Born Valeryia Valeryiusa Tipalova("Valeryia, daughter of Valeryius Tipalov" in the original Valhallan Low Gothic) to Valeryius Tipalov the commander of the 362nd Ice Warrior Regiment, Valeryia lived her first four years in the ice caves of Valhalla. She was an only child, however she had many close cousins.
She never got the chance to know either of her parents. Her mother died in childbirth, and news reached her father while he was off planet intending her to join him after their daughter was born. As he was grieving the death of his love, he made a great mistake in one of his missions and died trying to save as many of his remaining men as possible.
When her only living family, her mothers sister, died from an illness she was committed to the Vindicare Order to train as an assassin at age four, bringing with her two keepsakes by which to remember her father- a Catachan Night Reaper Knife and his flak armor lined greatcoat.
She would spend the next eleven years learning the arts of stealth and killing. At an early age she showed great skill at both stealth and marksmanship.
However skilled she became though, the Temple Head always knew that she wanted to return home, and her devotion to her Emperor was all that kept her there.
At the age of fifteen, when her home world was struggling against a newly resurgent Ork Klan she begged the Temple Head to let her go with a team to help fight them off. Deciding it would be a good chance to test her skills he agreed to let her go.
After the attacks were halted six months later, she decided to remain on the planet with her own people and family unbeknownst to her Temple Head. After tracking her down a year later she was forced back to the temple and given ten lashes for her actions.
She took all of her punishment and treatment with great respect and acceptance, taking full responsibility for her actions saying “If I die, I will die loyal. My actions were my own, for my loyalties to my family and people are matched only by my loyalties to MY Emperor”.
The Temple Head decided that she would be spared further suffering and execution if her loyalties to the order and the Imperium were proven.
She was then sent with three other assassins (who were tasked with observing her and ending her if she showed any signs of falsehood or wavering) to the ice world of Rhewach to put an end to the Ork Trarkox. The other assassins, being less adapted to the harsh, frozen climate were unable to match her in her ability to blend with her environment and her agility in a snow storm.
One night, after realizing the true purpose of her companions, she left them and vanished into a raging storm to find her target, knowing that she would be far more productive on her own.
After finding the Orks three days later she waited on the side of an ice pillar until Trarkox showed himself. When he finally appeared he wasted no time in rallying his army and setting out at a fast pace to a nearby mining city.
Unable to secure the shot she had to follow until she could guarantee the kill. She followed them to the city, and watched as they started massacring the people, that was when Trarkox, standing at the front of the army, raised his Power Hammer and let out a bone chilling war cry, only to be silenced by the shot from Valeryia's Exitus Rifle. The horde of Orks fell silent as their leader died, and became greatly confused and disoriented, only to be driven away by the people who took this chance to regroup.
After leaving the people to recover their home, Valeryia returned to her landing site, expecting to be put in shackles or shot on the spot, instead she found her craft and companions gone, and they had been for some time. She believed they either declared her dead and lost to the storm or abandoned her believing her to have run off again. She decided to wait at the site until they returned knowing that news of Trarkox's death would travel quickly and they would soon return.
She waited in the same spot for two weeks living off of nothing but the nutrition store in her mask. When they eventually returned for her, she was on the verge of death and had to be transported in a state of cryo-suspension in order to preserve her life.
After returning to the Vindicare Temple, she spent three months under close observation by doctors. When asked why she waited instead of running like she did before she responded by saying “If I were to have died, I would have died loyal”.
She was later sent on a mission to kill an Eversor assassin who had gone rogue on a mission and was loose on a human world. When the Eversor Temple had tried to retrieve him he killed the entire team. While in route her lone transport ship was attacked by a group of pirates with four Infidel-Class Raiders and a Sword-Class Frigate with a white hand on it's hull.
As her ship was being overrun and the surviving crew members were cornered, the captain managed to get her and the remaining members of her group into some access ports that would take them to escape pods while he and the crew fought their way back to the command deck. When they made it to the pods, a group of pirates came down one of the hallways after them to try and prevent their escape. While trying to hold them off, her and one of her teammates, a thirty year old male known as LXV, stayed back trying to give their team as much time as they could.
