With visions of their imminent destruction at the hands of Calligos Winterscale weighing on their minds, the Hos Dynasty was understandably perturbed and in need of support regarding their new certainty that the upcoming fight would be worse than they prevented. For once luck was on their side as Jeremiah Blitz was in the area and ready to trade with the Hos Dynasty, willing to trade a salvaged and re-purposed Rak’Gol vessel to their Dynasty since as he put it, the technology was so bad not even the Mechanicus would salvage it. Still, every gun helped, and the sale was made. In the wrap-up talk, Blitz re-affirmed that he was unwilling to join the fight against Calligos Winterscale.
Though Captain Hos was upset by this news, Blitz went on to say that he held nothing against his fellow Rogue Trader, which was why he was not going to go along with Lady Sun Lee’s offer to pay for the theft of the In Purgatio Lumen. Wishing him luck, Blitz departed the Svard system to resume profit, leaving the Dynasty to discuss the possibility that they had yet another enemy to deal with… before realising they had another another enemy to deal with. A disturbing chant from the outer system repeating “Blood for the Blood God” in thousands of voices over the vox system was being broadcast, a noise that both Navigator Maturinus and Astropath Eckhart realised meant that they were due for a visit from the disciples of the Blood God.
Their nascent Navy mobilized in order to meet this new front, and the superior forces of the Hos Dynasty managed to seize control of the Void battle early on. The Chaos vessels, though packed with powerful weaponry, seemed more focused on boarding and personal attacks than powerful long-range bombardments, and the combined strategy of the Hos Dynasty managed to keep them subdued. Rather than face defeat, many of the vessels began self-destructing in an attempt to take as many Dynasty vessels with them as possible, doing large scale damage to the bulk of the fleet.
The Lumen itself closed with what was tentatively identified as the Chaos warband’s leader, and managed to deal severe damage to it. As the crew fought off increasingly powerful and demonic boarders, the vessel was whittled down by their mighty lance and it eventually lay defeated. With it incapacitated and (hopefully) not self-destructing, the Dynasty decided to board it and attempt to salvage this powerful Cruiser for their own purposes. Once on board, they were confronted – completely unsurprisingly – by its Herald leader. She quickly incapacitated Maturinus and Eckhart’s psychic powers proved no match for her Daemonic protection, but all her martial skill fell to Sarvus’s space marine enhanced constitution and Zacharya Caine’s relentless onslaught.
The Chaos warband was defeated and three vessels were theoretically salvageable, but the designs were so abnormal there was no proof as to how it could theoretically be done. Eckhart proposed that they turn the three vessels into Fire Ships, but Captain Hos proposed that they instead attempt to sell them to the Stryxis for their own purposes. Also the bulk of Svardic production would have to be focused on getting their own vessels repaired and battle-worthy for Winterscale’s invasion.
With this threat dealt with, the group then revisited Farseer Anaris for another vision of the future. Hos, Caine and Eckhart were willing to brave the trip into the future, the others refusing for personal or spiritual reasons. Hos attempted to focus on the end of the invasion, where he saw himself facing down Calligos Winterscale with the latter being triumphant and gloating over his captured force. Svard was shattered and Winterscale was offering to either let him flee the Koronus Expanse and never to return, or to face him in single combat, a battle that Hos was sure to accept… before the vision faded.
Eckhart tried to focus on a future where he would find and intercept Winterscale’s fleets, but found in his vision that his recon force was increasingly frustrated by not being able to pin down the staging point, having visited all neighbouring systems without success. Every visited system appeared empty and there seemed to be no clues, but there were persistent sightings of a mysterious void ship stalking them in the void. As his vision ended, the ghost ship again appeared in front of him, and opened fire on his vessel.
Caine had a vision of a fierce battle in the Lance control room, with fires and crews reacting to boarding actions which he threw himself into. As the battle was joined his vision faded, but not before he realised the attackers were not human. Putting together clues from this vision as well as his own, Captain Hos theorized that Winterscale was as confused as anyone as to the source of the mysterious jamming. He realised that the boarders were a race known as the Morgauth, and that the jamming technology was consistent with a race called the Sheed and he finally had an explanation for part of the situation. In the midst of the conflict between him and Winterscale, a coalition of Xenos would strike in order to take revenge on the Imperium. A tenuous theory perhaps, but solid enough that he believed he could recall Lord-Admiral Bastille VII to system, as though the aged Admiral would not fight any Imperial forces, he would be more than happy to slay some Xenos on their behalf.
Meanwhile, in the midst of all this chaos and despair, with enemies closing in on them from all sign, Zacharya finally published the first of his pulp adventure novels: Courage of Caine formed the first of what he had dubbed the “CoCaine” series, and it was proving a surprise hit with the Svardic population. Settling in with this delightful romp of adventure and blatant facsimiles of their own characters, the Dynasty enjoyed a communal read and celebratory parades with their victory. It would be the last moment together they would ever enjoy.