The shuttle flight is remarkably quiet, for all of you are lost in thought, considering Ghoran's final words before you embarked.
Kai has just returned from his meeting with Varn, Achard alongside him. After the Captain has been introduced and has left to speak with his own subordinates, Ghoran clears his throat, for the first time seeming somewhat... brooding?
"Well lads, there's just one more thing the boss wanted me to talk to you about. It's not an order, just something to think on. So it's no business of his, mine or anyone else's what the six of you choose to do with it.
It's something he told me about not long after I first met him. An old, old thing, a thing of the Legionnes Astartes themselves. A few Chapters still carry on the tradition. They called it an Oath of Moment. As historians among you might know, before they went into battle warriors would make vows in front of their brethren. All sorts of vows. Could be to finish the mission no matter what, or to watch each other's backs, or just to fight with honour… whatever that means.
Now, I know what you're thinking; what do vicious old pirates like Varn and Ghoran care about oaths or vows? Well, truth is, if you're an Iron God, you haven't got many people you can trust out there. But no-one can survive on his own forever." His eyes pass over Kai. "The greatest warriors, the finest killers - if they fight alone, eventually they fall. But if you can build something bigger, something you can rely on, it might just keep you alive long enough to win. You all know the truth as well as I, that the greatest strength of the Astartes is unity, brotherhood."
He looks around at the six of you, standing in a loose semi-circle at the edge of the hangar.
"And of course, now you're thinking; why would I trust the words of men I barely know? Men I have nothing in common with, not blood nor belief? And you'd have a point, a damn good one, p'rhaps. But sometimes the words can be a place to start. Sometimes just saying the words out loud and having them heard, has power, shapes what will be. It can give you focus, bind you together, make you stronger…" He shrugs suddenly. "That's it. Like I said, what you boys do with that, whether something or nothing, is between you. You've got at least the next few days travelling shipboard. Mull it over, each of you."
His final counsel given, Ghoran hammers his right fist once against his breastplate in a warrior's salute and offers you the Iron Gods war cry in a low, fierce tone before turning to walk away.
"Blood and glory!"
Your contemplation of Ghoran's words is interrupted as the shuttle banks and suddenly your new ship becomes visible through several armaglas portholes. The Dagger Thrust is well named. A relatively small vessel, but deadly looking. For those of you familiar with the voidcraft of the Imperial Navy, it is identifiable as some variant of the ubiquitous Sword-class Frigate. The omnipresence of this pattern around the galaxy is understandable, for the Sword is fast, manoeuvrable, and well armed and sturdy for an Escort. The kilometre-long hull of Achard's vessel bears the same grey as you wear, though the sharply tapering prow is daubed deep crimson. Like a blade pulled from a body.
As the pilot brings the shuttle smoothly into a landing position in one of the Dagger's hangar bays, Achard looks around with hard eyes and gives a carefully respectful nod. He has said little on the journey out from the Crag, but he looks rather relieved that soon he will once again be the ruler of his own little kingdom. Utterly overshadowed before by Varn's titanic presence, you can now begin to sense the air of competence, intelligence and authority that he carries.
"My lords. My deck officer has assigned each of you quarters. An adjutant will be waiting to give directions. Also, the secondary cargo hold will be given over as a training arena, should you require it."
He steps forward, even as the shuttle's ramp begins to descend.
"I will make preparations to set sail, heading South-south-west. If you will join me on the Bridge when you have stowed your equipment, you can furnish me with further instructions once we are under way?"
As you might have guessed, the first bit of this post relates to the Mission Oath-taking rules (pg228,9) Now, initially that didn't feel to me like something the Iron Gods would do, and we'd just skip it, but after thinking about it I came up with the above.
Perhaps it's just not something your character feels able to do, a step too far to trust these strangers. But maybe it is, and maybe you can? Whatever form an Oath might take, and which of the rules options you went with would be for you to work out. Obviously, it only works if everyone is in! Either way, I thought it might make for some good narrative and interplay as the squad considers it!
The second half gets us started on the practicalities of the mission itself! How do you feel about the ship and its Captain? What instructions or questions do you have for him? How will you uncover the rival pirate base?
Mazer Rackham, Trokair, Beren and 1 other like this