Bonds of Family, part 3

It doesn’t take long for someone else to join me in the tent. I turn, looking over my shoulder to see a male human in full armour, though without a helmet. His armour is slightly better decorated than the rank and file troopers, so I assume he is some sort of officer. I don’t even make eye contact, just facing forward in silence again.

“Stand up,” he says, his voice authoritative as he makes his way to my back, detaching the chains that bind me to the tent, but keeping my hands bound. I just sit there; I’m not about to let this human order me around. “I said stand!” he says again, walking over and dragging me to my feet. “With those ears, I would’ve thought you could hear me.”

“I heard you, human. I just didn’t care,” I answer, looking over my shoulder with a grin.

The human grabs the back of my neck and shoves me towards the entrance to the tent. “Just move it.”

The human shoves me out of the tent and back into the pouring rain. I was starting to dry off, but all hopes of that evaporated as I was met by the heavy rainfall of the Arathi Highlands. It was still late, the plains lit by nothing more than star light and the occasional lantern. The human pushes me out of the camp, up a small hill and over to another group of Alliance. My adoptive sister is among them, a longbow slung across her back. I find myself wondering if it was my mother who taught her how to fight. It’s a shame I won’t find out. It’s clear to me what this is; it’s an execution. I spot the stone they will use as a headsman’s block, there’s what looks like a priest and two other soldiers in attendance. If I was armed and armoured I could probably kill all of these pretenders; luck has surely smiled upon them today.

The human shoves me over to the large stone and the priest walks to the other side, his robes muddied at the bottom. He looks me straight in the eye as one soldier walks behind me while the officer and the last soldier flank me. Elise walks just behind the priest, looking at me with a stoic expression. I wonder if she is still conflicted and I cling to the hope that she will help me out of this situation. For all my confidence, I don’t want to die. Not like this at least; there is no honour in being chained and executed. However, I see that is just a fantasy. After all, we’re on opposite sides of this war. If I were in her position, I would likely be the executioner as well as the priest in this situation. She is my enemy as I am hers.

“You call yourself a paladin of the Holy Light, yet you slaughter men and women in their beds,” the priest says, his gaze never leaving my eyes.

“It’s a military target,” I answer, looking straight back into his eyes. “It was not a dishonourable strike. If anything, it was poorly executed. We four met your fourteen in open combat and yo-…”

The soldier to my right punches me across the face, sending me stumbling aside. The officer catches me and shoves me back into position. It’s at this moment I realise how weak I am in my current state. I lost a lot of blood not too long ago and I still ache from the injuries I suffered in the previous battle.

“That’s enough,” the priest says, a strong, assertive tone to his voice. “Now, elf, you have been charged with murder and abuse of the Holy Light. Do you deny these charges?”

“Of course I do. If I were abusing the Light, do you not think it would turn its back on me? Also it’s not murder if it’s a paramilitary operation in a war. That’s called warfare, priest.”

The priest frowns. “You will face judgement for the lives you have taken.”

“I will be judged for the crimes I have committed, but it won’t be by you and it won’t be for what transpired here.”

The priest looks at the guard behind me and nods. I feel an armoured gauntlet on the back of my neck, pushing me down and forcing me to my knees. This is it. They’ve decided to just get the execution over and done with. My main regret is that I feel that I have not yet managed to atone for my sins. Will the Holy Light take that into account when it comes to my judgement?

I feel an armoured boot on my back, forcing me onto the stone, my head hanging over the other edge. I look up to the officer who has pulled out his blade, then to Elise, then to the priest who is saying a typical prayer to the Holy Light. I know the Alliance’s protocol when it comes to executions like these; even for their enemies they recite a generic prayer. It has no meaning and I think they’re just doing it for show.

I close my eyes and face down. There’s nothing left for me. This is the end.

Suddenly, I feel a shift in the air. I open my eyes in time to see an arcane flash from behind the priest and two hulking figures come charging out of it.

“What? We’re under attack! Protect Father Astrior,” the officer yells, turning to face the charging figures. This is the only chance I will get. I spring to life, jumping into the officer and colliding with his armoured form. We both go sprawling to the ground, but I am unarmed, unarmoured and weakened from my previous injuries. We hit the dirt, but before I can react the officer is upon me. He raises his sword to finish the job, but before he can plunge the blade through my chest he brings it up to parry one of the charging figures. I look up to see Uruda slamming into the human, bashing aside his defences and slamming her axe into the human’s chest, piercing the armour and sending a trail of crimson spilling from his breastplate behind his tabard.

“Laralla, can you walk?” she asks, picking up the human’s sword. I nod as she runs over, getting to my feet. She runs behind me and brings her axe down on the bindings, smashing them and freeing my hands. She thrusts the officer’s sword into my hands. “Good. We’re getting you out of here,” she says before charging off to engage another target. I look over to see Elise standing between Argrok and the priest and in that moment I can see that she was trained by my mother. Her fighting style is reminiscent of how my mother fought the Scourge, dodging and ducking beneath blows. She dodges to the side of his overhead swing, moving to slash at Argrok, but he brings his mace back around, causing her to back off to avoid the powerful swing of the Orc warrior. This isn’t a fight she can reliably win.

Lara Ready

Another soldier charges Argrok and Elise immediately disengages, moving to his flank and ready to strike him from behind. I will give these Alliance credit where credit is due, they work in unison far better than our Orc duo. I charge at the Alliance soldier, coming to Argrok’s aid as they seek to outnumber him, bringing the officer’s two handed sword around in an arc. The blade digs into his armour deep, but I don’t have the strength to pierce the plates. He turns, bashing me away with his shield, but in doing so he turns his back on Argrok who shatters the human’s spine with a powerful backwards swing of his mace.

I turn to Elise and the priest, but see the priest’s body burning as Claude hurls fireballs him, his robes aflame as he stumbles about, screaming at the top of his lungs before eventually collapsing to the ground, dead.

“Come on Uruda. Back to Claude!” Argrok yells, starting to bound back to the mage who appears to be starting a teleportation spell to pull us out. I notice Elise out of the corner of my eye. She has taken out her bow, pulling an arrow from her quiver and taking aim at the mage. I get ready to charge. I can’t let her kill my only way out. I won’t be recaptured and put in chains by these human dogs. She may have been nice to me while I was in captivity, but that was her mistake.

Before I can charge, Uruda barrels into Elise, causing her to lose her shot and hop backwards to avoid the axe swing, though she doesn’t hop far enough and Uruda’s axe slams into her side, piercing the lightweight chain armour and carving deep into her body. Elise drops her bow and immediately buckles, gasping for breath as Uruda pulls her axe out and starts to run towards Claude as well. I watch as the broken human struggles to move, her blood mixing with the wet mud beneath her as she bleeds at an alarming rate. She has mere seconds to live.

I look to the others. Their focus is elsewhere, watching for enemy reinforcements as Claude continues to channel his spell. I look back to Elise as she starts to slow. Time seems to stand still as I come to a realisation; the Light is testing me. Testing my will, testing my resolve, testing my honour. This woman had, in truth, put her neck on the line to at least make what she believed were my final moments a bit more bearable. If the Alliance had known that her reports were a fabrication…

RIP Elise

I extend my hand to her, closing my eyes as I channel holy energy into the girl, closing the gaping axe wound in her side. She looks up, locking eyes with me. “Now we’re even,” I say in Thalassian as she collapses to the dirt as shock and blood loss take their toll. With the wound closed, she should live as long as she receives medical attention in the near future, but she will feel awful; worse than I felt as her wound was a lot nastier than mine.

I turn and run for the other three as I see reinforcements coming up the hill. It’s time for us to leave. “We’re all here. Let’s get out of this place!” I yell as I reach Claude, putting a hand up to conjure a barrier of holy energy around us. I won’t have a stray spell or arrow stop us now.

Claude finishes his incantation and we are pulled through the nether, appearing on the dusty planes of Durotar, just outside of Orgrimmar. I collapse to my knees, exhausted but happy to be back in safe lands.

“Can you walk to Orgrimmar, or are you elves so fragile that I need to carry you?” Argrok asks with a big, toothy grin.

“I will be fine to walk, Argrok,” I answer, grinning right back and climbing to my feet. I look at the Alliance officer’s sword before offering it to Uruda. “Hey, you want this as a trophy? I believe he was the commander of that camp.”

Uruda smiled and nodded. “He was my kill, after all. First we show it to our employer, then Argrok buys our drinks for losing my bet,” she says with a chuckle, looking straight to Argrok.

I start to laugh as we begin our short walk to Orgrimmar. Despite losing my weapons, armour and holy symbol, my first combat job in years was a success. I grab the necklace my mother gave to me, partially to ensure that it is still there. Mother is alive and working with the Alliance. She has taken on a human girl as her new daughter. I must find her. I have so many questions to ask her, but if it comes down to it could I really fight her now? Now that I know what kind of a monster Father is.

It seems the Holy Light has more trials for me in the years to come. I will not waver.

< Part 2

Bonds of Family, part 2

That’s why I’m leaving, sister,” Anatheia says as she turned to face me for what felt like the first time during the entire conversation. I can tell she’s upset, that she’s holding back the tears as she speaks.

