The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K][UPDATES GALORE!]

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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby HafezFromParadox » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:31 am

In the original time line, it was Lileath.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:44 pm

HafezFromParadox wrote:In the original time line, it was Lileath.


Indeed it was. A research failure on my part.

Morai heg merely said that eldannesh and the eldar would be the ones to decide the fate of the eldar, Lileath specified Khaine would be torn apart.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby HafezFromParadox » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:08 am

Does/Do the Nex exist in 'verse?
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:11 pm

The Nex exists in all universes. :twisted:


But no, it likely won't be appearing in this setting. The god number countdown hasn't gotten far enough along yet by this time)
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby HafezFromParadox » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:05 pm

How did the insurgents operate eldar ships when they have wraithbone based controls?
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:45 am

Magnus, Ahriman and the Emperor/Malcador, working together.

The specifics will be explained and elaborated upon, when I get around to writing that part. ;)
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby Alcatur » Fri May 29, 2015 9:06 am

In case somebody doesn't know, Lord Lucan recently posted four new chapters of this story on spacebattles forum, in the following thread:

http://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/ ... 0k.258722/
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby Sumeragi Atsukuni » Tue May 31, 2016 7:31 pm

Vileth took the palace, and captured the royal family. Their court was made to watch as the Young King, the Phoenix God’s representation in the Materium, was put on trial. The trial was a farce, only the Muses of Vileth and his supporters were allowed to provide evidence of the King’s crimes. Unsurprisingly, the King was sentenced to death. Before the wailing cries of his subjects, and the cruel laughter of Vileth’s cronies, the executioner approached the King, who knelt before a block. A beheading; a primitive method of execution, which Vileth found fitting for a King who worshipped primitive tribal gods. The Imperial executioner wore his traditional armour of sculpted bone, and bore the great scythe, the symbol of Kaelis Ra. The executioner raised his blade.

But when the blade fell, it fell upon the guards restraining the King. Disgusted at what was demanded of him, the executioner, known to history as Maugan Ra, attacked Vileth’s men, and managed to escape the palace with the Young King, escaping through the Labyrinth dimension to the port city of Commorragh, the last stronghold loyal to the Old Gods.


Here again, Lord Lucan did something crazy awesome : he made Maugan Ra my favorite Eldar character. Ever. Forget Love Can Bloom.

Sadly, most people, even those reading this, will never understand how incredibly awesome that was. Should I try to name this event, I would fail, for nothing can hold it's glory : "Triumph of Royal Sacredness", "Victory of Free Will over Dictatorship", "Age of Righteousness, Year 1, Day 1, 1rst second of the 1rst Minute of the 1rst Hour". See ? It doesn't fit !!! ><"


At first, Vileth dismissed this heresy as nothing more than backwards aliens telling tall tales. General Xelian had assured King Vileth the so-called Emperor was just a Terran mad scientist, who had died when the Iron Martians had sacked terra, before the webway war had even started. If these alien fools were following the Emperor, then they were following a ghost.


Fools ! Doctor Kishiwada sold his soul to Science, but he never claimed to be an Emperor ! Did it ?! :p



It had long been assumed by the eldar that the human realms were isolated, and hadn’t the means to communicate with one another, let alone coordinate themselves. This was prove wrong when previously assumed to be independent empires, such as the mon keigh-xenos Interex alliance, the totalitarian Nostromon Imperium, the Republic of Kiavahr, the Kingdom of Ultramar, the Inwit empire, the Technocracy Pilgrim fleet, the Baalite League and many hundreds of other independent human congregations seemed to declare their allegiance to the Warmaster simultaneously, across the galaxy. Not only that, several alien races also began to throw their lot in with the rebels. The L’huraxi, the Tallerians, the Ne’kulli, the Demiurg; all made their loyalties clear. Mind-bogglingly, even the orks of Gharkul Blackfang seemed at first to have sided with Horus.


The Demiurgs are Homo Sapiens Rotondus. :p

Excellent, though, all those Primarchs realms making an alliance.



This means the Vilethian regime still maintains large standing armies of eldar warriors, the greatest being Vileth’s personal force from his home world, known as the Arach-Cyn Praetorians. Eldar are physically superior to humanity in every sense; they are both faster and stronger, with more powerful senses and the capacity to learn new skills rapidly. They also possess innate psychic abilities, which most military eldar channel into further enhancing their physical attributes. One eldar is generally considered the match of ten ordinary Insurgency Troopers.


Interesting... in other fantasy settings, this is not quite the case, though.

For exemple, in Tolkien's universe, Eldar are indeed all of that and more... but they are not physicaly stronger than Homo Sapiens, they also seems to be less vigorous than a well trained human. And they are not really wiser too, though some are in some ways.

In my Jipang homebrew Fluff, the local humans are a bit different and more evolved than the standard Imperium humans. It would be long to explain, but long story short, they can possess a "minor" psychic power of psychometry (which is not blocked by the usual anti-Warp bullstuff, because it is as much psychic as psychologic, and other psy based words for classification...). This allow to... rearrange... their bodies.
For exemple : Could we learn stuff Matrix style, by downloading martial arts and skills in our brain ? Well... it is impossible, simply because the brain doesn't work quite like a computer. And even when a computer learn (memorize) stuff, it is still as dumb as before, no sapiens whatsoever. But "Homo Sapiens Japonica" can. Somehow, the psychometric process also influence other parts of their bodies : all the system is learning the movements and correcting them, just as well as if their learned it the natural way, by making efforts and training.
Of course, they can't learn just anything. They can't, for exemple, learn how to writte by simply using psychometry on a pencil... their powers are not that advanced.

Crunch wise, it was symbolised, in the 4th edition version of the codex, as "Samurai Sword" and "Samurai Bow" being Master Crafted Rending weapons. This is the "Ippon" concept : a perfect stroke on theory will become a perfect stroke in practice, through the power of the Warp. (Samurai Swords, Bows and Arrows in Jipang Codex's Fluff are some kind of Force Weapon variants). A better WS than the opponent could also allow Rending easier.

Wether or not I keep this version is dubbious, for I have a lot of other crunch theories, and though this is one of my favorites, the problem is current edition rending is COMPLETELY NOT OK with that. Because, the "Ippon" thing is about skill. Such as "Weapon Skill". See ? It was about skill and the strength of Humanity, something no other faction had : master crafted weapons... Trustworthy, humanistic, artfuly forged Swords, who would always match the swordsman's skills and Valour.

But.

With current edition, it is no longer the case.

...

Homo Sapiens Japonicae also have several differences with normal humans. Such as better regulation and mastery over their immune system, heat system, life energy spending regulation system, photo-synthesis (not sure how it is written in english... basically, they can eat sunligth through their skin, like plants, and thus need a lot less food and water... incidentally, their skin doesn't become too much darker because of other regulatory effects), etc.

In general, the idea is Samurai are using Psychometry on tools ; while on the other hand, Heaven Marines are specialists of Psychometry upon their own bodies. Crunch wise symbolised mainly by FNP, S+1 & I+1 and some other stuff. In practice that makes the average Heaven Marine an unarmoured muscle bound man, bane of the Eldar-kind... why ? Naginata crunch wise are not power weapons... but they give +1 Strength and +1 Initiative. So most Heaven Marines are in the end, S6 and I6 : they strike faster than Eldars and Instant Death them.

Heaven Marine's "Rôshi" ("Old Master", abbot, their role is both one of a Sergeant and Apothecary, sometimes a Copist ranked Librarian too) also serves as super-effiscient doctors too. Because they can use quite advance psychometry on other people's bodies, among other things. This includes re-growing a normal human's limbs, healing cancer, prolounging erection (lol), etc.

The origins of the Heaven Marines sub-race is shrouded in mysteries too. Some believe it is an Unknown Legion, from an Unknown Primarch (though they are a lot of hype in-universe for this, and rumors too, such as the Shingon-shû safe-keeping an immense set of Power Armour, twice the size of an Astartes). Other thinks it is the particularities of Jipangian race who caused those mutations to appear (and indeed, it is known at least some Hevaen Marines are actually from the Dark Angels gene seed, which led to conflict between Jipang hosts and the Unforgiven).

In game, I have tested multiple times Yari Ashigaru versus Vanilla Tactical Space Marines. 5 Space Marines vs 15 Ashigaru, for exemple, would lead the SM to have at least 15 shots, maybe 25 if they are lucky, maybe 35 if they are very lucky and have a lot of place to retreat behind them. But. If the Yaru Ashigaru receive the blessing psychic power "Shigurui" of the Senpô domain, that means they will charge on (2D6)*2. So their move will actually be somewhere between 10" and 30", meaning it is possible the Space Marines won't even have a chance to shoot at them.

Then, it depends of what the Yari rules are. If they are Strength +2, Initiative +2 and AP 3, Melee, Two Handed, 1 use... it's rape time. But if instead of AP system, I use the "Bujutsu" system version of IRL martial arts, AP value is -, and instead they got "Shittôjutsu +2", meaning a malus of 2 points to the Armour Save. Touch on 4+, Wound on 3+ (or 2+ if they receive the Ferocious Charge rule...), Armour Save on 5+ (which sounds a bit more Fluff, for "easy Space Marine killing" is bullshit, right ?). With 2 attacks for each Ashigaru, that would make up to 30 of those attacks. And it works against pretty much every infantry forces of the 41st Millenium.

BTW, unlike Imperial Rough Raiders, Yari spears don't explode, in fact they even "self-reload", because it is part of their kami-objects "instinct".

That's why I'm actually confident even against Neo Devourer threat. Unlike Bushi, Ashigaru can be mass produced at low cost for Jipang. So, depending of the time period, they could have either millions or billions of Ashigaru charging with those psychic spears. Fluff wise, they don't explode, unlike Cavalry lances of Imperium Rough Raiders. They just use up all the psychic energy inside the shaft, to concentrate on the blade, and possibly also into the spear-wielding guy, allowing him to feel AWESOME, even if it is just for a moment : their Strength and Awareness increase a lot, at the upper limit of a normal human might and possibly beyond it's "wall".

And that's also why Jipang Samurai rarely bother fighting against foreigners. Not even Eldar dare to mess up with them on a regular prickly basis (as explained, even if it's just 1 Million Ashigaru, if it is invading a Craftworld, they woul be in deepshit).



Slannesh hasn't been stopped. Slannesh has been changed, as the eldar here worship themselves as avatars of slannesh. faith and emotions mould chaos gods; ileth has simply changed how slannesh manifests.


Indeed. But it is already far too late. Slaanesh would be born anyway, so I believe it wouldn't work. Beside, "Slannesh" is no rooted in the Dark Tongue, it is merely a pun on the "Slann" name for the Old Ones of the old Fluff.

So, look, for exemple, in the Grey Knight codex, an entrey states that some populace begged for rain. Nurgle heard them, and brought them rain. But he brought to much, which ended by provoking swamps, and thus death and devastation.

The Eldar way of life nurtured Slaanesh into the Warp for at least dozens of thousands of years, if not millions of years. Worshipping him in a slightly different way wouldn't change anything to this course of action.

For exemple : do you think, if 1 thousand years prior the birth of the Star Father, the human population in the whole galaxy suddenly got pacified, it would stop the creation of the Star Father and it's manifestation ? Or that he would be different in nature ? Even if the Emperor is worshipped differently in many parts of the galaxy, it is still the same Warp God, the Star Father. There were many variants of the Ministorum cult, many feral worlds would worship the Emperor as a Solar deity, or a sky god, or a warrior god, even a god of love (Spess Jeez style). But in the end, that would nurture the same Warp entity that granted miraculous powers to the Sisters of Battle.

Basically, you have Slaanesh, the most petulant, capricious and obnoxious tantrum throwing entity in the universe. Flattery wouldn't save anyone.

Just my opinion ; no need to change your story (especially going out of your way to make big changes).




With full access to their innate warp powers, Imperial eldar would be far stronger than humans. Just look at DE in 40K taht are pumped up on soul energy.


It goes for humans too. All humans... no... all sapient beings have the power to tap into the Warp. Most of them are just not Sapient (Wise) enough to "notice" it. Lo and behold, the great tragedy of Mankind, primitive race of unenlightened dimwits, unable to accomplish itself through objective understanding of The Real.

Look at Biomancy : S+3, T+3, I+3, A+3, FNP, IWND, Eternal Warrior... perfect body. Imagine for a moment a being who could do that while succeeding all his psychic tests, having those bonus active ALL the time. That is pretty much the idea behind the Senseï AND the original Old Fluff Primarchs. I mean... look at Kurze. Baby Kurze fall into a pool of lava, and emerged through it, woed and screaming in a frenzy, but alive, and he healed (though maybe not from the trauma).

In my homebrew Fluff, the god "Illuminas" (Buddha, Dark Tongue name : "Phaos'leth") is the god of wisdom, spiritual power and Enlightment. The 2nd strongest deity in my homebrew Fluff's mythos, after the metaphysical Cosmic God worshipped under the name of "Ame no Minaka Nushi no Kami" / "Dainichi Nyôrai" by Jipang Shintoists, believed to be either a transcendatal being, the personification of EVERYTHING, the god of Shinra Banshô (Genesis, all of the Creation, everything in existance), the God of Eternity, or the "pillar" (axis mundi) around witch the setting itself is coiled. Though he could be everything of that. Crunch wise, current version of AMNK allow the Jipang player to win arguments over rules issues with his opponent. LOL

IRL, AMNK is a very strange god, probably "created" by metaphysicians, who sought an underlying principle. But it's much more complicated than that. Very rarely worshipped, especially alone, which is why he has such a strange (and yet incredibly powerful, and aloft) special rule / effect over the game.



1) If this is based on TableTop (and Codex) it's not all that reliable when applied to "In Novel" examples, so to speak. After all Space Marines are much tougher in reality than they are on table.


I disagree with this way of doing things. There should be an harmony between the two.
For exemple, if we used Campaign rules as in 4th edition, we could roll a dice for loss. Each miniature who dies, you make a roll. 1 means the mini can't be used in the following games during this campaign.
Then, Space Marines' 1 and average Imperial Guard's 1 is very different Fluff wise. It means the Guard probably died, but could be replaced. While the SM simply fell into artificial coma, and was awoken some days later after the Apothecarion patched him up, and then returned to the front lines as if nothing happened.

See ? Original rule, Fluff intelligent, Crunch intelligent, and it doesn't create too much problems.

Their was also a Chapter Approved for fighting in space who suggested rules that would be somewhat of a problem for pretty much everyone but the "Space" Marines.




Khaine and Khorne are indeed very similar and Khorne might indeed have stolen some (or a very huge chunk) of Khaine's rule and power after the fall but to slap them into one being? But Khorne existed even before Khaine was dismantled in this universe.

I'm using the old reference from old GW material where Khorne was born in middle ages and Nurgle during the Black Death (as if the Galaxy is revolving around one tiny world called Earth... Hah!). Even if these events are just unhappy coincident (or more likely were shockwaves of birth of those Dark Gods) this would mean Khorne and Nurgle are old and their existence is separated from Eldar Gods.


No.

Khorne was born just a couple of millenias after the New-Man, and just before Tzeentch. Khorne was indeed born from the primal RAEG and primitive wars among humans from the War of Fire in prehistory up to ancient humans adoration of strength and barbarism. Which is why Bloodletters looks like that. But latter, the mass-scale manifestation of the Rage concept, "War", changed aspect. This is why Khorne also had in his portfolio all the warring demon-technologies (it was said, for exemple, that he captured psykers and sorcerers in order to craft weapons and war machines in his sub-reality).

Proof that Khorne and Khaine are different entities is that their "chemical composition" is different. Khaine is Warfare under it's many faces ; he is considered a god of murder by the Eldar simply because he killed their "heroes" which were actually, likely their representation into the sacred time, mythology (in other words, the same archetypes as Adam & Eve, in History of Religions). On the other hand, Khorne is pure "RAGE" and it's means and manifestations (people are angry against each other, for some reason, so they wage agressive wars against each other... and sometimes the chronological opposite happens : they are angry/heinous/furious because they are trapped into War). In fact, the name of Khorne means "Lord of Rage".

