Excerpted from the journals of Deathwatch Apothecary Sallust Azaleh of the Crimson Suns Chapter
We set down on Aurum and it is every bit as bad as I had feared. Backwards, barbaric, uncivilized, and decidedly not as cleanly as the ship we arrived in. I hesitate to say it, but this beastly little world is a perfect fit for the likes of Brothers Angus and Vilhjamhr, and I find myself in the unenviable position of being in total agreement with Brother Heinrick. Brother Valentinus seems unfazed, though one would expect this of a Cursor, and Brother Teporus is as unreadable as ever beneath his mask of scars, but I rather suspect that the grim visaged Devastator approves of this world unreservedly. For myself I will not be taking my helmet off unless it is absolutely necessary.
Upon our arrival at the Imperial Guard Barracks, a term I use with great reservation and more than a bit of shame given its pathetic size and composition of twelve bedraggled infantrymen, the Brigadier took over command and we interviewed his ‘regiment’. Though we found out very little from the Guardsmen, Sergeant Jenkins advised us that the locals feared a beast called a ‘malesector’. Cursor Valentinus and I agree that this ‘malesector’ is likely the local name for the Tyranid Hive Beast that we believe to be infiltrating this world to prepared it for the depredations of Hive Fleet Dagon.
Upon leaving the Guardsmen’s humble ‘barracks’, we encountered a group of locals engaged in sparring and mock combat trials. The locals look almost as though they could be the long lost kin of of our Tactical Marine and our Assault Marine, being large, burly, barbarously barbed, and mainly unkempt. After watching for a few moments, I approached the instructor of the group, a Shield-Bearer Zayr, and advised him that we would be honored to provide an example of our martial skill using their practice weapons. Angus and Vihjamhr took up the native arms and proceeded to duel, the the Storm Warden winning fairly handily in despite of the Space Wolf’s rather brilliant parrying. The Aurumites were satisfied and I believe that we have earned a small measure of good will from these doughty warriors.
Henrick was most insistent that we advance our cause and go to examine the corpse of Sister Hospitalier Racquiel. Though I failed to see the rush, the body had been on the slab for weeks at the minimum, Cursor Valentinus agreed and we made our way to Ecclesiarchy’s bastion on Aurum: The Word of Faith. In the Commercial area leading to the Word of Faith we encountered a merchant selling a weapon most unusual: A Genestealer Claw Knife! The hapless merchant, confronted with an irate Brother Teporus and an even angrier Brother Heinrick, quickly volunteered the source of the item as a man named Heydal, who comes from outside of Haistand. This mendicant has not been seen in some months, though. Brother Vilhjamhr in an act of charity, bartered one of his many necklaces of fangs for the talons. Apparently the merchant adjudged this to be a more than fair trade.
Near the Word of Faith, we encountered the missionary, Brother Marius, who was being beset by local thugs. Our arrival forestalled further incident, and Brother Marius brought us to the body of Sister Racquiel. A thorough examination and recording determined that the Sister Hospitalier had received a Genestealer’s kiss. Heuristic parse dictates that she took her own life in order to prevent her now defiled and corrupted body from serving the nefarious Hive creatures that infected her. Likely this was her only way to get the message that there were terrible things afoot here out to the Deathwatch. Her sacrifice and martyrdom will be remembered.
After ensuring that the Guard had not been similarly corrupted, we took them on an excursion to a ruined Temple, that we discovered was a shrine to the Old Gods of the Aurum. These Old Gods were none-other than the Primarchs of our various Astartes chapters! This revelation would definitely help bridge the gap and bring the Aurum closer to proper obeisance to the Administratum and the Ecclesiarchy, as is only right and proper.
Fearing that the CUlt may have penetrated the highest ranks of this society, Brother Librarian Valentinus decided on a course that would test the highest echelons of their society. We went forth to present a gift to the Caele of the Aurum, a set of Genestealer Talon Knives. The reactions of the Caele and his court would tell us all that we needed to know. Brother Valentinus was right.
We were met in the antechamber by none-other than Shield-Bearer Zayr. Though I had thought the title a low one, perhaps belonging to a sergeant or small warband leader, Brother Vilhjamhr explained that the title is basically one belonging to a warlord or general. His reaction to the talons was quite illuminating. Shame! My initial diagnosis has proven accurate: The Aurum will not allow outsiders past Haistand due to their shame at their inability to deal with the threat. Seeing an opportunity to continue to advance our secondary objective of securing better relations with the Aurumites, I immediately jumped upon this revelation and shifted the honour-debt from the savage warlord to use, as representatives of the Old Gods and of the Emperor. It was our duty to extend the Emperor’s Protection to all Mankind, and we must now go forth and destroy the abominations that corrupt the Emperor’s faithful and restore our honour. The Shield-Bearer took this with a great degree of gratitude, and so too did the Caele when we were admitted to see him. Journeying to the infestation in the North required us to undergo a ritual initiation, though, and this would prove problematic for several of us.
I have had to swallow my distaste and discomfort and strip my armour off and abandon the weapons of civilization for, of all things, a spear. We all similarly removed our armour and accoutrements and donned local garb and weapons to travel into the blasted environs of the local Reaving Canyon to hunt something called a Diablodon. I am hoping to be able to retrieve the carcass for study, along with the bodies of any of the other wildlife foolish enough to annoy a squad of Marines in a hurry.
We managed to destroy a nest of Theratryx, and I intend to harvest at least a few samples of the creatures before we leave this benighted Canyon. We made our way to the Diablodon’s lair, and made a plan certain to maximize our effectiveness, even with these primitive weapons. I would, as the stealthiest, penetrate the beast’s lair and get its attention via surprise attack. Once the creature was engaged and enraged, I would goad it out into the open, where my Brotehrs would fall upon the hapless beast. Our next step would be to put this plan into action…