Father won’t allow it, Ana. You’re the oldest child with a gift for the arcane, you know he has plans for you to take over as head of the house. Besides, what will you tell Vel?” I reply, a firm tone to my voice despite my little sister’s current state of mind. I don’t want her to leave and I always was the more assertive of us three girls.

I don’t care what father wants. His training is smothering me and I feel I can do more good in Stormwind, rather than sitting safe up here in Quel’Thalas. Our allies need us; are we going to just sit up here safe behind our forests?”

I sigh. “No, of course not. But equally you need to think of the immediate ramifications of you leaving. How do you think Father will react? You know what he’s like.”

He’s the main reason I’m leaving. It’s decided; I leave tomorrow and my bags are already packed.”

Please reconsider. You’re going to tear the family apart over this.”

Anatheia’s expression shifted to one of anger. She tensed up, storming up to me. Is she going to punch me? No, I’ve been here before…

You wouldn’t know, Lara! You don’t know the training he puts me through. You haven’t seen what I’ve seen; how dare you assume to know what drives this decision!” she says, shoving me back. I’m shocked, mouth agape at my little sister’s sudden outburst. I look back to her to see the tears streaming down her cheeks.

Then why don’t you tell me, Ana? I want to help, but I can’t if you’re going to act this way!” I answer, keeping my posture non-threatening. I may be the stronger and faster of the two of us, but in her current state of mind I would not want to push her buttons any more than I apparently already have. She’s either overreacting and she’s unstable, ready to start throwing spells at the drop of a hat, or she has seen something that has changed her life for the worse.

I-… I can’t,” she replies, stepping back again and looking at the ground. She appears to have regained some control over her emotions at least.

Why not? I’m not against you, I just want to find a resolution to this that keeps us together as a family.”

I just can’t, okay.” She looks up at me, sniffing and carefully wiping her eyes. “Good bye, Lara.”

I take a step forwards and reach out to pull her into a warm hug, but she disappears from where she stood, appearing outside the room before rushing off. I chase after her, but when I get to my bedroom door, she is gone.

I wake up to the feeling of raindrops on my skin. It has only just started, as I am still dry for the most part. I feel awful. There’s a sharp pain in my stomach and a dull headache pounds within my skull. I move to get up, but my hands are chained behind my back. I turn over slowly to see a chain connecting me with a hitching post and a couple of horses about five metres away; a fresh pile of horse excrement lies far too close for comfort and I roll away from it a little. There isn’t too much slack in my chains, but enough to get me away from the horse droppings. My armour is missing, as well as my weapon and holy symbol. My necklace remains tucked beneath my clothing, my mother’s family crest; her final gift to me after Anatheia and I renounced our heritage on our father’s side, gave up our titles and claim to land and decided to live with the surname of a traitor instead of a madman. I lie there on my back, wearing just my underwear, a thin tunic, thin trousers and a pair of socks, closing my eyes and asking the Holy Light to guide me. It’s cold and the rain isn’t doing me any favours, starting to get heavier and soak me through. I have no access to a mirror, but I imagine I must look like hell right now.

A few minutes pass before I hear footsteps approaching. They aren’t the heavy plated boots of an Alliance soldier and for a moment I assume the best. Perhaps it’s a fellow Horde soldier here to free me? Maybe I have concussion as I see a woman round the nearby tent and walk over. She’s human, with long blonde hair worn loose beneath a blue hood and blue, lightweight chain armour covered by the tabard of Stormwind. I lock eyes with her and refuse to look away. She walks past me and grabs the chains by the hitching post, crouching down and undoing the lock. She stands, holding the chains and wrapping them around her wrist, while pulling out a simple shortsword with her free hand. She makes her way over to me and places her chained hand on the back of my neck, pushing me forwards. I stumble a few steps, but come to a halt, staring at her over my shoulder.

“Move it,” she says calmly, poking me in the back with her shortsword. I oblige, curious where this will take me. Perhaps she is my executioner. Perhaps she is going to question me. Either way, I would like to get out of this downpour.

She takes me to the far tent and pushes me in, following shortly after.

“Sit,” she says, gesturing at the chair. I feign ignorance, turning to stare at her again and pretending I don’t understand Common.

She rolls her eyes, grabs me by the scruff of the neck and shoves me down onto the wooden chair in the centre of the tent. She then walks to the corner and affixes the chain to the piton keeping the tent in the ground. I wonder if I could pull hard enough and bring this tent down on us? It wouldn’t be especially dangerous, but it would probably get me killed so I hold off for now. I am still curious to see where this goes. Inside the tent, apart from the wooden chair I sit on, is what looks like a hastily set up makeshift desk and another chair. These Alliance soldiers probably weren’t expecting to keep prisoners, hence the very makeshift interrogation set up. Amateurs.

The woman sits opposite me. “So, you have a name, Elf?” she asks in Common.

I still pretend I do not understand.

“Don’t pretend. I know almost all of your kind understands Common, unless you’re a ten year old child which I am quite confident you aren’t.”

I still don’t respond.

The woman sighs, rolling her eyes. She stands up, picking up the chair and moving within spitting range. Wonderful; I can spit in this woman’s face as my final act of defiance if it goes that way. However, what happens next takes me by complete surprise. The woman lowers her voice.

“Fine. Let me extend you the courtesy of communicating in your own language,” she says quietly in perfect Thalassian; even her accent is on point with any well-spoken blood elf. I find myself staring in shock at the woman, as it’s a rarity to find a human who speaks our language.

“Where did you learn?” I ask, narrowing my eyes.

“No, no, that’s not how this works. I asked the first question, so I will be more than happy to answer once you have answered mine.”

I smirk. “Laralla.”

“And your family name?”

“That’s not how it works. I answered yours, so now you answer mine,” I respond with a grin. If this is going to lead to execution, I would rather just get it over with.

The woman cracks a smile, nodding. “Fair enough, Laralla. I learned from one of your kin who you cast out for refusing to resort to fel magics to feed their addictions. Now, surname?”

I nod. “Dawnsinger.”

The woman blinks at me, staring for a moment.

“What? Did I get dessert on my nose?” I ask, grinning.

“No. Now, what were you trying to achieve here? Four of you against a camp this close to Refuge Pointe?”

“I think it’s my turn to ask,” I say with a grin.

The woman shakes her head. “No. You asked if you had dessert on your nose. I happily answered that question, so now it’s back to me,” she answers with a smug grin on her face. I can’t help but smirk at her style.

“Bitch.”

“Guilty as charged. Now, my question please.”

“Simple. I was hired to kick your pampered baby squad back over the Thandol Span.”

“So you’re not official military?”

“Nope. Anyway, that’s two you owe me now, so firstly, what’s the name of the Quel’dorei who taught you our language? I’d like to know so I can pay them a visit later.”

The woman hesitated, before smirking again. “Arinella Dawnsinger. You look just like her.”

No. I refuse to accept it. Arinella Dawnsinger? That’s the same name as my mother. The mother who tried to kill my father and then fled. I thought she was dead; she had to flee through Scourge controlled lands shortly after they destroyed the Sunwell. “She’s alive?”

“From your reaction I would say my hunch was right. She is alive and well, yes. I take it you are related? The family resemblance is there.”

I narrow my eyes at the human woman. “She’s my mother. She tried to kill my father and then fled.”

“From what I’ve heard, your father is a bit of a nut-case,” the woman replied, her tone very to the point.

“You couldn’t possibly understand. Anyway, why are you asking me these questions? Aren’t you going to interrogate me for military intelligence and then take me out back and execute me?” I ask, spitting on the ground.

“Because normally I would relish in conducting an interrogation with a Sin’dorei. I hate your people.”

“But this time’s different because you know my mother, right?” I ask, rolling my eyes. “Please, spare me your f-…”

“This time’s different because this particular Sin’dorei is my sister by adoption. Arinella adopted me as a war orphan. I may hate your people, but family is important to me.”

“Then how about you let me go?” I ask, rustling the chains slightly.

“I can’t. You murdered Alliance soldiers and sister or not, you have to face justice for your actions.”

“So where do we go from here?”

“I-… I’m going to say I got everything I could from you. That you have no intel to give and the strike was orchestrated by independent agents. Your fate is in the hands of the Alliance military and that of the Holy Light.”

The woman turns away, her tough exterior melting away. I can tell she’s conflicted with the situation and not an official member of the Alliance military. A contractor? Perhaps something I can use to my advantage.

“Your name, human? I’d like to know the name of my new adoptive sister before I meet the Holy Light,” I ask, softening my voice. If I’m going to get out of here, she’s my way out, so I need her on side.

The human woman turns to look at me, the conflict clear on her face. She takes a deep breath and regains her composure. “Elise Dawnsinger.”

I open my mouth to speak, but Elise rushes out of the tent, leaving me alone, but still restrained.

At least it’s dry in here.

< Part 1 | Part 3 >

Bonds of Family, part 1

As a preface to this, I will say that I have written and rewritten this three times. I just couldn’t get it right! I still don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s by far the best attempt I’ve had at it. So, I present to you, the first piece of Warcraft based fiction I have written in probably around seven years; last time I wrote any Warcraft stuff I was visiting parents during my university holidays. All names are random and not meant to represent any other characters that aren’t mine. It may be the Warcraft universe, but I still prefer to create my own characters.


