A pebble is tossed into Time, ripples spreading out and breaking upon the distant edges of reality.
The circle now stands within the heart of a sun, indifferent to its surroundings.
"A sprout has pushed past its shell, seeking nourishment. The skeins begin to converge upon this season. A great reaping will occur if this thread is not cut."
"Are we prepared to harvest?"
"The reaping has already begun, but realize that this is only the beginning. The skeins foretell of many sprouts, for the soil is both rich and poor. Some sprouts will appear soon, some later. We must not mislead ourselves. There will be a cost."
"Whatever the cost may be, it will be cheaper than allowing the current course to develop. The Obsidian Engine would take a toll far greater than a few scattered mon-keigh infestations. As stated before, it cannot be allowed to awaken."
"Then it is agreed, we will grasp this thread with both hands."
"And sever it!"
In the next moment, the distant star was made whole and the stellar orchestra resumed.
Thus a chain of events has been triggered, causing certain aspects of the Necron device to awaken. This device, known as the "Obsidian Engine" by the Eldar, is buried within the planetary mass of Persephone, as if it were the apocryphal seed within a poisonous fruit.
Currently, only the Eldar are aware of the consequences if this forbidden fruit should develop and ripen.
As soon as the device began to change form, onsite Inquisitorial assets submitted urgent requests for additional forces to help screen and analyze the transformation. Resistant to any form of auspex scan, and evidently of an incalculable mass, for no amount of effort had been able to move the object to a more secure location. It wasn't until later excavation efforts began that the device was found to be atop a column of the same material that continued into the depths of the planet's surface beyond the range of seismologic sensors.
The arrival of Ordo Malleus and Titan Brotherhood forces, now linked up with the Astartes chapter November Warriors, triggered defensive position preparations at a frantic pace while wary eyes continued to monitor the changes to the device. Members of the Titan Librarius confirmed that no psychic energies were involved with the changes to the artifact, which caused even more uneasiness in the task force assets deployed to acquire the object.
During this time, the local populace were forcibly removed from the area to enforce information security. Fire positions were built and manned, along with shield generator assets, while super heavy units formed a strong firebase, allowing the Astartes armored units the freedom to range farther out and interdict any attempts to interfere with the Order Malleus mission.
What the Imperial forces had not expected was the change in the device behavior. As it continued to morph into something different, a feeling that something sinister was blossoming within their midst.
With the device completely surrounded, the Imperial commanders soon began to ask themselves, "who has who?"
Unknown to the Imperials, the Eldar had been observing the growing drama on Persephone with a fierce and increasing interest. With an aggressive Tau annexation program in progress, the Eldar kin sought to instigate a neutralizing play between the Imperial and Tau factions.
The Eldar had planned on triggering an incident that would throw each at the other, distracting them from their original goal of acquiring Necrontyr archeotech. The Eldar had even attempted direct action against the Tau leadership in an attempt to dissuade them from proceeding, but the Tau had become fixated upon the acquisition of the advanced technology. It soon became clear that a stronger response would be required.
However, there were events that the Eldar had not been able to foresee develop in the skeins. The rise of the "Children of the Dragon" cult, whose integration with corrupted, yet directed and purposeful Necron guidance, provided an unwanted catalyst to the activation protocols of the slumbering Obsidian Engine.
The Eldar hand was forced.
Humanity had once again stumbled into a set of circumstances that could not be allowed to develop. Therefore, the Eldar deployed and then maneuvered significant forces into a position where a surprise pincer attack was initiated in an attempt to dislodge the Imperial forces and close down the device before it began a system wide activation.
Imperial VP 5, Eldar kin VP 1
Turn 1 Notes:
2. The Eldar kin would have to move onto the table and had no deployment area. I wanted to convey the idea of the Eldar "moving to contact", but also allow for the fact that the Imperial forces were in possession of something significant and the Eldar would have to wrest control of the object from them.
3. As part of the story, I wanted the device to begin to "develop" and grow into something that would become dangerous to all the forces on the table. So we talked through how this would work and settled on the first three turns any unit within six inches would gain FNP. This was to represent the device powering up. Beginning on Turn four, at the end of a full player turn, the device would begin shooting random templates that would continue to grow larger and stronger as the game progressed, thus becoming quite dangerous. The longer the game went on, the more likely that several units would get hit and possibly destroyed. Now you might ask, why wouldn't the Imperials give it up and just move to some place safer? Well, the incentive to stay was that the device also became worth more Victory Points each turn, so it was a gamble, but it was a chance for the players to monkey with the ol' "Risk/Reward" concept.
No longer will its soil nurture,
A darkness stirs in its slumber,
The ignorant seek knowledge,
Their desires lead to time-poison,
As stars hide their eyes,
We dance along threads,
Laughing and singing our doom song,
An open hand leaves destruction,
Light bows to an empty fate,
You see, but cannot perceive,
The soul-less cull many hearts,
How swift we fly,
Daughters of Vaul relentless,
You hide, yet remain seen,
Obvious, yet unknown to you,
Time reveals your destiny,
We see all,
Endless possibilities unwind,
You respond with mailed fists,
And metal skies with screaming clouds,
Anger sparks your flaming eyes,
Yet cloaked in our stars,
We stand still,
Imperial VP 7, Eldar kin VP 3
Turn 2 Notes:
1. When the Imperium decides to take action, it is something fearful and wonderful to behold. In my turn I was able to cast shrouding and cover quite a few of my units, knowing that bad stuff was on its way. I also managed to cast invisibility on Celebduin as I wanted her to be fresh for the assaults I had planned on tasking her with. So everything was looking good and I was preparing to grit my teeth and endure the beating that I assumed was heading my direction.
3. I had not accounted for everything though. Enter the Sandman. The GK forces decided to bring on two dreadnights to contest my forces and take out my Wraithknights. The icing on the cake for them was when Jefe brought on his Culexus (yikes!) and got the outflank roll he was looking for which meant that it came on right behind my forces. I was concerned about its shooting, but didn't realize the key part of the Imperium's plan it played, that is, negating any psychic powers within 12 inches and suddenly, I felt like I was standing in a cold wind with nothing on. I was in a lot of trouble.
4. The airborne counter-attack put out a withering amount of fire, removing both Warp Hunters, a farseer, and several wounds on my rightmost Wraithknight. Then the Dreadknights charged and thankfully, the Eldar had been able to deny Force on their weapons. The DK charges ended up scoring some wounds on my leftmost Wraithknight and killing my Wraithlord (STW). However, the Wraithknights put a punishing amount of wounds back and were skilled enough that one DK broke and was run down and the other tied in combat. Not the results that the GK player was looking for.
To be continued...