Maras leant back on his stool, his back resting on the cold surface of the metal sheeting that formed the armoured layer of the gate house he watched over. Guard duty was a bore but every clan amongst the throng took turns on the outer gates of the camp each week, watching the unending gloom that surrounded the Iron blades was enough to drive some mad and the odd clan would use it as a chance to shift off the most tedious of their warriors for a few days as the usual back biting set in when ever the Iron blade became to settled. Stretching for a moment he picked up the oil soaked cloth lying to his immediate right from its resting place on an up turned food crate and set back to polishing the surface of the sword lying across his lap . 40 inches of hardened steel made from salvaged cross beams Maras carefully went over every millimetre of the weapon with a due care and attention that a war-forger would be jealous off, but then Maras was Blood marked; and Blood marked prided themselves on their blades and their ability to stand in battle far longer than any other. Closing his eyes he could hear the Huscarl barking practice stances at him and the other clanless children as they took the Blood marked rite of passage, the ever present shadow like adjudicators watching from the corners for any who showed the signs of something more to come. 3 straight days with no sleep and constant combat drill followed by a full day of no food or water testing their endurance, He grinned as he saw in his minds eye out of the 30 that had started him and two others were the only ones who has passed and earned their place amongst clan and kin. Shaking himself from his thoughts he looked over his sword, the etched runic patterns and inscribed names running down the length of it calling to him as he nodded to himself and re sheathed it before lying it back to rest next to his shield. “Playing with your sword again” a voice sniggered from beside him accompanied by the sounds of foot steps. Looking over a thin lass bearing a blue spiral tattoo over one side of her face carrying a long arm stood looking at him from the entrance to the top of the tower, “Only waiting for you to bother showing up Knife ear” He quipped back with a smirk as she laughed. A member of the reave clan camped next to his own clan she had volunteered to share watch duty with him when both of their clans had been picked to cover the eastern gate. “Pffft, surprised you weren’t still out cold after all that drink last night you blood boys put away” she chuckled as Maras stood, “At least we can hold our drink unlike you weaklings ” he grinned at her as she flipped a middle digit his way smiling. “Anything bothered coming to die yet then?” She asked as she picked up a pair of dented binoculars sat on the tower lip “Nothing bare a couple of scavengers passing by” Maras shrugged “Seems too quiet to me but I think the waiting is getting to me” “Know what you mean bloodmark” Knife-ear nodded in agreement “The rites in my clan are getting twitchy” “Same with mine” Maras agreed “Sitting this close to the Hive-sec fort is getting on their nerves something chronic” “The thane keeps petitioning the Thaigs to let them loss on it but keep being told no” Knife-ear lowered the binoculars looking at Maras “Your lot know what the hell is going on with that thing?” She jerked a thumb at the squat ugly outpost in the distance “Some kinda deal been made with the Seccers apparently” Maras scratched his chin “One of the lads got drinking with a shadow clan last night and according to them the Hersekal from Clan earl held a moot to hash it out with them” “Feck” Knife-ear raised an eyebrow “Right pally with them aren't they” she rolled her eyes “Upto the council on that one, seems to be working so far” Maras nodded. He’d run into a couple of Hive-sec before and they’d come across as arrogant as ever but respectful as only fellow true warriors could be he supposed, “Guessing they have something the Thaigs want if they’ve sorted it out” Knife ear leant on the lip of the tower as she watched the darkness, her jade eyes peering into the darkness. Maras simply shrugged and picked up the binoculars to look for himself, “If the rumours coming out of the green holds are true there might be more to it mind” He panned the binoculars round as Knife-ear looked over at him with a quizzical expression “Just gutter whispers but something to do with the Kill lords or something” “Shrills teeth” Knife-ear muttered. Every cellborn knew of the Kill lords growing up, psychotic killers who never left any trace they were there beyond the dead they had claimed from their kills. “Don’t reckon we stepped on their tails being here?” She asked Maras who simply shrugged, “Doubt it, we’d have known by now but something is going on and its got a bad scent to it, mark me on that” He replied in a low tone. Both stood in silence for a few moments as they both reflected on what the situation in the green holds could mean for the greater clans at large before a sudden movement in the darkness pulled them from their own thoughts with a quick snap. “Who goes there, Show yourselves” Maras bellowed into the darkness as Knife-ear yelled at the other guards to make ready as they sprinted up to the gate top, the sound of thundering feet on metal stairs ringing out around them. Stepping forwards into the edges of the light cast from the gate towers a single figure dressed in long coat over a well fitting suit escorted by two more figures clad in black and green tactical armour spoke in a soft accent, “My name is Dmitri, My employer sends me with tidings for your general and his kin, we have a proposition for him...”
