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Vox Stellarum: Hara Barazaiti

Inq28 Vox Stellarum Truescale Adamantia

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#1
Ryltar Thamior

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[Part 1: The Gathering Of The Clans] 
 
[Prologue: 
 
There was a high-pitched whistling sound beyond the door. Vaish muttered an inaudiable blasphemy. If he'd told the serving-boy once, he'd told him a thousand times - *don't* over-heat the samovar on the way up from the kitchens. Burning the milk would ruin the brew. Perhaps he needed to *remind* the lad of the lesson, by immersing his wretched hand in it. The scalding hopefully providing an instruction he'd not soon forget. Get lazy, cut corners, lose vigilance, lose focus upon what was important,- suffer pain, as the result. And as with all the *best* lessons, one delivered with more than a hint of directly configured irony. "Contrapasso", the ancients had called it. 
 
Two muffled bangs further increased Vaish's choler. The serving-boy must've run the trolley into the walls on his way down the corridor - no doubt besmirching the priceless antique Adamantine oak and gold furnishings in the process. Vaish scowled, and reached for the barbed quirt he kept under his desk for disciplinary matters. If the boy had scarred his irreplaceable hallway paneling, he'd do much the same right back at him. Force. Contrapasso. It was the only way they'd *learn*. 
 
The high-pitched whistling began again, louder and far closer this time. Somehow more immediate. 
 
That was odd, thought Vaish - even a truly incompetent thrall shouldn't be able to scald the milk *twice*. 
 
But there was something different about the high-pitched squealing noise this time; now that he could hear it more properly, it seemed ... off, wrong. As if the metal of the samovar was being heated *well* beyond its tolerance, like the tea-vessel were about to make ready to explode. 
 
And that was the other thing - it sounded like it was happening *inside the room with him*. Vaish's nose wrinkled. That wasn't right. The door hadn't even opened yet. 
 
He looked up, making ready to barrage the serving-boy with a fusillade of full-force rhetorical fury. Preparing the words of his tongue-lashing to serve as the prelude to the beating and burning that was about to ensue. 
 
His jaw dropped, went slack. His mind followed.
 
There was a red-orange-yellow circle forming on the facing of his door, about the size of his hammish fist. His expensive, auric-plated security door. Right roughly where the security mechanism was located. Which should have engaged automatically if there had been a breach to the manor or its grounds. 
 
Vaish barely had time to begin to curse a .. very, very long list of people, when the transition of the heart of the spot in his door to an incandescent white caused instinct to take over. He flung himself down behind his desk, eyes squinted shut like boarded up windows against a hurricane; one arm over his head while the other hand still tightly gripped the quirt, with all the desperation one would expect if that were the only solid thing left in his universe. 
 
The hissing had reached a crescendo. And then, abruptly, stopped; replaced by the wailing noise of a recalcitrant door swinging torturously upon its hinges. 
 
Vaish opened one eye. The world hadn't (yet) fallen in, nor faded to black around him. He took this as a hopeful step upward. He got to one knee, and arched himself up - daring to set half his head above the parapet of his desk's edge. Had he not been suddenly overcome by *further* fear, he would have felt the stinging pangs of disappointment. 
 
Standing a short distance beyond the desk, looking down toward him with a sneer, as the smoke from the hallway billowed about him, was a coldly implacable man; with a face like the front-end of a glacier - ancient, icy, jagged, scarred, and surrounded by all the gravel it had ground down from mountain-spur-walls to dust just to be there. 
 
Vaish's fear turned to fury. This must be the work of a rival merkant house, attempting to usurp their privileged position as tithe-lords of the Adamantine Spoil. And, to add insult to injury ... that smoke - that *smoke* ! The bastards must have *set his walls on fire* on their way in! The paneling was nigh irreplaceable! Such an outrage demanded retribution! When the Palatinate were informed, *worlds would burn* in compensatory consequence, he'd swear to it!    
 
"WHO ARE YOU", he screeched - not so much a question, as an assertion as to their insignificance. 
 
The 'glacier man' did not answer. Vaish drew himself up to his full height, making ready to extirpate his intruders further, while his House Guards presumably converged upon his location. They should be thundering down the corridor, any second- 
 
Vaish stalled mid-thought. During a gap in the smoke, he'd caught sight of the scene beyond his door. The art was ruined, of course; canvas and framing that had previously adorned his hallways, hanging raggedly and limply down towards the floor. Yet that wasn't what drew his eye. Instead, it was the serving-boy. Crumpled backward into his broken trolley, a cheese-knife still held raised in one hand in an evidently futile gesture of defiance. Vaish felt a small pang. He'd died defending his master. 
 
"We are Old Men, who were Young Men, Once," came the reply. But it hadn't been delivered by the mouth of the glacier. Instead, the voice had come from his left. 
A slightly frail-faced - and, indeed, older - man in armoured robes; grey-and-white hair which seemed akin to snow on a mountain-top, cresting a face in which the ravages of time had left little that was unnecessary. No fat, no fear, and certainly no sympathy - only the jaggedness of an uncut diamond. 
 
Vaish had not noticed him come in. In fact, it was almost as if he'd appeared directly there *through* the wall, no door required. Not that these uninvited apparitions seemed much slowed by whether it was a wall or a door or one of the finest security systems in the subsector which sought to bar their way. 
 
Vaish made ready to shout again. Considerably uneasy now, and hoping it wouldn't show through his false-fronting of loudly-forced bravado. Because he needed to provide a distraction. Keep them engaged as his hand moved under the side of the desk to the silent alarum which would summons any surviving security; and the other which would record whatever happened next in front of him. If he were to die this day, he could at least take *some* solace in the fact that there would be an investigation. His House would find who had did this. Their Patrons in the Palatinate and the higher echelons of the wider Imperium would follow up. Would track the culprits, back to whatever serpent-pit they'd spawned from, and do to them what might be just about to be done to him. There would be JUSTICE! There HAD to be!
 
"'Old Men'? You mean you're in the twilight hours of your lives; looking for a way to make them meaningful." Vaish drew in breath, prepared to take a gamble:
"If it's money you want, material comforts - this can be arranged. We are a wealthy House!"
 
"We know."
 
"So what is it that you desire. Speak! I'll make it happen!"
 
"To rewrite history."
 
Vaish sneered, issuing a soft snort of derision. Idealists. People aaallways wanted to *matter*. That probably meant they weren't rational enough to reason with, then.
 
"History? Carry this out, to its culmination, and you may as well be *erased* from history. Nobody will know who you were. Your sons will die unremarked upon and unremembered. Your legacy shall be papered over as if it had never even existed!-"
 
The Glacier cut in. Vaish's flow of vitriol cut off, mid-tirade. 
 
"We already *have* been."
 
Vaish sensed it wasn't just his shouting that had come to an end. He resolved to at least get some shred of meaning for his efforts. His seething anguish over what they'd done to his Adamantine oak-and-gold paneling demanded it! It hadn't been filched from *one* Final Fire only to be dashed up into kindling like this!
 
"Then what *possible* reason could you have for this ... this vandalism!"
 
The Glacier turned his head, slightly, and looked at the concealed pict-recorder hidden behind the eyepiece of one of the many artistic representations of Vaish's forebears painted into the friezework beneath the ceiling. Looked directly at it. Nodded an acknowledgement, one eye steely wide and lower lip pared back with a tooth bared in defiance. Vaish stared, shocked; mirroring in some ways, the expression of his ancestor. How had the intruder known it was there? 
 
"WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?! ANSWER ME!" 
 
There was an aching silence. It felt about the span of half an hour. Although it must have been more towards the space of half a second. 
 
