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Apostles of Contagion


Imperial Army






The 49th Algathonian Regiment





Skirmish Summary
I-ARMY-0377 fought
Combatants Won Lost Draw



The former General Darius Von Corwin studied his lopsided form in the mirror. It had been a long time since he had donned his uniform. He hoped that wearing it to today's meeting would make him seem to be in a stronger position than he actually was, and that it would remind the others of his former military prowess.

Von Corwin was a large man, as were all men from his homeworld. His lopsided nature came from the fact that he was missing his left arm from the shoulder down. A Malfellarg warrior had taken it off forty-seven years ago with its great shrieking glaive during the last of the fighting on the planet that he now stood upon. The neurotoxins that wept from the weapon had damaged the tissue and nerves of his shoulder to the extent that grafting a new arm or augmetic replacement to his body was impossible. The event ended his life as a military officer, but it marked the beginning of his new political career. His former command had passed to his Colonel and friend General Debasie, and Von Corwin himself had been named Planetary Governor of the now cleansed world of Volagro VI. The Iron Warriors and their 125th Expeditionary Fleet had moved on, and left him behind to make Volagro a productive Imperial World and to fortify it in the name of the Emperor.

Thinking about all of this made the pain in his shoulder crescendo, and he winced as he reached up to massage it. His personal aide, who had been standing behind him and carrying his weapon belt, stepped forward to help. Governer Von Corwin warned him away with a withering glance. Darius despised weakness, and mentally chided himself for letting the legendary toughness bred into all the peoples of his homeworld of Algathonia be overcome. With a curse he suppressed all thoughts of his pain and stood straighter, taking the proffered weapons from his aide and fastening the belt around his waist. The constant pain in his shoulder slowly ebbed to a manageable level as he returned to the mirror to straighten his belt.

He had decided to take on a more military bearing for this meeting, which was his most recent with the Warmaster's delegation. The talks had broken down last week over demands from the delegation to join with the Warmaster and take part in his new war against the empire he had so recently been fighting for. Darius had been determined to stay neutral in the conflict, but the majority of the Council of Seven opposed him at every turn, urging him ceaselessly to side with Horus. The delegation expected, or rather demanded, that he begin a tithe of troops for the Warmaster's armies.

Governor Von Corwin was in an extremely difficult position. A hitherto unknown and seemingly incurable disease had been running rampant across his world for a little over three years. This had been compounded by a recent food shortage and the resultant famine, along with unusual and bizarre weather conditions. These events had decimated the population of his world and had crippled its workforce. The dilapidation in infrastructure this was causing was more and more apparent by the day. Houses sat vacant, along with rusting cars on the side of the road. The strange weather patterns had brought with them higher than normal temperatures, and daily rains that seemed to break down everything man-made at an unnatural rate. His world needed relief from these conditions, and the Delegation had promised that they could provide that relief. The Council of Seven had jumped at this opportunity to solve their problems, but Darius, always careful to put his trust in any outside political faction, had vetoed them.

The veto could only last so long. On matters of planetary importance, both the majority of the Council and the Planetary Governor had to reach consensus before a final decision could be enacted. Darius could only stall them so long before they rallied the people to their cause and tried to overthrow him. Could they not see that the delegation's terms were steeped in the cost of doubling the size of their last tithe of soldiers and war materials, along with turning their backs on the Imperium they had sworn loyalty to? The tithe alone would rob them even more of the manpower they were already short on. How would that provide relief? Darius also doubted they could do anything about the viral outbreak ravaging his world in the first place. Had he not exhausted every resource of his new homeworld already, looking for a cure? He had even called for aid from the surrounding systems, and their medical institutions had been as baffled by the disease as his own. They acted as if he didn't understand the plight of his own world's people. But Governor Von Corwin understood it better than any of them ever possibly could.

The disease had already claimed the life of his wife and oldest child.

This recent tragedy had nearly broken him. When his daughter and pregnant wife had first shown signs of the disease, he felt as if he had lost all hope. But when his sick wife, who was barely still alive, gave birth to their perfectly healthy second son, he saw it as a miracle. This had reinvigorated his hope and made him strong again. He had vowed then that the disease that claimed his wife and daughter would not claim his son, and pushed the rest of the resources at his disposal to find a cure. He had sealed off his son in a secure wing of the palace under quarantine protocols to protect him. His son would never suffer the tragic fate of his mother and sister.

