Mission Log - Xurunt

Mission Status INTERNAL REPORT

Primary Objective:

Unification of Xurunsh, create army for patrons.

Secondary Objectives:

Retrieve useful tech from Skyhook sites.

  • Aquire slave workforce. [COMPLETED]

Notes: 20,000 Xurunt Slaves acquired by Eliza's raiding. Relocated to Nova Gunmetal

  • Secure Excavation Site. [COMPLETE]

Notes: Initial Dig site started at site designation 'Nova Scintilla', excavated down to Genatorum. Relocated to site designation 'Nova Ambulon' on Eliza's request, due to proximity to Blood God Idol. Dig continues at 'Nova Ambulon', excavation down to Genatorum complete. Genatorum of xeno origin, Sarvus identifies as Yu'Vath, it draws power directly from the warp itself.

  • Construct Citadel 'Nova Gunmetal' at river site near Idol Site Omega [PROGRESSING…]

Notes: Outer palisades completed and keep nearing completion.

Make use of the 'Svartlings'

  • Locate and track 'Onir' construct [PARTIAL SUCCESS]

Notes: Onir only appear at random, attack large dispositions of livestock an human mass. Several attempts at following large Croms have not summoned the creatures. Onir may appear at Idol Site Omega once most of Xurunt is congregated there. Onir spotted near the warp rift on Erkrer.

  • Locate Svartling settlement [INCOMPLETE]

Notes: Svartling's live under the ground, this is truly the extent of our information at present.

  • Ascertain disposition/make contact/exploit Svartling resources. [INCOMPLETE]

Notes: Svartlings may be Xenos species Yu'Vath. A Xurunt wyrd appeared to speak for some other presence to Praetus and Sarvus, possibly the "human corruption" common to this species.

Gain notoriety on Xurunt

  • Obtain Xurunsh mammoth/s [COMPLETE]

Note: One Mammoth Class Xurunsh as a personal riding animal of Ghrond. Riding Xurunsh able to be acquired from Crom Baalgruff at will.

  • Obtain significant trophies [COMPLETE BUT DEEMED UNNECESSARY]

Notes: Have moved on to trying to manipulate a Crom, trying to lead a Crom itself too-difficult. Prowess of Orias and Ghrond has gained enough respect amongst Crom Baalgruff for us to have some clout. Eliza has gained respect among the womenfolk and train of the Crom.

  • Learn/obtain Xurunti honour-markings [COMPLETE]

Notes: Combat prowess and skulls. Nothing more.

Break Knights of Blood Hold on Planet

  • Board landing vehicle [COMPLETE]

Notes: Orias and Ghrond successfully infiltrated the lander without being detected via Land Speeder.

  • Hijack or Sabotage enemy Raider-class vessel [COMPLETE]

Notes: Raider 'Gorelance' is now under command of Orias. Some Knights of Blood may have escaped during its capture; expect possible retribution.

Destroy Imperial Presence on Planet

  • Liberate Eliza from The Ferryman's Coin [COMPLETE]
  • Kill the Ecclesiarchy leaders [COMPLETE]

Notes: Confessor, Witch Finder, Cannoness, Redemptionist.

  • Destroy/salvage The Ferryman's Coin [COMPLETE]

Notes: The Ferryman's Coin has been completely stripped for parts and left open to the elements. Some areas still used for prisoners and rituals by Praetus.

Achieve Paradigm shift in Xurunt culture

  • Shift Culture paradigms [PROGRESSING…]

Notes: Idols have been reconfigured at Idol Site Omega. Crom Baalgruff has been seeded near the idols. Cassius soon to complete the Codex: Xurunt, with updated and more efficient military tactics. Eliza's rapport with Frobraag should allow her to direct the train into 'Nova Gunmetal' once it has been completed. Crom is well enough disposed to us to listen to our talk of setting him up as ruler of the entire planet. Fabricated story about the true destiny of the Xurunt being to conquer the skies was accepted, as was tales about the falseness of the sky-warriors and the heresy of the idols.

Disposition of Crom Baalgruff;
1,900 Crombraags and Crom
22,000 Braags
19,000 Frobraag
57,000 Breeders
48,000 Slaves
125,000 Head of Xurunsh

  • Shift Military paradigms— [DEEMED MAINLY IMPOSSIBLE]

EVENT 862 - CELL OMEGA


Fragment 4

MISSION LOG, Sierra VI Entry I

Operative Mission Log: Primary Mission - Unite the Xurunti Tribes

The others will break warp soon. They are coming up on the planet darkside as a precaution, but I've found no evidence of advanced scanning or early-warning tech. We will have free reign in the skies of Xurunt. I've marked a suitable drop-site near one of the major ruined cities, as well as the regular camps and routes employed by the migrating armies. Nearby is the largest concentration of military men I've located so far. They're heading West for one of the blood-trials I keep hearing about. The natives verge on abhuman, significantly heavier than Terran standards and taller than an Astartes in battleplate. They have proportionate physical capabilities but nothing I've seen suggests genetic manipulation or mutation. Though they rank themselves by size like Orkoids, they fight and die like peak-athlete humans.

Cassius has joined me on the surface, and has returned my armour. It's good to be back in the shell. The active-camo mods he's made are impressive. He is accompanied by Praetus, who appears to have removed his own tongue during the journey. The Psyker has some archaeological expertise, and insisted on a closer look at the ruins while the ship runs a planetary auger. The pair quickly determine that the site was once a shipyard for Long-Night era spacecraft. The Magos scans several working generators below ground and they begin drawing plans for an excavation. With luck we will be able to build and run a manufactora to satisfy the needs of our brewing war.

