Author Topic: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion  (Read 24465 times)

Offline Kallidor

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #45 on: June 11, 2010, 01:10:03 AM »
Lomak watched Nero storm away. "Perhaps Captain, perhaps."

   "You still doubt him?" Draconis was incredulous, it was impossible for him to see how Lomak could not instantly believe that 'Captain Nero' was not exactly who he said he was, and was not exactly as pure as he so passionately argued.

   "I have noticed Brother Falzone that both you and your Captain Nero like to put words in my mouth, it is the want of men to do so when faced with the scrutiny of the Inquisition, even innocent men when afraid will tie themselves in knots, a most unfortunate thing really as it makes them seem ever more guilty. Then again, innocence prooves nothing is that not so?"

   "First you call him traitor and now you call him a coward, frightened of a tiny, arrogant little man like you?"

   "Brother Falzone, I have said nothing as to what manner of man Captain Nero is or is not, nor have I attributed any sentiments or actions to him. He and you both claim that he is the progeny of the Arch Betrayer, he has just now admitted that he has turned his back on the Imperium for some supposed other Imperium. Do his words not concern you Brother Falzone, he calls the God-Emperor a nonsense, he calls the Imperium a perversion. Does it not bother you at all to here an Astartes say such things?"

   "I believe that Captain Nero is a true and honourable warrior and that you should not doubt his fidelity."

   "Dissembling will not aid you Brother Falzone. You must know in your heart, hearts, that this man is a renegade, that his agenda is his own. Your Great Uncle turned from the light of the Emperor and reneged his oaths to the Imperium because he believed that he knew better, he believed like so many others that only he could see the right and true path and for his arrogance his soul was damned for eternity.

"This man, who claims to be something sense and logic dictates he could not be, is no different. Perhaps he is who he says he is, perhaps he is the man in the legends you have read, if that is the case then he is far more dangerous than you realise Brother Falzone, I only hope you will not allow your emotions to lead you away from the path of Righteousness.

"You have been given a Seal of the Inquisition, that is not merely a tool to allow you to do as you wish, it is a symbol of the bond that you partook as soon as you accepted it, a bond to sift truth from lies, fact from fiction, to weigh a man's very soul and determine what should be done with it.

"It is your duty now Brother Falzone to not accept anything you see at first glance, you must be wary, you must be vigilant. When Chaos is under scutiny you cannot trust anything, not even yourself. All of your training, all of your enhanced senses, your prowess, your endurance, every fibre of your being, they are as nothing.

"If you are so quick to accept the word of this man Nero, to accept that he is a son of the Great Betrayer and yet somehow, when the strength of the mightiest of the Primarchs was not enough to resist Chaos, that somehow this Nero was able to do what his Gene Father could not, what his Legion could not, if you are to accept his word so readily how then will you fare when confronted with your own kin?

"I hope that you do not truly believe that you can accept the word of a stanger but reject those of a Brother. For you this will be a struggle the likes of which you have never known and trust me when I say, you will not face Tigurio and go unscathed. Death will be the least of the fates you might encounter, at worst you could forfeit your immortal soul and whilst you may think it impossible now, remember that Tigurio was once a faithful warrior of the Black Templars. No-one is above corruption save the God-Emperor. No-one."

Lomak turned on his heel and walked briskly away, he had to return to his crew and apprise them of the situation and see if anymore mysterious messages had arrived.
Be Pure!
Be Vigilant!
BEHAVE!

Offline Necris

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #46 on: June 11, 2010, 02:09:12 AM »
Nero retired to his own cell, once inside he removed his armour passing the pieces to the servitor that awaited them, he looked at himself in a polished surface the Legion symbol was tattooed to his right shoulder his name under it and the Legion number below that.

Old times.

his fingers ran over them for a lingering moment before he pulled on some white robes the rough spun wool scratching over his skin, he left his cell walking the companionways he passed marines under his command each one of them preparing for the coming conflict each one a veteran of Istvaan III each one tempered in ten thousand years of war.

He paused thinking on words that Draconis had spoke, he was known to some of the chapters passed down over all this time. It was humbling to know that such tales of his struggle were told. He pushed the thoughts from his mind as he passed a chamber filled with humans, they sat round a table discussing matters quietly, The upper decks were normally off limits to humans given over to the Astartes but the senior staff of the Legio were rewarded with quarters on the upper decks, they were talking about deployment methods and dispersal patterns planning every detail out before they were called in battle, each one of them had a long blade fashioned by their own hands they had at the birth of the legio been makeshift and crude now with the forges of the ship they were true swords, he hovered at the back before he was noticed and stepped in offering his own considerable advice they drank deep of his knowledge before he passed on heading up to the spine of the ship to the astropathic choir he looked over the astropaths and went to Myden the chief astropath.

"How are the warp tides?"

"Turbulent, our destination is in a state of war, she's confirmed it."

He nodded his bald head in the direction of a sealed iris before offering a sheet of foil, Nero took it reading over the details quickly, his frown deepened as he read the words.

"Are we sure of this?"

"The rest of the choir concur with our prediction."

He nodded as he left choir Myden's voice sang out.

"Tell the dammed fool his warp drives run the risk of interfering with our gellar field."

Nero nodded as he stepped from the choir, his next destination set he turned heading for the primary dock.
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Offline Draco Silverhand

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #47 on: June 11, 2010, 03:07:28 AM »
Draconis hung his head in silence. He was an Astartes, by oath and blood, and here he was, arguing like a foolish child with men... a man, and a marine both far greater than he. Far more terrible than he. All this time, he'd felt it impossible for this Nero to lie about his lineage. The hours they'd spent in the mine gave Draconis Falzone an insight into an ancient and glorious time, now lost to madness.

Now, he was questioning this. All of it. He sat for long minutes, staring into the palms of his hands pondering his own foolishness. After a moment, he decided he should do as Nero offered. Perhaps he could analyse the architectural design and at least determine whether the ship herself had been in service for ten thousand years.

