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[Quest] On second thoughts, this might be a bit difficult.

13 walked back through the gates, dead grass crunching beneath his feet. He walked straight ahead, hoping to stumble upon the Terrasque sooner rather than later. He walked on, mud getting caught in his knees and grinding against inner servos. For most people to even hear the noise would be painful. But for 13 to also feel it, it was physically excruciating. Nevertheless, he walked on. It was interesting to see how little had changed despite all the time that had passed since 13 had been here. Likely, he would go faster by moving through the same path as last time, but that wouldn’t yield as much data, and it give more opportunities to collect oddities.

Deeper and deeper into the Pale Moors went 13, only pausing to vault over rocks or to check for threats. But there was something missing, though he didn’t know what. 13 slowly rotated his head for 527th consecutive time, seeing a landscape with the one unique characteristic of an additional tree than what would be considered normal here. And so 13 walked on, cataloguing whatever he found and creating a new digital map of the Pale Moors. Luckily though, 13 soon found an anomaly. A thin curtain of vines, albeit dense enough to not let any light through, went on for as far as 13 could see. There was nothing holding them and he couldn’t sense any life beyond the curtain. Despite how sinister it looked, it was the first thing 13 had actually found that was especially worthy of being remembered and so he attempted to part the curtain.

Surprisingly enough, it was easy to open. 13 still couldn’t see anything, but his head was still outside the opening. 13 withdrew his arm, looked around once more, and walked through the vines. As soon as he did, he saw a completely different landscape. He turned around, but as he thought, the vine curtain was no longer there. Interesting. No treeline was visible, but a dense, green fog made sure that 13 couldn’t see too high up or far ahead. Giant mushrooms were sporadically placed around a sickly green river, periodically letting out spores only for them to burn up upon touching the liquid. 13 watched this for a few minutes before dipping his finger in. It steamed, but wasn’t able to get through the holy metal of 13’s finger. Another obvious sign of the Omnissiah’s blessing. While the ground around the stream looked safe, the liquid seemed like it was inhospitable to any life and so was it was probably safer to just wade through it.

After about 3 straight hours of marching through the acid, 13 began to notice his legs failing. White smoke was becoming more and more obstructive, even going so far as to fog up his eyes. Annoyingly, it seemed like he would have to sit down at the shore and wait for his legs to repair. 13 sat down, looking at his surroundings in more depth. There was still no sign of the vines that had led him in here, or any way out. A small chime sounded inside of 13’s head, his legs were operable, if not in a perfect state, and so he started to walk again, although on solid ground this time.

Surprisingly enough, the river bank was barely contaminated at all with liquid. Occasionally, an insect would scuttle across 13’s foot but it wasn’t an issue at all. Soon enough, 13 found another curtain of vines. It appeared much the same as the other one, but he could see outside this time. Strangely enough, it appeared to be the same place in the Pale Moors that 13 had entered from. This time, though, there was a person standing outside. Even odder, they were waving at him. He walked through the vine curtain and almost immediately the figure started talking to him in a fast paced voice.

“Ah, it’s about time you got here. I really, really need to go to the toilet, but the nearest one is a few kilometres away from here and none of my staff are here to help- the lazy bastards. If you and my shop are still here when I get back, you’ll get a prize that would bankrupt even Omni himself it is so damn expensive. Sound good? Of course it does. Bye!”

And with that, the man ran off. 13 was left staring at a well-lit store. The paint was peeling but the structure itself was absolutely fine. He was very intrigued by the offer of a prize and so went in. There were odd knick knacks covering every inch of the vast shelving units, although none of them seemed to have even a bit of dust. There was a sheet of paper covered in a thin layer of plastic showing a complete list of items along with their price in omnillium. 13 briefly looked through the list, memorising some of the most interesting items to research later. A few of the most notable ones included;
Mushroom of life. – 200 OM [Why so expensive?]

Mushroom of death. – 5 OM [Why so cheap?]

Beelzebub in the tub. – 300 OM [What is it and how is it kept in the tub?]

