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Recent Statuses

3 days ago
Current Congratz Ambra!
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5 days ago
Peepee poopoo
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11 days ago
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!
4 likes
11 days ago
Just your average dude in the Chaos wastes
2 likes
12 days ago
Thanks for everyone who read the entries in the writing contest! I did not expect to win, but it feels good!
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Bio






About Me








Name: Ben
Username: The one and only. Dare I say?
Age: 30
Ethnicity: Mixed
Sex: Male
Religion: Christian (Nondenominational)
Languages: English, Japanese (Semi-fluent & learning), I also know some Scots Gaelic, Quenyan (Elvish), and Miccosukee (My tribal tongue)
Relationship Status: Single (Though generally unavailable unless I find I really enjoy someone).






Current Projects/Freelance work

  • I am a voice talent and script writer for Faerun History
  • I have a much smaller personal Youtube channel that I use to make videos on various subjects. Only been making videos for 2 years, but it's growing!
  • I'm the host of a Science Fiction & Fantasy Podcast where I interview authors of the genre.




Interests (Includes but is not limited to)

  • Writing/Reading (Love writing and I own too many books)
  • Video Games (Been a gamer for close to 23 years now)
  • Working Out/Martial Arts (Wing Chun/Oyama Karate mostly. Some historical swordplay as well.)
  • History (Military History is my specialty)
  • Zoology
  • Art (Mostly Illustrations. Used to be good. Am picking it back up)
  • Voice Acting/Singing
  • Tabletop Gaming (Started late in the game. Been at it for 3 years. I was the kid who bought the monster manuals and D&D books just for the lore for the longest time. I've played 3.5e, 5e, Star Wars D20, Edge of the Empire, PF, and PF2.)
  • Weaponry of all kinds
  • Anime (mostly action/shonen. DBZ & YYH being my favorites)
  • Movies (Action/War/Drama films being my go-to)
  • Music (Rock of all kinds, as well as historical folk songs, sea shanties, pub songs, a bit of classical music, etc)
  • Guitar (am learning to play, but being left handed makes it challenging)
  • There's more but if you care enough you can PM me :P




Roleplay F.A.Q.

  • Fantasy, Sci Fi, and Historical are my genres. Fantasy being my favorite and Sci Fi/Historical being close seconds.
  • Advanced / Nation / 1x1 / Casual (only in certain circumstances)
  • I generally write at the 'Advanced Level' meaning 4+ Paragraphs with good grammar.
  • I am usually busy with many projects and RPs, but if you wish to do a 1x1 with me, you'll need to present your case. Those I already do it with have my trust as a Roleplayer.
  • I love many, many fictional universes so me trying to list them all is an effort in futility!






Me

Most Recent Posts

Beren had seen a demon once, years ago. It had almost ripped him out of his sanity, not to mention his heart from his chest. He couldn't know the extent of their kind or the trillion variations from hellish creation. But that thing in front of them wasn't a demon, he was certain. Somehow, he knew.

It was an Outsider. One of the denizens of the void.

It's head was elongated and yet squat, though it was hard to discern where its eyes were. Spikes protruded along its cranium. Every movement it made was strange, ethereal, and yet wholly abnormal. It moved like an infant horse that had just hit the ground after having been birthed, and yet when it did move, it was hard to decipher and watch the movements. It 'glugged' if one might call it that, almost a chortle sound. Beren felt a wave of disgust rise up in him.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry..." Jocasta whispered, crawling backwards towards Beren.

The creature shuddered, the very atmosphere an alien feeling to the being. It opened its maw and let out a gasping growl, and suddenly it began to mold and morph into another form. Its body contorted, if it had bones they snapped, if it had skin it changed. Over the course of a few moments, it went from a monstrosity to what might pass as a man. And yet there was something still quite disturbing about him.

Beren blinked, his breathing coming in shallow. The thing's hair and eyes...somehow he couldn't decipher what color they were, and yet he looked right at the thing.

"What realm is this?" It asked, speaking in a tongue spoken before the stars burned. It moved it hands as it spoke, as if getting used to its new form. Somehow the message entered Beren and Jocasta's heads, perfectly translated. They were a bit too preoccupied with staring to answer. "No matter. You boy, why do you not kneel like the woman?"