A thought presented itself to Draconis, however, as he left the meeting room... He had seen what the psyker Orin had used to identify his great uncle's location. An unholy star of Chaos. It had bothered him then, but now as Nero's and Lomak's words hung in his head, he found it even more unnerving. Perhaps this Nero was in fact who he'd said he was, which, as Inquisitor Lomak had pointed out, even more dangerous a situation than if he was simply a deluded fool or a liar. But he couldn't be that good of a liar. Draconis had earned top marks in interrogation assessments, higher than any in his company. He was better at sniffing out a lie than his own commanders. Yet, something had to give. If Nero was in deed ten thousand years old, and had been resorting to unholy icons from time to time, like that Chaos star, how long would it have taken him to fall prey to the predations of Chaos. He even said that Orin was a trusted advisor. A trusted advisor who kept a star of Chaos with him?

As Draconis wandered the halls, he began to notice things. The walls, while not barren, did not have the usual devotional graffiti other pre-heresy ships bore. He had taken it for granted that all ships had religious devotional liturgies and masses inscribed in the plasteel and rockrete, and now here, he found none. Occasional tapestries and statues lined the halls, and innumerable honorifics and seals of duty hung from columns and walls, but there were no purity seals, none as he recognized them. Each oath he saw affixed to a banner was strictly that, the seal was an oath to complete the mission, no prayers, no litanies, no catechisms. It disturbed him. Faith had united the Imperium when madness should have torn it apart. Was it not when the Horus Heresy began that the Cult Imperialis sprung up? Was it not the saints who fought in the Emperor's name, while the Emperor yet lived that kept the daemonic hordes at bay? Truly, this Nero had remained ignorant of such miraculous things, or he had chosen to ignore the Emperor's endorsement of the Ecclesiarchy, for his own personal end. And what was that? Nero's ends and means...

To avenge the betrayal of Horus? Well, Horus was dead! So, perhaps he sought to kill Abbaddon. But what if Tigurio posed a threat to Abbaddon... What if Nero secretly served Abbaddon? Now Draconis wished he had not been so quick to spring to Nero's defense. Now he regretted having seen Orin draw out an eight-pointed star. Having witnessed such heresy, he knew he could not un-see it. But to act on that? No. Not yet. If Nero was pure, then, he must have atoned in some manner each time he danced this dangerous dance. If Lomak was right, Draconis vowed to himself that he would see to it Nero met his end, but if Nero was simply following some ancient principle of atheist science that allowed him to see chaos as merely a tool, and was successful in not falling prey to the dark powers, Draconis felt he would have no choice but to leave it alone.

Draconis tried to clear his mind, but as the ship slipped into the warp, and he felt his stomach lurch, his mind seemed to grow more congested with thoughts...

Offline Necris

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #48 on: June 11, 2010, 09:02:21 AM »
He stood in the dock looking at the seemingly empty space, were it not through prior knowledge he would have had difficulty in detecting the ship, but it was there, a hum of power vibrated in his ears the throb of the warp drive powering up, the static of the cloaking field, the distant sound of gears and servos working, the creak of the hull and it cooled. The smells as well told him it was there, the smell of metal come from the void had a distinct scent, the fuel and oil the plasma of the engines.

He moved round the ship his trained mind pulling up the model of the ship until he came to it's prow looking up into the ship he spoke his voice hard.

"I know you can hear me, disable your warp drive now, unless you want to destabilize the gellar field in the ock and have to deal with an incursion of the daemonic."

He didn't wait for a reply instead turning he strode from the dock speaking with one of the dock crew.

"Monitor the ship, if the warp drives do not shut down in an hour seal the dock and inform Brak and Sol."

The dock hand nodded curtly.

He strode off seeking another it took him to Orin's cell entering he looked upon the psyker.

"You used a star."

"Nothing else to use, the star was the only thing I could remove from the altar."

"Wher is it now?"

"Locked away."

"You did not destroy it?"

"I still may have need of it, the altar was a prison for a bound daemon Falzone has it with him now and I can track it using the star."

"Only use it when you have too."

He left Orin and entered the corridor his eyes falling on Draconis.

"Do not let the Inquisitor poison your mind, it is their way, The Emperor sought to build an Imperium with out need of them."

He stepped past the young fist.

"If you have any questions I can be found in the training chambers Warp Transits have always made me uneasy."


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Offline Draco Silverhand

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #49 on: June 12, 2010, 04:01:11 AM »
Draconis turned to Nero.

"Perhaps I should join you on your way then." Draconis replied. "I have a question already, although you may find it to be tainted by the Inquisitor." Nero kept pace, not glancing back. Draconis flanked Nero and turned his head slightly to direct his words. "Will you consider for a moment that not everything you see is tainted with Chaos, weakness or corruption?" Nero's face belied a hint of irritation.

"I know what you would say. If I only see corruption, weakness and the taint of Chaos, then surely, I must see one of those in my own reflection. I do not only see corruption in mankind. I do however see corruption in this deification of a man. Great though he was, he was still a man, who taught that science was the true light of Illumination."

"That is actually what I meant to ask you about." Draconis was calm now. The translation to warp had been harsh, invasive, but his mind was clear again, so he spoke. "You say the Emperor hunted down all religions. Even ones that worshipped him. But as you say, the Emperor was mortal when he did such things. The last thing the mortal Emperor did was to slay his favorite son after being mortally wounded by the Warmaster."

Draconis paused, Nero had stopped, turned to face Draconis and locked eyes. Knowing how old Nero claimed to be Draconis expected sudden action if he spoke ill, but pressed on.

"The Emperor is no longer mortal. He has been killed, yet he lives on. Can you justify saying he is still just a man? Yes, his physical form is just a shell, but without the Emperor's soul, there would be no Astronomican. Nothing in the Warp holding back the strength of Chaos. Indeed, with the ruinous powers being ruled over beings in the Warp known only as Chaos Gods, how could anything contend with all four, lest that force itself was a God?" He pressed a little harder. "The Imperial Fists do not, have not, nor will they adapt the dogma of the Cult Imperialis, we do not worship the Emperor as a God, as we do not see Chaos beings as godly. We do, however venerate him as the father of our primogenitors, and therefore our patriarch, to whom we owe allegiance and devotion." Nero's face held the age of his years in a stone countenance that spoke of rage and calm in the same instant. Draconis could not read him.