Yog-Sothoth, the friendly plush sloth. - o̸̢͔̪̰͒̈́́̔̓ͅh̶̡̨̢̛̪̗͎͕̹͓̠̘͚̱̅̄̀ͅ ̶̢̧͈̙̣̥̯̰̝̟̤̳̻̒͛͊͛̾̎̆̎̌͋̅̒̐̓ģ̶̹̫̫̥̺̩͔̰̘͊͒͋̅̇̈́́̃̾̓͗̓̉̚͝ô̶̬͓͛́̋ḏ̸̨̡̫̣͇̘͚̭̮̯͖͎̰̫̈́̒̉̓̽̃̊͑̉͗̂̔ ̸̜̝̗͙̖̪͗́̄́͊͒̓̏ĩ̶̢̦̱̤̹͇̯̰̪͇̄̓̎͜͜t̷͚̻̘̯̟͇͚̞͓̱̒̇̉̾̽̍͗͌̒̽̏ͅ ̸̛͉̈́́͑̓̀̒̆͒̈́̚͝b̴̢̡̛̙̝̺͍̥͇̺͇̈͗͒̇̓͛̾͝͠ͅư̵̯̣̿͋͐̄͊̉̈́̉̆͂̆̊͘͘ṟ̵̱͓̠̼̯̟͙̦̣͇̰̘̓̈́̔̿͂̈̾͒̈́̽̐̏̀̾̌n̴̛̜̬̺̯̻̯̄̈́̈̍̂̀͂̉̿̅̚̚̕s̶͓͍͔̜̜̝͔̔̐̃ ̷̡̨̛̩̹̬͖͚͖͖̼̜͎͊̅̒̂́̈́͠͝p̸̗͇̞̫̟͚̼̌͐̓̿ĺ̶̢̧̛̦̺͍̮̫̲̯̒̃̐é̷̢̝̯̟͎̭̥̻͛̿̓̑ą̴̨̨̪̞͔̬̝̜̥̞̉͗̀̉̽̽̽͋̚s̷̢̨̢̛̫̜̘̼̥̘̩͇͇̰͉͂̍̇͆̓̽̃̂̉̎̒͜͝e̴̡͙͓̮̦͓̅͆̅̔̀̋̈̄̆̒͐̔́͘͝ͅ ̵̜̲͍̬̝̭͇̩̼̜̹̆̇̈́̏̉̚ḩ̶̨̧̲̫͇̥͈̰̬̳͙͙͙͐̒̏͑̃̀̂͗͝͠e̸̡̢̠̦̪̭̺͇̳̣̱͇̺͑̍̾́̀̇́̕̕͠l̶̗͠p̶̨̤̱̱̭̯̞͗̑̍͆̏̚͝ [What is a sloth?]

A small portion of the Blight that I found. – 3 OM per cubed centimetre [What is the Blight?]

The greatest gift of all? – Priceless [What single thing could obtain such a rank?]

13 put down the paper and sat down behind the counter, waiting for his first customer. He wasn’t too sure why he agreed to come into here, but it would break the monotony of marching through the marshes. 13 let his hands lay on the countertop, steepling them and stared intently at the door, trying to predict when someone would finally come in. Sadly, 13 wouldn’t be able to kill any undesirables that walked in, lest his reward slip away from him.

To pass the incredibly slow moving time, 13 began thinking of items that would befit a skitarii of his status, specifically ones that he didn’t yet have. There was, of course, the plasma culverin that had died alongside him when he was fighting the beast, though he wasn’t yet sure if it was time to reclaim the holy weapon. Other than that there was mainly standard ranger alpha equipment he had no longer needed. Among his most liked were fully functioning omnispex and a broad spectrum data tether. 13 focused on summoning them, intently watching the shimmering omnillium rapidly change shape and texture until it settled on one, before starting to switch once again. Soon enough though, 13 had two perfectly functioning pieces of equipment lying on the mahogany counter. He put them into back into his coat and focused on something a little bit more exotic. Phosphex was an incredibly hard to create material. The STCs were very rare and sometimes even faulty, which often didn’t end well. But if 13 could master the material, it would usher in a new age of warfare for the Adeptus Mechanicus if he ever escaped the Omniverse. Slowly, very slowly, 13 started to summon a grenade based off of one of the signature weapons of [REDACTED]. The texture and colour were still changing often, but not as fast as last time. Soon enough, the outside of the grenade was finished and the insides were being finished by memory and hope alone. Just as 13 was about to finish it off, the door opened with a bang and the grenade, suddenly and abruptly finished, dropped onto the hard, mahogany counter to 13’s surprise, shock and alarm. Both him and the customer that had just walked in looked at the primed weapon as it s-l-o-w-l-y rolled off of the smooth, hard, mahogany counter and hit the ground, causing the customer to jump. As soon as it became clear that nothing was going to happen, 13 nodded at the customer to come forward. They paused, looking through the shelves until finding a large black tooth, roughly the size of child’s eye. The figure was very small, with a circular head. They were wearing a dark cloak but no other clothes, or even the face of the customer was visible from under it. They waddled up to the counter and slid 15 comically large, golden coins over to well varnished, smooth, hard, mahogany counter. 13 accepted it, it seemed around what the tooth would be worth. He slid the coins onto the floor behind him, since there was no drawer to put them in. The customer did what looked like a jump and left the shop. Outside of it, they shot large, clear orbs into a line of trees. Sometimes, the figure would instead shoot a black orb, though it wasn’t clear how they did it or why it was so staggered and random. How interesting. 13 went around the immaculately crafted, well varnished, smooth, hard mahogany counter. He picked up the grenade and looked at it, immediately noticing a problem. Inside was a solid, not a liquid. 13 walked outside of the store and tossed the grenade onto a patch of dead grass, creating an arc of green light. After sitting for a few seconds it blew up, sending fragments of burning metal everywhere. While that wasn’t what 13 was specifically looking for, it was a good start and a rather effective looking weapon. Unfortunately, the shop was burning down behind him. Which was annoying and likely career shortening. The man from before was also there, staring at the burning down shop along with everything that was escaping it.

