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Keenblade

`Hoenir stood on the frozen ground with the other youths of the tribe, listening to his father speak.

“Fight with the shield.” He said. “Kill with the sword.”

Hoenir was clutching both items, the shield one of the many battered examples his tribe had for the training of the drengir, the sword was new, and was, to Hoenir’s young mind, the finest blade ever forged. Had he been brutally honest with himself, he would have evaluated it as bar of pig iron loosely hammered into a point and with edges that would just about cut flesh should he land a telling hit. But he was but 12 Terran summers old (not that such a unit of measurement held any meaning for him) and he was not prepared to view his first weapon with an objective eye.

“Fight with the shield,” His father continued. “The shield takes up a lot of space. Use it actively, push the weapons of your enemy out of the way. Hammer aside his blade, punch the edge into his chest. The shield is large, and safe. Kill with the sword. The sword arm is poorly protected – overextend your reach,” Here he paused, and launched a mock attack, which Raginall, who was aiding with the training, countered with a stilted cut at the attacking arm. “And it will be struck, and with no sword arm you are a dead man. The edge of your sword can notch and dull, the blade can bend or snap. But it can open throats, burst open maille, hack limbs. Move the enemy around with your shield, get them where you want. Then finish them with the sword.”

Hoenir moved to face another youth, Ubbar – near a foot taller and with a long reach, and prepared himself. When the horn blew, he raised his shield and stepped forward…

The ork was massive, scarred and draped with the skulls of previous conquests. It wielded an axe as large as a baseline human, with a crude bolt weapon in its off hand. Hoenir casually battered aside the vast blade, the smile of the beast’s axe carving into the nearby bulkhead. He rammed the edge of the shield on his left arm into the ork’s sternum, sending the creature stumbling back. Fight with the shield. His sword, Grathr, leapt forwards, lancing into the creature’s throat. He removed it with a twist and flick of the wrist. The ork toppled, to spend its last moments burbling its life away as it drowned in its own blood. Kill with the sword.

Much had changed since he had stood in the centre of the village hefting his basic equipment with juvenile enthusiasm. Instead of a shield of much-repaired linden planking, his left hand grasped a bulwark of adamantium, incised with runes of protection and playing host to a shield generator which could not have been bought with every scrap of wealth available to his tribe. In his right hung a blade as plain as his first, unadorned, but this was a masterwork in truth. All pretention had been discarded, the long forgotten artisan instead devoting their time to balance and resilience, the only aesthetic display being in the perfection of form. Hoenir’s first blade had snapped within a season of his receiving it. This blade had been his for near 13 Great Years, claiming countless lives, and showed nary a nick or burr. Before he had acquired it, is had served for over 100 Great Years, wearing the centuries lightly. Blood hissed on the power field as it sprang forth to take another ork through the chest, Hoenir pushing the xenos warrior from the blade with his shield as he prepared to take on yet another berserk alien. Many of the greenskins would sleep on red snow ere this murder-make was done. Around him the Drengir savaged their opponents, fully earning the moniker of “Blood Claws” given to them by inept Imperial translators. Hoenir eyed them with a satisfied expression beneath his helm. Inelegant and uncontrolled, but they would gain finesse with age.`

Drengr (Juvjk: young warrior/bold youth, pl. drengir) is a term used on Fenris to refer to any young fighter, be they just starting their training with the more experienced warriors of the tribe, or firebrands throwing themselves into the thick of the fighting, convinced they are immortal. The Vlka Fenryka use the term in much the same way to describe those recently given their full set of enhancements. These warriors inevitably favour close quarters weaponry. It is unknown when the term “Blood Claw” first came into the Imperial lexicon, whether it was a mistranslation, lifted from a saga or simply a moniker given by those who have observed the near-feral savagery of these young wolves. Regardless, it is rare to find a strike force of the Rout without at least one pack of drengir, for the Wolves believe that there is only one true school of war, and the drengir must learn rapidly if they are to survive the many horrors the galaxy has in store.

