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Kill Team: The Dolorous Strain (2019), p4 — The Dolorous Strain

Gurloch Thrax has fought at the side of Lord Mortarion for centuries, at the forefront of the fallen Primarch's endless wars. In that time Thrax has become suffused with entropic diseases and warp-spawned plagues, gifts that the Dolorous Strain - his elite kill team - delight in sharing with their foes.

The origins of the Dolorous Strain hearken back to Mortarion's long campaigns against the forces of Tzeentch, Khorne and Slaanesh, a campaign fought within the enormous warp rift known as the Eye of Terror. The scale and ferocity of these battles would be impossible to conceive for a mortal mind. In a battleground where concepts as crude as time and space have no meaning, daemonic and Heretic Astartes forces engaged in a cataclysmic war on behalf of their foul patrons.

It was in this hellish conflict that Gurloch Thrax came to Lord Mortarion's attention, for the Death Guard warrior exemplified the utter implacability that the Daemon Primarch prized in his warriors. Thrax was soon granted his own band of Blightlord Terminators, and trusted with the honoured task of testing the latest bio-weapons, alchemical fluids and daemonic viruses brewed in the disease factories of the Plague Planet. Wielding prototype plague spewers, blight launchers and bubotic axes bubbling with flesh-rotting afflictions, the Dolorous Strain battled the daemonic and mortal servants of their rival Chaos Gods, mowing down countless foes whilst burbling throaty dirges of worship in honour of the Plague God. These lethal implements thoroughly contaminated the members of the Dolorous Strain with all manner of empyric mutations and hideous sicknesses, which the Blightlord Terminators took great satisfaction in passing on to their enemies.

When finally the Tainted Sons were unleashed upon the ailing Imperium in the wake of the Great Rift, they employed all of these disgusting gifts in the obliteration of loyalist forces, fighting at Lord Mortarion's side as his armies tore their way into Imperial space, setting their sights upon the Realm of Ultramar. To Thrax, the enlightenment of the naive servants of the Emperor was his holy task, an act of benevolent generosity to draw them into the embrace of Grandfather Nurgle. At Espandor and at Drohl, shining worlds of Ultramar were reduced to festering wastelands, and the Dolorous Strain were instrumental in the fates of both. Thrax led precision strikes to contaminate several vital agri-plants and hive cities, butchering all opposition and paving the way for the Death Guard to enact their campaign of biological warfare.

The monster called Bubox Glouch is the combat specialist of the Dolorous Strain, wielding a two-handed Flail of Corruption with frightening strength as he lumbers into battle. Both the power weapon and Glouch himself radiate a miasma of reeking gases, causing foes to double up in sickened agony, vomiting and bleeding from the eyes and nose even as Glouch smashes their bones to fragments. Due to his size and unstoppable momentum, Glouch is a formidable combatant, accepting a hundred strikes from his enemies before responding with a single, devastating blow of his own. He marches at the head of the Dolorous Strain as they advance, humming contentedly to himself as bolts and energy blasts deflect from his Terminator plate.

So named because his bloated gut seeps a steady trail of yellowish pus and slime, Mulgh the Curdled is responsible for wielding the kill team's plague spewer. This appalling weapon is filled with the latest concoctions brewed by the alchemists of the Death Guard's disease factories, and Mulgh is responsible for testing and observing their effects on mortal flesh. It is a task the Blightlord Terminator takes to with great glee, chuckling wetly as he watches flesh slough away like sodden paper, and his foes scream as their bodies inflate and detonate in a gory shower. He has a talent for aiming his cascades of toxic effluvia, catching multiple foes in a single arcing torrent, or managing to douse heavily armoured foes in such a manner that the bubbling bile seeps into armour breaches or weak points to liquidise the being within.

Even within the ranks of the Tainted Sons, the mutations that have broken out across Shurgholgh's body are seen as a true gift from the Plaguefather. The Terminator's Cataphractii plate has morphed and twisted to accommodate a body that has taken on the appearance of one of Nurgle's beloved rot flies, covered in spear-like hairy bristles and clawed appendages. Shurgholgh clicks and hisses in his own strange tongue as he cuts down foe after foe with sawing bursts from his reaper autocannon. When an enemy lies ruptured and slain, the Blightlord crouches over their corpse, his dextrous forelimbs gathering samples and trophies with which he conducts his own hideous experiments in the name of the Plaguefather.

Suppurax Volghor is the newest addition to the ranks of the Dolorous Strain, a veteran of the Plague Wars who has reaped an impressive tally of Ultramarine kills, and thus drawn the appraising gaze of Lord Mortarion.