Stormtroopers Prologue

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Prologue
Por'saal Min sat on the pier, stroking the water with the ends of his feet. His nostrils breathed deeply of the salty, humid air of the night. His silky trader's robes clung loosely to his tender grey skin. His aching limbs were tired from the hard day's work at the stall with his master. The voracious hunger of the men of the Fire Caste garrison had kept him on his feet all day. At last he could enjoy some private moments with other merchants.

'Tomorrow, the warriors will be hungry again. But my master's stalls will be open to feed them,' the young Tau looked up at the fort on the cliff above him. Even in the dead of this clear night the walls and arching structures of the fort gleamed like ivory in the starlight. Windows that looked like jewels shone from the walls. He was too far away to see them, but the green-armored shas'la of the Fire Caste patrolled the walls at their posts. He turned over his shoulder to look at the platform behind him.

Por'ver Xessa, Por'saal Min's master, and the other Por'saal, were talking about tomorrow's business. They say back in crescent-shaped chairs and talked placidly. Someone made a joke and Por'ver Xessa laughed.

"Look at them Por'saal Min, they look like he is a friend," commented Por'saal Mono from beside him. "It isn't right for our master. Not in those chairs, not laughing like a child."

"Can we not settle, Por'saal Mono?" asked Por'saal Min. "Truly we have earned this evening. I did not think the honoured pilots of the battlesuits, may our praise be with them, could find the hunger to eat all our ox seeds."

"Por'ver Xessa is a friend of the Aun. He is too radiant to laugh with the Por'saal," sighed Por'saal Mono. Por'saal Min slapped his young friend on the back to tell him not to be so stern and accidentally pushed him off the pier and into the water. He laughed in embarrassment and watched the water, waiting for his friend to surface.

"Forgive me, friend, I have underestimated my..." Por'saal Min's smile slowly faded as he waited. His friend still did not surface. "Por'saal Mono?" he asked the water, the calm night seemed to suddenly grew stormy. "Por'saal Mono!" he yelled and thought about diving in, but decided against it. Por'ver Xessa would know what to do. He turned to his master.

Por'ver Xessa and the other Por'saal were in the process of being gutted like fish by a group of black-armored figures, who worked with brutal knives that flashed like a shark's teeth in the moonlight. These figures were the things Por'saal Min had heard about but was not so savage to believe in: things that defied the principals of the Aun. They killed unarmed tau without mercy. Por'saal Min saw his master's guts spill from his belly and into the water like wine when the waterskin was cut.

"Gue'la!" Por'saal Min howled in terror as he heard something splash out of the water behind him. He felt his whole body grasped in an icy, wet grip. He tried to run but could not. He tried to scream but he had a watery hand over his mouth. He didn't deserve this, he was just a Por'saal. Where where was the Fire Caste?! A heavy knife was raised to his heaving throat.

The last thing his eyes saw was the sight of the dismembered pieces of his friends and master being dumped into the water by the silhouettes of the murderous gue'la...

Part 1




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