Deathwatch- Dawn of a New Millenium

Speaking Shadows

Speaking Shadows

The deep dark of the chamber is broken by the light of a dim star over a parsec distant. The cyan glass of the atmospheric stability alcove has a shadowy robed figure floating within. The dim green light of a handheld hololith snaps away leaving the airless chamber’s second occupant invisible.

The Heretics’ tower has been destroyed as you foresaw.

The Called massacred the Stigmartus forces?

As you foresaw. The Called are even more impressive here.

The Called slayed the Bishop and the General?

As you foresaw. The Called also dispatched the Exemplars of Murder.

And the sacrifices? Astartes’ organs, Gemma?

As you foresaw. The holy geneseed of His angels of death. Much of it survived. The Pyre has been denied. The Called have paused to gather the surviving geneseed.

The Called will find a lock. The lock secures the past. The past remembers.

The Called will open the lock…

By your word, my Muzzein, I go to my work.


>>>>> Data-file 01001011- Covert Data Collection Operation Gamma One Debriefing- Classified Occularis<<<<<

+"Advance your account until your own encounters with team Claudius begins"+

“Yes Magos Juris.”

“We moved into the secured chambers and found power somehow restored and all vents and entrances on secure lockout cycle. The Astartes squad were giants amongst us, most in tactical dreadnought armor Mk-4. The Crow was in a stealth field applying medical aid to the Blood Angel. The Jovian was performing auguries when incoming Tyranid forces were detected through the port hatch. Claudius must have issued some unheard command because his squad began moving to engage in Codex support pattern A. The Jovian re-powered the hatch, with the emergency Januas blessing, then withdrew unhurriedly while that heavy-armed Terminator Devastator cut down waves of Xenos with thunderous efficiency, Magos.”

“We remained, observing from a safe distance in the secured area when a klaxon suddenly issued from the Jovian and his implanted holographics projected a dire red symbol of warning on the door adjacent to our position. Another green cog marker was projected across the deck and I hurried my team to it. The Jovian moved swiftly past us, extending mechadendria to form a shield before the augered threat. I saw his systems charge past maximal, shield and breaching auger blazed white as the hatch cycled open. We could not track the movements of the Xenos, nor know how many came against him but shield and auger flashed and thundered as servo pincers and flamers dissected and cremated huge chunks of chitinous remains. Joined by the Blood Angel, they advanced, suppressing plasma blasts and bolter streams lighting their way, until his mechadendrites could interface with the hatch. With the hatch thus shut and disabled he strode away saying only, “Have care little brothers, they do not knock.

“He strode through that first port hatch, which has been efficiently secured and cleared by his squad. My team made haste to disable the controls on all of the other doors immediately after.”

+"He did not know you Genetor?"+

“I do not believe so. I was well concealed, in my robes, from senses and sensors, Magos.”

+"You had a chance to observe them further at missions end, correct? Resume there"+

“Magos, The Apothecary signaled they had secured the generators, cogitator core, and purged the ship of Xenos. We advanced to their forward position.”

“I can not begin to impart the numbers and variations of Tyranid corpses that filled that room. Monsters of nightmare and some capable of swallowing an Astates in Terminator armor whole. One appeared to have perhaps made that mistake. I can’t be sure until further study. The Blood Angel and Librarian were covered in gore and laughed grimly with each other at some jest. I could not bring myself to approach closer to them in their dark humour. And there were . . creatures there, perhaps best forgotten. Yes. I take comfort in only having seen them already destroyed. Lord, I have seen Astartes about their work before, but this was only minutes from when we embarked. They strode from there, that place of death, and they were but lightly injured as they returned . . none could see this and not know them to be something other than mortal. For truly, what other than the Omnissiah’s own true and pure Angels of Death could cleanse that ship? It seems they employed advanced tactics that somehow bewildered Tyranids. If I could have more time to study them! They accomplished in minutes what. . "

+"Enough! You have been reassigned to my command and will desist from your previous ‘studies’. What of the sensor logs from the cyberskull’s hidden datacore?"+

“Apparently detected and purged by the Jovian, Lord. We later detected and disabled mysterious vox broadcasts coming from the skull after we attempted to access the files. It became necessary to remove it to another location entirely.”

+"I suppose that might be expected. Where are my records from the Vox tap I ordered, Genetor?"+

“Lord, I regret to report they are mysteriously absent.”

