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IL XIII - Sky Reavers

alternate heresy five ruins sky reavers

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#1
TrajantheGreat

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The Sky Reavers

 

“Captain, this is Fighter XV-212, it’s hell up here! They’re moving too fast, none of us can lock on to them. It’s hard enough to dodge the anti-air fire from the ground, but they’re circling around, picking us off one by one and there’s nothing we can do. It’s inhuman, sir, no man could pull those speeds or turns off. Permission to …”

- Last recorded transmission from enemy combatant XV-212 during the Assault on Koccichi by the XIIIth Legion

 

The fast moving lords of the air, the Sky Reavers aim to dominate the sky above any battlefield before committing to any ground operations. Their superior aerial skills, combined with the numerous modifications they have made to their aircraft, makes them highly mobile foes who can strike from any angle. Their primarch, Aato, is a caring and scientifically-minded Primarch, looking to form close bonds with his brothers and protect his homeworld above all. This love of his homeworld would fuel his scientific experiments, as he began obsessed with finding a way to travel vast distances without the need for the warp to guarantee the survival of his home system. It was this obsession that would lead him and his legion down a path away from the light of the Imperium.

 

Numeration: The XIII Legion

 

Primogenitor: Aato Vayrynen

 

Noteworthy Domains: Maaparatiisi (Homeworld), Vesa System

 

Observed Strategic Tendencies: Aerial Superiority, Multi-Vector and Sub-Orbital Attack, High-Mobility Warfare

 

Allegiance: Separatists, Socius Solicitus

 

Colours: Navy Blue and Gold


Sky_Reavers_Tactical_Legionary.png

Sky Reavers Legionary (Art by Algrim Whitefang)


Sky_Reavers_Armorial.png

Sky Reavers symbol (Art by Algrim Whitefang)


Edited by TrajantheGreat, 10 July 2021 - 11:40 PM.


#2
TrajantheGreat

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The Prince of the Skies, Aato Väyrynen flies above the battlefield until descending on his prey. A caring Primarch, Aato highly values his legion and his home system, and will go to great lengths to protect them. He is scientifically minded, constantly thinking of solutions to problems and his experiments, spending most of his spare time in his laboratory or on a test field. His main desire is to find a way to travel without using the Warp, a desire bordering on an obsession in protecting his home system from Warp Storms. This obsession would lead him to go to any length to protect his homeworld, an objective that the Ruins threatened to destroy forever.



#3
Darkcommander

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Sky Reavers – Sahaquiel

 

Allied with the Mechanicus in their efforts to creating and testing the Talaria from the strange relic found on Mars, the Sky Reavers received special dispensation to create their own version of the superiority fighter. Among the burning lava-flows of Mezoa they more closely adapted the Sahaquiel variant from it's original design, creating a truly dangerous superiority fighter feared amongst the enemies of Man.

 

History

With the Sky Reavers help in the initial Talaria development it was decided that a pact and a project would be made in conjunction with the Mechanicus. From the ranks of the Divisio Artisan, Fabricator-Architect Diagus Setp-Unum were dispatched along with a cadre of Forge Lords and Cybersmiths to the Forge World of Mezoa. From their fiery new workplace on Mezoa the foundries worked night and day to churn out the raw materials needed to feed the cadre as they went about iterating on the already impressive chassis of the Talaria. Going through several different design branches headed up by a different Forge Lord the end result could have been very different had the Techmarines and Commanders of the XIIIth decided otherwise.

The project in fact was rather fruitful for the Sky Reavers, seeing many of the alternate designs and functional elements picked up later on despite their rejection, the main result however, was a league above the parts of the others.

Though limited in it's testing phase it had a remarkable effect on both the observing body and shockingly enough, for the test pilot as well. Over the lava plains of Mezoa's southern hemisphere was a hostile ground of ash-choked sky and volcanic thundertorms Sky Reaver pilots would bring the machines to the very edge of their capabilities. With several of the previous tests ending in failure of the machines involved it had proven itself a harsh and unforgiving regime that worried the Forge Lords with it's extremity. As the final set of test flights spooled up for the day the pilot, Sliknos Barra, would make legion history, a fact which his fellow pilots wouldn't forget for a long time.

As the testing of the final design commenced, Barra engaged the plane in a number of modes, performing aerial acrobatics expected of the Legion's name, it was however, during the final set of manoeuvres that he would black out. A feat that had never happened before, the Forge Lords, bolstered by the advice of the Apothecaries, had assumed that a transhuman pilot would never fully succumb to the effects of high-G movements. They had assumed wrong. For a short while during a violent turn Sliknos blacked out, leaving the aircraft in free fall. Within moments he had recovered and continued on with the test, not saying a word to the observation crews. Though his companions in the Legion might jest it proved to be a new problem to be considered and overcome by the design team, that even the mighty circulatory system of an Astartes would have it's limitations. After several more iterations the final candidate was chosen by Kyösti Salminen of the Second Wing, sent to judge the designs based on the every-evolving frontier of the Great Crusade at the time. It was by his experienced hand then that the Sahaquiel was chosen, having overcome it's issues and risen amongst the others as a veritable master of the skies.

