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A Broken Throne - Legio II - The Lightning Bearers


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#276
bluntblade

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Ist Legion Praetor
Kezo Damate
Marshal of the Tenth Maniple

Spoiler


Sentinel Damate was one of several Ist Legion praetors to succeed a fallen superior during the Koloss Syntheticide. He assumed command of the Tenth during the frenetic battle of Djeten, holding his Maniple together in the face of several counterattacks by the Koloss AI’s lethal constructs. From that point his ascent was rapid, and he won further honours in the Ark Reach campaign, earning no small praise from the Dune Serpents and Halcyon Wardens he fought beside. However, like many of his fellows he struggled to come to terms with the Emperor’s perceived passing over of his Primarch. It can be surmised that Icarion found it easy to sway Damate to his rebellion, and fragmentary sources implicate him in corrupting Malis of the Halcyon Wardens.

After Raiden Athrawes, Damate was the most senior Marshal present in the Madrigal system on the Day of Revelation, commanding the Goliath-class battleship Fury of the First Son. Still stationed aboard this vessel, he was the first to give chase when Pyrrhicles defied Icarion. In the pursuit, Damate saw to the capture or destruction of several Vth Legion vessels, working in tandem with the turncoat Halcyon Wardens led by Malis and putting the Loyalists to the sword. However, Damate would not join Athrawes’ departure from the system, instead rendezvousing with the larger fleet which Susanoo Empyon was already gathering at Kurryth. The Tenth Maniple and their auxiliary forces were now required for outright conquest, rather than their intended escort mission to Terra.

Damate wears a suit of Akira-subtype Mk IV power armour, heavily artificered and newly repainted in the storm-grey of the renamed Harbingers. The Ist served as a test-bed for every mark of power armour until the advent of Mk V and VI, which other Legions were much more predisposed towards using. As such, distinctive sub-patterns were commonplace among the Harbingers, and their artificers became expert in developing advanced systems for their suits. Damate’s power sword likewise conforms to the idiosyncrasies of his Legion, while for a firearm he bears a volkite charger of the kind that remained common among the Harbingers.


Edited by bluntblade, 12 November 2019 - 10:22 PM.

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#277
Athrawes

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@Blunt, Griff, Simison: you guys have done well by the spirit of the Lightning Bearers/Harbingers. I've really enjoyed reading through your work on them on this thread and throughout the BotL forum. Thank you for taking such good care of them.

 

I've been itching to get back into 30k, after a long hiatus, and that is largely because of your work here. 

 

I do have one little point of correction, that has amusingly snuck into the lore of the Harbingers. 

 

I was reading in another thread that someone wanted to write about a conversation between primarchs on what the symbolism of the legions armor color was and this lead to a small problem. 

 

Their armor has always been grey, not white.

 

in a great majority of the lore I've read for this universe, the Lightning bearers are described as having white armor.

 

I think it started with Algrim whitefangs profiles of them years ago. The fan work he had created for them showed them in white armor. I had asked him to correct them back then when he created them on his own for my project log but he never really did, and so It seems that they have crept from grey to white. 

 

Now this isn't the biggest deal but there was symbolism behind their color scheme that was lost. 

 

They were meant to have kept the same grey they wore during the unification wars, which was described in book 1 betrayal as "stormcloud grey" 

 

When Icarion took over and named them the Lightning Bearers, he altered their heraldry by painting their pauldrons black to represent the heavens into which they would rise.  His symbol the "storm-star" was meant to represent their place as a guiding beacon in the heavens/light in the dark, and so was adopted as their new legion symbol. 

 

However, he decided to keep their base grey armor, to both honor their acts during the unification wars and to show that their role as the Emperors liberators had not changed. 

 

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Edited by Athrawes, 14 April 2019 - 10:34 PM.

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#278
simison

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Oops. I remember you mentioning the grey when renaming the LB to the Harbingers, and I guess I misunderstood (along with everyone else). Hmm, I'm not sure if we can fix that one. 


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#279
Kelborn

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Nice to have you back, Athrawes.

Maybe we can keep the change of colors as a sign of their downfall.

The heavinly white darkens into a stormgrey.

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#280
bluntblade

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Amazing, the things we miss. That said, thanks for your words, I'd be mortified if we'd taken them in the wrong direction.

