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IL XIII - Eagle Warriors

Brotherhood of the Lost

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#76
simison

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The Emperor's Eagles

  • "so [the] he drew"

So, I'm not sure about how they earned the Aquila. The Emperor's Children earned it through sacrificing a solid chunk of their Legion to personally protect the Emperor. Here, it seems that the Eagle Warriors just happened to have a particularly shiny victory. I'm okay with what is here, but can we make it more dramatic?


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#77
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I'm happy to go with that too. Any ideas for circumstances?



#78
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Not sure I want to go straight to 'save the Emperor' idea, but definitely up the body count. Perhaps 'save Malcador instead'? Start the war off with a political sneak attack and keep everything else the same?


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#79
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Well, I decided to go with "save the Emperor" anyway:

 

A yet greater feat would come to pass with the Feskine Scouring, where the Eagle Warriors fought alongside the Steel Guard and Morning Stars agains the Khrave. Such a concentration of these monsters has never been seen on one planet before or since, and in the midst of the cataclysmic battle, the Emperor and His guards were sundered from the bulk of the Imperial host and surrounded by the malevolent xenos. Faced with utter disaster Orvedui Verigas, Legion Master of the XIIIth, unhesitatingly led his brothers in a valiant charge which claimed a full sixth of the Legion’s warriors, but broke the enemy lines. 
 
By the battle’s end, only three quarters of the Eagle Warriors remained on their feet, but the Khrave were eradicated. On that bloody field, the Emperor declared that the XIIIth would henceforth have the right to bear His personal symbol, the Palatine Aquila, upon their standards and their armour. This constituted an enormous honour and one not dispensed lightly, for the Eagle Warriors were the only Legion to be acclaimed in this manner. From that day on, the XIIIth swore to never falter in their duty and to carry the Aquila to the darkest corners of the galaxy in the newly declared Great Crusade.


#80
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Fair enough.


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#81
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First Draft of Exemp. 1


Two distinct tactical specialties that would outlast the early incarnation of the Eagle Warriors was their predilection for the warfare of armoured tanks and nimble jetbikes. Combined with their Legion's prodigious size, these tactics allowed them to take on foes where other Legions would require the aid of allies, be they the God-Machines of the Ordo Titanicus or the massed ranks of the Imperialis Auxilia.

A prominent example of this can be found in a battle of the Drutayek Purgations. The xenos native to the cluster possessed a form of vast insectoid war machine, equal in size to Imperial Titans. Controlled by an organic network akin to a nervous system and protected by an adamantium exoskeleton, the presence of these weapons platforms ought to have brought a halt to the ongoing Eagle Warrior campaign while they awaited suitable reinforcements. It did not.

The xenos garrison at one of what might be described as analogous to our cities - designated target Theta in the overall campaign - included no less than twenty of these behemothic constructs. Some three months into the war, a sizeable contingent of XIIIth Legion tanks deployed so that it entered well within the attack range of this garrison, albeit on a trajectory that still avoided the city direct. Deployed with it was a significant detachment of landspeeders and jetbikes, high in number but significantly dispersed. A number of scouting forces from the city were intercepted and destroyed, but the aerial probes went entirely untouched.

Evidently, whatever command structure the xenos possessed overcame its hesitancy, the promise of an exposed and vulnerable target evidently too great to resist. The entirety of garrison Theta's Titan analogues departed the city's walls, intent upon obliteration. Initially they were unopposed. They strode over the gorges and ravines pitting the landscape with ease. The bulk of the Eagle Warriors made no attempt to alter their course either to evade or oppose. In truth, the xenos ventured further into danger with every step. Skyhunter squadrons and their kin were flocking towards the formation's rear.

Like the first insects of a swarm, they were hardly of any notice to the the xenos warmachines. A few units boldly struck first, racing at the colossi with melta bombs in hand. Most were slain, cut down by point defense weaponry. The few that got through were insufficient to inflict significant damage.

Over the next hour, as the Drutayek closed with the XIIIth Legion convoy, these assaults intensified. What could have initially been interpreted as desperation took on a far more coordinated aspect. One by one squadrons would burst from cover, target a specific part of a specific vehicle, then wheel away. Casualties were still significant, but piece by piece the point defense weaponry was being stripped away.