The jagged-faced wizened-mountain figure in the robes spoke up again. It was a softer voice than the one he'd used previously. A little honeyed. Creaky, with a hint of age that hadn't been there when he was directly addressing this. It seemed the tone one would use to give a moral lesson to a wayward grandchild. 
 
"Because Dead Stars ..."
 
- a purringly brief burst of bullets erased Vaish's anguished face of confusion - 
 
"... Still Burn." 
 

 

  • Calgar 2.0, Bjorn Firewalker and Umbral like this

Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#2
Bjorn Firewalker

Bjorn Firewalker

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Impressive work.
  • Ryltar Thamior likes this

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#3
Ryltar Thamior

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[The Setting]
 
Glittering above the stellar domains of the Adamantine Spoil, like immense hanging mountains rising from the steppe of space amidst the stars, are the Pinnacles.
 
Ranging in size from moderate asteroids through to almost small moons, they are more than mere starforts - both in terms of their remarkable construction, and their incredibly significant position within the cultural, military, and political fabrics of the Spoil. 
 
Each one is a marvel of a bygone age; seemingly having been hewn from the living rock of the astral firmament, rather than "built", "installed", or otherwise assembled in the manner of the more conventional space stations and asteroid bases of Humanity. Their operational systems, as well, bearing little substantive coterminity with those common to the rest of the Imperium; including, upon the larger Pinnacles, innovative 'ecological' approaches to what would otherwise be regarded as 'technological' problems, such as vibrantly verdant internal forest layers in lieu of oxygen-scrubbers and waste-reclamation plants.
 
Ancient Wonders?
 
All of these factors have lead to the prevailing opinion within the halls of academia that the Pinnacles cannot date from the Age of the Imperium. That they must represent antediluvian relics of Mankind's previous ascent to the Stars during the Dark Age of Technology. The lack of any attestation for them existing within the Spoil prior to the 37th millennium is attributed to the general loss of information and destruction of record-keeping which accompanied the Age of Apostasy; although the lack of comparable structures elsewhere beyond the bounds of Old Adamantia, as well as the consistent results of geomorphic and other forms of physical analysis pointing toward a potentially much more recent origination, leave lingering unease in the minds of some scholars as to the veracity of this convenient conclusion of their peers. 
 
Still, the wise amongst them do not voice such thoughts, nor the outcomes of their furtive 'after hours' research openly; lest they attract the attention of whichever Imperial authority it is that sees fit to continually 'disappear' those academics whose published findings (or unpublished conversings) should happen to demonstrate the 'hard-science' issues with the consensus-majority opinion,  
 
Such restrictions do not seem to apply to the compilers and scrutineers of folklore or mythology, however; perhaps due to the Mechanicus' habitual disdain for the ineffably 'human', allegedly anti-scientific, and above all, 'messy' nature of the discipline. And were one to delve into such fields, a perhaps strikingly different perspective may begin to suggest itself. 
 
The Eyes of the King of Heaven - The Stars of the Dead
 
According to one legend of the Sakaryans, a long ago displaced Adamantine people formerly of the JyothaSteppe, the first among the Pinnacles was not a creation of human hands. But rather, came about as the result of Pinnacles, the Adamantine Spear-Lord deific, plucking out His own eye in order to set it into the Heavens - the better to keep watch over His chosen people(s) and declared demesne for the rest of time. Dependent upon the scholar, the Spear-Lord is often either identified with The Emperor Himself, or with a Primarch thought to have brought the worlds of the Adamantine Spoil into Imperial Compliance millennia ago - or perhaps even an Astartes or Custodes (the latter based on the obvious iconographic overlap) acting on the direct behalf of the Emperor, as the embodied and inheriting implement of His Divine Will. 
 
And while the representations of The Emperor as having only one eye are, to be sure, rather few (if not entirely nonexistent), there nevertheless exists a curious piece of linguistic support in favour of such a (figurative) linkage. In their language, the Pinnacles are frequently referred to as LokaPura - 'Pura' in the sense of a 'bastion' or 'strongpoint'/'fort', but also entailing within it a 'settlement', a 'city', and likely etymologically related to words for "Mountain" and "Stone"; whereas 'Loka', etymologically descended from "Lewk", refers to "Light", but also more conventionally to a "Realm", a "Country", a "Planet" or a "Plane", as well as to the faculty of "Seeing" and the "Eye" itself. The implications of such a combined term as "LokaPura" with which to refer to the Pinnacles, then, are obvious; and much more telling than the far later SakAryan term "AstraPura", which is thought to potentially be the result of cultural contact and calquing of Imperial High Gothic - although given "Astra" would mean a "Weapon", an "Implement", it is nevertheless possible that it represents an entirely SakAryan formulation. The "Weapon-Station" interpretation would also go nicely with the SakAryans' own well-recorded beliefs around "seeing" and "perceiving", "understanding" as a great weapon, the destructive gaze of the Emperor as Spear-Lord, capable of annihilating the perfidious foe, as well as the doublets and closely related terms for Spear[point] and Mountain ['Shula' and 'Shaila', amidst others], and for the blade of a sword and mountain. A "piercing gaze", a "penetrating gaze", a "smoldering gaze", therefore, for the Sakaryans, could indeed be taken literally - at least, in a mytholinguistic context.
 
Yet as poetic as this explanation is, it cannot provide for a particularly satisfying explication - as there is clearly more than a single Pinnacle amidst the solar seas of the Spoil. The Sakaryans acknowledge this in the course of their legendarium, and go on to state that while for a time a single Eye in the Sky was broadly sufficient ... as the Sakaryans continued to conquer more and further expanses in the Spear-Lord's name, this necessitated a demand for more Caelestial Occuli, so that He might continue to watch over His warriors and all which transpired within His ever-expanding Empire no matter how far it might happen to grow. Yet the Spear-Lord had but three eyes (again, the concept of three-eyed depictions of the Emperor is rather rare), one of which was already affixed midst the firmament. So He hit upon a solution - taking some from amongst the fallen warriors of the Sakarya who had been grieviously injured  in the course of the conquests of these new worlds, and granting them a form of immortality by placing them, too, amongst the Stars as His shining sentinels, His high watchmen. The Pinnacles therefore became not only a tool for the monitoring of the Spear-Lord's realm, symbolic that He Saw All - they also became something to be looked back up at, and remembered as great Pitrs (Ancestors), Whose example and whose guidance and intervention would remain eternally available to their descendants forever more; Their position amidst the High Heavens a symbolic immanentization of the Covenant between the Sakaryans and Their Chief God, also - to serve and protect each other, til the end of time and the blackening of the stars as they fell from the sky, and beyond. 
 
