Birthright

Titansbane-834.M41-0513
And the rain shall wash away their tears

I have been attending to many duties as of late, so I shall eschew proper formatting for a more precise summary.

Our actions regarding Yura have been ill received. So much so that I fear the relationship we have built with Zulfikar is now strained. I was, most embarrassingly, still too gripped by the haunting visions of my past to reason with the man. Of course, he of all men should know the price that comes with conflict, lest he has forgotten what lies on the other side of the flimsy curtain we call reality. Those people were hurling themselves into bolters and power swords. What kind of rational man does such a thing, into the ripping talons of the emperor’s blessed?

Only the mad.

It matters little. With or without his approval, we cleansed the city in fire. Our royal guest does not understand, and indeed she need not to. However, should my senses have been with me, I would have raised protest to the interrogation of our navigator. Nyx was quite mortified by the experience, and I fear may never be the same, and had we not been under the gaze of so many soldiers and turrets, I would have rectified the situation immediately. Our navigator is key to our travels, our profit, and even our very survival. I will note this, personally.

But now, i must cut this short. Something terrible has appeared in the rolling clouds above the planet we now orbit. Our prestigious leader, in all his glorious wisdom, has gone down with other key crew members to investigate this forgotten wasteland of a planet, and all I can get in response for status report is this:

It has started to rain.

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Rain Rain Go Away
... Please just don't come back another day.

After arriving back at Footfall, we had a meeting with Zulfikar. Turns out he wasn’t pleased with us glassing Janae’s city. Not my problem, they killed Fyke, and were clearly insane due to the irresponsibility of the rogue tradder that owns it. It was a kindness that we were able to dispatch them so quickly. Better to be dead then whatever they were.

Janae apparently tried leaving with her daughter, luckily the Kriegsman was able to talk some sense into her it seems. She’s not happy, but she may someday learn that there are worse groups to be stuck with than us. Plus with her we could possibly get another navigator, and that would be great!

While everyone was busy being all mopey, I went to the local establishments in search of any news of “lost worlds” and exotic artifacts and such. I heard tales of a planet “covered in sulfur, with vast floating cities”, though I’m unsure how much of that is hyperbole and how much is true. Apparently the guy to get a hold of is named Draco Saltdune.

On my way back, I was stopped by a prostitute offering me a good time. I asked her if she had any treasure maps, and she stormed off. She wasn’t exactly a looker though, so I am frankly amazed that she had such an attitude. Hopefully she’s cheap. Later on, it turns out she actually did have a map! She gave it to Emir, and he showed me and said when she gave it to him, she mentioned me. Something didn’t feel right about the map, the timing was too convenient, and she didn’t charge Emir for it. But, nothing ventured nothing gained, am I right?

I was so wrong.

We made it to the mystery planet, and found a small gathering of 3 outposts, all clearly abandoned in a rush. Kayp stayed in low orbit with one of our transports, with Sig and Nyx. The rest of us did some investigating, and found some signal arrays. While Krieger worked on turning them on so we could hear the last transmission, the rest of the ground team looked around the buildings for any information. I found a vial with what looked like water in it, but there was something white in the vial with it. I pocketed the vial, may be useful, or at the very least, worth some money. We also threw a briefcase of research notes into the transport we brought down, though we haven’t had time to look them over.

Brute single-handedly killed 7 ground transports. That he was driving.

When we made it to the last outpost, we noticed that in the distance there was an abandoned vehicle. Brute and some of our crew went to go check it out, while Emir, Krieger, and I went into the outpost to get the last chunk of the message through.

We got it working, and the message came through, and we finally figured out where we were.

Timing couldn’t have been better, because it had just started raining, and then we saw the monstrosity in the clouds.

We made it to rain.

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The Real Kayp Log 10
Worst Day EVER

So today is officially the worst day ever.

Zulfikar screamed at us, as big ass cannons pointed at us from the ceiling. He was not pleased about the casualties from Yurath. He has every right to be pissed.

Nyx hit me in the face with his staff… A man came to interrogate him, and when he approached, it cut Nyx off from the Warp and he was unable to see. Blocking Nyx from the man was futile he easily brushed me aside.

I had to wander around Footfall alone, after that encounter, to save Emir because he didn’t have the common sense to bring along a driver when purchasing a ground vehicle… What was his plan exactly? Strap the damn thing on his back and walk it home?

Then once I returned to Titansbane, I was approached by Janoor hand in hand with Janae.

