Revelations to Jodi 1-3
1. Upon the Promontory Rock
A thunderous wave crashed off the promontory rock, sending salty spray 20 meters into the air, and sea foam rushing over the legs of both myself and the subject of my interview, Lord Carrack, Slayer of Multitudes. The giant Chaos Lord was unmoved and unperturbed by the raw power of the sea and continued staring out into the grey horizon with his helm clutched in the crook of his left arm. His axe haft rested on his other shoulder held by the grip with his right gauntlet, at rest, yet not stowed. The natural violence of the sea did not, however, leave me unmoved. The rushing surf swept my boots off the algae slick rock with the incoming rush. The armor weave in my leggings was reinforced with a synthetic padding in the knee, likely the only thing keeping my knee from shattering. Worse yet, as the wave rescinded it threatened to take me with it back to sea to undoubtably be crashed on the rocks with the following waves. Still, I was able to scramble to my feet and sprint to the shelter of a jutting protrusion near my lord before the next wave tried its best to kill me and destroy this rock that had the audacity to interrupt the shoreline and reach into the sea. I crouched near the mighty Lord Carrack clutching the protrusion with both hands, drenched to the bone, salt water and wind messing my hair and composure alike. I fear I resembled a wet rat, more than a Disciple of Lavam.
After a long pause, I am sure orchestrated to demonstrate the gross inequality between he and I, the Doom of Kasr Woolten, Lord Carrack, spoke to me in a voice that was not shouting, but easily carried over the violent sea, "Who are you and why do you trouble me while I reflect on our latest victory? I knew he already knew the answers to his questions, but was allowing me permission to start speaking with a more easy response than some of the questions he knew I would ask, in order for me to regain some of my dignity. I took a deep breath and answered,"I am Jodi, Disciple of your Dark Apostle Lavam. I have been sent here to ask of you questions that our Discipleship can pen into tracks and hymns that will be used to enforce your will on this new land and lay the foundations that will both ensure the loyalty of your newly conquered slaves and separate them from the false devotions of the cursed Imperial creed."
For the first time in my twenty three years of life Lord Carrack, a demigod of war, a leader of a Black Legion Warband, my ultimate Liege Lord, looked me in the eye. It was not a pleasant experience. The power of the sea was a pale reflection of the power in his eyes. The bleak gray endless horizon was a shadow of the bleak grayness in his eyes. He said to me, "Lavam occasionally does gestures like this interview in order to prove his loyalty to me and to tell me he has no designs on instigating a revolt on my authority. I think this gesture is genuine, for the moment, and will proceed. If my instincts tell me otherwise, I will send him a message with your skull,". He said this without any malice, or threatening tone, merely a statement of fact. "Very well, you may proceed."
I began with a carefully rehearsed preamble telling him I, of such insignificance was apprehensive about asking questions of such an imposing Lord, when he immediately cut me off, "I know you are fearful, I hear your heart beating at a rate consistent with a fleeing guardsmen. You are shivering more than what the cold water would cause. Your pupils have expanded similar to a prey animal about to take flight. All of this in spite of the sedative smoke that lingers ever so slightly in your wet cloak and hair. Skip the pleasantries and ask your questions."
Lord Carrack acknowledging my fears only seemed to amplify them, but I pressed on, "Of which legion of old or mighty chapter did you bear the colors in battle and what was your calling in those ancient days?" He stared at me for another moment raising my anxiety further and said, "Originally I was a Legionnaire in the Luna Wolves, you most likely have not heard of them, but that was the original name of the XVI Legion at the early and middle stages of the Great Crusade. I started out as a regular Legionnaire, but was quickly field promoted to squad Sergeant following the loss of our Sergeant to a green skin's claw."