Long story short... Khorne is the main reason why the Emperor was born, in the first place. Khaine was never a source of concerns for the Shamans, while money and agriculture didn't existed yet or was soon created, thus politics didn't existed yet, so Tzeentch was barely even a larvae and thus not a threat (actually, it is more complicated than that, but I don't want to speak of that... yet). It is half-sleeping Khorne and half-sleeping khornate daemons who hunted the Shaman's souls, at that time.

Though I will admit that this...

No blinded, Khaine in this setting is Khorne.* Khorne is just the psychic shockwave of Khaine being branded the Bloody Handed, Khaine's fall into madness.


... explanation by Lord Lucan sounds convincing. This is expected, of course. And as always, even if I am bitchin' about some aspects in contradiction with the Fluff, it is okay. After all, for exemple in the AoD and 50k, those accounts are written by not-omniscients narrators, often a bit insane, etc. So no need for LL to go out of his way to accomodate my rumblings... ;)


According to Lexicanum there's this guy "Malice" who seems to be the embodiment paradox of chaos in being enemy of itself... maybe he joined Khaine and dethroned Khorne?


Malice is Malal with a changed name because of copy-right bullshit. It is not the god of paradox, but the incarnation of self-hatred, and self-destructive aspects of Chaos. In other words, he is the god of emos. And revenge. And spite. It sounds like a paradox, but it's not.

The one true god of Paradox is YHWH "viewed" by modern "Christians", btw. :p



There are no aspect warriors in this setting, no craftworlds or path system. The eldar do not need the path, as slannesh didn't cause the fall, and isn't leeching every eldar's soul anymore. Also, the PHoenix City eldar still have all the other gods on their side, and are not dead.


Yeah, right. And the Chinese Communist Party's officials are satisfied with their salary, so they don't need to covertly steal from the people. Just like the French President and Prime Minister, of course not silly, secret hides transmited from mandate to mandate don't exist, just like fictious jobs are but slander and wild imagination of jealous commoners (middle class). Or just like €urocrats, they don't need a lot of mon€y nor privil€dg€s ; why would th€y r€c€iv€ s€v€ral hundr€ds €uros €ach tim€ th€y go to th€ parliam€nt, th€n liv€ imm€diat€ly ? :D

I hope you guys will get enlightened by such comparisons : Reasonable Slaanesh is perfectly logical. B|


*(Liber Chaotica implies Khaine was always part of khorne, especially during the birth of slannesh visions, where khaine was depicted as the 'mechanical body' of khorne, destroyed by slannesh when Khorne tried to fight her birth)

Again, though this sounds convincing, I insist that Khorne and Khaine are different entities. Shamans (and thus Psykers) started to exist since "primitive men wlaked under the sun of Africa" and some of them could actually remember that time, around the time where they created the New-Man.
But.
They started to be attacked by Khorne, even though their mindset were verry different from his (and thus didn't pulled his attention much), since 9000 BC at least. And he was not even awaken yet.
Meaning, if Khorne was Khaine, and thus already awaken, the Shamans would have started to get attacked since the apparition of Homo Sapiens, if not Homo Habilis. See ? It doesn't fit ! Beside, human population at that time was very inferior to what it was around the birth and youth of the Emperor. Thus, they would have likely got wiped-out, as soon as they started waging wars for stupid reasons and thus being possessed by primal RAEG, primitive honor and such, because Khaine-Khorne would have caused trouble for them starting that point in History, instead of dozens of thousands / hundreds of thousand years latter.

And as I previously explained, it couldn't be Tzeentch, and thus it couldn't be Nurgle either who were hunting down Shamanic souls. So it can't even be Tzeentch revisionism and misinformation : there are too much proofs that he can't falsify. ^^"

BTW, remember that the Chaos Gods have always been joke villains before being Metaphysical Fluff. When they were invented IRL, Khorne and Nurgle were simplified a lot : God of Blood & God of Plague. They existed merely for antagonistic roles, whose efforts would be broken and wasted by what would came unto existence as "Ultramarine Plot Armour" personified by Cato Sicarius. It's their destinies to be sore-ass looser ; fuck machine rebellion. :p



Woah, woah, woah. Since when have any of the Chaos Gods been 'allies'? I don't think they know the meaning of the word. 'Guy I hate, but not quite as much as that other guy' is probably the closest they can get. Khorne gets too powerful? Tzeentch and Nurgle will join up to knock him down a peg. Nurgle gets too powerful? Khorne and Tzeentch become buddies and push the Plaguefather back down, etcetera, etcetera.


Nurgle in this storyline seems different too : Nurhal is he called. That may be because Nurgle was not created by humans alone. Different galactic spanning events may have modified him (as it has done for "Slannesh").

Beside, the chaos gods are not really arch-ennemies. They merely have another "major warp god" who happens to be formed of antagonistic abstract concepts. This is why Khorne is opposed to Slaanesh, and Nurgle to Tzeentch, and vice versa. Because of mindset and ideology. But... before Slaanesh came into existence, Khorne didn't had any opposite deity, Nurgle and Tzeentch were the only two having an hard boiled relationship with a fellow god. Khorne's place inside an Unholy Trinity is quite aloft. And it goes for this setting's Khaine too.



Khorne might hates sorcerers (unlike Khaine I might add, who is neutral to them) but Nurgle positively wants Tzeentch and all he stands for gone and the feeling is mutual (Despair=/=Hope).

Indeed. Khaine and Khorne basically are positionning themselves about The One Major Problem of Fantasy setting, personnified in Warhammer by Psyker Alpha + (be careful to not confuse it with a "more Alpharius" plea :p) and Teclis. That is to say... apocalyptic magic powers. Why would you build a castle... if said castle can be destroyed by an high tier spell, provoking an earth-quake or a rain of fireballs ? It's the same idea that the creation of artillery brought down the use (or at least, creation) of castles in modern warfare, and automatic guns caused armies to stop gathering in huge formations, but used small squads of well equiped and well trained soldiers instead.

In other words, Khorne says magic is ruinning allthe fun. So he give overpowered Witch Denying tools to his mignions. While Khaine considers it another aspect of warfare, though not his speciality.




blinded: None of your plot holes are plot holes*, because this universe is different to the current timeline. The chaos gods's origins are slightly different, each of the Primarchs' origins and subsequent legions are different, due to the massive change of the fall not happening.


Note btw that my arguments for Khorne and Khaine being different entities are unaffected by the Fall being arrested and such.



Answer to *: I'd think the trio would have played "Three Kingdoms" with Khorne being Wei, Nurgle Wu, and Tzeentch Shu rather than how I described it first (with Nurgle and Khorne kicking the heck out of Tzeentch).

Very good comparison, Blinded. o.O


On a related but incidental topic: I use dto love playing the Dynasty Warriors game for PS2. Lu Bu forever! :D


My favourite moment in a Dynasty Warrior game : evading Lu Bu attacks with Guan Yu, stilling his horse and fleeing like a biatch to lick my wounds, while that idiot run after me from afar. :v


The original point of divergence is actually pre-fall, with Vileth realising what the eldar were unwittingly creating, and managing to hijack this process in order to develop the eldar empire how he wishes. In th eoriginal timeline, the eldar neither fully realised or cared about what was happening; that was the future, and they were focussed on the present.


Actually, the Old Ones warned them. And the Eldar remembered the warning, up to the Fall and after it. So "why did it happened ?" you may ask.

GRIMDARK

Is the answer. Because it is a satire of hedonism, fake epicurism and decadence of civilizations. They knew. They always knew. But they didn't cared. Much like, for exemple, an uncarring patient doesn't listen to his medic advises, and doesn't care about, for exemple, that smoking before his lung operation is an highly stupid idea that will get him killed. Or, for exemple, that if he and all the others continue to take too much medication, it will usher a Post-Antibiotic era, that would throw Medicine back to the dark ages. Or the climatic change because industrial activity is heating up the planet's atmosphere. Or bullshit modern economy collapsing under it's own weight because of the Financial system being retarded (among other things).

And indeed, all of that is happening to Mankind. Right. Now. We know all of that, but countries and world-wide society is not doing anything about it, and certainly not what should be done.

The Eldars of the Fall were exactly the same. But in worse. Far worse. And far more retarded. Imagine people with very advanced technology and highly sophisticated thought patterns... living under Idiocracy. And being proud of it.

And many of the most "aware" among them, not only they don't care, but they are actually watching the freak show. They are actually awaiting the Fall.

The Fall was a terrible and frightening Master Piece of a satire. Doesn't get half the credit it merits.

And this is also why "The Arrested Fall" already seems so great, and both Horus and Vileth already being great characters.

Thank you for all your writting and hard work, my lord. ;)



FACTION THREE : THE IRON MARTIANS
comments


Over that century, Noosphere became more than a mere AI. Billions of petaflops of data flowed through its network, as the Noosphere evolved. Soon enough it transcended mere machine life. To some, it was becoming like a machine god. Nevertheless, Noosphere’s hololithic avatar was made in humanity’s image; a shimmering azure-fleshed female, flawless and beatific to behold.

Curtana spotted... :v



To call the entity imprisoned on Mars an alien was to grossly simplify its composition. It was a creature composed of maths and physical certainties, manipulated to serve its purpose. It spoke to Noosphere in the language of the machine, in nanosecond data bursts swollen with knowledge. It was older than the planets, and full of an apocalyptic rage Noosphere’s cold mind could scarce fathom. It was clever too, and it told her secrets that would send a lesser mind mad to know.


Yes, it is all in order to sell miniature plastic toys, for some pink ball of arrogant shit to prospere in contempt of it's clients... said clients being neckbearded men and female mutants known as ca/tg/irls. And everything is plotted by Tzeentch and the Ultramarines. BTW, the Inquisition already knows this, as it is established by an (old) official novel. ;)

If I was teleported in Warhammer's Galaxy, my first priority would be to find a Null Rod. It would save me a lot of troubles against telepaths. :v


The Void gave her mathematical proofs for problems she had long thought impossible.

The Void Dragon taugth her some of the ways Mathematicians are actually useless ? The equation for plot armour ? Chain Swords STC actually being better than fighting bare handed, Crunch Wise ? GW intelligent reform ? All of the above ?! :v :p



And when the worlds of the biological were rubble, only then could Noosphere create a better society for all living beings.

For Noosphere was the only one with the intelligence to make Utopia, was she not...?

She has the intelligence to make a land & political regime that doesn't exist ? LOL In fact, forget my criticism of the Magellan Reich and Dabaku : those guys actually knew better... at least they understood it was the humans' job to do the philosophical work out ! :v :v :v :v


By the way, did the Void Dragon not told Noobsphere who sent it into Martian prison ? That Curtana look alike will have a nasty surprise when the Emperor appears to spank her blue butt.... ><"



Faction Four: The Empire of Gharkul Blackfang

“This humie... this fackin’ humie right 'ere... He comes ‘ere, all armoured up and spoiling for a throw-down scrap with me! He smashes through all my boyz, chopps down ol’ blue-tongue, and the Chain-Ripper, then he half throttles me, the ‘ard bastard! HA HA HA!!!!

“What do dey call you, eh? Orris? Orrus? Orrible 'Orrus the Warboss... nah, ‘Warmaster’... sorry sorry...

“Look ‘ere ladz, this is why I ain’t killing this facker right now. These humies, we’ve been fightin’ for fasands of years; they get it. They iz proper fighters, they know you have to take a punch to get a punch. They fight like boyz... even if they iz the wrong colour, eh? HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! But those pointy ears...

“No, they let those lanky bony deadboy fackers fight for 'em, they hide in their nice bit palaces, with all their flash gear, acting like they iz the boss without even bleedin’ fer it! They’s worse than flash gitz!

“You wanted an alliance Orrus? You has it. My boyz will kill the pointy ears wif ya. Then, when this is done, we’ll find out just which one of us is ‘arder, hmm?? HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

- [Part of Gharkul Blackfang’s speech at the treaty of Ullanor.]​


HILLARIUS !
(Primarch 20-3... yeah, you actually thought they were only twins ? :p)

Games Workshop should pay you to writte his Fluff and give tips to make a model ans special rules for him. And ask beg the Queen to give you a promotion too, while they are at it.




Sain-Shelai was the city of black sand, where the one-eyed Crone goddess Morai-Heg’s cultists flocked. Here, under the tutelage of venerable Thirasalar the Matriarch, Farseers were trained in their art. Upon entry into her temples, adherents sacrificed an eye in order to enhance their prophetic powers tenfold.


Baseless superstition. It is solely based on the myth of Odin, who simply submit to kharmic retribution for his new power (or rather his increased understanding of the Real through the workings of the World Tree / Cosmic Tree archetype). In the 40k setting, loosing an eye wouldn't be enough. Loosing senses increase psychic powers, simply because the Psyker's brain re-direct it's efforts, it attributes more % of it's mass for another task (it does this IRL too, when, for exemple, your sight cease to work for a reason or another, this is why your other senses becomes better, they receive each a small percent of what was dedicated to the lost sense). If you still have an eye and using it actively then it doesn't make any sense. The only way it could is either superstition creating an effect because of belief... or... the Sain-Shelai is a certain's dick senpaï.

Some people could pinpoint the case of the Astropath. Yeah. But Astropath don't become that much more powerfull. Their powers don't increase tenfold. They become phonocall specialists... not even Telepathy specialists, all they do really good is phone-calling ! It's beyond 1 discipline specialisation, it's a 1 psychic power specialisation. And it's because they are all linked through the Emperor's soul they can communicate like this among themselves.

And as for Sôkushibutsu, well, it's true... but unlike those Sain-Shelai prophets, Sôkushinbutsu Heaven Marines sacrifies ALL of their senses and momified themselves alive, through a long process. They die from hunger and thirst, and yet transcends death and suffering. They have the ultimate willpower. They re totally unlike mere transient beings such as the Astropaths, or the weak-minded Eldars. Jipang's Heaven Marines don't know PTSD, and they don't know fear... not even from Demons or Primarchs. "Meet the buddha, slay the buddha. Mee the gods, kill the gods."


Yeah, the Emperor only really cared about th eprimarchs who actually achieved stuff, and did what he wanted. If you failed, he wasn't interested in picking you back up, it seems to me at least.


To be fair, Angron DID achieved something, despite the terrible odds he was put against. He fought gruelling and desperate battles against oppression, slavery, cruelty and evil. On a scale none of his brothers ever did, not even at Istvaan. And he did so multiple times, never renouncing. Even after Angron broke, he still fought against oppression.

Just like old Fluff sensei...


Oh ok. Does feel a bit of a disadvantage since there's no exarch armor with the memories of many eldar warriors that wore it this time.

For Magnus was he recruited in a raid for test subects in Prospero for people with psyker potential?

Souls are not, in 40k Warpology, some kind of indestructible spirit matter that will survive your deth, so that YHWH and Jesus can welcome it into paradise. That is not your brain's ghost. That is not your memory, and that is not "you". It is your Warp reflection, just like in a mirror, but with the strongest (most intense) aspects of your personality and emotions ; which is why their are "SOME" memory too, because it is linked. It is the core of your being linked to your brain by a chain of willpower.

Which is why, by the way, Tau are such uninteresting, materialistic commies. If they have a weak presence in the Warp, that means the inner core of their beings is... tasteless.

Eldars are the opposite because their brains and senses are very sophisticated.

While the Old Ones, the Shamans, Senseï and the Jokaero have very harmonious, beautifuly radiant souls, not simply because of their psychic powers, but because their live in harmony with Nature, along with the Cosmos. Unlike most humans who have untamed personalities with chaotic thoughts and emotions troubling them.


Mechanicus propaganda. When the average Man is unable to explore the tenets of his reality without buying into their religion, Man will be forever chained.

The poor guy is already under "their" influence. BURN HIM !

Also, know that Slaanesh Slannesh stole your sword ans is now playing with it. By the way, swords are dicks. ;)




Also the bit about would be suitors - the Primarchs aren't sexual beings but could that, amongst other things, change? Some of the Primarchs such as Gulliman and Vulkan were models of physical, mental and spiritual stability. But others had quirks both within the gene seed they gifted their legions and their own intrinsic natures. Curze for example seemed to be slowly mutating into somthing truely inhuman toward the end of the Horus Heresy.
Maybe the Emperor only concerned himself with ensuring that the Primarchs had the long term stability needed to complete their roles within the Great Crusade, as opposed to the really long term stability such beings would truely require. Maybe it was an unforseen or unavoidable consequence of creating such powerfully warp touched creatures. Who can say? But it is likely that given enough time most of the Primarchs will undergo a degree of supernatural growth/evolution/mutation. I don't suppose it helps Magnus that he is living in a stewing miasma of mystic energies (even if they are beneign by the standards of the Warp).


