hurtz: Inquisitor, Ordos Xenos

Sorenzo: Inquisitor, Ordos Hereticus

Crew of the Corvandus:

Alrich Van Drachnolovic: Ship Captain

Argovix 241: Techpriest Engine Seer

Servitor 416: Skiff Pilot


“Even Angels must face their own daemons...”

                                                                        -Inquisitor Hurtz

Blip.... Blip.... Blip....

His old mentor, the late Harkon Valschevique, once stated that patience was the greatest virtue of  their order. That despite all the authority and power that the inquisitorial seal afforded them, there were many aspects beyond the control of a single Inquisitor to which patience was the only solution. Despite the old man's sermon-like lectures, it was the most fundamental lesson Hurtz had ever cherished since his mentor's passing.

Despite all of his inherited authority however, Inquisitor Hurtz was currently powerless.

He ran his left hand through his shoulder-length hair, its glossy black hue from the products that kept it slicked were wet to the touch. He could feel the sweat slowly beading down his forehead and felt a degree of irritation that it was his own nerves that had caused such perspiration.

The vox signals were sporadic and in one instance, had gone quiet altogether. This did not bode well to their progress, but there was little Hurtz could do to change that outcome. Despite their new induction to the Deathwatch, each Astartes was a veteran of many campaigns and such a task he bestowed to them was not beyond their capabilities. In his more confident moments, he would have boasted that such could be completed by a platoon of experienced guardsmen, that utilising Astartes was overkill considering the dangers in the galaxy. But, it was only human to want success, particularly for such a... sensitive, political task.

The vox link finally opened with an aggressive hiss and Hurtz breathed a long, slow sigh of relief.

“Squad aboard with the target, my lord.”

A cunning smile slowly crept upon the Inquisitor's lower facial features.

All is going according to plan....

Chapter 01

                                    “The snake strikes first so that its prey does not strike back,
                                     That way the snake never fears being struck.
                                     Thus we be like the snake, and have no fear of being struck....”
                                                                                                -Kahn-Sarro, White Scars

The Corvandus stalked quietly through the void, its black hull near invisible as inertia shot it forwards in the silent, star speckled vacuum. A modest ship by all means, the reasons for choosing a Sword Class frigate as his personal vessel were many for Inquisitor Hurtz. Although it was well within his rights to request the mightiest battleships of the line in the Segmentum fleets, flaunting such power was as much a detriment as it was a boon for an Inquisitor. Of course, if such was the intention of the Inquisitor, in particular the puritanical zealots of the Ordos Malleus, then such abuse of precious resources would be acceptable... but for gentlemen who appreciated a degree of discretion, the Necromundan proverb of bringing a knife to a party opposed to a rocket launcher felt extremely fitting.

The Corvandus was complimented well with strong port and starboard batteries, its original service  escorting larger cruisers and defending them from threats too small for their city-shattering weapons to target. But, the Corvandus' strength was not in its firepower, but in its ability to outrun its foes. Heavily modified by the Mechanicum priesthood of Metalikus to increase their output, its engines hummed as its plasma batteries fired their star-forging bursts into the void, propelling the ship speedily back to the core worlds of the Thandius system.

”We shall reach geosynchronous orbit of the Thandius shipyards in fourty eight hours lord,” stated Alrich Van Drachnolovic, Captain of the Corvandus. The aging man rubbed his eyes, the neural locks of the captain's throne releasing as he began to stand to address the Inquisitor. “With the stealth fields and servitor-guided pilotry active my Lord, I shall retire to my quarters...”

Hurtz gave a curt nod and clasped the aging captain on his shoulder as he walked by. “Do check upon our new guest before you do,” he stated. “I wish to make sure that he is comfortable, and that our hospitality is generous before being greeted by our soon-to-be host.”

“And what of the others my lord?” A mug raised to his lips as the Captain took a greedy gulp of fluid, his lips parched from being linked to the ship's systems for the greater part of the ship cycle. “The four whom were recovered also?”

“A by-product of misplaced pity from a genetically forged weapon” Hurtz stated curtly, if not a little bluntly. “Transfer them to the crew decks once they are fed. Consider it... payment, for their liberation.”

“And if their liberator notices lord?”

A rogueish smile crept across Hurtz's handsome face. “He won't.”

The walk back to the arming chambers were a tiring affair for Kahn-Sarro. The smouldered ruin that was once a crested MkVII chest plate had taken a direct hit from an energy-based weapon during the recent mission and had short circuited the power outlets. He thanked his stormseer's token for sparing him from such an injury: such a shot would have felled a terminator-clad were it not for the divine intervention of the sea of storms from his charm. With no power left to dampen the armoured plating however, he was carrying dead weight... lots of dead weight.