+"No! You cannot mean to tell me that a secure locked bridge terminal was somehow accessed and that records were removed under the nose of you and no less than twenty assorted adepts, pilots and my personnel security detail by lumbering Astartes in full Terminator armor?!"+

“Well if it was, Lord, they did not knock.”

The Tortured

The Tortured

“Brothers of the Deathwatch, I welcome you to your salvation, your truest chance for peace” came an echoing voice. Dozens of whispering voices came along with the echo, each offering comfort, renewal, and even forgiveness. While the voices seemed to come from everywhere, the speakers could be seen nowhere.

Yarika, Ymir, and Gadreel created a triangular cover formation as they landed first on sputtering tails of flame. Yarika landed, brought up his customized Stalker boltrifle, and did a quick scan of his quadrant all in one motion. In nearly a mirror of the apothecary, Gadreel came down simultaneously wielding a Conflagration-pattern meltagun. The librarian, Ymir, came down as well but hovered for a moment as he covered the descent of two his battle brothers.

Claudius and Sobcheck free climbed across the rent in the ceiling almost thirty meters up. The Ultramarine jumped more than five meters through the air to catch part of the facility’s ruined superstructure that jutted out of the western wall. From there the giant warrior slid down a series of pipes and conduits to land among his collected brothers and the floor. With a light flourish Claudius twisted his powersword around his wrist and snap drew his bolter. Claudius slowly panned his head slowly taking in the whole chamber in a few moments.

The heavily armed Beav’Star Sobcheck of the Salamanders perched on a torn ventilation chute. The techmarine, Paullian, floated by Sobcheck using his integrated grav-chute. Paullian stopped to hover about five meters from the Salamander. Like a three meter coiled spring releasing, Sobcheck launched himself through the air toward his waiting battle brother floating with an out stretched hand. As the heavily laden devastator approached the two marine caught each other’s hands and in a hard twist Paullian caught Sobcheck and helped him cover the remaining five meters to the waiting wreckage three meters below. Sobcheck landed hard and slid down the wreckage to come to stand within a half meter of his squad leader. In one step he stood up, drew his multi-melta, braced the weapon, and set the charge to maximal.

The Iron Hands’ techmarine followed Sobcheck’s descent while continuing the scan the twisted chamber. In one sweep his instruments recorded and transmitted images and a rough map of the area to the other members of the killteam. The story of this place was rounding out in his mind with the assistance of his logis implant. Paullian began to make connections from his observations, readings, and newly discovered information about this Jupitauran facility. This was done purposely, someone knew how to operate, alter, and eventually sabotage the archeotechnology nearly a millennia ago. Off all the aspects of this situation he understood, Paullian still had one question… Why? With a thud Paullian landed next to Claudius. As he prepared to vox the killteam he detected thirteen contacts.

“Here my ladies can help you cut away the layers of treachery. They will rip out your deepest fears. You can remove your cowardice and we can all simply forget about your great dishonour” came a sultry, yet masculine voice. What sounded like purring of felines followed as shadows of over a dozen forms could be seen around the pocket of Slaanesh’s own corner of the Warp. In a flash the shadows had form and had covered half the distance to the Astartes’ formation.

Claudius I of the Ultramarines had fought the forces of Chaos for hours at this point. He was disgusted by what he had seen. He was saddened by having to be put in the position to levy judgment upon his chapter’s traitor. And most of all he was tired of listening to heretics, the possessed, and daemons spew their dark speech. He was finished listening. He spoke.

Killteam Claudius, the order is given. Kill them all.

The Abandoned

The monstrous figure moved with a speed and agility nothing so large should be capable of. The unnatural lighting of ruined chamber brought the details of ‘his’ right side.

Unusual dimensions of the figure aside, the terminator armour in view was immaculate. The metal shined black like obsidian and its shoulder pad gleamed as blood and debris fell away. The black is interrupted by the dark green and the heraldry of the First Legion, the Dark Angels.

The light of the flickering flames also illuminated a rather handsome, yet forlorn face. Atop of a patrician’s face was a perfect head of ebony hair parted to show four admantium service studs. Blue the color of a dusk sky is could be seen in ‘his’ eye. Glittering teeth were noticed as the figure shifts exposing ‘his’ full visage.

‘Melting wax with odd bits of metal sticking out’ would go far to describe the twisted condition of the former Deathwatch armour. The silver intricate work of a Deathwatch shoulder pauldron was now tarnished, shattered, and warped.

