The Fracture of Biel-Tan - Part Two
With the Yncarne back in the game, the Ynnari are able to break out of the killing fields and fall back to a more a defensible location. They hole up inside the giant Memorial Hall of Atransis, holding the choke points easily. But Yvraine has found only one of the two swords on Belial IV, and they’re effectively trapped inside the Hall. That’s when two huge structures at the back of the hall being to open up, revealing a glowing portal. Stepping out from it is a massive Wraithknight, blue and yellow heraldry emblazoned upon it. Two more Wraithknights follow, as well as a host of smaller Wraith Constructs. Leading the Wraiths is Iyanna Arienal, the Angel of Iyanden. The Iyanden Wraiths cover the Ynnari forces, as Iyanna beckons them through the portal. Whilst they’re still missing one of the crone swords, to stay is to die so the Reborn dash through to the Webway and eventually to Craftworld Iyanden. Iyanna recognises a kindred spirit of sorts in Yvraine. Iyanna believes in Ynnead, but matters of the dead are a touchy subject in Iyanden. “I’ve got your back Sis, but others might not be so friendly,” she warns Yvraine as they enter the Craftworld. There’s one other small problem facing Iyanden at the moment – it’s under attack by two Space Hulks swarming with Demons of Nurgle.
With the defense of the Craftworld in full swing, the Ynnari party are greeted with crossed arms by the Iyanden defenders who basically force them into a house arrest until they can properly deal with them. Yvraine is kinda mad about this, but she forces herself to cool down to avoid hostilities. She instead reaches out with her Pyschic powers to her old Corsair buddies from Commoragh. Hearing her call, they come to the aid of Iyanden, unleashing an unexpected and devastating salvo on one of Space Hulks, destroying it.
Prince Yriel is leading the Iyanden defence, with his Corsairs. They are fighting furiously, and with exceptional skill, but the remaining Space Hulk is proving super-resilient – it is a Nurgle Hulk after all. Yriel realises that they need to launch a strike force to destroy it from the inside, however any conventional assault would be suicide. He comes up with a bold plan. He shuttles himself and his captains over to Iyanden, and convinces the pilots of the Craftworld to follow a specific course of co-ordinates in order to dictate the movement of the enemy Space Hulk. He then takes his group of corsair captains through the portal into the Webway. Using some ancient maps of the Webway near Iyanden, and a perfect sense of timing, Yriel gathers his captains into the right spot at the right time... and activates their personal Webway Teleporters to step right into the heart of the Space Hulk. Not as cool as a Teleportarium Assault by Terminator Assault Marines, but still pretty cool none-the-less.
The inside of the space hulk is utterly infected by the filth of Nurgle, and its only the Corsair Captains air-tight armour that stops them falling dead from a single breath of toxin. Resistance is light, only the occasional Nurgling, as the Corsairs had bypassed all the defences. They make their way to the Enginarium where they find the massively bloated Demon Prince Gara’gugul’gor (“whose name can only be pronounced correctly with a throat full of phlegm”). While he has super-dextrous tentactles to attack with, he’s so fat he can barely move. But lucky for him, his prey came right for him. The Corsairs are able to dodge his attacks at first, but the fighting attracts more and more Nurgle demons and the Corsair Captains are soon hard-pressed. Yriel goes all out – the Spear of Twilight destroying everything it touches – when the Demon Prince sprays a stream of vomit at him. Yriel is able to duck out of the way – but ducks straight into one of Nurgle Prince’s tentacles. Instantly, he’s wrapped up in the tentacle and drawn in to be devoured by the Demon but he uses his ocular implant – the Eye of Twilight – to burn himself free. Close enough now to strike, he brings the Spear of Twilight down... but not on the demon. Instead he strikes into the heart of the enginarium itself. The dark energies of the Spear leach through the machinery of the Space Hulk, turning it into rust and shutting down the engines. The Space Hulk is left unable to maneouver, thus ending its threat to Iyanden. Yriel smiles momentarily in victory – until Gara’gugul’gor grabs a massive girder and smashes Yriel dead with a massive blow. The Demon Prince mops up the rest of the Corsairs, but looks around in concern. He’s gonna lose his standing with Grandfather Nurgle over his failure to destroy Iyanden, but as he looks at the corpse of Yriel he starts chuckling. Maybe there is a way to salvage this mess...