Current Objectives Updated; Retrieve useful tech from Skyhook sites.
- Aquire slave workforce.
- Secure Excavation Site.

Eliza and Orias return from orbit. They have made a strike against a nearby fishing village and have captured several Xurunsh runts and slaves. Eliza's handmaidens have learned that women are treated as a sub-caste in this culture, with only the most 'physically robust' breeders having any value. Eliza had opted to visit the camps as a man, but had been rebuffed by the warrior-caste "Bulls" due to her diminituve build. Orias had killed several for this affront, noting that neither his appearence, nor his use of firearms especially disturbed the natives. It is clear they have had dealing with offworlders in the past. Praetus favors us with a reading from the Torestus and we confer on it's interpretation. We have gathered rumors of 'mechanical dragons' from whom the natives harvest their metal and the "Svartlings" who supposedly create them. We agree that the myth makes allegorical reference to these beings and set out a plan to locate them. Several tribesmen had been unwilling to answer questions about these creatures as contact with them was thought to cause outbreaks of hated sorcery. In the Svartlings, we may find a common threat capable of uniting the human tribes. It has also become clear that we have only encountered the weakest of the Xurunti so far. I decide to observe the blood-trials and set off toward the bronze idol of Volurt. Eliza has brought back rumors of immortal champions bearing lightning weapons on return from these rituals. We'll see.

Current Objectives Updated; Make use of the 'Svartlings'
- Locate and track 'Onir' construct
- Locate Svartling settlement
- Ascertain disposition/make contact/exploit Svartling resources.

The Idols are undoubtedly monuments to Khorne. Even the sand here is really dust from a thousand powdered skulls. I speak to one of the Bulls, learning that any battle before the idols are considered holy to the unnamed beast-god they honour. The tribes will draw battlelines and undertake a minor war when the last of the Warchiefs arrives. The survivors will battle for the title of "Champion," the right to take his adversaries mounts and slaughter their slaves. The blood-god has his paw-prints all over this culture. The other Three will surely reward whatever disruption we reap here. I will see what course the trials take. There may be some benefit here to be gained.

Current Objectives Updated; Gain notoriety on Xurunt
- Obtain Xurunsh mammoth/s
- Obtain significant trophies
- Learn/obtain Xurunti honor-markings

Notes to Self - Primary Objective

In order to advance our interests we float the idea of raising a warlord to represent our interests. This warrior should have sufficient resources to begin conquering nearby tribes in a permanent fashion, rather than simply raiding for cattle. Eliza is our best weapon in this respect, as she may endeavour become this warlord's consort and sway him to our cause. We can then place ourselves within his army structure. The Cell will directly intervene to prevent rivals from threatening his expansion. With modern tactics, tech from the excavations and fortifications, this warlord will be made ready to wage war on neighbouring continents during winter. This will require either large-scale teleportation by ritual, or vessels capable of crossing the acid seas. As a "Frost Father" he will attract the most powerful warriors to his banner. Eventually, we will allow rivals warbands to give tribute in scavenged tech, soldiers and mounts, rather than being conquered by force. The common threat of the Svartlings may spur this transition. It will then be for us to cement the change. Ideally this warlord would be granted immortality in a daemon-pact, to ensure his ongoing stable rule. We will also need some plan to ensure he does not rebel against us when secure in his power.


Fragment 5

MISSION LOG, Sierra VI Entry II

Before the battle, we held a conclave. Orias called us in to vote on a ritual he was planning, a dedication of the mission to the interests of Khorne. The others were hesitant - Khorne has a pretty strong foothold here already, and they were concerned we'd just piss him off by mixing things up. Praetus made a case for a dedication to Tzeentch; our problem there is that most of these natives have an innate resistance to sorcery, and a specific hate for wyrds. Eliza pushed for Slaanesh but her heart didnt seem to be in it - even with the Prince's blessing, none of the barbarians will bargain with her. Casius and I abstained, so Orias made the call. Reluctantly, Praetus performed the rite to invoke the Blood God's blessing. In the end, we're getting this thing done by waging bigger and better wars. I can already feel an increased vitality.

The proving started just before dawn and carried on for three days. Eliza left on the first day, heading offworld to Messina for earth-moving equipment. Casius and Praetus stopped by a village on their return to the dig-site, conscripting some slaves to begin excavation. Orias and I staked out the field - we knew that the survivors received their 'blessings' somehow - we were intent on figuring out how. After several hours I spotted a Cromaarg heavy-Cavalryman break from the pack to circle around a flank. I can now confirm that the warrior-caste have a resilience in excess of transhuman levels. This guy took hits that would have killed a Carnosaur and kept on riding. I was forced to switch out for 'monster-killer' ammo before I took him down. Hand-to-hand, the Croms and Cromaargs are going to be a problem. I recovered the warmount, a bunch of Cromaarg skulls and some local weaponry before heading back to camp.

Before dusk on the third day, the hordes were down to about a dozen fighters, just one Warboss and a couple of his guys. Before we could make a move, a heavy lifter-shuttle lands right in the middle of the battlefield. We couldn't believe it - it was a Long-War issue Astartes orbit breaker! Definite Chaos affiliation but no chapter or faction markings. It hauled out of atmo with the survivors on board. We had a problem, but we couldn't solve it without changing the practical. Our first objective was still the excavation, so we rode out to corner one of the slave-mobs that had fled the day before. On foot, they weren't a big challenge to catch. We rounded them up and marched them back to the dig-site carrying weapons and armour from the battle.

