This article is reprinted with permission from "From The Warp".

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The Sword of Terra drifted in silence in orbit of Agrippanna II. The sleek black and crimson Battle Cruiser hovered at the edge of nightfall hidden from view and sensors scans. A predator slowly stalking its prey, the Gothic ship sat poised to strike....Waiting....A small pierce of light and untangable glimpse into the buring Void of the warp. The Imperial fleet exited Warp space one at a time. This transition took seconds, the autonamous functions taking over and readily replotting coordinates to the Cadian Sector and setting up for jump. As quickly as they emerged they began to jump again. One by one until the Sword of Terra Struck. Demonically Cloaked minefields detonated brilliant flashes into the darkness of space. The concussions ripped apart escorts and tore holes in cruisers. Salvo after Salvo lanced out from the Sword of Terra quickly dispaching the remaining ships in the convoy.

Kresh Watched with Cold impatience, following Abbaddons directives was easy enough but time was slowly becoming his enemy. The fates of chaos had dealt him a cruel twist, his search for Praxius came to an end in the Cadian sector. He had proof of his demise during the 13th Crusade. Denied his vengence he fell into working with Abbaddon to destabalize Cadian reenforcements, but not so much that he draw the attention of the Imperium down upon his fleet. Kresh mused that by now he had definately worn out his welcome with both Abbaddon and The Imperium couple that with the shift in the ruinous powers of chaos things are about to change and not necessarily for the better.

Kresh had spent the past few weeks study and researching through the Libraums of Chaotica to find sense in the shift with in the ruinous powers. Demonic legions have all but dissappered and psychers have become so much more powerful. Abbadon has become almost godlike in his abilities but these subtle shifts have changed the overall structure of battle within the forces of chaos. A balance has been restored or upset he could not tell, but he intened to find out. All reasons for the shift were still unknown, but most of the clues pointed towards a warped spawned artifact simply described as "The Dragons Tear" He had deemed it was time to find this artifact and see about putting it to some good use. Especially if he decided to take up arms against the Black legion..."Helm bring us about New heading mark 52 point 4 Sol system...Order the fleet to follow my lead...Execute Jump"...For a brief moment Kresh felt a presence in the warp watching, trying to reach him..however brief and unsettling...

Part politician, part archeologist, part investigator but never enough time to do the job he was sworn to do.

The role of politician was the one he despised most.

He could understand the hunt for information. The more he knew, the more he understood... and with understanding came the power to defeat those who dare stand against the Emperor.

Sitting calmly in his chambers, his mind began to wander.

The images flashed in his mind, thoughts and pictures tearing at the fabric of his conscious. He did not posses the skills of a "true" psyker but had the gift of sight it had been said. On many occasions he had seen events and conclusions not yet decided. As much of a blessing as it was, it was a curse.

As quickly as they came, they disappeared.

Frantically trying to capture them before they faded completely from his memory, he messily scribbled shorthand notes into the book that lay open in front of him.

"Black... crimson... Battle Cruiser... "

He paused for a second, trying desperately to reach back and grab the last fleeting images in his consciousness.

"The Sol system... "

Nothing more, just black.

His head pounded after a few seconds in this mind state.

Leaning back in his chair, Inquisitor Tuor made a note to do a little research into these images after taking care of some more pressing matters.

Communication between astropath computers were in milliseconds.....The Sword of Terra plotted and replotted the distance between galaxies in mere moments...Sector Alpha Centari....Helios cluster AlphaM45....Status Jump Point confirmed Navigational beacon Coded Omega...Readback....Jump point classified....NonNavigable....Unused....Last usage Circa MM35.24.12... "Lord Kresh....Sir the astropath computers comfirm this warp point last usage 5 millenium ago..." "Good job... Helm execute jump to Helios system....This will place us one jump from the Sol system and undetected. Begin plotting our exit vector and extrapolate an intersystem arrival. Use Reversion sequence Kresh Alpha 2. It was just dumb luck that he found this lost navigational path. The Tombs of Chaotica pointed him to this system as a long ago path to the stars. But never did he believe that the Imperium would still have marker beacons in place to use and vector from. This was going too easy....' Set condition One be ready for anything....Claxons sounded and the Fleet took up defensive postions just in case the jump ended poorly....One by one the Fleet entered the warp... Next stop Helios AlphaM45.. Then Terra...

Finding enough time to finish any one task was a herculean job in itself.