From here on Sahaquiel's were produced and allotted to the various Wings of the Legion, though always in small numbers, in the hands of any Sky Reaver it dominated the sky and space of any planet it was deployed to. Several traditions have emerged as a result of the culture of both Maaparatiisi and the Imperium intermingling throughout the Great Crusade. One of those derived by Sahaquiel pilots is the 'Crusades' they held after campaigns. Named in imitation of the Great Crusade pilots would drink specialised alcohol that could even effect astartes physiology. Each pilot would attempt to drink amounts equal to the amount of kills they had scored together. At the end of the night before everyone retired they would drink a full flagon for every comrade that had been killed in the squadron. This final drink of course was never turned down, no matter the marine's state prior to it. Some also chose to remember the fallen by having an ale mug with their initials or callsign painted onto their craft to forever remember them. Alongside some of the other traditions involving personal coins, a pilot's naming ceremony and the burning of large instruments, the pilots of the Sky Reavers have developed a distinct sub-culture all of their own.

 

Design

Although distinctly the same profile as the Talaria the Sahaquiel variant has a plethora of improved elements to help raise it above even it's predecessor in dogfighting capability. With the advent of improved missiles, thrusters and alternate weapon loadouts the craft has been optimized as much as possible for aerial and space combat. The largest and most obvious difference is a set of 2 new thrusters placed under the air intakes. While it may seem counterproductive that they face forwards, the thrust they output can help perform feats of aerial acrobatics thought impossible before. They, along with the improved manoeuvring thruster nozzles are used to great effect in void combat, helping dodge enemy fighters and ship point defence systems with ease. In terms of weaponry a switch to fixed heavy lascannons and new missile types accentuate it's abilities against both swarms and harder single targets. Coupled with a direct-link harness system able to monitor the pilot's health and adjust blood-flow, the Sahaquiel has been adapted into it's 'Superiority' well, opposed to the Dune Serpents relative departure from the original design.

 

Armament

In keeping with the superiority class of the aircraft it has had a major redesign of it's main weaponry, that, contrary to the other two variants, leaves more space within the body, rather than taking more up. In addition the new missile types -able to be mounted within the body and on wing pylons- allow for an array of enemy targets to be harried and destroyed. Listed below are weapons that have either been changed from the base Talaria design, or new weaponry that can be mounted. All base Talaria munitions can still be mounted.

 

Laser Weaponry

  • Twin-Linked Arachnus Heavy Lascannons

Missiles

  • 3 Internal Bays

  • 4 External Pylons

    • 'Stiletto' SRAAM

    • Strix Missile Pod

 

Changing out the laser destroyer array brings a two-fold change to the craft that the Sky Reavers were in favour of. First, it's removal and replacement with a lighter system allowed for the craft to gain a large boost of speed, which in turn would better serve it's role in combat. Second, was the replacement system; a set of twin-linked 'Arachnus' heavy lascannons. The rapid rate of fire of cycling smaller lascannons was deemed a waste of energy by the XIIIths Techmarines. They did this knowing that their pilots would more reliably be able to score single-hit-kills with the more powerful system easily overcoming the loss of the gimbal mounting system. Affixed to the fuselage on either side of the cockpit, they are angled inwards slightly to converge at a set point in front of the aircraft. This point angle is usually adjusted to the pilots specifications by maintenance crew to person preference.

Thanks to the hardened nature of both the Stiletto missile and it's short range, the weapons system fits snugly into the Sky Reaver doctrine. The close-range guidance needed is something easily achievable thanks to the expertise imbued within the XIIIth Legion pilots training. Able to overpenetrate smaller single fighters and even cause significant damage if aimed well at larger targets such as dropships and bombers, it is an esoteric but effective weapon.

With a pair taking up an entire pylon to themselves or replacing an entire internal missile bay with their bulk the Strix missile pod contains a storm of firepower waiting to be unleashed on the enemy. Within the unassuming oblong structure are a myriad of small guided missiles that can be fired off in volleys to distract, deny or kill enemies with a wave of flak and high explosive firepower. With each pod able to fire off several volleys before expending itself it is a highly effective weapon when it comes to overwhelming their defences, or fending off hordes of smaller flyers often seen among xeno ranks.

 

Engines

The obvious change between the basic Talaria design and the Sahaquiel to a casual observer would be the addition of two thrust-vectoring nozzles mounted just under the air intakes. They would be even more surprised then that not only do they add to a pilot's repertoire of combat manoeuvres, but they, along with the original engines are now capable of vertical take-off and landing as well. Able to turn all 4 sets of engine nozzles downwards they can allow the craft to take off and land from virtually any clear surface, doing away with the need for large runways. In terms of tactical flexibility this alone gives the Sahaquiel another edge over the Talaria, but in tandem with the addition of more powerful manoeuvring thruster jets it's effectiveness in both atmospheric and void dogfighting is second to none.

The ability to mount and properly supply these upgrades with sufficient power does mean that a pilot has to watch their energy usage far more closely than before, with rapid use of multiple engines needing to be carefully looked after. In some cases the additional engines have made the aircraft a downright unruly aircraft to use effectively, with the sheer number of systems needing attention almost impossible, for mortals at least. While in atmosphere the secondary engines can close their nozzles to avoid intake of unwanted objects, and quickly activated by redirecting engine power through their outputs instead. In void warfare the secondary engines do a far better job of making themselves useful. The ability to rapidly accelerate, decelerate and change direction are key to winning. And with the main engines, forward engines and manoeuvring thrusters, the Sahaquiel has all 3 in spades

 