"The very name "God Emperor" is in the minds of the loyalist Astartes chapters, more of a measure of the difference between man and the Emperor. Mankind, from the lowly ratings who slave to load a nova cannon on a mighty battleship, to the High Lords of Terra, is separated from the Emperor by two classes of being both apart and above mankind. The Adeptus Astartes, of which you and I are both members, have long been considered the Emperor's Angels of Death. We are the descendants of the Emperor's Sons, and have been long elevated to a class above man. Mankind venerates us as we venerate the Emperor." Draconis paused, allowing this to sink in, hoping Nero was not unwilling to hear what he was saying.

"Above us, there is a class of being which is now extinct, the Primarchs. Though the Legions were created before the primarchs were restored to the Imperium each Primarch played an integral role in how that chapter fought, and how they still fight today. Angron's Legion became what it is because of Angron's disposition, as did the Imperial Fists because of Rogal Dorn. Once again, above the Primarchs was the Emperor of Mankind. Father to all Primarchs, betrayed by half." Draconis paused.

"The point, Captain, is that you have been operating outside the Imperium for ten thousand years. A full ten millenia of evading the Inquisition, fellow Astartes and the Imperial Guard. Your exile may have, at one point in the beginning, been involuntary, persecuted by those who sought to avenge the Emperor's death. Believing that you had to stay alive, if only to ensure the death of those who betrayed you." Nero twitched slightly.

"Persecution is for the weak. We were hunted, we survived." Was all he said.

"However, those times have long passed. Mankind worships the Emperor because it must. For an ordinary man to truly comprehend the scope of the Emperor's power, why and how it works, even for most Astartes, it would engender madness. The same could be said of Chaos. While you may see Chaos as simply sentient emotive power in the Warp, the average man cannot grasp at this concept. He is too bogged down by his small life to comprehend this. The Ecclesiarchy gives meaning to meaningless people, gives hope to those who have none, and in its own hideous and perverted manner, binds the Imperium together, now that the Emperor's charisma is lost to us. Can you truly blame the men who rule the Imperium for allowing religion, a thing that comes naturally to the primitive human mind, to take over, and relegating science to the Mechanicum?"

"The Mechanicum is no better. They worship the Omnissiah... the Emperor in machine spirit form." He growled, looking down the corridor as a Tech adept monitored gauges in a nearby terminal.

"Perhaps, but do you at least understand why mankind has fallen this way?" Draconis asked. "I am not saying it is ideal. I am saying it is necessary. If you would charismatically lead the Imperium into a new golden age of technology and enlightenment, please, I emplore you to do so, but you seem to be carrying a ten thousand year old rockrete plate on your back. Begrudging mankind for doing what would not have been done if Horus had not slain the Emperor." Nero's eyes flashed and Draconis stepped back. "The past cannot be changed. All I ask is that you look to the future. See that if you remain removed from the Imperium, you will eventually be hunted by one skilled enough to take your head, but if you would lay down your grudge against our backstep from enlightenment and fight alongside us, you will have an ally that, while beleaguered and mired from all sides, still has strength enough to stand side by side against the coming night."

Offline Necris

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #50 on: June 14, 2010, 09:46:16 PM »
Nero led Draconis to the training chamber, he gestured at the training weapons hanging on the rack as he slid his robes off exposing a set of simple fatigues under, he turned back to Draconis catching a sword thrown to him.

"Do you mind me wearing my armour."

"Not at all."

He loosened up his arms.

"You say the Emperor is dead, yet as I understand it Guilliman is interred in a sarcophagus from a mortal wound much like the Emperor's yet he heals, and he is less than the Emperor a Primarch and certainly not a God, no my young ally The Emperor wisest being ever to have walked the universe declared himself a man, immortal yes but he denounced himself as a god, and that is what I must cling to, to do other wise challenges everything I know, it would bring the world of the marines under my command crashing down, we fought for centuries to erase the horror of religion and the Horus greatest of us all was corrupted by religion, religion enthralled to the dark gods of the warp. You say religion is a necessity but look at what it did to the Emperor's Imperium it shattered it tore it in two put brother against brother and cause our Emperor to be entombed in the throne."

They traded a few blows as they circled Nero pushing Draconis in his parries making the younger marine work hard, Nero seemed to to running through a series of well practised attacks and defences and hardly seemed to be putting in any effort at all.

"If it were simply as easy as rejoining the Imperium I would have sided with Garro come the end of the war, but even he had fallen to the notion that the Emperor was a God, even the humans who serve alongside us are believers the books you see them carrying are the Lectio Devinicus penned by Keeler the first saint of the Imperial creed, written while she was a guest of the sisters of silence."

He sighed as he stepped past a thrust swatting the blade aside and landing a light hit on Draconis' shoulder guard. Draconis backed away dropping into a new stance before coming at him again their blades locked and Nero looked into Draconis' face

"Besides the Imperium has changed, there are too few men and women like you with minds open to the truth of the past, were I to take my marines back into the fold they would be labelled, World Eater, Death Guard, Emperors Children, Alpha Legion, Iron Warrior, Word Bearer, Night Lord, Thousand Sons and Luna Wolves. They are the traitor legions each one of them infamous, each one known by every civilian of the Imperium not blinded by the lies of religion."

He lowered his guard dipping the point of his sword and Draconis struck his blade stopping before it claimed Nero's throat, the old warriors eyes locked with Draconis.

"We are the traitor legions, we wont change our names, and so we will always be treated with suspicion, hate and fear."

He stepped back

"There is someone I think you should meet."

He returned the sword and pulled his robes back over his body before leading Draconis from the training chamber they passed squad barracks as Draconis passed he noticed that the marines conducted themselves with military ritual not religious, each barracks was dedicated to their father legion but not in a religious way. They went down into the motorcade and passed lines of tanks and bikes before entering a chamber lines with devotional walls, Draconis recognised it as being similar to the hall of remembrance within Phalanx. He looked at the names engraved on the tables noting that one name was to one table the list of their deeds stretching out below the name, each one bore Istvaan III or Istvann V as the first entry.

"Our hall of the dead, and those left behind."

