Valdane's Chronicles

Oblivion's Edge - Part 1
A rapid departure. The St. Malban Bridge.

Four days pass after Kill-Team Fury’s confrontation with the Broodlord and the final bloody night of the Lordsholm uprising. With a heroic effort, the city has been saved, at least for the time being, and the Astartes retire to the late Governor Thorsholt’s manor to oversee the final stages of securing the region. There, they rendezvous with Uzas, another of the Kill-Team thought lost during the destruction of their cruiser, Juno’s Might.

Now, however, Lordsholm lies in ruins. Most of its population are either dead or have fled for the relative safety of the outer provinces, leaving the city largely deserted. Ragtag bands of rebels still plague the remaining PDF forces, but without the Broodlord’s domination and influence, they are no longer a real threat to Imperial control. Lordsholm’s PDF itself remains in tatters, a pale shadow of its former glory, but still, they continue their patrols among the twisting, rubble-strewn streets of the capital.

However, although Fury has secured victory on the ground, it has become painfully clear that a full-scale Tyranid invasion is still rapidly descending on Cel. During their few days of convalescence, the Astartes have received reports from across the planet of dark shapes moving against the stars.

Even in Lordsholm, the sky has now darkened with millions of spores and alien clouds obscuring the sun. Over the last few hours, day has turned to brown-red night and the air has become thick with raining bio-matter.

There can be no doubt as to what is coming next, and those few who have survived the uprising huddle in their hiding places as they await the next and final chapter of this nightmare to unfold.

Cel is in its final hours.

But perhaps all is not lost, however, as on the morning of this fourth day, a spark of hope lights up the darkness – Lordsholm’s Imperial forces receive a vox communication from an Imperial cruiser, the Emperor’s Wrath. Although distorted and crackling from the spore-cloud’s atmospheric interference, the message indicates that the cruiser has just made orbit. It seems that Cel’s final calls for aid somehow got through.

The communication is from Fleet Captain Arast Cobb, commander of the 112th Askellian Expeditionary Battle Group – a small patrol of Imperial warships and the closest force to receive the Kill-Team’s broadcasts. From his vantage point, he can see that the hive fleet’s massive spore cloud will soon touch down in and around the city.

Cobb’s orders are to retrieve the Kill-Team along with any other Inquisitorial assets or high-ranking members of the planetary government. More help may be coming, but there is no telling when Cel will be completely overrun.

The presence of the full hive fleet has cut off all inter-system communication. However, shorter range vox communication is still possible – though only on the planet or with Cobb’s ships in low orbit.

The Fleet Captain will be a few orbit-capable shuttles for the Kill-Team’s evacuation, but the majority of his vessels are occupied with full-scale fleet preparations. As such, space will be limited. To further complicate matters, the shuttles can only land at Avalos Spaceport on one of the surviving launch platforms – as the rest of the city has been too ripped apart to properly stage the evacuation.

The PDF Major in charge informs the Kill-Team that although the spaceport has been mostly destroyed, crews are currently in the process of shoring up one of the remaining landing pads. Additionally, Corvath is currently there, overseeing final repairs to make the acolytes’ Cutter void-capable once more.

The Kill-Team estimate that getting to the spaceport on foot would take hours at least and it is unlikely that they would be able to stay ahead of the approaching swarm. Furthermore, although the PDF would be of little help against the full Tyranid threat, there is still some semblance of a fighting force. Most importantly, three Chimera transports – in mostly working order – have survived the fighting in Lordsholm and are currently stationed in defensive positions on the Thorsholt manor grounds.

At this point, while the Kill-Team and other ranking Imperials make their plans, hundreds of Tyranid vessels now cluster in low orbit, crowded around a massive hive ship. The living vessels spill even more bio-matter into the atmosphere, turning the sky into an even darker and more sickly shade of red.

With haste, the battle brothers round up ranking members of Cel’s Imperial offices – the PDF Major and his surviving commanders, Elsharna and her chief Astropaths, and various high-level members of the Administratum. Along with the Inquisitorial acolytes and a few fortunate PDF troopers, the Kill-Team loads the Lordsholm refugees and Junon’s body into the Chimeras and quickly depart Thorsholt Manor. With the transports’ crew compartments full, the Astartes climb atop the vehicles and mag-lock their boots to the roofs.

Exiting Magistria’s gates and looking out over the city below, the Kill-Team sees the rapid speed with which the Tyranid vanguard is already devouring outer Calistria in a tide of horror.

As they cross over into Portica, survivors from the city below stagger out to meet the convoy. They reach out to the Imperial vehicles, pleading for aid – as the Astartes’ small group represents the last vestige of Imperial authority remaining. Desperate, they beg for help to flee the doomed city. The crowds quickly become unruly, realizing that their fates rely on climbing aboard. Scatterings of PDF troopers join the mob, unwilling to be left behind.

Skold fires warning shots from his bolter, forcing the hostile crowd back. Cursing at the mob, he calls for them to do their duties – to stand strong and die for the Emperor. Not willing to face the wrath of a Space Wolf, the crowd drops back a little, and soon, they are left behind.

The convoy continues into Portica, making mostly good time toward Avalos Spaceport. Still, the spore cloud hangs ominously overhead – growing larger and larger by the minute.

Then, out of the swirling madness above, a dark shape suddenly appears, growing at an alarming rate as it plummets to earth. Just ahead, the massive spore-pod crashes to the ground and bursts in a mist of bio-matter, spilling Tyranid creatures in all directions. Dozens of organisms pour from the vessel and into the streets, blocking the convoy’s path ahead.

Immediately, Uzas fires his afterburners and ascends into the sky. The rest of the battle brothers begin firing their weapons as the Tyranid hordes pour forth. Skold voxes to the lead driver – telling him to punch through.

The PDF drivers hammer their throttles and the Chimeras’ engines roar. The lead vehicle plows into the snarling faces of two dozen hormagaunts, pulverizing them under the transport’s steel and ceramite plating.

Overhead, Uzas drops a series of frag grenades, hoping to clear a path. They detonate deep in the hordes, propelling plumes of ichor and flesh up to greet him.

Surprisingly, the first Chimera makes it through – with Tyr unleashing point-blank hell from its roof. Skold also lends his bolter fire while shielding the Imperial Fist from waves of fleshborer beatles.

The second Chimera attempts to follow, but its tracks start to slip on the ichor and gore, spinning uselessly as they grind over the slick cobblestone streets. Then, as the vehicle plunges deeper into the horde, the vehicle’s runners become completely bogged down by flesh and bone and a multitude of slashing claws and gnashing teeth. With little room to maneuver around the stalled vehicle, the third Chimera in the convoy also quickly becomes trapped.

Skold gets the lead vehicle to slow, lest the others get left too far behind. He descends to the ground and charges back to stay in bolter range. Tyr, over him, continues firing volley after volley.

Gerhardt and Dariel leap from their vehicles and into the mobs, quickly dispatching scores of xenos foes. Uzas also lends his fury, dropping in from high above. Together, they quickly clear out some of the Tyranid creatures, allowing the Chimeras to continue on. Panicking, the drivers gun it, forcing the Astartes to leap out of the way.

Grabbing the last vehicle before it passes him by, Dariel swings back up to his rooftop perch and out of the hissing, gnashing mass of bio-organisms below.

Gerhardt and Uzas burn back skyward, keeping watch over the convoy.

Finally, the Kill-Team reaches the last real obstacle before their evacuation at Avalos – the St. Malban Bridge. The bridge stretches over Lordsholm’s largest canal and is one of the only remaining routes onto the spaceport’s peninsula. Damaged in the previous days’ fighting, the bridge appears to have been hastily repaired. Nonetheless, it remains weakened and fragile.

The convoy slows, unsure of whether or not they’ll be able to make it over.

From the rear access ramp of one of the vehicles, the Inquisitorial acolytes exit. From among them, Arkady walks forward, already running scans with his auspex and performing calculations on his dataslates and parchment spools.

He quickly posits that although the bridge is badly damaged, it should still support the group’s weight. However, the total combined weight of all of the Chimeras and Astartes would likely cause a catastrophic collapse.

As such, Skold and the Kill-Team discuss the matter and decide to leave the Chimeras behind to watch the rear. Meanwhile, the passengers will proceed on foot. Then, once the others are secure at the far end, the Chimeras will carefully cross one-by-one.

Slowly and steadily, the party begins to cross. The bridge groans and creaks underneath, shedding bits into the canal below.

Meanwhile, using their jump packs, Uzas and Gerhardt fly overhead to scout the far side. Back and forth, they scan Portica’s shattered storage yards and vehicle sheds. Then, they spot it – a forward element of the skittering hordes skulking through the ruins ahead.

Before they can report in, a chime echoes over the vox. Glancing at their helms’ displays, Uzas and Gerhardt see that the sound is originating from Dariel, Tyr, and Skold walking across with the bridge with the refugees below.

The Astartes turns towards the source of the noise – a small servo skull accompanying the Inquisitorial acolytes. The humans are frozen, gazing upon their blinking comrade with unknowing horror. Although unseen, the Tyranids are somehow already upon them.

Then, heavy bolters sound from the rear.

The refugees on the bridge turn to look back, seeing their transports firing upon a wave of teeth and terror.

The Kill-Team is surrounded.

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Remembrancer's Archive - Junon Nerevar
787.M41 - Sacris

+ COMMENCE PLAYBACK +
+ ARCHIVE RECORDING +

“Why do we fight?”

Brother Junon bellowed the question at his four junior battle-brothers as they circled him in the sparring arena, ceremonial blades held at the ready. Their tension was visible in the muscles of their unarmoured bodies as they prepared to attack their instructor. Junon, massive even by Astartes standards, stood at ease in the center of the arena, sword held low.

“To defeat the enemies of mankind, and liberate the Imperium!” barked Brother Cedric before he lunged at Junon from the flank, slashing his blade in a downward arc. Brothers Markus, Tarrik and Caleb followed his lead, lunging in unison at Junon from every direction.