Despite being involved in lengthy briefings with Segmentum Commanders, Tuor managed to secure a few hours to review his notes from the previous day.

Those last images kept nagging at his subconscious, he needed to figure out the puzzle that lay in front of him. This was something more than just a fleeting vision.

Pulling out his book, he looked at his notes again.

Of everything on the page that worried him, the words "Sol system" bothered him the most. Anything involving Segmentum Solar would draw the attention of a number of powerful players. He had to figure out what Battle Cruiser he had seen.

After accessing his ship's database and inputting the key words, the results yielded only a handful of possible Battle Cruisers that matched his search.

Of all the results, one Cruiser stood out among the rest.

Designated "The Sword of Terra," she was a Battle Cruiser with horribly incomplete records, but known to be under the power of Chaos.

Recent reports put the Cruiser operating near the Cadian theater. Those last entries were sketchy at best and could hardly be counted on for accuracy. Still, this placed the "The Sword of Terra" dangerously close to Segmentum Solar.

It wasn't much but demanded further attention.

Running a lateral check of all Segmentum Solar Nav points yielded no results on any recent jumps that might possibly place the Battle Cruiser in a particular sector. Tuor decided to set about learning the Captain of "The Sword of Terra" in hopes of discovering it's true purpose.

If she was still operating in the Cadian theater, she wouldn't be there much longer.

The Battle for Vexium IV, Medusa... the list went on.

There was a short Imperial entry regarding Medusa Sector operations involving the Black Templars. Under the Command of Marshal Hadrea, the Black Templars had engaged the "The Sword of Terra" near a remote Marine outpost.

There was only one Marine survivor.

A Chaplain by the name of Rorex.

The official Imperial record ended there.

It had been flagged with a security clearance to be able to review Inquisitional comments. Since the engagement, Inquisitional sources had made a number of unofficial additions to the report. This was not uncommon on reports that included Imperial Guard but rarely done in the case of Space Marines.

Gaining security clearance, Tuor continued reading.

... found with a sword driven clean through his armour and into his heart, he (Chaplain Rorex) made a miraculous recovery.

... it is said that the blade of the very weapon that almost took his life was fashioned into the Lightning Claws he now yields.

It was also rumored that the death of Inquisitor Feridagh was at the hands of Chaplain Rorex during the investigation that followed the battle.

He read on for hours into the night.

With the dawn of the new day came the realization that nothing in the official records or even these additional comments would point towards the Captain of "The Sword of Terra." At best, he might gleam an obscure title or name but that was wishful thinking.

It was only when Tuor accessed the secured files of Inquisitor Feridagh, did he learn of "The Sword of Terra."

Alarm Claxons sounded and Heavy Vibrations and shuddering were felt throughout the Massive ship as it entered realspace. "REPORT"..My lord we exited into realspace....registering massive shield impacts Cruisers Fury and Talon have coded Omega...Three escorts destroyed.. Blast waves incomming....Shields down Reversion cruiser SALENT KISS Overlaping working... "My lord we entered and asteroid field at exit point In ALPHA CENTARI Helious Cluster M45....Blast waves from the first destroyed has clear a path for the rest of the fleet..."Damage report and give me visual"... the Densily packed asteroid field was scattering in all directions thanks to the fleets arrival..Piggybacking shields from cruiser to cruiser usually worked except for Escorts...It was difficult to shield them adequately you just had to hope for the best most of the time....Now we know why this area of space was deemed UnNavigable...No matter... Exec wheres my damage report...'Lord Kresh, we have lost 5 escorts, 2 cruisers....two other cruiser reporting serious damage to propulsion and shielding...The Sword of Terra's primary generators are down and minor damage to bow hull plating...Demonic Fleet at full capacity'... Kresh Mused..Nominal damage overall..."Thats why the Pawns go first" exec...Sir?...Nevermind It was just something Fabius Bile used to say during my tenure as one of his Protege..."Begin finding a path through this mess and intiate repairs. The jump to the sol system is just one away I need Helm to plot me the exact distance that I will need in order to Hijack the Inquisition signal from the Archive posts on Terra. We can't jump into the systm until I plan this out to the letter..'My Lord?'...The Inquisition Keeps Detailed records of everything that has ever transpired to the Emperium of Man if the Dragons Tear has ever been mentioned or seen it will reside in those files. I need to gain access...