Other Adamantine peoples' mythological explanations of the Pinnacles tend to de-emphasize the direct and bodily connexion of the Spear-Lord with the 'Jewels of Heaven' - however nevertheless maintain, and even exacerbate the strong associations with the mechanisms of rulership and empowerment. These include references to them as being the glittering adornments of the Crown or the Diadem of the Sky Sovereign [SwaVeeRaj], or of the filigree-chain hair-covering traditionally worn by noblewomen - which would here position the stellar demesne of Adamantia, or perhaps the black void itself as the female counterpart of the Emperor, the bejeweled headdress being the symbol of Their divine union and the incorporation of archaic Adamantia into the broader Imperium under His Rule. A further accounting has the Pinnacles as forming part of a Belt or a girdle of strength and power,  worn about the waist of the Sky Lord and His designated successors amongst the race of Man - which would connote the idea of the control of the Pinnacles and the faculties and potencies which they represent as being essential for the command of the Adamantine domain. More abstractly, there is also mention made of the Pinnacles as forming bejeweled nexus-points of a Net (or, in some tellings, a Web) of finely spun akashic silk which hangs out over the (localized) cosmos, down from the summit of the World-Mountain; with each jewel being of near infinite transmissive, magnifactory, and refractive (and occasionally even transportive) capacity - and therefore allowing what transpires within visual range of one jewel to be relayed on back to the headquarters of the ChakraVartin upon the Summit of Earth / golden apex of the Roof of the World (occasionally also represented as a beam of golden light extending infinitely upwards perhaps as something of a 'tentpost' to the domain-as-house/tent/enclosure; and with the "Chakra" likely signifying the 'wheel' or 'whirl' of the Galaxy). Many of these 'artifice' explanations also emphasize the role of the sky-sire deific as an unparalleled divine craftsman, which may potentially reflect the Emperor's role as the Omnissiah of the Machine-Cult; and intriguingly directly linking these terms with local forms of the stem 'Key/''Chhitra' - a term which has come to mean "Jewel", especially "Jewel of Heaven" (in one particular instance, the large jewel which sits upon the brow of the Sky-Father, through which both insight and insightful destruction may be channeled - putting out into the universe His creative might and His protective scrutiny as well as His Divine Wrath as necessary), yet which has also meant a 'work of art', and more directly signifies "radiance", "brightness", and a "face"[ing]. 
 
In any case, while there are intriguing hints contained within the aformentioned mythic panoply of accountings for the origins of the Pinnacles, particularly once appropriately euhemerized, the relevancy of the above is not merely mythological. It is sociological, as well. 
 
The Crown Jewels of the Adamantine Spoil
 
In the years since the Desolution of Adamantia, and more especially following the much more recent War of the Iron Saint, the Pinnacles have become of prime - even literally 'princely' - importance to the continued functioning, and therefore the control of the Adamantine Spoil. Partially, this has been due to the collapse, destruction, and/or abandonment of the more terrestrial previous power-centers of Adamantia amidst the events of the past five thousand years, and is therefore a simple recognition of the more mundane facts that control of trade-routes, population-centers, and vantageous military position is the stuff of which empires and (astra-)political advancement are made. Yet it is also deeply symbological; as the rather intimate connexion which the Pinnacles have always had, and continue to enduringly possess, with both the localized cults of the God-Emperor and His (whether 'mythological' or simply 'mythologized') higher executors, have served to ensure that it is both a source of considerable influence and prestige to command even a singe Pinnacles - and, that in order to lay true claim to dominion over the worlds of the Spoil, as the Emperor's subtly delegated Successor in this regard, one would need to be able to claim, and make use of the potencies, of them all. 
 
While this much-prophecyed event has never truly recurred in the millennia since Adamantia's Fall, this has not stopped a significantly more minor simulacrum of the Coronation of the (Eye-)Crown of (Dead-)Stars [to attempt to translate directly from the Sakaryan-Adamantine, and thereby to inevitably lose much poetry and nuance in the process] being carried out whenever a new first-chieftain of the Clan-Lords of the Adamantine Spoil is to be appointed. The position is not truly that of even a contingent sovereign (the local agent of the True Solar Sovereign Who Is Divine - although there is some confusion as to in just which sense 'Solar' is entailed here, with some of the view that it in fact refers to the locative and original situation of the Emperor within the Solar System, rather than being directly connected with the Suns of the Spoil); but rather, of the 'first among equals' capable of semi-effectively wrangling the Clans, presiding at a distance over the feudal interior administration of the Domains of the Spoil (occasionally in terms of inter-clan disputes, for which there exist a considerable volume of rulesfare and precedency-value of law and lores anyway, thus rendering the chieftain's functional role somewhat moot except in cases of flagrant violation - at which point he is held responsible for rallying all the clans against the transgressor; but much more especially as applies galvanizing and marshaling responses against threats from without), and where necessary, liasing with the authorities of the broader, wider Imperium at large. 
 
Although the ancient texts are haphazardly unclear upon the proper site and many of the actual details of the accordant rite for such an anointment, by longstanding conventional custom, the modern selection of a first-chieftain is held to take place following a pseudo-electoral conclave of Clan leading figures (and, through both tradition and 'realpolitik' recognition, other strongly interested/integral parties such as the Ecclesiarchy and other Imperial authorities with a notable saliency in the region) at the Pinnacles of Hara Barazaiti - the High Watch-Post : the Glittering Jewel in the Tarnished Crown of the Spoil. 
 
With recent events having witnessed the as-yet unexplained death of the previous first-chieftain - and therefore mandating that the Spoil soon receive a new leader - the Clans are proceeding upon their respective ways to Gather once more at Hara Barazaiti... 
 
 
 

 

 

  • Bjorn Firewalker and Umbral like this

Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#4
Bjorn Firewalker

Bjorn Firewalker

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You're a skilled writer, with impressive imagination.

Nitpicking:
Spoiler

  • Ryltar Thamior likes this

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#5
Ryltar Thamior

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Proving that this project is more than, how do the kids call it? "vapourware" ... 

IMG_2311%255B1%255D.JPG

Small preview-image of two miniatures presently underway. There are ... quite a few more in various stages of completion; awaiting fluff writeup, etc. 


  • Kolgrim DeathHowl and Umbral like this

Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#6
Ryltar Thamior

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OPERATION APAM NAPAT
 

++ Greetings Sen'Harja ++
 
The message flashed in front of Var's eyes, and seemed to sear itself into his retinas with all the immediacy of a slow-breaking dawn. Time languidly bled itself back into Var's world, as the stasis-shrouds which had preserved him throughout the course of his Long Watch were gradually drawn-down and de-activated.
 
Var blinked, in reaction to the brightness of the vidyahscreen's vocative. It was an action which seemed to take an eternity. The mind always moved faster than the body, especially during the after-phases of ex-stasis. And not least because 'Time' was still yet to fully reassert Her mastery over his form.
 
In the half-second or so sidereal which must have elapsed since he was re-awoken, who knew how much time had actually passed him by inside the stasis chamber. And, indeed, in the full-second since he'd been entombed according to his own perception of time ... how much sidereal time had taken place external to the chamber?
 
Var was eager - perhaps even a little anxious - to get out of the stasis-tum: rejoin the timestream, the flow of history, get back to *life*. But he was patient in waiting for the fields to be drawn down completely. Too much time all at once could kill a man. As, for that matter, could too much time drawn out over the unutterably correct span of years. That was the thing about Time. In the End, She ruled dominant over All.
 
Tricks of techno-arcana like the stasis-chambers at the hearts of the Stars of the Dead weren't about 'conquering' Death, still less about 'escaping' from Time. They were just about reaching an acceptable parlay with both.
 
An 'accommodation' of sorts whereby one accepted one's own finite span of life, yet nevertheless endeavoured to make the best possible use thereof. This was, Var mused, the Stakes of the Warrior. And if you tethered yourself to them right, then you secured figurative Immortality of an altogether different kind. The Deeds, the Name forever attached to Them and which might yet outlive the Story which bore it, regardless.
 
In his youth on Gelonus, Var had listened with rapt wonder at the old folktales and legendermain about the mighty men of Adamantine myth who had carried out such Deeds. Who had Won their Place In The Stars, and been rewarded by the Spear-Lord with one of His Jewels - a bright, glinting point of light, in the far-distant inky-black firmament; there, to forever look down and keep watch upon Their descendants, and inspire the folk ever up to Their most lofty example.
 