"I'm not that kinda guy," He said lightly, breaking the tension. Jocasta looked up at him, and he looked down at her and smiled, trying to be reassuring to the both of them.

"Beren, I advise listening to him." She mouthed.

His smile faded, and he shook his head. He was bound by the oaths of his order. He couldn't do that, even if he wanted to. And he was a bit too proud to want to, he had to admit. He stepped over Jocasta and held his axe, the blade shining in the light of the gloomy sigils. The Outsider flinched slightly, and likely knew the axe was runically enchanted.

"You can't have her," Beren warned. Clearly he had some theory the summoner was bound to something with the summoned. The Outsider merely glared at the Eru'Dai, and then he moved.

Beren was fast, strong, and immensely tough. But this thing's steps were quicker than Beren could blink. It all happened to fast, a small blur before Jocasta's eyes. If she hadn't known any better, she would have sworn that Beren had scored a hit with a swipe of his axe. Indeed the Outsider did seem pained, a small gash on the side of its human-like visage, a frown on its face. Unfortunately, its fist was also covered in blood, straight through Beren's chest.

Incredibly, Beren's arm shook, hand grabbing at the 'clothes' the Outsider wore. The warrior wasn't done with the thing! But it contemptuously knocked Beren down with a shove of his other hand, pulling his bloodied arm out of Beren's chest cavity. The Eru'Dai fell to the ground before Jocasta's feet, bleeding out warm lifeblood as he shuddered. His axe slipped from his hand, eyes losing their light before her.

"Does this upset you?" The Outsider asked Jocasta, idly looking at its fingernails. "Shall I save him with what time I have left on this plane?"
The halls here were large, but they weren't seemingly endless like the other areas of the facility. The only perpetual direction one way or another seemed to be up, and it was only because I could not see past the darkness after a few dozen meters. As it stood, Emmaline and I were in an unremarkable hall in an entirely remarkable, dangerous place.

"We only need to know two things." I said sternly, holding aloft my autogun. I had lost my shotgun in the firefight and subsequent teleportation. "Where the sorcerer is and how to get out of here once he is dead."

"Very pragmatic," she said. I looked at her to ascertain if she was joking. Her face was serene, gazing back at me with her pretty eyes. I realized I was being harsher than usual. She tended to be the one person to make me laugh, beside Lazarus. Thinking about it actually caused me to feel a bit of levity in that moment.

"That's me, all business." I remarked. It didn't do to panic now, and Emmaline asking questions on how exactly we were to get out was another thing I was not prepared to answer. All we could do is move forward, and so we did at my insistence. She clutched the staff, more sure of herself now that we had taken a taste of combat and survived. I had no doubt the next time we found a xenos or cultist, she would throw them a hundred meters down the next hall.

Unfortunately, I would find out soon.

The next bend in the hallway, we had entered a bizarre corridor; an almost exhibit of stalls. What appeared like strange glass covered the walls, sectioned off by huge dividers of the xenos metal. From what we could tell, the glass shined a glare we couldn't view until we stepped in further, and the sight was horrible and breathtaking.

I saw a man's face. A face contorted into a scream. He wore the robes of an ecclesiarch, his skin tanned as if the sun still beamed on him brightly. But the robes he wore were unlike any I had ever witness. Their symbols were strange, runic, and the few I recognized were old-fashioned even thousands of years ago. The next stall held an Ork, or what I thought was an Ork. It's skin was red rather than green, and demonic horns sprouted from its cranium. I couldn't feel the chaos taint on the xenos, but I knew it was there, locked in this prison of eternity.

"Hadrian..." Emmaline said, drawing my attention. I gasped when I turned.

Across the hall was another prison of stasis. A giant in baroque, bronze power armor, holding a weapon that looked very much like a storm bolter, only of a distant, weird design. It wore a tall helm with a red mane, and I thought it to be one of the venerable custodes for a brief moment, but I had seen the guards of the emperor before. They were taller than this squat monstrosity, though whatever this was dwarfed an astartes in size.

