Journey to the Battlegrounds

Port Wander and the Asteroid Ball

 

The Calvinus Fleet arrived in the Battleground in early 826.M41 alongside their liege house—the Orpheus Dynasty. This voyage had its beginnings upon Port Wander. Adrian Calvinus, Jaermus Calvinus, and their retainers had already been docked at the station for a few days in preparation of the arrival of the Orpheus Fleet. Marek Orpheus had stayed behind in the wreckage of Orpheus Sector for some months longer than the Calvinus hoping to salvage some scrap of their former wealth and prestige. All that remained, however, was ash and blight as the Necron Invasion of the Orpheus Sector. Upon the arrival of the Orpheus Fleet, the two houses linked for centuries rejoined one another for a new beginning.

 

Two two spent their time arming their fleets and selves for renewed journeys into the Expanse and seeking rumors of planets and wealth for the taking. While gathering the news of the day, Marek Orpheus received an invitation to attend a Ball held at the S/914 R IX asteroid turned repair yard. Named by many the Grand Ole Boulder, alongside its utilitarian purpose of preparing ships for expeditions, Mahvorn/Boulder City had the opulence to entice the attendance of Rogue Traders, chartists, and the nobility of Port Wander to attend. This Mahvorn Ball was not the grand affair that sometimes occurred on Port Wander, but even so, many would be in attender trading rumors, pleasantries, or even challenges. Marek Orpheus extended this invitation also to Adrian Calvinus, and both Rogue Traders attended the ball.

 

Upon arrival, Adrian Calvinus and his people met with and exchanged greetings with Foremistress Rhalee Mahvorn III and her staff. They were then free to wander the ball. Adrian had chosen his usual staff to follow him to this event (Boras Kominski as head Explorator, Isolde as bodyguard, Jaermus as the solely other surviving member of the dynasty, Jaspar Erngol as head Astropath, and Karl van Leinstal as seneschal and chief disciplinary officer), but he chose as to bring Rosalind of the Renegade House Nostromo who had become near extinct as a result of the actions of Erasmus Haarlock. There they met with follow Rogue Traders Duchess Malloria Archer, Sarvus Trask, Jeremiah Blitz, and Tobias Ruthven. Also in attendance but not met was the Rogue Trader Daichi Yazaki . According to the swirling rumors, Foremistress Mahvorn has snubbed the Rogue Traders Djanko Scourage and Kolban Kerensky who were docked at Port Wander, and she also extended invitations to Rogue Traders Hadarak Fel and Magnus Ulrik Tröile who declined and left Port Wander shortly after to pursue other goals elsewhere.

 

Adrian and Marek’s friend Shango—Veteran Sergeant of the Salamnders Space Marine Chapter—discussed topics of many, varied, and strange topics with Sarvus Trask further cementing the man’s reputation as a madman—an amazingly successful madman, but a madman nonetheless. Malloria Archer was seen discussing politics and potential alliances with the agents of Magnus Ulrik Tröile who were in attendance—Wesley Lamont and Alec. Tobias Ruthven and his daughter, Natasha, met with Adrian. Tobias spoke his mind—revering to the whole event as a silly charade and that each of the Rogue Traders in attendance were violent scavengers and killers who would murder one another for whatever gain could be had. He scoffed at the pretension of Malloria Archer and the insanity of Trask. Calvinus found himself strange drawn to Ruthven, enjoying his gruff and cynical view on the Expanse and her pioneers.

 

The final event Adrian himself attended was a high stakes game of Saints’ Hands alongside a wealthy chartist captain, Imperial Navy lieutenant commander, veteran mercenary Eva Gilgamesh, and the Rogue Trader Jeremiah Blitz. As the game wore on, Adrian very successfully played against the others. He and Jeremiah collected a large pile of thrones and eliminated the others players until it came to a final hand won by ndrian. Jeremiah Blitz, impressed by Adrian, challenged to one more hand of high stakes play. Blitz offered a large cargo of Vaporis cloth, and Calvinus offered up a collection of ancient dueling and hunting rifles and pistols his great-grandfather had bought and used for years. In this final hand, Adrian saw Jeremiah slip a card from his sleeve, but given the strength of his hand, he didn’t say a word. When the final cards were lain, Adrian had won and collected his earnings. Eva Gilgamesh came with him as a mercenary to recoup her loses at the game.