A titan's motive systems were crippled, and it began to fall behind. Rather than divide the warmachines by leaving others to defend it, the xenos advance continued. Within 13 minutes of exiting the supporting range of its comrades, the Drutayek Titan was overwhelmed. A flurry of close range firepower tore through its legs and it collapsed to the ground, where the housing of its primary weapons systems became subject to assault. With the construct immobilised and its heavy weapons neutralised, the attacking Astartes withdrew. This was to be repeated another two times, and still the advance continued.

With the Drutayek now almost within range of the Imperial force, the situation shifted dramatically. The armour column switched direction and altered its formation so that it was now moving to directly confront their aggressors. At the same time a vast array of grav vehicles rose from the from the ravines and crevasses. What had been a hundred different strike forces became a single wave, assembling for what would be the final charge of the battle. Recognising the threat at last, a handful of the rearmost began to turn.

Had the Drutayek war-machines been able to focus the firepower of their main cannons on the massed small craft, the Eagle Warriors would have been destroyed or forced to disperse. Instead they struck with overwhelming strength and speed. Despite the risks, they ploughed onwards like a hail of bullets. For every one of them that disappeared in a burst of flame or shrapnel or was hurled from their vehicle as it careened into the ground, four more made it through. With a near suicidal bravery they came, power blades carving into hulls and plasma blasts searing through gunports.

At the same time, the tanks were also engaging. Moving in an enveloping formation, dispersed enough to limit the effect of the incoming fire and close enough for them to concentrate their firepower. Predator and Malcador battle tanks drove beneath their foes arcs of fire, opening up at almost point blank range. Belching smoke and wreathed in flame the Drutayek Titans began to stagger and die.

This was only the first time the Eagles struck down the behemoths Drutayek. The xenos would proceed to display considerably high caution in their Titan's deployment, but to little avail. Time after time the Eagle Warriors proved willing to pay the price of destroying their foe's greatest assets, and within two years the Drutayek were consigned to the history books.

Edited by Beren, 30 June 2019 - 05:42 PM.


#82
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"the promise of [an] undefended target"

#83
Beren

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A little confused. Are you suggesting that 'exposed and vulnerable' be replaced with 'undefended' or something else?

Edited by Beren, 26 June 2019 - 09:28 PM.


#84
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I'd misquoted in haste, the "an" was my sole concern.

#85
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Oh, and the charge being "premature" doesn't sound right. More that the EW struck with overwhelming force and speed.

#86
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Tweaked.

#87
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Golgothan Wastes Exemp

The region of dying stars known as the Golgothan Wastes had already proven itself a perilous place. An expeditionary fleet of the 1st Legion had already failed in its mission to relieve a beleaguered Forge World there. Though they were at least successful in destroying the so called Brotherhood of Ruin responsible, and also gathering valuable information on the waste's other inhabitants, the Lightning Bearers found themselves pattered and without any immediate port of call. Before their fleet withdrew, Sentinel Antru sent out an Astropathic Message relaying their situation, and what they had learnt. The final section advised the immediate commitment of other Imperial forces before their information could be rendered out of date.

Socraes Travier was one of the message's recipients. At the head of his Legion, he decided that it would be his force best situated to wage this campaign. Even before the same conclusion had been reached by strategists elsewhere, the XIIIth Legion fleet was underway and ready to embark upon a campaign of conquest and xenocide.

With the isolated Forge World of Sarum now obliterated, Travier lacked any form of established forwards operations base to supply the needs of his war. The campaign became one of sporadic violence, attacks aimed to cripple infrastructure and cause maximum damage before withdrawing. Those outposts established often relied far more upon concealment than a strong defense to keep them from harm. Regular supply convoys from the nearest Imperial stro gholds were likewise a necessary component in the continuance.

In this light, Travier's achievements are all the more impressive. Hostile fleets were left wrecked in the void, noncompliant cities burned on their planets. Often Travier would strike a vital location, slaughter the defenders and withdraw. When the defenders attempted to reoccupy the site it would be subject to orbital bombardment. Attempts to bring the Eagle Warriors to bear and destroy them came to naught. One attempt in particular backfired spectacularly.

Porpharis was an armoury world responsible for the supply of the techno-barbarian armies of the polity known as the Torak Dominion. Of all the factions of the Wastes, the Dominion had been one of the most persistent in attempting to locate and destroy the hidden enclaves that were the only immediate point of retreat for the Eagle Warriors. Having had their forces ambushed and bloodied over the course of several months, the Dominion made one last attempt to swing the tide of the war.

