Mission Briefing

Watch Captain Erik Bloodaxe stands as the Kill-team enters. He greets each member with a nod as you come through the doorway and spread through what little space there is. With half the room taken up by Bloodaxe's sleeping slab and desk, it's a tight fit for five battle-brothers.

When the last member squeezes in, Bloodaxe punches a control rune inlaid in his desk and the door slides shut.

"I do not doubt that by now, you have all heard the Rogue Trader Diaz Lan is here at Erioch once again. And no doubt you shall be as disappointed and wounded as I to learn that Lan did not come simply to seek out the pleasure of our company, excellent though it may be. It seems the Achilus Crusade has need of our particular talents." He leans forward, bracing himself against the desk, which creaks beneath his bulk. Even without his armor, even by Astartes standards, Bloodaxe is a big man. In his younger days, he was notorious for taking on the more vicious specimens of Fenrisian fauna unarmed and unarmored. The deep scars across his face might be evidence of this, but just as easily they may come from any of the numerous battles he's fought in his time.

As Bloodaxe fiddles with some controls, the lights dim to a dull glow and a panel at the desk's center slides back to reveal a hololith. A wavering image appears, dancing like a candle flame. With a curse, Bloodaxe pounds his fist against the desk until the image stabilizes, resolving into a slowly rotating globe. It shines a soft gold, caramel inlaid with sugar fleck cloudlets, deep blue marking the polar seas.

"Aurum. The Crusade has had its eyes on this world for decades. More to the point, its extensive promethium fields and decavana crystal deposits. But the natives are too proud and too independent to simply consent to integration into the Imperium. It has only been recently that the ferals have allowed Imperial servants permanent status on the planet, and even now the Missionaries and the token squad of Guardsmen are confined to the capital city."

He leans back, crosses his arms across his chest. The suffuse glow from the hololith turns the red of his beard a sickly orange.

"It is a strangely. . .robust world. All the men are strapping and the lasses buxom, that sort of thing. Good warrior people. They have to be, to deal with the predators they share the place with. Aurum is no Catachan, but it has its dangers. Which brings us to your mission. . ."

Aurum winks out, replaced a moment later by a grisly scene. Stretched out across the ground, a human skeleton, picked clean except for a few scraps hanging from the bone like loose threads from an old shirt.

"There has been a rash of deaths these past few months. Aurans and our own people. The Aurans blame it on the predators, but as fierce as they are, no beasts native to the world are known to be this vicious." The image morphs into a similar grisly tableau, though in this one you the shredded robes of a Ministorum lay servant are clearly recognizable.

"The Aurans are dismissive of it all; likely they think one is not worthy of living if one cannot watch one's step. And I am inclined to agree with them on that. But this latest death is different."

The image advances once again, this time to the head of a young woman, her hair cropped close in a vaguely martial style.

"Sister Rachayel, of the Adepta Sororitas. She was assigned to watch over the missionary priests. And a few weeks ago she was found dead. But instead of being flayed to the bone, this is an apparent suicide." Bloodaxe presses a rune and the hololith shuts off, retreats back into the desk. The lights come back to full illumination.

"Lan and his Crusade handlers believe that there is a xenos threat behind these killings. We agree. Your task is to find it and purge it before it can do any more harm. Beyond that, you must do everything you can to convince the Aurans to join the Imperium. They are a warrior people, so appeal to that. I am told they place great stock in ritual combat; crack a few skulls if you really have to. Just get them to bend the knee and say the Imperial Creed."

He sweeps his gaze over the Kill-team. "Lan has more to brief you on before you go. He's waiting for you in the observation deck of live fire range alpha. So, unless you have questions of me, brothers, look to your battle-gear and say your prayers." He glances at each of the Kill-team in turn, waiting for any questions they might have.