Dead Men Tell No Tales


Months had passed since the capture of the Jezebel, the two ships of the Redwynn Dynasty holding high orbit above Bethany Prime as they are repaired. Months pass, the ships operating at minimum capacity as the crew took leave in the cities and mountains of the planet below. But the peace at Bethany was not to last, with the arrival of the sprint-trader Captain Dominique of the Void-Runner came the news that the council's beacon in the Prasinus system had gone quiet. The Lazarus and the newly renamed Augustine left Bethany at once, eager to protect the system they had only recently captured.

Entry 1- Terra Nullius

[[The Crew of the Lazarus plan their attack]]

The two figures argue ferociously, their words stolen by the mute function of the 'Lazarus' bridge Vox. The man filled his screen entirely with overwrought muscle, artificially tanned skin displayed beneath a low-cut vest of xeno-mesh. His bald and moustached face shook as he chuckled, apparently finding the conversation entertaining. The woman was clearly not amused, her stern yet beautiful features creasing as she argued with the giant. As they watched the bickering pair, the Council looked to each other, moods already soured by these interloping Rogue Traders. For those aboard the bridge, the die had already been cast. Blood would be spilled.

The call was sounded across the city of Bethany, snaking down through alley-ways and into city's heart like a hot and unwelcome east-wind. It was heard by the great and the small alike, whether delivered politely by hand to the guests of the Amethyst Palace, or through crackling vox-speakers in the smoggy Down-Districts. Though it meant nothing to most, some recalled feeling a sense of dread at the words; "Hither the Stags, and redden spurs" they read. To some, it held great meaning. In dingy bars, grizzled men stood from their booths without a word, throwing back their spirits and hefting heavy packs. In the dark of the Undercity, shadowy forms uncoiled from their hiding places, abandoning the hunt and slinking back towards the surface. Concertos ended on discordant notes, interrupted as members of the audience swept up and out with barely a warning. And emerging from pools of nutrient-broth, hulking figures took up their robes, lurching into the daylight and towards Kovenicus Spaceport. For the call had been sounded and the folk of the Lazarus heard; someone had stung their Lady's pride. The Seneschal's voice reverberated through the corridors of the ship, as the crew returned in waves. Redwynn lands had been encroached upon by unknown foes, and the challenge would be answered. As the flagship lumbered out of the harbour, the Tetrarch Council stood assembled on the bridge. Godwyn, Heller and Giger watched as the newly rechristened Augustine slipped anchor, it's slender form whispering along under the command of Tribune Victrus. At a wave of the Helmsman's scaly hand, the Warp yawned open before them, engulfing the viewscreens and swallowing both ships at streaming full-sail.

The Prasinus system was aflame with solar radiation when they arrived, burning arcs lighting the void far afield of it's angry star. Only Pasinus II had been spared, encircled by hungry, shark-like shapes. As the they cruised through the shadow of the outermost gas-giant, the Counil were startled to receive a sudden, angry vox-wave from a Falchion-Class Frigate. A slender, buxom woman, Captain Marcella Rosalind of the Calyspo, declared herself the rightful ruler of Prasisnus and bid the Tetrarchs depart. Mere moments later, the Meritech warship Handsome Jack broadcast a booming welcome from it's Captain Killian, who invited the Lazarus to join his efforts as the proper claimant on Prasinus. The Lazarus withdrew to a polite distance to consider options, as an augur-scan failed to locate a Redwynn buoy above the planet. Each of the rivals had a capable ship, and was accompanied by companion-craft, the Lap Dog and Centurion. As he reviewed flight and stellar data on the bridge, Magos Giger discovered the troubling fact that the journey from Bethany had taken nigh 100 days. In that time, the interlopers had developed the surface extensively, with rival settlements now vying to exploit it's abundant resources. In conference with the Augustine's commanders, the Council discussed the scans being returned from the planet. Rosalind's men were harvesting Yronwood bark in large quantities, a luxury material that could fetch high prices. Their rapacious logging was encroaching on the Castella operations however, with wild game being startled out of their makeshift hunting reserves. Unexplained swathes of land also lay in ruin, fragments of the xenos building-materials faintly readable beneath piles of cratered slag. Returning the Castella hail, the Council opened a vox-conference with Captain Killian. He asked that the Lazarus assist him in launching an attack on the Rosalind ships, saying "he was here first" and that Rosalind had interfered with his right to exploit his resources as he chose. The Explorers knew this meant that Killian had been the one to destroy their buoy, but were tempted by his offer to give them uncontested right of salvage to Rosalind's ships, and 20% of his on-world operational profits. Hoping to start a bidding war, the Council also hailed Marcella, who insisted on a face-to-face in a neutral area of Prasinus. Teleporting to the site, the Tetrarchs arrived in a blast of wind with banners raised. They were disappointed when Marcella refused to negotiate, admitted to destroying the valuable xenos resources, sneered at their helmsman, and denied any claim on resources stemming from the vanished buoy. She gave only a warning; that Killian was a known liar who would betray them at first opportunity. At least, she asserted, she was honest. While she spoke, Godwyn's raised his helmeted head to survey her vessel, as he felt it emit an awful, beautiful psychic moan. With a wordless exchange, he and the Council withdrew, leaving Rosalind shouting into the wind.