“How was the trip?” she asked me concerned, apparently my crappy day was written all over my face.

“It didn’t go great.. Zulfikar was pissed about what happened on our last trip…” I replied quietly.

“What happened on the last trip?” she asked, confused.

My heart skipped a beat, stopped, and then fell to the floor shattering into a million small fragments. She didn’t know what happened to Yurath… It had never occurred to me that Janoor and Janae had not been on deck during our departure of the planet… and I fought to find words. What could I possibly say?

“The captain and… some of the crew thought it would be best….to bomb the city when we left Yurath..” I said slowly; trying to find words as I stared at the floor, the ground, the anything, that wasn’t Janoor’s face.

“Bomb? What does ‘bomb’ mean?” she asked quietly.

Nothing I could have said would have been the right thing to say. Nothing I could do would prevent her from the pain that I was about to put her through. I stood silently a moment and looked at her kind eyes, wishing that any second I could wake up from this nightmare..

“It means that they killed everyone.” I finally said flatly.

Her eyes grew wide and her body went ridged. “They-they killed… everyone?” she said barely audible. “But why?”

Again fighting for words, I knew this was something I would never be able to fix… Before I could say anything more, she spun around dragging Janae with her, and took off running down the hall. “You are all monsters!”

I hesitated for a moment but then started to give chase. We ran through the corridors pushing and shoving past people and nearly knocking over a few food trays as we passed by the kitchens. Rounding a few more corners, I saw Janoor approach Emir and slap him in the face, before disappearing down another hallway. I paused a moment by Emir, panting for air and he looked at me curiously and pointed down the opposite hallway.

“She went that way.”

“I blame you for this..”

“You’re not the only one, Kayp.”

I took off running again and soon spotted a bit of her dress quickly disappearing up ahead at a split in the corridor. With a burst of adrenaline, I picked up the pace and soon found myself gaining on them.

“Janoor! Wait!”

She rounded on me, her eyes piercing.
“Why?! Why did they have to die?” She demanded.

“They had gone mad and were fighting and killing without reason.” I started, and when she did not interrupt, I continued. “I did not agree with the decision, but I did not fight the captain’s orders. I’m not making excuses for myself… It was wrong… and I did nothing to stop it.”
I glanced at Janae, her hand in her mother’s; she stared up at me with large innocent eyes. Her english was not excellent and she clearly didn’t understand what was happening.

“We can’t stay here… how could your people do such a thing?” She walked passed me, and I knew she was leaving, but I stood like stone watching her walk away. As Janoor turned left toward the entrance of Titansbane, the light up ball fell from Janae’s hand and rolled away out of sight. Without going to retrieve it, I walked the long way to my bunk.

Soon Emir beckoned for a meeting. Apparently we had acquired a map, and Zarko was very keen on following it. Quickly, we devised a plan to go to this mysterious planet on the map, while also taking on another job from someone on Footfall, and somehow repair the broken relationship with Zulfikar’s. Emir rounded up a small group to return out into Footfall and he asked me if I would go along to drive the ground vehicle (just incase.) I drove them to Zulfikar’s, and happily waited outside, as they took up a council with him. Soon, we were headed to inquire about this other job. I drove us to a ship at dock. The body of the vessel was black and seemed to absorb all light. If it were night, you probably wouldn’t have been able to tell it was there. The crew was in search of a psyker and Emir gave his word we would find and return tehm to the crew. They were not in a hurry and said they would wait here at port until we returned. They could not return to their home without their bounty. This lot gave me a bad feeling and I couldn’t wait to get back to Titansbane. Returning back, I drove down a tight street with people and booths filling the pathway. Watching the people pass by, I barley had time to slam on the brakes as a child threw himself to the ground in front of the vehicle and started to cry.

“I didn’t even touch him!” I said, in surprise and anger.

Emir said nothing as he jumped out of the vehicle, and I watched apprehensively as a group of children started swarming around the vehicle. Emir had to push past a few children as he approached the child on the ground, and as quickly as the group assembled they quickly dissipated, and the crying child jumped up and ran away. Time to go. I am done with Footfall… Arriving back to the ship, I parked the car and Emir noticed his gun was missing..
“Leave it, we are on our way.”

Fine with me. I made my way to the bridge and piloted us to our destination. The mysterious planet, to collect this ‘treasure’ Zarko says, and hopefully buy back Zulfikars tolerance of us.
Returning to my quarters, I passed by the rubber ball. Upon picking it up, I felt a rattle inside and saw that the LED had been broken. Going to my technomat, I cut open the rubber and replaced the light and sealed it back up.

