Prelude: Blood ties.
In the flames Fafnir found old memories, which until recently he remembered with fondness. Now they were like ashes in his mouth.
His allowed his mind to cast itself back to Fenris. To a simpler time, before this internecine war broke out between brothers and once brothers.
Out on the ice… by the fire rested Fafnir & Keldane. They were in the midst of a hunt, looking to take down a great white-maned wolf, which had been terrorising the people of Asaheim and had even dared to attack the Aett itself.
Some said it was more than a wolf, others that it was a daemon of Hel taken of a feral aspect… One thing was for certain, it had to be taken down.
Sounds like just the task for Keldane… One of his many trials, maybe this one might actually see his thread cut… thought Fafnir
Fafnir started to flense some meat from the legbone of a grox that he had bloodily taken down earlier in the day. Keldane had asked why the need to kill the beast, but Fafnir so far hadn’t responded… Keldane was a bad star, an ill-omen. Nobody who waked the ice with him seemed to come back… As far as Fafnir was concerned the less he had to do with Keldane the better… Maybe this way his wyrd wouldn't infect Fafnir’s and they might make it through the hunt.
Let Keldane think the wolves an ignorant bunch of mjod swilling, hog feasting heathens, he will see through that illusion soon enough…
He hacked at the meat with one knife, he put strips of it on the end of the other and placed it over the fire… The flames sizzled and popped as the fat and blood fell away from the flesh and melted into the fire, adding a new aroma to the thick smoke.
“Why are you looking into the firelight Fafnir? It will destroy your night vision you know” came Keldanes sibilant voice.
Fafnir ignored him. Always questions he thought.. Why this? Why that? Why, why, why? Always followed by a statement of fact… He is like an oversized mewling child, what did I do wrong to be saddled with him? Thought Fafnir.
As Keldane opened his mouth to ask another question, Fafnir raised his hand and gestured silence. In a low rumbling voice Fafnir spoke.
“For the love of the AllFather, would you please stop with these incessant questions. Your ceaseless yapping is giving me a headache…Look at you in your midnight armour with your fancy lightning bolts and your fancy words. You think you are so much smarter than I, but I am interested to know. What you have learned from today on the ice?”
As Fafnir glared at Keldane from across the fire, Keldane sneered back.
“I have learned that you are a messy killer and a messier eater Fafnir of Fyth” replied Keldane “Look at your face, you should be named Bloodmane. Why have we stopped here, when we should be tracking this beast? Then we could At least go back to the Fang, get some real food and out of this biting cold?”
“Hmmph, so not much has penetrated that hard Nostraman head of yours then?” muttered Fafnir “Maybe a story to pass the time?”
“A Fenrisian saga from the venerated Fafnir, I can hardly wait”
The flames crackled and after a moment or two Fafnir sighed & broke the uneasy silence.
“One spring day, a fox was prowling through the woods, looking for prey. He comes across a squirrel looking for nuts on the forest floor”
“What is it with Wolves and their stories of animals.. Don’t you have any women?” sniped Keldane with a malicious grin
“Silence whelp” growled Fafnir as he cuffed Keldane across the side of the head. “Listen & you might just learn something"
"The fox tried to catch the little squirrel, but it darted away and climbed up a tree branch and to safety.
You should leave said the squirrel a wolf is coming…
To which the fox replied. I am not afraid of the wolf little squirrel. You only have one plan to escape, and will not always succeed, but I am a fox. The most intelligent of animals and I have a thousand ways in which I can escape from the wolf”
“I always did like foxes, such cunning little creatures” said Keldane, eyes gleaming in the firelight
“Then you had better be fast, said the squirrel for here he comes…. The fox looked around and considered how best to escape the wolf, but it was too late, before he could make up his mind what to do, the wolf had caught him and made him his supper. When the wolf left, the squirrel climbed down from the tree and escaped”
“Stupid fox” sneered Keldane
“I thought you liked foxes” said Fafnir with a smirk “Maybe that will be your name, Blackfox. With your midnight armour. Besides you are much too small to be a true wolf”
“Stupid story then”
“But what does the story teach you?”
“Besides that squirrels can outclimb wolves and foxes?”
“Now you are being facetious” retorted Fafnir “Yes I know words which consist of more than 2 syllables, we aren’t all complete savages”
Keldane gave Fafnir an incredulous look as he continued.
“It teaches that sometimes 1 simple plan can be better than having a thousand elaborate plans, and often simplest is best”
“Like you, you mean? Sniffing like a dog at the outpost and thrashing in the snow with that beast like a wild canine all smeared in blood. The stupidly easy to follow drunken tracks you left behind us.That wolf thing could easily……” Keldane's voice trailed off as comprehension dawned on him.
