There was no noise from the raider's party as the sounds of Imperial artillery fire whistled overhead of the warehouse, the survivors of the failed assault had grouped together at the rendezvous point, it was a pre prepared position that had been kept secure thanks in part to its obscure location as well as relative ease to defend plus its viability as a potential staging area. It was an old warehouse stationed on the edge of a river with a roof that had mechanical systems in place so that it could open itself up for transports to carry goods and materials across the city, the interior of the warehouse was filled with empty metal containers many of which still held an assortment of supplies and materials that the defenders could use to better hold this position
The planet was a civilized world, a planet that was in the process of being converted into a hive world due to its growing population but became the interest of the Dark Eldar's Kabal for its viability as a rich source of human slaves in contrast to its average strength PDF. A substantial amount of support for the raid had been garnered by the Archon to undertake this raid including a detachment of the slave force line infantry an initiative started up by the concept of a unit capable of fighting a war of attrition with minimal loss of Eldar life.
Acting on this information the Archon of the Dark Eldar's Kabal conducting the raid on this planet had expended the slaves with little more than an after-thought using them to take the brunt of the PDFs attention while the actual Drukhari raiding party attempted to destroy key military positions. However the commander of this PDF had displayed above average intelligence in terms of precognition in this assault and had fortified vital areas of his defense forcing the Kabal to fight in a protracted engagement the sounds of which can still be heard in the distance.
Gathering together in the warehouse were both veterans and raw recruits of the raid including actual Drukhari that had volunteered to be part of the raid squads. The Drukhari drillmasters and beast tamers had managed to broaden their spectrum of recruits and have picked only the finest of individuals to become cannon fodder for their armies.
The sounds of battle could still be heard in the distance and the mood inside the warehouse was grim, a breakaway force of troops had retreated from the conflict to consolidate here in an abandoned storage building by the river running through the city. The warehouse was situated next to a bridge that forded the river of which additional troops were streaming through but it was unclear if even these would be enough to turn the tide of battle. Inside the warehouse the consolidating forces were arranging metal containers to fortify their position and were taking stock of their available equipment and vehicles but the command structure responsible for maintaining discipline was stretched thin.
All the troops gathered in the warehouse were of a typical raider fare. Some were mercenaries and other might be slaves. All of which were having their own ideas on what to do next now that they have consolidated. The raid had made short work of the established defenses of the PDF but the resolve of the Imperial defenders had been more resolute than previously anticipated and had managed to recover from the initial attack with remarkable speed. The mere fact that the PDF had artillery support plus a solid defensive line around the planetary governors palace and even have forces left over to engage the raiders proved that there was some element within the local forces that was far more competent than the average PDF commanders capabilities.
A number of squads were leaving the warehouse striking out on their own after the failed assault to follow their own agendas and scattering across the planetary capital, no bid was made to stop them as those that stayed rallied around a central mustering point readying for a counterattack. Those that left were an assortment of individuals, some were deserting the field of battle, others were keen to start looting the area for personal profit and some of the more predatory like the Dark Eldar themselves were setting off to start preying on the citizenry forsaking their charges. Those that stayed had their hands full maintaining discipline but would be setting off to rejoin the battle soon but in the process would likely become more fodder sent to further whittle down the numbers of the PDF.
Towards the south was the battlefield that the raiders had just left, a significant Imperial force was engaging other raiders and were seeking to break through to reach the cities military quarter to the north. Although the battle was being held in place for the time being by the remaining Kabal forces still fighting should the Imperial forces break through they could join up with PDF forces in the military quarter and pose a serious threat to Kabal operations. Beyond the battlefield was the Planetary governors palace a stronghold built to withstand air assault and very possibly crawling with the governor's most loyal troops, the Drukhari had wished to not attack this location for now.