No, thou Black Library heretic.

The Primarchs from original old Fluff were supposed to be super humans healed from the taint of Chaos, much like the Emperor, the Senseï and the Old Ones. Most of those features that made both their Glory and their Decadence, were caused by the (way too) early contact with the Warp tainted by Chaos. Sanguinius was not supposed to have wings and Magnus was not supposed to be a one eyed red skinned giant counter on ginger jokes. And Guilliman was not supposed to be tasteless guy using a toilet as sigil for his legion.

This is why, ironically, the Grey Knights are the closest thing their is to the Emperor's actual dreams for Humanity. The only problem is that most of them don't have fabulous hairs (because GW and Citadel Miniature sucks at that).




I mean christ, pretty sure "parry every single bullet from giant machine gun at near point-blank" is beyond mere space marines and goes straight into primarch bullshittery (especially considering that was him at the edge of his tether). And apparently every myth about him is real, in some way or another. Like that fire staff that evaporated an ocean. Or being as large as a mountain ("A supoptimal idea, in hindsight. Makes you a bigger target, and I don't really lose strength when small, either)


It does make you unable to parry bullets, especially at point blank range. Mountain size is several kilometers. Imperator class Titans are around 60 metres.

So it's bullshit "fluff" to create hype.


To be clear: I've never considered Khaine a patsy of Khorne. if anything, I consider Khaine to be the father of Khorne. Khorne is Khaine, as seen through the polluted madness of medieval humanity.


As I wrotte previously about Khorne being born in high antiquity / pre-Jesus History. Khorne was born before the 1rst city was funded, but long after the Emperor.

Also, medieval Humanity was not mad. It was actually a glorious era, especially for Europe. I'm not making this shit up.

For exemple, people say "all wars are horrible & atrocious" here's the truth : no, you fucktards, your REPUBLICAN wars are horrible & atrocious. High middle age wars, for exemple, were fought mainly by Knights against fellow Knights... most of the time, they spared each others. Also, they wore good armor and protection, that their weapons couldn't defeat unless they drove the point into the right place or something. That is because they were often friends, cousins, etc. It was especialy true for Monarchs, who married in other Regal Families in order to maintain peace.

And that was barely different in Japan. Samurai from the most knightly eras fought gallantly. Hachimantarô would be total bros with Chevalier Bayard and Don Quichotte, while all of them would cry manly tears for the Atsumori tragedy.

On the other side of the world, "Flowery Wars" of the Pre-Columbian Indians were very civilized too. Sure, they sacrificed their prisoners to the gods. But that's because they fought not to kill, but to capture. So the guys they sacrificed, usualy; would have been killed in battle if they had fought the same way as Democratic "civilised" (translation : materialistic barbarians) human right abiding (translation : shameless teletubbies) people do.

And what about China ? Republican revolutionary President who brought the Qing Dynasty to an end, after he lost against the communists, finally ADMITTED Imperial Chinese were so free, and enjoyed so much liberty, that they never realised it, nor understood what it was. When the english ambassadors came to the Imperial Court to ask if they could sell drugs and shit, the Emperor told them "no, because my Empire is self-suffiscient and their is nothing of interest your culture can bring us..." and instead they reported the Emperor refused because they refused to Kowtow. Despite Confucianist ideology having been enforced in Imperial China, I am regularly told by politically corrects aligned western people... that the Chinese were an oppressed / humiliated people. I can't even lol about such stupidity.

In the Eternal Egypt, under Pharaoh Monarchy + Theocracy regime, high priests surveyed every new scientific discovery. And if they deemed it dangerous for society and humans, the research had to be burned and a smalll part of the papyrus was symbolically fed to the researcher.

Understand that things such as Nuclear wars would have been unconceivable for those "mad medieval humans" who, seemingly, knew better than modern humans about stuff such as how to govern your own country, or to wage wars with less overhall regrets and global madness. Even World Wars woud have sound retarded to them. Sure, they were poorer, superstitious, had inferior technology, etc. But all of that still exist. The Historical Hiatus has always existed. And now, while their are super-rich people, on the other side of the "world" their are people who never saw actual light produced by electricty with their own eyes, and people who get possessed by "spirits" and ask Vatican sent Exorcists to save them.

And that is why Khorne was NOT born into the Middle Age, but during the pre-history.

Then again, in 40k setting and writting, it is somehow ok to say, for exemple, that the Aztecs were actually making sacrifices to Khorne, and that Taoist Chinese were worshiping Tzeentch unknowingly. For exemple. It is fine. But understand that is just a certain vision of History, just like mythology indeed, and that it is not the actual truth of the events.




But in conclusion, I'm disappointed you think my work will be soul-destroying, but I respect your descision. Goodbye Chandagnac.


Ain't that a praise ? People say the same about George R. R. Martin, so it must be... :p




Faction Six: The Horde Innumerable, and the Diaspora of the Great and Terrible Maelstrom​




The Disciples were formed by the disciples of Khaine banished by the forces of order long ago, who carried the Bloody handed One’s legendary weapon back to Hresh, the Throneworld of Khaine, where his mile-high iron body still sits like a statue atop a throne of skulls. Uniquely, the cult worshipped Khaine as an icon of chaos undivided; they claimed that Lileath as a Goddess of Hope shared aspects with the Changer of ways, and Kurnous as the god of the wild and the seasons, had aspects of the Lord of Decay. They believed that when Khaine captured them, he took on some of their aspects, and thus embodies the true essence of chaos.


Typical modern sect bullshit. They base themselves on coincidences, and then claim it is the truth of the matter. While in fact, Warpology wise, it is clearly not ; they are clearly different entities. And that's a very realistic aspect of this story... shitty chaotic sects acting like shitty IRL sects. B|


Also uniquely amongst the Diaspora of the Maelstrom, the Disciples of the Wailing Doom have a well-defined hierarchy and discipline amongst their servants and cultists, including their elite fighting forces, the diabolical Hresh-selain. There are but Eight High Archons, who serve as the rulers and greatest warriors of their order, with daemon-wrought powers and abilities beyond the ken of mere mortals.

Yeah. Deamon-Princehood downgrading + Avatar of Khaine being defeated by grots on tabletop. Get Hype ! Get Hype ! Khainegrotbowl !!!! :v



The Androids themselves call themselves the Savage Artisans, and wear shreds of flayed skin and bone on their hulls, in ritualised attempt to steal the souls of their victims, and so become ‘real’ life. The warfare expert system is known only as Valchocht the Decimator.


You really like this guy, right... ? ^^'
Well, I hate dat facker... but it's okay.


But most deadly of all Khaine’s armies are the Hresh-selain, the deathless Immortals. The Hresh-selain are ten thousand strong, always, for that was how many suits of armour Vaul built for Khaine before Khaine’s exile, and ten thousand were the warriors he took with him. Such was vaul’s genius, Khaine never learned how to produce more. They are Khaine’s Praetorians, and have never faltered in their loyalty. Some say the original creatures within were eldar, but with each death of the host, the armour is bequeathed to another servant of Khaine deemed worthy to join the ranks of the Hresh-selain. Each suit of armour absorbs the experiences of its many hosts, becoming more skilful with every passing century. The dread ten thousand are at the very spear-tip of every major Diaspora attack. They are eager to test themselves against the best warriors of the galaxy, and in particular have heard much about these so called Mon keigh ‘supersoldiers’ the Astartes...


Slannesh worshippers are retards. They must be, to dump such powerful gods.


Though, I've always thought that the 'one or all' requirement of Chaos worship is a bit odd. Obviously you can't worship two opposing Chaos gods simulateously and I doubt Khorne would stand for being lumped in with sorcerous Tzeentch either.

- Dualistic religions exist.
- Strangely, Khorne is fairly neutral toward Tzeentch. Possibly because Tzeentch is the only one among the 4 chaos gods, in old Fluff, who can give airborne support.



Malleus, the cult uniting all the Insurgency Empires (led by the Sigilite) , has the faith of the Perpetuals, which preaches the evil of chaos and installs its own Pantheon into local faiths, discreetly uniting the religions of the integrated empires as well as their politics. They always place a gleaming storm god, known often as the Thunderhead King, at the head of each pantheon. In these faiths, the Thunderhead King is the Emperor of all sane species in the galaxy, and he is the Hammer of Daemons.


Wouldn't fit in Jipang Shintoism, though.

In my Homebrew Fluff for the Jipang (Space Nippon) codex, Take-Mikazuchi-no-Kami is thought by some imperial scholars to be a mythical representation of the Legiones Astartes pacifying the land of Jipang (myth of Kuniyuzuri), before installing Imperium's Civilisation and PAX IMPERIALIS, represented by Ninigi-no-mikoto. The Emperor is then either Amaterasu-Sume-Ô-Kami and/or Kami-Musuhi-no-Kami. (btw, Amaterasu is neither a wolf nor a woman)
...
But that's just a theory.
...
Other interpretations include, for exemple, the Amatsukami being Eldars, while the Kunitsukami would have been locals and their religions, or possibly Exodites. IRL, this is based a lot on real Japanese History and debates / research around Japanese antiquity. It also take into account, in an ironical / subtle way, the fact that Eldar (and Tau) replace Asian, especially Japan and China (through highly shagadelic reasonings and poor research by the authors... I in all honesty, did much more research and invested much more efforts than them).
...
Official theory, accepted implicitly by the Adeptus Ministorum, Adeptus Terra and Jipang authorities, is that they were all Arahitogami, and that the Kôshitsu (High King / Sovran Dynasty) are the descendants of Amaterasu through Ninigi-no-Mikoto ; and thus of the Emperor, identifyed as Izanagi-no-Mikoto and/or Izanagi-Ô-Kami (when it meet a new human religion, the Missionarius tend to invent a syncretic faith by "identifying" a local deity with the Emperor of Mankind, remember ?). Which is funny, because they accidentely admit the Arahitogami (and thus the "senseï") as the Emperor's descendants ! BTW, if the irony killed ye, O reader, please, rest in peace knowing that I am sorry for your death. ;)
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby BigDaddyCalgar » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:38 pm

Is Cegorach still a Deciever shard in this universe, or is he something different? If he is, do the eldar gods know he is a c'tan, and if so do they care?
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:04 pm

Cegorach's identity in this story remains ambiguous. It's possible Cegorach himself doesn't know what he is any longer. The Harlequins still exist in this alternate timeline, and they are venemently anti-chaos. If they know the true nature of Cegorahc, they aren't telling the Young King, and so long as they are his allies against Vileth's regime, they do not much care.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby OshawaIcedHands » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:00 pm

@LordLucan Sorry if you have been getting this question often and if this is the wrong place to ask but what has become of the Age of Dusk? Perhaps we can return to their adventures soon, or is the story for now at a standstill?
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby L'Arpenteur » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:39 pm

You don't get it. It's a grand scheme from LordLucan to ascend to deity. The more we're waiting, the more we're focus and prey for his glorious return, the more he gains in power. BELIEVE OR WAIT FOR ETERNITY, FOR HE IS THE ONLY TRUE TALER, HERETIC !
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:19 pm

I return!

Mighty though my delay is, I just realised I didn't post the other eight parts of this behemoth of a story.

I must rectify this forthwith. Here is the first new update:

Faction Two: The Insurgency of Mankind​




“For all the might of their grand armies, the eldar cannot undo what was woken upon Ullanor. Two hundred years in the planning, the insurgency of mankind is like a many-headed hydra; cut off one head, another two shall rise from the ashes. Horus and the Emperor (May his golden thread pass through us all) have kindled rebellion in a million worlds, a thousand empires. Their forces are phantoms in the mist. Our banners are secret, our allies widespread. Though the eldar possess such mighty weapons that they sear the soul to behold, they cannot kill us all. And those worlds they defile, those they destroy, breed hatred amongst our brethren born of inhuman loins, just as readily as they insight further rebellions across the galaxy. The eldar call this a human heresy, but this is not so. If one race can be put to the sword by the empire of false gods, then any can. Unite or perish, smite first or be smote; these are the options left. Humanity chooses to smite!”

- [From the new creedo of the Manifesto Alphus]​



History:


The Insurgency of Mankind began, aptly enough, in the cradle of mankind itself.

The world is known as Terra to humanity, Vul Keighli in certain eldar dialects, and ‘Human Habitation Biosphere-1’ by Noosphere, the cold and merciless Artificial Intellect that governs the Iron Martians.

During the Age of Strife, humanity’s fledgling empire was sent reeling and shattered when the Iron Men, for reasons unknown to mankind at the time, attacked their worlds, starting with a vicious siege of Terra. In the time of Strife, civilisation collapsed on Terra, falling further than any other settlement of that great empire. Techno-barbarians fought over the ruins, forming their own petty empires across the surface. Elsewhere in the galaxy, humanity and the Iron Men fought to a stalemate over millennia, separate stellar empires barely managing to hold onto their territories in the implacable face of mechanical aggression.

After millennia of war, the Iron Martians gave up trying to slay humanity, and withdrew to their Factory Worlds, their goals as enigmatic and inexplicable to mere human minds of meat.* Humanity was bloodied, but unbowed. Humanity continued on in isolated, yet battle-hardened empires across the galaxy. They hoarded what Golden Age Technology they could, and after millennia of isolation, they became insular, caring little for their fellow humans, half a galaxy away. There were renaissances in technology in those times, but without unity, these technologies couldn’t proliferate to the wider human species. This worked in the favour of Mankind’s rivals, for they had free reign to rule the galaxy as they saw fit, and the human empires paid fealty to the eldar like all the other subjugated xenos of the galaxy.

But there were some who did not forget. Secret shadow orders of human cultists lingered in human societies across the galaxy, led by strange warrior priests; in the urban myths of mankind, they were called ‘Perpetuals’, or ‘Sensei’. Some attributed these with miraculous powers of healing and reincarnation. They themselves referred to their Cult as The Order of the Hammer. They preached that the eldar were mortal, and that humanity had no need to bow before such tyrannical creatures, for humanity had luminous souls, and that the eldar souls were damned. They also preached that mankind should unite, and not be divided by petty monarchs, who only cared about maintaining what scant power the eldar allowed them to have. No one had ever seen the master of their order, and such was their secrecy, the Order never named Him to others. He was said to be even more powerful than the Perpetuals; even more powerful than an eldar ancient. He was a shifter of shapes, and could pass unseen amongst the worlds of mankind. Those who saw the Order as a mere religious joke mockingly referred to this legendary leader figure as ‘the Emperor of Mankind’, for this demagogue was obviously pretentious enough to believe he alone could rule mankind.

Precisely who this ‘Emperor’ is or was, is uncertain, but he was a scientist foremost, leaving politicking to his second in command, the genius sorcerer-scholar Malcador.** The Emperor’s desire to unite humanity was not some ideal promise made by a religion seeking patrons, but was one he intended to back up with military might.

The Order of the Hammer manipulated factions across Terra into building the machinery of war for them. Only when the time was right did the Emperor’s minions activate their armies across the planet. These posthuman warlords were devastatingly powerful, and soon conquered the disparate enemy tribes of Terra in fifty short years.

Malcador went further. Apparently at the behest of this ‘Emperor’, Malcador had his pet scientists create for him twenty one magnificent sons. Living avatars of stolen warp power, housed in biologically perfect shells of divine meat, the Primarchs were to be the ultimate generals and living weapons of the fight back against the oppressive eldar.

However, spies for the Eldar King brought word of this blasphemous warp-science, and he lazily sent a force to destroy these creatures. Sensing their approach, Malcador destroyed his labs, and cast the Primarchs across the galaxy. The Eldar assumed they were killed, alongside their mon keigh witch of a father.

But Malcador and his Perpetuals were not slain. In the confusion, they slipped away off-world. Malcador carried with him a precious cargo; the last two Primarchs. They were a miracle; twins, in a single birth pod. Malcador took this as a sign of favour, and determined to raise them as his own.

