Watching the Captain sink back into pensive brooding, Mari sighs again before reaching out to briefly dunk her superior officer. As Fanilly comes up sputtering, the Naga boops her on the nose. "You were doing it again. Keep worrying like that and you will make yourself sick with stress. So either let it go, or speak what is on your mind. I would be happy to offer any advice that I can, and I am sure all the other senior knights would as well, but none of us can do anything if you just silently stew in your own self doubt." Mari finishes, leaning back in the bath. "So, what is eating away at you?" She asks, prompting.
With an amused sigh, Mari shifts slightly, bracing herself against the rim of the bath, her lower half moving to separate the cat-like vampire from their rather overwhelmed Captain. "You know, if a drink is what you needed, the polite thing to do is ask." The naga dryly directs at Tyaethe, as she deposits the older knight across from Fanilly. Waving her hand, Mari casually dismisses the young Captain's sputtering. "Stop worrying so much about it all. No one is perfect, and accept that you will make mistakes, but dedicate yourself to learning from them." After laying there in the bath for a moment, the Naga blinks, and shakes her head in amusement at herself. "That was far more succinct. It appears your little interlude was helpful Tyaethe." She says, giving a nod as an apology of sorts.
"Hey! The Zerg showed up after we did." Amanda quips back with exaggerated indignation as she returns the hug before stepping back to arms length. "I'd give you a kiss, but I'm well aware that I smell like absolute shit right now." Trailing off, the empath's expression turns sober. "This place has been an almost constant battlefield for the past two weeks. Even with my nanites and the combat stims, I've barely been able to keep pace. I..." She trails off as Terrance approaches, a bit of her lopsided smile returning.
"...I'm just glad we managed to keep our casualties to a minimum." Amanda finishes, lightly ribbing her brother with her elbow. "I do believe we can thank Uncle Stef for saving our bacon once again for the umpteenth time." With a deep breath, Amanda takes a moment to stretch before looking at a readout on her suit's arm. "Well, a proper catching up can wait. I've got just over three hours left on my current stim drip, and I see no reason to wait around while the Swarm properly reorganizes itself. With your added firepower and Uncle Stef's multiple lifetimes worth of combat knowledge, we can clean up this mess, flatten their hive and then maybe, just maybe, get some fucking sleep."
"...Died?" Mari says, finishing the young captain's sentence as she watches Tyaethe's antics with passive amusement. "...How you performed?..." The Naga murmurs, thinking aloud as she takes a moment to ponder the question; more or less ignoring the vampire's shenanigans with a slight shake of her head. "Well... For an un-blooded, I assume you don't hunt, teenager who's only experience has probably been sparring practice and classroom lessons... you did just fine. None of us knights are expecting you to be a master swordswoman, expert strategist and charismatic leader; not right away that is. That kind of skill set takes time and experience to build. Don't stress yourself about it. And finally, ask for help if you need it. None of us want you to fail." Mari finishes, resting her hands behind her head with a stretch and a yawn.
Pausing for a moment to take it all in, the Naga offers a shrug. "Well, in that case, If I am invited I will attend... Now, if you will excuse me, I really do need to clean up." She says, slipping into the Baths. Discarding the remainder of her clothes in the antechamber, Mari slithers into the bath proper, enjoying the onrush of steam with a tired sigh. Out of her armor, Mari's human upper half is well muscled from a hard and physically active life. In addition an odd patchwork of scars are scattered across her body, mementos of various dangerous mistakes and lessons learned the hard way over the years.
After taking a look over the bath, Mari slips into the water across from Fanilly. Letting the silence sit for a few moments, the naga speaks up. "Was that your first real battle, Captain?" She asks simply, lounging back in the water with one eye open.
Stripped down to her casual wear, the naga twists, looking over at her fellow knights. "A... party?" Mari blinks in momentary confusion, briefly looking between Paladin Tyaethe and Sir Jarde before her tired brain connects the dots. "I'm flattered that you would consider inviting me, but I can't say that I would be the most welcomed of guests. I think it has something to do with the teeth." She says with a wry grin, showing off her carnivorous nature. "Also, while I do have my decorative ceremonial gambeson, it isn't exactly formal court attire... Though if I polished up my plate armor, I suppose it could work..." The naga trails off, musing to herself.
Shaking her head to clear it, Mari looks back at Paladin Tyaethe. "Apologies, fatigue has addled my head. So who is hosting this event and for what occasion?" She asks, getting to the question that probably should have come first.
With a long sigh, Mari slithers through the doors of Candaeln. After the young captain had dismissed them, Mari glances over her shoulder, the kid still fast asleep riding piggyback. Once she'd gotten some food and water into him, the kid finally let his guard down. At that point, he had gone headfirst into Mari's arms and refused to let go. After a bit of coaxing, she'd managed to get the kid to ride on her back, making the trip back to the Candaeln significantly easier.