“Ball?” A small voice said behind me.

“Janae!” I ran over hand hugged her tightly. “Where is your mom?”

“With Nyx,” she replied distracted, throwing the ball for the pandai, and laughing has he jumped up to chase it.

I left it at that and soon I found myself smiling again watching the young girl play with the fluffy black and white creature. I attempted to tinker, feeling a lot better knowing that Janoor had changed her mind and decided to stay. Soon she came to visit.

“I thought you were leaving…” I said meekly.

“I was stopped by the Kriegs-woman and we spoke… This world is so cold.. I don’t know how you stand it.” She replied, her voice soft but her eyes like fire.

“Humans make mistakes…”

“I have never made a mistake that big.” Her words like ice.

“Then you are fortunate.” I said quietly, as she collected Janae and disappeared.

I slept horribly that night. Images of an angry Janoor filled my thoughts and I tossed and turned all night. I was relieved when a summons from Zarko came, and I quickly dressed, to fly him to the satellite for our mystery planet. We had arrived.

The satellite had no info. It contained coordinates and there was no claim to the planet. Nothing useful could be obtained. Feeling uneasy once again, I was dreading this mission.

“No one is making you go,” Emir stated on the bridge. Everyone at the meeting was staring at me.

A flash of Janoor filled my thoughts again and I took in a deep breath as I summoned my courage. No longer would I remain silent when I felt that something was wrong.
“I do not want to go with your party on the planet.. but I do not want to remain on Titansbane.”

“Then what do you suggest, Kayp?” Emir asked patiently.

“I want to take the second transport and remain airborne nearby as a scout.” I said trying to sound more confident than I felt.

Emir stood considering the proposal and then the new plan started to take form.
Zarko, Emir, Krieger, Brute, and two other crewmen (who insisted on wearing red for some reason) were in one transport and I followed them away from the Titansbane, along with Nyx and Sigmund in my transport. The party landed on the planet and I pulled the ship to linger in atmo watchful of the area around them. A couple of buildings lay abandoned on the planet. Three settlements lay close by each other with a few vehicles outside of each location. The air seemed to be gray-green and the atmosphere seemed to be purple at the fringes. Something was off but a scan of the air proved that there was no poison to give us trouble on the planet. The ground was also gray and the grass simmered as if the whole surface was damp. A flat lake lay beyond the three buildings.
The party searched the clump of three buildings then moved to the next three. My heart was racing and I was on full alert when my transport pinged that a faint signal was suddenly coming from the buildings on the ground. I asked if they group had seen or touch anything and they apparently had activated a generator that had turned on all the electronics in the facility. After they traveled to the second group of small buildings the signal grew stronger. I listened as the group communicated to each other as they explored building after building on the motionless planet. Krieger struggled to get the last generator online, as Emir shuffled through paperwork. Zarko shouted that he had found a staircase leading into a pit outside. Deep inside the pit, he had found a small vial containing a white speck covered in spikes that he pocketed. Brute spotted an isolated jeep near the lake and decided with an excited growl that he needed to go and look at the vehicle. Surprisingly no one stopped him, and he trotted off with the two soldiers (who called themselves the Red Shirts) on his heels. Krieger got the generator rearing to life and I struggled with the frequency of the signal so I could hear the message. Brute’s voice came over the microbead that the sky was producing water at the same moment the message became to form from the planet.

“It is coming- it is coming from the RAIN”

I looked up from the screen in horror, as a long white body of a massive creature started to fly from around the planets atmosphere. Tentacles hung down from its body, seemingly riding the storm that was fast approaching the group on the ground.

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Da big foight

Eh hehe…i’z made a map fer da rohg trayda, but dey’z not gonna juss go. I seen da squishy humies n da ship humies talkin, so’z I gave da map ta a squishy n told ’m ta gif it to da rohg.