Click clack click

We turned, weapons held at the ready. What approached was a machine, but it wasn't sentient or sapient as far as I could tell. I would later find out it was a thing called a Tomb Spyder. As large as a ground car, it had many limbs working in perfect unison. I thought it would come at us immediately, but it seemed content with checking the status of the hall and the consoles, it's subroutines likely just maintenance. Either way, I loathed the thing.

I leveled my pistol at it. As I did so, before my finger touched the trigger, I saw more forms. Not the walking things I later learned were called Necrons, but machines that crawled across the ground. They were stout, the size of large dogs. I was not initially concerned, but there looked to be dozens, no, hundreds of them. They clattered and skittered, charging forward like a wave past the Tomb Spyder.

Emmaline waved her staff forward, the front thirty scarabs suddenly crushed or tossed back into the darkness behind the relentless tide. Oil burst forth like blood, xenos-material crippled. I fired into the mass, hitting either its 'eye' or center mass with every shot. But I could not reload quickly enough, and soon I took a step back. They swarmed forward relentlessly, and we knew their mission was merely to kill.

With a burst of sudden thought, to this day I did not know if it was inspiration or panic, Emmaline scrambled over to the closest terminal. She hesitated a moment, but began to smack and poke at the console, frantically trying to get it to work and do something, anything.

"Emmaline! We need to run!" I started, but even as I finished my scream, there was a change in the glass. It glared brightly in a brief flash, and then dissipated like liquid that retreated rather than fell with the law of gravity. A scarab hit me in the stomach, sending me to the ground. My quick unsheathing of my power sword saved my life, slicing it in half even as it bore down on me. Its two sides fell to my left and right, and I pressed a tired hand on the floor to lift myself up before I was overwhelmed.

A massive foot stepped out of the stall, encased in archaic steel-plate. The next step crushed the nearest scarab as if it were made of paper. I saw Emmaline gaping, holding herself on the ground as the massive man stepped forward, its weapon igniting, tearing through the mass of scarabs. Dozens were shattered every second, and with the terribly loud weapon came a scream from the giant, echoing out of its plated great helm. A cry of rage and madness. Luckily, I would soon find the madness would subside. It was a temporary phenomenon his strain of post-human dealt with when first made by the God-Emperor.

Never in all my years did I ever believe I would meet one of the Emperor's legendary Thunder Warriors.
Redfall looks pretty good, after watching the Bethesda showcase
A small part of him sort of hoped he could impress her by climbing the wall with naught but his hands, but his conscious mind knew that was foolish, boyish bravado. Something you couldn't really entertain in the world-below. Even being alone, separated by ten meters was a haunting experience for most people. Thankfully, the Evergod had blessed him with ample experience. He heard her mumbling to herself above as she studied something, and a smile bloomed on his face.

After she had dropped the rope, he saw it slide down to dangle before his eyes. His necklace's talisman was clutched in his hand to keep it held close, but it somewhat obscured the light, giving a soft radiance rather than the brilliant beam of illumination it generally provided when called to. The darkness crept in closer as he reached for the length of cord, but his hand stopped dead.

Beren froze.

Above, he could hear Jocasta humming gently, her light voice softly echoing off the walls. He felt his heart beating loudly in his ears, and he subtly glanced behind his still form. Though his eyesight was very good, he wasn't a dwarf or one of the elves of Leth'Arian. He saw little but empty shadow. The silhouette of the passageways softly kissed by the covered glow of his necklace; naught but gaping mouths for even deeper darkness.

He steadied his breathing, but there was little he could do for the mounting fear. The warrior-monk had felt a dozen changes within the black that peered over him, but none he could articulate in the tongues of men. His horror coalesced in his mind, and he felt a small pressure; a pain in his back. It was a ghost pain. Nothing had touched him, but he couldn't shake the feeling of a blade bursting forth from his chest.

The shadows began to move just outside of his vision, blades slowly unsheathing from their accursed scabbards with sigils of the tainted prince. He couldn't perceive them with his eyes, but he knew they were there. A shift in the air; a silence that seemed deafening yet unnatural. He suddenly realized Jocasta had stopped humming. Instead, she spoke out.

"Beren?" His companion called. "You there?"