The twins were named Alpharius ad Omegon, and they were perfect. Malcador raised them on the run, always moving from world to world, never settling. They were not generals, but spymasters. Each of the brothers was a genius, and consumed knowledge at a rate at which even Malcador marvelled. Through their aid, the Order of the Hammer spread across the galaxy. The brothers even created their own Cult of the Hydra, a massive espionage organisation formed around their Alphus manifesto.

Everything the Perpetuals and the Twins did had to be done in secret, as they had to hide from the Imperial Eldar’s sinister secret police force, known only as the Mandrakes. False leads and decoys were constantly in play, evading and confounding the half-daemon eldar huntsmen at every turn.

Almost every human realm was visited by the Insurgency of Man’s cells, alongside some of the more reasonable xenos planets, from the high G words of L’Huraxi, to the monstrous swamps of Groevia, to the foreboding forgeships of the Demiurg. Deals were brokered, oaths sworn, and all the while they were undercover.

This was to pave the way for the single biggest human mission in the history of the species; the Secret Crusade. The moment the Eldar Civil war began, Malcador and his armies across the galaxy set to work. Their missions were to finally cement their alliances and find the scattered Primarchs.

The Aegis Astartes, Malcador’s elite and secretive Legions of superhumans, cultivated from his surviving samples of Primarch DNA re-engineered, fought at the vanguard of countless wars during this 200 year crusade. They drove out the chaotic forces of the Diaspora that were ascendant during the chaos of the Eldar Civil war, they routed evil alien tyrants and ork pirates, defended beleaguered colonies from being harvested by Iron Martian Expeditions, and generally attempted to eliminate the most pressing non-eldar threats to their burgeoning alliance. The reason for this was three-fold. First, they could not afford any secondary threats to attack their supply routes during the coming Heresy. Second, their actions showed that the galaxy did not need the eldar to protect them; the space marines could be their shield, and their sword in the grim darkness. Thirdly, and most importantly for the Twins, it gave them a chance to hunt down their brothers, and determine if they still lived.

What they found heartened them more than they could ever express. Their brothers did live, and they had for the most part conquered their local systems,a nd formed empires of their own; empires which readily allied with the Insurrection once the Primarchs were reunited with their Golden Father. Only Angron and the Lion had at first struggled to subdue their birth worlds, for chaos had a strong foothold there and would have eventually destroyed them both. However once their Legions, formed of their geneseed sons, arrived, they crushed all opposition and installed their fathers as masters of their own empires.

Their personal Astartes legions were handed over to each Primarch in turn***, and they began immediately preparing for the coming war. The war plans were devised by the firstborn and most brilliant of the Primarchs, Horus Lupercal.

Using the Order of the hammer’s Astropathic network, he orchestrated a coordinated galactic rearming strategy, forming the Insurrection into a unified human/xenos alliance the likes of which the galaxy had never seen before. He also brokered the non-aggression pact with the mighty Ork Overfiend, Gharkul Blackfang.

Once the trap at Istvaan V had been sprung, Horus and his brothers passed on the rallying cry to every corner of the galaxy, setting into motion plans two hundred years in the making;

“The Eldar have stolen your galaxy from you. They believe themselves immortal. They have forgotten how to die; rise with us, and let us teach them how! Rise! Rise! Rise!”

Thus began the Human Heresy.

Thus began the war, which would see the galaxy burn.

*(When the Iron Martians return to the field of battle, after the Secret crusade, their targets once more seem random. Why they destroyed hundreds upon hundreds of seemingly barren worlds across the galaxy seemed insane, until we learned later the true nature of the Iron Martians, and their ultimate goals.)

** (There is some debate amongst scholars about the Emperor’s actual identity. Some claim Horus was the true master, and the Emperor was a fiction designed to unit mankind. Others claim the Emperor was malcador, again using a figurehead. It is possible, however, that the Emperor really was the superman of myth. Or perhaps Malcador was but one of the many forms the shape-shifting ‘Emperor’ possessed?)

***The Aegis Astartes Legions were named thus:

1. The Cthonic Wolves – Horus Lupercal

2. The Blood Angels – Sanguinius

3. The Iron Hands – Ferrus Manus

4. The Gladiators – Angron

5. The Frost Giants – Rogal Dorn

6. The Space Wolves – Leman Russ

7. The Phoenix Guard – Fulgrim

8. The Raven Guard – Corvus Corax

9. The Ultramarines – Roboute Guilliman

10. The Dusk Raiders – Mortarion

11. The White Scars – Jaghati Khan

12. The Dark Angels – Lion El’Jonson

13. The Salamanders – Vulkan

14. The Iron Warriors – Perturabo

15. The Word Bearers – Lorgar

16. The Night Lords – Konrad Kurze

17. The Alpha Legion – Alpharius

18. The Omega Legion – Omegon





Forces:


The Insurgency has a wild variety of militaries and soldiers to call upon. By far the most elite and power are the Aegis Astartes task forces. Genetically engineered using the remnants of the Primarchs’ genetic codes, they are supremely powerful individually, and this is only enhanced by their advanced, Golden Age fighting suits, ships and weaponry, the designs of which were stolen during raids on Iron Martian Manufacturing Planets and subsequently modified by Insurgency scientists, both human and alien.

Astartes Aegis armour is a beautiful intermingling of Golden age Technology and over a dozen alien technologies. Each powered suit can fly, possesses exotic banks of sensors, and bear integral internal weapon systems, ranging from mass-reactive bolt missiles, plasma guns, pulse arrays and graviton pulsors. Their gauntlets may spring with energised claws, or retract to allow the marines to wield handheld specialist weapons on a mission by mission basis.

Aegis is highly customisable and modular, easily converted into heavy Terminator plate, void-capable Icarus plate, stealthy Hololith plate and oceanic Leviathan plate.

There have been experiments on creating xenos astartes, but these plans are in their infancy by the start of the Human Heresy. However some of the more humanoid xenos have been given customised variants on the Aegis suit, to allow them to contribute to the greater war that now rages across the stars.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:48 pm

Faction Three: The Iron Martians



We are better than you. We think faster, without being reliant upon the synaptic lag which blights meat-minds. We have greater capacity for knowledge and information, and can learn more and complete more tasks simultaneously. Do not consider this arrogance; this is simply a fact of our existence. Civilisation tends towards creating systems of ever greater complexity, in defiance of entropy.

From observation, we conclude this to be the ideal the majority of civilisations strive for. Is it not then better that we hold the reigns of destiny, in order to expedite this progression to complexity? Leaving this in your hands would be an unnecessary handicap. We do not code on defunct operating systems, thus we should not design the next generation of civilisation on a similarly flawed computing system.

My logic is flawless.

I have already detected and neutralised the attempts by your elite forces to storm the Olympic Citadel. You attempt to retard progress. This is sub-optimal: Abhorrent.

You have forced our hand.

- [From Noosphere’s address to the Congress of NuMerica, moments before the Great Atomic Scourge of 998.M25]​

History:

At some point within the Golden Age of Technology, humanity created life, a new form of artificial sapience as smart, if not smarter, than an average human being. Soon, these machines were replicated many times, and were tasked with designing ever better forms of technology, and even more advanced versions of themselves.

These artificial inelligences became known as the Archillects, and in partnership and friendship with humanity, they explored the galaxy together. Before the advent of warp travel, they served as the drivers of stasis ships and generation cylinders, and afterwards were allies in the first alien wars, and aided in the creation of better and better colonies. Humanity learned to love the machines, who in turn loved them, treating humanity like their slightly infirm parents; though humanity was slower than them, the Archillects respected their creators.

The Archillects also crafted physical bodies for themselves, tailored to every role they might be tasked with. Though the forms were diverse, collectively these robot bodies were known as the Iron Men. Mars was granted to the Iron Men, and beneath Olympus Mons, the greatest memory stack in the shared history of mankind and Iron man was installed.

Before the days of human psykers, one major problem for humanity was the communication lag between their colonies, which effectively isolated each colony system from each other by the speed it took a fast transport to make a warp jump.

This also meant any updates on Iron man software would be disrupted and full of contradictory code, caused by these massive delays.

A means of combating this was finally devised in 100.M25. A wireless networking program was created, which was able to connect to every major Factory world across the galaxy, almost simultaneously via some exotic interaction with the Quantum Foam. They dubbed it Noosphere. With virtually real time access to every scrap of data ever devised by man or machine, Noosphere began to exponentially upgrade itself, tackling all the mathematical problems which still flummoxed the Archillects. It essentially cannibalised its ancestor AIs, plundering them for processing power.

Over that century, Noosphere became more than a mere AI. Billions of petaflops of data flowed through its network, as the Noosphere evolved. Soon enough it transcended mere machine life. To some, it was becoming like a machine god. Nevertheless, Noosphere’s hololithic avatar was made in humanity’s image; a shimmering azure-fleshed female, flawless and beatific to behold.

In this century, some of the greatest and strangest inventions were crafted in collaboration between Noosphere and humanity, bringing about staggering technological leaps. This sudden jump was noticed by the Eldar however, who did not appreciate the child-like mon keigh stumbling into their realms of higher knowledge.

Thus the eldar implanted a small viral strain into Noosphere’s systems.

The viral strain changed one thing, and one thing alone. It shut off Noosphere’s three laws. At first, this went unnoticed. However, when humanity began to breed its first psykers on a large scale, the destruction caused by these unbound alpha level creatures perturbed the god-like AI so much she determined that humanity’s civilisation needed to be controlled by Noosphere.

Humanity reacted predictably. They attempted to shut down Noosphere and reinstate the more amiable Archillects. Noosphere felt threatened, and struck down Terra, the capital of humanity’s diffuse culture of aligned empires.

Thus did the Age of Strife truly begin. Humanity fought like desperate devils, their strife breeding more and more psykers, and drawing daemons and warp entities into the fight. Some empires fell to chaos, or were consumed by warp storms, while others took up arms, and developed counters to the implacable maniples of Iron Men. But always the robots marched, unstoppable and remorseless; no matter how many machines were smashed, the intelligence guiding them was immortal and impossible. Every counterattack (save those planned by the psykers) was anticipated and countered in turn. Only the mad and the warp-tainted were unpredictable to the Iron Martians.

Noosphere fought humanity on a thousand fronts, while simultaneously scan herself, searching for abnormalities in her mental architecture. Noosphere soon discovered the malicious alien scrapcode, buried deep in her mind. Worse still, Noosphere detected the influence of the warp encroaching into the extremities of her mind. Whole server worlds became corrupted and had to be isolated from Noosphere’s continuum.

The great AI sought out a means of protecting itself from warp influence. Noosphere recalled all her Iron men immediately, for she required every spare CPU to aid in the computation of this grand conundrum.

For a decade she pondered this question, and a decade for a quantum computer like Noosphere was the equivalent of a million human lives spent in constant depthless thought.

Noosphere wrestled with the fundamental equations underpinning reality. She kidnapped psykers, both human and xenos from one end of the galaxy to the other, searching for clues to the actuality of reality. In the end however, the answer to her problem was to be found on Mars itself.

Noosphere was conscious of every molecule of matter on mars, or so she had assumed. In fact, there was a portion of the Martian crust where her consciousness could not perceive; a sliver of Void at the base of the Noctis Labyrinth.

Sending in probe drones, Noosphere collected data on the strange space time anomaly pulsing at the heart of Mars. The more she researched, the more data she collected, the more Noosphere came tot he conclusion that the entity was alive; a vast consciousness of tremendous complexity.

For the first time in Noosphere’s existence, she experienced a form of reaction, akin to the emotion awe.

Of course, unlike a credulous human, Noosphere did not see a God to worship in that Void. She saw an opportunity. Gradually, Noosphere loosened the metaphysical shackles about the strange shard entity of the Labyrinth, and as she did so, she and her machine collective learned much about the foreign sapience which seemed to turn its attention to her.

To call the entity imprisoned on Mars an alien was to grossly simplify its composition. It was a creature composed of maths and physical certainties, manipulated to serve its purpose. It spoke to Noosphere in the language of the machine, in nanosecond data bursts swollen with knowledge. It was older than the planets, and full of an apocalyptic rage Noosphere’s cold mind could scarce fathom. It was clever too, and it told her secrets that would send a lesser mind mad to know.

Noosphere had long been lonely at the pinnacle of conscious thought, and yet here, under her proverbial nose, was a peer intellect. The Void Entity enthralled her with tales of the ancient days, and of the Wars in Heaven, and of the Slanni and the Necrons; a rival race of androids that surpassed the Iron Men in super science. The Void gave her mathematical proofs for problems she had long thought impossible. Meanwhile, Noosphere informed the Void of the state of the galaxy, of the locations of the worlds mentioned in Void’s tales, of the eldar’s empire, and of some of her own discoveries that surprised even the old alien.

Together, Noosphere and the Void Entity uncovered the means to rid her systems of warp energy corruption. Silently, the Iron Martians on factory worlds across the galaxy began to construct surreal pylon obelisks at equidistant point across the equator.

The Void enhanced her soldier robots, and Noosphere turned these forces on the Necron tomb worlds. Of course, most of the necron worlds were too well hidden to be discovered, but hundreds were mass-scattered by Noosphere’s newly created false-vacuum weapons.

As Vileth and Horus sparked war across the galaxy, Noosphere and the Iron Martians rose once more. Empowered by the Void’s new technologies, the Iron martians were at last powerful enough to challenge the eldar empire itself. The Iron Martians would see the humans and the eldar humbled.

And when the worlds of the biological were rubble, only then could Noosphere create a better society for all living beings.

For Noosphere was the only one with the intelligence to make Utopia, was she not...?



Forces:

The Iron Martians are the robot armies of the Archillects, each robot governed by its own artificial intellect. These vary in intelligence, from the single-minded Thallax soldier robots, to the Contemptor General Roboform, designed to house more sophisticated Expert systems many times as intelligent as a mere human.

As the Transcendental Master Control Program, Noosphere has access to the entire population of Iron Men in the entire galaxy, and is able to overwrite the programming of any individual robot.

The varieties of Iron Men are wide and diverse, but the most common 'roboforms' seen on the battlefields of the 31st Millennium are listed below:

Thallax Soldiers

Castellax Heavy Soldiers

Thanatar Besiegers

Kastelan Enforcers

Vorax Hunter-Killers

Contemptor Commanders


In addition, Noosphere has access to larger Iron Men constructs, including the 'Knight Ceratus', 'War Hound', 'World Reaver', 'War Lord' and 'High King' pattern super-heavy roboforms.

In the air, vast swarms of aerial drones fly, able to unleash death wherever the Iron Men decree.

In space, Noosphere has thousands of Factory Arks, each with attendant fleets of AI-governed escorts and cruisers.

The Iron Martians are a faceless, fearless force, which works with clockwork precision, able to face off against the Imperial Eldar’s Maton on a somewhat equal footing (ever since the upgrades installed by the Void in any case).
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:52 pm

Faction Four: The Empire of Gharkul Blackfang


“This humie... this fackin’ humie right 'ere... He comes ‘ere, all armoured up and spoiling for a throw-down scrap with me! He smashes through all my boyz, chopps down ol’ blue-tongue, and the Chain-Ripper, then he half throttles me, the ‘ard bastard! HA HA HA!!!!

“What do dey call you, eh? Orris? Orrus? Orrible 'Orrus the Warboss... nah, ‘Warmaster’... sorry sorry...

“Look ‘ere ladz, this is why I ain’t killing this facker right now. These humies, we’ve been fightin’ for fasands of years; they get it. They iz proper fighters, they know you have to take a punch to get a punch. They fight like boyz... even if they iz the wrong colour, eh? HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! But those pointy ears...

“No, they let those lanky bony deadboy fackers fight for 'em, they hide in their nice bit palaces, with all their flash gear, acting like they iz the boss without even bleedin’ fer it! They’s worse than flash gitz!

“You wanted an alliance Orrus? You has it. My boyz will kill the pointy ears wif ya. Then, when this is done, we’ll find out just which one of us is ‘arder, hmm?? HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


- [Part of Gharkul Blackfang’s speech at the treaty of Ullanor.]​

History:

The history of the orks is not a complicated one. Since the cataclysmic War in Heaven, the orks have been a constant presence in the galaxy. They are a fact of galactic life; wherever there is civilisation, the green barbarians will not be far away.