Dey took da map, an we’z goin. WE’Z GOIN TA RAIN

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Kayp Log 10
The princess

TWANG! The wire Sigmund cut sliced through the air and then quietly clinked against the wall. The tunnel we found ourselves in was dark and empty. Water rushed down the center of the tube with walking paths on either side. Blocking our progress, thin metal wires were strung up from wall to wall. Nyx led our small group, with Sigmund close by, cutting a path for us to travel through anytime it was blocked. Every time the wire shot through the air, it took everything in me to not jump back. Flinching away from the sound, images took shape in my mind. Explosions and poison darts triggered by the taut trip wires were haunting my thoughts. Walking in the darkness like this was torture…

TWANG! Twang! Twang…. The sound eerily echoed forward into the black. I tensed as I waited for the last line to be cut so we could get through this next row of trip lines. There had to be a catch to this. This planet may not have technical advances we did, but they must have a few tricks up their sleeve for intruders… THWISH! Wait what? That didn’t sound right. LIGHT! Suddenly blinded by flames, I gasped as I realized someone was on fire! A quick glimpse of a cloaked figure disappeared into the dark up the tunnel. Krieger had been doused with liquid and set a flame with an arrow! Who did that?! Reacting quickly, Krieger lunged into the water beside us and swiftly got pulled away by the harsh current. Plunged back into darkness, the fire now extinguished, the bright light caused a flashing left behind in my eyes. Making my field of vision very bad to nothing. I was about to shout when I heard Krieger pull herself up and out of the water on the opposite side. Good! She was okay. She attempted a bounding leap across the stream and caught the edge of the walkway in her stomach; blindly reaching out I grabbed her arm and helped pull her back onto the walkway.

The party started forward again. TWANG! Sigmund started making us a path advancing up the tunnel once again. I bet the cloaked figure was using the sound to track us.. Prey caught in the spider’s web… My thoughts didn’t dwell on this long, as another cut wire was immediately followed by one of my worst fears. A deafening explosion. The platform we were walking on collapsed and we plummeted into the water below. I couldn’t tell who fell with me. I couldn’t tell which way was up. I couldn’t tell if I was hurt. Opening my mouth to call out for help, my mouth filled with water as I rolled over and over under the water. The force of the current slammed me down, my head cracked against something hard, and my body went rigid. It took a couple seconds before I could recover but somehow I managed to break the surface and suck in a giant gulp of air. Busy coughing up water, I was unable to call out. There was so much going on, I’m not sure who would be able to hear me anyway. Still unable to see, my ears were assaulted by the chaos around me: gun shots (presumably at the returning hooded figure), splashing from everyone in the water trying to grasp onto something to hold onto, the thunder of footsteps as our companions chased us as we got swept away by the current. My strength was fading fast as I reached up and managed to grab ahold of something solid. Quickly Nyx appeared and offered me his staff to help me out of the water.

After everyone was recovered from the water, we soon headed back up the tunnel. Sigmund and Zarko had managed to kill the cloaked figure during the fray but soon we entered a room with more men. They were quickly all killed by Sigmund. We used the ancient elevator system and returned to the surface. We were inside the castle walls. Everything was deserted. Houses and random buildings stood alone beside the castle. The mobs roar could be heard again; outside the wall they were trying to break in. Fyke, even more determined to find Janae, led the way inside the castle. He didn’t say a word to anyone. Catching glances from room to room, I tried to imagine the rooms filled with people. I gazed at the paintings and wondered how it was before the chaos broke out. Sun light came through the high windows and dust lightly floated through the air. It was almost peaceful. Fyke approached a tapestry and pushed it aside, entering a huge chamber carpeted by a huge purple rug with blue trim around the edges. Stain glass above twinkled in the sunlight; looking up at the glass, I almost stumbled into Fyke as he stopped dead. Peeking around his still form, I held back a gasp as I saw the horror spread out in the center of a room. A pool, once probably very beautiful, lay in the floor filled with blood. Red splashed all over the floor and beside the pool lay a muscled arm… Just an arm.. Suddenly feeling very anxious my eyes darted around the room. Imaginary cloaked men jumping out from the hallways around us made my adrenaline start pumping. Fyke suddenly took off without warning. He ran all the way to two men trying to break into a chamber. Swiftly killing both men, we made it to the door and a light voice came from inside. Fyke replied to the voice in a tongue I didn’t understand and out burst a girl who flung herself in Fyke’s arms. We had found Janae. She was young and frail, sporting a flowered dress and short almost perfect white hair. We had found the princess.