Iyanden has escaped the threat of the Nurgle forces, but at a high cost. Prince Yriel’s frozen body is found floating through space, and is retrieved with great sadness. What must Iyanden do to escape this seeming curse that haunts it’s every move? Yriel’s body is put into quarantine – the Eldar are no stranger to Nurgle’s “gifts” – and their caution is proved prudent when Yriels body explodes into contagion when examined by some Wraith constructs. Yvraine, since freed from the house arrest and given thanks for calling in the Corsair aid, hears of this and makes her way to the quarantine area. Holding her Crone Sword high, she channels the necromantic powers granted to her by Ynnead into waves of lethal energy that kill off all the spores of Nurgle released into the chamber. She then enters the chamber, and grabs the Spear of Twilight. Iyanna waves off the Wraiths that try to stop her, Yvraine gives Iyanna a curtsey (IS THIS A NEW ‘SHIP?!?!) and plunges the Spear into Yriel’s chest. Yriel bolts upgright, the life energies the Spear had stolen from him over the years returned, as the Spear itself transforms shape and reveals its true form – the 4th Crone Sword. Prince Yriel had been Reborn.
A council is convened of the assembled Eldar forces. “We must act now, to change the fate of the galaxy,” Eldrad says. “But the Great Enemy is ascendant. We cannot prevail alone”.
“Who can help us?” asks Sylandri Veilwaker. “The Tau are still too young, the Orks too unpredictable and the Tyranids out of the question. Humans are too easily corrupted – they are making the same mistakes we did, that led to our Fall.”
“They have faith,” says another Farseer, “and with Faith they have power”.
“The time of their corpse-god is over,” says Wraithknight Soulseeker. Yvraine, with Iyanna at her side, speaks up then. “No, they must have a new leader,” she says. “If we can raise a new hero that reminds them of the glory of their past, they will follow him just as we cling to our myths.”
“She is right,” says Eldrad, “and I have already forseen of a leader the Humans will follow like sheep. We must go to the moon of Klasius and meet our shared destiny”.
“We shall give the humans a demi-god,” says Yriel, his chill voice sounding as if it comes from the grave, “A king reborn, with a deathly blade. And the hosts of Iyanden shall go with us.”
A brief interlude to catch up on Commoragh before we get to the last part of the narrative – the demonic invasion of Dark City has wrecked havoc. With Vect abandoning the city, there is no co-ordinated response and many rival Dark Eldar end up fighting each other as much as the demon invaders. Amongst the unchecked violence spilling through the streets, Kheradruakh completes a kill and claims his last perfect skull he needs. Conducting a ritual amongst the gaze of a thousand skulls in his lair, he opens a gateway to the midnight dimension of the Mandrakes. Overnight, his lair becomes the new kingdom of the Decapitator, long-lost monarch of the Mandrakes. His shadow army combines its strength with the hordes of the Haemonculi covens and the Demonic incursion begins to lose momentum in the face of this adversary. Vect, who’s retreated to consolidate power in outlying outposts, is facing alot of pressure from his own court over the nature of the invasion. Lady Malys in particular is doing everything she can to undermine his power. Vect is sparing no expense to try and find Yvraine, who started all this madness in the first place, in order to claim back his authority. Rakarth on the other hand is simultaneously horrified and intrigued by the prospect of Ynnead. A duel edged sword of immortality that can also mean inescapable death...
Back aboard Iyanden, preparations to depart for Klasius are in full swing. Entire ghost halls are brought to full wake as the dead Eldar souls rejoice at the chance to change the future of their race. These newly Reborn Wraiths show far more awareness and responsiveness to the world around them, as if the awakening power of Ynnead is giving them new powers. Some of the Iyandeni are concerned that the craftworld’s defences will be crippled with the majority of its forces leaving, but the Wraiths won’t listen. They want to fight for Yvraine and Ynnead. They are Reborn. They set out into the Webway for the long journey to Klasius, in the Cadian System.
The Webway is a dangerous place in of itself, not to mention the forces that lurk inside it. Ahriman Ahzek has heard of this new awakening of Ynnead, a god that can reverse the effects of life and death. This is of great interest to Ahriman, and his millennia long search for a way to reverse the effects of his Rubric. The presence of Baleful Eyes go unnoticed as they watch the Ynnari host venture through the Webway...
Ahirman springs his ambush. Scarab Occult terminators rip combi-bolter, rotary cannon and hellfyre rockets into the Ynnari from crystal bridge, while return fire bounces harmlessly off their armour. Wraiths charges in, devastating the ranks of Terminators before the bridge collapse and sends them all tumbling into the void. On another flank, Pink Horrors and Lords of Change are dousing the Ynnari forces with mutagenic fire. Where ever the flames touch, insanity is left behind. Howling Banshees suddenly de-age, left as infants looking at their swords in fascination. Swooping Hawks transform into a scintillating rain of scaled serpents. Dire Avengers find their shuriken projectiles reversing course back into them as a swarm of starving piranhas. The Horrors are laughing with unchecked glee. But then the Phoenix Lords arrive, led not by Asurmen but by Jain Zar. She has taken Ynnead into herself, and been Reborn. Jain Zar, Baharroth, Fuegan, Asurmen, Maugan Ra and Karandras sweep through the Tzeentch Demons, completely outclassing them and send them packing.