Intent on wresting back their hard-won system, the Council agreed that by siding with Killian they had good a chance of claiming a profit. Though they considered the resources of Prasinus rightfully theirs, a temporary alliance was preferable to provoking both parties, leaving the stand-off with nothing, or grubbing after the factions' scraps. Killian however quailed at throwing the first punch, fearful of wagging tongues and Rosalind's powerful torpedoes. They were finally swayed when Godwyn disclosed the Eldritch presence held captive aboard Calypso, a potential bargaining chip with the xeno guardians of Prasinus. Angling their vessels for a two-pronged surprise attack, the Explorers readied themselves to lead the assault on Rosalind's flagship. Surfing the planet's gravity-well, the Lazarus screamed forward, boosted to undreamed-of speeds by the arcane skills of Magos Giger. The Calypso swelled alarmingly in the viewscreens, as the Augustine snarled in close at her flank. Outraged by the sudden assault, Marcella loosed cannons, but was stunned when the bulky Lazarus corkscrewed neatly aside. Worse still, two of her prized torpedoes has snaked off into the void, fired without her permission at the distant Handsome Jack. Battered by the oncoming wall of macrodetonations, the Calypso coiled around, answering the Lazarus challenge. It growled into the scrum, breaking up the concentration of fire on her sister-ship, the Lap-Dog. Rocked by the bombardment, the Lap-Dog wavered under pressure from the Augustine. Yet as she teetered towards surrender, the Handsome Jack swept in. Both Killian and his minion the Centurion bombarded the weakening vessel, savaging it with a hailstorm of lance and missile-fire. When it was drifting, crippled at the heart of a shrapnel-cloud, Victrus broadcast his congratulations; he asked that House Castella now turn aside to allow the Tetrarchs their right of salvage. With a frenzied bark, Killian renewing his attack on the defeated hull. The Council watched in dismay as he screamed "no survivors!" tearing apart their prize and severing the vox-link.

In this moment of shock, the Lazarus was caught in the blast of two virus torpedoes, their payloads ravaging the ship and crew. The Councillors desperately enacted emergency procedures, quarantining affected sectors and attempting to re-enter the fight. In their furious reply, they set the Calypso fleeing towards the edge of Prasinus, where it awaited the final blow. But the Tetrarchs had bigger fish in sight, turning their attention on Castella's flagship. Caught at a fork in the road, the Tetrarchs convened to discuss. Though Killian had intentionally destroyed their prize, he was still in command of an undamaged warship. Though Marcella was all but defeated, the Calypso would outpace the Lazarus if it came to a long chase. The vote was divided, but resolved to unanimous purpose when Killian dared to reopen contact. His brutish features filled the Tetrarchs with disgust, as he crooned that their "true prize" was escaping. Firing the engines to dangerous levels, the Lazarus and Augustine speared into his ship, ramming him out of formation and smashing together with theCenturion. Into this tumbling tangle of crumpled metal clove Calypso, leaping in desperation at the chance to slay both rivals. The budding space-hulk aimlessly spun, as the crews within clashed in great, suffocating tides. As gallons of blood were spilt and screams echoed down the twisted halls, the intertwined ships began tumbling, drifting out to join the old, rusting wrecks orbiting at systems-edge.