Back outside we started to make our escape and headed to a giant gate. Once open, we started to head back into the city. A shout behind us made us stop dead. A mob had made it inside the castle grounds and they had starting charging at us from behind. There would be no way to outrun them all… Fyke gave Janae’s hand to Nyx and told him to tell Janoor that he had faithfully “been her shield and now he will be her sword.” He swung at the gate chain and closed the gate between us and himself and the mob… We will never see him again…

The rest was a blur. Our transporter had to be moved, and they were too far away to retrieve us quickly, right as we were spotted by the mob in the city. We struggled to rediscover the trail of flowers as we were being pursued by a mob of people who had lost reasoning. Some of them had weapons; those that didn’t pulled and clawed at us savagely. We barricaded ourselves in houses and climbed to the 2nd floor to jump to nearby houses roofs to escape the mob. Straining to find the next white flower, without being pulled into the raging mob, was overwhelming. Krieger threw grenades down into the alleys and Zarko and Sigmund shot down into the crowd. Soon we found ourselves cornered.. The gap between housetops was greater than what could easily be passed over. Determined to try, I flung myself over the gap and managed to land on the other side without sliding. Cutting a better foothold with my sword, I assisted the others as they made their jumps across. Nyx was the last one to cross. Janae, unable to process the much since the loss of Fyke, was slung over Nyx’s shoulder… Nyx hurled himself along with Janae to my current rooftop, and under the added weight of the absent princess, didn’t make good footing. He started to fall back, his eyes wide in surprise. Without thinking, I shot my arm forward and grabbed the front of Nyx’s shirt, keeping him from being thrown onto the wave of mob below. We ran along the rooftops until we were forced down into an empty alleyway. It was a short lived victory, as a man shouted from the house next door and soon the wave of people cornered around the building and surrounded us on all sides. Back to back with Nyx, he opened his third eye and fought with his staff as I pulled out my sword and started swinging desperately. Suddenly, I picked up a song.. The shouting, the gun fire, the clash of metal on metal was drowned out by a song. Janae was singing. Could anyone else hear her sweet lullaby? It took over my senses and suddenly brought me to my last memory of Kassius…

I stared at the ground. I understood why he had to leave but it just wasn’t fair… we could make due without the extra money. But I didn’t voice my thoughts. I didn’t want to start a fight… especially when he was leaving so quickly.
He put his hand under my chin and lifted my face to meet his gaze. I stared into his dark almond colored eyes.
“Hey.. I’ll be back soon. You know I will.” He said seriously and then cracked a huge grin. “I have something for you.” He turned and grabbed his pack from the nearby bench. Unbuckling the top he pulled out a small black and white ball of fluff.
“You didn’t think I’d forget your birthday did you?”
“Thanks, Kassius!” I scooped up the little animal plush and hugged it tightly.

Feeling like I had been filled with fire, I pushed the crowd forward with a flash of steel. My thoughts only on seeing my brother’s face again fueled me within, and I fought harder than ever before, pushing the mob farther and farther back away from me and my friends. We would not die today! I’m not sure how much time passed with the fire deep inside me. I felt like I could fight forever. Soon the transporter arrived, and Brute jumped out of the hatch in full Orc armor, obviously ready and rearing for a fight. He threw people out of the way opening a break in the crowd for us to push through to the transport. We quickly boarded the ship and practically had to drag Brute back inside. We were on our way back to the Titansbane.

It had been decided.. I didn’t agree but I said nothing.. Who was I to tell Sigmund or Zarko “no.” I was just the hired pilot what did my opinion make? The people were not right but did that give us the right to make them all disappear? Doesn’t matter.. I said nothing, so I will never know if I could have saved them or not. As I piloted within range, I felt nothing as Zarko bombed the city and the crazed mob. The castle nothing but a black crater in the planet. The pain didn’t come until later. I try not to dwell on it… I try not to think about that day.. The day I said nothing…

Watching Janoor and Janae reunite was indescribable. It made me immensely happy to see them together. I am glad I could be a part of joining mother and daughter together. I walked back to my bunch to give them privacy and to also give myself some time of rest. Silent tears ran down my face as I walked down the empty corridor to my quarters. I would give anything to have a special moment like that with my brother. If I could just be with Kassius again..
Soon the corridors were full of sound again. Some time had gone by and Janae was recovering very quickly. It was hard to imagine her as 17 already she seemed like such a small girl. So many things she had never seen in her lifetime. She was very excitable and her laughs rang through the hallways and chambers of the ship. I managed to use my technomat to create a board with a small battery, LED, and spring encased in a rubber sphere. The device would bounce when thrown and light up as a result. I gave it to Janae and she seemed beside herself with excitement. She is often found chasing it down the corridors. She even had a run in with Brute! The ball escaped her small hands and bounced off his giant belly, which he caught and returned to her. She giggled and ran off. I’m glad he didn’t scare her unlike his and Janoor’s first encounter. Janae’s smile makes me happy. She feels like a younger sibling and she often spends time in my technomat playing with the pandai. I think she even named him. I didn’t catch what it was though. I’ll have to ask her later.

