Return of the Primarchs: Unfinished Stories
Return of the Primarchs stories that are currently unfinished. The writers are listed and whether the story is discontinued or not. Writefags who want to pick up the discontinued stories are appreciated.
- 1 Bits of Awesome
Bits of Awesome
Written and discontinued by Vulcanfag, continued by Cryptek Czerasp
Captain Mir'San the winter blade stood aboard the battle barge Vulkan's Wrath with forge father He'Stan as it hovered over the dead world of Sarmatia III. The world lied in the eastern fringe of the galaxy. It was an ill omen-ed world that navigators brave enough to even enter the dark region these stars inhabit avoid. What it's occupants were has never been known by mankind. The few men to step upon its surface often come back mad if they do at all. What was undeniable however was that the Tome of Fire had many strange passages that matched the rumors that sprung from this world.
"I thank you for you and your men's assistance." Mir'Sans grey face filled with pride . "It is an honor forgefather, to assist you in finding one of the artifacts from the tome, my men in I need no thanks."
A short time later they were descending to the world in a thunderhawk. A veteran squad, apothecary Calderan, captain Mir'San, the venerable dreadnought Bray'arth Ashmantle, and Forgefather He'Stan.
The worlds surface was a strange dark stone structures organized into strange patterns and being loomed over by the dim light of a strange purple star. The closer they approached the surface, the more disturbing the architecture became, every megalith was covered in strange runes that seemed to reflect the same eldritch light of the violet star. Many of the buildings seemed to be inlaid with the skeletal structures of the giant inhabitants this demented world, many posed in positions to show them consuming or violently defeating those they considered their lessors in an death obsessed spectacle.
Upon the surface of Sarmatia III in a massive chamber of impossible alien geometry the leader of the Dragon Warriors around a strange series of chaotic symbols carved into the floor. He examined every pillar in the room his acolytes had inscribed, every inch of wall, every tile of floor marked for a sorcerous act of massive proportion that was capable of bringing back to life the unknowable terror of the ancient race that dwelled upon the cursed world. The entire Sarmatia system of 20 planets was comprised entirely of these strange ghost worlds.
The preparations were completed, the sorcerers plan was to bind these ancient terror to the dark gods in exchange for power over them so he may loose this abomination upon nocturne. His hunger for vengeance for the death of his mentor slated.
The winter blade walked down the ramp of the thunderhawk, his squad of ten veterans following him behind Ashmantle and He'Stan. The ramps closed and the Thunderhawk proceeded back to Vulkan's Wrath. The old warrior could feel the alien energy running through the ground of this world, and he felt something strange in the air as well, the presence of an old enemy and that truly enraged him.
Vulkan He'Stan silently engaged the vox in his helmet. "We are being watched, be on alert."
A Veteran standing near the back of the squad turned his head to the side quickly at the sound of footfalls and unleashed the fury of his heavy flamer upon an opening in the construct to their left. A red armored astartes leapt from inside and threw a grenade toward the crowd of salamanders and the marines within range of the explosion jumped from its reach as the explosion cracked the silent air of the dead world and echoed across its expanse. A sternguard marine with a combi-flamer, gunning down the enemy combatant with a burst of inferno rounds, setting the warrior ablaze from his innards out. He fell to his knees quickly, the ignited promethium beginning to lick at the lenses of his helmet.
"Dragon warriors!" He'Stan said angrily. "Traitors of our fathers gene line have come to interfere brothers, show them no mercy! Into the fires of battle, Unto the anvil of war!"
From their right the sudden roar of bolt rounds echoed from the massive openings on the alien structures, Ashmantle turned and opened fire with his duel heavy flamers as his massive form moved as quickly as it could towards his enemy. A cold metallic laugh rang from the venerable dreadnought as he picked up a dragon warrior and fired his dreadfire through the traitor, leaving a singed hole where his midsection once was before throwing his corpse at his comrades. Gouts of flame and bolts began to pour from other opening in the strange architecture, the salamanders were surrounded by their traitorous brethren.
He'Stan hurtled himself into combat, charging into one of the megalithic buildings and striking down the first man he saw with the Spear of Vulkan, his blood trailing across the reflective black stone of the structure. When he raised the gauntlet of the forge and fired the reflection was almost blinding as the fire lifted up the spire and incinerated all in its path, the smell of scorched adamantium drifted up and out of the tower under the omnipresent reek of burning bodies. Vulkan's fury brought to its most pure physical manifestation.