The words blurred together... but he continued to read. the helm of "The Sword of Terra" stands the Chaos Lord Kresh.

He had come to power years before in the manner that many of them do.

The text continued for some length and at points making Tuor sick to himself just reading Feridagh's notes.

Inquisitor Feridagh was not liked by many. His death, while certainly unfortunate, was not a huge loss to the Inquisition. Still, he kept impeccable field notes and dutifully logged his data as anyone following the letter of the law would.

To this end, Tuor would learn more than he could have anticipated.

It was the knock at his door that brought his attention back to the present. Nothing out of the ordinary at first but after hearing the full report, he knew he just might have found what he was looking for.

There had been a jump made in the past couple of minutes in the Alpha Centari Sector. More specifically, Helios Cluster Alpha M45. There were only a handful of beacons that were coded Omega left in the Imperium and there were even fewer ship Captains who knew of them. Years ago, the Imperium began a dismantling and overhauling process to update the beacons for newer technology. Whatever came out at that Omega beacon picked that location for a reason.

Moments later, on the Command bridge, Tuor learned the rest of it.

"Plot for Segmentum Solar, Gamma Level Clearance," Tuor ordered.

"Right away Sir."

"Find out what Chapters of Adeptus Astartes are operating in proximity to our jump point and make contact with them immediately as well."

"Right away Sir."

The Strike Cruiser shuddered under the demands of pre-warp jump readiness.

"We will have but a slight window to make our move... "

We may already be too late Tuor thought to himself though.

He knew that if this was indeed "The Sword of Terra," he was in no position to stop it right now. He would require considerable resources for an undertaking of that nature.

He knew his only chance was a huge gamble at best.

He knew that his jump point would point him between Terra and Alpha M45.

He hoped it would be right next to "The Sword of Terra."

If he could get there first, he stood a chance of locking onto her as she exited warp space in the Sol System... if that's where she was going.

Tuor prayed to the Emperor that he would be right this time.

The Jupiter Battle Station Golan IV sat in Geosync Orbit with the Massive Gas giant. Bristling with massive gun batteries and poised to defend the minerals on the various Moons of Jupiter it was never prepared to fend off an entire flotilla. Kresh's fleet's in system arrival caught the Battle station by suprise and the sheer weight of firepower that rained down upon it crushed the life out of the station in mere seconds. Ten thousand souls emptied into the void of space leaving no survivors. The Sword of Terra repositioned and began its search for the Hyper node link to slice into the Inquisitor archives. The bridge was a flurry of activity constantly scanning for detection notices and finding the node link. "Lord Kresh Demonic fleet ready to transition upon your command. No detection as yet we should have a few minutes before the alert goes out."....Wait ....Sir Space marine Battle barge exiting warp space Mark 300 bearing 02...They are broadcasting all alert...They pratically came out on top of us...." Launch figthers and prepare to intercept Thunderhawks...Fire short burn torpedoes...and continue the hack..." Order the demon fleet to revert and draw some attention away...Jam all out going traffic signals....We will not fail in our endevour..."My Lord we are CONFIRMED down load in progress we need 3 minutes"....Thunderhawks inbound...shields down 20%...Cruisers Agripanna and Exoter are reporting heavy damage....

There was "close" and there was "stupid."

This stunt bordered on the latter of the two.

Tuor knew this matter would be resolved quickly, if not for the impending collision that was set to bring everything to an immediate halt. He had only ever read of the disastrous results of orbital collisions like this.

In the instant the Cruiser exited warp space, a single image flashed through Tuor's mind. A small, hand crafted totem-like item seemingly made of Turquoise and inlaid with silver lay in the dirt on the ground at his feet.

The rapid impacts of orbital torpedos brought reality crashing back in. The ship's systems immediately began to drop offline, others shut down while power was redirected to main support functions.

He had found his prey.

From the Command bridge, the scene unfolded in front of his eyes. Set against what only appeared to be the remains of Jupiter Battle Station, Tuor watched as Thunderhawks and fighters from both sides were vaporized one by one, leaving a swirling mass of debris and flame that intertwined the two ships suspended in orbit.

Some Cruisers broke combat immediately.

Tuor resisted the urge to change his target and held steady, watching "The Sword of Terra" as she lay in front of him. The ship's broadcast alert had initiated the shut down sequence of the Jupiter Node and would switch it over to an all emergency transmission in a matter of minutes. Tuor knew that by then, it would all be over.