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Foightin' Time

Da humies been gone a while when dey called pterodactyl fer da ship. We ‘ad ta move it, but dey said sumfin about foightin so’z I mostly remember dat.

I finally got ta use ma new armor. It cuts bruv, loik snips n necks. I didn’t get ta play wiff it fer long tho, cause we went up all quick and showed dem da real dakka. Hehe…humies…

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Personal Log 834:M41-0415 Private Quarters: Titansbane

Regentropfen was playing, I could hear it plain as day. A fitting song as our macro shells fell upon Yurath, like rain called down by spiteful gods, washing away all traces of the once proud kingdom. This was not the first time I watched a world burn, nor will it be the last of that I am sure. I did not agree with Sigmund’s call for petty revenge through overwhelming force, but I do believe there was something tainted about that place that must be purged.

So I said nothing. And watched.

It started on the surface, shortly after the knight, Fyke, had sacrificed himself as a distraction so we could escape the mob.

He seemed an honorable man. Dedicated. Fought like an Astartes. Were it that the Imperium had more men like him.

The mob was coming at us with an unnatural frenzy. Nothing like the fanaticism of cultists hoping for favor from their warped gods, or the beastial insanity of the Ork’s lust for fighting. It was more… I remember on Turri IIV, massive tidal waves continually crashed into our fortress’s walls. That was the mob. No matter how much gunfire we rained down on them, not matter how many fell to our weapons they continued to come, crushing the dead underfoot in an attempt to get to us, to kill the girl.

She was a mess of emotions, being carried by Nyx. In the moments we had eluded the mob and we were allowed a breather you could hear her sobbing into his back. But I paid it no mind, we needed to press on.

Then the sobbing stopped and the singing began. It was a quite song, in a language I did not know. I only caught parts of it between gun retorts and shouts. The song, that must be the cause. It affected everyone, one by one. First Nyx, then Kayp, then Emir, then Sig. They fought like deamons, shouting in rage and cutting down man after man.

I had thrown my last grenade down the stairwell before jumping across the alleyway onto the next rooftop. The mob had surrounded the building and was attempting to break through the windows.

And then her song changed.

And then I saw.

I was on Krieg again, days before shipping out. 534a #3297 was there. He handed me my deployment papers.“Seems like you’re quite the lucky one, #1224.” He was smiling, I could see it in his eyes though his rebreather. I read over my papers and smiled back. I’m a Lucky Number, 1224a #1224, the only Lucky Number in the Crusade. He looked so proud of me. He saluted, and I saluted back. Then we hugged goodbye, our last and only hug.

I was on Elix Prime, under heavy fire on the otherside of Hill 23. Hive Alpha Elix’s reactors had gone critical. In the hastily dug trench with dozens of other Krieg word came down the vox that Watchmaster 1224b #6537 had been killed and command could not be reached. All heads turned to me, the 1224th’s Lucky Number. I glanced over the trench wall and see a break in the enemy line open. “There, their flank is vulnerable! For Krieg, for the Emperor!” I cry as I vaulted the wall. Behind me the cry was raised by thousands of voices as we charged down the slope into the enemy.

I was on Ulevash, using the ruined manufactorum as a temporary base camp. 1224c #8992 leaned over to tell me something when a bolter shell caught her in the back of the head and she crumples in a shower of blood. A Chaos Marine charges through the door firing his bolter right at me. I narrowly dive behind cover avoiding the following shells before the rest of my squad arrives and we drove back the corrupt monster.

I was in a lander dropping into Jmiri’s atmosphere. Out the window I could see other landers being struck by the AA guns the Orks had set up across the surface. There are fifty of us crammed into this falling coffin surrounded by explosions. Across from me 1224b #4782 and 1224c #0723 shift nervously. They were new to the Siege Breakers and never experienced an orbital drop before. There was a chuckle next to them. 1224a #5578 nudges 1224c #4782. “Don’t worry lad, we’ve got our Lucky Number here to guide us to victory.” he says nodding towards me. The lander rocked and the emergency lights came on. I hear a cry from the cockpit before another violent jolt and I blackout.

I was on Jmiri, pinned under some debris and unable to move. I could see the wreckage of the lander several meters away, survivors trying to climb their way out. An Ork truck pulls up and twelve of them pile out and begin checking the wreck. They don’t find me, but for hours all I could do was watch them make sport of anyone they find alive. Torturing them, tearing them apart, eating them, laughing as they scream in pain before eventually running out of living playthings the orks climb back into their truck and move onto the next wreck.

