In Midnight Clad - VIII Legion operatives and their truescale masters.
As you might have guessed from the topic, this is a log for my new project (and first one I've posted to the B&C): Night Lords! Well, not so much the Night Lords themselves as the men who serve them. Given the VIII Legion's tendency to indenture human slaves who eventually become quite loyal to them, it seemed quite logical that they would occasionally make use of human operatives in combat and intelligence roles, similar to the Alpha Legion. Take for example Septimus's great entrance in Blood Reaver. Is there a single form of ass that guy can't kick?
Why do this? Well, to put it simply, my Guard have just about reached their use-by date in terms of what I can accomplish with the relatively limited commitment I can give to the hobby. I'm sure I'll revisit them plenty in the future, but it's time to open a gate to greener (or in this case bluer) pastures! This should push me to new areas in terms of painting (midnight blue as opposed to dirty fatigues) and sculpting (still a bit of human reposing, but for the most part I plan to do new things), not to mention the type of background I'll be writing (half-understood badasses playing by their own rules with a callous disregard for life of any kind? Time to take my dark side for a walk in written form ). These will most likely serve as a form of nemesis force for my guard, although their motivations are neither Chaos or Imperial-aligned. What's cooler than a hidden agenda?
As a proof-of-concept (by which I mean proving to myself that this is viable), I present you all with the beginnings of my first truescale marine, Tankred. All I've done at this stage is the shins, plenty more to come:
While the human operatives are meant to be the focus of the log, a marine seemed like the best place to start. I intend to use a bastardised combination of several methods from several sources, meaning that while none of this is really my own original design, no one person really gets full credit It may look a bit scrappy to some of the more advanced sculptors on the board, but from my point of view it's a decent start. First time I've ever tried to do anything smooth like power armour so I'm happy. Also note that I wanted to give the impression he was lifting that right foot, hence the slight gap towards the front. That bit will get some follow-up work.
The exact format the operatives themselves will take I'll keep a secret until I'm actually having a crack at it - most likely mid-year with how I'm expecting this year's leave to pan out. Oh, and before I sign out, what would one of my logs be without copious fiction?
Although the city of Saelan’s Reach had been wreathed in night’s cold embrace for several hours, the skies lit up and the city streets burned hot as battle raged through the capital of Halzat IV. PDF and Imperial Guard mechanized forces pressed into the city from its outskits, met with fierce resistance, while dangerous air insertions were being attempted across vital key points within the city itself. The night stars were choked out by a combination of the rising smoke from heavy weapon detonations and the aircraft that swarmed over the city frantically dodging fire and depositing men and munitions on the streets below. The defenders of the city were many and varied, swearing their dark allegiances to the full pantheon of Chaotic worship, and ranging from corrupted humans to sickly creatures whose mere appearance brought sickness to untainted humans. Their arsenal was both pilfered from PDF stocks and granted blasphemously by the warp itself. One of the loosely-organised platoons of renegade troopers stationed to the North of the Arbites precinct in Judgement Square was racing to the fragile landing zone established by the Drogan 53rd Faucons, filling their vox network with foul utterances as more and more aircraft swooped in on the square and fire blossomed above the rooftops. Even the armoured counterattack on the Northern carriageway was proving futile as Drogan heavy weapons and air support sent vehicle parts scattering through the air and raining down on the throngs of infantry in the streets below. Sergeant Dieter swore as a turret mount crashed down in the street ahead of his unit, rolling over an unfortunate PDF deserter and pinning him at a sickening angle against the wall of what had once been a cafeteria. As more and more vehicles burst into flames on the carriageway above and to his left, Dieter halted his platoon and signaled for them to move inside the half-ruined structure. The counterattack was obviously faltering in the face of the Guard’s firepower and he had orders to withdraw his men, comprising some of the renegades’ more valuable, skilled units, to a secondary defence line in such an event. His platoon cut through the structure, weaving between toppled tables and other ruined furniture, and emerged into a disused side road which was in defilade from the Drogan heavy weapons in the square. They had made it perhaps fifty metres down the street when an ominous sucking of the air behind him prompted to turn. Dieter was confronted by the sight of a Vulture gunship lining up on the street for an attack run, its punisher cannons already growling their cataclysm of doom.
“Aircraft! Scatter!” He shouted in a voice that was only vaguely his own, leaping behind a dumpster and watching as more than half the strength of his unit was cut down by a seemingly impossible barrage of explosive shells. Dieter couldn’t help but laugh deviously at the offering of blood presented to the gods, and he stroked the bronze skull icon he had crudely etched into his flak vest as the aircraft began an evasive pattern of maneuvers to line up on another attack run.