When it became clear that they would be overrun soon, LXV said to her "I have lived my life and served my Emperor. Let me give What I Have Left to further his will. RUN!".
Once she made it to the pods, she and the rest of her team were launched from the ship while the crew attempted to take as many with them as they could eventually crashing their ship, or what was left of it, into the nearest enemy Raider. As the pods raced away, fire from the enemy ships began to take them out.
A blast from one of the cannons damaged her navigation system when it hit a pod next to her throwing her far off course.
After crashing on an unknown world, she was forced to survive and find a way to contact her order so they could come get her, or at least so someone could finish the mission. As she traveled the planet looking for a way to contact the temple or to escape the planet, she came across a group of Space Marines, one of whom was the Raven Guard Belasko, who had just witnessed a Blood Angel, one for their own, succumb to the Black Rage and die in the midst of innumerable foes, crying out “In the name of our Father, you shall die for your heresy!!”.
After escaping the planet and returning to her temple, Valeryia was immediately dispatched to the Pleasure World of Askelphion Secundus were a corrupt noblemen was known to hang out, gambling away embezzled money and soliciting joygirls.
This money was meant for weapons and armored vehicles deployed along the Spinward Front- without it everything his factory produced was of vastly inferior quality leading to the needless, pointless, deaths of tens of thousands of Imperial Guardsmen.
The Temple Head sent her in alone to take him out in the most subtle way possible, reasoning that fear would cause his partners in crime to cease their criminal actions. Using her lineage as the daughter of an Imperial Guard Regimental commander she was able to get into one of the casinos that her target was known to visit on his frequent trips. She was wearing a long black dress with a high back to hide her scars, a low-cut front, a split in the skirt following the right leg and short sleeves.
She went to the bar where she could see him at one of the tables. After making eyes at him for some time, he had one of the servers give her a drink and a message with his room number.
Later that night, when he thought things were going rather well, she undid the back of her dress, only to reveal, to his horror, the scars of her treason, saying "This is what happens to those who cross MY Emperor". She then pulled out her hidden Night Reaper and cut his throat. She vanished that night from the hotel without anyone seeing her. The body remained undisturbed for three days, before it began to smell. Once discovered the wounds on his body were untraceable and the local Arbites never could identify a potential suspect.
After this mission she would remain in the Segmentum Obscurus, operating out of a safehouse maintained by an Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor who owed the Vindicare Temple a favor.
Her next mission would take her to the moon of Karini 8 to fight alongside the 44th Fidea Regiment. When she landed, she immediately set out to find a vantage point where she could see the Orks instead of making contact with the Imperial forces. She located herself on a spire overlooking the camp and remained there for the next ten days just shooting Orks. Her report read "Every time a big one would show his ugly face I would end him where he stood".
The Orks eventually moved and attacked the "Manheim Line" regiments. She relocated accordingly and continued killing Orks until she noticed one charging the front lines. With one well placed shot from her Exitus Rifle she dropped him right before he hit the first wave of Guardsmen This was the first time the soldiers realized she was there.
She remained with the "Manheim Line" for another two weeks before returning to the temple. One Guardsmen described her as being "A silent shadow with a lust for Ork blood. Not what we had asked for, but a welcome ally all the same".
Rumors of Nebel
Sometime after her 20th birthday Rumors of Genestealer cults began to spread on Segmentum Obscurus agri-world Nebel. The Inquisition sent her in to investigate because she was the closest available asset. While on planet, she searched for weeks, both in her stealth suit and in common clothes, without finding any sign of Genestealers or cultists.
While searching for evidence she inquired about it with a local ranch owner, one of the chief citizens of the community. He said that he had heard something about it, but it was far from where his ranch was located so they had nothing to worry about. After pleading with her to stay to no avail, he insisted that she take one of his transports and a ranch hand, a 5’ 11” blonde haired blue eyed male by the name of Christon Reddsar, with her. She agreed, only for the convenience of being able to travel faster.
