Far away from the Plazith Rim, the turf of the the Delpha Coalition of Planets where the Delphans enjoy a home advantage against the Empire, a different story plays out for her colonies in the Cyrandia cluster, one of loss and futility. Once a prosperous source of colonial pride for the coalition, few colonies now remain in the Cyrannus galaxy. Cut off, outflanked, outnumbered and outgunned by the dual genius of Admiral Rh'vaurek and the Butcher of Hosniaal, all the colonists can do is fight to the death for every bit of space. But in this darkest of hours there are whispers of a legend. A Luminary. A being sporting wings of flame. One who leads not a path to victory, but to release...
Final push Edit
As the Absolution jumped safely out of hyperspace above the planet Yotera, Irenwen knew that she was orchestrating the campaign of her life. After the Maelstrom mysteriously collapsed, hyperdrive travel was unhindered in the foreign sector. Rh'vaurek warned her of suspected trickery, but nothing came of it. Expunging the DCP from Cyrannus had been costly as expected, that's why she - the Butcher of Hosniaal (she liked the epithet) - was deemed suitable for the job. The brutality of the Delphans must be met in kind. Now only a dozen inner systems remained a few fortress worlds and habitats.
The Yotera colonists would pay for the pain suffered on her fleet through hyperspace by Breaching Antimetric Missiles (BAMs) and hyperspace mines. The intersystem defences had been easier to deal with, turbolaser fire at long-range made short work of assorted mines, ranging from torpedo spheres with replicated salvos, and neutron effusion weapons. Irenwen used the Absolution's tractor beams to throw a few remaining mines at the planetary shield of Yotera. Irenwen, cold as steel, watched as the surface was blasted with gamma rays from the decaying neutrons.
"Admiral, the shield has fallen. Permission to bombard populated infrastructure?", asked First Officer Nekten.
Irenwen noticed Nekten pause as he considered the augmented visual in disbelief. "What is wrong? Need your hearing checked?" asked Irenwen in sarcastic tone.
"The population just vanished before my eyes. Look!" exclaimed Nekten. Images transferred to Irenwen's sensorium displayed a recording of the colonists walk out of their shelters and stare at the sky as the atmosphere was irradiated with the brilliance of a thousand suns.
"Looks like the Delphans killed themselves before the might of the Basileus.", said Irenwen.
"But admiral, where are the remains?".
Suspecting holographic trickery, Irenwen called for a search of the planet's major settlements.
Nekten stepped out of his shuttle on the surface of Yotera. The air was rank with ozone formed from the aftermath of ionising radiation. The once shapeshifting city was already crumbling to dust as he approached, as if destroying itself before his very presence. But none of this mattered for him as the colony had nothing of material value. His stormtroopers had to work quickly to find clues. This was indeed a rare sight Nekten thought, for few had bested the DCP in their own territory and lived to walk amongst the ruins. This assured him that the Basileus would one day be the true heirs to order, under Tyrómairon's guidance of course. Nekten ordered his stormtroopers to proceed to the central plaza, where the residents had gathered. Most of the buildings were collapsing, smartblocks losing cohesion and turning to dust, leaving a flat marbled surface covered in tall piles. The stormtroopers conducted a thorough search of hyperspatial transit technology, or cloaking devices. Kicking some dust around the base of what once a large tower, Nekten wondered if the colonists were simply projections of this smart building material. Whatever the case he thought, it is not typical of the DCP to flee.
He received a message from stormtroopers around the corner, Nekten quickly followed. There was a cluster of large effigies in the shape of a Grimbolsaurian, which stood out as it had been made from local materials in a rush. Fabrics and wood mainly, by appearance. The Grimbolsaurian had large wings painted in violet. One had writing, in Klekkian cuneiform.
"Get your translator on that", Nekten ordered.
"It simply just says 'Luminary, bear us the Light'. Sir, some kind of deity?"
Back on-board the Absolution, Nekten presented his findings to Admiral Irenwen. "The DCP are secular, this behaviour has never been recorded in imperial files."
"Looks like my campaign scared them into prayer." joked Irenwen wryly.
Irenwen returned to seriousness. We cannot rule out that the Delphans abandoned the system and what we observed was a projection of smartdust. We should leave ASAP encase they have a plan to encircle us."