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#281
simison

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Any thoughts about the recent Second Son posts? Not sure if they are of good quality or not.


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#282
bluntblade

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A bit too cheery and verbose for the Lightning Bearers, I'd say.

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#283
simison

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Checked with Athrawes about the character, and he says he's on target. Was more concerned if the writing structure looked bad. 


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#284
simison

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Question, are the Rakurai composed of both genders?


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#285
bluntblade

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They could be, never thought about it

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#286
simison

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They could be, never thought about it

 

I want to introduce a concept to you: Onna-bugeisha. Noblewoman who had been trained in military arts to serve as an emergency reserve, especially to defend the home. I'd like to incorporate them, but I'm not sure how. I don't know if we want to add them somehow to the Rakurai (Solar-Auxilia-pattern) or the Ashigaru (Imperial-Army-pattern) units. 

 

You have any reactions?


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#287
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Tbh, that would only really work in terms of militia, rather than the crusading armies.
Also I'd stay clear of Ashigaru, as Yamatar has the Ashigat.

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#288
simison

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Tbh, that would only really work in terms of militia, rather than the crusading armies.
Also I'd stay clear of Ashigaru, as Yamatar has the Ashigat.

 

It could be as simple as keeping the name for an elite, all-female unit as well. We don't have to maintain a direct connection between the two.

 

Does Madrigal have anything less than the Rakurai?


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#289
bluntblade

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Nope. I figure that the soldiers of a Legion homeworld are going to be trained to Cadian standards in any case.


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#290
simison

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In which case, would it be better to feature the Onna within the Rakurai, just the homeworld regiments, or saved for later?


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#291
bluntblade

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within, I think - assuming there's really a division


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#292
simison

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Is Muniza a psyker?


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#293
bluntblade

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Was. It's complicated

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#294
simison

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Was. It's complicated

 

 

*glances at Second Son*

 

Can I have a full run-down?


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#295
bluntblade

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I'm trying to remember

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#296
bluntblade

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I think there was Dark Eldar torture-tech involved.

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#297
simison

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Can you at least tell me when he lost his powers and what kind of powers he had?


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#298
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He had the standard precognition and lost it about 50 years before Qarith.

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#299
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The Coming Storm
  As has been noted in other works, when the Insurrection ravaged the Imperium, few forces were not divided in some way. In the case of the Harbingers, that split was a small one, with only a few Lightning Bearers retaining their loyalty to the Emperor on the Day of Revelation. For once Icarion had chosen his course, he would work hard to ensure the loyalty of his own legion when he finally declared his intentions to the galaxy. It is only through perusing past battle records and piecing together the evidence that it is now known that the greatest potential resistance to Icarion's ambitions lay with the Praxis. 
 
  While they certainly served Icarion well, these Lightning Bearers represented a heritage which preceded Icarion’s command. This made them a potential rallying point for those who would defy the Primarch, and they had demonstrated a certain readiness to question his writ. Thus, Icarion deemed the culling of the Praxis necessary for his schemes. This extermination, along with that of other “unreliables” would take place on a hundred battlefields. These warriors would find themselves cut off from support or ambushed in dark hallways. It was planned so meticulously by Icarion and his closest lieutenants that at the time, most of the rank and file had no idea that they were betraying their brothers. At other times, potential holdouts were simply deployed to more dangerous warzones to be ground down by attrition.
 
  To outside observers, it seemed that the Lightning Bearers were wracked by frustration, leading them to choose more arduous battles. A xenocide operation conducted in the Conota System seemed of a piece with this trends. Within this system, the largest colony of Rak'gol yet known was discovered, with a few xenobiologists theorizing that it may very well be the species' home system. It fell to the Lightning Bearers to cleanse this region of the nightmarish xenos. By now the vile creatures' rapacity was well-known, and their destruction was marked as a priority by the Warmaster himself. 
 
  The Stormborn, while engaged in his own campaign, quickly assembled a force from his nearest expeditionary fleets for this task. It was assumed at the time that the decision was determined by simple practicality, but records now show that each fleet contained a large contingent of Praxis and were following recent orders from their Primarch, ensuring that they were the nearest at the time of the Rak'gol discovery. What did arouse a few questions were Icarion's choices for the operational commanders. 
 
