Welcome, to the first official post of “Shadows Over Vanaheim”
! Vitruvian XVII
and I have been talking over other, secure channels about a joint-campaign project for the past month. It’s still a work in progress, but Vit and I plan to have fluff, modeling and painting updates galore… followed by rules and campaign pamphlet when complete, and finally, battle reports for wars fought in the US/UK
, all over Hive World Vanaheim.
The campaign itself without giving too much away has focus themes of Day, Night, and Desperation…. And I just realized… that tells you absolutely NOTHING.
Without further ado… Dan Abnett-esque short-story intro fluff… and pics… (and bear with it- there really are pics at the bottom… lol
" target="_new" rel="nofollow">
The streets of Terra bustled with activity, the heavy clanking of the freight trams and vehicles pounding their way to various destinations, the rhythmic beat to the heart of the universe. The smog and sharp smell of chemicals and steel infused themselves into the very structures and people, armies of people marching to work under the light of the bitter sun, cold and stoic as the earth they marched upon.
Deep below the streets, under miles of reinforcing steel and plascrete, three shrouded figures strode through an elaborate granite hallway with purpose, dragging a fourth by the arms. The eerie halls were dimly lit, and punctuated by columned arches every 30 paces. At each arch was a discretely-placed camera, each shutting off as the group neared them and closer to the doors at the very end of the hall. Where the surface was pounding to the savage beat of the urban jungle, the hall echoed only with the sound of leather heels scuffing the ground, syncopated by the soft hiss and clink of an augmented leg. The men stopped short of the doors, the lead swinging the doors open to the vault-like portal.
“Inside. Quickly.” the lead said tersely. The others moved without hesitation, dragging their baggage through before the lead closed both doors, the hallway lights dimming and the cameras coming back to life.
The group strode into a circle of light and unhooded themselves. The lead hood revealed a slim but hard woman, the back of her head covered in steel cables and wires like tentacles of some humanoid/xenos hybrid. The other hoods revealed humans, but augmented with steel and electronics, denoting their affiliation with the factories of Mars. From the darkness, one of several presences spoke out.
“Adepts of the Mechanicum, we welcome you back to Terra… and trust there is a reason as to why you’ve disabled our security and called each of us to this secret meeting?” the presence spoke.
“Apologies, Inquisitors, Interrogators,” the woman bowed to various areas in the dark, “but we have found something of note that we believe must be brought to your attention.”
attention, you say, Adept Merlain? Or do you refer to us as the body of the Inquisition?” another voice sounded. Soft murmurs and assenting nods came from the darkness.
The dark held no secrets to the female adept, her eyes replaced by enhanced mechanical replicas long ago. Each of their faces was clear as day to all three visitors- each of the seated Ordo members was relatively young, mid-level Inquisitors or Interrogators. While they had faced work in the field, they were no lords and were decidedly on the lower-middle end of the hierarchy. Men and women with dirt on their hands, and equally dirtied contacts. These were exactly the people Adept Cairi Merlain and her followers were looking for, not the glorious hawks at the top of the Inquisitorial spire.
“I refer to you all, singularly, and
as this group I have assembled. I mean no offense, but you may dispose of the theatrics of secrecy. I have researched, personally invited, and screened, each of you. Please, allow yourselves to be known, not only to myself, but to each other.” Merlain said, slowly returning the tone modulation to her voice. It had been at least a decade since she used vocal communication aside from the usual binary or coded electronic transmission.
The chamber was silent a moment, before the lights swallowed the stark contrast of the shadow to the center spotlight. Each of the members looked to the other seated faces around the chamber. Some kept a stone-like demeanor, some met with an acknowledging nod here and there, and fewer still, a rare smile and nod; when members recognized each other from previous alliances and conquests.
A man seated to the right of Adept Merlain spoke first. “The fact does not escape me that there is no young blood seated among us, but there are no senior members present either. In addition, everyone seated here has a similar reputation for being dedicated to their orders… and firebrands. For what purpose have you gathered us, specifically?” the man said, leaning forward. The man’s mechanical arm caught Merlain’s eye- slim with almost little to no exposed cable or mechanics- Merlain imagined it was his own skeleton coated in adamantium and given life through arcane means. Cutting her fascination short, Merlain addressed the man directly.
“Interrogator Estav” she said, “you have earned renown for your participation in annihilating the Coven of the Silver Serpent… you’ve been called ‘The Purifying Flame’ by colleagues and in the data stream.” The inquisitor nodded his head slightly in acknowledgement. “You are astute in your assessment of the current gathering. You are all proven members of the Ordos, and all of the same thought. As it should be, for the quarry I bring you suits your very purpose.”
Raising her arm under her cloak, the other two adepts dragged the incapacitated third forward and tore off the hood. It was another adept, but the burns on his cloak and armored body suggested he had come through several fights, and was barely alive. The ring of Ordos surrounding the party looked to one another before looking back down the pit at the guests.
Without any words, one of the following adepts lifted his free hand- his long sleeves revealing a stump fit with 10 digits, each ending with what looked to be several different torture devices. A small mechadendrite extended from one of the digits and locked itself into a socket in the back of the man’s head. The incapacitated adept’s head shot upward suddenly while the body remained lax, and after a few moments, the connecting adept’s head shot up as well, signaling connection. A larger cone-like apparatus spun out from the back of the connecting adept’s head and locked itself over his eye. Filtering the immobile adept’s memories, the other projected a large 3-D cube, each lateral side showing the same image. Toward the upper-center of the room, a holographic playback began as the room darkened automatically.
A figure appeared in front of a swaying camera. It was only after a few moments that the viewers would realize they were seeing through the mechanical eyes of another adept. The vision auto-corrected and in front of the camera was a younger man draped in a black-leather body suit and fur-lined long-cloak. The man was gaunt. While his youth was not in question, it was obvious from the dark circles under his eyes that the man had not slept in several days. The dirt on his face and armor suggested he had been harried up to this point of respite.