“Well, you tried your hardest and the 15 funny looking gold thingoes you got will probably go for a lot of OM somewhere. So here you go I suppose, you’ve somewhat earned it. Please, however, never darken the doorstep of one of my many establishments again, thank you.

The now ex-storeowner threw a leather envelope at 13, who caught it. The envelope was brown and rather normal, other than an embedded few pieces of metal on it saying ‘The Greatest Gift Ever’, shining bright in the mist. Carefully opening the envelope, 13 was greeted with a yellow, heavily creased piece of paper. He gingerly opened the paper, softly reading it aloud:

“It’s you : )”

13 wasn’t too sure what he was expecting by ‘The Greatest Gift Ever’, but that definitely wasn’t it. Regardless, he now had to continue on his search for the Terrasque and things to do on the way. And so 13 went onward, summoning a new grenade in his hands as he walked, cradling it carefully so as not to anger the machine spirit.
Quote:1794 words
My armour is steel.
My shield is logic.
My weapon is faith.

By the Omnissiah I will let none survive.

13, as usual, continued walking forwards, eventually seeing a concrete structure in the foggy distance, on top of a hill. 13 looked at the surroundings. It was merely a thicker than usual swamp with various bones covering the marshland. Nice and normal, for this verse at the very least. 13 walked up the hill and through a hole in the bunker. Inside was a semi circular slit in the concrete to see through, as well as an abandoned machine gun. 13 picked the gun up and threw it to the ground, it would be useless to him and was too primitive to contain a machine spirit. He looked around, staring intently at the bodies at the bottom of the hill. As expected, they began to reanimate, ghostly skin appearing around bones. If 13’s sensors were to be believed, and they were, roughly 60 enemy combatants were now surrounding his hill. 13’s head peaked out of the slot, watching them group up and talk to one another. He began to set up his rifle. The corpses dispersed and began preparing their positions, waiting for a signal. 13 finished setting up the tripod. What was likely the leader let out a slow rasp and all 13 had to do was aim. Within a few seconds of starting to run up the hill, 6 enemies had had their shins shot out, sending bones everywhere. The remaining 54, despite having an immediate and overwhelming advantage, slowed down and stopped upon hearing the shots. Sure, their bones rattled and the loose skin swayed in the slow wind, but they didn’t even move their heads. Then they collapsed, bones falling onto of off of each other until they were stopped by the mud or their recently once again deceased comrades. A small figure, no more than 1.2 metres long, skittered up to 13 and stood up, though only to where 13’s waist used to be. They were dressed in nothing but a robe and a small typical wizard hat although this was enough for only a small reptilian head and tail to poke out.
“Hello traveller! I am the great prime-wizard known as the Salamancer, my friends call me Saläm. Or at least they would if they were still alive. Or had existed in the first place! Now follow me! I need your services to help me defeat the great evils of this world and also my nemesis, the Newtromancer.”
Somehow inspired by the little fellow’s spirit and similarity to one of the few xeno races that were not outlawed, 13 followed on. It was relatively slow going and occasionally the little lizard fell over and had to flail around for a while before finally getting back up. Eventually the pair made it to what appeared to be a rectangular battle field. What time period and location couldn’t be discerned though. There were autoguns and armour similar to the cadian pattern strewn in one corner of the battlefield but in another there were primitive bone steel weapons surrounded by tanks that only existed in classified blueprints. After a few attempts, the ‘Salamancer’ managed to hop onto a stool.
“You’ll have to wait a bit. It takes a while for them to realise I’m here.”
Eventually, it began. Skeletons milled into the battlefield and began to pick up equipment or man vehicles. Then, they began to walk to the sides of the rectangle. Clearly this was not a lizard to be trifled with. Satisfied, Saläm attempted to clap, but missed. He tried again but nearly fell off his stool. Finally, the small figure managed to clap successfully. It rang out across the plains and fields, but that wasn’t of much use because the battlefield was right in front of them. Most of the skeletons began to charge at one another, others dug trenches or fortified any craters they could find. The ones that charged straight into the middle collided and after a few hectic minutes of fighting were completely destroyed, which left just the ones in the trenches. A few got out to charge the opposing side, but were quickly cut apart by a hail of bullets and explosives. Soon enough, nothing was happening. Skeletons patrolled the trenches and sat around. The salamancer at one point went off and came back with a comically large lunchbox. Saläm looked from 13 and the stool for a few times before 13 got the message, lifting up the prime onto their stool. This policy of waiting in trenches went on for a fair few days. Saläm pointed out a few things that seemed to happen every time a battle was organised. Skeletons attempted to create small bird like creatures out of randomly strewn about bone, but they would only manage to make a few flaps off of the ground before falling apart or crashing into something. On the two nights that 13 witnessed, skeletons seemed to take finger bones and make them into something resembling barbed wire, only for their enemies to poke at it and have it all fall apart. Most interesting, at least in 13’s opinion, was that one skeleton had fashioned a pen and was now writing something. Saläm pulled out a rolled up piece of paper and gave it to 13.
“They’re pretty much all like this. I’ve seen the names and locations not be the same but the overall theme is the same, my skeletons have failed me again. If they were being serious I wouldn’t mind it, but I feel my very being dissolving into nothingness every time I collect the letters from the battleground when they manage to finally finish each other off.”
13 unrolled the piece of paper and began to read it.
Dearest mother. The war has gone on for 5 months now, the members of my battalion and I are unsure of if the war will be finished by Christmas, and wonder that even if it is, will it have finished with us as the victor. We are running low on rations and ammo. Luckily we still have our bayonets although it sadly seems like that may be what we will be left with soon. We can only hope the enemy is plagued by the same logistical issues that we are. There is still no response from high command about our repeated requests for artillery support or our- I must go. Letters are being sent with rations are being served immediately after and I can’t afford to miss out on them. I’m looking rather skeletal as is. Get it? Because I’m a skeleton? Isn’t that funny? Aren’t I hilarious, dare I say it, maybe even a little quirky? YOU MAY NOT HAVE UNDERSTAND THAT JOKE, THAT IS FINE AS I WILL EXPLAIN IT. I, A SKELETON, AM LOOKING RATHER THING. DAMN IT I MEANT THIN, ANOTHER WORD FOR THAT IS SKELETAL. I AM FUNNY.
13 rolled the paper back up and gave it to the lizard. 
“So do you see my problem? I’m trying to raise an epic undead minion army and they can’t even write a fake letter!” They sighed “It just really bums me out. I’m hoping that you can do something, even if it’s just not kill me. I’ve got something for you if you do! 13 knew where this was going, but it wasn’t like the necromancer was harming or corrupting anyone, and a few basic combat manoeuvres would keep them from coming up with indigenous ones that surpass what could be freely given. He summoned a few chapters of The Infantryman’s Uplifting Primer and gave it to Saläm. They seemed overjoyed about being told what were effectively just the basics of combined arms combat, but it worked. In return, Saläm walked onto the battlefield, the stray bullet hitting him and ricocheting back to the shooter. They walked back with a skull in their hand, an exact copy of 13’s skull. Only completely organic, of course. That was concerning.
“Here you go bestest bud! No idea why I have this but I don’t need to worry about that any more. I’d love for you to stay and chat but I have some skeletons to educate, oh yeah!”

