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Kill the Saint!


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#1
Brother Sefiel

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Greetings

A gruelling final 7th Apocalypse game today, spread over two tables. Chaos had only one mission - to see the living saint fall.

More details to be posted shortly.

 

+++++

I don't seem to be able to upload photos at the moment, which is intensely irritating.


Edited by Brother Sefiel, 26 June 2017 - 08:54 PM.

Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#2
Brother Sefiel

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Originally I was planning on making it a two-day affair  to celebrate our new games room, but GW selfishly decided to release 8th on the Saturday, so I settled for a single session of mayhem. My next idea was a points-free affair, but the Warhammer shop around the corner ran something similar two days previously.

However, we could do something vaguely special, as there was enough space for two games. So I decided that one table would host the attempt to kill Celestine, given how much of a thorn she had been in the sides of my opponents over the past few months - while the other would be a more standard game, but forces from there would be able to move to the other table to support their respective sides.

We sort of decided on 3.5k per side, as I couldn't do points-free, with a surprise visit from friends to go to in the evening. Blood Angels would take on Iron Warriors on the subsidiary table; the forces facing Celestine would be Khornate, with a couple of hundred points of plague zombies to make up for her.

The centre of the table, where the saint would start, surrounded by the undead, had a functional Void Shield Generator. Chaos would get the first turn - basically a free shot at the assassination before any rescuers could turn up...

This is the end segment of the Living Saint narrative that I started writing when the Gathering Storm was released. For anyone interested in the whole thing, please read it in this order (there are some flashback sections but they sort of fit in the main story):

http://www.bolterand...ne-and-friends/

 

http://www.bolterand...nd-white-scars/

 

http://www.bolterand...uard-formation/

http://www.bolterand...ation-xi-theta/

http://www.bolterand...ams-of-a-saint/

Finally, this thread!


Edited by Brother Sefiel, 01 September 2017 - 07:02 PM.

Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#3
Brother Sefiel

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The enemy initiates a fighting retreat from most of the bases it has established on the outskirts of the capital. Vicious urban warfare bogged most of the loyalist ground forces down for days – they couldn't risk a counter-attack against their landing areas. As it is, the majority of operations have been conducted by mobile forces, a lack of resilience hampering their success.

 

In his primaris Leonidas reads reports, sees runes representing the enemy backing off, and wonders. There are rearguards, true, evidently desperate traitors ready to sacrifice themselves, but the main forces are moving out. Iskander, on board the Omniscience, and ready to strike at the critical moment when the target presents itself, cuts in on the vox. “Not retreat. Redeployment. Why?”

 

Another vox, this time from a librarian, Gregorziato, patched through from his storm eagle. He reports a monstrous cry for aid. The source, an enemy of great psychic ability, spoke of “this turbulent whore”. Leonidas considers for a moment and then asks his commanders where the woman who bewitched Malleo is – the one who was so keen to fight here. Mention is made of a vaporator station outside the city where a Blood Angels insertion team recently engaged armoured units.

 

Leonidas orders Faith to be found. Wherever she is, no matter how powerful she is, she's causing trouble, and this is a job for real soldiers. Having said that, whatever she's doing may have single-handedly broken the deadlock that their forces had experienced – and if that turns out to be the case, she can be forgiven, and even deserves rescue.

 

There's only one force he can count on to get to the right place at the right time; he tells Iskander to launch immediately for her last known location. The warrior pauses for a moment, but grunts an assent...

 

+++++

 

Captain Ifan sends a ready signal to his men. The Iron Warriors have sent an even larger force to avenge their previous losses. This time, though, the Blood Angels are prepared for what will come, and as well as improving their air insertion protocol they have called upon heavier support from their chapter armoury as part of the general breakout from Arzach, the capital city. Ancient Harson, a Land Raider, and a number of heavy weapon specialists have bolstered the force saved by the living saint.

Comms from Leonidas suggest that Faith is active in the mountains just beyond, having left the Blood Angels around 24 hours ago. Ifan meant what he said to her about owing a debt, and he intends absolutely to repay her, as do those men that she restored. Leonidas and his Mechanicus-aligned warriors seem far too cold towards the woman, a true heroine of the Imperium. Perhaps they have little care for honour and see her merely as a resource to be used. She deserves better.

 

A vox from his airborne escort tells him that the enemy are coming into view. Their force seems to be holding to a similar formation as the previous detachment. Ifan raises his blade and prepares to issue the order for his men to drop. They were caught out by misfortune, the enemy's arcane schemes and daemonic intervention in the last battle – and they paid badly for it.

This time it will be different.

 

+++++

 

Because of some poor communications and bad organisation on my part, largely due to having a surprisingly-busy weekend, we hadn't come up with specific point values. There was plenty there if we had gone unlimited points, as I'd wanted a while back; I had boxes of Land Raiders, a large case – about a company worth, plus terminators and scouts – of marines, and some guard air support.

 

However, there was only one opponent for me, and using more than double his points would be a bit rubbish! I knew roughly what I wanted to take, but didn't even have time to write up a list, what with having to take photos, etc.

 

+++++

 

The Saint Dreams of Being Tortured to Death.
 