 

As Adrian prepared to leave, Orpheus approached him with news that he had met a late arrival to the party—Rogue Trader Horatio Nazar. They had conversed, and Nazar had told him of his work as a minor Rogue Trader with a salvage transport for hire. Orpheus had decided to hire Nazar, go to the Battlegrounds, and try to make some profit off of the wreckage of battles gone by. Adrian agreed to Orpheus invitation to follow them to the Battlegrounds.

 

Through the Maw

 

The small flotilla set off from Port Wander: the Final Dirge (Conquest-Class Star Galleon, Marek Orpheus’ flagship), the Unforeseen Consequence (Dictator-Class Cruiser, Zora Orpheus’ ship), the Incarnadine (modified Hades-Class Heavy Cruiser, Adrian Calvinus’ flagship), the Faithful Traveler (Vagabond Merchant Trader, Calvinus Fleet), the Argent Reward (Vagabond Merchant Trader, Calvinus Fleet), the Foolish Dream (Carrack-Class Transport, Horatio Nazar’s flagship). Under the guidance of Rosalind Nostromo, the fleet made its way between the towering tumultuous warp storms and into the Maw—the first steps within the Koronus Expanse.

 

Upon arrival in the Battlegrounds, the Calvinus and Orpheus Fleets were witness to tens of thousands—perhaps even hundreds of thousands—of shattered vessels. All the way from massive capital ships (battleships, mobile space stations, and the like) all the way down to tiny raiders, transports, and ultra lights were left in broken disarray. Legends spoke that brothers—descendants of Purity Lathimon who had made her way through the Maw as the first modern Imperial to see Koronus—had shattered their fleets violently in order to decide who would hold the Warrant of Trade. Nazar told them, however, many had been witness to older wreckage in the area. He suspected its origins date back to before modern memory and records.

 

As the small fleet drifted through the wreckage of the Battlegrounds seeking their first choice of exploration, the sensors of the Incarnadine detected movement and the firing of capital-ship weapons. Drawing near, they witnessed two Imperial cruisers battling a wolfpack of roughly a dozen reavers with obvious Chaos iconography on their ship hulls. They left the transports behind to guard one another as the three cruisers of the Calvinus and Orpheus Fleets spend forward to assist the besieged Imperial citizens. The Incarnadine, however, rushed ahead with its massive engine. The ship was brutalized by showers of torpedoes from the Viper-Class Missile Destroyers, but in turn, it devastated the smaller vessels.

 

As the last few raiders escaped them and hid within the debris fields to later escape, the Imperial cruisers contacts the Incarnadine. They were the Under Watchful Eyes Lunar-Class Cruiser, flagship of Rogue Trader Basson Dondonell, and the Sacrament of Revenge Tyrant-Class Cruiser, captained by Basson’s daughter Hadriana Dondonell de M’Queve and her husband Sir Ashur de M’Queve. The four Rogue Traders and their fleets merged into one powerful battleground, divided up the surviving raiders hulls, and met to discuss how they had come to find one another in the wreckage of the Battlegrounds. Adrian Calvinus claimed the relatively intact Iconoclast-class Destroyer, the Scumdog.

 

Over a lavish diner held under the observation dome of the Under Watchful Eyes the family members and high officers of the Dondonell, Calvinus, Orpheus, and Nazar dynasties gather round a massive table to feast. Basson revealed the history of how he and Sir Ashur had first met at the Confrontation at the Battleground. They had returned after the two of them pursued the Stryxis, lost their trail, and then by chance managed to stumble across a single of their vessels repairing the Sacrament of Revenge on the forgotten outskirts of the Hermitage. Ashur claimed the vessel as his ransom for Basson’s freedom, and then swore an oath of fealty to serve under his as a captain till they could determine the fate of Tobias Jones and the others.