Her voice shattered the glass. Beren leaped to the left as the telltale 'click' of crossbows fired at where he had been a moment before. Bolts hit the wall and scattered to the ground, footfalls, inhumanly quick, padding across the stone. Beren spun, able to perceive the coming offense by some primal sense of survival. His attacker was unseeable one moment, and the next they plunged into his field of sight, hitting him as a serpent, netheril blade slicing at his neck.

Beren caught the dorcha's wrist with his left, his right forearm crossing the dark elf's arm to aid in halting the momentum of the swing. The elf's eyes bulged in surprise, and Beren had to agree. He knew if the dark elf had expected Beren to be somewhat prepared for combat in the deeps, he would have better struck and likely killed him. But Beren had been here once before in his life, and the dorcha had underestimated him. "Diabhal hrultur!" Beren cursed in Dwavish, the man headbutting the snarling, haunting visage of the accursed elf. Blood spewed from the male dorcha's nose, and Beren kicked him in the chest, sending him flying back into the darkness.

Three more took his place, but Beren had not kept still. He opened his fist, letting the light beam radiantly in their eyes. He saw them now, in their black armor and evil grins now turned to scowls from the blinding rays. They were attractive in a bedeviling fashion, sculpted features ruined by their infatuation of demonic, abject cruelty. As he opened his fist, he ran back to the right, grabbing the rope. But rather climb, he used the momentum of his charge to run, feet clapping against the wall as he swung up, up, until he was twenty feet in the air. As he went, he rolled the rope further and further along his forearm until it clung around his muscle like a constrictor.

His momentum brought him back, crossbow bolts hitting the wall a hairs breadth from his swinging form. He grappled the rope and yanked himself up the last few feet, his body cold with anxiety and fear. He haulted himself up with the last of the rope.

"What's happening?" Jocasta asked, but she was cut off by shrieks of frustration from the darkness all-too-close below.

"Run!" was all he said, taking her hand and pulling her down the corridor. Anywhere was better than behind them. There was very little in the mortal world more torturous and wicked than the dark elves of the world-below. He only hoped the one he had kicked would deal with a few broken ribs.

Words in a vile tongue rang out to their back, and Beren knew it was only a matter of time before they climbed the expanse and followed. He was too focused on behind than ahead, and it took Jocasta crying out for him to look forward just in time to see a thread that had been tied ankle-height. Miraculously, Beren and Jocasta both leaped over it, but when they hit the stone, they both sunk down a few inches, and something clicked and whirred.

Wordlessly they sprinted, the seconds passing by giving them the fear something would come sliding out to cut them to pieces. Instead, something very different happened. Before them, the light-illuminated passage before them began to close up. A wall began rising up from below, spikes standing before it to bar their way. It just caused Beren to pick up speed, and rather than leave her behind, he picked Jocasta up and laid her on his shoulder, letting her watch the darkness behind as he ran with her hip pressed to his cheek.

Beren couldn't hope to long jump the spikes and the moving wall, so he leaped to the right, kicked off the wall to hit the left wall, and then used that as an elevated platform to leap over the spikes and slide across the rising wall on his knees before they slid clear of the obstacle. Unfortunately, both of them hit the ground on the otherside none-too-gently after a small free-fall. Jocasta fell on Beren, but not on his lap for once. They lay in a heap in the darkness as the door closed behind them.

"You ok?"

"Yeah, what was that back there?" She asked him.

They could not know where they were, but when Beren raised his pendant to examine the large room of items stacked in great heaps and arcane symbols on the walls, he was speechless for many moments.

"You have a point there..." Galt conceded. His urban mind didn't account for weather, and then there was soil comp...composition? He had heard that phrase somewhere, but had never bothered to pay much attention to it. He sighed, he had a lot to bloody learn. He still hadn't seen his estate grounds. He had to have been granted good land or at least a profitable arrangement, or else what sort of hero-turned-count would he be? A poor one, he supposed. Galt turned a page in the ledger, eyes on the paper at what exercise she might have in store for him. He needed to be engaged. There was very little in the world that motivated a young man like an attractive woman, even if he knew she wasn't available.

As she began to present what she had prepared, she cursed. He turned to see a long bead of blood sliding down her nose, the woman hastily trying to clean it up. Galt did not know what to do, at least conceptually. But already his hands were moving, reaching for a handkerchief in his pocket. She tried to continue the lesson and tried to staunch the flow of blood, but Galt placed the book on his lap and placed a gentle hand behind her head, letting him get a good look at her. He wasn't used to spontaneous nose bleeds, but he knew wounds and bleeding from street fights and the occasional knife attack.

