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,
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?”
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.
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.
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.