Over the next few weeks I spent a lot of time hunting Onir from Xurunsh-back. For days I tried following baggage trails and Xurunsh migrations but my speculation about the dragons following vibrations doesn't seem to have played out. After a lengthy hunt I called it quits and headed back to camp.

Not long after that Eliza got back with the drill-bores. That really helped pick up the pace. Within a few days the slaves had unearthed a working plasma reactor, with output capable of supplying a small city. We haven't quite figured out what to do with it yet. We had, however, some up with the beginnings of a plan in respect of the unwelcome Astartes. Praetus started issuing lists of materials he'd need for the witching lab he'd erected in 'Nova Scintilla'. The ship's scanners were able to identify a raider-sized ripple in the aethyr above orbit, so we knew our visitors hadn't stayed long. With transcontinental flight capacity restored, we headed overland for a scouting mission. On Hor'Thragash we found a neglected idol and melted it down to slag with our lances. We had slaves load up the remnants and ship it back to Casius for forging. While we prepared our trap, Eliza and her handmaidens began an infiltration of a large Crom on Erker.

Within a week, our trap at the Erker Idol was in place. Casius had prepared five Sorcerous icons forged from the ruined Hor'Thragash brass. We had buried them beneath the bone-sand of the proving ground, and marked out a pentagram with blood-quenched Onir-steel monoliths. The battle -between 5 mighty Croms - dragged on for 7 days before the bedraggled survivors raised their standards in victory. 500,000 Braag and Xurunsh lay slaughtered on the field of bones. Throughout the fighting, Eliza had reported success, absconding unaccosted with 60,000 warrior women and 40,000 slaves, making their way towards the next excavation site at nearby mountainous 'Nova Ambulon'. As they disappeared into the dusty distance, the Astartes lander broke through the cobalt-clouds. I gunned the controls of our newly acquired Landspeeder, painted with the lifeblood of 5 slaves. With Orias on the stubber, we rocketed out of our hiding place and shot towards the descending craft. 200 slaves, branded with sorcerous runes and bearing braziers of multicoloured flame, charged in from positions around the smoke-shrouded battlefield. Praetus, standing aloft a nearby menihir, enacted the final verse of the ritual. 200 pink Horrors exploded from their fleshy hosts, cooking the exhausted champions and bringing the lander to battle. It's flaps and hatches swung open and bolterfire poured out. The Horrors exploded in showers of sizzling sparks, but Blue Horrors would simply emerge in their place. Clinging limbs erratic, firey bombardment and sheer confusion held the craft in place for the moments we needed to arrive. Undetected in the deafening roar of daemonic incursion, I piloted the speeder into a careening arc over the shuttle, before leaping out out and onto the hull of the lander. Within moments, we were ensconded within an empty storage bay, listening to the growl of orbit-break and the tinny conversation of at least 40 Legiones Astartes.

Current Objectives Updated: Hijack or Sabotage enemy Raider-class vessel
Entry Ends


Fragment 6

Praetus The Erudite, 'Personal Recollections'

Eliza's Crom has swelled significantly, though I honestly wonder whether a military force of women - no matter how strong or numerous - can subsist on a world run by male barbarians. Perhaps my view is coloured by the particular disgust I hold for the weakling Soritas; judging from Eliza's difficulty in shifting these mindless breeders on any issue of note, I will continue to consider the effort wasted. She is attempting to teach them (comparatively) modern tactics, the use of fortifications and ranks of pikes and archers. She led a mass-scavenge of the nearby proving ground, collecting enough Onir metal to arm her horde, and enough Xurunsh to feed them. I have a battered copy of the Tactica Imperialis Volume IV I borrowed from Ghrond; from it's contents, Cassius has begun drawing plans for simple artillery pieces and a defensible wall around Ambulon. With the blessing of Tzeencth, a clever field of heavy-stubber fire and some planning, we will soon have some hope of holding the city. We simply need Eliza to convince her army to enter it's boundaries.

As for myself, I also have some tactics in mind. I know that the true strength of an army is in it's psykers. I have spent many hours scouring the tecto-continent for any sign of Wyrds. I am confident the shunned sorcerors of this world hold the key to the mysterious Svartlings and their metal dragons. I long to scatter the armies of these subhuman scum before my psychic might. Soon. Soon.

Fragment 7

Magos Heretek Cassius 'Noospheric Log'

Praetus has raised some wards to protect the generator we unearthed at Nova Scintilla. Sections of the approach have also been mined in case any locals stray too close. We will need a large ship or perhaps land-train to convey it to our new site. I hold to the hope that it can be repurposed as an energy-artillery piece or orbital laser. All the other equipment and slaves have been moved to the new dig site at Ambulon. Dig II has been initiated. The slag from the excavation is being baked into large bricks for Eliza's outer Bulwark. Progress has been less than satisfactory but I have left my servo-skull to oversee the works in my absence; I have more pressing business.

Our recent attempts to auger for ore have revealed an altogether stranger signal - an Ecclesiarchical beacon. I command Eliza's dog Orik to take me out in the Dead Sea for a closer look. Concealed within a crown of mountaintops lies the fallen body of a bloated pilgrim vessel. It has an operational core and weapon-systems, so I cannot fathom why it hasn't simply left the planet. There is some damage evident, but not enough to keep it grounded. I will investigate further.

Posing as a Rogue Trader's Explorator, I have secured the trust of the pilgrims. They are a force of 200 Adeptus Soritas, several Missionaries, Clerics and some Confessors. Their Navigator was slain by their idiot Brother-Confessor and they are stranded. Without our aid they will remain marooned. I have withdrawn to the ship to scheme; These faithful must be somehow turned to our purpose.

