Thirst for the Blood of the Falling

=][=

+ ORDO X
+ ][ KAL
+ WILD (reporting) +

+ AAR: OP SKV
+ HVT: SKV D/H
+ OBJ: Locate and Terminate +

+ Approach nominal
+ Flanking actions by Ordo M ][ BRIM, SKEL and ORPHAN kill-team effective
+ Light resistance encountered by KAL team until ambush at {grid-string}
+ Callsign WILD heavy wep suppressive fire initiates break contact +

+ WILD: “Ambush! Fu – heavy weapons burst comms override – suppressive fire!”
+ KAL: “She’s there, right there, for – heavy weapons burst comms override – sake, I can see the Chaos-damned thing!”
+ WILD: “Break contact! – heavy weapons burst comms override – Kallatar! What are you doing?”
+ KAL: “Too many lives – heavy weapons burst comms override – she dies NOW!”
+ FURY: “Wild, where the – heavy weapons burst comms override – she going?”
+ WILD: “Kallatar, no! FU – heavy weapons burst comms override – ”

+ Break contact effected for KAL team minus KAL
+ KAL final sighting by WILD {chrono-string} in close combat with D/H SKV +

+ WILD: “Winter, we need a pick-up; heavy ambush, hot extract!”
+ WINTER: “Ack, Wild Child – inbound @ {grid-string}… have you in sight… I only count five… Where’s Kallatar?”
+ WILD: “She stayed – heavy weapons burst comms override – fighting the daemonhost with her Hell-sword – heavy weapons burst comms override – last I saw of her – ”

+ Nuclear level detonation occurrence
+ Detonation source: D/H SKV interaction with HELLBRINGER +

+ KAL team recovery via WINTER minus WILD
+ WILD solo attempt to locate KAL
+ WILD recovery on second approach from WINTER +

+ BDA:
+ HVT SKV: Terminated +
+ KAL: KIA +

+ End +

=][=

A year and a day following the Skvorax Culmination…

“Is this truth?” asks Tessene as she finishes reading. “Kallatar and Skvorax dead and her cursed Relic Blade destroyed?”

In the study that was once the grand cabin of an ancient wooden ship, Imadeus waves a slender, elegant hand at the After Action Report on the equally-ancient wooden table between them.

“A year ago it was… plausible. However, subsequent investigation suggests another – plausible – explanation.”

“Plausible,” Tessene says. “Explain.” Half her skull is shaved bare, the other half a waterfall of hair that moves with a life of its own.

“Data points then,” says Imadeus. “One: it is strangely convenient Kallatar dies right as her Justification for Termination was deemed.”

“Two: the report doesn’t say what happened to Kallatar’s cursed Relic Blade. Three – ”

Tessene interrupts. “The operative… Wild Child – did she recover the Hellbringer when she went back in after Kallatar?”

“Again, plausible; it may have been destroyed in the warp-blast, or Wild Child may have retrieved it. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived – almost three months after the event – only old Brimstone de Ardens and his Ordo Malleus agents remained in situ, mopping up the last of the cultists. By then, Winter, her crew, her ship the Winter Storm and all of Kallatar’s agents – including the Orphans, her pair of pet Astartes – were gone.”

“This report was not filed in person?”

“Filed via transcript and psi-cast to Ordo Xenos command a day after the battle.” Imadeus arches one finely sculpted eyebrow. “To continue… Three: though there is no evidence nor report of damage to anyone other than Kallatar, old Brimstone let slip that when the dropship reached the Winter Storm, the Captain’s head was completely wrapped in bandages and the skin of her face was in an ice box; it took nine hours of surgery to sew it back on.”

“She lost her face?” Tessene frowns. “That’s a psychic transference feedback injury, flesh-overload… You think Skvorax jumped hosts into Winter?”

“Plausible.” Imadeus decides now to reveal her most disturbing suspicion to the Witch Hunter. “Though there is another conclusion one could come to.”

It takes Tessene a moment to process this line of thought, and then her eyes go wide with disbelief.

“You think Kallatar jumped skins? She planned this?”

Assassin-Inquisitor Imadeus of the Ordo Sicarius grips the hilt of her own consecrated Relic Blade; its name is Thirst for the Blood of The Falling, and with it, she has slain heretics and rogue Inquisitors for two hundred years.

“Kallatar thought in ways nobody else did; she played a long and convoluted game to get to her apparent – oh so plausible! – death,” says Imadeus. “Emperor damn her! By either accident or design, an act of Heresy was played out on that moon. So, we find the Winter Storm, terminate all onboard; we find Kallatar’s cursed weapon and drop it into a star.”

“But most importantly, Witch Hunter: we find out exactly who – or what – made it off that moon alive… and is now wearing Illyria Winter’s face.”

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