As they journeyed across the planet, the two soon became friends. He was a skilled fighter with both a gun and his own hands, having once fought off a Brosk with nothing but his own hands. He was a strong, trusted, charming, and amusing person. One who was able to do things that no one else could. He was able to make her laugh.
After a few days they neared the city the ranch owner had talked about. Though it was still thriving, it was clear that the people were uneasy at their presence, and something else. After searching for hours without stop, the two eventually found the cult in an old storehouse used to hold meat before shipping. They made it to a catwalk above the main room of the building where they could see the cult. From there Coldstrike sent out a communication with the location. A Deathwatch killteam had been waiting for the coordinates before attacking.
While waiting for the attack team, Coldstrike kept her Exitus rifle fixed on the cult at all time, having sent Christon back to the transport. Or so she thought.
When the fighting began she opened fire on any high priority targets she saw, including a couple of Genestealers. But her position would not go without being found. Several of the cultists made their way towards her, taking a route that she could not see. When her mask lit up with incoming enemies they were already too close. She had to fight them off with her pistol and Reaper. Despite taking most of them out, she was hit by a couple of las shots and was at great risk of being overrun. Then shots started coming from the way she had originally come in that were taking out the front line of cultists. She turned to see Christon with his hunting rifle. Managing to pull them both out alive, the two of them left the rest to the Space Marines to finish off.
After they escaped back to the transport, Christon tended to her wounds while the last of the cultists where destroyed. When the Deathwatch commander came out he sought her, having orders to return her to the safe house. She declined saying she had a debt to repay the rancher. So the two of them set out back to the ranch, stopping each night in a city or town for her to rest while her wounds healed. As they were making the journey back, the feelings between the two grew stronger. And on their last night before returning to the ranch she gave in to one of her greatest strengths, and her only weakness. Human emotions.
Their night together ended with them watching the sunrise and a final long kiss before they continued on their way.
After returning to the ranch, the ranch owner asked Christon to be one of his supervisors, particularly one who would oversee offworld meat deliveries saying he needed someone he could trust. The two of them parted ways that day.
Christon started his new job and did it well, until one of the shipments was attacked by pirates who left no survivors.
Coldstrike heard this news but could not let herself grieve for him knowing that if the Officio Assassinorum were to find out what had happened between them she would be executed. So instead she channeled her grief, turning it into rage and hatred for all who stood against her Emperor.
The Fateful Day
She would spend the next three years hunting down and assassinating anyone who dared stand against her Emperor. She was a great force for the Imperium and went on many missions against many targets.
She was then sent on a mission, one that the Temple Head had chosen her specifically for. A Chaos Cult had begun to spread its influence at an alarming rate. She was being sent in with two other Vindicare, two Callidus assassins, three Imperial Guard Regiments, and two companies of Inquisition Storm Troopers to cut off the head of the cult. Her mission was separate from the rest, however. Her job, while the others laid waste to the cultists, was to find and kill the leader.
They force attacked and laid siege to their headquarters - a heavily defended fortress with four outer gates, a main keep, barracks, and a food storehouse with enough food for a month - for three weeks with great losses on both sides. The Imperials were only able to outlast the cult after receiving multiple reinforcements. After finally blowing through the main gates the army began to overrun cultist positions forcing them back to their main keep, a massive gothic structure towering into the night sky.
Being the only remaining assassin at this point, Coldstrike made her way alone up the architecture to an access hatch on the back side of the structure as the main force worked their way through the large doors. She made her way through the interior as the sounds of battle echoed through the massive, dimly lit halls. Anytime she came across a group of guards or a cultist heading to the fight she would make quick work of them from the shadows with her knife.
She eventually came to the doors to the throne room where a full dispatch of cultists was standing guard. She struck at their rear lines from the rafters, as the sounds of battle echoed closer. The ensuing noise created a large enough opening for her to enter the throne room and close the doors behind her.