Fragment 8

ONBOARD MISSION LOG, 'Sierra VI Entry 6'

00:00 - Start mission clock - Orias Designated 'Omega 1', Ghrond designated "Sierra 6"
00:14 - Boarded Astartes lander. Omega has secured entry to decompression chamber with his powersword.
01:06 - Security measures on interior doors resist the suits’ onboard decoding algorithms – relatively recent codes then, a recent rebellion from the Imperium. I will –
01:07 -Omega has lost patience with the door. He has cut the locks with this power-sword. No alarms yet, we may have been lucky.
01:31 -Scouting a path to the engine room to wait out orbit-break. Few serfs, no sign of Astartes yet.
02:23 - Engine Room Breached. Omega arriving shortly. Mapping the work-routines of servitors and serfs…
02:35 - Routines mapped. Drifting concealment pattern locked-in. Moving to dark-zone 1.
16:04 - Moving to dark zone 6 - ! Unanticipated visit from tech-overseer. Pattern disrupted. Engaging Active Camouflage…
16:21 - Omega 1 has been spotted – moving to engage –
16:46 - Engine Room cleared. 3 servitors, 2 tech-priest casualties. Bodies concealed as best we can. Resuming concealment routine.
21:05 - The Lander has docked. Serfs have come aboard for maintenance. Holding…
25:34 - Breached pilot’s chamber. Multiple chapter serfs moving about, Astartes in scarlet armour with crossed swords, shield and blood-drop insignia. Onboard cogitator identifies them as “Knights of Blood” Blood Angels successors. Not yet listed as renegades …
32:55 - More movement aboard. Holding for decreased activity no longer viable. Moving to landing gear.
33:15- Led Omega aboard. Intense traffic in corridors has slowed progress. Searching for an alternate route…
33:45 Acquiring matter for Omophagea processing …
33:50 -Matter acquired. Heading for Barracks/Armoury level.
40:25 - We have secured KoB Power-Armour for Orias. Our first problem is that the suit may be recognised. He is moving to the armoury to make cosmetic changes. I will remain here to silence the suits original owner.
55:16 -Siren for prayers has sounded.

1:03:21 - [vox transmission received] - Sierra 6, this is Omega 1. Query; black armour markings, significance. Please respond.
- Omega, this is Sierra 6 Re: Query – denotes ‘religious berserker’ class among modern 9th Legion successors. Hallucinations, psychosis common - ‘black rage’.
- Understood. Omega out.

1:06:22 -Doors open. Movement detected… Non-standard ritual observed. Confirm; the Knights of Blood do not worship the Emperor as a god. Khorne takes place of Primogenitor-Primarch.
1:23:34 - Preparing to -

1:23:35 - [vox transmission received] Sierra 6, this is Omega 1. I have reached the armoury. Techmarine, several serfs present. Moving toward objective.
- Acknowledged Omega. Make those changes and get out quick
1:31:42-Target has entered recuperative trance. Preparing to –

1:31:43- [vox transmission received] + Sierra 6, this is Omega 1. Armoury is cleared of hostiles.
- Omega say again? Cleared of –
- Correction Sierra, two hostiles still active – Pursuing…
- Omega please repeat your last, did you say -
- Armoury level clear. Omophagea processing complete. Moving to the Bridge.
- Omega stand down, we’ve – [static]

1:32:23 Dammit - Engaging now.
1:33:45 -Target survived Stalker-round, forced to engage in hand to hand. Target now down. Concealing body, moving to support Omega.

1:36:01 - [vox transmission received] - Sierra 6, this is Omega 1.
- Omega! Stand down and give your location.
- I have reached the bridge. Moving to captain’s platform.
- The cap – Omega this is a stealth mission!
[noise] …
- Sierra, this fool has accepted my challenge! Ha! This will be easy.
- Omega stand down, do not engage!
[static] …
- Ugh. Sierra I could use some help. The Lord Commander has Terminator Plate.
"Gods" - Roger that. En route, I’m running.
[static]

1:37:21 - Never mind Sierra. I got him. What a weakling. - “Ha! Does anyone else dare to challenge me?”
[noise]
- Strike my last Sierra, the Captain has challenged me. Move to support please.
[noise] ..
[heavy breathing] - Sierra, you missed quite a fight! I plucked this idiot’s skull from his armour like a ripe grape!
- Please confirm, you have escaped, you are uninjured?
- Oh hang on, there are still a few more…
- [gunfire]
Orias!
- Line disconnected.


Fragment 9

Praetus The Erudite, 'Personal Recollections'

With Eliza occupied desperately holding together her Crom and Casius ever more involved with the mining efforts at 'Nova Ambulon', I find myself more than ever alone on this horrible planet. I inquire with the Dead Sea’s navigators about the possibility of finding other psykers but they claim to lack the necessary equipment for an auger of that size. Perhaps if Orias and Ghrond are successful in their task I will gain the means by which to find these individuals.

Ever since the great Summoning at Idol Site designation ‘Beta’ I have felt myself drawn back to that area. A warp rift of that size is a pleasure to behold, a pleasure that Eliza and her minions could only dream of. It is such that I find myself back at the summoning site, surrounded by a kilometre of scorched earth. I pray to the Architect for guidance and draw deeply on the warp energies still lingering there. After hours deep in contemplation I feel one glorious moment of searing agony as my very soul is touched by the Changer of Ways. A burst of pure psychic energy screeches out for hundreds of metres in every direction and I slump to my knees exhausted. Tzeentch has blessed me once again and I mean to use every ounce of this power to crush any who oppose me. I tire of this backward desert.

