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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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Good Afternoon, /tg/!

It's been the promised two weeks, and so we resume the trio of Warhammer High stories we've been working on.

On ROAD TRIP!: Alex Carlin's fuure was jeopardized by his father's confrontation at a state dinner in Skarokk.

On Trip Into Hell: The Orks broke the walls, and they're charging the city like bulls in Pamplona.

On The Lioness: Lyra's date with Felix took a turn for the unexpected.

We'll get started in a few minutes, after my New Zealander and Canadian confederates resurrect.
>We'll get started in a few minutes
Sweet, enough time to get a cup of tea.
Good, good, do continue.
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Well, the fires aren't burning in Auckland and Quebec, so I guess I'll start us off.

As always, fresh content from ANY author or drawfag is entirely welcome!

Last time, Remilia and Chuck Kines were just enjoying an evening off, discussing Kines' family.

Why Venus kicking ass? Why NOT?
Fucking yes, at the beginning of the thread.
The next few days passed quickly as they made their way through the Warp. Sure enough, Haarlan didn’t seem to be pressing his case, and what he thought of the situation nobody asked. Kines’ fears proved unfounded.
As they traveled on, both teens found their time spent as much with just talking as anything physical. To Remilia’s distinct surprise, she found herself looking forward to it. One late night, the two of them turned to a topic Remilia had had in her mind since before Nocturne.
Remilia was lounging in a chair in the corner of her cabin, listening to Kines describe his own family. “Lotta ex-military, you know. SDF mostly. Nobody important, but we were there,” Kines said, lying on his back on the bed. He was staring at the ceiling and thinking aloud. “I was drafted up to the Navy against my will.”
“Really? Conscripted in peacetime?” Remilia asked.
“Yep. It’s a ten-year tour, too.” Kines shrugged. “It sucks, but it’s good money, and the Navy paid for my degree, so I’ll land on my feet when I’m out. Eighteen-month accounting degree,” he explained.
Remilia smiled at him over crossed knees. “Was college fun?”
“No. They rush us through so fast. It was really annoying. No time to enjoy anything.” He peered at her, upside-down. “You’ll get to take your time.”
She looked at his inverted face. “Do you ever think about staying in?”
“Never. I’m going to go home and get back on my feet. Family, business, whatever. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job, but this isn’t the life I chose.”
Remilia nodded, bracing herself for her next question. “Can I ask about your sister?”

That's terrible. It means you get teased for the longest. Can't just find the thread all full and read uninterupted.
But I get to help keep Someone else. from whining about feedback
Kines hesitated. “Well…I guess. She was...seventeen months younger than me. She was a lonely sort, her whole life. I thought she just liked solitude, but it was more than that. She was just so…scared all the time. She never told anybody…didn’t want to be a bother.” Pain crossed his face as the memories came back. “Damn it…her name was Sophia. We were close enough together that she wasn’t really a ‘little’ sister, but…”
“You don’t have to tell me,” Remilia said softly.
Kines shook his head. “No…I should say it. Kept it under a lid for years.” He looked up at her again. “How long have you been…I mean…”
“I stopped, Chuck. I haven’t touched it in months,” Remilia said.
“I believe you.” He looked away from her at the ceiling again. Why did the Navy hate putting central lights in VIP cabins? It made no sense.
“But…I started when I was ten,” she confessed. His eyes went wide.
“Is that odd?”
“It’s…Sophia was fourteen. I was just surprised. That seems…young.” He sighed. “But what do I know?”
Remilia crossed the cabin to sit down next to him. “I was so confused. It hurt, but…part of me loved it. The part that’s…not really human,” she admitted.
He looked up at her. His face was impassive. “What do you mean?”
“I’m not human, Chuck. Simple as that. Part of an Astartes’ DNA is in me. And he was a…bit of a masochist.” She turned to meet his eyes. “I’m not ashamed of it.”
Fuck you it's 5:15am and I wanted to sleep. that's just horrible of you
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I giggled.

I got mad.
Kines looked away. “I didn’t know.”
Remilia ran her hands over her arms. “I can remember them. Each one. I have an eidetic memory, we all do.”
“Then why do it more than once?” he asked.
“I guess there’s…nothing like the moment.” She rubbed her hands over her arms again, idly. “I suspect that’s true for most things.”
He propped himself up on his elbows. “Did it help, at all?”
“Well…believe it or not, I thought it did.” She smiled faintly as she remembered her impetus for stopping, “Then Magnus the Red, Lord of Prospero, Arch-Mage of the Scholastica Psykana, and doting uncle, scared the living shit out of me with the knowledge of what my future would look like if I didn’t stop.”
“Your family’s pretty good at that, I bet,” Kines said.
She lay down beside him and rested her head on his shoulder. “He told me what I was doing, and he scared me straight. I owe him a lot.”
“What did he say?” Kines asked.
Remilia closed her eyes. “That’s for him to say.”
She hesitated. Magnus had told her that the fate that people who gave in to such self-torment suffered was a horrific one, in the Warp. The afterlife. Kines’ sister had killed herself.
“I’m sorry, Chuck. I don’t want to share that. It’s not for me to say. I don’t even understand all of it,” she said, which was at least partially true.
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I know, right?
He glared at her from a few inches away. She looked back, sad but resolute. He finally relented. “I guess it’s too late to matter,” he grumbled. “Anyway. My parents…they didn’t understand. They thought she did it for attention. The doctor said she was just so scared of everything…she thought it was a way out.”
Remilia hugged him sideways. “You don’t have to say anything more about that. What’s the rest of your family like?”
“My dad’s ex-SDF. Patrol boat officer. My mother was a farmer, so was dad after he retired.” Kines looked over at her again. “How about you? Any other siblings?”
“Well…” That brought her up short. He didn’t know about her unique family? “I’m an only child, but my cousins have been there since the very beginning. I’m closer to some than others, of course,” she said. She rolled off of his arm and sat up against the bed, cradling his head in her lap. “Do you want to know about them?”
“Sure, I’d love to.”
Remilia thought about the lengthy roster and smiled. “Well, Freya and Venus you’ve met. Let’s see…besides them, I think I’m probably closest to Roberta. She’s Roboute Guilliman’s daughter. She’s the bookworm where I’m the athlete, but other than that, we’re pretty alike.”
Kines pondered that. “Any you don’t get along with?”
“Well…I used to be on pretty rough terms with Hana. She’s the one the tabloids love,” she added drily. “You know, the one with the leather and welts on her hands?”
“Ah yeah, she’s hard to miss,” Kines chuckled.
“She was a bit of bully when she was younger, but she’s a lot more mature now.” Remilia pondered the others. “Farah Manus. She’s a lot of fun. She’s the one who can pull off the bubbly and energetic without being annoying bit.”
“Are her hands really augmetic?” Kines asked.
“Yeah. I think you’d like Angela, too, she’s the one with the wings,” Remilia said.
“Wait, those are real?” Kines asked.
“…You’ve never seen a picture of Sanguinius?” Remilia asked.
“Well, yeah, but I thought they were part of his armor,” Kines said, staring up at her. “They’re real wings?”
“Yeah, they’re real. He can actually fly. She can’t, not without a jetpack.”
“That is so cool,” Kines said. “Are any of them psykers?” he asked.
Remilia paused. “That’s kinda personal, you know? I mean…I can’t imagine one of them would mind, though. Miranda. She’s Magnus’ daughter. She’s a psyker, an amazing one.”
“That’s cool too.” Kines hesitated. “I had an uncle who was a psyker. The black ships came when he was eleven. My mother never saw him again.”
“Yeah…well, Miranda was already on Terra, so she just stayed there to train. She barely needed it, though, her control was so fine already.”
“Hmm.” He met her eyes. “Are you a psyker?”
“Oh hell no, I’m no psyker,” she laughed. “None of the three of us you’ve met have any psychic power at all.”
“Me neither.” He narrowed his eyes. “Any you don’t get along with?”
“Sort of, but I don’t want to badmouth them behind their backs, you know.”
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Ah, my favorite writefags return for yet another installment of my very favorite /tg/ project.

Carry on, gents. I'll be here reading until my eyes bleed.
“Can I ask a bit more about life on Terra?” he asked her from her lap.
“Sure. What do you want to know?”
“Did it ever just…hit you? Just the idea that ‘Oh fuck, I’m the granddaughter of the most important person in galactic history?’” Kines asked.
Remilia chuckled. “Sure. Once or twice. Then you go to a high school as one of a class of a thousand, and suddenly I had to work for everything I did. Not that I hadn’t before, but the tutors and teachers we had as kids kinda coddled us.” She shook her head. “I don’t really blame them, but it made high school sort of a slap in the face.
She squeezed his hands under his head. “So, are we living up to your preconceived notions?”
Kines laughed. “Better.”
“Yeah. You’re people, not just pictures. That’s better.”
So where do you hail from?
She blushed a bit and squeezed his hands again. “I rarely get to ask. How exactly does the average solider of the Imperium see us?”
“I dunno, I’m a sailor.” He flinched as she swatted his ear. “Ow! Okay, fine. For the most part, people are kinda nervous about you, really. In person, anyway. Nobody knows how to act around you. You’re so far above us in rank that people really can’t reconcile your age with your power, you know?” he said.
“Yeah, I noticed. I meant when we’re not around,” Remilia patiently explained.
“Ah. Well…the policy against unauthorized holos is pretty severe, so for a few of you, we don’t even know what you look like. There’s always the tabloids, but still. Not gonna lie, the weeks after Lady Morticia was shot were pretty wild, with all the news coming in.”
“That’s sweet.” She smirked. “Did you pick favorites?”
Kines froze. “Wow, there’s a loaded question.”
“Hahah! I’m not judging.” She stage-whispered her next words. “I already won.”
Kines chuckled. “Well…sure we did.”
“Ohh, who won?” Remilia eagerly demanded.
“Lady Isis, most of the time. Those eyes…mmm. Man could get lost in those. And, believe it or not, Lady Furia. What can I say, the guys feel they have to show some backbone,” Kines chuckled. “Me, I honestly don’t remember picking a favorite.” He smiled up at her again. “And like you said, you won.”
“Yeah. Well, Isis is pretty spoken for,” Remilia said, feeling a bit of a pang as she thought of Julius, still trapped in the path of an Ork horde. No word had come from Seadelant for a while. “Furia’s actually spoken for a few times over,” she joked to fill the air. “Your crewmates are shit out of luck.”
“Ah, well. No ring on your finger,” Kines said in satisfaction.
“Very true.” She hesitated. “You know, we’re probably not going to be able to see each other after summer.”
“I know. It’s a bum deal, but that’s life in the Navy. It’ll be worth it, as long as Haarlan doesn’t throw me out an airlock the moment Venus is off the ship,” Kines said.
“He won’t, don’t worry,” Remilia said. “He won’t disobey her.”
“He’s honestly not so terrible, he just has a rulebook up his ass,” Kines sighed.
“So I’ve observed.” They sat in silence a bit longer, before Kines finally sat up.
“Thanks, Remilia.” He stood from the bed, stretching.
“You’re going back to your bunk?” Remilia asked.
Kines sighed. “I think so. Sorry, but after talking about Sophia, I’m just not…well, you know.”
She winced. “Sure. But I think I’d prefer it if you stayed here,” she said.
He looked over at her. “Really?”
“Yeah. Just spend the night.” She smiled up at him. “If you want.”
He paused. “Well…sure, why not? You’re more comfortable than a bunk,” he said slyly.
“I’d hope so!” she giggled. She started getting undressed as Kines wandered into the bathroom. “Do you have to share a bay with the other Lieutenants?” she asked.
“Yeah, it’s a pain. At least the male ones, female officers get their own bay.”
“How do you keep from getting each other pregnant on the ship?” Remilia asked.
“We don’t, basically. More future crewers,” Kines said through the open door.
She stared through the door as he started on his teeth. “Are you for real?”
“Sure.” He tilted his head back to look at her. “That surprises you? Some of our tours last twenty years, with up to a full year in the Warp at a time.”
“Yeah, but…wow, that’s kinda mercenary, isn’t it?” she asked.
“It’s not like anyone’s being coerced,” he reasoned.
She shuddered. “I’m so glad I’m not in the Navy, then.”
He smiled as they switched places. “It takes some getting used to.”
“Any little Charles’ running around?” Remilia asked, not joking in the slightest.
“Hah! Nope, not one,” Kines said.
Remilia shook her head. “That’s quite a relief.”
He laughed as he stripped his outer clothes off. “You and me both.” He slid into bed, dimming the lights, and felt her warmth join him a moment later. “All right. Good night, Remilia.”
She pecked him on the cheek. “Night, Chuck. See you tomorrow afternoon.”
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I completely forgot my opening copypasta.









The 4chan writefaggotry channel is #writescribbles on Rizon. Do drop by!
I think the only thing I haven't read here is Void Platform 13. What's that about?
Uh, read it?

It's only six hundred words. It's Jake and Venus chatting about a game of Space Station 13 (that is, Void Platform 13) that he played the previous night.
As the ship emerged on the outermost edge of the Fenris system, Freya was already fidgeting. She paced her cabin, grinning broadly, as Alex watched from the chair, amused. “I know I’ll have a ton of shit to do, ceremonies to undertake, who knows what else…but fuck! I just want to throw myself in a snowbank!” she said.
Alex laughed. Her good mood was infectious. “I admit, I want to see what it looks like.”
“It’s beautiful! Forests the size of continents, animals so big you can ride them around! And the FOOD!” she squealed. “Sauroch was great and all, but until you rip a chunk off a mammoth bull and roast it over a fire, you haven’t had real steak.”
“I’ll pass, thanks,” Alex said. “I’m glad you’re so fired up.”
“Argh, seventeen hours before we land!” she moaned. “I’m going to be half-dead by then!”
“No, you’re not,” Alex chided. “Go burn off some vibes in the gym, or write a letter to whoever’s in charge over there to let them know we’re coming.”
“Oh, yeah, good call, I don’t even know which Lord is running the show right now, with all these deployments,” Freya said, snatching up a slate. She quickly turned it on and brought up her messages. “Nothing?! Argh, do they not know we’re here?” she huffed.
“I’m sure they knew. You should write the presiding Wolf Lord and let him know the situation,” Alex pressured.
She grumbled at the perceived waste of time, but obeyed. She dropped into a seat and started talking the moment the slate was ready.
“Hail the Fang. I am Blood Princess Freya Russ, aboard the Salamander Legionary Fleet Vessel Iron Tide out of Nocturne. I would address the Wolf Lord who reigns,” she said, the rough Juvjk flowing naturally from her lips. Alex listened carefully. He had never heard her speak it for more than a word at a time. “I await your word…and I am eager to be back amongst my Wolf Brothers.” She tapped the transcriptor and sent it off, making sure to have had the right language selected first.
As soon as the message was sent, she sprang back to her feet and resumed her pacing. Alex shook his head. “Baby, that was supposed to calm you down.”
“But now I’m waiting for a message too!” she said, wringing her hands.
Alex sighed. “Hey, Freya…what did you say in Fenrisian before?”
“Oh, I said hail, it’s Freya, who’s running the show, it’s good to be back…simple stuff, nothing vital,” she said. “And the language’s proper name is Juvjk.”
“Where do you speak it? I never hear more than one word or so from you,” Alex said.
“Oh, that’s what Mom and I speak at home,” Freya said. “Dad speaks it, of course, but he spends so much more time around people who aren’t Fenrisian, he just speaks Gothic most of the time.” She smiled, surprisingly shyly. “Did you like it?”
“Well…yeah, I just couldn’t tell what you were saying,” he said. She nodded happily.
“I could teach you a few words, but it’s a complex language. You’d have to study for a while to be fluent.” She bounded over to him and perched on the armrest of his seat. “You’re going to love this! I’ve been waiting to be back for seven years!” she declared.
“How many times have you been here?” Alex asked.
“Four, counting this one. When I was born, when I saw seven, and when I was ten,” Freya supplied. She drew up her shoulders with an eager squeal. “I can’t wait!”
Alex grinned. She was ecstatic. Her enthusiasm was lifting his own ennui a bit, too. “Freya, baby, if you’re that impatient, go round up the others and tell them what you told me. Tell them about the Fang or something.”
“I should, shouldn’t I?” she asked. She clapped her hands together. “Right. Yes. This.” She sprang up from his armrest once more. “Oh, and um…Alex,” she said, suddenly a bit bashful. “How do I put this…”
“What?” Alex asked, leaning forward.
“The, um…the Wolf Brothers will…I suspect they’ll like you, but if you don’t want to get barracked a bit…we may have to restrain ourselves,” she admitted.
“I figured,” Alex chuckled. “Ah, well.”
“Not mad?”
“Nope, I was wondering how to overcome several thousand Space Wolf noses on the way here and gave up,” Alex resignedly said.
She pecked him on the lips. “You’re my hero.” She straightened up and nearly skipped over to the door. “Be right back.”
Minutes later, the other teens were sitting in the room, watching Freya pace and gesticulate. “First things first, don’t call them Space Wolves. Call them The Rout, or Sons of Fenris if you want to sound pretentious, or the Vlka Fenryka if you know the language,” she said. She paused for a deep breath. “I still haven’t heard back so I have no bleeding idea who’s in charge, but the correct form of address is ‘Wolf Lord’ whatever, not Brother-Captain like it was on Nocturne and Terra. I suspect that you’ll all be invited to dine at the Grand Table when the time comes, and you’re more than welcome to do so, but it would even scare me a bit if I hadn’t done it a million times before, so if you want to eat somewhere more private you can. In fact, I think maybe you should. The older guys will appreciate you being there, but the younger Brothers might think you’re intruding on what’s supposed to be the most comradely and personal part of the daily routine aside from the actual prayers at the start of the day, and…” she paused again for a breath.
“Freya, Freya, it’s okay, chill out,” Remilia urged.
“Right, sorry.” She blew out an anxious breath. “Sorry, I’m just so amped up!” she groaned. “This is something I’ve wanted for seven years! I can’t WAIT to show you guys everything!”
“Well, you’ll have twenty seven days, so take your time,” Jake pointed out.
“Didn’t you say you were worried that we’d have nothing to do?” Venus asked.
“Well…true, after the first week or so…” she deflated. “Shit. I think we should probably have all of our stuff transferred down to our rooms, just in case.”
“We were going to do that anyway, Freya, the Tide is leaving to go stomp Orks, remember?” Venus pointed out.
“Right.” She rubbed her forehead. “Hah. I should ask if Fenris’ star has a supercharging effect like Nocturne’s does,” she muttered.
Venus chuckled. “Maybe, but I kinda doubt it.”
“Oh yeah…how are you feeling?” Freya asked, glad for the distraction.
“Oh, I’m fine, it wore off days ago, I barely even noticed,” Venus shrugged. “I just woke up normal. How about you? All brushed up on your Juvjk?” she asked with a smirk. She knew Freya was fluent.
“Hah! ‘I’m just fine, Princess Venus, how’s your Nocturnean?’” Freya asked in Juvjk.
“Great, thanks,” Venus said in Gothic.
Freya started. “You understood what I said?” she asked in astonishment.
“Nope, it was just a guess,” Venus confessed, as Remilia rolled her eyes. “Hard to imagine both languages started on Earth. They’re so different.”
“Yeah. I’m sure all of the Rout you speak to on Fenris will be fluent in Juvjk and Gothic, though, so no worries,” Freya said. “One thing, though, I should warn you about the meals. Everything has a side of alcohol with it, as much for ritual as anything else; it takes a lot to get a Wolf drunk. So don’t drink anything that isn’t water.”
“And test the water to make sure it’s not vodka?” Alex drily asked.
“Bah, real connoisseurs like alcohol with flavor to it,” Freya scoffed. “Now, one last thing before we arrive, don’t talk about the other Legions unless you’re asked. The Rout doesn’t take to some of them as well as others, and I don’t want you guys getting dragged into Legion politics. If you’re not sure, let me field it, all right?” she asked.
If Juvjk is Norse (probably) and Gothic is Latin or English, depending on whether it's High or Low, what do you think Nocturnean is?
Don't stop man, dis shit is good.
inb4 African
Beats me. The Salamanders' flavor seems to come less from ethnic relations and more from ideology.
Gothic is supposed to be a mixture of Chinese, English, and Latin. Juvjk is Norse and Icelandic. As for Nocturnean, I don't know. I'd say a mixture of Native American dialects, actually.
What. I have yet to see an Asian in all of 40K, with the exception of the White Scars. And the Tallarns, if you want to be picky about the definition of Asian.
Do the White Scars even count as Asian?
“Who do the Wolves…Rout not like?” Jake asked, confused. “I never see you arguing with any other Royal Daughter.”
“That’s sweet, Jake, but we’re not our fathers. Magnus and Dad can’t stand each other, and Lion and Perturabo both get under his skin like crazy, the old dingus,” Freya muttered. “So…just stay respectful of the other Legions and don’t talk shop, and I’m sure you guys will feel right at home.”
“Freya, you sound almost worried,” Venus said quietly.
She shrugged. “Well…the Rout dislikes their barbaric reputation amongst the other Legions, but I’d be lying if I said they were as…welcoming as the Salamanders were. The people here are proud and competitive, and I think it’d be wrong of the Wolves not to try to welcome you, but they won’t be too receptive of you guys making a vacation out of this. Venus and Remilia, you two might be called upon to do some small ceremonies as long as you’re here. Nothing huge, but other Primarchs don’t come to Fenris much; depending on which Lord is running the show, they may want to do a thing.”
“Well, that’s fine with me as long as we get to see the side of Fenris that you look forward to so much; goodness knows I made you guys sit through some crap back home,” Venus said.
“I’m not really the ceremonial type,” Remilia admitted. “What are you talking about, exactly?”
“Well…I’ll be called upon to address the Wolf Lords in residence, of course, but you won’t be there for that. You’ll be there more or less as a representative of the Emperor if you’re called upon at all,” Freya said.
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I've been waiting for Freyas part of the trip since you started writing this whole story arc.
Pic very much related
“What? Freya, I didn’t know we were going to be told to be representing someone!” Remilia exclaimed.
“No, no, not like a Senator or anything, you’ll just sit and be talked to, you won’t have to say much at all,” Freya soothed. “I mean, on the other times I’ve been here they skipped the ceremony entirely a few times. Seriously, I’ll make it very clear you’re here for yourselves, not a Legion or Grandpa.”
Her cousin glared, clearly unconvinced. Venus looked from one to the other, her eyes muted and thoughtful. “This doesn’t feel fair,” Remilia grumbled. “You promise we won’t have to do anything political?”
“I swear. If it’s really a problem, I can insist you be left out, though I don’t know how well they’ll take it.”
Remilia shook her head. “Fine. Whatever. I didn’t bring anything more formal than what I wore to the dinner, though,” she said.
“That’s more than enough, trust me. Venus won’t even have to wear that drake outfit,” Freya said.
Venus snapped her fingers. “Damn.”
Hey SE, I dont know if you ever even plan on truly wrapping up and finishing this but as thanks for all the work you've done I hav access to a book press and if you'd like to see your work professionally printed and bound up let me know how to get in contact with you and I'll make it happen.
I'd buy it.
Well for him it would be a present, but on the other hand let me check how much it would cost to put together and of course SE as the author would need to let me know which parts hed like in it/where it ends,if it doesnt end where he would like me to cut it off and all that together I'd be happy to do it for other Anons. Not going to try to make money on it though, strictly not for profit.
That's pretty rad.

I'll have to think about that.
Only few hours later, Alex was leaning back in bed, reading before turning in, when Freya’s slate beeped. In an instant she had vaulted out of bed and landed beside the slate on its table, eagerly reading it over. As Alex pushed sheets and blankets out of his eyes, he watched as his girlfriend’s hair twitched from side to side. She was so engrossed in the message that she wasn’t even moving her eyes. Alex waited.
“FUCK YEAH!” Freya suddenly yelled, and leaped nearly the whole distance from the table into the bed. “I was hoping he’d be there!” she said, shoving the slate in Alex’s face.
He blinked, leaning back from it. “Why don’t you read it to me, baby, I can’t read Juvjk.”
“Oh, durr.” She held it up and eagerly read aloud. “‘Freya, my little lass, who would your father leave in charge other than me? We’re looking forward to welcoming you home, dear girl, and this boy toy you’ve been playing with,’” she said, as Alex paled. “I think he was kidding. Anyway: ‘I know you wished for this to be a getaway, but with the Sons of Vulkan and Sons of Russ both being mobilized to fight the green scum, the Fang will be quite busy. We’d be honored if you took the time to come down to us and speak of your life since you left the pack, naturally, but of course your companions would have to undergo decontamination before leaving, given the state of things.’ That’s fair, plagues on Fenris are horrifying.”
Say yes. Then he'll probably release it, which means we can buy it.
Which, in turn, means I get sued to death.
Submit it to the Black Library, I dunno. All three of you do better than many of the authors already there anyway.
Yeah the not for profitness was to avoid getting the pants sued off of SE and I and probably taken to be burned by GW, so releases are a no no, though in fairness the black library might take a bite at this, you never know
All right, before I went off to dinner I told Ahriman to post his stuff, but it seems he's AFK, so I'll be back to post soon.

Well it's lunch time over here so that's probably why
Hey guys, I'm back with Lioness. Now you might be telling yourself that you already seen the ending of the story.
However, after some feedback from last thread and talking it over with the other writefags, I felt I did a poor and rushed job of the ending, leaving some major plot holes.
I went back over it since then and rewrote certain parts, particular when Lyra finds out about Felix's plan and what the Watchers want with Lyra. I'm sorry for having to do this, but it did turn out into a smoother plot.

Alright, enough talk. Time to post. We left off with Lyra leaving with Felix to get back to her house.
For Lyra, the rest of dinner went smoothly. Or so she thought. It made it difficult to remember the details after her third glass of whiskey. The alcohol began to clear her mind of doubts entirely by sealing them away in a box made of starship metal alloy. Soon, she could only smile, nod and laugh at his jokes as she sipped on her fourth glass by the end of dinner. She glanced at her watch briefly and sighed, noting how late it was into the night now.
“We probably should be going. I told my mother I wouldn't be late.”
“That’s too bad” Felix muttered as she stood up. The bill seemingly disappeared as Mr. Porteau smiled at them as they left.
“Good night Lady Lyra, Mr. Severus.”
“That’s Lord Severus, Mr. Porteau.” Felix said as he left. Neither of them noticed the stare he gave as he left, clearly feeling unpleased with Lyra’s choice of consorts.
As they walked into a parking lot, another couple walked in beside them. Felix turned his head and watched them stroll by before shaking his head. “Riff raff.”
She looked at the couple walking in and could not tell what he was getting at. “What do you mean?” she asked him.

