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April 25, 2014 / praetorianmarines

Rite of Passage: A Praetorian Marines story


Rite of Passage: A Praetorian Marines story



Part 1 – The hard choices





The call from above came once more and the Velites hurried to obey it, as the trenches shuddered violently around them.  The ground tremored under their feet causing even the best of them to stumble and lurch, as dirt and rocks cast about from the explosion hung in the air and dimmed their vision.  Finally, after a span of several seconds, the motion stopped and the Space Marines in training let out a collective sigh of relief.

Isolde Lucé brushed debris from her face and squinted through the clouded dust that now filled the trench.  Her squad numbered nine men and women, herself and the Sergeant included, but they were cut off from any of the other squads or support.

The explosions had been growing longer and louder since the day began, and it was still only mid-morning as they now sounded from mere feet away.  Whatever the strange and nefarious devices used to create such cacophonies were was unknown and unimportant; all that was certain was that the sound heralded an imminent death.  And here they where; the forces of the Praetorian Space Marines, trapped like rats in the recesses of this wasteland.

As it was, the Praetorian Marines detachment upon Gulla had not numbered many to begin with.  Rather, it was a scouting force composed primarily of Velites from the 10th company, with some support from the other divisions.  Jump-pack and armour-clad Triarii had been the first to explore the surface and thus the first to go dark; there had been no sound from them for the last two days, and then contact had been gradually lost by several more squads throughout their tenure on the planet.
It was only within the last few hours that those in command had discerned the truth; they were under pirate attack.  Insidious Xenos swept across the surface of Gulla with incredible speed, rounding up the hapless Velites caught in the open within minutes, using poisons, gasses, nets and cords to subdue the victims.  Those Praetorians who had found cover in time had escaped the initial attack, but now they lay scattered, unsupported and vulnerable to the subterranean explosives employed by the cunning Xenos.
Isolde had witnessed the intent of the weapons first-hand; either the Space Marines died in the explosions or they fled from their hiding places, only to be herded and captured like the others.  Soon, it would be her turn to make that choice; unless the squad Sergeant made one for her.  She wondered whether death would be a better alternative to what these foul creatures had in store for her kin.
“BRACE!”  The Sergeant called again, and they hurried to hug the walls and rocks of the trench once more.  This time the blast was so severe that Isolde toppled over completely, falling face-first atop one of her fellows, a young but simple-minded recruit by the name of Semardes.  Once the tremors subsided she picked herself up and muttered her apologies with an outstretched hand.  He said nothing in return, but clambered back onto his feet and readied his Boltgun once more.
“A lot of good that is going to do you,” spoke a heavily-accented voice from behind Isolde.
“What do you mean?” she asked, turning to face the speaker.
It was of course, Yomon, as she had guessed.  The only Cartmien recruit in the squad, and so the accent made its owner unmistakeable; let alone his physical appearance.  The Praetorian chapter drew its ranks from several local worlds, and with that practice came great differences in culture.  Yomon was fair-skinned and had red hair, but he was also powerfully built even for a Space Marine, and had wits almost as large.  As though he needed even more to define him from the others, he had garnered himself a reputation for a sense of humour, and being a strong shot with the rifle.
“The Bolter, naturally,” he clarified with a nod to the weapon in Semardes arms.  “We’re not going to get a chance to use them at this rate.”
“It makes me feel better,” Semardes muttered darkly.
“He’s right, of course,” Isolde stated.  “And protocol dictates that we stand ready at all times…”
Yomon pulled a face akin to one of puzzlement, or was it incredulity?  It was hard to tell what he was thinking at the best of times.
“Oh, right you are lass,” he said a moment later.  “But I know that all the Boltguns on Terra are useless without something to point them at.”
She said nothing, but looked to the weapon in her own hands, as though appraising the gun for the first time.  It was heavy, it was bulky, but was it pointless?  In the current predicament, it may seem to be a useless block of metals and plastics, but should the situation change then so too may the object’s worth.  All that was required was hope.  Hope made the Boltgun useful still, and in that she shared sentiment with Semardes, despite his blunt words and sullen tone.

“Do you know what’s going on up there?”  Isolde asked, in a bid to change the subject.

“Not a clue.  The Sergeant seems to be plotting something, though,” Yomon responded.

“He’s gonna send us over,” Semardes spoke in a vile tone.  “You can see it on his face, plain as day.”

The others followed his gaze toward their leader.  Indeed the Sergeant did seem to be contemplating something, for his face was riddled with a deep unease and the pallor of a dying man.  Isolde had never seen him look so desperate, and it shook her confidence to see it there now.  She knew it could not be fear, Space Marines cannot be afraid; but they can worry and fret at the consequences of actions that shape the galaxy.
Her sergeant was worried.
“I feel the same, in truth,” Yomon quietly admitted.  “I detest the thought that our training will end here, on this rock, rather than amid the paradise fields of Elysium.”
“I don’t want to die without killing any Xenos scum,” Semardes put in.
Isolde shared both of their concerns and some of her own devise, though she stayed silent.  Thoughts and images of her life so far played across her mind, and she mentally clutched to the greatest of her memories; her triumphant induction into the Praetorian chapter.

“Velites!” came the sharp, clear call of the Sergeant, to which they all responded.

“One more round!” He shouted into the trench, gesturing to clarify his instructions above the din of battle.  “Then we attack, by the Captain’s command.”
He snatched another glance at the battlefield and drew his power sword before continuing.