He gestured down from the walkway they strode across a dozen dreadnoughts lined the chamber standing in honour guard for a venerable stood at the chambers head a throne like mounting surrounding it, Nero led him down to walk amongst the ancient of his force he touched one of the dreadnoughts it's hull armour an oily black like Sol's

"This we believe to be Rylanor, ancient of rites for the Emperor's Children he has been silent since Istvaan III but the marine within lives and Sol will not allow us to disturb such an ancient warrior."

He stroked the hull.

"Sleep friend."

He moved to the enthroned dreadnought.

"This is one of my chapter a Luna Wolf."

He placed a hand on the heart of the dreadnought.

"What do you want me to see? All of these ancient are sleeping."

"Look at the names."

Nero gestured down one side of the dreadnought, a long list of names were etched into the armour.

"When one of us falls we are interred in a dreadnought, when I fall it will be my destiny to become Loken."

He patted the armour.

"When that happens Sol, Tass or Brak will take command of this force." 
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Offline Draco Silverhand

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #51 on: June 14, 2010, 11:48:20 PM »
Tigurio shook the blood from his fist. The room was filled with the stench of entrails, scorched flesh, gunpowder and ozone. His faceplate had cracked, an autocannon had barely missed his head, the shot penetrating the helmet from the side and ripping through the occular lenses. The shot missed Tigurio, but the Black Marshal only gained a measure of terror in this. Now, his third eye glowed out from under his helmet, and his natural eyes blazed with blue hellfire.

He'd cut down every traitor and guardsmen in the room just seconds ago. Tzeentch cultists had overrun much of the city, but he had no interest in helping the cult. They were weak. Without his presence, the world would probably be entrenched in civil war for centuries, during which time, Imperial Guard re-enforcements would only serve to stem the tide of ever-increasing daemons. Only after the world looked to be compromised to the Warp would the Inquisition ultimately order Exterminatus, damning the world to death and exile. Once Exterminatus had been carried out, the world would be blockaded and forgotten, even the Imperial Navy forces sent to guard the sector would be ignorant of the evils on the surface. Tigurio cared little to calculate the ends of the war, and simply focused on the task at hand. Find the Medallion of Oxan.

Leaving the room, Tigurio strode down a long tunnel under the capitol building. Corpses already littered the hall, and he smirked at the blood-smeared icons and statuary lining the tunnel. Meant to transport vehicles between Chimera and Rhino chassis varieties, the tunnel now was a charnel house. Despite knowing the cultists were dedicants to Tzeentch, he suspected some also devoted their time and energy to Slaanesh, or perhaps Khorne, as the followers of Tzeentch seldom cared to make a bloody mess of things.

Gunfire up ahead. The chambers ahead housed ammunition supplies and weapons. This could get interesting.



"Loken..." Draconis placed a hand on the Dreadnought, observing the surface and noticing various markings indicating death counts, honors and victories. He noticed the seals on the armor each bore honorifics, but none bore platitudes to the Emperor that he was so used to. "An ancient legend passed down to me told of one Garviel Loken..." Draconis paused, Nero's eyebrows had risen. "I have not read the dataslates on file, but the legend goes that Garviel Loken was one of Horus' trusted advisors, but was killed with a third of Horus' own legion for not pledging himself to Chaos."

"You have an exceptional memory, and your chapter serves history well." Nero said. "I had thought the majority of the Imperium to have forgotten such things."

"I remember what I can, but I cannot help but wonder. With the weapons arrayed against you, with the numbers weighing against you and with the tactical expertise of Horus, Angron and Mortarion, arrayed against you, how could any of you have survived?" Draconis had been screened by the Librarium twenty times since his induction. They had yet to find a trace of latent psychic ability, but they insisted there was no other explanation for his penchant for lore.

Offline Necris

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #52 on: June 15, 2010, 08:13:01 AM »
"We took shelter, when we attacks we found deep catacombs under our feet, when the virus bombs came we went to ground, descended into the earth it protected us, the betrayers expected no survivors yet we had more strength than a chapter, we drew them out for three months before Horus grew tired and bombarded us, we once against too shelter, one of the Emperor's children found a bunker of sorts and we regrouped to weather the storm."

He looked up at the face plate of the dreadnought.

"Loken led us, he reshaped us into a battle company that held off the fury of three legions arrayed against us, but when the Despoiler and Little Horus came he and Torgaddon faced off against them alone it was their honour that demanded they face their Mournival brothers."

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Offline Draco Silverhand

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #53 on: June 16, 2010, 08:05:40 AM »
Tigurio strode into the armory. Gunfire and shouting echoed through the chamber. The Imperial Guardsmen defending the area were barricaded halfway through the armory. A full half of the arms and ammunition had been removed during the uprising, Tigurio figured at least some stolen by the Tzeentch cultists, as even now, squads of cultists were swarming the entrance, vaulting barricades and stealing what little ammunition they could grab before escaping or being shot.

Tigurio raised his plasma pistol towards the cultists, fired off a snap shot, and sent them running. "Space Marines! Devil's oath! RUN!" one cultist shouted before they all started to scramble out. Turning to the guardsmen, Tigurio took several steps at a slow, calm pace. They looked relieved until he broke stride into a run, raised his plasma gun and shot the commissar in the face. He roared, powering up his sword before decapitating two guardsmen in the charge, and elbowing a third in the heart, causing immediate cardiac arrest.

Tigurio ducked a bayonette stab from a sergeant, then kicked two guardsmen back several yards. One of the guardsmen survived the kick, and with his unbroken arm, pulled out a krak grenade from his vest.

"Ave Imperator, Traitor!" Was all he rasped before chucking the grenade with his last breath. Tigurio had shot the man in the chest, but saw where the grenade was headed, slashed another three guardsmen and a guardswoman in a single gut-level swing, and booked for a bulkhead door nearby. Tigurio was ten paces from the door when the grenade went off. Eight when the blast set off a crate of grenades. Six paces when the grenade's explosion started to cook off lasgun ammo crates. Two paces and a Basilisk ammo crate detonated.

