Only War – RPG/TRPG Session
Run by Will
Baine Bravith – Jason (jymmijamz)
Father Deimos – Chris (alcoholandaphorisms)
Hans ‘Loki’ Lokisson – Me
Odetta – Tanja
(Write-up by Chris)
The sun is going down on a world at war. Father Deimos and Hans Lokison stare down from the high Gothic buttresses of a necropolis archotomb. Towards the setting sun the signs of war, their drop ships have landed them far off target. Closer the belching of smoke that signs the travel of war machines, ally or enemy they do not know. The smell of cordite, burning promethium and electrified air blown in from the east.
Inside as they carefully pace their way down back towards their colleges the shadows have taken nearly everything plunging the tomb into darkness. Hearing a clattering in front Lokison flicks on his light to see Father Deimos hitting the end of a long unseen stairway rolling. Bruised but basically unharmed. With a grim nod he activates his light to match, the risk of being detected is lower than the risk of falling to their death in this holy place. Another corpse amongst martyrs. The glyphs of the honoured dead revealed by their dancing torch light.
Outside Bravith, the Ogryn, stands beside his little comrade, watching the doorway entrance to the tomb as more refugees arrive. A swarm of them laden down under packs of their remaining possessions, tools of preservation and relics saved from the war.
Naiota (Yutter) Var, an old woman who seems to be some soft of representative has already entered the archotomb. The other refugees try to follow her example sidling past the giant creature that stands before them, giving as wide berth as possible. With a grunt the Ogryn backs up into the entrance, blocking the way like a giant beef door.
The crowd of refugees build up, those at the back crushing against the front, all stilled before the Ogryn soldier until finally one of the more assertive young men moves up, trying to make vague eye contact with the giant Bravith.
“Sir. Sir. Can we get in? We need to make sure Var is is all right”
“No one’s allowed in. Been told” Bravith says
Confused the young man looks over to the Ogryn’s little companion who nods in agreement with the decision.
“But…Naiota Var was allowed in sir”
“The Ogryn scratches his head ”She is nice old lady. Hello little old lady. Yes. Allowed in”
“Ok….well, I think the little old lady needs help. Can I help little old lady?”
Bravith frowns, almost sulking “Little old lady seemed fine. Friends in there. They’ll help her”
“There’s more Imperial guard here? Can you protect us? I mean, can we help protect you from the evil xenos?”
“Yes, yes we definitely can” the young man says babbling “We can tell you where xenos are, can help you carry things, can tell you about here”
“Hmm” Pondering the Ogryn touches its microbead “Best talk to my friends. Friends. People want to come in. say they have help”
“Good, good” Comes Father Deimos’ reply “Is there fire in their eyes like they are willing to flay flesh from the hated xenos?”
Bravith looks around “No fires. It is dark. Maybe we should make fires”
“I shall speak to them when I arrive, see if they have good honest human hatred in their heart.”
This Lokison and Deimos continue down the stairways and gloomy corridors of the Archotomb to be confronted by the completely unmentioned figure of Naiota Var examining an inscription on the wall.
Deimos’ flamer snaps up instantly, followed micro seconds later by Loki’s Las carbine, finger a hairs twitch from firing
“Down on the floor! Hands where we can see them!”
Naiota Var starts, jumping back, eyes wide. Spying the weapons she tries to lower herself to the floor, hip creaking and pained as she attempt to lie down. Checking her hands and pockets for weapons Deimos finds nothing but tools of relic maintenance and paint brushes.
“How did you get past the mutant on the door?”
“The ogryn said I could get past so I got past. Would that have been wrong? It seemed confused and just let me in”
“That story seems so stupid it could only have been true. Well your actions disrespected a mutant. Good. Stand up” Deimos says
Trying to push herself to her feet, Var extends a hand out “Would you help an old lady up please?”
Father Deimos considers a moment “If you were to be stood up, a blade in your hand, and a greenskin walked in this room. What would you do?”