“They don’t belong in that restaurant. Clearly middle class in their behaviour. You can tell with how they walk.” They approached his car as Lyra kept rethinking on how the couple was moving. She didn’t notice what he was on about, but thought it was the alcohol getting to her making her miss key details.
They arrived back at her house ten minutes afterwards, the alcohol’s effect worsening. It didn’t help that she had a couple drinks before the date had started and had continued into the night. As he parked his car by the front entrance, they sat in silence for several seconds before Lyra began to talk.
“It was an amazing night Felix.”
“I hope so. Maybe we can do it again sometime soon?” he asked her and she nodded, turning to look at him. She hadn’t noticed how close he had gotten when he had parked and was only a few inches away from her. She looked into his brown eyes as he got closer to her face. Without any objection from her, he closed the gap and kissed her. It was short but sweet. He pulled away, looking at her for any signs of recognition for what he did.
“Did I go too far?” he asked her. She could only shake her head in disagreement, incapable of actually speaking at how surprised she was. He leaned in again and kissed her once more, this time more forcefully as he pushed her back against the car’s door. She offered no resistance as he continued, beginning to enjoy it herself. His hands pressed against her waist and massaged her upwards. She enjoyed his hands as they moved over her dress and behind her back, reaching for a zipper.
She would look back at this with disgust, thinking how horrible intoxicated she must have been to give in so easily to his advances. Yet at the moment, she could only enjoy the warm feeling of his embrace against her body.
His hand began to slide across to her shoulders, gently pulling the dress downwards and slipping it off her with every passing moment. Her mind began racing with what was happening, but a part of her wanted it to happen. She wanted to have Felix and nothing was going to stop that now.
Up until the car door opened behind him.
“Hey you! Get your damn hands off her!” With that, he was forcefully pulled away from her in a fell swoop. Lyra had no idea what was going on until a knock on the window by her door shifted her gaze upwards. There was Victoria, smiling.
Lyra was furious immediately. She sat up from her seat, fixing her dress before opening the door and walking out. Or attempting to anyway, as she stumbled out and had to use the car for support as she stared Victoria down. She glanced to the other side of the vehicle and noted Felix on the ground, pinned to the floor under Remilia’s sneakers. Her cousin had no trouble keeping him in place with a single foot. Try as he might, he could not struggle his way to freedom.
“Let go of me!” he yelled at her, but Remilia Dorn did not budge.
She looked at Lyra and nodded. “I got this under control.”
“Damn you both!” Lyra shouted, unpleased with her family’s interference. “Your stupid game ruined this perfect evening! Let him go Remilia. Don’t make me come over there.”
“I wouldn’t be worried Remilia, she would probably fall over halfway there.” Lyra turned to Victoria, who was smiling smugly behind her back. Lyra’s fists clenched, and she wanted nothing more then to break her perfect nose, but she knew how well things went last time she got into a fight with one of her cousins.
“How dare you” she hissed, standing up tall to confront her. “How could you do this Victoria? You having fun destroying my life? Is this a hobby of yours I have to worry about now, every time I choose to have a fun night out? You said you would stay out of my business. You lied to me. You are nothing more than a snake.”
Victoria chuckled softly, making Lyra even angrier. “My dear Lyra, you know I wouldn’t do this without good reason. And I did come through on my investigations.”
Lyra pressed her palms unto her eyes, hoping this was just a bad dream, but didn’t wake up. “What are you on about! You’ve come to my home, physically assaulted my date and are telling me it was all according to plan?”
“Naturally. I told you I’d get to the bottom of this.”
“Bottom of what?!” Lyra shouted once more. All Victoria did to respond was wave a folder she was holding in front of her and press it into Lyra’s chest.
“Take a look.” Lyra paused before snatching the folder from her cousin. She opened it furiously and stopped as she looked over its contents. Pictures of the pin, with the date being today. “He doesn’t have the ring Lyra.”
“I know that. Isaac Durn, some praetorian has it. He already told me.”
“Oh, you are right. Isaac does have the pin. Because he stole it from Felix.”
Lyra didn’t understand at first, shaking her head as she tried to figure out what she was saying. “What are you talking about? “
“Felix had the pin a day or two after the accident. He found it probably while checking out the scene of the accident, trying to figure out himself what had really happened. You see, Felix has had a crush on you for quite some time. But since you kept away from him in the fear of embarrassing yourself, he kept thinking you weren’t interested. Stop me if I’m wrong Felix.”
He remained quiet under Remilia’s foot, no longer struggling. Victoria continued without pausing. “He probably found the pin near the blast point and picked it up. Recognizing it to be yours, he began to hatch a plan to bring this to you for your attention. But like all politicians, he took his time to find the best moment to confront you. Too long really, as he lost it soon enough. As you can figure, Isaac and him are not the best of friends. Isaac wanted to pull a prank on poor Felix here by going through his locker. Instead, he found a precious pin and took it for himself.”
She walked around the car and approached Felix on the ground, smiling at him the whole way. “But this actually helped Felix along. Thinking he could get rid of two problems at the same time, he would convict Isaac for having the ring and not bringing it to the proper authorities and have you as his girlfriend in one swift motion. No one would question his word against someone with gang history, and Isaac would be expelled soon after. Maybe even sent to prison for a couple years since they could convict him for endangering the Royal Family's reputation.”
Silence fell unto the parking lot as everyone took in what just happened. Victoria smiled triumphantly as she looked down at him. “Almost perfect. Almost.”
Lyra was silent, thinking over the current bombshell that had been dropped. She began to slowly walk over to Felix who was still pinned by her stronger cousin. She mostly leaned on the car on her approach and had to slow down with every step so she didn’t fall over. Stopping in front of Remilia, she eased her off, letting Felix the chance to get up.
“Lyra, you have to understand. I did this to be with you. I’ve always loved you” he told her.
“I know” she responded. Lyra’s voice was barely a whisper although the slurring still remained. “And truth be told, I am impressed with your way of dealing with the situation. Getting rid of a rival and acquiring a prize is an amazing feat to be sure.” Felix smiled, placing his hands on her shoulders to show he cared.
She pushed his arms away lazily. “But this evening has opened my eyes Felix” she continued. “As the evening went on with you, I began to notice some things. Things that I did not particularly enjoy. Things that really showed me who you are.” She took a step back from him, her eyes shining slightly in low light of Luna. “You’re a horrible person Felix. You don’t understand what a position of power is and I doubt you ever will. A position of power over others does not mean you are better, it only shows that they trust you with that power. Instead, you are selfish and egotistical.” She took another step back, stumbling slightly but catching herself as she did.
Felix made a move to stop her, but was immediately yanked back. Remilia had a tight grip on the back of his collar, making him fall backwards onto the pavement. Lyra shook her head. “Don’t talk to me ever again” she muttered.
With that Lyra turned around and walked towards her house. She said nothing else as she made her way to the door, not even pausing as the servitor opened it from the other side. She slipped in quickly before the door was halfway open and it closed immediately after. The trio suddenly felt cold in the night, which was a couple minutes ago plenty warm.
Victoria turned and smiled at Felix. “I would leave right now, before Remilia here makes you.”
Seconds later with his car started, Felix’s gravcar lifted off from the pavement and left in a hurry, leaving Remilia and Victoria in silence.
“You think Lyra is going to be okay?” asked Remilia a minute later. Her cousin nodded.
“Yeah, just needs a bit of time. It’s too bad.” Victoria sorrowfully said.
“Yeah, she really liked him.”
“That and my plan went off perfectly. Yet I don’t feel I did anyone a favor. Let’s get going.”


Lyra threw her heels off and rushed to her room, speeding up the steps, somehow keeping her balance even in her intoxicated state. The alcohol’s effects began to disappear, leaving nothing more than a headache and the truth for her to think about. If her mother was anywhere nearby to see her, she did not notice her at all, nor did she care. She was too busy trying to control her inner emotions, wanting nothing more then to be in the safety of her room so no one would see her cry.
Felix had betrayed her. When she had sought him for some comfort, she found out she was actually in the company of an ork. She felt disgusted, nearly giving up her purity if not for the intervention of her cousins. As she closed the door to her room she felt progressively worse, her headache intensifying and feeling quite cold. Tears streamed down her cheeks, ruining the makeup she had put on hours before. She wiped her eyes with the palms of her hands but did little to stem the tide.
She collapsed on her bed, crying softly as she tried to suppress her tears. She slid up to her pillows where WD was left sleeping. Grabbing him, she pulled him close to her chest, gripping him tightly as if she expected him to leave.
“I’m so sorry. This is all my fault... I should have...” she started whispering to him, but found it hard to speak. As more tears fell unto her pillows, she closed her eyes shut, hoping to wake up from this horrible night.


As she opened her eyes again, she found herself in the same grassy pasture where this entire mess had started only a week ago. This time she was in her dress and she could feel the wetness of her tears on her cheeks from moments ago. Most surprisingly, she was holding WD in her arms, still fast asleep. She clutched her head immediately, her headache seemingly transferred over into this dream of hers. She was no longer sure that this was just the alcohol. It was way too big of a coincidence that these headaches came too often with a dream.
Branches broke behind her, signalling the arrival of the lion. She didn’t bother looking, knowing how this would go. Instead she stared in front of her with WD in her arms.
Sure enough, the other watchers appeared around her. She stared at them, unsure of what to make of the aliens a second time around. All eyes rested on her as the lion finally made its way into the small clearing behind her. Feeling endangered, her grip around WD tightened.
“We mean you no harm” one said to her telepathically.
“And yet this dream seems to be at the center of all my problems,” she responded. One nodded at her.
“Our method of communication is unnatural to the human body. Its side effects could alter your mood dramatically, make you do things that you would not normally do. We apologize for the trouble we have caused you this past while.”
Her eyes narrowed as she eyed them all. “You’ve been watching me?” she said accusingly.
“No, we can feel the anger that burns in your heart. That is why we are here Lyra. You see, watching the threads of time are our ability.”
She shook her head. “I don’t believe in fate,” she said decisively.
“And you are correct to do so. Fate is too finalistic of a term to describe the future. Time is much more open to interpretation. The only thing that will decide the future is the choices you make now. We see all of them before us, even though you haven’t decided what choice to make.”
The small creature paused as the lion circled around to her vision. It was as large as she remembered it. “Like the lion, you’re hands are as likely to destroy as they can create. Many times from now you will be presented with that choice, and we will watch in the darkness as we always have.”
She sighed as she looked over the giant beast looming in front of her. Maybe she was like it more than she knew.
“Why me?” she asked.
“There was once a time where forces outside of your understanding would target people, like yourself, of great power. They would try to influence them to forward their own plans. Although humanity has been spared of such a fate for now, the threat can grow once more. We wish to avoid this.”
For once in this entire dream sequence, she began to understand a bit of what was going on around her. Her vision began to blur slightly as she could feel the vision coming to an end.
“Wait, what about WD?” she yelled out, but it was too late.
Sunlight fell unto her face as she suddenly thought she was back in the dream. But as she felt her soft bed underneath her, she could only sigh in relief that the dream was over. Hopefully, once and for all.
As her dreams memories began to rush at her, she suddenly realized what had happened. She laid in bed, thinking over what the watchers had told her. Raising her hands to her eyes, she thought of what he had told her. “The same hands that can create can equally destroy,” she wondered out loud.
Soft paper shuffling came from her desk alerted her of something amiss. Turning her head slowly, she could hardly believe to see the sight with her own eyes. There was WD, putting her desk in order like nothing had happened. She stared at him for several seconds, scarcely believing that he was once more awake. He paused and turned at her, taking a moment before he waved with one of his arms.
She shrieked as she rushed over, gripping him tightly in a bear hug. She felt him frantically struggle under her attack with little avail. She laughed joyfully as she held him back and stared at him.
“You have no idea how happy I am!” she whispered to him, this time she was holding back tears of joy. He nodded at her, somehow understanding what had happened this entire week. She embraced him once more, spinning with him in his arms. “I’m serious. Don’t ever do that again!” she said.
Placing him on the table, she began talking to him, quickly recounting the weeks events since he had gone to sleep. Even if he didn’t say a word, he sat on the edge of the table, listening to her every word. She changed out of her dress into some normal clothes to wear inside the house.
“Angela said you guys are different than normal psykers. She couldn’t really explain it all too well, but said it was really cool,” she told him and he nodded at her. A knock at her door paused the story telling.
“Mom!” she said expectantly, opening the door quickly as she had to show her WD. “He’s awake- oh.”
“Hello Lyra,” Lion said, towering over her and clearly a bit annoyed. “I think you and I need to have a chat.”
“I thought you were gone for another week!” Lyra spouted, still shocked to see her father at her door.
“The project ended quicker than expected and the tides were favorable on the way home. Lyra, what happened to the bike?”
Lyra could only stare, unsure of how to answer him. She shrugged, hoping that was good enough of an answer.


“Lyra, this is strange of you to say the least.”
All eyes fell on the seventeen year old as she tried her best to remain calm. It was very difficult to do so with her father and mother giving her concerned looks throughout their entire conversation. She fidgeted under their stares, rarely feeling the heat as she did now. Only two things stopped her from breaking down in front of them.
One sat on her lap, being WD. She glanced at him and immediately felt better about the entire situation. Even though she might be in great amount of trouble, she knew she had done the right things to bring him back. She smiled at him briefly and she could feel him do the same.
The second was Cypher. While her parents were up and about throughout the study as they tried to make sense of the entire thing, he was the only one sitting down beside her. He had been a good friend since her childhood and cared about her as much as her parents did, although she never treated him as such. He was the closest idea she had of a big brother. He was looking at her as she glanced at him. He winked and grinned, calming her down even further to respond.
She looked at her father and shook her head. “I don’t know what to tell you.” He sighed as he began to pace around the study where the El’Jonson family had gathered.
“You must have a reason to get angry enough to start a fight with Freya?” he asked her. “And for the bike to explode and this entire crazy plan you came up with to wake your watcher. This doesn’t sound like my daughter.”
She knew the moment she told them about her dreams, they would think of her as being insane. Yet if she didn’t give them a reason for her actions, they would equally send her to a doctor. “I don’t know what to tell you without looking like a lunatic.”
Cypher’s arm reached around her and pulled her in. She looked at him in surprise and he smiled back at her. “You are not crazy. I’ve been around the galaxy doing some outrageous things, fighting monsters that defy the laws of creation. I have seen crazy. You aren’t it. Nothing you can say will change my opinion about your sanity levels.”
She stared at Cypher, her emotions breaking through her guise as she got teary eyed. She thought she had done enough crying this past week to dry herself out, but this was not the case. Cypher seemed to care enough for her to trust her word, so she might as well try.
“I... I’ve been having these dreams. Vision really. I’m on Caliban and things happen. I woke up stressed out and lost my temper on Freya, hence the fight.”
“Visions?” Lion asked. He seemed a bit shocked as he said the word, looking at her as if she was completely different from before. She stared back at him, feeling even worse as she tried to salvage the situation before she really did sound crazy.
“I guess? I don’t know. There was a Calibanite lion and watchers and-”
“The watchers contacted you?” he gasped, cutting her off in mid sentence.
Cypher chuckled beside her. “Told you. You ain’t crazy.”
“The watchers disappear right before the end of the crusade and now they contact you” Lion muttered, more to himself then to anyone in the room. Lyra looked on, a bit confused at her father.
“You believe me?” marvelled Lyra. Lion stopped mumbling and looked over at her. He nodded, now talking to her as he continued.
“The watchers disappeared a while ago, pretty much right before you were born. At the time they gave me your watcher before I knew you would even be a reality.” She glanced down at WD and suddenly wondered about that. She had never questioned where he came from before, always knowing he had been around and that he had grown attached to her like had. “I had only rarely ever spoken to them in the first place, yet every encounter I remember vividly,” he mused.
Lyra looked at him and knew what to say. “‘Your hands are as likely to destroy as they can create’,” she declared. Her mother and Cypher looked at her strangely.
However, Lion smiled at her and nodded once. “Yes, exactly. The exact words they told me the first time they had contacted me.”
“What’s going on?” her mother finally asked, breaking her silence she had held throughout the entire exchange.
“Our daughter has been given some solid advice from some ‘friends’ I thought had disappeared,” he told her. “Unfortunate circumstances involve a rage inducing headache. Cypher can attest to that.”
Cypher chuckled half heartedly as he nodded at Lyra. “If you got as angry as he did, I can see how you knocked Freya out.”
As her stress dissipated around her, she eased back into the couch cushion. “My actions hurt her and nearly destroyed our friendship. Now she’s the one being punished while I sit here.”
Her father nodded and moved towards the entrance of the study. “I’ll talk to Russ immediately. He’ll understand.”
“Wouldn’t calling him be quicker?” Florence asked as she stood up and followed him to the door. She already knew why he wanted to go.
“Maybe. But I bet he would like a ‘physical’ conversation than one over a machine” Lion joked as he left with grin. Suddenly remembering the argument she had with Freya a week earlier, she could only look at her father differently as he left, realizing how wrong she had been. Her mother followed him out to see him off, leaving Lyra sitting beside Cypher.
“Feel better?” he asked and she nodded.
“Yeah. This past week has been shit.” She leaned into Cypher’s chest. “Thanks for that support. I need it.”
“Don’t worry about it.” They sat there in silence for a minute, each deep into their own thoughts, until Cypher spoke again. “So what color do you want the new bike?”


The epilogue is the exact same. I hope you guys like the new changes I made and how it flows overall. If you have no idea what this story is about or have missed a part or two, I welcome you to check out the 1dchan page of my story. The link is: http://1d4chan.org/wiki/The_Lioness_%28Warhammer_High%29. I'll be updating it with my new material in the next hour.

Thanks for tuning in.
Our pleasure.
Oh, dude who does bindings, you're welcome to discuss the particulars on the IRC.

Server Rizon, channel #writescribbles

Ask for MaulMachine.
She sat down next to him, following the message’s words with her finger to show him her progress. “‘Little pup, I know you’re eager to see home, and I imagine if your friends are truly on a voyage of luxury, seeing us in our most sacred rituals is not on the itinerary. Would you like to come ahead on a Blizzard and carry out your duties before they arrive so that you can do as you will with them when they get here?’”
“The hell is a Blizzard?” Alex asked, baffled.
“Local variant Stormbird with the rocket pods ripped out and extra engines on it.” She read on. “Not much more. ‘Whether you do or not, little pup, your brothers await you. Eternally your servant, Bjorn the Ageless.’”
“Holy shit, isn’t he one of the Great Ninety?” Alex asked.
“Yep. One of the ninety Terran Space Marines to live out the entire Crusade, out of the quarter million who started.” Freya clicked the message away with a happy smile. “He’s my father’s oldest, dearest friend outside of his blood relatives.”
“Very cool. Are you sure his thing about boy toys was a joke?” Alex asked.
“Who knows? But I suspect that if Bjorn is running the show, you’ll be just fine. He might even offer to take you on one of his hunting expeditions to the equatorial jungles,” Freya said.
“Will I survive it?” Alex nervously asked.
“You probably won’t even set foot out of a transport. You’ll see, you won’t have to do anything.” She grinned as she opened the transcriptor.
“Elder Bjorn, warrior of the Rout, I would be overjoyed to come back home in a Blizzard. Dispatch one that I may come back, if you could. I will need my formal dress, which I brought from home, so I will simply bring it with me. Sincerely, Princess Freya.” She tapped the key and sent it.
“Little Pup?” Alex asked with a smile.
She turned wide green eyes on him. “Bjorn’s nearly four thousand fucking years old, he can call me whatever he wants.” Her eyes narrowed. “You, however…” she said.
Alex reached over and gently ran his fingers over the helixes of her ears. She twitched and giggled. “Quit it.”
“Nope.” Alex leaned over and whispered. “I won’t tell anyone, don’t worry.”
“You better not…” Her words trailed off with a sharp rise in inflection as he tickled her ears again. She bit her lip and pulled away, trying to hold back another giggle. “If you do that in front of the Brothers, I swear I’ll break your wrists,” she said, rasping a bit.
He wiggled his fingers menacingly and grabbed her shoulders. She shrieked and tried to flee, but ‘stumbled.’ His hands traveled down her sides to her ribs and resumed tickling, until she grabbed his hands and forced them away, panting.
“All right, all right, that’s enough,” she gasped.
Alex sat back on crossed legs, looking smug. She glared up at him with all the force she could muster, which wasn’t much. She scrambled up and brushed herself off, still mumbling about his unjustified assault. “I’ll go get ready for the flight.”
“Sure. And let me know if he’s being serious about that whole boy toy thing,” Alex called after her.
Bjorn the Eldest stood fast as Freya emerged from her transport, already clad in her formal trappings. She hadn’t felt the need to wear them on Nocturne, as much as she would have liked to, but here? She was among kin.
The truly ancient Marine watched with lidded eyes as Freya paused a few paces from him. She went still, her eyes searching his face. He did the same, then slowly bent forward a fraction and inhaled deeply. Everything he needed to know came to him in an instant. Freya calmed the nerves she always felt when returning home; then she asked why she was bothering. He could tell.
With great reverence, she fell to her knees, then clasped her hands over her waist and bowed her head, still silent. Bjorn reached down to touch her shoulder once, running his hand under her chin to raise her head. She looked up at him, eyes brimming.
He finally offered her a faint grin. “Rise, little pup. Your brothers await.”
She rose and wrapped her arms around his arm, grinning into the blue ceramite. “I’ve missed you, you crotchety old fart.”
“Show some respect, little pup, or I’ll kick you from here to the Wylds,” Bjorn said sternly.
“Bah, you couldn’t even catch me now!” Freya said dismissively.
“Probably not, no,” he said. He turned to gesture broadly down the corridor behind them as the Blizzard settled into its cradle with a clicking of cooling engines. “Now, would you prefer to speak with the Lords first, or address your kin?”
Hang on, is this guy alternate universe Bjorn the Fell-Handed by any chance?
Sure is.
side issue here, but who would actually qualify to be one of the 90 remaining after the great crusade?
>“Holy shit, isn’t he one of the Great Ninety?” Alex asked.
>“Yep. One of the ninety Terran Space Marines to live out the entire Crusade, out of the quarter million who started.”

So just be one of the Terrans the Emperor recruited to be a Spess Mahreen before any of the Primarchs were recovered.
“If I’m wearing the bloody thing, I may as well use it,” Freya said, fingering the rich furs of her formal outfit. The simple-looking garment of pelts, leather, and hand-spun cloth folded over her body like a wrap, but was held together at the waist and collar with broad and beautifully carved stone clasps. The dark brown calfboots she wore ended far below the soft leather skirt shorts she was wearing over them, but the details of both were obscured. She was wearing her own personal favorite part of the assemblage over them. It was a floor-length deep gray cowl, lined with white wolf furs, and with a pair of small silver totems of the moon dangling on the ends of draw-strings. With a tug, she could close the hood over her face, pull the cloak around herself, and become an anonymous Fenrisian woman in an instant. She wondered if her father was aware of how much she appreciated that touch.
“Then so be it, little pup,” Bjorn said. He turned down the corridor and started off towards the chamber where the other senior members of the Rout awaited.
“You know, you don’t have to call me that anymore,” Freya said in Juvjk. “I’m a pup no longer.”
“Such openness,” Bjorn noted.
Freya blushed. “I mean that I have finished the mandatory part of my schooling.”
“Ah, but you invite more?” Bjorn asked.
Freya shrugged. “I want more. A poor student is the one that stops learning.”
“Wise lass.” Bjorn paused, partway down the corridor, and eyed the girl carefully. “When do you intend to take up your role?”
“I honestly do not know,” Freya confessed uncomfortably. “Will I not choose?”
“You will.” He resumed his course, as intractable in his Terminator armor as a glacier on its migration. “Are you ready?”
“As much as I can be, Bjorn,” Freya said.
The hatch swung open. A wide circle of thick metal chairs surrounded a depressed holotank, over which a transparent mesh was extended. The tank was powered down, but when it was lit, Freya knew, the Lords of the Rout could stare down into its depths and see entire sectors stretch out below them.
She walked, fearless, her head held high, over to the edge of the mesh, pausing for her lords to acknowledge her. The circle of Wolves – some in the trappings of Rune Priests, others clad in burnished battle armor, others yet in the elaborate accoutrements of the Iron Priests – were deep in discussion about something. As soon as she came within range of their senses, however, all of them paused. They went silent as she came to a halt at the edge, each staring at her, expressionless. She bowed her head once, ignoring her natural sense of intimidation. “Brothers,” she said softly.
They nodded and rose individually, coming around the mesh to clasp her hand or ruffle her hair, smiling now. The glint of superhuman fangs in the dim blue lights of the room was everywhere. She blushed as the silent greetings continued. “It’s good to be back after seven long years,” she finally said.
“So I imagine,” a baritone voice said. An Iron Priest emerged from the throng, his ravaged face peering down at her. “Lass, you’re grown strong.”
“Thank you, metalshaper Kannd,” she said, bowing her head slightly.
“And beautiful too,” a Long Fang observed kindly, taking in her elaborately braided red hair and sparkling green eyes. “We shall have to see if your companion is worthy of your company after all,” he joked, to a few chuckles.
Freya winced. “I would ask that you do not. He is a not a warrior, and I do not want him to be. Even if I did…he has undergone a trial on this journey more horrible than any we could give him without an amputation.” She wasn’t phrasing it as a joke, either in voice or scent.
Bjorn raised a brow. “How so?”
“I am gifted with a father and mother that love me, a rabid fandom that adores me,” she said drily, referring to her oceans of fans on Terra, “and a pack to call mine. His father has wounded him so bitterly and horribly that I would feel ashamed to try him more,” Freya said. “More than that…I leave to him to speak.”
“I see.” Bjorn shrugged. “I suppose it is your decision.”
“Besides, I assure you that Father has…’tried’ him already,” Freya added. “He hardly let Alex out of his sight from the minute they met.”
One of the Long Fangs laughed. “Do you fault him?”
“No.” Freya half-smiled. “Not at all.”
“Then we’ll leave it to him,” the Long Fang said, and if Freya had been listening as closely as she could have, she would have heard something odd in his tone.
Alex and Jake were first off the transport, looking around in wonder. The Fang’s docking gallery was colossal, and completely empty. Dozens of cradles for Thunderhawks and other space and air craft sat idle and unattended. The entire room smelled like Promethium and incense, but there was none of either to be seen.
A few Iron Priests in servo-harnesses and outfitted with small metal tokens on their hair and arms were dutifully working on a partially-disassembled Stormcloud in one corner, and rows of servitors were sitting idle around the outsides of the massive chamber, but the rest of the colossal chamber rang with silence. Behind them, the profile of the Iron Tide flickered and disappeared into the Warp, streaming off to battle.
In the distance, the meter-thick walls of ceramite that blocked off the rest of the Fang slid open with a hissing of pneumatics. Freya’s distinct red hair appeared behind the thin cloud of mist left behind in the chilled air. She made her way over to the group across the expansive chamber as the boys continued to gawk. Even Remilia and Venus seemed astounded by the sheer size of the chamber. It could probably have housed a destroyer by itself.
A Marine in elaborate but heavily scarred armor walked sedately behind her. He was clearly trying not to outpace her. As she approached the group, Alex paused his inspection of the room to appreciate the form she cut. The cloak she had slung around her would have looked cheesy on a girl who didn’t have her appearance, but she made it look good. The outfit wasn’t clearly a formal uniform like the one Venus had been wearing, either. For all he knew, it was just clothing.
With precisely no ceremony at all, Freya walked straight up to them and gestured grandly. “Welcome to the Fang,” she said proudly.
“It’s amazing so far,” Alex said, craning his head back to look at the ceilings, painted white with artificial lighting, but nearly five hundred meters up. He turned his eyes back down to Freya and smiled, glancing up and down her unusual outfit. “That looks really good on you.”
“Thanks,” she said happily, brushing the thick pelt around the hood. “I thought I should look the role when I went to see the others. Incidentally,” she said slyly, gesturing to the marine who had coasted to a halt behind them, “this is Bjorn the Eldest, presiding Wolf Lord.”
Alex immediately took a knee, as the other three looked on in some surprise. “A profound honor, Lord Bjorn,” he said with genuine reverence.
Bjorn nodded once as Jake knelt as well. Venus and Remilia merely saluted. “Rise, lads. Welcome to my home.” His accent was thick, but understandable. Both men stood back up as he spoke. “I understand that for you both, this is the first time you’ve come to travel the stars?”
“I did when I was small, Lord, just not recently,” Alex said.
“I’d never left Terra before this,” Jake said.
Bjorn raised one massive ceramite gauntlet. “Then I’m sure you would wish to rest.”
“No, thank you, Lord, we slept on the flight over. All we really need to do is find a place to stow our cargo; we weren’t expecting to have to offload all of our possessions originally,” Alex said respectfully.
The ancient Marine eyed the four teens that had accompanied Freya. “So I imagine. Simply leave it here, someone will send it down to your cabins.” He glanced down at Freya herself. “Freya has convinced me that a more elaborate greeting would have been inappropriate, which suits me. What precisely were you hoping to do here on your…road trip?” he asked.
Venus smiled. “Straight to the point. Good. Freya has been filling our ears about the sights and spectacles of Fenris since we were little, and every time she comes back, she has fresh tales to tell. We wanted to see what had so captured her imagination,” she said.
“Ah, and what tales have you been telling, Freya?” Bjorn asked, smiling at last.
“The sights! I remember last time I came here we went out in an ornithopter and watched that kraken in the ocean,” Freya excitedly recounted. “I mean, obviously actually going out into the forests would be pretty much suicide for anyone who isn’t me, but we can still see the Great Plains, the ocean…”
“Lass, if it were a tour alone you wanted, I wouldn’t be here,” Bjorn said knowingly. Freya shrugged coyly.
“Oh, you know, I was sort of hoping that we could hear a few of the stories Dad likes to embellish so much first-hand, too,” she said.
Bjorn’s smile vanished. “Well, of course your friends are welcome to hear those stories our brothers wish to share,” he said, rather flatly. Remilia quirked an eyebrow at his evasive reply. Freya deflated.
“I wouldn’t share anything personal, Bjorn,” she said in her native language.
“I should hope not. The Wolf Brothers will not share some stories even with those for whom you have vouched personally,” Bjorn said in the same tongue. Switching back to Gothic, he continued. “Now. My friends, please, come to your cabins and accommodate. You can begin your acclimatization with the station afterwards,” he said.
A few minutes later, Jake dropped his day bag in his spartan cabin and looked around it. “Spacious.”
“I know, and it’s perfect,” Venus said. “It’s a bit cold for you, though, isn’t it? These heaters don’t go up much higher than this,” she noted, running her hand over the thermostat.
He smiled broadly. “That could work in our favor,” he observed.
“It could, if you were willing to risk the entire Legion finding out,” Venus said.
“Oh, right. Damn. Oh well.” He looked around. “Is it me, or does it look like we’ll be doing our own laundry here?” he asked, eyeing the piles of spare sheets and towels in the corner of the room.
“Probably. The Fang doesn’t house too many guests,” Venus said. “I don’t mind, do you?”
“Nah.” He sank into the bed, holding his arms out. She obligingly slid into them and snuggled up against him. “Mmmm…you’re still nice and warm. You’re sure you’re not feeling down from the radiation withdrawal?” he asked, squeezing his hands around her waist.
“Yep, I feel right as rain.” She looked over the piles of bags and boxes the serfs – the Wolves called them skjalds – had sent down to their cabins. “I don’t see your poker set.”
“I had it in one of the larger cases, I didn’t want the leather getting scratched.” He leaned forward and rested his head on her shoulder. “What do you want to do first?”
The hatch creaked as someone rapped it. Alex poked his head in. “You guys got a sec?”
Venus stood and stretched. “Sure.”
Alex entered and closed the hatch again. “Do you guys feel like this was a mistake?” he asked.
Venus and Jake both stared. “A mistake?” Venus repeated.
“Yeah. Freya’s over the moon that she’s home again, of course, but I’m getting some pretty negative waves from the Wolves. Rout. Whatever.”
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All right, friends, I'm tired. I'll see you all tomorrow.