“Easily what Keldane?" whispered Fafnir with a feral grin.
“It could track us here”.
“Exactly” replied Fafnir with a triumphant tone. “All that grubbing about at the outpost, I was checking its spoor, its fur the scents it left behind, its tracks. All things a good hunter should be able to do. Intelligence is the first thing you gather about your enemy before you strike”
“And what did you find out?” Keldane asked despite himself
“It is no ordinary beast and what we hunt here, you can never speak of outside of our great company, if we survive the night. It is a revenant. A ghost of what may come to pass. What we hunt is a wulfen, part man part beast and a lot more besides. I have learned that the wulfen is sick, it is weak and it is hungry. It must also have been truly desperate or suicidal to have directly attacked the Aett”
“If it is sick and weak, why not go out and hunt it down?” Asked Keldane
“Because it is still part man and I would see it die an honourable death, not like a trapped & cornered beast” spat Fafnir. "You forget that this wulfen was once like us and as such deserves our respect. The messy kill, makes it look like me and the animal are stricken, easy kills. He will smell the blood on the air and be attracted to it. So rather than chasing him over the ice for days on end, we lure him here and take him down. He can die with honour in battle”
“Or we die screaming” deadpanned Keldane
“Or there is that”
“Why Fafnir, was that an attempt at a joke? You know of all the Wolves I think I might actually grow to like you” smiled Keldane in a tone whih was not completely insincere.
“I bet you said that to all the others who went out on these quests and had their threads cut” said Fafnir trying not to smile despite himself.
“No, just you… So let’s see if we can break this wyrd thing of yours and try to get us both back alive eh?”
A hand rested on Fafnirs shoulder breaking his reverie.
“It is time to hunt Fafnir, Vykryl calls. Are you ready?”
As Starkadr walked away to join the pack, Fafnir slowly rose from his haunches. He unclipped his cloak & white maned pelt from his armour and tossed them on the fire.
Starkadrs shield design.....
“Our friendship is ashes, like this pelt of the wulfen we took down together on our first hunt, now I must take you down, like the beast you have become. You are my brother no more. I have been sent with my brothers to watch over the 13th and ensure their loyaly. But I know you are here and by the Allfather I will find you”.
With that he turned his back to the flames and stalked away to meet with Vykryl and to face his brothers....
To be continued.
A Tale of 18 Hobbyists.
Vengeance and Glory. A Call to War
In the hold of the Scramaseax, mighty warship of the Wolves, A figure clad in darkest black stepped from the shadows, into the firepits flickering light. Once all the wolves were gathered Vykryl, Wolf Priest to this band of warriors drew himself to his full height and began:
Brothers, you may wonder why you have been chosen. You may wonder why we are far from home. These are uncertain times and we do not yet know who deserves our trust. But we do know of one who has committed the greatest betrayal of all.
Russ himself has dispatched us, not as Hearthguard as we have told our kin, but as Vengeance Seekers, Now I may speak of why we have come. I may tell you of why we follow Fafnir Vol’kyr into a fight that wasn’t ours to begin with.
We are here to hunt down Keldane Blackfox, traitor and our once-brother.
Keldane came to the Wolves as part of an exchange. Kurze could see how isolated and insular his own legion was becoming. He petitioned his brother primarchs to accept emissaries from the Night Lords. Anything in an attempt to foster bonds of fellowship between his Legion and the others.
Most of the Nobler Legions refused Kurze’s request. They did not wish to pollute their ranks with the Night Haunters tainted sons. We know what the legions think we are, and we know what we really are. We are not of the noble sons like Guilliman, Sanguinius, Dorn or Jonson’s benighted scions. We are the outcast, the barbarians, the savages… like Angron’s 12th, Kurze’s 8th, the Khan’s 5th.
However some agreed to his request
Russ was one of the few….
Like Russ, Konrad Curze knew that sometimes justice had to be earned upon the point of a sword. Sometimes peace had to be bought with blood. Sometimes a populace has to fear us more than its masters before they can truly accept the enlightenment we were once brought.
This is a lesson that Russ and Curze learned well. For are we not the animals in the dark? Animals whose howls bring terror to the hearts of our foes?.... We each bring our own brand of fear, as a weapon. The Rout, bestial wolves, and the Haunter’s, night cloaked stalkers…
We cannot know the mind of a Primarch, even though we are of their blood. Who knows why Russ listened to that hell-spawned wretch he once called brother. Maybe Russ tried to see the good in him? Maybe he thought a show of kinship might have helped curb some of his brother’s many excesses. Maybe Russ heard his brother’s plea for help and held out a hand in his own, feral way, hoping against hope to bring him back from the darkness that had been threatening to swallow Kurze whole.