"We aren't going to be able to take this much longer Sir... "

"Fire again."

"Sir, shields static at 47 percent capacity on redundant systems only."

"Fire all proximity reactor missiles... staggered salvos."

"Sir, shields now at 32 percent, they are jamming all frequencies, catastropic hull failure immenent."

"... I know what he is doing... Close to gun range, sound collision and fire everything left."

"Yes Sir."

There would be only one ship here when reinforcements arrived.

"My Lord the space marine battle barge is bearing straight down on us....." Helm come about bring prow guns online and Fire....Exec continue the hack I want all available servitors and tech marines dedicated to this we need the information use KEY word Search DRAGONS TEAR...Order the Exoter to offset 45 degrees and give us shield overlapping..."My lord three nova class cruisers just entered at the perimiter of Jupiters gravity well...they will have a firing solution in 2 minutes...CONFIRM...Exec how long till download complete..."Sir...1.5 mikes..."

This is gonna be close...Helm execute Kresh manuver Alpha 3 do not let the battle barge into teleport range...have all remaining power reserves boosted to shields...Impacts reigned down on the the Sword of Terra the Space Marine Battle Barge and the Gothic Battle cruiser exchanged blow for blow. The 3 dimensional holographic display showed the dance between them in real time. Space was vast but Nova cannons could cross the expanse in mere seconds..."My lord the Demon fleet is reverting to real space to take on the Nova class frigates...They.....the momentary pause made sure you could feel the seconds pass...they are bringing their guns online they have a firing protical...Evasive manuvers...EXEC WHERE IS MY DOWNLOAD....The fury of his words up drove the servitors to a panic...30 seconds My lord and we will have it the Battle Barge is setting up blocking codes....This will be over in 10...Helm status... The battle barge is.... "to late" we have incomming Nova class firing....BRACE FOR IMPACT.....Alarm claxons sounded.... the bridge assumed positions and fortifited their defenses....The Battle Barge was looming like an asteriod ever closing the distance...

The 3D holo grid showed it all down to the second....Two of the nova class frigates got to fire their ship killing volley's....As the shells exited the ships prow they tore through two of the demonic fleets cruisers shattering them to the void of space... the third cruiser..disengaged back to the warp with massive damage.. After which the force 8 blast waves equally destroyed the remaining Nova cruisers...But that fact did not stop the hyper velocity shells from comming towards their mark....The only thing that save the Sword of Terra was the close proximity to both Jupiter and the Space marine battle barge. The gravitational pull of the planet forced the Shells off course enough so that the detonation happened just short of the Battle cruiser and close enough to the battle barge that the Sword was Shielded from the brunt of the Blast wave... The Exoter however was no so lucky...Like her sisters in the demon fleet she was utterly destroyed... The cruisers blast wave overloaded the shields on both the battle barge and the Sword of Terra....Alarms sounded....Crys of shields down echoed throughout the bridge...Gun batteries tore into each other hulls as the two great ships passed by one another...

Damage report....Sir....shields down...Port batteries offline...Structural integrity down to 40%....Engines operaing at full capacity....The Battle Barge...Shes a blazing hulk...Escape pods are activated...My Lord the Golan III Battle station is comming around the Zenith of the Planet...We will not survive another Battle....EXEC...Down load 95% complete My Lord...The Blast wave cut us off from finishing the last of the download...Orders My lord...Execute Jump to warp space...Hopefully we have enough of what we came for...

Gone... absolutely gone.

"Recover what you can, make preparations to transfer all non-essential personnel as soon as possible... our cargo must wait."

"Yes Sir, right away Sir."

Tuor stood on what remained of the bridge of the Dark Sea Leviathan. The Golan III Battle station crossed in front of the ship in the distance. The silence on board the ship was deafening. The blast wave preceded a complete ship shut down. The only systems operating now were life support and the last escape algorithms. Truth be told, it was a struggle to keep those going, there was nothing left.

Letting out a deep sigh, Tuor just stood there... disbelief creeping closer and closer into his mind.

He strained to remember the image that flickered in his mind just moments before.

"Sir, emergency transmission from Golan III."

"Bring the comms online and see what they need."

"Yes Sir."

First things first, Tuor thought... I need a new ship now.

He had grown accustomed to the Leviathan's noises and found them to be relaxing at times. A welcome escape for a weary mind that never rested.

Those days were gone now.