"We'll get to that," He said softly, taking away her cloth that had slowly been blotched with crimson and pressing his thicker cloth to her nose gingerly, watching her closely. "You're not going to compromise yourself on my account though."

He held it there for a few solid moments, and then pulled his handkerchief away to examine, before placing it back with a care. He was very close to her, his black hair almost absorbing the light and his dark eyes glinting in the firelight. "Do you need me to call for water or anything? If we need to stop and eat, I admit I am hungry." He chuckled, and yet again pulled the cloth away. At that, he found the flow had seemingly stopped. He smiled, letting her go and rolling the cloth up outside in so the bloodied mark was hidden away.

"In fact, a full stomach might help me learn." He said lightly, placing the handkerchief down. Satisfied, he looked at her curiously, not quiet concerned yet, but invested and with a care. "Do you feel better now, Silke? Don't try and trick me, I'm very familiar with that game."

He smiled like a boy.
We rumbled along the corridors, the alien geometry of this facility's construction was thankfully without much in the way of curvature. In fact the floor was so smooth, it made the chimera's dimensions look completely lopsided. Every movement of the track made me realize how clumsy and imperfect the design of the armored vehicle was. What sort of civilization would make a labyrinth such as this? Our travel lasted for thirty standard minutes, I calculated, before we found anything beyond an oddity.

I heard the crack of machine-gun fire from an accompanying chimera through the thick hull, the thunder of the heavy bolter supplementing the rattling fire in varying iterations. It could have been a mile away or mere meters to our right, but when our own chimera began firing we shuddered in our seats. I should have gotten in the front of the vehicle to better direct the driver, but as it was I sat in the back along with Emmaline, Lazarus, and Sergeant Rhadvek's squad. Briefly I believe I heard men calling out from outside the vehicle, and through the small visor, the red flash of lasers blended with a strange, green light that flashed like lightning.

"Chaos spawn!" The sergeant cursed,, flipping his lasgun to full auto, telling the men to take positions at the firing slots. The men did as they were told, aiming their lasguns at a 45° and aiming at whatever non-friendly they could get into their sights. A few of them began cracking off lasbolts, but even as they did I could see the confusion and fear in their eyes.

"It's not just chaos spawn," I told them cryptically.

There was a bright flash of green, and a deafening silence followed by a concussive force and a fiery light from the right slots. The men on that side fell back, panting and blinking from their eyes trying to dim the light they had witnessed.

"They...they destroyed Chimera C!"

"Everyone out!" I ordered, getting to my feet and slamming my fist onto the bulkhead door trigger. Immediately there was whirring and the back end of the chimera began to lower, revealing an iron-grey ground littered with dead men and stragglers who fired past our position from behind odd, gleaming obelisks uniformly placed along the path. Even as I stepped out, an eldritch lightning bolt of green warped into one of the men flanking the Chimeras. I watched in horror and fascination as the trooper was stripped atom by atom before my eyes, leaving naught but the barest flecks of cloth on the ground.

"Hadrian!" Emmaline cried in my face.

"Move! Behind the pillars!" I cried. The bolter rounds were unimaginably loud, but I was thankful we had them. I rolled out of the cover of the chimera and gauged what lay ahead, and what I saw was pure pandemonium.

The room was an immense chamber, with larger obelisks planted to frame the central causeway towards what looked to be a full-sized pyramid that doubly served as a throne. Atop it was a lone figure, twice as tall as a man and built like a statue who watched the fire fight below with cold eyes. Before the figure were the cultists, or at least some of them, crouched behind pillars and a central, rectangular 'fountain' that housed what looked to be pure plasma at the center of the walkway. They fired lasbolts and grenade launchers, but not at us.