Thoughts? Was Bjorn too overt of a reference? Yea/nay on Freya being ticklish? What do people think of Kines' interactions with Remilia?

And what happened to that dude who said he was running a Rogue Trader game in the Emperasqueverse?

Also this: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/TalesOfTheEmperasque

Encourage the tropers to make a WHH page!

Specifically here:
SE departs for the pastures of sleep, and it is now my turn to entice you with a tale, and oh what a joureny I have planned for you.

Last time, we were with the Emperor and Horus as they tried to craft a responce to the immense Ork invasion of Seadelant, a strategically vital trade hub, where Ahzek Ahriman and Julius Pius are struggling for survival.

and now dear anons, on with the tale...
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Day seven of the Ork Invasion. Four days since they had tried to take the walls by storm, and had been repulsed by the brave actions of the Imperial defenders. In all that time since, apart from the constant, irregular shelling, the Orks had done nothing, just stayed in their encampments. Ahriman could afford for them to do that, with the vast bulk of the population either lifted offworld of shipped to other cities, they had enough food to last for a year or more of siege. The Orks trying to storm the city, that was what he was concerned about.
He had spent the last few days visited the sections of the wall where the towers had connected, and spoke with the surviving troops there, raising their morale and lifting spirits. If only his own spirits could be so easily raised.
Right now he was at the Astropathic Guild HQ, on the other side of the main Autoway from the PDF HQ. He was once again trying to enquire about whether any news of the Relief force had arrived, and so far the answer seemed to be the same one it was every other time, no.

The Orks by their mere presence were interdicting the most important tradeway between Solar and Ultima, and that was hurting the entire Imperium, not just Seadelant. The Emperor Himself would deem this one top priority. And yet the Astropaths could get no word on when the relief would arrive. Ahriman was almost tempted to go out himself, to send his body of light out there to find out, but he knew that would be suicide. He was not as strong as Magnus, and even he had difficulties sometimes. The great Ocean was no-longer as safe anymore, not with the knowledge of what lurked within its depths.

For a Corvidae, lack of knowledge was the worst curse, and he was the head of the entire Corvidae Cult, by extension the greatest master of scrying the future outside Magnus, the Emperor and the Eldar. And all that power counted for little here, could not dispel the fog clouding his foresight nor shake off the doubts flitting through his mind.

There was a bang on the door, and a PDF runner burst in.
“Lord Ahriman, Graf Trakeria requests your presence immediately. There has been a development.”
“A development?” Ahriman immediately cast his mind outwards, towards the PDF building. The control room was afire with the auras of those within panic, fear and apprehension not seen since the invasion began. They were all concerned about movement detected coming from the Hulk in orbit. His mind them soared skywards, to the source of the commotion. The atmosphere vanished and the eternal night of space enveloped him. There was the Hulk, an evil wedge of space rock and ancient ships fused together by the power of the Great Ocean. Several Space Roks, hollowed out asteroids fitted with drives, guns and crew quarters and turned into mobile gun platforms provided escort for the hulk, and even a squadron of Brute Ramships constructed from the space debris left after the Hulk’s arrival shoaled beside the Hulk. This was all perfectly normal, what were they worried about?
Suddenly something flickered at the edge of his aethersight, almost hidden by the psy-inferno emanating from the Hulk. He approached closer, risking the fire in order to get a better view. It was then that he saw it.
Roks. Four small asteroids plummeting towards the planet, towards the city they matched the rock structure of the Hulk clearly. The Orks were trying to bombard the city into submission. With a snap he returned to his mortal flesh and without a word of explanation left the building to the questions of the Astropaths.
“They’re throwing Roks at the city!” Governor Shroe lamented when he entered the room.
“I know. The lack of progress must be frustrating them, and when Orks get frustrated they bring out the big guns.”
“You know Ork Accuracy; if they’re trying to knock down the walls with Roks then their warlord must be stupid. The chances of one getting a direct hit are billions to one, and Lord Ahriman can vector the Plasma Missiles and Defence Lasers to shoot them down long before that anyway.” Graf Trakeria was more cocky, more self confident thanks to Ahriman. She hoped to capitalise on his successes, get some glory off his coattails. He couldn’t care less with local politics, he had more pressing issues.
“Deploy the defence lasers and notify the astropaths. I’ll link my mind with theirs, and we’ll shoot down these Roks.”
He could feel the blast doors opening and the guns emerging from their silos across the city. He removed his Astartes helmet and placed the archaic psy-helmet onto his head. Swiftly he linked his mind into the Matrix and began to track the strings of fate, finding the one he needed. When he found the Roks on the strings of fate, he smiled. Two of them were going to land many miles away, the usual Ork shoddy accuracy meaning those two could be ignored. The third would hit the bay, causing a massive tidal wave if it couldn’t be vaporised in time. The final one would land closest to the walls, if not inside them altogether. That would level half the city within a few seconds, and he would take priority in its destruction.
In his mind’s eye he watched them start to burn as they entered the atmosphere, rushing faster and faster as gravity took its iron hold. Their courses ran true, and under his direction the defence lasers locked onto empty sky. Tracing the strings of fate, he could see them impacting into the ground, see the devastation they would cause, and he began to follow the strand of fate backwards, pulling it back, pulling it back…fire.
He could not see the beam, but he could feel it as it lanced upwards into the sky. Its aim was straight and true, and with barely any effort it vaporised the rok into so much dust. A few seconds later the other rok met the same fate.
“Stand down. You’ve done it again my lord. You’ve saved the city three times now. When this is over, you will be hailed as the savour of Seadelant.” Her good mood was cut short when one of the vox operators yelled out.
“Contact! Another incoming object bearing 7-14.”
Graf Trakeria scanned the readout. “7-14? That’s nearly the horizon line. Where the fuck did that one come from?”
Cold fear drenched Ahriman, as if a sudden revelation had been made to him and him alone. He was an Astartes, and he was supposed to know no fear. It had all felt too simple, too easy. The new Rok was coming in at too low a trajectory for a Defence Laser to get a lock, and it was too close for a Plasma Missile to hit it. He began to track the strings of fate to find out where it would impact, only to be struck cold when he hit its strand. He had followed all the strings of fate, and he’d missed this one, missed it cold.
He didn’t realise what just happened to him until he noticed everyone in the room staring at him with shock. They had never seen an Astartes fall to his knees before.
“Evacuate the walls.” He said in a dry whisper as he climbed to his feet.
“Pardon my lord?”
“I said evacuate the walls!” Ahriman’s voice rose to booming pitch. “That Rok is about to rip a hole a mile wide in the outer walls, and nothing we can do will be able to plug the gap once it’s opened. We have to order a general retreat to the inner walls, or else lose everything.”
“Can’t we do anything? Why didn’t you see this?” Trakeria insisted.
“I failed. I…failed.” Those words hurt Ahriman to say, but say them he did. Again. “In just over two minutes the walls will fall. If you do not order the evacuation now, the city falls, the planet falls and the trade route is cut. The whole Imperium will suffer if you do not act now.”
“Surely you overestimate. These are Orks you’re talking about, they couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a…”
“Order the evacuation NOW!” his heqa staff burst into flames as he drew deep from the Great Ocean and bloated up his aura, and everyone in the room cowered before him. His anger was swiftly snuffed out as he realised what he was doing. He had never lost his temper quite like this before, not since Ohrmuzd had…no, he would not think about it. He jammed his helmet back on and turned to go.
“Where are you going?” Trakeria demanded.
“To put my finger in the dyke and hold back the sea.” And Ahriman was gone.

Julius once again found himself sitting in the back of the C-80, just shy of the walls. There would be a worn patch in the back by the time this was over, given how often he sat there. They had aided in the cleanup after the battle, an unpleasant experience Julius had no wish to repeat or even think about and which even now sent occasional shudders down his spine, and since then done little apart from lounge around and occasionally ship a load of shells to the artillery, who were busy trying to shell any enemy artillery spotters to little effect. His father once told him army life was ninety percent boredom and ten percent terror, and now he understood.
As he sat there, he saw Summer walking along with Scvott, listening to him talking about something. They nodded at him as they passed, and Julius could swear he saw Summer gesturing at him, though in greeting or something else he could not make out. As she left he realised he was holding his breath, and sheepishly he let it go.
Summer, always Summer, she had damn well got under his skin, and not entirely in a good way. Ever since that Keiter had done his deed, a renewed crackdown on Emperor Worship had begun across the Imperium, a new wave of violence directed against anyone who seemed to be too enthusiastic in their veneration of the Emperor. And now he was privy to her secret, and she to one of his. Thinking back to that moment in the Hab, he had to admit she bluffed her way out of it very well. Had he let it go a bit too easily? Cathericism was one thing, venerating the Emperor something completely different. Emperor Worship was illegal across most of the Galaxy, the only reason it wasn’t illegal at the Eye was because it stopped worship of the Darker Powers, something not even the Emperor was willing to tamper with. She was treading on dangerous ground, and could easily get herself into a lot of trouble, and him with her now that he was privy to her beliefs.
Why should he care? When this was all over he would leave this place and never see her again, and no-one would be looking too hard for an Emperor Worship with several million Orks banging on the front door. All he had to worry about was coming through this unscathed, surviving something which had already killed thousands. Any one of those could have been him; any of those could become him, death was all too easy around here, a stray shot, a stray shell, an Ork with an axe, any of those would bring him down with no effort.
Still, he couldn’t get her out of his head. She had moved in and set up shop, and no matter how hard he tried to expel her she wouldn’t leave his thoughts. Maybe she was a response to the horrors he was seeing all around him, focusing on her meant he wasn’t thinking about the possibility of his own demise. That thought comforted him, and he almost laughed at how absurd this all was. He then hushed up as he remembered the last time he’d felt like this, travelling through the Palace with Isis on the way to ask Horus about Keiter. That had set off an avalanche which even now he still couldn’t dig himself out of. So many thoughts, he felt his head would explode from them shortly if something didn’t happen. Such a bad choice of words.
Suddenly, the world blew up. There was a bright flash which while initially obscured by the walls grew brighter and brighter until it outshone all else, and as Julius rose to his feet to investigate its source, a massive explosion and shockwave picked Julius up and threw him out the truck, down the road and into the side of a building. Almost all the air was driven out of his lungs, and his sight vanished behind a black shroud. He vaguely felt things hitting him, and he wondered if this was it. Was this how it was to end, with him having no idea about what had just done him in?
Through the haze he heard someone shout his name, his fake name. Blindly he reached out his arm and felt someone grab it and haul him to his feet. He staggered, but the mystery person kept him upright as he rubbed his eyes and his vision slowly returned to him. Summer was the one holding him steady, and there was concern on her face. Beside her, Scvott rubbed his eyes and tried to peer through the cloud of dust and pulverised rockcrete. Julius’s battered mind tried to process what was happening, why Summer seemed so concerned about what had happened to him, but that processing went out of the window when the smoke cleared enough for him to see what had just happened.
There was now a gaping hole in the outer wall, the adamantine cladding reduced to so much twisted metal, and most of the buildings closest to the walls pulverised by the blast effect. The shield crackled as it tried to reconnect to the missing wall pylons, and Julius could almost make out the gaping hole above mirroring the hole in the wall.
As his mind tried to process what was just about to happen, he gave out a four letter word echoed across the length of the perimeter wall.
The Orks now had a literal open doorway into the city, a route straight into the heart of Port Huron. All the blood shed to defend the walls had just been rendered moot in a few fell seconds, all the effort to hold the city from the green tide, pointless.
“What the hell just happened?” Scvott sounded as shocked as Julius felt, his veneer of command slipping.
“The Orks broke through. As simple as that.” Julius could barely make out his own words.
“We should fall back, find someone with a vox and find out what our orders are.” Summer seemed the only one to have kept a clear head.
As they watched, PDF troopers started to fall back past them, some in a near panic, others more coolly. That seemed to argue in Summer’s favour.
“Looks like we’re in the shite now.” That was Flynn, his usual attitude gone. Beside him was Dyllion, who seemed even more grim than usual as he stared at the gaping hole, a few choice curses slipping from his lips. For a few minutes all they could do was stare at that hole and watch as more and more panicked PDF troopers streamed past them.
“They’re not going to abandon the outer city; they’ll fortify the approaches and turn that hole into a killing ground, like with the Siege Towers. They’ll need us to keep them supplied with ammo. We should stay here and do what we can for them.” Scvott seemed to have finally found his voice, but his proposal stung Julius, who had to respond.
“Stay? Here? Look at that breach, it’s wide enough to drive a ‘Steel Fury’ Baneblade squadron through. No way will they be able to hold it indefinitely; the Orks will flood it with troops, tanks and worse. I want to fight, I don’t want to throw my life away needlessly, and if we stay here that’s exactly what we will be doing.”

Scvott turned to face Julius, hands on his hips. “Am I, or am I not in command of this section?”

“You are ser.”

“And does that not mean that I give the orders?”

“Yes, but…”

“No buts. We’re staying right here until we receive orders telling us otherwise.”
Julius was stunned by that decision. Was Scvott trying to get them killed? He’d read plenty of books, been instructed by Horus and Guilliman themselves on the ways of war, and here he was, his advice being ignored out of hand by someone just because he was an offworlder. Hell, Flynn was also an offworder, born on Tanith, but they listened to him often enough. Couldn’t he see that no matter what, eventually the outer city would fall to the Orks and they would be better off getting behind the inner walls now rather than trying in the chaos of a fighting withdrawal?

“The offworlder does have a good point, and he is from Ultramar, they do have the best military academies there…” Summer again. What had changed her attitude towards him?

“Look, as team leader my authority must be respected, that is the only way we’ll be able to operate. I’m sorry, but my order stands.”

Ahriman thought it would be bad by the time he got down there, but he was wrong. It was worse. The blast had sent him reeling as he ran down the main road, but he had been expecting it and so it didn’t slow him down. He wouldn’t head straight to the breach, he needed back up if he was to hold it long enough for the troops to evacuate the outer city, and he knew exactly who to ask.
Commissar Lord Günter was issuing orders to the Tanith troops when Ahriman reached him, Plasma Pistol in hand. He seemed remarkably calm given what had just crashed into the wall.

“Lord Ahriman, what the fug just happened? A fireball just came over the horizon and slammed into wall sector B-2. No-one can contact the PDF Commander in that sector, and now it seems there are orders for a general retreat to the inner walls. Can you please give me some concrete answers?”

“The Orks have used a Rok to break down the outer wall. Very soon the Ork horde will pour into the outer city, and there is nothing we can do to stop them. However if the whole city isn’t to fall, we need to hold them off long enough for the troops to fall back to the inner wall.”

“And let me guess, you want the Larisels to take part in this glorious last stand, am I correct?”

“Only those who volunteer for it, and it will not be a last stand, more of a fighting withdrawal. We simply have to hold the breach long enough to allow the troops to get behind the outer walls, the artillery especially. Those Bombards must be allowed the time to pack up and get behind the walls, else our heaviest guns are lost.”

“My Lord, I’ll ask around, but I know the Tanith, and this sort of insanity appeals to them.”
Before too long, Günter had nearly two companies worth of Tanith troops ready to hold the breach. Ahriman led them towards the breach, trying to rope in as many men as possible to join them along the way. He was more successful than he thought he would be, several platoons of Belladon troops, a heavy weapons company from the Perdix Hunters and even a Panxergrenadier platoon from the Caorst Panxers with two Malcador Tanks in support all joined him. The others under his instruction headed for the inner walls and safety.
They reached the breach to find it abandoned the PDF troopers all gone. Ahriman knew it wasn’t their fault, they weren’t used to war the way the Army troopers were and something so shocking shattered their morale. The Commissars would have a field day. However Ahriman did note several CDA troopers near a C-80 Hovertruck on the other side of the breach. He couldn’t see them clearly thanks to the lingering smoke, and the aetheric interference from the impact was clouding their auras, but the fact they were brave or stupid enough to stay put spoke volumes.

“Get those CDA auxiliaries to ferry us some ammo, we may as well make some use of them. Priority on Heavy Bolter rounds, we simply have to keep the Orks from reaching close combat. If that happens, the breach is lost.” A Belladon runner set off towards the CDA members, while the troops took up positions around the breach. Being able to see it with his own eyes for the first time, Ahriman was taken aback at how big the breach was, and why there was so little damage to the ground before it, making passage through it easy. No Ork could ever make a shot with that much accuracy, it was simply impossible. Something else had to be at work here. Ahriman cursed himself; he was letting his paranoia get the better of him again. This was Orks, only Orks, nothing more.
As if knowing what he was thinking about, the scanner operator called out, “The Orks are on the move! ETA half an hour.”
“Let’s give them a welcome they won’t soon forget.” Ahriman rose through the Enumerations, and soon was detached from the seriousness of their situation, able to clearly and logically see what had to be done. He gave his orders, and watched as the troops rushed to fulfil them.

Heavy weapons troopers from the Perdix Hunters ran to cover the breach, while troopers constructed makeshift barricades and the two Malcadors moved into position covering the breach. The Panzergrenadiers deployed their Chimeras to provide heavy weapons support to the dismounted infantry, and the Tanith Snipers set up hides all around, a few deploying on the walls themselves. Every little piece moved into place, and Ahriman almost smiled as he saw the strings of fate moving into position, his position.

Once again the smell of exhaust fumes and the low growl of the Ork horde wafted over the walls as the green tide approached. They were moving slower this time, but what need did they have to run? They had a great big hole inviting them into the city. The Orks weren’t even bothering to throw artillery shells through the breach in the shield, so confident were they. Well, he would make them pay for that confidence.
Closer and closer the horde came, as the troops laboured to make sure they would pay. Several Perdix Engineers set up mines and remote explosives concealed among the rubble, some razor wire was strung before the Tanith positions an everyone laboured to ensure their foxholes were deep and comfy enough. Now the horde was close enough to see the individual Trukks, Battlewagons and even the hazy form of a Stompa pounding its way towards the breach. The troops held film, but he could feel the tension and fear. This wasn’t like holding the walls; here they would have vehicles and War Engines coming at them as well as normal Orks.

Suddenly the ground started to tremble, catching Ahriman off guard. Were the Orks trying to tunnel in as well? As the rumbling grew closer, Ahriman breathed a sigh of relief as he saw one of the three Caorst Baneblades coming down the street towards them.

“Baneblade Furious Thunder here sir. We figured you would need our eleven barrels of hell if you hope to hold this breach.”
“Much appreciated Lieutenant, we’d be delighted to have the best Caorst has to offer fighting beside us.”

The Baneblade nestled itself in between the Malcadors, forming the centre of the defensive position, a perfect counter to the incoming Orks. Ahriman began to breathe a little easier, maybe they would be able to hold long enough for the lower city to be evacuated and the lower Defence Laser to be disarmed so the Orks couldn’t use it.
Now the Orks were almost at the breach, so close you could pick out the Nobs leading them, and their rhythmic chanting filled the air, guttural words in an almost incomprehensible tongue. The aetheric fire they emitted wafted in through the breach, and Ahriman could feel it the way someone could feel the heat from sitting too close to an open fire.

The troops locked and loaded, but he could still feel the fear coming off them as they saw clearly the horror facing them.
Ahriman recalled a quote from a leader of Old Earth and lifted his voice so every army soldier could hear him.

“The patriot volunteer, fighting for his country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on Earth,” he cried, lifting his Bolt Pistol and aiming it square at the leading Ork as it entered the breach, and with a single shot putting it down. The storm broke once again.
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The whizz of a bullet sang past Julius’s ear as he carried a fresh belt of Heavy Bolter ammo to a Perdix Heavy Weapons Section. He no longer ducked anymore every time a bullet came near him as he had done when the battle first begun, he just kept on pushing forwards, the only thing on his mind doing the job he was required to do. If he stopped to think about what was happening around him, what could happen to him, he knew he would curl into a foetal ball and never get up, and what use would he be to anyone them?

He still thought Scvott’s decision was foolish, but at least now it was justified, and they were actually doing something to help. They had only made one supply run, the roads were choked with troopers and tanks making their way to the safety of the inner walls, and Flynn steamed as they got caught in traffic jam after traffic jam. It had taken them nearly an hour to get a single supply load from the inner city ammo bunkers to the breach, and there wouldn’t be the time for another run. Now all they could do was try to make that one load count. Flynn and Dyllion carried Battle Cannon ammo to the pair of Malcadors and Mortar bombs to the Mortars, who all used the ammo up faster than they could resupply it, while Scvott, Summer and himself kept the troops fuelled with small arms, dashing from the C-80 to the troops as fast as possible, dodging bullets to get the goods to the troops.
Julius had expected many things when the army arrived at the breach, but there’d been one big surprise waiting for him. The rumours he’d discounted out of hand were true, it was indeed professor Ahriman who was leading the defence, but not as he’d ever seen him before. When professor Ahriman had saved them in the Petitioner’s City, he’d found it amazing how he’d taken out all those thugs so quickly without killing a single one, but that was nothing next to what he was doing right now.

When they had left for their first supply run, Ahriman had summoned a massive wall of warpfire covering the entire breach, keeping the Orks at bay in a spectacular display which forced Flynn to drag him onto the C-80 as he was to engrossed in what was happening before him, and now an hour later he was in the thick of it. Between the blows from his staff and bursts of warp-fire from his gauntlets he was laying waste to the Orks, moving extremely gracefully for his size and armour, a painter painting in crimson. When this was over, Julius would have to seek out Ahriman, find out when relief would arrive, try and message Isis or Venus. He wondered what Ahriman would think of him being there, of them both being here at the exact time a Hulk arrived. Ahriman once said in class that there was no such thing as coincidence, and now Julius almost believed him.

Dashing the final few yards, Julius reached a Perdix Heavy Bolter team, and handed over the ammo belt. No sooner did they have it then the Heavy Bolter ran out of bullets. Swiftly they loaded the new belt in, and resumed firing. Julius dashed back for the truck, and the next load, bullets following him as he ran.
Summer was at the C-80 when he got there, her face smudged with soot and several tears in her uniform. And yet despite all that, Julius had never seen her more alive. She’d gone right into the thick of the firing, defying the heaviest fire in order to deliver her load. She’d even tossed a grenade into a Trukk as she ran past it, killing some of the Orks riding within. That fire which Julius had seen as she prayed in that Hab now filled her, and despite all the blood and sweat which stained her, she had never looked more beautiful.
Julius cursed himself. This was a warzone; he could die any minute, stop thinking about her that way.

“Oll, glad to see you’re still with us. The Tanith need some more Tread Fether rounds, which I assume means more missiles. I’ve got to get these Bolt Pistol rounds to that astartes warrior, what was his name again?”

“Ahriman. Ahzek Ahriman, chief librarian of the XVth Legion.”

“Wow Oll, you are full of useless knowledge. Might have to ask you a few questions about all this when the battle is done. Well, time waits on man or woman.” She turned to go, and then stopped and turned her head back to Julius.

“And Oll? Stay alive out there. For me.” and with that, she dashed away once again.

He resolved that if he survived this, he would apologise to her for comparing her with Keiter. Keiter would never have selflessly risked his life the way she did, or spoken to him that way. Emperor Worshiper or no, she was insanely brave and dedicated to her job, and seemed to care enough to reassure him in the midst of the heat of the battle. If only the Imperium had more people like her…
Julius snapped out of it when a bullet flew close by. This wasn’t the time to daydream! He took up a crate of frag missiles and set off once again.
A pair of black clad Tanith troopers crouched behind a section of ruined wall close to the Malcadors and Baneblade. One of them looked over Julius as he handed over the missiles.
“I’ve got to hand it to you boy, you may be a civilian but you move and act like a soldier. Your CDA section should get medals when this is all over for doing such a fine…” he trailed off as the loud sound of something heavy stomping towards the breach pushed its way over the roar of guns and the chanting of the Orks.
The massive hulking form of an Ork Stompa pushed its way into the breach, shoving aside the growing wall of corpses. The metal giant spat death from the many Big Shootas mounted all over it, while return fire sparked off its armour. The Stompa has what looked like a cannon mounted in the centre of the hull, and the Tanith troopers noticed it the same time he did.
“Belly Gun! Get the fuck down!”
Julius had no idea what they were talking about, but he followed suit. As he did so, he heard a flat hollow ‘boom’ as the belly gun fired.
The massive belly gun shell serenely flew towards them, seemingly in slow motion. How the big, fat shell could even fly seemed a mystery to Julius. A hand grabbed him and pulled him further down.
“You idiot! Are you trying to get yourself killed?” one of the troopers hissed at him.
Before Julius could apologise or answer, there was an ear-splitting bang and the air was filled with the shriek of shrapnel hissing through the air. The section of wall kept Julius safe, though he felt the wall reverberate with the impact of debris, and the whistle of more shrapnel keened over his head. When he was convinced the damage was done, he poked his head back up again.
And I am done. The ABs won, and I need to sleep.

SE will return in a few hours, keep the thread alive for him until he returns
bump for the bump god!
This deserves a bump from a resident faggatrocious namefag.

Never stop posting you write fags, never stop.
Archived, http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/20455421/

don't forget to vote up! keep up the awesome work, Someone else, Dark Mage, and Ahriman's aide!
Jake shrugged. “We knew it could happen. We’ll just see how much rope we’ve got when it comes to moving around. Because…well, I don’t think Freya would have brought us here if we couldn’t do much beyond leaving our rooms.”
“Then you’re feeling it too?” Alex pressed.
Jake didn’t answer. Venus sighed. “Guys, the one who greeted us was one of the Great Fucking Ninety. I think we’re welcome.”
“True enough,” Jake said.
The door rapped again. Venus pulled it open to see Freya and Remilia outside. “Hey! You guys all settled in?” Freya asked.
“Sure are. What are we doing first?” Venus asked.
Freya walked in, pulling her cloak around her so it wouldn’t snag on the hatch frame. “I know you guys are a bit nervous, but believe me, this is going to be so rad,” Freya said. “I’ve arranged a transport to take us out to the World’s Ocean, so you guys can see the reason Dad’s mildly obsessed with fishing,” she said.
“That sounds cool. How long is the flight?” Jake asked.
“Only half an hour by gunship flat out, you can see it from the observation deck,” Freya said. She beamed at the others. Her fangs seemed a bit more noticeable in her new outfit somehow. “This is going to be so cool, you guys, trust me.
Not a lot of activity today.