I was on Lock’s Fall, in the subterranean labyrinth carved deep into the frozen moon. The Enemy had set charges and collapsed the tunnel separating me from my squad. They had flooded the tunnels with gas and the blast had cracked a seal in my rebreather. I was carrying 1224a #9786 with me. Shrapnel had caught her in the stomach and I needed to get her to a Quartermaster soon if she is going to last much longer. It was getting harder and harder to breath. My vision blurred and each step became less steady. I fell. I felt 1224a #9786 pulling my rebreather off and with shaking hands replaces it with hers. Through blood-streaked lenses I see her lean back against the tunnel wall and smiles one last time, with a face exactly like my own, before falling to the ground next to me. Her eyes glaze over and with her last breath she sighs, “I see it, the sun… so warm…”

I was on Faiths Foundry, after ten years of holding out against Orks and Chaos, the Rogue Trader Abdrizack Nos had brought orders from Crusade. I read it, read it again, and read it a third time just to make sure. Exterminatus order, deny the enemy the Forgeworld. Signed by the Warmaster himself. “We have to leave as soon possible.” Abdrizack adds, “My Voidmaster has informed me several ships are already closing in on our position.” I ask how long. “We have a few hours to get off planet, a day at most before the fleet arrives.” I look down at the map and assess how many men I can get off planet in time. 1,200. 1,200 of 850,000 men. I give the order.

I was on the bridge of Abdrizack Nos’s ship Ill-Gotten Gains watching the atomic blasts crawl across the surface of Faith’s Foundry. Several other officers were with me on the bridge also watching the death of a world. Lieutenant 235b #6732 has brought a vox-recorder and played Regentropfen as I knelt and offer a prayer for those leaving before us. Abdrizack places a hand on my shoulder. “I’m sorry we didn’t have more time.” he says before adding “It is no consolation but it was lucky we were able to save any of your men.”

I was back in Yurath, facing down a screaming mob trying to tear its way into the building we were hold up in. In the blink of an eye thirty years of fighting flashed before my eyes. Every order I gave, every enemy I killed, every death of a comrade, every time I was “lucky”.

Regentropfen was playing, almost mockingly. I felt the tears stream down my cheeks and I grew angry. I turned my rifle on the mob and open fire. Scores fell to my hail of fire, rage guiding my shots with unnatural accuracy. The barrel of my gun began glowing red with heat and still I continued to fire. I heard a bellowing roar and saw bodies being tossed like rags.

Someone is yelling over the vox. I was grabbed and pulled into the shuttle as my gun clatters empty.

Janae had stopped singing.

We all sat in silence as we returned to the Titansbane. Sergent Gravus muttered quietly to me, “Lucky us we got out of there like we did.” I could think of nothing to say in response, so I only nodded.

It has been days now since we left Yurath in ruins. I can still hear it being played, off in the distance, just beyond the thrum of the ship. It was her, that girl Janae, she did this to me. I’m sure of it. I can’t face her, nor Janoor. The song grows louder and the dreams get worse. She makes me see, makes me watch again. Makes me remember. Makes me ask questions I know should not be answered.

One and a half million Death Korp left Krieg with me to join the Crudall Crusade and I was the only Lucky Number among them, so why?

Emperor, please tell me why?

Why am I the only one left behind?

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We Were Gods

Fyke is going to die.

He puts Janae’s wrist in my hand and says something I can’t consciously understand, but the meaning is clear. He says something else to Sigmund. He is going to die. He has accepted his fate. I draw in a breath, to stop him, to stop this grim march toward an inevitable doom, but he swings his sword, and with an almighty clash the gate slams shut and he is gone.

We make for the city proper, but Janae is lagging. She is a swirl of emotion, her consciousness far away. She stumbles, and I scoop her up and onto my back. Her fingers grip my coat and she buries her face in my shoulder as whispering sobs escape her.

Soon she begins to hum, voice wavering, and it’s hard to make out the tune. We press forward, and the humming slowly turns to quiet song. The words are foreign, the language melodic and flowing.

You’re paying me to hire your son. That seems rather backwards don’t you think? What’s wrong with him?”
“I’m paying you to take him off my hands. I assure you, he’s quite capable. He’s had all the necessary training.”
“Yes, but what’s wrong with him that you’re willing to sell him to me?”