As broken as ‘his’ armour was the remainder of ‘his’ face was worse. The corruption of this hell turned ‘his’ face into a daemonic caricature of ‘his’ once stoic features. A twisted horn, a glowing yellow eye, and a collection of twisted fangs completed the nightmarish dichotomy. The rigors of this hell have ruined both the Astartes and ‘his ’ wargear. This could be anyone’s fate who was to be trapped in a hell such as this place.

“As… tar…tes?” the monstrous warrior mumbled. The members of Killteam Claudius leveled their arsenal of weapons on the approaching monster.

“In more… than nine… nine hundred years… I… I…” the warrior continued.

“Never won” the Black Shield librarian completed for the monster with his injuries easily heard in his voice. The psychic space marine tilted his head and reached out with his left gauntlet with an opened hand. As he reached out Ymir got himself to his feet slowly. His own blood covered much of his armour.

“Never. Have I finally died? Did He send you for me? Has He finally forgiven me? I was lied to. I did not… I did not know what he had done” the monstrous warrior continued as ‘he’ fell to ‘his’ knees.

Rivulets of blood began to run across the room and the room seemed to darken.

The Khorne daemons are reforming. The daemons will reform in seconds. Brother Ymir voxed the killteam. His message was breathless from his injuries, but without urgency.

“For centuries I kept his secrets, for centuries. I did not even believe it. Hundreds of years, I protected his honour for centuries. And this?” the monster’s gaze drifted off as though ‘he’ was seeing something far away. Pools of blood began to form. Muted screams seemed to come from rippling pools.

“He was a coward. He left the Truth behind. He left our brothers behind. He left Terra behind!” the monster roared as it began to rise. Ymir’s shaking thumb switched his storm bolter to fully automatic fire. Beav’Star’s multi-melta started hum louder as he charged the weapon to maximal levels. And Yarika hand loaded a bright red bolt into his custom Stalker bolt rifle. The techmarine Paullian’s auspex array began to whirl from his inverted vantage point on the ceiling as the Blood Angel Gadreel slowly closed the distance between the team and the enraged monster warrior.

Blessed bolts loaded. Target acquired. Holding sir. voxed the Raven Guard apothecary as his scope twisted to magnify the image of the monster’s head.
Six daemon targets forming. Targets acquired. Holding. voxed Paullian as six thin green targeting lasers had found their expected targets.
Focusing. Holding Brother. Ymir hissed across the vox as he used psychic senses to assess the monstrous opponent.
Charging to maximal level Claudius. I am holding. Beav’Star Sobcheck voxed as though gritting his teeth. He was.
Holding. came in growl across the vox from the barely restrained Blood Angel hero.

Squad leader Claudius I simply stood still and stared at the approaching monster. The screams grew louder and the room got even darker still.

Understood. replied Claudius.

“Nearly a millennia they locked me in this hell. Locked here to hide his lies, his betrayals, and his cowardice. Why?! Why would I do this for him? I never even knew him!” raged the monster as it stomped about the blood and bones the covered ancient floor. The rage of the monstrous Astartes seemed to make the creature larger.

“I HAVE BEEN IMPRISONED!!!” the monster bellowed and claws started to reach out from the pools of blood. The librarian, Ymir, stepped back a pace and dropped his storm bolter to the ground and unsheathed his force sword. He scanned his head from side to side.

It is possessed brothers. Whatever was Astartes suffered and died long ago. voxed Ymir to his battle brothers, the librarian’s strength seemed to be returning.

“Why? I never faltered. Stood as a captain… in the Ravenwing. I knew secrets. Secrets that I would have purged worlds to keep” the warrior monster continued loudly but controlled. ‘He’ began to slowly circle around the killteam. Claudius simply stood still as the monster passed with five meters.

“I never truly believed. I thought the secrets I protected were lies. But THIS?! HE LEFT THE TRUTH BEHIND!” the warrior screamed as it raised its sword and claw. The fury was palpable.

“The Lion would not protect his sons? His brothers? His FATHER?!” it continued. The bloodletters began to lift themselves from the blood pools. The flames around the room burned brighter and brighter.

“You! You? How did you get in here? If you… then I…” the monster growled as ‘he’ heaved. Like some ancient Terran saurian the monster’s head swept back and forth taking in its surroundings. A quaking moved across the chamber. The growls of the warrior monster and growing roars of the bloodletters signaled the end of the monologue.

“You opened the Lock? Our prison is unsecured” it stated with what could only be the possessed monster’s approximation of a smile. In a moment the warrior monster charged Claudius…

Primary Objective- Weight- Order

The ruins of the Tower of Skulls were still on fire. What once stood over thirty meters high, was now at its highest burning girder approximately eight meters. The blackened iron of the tower’s skeleton melted and sizzled in acrid pools. Everything smoked and everything reeked of death.