The interior was pitch black, and only by the read out of her mask was she able to find cover and identify where in the large room her target was located. The room was deathly silent. A silence so great that a beating of a heart could give your position away. By some power, the sounds of battle outside could not enter the room. As she slowly and silently made her way towards the target, torches throughout the room lit up, in an instant illuminating the entire room and even disrupting her mask for a few seconds.
From her spot behind a pillar she could not see her target, but at the call of his voice she knew right away who she faced. The voice that called to her by name was one she had thought long gone, but had never been able to forget. The only voice that had ever made her laugh. Christon Reddsar.
His skin was bone white, his hair was to his waist, he had lost a lot of weight, his body was covered in tattoos with a ghostly white hand across his chest, but his eyes still shone as blue as the day they had met. As the two confronted each other, him begging her to join him and her in tears asking why, they had no choice but to fight to the death. By some dark power he was more than a match for her, and only by her devotion to The Emperor was she able to fight him off, catching him with the poisoned blade of her knife, causing him a quick but painful death.
She held him in her arms as he died, crying the last tears she ever would. The last drop of humanity ripped from her with the heart break. As she looked up from his corpse without an ounce of emotion, she walked to the doors of the throne room. Throwing them open, the sounds of fighting assaulted her ears. She was unfazed even by this and set out like an unstoppable force, killing anything in her way, wreaking havoc upon the rear lines of cultists.
When the rest of the army reached her, she was standing in the middle of a room layered in bodies. The walls riddled with bullet holes Her entire body, dripping in blood and quaking with adrenaline. The army was speechless as to how a single human could have caused such destruction alone. No one ever knew what set her off. No one other than the Temple Head who knew from the beginning what she would have to face. From that moment on she was nothing more than a killing machine without a drop of compassion in her.
The Hunt Begins
For the next five years she killed, hunted, and ended hundreds of targets from corrupt politicians to rouge Adeptus Astartes. Anyone fitting to be caught in her crosshairs had a reason to be afraid. The forces of Chaos and Death began to call her “The Anathema Canis” noting to her ability to hunt her prey to the darkest corners of the Imperium. The underworld just called her the “Ice Hound”. No one who dared to turn against her Emperor was safe from her sight.
When a high priority voidship went dark near her location the Temple Head sent her to investigate, fearing someone onboard had turned to chaos or other dark powers. Upon reaching the ship's last known location she found it had taken major damage to the external hull with multiple entry points. The ship had been raided and most of the cargo-weapons, armor, supplies, and various other equipment-had been stolen. The crew, including of a full dispatch of Imperial Guardsmen, was either dead or missing. There was only one clue as to what happened-a few dead pirates with a white hand on their chests.
Her team wrote it off as just some random gang of pirates. She knew better. She had seen this hand before. It was the same white hand that took her mentor, the same white hand on her lover’s chest and, she guessed, the same pirates that had attacked his ship.
She said nothing as her team left the ship. All she could do was swear to herself that she would have vengeance upon the monsters that had destroyed her life.
After returning to the temple she was debriefed on the voidship and what they had found as well as her other missions. She was then put through an evaluation to insure her mental and emotional states were stable. This test was designed to work on assassins specifically to ensure an accurate read out. It wasn’t designed for her. After the fateful day with the Chaos Cult nothing could force any emotion from her. Even now. Even the older members of the order had begun to fear her because of this trait alone.
After passing the test she went through all of the temple records searching for anything relating to the white hand pirates. The account with her and LXV. The account of Christon’s official death. A few earlier records and some in between. She searched through file after file after file for days on end. No one dared to disturb her, and even the Temple Head let her be after she said there was more to this than they knew.
She tracked the majority of activity to the Segmentum Pacificus and Segmentum Obscurus with some records showing them in even further parts of the galaxy. Based on the highest number of ships sighted with in a curtain time frame she estimated their numbers to be close to 200,000 strong with a fleet numbering around nine different vessels of varying sizes and weaponry. She traced back the earliest confirmed account of them to the border between the Segmentum Pacificus and Segmentum Obscurus.