“No.” Junon said flatly. He moved in a heartbeat, driving directly back into Cedric. Cedric, caught mid-swing while his blade was still raised above his head, was thrown off balance and hit the ground. Junon emerged on his far side, outside of the circle his brothers had formed.

“We will never defeat the enemies of mankind.” Continued Junon, to his brothers’ dismay. “There will always be a new enemy. It is the nature of the universe. War never ceases…” he stated, gesturing to Brother Cedric as he lifted himself off the ground, raising his blade anew.

“…and the universe only grants glory to those who fight for it”

Cedric lunged again, furious and determined, this time stabbing straight towards Junon’s heart. In a flash, Junon caught the blade with his bare hand. Blood began to drip from his palm as he held the blade an inch from his chest. Then, to Cedric’s dismay, Junon slowly placed his hand on his brother’s shoulder, as if comforting him. Junon’s voice took a milder tone

“The Emperor took this universe in a great crusade, and only through constant war will it remain His. So never forget, brothers…” lectured Junon, still gripping the bare blade in place. Markus, Tarrik and Caleb circled to Junon’s back, sensing an opportunity to strike.

“…Combat is worship…” Junon began. The three brothers began their charge.

“….Strength is faith made manifest,” Junon continued, louder now. It was in this fraction of a moment that Cedric realised his feet were not touching the ground. Junon was lifting Cedric’s entire body off the ground by his shoulder.

“…And we fight to remind our enemies that this universe already belongs us!”

With a backwards step and a turn, Junon swung Cedric’s body around his own, and flung him through the air and into his charging brothers. The three charging brothers were knocked from their feet, and hit the ground in a pile at the far edge of the arena. Junon laughed, apparently enjoying himself now.

“Now attack me again!” he roared.

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Falling Skies - Part 7
The Lord of Blood and Darkness. A legend is born.

Beneath the son where the invisible air buns, the Lord of Darkness sleeps in death – that is where you will find him.

The PDF remain awestruck, yet Kill-Team Fury is already moving out, taking stock of the limited loyalist forces remaining outside. With time running short before Elsharna’s prophecy takes hold, the Astartes realize that the PDF are in no shape to continue on.

Instead, the Kill-Team decides to send a platoon of the PDF’s freshest troops and the Leman Russ Battle Tank, The Avalosian Hammer, back to Portica’s storage yards in order to secure whatever supplies and materiel are available and to redistribute it among the front lines. Meanwhile, the rest of the PDF will secure the markets and prepare for any possible counter attacks.

Fury recalls the acolytes’ Cutter in order by-pass the heavily defended promethium bridge or the potentially hazardous seawater runoff running into Fabrica. A few minutes later, they catch a glimpse of Corvath, coming in low and dodging anti-aircraft fire. The Astartes meet the Inquisitorial pilot on the roof of one of the markets’ neighbouring hab blocks.

The Kill-Team makes a few fly-overs of Fabrica – attempting to find some sign of the Broodlord or his den. Using all sorts of thermal and infrared scans, the Cutter’s machine spirits eventually locate an anomaly. Deep within the refinery district, four square blocks show absolutely no signs of life. Even enemy patrols seem to completely avoid the area.

Skold orders Corvath to bring the Cutter down low. Hovering close to two stories off the ground, the Astartes drop from the front access ramp. Slamming into the ground, their heavy armour cracks and shatters the wet pavement below.

With his passengers clear, Corvath fires afterburners, returning to the relative safety of Avalos Spaceport.

Waiting, watching, and listening, the Astartes brace for some kind of xenos ambush. After a few uncertain minutes, Kill-Team Fury resumes their search. Skold removes his helm, allowing for his augmented and heightened senses to take in his surroundings. Quickly, he finds tracks – xenos prints in the district’s mud- and debris-strewn streets.

Following the trails a short while, the Kill-Team finds both their origin and terminus – The Sollar & Sons Promethium Works. The Kill-Team spaces themselves out and Gerhardt burns up to roof, hoping to get a better look inside.

The ancient, crumbling stone building is nestled amongst a row of refineries under a maze of pipes, pressure tanks, and exchange valves. Mostly untouched by the fighting, the promethium works remains largely intact.

On the roof above his Brothers, a dirty access hatch obscures Gerhardt’s view inside the facility. With sheer strength, he snaps the hatch’s locking mechanisms and opens the creaking, ancient access point. Inside, he finds the place eerily quiet – deserted, without bodies, blood, or other signs of battle.

The rest of the Kill-Team enters the seemingly abandoned refinery and Gerhardt drops inside.

Just as they begin to doubt Elsharna’s visions, they discover what they believe to be the entrance to Broodlord’s nest – a large section of pipe torn open, leading deep into the ground. Although dimly lit, the Astartes’ enhanced vision can make out pools of congealed blood and ichor.

Lowering themselves in one-by-one, the Battle Brothers find that the tunnel is only large enough for them to proceed single-file. Still, they continue deeper into the darkness. The pipes are a pitch-black maze, but the Kill-Team’s superior senses help guide them in the right direction.

However, as they pass through the darkness and near a three-way junction, a sharp rattling rings out from one of the pipe’s walls. Suddenly, a pressure valve slams shut, cutting Gerhardt off from the rest of his Brothers. Immediately, he hears the scampering of chitinous claws rounding the corner ahead. Gerhardt braces himself and quickly parries the snarling alien faces leaping from the darkness in front of him. With a flash of his chainsword, he strikes back, burying it deep among one of the creatures’ razor-sharp claws. Still, more approach.

Seeing Gerhardt’s valiant stand on their helms’ vid-displays, the remaining Brothers scramble to free the separated Black Templar. Tyr takes up an overwatch position in the cramped junction, preparing for a secondary attack. The others quickly reposition, giving Junon access to the pressure valve-gate.

The genestealers keep coming, drowning the Black Templar under tooth and talon. In the tight tunnel confines, he struggles to bring his full might to bear. The genestealers, however, twist and contort in the enclosed space, allowing them to fight alongside their kin. Eventually, their powerful rending claws strike true, cleaving open a rent in Gerhardt’s gorget and tearing deep into his neck. Arterial blood sprays up into his helm, obscuring his vision. Still, he fights, hoping that his Larraman’s Organ will staunch the flow of his blood. Overwhelmed by the xenos’ damage, his vital signs begin dropping rapidly.

Seeing his Brother’s glyph change to a flashing red inside his display, Junon mag-locks his boots to the tunnel floor and braces himself. Slamming his gauntlets into the pressure gate, he creates his own handholds. His power armour screams in protest as his brute strength and straining servos tear the door apart.

Skold squeezes around the mighty Storm Warden, leveling his bolter and unleashing a devastating point-blank volley that kills the remaining genestealer.

Dariel quickly rushes to his Brother’s side, moving to repair the damage to the Black Templar’s neck and chest. Stabilizing him, he pumps Gerhardt full of powerful combat stims and pain suppressants, bringing the Assault Marine back to fighting shape.

Almost reluctantly, the Kill-Team continues deeper through the claustrophobic pipeline, staying vigilant to prevent another possible ambush.

Now far underground, the promethium pipelines eventually exit into a series of pressure tanks. Already, it’s clear that this is a vile place – filled with bodies and coated with xenos ichor and filth. The collection of tanks is roughly twenty metres across and twenty again high, with at least a dozen smaller pipes leading in and out – each controlled by valve gates. Even with the Kill-Team’s augmented vision and augurs, the chamber is a web of shadows. Still, they know that the creature they seek is located here amongst the death and desolation.

Moving in a tight circular formation, the Battle Brothers advance into the room. Kor scans the chamber for life signs, but already the genestealers are upon them.

The first few creatures dive toward Tyr and Dariel, tying them up in a swirling melee of combat. Tyr smashes the first beast aside with his heavy bolter before quickly switching to his bolt pistol. Dariel, on the other hand, works himself up into a blood-frenzy, lashing back at the foul creatures with his hungry chainsword.

The other Astartes reposition to support their brothers – but stop dead in their tracks.

The first wave hits them – a psychic pressure unlike any they have experienced so far. The deluge of horror and dread gnaws at their resolve, planting tiny seeds of doubt within their hypno-conditioned psyches. Then, as the terrifying majesty of the Broodlord reveals itself, blood begins to trickle from their eyes, ears, and nose.

The creature – a thing of nightmare nearly three metres tall – towers over the Kill-Team. With ropey, powerful muscle and four taloned claws surrounded by super-dense armoured exoskeleton, the beast is an intimidating sight.

Without hesitation, Skold and Kor circle around their pretty to get better shots. Side by side, they unleash a volley of bolter rounds and flaming promethium. The Broodlord shrugs them off.

Two more genestealers leap out form the darkness, forming a protective screen around their master. In tandem, Gerhardt and Junon flare their jump packs, rocketing over the top of their Battle Brothers and smashing into the tightly-packed xenos group.

Then, as more genestealers pour out of the surrounding pipes, Skold and Kor are engaged in their own combats.

Rending claws meet ceramite. Holy bolts meet flesh. The blood starts to flow.

The cacophony of the warring Astartes resonates loudly in the confined space – with each gunshot sounding like a thunderclap and each swing of the chainsword like a roaring beast. The combat flows back and forth, which each side gaining, and then losing ground. Then, the first of the genestealers falls.

With a terrible silent scream, the Broodlord rips through the minds of the Battle Brothers. The crippling shriek sends them to their knees in agony. However, with faith in the Emperor and sheer force of will, the Astartes quickly come to their senses and hold the xenos at bay.

Gerhardt and Junon continue hacking away – repeatedly plunging their blades into the Broodlord and cleaving chunks from its powerful exoskeleton.

After suffering a few mighty blows, the Broodlord steps back, finding Junon’s gaze. Using the raw power of the Tyranid Hive Mind, the creature begins to tear the life-force from the Storm Warden, dropping the Astartes to the ground. Immediately, the beast’s own wounds begin to heal.

