Three factions vie for a foothold on a new planet. For blood, glory, and ancient claims
| "My lord," the Cryptek, Aurekh's voice was clear in Ezerekh's mind. "The Wraiths have returned."
Aurekh was a Harbinger of Despair, a Cryptek specialized in battling the living, fear-riddled minds so prevalent in the galaxy. Aurekh himself had a particular reputation for employing the machines that were once used to repair machinery embedded deep in the walls. These Wraiths had the appearance of a massive, gliding snake whose upper body resembled a carapaced beetle. Capable of shifting almost entirely out of existence, these machines were used both for repairs, and entrusted as guardians for the sleeping Necron.
"Where you able to find another tomb?"
"No, Phaeron. However, we have uncovered more trespassers."
"More aliens have come to try their hand for this planet?" The Phaeron asked, his curiosity had been piqued.
"It would seem so, Humans of the Imperial Guard. My Wraiths came upon their hovel, on a plateau beyond the Ork War camp."
Despite aeons apart from the world, the ancient machinery that watched over the Necron had kept records of planet throughout time. Any major planetary events, native and foreign species, all were monitored and cataloged. This way, the Necron would not be wholly unprepared upon awakening.
"Are they any threat?"
The Cryptek was silent for a moment. "They outnumber us, greatly so. However, theirs are frail and weak bodies. Alone, they would pose no threat, however should they call for aid, we would likely be overwhelmed, should they arrive."
"Then we shall avoid them for now, as they do not seem to be aware of our presence." The Phaeron responded. "The Orks are still our primary focus, afterwards, we will present the choice to leave to the Humans. Perhaps we can avoid more taxing combat."
"As you wish, Phaeron, however, I will be retaining at least one of my Wraiths, that I may continue to watch the Humans."
The Phaeron disliked the idea, however, the powers of a Cryptek were a boon too useful to lose. Much to the disdain of their lords, the Crypteks often relied on that fact.
"I will allow you to continue monitoring the Imperial Guard at your will." Despite giving in to the whims of the Cryptek, Ezerekh needed to project the appearance of control. "However, I will require your remaining Wraiths to continue searching for my Vargard's tomb complex."
"Of course, my Lord." Aurekh did not mind playing along, he had gotten the permission he wanted.
Vargard Mennokh was the Phaeron's personal advisor and bodyguard. The Vargard held the second most influential role in the Semkeht Dynasty, just under the Phaeron himself. On the battlefield the Vargard had no rival, his displays of martial prowess were unparalleled. Entombed within in a separate complex so as to provide the Phaeron a better chance of awakening on time.
Time however, proved the victor, as the Phaeron's tomb was in disarray, access to the rest of the tomb was barred by centuries of debris. Communication and location records of the other tombs were lost, and alien abominations plagued the Crown World.
Ezerekh stood from his throne in the council room. Though not soft and comfortable like thrones from before the conversion, it was still a work of art in it's self. Symbols carved in to the legs told of the Phaeron's deeds in life, as well as the acts of his Dynasty. Embossed with bronze raised coffin shapes, on which were the emerald insignia of the Necron race.
As he strode out from the council chamber, the Phaeron's Whyteguard fell into step behind him. The search for the Vargard's tomb was taking far longer than anticipated, and so the Phaeron would search for it himself. With the Orks growing in number each day, Ezerekh needed the added force of a second tomb until his own could be excavated.
The Phaeron and his entourage made his way through the labyrinthine halls of the tomb. Through grand halls and small corridors alike. In his mind, the Phaeron could see every twist and turn on the sprawling, subterranean structure. Ezerekh's path led him to the great circular chamber, and on to the bronze platform in the center. The hum of great hidden machinery filled the room, reverberating off the walls of the chamber. Suddenly, the Necron on the platform were bathed in a pulsating green light. The area around them melted away as the light faded away, being replaced with midnight sky, scorched earth, and the vague remnants of what used to be trees. Behind the Phaeron was the only indication as to his tomb's location. Six small, midnight blue, metal beams jutted out of the ground in the center of the scoured field.
The Vargard's tomb should not have been far from the Phaeron's own. Unfortunately the years were not kind to their plans, continents shifted, whole lands may have disappeared or moved. It may have been some remnant of the ancient Necron's former life. A sense of duty, or honor, that drove him to search personally for his bodyguard's tomb.
The area under control by the savage Orks was largely unexplored as Orks had a tendency to smash anything that moved. Even for the Wraiths, who were capable of becoming ethereal, this tendency proved hindering. The Phaeron did not expect to go unnoticed, quite the contrary. Fortunately, any attacks from the direction the Phaeron headed would only serve to further divert the Ork forces, something that would benefit the Phaeron greatly.