Deimos claps the old woman in his arms, lifting her to her feet with enthusiasm.
“Are you the holy warriors of the emperor?” Var asks
“We are soldiers of the Imperial Guard, come here to smite the xenos with purifying flame in the same of the god emperor”
“We are refugees, we lost our land fighting the Xenos filth, can you help us?”
“I can do better” Deimos replies “I can provide weapons taken from the fallen filth with which you can slay the xenos”
“but, where are the others?” Var asks.
“Do not worry. Others will be arriving soon, but we have enough hatred here to kill a thousand xenos. For now we are the lances of the emperor”
Vars give a look of respect, but toned by the knowledge she has. A thousand dead xenos is but spit in the ocean here. “My friends, I hoped the refugees could take shelter here in the tombs and help maintain them”
“Good” Deimos says “Here we can watch them for signs of heresy, do you know what we do with heretics?”
Var looks to the flamer and offers “Burn them?”
“BURN THEM!” Deimos confirms enthusiastically “Are there any suspected heretics in your group?”
Var answers, slowly, with each word considered “There were cowards, those who didn’t fight the xenos when they attacked us. They have all been killed”
“You have a good heart, but it will hide the heretics from you. I shall watch their eyes where their sins will hide”
Together the group head out to find the Ogryn standing in front of the entranceway
“Oh. You found old lady. Good” Baine says
Father Deimos looks to Var , then back to Baine “Explain your orders to me again”
“Don’t let people in” Baine says
“Would you describe this “Deimos waves at Var “As a person”
“Little old lady”
“Would you describe this as a person”
“Yes, No, Or Flamer. Would you describe this as a person?!”
Baine pauses “No. Old lady”
“An old lady is a person” Father Deimos growls “How do you intend to make up for having so totally failed your sacred duty to the god emperor?”
“Good” Deimos smiles “Now?”
“No Xenos around”
“Hmm, we must have killed them all already. Very good. For now”
The group watch as the refugees filter into the shelter. Deimos springing upon any who look insufficiently pious and rattling them with questioning Some he has to pummel into appropriate devotion. For the most part they show strong faith and devotion to the god emperor. Looking almost disappointed Deimos mutters “That will do”
Seeing raptor creatures circling in the air and carrion eaters heading towards the battle zone Hans Lokison sidles up to Father Deimos “We best find somewhere to settle for the night, do you think here would be be good to set up?”
Deimos nods and Lokison sets the Imperial Guard squadmates to watch out for danger while he does a search of the perimeter to work out if the area is secure The buildings labyrinthine corridors sprawl for miles. There are many escape routes, but also many avenues for attack. However the refugees have spread far and wide through the tunnels. With a little effort it is easy to convince them to settle in choke and ambush points as early warning for if anything dangerous approaches.
It looks like the refugees have already set to restoring the tombs, painting over glyphs with fresh colours. Looking, Lokison recognises the glyphs as markings of the emperors angels of war. Space Marines who have fallen in battle are entombed in this holy site.
He returns to find that the rest of the squad have set up on the second floor, covering out of the windows. Their grav chutes will allow easy retreat, even from such a high place, if it is needed. In the meanwhile the high ground, view and control of the stairways will prove strong tactical assets.
Unpacking their meagre guard rations the squad find themselves under the hungry gazes of those with even less. Thin, drooling refugees look on as the squad consume what they have. Spying the gazing, Deimos recites a psalm on the spiritual merits of fasting “I would happily starve if not for the fact I needed my energy to murder the xenos. My spiritual well being is at risk from my efforts to aid you. Such is my dedication to your safety”. This does little to rise spirits.
The night passes with the various guard members watching in shifts. The undergrowth outside filled with small creatures, but little more. Very few false alarms sound through the night and the huddle refugee huddle quiet and sleepless in the building, trying not to disturb the Imperial Guard members as the patrol.
