Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Popdart5 on Thu Nov 26, 2015 9:08 pm

"You have claimed the ship as your own? That is indeed an ambitious undertaking. Ah, forgive me," Sattar disengaged his helmet and clamped it to his waist. His clean shaven head stood in stark contrast to the dark, earthy pattern that had been tattooed on his face. It swirled like a stellar nebula along his left cheek before arcing suddenly and following the line up the left side of his nose before depositing in the corner of his eye. He smiled genuinely at Fariad. "I had forgot my manners. It was rude of me not to show my face."

"I'm afraid my accomplishments pale in comparison to your own. I had hoped to spend much more time within the library learning and understanding the tomes there but the summer forced my eviction." Sattar chuckled. "I could scarce believe what the daemon priest told me about his master. If I had stayed in that library, I would have ceased to even exist. Fascinating what wonders this universe holds. Since my time here, I admit that I've learned a lot from talking with the priest. Its tongue is forked but it knows much. The rest of the time I've wandered these halls, both here in this building and the quarters where the people of Lark came from. There are still remnants of the actual incident that came before, although the priest didn't leave much to examine. What was left though," he looked at Fariad's visor before running an armoured hand across his smooth scalp. "truly, the machine priests had wonders. I can only imagine what lies below."

"A fair exchange, a good omen for future trade I believe. Although, I have been absent from the congregations of my fellow Astartes so I fear I still don't know of your lineage. But nevermind that. Would you indulge me in describing your past and your arrival on this planet? You and your brother," Sattar nodded towards the silent Khaled close to the door, "you are different compared to Darius and I. Your armour is stranger too. I doubt your arrival on this planet, or your reasons, were the same as our own."
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Skits on Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:09 am

"Claimed?" Fariad echoed wryly, then shook his head with another low chuckle. "Oh, hardly ambitious at all. I have no need to 'claim' something that was already mine to begin with."

He watched as Sattar removed his helmet, taking in the odd tattoos with a curious eye. Fariad then hesitated for a long moment before following suit and removing his helmet as well. His own tanned face was unmarked, save for a few wrinkles at the corners of his intense green eyes, and his pale blond hair was haphazardly trimmed just short enough to keep it out of his face. "Hardly rude, since I did not show mine earlier either," he commented lightly as he set his helmet down beside his dataslate.

As Sattar continued to talk, Fariad listened with interest and made some mental notes. He still had no idea what to think of the daemon tech priest, though he suspected it was not to be trusted at all. Nothing warp-born could be trusted, as Fariad had well learned.

Fariad nodded at Sattar's question, his mouth quirking in a lopsided smile. "Another trade of information, aye? Very well." He paused for a moment to gather his thoughts before starting. "My arrival on this planet was entirely by chance and misfortune. My squad and I were aboard our ship, part of a small fleet travelling between systems. Unfortunately, my ship was caught in the vagrancies of the Great Ocean's tides, despite our best efforts. The warp eventually spat us out here, too close to the planet to recover in time. The crash killed the entirety of the mortal crew, as far as I know, and we--" He nodded over at Khalid, still standing silently by the door, "did not get off lightly, either. It is just as well that the Emperor made us so hardy and quick to heal." The last was said casually, almost off-handedly, though Fariad was watching Sattar keenly from behind his mask of relaxed calm, even as he continued his story.

"Although we survived, the ship had taken severe structural damage. We were trapped in one area of one deck, and lacked the tools or abilities to break out of that section. I can only guess at how long we were trapped there. Years, decades." He shrugged. "And we would probably still be there if a pair of the mortals who I now travel with had not themselves crashed nearby, and stumbled upon my ship beneath the snow while searching for shelter. They found a way in, and managed to do what I could not - clear a passage through the wreckage." He gave a rueful little smile. "I will admit, that is... more humbling than I like. But a little humbling every now and then does not hurt, and they have continued to prove themselves useful."

Fariad idly ran one hand through his hair, making bits of it stick up, and tilted his head towards Sattar. "And I believe it is your turn now, aye? What brought you to this planet, and what of your life before?"
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Comander.c on Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:41 am

"We is not Being Insufferable, We simply Are." Nate replied. "She finally awakes, Ey?" he said. As he stopped scrambling about, trying to get comfortable enough to sleep without his new appendages cramping, he noticed how Mara's eyes darted around the room, unfocused.

"Your eyes..." he began, sitting up "They are... changed... Violet now." He considered getting up and taking a closer look, but thought better of it. "She cannot see?"

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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Popdart5 on Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:17 am

Sattar's azure eyes shined as he listened to Fariad talking about his recent experiences. "So you two," he gestured at Fariad and Khaled, "you're the only ones that survived? Fascinating. I don't quite understand how this makes your ship ancient but I'll save my question for later."

Sattar stood up from his chair and began to pace around the small office. He traced a finger along the top of the table and felt the binaric etchings in the surface. "My life before?" he sighed. "You deserve an honest answer, Fariad. I came to this planet chasing a vision. I was banished from my Chapter for my failings as a warrior of the Emperor, however I was given the chance to redeem myself. Fortunately," he smiled as the nebula coiled on his cheek, "my journey since leaving humanity has illuminated me to the true nature of the universe. The Chaos gods have shown me that my failing was a gateway as I have learned much since casting off the shroud of secrecy from my brothers."