From the darkness, within nooks of pulsating green light, emerged those things. Taller than men and made of metal, they walked in monotonous but strangely animated steps. There were dozens of them, some close by and stepping over the corpses of our guardsmen. They were machines, but I could tell that was not the full extent of what they were. Burning in their breast and behind their eyes were their lifeforce; an alien form of what might have passed as a soul, or what was left of it. It glowed the same green as their weaponry and architecture, only deeper in hue. A few of them lat scattered and broken, shattered by grenades or bolter rounds, or the relentless fire from the heavy stubbers. But even then I saw one, its metal body broken, reanimate and crawl toward its severed lower half.

Before it could, a shot from the trans-uranic arquebus reduced its steel form to fragments. I turned and looked at Lazarus, who watched with rapt fascination. I could tell he fired on instinct, and was loathe to harm these things because of the questions they might answer. But he was my ally, and in the end I knew I could count on him.

"Push forward!" I roared, rounds erupting from my combat shotgun. Four shells burst one of the skeleton-machine's apart, pressing forward at the head of my men to have them follow in my wake. "Fire until there's nothing left of the xenos! Kill the cultists! For the Emperor!"
Ironforge


King Magni Bronzebeard and his Honor-Guard marched up the sloping road that fed into the great gates of Ironforge, the distant booms of rifles and mortars being tested were a familiar chorus across the valley. The colossus of Modimus Anvilmar towered over the burly warriors as they continued into the heated halls of the vast citadel, glad to be back. For how industrial the capital was, it was quite cozy and warm, and it felt like home even to visitors. Gate guards saluted their king and gave reverence to their fellows who followed in his wake.

The main thoroughfare, known as 'the commons' for obvious reasons, erupted in cheers and shouts of 'for khaz modan!' as Magni raised a fist, the tall dwarf striding past his kin that socialized and bartered before the gateway. Even the auctionhouse master went silent, and all those awaiting the next item cried out praises and undulation. Magni always felt most proud to be a dwarf when he walked back into the city, his home. His clan dominated the landscape, and though they numbered hundreds of thousands with the young and old, they were as tight-nit as any family of four.

He and his men turned southeast toward the military ward, the heat of the great forge kissing their skin even from their distance across the chasm. As they marched in, the Captain of the guard, Morek Ironguard, saluted his king. Black bearded and steely eyed, he was as trustworthy as any human knight to their liege.

"I take it the meeting went well, high thane." He said formally, though he spoke with the smile of a friend.

"I had no doubts." Magni Bronzebeard rumbled, gesturing with a wave of his hand for his men to relieve themselves and take a well needed ale for their watchfulness. They passed by two hundred doughty warriors in columns, drilling for the coming conflict. "In two weeks, we'll be passing by Loch Modan and heading north, both ye and me."

"The council will need something more than what ye've given them." Captain Morek reminded him, the two steel-clad warriors watching as their men stood in formation, training with the axe and shield, moving as one. Ever swing could fell an orc, every shield shove could knock a troll of their balance. The dwarves were short, but they were by no means small. They each weighed at least as much as a grown man, and their armor added another chunk to their muscled forms.

"We'll give them what they'll understand." Magni said, appraising his men as they moved and turned by every command of their lieutenants. "Money and open roads."

"That'll probably do it," Morek acquiesced.

"Any news from the expeditionary force?" Magni asked, not taking his eyes from the warriors.

"The one in Northrend, or that other one?" Morek asked, deliberately vague.

"That other one..."
"Three dead. No one injured." Sergeant Rhadvek reported as I reloaded my autogun. Once I realized my aides were alive and most of the men were present, I set my mind to moving forward. Either way, they were going to make it into the xenos-chambers along with us. Now we knew where they were, in a manner of speaking.

"Form them up. V-Columns" I told the sergeant. A dependable man, with a sharp face and a hard way about him. Most of the troops I had been given were green or PDF, but the sergeant was certainly an exception. He called for the men and set them to formation, four of them made of a dozen men each. Each wing had six men, maximizing the area of fire and minimizing casualties if fired from the left, right, or forward. Emmaline and Lazarus stuck close to my person, though much to Emmaline's distress I strode ahead with my men flanking me, stepping off the barren rock and entering the cavernous chambers of the inner sanctum.