Captain Mir'San's wisdom showed trough in his fighting style, as his enemy's charged towards him, driven to half madness by chaos, it was their own arrogance and haste he used against them. As they charged towards him they were cleaved apart by cinders edge the warriors master crafted blade, built by his own hand.
"You disgrace the memory of Vulkan! I am his will!" The mechanical voice of the dreadnought was clear even over the fighting. One of the firedrakes was torn in half as an unseen dragon warrior emerged from a corner where one part of the squad were taking cover before he was belted into a pool by a combi bolter with a melta on it. Another group of firedrakes, two armed with melta guns and one with a flamer ran into a buildings entrance and began burning their enemy out, one of the salamanders armed with a melta was shot down in place by warpfire infused bolts. He was immolated on sight before the other marine armed with a melta ran towards him and slammed the barrel across his face, forcing him to the ground before opening fire on his head and turning it into ash.
Above Sarmatia III
Trazyn had collected a great number of things from the Adeptus Astartes over the years, ships, weapons, live marines, but no being or creation had quiet gained his respect as this Primarch as he noted he was, Vulkan. He was fascinated by the fact that this being had been dead for so long but never seemed to degrade, how the essence of the living being still to some degree dwelled within the incredibly preserved corpse. Trazyn's motivations were many, from the idea that the being could somehow be the key to his races nonevent back into a biological form, but an immortal one, the very thing the Necrontyr race had sought in the first place, to simple curiosity, either way it consumed his time, he had even attempted to get his hands on Vulkan's artifacts to revive him. He had come to realize something in his quest, that the Unbound Flame, was the thing that kept Vulkan's soul intact, and some combination of the Artifacts, many of which also functioned as weapons, could in essence jump start Vulkan.
So Trazyn followed He'Stan from a distance whenever he could do so, clinging to the periphery of any scenario. When not doing that, he was following his own ideas of where Vulkan's other 3 artifacts might be.
Now his personalized shroud class ship hovered over the world of Sarmatia III, realizing the salamanders had come to the same Conclusion he did. They however were not near as familiar with what slumbered here as he was, it was an ancient intelligence, a subspecies of the Rak'Gol that bound their souls to chaos for knowledge and power, and created a nightmare empire ruled by insanity. He could still feel the horrid warp intelligence here without even leaving his ship.
On Sarmatia III
It was impossible for a human to willingly recreate the vocal tones of the creatures of this world and its spells required, some extra work. A series of acolytes were tied to large wooden stakes, the skin of their throats peeled from their necks, others still clung to their sides, strumming impossible melodies in the planets native language to perfectly awaken this unique fragment of an extremely dangerous xeno species. Nihilan had long had long been obsessed with the salamander's destruction and now in this period of massive threat to the gods, he had an opportunity.
As the spell drew to a close a strange black lightning began to flicker in the sky, first just a few strikes, then a storm circling into a black swirling pyre of sorcerous lightning. No matter the level of battle around anyone at the time, large towers of warp lightning in your vicinity aren't hard to notice. What was more subtle however was the slow disappearance of the monuments around them.
The winter blade was the first to notice. "The xenos skeletons are disappearing, they moved by themselves Tu'Shan, near instantaneously. I brought a few more squads, some land raiders, and we always have the ships guns."
"Call in the land raider and two squads, I can see there being difficulties we haven't foreseen."
"As do I forgefather."
"His words were more prophetic than he knew."
The lightning dispersed and as soon as it did the sound of innumerable alien limbs clacking on black reflective stone starting as a few isolated 'click clack click clack's' growing into a maddening sound like tens of thousands of gears malfunctioning and grinding on other parts of manufacturing mechanisms. The sound of talons scraping across walls as they climb.
As a salamanders Thunderhawk descended from the skies they saw the true scope of the danger the those on the ground forces were actually in. Huge numbers of massively augmented Rak'Gol, some subspecies and types unseen before, covered the ground like a canopy of death. The massive amount of power drills, chain weapons, circular saws, piston hammers, and other mechanical weapons whirred so loudly through the air that they could be heard by those in the descending thunderhawk.
The Thunderhawk's laser destroyer fired as it strafed over the conflict, leaving a long singed trench unto the cursed earth of this world. It hovered in the air for few brief seconds, within that short time two squads disembarked and the land raider was dropped from its mag restraints. As soon as these sons of Vulkan hit the ground the horrific xenos horde split, some attacking Mir'San and his party, others attempting to fall on the newcomers before being vaporized by the heat on the thunderhawk's laser destroyer.
