Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Heresy in the Library - The Kauyon

Greetings good people and welcome back! Trooper here with another installment of "Heresy in the Library", where I review Black Library publications and let you, the reader at the other end of the data-slate, know how it is! Up this time is Black Library's first ever Tau audio-drama, The Kauyon. With how popular Tau are these days it isn't surprising to see Black Library giving the Tau some love. Drones, Firewarriors, and surprisingly good repping for the fishheads await. So sit back, grab some amasec, and enjoy my review of The Kauyon!

The Kauyon

First, a clarification.

Kauyon - noun;
1. "patient hunter". Tau language denoting the practitioner of long range recon, ambush, and attack commonly associated with Tau Pathfinders.

Like my made up definition to describe the title of this audio-drama? For those of us who don't play Tau (or who didn't jump on the bandwagon upon their release and subsequent rise to meta-altering power), the Kauyon is a way of war/practitioner from the Fire Warrior Pathfinder group. This group often uses drones, high end equipment, and small teams to essentially recon and kill enemy patrols. This is the stage for the unfolding story of Kal'va, a Tau pathfinder who is seeking revenge for his fallen comrades against the Imperium. 

Our drama begins in media res as Kal'va sights an enemy convoy winding through a canyon. He maneuvers them into the position he knows will be advantageous and waits. He's tracking someone who, it is established early on, is not any of the Cadians he knows he can kill with his rifle...or his heavy gun drones...or the seeker missiles he has stashed around. One has to wonder where Kal'va and his team GOT all of the listed equipment and, more importantly, where they stashed it. 

Kal'va doesn't make his attack and instead thinks back to his two other fallen pathfinder brothers. Through two flashbacks it is revealed that Kal'va and his team were assigned to take out a high priority Imperial target in a base. Originally their job was easy, but upon the arrival of "the yellow armored warrior" things become much more complicated. The base the team is watching sprouts improved kill zones, bigger trenches, and the sudden arrival of automated gun turrets. It's a case of the best plan gone awful. 

The first flashback...and the first death, is a pathfinder that makes the mistake of getting too close and is obliterated by the sentries. The second flashback is another pathfinder covering for Kal'va as the base advances out to search for the interlopers...and being killed by five Imperial Fist Assault Marines. With their deaths, Kal'va plots his revenge against the architect of it all...

There is also a flashback to a bonding ritual between the pathfinders, showing why Kal'va engages in an absolutely suicidal mission to slay the convoy and the interlopers. I always envisioned the Tau as being kind of the "honorable" race in 40k and their interaction in the bonding ritual kind of cements that, honestly. Of course, honor is subjective. What the Astartes think as honorable is hand to hand combat...what the Tau see as honorable is honor to their race and a good fight. Even better, this dynamic is explored during the finale showdown between Kal'va and his hated enemy.

And that final part..easily one of the coolest final fights I have ever seen described. Er..heard. Whatever. It just shows that a smart man hell bent on revenge can literally kill dozens of Imperial Guardsmen, their Chimera transports, five Imperial Fists, top it off, a damn Techmarine WITH A FORCE FIELD. Of course, he uses a proverbial utility belt of tools. Shield drones, gun drones, sniper drones, rail rifles, ion rifles, etc, etc. With the vast array of technology it is really a marvel that the Tau always seem to lose when they go up against Imperial forces. Literally, Kal'va is able to MURDER A CONVOY with a few twists of a dial and a few buttons. And not just a convoy, but SPACE MARINES.

You all need to hear it. The scene is just awesome as it is mind boggling. It is a scene from an action movie where the highly trained individual, hell bent on revenge, pretty much decimates everything in his path. It's cinematic and you might even find yourself rooting for Kal'va.


So what do I think of The Kauyon? I really enjoyed it. I don't get into Tau stuff that much but I was really happy to pick up the drama and give it a listen. Actually, kind of a lie. I listened to it twice just so I could hear the final battle sequence again. The stand-off at the end between Kal'va and the Techmarine has to be one of the coolest exchanges between two enemy characters that I've heard in a long time. And, clocking in at about fifty minutes, it is the perfect length for a simply audio drama. The writing is awesome, the sound effects are cool, and I was really satisfied with the ending. It

So, if you find yourself with some extra bucks, pick it up and give it a listen. If you're a Tau fan you will most likely love it. If you're not then you will probably appreciate it for the good story. And if not then maybe you should crawl back into your filthy Gue'vesa....

This is Trooper, signing off. 

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