Technical Specifications

Type: Air/Void Supremacy Fighter

Vehicle Name: Sahaquiel

Forge World of Origin: Mezoa

Variants: N/A

Crew: Pilot

Powerplant: 2x Alta-VII 'Vengeance' Plasma Reactor

Empty Weight: 28.5 tonnes

Loaded Weight: 44.2 tones

Length: 24.2m

Wingspan: 18.3m

Height: 7.8m

Operational Ceiling: N/A

Max Speed: 3395kmh (2109mph/Mach 2.75)

Range: Unlimited

Armour

-Superstructure: 60mm

-Hull: 84mm

 

Notable Sahaquiel

Aerlong's Grace – Lieutenant Barrik Varj

Motus Mort – Captain Darrell Torka


'Stiletto' SRAAM

 

A rather odd weapon found amongst the arsenal of Sky Reaver pilots, the Stiletto is a unique weapon designed to cause as much damage as possible with minimal use of explosive force. With it's hardened nose cone it punches it's way into targets with impunity at short range.

 

Description

Seen as something of a backwards weapon by those Forge Lords who initially helped create the Sahaquiel, the Stiletto is a small missile in comparison to those normally mounted in Imperial aircraft. With a large portion of the body taken up purely by a highly concentrated promethium engine it leaves little in the way of room for the warhead and targeting systems, but that is precisely the specialised role it is meant to fill. With machine-spirit linked to the targeting systems of the Sahaquiel, the missile doesn't rely on any complex internal machinery to acquire an enemy. Though this and it's small engine leave the weapon relegated to metaphorical knight-fighting range in aircraft terms, it's main method of damage is the hardened diamantine tipped nose cone. Where other missiles are meant to scatter flak or create small explosions to knock enemies from the sky, the Stiletto is designed to penetrate a target as deeply as possible, destroying as much internal structure as it can in the process.

Though it's limited range hinders it, a good Sky Reaver pilot can easily fire one of these missile at the right time to over-penetrate a target (passing through it completely) almost guaranteeing a kill while doing so. Though the targeting demands a pilot be within a short distance of the target, and maintain lock for a confirmed hit, the short size of the missile and the ability to hurt even large bombers and landers has more than made up for it's shortcomings.

 

Technical Specifications

Length: 1.4m

Width: 14cm

Weight: 0.5 tonne

Engine: Hydris XII Promethium Jet

Targeting Cogitator: Unknown

Maximum Speed: Mach 2.5 ( 3087kmh/1918mph)

Maximum Range: 5km (323 miles)

Payload: Diamantine Armoured Warhead

 

 

Strix Missile Pod

 

The answer to the question of 'how many missiles is too much?' the Strix missile pod is a by-product of the project that created the Sahaquiel, who, while not creating the aircraft, instead made a weapon capable of tearing hordes of smaller flyers and craft from the sky in one volley.

 

Design

Built in containers with row after row of missiles, the Strix is a relatively simple weapon when viewed from the outside. With well over several dozen small missiles loaded into them they are able to be mounted on a number of hardpoints on aircraft or in the case of the Talaria and Sahaquiel, two can be fitted within a single internal missile bay. They are primarliy armed with either high-explosive warheads, flakk warheads or a mixture of the two for use against air targets. To limit both ammo expenditure and as to not overwhelm the pilot with the sheer amount of firepower that might possibly damage himself, they are mainly fired in volleys that use up around a quarter of the box at a time.

The real power, however, lies within the pods themselves. Within each pod are several small cogitator units that link up to the aircraft' own machine-spirit, giving it a boost in it's capabilities. It is this boost that allows the missiles to target up to a dozen enemies per volley and be able to hit them reliably, with the accuracy only going up the more pods are connected. Mainly for use as an air-to-air weapon the Strix can be used against ground targets but it's accuracy is diminished somewhat. This is due to the cogitator-minds penchant of becoming confused with sensor returns from a variety of objects detected on the ground.

The significant issue with such large pods is a large increase in weight and a lack of heavy anti-air firepower. It is for this reason that the Strix is seldomly used alone as a pilot and the maintenance crews would make sure to account for enemy capabilities when assigning weapons. All the Strix missiles in the world might have no effect when the enemy is too heavily armoured to be damaged by them, or they could prove too manoeuvrable for the pilot should he be laden down with half a dozen missile pods slowing his speed considerably.



#4
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Pre-Primarch XIIIth

 

Unification Wars

The XIIIth Legion was raised towards the end of the Unification Wars, raised from the conquered people of Nordyc in the aftermath of the Battle of the Red Frost. The people who made up the first initiates into the XIIIth retained their techno-barbarian flair for technology, with individual modifications of weaponry and vehicles promoted within the legion. The first actions of the XIIIth were in rapid strikes, dropping onto targets from the skies and coordinating air strikes. The XIIIth proved designed for aerial combat, with their geneseed allowing them to fly at speeds and pull off manoeuvres no others could do. It was on the eve of the Great Crusade that the XIIIth gained their cognomen, as they formed the vanguard of the Emperor’s forces pushing into the Sol System. The Emperor noted their eagerness to begin the conquest, and dubbed them the Void Seekers, appointing them to be amongst the advanced elements of the conquest.

 

The Great Crusade

However, early on a psychological flaw in the legion’s geneseed manifested itself, with individuals falling into deep despair and many legionaries feeling a void within their souls. Instances were recorded of XIIIth Astartes withdrawing from their brothers and volunteering for testing experimental developments in technology, often with fatal results. Some within the legion came to take their cognomen as a sick kind of joke, as the feeling of emptiness became known as the Void. Depression did not claim all who felt this, though, as after 815.M30 many more were inspired by the discovery of the first Primarch, Araphel, to seek out their own gene-father. First amongst these was Legion Master Juhani Laurila, recruited into the legion after the end of the Unification Wars but a skilled fighter and possessing a sharp tactical mind.