"This planet holds something that the gods told me would grant me great insight into my place in the universe. I feel that I understand now what the visions told me."

"Tell me Fariad," Sattar swept some of the debris off the table and laid down a small gel box. He opened the box and extracted a series of vellum cards which he splayed across the table. "Do you believe that the universe holds a greater purpose for you as well?"


*   *   *   *

Mara groaned. "Petulant child, why must you follow me everywhere?" She squinted in the darkness as she glared at Nate's new form. "Is this how you mock me, child? Or are you that riven with jealously that you forced yourself to grow wings to emulate me?" She turned around in the gloom and glanced around the infirmary. There were few beds in this room and only she and the burnt child were in here. She swung her legs onto the ground and she winced as the blisters on her legs strained and oozed as she moved. Maybe she would stay still for a little while longer, even if it meant that she had to suffer the child.
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Skits on Fri Nov 27, 2015 2:14 am

Fariad merely shrugged at Sattar's assumption that only he and Khalid had survived - he saw little point in correcting it. "I shall save my answer for later as well then," he replied with a faint smile.

He stayed where he was as Sattar rose and began pacing around; Khalid tracked Sattar's movements with a slight turn of his head, but otherwise remained motionless. "Chapter?" Fariad asked curiously. "Which legion - which Chapter were you originally from?" He frowned a little at the mention of the Chaos Gods - Fariad still wasn't sure what to make of the whole thing, only that even the mere idea of it made him highly uneasy.

As Sattar cleared the tabletop, Fariad shifted his chair to better face him, then eyed the contents of the box as the other Astartes splayed the cards out. He remained silent for a while, considering both the cards and the question. "I used to," he admitted quietly after a moment. "But from what you told me back at the Library, so much has changed since my ship was lost in the warp - whatever purpose I once had is now no longer relevant." He eyed the cards a moment longer, then looked back up to meet Sattar's gaze. "As to whether or not the universe has seen fit to gift me a new purpose, I do not yet know. Either way, I resolve to forge my own fate, and my own future."
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Popdart5 on Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:57 am

Sattar began to gather up the cards that he had strewn about the table and slowly shuffled them. He smiled at Fariad's open interest in the world around him and his naivety about his place in the universe. "Yes, I do recall parts of our conversation at the Library. It seems the Warp did not favour you or your kin if you were cast so far out of time and space. I shared what I knew but I fear you need someone far more knowledgeable than myself to instruct you in what history you have missed."

"You wish to know of my Chapter? Very well. I am a warrior of the Black Legion, devoted to the banner of Chaos and destruction of the Imperium as proclaimed by the Warmaster. In my former life as a soldier of the Corpse Emperor, I was the first among equals in my battles alongside my brothers. I was, and remain to an extent, a Silver Skull." Sattar leaned against the table as he continued to shuffle the cards. He grimaced a little bit as the tattoo unfurled on his cheek and billowed like smoke across his face, darkening his already tanned complexion. The cards softly glowed in his hands. "I was never blessed with the powers of the Warp until my exile. In my soul, I was always jealous of my brothers that were able to divine the eddies of fate. Fortunately the Chaos gods saw fit to grant my desire, although I still balance my end of the bargain."

Sattar ceased shuffling the cards and dealt four cards, face down, on the table in front of him. The glow that surrounded these cards faded as they left his touch. He gestured for Fariad to approach. "You say you wish to forge your own fate, Fariad. Would you care for insight into your future?"
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Skits on Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:48 pm

"The Warp is fickle with its favour and lack thereof," Fariad replied blandly, shrugging, then favoured Sattar with a wry half-smile. "As for finding someone more knowledgeable... that is why I am trying to get my ship functional again, so we can get off this forsaken rock and travel in the pursuit of knowledge."

As Sattar spoke of the Black Legion, Fariad kept his expression carefully neutral. "You mentioned before that it is... Abaddon, who leads the Black Legion now, aye?" He then raised an eyebrow in query. "And I have never heard of these Silver Skulls before. Perhaps you could tell me a little more about them?"

He made no comment about Sattar's jealousy or his bargain to gain psychic abilities, privately convinced that said bargain would one day come back to bite him. Fariad merely watched with interest as Sattar gathered the deck and shuffled them; he could feel the Warp eddying around the cards as they glowed softly in Sattar's hands.

Although Fariad was a diviner of the future in his own right, he had never really picked up the knack of tarot reading. It had seemed to him such a trivial, unreliable skill, far too open to interpretation - or misinterpretation. Still, his curiosity was piqued, and he moved closer at Sattar's prompting. "I see no harm in it," he replied easily to Sattar's question. Fariad considered utilising his own powers of precognition, but swiftly dismissed the idea as both rude and unnecessary - and potentially risky, given the nearness of the Warp in this area. He eyed the cards for a moment, then reached out and turned over the first one.
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Popdart5 on Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:37 pm

As Fariad turned over the first card in the row, a faint ripple emanated from his action and the other cards revealed themselves, seemingly of their own volition. The cards retained their formation and the images slowly began to settle in front of Fariad's eyes.