Entry 2- Tombs of Iron

[[Wrecked ships drift above Prasinus II]]

The colonists of 'Ironreach' were uneasy. Hours before, the skies of Prasinus II had been lit by blossoms of shipboard cannon-fire. A short but torrential rainstorm had cultivated as one of the vessels had broken atmosphere at full combat speed, only to shoot around the planet towards its foes. These events were unfortunate, but manageable. It was the vast metal shape in the sky now that bothered them. A mangled mass of different colours and shapes, through his magnoculars Adept Sibit could see the shape was half a dozen warships, slammed together at high speeds and swinging wildly in the void. He said a small prayer for those aboard, and shuddered to think of the hell they must be enduring…

[Corridor Warfare]
The groan of tortured metal thrummed in the ratings ears, as gravity and air-pressure wildly lurched. Falling into an uncontrolled spin, the intermingled snarl of hulls hurtled through space, cast into darkness or extreme cold by flickering generators. The combatants of House Redwynn, Rosalind and Castella smashed blindly together, grappling, hacking and dying in their hundreds across blood-slick decks. Aboard the Augustine, the newest Councillor Victrus fought a running battle with the former denizens of the Jezebel. The treacherous Lt Kreel had forsworn his allegiances for the 2nd time in as many battles, hounding the Tribune and his Skatarii from the bridge under fire. But overzealous in their long-simmering rebellion, the mutineers blundered into a fast-growing labyrinth of makeshift barricades, kill-zones and mined corridors, as Victrus rallied the surviving loyalists and calmly enacted a textbook guerrilla resistance.

Panic spread like a cresting wave through the Castella flagship, as word of the Tetrarchs' merciless advance was spread. Loping, molten creatures of unextinguishable flame stalked the passages, their all-consuming path steered by an impervious golden figure in a one-eyed helm. A slithering terror hunted the crew in the guttering light, prolonged death-screams and sickening crunches echoing through the halls and filling the radio airwaves. A nightmarish crimson hulk carved it's way through the Jack's outer hull, driving the vessel's servitors to violent madness with unstoppable scrap-code attacks. And sabotage sowed disorder among the armsmen, as vital systems failed, bomb-blasts rocked the deck, and half-seen murder-squads culled lieutenants, overseers and other leaders. Stunned by the perfect chaos wrought against his crew, Captain Killian was finally caught as he sought to abandon ship.

Rook dropped from the ceiling and onto the bridge, splattering the Navigator's deadly brain to the deck with a callous backhand. He hurtled aside as panicked gunfire spat out, and struck Killian from his throne with a leaping punch. Giger erupted through the doors as the Captain regained his feet, shouldering through an onslaught of scattergun shot. Scarlet amour smoking and scarred, he barrelled into Killian, carving asunder the heavy shield he sought to raise. As the igneous halves fell from the pirate's grip, Giger buried a sizzling axe-blade in him, exploding his torso. With a sorcerous gesture, Godwyn swept aside the remaining commanders, pinning them to the deck and walls with psychic force. The Council dragged the surrendered survivors back to the Lazarus, the shriek of clarions warning them of the Jack's imminent self-destruct. Though victorious against House Castella, their distraction has been exploited by Marcella; while the Council raided the Jack, the Lazarus had been targeted by black-clad Rosalind commandos. As they hurried back towards the bridge, their lieutenants sombrely sealed and voided areas struck by virus-bombs. Outside, clouds of infected human bodies spilled into space.

Firing engines to narrowly escape the plasma-core explosion, the Lazarus wheeled to face Calypso across a field of ruin. As the Centurion began it's limping flight, a pin-prick reflection flashed off the hull of a lone, returning Aquila. It bore the bloodied Victrus, who reported his narrow defeat of Killian's Loxatl assassin and escape from the stricken Augustine. Fatigued by the hours of battle, Marcella reached out to the Tetrarchs. With her virus still ravaging the population of the Council's subjects, she considered the slight of the Council's attacks repaid. She offered to clear the ledger between their Houses, a clean slate in exchange for safe passage home and all the spoils of the colonies below. Eyeing the valuable salvage still drifting in space, the Council warily agreed, though asking her assistance in capturing the wounded Centurion. Keeping a careful distance from one another, the flagships drew alongside the Corvette and subdued her with precise void-strikes.

A tense peace would prevail in the ensuing weeks, as the two ships ferried back and forth from the planet at a polite distance. Towing the battered hulls of the Centurion and the Augustine into near-orbit, the Tetrarchs set about their repairs while Rosalind dismantled Prasinus' small civilisation. They returned seldom to the surface, at first only to deliver the mangled body of the Eldar turned over by Rosalind at Godwyn's request. They were met by the xenos' impetuous peer, who spurned their offer, slew his erstwhile comrade and vanished into the overgrowth. He found his path suddenly barred by the Manhunter, and died spitting threats of vengeance. Storm-clouds gathered overhead and a light rain began to clear the mist as the Explorers bitterly shook their heads at the waste. Stepping back into the shelter of the Blackbird, they began laying plans for the plentiful bounty awaiting them high above.

