Sunday, 27 October 2019

Shadows of Commorragh, Part 5

Agents of the Enemy

"What part of 'Do it discretely' was not clear to you, Yrule?" Daisan Verkhosian once again sat on his throne, the gyrinx cub resting on his lap.
"Not only your Reborn blew up the Voidfall Tower, they fought running battles all over the Sprawl. They even brought those loose dogs from the Splintered Heart into the conflict. How long do you think it'll take them to figure out who you work for?"
"How I lead my brothers and sisters is none of your businness, Daisan", just like during his previous visit, the Thanarch and the gyrinx stared into each other's eyes.
"Everything is my businnes down here, Yrule!" Verkhosian's voice seethed with spite. "Down here, you are at my service, not at your God's! A single word, and hundreds of Commorrites will be after you, dreaming of Vekt's bounty on Ynnari heads."
The icy silence that followed the threat was suddenly broken by a sharp hiss. The gyrinx tensed on Verkhosian's lap and then sprang to chase something scuttling in the darkness.
"What do you want me to do, Lord Verkhosian?"
"So you can be reasonable, Yrule! I'm led to believe the Hex is double crossing Lady Anielyn and selling Hurrikhaine to others. I'm told the Parched at Port Carmine are in a craze about a new drug. Get all they know out of them and bring me the source of Hurrikhaine."
"What of the Parched?"
"Oh, I'm not devoid of consideration for those who work for me. What you do with the Parched, I leave it to you. See, Yrule, it was not difficult to settle this matter amicably."
The Thanarch ignored the latest barb and walked away, a thin smile briefly curling his lips.
Down the corridor, the gyrinx emerged from the darkness and weaved around his ankles, tail raised high.
"So, little friend, what else do you have for me?"

The Parched wandered around Port Carmine, their emaciated hands clawing at the air, desperately trying to grab a whif of suffering and replenish themselves.

Led by Lann, the Void Phoenixes entered the area, Yrule's voice reaching them over the Whisper. Remember, no harm has to come to them. They will join us and then share what they know.

On the Void Phoenixes' left, the shadows stirred as the Shards of the Splintered Heart made their presence known.

Split into two groups, the Bleaksouls swaggered onto the dock.

What they did not know was that Inghfar was watching them through his sight. As the Bleaksouls advanced, the Ranger opened fire and wounded Morghdrax.

The Shards rushed for the Parched lingering at the Cauldron of Souls.

Bahreneq and Jaenis leapt onto the Venomport platform, ready to pounce upon another Parched.

Lann and Dis'ar rushed to the platform where another Parched was about to be snatched by Mardre the Scourge.

Lann tossed a plasma granade at the Scourge and below him Barahir and Jair opened fire on the Shards at the Cauldron of Souls.

Under the intense barrage, the Shards were unable to confront the Parched. As one of their numbers fell to the cadaverous Aeldari's knives, the Shards fled.

A Parched dashed past Lachean as she tried to run away from the firefight.

Lakbyrn sprung out of the shadows, his dagger hungering for Inghfar's flesh. But the Ranger lept through a webway portal to the Venomport. There, he quickly drew his shuriken pistol and opened up on Bahreneq.

As the Wych Fighter fell, the Parched she had marked jumped down from the platform, only to find her way barred by Raveneth. Yariaq joined in and the Parched was quickly subdued.

Jair and Barahir approached the Parched they had saved from the Shards, their hands open and weapon holstered. But the Parched spat at them and run away.

Lann followed Fachean to an overgrown ruin where two Parched were stalked by Morghdrax.

Jaenis stared at Inghfar and screamed her challenge. The Ranger once again dived into the webway portal, but the Wych followed close. Embattled, the two pushed past Lakbyrn. At the feet of the Voidfall Tower, the chase came to an end, Jeanis claiming bloddy revenge for Bahreneq.

Basking in Fachean's pain, Lakbyrn felt emboldened. He stepped onto the portal. On the other side, his knife flashed and the former Parched drank deep of the soul of one who was once his compatriot.

Morghdrax turned his attention away from the Parched and charged Fachean. The Corsair stood little chance against the Hekatrix, but Lann interposed himself.

Yariaq left Raveneth in charge of the Parched they had captured and moved to intercept another.

Jair and Barahir split. The Guardian countercharged Yariaq, the Dire Avenger went after the Parched they had approached earlier.