“Run true, my brothers, move strong!  Into the lion’s jaws we hurl so let us be like poison.  Remember, one more round… and here it comes-”
“BRACE!” the now-familiar shout rang again.
The trench shook with renewed vigour, the Velites found their balance undone once more, and the tremors lasted for far longer than any before.  It was clear that they could not stay any longer even if they had received no orders.  And then, just like that, the vibrations died off, and the squad was on its feet and clambering up to the surface, as the Sergeant whirled his glowing sword above his head and spurred them on with shouts inaudible above the sound of gunfire.
Isolde followed close, charging forward to keep pace with her squad over the uneven ground.  The rocky surface of the battlefield was slick and wet in several places which made the going treacherous, and a couple of her brothers stumbled as they ran, though her own balance stayed true.  The glowing balls of searing energy arced slowly overhead as a Praetorian Ballista covered their charge, and Accipitres speeders zoomed ahead spouting gouts of promethium-fuelled flame.
Sharp, whistling noises hurtled past her head and she saw two Velites go down, but she kept running.  Then large black shapes emerged from the smoke and flew past them at incredible speeds, knocking down several others and covering them with razor-wire nets that dug and cut into flesh.  She kept running, though it was quickly only herself and three others still charging.

Then she saw the enemy at last; just dark shadows in the gloom perhaps, but unmistakably alien, and so she raised her Boltgun to her shoulder and fired.  It kicked and shuddered tremendously with every shell fired, but it was impossible to tell whether or not her shots where actually hitting the Xenos.  She prayed that her hope in the weapon would be rewarded and her aim would hold true.
No matter, she thought.  Just keep firing.  Just keep running.
And so she did for the next few seconds, until the moment Isolde caught sight of a bouncing, spherical object on the periphery of her vision.  She attempted to dive aside, but the grenade detonated too quickly; the blast threw her into the air only to land awkwardly upon the rocks, sprawling her body and bludgeoning her head into unconsciousness.



Part 2 – Seizing the Initiative
Quiet.  That’s what it was.  Not silent by any stretch of the imagination, there was plenty of noise around her, yet it was subdued, blurred to the senses.


Something was going on.  That much was certain.  Where those sounds voices?  Unsure, Isolde lay in wait and tried to listen more clearly.  Her eyes remained closed, and her breathing shallow.  Sure enough, her hearing eventually managed to decode the mess of noise that was speech, though parts of it were strangely foreign and unknown to her.
“Let me go, Eldar scum,” the voice of Semardes punctuated the other chatter like a knife through flesh.  His tone was dangerous and demanding, with not a trace of doubt; but it was greeted with a villainous hissing sound that Isolde soon realised was laughter.
“Let me out of this cage and I’ll give you something to laugh about.   We’ll see how funny you find my boot up your ars-”
Semardes was cut short by the smack of something hard striking him.
Isolde struggled to reclaim her senses, and forced her heavy eyelids to open and take in the scene around her.  When her vision finally cleared, she discovered herself laid amid a pile of corpses.  The lifeless, pale eyes of her fallen Battle brothers stared back at her with expressions that relayed a painful death, and they had been stripped of their armour and weapons before being unceremoniously thrown atop the pile of their brethren.  It was then that she noticed her own armour was missing and that to her fortune, the alien pirates had mistaken her for dead.  What was more, they had neglected to take away the blade strapped to her left thigh, though whether that was due to a lack of diligence on her enemy’s part, or simply that they did not see the combat knife as worth taking, she could only ponder.
Without moving, she scanned the immediate area carefully, noticing at least four of the lithe, black-suited aliens stood within close proximity.  They stood within some kind of camp, clearly a temporary measure whilst the battle continued, and they kept vigil over a row of still-living prisoners whilst their leader dealt with them.
For his part, the leader now knelt beside Semardes, who sat hunched over in a thick, black, metal cage.  The pirate’s armour was adorned with spikes and cruelly sharp implements, whilst his long, sweeping black cape, though ragged and torn through age, lent him a powerful sense of presence compared to the other Xenos.  In his right hand he held some kind of ornate hammer, which was now stained with human blood.
“So, the Mon-keigh makes threats, does it?”  Isolde heard the leader say in a quiet voice.  “This is good news, I enjoy it more when they try to resist.”
He rested the hammer under Semardes’ chin and forced his head upright.
“It means the pain will last longer,” the alien chuckled.  “I will look forward to watching your face contort in exquisite agony.”
Semardes spat upon his captor’s helmeted face, to which the leader merely laughed and turned away.
Things looked bad; aside from herself, all of her fellow Praetorians were either dead of bound in cuffs or cages.  There was no sign of any weaponry or armour about them, save for the contemptible rifles the Eldar held, and a collection of viciously styled jetbikes just visible at the far end of the camp.  Isolde’s only chance was to wait for an opportunity to present itself, and catch the aliens by surprise; without her armour and against the ranged poisons of the enemy, it wasn’t much of a chance at all.
And so she lay still, hardly daring to breathe lest she alert the notice of the guards around her, whilst their leader quietly relayed his orders onto them.  She watched intently, taking note of her surroundings, her senses now working at full capacity as she planned out her movements, enemy lanes of fire and the best places of cover to which she could avoid them.
It was then that the leader gestured towards the pile of corpses in which she lay, ordering the closest guard over to her position.  He stooped on the way, and picked up a strange object that resembled the shape of a gun; but it was only once the Eldar flicked a switch and the weapon sparked a small, blue-coloured fire that she realised it was some kind of Xenos flamer.
The leader moved off into one of the tents, as the guard approached to incinerate the bodies.
Speed was of the essence.  Isolde rolled over the bodies of her fallen brothers, towards the alien, and in an instant her knife was drawn and arcing deliberately upwards to strike him across the chest.  She knew of the Eldar’s reputation for unnatural speed and reactions, but she had surprise on her side, and the knife caught him across the length of his torso, plunging blood into the sky as Isolde sliced upwards with all her might.  Then she caught the flamer when it dropped from his hand, as he collapsed in a crumpled and gory heap.
It only took a second for the other Eldar to open fire, with screams of annoyance at being caught off-guard; but as the tiny projectile blades flew around her, Isolde was already moving to the first gathering of crates that she had earmarked for cover.  She was deathly aware that until the remaining Praetorians were freed she was living on borrowed time; as such, she scurried along the ground, keeping low to ensure the crates concealed her from the enemy fire.
Just as she reached the caged Semardes, a black-armoured Eldar jumped out into her path baring a pistol and a large blade that appeared to be unimaginably sharp.  It glistened brightly as it swept viciously through the air, its wielder swiping wildly in a bid to end her quickly.  He was fast, but thankfully not quite enough, and her reactions saved her from the first few attacks.  She stood poised with her own knife to deflect the next, but the Xenos blade merely sliced through the metal in a single stroke, leaving Isolde holding nothing but a handle.