Deep down both knew this explanation was unsatisfactory, but the mission had to go on.
Stroll in the park Edit
Emperor Lunarai had summoned his Warlords and kin to walk in the gardens of Mirenton's Crown to debate the matter of defending the Cyrannian colonies. His father Idol Wormulus, and Warlords Titanozor and Kilnok as well as some Marshalls were present at the great palace, large enough to crown the homeworld from orbit.
"Greetings my father, Idol for us all, and to my courageous brethren. It grievens me Warlord Jazzaroth cannot be with us to share in the victory he secured for us at Farochel. We now hold the Plazithian side of the Farochel wormhole and I have called for the fortification of the system. The Empire will be the doing the same on their end."
"Have we reestablished subspace communications with the Ramik sector?" asked Wormulus. The DCP had been able to contact the colonies of Cyrannus for a short while before the Empire interfered with the communication channels.
"Fragments" replied Kilnok, "What we have been able to ascertain is that the Maelstrom defences have since collapsed. Imperial ships have free reign throughout the sector, our forces are spread thin."
"Then what are WE WAITING FOR?" Titanozor was enraged, his voice disturbing nesting Rola bugs into flight from the blue trees around them. "I cannot sit back and let Bo Ramik's LEGACY be DESECRATED. I will send my personal fleet and SHOW them what strength looks like!".
"You will be wrecked before you get within a click through the wormhole by Imperial defences." replied Lunarai matter-of-factly.
"Since when have we been afraid to fight with odds against us? We throw lives until we win. It's what we would do in our father's reign!" demanded Titanozor.
"It was the reign of the Undying Council, which lead us to chaos. I was weak, but I have faith in my son." pointed out Wormulus.
Kilnok interjected "The colonists are fighting to the death in the name of the Coalition, and for Emperor Lunarai and Warlord Bo Ramik, be rest assured of this. Every system taken is costing the Empire."
Lunarai's walk started to stagger, forcing him and everyone to stop. "For now, we must *breathes* protect our *breathes harder*, um a-ass-ets. The... The colonists will be *breathes* avenged.". Lunarai's speech was starting to muddle, before pausing to stare at the ground, lost in thought. Lunarai had a lifelong unknown affliction that diminished his mental focus. In the Vermulan wars, Lunarai suffered a breakdown when forced to collaborate with the rebel Warlord Eclipsos, before Lunarai discovered he was the clone brother intended to replace. Titanozor who was still frustrated turned away from Lunarai's apoplexy while Kilnok and Wormulus waited patiently.
"Pardon me, father. As I was saying. It is the decree of my reign that we must fight for good of all the galaxy now. The colonies are the sacrifice, our people there will gladly die for Delpha. Sending extra forces to their deaths contribute nothing."
"So be it, Emperor, my son. But I must ask of what has been troubling you?" Wormulus ushered the Marshals and admirals to leave.
Not one to hide their true feelings, Lunarai explained "Since the Farochel came into our possession, I have been experiencing dreams of standing before a wrecked city, thunderclouds ahead. I look to the sky and behold shadows of winged herald; wings beating away the clouds, revealing rays of violet, indigo and gold through each stroke, faster and faster into a blur. The sublime vision gives way to a sense of familiarity. I saw the herald flash before my mind's eye again, when Titanozor spoke."
At this point Titanozor had returned to the circle, staring in wonder and amazement. Wormulus nodded, "It seems we have all had the same dreams. What of you, Kilnok?", Kilnok shrugged "Nothing. I don't dream much.", "Then the pattern is just me and my bloodline. Interesting, this must be investigated, and it has to be me alone. I will go to the Ramik sector, where this started."
"I must protest. Let me go with you, ensure your safety. I have had these visions too! It is JUST as MUCH my right!" piped up Titanozor.
Wormulus continued, "Titanozor, you have no more right than the rest of us. Take a lesson of strategic thinking from Lunarai's book. Your prowess is far more useful in Plazith. Lunarai, you are too valuable as a leader to go. Kilnok, you see eye-to-eye and must cover for the health of our Emperor."
"But how, the wormhole is impassable?" asked Lunarai.