Or maybe Russ, like Konrad, knew that they were all flawed. After Kurze’s secret, shared in confidence, was cruelly revealed by Fulgrim, the request of Kurze was a way to bring redemption for his son. Maybe our father was willing to offer him that chance.
Whatever may, shortly after Russ agreed, Kurze sent us his emissary. He sent us Keldane… The Blackfox.
Keldane wasn’t of the pack. He was almost instantly rejected by those of Fyf. But as it was Russ’ decree, none could gainsay him. His word is law and to break his law is death. Even though our instincts railed against this… intruder, we stayed our hands in early retribution. How I now regret that I did not forfeit my life to rid us of the curse that was to come.
So as one, we set out make Keldane leave, either by choice or on the red ice.
We made sure that Keldane drew the most arduous and dangerous of tasks from within Fyf. It wasn’t his wyrd to die in some mis-begotten challenge, for he was a bad star and so he kept returning when better men did not. How he managed this, none know, but he earned his name on the ice. We called him Blackfox for his heart was darker than the Nostraman night, and his mind as clever and cunning as the mountain vulpine…
Eventually he forced his way into the pack, for none could doubt his arm, or, unbelievably, his loyalty to the company. This was how the thread of Blackfox became intertwined with that of Great Fafnir Vol’kyr.
Fafnir was a menhir of a man, as broad as he was tall. He was quiet and brooding. Many thought him touched by Lokyar, that he would be inducted into the scouts, however this was not to pass. In time, whether through cursed luck or no, he was to become the reluctant warden of the Blackfox. What started out as wariness, verging on outright hostility, eventually became a grudging respect and finally a friendship forged in battle.
Fafnir came to rely on Keldane’s insights and cunning, Blackfox on Fafnir’s skill of the hunt. They often embarked onto the ice together to run down beasts and game. As time went on Fafnir became more gregarious , more likeable and so his standing within the company grew., With Fafnir’s star on the ascendancy, so too did Keldane begin to have more of an influence on the affairs of the company. He eventually even gained a grudging acceptance as a brother of Fyf. While Fafnir learned from Blackfox and became a central figure within the company, so too did Keldane learn from Fafnir. Who knows what secrets he may have gleaned, but his skills as a hunter grew to rival that of any of the Rout.
Then even outside of the hunt, they became almost inseparable. They were mirror images of one another in almost every sense, often found in company and always fighting back to back amongst the thickest of foes.
But alas the mirror was cracked, the reflection of Fafnir in Blackfox was twisted and flawed. Such was the pride of the Wolves that we did not see it until it was too late. When Keldane left, he took with him all the skills learned on the ice. He allowed Kurze’s twisted heart to poison that which we had taught him. Gone was the honour, gone was the pride, gone was the Keldane we knew and called once called brother.
Keldane became the Night Haunters pre-eminent hunter. Not of Ork or Eldar or of beast. No, he broke his bonds of loyalty and became the hunter of his own kin.
The betrayal of the Blackfox hit Fafnir hard, as only such base treachery could… It drove him to the edge of sanity and we almost lost him to the Wulfen, such was his pain. Now we hunt, for it is not Fafnir’s shame alone to bear. Blackfox made fools of us all and so he must be made to pay. Keldane may believe he is the perfect hunter, but it was us who taught him and it will be us to bring him low. We may be old dogs, but we never give up all our tricks!
So brothers, finish your mjod. Go now to prepare your arms and armour. Tonight we go to hunt one who was once of our own. We have tracked Keldane Once-Brother, to Korianna and it is time to make this hunter, become the hunted. We shall run him to ground.
And if we have to kill every whore-son Night Lord & traitor that stands in our path, in order to get to that piece of skitja we once taught and trusted then so much the better…
We do this deed for Fafnir!!
A perfect hunt & revelations
The ambush had been almost flawless. Almost….
Recon squad “Bjorn” sat in the cover of a burnt out hab building. The area had once been a popular trading district and there had been many shops, stalls and homes. Now it was deserted, the wares long gone or turned to ruin and the bones of unfortunate citizens were spread across the square, picked clean by carrion birds where they lay.
It had been gruelling work, hunting down the traitors and many of our leads had been dead ends. Keldane Blackfox was always just out of reach. Hel-born scum. It took all of my restraint not to emit a growl at the thought and give our position away.