Oh well.
Nearly forty minutes later, Jake was sitting on the lip of the ramp of a Thunderhawk and dangling his legs over an ocean nine miles deep. A pair of the Legion’s Blood Claws sat beside him on benches, keeping careful watch on their guests. Freya’s hood was down, and her cloak was unfastened save at the neck. The rushing air coming into the hold of the ship billowed the cloak like wings around her.
She was standing, unsupported and barefoot, next to him on the ramp. The others gripped the hydraulic tubes that lowered and lifted the ramp and stared out at the sight. All five were tethered to the gunship’s interior.
“I could live to be a hundred years old and never see anything like that,” Jake said in astonishment.
“Blue…as far as the eye can see,” Venus whispered.
“Farther. We’re ninety kilometers out from shore,” one of the Claws said.
Jake slowly put his hand to his head, staring out at the water. “It’s beautiful, all right,” he murmured.
A massive red tentacle whipped out of the water, splashing down several hundred meters away. The non-Fenrisian passengers stared and gasped. “The hell was that?” Alex asked.
“A Kraken looking for ships to devour,” one of the Claws said. “Don’t worry, it’s just a juvenile, it can’t reach us here.”
“That thing is a juvenile?” Jake demanded. “It’s the size of the ship we rode here!”
“Sure is. The biggest ones that ever existed are over five klicks long,” the Claw said.
Alex stared. “Are you shitting me?”
“Would I do that, Lord Carlin?” the Claw said drily. “It’s real.”
“All the water does on my planet is melt you, yours actually eats you,” Venus observed. The headsets each passenger wore crackled with Freya’s hearty chuckle.
Don't worry, there's at least one Anon hanging out.
Make that two.
Three. I'm >>20456186 by the way. Only left this thread to grab some Zs earlier
The gunship wheeled around over the ocean to give its passengers a better view. Freya subconsciously shifted her balance, letting the motions shift right through her. Jake’s knuckles were white on the lip of the gunship. “Freya, have you seen this before?” he asked.
“Sure have. Every time I come home. If Dad were here, he’d put down at the edge of the water and fish for a while.” Freya smiled at him. “Crazy old fart loves the water. The worst part of living on Terra, for him, is the fact that there’s no water left.”
“Really? He never talks about it,” Jake said.
“You’ve met Father Russ, Lord Seager?” one of the Claws asked.
“Sure, he’s come to several parties I’ve attended,” Jake said. “I wouldn’t say we’re, you know, close, or anything, but we’ve spoken.”
“What did you think of him?” the second Claw asked.
“Funny question to ask in front of his daughter,” Jake said coolly.
The second Claw cocked his head. “What do you mean?”
Freya reached over and squeezed Jake’s shoulder. “Don’t answer, Jake,” she said.
“Wasn’t going to. Nothing bad to say, though, you understand,” he said with a wink.
Freya winked back before turning to face the Claw. “Terrans don’t like to talk about people behind their backs, Brother, certainly not in front of their relatives. They think it’s dishonorable and rude,” Freya explained in Juvjk.
“Oh, I see.” The warrior shrugged in contrition. “Sorry.”
“No harm done.” Freya turned back to the others, noting that Alex and Remilia were both peering into the water, trying to see the Kraken in its endless depths.
“Do you guys want to set down out there?” Freya asked, gesturing at the shoreline as it came into view.
“Can we do that?” Remilia asked.
“Sure,” Freya said.
“Not here, Sister Freya,” the first Claw said. “There’s a hell of a battle going on at the shoreline. The tribes of the Walking Waves are protecting their fishing grounds from the advancing Krennir,” he added, as if anybody but him knew who that was.
“Ah. Farther up the coastline, then?” Freya asked.
“That, we can do.” The gunship angled away from the waters and headed south, gaining some altitude as it did. Jake scooted back up the ramp and sat back down on the bench.
“Your world is beautiful, Freya,” he said.
“Thanks, Jake. It really is. There’s a few small cleared areas of the mountains outside the Fang. If there aren’t any units out on training runs out there, I should show you,” she said.
“I’d like that.” Jake turned to grin at Remilia. “Home, sweet home for you, eh?”
She shook her head. “No, it’s a hell of a lot colder on Inwit. Being in real snow, though…I’ve missed that.”
The water below suddenly shifted to brown rocks and earth as they passed over the shore. Freya slid her socks and boots back on and unclipped her harness. She jumped the last meter down to the rocky shoreline and landed with her head near the ground. While the others climbed down more sedately, she took a deep breath of the heady, saline air. She closed her eyes and let the memories of her last time here flood back.
We're too busy reading!
Fishing with her father on the coastline. Riding the pauldron of his armor as he ran over the Koromi ice field. Sitting on the bed in the Royal suite in the Fang and letting her mother teach her how to make Fenrisian braids in her hair. Listening to Bjorn tell outrageous stories about the Crusade, calling him out on them, and having the entire room back him up.
Freya smiled contentedly as the others walked up behind her. She straightened up and rubbed a tear out of her eye. Being home, she decided, felt very, very good.
Alex walked straight over to the waterline and made his way down the rocks. The saltwater lapped at his arctic camo boots as he reached the edge. “Freya, anything going to eat me if I stick my hand in the water?” he called up to her.
“Yes. Let me see first,” she said, shaking the memories away and walking up to the rocks. She peered down into the water with her hyper-enhanced senses and saw nothing. “Go ahead.”
Alex stuck his fingers in the frigid water as a wave crashed. He watched, mesmerized, as the ripples of the Kraken’s distant passing splashed against the rocks below him. “Absolutely incredible.”
“Isn’t it?” Freya jumped down the rocks and dropped neatly into position beside him. “I used to go out to a little island in the ocean west of here and fish with Dad. The water’s so shallow there that there’s no Krakens or anything, it’s just grazer fish and small sharks.” She stared into the water, watching tiny fish swirl about under the wavetops. “I loved it. It was the most relaxed I ever saw him.”
Alex dried his hands on his thermo pants. “Do you fish too?”
“No, Dad said I wouldn’t enjoy it until I enjoyed being slow. I had no idea what he meant. I tried it a few times and I think I understand what he meant, though,” she joked.
Keep up the good work, all 3 of you. I do like the way that Bjorn got all cool about the story telling (cough*d4chan*cough) and the sharp senses of the Wolves. I really do wish all of you could put all this into an actual book form, I would buy it but then again the C&D would hit so fast that it would leave a flaming contrail behind it for miles. I like that the Tanith are a bit strange still, light troopers with good snipers still. thats all, I'll be back to continue reading later, Keep up the good work SE, AA, DM.
She glanced over at him. The shimmering reflection of the sun off the water in her canine eyes was captivating. Alex started to understand the extent to which she was truly in her element. “I love it. I should take you guys out there if we get a chance.”
“I’m sure we will, it’s only been a day,” Alex said.
Freya slid her cloak back from the water’s edge and discreetly squeezed Alex’s hand. “I have so much to show you,” she said quietly.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Alex replied. She nipped his ear and rose.
“We can sit here and picnic if you guys want, we brought some food,” Freya said, gesturing to the gunship. The aircraft was settling down on the rocky ground behind them. The two Claws had vanished.
“That would be awesome,” Jake said. He and Venus were still standing at the top of the rocks, pitching little pebbles into the waves. Remilia had clambered up to the lowest bough of a tree on the rocks’ edge, and was staring out over the water with her hand over her eyes.
“How wide is this ocean?” Remilia asked.
“About twenty thousand kilometers across at the equator,” Freya said. She gathered her legs beneath her and leaped back up to the top of the rocky shore as Alex scrambled up behind her. “It’s called the World Ocean or Grand Seas in Gothic.”
Remilia leaped back down from the branch and rubbed her hands clean. “What did you pack?”
“Just some basic rations and salted meat, nothing fancy,” Freya said, walking back into the hold.
She emerged moments later with a bundle of food in hand and spread it out on a tarpaulin. “Hope you guys are hungry, I maaaaaay have packed a bit much,” she said.
As the others sat down to eat, a small rustle in the nearby ground cover drew Freya’s ear. She glanced over at the source of the sound as one of her two ersatz tour guides appeared. He immediately knelt at her side and whispered.
“Sister, the message has come through for elements of Seventh to depart to reinforce the pack,” he said under his breath in Juvjk.
“Then do so, you don’t need my permission,” she said in the same volume. He nodded and walked up the ramp to speak to the pilot.
“So, I thought I would tell you guys a bit more about the tribes of the region if you’re interested,” Freya said as she sliced open a pack of salted ribs.
“Cool. What were the two he mentioned before?” Alex asked, gesturing after the Claw speaking to the pilot.
“Oh, the Walking Waves are a nomadic tribe of raiders and seamen who trawl the waters along the coasts. Every so often they land to cut down trees and build new ships, or trade their plunder in the larger townships. The rest of the time they’re sailing, exploring, fighting, fishing,” Freya said. “The Krennir are hunters, rangers, cartographers. Closest thing the planet has to actual academics, really. They’re generally the only tribe that stays put long enough to actually research metallurgy or cartography. If they’re hitting the Waves, the Waves must have done something really precipitous,” she said.
“Like what?” Venus asked.
“Burn down a trading post or plunder a fishing fleet, something like that,” Freya said. “Nearly all the game animals around here are fish, so if you take out another tribe’s fishing boats, they’re beyond fucked. They guard the trees near the major settlements with whole armies.”
“I hadn’t even thought of that,” Venus said. She bit into a thin bread and ripped off a chunk. “How many tribes are there?”
“Dozens in this continent, it’s by far the most heavily populated. About thirteen each on the other two. They range in size from a few hundred people to fifty thousand. The really huge one on the southern continent has almost a tenth of a million people in it,” Freya said.
“How do the little ones not get annexed by the huge ones?” Jake asked.
Freya cross her legs and picked up a flatbread of her own. “The little ones are bare bones, really. All warriors and survivalists. The huge ones are only huge because they won some land in previous wars and had the chance to get big. Big families, internal politics. Eventually, the big ones splinter or get overconfident and attack enemies who have lots of allies, and they get cut up by the other tribes. It’s been like this for eleven thousand years,” she said.
“And they never learned any sort of advanced technologies or anything in all that time?” Remilia asked.
“They never felt like they needed it,” Freya said. “I’m sure that they’d take it if it were given, but they’ve survived alien invasions, the coming of the Emperor, and who knows what else without real science. Even the Rout doesn’t use technology if they don’t need it,” she pointed out.
“Don’t they have lower standards of living because of that?” Jake pointed out.
Freya shrugged. “Lower than whom? The other planets of the Imperium that they don’t know exist?”
“Fair enough.” Jake started assembling a sandwich. “So do you think you’ll go and see some of them in your time here?”
“Oh hell yes! I’ve been waiting for that. Probably in some of the larger settlements on the northern continent, they tend to be busy. Land is the only real commodity on Fenris. The summers around here are caused by volcanic eruptions, not seasonal axis drift, so the amount of available farm and hunting land changes literally every year. The only permanent cities are the ones that are built on top of stable tectonic plates,” Freya said.
“Sounds a lot like Nocturne,” Venus said.
Freya paused to think. “It does, doesn’t it? Not really the same. The Nocturneans are a part of the greater Imperium, and they’re proud of that. My people are proud that they aren’t. Inasmuch as they know about it at all.” She bit off some salted meat and chewed. “They think my father’s men are warrior-gods, who descend from on high to take fallen soldiers and sailors off to ascend to godhood in the Fang. Let’s not disabuse them, all right?” she said.
“Of course not.” Venus nodded solemnly. “We probably won’t interact with the natives much anyway, right?”
“Nope.” Freya paused to sip at her water. “I will, though. If you guys don’t mind.”
Alex frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I mean I want to put on some makeup and disappear for a few days. Go and explore the tribes a bit from a distance.”
“Well, you just said you would do that,” he pointed out.
Freya shrugged uncomfortably. “No, I mean actually go into the cities in disguise and just explore a bit. It wasn’t really safe to do so alone before, I was ten. But, well…now I want to go see what my people are like when they don’t know I’m me.”
Venus smiled knowingly. “It gets to you, doesn’t it?”
“It does. On Nocturne you did it, but they all knew who you were by sight. If I hide my teeth and eyes, nobody on this planet will know me,” Freya said. “I want to take advantage of that.”
“You don’t need our approval, do you?” Alex asked. “Go.”
“You’ll be on your own for a while, though,” Freya pressed. “And you may have noticed that some of the Wolves don’t like visitors. I would feel awful if I left you alone for a week and all you guys did was sit around your rooms playing cards.”
The Claw returned from the hold of the gunship and knelt by her side again. “The pack leaves for the greenskin hunt, Sister,” he whispered.
“Good.” She spoke up, a bit louder, and in Gothic. “Tell me, Brother, what do you think my comrades should do in their time here?”
The Claw paused. “I do not understand.”
“Their journey is as much an opportunity to learn our ways and see our world as it is a holiday. What do you recommend?” Freya asked.
The Claw slowly sat back down, clearly surprised. Bits of sand flaked off of his well-worn combat boots as he sank onto his haunches. “Well…we so rarely support visitors…I would ask what they hope to do,” he said, glancing at the teenaged vacationers.
Jake shrugged. “Personally? I want to see real weather. Fly a gunship over a storm cell and look at it from above. That would be amazing.”
“That can certainly be arranged,” the Claw said.
“You know what I haven’t done in a million years?” Remilia asked. “I haven’t gone mountain climbing. I would love that. If I even remember how,” she said with a snort.
“Also a possibility.” The Claw looked to be less than thirty years old, to Venus’ careful eye. He had a thick line of muscle growth along his upper back that said ‘ex-cavalry’ to her. Carrying the axe or lance on horseback and sweeping them at knee height would account for it. His eyes were even more bestial than Freya’s were. The edges of his irises were a bit blurred from hundreds of capillaries crossing the whites into the red-brown discs. His canines looked only a tiny bit larger than Freya’s. But then, he had probably only been implanted a few years before.
“I’m looking to see the mountains, too,” Venus said.
“The chance to go fishing in a body of water with actual fish sounds good,” Alex joked. “Nothing but reservoirs on Terra.”
The Claw finally smiled. It was nothing more than a faint curl of the lips, but it was there. Freya noticed and spoke up. “Sit, Brother, have some food.”
“Thank you, Sister, but I would rejoin Brother Arj on the hunt.” He stood and bowed slightly to his guests, slapping a fist across his plastron. “I will return in a while to carry you all back to the Fang.”
The Claw melted into the loose undergrowth and trees once more. As soon as he was out of earshot – keeping in mind that that was a fair distance with a Wolf – Jake asked the obvious question.
“What hunt?”
“He’s probably off getting lunch,” Freya said. “There’s decent game around here.”
“In an hour? What if he can’t find anything, it all got scared off by the gunship or something?” Alex asked in confusion.
“Then he’ll be hungry.” Freya lifted a fruit and sliced it in her hand. “It happens.”
Alex thought that worldview over. “You know, on Terra, someone once told me that parts of the planet were so agrarian at one point that hunting actually became necessary, because they had to keep animals away from the crops.”
“Not a whole lot of cropland on Fenris. We just eat whatever’s at hand, even if we have to go kill it,” Freya said sagely.
“‘We’ again.” Jake looked over at her. “You really do think of yourself as a Marine?”
“No, not…well. A Vlka Fenrika? Absolutely. An actual warrior? Not until I earn it.” Freya grinned at Jake just wide enough for him to get a good look at her fangs. “Do you not think of me as a Wolf?”
He smiled back, unperturbed by her display. “No, you are. It’s just not a side we see at school, much.”
She nodded, satisfied. Jake continued. “Do you know how we can send messages home? If there were Astropaths in the Fang, I didn’t see a way to contact them.”
“Eh, Astropaths aren’t too popular around here,” Freya said uneasily. “I’m sure there is one, though, we get messages from somewhere.”
Venus finished her sandwich early and rose to her feet. “May I just take a quick look at the gunship? Just to see how it’s different.”
Remilia chuckled. “Typical. We’re on a new planet for the first time and the first thing she does is inspect the wargear.” Freya waved her assent around a mouthful of cookie.
Venus walked around the outside of the gunship, her hearing still allowing her to follow the others’ discussion. The pilot, a handsome serf in the livery of the Wolf Father’s Company – the equivalent of the Fire Drakes – nodded politely as she ran her obsidian fingers over the rack of assault cannon targeting gear. The pilot emerged from the cabin moments later and joined her in her external inspection.
“Milady Venus, an honor,” he said.
Venus nodded to him and stepped back, drinking in the details of the gunship. It was clearly old, but well-maintained enough. A few errant spots of rust or damage peeked through the paint, though. She tried not to appear disapproving. “Hello,” she said.
“Fine old war bird, isn’t she? Stygies 13-built,” the skjald said. The rough brogue in his voice lent his words a proud feeling. That, or he just knew his aircraft. “The Rout assigns specific pilots to specific craft, and they’re almost never Astartes themselves,” he added, stroking the same targeting array fondly. “This little bird has been shooting heretics and aliens in the arsenal of the Rout for about nine hundred years.”
“Venerable spirits, then,” Venus said, nodding her respect to the ancient machine.
“They sure are.” The skjald – who only looked a few years older than the Claws that had ridden there with them – leaned on the light blue aircraft and smiled easily at his guest. “How are you enjoying your stay so far?” he asked.
“It’s been beautiful,” Venus said, gesturing out at the ocean. “They sure don’t have those on Terra.”
“Not any more anyway,” the skjald chuckled.
“Right.” Venus stepped back from the ship and crossed her arms over her loose fleece jacket. “Do you ever fly her in combat?” she asked.
“My ship? Sure, several times. But, as you can see, it’s a Transport variant, not an Attack-variant,” the pilot said. He turned a keen eye to the horizon as he said it. “Hmm. That’ll be a problem.”
“Pardon?” Venus asked.
The skjald gestured expansively. “Lord Seager may get that chance to watch a storm today.”
“Is there one coming?” Venus asked, scanning the horizon with her hand over her eyes.
“Slow, but huge, milady, make no mistake of it,” the pilot said, shaking his head at her naïveté.
“How much time do we have?” Venus asked.
The pilot glanced at thickening darkness over the horizon. “It’ll arrive in perhaps…four hours. I’d say it would last less than two hours, but the wind will drive ships aground if they don’t moor properly.”
“Interesting.” Venus glanced at the much taller man. “How can you tell?”
“Milady, I grew up around here. This is something you have to know if you work the fleets,” the skjald said.
A faint rustle revealed the two Claws emerging from the sparse vegetation around them. “My Lady Venus, we must depart,” one Claw said. The other immediately reported the same to Freya, still sitting with the others and snacking. “A Walking Waves ship is moving down the coast to us. We will not be here when it arrives,” the Claw said flatly.
“Understood, Marine,” Venus said, immediately moving towards the ramp.
Minutes later, the group was in the air. The aircraft soared over the landing site. To Remilia’s vocal surprise, the Wolves hadn’t even attempted to conceal their presence by erasing any signs of their picnic site.
“We take no issue with our kin knowing of us having been here. If anything, it will help,” one Claw said. His wide brown eyes glinted a little in the light from Venus’ questioning stare. “The tribes of Fenris will always make war, milady. They know we watch them.”
“For what? Signs of weakness?” Remilia asked.
“Of course not, milady Remilia.” The Claw leaned forward. “We look for the fallen. Those who are struck down before their prime.”
“And…what do you do with them?” Remilia asked carefully.
The second Claw spoke up. “That is for the Rune-seers to know, milady, and no other.” He glared at the other Claw for a moment, and Freya smelled the resentment that his companion had spoken out of turn.
The first Wolf was expressionless under the resentful stare. At length, the uncomfortable silence was broken. “We’re at two klicks up, Miladies, lords. If you wish to see that storm cell, Lord Seager, now would work,” the pilot said over the intercom.
“Cool. Can we?” Jake asked.
In response, the rear hatch began to open. Jake clipped his tether back on and rose, peering over the edge of the gunship. The pilot brought it to a dead standstill. Jake and the others grabbed hydraulic lines and hatch stanchions, staring out at the sea below.
“It was blue down there, last I looked,” Jake said quietly.
The whole world was grey. The entire horizon, from one end to the other, was wreathed in a thick white-grey mix of cloud. Every few moments, the veil would light up with blue, as a lightning bolt arced down to the water.
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Isis/Abbada and Angela
Awww hell.

Those don't grow back, Isis is boned.

(also that is super cool)
“Weather is awesome,” Jake decided.
“This is something I should have done years ago,” Freya chuckled.
“Funny how you don’t appreciate weather until you’re with somebody who’s never seen it,” Remilia mused.
Jake shook his head. “Remilia, you’d have thought that was cool whether I was here or not.”
She shrugged. “Probably.”
The ramp abruptly began closing. The five teens backed up as the pilot broke in. “Sorry, my Lords and Ladies, but the cell is moving closer to shore, and we’re going to get hit by fierce updraft. Can’t risk hatches open,” he said, sounding somewhat distracted.
“Understood. Back to the Fang, then,” Freya said, her cloak billowing around her in the wind.
The gunship banked and climbed as the group retook their seats. Within minutes, the roar of the engines died a bit as the gunship soared far above the storms and into the thinner upper atmosphere.
As the Thunderhawk flew back to the Fang, Freya removed her helmet and tether and walked up to the cabin, poking her head into the cockpit. “Pilot, what time will it be local when we arrive?” she asked.
“Around 1310 local, Princess Freya, but it will be dark as coal,” the pilot said.
“Aye, Princess, it’s late autumn in this hemisphere.” The pilot nudged a brass knob slightly as the wind picked up. “Only the top four hundred decks of the Fang will have natural light.”
“Any idea how many of the Brothers will be in the Fang when we return?” she asked, arriving at the question she had wanted to keep off the vox.
“Two Great Companies’ strength at most, at this point,” the pilot said, muting his microphone.
“Of course, thanks.” Freya closed the cockpit and thought over her newfound insights. She slowly ran a soft leather gloved finger over her lip, considering.
“Freya?” she heard someone ask over the engine din. Alex was looking at her questioningly.
She padded back to her seat and slid in. “Sorry, wanted to ask the pilot something.” She slid her arm around his waist and smiled. “You guys mind taking the afternoon off? The Great Companies go off to join the hunt. It’ll be a wild rush in the Fang to get the Brothers mobilized.”
“Sure, we can just hang out for a while,” Alex said as the others shrugged or nodded.
The gunship slid into a cradle on a mid-level dock of the massive structure. All around them, dozens of servitors and skjalds were hauling massive racks of autocannon rounds to pallets, to be lifted into gunships. Freya led the group skillfully through the chaos, arriving at a tiny passenger lift at the back of the dock. With a tap, the started ascending into the core of the colossal fortress.
Jake leaned back on the railing, massaging his aching ears. “How come the Wolves…Rout decided to make a single gigantic HQ, Freya?”
“No idea. It’s cool though, right?” Freya asked with a smirk. “I’ve never asked.”
“I’d kinda like to know,” Jake said, rubbing his fingers over his ears. Alex was looking uncomfortable too.
“I can just ask,” she said. She cocked her head with some concern. “Are you all right?”
“No, the pressure differential in here fucking hurts,” Alex said. He planted his hand over his nose and relaxed the muscles at the back of his mouth, popping his ears. “How in the hell do the skjalds deal with this kind of pressure shifts?” he asked.
Venus and Remilia, their biology accommodating them far better, looked at Freya askance as the perky redhead shrugged. “No idea. It’s probably just like working on a shuttle, though, right? You just get used to it.”
Jake shook his head. “The air pressure in the underhive is half again what is in the spires. I’ve been to both and I’m still in pain,” he said, aping Alex’s gesture.
“Well…sorry,” Freya said.
“I’m not faulting anybody. You live in a building this tall, you pay the price,” Alex said, sniffing deeply.
The Imperial positions were devastated, much of the cover blasted apart by the massive explosion and the bodies of many Imperial troops scattered everywhere. Though he was by now inured to the sight of death, the sight of such carnage caused so swiftly left him with a sick feeling inside. The Stompa continued to move forwards like a victorious god, and Julius could almost imagine that the bestial face mounted on the head was smiling. There was a whoosh close to his ear, and the face vanished seconds later. The Tanith missile team reloaded with grim urgency, as scattered fire from the imperial remnants hit the metal colossus. The two Malcadors fired their battle cannons, the shells gouging holes in the stompas armour. The stompas arm mounted cannon fired, the shell missing the Malcador and smashing a nearby building to dust, along with the Perdix heavy weapons troopers sheltering within.
There was an answering ‘boom’ as the baneblade fired its huge cannon at the stompa. At that range it was nearly point blank, and the shell tore into the stompa before exploding, blowing the monster open. The imperial troops gave out ragged cheers, but they knew that the breach could no longer be held, and more and more Orks were pouring through. The soldier’s vox crackled, and he muttered something to his fellow before addressing Julius.
“A general retreat has been ordered, we’ve held the breach for over two hours and the army and PDF are now safe behind the inner walls. Find your squadmates and get to safety.”

“What about you two?”

“We’re staying. No Orks will pass us as long as we draw breath, and maybe we can buy you all some more time to escape. Now go. GO!”