Skold, having killed a genestealer with a burst from his bolt pistol, moves to help Dariel and Tyr.

Kor, meanwhile, charges into Broodlord, slamming his servo-arm deep into the creature’s torso.

The fight continues.

Junon and Gerhardt, now heavily wounded, still fight on. Junon plunges his sacred claymore deep into the creature, driving the blade in up to his wrists. Stunned, the Broodlord frantically scrambles to pull the weapon out from between its armoured rib-plates. With a moment to reposition, Gerhardt hacks into the creature’s less-armoured flank.

Across the chamber, Dariel, Tyr, and Skold finish off their adversaries – righteously tearing apart the xenos.

Desperately flailing, the Broodlord carves deep into Junon, cleaving though his armoured chestpiece and far into one of his hearts. As Junon stumbles back, the creature drains even more of the Astartes’ life force – ripping energy directly from his soul. Dozens of alarms and warnings sound inside the Storm Warden’s helm as his organs and armour begin shutting down.

Skold and Kor charge the remaining genestealers while Tyr hammers heavy-bolter rounds into the Broodlord, driving the creature back under a volley of micro-detonations.

Although greatly damaged now, the Broodlord prepares to unleash another flurry of deadly blows.

Before it can strike, Junon taunts the creature, drawing its alien gaze. Using the last bit of his strength, the Storm Warden drives upwards, putting the entire weight of his powerful physique into the thrust of his claymore. The tip catches the Tyranid creature below the ribcage, slamming up through its organs, out through its clavicle, and then finally coming to rest deep inside the alien’s spasming skull. A flood of gore pours forth, coating the proud Astartes.

Caught in flailing death throes, the Broodlord emits a powerful death shriek. The psychic blast ripples outward, distorting reality itself. Sensing the death of their master, the remaining genestealers scatter – retreating into various tunnels and pipes.

Finally, the Broodlord falls over – dead.

With sword and armour covered in xenos ichor, Junon slumps back, laughing. He drops his claymore to his side – its metallic clang echoing Junon’s own death knell. Soon, his vox cuts out.

Inside the Kill-Team’s helms, the glyph representing their Storm Warden ally flashes deep, ominous red – life signs absent.

The Astartes gather around the body of their fallen comrade.

Dariel crouches low, already beginning the process of removing Junon’s precious geneseed.

As the Sanguinary Priest performs his holy work, Tyr too comes to Junon’s side. Unclasping his fallen brother’s gauntlet, Tyr delicately removes one of Junon’s fingers. He stores the digit, knowing that he will soon undertake the sacred rites of engraving Junon’s bones with descriptions of his deeds – ensuring that that the Storm Warden’s service will never be forgotten.

Meanwhile, Skold and Gerhardt remove the Broodlord’s head, gaining a grisly trophy of the Kill-Team’s victory – and sacrifice – in Lordsholm.

Finished with their scared work, the Kill-Team gathers up Junon’s claymore and body and begins their journey out of the depths.

By the time they exit the refinery it is already dawn. Slowly, Cel’s sun creeps over the horizon, embracing the smoking, smoldering city in a golden embrace.

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Falling Skies - Part 6
The red market. Crashing waves.

Having secured The Blind Saint, Kill-Team Fury plans their attack on the market district.

Located in eastern Calistria, The Rag Markets have been the scene of constant heavy fighting. Currently, the rebels are dug-in, waiting patiently to repel yet another PDF attempt to retake the squares.

Skold begins preparations by ordering the The Blind Saint’s liberated officers to bolster the PDF front lines. Accompanied by Junon and Gerhardt, they’ll return to the Portica staging areas via the Inquisitorial acolytes’ Cutter – bypassing the front lines. From there, they’ll lend some decent leadership and the might of the two Astartes to the frontal assault.

When they arrive, Junon and Gerhardt report that a single Leman Russ Battle Tank has joined the fray – The Avalosian Hammer. Having heard the Kill-Team’s broadcasts, they’ve just arrived from the outer provinces.

The rest of the Kill-Team heads south from their current position, sneaking through the ruined hab district and circling around the western flank of the Rag Markets.

The night’s storm continues to pound the shattered city, keeping the cobblestone streets slick with rain. Occasional lightning marks the outlines of the ruined skyline. Sporadic thunder adds to the distant sounds of battle.

Silently, Skold, Tyr, Dariel, and Kor make their way through Calistria’s alleys – careful to not draw any attention. Soon, they reach the outskirts of the markets – hearing the chattering of automatic weapons fire and the barking of orders.

Unfortunately, a small rebel guard post blocks the Battle Brothers’ path.

Skold hurls a brick into a nearby building, drawing the attention of the sentries. The rebels skulk away into the wet shadows, leaving a sole guard behind.

The Astartes sneak into the ruins as well, hoping to encircle and ambush their prey.

Skold draws his knife, and approaches the remaining sentry. Stumbling over some of the rubble, he alerts the guard. Immediately, the rebel begins firing with his stub rifle and yelling to his comrades. With the strength of a Fenrisian wolf, Skold hurls his blade forward, plunging it deep into the snarling face of his foe. The man’s body tumbles into a wet pile.

The Astartes charge headlong through the ruins, attempting to quickly finish off the other rebel sentries before they can alert the greater force in the markets beyond. Plowing directly through the hab’s flakboard and timber walls, Kor and Dariel subdue the first enemy. Tyr’s heavy boot finishes the other – along with most of the floor.

On the eastern fringe of the market, the PDF begin their assault – supported from the rooftops by Junon and Gerhardt. Immediately, things begin to go horribly wrong.

Overlooking the eastern market squares, an entrenched rebel anti-tank gun threatens the PDF’s armour support and halts its advance. Without the Leman Russ’ guns, the PDF falters, losing many of their men to effective heavy stubber fire.

Skold orders Junon and Gerhardt back and the Assault Marines help the PDF institute a fighting withdrawal. Firing all the while, the PDF’s heavy battle tank lumbers backwards, grinding over the crater-strewn streets and the unfortunate few too wounded to crawl out of the way.

Skold, Dariel, Tyr, and Kor know that their immediate objective is now clear – destroy the anti-tank battery in the central building to allow the PDF to resume their advance.

Having still not alerted the rebel garrisons to their presence, the Battle Brothers sneak forward building-by-building. Eventually, one final edifice remains before they must head out into the open. Maneuvering around back of the structure, they find the building’s rear door locked.

The Brothers ready their weapons and push in. With his servo-arm extended, Kor charges through the barricaded door, taking a large chunk of the surrounding stone wall with it. Around him, his comrades pour into the breach, slaughtering those inside.

Now, through the building’s dirty and bloodied windows, the Kill-Team gets their first good view of the market squares. The Rag Markets have been heavily entrenched, with a crisscross of earthen barricades and defensive positions providing multiple covering fields of fire. It’s clear that the rebels won’t give up without a fight.

At the center of the four squares, a mid-sized hab building has been converted into a central garrison and headquarters. Through a few smashed windows, the Brothers see that the ground floor has been cleared out and converted into a full battery, housing three large anti-tank guns and a variety of semi-hidden heavy stubber nests.

With a wet growl, Skold orders a breach and clear. He and Tyr ready their Krak anti-armour grenades, preparing to blow straight through the building’s heavy outer walls.

Meanwhile, sensing the coming ferocity of battle, Dariel works himself into a blood-frenzy, pouring battle-hymns through his vox, and allowing the Black Rage to flood his system with adrenaline.

Skold nods and the Brothers pour back out into the rainy streets.

Tyr and the Space Wolf release their payloads, sending the powerful charges soaring to the adjacent structure.

Dariel and Kor continue their sprint, allowing the grenades to detonate only fractions of a second ahead of their charge.

The shaped charges cut through the wall, carving a massive opening into the heart of the rebel headquarters. Through the smoke, confused and disoriented troops scramble for cover.

Dariel leaps through the gap, immediately plunging into the fray. His hungry chainsword slams into the disorganized mob, taking a massive toll. Back and forth, he swings wildly, screaming the most holy of Baalian hymns and proverbs.

Just as Dariel throws his tenth blow in half as many seconds, a crackling blade rises to meet the adamantium teeth of the Flesh Tearer’s borrowed weapon.

Clad in heavy carapace, the rebel leader clashes with the Astartes. Wild blows are exchanged, followed by parries and counter-attacks. In his blood-rage, Dariel lets his guard down, giving the rebel leader a microsecond opening to plunge his power sword deep into the Flesh Tearer’s shoulder. The crackling blade carves through Dariel’s gorget and paulron with ease.

Now finding himself overly focused on his single opponent, Dariel is overwhelmed by the surrounding mob. They club and slash the Astartes, finding little purchase among the overlapping ceramite plates of his power armour.

Seeing his fellow Battle Brother encircled, Kor unleashes a gout of pressurized promethium, enveloping the horde in holy, cleansing fire.

With their flesh crackling and sloughing off, many among the rebels fall to the ground, adding their horrific screams to Dariel’s bellowing laughter.

As the rebel leader catches aflame, Dariel turns and grabs the man by the throat, lifting him high overhead. He drags his chainsword through the man innards, spilling them to the ground and covering himself in a blood-rain. Smashing his pommel-clasping fist into the man’s pelvis, he stretches his arms outward and tears the rebel completely in half. Dariel tosses the shredded pieces aside and returns to his deadly dance.

Around him, the surviving anti-tank guns and machine gun crews continue to hold the PDF at bay.

Skold and Kor continue their assault, rampaging through the crowded building. Skold unleashes devastating volleys of metal storm shrapnel while Kor continues to fill the room with fire. Eventually, the main group of defenders are whittled down and destroyed.

Meanwhile, outside on the street, Tyr has been single-handedly holding the Kill-Team’s rear and defending both flanks. Taking cover among the alcoves of the ruined storefronts, his heavy bolter chugs through round after round of explosive ammunition.

