October 3, 2016

Rogue's Journal, part III

Rogue Inquisitor Les Colfer
The spires of Port Aurelius glimmer in front of me and I still draw breath. My escape from the battlegrounds of the ongoing Kaballas world war was narrow but successful. I still have not established contact with the organization - it might be wise to lay low for a while. 
The next step of our plan is at hand...

My personal extraction began with the Astartes company of Ultramar, who I had managed to equivocate by disguising myself as a lowly confessor. Their battle group was en-route to Port Aurelius to reinforce nearby guard regiments, who were currently engaged in close-proximity cityfight against an alien onslaught. I was fortunate that their Librarian's mind was shadowed by warp disturbance and my infiltration to their serf retinue went unnoticed. Our path took us from Gar Tyhur to Kevatar XII and riverside towards Aurelius Secundus. At the Watcher's Crossroads our convoy leader ordered the formation to halt. We were under attack.

A Demi-Company of Dark Angels had started a ground assault and their man-portable Heavy Bolters were blasting at the front of our convoy. I didn't know the full motivation for their strike, but I reckon it had something to do with my knowledge of Caliban's history. 
But how did they know I was here?

Drop your weapons. You're under arrest by the authority of the Lion Primarch.

The Ultramarines rallied and fought back, but their company was ultimately driven off and our temporary command post was manned by Dark Angels' tactical troops. By joining an Astartes detachment I had allowed myself to be captured by another. The Space Marines seized my disguise and brought me to confront their Codicier-Commander.

It quickly became clear that the Dark Angels were after information. The power of the Librarian's Interromancy was potent and I could barely fend off the initial psychic barrage against my mind. During my unconsciousness the Dark Angels had however been forced to relocate and as I woke up I found myself imprisoned in the lead vehicle of their mechanized convoy. My headache was crushing and I never liked the claustrophobic Razorback interior to start with...

The Dark Angels Codicier reaches to the depths of Colfer's psyche.

Suddenly, incoming fire. I could hear it hit our side armour and the tank commander steered hard left. In their open vox I could hear the Marines contemplating if the Ultramarines had launched a counter-attack, but I knew these were not Boltgun rounds, but Xeno technology. The alien colonialists known as the Tau Empire had prepared an ambush in the forsaken farmstead our company was crossing through. I could feel the Razorback rolling over a hill, then take a round to its engine, soon halting completely. This led to the disturbance of the vehicle's Machine Spirit and I was able to override the locking codes of the rear hatch.

I crawled in the dust for cover and dodged incoming fire the Dark Angel war walkers and distant alien skimmers were exchanging over my head. I could see Drop Pods reinforce the Astartes line, but their passengers were no match for the xeno tactics and weaponry. I was naive to think I could outrun their sensors and escape the battlefield; soon enough their servant discs located my position and took me as a hostage. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

Greetings, Gue'la. Don't move.

Maybe not, after all. As I watched the alien force regroup, I could see they had secured some kind of a meteor relic from the battlefield. As I was escorted through the crash site, I recognized the material; cursed wraithbone, similar to the one used by Pirate-Revilers in Felanor's Moons. I hesitated for a moment, then took a chance. Using my skills in alien diplomacy granted by my years in the service of planetary governor Hitchingham, I requested an audience with the acting commander of the Tau Empire cadre. My warnings about the material's lethal qualities and how it could corrupt the mind of their combat engineers didn't go unheeded by the Tau. As I sensed they didn't view me as a hostile, I suggested a bold barter; the safe recipe to exploit the wraithbone core in their studies of psychic powers against a safe passage to Port Aurelius. Apparently impressed by my honesty and bravery (or maybe because they had plans to proceed towards North anyway) the Tau commander agreed. My gamble had paid off.

Colfer strikes a deal with the Farsight Enclaves.

 We travelled a night and a day, the skimmer vehicles proceeding slowly over the wasteland separating the Aurelius suburbia from the pethal crops of Sector A3. The warriors of the Fire Caste were silent most of the time, but some young recruits couldn't stop themselves from asking a few questions about the distant worlds in the galactic west and of how I knew what I knew about their culture. As I was transported to safety in their skimmer gunboat with a warm field-meal in front of me, I was happy to converse.

At dawn we reached the edge of the suburbs, now bombed to a smoldering ruin wherever there had been any industrial buildings or military constructions. We had agreed that Kayvaan's Plaza would be as far as they'd take me and I was trying my best to remember my teachings of the Eldar bone-substance to share with my temporary allies. Eventually we disembarked and the Fire Warriors led me to meet their Commander, if I recall correctly, O'Shovah. We didn't quite make it to the meeting site.

Splendid, the aliens approach as predicted. Man the battle stations and prepare to execute order 52.

The Skitarii Death Squads had been lying in wait. As I recognized their cult insignia, I knew what must have happened; that old hound Korsovich had coordinated with the Mechanicus to capture me and as a fellow-inquisitor he knew I would use the busy civilian space port in Aurelius to escape the surface unnoticed. Heavy phosphor salvoes struck the Tau positions and they quickly maneuvered to form a a solid battle line. To my horror I could see the menacing silhouette of an Imperial Knight in the mist. My escort retinue scattered and I ran with them.

From then on it was chaotic. The Mechanicus troops were forcing Tau armor to back away simultaneously as alien drop troops harassed the martian reserve. The forces were evenly matched, and in the aggressive heat of urban warfare both parties were soon reduced to percentages of their starting strength. I begun to slowly outflank the thickest fighting, trying desperately to find the hidden bunker entrance in the fringes of Kayvaan's Plaza. Just as the Imperial Knight stomped by, I found the hatch and lurked into the darkness of the underground tunnels.

Colfer disappears to the ruins as the Mechanicus and Farsight Enclaves fight to the last man.

 My hiding cannot last for long, though.. The Kaballas world war has grown larger than we ever anticipated, but it is something we can use. While the eyes of the powerful are elsewhere, their power can be unsettled. 

Cras es Noster. Carpe Noctem.
- Lester Gallegos Colfer, Port Aurelius, 998 M41

Rogue's Journal on fluffiartikkelisarja, joka seuraa inkvisiittori Les Colferin edesottamuksia War Headin yksittäisistä turnauksista koostuvan syyskampanjan aikana. Kunkin turnauksen tapahtumat kuljettavat inkvisiittorin tarinaa eteenpäin täysin ennakoimattomalla tavalla ja tarina heijastuu näihin artikkeleihin. Kuinka käy Colferin, mitä tämä pakenee ja mitä Kaballaksen järjestelmässä on tekeillä? Tarina jatkuu seuraavan turnauksen jälkeen!

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