Julius took one last look back before he started to run. As he did, other troops all over broke cover and began to run for safety. Strangely, very few of them were wearing Tanith black. Were all Tanith troopers this balls out insane? He’d have to ask Professor Ahriman about that one once they got to safety. But he’d have to get to safety first, and ensure those brave troopers didn’t throw their lives away in vain.
All right, Ahriman's internet has quit completely, he'll be down and out for the next three days. Navos has run dry of fresh material, so he's out too. I've got less than thirty pages left, and The Editor is nowhere in sight. The thread is going to slow down a bit over the next few days, I suspect.
The lift halted on the deck with their suites, and to Freya’s immediate notice, they weren’t alone. She detected at least four other people where there had been none before. Curious, she glanced over the piles of luggage outside the apartment doors. The containers were all mil-spec plastic, with Imperial Aquilae on them. A few skjalds were carrying them into the apartments, apparently settling in some new tenants.
Venus pushed her own door open and stepped in, noting that her previous assessment had been accurate: the room had not been cleaned. She shrugged, tossing her fleece jacket over a chair. She leaned back out of the room and caught the eye of one of the skjalds. “Excuse me, where’s the laundry on this floor?”
The serf blinked. “I beg your pardon, milady?”
“Is there one?” she asked.
“Er, yes, milady, one floor below,” he said, somewhat surprised. “But all you have to do is leave something in the hamper by the door and we’ll do it for you.”
“Ah, thanks,” she said, sliding the door shut.
Jake stretched out on his back, weaving his fingers together behind his head. “Hell of a flight,” he said softly.
“Wasn’t it?” Venus asked. She unclipped her thermo belt – the only part of the outfit she had worn – and dropped onto the bed next to him. “That storm cell was something else.”
Jake glanced around the room before ruefully shaking his head. “Oh, durr.”
“I started looking for a holo,” he chuckled.
“Right. None of that on Fenris.” She slid up next to him and listened to his tension fade. The sound of him equalizing to the lower pressure on this floor was unusual. “You’re all right now? No pressure aches?”
“A little, actually. My legs are tired,” he said. “Not used to changing pressures that fast in an unsealed lift.” He stuck out a hand and she obligingly shifted into his arms. She may not have been Freya, either in regards to the sensitivity of her senses or her need for familiar environments, but it was still a comforting gesture. She relaxed into his grip as he rolled sideways to look at her. “How about you?” he asked.
“I’m great. Looking forward to tonight.” She closed her eyes to protect his. “Freya’s little story-teller circle should be fun.”
“I hope we’re not treading on people’s toes,” Jake said.
She shrugged awkwardly. “I don’t think we are. Certainly the two guys on the flight today were pretty polite.”
Jake conceded the point with a silent nod. She rose from his arms and started pulling a nicer shirt on. “If we’re going to be dining with the actual leadership of the lingering Rout, though, we should look the part. The jacket shirt from the ball back home should be good for you,” she said.
“All right.” Both teens fell silent as they dressed for the evening.
Freya, who didn’t feel the need to change, was waiting for the others outside the rooms when a few Imperial Army officers stepped from a lift at the end of the corridor. They were arguing vociferously, with all the wild gestures and veiled threats of an old married couple. Freya leaned back against the wall of the corridor to let them pass, and they walked straight by and into their rooms without even stopping to acknowledge her. Then, perhaps they hadn’t recognized her.
Freya stared at their retreating backs with confusion, but shrugged it off after a moment. It was only when a muffled yell came from one of the rooms that her attention returned. Curious, she made her way over to the open door, to see an officer cradling a hand, glaring at a dropped battery. “Bloody cheap power cells!” the officer growled. He caught sight of Freya and glared. “Something you need, ma’am?”
“Sorry, I heard a yelp and thought someone was hurt.” She ducked back, settling back against the wall outside her own room and waiting. Moments later, Alex emerged from the room, smartly dressed in a navy blue vest over a light blue formal shirt. Remilia emerged from her own room with Jake and Venus arriving moments later.
“Everyone ready? We have an hour before the dinner, we should explore a bit,” Freya said.
“Sure thing. You’re keeping the cloak and cowl look?” Alex asked.
“You bet your ass,” Freya said. “I’m the only Fenrisian here, I’m gonna look it.”
The group walked into a lift and dropped down to the central levels of the gigantic structure, pausing outside a room Freya knew very well. She opened the doors with a respectful nod to the pair of guards outside, who clasped their Power Swords to their ceremonial leather armor with reverence.
“This,” Freya said, taking in the room with a gesture, “is the Recollections Chamber.”
The wide room was filled with images of the sky. Not just Fenris’ sky, with its massive moon and wide starscape, but alien skies. Massive rings shimmered like vertical lines in some of the still photographs and holos on the walls. A complex moonrise of five tiny satellites orbiting a single massive moon filled one corner of the room. Directly above them, the white disk of Fenris’ own moon, in a partial eclipse leaving it looking like a platinum wedding ring, completely filled the ceiling.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Freya asked.
“It’s amazing. What words are these from?” Alex asked.
Freya gestured, and the lights of the room went out, save a single spotlight over a graven plaque on a chunk of marble in the middle of the chamber. The plaque had numbers and names all over its surface. “The holos all have numbers next to them, if you switch them on,” she said. She tapped one of the numbers on the plaque, and the seemingly inert surface *ticked* slightly. One of the images of starscapes over them blinked once. “So…that one was taken in the final year of the Arceba Wars, from the roof of the capitol building the aliens built over the human colony there, before Dad’s men burned it down.”
“So these are commemorative victory trophies?” Venus asked. Her eyes swept beams of light over the holos until she slid her mirrored sunglasses on.
when you finish writing warhammer high and tales of the emperasque, you should really try to write actual novels for profit. both stories are great! keep up the awsomeness!
I'm considering it. I'd have to write a novel before pitching it to someone though.
“Sort of. These were taken any place the Rout won a campaign without losing any Astartes,” Freya said. She gestured at a small shot of the Milky Way from deep space. “We leave the spot next to that one picture there vacant. In that campaign, the Wolves won without losing any Marines, but an entire battalion of Army troops was lost to the Warp.” She pointed at another, very large image on the farthest wall, of a fiery red moon hanging over a tiny white one. “That’s the oldest. Fiftieth year of the Crusade, I think. Dad was there for that one in person.”
“These are incredible,” Venus said. She reached her hand through a hologram of an inky, black night, with only a few faint stars. “I bet this was taken on a hive world, but far from the hives.”
“Sure was. How could you tell?” Freya asked.
“The light pollution. There’s few clouds, but the stars are so faint.” Venus pulled her hand back and looked over the plaque. “This is very cool, Freya.”
“I’m glad you like it.” Freya crouched down before the marble block and sketched a quick symbol over the stone. She sat down at its base and crossed her legs, drawing her cloak up around her. “I used to sit in here and listen to Dad tell stories for hours as a kid. Closest I’ve ever come to inactivity,” she said with a self-deprecating chuckle.
Remilia tapped a rune on the plaque and watched an image flicker. “This is almost like a shrine,” she said.
“It is a shrine.” Freya looked up at the moon of Fenris overhead. “We honor our most significant victories.”
Remilia nodded. “It’s humbling.”
Alex sat down by the door, looking at the stars flowing overhead. “You ever sit here and try to make the star patterns line up?”
“A few times. It’s kind of useless without a reference point. There’s a few obvious ones,” she said, gesturing to two that looked nothing alike to the mortals in the room. “They were taken on two planets in the same system.”
“…Uh huh,” Alex said.
Venus crouched beside Freya and looked over the plaque. Freya looked over at her and saw the faint red ovals of light under the reflective surfaces widen and shift as she read. Of course, with no irises Freya couldn’t see them move side to side. “Six…seven…eight hundred image keys,” Venus said under her breath. “Are all of the Wolves’ major zero-casualty campaigns here?”
“Not even half, but these are the ones where they had time to stop and record them,” Freya said.
“Cool.” Venus glanced sideways through her glasses. “Do you guys have a shrine to your members of the Great Ninety, too?”
“We do, but it’s not here,” Freya said. “It’s in the Hall of the Giants. I can’t get you guys in there.” She paused. “Well. Yes…I could, but it’s the most sacred room in the star system.”
“I understand, Freya, I didn’t take you guys into the Hall of Deathfire, either. Can you describe it?” Venus asked.
Freya thought. “The Hall of Giants is where the Legionary Dreadnoughts rest. You can understand its significance,” she said.
“Sure, I get it.”
“Right. It’s a statue of a hooded Vlka, nobody specific, standing over two sleeping Fenrisian Wolves, with one hand over his secondary heart, and the other making the symbol of the Fang in mid-air over the sleeping Wolves,” Freya said. “The names of our four members of the Great Ninety are carved into the base of the statue, and the words filled with sapphire dust. In the light of the room, it looks like fresh paint, of the same color as the paint scheme on the original Legion Terminators,” Freya said. “It’s just a coincidence that all four of our Great Ancient Ones have Terminator Honors.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that. That sounds very cool,” Venus said. Remilia listened in with interest. The Fists had a much simpler monument to their five members. “You’ve seen our public one on Nocturne, in Themis. Dad also built a private monument on the grounds back home.”
“I remember.” Freya drew her knees up to her chin and stared at the plaque, reminiscing about her youth in the Fang. Venus stood and walked away, as much to give her cousin privacy as to see the rest of the room.
After a time, a guard at the entrance to the room coughed under his breath, drawing Freya’s reluctant attention. “Princess, Lord Ackur Redwind has instructed me to inform you that your room has been prepared for the evening meal,” the skjald said quietly. He didn’t enter the room as he said it.
Freya nodded. The guard turned around to relay a reply. The teenage girl’s eyes drifted back to the plaque for a moment before rising to her booted feet. She brushed dust from her leather skort. “Well, guys, dinner’s ready.”
“All right.” Jake stood from his own seat and walked out. As Venus and Remilia followed, Alex paused. Freya was standing still, watching the simulated stars all around her. The legacy of her pack’s most hallowed and unilateral victories shimmered around her in a tapestry of history, one as lasting as her father himself. Alex didn’t need to ask why she liked it so much.
He waited for her. After a few more seconds, she shook herself awake and walked out, pausing to squeeze his hand and offer him a toothy grin. “Hell of a thing, isn’t it?” she asked.
“Sure is.”
Below, Lord Redwind, the presiding second in command of the Twelfth Great Company, slowly paced the small room the serfs had set aside. He hadn’t met Freya before, but from what little he knew of her, he expected the meal to be eventful, to say the least.
The door swung open, and a pair of skjalds in formal uniforms stepped in and offered up crisp salutes. “Lord Redwind, on behalf of the Imperial Army Sixth Grand Army Group, I present to your Lordship: General Bletcher and General Mustafa,” one said. The odd tone in his voice spoke volumes about how unusual it was to speak so formally, even to a Lord, but certain protocols mattered more than others did. Lord Redwind was nothing if not a stickler for protocol.
The two Army officers walked in and saluted sharply. Redwind eyed them both before gesturing them to seats in silence. As they sat, Redwind halted his pacing and slowly walked up to the table. The loose blue robe of office he wore did very little to conceal his massive frame, and the tracery of tattoos and scars over his face and upper chest. “Warriors. Welcome. I am afraid none of us have a great deal of time to chat,” he said, completely without preamble. His voice was surprisingly soft, which was all the more unnerving for his bestial eyes. There wasn’t a scrap of humanity left in them.
“I understand, my Lord, and we are sincerely grateful for the time we have,” one of them said.
“Do not mistake me, General. I mean that we may discuss freely, but there is another guest arriving shortly, and that guest and their companions demand the highest attention I can provide. So please, let us be frank,” Redwind said. His Fenrisian accent brought his vowels long and cut his consonants short, lending him a somewhat imposing tone that did little to put his guests at ease.
“I see. Then straight to it, your Lordship: the call has come. I understand that the Seventh has mobilized?” the other General said.
“It has. Part of it, anyway. My own company will be next to dispatch on the hunt, I’m sure, if it is dispatched.” Redwind sat as well. “What’s your own disposition?”
“The regiments are raised, your Lordship, and the Naval assets diverted.” The first General looked sideways at the skjalds who stood motionless by the door, and decided not to make a point of them. “The messages coming in from the fronts suggest that the activity of the green hordes has died down a bit since the dam broke on the Void Walks, but we can’t rely on that. The very nature of the greenskins is a persistent one: when they find a target they literally CAN’T stop fighting it. We have to be ready for greenskin colonies to be forming outside the traditional…‘borders’ of the Imperium,” the General said.
“Naturally, General.” Redwind leaned forward, setting his unblinking gaze on the speaker. “What are we looking at?”
“There’s whole regions out along the Void Walks that are completely unexplored, sir.” The General shrugged awkwardly. “Worst-case scenario, there’s entire Webway networks and Ork empires out there we’ve never even mapped.”
“Sounds like a best-case scenario to me,” Redwind said, very softly. Both Generals shifted uncomfortably.
Redwind’s ears caught the other guest walking down the hall. He straightened in his seat. “Gentlemen, as much as I’d like to sit and talk shop…”
“Of course,” one of the officers said, rising to his feet. He paused with a gesture from his host.
“…Perhaps we could pause for supper and simply continue after my other guests are gone?” Redwind continued with a slight smile.
“Oh.” The General sat again, feeling somewhat foolish. “We’d be honored to eat at your table, of course, your Lordship.”
The door swung open. Both skjalds immediately sank to a reverent knee. “My Lord Redwind, her Majesty, Blood Princess of the Rout, Freya Russ.”
Both Generals froze stock-still. Redwind finally grinned.
He rose to bow his respect. “Sister, welcome home.”
“Good to be back, Brother Redwind.” Freya sketched a quick nod and made the symbol she had made before. “We’re honored.” She reached her hand out behind her, switching back to Gothic. “Lord Trader Alex Carlin, Sieur Jacob Seager, Lady Primarch Venus, Lady Primarch Remilia Dorn.”
“A true honor, my Lords and Ladies,” the one of the Generals said, rising to his feet. He started when he recognized the redheaded girl leading the group. Freya clearly made the connection, too.
“How’s your hand?” she asked slyly.
“Good as new…Princess Russ,” the General said sheepishly. “Sorry if I was short before.”
“Sure.” Freya swept her cloak aside and sat at the table as the rest of the group took their seats, and the skjalds discreetly closed the door behind them. “I do feel welcomed. This is hardly my first homecoming, of course,” she added with a tilt of the head.
>those don't grow back

That makes no goddamn sense.

Birds molt and replace their feathers. Feathers get damaged and wear out and have to be replaced.
I am on Dial-Up, so this will be slow. Agonisingly slow. Like it takes half an hour to load this page after every post slow. So, I'll try my best to post some more for you all. Let's see what happens...
Summer and Flynn were already at the C-80 when Julius got there, sorting through what was left in the cargo bay.

“You came through offworlder, and hardly the worse for wear. Here, take this.” Flynn tossed an object to Julius, who grabbed it out of the air and automatically checked it. It was an Autogun, Agripinaa Pattern, 8.25 calibre with a twenty round box magazine. Julius was reminded of the immensely more deadly weapon concealed under his coat, and shuddered.

“Have we finally reached this point, when we need weapons ourselves? I thought as CDA we signed up because we wanted to help without bearing arms?”

“Look all around you. The army’s pulling back, and the fething Orks are pushing forward. We may run into a few roadblocks on the way to the inner wall gate, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. Even Summer has a weapon.” Summer responded with a gesture from her PDF issue Lasgun. “Now where the hell are Scvott and Dyllion?”

“They were delivering those shells to the baneblade last I met them.” Flynn said.

“We can’t wait too long for them, another few minutes and we leave, with them or without them.” Summer said with an air of finality which startled both of them.
Every second dragged out as they waited for Scvott and Dyllion to arrive. The sounds of Imperial weapons fire slackened and faded, and the sound of the Orks grew and grew. Julius sat in his usual position in the back, Autogun resting on his lap. If any Orks tried to pursue them, it would be his job to keep them at bay. He wasn’t happy with being assigned that role, but he would do it anyway, and hoped the Autogun would be enough if it came to that.

“Fire up that engine! Get us the hell out of here!” it was Scvott and Dyllion, running as fast as their legs could carry them. Dyllion had a cut in his forehead, and Scvott was clutching one arm in obvious pain.
“What happened to you two?” Summer asked as they bundled into the C-80.

“Fucking Orks. They blew one of the Malcadors just after we’d restocked the baneblade, and because of that idiot,” he growled, gesturing at Scvott, “We were too close.”

“They’re well and truly into the outer city now, we’d best make tracks before they cut us off.” Scvott ignoring Dyllion and trying to re-establish his authority.
The C-80 sped away, and swiftly they were enveloped by the buildings of the lower city as Flynn navigated them towards the inner wall gate.

In the distance there was a massive explosion, loud enough to be heard above the din of battle.

“That must have been the Baneblade. Brave bastards, they drove straight into the heart of the horde, crushing Orks beneath their treads as they poured it on with their cannons. Those Caorst boys have balls.”

So do the Tanith, Julius thought, and the Belladon, and the Perdix. Every soldier who willingly stayed behind there to die had balls.
There was a roaring sound and several objects dropped out of the sky before them, forcing Flynn to hit the brakes. It took a split second for Julius to recognise what they were, and a shiver went down his spine.

“Stormboyz!” Julius yelled. Insane Orks who strapped rockets onto their backs in a parody of the Assault Marines of the Astartes, Stormboyz had a habit of exploding in flight, but were deadly assault troops all the same. And now they were in the way. Flynn spun the C-80 around as the Orks started running towards them, firing their pistols enthusiastically. Up close, the Orks were ugly muscle bound monstrosities, death in green skin, their close combat weapons seemingly to large and heavy for anyone to carry, yet they held them high.

“Waaagh!” they screamed as Flynn hit the gas. As the C-80 began to pick up speed, they fired their rocket packs and began to speed after them. So much for leaving them in the dust.
They sped down the street, the Stormboyz in hot pursuit. Julius had seen so many chase scenes in holo-films, but he had never expected to actually BE in one.

“Oll! Don’t just sit there, shoot at them!” Scvott yelled back.

Julius had almost forgotten the reason he was in the back, the reason he had that Autogun. He lifted said Autogun into position, aimed it as best he could at the pursuing Orks and thumbed the trigger.

‘Ratatatatat’ the gun sang as it kicked against Julius’s shoulder and spat out a burst of bullets at the stormboys. None of them seemed to hit, which was hardly surprising given how fast they were travelling, but it felt good to be firing back. He fired burst after burst at the Orks, and once saw one of the stormboyz falling back. Killed, injured or out of fuel? Julius didn’t know, but at least that was one less Ork out to kill them.
“Dammit, are we even heading for the inner wall gate?” Julius growled as they turned another corner.

“Ah’m trying to keep these fething green skinned bastards off our backs! Stop distracting me!” Flynn grunted as he sent the C-80 on yet another hairpin turn. One of the stormboyz missed the turn and crashed into the side of a building, but the rest kept on coming. Flynn was pushing the C-80 to the limit, treating it like a sports hovercar as he pushed it around corners and acted like he was in an episode of High Gear.

“Are we going to be doing this all bloody day?” Dyllion asked Flynn as they turned into yet another street.

“Given the fuel gauge, ah’d say we’ve got another hour in us.”

“But by then the Orks would hold the outer city, and we’d have no way of getting to the inner city.” Summer said. “We have to head for the gate, and hope that there are troops there who can help us.”

“She’s right; I’m damn near out of ammo for the Autogun and the Orks are coming closer. We have to make our way there, and trust the gates are still open.” Julius loaded in his penultimate clip for the Autogun, and loosened off another burst at the stormboyz. Bullets from the stormboyz pistols continued to whip past, but none of them ever connected. As the seconds wore on and they began to draw ahead of the pursuers, Julius began to feel a small sense of optimism. They would escape from this one, and live to fight another day.
Julius had no idea what happened next. One second they were speeding along as normal, the next the floor fell away from Julius, throwing him out of the C-80. He fell hard, knocking the wind out of him. As he rolled over, he saw the C-80 was lying nearby, smoke billowing from its crumpled engine. Flynn, Scvott and Summer were running from it towards him. Then the C-80 went up in a blast of flame, throwing the others to the floor. Their method of escape was no more.

As they got up, the Stormboyz roared up and landed before them. There were only three now, but those three were more than a match for five confused CDA troopers.

Summer, as brave and reckless as ever began firing at them with her Lasgun. The angry Orks ran towards her, weapons raised.

Julius could not, would not see her killed. His Autogun might be empty, but he had another weapon literally up his sleeve. He fumbled for a second, before drawing Vulkan’s Hellpistol and locking it on the leading Stormboy just as it was about to strike her a blow. The Hellpistol beam made a shrieking noise as it lanced straight through the Stormboy, before its rocket pack exploded and destroyed what was left of it. The other two Orks turned to face him, but he had the upper hand now. Another shot dealt with the second Ork, and Dyllion put down the third one with a burst from his own Autogun. As they came over to Julius, he found the hand holding the Hellpistol was shaking like a leaf. He’d killed a sentient being like himself, actually killed it, even if it was only an Ork. He expected to feel something, joy or relief, but all he felt was empty inside, hollow.
The lack of scout and Cultist-chan offends me.
But please continue
“Where did you get that fancy weapon offworlder?” Scvott asked, or rather demanded.

“An heirloom from my Grandfather. He fought alongside the XVIII Legion during the last years of the crusade, and was granted this before the Angelus Triumph. It still works perfectly.” A half-lie, hopefully one they would swallow.

“It seems you have many secrets offworlder.” Summer smiled knowingly. Julius tried to smile back, but all he could do was grimace. That fall had hurt. He knew he would be black and blue with bruises come the next day.

“We can’t stick around; the commotion will likely attract more greenskins, and we’re in no fit condition to fight them.” Scvott said.

“But where will we go? We can’t walk to the gate now; the Orks will have cut us off long before we reach there. I don’t even know where we are.” Julius said.

“The lower city, close to the southern climbs. I know this place well, and I know exactly where we can go to hide.” Flynn started off, followed by the rest of them.
As they went, Julius took one last look back at the burning C-80. There would be no worn section in the back anymore, just another hunk of burnt out wreckage. The analogy seemed apt for his entire experience on this once peaceful world.

The sound of Orks filtered through the streets, hounding the rag-tag bunch of CDA volunteers as they followed Flynn through the winding streets. Julius had the feeling that Flynn had no idea where they were going, but he trusted that the Tanith native would see them through. He knew the famed reputation of the Tanith, and besides he had no other choice in the matter.

“Ah, here we are.” Flynn had stopped near a deserted alleyway, with a sewer entrance at one end. What did he mean, they were there?

“Here, follow me.” Flynn lifted up the manhole cover, and slid into it. Was he serious, would they hide in the sewers? The Orks would be into them like a shot, and he knew common protocol was to blow them if the outer city fell so the Orks couldn’t outflank the walls.

“You’re first offworlder.” Scvott pushed Julius towards Flynn and the sewer. Julius scowled, but he followed Flynn down into the abyss, lit only by the faint light of Flynn’s Lamp-Pack.

Halfway down the ladder, Flynn simply disappeared. Julius blinked, and blinked again before a hand popped out of the wall.

“In here.” Flynn whispered as he came closer. It was a passageway concealed beside the ladder, almost impossible to notice unless you actually knew it was there. Julius swung himself into the passage, waved at Dyllion who was next in line behind him to follow, and then followed Flynn down the passage. He had to crawl, but it fortunately wasn’t too cramped. For what seemed an age he crawled along, Flynn’s lamp-pack lighting the way.
Julius saw light at the end of the tunnel, a small amount of it. He emerged into an open space the size of a rugby field. There were lights in the ceiling, and a large board showing a faded map of the city on one wall, though on closer inspection that map had to be several centuries old, the Port Huron there was barely recognisable as the city above them. A steel door at the other end of the room led out.

“What is this?” Summer asked once all of them were inside.

“When the Xenos Overlords ruled Seadelant, the human resistance build dozens of underground bunkers where they would live and rest under the very noses of the Overlords. Most of them lie forgotten, but not this one. This one I found while exploring a year or so ago, and I’ve more or less turned it into my man cave, more or less.” He laughed as his own lame joke. “There’s still a lot of stuff in here left over from the resistance movement, so we can make the most of it. This is the planning room, where the resistance would have planned their attacks. Follow me.”

The Bunker complex proved to a lot more, well, complex than Julius had expected. There were separate rooms for resistance fighters to sleep, nearly 30 of them all up, a command room dominated by a metal table, and even a garage which Flynn had filled with tools, parts and the disassembled chassis of a Hovercar. The stores room still had a fair number of cans of food, which Flynn predicted would last them several weeks or more. The armoury was the biggest surprise, with two locally made heavy stubbers and several ammo drums, as well as several PDF issue lasguns and a Lasgun powerpack recharger. Scvott summed it all up.
“We’re stuck behind enemy lines, and there’s no way we can reach the safety of the inner walls now. The PDF will have blocked off the sewer access points as well, keep the Orks out. But at least we have all this, food, water, weapons and a place to sleep. We can safely stay here until the relief force arrives.”

A couple of hours later once they had all settled in and he had finished offloading his gear into his room and exploring the base, Julius knocked on the door of Summer’s room a few over from his own. He had said to himself that if he survived the breach, he would apologise to her for comparing her to a madman like Keiter, and now he was fulfilling that promise.
She opened the door to him, and let him in. all of the rooms were quite small, and yet her one was very tidy. The cot was made, the shelves set with neat piles of musty old books that must have dated back decades, and the large scented candle from before resting on an empty ammo crate. Julius felt slightly uncomfortable, and resolved to get straight to the point.
“Look Summer, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently, with all that is going on. We could have died so many times out there, and it makes you think.”
“I’m so sorry about what I’ve said earlier, about comparing you to Keiter. I tarred all Emperor Worshippers with the same brush. Now I can see now you’re nothing like him, and I feel like a fool. Can you forgive me?”

Summer patted her bed, and Julius sat down on it. “The Emperor protects, Oll. He protected me during that battle, he protects me now. And he protects you, though why I can’t tell.”

“I don’t know if I need his protection, and he has many more problems on his plate than worrying about me.” A memory of his anger when he had confronted Isis and himself over the Petitioner’s City incident crossed his mind, and he shuddered. Summer didn’t seem to notice, and she continued.

“You’re lucky, in a way. You’ve never had that void inside your soul, that feeling that there must be something more to life than all this.” She gestured at his Catheric Crux. “Before, I had it all. I wanted for nothing, and yet I never felt more alone, more lost. And then I found the truth, found the Emperor. Of course when my parents found out, they disowned me. Not in public mind you, too focused on their public image to have it stained by the revelation that their daughter was a follower of the Lectio Divinitatus. No, the quietly cut me off and said that I had been sent away, when in reality they had simply turfed me out. No matter where I go, I can’t practice my faith openly. I feel like I’m persecuted for it.”
“You ARE persecuted for it. Imperial law has the Lectio Divinitatus as illegal, and all who follow its teachings.”

Summer simply looked at Julius and replied. “You should be in the same boat as me. Honestly, I find it almost hypocritical that you Catherics escape persecution, whereas we don’t. We both believe in religion, ergo we are both opposed to the Imperial Truth, and we are both breaking the Imperial creed. The only difference is my god is alive and well on Terra, I could actually see him. Have you seen your god Oll?” There was no hostility in her voice; no sense that she was ridiculing his faith; it was simply a question, nothing more.

Julius thought for a moment, and began, slowly at first, but soon he spoke with earnest fervour. “No, no I have not. But sometimes I feel Him. He’s been there for me for as long as I can remember, and though I may neglect Him sometimes, He’s never neglected me. My friends all find it strange that I believe, but I don’t let that get to me. I have faith that He’s there, that He has a plan for me, and that when my time comes He will welcome me with open arms.”

Summer smiled at him, a smile full of warmth. “I feel the same way about the Emperor. We’re not that different, are we? We both have faith in a higher power, and we both know others don’t like our beliefs.”
“Yeah, we are. We are.” Julius could say no more, there was nothing else he could say. He politely took his leave, returned to his room, and sat down hard on his cot. Summer was so far removed from Keiter; Julius could hardly believe they held the same beliefs. She didn’t act holier than thou, she didn’t use her beliefs as an excuse the way Keiter did, she didn’t consider herself better than other people because of her faith, and what to Julius was the most important of all, she didn’t ridicule his own faith, she accepted it. And she didn’t accept it with that air of distaste he had come to expect from his days at Imperator High. Even Isis found his beliefs unusual. She’d never accepted them as gracefully as Summer did, it had taken time for her to come to terms with his faith. He’d never had to think about his faith this way before, as the only other person who could be compared to him in that regard was Faith Aurelian, and she hadn’t been a shining example for faith, no pun intended.
For the first time since he arrived on Seadelant, he took out his Crux, knelt down at the foot of his cot, and began to pray.


“So that’s it?”
“It would seem so my lord. Thanks to your efforts, we got over ninety percent of the PDF and eighty-seven percent of the Army out before the Orks broke in. Even in defeat you still saved the day.”
Ahriman didn’t feel like he had saved anything. The outer city was now infested with Orks, occupied by the foe. The inner walls were heavily garrisoned by the Army and PDF, and the repositioned artillery had just begun to throw shells into the occupied sections to deny the Orks cover and kill as many of them as possible, but the inner walls were also shorter and less steep, making it possible for the Orks to climb them with grappling claws. The task of defending what was left of the city had just got a whole lot harder.
Ahriman stood in Huron’s square, where the artillery was setting up and beginning to fire once again, and weary soldiers were trying to catch some rest. The aide had presented him with the complete casualty report from the Ork breakthrough, and though the news sounded good, nearly two thousand troopers had been killed in the defence of the breach, and during the desperate rearguard action as they fell back to the inner wall gate. Most of the Tanith troopers had elected to stay behind when he had given the retreat order, and buy some more time with their lives. For so many years he’d heard about the reputation of the new Tanith regiments, but only now was he truly appreciating it. If only there had been some regiments of them during the Crusade, maybe it wouldn’t have dragged on for so long. He’d already approved the list for posthumous medals, and it was getting longer by the day.
Nearby, Commissar Lord Günter cursed loudly as several medics treated him. His arm had nearly been cut off when he had gone one on one with a Meganob, the Ork equivalent of a Terminator. Amazingly despite his injury he had bested the Meganob, felling it with a Plasma Pistol shot to the head, although the blow had cut all the way to the bone, and Günter wouldn’t be fighting fit for a week or more. He hoped Tanith morale wouldn’t suffer because of it.
“Heads up my lord, the Graf approaches.”

Graf Trakeria was heading towards him, escorted by a pair of bodyguards with Hellguns. He could see the anger smouldering in her aura, though whether that was directed against the Orks, or him, he couldn’t tell. Either way it didn’t bode well. Trakeria came up to him, nodded very briefly, not very convincingly, before coming straight to the point.

“Well my lord, thanks to you the loss of the outer city wasn’t a complete catastrophe. We salvaged something from that mess.” Emphasis on the We, she obviously didn’t like the direction his command was taking and wanted to remind him that she nominally commanded the cities defence alone. “The Governor isn’t happy though. Your artillery is now reducing her city to rubble, the city you pledged to protect.”

“And the Orks are pillaging it as well. You don’t think I know? My sight was blinded, and this was the result.” There was bitterness in Ahriman’s voice, after the glorious chaos of the battle he felt empty inside and the full weight of his failure. In battle he was the master of his destiny, outside of it he felt his failures keenly. He should have seen that Rok coming, seen it long before it did its damage. But once again his sight had failed him, as it had been failing him ever since that vision, what seemed like years ago. Since then he had exchanged his teacher’s uniform for his crimson armour, fought the dark side of Terra with the Night Haunter, saved two brave but foolish teens from certain death, and left Terra in disgrace as a result of all that. The greatest astartes psyker ever, disgraced before the Emperor Himself. How the mighty have fallen.
>She was standing, unsupported and barefoot, next to him on the ramp.
>Fiesty, beautiful, tribal redhead in traditional garb
>Confident, tactile... and barefoot
Trakeria pressed home her advantage. “Lord Ahriman, are you sure you’re up for leading the defence now? You’ve done all you can, and done a damn good job of it. You hit the landing force hard, and were a great help in destroying the towers. But it seems your powers are no longer working as well as you wanted; given you let that Rok slip past your sight. It might be time you gave command back to me. I’d be glad to keep you on in an advisory role, but I’m human, and from what I hear I understand the stresses of command better than you seem to do.”