Did the idiotic Council of Seven really expect him to believe that the Warmaster's delegation would simply walk in and cure the disease as if by magic, when he had already spent three years and the wealth of an entire planet to find the same cure to no avail? No. He would fight for his people and his son's future, and would bargain for better terms. A slight smirk crossed his face as he thought of this. He had received a letter last week from one of his agents. It was word that the Imperium had finally responded to his calls for aid, and were sending their own delegation shortly. If he could just hold out until they arrived, he might be able to play one side against the other, perhaps put him and the remnants of his population in a better position t-

A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. He turned as it swung open to reveal a government page who was escorted by one of Darius's elite personal guards. The guard belonged to a ten-man unit that was formally designated the "Morgath Kuth," an old Algathonian title that translated to "Mailed Gauntlet." The Morgath Kuth were the best fighting men left on the world of Volagro VI, the formation itself representing the last remnants of the armies of his homeworld. They were heavily genetically altered, and were huge even by Algathonian standards. Each was protected by heavily reinforced carapace armor, and each carried a heavy automatic shotgun. The page looked like a small child standing beside a giant. The difference in size was almost comical.

"The delegation has arrived," he said nervously. "They are awaiting you in the stateroom, my Lord."

  • * * * * * *

The meeting was not going well. The Delegation had not only held firm to their initial request that Darius offer his full material support; they now stated that, because Volagro VI had delayed in joining the Warmaster's cause initially, the tithe he was expected to provide had to be increased even further to make up for lost time. This had led to raised voices and heightened tensions. At one point an outraged Councilman of the Seven, eager to appease the Warmaster's delegates, had tried to physically attack Darius but was quickly grabbed and restrained by Valencius, the head of the Morgath Kuth. Darius was beginning to notice that for all of the talk about needing Volagro VI to side with the Warmaster in a hurry, the delegation seemed perfectly calm and unbothered by his persistent opposition. They were almost unnaturally calm. He would have to reach consensus with the Council for them to get their way, and they seemed totally untroubled by the fact that, for all the Council's cries and demands to the contrary, Darius wouldn't budge.

He noticed one of the Delegation members distractedly staring off into space and muttering to himself, almost as if bargaining for the price of an entire planet was boring him. It was a man he had noticed at former delegations for his strange appearance and demeanor - he wore a tattered green robe, with the hood perpetually drawn up to conceal the details of his face behind a mask of shadow. Darius had remarked to the rest of the delegation and Council in their first meeting about how odd the man was, that he found it disrespectful that this delegate would dare come to formal meetings of state dressed like a beggar, hiding his face from view. The rest of the Delegation had simply said that it was the custom of his homeworld, and had moved on to other business. This had always given Darius an uneasy feeling. He had only gotten glimpses of the man's face under his hood, and he appeared to have unhealthy looking skin and overly black eyes, like his pupils were always fully dilated. Where did they say he was from again? Denan? Dainen? Davnin?

After yet another fruitless meeting, Darius retired to bed and lay without sleeping. After his heated arguments with the council, and especially after they began to threaten him, he had posted half of the Morgath Kuth outside his bedroom. The other half would be asleep in their personal barracks under the Governmental Palace. He wondered if they lay awake thinking about the future of their world slipping away, as he did nearly every night. And as he thought this, he heard a sudden commotion in the hall.

Darius sprang from bed and grabbed his pistol. He swung open the door to his room and immediately heard a young woman yelling from the end of the hall. It sounded like his son's nursemaid, Aliza. What could she possibly be screaming about at this hour? He felt a lump in his throat and rushed toward the sound of her wailing.

When he arrived, he found Aliza being blocked by his guards in the hall. He shouted for his men to stand down, and the distraught girl immediately rushed down the corridor toward him and collapsed at his feet, sobbing. She just kept repeating the words, "I'm so sorry, my Lord. I'm so sorry, my Lord. I’m so sorry…"

Darius bolted straight to his son's room with the Morgath Kuth in tow. One of them half-dragged Aliza with him as they hurtled through the palace. She was screaming something hysterically, a half-sobbed and half-choked story about his son under her care. Upon reaching the door, he hurried inside, ran to his son's bed, and picked him up from his crib. In his rush he had neglected to turn the lights on - but it didn't matter. He knew right away that what the woman had confessed to was true.