It had been a while since I had seen active duty for the Horde. I tried moving into the civilian workforce after the Sunwell was liberated, but I was hounded by ghosts of my past; thoughts of guilt ate at my mind every day for what we, the Blood Knights, did to that poor Naaru. We faltered in our faith and the Naaru paid for it. I tried to take to life as a priest, I tried to take up the blacksmithing trade. Neither were difficult, my previous experience with the Holy Light and my responsibility as a Blood Knight meant I had an affinity for both of them, but I didn’t feel like I was on a path where I could atone for what I did. I kept my body in shape with daily exercise and a training regimen I used to abide by when I was an active Blood Knight, so donning my armour and picking up my spear was no strange experience, even after all these years.

Now here I stand, the Arathi Highlands. Reports indicated that the Alliance has used the conflict with the Legion to push advanced scouting parties closer to our borders and we had been hired to attack one of their camps. We will be outnumbered, but we will have the element of surprise if we play our cards right. The team is comprised of myself, a paladin of the Light, Claude, a forsaken spellcaster, as well as Argrok and Uruda, a pair of Orc warriors. I haven’t known them for very long, but it’s clear there is history between Argrok and Uruda, perhaps even a romantic history with the way they interact, though I am not an expert on Orc culture. Perhaps that’s something to ask my little sister about; her position as a diplomat means she has spent far more time around them than I have.

Watching

I can see the target in the distance. Four tents, with no more than four soldiers in each, meaning at maximum we will be facing sixteen Alliance soldiers. However, I have only counted ten so far, though the others could be asleep. I hear footsteps behind me.

“Is that the camp?” Argrok asks, cresting the small mound I had placed myself on to observe the Alliance forces. Argrok takes a knee next to me, observing the soldiers’ movements.

“It is. We wait for their next patrol to leave and then we strike,” I answer, not taking my eyes off the troops.

“Why not just attack now? Those Alliance dogs can’t stand up to us. They’re cowards,” Argrok says with a grin.

I turn to lock eyes with him, a seriousness piercing the calmness of the Highlands ambience. “Do not underestimate them, Argrok. By my count they could outnumber us four to one, and while they are cowards, they aren’t necessarily poor fighters.”

“Maybe by your standards.”

“I won’t argue the point, Argrok. We attack when the next patrol leaves.”

I turn to watch the camp again, hearing a grunt from the Orc as he gets up and walks off to the rest of the group. I wasn’t used to dealing with Orcs, as when I was a Blood Knight I was surrounded by my own people. We are very different when compared to the rest of the Horde and I can see why my little sister feels like we don’t belong, however this is the hand fate has delivered us and unity with the Horde is what we need to survive after the Alliance stabbed us in the back. I find myself lost in thought, considering what could have been if the Alliance hadn’t betrayed us, if we were still a part of the Alliance. That could be me down there in that camp, about to be attacked by a group of Horde soldiers. Also, I had friends in the Alliance military when we were still a part of it, so those people down there could be former friends.

“Hey, shiny,” Claude says with his usual neutral tone, “what are you doing?”

“What do you mean? I’m watching,” I respond, turning to look at the forsaken.

“Then you’ve noticed Argrok and Uruda heading for the camp talking about, what was it? The one who kills less buys the drinks?” he answers with a dry, sarcastic tone. I immediately turn, looking down to see the two Orcs approaching the Alliance camp. We cannot let them attack by themselves as they will be overwhelmed by the Alliance forces.

“Oh for the love of all that’s holy… We need to get down there and help them or they’re going to die,” I say, turning and making my way off the small mound, brushing past Claude who simply chuckles.

“We could always leave them to their fate. It’s their own fault and if they really want to die, who are we to stop them?”

I turn to face Claude, anger burning in my eyes. They may be stubborn and of questionable intelligence, but they’re our allies. “No. We support them. If we are under threat of being overrun, you pull us out of there.”

“Fine, but we will need to move quickly. The Orcs will not wait for us.”

I rush down the side of the hill, keeping out of line of sight of the camp as I dash after the two Orcs, trying my best to catch up with them. Then I hear it.

“The Horde are here! All forces to the east!” I hear someone shout out, followed by the sounds of combat. The pair of Orcs had already attacked. I discard all thoughts of moving stealthily and charge straight for the camp, spear at the ready. I crest the edge of the steep incline leading down to the Alliance camp, almost sliding down the dirt. As I drop down, I see the two Orcs surrounded by Alliance soldiers. They’re fending them off, but they’re going to get cut to pieces at this rate. I grasp my symbol of the Holy Light, holding my spear with one hand and muttering a quiet prayer as I reach the ground and charge at the Alliance soldiers who have surrounded the two Orcs. As Uruda takes a heavy sword blow to her abdomen, her wound immediately glows with holy energy and seals itself. I will not let my comrades die while I still draw breath.

“Someone deal with the elf!” one of the humans shouts, noticing my contribution to the current fight before Uruda plants her axe through his helmet, crumpling the metal inwards. Claude has taken up position on the ridge and starts raining fire down on the Alliance camp. The hit was going okay, considering Argrok and Uruda has screwed up the planned alpha strike. Then I notice how badly outnumbered we are. Fourteen against four were not odds that I felt comfortable with. I grip my spear in both hands and charge the formation around the Orcs, thrusting my spear into the back of the nearest Alliance soldier. He arches his back and collapses to the floor as I withdraw my spear, turning to parry the sword of another soldier.

Another soldier stabs Argrok in his side, causing him to double over in pain. He brings his mace down on the head of the soldier who stabbed him, crushing the human’s head in a single hit, but he falls shortly after. Uruda rushes to his side, defending him as more of the Alliance soldiers encircle the two Orcs while a four of them keep me preoccupied.

“Claude! Get down to Argrok and Uruda and get ready to pull them out!” I yell as one of the Alliance soldiers slashes across my back. My armour takes the brunt of the hit, but I stumble forwards from the impact. If we stay here, we’re all going to die.

“I’d rather not get chopped to pieces!” Claude yells back. I barely hear him over the sounds of battle and my concentration in fending off four soldiers.

“Just do it. I’ve got you covered!” I call back, parrying two of the Alliance swords with my spear. However, one of the Alliance soldiers slips underneath my guard, driving his sword straight into my gut. I cough blood and grit my teeth, my vision wavers as I notice Claude appear in the midst of the melee. I extend my free hand in his direction, muttering another prayer to the Light and enveloping the three of them in a shield of holy energy. Perhaps this is what I was searching for. Perhaps I have been seeking redemption through my own death. It would be a fitting end, considering all I have done, the atrocities I committed.

My vision grows foggy as I see the golden glow of the shield disappear in a flash of arcane energy. Claude teleported them out. My job is complete. I smile through the intense pain in my gut as the Alliance soldier removes his blade. I keep hold of my spear, but drop to my knees as my legs lose all strength. I don’t have the energy to stand. I feel drained. Like hell am I about to let some Alliance filth kill me off without a fight. I press my free hand to my gut, feeling where the sword pierced through my armour. My blood pours from the wound and my hand shakes as I channel holy energies into the wound, sealing it up. I still feel fatigued, having lost a lot of blood and my head spins, but I am at least no longer at risk of bleeding out. I struggle to my feet, my legs barely able to keep me up. I ready my spear and look for the nearest target.

“Oh bloody hell, nobody finished the paladin?”

“Take her alive. She can barely stand and may be more useful to us alive.”

I swing at the nearest soldier, but he catches my spear on his shield and shoves me backwards. I stumble, barely able to keep my footing before I feel a pommel strike me in the face, sending me crashing to the ground. I lose grip on my spear as I hit the dirt, knocked flat on my back. The sky is blurred and spinning, darkness creeping into my vision. I’d rather die than be taken alive by these treacherous snakes. I roll onto my stomach and try to push myself up, but my arms have no power. I can’t push myself up. Then I feel a hand grab my hair, an armoured gauntlet pulling me to my knees and another pressing a dagger to my throat. I stare at a blurry form in front of me, a figure in blue armour.

“Wait, who the hell is this?” a female voice asks as I lose consciousness, the darkness finally overtaking my vision.

Part 2 >

Juggling Deadlines

Been a little quiet recently. A combination of the shock of going into schools for the first time (which I will write about in itself), combined with the sheer number of deadlines that I’ve had to write to, both academic and fictional.

So, what have I been up to?

First there was the Black Library submission. For those of you who don’t know what the Black Library is, it’s the publishing house that deals with Games Workshop publications, be it Warhammer and Warhammer 40k fiction or rule books (at least, I think it deals in those since you buy digital editions through them, as well as physical copies). They opened up their submissions window over the winter, from early December to late January, calling for short stories about the Deathwatch. So, naturally, as an aspiring author I submitted something. We were supposed to submit a brief overview of the plot, as well as a short extract of the best part of the story. Whilst I will not post the plot here (because spoilers!) what I will do is post up the extract that I sent them:


As soon as the door to the waste processing plant opened, an acidic smell filled Inquisitor Ralos’s nostrils. She felt like gagging, but the need for focus outweighed her discomfort. The signal emanated from this place, like a psychic beacon calling out to her. It was here.