Entering the plaza a lone Wolf stumbled and fell. He tried to rise, but failed & began a painful crawl across the rubble. Scant seconds behind him, followed a gaggle of cackling Night Lords.
Having thought they had found easy sport, they took their time inflicting maiming wounds on the stricken Wolf who made no sound and could barely defend himself. It was only after the lead Night Lord examined their prey and discovered something amiss, that the trap was sprung.
As the gore soaked, midnight clad marines looked around in confusion, Hjold Halfborn’s sniper rifle silently coughed and the closest Night Lord dropped. Then 2 more fell and they began to draw their real weapons and look for cover, not knowing from where they were being picked off.
At a signal the sky blazed as grey clad marines dropped amongst their midnight brethren. With glinting axes and barking bolt pistols, Kjaran Cold-heart led his pack into the fray against his once brethren. More Night Lords dropped, their armour sundered by blade and bolt. Kjaran, Kassill, Skjara Redwolf and the Wolf-Blade began to reap a tally of cut threads forcing the Night Lords to breaking point. Some of the skitja stayed and fought, then died. It allowed the leader and his party to retreat towards the relative safety of an outlying building and from there, to make a stand. The safety was just an illusion however as Fafnir led his terminator clad pack into their midst. Where, before, there had been a solid wall, now it became a pile of pulped rubble. Fafnir and Starkadr burst through, shields to the fore and hammers swinging, followed on by the remaining 3 warriors of their pack. All hell broke loose for a few brief seconds as the Night Lords tried to recover from the turn of events. However the truly smart ones turned and fled before their armour was caved in By Fafnir and his Hearth-Hammers.
As the two remaining Night Lords fled the scene, one collapsed in a heap, careening head-long into a fragile cart demolishing it, the second rounded the corner and was away.
It was at that point I called Kjaran’s pack back from trying to pursue. We didn’t want to get too strung out and picked off ourselves. We had already lost a lot of brothers that way. The little Lordlings may not have our heart for battle, but they do have a cunning which should never be under estimated.
Seeing Kjaran’s pack give up the chase, and watching the one Night Lord slip through his grasp, Fafnir flew into a terrible rage, like a baresark of old times… In truth I feared for my safety in that moment. He stormed over to me and there we were. Face to face. Kjaran's assault team created a cordon around myself & Fafnir, keeping my pack out and his pack away.
“Why in all of the Hel’s did you allow that piece of skitja to escape?”
“Who said we let him escape, Jarl Fafnir?”
“One of Curze’s night cursed sons slipped away” Fafnir was getting dangerously an I could scent the kill urge on him.
“Torvald, did we let the scum get away?” I called calmly over my shoulder, never breaking eye contact with Fafnir.
“ No Jarl Agvald.”
“And why is that?”
“Our bolt rounds were envenomed Jarl Agvald… The one who fled, I wounded him myself. His wound will not heal and we can follow his blood trail back to the vipers nest”.
I kept my voice low so only Fafnir could hear, for although I do not particularly like this man, I would not want to shame him in front of his men
“So you see Jarl Fafnir, he hasn’t escaped at all. In fact he is doing something that no amount of interrogation would have given us”. I think I even managed to grin back at him, for his face twisted in frustration as he turned away.
“We lost a wolf to set up this trap, that hunters blood will be on your hands Agvald” grunted Fafnir as he gestured towards the fallen man who had led the Lordlings into our trap. I believe he was trying to find a way to save face in front of his men, it was a shock to him when I told him who the dead wolf really was.
“That is neither a Wolf or a Hound, but a blood-mad butcher, Jarl Fafnir. The World Eater was too far gone to give us any information, so we cut out his vocal chords and dumped him in traitor territory near a known Night Lords outpost. He knew where we were for we told him, and we knew he would come here looking for a fight.
Apart from Hamma’s hand, we didn’t lose anyone”.
It was then that the anger bled out of Jarl Fafnir and some of his humour returned. “It is a good thing that Hamma is right handed then, isn’t it? Tell me though, this was not a part of my plan, who decided to change it?”
“I did roared a voice from the edge of the circle and as one we all bowed”.
Korianna was one of the 500 or so worlds which made up the Ultramar sector of space. It was a forge world supplying men and materiel to the ever expanding great crusade. Not a major world, it was however famed for having a Knight household standing over the world as protectors. The ultimate fate of the Knight household is unknown, but from archived records it would seem that a coup of sorts took place and like on many worlds across the Imperiumt, the Knight household was ravaged by civil war.
It was around this time that the Word Bearers, Night Lords and World Eaters descended upon Korianna and despoiled this once verdant and productive world.