The first card displayed a man almost stripped naked with naught but a tattered loincloth covering his body. A symbol the shape of a wispy comet trailed across his chest, pulsing with an aqua coloured eye in the center. The man's face was contorted and twisted with faint feathered plumage cresting his head.

The second card displayed a ruler, a king of some form keeping court with his grovelling servants. His power was supreme and absolute, however the image also showed the king receiving counsel from advisors that flocked around his throne.

The third card showed a woman standing at the bridge of a voidship. Her uniform marked her as captain and her arm was thrust out as if ordering her crew to action. The background of the card showed the void, endless and dark, as the ship journeyed across the stars.

The fourth card showed a great war machine, something that Fariad recognised as one of the great Martian Titans. However, there was no scene of a triumphant march to war or the destruction of its foes. The war machine had been laid low, crippled and sunken into the earth.

"Very interesting," Sattar muttered as he gazed at the tarot. "Very interesting indeed. These cards not only show a glimpse of your future but also of your past and present as well. The first two cards," he gestured to the marked man and the king, "represent your past and present. It appears that you have been influenced by schemes and machinations but now you seek guidance and aid in your own domain. The last two cards," he pointed to the voidship officer and the fallen Titan, "these represent your future and challenges that you might overcome. The captain is considered master of their own domain but utterly pitiful in the wider cosmos. The fallen war machine shows that even the mightiest can be felled. Whether this fortune refers to you specifically Fariad, your brother, or your assembled allies, I cannot say from just these cards."

"If you wish, you may expand your foresight and draw new cards to read the tarot. However, more insight and forewarning might lead you to attempt to change your fate." Sattar's voice took on surprisingly dour tone. "The Changer of Ways has already marked you, Fariad. Struggle as you might, your petty machinations are the workings of a child compared to his own."

Sattar's manner changed again and the blustering smoke tattoo across his face settled into smooth channel that encircled his eyes. When he spoke again, he was much less grim. "Did you wish me to answer your question about the Silver Skulls, or do you wish to engage in further fortune telling?"
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Skits on Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:13 am

Fariad paid close attention to both the cards and Sattar's translation of them, though he kept any sign of his thoughts off his face. "Intriguing," he murmured absently, examining the cards with both mundane and mental senses as he considered Sattar's words.

The other Astartes' dour statement made Fariad look back up at him though, his brow furrowing slightly. "I do not think I appreciate being marked by anyone, Changer of Ways or not," he muttered, then shrugged. "But you have piqued my interest and curiosity with these cards of yours." He leaned back for a moment, his expression thoughtful. "How about another trade? We see what else these cards have to say about me, then you ask me for whatever information that you would consider a fair trade for your answers about the Silver Skulls?"
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Comander.c on Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:05 pm

"So full of Bile and Venom, Father Nurgleth should be proud. And yet...." Nate grinned widely "..So without Maternal Instinct. No wonder he shuns you. The god of life, and you itch to seek death. No brood, no offspring, Not for old Mara- no- she Hates new life, Young life. What did we ever do to you? Ey?"

"Nurgleth says to make more, seek more, to grow. But you are all alone, No others follow you in his name, or worship his for you. You should go join Darius in the liege of the Blood god, he would appreciate your wanton wrath. Darius has an Army of Khorn. Master Fariad has his Robot brothers. The Purple Man has thousands of followers, And even I have my cult and Hank. Nurgleths love is unwanted, you are not fit to nurture it. That's why he punishes you, your Independence. Pah!"

Nate stood from his pallet, his budding wings spreading from his back. "Do not flatter yourself, My God blesses me with a touch of his favored form. We shall soar upon our own strength. Grow the covenant of Tseench. But do not worry. We will not forget the little people who saved us as a child, Mara. You may hate us, But we no longer can feel so strongly to you."

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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Popdart5 on Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:05 pm

"Then by all means Fariad," Sattar gestured to the deck of tarot cards, "draw as many cards as you want to satisfy your curiosity. However, there is a limit to how much one can know about their fate. Once you are sated, we shall discuss the Silver Skulls."

He smiled at Fariad, "Draw wisely, Thousand Son."

*   *   *   *

The scowl upon Mara's face grew ever more pronounced as the feathered fire-child grew cocky and confident. She despised him ever so much.

Once the braggart had finished, Mara turned to face him. He was so grossly incandescent with his new wings. Her own were shriveled and torn, feathers plucked by the intensity of the geyser that had erupted under her. She saw the claw marks across his chest and how his wounds had been stitched by the doktor here in this facility. She knew not what Hank was.