Captain Fervo and his Kill-team had already fanned out and secured the opening, covering both the door that they had entered through and two corridors that split off to the sides of the entrance room. The room was dark, dimly lit by a single glow-globe against the opposite wall, and accompanied by the dim sounds of machinery whirring and clanking in the distance.

“Fervo, take your team and scout the building, I require time to divine our next course of action.”

“Yes, Inquisitor,” Fervo replied, rallying his squad’s attention. They immediately split into two, having done so on so many occasions before that it came as second nature.

The two trios made their way down the narrow corridors. They were quite spacious, but designed for the use of regular humans, rather than the hulking mass that a Space Marine occupied. Captain Fervo led one team down one corridor, whilst the other three managed to squeeze through the opposite corridor. Sirenus’s heavy bolter ammunition supply scraping against the ceiling periodically as his group made their way into a larger, more open room.

Inquisitor Ralos had sat down before the Space Marines had made their way down the corridors. Captain Fervo had come to trust her sight and did not question her instructions leading to her solitude. She brought a small deck of cards from a coat pocket and tossed them into the air, cards immediately separated and dispersed around her, forming elliptical patterns around her body with a faint trail of blue, psychic energy. At the focal point, the Inquisitor sat, eyes closed and totally calm. Centred.

In the distance, the pair of Space Marine teams had started to diverge, Fervo and his squad heading for the old workers’ quarters whilst the rest headed towards the core processing plant. The level of light towards the core processing plant had dimmed even further now, the heightened senses of the Space Marines coming into their own in the difficult conditions, however the corridor had opened up wider to the relief of Sirenus. Darkness enshrouded the Space Marines, but the rhythmic whirring of machines grew louder, drowning out even their own heavy footsteps. For Fervo, the opposite was true; light levels heightened, but the whirring was almost dimmed into complete silence, only the sounds of their heavy footsteps remained.

Inquisitor Ralos reached out and grabbed one of the tarot cards floating about her, a lightning reaction catching it perfectly mid-flight. And another. And finally a third. She brought them up and looked at what she now held, the remaining cards still orbiting her form. Her eyes widened.

The call over the vox was almost synchronised. Ralos and Sirenus screaming down the channels simultaneously.

“Genestealers!”


Second was Opening Lines. Opening Lines is a BBC Radio 4 show that showcases first time writers and opened submissions around a month later than the Black Library window. I had a lot more freedom with this as it was not set to a specific universe, so I went ahead with my own. However, it had to be suitable for a wide audience of all types and all ages. It also had to be between 1900 and 2000 words, so as to fit into a short window on the radio should it be selected as one of the three to be read out live on air. Again, I will not post the entire story, nor the plot (because spoilers!), but I will say that it is set in my cyberpunk universe and follows a corporate security agent named Renée (who may be seen later on) on a typical night in Neo-London. If it doesn’t get published on the Opening Lines website or read out on air, then I will post it up here. However, until then I’m going to keep everything quiet. You’ll just have to wait and see!

Unfortunately now I am working towards an academic deadline. My teacher training course has assignments too, unfortunately. Whilst not nearly as enjoyable as writing fiction, it has to be done and it shouldn’t be too difficult. Work never ends 😉

A Flash of Inspiration

It always happens, doesn’t it? You get a flash of inspiration to write, even when having other deadlines (such as one that I have in just over a week!) on something totally different. I’ve recently crawled back to the Buy-2-Play MMO called The Secret World. It’s great because there’s no subscription, so I can drop in and out as I please, like with all other games that I play. Seriously, most subscription models just don’t seem to be worth it, and I am partially regretting my subscription that I paid for Star Wars: The Old Republic, even if it is a very fun game to RP in and Galactic Starfighter was incredibly fun until the bomber/gunship stacks happened. So, that being said, I decided to take part in the tsw-rp writing prompt for this week. The prompt was as follows:

“You are eating, alone, at a Chinese restaurant. The waiter brings you a complimentary fortune cookie. You crack it open, and the slip of paper inside says “RUN“. ”

So, I took to writing something up. It was only meant to be a brief something, but it turned into a rather long forum post. I decided that it was long enough to share here, and I may do that for all that I write for these writing prompts. For those who do not know, The Secret World is a modern day setting where every superstition is true and three secret societies vie for power, the Templars (a bit old fashioned, obsessed with tradition and bloodlines), the Illuminati (corporate model, slightly more modern society and directly opposed to the Templars) and the Dragon (Uh… Something about Chaos theory? Seriously, they’re a hard one to figure out), and for the most part players take on the role of a super-charged bee-influenced demi-god. Really, player characters from a narrative perspective are nigh-unkillable because, when they are killed they are whisked away by the bees and rebuilt, much to most villain’s dismay. So, naturally, I play a mortal character (well, that’s unfair. I have 4 characters, 2 are “bee-charged” and 2 are mortal) named Renée Laurent, formerly named Katarina Zaytseva and former owner of a fashion label until she was “killed” at her own wedding. It’s a long story, and I may post up something about it at another date, but it’s influenced fairly heavily from one of my characters from one of my own settings.

Anyway, onto the fiction-y bit! I apologise as my French is not perfect. One reason for playing a French character is that I am trying to get back into French. I was bordering on fluency about 6 years ago, but circumstances meant that I stopped practicing.


Renée Laurent did not often eat in such a restaurant. The décor made everything darker than the outside, which was considerable as the weather was so miserable in Paris, and gave everything a tinge of red which, in Renée’s opinion, caused her blouse to clash with her shoes, but such was life. She sat near the window, gazing through the rain-speckled glass onto the street outside. It was a wet winter’s day, men and women under umbrella coverage or rushing between sheltered areas outside of shops.

Honestly, Renée was only sitting here because she was in the business of re-inventing herself; she had never really eaten Chinese food before, always having enough money to enjoy expensive French cuisine. Regardless, it was at least warm and she had chosen an up market place, unlike several that she had passed on the way that smelled like old feet.

“Bonjour. Qu’est-ce que tu voudrais boire?” the oddly accented voice of a waitress interrupted Renée’s train of thought. She turned to face the woman. She was Chinese, an immigrant, that much was obvious by her accent-based butchery of the French language, though Renée gave her a mental A for effort.

“Ah,” Renée replied, picking up her menu. She had very little idea what to expect as she ordered a small variety of dim sum and a glass of wine, red of course, pointing at the menu more than vocalising what it is that she wanted. She was not used to this place.

The waitress smiled with a half bow, taking the menu and the order away from the table.

The food, as it was, turned out to be interesting, but not necessarily bad. Whilst Renée would not be converting from French cuisine to Chinese food any time soon, she admitted to it being better than expected. However, she was expecting it to be foul, so her words could have been up for interpretation there.

Shortly afterwards, the bill was brought to her table, along with a complimentary fortune cookie. Renée chuckled quietly to herself and the thought of the fortune cookie. They were simply manufactured with pre-set messages and shipped out for touristy fun. She bit into it with a crunch, chewing the half that broke off and reaching in for the slip of paper inside. She was not above a bit of fun either.

Then her amused grin turned into a look of confusion.

“RUN”.

And then it shifted to one of horror. Had she opened such a fortune cookie a month earlier, she would still be smiling and chuckling to herself. She placed the last half of the fortune cookie in her mouth and pocketed the slip of paper, her facial expression returning to one of cheerful neutrality. She placed down a €50 and a €20 note, far more than the cost of the meal plus the service, but she wanted to leave; she did not have time to count out change.

She stood up and placed her handbag over her shoulder, smiling at the waitress with a half bow, who was now returning to her table, as she swallowed the last of the fortune cookie.

“Merci beaucoup, madame,” the waitress beamed.

“De rien,” Renée responded, before turning around and making her way towards the front door, heels clacking against the marble floors. Her pace was quick, but not rushed. Walking quickly and totally confidently in heels was one of many talents she had picked up as a model.

She opened the door and walked outside, under a small canopy outside the restaurant. She took her hat and placed it gently over her head, angling it slightly to the left before putting her umbrella up. After all, nothing was wrong. She was just a normal woman who had just enjoyed lunch in a Chinese restaurant. She made her way to the Metro station through the rain; it was hard to tell if she was being tailed outside as Paris was a busy city, it would be easy to tail someone in the mass of people traversing the city streets, but in the Metro it was easier at this time of day. Thankfully, it was currently off-peak hours.

She transferred trains nine times, running complex circles through Paris’s Metro system and keeping an eye out for anyone following her, her wide-rimmed hat giving her some level of concealment as her eyes searched the people on the train.

She got off at an old station, it had fallen into relative disrepair compared to some of the more central stations, but this was a rougher area of Paris. People usually didn’t get off at this stop.

Except two people did, other than Renée of course. A man and a woman, both Caucasian, the man possibly German or Austrian, based on his facial structure and the woman could have been French.

Renée went into the ladies’ bathroom and went over to the sink. Her gloved hands were shaking as she removed them and reached into her bag for her make-up bag.

The woman who got off the train entered the bathroom and took a position next to Renée at the sinks.

