“The night brought with it a cool breeze that wafted lazily through the defence line. Baraclough placed his lasrifle against the firing step, opened his mug of recaf and took a long swig. The outpost was on the southern edge of the main Forge; apparently a key target for the Warmaster.
It was manned by over one hundred soldiers, raised from the planetary defence force. On Baraclough’s section there were thirty men and several Emplaced weapons. So far they’d been there for two years and seen nothing. They had done nothing but drink recaf. Baraclough had taken up the position that most of the troops on the line now believed; that no one was coming for this Forge, someone in the Command or Intelligence circle must have made a mistake.
Baraclough took another swig from his mug. A soft warbling wail echoed out across the night. As the chemical tasting liquid hit his lips the elevated guard post 30m down the line suddenly erupted in green flames that made the air taste funny and his skin itch. The explosion was accompanied by a terrifyingly loud high pitched warbling wail. It left an afterimage of a wide “beam” on the soldiers retinas in the defence line.
“Stand to!” Came a cry, barely audible above the screaming of men with green fire erupting from their skin, eyes, mouths and ears.
Another blinding flash, the afterimage showing the beam pass directly over Baraclough’s head. An arc of green flame reached down slowly and seemed to pass through his skin in a slow, creeping tendril. It generated such acute pain that he thought he was entirely unable to scream. Green flame erupted explosively from within him, melting his eyes and drowning his scream in the burning, flesh that was his throat only seconds before.
Baraclough died with seventeen other soldiers to the second shot of the Glaive Special Weapons Tank “Insidious Nightmare” as it casually scoured the first defence line of anything that could put up a fight. Thirty seconds after the beam was fired, all that remained of the section of soldiers was ash, floating on the night air.
The 53rd Company, VIII Legion; The Bringers of Desolation had arrived.”Extract of a soldiers memoirs; one of four survivors from the battle for Astraneus Forge, 56.19.
Company Background In General
The 53rd Company, VIII Legion, Night Lords is commonly referred to as “The Bringers of Desolation”. It is one of several notable mechanised cohorts that focuses on armoured atrocity to achieve compliance or victory. The cohort is also one of the more specialised Night Lords units; having exceptionally high amounts of Volkite weaponry in its armoury. This brutal and arcane technology has been enhanced to provide significant psychological trauma to its targets by bleeding a small amount of the generated thermal power into vanes that emit a warbling wail as power builds and is unleashed.
Those unfortunate enough to be hit by the weapons wielded by this Company rarely survive. The thermal energy is capable of penetrating ceramite and transfers its arcane energy exceptionally easily, often able to ignite other nearby targets by “leaping” between victims through this transfer. Any unarmoured organic material that a Volkite beam hits is instantly set explosively ablaze and burns with a visible green flame until it is entirely consumed.
The Company has its own Naval Close Air Support Wing, comprising mainly of Xiphon and Primaris-Lightning Strike Fighters. These prosecute targets ahead of the main force element, often employing a combination of high yield warheads and phosphex weapons to terrorise forces in reinforced positions. these targets are marked out by the Reconnaissance group, known as “The Visage of Horror”. This group is comprised entirely of Javelin Attack Landspeeders with a plethora of anti tank weapons. This allows them to wage their own private wars whilst feeding the main element of Company with much needed intelligence and targeting data.
Company Lead & Modus Operandi
The Company is led by Vorasha Eremon, a Praetor who rose to Command through merit, rather than murder his way to Company Command. Whilst this is at odds with the manner that most gain their Commands, Eremon is a true Night Lord of old Nostramo.
A brutally cold tactician, Eremon revels in collateral damage and routing his enemy. He especially enjoys the sport of chasing fleeing targets with scything beams of Volkite until the inevitable occurs. Due to the nature of his Companies weapons, very little remains of their victims for Trophies. Eremon encourages dismounted, melee action to take place as soon as possible; often seeing Rhino armoured transports charging across the battlefield, laden with Terror Squads, into the midst of the enemy in order to tear them apart and claim their victims.
Eremon is clad in customised Terminator armour with inbuilt teleportation transponders which he uses conduct decapitation strikes. He is also known to have a Contekar cohort, known as The Barons of Despair. They are armed with Volkite Cavitators and utilise their own teleportation transponders to appear unbidden close to the enemy Command team. Once manifested, Eremon and the Barons annihilate those targets who are of lesser value with their Volkite weapons, before moving in to capture the Commanders. Eremon then personally flays them and begins to pull them apart, whilst his apothecaries keep them alive. Finally, they become living trophies on the Companies armoured vehicles, until the Apothecaries become bored and finally allow them to die.
The Bringers of Desolation have been noted to own several Glaive Special Weapons Tanks; an obvious benefit of supporting the Warmaster. These rare platforms are used to support the armoured spearhead from afar, annihilating targets through explosive combustion and deflagration. The most commonly seen Glaive SWT, is the “Insidious Nightmare”. This tank has a morbid record of achieving compliance of civilian populations through days of targeted fire; breaking down the population both physically and psychologically.
When facing more conventional enemies, Insidious Nightmare and its brethren Glaive are used by their crew to inflict awful suffering upon their foes, rarely using the secondary weapons (due to the lacklustre level of suffering they permit). Eremon also controls his Company more strictly, with any who ignore his commands becoming the next target for the Glaives. It is in this manner that Eremon shows his true tactical prowess; with an uncanny ability to identify weakness in enemy force dispositions and defence lines. Once identified, the weaknesses are prosecuted mercilessly until victory is achieved or a decapitation strike can be carried out.
Vorasha Eremon is a believer in the Night Haunter and his ways, choosing to emulate his Primarch by leaving evidence of their victories for others to take heed of. The greatest of these was known as “the field of red” on 67.19. During a rebel uprising, the 53rd landed and began to conduct purgation operations on the Hive city that hosted the rebellion. After four days, the civilian population rose against the rebels and ejected the remaining force and its command structure from the hive.
Eremon raised the hive to a man for supporting the rebels. The rebels met a more grisly end however. They were lined up and in groups of four, stood in front of the Glaive tracks. There, they had stakes hammered into their feet, stopping the, from moving. The Night Lords stood back and the Glaives slowly rolled forwards, crushing the rebels from the feet up. Two thousand rebels were arranged across a five hundred meter square stretch of ground, with their wretched, slow, creeping deaths broadcast across the planet on all vid and vox channels. Any rebel activity noted in the other hives immediately ceased.
Command Structure & Allies
Brief, but repeated interaction has been noted between the 53rd Company and the Necrotacitus; a Xana-based Dark Mechanicum force with attached House Ærthegn elements. Additionally, due to its nature, the 53rd is often used to support the Titans of the Legio Mortis “Finis Mundos” (Enders of Worlds) Axiom maniple.
Limited information is known of the remaining command structure for the 53rd Company. It is however, known to be rigid; without the infighting often determining Night Lords units.
The Second in Command for the Company is known to be Narx Koor, a Chaplain who maintains a Contekar strike force known as “Shadow Reavers”. This force is known to conduct similar decapitation strikes to Eremon and The Barons of Despair; however they prefer to use their Nostraman Chainblades over the oppressive firepower of their Volkite weapons. Koor is not as tactically astute as Eremon, but he makes up for it in aggression.
Kalex Var completes the command structure of the 53rd. Var is a Moritat and the leader of the Destroyer cohort known as “The Messengers of Pain”. Var is used by Eremon to cause trickier weak spots to begin to fail through applied radiological warfare.