And so 13 walked off, his own skull in hand. Through fields and fields of dead and dying crops he went, until eventually the skull started talking, though only with the slightest of whispers.
“I am you.”
“This is correct.”
“And so you would be me/
“If the Omnissiah has deemed it so.”
“I know what you know.”
“That would make sense.”
“I will tell everyone.”
“That got your attention, didn’t it?”
“Yes. I assume there is a way to avoid it?”
“Then tell me right this moment or by His name I will shatter you between my palms.”
“Make me into your cyber familiar or else everyone will know what you know. And you will never be stealthy again.”
“Affirmative, now stop talking.”
And like that the skull stopped talking. 13 prayed to the Omnissiah that it was just a hallucination. 13 began to summon a basic mechadendrite that would attach the skull to him, freeing up arms and keeping it away from his field of view.
My armour is steel.
My shield is logic.
My weapon is faith.

By the Omnissiah I will let none survive.

There was a sickening crunch  as Feran brought his boot down on the skull of a crippled skeleton before him, the wolfhound's eyes filled with fury as he looked down upon the disgusting thing. "Filthy perversions of the Wyld" he spat before moving his gaze upwards to scan the area around him. By the looks of it he was pretty much surrounded by unliving creatures. It had been like this ever since leaving Darkshire a few days ago. The moors were absolutely teeming with unlife, along with other horrific abominations, every one of them an affront to the ancestors in their own right. Initially he had left the city of Darkshire to hunt a legendary creature known only as the Terrasque, a beast which was said to possess destructive power which could rival that of the ancestors themselves. However, he had not expected there to be so many unliving, so many unnatural monstrosities. He had to fight them, even if it got in the way of hunting the Terrasque. 

Cernunnos demanded it. 

He took stock of the creatures surrounding him once more. Close to 60 of them, by his estimation, but he could have been wrong. Every single one was undead, every single one was heresy made manifest. "None of you can be allowed to walk these lands" Feran snarled at the approaching circle before kicking off with his legs and smashing into a section which seemed to have the most enemies in it. The assorted zombies and skeletons reacted, but they all moved at a snail's pace when compared to the beastkin warrior. He was able to cut down many of the creatures before they had even made an attack, their decaying bodies unable to handle the raw strength Feran possessed. Innumerable balls of flame exploded within the horde as the beastkin carved a bloody path through them, fighting with grim and determined fury. It didn't take long for the wolfhound to dispatch the shambling corpses, leaving him standing on the cursed soil of the moors, surrounded by bodies and bones. 