Fragment 10

ONBOARD MISSION LOG, 'Sierra VI Entry 7',

1:31:50- Omega 1 is non-responsive, likely KIA. Retrieval now a secondary priority.
Queuing Primary Objectives… Complete. En route to cell level.

1:31:51 - Cell level breached. Encountering resistance…
1:31:52 - Level cleared. Casualties; naval security ratings, 7. Shipboard security frequency, clearance codes obtained. Explosive collars, remote detonators obtained. Moving to Armoury.

1:33:04 - The armoury is clear. Omega’s handiwork. Melta-gel, Det Charges, remotes obtained.
1:40:09 -Comms Centre breached. Security codes…accepted. Proceeding. Astartes Legionary, 12-15 security ratings on duty. Engaging.

1:40:09 -Blight Grenades depleted. Legionary, 14 NSRs down. One survivor tagged with explosive collar. Signal Jammer obtained, all civilian and combat communication frequencies identified. My hostage is graciously deactivating the core’s anti-tampering routines for me.

1:44:19 Breached the core’s shell with melta-cord. Charges in place around the central column. Hostage executed, proceeding to Navigator’s quarters.

1:44:35 - [vox transmission received] Sierra 6, this is Omega 1. Abort pattern Eyeball. Repeat Abort Eyeball.
- Omega! Acknowledged, Eyeball aborted. Elements are in place for pattern Flood.
- Confirm. Execute pattern Flood.
- Roger that. What is your status?
- Captive. I’m being taken to the Lighter Dock.
- Acknowledged. On my way.

1:44:36 - Xurunti Containment Complex reached. 12 Legionary guards. Laying det-packs at primary doors. Engaging Active Camouflage, proceeding to high-vantage.

1:44:38 - 4 targets down. 6 targets. Receiving return fire.Ughn! T-taking heavy fire. Ammunition running low. Blowing charges…10 targets down. All targets eliminated. Got him with my last bullet.

1:46:22 MISSION COMPLETE
I’ve released the Xuruni horde. Their Crom agreed to aid me in taking the ship. They were very upset at being sold into the slavery of female, alien sorcerers. I blew the comms core and jammed all communications; the Knights were unable to coordinate an effective defense. The Xurunti flooded the ship and massacred most of them. A small remnant escaped in a shuttle. We may have to hunt them down later. For now, the Gorelance is ours. We caught up with Orias’ captors and recovered him in a running battle in the corridors. I piloted the ship back into the skies over Eliza’s growing horde. A survivor with the skills of a Voidmaster has since been located, and I took the opportunity to inspect the ships’ fine Strike-Fighter wing. I have selected the command craft for myself, celebrating with a feast of Progenoid material. Eliza says work on the fortifications are ‘proceeding satisfactorily’;

“Soon, this will be the greatest and most advanced army on this world. And it’s leader will be my puppet.”

In order to achieve this, several of the Bronze Idols will need to be ferried to her fortress of Gunmetal. We have begun ferrying the Xurunt bulls down to begin their integration.

Entry Ends


Fragment 11

The Temptress' Journal

The days after the beginning of the construction of Nova Gunmetal were consumed quite quickly by my various tedious duties of ferrying the barbarians down to where the women awaited them. The refusal of any males to even speak to me continues to frustrate me to no end. Perhaps I need to have Ghrond restrain Com Baalgruff and let my implants do the rest.

Orias occupies himself with lording over his new acquisition The Gore Lance, and Ghrond has seen to various scouting duties. Casius reports that he met with an downed Jericho class pilgrim vessel containing members of the Ecclesiarchy and some thousands of pilgrims. Whilst Praetus goes back to the original summoning point to aid in binding daemons into servitude inside the weapons of Ghrond, Orias and the newcomer Astropath Sarvus, who we acquired in The Gore Lance and Praetus has taken quite a liking to.

In the meantime I make a plan for the ambush of the leaders of the pilgrims, a Cannoness of the some 200 sisters militant attached to the vessel, the confessor, the redemptionist and the witch hunter that Casius reported. I will pose as the wife of the rogue trader, one Samuel Svensson, of the vessel 'The Stalwart Dawn' and enter into negotiotiations with the Ecclesiarchy for the 'loan' of Navigators and Astropaths. Allegedly theirs were all slain by the redemptionist in a fit of stupid vengeance for their apparent sin on delivering them to this planet. Arriving in full flourish at their ship, The Ferryman's Coin, they shall not be able to resist. I will then bring them back up to the Gore Lance where our armsmen, warrior maidens and Ghrond will murder them as they exit The Bitch, with whatever honour guard of Soritas they happen to bring. I have had The Bitch cleaned and moved my belongings onto The Gore Lance to appear as proper imperial gentry. I will appear before the Imperials armourless and weaponless, a noblewomen simply garbed in a fine gown.

Fragment 12

Praetus The Erudite, 'Personal Recollections'

The planned ambush was a good one, created using the combined knowledge of hundreds of years of warfare between us. We heard from Eliza that she was greeted kindly and ask to come further into The Ferryman's Coin for business dealings. However these days of preparation and planning was proven to be for nothing when we received word from Casius on board The Dead Sea a few minutes later.

Binary Transmission. Source: Dead Sea.
Decoding….
The Mistress has been captured. Soritas are boarding. Crew have been armed. Preparing to repel with extreme prejudice. Employing contingency 4531.

