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. Andrian 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 Andrian Calvinus, and both Rogue Traders attended the ball.

 

Upon arrival, Andrian 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. Andrian 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.

 

Andrian 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 Andrian. 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. Andrian 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. Andrian 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 here in the Battlegrounds. He and several other Rogue Traders had pursued Esmerelda Harlock and Yasha Rurik to the Battlegrounds based on rumors that Esmerelda had discovered a find of unimaginable value that she refused to share the knowledge of. There, the many Rogue Traders and then reavers who had been hiding inside the wreckage fought an extended battle. He guessed that nearly fifty ships all told fought, and many had added their broken bodies to this graveyard. In the end, his ship had fought the Arcadia, the Secutor-Class Monitor-Cruiser and flagship of Esmerelda Harlock. When his own vessel—the Sacrament of Revenge—was defeated, it had been Sir Ashur de M’Queve who had demanded and accepted his surrender.

 

When the battle was fully finished, it was Sir Ashur who had entered his ship with armsmen and took Basson prisoner. Revealed then to Basson, Sir Ashur as well as Esmeralda Harlock were both working for the Inquisitor Tobias Jones. Their purpose in the Battleground was not fully revealed to either man, but Ashur related to the Calvinus and Orpheus officers that this was during the Scintillian Unrest when the Calixian Inquisitors were at one another’s throats. Whatever the case, they were searching the battleground for something mentioned in passing during their previous investigations. For two weeks they searched, and in that time, Stryxis Caravans arrived bearing goods. They sought to trade for ship repairs. Yasha Rurik agreed to have her ships serviced by them and watch over the Sacrament of Revenge as it was repaired as Sir Ashur already planned on making it his own as part of Basson’s ransom.

 

At the end of these two weeks, however, Tobias Jones seemingly found what he sought: an ancient ship of massive size and archaic design—the Aegis Dominus, an Ironclad-Class Battleship. As they began to probe the vessel, they discovered it barely powered but still containing life-signs and emanating a strange warp ripple. As the Arcadia slowly circled this ancient ship, a meeting was held between Tobias Jones and his acolytes. By this time, Basson had discovered their identities and asked to join them in their quest to safeguard the Imperium, and he sat in as both Ashur’s prisoner and man-at-arms. Warpstorms raged around the Battleground blocking their exit, and the considered the possibility of assaulting the Ironclad which appeared to contain members of the Sons of Horus long since forgotten by time and yet still active and fighting any who entered.

 

During the meeting to discuss their future, the augur detected a ship leaving the warp storm. It was the Terrible Ultimatum, a Gothic-Class Cruiser in service of Inquisitor Tyson Korinth of the Ordo Xenos and carrying Inquisitor Hadrian Wells of the Ordo Hereticus, Tobias Jones supposedly-dead mentor. They took this as a sign from the God Emperor who would allow Jones and Korinth to arrive but none of them to leave. The Terrible Ultimatum was docked with the Aegis Dominus. Tobias Jones, Hadrian Wells, and their acolytes entered onto the vessel as Tyson Korinth held the beachhead and Ashur and Basson aboard the Arcadia patrolled the nearby space in guard against interlopers. Time passed until the clocks reached exactly thirteen hours into the expedition, and then, without warning, the warp opened to swallow whole both the Terrible Ultimatum and the Aegis Dominus. As it occurred, the warp storms surrounding the Battlegrounds swirled violently disrupting all communications and augurs before suddenly fading.

 

As they faded, a garbled distress message from Yasha Rurik was intercepted on the Arcadia. Ashur demanded the course changed, and the cruiser fought to reach the outer limits of the Battlegrounds through the scrap and hazards of the Battlegrounds. Once they managed to break free of the detritus,

 

 

Journey to the Battlegrounds

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