Sunrise, and she already feels the pain of a thousand cuts. The once pit slave stands before her, smirking as he slashes at her thigh. Her bonds are tight enough to stop her from fleeing, but loose enough to let her move a little; she tries to turn so that his blade will cut the ropes. He easily sees what she's planning, and laughs as the blade tears her flesh. “Kneel!”

 

She will not kneel.
 

They're gathered before her – all of them – laughing, pointing, making lascivious gestures and shouting obscenities. They've been twisted by the power of their daemonic master into rotting, stinking monstrosities. Her torturer, Moebius, has only given her one option to lessen the pain: kneel before him and pledge fealty to Loc-Nar, prince of Nurgle. Her response is, as it has been from the start, silent contempt. She won't betray her vow, not even in her agony.

 

It's been nearly half an hour now. The spinning blade mounted on the stump of his arm is razor-sharp and can cut shallow or deep, but it's always extremely painful. Her once-long hair has been reduced to a spiky mess; blood trickles from her opened scalp into her left eye. Moebius tells her that he won't cut her face, but the rest of her is fair game. If he expects her to react to that, he's mistaken. He slashes her again.
 

She will not kneel – but she grows weaker.

 

Taarna looks to the skies, and sees a speck, flying in the distance. For the first time in years she desperately tries to reach it. She begs to be away from here, to be free too, but immediately curses herself. What would her sisters say if they found out about her old gift? And, anyway, it can do nothing. She thinks “No, be free”. It wheels, describing a lazy arc.

 

The leader asks her if she has any last words. She looks up through a blood-matted fringe, unable to focus. Shaking her head – which causes more pain – she tries to spit at him. The bloody gobbet lands short. Ugly laughter rings out and her head bows again.

But she will not kneel.

 

She mouths obscenities at the ground, but still not a sound passes her lips. Moebius tires of this, and says, simply,“I will keep your pretty head.” Taarna looks up at him as he raises her own sword in his one good hand. The blade gleams beautifully in the morning sun, which shines behind him like some kind of halo. She blinks furiously.

 

Then she kneels.

 

+++++

 

Faith wakes with a grimace; she longs for more rest, but sees the severity of the situation – they're pursued by many foes and must move fast. The chase is headed by a lesser daemon prince, commanding raptors. He bellows that he will hunt her down and take her skull for Khorne.

Could it be that Loc-Nar has somehow avenged himself against her in the moment of her victory? Has his foul touch infected her in some way, leading to this unnatural fatigue? No matter what, it's her duty to resist. Her escorts haven't given up on her, and she will stay by them, even if she can't fight to her full ability.

 

At least the Geminae no longer have to bear her weight, and that lifts their spirits. Her sisters are tiring now, though, and all are short of fuel. They head for a power relay station, searching desperately for a lifeline that will allow them to escape. They find many fallen defenders – but no survivors – and mutter prayers for them through parched throats. As for promethium, there is none.

 

Taking shelter under the centre of the installation, protected by a void shield, they wait for the enemy. This must be an important regional supply facility. While their voxes reach no allies, there is a slim hope that friendly forces might discover them. Very slim, though.

 

As comfortable as her sisters can make her, the saint drifts back into the world of dreams....


Edited by Brother Sefiel, 27 July 2017 - 10:58 PM.

Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#4
Brother Sefiel

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As previously-mentioned, the chaos forces would get a free turn to attack Celestine, alone. That's partly because she's pretty hard, and partly because I wanted to set up the narrative in this way. On the other hand, I wanted to make sure that she wasn't just sniped to oblivion in the first turn by obliterators/tanks/knights, so I put in the void shield generator to ensure that she wouldn't have to suffer all the heavy weapons, and the condition of no superheavies until the first scheduled break.

 

The free zombies would ensure that the enemy would get a decent try at her in the first turn, beyond any deep-striking shenanigans with daemons or obliterators. Forty zombies actually put out quite a sizeable number of attacks – statistically enough to take down both the Geminae (for fairness, I always roll their 3+/4++ saves when they take wounds for Celestine) and still put damage on her in one turn!
 

+++++

 

The Saint Dreams of Revenge

 

Nearly half a tonne of pteron, the Taarakian apex predator, grabs the leader and simply carries him off, narrowly missing Taarna in the process. It's the biggest she's ever seen, its vast wings beating, knocking the other mutants to the ground, powering it away. For a moment all she can think of is that Moebius still has her sword and this won't go down well with her order. Meanwhile the pteron screeches as the once-man beneath struggles; his minions begin to lumber futilely after it, levelling weapons.

 

Leaning her head as far back as she can, she sees the chief slash at the beast with his bionic limb, unable to reach anything but one of its claws, puncturing his body. It drops him immediately, squawking – but by now the creature has gained altitude, and it's already dozens of metres past the camp – beyond the edge of the mesa. She sees him fall.

 

She doesn't see him popped like a pimple on the razor-sharp rocks several hundred metres below. But she hears his bellow, and hears it cut off.