Military Campaign Progress Edit
Honour and oaths are strange whims amongst the greater aspect of humanity, permeating every inch of a society and culture they can become core tenants by which a single individual ascribes their worth amongst a much larger entity whilst at the same time the meanings and status placed upon their completion or respect being nothing more than words of a simple promise at their very heart. Spanning the gaps between cultures across time each great collection of humanity has birthed societies with the concept of a warrior's code locked into their very being, from the earliest tribes of god fearing warriors through to the great city states of the Greek's with their immortalised Spartans, From the rise of the chivalric code displayed by so much of the nobility of Europe in the middle ages, and the rise of the samurai of the islands of Japan to the code of brotherhood in the air when mankind first harnessed machine flight, onto the ingrained sense of pride and humanity where soldiers of the 21st century would stand to protect civilians of any origin against the atrocities that faced them no matter where in the world they were. That shared sense of right and wrong born of blood and sweat shared by warriors the world over beats like a heart, drawing those with the respect and admiration for it together, even if they were once sworn enemies the common bound would see them stand shoulder to shoulder and fight for the soldier next to them, and should they face one another in the chaos of battle once more, the bond of honour would see each stand with respect for their enemies and care for those wounded no matter the allegiance and find it returned in kind by brothers and sisters from another land.
For the great and small of the Cellborn their numberless clans spread through their territories, with these ancient lines of blood that have past through time and centuries of blood shed to change time and again into new forms creating a large core of their identity, as their universal belief in the strength of ones self no matter the form or shape binds a warriors life style to them like a well worn skin so that no matter the origin any other warrior can see it in how they carry themselves, their presence and group attitude giving off the air of a people dedicated to their way of life, and should you stand with them they will always stand with you, bringing the full force that the strength of honour and the oaths of friendship made to bear with savage fury. In this the cost when honour is slighted or oaths broken is great indeed however, for those that wish to climb the very highest peaks find they have the furthest to fall should one step fall afoul of where it should have been placed no matter the intention. Where one loses their path upon the line between the constant shift in clan politics or fall afoul of another rules when bound by them the cellborn can find that not just one member of the clan is affected but the whole as a singular entity, standing together in punishment as they do in triumph, brothers and sisters all. But here the beginnings of legends can be found where one would stand forward to carry the burden alone for the actions of the rest, the lone wolf that bears its throat to the bears before it, willing to walk the path alone so that the pack might yet live.