Skulls and bodies were everywhere. Each represented either a ritual participant or a sacrificial offering. The death toll mounted in the thousands. It was a scene of death unlike anything most living being would ever see.

The air had a coppery taste and the winds began to pick up. Skulls began to roll as the breeze gusted up. Speckles of ash and blood mixed on the armours of all the Battle Brothers of Killteam Claudius, the Called.

On top of the ruins stood a large human figure in armoured robes, wielding a lightning claw with an impaled victim that kicked in its death throes. The victim was tossed into the flames and the robed figure turned and faced the killteam.

The flames lit a vicious face. Scars and arcane augmetics crisscrossed an unusual face that seemed both insane and controlled. This ‘mortal’ was the Bishop of Blood, the highest ranking priest of Khorne in the Acheros Salient. The Bishop’s trail of blood and madness spanned almost three centuries and an unknown amount of world.

The Bishop of Blood was in a furious madness. Like everything in the Tower of Skulls’ wreckage he was covered in slush, mud, blood, gore, and bits of bone. Unlike the others, the Bishop’s eyes glow and bleed freely. His disgusting and smoldering robes flapped in the torrent of debris and gore as the winds picked up among the ruins of the heretic shrine to the Blood God.

“For more than two hundred years I have levied the sacrifices and the Lord of Skulls has rewarded the Stigmartus” growled the chaos priest as his eyes began to bleed black ichor.

“For nearly one hundred years I rendered the tribute and the Pyre has allied with the Stigmartus” the Bishop yelled as his arcane claw began to glow and sizzle.

“For a day you Astartes came and brought it all to naught!” he screamed at the killteam as his chaos icons began to glow and pulse with sickly light.

“I will rebuild this tower starting with your skulls!” echoed across the ruins as red and ebony gouts of energy escaped from the madman’s body.

“Skulls for the Skull Throne!” Chi-Tan, the Bishop of Blood, roared as he began to charge the waiting Space Marines.

With that the winds began to screech and both icy slush and half frozen gore began to whip around across the burning ruins of the Tower of Skulls. The entire area began to quake and pools of blood started to splash and eventually gouted into the air. A dozen wiry red scaled monsters hit the ground running with bloody hellblades in hand.


Claudius simply blinked.

Paullian had a thought.

The last Whirlwind missile launched.


Within five seconds Killteam Claudius opened up with every weapon they had and the Bishop of Blood and his Bloodletters were left as nothing more than melting piles of gore. The primary objectives were completed and all within twenty-eight minutes.
“Thank you Brother” the elder Space Marine stated.

“There is more sir” the young, startled Space Marine responded.

“That will do, Yarika Crow-Eyed” the ancient Space Marine continued dismissively. The black gauntleted hand of the ancient began to scrawl a few lines on a scroll of tan velum. Two other Space Marines flanked Apothecary Yarika from either side of his bench.

“By your command, Keeper Azrakael” the young marine intoned as he rose. Yarika paused as he caught the gaze of his fellow Raven Guard and the Apothecary Primus. Both wore helmets, but he could feel the weight of their stares.

“With your leave Commander?” Yarika asked as he fitted his helmet.

The hooded Deathwatch marine nodded and Yarika passed him quickly. The bulkhead portal closed with a thud.

“The record ends there” the Keeper stated with a bothered tone. He reached in to his robes and laid an ancient dataslate on the stone table in front of him.

“They already know too much Master” the hooded marine growled.

“But they strive to know even more Magron. And if I am not mistaken, the Keeper wants them to do so” came a breathless voice from the shadowy corner of the room. The Space Wolf techmarine, Magnii, sat crouched with his cyber-wolf. The Space Wolf’s augmetic eyes were very similar to that of his companion.

“We will continue to follow the Muzzein’s machinations through Killteam Claudius. With each lead the Order will find proper targets” the Blood Angel, Leonides, added as he joined the Keeper at the table.

“Then we will terminate those targets… properly” huffed a helmeted Imperial Fist, known only as Ender. He too sat down at the table and looked expectantly at Sergeant Magron. Magron simply crossed his arms. The rest of Killteam Magron took their places around the table.

Magnii activated an odd device and placed on the table. With that the Keeper rose.

“For nearly ten thousand years our Order has kept the earliest of Astartes secrets. With His own hand he penned the Edict” the Keeper declared as a hololith of the ancient Edict floated over the ancient dataslate.

