Second Battle of the Xia Highlands

Yet another battle report from Richard Rohlin and his Texas group, who are getting a lot of action out of their starter forces. Unfortunately for everyone, the crawling death unleashed from the vaults of the Silk Dragon Fortress is in the ascendance again, this time against the Xia mandarins. History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man!

Second Battle of the Xia Highlands

Hidden Hero in the Busy City ran one blue hand along the smooth barrel of his pulse rifle, absently feeling it for imperfections which he knew would not be there. Like everything created by the Technocrats of Xia, the weapon was without flaws. Until two days ago, he would have said it was completely without drawbacks. That was before he had failed to stop the onrush of the Cataphracts of the Order of Our Lady of Jade. The knights had simply waded toward them, their heavy plate deflecting pulse fire like raindrops. That was when his commander, Marvelous-Handed Scholar, had ordered the retreat.

Now, for two days, the Ten Thousand Graces had been picking their way through the scree and rubble in the Xia Highlands, observing the Templars from a safe distance. Some time last night, the radiation readings in their sensors had spiked. The vaults had been opened, and the hasty withdrawal and confusion in the Templar camp seemed to indicate it had not gone well for them. There was an opportunity here—an opportunity to swoop in and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Marvelous-Handed Scholar had ordered the Ten Thousand Graces to advance, executing the military stratagem known as “Iron Palm Skimming on Water,” a lightning raid intended to float in, secure the biological materials they had been sent to retrieve, and then vanish before their enemies had time to rally.

That had been the plan. But the ground was proving difficult, and the Ten Thousand Graces, as a personal Praetorial unit that had always trained on the coasts, were unused to the uneven terrain of highland warfare. The going was slow, and Hidden Hero in the Busy City was becoming increasingly concerned that the Templars might rally. He ran his hand across the barrel of the rifle again, and felt his gorge involuntarily rise as he touched something spongey and wet.

He looked down at the rifle, and it was now writhing like some unclean thing in his hands. He threw it down, and it hit the ground with a thud, normal once again. He prodded it with the toe of his boot, but before he could pick up again one of the troopers in his detachment began screaming. Come to think of it, everyone was screaming, or shouting, or yelling, but Hidden Hero in the Busy City realized he couldn’t hear them over the buzzing, a mind-splitting white static that flooded his mind and made his tongue taste like chalk in his mouth.

He tried to calm himself, tried to begin the set of breathing exercises known as the “Leaf That Floats and Does Not Fall.” The wall of static narrowed to a pinprick, and Hidden Hero in the Busy City gathered it into his hand, and fed it to the flame that burned at the center of his mind. And then the sounds of the world burst back in on him: screams, rending, pulse fire, whistling barbs, chitinous hide, and flapping wings. His pulse rifle was back in his hands, and he jammed its blade point-blank into the hideous winged thing and fired, splattering warm biomass across the boulder in front of him. He shoved its body off as something else moved toward him, a tangle of scything blades and screaming maws which his mind refused to parse. Then everything went red.

Miniatures: Tyranids, Tau

Rules: WH40k 10E Combat Patrol Rules

Outcome: A force of the Ten Thousand Graces, under the command of Marvelous-Handed Scholar, were ambushed by a swarm of the Xenoforms escaped from Silk Dragon Base. The Xenoforms cut easily through the Praetoreans and are now believed to be moving towards one of the coastal cities.

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