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  1. #1
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    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?



    ‘Kill-Team Talon to Vigilance, do you receive?’ Team-Leader Markius voxed, peering at the angry, tumultuous, vermilion sky.

    Vigilance to Talon, we read you. Proceed,’ came the inquisitor’s voice, heavily distorted by the magnetic storms that wracked the atmosphere.

    ‘Xenos artifact located,’ sent Markius.

    ‘Invictus, Talon,’ the inquisitor used their adopted acknowledgement signal. ‘Is the artifact intact?’

    Markius shrugged, eyeing the strange thing. Amidst the actinic ochre landscape of the roasting hot planet, the rock formation stood out as being of obvious xenos origin. It resembled a well hewn from a smooth, marble-like substance, veins of purple ore creeping along its every surface. But was it intact? That was more the inquisitor’s department to decide.

    ‘This is Psiren to Vigilance,’ a female voice came over the vox, and Markius glanced at Imperial Agent Athena, standing next to the artifact. The black clingsuit-clad members of the inquisitor’s PSIREN unit were running auspex scanners over the structure. Athena continued, ‘Surface damage to the artifact evident, but the seals appear intact – as well as whatever is inside.’

    ‘Invictus, Psiren,’ acknowledged Inquisitor William Zharn.

    ‘Oh, and by the way,’ voxed Athena, ‘We found it. I told you we didn’t need the blundering Deathwatch for this mission.’

    Markius narrowed his eyes and glared at Athena. Their mutual antagonism and rivalry still simmered every time they were deployed together. Then Markius winked and flashed her a smile. Ever since they had saved each others lives on Callasia 9, their relationship had reached a new understanding. To be honest, Markius shared her sentiments: Deploying a Deathwatch Kill-Team for this simple search mission to a deserted planet seemed like overkill to him, too.

    ‘Talon-Zeta to Talon-Actual,’ crackled the vox. It was the voice of Brother Andreus, whom Markius had deployed away to their western flank, beyond the abandoned ruins of an ancient Imperial basilica; a lonely testament to previous human contact on this Emperor-forsaken world.

    ‘Go ahead, Zeta,’ voxed Markius, suddenly tensing.

    ‘We have company, Actual,’ said Andreus. ‘Eleven contacts: ten infantry and a transport. Approaching from the north-west, about three klicks from you.’

    Brother Rasmus stepped up beside Team-Leader Markius and they exchanged a look. Markius voxed, ‘Invictus, Zeta. Any idea who they are?’

    ‘They look like Astartes, Actual, but not friendly. Attack formation. Red armour,’ came Brother Andreus’s reply.

    Beside Markius, Rasmus growled, reaching for his chain-axe. ‘It’s them!

    ‘All Talon call-signs, converge on my position now,’ Markius voxed. He took a breath to keep calm as the acknowledgements came in from his Kill-Team members, then switched channels and voxed, ‘Kill-Team Talon to Vigilance.’

    The inquisitor’s voice came back quickly, ‘Invictus, Talon. I heard that. I am coming down in Shadow-two now. Hold position on the artifact. Do not let them destroy it!’

    ‘Talon to Vigilance,’ sent Markius, ‘You may want to teleport; the atmospheric storms make navigation and landing almost impossible. Shadow-one is badly damaged.’

    ‘Negative, Talon-Actual. I have your position, and am bringing down another Kill-Team to reinforce.’

    Markius met eyes with Agent Athena, and she said, ‘He requisitioned two Kill-Teams? Just who in the galaxy is he expecting?’


    * * *


    ‘…His will be done, hallowed be His name. Amen,’ whispered Brother-Principe Sebasticáo Do Largo, completing the pre-battle prayer. Around him, the members of his Conquistados honour-guard knelt and intoned the prayers, their whispers barely audible over the growling engines of the Rhino they rode in.

    Standing at the head of the chamber, rocking with the motion of the Rhino as it traversed the barren landscape of the planet, Inquisitor Kristatos Kielman of the Ordo Hereticus checked the fuel cable to his incinerator and cast a steely eye over the kneeling Astartes.

    ‘Crimson Paladins!’ he addressed them, his thick white beard twitching with righteous fury over his ceremonial robes of gold, ‘Steel your resolve, for out there are heretics! Brothers who have lost their way! We will show them the true righteous path! His will be done.’

    Brother Batistos caught Largo’s eye and the big man grinned, his teeth flashing white within the tangled black beard that clung to his scarred, olive-skinned face. Then he put on his ceremonial knight’s helmet and his face became a blank, silver visage with intimidating black eye-visor. Largo donned his own helmet, crested with his heraldic lion carved from gold, and prayed for the souls he was about to cleanse.

    The world they still knew in their dialect as Castellinha – the land of castles – had been poorly translated into Low Gothic as the rather simplistic planet ‘Fortress’, and that had become its official Imperial designation. But the explorator fleets that had rediscovered this human world long ago in the Age of Redemption had not only found a pre-blackpowder, feudal culture. They had rediscovered a world still holding true to the old Lectitio Divinatus – a martial culture dedicated with fanatical zeal to the holy God-Emperor. Armed only with swords, shields and unshakeable faith, this culture had resisted the corruption of the Barbaros – hordes of ogryn-like Khorne worshippers that surrounded the many fortress-cathedrals the humans had built in the Castellinha, relentlessly invading from the frozen lands of the northern hemisphere.