“You know, even in London our stations are maintained better than this,” the woman started, also removing a lipstick from her handbag and looking into the mirror, carefully applying a fresh layer of a fleshy-pink colour. Her accent was easily identifiable as English. East end of London to be exact. Renée had done photo shoots in London.

Ugh… Rouge serait meilleur pour vous, Renée noted as the woman finished. Renée’s hands were shaking far too much to do anything, which caught the woman’s attention, raising an eyebrow.

“You okay, love?” the woman inquired as she slipped her lipstick back into her bag.

“Ouais. J’ai froid. C’est tous,” she replied to the woman who just seemed to stare in confusion. Vous venez en France sans apprendre á parler en français?

“Ah, I’m sorry. I am just cold, that’s all,” Renée continued, shaking her head with a smile. Her expression was totally believable, a smile covering up waves of unease. After all, smiling was a part of her job.

“All right. I’ve got to go,” the English woman replied, pushing away from the sink, “hubby’s waiting for me outside.”

And with that the woman walked out.

Renée breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

She applied some touch ups to her own make-up, applying some mascara and touching up on her own lipstick, a deep red colour. She reached into her pocket to pull out her gloves, but her fingers made contact with something. Something absolutely tiny that could have been mistaken for a speck of dirt. She knew her fabrics. Her coat should not feel like that.

A bug.

Putain!

She made her way back to the station and got on the next train to pass by. She changed trains twice more going to inconsequential stops… And then dug out the bug and dropped it onto the tracks. She then proceeded home.

Nobody else followed her and she didn’t receive and surprise visits. That was certainly going in her report to her handler.


I may have rediscovered my inspiration to write. Yay!

The Serpent Strikes

It has been a while since I have written anything here and for that I apologise; this was due to matters such as exams, school experience for my teacher training applications (of which I have an interview for this coming Wednesday!) and plenty of Wildstar playing. I do, however, have my first game of 7th edition to play today, so… Hooray! I’m going to be giving my Dark Eldar a spin. I’ve never played them before, but I have played Eldar before, so I’m guessing some of the skills will transfer over. That’s the plan anyway. I know that my opponent’s Necron force will be a tough one for my specific army to deal with, as it has a lot of troops in it that are a lot more durable than mine and I’m pretty sure he has mindshackle scarabs just about everywhere. It’s an army that I cannot out-shoot, but mass close combat is another thing entirely…


 

Archon Esthine Narésiel grinned as she toyed with a soul trap, passing it between her hands as she waited for her forces to emerge from the Webway. Her bodyguard of Incubi stood around her, attentive to the surroundings to which the Archon seemed dismissive of. She had chosen a secluded area on a secluded planet from where she could take her bounty. She was not a large player in the politics of Commorragh, she did not have a large house nor was her Kabal a large one, having descended into civil war since her ascendancy to the position of Archon; her actions in how she took the position from her predecessor was uncommon and many viewed her as a false Archon. However, her actions had increased her clout with the Wych clans of Commorragh, who viewed her direct actions as far more worthy of note than the usual political knife twisting of the traditional Dark Eldar Archons, and her position in the civil war had won over many of the elder Haemonculi, who viewed her side as the winning one.

The hull of a Raider transport hummed from the Webway, a number of armoured figures checking splinter weapons and ensuring that plenty of ammunition was at the ready and within reach. She did not wish to pull too many of her own warriors from the fight with the rebellious elements of her house, however she could not go on a realspace raid without warriors, thus they numbered few. She could always barter with the Haemonculi to make more, after all. This bunch were fairly new out of the laboratories, just a handful of expendable warriors at the Archon’s command. They were not trueborn. They were accompanied by an aircraft that came zooming out of the Webway behind them, enveloped in a cloak of shadows as it darted about in the air, turning skillfully and eventually landing near the Archon.

Finally, another Raider swept out of the Webway, adorned with the figures of Wyches and led by the striking figure of Succubus Alythia Reyniel, her entourage of Wyches hanging from the sides of the open transport, brandishing their weapons of choice, blades and pistols for the most part. Her forces were assembled and she was ready to strike at the Imperial outpost that had made the fatal mistake of building, albeit unknowingly, too close to a Webway gate.

“Lady Narésiel!” Klaivex Rithin yelled suddenly, snapping the Archon’s attention back to reality. A metallic construct darted for her, though it was met half way by blade of the Klaivex, carving it in two in one fell swoop. From the ruins of what used to be a small human town came an eerie green glow. The Archon dropped from her position atop a small rock, walking over to the metallic construct that even when separated into two parts still tried to reach out for her with its claws. She immediately brought down her Huskblade into the machine’s head, causing it to twitch momentarily before dropping inanimate.

“Necrons? Necrons!” she muttered furiously as she wrenched her blade free of the machine that had assailed her. “There were no reports of Necrons in this area! There is no bounty in fighting that which has no soul.” The instant she turned around, green bolts of energy flew towards the group, though the Archon was not phased, dashing over to her Venom transport and signalling to her host of warriors. “Fall back out of their range. We will return to Commorragh once we have dealt with this… Inconvenience,” she called out, her raiding party immediately darting into action. The Necrons were slow and would not be able to keep up, though they were too close to the Webway gate to retreat through it yet. They would have to clear out the attacking Necrons first.


 1000pts Kabal of the Venomous Lotus Raiding Party

HQ

Lady Esthine Narésiel – 195pts

Archon – 60pts

Huskblade – 35pts

Agoniser – 20pts

Shadow field – 30pts

Haywire grenades – 5pts

Phantasm grenade launcher – 25pts

Soul trap – 10pts

Elites

Narésiel’s Bodyguard – 173pts

4 Incubi – 88pts

Klaivex Rithin – 15pts

Murderous Assault – 10pts

Venom – 55pts

Splinter cannon – 0pts

Splinter cannon – 10pts

Night shields – 10pts

Troops

Arts on the Battlefield – 250pts

10 Wyches – 100pts

Haywire grenades – 20pts

Two hydra gauntlets – 20pts

Hekatrix Relythel – 10pts

Agoniser – 20pts

Raider – 60pts

Dark lance – 0pts

Flickerfield – 10pts

Night shields – 10pts

Carrion Birds – 190pts

10 Kabalite Warriors – 90pts

Splinter cannon – 10pts

Raider – 60pts

Dark lance – 0pts

Flickerfield – 10pts

Night shields – 10pts

Splinter racks – 10pts

Fast Attack

Heavy Support

Scourge of the Skies – 175pts

Razorwing Jetfighter – 145pts

Two dark lances – 0pts

Four Monoscythe missiles – 0pts

Splinter cannon – 10pts

Night shields – 10pts

Flickerfield – 10pts

Grand Total – 998pts

An Unexpected Alliance

This is just a quick post that I almost feel obligated to write every time I have a Warhammer 40k game. It’s some pre-game fluff and the army list used followed by some post game fluff. It was between myself and two of my housemates. The teams were myself and the Imperial Guard / Astra Militarum player versus an equal amount of points in Tyranids. The outcome was an Eldar / Imperial victory as we managed to clear all of the Tyranids off the table on turn 5 (as well as control most of the objectives). Some misplays were made, but overall it was a decent game.

Now with a more full battle report, courtesy of the Imperial Guard player who posted it on the Warseer forum: http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?384311-Operation-Tributary-The-21st-ESR-and-the-Kalrophon-Campaign


 

“Our forces have identified a critical mass of Tyranids to the north of our current position.” A Warlock in dark green robes approached the Farseer, who stood at the side of a Falcon grav-tank, her hair waving in the mild wind that blew across the wilderness of the Imperial planet.

“I shall convene with Autarch Thalinia and discuss the best course of action, though I fear that conflict will be inevitable. Ready the warhost and wait for our decision,” Farseer Lireia responded, still gazing to the distance for a brief moment before turning and walking to the other side of the small encampment where most of the force’s grav-tanks were stationed. Overseeing the maintenance was another Eldar woman, her form clad in heavy Aspect armour of the same colour as the vehicles’ armour, as well as the colour of the Farseer’s robes, a dark green with bleached bone coloured details. On her back was a large warp jump generator that was used by the members of the Warp Spider Aspect warrior shrine, though her one was the same dark green as her armour. At her waist was a shuriken pistol and a sleek power sword in a sheathe.

“You would not be walking like that if there was not something that you wished to say to me, sister,” the Autarch spoke out, turning to face the Farseer with a smile.

“You know me better than anyone, Thalinia,” the Farseer replied, her expression remaining neutral, “a critical mass of Tyranids has been sighted to the north.”

“Then we must cull them. I will lead our warhost to thin their ranks,” she paused, glancing over her shoulder once more. “I would appreciate your powers of vision on the battlefield.”

“Then you shall have them, sister. I shall gather up my seers and we will accompany your strike force,” Lireia smiled and turned around, making her way back to the Falcon that she had previously stood next to. Thalinia also resumed her duties, though she started to gather the Aspect warriors and a large number of armoured grav-tanks.

Lireia approached the Falcon and was met by just under half a dozen Warlocks.

“We are prepared for battle, Farseer. What are you instructions?”