Of course, the realities of life in the 38th millennium meant that one soon reached an 'accommodation' of sorts with the somewhat more woolly elements of traditional belief. Sure, the Spear-Lord was unquestionably real - if distant; and He did, most definitely, choose, select, and thence elevate certain mighty specimens to the ranks of His invincible armies across the stars. They were the Astartes. And as They were Fear Incarnate, They Knew None.
 
But Stars were Stars. And as picturesque as the old stories were, Var had nevertheless grasped relatively early on that a space-borne nuclear fusion reaction was rather unlikely to harbour any kind of life upon it. Or within it. Which meant that while the teenaged Var *had* appreciated the overarching symbolism of the mythology of the Stars of the Dead, he'd thought that that was all it effectively was. Symbolism. A way of remembering the Ancestors, and reminding one's self of the broader, wider Imperium which lay far above the terrestrial plane - and which was dotted like the galaxy-spanning sepulcher of great men with the otherwise unremarked upon (mass-)graves of heroes.
 
Useful, but not something to unduly dwell upon.
 
It had therefore been something to Var's unutterable surprise to learn, much later in life, that while it *was* true that the underlying reality of the Stars of the Dead was not a literal one .... the concept actually encoded an 'euhemeric' element far, far closer in spirit to the folk-customs than he ever could have realized.
 
Adamantia, in Her great wisdom, had selected, chosen him for the Long Watch. This meant, so he was told during his first and only briefing upon the matter, that he'd be placed into stasis amidst the tumuli that apparently lay at the heart of many of the Mountains of the Sky which hung above the stellar shoals of Adamantia. Expected service periods could vary based upon the Needs of Adamantia over the course of that time - yet generally ranged in scope from a few short decades, to perhaps, at maximum, three to five centuries. Var had naturally assumed that those intended Needs would be bellicose in nature - a sort of rearguard force lying in wait for the darkest hour of the Domain, to spring forth from the greater blackness that is the Beyond-Time, the Above-Time, and carry out such acts of resistance and rallying what mortal-humans might yet dwell about their Watch-Post to frustrate and to harry the enemy while the Spear-Lord on far-distant Great-Grandmother Urth sent help from *His* mighty Mountain fastness, as in the Crusading days of Yore.
 
His superior had smirked at that; and noted via way of clarification that while Var's military record and operational competencies *had* been what'd gotten his foot in the grave vis a vis initial selection - what had *actually* and *in fact* made him a far more well-suited candidate for the programme, was something else. A folio had been gently slid across the desk. His name had been upon the front, along with the eyed-ravenskull insignia of the Adamantine interior sentinel Pada. He'd opened it, not quite sure what he should be expecting; but definitely not anticipating what he found therein.
 
An essay he'd written, aged seventeen, during the final phases of his youthful education before he shipped off to advanced training. The class he'd prepared it for had been upon Adamantine literature and history; and the particular theme he'd chosen, had been the Stars of the Dead - arguing persuasively, despite his young age and over-spiced turns of phrasing, that regardless of the seeming incompatibility between what they had been taught about the nature of suns in physic, and the contents of the ancient folk-tales and traditional folk-meaning around the Stars .... that an essential unity *could* still be forged.
 
Indeed, in terms of the symbolic saliency of the Stars hanging up there above his world each night, and the grand deeds and noble figures for which they were said to shine - that even despite the seeming irrationality from a cold, hard, scientific perspective of what he'd been told as a child, what he'd seen his grandparents repeat to each other in times of turmoil ... "the traditions had veracity and worth and purpose strongly worth keeping alive and passing down through the ages to the next bearers of the mantle of the anthology of the night's starry lustrous grace."
 
He grimaced at that turn of phrase. He got what he meant by it as his younger self; but long years in the military had made him a far more sparse communicator - and therefore a better writer. There was no need for a half a dozen adjectives within a sentence, except when speaking in veiled code and Bird-Language.
 
Beneath the essay, lay transcripted copies of his librarium-accession records, and recreational browsing history. He noted the lambently illuminated texts and titles within each. There was a theme emerging. Folklore and mythology. Also a smattering of history and aesthetics - compendiums of the great art of Adamantia, and its ancestor-cultures; alongside the valiantly retold sagas of the DemiGods, the Ancestors, and the Glorious Forebearing Dead.
 
Var had grasped rather quickly what this meant, but he let his superior fill the void of silence between them, anyway.
 
He'd been Selected - not merely for his martial competency, nor even for his supposed abilities to marshal whatever rag-tag band of Adamantine remnants Command thought might still be in the sphere should the core Varta be overrun.
 
But rather, because it turned out that Command were intending to fight an *entirely different* species of war as their last gambit. One which would entail the mobilization of the great weapons and preservations which *actually* lived in and about the Hearts of the Stars.
 
Not Warriors of the Dead - not literally, anyway. But the Legends, the Mythology, the Heritage and the Ancestry of tales which had grown up attached to them. The VarunaGana - the Oath-Bound Sky-Soldiers - were simply the bearers.
 
And in this way, while the feeling, the knowledge, the *belief*, of being Adamantine, was constantly out there waiting to be re-fleshed .... Adamantia could never truly be conquered. Adamantia could never truly die. The Adamantine Way stretched out as an endless road, a path, and a Pati, running all the way from Terra to the present. A shining ascendency through Holy Light, which cast a direct line across the otherwise trackless Steppe of Stars. And which also therefore situated Tapas - Heat, Light, Struggle, Worthy Effort - and Vax ('Speech'), as dual emanations from the Adamantine Goddess at the Heart of All.
 
Var's mind swam back to the present. Whenever that was.
 
The lifting of the stasis-veil upon him was nearly complete. He could tell this by the way that the green-gold light from the Kher-Chitra at the top of the chamber was now *almost* functioning as light. Rather than projecting out to a slowly advancing 'horizon', where the light met the receding shroud of above-time.
 
He wondered what had triggered his Awakening. Most likely, and in a fitting irony, it would be the expiry of his Time in service. The Long Watches were only supposed to last out to a few centuries in duration, officially lest the dissonance between the Adamantia known by the Sentinel, and the Adamantia they would be re-emerging into become too great and present obstacles to their efficient military use. Var thought this something of an irony - what was the point of being selected to bear and embody ancient, true, and eternal values if being too out-of-step with the culture one was supposed to re-immanentize them out into was thought to be an insurmountable problem.
 
Although he also had enough lateral thinking to realize that this was unlikely to be the real reason. And that in fact, it probably had more to do with the ensuing 'culture-shock' of being re-immersed in a 'new' context that was at once so familiar and yet so very different. Too much temporal distance between when you went in, and when you came out, could probably drive a man mad shortly following his resurrection into the sidereal.
 
Values and the willpower of a people were Vajra, Adamantine, Hard, Implacable, Indefatigable, Enduring.
 
Individual persons, however, were not. And while the latter *did* possess a certain flexibility, you could only bend them so far before they broke. Even amidst the best of the Adamantine soldiery, the immense hardness and sharpness of Men was as that of diamonds - capable of withstanding immense pressure, but ultimately brittle. And the hammer-blow of suddenly finding yourself adrift from all you'd ever known, perhaps a thousand years or more into your own relative future, would shatter all but the most resilient.
 
Var personally thought that a constant sense of connection with the Heritage was probably something of an antidote against this. After all, from this perspective, one wasn't "lost" and adrift in time, but rather continually anchored with an ever-living past which just so happened to be a little bit out of synch - for the moment, in the moment - with what had been going on around one in his absence. An ephemeral and ever-changing, semi-illusory present. But it wasn't his call to make.
 