2. Under the Gloom Tree
]With the first and easiest question answered, the dreaded Lord Carrack spun on his heel and walked back to the beach, sweeping me under his great red cloak trimmed with the pelt of a Greater White Bear. I was thankful to be escorted off the treacherous promontory rock, but wary of being in such close proximity to a warrior in grand terminator plate festooned, as it was, with barbed hooks and cruel spikes. I should not have worried, Lord Carrack wore his spiked, bulky terminator plate with as much ease as I would wear a night shift. He walked me up the beach to a makeshift command post underneath a massive tree with gnarled roots extending dozens of meters. A map table sat before an Astartes size campaign chair. To the left an orbit capable vox unit had been erected with its antenna lashed to the side of the tree trunk with vines. Attached to the vox was what could only have been an encryption module. To the right was a runic circle three meters in diameter carved into the stump of a larger tree the circle was bisected with the Eye of Horus painted in blood in the eastern half, and the remains of a bloody, burnt offering in the left. PDF officers decorated the tree, some hanging from their necks, but most dangling from brass hooks or even their own entrails. A scattering of thralls, hunched, malformed, and hideous attended the machines as they were ignored by my lord. A squad of Black Legion Astartes loitered around the command post, weapons ready and casually monitoring both the vox and the circle. As we entered the command post Lord Carrack continued, "I fought for millennium as the champion of my squad. As I did I constantly forged bonds of honor and blood with my peers and others whom could be important to my goals. When my predecessor, Prince Huma, ascended to his current status amongst the Lords of Daemons, he bequeathed the Black Maw to, as he stated, "the strongest". I was among the contenders, and because of my careful politicking, only had to duel one other contender to gain my command of the Black Maw."
I have always been convinced of my own intellectual superiority. I studied the teachings of Lavam harder and longer than the other Disciples. I always won debates with the other Disciples of Lavam. This feeling of superiority came to an abrupt end, when I posited a question to Lord Carrack. I had the audacity to ask, "The illustrious Lavam teaches that all of the Great Four are equal and like the four points of the compass. He teaches that the path to enlightenment may go through a single god like a path may go east or west, or that enlightenment may be reached by going inward and balancing the Great Four as you might balance a compass. It is well known that you, great lord, follow the path of Khorne. How then do you lead a band of warriors who are often traveling a different path than yourself?" He donned his great spiked helm and rebuked me, "Lavam may be your teacher, but he is my servant, do not quote the words of the servant to the master as if the words were wisdom, for the master is greater than the servant." I felt shame at being rebuked, but awe at hearing Lord Carrack speak in the rhythms of the warrior lodges that my teacher spoke of so much.
Lord Carrack leaned over the map table and I could only guess that he was sending and receiving vox messages to his forces through the in built systems in his helm. He did this for several minutes, occasionally glancing at the runic circle as if expecting some response from it. Since I was not expressly dismissed, I decided to continue, "Which is your greatest deed to date? He responded without hesitation, "The conquest of your home world, Hell Holdfast and the founding of Howler's Charn. I certainly have won harder fought personal battles, and won greater victories fighting in the Eye, but Hell Holdfast is a world that is securely in my control in real space. It allows me to strike out at the False Imperium of Man without having to fall back to the warp for succor or supply. The longer I control Hell Holdfast the more it destabilizes the Imperial Sector. Howler's Charn shines like a decadent beacon to the pirates, rebels, and bandits that prey upon the Imperium, and I gain complete fealty, service or substantial tribute from all who make port there."
The stirrings of patriotism strung in my heart at hearing of my Lord's value of the world I called home. I continued, "Wha..What is the vision you have for our warband, where it will lead us?" The next moments were hectic as a lighter burned its way through the atmosphere and came screeching into a low hover by the command post. With unparalleled precision, the squad of Astartes and the grizzly thralls loaded up the command post, map table, campaign chair, vox unit, and even the stump with the runic circle onto the lighter. As almost an afterthought the squad champion, Vinno, I believe, grabbed me roughly by the arm and hauled me into the lighter's bay as well. As he did so he harshly whispered, "We will go to Terra." Lord Carrack witnessing the exchange, nodded approvingly and added, "Soon, but not today."
3. At the Fall of Cantu
I took stock of my new surroundings. I was in a cargo hold with a squad of thousands year-old demigods, Their lord, called Slayer of Multitudes, and a handful of hideous mutant thralls. On the far side of the hold were two iron cages warded with brass symbols and spiteful little bound daemons chained to the corners that would occasionally gleefully lick flames into the cages to the sounds of screams from the occupants. Screams of rage, not pain. Heavy black incense smoke obscured whatever was kept in those cages, for which I was thankful for. I was suddenly aware of how unthreatening I was. I was trapped with killers, mutants, and beasts, with only the blessings of Lavam for protection, that and a sacrificial dagger for what that was worth. I felt like a hen caught in a wolves den. Like a seal pup abandoned on the ice before the Greater White Bear. In spite of my trepidation, I inched closer to the most fearsome being in the hold as he readied his weapons with a level of care for every detail that was subtly amazing, considering the amount of times he must have performed the same ritual. I asked, "Which are your favorite weapons and armor? I understand that our warband is rich in relics and plunder, so which artifacts of old are your favorite my lord?" His reply was a shrug of the great pauldrons of his terminator plate and a blindingly quick flourish of the cruel battle axe he held in his right hand. Before I could ask another question a klaxon sounded it's blaring warning and the lighter descended.
