Valdane's Chronicles

The Oath Unspoken - Part 2

Down among the dead

Through the doors, the vast chambers of the Oath Unspoken’s Corpse Holds extend before the acolytes into the unseen distance. The chill of the room slowly sinks into the party, and their breaths begin frosting in the air. Along the sides of the corridors are the stacked corpses of the devoted, untold hundreds of thousands, piled high in the pallid light as they journey to their final rest.

Uncomfortably cold, the smell of rotting flesh burrows into the acolytes’ senses alongside the overpowering chemical smell of preservatives and embalming fluid.

The holds are deathly silent, save for the spinning of large cooling fans and the dripping of condensed water from the large cooling pumps pushing in the chilled air. The Holds are mostly void of life signs, except for a few technomats and crew making infrequent passes to check on the status of bodies and the Holds’ ancient cooling systems.

Following the directions provided by the narco-smuggler Cincayde, the acolytes search for signs of the Sable smugglers or Inheritors. After a few hours of walking deep into the Holds, they eventually arrive at a noticeably different engineering section. Now deep in the bowels of the Oath Unspoken, the acolytes find themselves in an area of rarely used maintenance tunnels and chambers.

One such corridor has been turned into some sort of makeshift lodgings featuring bedrolls, cots, lanterns, and even tents to create some form of habitability. One corner of this area has been decorated with signs of the Inheritors—sculptures of vermin and human bones, dark parchment, fabric, and flayed skins daubed with runes written in a viscous, purple ooze flecked with luminescent dots. The letters seems to shift into different marks of a forgotten tongue each time the acolytes look away.

Peering past one bulkhead, they find the scene of a recent conflict. Amidst a low-ceiling chamber lit by flickering electro-candles and sputtering lanterns that sit atop ancient pipes and cryo storage units, three figures in dark coats and armour lay prone in widening pools of blood. A fourth, grips his stomach and chest, slumped against the wall. Seeing the acolytes, he attempts to reach out for his pistol laying some distance away in a pool of his own blood. Eventually, he relents, knowing that his end is near.

He explains that the smugglers were betrayed and overwhelmed by the Inheritors. He claims that the Inheritors plan to take control and scuttle the ship in order to sacrifice it to some “wretched god”. Knowing that the smugglers would no go along with the plan, the Inheritors turned on their allies and killed them all. Coughing and sputtering up blood, the smuggler accepts his fate.

Grax dispenses the Emperor’s justice.

The smuggler, like his comrades is riddled with bullet and stab wounds. Clearly the Sable smugglers put up a fight, but no Inheritor bodies are present. Instead of searching the camp, the acolytes decide to depart the Holds.

Navigating back through the twisting and turning corridors, the acolytes come face to face with one of the foul cultists. Tybs opens fire, injuring the Inheritor. The figure quickly dashes down an adjacent hallway.

Giving chase, the acolytes make haste through the stacks of bodies. Suddenly, a security door slams shut in front of them. Without any chance to react, firebombs rain down from the corpse racks above.

The acolytes have found themselves trapped in a deadly ambush.

Immediately, Grax and Uziel are enveloped by the flames. With his face alight, Grax drops to the ground, screaming with blasphemies pulled from the Warp. Thankfully, Amador and Tybs manage to leap clear of the threat.

With the fire spreading quickly, automatic weapons fire ripples down from above, punching into Tybs and Uziel. Tybs quickly returns fire, wounding one of the hidden assailants above.

Two more Inheritors leap from the corpse racks, wielding deadly chain weapons. Amador immediately takes to the fight, exchanging wild blows with his hissing foe. As one falls prone, Amador manages to cleave his target in half, plunging his great axe into the deck plating and decimating the cultist’s spine and innards.

Uziel, stoically fires his Meltagun, ignoring his wounds and the ever-consuming flames. With a burst of holy energy, one of the enemy rifleman is instantly vapourized along with a large number of chilled bodies. A charred red mist chills and frosts in the air, spreading a bizarre blood haze throughout the hallway.

At the opposite end of the firefight, another Inheritor rounds the corner. Inhaling deeply, the cultist bends the air and reality around him and spews a torrent of arcane warp fire. The fire ignites Tybs and continues its relentless consummation of Uziel.

Amador immediately sets out against the other marauding Inheritor in close proximity. After a few swings, he plunges his weapon deep through the cultist’s collarbone and ribcage, vertically bisecting the thing’s wretched body and further soaking his own crimson robes.

Uziel turns to face the new psychic threat, unleashing another gout of pure energy from his venerated weapon. The witch is obliterated instantly, adding even more charred residual mist and steam to the damp, dark environ.

Tybs quickly extinguishes the flames from his body rushes to aid Grax.

Overcoming the blinding pain of the fire consuming his flesh, Grax’s mind experiences an explosion of power, opening his senses to the way of flames. Smoking, charred, and bloody, Grax stands, reaching out into the warp and psychically extinguishes the flames covering Uziel’s shoulder and torso.

Tybs finishes the last Inheritor with a blue-white burst of plasma from his third sidearm. As the archaic firearm vents its excess heat, silence falls over the holds once more.

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