The victory was somewhat bittersweet for Feran. If the unliving here were anything like the ones he had encountered on Erdreja, then their rest would only be temporary. Where he came from, once a being had been raised from the dead it was tied to the plane of unlife, and would return there once defeated in battle. A low growl emanated from his throat as he internally cursed his lack of magical abilities. Had he been an incantor, even a bad one, then he would have been able to sever the connection that some of these lost souls had to the plane of unlife, he could have freed them, allowing them to finally find peace. It pained him to know that his actions had not truly brought them peace. 

At least they no longer walked the land...for a time. 

The beastkin continued to wander the moors. Truth be told, he didn't have much of a plan in terms of actually finding the Terrasque. He was mostly hoping to find some tracks or something of the like, then he would be able to follow these tracks straight to the beast itself. If what he was told was true, then it should have been easy to find it. The beast was said to be tall and strong enough to break through the walls of Darkshire, so it was safe to assume that such a creature was not capable of covering it's tracks well. 

So why hadn't he found anything yet?

This question lingered in Feran's mind as he gazed across the blasted plains of the moors. He hated how dead the moors were, how much they reeked of decay. At least it wasn't like the plain white nexus, at least in this blasted hellscape changed, there was a small spark of life hidden beneath the rot. It took him several hours before he finally noticed something. He could see a bipedal figure in the distance, whoever they were they seemed to be wearing robes. It was hard to tell but they seemed to be red-tinted. He could have been wrong. 

"A mage...?" Feran asked himself as he sped up a little to catch up with the figure. As he got closer details became clearer. He could see that the figure's limbs seemed to be meta, and it had several strange tentacles protruding from it. His first thought was a displacer beast, but the humanoid variants didn't usually have tentacles. Maybe a mix of the canid and humanoid? The wolfhound couldn't tell, but he didn't dismiss any of these possibilities. 

'Predator....or prey...?" 

Feran could hear Cernunnos snarling in his head, trying to spur him on into action. "We'll see..." the beastkin mumbled to himself before drawing is blade, resting the weapon on his right shoulder somewhat casually. 

"You lost there, traveller? Or are you one of those disgusting undead horrors? I really hope you're not!" Feran called out to the figure, the beastkin's fur standing on end as he waited for the response. 
Quote:Word count: 842
"Feran, what if you come across an enemy you cannot harm?"

"Hit them harder" 

"OK, but your sword can't hurt them" 

"Get a better sword? Or a really big stick"

Moving on from his possibly corrupting experience, 13 came across a group of warriors riding on horses. They stopped suddenly, sending black sand flying across dead grass.

“Hello warrior, we are the knights of Graim. We have just returned from killing the great black spider of shamlo however we lost one of our own. We would attempt to recruit another member but we have sworn to hunt and kill the undead southwards, away from civilisation. Would you care to join us on our journey to rid this land of undead filth?”

After his previous luck, it seemed like nearly too good of a deal to be true. A way to help purify the moors just after 13’s possibly chaotic experience? There was no real reason to say no.

“I will accompany you, however, I must leave after to continue on my holy mission.”

Huzzah, we have a spare horse that you may borrow. Now, we must be on our way.”
And so they rode, through dark valleys and vast marshes, focused on nothing but the destruction of their foe. No stops were made other than the ones caused by the weakness of the flesh, but that was understandable. The Omniverse was an uncivilised place that had yet to realise the Omnissiah’s light. He had to be kind before they would allow him to be harsh. The lead knight suddenly stopped and called out to them, the target was ahead. A knight, though not the leader, opened a satchel and got out 5 see-through pieces of cloth, it looked as if someone had harvested the very darkness from the Moors itself and sent it into a clothes factory.

“These veils of darkness will make us invisible to the ghouls that call this wretched place home. The hunt has begun, I think we should split up and meet in the centre, don’t draw any attention to yourselves as they have the bodies to block us inside of a street.”

Maybe enough for you. 13 thought silently, under his cloak. The knights, and 13, split off. Each silently crept through the dark alleys and silent streets. 13 came across an innocent villager surrounded by the undead. Though they tried the best they could, nothing could stop the near endless tide from propping the man upon a cross and impaling him through the wrists. Marching over the few of their comrades that the innocent villager had somehow killed, the undead hoisted the cross onto their shoulders and marched towards the town centre. 13 followed, as invisible as the air itself.

Soon, he came to the town square, where a few other villagers, ones captured and released for sport no doubt, had been hung up. Dressed in dark shadows, 13 moved into where he would have the best shots for the longest amount of time, the centre of the town centre where he would be surrounded by ghouls. Somewhere off in the northern sector a cry rang out across the square,

“Men- gun down the bastards!”