He cast his mind to the other possibility for his Awakening - that a Pralaya-protocol had been initiated. 'Pralaya' meant an 'unraveling', and in this context referred to the tapestry of Adamantia coming apart due to some apocalyptic-scale onslaught. His job, if that was the case, was to re-thread it.
 
Whatever the reality of the situation - and what or when sort of world he'd be stepping back out into - he'd find out soon enough. The vidyahscreen in front of him would shortly crackle into life, just like in the simulation; and he'd thus begin to become 'present' once more.
 
Any moment now ...
 
++++
 
Outside, beyond the bounds of the stasis-tepe's thick tumulus of living stone and adamantine shielding, densely corded strands of cabling hung about the place like the spider-webs which should have been present were there any other life allowed in the Vaults for the past almost five thousand years.
 
Somewhere off behind these, hunched over a bank of dimly lit Yantreminals, several human-sized figures in pressure-suits worked with a careful diligence.
 
Behind them, two massive figures loomed. Humanoid in overall shape, and with almost exactly as much resemblance to an actual human in form as the gigantic carven armoured caryatids which stood silent sentinel at the outer entrance-way to the Vault, some several hundred meters above and behind them still.
 
Almost impossible to make out through the gloom, even by the light of the screens and delicately flowing charges of energy through some of the hastily enjoined new cabling they'd brought with them, was the tint upon the armour of the figure to the left. Even in conditions of better illumination, it would have been difficult to assay for certain just what colour it was - sometimes, it appeared a dark blue-grey, others, a flat greenish shade. The best way to describe it would probably be the bluish-black of a bruise. Or, in the languages of those who dimly recalled their presence from time to time, 'Corpse-Black'.
 
The figure to the right was altogether another story. His armour was a metallic sheen the colour of a dying sun's dawning through the dust-clouds at the end of the world. The bronze of an age which had once conquered all before it, and now existed merely as pseudointellectual curios unearthed from archaic dig-sites and then bundled off in wooden boxes to the cratage storehouses of 'top men' to never see the light of the current sun again.
 
To the untrained eye, their stances and visages gave away nothing. They may as well, indeed, have been graven in the stone which surrounded them, like the caryatids of the entryway.
 
But even amongst the more human-looking figures bent over the yantreminals, there were hardly any eyes untrained. The implacable Maruts seemed ... uneasy, uncertain even. Ordinary humans would have been severely shaken by such a revelation; yet the men whose fingers and data-uplinks delicately massaged the ancient dvijurnation mechanisms into life were well acquainted with such perilous situations as might give their Lords pause; and knew that if even demigods might sometimes seem to know concern, this only served to underscore the vital importance of their callings.
 
"Do you think it shall work?" the bronze relic spoke.
 
"Which, the Resurrection? Or the broader Call."
 
"Yes."
 
The darkly-coloured death-embodiment made a face. It was difficult to tell whether the curl of cheek, mouth, and eyebrow was a gesture of amusement or of anguish at the adamantine's not-clarification as to the nature of his inquiry.
 
"Of the former, I do not think we are in doubt. The stasis-shrouds have been drawn down, the ThunderChild is almost fully re-synchronized with sidereal now; the only serious question is how he handles what we must tell him."
 
"It's not an easy thing, finding out you're a man out of time," interjected one of the men.
 
"A Man *Above* Time," quietly corrected one of the armoured lords.
 
It hadn't been immediately clear as to which one had spoken. They seemed almost to finish each other's thoughts much of the time, anyway.
 
"And as for the rest? The Plan?"
Bronze again.
 
"That, Bhratas, shall depend almost as much upon *you* as it does upon *him*."
 
This was spoken by a third heavily armoured figure - although it was immediately apparent to all that he was not, despite the fraternal nature of his interlocution, of quite the same ilk as the other two. Whereas their armour was rather sparse in decoration, and darkened in overall tincture, the newcomer's had intricately inlaid layers of what almost appeared to be fine scales on various patches of his torso and greaves. His panoply was also bright blue and flashing brass, and in contrast to the somewhat surreptitious, even reverent demeanours of his comrades in this hallowed space, it seemed he had no especial care as to who caught sight of him here. Which was odd, as he'd suddenly appeared as if from out of the deep dark itself with no sign of his approach.
 
The adamantine bronze stiffened. Try as he might, he still wasn't quite at ease with their kind. Old loathings - even apparently misplaced - died hard.
 
The warrior of the dead, by contrast, showed no such discomforts. Indeed, if subjected to detailed scrutiny, an observer might have noted that there seemed some subtle similarities of gait, posture, and regard. Not that either the bruise-black nor the brass-blue were ever in the habit of standing about in easy view for extended periods of time. Not in manners and places that still entailed living witnesses for much long afterward, at any rate.
 
"The succinct answer, is that he is built for this. He has been designed for this, honed and crafted and shaped over the course of many lifetimes to be *exactly* the Weapon we shall need. Just as we are. The longer and slightly more involved answer - is what lies before us. It is a difficult thing, indeed, to second-guess the unfurling nature of reality. We do what we must. He shall do as *he* must. And together, we shall secure the future, by bringing back the ever-living past."
 
It had, again, been immediately unclear behind visored helmets as to just whom the words just voiced had belonged to. Yet they were ultimately those of the Bronze - steeling himself, perhaps, for the operation ahead via answering his own question. And in so doing, deploying an ancient Adamantine principle. That of the Mind-As-Blade. This differed from the more cerebral Blade-As-Mind - wherein the goal and object was to take the singular shearing purpose of a weapon, and think out, reason out, feel out the potential paths of its application, and thusly deliver not only immediate victory but the far-reaching triumph which could only come from understanding the nature of its employment and the broader context of the campaign. The Mind-As-Blade, by contrast, was designed to move past the nebulous clouds of doubt, and instead concentrate and focus the mental faculties simply and singly upon the bearer's nature as a weapon - and thence, excel at one's appointed role, regardless of such hesitation-inducing consternations. This was not to say that due consideration lacked a place in the Adamantine warrior psyche. Only to properly locate said place as before and after the direct engagement, and in the minds of those who wielded the blade rather than, in ordinary circumstances, the blade itself.
 
These were extraordinary circumstances. Yet in such times, the return to what was simple, what was true, and what was unadorned - except by a brightly-shined killing edge - was an exuberant recourse. Just as the whirlwind - the ChakraVata - could not congeal, much less wreak destructive progress across the landscape in the absence of the Eye of Calm at its heart ... so, too, could a blade be rendered all but inert metal in the absence of due focus upon its nature as a blade, and the monomolecular focal-point which formed its point and line of engagement out there with the problems of the world.
 
And besides, the planning, the deepa thinking, had been already done. Both long ago, when the facilities such as these were being secreted away, bearing their precious indefatigable internments; but also in the far more immediate past, when the figures at the heart of their endeavour, the Bronze included, had met to enact their plan and re-initiate this grand design. A Yantra, and a Yatra, all Their own.
 
The Bronze was right. The question he had earlier asked of Death, could not be answered in abstract, much less by stopping for rigorous postulations now. It could only be resolved through Action. Seeing it through. And then, thence, seeing where it left them all.
 
The sacrificial fire could not be easily put out once immediately lit, no matter how few sparks found their way into the ritualine tinders and inflammatory unguents of oblation.
 
It *could*, however, Rise. And thus-ascending, bear with it the hopes and prayers of the faithful few gathered about its small hemisphere of warmth, light, and striving - Tapas - which temporarily held back the inky-black, cloying darkness.
 
Perhaps the Spear-Lord should be listening, when it came.
 