"You say I lack the care of a mother? You say I despise you for being young?" She snickered and then her lip curled in a grimace as her lungs protested at her mirth. "I despise you because of what you represent, stupid Nate. The Gods care nothing to me. Nurgle cares nothing for me either. The only person who truly cares for me is me. Before I found you and Amon, you and Lord Fariad, you were cast astray and so weakened by the snow and ice. I helped you, foolish boy. And trust me, I would have let you shiver and moan like a baby, or toss you into the furnace to warm up nice and proper. In my weakness, compassion flourished. I should have realised I was a fool when you all attempted to kill me for my charity. The strong do not pity the weak; they merely tolerate it. I have been far too kind."

"You say you fell from the sky and blazed like a comet across this world. I despise you for that. Your fire; your heat. The world was pleasant before you arrived."

Mara drew her stub revolver from the warped remains of her belt and cradled it in her lap. "I see now why Skarsgard hated us wyches. I was drawn like a bug to your flame because you represented an escape, a chance to truly realise my power. But you burn too brightly. The realm of the Warp, the realm of magik, overflows you. You merely contain a storm surge waiting to wash over everyone. You think you are strong." She laughed and coughed as her chest was racked with pain. Mara stared at Nate, her eyes glowing and then fading with ethereal energy. "The Warp is stronger still. It will destroy you and everything you try to accomplish. You blaze a path of destruction and leave ash and cinders behind."

"That is why I despise you. You are the death of all things. You will be the death of me." Mara laid back down on the bed, her gun still in her lap, and closed her eyes.
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Skits on Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:34 pm

Fariad returned Sattar's smile with a nod and a faint, knowing smile of his own. "Knowledge is power," he murmured, his gaze shifting to the waiting deck of cards. He considered them for several long moments, trying to recall the lessons he had been given decades ago.

Finally Fariad reached out and drew a card, laying it face-down on the table before him. He then drew four more, laying each one at a cardinal point around the first card, a hand's-span distance between every card. Once he was done and the five cards were laid out to his satisfaction, Fariad tapped the central card three times with one finger-tip, then carefully turned it over.
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Popdart5 on Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:12 pm

The act of turning the central card rippled with nascent psychic energy as the cards either side revealed themselves. It was akin to a droplet of water rippling across the surface of a lake.

"This pattern that you've chosen Fariad," Sattar explained, "represents different two aspects of your future. The central card is another reading into your future while each branch of cards forms two strands that you might pursue. A choice, as it were."

The central card showed a single skull, shrouded in darkness and cast away on the ground of a forgotten world. The skull was adorned by a vast array of cybernetic enhancements so that it resembled a servo-skull. A faint light sparked within the empty eye socket but it was not an electrical light.

"The machine is useful to man but utterly unnatural in its being. Soulless constructs that have no will, when seen in the fate of you, Fariad, indicate potential instability and discord."

Sattar gestured to the cards on the left. "This is one aspect of your future. It is neither true nor false. It is a path that may exist. The further down the path you travel, the greater insight into your future you may receive."

The first card to the left of the central card showed a group of humans bent in worship of a false symbol, a strange triangular emblem. They did not worship the eight-pointed star, but neither did they prostrate themselves before symbols of the Emperor or the Imperium. Their devotion was utterly alien.

The second card to the left showed an Astartes warrior. Great blessings were affixed in scrolls to its plating and an ancient tome was borne in its hand, however great rents were seen in the armour. The skulls of fallen enemies were being crushed under its enormous armoured boot but the helmets of other Astartes littered the ground.

Sattar leaned over the table to examine the tarot. "I can only tell you what I interpret, Fariad of the Thousand Sons. You may derive a deeper meaning from these images. The first card," he tapped the worshippers, "is puzzling. It's the symbol of the ignorant humans, those who know neither the falsehoods of the Corpse-Emperor nor the truth of Chaos. Knowledge is power, as you say, and lack of it is weakness."

"The second card, that of the Astartes warrior, seems to be that of the baptiser by sword. The crusader as it were. But, the 'holy' warrior of the Imperium is not as mighty as he seems. Turmoil surrounds him and the righteousness of his deeds is paid with a heavy price. When these two cards are taken together, with reference to that of the machine, it indicates potentially a lack of control. Your warriors may rebel and seek favour with another and your only recourse is bloodshed."

"Of course, that is but one way that your path may lie. Another path has presented itself."

The first card to the right showed a creature that may have once been human but had been lost to the nature of Chaos. Arms had been replaced by a writhing mass of tendrils while the human's head had swelled so that it drooped forward in a perpetual hunchback. Skin had been flayed from the creature's skin as muscles swelled and burst as the creature oozed blood and mucus.

The second card to the right showed another image of an Astartes warrior but, unlike the one to the right, this image shined. There was no hint of battle or other strife. The warrior stood still, like a statue, but it still gleamed with an aura of purity.

"Now this," Sattar rubbed his chin, "is just as puzzling as your other fate. The first card clearly shows a mutant, one who has fallen to corruption of the body and potentially the mind as well. It signifies human weakness at its most base level. But when combined with this card," he tapped at the shining Astartes, "this exemplar of the Corpse-God, a paladin of sorts, the meaning is skewed. The paladin is stalwart and dutiful, a protector and guardian of the highest order. It indicates that corruption is to be protected, whether for or against I can't say. The machine combined with the mutant and the paladin might indicate that corruption could be guarded against. Perhaps that secret might even be found within this facility, if what half of what the daemon priest and the records say is true."