If Casius was employing 4531 that meant he did not believe the ship could be held and would order the crew to die to a man to protect it. Boarding a Rogue Trader’s vessel by force, Gods does the arrogance of these lackeys of the Corpse Emperor know no bounds! Could our plan have been discovered by some illogical happenstance of fate? No, there is another hand at play here. I look to Orias and as soon as I meet his eyes I know we have but one course of action. No conversation is necessary; we cannot allow The Dead Sea to fall into enemy hands. His order is as swift as it is merciless: “Begin bombardment of The Ferryman’s Coin.”

Our guns smash gloriously against the hull of the transport vehicle, the pilgrim encampment around the vessel lashed with our righteous retribution. Our victory is short lived however as the Astropath Transcendent of the vessel, a powerful psyker by the name of Sarvus Torian, informs us that we have an incoming vessel. With no delay we fire off a final salvo before turning from Xurunt and engaging the new comer, a vessel slightly larger than our own. With Sarvus now manning the weapon controls telepathically and Ghrond at the helm we close on our target.

Space combat is something I don’t think I will ever fully comprehend. A complex weave of manoeuvres and counter manoeuvres viewed on a series of screens, it seems more like a dance than any real battle. Surely enough however, after what seemed like an hour of aimless turning, we engaged the enemy. Lance and macro’s blasting at close range we crashed into the vessel, boarding teams led by Orias himself ready to cut out the heart of the enemy crew. The vessel was heavily armed and armoured, it’s crew veterans of ship-to-ship battle…but none could stand before Orias’ wrath. Sweeping all before him with his flaming power-claw he killed men in the hundreds, bullets bouncing off his form as his enemies eventually fled at the sight of him. We pushed metre by metre into the belly of the ship until eventually, their spirit broken, the enemy began to throw down their weapons, beaten and terrified at the foe they faced. The ship (which we now know as The Leveller) is ours.

It takes several hours to transfer enough security personal to The Leveller to keep the crew in check but with Ghrond taking personal command of the vessel we begin to plan a rescue of our lost companion on the planet’s surface. If she has survived the hours since her taking…

Fragment 13

The Temptress' Journal

Captured and thrown in a cage like a common slave, the Confessor and Witch Finder tried their hands at making me talk but I held on through the torment. During one tender moment I reached out to Matthais and he became mine. I would wake later with my guards dead around me, my newfound companion's coat covered in their holy blood but his eyes only searching for me. It is as such that I made my escape from The Ferryman's Coin.

This rogue trader Alejandro will feel my wrath when I catch him. He shall feel the vengeance of The Dark Prince for my entrapment, as the Confessor felt the force of Praetus' mind, and the Redemptionist and fool Cannoness felt the bite of the holy powersword of Matthais. Ah Matthais the witch finder, my poor dear witch finder, how your soul will delight The Prince. It is a pity I could not share with you the earthly rewards of your beautiful, misguided love for freeing me. It is fortunate that your love for me pushed you away from the others, so you did not see the wrath of Praetus via vista feed from The Gore Lance. The Prince of Pleasure works in subtle ways, he protects me, i will not be caged again though, for now i am given wings with which to fly from those who would descrate my flesh. I promise you Slaanesh, I will inflict a thousand cuts upon the Rogue Trader for each of those inflicted upon me by that weak Confessor. In Alejandro's death screams he will praise your name, my Dark Prince.

I lost Haradra, a loyal women amongst ignorant men, and 5 of my personal Armsmen in the escape. I have promoted my sole remaining kill trooper, known as 'Marbles', to Sergeant and my personal Arch Militant. The remaining soritas was a delightful toy, it is a pity she lacked stamina, i would have loved to share with her the caress of the Prince for longer, but she proved fragile. I did away with her on the holy Witch Lance she would have revered in life. Her naked death throes, and her pitiful screams were delightful.

Fragment 14

Praetus The Erudite, 'Personal Recollections'

The attempt to rescue Eliza has begun. As per the ancient adage “an eye for an eye”, I suggested we name it Mission Designation ‘Ophthalmectomy’…a name that has not caught on. I attempted to reason with the fools on the planet via a devious compelling of a crew member. This eventually resulted in his death and in my anger I released my full wrath and my Unholy Icon on the vid-feed. I demanded they bow to their superiors. They refused. Truly all non-violent options are spent.

To begin a sustained bombardment with both The Leveller and The Gore Lance will destroy any pre-existing Soritas fortifications while Orias will take the Halo Landers to pick up warriors from tribe Baalgruff to assist in the battle. The Landers long gone, we start the bombardment on the schedule Ghrond and I had agreed upon but after a few lance pulses The Leveller ceases firing. I receive a garbled vox report from Ghrond:

Complication: Uprising on ship. Attempting to quell…Security numbers insufficient.
Beginning to void entire ship. Failed: Lockout from remote source.
Planted Det-Charge within the Captain’s chair in case of mission failure. Moving with remaining armsmen to location of remote access.

Unable to help Ghrond without ceasing the attack in progress I continue to coordinate the attack on The Ferryman’s Coin from my place in the command chair of The Gore Lance. Orias reports to have picked up Xurunsh mounted natives for the battle. Most satisfactory. A vox report from The Leveller arrives.

Command, this is Sierra; Target Located. Designation: Secutor Class Magos. Range: 10 metres. Status: Hostile. Inbuilt Plasma Cannon, flamer mechadendrite. Threat rating: Extreme Engaging. - [noise] Target down. Command, I've sustained severe wounds. Armour is compromised. My clotting factor can't keep up… /Ugh/. Secondary threat…incoming. Astartes, Star Dragon Renegade beserker. Frakking Hell. Engaging… [noise] - 2 headshots ineffective. Engaging hand-to-hand. /Gnnh/ bastard has 2 daemon weapons …Gods dammit the charges aren't blowing. I'm - [static]

Helpless to avert Ghrond’s fate, I was forced to watch as The Leveller broke warp coreward. I turn my fury against The Ferrymans Coin and the mewling scum sheltering within. The pilgrims are targeted by Lance and Battery strikes but the fighter wing reports no Sisters outside The Ferryman’s Coin. They are ordered to continue fly over regardless. Message from Orias received.