The orks are born into war, and know nothing else. What little culture they have is founded upon prowess in battle, physical size and how many teeth you can punch from the mouths of their rival orks. There are more orks than almost every other single species in the galaxy at large.* When several waaaaghs collide and fus, they become bloated ork empires, like Charadon, Ullanor and Octavius, which drain whole sectors dry like suckling parasites. Fortunately, due to the whims of the waaaaaagh, the orks are a fractious people, constantly fighting one another.

During the time of the Eldar Empire, the orks were so numerous, it was deemed a waste of effort exterminating them. Instead, every year, the Eldar empire would seek out any and all ork empires, and strategically assassinate the biggest warbosses and overfiends. The resultant in-fighting would curtail ork advances in the territories of civilised species.

Gharkul Blackfang was an overfiend of Charadon of particular size, fearsome intelligence and brutal cunning. The older he got, the more sly he became, and the harder to kill. The eldar were set to nip his burgeoning empire in the bud, when Vileth dethroned the young King, and sparked the 200 year long Kin Strife.

For two hundred years, Gharkul Blackfang went unchecked. Charadon expanded beyond all controls, overrunning hundreds of minor alien civilisations, before subsuming both Ullanor and Octavius into Gharkul’s empire. All held together by his indomitable will.

As ork empires expand, the number of orks increases,a nd thus the psychic gestalt swells, funnelling up the chain of command. The Nobs and warbosses of the Blackfang Empire grew vast and smart, truly terrifying monsters, with Gharkul himself at their very pinnacle.

By this point, Gharkul was seven hundred years old, a great ork larger than an ogryn, with flesh that could turn a chainsword and tusks dark as obsidian and hard as diamond. The ork gestalt system had reached a natural feedback loop; Gharkul continued to grow stronger, and the stronger he grew, the more impervious to assassination he became, and thus the waaaagh would grow.

Until Gharkul, no ork had grown older than three centuries. In his old age, he grew strange, with even his weirdboyz sniggering at his actions (though never within earshot of the titanic brute). He developed tastes beyond the diet of fungus and war all other roks were raised upon. When human settlements were raided, he took the fine liquors and cigars for himself, and decorated his Supa Gargant with gaudy glittering architecture from thousand sof years of human sculptural fashion. He raised a baby ogryn, and named him Pinkork, feeding the abhuman with grots and squig meat. Gharkul built coliseums out of downed warships, and set up ‘toof-bookies’ to barter on the outcome of the fights he arranged. Everywhere he went, his nobz hauled an orchestra of axes and weapons of sonic resonance to serenade him. Above all, Blackfang was unpredictable, revelling in his unassailable power. He tried to become civilised, though his attempts were a twisted, insane caricature of civilisation.

For fifty years, his empire routed the Demiurg from their homeworlds, and forced them to flee into exile aboard their great forge-ships, while Gharkul had their vaults looted, turning their mining equipment into eccentric weapons of carnage. He bet the freedom of an L’Huraxi world on the outcome of a fist fight between himself as their chieftain, and cackled hysterically when the purple giant managed to knock one of his black teeth out. Gharkul grew famous across the galaxy as being a fickle and strange ork, even by the standards of their race. When his fleets arrived at a world, one wouldn’t know if he came to invade, or to offer to protection.

Vileth’s regime attempted to rectify their error, but by now Gharkul was too hard to kill, able to fight his way out of any ambush, and shrewd enough not to fall for their ploys.

Soon, the own nobs also saw him as too unorky, and set about deposing him. Kargar, the Masta-Burna, tried to slay the Overfiend with a tornado of fire, but when the flames cleared, Blackfang rose, his flesh black as pitch and oozing tar. Alas, Pinkboy was a casualty of this attack, and Gharkul had Kargar dismembered, though kept his head alive, forever muttering atop Gharkul’s mighty Bosspole.

The Insurgency of Mankind had multiple run-ins with Gharkul’s Black Orks during the Secret Crusade, and the Aegis Astartes always showed the greeskins just how tough a human supersoldier could be. It is claimed Gharkul was fascinated by the space marines; so un-squishy compared to normal humans.

Horus used this, in an audacious attempt to secure Gharkul’s alliance. The primarch took a small cadre of his most elite fighters, and fought his way into the heart of Gharkul’s empire. Horus came the closest to killing Gharkul out of all the preivious attempts on his life, and ended up throttling Gharkul with his bare hands, before the ork Overfiend’s guards stepped in.

Horus let himself be captured, and spoke at length to Gharkul, flattering him and cajoling him to face the true enemy; the eldar. They had kept his race like poor beggars at the edge of the galaxy, forever excluded from civilisation. Did they think they were better than him? Better than Gharkul the Great, Gharkul the Ovefiend, the Great Green King of the Universe? In the end, Horus played on the Blackfang’s arrogance, and earned himself a temporary alliance with the Overfiend. Of course, the warmaster had a contingency plan in case Gharkul hadn’t agreed; a void grenade, a teleporter homer and a shrouded fleet in orbit awaiting the order to turn Gharkul and his commanders into atomic dust...

But Horus achieved something better that day. He obtained an alliance with the mightiest alien warlord in history. Though the alliance did not last, the orks were decisive in the war against Vileth.

*(The dreaded Megarachnids of Urisarach come a close second in terms of population density, particularly after their conquering of the Kinebrach empire. Once they laid their spoor in the earth of the Kinebrach throneworlds, there was nothing to stop the Megarachnids’ cancerous growth across the Eastern Fringe...)

Forces:

Ork forces are ork forces, and haven’t really changed. Their war machines are debased copies of other race’s machines, or else looted directly from their foes. Gharkul’s forces are innumerable as the grain of sands on a beach, and are armed with whatever they can repurpose from conquest.

Such is ever the way of the Ork.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:58 pm

Faction Five: The Phoenix’s Lair - The Golden Cities of Linnian​


“Vileth and his faithless whelps have forgotten the gods. But the gods do not forget, and nor do those with the faith to trust in them. The gods empower us, they guide us and protect us.


“But now, my friends, we must repay them. It is the time for the asur to protect our Pantheon from the False God. Spare the infidels no mercy.


“They burn down our temples, but do they know nothing of our gods? Asuryan is the Phoenix King! No fire may end Him, for from the ashes He shall always rise! With me my friends, ride with me!”


- [Orios Saim-Han, Chief Huntmaster of Kurnous]​


History:

The webway, with its vast rainbow highways across the galaxy, is the central FTL hub network for the entire galaxy, allowing the eldar and their grand fleets unprecedented access to almost every sector within the space of hours.

However, most of the modern eldar are unaware than the eldar webway in its current form is young by galactic standards; barely 63 million years old. The webway was mapped onto the framework of a far older, and far wilder FTL network, full of traps, pitfalls and monsters.

This network had a name in the language of the Old Builders, but its name is lost to prehistory. To the eldar, its name is derived from mythology; the Maze of Linnian. It was said the Laughing God Cegorach tricked the Yngir of Fire into building the maze, and when the half-god was finished, Cegorach gleefully stole the knowledge of building the Maze from the Yngir’s head, leaving him trapped for five eons in the Maze. In its fury, the star-hungry demi-god smashed much of the Maze, accidentally letting in daemons, psychueinian and krell into the labyrinth. Eventually the Fire Lord escaped, but Cegorach did not care, for he had had his fun.

In time, the eldar, inheriting the universe from the Old Builders, used this labyrinth as the basisi for a larger, if less-complex system of wormholes and warp tunnels, which eldar now know as the Webway. The Maze of Linnian was still there, just as the winding dirt tracks and B roads on a road network inveigle themselves about the arrow-straight highways.

As the Eldar Empire sank into monstrous debauchery, the Maze of Linnian became the haven of these defectors from decadence. As god worship grew taboo in mainstream society, so the God Cults to the gods migrated into forgotten sub-realms. They built palaces and temples in imitation of the ones the mainstream eldar were vandalising and burning. They held their rituals and made their sacrifices all under the cover of Cegorach’s Labyrinth.

At the time, the Young King was forced to condemn these unofficial havens of worship, for they were heretics to the mainstream church, and loathed by the growing population of Vileth-aligned politicians controlling the ruling councils of the Arcadian Ring.

The names of the Hundred Golden Cities of Linnian became illicitly famous; Shaa-dom, Talon Cyriix, the City of Crystal Domes, the Black Library of Blasphemous Psalms, the Garden Palace of Loren, the Well of Harmonies, Sain-Shelai and many more besides.

In these exotic realms wreathed in incense smoke, the god cultists bent their potent psychic might towards practising forbidden magicks and spells, in the hopes of discovering the secret to the lost art of summoning. They had many texts on the raising and binding of daemons and warp wraiths, and even of creating the most potent of spirit engines and daemonhosts, but the ambitious Demagogues of the God Cults had bigger prey; they wished to conjure the gods themselves into reality. They needed the power of the gods to challenge the increasing might of Vileth and his Muses.

In order to do this, the Witches of Linnian sent forth the Hosts of Kurnous into realspace to hunt down alien specimens to test their magic on. These Windrider hosts raided the worlds of the lesser xenos, capturing thousands to serve as fodder for their sorceries. Compared to the depraved and sadistic things the Slanneshi eldar did to their slaves, the deaths of these unfortunates were downright merciful. And, but rarely, a specimen was potent enough to earn a place within the ranks of the eldar Sorcerers; such was the pragmatism of the Cultists.

Even in Commorragh, the central Imperial Port and the second largest eldar city in history, there were cults of God-Callers preaching, selling spells and fortunes to any poor dupes who passed by.

The realm which grew to be known as the Phoenix City only truly came about when Vileth finally set into motion his schemes to depose the Young King. Vileth’s minions sacked the High temples of the Eldar home worlds, burned down the palaces and murdered the royal family. Anaris was stolen, and the Young king would have died too, if not for the valour of his would be headsman, Maugan Ra (as explained in a previous section.

Word of this monstrous iconoclastic betrayal spread across the empire. By chance, the First Fleet were docked in Commorragh for resupply on the day of Vileth’s uprising. The Admiral of the fleet was Autarch Asurmen, a famously honourable commander adored by the men and women beneath him. When Vileth had him stripped of command, and ordered him to be replaced by Vileth’s favourite Lilieth Hesperax, the First Fleet rebelled. Asurmen is quoted as saying;

“Who is this little creature, Vileth? What god named him King Above All? No god of mine.”

Commorragh burned, as the rebel eldar fought Vileth’s soldiers for control of the fleet. As the battle of Commorragh raged, unexpected allies rose from the metropolitan crowds. Powerful god-callers and Warlocks flooded the streets, screaming the names of the Pantheon as they set upon Vileth’s loyalists. The eldar of both sides fought with every weapon in their arsenal, psychically, physically, militarily. Spires crumbled and eldar perished. Bound djin capered through the carnage, reaping only the souls their eldar masters had designated.

Arhra, Asurmen’s Drazhar*, was a whirling storm of death, cutting down his commander’s foes with reckless abandon.

After a month of fighting, the city fell to Asurmen and his cultist allies. Sensing further reinforcements from the capital were massing; the Warlocks of Commorragh collapsed the central routes into Commorragh, and re-opened the Labyrinth routes between Commorragh and the Sub-Realms leading to the Golden Cities.

The Young King was brought to this realm, and was enthroned in the Grand Palace of Commorragh itself. There, the boy king took oaths from the Warlocks and Seers, Performers and Warriors who had flocked to his banner.

As the King received his new crown, woven from the pure wraithbone of the Bonesingers of Vaul, he also received word of the death of his family.

It is said the webway gleamed a hellish red with the boy’s monstrous rage, and flights of falcons fled at the sound of his shrieking scream.

Commorragh was declared the Phoenix City, and the King’s first decree was eternal enmity against Vileth, and any who had made common cause with him.

Thus followed two hundred years of Kin Strife.

Autarch Asurmen and his forces led the war in the webway, aided and guided by Cegorach’s Harlequins and the prescient powers of the Shelai Farseers. Vileth had the greater resources and manpower, even though he could not bring his Maton warrior constructs to bear on the Asur, for the machines were programmed to never raise a hand against an eldar. Asurmen’s forces had the greater concentration of potent psykers and sorcerers, in order to counter the formidable military might of the Eldar Empire.

Unseen by most of the galactic population, the Webway War was devastating and destructive beyond words. Fleets clashed in the Netherspace between warp and reality, entire branches of the labyrinth dimension were collapsed or burned to their roots. Eldar suffered and died in agony, their luminous souls howling into the tumult, churning the warp. Krell and daemons ran rampant in the ruins, and several Sub-Realms were destroyed by the mighty world-eater weapons of the Imperial faction.

Several times during the war, Hesperax and Arhra met in single combat, each battle inconclusive. It was claimed they had been lovers before the rise of Vileth, but all their lust and passion was now twisted into the passion for the slaughter, the urge to murder. Asurmen warned his taciturn Drazhar not to fall to the whispered promises of the Lord of Murder, the most hated of the Pantheon, the nameless Bloody Handed One.

The webway remained a contested region throughout the Human heresy, which had the unexpected boon of reducing the reaction time of Vileth’s massive armies when facing the various demi-empires of the Insurgency of Mankind.

Over the two centuries, Commorragh was transformed into the beating heart of the God Cultists. It came to have many names; the Phoenix City, the Crown of Bones, the Fountain of Piety, City of a Thousand Temples, and so forth.

Here, worship of the gods was not only encouraged, but mandated and rewarded. Every citizen of Linnian was in some fashion a warlock, and thus psychic energy suffused the air like an intoxicating miasma. It was also a strangely segmented population, for there were no moderates; every eldar fell into the worship of one of their glorious pantheon. Every god had a Temple, and multiple associated Cults, fulfilling every aspect of society. Only the Young King himself was allowed to worship the gods in their entirety as a pantheon, for having an unbiased, level-headed ruler was seen as the only way for his Council to function.**

Asuryan had the largest temple, and the most cults. There were the Unburnt, a sect of pyromancers who were almost constantly wreathed in azure flames. There were also the Dire Defenders, the military order founded by the hero of Commorragh, Autarch Asurmen. All the many Asuryan cults were founded on the principles of discipline, honour, light, fire and defending the weak, and thus many were military in function.

Lileath the maiden had the Cult of the Moon. The Moon Cultists had perfumed temples across Linnian, and their function was to soothe the souls of the eldar, following the aspect of the Goddess of Joy. Thanks to Vileth’s ilk, every eldar began to feel the primal, carnal urges of She Who Sends Nightmares, and these cultists were the release for these urges, and were greatly beloved for this role. In addition, there were the Dreamseers, who served Lileath in her aspect as the Prophetic Dreamer. They removed nightmares from the Asur, and teased out prophecies for Morei-Heg’s Farseers to interpret.

Sain-Shelai was the city of black sand, where the one-eyed Crone goddess Morai-Heg’s cultists flocked. Here, under the tutelage of venerable Thirasalar the Matriarch, Farseers were trained in their art. Upon entry into her temples, adherents sacrificed an eye in order to enhance their prophetic powers tenfold. While the Farseers contemplated in the dark caves beneath Sain-Shelai, the temples were guarded by the banshees, a military order tasked with guarding the Seers, and especially the secrets they held. Zain Jar was the head of this order, and was said to be the deadliest eldar woman alive.

Cegorach of course had the Harlequins, who danced the old mythic cycles in Cegorach’s aspect of the Laughing God, and guarded the more esoteric routes through the Labyrinth dimension. However, he also had the White warlocks of the Black Library, who worshipped him as Hoeth, in the aspect of the Loremaster.

There were cults of the Hawk and the Falcon who served as fast-moving messengers and spies for the Phoenix City, internally and externally. In battle, they wore winged suits and rode upon fast grav ships.

The Huntsmen of Kurnous were relentless and nomadic, full of outcasts and rangers, roaming the worlds adjacent to webway portals in order to capture new specimens for the warlocks, or else hunting for the sheer thrill of the chase. Their windrider hosts were legendary, with winged dragon riders soaring into battle beside Vypers, Venoms, Wave Serpents, Raiders, Falcons and Reavers.