The days of the first week of the new season are met with a cold edge that catches at every member of the Iron blade, something stirs in the air around them as if some shift in perception catches at every individuals senses at the same time. Most put it down to the air filters for the territory switching as they often do before a wet cycle but the more superstitious clans keep their eyes on the boundary of the army’s camp just in case as old tales do the rounds of ill omen and bad blood mixing to cause chaos in the darkness. The younger indentured amongst the various throngs settle themselves with the usual round of impromptu fights and pit brawls with their clan mates and rivals from other war-bands as the nights draw in, various areas in the teeming war camp echoing with the roars of triumph as the name of the victor rings through the air, whilst the cries of anguish at bitter defeats leave brawls spilling out amongst a few clans as they settle their slighted honour in the oldest of traditions leaving a trio of bars completely trashed as the fights pour through them as patrons watch own and throw bets on the winners whilst slugging back their drinks. The fight only ends after entering its 12th hour when the two main combatants; a hulking indentured from the Black eyes and an whip like indentured from the Sawteeth, crash through an adjoining tent wall into the sleeping area of an adjudicator. The angry roaring of the now awakened half naked adjudicator followed by the swift application of the pommel end of their axe to the heads of both fighters puts an end to the fight before a couple other adjudicators turn up to handle the wergild owed to the owning clans of the ruined bars. The two dazed indentured sit mollified as those following the fight look on laughing at their dumbfounded looks whilst the adjudicators hold off another clan from starting the fight all over again as a rite hurls the broken haft of a piece of machinery at one of the indentured followed by a flurry of language that earns the a punch to the gut from the nearest adjudicator, the rite swiftly shutting up afterwards. This cycle of clans clashing in their usual pattern of boredom continues on for another week or so with out really escalating as the army twitches and shifts like a attack dog stuck in its kennel with too much energy, some of the thanes hold a moot to petition the Thaigs of the army to get the Hersekal to get them shifting or at least let them loose on the Hive-sec Outpost, a few of the more head strong clans already assembling rites to head into strip the place before receiving an answer. The answer they get knocks the wind out of them as the Thaigs respond with the hersekal’s decision, no rite shall enter the outpost until distant hands arrive. The thanes look at one another in puzzlement at the answer, “who else would they need to get into the outpost besides their own sweat and blood?”. Some spend days scratching their heads at the comment as they attempt to come up with a meaning beyond a cryptic ’No’ from the Hersekal of clan earl, however a few clans more astute in the political sense find after quietly asking around they may have a better answer after an evening drinking with an ancient rite from the shadow clan accompanying the army. Old cellborn logic dictates that in a fight with a crazed indentured through your own crazed into the mix to level the playing field, in that sense who would be the best to deactivate an old pissed off hive-sec outpost, the simple answer is of course the obvious, Hive-sec.
The third week passes with little sign of what the clans suspect is an incoming throng of hive-sec warriors whilst the other clans make themselves busy in their usual fashion when the army holts somewhere for longer than expected, keeping the adjudicators busy smacking heads together and laughing with one another afterwards over drinks. The last day of the week though catches the army’s attention however as the obvious answer to the quiet question finally arrives, leaving some to nod to one another as their astute guesses proves right. The sound of rumbling greets the gate guards of the western approach early in the morning as the clan on duty calls their warriors to order in case of an attack, what their eyes glean from the darkness however is a par of outriders leaving a trail of dust behind them, a rusted and battered truck following behind them as they slow and finally pull up at the gate. The truck comes to a holt behind them with the driver visible behind the cracked window screen, his urban camo uniform and military grade gear sticking out like a saw thumb amongst the swathe of personalised runic covered armour worn by the cellborn clansmen. The gate guards look on in amazement as out of the side of the truck two figures clamber out, one clearly a scout of some sort accompanied by the hive-sec equivalent of a rite, both well geared and bearing the symbol crest of something called ‘Task force dominus’. A quick runner is sent to the thaigs to ascertain if these Seccers were expected, the response is an adjudicator returning with the runner accompanied by a member of clan earl who order the gate opened, the two outriders peeling out of the way to let the truck through, the two hive-seccers wondering through with it, their eyes focussed fully ahead of them. They talk briefly with the member from clan earl alongside the adjudicator in terse clipped tones before being escorted to the hersekal’s tent, their truck being directed to park up in a cleared area that is swiftly made for them, a group of 10 or so other hive-sec personal clambering out and setting up some equipment alongside rapidly erecting a field tent beside the truck. What is said between these two hive-sec warriors, the Hersekal and thaigs of the Iron blade is widely speculated as rites and indentured from every clan clamour to get a look at the strangers in their midst, one rite gets cocky and wonders up to the smaller of the two bearing their name on her body armour and grabs hold of the rifle, laughing about the ’weakness’ of the weapon, daring the Seccer to take it back. A few seconds later the same rite is rolling in the dirt, blood pouring from their face with a knife held to their throat as the Hive-seccer calmly explains the way of things to the cocky rite in a short and pointed manner. Getting up to follow the other lead Hive-sec member and the representative of clan earl the surrounding Cellborn chuckle in amusement at the rite’s pain, a few giving approving nods at the Seccer as one clansmen walks over to the rite and takes the knife from his belt chucking it to seccer with a nod, “Wergild for insult” the clansmen calls in a thick accent as the Seccer deftly catches it and wonders on. Little is seen of the seccers over the final week of the first month as the Hive-seccers keep to themselves, leaving and returning each morning from the outpost via the eastern gate with small bits of kit, occasionally taking a small group of the other seccers with them before returning carrying other larger pieces of kit.