Entry 3 -Stormfront

[[The Blackbird explores Aviary]]

The corridors of the derelict were long seared clean by the immense radiation within the system, the blanched metal only adding to the feeling of impending doom. Floating down long white-steel corridors broken only by long overloaded cogitators and clouds of billowing ash the Tetrarch's are overwhelmed by the pure silence of the place, the absence. Something terrible had happened here. This was a cursed ship…

[Warp Turbulence]
The vanquished Centurion, gutted by hungry flames during the battle, took it's treasures to the grave. Moving instead to secure the produce of the conquered Castella colony, the Council deployed a small facility to locate further resources. Filling their holds with alien materials and ores, the much-depleted crews of the Lazarus and Augustine set sail for distant Footfall.

Braving the notorious space of Winterreach, the ships are buffeted by inclement weather. Faced with a particularly immense stormfront, they are forced to frequently breach from the Warp and are finally stranded in an unfamiliar system. They examine an ancient, burned-out marker buoy and a shipwrecked hull of unknown make at the edge of the outer-orbit, victims of an ancient warp-gate explosion. Passing through it's long radiated halls they find evidence of the ships ancient lineage, bearing the name Advent Terminus. At the ship's shadowy heart, they discover a sapient robot, considered the ultimate abomination against the machine-god. As Victrus raises arms to purge it, it lashes out with hidden defences, burning flesh, armour and bones to ash in an instant. Cored like an apple and exposed to the void, the Skitarii survives only by the miraculous skill of the Magos Biologis. The creature is reduced to a smelted ruin by Giger's holy axe, its' vessel destroyed in a righteous fury by the Lazarus and Augustine. Finding the system's lone, rocky planet irradiated by the angry star, the Council drop anchor in black space, pausing only to capture one of the feral servopitrine infesting it's surface. Watching the periodic solar-flares bloom out to engulf the world -dubbed 'Aviary'- the Explorers spend restless weeks waiting for the seas to calm.

Approaching Bethany to replenish crew and supplies, the Explorers are hailed as they round the planet Treadwater. The Naval frigate Medusa awaits them, ordering the Tetrarchs to present themselves for questioning or be boarded. Alarmed, the Council are stripped of their weapons, separated from their entourage and taken under guard to a spartan chamber where the grey-haired Commander Morgan awaits them. They are asked to give account of their recent affairs, learning that House Rosalind had sent detailed reports on the clash at Prasinus to the Fleet. Affronted by this treatment, the Council weathers the questions and vague threats with only icy non-answers. When permitted to leave, they abandon Bethany at furious full-burn.

In the days at Warp, Godwyn completes his efforts to decrypt an Astropathic communique recovered from slain Castella. The pirate was urged to join in a grand attack on a yet-unspecified target at the invitation of an old colleague. Unsettled by their recent rough handling, the Explorers discuss clearing their reputation by reporting the likely pirate-raid to the Navy on Footfall. But they are interrupted by the wail of clarions, as the familiar silhouette of a daemon vessel appears to assail it's old quarry. The beast lunges forth, it's nightmare cannons spitting hellfire and warp lighting, but the Lazarus is twisted aside by the inhuman reflexes of Rook. Outpaced by the skilful pilot, the daemon ship sinks back into the warp-clouds to await further prey. But it's malignant presence lingers on, the Council remaining vigilant right up until their arrival at the massive port of Footfall.

Returning for the first time in many months, the crew of the Lazarus enjoy their time ashore. Resupplying, clinching the sale of the salvage and collecting House Chorda's immense bounty on Killian Castella, the Council finally approach the Office of Naval Intelligence. Having attended a meeting with the mysterious broker of the attack Miss Blue, Godwyn outlined the plan by the vessel Crying Wolf to recruit other pirates to swarm and subdue a lucrative target. The Tetrarchs ask to be granted a writ of clemency if they act as informers for the authorities. But the officer is mistrustful of the Explorer's tale, regarding Rogue Traders as mere plunderers. Considering their duty done, the Council leave the information and depart. They take a winding course for their return journey, perusing the markets and wandering the raucous docklands towards their mooring. Bearing fresh-painted stripes of cambridge blue and towering antlered icons, the immense shapes of theLazarus and Augustine await the return of their masters at high anchor, ready to embark on a fresh venture.


Dramatis Persona

  • The Crew of the Lazarus: Agents of the Redwynn Dynasty, returning to Prasinus with vengeance to reclaim their property.