“No point defying the obvious” Dieter muttered as he stood, dropping his lascarbine and spreading his arms, giving the Vulture a cruciform target as it began its second run “My skull goes willingly to the bronze throne.” He grinned in insanity as the Vulture’s wings lit up once more with the muzzle-flash of its devastating cannons, ripping apart men further down the street from him. A strange light appeared above the gunship – had it launched a missile? Dieter’s expression of madness turned to one of confusion as the gunship was smashed aside by a larger, heavier object which burned its way angrily towards the ground. The Imperial Navy aircraft spun through the sky and impacted against the carriageway as its killer, a midnight-blue drop pod, slammed into the street mere metres from Dieter, throwing him to the ground. The walls of the pod blew outwards, sent crashing into the adjacent structures already ruined by its impact. Dieter struggled to his feet and immediately fell back to his knees as the occupants of the pod emerged into the street. Two tall figures, clad in armour of midnight blue and wielding weapons too large for mortal hands strode out, accompanied by eight smaller creatures. Three of them were clad in robes of red-hued black, their limbs formed of dark gunmetal, while the other five smaller figures were clad in midnight blue fatigues with black armour and skull masks out of which angry red eyes struck fear into his heart. Dieter fought to summon words.
“Lords. Grant me the honour of taking skulls by your side.” The demigod standing to the left held his weapon casually by his side, a red handprint on the faceplate of his helmet, and snorted in response as he surveyed Dieter’s battlegear.
“Tainted. Pathetic.” He growled to the other immortal, who nodded his helmet, painted with a leering bleached skull on the faceplate, in response.
“Beneath us. Primus.” He growled, prompting one of the smaller skull-masked figures to walk towards Dieter. The two demigods turned their backs, showing nightmarish shoulder pads bearing winged daemonic skulls, and began to move down the street in the direction Dieter had attempted to move his now-dead troops.
“Beneath you? Beneath me, even” muttered the approaching figure as he drew a bolt pistol. Dieter was transfixed for a moment, flabbergasted, before diving to recover his carbine. The first bolt separated his outstretched arm from his body, and he barely registered the shock before a second shot removed his head. Dieter’s executioner turned to follow his masters, snorting in contempt at his prey.
After a few moments’ hurried walking, Primus caught up with the others; holstering his bolt pistol and adjusting the sling on the lightweight bolter he carried as his main armament.
“Didn’t think you’d be able to do it” Tertius grumbled to the thin, robed figure walking alongside him. Tech Adept Clertian had carefully calculated a precise drop trajectory that would enable the pod to land quite some distance from their drifting vessel in orbit, which remained far away out of necessity to remain undetected. The trio of green lenses in the darkness of the robe’s hood brightened as if in annoyance as the tech adept vocabulated his response.
“You could simply have examined my calculations to see that the pod would have landed in that precise position, serf two-two-three” Came the tinny, rasping reply, the adept using the operative’s numerical manifest name.
“Serf? You spend more time doing bitch-work than I do, clunk.” Tertius answered indignantly, using the derogatory name attributed to adept Clertian. Indeed, since beginning their tenure as Legion field operatives, none of the five humans walking in the company of the demigods had spent much time doing any of the maintenance work typically reserved for slaves. A shout rang out, followed by a series of shots, and the humans scurried for cover behind municipal vehicles and dumpsters while the demigods stood in the middle of the street, amused at the ineffective fire bouncing off their power armour.
“If you’d let me recode your emotional centres, you wouldn’t keep giving away our position with your strange concept of small-talk” Remarked Clertian casually from behind a forklift as one of his two Skitarii escorts blind-fired over the vehicle.
“Shut it, the both of you” Primus growled over the vox, firing down the street at the shadowy figures darting in and out of cover. No clear uniformity or structure, ineffectual fire, and no frenzied shouting. These interlopers must have been members of the city’s loyalist resistance movement, he mused. “Let the masters decide how to deal with these ones.” He ducked back into cover, reloading his bolter and peering out to see how the two Night Lords would respond. Tankred stood to the left side of the street, clenching his gauntlets, each one embellished with a sword, before disengaging the mag-lock keeping his bolter against his thigh. He swung the weapon up, firing from the hip and using the target information fed into his visor to pick off the fighters with contemptuous ease, smirking as he did so. He hadn’t expected to waste ammunition on over-confident mortals. After eight seconds and twenty rounds of fire, the last resistance fighter was blown apart as he finally turned and fled. Crixus turned towards him, having not even reached for one of his weapons, and chuckled.
“One would think you were loath to ever draw your blade brother” he remarked as Tankred reloaded.
“You can talk,” he grunted back “it’s not exactly like we have time to burn.”
They set off down the street, followed by their human accomplices.
“Bolters won’t be enough tonight, not where we’re going.”
“Bolters are what they’ll answer us with. How do we honestly expect this to work?”
“Fear, brother.” Crixus’s tone over the vox belied his grin “Fear will see the job done.” Surrounded by the cacophony of battle, the Night Lords strode on as one with the shadows, cloaked in darkness.
Re: In Midnight Clad - VIII Legion operatives and their truescale masters.
Tough crowd, but I'll press on :P . Done some work on the thighs: one looks a bit scrawny compared to the other, will have to have a second attempt but here are the results of the first and some more fiction.
Tankred and Crixus pressed on down the streets of Saelan’s Reach, their weapons held low and autosenses keenly searching for prey. The Imperial air armada had continued its efforts to obliterate designated parts of the city, further tainting the night sky with a glowing firestorm fed by flashing detonations.
