Warhammer 50k: The Second Age of Strife
For the last five thousand years, the Primarchs had striven to expand the greatest bastion that humanity had remaining. Bereft of the Throneworld, of the light of the Astronomicon, of their father’s guidance, there was only so much they could do.
Roboute felt it, and so did the rest of his brothers. He felt it from across the galaxy, when the Emperor died and Holy Terra collapsed into a sphere of unnatural light and chaos. While he was no psyker like his traitorous brother Magnus, or the late Sanguinius, he was still a Primarch, and was forged with warpcraft and genomancy. He saw how the Emperor rose up within the Warp as he was freed at last from his corpse, becoming something else entirely.
But what was he now?
The Primarch, clad in blue armor adorned with golden symbols of the old Imperium, turned as the Rogue Traders departed from the meeting room. He had called upon them to investigate the oddity that the Mechanicus found on the planet Xandrocus Prime. Many wished for the honor to be sanctioned by a Primarch, one of the late Emperor’s sons, though few of the daring explorers were still enthusiastic when he made it clear that they were going towards totally uncharted territory filled with unknown threats.
The Mechanicus Explorators were driven off by foes whose nature they had yet to know; though Guiliman wished they could send an expedition fleet instead, the Rogue Traders would have to do for now. Ultrmar needed all of its fleets and armies defending against the encroaching Necrons, Tau, the raiding parties of the Chaos Empires, the empowered Q’orl Swarmhood, and so on. Even now his brother, the Lion, is fighting the skittering Q’orl. Vulkan, in the meantime, was busy forging weapons…
“What if this artifact proves to be far more important?”
The disembodied voice spoke from behind Guiliman, a tone that had long departed from the realm of the living. A Wraithseer.
“What do your prophecies say about it, Ulthran?” Guiliman answered, tightly grasping the railing. “Actually, do you even have a prophecy for this artifact?”
The Wraith construct strode forward, emerging from the shadows. Eldrad Ulthran, the greatest of Eldar seers, refused to stop fighting for the survival of his race even as his skeleton turned into crystal and his heart ceased to beat. Craftworld Iyanden crafted for him the finest and mightiest of shells, and the half-born Ynnead’s blessing granted him the same vitality of a living Eldar.
“None, regretfully,” Eldrad shook his head. It was adorned with runes and symbols, some of which Guiliman recognized somewhat, as he had a crude grasp of the Eldar lexicon. “Our divinations have been… muddled, as of late. However, your Rogue Traders, as you call them, will be guided through the Webway, as was promised. After all, perhaps this is a strand of fate that will have to unravel when they find it, whatever it is.”
Five thousand years ago, this would have been unthinkable. Human vessels, guided by xenos through the Webway? Any radical from the past would have raged at the thought, but now, it was but a routine. Neither the Asuryani nor the humans could afford to go against each other, not when the New Devourer still stirs along with a thousand other threats.
After all, their fates were intertwined, as Eldrad said so long ago. If one falls, so would the other. And so, they make deals and pacts… for now.
The Iaculum Tyrannis. This is the name of the gloriously sculpted vessel of the Rogue Trader Silas Celeton, one of the few that had taken up the mission to take the artifact from Xandrocus Major. Formerly an aging Dauntless Class Light Cruiser, it has been retrofitted according to the wishes of its Rogue Trader.
Ion weapons and railguns, bought from the Farsight Enclaves, lined its primary gun deck. Furthermore, it held an array of lances and torpedoes, purchased from the Ymyr Conglomerate. All of its systems had been painstakingly updated for the ravages of the 51st millennium by the techpriests as well. They didn’t seem to have much problem with the xenos derived weaponry, not when their greatest member, Fabricator General Belisarius Cawl, tinkered with alien technology so much.
In front of the Iaculum Tyrannis and the rest of the Rogue Traders was an Eldar escort, the Seventh Sun. It led the way through the Webway, guiding the human vessels lest they get lost in the mind shattering tunnels. Their destination was the star fortress Immaculate Gem, which lay in the system where the Webway gate led. After that, they will have to travel the long way, through the Warp...
In theory, they could shoot now and destroy the xenos ship. However, that would mean that the Eldar would no longer guide the humans of Ultramar through the Webway, cutting them off from their furthest outpost in the Eastern Fringes, which kept watch for threats coming from Huron Blackheart’s Chaos Empire. The frontier planets in the Primarchs’ realm were barely reachable by Warp travel as it were, and if they lost this vital connection…
Silas Celeton sat in the officer’s suite, located within the bridge of the Iaculum Tyrannis. There, he waited as the servants prepared the lavish courses for today for him and his inner circle. It’s only a matter of time before they come in here…