  Their capability was undoubted; Marshal Antru Ri-an was as old as the legion itself. Possessing a shrewd, calculating mind and an adamantium will, he had fought across a thousand battlefields and slain the champions of a hundred alien races. Yet he was better-known for his independent streak, one of the few Marshals to openly challenge his Primarch on several decisions. Furthermore, as a member of the Praxis, he was a powerful psyker, but he possessed no gift of divination. Instead, he had devoted his centuries of life to mastering all forms of telepathy to the point where it was rumoured that he was able to force an enemy to do his bidding so long as he said a certain phrase. It was a powerful tool against renegade humans, Orks, and other humanoid races; it was unknown if it would have any effect on the Rak'gol. Still, his willingness to object to his master's plans should not be mistaken for disloyalty. When the order came, Marshal Ri-an did not hesitate and accepted a shared command. 
 
  The other commander was no surprise whatsoever; Susanoo Empyon. Although technically the two Marshals stood at the same rank, it was well understood that as commander of the First Maniple, Emoyon tacitly ranked above Antru, who belonged to the Fifth. Moverover, Susanoo had always held a great deal of favour with Icarion, and his deeds were known the length of the Imperium. Some suspected that this joint command was a chastisement of Empyon for the recent losses at Farfallen. Empyon himself made no comment on the command structure and Ri-an, whose seniority had led many of his fellows to defer to him at one time or another, never pressed the issue. 
 
  While not particularly cordial, the two senior Marshals soon began drawing up battle plans to exterminate the xenos. They had been given five Maniples to command besides their own, along with substantial auxiliary elements. Early auspex scans of their targets had been unable to provide detailed information, due to incredibly high amounts of radioactivity from the Rak'gol void assets. What was known was that there were three orbital stations surrounding the planet, in addition to an unknown number of capital ships. 
 
  If the planet was to be cleansed, the three stations had to be eliminated. Consulting with Empyon, Ri-an determined to divide his task force into four battalion-strength detachments. He would lead the attack on one structure and Seventeenth Marshal Ayamo another, delegating Kensun of the Forty-Second to assault the remaining station. The three forces would approach each battle station, moving swiftly to avoid the crude but vicious defences, and draw away any remaining Rak'gol warships once the boarding parties were safely aboard. The Rak’gol were still largely unknown at this time, and Icarion sought as much information on them as could be found. Susanoo's ships would remain in reserve to reinforce as needed. Fittingly, he commanded the fleet's heaviest warships, which would deal the killing blow against the orbital stations once the prior objectives were accomplished. 
 
  When Ri-an gave the order, the Lightning Bearers invaded. As they neared, attempts were continually made to scan the void structures to glean more accurate information. All such attempts proved fruitless. The sheer amount of radiation emitted by the Rak'gol vessels created thick “clouds” that the auspices could not penetrate. Soon that same atomic energy was turned upon the approaching Imperial warships as crude beams of nuclear fire struck out from the orbital stations. Howler cannons and Roarer beams added to the defensive deluge, cracking apart Lighting Bearer vessels through their sheer volume of fire. Although worthy Librarians in their own right, the Praxis contingents died as easily as any Space Marine when explosions ripped through the decks or when sucked out into the cold void of space. Eager to close the distance and allow the psykers a chance to practice their warcraft, Ri-an ordered the fleet's engines set to full burn. 
 
  His fleet's own guns were hardly idle in this time, and while the Rak'gol meted out losses, their vessels were annihilated by the Ist Legion ships. Empyon, his ships ringing the alien fleet while Ri-an thrust in close, made sport of it. The Lightning Bearers were among the finest naval fighters in the Galaxy, and cut through the barbaric xenos fleet with contemptuous grace, stripping the stations of their protectors. The moment Ri'an's ships came into close range, hundreds of boarding torpedoes launched, screened expertly by interceptor wings and las-volleys. Thousands of Lightning Bearers boarded and fought their way deep into the installations. Although the high radiation levels should have killed any unprotected human, it had been documented that the Rak'gol did take human prisoners, suggesting that they were preserved in some manner. 
 
