You Shall Know No Fear

12/15/2013 Recap

Session opened with the battle brothers preparing for the the Hunt under the helpful guidance of Alkedre Firestarter. The space marines were allowed to take nothing of their own to the hunt and were provided with traditional weapons. Alkedre described their quarry: “It is the largest of the Reaving Canyon’s denizens. It stalks on

two legs, and favors the inferno of the Deadlands.” She sketches
a distinctively uneven four-toed print in the dirt “That is the
shape of its track.” Then she draws their attention to her brilliant
red armor. “But most-over, you will know it by the color of its
scales. Its hide is patterned like the blazes of hell itself."
The kill team,

Rylus, Alkedre, and scores of curious Aurans made the trek through the winding farmland to the Reaving Canyons. The entrance fissure was clearly marked by talismans of protection and splayed human skeletons that warn of danger. The onlookers were silent to a man when the Battle-Brothers crossed into the Canyons. Rylus solemnly wished them luck. Just inside the threshold stood a weathered stone plinth with a varied selection of worn but reliable weapons. The terraced path was narrow as the Battle-Brothers entered the network of canyons. Aurum’s lauded virility was obvious as they proceeded. Grasses grow on sheer slabs of stone; climbing plants flourish as they cling to the rocky walls. A canopy of trees lining canyons’ summit mostly blocks the amber sky. Within that shade the vegetation is not tall but dense, and it rustles constantly with the movement of unseen creatures through it. Not long after the entrance disappears, muffled reptilian shrieks began to echo through the lush maze, the calls of its many inhabitants. Even as the passage widened, it was still only wide enough to accommodate two Battle-Brothers at a time. The team first came to a wide clearing flanked on all sides by thick undergrowth and bushes. Clutches of eggs peaked out of pebbled mounds scattered around the center and bright, scaly shoulders and heads of roaming theratryx could be seen as they prowled through the grass. staying together, the team was able to move across terrain avoiding being detected by the 30 or so odd creatures. Taking the northern of two paths leading from the theratryx grounds the group ascended the path to an open plateau with a sky teaming with flying reptiles. A cursory look over the side showed the deadlands stretching out below, but the brothers had no interest in trying to climb down the cliffs again. Backtracking, the marines took the other path and found themselves having to go through a damp, dim tunnel. Pushing through the roots, rock and soil of the narrow tunnel the party almost made it out. The tunnel begins to destabilize with all the traffic and as it starts to come down Astramael jumps clear. Johansson is able to push Cadmus and Varran out before being covered in the falling detritus. Luckily the Space Marines are able to quickly dig him out. The harsh acidic air of the deadlands takes its toll on some of the marines, but soon all are moving forward into the red gorge to search for their prey. Soon the pungent stench of sulpher gave way to the putrid scent of rotting flesh – the lair of a diablodon had been found. A fine powder of crushed bone coats the uneven floor of the Diablodon’s lair. The recessed ledge is the ruddy color of a charnel house, painted in dried blood and heaped with skeletons. A gas vent deeper beneath the overhang spews an acrid yellow cloud from the cavity. Like a daemon stalking through the smoke of hell, an obscured red creature prowls the lair. It noses at a scrap-coated ribcage. A sharp cracking sound follows as it tears a rib free to devour the marrow. Soon the scout, Astramael, spots him: This scarlet monster is the pinnacle predator on a planet teeming with deadly midasaurs. It has a distinctive sagittal crest that seems to blaze in the sunlight, and stands taller than a Dreadnought. Its giant yellowed claws alone are the size of power swords, each one permanently stained crimson by the blood of the dead—along with its overlapping needle fangs. Spotting the Battle-Brothers it charges and while it nearly bites Cadmus in two it is soon brought down through the efforts of the kill team. The return to the city brings a change in the inhabitants. They seem to hold the space marines in a higher regard. Rylus meets them at his residence: “Well done, my friends. Truly you live up to your legends. Thank