“If I hand over the defence to you, the city will fall in less than a week.” Trakeria stared at him, open mouthed at his snub, but he wasn’t finished. “You have no experience of real battle; you’ve spent this whole time commanding from that bunker, not facing death alongside the men and women. I respect your authority, and have consulted you before every decision I have made, but I alone have seen all the Greenskins are capable of, and I know what they’re likely to do now that they hold the outer city. What do you know of war, beyond the books you’ve read?”

She took a step back, then another one, her mouth opening and closing but no words coming out. Ahriman was sick and tired of people questioning him because they thought they knew better, and this woman was only the latest in a long line stretching back many years. She had to face the hard truth, they were on a knife edge, and one false move would see the fall of the city, and the planet with it.
“We’re in for a long siege now, and as before our only hope is holding until relief arrives. I can ensure we hold, but only if you let me have freedom of action. I will keep you informed as before, but you won’t try to meddle. Is that quite understood?”

“Yes my lord.” Trakeria visibly deflated, and she turned and slunk back towards the PDF building, her guards following. Ahriman had enough on his hands already, without political intrigue to add to the burden. He didn’t want to have to watch his back as well as his front, one enemy was enough. If he damn well survived this, he would head out somewhere where no-one could disturb his meditation. Angelus sounded good at this time of year.

“What was that all about?” Günter asked, his injured arm now in a sling.

“Just the Graf needing a few reminders.”

“Oh? That bad eh?” Günter looked uncomfortable in bandages, and Ahriman could see him grimace every time he moved his arm. “Technically a Commissar is a Political rank, but I have never been one for politics, too much mess and confusion. Give me a foe I can face, a weapon in my hand and I’m as happy as a Grox in the mud.”

“The same here. We never had to worry much about politics during the Crusade. Everything was so much simpler back then.” Ahriman turned to go, and then stopped as a thought entered his mind.
“By the by, those CDA troopers who were helping us at the breach. Do we know if they made it?”
“I can check my lord, but it doesn’t seem likely. I never saw them after you gave the retreat order, and they would have been mentioned in the reports.”
“That’s ok. It was only a thought.” Another five lives sacrificed to the Green Menace. He didn’t know why, but there was something about those five civilian volunteers which had interested him. The woman in particular, she had run past a bevy of angry Meganobz to resupply him with shells for his Bolt Pistol, and he had even seen her take out a Trukk full of Orks with a frag grenade while supplying ammunition to the Belladon troops. Back then as the war raged around him he felt like there was something deeper to these mad civilians, something which might tie in to the fate of this world, another string of fate gently tugging at him, reminding him of futures to come. Now that too was gone, and all he had left were those endless, nagging doubts.

Julius crossed off the days on the makeshift calendar he had scratched into the concrete of the briefing room. Nine days. Nine days since the skies fell and the Orks invaded, nine days he had been stuck on this world. By now he would have been over halfway to Calth, and wouldn’t have had to worry about his life, and Venus and her friends would be just a day out from Fenris. But on the other hand he wouldn’t have met Summer either, or Flynn, or the others, and he wouldn’t have been reminded about how important his faith was to him. Some small good had come out of the crisis after all, though the bad far outweighed it. Would he even get out of this alive? And if he didn’t, how would the others feel? His father would mourn him he knew, but would Isis? Would the other Daughters be saddened by his demise? And what would his life have meant to any of them? So many questions, he was almost drowning in them. He didn’t want to think about any of them, didn’t want to have to face the fact that his life was hanging on by a thread now, and any time that thread could be cut. That was an old saying the Space Wolf Skjalds sang, to the Wolves all lives were threads in the tapestry of fate and sometimes those threads had to be cut, or were cut.
I'm not sure if you are receptive to critique, but some of the proportions are wonky. Isis's (that's the one holding the feather, right?) shoulders are too wide or her body is too narrow. The shoulders and hips should be roughly the same width or the hips wider than the shoulder, depending on how developed she is etc. Her shoulders could be a little bit wider if she was a swimmer, though the upper body should be more muscled for that. One last thing about the shoulders, it looks like she is tense even though her general expression suggest she is relaxed and teasing. I suggest angle you them some. Gravity should have an effect on their boobs, unless they both are wearing push-up bras that are a few sizes too small.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, I really want to see more of your stuff!
His rather morbid thought train was thankfully interrupted by the sound of voices coming down the corridor.

“We’ve been in this hellhole for four fucking days. How much longer are you going to subject us to this farce?”

“There’s nothing I can do Dyllion. We can’t face the whole Ork horde singlehandedly, and there’s no way we can get into the inner city. At least here we have food, water and shelter.”
The two entered the room, Scvott calling out greetings to Julius.

“What do you think of all this Oll? Dyllion here is bitching about our ‘confinement’, and blames me as usual. But what else can we do?”

“You don’t need to be claustrophobic to feel ill at ease around here. I believe the old terran term for this is ‘cabin fever’. We’re all stuck here together in the dark, for g…who knows how long.” He’d nearly let his tongue slip, and apart from Summer no-one knew his real beliefs, a situation he intended to maintain. “We’ll need time to adjust to this life underground, if we are to last it out…”

Julius turned to see Flynn entering the room, wearing full gear and with his Lasgun on his back. He seemed excited or at least animated by some thought or idea. “Sir?” Flynn rarely used ‘sir’ unless he wanted something, or had something up his sleeve. “I want to go up there, to the surface, see for myself what the Greenskins are doing and find out how safe we actually are down here.
>“We take no issue with our kin knowing of us having been here. If anything, it will help,”
Nice little detail. Big Brother is keeping an eye on you.
Scvott’s reaction was swift. “But you’ll get caught, and then we’ll all be doomed. Down here we are safe, whereas you are willing to go out there and risk that safety.” Scvott spoke with obvious conviction, but while Julius admired that, he also knew that it was misplaced. Professor Ahriman had once told him ‘knowledge is half the battle’, and now that analogy seemed more apt than ever. He had to speak.

“I hear your point Scvott, but I agree with Flynn. We can’t stay passively down here waiting for salvation that, for all we know, will take months to arrive. Flynn is Tanith, and there are none who can better the Tanith at stealth. At the very least, he can find out what our chances are if we ever venture topside.”

“If his actions endanger all of us, then we all suffer. This is not about what he wants, or what I want, this is about all of us. I sympathise, but I am your commander, and my orders stand.”

“Look, I can’t see what harm it can do. Flynn knows this area well, or so he says.” Flynn gave him a cheeky grin at that. “He can avoid any Ork patrols, and find out what the situation is up above. I for one would rather know if we are the only humans left in this city.” Both Scvott and Dyllion winced at that, and even Julius silently chastised himself. If that were true, than their lives would be getting a whole lot harder. Would it even be worth staying alive down here, knowing everyone above was dead or enslaved?
“What are you all talking about?” Summer walked into the room, completing the quintet.

“Flynn wants to go topside to scout, and Oll agrees with him. But I don’t like it; he could bring a whole warband of Orks right down on top of us. We have food, water, beds and space down here; we don’t need to throw away our lives on a fool’s errand.”

Summer pursed her lips as she thought for a moment. “Honestly, I agree with Oll here. We have been four days in the dark, though it is safe and secure in here, it is cramped, dank and dingy. How did the human resistance survive like this, for all those centuries while our ancestors toiled under the xenos who had enslaved them?”

With all four of them behind Flynn’s proposal, Scvott found himself outmanoeuvred. He opened his mouth, closed it again, and struggled to find words before finally grunting out. “Fine, fine. Flynn. Go out there and conduct a tactical reconnaissance of the local vicinity. At the first sign of trouble, disengage and return back here.”

Flynn could barely keep the grin off his face as he saluted, and all but dashed for the secret exit. The sound of Flynn faded away as he crawled off down the tunnel. Once all trace of him faded, Scvott turned to Julius and said. “I hope, for all our sakes, that you are right here. All our lives depend upon it.”
“You can’t be too cautious; the best commanders take risks, even calculated ones. After all, would Horus have won on Ullanor if he hadn’t risked it all with his drop on the Ork Warlord’s fortress?” The others trooped out now that Flynn was gone, leaving Scvott and Julius alone. Scvott reached for his hip flask, offered it to Julius who shook his head, and took a quick sip.

“Oll, let’s get this straight. This is my first ever command and I’m learning on the job. I wanted to be a fighter commander, not a ground commander, but as fate would have it I find myself here commanding a ragtag bunch of civilians, hiding in a secret bunker, and I can’t even guarantee my orders will be carried out. I’m not a very good leader if I can let you all override my commands like that. Do you see where I’m coming from?”

Julius nodded. “You just need time, time to get used to the burdens of command and get to know your charges. They teach us something on Macragge, in the military academies there. To lead, you first have to follow. I’ll keep watch until he returns, or until the Greenskins find us, whatever way it turns out.”

“Oll, you are all right, for an offworlder. But next time, try to see things from my perspective as well, and don’t undermine what little authority I have.” Scvott took another sip, replaced his hip flask, and turned and walked off. He was no friend, but there was a growing respect between them, and Julius gave himself a small smile as he sat back to keep watch.
>8.25 calibre
I see you have read that rulebook too. Clarification, when one writes "calibre" it is measured in inches, so 8.25 cal is 209 mm wide bullets. Just an FYI!
After nearly two hours of silence, Julius was startled by the sound of something coming down the tunnel. He went over and called the others in, before drawing Vulkan’s Hellpistol and covering the exit in case it wasn’t Flynn. The sound came closer, and Flynn powered up the pistol. The intruder crawled out of the hole, straight into the muzzle of the Hellpistol.

“Oy! Watch where you’re pointing that fething thing!” Flynn blurted as he felt the pistol against his head. Julius sheathed it apologetically, and called the others. They all crowded round him, eager for news from above.

“We’re lucky, no Orks above us, we’re too far from the walls, and the real fighting. I only saw one patrol, four blocks due east, and some graffiti on various buildings all around the place. No Gretchin either, which seems a little odd. However I did find one thing interesting.”

“There’s an Ork supply route three blocks west of our position. I saw two convoys of three trucks, with four bike mounted escorts carrying supplies to the camps before the inner wall while I was there. You could hear them coming from a mile off, they were so loud. They must have a fair few of those to keep the Orks fed and fuelled up at the walls.”

As Flynn talked, the nugget of an idea formed in Julius’s mind. As he talked it grew and grew, as ideas flooded into it. Summer noticed, and asked. “Oll? What is going on in that head of yours?”
Woah, this thing is still going?
“A plan. A good plan, a way for us to help the poor troops defending the inner city. We have weapons and explosives. We can hit the convoy, destroy it, and deny valuable supplies to the Orks at the wall, help the troops defending it!”

“What are you smoking Oll? Going out there to scout is one thing, fighting against the Orks directly something else. We’d be outnumbered and outgunned. Do you really want us to throw our lives away like this?” Scvott clamped down hard on Julius’s idea.

Summer chimed in. “Oll is right. If we can help the troops out there, then in our own little way we can affect the outcome of this war. The Astartes commander said himself, ‘Even the smallest pebble can change the course of a rushing river’, and any one of us can change the entire course of this war. Who’s to say this one act won’t save the city?”

“All right, who the fuck are you? And what the hell have you done with Summer?” Dyllion growled. Julius realised they had never seen this side of her, the fiery, impassioned side where her natural spunk shined. He knew her better than they did.
“This is me, the real me. And I would be glad to get a chance to do my part for the war effort, even from back here. We are not out of the fight; in fact we have a priceless opportunity on our hands. We are behind enemy lines, and they don’t know we’re here. We can do what the builders of this bunker did, fight the foe from the shadows and make a difference.” Her voice was full of fire, her body seemed to glow, and Julius didn’t have to look to see the expressions on the faces of the others. He’d had the same expression once, but now he was used to it, even if seeing her like this still brought a hot flush to his face.

“I can’t argue with that.” Scvott murmured, reaching once again for his hip flask. “Hell, I can’t seem to argue with anything you say. It’s almost as if I’m not even in command here. I know what you think Dyllion, but Flynn? What say you?”

Flynn grinned, patting his Lasgun.
“Ok, we do this. Dyllion, go to the armoury; gather as much explosives as you can carry, and some backup Lasgun powerpacks. Flynn, come with me, we’ll chart out where the best place is to spring an ambush. Oll, Summer, go into the stores and fetch some canvas sacks we can turn into satchel charges. We meet back here in half an hour.” Scvott sounded more confident, more in charge now he had an actual task to perform, and as he went off with Flynn he was already discussing tactics.

“Well Oll, you’ve got us going again. You seem to have a knack at that. Now come on, let’s see what we can find.” As Julius followed Summer away, he could barely keep the smile off his face, or mask the fear rising within him.
And I'm done. Dial-Up should not exist, it is obsolete and slower than a snail on acid. this has been a nightmare from start to finish, so please enjoy it.
Feedback is welcome as well, In fact we encorage it. And keep the thread afloat until SE takes over again.

Still going on? Dude, I have near 30,000 more words lined up. For the first time I have more ready to post than Someone Else, and that is something. if my Internet wasn't shit...
Moar! All excellent stuff so far.

Feeling somewhat apprehensive about Ahirman and all that. Feels like it might be a lead up to some sort of corruption storyline, which seems pretty feasible in his present psychologically vulnerable state.
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Freya and Miranda(work in progress)

>Dat Miranda
>Dat Eye patch
Different from the original design, but still cute.
Did I reference something without meaning to?

Huh, you're going for the Sakamoto Mio look? This could be interesting.
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My HNNNGG image didn't get posted for some reason, now that I look at my post. This was supposed to go with it.
“Naturally.” Redwind was still speaking Juvjk. “Perhaps you could share your own tales with the other Brothers at a later date, but for tonight, we thought you might want to ease back into the routine,” he continued.
“Of course,” Freya said, again in Gothic.
Redwind paused as the skjalds returned with the food. “Do you not speak conversational Juvjk, Sister?” he asked cautiously.
Freya replied in that language. “I’m entirely fluent, Lord-Brother, but I didn’t cross the sea of stars with my closest friends to speak in a language they don’t understand,” she said, with an undercurrent of instruction to her words.
Redwind nodded contrition. “Of course, my apologies,” switching back to his accented, but understandable, Gothic. Jake eyed the two officers sitting nervously at the other end of the table.
“Afternoon, gentlemen,” he offered.
“Good afternoon…I’m sorry, Lord Seager, was it?” one asked. “General Anton Bletcher, Sixth Grand Army Group. This is Lieutenant General Yusuf Mustafa, Ninth Army Group,” he said, introducing himself and his companion, who merely nodded respectfully.
“No ‘Lord’ in there, but yes. Jake works,” he said. “We’re out from Terra via Nocturne.”
“A home tour, sir?” Mustafa asked.
“Well, we’re from all over, but we went to school together on Terra until a few months ago,” Jake explained. Rising sounds from the Fenrisian end of the table necessitated he speak up. “We’re here for the next…hmm, twenty six days.”
“Indeed? Afraid we’ll only be here another two,” Bletcher said. “Some of this job you just can’t do through couriers and Astropaths, you know.”
“Security risks, of course.” Jake dug into his own steak with enthusiasm. “You just might run into some friends of ours out there in the black, sirs.”
“Pardon?” Mustafa asked.
“We’ve got some friends who enlisted after school,” Remilia supplied.
“Oh? Good for them. Do you know what section?” Bletcher asked over his drink.
“Well, let’s see…Andrew was talking about Praetor Field Artillery. Julius was talking Geno or the Janizars,” Venus said, thinking it over. “Hana, of course, is just going to go home,” she chuckled. “And poor Julius is probably getting a taste of it right now.” She noted Bletcher’s raised brow. “He was travelling from Terra to Ultramar via Seadelant when…well.”
“Ah.” Neither General felt the need to continue.
Alex, meanwhile, was trying not to stare too hard at the display of Redwind tearing through his steak. Even Freya was more sedate. “So, Freya…” Alex said, looking for a distraction. “What’s on the agenda for tomorrow?”
“Hmmm…I was thinking we go seize that rock-climbing idea,” Freya said. “There’s a stable range of basalt pillars around here, we had a small training camp out there before we relocated it. We’ve got heaps of climbing gear, some of it rated to cargo-hauler levels. We could go scale the pillars.”
“Sounds like a lot of fun,” Alex said.
“I love it. First thing I do when I go to a new gym is try the climbing wall,” Remilia proclaimed. “It’s always fun. The hive skins on Inwit were rough instead of being smoothed over like on Terra, so climbing the hive walls is something people used to do for fun back home. Even Mom was a climber when she was my age.”
Freya downed a cup of her honey mead. “Really? Never knew that. Where did you climb on Terra?”
“Oh, the Public Center in Startseite. I’m just a bit out of practice.” Remilia sighed. “Might have to take it a bit slow.”
“I’m a little out of practice myself, but I’d love to go climbing.” Venus stared into the dusky orange mead in her glass, turning it the color of a sunset over the walls back on Nocturne. “I should make sure to write home tonight,” she said to Jake. “I forgot to write when we arrived.”
Redwind paused his consumption long enough to address her. “Then please send your messages to the Star-speakers Temple, milady, not the system Astropaths,” he said. “The system Astropaths are way out in the Oort cloud, on a relay station. Messages can take days to arrive. The Star-speakers are here in the Fang.”
“Sure thing, thanks,” Venus said. “Is there a cap on message length?”
“I haven’t the faintest idea,” Redwind said. “Do speak to their liaison.”
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Oh boy, more updates!
You could post parts of it here! Get guidance on what to do and what not to do!
Except then I couldn't publish it.

One last update before I leave for the afternoon.
After the meal concluded, the five teens made ready to leave, when Redwind held them up. “One thing, Sister,” he said, as the other four rose with thanks for the meal.
“What is it?” Freya asked, her hand on the armrest.
Redwind switched back to Juvjk. “Please understand that any involvement with the Legionary Brothers beyond tomorrow night is at their discretion. You’re welcome in your own home, obviously…but your friends will not understand.”
“I know,” Freya said. This time, she was using Juvjk too. “They’ll be all right with it. We did the same thing on Venus’ world,” she said.
“Very well.” Redwind paused to offer the small group a befanged smile. “Now, do enjoy your stay, so long as you don’t get too near the Thunderwolf pens,” he said evenly. Nobody was quite sure if he was kidding, save Freya, who kept it to herself with a hidden grin.
Oh, before I make tracks: drawfag guy who is awesome, in the last few threads you said you were working on something from this story. Did that go anywhere? Because I'd love to see your take on Remilia, Alex, and Jake.
40% complete
“How much longer until it arrives?” Summer whispered at Flynn.

“Ahboot eight minutes, but it could be anytime. The Orks are nothing if not unpredictable.”

“Oh joy.” Julius was lying flat on the partially wrecked roof of a hab building overlooking one of the feeder roads, Lasgun poking out past a damaged crossbeam and satchel charge at his side. He had been lying there for over an hour now in the autumn sun, and he wished he had brought some sun block, though being in the open again was bliss. When they had first emerged into the light, Scvott mentioned that he felt he was drunk on sunlight, and Julius had to agree. Mankind was born in the light, and the darkness was alien to him. Summer and Flynn shared his rooftop, while across the road Scvott and Dyllion were set up as well, Dyllion wielding the Heavy Stubber from the armoury while the others had their Lasguns or Autoguns.

Now that his idea, his off the cuff battle plan was being turned into reality around him, reasons to doubt it had crept in. What if there were more Orks than he’d anticipated and they were swamped by sheer weight of numbers, or if this was a route barely used, and thus no convoy would come and this whole effort would be for naught?
Stupid Julius, stop doubting yourself, he thought to himself. He had to have faith that this plan would work, and give the team something to live for, something to fight for. This world had grown on him, and its inhabitants had grown on him as well. He was now willing to risk it all for them, and he hoped this little action would make a difference, even if only for the morale of the squad.

Summer tapped her comm-link and swiftly whispered to them. “Dyllion’s spotted the convoy. Eight kliks out and closing fast.”

This was it. Now they were in for a real fight. He settled himself down and mouthed a prayer to slow his beating heart, while he rested his finger on the trigger of his Lasgun, and rested his other hand on his Satchel Charge, ready to grab it the moment the enemy drew close enough.

Now he could hear them clearly, the loud roar of their engines clearly audible and the clouds of smoke coming from their exhausts visible as a growing smudge above the buildings. Julius heard the scraping sound as Summer and Flynn readied their Satchel Charges. Julius would have preferred Landmines, but they didn’t have the time to make any. That would be a job for next time, if there was a next time.
Now he could faintly see the Orks roaring towards where they were concealed. He could make out the shape of several warbikes and a trukk, but they were still too far off, and by now Dyllion would have set down his Magnoculars and taken up the Heavy Stubber. The waiting came continued, but for how much longer?

They were close enough so he could make out clearly what the enemies numbers were. Four Trukks, eight warbikes and a buggy were powering down that road. Their strength was above what Flynn had told them, but nothing so major they would have to cancel the operation, though Julius was mindful of the increased risks. One Trukk was full of howling Orks, the other three full to near bursting point with crudely marked crates. Food or ammo? It didn’t matter, either way it was a target worthy of destruction. He could hear Summer informing Flynn about the enemy, and then the now familiar sound of lasguns being readied.

Every second seemed to become an hour, time itself slowed to a crawl. His father once commented how action seemed to make time slow down or speed up, how a half hour battle could feel like it lasted a whole day, or a day of struggle mutate into a blur which felt like only minutes. He had never known that experience before, but now it was happening to him all too frequently.
Julius felt a tap on his leg, and knew the time was now. Do or die this was it.

Julius lit the fuse on his Satchel Charge. Twenty seconds. He hefted it back, pulled all his weight into his arms and threw it as hard as he physically could, his action mirrored by Summer, Flynn and Scvott. The Charges arced through the air and landed upon the road as the convoy sped towards. Shouts came from the Orks, who had just noticed the figures on the rooftops above them. Ten seconds. Several of the Orks on the trucks began turning their Big Shootas towards the newcomers, looking to get some shots off. Five seconds. The lead trukk crossed the first Satchel Charge and powered onwards. Three. Two. One.

A chain of explosions now rocked the convoy as the charges exploded among them. The lead trukk was blown into the air, the Ork riders scattered like the seeds of a wind-flower, and within a few seconds the others went up with it. Several of the Bikes were rent asunder by the force of the blast, and a chain of secondary explosions roared up as the ammo crates the trucks were carrying went up in the inferno.

“Wolverines!” Flynn yelled exuberantly as the explosions continued. Why Flynn called out such an unusual name Julius could not tell, he had his own problems to deal with.
He lifted his Lasgun to bear, picked an Ork who was hastening away, and dropped it with a shot to the head. More shots came from Summer, Scvott and Flynn, while Dyllion began to strafe any survivors with his heavy stubber. The surviving Orks struggled to disentangle themselves from the wreckage, and were easy targets. Too easy, a nagging voice said in the back of Julius’s mind. Nothing was ever this easy, certainly not ambushes.

“Oh hell.” That was Summer, and she never spoke like that unless something truly was wrong. The Warbuggy was still active, and the Orks on board now had the building with Julius on it in their sights.
Julius ducked as the large calibre shells from the Buggy’s twin Big Shootas smacked into the plascrete all around him. He laid as low as possible, feeling the shots whizz over his head, some barely above him.

‘Dammit Dyllion, we’re distracting it, use that heavy stubber and shoot the bastard’ Flynn growled as the Buggy continued to strafe them. The higher pitched yammer of Dyllion’s heavy stubber cut over the throaty growl of the big shootas, which went silent.

“He heard us. That brooding bugger heard us!” Flynn smiled as he got up and once again began taking potshots with his Autogun. By now there were barely any Orks left, one or two with more courage then sense wildly shooting at the buildings with small arms or running at them with choppas held high, while being picked off by the humans. One in particular seemed to have an idea how to get at the pesky humans shooting at it.
The Ork climbed onto one of the destroyed Trukks, and with a bounding leap threw itself up towards the rooftop where Julius was sheltering. By some freak of fate it made it, and scrambled up onto the roof before Dyllion could target it with his Heavy Stubber. Julius had never been this close to an Ork, close enough to smell the sweat and musk of it, close enough to see the saliva coming from its bucket jaw.

“Green! Over here!” Summer stood up and fired near point blank with her Lasgun, but the beam seemed to do no damage. The Ork growled at her, and lumbered towards her, unsheathing an axe from its back.

“Summer!” Julius yelled as the Ork slashed at her with its crude weapon, blood seeping from a cut on her arm. The sight of her blood stunned Julius, it seemed unnaturally red, but she didn’t seem to notice. She dodged, and dodged again, but the brute was too big and strong, she couldn’t evade it for long. Finally a blow from the flat of the axe sent her flying, and the Ork prepared for the coup de grace. Seeing her lying there battered and bloody filled Julius with a burning hate for the Ork. She would be dead in just a few seconds, if nothing was done to distract the brute. She couldn’t die, not here, not now, he wouldn’t, couldn’t let it happen, not while he could still breathe. Julius reached to the Sword Bayonet hanging from his hip, drew it out and screamed. “Over here!”
The Ork turned away from Summer, noticed the weapon in his hands, left her alone and lumbered towards him bellowing a challenge. Julius suddenly realised he might have made a colossal mistake, but he had to save her.

The Ork hacked and slashed at him, but its blows were sluggish and clumsy, and he found that he could easily dodge them.

As Julius dodged the Orks brutal swings and tried to find an opening for his own attacks, he remembered how his father had taught him how to use a Bayonet, and how Ollanius had learnt the skills fighting at a place called ‘Verdun’, though where that was Julius didn’t know. Finally the Ork made a big mistake, embedding its axe into the plascrete roof. Now was his chance. He ran up and buried it into the Ork’s throat, gagging as the blood sprayed into his face.

Finally the sound of the Orks was snuffed out, leaving the crackling of the flames, the ‘pop pop pop’ of small arms ammo cooking off in the heat and the hiss of the Buggy’s engine as fuel leaked out of it from bullet holes. Julius ran over to Summer, and helped her up, checking to see how serious her injuries were. She was lucky, nothing more than cuts and bruises. Had he been a few seconds longer, she might have been dead. Summer smiled wearily at him as he dressed her wounds, and laughed as he tried to avoid touching any ‘sensitive’ spots. She offered to clean the blood off his face, and delicately she wiped his face clean with a torn section of her uniform.
As she did so Julius checked his watch, and was amazed. From beginning to end, the entire event had taken only a few minutes. Over an hour of waiting for a few brief minutes of action.

The group met up outside, and after a few handshakes and smiles Scvott went straight to the point.

“We have to get out of here, and quick. The Orks will investigate this quickly enough, and I for one would like to be a long way away from here when that happens. We take the sewers, less chance of being detected as a result.” Julius agreed, and so they slipped away like thieves in the night.
All right, Navos and Ahriman are done for now, and I've got some more shit to do, so I'll be posting every so often for the rest of the night.
Evening arrived. The five Terran expatriates ascended to the higher levels of the Fang, above the atmospheric glimmer, to where the stars could be seen all day and night. Since the Space Wolf home was built on the planet’s magnetic north pole, seasons lasted a long time here. By the time the group arrived on the destination floor, the hour was late.
The deck was an oddity. On a proper space station, it wouldn’t have even been considered. That said, nobody doubted its effects. The majority of the deck was taken up with the same machinery that kept the rest of the Fang stable: power conduits, atmospheric venting systems, void shield generators, anticoncussive field projectors, an inertial dampener and antigrav system so the people inside weren’t thrown against the walls with every step.
The rest of the deck, however, was a single, massive, open space, with two-meter thick polarized armorcrys windows stretching from deck to ceiling, and completely undarkened. The polarizer kept the sun as a simple white/yellow disk in the distance, with no glare, but the rest of the sky was unfiltered. Trillions of stars, galaxies, nebulae, planets, and more were visible from the room.
Freya led the group across the open floor. Aside from a few colossal iron chairs, bolted to the deck in places, the floor was bare. No carpets or tiling covered the metal deckplates.
“This is the Observation deck,” Freya said. “I used to nap up here when I was a tiny kid. When the sun was up, I’d lower the polarizer by a fraction and read by the sunlight, or tan if I wanted. The Rout come up here to look down on the world and see their homelands from the skies.” She sank into one huge chair – clearly meant for Power Armor. “Amazing, isn’t it?”
“People pay private pilots hundreds of thousands of credits to fly them up high enough to see this back home,” Remilia said. She walked up to one edge, peering down. “…Good thing I don’t get vertigo.”
“It’s magnificent, Freya,” Jake said. He gingerly peered down too, and immediately backed up. “Okay, that’s a long way down.”
“I’m going to guess that the Wolves justified this to themselves by saying they could spot hostiles or something from here, right?” Alex quipped.
Freya laughed. “Got it in one.”
“Well, it’s an awesome view,” Alex said.
As the other four were talking, Venus slowly walked right up to the window surface. The heat from her drew a wisp of vapor from the thin condensate on the inside of the window as she traced one obsidian finger over its surface.
“Like it, Venus?” Freya called.
She didn’t answer. She slowly spread both hands out on the surface, staring blankly at the galaxy beyond.
“Venus?” Jake asked.
“I’m okay,” she said under her breath.
Jake walked up behind her. “You okay?” He hadn’t heard her.
“I’m fine, Jake,” Venus said. “It’s…unforgettable, isn’t it?” she whispered.
And? And!? What is going through her mind!?
They didn’t stop running until they had reached the safety of the sewers, but once within they were consumed by feelings of victory. They had hit back, they had struck a blow against the Orks from under their very noses. Despite the stench and the filth, they cheered, whooped and even shared a few embraces. And all of them had a few words for Julius, who came up with the scheme.