 

The most notable additions the Void Seekers made to the Great Crusade were in the field of technology, being responsible for aiding the Mechanicum in developing new aircraft and anti-aircraft weaponry. Notable examples are the Talaria Superiority Fighter and weapons such as the ‘Stiletto’ SRAAM, providing both the Legiones Astartes as a whole and the Void Seekers particularly with dominating air power. The techmarines of the Seekers became specialised in the maintenance of aircraft, and were the ones who created the first Accipitrine Dreadnoughts to accompany the Legion into the skies. 

 

The Void Seekers travelled perhaps the furthest of any legion during the Great Crusade, moving with incredible speed between campaigns and discovering more human civilisations than any other. They did not stay long after the necessary compliance actions were completed, as the Seekers deep down were motivated solely to find their gene-father. They would have to wait for over a hundred years, but eventually a Seekers fleet discovered a new system and were engaged by vessels from one of the worlds. Word was soon sent to the Emperor that another of his sons had been found.



#5
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Aato’s Origins

 

Aato Väyrynen’s stasis pod did not crash-land as many of his brothers’ did, his stasis pod slowly drifted into Maaparatiisi’s atmosphere, the low gravity of the world barely pulling on the pod. It is impossible to know how long Aato moved through the atmosphere, though later conversations with Aato would reveal that he awoke at some point and was conscious when he was found. He was collected by a group of airships, thinking the pod to be debris to be salvaged. On the journey back to the cloud city of Raipio, Aato studied the voidsmen and aircraft, Aato had aged enough in his pod to be able to learn to speak from listening to the voidsmen, and when he arrived at the harbour of Raipio he slipped off the ship and escaped into the city. There he lived amongst the homeless and orphaned children, many children of voidsmen who died in battle. He earned food by sneaking into the harbour and stripping ships for parts to sell or create unique devices to sell on the black market. During this time Aato also encountered Maraparatiisi’s dark secret: the pernicious drug trade made from the deadly flora. Many of the homeless that Aato lived aside were former pilots and voidsmen who had lost out in the highly competitive aeronautical systems, having resorted to performance-enhancing drugs to keep pace with younger pilots to the point that their lives were ruined.

 

Aato lived on the streets for a few years, until one day he found the opportunity to stow away on one of Raipio’s grandest warships. Taking to the skies, his ship was attacked by a rival city, and the warship suffered severe damage and began to fall. As the crew began to evacuate, Aato refused to abandon ship, and worked to repair the damage by himself. He managed to get the warship heading back towards Raipio, but even with his innate aptitude he was unable to save the ship. Aato retreated to the peak of the ship, and jury-rigged a thruster to launch Aato himself at Raipio’s harbour. He barely managed to reach the harbour, throwing himself forward and landing hard on the city floor. The survivors of the warship saw him and his efforts, and the voidsmen picked him up and took him back to the Raipian Air Base.

 

It was here that Aato found his true calling, as his skill in engineering and piloting were discovered and honed alongside Raipio’s many voidspeople. He began improving on the designs of the aircraft and worked to improve safety and save the lives of the pilots. These new aircraft propelled Raipio to a position of prominence on Maaparatiisi, winning several air battles and gaining control of cities that had opposed Raipio for generations. Aato led the fleet on many occasions, working on modifying his own personal airship to surpass any other vessel on the world. As leader of Marapaatiisi, Aato began expeditions to planets within the system, which the scientists of Marapaatiisi had named after Aato. While many different kinds of resources were found, the worlds were not capable of maintaining self-sufficient colonies. He coupled this with attempts to fix the social problems of his world, seeking to end the dependencies on the planet’s drugs and elevate the next generation of citizens.

 

The Imperium would eventually discover the Aato System, with a Rogue Trader vessel being detected by a scout vessel from Marapaatiisi, which returned to Marapaatiisi and alerted Aato. Aato responded by mobilising his fleet and making the Rogue Trader at the outermost world of Jaakkola. As soon as the Rogue Trader met Aato, he knew he was in the presence of a Primarch, and word was sent back to Terra to inform the Emperor that another of his sons had been found.



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The Rautasiipi 

 

Perhaps the greatest asset available to the Sky Reavers, the Rautasiipi is an organisation that intersected with the Wings structure of the Legion. Containing the Legion’s techmarines and forge lords, alongside a select number of pilots, the Rautasiipi were the Sky Reavers in charge of the maintenance of existing aircraft and the development of enhancements for aircraft and fast attack elements, and even whole new patterns. While the majority of the Rautasiipi are focused on keeping existing craft, the most technologically skilled members have been responsible for many of the Legion’s unique versions of existing vehicles. They answer directly to Aato himself, and often aid him when he requires assistance in a project.

Two small off-shoots of the Rautasiipi are the Patsasvalmistaja and Hautausurakoitsija, containing the Legion’s Praevians and Mortificators respectively. Whilst the Sky Reavers are not known for their automata or walkers, the Praevians forsaking the typical Castellax and Vorax Classes for Artalax and Ursarax Automata and the Mortificators taking to the skies alongside Accipitrine Dreadnoughts.



