[Fluff] The Siege of Bruj - Chapter 2

Based on an adaptation of the Badab War Campaign, the result of 5 games of Warhammer 40k are being used to write a recount of 'The Siege of Bruj', a compendium for the background of the traitorous elements of the Emerald Fists; my homebrew chapter.  The results are being formatted with photographs of my models and the battles.  Enjoy.

Click here for previous and future chapters, current links to the draft formatted (with pictures) version and more background.

Chapter 2 – Treachery Unveiled
Primary Objective: Obtain reconnaissance of Bruj Extremus’ moon, Occulum and uplink with the automated system auspex located on its surface.

Seconday Objective: Ascertain any actions of the Emerald Fists logged in the cogitators of the auspex. Any doubts as to the purity of our brothers should be met with lethal force.

Theatre: Ship’s surveyor databanks indicate that Occulum is a geologically inert celestial body shaped by hydraulic weathering. High precipitation and run-off paired with extensive deposition have carved vast valleys and canyons throughout the moon’s surface. Iron-rich dust storms are common as the exposed surfaces of the plentiful hoodoos are weathered.

Planetfall Strike Team: Insertion will commence under cover of darkness at 241,67.E32. Call-sign assigned to this detachment for coded transmissions... Enemy strength and force composition is unknown. Overall command of MURDER assigned to the Librarius in Sergeant Rhaco’s absence as per the Codex. Ground forces will be led by .

Upon insertion, scouts elements to establish a forward operating base around the auspex. The use of Teleport Homers has been authorized given the nature of the mission and should be placed at immediate opportunity. 2nd squad, 1st company and the honoured 1st company chaplain will be on standby to route any and all heretical threats.


Dusk’s Ambush

Warning klaxons wailed as the heavy blast doors opened to reveal the moon of Occulum. The strike cruiser Shadow Wraith prepared to disgorge a trio of thunderhawks to the moon’s surface. Stalker-pattern bolters were ritualistically checked and rechecked as scouts from the chapter’s 10th company fastened their entry harnesses. The thunderhawks also carried land speeder variants which would provide heavy support and transport for the mission. The assault ramps sealed shut as the thunderhawks raised from the decking and turned outward. With a deafening roar the thunderhawks launched from the Shadow Wraith and quickly cut power. The squadron expertly guided the craft on pre-mapped entry vectors and let momentum carry their bulky forms on a silent, gravity driven fall. The ribbing aboard the thunderhawks groaned in protest as the pilots fought the pull of Occulum in a controlled decent. Once through the upper mesosphere the land speeders were ejected under cover of darkness, loaded with scouts and materiel. As one, the thunderhawks ignited their engines and pitched vertically on an exit pattern.

Bright flares of ignition streamed behind the land speeders as they accelerated toward the earth below. The scout’s genehanced systems struggled to cope with the reduced oxygen at such height and their secondary hearts pounded to meet the demand. Through the haze of clouds and the cover of darkness a ravine coalesced into sight, the marines enhanced optics granting them clarity of vision at such extreme distance. The land speeders veered toward the ravine, the typhoon pattern speeders taking a flanking position to provide fire support to the lighter storm patterns. The antigrav plates vibrated as they rebelled against the approaching surface and the speeders levelled out meters from the river meandering through the ravine. Millennia of weathering the soft sediments had created a deep gorge with steep walls along the river bed; a perfect approach for the scout force. The auspex read no significant anomalies yet the scouts could see the brackish green hue of the water and the pungent fog floating between the skimmers and the surface. Protected by the caynon walls, the speeders accelerated to their target careful to hug the shadows.

Several moments later their destination phased into view, a towering bastion, its grounds long weathered from the harsh environment on the surface, the low levels of oxygen here allowed no fauna to grow. Veteran scout sergeant Talus and his ten man team cleared the bastion systematically and efficiently. They met with no resistance, the automated bastion still remarkably intact and with a stable power grid, they made their way quickly to the battlements. An old deep space transmitting beacon was set atop the structure, but it had long since deactivated and Talus knew that it would take a great deal of time to make it functional again without the aid of a Techmarine.