She rolled aside to escape his onslaught, to which the alien raised his pistol, yet for Isolde this was her chance.  As the Eldar hurriedly tried to aim, she barrelled forwards, closing the gap between them in a single stride and knocking his gun-arm aside just as a round was fired.  Still, the pistol was never the immediate danger, and so she clutched at the Eldar’s arm which held the knife and wrenched his wrist backwards.  It snapped loudly, the bones breaking easier then she had imagined, and the knife fell to the floor.
Her adversary tried to strike her with the pistol, but she was already prepared for it, and a split-second later her fingers found his throat, and he was involuntarily twisted into a shield just in time to receive a volley of splinter rifle fire intended for Isolde.  He spasmed violently as the poisoned blades sheared through his armour, but his ordeal was to continue.  Summoning the depths of her enhanced strength, Isolde hoisted the Eldar off the ground and hurled him at the remaining guards.
Though the other Eldar were too agile to be struck by the lifeless body crashing into the crates around them, it was all the distraction Isolde needed with which to get close;  The nearest guard looked up to witness Isolde hurtling through the air towards him, only a moment before she kicked both legs into his chest.  The resulting sound was like a block of concrete smashing through branches, as the force of the impact launched the Eldar a good 20 feet through the air and straight into one of the tents, which collapsed into a heap of canvas, rigging and disgruntled shouts.
The last guard turned to face her with his rifle poised to shoot, but then, he paused.  Having borne witness to the deaths of his three kin in such a short space of time, he panicked, unsure of himself.  Isolde did not hesitate, however.  The flamer in her hand seemed to almost leap into life as it spouted thick, gout of flame over the wretched Eldar.  As he screamed and writhed in agony, Isolde swept a wave of fire over the camp tents, which caught up spectacularly well, until the occupants echoed the sounds of last dying guard.
There was no time to wait, Isolde knew.  The blazing tents may have dealt with the immediate threat, but the huge plumes of billowing black smoke would serve as a beacon to the other Eldar still out on the battlefields.  She bounded back over the crates towards Semardes, and with some effort on her part, cut the hinges with the sharp, Eldar knife that still lay on the ground.  Semardes immediately dragged himself free, and with a grunt of discomfort got to his feet.
“Nice work,” he murmured, catching the Eldar blade as Isolde tossed it to him.
“Get the others free, quickly,” Isolde urged him.  “We need to take care of the Xenos artillery, lest the pile of our dead ends up bigger next time.”
“We’ll take care of the guns, you need to stop him!” Semardes spoke forcefully, pointing over to the furthest tent.
Isolde turned to look, and there she saw the pirate leader, his armour badly singed and smoking, but alive nonetheless, skulking out of the remains of the tent.  He noticed immediately what was happening, and as Isolde started in pursuit, he took off at a sprint towards the parked jetbikes.  She powered after him, ignoring the roaring heat of the flames around her, running at an inhuman pace to catch the alien.  But he was faster; more lithe and insidiously graceful, and he was astride the jetbike and zooming away whilst she was still a few steps behind.
Without a second thought, she leapt atop one of the jetbikes, and kicked it into life just as the Eldar had done.  The engine whistled rather than roared, as its engines burst into life and then shrieked like a daemon as Isolde gunned the machine forward, tearing out of the camp at tremendous speed.





Part 3 – The hardest journey
Time spent among the Praetorians had always been one filled with the unusual and new.  Strange, specialist machine spirits on devices for every purpose imaginable ranged from temperamental to passive, and even in the short while Isolde had spent within the chapter, she had learned that the Praetorians had some atypical equipment, thanks mainly to a traitor’s legacy.  Thus she knew, that machine spirits were almost like living creatures; they were dominant and to be appeased, or they were submissive and to be tamed.


