Drake Mallear lies dead. Killed in the tunnels beneath a desolate mountain range upon ‘Perdition I’. This system had yet to be given a name and this planet – in fact the second largest in the system – was discovered first.
The body of the Acolyte lies in shredded gore, now carried aloft by the hands of wary Guardsmen upon a medical stretcher beneath a tarpaulin stencilled with the aquila he fraught to uphold so dearly. It and was carried back to the waiting Valkyries for return to spearhead base then prepared for burial with what scant honours can be given in a forward position at a time of war.
The search for the missing Lord Admiral Attellus Recht continues, his abandoned drop pod from the stricken flagship Salvation has been discovered upon the high slopes of a desolate mountain range East of the drop zone upon the dusty wastes below.
For now the Acolytes mourn their loss yet also give thanks for the blessing bestowed by the Undying Throne that with Strang’s final round to the skull of the leading beast, it’s pack of lesser fiends returned to the void from whence they emerged. Their thoughts dwell on the fact that Drake Mallear, their companion upon many adventures and a decorated Acolyte of the Holy Inquisition lies dead, his battle with the rogue Sorcerer Marius that had brought him to such heights has finally ended.
Now the thirst for vengeance builds in the hearts of the surviving members of Codename: CEPHRAS as they prepare to say farewell to their gifted yet strange ally.
Upon the red dust of the plains, amongst the sweeping lines of the gargantuan makeshift flak-board encampment and countless rows of hastily constructed billet-tents they lead the funeral procession toward a field-shrine to prepare their colleague’s corpse for it’s final journey.
The sky spits a hot rain. Red with dust and laden with the clouds of ash kicked up by the passing of small ships, the sky cries red tears. Bloody rain falls upon the figures that track through the softening mire with their grim cargo.
An outcropping of stone has become a shrine to Holy Terra. It’s vicinity now bedecked with the trappings of worship. Missionary apprentices busy themselves with the matter at hand, burning incense in huge steel censers and lighting the fallen’s path with holy fire. Beneath the boiling storm clouds the funeral’s route is lit in defiance of the downpour by great ornate casks of scented flame. Along the final steps Guardsmen are led in songs of devotion by ragged Preachers screaming the Litany Of The Martyr as the rain hits their faces like blood from a wound. A rumble of male voices bark the furious urgency of the Imperial Creed as the squelching boots of the party reach the foot of the stone escarpment.
The Guard pall bearers set down their burden before the stone and a robed Ministorum Priest alights the crest of the shrine. The sky a knotted storm behind him…