Meanwhile, the Storms and Land Speeders had secured the perimeter and began patrolling the inky darkness of the night. The haze proved difficult to penetrate, even with night vision and thermal systems engaged. Suddenly an auspex held by an initiate registered a contact, but it disappeared as quickly as it emerged. Not certain that this was an overactive machine spirit, a true contact or interference from the environment, the scout called in the temporary contact to his sergeant who immediately dispatched a speeder to the area. As Talus’ team performed the rites to wake the beacon from its dormant state, the remainder of the scouts secured the perimeter; eyes scanning avenues of approach in vane. The speeder pilot fed power to the engines and took off in a graceful arc towards the eastern plateau. As soon as he had cleared the upper limits of the of the canyon’s walls and mountainous outcroppings the pilot could not mistake the large column of dust breaching the darkness ahead and the sound of engine, which had been previously masked by the terrain. He saw searchlights bouncing off the dust particles, a violet plume of light illuminating three large vehicles; hover Rhinos, a pattern extensively in use by the Emerald Fists. His attempts to vox his commander met with nothing but static. Instantly he hauled on the controls to turn the speeder around as the loud bark of autocannon fire reverberated off the canyon walls. His helmeted head smashed against the blast shield of the speeder as he slumped forward; two holes rupturing his powered armour near the clavicle. The Masters of the Shadows were soon to fall victim to their own craft.

Auspexes raged with activity, as multiple sound and heat registers appeared on devices held by the scouts throughout the valley. The contacts encroached from all sides of the bastion and the alerted Ravens. Preferring to use the darkness and faith as a shield, the Raven Guard scouts unleashed accurate fire from their impromptu redoubts; no more than small earthen mound separating them from the advancing enemy. To both the polar southeast and northwest an armoured column of Emerald Fist rhinos approached; their hover rhinos and assault marines making easy ground over the meandering river. To the northeast and southwest, hordes of howling cultists broke the silence stirred forward by a traitor in crimson armour; the faint lines of scripture visible across every centimetre of its surface. Sniper rounds wailed from the bastion and foxholes as the scouts selected targets unerringly. With every round finding its mark a cultist’s body dropped headless only for another lunatic to takes its place.

Everything he had ever learned or taught to the scouts at his command screamed at Sergeant Talus to order a retreat; yet it was his duty to take control of the Sensorium suite. The tactical value of the facility vetoed nearly a century of combat indoctrination under the teachings of Primarch Corax. His scouts were dying. This was no stalemate or battle of attrition; simply the slow advance of betrayers and their mortal slaves slaughtering the Raven Guard. Talus knew he had to hold the line and wait for reinforcements yet he did not have the men to do it. Even if his scouts were fully developed space marines this battle would have been a route. Talus slipped through the shadows towards the oncoming rhinos and assault marines. Among them he identified their lord, the baroque armour and ornate weaponry he carried clearly marking him a tier above his honourguard. With finese he wraithslipped into the perceived path the assault marines were taking and as the lord passed, Talus rose to his full height and sank his powersword to the eagle shaped quillon into his back. A bright blue-white light erupted in the distance as if to mark the strike and as the light and smoke faded, Chaplain Damiken knelt in benediction ahead of a squad of terminators. The lord thumbed his jump pack and in one motion burst away from his would be assassin and landed metres away to face him. Cocking his head to one side as if puzzled or amused by an insect’s disregard for it’s own life, the lord sized up Talus before igniting his pack once more and soaring into the air. Talus rolled to the side to avoid the aerial assault, his scout armour giving him an edge in maneuverability yet the lord’s continued swipes and jabs from his power axe while stodgy, were expertly placed keeping Talus from regaining his balance. A master of the shadows, Talus could avoid detection of the most trained eye, yet against this hulking marine he could not hope to survive. Talus dodged and parried, attempting to hold the lord off for as long as he could. The lord had been elevated to his position through trials of combat and persistence of character and his final swing showcased his right for the position. The axe cleaved Talus wholly in two. To celebrate the kill the lord gurgled nonsense and stared at the power sword wound in his abdomen which had already scabbed over. The wound slowly began to bubble and puss erupted from the hole in his stomach. His armour liquefied and his skin decayed in moments. He raised his hands to the air as Father Nurgle infused him with his blessing. As his form grew disproportionate to his former self his mouth split to his ears and boils covered his flesh. Taking on a haunched appearance he slowly lowered himself to the ground as a single horn burst from his forehead. His right eye fell from his disfigured face as the left tripled in size and centred itself above his massive mouth. Although he had risen among the ranks of the Emerald Fists, his ambition could not elevate him indefinitely. Moving akin to a long extinct reptile of ancient Terra,the commander hurried off to share his fate with the Raven Guard; no longer a space marine or even a fragment of his former self.

