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Planetfall

 
The Blood Drinker frowns briefly. The inculcation of a world to the Imperium is worth a small risk to his honour. He would never live down the shame if his armour were taken by ferals - but what is his shame before the will of the Emperor?

"I will entrust my armour to the Caele's men. If your people are to become part of the Imperium, there must be a measure of good faith between us."

"You do us honor with your trust." Alkedre beckons the Space Marines to follow. They move through the courtyard, past the drilling sword fighters, to a long, squat building set against the tower's side. The guards snap to attention as Alkedre shoves the door open.

"Watch your heads," she says, though the door is made for Auran statue and the battle-brothers only have to duck a few inches to pass unscathed.

Inside racks of weapons line the wall, all of them made from bone and claw and horn. Curved daggers from the talon of some beast, hard bone worked and sharpened into swords.

"You are permitted to take as much from here as you can carry. Beyond that, you must bring nothing else into the Reaving Canyons. You will only have what you bring with you, and whatever you can find within the wilds to slay diablodon.

Camael steps into the armoury and looks around, judging the primitive weaponry with a practiced eye. Made for the hands of lesser men, no doubt, but the unusual size of the Aurans lessens the difference. To his way of thinking, one primitive weapon is much like another. Striding to one of the racks, he grasps a pair of gyrblades and lifts them free. Stepping back, he hefts them carefully, gauging their balance.

"These suit me well enough."

He does not say it, but he suspects that the weapons add little to even a naked space marine's arsenal; the impact of an Astartes' unarmoured fist can strike with the force of a cannonball.

Alkedre nods approvingly at Camael's selection. As the others continue to seek out weapons, she crouches.

"Then listen well, for it's not just weapons that will kill the diablodon. You must know where to seek it, how to face it." She traces shapes in the sandy armory floor with a finger. "This is his track. Three talons forward, and a shorter one at the rear." An Astartes could fit both feet in the central pad of the track she's drawn. "He dwells in caves within the Deadlands. You must be mindful of the wind when approaching, for even over the stench of the sulfur pits he can catch your scent. If you approach from his flanks, his neck cannot turn far enough to bite you," she twists her head side to side to illustrate. "But always you must be beware his claws. They can cut through most things, but they are covered in fetid blood from dead prey, so even a glancing cut will fester. Many times a warrior has slain diablodon only to die later from septic wounds."

Brother Androcles

Androcles gave each weapon a thorough inspection for weight, craftsmanship, and useability in the hands of a space marine, including a few test swings. When he was done, he selected a fang-tipped spear as a primary weapon and a gyrblade as a backup in case the first primitive weapon broke. After that, he bent down to inspect Alkedre's drawing. He committed it to memory, even drawing another track beside the first and asking questions about the creature's weight, dimensions, and reach after her little briefing.

"Astartes constitution is equal to most infections and diseases, but caution is never unwise." he said. "You have our thanks."

"And if whatever's on this beast's claws is potent enough to affect us, we should last long enough for Artemis here to clear it up with that thing on his arm." Eldgrim said as he tested the weight of a bone sword. The Space Wolf was still getting used to seeing the bulky narthecium on the Apothecary's armour - the Wolf Priests of his own Chapter never used such devices and their tool for gene-seed recovery was not as... well... straight-forward as the reductor.

Alkedre chews her lip, thinking. "I can't say for sure about it's weight. A male, five tons at the least. Females are larger and swifter. Two of you Astartes standing with one on the other's shoulders would be about the same height as a large diablodon, and almost twice that from snout to tip of the tail. The claws reach out perhaps a meter shorter than the jaws at full stretch, but are much more nimble so they can strike as close as its belly if you get that near. It is a prodigious beast, but if I skinny girl like me can kill one, I'm sure you won't have many problems." She flashes a grin, looks at the others.

"Once you all have selected your arms and we've scrounged up some midasaur armor that might fit, you'll need a place to bunk for the night. All the same places are available, though I doubt we can find beds to fit such specimens."

Artemis bent over the rack of weapons, picking one up to feel its weight in his hands.
I fear, brother Hammerstorm that i may not be allowed to take the narthecium. Hopefully none of our party falls victim to this creatures, for i do not relish the thought of having to drag either of you back to the camp just to conduct the final rights . Artemis replied dourly to the rune priest without turning around. After some thought, the apothecary reached for an
bone sword
ivory blade, a bow and a quiver full of arrows. Artemis frowned. Bone and flint are poor substitution to metal, but he must deal with the scenario at hand.

He presented the gauntlent fist of Narthecium and Reductor to Alkedre. My lady, I assume bringing such a device would be against the customs of your people?.

Artemis awaited for her reply then asked several other questions. I assume, from your accounts of this beast, that fighting this diablodon would not be a head to head encounter. Is it customary in your culture, to chase the creature into a trap, to slay it from afar or to take down the mighty creature with speed and numbers?

Camael shrugs. The size of the beast does not concern him. That any dumb xenos animal might be the match for a squad of veteran battle-brothers is unimaginable.

"Perhaps we should stay in the Imperial Guard barracks tonight. It is a small thing, but they take heart from having us among them, even for a short while. It would do well to keep their morale high, in case we need their assistance while we are on this planet."

"Well, Brother Marr, I was suggesting it would be available once we got back here - surely to Russ we'll not all be that badly injured." Eldgrim nodded when Camael suggested the Guard barracks.

"The barracks sound like a good idea to me. No offence, ma'am, but I expect our presence there would be less disruptive for your people."




 

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