The Bronze realized that the other two living-statutes had been waiting for him. As had the various more human-sized figures scattered about them at the yantreminals, ready to begin.
 
It was a gesture both of respect, and of necessity. Respect, for it was his heritage that they were invoking, awaiting to make use of through this grand rite; his memories which were about to be jarringly re-awoken via the direct confrontation with a living vestige of the glorious Adamantine past ... and necessity, for only he bore the proper words, and indeed the proper vocal cadence and accent with which to speak them, to guarantee the ritual's successful commencement.
 
Without those, they would have a competent warrior still able to emerge from his Tomb, but just that.
 
*With* those, however, it would be the Stars rather than the Star singular which were their limit.
 
"Commence Operation Apam Napat," he said.
 
"Apres moi, le deluge," he thought to himself.
 
Scant half a second after the words had exited his mouth, acquired physical form through their hanging across the air, a distant roar began elsewhere in the complex. This turned to a subtly escalating hum in their immediate vicinity; followed by the sudden coming online of various small lights across the vault, and about the ancient hanging cabling. Not enough to turn it into a comfortably lit space for unaugmented human eyes, but rather to give the overall impression of a beautiful starlit night, yet somehow underground and with the richness of the vaulting of heaven replaced via the glinting jewels of the underworld.
 
The roar had congealed into a steady, rolling thrum; acquiring a rhythm and a saliency which it was hard not to get swept up in entirely. The Bronze felt himself walking forward, the contents of a small pouch held gently, with a reverent tenderness in his gauntleted hand. Half-forgotten words and phrases began to percolate into his active-mind from the watery, cloudy realms of his subconscious and the almost genetic clades of his archaic memory. He began to chant; and felt, rather than heard, several of the men behind him at the yantreminals join him in doing likewise.
 
These were words which had not been spoken aloud - not properly, at any rate - for at least four millennia now. It was good that they were done collectively. Words, speech, ritual, observance, and protection of all of the above - heritage - were what brought Men together. It was, in its own way, what had brought them together previously, to *be* brought together like this now. Men, and Super-Men, one of them, anyway, Out Of Time. And yet bringing Their Time with them, once more, into the ever-living Present therewith them. Not dislocated, not lost, even if a little archaic. But rather, always Home for Home was what carried with them - and bringing the Present back into the Past with their every step or breath.
 
It felt good to be home.
 
The Bronze reached the heavily sealed portal into the stasis-tumulus. He disengaged a portion of his own armour-seals with a thought; the augmetic nerves and black carapace turning it into status-changes in his exterior form of wrought metal and cybernetics. Reaching across with his left gauntlet, he delicately prised off the finger-plating of one digit of his right; the precious payload still clasped within its armoured palm, face-up.
 
He reached out, flicked open a covering, and placed the jewel in its own aperture to one side of the portal; waiting for the scanners embedded therein to read the densely encoded information hard-etched within its refractive-lattice structure.
 
A small panel no bigger than a man's clenched fist slightly below the now-scintillating jewel lit up a medium blue. He pressed his finger to it, closed his eyes, and felt the subtle abrasion of a small genetic sample being collected at the same time as he heard the delicate whir of a minute servo-blade appearing out of another section of paneling immediately adjacent to the scanner.
 
He spoke another activation mantra - this one heavily encoded with personalized stresses upon particular syllabry which subtly yet importantly changed its meaning; and braced himself for what awaited him within.
 
With dense clangs that sounded like severely localized thunder behind the veil, the interior gates of the stasis-tepe unsealed and opened. Then, it was the turn of the outer door - sliding upwards with a much more subdued sound by comparison, perhaps comparable to the unsheathing of a fine sword which then sliced at the air as it drew.
 
There, standing to attention, and seemingly a little impatient despite the surely unfathomable sight thus confronting him, was a somewhat thin man in the uniform of an Adamantine soldier. His grey-brown-green eyes glinted in the light, almost seeming to emit a piercing radiance of their own; pupils expanding, whether to compensate for the greater darkness which yet lay outside, beyond the well-illuminated bounds of the tumulus' interior, or in genuine enthusiasm and loyalty to see one of the Adamantine Lords in full war-plate ready to greet him, the Bronze could only speculate.
 
Probably both.
 
For his own part, the Bronze had to suppress an emotion he had no words, no names, no labels, no true comprehension for. It was at once, homesickness, and the sense that homecoming was immediately, immanently, right there at hand. Somehow, this made the melancolia of it worse. To be able to see the Heavens, know that they *had* been real, yet remain out in the desert of the real, an ever-living purgatory-nor-limbo beyond their brightened sky-realm.
 
So much hope, so much strategic weight, his Astartes-brain reasserted itself by reshaping the thought, rested upon this one sidereally ancient, yet perfectly preserved in relative youth, man.
 
That meant there was only one thing, in truth, to do. For the moment, at least. Other refinements, and Blade-As-Mind forward-projections of thought and yes, even feeling, could come later. For now, there was only the Adamanticore, and Var.
 
A living past, and a Ghost from the Dead Realm which lay behind the bounds of the sacred veil of Time.
 
It was not immediately clear which one was supposed to be which.
 
Yet that didn't matter.
 
Only one thing did:
 
Quoth the Adamanticore: "Greetings, Sen'Harja."
 
All else, flowed from that.


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  • Kolgrim DeathHowl, grailkeeper and Umbral like this

Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#7
Ryltar Thamior

Ryltar Thamior

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brief WIP shots 

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  • Doghouse, RolandTHTG, DuskRaider and 2 others like this

Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#8
Ryltar Thamior

Ryltar Thamior

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Vratya

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Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#9
Ryltar Thamior

Ryltar Thamior

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Dead Stars

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And

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  • Doghouse and Umbral like this

Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#10
Verux

Verux

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Looking great. I really like the skin tones.
  • Ryltar Thamior likes this

#11
Ryltar Thamior

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Looking great. I really like the skin tones.

Churr :D I'm really quite partial to the light brown [I think it's Zandri Dust] - and it's a surprisingly diverse skin-tone; depending upon what it's put next to, I've managed to successfully use it for everything from wind-weathered Scandinavian-esque sorts for my various Nordic infused efforts, some of the North Indian style faces I've done, and so on. 

As applies the really pale grey on one of the Vratya ... that's something I meant to address when I did the proper fluff-writeup - the idea was that his skin isn't *actually* that colour; he's covered head to toe in holy ash, producing a fine white pallor. In theory, I probably should have done a 'baseline' skin-tone and *then* ashed him up, but that wouldn't have been as striking, I don't think - and also, I've noticed that IRL similar practices can lead to darker/black recesses anyway due to thicker concentrations of blacker, heavier, less-combusted carbon. But I digress. 

 


Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#12
Ryltar Thamior

Ryltar Thamior

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brief WIP update ; first up, two steppe-dwelling Pazyryk ; the idea being that while on one level they might *look* like rough techno-barbarian sorts ... much like the ancient Scythians, they'll have a surprisingly sophisticated (in some areas) material culture that's quite capable of producing some intricate and ornate metallurgy - hence the blade the figure on the left's carrying being effectively a power-sword (the ridged and raised portions to the rear of the blade bearing the disruptor field). Also, the Orlock style of auto-weapons just seemed appropriately "Russian Tough" and Kalashnikov-esque , so on they went ... 

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There's actually been their version of a tech-priest sitting partially built on another part of my desk for awhile now, but I figured that actually posting the WIPs of these might help provide the energy to finish them, him, and other such efforts off. 