Dust storms spun around the plateau steps as Kor Ikthon surveyed the landscape that stretched before him. The engagement was nearing its finale as his forces had managed to keep the Astartes from gaining foothold on Occulum. In front him he saw a sea of acolytes exchange blows with the Space Marines. Perhaps, he mused, that was not the correct term. Rather, they were being fed into a meat grinder, where the Raven Guard, fierce as they are, were bogged down by sheer weight of numbers. The wind sang a rising crescendo as the storms rose in intensity. Then a voice, vox altered, broke through the cacophony of sound.

“DIE HERETICS!!!! Let none of these wretches survive, lest you stain your honour brothers!” At the forefront of the battle, a huge, imposing figure stood. His ceramite a deep black, the storms causing the purity seals attached to his Terminator armor to flail about wildly and his eyes, set deep within the skull faced visage that was his helmet burned a vibrant cobalt. A group of cultists set after him, drool spooling from their lips as the spittle was caught by the wind and carried away. The warrior loosed his storm bolter into their ranks, every round precisely placed for maximum carnage, and no cultist was able to breach the hail of shells. He stood alone with his faith, his brothers fallen or incapacitated around him. The pile of dead surrounding him was considerable enough to block the greaves of his armor from Kor Ikthon’s view.

This would require his personal attention…

Kor Ikthon strode towards the impending arena that would see him battle the final remnant of the Raven Guard filth on Occulum. As he strode forwards, a momentary gap opened between him and the Chaplain allowing their eyes to meet for the briefest of moments before again being swallowed from view. He need not see his foe to know his direction for the barrage of curses was as thick as the rain of bolter fire. Kor Ikthon brandished his power mace and fired the activation stud. A gentle haze of power swept over the weapon and Kor Ikthon allowed his hand to pass over the tome attached to his waist. His Master had seen to it that the apostle had a part to play in the song of the universe, and he knew this would be no massacre would be no different. The thought was wrestled from him as the mass of cultists were blown backwards.

“Through the destruction of our enemies do we gain our salvation!” The Space Marine held aloft his weapon, the double headed eagle of the corpse Emperor at its head. He lowered the weapon until it was leveled directly at Kor Ikthon and muttered one of his countless litanies no doubt memorized by rote.

“Your time is at an end lapdog, here you will fall to decay and be born anew in the boon that I have brought to this system.” Kor Ikthon charged at the Chaplain, bringing his weapon high overhead before bringing it downward in a diagonal arc. At the point of impact a brilliant red flare of light lashed out at him, repelling the blow.

The Space Marine was fast, much faster than the armor he wore seemed to allow. He let loose with centuries of hate empowering every swing. He struck out with his boot, catching Kor Ikthon in the quadriceps which sent him reeling. “Let his wrath fill our hearts!” The storm bolter was brought to bear. “Smite now the scions of Chaos!” He let the weapon free, bolt rounds tore at the ground where Kor Ikthon has fallen. He scrambled for cover behind a nearby boulder and felt something crawling up the base of his spine, making its way towards his neck.

“That is fear, heretic. Gaze upon me and know despair, for your kind has no mettle, no honor!!” Kor’ Ikthon would not, could not be bested by this warrior.

“Fool! Does your mouth not tire from the useless and pointless drivel that spills from it?” Kor Ikthon steeled himself with his strength of purpose and moved to benefit from another pack of cultists swarming the Space Marine. There were dozens of them harmlessly clawing at his armor and although they would not fell him, they would slow him.

Still, the black clad warrior fought, relentless and undaunted, his fierce cries could still be heard above the roar of the storm and Kor Ikthon saw his chance, the opening he needed. He withdrew an orb from his armor, within was a sickly green haze. He crept around the side of the covering boulder and saw that the Space Marine was preoccupied with dispatching the horde of cultists. He sprung into action, speeding towards the Terminator. He launched the orb at the chaplains feet where the glass cracked and split open. The sickly green haze flared out towards the Space Marine and clouding the area in a putrid, rank smelling fog. Using the temporary distraction to his advantage, Kor Ikthon shattered the knee joint of the Terminator armor, its strength nullified by the chaotic power he had unleashed. The Space Marine buckled and turned his head to meet the new threat. His Rosarius had been depleted; the power gone from fighting the myriad of cultists.

“I told you I would end you, and I will do so to the rest of the misguided filth that followed you.” Kor Ikthon swung towards the helmet, smashing the ceramite skull. The armored form of the Chaplain staggered backwards, Kor Ikthon heaved a large breath, and spat in the direction of the Space Marine, closing for the kill. Then a new note was heard in the night’s song; the roar of engines announcing the form of a massive black Thunderhawk rising over the plateau. Flashes of light erupted all around him as missile blasts launched Kor Ikthon from his feet. His world went dark for a moment and he heard something incomprehensible yet undoubtedly the Chaplain’s rhetoric.