    And from the glorious, battle-honed knights of this culture, the Adeptus Astartes of the Crimson Paladins were raised. Brother-Principe Largo knew the ancient traditions of his chapter were viewed with suspicion and loathing by their brother Astartes in the wider galaxy. For they had developed a close relationship with the Ordo Hereticus. While the Witch-Hunters had their own zealous forces, including the pious Sisters of Battles, there was one kind of heretic even these devout warriors could not defeat: Space Marines. And so the Ordo turned to the Crimson Paladins for help in the most trying of times, invoking the righteous wrath of the God-Emperor. And the knights of Fortress replied, bringing divine retribution to all enemies of the Imperium, even their gene-brothers. They called themselves the Heretic-Hunters, but a darker reputation followed them like a shadow. Others called them the Brother-Burners.

    A sense of sadness always overcame Brother-Principe Largo before he went into battle with fellow Astartes, but he pushed aside the guilt, focusing on his duty to his God-Emperor. All heretics must be shown the true path, even my distant brothers, he reminded himself. A steely resolve swept through Largo’s spirit, and his eyes burned with righteous fire.

    Then the Rhino exploded.


    * * *

    Battle Report: 500pt Cleanse Mission (using VPs rather than table quarters)

    Ordo Xenos Taskforce: Black Shields
    * Inquisitor Zharn (as marine Chaplain): Powersword, boltpistol, frag, rosarius.
    * Kill-Team Talon (as Assault Squad): 5 marines, boltpistols, chainswords and frag grenades. Jump-packs removed. Including Veteran Sergeant Markius, powersword, melta bombs.
    * Kill-Team Sabretooth (as Tactical Squad): 5 marines, bolters, 1 x heavy bolter. Including Veteran Sergeant Goran, powerfist. Mounted in Razorback with Lascannons.
    * Psiren Unit (as Marine Scout Squad): 5 Scouts, boltpistols, ccws and frag grenades. Including Athena (Veteran Sergeant), powersword.

    Ordo Hereticus Crusade: Crimson Paladins
    * Inquisitor Kielman (as marine commander): Powerfist, stormbolter, iron halo.
    * Conquistados (as Veteran Squad): 5 Veterans, boltpistols ccws and frag, 1 x melta gun. Including Veteran Sergeant Largo, powersword. Mounted in Rhino with additional stormbolter.
    * Lance Ignatio (as Tactical Squad): 5 marines, bolters, 1 x melt gun, 1 x missile launcher.
    * Lance Vascos (as Tactical Squad): 5 marines, bolters, 1 x plasma gun. Including Veteran Sergeant Vascos, power-lance and frag grenades.

    * * *
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  2. #2
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    Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    Black Shields Turn 1:

    ‘What the…?’ Brother Markius had only just gathered with the members of his Kill-Team, recalled from their recon positions, when the explosion boomed from beyond the horizon. The small but geologically dense planet still hid the enemy beyond its close curvature – a curvature that disorientated, making distances difficult to judge and causing terrain features to appear suddenly. Smoke clawed up to mingle with the roiling heavens.

    ‘Talon-Roar-Three to Talon-Actual, reporting in,’ crackled the vox. Markius smiled at the sound of Brother Lars’ voice. Heavily wounded in a previous conflict, Brother Lars had needed extensive bionics to survive, which had curtailed his career as an assault marine. However, he had found new purpose driving a Razorback tank, modified by the Tech Adepts of the Deathwatch so that he could both pilot and control its weapons single-handedly. The tank rumbled into sight from the east, painted in the black of the Deathwatch.

    ‘Invictus! Report, Roar-Three,’ voxed Markius. The tank driver replied, ‘Enemy vehicle spotted and destroyed, Actual. Infantry dispersing. And I’m carrying some old friends who can’t wait to meet you…’

    Markius frowned. Who was the other Kill-Team? He saw the black-clad figures disembark from the tank and sprint towards him, their helmets disguising their faces. Then Markius spotted a familiar bionic arm ending with a powerfist. The other Kill-Team closed and the leader removed his helmet to reveal a narrow, sardonic face with black, close-cropped hair.

    ‘Brother Goran,’ Markius breathed.

    ‘Brother Markius,’ nodded Goran, ‘And I am now Team-Leader Goran.’

    ‘So, you got your own command,’ said Markius, now recognising other members of the new Kill-Team, ‘I knew you would. You deserve it.’

    ‘Your recommendation helped, Captain,’ said Goran, old habits and rank titles from their old chapter dying hard. His former rival smiled at Markius – the old wolfish grin and dangerous, flashing green eyes the same as ever. How many years had it been? Members of Kill-Team Talon greeted the new team in similar fashion, chapter-brothers from the old days before… before the events that had led them to become Black Shields.

    ‘So, what is your team vox-designation?’ said Markius, getting to business. The enemy was still closing, he remembered.

    ‘Kill-Team Sabretooth,’ said Goran, deadpan. Markius grinned at the old reference to their homeworld, a reference only the Black Shields would recognise.

    ‘This is all very touching,’ said Inquisitor Zharn, strolling to join the gathered marines, ‘but we are engaged in a war-zone. Our objective is to hold this artifact.’

    The marines turned to face Zharn. Markius noted the inquisitor had come dressed for combat, his usual immaculately pressed suit exchanged for a sleek, human-sized unit of power armour, black and unadorned except for his inquisitorial rosette pinned at the shoulder-guard, though the old man had not resisted adding a debonair cloak of scarlet velvet. Markius immediately switched to combat mode.

    ‘They will come from the high ground beyond the ruined basilica,’ he said.

    ‘Agreed,’ said Goran. ‘Sabretooth will go north with Roar-Three and cover the approach.’

    ‘And Talon had better take the ruins themselves,’ growled Brother Rasmus. Markius nodded, knowing their current position was indefensible. He looked to Athena and her Psiren unit.

    ‘We’ll circle round south and get the jump on them,’ she said, looking to Inquisitor Zharn for confirmation.

    ‘Our priority is to guard the artifact,’ he nodded. ‘Take the fight to the enemy.’