“We will accompany the Autarch into battle and provide support,” Lireia replied, making her way around to the back of the Falcon. She reached into a pouch on her waist, producing a couple of wraithbone runes that she allowed to orbit her forearm as she made her way into the back of the vehicle, followed by the Warlocks. She would cast the runes on the way and offer insight once they had arrived at the battlefield.


2000pts Ithyl-Loc Strike Force

*Counts as Firesabre

**Counts as The Spirit Stone of Anath’lan

HQ

Autarch Thalinia Narésiel – 138pts

Autarch – 70pts

Warp jump generator – 15pts

Scorpion chainsword (swapped out) – 3pts

Mandiblasters – 10pts

Fusion gun – 10pts

Blade of the Incandescent Soul* – 30pts

Farseer Lireia Narésiel – 145pts

Farseer – 100pts

Singing spear – 5pts

Runes of warding – 10pts

Runes of witnessing – 15pts

Rune of the Everwarden** – 15pts

Lireia’s Seer Council – 185pts

5 Warlocks – 175pts

Singing spear – 5pts

Singing spear – 5pts

Elites

Troops

Storm of Blades – 249pts

8 Dire Avengers – 104pts

Wave Serpent – 115pts

Twin-linked scatter lasers – 5pts

Shuriken cannon – 10pts

Holo-fields – 15pts

Disciples of Asurmen – 249pts

8 Dire Avengers – 104pts

Wave Serpent – 115pts

Twin-linked scatter lasers – 5pts

Shuriken cannon – 10pts

Holo-fields – 15pts

Isha’s Tears – 240pts

10 Guardian Defenders – 90pts

Shuriken cannon – 15pts

Wave Serpent – 115pts

Twin-linked bright lances – 5pts

Holo-fields – 15pts

The Wanderers – 96pts

8 Rangers – 96pts

Fast Attack

Sentinels of the Infinity Circuit – 188pts

7 Warp Spiders – 133pts

Exarch Isennil Falnien – 10pts

Twin-linked death spinners – 5pts

Powerblades – 20pts

Fast shot – 10pts

Stalker – 10pts

Heavy Support

Faolchú’s Deliverance – 145pts

Falcon – 125pts

Starcannon – 5pts

Holo-fields – 15pts

Gift of Anaris – 150pts

Falcon – 125pts

Scatter laser – 10pts

Holo-fields – 15pts

Khaine’s Fury – 210pts

War Walker – 60pts

Scatter laser – 5pts

Scatter laser – 5pts

War Walker – 60pts

Scatter laser – 5pts

Scatter laser – 5pts

War Walker – 60pts

Scatter laser – 5pts

Scatter laser – 5pts

Total – 1995pts


 

“All squads, converge on the Tervigon beast!” Autarch Thalinia called to her forces as she teleported forwards with a squad of Warp Spiders. Alongside her, multiple Falcon and Wave Serpent grav-tanks zoomed next to the remaining Tyranid organisms, disembarking their precious cargo into the ruins around the Tyranids. Instantly, the Aspect Warriors and Guardians that were inside opened fire at any and all Tyranid creatures that remained as the guns of the Imperials spoke out against the Hive Tyrant that had penetrated their lines. The presence of the humans had been most fortuitous for the Eldar forces, distracting the Tyranid swarm’s attention whilst the Eldar fulfilled their own objectives.

The firepower of the Eldar on an already beleaguered and over-extended Tyranid force was too much and anything that remained was cleared through high volumes of shuriken, monofilament and laser fire. The Imperial guns thundered once more and it was over.

“All forces, embark upon your transports and quit the field before the humans can turn on us. With the Tyranids vanquished it is only a matter of time before they turn on us and I will not waste the lives of my warriors on a battle that we do not need,” Autarch Thalinia addressed her forces. A quick browse on her remaining forces showed that not a single Eldar life had been lost, which pleased her. The life of a single Eldar was worth far more than any material possession, and certainly more than the entire human population of this planet.

Each squad quickly made their way back into their respective transports, filing into the backs of grav-tanks in an orderly fashion before engines flared into life and the vehicles zipped away. The Rangers had long since disappeared, blending into their surroundings and making a hasty retreat and the War Walkers had powered their way off to the side to regroup with the rest of the warhost back at camp.

Autarch Thalinia looked back at the human lines. They were regrouping and taking accounts of their losses. With a smile, she and her squad of Warp Spiders teleported off after the grav-tanks. The battle had been won, but the Tyranid threat would never be truly purged.

Regardless, the humans had fulfilled their purposes and the Eldar had fulfilled their objectives.

A Task Fulfilled

(Mild retcons due to player availability. I ask that you simply go with it, as I have to and I don’t like retcons).

Taking a break from my original fiction (going to be a post about that real soon!) to write this. It’s the fluff part from my game over the weekend. Taken a bit of licence here; I do not know if I “won” the campaign and therefore “did my objective” which was to destroy the Tyranid psychic beacon, but it makes so much sense in the fluff. The mission was 5000pts Imperial + 3000pts Eldar vs. 8000pts Tyranids with the Emperor’s Will mission. Our objective was the Imperial command post, their objective could have been the psychic beacon (we were the “attackers”). That’s how I’m writing it, anyway. The Imperial commanders of the battle did an amazing job at holding the objective, I honestly thought that we were going to lose our objective to a horde of bugs, but they managed to hold them back. I spent most of the game moving, as opposed to shooting, but I ended up almost doing a circuit of an 8′ x 6′ board!

Also, I assume that I “won” the campaign, or at least did damn well, because I only lost 2 games total, and those were both when doubles were introduced. I think my overall win/loss is… 10 wins and 2 losses. Or 20 wins and 4 losses when accounting for how we transitioned into and treated doubles games (we doubled all of my previous game results as my partner was new to the campaign and counted each game as 2 games afterwards). With that kind of win:loss ratio, I think I can safely assume that I did pretty well 🙂


 

Farseer Lireia pulled her armoured vehicles next to the Imperial position. Members of the Space Marines, the human elite super soldiers, had started to entrench themselves, concentrating on what looked to be a command post. In front of them were a line of human vehicles and behind them were two crude looking artillery pieces. To the left was another line of tanks and a handful of Space Marines who had taken up a commanding position in a ruined building, a couple of jump pack wearing members on the bottom floor. One instantly gunned his jump pack into life and made his way towards the Eldar vehicles.

“I hate dealing with Mon-keigh…” Lireia groaned before exiting from her Falcon tank, leaving her Warlock bodyguards inside. The Space Marine commander landed with a heavy thud, primitive plasma pistol in hand and a large sword in the other.

“Give me one good reason why we should not open fire on you alien filth here and now,” he growled through the vox grill on his helmet at the smaller Eldar woman, eliciting a mere point to the side.

“Because there is a mass of far less sufferable alien scum across the ruins from here. If you open fire on us then we will all become biomass for the Tyranid horde,” Lireia put in a very matter of fact tone. She could tell that this human wanted her dead, she could feel the murderous intent, however she knew that he would not. Not yet anyway.

“Stay out of our way, witch, and we will not be forced to fire on you,” he replied, gunning his jump pack to life again and returning to his troops. She could see that her forces were already being watched by the xenophobic, suspicious humans. If any shot was fired at her, she was confident that her warhost would react in kind, these primitives would not live long enough to see a drop of Eldar life spilled.

She cast her gaze out over the battlefield. Her acute senses picked up the Tyranid presence, though her psychic senses had long since picked them up. This was the beacon that they were supposed to find, she was sure of it; such a mass of Tyranids would not gather for any other reason. She looked again at the Imperial forces, then to her own. This was not enough if her estimates were correct on the magnitude of the Tyranid forces at this location.

“Isha give me strength,” she muttered sinking slightly and resting on her spear heavily. She could feel the weight of the Tyranid presence on her psyche, whispers seeking to drive her mad which she could not get rid of. She took a deep breath and made her way back to her Falcon, the other seers were feeling the effects too. “We will draw the Tyranids onto the Imperial lines before manoeuvring around the flank to investigate the centre of the psychic presence,” she addressed her warhost, about to continue on.

“We are ready to move on your order,” came another voice, one that she recognised, but from far away. She felt multiple presences, Eldar presences fast approaching but before she could tell who it was, a Space Marine drop pod crashed down near her lines. The Tyranids had already started to scuttle over the battlefield with alarming speed which gave Lireia little time to concentrate on who was approaching. The Imperial guns thundered, her own warhost mobilising to shoot the Tyranids that approached, felling the initial wave. From behind, Fire Prism class tanks fired into swarms of Hormagaunts, additional Wave Serpents supported by Vyper jetbikes zipped onto the field, bright lances piercing through into larger creatures. The Tyranid horde responded, organisms dropping from the sky and coming up from the ground just in front of the Imperial lines. The Tyranid firepower had already been strong, biological projectiles flying into the vehicles to little effect, but felling Space Marines on the flank.