Isolde could tame this machine.
Though intensely fast, the vehicle’s spirit was meek and subservient to the rider, as though barely there at all.  She had broken fiercer and more stubborn beasts then this, though none quite so fast, and as she streaked across the grim, muddied plains of Gulla, she exhilarated in the sensation of speed and the power it brought her.  The wind whipped at her face and cascaded through her dark hair, biting at the exposed parts of her skin with an icy chill.
Ahead of her and to the right, a nimbus of water and dirt marked the presence of her target.  The Dark Eldar leader was still tearing away as fast as he dared, and it was taking all of Isolde’s attention to keep up with him.
No matter what, he could not be allowed to escape.  Should the Xenos  manage to reach another pirate stronghold he would be nigh impossible to capture, resulting in further months of turmoil across the sector and for the Praetorian chapter itself.  To catch him now would break the pirates’ leadership, and leave them isolated and vulnerable in their camps across Gulla.
And so she had to go faster, before it was too late.
Craggy rocks, thorny bushes and sudden ravines shot into view and then away again, as she raced over the porous ground.  Every increase in her speed carried fresh dangers in the landscape; if she were to so much as blink, it could be the end of her.  It was clear the jetbikes were made for an alien mind.  The rapidity of thought and the reaction speeds required were taxing even to a space marine’s abilities.
She clung on against all odds, as she slowly gained on the Eldar leader; he was not much more than 30 metres away by now, and Isolde wondered if he was even aware that she was behind him.  The prospect of a human chasing him down on a creation of his kin was apparently something he had not considered.  Which was a good thing…  It meant that Isolde still had the element of surprise.
She rested low in the seat, almost flat against the body of the bike in an attempt to draw close, and it was now that she came to realise that the only weapons in her possession were the broken knife and the evil blades on the jetbike itself.
Not ideal…  she thought, but it would have to do.  Just so long as her prey did not notice her approach.
As if sensing her thoughts, it was at that very moment that the Dark Eldar glanced over his shoulder and noticed her pursuit.  With a yelp of surprise and anger, he unfurled a long, metallic chain containing a vicious barbed hook on the end, before slowing his bike slightly to draw level with her.
Isolde reacted instantly, swerving away just as the pirate leader lashed with the weapon, and then braking abruptly in order to avoid another deadly swipe of the chain.  So it continued for a few moments; narrowly avoiding death at every second as the Xenos skilfully swung the weapon to keep her at bay.  It took every ounce of her concentration to dodge the attacks and stay on the bike, and she became aware that it was something she could not keep up for long.  Either she would be hit and fall, or the Eldar would reach the place to which he now fled, and the inevitable presence of his troops that awaited them.
Drastic measures needed to be taken and so, during the next attack she reacted without pause.  As the deadly, metal chain whipped overhead, she reached out and seized it, feeling the cold, wet sensation as the vicious spikes pierced her skin.  She guessed they had been coated in some kind of toxin, because almost immediately her vision swam and she was hit with the most incredible pain; a burning agony as though her arm were being ripped from the bone by a million insects.  But the chain had already curled over her forearm, and so even though her grip slackened, the chain remained caught.
It only took a moment for its wielder to realise what had happened, instinctively trying to wrench the chain free and unseat her in the process.  This was a mistake, because his efforts combined with Isolde’s own powerful yet ungainly leap, was all the momentum needed to see her land upon the bike beside him.  The other, now rider-less jetbike shuddered wildly and toppled out of the air, diving clumsily and ploughing through the earthy ground in spectacular fashion, whilst the two enemies struggled upon the tiny space.  Isolde kicked out hard at the driver, sending him sprawling over the top of the jetbike and onto the elongated nose of the vehicle.  Desperately he clawed to halt his sliding movement, and an unmistakeable cry of pain sounded from beneath his helmet as one of the vicious blades of the bike sliced into his leg.
As Isolde hastened to take the controls of the vehicle and prevent them both from slamming into the ground, her adversary drew a pistol, a shot from which was narrowly dodged as it sailed past her head.   She grasped at the alien’s arm before he could line up a second, and as the lethal blade projectile skimmed past her once more, she squeezed her grip with all of her might.  It seemed Eldar physiology was no match for a Space Marine, even an undeveloped Velite, for the bones in his wrist gave way with a sickening crack whilst another scream of pain erupted from the pirate.
Even as the gun slid from his useless hand, the pirate’s other arm brandished some sort of two-pronged knife in his fist; its blades serrated and cruel as was typical of the Dark Eldar.  He swiped at her in a fury born of pain and desperation, the first of which caught merely her clothing whilst the second cut deep into her arm.  Now it was Isolde’s turn to scream, despite her training and intense conditioning, the venomous bite of that blade filled her with immense pain.
In the moment that her grip on the controls and the Eldar slackened, the pirate seized his chance and swung his whole body back into the seat, pushing Isolde off the jetbike in the process.  She felt herself falling and clambered to regain her balance, but to no avail.  With no purchase to stop her movement she toppled over the side.
And that should have been the end for her, only her torment was to continue.  At first she felt an enormous wrenching pull at her poisoned arm, and then she was still moving forward, with the jetbike, her body flailing along behind and dragging through mud and what paltry vegetation this planet had.  It was only then that she saw her arm was still wrapped by the chain, and that said chain had somehow caught itself upon the bike.
Despite all the pain she felt at that moment, despite the physical damage her body took as she dangled from the jetbike, buffeting and scraping along behind as the vehicle accelerated, despite her dulling sense and reasoning abilities, she somehow found a moment of gratitude at her luck in that she was still alive, and still trailing the Xenos pirate.  This was another chance for her to do her duty, and to save her brothers from their fate.
Mustering her resolve and willing her body to move, she began to climb the chain that held her, exhaling loudly from a fusion of difficult exertion and the venom running through her still bleeding arm.  Every inch seemed to take an eternity as well as an effort greater then Isolde had ever summoned before, yet summon it she did, and the Dark Eldar took longer still to notice her closing proximity.  With a howl of desperate fury he gunned the engine forward, yet still she held tenaciously on.  As the pirate realised that speed was not the solution, he slowed the bike and began to weave among the marshes and pillar-like rock formations that lay nearby.
Isolde’s incredible climb was halted as she found herself plunged through ice-cold water and murky ooze, and it was all she could manage to stay resolutely locked to the chain as her body clattered upon the edge of smooth rocks along their path.  After a few seconds of this ordeal, the driver glanced back and yelled aloud to see her bedraggled body still clinging to the chain.  Lacking other options he stooped to undo the bindings that held her, only to swerve violently seconds later as the bike nearly steered into rock.
Fortune favoured Isolde yet again; the Eldar’s drastic manoeuvre slowed the jetbike enough that she was propelled forward, and seizing her chance, she grasped the edge of the bike and pulled herself upright.  The alien tried to move away as she sat behind him, but he was not fast enough to avoid her fist as she struck him hard on the side of the head.
The Xenos was stunned by the force of the blow, but Isolde did not tarry now that she had been granted this glorious chance.  Freeing her injured arm from the chain at last, she began to bind the pirates arm tightly, using up the full length of the chain as quickly as she could.  The bike swayed perilously close to the rocks as she worked, but she paid it no heed.  Her course lay on a different path now, and as the pirate began to regain his senses she slammed the throttle forward and leapt clear, tumbling over the soft mud and water that broke her fall and speed.
The Eldar, now alone on the accelerating jetbike and his wits returned, reached for the brake, only to discover that his arm lay bound and out of reach.  Quickly he tried to grasp with his other, broken hand, but that arm was useless and he could not work the controls.  With a scream he looked up to see the solid rock approaching at tremendous speed, as the jetbike ploughed headlong into one of the outcrops, it’s alien engine detonating with a fiery explosion.