Forgefather He'Stan turned on a dime and bisected a Rak'Gol marauder in the blink of an eye. The strange opaque blood of the xenos ran through the streets rivulets, the more that fell the more that were awoken. As He'Stan and Mir'San began to believe the hunt for the song of entropy couldn't become more complicated, a series of ships began to race toward the planets surface, annihilation barges, ghost and doomsday arks, the glowing viridian of necron weaponry stripping the atoms of all under their gaze, Rak'Gol bodies lie torn to pieces and singed by these destructive power of gauss weaponry.
The in initial salamanders force made a fighting withdrawal back to the land raider that had just arrived, its sponson mounted heavy flamers left large trails of ash as it struck down any who threatened its brethren.
The salamanders slowly pushed foreword through the massive lane that led to the central megalith, shooting down Rak'Gol as they jumped down from the massive structures lining the path. As Tu'Shan and the others fought their way foreword to their destination, he remembered all the obstacles he had faced before in the quest for his fathers artifacts, this was simply another challenge to make the salamanders stronger. He would not be deterred.
As the Necron ships got closer Mir'San realized they weren't firing at them, despite them being an easier target than the Rak'Gol, and there had been no attack on Vulkan's Wrath as it hovered over the planet bombarding the Rak'Gol horde.
Allies of convenience Mir'San thought, but he knew He'Stan wouldn't be as receptive, particularly if this was somehow Trazyn's doing. After the attempts Trazyn made to steal the Spear of Vulkan Tu'Shan had developed a venomous hate for the Necron collector. They were heading towards the same destination however, so either way, he would know soon enough if this was the doing of Trazyn in his quest to collect.
As if on cue a ghost ark with an ornate carrying a host of lychguard, an ornate coffin of massive size, and of course Trazyn. Mir'San looked over to He'Stan who was busy impaling a Rak'Gol broodmaster, realizing he would have to be the voice of reason in this moment. "Fuck..." A whisper of frustration escaped under the creaky sigh of the winter blade. As he took another look at the ark between hacking into the hordes of Rak'Gol carvers he noticed the symbols of the promethian cult and the salamanders were etched into the massive coffin. "He'Stan look!" His voice suddenly making him seem younger than it was.
A loud gasp could be heard over the vox channel. He recognized it instantly, even though he had never seen it.. The unbound flame. The shock of two things set instantly into the forgefather, that his Primarch was on this cursed world... The next realization however chilled him to the bone, that his Primarch was in a coffin.
Worse still it was in the hands of xenos. Unhidden rage almost boiled under his skin, a wrath he had never felt in the entirety of his life, they would pay.
Nihililan felt quiet content with himself, the glint of pride in his burning eyes becoming a full blown shine of self satisfaction. A veteran dragon warrior approached behind him from the shadows.
"What you've accomplished here Nihilan, its quiet impressive I must say." Nihilan raised an eyebrow beneath his warped helm. "I'm sure your very proud of yourself aren't you?" He locked his hands behind his back, his body language now matching his tone in smugness. He walked with large strides in an almost nonchalant way, looking at objects and runes in the room fascinated, as if he hadn't seen them before even though he'd helped Nihilan set up the stage for the spell. "Now I'm sure you believe that you've pulled off some grand feat don't you? Haha, how foolish those who serve the warps idiot being can be, it's shocking really.:
"You would speak to me in such a way Ar'Kath!? Do you wish to die?!"
"Ar'Kath hmm? Interesting name, I'm sure he was nocturnian, but I hate to inform you that he no longer controls this fleshy vessel." Across the room a strange viridian lightning started to crackle, its force so powerful that it seemed to tear reality itself. The dragon warrior raised his bolt pistol to his own head. "Bye Bye," he waved calmly, then pulled the trigger. As soon as his body hit the floor a metallic foot pushed out from the green storm, then another. Two lychguards emerged and behind them the great collector.
Trazyn the infinite.
Nihilan was furious, he had been tricked, one of his veteran brothers was used as an expendable catspaw, and this Necron was behind it, clearly here for something of his. "You dare use my brothers in such a way y-"
He was cut off mid sentence by the ancient metal construct.
"Yes yes, your honor and all that nonsense. What would your Primarch do if he knew you had become this twisted parody of what he hoped for his progeny?"