“Now, my warriors, push to the left!” Lireia ordered her armoured column, along with the new support, spearing through the left hand side as the Tyranid swarm fell upon the Imperial lines ferociously, the tank commander’s vehicle being ripped apart as Imperial air support made its way up the battlefield, strafing the Tyranid horde with all manner of projectiles before being brought down themselves. One Vyper jetbike was brought down as homing projectiles slammed into its hull, wrecking the vehicle, but not causing an explosion. She had no time to check on whether the crew survived, praying that they had avoided death in the crash. Lireia, however, was unable to or unwilling to bring her Falcon around with the rest of the warhost. She remained on the right flank, her Falcon punching laser and plasma shots into the Tyranids that encroached upon the Imperials.

The warhost slowed ever so slightly, sending another wave of fire power into the encroaching Tyranid horde; Lireia did not want her warhost to be overrun, which was highly possible considering the low number of Eldar on the field.

From above a group of turquoise clad warriors dropped into the heart of the Tyranid lines as the second wave of Imperial air support arrived, strafing the Tyranid mass once more. Things looked bleak for the Imperials, but the lives of primitives were an expendable asset. Accompanying the turquoise warriors, who dropped a large payload of grenades into the nearby Tyranid beasts before seeking cover in what appeared to be an infested Imperial fortification, were a group of orange warriors, teleporting onto the battlefield with another familiar presence, clad in dark green heavy aspect armour and wielding a blade that burned with blue, psychic fire.

“This is Autarch Thalinia, we have landed near the beacon and will secure the location from these pests as the rest of your forces move in.” The familiar voice caused Lireia to smile as her warhost picked up speed again. A large portion of the nearby Tyranids immediately turned on Thalinia and her Warp Spider escort, dropping spore mines all over their position and sending tiny bio-projectiles crashing into the unit. Four of their number had fallen before Farseer Lireia brought her Falcon around to the flank and disembarked along with her seers, firing pistols and psychic fire into any Tyranid creatures that were nearby. Thalinia had taken cover behind the infested fortification, which had stopped moving and pulsating, fleshy tendrils hanging limply from the walls. She had not felt the psychic feedback of Swooping Hawks dying inside, so they must have been able to restart the Imperial technology inside or sever the Tyranid infestation. Or both.

Lireia contemplated greeting her older sister, though she decided against it whilst there was still a battle to be won. She was happy that she was there, though.

The Tyranid horde had thinned considerably, the Imperial lines still holding. The War Walkers, slower than the skimmers that bore the rest of the warhost, had very quickly distanced themselves from the Imperial lines. Lireia did not trust the humans to not start firing upon her warriors the moment the Tyranids had been routed. There were still organisms that were hurling themselves at the Imperial lines, some out of bestial instinct whilst others were being driven on by a few synapse creatures that remained.

Now Aspect Warriors and Guardians had started to pile out of their transport, armoured figures establishing a perimeter around the seers and beleaguered forces behind the fortification, shuriken and heavy weapons fire spilling out into any creatures that tried to intervene.

“Is this what we were looking for?” Thalinia briefly asked, firing her fusion gun at a nearby Tyranid Biovore organism, punching a hole straight through it before it could disgorge more spore mines onto their position. Lireia inspected the bulging, fleshy construct, allowing herself a smile. It was definitely psychic in nature and Lireia could feel that it was calling more and more organisms to the field of battle. They did not have time to waste, the signal was strong, perhaps strong enough to span entire systems. Lireia turned to her sister and nodded.

“It is. I want this beacon destroyed,” Lireia ordered, though almost instantly as she spoke, Fire Dragons spilled from the back of a Falcon tank and made their way over to her position, melta charges ready. As they finished placing them around the beacon, carefully guided by their temple Exarch, Lireia ordered her forces back into their transports. The Tyranids were far from spent in this location, though her Craftworld’s job was done.

As quickly as they had arrived, the Eldar forces gathered the soul stones of those Warp Spiders that had died on first contact, got into their vehicles and sped off, quitting the battlefield. Behind them, melta charges detonated and the psychic signal was gone.

Lireia could return to the Craftworld with her head held high. It had been rocky, an uneasy path that she had walked, but successful regardless.


 

We had to end on turn 5 (just before I could do all of my getting out of vehicles), but I believe the score at the end was 8 for the Imperials and Eldar (3 for holding our objective, 1 for First Blood, 3 for each Slay the Warlord and 1 for Linebreaker) and 2 points for the Tyranids (1 for Slay the Warlord on the tank commander and 1 for Linebreaker). If it had gone onto turn 6, they might have contested our objective, but they would not have been able to stop my full 3000pts army (I took 5 casualties. 1 Vyper and 4 Warp Spiders) from stealing their’s. Massive props to them for sticking with it (and not getting too unnerved by my very odd play style!) and massive props to the Imperial players who managed to hold on despite the perfidious Eldar abandoning their defensive position without a word. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did (and I didn’t even do much beyond move all the tanks to all the places!).

A Change in Leadership is in Order

“Esthine, open the portal!”

“No… I think not.”

Yeah, I made a reference in the title. No, it is not a story for Chaos, but yes it contains betrayal. It’s a simple fight scene, which I’m not that great at, but… Eh, here it is anyway!

—————————————————————————————————————–

The doors to Archon Yrinth’s chambers on Commorragh were heavier than Esthine expected. She would have to change that soon, this was an unacceptable imperfection in what she had planned would be her own soon enough. She had arranged everything perfectly, but she did not expect everything to go as planned.

“I know why you’re here, little Dracon,” Archon Yrinth was waiting for her, his blade in his right hand leaving a trail of black smoke as he walked slowly towards her; conversely, his blade in his left writhed, as if alive itself. “Do not think you are the first to try and usurp me. You are no more wise, nor are you more powerful than the rest,” he uttered as he took another step. He was now within striking distance. She knew his capabilities in combat, gripping her agoniser tightly, allowing it to coil out behind her.

He darted for her, his speed impressive, though nothing that she had not seen before. She smiled, sidestepping but not attacking. She needed the right positioning.

He came at her again, this time it seemed as though there were three of him that weaved in and out of each other in order to throw her off balance. A clone field was not unheard of among Archons, especially in his circumstances. She dodged out of the way, though one of his blades caught her in the side, causing her to stumble as trails of crimson rolled down her kaballite armour. Did he…? She figuratively held her breath, though the fact that she had not collapsed was a telling act. Archon Yrinth held up his left hand blade, now spattered with her blood, his other blade clean, still emitting a slight trail of smoke.

“Did you think that I would give you a quick death, little usurper?” he asked, cackling a sadistic laugh before rushing for her again. She put her weight on her back foot, this time cracking her agoniser at one of the figures that rushed for her, dodging into its direction. As her agoniser connected, the figure of the Archon disappeared and she dodged into its path, though again she felt a blade passing up her chest to her shoulder. She stumbled with the momentum of her dodge, clutching at her chest wound. It was fairly deep, but not deep enough to be fatal. Was this a bad idea? She asked herself as she tried to gather her thoughts, though she did not have long before he came at her again, plunging the same blade into her abdomen. It pierced through her armour with ease, she found herself gritting her teeth with the pain as the blade penetrated flesh. Archon Yrinth twisted the blade, eliciting a pained groan from Esthine as she involuntarily grabbed onto the Archon’s shoulder to keep herself on her feet. He kicked her hard and ripped the blade free.

“Did I give you permission to lay your hand upon me?” he asked as she fell to the ground. She still held her agoniser tightly, though even one-on-one, she found herself hopelessly outmatched against the Archon. Perhaps she should have gotten someone else to do the deed? No, this had to be handled by myself, or another would simply take the power and leave me with nothing, she thought to herself as she stirred on the floor. She could barely move, her body was shutting down and her nerve centres were performing to an amplified standard. She lay on her side, bleeding heavily onto the floor as she found herself unable to do anything but look up at the Archon. He was still laughing and grinning.

“You will make an excellent plaything, my pet,” he uttered calmly, slowing his laughter. “Won’t you? You may be too weak to endure much,” he continued as he knelt next to her, placing his pristine huskblade back into its sheathe. Esthine was about to lash out when Archon Yrinth stumbled backwards onto his feet for no apparent reason. Esthine needed no excuse, her only chance of avoiding a terrible fate had presented itself and she would take it. She willed her arm to crack her agoniser to strike at his neck, managing to get the end to wrap itself around between where the helmet met the ghostplate armour. She knew that he was not equipped with his shadow field as she had stolen it previously, however his first attack had caused it to short out; just her luck. He quickly grabbed at the agoniser, but she quickly jerked her wrist, causing the barbs to rake through his armour and his neck, decapitating him in a messy shower of gore. She pulled a small needle from a pouch on her belt and jammed it into her neck, painkillers rushing through her system to counteract the poisons that Archon Yrinth had applied to his djin blade. She clambered to her feet and looked at the headless figure of the former Archon. She grinned, having been nowhere near the next in line for the leadership of the Kabal; her plan had accounted for that, she had dispatched her personal retinue to deal with the competition, confident in Klaivex Rithin and his Incubi unit’s abilities, though not confident enough in their abilities to send them after the Archon himself. He rarely left his chambers, hence the need for a direct approach more akin to the workings of a Wych Cult than a Kabal. Regardless, it had worked and she had proven that she was the most capable; the former Archon’s usage of volatile weapons had been his downfall in the end.