    Crimson Paladins Turn 1:

    ‘Brother Allejandro, are you hurt?’ Largo pulled his old retainer up to a sitting position. The ancient Astartes spluttered and looked at his lord, lines of promethium burned into his cheeks and grey hair, cut in the style of the Castellinha monk orders.

    ‘Only my ego, Brother-Principe,’ he said, struggling to his feet. ‘Now, where is my sword?’

    Largo let him search amidst the burning ruins of the destroyed Rhino, scanning around for the rest of his Conquistados. Young Brother Nuno limped but could still fight, and Brother Alfondo had come out unscathed, as usual. Largo checked on Brother Batistos. The big man’s crimson armour was deeply scorched by the explosion, but he brandished his battle-axe angrily and roared, ‘I am fine! Let us teach these Barbaros a lesson!’

    ‘I agree,’ said old Allejandro, returning from the Rhino. He had rescued their banner from the flames. The crimson flag fluttered beneath the violent, storm-wracked sky. The shot that had destroyed their vehicle had not come from above, Largo realised; the low-atmosphere magnetic storms made tactical support from Thunderhawks impossible.

    ‘Lance Ignatio,’ Largo voxed.

    ‘Brother-Principe!’ came Brother Ignatio’s relieved voice over the vox. ‘Thank the Emperor you are safe, My Lord.’

    ‘Our faith is our armour, as always, Brother,’ said Largo. ‘But the heretics have some heavy firepower. Take it out.’

    ‘His will be done,’ acknowledged Ignatio. ‘Moving north now.’

    ‘Brother-Principe, this is Lance Vascos,’ crackled the vox. ‘We are almost at the basilica. We can see them now. It is the Deathwatch, My Lord.’

    The marines of the Conquistados turned to face Inquisitor Kielman, who also somehow had managed to walk away from the destroyed Rhino unhurt. His singed beard trembled with fury. He said, ‘Kill them all!’

    Black Shields turn 2:

    Athena and the other members of Inquisitor Zharn’s PSIREN unit ghosted between sulfur-yellow rock formations and boulders, stalking the enemy. Athena crouched in a gulley, the plumes of smoke from the wrecked enemy Rhino rising not far away, and checked on her team. Nyx, Yuri, Maia and Selene all nodded their readiness to her; all concealed in cover positions nearby. The plasteel-skeleton-implant, reflex-enhanced-neutralisers were Inquisitorial Agents, not soldiers, but all had been trained in the arts of assassination. Sleek hunter-pattern boltpistols were clutched ready to deal death.

    Athena glimpsed crimson-armoured warriors emerging from the smoke and shivered with a thrill of excitement mixed with fear. These were Astartes, fellow warriors of the Imperium. Not only did she doubt whether her team could take them on, she wondered what Inquisition politics Zharn had not told them about, and whether they even should take them on.

    The moment passed and Athena launched from her hidden position. The silent signal triggered the rest of her team, and the slender female figures darted towards their stunned targets. Shouts of alarm came from the red-clad marines, but the Psirens pitched frag grenades ahead of themselves before drawing short, stabbing vibro-blades. Split seconds after the grenades exploded in disorientating flashes of flying shrapnel in the midst of the enemy, the Psirens were amongst them. Boltpistols barked and blades flashed as sudden and shocking melee was joined.

    To the north, beyond the ruins of the basilica, Kill-Team Sabretooth took up overwatch positions, scanning the rising crags that rose like diseased, yellowing teeth to bite at the vermilion sky. The Razorback crunched into a defensive position between boulders and its turret-mounted twin-linked lascannons tracked back and forth.

    The distinctive crack and roars of bolters alerted them, and the Black Shields instinctively ducked as mass-reactive explosive rounds blasted into the rocks around them. Team-leader Goran chanced a glance over his cover and spotted the crimson enemy warriors advancing through the terrain.

    ‘Return fire!’ he voxed, and around him his Kill-Team answered with ear-shattering blasts from their own bolters. Lascannons boomed, and the rhythmic pounding of Brother Patreus’s heavy bolter began its deadly beat.

    Crimson Paladins turn 2:

    ‘Purge them!’ shouted Largo, his broadsword crackling with energy as he sparred with the agile warrior that had leapt in the wake of the grenade explosions to attack him. Sparks of actinic energy fizzed and showered as she blocked his deadly swings with her own powered combat blade. Largo paused a moment. His enemy was a she.

    ‘Cowards make their mortal women fight for them!’ the voice of Brother Batistos growled through the vox. Largo resisted reminding Batistos that even the Ordo Hereticus sponsored the Sisters of Battle; something his bear-like friend always conveniently forgot. Largo swept aside another lunge from the woman’s power-blade easily and countered with a heavy swing of his blessed relic-blade. She staggered back a step, not strong enough to fully block the blow and barely managing a glancing parry.

    ‘Mortal women indeed,’ Largo replied through gritted teeth, the old warrior code of his homeworld ruling his hand. ‘Do not slay them.’

    He spotted Brother Allejandro take a blow from another of the women on his shield, then smash her with his banner-pole, knocking her from her feet and sending her flying before crunching against a boulder. Somehow, her back did not break. No normal human bones could have survived that. To Largo’s other side, Brother Alfondo had captured another of the women in a headlock, lifting her from her feet kicking as he squeezed the consciousness from her. Largo spotted some sort of cybernetic implant on the bare skin of her pale arms: silvery lines like veins under her skin. Then his opponent leapt at him again, moving like a panther. He barely avoided her strike this time, the power-blade scorching a smoking gauge across the personal heraldry on his shoulder guard.

    ‘They are augmented,’ he voxed to his Conquistados. ‘Be careful.’