She couldn’t track their activity to any known system within the Imperium of Man, the only way they managed to operate for so long without being stopped. She was running out of leads until she came across an older account of a lost Navy Squadron that had chased a small pirate fleet into the Firestorm Rift nebula. None of the ships that had gone in that day, pirate nor Imperial, had ever been heard from again. However the proximity between the nebula and the first known location and the highest concentration of activity was closer than most of her missions.
Her studies were halted when the Temple Head summoned her to a mission briefing. She was sent to the Segmentum Pacificus, along with two others, to an ice hive world to clear out a Death Cult that had taken root and had turned the streets to rivers of blood in their practices.
The cult proved to be an easy target for the hardened assassin and her team. Even when inside their base they made quick work of them, cutting out even the deepest trace of the cult, until Coldstrike found the head of the cult. A woman with long black hair, pale skin, and deep brown eyes wearing tattered robes that barely hung to her heavily tattooed body. The only thing that stopped her from killing her on the spot was the white hand tattooed on her chest.
She took the woman out of the building to another part of the underhive and interrogated her about the white hand. The woman agreed to tell her everything she knew as long as she let her live. She agreed, compromising the mission.
She said that they called themselves the White Hand of Firestorm Rift. Any time they raided a ship they took the strongest of the crew with to serve as slaves or to join their ranks. The only ones who ever escaped had been the ones that turned to dark powers to do so, and as a result never returned to their homes or families. The only time she saw anything other than the inside of a ship was once when they had docked at what she could only assume to be a moon or other large object, and all see saw was the hallways inside the massive structure between the ship she arrived on, the cell they kept her in, and the ship she left on. That was all she knew, but it was all Coldstrike needed.
She let her run, giving her a chance to get away. After she had rounded a corner the way they had come Coldstrike heard an Exitus Pistol go off. Knowing that her team had found them. She submitted to her team, being placed under arrest until they could return to the temple for the Head to decide her fate. As they boarded their landing craft to leave the planet, Coldstrike made her move. The other two assassins, even knowing of her abilities, where unprepared to deal with her, even with her hands bound. She did not kill them, saying to one right before she took off “Even now, even in my betrayal, even in my Excommunication, I still serve my Emperor. Even as history forgets my name, only to remember me as a traitor and deserter, I will always do the will of my Emperor.”
She took off into the dark streets of the hive, looking for a cargo ship or transport heading off world. The only things to her name being her weapons, her stealth suit and her father’s greatcoat. It didn’t take long for her to find a meat warehouse with a transport getting ready to depart. She didn’t know where it was going, or how she was going to get to the Firestorm, or how she would defeat almost 200,000 pirates. But she knew she was going to try. She had nothing left to lose.
The cargo hold of the ship was kept cold to preserve the meat. She sat huddled in a corner, wrapped tightly in her father’s greatcoat. She had not missed him very much, she had never really known him, but now, when his coat was all she had, she couldn’t stop thinking about him. If he would be proud of her. If he would have done it differently. She sunk deeper into the oversized coat, a feeling of loneliness settling upon her. She was by herself, and she was hunted. Hunted by the order she had sworn allegiance to. Hunted by the only family she had known for the last twenty four years.
She forced these thoughts from her mind. Rising from her position, she grabbed her gear and moved throughout the hold. She found a large chunk of meat from some beast and a crane on which she could hang it. And she trained. She cleaned all the poison from her blade and slashed the carcass to pieces. She found another one and did the same. On another she threw it along a rail and then shot it off with her pistol. Smashing crates. Throwing large pieces of meat. Running. Jumping. Climbing. Anything she could find to do, she would do. She would not be defeated before she had even begun.
She decided that she needed to find another hive world. She was going to need help against The White Hand. After investigating the cargo hold she found an invoice crediting the cargo to a politician on a hive world in the Segmentum Picificus. One where the underhive is known to attract outcast, gangers, ex-guardsmen, and other rabble. Exactly what she needed. She just had to get off the ship without getting caught.