It took three days by standard Terran time, which was quick by any standards really to get another suitable vessel and have all the necessary equipment transferred. Of course there wasn't too much to transfer this time around.

What wasn't already destroyed in the fighting, burned afterwards in the fires that raced through the shell of the Leviathan. Maybe she could be pieced and sold for scrap, either way, Tuor hated to see her listing in sub-orbit, seemingly tethered between Golan III and what was left of Golan IV by magnetic reactor pullers.

The new ship wasn't spacious, but it would do for now.

It would have to.

Known as the "Winged Intruder" she was designed for one thing really. She moved incredibly fast for her size but her shape betrayed her real purpose. She was a little seen Sierra Class Cruiser that had been stripped down almost to the point of no longer being what she was originally commissioned for.

"Customized" was what the crew called it.

Tuor knew he had found the right vessel though, the White Scars were famous for their lightning raids and this was exactly that kind of ship.

"Get some rest Sir, we'll be there in no time at all."

"Thank you."

"No problem," said the massive marine, clad in white power armor as he turned and left Tuor to his thoughts.

No problem thought Tuor to himself... no problem.

Sitting at his desk, head resting in his hands, he began the process of recalling the last image he had seen flash across his mind's eye.

My Lord....I have the damage report for you Sir. Read it aloud Exec....The Fleets compliment has suffered 80 percent reduction in force... We are down to 3 cruisers, 6 escorts and the Sword...The Sword is operating at nominal power reserves while we continue with repairs. We had to commendear the Agrippann'as crew and use her for spare parts to rebuild our own Hull and gun batteries. We will need a repair yard to rebuild our landing bays. Till then we can only operate at 50% for our flight department. We took a heavy beating Sir. On the flip side we have been petitioned by 2 Chaos warmasters to join our crusade against the Imperium. Many are considering your Bold tatics a success and wish to tag along. "Interesting Exec. Have the warmasters give over a suitable sacrifice and meet up with us in the Helios cluster...The last known entry of significant note about the Dragons Tear was here...perhaps we can track the theta wave transmission that eminated from the surface of one of the planets...Still there is a lot of data left to research. Make sure we have pickets posted....I sense that the Imperium is not far behind...Also do we have any more info on the Commander that kept us from fully completing our mission....Yes my Lord From what we can tell from the Inquisitor Archives we believe his name is Tuor and his ship was The Dark Sea Leviathan...."Thank you exec" Now that I have a name it wil be easier to find him in the warp...Everyone leaves a signature in the warp exec...No matter how feint they can be found if you know how...Please leave me to my searching....I will need to find out Tuor's next move....The last thing our fleet needs is to be attacked at this point...As soon as we can make our jump to....Helios Cluster...Hive Servant....Iron Father Jericho's Last words might just be the info I am looking for.....

It was a rudimentary sketch at best,

Tuor could never be accused of being an official recorder in any capacity. Still, it would suffice.

Even after a lifetime of seeing images, he still never learned how to capture them in his mind much less put them to paper.

They were there and then they were gone, just like that.

Sketch in hand, he proceeded to the ship's archive.

He was fairly sure the ship wouldn't have what he was looking for but he knew he would be able to link to the Imperial network and most likely find it there. Finding a secluded area deep inside the archive was not a problem, the cool chamber filled with a blue light from the screen in front of him as he searched all listed Imperial access records for an optical recognition match.

Two Imperial files matched. Only two.

Tuor could not access upper level Inquisitorial files regarding the object from this node without breaching considerable safety measures and elected to pass on the risk at this point.

He began to read the first file.

The primary transcript came from the Iron Hands librarium. The file itself did not mention the actual object all, but had been cross referenced by the Blood Ravens as having some merit in the matter. It was a termination file meaning nothing had been added to it since it's original writing. Not out of the ordinary for Marines to do, but odd since there were only three surviving ancient ones and one Librarian from the battle. An entire Iron Hands company was lost that day. Librarian Micheal wrote at great length about the engagement itself but spoke very little of the actual purpose of the engagement.

Ultimately, nothing more than the obligatory after action report.

Perhaps Librarian Micheal could shed some insight into the matter. Tour made note to contact the Iron Hands personally and request an individual conference with the Librarian.

The second file proved to be a bit more enlightening.

A Blood Ravens file that went into great depth regarding the known history of the object itself. Known simply as the "Dragon's Tear," the Blood Ravens have been following it's path since they learned of it's existence.

