Part 3 of the ongoing Saga of the Lord Emperor League campaign, a 1K Point League at my FLGS.
Previous games I've played in the series, and other information about the Campaign, can be found here:
To describe the weather as dreary would have been a grave understatement. Though the mists had appeared quite suddenly, the density of the fog had more in common with a plasteel bulkhead than the water vapor it was supposed to be made of. As the Dreadnoughts of Task Force Valdosta cautiously advanced through the soup, even their advanced sensors were hard pressed to get through the worst of it. Chaplain Dreadnought Valdosta was spending a disproportionate amount of his processing power just trying to keep the gaps in their patrol line from expanding. Communications were in even worse shape, as the fog reduced their effective range considerably. Scout Squad Kiko, normally sent far forward to recon ahead of the Dreadnought Lines, was forced to stay much closer than they would have preferred just to maintain radio contact. Chaplain Valdosta couldn’t help but think that this was an altogether terrible situation for any fighting force to be in.
As if on cue Squad Kiko felt, as much as heard, an incredible rumble approaching. With the opaque weather stifling even their gene-enhanced senses, the Scouts were hard pressed to locate the approaching force. It wasn’t until a massive Walker rushed past and nearly knocked over the tower they had been observing from that they were able to attempt to identify the threat. As the Knight, with the barely observable designation of “Crime”, and an escort of hulking bikes flew past their position, Squad Kiko attempted to issue a warning to the rest of Task Force Valdosta. The warning would not come in time.
The first inkling of trouble that the bulk of Task Force Valdosta received was the unmistakable sound of incoming fire. Venerable Ancient Repartida barely had time to register the assault before the impacts began to rock his chassis. The massive shells from the Avenger Gatling Cannon demolished the ruins around him just in time for the Stormspear Rockets and Battle Cannon Shells to land. The Dreadnoughts of the Angry Goats are well known for their resiliency, but even they can’t ignore direct impacts from 120mm rounds. Though the Ancient war machine was not fully destroyed, his systems were damaged enough to force a full system shutdown to avoid a core explosion and he would not be battle worthy again without some extensive repairs.
Dealings with Knights that the Angry Goats chapter had come across previously had been far from amicable. These consistently violent meetings had soured the entire Chapter’s opinions of what they now considered “rogue elements”. And as this encounter once again began with an unprovoked attack from what should have been an ally, it only proved their distain well founded. With a rage born of centuries of battle, Valdosta ordered his forces to advance. Unfortunately, the Dreadnoughts had become separated in the fog. And either by luck or by design, it seemed like Crime and his Biker escorts had wedged themselves right into that gap. And with Repartida already disabled, what should have been an ideal cross-fire scenario instead turned into a desperate sprint for Task Force Valdosta to reconnect their forces. But these ancient warrior were far from defenseless even when isolated, and their return fire was swift. In a cold and calculated volley of vengeance, Venerable Ancient Orobica fired his Lascannons and Autocannons at the towering Knight. Though several hits connected and caused damage, it was far from enough to slow Crime down. The two Contemptor Dreadnoughts, Saanen and Pyrenean, as well as Chaplain Valdosta all advanced towards the Knight from opposite sides with their respective Assault Cannons and Bolters spraying the Bikers around the Knight’s feet. But between the dense fog and tightly packed ruins, the shots had no noticeable effect.
Seeing the potential for his forces to be surrounded, Rune Priest Gudrun ordered a fighting withdrawal to keep his forces away from the running Dreadnoughts. As he gave the order, his eyes blazed and small series of bright blue energy blasts flew from his Rune Staff at the fast approaching Contemptor Dreadnought Pyrenean, scorching the Ancient’s armor. This was just the reveal that Squad Kiko had been waiting for in the dense fog. Upon seeing the glow, the Scouts let rip with a volley from their Sniper Rifles. But as the rounds flew down towards the Bikers, the Fog seemed to swallow them and the impacts went unnoticed by the Rune Priest. What didn’t go unnoticed, however, was the Scouts fire base. Their failed volley was revealing enough that the keen senses of a pack of Grey Hunters that had been lying in wait were able to zero in on their position. And under a hail of Bolter Fire and roar of Chainswords, these Space Wolves sprung from their cover and charged into the Scouts. What happened in that melee was best left to the fog.