Sigurd Stonebrow and Sven-Who-Sees

Sigurd is a merry warrior, for whom life is a constant joy. His nickname was originally given in jest, for his countenance is anything but stony, though he has taken the joke a step further by adding a garnet to the brow of his helm. Sven-Who-Sees, on the other hand, is of a far more serious mien, with an unusual amount of control over the battle-rage for one so young. While not particularly charismatic, his attention to the wider battle, which he monitors with his wrist display, will make him a valuable commander should he survive that long.

Low Ælfrith and Orik Black-Knife

Ælfrith was the son of a chieftan as a mortal, and still bears a fierce pride. His name is marked out in Futhark on his chainblade, and his pauldrons are artificiered (to a common pattern amongst the Vlka, for he is yet young). While his cognomen is largely to differentiate him from Ælfrith Wyrms-Get, a Hárrrekkr (Long Fang) among the ranks of Hoenir’s warriors, the implied slight against his status incences him – much to the amusement of his pack-mates. Orik Black-Knife is a solitary figure, preferring to use his combat blade to make his kills. It is a testament to his skill that this does not noticably reduce his effectiveness compared to his fellows. It is expected that once he leaves the drengir he will don the phobos armour of the wolf scouts.

Eilif Rune-Marked

Superstition is never far from the warriors of the Vlka Fenryka, and in some it becomes a driving force. Eilif bears a protection rune upon his brow to ward off maleficarum, along with a wolf tail to invoke the beast’s spirit to guard him. His bolt pistol bears the rune of fire, and his chainsword a standard warrior rune. It is true that he is uncommonly skilled with his weapons, and has yet to take a serious wound in battle, though it is unclear how much of this can be attributed to his own abilities and how much is from his curious taste in armour embellishment. For Eilif, there is no doubt – the World Spirit of Fenris watches over him, and will do so for as long as he trusts in his runes.

Hoenir Hvassbrandr (Juvjk: “Keenblade”)

A veteran of the Indomitus Crusade and former greyshield, Hoenir is nominally under the control of Jarl Gunnar Red-Moon. It is rare for the two men to meet, for Hoenir considers his Jarl a boor and a braggart, while Red-Moon despises the Keenblade as dour and insubordinate. In order that the two men encounter each other as infrequently as possible, Hoenir has been granted the rank of Styraesmann (Steersman) and the command of the ship Fylskiare, as well as a pack of recruits each great year, on the strict understanding that he stay out of Gunnar’s way unless directly summoned. In addition to his runic shield and disruptor-shrouded blade, Hoenir has augmented his armour with a number of relic pieces, including rune-studded pauldrons. A mark of aversion on his right poleyn is intended to preserve him from the magicks of the underverse.

Well, it took me a little longer than the end of the week that I was aiming for in my last post, but I did get the rest of the squad painted up. Seeing as I couldn’t find the parts for a 5th assault intercessor, I gave in and ordered one from eBay to make Sigurd. The replacement parts for Hoenir also arrived, and I’m very excited to try out the new sword and board captain rules for 9th edition. Next on the painting table is a squad of Grey Hunters, or intercessors with bolt rifles as they’re sometimes called. After that, who knows? I have a squad of infiltrators lying around from Shadowspear, and some aggressors, and even a contemptor mortis. I’ll make up my mind based on how I feel. The first grey hunter is coming along well:

He’s a rescue from a previous project, with a few coats of paint on him already, so the oil wash has made him quite mucky as it clings to the recesses.

The other 4 are assembled and undercoated – two bolter arms have been removed from their bodies for easier painting, but I have a photo from the assembly stage:

2nd man from the left is holding a grenade from the Horus Heresy Deathsworn pack. The pads were used on Hoenir.

I’m hoping to get them finished by the end of next week – we will see how that deadline goes. This weekend looks too hot in my part of the world to paint properly, so I will likely take a few days off. Until next time!

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