Many of the rebels’ rearguard begin to reposition, attempting to circle around behind the now Astartes-occupied central building. Tyr holds steadfast, cutting them down as they cross out into the open. Swinging his gun both east and west, he takes down scores of troops and machine gun nests.

Back inside, Kor seizes one of the anti-tank guns, turning it on the rebel trenches outside. Firing near point-blank, he vapourizes one of their emplacements. Quickly, his servo-arm reloads the gun while he adjusts aim – repositioning the weapon’s crude crosshairs on another group.

Dariel and Skold finish off surviving weapons teams inside and prepare for a counter attack.

With the rebels’ anti-tank guns and many of their stubber teams knocked out of action, the PDF resume their advance. Columns of infantry push up behind the Leman Russ while others pour out into the market through the ground floor windows and ruins of surrounding buildings.

Lordsholm standards and banners are flown high and proud as the screaming masses of those still-loyal pour into the rebels’ forward entrenchments and earthworks. With brutal hand-to-hand engagements and short-range volleys, the PDF finally begin retaking the eastern squares.

Behind them, the Leman Russ pushes north and makes a mockery of the rebels’ mortar and stubber pits. The vehicle’s heavy bolters spew a torrent of hate while the tank’s main battle-cannon obliterates numerous buildings and trenches with ease.

Regardless, the remaining rebel forces to the northwest mass for a charge, pulling together a few hundred troops.

Through the ferocious combat and surrounding chaos, Skold somehow notices the rebel lines surge. He seizes a heavy stubber from one of the dead crews and immediately fires a torrent into the first wave. Pumping round after round into the rebel masses, he screams to his Brothers to make ready.

Kor quickly repositions to prepare the northern anti-tank gun. He hammers the firing mechanism, unleashing another point-blank burst into the rebels. The thunderous explosion shatters all of the remaining windows in the vicinity. The ensuing pressure wave is felt even by the mighty Astartes.

A billowing wave of smoke and ash washes back through the ground floor openings, encompassing the Battle Brothers’ position and obscuring the advancing enemy hordes.

Using the smoke as temporary cover, Dariel leaps headlong through the ruined northern wall, plunging deep into the rebel masses. The two forces crash together like a tidal wave breaking over a single rock.

Still, the rebels’ numbers are overwhelming.

The sheer volume of combatants causes the enemy force to swing around west, forcing the Kill-Team’s left flank. Like a swarm of insects, the rebels pour through the central building’s ruined windows and walls.

Tyr repositions in order to get a better vantage point and defend his Brothers inside. He locks his armour in place, hammering his foes point-blank. Almost choking his gun with the pure volume of carnage, he braces himself for the likelihood of being surrounded.

On the other flank, Skold continues to pour heavy stubber fire into the crowds. The rebels encircle him, finding weak points in his armour to stab and shoot at. The Space Wolf repeatedly disengages, leap-frogging backwards while hammering effective fire in to the rebels’ screaming faces. In blood-curdling Fenrisian, he curses back.

Kor too, is overwhelmed as the rebels pour around and over his anti-tank gun. A few of them plunge their bayonets deep into his right greave, dragging the Iron Hand to the dirty, wet ground. The Techmarine uses his servo arm to bat his assailants aside, shredding flesh, shattering bone, and ending lives. He fights back to his feet.

Finally, the rebels surround Tyr – their masses overwhelming even his heavy bolter’s astonishingly high rate of fire. Tyr lets his main armament fall, switching to his pistol and monomolecular blade.

The combat is ferocious – with scores of rebels literally crawling over the Astartes in an attempt to bring them down.

The Battle Brothers fight for their lives.

Some how, some way, the rebel hordes begin to thin.

Eventually, they break – choosing a hasty retreat over complete and utter annihilation.

Moments later, Junon, Gerhardt, and the PDF vanguard enter the central building – awestruck at the holy might of the Astartes.

Bruised, bloody, and battered, Dariel, Kor, Skold, and Tyr stand tall among a mountain of spent bolter shells and bodies.

One by one, the PDF make the symbol of the Aquila and take a knee.

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Falling Skies - Part 5
Avalos Spaceport and The Blind Saint.

With the relay secured and operational, vox traffic starts flooding in from all over Lordsholm.

First, Kill-Team Fury broadcasts their Deathwatch cyphers on all channels, hoping to notify Imperial forces in nearby systems of Cel’s predicament and of the approaching Tyranid fleet.

Then, they start to compile tactical information relevant to their mission.

Most importantly, Cel’s only spaceport, Avalos, is under siege. Although any current attempt to leave Cel would result in death at the hands of the Kraken ships, a gateway off world will eventually be needed. Should it be lost, full-scale landings of reinforcements would be rendered incredibly difficult.

Secondly, the Kill-Team receives a panicked short-range vox transmission from a nearby PDF force. A platoon-sized element is trapped inside a tavern deep in the Calistria District – The Blind Saint – and is currently being besieged by numerous rebels in superior positions.

As the tavern was a regular watering hole for the PDF, a large group of much-needed officers has been trapped there since the first night of the uprising. Although they have managed to draw in a few nearby friendly units when hostilities started, they now lack the strength to attempt any kind of breakout.

With this newly acquired information, Kill-Team Fury forms a plan. First, they will liberate Avalos spaceport and – should it have survived the fighting – they will requisition the Inquisitorial acolytes’ Cutter. Then, using the vessel, they will insert deep into Calistria and secure The Blind Saint. Once they’ve freed the PDF reinforcements and officers, they’ll attack the Rag Markets from the rear and allow the main force of the PDF to fully break through the rebels’ front lines and into the very heart of the uprising.

Skold voxes any and all surviving PDF forces to put the plan into motion.

After a short journey, the small Imperial relief force finds the spaceport. Much of Avalos is in ruins, but among the rubble, a few scattered PDF platoons hold out against a much larger enemy force. Additionally, by the smashed landing pads and damaged storage sheds, the battle brothers also spot the slightly-damaged Cutter, defended by a squad of PDF and a few non-uniformed personnel.

Furthermore, thankfully, the Kill-Team has once again advanced on the disorganized enemy lines from behind.

The brothers use another devastating grenade barrage to rip apart the rebel lines and throw them into disarray. Then, Skold, Tyr, and Dariel hammer the enemy with accurate bolter fire.

Gerhardt and Junon take to the skies, landing deep among the rebel troops. With savage precision, they begin dismantling their lines.

Meanwhile, Kor silently strides forward and unleashes gouts of burning promethium from his flamer, catching swathes of enemy troops in holy cleansing fire. Their forms twist and turn in agony as the rain sizzles upon their flaming husks.

Needless to say, the rebel lines immediately break.

The Astartes gun down the remaining survivors as they turn to flee.

Soon, soot-stained faces pop up over the Imperial lines, attempting to spot tjeir saviours. The PDF’s weary expressions turn to awe as they see the legendary Astartes approach.

Skold makes contact with the Avalos PDF leadership – a few officers and staff sergeants as well as Corvath, the Inquisitorial pilot of the surviving Cutter. The other PDF survivors head out to gather ammunition and weapons from the dead rebels.

Skold briefs the small gathering on the Kill-Team’s mission and then orders the PDF to send a few of their men back to reinforce the relay.

While the battle brothers and PDF prepare for their next offensives, Corvath and Kor depart to inspect the Cutter. Kor inspects the craft for structural damage while Corvath runs his pre-flight checklists. Satisfied of the vessels condition, Fury mounts up.

The flight over the ruined city is brief, but provides a good glimpse of the destruction and strife below. Massive fires still rage throughout Lordsholm unchecked, lighting gargantuan plumes of smoke rising up into the night sky. The brothers’ augmented vision pierces the heavy rain and smoke, allowing them to see the scores of tracer fire throughout Calistria and rest of the capital.

Corvath pulls the Cutter down low to get a better look at the situation on the ground. While he skillfully dodges ground fire, the Astartes spot their target – The Blind Saint. Skold orders Corvath to land.

Finding a suitable drop zone roughly a kilometer from the Saint, Corvath hovers the Cutter low over a canal embankment. The battle brothers leap the dozen or so feet to the ground before Corvath slams the afterburners to full and quickly departs.

Surprisingly, this area is without much visible fighting – the PDF having likely been routed here in the early days of the conflict.

Reaching the square surrounding The Blind Saint, the Kill-Team sees the defaced statues on the roof that have given the old, stone tavern its name. Here, they see how the rebels have occupied each of the four buildings surrounding the Saint, covering the tavern from every angle with heavy weapons and small arms fire.

Utilizing a standard Codex Astartes Tactical Advance, Fury rapidly approaches from the north and moves into a position adjacent of the first two rebel-held buildings. The battle brothers then spit up, dividing their skills between the targets.

Skold, Dariel, and Tyr hammer the two buildings’ windows with bolter fire while the others make their advance. The small assault teams toss grenades through the windows and charge inside to finish off the surprise-stricken garrisons.

The Kill-Team demonstrates a rapid, ruthlessly efficient brutality – operating with a level cohesion, brotherhood, and trust not often seen among Kill-Teams of such varied Astartes chapters.

Having cleared the first two buildings, Kor moves up to the higher floors and secures one of the rebel heavy stubber emplacements. From here, he provides suppressing fire as the others advance to the tavern.

The brother make the short run across the torn up and crater-marked square. As the Astartes approach the Saint, the PDF opens their barricaded doors, allowing them a straight path inside.

The inside of the tavern is a mess, with wounded soldiers and empty charge packs littering the floor. Tables and chairs have been pushed against the doors and windows, providing only the smallest amount of concealment and protection. Atop the tavern’s stoves and heaters, the troopers attempt to regain any sort of charge for their weapons.

The ranking PDF officer, Captain Gremarch, greats the Astartes, but the gathering is short-lived. Immediately, Kill-Team Fury plans their next steps.

Skold orders an advance to the roof-top. From there, they will launch their two-pronged assault on the remaining two buildings. Kor will suppress the target building to the east, while Junon will attempt to plant a demolitions charge in the lower levels. The rest of the Kill-Team will focus on the western building, hopefully overwhelming the rebels within.