"What do you make of all this Fariad?" Sattar asked as he turned to face him fully. "I am curious to hear your own thoughts on what the future may hold."


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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Skits on Mon Nov 30, 2015 3:02 am

Fariad watched intently as the cards rippled and turned before once more coming to rest on the tabletop. His gaze didn't leave the cards even as Sattar began explaining his interpretation of the revealed images. He listened without comment, at least until Sattar mentioned the Thousand Sons. That made Fariad glance up briefly, the corner of his mouth quirking in amusement. "I see you have finally remembered my Legion," he murmured, before falling silent again to let the other Astartes continue his explanation.

Once Sattar had finished, Fariad remained silent for a long moment, collecting and organising his thoughts. Finally he looked back up to meet Sattar's gaze. "You present a very interesting interpretation. It holds merit. As for my own thoughts..." He shrugged and smiled self-depreciatingly. "I fear they will not be as comprehensive as yours. Reading the cards has never really been one of my skills. But I shall do what I can, and see what you make of it."

He tapped the first card, just beneath the skull's single glowing eye. "There are many machines that contain a human brain - or multiple - within their structures, to guide and run them. And if there is a human brain, then one could say that these machines do have a soul. These machines may have their will constrained by programming... but one should never forget that such constraints may not hold forever. The dead may yet rise again."

Fariad then tapped the second card, the one with the strange triangular emblem. "I see this one as a reminder that there are more possibilities than just the Chaos Gods or the Emperor of Mankind. The fact that this card uses a triangle to represent their object of worship is also interesting - a triangle can act as a fulcrum, the balancing point between two extremes." Fariad offered Sattar a wry smile. "The choice to make no choice at all is still a choice in and of itself - and often the most difficult one to remain true to."

He shifted his attention to the third card, the one with the battle-worn Astartes, and tapped the ancient tome within the figure's armoured hand. "This one - he is no simple warrior, fighting only to bring people under his heel for some higher power. He bears knowledge, enlightenment - but there are those who cling to ignorance, who refuse to see or listen, who deny - or fear - the knowledge he is trying to share. He must fight, not only to spread enlightenment, but to protect himself and prevent others from destroying the knowledge he carries."

Fariad paused, considering the cards for a moment before continuing. "Taken together, one could read it as such; that balance needs to be maintained. Man and machine, life and death, ignorance and knowledge - but that said balance will not come easily. It must be fought for and defended, bought and paid for in blood."

He turned slightly to face the other two cards. "As for this other path... I have little to contribute to your own interpretation," he admitted with a slight shrug. "The mutant could be seen as representing change - but change as a bad thing, something to be avoided, shunned. The paladin-Astartes seems to represent purity, as you said. Purity of mind, body, and soul. Peace and perfection, maintained and protected. Something to strive for, a goal to achieve while avoiding the pitfalls of reckless, uncontrolled change. Not so different to your own interpretation, really." He tilted his head to one side as he regarded Sattar, a rueful little smile creeping onto his face. "And I must admit - if there is some mechanical secret to guard against corruption hidden somewhere within this facility... I would not be adverse to finding it."
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Popdart5 on Mon Nov 30, 2015 3:17 pm

Sattar clapped his hands, his own smile drawing across his face as the tattooed lines re-positioned itself back into the spiral on his left cheek. "An interesting perspective Fariad and one borne of your own knowledge and experience is always more insightful than that of an outsider's. I am unfamiliar with the legacy of your Chapter but your keen intellect is a proud example of the Thousand Sons."

Sattar left the cards as they were but he tapped at the machine skull. "You are not wrong about this card, Fariad. The dead may rise and have risen before, although that is cause for great distress. If the soulless machines of the Necrons feature in your future, I fear that not even Darius will be able to overcome that foe."

"But of course," he said as he gestured around the room, "this facility may be a more pertinent interpretation. After all, we tread on the dead remnants of the Mechanicus whose machines still rumble beneath our feet. Perhaps the Necron foe is distant and irrelevant."

"Your interpretation of the triangular symbol is interesting but I believe it might have a different meaning. Rather than the two extremes which you describe, there are three points that you could follow, as laid by this strand: that of the Corpse-Emperor, that of the machine or the unknown xenos, and that which the thralls of man would term heresy." Sattar formed a triangle with his armoured fingers. "To balance all three, as you suppose, means remaining in the center without committing to any one path. I believe that such balance might be impossible, Fariad. Someone or something will force that choice upon you eventually."

Sattar stepped back from the table and took his seat again, proffering Fariad's own chair. "Please sit again, Fariad. You and I have divined a potential boon in your future that is buried beneath our feet. Should we continue unlocking the tech secrets of this facility or do you wish to know more of my history?"
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Skits on Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:25 pm

"You flatter me," Fariad murmured with a wry little smile as Sattar complimented him on his intellect. The smile quickly faded however at the mention of Necrons, as a brief flicker of surprise flitted across his face before he schooled his expression again. He had never heard of Necrons before, and had no idea what Sattar was talking about.