    Though the warrior-women were quick and skilful, they were no match for the honour-guard, and one after another fell to their expert blows. The honourable knights kept true to their code, treating the women with respect. Only Brother Alfondo paused, his gaze lingering on the one he had choked unconscious. A sneer twisted his scarred face beneath his silver half-helm, ‘We’ll need to interrogate them, yes?’

    Largo shook his head, ‘Not now. We have a planet to purge.’

    They looked for the inquisitor, but Kielman was already striding across the terrain, his incinerator spitting flames, searching for heretics to burn.

    Meanwhile, between the crumbling pillars of the ruined basilica, Brother Vascos brandished his power-lance and shouted to his knights, ‘Here they come!’

    The Crimson Paladins of Lance Vascos blasted with their boltguns as the black-armoured Astartes of the Deathwatch assaulted their position. The enemy kept low, dodging between cover, snapping return shots as they approached. Vascos sneered; these were no warriors of honour. Let them skulk and weave. Let them hide their heraldry behind blank black shoulder guards like the cowards they were. He hated them already.

    All too quickly, the Deathwatch marines were inside the ruins, chainswords whirring into life. The Paladins switched to their swords and axes, and Vascos twirled his lance, its pennants fluttering. He shouted to the attackers, ‘Who will challenge me?’

    Black Shields turn 3:

    Team-Leader Markius growled as he pounced towards the leader of the Paladins occupying the ruins. His enemy trumpeted and strutted like an ice-mammoth in mating season, but Markius gave full respect to the huge power-lance the Astartes handled with obvious skill. Around the ruins, his Black Shield marines clashed with the crimson-clad Astartes. The Paladins were formidable warriors, but none of them knew exactly who the Black Shields were. Fueled by a hatred nurtured from a previous life, the Black Shields unleashed their fury. Each member of Kill-Team Talon was a dedicated assault specialist, and each envisioned the burning ruins of their former home as they hacked down the familiar and hated crimson-armoured foes.

    ‘I will challenge you,’ Markius said to the lance-bearer, who made no move for his pistol and seemed to want to exchange words before they fought. Posturing fool.

    ‘And where is your heraldry, so that I may know whom I will defeat in this joust?’ said the Paladin.

    Markius pounced, drawing his powersword, Salvator, and beheaded his enemy before he could bring his ridiculously overbalanced ceremonial weapon to bear. The red-armoured warrior collapsed at Markius’s feet, his crested helm bouncing away with his head still inside.

    There’s my heraldry, traitor!’ Markius spat. His vox crackled and Brother Rasmus reported, ‘Basilica secure, Actual.’

    ‘Invictus.’

  3. #3
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    Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    Crimson Paladins turn 3:

    ‘We cannot advance against this!’ said Brother Ignatio, crouching as blasts from the enemy’s heavy bolter pounded the ochre rocks around him. Among the Crimson Paladins, only veteran Ignatio had previously served in the Deathwatch. He was all too aware of the enhanced targeting devices and fire-control mechanisms of their forbidden weapons. He glanced across to his men, who exchanged fire with the heretics between ducking behind cover. Brother Benéto would not be fighting again, Ignatio now knew: The massive energies of a lascannon blast had blown the honoured knight into pieces. Nearby, Brother Fernáo held steady as bolt blasts exploded around him, sighting his missile launcher.

    ‘His will be done!’ shouted Fernáo, releasing the krak missile. Moments later, a ground-shaking boom reverberated back from the storm-wracked skies as the enemy tank detonated. Congratulations came over the vox and Fernáo snarled with grim satisfaction, ‘And vengeance will be His.’

    Not far from the blasts and smoke-clouds of the battlefield, Inquisitor Kristatos Kielman approached an unusual marble-like rock formation. He scowled at the mysterious xenos device, then lifted his incinerator, its pilot-flame spitting hatred and hungry to serve.

    Rising from his hidden position amongst sulfur-yellow boulders nearby, a black-clad figure suddenly appeared. He double-tapped his sleek, silver-plated boltpistol and the solid-core, one-shot-killer rounds roared towards Inquisitor Kielman. Kielman barely flinched as the bolts exploded against the divine and invisible energy field of his rosarius, blossoming into flowers of fire barely a metre from his face. Kielman swung round his incinerator and unleashed a gout of cleansing flames at the figure.

    This time the figure’s own energy field was to frustrate the kill. The flames bathed him in fiery super-heat, but a bubble of sapphire-tinted crackling energy prevented them from touching their prey. Kielman nodded as the fires died and he recognised the figure as Inquisitor William Zharn. Both men stepped towards each other, silently acknowledging that their ranged weapons would not settle this confrontation. Kielman hefted his Hammer of Judgment from his belt, and Zharn unsheathed his power-sabre.

    ‘At last I have caught you in the act, William,’ Kielman said, his long beard twitching.

    ‘Call off your dogs, Kristatos,’ replied Zharn calmly, ‘This is Ordo Xenos business, and none of your concern.’

    ‘Heresy is always my concern!’ said Kielman, and the two men charged.

    Black Shields turn 4:

    Zharn lashed out with his sabre in a figure-eight pattern, its electric-white corona leaving a trail of light in its wake, then jumped back as Kielman’s thunder-hammer whirled round in a body-breaking horizontal arc.

    ‘I have reason to be here,’ Zharn said as they separated three steps apart. ‘I am sanctioned by the Ordo Spartus!’

    ‘You lost your sanction when you invoked Special Condition,’ rumbled Kristatos, ‘And now you prove yourself no better than those xenophiles on Vistro, heretic.’

    Kielman’s thunder-hammer circled again, but Zharn kept out of its range, nimbly back-stepping and keeping his guard up. Zharn frowned. The Ordo Hereticus inquisitor knew abut Vistro?