13 obliged, throwing off his drapes to engage in holy combat. Cognis flamers erupted, sending out scorching jets of flame that melted all but the bones of column after column of the undead. The retort of pistols was accompanied by constant bursts of rapid gun fire from around him, the knights of Graim had clearly been well trained. Yet for each monster 13 gunned down, another 2, another 3, another 4 took its place. The safe 4 metres 13 had previously allocated himself was quickly being reduced to 3, with a danger of it becoming two if nothing changed. Gunfire was becoming more and more sporadic, although it was moving closer towards 13. Somehow, brief flashes of light were starting to be seen from behind the rushing hoard, but 2 metres had become one metre. But just before the first ghoul would land a hit on 13, they fell, gunned down by a knight of Graim. The knights and 13 were surrounded by dead bodies and bones. Bones that were beginning to rattle and shake, getting back up and turning to all look at 13. They stared at 13. 13 started at them. No one moved, each group sizing up the other party. Experimentally, he shot one squarely between the eye holes. Small hole in, large hole out. No effect, just a slight jolt of the head. That probably wasn’t too good, they needed to leave. Dying to a group of skeletons would be far too slow, leading to a loss of efficiency. 13 and the knights of Graim began to run, jumping onto their horses and galloping away as the skeletons organised themselves into a formation, beginning to march towards them. The skeletons, now disturbed and angry, had a lock on 13. No matter how far he ran, no matter how well he hid, they would find him and kill him. Only through the complete and utter annihilation of their bones could their fury be ended and that was never going to happen.

13 and the knights, after a few days of near non-stop riding, stopped and looked around. Not a single sound drifted across the wind, but it was now that they needed to split up, the idea being the skeletons would also split, giving each team a lesser amount to deal with. It was terribly weighted against the knights, but that was a sacrifice 13 was willing to make. And so 13 went onwards, hoping to find the Tarrasque yet silently praying to the Omnissiah that the skeletons wouldn’t also be wouldn’t be there to greet him.

13 had been on his journey for a while now and still wasn’t any closer to finding the Tarrasque. Actually, he didn’t really have any idea about what it looked like or how it fought. 13 remembered a few grainy pieces of pict-footage, but nothing that could realistically represent the immense size and power of the beast. There wasn’t too much that could be found, but what was seen was an immensely large beast that seemed impervious to any weapon. Although there was very little footage of anyone actually attacking the beast, most of it seemed to be by young people who were ‘live streaming’ their attempts to kill the Tarrasque. Fortunately though, it seemed like most of those attempts had been done with rather low calibre weapons. Certainly nothing an agent of the Adeptus Mechanicus couldn’t surpass. 13 began thinking about what weapons would work against an enemy of this magnitude, cataloguing their pros and cons with the assistance of his machine spirits. His mind immediately drifted to Ordinatus class weapons, but less costly solutions would have to be thought of first.

++Radium weapons?
Too slow and will cause the Moors to become more inhospitable to the lives of the unenlightened which will decrease the probability of the net reputation increase.

++Arc weapons?
The Tarrasque lacks any electronic components and will likely have a resistance above that of which arc weaponry can overcome.

Shots required to breach skin > machine spirit capacity for extending periods of firing.

++Secondary based bullets and missiles?
Shots required to break skin < Tarrasque speed and defence capabilities, most secondary infantry will die after their first few reloads.

++Phosphor based weaponry?
Beneficial, but not enough killing power on their own.

++Gamma pistol?
Penetration capability is optimal, however projectile size and range is too small to cause meaningful damage.

++Grav weapons?
Sub ordinatus class grav weapons too weak.


++Beam based weapons?
If combined into a single focal point on the underside of the Tarrasque, sustained damage could be enough to pierce through the hide.

++Ordinatus class sonic weaponry?
All ordinatus class weapons are to be considered, however smaller weapons are preferred due to size constraints.

With weapon cataloguing finished, melee weapons were likely not going to be helpful if 13 wanted to stay alive. Initial planning lead to 13 thinking of 4 squadrons of onager dunecrawlers would be able to pierce the comparatively soft underbelly of the Tarrasque, although that idea was banking on the Tarrasque not being able to move incredibly quickly, and the previously untested atomizing rates of eradication beams were as good as 13 hoped they were. Sonic based weapons seemed to always work against larger sized enemies, so there was a chance enough of them could simply peel away the flesh of the beast before it got a single hit in. Annoyingly though, 13’s mind kept on being drawn to how short the Tarrasque’s arms looked and how high up its back had to be. But that didn’t matter right now. What did matter was finding people who had knowledge of the Tarrasque and getting it out of them. No matter how many people he had to turn into servitors to do it. Then, he heard a voice from behind him.