The dawn of the second month reveals why in short order, during the first moot of the thaigs the two lead Seccers are escorted in and present their report to the assembled Thaigs, the Hersekal himself giving a nod from his throne at the centre rear of the tent. A couple of hours later and accompanied by a few selected rites the entire contingent of Hive-seccers packs up their camp and heads out towards the outpost with the truck in toe, the Rites following them debating amongst themselves about what they may find or get access to within the old outpost. Echoes roll down towards the Iron blades camp over the course of the following day that catches a few on edge as the sound of electric snaps and pops, followed by the muffed crump of a detonation of some sort drifts steadily through the air over the camp, some indentured get twitchy enough to dare to venture out to find out what is happening but are stopped by one of the thaigs at the gate. These indentured argue their case for checking on the rites from their clan that accompanied the seccers but are again held from leaving as the thaig explains to the agitated indentured the way of the seccers. Listening the warriors calm as the deal made is let known finally to the clansmen assembled around the gate. After holding a moot of the clans assembled in the green place the Cellborn present erred on the side of caution with the outpost after a strange group of seccers was spotted arriving in their joined camp, talks would reveal these warriors to have been kill lords and the leaders of Hive-sec were well aware of what had happened at the outpost. Quick talks between the thanes of both sides hashed out a deal that would leave the outpost in the hands of the cellborn at the cost of the required parts dictated by hive-sec being removed and taken away with them for their needs. Past honours shown by both sides had been played fair in this the word goes round and the assembled clans wait for the seccers and rites to return. When they do the truck is packed full of half assembled equipment and pallets of munitions, crates stacked up and secured lining the back so much the vehicle creaks as it moves, the other hive-sec members riding atop of it inside of in the now extremely packed rear bay. The rites wondering in grin like children and seemed to vibrate with energy as they chat amicably with one of the Seccers before reporting to their thanes and the Iron blade’s Thaigs. The Hive-seccers make one stop before leaving, unloading a number of crates filled with munitions, some older weapons and a few deploy-able weapon mounts with one crate being tagged with ’For the Khans’ as it is handed over. With that that the hive-sec leave as they came, with little words and are soon gone into the darkness once more, leaving the Iron blades and cellborn with an empty outpost free to occupy and a stack of military supplies to utilise as they see fit.
The next couple of weeks sees a frenzy of activity particularly amongst the rites of the army as various talks are held over what to do with the supplies and the outpost now they have free access to it. The first moot amongst the Thaigs sees the Hersekal order the army into their new prize with a fervour, leading his clan from the fore in a rush to the outpost though some notice with a pace that seems not just drawn by his eagerness at a new land to proper hold but by some other motivation. By the midst of the fourth week the army settles itself to roost in the outpost, every clan exploring and looking the position over with an eager eye as some begin to lay claim to certain areas whilst others test themselves against others in contests for rites to ownership. The outpost is clearly in workable condition and formidable even with the automated defences stripped out as the army finds what exactly the Hive-sec took with them, automated control systems, banks of computers, deploy-able barricades, defence arrays and several stock rooms worth of surviving munitions have been seized and taken away, however two rooms have been left with a note on one simply stating ‘All’s Fair Earl’. Cracking the door open reveals a number of crates of useful supplies including addition mundane medical gear, some basic portable generators and a few crates of more munitions. These are quickly sent back to the holds as the Thaigs chat over drinks that night as the clans cheers and cry into the darkness, the first watch lights circling the battlement walls as the Iron blade make themselves truly at home. One thing is noted however amongst the jubilation as some look to the Hersekal, whilst the rest are smiling and enjoying themselves he’s spotted on the southern wall looking out into the darkness, his presence noting at something hanging in the night that if you push the roaring fires and laughing to one side sits in the army, like a spring loaded to go off when something comes to pass. During that night the Hersekal remains sat at the top of one of the highest points of the tower accompanied only by a lone Adjudicator; a heavy two handed axe sat by his side as the two simply look on, one hound sensing the possible doom of another yet to come as neither utters a single word.