    ‘They are all dead, Kristatos,’ said Zharn, ‘How did you know about…’

    Zharn noticed the expression of righteous fury on his opponent’s face falter just a fraction, as if he were hiding something.

    ‘An autoséance,’ Zharn realised. ‘Witchcraft, Kristatos? Your hypocrisy reeks.’

    ‘And you seek to utilise what you should destroy! I will stop you, heretic, His will be done!’ Kielman surged and the two inquisitors clashed once more.

    Crimson Paladins turn 4:

    ‘I am His hammer and His wrath!’ yelled Brother-Principe Largo, leading the charge of his Conquistados honour-guard. The knights thundered between crumbling pillars of rockcrete into the ruined basilica, their red armour scorched by blasts of bolter-fire from the defenders. Immediately the Paladins separated, shields and relic blades clutched ready, each seeking glorious single combat against the heretic Black Shields.

    Largo saw Brother Batistos face off against a Deathwatch marine of similar size, who also clutched a hefty chain-axe. A good match there, Largo snarled. Nuno and Allejandro disappeared into the remains of the cloister, Alfondo covering their backs with his melta gun. Then Largo spotted the black-armoured figure lurking along the crenellated battlements of the basilica. He bounded towards stone steps and advanced.

    When he reached the top of the crumbling stairs, Largo paused. The Deathwatch marine was standing, ready, powersword drawn. Here is one who pretends to fight with honour. Then Largo took in the pale complexion, ice-blonde hair and hate-filled, frost-blue eyes.

    ‘I know you,’ Largo breathed, the memory returning fully when his opponent did not reply. Largo said, ‘Callasia 9. Where is your friend with the powerfist?’

    ‘Nearby, brother-burner,’ said the Deathwatch marine. Largo took a step closer, noting that the upper walls here were dangerously unstable. They both raised their power-swords, partly in salute, partly in battle-stance. Largo reviewed the memory of when he had last seen this face.

    ‘Yet, you already knew me before Callasia,’ Largo said. ‘Where? Why do you hide your heraldry?’

    ‘Do you not remember Prism?’ snarled the Deathwatch marine, also stepping closer. Cracks crawled out from beneath his armoured feet, spreading like a spider web across the battlements.

    Realisation finally dawned on Largo. Prism. He grinned, ‘Your chapter is expunged, brother. You are outlaw.’

    ‘I am a Black Shield, incognitus!’ roared the Deathwatch marine, leaping towards Largo.

    Black Shields turn 5:

    ‘Deadlock,’ commented Team-Leader Goran. The Paladins were pinned on the far side of the boulder-strewn crags, but that damned missile had made a mess of the Razorback, making an advance by his team also impossible. Brother Patreus pummeled the enemy positions with his heavy bolter, while the crimson-clad Astartes returned fire in short bursts. Smoke and the echoes of bolter-blasts rolled across the battlefield, defying the constant roar of the violent skies above. Goran glanced south towards the basilica, resisting the urge to bother Markius over the vox, hoping Kill-Team Talon was holding its own. Where were the Psirens, he wondered, and where was the inquisitor?

    Not far away, Inquisitor Zharn wiped sweat from his brow, realising the heat from the actinic planet was finally getting to his reserves of energy. Three steps away, Inquisitor Kielman also seemed to be suffering, his beard stained with spittle and smoke. But he was not slowing down. Kielman had chosen to fix his appearance as an ancient, white-bearded preacher, the better to inspire his followers, despite the abilities of juvenat treatments, but he moved with the energy of a young man. Zharn suspected stimm-drugs.

    Kielman was fighting in a defensive stance, wisely realising Zharn’s sabre was the more agile weapon, but Zharn knew he had to respect the calamitous power of that thunder-hammer. He needed to draw the Ordo Hereticus agent out, get him to lower his guard.

    ‘You do not understand my purpose here, Kristatos,’ Zharn said as they sparred, seeking gaps in the others defences.

    ‘I know all too well what you intend, heretic,’ spat Kielman. ‘The aliens closed the gate and broke apart the key for a reason: Only damnation awaits you beyond the portal!’

    Zharn shook his head. How long had Kielman been following him, deciphering his plans? Years? Zharn said, ‘What is this obsession with me, Kristatos? Was it not enough that you betrayed me back at the Scholam?’

    ‘Betrayed!’ snorted Kielman, brandishing his hammer as Zharn looked to step inside his guard. ‘You are a witch and I reported you as was my duty.’

    ‘I am now sanctioned,’ countered Zharn. ‘I am sorry it did not work out as you expected, Kristatos, but I serve the same God-Emperor as you do.’

    ‘You would open a gateway to the Chaos hells in your xenophile blindness!’ Kielman yelled, finally committing to the attack, thunder-hammer swinging.

    Crimson Paladins turn 5:

    Brother-Principe Largo braced his footing, parrying the blow aimed for his head. The Deathwatch marine jumped aside, dodging Largo’s return strike and landing atop another crenellation. The two Astartes glared at one another across the gap, powered blades crackling with energy. The battlements were crumbling under the punishment of fully-armoured space marines stamping and leaping, shards of rockcrete cascading to the ochre ground, far below.

    Largo sensed the short but bitter battle with the heretics was reaching a decisive point. He goaded his opponent, ‘You will burn for this, heretic.’

    ‘You blind fanatic!’ replied the Deathwatch marine. ‘We are doing the Emperor’s work here; we are guarding the future of Humanity itself!’

    The crenellation that the black-armoured Astartes stood on lurched, a huge chunk cracking free from its sitting upon the basilica walls. The Deathwatch marine struggled to keep his balance.