Ground assault commencing. 160 mounted Xurunti attempting to gain access to Ferryman’s Coin. Sporadic bolter fire the only resistance. Fleeing pilgrims being dispatched at will. Don’t get too comfortable in my chair Wyrd. Orias out.

Confident in Orias’ ability to command the Xurunt to our ends I begin my decent to the planet, my new companion Sarvus at my side. We garb ourselves in carapace armour, scrawling on its surfaces arcane runes of protection. The journey is uneventful. One of the armsmen passes into unconsciousness at the quick decent and is left on the vessel when we disembark. Sarvus and I exit our lander, the sounds of bolters and Xurunsh roars hitting our ears as soon as the landing door opened. Orias reluctantly reports when requested:

Ferryman’s Coin overrun, small groups of resistance remaining. Many pilgrims and Sisters escaping via unknown craft, ordered fighter wing to engage when possible. ‘The Mistress’ seen heading towards vehicle lot. Means of escape from cell unknown. Omega 1.

Eliza’s location known we hurry there at once, leaving our armsmen to guard the lander from any would-be hijackers.

We arrive to find the Apostate besieged. A red robed man and a man dressed in a dark coat lie dead on the floor, as well as what appears to be the ravaged forms of a Xurunti War-Maiden and two armsmen. The men seem to have been exploded by some huge force, although one of Eliza's guards fights on despite his heinous wounds. An armoured Sister of Battle duels with Eliza with a fearsome glowing blade, while two other Soritas lay down covering fire, keeping the remaining Armsman well and truly pinned. Nearby an old man in the robes of a high ranking priest clutches his stomach, clearly heavily wounded and trying to regain the strength to re-enter the fight. With ruthless efficiency Sarvus and I attack: The Priest dies from numerous stab wounds from a flying daemonic blade while one of the sisters frowns for a moment before ceasing to exist as my mind powers rip her apart at the sub-atomic level. This distraction is just enough to break the deadlock and as the Cannoness turns to mourn for her fallen sister a crackling power sword pushes through her chest. Eliza stands behind her, as newly formed wings, a gift from the Dark Prince, burst from her shoulders making her look all the more the angel of chaos she so often personifies. I compel the final sister and she sheds her weapons, bowing before us. She will learn her place. A dark wind blows on this place. Four great heroes of the Imperium lie dead at our hands and the eyes of the Chaos gods seem to be well and truly focussed on this endeavour.

If only this luck had favoured all in our cadre. Ghrond is still non-responsive and as The Leveler has left system I fear the worst for him. We found Orias amongst the carnage. Surrounded by the bodies of over a dozen sisters, it appears he charged headfirst into a heavy bolter emplacement. While he did manage to kill all those occupying it he eventually succumbed to a head wound that put him in a deep coma from which he is yet to wake.


Fragment 15

The Temptress' Journal

Work has continued slowly on Nova Gunmetal, although at this stage at least the entire camp is defended by row upon row of Onir palisades, and work has begun on the first few towers and a keep made of the indigenous stone and Onir metal reinforcements. Parts of The Ferryman's Coin have also been incorporated into the construction, as we stripped the rest of the blasted Jericho class vessel for scrap with which to do jury-repairs to The Gore Lance, as well as any useful equipment. I gave a rousing speech to the pilgrims left over at the coin, and what more could they do than to bow to my will? They will swell the ranks of our crew on The Gore Lance. I have promised them the same that I have promised to all our crew, the chance at freedom and promotion for loyal service. I will see them treated just as fairly as the others, and I will improve the wretched state of their quarters on The Gore Lance as soon as I can.

We finished our lengthy archeotech investigations at Nova Ambulon and have discovered the generatorum there pulls power directly from the warp. We have little idea exactly what it is, but I lust after an appropriate use for it, or merely to sell it. I will have to come back with a much larger ship, to ferry this glorious contraption offworld to sell it to some dark magos. I could bargain for entire fleets of ships for such a creation. The twenty or so thousand slaves of Nova Ambulon have been ferried to Nova Gunmetal to help in the construction of the fortress as we abandon our digsite.

I instructed my warmaidens to choose a new leader following the death of Haradra. They are beginning to civilise under my touch, and they elected a Andromache to replace Haradra. Where Haradra was brawny and brutal, Andromache is lithe and deceptively quick, although still tall like all the Xurunti. She is a like a panthera to the carnodon that Haradra was, fighting with spear and shield instead of greatsword. Indeed I find myself strangely attracted to her, she is no beauty, but her feline grace is mesmerising.

Having recieved the dark blessings of Slaanesh for my victory of the Eccleisarchy, I though that it would only be fit to honour the Gods properly at the site of our victory. I had the Soritas dead rounded up and their forms desanguinated. I plan to delight in their profanement of their blood at a later day. One by one, I then desecrated their bodies on the idol they sought to convert into a image of the Emperor. I staked the 76 soritas to the idol, flying them up one by one, to form a beautiful and bloodstained Chaos star, the flames from their holy witch lance consuming their supple flesh as a nailed them onto the metal with onir spikes.

I have used my dark gifts, the beautiful mutation Slaanesh has devoted upon me for slaying the foul sisters, to rally all the largest croms on the planet to fight at the new idol sight. I appear to them as a prophetess, born aloft by the silver feathers of my gift, the refraction of the light from my field defenses a halo of white light around me. Little wonder the primitives began to break their camps and head straight for the idols.