Tigurio leapt for the door as the blast wave hit him. He slammed against the bulkhead frame, but the fireball of the blast sent him flying through the door. A structural failure in the passageway caused a collapse, the ground behind Tigurio closing off the tunnel from the Armory. The Black Marshal rolled onto his back, his legs scorched, his armor cracked, his head reeling, and smirked. Perhaps another time. He thought.

The blast flared up through the roof of the Armory, which sat directly under the Imperial Palace, sending a plume of fire and smoke up through the south wing of the palace, and in turn, caused most of that segment of the palace to collapse. The rumble from the collapse caused the tunnel to shake, and Tigurio got up, turned and ran, aware the tunnel would collapse any second. He reached the end of the hundred-yard-long tunnel just as the collapse began, down the length of it, and sealed the door behind him before the dirt started falling in on him.

Tigurio turned to find the room occupied by a single man.

"Hello. Agares. I see you found your way to the rendezvous." Tigurio grunted, re-socketing his left shoulder.

"Same, though I see you could have fared better." The daemon-posessed Inquisitor replied.

"I was lax in my timing. Let a guardsmen get a grenade off in an armory. Shall we move on?"

"Well, I can say this, my commanders like big explosions, but you might want to focus on more cutting and breaking and less blasting. Demolishing Imperium structures does however provide some amusement..."

Tigurio shrugged, the pain ebbing with his body's augmented painkillers dispersing through his system. Striding up the corridor, Tigurio made his way for a stairwell at the end, past the door Agares probably used to access the corridor, and up several flights before opening a door, his pistol primed and in hand. He led the way as Agares kept close behind, and charged headlong into a guardsmen squad just outside the stairwell. They'd huddled against a barricade to take pot shots out the windows, but hadn't barricaded against the stairwell. Tigurio capitalized on their failure and after firing a single shot with his pistol, activated his power sword and began tearing through each guardsmen. Agares took the second squad on the platform, and howled with rage as he let loose his demonic strength.

Across the platform, another barricade had been erected, and the guardsmen there responded to the carnage with terror. Some shooting at Tigurio, most missing, and the few shots that landed on his armor were ignored as he bounded towards them. Those smart enough had already run, and the courageous ones stupid enough to stay found their folly quickly. Tigurio hacked one's head off, cleaved one from head to belly, kicked another one in the chest, and proceeded to make each kill unique from the last. Finally the hallway appeared clear. The platform was simply a portion of the palace hall that had collapsed during an explosion, but portions had remained sturdy. Stepping into the hallway proper, Tigurio strode towards the end, knowing the center of the palace held what he sought.

"With me, Agares!" He broke into a run. The daemon-Inquisitor following closely behind. Breaking through the door at the end of the hall, Tigurio smashed into a squad of storm troopers shoulder first. They did not expect such an assault, and lost the initiative. They paid heavily for being distracted, but had reason. Across the grand hall of the palace, at the governor's podium, stood a sorceror... The governor deposed, lay dead on an altar to Tzeentch, and icons glowed in the air. The storm troopers had been trying to muster for an assault, and so, they lost five men in the charge, and only one managed to survive past ten seconds. The storm trooper in question was the sergeant, armed with a power sword and plasma pistol of his own. The man backed away from Tigurio, who strode slowly forward. Agares, who had held back for a moment now stepped through the door, shouting.

"In the name of the Emperor, STOP!" Tigurio stopped, the guardsman looked puzzled, terrified, but somewhat relieved at the presence of an Inquisitor, the Inquisitorial badge hanging loosely from a chain around Agares' neck. He looked at Tigurio, and the Black Marshal detected the slightest hint of a smile before striding towards the guardsmen, straight faced.

"Everything you've seen is a blasphemy, and you must swear secrecy to it. It did not happen, you were never here." He said. The guardsmen hastily nodded, both fear and hope lighting his eyes as he did so.

"Good. With that out of the way..." Agares said, before manifesting a blade for his right hand and plunging it into the guardsmen's neck, lifting the man off the ground before slicing sideways, severing the head from the body, and grabbing the head in the air. He drank some of the blood before hurling it aside. "since you were never here, you can't hope to have an impact on the outcome." He sneered at the corpse.

"Wait here." Tigurio said, striding towards the sorceror. Agares grumbled, but did so, more as a courtesy than obedience.

"STOP!" The sorceror held out his hands, and a colorful barrier shimmered before him. "You kill the Imperium's soldiers, yet my own minions claim the Space Marines are killing them in droves." He paused. "Whom do you serve?" The sorceror's inquiry was not fearful, he sounded as though he had no fear.

"You have something of mine." Tigurio said simply.

"Oh, really? Did I take this thing from you? Did it belong to your heretic chapter?" The sorceror spat.

"No. It is mine. It will be mine. The Medallion of Oxan." Tigurio charged up his plasma pistol and power sword.

"NO! It is MINE!" The sorceror held up the medallion. A simple, crude looking stone tablet with metallic shards embedded in it. The pendant hung from a woven rope, but Tigurio could tell little else from this distance with his space marine eyes. However, his third sight confirmed the item's value, the trace of the daemon bound to it.

"It is mine, and you shall give it to me as a gift for not feeding you to Agares." He indicated the Inquisitor behind him.

"Agares? What, a daemon in a man's body? A bloothirster? I AM OXAN!" The sorceror shrieked, his voice becoming multilayered, and his body changing hues to blues and golds. "I am the changer of Ways you seek to enslave, like the daemons you already have at your command. I will not be yours so easily. You have nothing I want, and you have taken from me that which I had! As he spoke, his neck stretched, his back sprouted wings, his legs and arms extended, and he towered over Tigurio before he finished growing. Oxan manifest threw a bolt of change at Tigurio's feet, morphing the stone floor into water, the plasteel below holding the puddle Tigurio now stood in. "I could make it magma, if you prefer." The daemon snarled. "Now, make me an offer, or die.

Offline Koval

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #54 on: June 16, 2010, 10:19:37 AM »
"Well, let's see here, I could offer you a quick death, or a slow one, or perhaps I could evict your soul from your body, leaving you neither alive or dead until such time as I see fit to eat again," I countered, rattling off a very quick list of things I could do to this idiot; the last threat was effectively impossible, to be fair, but belittling a Tzeentchian always guarantees a laugh. "Or, considering that you might actually want your lifeline in the material world, how about I wreck your little medallion instead?"