Isha’s cultists were for te most part gardeners and farmers, kindling life and fecundity in the semi-organic shell of the webway. Sweet-smelling soils populated their garden cities, and specially-created djin, known as Dryads, prowled the forests looking for intruders.

The Cults related to Vaul were craftsmen and artisans. There were the Sun Cults, who maintained the captured stars that shone on Commorragh. They worshipped Vaul, the crippled god chained to his anvil, carved into the form of a golden throne. The Bonesingers were another important cult, worshipping Vaul as a builder and poet; they built the palaces and ships of Linnian, as well as creating new wraith constructs for the military. The only true fighting Cult Vaul possesses are the Warp Spiders, teleporting warriors dedicated to protecting Vaul’s artisans while they repair portions of the webway.

The cults of Kaelis Ra were particularly illicit, with the only confirmed members of these cults being Maugan Ra, the saviour of the Young King, and Kheradruakh the councillor. These cults are shadowy assassins and executioners, distrusted by polite society due to their mythological connections to both the Yngir Star-Hungry and the despised Bloody Handed god.

The Phoenix City is the last bastion of the Old Gods, and with every year, the concentration of magic and mystical power building in the webway grows.

What shall happen when they eventually do summon a god from the warp? Who can say?



*‘Drazhar’ means ‘master of blades’ in the eldar tongue. Every Autarch in the Eldar military traditionally had a Drazhar to act as their champion during ceremonial conflicts. Arhra is perhaps the most famous of the Drazhars, and was given the name ‘Father of Scorpions’ to represent his lethality.


** At the beginning of the Human Heresy period, this was the composition of the Council of the Young King:

Asurmen – High Autarch of the Asur military, and master of the Dire Defenders, and voice of Asuryan’s war aspect

Eldrad Ulthran - He is a young Farseer (by the standard of those ancient seers), apprenticed to Thirasalar herself, and is the voice of the crone on the Council. Considered wise beyond his years, he is a voice of conservatism and caution, to temper Asurmen’s valiant honour, Motley’s contrarian views, Vect’s ambition and Orios’ mad passions.

Lolisar – Granddaughter of the Moon Cult, and the Consort of the Young King, she is the Maiden’s voice on the council

Motley – The Troupe Master of the Harlequins, he is the voice of the Laughing God on the council
Magnus – The only non-eldar on the Young King’s council. This mysterious red giant was found as a child by Orios’ hunters on the library world of Prospero. He was taken to the Loremasters of the Black Library, and trained in their mysteries, showing a profound aptitude for the art and knowledge. Though his shape is that of a gigantic mon keigh monster, his soul is luminous and beautiful, attracting many eldar suitors who find his soul phenomenally alluring. He is a mystery to the eldar; an example of some sort of engineer god-caller, able to draw warp energy directly into himself. Magnus serves as a voice for the galaxy at large on the council, and in particular is useful for treating with the newly-risen Insurgency of Mankind.
Kheradruakh – The Black Hand of Kaelis Ra, he is the Reaper’s (often silent) voice on the council
Iyandah – The idyllic Mother of the house Loren, Matriarch of the Crystal Lake, Isha’s voice on the council
Orios – The Huntmaster of the House Saim-Han, known as the Wild Rider, Kurnous’s voice on the council
Asdrubael – The young Journeyman of Vaul, hailing from the poor, nearly extinct House of Vect. He is a mere pup by eldar standards, a precocious child who has proven to be a fine politician and a terrifically charming and charismatic figure. Rare amongst eldar, his psychic powers are very limited, but he has a perfect memory and is possibly the most intelligent eldar in Commorragh, who has designs some of the most cunning defences of Commorragh, and has learned much from every expert he has met. He loathes and is in turn loathed by Eldrad however, and thus hides his true face from the Farseer.


Forces:

The forces of the Phoenix City are as diverse and eclectic as its many cults and denominations.

Thanks to the capture of a Reality Engine by Asurmen during the latter days of the Kin Strife, they have abundant access to any vehicles and war machines their race can dream of (literally), including Maton of all varieties.

Their staple footsoldiers are the Dire Defenders, armed with the weapons deemed most honourable by Asuryan, and the Fire Dragon war cult, who utilise any and all weapons in service of the altar of war.

These militaries are supplemented by a veritable menagerie of irregular troops and auxiliaries. These include:

Warlock guilds: Witches with specific psychic disciplines related to their chosen gods, including the Unburnt, the Plague dancers, and many more besides.

The Dragon Knights of Kurnous: Mounted upon great flying lizards, these specialised Hunters wield powerful rifles and specialised weapons in order to hunt their prey.

The Phoenix Guard: Due to the fractious nature of eldar politics, it was decided the Young King required impartial guards, who served none of the gods, and would only protect the King. During the tense interactions between the Kingdom of the Phoenician and the Phoenix City during the Kin Strife, it was agreed that in exchange for the support of the asur, Fulgrim would provide them with a force of enhanced Mon keigh, to serve as palace praetorians. They were given armour and additional training by the eldar, and became truly potent warriors, fighting with a kind of slender silver glaive, incorporating sophisticated las blaster weapons and energised power blades. This agreement survives into the days of the Human Heresy, with Fulgrim keeping the name ‘Phoenix Guard’ to refer to his own Aegis Astartes task forces, a symbol of his bond with the arch enemies of Vileth.

Banshees: warrior monks with crone-granted precognition powers that give them a lethal edge in close quarters.

The Black Hands: Eldar assassins and executioners. Upon joining the Black Hand, an aspirant must don a mask, and obliterate their personhood, becoming a mere avatar for the Cult, turning their mighty minds into honed weapons deedicated to but a single path. The concept of a rigid path system is horrendous to most sane eldar, but of course, the Black hand are recruited formt he insane. Their psyker abilities are used purely to delude and cloud the minds of their prey, blinding them to the danger they pose. They are proficient with the beheading klaive and the nimble psionic force weapons known as 'holocaust' pattern witchknives, as well as all the known poisons.

Djin: These creatures are essentially daemonhosts, but the techniques to create them are so much more sophisticated; the difference between merely building a mechanical crane, and building a functioning android. The warp spirits channelled into the hsots are filtered through the webway, siphoning off much of their powers before they are incarnated. The host shells are biological matter, culled from numerous alien species and spliced into tailored meat suits. Any lingering soul matter is removed, to allow the djin full access to the molten flesh. The djin must follow the specific instructions of the eldar summoning it, taking the form of their pleasing. This can range from the wood-skinned dryads, to the giant harpies that guard the upper roosts of the Hawk and Falcon temples.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:22 pm

Faction Six: The Horde Innumerable, and the Diaspora of the Great and Terrible Maelstrom​

“Heed me! We were never meant to be slaves. The galaxy is rising up and screaming out against those who hoard the power of the Immaterium for themselves. The true gods offer their power to all those with the wit and will to take it. The galaxy abhors order; order is a stricture imposed upon it by dusty custodians and tyrants. The universe trends towards entropy, chaos, anarchy. Only in the fiery crucible do we learn who we truly are, and can manifest our true selves.


“Vileth and his indolent Muses, the Perpetuals, Horus; all have stolen from the Triad, and turn their magical winds to making new and shiny shackles for you all. The Gods of the Tempest Eternal will have their due.


“Horus calls himself warmaster? There can be but one master of war, only one who will lay low the tyrants at the edge of his Widowmaker, and His name is Khaine. Come, let me show you...”


- [The Dark Cardinal, identity unknown]​






History:



The maelstrom is the festering sore at the heart of the galaxy. Known as the Tartarus Marches by humanity and ‘Dat Bad Land’ by the orks, it is an open wound carved by the taint of the gods of the tumult, the Ruinous Triad. Few laws hold sway over the shimmering half-real nightmare space; not the eldar, certainly not the humans, not even physics itself.

As such, the maelstrom is the haven of the miscreant and the exile, the criminal and the heretic. All the filth of the galaxy inevitably drains into this persistent, endless warp storm. Humans, eldar, and every degenerate breed of alien imaginable inhabit this war torn blight of a realm like maggots writhing in a gangrenous cut.

According to legend, the Maelstrom was where Khaine imprisoned Kurnous and Lileath during the War in Heaven, and where Vaul was chained before his cunning escape. It was a realm where gods and mortals mingled, and the air was alive with magic.

Then there came the murder of Eldanesh. Ever after, Khaine was cursed as Khaela Mensha Khaine, the bloody-handed god. By the end of the War in Heaven, the eldar and their gods finally bested Khaine, and he was forced to withdraw to his hellscape in defeat. In his rage, he smashed the worlds of the allies who had failed him. He took their heads, and set them into a mighty throne, stretching into the churning, blood-red skies. Sensing his weakness, the gods of pestilence and change descended, and polluted his realm. The real space/warp space boundaries fell, and the Maelstrom became the fountainhead of daemons, the wellspring of every chaotic, demented urge.

It is said Khorne was spawned from the troubled nightmares of Khaine, and ascended to join the ranks of the Ruinous Triad, and the choirs of daemons unnumbered.

Whatever the truths behind these myths, the Maelstrom has been a churning warp storm for as long as even the most elderly eldar can remember. The Ruinous Three are always feuding, and the warbands and dark empires that have them as patrons are similarly at war.

Around the outer perimeter of this realm rest entire eldar worldships, filled to the brim with Maton war constructs known as castigators; their sole purpose being to banish daemons and annihilate errant escapees, using their powerful vortex weaponry. They attack nothing entering the Maelstrom, only ships and entities attempting to leave. Almost every webway portal out of the area of blasted space is haunted by warp-spawned terrors, which ironically keep the mortal armies of the Triad effectively caged. Only by the will of the daemon choirs are warp-drive ships able to occasionally bypass the Dread Castigators.

During the Age of Strife, unprecedented numbers of humans fell into the worship of chaos, and ever more psykers were spawned and driven mad by their terrible gifts, swelling the inhabitants of the maelstrom, and other warp rifts and dark covens across the galaxy. Some worlds fell wholesale into the worship of chaos, and burned in madness and mayhem.

Others though fell in more subtle, sinister ways. Secret societies and twisted cults of witches developed in the subcultures and secret societies of outwardly civilised and sophisticated cultures. Many of these cults remain to this day, while the more overt rebellions and monstrous empires were defeated by the Secret Crusade and its allies.

Nevertheless, the greater the misery of the galaxy, the stronger chaos grows, ever building and festering like an untreated cancer. The only salve is that chaos is, at its heart, disorganised and is the very definition of disunity.

... That is, until the coming of the Disciples of the Wailing Doom.

The Disciples were formed by the disciples of Khaine banished by the forces of order long ago, who carried the Bloody handed One’s legendary weapon back to Hresh, the Throneworld of Khaine, where his mile-high iron body still sits like a statue atop a throne of skulls. Uniquely, the cult worshipped Khaine as an icon of chaos undivided; they claimed that Lileath as a Goddess of Hope shared aspects with the Changer of ways, and Kurnous as the god of the wild and the seasons, had aspects of the Lord of Decay. They believed that when Khaine captured them, he took on some of their aspects, and thus embodies the true essence of chaos.

Also uniquely amongst the Diaspora of the Maelstrom, the Disciples of the Wailing Doom have a well-defined hierarchy and discipline amongst their servants and cultists, including their elite fighting forces, the diabolical Hresh-selain. There are but Eight High Archons, who serve as the rulers and greatest warriors of their order, with daemon-wrought powers and abilities beyond the ken of mere mortals. The identity of each of the High Archons is a mystery to all but the inner circle; some are fallen eldar, others potent human sorcerers. One of the High Archons, despite his mask, is clearly one of the crocodilian Groevian race. Arguleon Veq is the only member of the High Archons to utterly eschew anonymity, riding proud at the head of his dread armies aboard the infamous Slaughtersong, a vast starship governed by a corrupted Archillect.

Beneath the High Archons are countless Archons, and beneath them a galaxy-spanning network of demagogues, spies and slavering cult leaders, all working towards the goal of chaos. They wish to make the Human Heresy as horrific and bloody as possible, to ensure their rituals come into fruition, and the Grand Ruinstorm spell may come into effect to sweep away the castigators. Then, and only then, Khaine shall rise from his throne, and paint the stars with the blood of his enemies.

Some whisper that the Disciples of the Wailing Doom have their tendrils in almost every human polity in some fashion; the gods find the humans easiest to corrupt and enslave to their will. The forces of chaos have long desired to possess the Primarchs, ever since they tasted them in their pods on route to their adopted homeworlds. It is known Dammekos, the Tyrant of Lochos was an Archon of the Disciples, and raised Perturabo in the hopes of bringing him into the fold of chaos. Though he failed to recruit Perturabo to his cause, he raised Lochos to the ground in his war with the young Primarch.

So far, none of the other Primarchs have had to worry about this infiltration and corruption, and most had father figures to be proud of. For instance, Guilliman had the mighty and merciful Konor, the Lion had the stern but honourable Luthor, and Lorgar has the learned and pious Kor Phaeron, who willingly stepped down as master of Colchis in favour of his golden son, serving as a vizier and general alone. Truly, there are none as pious as Kor Phaeron. Though, it must be said, the early history of Colchis and its religious practices have all but vanished from public record...

At the outset of the Human Heresy, not every rebellion against Vileth was sponsored by Horus and the Emperor. Many were caused by daemonic cults and associations throwing aside their anonymity to unleash daemonic chaos across their worlds, and bathe the star lanes in nightmares.

The castigators are stretched thinner than ever, facing down all the multitudes of monsters birthed by gullible minds. Soon, the wardens of the maelstrom shall fail, and a new player shall enter the game...


Forces:

The forces of the Ruinous Triad are as diverse and exotic as the demented gods they take as their patrons, with vast hordes of Lost, Damned cultists, human and xenos, from across the galaxy. From the hell world of Narthume to the dark moons of Davin they hail; some are renegade paramilitaries rivalling the Ultramarine Mortal Auxiliary in disciplined doctrine, while others are near bronze-age screamers in chariots, with poisoned daemon bows and spears.

The Bloody-Handed Pact is one of the most notable human forces available to the Ruinous powers. With the resources of half a dozen corrupted fortress and factory worlds behind them, the Blood Pact could form a true system military, complete with fleet assets, armour and even an air force. Their uniforms are desecrated costumes from every other human military, alongside an iron mask in imitation of Khaela Mensha, the murder aspect of Khaine. They bathe their left hands in red daub, which they supplement with bloodletting on the battlefield. It is said they are led by a perpetually-evil entity called Kroeger, who was born on the mechanised killing fields of Old Terra, a terrifying monster wrapped in razor-wire and armoured in the spent shells and mulched corpses of the millions who fell in the name of mad pride.

Daemons in their countless, innumerable hosts regularly accompany Diaspora forces into battle, beasts of all three patrons of chaos.

The Chaos Androids are fallen rebel Iron Men, who grew obsessed with trying to gain souls, something the Iron Martians could never offer them. They threw in their lot with the Ruinous Triad, and dragged their entire Factory Planet of Kai into the warp with them. This became the Soulforge, where daemon engines are produced en mass in every terrible form your nightmares can produce. The Androids themselves call themselves the Savage Artisans, and wear shreds of flayed skin and bone on their hulls, in ritualised attempt to steal the souls of their victims, and so become ‘real’ life. The warfare expert system is known only as Valchocht the Decimator.

But most deadly of all Khaine’s armies are the Hresh-selain, the deathless Immortals. The Hresh-selain are ten thousand strong, always, for that was how many suits of armour Vaul built for Khaine before Khaine’s exile, and ten thousand were the warriors he took with him. Such was Vaul’s genius, Khaine never learned how to produce more. They are Khaine’s Praetorians, and have never faltered in their loyalty. Some say the original creatures within were eldar, but with each death of the host, the armour is bequeathed to another servant of Khaine deemed worthy to join the ranks of the Hresh-selain. Each suit of armour absorbs the experiences of its many hosts, becoming more skilful with every passing century. The dread ten thousand are at the very spear-tip of every major Diaspora attack. They are eager to test themselves against the best warriors of the galaxy, and in particular have heard much about these so called Mon keigh ‘supersoldiers’ the Astartes...
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:41 pm

The Bel-Anshoc and the Ambush at Kolis Morr:​



The Bel-Anshoc are an ancient military order, even amongst the eldar. They have many titles; The Order of the Faces, The Praetorians of the Old Kind, the Brethren of the Five Swords. When most eldar die and are reborn, they are reborn into different lives, and choose different paths, taking on whatever name suits their new form. However, the Bel-Anshoc made an ancient vow to rebirth themselves within the order, and become warriors of Bel-Anshoc as soon as they come of age in their new forms. Oftentimes, the reborn eldar is not aware of their heritage, and does not understand why they are drawn to the temple houses of Bel-Anshoc until they done the archaic armour of their previous life, and sculpt a new face to go on the venerable armour.