Praetus informs me that Sarvus and he met with a wyrd out at the ritual site. They are unsure as to his disposition, and report that he was immensely psychically potent, and is perhaps a emmissary of the Svartlings. They report that he was floating, swathed in robes and his atrophied body tatooed and covered with dark crystalline growths. He also spoke as if part of a greater conciousness, some gestalt entity that her referred to. It was little matter though, because before we had any chance to discuss or investigate further one of the larger croms is reported to be making its way towards crom Baalgruff.

Taking my seat in Nova Gunmetal's council chambers, and establishing a chain of command with Marbles and myself at its center, and surrounded by my bodyguard of warmaidens, I controlled the defenses of our fortress whilst the crom and his braags fought from the front. A crom much larger than our own attacked us, though our superior tactics and troops held the today, Praetus' born aloft by his recently re-mutated wings, having scouted out an opening in the enemy lines. I sent forth Baalgruff and his fiercest braags to punch a whole right through the opening, and tear into the enemy's flank. The manouevre was a text book example of 'rolling up the flank' or so Marble informs me. Perhaps now the idiot men of the croms will begin to listen to me.

Fragment 16

Praetus The Erudite, 'Personal Recollections'

Our combat with the upstart rogue trader over and Eliza rescued we see about repairing the damage done by this encounter. At The Ferryman’s Coin repair crews start to strip the mighty transport of parts to help repair The Gore Lance, while armsmen move around the area collecting discarded weapons and bodies. The dead pilgrims are taken to be fed to the mounts of the victorious Xurunti, while Eliza takes the dead Soritas to The Gore Lance for a far darker purpose…

I suggest a kill team be sent to destroy the escaped pilgrims but as Marbles reminds me we would only be able to spare some 300 troops to find and kill the approximately 8,000 escaped pilgrims. This in mind I try a different approach. Moving to ideal locations throughout the valley I cast out my mind and send out a message to those who escaped. Any pilgrims that wish to serve on our ship will be treated fairly if they return within 7 days. As it turns out this softer approach is successful and a great many join our crew. Many arrive after the 7-day period is up and these are not so lucky. Their screams echoing throughout The Ferryman’s Coin as I test a theory on them. I was correct; fear overpowers faith every time if given in the right doses. Those that returned late are dead now. Starvation does terrible things to the mind. ++ See attached notes: Faith and Fear, granting true visions of the warp to the unenlightened ++

Back on board I find that with Eliza absent and Orias in statis (wounded by a bolter round to the head in the battle) I had the unlikely pleasure of being looked to for leadership. The man Marbles had shown great potential in the battle on the planet and so he was promoted from Eliza’s bodyguard to the position of Arch Militant. While Ghrond’s fate is still unknown I fear the universe had finally caught up with him. Marbles has organised his 50 finest armsmen into an elite squad armed with weapons taken from dead Soritas. Morale is poor on the ship and after my own special kind of leadership is ineffective I contact Eliza and she suggests electing leaders for the different contingents on board in an attempt to bind them together as a crew. Each group decides it’s representative and we meet as a whole in the room we have renamed and refurbished as ‘The Council Room’. The councillors have also been given a symbol of office, a small lance pin to be worn on their lapel. It is a glorious occasion as we sit on our fully repaired ship overlooking the planet. Alas we are given little time to enjoy our victories as once again klaxons and proximity alerts sound. We are under attack.

Assuming the return of traitorous cur Alejandro we leapt into action at once, powering up weapons and preparing to make evasive manoeuvres. However the ships that attack us are not the gaudy vessel of the hated rogue trader, but two sleek vessels of unknown design. A dark shimmer black hull held together by crackling purple lightning is identified by Sarvus as a Xenos design of unknown origin. The ships engage us with bursts of purple energy and a crackling energy beam that seems to be similar in function to an Imperial pattern lance weapon. This is not the lingering game of cat and mouse of our previous engagement but rather a close range firefight with heavy casualties and damage on both sides. Several fires are lit aboard The Gore Lance but Eliza’s leadership means that the crew were well drilled for such an event. We struck lance after lance into our attackers, our macro batteries drumming their void shields with petals of fire. At one stage it seemed that we had been defeated but in a surge of psychic ability Sarvus fired all our guns with pinpoint accuracy into one target, destroying it from the inside out. The first ship shattered to a million pieces of black glass we were free to engage and destroy the secondary ship, our lance piercing it’s hull and destroying it in a huge blast of purple energy.

While little was left in the way of salvage we explored the wreckages and upon closer inspection Sarvus correctly identified the craft as belonging to the Yu’Vath, a xenos species assumed extinct. The lack of identifiable parts in their ships as well as the manner with which their ammunition travelled led the Astropath to a tome within his librarium that shed surprising light on this creatures. Believed destroyed during the Angevin crusades they were known to worship the warp (enlightened) and fight their wars by corrupting the minds and bodies of humans (efficient). Despite my admiration for these creatures I find myself wondering whether the uncovering of the warp-generators under the planet’s surface and the appearance of these ships are connected? Could the Yu’Vath be the original colonists of Xurunti and the power behind these so-called ‘Svartlings’? If so do the idols help them control the population of Xurunt as they are said to have controlled men a millennia before? The planet’s mysteries grow but xenos or not we are now near to completing our task.


Fragment 17

The Temptress' Journal

++Transmission incoming…++
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Fragment 18

Praetus The Erudite, 'Personal Recollections'

++Transmission incoming…++

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