Author's Note - I'll be updating this occasionally, at my own pace. Please read and review. By the way, I'm not a Cassern Goto, I know stuff about the universe that I read off Lexicanum. I may take a few liberties here and there, like with Eldar customs (which are largely undocumented), but I remain faithful to the GW canon. Anyway, what inspired me to write this was the fact that I played FO3 with WH40k mods.
Continuity - Following Dawn of War 2's storyline, after the events in Chaos Rising. The Black Legion forces in the Aurelia Subsector are shattered. The Blood Ravens' new Force Commander (Which I shall nickname from here on out, Vanilla Ice) is now Captain of the Fourth Company, as per canon. Gabriel Angelos is declared renegade. Eldar forces are in hiding on Typhon Primaris.
In the grim darkness of the 41st Millenium, there is only war... And war, war never changes...
Veldoran, leader of the broken remnants of the once-mighty warhost of Craftworld Ulthwe, sat in the ruins amongst the verdant Typhon Primaris, with his fellow seers alongside him. It was evening on the jungle planet, and the mossy stone structures that dotted the planet provided perfect vantage and cover for the Eldar forces. Of the thousand warriors that had set out from Ulthwe, only less than half remained. At last count, only four hundred warriors remained, with most of the casualties from the Howling Banshee aspect. Exarch Tyrea, and most of her kin were dead, awaiting transfer into Ulthwe's Infinity Circuit. At least they had the fortune to have their soulstones. Many of the Wraith-constructs that had accompanied them to the Aurelian subsector were destroyed, the soulstones within them shattered beyond all hope of reconstruction, the long-dead Eldar souls they contained sent screaming through the Warp to Slaanesh.
It had been two months since their second defeat in the Aurelian Subsector, engineered by the upstart leader of the Mon-keigh Space Marines. Countless Wraithguard lay in ruin on the frozen, desolate world of Aurelia. Truly enough, the foolish humans had proven to be the doom of Ulthwe, as Idranel had predicted, mere weeks before her own death on the human-controlled Forgeworld of Meridian. For two months, they had wandered from planet to planet in the Aurelian Subsector, finding a way to salvage any advantage, salvage anything of worth from their failed mission, to no avail.
With Idranel dead, it fell to the next-highest-ranking seer to lead, and by virtue of experience and skill, it was undoubtedly Veldoran, who had long past the length of time typically served by seers as Warlocks. He had achieved seniority two hundred years before, but had felt it best that he continue serving as Idranel's majordomo, giving her the benefit of his wealth of experience to complement her raw potential.
"Another thing to hate them for..." he thought, seething with anger. The other Warlocks of the Council of Seers had given him a wide berth ever since the death of his protege. A hundred and fifty years... gone. A hundred and fifty years had he had spent moulding Idranel into one of the premier Farseers of Ulthwe. A hundred and fifty years, laid to waste in but a moment, thanks to the humans...
The structure they had taken refuge in used to be a temple, built by the stranded humans in the past to glorify some ancient deity, possibly yet another incarnation of the Ruinous Powers. The humans that used to live here were long gone, probably a victim of their own foolishness one way or another. Still, despite being millenia old, and constructed of native stone without mortar, it was a sturdy structure that had even withstood orbital bombardment by the Space Marines battle barge during the fight for Typhon Primaris in the closing hours of the Tyranid war. The room in which he stood had served as the altar hall for the primitive Mon-keigh that had resided here, with Parthenon-style towering pillars that held up a heavy stone roof. That the pillars were large enough to conceal a Falcon tank was proof enough of the scale of this temple, and was therefore an optimum place for a temporary base while Veldoran and his Seers considered their next move.
The Seer council stood in an almost perfect circle, each warlock radiating power that the average Mon-Keigh psyker could only dream of attaining. Divination runes danced around them, sometimes darting to another warlock and taking up orbits around their new owners, and it was a full fifteen minutes before the ritual was ended. Most shook their heads, having gleaned nothing from the divination ritual, but Veldoran sensed a distinct undercurrent in the divination that had failed to be seen by the other Warlocks. He was about to order a re-cast of the ritual when one of the Rangers stormed in, cameoline cloak in tatters.