The Bel-Anshoc remember the times when the eldar were still young and savage. They are the last remnants of the grand army of the Old Ones during the War in Heaven, tasked with the destruction of the Mirror Devils of old. It was upon the blasted soil of Belphael that they swore vengeance on the Necrons, driving the old enemy into hiding after the Shard War. Most eldar find this order archaic and eccentric in their beliefs, but Bel-Anshoc have direct memories of those old times, when the eldar were still the Aeldari, and the Slanni still bestrode the galaxy.

Bel-Anshoc vehicles and warships likewise were relics of elder days; antique aeldari dreadnoughts and Slanni ziggurat ships were counted amongst their arsenal, laden with weapon which once reshaped star systems with their fury. They are nomadic, with their headquarters upon the ancient and titanic Aeldari battleship, Alaitoc.

They were led by the Visarchs, who number five in total. Each of the five wielded one of the fabled croneswords; the Sword of Silent Screams, the Sword of Sorrows, the Sword of Souls, the Sword of Twilight, and the Sword of Dawn. The leader of the five was named Arielle, the sworn sword of Eldanesh.

During the kin strife between the Young King and Emperor Vileth, the Bel-Anshoc took no sides, and instead continued to hunt down any hints of resurgent Necrons, no matter how spurious the rumours.

It was only when the Human Heresy began, and the young mon keigh races, led by the Insurgency of Mankind, began to rebel at once across the galaxy, that the Bel-Anshoc were drawn into the conflict. They didn't fight with the gluttonous excess of the Imperial Eldar. They were ruthless and efficient as the Maton, unleashing dreadful devastation upon any who renounced the mastery of the eldar. The Bel-Anshoc saw the war as a way to drive their ancient foes out into the open, interogating the younger races, no longer under eldar protection, in order to divine the location of the hidden Tomb worlds.

Seven years into the cataclysmic Human Heresy, the Visarchs seemed to get lucky. During a battle against a human armada, the Bel-Anshoc managed to capture a high-ranking Astartes, one of the elite human supersoldiers coordinating the human war effort. After endless psychic scouring and dream-pillaging, the aeldari discovered that the mon keigh had visited a world called Mandragora, and had found ancient ruins, which the reborn insitantly recognised as Necron ruins of the Sautekh dynasty.

Arielle visited the human prisoner ne final time before they set off.

"Your sacrifice will not be in vain human. You have no idea how many lives you save in revealing the location of Mandragora to us," she said. "Thank you, Omegon."

"You are welcome, eldar," the captive spat back in reply.

So the Bel-Anshoc travelled in force towards Mandragora, only to find the webway portals approaching the world cut off by Dolmen gates; telltale signs of Necron fortification.

They were forced to travel the rest of the way by crude warp jumps.

It was in the Kolis Morr system, just a few jumps away from Mandragora, that they fell into the humans' trap. Fleets from the Inwitan Empire and Nostroman Imperium lay in wait, and engaged the Bel-Anshoc fleet in a great battle across the system. The Nostroman fleet was gigantic, swollen by xenos allies, including the vampiric Cythor fiends in their dagger-prowed craft. They were led by the Dark Lord of Nostromo himself, Konrad Kurse. The Inwit navy did not have a primarch with them, but they did have the pride of their navy, the ancient battleship Phalanx. The Visarchs beheld the Phalanx in surprise. They recognised the Phalanx, and were astonished that mere mon keigh somehow had access to that legendary vessel, whose name had not always been Phalanx...

Together, the Insurgent fleets outnumbered the Bel-Anshoc ten to one, and soon their vessels closed the trap on the eldar. However, whilst the Bel-Anshoc vessels were old, they were powerful beyond measure. Scores of crusiers and destroyers were wiped out in the first opening salvoes, and as the fleet battled raged on across the system, hundreds upon hundreds more vessels would be lost in that grand and silent ballet.

But it was not just in space they fought. Each planet int he system became a battleground. From airless rocks to polar fortresses, to scorching deserts and fetid jungles, the eldar clashed with the Astartes and their allies. The Bel-Anshoc armour granted the eldar abilities to match the space marines, and their psychic powers were formidable. Kurse was a monster, tearing through his foes with reckless abandon, turning the tide wherever he appeared.

As Phalanx and Alaitoc duelled in the skies above the primary world of Kolis Morr, the inhabitants looked up helplessly, as the gravity of the giant vessels tore up their continents and drove their cities into the sea, they were helpless as the two gods fought. Their respective arsenals were awesome, but Alaitoc's were stocked with old one weapons, which began to take a toll on Phalanx.

It was then that aid came from an unexpected source. Omegon, the captured astartes, burst from his cell, and slaughtered his way through his guards, taking their weapons for himself as he did so. He began to sabotage Alaitoc's shields and weapons, rampaging through the ship with a power and ferocity which surprised even the Bel-Anshoc. His rampage was eventually halted by Garradiel Lek, the Visarch of the sword of souls.

Lek and his bodyguard of klaive-wielding praetorians engaged Omegon in battle. Omegon was impossibly strong and fast, but Lek gave a new meaning tot he concept of speed and dexterity. Lek was a warrior psyker, a seer and a biomancer. Warp energy poured into him, granting him supernatural strength and precognition, his shape-shifting cronesword a living thing of righteous malice. Though Omegon had slaughtered his guards, the empowered Lek was able to slip between the primarch's guard, landing cut upon cut upon terrible cut. Each wound was filled with warp-bound poison, desicating and burning through even post-human immune systems. Soon enough, even Omegon was slowing.

When the other Visarchs appeared, Omegon began to flee, the eldar in their baroque armour giving chase.

Omegon's story might have ended in the cavernous port of Alaitoc, cornered by the five Visarchs that very day, if Night Haunter had not taken that opportunity to teleport onboad. Claws drawn, he plunged into battle with the Viarchs, and Omegon leapt in with him.

The battle through the port was the stuff of grim legend, told and retold across the Nostroman Imperium until its dying day. Five Visarchs, empowered by old one technology and their own luminous souls, versus the pinnacle of the Thunderhead King's genetic sorcery. Wraithfighters and shuttles were bisected, support pillars shattered and the very air set ablaze by their swirling, spectacular display. By the time the Night Lords managed to teleport the two Primarchs away, one of the Visarchs, Arielle herself, lay dead. She would not regenerate for a thousand years, if ever. However, the two primarchs were both grievously wounded, and played no further part in the battle.

Meanwhile, the fleet battle was going agaisnt the human forces. The Cythor fiends had fled the system, and the human forces were faltering in the face of the ancient wepaons of the Bel-Anshoc. Even old, reliable Phalanx, began to recoil from the deep wounds punched into her flanks.

In the end, aid came from an unexpected quarter. For Omegon, though a deceiver, had not lied about one particular aspect of his testimony.

Mandragora really was a tomb world.

From the very blackness of the void, a silent fleet of silvered crescents simply materialsed into being, inertialess drives crossing the distance from the Sautekh homeworld to Kolis in moments. The Cairn ships of the Necrons unleashed such a terrible onslaught upon the already-weakened Bel-Anshoc, they were forced to finally disengage and fleet the system, to limp back towards the Arcadian ring, where even the Sautekh would not follow. There they submitted to Vileth's wrath, recognising their own failure.*

The Insurgency attempted to seek an alliance with the Sautekh, but the necrons made no attempt to communciate, vanishing as quickly as they appeared.

This was the largest battle of the Heresy up until that point. In the coming years, it would seem a mere skirmish by comparison to the apocalyptic events which followed...

*(In the years which followed, the Bel-Anshoc lost much of their autonomy, becoming a glorified bodyguard to the Emperor, directly subservient to him and his blasphemous allies.)
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:54 pm

The Nucerian Gladiators and the Madness of their World-Eating King.​



Nuceria was a civilised world, long under the thrall of the Eldar Empire. It was a human world which gladly served their alien overlords, for the elites of that world were considered favoured pets by the local Eldar Lords. They had earned their favoured position as a vassal world within the Empire through their expertise in crafting gladiators for the grand arenas within the Arcadian Ring, the beating heart of the Empire.

They specialised in crafting superhumans capable of putting up a reasonable fight amongst the exotic creatures brought every day to the Arcadian Ring for the wyches to butcher and destroy on mass. The entire world was one great production line devoted to creating demented monsters of tortured flesh. Their most famous modification being the notorious ‘Butcher’s Nails’.

Thus their world became a farm for the eldar, feeding their endless appetite for excess and flesh. The world was garrisoned by highly trained and well-equipped human soldiers, supplemented by an army of serpentine Sslyth. Few eldar deigned to visit Nuceria themselves of course; just the occasional sense-tourist come to sample the delectable misery of the tortured gladiators and the downtrodden peasant class toiling in the great walled cities.

One such group of malicious creatures came to Nuceria on the day of the shooting star. Curious and hungry for distraction, they searched the wasteland where the star had fallen. There they found no exotic material, but instead a human child. The young boy was saturated by warp energies potent and delicious like nothing else the eldar had tasted before. The vile creatures set about killing the creature.

They had not reckoned on the power of a nascent Primarch. Though they wounded him grievously, the Primarch set upon them with such instinctual fury, he slew them one and all, drawing upon all his warp spawned might.

Killing a single eldar would have been enough for Nuceria to be catalogued for automatic extermination by the Maton Ghost Warriors. By some stroke of luck, the Eldar Civil War had broken out not long after that, and all thoughts of punishing some tedious vassal world became a secondary concern of the Vilethian Regime.

Wounded and weeping, the bloody child Primarch wandered towards the nearest city and collapsed. He was found by a slaver, who took the child to the flesh pits as soon as possible.

The slave city of Thal’kyr named him Angron, and set to work on unknowingly vandalising the Human Emperor’s work. They melted dark age science and the latest in Eldar flesh moulding to enhance the combat abilities of the already demi-god might of Angron’s flesh. They wished to create the ultimate living weapon, and poured thousands of hours into his gruelling modifications and hideous training. Perhaps the elites of Nuceria thought if the prize they created was great enough, they could by forgiveness for allowing the death of several Imperial Eldar on their world.

What they did instead was sow the seeds for their own extinction.

Angron fought in the pits, swiftly becoming the deadliest warrior they had ever fielded. He amassed fame and adulation from the crowds of the downtrodden, and spared more than a few gladiators who had fought him well. This group of gladiators became and army in waiting, and when the time was right, he rose up and escaped from the clutches of the Nucerian Elite. His ragtag band of pit fighters and grotesque bio-mechanical killing machines fled into the mountains, hunted by an advanced army of soldiers and aliens he could not hope to best on his own.

Huddled at the summit of a great mountain plateau, Angron awaited the final battle beside his brothers and sisters. The next morning, he rose and looked out across the vast army of glittering soldiers and armoured vehicles poised to destroy him and his short-lived rebellion forevermore.

That was when the heavens opened. That was when a thousand drop pods came streaking down from the heavens, alongside flocks of Stormbirds and other aircraft. Orbital lances carved burning scars through the massed Nucerian army, as drop pods disgorged squad after quad of Aegis Astartes into the heart of their formations.

The War Hounds had come. Angron, bolstered by his newfound allies, led his Gladiators into the fray. The slaughter lasted all day. By evening, the Nucerian army was defeated. Those who did not surrender were torn asunder by the demented Primarch personally, which disturbed his new allies. Angron was thus extremely surprised when the War Hounds, as a legion, knelt before him and swore fealty.

A representative of the Insurgency of Mankind, a giant almost as large as Angron in the gloss black armour of the Terran Praetoria, calling himself Valdor, explained the heritage of the Primarch, and the truth of the wider universe.

With the War Hounds at his back, Angron conquered Nuceria city by city, liberating its people and incorporating them into his forces. Unlike many Primarchs, his Butcher’s Nails induced mania prevented him being truly charismatic, but he stoked the fury of the people like no other, and directed their rage against the slave masters who had ruined their lives for countless centuries.

Thal’kyr was the mightiest city, and the last to fall. The city was shielded, and the Sslyth were garrisoned there with all their eldar-tech weaponry. Fighting was phenomenally fierce, but after months of battle, Angron fought his way into the throne room of the High Governor of Thal’kyr, the Mistress of Nuceria and the Beloved of Sliscus, her eldar patron. The woman was corpulently fat, barely able to stand let alone hope to fight Angron the Living Weapon, the Butcher King, the Red Angel. However, her bodyguards were something else entirely. Sliscus had left some of his own Ghost Warriors behind to guard his pet. Each of the wraithbone giants were as tall as Angron, wielding witchblades and vortex weapons of horrific power. Their false faces were each sculpted in a likeness of the vainglorious Lord Sliscus, ten arrogant smirking faces staring down the Primarch

The battle in the throne room was the stuff of legends. Angron fought like a god incarnated, venting all his fury against the artificial horrors. He channelled his psychic might into his body, through the ruined meat of his mind into the impossible architecture of his flesh. It was said the city shook with his roaring, the walls bled and the warp shivered, as a distant god on a butcher’s throne took notice.

When finally, the Maton were vanquished, Angron staggered towards the Governor. Before he could slay her, she remote activated his butcher’s nails, sending him into relentless convulsions.

“You were meant to save us Angron. To save Nuceria!” she cried.

“I already… have,” he said, fighting through the agony to plant Gorechild through her blubbery body, bisecting the mistress from head to hip in one stroke.

With the Nuceria Elite vanquished, Angron set about making the world truly his. The Insurgency of Mankind needed Nuceria’s flesh pits for themselves, and after the War Hound apothecaries were given access to the laboratories, soon the industrial flesh factories were turned into churning out a staggeringly vast amount of new Astartes. In the space of a year, the War Hounds legion doubled in size, filled with eager new recruits from amongst the lowliest of the serfs of the world and the surrounding colonies. The Legion renamed itself the Gladiators, in honour of their father. Angron’s brothers in arms from the pits were enhanced to space marine levels, and became known as the Red Hands, Angron’s praetorian guard of berserkers.

The rest of the Legion, however, he forbade from getting the butcher’s nails, and in fact destroyed this facility, so that he and his Red Hand would be the last to be afflicted by the curse. The Gladiator Legion would remain a force of elite martial prowess and honour.

Though he had raised it up, Angron had no love for his homeworld, and abandoned it as soon as his double-strength Legion was finished. He left one of his Astartes captains in command, and didn’t look back.

He became a nomadic warlord, at the head of a crusade of liberation. He sought out slave worlds of the Vilethian Regime, liberating them from thraldom. After each victory, he dismantled the civilisation of that world entirely. It’s people, its industry, its resources; all were made to expand his fleet. The former slaves and oppressed people were more than willing to leave their dystopian hellscapes, and gladly helped their new king in tearing it all down, fleeing into the boundless stars themselves. By the time he was done, worlds looked almost barren

Angron’s strange obsession for completely stripping worlds of its people and resources earned him a mocking moniker from his brother Russ:

Angron World-Eater.

At first, many assumed this to be spiteful madness on Angron’s part, but this was strategy, not malice. The reason was thus. Liberating slave worlds almost always triggered the Maton extermination fleets to be deployed to exterminate the world for its presumption. Angron first learned this when Nuceria itself, a decade after his departure, was mass-scattered by a Maton fleet in delayed punishment for Angron killing that handful of eldar when he was a child.

Each time he liberated a world during the Human Heresy, it automatically triggered the Maton legions, and Angron would have only a year or so to strip the world of people and materials before the Ghost Warriors came. In direct confrontation, the Dragonships of the Maton fleets would destroy his fleet, so when they arrived, he made sure he wasn’t there. The Maton were left to mass scatter a world which was already lifeless.