Following this night of tribulation and merriment the army finds itself in an eager mood to get going once more as the various clans clash in tests of strength to decide who will take the honour of the leading the next charge, or being the first to test the walls of the next siege amongst their fellows. Of the Hersekal nothing is seen beyond his appearance at the same point of the highest tower for several days, as if expecting something or someone else to arrive from out of the darkened ruins. Always the same adjudicator is seen, sat watching quietly from the side of an open stair way, like a guard warding others way to leave the Hersekal to his thoughts. A few question the army’s senior adjudicator on who that one is and the response that comes leads others to wonder if that two handed axemen is awaiting the same thing the Hersekal is, a lone soldier accompanying another through a storm they both see on the horizon. When that storm does finally break a few days later it comes in a form that even the hardest indentured would break and snap before its sheer brutal weight. Early into the night of the final day of the second month the watch guards on the main approach gate to the outpost notice a couple of lights glinting in the old camp area to the east of the outpost, they fob it off as scavengers until a few hours afterwards the pair of lights changes to three light sources that begin to collect and head straight towards the outpost. One of the older clansmen on duty roars down at the gate guards as the sound of rousing clans fills the outpost over the next few minutes, the roar to arms and war cries of dozen of clans making ready in the courtyard filling the air with a thunderous tone. The walls are manned rapidly as the Iron blade finds its new ‘Cold shield’ possibly being put to the test already, search lights are swung round to focus on the main road leading up to the gate house as the light sources grow and grow as they get closer and closer. Some clans men begin to sing war songs to steady the nerves of the younger amongst them, a great cry goes up when the Hersekal in full war plate steps out into the court yard, flanked by the lone Adjudicator spotted days before hand. Some roar for war whilst others cry for battle, a stern snap from the Hersekal silences them all as he orders the Gates opened and the courtyard cleared immediately, The clans look on puzzled as he wonders to the gate, stopping as they are pulled side so that he may see the lights for himself. Stepping into the beams of the wall searchlights the approaching entities emerge from the darkness, their helmet mounted lights and heavy weaponry clear to see as the logo emblazoned on their face plates and carapace like bodies of armour plate, Dead men, Iron soul, Arbiter.
The dawn of the Third month would pass by the assembled Iron blades as they stood in silence, the sound of the wind wiping around them as at the entrance to their new outpost stood not one, but 5 Arbiters glad in the heaviest armour any cellborn has ever seen. Every clan had their tales about the arbiters stretching back to even before the time of the fall when the clans were but a figment of a dream in a gang lords mind, terror stories told to children to keep them from crime that the apocalypse of the fall brought into reality and became the walking embodiment of dread amongst all those with something to fear. And now that dread terror stood before them like a cold steel to them that forced the gaze from them with an all consuming authority. In perfect synch the five Arbiters stepped into the courtyard through the gate and walked up to where the Hersekal was stood; the adjudicator stood at his shoulder with his axe resting on the floor, Stopping in a nanosecond of one another as each flanker turned to appraise the assembled cellborn around them. Without a word the two centre arbiters produced binders and cuffs as the lead arbiter took a slate from its pocket and spoke to the Hersekal who remained quiet, before in turn the arbiter spoke to the Adjudicator in the manner one would take with a subordinate. One of the Thaigs took a step from where they were flanked by two of their indentured, but were stopped in their tracks by a snapped order from the hersekal as in motion the moment they moved the two flanking arbiters drew their side arms and perfectly in motion levelled them squarely at the Thaig. Turning to his Rear the hersekal beckoned one of his clan forward and passed his blade of rank to him to be returned to the Thaigs before returning his gaze to the arbiters and nodding, a momentary glance at the Lone Adjudicator beside him conferring some kind of message as the Adjudicator simply nodded and offered a hand in respect.