#7
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Hevoskurssi
 
Within the Sky Reavers legion, if there was one attribute valued above all it was speed. At every stage of the training of recruits, speed and reaction times were promoted and honed. There were other, less official and more entertaining ways for the aspirants to train, and the greatest of these were the Hevoskurssi.
 
The Hevoskurssi were a series of races that aspirants took part in as part of their relaxation, with titles given to the victors and particularly skilled racers could gain the attention of the legion higher ups. The races could be of any kind: foot races, races in full power armour, bikes or even, though it was rare and a large event, jetbikes. Races would always attract crowds of onlookers, and any recruit could put themselves forward for any of the races. These races were not without risks, though, as recruits had been known to die in crashes of bikes and jetbikes.
 
The larger races, normally including mounted racers, were conducted in the Hevosareena, large round arenas with enough space for numerous racers to get up to speed. Foot races would take place anywhere, both with impromptu races occurring across the training grounds and more official races occurring across long tracks cleared for maximum speed.


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Second Wind

 

The reunion of Aato and the Void Seekers would be the most important event in the legion’s history. Upon meeting their gene-father and being taken to his homeworld, many of the marines suffering from the Void feeling at home for the first time in their long lives and felt an extremely strong bond to Maaparatiisi and Aato. For Aato, the reunion was both a joyous and deeply saddening moment, seeing the low morale of his sons and the lengths they had gone to to try and fill the Void. His reforms mainly focused on the culture of the legion, turning the formerly dour and morose XIIIth into the optimistic and forward-looking Sky Reavers. Recreational activities were promoted and the Hevoskurssi were founded, with Aato taking part in the first race weighted down to make the contest fair. Fairness would become a hallmark of Aato’s impact on the legion, as the legion’s command hierarchy would become more open to input from all marines and even Aato himself was not above criticism. Though some of his stricter brothers viewed this as insubordination, the choice spared the legion any festering feelings of alienation amongst the Terrans, whose experience helped shape the new Sky Reavers.

 

Tactically little changed in the Sky Reavers, as Aato was pleased with the aerial preference of the Void Seekers and the limited technological innovation displayed. Technological innovation would only increase following Aato’s rediscovery, as entry into the Rautasiipi became highly valued within the legion and Aato’s friendships with other technologically-minded Primarchs helping spread ideas. The Accipitrine Dreadnought becoming available to all legions was the most notable part. Not all legions welcomed the newly invigorated Sky Reavers, with some viewing Aato’s peaceful rise to power and his preference for avoiding fights with his speed as proof of cowardice or lack of martial skill. This did not discourage the Reavers, who knew their worth and would go on to prove it.


Edited by TrajantheGreat, 20 June 2021 - 01:10 PM.


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Pushing the Borders

 

The Sky Reavers embraced the Great Crusade with new-found spirit, with their expeditionary fleets racing to the outer frontiers of the Crusade. The Reavers would serve on innumerable battlefields, preferring to deploy in comparatively small numbers and leave most of the slow, mopping up operations to their Imperial Army allies. To complement this direction, Aato worked to build up a formidable arsenal of flyers and transports for the Reavers, forming relationships with several minor forge worlds to keep the legion hangars filled. As a form of repayment, the Reavers offered up some of their modifications to the Mechanicum, many becoming commonplace across the Legiones Astartes. It would not be uncommon for the veterans of the legion to have served on hundreds if not thousands of worlds by the end of the Great Crusade. This dispersal also saw the legion serve alongside many other legions, in contrast to other dispersed legions like the Dune Serpents. 

 

One of the main features of the worlds conquered by the Sky Reavers would be the establishment of democracies and the promotion of industry, based on Aato’s own experiences on Maaparatiisi. While the particulars were left up to the populace and the discretion of the Imperial Army commanders still operating on the world, Aato believed that these democracies would prove more stable and prosperous for the Imperium than either draconian Imperial governors or burnt husks. 

 

The changes to the legion were not met by appreciation by all in the Imperium. While he was not confrontational at heart, Aato proved firm in his convictions and beliefs on humanity and how war should be waged, buttting heads with those of his brothers who were more brutal during campaigns. On top of this, Aato’s desire to save humanity from the need to use the Warp to travel put him at odds with the Navigator Nobiles, whose power Aato directly threatened. Due to the Emperor’s tutoring on Terra and attempting to bridge the divide, both sides were forced into an uneasy truce, neither one being willing to incur the condemnation of the Emperor. The relationship would continue to be tense for the rest of the Great Crusade, as Aato and the Sky Reavers were forced to hide evidence of their experiments, significantly slowing progress. Because of this, very little practical achievements towards the goal of Warp-free galactic travel were made, a source of great frustration for Aato and the Rautapiisi.



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Jaakko Räsänen, Master of the Fleet

 

Jaakko Räsänen is the current Master of the Fleet of the 19th Expeditionary Fleet, under the command of his Primarch Aato Väyrynen. Jaakko would find himself at the vanguard of the Reavers’ response to the First Ruin, being in command of the portion of the fleet that was stationed on the edge of the Yaim System as the crisis on Keld’abe escalated.

 

Jaakko was a recruit from Maaparatiisi, from one of the poor industrial workers in the shipywards that tended to the Sky Reavers’ fleets. Jaakko, once he ascended to become an Astartes, maintained his ship maintenance skills, working to improve the efficiency of the systems aboard the ships he was assigned to. In battle, Jaakko focused on conservation of force, only using as much fuel or firepower necessary to keep the ships at optimal efficiency.