A Space Wolves contingent was sent out to the world shortly after, believed by the Ultramarines to be one of the much-maligned watchpacks. Having ascertained that Lord Guillemann was indeed loyal to the Imperium, they were released from their duties and deployed to Korianna, to monitor the traitor incursion.
The total strength of the force which actually deployed, was and still is unknown, however it is fairly safe to assume that it was well beyond the 10 man unit initially sent out. In these uncertain times it is suspected that the Ultramarines allowed the Space Wolves to act autonomously and if they were halting incursions into Ultramar then they were left free to act as they saw fit.
In and of itself, this unusual display of leniency on the part of the 13th Legion shows just how stretched the Ultramarines had become by the unfolding treachery enacted upon them.
The Space Wolves were known to use diverse tactics in hunting down the traitors on Korianna. Often relying on guerilla tactics such as ambushing their prey. Commonly this would be a multi-unit operation with a specially prepared kill-zone
In the example above we can clearly see that the ambush was orchestrated by "Bjorn" or Bear squad (given this name due to the amount of equipment they carried, they were always "loaded for bear")
Once the trap was initiated, fast moving units would descend upon the foe to cause confusion, in this case it was Kjaran Coldhearts assault squad, the "Ice Blades"
From markings and armour types seen on the individual members we can tell that, they have come from several packs. In the first image we can clearly identify mark 3 and the composite mark 5 plate being used.
Kjaran is bearing the mark of Vaerangi on his kneepad to display his seniority over the Wolves in his charge. When his pack was not ravaged by attrition, they bore the moniker the "Ironsides". This was due to their famed use of mark 3 armour and being at the forefront of each engagement. The anvil on which opponents were broken.
This image is of an "Ironside", known as the Wolf-Blade. Clearly displaying the former pack marking on his kneepad.
Initially they lost very few packmates further cementing their Ironside reputation, however as teh siege ground on, losses began to mount and packs were amalgamated to keep them at fighting efficiency.
An example of this is the unknown Space Wolf from Baresark pack
Known for ranging ahead of the main force and found where fighting was fiercest. It is believed that Baresark squad suffered as high a rate of casualties from the wolf-curse as from the enemy.
"Iceblade" pack is also made up of mark 2 marines displaying the markings of the pack formerly called the "Stalwarts". A group of veteran assault marines who had fought side-by-side for decades, they gained teir name for being ever present and always holding when situations seemed lost.
While some wore their veterancy in he form of augmetics gained through injury in war others displayed it with honour plates or upgrades to their armour, such as seen here born by the warrior known as Kassill.
Casualties were a constant concern for the Space Wolves as there was probably little chance of reinforcement. This image shows the warrior known as Hamma, just after the plaza ambush. He has suffered a catastrophic injury to his left hand. In later pict recordings his corpse was discovered. It appears that he had a hand weapon fitted to his armour in place of his missing hand. This was to eventually become his undoing as it limited his ability to reload his weapon. Unable to do so he charged an enemy position and fought in hand to hand combat. Lacking flexibility in his weapon arm he was eventually brought down by a band of rabid World Eaters, but not before having reaped a tally of his foe-men
Hi Guys, thanks for such a warm welcome here.
I have always been into 40K but recently I have been finding myself gravitating more towards the 30K side of things.
What I have always loved about both is the depth of history, the background, stories and images.... Since I got the first HH book when it was released "Horus Rising" I have always wanted to delve in, but I have never really been sure how.
I have to admit I have for a long time fancied doing a Luna Wolves army, but I just love the Vlka Fenryka too much to turn my back on them and when Prospero Burns came along, that sealed the deal for me.
That and the gobsmackingly beautiful artwork by such folks as Adrian Smith in the Collected Visions books
I do not know anyone in real life who collects and plays 30K and I very rarely play 40K as it is. For me gaming will not be a big deal, it will be the stories, plots and imagery that will be the main driving force for me. That and for the first time in a long time, I have wanted to write a little bit of history and character for my own models, make them a bit more personal to me
I also suffer from modelling ADHD, so I rarely ever get any models completed, so this hopefully will be a good way of spurring me on to get something completed.
I have written a few wee pieces for my models, but I will not put them out until a model is done Again hopefully this will be a good motivator.
So, anyways, as with all good WIP threads, here is some of what I have been working on..
All this stuff is between 20 & 90% done.... You have probably noticed that conversion work has been kept to a minimum, as I am pretty sucky at it, so I have been working on my painting skills instead.
Currently my Knight is up for painting... Let me know what you think and also what you might like to see me actually get finished next
Thanks for looking
Edited by Dantay VI, 03 September 2018 - 07:40 PM.