According to Empyon, there were indeed human prisoners within the orbital stations. From his flagship, he provided detailed instructions to reach them, apparent proof of his divinations. Ri-an was in no position to query these claims; while he kept seers among his retinue, they were occupied with fighting. However, Empyon had also warned that the slightest deviation from his instructions would ensure that no Space Marine would be able to exit the superstructure before the radiation overwhelmed their armour seals. Confident in his brothers' capabilities, the Fifth Sentinel proceeded with the assault. 
 
What happened next is debated to this day. What is known is that while the stations were destroyed and the Rak'gol perished in the tens of thousands, the blood price was high, far higher than anticipated. Only a third of the six thousand Legionaries who boarded the orbital stations survived the battle - among them three praetors and most of their lieutenants. The Praxis contingent was almost entirely wiped out. Very little detail emerged, but Icarion let it be known that the Purge of Conota was the worst military disaster ever suffered by the Lightning Bearers. Neither the Council of Terra or his own brothers told more than the basic facts.
 
  The Rak’gol had numbered far in excess of what the Lightning Bearers had foreseen, and launched an ambush with swarms of fighter craft that kept the rest of the Legion force from reaching their kinsmen. This was attributed to the presence of psykers among the xenos. Matters worsened when Ayamo’s station suffered a reactor meltdown, with only Captain Yamon’s company and a handful of squads escaping. Fighting his way back within range, Susanoo delayed until five minutes after the point where it was estimated the boarders’ protection against the radiation would fail. Then he began bombarding the remaining stations, reducing them to dust. Extra care was taken to ensure that none of the stations fell out of orbit onto the planet, Conota Prime, for it was a world rich in natural beauty besides its material resources. 
 
  Why the Rak'gol never set foot on the planet remains a mystery. Once the alien fleet and stations were neutralized, Icarion convened the Council of Sentinels, ostensibly to review the debacle and ensure nothing like it or the prior setbacks recurred. Of particular debate was how much of the blame should fall upon Empyon. Some pointed to his advice as the root of the disaster, others argued that Ri-anhad been too reckless, and a few argued that the two bore equal blame. It was the last group that Icarion ultimately sided with, though he emphasised that he respected his brother's desire to save the human captives as quickly as possible. Susanoo was officially reprimanded, but suffered no other consequence. The scale of the victory, it seemed, balanced the losses.
 
One final mystery has perplexed all the remembrancers and military scholars who have studied the incident. It is merely a rumour, carried by a mere handful of Legionaries who would ultimately keep their oaths to the Emperor, but strange enough to have made its way to other Legions despite the silence which largely surrounded the battle. In the immediate aftermath of the battle, it later emerged, a Lightning Bearers patrol ship discovered a Rak'gol escape pod from the largest of the orbital stations, the same one upon which Antru died. Within the pod was a Rak'gol Carver, young and severely injured. 
 
Upon seeing the Lightning Bearers, the Rak'gol had held up a piece of adamantium, exclaiming in a voice which almost defeated the Astartes' ability to understand it, "Warn the Emperor!" This in itself is difficult to believe, for the Rak’gol have not been observed to possess a true language of their own, let alone master human speech. Before the Lightning Bearers could respond to this profound shock, the xenos rallied. It dropped the shard of metal and attacked, dying in a moment before it could do harm. As confounding as the Carver's behaviour was, the adamantium proved to be yet more of a puzzle. It was extremely weathered and had suffered recent damage, perhaps during the Carver's escape. 
 
Yet, marred as it was, portions of an emblem and a word or name could still be seen, and more perplexingly still, bore striking resemblance to a component of Astartes power armour. A human face was embossed upon it along with a 'Sigma' character. Beneath the symbol, a few letters remained amid the abrasion: "SU RA N". The piece was tested and determined to be over eight millennia old, adding another layer to the riddle. All efforts to search the Rak'gol wreckage for more pieces such as this failed. Attempts to substantiate the account with Empyon and his company failed, as the Marshal refused to be reminisce about the blunder.
 