Angered at the damage his mighty war machine had suffered, Crime unleashed his full volley of shots at the Venerable Dreadnought Orobica. This time, however, the blasted out ruins surrounding the ancient Dreadnought held strong and only some of the impressive rain of rounds found their mark. Thinking the Knight momentarily distracted, Pyrenean saw his opening and dashed towards the massive walker. But with a speed that defied his massive frame, Crime swung his guns around at the onrushing Dreadnought. Though his shots largely went wide, enough connected that the Pyrenean was severely hampered as he drew close. But his still functioning Fist immediately slammed into the walker ripping massive chunks of armor and machinery from the Knight. Seeing their fellow Ancient running into battle, the rest of the Dreadnoughts opened fire in support. But for fear of hitting their comrade, only a small amount of shots found their mark. But the combined damage was starting to add up, and the giant Knight was starting to slow.
With the allied Knight starting to take significant damage, Gudrun again pulled his forces farther from the Dreadnoughts. And with another warp-fueled attack he tried to end the assault of the nearest, nearly crippled, Contemptor. But luckily for Pyrenean, his ancient frame withstood the blast and he continued on. The Ancients Saanen and Orobica were less fortunate as the Knight split his fire between them. Though they were both still functional, they each suffered serious damage and were slowed in their assault. But no son of Ferrus Manus would let something as simple as being nearly destroyed deter them. Both Saanen and Pyrenean charged into the screening Wolf Guard Bikers, with Techmarine Surati sprinting behind desperately trying to repair what damage he could. Though their movements were sluggish, their sheer strength proved formidable and 3 of the bikers fell to their onslaught.
Seeing his brothers fall enraged the Rune Priest, and he struck out at Saanen with his force-charged staff causing some serious damage before he once again pulled his forces away from the Angry Goats. Seeing the immense damage that the remaining Dreadnoughts had suffered, Crime once again split his fire between Pyrenean and Orobica. This time, the already stricken frames of both walkers proved unable to withstand the barrage. They both collapsed from the sustained damage and shut down before their cores could overload.
Centuries of pent-up hate for Knights in general, and more than enough built up hate from the current battle, drove Chaplain Valdosta and the severely injured Contemptor Saanen towards the Knight again. But while Valdosta was still too far away from the retreating Knight to get to grips with him, he combined his firepower with Saanen’s to cause some additional damage to the near-crippled Knight. And though his Ion Shields had collapsed by this point, the smoking Knight was still far from defenseless. He was quickly able to prove this as Saanen recklessly charged straight towards the Knight. Even with his targeting sensors severely damaged, it’s no chore to send death raining onto a 15 foot tall war machine running in a straight line directly towards you. And Crime did exactly that.
The blast that disabled Saanen, combined with every drop of small arms fire that the remaining Wolves could muster, was enough to send even the well armored Techmarine Surati to the ground. With all of his other Battle Brothers fallen and disabled, Valdosta roared in righteous defiance. He unleashed withering barrage of Assault Cannon fire at the limping Knight as he charged directly towards the remaining Wolves. Crime, it seems, would be punished this day as the Knight finally fell to the Angry Goats assault. In his frustrated fury, Valdosta crushed another of the remaining Wolf Guard in his massive fist.
Seeing the carnage before him on the battlefield, Gudrun knew he would have quite a glorious tale to tell. And to make sure he would be around to tell it, he signaled his remaining forces to withdraw. But before he could get to speed, Valdosta sprinted forward and was able to take one final swing at the Rune Priest. Though Gudrun’s armor absorbed the worst of the impact, a sizable chunk of his flesh was now slowly sliding from the claws of the Chaplain Dreadnought’s massive power fist. The Rune Priest would have his glorious tale of victory, but also quite a massive scar to remind him of how close a thing it had been.
As the Rune Priest and his forces departed with songs of victory carrying on the wind, the massive wall of fog seemed to follow them away. With his sensors suddenly unhindered, Chaplain Valdosta ran over to check on his fallen Techmarine. Surati, wounded or not, was still the best hope that Task Force Valdosta had to survive until relief could arrive. And though the Wolves had withdrawn, Valdosta knew this was not a victory. He had failed to bring the massive Knight to battle, and his forces had been decimated as a result. His entire Chapter loathed weakness in any form, and the Chapter Master would not look favorably on this failure. The road to redemption for Task Force Valdosta would be an arduous one.