“We are at war with forces too terrible to comprehend. We cannot afford mercy for any of its victims too weak to take the correct course. Mercy destroys us; it weakens us and saps our resolve. Put aside all such thoughts“.—The Book of Exorcisms, the Verses of Inquisitor Enoch
* * *
The fight begins
It took us 15 minutes, using cover as best we could, to reach the edge of the village. I divided my force into two. I led the mercenary captain and nine warriors towards the center of the village, while my fellow acolyte, Midas, led eight warriors and our assassin, Aurra, to the west to turn the flank of the heretics.
We were just preparing to launch our attack when we were spotted. An arrow from one of my mercenaries caught the shouting guard’s throat, and his warning died as he choked on his own blood.
Still, the alarm was sounded. The warriors of Sidon drew their swords or grabbed for spears, and what followed was a melee seldom seen since the most ancient days of Terra.
A headlong charge
As I saw it, the best way to win this fight was to cut off the head of the snake. Thus, I led my group of mercenaries in a charge directly toward Maug Ra, Sidon, and Thaetos.
We were 40 meters away to these heretics and, in the time it took to reach them, two of my mercenaries fell: one to a auto-pistol shot from Maug Ra, another to an arrow fired by archers.
Meanwhile, the heretic psyker, Thaetos, cast his foul witchcraft upon us. I felt the crawling sensation of the Warp, but I said a prayer to the God-Emperor, and the sensation passed. Not far from me, however, two of my mercenaries faltered, dropping to their knees and screaming in terror.
But the rest of us reached the heretics’ line, and we set to work with grim determination. I rushed at the psyker and swung with my power sword. The wretched heretic leapt to one side, and I found myself assaulted by Maug Ra. It was not a quick fight. Despite his screams of defiance, my years of training under Inquisitor Vaarak outshone the heretic’s meager skills and I forced him back with ease.
The heretic’s expression turned from outrage to desperation, and Maug Ra surprised me by grabbing one of the primitive warriors and shoving him at me. I quickly killed this annoyance, but it bought time for the cultist leader to pull forth a frag grenade and toss it in my direction.
My training served me well. I deactivated my power sword and swung it, slamming the side of my blade against the flying grenade, and directing it to the side. To my good fortune, it bounced behind a stack of logs, which absorbed much of the force of the subsequent explosion and allowed me to close on the lead heretic.
Death to all heretics
By this point, the fighting was a tangled crush of bodies, but by mercenaries appeared to be holding their own. Such hand-to-hand combat was, as always, a horror. Men screamed as swords tore apart flesh, war axes crushed skulls, and spears sank deep into bellies, necks, and thighs.
I had only a moment to absorb the tactical situation. Maug Ra drew a combat blade and charged at me. Yet, again, he was outclassed. Reactivating my power sword, I sank its blade into his chest until the tip erupted out his back.
I next turned to face Thaetos, but he was fleeing, and the warlord Sidon came at me. He was a more formidable foe. In a primitive society, rule is maintained by strength, and Sidon was powerful and well-trained with a blade.
We exchanged several blows in the following seconds, but I did not hesitate to take advantage of my technological edge. As soon as I had the opportunity, I swung my sword with all my force and, as Sidon countered, the impact of our swords meeting, coupled with the strength of the energy shield surrounding my blade, shattered the warlord’s weapon.
The heretic clearly was astonished at his sword’s destruction. But he did not live long enough to contemplate the repercussions.
The fall of an assassin
I am sad to report that our assassin, Aurra, was killed in the fighting.
On the far side of the village, Aurra and her mercenaries were attempting to close on our position when they were counterattacked by several warriors. With them was the Warp Spawn, which obviously had been released and was being driven towards our troops.
I personally did not observe the battle between the two deadly killers. But, in interviews with some of the surviving mercenaries, I learned that Aurra was a blur of moment as she met the heretics’ attack. She killed two of Sidon’s warriors almost instantly, and the rest fell back behind the warp-tainted beast with them.
My mercenaries spoke in awe of Aurra’s prowess. She would leap forward, slash at the Spawn, then roll away from its blows. After a short time, the Spawn was bleeding from a dozen wounds, but the war beast was stoutly built, with the bulk of a dreadnought.
What’s more, despite the assassin’s speed, the Spawn was fighting with a half a dozen tentacles and appendages ending in razor-sharp claws and bony spikes. At some point, one of the Spawn’s tentacles finally struck Aurra, knocking her to the ground. The warp beast seized her with a tentacle and lifted her up.
By all accounts, she made no sound as the Spawn’s mouth opened to reveal multiple rows of teeth that closed around the woman’s skull and crushed it.
That was enough to halt our advance on that front. Although the mercenaries did not flee—a credit to their courage given the horror they faced—they withdrew and had the good sense to draw the monster away from the main fighting by pestering it with arrows.
An unsatisfactory victory
With the death of their warlord, there was little stomach for Sidon’s warriors to continue the fighting. They fled. So did Thaetos.
We pursued, of course, but all we could manage was the capture of a number of the warriors. Under interrogation, we learned that Maug Ra had paid a vast sum of gold for an ancient relic buried in a burial mound belonging to one of Sidon’s ancestors.
According to myth, this ancestor had found the relic—made of some unidentifiable metal—in a cursed chamber whose location is now long-forgotten. As was the custom of the tribesmen, the relic had been buried with its owner.
I was told that Maug Ra always carried the relic on his person. But a search of his corpse, as well as the entire village, left us empty-handed. I can only assume that Thaetos is in possession of it.
So, now I remain on this disturbing planet, hunting down the psyker. For now, I must assume that the relic is one of the fragments that cultists seek, and that Thaetos now seeks the other two fragments.
Given his fearsome, warp-tainted appearance, the psyker shouldn’t be impossible to track down. His frightening visage is a source of much gossip among the superstitious villagers. To encourage people to come forward with information, I have been showering nearby warlords with gifts—truly just trinkets by our technological standards—but sufficient to spread world that ample rewards are available to anyone who can point me to the psyker’s location.
Still, so far I have heard nothing. And it is not lost to me that I have failed twice now in stopping this heretical plot. I dread reporting this news to my master.
Click here to return to Part 1 of this adventure.
TheGM: Sorry for the dearth and poor quality of photos. I was acting as referee for this skirmish action, and I was so busy keeping the players on track that I forgot to take more—and better quality—photos. I also need a better camera.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Kossogtha Campaign
I love the feudal world action with a handful of tech worlders….very much in the vein of original Rogue Trader. What rules did you use?