“May Chaos consume me if I am to allow some mutant with a rosette undo His wishes. The fact that this Muzzein of the Void drags our Brothers into this only makes the case against him that much heavier” Azrakael continued shaking his gauntleted fist.

“Like any order in service to Him, we may be asked to commit acts we find to be… difficult. But this is Heresy like any other. The Edict must be maintained” Deathwatch Keepr Azrakael finished as he stood by his place at the table. The other marines rose to their feet and brought their gauntlet across their chestplates.

“We read His word”
“We keep His secret”

“We are the Order of Eius” intoned the collected Astartes.

The Apothecary's Debt

“Twenty minutes, sir? Not a problem” the black armoured techmarine grumbled as he examined the remains of the traitor Ultramarine. Green grid lines appeared along the traitor’s armour and weapons, projected from the Iron Hand’s auspex.

“Yarika. Take their heads. There will be no question of the finality. The Exemplars of Murder are no more. We are moving on” Claudius stated as he passed me. For a moment I went to reach for my chainsword. The apothecarion is going to desire intact specimens. I really do not want this filth on my narcethium and instruments.

The librarian held his gauntlet out over the melting remains of the xenos swordsman. As the head of Olympicus came free, Gadreel came to stand over me. The air of menace around the Blood Angel unnerved me slightly as he reached out with a black canvas sack. As I rose Brother Paullian traded places with me so that he could remove the traitor’s armour.

As I turned I looked at the ejected progenoid phylactery I just removed from the reductor. I do not believe my counter-parts among the Ultramarines will use the traitor’s geneseed, but they may desire otherwise. I truly wonder if this holds within it the embers of Olympicus’ treachery. Grisly business this Operation: Ivory Hunters.

“Ha! Ha! Ha! Die heretic mother fuckers!” the Low Gothic vulgarities startled me as my vox blared. Brother Beav’Star opened up with his stylized heavy bolter on some fleeing Stigmartus infantry. At least two dozen heretics exploded off in the distance. I could no longer see any movement in the distance. Even two dozen was nothing compared to the numbers holding the Chaos site up ahead. I am glad that Sobcheck is so good at what he does. Fuck those heretics.

As the Samech techmarine’s head came off I saw an amazing amount of arcane conduits and tubing within its torso. Truly horrific dark sciences these Samech use. As my reductor pulled what should have been progenoids I came back with strange heretek artefacts. Odd black globes that pulsed with life all their own. Ozymandius X will want to see this.

Brother Paullian pulled dataslate from the dead traitor’s belt. He quickly connected to the device. While he stood there for a moment, I noticed Claudius move off to survey the objective. I began to walk over to the daemonic beast that Ymir fought when Claudius began to hustle down the ice rise pointing at Brother Paullian. Vox icons began to scroll as I knelt down next to the aberration.

“Killteam mount up. Double time marines we are danger close in fifteen seconds!” shouted Sergeant Claudius as he climbed up on to the Land Raider. The monster’s damned skull would not come free. I could see its foul Chaos physiology was attempting to knit itself. That was not going to happen. Using my boot and the fury of Corax I ripped the damned thing off. The Land Raider’s roar got me up and moving.

Now, I am the fastest of the killteam, maybe outside of Gadreel, but when I heard the super-sonic thuds of the orbital bombers I felt as slow as the ice freezing around me. As I made it within five meters of the Land Raider the gloomy sky of Nytt Hopp turned a bright orange as the bombers found their mark. As soon as I hit the side portal skid, Brother Paullian gunned the throttle and the Land Raider tore across the snow towards the growing mushroom clouds on the horizon. The ice and slush whipped up as I hung from the portal, I could see the Stigmartus lines backlit by the explosions. Many winked out of existence and others were simply enraged. In a few seconds we would be upon that line and their rage would not protect their existence.

“Brothers, our mortal comrades are bringing the Emperor’s fury upon their heretic edifice. Their own hubris will be their downfall, the archtraitor carried the exact grid coordinates of both the Tower of Skulls and the anti-personnel emplacements. By the time our lady Starbuck delivers us the field will be alight. A typical enemy would be seriously broken by the explosions and death, the Stigmartus are not typical and they revel in death. Bring them their revelry, bring them death!” Sergeant Claudius preached from the coupler above. These Stigmartus were vile, but I still wanted their masters. The descrated the bodies of my fellow Watchmen and took their geneseeds. I truly hoped the bombers left me some so as that I could exact an apothecary’s toll. Their debt was high.