 

He slowly rose up the ranks of the legion based on his naval skill, proving himself with each new command until he reached the apex of fleet command, the Master of the Fleet for the premier Expeditionary Fleet of the legion.

 

Jaakko is a calculating individual, being fully willing to act with speed like the rest of his brothers, but only willing to do so when the time is right and his ships are in full working order. He is also known for his humourless attitude, rarely being seen laughing or hooping in exhilaration at the thrill of the chase.



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Yrjö Niemelä, Ystähtavatammi - Chief Librarian

 

Yrjö Niemelä is the Chief Librarian of the Sky Reavers at the time of the Ruins, having served for decades by the start of the First Ruin. A practitioner of Biomancy, which is unusual amongst the higher ranked Librarians in the Reavers, Yrjö found a particular use of his skills that aided in his aerial skills.

 

Yrjö is a recruit from Maaparatiisi, from a wealthy middle class family that were well known merchants on the planet. Yrjö was recruited after winning one of the many youth races that were held on the world, and he ascended into the ranks of the Reavers rapidly. He proved himself a skilled flyer and assault marine, able to withstand G forces that even his brothers could not. It was soon revealed that this was a result of his psychic gifts, as his aptitude for Biomancy allowed his body to endure more than the average Astartes. Yrjö was placed into the Sixteenth Wing, where all of the legion’s psykers were trained by the librarius, and his skills grew.

 

Yrjö is a jovial if weary individual, known for his warm smile yet tired eyes. His calm and tired exterior belies his killer instinct that all Astartes hold, able to harness his powers at a moment’s notice and his customised Force Halberd has taken the lives of countless foes.



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A Sky of Duels

 

Some within the Imperium had questioned the Sky Reavers’ choice of tactics, asking why a legion would waste Astartes’ supreme combat prowess in piloting, a task better suited to mortals and servitors. However, the Sky Reavers were vindicated many times through the number of their victories. There were even some where the skies were a more important arena than the ground, and none was more famous than the Compliance of 08-72, a campaign that would become better known as the Sky of Duels.

 

The world of 08-72 was an attractive world for the Imperium to claim, much larger than Terra but still capable of sustaining life. The biomes on the world were each just as huge, large deserts that stretched for hundreds of kilometres, dense forests and swamps, temperate plains, and mountain ranges that ran the length of the world. The world was identified early on as a potential Imperial Frontier World, and the 19th Expeditionary Fleet led by Aato Väyrynen arrived to claim it. Scans revealed signs of a human civilisation that had constructed several large cities and a number of towns and large-scale farms. However, when the Imperium made contact with the humans, they were instead met with xenos emissaries, with members drawn from all the cities of the world. Highly colourful, four-limbed, scaled creatures with sets of wings, the xenos informed the Sky Reavers that the world was called Vosorix and was the domain of the Oissi. There were no humans to make treaties with, as all the humans on the world were their subjects and as such any deals would be made with them. Aato told the emissaries that the Imperium would not let humans remain enslaved by a xenos race, and the emissaries were slaughtered as they attempted to flee the Gloriana.

 

The Sky Reavers determined that the first target would be one of the three main mountain cities, built at the base of a glacial valley and where a large number of humans had been sighted. Also detected were a number of xenos-human hybrids serving as city guard and soldiers, and a number of the Oissi flew from the mountains to the city and back in a number of trips. The Sky Reavers descended from the sky in a rain of drop pods, smashing the outer defences with relative ease as while the hybrids had rifle-like weapons they lacked heavier armaments. Alongside the Legion, mortal troops of the Imperial Army and knights from House Mordred descended from transports and held the territory. However, the tide suddenly turned as a series of loud screeches echoed from the mountains and swarms of Oissi descended. Most were the size of wolves, but several were as large as elephants, and they filled the sky with the sheer number of them. To the rear, a gigantic awe-inspiring xenos approached, larger than even a Knight and chilling the air as it soared. The swarm of serpentine xenos crashed into the Imperial forces, flyers torn from the skies and the Oissi opened their mouths and spewed forth blasts of ice that froze mortals in place. The sky filled with fire and ice as the Salanien Fighters fought the Oissi and both sides suffered heavy casualties, with even Storm Eagles and Fire Raptors succumbing.

 

The battle would be decided by Aato himself. Seeing the largest of the alabaster xenos in the skies, Aato rose to challenge him and the two duelled. The Oissi towered over even a Primarch, but Aato was far faster and circled the great beast. Though the xenos was able to land a strike on Aato with its razor-sharp claws, Aato prevailed and slew the xenos with his sword Sky Razor. The death of their leader broke the xenos’ morale, and as they began falling back they were crushed by the resurgent Imperial forces. The following day was spent purging the city of all remaining traces of xenos taint, all hybrids rooted out and exterminated and the humans liberated. A great victory was celebrated by the Imperial Army, but the cost had been far higher than calculated and the high command met to adjust their plans for subjugating the rest of the cities. The speed of the xenos made a slow campaign inefficient, and so Aato ordered a rapid strike on the next city before news of the Imperium’s assault had reached them. The flyers of the Sky Reavers were repaired and rearmed, ready to take the fight to the xenos.

