Behind him, firewarriors trotted smartly down the Orca ramp, the ashen soil of this tortured lava world shifted in powdered founts about each footfall. Shas'El ELan'Jhin surveyed the volcanic vista beyond, enhanced by the senses of his xar'vesa; a litany of toxins awaited any tau foolish enough to remove their helmet. This was a dangerous world, a largely dead world. Instinctively he knew they should not be disturbing odd structures in dire realms, such as the one that stood not far from the drop site. Nothing was on offer here and everything indicated they should not linger. As the pall of dust from the Orca's depature settled into a haze about the cadre, Elan'Jhin lit la'rua one for a response.
"We're ready" Zhu'Dhe intoned quietly, his experienced voice contained similar feelings.
"Lead on, the sooner we dirty our hooves, the sooner we leave"
A prompt signal of acknowledgement preceded the foremost la'rua moving beyond the tau force; cautiously edging ahead. No sooner had they paced more than a tor'lek, when energy beams cut through the air, in some cases igniting pocket gases about the tau.
"Shas'ui!" the same icon winked acknowledgement through the command GUI across Jhin's vision, "control your ground, all Xar'vesa support"
Immediately the DeathRain pair vaulted forward across the fell terrain.
Jhin wandered an eye across the network link, "kor'vesa, defend the drop site approach, aggressive skirmish. La'rua two with me"
A shrill tone and the drones flitted outward to fill the centre line, reacting as best they could. Stomping toward the right alone at first, Elan'Jhin aimed his weapons and fired as the lone devilfish slid up alongside him.
Glinting wear of ages shone from under ashen casing as the Necron warriors stalked relentlessly forwards through pulse fire and explosions, gauss rifles levelled as they lanced shot after shot into the tau force. Barely landed, the tau had found good reason to leave, but right now, they needed to fight clear of the surprise attack to seek an exit..
Tau Recon in Force
Shas'El Elan'Jhin [TL Plasma, Fusion, HW Multitracker]
2 Crisis Suits
[TL Missile Pod, Target Lock]
[TL Missile Pod, Shield Generator]
Devilfish [Multitracker, Decoy Launchers]
Shas'Ui - DC x 2GDs
Shas'Ui - DC x 2GDs
7 Kor'Vesa Drones
7 Kor'Vesa Drones
[Total: 750 pts]
Lord with Resurrection Orb and Glaive (Power weapon)
2 Unit of Necron Warriors A dozen or more in strength each.
3 Scarab Swarms
[Total: 750 pts]
Deploying in strength on both flanks, 'Jhin also assured he would be in a position to alter his right flank at will using the mobility of the devilfish; countering any Necron flanking pressure by falling back onto the high ground fire base.
Necron Wraiths flitted amongst the rock spires seeking cover between phased leaps toward the Tau right flank. Whilst the Scarabs zoomed down the left flank behind low rocks, the Lord led his warriors quietly forwards. The Necron vanguard fired again, causing Zhu'Dhe to slip behind the rise, grimacing under his faceplate as the point drones were blasted apart by green energy beams. Seeking what cover they could in the ash and ruin, the tau fired back hoping to suppress the advance.
In an effort to draw the Wraiths out and possibly force the Necron attack to funnel around the left of the structure, Jhin fell back to the left just as the DeathRain team leapt over their Fire Warrior escort; a volley of missiles streaking forth into the marching Necron Warriors. As one the entire Tau force opened up when the contrails dissipated. Felling almost an entire unit of warriors, only to watch all but one rise to resume the advance.
The lead Kor'Vesa squadron rose above the central structure to encourage movement toward the left, goading the Necrons to engage them whilst hopefully ignoring the remaining Tau force to some degree. The DeathRain pair jumped successfully to the centre, aiming to avoid becoming entangled with the imminent Scarab assault.
Slithering through the air towards the 'retreating' Tau right, the Necron Wraiths came out of hiding. The Destroyers hovered slowly forward until they could spy the DeathRain team, a volley of green energy beams stabbed at the duo, a direct hit deflected by an energy field one of the team possessed.
The lord and his retinue, angling up their Gauss weapons, blasted apart the squadron of looming drones, leaving only two unscathed. The pair vaulted up into the grey skies as they switched to preservation protocols.
Beating back the Scarab assault was decisive, Ui'Zhu'Dhe keeping his Fire Warriors in check, even as one was pulled down by the swarm of metal insects about them. Dropping to one knee, he swept fire through the horde of necron machines, his team following suit. Another Fire Warrior fell, his armour sliced tatters as he tumbled down the ashen slope. An instant later the assault degraded into a melee of rifle butts, plasma shots and metal mandibles.
With a squadron of Drones running escort before Jhin, the Shas'El brought his line back toward the right flank, the ruse had worked. Deploying from the transport, the second Fire Warrior team prepared to ensure the removal of the Wraith threat.
Amazingly the Wraiths withstood all the incoming fire, until El'Jhin brought his weapons to bear. Plasma bolts and Fusion fire turned the three Wraiths into molten slag in moments, a perfect display of xar'vesa piloting. The DeathRain pair, providing an axis point for the battle line, fired upon the Necron Warriors again. Two metal warriors fell, with one standing back up in moments.
Ensuring he kept his ground, Zhu'Dhe blasted apart the last of the Necron Scarabs; the metal insectoid falling on its back, a final twitch encouraging another burst of pulse fire.