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Next up, the first of a further grouping: Sarmatians / Sauromatrians [I'm ... still tinkering around with spelling etc] ... which is me once again updating #GangSteppe history and ancient sources plus much more recent linguistic theorizing, for this ... and also bringing in some not entirely unrelated elements (sort-of) which help to tie it to the rest of the project. [there'll probably be another my fluff-writeup narratives/expositions when we get around to painting, but for the moment, there's this ]
 

Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#13
Kolgrim DeathHowl

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great stuff so far!!


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#14
Ryltar Thamior

Ryltar Thamior

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Astartes Dead Star

IMG_3869.JPG


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Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#15
Ryltar Thamior

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HomeComing

VasHarr handed Varr a dataslate. On it was a depiction of a truly frightening figure. Anthropoid in shape, but heavily armoured in ice-blue plate both baroque and barbarous, the scale on the image seemed to indicate it was roughly the size of a fully-armoured Astartes.

 

"Who or what is *that*"

"That's who we're here to meet."

"That doesn't answer my question."

"It's an Ice Demon"

"A what?"

"You know how Gelonus is an ice-world?"

"No?"

"I thought you were from there."

"I was. It was not entirely pleasant in winter, but it *had* seasons!"

 

VasHarr shot Varr a look of raised-eyebrow scrutiny/incredulity, which swiftly softened with remembered understanding.

"How long were you frozen on that asteroid for?"

"Five thousand years, give or take a few centuries."

"Ah. So before the Scouring, then."

"Yes. When I Ascended to the Star-Eye-Barrows, Adamantia was still mighty and strong. I've caught myself up on ... various developments hence, but deliberately avoided reading of my homeworld. I figured it'd be a bit of a shock, seeing how unfamiliar it all was underneath all that progressing march of Time."

 

"Right, well it's not so much Time it's buried under."

"What do you mean?"

"When the Scouring came, and the war-fleets of the Darian Ecclesiarch, the Crimson Aquilae, the Minotaur-Demons, and others besides descended upon that part of Adamantia, they found themselves in a quandry. They knew that they were being harried upon their flanks by a formidable foe - yet one who refused to be brought to direct battle; instead striking them with devastation from the dark of the night-between-worlds and fading like specters afore the dawn when the solar-dispatched gold-clad main retributor fleet arrived."

"You're waxing lyrical."

VasHarr drew himself up. "Of course! It is a tale which deserves it! We are not all so taciturn as you, sentinel-spirit!"

"So what happened, then. How does this relate to Gelonus?"

 

"Eventually, the Haruspiciae determined through the reading of the entrails of their comrades' shattered ships, that the harrows had emanated from the ice-clouds about the Gelonus system; but they could not pinpoint exactly where. The Darian EcclesiShah was a prideful man, and doubtless under the sway of the bull-headed demons amidst his train. He ordered a broad-channel message to be sent out; hoping to head off the campaign's escalating losses via either bringing the deathly wind to decisive battle or securing once more their allegiance to what he thought he represented - the wider Imperium as a whole. He declared that should they continue to evade him, they were either cowards or traitors. And if they were not the former, to seek him out in full force, to meet their fate against a greater host in honourable warfare; or if they were not the latter, to make the symbolic offer of blood, earth and water and harry him no more."

 

"And what reply did they send him, the Gelonians?"

Despite his earlier trepidation, Varr was enjoying learning what his folk had been up to in his long sojourn of stasis-cence. And further despite himself, Varr even found himself enjoying some of the colourful phrasing VasHarr was using to tell the story. It reminded him of the mythic tales his Grandparents had used to tell him as a boy.

 

"They responded in kind. A message sent from multiple quarters at once, as if to make the invaders feel surrounded and cut off. I've got it memorized;"

 

VasHarr cleared his throat in mock preparation for a dramatic rhetorical recital:

 

" 'This is Our way, Darian. We never fear men nor fly from them. We have not done so in times past, nor do We now fly from thee. There is nothing new or strange in what We do; We only carry on as We had ever done afore thy coming, and as we shall ever do long after thine shades lie fled forgotten from mortal ken.

 

Now I shall tell thee why I do not at once join battle with thee. We Ghosts have no haunts amongst the worlds of the Living which might induce us, through fear of their being taken or ravaged, to be in any hurry to fight with you.

 

If, however, thine longing for the nearness of death and doom is so great as to be irrepressible, then look you now:

 

Find thineself amongst the Tombs of our Forefathers; attempt to interfere with Them, and in so doing choose a grave station for thine own lack-of-future.

 

Then ye shall see whether or no We will fight with you. Till ye do this, be sure We shall not join battle, unless it pleases Us.

 

This is Our answer to the challenge to fight. As for the imputed challenge to Our Honour .. We shall perhaps take it more seriously when the accusation is made by one who possesses some to know what it is.

 

You have sought to term us Traitors, and demanded that We hail you as the rightful lord and master of Our hearts, blades, and fealty. This We shall not, cannot do; even if you made yourself seem more worthy of the claim.

 

We kneel only before Two - The Emperor, the Spear-Lord, our Ancestor; and Adamantia, the Goddess of the Steppe-of-Stars Whose presence you now seek to so wretchedly despoil.

 

The 'tribute' thou hast askedst for, We do not send. You shall have no claim upon the Earth and Blood and Water which you so desperately seek as safe-assurancy.

 

Yet do not think Us Miserly. For thou shalt soon receive more suitable gifts.

 

Last of all, in return for thy calling thyself My lord, I say to thee:

'Cry harder'."

 

Varr sensed he was missing something.

 

"So how does this relate to Gelonus now becoming a ball of frozen ice?"

"The Darianashah had a cruel streak. He did not believe it when the raiders had stated that they had no holdings nor havens to occupy and despoil. He addeuced somewhat correctly that Gelonus held some measured significance to them; and rather than simply lay waste to it utterly, chose to make of it an example."

"Oh?"

"Yeah, it's why clergymen often make for such poor choices as warlords. They're ever attempting to make a moral passion-play out of everything."

"So what did he seek to 'teach' Gelonus?" Varr felt a cold chill from his stomach rising.

"Well, the Darians viewed what they represented - a certain flavourng of Imperial orthodoxy, supposedly Terran-sanctioned and all bedecked in gold and Fravash-radiant solar glory - as being the ultimate source of life and legitimacy to Mankind. That they were out here on their little Crusade, to re-spread that sunlight, and damn you if you already had your own Emperor-bestowed illumination already set up. They could never really abide competition - 'specially when it was through things, like the Adamantine mytho-religion which they could hardly influence, let alone actually control. They could also be nastily literal-minded.

 

So when they got this message, the Darianashah immediately steered course for Gelonus. Bringing out with him several strange Mechanicus barques 'quipped with powerful gravatic impellers.

 

Again was the message broadcast out for all to hear. That the Darianashah was a merciful man even to his woefully misbegotten and misguided mortal foes. So rather than simply exterminate the Gelonians out of hand and show them first-finger the folly of supporting a SenHarja -" Varr stiffened at the terms of his previous rank being mentioned in such a way; he wondered if VasHarr had meant it intentionally "- of wandering ghost-battalion, he'd let their world live.

 

But, as a demonstration of what it meant to dwell in defiance of the divine mandate of the Darians as bestowed via the pre-Thorian Ecclesiarchy, he declared that he would move heaven and earth to make the situation of Gelonus -physical reflect that of Gelonus-spiritus. That when he was finished, this den of vipers would have become as the circling shore of frozen corpse-worlds which ringed the system and from whence he felt sure the revenant-raiders had set sail to strike. The Sun showing its displeasure down upon the Gelonians via dimming to them in the sky."

