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 Falling star

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The_Burning_Eye
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PostSubject: Falling star   Thu Mar 29 2012, 12:47

Elesett glanced over her shoulder at her company arrayed in their gleaming white and blue armour, the pennants flying from their laser lances snapping majestically in the breeze. Part of a much larger warhost, the swordwind of Biel-Tan, her squadron of Shining Spears rode their jetbikes with a grace and skill unmatched by the more studied efforts of the flanking guardian squads to either side, the larger part of their concentration preparing for the battle ahead and needing only the smallest part of their attention to guide their craft safely between the monolithic tree trunks of the jungle through which they were travelling. Their target lay in a clearing some distance ahead of them, an exodite colony under attack from a warband of the crude but brutal Orks, savage green skinned creatures bred for war with little ability to plan beyond their next meal unless a fight was involved

The orks were well known for their appetite for war, seeking out the most dangerous of their enemies to prove themselves the best warriors. The Farseers of Biel-Tan had forseen their attack on the exodite colony of Athel Arven, and had despatched a warhost to protect the settlement. The Eldar Autarch, leader of the swordwind, had a two-pronged plan to draw them away from the colony and destroy them. The main body of the swordwind, comprising a mixed force of dire avengers and guardians would draw the greenskins into the open, whereupon Elesett and her Shining Spears were to lead a flank attack on the assaulting greenskins, trapping them in the open and supplemented by a second flanking force of striking scorpions and howling banshees to mop up the survivors.

As an exarch of the Shining Spears, Elesett prided herself on her piloting skills, and her ability to arrive at precisely the moment when her blade and the lances of her pupils would cause the maximum damage to the enemy, striking at their most vulnerable heart with devastating force. As her helmet optics began to register heat signatures in the distance that corresponded to burning structures and the discharges of primitive blackpowder weapons, her helmet communicator chimed, the calm voice of Autarch Ithilien bringing her thoughts back to the moment.

‘Enemy engaged, rear elements have re-tasked their weapons and the rangers are reporting fire on the front line has diminished significantly as they turn to face our threat, flanking units, report your status’.

‘Engaging, first wave will make contact with enemy units momentarily.’ Elesett answered ‘Guardian squadrons, fall back to provide full-spread fire, Spears, with me’.

The forest green canopies of the guardian jetbikes vanished from her peripheral vision as they deployed their airbrakes, and Elesett settled her star lance into her shoulder before engaging the turbo thrusters on her bike, causing it to leap forward and the trees to whip past with eye-blurring speed. She suppressed a shudder of excitement as the additional speed set her nervous system alive with endorphins, the excitement spurring her to keep the booster engaged as her jetbike burst out from the tree canopy. Her helmet optics immediately adjusted to reduce the glare of the bright sunshine, and she could make out the form of the embattled orks in the middle-distance, taking heavy fire from the guardians and dire avengers hugging the tree-line.

Setting her sights on the biggest of the bestial creatures, as their primitive brains tended to encourage them to follow the largest of their kind, she depressed the firing stud, unleashing a hail of monomolecular discs from the twin catapults slung underneath the fairing of her mount. Elesett customised her ammunition, drilling holes in the solid core from which the shuriken were sliced, resulting in an otherworldly keening as they shot across the clearing, impacting hard on the Ork Warboss, slicing dozens of fragments from its armour that were sent raining down on its companions.

The creature turned and bellowed a challenge into the forest air, its beady red eyes seeking out its attacker. It turned to face Elesett, bounding across the glade with a speed that spoke of brute strength more than agility. Elesett leaned forward in her saddle, eagerly anticipating the strike that would see her quarry slain, discounting the threat of the huge powered claw it brandished in her direction that could snap her in two, the beast would not get the chance to use it.

Time slowed, the adrenalin pumping around her system allowing her to see clearly the precise location of her blow, the junction of the beast’s armoured chest piece and its helmet. She rose to the balls of her feet, balancing delicately in the saddle, before she struck, her arm straightening, driving the lance point forwards mere fractions of a second before contact. The orks eyes widened in shock as the lance point split the skin of its neck and Elesett triggered the release of the energy reservoir in its hilt, the discharge earthing itself explosively through the contact point severing the beast’s head from its shoulders. Elesett’s nervous system sang with the thrill of the perfect kill and she depressed the firing stud again, her weapons strafing the remaining orks who were standing motionless and confused at the ease with which their leader had been despatched.

In moments, Elesett had passed them, banking her craft in a tight circle as she came around for another pass, shuriken fire from the other shining spears and the accompanying guardians causing untold damage amongst the leaderless orks.
Their prey surrounded and under fire from several different directions, Elesett took the time to pick out her next target, a creature trying to rally the survivors and herd them into a counter attack against the tree-line. Again, she settled her lance into her shoulder, bringing the nose of her jetbike round with easy guidance from her remaining hand.

Suddenly she was aware of shots whickering past her, striking the orks as they tried to re-organise. But where had they come from, there were no Biel-Tan forces attacking through the settlement, as that would have encouraged the orks into the buildings where their greater strength would be an asset. She glanced over her shoulder to see where the fire was coming from and her heart lurched. Black jetbikes were bursting from the cover of the Exodite settlement, their fairings covered in tribal markings and pierced with holes through which the wind howled. Their riders whooped with glee as they jinked their craft between buildings, speeding dangerously low, poison crystals spitting from the rifles mounted underneath their jetbikes’ canopies.

Reavers, she realised, jetbike gladiators from the bowels of Commoragh. This time the shudder that ran through her body was one of disgust and loathing, these creatures sought nothing more than the pleasure of a kill, rejoicing in the carnage they caused.