"Lord Seer, I would speak with you!" she, for it was clearly a female, yanked off her hood and the helmet beneath it, revealing the bright silver sheen of her irises, framed by a thick mane of brown hair. It was obvious that she had just returned from patrol, even with his mask he could smell the tang of sweat and the musky undertone of Eldar pheromones. Her agitation was palpable, and it was obvious whatever news she had brought was at very least, unpleasant.
"What is it, Ranger?" Veldoran murmured from the shadow of one of the pillars.
"The remnants of the Black Legion are within ten kilometres of our base camp," she handed him a small dataslate, finely-wrought from wraithbone, which showed a map with small, glowing red eight-spoked symbols demarcating the forces of Chaos.
"Have they breached our defensive perimeter?" he handed her the slate again, other hand clasping the handle of his witchblade lightly. "Are there any casualties?"
The ranger shook her head, "No, Lord Seer. We were careful not to reveal ourselves. However, the direction of their advance leads them directly to us. "
This was dire indeed. There was a distinct possibility that they had sensed the warp energy from the Seer Council's attempted divination and were on their way to discover its source.
"They are led by a Sorcerer, Lord," the Ranger's jaw was set grimly. "And a host of daemons walks with them. No less than two thousand, all told."
Veldoran cursed under his breath. "Too soon. It is far too soon... We must prepare the Closing of the Way."
"And sever Ulthwe's only route back to Yrin?" his second in command, a younger Warlock named Tarashe spoke, addressing Typhon by its Eldar name. "It would mean sacrificing what little we achieved in this sector!"
"If we stand and fight, many lives will be lost, in a futile effort to secure what foothold that remains," Veldoran retorted harshly. "And if we fail, the way will be open for the Great Enemy to reach Ulthwe... and possibly other Craftworlds. Do you wish to have your named reviled by our kin till the fulfillment of the Rhana Dandra, or the coming of Ynnead?"
Tarashe fell silent, realizing that he had spoken out of turn.
"I appreciate the Council's role," he softened his tone somewhat. "But the Craftworld's needs comes first. Everything else is secondary, including our own survival."
One by one, the warlocks nodded, and Veldoran knew that there would be no dissent, as long as all of them were reminded of their loved ones still living on Ulthwe. He knew in particular that Tarashe had a bondmate with child, and it had been many moons since he had seen them.
The Closing of the Way was an act rarely performed on a webway gate. Typically, most gates were well hidden, thanks to Eldar camouflage technology. Some, however, had sustained damage that disallowed them from cloaking, and as for Yrin's gate, it was only the foliage that covered the planet that had allowed it to stay hidden thus far. It pained him to see that Yrin would be cut off from the reach of the Craftworld, but the stakes were high should the forces of Chaos find the webway and use it. The last time such a thing had happened, the Tzeentchian sorcerer Ahriman had broken into the Black Library and stole some of its many irreplaceable texts. The ritual could only be performed by a psyker, and as such, he intended to be the one last through the gate, performing it himself while leaving a small window of opportunity to pass through himself.
"Activate the portal," he gestured with a robed arm. "Begin evacuating the Guardians first. We Seers will do what we can to delay them."
He reached into the satchel on his waist and pulled out a rune, rarely used, and last used by Farseer Idranel herself during her final battle with the Mon-Keigh. It glowed and thrummed with power, responding to his own psychic resonance. "They shall see a storm, larger and more violent than any they have seen, or are ever likely to see again..."
It had been two hundred years since he had donned his ceremonial armour. Resplendent in runic symbols and soulstones, it was awarded to him after a victory over the Mon-keigh on an Exodite world whose name he had not cared to remember. Slowly, deliberately, he slipped it on, feeling the flexible shell underneath the robes, and the metallic click of the chestplate. Immediately, he felt the psychically-sensitive filaments within the armour react to his presence, synchronizing with his thoughts and emotions. Like the more archaic armour of the Farseers, it had two wraithbone wings jutting from its back, psych-reactive stones studding it and allowing finer control over the Warp. Alongside the proud white and black colours of Ulthwe, golden filigree outlined the terrible visage of his helm, the red eye-slits glinting in Typhon's evening light. The witchblade that lay in his scabbard was of the finest adamantine steel, inlaid with near-sentient wraithbone. It had been gifted to him with the armour itself. The master smiths of Ulthwe had spent many, many moons forging it, and it had been some time since its blade had tasted the blood of the Eldar's many enemies. Arbiter-of-Death, he had named it in the Eldar tongue.