Gaining security access to the classified supporting documentation and follow up technical reports, Tour discovered the object's purpose.

For every question the file answered, Tour thought of two more.

Contacting the Blood Ravens wasn't nearly as difficult as getting a hold of the Iron Hands. A short discussion with Captain Helwen of the Blood Ravens yielded a quick and substantial update. Helwen agreed to provide Inquisitor Tuor with ground support and intelligence from the small group of Blood Ravens operating near the current location of the "Dragon's Tear."

The White Scars had the resources on board to put a rapid reaction force on the ground but lacked the necessary hard hitting punch. The "Winged Intruder" had enough capacity to hold a nominal sized strike force in addition to it's standard compliment of White Scars.

He still needed heavy support for this operation.

Tour needed someone who knew exactly what they were up against and would be willing to go straight into the breach to retrieve this artifact. The first and only Chapter that came to mind were the Black Templars.

Having already faced the Chaos Lord Kresh, Marshal Hadrea would be able provide the hammer needed to finish this job.

At his immediate disposal, Tour had a handful of Thunderhawk Gunships and Transporters and accompanying Thunderbolts in addition to the White Scars on board.

"Helm, Make way for the Eastern portion of the Halo Region, we have an appointment with the Templar Crusade there."

"Yes, Sir," replied the flight servitor.

"We are going to pick up our support, Brother Rameses," Tour told the power armoured Captain standing next to him.

"Very well Inquisitor Tuor, very well," replied the Marine.

The ebb and flow of the Galactic core always amused Kresh...Listening to the commings and goings of the inhabitants of the Helios cluster brought about long lost memories of before the fall...His Newly acquired Battle fleet sat poised to strike deep into the heart of this little system.

A fierce battle had been fought on HIVE Servante over a mysterious Gateway. With the forces of chaos getting beaten back...Rorex Templar's were here as well during that time. A fact that insterested Kresh as much as finding the Dragons Tear. Preliminary analysis of the Theta wave transmission left many questions unanswered. The Transmission lept out of system towards the Sol system and another outpost in the Matais System. It contained an activation code based around Necrontyr design...More questions but the possibility that the Ancient artifact he was searching for may have been built by this race was growing more evident...His excitment was growing at the thought of harnessing even a fraction of the power that ran the Necrontyr technology....Truely a remarkable find to say the least...That is of course if he was right...More research needed to be done...Repairs to the Sword of Terra have been complete and his fleet was up to 90 percent capacity.

Lauching another attack against the Imperium was looking good. Still the nagging presence of Inquisitor Tuor could be felt...Tuor was not a very powerful Psycher but strong enough to be a nuisance....Kresh was still concerned that Tuor could hamper his upcomming plans for success....Time will tell...He pushed his comm activation button...Exec...Intiate jump into the system....WE NEED to be discrete about this one....I want to gather more readings before we move on and I do not want to draw the attention of the Imperium down upon us again...At least not until I can use them to fit our needs...

"Yes My Lord".....

Linking with the ongoing Templar Crusade was not difficult. They were mid-stride in cleansing a short string of planets of a foul, cult-organization that had risen to power at the expense of the Imperium. With the Emperor's work near completion, Marshal Hadrea had no problem issuing the order to assist Inquisitor Tuor.

When Tuor mentioned the "possibilities" and connections regarding this endeavor, it was thought that Master Rorex should be in attendance for the spiritual welfare of the brethren involved. That and the fact that Rorex was the sole survivor from a previous engagement with the Chaos Lord, made the decision obvious.

With a small detachment of Templars and their accompanying transports loaded onto the "Winged Intruder," preparations were being made for the jump into the Helios Cluster.

Tour had spent his last few days preparing for the inevitable confrontation that lay before him. A matter that worried Tour considerably was the loss in communication with the Blood Raven ground forces currently in the Helios cluster.

They had not been heard from in over 96 hours. Any other time, this would not seem terribly unusual, but with the recent events unfolding as they were, any inconsistencies were to be paid close attention to.

Tuor knew matters could escalate to cataclysmic proportions in a matter of seconds. He submitted the formal request for assistance to the Ordo Malleus less than an hour ago.

Daemons were one thing, but this was ancient technology they were screwing with now.

Necrontyr technology.

It was said to be a power so substantial, so consuming, it could rival everything created to date. If his interpretation of the Emperor's Tarot was correct, the sole purpose of the Dragon's Tear was to unlock this power... for good or evil.

