Tallarn 89th campaign fluff

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Tallarn 89th campaign fluff

Postby NobleSavage » Thu May 31, 2012 10:00 pm

The last of the Valkyrie lifters disappeared over the horizon. The aircraft were carrying the recon elements north, where they were tasked with locating the xenos threat and drawing elements of his force away from the main body. Ibn Al’Rahem was supposed to be leading them. But instead…

Al’Rahem sighed and turned his face to the sun. It was high summer on Shindelgeist secundus, and the northern hemisphere broiled for days between regular, drenching cloud bursts. The heat was different than what he remembered on Tallarn—the humidity on secundus could be oppressive--but it was welcome nonetheless. He tried to let the sun bake the irritation and disappointment out through his pores. The small honor guard Al’Rahem had quickly scraped together stood at attention and quietly bore the heat.

He had barely begun to sweat when the peculiar-looking Aquila touched down in front of them. The normally compact lander’s fuselage had been lengthened, and fitted with what looked like a pre-fab cargo or hab module. It had also clearly been up-engined. The lander was lavishly adorned with the Emperor’s Eagle of Unity, but it bore no unit markings or personal heraldry. Certainly none of the expected Inquisitorial rosettes were visible.

The Aquila’s passenger ramp lowered with a faint hydraulic sighing, and two stormtroopers pounded shoulder-to-shoulder down the ramp, turning smartly to the left and right to take up positions at the ramp’s foot. Next, something that looked like an electroplated human skull floated down from the lander, hovering above the ground at approximately head-height. With a slight hum, it dropped to where it could see beneath the lander’s belly and spun 360 degrees. Then an augmetic device inhabiting one of the skull’s eye sockets projected a hair-thin ribbon of ruby light that played over Al’Rahem and his men. To their credit, his men, who came from superstitious nomadic stock, shifted uncomfortably but did nothing more.

The flying skull, apparently some sort of security device, shut down the eye beam and backed off to hover at the shoulder of one of the motionless, silent stormtroopers. Finally, another set of footsteps descended the ramp. And now we learn if the dates are sweet, or if we have just been poisoned, Al’Rahem thought. The Emperor’s servant—whose arrival required an officer’s welcome in most cultures and certainly by Imperial custom—set foot on Shindelgheist secundus and looked around. An aging man, beginning to thicken about the middle but still hale, allowed himself a few seconds to take in the scenery and take a deep breath of air. He shrugged off a ballistic cloth-lined cape, revealing battered carapace armor. The man picked out Al’Rahem as the obvious ranking officer, and he strode forward.

The armored man approached Al’Rahem and stopped exactly three steps away. This distance was symbolic in Tallarn culture. It was just inside the reach of an average man armed with a koumaya, indicating trust, yet leaving enough space to draw one’s own weapon and mount a defense, which indicated a healthy respect for the other’s ability with a blade. The man raised his left hand and touched two fingertips to his forehead, then placed the open hand over his heart. Before the hand obscured it, Al’Rahem spied a subtle Inquisitorial rosette engraved into the man’s breast plate.

[i]“I come to you bearing His words, and in His name I ask for your hospitality and protection,â€
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