An armada was assembled, slavering warriors and near-feral war machines packed in their holds. With their preceding losses, the bulk of these had to drawn from garrison duty. Specifically, Porpharis's reserves of manpower were believed to have been vastly reduced. The armada's target was an abandoned Sarumite outpost that had since been reoccupied by the Xandrian Mechanicum as part of their efforts to supply the XIIIth's campaign. A barren moon in orbit of a desolate planet around a dying star, its would likely have been unable to repel the assault.

A day after the armada departed from Porpharis, a massive warp translation occurred on the edge of the system. Hurtling out of the warp came vessels clad in the worn livery of the Eagle Warriors, ship after ship. The Legion’s strength had been assembled to strike a blow that could cripple the Torak Dominion’s military capabilities, and thus rapidly accelerate their fall. Behind them came a scattering of armed transport barques, eager for salvage that could extend the reach and intensity of XIIIth operations beyond what the current logistical situation allowed.

The initial battle in orbit was so brief and one sided as to not be worth describing in any detail. The depleted defenses were boarded or swept aside with ease as assault craft plunged through the skies. Scattered resistance on the surface was equally futile, isolated defensive units being massacred with ease. Travier himself lead the attack on Vault Raggen, both the largest storage facility and the largest remaining stronghold.

Before a Primarch, they could not stand. Nor were they meant to.

Across the planet, the Astartes moved to secure their prizes. The door to each doorway and hatch was blown open. At Raggen it was Etalnoch, Master of the 12th Cadre and member of the Aztekis Circle, who was given the honour of entering the great portal first. Upon doing so, he uttered a cry of warning and rage, reaching for his blade. A second later he was trampled by the bulbous frame of a xenos construct as it hurled itself towards the nearby Legionaries. Socraes stood witness to it. Immediately recognising the implications of the warmachines presence, he drew the great spear Macuahuitl and met the machine’s charge. With a single strike his weapon burst clearly through his foe, spitting it like a noble does a stone-boar. As he did so, he gave the order to fall back. The roar clash of metal on metal and the dull whine of weapons powering up beyond the archway meant his followers needed little explanation as to why.

The scene was repeated to some degree at every vault. Units from three different xenos species and seven human polities have since been identified as having participated, swarming the Eagle Warriors with armies that were never supposed to have been present. At the Mandeville Point the armada wrenched its way back into reality, accompanied by the fleets of their newfound allies. For now the evidence of a greater threat had allowed a fraction of the Waste’s inhabitants to band together. Undoubtedly they would have fallen back into their petty wars once their mission was accomplished. For now they fought together.

Yet the order of retreat was not intended as a declaration of defeat. Socraes was not only coordinating plans for withdrawal with the surviving Cadre Masters. He also issued commands for the Legion’s aircraft to sweep across the battlefields, and for the Camazotz recon squads to deploy. The Eagle Warriors retreat had drawn the enemy from their burrows, and now they probed for weaknesses. A score of generals ad warlords were identified, brazen in their presence at what they believed to be a sure victory. Among them was the Lord of the Torak, surrounded by his own retinue of geno-enhanced murderers.

Even as the Eagle Warriors prepared to take flight, they struck. Eagle Hunters and Kaskuta at the fore, the full force of each Cadre present was directed at the nearest priority targets. They were to be swift, they were to be merciless. They were to leave the ashes of victory bitter in their opponent’s mouths. With their reinforcement fleet yet to arrive, and having sacrificed air cover for the element of surprise, the enemy was most vulnerable from the sky. Bombardment and targeted strikes collapsed vault entrances, trapping armies within. Walls of flame and flying rubble partitioned those elements on the surface, seeking to isolate the prey from the herd.

One by one, the present leaders of the coalition forces were massacred. Topaltzin, Cadre Master of the Eagle Hunters, took vengeance for his fellow Aztekis by striking down the Torak Lord with a blow that split his head and sundered his ornate torque. On the other side of the planet, the Primarch had to content himself with killing anything that got in his way.

With the hordes now reeling and disorientated, the retreat began full. Still snapping of boltgun shots at the closing foe, Legionaries raced aboard their transports under the cover of Fire Raptor Gunships. After a final scattering of orbital bombardments, the fleet made to exit orbit.

The closing fleets of the enemy were to dispersed to prevent the following withdrawal. Though it required the sacrifice of their accompanying transport barques, the vessels of the Eagle Warriors were able to successfully rupture the cordon and inflict further damage as they did so.