Altering the battle line again Elan'Jhin sent the drones over the structure, using it's mass to cover their advance. The shas'el stayed close to the walls whilst the DeathRain team fell back to ensure they were not easily engaged. The Fire Warriors atop the high ground, now only six, looked across the plain and saw the necrons still advancing. Changing energy clips, they reformed and began targeting the encroaching enemy line.
The Necrons advanced evermore. Their Destroyers hovered through the rock spires, sighting the Fire Warriors about the Devilfish. Gauss fire blasting four of them and the accompanying drones. The Necron Lord gazed balefully upon the knot of defiant Tau atop the nearby rise, his glaive signalled their doom. The Necron warriors raised their Gauss weapons and over a dozen energy beams flayed the Fire Warriors.
Zhu'Dhe dived low, his reflexes only matched by few of his remaining la'rua. The rest screamed and convulsed as they were seared alive, burnt armor and weapons falling to the black rock. Kneeling up and firing back into the Necrons, the shas'ui kept his firewarriors focussed with a display of courage. The shas'la feeling their fear turn to anger, loosed volleys of their own alongside their leader.
The Fire Warriors on the right flank however, panicked from such horrendous fire, falling back into the forest of rock spires seeking safety from the Destroyers.
El'Jhin called out to the right, stopping the Fire Warriors in their tracks. The team reformed, but by the time they had turned to rejoin the fight, the whole cadre was engaged again. Focussing on the task at hand, Elan'Jhin, with the drones before him, came about the structure to engage the Necron line. Just in time to witness Zhu'Dhe advance into rapid fire range, immediately pouring accurate fire into the metal skeletons.
Adding his own weight of fire to the fight, El'Jhin felled several necrons alongside the drones, only to see all rise back to their feet. Spying the immortally grinning face of the Necron Lord, Elan'Jhin realised the leader carried a device to reform his minions at will. These two units were evidentially resilient only for this leaders' ability. It would need the whole cadre at one time, to attempt to level the force. Meanwhile, the Devilfish, supported by the DeathRain team engaged the two Destroyers, their efforts negated by armor and self-repair ability of the remorseless war machines.
*It was commented by the decent sized audience about the table, that El'Jhin and his cadre had exacted such an appalling amount of damage that several attending Imperial and Ork players cringed and grimaced. Knowing full well they had few units capable of armour saves when faced by these weapons.
Realising a change of intent in the Necron before him, El'Jhin fell back, the drones interjecting themselves in defense of their shas'el. He could only hope it would be enough as the Necrons opened fire.
The Necrons focussed all their fire upon the drones, seeking to remove them and destroy the Tau leader. A firing line of warriors flayed three more Tau shas'la from the rise, but Zhu'Dhe kept them in check, the veteran's example maintaining his team's restraint. As the necron fusillade ceased, only a single drone remained to fall back past the shas'el while the Tau line reformed to engage the Necrons again.
Ui'Zhu led his decimated team back from the Necron advance, hoping the Necrons would ignore them as they feigned retreat. Trying to support the right, El'Jhin surged forwards, plasma bolts and fusion fire blasting apart both Destroyers as the Devilfish swept in burst cannon growling across the advancing Necron warriors.
The remaining second la'rua shas'la fired into the necrons alongside the DeathRain pair. Again they caused almost half the Necron's to fall, only to see all but one rise back to their feet.
The last two Necron units advanced as ever.
Firing back before succumbing each in turn to the mass of energy beams flaying them, Zhu'Dhe and his la'rua died where they stood. The Necrons paused for a moment, seemingly unsure if they had -finally- removed this knot of defiant tau. Despite this success, the Necron Lord, robbed of his chance to destroy the Tau leader earlier, directed fire upon the DeathRain xar'vesa. Again, a majority was thwarted by armour and energy fields.
With little left for the task at hand, the tau survivors gathered and prepared to go out expensive upon the Necrons. Felling all but two in the Lords retinue; the Necrons seemed sure to quit the field. But again the Lord proved capable of resurrecting his command from the shattered remains. Finally falling back, Jhin sought cover to try at least one last time. His remaining cadre gritted their teeth and fired again as the Necrons brought their weapons to bear.
One Necron unit fired, flailing the Devilfish with Gauss fire. The Devilfish, armor sizzling down it's flanks, briefly abutted the ground but remained airborne. The shas'la outside were not so fortunate, the Necron lord and his retinue killing every one.
Putting aside a cloud of frustration, El'Jhin ordered the DeathRain pair into the attack. All the suits charging at the Necron warriors, missiles, plasma and fusion fire reaping a toll upon the Necrons.. surely this will finish these monsters ?
Not stopping this time, the tau crashed into the Necron Lord and his Retinue. Kicking the Lord aside as the spindly leader swung at him, Jhin narrowly missed being skewered by the lord's glaive. As one the xar'vesa had come down hard on the retinue, armored hooves and weapon mounts batting aside Necron bodies like string dolls.
Then just as Elan'Jhin was about to fire point blank into the mass of Necrons about him, they snapped out of existence. The remaining tau stood for a moment, nothing of their efforts lay about their feet. The only signs of battle being broken drones and ragged bodies of the fallen. They had come to see what lay upon this world and it had interred almost all of them, the dead buying time for the living to leave.