+ Echoes of Pao Fung +

Echoes of Pao Fung


The secrecy surrounding the campaign was unusual, though not out of the Crimson Falcon's experience – in his time in the Vigilants he had come to understand the importance of Magenta-level operations to the Inquisition. He knew when best to keep his mind closed.  


Focus on killing the Marines Saturnine, he thought. Let the Flesh Eaters rampage through the jungle and bring justice to the Secessionists. Focus on killing the Marines. Therein lay the key to victory.


But the Marines Saturnine were stubborn. Capable. Their arrival had stretched what had been planned as a four-month campaign from one year to two, and was ticking on to a third. Beads of condensation trickled down his plate. Reports of a second renegade Chapter, come to reinforce the secessionists... such rumours complicated matters; encouraging the Partisan rebels, degrading Orthodox morale.

At least, degrading the morale of the Imperial Guard he fought alongside. The Flesh Eaters and Vigilants were made of sterner stuff than unaugmented humans, he told himself.

His Kill Team emerged onto a trail. Without pause, he began to make his way to the sounds of combat. 



After the butchery, the jungle around the Marines was hot, and dense and still. The Crimson Falcon was injured – though he had escaped the uncertain fate of the rest of his Kill Team. Senses alert, he crouched, hidden. Something in the rich, swampy atmosphere – or perhaps in the weapon that had hit him – was preventing the wound in his side from closing. 

Somewhere, the Flesh Eater had lost his helm. His face was twisted into an expression of disgust. The red-armoured Marine murmured, so softly that the Crimson Falcon could not be sure he was addressing him or simply musing out loud,

"What was that thing? Too large for an Astartes..." 

They pressed on, nevertheless, picking their way through the undergrowth. The Crimson Falcon's autosenses were trembling at the extremes of their capability.

Being hunted was an unfamiliar sensation to the Crimson Falcon.