I find I’ve unconsciously traversed a few dozen paces. Sigmund is saying something, but his words are drowned out by Janae’s soft singing. I can feel his eyes on me.

“He’s blind. What use is a blind navigator?”
“His third eye is quite functional, unusually so, I daresay.”
“Make it four profit for the defect, and you’ve got yourself a deal.”

The sound of the surging crowd is muted, dampened. We’ve been nearly surrounded. They’re crazed, they’ve forgotten themselves, they think that killing Janae will ease their shock and madness. Fools, all of them. I turn and show them the warp, in all its majesty and fury. There’s a crackling, not so much a sound as a taste on the tip of the tongue. Many collapse, their beings rent by awe and terror before dissolving into nothing. Janae clutches my shoulders tighter, her voice hitching.

“Four profit is outrageous for one person. Julian, you can’t be seriously considering this.”
“Quiet, Priscilla. This may be our only chance. Rogue traders on their way to the outer reaches don’t often stop here. …Four profit will be yours. I’ll make the arrangements. I trust you can keep this whole transaction discreet.”
“Of course, Lord Aureus. Well, Adrien, looks like you’re part of my crew now. Welcome aboard.”

Adrien.

The rogue trader’s words echo even as Janae continues her song. Adrien. The others are affected as well. Emir mutters to himself as he guns down waves of insane civilians. Adrien. Sigmund fires with cold precision, but I feel him shaking with rage. Adrien. Kayp’s power sword is a constant murmur, punctured by screeches of the dead as he methodically cuts his way through the crowd. Adrien. Krieger is distracted, energy mingled with bullets and carnage, her mind elsewhere. Adrien. Zarko bellows as he fires, the lascannon’s discharge deadened by the bell tones of Janae’s aria.

Adrien.

I show these people true madness, true chaos, true despair. They scream and grasp at their last shreds of sanity as the delirium of the warp takes them. My father stands over me, his failure, his great shame. And my mother, torn between love for her child and the overwhelming disgrace of birthing a deficient product.

I miss the last leap onto a rooftop, and Kayp seizes the front of my coat to keep me from plunging into the abyss of the roiling mob. Janae is silent, and the cacophony of battle rushes back at once, like my ears have suddenly cleared after a long descent. Arronax’s voice over the voxcaster is too loud, too clear. He’s landed on the main road through the city. As if on cue, Brute’s hoarse warcries echo through the streets of Yurath.


There are no words when Janoor is reunited with her daughter, save for Fyke’s repeated message: “He is no longer your shield, but your sword.” The Queen hugs Janae tighter where they’ve fallen together in a sobbing heap on the floor of the cargo hold. We make for the command deck, Zarko peeling off to ready the guns. No one speaks as the Titansbane lowers through the planet’s atmosphere and comes to rest a kilometer above the city. Not a whisper as Yurath is removed from the face of the planet in a rain of fire and debris. The collective end of thousands sends a shockwave through the warp, a piercing shriek in my mind. I wonder if my parents would be proud of the man I’ve become.

Sigmund is still seething, angrier than he’s ever been since I’ve known him. He stalks back to his quarters as the ship rises to toward the heavens once again.

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Having fun storming the castle

We got ambushed by some dire wolves on our way to the city. They messed Kayp up pretty bad, but all things considered, it was a pretty easy fight. I didn’t even have to move at all, apart from shooting.
The city was clearly destroying itself from the inside out. We made our way in and heard some voices coming from the town square. In the center was a chocolate-faced man over a pyre. Sig seemed to understand him, so we assumed he was one of people we were here for, the queen’s knight. They’re totally boning… I was about to tell them they were making s’mores with the wrong kind of chocolate but they started getting into cover and ready to fire at us. With muskets. Fucking regular old muskets.
I fired my lascannon into a tent to show them they were clearly outgunned, but they didn’t take the hint and attacked anyway. It was adorable.
After the VERY quick fight, we caught one alive and were able to find out what he knew about how we could get to the castle to save the princess. Fyke (Chocolate Thunder, as he will now be called) translated for us and we learned of a secret path through the city the king’s assassins used to use, called the “Path of flowers” after searching around for what felt like an eternity, the whole time Chocolate Thunder telling us “we are so close”, we finally noticed a trail of flowers through the city. We followed this for a few hours, and finally ended at a door. Upon entry the room appeared to be entirely empty, but Sig pushed a brick (I’m still not sure how he knew to do that), and a stairway opened up behind us leading down into a long pathway.

This looks more like a sewer than a “hidden path”. I guess we’ll see…

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