"Agares!" Tigurio shouted, his anger plain, not entirely realising what I was getting at.

"Oh, do be quiet," I sighed, before turning back to Oxan. "So, here's our offer. Return to your medallion and come with us, quietly, willingly, and we'll give you a means to destroy the weakness in the Imperium. Change it, perhaps, into an enemy worth fighting, more rewarding to ultimately destroy."

"And if I refuse, barbarian?"

"Then I might have to get serious," I threatened, cracking my knuckles more to relieve the tension in them than to intimidate this creature. Fully manifest as he was, I was under no illusions that he could probably destroy me outright given the opportunity, but given how recently he'd manifested himself it ultimately seemed far more likely that the less time I wasted, the more of a chance I'd have to subdue him. "Trial by combat. If I win, then you'll swear fealty to us, return to your medallion, and fight for us, rather than against us. In return, we will show you honour and leniency."

"And if I win?"

"Then we will of course leave you to it," I offered, ignoring Tigurio's furious glare. "We'll be gone and you can continue your campaign of anarchy and destruction."

Oxan seemed to ponder this for a moment, perhaps considering how my exact words might undo me (I gather Lords of Change are good at doing that), before nodding in agreement.

"I accept your challenge," he rumbled, almost hesitantly.

"Good. As challenger I believe I am allowed to set the rules of engagement?"

"Stop wasting time," Tigurio snapped at me. I dismissed him with a wave of my hand.

"I grow tired of this," Oxan sighed.

"Rule number one: anything goes," I stated, hoping to appeal to Oxan's overconfidence, "provided that no mortal life is endangered in any way. This is between us, and I'd like to keep it that way. Rule number two: endangering mortal life constitutes forfeiting our challenge."

"Be silent and fight me!" Oxan shouted, his frustration plain, and almost without warning he swept forwards, driving his avian fist into my stomach and sending me flying into the wall with enough force to shatter a normal man's spine. Naturally, I'm tougher than that, but at the same time, I winced in pain once, then twice as I peeled off the wall and landed face-first on the floor. In an instant Oxan was on top of me, picking me up in one hand and punching me with the other, hammering his fist into me once, twice, three times before I caught his hand with both of my own and pulled his oversized arm down, hard, throwing him off-balance for the seconds I needed to wriggle free and retreat to the middle of the room. I was unarmed, but that mattered little.

"A good move," Oxan sneered. "Resourceful. But you are weak."

"We'll see about that. Anything goes, correct?"

Before Oxan could answer I put my hand to my mouth and whistled, the sound echoing back through the Warp and all the way to the nexus that was the seat of the Blood God's power. Harsh, guttural roars answered back and from out of the crack in the wall behind Oxan, an eerie howl preceded first one fanged lupine maw, then another, as two of Khorne's own Flesh Hounds forced their way into reality, pouncing on Oxan and landing heavily on his back even before fully materialising. Oxan staggered and hit the floor, throwing one of the hounds across the room. It twisted in midair and landed on its feet, its muscles visibly tensing beneath the hybrid of fur and scales covering its skin. Hot, sulfurous breath vented from its maw, and the rune-etched iron collar about its neck glowed menacingly, casting light across the shaggy, twisted mane behind its head. It charged again and Oxan, still pinned down by the other Flesh Hound on its back, blasted it with a ball of sorcerous flame from its outstretched hand. As I'd known it would, however, the fireball impacted on the charging Flesh Hound but dissolved into nothingness, the collar on its neck protecting it from the Lord of Change's magic.

"Forgot what Khorne despises?" I smirked, striding forwards as Oxan impossibly swatted the Flesh Hound out of midair as it leapt, ignoring the other even as it chewed at his wings. It most likely didn't need them, all things considered, but ignoring a Flesh Hound is rarely intelligent and Oxan knew it, reaching up to grab the Flesh Hound on his back and snap its neck like a reed.

For all I was trying to goad him, Oxan was still a stronger being by far, not to mention faster and, frankly, more intelligent.

"You insult me by calling for reinforcements," Oxan snarled, pounding the other Flesh Hound flat with his fists as it came for him again. "You are a warrior of Khorne. Fight me, rather than hide behind minions!"

"Gladly, but first I'll need a weapon, won't I?" I retorted, backing off towards the makeshift altar and holding my right arm out over it, almost straight down, palm directly facing the Eye of Tzeentch on its surface.

"What do you think you are doing?" Oxan growled, a low rumble just on the edge of mortal hearing.

"Something I'm going to regret later, because frankly, I like this arm," I sniped, wincing as the tip of a blade forced its way out through my palm.

"What are you --" Oxan began, but by this time I'd extruded another eighteen inches of blade from my arm, not even half the weapon's length, and I couldn't suppress a gasp of pain as my hand practically exploded and the rest of the sword, hilt and all, shot out and embedded itself in the altar, driving itself through the eye at its centre. In an instant I felt a shift in whatever power was running through the room, and suddenly Oxan was rushing towards me, leaving me with little time to react. Using my good hand I grabbed my hellblade, ripped it out of the altar, and turned to spit Oxan on it, driving the Warp-forged weapon through his belly and effectively taking the fight out of him. For good measure I tipped him onto his back before pinning him in place with my foot, and hacked off his arms.

"I think it's fair to say I've beaten you," I grinned, grimacing as the pain from my ruined hand flared up again. I'd be able to repair it given time, but right now it -- and the rest of my right arm, actually -- constituted little more than mutilated flesh.

Oxan cawed weakly, trying to manifest another sorcerous attack, but with my blade now at his throat I'll warrant he found that a bit difficult.

"Tigurio? The medallion, if you don't mind."
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 12:26:38 AM by Koval »

Offline Draco Silverhand

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #55 on: June 17, 2010, 12:11:41 AM »
Tigurio stretched out his hand towards the altar, his helmet cast aside from all the damage it had sustained. His palm and his forehead glowed brightly as the medallion levitated and then gravitated slowly towards Tigurio, he moved his arm, now pointing it at Agares and Oxan. He pulled the medallion back to him with his mind, and as he did so, Oxan began to dematerialize, his essence flowing like wisps of shadow and smoke towards the medallion. Tigurio clasped his fingers around the stone and metal icon as the essence of Oxan continued to flow, feeling the power of the daemon as the pendant grew heavy. The stone medallion began to change as the last of Oxan's essence filled it, glowing and then darkening to a point where for a second, it absorbed light and made a shadow in the air around Tigurio.

