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Descent Into Chaos: The Doomed Expedition To Low's Gully

Even with the advent of additional forces, the Anarchy's Heart and the Aharon's Bane both moved towards Vraks, intent on achieving orbit and delivering their payloads to the surface. The Blood Dawn manoeuvred to launch her re-armed attack craft, this time Dreadclaw assault boats sped towards the crippled Izra Mors, intent on making the stricken giant transport their prize. It was then that Rasiak ordered his reserves into the fray, the three fire ships. One of these vessels, ignoring instructions to abandon ship, steered itself directly into the Aharon's Bane. The fire ship his the Chaos vessel in the stern quarters. Critically damaged by the collision, the Aharon's Bane was already caught in Vrak's gravity well and began to plunge planetwards. By some dark miracle, the bridge crew of the Chaos vessel somehow managed to break the vessel's wild descent. The Aharon's Bane impacted with the ground close to the Chaylia Plateau, tearing a great gouge into Vraks' surface. From within the hold the hordes slowly began to emerge, dazed and blinking onto Vraks' surface.

Descent Into Chaos: The Doomed Expedition To Low's Gully

Urgently re-directed artillery fire smothered the gully in high explosives, but the enemy were well protected, and quickly found shelter under the gully edge. The three Macharius tanks found no way of crossing the gully, then lost two vehicles to demolition charges thrown by unseen enemies from within the gully. More infantry companies were called forward, but it was not until the second day that, by weight of numbers alone, the Krieg guardsmen forced their way into the gully and started to clear it with grenades and bayonets. Inside they would find degenerate mutants, beastmen and renegade militiamen side-by-side, alongside squads of Traitor Space Marines, notable of the Steel Brethren, who had turned this minor feature into another killing ground. On the attack's right flank, the first crossing was made by guardsmen of the 16th company. Their mission had originally been to attack the defence laser bastion but already most of their ten platoons had been savaged in the gully fighting. Lacking the firepower to suppress the hardened enemy outpost, their subsequent assaults soon failed.

Only by the end of the third day was an objective that should have been secured in the first hours in Krieg's hands - with more men arriving to turn it into a solid base of fire for next apring forward. The mouth of the ravine was guarded by twin strong points, each a complex of pillboxes, bunkers, trenches and firing pits. Bombard shells were already targeting each, supplemented by direct tank fire from the gully, but with the attack behind schedule there was no time for a long bombardment. It was time to go again, and the lines of new Krieg guardsmen sprang out of the gully and headed south.

In defiance of the air raid the defenders were still waning, and soon the first Krieg wave had slowed to a crawl again. But the weight of armour - nearly 100 vehicles had been dedicated to this wave alone - and the raking blasts of the Reaver Titans with their massive missile pods and gatling blasters were smashing the remaining walls and defence lines asunder. It was only a matter of time until the attacker's firepower overwhelmed the entrenched defenders and carved a path for the infantry to exploit. Still, the tanks found it hard going, the ground had been heavily cratered by the air raid and many were bogged down in the churned earth, becoming pillboxes until their ammunition bins were empty. From Lord Rex's command post, the attack seemed to be working - if slowly. The first infantry platoons were now fighting in the rumble of the walls, clearing them section-by-section. The Titan Invictorus had retired to rearm, whilst Praetorian was supporting the main thrust. On the right Tritus led the attack against the southern bastion. Then came the first major hitch. The bastion might have been heavily scarred by the air raid, but buried within its weaponry had survived. As the Reaver launched salvoes of missiles at the bastion, suddenly, surprisingly, it returned fire. The first defence laser shot overwhelmed Tritus' remaining void shields, the second scored a direct hit - the massive laser cannon penetrating through the Reaver's frontal armour and critically damaging the plasma reactor within. Tritus staggered under the impacts, came to a halt and its weapons fell ominously silent. Then, spectacularly, the plasma reactor detonated. With the force of a small sun the reactor exploded into an iridescent ball of super-heated gases, so bright that its after image burned into the retinas of those who saw it, and it was so hot nothing within 100 metres survived. Rising into a mushroom cloud, when the gases eventually dissipated there was nothing left of the once proud battle titan. Only black scorched ground for a hundred metres in every direction marked its death. Small fragments of smouldering, melted wreckage was all that could be recovered. Another of the Legio Astorum's venerable machines was gone.

The first Angels of Absolution drop pods flashed across the black skies of Vraks, small bright burning comets as they entered the atmosphere, adjusting their course as they approached, retro- engines firing to slow the descent before impact. Their inertial guidance systems brought them down directly on target, each drop pod landed, crackled open and unleashed a torrent of bullets and missiles, smothering the plaza in fire as the Deathstorms cleared the drop zone. The next wave of drop pods was already close behind, as was the third. They came crashing in, smashing into the rubble to disgorge squad after squad of bone-armoured Space Marines, weapons leveled and ready as the ordeal began. The squads divided and headed for their objectives.

Getting to Arwa col was just one leg; we still had to cross over to the Alaknanda watershed. Our backup plan, to use Saraswati col in case we were unable to descend from Arwa col, helped us as we had to adopt that route. We split into two teams. While one team went up to Arwa col, the other (Mohan and Harish) went up and across the Saraswati col to locate a safe route. We managed to go up to Arwa col, come down to Arwa col base camp and then go up the Saraswati col and across it in a single day. Not being able to find a safe descent across the Mana ridge would have meant that we would have had to retrace our steps and head back towards Nilapani, which was a long walk. Venturing into unknown territory made us feel like real explorers. Besides, we had excellent weather throughout the expedition.

Our plan for 5 June worked out perfectly. Tashi and Harish reached camp soon after us with pictures taken from the Arwa col and we discussed possibilities. It seemed doable but we were not sure so we decided against descending into the Arwa glacier. We would certainly have had to fix the ropes on the descent and we did not have crampons for the porters.

Hallucinogenic effects increase the intensity of magical or kundalini techniques. Through magic rituals, energies are evoked from chthonic regions in the identical realms of the Earth and the unconscious. Physical descent into the underworld finds a complement in a spiral downward into the spirit. [30] Once connexions with the Earth and cosmological energies are reestablished, it becomes possible to tap into and redirect currents of elemental energies. These currents can rebalance inner polarities of energy, a process which facilitates ecstatic reintegration.

The ferryman of the River Acheron in the Underworld. His price for ferrying a dead spirit across the river was an obolus, a coin, without which the spirit was doomed to wander the deserted shore without refuge. The Greeks placed an obolus in the mouths of the dead, as their fare. Acheron, the son of Gaea, quenched the thirst of the Titans and was thrown by Zeus into the Underworld, where he was changed into the river bearing his name. The other rivers of the Underworld were the Cocytus a tributary of the Acheron, with its tributary the Phlegethon, the Lethe, and the Styx.Inferno Canto III:70-99. He tells Dante to depart since he is still living.


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