 

As her captors pointlessly shoot at the pteron she struggles to her feet, no longer looking back. Her attention is on her own situation, and she bites her tongue as she twists her limbs, one blood- and sweat-slicked arm slipping its ropes. Just within reach there's a small knife, more tool than weapon. She picks up the blade and frees herself quickly. The adrenaline of seeing a pteron aid her – as close to a symbol of the Emperor as any on Taarakia – has given her hope; she won't waste it.

 

One or two of her captors are still trying to shoot the avian; none are facing her. She stabs the closest in the side of his neck, ripping the knife through the artery. Greenish blood sprays from the opened vessel as he collapses.

 

Another hears, and is rewarded with the blade rammed through the base of his mouth as he swings around. He gurgles as she drags the knife down past his Adam's Apple, his windpipe opened. As more turn she grabs his laspistol (that she took from the prospector's killer, she sees) and fires, cutting down two with guns before they can fully see what's happening. She's thankful that the weapon has no recoil, and uses the filthy, dying body as a shield, leaning into it.

For a moment she turns her attention to the closest pair, armed with a wrench and a rusty chain, to buy more space; once they're downed she targets the few bearing firearms. She moves methodically, picking her victims well, dropping the corpse when she has no targets with guns. Some take cover and try to flank her. She concentrates on the closest, remembering sororitas firing rituals, backing away as a brave three charge. None survive.

 

The powerpack runs dry, but she's positioned herself to stand over several weapons. She stares down a knot of mutants that try to gauge whether to charge her with their blades or go for guns on the ground. Who would reach one first? She is hurt, but they are slow.

 

She grins painfully through the blood. It's an ugly look. For the first time this day her captors are truly afraid.

 

Reaching down, she grabs one of the objects at her feet. The thugs approaching don't realise at first that it's one of her frag grenades, left on the pile of her possessions that Moebius had claimed as spoils. She cocks her head as they slow, the pin clearly in her other hand. She drops the pin and reaches for her bolt pistol. She she has no intention of firing, as the recoil would be agonising in her weakened state. But they don't know that.

 

She's reckoned without one of them sneaking around behind her. Luckily he's clumsy and her hearing good. His suppurating chest practically explodes as the bolt hits him, but her arm is nearly wrenched from its socket, blood streaming from wounds that had begun to close. She curses internally and throws the grenade as far as she can towards the others. They try to flee but the blast catches one. The survivors run at her together.

 

Using a two-handed stance to reduce the ferocious recoil she empties the magazine of her pistol into the closest, a grotesque pile of rancid flesh. The rest she has to take on with his dropped weapon, a long, vicious, blade with a perpendicular spike at the end. She uses it like a pick, impaling the first, wrenching the blade free in a shower of gore, and swinging again. Each blow is agony, feeding her aggression.

 

The last two mutants turn and flee at the sight of her splitting the face of their comrades with a dreadful shriek. She watches them run, unsteady now, and looks up to the blazing sky. Giving in to her exhaustion at last, she collapses into unconsciousness.

 

+++++

 

Waking with a start, the sounds of chanting, screams, engines and worse come from all around, strange echoes thrown out by the buildings. The enemy has slowed, but there'll be incoming fire soon. Even the arcane energies of the void shields won't last long against the forces arrayed against the three women.

 

Faith's sisters are preparing to fight their last battle. Sophia, concerned at her ongoing weakness, asks if she's ready. Her reply is positive – but she doesn't seem it. Unsteadily she tries to stand. As she rises, grasping at a nearby pipe to steady herself, she looks to the skies and sees a distant speck, wheeling. She reaches out to it, feeling a sudden surge of hope, and collapses once more.

The Geminae look at one another, and move the saint back to a less exposed area. However, in their fatigue, and surrounded by the din of death approaching, neither notices faint scratches and other sounds of movement as the corpses of previous combatants begin to rise...


Edited by Brother Sefiel, 27 July 2017 - 11:01 PM.

Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#5
Brother Sefiel

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Since my opponent would be the Khornate player I wouldn't have that much Deep Strike to worry about. His starting force included a forgefiend, a Land Raider, a maulerfiend, several rhinos full of berzerkers, a tooled-up daemon prince, two squads of raptors, two chaos spawn and a helbrute. I was quite surprised to not see his predator squadron start on the table. Still, some people might consider that excessive to take on three women!

 

+++++

 

The Saint Dreams of Sacrifice

 

She awakens to a gentle push from something. Wearily opening her eyes she sees the pteron is back, nuzzling her. She reaches out, touches its beak weakly, and silently thanks it. It caws. She looks over to where pieces of the corpses of the two that fled lie, as if they returned to murder her when she lay unconscious and a winged defender tore them limb from limb. She looks at the bird and weeps, putting her arms around its sinuous neck. After several minutes of rest, she sets about burning the bodies.

 

The creature sits quietly while Taarna gathers what few supplies in the camp are safe to use. She treats her wounds and eats. Then the avian limps over to her, and she realises that its foot is hurt. The blade hasn't cut deep, but the beast is obviously in pain. Without a care for its vicious beak she does what she can to stem the bleeding and seal the cut, the pteron making dangerous sounds that she soothes with a gentle touch.

 

She bids the avian “Be free” with her mind. Looking sadly at her, it starts its run, taking off after several beats of its mighty wings. She sighs.