"Good." He said as the essence settled, morphing the medallion through various stone and metal types, gold, mercury sulfide, marble, iron, amber, and so forth. The daemon's former host squirmed for a moment, sword embedded in his stomach, then flopped back to the ground, dead. "Now, let's get going." He said to Agares. They left the chamber, and Tigurio voxed his marines. "All forces prepare for immediate extraction. Strike Cruiser target the palace. Once we're clear raze the city from the palace outward. Radial sweep. Leave nothing standing this time." He made his way down a stairway, past guardsmen who warily regarded him. "Retreat to your fallback positions." He commanded them. "Re-enforcements are on their way."

"But sir. This is our fallback position!" Tigurio turned and leveled his plasma pistol at the man.

"There was a daemon in the governor's hall. The storm troopers there failed to contain it, now it is loose. This palace is about to be razed for daemonic taint." He spoke as if he were still loyal. His third eye had disappeared, to the casual observer, and these men were weak minded. They believed he was on their side. "The Inquisition is here. Make for the outskirts of the city. Your nearest fallback position on the fringe of the city. There, you will be collected for re-assignment." The guardsmen snapped a salute.

"Sir!" He turned to his men. "Alright. Let's get going. Further we are from the blast, the better." The others didn't seem so convinced, but as the guardsmen in charge was most fooled by Tigurio's powers, they had no choice. As he strode off, the guardsmen made their way down a separate road. "Sir, which way are you headed?" He called out.

"To an extraction point. I am needed elsewhere." Was all he said. He was not interested in killing these men himself. He grew weary of butchering these mewlings, and simply wished to vacate the world so it could be destroyed. "Come, Inquisitor Agares." He said, a hint of irony in his voice. "Let's get you to the apothecary..." His smile would have seemed out of place to an Inquisitor. This city was a travesty, but Agares smiled back.

"And perhaps a nice, bloody steak." He grinned, his teeth had mutated, turning sharklike, in rows. A second later, he realized they'd done so, and focussed on suppressing them, causing them to return to normal. The thunderhawk took a minute to arrive, and landed quickly, the embarkation ramp dropping as it descended. Before it had touched down completely, Tigurio had stepped onboard, and several marines from various parts of the city had appeared, each approaching the thunderhawk quickly. One carried a wounded battle brother, whom Tigurio came back out of the ship to help aboard. Once all thirty were onboard, he ordered a quick ascent.



Orbiting the world, Tigurio looked down upon its surface. Five hive cities had been destroyed so far. One before his arrival, another by terrorists on the surface, and the other three by his own strike cruiser. He hadn't ordered use of a virus bomb, as he had a small supply and didn't wish to waste it, but there was another problem. The navigator had detected two translations from the Warp just outside the system in the time since he'd gone to the surface. The first translation had yeilded a small fleet of Imperial navy vessels, mostly attack craft, and one battle ship. The second translation was further out of the system, and yeilded only a sword class frigate and an unidentifiable pre-heresy ship. None of this surprised Tigurio. He'd expected Imperial Navy ships to come and quash this rebellion.

"Seems we're going to have company." Agares said, looking out the window as a sixth hive recieved death. "You enjoy doing this... striking from a distance?" He sounded disgusted.

"I enjoy seeing my work as a whole. I prefer to strike my opponent face to face, but I grow sick of slaughtering sheep. I need to see this world purged with fire... just as you needed to get some fresh air and challenge a being much more powerful than yourself." He turned to face Agares. His eyes agleam with fervor. "I will break down the Imperium, planet by planet, world by world, and I will rebuild it into something you can be proud to fight against!" Agares regarded Tigurio with a calm reserved for priests listening to confession and doctors listening to lunatics.

"As much as that is all well and good, you still do not appease Khorne by simply burning a world. Nachtsterben might enjoy watching a world get virus bombed, and Syladril might enjoy hearing a billion deathscreams echoing in the warp... But ultimately, we who are a part of Khorne enjoy only the carnage of battle. We do not like exterminatus. It serves a purpose, and I understand it, but do not be in the habit of exterminating, or Chaos will have no enemy with which to fight."

"You may get your fight. The Imperial Navy fleet is closing fast, and from various angles. We won't be able to approach a safe jump point without first fighting our way through." Tigurio said, once again turning to the world burning beneath his ship.

Offline Necris

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #56 on: June 17, 2010, 12:58:04 AM »
Nero had returned to the bridge as the ship broke from the warp Draconis standing before him looking out over the systems, they were too far away to be able to see the ships of Tigurio but the damage he was delivering onto the world burned like wildfire on it's surface.

"Roll out all gun batteries, and get firing solutions, we do not give this bastard change to run."

He looked around the bridge as he crew went to work the lights of the bridge dimmed to near darkness as the ship went to full battle readiness, he looked to the giant view port as the blast shutters closed, reducing the view to only a few feet.

"Sync in with Draconis' ships and co-ordinate our deployment, we are the heavier battle ship so we'll lead the attack supported by Draconis' sword class."

He looked to the terminal before him.

"Bring up full tactical displays and alert our assault teams."

He looked over the information before him and plotted their assault course relaying it to navigation.

"Engineering, bring me to combat speed, lets show these fools how the old Imperium fights."

There was a murmour of agreement from the veterans on the bridge, Draconis looked round noting that most of them were either Death Guard or Luna Wolves, they each oversaw aspects of the bridge in particular to those regarding battle stations, he turned back to Nero.

"What do you want me to do?"

"Overseen the communication channels and assist my crew in coordinating with your ships." 

Lomak entered the bridge looking around as the ship fell into full battle readiness.

"I can deploy my ship."

"Not yet, your ship will be more use at closer quarters, we'll keep it in reserve for now."

Frowning Lomak moved up to stand behind Nero so he could watch proceedings.