13 had noticed the humanoid coming, of course. Anyone could’ve. They ran, they were loud. But what was interesting was what they physically came up as. A mild fur against fur sound repeated with each step and their breathing was, while not more laboured than a normal human’s, definitely louder. The soft sound of a blade being drawn was heard. A relatively long sword, if 13 had to guess. Annoying though, foul magics were sensed alongside it with flames radiating off the blade toward 13’s sensors and senses. He turned around, to see a beastman staring at 13 right in his eyes. It seemed ironic that in his quest to make amends for what was effectively not killing one beastman, the Omnissiah had sent another. Maybe it was meant for killing, maybe it was supposed to help with the almighty deed of killing the Tarrasque. It was definitely an annoyance, to say the least. And the was it confused the noble skitarius for a blasphemous undead was disgusting.

“I am not an undead, abhuman. I suggest you run off before efficiency is noticeably lowered. You are already eating into what little recreational time I would have.”

The beastman gripped his sword a little tighter, sliding it off their shoulder and holding it just above the ground.

“Abhuman? I am nothing like a human. I am Feran Ap Maddyn, warrior beastkin of the Dragons nation. Watch your mouth before I take it, heretic.”

Heretic? How interesting, that this Feran would call him that. Another mutant with another false god wasn’t a surprise, but… 13 tried to unsummon the ‘beastkin’. Not even a bit of Omni given power went from 13 to Feran as far as he could tell. So they were a prime then. Killing would take too long and slow 13 down further assuming that Feran could land a hit upon 13.

“You are clearly a prime, I do not have time to quarrel with you. I am on a mission to kill the Tarrasque and would be appreciative of you steering clear of me.”

13 immediately began walking off, waiting for something as simple as a definitive answer would take too long. The abhuman could do whatever it wanted, it didn’t concern 13 anymore.
My armour is steel.
My shield is logic.
My weapon is faith.

By the Omnissiah I will let none survive.

Feran had just about had enough of the being before him. It had insulted him gravely, comparing him, a beastkin, to a human. On top of that it didn't even seem completely human, having parts which looked like they belonged to a golem of some kind. He had grabbed his blade in two hands and was mere moments away from charging at 13 before he heard him say something about the Terrasque. The beastkin's muscles relaxed, and he moved back to a more relaxed stance. Silently the beastkin thanked the ancestors for this meeting. What were the odds that he would meet another who was hunting the Terrasque, and so soon into his quest too? Feran was sure that Badb Catha had something to do with this. 

He was thankful that her book had this specific passage within it. 

Feran strode after 13 as the Skitarii started to walk away. "Hey, don't fuckin' walk away from me. I'm hunting the Terrasque too, so, we might as well work together rather than fucking off in separate directions when we share a goal..." 

He waited for 13's response, as the Skitarii had come to an abrupt stop. 

"Proposal accepted. Combined efforts to defeat the Terrasque will increase efficiency" 

A small grin spread across the wolfhound's face. 13 Turned back to face Feran again. 

"Seeing as I've given you my name, man-golem, why don't you give me yours?" 

"My designation is 13-Jzall of the Adeptus Mechanicus of mars, servant of the Omnissiah." 

Feran tilted his head a little as dogs often do when confused. This...thing's name had a number in it? The beastkin supposed that it was most likely related to the fact that 13 appeared to be partly golem, but even then, if a golem had a name it was usually a name rather than a number. 

More importantly, named golems tended to be particularly powerful ones... 

"I'll just call you 13 then." 

"This is acceptable. We must continue moving, you shall follow." 

13 then turned and continued in the direction he had originally been walking. Feran let out a small growl in response to the order he had been given, but followed regardless, walking on the right side of 13. 

"I take it you're eager to find the Terrasque, then?" 

"Correct, the destruction of the beast is priority alpha. To this end we must continue marching, if we are too slow then a pursuing army of undead shall soon be upon us." 

Feran's ears swivelled towards 13 upon hearing this. "Undead!?" the wolfhound snarled. "How many?" 

"Too many to warrant ceasing travel in order to engage in combat. Confronting them would not be an efficient action."

"They're undead for the ancestor's sake! They cannot be allowed to walk these lands!" 

"Efficiency is more important currently. The Terrasque is priority Alpha. I shall not repeat myself again, abhuman." 

A low growl emitted from Feran's throat. "I'll deal with them myself after the Terrasque, then."  

The pair talked little from that point onward. They continued to travel for several days afterwards, only stopping when Feran had to rest, which, the beastkin noted, seemed to bother 13. Mercifully for the Skitarii, Feran was able to function on a relatively small amount of sleep and thus they were not impeded by his need to sleep too badly. It was on their fifth night that something of note finally happened. Feran was setting up his camp, slowly summoning it in, as 13 stood watch. Feran had just materialised his tent when he heard the skitarii's voice. 

"Hostiles sighted. Skeletons have caught up and are advancing upon our position. ETA, assuming current position is maintained, 10 minutes." 

Feran jumped up and jogged over to where 13 was standing to get a look at this army. It was definitely a sizeable one, smaller than the hordes that attacked Darkshire, but still a lot for two primes to handle. 

"Well they fucking snuck up on us didn't they?" The beastkin remarked as he continued to assess the force that was approaching. 

"If you say you're gonna run 13 I swear to Cernunnos..." 