As soon as the loading ramp opened the squad of Black Legionaries deployed in a defensive arc, finding ample cover in the frost covered rocky terrain. The horrid mutant thralls set to work dragging the stump with the runic circle to the ground below and Lord Carrack took calmly took up a position in the center of the hasty defenses. I rushed to his side and humbly knelt in the shadow of his cloak. The lighter remained in a low hover behind us. Off in the distance, facing my lord was a walled town built into the side of a volcanic mountain. Smoke stacks from refineries protruded above the walls. After a short while an Astartes in black armor adorned with skulls, scrolls, and talismans was allowed passage through the lines. He strode to a place a few paces before my lord and dipped both a knee and a force staff in salute. He gestured to the town behind him and said, "Welcome to Cantu my lord." My lord acknowledged the salute and said, "Ghannor, appraise me of the situation." Ghannor complied, "My lord, the defenders of this world, Sanctus Piety, have ascertained your strategy. All of their power plants, save Cantu, have fallen to your assaults, and soon their orbital defenses will be dry of power and bereft of shielding. Cantu, however will keep them supplied for a month or two, a long shot, but perhaps enough time for a rapid relief of their world. In their dire straights, they have reinforced Cantu with all of the air mobile infantry they have left. I believe a company of storm troopers have bolstered Cantu's defenses." Lord Carrack replied, "Very well, spear point attack pattern alpha at my signal, ready your men." Ghannor turned about and trotted off to a rocky point just out of range of the town's defenders to join another squad of Black Legionaries. The squad defending my lord opened up a wide lane and the mutant thralls shuffled back to the lighter and opened up the cages.
The Fall of Cantu took less than an hour. It was enough bloodshed and carnage to fill a warrior's lifetime. I confess that I was overcome with awe from the onset, when the first cage opened up and five masses of mutated flesh, tentacles, and mouths scrambled out and rushed the town. The spawn withstood withering fire as they tore open the gates and charged into the town. This allowed my lord, Ghannor, and the two squads of Black Legionaries to advance into the city as the defenders blasted away at the spawn of chaos. What ultimately sealed the fate of Cantu was the opening of the second cage. Out of the lighter strode a vile amalgam of flesh and machine towering twice as tall as a mighty Astartes. The Helbrute charged into the city firing its multimelta and crushing troopers in its claw screaming +I AM KHARFUS+ the town fell to the onslaught of Astartes, chaos spawn and, helbrute.
As the din of battle died down, Lord Carrack came stalking out of the flames of the dying town dragging some hapless defender by the hair and with the sorcerer Ghannor in his wake. I could hear the sorcerer muttering the phrases of a spell that was making my head swim with fever. My lord flung his captive across the rune carved stump and motioned for me to come closer. As I did he explained, "The spell my sorcerer casts will channel the bloodshed of this towns destruction into this sacrifices heart. With it we will bring forth Daemon Letters of Blood from the warp. They will survive and multiply on the slaughter of this world until either they are defeated, or they exhaust their ties to reality with the deaths of the last of this worlds sentient lives. We will amplify this sacrifice with orbital fire, now free to reign down on this world unimpeded by any defense. Then when we return to this world at the end of our raiding circuit, we will conquer it with ease." The Slayer of Multitudes then grabbed the sacrificial blade from my hip and pressed it into my hand. He told me, "Such a powerful spell of course will be perilous to the caster's soul, this is why I have endured your presence Jodi, now strike the captives heart and slay this world my subject, or I will replace her with you and have another strike your heart." I hesitated. Fortunately he did not notice my faltering for what it was and went on to boast, "This is the nature of the Black Maw's ties to the Daemon. They use us to bring them forth into reality, and we use them as slave soldiers to do our bidding." I did as I was told and struck the captive's heart.
Edited by Carrack, 27 January 2015 - 06:11 AM.