“Your hair brained scheme worked Oll. Guess that fancy Macragge education you got did you some good after all.” Flynn said. Dyllion just crushed his hand again, and Scvott downed another sip from his hip flask and offered it to Julius, who this time took it. The liquor was cheap and nasty, and it burnt his throat, but it felt better than a hundred medals. Summer gave Julius one of her radiant smiles which lit up her face despite the blood and soot, and he felt his own face burn as he tried to return it. He’d saved her life back there, but he still felt like a little boy around her.

For a few minutes they wandered down the sewer, ignoring the scum soaking their boots, awash in the glow of victory and a job well done. They would soon be home, and they would have a chance to relax and unwind.
The sound of voices wafted down the sewer. Non-human voices. They all froze.
“Quick! In here!” Flynn hissed, gesturing to a large pipe several meters off the floor. Dyllion, the tallest, clambered up into it and helped the rest of them scramble in. Just in time as it turned out. The voices were now close enough to hear what they were saying.

“Ere? Whay we down here?”

“Da boss wanted us to search the sewers, sed the ‘Umies had just hit a convoy, and that dey was hiding down here.”

“Dat’s silly. Da Kommandos tried to use da sewers earlier, and found dem blocked. ‘Ere’s no way any stinkin’ ‘Umies could be down ‘ere.”

“Still, da Boss will hit us again if we don’t at least look around all sneaky like.”

Gretchin. Small Orkoid creatures, vaguely resembling the Goblins of old Terran folklore. Absurd as it seemed, Julius had to wonder how they could speak Imperial Gothic, even with such a thick accent.
Every time I say Scvott's name out loud, I can't help but think of Squats. Was this deliberate, or is it just a coincid-
Inside the pipe, they all huddled together in fear. They were all still a bunch of young adults, who had been thrust into a war none of them could have expected, and none of them were trained for. Julius felt someone’s hand grab his own, and he held it tight as the Gretchin crept past, barely even daring to breathe. He turned to see whose hand he was holding, and with a growing flush he saw it was Summers. She looked from his hand to him, and she smiled at his flustering. Mercifully, Scvott posed a whispered question before he or any of the others could see.

“Why is this pipe dried up? None of the others are.”

“I think it must have supplied the east end of the inner city. You know, where the Lantsfalle’s plan to build the Tsiolkovsky towers to speed up loading and unloading at the spaceport. Turfed out the people without a care, and would have begun demolition work immediately had the Orks not come.” Summer couldn’t hide the bitterness in her voice as she spoke. Julius wondered what beef she had against the wealthy Lantsfalle family, who owned majority stakes in both the Terra Ultramar Road and the Void Walks, but chose to remain silent.
If you want, you could email your stuff to me, and I could post it for you. I've got a hella fast Internet.
“We’ll have to stay here until the Gretchin are gone. We can’t risk walking into them.”

For several minutes they remained silent, with only the dripping of moisture and the gurgle of the sewers. Finally Flynn posed another whispered question to break the monotony.

“Why did you sign up for this? What was your motivation in becoming a part of the CDA?”

There was further silence, before Dyllion muttered something about ‘work experience’, and ‘a break from shifting crates,’ and refused to elaborate further. Scvott was next.

“Command experience. I thought commanding troops on the ground would be good experience for when I command pilots in the air. How wrong I was.” Julius waited to hear him unscrewing his hip flask, but it never came. Dyllion murmured something inaudible at Scvott, who simply shrugged.

“I wanted to help.” Summer said. “Do my part for the Emperor and for Seadelant. I felt I could make a difference. Well, it seems even now I still can make a difference.” Her simple but eloquent words stirred Julius, who tried to ignore the fact that his face felt like it was burning up again. Why did she have this affect on him? It was his turn, and he hoped his story would stick.

“My fa…grandfather told me stories, stories about the Great Crusade. He made it sound so exciting. Now I feel those stories were never quite real, for they never mentioned the fear, the anxiety or the rage.”

“We were all told stories, of the Angelus Triumph and the great homecoming. All made it sound so glorious, so noble. If this is war, real war, then how noble could it have been?”
Aren't satchel charges remotely detonated? Or set on a timer? I think you're thinking of pipe bombs here. Those seem more like a resistance weapon anyway.
Flynn’s pointed question touched Julius, and he thought about it for a moment before replying.

“The Crusade was supposed to last two hundred years, give or take. A blitzkrieg campaign, to use the old Jermanic word, swift, merciless, a complete and total victory. That was the plan, but thanks to the Eldar it never turned out that way. Instead it dragged on and on and on. Instead of taking a planet as quickly as possible and moving on, they stayed behind for a few years to oversee its transition to Imperial Rule. This slowed everything down, as now the Legions were spending more time as a garrison force and less time in conquest. Of course, this did not apply to all the Legions, the Wolves and the World Eaters were utterly unsuited to garrison work. Plus the long campaigns at Ullanor, 63-19 and elsewhere which further slowed the pace of conquest. War weariness crept in, so it was a good thing when the Emperor declared victory and held the Angelus Triumph.”

“You must learn a lot at the academies Oll, to have such a grasp of utterly impractical but interesting bullshit. You thinking of becoming a Remembrancer?” Dyllion asked. Julius muttered a ‘maybe’ before shutting up again.

“Well, Ah just wanted a chance to earn some more money, maybe score myself an Army C-80. So much better than the civilian models and so fun to tinker with.” Flynn cackled for a second, before someone kicked him. They stayed silent for a few minutes longer
>Ollanius had learnt the skills fighting at a place called 'Verdun'
I take it Ollanius isn't QUITE the vanilla mortal we thought he was, huh?
Who's Navos? What about DarkMage? Is that DarkMage?
Read Know No Fear. Oll is now a 'Perpetual (Sensei), thanks to Abnett.
Not used to ice and shit, huh Venus?
Dyllion cautiously peered out, and confident the coast was clear leapt down before helping the others down as well. Now the crept silently along, wincing every time there was a splash or other loud noise. But there was no sign of the Gretchin or anything else living, and they made it back to the bunker unseen.

Once back, they all breathed a collective sigh of relief, and then euphoria kicked in. they’d done it. They’d hit back at the Orks, and all escaped with their lives. Now they could celebrate without the fear of attracting the Orks. They all disappeared down towards the mess hall, chatting and joking. Scvott called back.
“Oll, you may have just turned us into a guerrilla outfit, fighting the occupying Orks from the shadows. Flynn will scout them out, and we will destroy them, help the troops on the walls. We have a purpose down here.”

They all vanished, all save Summer. She waited for Julius, smiled at him almost shyly before asking him. “Julius, would you mind praying with me, before we join the others?”

“But my god isn’t the E…your god.”

“You have a god. You can pray to your one, and I’ll pray to mine. It beats praying alone. And besides, I’ve never discussed theology before; no-one else has ever believed the way I have. It could be fun.”

Smiling, he followed Summer into her quarters, and closed the door behind him.
Oh cool. Also, I've been derping and posting as my hopeful helper name. Still, the offer stands, if your Internet becomes too slow for you to tolerate, I can post it for you.
Silly Julius, Orks have always spoken Imperial Gothic.
>discussed theology
Is that what the kids call it these days?
Wow. That actually makes me kind of upset. I dug the idea that he was just some schmoe who took a hit for the Emperor.

Dammit, Abnett, I'm usually on your side, but that rustles my jimmies.
Makes more sense this way. The Emperor shouldn't care about random human #3857372193857472828930, but he would still care about his kids.
Jake looked at her curiously. “It is.” He glanced out to follow her vision, and saw only the mass of stars beyond the sun. “Looking for Nocturne?”
“It’s…over there,” she said, pointing indistinctly to one side. Her eyes wandered across the ocean of multicolored dots. “I should be recording this,” she said, pawing at her pockets for a vox or camera.
“I am pleased to see you taken by the view of our world, Lady Venus,” a deep, growling voice said from behind them. Alex turned to see a Wolf in light grey robes moving up behind them. The Marine had a single mass of tangled blonde hair down the middle of his back, but the tattoos on his face covered nearly all his visible skin. “I am Konnar, Priest of the Runes. An honor,” he said, bowing slightly.
“Likewise, sir,” Venus said, returning the gesture as the others bowed.
Freya scrambled up from her chair. “Konnar, good to see you, Brother,” she said.
“You as well, little sister,” he said in Juvjk. Turning back to the others, his brilliant blue eyes settled on Venus, still watching the stars out of one eye. “It is captivating, is it not?”
“It’s magnificent.” Venus glanced back at their host. “What are the major constellations?”
Konnar walked up beside her. “There, directly ahead…that large red star. That is the highest of the Falling Stones. Below it there, and below there…those are the others. Our ancient kin took them to be rocks, falling down the side of the walls of the stars.”
“I see them now,” she said. Her eyes narrowed a bit. “And…that circle of blue stars, beside them?”
“The Waters of the Moon. Long before man tamed the wilds, the spirits of the ancient wolves traveled to the moon to slake their thirst for water. Finding an abundance, they sent some to Fenris, and some to the sky.”
Venus nodded in silence. The Marine looked down at her with an odd look in his eyes. “Your people have a story like it?” he asked.
“We do.” She shifted her shoulders. “When the world was colder, and the forests still grew, Kesare and Kessarghoth, the Eldest Drakes, crawled through the tunnels of the Mountain of Death. When they went to the surface for prey, they saw a great dragon, larger than either of them, terrorizing everything in its path. Kesare attacked the dragon in anger, for the drakes and dragons are ancient foes, but was thrown back upon the rocks. Kessarghoth struck next, but could not bring the dragon down either. Finally, both slid back amongst the crags, where the dragon’s fire breath could not reach them, and lured the beast forward. When it drew too close to the top of the mountain, Kesare struck again, and held it still, while Kessarghoth lit the mountain’s heart on fire. The molten heart of the mountain burst forth, and propelled the dragon out into the endless night, where it rests now…” she trailed off, searching the sky. “Right…about…there,” she said, pointing at a brilliant red star.
“After that, the world was wreathed in fire from the bleeding heart of the world, and the waters turned to acid, and the forests to stone. Kesare and Kessarghoth were hated by the stars for causing such damage to their home, and throwing the great beast into the heavens, and all the good water was taken away by the stars, never to be returned…and there it is,” she said, pointing at a dim blue star near the shining red one.
Konnar smiled slightly in the darkness. “Both of our people found ways to turn the beasts of the land into a force of nature,” he said.
“They did.” She looked up at him from somewhere around his waist. “Is that what you wanted to show us?”
“No, Lady Venus,” the psyker said. He gestured to the chairs behind them. “Sister Freya asked me to tell you a little about us.”
The group founds seats as the Marine leaned back against the window, rubbing his chin. “Did you have something in mind specifically, Sister?”
“Well…I wanted my friends to have a chance to hear a bit about Fenris itself. The tribes, the people, the planet.” She leaned forward. “What can you tell them that isn’t in the history books?”
Konnar narrowed his eyes a bit. “Interesting.” He laced his fingers together and thought, head bowed. “Fenris…she is a harsh mistress, indeed,” he said. “Our world is a land of tumult. Where some colony worlds banded together to overcome their homeworld’s geography, ours turned life into a competition.” He tilted his gaze up a few degrees, staring into the interminable distance. “Not one with rules, either.” He gestured at the planet below. “There’s more than forty eight tribes down there, each claiming all the territory they can. Land is more important than anything else, to the tribesmen. Land means crops, trees, and most importantly, game.”
He half-turned to stare down at the massive oceans visible on the surface below. “Our people believe that the sky above them is a massive vault. Above the clouds, there is a great gallery, leading into many halls. Within them live the greatest warriors who have ever lived. The worlds upon which we kill in the Emperor’s name are halls, to which we send our warriors, some of whom do not return.”
Konnar turned back to his audience. “Even here, on Fenris’ brutal surface, the great fallen are given a chance to live again, in song, in legend, in namesakes.”
Freya drew her legs up to her chin again and listened, green eyes wide. Konnar smiled despite himself. She looked no older than the ten years she had been when he had seen her last, at that moment. “Naturally, there is some truth to their myths. For the stars ARE halls, of a sort, and contain many worlds, many battlefields. And most of the Vlka Fenryka who have ever lived rest on those alien shores and lands.”
He sat in one of the iron chairs and faced the five. “The tribes share little beyond their language. We erase tribal loyalties from our Blood Claws, for once you join the Rout, there is no-one beyond your pack and your Wolf Lord, and Father Russ above all. What little they know of us…is shrouded in myth and reverence. And, of course, some fear. Many times have we descended on great wars and conflicts to break them up, or even encourage them. They do not know their Imperium, you see. Only their Emperor, the All-Father, He Who is Above the King.”
Jake tilted his head a bit in silent question. Konnar, of course, noticed. He didn’t need his immense psychic powers to do so. “Though the Fenrisians hold the Emperor above all other authorities, most do not worship him as a true god. They hold him to be the pinnacle, the epitome of all that is human. Which, by contrast, makes their worship of us all the more fervent. To them, we are the sentries of the Emperor’s army, who carry fallen warriors away to eternal glory. To a degree, we are.”
“Is that how you recruit?” Alex asked.
Konnar went silent for a moment. “I will say that that is part of it. More than that…forgive me, but that is not my part of the story to tell. You understand.”
“Sure,” Alex said, nodding assent.
Venus looked over to the expanse of stars, watching a tiny comet blaze by. “How many Fenrisians are there down there?” she asked.
“Perhaps eight million total, but for each major tribe, there are ten small ones, some less than a thousand strong. Others are much larger, and their nomadic camps can stretch over entire valleys.”
Jake looked out the window too. “Are all the tribes connected to the oceans in some way? Or just the ones we heard about today?”
“Which ones did you discuss today?” Konnar asked.
“The Walking Waves and Krennir,” Jake supplied.
“I see.” Konnar rolled one robe sleeve up to the elbow. “I was once of the Krennir, myself.” The tattoos to which he gestured were indistinguishable to the group from the others.
“How much do you remember?” Alex asked.
“Not a thing,” Konnar said. The Rune Priest let his sleeve fall. “The lives we leave behind are important as a lens, through which we examine our history, but they are not who we are now.” He leaned forward a hair in his seat, a lopsided smile on his scarred face. “The tribes of the shores…I would say most of them have at least some presence in the waters. Only a few dwell in the hills and fields alone, and they are the specialists. They are the cavalry archers, they are the beast-tamers, they are the traders. The tribes of the seas and those who travel between land and water freely are the raiders, the explorers, the fishers.”
He settled back against the iron chair, looking over the group. Freya hadn’t budged, and Alex and Jake seemed enrapt by the lesson. Remilia was listening with her hand on her chin, and Venus had gone back to staring out the window at the planet below.
“What catches your eye, Princess?” Konnar asked her.
“Nothing specifically. It’s just…really incredible. Can you see any of the SDF or Legionary ships from here?” she asked.
“Not with the naked eye. Not now that so many have taken to the front,” Konnar said. He turned back to the others. “Now…I am sure you’ve gathered, or even been told, that many of the brothers do not feel entirely comfortable with those outside the Legion learning so much about us. There is, however, one story they would be proud to have me tell you,” he said.
“Which one?” Freya asked.
“An older tale. The tale of our victory over the Fallen Souls,” he said. “Despite the name, they were neither daemons nor renegade human warriors.”
“What were they?” Jake asked.
“Warp Emanations. Not daemons, but aliens that live within that dark realm.” Konnar tilted his head back and began.
“Three thousand years ago, the Crusade had entered its second phase. The Primarchs had been found, STC relics and blueprints were pouring into the arms of the Machine God’s worshippers again…the Imperium was young and strong. Around this time, we began to lose contact with individual planets at the very outermost edge of our progress along the star lanes to the Astronomican’s edge. This happened, from time to time, you see, as Warp storms we had used as focusing points for Astropathy ebbed, or as worlds decided they really didn’t like that far-off Emperor fellow, and screw him we’re on our own. Nonetheless, the worlds with which we began losing contact were physically very close to each other. Some were less than three light-years apart. We began to suspect an alien invasion.” Konnar leaned forward, splaying his hands over his knees.
“As you can imagine, we were loathe to part with our hard-earned territory. The Rout was dispatched, with Lord Gunar Wolfsmane at the head of the pack, nearly five thousand strong. The first world we reached was embroiled in anarchy. The Astropaths were dead, which was how we lost contact. The Mechanicum stations around the system were under siege from psychotic SDF crews, fighting for their lives. The surface was embroiled in a conventional arms battle that had laid waste to a city before we even got there.”
“Why did they turn on themselves?” Remilia asked.
Konnar nodded. “We quickly realized that most of the visible victims were authorities. Psychics, Astropaths, judges, techpriests, officers, a Navigator. We thought it was an uprising, or that perhaps that an Imperial officer had abused his authority one too many times and the people were attempting a regime change.”
He shook his head. “How wrong we were. Sporadic distress calls from bunkers across the planet began reaching us. We heard pleas for aid and backup, desperate inquiries into ‘when will the Sisters arrive?’”
“The Sisters…of Silence?” Jake asked.
“Indeed. We had heard no requests for assistance from the Sisters, so we simply retook the void platforms and ships of the system before landing in force. We fell from the skies in pods and ships, and cut our way to the embattled Governor’s mansion. No sooner had we arrived than we were fired upon. The Governor’s own personal guard had turned, and tried to cut our warriors down. After dispatching them, the Governor himself arrived, and begged for the Sisters of Silence to come as fast as they could. We demanded to know why they were needed, and he said that every single psychic in the system – and everyone who had been in contact with them for nearly a day before – had turned on the Imperium, and were using their abilities to control people and turn them into a slave army.”
Konnar took in their looks of disgust. “We felt much the same you do, my friends. We immediately split up, fanning out over the system and isolating every psychic we could find. As we did, though, we found an oddity. Many of them were already dead when we arrived. They had been parasitized, you see, by Warp beings. The beasts had taken over their minds and used them as hosts. So you see, the psychics themselves were not at fault. They were beyond rescue, however, and we granted them the Emperor’s Peace as often as we could. The ones who had already released their parasites to attack more people were burned.”
“Were you there in person for this?” Freya asked, spellbound.
“No, Sister, this was two thousand years before I was even born.”
He leaned forward again. “I’m sure you’re wondering why I told you this gruesome tale. The fact of the matter is, we remember such things, and pass along such things, specifically because they are hard to hear. We have peace, now. A grand peace, that envelops the Imperium, and honors the fallen. Some of the fallen, however, were not warriors. It is just as important to remember those who fell simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time as it is to remember those warriors of the Imperium who fall in the course of their duties.”
Remilia and the boys nodded solemnly. “So it is,” Remilia observed.
Freya rose and inclined her head. “Thank you for sharing that, Rune-brother,” she said respectfully.
Venus watched as the old Priest rose from his seat. “My honor, Sister.” He made for the door. “I will see tomorrow night, when the time comes,” he said, departing through the lifts.
Jake turned to Freya. “Will we be having a session like this tomorrow too?” he asked.
“No, but we will be dining with the rest of the Fang tomorrow,” she said. “He’ll be there.”
“Oh.” Jake nervously rolled his shoulders. She grinned at his obvious discomfort.
“Fear not, you guys will be able to leave whenever you want.”
“Good.” Jake glanced over to where his girlfriend was still sitting in her chair, looking around the expansive room. “You’re really taken by this room, aren’t you?” he asked.
“I am. Sorry,” she said, standing up.
“For what? It’s a cool room,” Jake said.
She shook her head with a rueful grin. “It just feels really familiar, for some reason. I dunno why, Prometheus doesn’t have anything like this.”
“Well, you can come back whenever,” Jake pointed out.
“True.” She shrugged, sending black hair across her back. “I think I will.”
One quick trip in the lifts later, the group bedded down. As Alex struggled out of his vest, Freya closed the door to their suite and pondered the day. “What do you think of my home so far?” she asked. Her reflection in the mirror on the back of the door showed her in her Fenrisian cloak, and she paused to adjust the drawstrings, idly closing the hood over her face.
“I had a blast,” Alex said, his voice muffled by the shirt he was removing. “The ocean was amazing. I can see why you wanted to come back, it’s a hell of a planet.”
“All you’ve seen so far are the military and some water,” she pointed out, playing with the hem on her cape. “The parts that will stick…we haven’t seen them yet. Thanks, though,” she added.
“Rock-climbing tomorrow, then?” Alex asked.
“Yep. Ever gone?” she asked. She slid her hands behind her and unclasped her skort, letting it fall away.
“Nope. Should be fun.” He sprawled back on the bed, fumbling for his slate.
Freya walked up beside the bed, sliding the cloak’s clasps loose and draping it over a chair. She settled down beside Alex and watched over his shoulder as he checked his messages. “Hmm. Nothing. Want to write home?” he asked.
“No, I’m fine,” she said. She tugged her shirt loose and snuggled against him as he turned the slate off. “You’re not writing?” she asked.
“I sent a message while you were already here on the Fang,” he said. He peered up at her. “So…why did you ask Konnar to tell his story to us?”
“I thought it would be interesting for you guys to hear a real Fenrisian storyteller,” she said. “Wasn’t it?”
“It was. I just thought he was going to go on a rant about pyskers or something, from the way he was building it up,” Alex truthfully said.
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Four hours since someone other than me posted in the thread.

Right, that's my cue. See you all tomorrow.

Someone keep the thread alive for Ahriman.

Here is Angela glaring at you.
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bumping for more of this awesome tale
I was just waiting for the next update...

Well, you only need to wait a little longer. My turn again, which means Dial-Up hell for me, and more awesomness for you.

one thing, why do no drawfags do any for my work? or for that matter, why no comments for my contributions?

Nitpicking, on with the show now...
Johor Tull peered up nervously at the façade of the Manus residence. He had been here many times before, but always he had this reaction to the brooding building made of Medusan Granite. He had spent much of that void between graduation and his imminent return to Xenobia here, and he should have known better by now. Trying his best to ignore the tracking Auto-Turrets, he unsteadily walked up to the immense front door and banged on it as heavily as he dared.

The door flew open with a speed unusual for its size, and Farah Manus all but dragged him in. Johor immediately noticed that she was fidgety, even more so than usual, and her normally bright eyes were overcast. A frown split her face, and she appeared more like her stone hearted father than he had ever seen her, and this scared Johor, deep down.
She wheeled him into the living room, and he sat down before the holovid. Farah flipped it on, where news anchors were debating over what could happen if Seadelant were lost for good, and the Orks able to establish a foothold along the Terra-Ultramar road, cutting the Imperium in two.

“When did you hear the news?” She asked, adjusting her bandana. she only did that if she was fidgety, or nervous.

“It was leaked this morning. As you can see, the Press are having a field day. The single most important link between Terra and Ultramar severed? The Chartists are bitching like mad, and there are already reports an entire trade fleet has been lost in the Warp. Let me guess, you’ve known about this for some time.”

Farah hung her head. “Grandpa told us not to tell anyone. He’s been busy night and day dealing with this crisis.”
“How is the Imperium going to respond to all this? The Interex would have sent a fleet out right away to liberate the planet, and yet twenty-eight days later, you have done nothing!”

“We have not done nothing.” Farah huffed in that cute way of hers, though she half-smiled at the howl of his aria. “All these Ork attacks on the trade routes have already caused disruptions, and now this. The Legions are stretched thin covering every inch of Imperial space against Ork, Hrud, Dark Eldar and Warp Beasts, sometimes things slip through the cracks. This was one of those times. This is as bad as when Jake got stabbed on Nocturne, you remember that right…”

“Yeah, I remember.” Jake had occupied her thoughts for several days until Johor, despite liking the Hiver immensely, was almost sick to death of hearing his name. Farah had a habit of babbling on when she was fidgety or upset, which Johor found endearing, up to a point. Now he would have to go through all of that again, but with a different person.

“Julius. That rumour’s everywhere, that he was on that planet when the Orks invaded. Can you tell me anything? Is he dead, or what?” the aria wailed under his voice, a mournful, plaintive wail. Julius had been one of the few to take Johor in, to show the strange Interexan kindness and teach him about Imperial culture. The rumours that he was on Seadelant when the Orks invaded, that he might be among the dead filled him with woe.
“Nothing. Nothing at all, even Uncle Magnus can’t penetrate the aetheric interference to find out what’s going on. We know he was there when the Hulk came down; we know that for a certainty. Venus received that message just hours before the news of the Invasion reached Nocturne. Isis hides it well, but she has been having sleepless nights, and Angela’s been spending a lot of time with her. I think she fears he may be dead. We can’t know for certain until the liberation fleet arrives. We’ve been forced to gather ships and troops from everywhere, and cobble it together into the Liberation fleet. From what I hear representatives from all of the Legions will be present. I wish they would have a large contingent of Iron Hands, we know a trick or two about dealing with Orks. I’ve seen all the maps of Seadelant, and the capital Port Huron, and I know how the Hands would liberate the city. They would…”

“Farah, we’ll be here all day if you continue.”
AA, we love your work, dont be upset! that goes for you as well DM.
Farah blushed. “You know me well Johor, much better than most.” The two of them had never been anything like a couple, Farah had her own boyfriend, but the two damn well did almost everything else together. They went to films, studied and hung out together. In fact, they had spent so much time together many wagging tongues and fellow friends considered them together. Farah was the only one who totally accepted Johor for what he was, a diverged human from the Interex.

“We shouldn’t panic. You Imperials may be uncouth and borderline barbaric, but you get shit done, you really do. Julius will be fine; he’s the only one of us who could survive an Ork invasion, look at his father.”
A short pause, before Johor added. “I have nowhere to go. You mind if I stay with you here?”

“You know you don’t have to ask Johor.” Her smile was back again, the frown burned away like morning mist. He had that effect on her. “You’re my best friend, and I can do with the company. Come on, there’s an episode of MST40k on the other channel.”
>why no comments for my contributions?
For me it's... eh, I have read your kind of stuff (war porn, resistance against superior forces) in dozens of 40K novels. I'm not too interested in it to be frank.
>Four hours since someone other than me posted in the thread.
I was sleeping.
Ooh, nice touch with creating legends there, they seem plausible in the context.
>or as worlds decided they really didn’t like that far-off Emperor fellow, and screw him we’re on our own.
>Emperor fellow
>screw him we’re on our own.
I would reword that, the priest went from venerable to teenager in a heartbeat and it is jarring.
I just had an image floating in my head. Freya in nothing but that hooded cloak with a 'come hither' look on her.
Great work all 3 of you, please keep it going.
I don't post often because of time constraints but I do enjoy the stories. Please continue on.

An aside, it looks like Isis is going to get cuckolded real soon. And I wonder if Julius will even think about it beforehand?
I didn't post because it was 12:35 at night when you posted. I go to bed at 11:30 or so because college.
Thank you for being honest. I wanted more to cover how that war affects Julius mentally. He's in for a hard time, believe you me.

Wait and see...(cackling laugh, turns to hacking cough)

and bump before bed.
It was easier to go through The Lioness cause it's shorter than either you or SE's writing.
I was in School, and could only read via suptg.
This is bad and you should all feel bad.
You have opinions and we also have opinions!
Back sort of.

I'll be popping in and out of the thread every so often.