The low song of the Howling Banshees filtered through his mind as he walked out of the antechamber of the ruin, focusing and directing his determination. He would not fail this day, whether he lived or died was another matter entirely. Uttering a small prayer to Khaine the Bloody-Handed, he rallied the warhost of Ulthwe the Damned.
In front of him stood the multitude of his warriors, also equipped in the finest panoply of war that Ulthwe could offer. Too many Exarchs had died already, too many. Tyrea of the Howling Banshees, Kaylith of the Warp Spiders, even Nemerian and his best rangers were gone, with only his inexperienced second-in-command, Jaeris, to lead them. The Guardians had long gone through the gate by now, and it fell to the Aspects to hold the line until the ritual of Closing could be completed.
By now, it was certain that the Chaos forces were aware of their location. One of the rangers had been killed while attempting to hide from their soldiers, and they had renewed their march with renewed vigour, intent on catching the Eldar wrong-footed. With the help of the Council, Veldoran had conjured a truly massive Eldritch storm above them, sending tendrils of psyker lightning lancing toward the incoming Chaos force. Untold numbers of heretics and Chaos Marines were annihilated with each blast, but with every loss, more daemons came forth from the Warp to take their place. The ritual of closing was still ten minutes away from completion when battle was joined. At his behest, many of the aspect warriors had departed the battle-zone through the still-functioning webway , whilst the Seer Council and Veldoran's most trusted Exarchs remained, one of whom was Veldoran's former bondmate, Ilrissa. It had been an age since he had called her by that name, and indeed, it was an age since she had ceased to become his bondmate and instead been consumed by her Path, forever forsaking both name and family. Still, some part of her had willed her to stay, and she had said as much. He was itching to order her back through the gate, back to safety, but he knew it would be a slight to her honour as well as to the honour of the Temple of the Howling Banshees to do so. Tarashe, he knew, would be leaving once the Council had completed its task of closing Yrin's gate, and would once again see his bondmate and child. A slight twinge of envy crossed his thoughts, but he pushed it away, knowing that it was for the better. He would be the one to charge the Webway one last time, by himself, and forever seal the gate, as it should be.
Deyond of the Warp Spiders had already led his small group of warriors to harass the Chaos forces in an attempt to both harass and draw off their forces, but for the most part, the enemy had maintained cohesion, and marched inexorably toward the gate. Shuriken cannons, set to autotarget the enemy troops, were cutting down wave after wave of enemies, and yet there were always more enemy bodies to soak up the concentrated fire. On the mossy stone steps of the temple, Veldoran stood watching the battle, Jaeris and Ilrissa by his side. Jaeris had his eye set on his scope, sniping any who strayed too close to the Warlock.
One by one, he could sense the Aspect Warriors falling in battle, their grace and speed proving futile under the overwhelming onslaught.
"It is time," Ilrissa pronounced, drawing her mirror-blades from their sheaths gracefully. Veldoran nodded, motioning for Jaeris to evacuate.
"Then we fight side-by-side once more, my love," Veldoran whispered.
There was a slight hint of a smile on the stern face of the Exarch, perhaps the ghost of her former personality yielding to nostalgia. It was quickly wiped away as she sprinted forward, her eyes glinting with unbridled battle lust. Even as a warrior, she still held the same beauty and grace that Veldoran had fallen for so very long ago.
Battle was joined quickly, and wave after wave of Chaos soldiers fell to the collective blades of the Eldar. Moving almost in unison were Veldoran and Ilrissa, blade-strokes quickly separating body and soul with precision and impossible speed.
"I shall send your souls screaming back to your Dark Gods!" he howled, unleashing a withering bolt of eldritch energy from his fingertips.
Striking hard and true, the bolt had annihilated a goodly portion of Chaos Marines, leaving nothing but shreds of metal and bloody chunks of meat in its wake, routing the many heretics that were still engaged in fierce hand-to-hand combat with the Eldar warriors.
There was a lull in the fight as their leader strode forward, the Chaos Sorcerer who had survived the purge of the Black Legion forces by the Blood Ravens. Adorned in gold-chased black armour that displayed the foul sigils of Chaos, the Sorcerer was a sight to behold. His force sword was bifurcated and wreathed in Chaos energies, and a bolt pistol hung at his belt, covered in what seemed to be fresh human blood.