Boosting each other up to the roof in turn, the battle brothers make for the cover of the tavern’s crumbling statues. Immediately, enemy fire rains down upon them. A few of the Astartes are struck as the rebels attempt to keep them from gaining a foothold.

Kor adjusts his aim and starts hammering the eastern building. The torrent of rounds strikes a few of the rebels through the windows, while the others dive for cover.

Seeing his opening, Junon burns maximal and quickly crosses the square. He kills his thrust a few metres from the building’s main door, and glides down into a run. Without breaking stride, he smashes through the entrance and slides into position. The rebels iinside are awestruck – immediately unloading dozens of rounds point-blank into the Storm Warden. Although being wounded, Junon ignores his foes, pulling the demolition charge from his webbing and putting it to place.

Meanwhile, from the Kill-Team’s roof-top position, Skold uses accurate fire to pick off rebels inside the western building. Time after time, he blows apart anyone straying from cover.

Tyr joins his heavy bolter to the Space Wolf’s cacophony of death. His hungry weapon devours foot after foot of its ammunition belt, swallowing the linked bolts before propelling them with righteous fury. The massive rounds blast apart the western structure, shredding dozens of targets contained within.

Dariel too fires at the rebels, utilizing the bolter lent to him by Kor by way of Junon.

Additionally, Gerhardt leaps forward on gouts of flame, plunging into the heart of the western enemy building and tearing apart their forces.

Together, the combined assault is overwhelming – absolutely shattering the rebels’ morale. Tyr, Dariel, and Skold continue to gun them down as they flee like insects from a burning hive.

Having now placed and set the charge, Junon leans back and burns his jump pack again, propelling himself out of the building and into the night sky.

Behind him, a bright white blast ripples out from the building’s ground floor.

Instants later, subsequent secondary explosions mark the death of the structure.

A sizable shockwave shakes the district as the large tenement begins collapsing in upon itself. Atop the rubble, sparks from torn electrical cables glimmer like lightning.

Rockcrete dust clouds billow out into the dark, pouring rain as a stark silence settles over the square.

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Falling Skies - Part 4
Taking the relay. An encounter in the dark.

The battle brothers quickly begin closing the distance to the relay station’s blast door while Tyr lays down a wave of suppressing fire over their heads – shredding the rooftop defenders. His heavy bolter chugs, ripping through flesh, rockcrete, and plasteel.

Dariel, Junon, Skold, and Gerhardt go to work on the remaining ground-level defenders while Kor initiates the rites needed to unlock the large blast door.

The remaining rebels put up a negligible fight. Skold’s Metal Storm rounds and a variety of close-combat weapons make quick work of the machine gun teams.

Still, the forces holding the roof fire back. A volley of stub rounds manages to catch Tyr in the helm, slamming his head backwards and throwing off his aim.

While the rest of Kill-Team Fury secures the blast door, Gerhardt rockets up to the roof, slamming down into the rebel barricade. The bodies soon pile up around him. Tyr finishes off the stragglers, peppering his comrade with chunks of rebel blood and bone.

With the rebels routed and the door opened, the PDF moves to secure the machine gun emplacements and begins reconstructing the crude sandbag barricades and defensive positions.

Gerhardt enters the facility from the roof, attempting a quick inspection of the relay’s condition. Inside, the scene is chaotic, with walls and floors marked with gunfire, blood, and large, deep gouges. It is clear that some kind of fight has taken place.

Fearing possible traps or ambushes, Skold orders Gerhardt to pull back.

Instead, a small PDF patrol is sent inside to find out what has occurred.

The Astartes reload their weapons and check on their comrades, but after some time, it is clear that the PDF patrol will not be returning.

Junon, recalling key points from his hypno-indoctrination, suspects that a Lictor may be to blame. As such, Fury decides to enter and cleanse the station. As they progress inside, Skold explains the Space Wolves’ ancient pack tactics – perfect for a hunt such as this.

The station’s twisting hallways are cramped, and once again filled with the stench of gore and signs of combat. After a few tense minutes, Skold locates the central control chamber. Still, whatever organism took over the station has not made its presence known.

Kor begins to awaken the relay’s machine spirit while Tyr and Skold head back to rally the PDF to flush the creature out.

Gerhardt, Junon, and Dariel keep a tight defensive formation.

From one of the corners, a dark shimmer is the only warning sign before the beast strikes.

Large, translucent talons slice downwards, plunging into Gerhardt’s side. Immediately, powerful toxins start coursing through his system. Thankfully, his Oolitic kidney quickly removes the impurities.

The brothers all attempt the fight the beast – a nightmare blur of slashing arms and tangling flesh-hooks. The creature continuously strikes from the shadows, landing a few blows before dodging any possible counter attack and disappearing once more.

Meanwhile, Kor ignores the predicament behind him, focusing on his objective and continuing to reactivate the station.

Skold and Tyr, seeing the combat on their helmet vid-screens, immediately depart back into the station – bringing a handful of PDF with them. The Astartes, leaving the slow humans far behind, quickly reach the control centre.

The chaotic dance of death continues.

Then, sensing a small opening, Junon leaps at the shimmering, mostly-invisible beast, managing somehow to wrap his arms around the creature. The Lictor thrashes and flails violently, but the Storm Warden hangs on.

Alarms sound inside Junon’s helm as his power armour’s servos strain past their limits. Wrenching the creature to the side, he slams the beast into the ground.

Dariel plunges his adamantium-tipped drill deep into the creature’s exoskeleton. Purple-black ichor begins pouring from the wound, coating the Tyranid in its own gore, and finally rendering some of it fully visible.

The Lictor thrashes back to its feet, but Junon still somehow manages to hold on.

The wounded Gerhardt strides forward, voxing the battle cry of his chapter:

“No pity. No remorse. No fear.”

With holy vengeance, he removes the abomination from existence – tearing it apart with his hungry chainsword and cleansing the domains of man.

Now dead, the creature’s chameleonic scales cease to function, revealing the true horror of the vanguard beast. The Astartes approach cautiously, wary of a possible feint.

As the brothers gather around to finally get a good look at their foe, power returns to the station and Cel’s vox network crackles back to life. Kor steps away from the console.

Communications are stable. For now.

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Falling Skies - Part 3
The war council. Silencing the guns. The barrage.

With Skold and Tyr having joined the others, Kill-Team Fury clears the room and takes defensive positions – waiting for a possible second wave of Genestealers. Silence falls over the manor except for the tense cries and weeping panic from the few guess that still remain.

Having purged all of the xenos, Fury checks their weapons and the battle brothers make a few necessary repairs to their armour. Dariel attempts to administer medicae to Gerhardt, but the Black Templar shrugs him off.

Skold, crouching down over the slain Lord Governor, removes a few pieces of the noble’s tattered flesh with his combat knife. Ingesting Thorsholt’s blood and muscle, the Space Wolf attempts to gather some useful information from the Lord Governor’s genetic memory. Although still tainted by adrenaline and the pheromones of panic, fear, and pain, Thorsholt’s flesh informs the brothers that another group has assumed control in Lordsholm – having wrestled military control away from the Lord Governor.

Skold informs the Kill-Team and they make an educated guess that whatever chain-of-command still exists is likely to be found in the heavily defended House of Echoes.

Members of both the Lordsholm PDF as well as the mind-wiped Hollow Guard man the gothic tower’s perimeter emplacements and patrol for any signs of danger – keeping a close eye over the breached compound walls.

Approaching the tower, the Kill-Team is challenged by one of the emotionless Guard commanders, informing them that no access is permitted without the Lord Governor’s approval. Skold tells the guards that the Lord Govenor is dead – slain by xenos – and that the Deathwatch are assuming command.

The Hollow Guard step aside.

Entering the tower, a crowd rushes to greet the Astartes in the battle-scared entryway. Among them are members of the Hollow Guard, an Astropath Ascendant, a scattering of PDF Officers, and a ragtag group bearing hastily-constructed coloured armbands and sigils of the Inquisition. The acolytes number six, with their pilot absent.

The brothers realize that this Lordsholm’s war council – tired, unprepared, human, weak.

A PDF Major is the first to speak, making the symbol of the Aquila while doing so. He explains that he is in command of Lordsholm’s remain forces and he pledges the support of whatever resources that remain.

The Major explains that after the uprising broke out, the Lord Governor withdrew as many of the PDF forces as he could in order to secure the nobility in Magistria. Unfortunately, many PDF units were left behind in the city below – surrounded, outmanned, and undersupplied. Those still surviving are likely at the brink of collapse, having been without orders or reinforcements for days.

Furthermore, communication all over Cel remains a mess. The Major’s only hope at restoring any sense of order is a relay station deep inside Portica, currently held by the rebels. Lacking manpower, the PDF has been unable to retake the facility. The Major hopes that should the Kill-Team be able to liberate the facility, a broadcast of Astartes cyphers could prompt aid from nearby systems and help organize Lordsholm’s defence.—

Then, the old Astropath speaks, claiming that this on its own, however, is not enough to save the beleaguered world. In powerful visions, she has seen that Lordsholm will fall before dawn. The only way to prevent this calamity is to find the foul creature that has spawned this xenos infestation and kill it. Elsharna believes that it is this wretched beast’s psychic shadow that has clouded the minds of her astropaths over the last month and that its power only grows.

The acolytes add that whatever this creature is, it is acting as some kind of psychic node – exerting a kind of mental dominance over the rebel forces and Genestealers plaguing the city. Should the Kill-Team be able to kill it, not only will the rebels lose a major driving force, but Elsharna and her astropaths might be able to restore contact with Juno and other worlds.

Having combed through mountains of datastacks and paper records, the acolytes are reasonably confident that this creature’s lair is located somewhere in Fabrica. A pattern of killings a few months ago has given a few possibilities in the northern reaches of the district and Elsharna’s visions have confirmed this as well. The astropath warns that “beneath the son where the invisible air buns, the lord of darkness sleeps in death.”