He nodded towards the Raven as his brother crawled into his own arming chamber, the sniper nodding curtly as the door closed between them. Where the Raven shared Kahn-Sarro's lean form, the two were like sun and moon: the Raven kept to himself at distance whereas Kahn-Sarro preferred to be close to the heart of things. Such had been his habit since his earliest memories of the Chogorian steppes and like all Chogorians, he was slow to change his ways. The look the Raven had given him prior to his self-confinement had been one of self-disgust: being out-witted by their previous foes had left a sour mark upon the brooding son of Corax.

Kahn-Sarro had always been fascinated by the Ork species. For all of their primitive habits, he respected them for their often surprising capabilities. In the past he had walked upon the surface of Cardrim with his Khan and had witnessed their speed and ferocity as their ancient foe did battle with the brotherhood upon the ash plains. Their psychotic killer instinct that drove them to fight had matched the 4th Brotherhood consistently throughout that conflict. With great relish, he had conducted the dance of death with the green-skinned beasts and had found them foes worthy of his Quan-Dao blade on every occasion it had been drawn.

It shamed him that the wound he now bore had not been inflicted by the dance of death.

“We should have the tech-priest repair that for you,” Kahn-Sarro heard from behind him.

In his armour, Rylath the Nocturn-born stood a head taller then the White Scar. Dense bolted plating, whining servo harnesses and external hydraulic stabilisers betrayed the Salamander's links to the machine cult and his armour hummed like a caged fusion core as his heavy feet thudded down the metal deck plating. A cowl of thick, scaly tissue hung from iron pins to his helm's faceplate and despite the newly blackened plating of his armour, it only served to heighten the fiery patterns of the Promethean cult that were carved into his armoured plating.

His servo arm hung forward over his left shoulder, a heavy bolter clasped in its grip as the tech-marine meticulously began his maintenance. The White Scar smiled at the beeping light from the pict feed on his brother's armour: the image was feeding directly into his helmet optics, allowing the Astartes to multi-task and make efficient use of his time.

“It is just a flesh wound,” he stated in his thick, Chogorian accent. The use of the gothic dialects was still foreign to the son of Chogoris, even after centuries of life and interaction with the greater Imperium.

“Indeed? Perhaps it is a flesh wound for you brother, but that bodes bad tidings for the armour itself.” The Salamander finally looked towards him since they had started talking. “If the Tech-priest is unavailable brother, I shall make the repairs for you... but first my attention must be drawn to our brother's heavy bolter.”

 Kahn-Sarro nodded in agreement with Rylath's statement: Ezekiel's heavy bolter had proven instrumental to the mission's success, even if their paranoid brother had been a little too hasty to use it. It was only then that Kahn-Sarro wondered where the Dark Angel had disappeared to... 

“I shall see the Martian priest,” he curtly stated. “It will be days through the Sea of Stars before we return to the keep...”

And in the meantime, he desired to practice the dance of death.

The blade gleamed as bright as the stars as the cloth brushed gently across its surface.

Athanalon was a beautiful blade by any culture's standards, the rapier elegantly carved in a form equally aesthetic as it was practical. Many creatures had died by its sharp tip, from misshapen humanoids to other Astartes. It disappointed Iagos when he found himself hiding its beauty beneath its scabbard once more.

The robed Astartes stood and sighed once he reached his full height, placing the weapon back upon its designated place on his private weapon rack. The journey from his Chapter had not been a pleasant one: being parted from those of his gene seed had laid heavily upon his mind. All of his brothers were prone to dark thoughts and being absent from them only enhanced the isolation of the lone Astartes.

“You understand how important this duty is,” his Captain had said to him. “The Chapter's existence is at stake...”

Iagos felt the fury simmer deeply in the back of his mind. He had resented the necessity of such a duty, knowing full well his chapter's standing from recent events in the eyes of his fellow Astartes. He would find little brotherhood amongst such company, if at all beyond the borders of his dying chapter.

Calm... he told himself. I am at peace.

The metallic voice of a grinding, augmented vox ruined the stillness in the arming chamber:

“Are you ready?”

Iagos nodded once. “I am.”

He walked away from the weapon rack and stepped upon the central dais of the armoury room. Mechanical servo harnesses rose from motorised compartments and began the meticulous work of attaching his armour to the black carapace. Pain jolted through his body as the neural synaptic links engaged with the armour systems and he felt the surrounding air from the augmetic sensors in the armour's surface.

After ten minutes of meticulously precise machine placement, the servo-clamps rotated back into the claw tips and ejected a series of large airbrushes that began to spray thick, black paint across the smooth armoured plating. Spray by spray, his chapter was being washed away and he felt a moment of betrayal over the simple, symbolic gesture.

He paused one moment to take one last look at his left shoulder-plating before it was removed by a third servo claw, its chequered surface disappearing into the machine's motorised compartments. He then felt a hard nudge as a new symbol was bolted in its place:

The Inquisitorial seal signifying the vigil of the watch.

“So it begins...” Iagos muttered. “So it begins...”

Written by Dean Ferguson.

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