    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?’ Largo intoned, pausing to kiss the Aquila amulet he wore about his neck. Largo prepared to leap at his enemy one final time, taking advantage of his moment of imbalance. But before he could strike, a sickening crunch rocked the battlement he also stood upon. Largo looked down.

    Another of the Deathwatch marines was there; the large balding one with the massive axe. He defeated Batistos? Largo panicked. The big Deathwatch marine shot Largo a feral grin then struck again at the base of the soaring battlement with his axe. Suddenly the cube of rockcrete broke free from its mounting, toppling over the walls. Largo fell with it, crashing into the ground far below before disappearing under a rockslide of masonry that tumbled down after him. Fully half of the northern wall collapsed in an avalanche of rockcrete and dust.

    When the roars subsided, Markius exchanged a look with his brother. Rasmus growled, ‘I hate Paladins!’

    Black Shields turn 6:

    ‘It is because I have the gift, isn’t it?’ Zharn said, feinting a sweep with his sabre to the left, then whirling away from the swinging thunder-hammer. ‘You care not what I do, only who I am. Why is that, Kristatos?’

    ‘You are a witch! I suffer thee not to live!’ said Kielman, grunting with exertion as he reigned in the momentum of his hammer to maintain his guard.

    ‘A witch?’ said Zharn, jabbing for Kielman’s stomach, again avoiding the return swing. ‘Why does the psyker enrage you so? Something in your past? Your family?’

    Zharn knew he was only guessing now, half-remembered rumours from the Scholam days about Kielman being an orphan. Sweat streaming down his temples, Zharn understood he could not keep up this pace of fighting much longer. He needed to finish this, but somehow he sensed he had touched some raw emotional wound in the other inquisitor.

    ‘She killed our parents!’ raged Kielman, his face flushed scarlet with fury. ‘With just a mutated thought! She should never have lived!’

    A sister. Got you, Zharn thought as Kielman finally let his discipline go and surged at him with reckless anger. He parried the wild, off-balance hammer strike with his sabre, using the others momentum against him, then span inside his guard. Zharn clenched his free hand into a fist and smashed Kielman between the eyes.

    Kielman collapsed, a groan of frustrated fury escaping his lips as blood streamed from his broken nose. Zharn was quickly on him, shoving away the thunder-hammer and pinning the barely conscious inquisitor prone.

    ‘I will not kill you, Kristatos,’ Zharn said, searching through the bearded man’s robes of office. ‘For I need you to report your folly back to the Ordos, and so you will see we need not be enemies.’

    Zharn found what he was looking for, and thumbed the activation rune on Kielman’s emergency teleport beacon. Zharn said, ‘Not so secure in your faith after all?’

    Zharn stepped away, waiting for the teleport action to start, and frowned at Kielman. The Hereticus inquisitor had known entirely far too much about his own mission. The bearded man opened his eyes and groaned, unable to get to his feet again.

    ‘You won’t win, William,’ Kielman said, flailing as the stench of the warp seeped into reality and the temperature dropped. ‘I will find Jocarta before you do!’

    Zharn watched as a bubble of unreality unfolded around the Hereticus inquisitor, then his form melted from sight. Zharn keyed his vox, turning back to finally properly examine the xenos artifact. He said, ‘Talon? Sabretooth? Report…’

    ‘This is Sabretooth,’ came Goran’s voice, ‘Enemy withdrawing!’

    ‘Invictus,’ said Markius. ‘The battlefield is ours.’


    * * *


    Kill-Team Leader Markius entered the inquisitor’s private chambers on board the starship Vigilance and the door hissed closed behind him. Sat at his desk in the dimmed room, Zharn turned around in his hands the xenos crystal-shard he had recovered from the well-chamber. The corpse-like mystic, Aul Vespasius, also sat at Zharn’s polished ebony-wood table, his eyeless, skull-like head hooded by his green robes.

    ‘Athena says it is incomplete,’ said Markius, breaking the silence.

    ‘Indeed,’ said Zharn, thoughtful. ‘The key was broken. This is just a piece.’

    ‘Then the mission was for nothing?’

    ‘No, Markius. Not for nothing. Just not complete.’

    Markius regarded the inquisitor. He knew they were all in a lot of trouble after the battle with the Crimson Paladins. Repercussions would be reverberating between the halls of the Ordo Spartus headquarters on Kar Duniash even now. The Deathwatch marine had given up trying to unravel the political webs these inquisitors span for each other.

    ‘I missed something. Something back on Vistro…’ mused Zharn. He stopped toying with the artifact and leveled his gaze at Markius and continued, ‘I need you to let Aul inside your head: Relive the battle with the xenophile cult. There is another clue there.’

    Markius took the specially built seat next to Aul, which groaned under his enhanced Astartes bulk. Markius nodded to the psyker, still not entirely trustful. But he had done this before. As he prepared himself for the hypno-trance before the autoséance, Markius said to Zharn, ‘Is there any keyword you are looking for, inquisitor?’

    ‘Yes,’ said Zharn. ‘Jocarta.’


    * * *
    Visit my wood elf site: http://thewildheath.webs.com/

  4. #4
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    Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    Like all the rest of your reports, I enjoyed this immensely.
    You definitely have a talent for creating astounding stories, kurisawa.
    If these were not free, I would pay money for this quality of writing.
    How many times have Black Library called asking you to work for them?
    Trying to contact living relatives of Sam 'Jock' Wilson, KIA 10.06.44, UK army id 2764432, from Morley, West Yorkshire, England. Served with Black Watch Regiment & 6 Commando.
    Facing the Tau's Third Expansion, many Guard units were routed from the field or driven to suicide by the horrifying and infectious battle-cry of Commander Shadowsun [redacted for the safety of the reader]: "I'm blu*...da ba dee...da ba di...da b* dee...da ba di..."