It turns out that there are two ways into Fabrica – a seawater run off located along the coast and a large promethium pipeline bridge found deep inside Calistria. The rebels have yet to destroy the bridge, as they’re just as reliant on the fuel as the PDF.

The Major explains that should the Astartes head straight for Fabrica, they would be cut off from any potential PDF reinforcements. Unfortunately, the rebels firmly control the Calistria District – the area from which rebel leaders are launching their assaults. If the Kill-Team is careful enough, they can bypass the fighting, but will be alone once they reach their target.

Using their internal vox channels, the brothers debate their predicament. Although killing the Broodlord is of utmost importance, having PDF support in Fabrica and Calistria will be critical for success. Furthermore, as the relay station is on the way, reestablishing communications may help the PDF regain control.

Skold decides that their plan is to check on the Lordsholm PDF Base on their way through Portica, grab any reinforcements they can, and then retake the relay station. From there, after reestablishing a vox-net, they will punch through Calistria toward the Broodlord’s nest in Fabrica.

The Brothers gather a rag-tag unit of PDF and begin their journey down from Magistria.

The careful, rainy march to the Lordsholm PDF Base is slow but steady as the exhausted PDF takes their time to steer clear of rebel forces while negotiating the capital’s twisting, constricted streets.

Eventually, not far from the chapel where the majority of Fury landed, the Imperial forces reach their destination. There, the remnants of a bloodied and battered regiment are holding the ruined compound against a superior enemy force. To make matters worse, three heavy siege guns pound the walls, sending deafening roars through the night sky.

Thankfully, the Kill-Team has approached the battle from the rear, obtaining an excellent flanking position over the hundreds-strong rebel force. The brothers spread out while Skold orders the PDF to form a gun-line.

Tyr climbs to the second story of nearby ruined building, gaining a good vantage point over the rebel lines. Skold, in some of the ruins in front of him, switches over to his Metal Storm rounds. He issues the command for a Squad Advance and Gerhardt, Kor, and Dariel begin a rapid, silent approach. As they reach an adequate distance, Skold and Tyr open fire, shredding some of the gathered rebels with devastating force.

Gerhardt takes to the skies on bursts of flame, creating a fiery arc that illuminates the battlefield below. The rebels turn to fire on him but are unable to bring down the rapidly-moving assault marine.

Dariel opens fire on one of the siege gun crews, blowing a few of the loaders into a mist of blood and bone.

Kor forgoes shooting, choosing instead to close the distance to the other guns.

Gerhardt flares his jump-pack, accelerating downwards onto one of the siege guns’ decks. He crushes the top of the vehicle, pulping two of the crew under him. A roar from his chainsword makes quick work of the others.

Kor, having reached one of the guns, swings madly with his servo arm, tearing apart the vehicle’s gunners with a spray blood and sinew.

Dariel continues to fire at the other crew while Skold and Tyr wrack up a monumental body count. Already, some of the rebels are breaking – fleeing into the cold, rainy night.

Lending Kor a hand, Gerhardt charges his position, killing the remaining rebel crew members. Now free to interface with the vehicle’s machine spirit, Kor turns the gun and fires a massive shell into the gathered rebel vanguard. The massive, close-range explosion shakes even the heavily armoured battle brothers, blowing a wave of mud and rebel pieces across the entrenchments.

The last of the rebel forces turn to break. In turn, the PDF defenders rush from their walls to finish them off. Clubbing and gunning down any survivors, the PDF immediate sets out to scavenge all of the ammunition and supplies that they can.

Kill-Team Fury enters the base through one of the ruined walls and sees just how dire the situation has become. Wounded troops and shattered vehicles lay scattered everywhere about the base. Near one of the walls, a muddy mass grave caresses Lordsholm’s unsung heroes.

With the battle now over, dozens of guardsmen toss their lasgun charge packs into a few fires, hoping to regain some of their spent rounds.

Skold finally tracks down the commanding officer, an experienced, but under-equipped Lieutenant. The officer is thankful for the Astartes’ aid, however his expression fades as he realizes that they aren’t the relief force that he has been frantically waiting for. In fact, Skold explains his plan to retake the relay station, and he explains his need for a few of the officer’s remaining able-bodied men.

Reluctantly, the officer commands a few of his depleted squads forward. The men are battle-weary and rain soaked.

Skold attempts a rousing speech to lift the men’s spirits, but it soon becomes clear that their wills are broken. One man begins weeping openly, unable to face the continued horror of combat. A few of the others lead him quietly from the formation and take him behind a nearby vehicle shed. The crack-hiss of a single lasgun shot echoes throughout the base. Moments later, two troopers drag the man’s body toward the mass grave as yet more Landsholm blood mixes with the mud and rain.

Commandeering the sole remaining vehicle – a dilapidated transport truck – the Kill-Team orders their PDF to mount up. The Astartes follow on foot as they continue their journey to the relay station.

The convoy follows some of Portica’s canals and side roads into order to skirt around the majority of the fighting. Skold eventually halts the party some way from the relay, preferring to cover the remaining ground on foot and maintain the element of surprise.

Standing atop some ruins, Skold removes his helmet to take in the scene in front of him. Even through the rain, he can clearly make out shapes moving against the darkness. Breathing in the cold night air, he also smells the gathering of filthy heretics.

With his auspex, Kor confirms the Space Wolf’s assessment – a large enemy force has gathered at the relay ahead. The relay is well defended, with heavy stubber emplacements protecting the main approach. Furthermore, enemy forces on the rooftop keep watch over the surrounding ruins and streets. Another quick scan reveals that there seems to be only one way inside, a large fortified blast door.

The brothers quickly form a plan.

Again, the PDF fans out, stalking quietly through the ruins. Tyr joins them, acting as a strong-point in their thin, under-equipped line. The rest of the brothers make ready from a nearby ditch, each in turn priming one of their frag grenades.

Then, Skold orders the charge.

Dariel, Gerhardt, Kor, and Skold hurl their explosives. The projectiles detonate in a rolling barrage, catching the defenders off-guard. The majority of the rebel force is instantly vaporized in a righteous hail of shrapnel and smoke. Many of the survivors break only to be gunned down by the PDF.

A cry in praise of the Emperor sounds out from the PDF lines, as they can already taste the first real victory that they’ve seen in days.

The brothers quickly begin closing the distance to the relay station’s blast door while Tyr lays down a wave of suppressing fire over their heads – shredding the rooftop defenders.

His heavy bolter chugs, ripping through flesh, rockcrete, and plasteel.

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Falling Skies - Part 2
Reunions.

The small siren barked and whined like a wounded dog, expressing its displeasure at being thrashed about. It was redundant – even without the senses given to him by the Space Wolves, Brother Skold Haariksson was well aware of the situation at hand.

Only moments before, he and Brother Reinor Tyr had made it onto the last drop pod aboard the frigate Juno’s Might. Although separated from the rest of Kill-Team Fury, they had managed to climb aboard the remaining vessel before Captain Haltreme’s final desperate heroism had fired them toward Cel.

The pod’s main engine ignited, propelling their craft through the wreckage of the frigate coming apart around them. The rough jolt had thrown Tyr against the ceiling, jamming him up among the support struts.

His fight to strap in had been frantic and fruitless – rendered difficult and slow by his massive backpack ammunition supply. Hanging half in his restraints, his armoured form thrashed about – smashing back and forth after every change in velocity.

Fighting through the intense gravitational strain that would have killed any normal man, Skold grabbed hold of his comrade, pulling him back to the ground.

“I didn’t know that the Imperial Fists had wings, Brother.” Skold bellowed through the vox.

Even over the roaring engine, tearing atmosphere, and rattle of their mag-locked gear, Skold could hear Tyr laugh.

The blazing cacophony of reentry had already begun. Now, only a few inches of ceramite and adamantium kept the two Astartes from the fiery inferno surrounding their craft. Temperature gauges on their displays chimed and squawked, denoting the massive heat spike. The intense shaking had rendered their vision a blur – a smear of angled struts and flashing lights.

Skold let out a snarl.

With only a scant few seconds before breaking Cel’s atmosphere, Tyr secured his grav-harness – not wanting a repeat occurrence of his short flight.

Still, more sirens and timers announced an imminent planetfall.


The impact had been softer than expected, and it was soon obvious why.

The pod’s explosive bolts fired with a surprisingly dull thump, opening the doors slightly and unleashing a deluge of cold, polluted water. The torrential surge rushed in, quickly filling the vessel.

With a series of instinctual blink-commands, the two battle brothers checked their environmental seals – luckily intact.

Freeing themselves from their grav-harnesses, the two set to work – first to figure out which way was up. Their Lyman’s Ears made quick work of that. Righting themselves in the pitch-black water, they grabbed their gear.

Together, they pushed opened one of the pod’s five doors, dragging the petal-like opening through the silt.

Their augmented vision cut through the dark, murky waters. They had landed off the coast, but thankfully not far. The fires of Lordsholm were close. Silently pounding across the floor of the bay, they started to close the distance.


“How many?,” Skold voxed internally, leaping back into the cover of the ruined building.

“Thirty, forty, maybe more,” Tyr replied, crouched – his helmet a silent, terrifying visage of black ceramite.

The two had been making steady progress through Portica – the massive district of storage yards and administratum officios. Now, progress had slowed. Here, the rebels were out in force. Tyr had settled in, watching the patrols while Skold had flanked their position for a closer look.

“Some kind of rearguard, it seems,” the Imperial Fist continued, “like they’re amassing for an assault. Disorganized, but they have the numbers.”

Skold checked his bolter, switching over to his magazine of metal storm rounds. Each was tipped with a proximity trigger, allowing them to detonate slightly before impact and butcher a crowd with clouds of shrapnel.

“A push on the Manor? I could see lights on the cliffs above,” the Space Wolf stated.

“It matters not.” Tyr cocked his heavy bolter.