As Kor Ikthon staggered to his feet, he struggled to see the black form of the Thunderhawk melt into the night. So it had been ordained he thought to himself. The fates were ever changing and no path was absolute. He again put his hand upon the book at his hip and breathed deeply. Perhaps the chaplain was part of another song he thought to himself as he turned away.

From the skies above, three thunderhawk gunships flanked by storm ravens split the darkness with roaring heavy bolters and las cannon flares. The black enamelled hulls of the vessels were as shadows to the darkness with only the flash of their heavy caliber guns illuminating the outline of the birds of prey. A defiler sheltering behind a hoodoo erupted in a mushroom cloud of prometheum and gore as the concoction strapped to its hind quarter in drums was pierced by a las beam. Scores of cultists huddled around the daemon engine were thrown from their feet as vile green ooze rained from the sky above. The cultists rolled about as if bathing in the caustic sludge, their skin sloughing off amid incoherent ramblings before all movement stopped. The gunships circled for another pass as the host of plague marines and cultists closed their grip on the pockets of remaining Raven Guard. Unleashing their hellstrike missiles on the horde, cultists were incinerated instantly with no chance of rising once more in service of their dark gods. The Emerald Fists although struck, were not so easily dispatched despite being thrown clear of the impact zones by tens of metres. Their hulking forms appeared undamaged, no new superficial damage visible on their disgraced armour. With a buffer cleared around the survivors, the transports opened their bay doors and the Raven Guard clattered aboard still firing bolters into the settling mist. As one the thunderhawks raised their ramps and sped into the darkness toward the Shadow Wrath.

“Attack, withdraw and attack again”.
-Lord Corvus Corax, savior of Deliverance, survivor of Istvaan V, Primarch of the XIX Legion

The Raven Guard would not fight the Emerald Fist’s war of attrition. The teachings of their gene-sire spoke to such battles and it was not their way of war. The Raven Guard would regroup, reinforce, and take the fight to the traitors on their own terms for their is no honour in a meaningless death.

Recovering from the impact of the missile barrage, Kor Ikthon rose once more to his feet. The raving mass of cultists that were still able to draw breath, and some that were not, stared dully toward the heavens transfixed by the contrails of the fleeing thunderhawks. With the Emerald Fist commander reduced to a slavering puss sack of death, the Word Bearer took command of the war host and signalled his charge to the bastion. The Emerald Fists had work to do on Bruj Secundus and could ill-afford to hold ground this far on the outskirts of the system. The Fists were scions of Rogal Dorn and their strength lie in bolstering the planet; not prolonged void battles. Although Kor Ikthon was not of their lineage, he knew that to divide the forces Rothos had commited to Bruj would prove detrimental to their success. Melta charges were placed around the array to ensure that no boons to the liberation fleet would remain. The darkness of night was temporarily lifted as the melta bombs superheated the ferrocrete structure reducing it to a mound of molten slag. Kor Ikthon, satisfied that the Raven Guard’s next move would be done blindly, gave the order for the Emerald Fists and their worshippers to board their transports and prepare for evacuation from the surface. The cultists he had lead to battle, now fully pledged to the plague father, would serve as invaluable ambassadors to the people of Bruj Secundus expediting the full conversion of the populace. As his rhino crested the hill, the Word Bearer Apostle kept his gaze fixed on the former commander of the war host whom they had left behind. Loosing a wet guttural sound the thing bound towards the once pristine river and disappeared beneath the frothing green mucous which covered its surface. Remarking to himself that the patron god of death held weakness of character and flesh in low esteem, Kor Ikthon closed the hatch to the rhino and set his mind to future glories.

Kor Ikthon

The dark apostle Kor Ikthon was instrumental in creating the Nurgle cults on Bruj Secundus and lead his cult followers in battle during the initial ambush against the Raven Guard on Occulum. After blooding the population of Bruj Secundus and sealing their fate, Kor Ikthon translated out of system to further his own goals leaving the Fists to their own devices. Shown here, the daemon infused power armour worn by Ikthon has been imbued with lesser beings through rites of binding. The Book of Lorgar is carried at his side, its words capable of turning entire planets to his whim. Sacred texts have been inscribed on both armour and flesh offering wards and boons to their bearer.