Planetfall: Ashideena

They made planetfall ahead of the onset of blessed night. There was no comfort to be gained from the weak sun in these dreary climes, no hint of defiance towards the deadly chill in the wind. Ashideena began to understand the sense of despair which dragged its claws all round this planet. In such a place, it was little wonder that people were weak enough to let their faith in the Emperor waver; the holy Church had neglected these people, and in its absence their list of soul-crimes grew long. They believed that the Emperor had abandoned them, that all they had was what little they could grab in their short, pathetic lives.

They were wrong.

Ashideena cast her eyes over the contingent of warriors at her command. Their numbers were few – a small reconnaisance force; the vanguard for a greater warhost. All around her were engaged in preparing their fledgling encampment against the onslaught of the night snows. Presently, thought Ashideena, this tiny landing site would become the hub for the greatest crusade of penitence this planet would have ever encountered. She knew the numbers of battle-sisters aboard the mighty cathedral-ship orbiting several hundred miles above, and she also knew that their numbers were nothing to the vast horde of Repentia waiting in stasis for their opportunity to redeem themselves in battle.

Her mind returned to the immediate surroundings. Despite the awfulness of the environment, the location was ideal for their crusade. Ravine Nadreg was its name, at least according to their local informants, and it was situated in the confluence of two mighty, frozen rivers. Above her, maybe half a mile up, was the peak of the biggest waterfall she had ever seen – frozen solid Emperor knew how long ago. Their scouts had reported a vast cavern had been hollowed, defensible and perfect for the centre of operations.

It had not been an easy task, making their way to the Ravine, having encountered the despicable majiks of the doomed Eldar, and fighting with blessed fire through the disgusting Tyranids, but they had done it - not least due to the efforts of Confessor Volon. Ashideena smiled briefly at the memory of his zeal – never once had she seen his faith waver, and his holy fervour had inspired the Sororitas accompanying him to great feats of valour in the Emperor's name. In recognition of his duties, he had been permitted a brief period of recuperation to rest his body and pray to the Emperor.

For now, Ashideena would command the troops alone. It was a responsibility she bore gladly – more so for the knowledge that if she fulfilled her duties then the stage would be set for the arrival of Lady Ashara and the crusading armies which would drive all heretical filth from the Emperor's domain, redeeming their past misdeeds... and their souls.