Heading over to the healers, Mari carefully brings the kid down from her back and passes him to one of the waiting healers; a priestess of Mayon. "This one has been through a lot and has not said a word since we recovered him. I would recommend ensuring they stay asleep until after you have cleaned him up to avoid any extra complications." She says quietly, as to not wake the kid.
That piece of her responsibilities take care of, the Naga moved to tending her equipment. Retrieving her discarded armor and extra weapons from one of the carts, the Naga passed by the courier without a second thought, heading to her quarters. Sir Jarde appeared to already be handling the situation and Paladin Tyaethe was just inside the main entrance if somebody with more seniority was needed. Besides, while her fellow knights were more or less comfortable around her, the 'civilized' folk around the capital tended to not be so much.
After several minutes of cleaning her gear to ensure there wouldn't be any rust come morning, the Naga groans and stretches, fighting exhaustion. "Bath first, then sleep." Mari grumbles to herself before grabbing a couple of towels and heading for the women's bath. If there was anything to be said for civilization, it was the luxury of hot running water.
Total WIP. I honestly have no idea if I've got the time for this, but I'm a total 40k geek and this looked like too cool of a writing opportunity to pass up. Heck, if nothing else, I'll donate them as an NPC legion to flesh things out.
EDIT: Slowly starting to get there. Now to just fill in all the holes.
Appearance: Small by Primarch standards, Atherel appears positively waifish when compared to his larger siblings. Barely a head taller than the Astartes he commands, Atherel has a lithe and willowy figure due to growing up in an environment that didn't always have gravity. Still, by mortal standards, Atherel is a towering and elegant individual, as sleek as he is powerful.
Psyker Status: N/A
Life and Times: While the other Primarchs found themselves on various planets, Atherel's pod found itself in the Scepteri System. Decimated eons ago during the war in heaven, all that remained of the system was an aging red giant star, multiple asteroid belts and most notably, an ancient derelict xenos star fortress of colossal proportions. More importantly, burried within the star fortress was a malfunctioning warp beacon. (akin to the Astronomican or Pharos device) While the beacon's signal was overpowering within the system itself, (preventing Navigators from seeing out of the system) the nature of it's malfunction caused the beacon's signal to rapidly decay over longer distances.
With the passing decades, ships would occasionally be drawn into the system, only to be trapped by the by the malfunctioning warp beacon. And so, the Scepteri System became the prison of it's unsuspecting visitors. The trapped survivors came from all walks of life and races; Rogue Traders, Ork warbands, Aeldari Corsairs, to name but a few. Over time ramshackle space stations were built out of the trapped starships, most often in close proximity to the star fortress as it was the best source of new supplies.
This was the "world" that Atherel found himself in.
Atherel's pod was discovered by a mining and salvage crew. Comprised mostly of Humans and Abhumans, there were also a few Aeldari and a smattering of the less disagreeable space-faring races. Like his fellow Primarchs, Atherel grew up quickly, outpacing his teachers on anything he was taught in a matter of years. As such, Atherel quickly became a master pilot, void combatant and explorer, to name just some of his talents.
By the age of 10, he was the new unofficial captain of the crew, though he would frequently leave Michael Calix, his adoptive father figure and the former captain, in charge while he would venture out on solo expeditions into the star fortress for new supplies. By 15, Atherel had gathered multiple crews to his name, making him one of the most powerful and well known individuals in the system.
Ideology: Atherel is a bizarre mix of ruthlessly cold-blooded pragmatism and an almost naive sense of optimism. Growing up in borderline derelict space stations frequently required making harsh decisions that required sacrificing the few for the many. This is something that Atherel hated. So when the Emperor spoke of his grand plan of a united Imperium of Man, Atherel was immediately on board.
Wargear: Atherel has a sleek suit of masterfully wrought artificer armor equipped with a multitude of micro-thrusters for maneuvering in 0-gee and enhancing his movement in gravity. He wears a trimmed-down jump pack free of any superfluous ornamentation. The device in question also bears two other unique systems.
First, buried next to the jump packs reactor is a truly ancient archeo-tech anti-grav device that can render Atherel and his equipment nearly weightless inside normal gravity. Second is a turreted, short-barreled, gatling-lasgun. In addition to scything down light infantry, this weapon is purpose built for anti-missile point defense thanks to it's unique machine spirit which bears an advanced target acquisition system.
For weapons, Atherel has the following: - First Light: A trimmed down and souped-up lascannon that has been repurposed as an anti-material rifle. - Hullbreaker: A hand-and-a-half power axe with a variable bore plasma gun running down the handle. - Bulwark: A massive tower shield purpose built for boarding actions. Has mag-locks along the edges so it can be emplaced as semi-mobile cover. Also features an array of retractable micro-flamers for crowd control and hallway clearing. - Silence: A scimitar-esque exotic Aeldari power weapon that is little more than a long knife in Atherel's hands. He has had this since before his recovery by the Great Crusade, though whether it was a gift from a fellow survivor or a trophy from a fallen foe, the Primarch has yet to say.