“Captain Mecri, she’s here!”  A familiar voice could be heard in the blackness.
From her dream-world Isolde was roused, away from a battle in which she duelled a golden god with naught but her sword and bolter; a mighty Space Marine was she, clad in silver and white power armour, and yet now her vision was still and dark.  After a few moments she heard the voice again, closer this time, and with it came the pain of venom in her arm and a thousand bruises and cuts across her body.
Carefully, she opened her eyes and found herself laid on her back, her sight filled with a blurred yet unmistakeably grim sky, and then faces appeared before her; friendly and smiling faces all, for they belonged to her friends and brothers.


“Blessed is she; by the Emperor… if she’s not alive!” Semardes said excitedly to the others, quite unlike his usual demeanour.
“You must have taken some real knocks there, lass,” the apothecary was saying through his helmet.  “You’re going to have a few scars from this I’m afraid.”
“Get her loaded onto the Accipitres; we still need to organise the counter-attack,” the distinguished voice of Captain Mecri could be heard, before its owner kneeled over and gently raised her head with an arm.
“You handle high-speeds and combat well, young Lucé; Let us make more of your talents amid the ranks of the Cavalry Auxilia.”
Isolde smiled feebly despite the pain, and she spoke; though her voice was weak it still carried a note of happiness.
“I would be honoured… Captain…  Just please, give me a bike that stays on the ground.”



Read more about Isolde Lucé here!


Thanks for reading!

March 21, 2014 / praetorianmarines

March 2014 Update

Well, it has been a while, but I’m back and I’m still playing 40k!  Despite the fact that things have gotten a little crazy in the past few months with regards to new units and power creep.  All that one can do in such times is PLAY WHAT YOU LIKE, which honestly, you should have been doing anyway! 😀


 Imperial Knight
This guy…


So firstly, to recap and recant as to what is currently happening in my local 40k world.  Firstly, I have been and am still making videos for my Youtube channel, so if your looking for Space Marine or Sisters of Battle/Adepta Sororitas tactical advice, I recommend checking it out!

In addition to this, I have been very fortunate to be chosen to become a moderator at the Bolter and Chainsword forum, specifically my jurisdiction falls over the Sisters of Battle forum, to which I can say with certainty is the best resource on the web for anyone looking to start an army of them.  Just remember to behave yourselves whilst you’re there! 😉


I have another tournament at my old club in Lincoln on April 12th, to which I have created 3 different army lists (1000, 1500 and 1750 points respectively) since each game requires a different point value and rules.  I will post these lists just prior to the tournament itself, but I must confess that currently, things seem to be going well!  The only one I’m a little shaky on is the 1500 point list, but it is winning regardless, and that is what matters!

Whilst I am currently racing to paint the armies needed for this tournament, it is unlikely I will achieve it and so When I eventually post pictures, I ask for your forgiveness as to the sorry state of some of the models! :p


In other news, this wednesday I will be taking a trip to Warhammer World for a couple of games with the girlfriend; she wants to play as the Praetorians so it looks like I’ll be trying to beat my own tournament lists…  I’ve yet to win against her though and she’s currently 3 for 3!


In addition to other models I’ve been painting when I get the chance, I have made some themed objective markers for both armies.  These are the Praetorians options, and whilst pretty simplistic, certainly look the part on the tabletop!

 Objective markers


Now, what is in the future?  Well firstly, I will be making a real effort to report on this tournament and update with painted units.  In addition I’m trying to round out my Space Marine forces before painting more of the Sisters, but all this must be weighed up with real life responsibilities! In short, there will not be much fluff in the coming months, but hopefully plenty of painting, tactics vids and other random things!

March 21, 2014 / praetorianmarines

Painting the Chapter: Landspeeder

Here is the First of the Praetorian Marines 4th Company choices; the Accipitres Landspeeder!


This model was acquired second-hand and partly complete, though I think it spruces up pretty well!


Praetorian Marine Accipitres:

Landspeeder with 2x Heavy Flamers.

=60 points


The Accipitres are almost exclusively part of the 4th Company, with the purpose of providing highly-mobile, anti-infantry firepower upon embedded enemy troops.


The greatest Accipitres pilots are often recruited to fly larger machines, such as the Pegasus, for which they require a brief secondment amongst the chapter’s Fabrum.


So, how much did this unit cost in real world terms?  Well, I was lucky enough to buy it as part of a larger lot of models for around £30, meaning the end cost of this speeder was approximately £5!  Quite a bit cheaper then the £18.50 charged by GW!