She took his huskblade from his belt, attaching the sheathe to her own belt. There were preparations to make, cults to maintain relationships with and repairs to be done, both mechanical and biological.

Her only regret was that she was unable to savour his pain for longer.

The Hammer Falls

Yeah, it’s late, but I’ve had University deadlines. Now I am largely done though, apart from working on my dissertation. I have also formally changed my army in the campaign to Imperial Guard. The Eldar may make a cameo as an allied detachment, but it’s unlikely. My Eldar are a lot more powerful than my Imperial Guard, but it just made more sense from a narrative point of view that they wouldn’t stick around in a failing alliance with the humans. For reference, my Space Marines chapter tactics are those of “The Raptors”, basically Raven Guard with the ability to have Heavy 1, Rending on their bolters if they don’t move, but they lose the ability to use their jump packs in the movement and assault phase. We’re in the same boat as the rest of the jump infantry!

———————————————————————————————————————————–

“Rejoice, brothers. Today, we bring the Emperor’s judgement a foul Chaos Lord,” Librarian Altarus whispered over his vox. Bike Squad Calus had fallen behind the main Space Marine group, suffering a minor failure in one of their bikes, as they stealthily moved around the flank of the Iron Warriors position. He could see the traitors holed up in their buildings, pouring fire into the charging waves of Imperial Guard forces, and their target, the Iron Warrior Chaos Lord and his Raptor unit that was tearing into an Imperial Guard infantry squad. “Initiate the attack.”

The Space Marines instantly revealed themselves from their position, alongside Imperial Guard Scout Sentinels that immediately moved to harass the Iron Warriors, autocannons pounding at the structure and tearing chunks of walls away. Librarian Altarus reached out to the Raptor unit, his psychic power causing their flesh to rebel and soften up. The rapid fire of lasguns spoke out from the Imperial Guard, hammering the Raptor unit into the ground, falling where they had previously cut down the Imperial Guard squad that was stationed on the bottom floor. The Chaos Lord appeared to take a painful hit as well, though he stood alone on the bottom floor of the building.

“Brothers, remember your training,” Librarian Altarus uttered as the tactical squad raised their bolters. They took aim at the weakened Chaos Lord and fired, explosive bolt shells tearing into the Lord’s power armour. The Guardsmen cheered and the Librarian grinned as bike squad Calus drew in behind them. “Brother Calus, support the Imperial Guard Sentinels. Brother Aerus and his squad will accompany me as we hunt down some traitors in the flank.”

“Yes, brother-Librarian.”

——–

Meanwhile, on the other flank, Inquisitor Lord Tyzell Chaylen stood atop the roof of the ruined building, surveying the battlefield with a stern gaze. The local Imperial Guard forces, with the support of the Deredian veterans, had followed their orders to the letter, charging after the fallen relic with zeal and faith worthy of warriors of the Emperor. The traitor marines and their xenos allies remained hidden on the other side of the ruined section of the planet’s capital hive city.

“Sir, I would advise that you seek cover. Traitorous daemon engines scream towards your position,” came a woman’s voice over his comm unit. He smiled.

“Lieutenant, adjust your fire to the left. Aim two degrees above where you normally would,” he instructed to the nearby command squad, having used his psychic abilities to predict the trajectory of the Chaos Lord who led the lines and had already destroyed the commander of the armoured company that supported his own forces.

“Yes, Inquisitor,” the lieutenant responded, before relaying the orders to his squad. The Inquisitor noticed the Chaos Lord cleaving into the rear of another Leman Russ tank as he dropped down to the lower level of the ruin. Inquisitor Robertson sat below, psychic runes floating about her as she divined the course of the battle. It had been many years since he had found and drafted her into his service, a runaway, yet fiercely loyal psyker who was fleeing the Screaming Vortex.

“We must remove the Chaos Lord, sir. He poses a threat to this entire flank,” she murmured over the vox, her voice barely audible in its low monotone. He had learned to trust her visions. He walked to the opposite corner of the ruin, the void shield generator still humming with life and shielding them from the firepower of the Chaos lines.

“Left flank, direct all fire at the Chaos Lord. Show him the folly of his traitorous acts!” the Inquisitor Lord instructed over the vox. The Imperial guns spoke again, though this time not even the daemonic gifts and relic power armour could save him. The Chaos Lord was brought down in a hail of lasgun and heavy bolter fire.

And then there was a loud explosion. The building next to the Inquisitors rumbled, roofs collapsing in as the husk of a heldrake crashed down, lascannons having torn through its hull in multiple places.

“The Imperial Guard have secured the relic and the traitor marines are retreating.” Inquisitor Robertson stood up, drawing her psychic runes to her hand, small orbs of blue energy whirling. She turned to face Inquisitor Lord Chaylen, the darkness shrouding her figure for the most part.

“We will secure the relic and the hive city,” he replied, striding over to the window and peering out. “We do not have the manpower at the moment to chase the forces of Chaos across the planet. Their time will come, be it through our ground forces, or our fleet in orbit.”

————————-EDIT: Including my army list used below————————-

HQ

Tulen’s Command – 70pts

Company Command Squad – 50pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Regimental Standard – 15pts

Primaris Psyker Raina Alerin – 70pts

Primaris Psyker – 70pts

Elites

Troops

Javelin Platoon – 560pts

Javelin Command – 50pts

Platoon Command Squad – 30pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Missile launcher – 15pts

Javelin Squad One – 75pts

Infantry Squad – 50pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Grenade launcher – 5pts

Missile launcher – 15pts

Javelin Squad Two – 75pts

Infantry Squad – 50pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Grenade launcher – 5pts

Missile launcher – 15pts

Javelin Squad Three – 75pts

Infantry Squad – 50pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Grenade launcher – 5pts

Missile launcher – 15pts

Javelin Squad Four – 75pts

Infantry Squad – 50pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Grenade launcher – 5pts

Missile launcher – 15pts

Javelin Squad Five – 75pts

Infantry Squad – 50pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Grenade launcher – 5pts

Missile launcher – 15pts

Javelin ‘Ground Pounders’ – 60pts

Heavy Weapons Squad – 60pts

Mortar – 0pts

Mortar – 0pts

Mortar – 0pts

Javelin ‘Crunch Time’ – 75pts

Heavy Weapon Squad – 60pts

Autocannon – 5pts

Autocannon – 5pts

Autocannon – 5pts

Sword Platoon – 340pts

Sword Command – 50pts

Platoon Command Squad – 30pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Plasma gun – 15pts

Sword Squad One – 60pts

Infantry Squad – 50pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Flamer – 5pts

Sword Squad Two – 60pts

Infantry Squad – 50pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Flamer – 5pts

Sword Squad Three – 60pts

Infantry Squad – 50pts

Vox-caster – 5pts

Flamer – 5pts

Sword Sniper Squad One – 50pts

Special Weapons Squad – 35pts

Sniper rifle – 5pts

Sniper rifle – 5pts

Sniper rifle – 5pts

Reconnaissance Squad ‘Eyes’ – 85pts

Veteran Squad – 70pts

Sniper rifle – 5pts

Sniper rifle – 5pts

Sniper rifle – 5pts

Fast Attack

Thumpers – 120pts

Scout Sentinel – 35pts

Autocannon – 5pts

Scout Sentinel – 35pts

Autocannon – 5pts

Scout Sentinel – 35pts

Autocannon – 5pts

Heavy Support

Automated Gun Emplacement One – 45pts

Tarantula Sentry Gun – 15pts

Twin-linked heavy bolters – 0pts

Tarantula Sentry Gun – 15pts

Twin-linked heavy bolters – 0pts

Tarantula Sentry Gun – 15pts

Twin-linked heavy bolters – 0pts

Automated Gun Emplacement Two – 45pts

Tarantula Sentry Gun – 15pts

Twin-linked heavy bolters – 0pts

Tarantula Sentry Gun – 15pts

Twin-linked heavy bolters – 0pts

Tarantula Sentry Gun – 15pts

Twin-linked heavy bolters – 0pts

Total – 1275pts

Crimson Sentinels Auxiliary Detachment

HQ

Librarian Sephor Altarus – 90pts

Librarian – 65pts

Mastery Level 2 – 25pts

Elites

Troops

Tactical Squad Aerus – 112pts

8 Tactical Marines – 112pts

Fast Attack

Biker Squad Calus – 78pts

Bike Squad – 63pts

Plasma gun – 15pts

Heavy Support

Total – 280pts

Inquisitorial Liaison

Inquisitor Lord Tyzell Chaylen – 72pts

Ordo Malleus Inquisitor – 25pts

Power armour – 8pts

Servo-skull – 3pts

Servo-skull – 3pts

Servo-skull – 3pts

Psyker – 30pts

Force weapon – 0pts

Inquisitor Alyssa Robertson – 61pts

Ordo Xenos Inquisitor – 25pts

Servo-skull – 3pts

Servo-skull – 3pts

Psyker – 30pts

Force weapon – 0pts

Total – 133pts

Fortification

Mobile Void Shield Generator One – 100pts

Void Shield Generator – 50pts

+1 Void Shield – 25pts

+1 Void Shield – 25pts

Total – 100pts

Grand Total – 1788pts