Governor’s Palace, Inner Shahn
-Concerned? Of course I’m concerned it cost me a fortune to build those pleasure gardens the imperials are fighting all over
The wine glass was empty again, a trembling bottle was raised over and a green-red liquid poured out till it ran dry; the glass wasn’t even half full. Annoyed the hand holding the glass waved the serf off and brought the glass to his lips. Governor Shahn savored it’s rich taste and tossed the glass aside. His wine covered ornate gorget was wiped by a nearby maid and he proceded to indugle in a piece of bread.
“So I hear the imperials are at our doorstep”
The two men sitting directly across from his dinner table stared at one another and whispered among themselves while all the other guests observed. Finally the taller of the two rose, patted down his purple uniform and cleared his throat.
“Yes my lord they have, I thought it would be best to inform you after the feast, such news is distasteful at best given this event”
“Nonesnese General Munin, the quicker we can get rid of these imperials the faster we can feast”.
The Governor chuckled and rest of the guests copied in unison. Munin could sense that through their fake laughs the guests were uneasy. As the laughter stopped with the Governor’s raised hand, Munin activated a node on his wrist and a projection of the pleasure gardens appeared before the guests, many of the guests’ expressions changed the instant they saw it.
“Imperials are making their way through the pleasure gardens and soon they will be on the ourskirts of the city, I suggest-”
“No General Munin, I am the one who makes suggestions”
The governor stood up slowly and walked over to the General and put his arm around him.
“I know you are trying to help General but the imperials shall never make it to the inner city, we have the tau here and we also have the Psyker Legion”
“My lord I-”
“No general, we shall be fine I suggest you and general Hunin finish your meal and get out there and tell our men to grow a pair”
Munin deactivated his wrist projector and took a deep breath.
“Permission to be prepare the men my lord”
“Granted” he said as he walked back to his seat.
Munin gestured the other general next to him and they both bowed to the guests and walked out the doors. As they closed them the governor clapped his hands and music started to flood the uneasy feast. They could hear the governor telling jokes to his guests.
“Brother, what shall we do?”
“Do our duty Hunin……do our duty” said Munin.
“The governor is acting like-”
“The Governor is trying to keep the ruling class calm, if they panic and leave we might as well surrender to the imperials but you know how they are”
“Death to traitors” Hunin said slowly.
Munin nodded weakly and gestured him to follow. As they were walking down the grand steps they could hear the rumble of chimera apcs and the sky being whipped around them as vendetta gunships flew past. Once outside the two generals received the salute of the assembled men and boarded their personal vendetta gunship. Once they were airborne they could see the sky full of flak and laser fire, the sunlight hid the true scale of the imperial assualt, much to the relief of Munin and Hunin.
“Perhaps we should prepare our private shuttles?”
Munin gave him a cold glare.
“We have only just begun to fight”
As they flew past the inner hive into the industrial sector, row upon row of freshly made armor of all sizes began their advance through the the empty streets. Their unpainted hulls carrying smiling soldiers eager to get to the front.
“If we go we won’t go quietly” he whispered to himself.
The feast hall was flooded with lovely music but the guests were all uneasy, Por’El Doran’ro had barely touched the foreign looking green and purple dish in front of him and only took a few sips of the white sparkling drink to his side. The humans seated next to him were no doubt worried and eager to leave as was he but as a Water Caste member he could not afford to lose the calm his caste was famous for. The guests varied only in dress, each no doubt trying to outdo one another and show off their wealth, the older man seated to his left had only exchanged a few words with him and once the two generals left the room had grown completely quiet.
“Por’el, you should try to enjoy the food, it is quite good” whispered the human seated to his right. Unlike the other peacock dressed guests this man wore a modest tan robe and his hair was unkept. Por’el turned to him and smiled.
“Surely you know I do not eat the flesh of other living creatures Lithus?”
He gave the respone some thought and nodded, his facial expression hiding his embarrassment.
“Ah yes, pardon me Por’el I-”
He raised his hand and nodded.
“Not to worry Lithus, we have more important matters ahead”
“Yes your grace of course”
Lithus was a “Gue’la Elro” or human diplomat serving one of the many human worlds allied with the Tau Empire, his planet Jokob’Yan had only recently been brought into the Empire and they were eager to prove their worth. It was well known to Por’el that each one of them had extensive gene therapy done and Lithus was no different, though he looked human his senses were better than his kin and he was much more mobile only at the expense of incomplete muscle development but it varied from each patient.
“Have you heard from your forces Lithus?”
“No Por’el but I’m sure he will get-”
The music stopped as the governor raised his glass and tapped his fork against it,
“A…A toast…to Arcadia IV, may we prosper!” he muttered, apparently a bit drunk.
The rest of the guests raised their glasses and in unison:
“May Arcadia IV prosper”
Content the governor gestured his aids to help him walk towards his chambers.
“Enjoy the rest of the evening” he muttered as he disappeared into the backdoor. Many of the guests looked at each other with blank faces and one by one each of them got up and left. Por’el and Lithus were last to leave, even the attendants and musicians had disappeared by the time they walked down the long series of steps.
As each guest awaited their rides a devilfish hovered by to the two diplomats and a blue grey armored fire warrior jumped out.
“Ah Shas’ui Elro, it gladdens me to see you”
Elro had given up a chance to train as a battle suit pilot to accompany him on his diplomatic trip, he was young but a bright prodigy who he was happy to have along”
“As you Por’el, shall we go?”
“Yes, we must get back to the foreign quarter and plan our next moves”
“You mean a evacuation?"
The old dilpomat said nothing and simply walked into the devilfish as did Lithus. Once the doors closed and they were moving did he look back at him.
“We cannot win here Shas’ui, this governor is a affront to the greater good he is mad or worst, we must get out of here before the Gue’la storm the city.”
“But what of the people Por’el” Lithus cut in
“The people shall be taken off too Lithus, worry not once we have finished lifting off our personel we will begin on the refugeees”
“We will get them out Por’el, Shas’el Li’sun’yi is on her way to engage the gue’la as we speak”
“Good, may the tau’va guide her”
“To’ Tau’va” they all said in unison.
As they arrived in the foreign quarter, there was already a large crowd of refugees mobbed outside the Tau embassy begging and pleading for help, it was a similar scene outside the other various embassies only most of them had already fled all besides the tau one. As the devilfish stopped in the back of the building and the party hopped out Por’el was shocked at how large the crowd was, the towering hive-like city structures surrounding the foreign district was cluttered with people carrying everything on their back. Many were woman, children and elderly; all the men and boys had already been conscripted to fight. They came from all walks of life, the grease soaked factory workers stood side by side with the clean cut housemaids and even some of the very guests at the feast were standing around with guards and their trail of baggage.
“We must work quickly if we are to get out” he thought to himself.