  5. #5
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    Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    Quote Originally Posted by andyg2006 View Post
    Like all the rest of your reports, I enjoyed this immensely.
    You definitely have a talent for creating astounding stories, kurisawa.
    If these were not free, I would pay money for this quality of writing.
    How many times have Black Library called asking you to work for them?
    Hi Andy, and thanks for the very kind words. I was starting to wonder if my wordy style was a little too... long... for the 40k board, so it is great to get some feedback.


    K.
    (and no call, yet... :cries
    Visit my wood elf site: http://thewildheath.webs.com/

  6. #6

    Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    I was starting to wonder if my wordy style was a little too... long... for the 40k board, so it is great to get some feedback.
    No such thing as "too wordy" in my book. But then I would say that...

    Fantastic work. Well fleshed-out setting, characters with actual motivations, brilliant action. I loved the little nods to Abnett sprinkled throughout.

    Keep up the good work. It's batreps like this that keep me inspired.
    Last edited by Formerly Wu; 30-11-2011 at 06:57.
    /////
    Tales of the Sefirem Sector - Narrative Battle Reports
    Imperial Guard of the Sefirem Sector - Project Log

  7. #7
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    Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    A hundred thumbs up for the sort of thing that makes the hobby worth playing.

  8. #8
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    Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Halsey View Post
    A hundred thumbs up for the sort of thing that makes the hobby worth playing.
    Wow. Thanks for those kind words, and all those thumbs.
    Visit my wood elf site: http://thewildheath.webs.com/

  9. #9
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    Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Formerly Wu View Post
    No such thing as "too wordy" in my book. But then I would say that...

    Fantastic work. Well fleshed-out setting, characters with actual motivations, brilliant action. I loved the little nods to Abnett sprinkled throughout.

    Keep up the good work. It's batreps like this that keep me inspired.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Wu (formerly). I shall begin work on the next rep as soon as possible!

    K.
    Visit my wood elf site: http://thewildheath.webs.com/

  10. #10
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    Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    What I like about narratives based on actual games is that you may be thinking you're going to have a game against the usual opponent/nemesis to further the ongoing story. But then they're not there and you're suddenly up against something unexpected (e.g. a first game against Nurgle daemons or some such) and you have to figure out for the story "How the heck did those guys get there?"

    So it expands your story from being something of a 'duel' kind of scenario into fleshing out other bits of the world, e.g.:
    Whilst the 2 main antagonists have been concentrating on each other, maybe they forgot about doing regular things like monitoring the local PDF, who start 'going to hell in a handcart' + summoning loads of gribblies (which is where the Nurgle-guys come in).

    Inspirational reading, thanks for posting.
    Trying to contact living relatives of Sam 'Jock' Wilson, KIA 10.06.44, UK army id 2764432, from Morley, West Yorkshire, England. Served with Black Watch Regiment & 6 Commando.
    Facing the Tau's Third Expansion, many Guard units were routed from the field or driven to suicide by the horrifying and infectious battle-cry of Commander Shadowsun [redacted for the safety of the reader]: "I'm blu*...da ba dee...da ba di...da b* dee...da ba di..."

  11. #11

    Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (short rep with pics!)

    Quote Originally Posted by kurisawa View Post
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?



    ‘Kill-Team Talon to Vigilance, do you receive?’ Team-Leader Markius voxed, peering at the angry, tumultuous, vermilion sky.

    Vigilance to Talon, we read you. Proceed,’ came the inquisitor’s voice, heavily distorted by the magnetic storms that wracked the atmosphere.

    ‘Xenos artifact located,’ sent Markius.

    ‘Invictus, Talon,’ the inquisitor used their adopted acknowledgement signal. ‘Is the artifact intact?’

    Markius shrugged, eyeing the strange thing. Amidst the actinic ochre landscape of the roasting hot planet, the rock formation stood out as being of obvious xenos origin. It resembled a well hewn from a smooth, marble-like substance, veins of purple ore creeping along its every surface. But was it intact? That was more the inquisitor’s department to decide.

    ‘This is Psiren to Vigilance,’ a female voice came over the vox, and Markius glanced at Imperial Agent Athena, standing next to the artifact. The black clingsuit-clad members of the inquisitor’s PSIREN unit were running auspex scanners over the structure. Athena continued, ‘Surface damage to the artifact evident, but the seals appear intact – as well as whatever is inside.’

    ‘Invictus, Psiren,’ acknowledged Inquisitor William Zharn.

    ‘Oh, and by the way,’ voxed Athena, ‘We found it. I told you we didn’t need the blundering Deathwatch for this mission.’

    Markius narrowed his eyes and glared at Athena. Their mutual antagonism and rivalry still simmered every time they were deployed together. Then Markius winked and flashed her a smile. Ever since they had saved each others lives on Callasia 9, their relationship had reached a new understanding. To be honest, Markius shared her sentiments: Deploying a Deathwatch Kill-Team for this simple search mission to a deserted planet seemed like overkill to him, too.

    ‘Talon-Zeta to Talon-Actual,’ crackled the vox. It was the voice of Brother Andreus, whom Markius had deployed away to their western flank, beyond the abandoned ruins of an ancient Imperial basilica; a lonely testament to previous human contact on this Emperor-forsaken world.

    ‘Go ahead, Zeta,’ voxed Markius, suddenly tensing.

    ‘We have company, Actual,’ said Andreus. ‘Eleven contacts: ten infantry and a transport. Approaching from the north-west, about three klicks from you.’

    Brother Rasmus stepped up beside Team-Leader Markius and they exchanged a look. Markius voxed, ‘Invictus, Zeta. Any idea who they are?’

    ‘They look like Astartes, Actual, but not friendly. Attack formation. Red armour,’ came Brother Andreus’s reply.