Total saving = £13.50 approx. 

As always, thanks for checking out the Praetorian Marines!

See you again soon!

June 22, 2013 / praetorianmarines

Sisters of Battle Tactics: Repentia

Here we have another Sisters of Battle Tactical video, this time detailing the uses of Repentia!

Thanks for watching!

June 20, 2013 / praetorianmarines

June 2013 update:

What I’ve been up to:

Hello again!  What a long time between updates!  Well there are several reasons for such, moving house for example, and then other commitments; all of which means I haven’t had as much time for 40k stuff as I would like.

However, I have managed to get in the odd game here and there, and I’m currently working towards 2 main goals:

    1. There is a local tourney coming up in July at Gobstyks, the gaming club in Lincoln.  Although I no longer live there, I’m heading back for the day, this time with the Sisters of Battle (since the Praetorians gave a good account of themselves last time).  This means in addition to list building and test games, I’ve got a hell of a lot of painting to do!
    2. The Bolter and Chainsword are holding their annual E Tenebrae Lux painting contest, where people around the world attempt to paint the most points before august 15th.  As I am painting Sisters anyway, I’ve decided to combine the two events, and so you can follow my progress, if interested, here:

Warhammer World:

Last week I was able to see Warhammer World for the first time (despite struggling to get onto the correct road due to road works), and I have to say I was fairly impressed overall!  Out front is a huge Ultramarines Rhino, and plenty of exhibits indoors.  The best part had to be the miniatures hall, where all of the ‘Eavy metal examples of the Games Workshop range are on display.

I was able to see some amazing dioramas in person, which I remember from issues of White Dwarf as a kid!  On top of that, they have a giant example of a Tyranid attack on a Space Wolf fortress.  The more you look at it, the more tiny things you can see going on… It’s actually pretty funny at times.

As for the standard of painting on the miniatures themselves, well, all I can say is that pictures over the years really do not do them justice.  The detail and colours are amazing.

I played a game in the gaming hall, which actually looked less cheesy then I pictured, and the boards are all really well made and full of interesting scenery.  Whilst I took my Order of the Devoted Knife along (more tourney practice) to fight against… Sisters of Battle(!), there were several other sisters players in the hall as well!  I guess they’re more popular then people realise.

Afterwards, it was time for food in Bugman’s Bar, which is supposed to represent a dwarven tavern.  It looked more like a JD Wetherspoons. :p  That said, I would travel to Warhammer World JUST for the food.  That’s how good it was!

All in all, it was a decent day out, but I would recommend only going if you know you can get a game in with someone.  Don’t forget to book a table!

Coming soon:

Naturally, I will update as usual as units are finished, and stay tuned for some updates regarding the tourney, as well as a full report on what happens… And there will be lots more content of various kinds, coming soon (mainly because I have a huge backlog of almost finished stuff, so when it is ready for posting, it’s all gonna come out at once!)

Stay frosty.

April 6, 2013 / praetorianmarines

Painting the Chapter (Thunderfire Cannon)

Here is the second of the Praetorian Marines’ Heavy Support options: the Ballista!


Thunderfire Cannon
The cannon itself is a complete kitbash, whilst the Techmarine is also converted!


Praetorian Marine Ballista:

Artillery Cannon with Fabrum & Servo-Harness.

= 100 points




A Fabrum is required to operate the Ballista, due to the complex machinery contained within.  His Plasma cutter can fire a traditional plasma shot, or simply expel a wave of searing hot flame when needed!

Thunderfire Cannon
It is thanks to Sellendar’s genius that the Praetorian Marines have access to this technology, however, as with all items that he once worked on the Ballista is viewed with some suspicion by the Chapter’s ranks.



Normally, this is the part where I do a break down of the costs of making this unit.  However, since this is a kitbash, all the parts have been covered in previous models or are simply too small to monetise yet, and so will instead be covered in future.  The only significant parts such as the Razorback Lascannons and Techmarine where gifts from my girlfriend’s Brother, and so it’s not really fair to attach a value to them either.

As a rough estimate, this unit only cost around £1.00  to make!  Which is a massive saving over the £36.00 GW model.  All the better that mine is unique! :p


Surprisingly, this model did not take very long to complete, especially when compared to Isolde!  I am very pleased with the end result, and out of all the models I field, this is the one that has drawn the most attention from passers-by!

Hope you enjoyed, stay tuned for more Praetorian Marines stuff, coming soon!

March 12, 2013 / praetorianmarines

Sisters of Battle Tactics: Battle Sisters

Another update for you today! This time it’s a tactical video regarding the Battle Sisters. Enjoy!

March 11, 2013 / praetorianmarines

Space Marine Tactics: Hidden Depths of the Chapter Master & Honour Guard!

2 More tactical videos for you today, and for two of the lesser played units in the Space Marine Codex.

Hope you enjoy; don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments!


Hidden Depths of the Chapter Master:


Hidden Depths of the Honour Guard:

March 8, 2013 / praetorianmarines

Random Musings – Stormravens, Cheese and Gaming Clubs:

Cheesy lists and their effects:

In the interests of entertainment, I don’t normally talk about the various day-to-day gaming I get up to, but last night deserves a special mention.
Thursday nights are gaming night at our local club (Gobstyks in Lincoln), but this time I had set off early since Thursday also just happens to be late-night shopping in the city! After purchasing a last minute mothers day present (a murder-thriller from Waterstones; just the thing!) I noticed there was still some time left before the club opened, and so made my way to the local Games Workshop.


GW - Lincoln
Lincoln’s own GW store.