I guess I shouldn't have expected comments that late, sorry if I came off as if I was only looking for asspats.
You can have my anal virginity if you want, just as long as you keep writing.
“Mmm.” She rolled away from him to lift her own slate from its slot on the charger. “He’s a psyker, you know.”
“I thought as much, but I couldn’t have been sure,” Alex said. “What time should we get up tomorrow?” he asked. “And is there a gym for serfs?”
“Sunrise. And we’re going mountain climbing, you won’t need a workout, trust me.” Freya sank back onto the bed, reading over her own messages. “Fuck.”
“I have over seven HUNDRED messages,” she said.
“What? How is that possible?” Alex asked.
“They’re not Astropathic. They’re from the Brothers, welcoming me home.” She smiled wistfully. “I missed you guys too,” she said, running a fingertip across the slate’s screen. Freya started paging through the messages, reading and deleting them as fast as her eyes would allow. “Awww, that’s cute,” she said.
Alex sat up to look over her shoulder. “What is it?”
“Not a specific letter, the others are just really pleased to see me.” She paused her perusal to glance back at him with a watery grin. “I missed my pack, baby.”
He sat back on his haunches. “What does it feel like? That’s not really an instinct I have,” he said. Her statement had been an acute reminder of her non-human side, on a day that had been full of them.
“How can I answer that? I’ve always had it.” She thought it over, putting the slate down. “Hmm.” She reached over and lifted her cloak from its seat back. “All right…you remember the way it felt when your rugby team won the championship last year? After the official party, and everyone went to the afterparty at Carlos’ house?”
“Yeah, it was rad as hell,” Alex said proudly.
“You spent the whole night with the team, just rejoicing.” She rolled the cloak over her hands. “Same feeling. Not just pride and accomplishment, but confidence. You felt like you belonged.”
“Yeah, I did,” Alex said. “Is that what it feels like for you?”
“No.” She sat back down at his side, running her fingers over the pelts on the hem of the cloak. “I felt that way when the wrestling and track teams won, too. It wasn’t like this. It was like…that, plus…” She sighed. “You ever been to one of Uncle Vulkan’s house parties?”
“Uh…yeah, with you, a few times,” Alex said.
“You know how after a while, it just feels like nobody there is out of place, even if you know they would be in any other context with the same people? Like, I remember the first one Jake went to. He spent most of the night on the rooftop gardens with Venus, because he was so nervous around all the Space Marines and nobles. Hell, the EMPEROR dropped by later. But by the third or fourth party, Jake was chatting, shaking hands, telling stories. You were too, after a while.”
“Yeah.” Alex felt the pelt too. The fur was surprisingly thick and heavy. “So…it’s like the two feelings together?”
“Sort of. It’s like them, only even more. You know? It’s…” She screwed up her face. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I can describe it to a human, even you. I don’t think humans can feel this.”
He shrugged, disappointed. “All right.”
“It’s as much smell as sight,” she said. “It’s as much ambient noise as speech.” Freya slid her fingers over the back of his hand on her cloak. “It’s just…belonging. Not feeling the need to belong, but being exactly where you want to be. Terra’s home, I said that on the way here and I meant it. But this is where my pack is.”
She looked up at him, smiling shyly. “You being here…contributes something, too.”
He smiled back. “Thanks, Freya. Does that mean that you think of me as a pack member, or whatever?”
“I guess so. It’s…” She thought it over, then puffed out a breath in irritation. “It’s so hard to describe. It’d feel the same if we were on a completely different planet, as long as the rest of the Vlka were there too.”
“Can you identify how many Wolves there are around just by listening really hard, and smelling the air?” he asked.
“Not in a building with closed ventilation, no,” she said. “It’s easier if I’ve met them more than once. Like…like you. When you see me out of the corner of your eye or whatever, you don’t stop to remember my name every time, do you?”
“Well, no. I know who you are.”
“Right.” She nodded emphatically. “I do the same, only for every sense. It really confused me when I was very small, that I was the only one besides Cora who could do it. After Miranda and Angela manifested their powers, they could do it with psychic imprints, too, but for the longest time it was just the two of us,” she said. She leaned in next to him, inaudibly inhaling the air. “Like…when I smell you, I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just… ‘this is Alex.’ Automatic.”
“Hmm. But when you meet someone for the first time, you identify them with other things?” Alex asked.
“Yeah. Like that General Mustafa guy from downstairs. I could tell the second I walked in the door that he’s a problem smoker. The guy next to him, Bletcher, he used to use Onslaught, but it was a very long time ago, and he’s had at least one juvenat since.”
“Wow. That must be overwhelming,” Alex said.
“Nah, it’s been like that since I was a kid, so I don’t even notice.” She leaned back on the bed a bit, staring at him from a prone position. “I thought we’d talked about this before,” she said.
“Well, in passing, yeah, but it’s never really been…you know, relevant to something we were both doing,” Alex said. “What do I smell like?” he asked.
“I mean when we first met,” he said.
“Oh.” She thought back. “Just… ‘athlete, lives with both parents, sexually active, hangs out with smokers, mild allergies, loves pancakes,’” Freya listed.
“You can tell all that from just the way I smelled?” Alex asked, flabbergasted.
“Yep. Or other things. The way you talked, the way you moved, the way your internals sound.” Freya looked over at him, coy. “Did I get any wrong?”
“No, it was all right.” He shook his head. “Man…that’s crazy. How did you know I still lived with both parents?” he asked.
She waved a hand. “You had pheromones from an adult man and an adult woman on your clothes. It was an instinctive guess.” She sat up a bit, letting her complex braids pool behind her. “It helps that we were in a room that had just been cleaned. Smell is actually the easiest sense to remember, for humans and for me.”
Alex shook his head. “Well, it’s amazing, baby. Your senses blow my mind,” he said with a chuckle.
She laughed too. “It only really strikes home for me just now much different mine are from normal people’s when I’m talking to someone like this. Even a Thunderwolf doesn’t have senses as sharp as mine. They’re something the Emperor designed specifically for the Legion, to make sure we would be impossible to evade in the field.” She settled back against the pillow with a satisfied smirk. “It’s just my luck that it makes everything else easier too.”
He lay down next to her, one eyebrow raised. “How could you tell I wasn’t a virgin?”
She snorted. “Because the night before I saw Kathy Halsey walking a little funny in gym class, I saw her vanish into a bedroom at a party, with you.”
He blushed a bit. “You, uh…you saw that, did you?”
“And heard. And smelled.” She flashed a smile at his awkwardness. “Welcome to my life.”
“Uh huh.” He looked away for a sec. “Sorry.”
“Psssh, you think you’re the first dude to get laid within a hundred feet of me? If I held it against you, trust me, you’d never have had a chance,” she scoffed. She smiled up at him again, a bit more seductive this time. She traced a finger across his bare chest. “If anything, it was a point in your favor. Kathy was having a grand old time. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about,” she said softly.
He grinned broadly, puffing up a bit in machismo. “Well, thanks kindly,” he said.
“Which is the only reason I didn’t smack your ears upside down when you tried to smooth-talk me out of my tights after that wrestling meet,” she continued.
He deflated again. “Oh.” He peered back down at her through narrowed eyelids. “I don’t remember you taking it poorly, though,” he pointed out.
“Mmm, well, a nice butt and strong hands are all well and good, but if all you wanted was some Bro Points with your friends for getting off in a Primarch’s daughter, that would have ended VERY poorly for you,” she assured him. “Luckily for us both, you can cook too.” She smiled happily at his hurt expression.
“Oh, Freya, that’s just mean,” he complained.
She leaned up and pecked him on the lips. “I’m changing my college plans to stay with you a little longer, Alex baby, you’ve got nothing to worry about,” she whispered in his ear.
He smiled regretfully at that, and slid a hand behind her neck to hold her to his lips a little longer. “Sorry to put you out, cutie.”
She pulled away, her eyes sleepy and content. “No trouble.” She tossed the cloak over its chair back and rose from her position to begin her bathroom routines. “Now you rest up. Mountain climbing works your arms like nothing else in the world.”
Heee :3
Don't worry, Alex is going to see that a few times.

Thank you.

I agree, I'll change it.
I'm going to post that request in greenmarines thread.
You're welcome.
Yay, I contributed constructive criticism!

I can only imagine what Alex feels in these four latest posts, how alien his girlfriend really is to him, and him wanting to be part of her 'pack' (He smiled back. “Thanks, Freya. Does that mean that you think of me as a pack member, or whatever?”) so as not feel there is an impassable void in their relationship. That is how I interpret it anyway.

Now, ctrl+f 'cloak' and a quick visit to tgchan...
She's demonstrated that she's not human several times before, so he's not really freaked out so much.

He was definitely unsettled a bit, though. Which is why she shipped out the ego-stroking bits. She's a bright girl.

I imagine that if this conversation had occurred before he effectively lost the rest of his future paths, he might have been a bit more unnerved. Now, however, she's all he has left.
>Now, however, she's all he has left.
Poor bastard. I remember that I was very bewildered when my father suggested we shouldn't talk anymore, after we had one (first and only) argument when I was in my teens. Though his situation is far more severe.
All right, back again. What do people think of Freya's little sensory explanation?
Across the hall, Remilia flipped her own slate on in bed to find that she had two new messages. She opened one to find it to be a routine check-in from Mechanicus station in the outer system, greeting Her Highness Princess Dorn to Fenris, and the other was a message from home. Responding to the first with a simple ‘Thanks, it’s good to be here,’ she opened the second.
‘Remilia, I hope this message reaches you before you arrive on Fenris. If not, then you should know, I’ve taken to the field once more,’ the message from her father read. ‘The Phalanx is plying the stars around the resurgent greenskins, and I will be taking a thousand Astartes from the home guard to join them, with a few dozen Joint Task companies joining me. We will be gone when you return.’ Remilia closed her eyes in silent frustration for a long moment.
She opened them and resumed reading when her irritation faded. ‘I know I said I would be there when you returned, if I could. Sadly, I can not. The rising tides demand my attention, Remilia, and I am sorry.’
“Sure, Dad,” she said tiredly. “Of course.”
‘I do hope you have found this trip of yours fulfilling.’
She giggled. “In more ways than one, Dad, but let’s keep that to ourselves.”
‘I know the worlds you’ve selected are hardly hospitable ones, and I was saddened to hear of your friend’s injury on Nocturne. I hope he’s well again. When you return, please stop by to see your mother before Orientation, she’s worried sick over your choices of destinations.’
“Can’t blame her,” Remilia said.
She skimmed the rest of the brief message and turned on the transcriptor to compose her reply. As soon as she was done, she sent it and switched off the slate. She settled back against the rough sheets. “Wonder what Fenrisian rock climbing is like.”
I forgot to mention it directly, as I commented about it indirectly about Alexs reaction, but I lurvd it. And I have posted your description of Freyas clothes in the almighty GMs thread so now we can only hope.
The next morning, Jake craned his head back and stared at the near-vertical pillars of craggy basalt jutting from the snowy ground.
“Pansy,” Alex scoffed.
“Nope.” Jake pointed up at the rocks. “Not happening. I’m just going to go enjoy all the snow while you geniuses scale giant boulders.”
“Okay,” Freya said, slinging a few extra spikes into her packs. She had forgone the cloak and Fenrisian adornments for a more practical winter jumpsuit, complete with sealed polyfiber boots. “If you must wimp out, then far be it from me to OW!” she said as a snowball broke over her face.
Jake rubbed the snow off of his gloves. “Hmm, I could learn to like this stuff.”
Freya wiped snowmelt from her balaclava. “You will suffer for that,” she promised darkly.
“Doubtful.” Jake turned to observe the massive fields of snow all around them. The pillars jutted from their surfaces like antennae, and aside from shallow slopes around their bases, the field was largely flat. “You go fight gravity, if you wish, I’m going to enjoy this here nice, safe, frozen water.”
“Bah, this is a light dusting,” Remilia scoffed, slapping her hands together. The sun was beating down on them, and there wasn’t a puff of wind on the air. The conditions were perfect. The fact that the temperature was approaching negative ten Celsius was the only mild problem.
Even then, ‘problem’ was subjective. Venus, both to spite their climate and to show off, was wearing a tee shirt. The brilliant glare of the sun off the snow drowned out color from their surroundings, making her green shirt, waterproofed climbing pants, and skintight exercise gloves glow like beacons against her obsidian skin.
She rolled a ball of snow in her hands, letting it melt against her fiery flesh. “Hmm. Hey, Alex, catch,” she said, whipping the ball of slurry at him just as he stooped to pick up his climbing gear.
The ball splattered against his arm, and he yelped. “Gah! Hey, come on, we’re about to ascend here!”
“You can wait,” she said, rolling another. She cocked her arm back to throw.
She staggered and lost her ammunition as Freya avenged her fallen boyfriend. “Ever had a snow fight with an iceworlder?” she growled, scooping up another round.
Remilia knelt in the thigh-deep snow, driving her leg in an arc to kick an impromptu pit in the ground. She leaned in and packed a ball, chucking it at Venus with all her might.
“Ow! What is this, two-versus-one?” Venus said, ducking against the barrage.
“Three-versus-two,” Alex shouted, dumping an armful of snow on Remilia’s head.
She squealed and fumbled out of her firing pit, as Alex tore off, laughing hysterically. She took aim at his retreating backside when another one whiffed past her head. Remilia turned to spot her attacker and took another one right in the chest.
“Yes! Ah ha ha ha, yes! The timing was the best part!” Venus crowed. Seconds later, she had to duck as a furious missile from Remilia’s firing pit tore past her.
“You’re all just mad because I have the best camo!” Jake said, tossing another ball at Freya, who dodged it with ease.
“Sun-starved skin does not count as camo, that’s clearly just a paint scheme!” Freya retorted, catching him square in the stomach. He pitched backwards in the snow, sending up a flurry of fresh flakes where he landed.
Alex lunged at her from behind, caked in snow from his ‘stealthy’ approach. She neatly sidestepped, sending him face-first into the white. He coughed, then went still as her shadow loomed over him. “Oh no.”
“Just remember this, Alex, you’re the one who made this full-contact,” she giggled, popping her knuckles with simmering faux-menace.
A black and green ball and streamer slammed into her. She barked in surprise and shock as she fell into the snow. She blew some out of her mouth as Venus doubled over, laughing her head off.
Freya snarled and clawed her way up, but Venus was already backing up, rolling a snowball with both hands. Freya dropped into a crouch and leaped, propelling herself at her cousin. Venus threw herself forwards, under her cousin’s jump, and rolled away as Freya thudded into the snow, looking for purchase. Alex scrambled back up and rolled another ball, seeking a target.
Remilia wiped snow off of her ski goggles from a lucky shot from Jake as the solitary Grey Hunter who had volunteered to watch over them shook his head. “Nice to see you all taking to the climate,” he said.
“You kiddin’? This is home, for me,” Remilia said, packing a massive snowball. Jake spotted her assembling her missile and took off running, his breath coming in misty bursts as he ran away. She raised her frosty weapon and tossed it, not hard enough to hurt him, but hard enough to send him face-first into the snowbanks.
Jake popped up, glaring. Then he shielded his eyes from the sudden burst of white light that assaulted him. “Hang on, guys, time out,” he called, waving his hands around at snow-level.
“What’s wrong?” Freya called, halfway through pelting her boyfriend.
“My sunglasses fell off,” Jake called.
“There, Lord Seager,” the Wolf called out, pointing into the glare. Jake felt his way over and gingerly groped around in the snow until his fingers touched plastic.
“Thanks, Lord Hasskald,” Jake called, sliding his sunglasses back on with a sigh. “They were a parting gift from my parents, I’d feel terrible if I left them out here,” he added.
“Perhaps you should leave them here and wear goggles in the future,” the Wolf said as Jake walked closer.
“I think I should,” Jake said. The others had all dropped on the snow, panting. Jake himself was feeling a bit giddy from the exertion. “This snow stuff is fucking awesome.”
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>‘I do hope you have found this trip of yours fulfilling.’
>She giggled. “In more ways than one, Dad, but let’s keep that to ourselves.”
There is a mixture of feels right now, I don't know which to focus on.
Hasskald laughed aloud. “So glad you approve, Lord,” he said. His voice had the rich and hearty tones of a man in his element. “They didn’t have snow on Terra?”
“They had the kind of lethargic, uninterested snow one expects from a weather machine several hundred kilometers away,” Jake said, loosening the collar of his white thermo jacket. “Never more than a few inches deep, since they didn’t want to make the roads un-drivable.”
“A few inches? Un-drivable? What kind of weak drivers do they have on Terra?” Hasskald asked, amused.
“Terran ones, Lord,” Jake chuckled.
“Probably.” Hasskald crouched in the snow, watching Remilia and Freya limber up for their climb. “At least those two seem to know how to use safety clamps on a climbing surface.” He glanced over at Venus, who was wiping the steaming snow off of her bare arms. “Princess Venus isn’t as experienced, I can see.”
“I haven’t asked.”
“She’s going to break her legs if she climbs with the clamps like that,” Hasskald sighed, standing up and walking over. His power armor ate up the distance in seconds, leaving Jake struggling in his footsteps.
He halted beside Venus. “My Lady, please refasten your clamps a bit,” he said, pointing at where Venus had arranged her carabiners and climbing clamps. “If you lose footing up there, your legs could break with the clamps arranged as they are,” he said.
She glanced down. “Oh.” She adjusted her equipment. “Like this?”
“No.” Hasskald knelt and gently moved the fastener on the rope feed. “Like so. Spread the weight out.”
“Ah, I get it,” Venus said. “Thanks.” She fixed the misfed rope clamp and hefted a hammer. “Thanks, Brother.”
“Are you certain you don’t need more…robust clothing, my Lady?” Hasskald asked.
Venus shook her head. “No, thanks, this is fine.” She lifted a handful of snow and held it on her bare fingertips. In moments, it was melting down between her fingers. “If we’re not approaching a blizzard at midnight, I won’t even feel it,” she said. She flicked the moisture away and started hammering a spike into the rocks.
Hasskald backed up, nodding. “As you wish.” He took a step to the side to see how Freya was doing. “A day for it, eh, Sister?” he called.
“Couldn’t have prayed for better weather,” Freya yelled back. Hasskald smiled.
“It’s a joy to see her taking to her world like this,” he said.
“I bet,” Jake said. He sat down at the base of the pillar Venus had started up. “Do you climb?” he asked his towering host.
“In my youth, for sport. Time took the appeal away for me,” Hasskald said.
He glanced over to where signs of the impromptu snow fight had disrupted the flat snow fields. “Tell me, Lord, what are your own plans for after this sojourn?”
Jake struggled to his feet, brushing snow off his pants. “Well, I’m headed off to college. Kouthry Technical, on Terra. Venus and two of her cousins are going to be there too.”
“I see. Do you have any aspirations towards the military?” Hasskald asked, leaning against the pillar. He dwarfed Jake in his Power Armor, but was clearly trying to project a casual air.
“I don’t, really. I don’t think I would fit in.” Jake shrugged. “I understand that that’s not a choice Fenrisians get to make, but it’s not the life I want to live. I had a few friends in high school who have enlisted, though. Praetor Field Artillery and some of the more esoteric Terran Army units.”
“Good on them, then.” Hasskald grinned broadly, showing his enlarged fangs. They were easily twice the size of Freya’s. Then, Hasskald was probably three hundred years old. “Don’t think we all resent those whose lifestyles are more peaceful, lad.”
“Some of the Rout seem to,” Jake said.
“The Rout? Hah! I suppose Sister Freya said to call us that?” Hasskald chuckled. “Well, ignore the naysayers.”
Jake looked at him, suddenly nervous. “Should I not call you that?”
“No, go ahead, it’s more respectful than ‘Space Wolves,’ certainly,” Hasskald said.
“All right. Really, it’s more of a general feeling of resentment than any single comment,” Jake said. “When we were gearing up today, the armorer we spoke to was downright cold to all of us except Freya.”
“Armorers hate parting with their precious gear, lad, I suspect that’s as true on Fenris as it is Mundus Planus, Terra, or Prospero,” Hasskald said. “Why do you not climb with the others?”
“Frankly, Lord, I’m distracted enough by the fact that there’s snow everywhere, I’d rather not argue with gravity too,” Jake said. “You know, lest I lose.”
Hasskald good-naturedly shook his maned head. “So be it, I suppose. You have the look of a hiver about you, unless I miss my guess.”
“I am,” Jake said.
“I see. We have no hives here, the volcanism is too severe for it,” Hasskald said. He leaned back against the pillar, keeping a fair eye on the climbers. “What do you think of hive life?”
“It’s stifling, Lord. Very much so.” Jake shook his own head. “People there don’t realize how much they’re missing.”
The Marine nodded. “I know what you mean. I never saw the appeal of hives. I understand most hivers never breathe fresh air at all.”
“So true.” Jake looked down for a moment. “Good thing Kouthry is on the surface, then.”
His host sat on a pile of rock by the pillar and looked up at the climbers. “Tell me, Lord Seager, what has our little Sister’s life been like since we saw her last?” he asked after a few silent minutes of observation.
Jake glanced up to where Freya was scaling the pillar. “Busy. She’s a skilled athlete. Wrestling and track.”
Hasskald glanced back to Jake. “And yourself?”
“I’m not an athlete, per se, but I keep in shape. I’m more of a designer, really,” Jake said. “Venus is the athlete of the two of us. She’s a swimmer. Good, too, her team swept the cup last year.”
“I imagine all of the Royal daughters are athletes,” Hasskald said.
“You’d be surprised,” Jake said, thinking of Petra and Morticia. “Some just don’t care for it.”
“Mmm.” Hasskald drew a flask and took a pull. He offered it to Jake, who politely refused.
“No thank you, Lord, I’ve heard tales about Fenrisian booze,” Jake said.
“If you heard them from Sister Freya, they’re probably true, too,” Hasskald said drily.
He set the flask back into its sling and glanced up at where Venus was defying the cold and gravity alike. “Am I to interpret that you and Lady Venus are married?”
Jake coughed on his tongue. “Ah, no, your Lordship, we’re not,” he said quickly. He paused. “I…wouldn’t be adverse to it, but by Terran standards, we’re both just too young.”
Hasskald offered him a knowing little smile. “Of course. But I needn’t know you well, lad, to see the looks in your eyes when they meet.”
Jake blushed a bit. The Salamanders hadn’t been so indiscreet. “Sir, please.”
The Grey Hunter shook his head again, sighing in mock resignation. “Terrans.”
Far above, Freya paused her climb to drive a stake home. She glanced down at her watch as she did. “Hell yeah, it’s not even an hour gone!” she said. She grinned up at the peak of the near-vertical pillar. “Child’s play,” she said with a grin at the implied challenge. She rammed the spike home and climbed another meter up.
Down below, Alex dropped the last few centimeters to the ground, dusting himself off. “Phew! That’s enough for me,” he said, panting.
Jake peered over. “You done?”
“Yeah, the wind chill up there is sucking the heat out of my hands,” Alex said, quickly flexing his gloved fingers.
“Yes, that will be how it goes,” Hasskald said. “Wise of you to know your limits.” Alex buried his hands in his thermo coat’s pockets and snapped the dividers on the little heat bags inside. He sighed in relief as warmth bled back into his shaking fingers.
“Much better.” He sat down next to Jake and Hasskald and stared up at the girls, who were still ascending. “Climbing is fun, but I should practice on a wall in a climate-controlled room,” Alex said ruefully. “This is just too cold for me.”
“Doesn’t seem to be slowing our self-fuelled and iceworlder compatriots,” Jake said.
“Eh.” Alex wrapped his fingers around the heat bags and leaned back against the rocks. “Wanna place a bet on which one reaches the peak first?”
“No, because Freya’s going to win,” Jake said.
“Aw.” Alex wiped his sunglasses free of dust and snow. “So, Jake, you going to write home today? I’m thinking of bundling up a message for Mom.”
“Yeah, that…” Jake looked awkward for a moment. “What are you going to do?”
Alex sighed, heavy and resentful. “I don’t know. Freya and I both got scholarships to the same school, so…that’s taken care of. But without Dad’s assets…”
“You’ll deal,” Jake said decisively.
Alex nodded. “I hope so.”
Hasskald raised a brow. “What is this?”
Alex glanced over at him. “I…” he trailed off. “My family is undergoing some…brutal in-fighting.”
“Ah. That’s a shame,” Hasskald said.
“Yes,” Alex sighed. “Yes it is, a shame on the entire Fleet.”
“What Fleet?” Hasskald asked.
“My father’s a Rogue Trader, who makes his fortune robbing pre-Imperium grave sites of their offerings and relics and selling them to people who don’t know where he gets it all,” Alex said bitterly. “He’s made a lot of money that way. He disinherited me in public a few weeks ago.”
“Horrible.” Hasskald shook his head. “That’s no way to treat family.”
“Nope.” Alex craned his head back to stare at Freya’s white outfit and red hair on the snowy pillar.
The Marine followed his gaze. “Does Sister Freya know this?”
“She was there. She knows. We’ve made arrangements to stay together for now, hopefully until I can finish school and get a job on my own merits.” Alex closed his eyes under the tinted frames. “After that…who knows?”
Hasskald nodded, eyeing the younger man a little more carefully. He silently extended his flask to him. Alex shook his head. “No thanks.” Hasskald drained it and stood.
“Your Lordships, I shall return shortly.”
No big revalations these last few posts, but I enjoy everyones little talking and bonding.

High school involves a lot of figuring out who people are. I think a high school romance story should be mostly these little moments.

Would Jake's head getting caved in have been as emotive and meaningful if something like it happened on every page?
“Where are you going, sir?” Jake asked.
Hasskald cricked his neck and flexed his elbows. “This weather is too good not to use. I’ll be back in half an hour, max.” Without another word, he took off at a dead sprint, kicking up a plume of snow behind him. He raced off towards the distant treeline, unslinging his Stalker bolter as he ran.
Jake wiped the snow off of his clothes, staring agape at the display of speed.
“Someone’s hungry,” Alex said. He tapped the tiny radio on his collar. “Hey, Hasskald just took off. He said he’ll be back in thirty.”
Venus paused her ascent to reply. “Really? What’s up?”
“I think he’s getting lunch,” Alex said.
“Not for us, we brought,” Freya said into her own collar. “This is awesome, Remilia, this was totally the right call,” she added.
Remilia clenched her teeth and hauled herself up another arm’s length. “Gets the blood going, all right,” she said. “How are you doing on yours, Venus?”
“Most of the way up,” Venus said. “You?”
“Nearly at the peak,” Remilia said. “It’s getting narrower up here.”
“Yeah, just keep an eye on your footing,” Freya said.
The group climbed in silence for a few more minutes, as Jake watched Hasskald disappear in the distance. Their host reached the treeline and vanished like smoke at nightfall. “Glad he’s on our side,” Jake muttered.
“No shit. Even Freya’s not that fast,” Alex said.
“Did you notice how they call her ‘Sister’ here? On Nocturne, the Salamanders called Venus ‘Princess,’” Jake observed.
“Different world, man. The Wolves have a pack mentality. She’s probably more like a little sister than a ruler to them,” Alex pointed out.
Jake thought that over and smiled. “Which, on reflection, is adorable.”
Alex shoved him in the shoulder. “Dude, shut up, she’s going to murder us both.”
“She can’t hear us from here,” Jake said dismissively.
“Can Hasskald?” Alex asked pointedly.
Jake hesitated. “I…don’t know.”
“Neither do I,” Alex growled. “So keep that ‘adorable’ stuff to yourself, huh?”
“Sure, sure,” Jake said with a laugh.
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And that's a wrap for this thread. We all have more content, but we've hit the bump limit, and The Editor and our various drawfriends are absent, so we're calling it quits.

See you all in two weeks. Our next thread will be on September Seventh, at around 1300 Eastern Time.


Thanks for storytiem, and I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Now that the pressure of keeping post counts in mind is gone, I'd like to talk about the story a bit. Anyone have any questions about my canon inventions on Nocturne and Fenris?

The next arc is going to be Freya infiltrating a village to see how her people really live.
I wonder if they produce recruits as strong as they used to do, as they are more aware of the wider Imperium. They still have to contend with the enviroment though. Just thinking out loud.
This is much more canon friendly, even though the Spess Voffs codex implies a much more mercurial enviroment where large settlements are next to impossible to maintain. That said, I don't mind your version.
There's still volcanoes around every corner, and the initiation rituals the Scouts have borders on torture. The Salamanders are still just as tough. The average citizen? Probably not.

There are no 'large' settlements. Just a few small trading outposts in neutral ground, where there's very little cropland to fight over. Even during the age of real Vikings, there were SOME towns and villages.
Weren't there a tribe of hundreds of thousands?
Yes, and they're quite spread out. One of the things that breaks up massive tribes like that is splintering without any external attack at all.
Sometimes, no comments mean "good job, keep up the good work".

If it counts, I'm diggin' the story so far. Nice to see Julius get some attention.

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