My first step into the 'lobby' as one might call it was a shock to my senses. Not in the physical realm, but my psychic presence felt wholly strange. It was as if my entire life I had been walking in rain, and now I stepped into a dry cavern, where stilled air and an enclosed environment altered all sensations of my form. It was not painful, but off-putting. As I walked past the first pillar, I felt the physical sensations rest on my face. The stale, stuffy air, frozen and encased for untold millennia. Breathable, and with surprisingly little dust for how ancient it undoubtedly was.

There was a strange, gloomy ambient light that permeated all space, and yet somehow there was an overwhelming darkness behind every corner, every crevasse, every unknowable turn. As we moved, the foundations of the vast halls stuck out like large, insectoid feet. Green tendrils within the xenos-steel pulsated just as it did at the gate. Some universal and undeniably powerful power source. Lazarus gazed at our surroundings like I would read an old tome from the dark age of technology.

"Find it fascinating?" I asked him, mostly to lighten the mood. The men were on edge. Like it or not, they were now within a xenos construct on a dead world chasing chaos cultists. Half the PDF were shivering.

"Entirely..." The techpriest marveled.

"Stay focused." I cautioned him.

The halls were like fissures between tall cliffs, almost immeasurable in scope. The paths, however, were at least walkable. It was perhaps forty strides between the left and the right. We passed the first corridor and were met with a fork. Emmaline advised we go left, and so we did. As we progressed, the halls became more complex, with smaller chambers locked behind doors in the shape of caskets. One man cried aloud when he spotted a floating drone, much like those the xenos known as the tau used, I suspected. An abominable intelligence, though it didn't seem aggressive at its current state.
WoTC has been doing shitty business practices for years. I'm surprised it took this for people to really throw down with them, but I'm glad. I think at the end of the day, this is good for the ttrpg community.
I had experienced such drops before. Three times, in fact, before that incident. The key was to breathe through the nose. It kept the food down and your nerves calm. On looking at Emmaline, I feel as if I should have informed her of such a technique, along with a few other precautions...

Once we landed, I double checked the oximeter, making certain it read the air was breathable. It made little sense in my estimation on how the planet kept an atmosphere, but it read the environment was safe for humans. Even still, everyone had astra militarum-grade rebreathers on hand, and blessings of the God Emperor in the form of tokens emblazoned with the visage of Saint Lucia, Founder of the Order of the Valorous Heart. Mine was one of many emblams and fetishes of saints long past.

The shuttle door opened like a falling anvil, hitting the ground with a resounding boom, cracking the very stone. 18 guardsmen and 32 PDF troops hustled out in rough skirmish formation, lasguns readied and scanning the bleak horizon. The ground was ubiquitous and uneven, as if the entire planet was the slope of a barren mountain. But the rocks were reddish black and almost burnt looking, and I loathed to touch anything on this forsaken planet. The air was breathable, but foul and tinged with dust. I took one breath and placed my rebreather on, if only to shield myself from the miasma.

Emmaline, Lazarus, and I walked out of the shuttle. Fully encased in carapace armor and shotgun in my hands. I stepped past a PDF trooper, my keen eyes saw his arm visibly shaking. I placed a hand on his shoulder to calm him. I changed my optics from low-light to bio forms, and then to infrared, followed by ultraviolet. I cycled between them as my men began to spread out at my command, uplifting every stone and finding every corner in the landscape. Emmaline clutched the staff, obviously unwilling to make any attempt at using it until absolutely necessary, which was smart.

Minutes later, I had a call from Lazarus.

"Hadrian," I heard over the comm. I was in the midst of checking an indention in the rock, curious on if it was a footprint or an anomaly. If something had stepped here, it had to have been extremely dense.

"What is it, Lazarus?"

"I'm not archaeologist, but I calculate I have found the entrance."

I had my doubts as I made my way a click to the north to reconvene with him, but once I stepped over the last rise, I realized Lazarus's remark was an understatement. I admit I caught my breath at the sight. There was a hole in the wall a cadre of Leman Russ tanks could roll through, only this hole was encased in a door of metal I couldn't recognize. Sinister lines of green pulsated slowly, as if they were the veins of some great, sleeping beast. To my horror, I realized the center plates of the massive gate were formed into a xeno skull the size of an imperial knight. From behind, Emmaline approached. I heard her intake of breath at the sight.

"How do we open it?" She asked, breaking the somber mood.

I pulled out the eldritch key and shook it in my hand.
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