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Notable Conflicts

Locuto-scribe +++ Apologist
Transcription datum +++ Wed, 2019-04-17 10:49

003: The Strange Fate of Shas'Nel Naseel

Notable conflict

The Kau-ui had deployed a few days earlier; scouting out the old river valley and forcibly evacuating the few reluctant aboriginals from the nearby hamlet. Shas'Nel Naseel had overseen the operation on the ground, directing his experienced Strike teams while the Shas'El ranged ahead with the Stealth Teams.

Fewer than a hundred kilometres behind them sat Waygoan, one of the principal cities of the region. There, an entire Legion of local auxiliaries were undergoing their hastened training. By now, Naseel mused, the first would be graduating. The more time the Fire Caste could buy, the more prepared the cities would be to withstand this strange invasion.

He reached under his helm, flicked the securing catch with a practised finger, and lifted it away. He closed his eyes and took a moment to enjoy the soft breeze and balmy evening. It was quiet, and peaceful. For a moment, he was reminded of the Civilised Hall of Serene Obedience on Luye'st.

After a few stolen moments, he replaced his helm, checking the readouts and heads-up display. Two chimes were pending; likely status reports from his subordinates.

His Kau-ui was well-equipped, had air support and knew the territory. Reinforcements in the form of Fire Caste cadres, armour units and aircraft were en route from deeper within the Tzi'Na Enclave; and Enclave-Commander Strongheel had – just three days ago – made a public augmit-cast pledge to the population that Or'Na would stand.

So why did Naseel feel a nagging sense of doubt?

+++

+ Game type: 40k 8th edition; Open Play

+ Mission: Blitz, 32 Power Level

+ Combatants: Apologist, commanding the Bleak Vespers; vs Bob Hunk, commanding the Hunter Cadre Hun'k.

+ Battleground: The Septworld Or'Na – the G'loshes Pass approach to Waygoan. Fertile farming land amongst steep hills, the dried-up river valley narrows to a defensible pass. An infantry force of Death Guard – the Bleak Vespers – has used the hills to avoid air strikes, and is advancing towards Waygoan City.

[An illustrated version of the following report can be found through this link.]

+++

+ Deployment and early turns +

The Fire warriors hunker down, forming the first line of defence. A cry goes up as the Death Guard emerge from the gathering dusk – but a low-flying Thunderhawk performs a preliminary bombardment, killing a number of Fire Warriors on the Tau's left flank.

Undaunted, Naseel orders disciplined volley-fire against the invaders. The Death Guard's armour and unnatural resilience protects them.

Pulsefire echoes down the lines.

From the hill, kroot and another Strike Team lend their weight to fire; and first one, then a second Plague Marine falls.

Ducking down to avoid the increasing return fire, the Shas'Nel pauses to report contact – and a flutter of nervousness arises. They're not doing enough damage to stop the invaders yet...

Ponderously but inexorably, the Bleak Vespers march towards the Tau lines. Their advance is accompanied by the disturbing sound of turgid bells and tocsins.

Forcing their way over – or simply through – the fences and hedges, the Plague Marines get to grips with the desperate defenders.

His squad wiped out, Naseel attempts to fall back. A Plague Marine siezes him by the throat, lifting him into the air...

Gurgling, his vision dimming, the Tau sub-commander kicks out frantically, but hears nothing but the gloating laughter of his captors.

Dismayed, the remainder of the Kau-ui make a disciplined fall back, firing on the move as they displace again and again. More of the Plague Marines fall – but not enough. Too many creakingly regain their feet, shrugging off the most heinous wounds.

A counter-charge by the Kroot auxilia meets the same fate as the Fire Warriors – crushed by the fists and heels of the ominous invaders.

With their forces fading, the Stealth Teams redouble their attacks – but even their heavy rotary cannons can't find a chink in the Astartes' plate.

The Death Guard press on through the valley, boltguns raised to eye level and reaping their enemies.

Redeploying from the burnt-out farmhouse, the remaining Strike Team gathers on the hill.

The concentrated firepower of the remaining desperate Tau takes down the last member of a Death Guard squad – but the filthy sorceries of the Plague God find a weak link...

One after another, half a dozen Fire Caste Warriors collapse, their bodies overcome with a strange wasting disease. The remainder, already fearful, flee as the strange bells toll.

+ Result: Chaos victory +

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