The hum to zap sound of the Land Raider’s lascannons repeated over and over again as Claudius and Starbuck’s angry machine spirit assaulted the Stigmartus line.

“Missiles firing” intoned Brother Paullian and within a second two platoons of infantry, a tank, and a heavy weapons emplacement were consumed in the explosion. Sergeant Claudius sent a series of command icons. He gave us three seconds before he gave the ‘engage’ command. The Land Raider came to a surprisingly quick stop. Then it began.

“I am the son of Sanguinius, the protector of Mankind, and indeed the Angel of Death! See me heretics and see your doom!” roared Brother Gadreel as he launched from the assault deck. Gadreel’s health signals flared to amazing levels. The Astartes’ body is superhuman, the levels Gadreel reached were something else entirely. The Blood Angel soared through the air…

He rose up on wings of fire, wielding a crackling powersword and powerfist. Upon landing he stretched out with both weapons destroying over a dozen charging Stigmartus. Half were bisected as his blade pass through them as though they were air. The other half were pulverised by his seemingly effortless powerfisted backhand. In one step he spun and reversed his attack killing twice as many as his powered weapons snuffed out his heretic lives. Before the bodies fell Gadreel launched himself back into the air.

“Die you Chaos spawned mother fuckers!!!” screamed Brother Beav’Star Sobcheck as marched down the assault ramp firing his supremely powerful multi-melta. In a handful of blasts three Stigmartus armoured units were destroyed. Some exploded, while others Sobcheck simply left aflame. The Salamander laughed heartily. He sees all of this very differently.

I knelt down along side the assault ramp and dispatched two Stigmartus autocannon crews in six quick shots. The Boltrifle, Brother Paullian built for me, turned out to be an exceptional weapon. No recoil, a muffled report, and no flash made the Boltrifle an assassin weapon. I really had no problem with that.

Gadreel landed gracefully on the assault ramp just as the librarian, Ymir, lifted himself to the Land Raider’s roof. The lower flank of the Stigmartus line began to make aim on the killteam. Autocannon fire caught Ymir, Sobcheck, and me. The three of us took minor injuries but it would be those gunners’ last hits. I climbed back into the Land Raider with Beav’Star when the Land Raider loosed another volley of missiles and Brother Gadreel. This smoldering line was breaking.

As the explosions went off I looked across the ridge. On that ridge laid the remains of the Tower of Skulls, the Stigmartus leadership, and the Bishop of Blood. As Ymir’s supernatural dark enveloped the Land Raider I was sure I saw the Khorne worshipping bastard. He would be mine. I would collect my debt. His head would be a good start.

Is this that day?

“Standby for Watch Captain Vibius” the vox rating intoned and a series of connections chimes followed. The storm was clearing and what passed for noon on Nytt Hopp would come in thirteen minutes. The remaining fragments of the Stigmartus forces were forced back. Claudius noted that with the Stigmartus troops’ bloodlust there were very few retreating forces. Killteam Claudius had bought each meter of this icy ground with five times as many heretic warriors’ corpses.

“Vibius here…” came the Watch Captain in his smooth and preternaturally calm voice. Claudius snapped to and strode to the top of an ice rise.

“Squad leader here, sir. We are at grid V12. We are within ten meters of the enemy indirect fire zone. Approximately seventy meters to primary objective. No casualties, minor damage taken. Advise” Claudius responded clearly and concisely. Yarika cleared three fleeing Stigmartus as they came across his vision. Claudius barely registered the three muffled thuds of the apothecary’s custom made Boltrifle.

“Parameters have changed Brother Claudius. The Stigmartus fleet has received reinforcements from the Pyre warband. The enemy’s numbers are now overwhelming. We have two hours until the enemy ’s spears come to battle. And in three hours our forces will reach zero barrier to make Warp and quit the Nytt Hopp system” Watch Captain Kail Vibius explained. Data stream passed Claudius’ eyes as the Ebon Zealot shared its information. Within a second Claudius had the lay of the situation and understood how the difficulty had increased.

“Your orders stand Brother Claudius. You have gained a strict time table and an entirely new level of mission priority. Killteam Claudius must reach the U13 objective, designate ‘Tower of Skulls’ and destroy it. The killteam must continue to grid Q14. There Inquisitorial Mandate, designate ’Sa’laah’, must be completed” Vibius pauses for a few seconds.