Other: Anything that doesn't fit into a specific section, but bare's talking about.
Legion Number: VII
Legion Strength: 48,750* (This is the official max strength of all 15 of the Astral Hawks fleets, though due to the attrition of war and meticulous recruitment, the actual number of effectives is somewhere around 36,550 or 3/4ers strength.)
Homeworld: None. The Astral Hawks are a fleet based Legion.
Favoured Legion Tactics: The Astral Hawks are masters of void and aerial combat. As such they specialize in lighting assaults and mobile, fluid & highly reactive battle lines. To support this, they rely on Despoiler & Breacher squads for their assaults & boarding actions. For their mobile gun lines, the Astral Hawks deploy their unique Ranger squads; astartes armed with boltguns and equipped with jump packs. In contrast, Devastator and Tactical squads are almost only ever employed to counter enemy boarding actions or to support the legion's auxiliaries in defense of static locations.
Their vehicle armory follows a similar pattern. While their tank complement is significantly under strength by most legion's standards, the Astral Hawks make up for it with a massive number of drop-pods, boarding & strike craft, bombers, gunships and interceptors.
Legion Leadership/Organization: The Astral Hawks differ strongly from their fellow Legions as they are fleet based. Broken up by fleet instead of chapter, each Fleet is led by an Admiral. Each fleet is divided into 3 wings; Command, Support and Vanguard. While each Wing is led by a Wing Commander, the different wings very somewhat in composition. Within each wing are 3 companies each led by a Company Commander. Each company is comprised of multiple platoons or lances each led by a Lieutenant or Lance Captain respectively. In turn, the platoons are made up of several squads or squadrons with a Sergeant in charge of each.
. The Command Wing is embarked entirely in the Fleet's Battle Barge and is comprised of the Assault, Outrider and Sternguard Companies. The fleet's Admiral, command staff and escort are also embarked. (979 effectives including command structure) - The Assault Company has 5 assault platoons, all of which contain two 10-man Breacher Squads, two 10-man Despoiler Squads and a 10-man Terminator Squad. (290 effectives including command structure) - The Outrider Company contains 3 ranger platoons, 2 grav lances and 2 aerial lances. The ranger platoons contain two 10-man Ranger Squads, two 10-man Ranger Support Squads and a 10-man Vanguard Veteran Squad. The grav lances contain three 10-man Sky Hunter Jetbike Squadrons, two 3-strong Landspeeder Squadrons and three Javelin Attack Speeders. The aerial lances contain three 9-strong Xiphon Interceptor Squadrons and three Fire Raptor Gunships. (344 effectives including command structure) - The Sternguard Company contains 5 sternguard platoons, all of which contain two 10 man Tactical Squads, two 10-man Devastator Squads and a 10-man Sternguard Veteran Squad. (290 effectives including command structure)
The Support Wing employs 3 Auxiliary Companies, each of which are embarked on their own Strike Cruiser. Auxiliary Companies are comprised of 1 grav lance, 2 ranger platoons, 2 assault platoons, 1 sternguard platoon and 1 aerial lance. (see previous for details) (381 effectives per Company, 1158 total, including command structure)
The Vanguard Wing employs 3 Strike Companies, each of which are embarked on their own Vanguard Class Light Cruiser. Strike Companies are comprised of 2 assault platoons, 2 ranger platoons and 3 aerial lances. (see previous for details) (312 effectives per Company, 947 total, including command structure)
All told, once you factor in the additional Astartes in auxiliary support roles (techmarine pilots, ship-board section sub-commaders, etc.) Each fleet has around 3250 Astartes each. Also, each Wing of an Astral Hawks fleet is supported by an escort of 9 frigates of various classes; a total of 27 per fleet.
At the top, immediately under Atherel and second in command of the entire Legion is the High Admiral, formerly the Legion Master before the Primarchs arrival.
Notable Legion Members & Elements: - The Void Guard: Atherel's personal bodyguard. Equipped with artificer armor, jump packs and storm shields. For weapons, they typically carry power weapons and volkite calivers or plasma guns.
- The Second Wing: An informal/unofficial group that forms Atherel's personal inner circle. Mostly consists of the surviving members of his "family" that he grew up with, though there are some new members from the Terra-born and crusade-recruited Astartes.
- Michael Calix, first Archangel: An older man, Michael took it upon himself to serve as a father figure to Atherel when the Primarch was discovered as a baby. It was Michael who taught Atherel the basics of flying and instilled the Primarch with his sense of curiosity and love of space.
Inspirations: What if the Elysian Drop Troops were Astartes, and what if their Primarch grew up in space? Alternatively, what if the Belters from The Expanse were used as Astartes recruits?
Assigned Armies: During the Great Crusade, Legions rarely traveled by themselves. They would create armies from those worlds that they conquered to use as shocktroopers or line-holders. Feel free to go nuts with this.