At this the arbiters all turned with the last waiting for the hersekal to be cuffed before being lead away into the darkness of the night and the silence of the ruins, the assembled cellborn of the Iron blade looking on in awe and dread as the last arbiter spoke in a low gravel ridden tone “Those that shall forfeit the rules of the Agri-dome and bring ruin to life so shall they forfeit their own life in the eyes of judgement, this is your last and only warning”, leaving the lone Adjudicator standing amongst the courtyard of assembled cellborn with nought but the wind wiping through the sullen dusk air…
The Iron Blade has remained in positon in the most recently secured territory, and with the assistance in the Agri-dome of the Cellborn Clans present secured an agreement with Hive-Sec to deactivate the outpost located there operating on automatic. Accordingly Hive-sec forces have removed a lot of military hardware and supplies, including a number of the automated weapons systems, but have left outpost fully intact structurally and with man-able defences still in place for the cellborn to occupy. Accordingly the territory no longer features a hostile fortification, and instead features a Level 1 Military fort that will act as the defence for that territory with a garrison strength of 500 for the terms of resolving conflicts on the downtime map. The upkeep for this fort will be passed onto the faction logistics handler at the next event to maintain.
Fate’s Toll Edit
With every act of grandeur there is always an act of loss, with every ray of sunshine on an warm day there is a cloud to once again bring forth the cold, for each and every action there is always an ever present chance for a fall to come that some would see whilst others would remain oblivious too. The same can be said for every good action there will always be a bad reaction from someone somewhere in life and none more than in the realm of politics when war has broken out between two factions or cultures in a shared world. For the Cellborn this challenge is often taken to heart, where loss can bring forth new life, where war can become a new home for people who have yet been given a chance to stand for themselves and roar their defiance into the night. The problem comes where an action taken in haste can become the fall none would see coming, as such during the beginning of the third month of the season the Hersekal of the Iron blades was arrested by the arbiters after they let themselves be known as taking full personal responsibility for the group murder of a member of the lost within the agri-dome whilst within the bounds of the joined camp located there, the risk of bringing some form of open warfare into the sole food location of the ruins mandated such a response that across Cellborn territory arbiters have shown themselves in force as a very real and visible warning of how close to a line that should never be crossed the cellborn had come to crossing. During the baying of the most recent Council moot every clan present clamoured and cried the same question into the air “Who and Why???”. Bringing the baying to order the high adjudicator let the council make their words known through the noise and sea of voices, the Skull rakes and verves applauded the Earls show of strength whilst the Grey-blades questioned only the location of the action. The shadow clan’s Thane, the Crow mother, weighed the action versus the consequence, and agreed the job needed doing but the young clan could learn positioning before they do it again she posited with a knife like smile. The Shield born’s Thane made he would not see any clans strength decimated for making the right decision, but they would not risk the wrath of the Iron souled equally. After this the moot turned into a seething mass of voices before the high adjudicator once more silenced the voices and called the moot to its end. “The consequences would be wrought and Clan earl would make their way as they had from the gutter to the young clan standing amongst giants as they had done this last year” She stated coldly, “If they are truly made of the iron that forges our strength they will endure and forge a legend that will be remembered as walking the dead path into the shadows carrying our fire of purpose with them, burning all weakness away or they shall fall to nothing”…
1) With the arrest of the Hersekal of the Iron blade by the Arbiters for the actions in the agri-dome last season a new Hersekal will need to be elected during this season, All may stand for the position with Voting to be completed by Saturday morning at 11:00am. The result is to be reported to the Adjudicator known as the Lone Soldier (Current Cellborn DPC)
2) With a new fort know in the possession of the cellborn alongside a stock pile of supplies there is multiple outcomes that cane be chosen with what to do with said supplies, this will be put to a moot for Vote during Friday evening and is to be reported to the Adjudicator known as the Lone Soldier (Current Cellborn DPC) by Saturday morning at 11:00am latest.
3) A small group of strangers bearing the kit and markings of the ‘Gun-runners’ that the cellborn have been working alongside to deal with the black market separatists has arrived with a proposition from their leader, They will arrive in camp sometime on the Saturday during the evening.