 

Gathering what she feels she can carry, the saint regrets her exhaustion. Luckily what remains of her armour's synthetic muscle helps to compensate for the wounds she's suffered. Without a blade, and carrying a pistol that will do her more harm if she fires it, her primary weapons will be explosives; the remaining grenades and several mining charges she found within the carnage of the camp. There are some painkillers; she just can't take them all now and risk an overdose...

 

Considering her loss of blood and badly-patched wounds, Taarna understands that this is not a task that she will return from. Stemming a sob, she trudges towards the nearby volcanic crater, steeling herself to destroy the meteorite that brought this corruption to her world.

 

A deep voice in her head tells her not to.

 

+++++

 

On board the storm eagle Gregorziato is nearly thrown from his seat by the force of the brief, but tremendously powerful, psychic burst. He alerts Leonidas that he's found something. Giving his commander the coordinates, he reports that traitors are massing ahead in a sprawling industrial complex. It seems that some of the systems are still functional – the craft's augurs are picking up the distinctive contours of a void shield, presumably protecting the most critical section.

 

Leonidas snarls in frustration. His detachment now has the advantage over the enemy, but he can't make it to that location, what with the main body of the traitor forces still active. Instead he will have to settle for harrying their flanks.

 

He calls Iskander. His pod is beginning the process of atmospheric re-entry, but there's just enough time to process the message and accept the ordered change of target location. His vocal adapters clearly emulate contempt – the contempt that he feels at the idea of having anything to do with this troublemaking woman – and his typically terse response is but a single word.
 

Confirmed.”


Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#6
Brother Sefiel

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He didn't bring his space turkey on in turn 1, which was a bonus. Quite a few shots were directed into the void shield, but it held firm. Then he assaulted the girls with his zombies. I was lucky enough that he misjudged the charges, so only three squads managed to get in contact, even after a couple were brought down by the wall of flame.

 

However, twenty-eight is still a lot of zombies...

 

+++++

 

The saint is roused by nearby explosions. Several massive blasts diminish the void shield, but the sound of fighting is closer; the attack from a wall of scores of undead things that have swamped the area. Their slow approach is unaffected by the force field, of course.

 

Even as she stands first Sophia and then Isobel are struck down by the rotting creatures. She incinerates the attackers before they can feast on the flesh of her friends, and wills herself forward, grabbing Isobel before she falls to the ground. Fighting holding her comrade, she's almost overwhelmed by the valiant defence that her sisters made for her, almost overcome by the grief that this may be the time that they truly die. Almost.

 

But she won't give up.

 

Holding her Gemini's body to her, she fights defensively, blocking blows that would envelop and pull down a lesser warrior with ease, parrying, and managing an occasional thrust in return. Her blade cuts deeps when it strikes, cleaving, severing and even disembowelling several of the things. But she can't hold on like this for much longer, and she's running out of room to back away. All they have to do is restrict her movement enough to overwhelm her. And there's no safe place to jump over them to – there are just so many. She pleads for Isobel to recover, prays for her to be restored, but the seraphim hangs limp on her arm. Beginning to fear that her friend has been infected, she has a horrible premonition of her sister biting into her neck, contagious pus polluting her bloodstream...
 

Heavy weapons nearly bring down the shield. It doesn't surprise her that the traitors are firing on their own forces in order to get to her more swiftly – after all, these are expendable grotesques, mostly once-loyal servants of the Emperor, turned into these shambling mockeries by a hideous contagion. She curses herself for not noticing the taint in the corpses, wishes that she could restore them, but has to push the thought aside in order to concentrate on keeping herself alive. Even her phenomenal skills are being tested to the absolute limit by the sheer number of enemies and the dead weight she's trying to support.

 

Another explosion strikes the rearmost zombies, and another. Suddenly there are even greater impacts – in the gaps cleared by the blasts there are clouds of dust, clearing to reveal some form of – structures? More guns fire, closer now, from within the clouds, blazing at high rates, scything through the crowds of the shambling dead. Smashing the grasping hand of one of the fiends away she realises that these aren't traitor weapons. With a cry she leaps over the closing horde into a newly-formed gap, desperately holding her Gemini to her.

 

In the brief period of flight she sees a formation of red black and gold drop pods. Two on the right flank are robotic artillery, cutting a swathe through the traitor forces that now approach. Three contained men, already forming a cordon between their pods, ensuring that the contagious creatures can't pass. Overhead a formation of close support aircraft engages the traitor armoured column with heavy weapons, and continues to target the crowds of infected with rockets.

 

19554175_10154503596866790_4434959593582

 

She lands, sprawled, at the feet of a warrior bearing a tower shield, as the entire mob of the dead turns to pursue her precious flesh. He steps over her and slams it into one of the zombies as it reaches forward, putting his body between the saint and the dead, swinging a hammer that smashes down several of them through main force. The inquisitorial symbol on his helm matches that on the shield face.