Light finally breaks, and with it comes a foul smell, rotten and fetted. Hans leads the squad out to try and find its source. The Ogryn Baine quickly perks up, the rotten smell reminding him of the scent of the female of the species. Following it down they soon
find themselves back at the embers of the funeral pyre they had burnt the fallen greenskin on the day before. Around the charred remains a strange plant life seems to be springing up with remarkable resilience.
Unique, strange and innovative. A wonder of plant life. It is soon agreed that it is likely heretical or mutated and thus must be burned. The plants char and die quickly under purifying flame.
Returning to the refugees camp they are confronted by the sight of Naiota, one of the closest things the camp has to a leader, shouting at an underling. One of hundreds of people working on the wall, attempting to restore it inch by painstaking inch.
From the shouting going on it appears that some mistake has been made
“They were space marines! The ultimate defenders of the Imperium. What you have marked here, it makes no sense. This a desecration of the resting place of people who died to save you!”
A gasp from behind them makes them turn. Father Deimos passes past them, prostrating himself before the glyphs. “This is the tomb of a space marine” he mutters in holy awe. The young woman who was working on the glyph shakes in fear. Stumbling back.
“Thank. Thank you for the instructions. Thank you for telling me. I shall correct this now. Instantly”
Father Deimos rises from the ground ”You know what is wrong. Then why is it still wrong? Every second is an insult to those it honours”
The young woman snatches the brush from the ground and sets to work instantly, her hand shaking so much that the marks are worse and worse than ever before. Father Deimos watches, one hand on his flamer at all times, until she finally is finishes and dripping with nervous sweat. She is very aware that no one is near her any more. Everyone has found new glyphs to work on, one very far away from the priest.
“Good. Very good. You have corrected your sin” he strokes her head gently “Shh. You have corrected your sin no need to fear. You have put it right”
“Now go and cut off your right hand so you never repeat it again”
The woman stares at him for a moment then scutters off. Var stares at the misshapen glyph then back to Deimos.
“Is something wrong?” he asks
“No, no” Var says “That was the fine work of the Emperor you just did”
“Good” Deimos smiles “Now I trust you to watch over the others, to make sure no error goes uncorrected.” and with that he leaves, leaving Var confused , and a badly painted glyph in front of her eyes.
Assembled ready, the Imperial Guard squad prepare to head out into the forest. To track down the vehicles they saw, be them allies who can give them transport, of foes to strike down. No one steps in their way as they leave, the crowd parts before them.
They have a good distance to go. The vehicles they saw were ten miles away, and could have moved further since. Saving energy the squad march in silence through the hostile terrain. As they reach deeper into the forest Lokison and Baine spy more of the strange plant matter than had sprung up around the burned xeno. Kneeling to examine it Lokison notes that it seems linked with the ork’s travelling. There are patches in their footsteps, where they have fought or settled and large amounts in the tombs that they have passed by. Some small patches, some massive mounds.
“There’s more of the vegetation we saw, Linked with orks somehow. Heresy” Hans Lokison spits.
“Fine eyes Loki” Deiimos says” No wonder we work well together. Now this leads to hard question, one where we must make a choice. Exactly how to burn it?”
Hans looks at the vast amount that has sprung up “We don’t have enough prometheum for this. Looks like the longer the greenskins have been here the more it grows, you can tell the path they have taken by how much has built up”
“Are you saying we can track them by it?”
“Yes, we’re lucky. From the size of the growths I’m presuming the xenos haven’t been here for a while. We can’t burn it all. May have to report it when we are back at the ship”
“Deimos nods, wondering of the ships are packing any anti plant missiles that would eradicate all plant life from the planet. Before they set off to follow the tracks the squad examine a nearby tomb, to try and ascertain why the Xenos mould is so prevalent there.