"Come forward, Eldar…" the sorcerer's voice was rich with amusement. "And Xenthus the Reviled shall show you true power, power that will forever lie beyond your reach…"
"You are naught but a slave to your own power, Sorcerer!" he replied, brandishing his witchblade with a flourish. He could feel the wretched filth of Chaos infusing the very space near which he stood, gnawing at his sanity. Forcefully, he rebuked it with a jolt of his own aura. At the same time, he dashed forward, swinging his witchblade in a wide arc. The sorcerer met it with his own blade, and sparks flew from the clash of the potent weapons. With speed impossible for any human to match, Veldoran struck again and again, scoring the Xenthus' foul and pitted armour with his blade. With a howl of fury, the Sorcerer unleashed a torrent of telekinetic energy, sending the Warlock flying.
Deftly, he corrected his fall and landed on his feet, dragging to a halt, just fast enough to register the doombolts that the Sorcerer had unleashed upon him. With a raised hand, he formed a telekinetic screen, and deflected the bolts with sheer force of will. They impacted harmlessly into a group of trees, turning them into a mass of smouldering wood.
Around them, the battle had resumed once more, both sides fighting with renewed vigour and determination. Foolishly, several heretics, seeking to win the favour of their Dark Gods, had dashed forward, intent on impaling Veldoran upon their rusted blades, and were promptly torn asunder by Arbiter-of-Death, keenly singing with each blade-stroke upon their bodies.
In his fury, he had not registered the fact that the sorcerer had raised his pistol, intent on dealing the killing blow to the Warlock while he was still engaged with his minions. With a swipe of her power-sword, Ilrissa sliced the accursed weapon in half, but it was too late for the mighty Banshee Exarch, who was impaled upon the sorcerer's blade just as she had saved Veldoran's life. Coughing blood, she fell to the ground, clutching the obviously mortal wound. Within seconds, she was dead, her eyes staring blankly at Veldoran as he looked in horror at her prone form.
"No… No!" he roared, rage and sorrow filling him.
"Was that your woman, Warlock? How romantic… You'll have someone to accompany you when I send your soul to Slaanesh!" Xenthus taunted eagerly. With a flick of his hand, he raised Veldoran into the air, intent on doing the same to Veldoran.
With a howl of monumental rage, he burst out of Xenthus' telekinetic grip and swung his blade once more in an arc with a mighty explosion of psychic energy, disintegrating the Sorcerer and anyone who stood in a significant radius around him, turning them into bloody chunks of flesh and bone on the jungle floor. Screams resounded around him, as those not killed outright were nothing but limbless torsos covered in their own blood, with only seconds left to their mortal lives.
The Warlock fell to one knee, utterly spent, one gauntleted hand braced upon the pommel of his witchblade. With the death of their leader, the forces of Chaos was thrown into disarray, though some aspirants had continued to fight with ferocity. It was several moments before he got to his feet and sounded the general retreat, trudging over to Ilrissa's lifeless body to retrieve her soulstone and that of the other fallen warriors that lay near her.
As he held the glowing red gem, he sighed and clutched it tightly, the helmet concealing what tears he shed. It would not do to have his own warriors perceive his sorrow, nor was there any time to mourn, but such was the fate of all Eldar. It was thus that he laid the stones gently into his satchel and strode forward once more, his head held high and his witchblade at the ready. There would be time to mourn later, now was the time to give the enemy more cause to do so that he did.
The fighting retreat cost them little in terms of warriors, and soon it was down to Veldoran and the remainder of the Seers to hold the gate, as the rest had already died or left through the webway, back to Ulthwe.
He had ordered them to go through the gate first, and was about to commit what reserves of energy he had left to closing the portal forever, when a foul Bloodletter shimmered into existence near the thick foliage that hid the Webway from prying eyes.
Working quickly, he completed the ritual, sending a last jolt of energy to fuse the circuits within the control mechanism, which allowed him just ten seconds to follow his brethren through.
The daemon charged, knocking him a few meters from the gate, and it was with desperation that he dashed for the portal before he was tackled again by the Daemon. All he remembered before he blacked out was his calculation that his momentum would be enough to carry him safely through the portal…
It had been a week since Lyra had left Vault 101, and in that time, she had discovered a little of what was left in the world.