"Please, Master Rorex, let us speak of this matter in private," Tour asked.

"Certainly," Rorex replied.

"We have only a short time before our arrival at our destination," Tour added.

"He knows where you are and what you are looking for," Rorex replied.

Startled by the Chaplain's casual comment, Tour tried to catch his breath.

"Relax my good Inquisitor, Kresh also knows I am here," finished Rorex.

Tour gestured for the Chaplain to proceed.

As the Chaplain passed by, a deep chill overcame Tuor.

He wondered if it was the same feeling Inquisitor Feridagh had before his untimely demise.

Tour would have to put this behind him, he needed to know everything the Chaplain had to offer.

Dust swirled at Kresh's feet uncovering a torquois and silver totem. It appeared to be what was left of a Crosius power weapon handle. It glowed with an unearthly light in the early dawn....As he raised his eyes to the horizon the utter devestation that lay before him was awe inspiring. He could only wish that his forces had caused it. The Blood Raven outpost on Arachnite II in the Helious Cluster was utterly destroyed. At least 4 days had gone by since the battle. The outpost was pocketed with blast craters, bodies and debris. Ceramite armor and charred metal reflected in the sun. The center of the craters had turned molten with the sheer power of the blast; akin to a orbital melta torpedo strike but with pinpoint accuracy. Standing in amongst these death fields there was not a single clue as to what or who caused this destruction...

"My Lord the Space Marines put up one hell of a fight.."How many Commander..."Looks like a half company with a full armoured detachment." Did they sound the alarm..." looks like the Comms building was first to be....for the lack of a better word...Vaporized"

...Kresh bent down to retrieve the silver totem, as he grasped its remains images flashed across his mind.....Monolithic Vehicles hovering above the ground....Rows upon rows of gleaming metal bodies.....NECRONS....Blasts....Pain...blinding light....then Rorex and Tuor....Swiflty...urgency....Kresh dropped the totem...'Commander recall all ground troops we must evac this place....Tuor is comming and he has brought with him help....We will not engage them on this ground..Not until we know exaclty what happened here....Send to my Exec....Order the fleet to take up defensive positions in sector 45...Have the Sword due a planetary scan for unknown energy readings and have the picket ships scan for gamma level ionic plasma emissions...If we are not careful we will end engaged in a battle we cannot win on two fronts....Our first priority is to find what the Blood Ravens were protecting or looking for on this rock.. then we will deal with Rorex and Tuor.....

The preliminary reports filtered in.

While the Blood Ravens weren't exactly forthcoming with information, it wasn't too hard to piece it all together. Something catastrophic had happened to the detachment on Archnite II.

Tuor had witnessed Marine Commanders dealing with everything the theater of war could throw at them but to see them now left him without words.

Without any support on the ground, things were going to change now. The "Dragon's Tear" was lost. There was no way to be sure if it was still there or if it had been consumed in the event with the Blood Ravens.

Tuor knew Kresh had the patience and presence of mind to wait until the most opportune moment though.

Perhaps this was the work of Kresh... maybe he already had the "Tear... "

Word had already come in from the Ordo Malleus. They were sending "resources."

They would have to investigate the area themselves... there was no other option at this point.

"Do we have updated sector scans?"

"Yes Sir, all come back negative at this time," the flight servitor replied.

"Any results from the composite surface mapping?" asked Tuor.

"Negative Sir, it does not match any records on file."

"You mean to tell me we don't know what happened?"

"... that's correct Sir."

Tuor paused for a moment.

"Prepare for sub-atmosphere deployment, monitor all fleet traffic, scramble sector frequencies and relay to the perimeter beacons to establish a secure perimeter... I don't want to be surprised like the Blood Ravens apparently were."

"Right away Sir."

"Ready the Transports and a Gunship... I want Thunderbolts escorting them to the ground."

"Yes Sir," replied the Servitor.

"Ready your men Rorex, we launch immediately on our arrival," said Tuor.

"Do not worry about the brothers my good Inquisitor, they are ready," replied Rorex.

With that, the wheels were set in motion.

In less than 6 hours they would be on the surface.

The "Tear" had been gone for just over 96 Terran hours, far too long for an artifact of that nature to out there just floating around.

In that instant, an image flashed through Tuor's mind...

Once again, visit "From The Warp" for more of this author's work.