The tomb is small, but drills down into the ground, spreading out to a magnificent staircase a hundred yards across that spirals down. At the base doorways leading to tombs of individual fallen. There is no plant life inside on the rock. Searching the top as quickly as they can they find evidence of vandalism and desecration but no evidence of motive. Aware the war continues without them they quickly scoop up their belongings and head back out, to follow the spore to the hated xenos.
The tracks are easy to follow at first but soon end up criss-crossing, branching and rejoining. Multiple confusing routes that lead nowhere. The rumble of vehicles is audible now in the distance but the echoes make them hard to isolate and identify the exact direction. The smell of burnt prometheum is stronger, and the rotten aroma of the fungi less. Lokison looks at signs of devastation around and tries to work out if the vehicles they approach are friend or foe. Spying a tower in the distance he indicates for thee others to follow him. From there they should be able to identify the nature of what they seek,
Weapons up they breech into the building. No evidence of the strange vegetation, nor ally nor enemy. Floor by floor they secure the building until they are high enough to spy over the foliage. A trench seems to have been cut through it in the distance with military precision. A precision unlikely to be ascribed to the xenos. Most likely a trench for small tanks or scout walkers to use to speed their transport. A chance to rejoin the war effort it seems.
Satisfied the group head back down, ready to make their way. Just as they reach the doorway Loksion raises a hand, indicating for them to stop. He points silently to the nigh invisible lines of laser dot sights trained through the doorway. Imperial weapons most likely.
“Hail and well met. Where are the xenos my comrades for I have purifying fire for them?” Deimos shouts out.
No answer comes and only a slight wobble of the targeting laser indicates that they have been heard. Wary, Deimos speaks again “I am with the Imperial guard, Father Deimos is my name. Answer or I will presume you heretics and burn you where you stand!”
Now comes a response, loud mechanical clanking and the working of pistons. Falling back the squad head to a discrete window, spying out to see a scout walker, military grey and ten times the size of man, weapons trained on the doorway. A squad in conspicuously sharp Imperial guard uniforms watch, las carbines up, from safe distance behind it. The quality and polish of their equipment far outshines those of those inside the tower
A plan is quickly formed, grav chutes in hand the vast majority of the squad leap from a window on the blind side of the tower, slipping into the undergrowth. Father Deimos and his squad mate head down to the side of the doorway where they hear
“Who are you? Which regiment?”
“Hadean 13” Deimos shouts back “First in, first blood!” he slips a frag grenade into his hand ready, in case negotiations go sour. “Now who are you and why are you wasting time talking when there is xenos filth to be purged?”
“Albion Scouts 101” comes the reply “What are you doing this far out, you are meant to be carving out a beachhead”
“We were dropped off point, had to make our way to the front. Had some skirmishes on the way. They were…productive”
When the answer finally comes there is a tinge of respect in the voice “We have transport then, if you need it”
Slipping the grenade back into its pouch and pointing the flamer to the floor, Father Deimos steps out, the laser aiming dots focusing on him as he does so. A tense moment passes as Deimos stands in front of them, waiting for the moment of recognition. Finally, the las carbines lower to the floor. The troops relax visibly, then shout
“Are you on your own here. Where are the rest of your squad?”
“Tacticus Imperialis advises you do not reveal your force if you are in doubt” Deimos replies
“Are you still in doubt?
Deimos pauses “I am sure now” he raises his voice, booming into the undergrowth “I leave it to my comrades to decide if they are also”
A las carbine raises from the undergrowth, Hans Lokison holding it ready, then lowers it to one side. From bare meters away from the squad he gives a half salute half wave. Braine swings out from behind the buttress, ripper gun up and ready. One by one the squad members reveal themselves from their hiding spots, weapons ready.
Shocked and unsure, the 101 squad look almost ready to raise their weapons in response. A mix of respect and nerves in their eyes. The Haden 13 squad show no fear and move with easy cohesion. The troops facing them stand, unsure if to be impressed, draw weapons, or be cowed into submission
“As you can see, my team mates are eager to kill Xenos.” Deimos says “Now you mentioned transport?”