They had finally reached Magistria, passing over one of the heavily defended bridges and deep into the district. The looks from the PDF had been both astonishment and fear – in equal measure.

For the last hour, their target had been Thorsholt Manor. Although sporadic, Tyr’s helmet had been registering the presence of other Astartes forces. It seemed that some of Fury had made it planet-side after all.

As they got closer to the manse, their suspicions had been confirmed. A young sergeant had relayed that some of the other Battle Brothers were already inside.

The conversation was interrupted by gunfire – the steady chugging of bolters from the banquet chambers above. The roaring of chainswords and hideous alien snarls soon followed.

The guests’ panic and screams filled the manor.

Skold and Tyr broke into a sprint, bursting through the front doors and slamming their way up the ornate staircase, shattering the marble beneath them.

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Falling Skies - Part 1
Planetfall. A warm welcome. Thorsholt, again.

Seventy-six hours ago, the Deathwatch received an Astropathic distress call from the world of Cel. Immediately, Kill-Team Fury was scrambled and put on high alert. Their subsequent journey aboard the Imperial Sword-Class Frigate, Juno’s Might, was swift. During the voyage, Fury’s Battle Brothers remained mostly apart from the rest of the crew, who in turn kept their distance. Their only real contact was with the vessel’s commander, Captain Galrite Haltreme, as he gave updates on the ship’s progress and assurances that the Kill-Team would reach Cel as quickly as his crew could manage.

Two hours ago, Juno’s Might entered the agri-world’s system and began its journey toward the primary bio-sphere.

Forty-seven minutes ago, Juno’s Might came within vox range of Cel and the captain attempted to raise local Imperial authorities, only to meet with static and white noise.

Eighteen minutes ago, Juno’s Might entered orbit above the planet. Almost immediately, a swarm of living bio-vessels emerged from behind the world’s primary moon, descending on the frigate and taking its crew by surprise. During the chaos, as Juno’s Might burned under a barrage of bio-plasma and pyro-spores, the majority of Kill-Team Fury managed to reach a drop pod and prep for launch. In a final act of duty, Captain Haltreme opened the hanger doors and fired all pods down toward the planet below. Moments later, the frigate’s hull buckled and broke under the jaws of one of the kraken.

Six minutes ago, the pods screamed down though Cel’s atmosphere, leaving a trail of fire across the sky. Inside, the marines that had made it onboard endured the brutal gravitational strain as only their enhanced bodies are capable of.

One minute ago, still kilometres above the surface of the world, Brothers Junon of the Storm Wardens, Kor of the Iron Hands, Dariel of the Flesh Tearers, and Gerhardt of the Black Templars watched as their pod’s rudimentary guidance system locked on to an Imperial transponder. In a brief burst of retro rockets, their pod changed direction, following the pulsing signal. With a deafening crack of thunder, the pod slammed into the ground, throwing dust and debris high into the air. Almost immediately, the Kill-Team’s harnesses released and the pod’s doors were blown open by explosive bolts.

Emerging from the damaged reentry vehicle, the Kill-Team finds that they have landed through the roof of an Imperial chapel, crashing down in the midst of pews, tiles, and statues. Through the hole made by the drop pod, the Battle Brothers can see that it is a dark rainy night – water pours down onto their power-armoured forms. Through shattered doors, Dariel makes out the vague outline of Lordsholm, an ancient and crumbling city, soaked in rain, and ablaze with uncontrolled fires stretching off in all directions. Outside, the crack of weapons fire and thump of explosions announce a battle in progress.

Acting on the frantic astropathic distress call, Fury’s original mission was to aid an Inquisitorial contingent deal with widespread unrest and to rout a possible Genestealer infestation. Now, unsure of the fate of the rest of their squad and of the current situation in Lordsholm, the Kill-Team reassesses their current state of affairs. As Adeptus Astartes of the legendary Deathwatch – proud Space Marines – they know no fear, venturing out into the night beyond.

In the darkness outside, roughly six hundred men of the 117th Lordsholm PDF are under assault from a large contingent of rebels, easily numbering in the thousands. The PDF have set up a makeshift barricade around the chapel from fallen masonry, dead guardsmen, and even a burnt out Chimera, creating a fortified position a few hundred metres across. Outside the barricade, the chapel’s graveyard and forecourt has been cleared into a killing ground; beyond this lurks the shadowy rain soaked ruins of Lordsholm and the rebel lines. The troopers’ breaths mark the cold night. As Lordsholm is without power, their battle weary faces are lit only by sporadic gunfire and the bursts of explosions. Along the Imperial defences, two soldiers race back and forth, trying to hold the line together.

The battle brothers race forward toward the Imperial lines as gunfire snaps overhead. The soldier in charge, a young sergeant, stops in place and makes the sign of the Aquila. He takes a knee and bows. Struck in awe by the almighty warriors of the Adeptus Astartes, he barely manages to explain the current situation.

From the sergeant, Kill-Team Fury learns that Lordsholm fell three days ago and that vox traffic has since been so unreliable and sporadic that the PDF truly doesn’t know the extent of what is happening.

However, before Fury can gather any more intel, a massive roar sounds from the rebel lines. The Sergeant curses under his breath and turns back to the Imperial barricades, shouting for his comrades to make ready.

Immediately, heavy fire rains down on the Imperial positions, as several rebel heavy stubber teams have found an elevated position on the edge of the kill zone in the tower of a ruined building. Already, their fire is racking up a toll of dead and dying

With the fire support, scores of rebels charge across the killing grounds, led by a massive, seven-foot tall figure. The man, rippling with muscle, bellows a challenge at the PDF lines.

Overwhelmed, the 117th’s left flank begins to collapse.

Furthermore, a group of rebels carrying demolition charges are attempting to blow a hole in the barricade – using their fellow troops to shield them from the Imperial fire while they set the explosives.

Kill-Team Fury makes ready.

Although each Battle Brother already instinctively knows his role, Junon – having assumed command – voxes out succinct orders in Astartes battle cant.

Gerhardt, on wings of fire, soars out over the battlefield, plunging headlong into the elevated stubber positions. His armour screams as he descends, unleashing an unholy roar to the rebels below. The impact of his colossal form pulps the first few targets as he sets to work on the others with his chainsword. The rebels fight back with improvised weapons, clubs, and bayonets, but are unable to damage Gerhardt’s thick ceramite and adamantium shell. Soon after, Gerhardt routs the machine gun teams, securing the high ground.

Back below, Junon accepts the rebel leader’s challenge. Ignoring the torrent of incoming fire, he wades out through the lines, squaring up with the rippling hulk. The man’s physique is impressive, even for a human, but Junon sets upon him with ease. With a single blow from his claymore, he severs the man’s head from his shoulders, sending it tumbling back into the charging rebel lines. Junon continues his assault, plowing through the attackers and further shattering their morale.

Near the centre of the Imperial line, the Techmarine Kor unleashes a punishing storm of bolter fire in an effort to stop the rebel demolition teams. Countless bolts detonate within the crowd, creating living shrapnel of flesh and bone. No matter how many are killed, more rise to take their place. The rebel’s numbers are overwhelming.

On the crumbling left flank, Brother Dariel attempts to support the faltering PDF troopers. He bellows inspirational words of duty and hate, but even with his amplified vox-grille, the din of battle is simply too loud for the beleaguered troopers to hear him. Fed up with mere words, Dariel becomes the living embodiment of the Emperor’s manifest destiny – stepping forward over the barricade and letting loose a hail of bolterfire. Inspired by the Astartes’ seeming invulnerability, the PDF rallies, throwing themselves into the fight with renewed fury. The rebels’ flanking assault buckles and falls apart.

As such, all along the barricades, the rebels begin to pull back and start a hasty retreat. Kor continues to pump fire into their backs as they flee.

The PDF lines cry out in victory.

Thanking the Astartes for their support, Sergeant Calistradi leads the Kill-Team back into the chapel, still dominated by the wreckage of their drop pod. He rights an overturned table, removes his helmet, and sets it down. Pulling out a map of the city, he briefs the Brothers as much as he can.

Calistradi explains that his scouts have learned that some kind of xenos has infected much of the population and that Lordsholm is now crawling with both rebels and aliens alike. Additionally, the forces still loyal to the Emperor are holding out in small, isolated pockets throughout the city, undermanned, underequipped, and without orders. Calistradi believes that the majority of PDF forces have fallen back to Thorsholt Manor, but the vox network is so disrupted that he has yet to actually confirm these reports.

Calistradi also tells the Kill-Team of rumours that members of the Inquisition landed on Cel a few days ago, but he doesn’t know their current statuses or locations. However, because reinforcements were contacted successfully, he suspects that the House of Echoes may still be in Imperial hands.

Still in awe of their presence, Calistradi asks from which chapter the Battle Brothers hail, as he is not able to recognize their livery. When the Brothers explain that they are members of the Deathwatch, Calistradi is both terrified, as well as incredulous.

The Sergeant stays silent for a moment before hesitantly asking the Kill-Team if there are any other reinforcements in orbit. Junon explains the grim reality of their arrival. Calistradi’s hopeful expression fades, knowing that there may be only little time before all hope is lost. He tells Fury that if they can reach the House of Echoes or Thorsholt Manor, there may still be a chance at a coordinated defence of the city.

He wishes them luck before they depart.

Eschewing the nearby PDF base and the Avalos space port, the Battle Brothers head directly to Magistria, hoping to get a better picture of the situation in Lordsholm.

Winding up the roads leading to Magistria, the Kill-Team sees that although it’s mostly untouched, the noble district is on war footing; most of the bridges leading into Magistria have been raised or heavily fortified. Thankfully, atop the cliffs overlooking Lordsholm’s bay, Thorsholt Manor and the House of Echoes still stand.

As they enter the district, many stop to watch the Battle Brothers pass, in awe of the Emperor’s legendary Adeptus Astartes. Eventually, they reach the manor, finding the front terrace filled with numerous empty coaches and autocarriages, seemingly abandoned. It appears that there has been an influx of nobles into Magistria, as wealthy bloodlines have escaped from the chaos of Lordsholm below.