you for undertaking the Trial. It will mean much to my people. It
is only proper that we celebrate your great accomplishment as we
would any warrior’s. However, I suspect that first you would like
to speak of the lurking, scythed death that has infected Aurum.”
Details about Grensvayl are given, the withdrawl of the settlement and subsequent quarantine. After the topic of Tyranids is broached Rylus comments:
“Your Crusade has talked of these devouring mantises that bear
down on all of us from the edge of what is known. If I did not
believe them once I certainly cannot deny it now. In truth, it was
never a matter of disbelief. Aurum is a world of many beauties
and many dangers. Why should the galaxy be any different? The
real choice before me has always been one of the lesser enemy. I
have learned all that I can of your Imperium. Are they truly a
kinder master to their slaves than the Malissectors?” He shakes
his head. “But do not let my musings distract you from your duty.
Whatever I may think of the other men of the Eagle, you are
undoubtedly worthy. I grant you leave to go where you will on
Aurum. These Malissectors, these Gene Stealers, are a plague on
all of us. Is there any aid you require in purging them?”

The kill team readily agrees and prepares for the trip to Grensvayl. Fortuitously deciding to take the Thunderhawk gunship to transport them there. The settlement finally ceases to be a flicker of balefire on the horizon and materializes into a blazing inferno. The tainted settlement of Grensvayl has been completely sealed into a circle

of cliffs by man-made avalanches. Dozens of Auran sentries keep watch from above, and drip a steady coat of unrefined promethium down the cliff edges to keep the blazing wall of fire fueled. Barely visible through the flames is the scorched, desolate town. Its river is close to dry; its buildings are burnt and blackened; its famed orchards are withered. Yet, something moves in the dead town: hunched, hideous shapes weaving between the flickering shadows.
Upon landing they meet Heydal who has command of the fire perimeter. Talking with him the party learns of attempted escape attempts by the xenos quarantined below. Quickly a stealth drop is decided upon, but first Johansson mentions an orbital strike by the light cruiser Horizon’s Pride might be in order. This rain of fire, while not perfect due to the angle of the canyon walls, razes most of the canyon. As the Thunderhawk takes the team into Grensvayl soon after, not a structure is standing and the orchards are ablaze. Still, some genestealers were alive to make it a tough go for the space marines. But with the help of the gunship only minor injuries were sustained. After purging the valley,near the western edge of the settlement, spotted something unnatural set into the cliff wall. A shock of twisted, corroded metal marred that world of plants and stone. Looking closer, they saw that fragments of artificial
rock face still cling to what appears to be a mangled bulkhead door. Larger chunks of the shattered veneer lay in rubble nearby. Once, the hatch might have been well hidden, but now it is just as ruined as the surrounding town. Within the Battle-Brothers find a cavern strewn with mining equipment and Decavane crystals. Within a side chamber a large plasteel cylinder, covered in a thick layer of grime and holding a six-shackled adamantine restraint harness was found along with a pile of parchment schematics. The durable parchment and rich inks survived years of dirt and dankness well. These were scribed with care. The main diagram shows an octagonal crystal conduit of indeterminate size. Several notations and sub-diagrams detail runes and complex circuit patterns. The papers seem sorceress in nature. Another side chamber contained a pile of tubes, coils and manipulators that once were of a mechanicus adept. Nearby a pile of cogs that once formed a grotesque machine of indeterminate nature are found. Several of the components are etched with the symbol of a cog inside an eight-pointed chaos star. Other than a large sub-cavern that had been denuded of its decavane crystals the team only encounted three infected Auran warriors that almost succeded in killing some of the team in a huge electrical discharge of some booby trapped crystals.

After calling for extraction the heroes returned to Haistand and an audience with the Caele – Rylus. The Caele needs little convincing to join the Imperium at this point, but he offers one last alternative:
“Will you at least consider another option? You could tell the Imperium that the Gene Stealers had planted their roots too deep. Tell them that our world is doomed, and that your people must flee it for their own safety. The ancient soul of Aurum tells me that the Crusade will not be kind to our people. How long before we become only farm laborers for your armies? Until all that makes this planet glow is stripped away? For years the Aspirance has preached that death will soon come to Aurum if their armies do not stop it, and this may be true. But our warriors would gladly fill the war grounds to lay down their lives against an enemy. They will not find such peace in servitude.”
Realizing that this option would lead to Exterminatus, the Battle-Brothers maneuvered Rylus into joining the Imperium as discussed. A great celebration of the purge of Grensvayl and the upcoming Imperial submission is planned for the next day.