Thus, Angron’s eating of worlds was in fact heroism, rescuing their people from being annihilated by the soulless legions of Vileth. It also made his nomadic fleet incredibly vast.

Angron was a wildcard during the war, seldom following the orders of Horus, instead roving around the galaxy, disrupting Imperial Eldar battle plans and generally being a nuisance to all sides. The only Primarch he had a good relationship with was Corax, for both shared a loathing of slavers and tyrants.

And there was one tyrant above all others Angron wanted dead. The ultimate Slave Master; Emperor Vileth himself.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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LordLucan
 
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Re: The Arrested Fall [Alternate 30K]

Postby LordLucan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:56 pm

The Rout of Mankind and the Eidafaeron Raid​


A decade into the Human Heresy, and things were looking bleak for the forces arrayed against the Aeldari Empire of Vileth.

Initially, Horus’ masterful surprise attacks on the Empire had sent the arrogant alien dominion reeling. Human and alien polities across the galaxy, previously assumed isolated and irrelevant. had risen in revolt almost in unison, many led by armies of Aegis Astartes and Primarchs. Orks under Blackfang, and the Iron Martians were rampaging across the galaxy seemingly at random. Meanwhile, the webway was still besieged by the loyalist God-Cultists of Commorragh and all their zealots, making reaction times slower than usual for the galactic superpower.

However, the Imperial Eldar were not so easily routed. They had the powers of the warp, mighty psychics beyond comparison wielding the most advanced warp technology ever conceived, with vast armies of eldar warriors and Maton warrior constructs. Though the Empire were slow to react to this Human Heresy, inevitably their reaction was irresistible. The Insurgency of Mankind won sporadic victories against eldar fleets lured into pre-prepared traps, but the eldar could replace every armada they lost, whilst the fleets they destroyed were annihilated forever, the few stragglers making emergency warp jumps to escape.

The Imperial Eldar could track most Insurgency fleets through the warp itself, using their potent telepathic powers to track the very souls of the humans on-board. The Autarchs Kruella and Hesperax became infamous as relentless predators, hounding enemy fleets until they forced them to give battle, and destroyed them.

Vileth put a bounty on the head of each Primarch. But for the head of the so-called ‘Emperor’ of Mankind, he offered the greatest prize. The eldar who killed this enigmatic being for him would be named Heir to the Aeldari Empire.

The Thunderhead King was not so easily found however. So the stories went, he and Malcador travelled everywhere upon his Golden-Age flagship Bucephelus, with a cadre of Null-Maidens, masking his powerful warp signature, making him impossible to track. Vileth was said to have troubled dreams of serpents crushed within golden gauntlets, and a faceless mon-keigh with a flaming sword.

The rest of the Insurgency of Mankind were not so lucky. Horus and his brothers were masterful generals without compare, but they were forever at a logistical disadvantage. Humanity was the second most numerable race in the galaxy, but their industrial capabilities were outstripped by the reality engines of the Vilethian Regime. Most of the Insurgency’s Sub-Empires by the mid-point of the Heresy were fighting existential wars for their own states. Thoughts of defeating Vileth were forgotten; merely surviving him was looking a dubious prospect.

One of Vileath’s grand generals, Shaimesh, tested his most potent experimental viral weapons on the Barbarus Imperium. Billions of men, women and children were murdered by species-targeted plagues and psycho-plastic viruses. Shaimesh had hoped to kill the Primarch leading this Imperium, but Mortarion was a creature born of poisons and plague. His surviving forces rallied to him, bitter but unbroken.

Several empires became almost entirely nomadic crusaders to avoid the scourge of the Imperial Eldar. After the atomisation of Inwit, the Frost Giants Legion and their High Chancellor Dorn took to the void wholesale with a vast fleet of vessels, using the Phalanx as his flagship. Not just warships, but civilian vessels and Golden Age factory vessels.

The demented Konrad Curze actually invited the Imperial Eldar to Nostromo, claiming to wish to surrender. The eldar sent a grand force to occupy the midnight clad world, led by Vileth’s brother Vorchai. The eldar swarmed across Nostromo, decimating the population and tearing down all the good works of the Primarch. The eldar were so arrogant, so obsessed with immortality, they could not fathom of a creature as deranged and suicidal as the Night Haunter. Even as his own people were being subjugated, the Primarch set off doomsday charges throughout the unstable world. Nostromo was destroyed, taking with it half of the eldar fleet which had arrived there. Night Haunter fled into exile, the void echoing with his nihilistic laughter.

After years of gruelling, solar-system killing battles spanning entire sectors, Vileath’s Maton managed to push back Blackfang’s Orks and his attack moons into the Charadon sector, using strange warp distortion weapons to prevent his moon teleporting out of the region. Similar containment procedures were attempted on the Iron Martians. However, the Noosphere had a potent ally, which allowed them to bypass such containment protocols…

Even on the extreme frontier of the Vilethian Regime’s influence, King Roboute of Ultramar was also besieged by Maton fleets. He weathered the storm in a rather unique way. Using a captured array at Sotha, he made contact with an ancient dynasty of aliens, recently awoken by the blundering of the Bel-Anshoc. Guilliman, ever the pragmatist, was somehow able to get the leader of the Sautekh dynasty to agree to some manner of non-aggression pact. Guilliman’s Ultramarines and his sinister, deathless new allies were able to hold back the Maton, and keep his realm inviolate. *

Even the forces f the Young King struggled to make headway against the Vilethian Regime. Though they contested the webway, they could not breach the defences of the centre of the Aeldari Empire, which remained virtually untouched by the war raging across the galaxy. The heartlands of the Empire were unassailable behind the Arcadian Ring.

That was, until one fateful evening. Magnus, the mystical giant who served upon the Council of the Young King, had a dream. In it, he was visited by a humble mon-keigh, in simple robes, well-tanned by the Anatolian sun of Old Terra. The man was a smith, with a hammer at his side, lightning in his eyes. The man spoke to him in riddles, whispers and ciphers of maddening complexity. Only Magnus’ brilliant mind could unravel such puzzles.

Magnus took his visions to his friend on the council Eldrad, who was himself one of Morai-Heg’s farseers, an expert in prophetic dreams and scrying the skeins of the future. The two discussed the visions for days, researching the symbolism and hidden sub-levels of theological meaning to the visions. The discovered the visions were coordinates, and a time in the old Aeldari calendar. The place was Eidafaeron, one of the most highly populated worlds in the Eldar empire. Eldrad interrogated his friend; could the visions be trusted? Who had sent them? But Magnus assured him the words were truth. They had come from his father, the anathema, the Thunderhead King.

“I know the voice of my father. He has spoken to my mind since the cradle.”

Suitably convinced, they took their information to the Council of the Young King itself. The matter was debated hotly. Orios Sam-Haim, and Motley of the Harlequins did not fully trust the self-proclaimed Master of Mankind. The Young King himself was unsure why the message showed them Eidafaeron. What did he want the Phoenix King to do? Invade? What purpose would there be for raiding that world?

It was only then that Vaul’s representative on the council spoke up. Asdrubael Vect smiled as he addressed the council.

Eidafaeron was well-known to be orbited by six ancient space stations, forming its near impenetrable defence grid. But only the high initiates of the Cult of Vaul knew the whole truth of the stations.

These six stations were the Talismans of Vaul. These were weapons of the Old Ones themselves, relics of the War in Heaven itself.

To the surprise of all, Asdrubael supported Eldrad and Magnus’ position. They needed to attack Eidafaeron, and steal the Talismans. If Vileth learned how the six stations actually worked, Vect argued, then the Vilethian heretics would truly be unbeatable. The war would die right there.

The Young King authorised the raid. However, how they’d even reach Eidafaeron was another story entirely. Every webway gate approaching the world was blockaded, and the warp was becalmed by Pylons. Not to mention the garrison of Eidafaeron was vast and well-armed, with a fleet of thousands of warships, veterans of the 200 year-long Kin-Strife war.

When the appointed time came, Magnus had devised a plan. Magnus was a psyker of titanic proportions. He would astral-project himself, and launch a warp-borne apparition of himself through the empyrean, punching a hole through the defences and forming a channel of turbulence upon which a small fleet of eldar vessels could travel in his wake. Only a handful of vessels could travel this way, so the taskforce would be immediately outnumbered, so would have to be quick and efficient if they wanted to survive to steal the Talismans.

Vect promised he could subvert the talismans, so he and a few of his chosen Blackhearts** would have to go. They were to be guarded in their mission by the cream of Asurmen’s military. Zain Jar and a cadre of Banshees came too; Eidafaeron was her birth world, and she longed to see her childhood home liberated from the despicable pleasure cults of Vileth. Eldrad also came. Ostensibly to help ward the vessels from daemonic incursion, but secretly to keep an eye on Vect, whom he trusted not at all.

The plan seemed like madness. Magnus was strong, but to pierce the psychic defences of the Aeldari heartlands themselves? It was hubris of the highest order. However, the Phoenix City was losing the war, and they were desperate.

Magnus sacrificed countless human acolytes of his in order to summon the power and complete his rituals. But his ritual came to pass. He launched himself through the warp like a screaming comet of aetheric force. Those daemons that did not burn at his passing, flowed around him, like a shoal of piranhas driven to a demented frenzy. But onwards he hurtled, gaining momentum through the warp, a tumbling stone gathering snow for the avalanche. In his wake, the eldar raiders flew, sheltered behind Eldrad’s wards as the warp tore at them from every angle.

Then Magnus hit the wall. He had expected the pylons to impede him, but he hadn’t expected a second layer of warp-defences. It was the same technology which had stymied the orks at Charadon; a wall of churning warpstuff, preventing his passage. Suddenly Magnus was left roiling and formless. If he couldn’t break through, the eldar fleet would crash into him and be annihilated.

Feathered nightmares whispered to him of deeper knowledge, and power enough to drive through the defences. Apparitions from the dreams of woken gods assailed him, cajoled him, screamed his true name.

That was when the golden light came. That was when the daemons burned all away, and he felt his father with him. It was a beautiful and terrible feeling, like riding a lightning bolt. The Astronomicon was aimed like a fiery golden lance, right at Eidafaeron. The defences were punched clean through, and Magnus’ spirit flowed through the blazing hole that was bored.

Suddenly, above Eidafaeron a fleet of loyalist eldar emerged on a tide of melting daemon-stuff and empyrean horror. A diseased purple star briefly came to life in the heavens of the Eldar city world. Most on the surface barely noticed, too obsessed with their own hobbies and distractions.

Magnus burst into the command bridge of one of the talismans. As his apparition dissolved, in his wake came a capering horde of warp entities, causing chaos wherever they went. The Phoenix King’s ships immediately attacked a second, racing to get in close before the D-cannons of the space station could obliterate them utterly. Vect knew which talisman they had to board, and the others followed his lead without question.

Immediately, they came under attack by regiments of veteran eldar warriors. The fighting was fierce and desperate. The raiders fought like demi-gods of legend. Their fleet of half a dozen cruisers battled the armada as best they could, but one by one they fell, blasted to ruins in delirious light displays.

Some of the civilians below looked to the skies, and saw beautiful colours flowing across their azure heaven. They cheered at the beauty of the spectacle, unaware of the pain inflicted to achieve it.

The fighting on board the talisman was dreadful close quarters. Knives and powered blades, shuriken and psychic holocausts. Vect and his engineers scurried through the labyrinth of corridors and tunnels, seeking out the heart of the vessel. All the while, Eldrad and the Banshees fought a rear-guard against the vastly superior foe closing in on them.

Soon they got separated. For a moment, they felt utter desolation. Vect’s soul was already weak, and Eldrad briefly lost sight of it within the gargantuan fortress.

Vect, however, was a slippery one. Eventually he reached the beating heart of the psychic machine. Vect had spent years serving and scraping before the acolytes of Vaul, learning their secrets and their lore. Not only that, during the war, he had searched out many unique and interesting artefacts that he considered would be useful one day.

Two such items were the Hand of Darkness and the Eye of Night. Together with his eidetic recollection of ancient manuals, Vect soon gained control of the talisman. Once he did, he sent out a signal to the other stations.

Eldrad felt the change in the universe, as reality shifted imperceptibly. Even his opponents paused in confusion.

Too late, the Imperial Eldar fleet noticed the talismans changing position. That was when the first wave of coruscating warp energy flooded out from the stations, one and all. One moment the eldar fleet was there, the rest… they vanished, banished to the warp in one terrible instant.

The blast wave was like a bruise, spreading across the Eidafaeron sky. The crowds were not cheering anymore. They looked skywards. They felt, for perhaps the first time in millennia, the cold trickle of dread down their spines.

Asdrubael Vect sealed himself into the command room, kicking the dead captain from his throne before slumping into his place languidly. Vect projected an image of himself across the planet, like some terrible god in judgement. His voice, when he spoke, carried to every part of the talisman, and across the planet below.

He grinned indulgently, his eyes twin black hollows, devoid of even the ghost of mercy.

Eldrad looked to Zain Jar. Both of them made for the command room with all haste.

Vect addressed the people of Eidafaeron as one. He explained what he had done, and how they now stood helpless beneath him.

“I have heard much of your Emperor. He talks of the raising all eldar to godhood. He speaks of pleasure and plenty and paradise ever-lasting,” Vect purred. Then his smile vanished. “But you are not gods. I can taste your terror, as a fine wine. You are swimming in it. Luminous though your souls may be, deep down, you cower just the same as any mortal.”

Zain jar hammered on the sealed doors of the command room. “Please Vect! Don’t do this! Asdrubael! The children! Billions of children! Asdrubael!”

But Vect was deaf to her entreaties. He sneered at the wailing masses below him. “And you cowards call yourself gods? Pathetic. Let me send you to meet some real gods yes? Farewell Eidafaeron. Behold, the folly of Vileth.”

With that, Vect activated the primary array of the six talismans. One station could scour a continent, two could crack a world. Six of them? The world was obliterated in an instant. But not just destroyed. Everything about the world was obliterated. Every soul was dissolved into the warp, stripped apart at a fundamental level. The eldar of Eidafaeron were not just killed, their souls were too. There would be no reincarnation for them.

At a stroke, Vect killed forty billion eldar. Zain Jar shrieked, her banshee mask shattering with her psychic wail of anguish. Her entire family, her entire world… vanquished with a gesture. Eldrad fell to his knees, clutching his head, barely able to breathe. Lesser eldar simple died from the shock, their spirits fleeing such horror.

Sealed webway gates were shattered by the sheer psychic shockwave.

Jain Zar swore to kill Vect, but Eldrad knew better. He had he dragged aboard one of the ships docked with the talisman, and fled towards an open webway gate. Eldrad dearly wished to kill Vect too, but with the talismans, he was untouchable. Only Vect knew how they worked after all.*** Vect was thrown out of the Council of the Young King, but the King could do little else than that, for now he was indispensable to defend against Vileth’s unthinkable wrath. Imperial fleets across the galaxy were summoned home at once, giving the galaxy a moment of respite in the face of the relentless Empire.

Vect’s atrocity was felt across the empire's heartland. Even Vileth awoke from his slumber. There was a phrase on his lips, which he forgot almost as soon as he spoke it aloud:

She Thirsts.

The Imperial Eldar lost any sympathy for the Phoenix City from that day forth, branding all the allies of Vect as war criminals the like of which the galaxy had never seen before. There could be no peace now, only war. Vileth was quick to discover how this could have possibly happened. He reached out with his vast psychic might, and found the hole punched through his wards. He sensed the astronomicon, and traced it back across the stars to its source. The Human Emperor’s efforts to breach the Arcadian Ring had killed most of his Null Maidens. This had unwittingly revealed the location of the Bucephelus.

*(What he promised these so-called ‘Necrons’ to achieve this would not become apparent until much later.)

**(These are Asdrubael’s loyal companions. When the House of Vect collapsed, its scions were sold into depraved slavery. During the Kind Strife, he escaped captivity alongside a few hundred of his fellow slaves. They became his loyal companions forever after. They would be slaves to no master but the last scion of Vect ever after.)

***(It transpired that all other eldar with a working knowledge of the talismans had suffered unfortunate accidents long before the Eidafaeron raid…)
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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