His son was limp and cold in his arms. He had been dead for at least a week. The smell was terrible, but Darius couldn't bring himself to let his son go. The nursemaid had hidden the fact that the boy was sick for fear of what Darius would do. Even when he had died she had stayed silent, until she couldn't stand to visit the small corpse any longer.

It was at that exact moment that Darius felt something inside him snap.

He felt as if his very soul had been crushed. All hope fled him in a single moment, and the mental fortifications he had built up these last few years to hold back his despair crumbled, and it all came flooding in. With shaking hands he gently lowered the rotting corpse of his only son back into his crib. He turned and walked into the hall where the Morgath Kuth awaited his next order.

"Valencius," he said quietly, "Go and find the Warmaster's delegation. Tell them I will accept their aid at any cost. Tell them they can have anything they want. We will join with the Warmaster..."

  • * * * * * *

Upon the silent world of Volagro VI, the green-robed priest stands alone outside the rotting doors with a rusted mask in his hands. He stands at the center of a giant three-armed spiral, each arm created out of emaciated corpses lying head to foot. Each of the arms is hundreds of miles long, for the great figure contains the entire population of a ravaged world. Each corpse lays in the same state it was in at the time of its death. Each appears to have been starved to death and then frozen by time, never to decompose. The priest started this ritual seventy-seven days, seven hours, and seven minutes ago. In that time the world itself seems to have aged 777 years. Buildings have crumbled and machines have turned to rusted hulks. Even in the sealed weapons vaults where the war materials of the world once sat, the decay has steadily crept in. The tanks and war machines of Volagro VI lay rusting, as silent as her people.

A loud thump comes from the other side of the door. Seven seconds pass, then another thump - and this time every corpse in the spiral takes a breath as the sound rings out. Another thump, then another, then another, each time the corpses taking in a breath of air. The sounds speed up like an irregular heartbeat, getting faster and faster. Thump! Thump! Thump! Thump! The sounds are racing now. The corpses begin to sound as if they are hyperventilating. One final THUMP! - louder than the rest, and the rotting doors blow apart in a shower of splinters. The corpses jolt upright in unison…and begin to scream. Their jaws lock fully open, and their shriveled, dry lungs seem to never empty. They turn as one to face the door, screaming the scream that will never end. They look upon the figure in the doorway and their eyes start weeping puss.

A huge, bloated figure slowly emerges, followed by ten even larger figures. The eyes of the screaming dead-that-are-not-dead follow the first figure on its path as it strides forth. The First stops seven footsteps away from the green-robed priest. The ten larger figures come to a stop in two rows behind it. The First is much changed from its time behind the doors. Its form is taller and wider. It has become overly fleshy, and its pallid skin is covered with blisters and sores. Its one arm is massively muscled, and ends in a meaty fist. Where its other arm should be is a pulsating nest of tentacles surrounding a fanged maw. The tentacles twitch and spasm as if the body they are attached to is learning how to use them for the first time.

Floating in the air behind the First is a much smaller figure. Its slack face drools as it giggles like a small child. Bone wings that spring from its back flap in the stale air. It strains at the umbilical that runs from its spine and connects it to the spine of the First for a few seconds before it settles into a steady hover over the First's shoulder. Amid the screaming of the corpses the First silently kneels. The priest slowly approaches and places the rusty mask on its face. As the mask settles into place, the priest speaks his first words in seventy-seven days through cracked, dry lips:

"You are now ready to serve the great powers and the Warmaster."

The First slowly rises and says, in his deep, rumbling voice, "Perhaps. I am ready, but I must first reach consensus with the Council of Seven." At these words seven living wounds, each a tainted spawn of raw, writhing Chaos, pour through the doorway. They lend their howls of unending torment to the screams of the myriad corpses. The First adds his burbling laughter to the cacophony.

Combat Reports for I-ARMY-0377


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