Three factions vie for a foothold on a new planet. For blood, glory, and ancient claims.
| "Waaaaaagh!" Came the howling roar of yet another wave of green skinned abominations. Their makeshift chain swords swung wildly in customary Ork blood lust, blows easy enough to avoid due to their clumsy, sluggish nature. The hulking brutes did not lack strength, however, and despite the reckless abandon with which they attacked, the blows that did land were a hindrance.
"Fire." The psychic command was sent out.
The will behind the word commanded forth a volley of super heated plasma. A handful of resilient Orkish brutes dropped lifeless to the blood drenched earth, the corpses were quickly crushed under the heavy heel of the rest of the oncoming tide.
Another barrage flew forth, cutting away at the remaining Orks. The Orks closed the distance, there was no more room to fire. From the rear ranks of the defending force came the crackling sound of plasma biting at the air, like a hound chomping at its master's chain, demanding to be unleashed to fight. The defenders parted, moving like one mass in unison. Five heavy metallic bodies strode forward from between the now idle gunners. The light of twin suns caused the brilliant white plated combatants to gleam. Emerald plasma coursed across the blades of their heavy cleaver like weapons. Their coming was heralded only by the great shields they bore before them. These dauntless warriors met the oncoming Orks with gruesome hospitality.
Before long, the elite swordsmen had carved a wedge into the oncoming wave. One of the warriors fell to an Ork's aimless thrashing, this simple act pulled another triumphant "Waaaaagh!" from the green skins. Had he a mouth, this cry would have given the defender's Commander cause to smirk. Instead, with a flourishing twirl of his long handled glaive, the commander strode with determination into the chaotic fray. A single swing cut through a group of roaring nuisances. Beneath the Ork's feet, metal dragged its self back together. Wires mended themselves, circuitry rewired, and skeletal armor fused back in place, the fallen warrior rose among the horde. Without a care to its own safety it once again began cutting away at the endless tide.
The twin suns began to set on the ongoing battle. Though the Commander regarded this with as much care as one would give an insect. Time was irrelevant, however the Commander had other business to attend to. With another wordless command, the ground trembled. Dry and cracked earth blew upwards and away as warped claws dug their way to the surface. Rusted and stained with ancient blood the grasping bladed talons cut through the massive trunk like legs of the oncoming mass.
Pulling themselves up through body or earth alike, twisted constructs of metal, draped in flesh, took the field. Their appearance drove the Ork mass into disarray, scattering their forces and adding to the scything arcs of metal. This new force brought the end to the innumerable Ork bodies, their raging primal roars silenced through the area.
It brought the Commander no joy to be finished with the fight, nor did it bring him any sadness. The twisted machines wandered aimlessly around the bloodshed, kneeling in the bloody mess and taking their grim trophies. Blood anew, like oil, washed into their aged joints. Green skins added to their gruesome drapery the metallic horrors vanished. Viridian flashes of light granted brief illumination of the now sunless battlefield.
Sparse patches of blood washed grass mixed with gore softened mud. What few trees grew in the area now suffered numerous battle scars of their own. Chain teeth bit large gashes out of the once sturdy trunks, this note caught the Commanders attention, in his timeless mind he compared the wild swings of the Orks with his own mechanically precise carving. Another process in his mind continued the survey, eying the fresh kills for any survivors. One slavering Ork crawled across the ground, its legs had been cut away, but still it sought battle.
"Waaaaaaagh! Come an' git me, ya dedd meks!" It roared, spittle flying from its over-sized mouth. One of the shield bearing warriors obliged the creature. Stopping short as the Ork swung with its non-functioning chain sword. Without a word, the skeletal machine cleaved the rather pathetic Ork's skull in half. No more of the fallen creatures dared move, if they were alive to do so.
As the Commander watched his royal cadre going about their duties and securing the location, a portion of the Commander's mind drifted back to years millennia passed. These same warriors once served him, not as machines, but as flesh. Among his armies there had been no finer bringers of death, their gleaming white armor sat them apart on the battlefield. As they served as the Commander's personal guard, they had earned themselves the name Whyteguard, both among his own forces, and his rival's. Now, some forty-thousand years since his Dynasty entered into the Great Sleep, those same Whyteguard serve as executioners of the Commanders will. Bound by ancient forces to never disobey their lord, they follow the orders given to them without hesitation.