 

Ready to collapse, she's steadied by the hulking form of another space marine, a medic, easily holding her with one hand. This one quickly sprays her with some form of stimulant. For a moment her vision swims, but clarity returns swiftly. She feels Isobel struggling in her arms, and fear rising, looks to see her left to see the Gemini stand straight, ready to defend her with body and sword once more. Iskander is on the right, indomitable, ready to smite the foe, whatever it may be. He glances back as the medic says that she's recovering. More warriors bearing the cog sigil of the Mechanicus surround her in a tight knot, discharging their bolters at the swarms of the enemy threatening them.

 

Most of the undead have fallen. The true foes approach. Iskander spares her but four words: “We pay our debts.” Her eyes fixed on where Sophia fell, prepared to slaughter every last traitor if that's what's necessary to recover her friend, Faith, the living saint risen once more, nods at him and readies her blade.


Edited by Brother Sefiel, 27 August 2017 - 10:17 PM.

Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#7
Pearson73

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Nice writing, enjoying seeing where the battle is headed.



#8
Kastor Krieg

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Upload photos to Imgur and use direct links to the files with the [img] tags.


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#9
Brother Sefiel

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Hey



Nice writing, enjoying seeing where the battle is headed.


Cheers, finally getting on to the action at last (just wanted to give everything the context it deserved).

 



Upload photos to Imgur and use direct links to the files with the [img] tags.

 

Perhaps so - don't have any kind of Imgur account at the moment (yet another password to remember?) but I'll take a look.


Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#10
Kastor Krieg

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You don't need one to use imgur.


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#11
Brother Sefiel

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The deathwind pods are always somewhat random, and this day they excelled themselves in being a bit poor against the Khornates. The assault cannon one did practically nothing. The missiles were slightly more effective, but not greatly. However, for cinematic purposes, I like to think that there were a lot more zombies and that the pods destroyed a huge number of them!

 

Of course I fielded one of my typical glass cannon forces; three masters, each with a command squad. The leader, Hammerman, a.k.a. Iskander, also brought a techmarine in servo-harness for repair duties and some additional killing. All were in drop pods.

 

These are, theoretically, monstrously-resilient, but as soon as the apothecaries fall, those command squads look a lot more vulnerable. They were escorted by a storm eagle and two blackstars. I didn't have any models aboard them, however – they were pure air support.

 

+++++

 

The aircraft pummel the chaos vehicles, stopping the forgefiend in its tracks, and damaging several others. The traitor forces smash the deathwind pods, and put more shots into the void shield, stripping its protection, but not doing enough to fully deactivate it. The raptors move up to the centre of the field, and the maulerfiend scrambles onto the top of the generatorium on the left flank, preparing to charge the Theta Sigma warriors.

 

The remains of the horde of zombies breaks against the marine lines like a wave. Most are easily-fended off, and many fall – but this gives the enemy the opportunity to manoeuvre into position, ready to deliver devastating assaults. Three squads of Khornate marines emerge from rhinos, ready to leap into the fray – one unit narrowly escaping their vehicle detonating. A spawn is brought down by fire from the drop pods.

 

The Berzerkers are even more demented than usual, their killing instincts heightened to terrifying levels, and they are so fast. On the right, having battered down nearly all of the undead and nearly finished off the spawn, the command squad disintegrates in the face of their violence, leaving only the leader to cleave several with his lightning claw.

 

In the centre Iskander and Faith make short work of their foes. To the left the enemy is slower to engage, perhaps a failure in morale – or possibly they're waiting for the maulerfiend to join them, but it chooses to neutralise one of the haemotrope reactors feeding power to the void shield.

 

19511171_10154503597321790_3789927457373

 

+++++

 

I was somewhat concerned about the maulerfiend, as I've seen what they can do to vehicles, and I wouldn't be getting any Feel No Pain against its attacks. I was pretty glad he chose to go for the building instead of the men behind it! I'd managed to forget that the command squad on the right would have 4+ FNP through using Iron Hands rules, which was a bit annoying, but I let it slide; things were looking reasonable at this point...

 

+++++

 

A heldrake swoops from the other side of the field with a terrifying screech. It engages the storm eagle, slightly damaging it, but, perhaps more importantly, forcing it into evasive manoeuvres that prevent it strafing effectively. The Land Raider also targets an aircraft, obliging a blackstar to evade. Meanwhile, on the ground, Forgemaster Hawking has seen giant daemonic constructs before, and he dislikes them intensely. It turns out, however, that maulerfiends will often explode if subjected to enough melta-weaponry, and he proves this to the satisfaction of his commander.

 

On the right help is on the way for the beleaguered officer, who has been badly injured, and the saint and her escort hack down the remaining traitors. He finally smashes both the zombie and the large, mutated monstrosity with his power fist. Falling in beside the others they turn to the left and the Land Raider and other marines. The raptors leap onto the larger structure, planting explosives that bring the building down. Several fall to the guns of the nearby drop pods. Then they are swept aside by the vengeful loyalist marines, who cut both them and the remnants of the Berzerkers down. The drop zone is nearly clear of the enemy now.


Edited by Brother Sefiel, 10 July 2017 - 11:31 PM.

Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#12
Brother Sefiel

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A couple of times I thought about using the saintly blessings but chose not to, for some reason. Partly I think it was to even up the fight a bit, but it also might have been that I was subconsciously aware of the fact that Iskander and most of his men were too logically-minded to give themselves over to holy rapture...