It was on the first day that she had made her way to Megaton, the quaint little town built around an unexploded nuclear warhead. There she had met Lucas Simms, the town sheriff, with whom she became fast friends with, thanks to her speedy work in helping the town disarm the nuclear bomb that had given the town its name. Sadly, even that did not help her find any means to continue the search for her father. The town's information broker was a man by the name of Moriarty, who also owned the town tavern (if one could even call it that), a hard-nosed and greedy old man who had dirt on virtually everyone who had lived in town for more than a month.
The old bastard had licked his lips when she had asked him for any information on her father. Ever the businessman, he demanded that she pay for it. "One way or another," he had said, before running an appreciative hand over her cheek. That had earned him a slap, which oddly left him even more amused than before.
Truth be told, she was a little angry at how her father had left, leaving her in the clutches of the Overseer. It was only thanks to Amata that she had managed to leave and begin a new life outside. In some ways, despite being a dismal ruin, Megaton offered her something that the Vault never had – Freedom. She came and went as she wished, did anything she wanted (short of shooting up Moriarty's Saloon and Moriarity himself), and she even had a house of her own (thanks to Lucas, who was kind enough to reward her for disarming the bomb). Life was pretty good, despite the harshness of living in post-apocalyptia.
Over the past few days, she had spent some time exploring the surrounding area and talking to some of the townsfolk (One somewhat odd woman by the name of Moira stood out – she had asked her to take a look at the nearby ruined supermarket for any supplies), careful to avoid pockets of radiation and water(since it was irradiated enough to cause her Geiger counter to sound). So far, she had managed to avoid direct contact with the raiders(insane, gun-toting people who roamed the wasteland looking for people to rob and/or kill) by staying silent and killing any who got too close with a hunting rifle she had picked up at Moira's store.
The thrill had been immense, especially once when she felt a little adventurous and decided to take on a group of three raiders who had been hiding out in the ruins of an old barn. Like the soldiers she had seen in the historical pictures in the Vault library, she went prone, bracing the old rifle carefully and managed to kill two without gaining noticeable attention. The last one had run to his now-headless partners-in-crime and gotten shot as well, though it was not as clean a headshot as the other two, and he screamed and thrashed about for a while before he actually bled to death(Lucas had laughed when she told him what had happened, and advised her to aim ahead of the target next time.)
Today, the eight day of her exile and subsequent new life, was uneventful so far. A radscorpion or two, some mole-rats (which made for excellent eating once you cooked them), and even an old Protectron robot (which had detected her and demanded that she stop before she blew it's head off). It was about two in the afternoon when a bright flash caught her eye, with the squeal and crackle of electrical discharge. Following the direction of the sound had brought her to a wall of rock and she was about to just turn around and continue her explorations when there was a second flicker of blue light and the same squeal of electrical discharge right next to her, startling her out of her wits. Just as suddenly as it had appeared, the blinding flash of blue was gone, and in its place lay something that she had never ever seen before, not even in any of the Vault library's many holotapes.
Clad in a robe of dark cloth with dozens of symbols inscribed onto the edges and a mask of inlaid gold, was a person, a human possibly. Whatever he or she was, one thing was sure, it had seen heavy combat. The material of the robe was torn and seared in some places, and the mask was covered in soot, as well as a bit of soil. Down the metal-ribbed front was the generic impression of a slash, deflected by the metal ribs as well as the armour that lay underneath. Above all, one of its hands held a sword of wondrous make, which seemed to glow and shift in colour as she watched.
"Shit," Lyra cursed in awe. "What in the world is going on here?"
Warily, she crept closer, eyes fixed upon the supine figure before her.
She had made it to within half a metre when the figure raised a gauntleted hand weakly, the sword clattering to the ground. The masked face turned to face her, red eye-slits glinting evilly in the light.
Several seconds elapsed, both of them staring at one another.
Finally, it was the newcomer who spoke. His voice was gravelly and deep, but backed with a strange reverberating and musical quality. "Human... "
Her eyes widened.
"Help… Me…" he managed to say, before his head fell back and the eye-slits darkened.
"Shit," was all that she could say as she dashed forward to him.