In another part of the battle, the sorcerers of the Thousand Sons are laying waste to the Eldar and its only the presence of Eldrad that holds them in check. Kysaduras meets his end at the psychic power of Ahriman, turned into a crude wooden statue stuck eternally in a cry of anguish. The Harlequins manage to push into Ahriman’s forces, but Ahriman points his staff and turns them into dust. Yvraine, the Visarch and the Yncarne rush in, but Ahriman lifts his hands and suddenly the Eldar Triumvirate find themselves adrift - on the outside of the webway! Yvraine can feel eyes on her back and knows that if she turns she will meet the gaze of the Changer of Ways and learn the meaning of madness. The Visarch and the Yncarne are desperately trying to cut through the wall of the webway, to no avail. Yvraine looks down through the wall of the webway instead and sees Ahriman. A sudden flash of insight strikes her and she shouts out, “Ahriman! I have the power you seek! I can restore your brothers!”.
“Why should I believe you?” he replies. Yvraine reaches out with her power, and focuses on the Rubric Marines that accompany Ahriman and ‘reverses the cycle of their existence’. The marines of the XVth Legion suddenly stagger backwards, before rallying around Ahriman with the discipline of the Legiones Astartes. “Ahzek, is that you brother?” they call out, “What in the name of Magnus is going on? Why are we fighting Eldar?” Ahriman is stunned, shaking uncontrollably with emotion. He reaches out and pulls the Eldar Triumvirate back into the Webway. “Now!” Yvraine signals to her companions, as a Wraithknight smashes a hole in the webway and the Yncarne sucks all the newly resurrected Legionaries out into the void. Ahriman screams in denial, chasing off after them on his disc. “The Whispering God gives new life,” Yvraine says watching the Thousand Son forces get overrun, “Just as he takes life away”.
The Thousand Sons are mopped up, but fighting has taken a heavy toll on the Ynnari. Fully a half of their force has been lost, but the Eldar that died have their spirit stones secured. They will live on amongst the surviving Ynnari. The Yncarne and the Phoenix Lords have disappeared though, no sign of them save for a tunnel packed full of discorporating demons. The Ynnari press on, guided by the Harlequins following the laughter of Cegorach. The Laughing God had been impressed by Yvraine’s gambit against Ahriman, and was lending his aide. He’s taken up by the idea of a brother awakening. Khaine is a bit of a bore after all. Some of the Ynnari even begin talking of a small pantheon again – Khaine, Ynnead and Cegorach. Some even muse on an equivalent female trinity – perhaps Iyanna Arienal as the maiden, Yvraine as the mother and Lady Hesperax as the crone? Hmmm...
The reach their destination, the portal gate to Klasius, where a contingent of Imperial unknowingly approach their destiny. Meeting the Ynarri there first though are a contingent of Wyches from the Cult of Strife. Lelith Hesperax has heard from her Harlequin contacts of the Ynnari’s quest, and she’s sent help. If her Wyches report back that the Ynarri are the real deal, then Lelith too will join the ranks of the Reborn. Yvraine is pretty sure Lelith’s motives mainly selfish – immortality and all that – but welcomes them with open arms anyway. Yvraine opens the portal to the ice moon, and they step through... right into the last stand of Saint Celestine, Belisarius Cawl, Inquistor Greyfax and their allies against the dread Black Legion. The surprise arrival of the Ynnari is too much for Abaddon and he’s forced to retreat. The Imperial and the Eldar retreat to safety as well, and a tense stand-off occurs. The Imperials are nervously fingering their weapons as Celestine walks forward. Autarch Melinel of Biel-Tan steps forward as well. Greyfax’s hand goes for her power sword, the Visarch mirroring her and suddenly boltguns and arc rifles and shurikens are drawn and pointed. Melinel knows the humans distrust the Farseers as manipulators and liars, and they view the Dark Eldar as evil incarnate. But perhaps they’ll listen to a Warrior like himself. He entreats them to listen to his words, and bows before Celestine. A moment passes before Celestine strides forward, very deliberately sheathing the Ardent Blade. The air is still tense, but guns are lowered slightly as Greyfax steps forward into the negotiations. The Black Templars look amongst each other, almost daring another to be the first to step forward into action. But the parley holds.
The Eldar offer an alliance against the Ruinous Powers. Celestine has an idea of where they need to go, and how important it is that they deliver the cargo that Cawl is carrying. The Eldar are the only ones that can get them there, through the Webway. Greyfax is less trusting – they are still lying, manipulative Eldar after all! – but even she agrees that they can always kill them later if necessary, after the mission is completed. Marshal Almaric eventually gets onboard, though he’s still vigilant for the slightest sign of trickery from the Eldar, and orders his Battle Brothers to stand down. History is made as the Eldar and Humans come ‘as close to an understanding as their races had ever attained’. So the two forces – Imperial and Eldar – join as one, and begin the next stage of the journey.
Their Destination? The Realm of Ultramar. Macragge.