The Battle-Brother looking resplendent in their Deathwatch armor are met by Alkedre at the Caele’s homestead. She presents each with a necklace displaying the fangs of a Diablodon threaded with the scales in distinctive fashion. She also present a couple of the team with fire scaled cloaks as requested. The rogue trader Diaz Lan and Brigadier Heth are also present in dress uniforms. Diaz Lan made sure to be present now that negotiations had finally concluded. A large and garish (to the Space Marines) procession takes the assembled dignitaries to the Warrior’s Hall. The road is lined with cheering Aurans and Imperial settlers as well – each seeming to enjoy the company of the other in this hour of celebration. Upon arriving at the hall, Rylus comes forth to stand in front of the huge bonfires and Genestealer corpse monument. He raises one hand and the crowd falls silent: “My people, as I look in your faces, I can see you know that today is a great day. By this act of bravery by the Imperium’s warriors, by these Adeptus Astartes, our lives are changed forever.” He gestures at the monument. “For

more than a decade these monsters have threatened our planet, as the Imperium’s speakers have tried to tell us they threaten the lives of all men. We would not listen.” He turns to Brigadier Heth, and then to the Battle-Brothers. “Whatever else may come, we hear you now. Whatever other rocks of grievance we may split, the ancient Spirit of Aurum knows you as noble warriors.”
The crowd erupts in cheers, which go on for some time before Rylus turned to the team and indicated for them to address the crowd. Reluctantly a brief address was given and then the dignitaries filtered into the hall.

The warm Auran sun filtered into the hall through high windows, bathing the feast in warm gold light. Several long tables had been prepared with the planets bounty. Dozens of varieties of sliced fruit and baked grains surround centerpieces of whole, roasted argrax and platters of basted midasaur ribs. Pitchers of handfruit nectar and fermented red sap are available. As the chosen attendees file in, small emerald lizards assemble around them to beg for table scraps. The large hall fits a great number of people around many long tables for the feast. Many more are not able to gain entrance and remain celebrating outside. Each of the Deathwatch sit at different tables headed by notables from the planet or Imperium. The feast carries on with much carousing and telling of tales from both sides until one of the kill-team hears a shrieking hiss over the clamor of the hall: The Genestealers’ appearance in the hall is so sudden that they seem to have materialised, like a discordant element of a dream— or a nightmare. Many of the creatures are stained black, and drip viscous crude promethium. There is no moment of posturing, and no time for their victims to scream. The first Aurans cut down never even see what murdered them. They die with cups in hand, smiles on their lips. The next few are not so fortunate. They have

just enough time to begin reaching for their weapons. They die with the reflections of the xenos monsters in their dead eyes. At the head of this teeming brood is a monster larger and more hideous than the rest. It towers above its smaller kin, every midnight plate ridged with protrusions, and a wicked intelligence gleaming in its malicious eyes. The Broodlord leaps towards the Caele’s table as its chitinous minions progress down the banquet laid out before them.

The feast hall is quickly overtaken by carnage. The entire building is a frenzy of battle, with distinct fights breaking out at each table. Fire is quickly put to use to set ablaze the promethium soaked genestealers and the Broodlord is brought low by an intense pounding from Johansson’s heavy bolter. A concerted charge near the end of the fight nearly takes out Diaz Lan, but he escapes with minor scratches. Numerous people have been infected in the hall, but the apothecary Verran is able to run tests to determine who is or is not infected. The Caele deals with his own infected in dour fashion. After this purge the Battle-Brothers return with Lan to the Horizon’s Pride – hoping that a final purge against the planet can be avoided. Lan sincerely thanks the team on behalf of the Crusade for their help with Aurum, but otherwise keeps to himself, sobered by his brush with the Genestealers. When the ship reaches Erioch, he bids them a formal but brief goodbye before leaving them to debrief with their Watch Captain.



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