A Howl in the Void
A Howl in the Void
The Moons Grace; a hammerhead prowed, kilometer-long Battle Barge of brilliant blue hung suspended in the depths of the Orpheus Sector; invisible to the naked eye against the vertigo inducing backdrop of vast, vibrant nebulae and twinkling, distant stars. The massive vessel was a work of beauty, majestic cathedrals and fortresses encrusted the spine of the ship in a maze of ornate gothic architecture spanning from the rear of the prow itself to the command decks. Replacing the ship’s two forwards facing bombardment cannons were a pair of 250 meter tall tesla coils that towered above all other spinal structures, their apexes capped with massive chromed spheres. The barge itself, a deviant pattern of the otherwise standardized Adeptus Astartes Battle Barge, was unique in that its spinal structures were unheard of in the construction of such a ship, including the peculiar looking tesla arrays replacing its main armament.
The Moons Grace was named for her origin, as she was found locked in geostationary orbit with the fourth moon of Graces Landing in the far- flung reaches of the Ozmodon Rift. There, her current masters, the Brotherhood of the Lost, had commandeered the dormant relic; Chapter Master Morael Amissa conferring the mysterious ship to Chief Librarian Thaddius Aeuralion in a bid for the librarian to untangle its shrouded past. Upon inspection of the ship logs, data-crypts, and immersion with the ship’s machine-spirit, Lord Aeuralion was no closer to unearthing the past of the vessel, as it would take countless years of laborious data-retrieval and salvaging to piece together the Moons Grace’s murky history. After three years of service with the Brotherhood of the Lost, the first scrap of usable information surfaced. The data uncovered was groundbreaking, revealing the identity of the vessel’s former masters: the Ashen Angels.
Gradually, over the course of the next several decades, piece by piece of the Ashen Angels’ story was brought to light, revealing a chapter in the throes of terrible woe. The Ashen Angels were founded during the Thirteenth “cursed” Founding, the very same founding that a majority of the Brotherhood and Thirteenth Legion members hail. It was at Graces Landing where the Angels fell from grace; as they were ordered to execute Exterminatus on the entire sub-sector for failing to bend to the madman Goge Vandire. It was here the Ashen Angels gathered the entirety of their fleet and made their exodus from Imperial records, as they disappeared into the outer fringes of the Orpheus Sector to repent for their sins against those they swore to protect.
Thaddius Aeuralion glanced up from the sheafs of parchment he was inspecting regarding the slowly accumulating past of his vessel as the double doors to his chamber opened, permitting three brilliantly blue armored warriors to stride through its threshold.
“What is it brothers?” Thaddius set the sheaf of papers clutched in his hands down on the dark oak surface of his escritoire. The trio standing before him shared a brief look before the middle one spoke.
“The bridge has reported a distress beacon, Lord.” said Captain Haasvan Shah, his pale, equine face partially shrouded by his pitch black shoulder length hair.
“From?” Aeuralion inquired.
“Thovian X, Lord. We received warning via astropathic choir seventeen minutes after our deep range scans picked up the distress signal. It was Thirteenth Legion coding; vermillion level.” This was from Redemptor-Captain Grimlok of the 36th Company, picked out from the other two by his charcoal black armor and disturbing visage. His skin was deathly white, paler in comparison to Haasvan, who was a former son of Corax, and his eyes, those two oil-black orbs never seemed to stray from his own. “Could this not be apart of our joint exercise with the Thirteenth? When I last spoke to Captain Karos Khan he informed me the exercise would begin with rapid reaction and planetfall to distressed civilian targets.” replied Aeuralion, though his gut was churning, telling him different.
“That’s what we initially assumed from the previous tactical briefs regarding this training operation,” the third marine chimed in; 47th Company Captain Tu’Nor Protevius. He was the largest of the gathered officers in the room, standing a head taller and broader than his brothers. His skin was ebon of the darkest shade and his intimidating, red eyes smoldered with a righteous fury. He continued, “But when we received the astropathic communique directly from the Warhorse. Lord, it’s not good.”
“What have they seen?” Thaddius pressed, curious to what visions the Warhorse’s choir had sent to his own astropaths via interstellar telepathic commune.
“They reported howling lord. Deafening, ceaseless howling. Four astropaths of the choir had brain hemorrhages before they were able to cut their communion.” Grimlok replied, the quartet of helmets he constantly carried, secured with a thick linked chain, clanked against each other as he shifted his bulk uncomfortably.
“How far until Thovian?” Thaddius asked, concern creased his noble features as he pushed himself away from the dark oak desk and stood. At full height, he stood eye to eye with Grimlok and Haasvan, as they all stood at roughly seven foot, three inches; but he had to look up into Tu’Nor’s fiery gaze.
“Two days, Lord.” Haasvan answered.
“I want contact with the Thirteenth before we even enter the Thovus system. Something is afoot brothers.”