“Brother Claudius, within three hours your killteam must: clear thirty to fifty meters of emplacement fire, assault an entrenched heavy weapon and armour position, kill the heretic general and his elite forces, level the Chaos site, and then cover twelve kilometers to a remote grid point. Once there Inquisitorial elements will contact the killteam” Vibius continued but his tone changed and become softer.

“Brother, if your killteam can secure Q14 for the Inquisition, I have been given assurances of aid from both Inquisitorial forces and some rogue traders. Nytt Hopp is important to this sector of the salient. If you and your killteam can get the Inquisition their scrap of intrigue on that icy rock, I will drive these heretics from the system with what the Inquisition gives me. Can we do this Brother? To see you fell the archtraitor and then drive a heretic armada from space in the name of the primarch and the Emperor would be the stuff of legend. Is this that day Brother Claudius?” Watch Captain Kail Vibius finished with true confidence.

The Pyre Burns

Exterior: The void, a dim blue sun, an ugly greyish white world, four similarly ugly moons, and two space fleets trading fire in the middle of it all.

Camera will zoom in on a large Imperial battle barge, The Ebon Zealot, is the midst of a small Imperial fleet. Weapons along the starboard fire away at intermittent intervals. Two smaller vessels, collide as they attempt dodging incoming Stigmartus missiles.

Interior (bridge of The Ebon Zealot): The Bridge is full of smoke and small fires, but the crew is stalwart and supremely disciplined. In the center of it all stand three black clad giants on a dais nearly ten meters above the bridge crew.

Watch Captain Kail Vibius: Spread the line out. We have elements getting far too close to one another. Lance fire to the light picket in quadrant six. Bring missiles to return fire at the Stigmartus flagship. Shosan, transmit fleet status and current auspex readings to the killteam. I want a situation report from Claudius.

Equerry Shosan: Yes, Captain, as you will it. Copying all, firing, firing, and contacting.

Exterior (Stigmartus fleet): Four vicious looking attack ships explode as a fusillade of lance fire tears into their open flanks. The monstrous red and black flagship, a space hulk retasked by the Stigmartus, sits at the center of the cultist fleet. Volleys of Imperial missiles crash into the flagship leaving much of its fore section ablaze.

Many of the Stigmartus ships begin to fall back behind the nearest of Nytt Hopp’s moons.

The camera pans across the open void to the Imperial fleet. The fire from the Imperial ships slows, then stops as squadrons of Imperial fighters cut across the void.

Interior (bridge of The Ebon Zealot): The Deathwatch marine in a black, hooded robe looks at a series of hololith images before him.

Keeper Azrakael: The Killteam has received the updates, they are within one hundred meters of the Tower of Skulls, and according to this they just eliminated The Exemplars of Blood.


The Stigmartus forces are falling back and redeploying along their trench line. The killteam will be within the Stigmartus firing solutions in no less than fifteen meters.

Thunderbolt squadron Executis is inoperable. Confirmation of the Imperial Guard air assets in flight. Awaiting targets.

Equerry Shosan: The artillery is well concealed Watch Captain. Killteam Claudius will take serious fire, even a Land Raider could be tested under such conditions.

Keeper Azrakael: Claudius and his Astartes are the Called. They have yet to falter. I believe they can push on. They are in His grace.

Equerry Shosan: Yes, of course great Keeper. If I could Watch…

An alarm klaxon blares.

The camera pans to a bank of auspex adepts and their displays of the void around Nytt Hopp. Bright red diamonds begin to appear across the periphery of the display.

‘xxx*MULTIPLE WARP TRANSLATIONS*xxx’ appears across many displays.

Exterior (the void): Warp distortions give way to full translations with large brutal starships pouring out of them. The ships are bright orange and black with the sigil of The Pyre clearly displayed on each.

Interior (The Ebon Zealot): While still orderly the bridge of The Ebon Zealot gets much louder. A Deathwatch killteam enters and deploys across the bridge.

Equerry Shosan: Watch Captain, the Pyre fleet numbers sixty-two. They will make the system in three hours, their faster vessels within two hours. The Stigmartus fleet is redeploying.

Our forces cannot repel firepower of this magnitude.

Keeper Azrakael: I had not realized the sons of the Khan were so… anxious.

Equerry Shosan: Keeper…

Watch Captain Kail Vibius: Shosan.

The Watch Captain pushes Shosan aside firmly, but not offensively.

Watch Captain Kail Vibius: I will need an exact time table for the fleet to make Warp. Tell navigation I need it down to the second.


If you would Shosan Eagle-Heart?