To say it was busy inside was an understatement; several Gobstyks members mingled with other shop patrons, talking, shopping and painting.  I saw my opponent for the night there too, as he attempted to exchange some Warhammer fantasy impulse purchases for some new 40k army.

“I’ve been into the hobby for over a decade and I’ve never collected a Space Marine army,” he said.  After several urgings from both the customers and staff, he decided to run with it and began to scan the racks of Dark Angels models.  I was pleasantly surprised that he asked for my advice as to what worked and what didn’t, and so I shoddily attempted to relate everything I knew about Dark Angels and their possible play-styles.

Sam, by the way (the person in question) plays Necrons, and has for the 9 months since he rejoined the hobby.  Not only that, he plays flyer-spam Necrons, and has for the 9 months sin- you get the idea.

His list is strong and ‘cheesy’.  He has won tournaments with it.  He has won the Cheese award at our local club (for bringing the cheesiest list).

His list has won him many games, and now some people flatly refuse to play him (which is a shame, because he’s actually a sporting player).

Inadvertently however, sticking to the same list for so long has made him a bad player.  There is so much about the game that he doesn’t know because he has never needed to learn them.  Worse still, the combination of ‘Codex creep’ and people simply sussing out the right tactics are beginning to make him struggle.  And so now he looks upon the ranks and ranks of Dark Angels units before him, with no clue what to get.


Necron Flyers
The Necron Nightscythes are more commonly referred to as the ‘flying bakery’.


The truth is, there is no ‘best’ Space Marine unit.  Each one fills its own role and has its own tricks it can bring to the table, but for someone who has only taken the ‘best’ units from his codex for 9 months, his viewpoint has become clouded; narrowed if you will.

I really hope his Dark Angels get off the ground, because I know he will learn an awful lot from using them and that in turn will make him a better general.  In short, winning isn’t everything, but true mastery of your Codex can lead to more exciting games for all parties involved.



Praetorians back in action:


Okay I admit it, I have been neglecting my Praetorian Marines of late, and in fact I haven’t even played them since the club tournament in November.  The reasons why are twofold:  Firstly, I was excited about playing with my new Battle Sisters for a change of pace, and secondly, the cats had decided to destroy a bunch of my models (Space Marines are no match for angry kitties).

Having finally repaired said models, I decided to use them again last night, against Sam’s cheesy Necrons.  I decided to take an all-comers list (as I usually do) and so ended up with the following:



Captain Isolde Lucé – with all her usual upgrades, if it isn’t broken don’t fix it!

Chaplain Cassius – my first time using this guy, he would be running with the scouts.


Full bike squad – with Melta out the wazoo

Tactical squad – my usual setup, Flamers, Melta-bombs, Rhino and a Lascannon.

Scout squad – all with close combat weapons and Bolt pistols!

 Fast Attack:

Landspeeder – with 2(!) Heavy Flamers… Toasty!

 Heavy Support:

Vindicator – with a dozer blade.

Thunderfire Cannon – best thing in the codex!

Stormraven Gunship – the first flyer I’ve ever fielded, and the first ever Skyfire the Praetorians have used!


Sam’s list consisted of 6 squads of Warriors with Gauss, 6 Night-scythes, an Overlord on a barge and 3 Annihilation barges.


Going into this game I was optimistic, since I had several plans I could use depending on how the game started.  It also helped my confidence that I was still riding a 5 game win streak with my Sisters!

Could the Praetorians do the job too?


No longer are they just the domain of Blood Angels and Grey Knights; the Stormraven has a strong reputation amongst players of those armies, however.



Stormravens.  Are.  Awesome:

The game went well, and I ended up winning 12-4 against the ‘cheesy’ Necrons.  How? Well there are several key points that made the difference:

  • I won first turn.  This is MASSIVE against flyer lists since they can only appear turn 2 at the earliest.  This means that you get a whole two turns to take out what is on the board with the full might of your army before they arrive!  It sounds obvious, but people still fail to exploit this as much as they could.


  • I lucked out on the mysterious objective at my gunline, combining with the bolstered ruins there to give my troops a 2+ cover save!


  • Sam’s warlord trait let him reroll failed reserve rolls.  This is a very good thing for a flyer-heavy army, but it also meant that I could be certain of when the flyers would arrive, and plan accordingly…


  • Loading the Scouts into the Stormraven.  I started the unit on the board in Hover mode and used the free scout move to advance straight at his command barge.  Popping it turn 1 and winning first blood!


  • Synergy.  Bikes shooting forward ladled with Melta in addition to the Stormraven means that there was a hell of a lot of serious threats coming at him right from the start.  He couldn’t kill them all!


  • Assault ramps meant I could charge with a combat squad of scouts and Cassius against the dethroned Overlord, and still zoom off the table with the Stormraven.  The scouts did the job and spread out to stop the Necron leader from returning.


  • Once his flyers arrived (only 4 though, despite rerolls!) I was able to outflank the Stormraven and then keep it safely behind the Nightscythes roasting them easily with Melta and Lascannons!  Outflank alone makes the Stormraven incredibly dangerous to conventional flyers.


  • My luck came in right when I needed it.  Turn 3 I made an inordinate amount of armour saves and weathered the shooting storm amazingly well.


  • Ignoring flyers.  Knowing exactly when the threat of the flyer has passed and when to go back to Hover mode and crush ground enemies made the Nightscythes a minor distraction from the real battle.


All of these factors contributed to the win, and it was a great game!

 Special mention goes to the Thunderfire Cannon, Flamer Tactical squad and Vindicator for having nothing useful to do all game!  By the time the right targets showed up it was already over.

 I’m still not convinced on Hurricane bolters in general.  They did help wipe a unit of warriors which was helpful, but that was the only thing all game.  Had the Warrior unit been larger they wouldn’t have even done that much. 



