The Black Sun Solstice

I have written a bit of lore for a tournament tomorrow. It’s a continuation of the Armageddon Crusade that we played back during Easter (check out the background lore). The tournament is a tag team tournament, 1000 points each. I’ll play my newly painted Stealer Shock army for the first time and Andreas will bring loads of Necron Warriors. We are team Necronids aka the Kings of decent attacks. It’ll be a blast.

Black Sun front

The Black Sun Solstice

Three heavy thumps from the heralds staff announced the presence of High Commander Castess on the Throne Bridge. Her white ceremonial dress uniform was impeccable. She glanced across the deck, at her honour guard and the officers gathered. They stood along the sides leaving floor in front of the throne to the mighty warriors of Adeptus Astartes. There was three of them, giants one and all, dressed in full Power Armour. The blueish grey was worn, beaten. On their pauldrons she could see their heraldry, a black wolf howling at the moon on yellow background. They were Space Marines of the Space Wolves Chapter.

One of them stood in front of the others, she could tell he held rank from the markings on his armour. The others did not. He had his wolf’s head shaped helmet in his left hand. It was painted black. His red hair was in a mess and the braids of his long beard had started to come loose. The two Astartes behind him still wore their helmets. They held a big crate between them. No one spoke nor acted, they just stood there waiting.

She could smell the blood and oil off their chainswords and the sweat off their leaders bare head. They had spared no time coming here. The wolves had brought the battle with them onto the command deck. The war was here. Castess continued to view them from her throne, looking down on them. ‘Why have they come?’ She had already been informed of the progress and there was no need send emissaries after ever leg of the campaign. Her thoughts were interrupted by another thump of the Heralds staff .

“Kneel before Mistress Irissa Castess, High Commander of the Armageddon Crusade.”

One of the Wolf brothers growled but was cut off by their leader. He spoke, controlled and resigned: “I’m sorry, Mistress, but we kneel to none but the Great Wolf on Terra …”, he paused. “… and you are not He.”

+++

The blue and gold reflected in the silver armour that laid there on the ground. The man inside was still alive, broken and dying but alive. His armed twitched, as he tried to raise the Gatling Cannon at the Thousand Son walking towards him. It twitched but no more. Sol Mikh’Ar knelt beside the fallen Grand Master of the Grey Knights. The ancient Dreadknight Armour was riddled with holes. Many of the them still hissing from the sorcerous bolts that brought this mighty champion of the Immortal Emperor low. Mikh’Ar carefully removed the Grand Master’s helmet, placing his bare hand on his forehead.

++ Brother ++ he sent telepathically ++ How do you think our unforgiving father will judge your betrayal? Will he understand? ++

The Sorcerer’s hand burnt the flesh as he probed the bulwark of his enemy’s psyche. The Grey Knight lashed out at sorcerer, his incorruptible soul sparked with a blinding light of a hundred suns but Mikh’Ar refused to severe the psychic bond. ++ Do you think your life time of service and fealty will redeem your honour after you’ve done what you will do? ++

+++

A moment of absolute silence followed the wolf’s words. But as they sank in a rattle of arms readying and humming of power weapons activating ran across the Deck. The urgency of the situation was felt by Mistress Castess. Etiquette was truly wasted upon them. They were warriors. Barbarians. She chose her words carefully.

“Without protocol, he serves no purpose but I guess that we past the point of formaliy.” She nods ever so slightly and the Herald’s escorted out of the Throne Room. “Now tell me, Sons of Russ, what brings you here?”

“We are not here to share tales from the burning of fallen Valeria but to share with you dire truths from the Arch-Scriveners. We have all been misled, taken for fools by those who want to see this Crusade end in failure.” The wolf paused, he was uneasy talking in front of the crowd on the Throne Deck. “On the Shrine World we discovered evidence of a most sinister threat, a threat that had been reported to us earlier but discarded …”

He raised his chainsword, pointing it without activating towards the Mistress. Castess stood without motion, letting the Wolf play out his act. The chainsword slowly moved to her left, pointing towards the darkness behind her. “… by your advisor.”

“Yes, we have all been informed of the ravaging Ork, of how the likes of Snikrot have ambushed of Emperor’s Adeptus Custodes and pushed them back.” The wolf continued. “This while the Grey Knights have fought the Daemon incursion on Yerrow. Successfully banishing at least two vile princes of the Dark Gods. Necron resurgence have been meet by our Astartes brothers, their monoliths brought low by controlled destroyer fire patterns. We know all this, Mistress, and we know more. There is a pattern hidden deep with this madness of War. The true enemy is yet to reveal himself. But we know now that the enemy at hand is the Thousand Sons. They are pulling strings unseen to us. From this nothing good will come.”

“Mistress, we are beyond the Great Rift.” From the shadows behind Castess emerged a man wearing heavy robes of regel blue cloth. A cherub hovering by his left shoulder. He ran his hand through his scant beard. Half speaking, half whispering, he continued: “This is the Dark Imperium, the Eastern Fringe. We are far from where rationality and order reigns. The Warp and all its horrors are strong here but faith in the Emperor protects us. Stray from his light, Mistress, and you’ll be chasing your shadow much like I fear the Wolves are chasing theirs.”

The leader of the Space Wolves felt anger rise within him: “You spell treason, worm tongue. The truth remains unchanged, the Thousand Sons are plotting something and we shall all suffer, lest we act accordingly.”

“On your command, leach, we were sent to Valeria to end the reign of the Arch-Scriveners. This is done, their shield worlds are broken, the Great Wolf shielded us against their Baneblades and Leman Russes and nothing now remains of the Arch-Scriveners’ rule.”