 

Orpheus and Calvinus recalled the stories of their violent exodus from Segmentum Tempestus and the long journey to Calixis and Koronus. They had come to the Battleground seeking some ancient wreckage—perhaps something not unlike their encounter with the Aegis Dominus. Basson, his daughter Maria, and her husband Ashur were instead seeking some clue as to the fate of the vessel and the three Inquisitors. So, they decided to aid one another. While the Sacrament of Revenge and the Incarnadine underwent repairs, they would search the Battlegrounds for potential valuables as well as any evidence of the battleship or its origins.

 

Picking the Detritus of the Battleground

 

For three weeks, the ships traveled and worked to repair the damage done by the reavers. Many days revealed but small scraps of potentially useful minor salvage, but over time, a handful of useful and profitable ship components were discovered and cut free by Nazar's vessel. Adrian was slowed by his ship’s damage, and instead spent much of the expedition aboard his various transport vessels along with most of his staff save Karl von Leinstel, Nicodemus Grefter, and Rosalind Nostromo who he left as commanding officer, to oversee the repairs, and ready to instigate emergency navigation respectively. Instead, he joined the others on various minor endeavors whilst in the expanse of dead ships.

 

The first of these was when Marek Orpheus invited Adrian to investigate a derelict vessel of interest with him. The ship of note was a Gladius-Class Frigate, a vessel of Adeptus Astartes origin, the Finishing Blow. It was snapped brutally in half, and many of its exteriors bore the scorching marks of fire and scars of battle. A party of Orpheus and Calvinus troops led by the Rogue Traders themselves boarded the derelict vessel. The barest signitures of power could be found, and the interior was badly wrecked with not a body to be found. Its ancient markings and heraldry identified it as belonging the Vorpal Swords chapter. Once this was relayed, the scholars aboard the Final Dirge identified them as the only chapter to have returned from the ill-fated Abyssal Crusade. The two Rogue Traders forced their way through many sections of the ship. On the remnants of a secondary bridge to be used if the main was decapitated, they discovered the badly degraded cogitators of the vessel bearings its name and corrupted logs of events and crew. In the armories they found a bare handful of unusable weaponry all emblazoned with their crossed swords sigil. Finally they forced their way into a forgotten cargo hold which still had minor power being drawn from a land raider to keep the doors sealed. The reason for these locks could not be determined. Cargo of midling interest—large collections of combat knives, a handful of bolter styled weapons, vox caster units, and other minor wargear was collected. Orpheus bartered to keep only the land raider while Adrian acquired the rest of the items.

 

Two days after joining Marek, Basson contacted Adrian as the nearest vessel and asked for his assistance. He had discovered a strange, unshapely mass of adamantine ship hulls fused together which the navigators and astropaths of his ships described as reeking of the warp. Adrian and Magos Boras Kominiski investigated the exterior—believing it to be a proto-spacehulk, its mass made up of roughly three cruiser-sized vessels and at least three other smaller ships. Basson intended to board the minature hulk and purge whatever he found there—enrolling Adrian and his soldiers in the effort. The force descended on the vessel finding at first nothing more than stale air and empty, rusted corridors. Once they had advanced sufficiently within the vessel, however, attacks began to occurred from massed forces of deranged mutants. Whatever their origins, these creatures were hideously deformed and unerringly brutal with massed attacks of suicidal ferocity. The Dondonell and Calvinus soldiers fought their way free of the ship but not before slaying hundreds of the creatures including an esepcially hardy and determined man-like creature wielding a black blade of unrecognizable metal which glowed with a sickly green light. After his body was melted by Lord Captain’s fusion pistol, his asassin Chaldia battered the blade into fragments with her null rod. Once free from the vessel, Basson ordered the Under Watchful Eyes to turn a full broadside upon it until the body of the ship was no more than unlivable fragments.

 

 

 

 

Journey to the Battlegrounds

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