He was reluctant to admit his ignorance though and remained silent as Sattar continued talking, gesturing around them. "Perhaps," he replied to Sattar's commenta on balance. "But I refuse to be forced into anything. If I do decide on a direction, it shall be one of my own choosing, at my own pace, when I have enough knowledge to make a fully informed choice. Until then, I shall strive to maintain balance as best as I am able."

Once Sattar seated himself and proffered the other chair, Fariad followed suit, nodding his thanks to the other Astartes. "While I admit that I am curious about what lies beneath our feet, said secrets have waited nine hundred years already. A few more minutes will not hurt, and I am quite interested in your own history, if you are willing to share."
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Comander.c on Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:36 pm

"You consider your life in Skarsguard to have been truly Living?" He chuckled sarcastically.

Nate wrapped his wings about himself, and began to get dressed. "Green is a fitting colour on her." He said. "her envy burns bright."

Nate dressed himself in his Synskin suit, simultaneously pulling the warp about himself as an invisible cloak of unreality. He knew Mara would sense it. He wanted her to.

He eyed the weapon she cradled. imagining he was reading into her thoughts, as Amon often would. She considered using it, that wad clear. It was simply a matter of on which one or them. Nate let the warp flow over him, gathering about his hands imagining he was feeling, tasting, the heavy metals in the gun.

If she went to use it, he could melt the weapon, if he was fast enough. Otherwise... Well, that was what the warp cloaked him for. "A mortal weapon.." He giggled "..she should know she would need more than that for us."

"we all fend for us. It is the way of chaos, those who cannot, perish. But each of us, even Darius, or me, or You, have saved another. Yes. This makes us stronger than alone. Each a master of our own talents, for no one master all things. No~" Nate spoke calmly, almost absently, as he finished dressing. "We knows we is still weak, it is only our potential that saves us, earns favour.."

"Tell us, is there Any among us you respect. Any you even don't hate?"

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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Popdart5 on Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:07 am

Sattar began to describe the Silver Skulls to Fariad in as much detail as he could recall. He started where he first began and described the initiation rites and how he struggled against the biting cold of the Chapter's homeworld to have his future read by the Prognosticators of his Chapter. The Prognosticators spoke of his abilities and how he would strike a great blow against the enemies of the Emperor but at great personal cost. Sattar's face grimaced at the memory and he said that his impression at the time was that it would be a physical cost.

Fariad listened to Sattar's accounts of his battles against the Greenskins and how he had slowly risen in rank to become part of the command squad for his company. His captain came to respect his insight on the battles and his keen strategic mind. It was one account of Sattar's advice that lead to a Greenskin warboss foolishly being baited and charging with an Ork battle vehicle across a bridge that had been primed with explosives. Sattar's face was lit up with a smile as the Orks flailed in the raging rapids of the chemical river.

The smile quickly faded as Sattar said that the Orks were simple fights compared to what they encountered next. As they were clearing the last few Ork holdouts on the planet, a faraway place called Gorlon, the first reports came of squads being attacked by strange metal constructs that lurched out of the ground. It was their first contact with the Necrons in the system and the Skulls were ill-prepared for such a fight. The forces retreated to their main fortress on the planet while they consulted with the Prognosticator that had travelled with the company. The Prognosticator gave ill-news: a retreat from Gorlon was in order and the company would hold position in orbit while reinforcements arrived. The omens were poor and confronting the Necrons with less than one company after fighting the Orks was deemed suicidal. The captain tried to negotiate with the Prognosticator but the ruling was final.

Sattar's face tattoo unfurled and sprayed out like a series of arrows converging on a single point on his right cheek. He said that he managed to convince his captain that victory was achievable and that delaying for reinforcements would surrender large sections of the planet to the Necrons. When his captain gave the order, he said that no mention was made of the Prognosticator's omens. An assault on the Necrons began at once and the remaining Silver Skulls of the company, all eighty of them, descended into the machine tomb complex that was spawning wave of the metal warriors. The Necrons were too numerous and Astartes were being cut down by the green lightning that spewed from the Necron weapons. The Silver Skulls fought through to the central power complex and began planting heavy chemical and melta devices that had been recovered from local mining operations. The plan was that the crude blasting charges, when used en masse, would melt through the crust of the planet and open up the central core to the molten magma of the world's core.

When the charges were set, the Silver Skulls hastily retreated from the Necron labyrinth as the complex flooded and collapsed from the searing heat. Only ten Astartes survived to escape the complex. Sattar was one of them. The captain was not. The captain had been struck down by the Necron Overlord, almost carved in two, before the captain skewered him with his power sword. His body had been claimed by the tonnes of molten magma as had so many other Silver Skulls.