 

It was the two o’clock scheduled break; we really needed it, what with the heat, and took a lot longer than usual – about 45 minutes. Unfortunately I was tasked with taking the photos, as you may see, a long, hot game and an already shaky hand combined to produce some poor images...

 

+++++

 

Enemy reinforcements arrive in the form of a squadron of armour-killing tanks and a knight-renegade, armed with two colossal cannon. At this point they are out of range of most of the action, so they use the opportunity to position themselves. The Imperial flyers curve over the battlefield, still pursued by the dogged heldrake.

 

From out of the Land Raider emerge yet more frenzied maniacs – this time led by a mighty champion. Savouring the brief calm before the storm of battle he calls to Faith. Despite her wounds, she accepts, her sword singing for his throat. His dark god protects him, however, and, ancient armour untouched, he presses his advantage; she soon finds herself on the back foot. The whirlwind of aggression smashes into Sophia, throwing her aside like a toy.

 

They trade blows for long seconds, the saint aghast at his power. The chainaxe hacks at her with blinding speed, deflected by sword and rosarius, until he smashes aside her guard with the butt of his plasma pistol. A gap in her defences opened, the axe bites deep into her side. Faith's eyes widen as she falls, the haft of the weapon smashing into her chin as the berzerker brings the weapon up to strike his next target. She drops like a stone, but he's already forgotten her in his quest for more blood.

 

He may have just cast down one of humanity's champions, but that doesn't stop the second, who's used the time Faith bought him well, even while the other traitors have hacked at him. As the Khornate chief turns to find more victims the hammer smashes into the side of his helm staving his skull in. Chunks of flesh, bone, the shattered armour – and plenty of blood – spray in a wide arc. Powered blades finish the enemy champion's escort, whose weapons may be effective against run-of-the-mill warriors; a Theta Sigma operational commander is anything but.

 

The apothecary lumbers to Faith's side, takes a swift look, and simply says “No.” Iskander makes a contemptuous noise and turns away...

 

+++++

 

Elsewhere, Ifan has fallen. Ancient Harson takes command. The fighting has been vicious, bitter, horrific. From a mighty host of angels few remain, although the enemy has been equally smashed. Wreckage is strewn over a wide area, of aircraft, tanks and men – lots of men.

Even a loyal knight that had managed to fight its way to their side is gone – although, in its death throes, it engulfed the traitor knight that slew it in its final detonation, causing a chain reaction that seared the area.

 

Now Harson, with scarcely half a dozen of his brothers still standing, faces off against the final foe, a mighty daemon prince. Luckily, there are similarly few Iron Warriors. As the gigantic mutant traitor leaps for him Harson channels all of his fury into his guns, sending shredding blasts at the monstrous enemy...


Edited by Brother Sefiel, 29 June 2017 - 03:51 PM.

Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#13
Brother Sefiel

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The foe she faced this time was none other than Khârn, and he was able to hit her with all but one attack (which didn't wound his squad-mate). Three failed saves were enough to take her down. One thing we did forget was that the Betrayer should have gained a reward for winning a challenge. On the other hand, I forgot some pretty important things too.

 

Meanwhile, the other battle was over, with success for the Imperial forces. Given the heat in the room, I felt that my ally would appreciate the opportunity to go early, especially with only three models left out of his 3500 points. Also, they were effectively a few turns ahead of us, what with me having to take photos (but, to be fair, I didn't stipulate that the battles were simultaneous in narrative terms).

 

Having said that, one of those three was a dread with a frag cannon that I could really have done with…

 

+++++

 

The saint dreams of death.

 

The voice has been telling her to stop. That she must leave, not go to the crater, not sacrifice herself to no purpose.

 

Breathing heavily, she struggles to the lip of the caldera. Before her is a pool of green filth; at the centre lies a lump of … something.

 

Taarna, if you pledge your life to me, I will save you.”

 

She slides down the inside of the crater, each metre like a hundred shards of broken glass ripping into her flesh. She stops several times to rest. She has no anaesthetic now. The voice becomes more shrill. She ignores it. In her mind she repeats three words, as a mantra: “The Emperor protects.”

 

No, Taarna.”

 

Two meters from the edge of the pool, and three from the squirming mass in the centre, she sets timers on the mining charges, to simultaneously detonate in three minutes.

 

You can still disarm them.”

She lays out the grenades carefully.

 

Taarna, No. Let me grant you some of my power.”

 

The countdown has reached two minutes. She stares at the obscene mass in the pool. It's the only time she's acknowledged its existence. If her expression betrays one feeling, it's tiredness.

“Taarna! No!”

 

She leans over the scum, placing the charges carefully on the surface of the daemon's cocoon. They're taped into a crevice to prevent them being shaken free.

 

No, Taarna. Stop...”

 

Looking down at the grenades, she selects two. At fifteen seconds she pulls the pin on a krak, ready to let it go at any moment. She nearly drops it in the pool, but just manages to save herself, clutching it to her chest, and activates the second.