The man didn’t look directly into the camera, instead, moved his hands deftly securing the recording-adept to the seat. The surroundings suggested the inside of a short-range stealth cutter, and the man’s face was lit by a control panel as he plotted course. Outside, sporadic bursts of gunfire were heard, and occasionally pinging and slamming the cutter’s hull. The man had nerves of steel, as not even his eyes flinched at the sound of the firefight moving ever closer.
“Graeus, hold on, friend. One of us must make it home..” the man said. “I’m honored you chose to share your human past with me… I know the Mechanicum frowns upon such attachment…” the man cut the thought short, “My time… your time is short, and they draw closer.” With a deep breath, the man closed his eyes, settled himself, and calmly recited his message.
“My name is Darius Alexus Veran, Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus, given title and authority by Inquisitor Augustus Falk. I relay my final words through the eyes of my trusted companion, Graeus of the Mechanicum. My team has come to Hive World Vanaheim, Vanah Prime Sector, investigating cult-related disappearances… I have fear that this cult, these ‘Sons of Midnight’, have grown at a ferocious rate… possibly touching every level of Vahaheim’s society. I know not if their sphere of influence extends beyond this planet.” the Inquisitor said bitterly into his friend’s eyes. Looking about at the sudden lack of fire, he continued.
“If this does, in fact, reach the hands of another Son, then rest easy, for I am one of the last to resist.” his bitter look turned into a wry and spiteful smile, “But know that your time is limited, scum. My brothers will find you. They will avenge us, and they will kill every, last, one of you.
” he promised venomously.
Veran’s face returned to a neutral and cold state as he finished his recording, “If this does reach the Ordos, heed me- Trust no one. I will stem the plague as long as possible, and no doubt, will pay for it with my life. The source hungers for blood… Find and destroy the source. FIND AND DESTROY THE SOURCE!”
The inquisitor yelled the final portion of his message, as a black-coated assailant slid from the top of the hatch and into the hold like liquid shadow. Reacting almost instantaneously, he faced the invader with power-glaive in hand, the two locking hands over the haft of the weapon as the blade cut small notches into the entryway bulkhead as they wrestled for control of the weapon. A quick spin and a piston-like back-kick sent his opponent hurling through the portal with a sickeningly wet crunch- the image began to flake, as if the feedback was slowing down. The scene forwarded several milliseconds and the image continued normally. Flourishing the blade deftly, the inquisitor initiated the flight sequence and leapt out of the cutter, a great green beam turning him into a silhouetted human cross as he fired off some unknown weapon.
At this point, the recording became static before fading completely into the dark. Both adepts lowered their heads, and the connection was broken. The lights brightened gradually to the silence among the viewers. The gathered inquisitors looked to one another, until one chose to break the silence.
“Adept Merlain… I must ask, how is it that you came about this recording… this adept is in need of an apothecary, if his life has not already fled its vessel.” a woman with straight black hair said sharply. “Who is he, and how did he come to be in your possession? The inquisitor who recorded the message is not known to us, but we have heard of his name in passing…”
“Interrogator Arienne Maero,” the adept responded, “Inquisitor Veran spoke true in his final message- old attachments to the flesh are frowned down upon in our order… yet, I still hold some part, maintaining my original face and most of my body. I unfortunately defy my order further by also remaining close to my blood ties. This adept is my brother, Graeus Merlain. Brother in blood, brother in title, brother by association. Although he can no longer be saved, I would entertain the illogical desires of my humanity just this once and ask for revenge.”
Silence and lowered eyes greeted Adept Merlain’s semi-monotone, yet emotional petition. After several more moments, Estav spoke up again, addressing not only the Mechanicum, but the other inquisitors as well. “We are moved and I for one, will pledge my support to eradicate these so-called ‘Sons of Midnight’.” he promised, “but in terms of support, many of us are already embroiled in cases that will not allow us to move freely- and we cannot simply leave them suddenly. How do you propose we help you?”
The female adept stood silent and surveyed the group before responding, “You have all had contacts made in the field. Trustworthy individuals who would act as your own hands. I understand that you or your retinue may not be able to personally attend this matter- the fact that I was able to recall ALL of you to this location, at this time, is nothing short of incredible. Send your interrogators. Send your subordinate inquisitors. Send your contacts. It matters not what they believe as they do their holy work. Some of them may already be involved in this matter on Vanaheim or its vicinity without their knowledge… it is in your best interest to inform them before they are taken by the storm. If not for my vengeance, think of the Imperium.”
A message passed invisibly between the adepts, causing the adepts to turn their backs abruptly, the other body in tow. Merlain did not turn, but addressed the assembled inquisitors one last time.
“Our time here is finished. We must remove ourselves to avoid suspicion. I’ve taken the liberty of sending each of you an encrypted file of the recording to view at your leisure… and to send to those whom you entrust this mission. May your Emperor, our Omnissiah, guide your chosen swords to the heart of this corruption.”
You still with me? Good. The story mentions several characters, mid-major Inquisitors who dispatch their contacts, and Inquisitor Veran… who is a miniature I created for a previous-failed campaign “The Promethean Hammer”.
He’s just too good to skip out on, so his group (at least on my side) will be making an appearance in-story and in-game as NPCs
Inquisitor Darius Alexus Veran
agents for the =][=Men can be found here - http://www.dakkadakka.com/gallery/images-29151-11194_Wip%20%3Di%3D%20Munda.html
That's it for the first post- Vit should be posting here very soon as well! I should also have a modelling update later on this evening! Stay tuned, and welcome again to the journey!
-Remi (and Vit!)