The final result of the Golgothan’s gambit was utter failure. Their enemy had escaped, and many of their finest generals slain. If their culture had any resemblance to our own, the battle’s aftermath must have been fraught with recriminations and accusations. Indeed, it was the first and last battle of this particular coalition. Any further campaigning on the part of the expeditionary fleet was withheld for just long enough for the politically weakened Torak Dominion to be ravaged at the hands of its neighbours, before the legion resumed the task of conquest.


Edited by Beren, 03 July 2019 - 03:32 PM.


#88
bluntblade

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If it's OK with you, Beren, I'd rather we just have the Wastes left alone until the EW get involved. Just wanna preserve the record of the Lightning Bearers, and in canon it was also isolated until Angron invaded.

Edited by bluntblade, 03 July 2019 - 12:20 AM.


#89
Beren

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I don't really see what's wrong with a Legion suffering a defeat for once, especially when their actual objective was achieved. Also, how else are we going to explain Sarum being blown to bits? Even if it falls to the Brotherhood of Ruin, the Mechanicum would still want to sieze what's left of it. Handling things like Daemons sitting in the heart of a world that otherwise appears comlpiant falls under the remit of the Ghost Crusade, and this gives us a chance to show that the 1st was doing their job in way significant enough to how our universe differentiates from canon.

#90
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We voted to have the Imperials destroy it. I think specifically the job went to the EW.

Actually, how about we have the Lightning Bearers and their allies raise the siege, only to be too badly mauled either to take on the Redjak priesthood or make further conquests in the aftermath, having lost their intended supplier? So then the Sentinel in question (let's namedrop Antru) calls for another Legion to finish the job.

Edited by bluntblade, 03 July 2019 - 09:10 AM.


#91
Beren

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The latter was more or less what I was aiming for. I made a few edits to try and reflect that a little more.



#92
bluntblade

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But we do want Sarum to be exposed as hereteks. As you've already got a battle done, I'd suggest the LB identify the taint of the Warp on Sarum and act accordingly. However, they are left having taken severe losses and without any means of quick resupply.

Edited by bluntblade, 03 July 2019 - 07:44 PM.


#93
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Why do we want them to be exposed? Wasn't the LB supposed to handle these thigs as quitely as possible to avoid undermining the Imperial Truth? Won't the Mechanicum vociferously oppose the fact that Legions are going around blowing up Forge Worlds along with every piece of salvageable technology on them regardless of them being heretek or not?

If its not clear, the Lightbing Bearers are the ones who blow up Sarum. They just don't let anyone else know that, because of the mass of Mechanicum hostility and pointed questiins about why they did it, which extends to the narrator.

Edited by Beren, 03 July 2019 - 07:56 PM.


#94
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In all honesty, we put it to a vote as soon as we realised that a Legion more cautious than the WE would make contact, and obliteration got a majority. Perturabo recognised immediately that Sarum's priests didn't worship the Omnissiah, so we reckoned that would be the case with Martian or Akiran magi.

So then we get a verdict of Heretek Omega and boom. Massive orbital battle followed by exterminatus.

Edited by bluntblade, 03 July 2019 - 08:01 PM.


#95
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That doesn't mean they blow it up. That means the Mechanicum launches a full blown invasion to murder the hereteks and loot every piece of sacred technology off of their corpses. The Mechanicus has attempted to retrieve STC data from Hell-Forges, and Sarum isn't even close to that level of obvious corruotion yet.

#96
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Then we can go with an invasion and purge, which gives the same result. Our in-universe writers have seen Ist Legion datacores pertaining to the Ghost Crusade, so the detail can be put down to those.

#97
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Is it really necessary to have everything explicitly stated like that? I'd rather leave some things for the reader to deduce and draw their own conclusions from.

Edit: Heretek Omega is the term used for Abominable intelligence and similar threats, not a random Heretek Forgeworld that you can still invade and gain actual technology from.

Edited by Beren, 03 July 2019 - 08:24 PM.


#98
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Good point. To keep it simple, shall I rattle off that bit and free you up to do the battle proper?

#99
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Sure, but do you mean the next one, or editing the rest of this one?

Edited by Beren, 03 July 2019 - 08:22 PM.


#100
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I meant the rest of this one.

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I feel this applies to my communication on this project rather too much, sometimes.





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