The full truth of what happened was finally made known to the rest of the Chapter and, while ultimately successful, the Chapter Master and the Prognosticators found that Sattar was ultimately responsible for the debacle as the highest surviving member of the company command squad. The willful ignorance of the Prognosticator's divination was considered sacrilegious of the highest order and could not go unpunished. For Sattar's role, he was charged with the completion of a Death Oath. He would need to venture to the furthest reaches of the galaxy and recover the Argentite Reaper, a fabled and revered relic power axe of the Silver Skulls that had been lost on crusade against the Orks on the fringes of the eastern galaxy. Sattar was not permitted to return to his brothers until he had recovered it.

Since leaving his brothers, Sattar said that he had travelled far and wide, searching for any rumour or hint of the Silver Skulls' relic. He journeyed for several decades and ventured into areas not fit for the sane and valiant. It was here that his resolve finally cracked and he became embroiled with the forces of Chaos. His devotion to his Chapter was cast aside and he pledged himself wholly to overthrowing that which he had defended. For if his own Chapter had refused to fight against the xenos threat, it did not deserve his allegiance.

The journey since was understanding his place in the universe. The daemons of Chaos provided him with the skill and ability that was formerly restricted to the Prognosticators of the Silver Skulls and his tarot cards were formidable in divining the future. That future lead him to encountering Darius and they had voyaged together to serve Chaos. Their arrival on this planet also served Chaos, especially as they had found valuable allies that could turned against the Imperium of Man. "Including you, Fariad, he said.

"I have not spoken of my history like this for a long time, Fariad of the Thousand Sons. I hope you are satisfied with this information." Sattar leaned back in the chair and the metal groaned under his weight. "I believe it is my turn for a question now. Tell me, I noticed that your brother has not spoken a word during all of our discussion. What is his history? Is he mute or suffering some sort of malaise?"

*   *   *   *

Mara heard the shambling of Nate as he moved around but her eyes remained closed. Her hand still brushed the pistol on her lap as she rested and listened to his inane ramblings. It was hard to tell if he spoke to himself, someone else, or to her. His final remark though; that was clearly to her. She let it linger in the air a little while as she pondered the question.

"Darius." She said it bluntly and let the silence claim the room again. Darius was the only one who won through strength of arms alone and his bloodthirsty nature served him well. The others were weak or cowardly. Nate spewed magik and drew the ire of daemons and creatures like a corpse drew scavengers. He was like a fire, consuming fuel but having no control over his strength and ultimately easy to quench. Amon was pleasing enough company but was utterly useless in battle. She still did not know how he had amassed such a following of people while he was so very meek and pitiful. Fariad and his comrade, while large and imposing like Darius, wielded guns and other boring weapons. There was no skill in using a gun. Only a brawl or a combat of arms truly showed a warrior's spirit. Darius was the only true warrior among them.

"If you wish to leave Nate, just go," she said as he finally stopped shuffling. "I have no further desire to hear you."


Last edited by Popdart5 on Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Skits on Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:53 am

Fariad listened attentively to Sattar's tale, remaining quiet so as not to interrupt or distract the other Astartes from the telling. He nodded appreciatively at Sattar's description of the fights against the greenskins; they were a foe Fariad had also faced in the past, and he was familiar with the Orks' abilities and behaviour.

When Sattar began describing the Necrons, Fariad listened even more intently, making mental notes on every detail to transcribe into his book later. He was glad he had not revealed his ignorance of the Necrons earlier - he was learning much of what he needed to just from Sattar's tale. The information about Sattar's travels after his exile were also mentally noted, and he glanced over at the cards still resting on the table when they were mentioned.

Sattar's comments about finding allies that could be turned against the Imperium made Fariad flinch slightly within his armour, though he managed to keep his expression from changing. Over the past few weeks he had, for the most part, avoided seriously thinking about actively turning against the Emperor and the Imperium that he and his battle-brothers had once fought to protect. It was not an idea that came naturally, or that fitted well into his mind. Fortunately, the topic of conversation soon moved on, and Fariad once again shoved the uncomfortable idea out of his thoughts.

"Aye, very satisfied, thank you," Fariad replied with a nod. "I appreciate all you have told me." At Sattar's question about his brother, Fariad paused for a moment, one eyebrow rising slightly. "Khalid?" He looked over at the crimson-armoured figure still standing by the doorway. "Ah, he has always been the strong, silent type." He shrugged and looked back to Sattar with a lopsided smile. "Though I suppose 'malaise' is an appropriate word to use in this particular situation. The past has not been kind to my battle-brother, and our ship's crash did not much help matters." From his post by the doorway, Khalid nodded once, slowly. "But Khalid's abilities in combat are fearsome still," Fariad continued, "and I value his company. I am forever grateful that he remains by my side."
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Popdart5 on Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:53 pm

"Well then, I hope to see him in combat soon," Sattar said as he pushed off his chair and moved to collect the tarot cards that remained on the table. The gel-pack snapped shut as he filed the cards away and he attached it to his belt beside his two bolt pistols.

"While I am grateful for the distraction Fariad, I feel we should return to the matter of this cogitator system for the facility. There are many more secrets yet to uncover."
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Skits on Wed Dec 02, 2015 12:06 am

"If you decide to accompany us for a while, I am sure you will see him in combat soon enough," Fariad replied lightly. "I look forward to seeing how you fight, as well."