Keeper Azrakael: You mean to keep them on the surface then Kail? Such coordination will prove to be difficult. They are at least an hour from Q14 in the best of circumstances, with the anti-aircraft emplacements and the core Stigmartus at the Tower itself…

Watch Captain Kail Vibius: We have our orders. And I have mine.

Keeper Azrakael: Your orders, Watch Captain?

Watch Captain Kail Vibius: Are mine to bear ancient one, do not press me on this. I will need your killteam prepared. If Claudius is unable to make it to Q14…

Maybe Magron will.

Without a word the hooded keeper turns on his heel and works his way down the long spiral stairs to the main bridge below. As he does so, the killteam deployed across the bridge assembles at the bottom of the stairs.

The assembled killteam is composed of a Blood Angel librarian, an Iron Priest of the Space Wolves, a Raven Guard with a viciously modified Stalker rifle, the apothecary primus from the Novamarines, an Imperial Fist killmarine, and a hooded sergeant of the Ravenwing.

Killteam Magron.

Real Victory?

The ice and snow blasted across the wastes of Nytt Hopp. The Killteam strode out of the Land Raider as the sounds of violence echoed away. Even as the ice and snow recovered the landscape from the recent bloodshed the bodies, gore, casings, and craters cast a nightmarish picture. Victory is often shown as beautiful and glorious, in this place, that was simply not reality.

Claudius paused on a snow drift as auspex information from Brother Paullian, the Land Raider, air assets, and The Ebon Zealot were presented before him. Green wire frames, red icons, and blue readouts danced across his vision. Not reality, but told truths about reality.

Paullian slowly walked the scene with his auspex in hand and his helmet’s augmented auto-sense array lasing the remains, devices, and arms he passed along the way. Each item was more twisted than the last. The Samech forging mixed the great crafts with foul heretek methods. Reality cast from the unreal.

Gadreel jogged out to the edge of the Killteam’s perimeter, his blood pounded. Auto-senses and rebreather were choking him. He pulled off his helmet to the vicious elements of the ice world. Whites, greys, and breaking blacks of Nytt Hopp became salmons, crimsons, and bricks in both thick and moist versions of the red spectrum. Reality seen in red, in the varieties of blood, his or theirs no longer mattered, he preferred reality this way.

Yarika scanned the daemonhost’s remains as it smoldered, its hold on reality slipping. He continued by examining the Dark Eldar as it melted away, its hold on reality gone. The Apothecary came across the Samech ‘techmarine’ and noticed rust, tarnish, and fracture appear, its unreal technology failed in the press of reality. The Space Marine approached the corrupt Ultramarine it simply smoked, he was real with his treacheries and betrayal real too. Reality seemed overrated.

Beav’Star counted and recounted. He measured the distance he could see clearly and noted what was obscured. He memorized the size, weapons, armour, and movements of each enemy he had faced in the last ten minutes. He checked his ammunition supply, his energy charge, his armour’s status, his damage and injuries, and then did the same for his squad mates. Reality was here. Knowing what he had. Knowing what they had. Knowing what he was capable of. Knowing what they had. Reality was like metal; strong, heavy, and constant.

Ymir stretched out across the cold, both the real and unreal versions. The blood god’s fury stifled both the real and unreal. Khorne desires the death and abhors the psychic. In a place like this nothing is safe, nothing is permanent. Nytt Hopp, the ‘new hope’ of the ancients, is in reality the edge of oblivion.

The ice and snow continued to blast across the wastes of Nytt Hopp. The Killteam stood around the fading carnage as the sound of silence thundered. The ice and snow recovered the landscape from the bloodshed, the bodies, gore, casings, and craters were gone. Victory is often shown as beautiful and glorious, in this place, that was simply not reality.

Olympicus the Traitor

Olympicus III of Ultramar

Great Hero of the Tyrannic Wars, Slayer of Wazzadakka, the White Incubi, the Necron Host of Menes II, and the Midnight Exarch, Guardian at the Gate, Honour Guard Captain, and… Traitor.

For his larceny and blasphemy upon the Great Storehouses, for murders of nine Ultramarines, for assault of thirty-seven Ultramarines, for larceny and wanton destruction upon the Thunderhawk of the Third Company, for the murder of seven other Astartes, and for the assault of over more than forty other Astartes, Olympicus III of Ultramar has been stricken from the record, all award recinded, all monument clast, from now to the end Olympicus III of Ultramar is vulgar and fallen.

From now to the end all Sons of Guilliman are charged to bring death to the traitor at any opportunity.


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