+++

++ You could make this easy on yourself but you will not. You will resist, you will struggle. But in the end you will fail, just like your brothers. ++ The Sorcerer moved the Grand Masters head, allowing him to pan the battlefield. His Paladin Guard, his brothers of a thousand battles and hundreds of years of war, laid motionless on the ground laid beside him. Dead. Beyond them he could see the Sorcerers of the Thousand Sons casting spells of reanimation on the fallen Rubricae. Dust swirled back into their arcane armour and they stood back up again. ++You will make us both suffer before the inevitable completion. Your betrayal.++

++Speak no more, traitor.++ The Grand Master steeled his soul, again trying to severe the psychic bond. Blood filled Mikh’Ar’s mouth but he refused to release the Grand Master and slowly the surge died down. He swallowed down hard.

++Do you remember the Blood Moons of Karashir? Of course you do, you did the Emperor proud that day.++ Mikh’Ar deepend the bond, probing the bulwark of the Grand Master. ++The daemon you hunted, what did they call him?++

++I remember. I remember banishing the foul thing.++ The Grand Master had no strength left to fight the Sorcerer. Within his mind’s castle walls he prepared his soul for the end. ++They called him by a hundred different names but most common was the Harvester of Deceits. You ask me questions to which you already know the answer.++

++Yes, I do. Forgive me.++ Mikh’Ar expanded his reach inside the Grey Knight before biting down hard. He knew that it would hurt soon, more than before. The Grand Master must have sensed it too, mustering the last of his strenght.

++You will fail, traitor. My soul shan’t be tainted.++

++You soul is safe, brother, I do not aspire for it. All I want is the name of The Harvester of Deceits. Tell me his one true name.++

++Never.++ The Grand Master roared as raw power rushed from him. Blood shot from Mikh’Ar’s eyes, his hand erupted in flames. He screamed of pain for what felt like an eternity before he released him. Mikh’Ar fell back on the ground and just laid there catching his breath. He slowly sat back up again, carefully composing himself, reforging his mind. The Grand Master was on the brink of death but still dangerous.

“Thank you, brother.” Mikh’Ar spoke softly. “That was all I needed.”

An avian beastman walked up next to them. He was covered in runes and symbols of untold power, carrying trinkets and a staff with a burning eye. The sorcerer held his eyes fixed on the Grey Knight’s when he started to send to the Tzaangor Shaman.

++Just follow the trail in his mind, it will lead you to the name. Consume it.”++

The Shaman sunk his golden beak into the Grand Master’s head, cracking his skull in a gush blood and gore. The Grand Master was beyond pain and could just stare back at the Sorcerer as he was eaten alive. “Sometimes, brother, it is good to remind yourself that there are more primitive forms of magic. You protected the name well, I could never reach it. But your protection of it revealed where it was and that is all I needed. My Tzaangor will do the rest. The name is my. And the betrayal is yours.”

++I pray the Emperor will be more forgiving to you than he was to us.++

+++

“Nothing remains”, scoffed the advisor. “All is gone. How convenient for you that only your preposterous accusations remain. Nothing else. Mistress …”

The chainsword growled, silencing the advisor mid-speech. He cowered back towards the shadow. “Nothing remains of their rule.” The Space Wolf nodded and his wolf brothers put the crate they held between them down on the deck floor. In a swift motion one of them opened it up, reach inside and pulled out an naked old man. The broken body was held up high for all to see before it was thrown at the High Commander’s feet. The old man moaned and instinctively sought protection, crawling behind Castess. “I give you, Waltor, the Master of the Arch-Scriveners of Valeria. Our Runepriests have delved into his psyche, dug deep into his soul. We know what truths he holds. We know that he discovered the presence of the Thousand Sons in this Theatre of War and warned us all of the same.”

“Do what you please with him, Mistress. The Space Wolves shall ready ourselves for the coming storm. We suggests you do the same.”

Forge a Narrative

The Black Sun Solstice is the second instalment of the Armageddon Crusade campaign for Warhammer 40,000. The first one saw the Imperial Crusade grab a foothold in the subsector, crushing the initial resistance on the worlds of the Altwon Tract. But victory is far from won. Far from the battlegrounds and killing fields something sinister is steering; the Thousand Sons are drawing the stars into alignment awakening an ancient evil thought banished for all eternity. Binding it to their will. And as the wheels of fate turns, reality bends to ways of sorcerers of the XV Legion. The true end of the Thousand Sons’ scheming may still be well hidden, the immediate effects are not.

On the Agriworld of Muse the peasants celebrates solstice when their sun reaches its zenith, turning first to blood and then fading to black. Within the Black Sun the The Harvester of Deceits is awakened. Released from one prison and cast into another. Inside the Black Sun his rage knows no bounds. With every curse and spiteful word he speaks the Black Sun throbs, emitting baleful, sorcerous energies with each pulse. Across the subsector unthinkable alliances are forged in the wake of the Black Sun Solstice, war escalates drawing more world into its flames.

And the metal from which the Armageddon Crusade is forged will be tested like never before. Can the Crusade maintain its momentum in the aftermath of the Black Sun Solstice? Will true purpose of the schemes of the Thousand Sons be revealed in the flames of the burning subsector?

As the narrative progresses the games fought during the Armageddon Crusade tournaments continue to develop the story. The fate of the Altwon Tract is still ours to forge and the story arc is more open than ever. Record your victories and defeats and help forge the narrative further.

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war …

That’s all folks!

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