Nihilan spit upon the ground at the mere mention of his Primarch, his father, who he often used as a focal point for his anger. Nihilan started to respond to the metal ancient when a loud bang echoed through the chamber, bits of obsidian stone shot to every corner of the room, smoke trailing behind each like miniature comets. When the smoke cleared a host of salamanders stood in the doorway, the braziers adorning some veterans along with those atop the land raider behind them cast a strangely human glow around them in contrast to every thing else on this Emperor forsaken pit of a planet. He'Stan and Mir'San stood at the front of all others leading their brothers by example.
Trazyn raised his hand at the forgefather, as if to say stop. "Now I know what your thinking."
He'Stan's anger was far from held in check, his voice booming and fiery like the volcanos of his home. "What?! That you've come to steal the spear again! Oh or possibly something else! What I do know is you have a coffin bearing the craftsmanship and symbols of our chapter, and you will not keep it. I know what's in the coffin xeno, and we want our father back."
Trazyn ran his hand down his face. "Yes and that's why I'm here."
"Don't even try to....What?!" His position shifted, He'Stan was prepared for almost any situation but this was not one of them
"I know how to bring him back..."
Nihilan had grown tired of this and his irritation was evident in his voice. "Enough!"
Trazyn tuned to him and pointed to the ground at the dead dragon warrior. "Do you not understand that the big boys are talking? Or do I need to put a mindshackle scarab on you too?"
The joy in realizing that Vulkan could be revived brought an unknowable sense of awe and joy to He'Stan, but It was countered by the verification that he needed to be brought back. He was dead, lying in a coffin, but he wouldn't be for long he thought, no matter the circumstances they would bring him back. "That's why I kept trying to get that spear."
He'Stan looked down at the spear in his hand perplexed.
"It is a key Son of Vulkan, a key that starts the device your father rests in."
Nihilan had grown tired of this and could not have been more overjoyed by the of his warriors heavy footfalls closing on his position. "How heartwarming," His words seeped with almost visible sarcasm. "But I've grown tired of it."
He looked towards the salamanders, the lenses of his helm burning with warpfire, he said nothing, he only laughed as gouts of daemonic flame shot toward the salamanders, He'Stan, Mir'San, and most of the remnants of the salamders veterans jumped out of its path, but a few were unfortunate enough to get caught in the hellish fire, immolating their flesh and bone to ash. Only one refused to move Bray'Arth Ashmantle, the venerable dreadnought stood as the burst of fire wrapped itself around his master crafted frame. Before the fire died he launched himself foreword, one arm pointing towards the sorcerer as fire shot from his dreadfire close combat. "With me my brothers! For Nocturn, and for Vulkan we shall slay these traitors." The rest of the salamanders followed the iron dragon. Before he charged Mir'San looked over at Trazyn.
"If you wish to prove to us that you are an ally, then now is your chance."
Trazyn simply nodded and charged foreword, lychguards in tow, many still pouring from the portal. Dragon warriors rushed for the hallways into the chamber, firing meltas and flamers as they charged. The room had become superheated by the presence of all the heat based weaponry, any flammable objects bursting into flame.
Trazyn tore the empathic obliterator across the throat of a dragon warrior, two more tried to attack him but he didn't move, he simply let out a cold mechanical chuckle as they too fell to the ground, they grasped at the armor around their throats, trying to comprehend what was happening before they collapsed limp of the floor. Nihilan moved over the battlefield surfing upon an strange platform of pure warpflame, turning his enemy's blood to magma and their flesh to ash.
The twin linked assault cannons atop the land raider redeemer took aim at the sorcerer, one round ripped through his leg and he fell to the ground, his concentration interrupted, the flame that was beneath him instantly disappearing. He looked at the land raider and waved his hand, a loud crack spit the air and flames poured from the tank, its frame turned the glowering orange of a sword just pulled from a forge to be tempered. It's frame distorted as it began to melt from the heat of warpfire. Ashmantle rushed towards the now injured sorcerer as fast as his piston driven legs allowed.
He swung his massive arm downward at the sorcerer and a loud clang rang out as he parried the blow, it slammed into the floor sending up a cloud of pulverized stone. The venerable's attack was merciless, between swings he shot his heavy flamers at his much smaller enemy. Nihilan swung his staff at the dreadnoughts leg, shattering Ashmantle's right leg into shards of metal. He collapsed unto one of his legs, but refused to stop his assault. Mir'San rushed towards the downed venerable and threw his weight into the sorcerer, ramming his chest with his pauldron. They both smashed into a pillar collapsing it to the floor on top of them. Many turned to see if either survived, for a brief moment the den of battle quieting as both sides waited to see if their leaders survived.