Inconceivably, the intruders were catching her despite the modifications she had made to the engines of her jetbike, and Elesett sheathed her lance back into its scabbard on her bike’s fairing, drawing her powerblade from its place at her hip. Feathering the throttle, she dropped back amongst the new arrivals, a backhanded slash from her weapon shearing through the canopy of her nearest assailant, sending its bike out of control, spinning away to crash in a burst of fire amongst the ork invaders.

All thoughts of a quick and clean engagement forgotten, the orks were now simply an obstacle between the Eldar warriors and their new attackers. Heavier fire began to spit from the jungle, the guardians bringing their support weapons to bear, their focus now on speedy elimination of the orks rather than minimising the damage to the settlement that had caused them to use only lighter weaponry previously. A brief glance over her shoulder painted a worrying picture of the conflict, which was unfolding at an alarming pace. Two of her Shining Spear compatriots had been crippled, their jetbikes smoking ruins in the clearing, and the guardians had been badly mauled. The Dark Eldar had clearly been lying in wait for their craftworld cousins to fully engage the orks before launching a devastating ambush. Several raider transports had arrived on the scene and were already disgorging infantry into the area, prow-mounted disintegrator cannons spitting fire into the eldar forces desperately trying to regroup.

Of more immediate concern however were the reavers. Despite her efforts, 5 of the despicable creatures were trailing her, splinter fire spattering off the engine cowling. Whilst the fire was unlikely to cause significant damage to her craft, there was the distinct possibility that Elesett herself could be struck by the fire, which would spell her doom as the poisoned crystal shards went to work. To that end, she plunged her bike back into the jungle, hoping to throw off her pursuers aim and give herself the opportunity to take the attack to them one at a time.

As her craft flashed between the trees at unbelievable speeds, two of her attackers drew level with her, jinking and weaving so that sometimes they flew side by side, other times separated by several bike widths. It took all of her skill to keep them at bay as first one then the other jinked close and struck at her with wickedly curving blades designed to cut deep when slashing with them from the saddle. It was a form of combat her opponents were trained for, the races in their gladiatorial arenas frequently settled by a stabbing blade from one rider causing their opponent to crash.

Desperate to buy herself some time, Elesett pulled hard on the controls of her craft, jerking its nose up to loop over the top of the rider on her left, gripping tightly to the chassis with her knees as she slashed at her opponent from above. She felt her blade bite home, slicing through armour with ease and as the thrill of excitement once again flooded her system she brought her bike under control and her opponent’s craft pitched forwards as its rider, a slash opened right through her helmet from the front to the back, slumped forwards over the controls. The nose of the jetbike hit the ground, and the sudden arrest of momentum flipped the rear of the bike over, sending it cart wheeling away through the jungle before it exploded upon impact with a tree trunk of gigantic proportions. The second reaver had disappeared momentarily however, before a searing blast of heat flashing past her right leg told her that he’d taken advantage of her manoeuvre to take a clean shot at the rear of her mount.

With horror, she realised that the shot had damaged one of her stabiliser vanes, and her jetbike felt sluggish, requiring more of her concentration to keep from crashing into the jungle. With no little effort, she hauled the bike in a tight turn round a large tree trunk, heading back towards the clearing and the support of the main eldar force, trailing smoke from the damaged control surface. All of a sudden, she was faced with one of the straggling reavers arrowing straight towards her, poison-laden crystal shards spitting from the underslung rifle scarring the pristine white of her jetbike canopy.

Elesett depressed the firing stud for her own weapons, monomolecular shurikens screaming across the rapidly diminishing gap between the two craft and tearing chunks from her enemy’s armour plating. Trusting her wounded ride to respond, Elesett jinked the controls of her jetbike at the last moment, changing the angle of her attack to the opposite side of her opponent. She quickly leaned over and swung her blade backhanded, opening a long gash in the fuselage of the reaver’s craft, removing its rider’s arm at the elbow and ripping open his ribcage, spilling his torso’s contents to the forest floor. Again, her body sang with the thrill of the lethal strike, the embodiment of the aspect of Khaine, the bloody handed god that the Shining Spears represented and sought to perfect. Her celebration was short lived however, as her previous pursuer once more pulled alongside her now wounded craft. Pistol in hand, her opponent sent a punishing fusillade of poisoned crystals hammering into her armour, and for all its protection, it could not withstand such a hail of projectile fire. Half a dozen of the crystal shards opened gashes in the fabric between armour plates, and almost immediately Elesett felt a strange drowsiness overcome her, the poison contained within the crystals not a lethal concoction as she had thought, but a knockout dose, enough to render her unconscious. As her vision narrowed, she felt strong hands grip her and drag her from her now out of control jetbike, throwing her across the fuselage of her pursuer like some rag doll. Her last thoughts before her mind dipped into unconsciousness echoing in her mind. ‘Why did they take me alive?’


Any thoughts/comments/ideas for improvement? The next part will deal with her imprisonment.

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Siticus the Ancient
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PostSubject: Re: Falling star   Thu Mar 29 2012, 16:05

That was a very vividly painted picture of the battle. The schemer in my head knows several answers to that last question of the exarch - there are many uses for an exarch that so keenly feels the thrill of combat. I'm quite eager to see what happens next.

The only thing that would spring up in mind is the line about five pursuers, but using the number. That seemed to stand out a bit. Apart from that, nothing to object, good stuff.

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PostSubject: Re: Falling star   Fri Mar 30 2012, 00:45

Oh man, I can't to see why she was taken alive!!!
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