When the ship landed she made her way into the interior. Hiding in shadows and sneaking down the hallways, she eventually made it out into a large hanger. She could hear the angry shots from the back of the ship from the man receiving the shipment. She smirked, thinking this is what he gets for wasting government money on pleasure. She made her way out of the hangar undetected and began her decent into the lowest parts of the underhive. She hid in the shadows as she made her journey, sneaking past patrols of local Arbites and off duty guardsmen. She finally made it to a part of the underhive where the windows were boarded up and the walls were riddled with bullet holes.
She was wearing her father’s greatcoat over her stealthsuit and had her mask off and her hair down to hide her identity. As she traveled the underhive she came across three gangers who cornered her and decided that they would have their way with her. They regretted it very shortly after as she stepped over their maimed bodies to continue her search.
She eventually came to bar on one of the corners called “Artemis’ Glass and Dagger”. The crowded street was painted by the colorful lights from the sign hanging at the corner of the building, and compared to all the other buildings she had seen on this level it was in remarkable condition. She entered being greeted by what she could only describe as “The drinking hole of Chaos itself”. The interior was a massive two story space with a large bar running from wall to wall at one end, a balcony circled the room with several pathways running through the middle of the room to make the second level, there were small rooms vailed by curtains along the walls, and seating areas in the corners. All forms of rabble and scum lined the walls and filled every space, the smell of Lho-Leaf hung thick in the smoky air, blood that had not yet dried was splattered on some of the walls.
In the center of the first floor was a large crowd standing in a sort of circle cheering. As she made her way through the lines she was eventually able to make out what was happening. Four gangers were in a sort of brawling ring, created by the other patrons, and they were trying to fight off an angry Raven Guard. The Raven Guard was circling the ring calling out challenges to the gangers and wringing his empty hands in anticipation. The gangers were all armed with a couple of chainsowrds and were still looking for a break in the crowds so the might run for their lives.
The crowd was cheering them on, many of the gangers and joygirls trying to encourage the four in the ring, while others were placing bets on which one the Raven Guard would kill first. However there were three men at one end of the circle who were calling out to the Raven Guard; a man in a highly decorated Imperial Guardsmen uniform, a man in a large cloak with a Loi-Pattern Burning Blade slung across his back, and a large man who could almost look the Raven Guard in the face.
Without warning the Raven Guard snapped forward, smashing into the four gangers killing two of them instantly. He then crushed the third with the limp body of one of the others. The fourth one had managed to dodge the first attack and had made a break for it, trying to escape. Without an opening he raised his chainsword and charged at Coldstrike. She placed her hand on her knife under her cloak and stood ready, but before the ganger had reached her a massive hand had grabed him by the head. As the fingers curled around, covering his face he started to weep, begging for his life. The Raven Guard looked Coldstrike in the face and said in his deep gravelly voice, “Does he live?”
Her reply was without any compassion. “He is already dead.”
Immediately the Raven Guard squeezed his hand, and in a sickening sound of crushing bone and splattering blood, the last of the four gangers was killed.
As the commotion died down, Coldstrike wiped the blood of the ganger the had splattered on her face off. The crowd dispersed, some to the small rooms along the edges, others to some setting areas. At the bar, one side was full of gangers and joygirls who were smoking like there was no tomorrow while the other side had only the Raven Guard and the three men who had been cheering for him during the fight.
She moved to the bar and sat between the Raven Guard, named Raapaz Kytar, and the guardsmen, named Nathan Church, and called for a drink. She asked "what brings a member of the noble Raven Guard and such a decorated guardsmen to such a place?"
The man with the sword, named Akir, asked her "What brings such a young lady hiding a secret to such a place?" As the conversation progressed the told her that this side of the bar was were the “Friends of Artemis” sat and she had to earn her seat or move. The challenge they said was to impress Artemis, the bar’s owner who rarely showed herself.