Yariaq met Jair's charge with a well placed thrust. The Parched slashed madly at Barahir.

Lann and Morghdrax sparred, neither able to land a telling blow. The Whisper thrummed with pain. The Autarch put some space between himself and the Hekatrix and looked around. One last Parched was still at large, way too far to be reached. Knowing the stakes were now too high, Lann ordered the Void Phoenixes to fall back.

The Thanarch listened carefully to Lann's account of the clash. Then, as the Autarch bowed his head in shame, Yrule spoke.
"There's no shame in putting the spirits of the Reborn ahead of the whims of a heathen. And worry not, Lann, a little friend told me of Verkhosian's dirty secrets. Soon, he will no longer be of our concern."

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Shadows of Commorragh, Part 4

Venom and Spite

"They must pay", Excrucia's voice was full of rage.
"Control your anger, sister", came Lann's icy reply. "My honour, more than yours, is at stake. But we can't let passions compromise our mission."
"Passions? Honour? This is not a matter of passions or honour!" the spirits bounded to the former wytch echoed her over the Whisper. "Torc and Inghfar are seriously injured and everybody in the Sprawl knows why. Even the lowest Parched will think they can push us around! But what do you know? You're no Drukhari..."
"Enough!" Yrule sharply cut her off. "What we were before being Reborn matters not!"
"But, Thanarch..."
"I've said 'enough'! Lann's right, we can't compromise our mission for petty revenge. But neither we can be seen as weak. I will let you lead a crew, Excrucia. Get to the Sorrowshards and hit the Bleaksouls in their assets. Turn that into a bloodbath and you'll have to answer to me, personally."
"As you wish, Thanarch". The former wytch strode out of the room, her spirits murmuring as if in frustration.
"How can you cave in to her demands, Thanarch?" asked Lann as the two were alone.
"I did not. I've asked her to control her passions on the battlefield. This is the arshest punishement a Drukhari can be subject to. Now leave me."
Lann hesitated for a moment, then turned to reach the door.
"Lann!" Yrule halted the Exarch just a step away from the door. "Doubt me again and I'll have to punish you as I've punished Excrucia."

Excrucia and Uless stepped into the attinic glare of the Sorrowshards platform. Behind them, Dis'ar and Barahir took position on a nearby structure to offer cover. Thresyn and Fachean swiftly moved to one of the Sorrowshards control nodes.

Screams broke the eerie silence as the Shards of the Broken Heart sweapt into the area.

The Bleaksouls fanned out of their hideout, puzzled by the commotion.
Excrucia was nearly swept off her feet, her armour punched through by Dark Lance fire coming from the Shards. As she had predicted, even the lowliest scum of Low Commorragh tought the Void Phoenixes were easy game. Her rage washed over the Whisper and spurred the Ynnari into violent action.

Dis'ar and Barahir's fire forced the Scourge flying above the Shards to dive into a webway portal and to reappear on the other side of the plaza.

Fachean and Thresyn traded fire with Morghdrax and his escort, but the Ynnari had the worst of it.

Yariaq and Raveneth leapt through the portal inside the ruined Voidfall Tower. Raveneth materialised behind Ynado've. Yariaq stepped onto the open of the plaza, his eyes set on another control node.

Fachean and Uless charged Morghdrax and his crew from two directions, the Bleaksouls stunned by the psychic screams of Uless' bounded spirits.

Excrucia felt a rush of excitement as she prepared to join the fight. Then, from the shadows came Lakbyrn's poisoned dart. It found its way through Excrucia's damaged armour and halted her charge.

Dis'ar rained shurikens over Yariaq and sent him sprawling to the ground.

Barhair kept firing at the Scourge, but she flew behind cover...

...and levelled her shardcarbine at the combatants on the far side of the Sorrowshards, felling Fachean.

Raveneth quickly dispatched Ynado've. Pain and suffering were filling the Sorrowshards, a heady and exhilarating mist drifting all around.

Excrucia came to her senses just in time to see Morghdrax and Bahreneq toying with Uless.
And she understood. She had let her old ways get the better of herself. In doing so, she had exposed her brothers and sisters.
That was not what the Seventh Way had tought her.
She primed a blind grenade and tossed it into the combat, immediately springing to grab dazed Uless and drag her away.