    Beside Markius, Rasmus growled, reaching for his chain-axe. ‘It’s them!

    ‘All Talon call-signs, converge on my position now,’ Markius voxed. He took a breath to keep calm as the acknowledgements came in from his Kill-Team members, then switched channels and voxed, ‘Kill-Team Talon to Vigilance.’

    The inquisitor’s voice came back quickly, ‘Invictus, Talon. I heard that. I am coming down in Shadow-two now. Hold position on the artifact. Do not let them destroy it!’

    ‘Talon to Vigilance,’ sent Markius, ‘You may want to teleport; the atmospheric storms make navigation and landing almost impossible. Shadow-one is badly damaged.’

    ‘Negative, Talon-Actual. I have your position, and am bringing down another Kill-Team to reinforce.’

    Markius met eyes with Agent Athena, and she said, ‘He requisitioned two Kill-Teams? Just who in the galaxy is he expecting?’


    * * *


    ‘…His will be done, hallowed be His name. Amen,’ whispered Brother-Principe Sebasticáo Do Largo, completing the pre-battle prayer. Around him, the members of his Conquistados honour-guard knelt and intoned the prayers, their whispers barely audible over the growling engines of the Rhino they rode in.

    Standing at the head of the chamber, rocking with the motion of the Rhino as it traversed the barren landscape of the planet, Inquisitor Kristatos Kielman of the Ordo Hereticus checked the fuel cable to his incinerator and cast a steely eye over the kneeling Astartes.

    ‘Crimson Paladins!’ he addressed them, his thick white beard twitching with righteous fury over his ceremonial robes of gold, ‘Steel your resolve, for out there are heretics! Brothers who have lost their way! We will show them the true righteous path! His will be done.’

    Brother Batistos caught Largo’s eye and the big man grinned, his teeth flashing white within the tangled black beard that clung to his scarred, olive-skinned face. Then he put on his ceremonial knight’s helmet and his face became a blank, silver visage with intimidating black eye-visor. Largo donned his own helmet, crested with his heraldic lion carved from gold, and prayed for the souls he was about to cleanse.

    The world they still knew in their dialect as Castellinha – the land of castles – had been poorly translated into Low Gothic as the rather simplistic planet ‘Fortress’, and that had become its official Imperial designation. But the explorator fleets that had rediscovered this human world long ago in the Age of Redemption had not only found a pre-blackpowder, feudal culture. They had rediscovered a world still holding true to the old Lectitio Divinatus – a martial culture dedicated with fanatical zeal to the holy God-Emperor. Armed only with swords, shields and unshakeable faith, this culture had resisted the corruption of the Barbaros – hordes of ogryn-like Khorne worshippers that surrounded the many fortress-cathedrals the humans had built in the Castellinha, relentlessly invading from the frozen lands of the northern hemisphere.

    And from the glorious, battle-honed knights of this culture, the Adeptus Astartes of the Crimson Paladins were raised. Brother-Principe Largo knew the ancient traditions of his chapter were viewed with suspicion and loathing by their brother Astartes in the wider galaxy. For they had developed a close relationship with the Ordo Hereticus. While the Witch-Hunters had their own zealous forces, including the pious Sisters of Battles, there was one kind of heretic even these devout warriors could not defeat: Space Marines. And so the Ordo turned to the Crimson Paladins for help in the most trying of times, invoking the righteous wrath of the God-Emperor. And the knights of Fortress replied, bringing divine retribution to all enemies of the Imperium, even their gene-brothers. They called themselves the Heretic-Hunters, but a darker reputation followed them like a shadow. Others called them the Brother-Burners.

    A sense of sadness always overcame Brother-Principe Largo before he went into battle with fellow Astartes, but he pushed aside the guilt, focusing on his duty to his God-Emperor. All heretics must be shown the true path, even my distant brothers, he reminded himself. A steely resolve swept through Largo’s spirit, and his eyes burned with righteous fire.

    Then the Rhino exploded.


    * * *

    Battle Report: 500pt Cleanse Mission (using VPs rather than table quarters)

    Ordo Xenos Taskforce: Black Shields
    * Inquisitor Zharn (as marine Chaplain): Powersword, boltpistol, frag, rosarius.
    * Kill-Team Talon (as Assault Squad): 5 marines, boltpistols, chainswords and frag grenades. Jump-packs removed. Including Veteran Sergeant Markius, powersword, melta bombs.
    * Kill-Team Sabretooth (as Tactical Squad): 5 marines, bolters, 1 x heavy bolter. Including Veteran Sergeant Goran, powerfist. Mounted in Razorback with Lascannons.
    * Psiren Unit (as Marine Scout Squad): 5 Scouts, boltpistols, ccws and frag grenades. Including Athena (Veteran Sergeant), powersword.

    Ordo Hereticus Crusade: Crimson Paladins
    * Inquisitor Kielman (as marine commander): Powerfist, stormbolter, iron halo.
    * Conquistados (as Veteran Squad): 5 Veterans, boltpistols ccws and frag, 1 x melta gun. Including Veteran Sergeant Largo, powersword. Mounted in Rhino with additional stormbolter.
    * Lance Ignatio (as Tactical Squad): 5 marines, bolters, 1 x melt gun, 1 x missile launcher.
    * Lance Vascos (as Tactical Squad): 5 marines, bolters, 1 x plasma gun. Including Veteran Sergeant Vascos, power-lance and frag grenades.

    * * *
    I know it's been 10 years since this thread was started, but I recently bought a book from a local thrift store in Colorado called "Black Sheilds: Incognutius" by C.R. Hawkley which seems to utilize the characters mentioned here. Do you know of this book? I'd love to have some more info.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...lds-incognitus

    Thank you

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