"Combat should be avoided if possible. Engaging the enemy will slow us down" 

There was a short silence, before Feran drew his sword. "You know what? Fuck efficiency, those things need to be purged. They're heretical, and we're gonna have to fight them either way. I say we deal with them now." The beastkin then strode off in the direction of the approaching horde. 

"Efficiency must me maintai-" 13 called out before Feran cut him off. 

"I said fuck efficiency! I'm killing the bastards, run if you want to!" The beastkin snarled before breaking into a jog, and then a full sprint towards the skeletons. It only took Feran a few minutes to get close to the army, close enough that he could hear the rattling of bones as they marched in lockstep. The beastkin grinned. This should be a good fight. 

Once he was about thirty metres away, running at his top speed the beastkin then let out a quick burst before leaping upwards. "BY CERNUNNOS, BE PURGED!" He screamed as he landed in the horde, crushing a few skeletons on impact, knocking a few more over as he skidded to a stop. The skeletons reacted, some of the closest ones attacking the beastkin. Feran was able to block most of the attacks, but a few got through.  He let out a furious howl before unleashing his wrath on the reanimated creatures, swinging his blade in long, sweeping arcs in order to take out as many of them as he could at a time, the sheer force of his attacks shattering bones on impact. From a distance one would have been able to see large swathes of flames appearing within the amassed horde of undead. 

Feran, to say the least, was just a bit angry. 

Quote:Word count: 979
"Feran, what if you come across an enemy you cannot harm?"

"Hit them harder" 

"OK, but your sword can't hurt them" 

"Get a better sword? Or a really big stick"

Feran was not listening to how efficiency must be maintained, but 13 had to persevere. They were inefficient and heretical, but 13 needed to see if the smoke of their fighting ability and mirrors of their aggression were enough to distract the Tarrasque from who would deal the final, killing, blow; 13 himself. And of course, is Feran somehow managed to die 13 would either need to wait for the abhuman or continue on by himself and possibly fail to kill the Tarrasque. And so 13 slowly turned around to watch Feran. 

The abhuman was effective at fighting and was certainly making an attempt of breaking bones to stop the dead from rising against once felled but it wasn’t enough. Every skull that was broken just left more bones for previously defeated skeletons to use, letting them get back into the fight. From what 13 saw of the number of skeletons and Feran’s fighting ability, he estimated it would take roughly half an hour for them to start overwhelming the beastman. Probably 45 for them to kill Feran if he didn’t have any tricks up his sleeve. 13 began slowly walking towards the ever-growing crowd of undead. He took his time getting there though, if Feran continued doing this it would likely get to the point of it becoming more economic for 13 to fight the Tarrasque on his own, regardless of the danger. 13 took out his pistols and started taking shots at the skeletons. The phosphoric elements of his blast pistol likely wouldn’t help too much, but the darts in his flachette blaster would be able to demolish a skull each time they hit squarely. His mechadendrites received and held onto the Red Axe. It seemed almost like a waste to use it on mere skeletons, this was a weapon that could lay low mighty war machines and here it was, about to be merely cutting down line infantry. It was 13’s fault for bringing it into this cursed world to be fair, but he needed every advantage possible in order to allow the Mechanicus to flourish even in the most hostile of circumstances. 

Feran was slowing down ever so slightly, though they didn’t seem to realise it. 13 had cut down roughly 15 skeletons by the time he neared the sea of bone. 13 took The Red Axe out of his mechadendrites' grasp and gave them his pistols.

RAL-51 and 95-A-95, your services are required. Clear the way.

++Find a way to the abhuman, we will buy them time.

13 nodded, giving a silent whisper to the Omnissiah in thanks for the slaughter to come.

“May he protect our minds from slow minded glitchtwits and bodies from the enemy.”

13 tapped an activation rune, enhancing The Red Axe’s already majestic glow with a deadly sheen. He began to slice through hostiles, each blow calculated to hit at just the right place to shatter as much bone as possible. Heads were left to be crunched under his feet or broken apart by the mechadendrites. 13 called out to Feran, his enhanced voice barely audible over the rattling of bones,

“Feran, if this trend continues the tracks of the Tarrasque will be too far gone for optimal tracking.”
“Not too far gone for me! And besides, would you rather-
Feran paused to dodge a hit, breaking apart the offending skeleton’s spine.
-these heretics not die?”

Begrudgingly, 13 had to admit that the beastman had a point. But there was only so many foul beings they could kill in such a short amount of time. With a far reaching strike, 13 cleared away a semi circle of skeletons, opening up a passageway to Feran. A gap had been opened between the two warriors and 13 was determined to widen it further. New protocols were enacted, keeping all skeletons at least one meter away from him or the gap, 13 ignoring any ranged attacks sent his way. A breakthrough had been created and if Feran noticed it, their assistance could easily cause a strategic defeat of the skeletons.
My armour is steel.
My shield is logic.
My weapon is faith.

By the Omnissiah I will let none survive.

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