House Rosalind:
House Rosalind Dossier

  • Captain Marcella Rosalind: Holder of the Rosalind warrant and captain of the 'Calypso'. Graceful, tall, austere, and utterly beautiful. Appears to be a somewhat hardliner Imperial, showing contempt and disdain for xenos and those who consort with them.
  • High Factorum Verity Rosalind: The younger sister of Marcella, Verity appears to be a bookish quill-pusher with permanently ink-stained hands. Inherited the same abrupt attitude as her sister, but not her exquisite beauty.
  • Genetor Larl Mok: Part of Captain Rosalind's personal council. Concealed in swarthy red robes, but obviously extensively modified and augmented, his skilled rejuvenant treatments have kept her in the permanence of beauty.
  • Arch-Militant Rhia Galatia: Warmaster of House Rosalind. Excessively large, silent, imposing, and armed to the teeth.
  • Falchion-Class Frigate Calypso: Torpedo-armed Navy escort, often considered a lame-duck due its jack-of-all-trades nature, the Falchion has nevertheless been popular among Rogue Traders due to the same reasons it is has been underutilized by the Navy.
  • Carrack-Class Transport Lapdog:Destroyed An up-armoured and up-gunned transport for a more dangerous age, the Carrack is more than capable of taking on light raiders and is favoured by those of a more mercantile bent.

House Castella:
House Castella Dossier

  • Captain Killian Castella:Deceased Holder of the Castella warrant, albeit illegally. A jovial strapping old lad standing almost 7 feet tall and swollen with thick muscles, Captain Castella is an imposing and dangerous. Rumours name him a plunderer and privateer of no morals and little regard for others.
  • Navis Scion Severine Lho:Deceased A new addition to the crew of House Castella, although her family have served for generations. She is talented but unsure of her abilities, only newly promoted to the position of Navigator Primus after the death of the previous Primus, her mother.
  • Void-Master Titus Reddin:Deceased A feared pirate and reaver in his own right, Reddin came to serve House Castella when the ship he served upon previously, 'Centurion', was captured by Captain Killian.
  • Missionary Irven Azararch:Location Unknown Part of the Castella inner council, Irven is a charlatan of the worst kind. He leads the main recruiting drive to replenish the constantly dwindling rating supplies by weaving a web of lies and deceit to entice the foolish and the willing on board. Irven was once a crusader, but lost his zeal after decades of pointless servitude to the Ministorum war-machine. He wears the guise of a kind older man, but is a masterful deceiver and manipulator.
  • Tarellian Mercenary Argrok Tarrl:Recruited The Tarellians usually possess a zealous hatred for mankind due to the attempted exterminatus of their species in the M31. However there are still those who will work for a human if the pay is right, Argrok Tarrl being one such example. Argrok follows the Militus Lex Legis as stringently as any mercenary of the expanse, the code which governs how a gun for hire should conduct themselves. He has a small squad of 10 other Tarellians on retainer as part of his pack.
  • Loxatl Mercenary Zed:Deceased Loxatl do not often give their true names to those who hire them, instead taking a simple moniker by which to be addressed. Zed leads a small brood of similarly scaly companions under the pay of Captain Castella. Their only motivation is profit and bloodshed, and they are rightly feared.
  • Meritech Shrike-Class Raider Handsome Jack: Destroyed Considered by some to be a heretical abomination, the Shrike is nevertheless a formidable vessel. More akin to a warship than a raider, the Shrike combines the blistering speed and maneuverability of the latter with the overwhelming firepower of the former. Favoured by those who are accustom to running from or fighting against the authorities.
  • Claymore-Class Corvette Centurion:DestroyedMass-produced replacements for the superior Sword-Class Frigate, the Claymore has seen extensive use in the Expanse. It is by far the most common second vessel purchased by Rogue Traders looking to expand their fleets.

Prasinus Exodites:

  • Lenya: A Guardian of Prasinus II, she was held captive aboard Killian’s ship Handsome Jack after her capture almost 100 days ago. Lenya was subject to routine torture, experimentation, and abuse at the hands of the crew during her capture. She expired during the ship battle above her world.
  • Taelim: A Guardian of Prasinus II, he was held captive aboard Marcella’s ship Calypso. Taelim was subjected to a prolonged vivisection by Genetor Mok before the Tetrarchs negotiated his release into their care. His existence was ended by Elran; a final act of mercy.
  • Irillion: A Guardian of Prasinus II, he was slain by the Tetrarch during their initial visit to the system almost a year ago.
  • Elran: The last Guardian of Prasinus. His final words haunt the council "Your fates have been sealed"
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