Various envoys and groups parade the manor grounds, attempting to continue business as usual. However, it’s clear that this is merely a calm façade in front of unease and fear.

Around the Manor, hastily erected sandbag emplacements are manned by handfuls of exhausted-looking PDF. The Kill-Team doesn’t even need to taste their pheromones to know that these soldiers haven’t slept since the beginning of the uprising.

Walking past the awe-struck manor guards, Kill-Team Fury enters Thorsholt Manor.

Inside, affluent nobles come and go throughout the various halls and parlours, although their clothes are disheveled, hair matted, and makeup fading. A faux-joyous air is maintained, as the guests refuse to accept the crisis plaguing their city. Upon seeing the Astartes enter the building, many are shocked – one noblewoman even faints. From above, a small servo-cherub hovers down to fan her with its tiny mechanical wings.

The Brothers are informed that the Lord Governor, Perian Thorsholt is in the largest of his atriums upstairs, holding court.

Heading up the ornate spiral staircase, the Battle Brothers find Thorsholt’s banquet chambers. The room is just as opulent as the rest of the manse – massive chandeliers hang from the rafters high above, although the power is sporadic. Surprisingly, the centerpiece table is again full with upwards of fifty guests.

The servitor musicians to the side of the room are deactivated – possibly an effort to save power and lessen the strain on the manor’s separate generatoriums. As such, a tense silence hangs over the banquet.

The Lord Governor Thorsholt notices the Kill-Team enter the room and is immediately stricken by their power-armoured presence. Thorsholt quickly rises from the table, assuring his guests that nothing is the matter.

Taking Kill-Team Fury aside, Thorsholt speaks in hushed tones – pleading with the Astartes to conduct whatever business they have away from his guests. According to Thorsholt, many of the nobles present have no idea what is truly transpiring in the city below, and that the calm here is tenuous at best.

Although furious with the state of the assembly – considering the situation outside – Junon agrees to conduct the meeting in Thorsholt’s private chambers, hoping to gain his cooperation.

As the Lord Governor leads the Astartes from the banquet hall, the feast turns into a nightmare as a multitude of Genestealers drop from the rafters high above. The guests panic, screaming and dashing about the room. The Lord Governor runs as well, heading for his rear chambers. One of the Genestealers separates from the pack and takes chase. The rest go to work among the nobles.

Without fear, the Battle Brothers spread out into a standard Codex attack pattern – immediately unleashing a devastating deluge of bolter fire. The explosive bolts ripple around the room, destroying fine tapestries, marble sculptures, and foul xenos visages.

Brother Gerhardt switches to his chainsword, engaging a few of the beasts in close combat. One of them manages to land a solid blow, tearing a rend in the Black Templar’s ceramite pauldron. Gerhardt counter-attacks, tearing through the xenos with reckless abandon.

Likewise, Junon charges another of the beasts, pining it against an ornate wall with his claymore. The snaring alien hisses while trying to free itself. Thrashing about, it inflicts negligible damage before the Storm Warden manages to end its miserable existence.

Together, Gerhardt and Junon surround another of the Genestealers as it shreds the Lord Governor’s guests. With successive strikes, they cleave the creature in half – from its snarling, elongated skull, to its chitinous, exoskeletal pelvis.

Across the chamber, Brother Dariel dodges around the fleeing nobles, ending up cornered by two of the Tyranid organisms. Thankfully, he quickly manages to shred one of them with his bolter before being set upon by the other. Using his Reductor’s drill, the Flesh Tearer tunnels into the alien’s chest, ripping apart its exoskeleton and foul organs, spraying his bright white helm with viscous purple ichor.

Kor lashes out with his Servo-Arm, smashing into one of the creatures’ faces. The blow kills the Genestealer outright, spraying its brains across the chamber’s fine tapestries. The Iron Hand then helps Dariel finish off another of the abominations.

Having terminated all visible threats, the Kill-Team turns to pursue the last of the xenos filth – the lone Genestealer that had left to chase after the Lord Governor.

Making haste, the Battle Brothers head for the banquet chamber’s rear hallway. Turning the corner, they arrive to find the beast standing over Thorsholt’s dismembered corpse – his organs spread across the marble floors.

The Genestealer almost seems to smile, knowing its work is done.

In unison, Kill-Team Fury raises their bolt-weapons and erases the creature from the face of Cel.

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The Gathering Storm - Part 3
Defending the Choir. Lordsholm burning.

The acolytes and enemy assaulters exchange barrages of gunfire as the small enemy vanguard breaches the House of Echoes’ front doors. The first few attackers are agile, ducking and dodging around much of incoming fire. The attackers are well armed and organized – led by an imposing figure clad in heavy armour and wielding an impressive blade.

Taeric charges headfirst into the enemy, swinging his heavy maul from side to side. The concussive, crackling strikes smash bone and pulverize flesh. Taeric kills the first attacker outright, slamming down through the man’s clavicle, splitting him in half from shoulder to groin. The tremendous force of the attack sends the maul smashing into the floor, peppering the fine marble hallway with a pulpy mist and sending shattered stone into the air.

The rebel leader strides forward, counter-charging Taeric with his ancient blade – beginning a swirling clash in the middle of the foyer. The two exchange a flurry of blows, well-timed parries, and ruthless counter-attacks. Eventually, the rebel leader mistimes a parry, taking Taeric’s furious strike with his pommel hand rather than his weapon’s blade. The leader’s fist explodes apart, ripping his arm asunder into tattered strips.

Another rebel charges Taeric – seeking vengeance. He manages to connect firmly with the warrior’s side, but Taeric’s heavy armour snaps the man’s bayonet in half.

Meanwhile, the other acolytes deal with their own frantic engagements.

Caradoc – pummeling the crowd with accurate bursts – is charged by one of the crazed attackers. Immediately, he locks his bionic legs and fires himself backwards, putting distance between himself and his assailant. Raising his Hellgun, he scythes the man in half.

Ishamael reaches out through the warp, attempting to consume a few of the attacking riflemen in all-encompassing wychfire. With the chaos in the hallway in front of him, he is unable to focus, throwing his attacks wide and high. Eventually he connects with one man before being forced back into cover.

Caradoc provides support for his psychic comrade, shearing apart the remaining attackers’ dwindling cover. Eventually, one of his volleys strikes home, punching into a man’s rib cage. The superheated rounds blow out the man’s back with a burst of burned and congealed blood. The rebel slumps over and slides down the wall, dead.

The acolytes make quick work of the others before the final attacker panics, having realized that the assault has failed. The acolytes dismember him with righteous fury.

Meanwhile, on the second floor above, Calidus rains fire into the horde pouring through the ruined compound walls. His bolter chatters incessantly in his grip, mowing down scores of rebels. Still, the attackers press forward, supported by fresh troops bringing up the rear.

Behind the assaulting force, a rebel team scampers through the rubble, attempting to set up a heavy stubber emplacement. Calidus tries to target and disable the gun, but his bolts smash futilely into the stone around them.

The heavy stubber shoots back, hitting Calidus’ position with an outrageous volume of fire. Calidus attempts to dive away as the rounds slam into the windowsill around him. Still, one of the heavy bullets hammers into his shoulder, sending him sprawling out in a pool of his own blood. Screaming into the vox, Calidus retreats, relocating to another vantage point.

The horde outside continues to pour into the manor courtyard, making their way toward the House of Echoes. Calidus, having quickly reached a new position, opens fire on the machine gun team, ripping them apart with renewed vigour and accurate bolter fire.

In the foyer below, the other acolytes prepare for the new wave of attackers. Hearing the horde rapidly approaching from outside, they gather themselves and reload their weapons. A few of them ready autoguns, hoping to overwhelm the attackers with a torrent of fully automatic gunfire.

Calidus continues to pour fire into the crowd from above, ripping apart some of the stragglers. Still, they reach the House of Echoes’ main doors. Scampering over their comrades’ bodies, the fresh wave of attackers make their way into the marble hallway, exchanging fire with the acolytes within.

With psychic fury, Ishamael ignites the first one through the door – sending him screaming to the ground. The screams turn to gurgles as the man’s lungs char and explode from the enveloping flames.

Taeric, standing in the middle of hall, mows down scores of rebels with a menacing laugh.

Caradoc, from behind cover, takes out the closest targets with well-aimed, bursts.

Eventually, the enemy’s numbers start to thin – but not quickly enough. They press closer and closer to the astropathic choir chambers.

The acolytes know that should they fail to protect Elsharna during her attempt to broadcast a distress call, Cel is likely doomed.

Calidus – now unable to see the attackers below – decides to take action. He pulls out a single injector from his combat vest and slams it into his thigh. The powerful chems hammer their way into his system, pounding his shattered body full of adrenaline and other powerful combat drugs. The Slaught assumes control.

Calidus takes a few steps back and then dives out of his second-story window. Spinning in mid-air, he lines up his sights on the front entrance. He lands awkwardly, falling onto his back, but still manages to unleash another volley of explosive rounds into the rear of the dense crowd. The micro-detonations blow apart limbs and faces, sending corpses crumbling to the ground.

Unaware of the carnage behind them, the remaining attackers charge the acolytes – with Taeric taking the brunt of assault. Thankfully, well-place automatic fire from the other acolytes and the Hollow Guard whittles the rebels down. Taeric manages to finish off the last few in brutal hand-to-hand combat.

Having secured the House of Echoes, the remaining Hollow Guard and PDF units push out, attempting to mount a counterattack and retake the manor gardens. The acolytes accompany them, hoping to help seal the breached compound walls and to possibly contact Felpox, Arkady, and Corvath.

In Lordsholm below, raging fires and sporadic explosions light the night sky. The remaining PDF troops gather to watch the capital rip itself apart.

Staring out to the burning cityscape, one of the weary officers lends words to everyone’s thoughts:

“It’s going to be a long night.”

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