Transcript of Decimation

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Commander's log[edit | edit source]

The following text is transcluded from Transcript:Commander's log page 1.

I received word today that our Lord Zaros would soon be paying a visit to Kharid-et, reportedly to 'inspect the troops'. He has not set foot in this fort since brokering a treaty with the Mahjarrat, and for the life of me, I cannot fathom why he would visit now, and for such a mundane reason. Couple that with the rumours that he has not been seen in public for many, many years, and I find this very hard to believe. Nevertheless, I shall ensure the troops are prepared and worthy of such a visit. I have relayed orders to my centurions - if any single soldier has but a strap out of place or an unpolished boot, they will find themselves guests of Stepan's 'guest quarters'. A visit from our lord would improve the troops' morale no end.[sic] Since the truce, and the retreat of the Menaphites, life here has been quiet, broken only by the occasional visit from Inquisitor Emmerich and the Heriditas Expedition to deposit their finds within our vaults.

-Prefect Livia Drusilla, Fort Commander, Kharid-et
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Today marked the surprise arrival of the Pontifex Maximus, accompanied by the Praetor (the friendly one, praise be to Zaros, not that sadistic clown) and their personal guard. Normally, such visits are communicated ahead of time. At first, I thought it but a formality ahead of Lord Zaros's visit, but...and though I have had hours to try to absorb this news, I still struggle to write these words... Zaros is defeated.

It feels untrue. Impossible. The empire has grown vast and powerful, our Lord himself the most powerful entity in existence, and yet... I have met the Pontifex Maximus once before, and though I have had little dealing with Mahjarrat, he gave me a good impression of them - a man fair and firm, devout and with conviction, but not without warmth. And yet in delivering this news he seems broken, to such an extent that I know the words he speaks are truth even though I cannot believe them myself.

Yet I must, for the legion needs to be informed of this. If I don't make an announcement soon, word will spread regardless, and nothing destroys morale more than rumour. Truth leads to trust, and I need their trust now more than ever. We all do.

The Pontifex Maximus did not stay long - he leaves to inform other key fort commanders - but has left behind the Praetor and her praetorians as additional support to help protect Kharid-et's many secrets.

-Prefect Livia Drusilla, Fort Commander, Kharid-et
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As if the defeat of our Lord were not enough...

I addressed the centurions this morning to break the news. At the moment I spoke of Zaros's defeat, an avernic assigned to my fort screamed a cry of defiance and made an attempt on the lives of the Praetor and myself.

Thankfully, my troops are well-trained, and the assassination attempt was thwarted. Being that it's just a projection - as the cowardly avernic tend to employ - after its attempt, it tried to destroy its physical form so that the demon soul within could return to the Heart of Pandemonium. My soldiers managed to wrestle it to the ground before it could do so, however, which is just as well, for that place seems beyond our justice at this point, and I want answers.

Based on what the Pontifex Maximus told me and now this, I fear for how widespread this uprising is. I had better have the fort prepare for the worst...

-Prefect Livia Drusilla, Fort Commander, Kharid-et
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I have ordered the fort's exploratores and speculatores out in all directions. The former shall call back cohorts on active deployment and scavenge whatever resources and allies they can find. The latter will track any enemy troop movements and do what they can to harass them.

Praetor Trindine insisted I send out one of her guard - a man named Titus - with a squad of speculatores headed north, that being the most likely direction attack would come from. The Menaphites to the south have been beaten back so hard, our intelligence suggests them incapable of launching any counter-assaults for decades. No, it is more likely Zaros's other enemies will encroach from the borders of the empire and try to cut off the more isolated positions such as Kharid-et. If any of them know anything of what is housed here, I expect we will be one of their primary targets.

-Prefect Livia Drusilla, Fort Commander, Kharid-et
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The demon siege continues. Even with rationing, our food stores are starting to run low, and there are too many mouths to feed. We cannot hold out like this forever, and we cannot rely on support from allies.

Praetor Trindine has recommended that we evacuate as much of our civilian contingent as we can, with a small cohort of soldiers to protect them. The secret escape tunnel should see them safely out into the Kharidian, and she has assured me she can assist in keeping them protected on their journey. We have allies in the area where they might take shelter.

I have also ordered the Custodian to deal with our prison contingent - they are a burden we can no longer support. I don't care how he deals with it, so long as it gets done.

Beyond this, we must find another way to deal with this siege. Even with fewer mouths to feed, our food will run out eventually, and then we would grow too weak to be able to defend the fort.

-Prefect Livia Drusilla, Fort Commander, Kharid-et
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Our defences have been tested numerous times by the war party, but the shield still holds for now. The pylons are running low, however, and a breach is inevitable at this point. There is little hope of reinforcements and it would be foolish to hang our survival on such. The declining food stores will also soon see us too weak to fight, so my officers and I have devised a plan.

We shall purposefully drop the shield and weaken one part of our outer wall, thus funnelling our less-than-genius besiegers into an ambush right at the heart of our barracks area, away from more sensitive parts of the fort, and right into the waiting swords and spears of my legionaries.

We'll periodically turn the shields back on, such that we can stall the enemy assaults to a trickle, then lower it again once each wave has been defeated. Only this way might we expect to rout them, though my officers still predict heavy losses, and there is a danger of stragglers spilling out into other parts of the fort.

Pater Lucius tells me he has a backup plan in the works and will inform me once it is ready.

-Prefect Livia Drusilla, Fort Commander, Kharid-et