 

The next day, the Reavers moved out, leaving many of their heavy vehicles behind to guard the city and Aato leading all of the flyers towards the greatest city of the mountains, the home of the titanic vermilion Oissi. However, the element of surprise was revealed as a failure, as the slithering xenos descended upon the Reavers from the peaks of the mountains. The fighting was fierce and the Oissi were as strong as their ashen counterparts, and both sides traded blows fairly evenly. Just as the Reavers were gaining the upper hand, urgent distress calls came in from the city. With one city fallen and another under attack, the third city of the mountains struck out in a pre-emptive attack. Gleaming xenos descended from the clouds, reigning destruction on the city as the Imperial Army and remaining Reavers scrambled to man the defences. These xenos brought with them powerful psykers, who made even Astartes unable to move with their powers. Aato, confronted with the choice to pursue the fleeing xenos or defend his holdings, turned his force back and pincered the attackers from behind. A few of the Oissi tried to surrender or ask for clemency, but they were all wiped out entirely. In the aftermath, Aato sent his Destroyer companies under the command of his First Captain Juhani Laurila to the city of the silver-host  and House Mordred and armoured columns to the red city to purge and show the consequences of resistance. The human refugees from the silver city were marched to the remains of the Reavers’ first base and the rebuilding began.

 

The conquest of three of the main cities of Vosorix sent the remaining xenos into a panic, generations of mistrust and conflict causing many to try and use the situation to their advantage. Reports came in from all over the world of Oissi fighting over what to do in response and not wanting to let their rivals claim credit for any victories. As the Sky Reavers advanced on the great desert, the two greatest cities both sent embassies to the Imperium asking for their aid in crushing their rival in return for submission. Met by Aato’s Equerry Otto Saari, he told both secretly that the Reavers would support whichever one proved itself the strongest of the two, and sent them both on their way. The two xenos tribes fought a bitter battle for dominion, with one eventually emerging victorious and sending their embassy to make the deal with the Imperium. They were met with annihilation from orbit before they could even return to their city, a great victory for the Imperium as it came with few unnecessary civilian casualties.

 

With so many xenos slaughtered by the Imperium, the fractious groups of the Oissi came together to oppose the Imperium one last time. If the strength of a single city was unable to resist the invaders, perhaps the combined strength of the remaining five cities. Aato and his council watched as the forces slowly gathered, groups of xenos bickering and clashing but coalescing into a formidable army. While some in the council argued for attacking the separate groups of xenos, Aato disagreed, counter-arguing that breaking the xenos in a single host would be the last stand of the Oissi. His argument would carry the day, and he began gathering his forces. The force was augmented with a high number of augury scanners and the legion’s arsenal of Sicaran Arcuses were brought out. The two forces met in a valley that blocked the access to one of the cities, Aato identifying the enemy’s plan of attack from the height of the valley walls. Just as the xenos had once covered the skies, the Sky Reavers now dominated, with Aato himself riding in his Taivaan Kauhu-Pattern Thunderhawk, a challenge the xenos could not ignore. The writhing Oissi swooped from their vantage points and clashed with the Reavers, but by now the Reavers were ready to counter the xenos’ tactics. The blasts of the Oissi did minimal damage to the ground forces as low flying xenos were ripped from the sky by waves of fire and missiles, and the sky fight was evenly matched. Two extremely large Oissi, both gleaming in the sunlight, sought out Aato as the main target. Though the Taivaan Kauhu’s lascannon batteries bore into the oncoming xenos, the might of two broke the Thunderhawk and sent it careening towards the ground. Aato was able to evacuate mid-descent, and joined his sons in swamping the two giants.

 

The Horizon Howlers and Taivelia Falcons flocked to their lord, streaming out of Storm Eagles to hack and assail the pair. One of them suffered a major injury to its wing, causing it to attempt to land, whilst Aato kept the other occupied. He and the giant xenos duelled above the fray, the two trading blows until the xenos opened its jaw and swallowed the Primarch whole. The xenos roared a victorious bellow, before the cry became one of pain and accompanied by an ethereal echo. It clutched its chest as Sky Razor forced its way out of its chest, and began falling as Aato burst out and into the sky covered in gore. Aato descended to the ground and located the wounded first giant, its wings obliterated as it fended off approaching Imperial troops. The burnished xenos saw Aato landed and spat a curse at him, though its mouth did not seem to move. In Aato’s mind, the xenos berated him for the Imperium’s arrogance, telling him that the slaughter the Imperium had done was worse than anything the xenos had ever done. Aato silenced the creature, and Juhani Laurila executed it with a blow to its head with his hammer, marking the end of the battle.

 

The world of 08-72 was declared an Imperial world, and accounts of the battles were heralded far and wide as a great victory for the Sky Reavers. The Remembrancer sketches of Aato personally duelling xenos proved highly popular amongst the Imperial Army and civilians, many interpretations equating Aato to the Terran heroes of old. The fighting on the world continued for a further month as the final xenos were tracked down and killed in extermination campaigns. The dark-scaled xenos hid in their swamps, forcing a gruelling guerrilla campaign that eventually saw the xenos wiped out as the Reavers rapidly withdrew for their next campaign.



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The Grand Race

 

Aato Väyrynen walked through the doorway and unfurled his arms with a theatrical flourish.

 

“...And here is our command deck, the beating heart of the ship.”

 

Ezharion Kulas looked around admiringly at the well-lit and shining command centre, the room having a natural flow to it that Ezharion imagined made rapid movements in a crisis less chaotic. Ezharion made some mental notes as he glanced behind him and saw the wonder of Kilvek Feldas and his entourage of veterans and smiled to himself.

