tracks. And so it came to be that Surma found one of his rivals stalking the daemon, ready to fire the killing shot with his rifle. Surma was an expert marksman and fired first. The daemon dropped, paralysed and unconscious. His rival was not about to share his kill with Surma. The rival shouted in anger and defiance. But Surma was consumed by a burning lust for power and did not hesitate to fire his pistol. The rival fell, dead. Upon arriving to the corpse of the daemon, Surma let his young temper lead him into trouble. For the daemon was not dead. It lashed out with its mighty claws, ripping deep wounds to Surma's shoulder. Surma shot it in the head and cut its throat with his spear. Ignoring his wounds, driven by his insatiable lust, Surma skinned the thing and cut its horns as a trophy. What remained was the journey to the Watchtower of the giants. It was no mean feat, the daemon-skin was heavy and the distance was long. His wounds slowed him further still. And finally, on the slopes of the mountains, it all was too much. Surma dragged himself and his precious treasures with his hands when his legs failed him, but ultimately, the tower in sight, he collapsed. He cursed his weakness, but the Storm Swords did not. Instead, they carried the dead Surma to their fortress-tower and revived him. His first task was judged a success. Many would follow, but ultimately Surma was inducted to the chapter in 797.M41.
VETERAN SEARGEANT SURMA
Storm Swords Chapter
By Henry Vainio ( The Officer )
Origin: Sergeant Surma was born in the village of Hellscrack as a son of a smith. His father was a respected man, for he mastered the rare skill of crafting firearms and manufacturing gunpowder and thus ammunition for them. Such skills were rare indeed, and the people of Hel V relied on weapon smiths to provide them the firepower to fend off the geno-enhanced beasts that roamed the snowy wastes and forests of similarly enhanced pine trees. Surma, his given name lost in the tides of time, was the second son of the smith. His older brother was an apprentice for his father, quickly learning the important secrets of constructing the instruments of hunting and warfare. Surma was still too young to be trained in such things. It was doubtful if the knowledge would ever be passed on to him, for the guild of the weapon makers did not wish to spread its secrets too widely in the fear of losing its political importance. Still learning to hunt and survive in the harsh world of Hel V, young Surma came across an event that changed his life forever. His village was subjected to a security sweep by a patrol of the Storm Swords. The giants of ice cold metal, carrying weapons of unimaginable power, arrived from a howling snowstorm and gathered the villagers to the village centre. With harsh voices they questioned the village elders. They were not pleased to hear what they were told. The giants deemed the elders to have failed in their sacred duty for reasons that didn't matter to Surma. What mattered was the
sight of ultimate power when the sergeant of the squad fired his bolt pistol on the leader of the village. As the mangled corpse of the man hit the snow, something snapped in Surma's head. He had killed beasts before, but such a force, such ease of ending a life enthralled him in a permanent way. What came next locked the path of his life in a course of hatred and death. The giants of black iron and blue ice screamed in their chilling voices a challenge: any young men of able bodies and minds who wished to join their ranks in their sacred war must slay a snow-daemon and bring its hide to the watchtower on the northern slopes of the mountains. Then they left, disappearing into the howling storm.
Young Surma set out to kill a beast called a snow-daemon. Such creatures were rare, and lurked in the darkest places of the woods. Only one was known to live in the lands of Hellscrack, and there were many young men out to find it. Some of them were better hunters than Surma, but he had a distinct advantage over his competitors: his father. The old smith was both terrified and proud when he heard of the intentions of his son. The giants of iron were regarded with much fear by the people of Hel V, and the smith did not know whether this was a blessing or a curse to his family. He did not dare to oppose the will of the gods, though. And so he provided his son with the best of weapons he could build. A heavy hunting rifle, a sleek pistol and a long sword-bladed spear. Armed with the best weapons in the village and with the blessings of his father and brothers, Surma began his hunt. A creature know as a snow-daemon is a huge beast, created by the ancient bio-tech adepts to be the ultimate predator of these cold forests, only needing to fear the more gigantic creatures roaming the plains. Such an animal has aspects of the great apes ancient Terran as well as those of the feline predators of the birthplace of humanity. Its fur is thick and its claws are long and sharp. It can climb in the trees and run with an astounding speed on the ground. Its head is crowned by huge, sharp horns, hence the name. It is cunning and mean. Young Surma had no chance of finding such a creature, and after two weeks of searching the forests he realised this. He also realised that he did ave the means to kill it and that he could track his competitors who did not bother covering their