To the north there was the cities military quarter and the location of the planets tithing station, shortly after the raid started a force of the Kabal had struck at this zone in particular wiping out communications and senior leadership in the area leaving the PDF in disarray and unable to support other elements of defense in the city. Although details of what happened after this initial attack is unclear to the Band of Exiles it is certain that the bulk of the Kabal forces are yet still engaging military targets here to contain the still considerable number of PDF troopers. Deep in the militarized zone stands the tithing station itself which is in fact a space elevator stretching up into the planet exosphere to an orbital harbor, the primary route for planetary tithes to be dispatched off world.
Back towards the east across the bridge was the residential district, a large sprawling area which took up the majority of its side of the river and before the raid started was in the process of being converted into a series of hab blocks to replace the smaller civilized world apartment buildings. The Kabal is presently rounding up captives from this location in particular to be transported back to Commoragh and effectively have this part of the city under their control, but issues are arising from confrontations with the planets feral Ork population that had been attracted to the fighting in ever greater numbers. A few pockets of PDF also still yet fight in this area and the local preachers of the Adeptus Ministorum are actively encouraging the Imperial citizenry to take up arms against the Kabal.
Towards the west was the cities industrial district a location that had collapsed into anarchy as soon as the attack started, when the communications were shut down the gangers here took matters into their own hands developing into several significant factions that just as readily fight each other as well as any Kabalite or associate forces of the Kabal. In amongst the carnage are also several smaller initiatives started by the Adeptus Mechanicus seeking to protect the machinery of the manufactorums, although poorly equipped to handle combat scenarios they manage to hold onto several critical industrial areas which they among themselves deem logical to defend. To add to the warzone developing in this district the feral Orks have also started to establish themselves here looting from the manufactorums and becoming stronger with each passing moment.
Underneath the city was also a well developed network of foundations maintenance tunnels and sewers that had been built to accommodate the cities conversion to a hive city, these passageways stretch all across the city and have been filled with all manner of the basic machinery needed to manage the cities water, motive force and ground cable communications. However in a concerning development just after the raid started all underground communications were suddenly cut by an unknown force although Kabal exploratory forces report nothing but brightly lit empty tunnels.
Malaskia Vileblade looked out over the confusion of another hellish battle-scape and sighed. It wasn't that the suffering of so many wasn't invigorating in its own way. She felt the thrill in her empty excuse for a soul. The delights of a real-space raid were as good as they ever were. But ...
The Hekatrix sighed. She idly flicked the tail of her agoniser so that it tapped on the nearest wall, leaving a trail of coruscating energy. Malaskia Vileblade was not good with the finer emotions. She had no training in them and was likely to stab anyone that tried to explain them if she even recognized what they were talking about. But a few things were clear. Frank Draken was going to follow her about and try to protect her. Frank was honestly all right with that idea. He was not really equipped to do so in the hostile world of Commorraghan politics, and he was hopelessly loyal. And somehow the thought of him dying made her sad. It shouldn't have mattered, but Malaskia Vileblade knew that she felt sad when she thought about him dying. This made her angry, and if several of her would-be suitors had felt the ... dubious benefits? been the lucky recipients? of her attempts to make the feeling go away in a tide of hedonism, well, they hadn't complained and no-one had been killed. At least not permanently. Like that chap with the boomerang. Malaskia Vileblade couldn't remember his name just now, but he'd certainly been agile. But none of it had worked.
Eventually, through some of her more dubious Pirate acquaintances, she's learned of some places they sometimes used as free ports - places to sell whatever they'd raided and get repairs while in realspace. Still not very safe. But, on a still more select few, there were occasional contacts from what the Humans called Rogue Traders. Those were a bit safer, because the Humans liked these people to have somewhere to go.
He had been on this job forever. He was hired to find someone special, someone who had baggage, who could be convinced to work for the man who gave him this contract. He had the leverage but he hadn't been ready to go back to his employer. This job had benefits plus, he kinda liked her but, he could not stall any longer and she liked him enough that if he carefully chose his words and asked her to come with him, she would likely follow. Now was the time to get paid and maybe change his profession. He wondered if his employer would accept him as an official permanent hire...he would mention it, only if she was convinced to do the same.
Edited by TechCaptain, 04 May 2022 - 05:40 AM.