Index Astartes: Ordos Xenos
Castiel strode through the encampment, confident that he and his Brothers were, for the moment, safe from any Tau predations. In the waning light of the sun, the same thoughts crossed through his mind. The Tau were as steel on this world, difficult to remove, fighting as though for some great purpose. No expenditure of life seemed too great to maintain their hod, but nothing could be yet ascertained as to exactly why. Now Castiel was here, and he directed his mind to those same thoughts. First hand experience as to the Tau, something difficult to obtain at best. The settlements they had seen compounded perplexity of it all. Some of them had burned under their attacks, with little actual response. Decidedly uncharacteristic of any military installation. It had bothered him since the realization that they were on Veren.
Three weeks prior was not long after one of their recent operations. A small skirmish in what had the appearances of the agricultural compound. They had quickly neutralized any resistance, barely a full troop of Fire Warriors. Auric and Harl were free run of the town, gathering some information from the local abomination of a cogitator bank. Little of note, at the time. It was then that Castiel made good on his oath to Harl, putting himself at the Forge Master’s call to attempt repairs on the Land Speeder, supplicating it’s machine spirit back to duty. Harl had no confidence in anything but Castiel’s strength, but he did put it to good use, Castiel took no offense at this, taking pride in the act of assistance. He couldn’t help the wandering of his mind to other things, however. Disparate strengths put together, applied properly The very principles of any properly arranged military force. Something appreciated by both the Tau and his own Chapter. Castiel was snapped out of this contemplation by Harl’s gruff snarl. “My apologies, Forge Master.”
As the time passed, and they spent more time under the same moons as these Tau, Castiel saw fit to learn what he could of these xenos from the one expert they had at hand. Chaplain Titus seemed to busy himself the least, studying the charts on his data slate. Castiel entreated the Fist to teach him of the Tau. Language, some measure of their culture, tactics. All things that Titus thought might be of use. Understandably, all the notes that Titus gave were underlined with the restrained hate that a Chaplain was expected to espouse. He started to grasp the basic syntax of the Tau language. Given the breadth of Titus’ knowledge, Castiel anticipated a quick learning curve.
Castiel’s mind drew back to the present, still walking around the campsite. He quietly repeated Tau phrases to himself. Deployment. Supplies. Shipping. Castiel found these concepts running through his head, repeating consistently. He tracked back to what he knew of Veren. Imperial forces often won the ground war, but the fluid nature of their deployment often let them fall back and redeploy elsewhere… His mind paused on that for a moment. The few records surviving told of some underground engagements. Castiel couldn’t help but think that there was something to be found underneath the surface.