Monday, March 23, 2009

Attraignnor IV Campaign: Conclusion

Even as Laotzu's lightning field faded away, Aun Chie's final breath left his mangled form. The Tau's blood flowed from his carcass connecting the trails of gore of the other eight dead air caste crew. If someone were to enter the bridge at that moment to bear witness to this devastation, that soul would perhaps notice that, by simple chance or ungodly design, the trails of gore seemed to form a huge purple star of eight points. Of course, no such soul existed to bear such witness.

The Tau Courier class transport reached the ethereal's drifting Manta. Its mighty Gravitic beam pulled the wounded ship into one of the transport's enormous cargo bays. Inside, the Courier's full complement of fire caste security personnel trained their weapons on the crippled ship as the small team of earth caste explorators moved forth towards the hatch.

Quickly, too quickly to react, the inky black unlight speared from the Manta's bridge. The eight vile spears lanced out, all in their path consumed utterly. The Manta exploded and the new energy added light to the unlight. The Courier began to buckle under the onslaught, the transport's hull not meant to experience such internal paradox. As the surviving security personnel began to run, the wet canvas of reality ripped and foul daemons swarmed forth to consume the crew's very souls.

The Courier eventually succumbed to the horrendous attack. A single violent explosion engulfed the gargantuan freighter, and a new eight pointed star filled the heavens of Attraignnor IV. The small, localized warp storm created, chance or design, by the Champion Sun Laotzu's violent massacre of eight innocent Tau and their spiritual leader would remain manifest for almost 700 years.

The Tau invaders were gone from Attraignnor IV. Those who had not fled the capitol city and escaped back to their ships had been wiped out. There were still some small, insignificant pockets of resistance left in the city. Humans loyal to the Tau, not realizing their saviors had abandoned them. Imperial Guard of the 122nd Cadian still holed up in their headquarters. Arbites defending the well-fortified precinct house. With the aliens gone, the fight had become between the Imperial loyalists and the rebel separatists. Most citizens simply did not care, and just wished for the destructive war to be over. But many were enthralled by the charismatic Captain Ferranus, who still had a strong desire to exact revenge on the Imperial loyalists. And that time would come, for they could not hope to endure long isolated as they were in their bases in the city.

But for now, the citizens of the capitol city were happy to celebrate the defeat of the Tau. The vile aliens were gone, and though the fighting was not yet over there was reason to rejoice. But as the citizens were celebrating, renegade space marines were combing the city for the true prize. While Lord Agramon recovered from his most recent set of severe injuries sustained while charging ahead of his army, Warlord Captain Adriel organized the sweep of the city to hunt for Planetary Governor Devonius Krell, and any surviving members of his heretical government. They had turned a perfectly simple rebellion into a ferocious three-way war by dealing with the wretched Tau, and they would be made to pay for their crimes.

Aside from the loyalist Imperial strongholds, where Devonius Krell would obviously not be welcomed, all major bunkers and strongholds in the city had been cleared or destroyed, but the remnants of the government has still not been located. As the search went on, Captain Adriel began to think that perhaps somehow the governor and his men had managed to slip past the guards and get out of the city into the countryside, or even managed to get past them to meet up with the Tau and be evacuated from the planet as they retreated. If so, locating the man would now be impossible. But their defensive net, which had completely isolated the Tau during the entire war, seemed to have been sound, and Adriel could not believe that the governor and his entourage could have slipped by it.

His instincts were proven right. As more of the citizens of Attraignnor IV came to accept the governance of Captain Octavio Ferranus, and see the Chaos Marines as their saviors from a war inflicted upon them by Governor Krell, information from the human populace began to pour in. Intelligence from many tips indicated that Krell and many of his advisers were still within the city, hiding their identities and constantly moving from place to place, relying on friends and supporters to shelter and hide them for a few days at a time. As the public became more supportive, more and more information was coming in, and many citizens were turning in their neighbors as being possible supporters or sympathizers of the former government.

The homes and businesses of these suspected sympathizers were constantly being raided and searched, and one by one the leaders of the former government were found and captured. Finally, in another of many raids like any other, former governor Krell himself was captured, hiding in a refrigeration unit in a dingy basement. Having finished their task, the space marines of the Crusaders chapter turned over the imprisoned heads of the former government to the new self-proclaimed ruler of the planet, Captain Ferranus, to punish as he saw fit. The chapter then prepared to depart Attraignnor IV, having accomplished their mission, freeing the world from both alien subjugation and Imperial tyranny in one brief war. The destiny of Attraignnor IV was now in the hands of the people of Attraignnor IV.

Without so much as a challenge, the Black Knight guards stood down before the High King and Ruler of All Attraignnor, Lord Captain Octavio Ferranus, Grand Master of the Fists of Ferranus. The High King stepped past the guards without so much as a glance.

The awesome form of the Lord Agramon filled the room. Even badly wounded, the Master of the renegade space marine chapter was an impressive sight. The localized warp storm, however, had greatly accelerated Agramon's recovery. Upon sight of the High King, Lord Agramon's sorcerous medicae attendants left the room.

Words were spoken in that room between the two great leaders. Pacts were discussed, alliances formed. When Ferranus departed, the wretched form of the ex-Lord Governor was in tow.

The renegade space marine chapter departed with great fanfare. A feast was held, and another city-wide carnival. Joy seemed to pervade across the face of the planet. The few major pockets of resistance were besieged and de-clawed, or infiltrated and destroyed. The ex-Imperial Fists, as well as the multiple free marine warbands that had fallen under the mighty High King Ferranus' sway was more than enough to handle the petty malcontents. Ferranus' newly founded Attraignnor Guard was free to form the Honor Guard for their great allies' departure.

The High King's Council of Six all appeared to bless the chapter’s great crusade. Cardinal Degrassio anointed the mighty Lord Agramon's dropship with blessed Kroot oil, whilst the Ancient Master Zalel led the massive cannon salute. Epistolary Botrejadre preyed for favorable warp currants, whilst TechObliterator Greavous and Shas'O Vor Suelo gifted their allies with some of the finest munitions and priceless pieces of salvaged tech. To all, the people cheered, and, as a great finale, with the setting of the sun, as the last rays stole away its radiant glow, Champion Laotzu smote the massive Aquila statue of the Palace with a single, mighty blow of Foe Bane. Cracks raced up the 400 foot tall golden eagle, and when Lord Agramon's great dropship roared, so the great effigy crumbled to dust.

Cardinal Degrassio licked his lips and shivered with excitement in his sacristy before stepping out to give mass. The soft moan barely reached the Cardinal's increasingly sensitive ears. Pinned, literally, to the sacristy's heavily frescoed ceiling, severed into exactly 36 flayed, deboned, yet still exquisitely living pieces, was ex-governor Devonius Krell, penanced eternally to the most loving devotions of Slaanesh. Degrassio sighed lustfully before stepping out to the masses.

In the war room of the palace of High King Ferranus met the Council of Six. The advisors stood around their liege. Ferranus stepped to the holographic table in the center and flipped a switch. An image of the Forgeworld Attraignnor Epsilon flickered to life. "My friends,... my brothers,... my mighty Fists,... the future."

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