I was disturbed prior to evening devotions today by brother Shal, he informed me that Arik Karem of the Bethaljinn tribes ( a respected elder no less) had arrived at the chapter house in an excited state and demanding an audience with me.
Arik Karem was soon admitted to my chambers where I served him warm k’vash to calm this noble warriors nerves but the tale he told me soon unsettled mine.
Nearly a year ago, Arik told me, the Bethaljinn had received a visitation from a mighty being, they had seen the fire fall from the sky and followed it to its destination in the hills, there they apparently met an angel accompanied by a mighty host of warriors.
This angel had helped the Bethaljinn realise that they were merely slaves of the Imperium and that the true emperor and his warriors had sent the angel to free them of their chains.
This in itself was nothing new to me, our missionaries to the hill tribes have seen the emergence of the Bethaljinn tribes spider cult and believed it to be closely based on our own belief of the all protecting emperor whose many arms surround us, what Arik was to tell me next has disturbed me greatly and I fear for the future.
Arik continued his tale to tell me that the Bethaljinn had hoarded vast amounts of wargear and supplies over the last harvest season and intended to stake out a new land for the servants of the spider emperor and now the time had come.
I knew of the small clashes between tribesmen and farmer and of the clumsy ‘policing‘ conducted by the Imperial forces on Jeriko Reach but Arik informed me that in the last month they had ambushed an Imperial patrol. He claimed they had done their best to make it appear as if a landslide in the hills had obliterated the patrol and I know from my conversations with local dignitaries that this patrol had being considered ‘missing’.
Today it appears however the Bethaljinn had used this stolen transport to ambush a patrol of the garrison, massacring them to a man and looting an imperial supply drop outside of a vapour distillation plant.
As I inclined my head to listen better Arik continued his tale…
The Bethaljinn approached the plant at a steady speed so as not to attract suspicion, the garrison sentry waved cheerfully at them believing them to be the lost patrol. To his horror he realised his mistake far too late as the holy warriors spilled from the access ports of the stolen chimera - unleashing a fusillade of las fire that cut the man down before he could even unsling his rifle.
Within seconds the tribes men were racing for the drop canisters and hauling their contents back to the vehicle and at this point, presumably attracted by the sounds of gunfire, the patrol sent for the drop doubled onto the scene.
Arik’s warriors split into two groups and dashed for the remaining canisters, Arik ordered his men to set their las-guns to maximum overcharge, a risky manoeuvre that paid off – nearly every shot that struck home claimed an imperial life but his men soon found their ammunition supply running dangerously low.
A major firefight erupted near the hab units with both Arik’s warriors and the garrison troopers finding themselves diving for cover among the amphora, Arik felt his men needed fire support and sent their single rocket launcher to assist. Struggling for breath the gunner reached his brethren and levelled his sights on the cluster of guardsmen he pressed the firing stud but to no avail, shaking the weapon rapidly to clear any sand blockage he smiled as the rocket motor engaged with a whining sound only to be sent flying seconds later as the warhed exploded prematurely within the tube… wounding him lightly. Throwing the wrecked and treacherous weapon to one side he dived for cover.
At the other side of the plant a trio of tribal warriors gained the height advantage in the hills and ambushed two guardsmen attempting to recover a drop canister.
As Daram Var placed careful las shots into the guardsmen causing htem to take cover, Alem Sol praised the gods and unleashed a hail of plasma fire upon the infidels badly wounding both.
Back at the habstead the warriors were still deadlocked by the tenacious defence of the troopers. Suddenly, crying a battle cry to the gods, Kolak Shuh unsheathed his dris blade and launched himself through a hail of lasfire at the nearest man.
Stunned by this recklessness the man barely had time to gasp as Kolak’s blade found the gap between the hard plates of him armour and sent him onwards.
Arik’s men, he told me, had now recovered a substantial horde or weaponry and so he ordered his men back to the transport, Kaseem Orah kept a watchful rear guard as his warriors inched their way back to the armoured safety of Chimera 153.
Realsing the day was lost the guard patrol too seemed to relaise further bloodshed would only fare badly for them and retired away form the drop zone dragging their wounded with them.
As Arik checked each man in he smiled as he saw Daram Var struggle back with the burley form of a an Imperial Guard Sergeant over his shoulder – knowing full well the angels would thanks him for this trophy above all others… this elation was only dampened when one of the brethren failed to return, presumably cut down in the battle for the habstead units. Further tragedy struck when Ulin Kel fell silent and died of his wounds in the back of the transport.
As Arik finished his tale I poured us both another drink and feigned congratulations upon his victory (not wishing to anger the elder), although I was shocked at this outward violence I had suspected the oppressed hill tribes would one day rebel,. I shudder to think what will happen next.
I pray the governor does not decree martial law or worse still summon for outside intervention.
Peace be upon you children of Jeriko Reach