Cinders Edge, the master crafted blade of Mir'San shot from the rubble followed by his upper torso. His other hand pulling Nihilan up from the collapsed pillar. He held Nihilan by the top of his scaly ceramite breastplate. He brought the pommel of cinders edge down on his face. "Die" He struck again and the helm dented inward "You worthless!" Again "Disgrace to!" Again, the dent deepening, his helm now cracked and seeping blood from its breaks "The name of our Primarch!" He leveled the blade at Nihilan's throat and slid it across, the steam of blood crackling on the energy field of the power blade. He released his limp body, letting it splay over the pile of broken stone.
The dragon warriors began to flee, many were cut off by Trazyn's lychguard phasing into reality directly in front of the fleeing chaos marines. Mir'San however did not move, his breath heavy, his body tired, he was an old warrior no matter how little he let it show.
Trazyn approached He'Stan "We have to leave."
He Stan whipped himself around angrily "Leave?! We don't have the artifact! We cannot!" He raised the spear to level with Trazyn's glowing green optical sensors. "What makes you think I won't kill you here anyway xenos?!"
Trazyn let out a heavy sigh "One, we both know how this will in, you try to kill me, I transfer into another body, you get pissed off and I go home empty handed." He held two fingers up in the air at He'Stan "Two, I have the artifact. The song of entropy, its aboard my ship."
"The tome of fire lead me here and your telling me its not..."
"No it's on my ship."
He'Stan felt a sudden disappointment within him self at his failure, and Trazyn in a strange show of friendship to his ally of convenience softened his tone.
"You weren't wrong, just a bit off, now if you wouldn't mind, now that Nihilan's men are running or dead the Rak'Gol will swarm this place soon."
He'Stan simply nodded, even if he didn't trust this xenos whatsoever, he needed what he had. Forgefather He'Stan turned to Trazyn. His voice was stern but still filled with adrenaline due to the recent skirmish. "Why should I believe you?"
Trazyn signaled to one of the Lychguard that had a long cloth wrapped object strapped to its back. It approached with its sword sheathed within some for energy field at its side.
It held the object very gently, clearly understanding the importance of the object. Tu'Shan took if from his hand carefully and unravelled the cloth. In it was a 5 foot long wasp waisted black sword, tiny vents ran near the edge of the blade on its sides pointing towards the handle. Between the drake scale shaped vents was a hammer, near the tip of the blade where it widened again before coming to a point was an intricate engraving of a firedrakes open mouth, the teeth stretching to its center as it sneered flame through them. When Tu'San gripped the blades handle the hundreds of tiny vents began to emit a stream of concentrated promethium fire like industrial torches, creating a sheath of fire around the blade. As it burned it emitted a strange melodic sound with the violent roar of ignited promethium beneath it.
Tu'Shan swung the sword down at the body of a Dragon Warrior and as soon as the burning sheath of the blade hit the armor it turned what it contacted to ash, the gasses from the vents blowing the ash into the air and onto the wind. Tu,Shans eyes gleamed beneath his helm with honor and joy quoting a passage from the tome of fire aloud "And it's song shall be that of the emperors might."
He had found the Song of Entropy.
As the forgefather examined the sword the pommel of the sword shifted and a tiny dataslate insert slipped out. He snatched it from mid air and raised it to eye level. He needed to get this to Vulkan's Wrath immediately to decode it.
Mir'San began to hail the ship in orbit, ordering an extraction as soon as possible.
"Air support and extraction will arrive in 25 minutes captain. Any further orders."
He waited briefly as he thought, he would have to make sure the LZ was secure after all. "I want orbital support from a half kilometer of my position rolling outward for six kilometers. I want a ring of fire around us that these abominations cannot cross."
"Cyclical bombardment confirmed captain."
Mir'San shut off his vox "Forgefather, extraction is inbound we have 25 minutes and orbital support, but we still must clear the immediate area.
He'Stan turned to Mir'San with The Song in hand and tucked the data chip into a part of his mantle. "Well if we're to do that, then you will need a weapon even finer than your hands could craft won't you?" The forgefather handed the old warrior The Song.
"You are the best swordsman among us and I would be a fool not to leave it in your hands." The shock on Mir'San's face was hidden under his helmet but far from absent.
"Thank you forgefather." His voice heavy with the feeling of honor in his heart, he had lived too long through many dire conflicts, seen all the galaxy could show, and fought much of it, but he never believed he would use an artifact created by his mighty fathers hand.
