Valdane's Chronicles

Dark Pursuits - Part 2

Into the Underport

With knowledge that the smugglers’ shipment is arriving imminently, the acolytes make their way back to the Port Gyre Auctoriate Porteus, hoping to find a record of the shuttle, 341 Beta-Sky. After negotiating with a surly Auctoriate adept, Tybs convinces him to find the records amongst countless spools of parchment shipping manifests. He finds that the shuttle is due very soon at platform Tertius-9.

When the acolytes reach the landing pad, they find a stranger clad in a metal faceplate and fine garments waiting on the landing pad. Furthermore, he is flanked by two men with lasguns. They’re clearly impatient and also seem to be waiting for shuttle to arrive.

Confident, Tybs and the others climb the platform’s staircase, attempting to strike up a conversation. Oddly, the stranger laughs deeply. It quickly becomes clear that the stranger is Sorgoth, the gang leader that had Tybs cast out of the Bloodborne Brothers, off of Zetah VII, and imprisoned on a distant penal colony.

After some vocal jousting, 341 Beta-Sky begins its approach, momentarily stealing everyone’s focus as the roar of sub-orbital jets and the hot pressure of the wash pushes down from above.

The acolytes attempt to move toward the shuttle and seize its contents. Sorgoth and his bodyguards object, and a brief, although incredibly violent gunfight erupts on the platform.

Exposed, everyone scatters outwards, trying to put distance between themselves and their targets. Sorgoth takes cover behind some crates, unleashing fury from his bolt pistol. Uziel and Amador manage to down one of the mercenaries, and the other runs for cover.

Tybs leaps over Sorgoth’s cover, firing downwards into his shoulder and causing him to drop his pistol.

Seeing his target unarmed, Grax approaches, unleashing a nightmare-hell of living lighting. Sorgoth explodes into electric balefire, the force of which shatters his legs and snaps his spine in a gruesome contortion. The fire consumes his screaming body and his lifeless, smoking corpse drops to the platform.

Content with their victory, the acolytes have a single half-second before a calamitous explosion consumes the majority of the landing pad. The Arvus Lighter, 341 Beta-Sky has detonated from within, consuming the surviving mercenary and severely injuring Tybs and Grax. Amador rushes to their aid while they stumble to their feet, bleeding from their ears.

It appears that a well-armoured metallic pod survived the explosion mostly intact, but something has clearly burst free from inside. Silver chains that once bound the stasis pod are shattered, and on close inspection, minuscule runes can be seen etched onto each link.

Although the blast has gouged into the ancient rockcrete and plasteel surface of the landing pad, it is clear that something has torn a hole in the damaged surface, granting it access to the loading tunnels beneath.

Amongst the remains of the crew, the acolytes find four pale, gaunt figures, their flesh branded with runic sigils. Besides them, the charred corpses of the pilot and co-pilot are fused to the blinking control terminal.

Hidden among the debris, a handful of xenos relics have survived the blast relatively intact, including some small talismans. The ground also appeared to be littered with stone shards, each engraved with xenos writing.

After communing with the craft’s damaged and dying machine spirit, Amador determines that the shuttle’s origin was Kappex Orbitial Station, a station in geosynchronous orbit above Hive Desoleum.

Grax senses the stink of the warp both around the craft as well as a leading into the tunnels below the platform. Clearly, something has escaped. The acolytes make haste and carefully lower themselves down into the Underport.

These tunnels consist of vast warrens of interconnecting passages, chambers, lifts, and storage depots, many long-since abandoned and fallen into disrepair. Many corridors are completely without power, while flickering lumen-globes or torches set in place by unknown hands dimly illuminate others.

While traversing the tunnels, the dripping of unknown liquids or a distant animalistic scream occasionally breaks the eerie silence and perpetual blackness. Millennia of rust and corrosion seal many of the chambers. The acolytes remember that in the market, they had even heard rumours of subterranean shanty towns populated by the descendants of stranded voidsmen and mutants.

Hopelessly lost, the acolytes lose a few hours in the dark. Eventually, by locking-into the creature’s physic emanations, Grax resumes the hunt. Auras of unnatural light and the distortion of reality mark the trail ahead. Even the others begin noticing signs of the supernatural, as frost forms on many of the tunnel walls. The smell of burnt flesh lingers in the air, and the faint echo of numerous inhuman screams guides their way.

For an instant, the corridor darkens completely. The acolytes’ lights die out and they experience intense, terrifying visions. The creature they are hunting is familiar, and plays on their fears. Grax believes the beast to be the Crow Father, clearly more powerful than before.

Now, the acolytes continue their hunt in the dark, unsure of how their foe has turned up on a different planet, in a different sector, and if they are actually the ones being hunted.

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