Before she knew what was happening the large man named Hestrait stood up, calling out the challenge. The bar exploded in wild cheers and shouts. Chairs and stools began to fly. Glasses and bottles were smashed. Alcohol went everywhere. Another splat of blood hit her face as Raapaz Kytar smashed a gangers head in with his bare fist. Her instincts took over as she pulled her Night-Reaper just in time to block Akir’s blade. She used her superior agility and combat skills to escape his immediate reach. Dropping her greatcoat and rifle behind the bar she went in with just her Night-Reaper Exitus Pistol and stealthsuit. Through the fallowing brawl as more and more gangers piled through the door she could see Nathan Church with just his pistol and combat knife holding of the mob, Akir cutting off limbs and sending burnt chunks of flesh flying, Hestrait standing head and shoulders above the mob using two gangers as flails, and Raapaz Kytar standing in an empty space he cleared out that none but the foolish and forced would enter.
She fought hard, but was slowly losing ground and was forced to the second level. Raapaz Kytar laughed and called to her, taunting her, saying “Come on, little lady! Still think you can sit with us? You have never had to stand against such a force as this!” But I have She thought. She stood against an entire cult on Nebel. She stood against another one at the stronghold. And she had stood against Chirston…
She let out a cry of pain and anger at the memory of her lover’s body, thin and pale, lying dead in her arms. She lost full control of herself at this point as all of the emotion that she had fought to hide for so long came out in one sudden burst of absolute hatred. She cut a chain sword from the hands of a ganger and with that and her Night-Reaper tore through the mob like a hungry animal. Throwing herself over the rail to the lower floor she continued her merciless rampage. Wounding Hestrait and Akir before she reached Raapaz Kytar and cutting into one of his legs so that he fell to the floor. She pulled her Exitus Pistol to put a bullet in his head. As she took aim a shot from behind the counter took out the gun in her hand, breaking many of the bones and ripping flesh in the process. As she turned to where the round had come from she was again hit in the shoulder opposite her wounded hand. Standing behind the counter was a dark skinned woman clad in a simple dress with a heavy rifle resting on a mount in one hand and an auto gun in the other.
The woman called out to her “Don’t move! I have put down Arbites and Guardsmen for lesser offenses.” As the adrenaline began to settle she could feel blood flowing from several wounds she hadn’t realized she had gotten and a pain in her chest from multiple broken ribs. She looked out at the mob that just a moment ago had been in an uproar was now cowering in corners, playing dead, or trying to sneak out. One ganger decided to pull out his knife and rush the woman from the side. Without braking eye contact with Coldstrike the woman put three bullets in the ganger before he had taken his fourth step.
The woman said to her “What have you done to my bar?” As explanations were given and apologizes made, the gangers, joygirls and other rabble all made hasty exits the first chance they got. Artemis lowered her rifle and said “It is a new thing to me to have a sister create such a disturbance. I welcome you here.” She then offered to help them with their wounds but only if they clean up the mess they created.
Between the medical skills of Artemis and Nathan Church they were all patched up in a little over an hour, only to spend the next several cleaning as Artemis watched and laughed. She had seen them do this before and enjoyed getting even. As they cleaned Coldstrike, the four others, and Artemis talked.
Artemis was born on a feral world that was plagued by many lethal beast. She had lost her parents and was forced to live with an abusive couple. From a young age she was forced to fight for survival and learn to shoot a gun. She left the world when she was sixteen with a smuggler she thought loved her. The man sold her to mob boss who used her for his own pleasure. That is until she emptied an entire clip in to him one night, and then three more clips into his attendants and bodyguard. She opened the bar to give her a place to belong.
Raapaz Kytar had served under Captain Bertok at Gate 42 where by the order of Lord General Onassis he had watched as his brothers were cut down all around him. He pulled out his brother Belasko who he feared was dead from the head wound he had suffered. With the blood of his Battle Brothers dripping from his hands and the ringing of heavy cannons in the distance he swore to himself that he would never fight alongside the Imperium again. After several other missions he went on fell apart and he was forced to watch as brother after brother was needlessly killed for the Imperium, he fled. The Imperium believe him to be lost along with his squad.