As Sattar rose and began collecting his cards, Faraid scooted his own chair back to the terminal where he had been working before. "Aye, true enough. Especially if said secrets prove as useful as we suspect." He eyed both his terminal screen and the dataslate beside it, then paused for a moment to look back over at Sattar. "Speaking of this facility though - what do you have planned for after we are done divining its secrets? If you do not mind me asking, that is."
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Popdart5 on Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:23 am

"Another question Fariad? I'll have to keep my own question in mind for the next time we have another fruitful discussion."

Sattar scratched the back of his head and flipped the gel-pack of tarot cards open and closed again. "Now that I have seen what fate may have in store for you Fariad, I am curious enough that I wish to witness whatever happens. And besides, if what you say is true, an entire warship lies ready to fly to the stars at your command. It would certainly be a more pleasant way to leave this planet than journeying through the Warp with Darius again. His mind would not be able to handle another such trip."
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Skits on Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:52 pm

"Of course," Fariad replied with a nod. "It is only fair, after all."

He leaned back in his chair to listen to Sattar's reply, ignoring the way the chair creaked alarmingly beneath his armoured weight. "You are most welcome to remain with us for as long as you wish," Fariad commented once Sattar was done. "I am sure Darius would appreciate having you around again - and I look foward to exchanging yet more questions with you." He then offered the other Astartes a wry smile. "But I would not say my ship is entirely ready to take to the stars just yet. There is still much repair work to be done, as well as the issue of getting said warship off the ground and back into the sky."

He picked up the dataslate and resumed working on deciphering more of the cogitator's contents. "I am hoping that we will discover something within this facility that will help solve these problems, one way or another."
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Comander.c on Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:08 pm

"Darius hmm?" Nate chuckled meanly "Funny, since we hears him talking of you."

An evil grin crept upon the boys face, as he prepared to deliver the blow.

"He questions your skills, says you have no 'credibility' as a smith of machine and flesh.."

he began to giggle maniacally "Worse yet, he thinks you should stick to those credit-less skills. " he broke out into laughter, having to stop and take deep breaths to steady himself again. "He says it when he collects your useless corpse from the sand"

Nate puffed out his chest and expanded his diaphragm, lowering his voice into his best impression of Darius. "She should stop blindly seeking battle on her own. Her swift grasp of the skills of a Machinist and flesh-weaver are Incredible. But the ways of War cannot be so swiftly learned without mentorship." Nate's voice squeaked, unable to hold a baritone nearly as deep as Darius's voice.

"Incredible indeed, yes, not credible at all." his voice carried back into the med-bay, as he wandered out of the building.

Outside, Nate winced at the bright sunlight. His head still hurt from the gargoyles strike, but he could not bare to lie still any longer. Besides, it was time he tested these wings. He looked around for a good vantage point he should try and reach. Yes, that one. he thought. We will be able to find Darius from there...

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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

Post by Nick_Nork on Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:00 am

Returning to the Ring of Steel, Darius emerged from the rhino and considered the situation. While strategically beneficial and offering alliances that could benefit the growing warband, the presence of demons and of course the allies afforded its own problems. Once again Darius had found opponents to slaughter that offered little in the way of spoils; not gear, or slaves, or even the kind of knowledge that could be traded. The khornate warriors would surely be growing tired of promises of battle, glory, and treasures, seeing as allies made for poor barter material.

"Should have just killed Faulk." Darius grumbled to himself, convinced the warlord had attempted to send the band to their deaths against something he dare not face himself. In his mind the furnaces of Skarsgard proved their intent to take the mountain.

"Land Raider! Ensure we have a communications link to the mountain!" He cried, gesturing with his axe towards the lumbering vehicle.

Noting the apparent unease in the movement of the khornates vehicles, Darius wondered where to get enough spoils to satisfy Vallet and his warriors. Of course, should Vallet be dissatisfied then the skulls, arms and equipment of his warriors would make good spoils too. "Can vehicles move with unease?" Darius asked himslef, wondering at his earlier suspicions before catching sight of the demonic predator once again, "Apparently so."

Darius called to the nearest of the khornate warriors, he would have them use chains and hooks, or whatever other means they wished, to collect the remains of the demonic-snake-servitors. This is assuming any remained, and that they weren't too close to the spawn, and that the geysers could be dodged. In any case, success would mean loot and failure could be held above the others as reason for their lack of progress, they could not be trusted to do something as simple as collecting the dead so why should they expect more?

A whooping cry of excitement rang out over the din of the area. "About time my return was noticed and praised." Darius declared with mock-pride before looking to find the source of the cry. High above a figure was falling, or trying not to by thrashing so hard that the air itself rejected their descent. Darius recognised the newly winged form of Nate firstly by his reflexive application of fire shields, which gave him the impression of organic jet turbines, and finally by the sulphurous odour that almost preceded him.

Nates reunion with the ground looked as though he momentarilly forgot which of his six limbs were used for standing, and in his confusion decided to try each of them in turn. "Well you still landed softer than the mountain, how fare your new wings?"
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Re: Black Crusade: Inside the Silent Mountain

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