 

She doesn't allow herself to think until she's thrown the grenades in the muck, ready to detonate a second after the charges. Images of her family, her sisters and birds flood her mind. They drown out whatever the thing in the pool is trying to shout at her.

The crater shakes and collapses in on itself as the charges detonate.

 

+++++

 

The medic holds up his hand. “Wait.” The inquisitorial helm turns at him. “She's… healing?” Iskander strides over, to witness the saint stir. A moment later she's on her feet, like a new woman. He's impressed. Although his own regenerative systems have repaired some of the damage to his own form, the punishment this slight woman has received is extraordinary, as is her recovery. He wonders whether the magi biologis he knows would try to vivisect her, and what the response would be...

"What are you waiting for?” she asks, as Isobel stands. “We have enemies to destroy.”

 

Shaking his head, he leads the charge at the nearby traitor Land Raider, furiously smashing at it. None of them manage to do more than superficial damage, despite the array of weapons they bring to bear. The vehicle retreats, firing into the company; eventually they destroy it, but not before several have fallen to its lascannon, those of the predators, and the guns of the traitor knight.

 

As they gather around the wreck, Forgemaster Hawking kicks at a graven image on a brass plate in the shattered chassis. “Protected by the infernal,” he spits.

 

Apparently the infernal is not enough in the face of concentrated loyalty to the Emperor.”

 

His com unit approximates laughter.

 

Meanwhile, the blare of a vox heralds the arrival of another knight – this time a loyalist machine, striding through the wreckage of the factorum behind them. It's armed with a similar cannon to those of the traitor, but it also has a huge fist, with which it points at its renegade counterpart. The chaos knight backs away.

 

Onwards,” she says, gesturing at the predators and knight.

 

Iskander shakes his head. “Illogical. Back off.”

She stares at him.“No respite. No fear. No mercy.”

 

These are values that he cannot argue with, but he gestures to the enemy vehicles.

 

Death is failure.”

“This will not be your end. I swear it.”

 

He shrugs, and they turn to the monstrosities ahead.

 

Running to another enemy vehicle, a crippled rhino, they disable it but lose a couple of men to the enemy fusillade in the process. The allied knight sprays the enemy walker with shells, but they flare harmlessly from force field that surrounds it. Its missiles destroy the helbrute that is now moving to intercept them from the right of the battlefield, however...


Edited by Brother Sefiel, 30 June 2017 - 06:58 PM.

Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#14
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Obviously, from a winning-the-game point of view, what I should have done was hide Celestine behind some cover and sent my knight and flyers after the opposition, possibly tempting them to come closer, but that wouldn't have made a very good finale for 7th, especially not one centred on a model with her reputation.

 

I'd been a bit surprised the opposition didn't end up with a Lord of Skulls this turn. It was something I'd been expecting – even wanting – to see. It turned out that he hadn't had enough points to include it in 3.5k. This left me in a bit of a quandary, as I had a trio of knights to bring on, but I dislike having very uneven points in superheavies as they can be over-dominant. In the end, I bit the bullet and assumed that my force was about equal to his without the other two knights; hence only bringing one of mine on.

 

Apparently the traitor knight was also the world's most resilient. Shot after shot from the flyers and my own knight hit, penetrated and was deflected by its ion shield. It may not have been the worst luck I've ever had, but it was critical to the battle. Maybe not having to put up with the Lord of Skulls was a good thing after all...

 

+++++

 

Precision fire targets the blackstars. The proud warriors of the Imperium are reduced to but two, Faith and Iskander, side by side. Sophia struggles to her feet, but there is blood on her lips, and her expression is ashen. The saint asks herself how this could happen. It simply should not be.

 

Nonetheless, she will never give up. She gestures grimly to the enemies. Iskander is already sprinting towards the knight, hammer swinging, as she and her companion leap for the remaining predators. These machines that have taken such a toll on her allies – she focusses her hatred on them, spraying them with holy fire, taking satisfaction in the cries of pain from within. Her fury is enough to shatter the tanks on its own, before Sophia can even prime a grenade. She grins across at her Gemini, victory achieved. But her friend looks past with horror. Turning, she sees the enemy knight casually swing one massive gun at Iskander while the other turns to them. Both spit death.

 

In the distance the marine is struck by dozens of shells at close range. The hammer is pummelled out of his grasp, the shield thrown aside by explosions. Then she catches her breath as Sophia is gone from her side, blasted back a dozen metres, shells raining on the ruined predators. She tries to use the chassis as some form of cover, but it's no use – the volume of fire is too heavy. Her right leg is torn from under her and she hits the ground, rolling onto her back, her breathing quick and shallow.
 

The last thing she sees is the daemonic mockery of a bird flying overhead, its modulated voice squawking in triumph, the vengeance of the infernal powers complete...


Edited by Brother Sefiel, 01 July 2017 - 10:59 AM.

Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

#15
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Oh dice. All I needed was 8, and Hammerman might have smote the knight. It was not to be, though. Admittedly, he would have needed to survive its attacks. Despite the fall of Celestine we played my final turn, and the storm eagle and my own knight – clearly incensed by the killing – took its opposite number down immediately. The heldrake survived, however.