Nathan Church had been a lowly guardsmen with no goal in life except to fight and kill until his regiment was cut off from the rest on one of his missions. All the command had been killed and almost half of their force was either dead or died a few days later from disease and infection. He was forced to take command of the regiment in order to survive and restore order. He used his field training to heal many of the wounded so they could move and pulled them out. He received several honors and a promotion for the brave deeds that got them out alive, but he had seen the worst of his guardsmen and after a few other near misses he resigned command and left the guardsmen.
Hestrait was a local mob boss who controlled many of the political figures and businesses in the hive and had influence on several nearby planets as well. He preferred fear over force for his control but was not afraid to get dirty if need be. He had been the rival of the mob boss the Artemis had been sold to and helped her get the bar. He had befriended the others because even a mob boss needs people he can trust.
Akir was one of the famous Catachan Jungle Fighters until he was on a mission and was severely wounded and separated from his squad. He was considered either dead or captured and was abounded. He was a Catachan though and would not go easily. He survived and managed to escape the planet and decided never to return to the Imperium. To this day the records still say that he was killed in combat. Then he commented on Coldstrike’s Night-Reaper and at the reading of the inscription recognized it from his early childhood. He was the son of the original owner of the knife. She offered it back to him, but he said that it belonged to her father as a sign of the debt that was owed him, and now was owed to her.
After she gave them her story and they had finally cleaned up the bar Artemis gave them all drinks and the talked about her quest. They all for one reason or another agreed to help her. Akir to repay the debt owed by his father. Nathan as a final service to the Imperium. Hestrait out of respect for her and his friends. Raapaz agreed as she had also fought alongside Belasko, but only if she would take a sip of his Mjod, which she did and only by the enhancements that had been made to her system was able to not collapse to the floor. Artemis Said that the bar was the only home she had ever had, but Raapaz, Hestrait, Nathan and Akir were the only family, and she would fight and die alongside any one of them. Together the six of them agreed that they would destroy the White Hand. No matter how great the cost to themselves.
She carried the standard equipment of the Vindicare Temple,
- an Exitus Rifle and Pistol,
- a Spy Mask,
- a Stealth Suit with her emblem (a winged icicle set in a silver circle) in black on her right shoulder
She also inherited two items from her father:
- a Catachan Night Reaper knife (acquired from a Catachan he saved on one of his missions before his death.) The blade has a rough hand carved inscription that read “LET HELL FEEL MY BLADE”- in keeping with Catachan practice she was known to poison the blade with a potent hemotoxin ensuring even the smallest wound was fatal.
- A Valhallan greatcoat that she wore during missions on ice worlds.
Appearance and Personality
She stood at 5'5" and typically kept her waist length jet black hair in a high warrior's ponytail.
She had ice blue eyes hidden behind her mask. Eyes that rarely showed any emotion other than hatred. Her voice was without any accent, having lost it during her time at the Temple, but she could also pick up accents almost flawlessly and change it at will.
In her younger years she still had a strong sense of humanity and compassion for the innocent. The Temple Head allowed this because it allowed her to take on the mindset of her opponents and also to complete her job with little collateral damage. It was still a flaw in her assassin lifestyle. One that eventually was removed, however she still believed in killing cleanly, with minimal or no collateral damage.
Despite not having been home in many years she still understood and spoke Valhallan Low Gothic perfectly- albeit with a child's vocabulary.
She possessed a dedication to The Emperor far superior to that of many. To Valeryia, the guardian of Humanity was HER Emperor referring to him as "MY Emperor".
She also had a strong belief in the Machine Spirits that inhabited her equipment- keeping them in perfect working order even under the worst conditions.
While an almost perfect marksman like all Vindicare, she branched out into other skills. She carried a Catachan Night Reaper knife and mastered it's use and the use of many other bladed weapons.
She was also skilled at changing her voice to sound like someone else or adding an accent to hide her identity for those times when a quick escape was needed or for the rare times when she chose not to use her rifle.