Or at least, the blunder that all took it to be at this time. During the Insurrection, captured data-logs showed no sign of the psychic interference and ambushes Empyon had blamed for the fiasco. Vox-traffic suggests that Yamon had failed to support a number of other companies during the attack, leading to suspicion that he had acted in someway to sabotage the reactor. It is now overwhelmingly believed that Icarion and Empyon orchestrated the entire affair to dispose of Ri-an, Ayamo and Kensun and their lieutenants - and other engagements, such as Farfallen, appear to be part of the same scheme. When the depleted Maniples were reorganised, they came under the command of officers whose loyalty was to their Primarch first and foremost, with Yamon assuming command of the Seventeenth. By the time Icarion showed his true colours, the Fifth, Seventeenth and Forty-Second were shackled completely to his will, and would be at the forefront of the Expansion Wars.

Edited by bluntblade, 12 November 2019 - 10:42 PM.

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#300
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The Silencing of the Eternal Dirge
Even in the waning decades of the Unification Wars, there remained powers on Terra steeped in the darkness of Old Night. One such was the Cult of Rapture, a society of human blood mages and gene-grotesques who revelled in the ritualised slaughter of millions. Over centuries the Cult subjugated much of the Terra's far south from the shadowed land of Veregav, enslaving entire generations of that once prosperous region. The Cult was comprised of more than the petty tyrants who were all too common across Terra at that time. They were instead an organised religion, exulting in the abhorrent mutations of the unbound psyker and worshipping dark and ancient false gods.
 
Each day, hundreds of innocents were sacrificed to feed the bottomless hunger of their warlocks, creating in the process a great psychic malignancy. Wide-reaching enough to afflict the entire region, it was known as the Eternal Dirge, a reality-bending affront to the natural order of the universe, both twisting the perception of those enslaved and guiding those who abased themselves to the abhorrent cult. Wherever the Cult’s grotesques were lead by the Dirge, a grisly pogrom was enacted to cull hundreds in order to strengthen their enclave and sustain the song which fuelled them.
 
Until the coming of the Emperor.
 
As Unity slowly began to encompass Terra, the Emperor turned his attention to the Crystal Fortress of Veregav, the seat of the Cult's ritualised power. Every effort of the Emperor’s mortal soldiers and gene-crafted thunder warriors to pacify the polar region had met with disaster. More often than not, entire mortal armies were enthralled by the Dirge and turned back to cruelly assail their fellows. Thus had the Cult of Veregav held out against such foes as the Pan-Pacific Empire and terrorised the lesser polities on its borders. But the newborn Imperium was yet to unleash its newest weapon against the witches.
 
The Emperor had foreseen the perils of Warpcraft as a threat to His designs and so, rather than call upon the other Legions already on campaign nearby, He turned to the 1st Legion. While all Space Marines had been crafted to serve as the Emperor’s greatest warriors, the Ist Legion's particular talents and skills meant that of the Legions at operational strength, they would be best-suited to this battle. While it is true that many Legions contained warriors proficient in the use of psychic powers, indeed some Legions where psychic power was already relatively common, no Legion shared the innate and widespread psychic proficiency that became manifest within the First. The Pariah Legions, meanwhile, lacked the strength to endure such an onerous campaign, either due to recent losses or stunted growth.
 
At the time, the Legion comprised of sixteen Chapters, and five of these would be deployed by the Emperor's command to eliminate this metaphysical threat. They and they alone would challenge the baleful might of Veregav. To counter the cult's ability to enthral its enemies, each Lightning Bearer was given a jewel to wear. Called a tama, these spherical crystals were constructed from a rare kind of rose quartz that was naturally sensitive to the Warp's touch. Any Lightning Bearer who failed to resist the Dirge would have some forewarning; their tama would darken with corruption. Additionally, the day before the planned invasion was entirely spent in meditation, honing their mental defences to perfection.
 
The First Legion attacked with a speed that their enemies took for recklessness. Overconfident in the Eternal Dirge's ability to corrupt their enemies, the six Divines neglected their defences. Instead of amassing their might to overwhelm the invaders, they sent only small mobs led by psykers of lesser power and favor within the cult. These forces were merely to slow down the Lightning Bearers' advance long enough for the song to take hold of their souls. Although zealous in their twisted faith, the cultists died quickly in these skirmishes, while their psykers found themselves outmatched by the psychic strength of the First. 
 