Gaming Clubs are fun:

The game ended early, and so I wandered off to look at the other tables.  A few games of Warhammer Fantasy, Warmachine, Magic: the gathering and even X-wing where going on.  What drew my eye though was an all power armour, 4 player brawl going on between Space Wolves and Chaos Marines against Grey Knights and Space Marines. 

I tuned in just as things got interesting, watching an entire drop pod of Tacticals unload plasma and bolters into a single cultist (standing in the open, no less!) who had the relic was particularly funny.  But that was nothing on what was to come…

Abaddon the Despoiler himself charged into a Command squad, causing 4 wounds to which the apothecary’s feel no pain saved every single one!  Still they where only a speed-bump really, but they still bought enough time for the Space Marine Captain to return to single-handedly take on Abaddon with naught but a Relic blade and Plasma pistol.

Abaddon swept 2 wounds from him without blinking, but with his last ounce of strength the Captain fought back…  And he did it.  Abaddon died in single combat to a Space Marine Captain and raucous cheers from the table!



So what have we learnt?

Gaming clubs are brilliant fun for all sorts of reasons.

Abaddon has the nickname ‘Failbaddon’ for a reason. :p

Vanilla Space Marines are an amazing army capable of many amazing things!



March 3, 2013 / praetorianmarines

Brutus Ignus: Praetorian Marines 2nd Company Captain

Time to meet another Praetorian Marine commander!  This time it’s the turn of Brutus Ignus, Captain of the mechanised 2nd company.



Brutus Ignus
Brutus Ignus brings the charge to the enemy in the 4th battle of Recro.



Brutus is currently one of the oldest surviving members of the Praetorian Marines, having first joined the chapter prior to the journey to Elysium and has shared in a great deal of victories and sufferings within that time.

Near the start of the 38th Millennium, Brutus Ignus was recruited from the White Consuls chapter to become a Sergeant of the 2nd Company Praetorians.  His aptitude for mechanised combat had long been acknowledged within the ranks of the White Consuls, though his personal beliefs often clashed with that of the chapter.  So when the opportunity came to join a new chapter; and as a Brother-Sergeant no less, Brutus took it without regret.


During those early years on Terra, and as the Praetorian Marines slowly grew up to full strength, Sergeant Brutus often found himself working alongside the chapter’s Techmarines, and even the young Master of the forge himself: Sellender Ticiao.

The pair shared an affinity for all things mechanical, and soon became firm friends.

Upon the disastrous first voyage to Elysium, Brutus began to collaborate with Sellender more and more as the chapter’s tanks constantly needed repairs.


“Such a skill from merely a Sergeant is commendable.  One would prefer he were among my ranks as a Techmarine, however.” – Master of the Forge Sellendar Ticiao, upon describing the young Brutus in the days on Terra.


It was during the decades-long journey that Brutus found a greater command thrust upon him.  As losses were taken and the Praetorian’s numbers dwindled, Brutus was quickly promoted to the 1st Company, where he served as a Legionary First for a time, and then later as an Urban Cohort.

To say Brutus was uncomfortable with the new posting would have been an understatement.  His confidence began suffered at first, and he doubted his personal combat skill, if not his tactical prowess.  Sellendar in particular noticed the change within his friend, and offered to help the young Brutus overcome his concerns.

Together, they began to spend their time training.  At first they merely ran extra Boltgun drills and sparred, but as time went on Sellendar concocted greater and more challenging trials.  When Sellendar’s duties began to prevent him from training Brutus, he instead created strange machine contraptions designed to test him in his place.  Slowly but surely, Brutus’ skills improved significantly and his presence on the battlefield began to have a real effect on the outcome.

Despite his increased skills, Brutus remained uncomfortable within the 1st Company, and eventually he was allowed to return to the ranks of the 2nd as a Veteran Sergeant.  The change was immediate, and Brutus redoubled not only his training but also his understanding of the spirit within every machine.  Some decades after the Praetorians had finally settled on Elysium, Brutus was promoted to the rank of Captain; a position he holds to this day.


But all did not remain well; in the year 958.41M, Brutus began to notice strange occurrences within the machines of the 2nd Company.  Unable to understand the origin of the problems, he approached Sellendar for insight.  His friend told him that the machine spirits where reacting to some kind of change, and that he himself could feel it too.  Sellendar spoke cryptically about beliefs and sides in an upcoming schism, and even asked if Brutus would join him when the time came.

Captain Brutus did not understand these words but they plagued his thoughts for the next few months, toying through his mind as he wondered whether or not to report the situation to the Praetor.  He opted to stay silent, and has regretted his decision ever since; for then came that fateful night of Sellendar’s betrayal.

At first, Brutus could not believe what had happened, but soon he became outraged by the events.  His anger burned for days as he locked himself away within his chamber, until at last he emerged, sporting a new weapon attached to his left gauntlet.  He strode into the great hall of the Praetorians Fortress-Monastery as the chapter had gathered to assembly, and bellowed his intention for revenge against Sellendar onto the whole hall.


Since that day Brutus has grown stoic and uncompromising in his affairs.  His honed combat skill is now fuelled by the fury of betrayal, and he has claimed many of the galaxy’s greatest warriors through the blade of his relic sword.  He rarely takes off his helmet, and always leads from the front in battle.

Though he remains quite rational and tactically gifted, it is no secret to the chapter at large that he hunts the renegade Sellendar with every ounce of his being, hoping to meet his former friend in battle and silence his own doubts at last.


“Drive into the enemy ranks.  If that does not work, shoot them first… and then drive.” – Captain Brutus Ignus, upon relaying tactics to his Sergeants.