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Dalamere looked at the main view screen at the empty space ahead. They had just exited from their long journey through the empyrean. She was always glad to return to real space, even though she had been a ship's captain for more than six decades. The tactical display next to her flickered in to life revealing the position of her grand cruiser at the head of her small fleet. Icons came alive behind the position of her ship as more and more vessels exited the warp on schedule. The bridge of the "Renegade Death", her flagship was quite different to most renegade ships. It was maintained similar to any other warship, few signs or icons depicting her allegiance. She stood at attention, as she had always done whenever they exited the warp space, alert eyes flitting around view screens and bridge personnel alike, always wary of danger both internal and external.

It was the harsh nature of the imperial creed and the rigid application of its law that had been the principal driving force behind Delamere. Born to a middle class apothecary on the world of Nadatoumb III, she frequently witness the civic riots caused by poverty. Mismanagement by the ruling junta deprived the majority of the populace of the barest of comforts. Both her parents had been kind and loving towards her, her three brothers and anyone who sought medical attention. Their capacity to look beyond the political causes in their endeavour towards alleviating human suffering was their undoing in the final analysis. Following the mass food riots that devastated the entire planet, the local defence forces and the arbites were unleashed in force. Their home overcrowded with wounded and starving civilians and rioters requiring medical attention, it was only a matter of time before the arbites discovered their services. Blasting their way in to the overcrowded home in a manner typical of the iron fist of the imperium, civilians and rioters, convicts and innocents, patients and apothecary all became casualties. Dalamere was the only survivor, standing on a small hillock, tears streaming down her young face, as she saw the inferno engulf all that was dear to her. That event changed her life for ever, her faith in the imperium shattered, her belief not to rely on others strengthened, she found her way to the stars. Her alluring beauty and razor sharp mind, quickly assuring her meteoric rise to power within the local pirate fleets. She returned to her planet of birth twenty years later at the head of three vengeance class cruisers to wreak revenge on the killers of her family. The governor's palace and the junta's sanatorium were levelled by orbital bombardment while she delivered a deadly virus to the precincts of the adeptus arbites. The judges died a terrible death but the horrendous wave of plague that spread throughout the planet ensured that she would never again set foot on imperial soil as a free woman.

Dalamere ruled her rogue fleet with an iron fist. She had climbed in to power by the alluring beauty of her body and the seductive nature of her mind, quietly and efficiently disposing each of the captains of the vengeance class cruisers in turn. The occasional display of callous cruelty in the face of opposition along with the appropriate leeway for personal achievement had endeared her to her crew. Caring for her crew in ways that others wouldn't but nevertheless being intolerant of any sign of disobedience, the crew members of all three cruisers would follow her without question. Loyalty, such a rare commodity in the universe, and bought usually through fear, was lavished at her feet by a grateful crew. Having accrued her powerful fleet, she set about planning their long term survival. She was wise enough not to align herself with the malign gods of chaos overtly, but simply acted as a renegade pirate captain. The coming of any conflict, regardless of the adversaries, always provided great opportunities for pirate captains. However, Dalamere didn't simply prey on helpless victims. She relished the tactical challenge of defeating a well armed opponent through guile just as much. Her modus operandi was usually one of taking on the role of a mercenary, selling her services to the highest bidder, even doing deals with imperial forces at times. The onset of Abaddon's thirteenth crusade had brought a huge cascade of opportunities, from running supplies to beleaguered imperial worlds to supporting local chaos cultist invasions. Her three ships of the line, venerable Vengeance class cruisers from another era were well suited for the varied missions required of them. Today, she was leading a veritable invasion fleet, guarding the slow transport ships and supply dhows as they mad their way towards a most unusual target, the asteroid fields within the Caliban system.