“Left” Tankred muttered as a direction-finding rune on his visor display flashed the way to their objective. Crixus nodded his own acknowledgement, edging around the corner with his bolter, finally drawn, held at the hip in readiness to engage. The sight that greeted them would have turned the stomachs of lesser men and Octavius, the newest mortal member of the cell, temporarily averted his eyes before Tertius cuffed him over the back of his head in irritation.
“Get used to it” Spat Tertius before turning his eyes once more to the middle of the major street which led through to Governance Square, the heart of the city’s South-Eastern districts and the seat of the Imperial governor of Halzat IV. He loathed admitting it, but Tertius had been grateful for the excuse to look away temporarily. From the moment Saelan’s Reach had been occupied, major thoroughfares such as this had been strewn with defiled bodies of the civilian population, and had played host to numerous vile ceremonies and dedications to the gods. Crixus hissed within his helmet, lowering his weapon and tilting his head in exasperation.
“We fight with these savages?” he remarked, gazing at a pile of putrefied corpses.
“No,” Tankred replied, drawing the longsword sheathed at his hip and striding forwards “we fight with those.” He pointed the sword fifty metres down the street, where a furious melee had erupted between a group of Astartes clustered around a midnight blue drop pod. “Mortals, stand back” He concluded before raising his pace to a charge, firing his bolter from an outstretched hand and scything down two warriors in sickly beige armour. One of their accomplices turned, uttering a feral growl from within his helmet, and was interrupted by a vicious downward stroke from Tankred’s longsword. The blade scraped down the warrior’s cuirass, a pitted and cracked mockery of a MkVI Corvus chestplate, and Tankred quickly corrected, shifting the blade back upwards to deflect a return strike from his opponent’s chipped combat blade. Tankred let his bolter hang slack against its sling, drawing the gladius sheathed upon his shoulderplate as he deflected another counterattack and shifted his weight backwards defensively. Crixus waded into the melee, chuckling darkly as he shoulder-barged one of the slighter beige Astartes to the ground and hacked down another with the crackling powered schiavona he had drawn. Taken as a trophy from a dead Raven Guard captain, the blade seemed to shriek in the air as Crixus viciously drove it into the side of Tankred’s opponent and withdrew it to remove the arm of another attacker. The Night Lords fought side by side as polar opposites: Tankred’s attacks carefully premeditated and balanced in an act of deception between his two blades while Crixus moved in a barely-controlled frenzy, the stolen power sword cleaving through adamantium and flesh alike, spurred on by his own considerable strength. While Tankred’s gauntlets denoted that he had originally devoted his combat specialisation to the mark of the blade, a sign of a promising assault leader, the burden of leadership had often necessitated that he remove himself from the melee. Although more deadly with a bolter in his hands and a squad of Astartes acting under his direction, Tankred was a well-practiced swordsman and on the occasions when his longsword lefts its scabbard of red Nostraman leather it would reap a heavy toll. A bloated Astartes swung a short-hafted glaive in his direction, only to have it caught between the Night Lord’s blades and pushed bodily towards the ground. Tankred stomped on the flat of the weapon, bending its blade while swiping his longsword up in an arc which slit the throat of his opponent. His weight shifted low and committed to the attack, Tankred was almost caught off-guard by a swinging chainaxe, barely leaping to the rear in time to evade the attack. Crixus grunted as he brought his sword down in a furious sweep, shattering a pitted combat blade placed in its path and halving the head of his own opponent.
“A bit more time in the practice cages for you, brother. You give up too much initiative with that backwards prancing nonsense”.
Tankred snorted in response, feigning a sweep with his longsword and following it up by plunging his gladius into the throat seal of his distracted foe. The tainted warrior staggered backwards, scrabbling at the blade embedded in his neck, before a crackling falchion punched through his chestplate from behind. The corpse slumped to the ground, replaced in Tankred’s sight by another midnight-blue figure wearing a helmet faced with crossed lightning bolts.
“Mathias” Tankred greeted the warrior, who flicked blood from the blade of his falchion and nodded tersely in reply.
“Seventh and Fourth Claws have made ingress, ready for orders” Mathias growled as eight more power armoured figures took position alongside him. Four of them had their gauntlets painted in sinner’s red, marking them as fated to serve their commander until death or to offer their throats to his blade upon his command as punishment for individual transgressions. These were the warriors of Seventh Claw, more colloquially known as the Bloodied Fist due to their marked hands, with the exception of Tankred himself who commanded them merely by choice. The other five Astartes stood at a subtle distance, noticeably eager to avoid close contact with their brethren who were marked for death. Fourth Claw, better known as the Laughing Death, were the assault squad who fought under Crixus’ leadership.
“We dropped in with Clertian, yet you stand here closer to our target?” Crixus interjected quizzically. Mathias shrugged in accompaniment to his response.
“Sinner’s luck, I suppose”
Re: In Midnight Clad - VIII Legion operatives and their truescale masters.
off to a good start
the green stuff need a bit of tidying up but other wise good