 

“I know, I know. It’s not spikey enough”. Aato japed as Ezharion turned to face him. Ezharion laughed a low chuckle as he put his arm around Aato’s shoulders.

 

“Now that you mention it, it could do with a few more spikes. Too many monitors, too few spikes.”

 

Aato joined his brother in laughing and led him to the command throne. The throne was sleek and crafted to fit Aato’s unique figure. Ezharion crouched down and examined the intricacies of the circuitry and the inputs built into the arms. Aato wondered if he would press any of the buttons just to see what they did. It was hard to tell how much of Ezharion’s barbarian appearance was a show and how much was genuine, much like his other brother Hectarion. Aato hoped that Ezharion would prove more intellectually stimulating than he had found the Lord of Mycenae. 

 

Ezharion straightened up and concluded his analysis of the command throne.

 

“Well brother, your boasts were certainly well-founded, your Gloriana is magnificent. I only wish I had seen it before I spoke with Fabricator-General Hal about the Whisperwind. Hopefully I can see it in action against a worthy foe.”

 

Aato raised his hand with a wry smile.

 

“The tour’s not over yet, Ezharion. There’s one stop left, perhaps the most important room on the Lightning Bound. Follow me.”

 

 

The two brothers arrived at a truly gigantic room, around the size of the Gloriana’s hangar but empty of all vehicles. The room was surrounded by huge stands of seats, Ezharion calculating in less than a second that the whole legion may well be able to in the arena. The centre of the room was empty, the floor covered in a hard, rough surface, and a few Sky Reavers were there relaxing and racing. They all stopped as they saw Aato and Ezharion enter and stood to attention. Aato waved his hand and the Reavers relaxed.

 

“This is the Grand Hevosareena, the greatest racetrack in perhaps the entire Imperium. The truest test of an individual’s endurance and physical prowess. This is the spiritual heart of the Lightning Bound. Without it, the ship is a mere vessel rather than a home.”

 

Aato smiled with pride as he stood overlooking the track.

 

“I hear our sons and the mortals take bets on which of us is the fastest in a race. They think they do it out of earshot, but I am guessing you have heard it too.”

 

Aato made a gesture of looking surprised, but his grin was mischievous.

 

“Well, since we are here, it would be a great shame not to put it to the test, don’t you think?”

 

“Only if you are willing to lose in front of your sons on your home field.” Ezharion retorted.

 

Aato beckoned over the Sky Reavers who were watching the two Primarchs.

 

“Arttu, spread the word. A Hevoskurssi is being held.”

 

 

The seats of the Grand Hevosareena began to fill rapidly as Reavers of both stripes filed in and mingled. The energy grew as more arrived and both sides placed bets and wagered various trophies and tokens. Aato and Ezharion stood at one end of the stadium, the two beings stretching and warming up despite their superhuman physiology. Finally, Aato judged that the seats were full enough, and he raised his hand. A wave of silence rippled out as the various conversations ended. A sole Sky Reaver walked forward, the lithe form marking him out as Aato’s equerry Otto Saari, and halting by the start line. Aato sunk into a low crouch, his armour moving without a sound as it readied himself. Ezharion joined him, deactivating his thrusters but powering up his power pack. Aato turned his head to his brother.

 

“If I win, I get your thrusters, right?”

 

“Only if I get that unique jet pack of yours if I win.”

 

Otto raised a volkite serpenta and began counting down. 3. 2. 1. The serpenta lit up as the Primarchs burst forward.


Edited by TrajantheGreat, 16 January 2022 - 05:47 PM.


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Salainen Fighter Squadron

 

The Salainen Fighter Squadron are a group of light flyers created by the Primarch Aato Väyrynen and the Sky Reavers legion during the Great Crusade. Inspired by the flyers of Aato’s homeworld of Maaparatiisi, the Salainen were made as small as physically possible whilst still being able to be piloted by an Astartes. Only the Astartes of the Sky Reavers could hope to pilot such aircraft, as the support systems had been stripped to their bare minimum and as such the pilots rely more on their genetic resilience to G-Forces to remain conscious during the manoeuvres the Salainen are capable of.

 

This reduced size and payload is by design, as Aato spotted a niche that the Sky Reavers in particular required filling. Once the Primaris Lightning Strike Fighters and Xiphons cleared the skies of enemy aircraft, the greatest threat came from ground-based anti-air weapons. The Salainen Fighters would be deployed to deal with this, as the loss of several Salainen was worth preserving the other flyers and their more experienced pilots. The Salainen were designed to be easy to produce by the Mechanicum, easily replaceable and being simple enough for multiple Forge Worlds to be able to produce it.

 

Commensurate with the Fighter’s small size, the weaponry built in is similarly reduced from regular flyers. The primary weapon is a unique creation of the Sky Reavers’ Rautasiipi, the Koivun Sonic Cannon, created in an attempt to recreate the mechanisms of Aato’s own sidearm Thunder. The Cannon can be fired in focused or alternating frequencies, able to cause vehicles to rupture from the resonance of the blast or strafe the enemy infantry overloading any sound dampeners. Alongside this cannon is a simple multi-laser for additional firepower.



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Aato_Vayrynen.jpg


Aato_Vayrynen_helmed.jpg


Art of the Primarch Aato Vayrynen by Slaine







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: alternate heresy, five ruins, sky reavers

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