She had been approached by mysterious, cloaked but giant warriors. She had recognised them as rogue space marines. She had come in to contact with these giants of humanity on previous occasions, barely escaping with her life on each such encounter. The ones that approached her were different. They were soft spoken, and lacked the arrogant brashness in their attitude. Yet, she fully realised that they were rogue elements as she spied the crude attempts at defacing the imperial eagle off their armour. The black armour that lay beneath the dark cloaks brooded ominously. Her mission had been simple. Transport the invasion for to a specified cluster of asteroids and protect the transports while they disgorged their cargo in drop pods and landing vessels. She had vehemently reused to have any of the giant warriors aboard her vessel. She had had to compromise by allowing them to accompany her fleet in a vessel of their own, a devastation class cruiser, "Eviscerator". The accompanying fighters and bombes would provide welcome protection to her warships. Trusting no one, she had instructed her crew to track all such spacecraft with their close in weapons turrets, whenever they were launched. They had been joined by three squadrons of infidel class raiders, each captain responding to her invitation and the promise of much bounty. They formed a screen totalling nine such small ships. The squadron that she had known longest had been allocated to cover the rear of the convoy, positioned behind the Devastation class cruiser, ostensibly to protect its vulnerable rear, but with direct orders to target its engines on Dalamere's command. The other two raider squadrons fanned out ahead as forward scouts. Her own cruisers were arrayed in arrow head formation, with the devastation bringing up the rear of the convoy. Even with the distance created by their dispositions, an unbalancing feeling of dread emanated from that vessel. Herded within this tight circle were ten troop transports and two captured imperial super transports. There was enough carrying capacity to transport three entire regiments of the renegade troops and their support vehicles. She realised that this was not a simple mission of capturing imperial outposts. This was a fully fledged invasion of the entire sector, while imperial forces were distracted in the distant Cadian gate.

Dalamere looked at the astro-chart displays. Their final destination was close but something worried her. Beckoning to her navigation officer to approach, she pointed at the astro-charts. Understanding the question before it was spoken, the experienced renegade spoke softly.

"We are heading in to the cluster of asteroid formation. The ancient charts relate this region to the Caliban system, supposedly the home world of one of the space marine chapters. Yet none of the newer charts document this. There is nothing but asteroids here"

Dalamere looked at the astrogater for a long time and called out to the sensor-auger operator. "I want active and passive scans on all frequencies all fields. Focus narrow band beam search patterns through the asteroids. I need to know if there are any ships or orbital defences hidden over there.

The communications officer called out as the holo-vid display on the bridge activated itself. "Incoming transmission from the Eviscerator"

The view screen filled with the image of a massive, black armoured figure, cloak and cowl casting a menacing shadow over the deep dark armour. The metallic voice oozed malicious intent as he spoke. "Do not concern yourself with navigation or targeting priorities. The path to follow will be revealed in a moment. Detach group secundus to Terraq and prepare to dispatch assault teams. Co-ordinates for bombardment will be transmitted in due course"

The screen flickered off without awaiting an answer. She looked at Gregor, here deputy on the bridge. A fearsome man, tall and muscle bound, his physical appearance belied a sharp mind and decades of experience. "We follow their orders, and soon after the assault drop, we leave as planned!" He smiled. The crew of the troop transport ships had been infiltrated by members of her own rogue gang. She fully intended to appropriate them as additional payment after their content had been dropped on the target area. She would sell or dispose of the ships and other valuables rather than expand her fleet. That way they remained small for all appearances, highly mobile and motivated and their wealth grew gradually. The three commanders of the infidel squadrons would settle for part of the bounty. The desolator cruiser with the space marines might be a problem, but she intended not to make it in to a confrontation.
Doctrinae Unforgiven
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Member of the Inner Circle
EPIC Strategy
Gathering of Angels
Apocrypha Caliban
Codex Astartes Angelus Mortis
Legio Infitiales Venia
Battle Honours
Chronicled By ( Shadow Guard )
This section provides the narrative history of the events that took place during the Gathering of Angels campaign conducted by the Inner Circle, during Abaddon's Thirteenth Black Crusade. This is in no way the official GW version nor is it in anyway an attempt to infringe on their IP. There are many versions of imperial history buried within the sands of time and this is but just one of them. Read on if you dare!
GoA Volume I: Revelation
GoA Volume II: Nest of Vipers
GoA Volume IV: Battle for Caliban
GoA Volume III: The Grand Circle
GoA Appendices
GoA Volume V: Desperate Hours