"Divert power from none essential systems an bring the shields to full power, rotate the frequencies and prepare for full combat."

A smile crossed his lips as he looked across the bridge.

++

Retribution Sought powered on through the void coming to full combat speed the powerful pre-heresy ship heading towards the world.
This here is my very favourite gun...I call her rita.

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Offline Draco Silverhand

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #57 on: June 17, 2010, 04:36:46 AM »
"Captain," Draconis began shortly after examining the comms station. "We have contacts off the starboard side. Imperial Navy, one battlecruiser, several frigates and assault ships. They are hailing us!"

"Onscreen." Nero said, simply.

"Identify yourself." A naval officer said simply, his image splayed across the viewscreen.

"I am Draconis Argentus Falzone, Imperial Fists." He began. "I have been dispatched on a special mission, and granted Inquisitorial authority for that purpose." He held up the badge he'd been given. "We also have an Inquisitor in our midst, should you question my authority in these matters."

"I am Inquisitor Lomak." Lomak stood forward, but cut to the chase. "We do not have time for formalities. Regardless of why you are in system, we are here to bring to justice a renegade Black Templar marshal, one Tigurio Falzone." The naval officer's face betrayed a look of surprise, before anger overtook it. "He is in system, bombarding the hive cities of the capital world."

"Send me your targeting information. I will assist in any way I can." The man, Draconis could now make out the markings on his uniform, was a captain, and at least one hundred years before the mast. The comms screen darkened, and Draconis punched various runes to send the tactical readout of the system.

"Sir." A marine monitoring the sensor arrays turned back to Nero. "I'm reading a space-time flux around Tigurio Falzone's strike cruiser. Energy readings off the chart."

"He's making a warp jump?" Nero asked.

"Negative. Gellar fields remain inactive aboard his ship. Some sort of weapon or shielding system may be in use, though I've never seen these readings before." Nero, Draconis and Lomak all scowled at the screen.

"What are you up to, uncle?" Draconis whispered, looking into the darkness.

Offline Necris

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #58 on: June 18, 2010, 01:43:33 PM »
"Tass?"

"Launch assault craft and see what secrets they hold while we move into extreme range and prepare for bombardment."

Nero nodded and Tass relayed the orders moments later a wing of human piloted assault craft screamed from the launch  bays.

"Have Brak split his teams between thunderhawk, and torpedo assault teams, ready the Luna Wolves for a teleport attack."

All the while the ship had been closing with Falzone's strike cruiser, Nero's larger ship boasted long range lances from the heresy era the powerful weapons cycled to life as they came into extreme range.

"Get firing solutions and open fire, show them we mean business from the off set, there will be no parley."

The large dorsal weapons swung into firing trajectories and seconds later bright red streaks tore across the void.  

"Slow advance until we see what this anomaly is, prep broadsides if we can present one to her we'll rip her open."
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 01:45:42 PM by Necris »
This here is my very favourite gun...I call her rita.

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Offline Draco Silverhand

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Re: Fallen Paladin, Traitor Champion
« Reply #59 on: June 18, 2010, 08:13:46 PM »
The Navy captain's ship sat dormant in the void. Draconis watched the sensors detecting a magnetic field spike along the ventral ridge of the ship. Looking up at the monitor screen, he couldn't make out what the source of the power was until he saw a flash of light, starting at the back of the ship, and coruscating to the front in so much less than second that without his augmented eyes, he would have simply seen the ship glow. The instant it vanished, there was stillness in the vessel, as all the lights dimmed and even the aft thrusters flickered. The next moment, a bright star detonated in the void, just past the planet Tigurio was orbiting, but on the wrong side to do anything to the Black Marshal.

"Captain!" Draconis turned to Nero. "The anomaly is presenting some form of repulsion effect. That nova cannon should not have missed by so much as it did."

"Perhaps, Brother Falzone," Nero turned, his stern face a mask. "But, remember, Nova cannons are unpredictable at best. It is possible the one aboard our allie's ship is poorly calibrated. Do not assume one miss to signify repulsion technology."

"Sir." Draconis nodded and turned back to the console. He was not as familiar with actual naval combat operations, as he had mostly spent his training in boarding actions, not command hubs.

"Incoming!" One of the marines nearby called out. "Unidentified projectile approaching at assault speed."

"Brace for impact!" Nero called out, as he watched the viewscreen. At first there was nothing on the monitor, but the cogitator and logic engine quickly zoomed in on a distant object, trajectory of origin approximately Tigurio's strike cruiser. A purple, coruscating ball of energy, with tendrils and streams of hellfire trailing behind it swept across the void of space. The logic engine singled out an entity within. A boarding torpedo. But, no boarding torpedo had the technology to manifest warp energy as a shielding. Draconis watched, and called it just as Nero did. "Daemonic assault!"



Tigurio watched things unfold momentarily. Fortunate for him the Nova cannon missed by so much. His crew had not expected such a weapon, and he knew he would have to close the distance with the naval vessel that fired such a weapon before they could reload and re-arm.

"Full speed at that battleship!" He commanded. "Launch thunderhawks to intercept the incoming assault boats!" He sat back in his throne. The four acquired daemon artefacts now secured within the reliquary in his chambers, Tigurio had left it to his Black Apostle, Ganosh - formerly an Ultramarines Chaplain, the marine had been working against the Imperium for a thousand years before Tigurio recruited him - to carry out the ritual binding of the four. Combined with a technological piece he'd stolen from the Eldar, which Techmarine Tansis was reverse engineering into the ship's own hardware, Tigurio knew he had to escape this battle. Not to avoid damnation or death, simply because he had more work to do.

"Arm the shroud." He said softly. "Let them wonder where we went."

"Sir." Tansis spoke through the vox. "The Shroud of Sulsan is not yet operable. I need five minutes, even then, the technology will be unstable. A year with this monstrous wonderful artefact, and I could still find something new..." The hollow voice seemed to get quieter, more reverent.

"Arm the shroud, or it will be Koradon's duty, and you will make a new servitor for his purpose!" Tigurio growled into the vox.

"Shroud is connected to the ship's power supply, and I am cycling its activation rites. Thirty seconds until activation."