The Whyteguard trailed at the Phaeron's heel, "My Lord," the Lychlord, head of this Lychguard squad spoke. "Is it wise to risk engaging the Orks without more bodies?"
"We need the Vargard." Ezerekh responded simply.
"And there is reason to believe it lies in enemy territory?" The Lychlord queried.
"Reason or not it must be searched." Ezerekh commanded, growing irritated at being questioned.
"As you wish, my Lord." Following this, the Lychlord fell silent, once more content to simply follow and obey.
The night was still as the Phaeron made his way north. The chirping of some handful of insects and the occasional rustle of a nearby tree were the only sound to perpetrate the deathly silence of the dark plains. The only hint as to the Necron presence was the sickly green glow of their eyes, like wisps floating through the air. The glow cast an eerie glow on the white stylized skulls that served as their heads.
The sounds of gunfire, and the grinding engines of chainswords filled the air as the grim figures made their way closer to the Ork controlled valley. Evidence of the presence of Orks grew more clear, large foot prints ground into the dirt; trees with gnarled gashes ripped out of them by cruel steel.
"Ready your arms, we enter hostile territory." The Phaeron commanded, drawing up his own warscythe.
For some time the Necron went unnoticed, the Orks were `too preoccupied with fighting each other to notice the flitting metal in the coming dawn light. The Phaeron and his skeletal retainers came upon the scarred surface of a sheer face cliff, topped with a small plateau. A single, massive gray boulder took up the entirety of the ledge. Faced with a wall, the Necron were forced to turn back and continue in another direction.
The group had not gone more than a few feet when the cracking of branches set them on alert. The muffled murmurs and snarls were of Ork origin.
"'Ey, yous wus right Thogga, deres Dedd Mekks 'ere!" One of the Ork voices cut through the rest.
"Wot'd I tell ya! We stomp dem, an' da Boss'll be 'appy!" Another excited Ork called out.
"Do ya tink dey knows we 'ere?"
"Don't matta! Go an' get da rest o' da boyz!" The rustling stomp and snapping of more tree limbs signaled the Ork's departure.
If the Orks were allowed to gather aid, even the Phaeron's elite would be overwhelmed. The risk was great, but the Phaeron knew he needed to act.
"We are aware of your presence, beast. Come forward and die with honor!" The Phaeron called out, the blade of his warscythe crackling to life, pulsing with eldritch energy.
"Zog it! Dey's know we's 'ere!" The resounding roar was enough to shake the trees, green skinned savages seemed to materialize out of the very ground. The Whyteguard readied their shields, and stepped forward, putting their bodies between their Phaeron and the oncoming tide.
The spinning teeth of the Ork chainswords cut into the Whyteguard's shields. Eating large gashes out of the ancient metal. The Whyteguard themselves braced under the barrages of cleaving blades, their durable shields absorbing many of the blows. When initial strikes slowed, the surface of the Necron shields rippled, like a pond when a stone breaks it's surface. The deep gashes began to shrink, metal reforming in the places where the Ork weapons struck. The metal which comprised all necron weaponry, armor, and architecture was unique to the Necron, designed over sixty million years ago. The metal, called necrodermis was effectively alive, it could repair almost any damage, and adapt to almost any situation.
With their defenses repaired, the Whyteguard returned the Ork's welcome. The hyperphase swords wielded by the Whyteguard vibrated across dimensional planes, allowing it to slice through flesh and armor equally. True to this fact, a swathe of Orks fell before the trained Necron hands.
"Were's dem odda boyz?" An Ork at the back of the pack shouted. Likely this was the leader of this particular Ork subgroup.
Another shout in the distance heralded the return of the second Ork, as well as more howling masses.
"My Lord," the Lychlord said, between swings of his blade. "More of them come, we must retreat."
The Phaeron pushed to the front of his protectors. The world slowed to a crawl, globules of blood crawled tediously through the air. The Phaeron's arms moved as through molasses, like the very weight of time held him back. The long handle of his warscythe slid slowly through his metal fingers, stories of his battles and deeds gliding under his fingers, carved into the staff handle. The Orks, too, slowed, whatever trickery this was, did not originate from them. As the Phaeron processed the sudden crawling of time, the cliff face to their backs exploded outward. A hailstorm of rocks, from small pebbles to great chunks, rained over the Necron's heads. They moved outside of time, flying in real time. Striking down handfuls of the Ork abominations.
The Phaeron made his best effort to turn, to see the cause of this miraculous boon. Where the explosion originated it was hard to say, where once there was sheer cliff now stood an opening several feet high. It stretched backwards into inky, unlit, blackness. Though Ezerekh could not turn fast enough to see, on the corner of his vision stood a figure, issuing garbled commands to the shadows behind him.
Chapter 1: Royal Host
Chapter 3: Astra Militarum