So the game was over, and Celestine had been fully defeated for the first time. Not only that, but the mighty hammerman, Khârn the Betrayer, and a pretty tough daemon prince had also fallen. A momentous way to end 7th. It's fair to say that the result might have been somewhat different if I hadn't suggested that my ally leave, though...

 

I checked the points value of my force when I returned home. I had pretty much exactly 2900, a full 600 down on my opponent! That being the case, I have absolutely no shame in posting this coda:

 

+++++

 

Vindication

 

Taarna awakens to the sight of two of her sisters, amazed. She reaches up And holds the nearest, crying like a child. Her wounds have healed, and she feels no pain. Looking around the collapsed crater she can see no sign of the scum that had filled it, nothing of the foulness that had been here. The newcomers wonder where her weapons and armour are. She can't respond, still weeping with joy.

 

These more senior sisters, Isobel and Sophia, tell her that they followed her trail. Through tears she looks at them quizzically. “The trail of the dead.” Apparently not only those that she slew, but many other raiders, several of whom had been excruciated. Perhaps they recovered from whatever madness took them, and they realised what they had done; many had died at their own hands.

 

Before that, though, most of those killed in the city had risen again as the undead – a reason it had taken so long for the sisters to secure the settlement and begin their search for her. Luckily the sororitas were able to cleanse the monsters before they could slaughter the rest of the inhabitants. Zombies may be immensely fearsome to ordinary Imperial citizens – but sisters are not ordinary, and neither are their holy bolters, which cut them down easily enough. And whatever sickness had caused the dead to rise was not contagious, at least to them – possibly a matter of their faith.

 

Interestingly, those who had committed suicide had not returned as undead. Perhaps they had in some way cleansed themselves through their acts of contrition?

 

When ready to stand the first thing she notices is the pteron, watching over the area from a nearby crag. Sophia says that it has been waiting to eat her, and readies her pistol, but Taarna shakes her head, bursting into tears again. It turns to look straight at her before diving from the rocks and banking, flying away, squawking in triumph. She recovers her composure, and blows it a kiss. And then begins the long journey home.

 

At first, when the party returns to their shrine, the young warrior's written account is regarded with some suspicion – especially the intervention of the pteron. However, the truth of Taarna's trial in the barbarian camp is clear, and such phenomenal resilience, faith and skill at arms are given recognition.

 

During the next mass, all doubts evaporate. The order has brought back a gift from one of the great mining houses, excavated from the skeletal ruin of an ancient starship, buried for millennia, an offering for the rites they performed while away from the shrine. It was some form of sarcophagus, the fleur-de-lys embossed on in the upper surface. As Taarna approaches the altar to receive the respect of her sisters, there's an audible click and the coffin opens, revealing the ancient remains, perhaps those of one of the leaders of the order that founded the shrine they now stand in, lost in time.

 

But the body is not the only object within. The sword contained in the casket is of a quality unseen on Taarakia. The golden armour, too, a work of art from the long past, the rosarius in the form of a star mounted on the backpack. The assembled order is stunned; this is perhaps the greatest sign the Emperor could have sent. The abbess declares that there can only be one bearer of these gifts from the past, a true living saint. Turning to Taarna, she grants her a new name: Faith; she will be known for her greatest virtue.

Wherever she goes she brings hope to the righteous, succour to the weak, and absolute, implacable hatred to the enemies of mankind. In private moments, however, between prayers she offers her blessings to birds, the symbols of her Emperor…

 

+++++

 

Resurgam

 

Engines scream as the storm eagle pursues the heldrake into the heavens. Meanwhile, on the ground, three figures approach. Two are marines on foot, covering the shattered ground with heavy weapons. The third is a mighty ancient. All wear the colours of the Blood Angels.

 

Venerable Brother Harson gazes at the broken saint through electronic eyes. He sends his brethren in her direction, and, at speed, they move to ensure the area is clear. When they're satisfied that none of the enemy are alive they attempt to revive Faith's shattered body. One looks up at the dreadnought, and sadly shakes his head...

 

We were too late.” Harson's vox-unit hisses. “We failed her.”

Meanwhile, the two other warriors leave the corpse and search for survivors among the ruination. The knight strides over, kicking aside the shattered hulks of predators. A comm-blurt reaches Harson's internal receiver.

“They fought well. I knew that we would prevail, but whatever sorcery protected that traitor...” he gestures at the ruined renegade knight, “lasted long enough to lay her low before failing.”

 

I would rather I could hear what happened from her own lips.” The dreadnought moves away from the corpse to face the larger machine. “My brothers are still here because of her. We wished to return the favour.”

“Some stories have no happy ending.” The knight says blandly. “The day is ours, and others may yet live...” It gestures to the landing zone where the three surviving drop pods stand as testament to the deeds of their heroic cargo, and both machines move off.

Neither notices a small avian creature, much like an old Terran dove, fluttering down from clouds. Gliding gently to where Faith's corpse lays, now unattended, the bird calls out and cocks its head to one side; a bizarrely human gesture. It sings as it approaches the body.

 

As if in response, three of the fingers on the Saint's left hand twitch...


Things are not always as they seem. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.




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