With battlefield casualties light the Legion Master, Korvost Sahaal, focused his attention on the spiritual fortitude of his marines. While there was no escaping the Eternal Dirge's siren call, most of the Lightning Bearers resisted its insidious effects. The few who were threatened by its touch were quickly evacuated outside of the Dirge's range to recover and to reinforce the legion later. Thus, three days passed in this manner as the Emperor's chosen Legion steadily made their way to the cult's capital, their casualties negligible. It was only on the fourth day that the Divines truly became alert to the blade approaching their throats. Enraged by the Lightning Bearers' perseverance, the Divines gathered their strength and plotted to crush the Imperials between a dual flanking attack with two Divines leading the assaults. 
 
It was then that the First Legion revealed their hidden weapon: divination. While able to perform most of the psychic disciplines, even in this early era, the First's battle-psykers naturally gravitated to sight beyond sight. Before the Divines had planned their retribution, Sahaal was already aware of their course. To counter the approaching cultist assault, Sahaal completely went against standard military doctrine and divided his heavily-outnumbered force into three smaller detachments. 
 
The northern strike force under Second Master Zso Ise, moving in tanks and assault bikes, would counter the Divine known as Fastus. Divine Fastus was an arrogant man who advanced his forces without care, already dreaming of his newest victory over the Emperor's forces. Captain Ise set up a series of brilliant ambushes that crippled the cult army, even though the Legionnaires were outnumbered by over a hundred to one. The enemy army suffered further as Fastus, bewildered and enraged, enacted cruel executions of his own officer corps, blaming them for his failures. 
 
To the south, Fourth Master Steban Tasater would challenge Divine Gula's army. Unlike the haughty Fastus, Gula chose a more cautious approach, wary of the Legion's progress. Recognising that his opponent would not be overcome by simple surprise, Tasater and his warriors committed to a battle of rapid manoeuvres, targeting the cult's psyker contingent and working to defeat the cultists in detail. Despite losing a sixth of his men, Captain Tasater took far more lives in return and paralysed Gula's army as the Divine foolishly held position, trying in vain to pin down the attackers. Thus weakened, the cultists fell under a crushing assault from Ise on their flanks.
 
Finally, Sahaal took the smallest command. Loading his companies into a wing of Warhawk-class Stormbirds and handing over the rest of the First Chapter to Ise's command, Sahaal made his most dangerous move: an aerial assault against the Crystal Fortress. Never dreaming of an attack comprised of so little, the remaining Divines were caught completely off-guard when the handful of gunships and fighter craft entered their airspace. With surprise secured by the First Legion, Sahaal opened fire on the Divines' level of the fortress, clearing a landing zone before he and his legionnaires stormed the palace. Unable to rally more cultists to their side, the four Divines and their bodyguards died quickly.
 
With the physical head of the cult dead, Sahaal turned his attention to his true target: the Dirge, which lingered in the bloodstained stones of Veregav. Here the greatest peril would be found. Standing at the source, the Dirge played havoc with Sahaal's warriors as the first of them began to succumb to its power. With not enough time to safely evacuate, Sahaal and his warriors were forced to grant the Emperor's Peace to each warrior who failed to maintain their mental defences, even as he sought to end the Dirge itself. The legionaries had brought a small supply of meltabombs and attached these weapons to the fortress' load-bearing pillars. All the while, the small strike force shrinking as Astartes were overwhelmed by the corruption of the Dirge. When the last bomb was deployed, Sahaal gathered his survivors and returned to their Stormbirds. Only when they were safely above ground did Sahaal detonated the charges. 
 
Devastating explosions ripped through the Crystal Fortress, causing it to collapse into itself. As the dust settled, the infernal Dirge was finally silenced. All across the continent, the cult died in chaos as men and women were freed from its evil and resisted the diehard cultists. The twin armies of Divine Fastus and Divine Gula disintegrated when the Dirge ceased, both Divines savagely murdered by their own men before the two armies scattered to the four winds. Returning to his Legion with only nine marines from the strike force, Korvost Sahaal was hailed as the slayer of witches and idolators.

Edited by bluntblade, 12 November 2019 - 10:14 PM.

Humble scrivener - alternate Episode IX attempt now complete!

 

Caretaker of the Lightning Bearers and member of the Broken Throne alt-Heresy project





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