 

"What? How does - "

A moment's incredulity at the outlandishness and vaingloriousness of the threat gave way to sick-feeling realization. "- Ah."

 

"We do not know what strange gravomancy was then employed by the Mechanicus wound-wunders he had brought with him, but the orbit of Gelonus was shifted out considerably. Not enough to render it uninhabitable - that would have defeated the point. But the Darianashah was as good as his word. Your homeworld became a Hel straying far from the Sun. Ice-bound and desolate, much of the surface now shrouded 'neath kilometer-thick glacial robes.

 

It's still inhabited, of course -"

 

"The Gelonians were a hardy people"

 

VasHarr nodded to him; "Still are. And not just you, I mean."

 

VasHarr tapped the data-slate Varr was holding - "they aren't all like this; but outside of the more conventionally survivable extremes, the near infinite resiliency of the mortal form and mind has lead to some truly impressive developments."

"If you say so. But one more question about the past."

"Gosh, I thought that was supposed to be why we brought you back - acting as our 'memory'."

"I can hardly remember that for which I wasn't there!"

"I jest. Name the query."

 

"The Darians and their lord ... my people, the ancestors I suppose of those we're going to meet ... they were never given to let an affront go unanswered. Especially not one so grievous as this. What -"

 

VasHarr anticipated the question " - happened to them? You know, it is a peculiar thing. In the general chaos of the Reformation then occurring, whole swathes of Imperial history were lost, or propagandized over the top of. What we know is that the Darians withdrew, having left Adamantia in ruins and missionaries for their supposedly Solar creed in their wake.

 

The timescale is important, as with the post-Vandire reformatia of the Ecclesiarchy slowly rolling out across the Imperium, it meant that the old style of semi-clergy mostly-tyrants with legions of armed men personally at their service were becoming a thing of the past. The Darians therefore felt they had far greater struggles - political battles - to fight for the survival of their mode of being; and that it would not look well for them to have sought to set up a proper expansionary fiefdom in the wake of a pseudo-Ecclesiarchical crusade ... especially, given the girding of the new order via Astartes and Inquisition, over the former domains of a well-linked chapter.

 

So they went back to their capital, Behistus, and proceeded to begin re-organizing their pocket empire to avoid forcible re-organization at the hands of others when Terra finally caught up with them. In practice, this meant parcelling out their princelings to various more officially recognized Imperial institutions so as to shore up their currency of influence therein, and then using these as entry-points to turn Darian assets into sanctioned entities. Templar formations banned under the new laws of the Decree Passive became Guard regiments with locally sourced command. All officially above board and operating under the watchful gaze of centrally located - if distant - Imperial authorities. In fact, the Darians were shrewd enough to use this as the opportunity to expand their sway.

 

They actually wound up with further military assets in theory under their subtle auspices thanks to the diffusionism of their men and lords out into the wider Imperium. And that's eventually what undid them as a dynasty. Some time after the expurgation of Adamantia, something triggered a mutiny of various Guard regiments and naval officers under their command. We don't know whether it's fully accurate, but the official history suggests it was partially driven by the Darians refusing to pay their men as they'd been diverting the resources to other more self-serving ends, and partially a theological matter - a perception having spread amongst the mutineers that the Darians were anti-Thorist reformation and quietly attempting to cling on to the hope of restoring the old order. As it happened, this was probably not far from the truth; and so no doubt facilitated by some higher-ups pointedly looking the other way when the Darians found themselves under siege, and refusing to provide aid to them or sanction upon the mutineers, Behistus was looted and reduced to ruins. All that was left of them were a few fiefdoms here and there about their old stellar dominion, scattered orders of their versions of priests and revivalists still going through the motions of their shattered creed, and occasional trading houses and lordships able to trace their linage and their traditions back to the Darians of old."

 

"I was more interested in the particular fate of the man who ordered the freezing - the frost-burning - of my world."

 

"Ah. Him. Well, as I said, the records of that time are fragmentary. But there is a record of a Darianshah - Kurus was his name; often thought to be a grandson, a grandfather, or possibly even a grand-uncle of the one you are interested in. The history is tangled, not only due to the age but also because there appear to have been some rather peculiar marriages amongst the Darians designed to keep power all in the family ... and concentrate some of the 'powerful genes' at the same time, if you get my drift.

 

In any case, something about Gelonus and Her neighbouring worlds must have caught his or his kinsman's eye, for he set out once more upon a stellar crusade in this direction. Only this time, without the initial intent of taking by conquest what he could have via other means. It is recorded that he made a proposal of marriage to a Sauromatriarch of the region; whether because she was supposed to be a beauty of fine mind and superior genetics who might have refreshed the ankle-deep Darian heredity pool ... or whether because Kurus thought that a dynastic marriage would give his line a legitimate claim of suzerainty upon the worlds they had been too frightened to simply occupy via conventional force, it is unclear. Probably a bit of both.

 

Whatever the motivation, the Sauromatriae had other ideas; and Kurus was most incensed to find his proposal curtly rebuffed. He therefore prepared for war; and the Sauromatriae, to repel via missile what mere missive had not."

 

A proximity alert tone, and the abrupt jolt experienced as their craft entered Gelonus' upper atmosphere suggested the time for stories was shortly to be over.

 

"We'll be landing soon. You should make ready for your 'Homecoming'."

 

Varr rolled his eyes. "So am I going to be waiting another five thousand years for the conclusion to that story?"

 

"It's a slow kind of torture, living without closure, isn't it. Very well, we got a few minutes before we land. I'll give you the short version.

 

Kurus assumed that the Darians had left behind a wrecked sector the last time they had moved through; that after what they'd done to Gelonus amidst the other former Adamantine worlds, they'd have an easy time of this campaign - basically just decimating the occasional tribal militia and frightening quasi-primitive natives with propaganda about blotting out the Suns and freezing entire worlds.

 

He declared that his thirst for blood had not been sated the first time around. And that he was here to drink his fill.

 

And that's exactly what happened. The crusade turned into a blood-bath. Although not the one which Kurus had over-eagerly anticipated. The Darians thought they'd be facing superstitious savages. They weren't wrong. It just didn't matter.

 

After a string of unconventional clashes, in which the superior numbers and supposed technologic advantage of the interlopers counted for less than nothing, Kurus was ropable. He issued the same challenge as before. Stating in no uncertain terms that those who had arrayed themselves against him were either traitors or cowards; and that to answer the charge they should either offer honourable decisive battle or submit.

 

The Sauromatriae accepted; and it is said that Kurus personally took the field in buffalo-bull panoply to drink in the triumph. A great victory was indeed won - but it was not Kurus'. The Sauromatriarch Herself ended him. Had his body carried off, exsanguinated through the neck while dangling upside down by the heels as one would a slaughtered pig, and then took his decapitated head, still in its buffalo-bull helm-casing, and cast it into the pitcher of blood which had been drawn from his cooling corpse.

 

She then asked him rhetorically, having picked the head back out of the bucket to stare him in his now-glassy eyes ... whether he had in fact now slaked his thirst for blood."

 

"Intense. So if these folk are so formidable as you say, why are you bringing me along to liase with them."

 

"We figure they respond better to their own kind."

 

VasHarr punched Varr playfully in the shoulder-plate.

 

"Looks like you're pretty impressed with your kinsfolk-descendants. Time to go see what they've done with the place while you've been away."


Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 


#16
Ryltar Thamior

Ryltar Thamior

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Sauromatriae 

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Oath-bound Life-ward

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Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates] 
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.] 
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet] 
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors] 
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.] 
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus] 
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.] 






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Inq28, Vox Stellarum, Truescale, Adamantia

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