The Commander reached out with his mind, reaching into an invisible network of minds and bodies. Thousands of minds existed in this network, many simple and blank, no thoughts left them. Their only purpose was to receive and execute commands given to them. Some minds still slept, the systems intended to awaken them not functioning. Their locations buried deep underground, where no creature alive had ever been. However, inside this system existed complex minds, capable of a thousand thoughts in mere seconds. Even fewer minds still were like his, capable of free thought, possessing of a personality all their own. The Commander's mind however was unique within this network. No restrictions remained on it, his mind was capable of total freedom to enact his will.
"Phaeron Ezerekh." Came a thought not of the Commander's mind.
The thought belonged to a member of his Royal Court, it had no doubt seen the conclusion of the Phaeron's fight.
"The Crypteks have been monitoring the primary body of the Ork forces. The Ork Warboss has begun rerouting weapons, supplies, and vehicles towards their eastern front. Undoubtedly anticipating our continued presence in this region." The thought droned on, toneless and without feeling.
It was all just information, present simply and without flourish. This was undoubtedly coming from one of the two Lords among his Royal Court. The Crypetk's managed to retain some semblance of unique tone from their former bodies.
"What of their flanks?" Ezerekh's voice echoed throughout the network of minds, a unique presence in the system.
There was silence in the system briefly as processes registered his request for information. One of the Cryptek's minds lit up in the system, responding to the Phaeron.
"It would seem," The Cryptek paused briefly as it examined the gathered information again. "That of the differing branches of these brute's forces, there is a section in the north-east where their numbers are fewer." The Cryptek paused again, though Ezerekh could sense another sentence forming in the Cryptek's mechanical mind. "Relatively speaking, of course."
Phaeron Ezerekh parsed this information for a time, analyzing possibilities, weighing outcomes. Ever since his Tomb complex had begun its re-awakening, the Orks have been a constant thorn in Ezerekh's side. Communication to several of the other complexes across the continent had been lost, somehow severed by Ork technology. Losing track of these complexes has greatly hindered the Phaeron's plans, stalling his retrieval of control of the planet. As it stood, his forces numbered a mere twenty five. His attacks could only consist of small strikes, hardly enough to combat the entirety of the Ork mass.
"I will be returning to the Tomb, prepare to meet with me in the council room upon my return."
The Phaeron had always preferred face to face meetings. A quirk left over from before the conversion, one piece of a personality he retained. His advisors, however, were content to communicate across the vast, faceless network, and would likely not meet face to face unless needing to.
"As you wish, Phaeron." Five voices responded automatically.
Phaeron Ezerekh once more reached into the system with his mind, interacting with machines made in ages long past. In an instant, the sparse grass clumps and dry earth was replaced with cold metal and steel. A vast, high vaulted chamber sprawled before him now, unseen lights cast their glow across the chamber. This room had been one of the most well preserved of his tomb, it was one of a few rooms protected dearly.
The floor was made of ornately crafted steel, rings of polished metal, and given the colors of the Phaeron's Dynasty. In the center of the room was a raised platform, copper in color, and capable of holding an army a hundred strong. Around the center platform was a ring of midnight blue, contrasting the dark color was a ring of pure white. Between the two larger rings was a smaller ring, pulsing with emerald light. The distant chamber walls were carved with ornate symbols, an ancient language, it told of the Dynasty's history, listed names of the noble houses, and named the worlds that once belonged to the Phaeron.
Ezerekh took his time in reaching the council room, observing the grand halls of the Phaeron's Tomb complex. Large spider like machines glided soundlessly through the halls, the Spyders saw to the reparation and restoration of the tomb. It seemed only two were still in working order at this time, this caused reconstruction to crawl, at best. Beneath the Spyders, and along the walls beside them skittered half a dozen Scarabs each. These Scarabs broke down material, transferring it to the Spyders to be re-purposed.
A pointed archway gave way from the hall to the council chamber. An amphitheater in design, the chamber held a small handful of chairs oriented on rings of differing height. Each one immaculately gilded, decorated with symbols for the Dynasty, and inlaid with emerald spheres. In the center of the room, at the lowest point, was a large circular pedestal. The pedestal was more of a formality, any documents or maps were now displayed on screens, or transmitted instantly across the network to those it needed to be seen by.
"Phaeron, your arrival has been highly anticipated."
Chapter 2: Savage Tide