They rushed to the openings of the megalith right as the orbital bombardment began. Not far off in the distance explosions were tearing apart the strange architecture followed by massive swirling firestorms blowing across the ground and enveloping all in its path, leaving only cinders drifting on violent winds of the creatures they once were. Those in front of it were spared its fury only to see charging towards them a combined force salamanders and necrons.
Captain Mir'San strode before his compatriots, the song of entropy burning in his hand. Despite the previous dulling of the glow in his eyes due to age, without his helmet they glowed as they had when he was a young warrior, well young for astartes. He charged into the horde of previously unseen Rak'Gol, cutting through the xenos easily as they tried to assault the veteran Salamander. Bolter rounds exploded around him out of his enemies and He'Stan charged into the fray of battle. The fought back to back wielding instruments of war crafted by Vulkan's own hands. They stood in the den of war as paragons of their fathers will with fury burning as bright as fire.
However there was still something terrible that had awoken. Psykers thousands of light years around saw horrible visions of pure hatred and dominion made manifest within an ancient brooding intelligence. Astropath's milky eyes bled, navigators woke from terrible nightmares, space marine librarians received the most vivid and terrible of visions. For all the great good that had entered the galaxy recently a great evil had awoken. A strange alien sentience that knew only hatred and domination. The Rak'Gol could no longer be considered a threat on the periphery of the Imperium, it was a monstrosity and a nightmare made flesh and tangible threat.
Mir'San had little difficulty hacking through the crowd of xenos with the help of his brothers, Ashmantle's leg had been repaired by necron repair scarabs and was laying waste to swaths of strangely armored Rak'Gol warriors wielding strange warp weaponry.
Then all attention was drawn to a deafening rasp echoed across the battlefield along with loud mechanical skittering. Suddenly an alien tower to the left of Mir'San began to distort and bend and tear itself it shreds before the building collapsed into ribbons of stone flayed thin.
There stood a creature slightly larger than one of their broodmasters. A huge mechanical maw lined with circular saw like blades and cogs replaced a portion of its upper body, much of its armor was covered in the strange crystalline warp-tech of the Yu'Vath race. It's face had been replaced by a hideous and horrific mask depicting some unknown entity, it wielded a large scythe like weapon in one of its upper arms, another two had a series of chain weapons coursing with eldrich lightning, the last was the most deadly and terrifying however. A hole in its talon that was surrounded by metal rings covered in twisted runes, within the hole was only darkness and it held the power to shred reality itself.
The giant charged towards Ashmantle, aiming for the biggest of the pack.
Ashmantle charged toward the towering xenos knowing that it could easily destroy many of his brothers he threw himself at the alien beast. The thunderhawk began to approach towards the area, searing large trails in the ground with its weaponry. The Rak'Gol champion raised its reality render at the ship and Ashmantle slammed his claw into it causing it to tear apart a wave of its own kind, though the xeno seemed unaffected by this, even amused by the death of Rak'Gol weaker than it. The dreadnought knew he could not allow his enemy to use this weapon on the thunderhawk, it would kill his brothers and destroy artifacts of Vulkan! So he came to a decision. "When the Thunderhawk lands, go to it, I shall stay and cover you."
Captain Mir'San responded on the vox channel. "Brother, you will die, and I am your captain, you cannot give me an order."
"Fine, but I will not get on the ship, and if you stay you shall all fall. Our mission is more important than any of us, I only regret I shall not live to see our father rise. I shall die here Captain, it is my decision, please honor it." The comm line was silent for a few seconds but it seemed far longer.
"If that is your wish."
As the salamanders and necrons made a fighting withdrawal to the thunderhawk the venerable warrior prepared to die, and take as many of these foul xenos with him as he could.
The Rak'Gol champion attacked Ashmantle with a berserk energy, swinging its scythe and warp-infused chain weaponry at the Iron Dragon, who in turn snatched it up with both claws and swung it into a building. It crawled out from the rubble near instantly. Ashmantle looked into the distance, his optical sensors telling him that the artillery was getting closer, closing in on the duel. He quickly realized Mir'San must have ordered it and he took comfort in the knowledge that his enemy would die even if he failed to kill it. He could see the thunderhawk climb into the upper atmosphere, another fact that would have made him smile contentedly if he were still capable.
The champion raised its reality tearing weapon to Ashmantle as he tried to counterattack. Cogitators informed him that some energy weapon of unknown origin was weakening his mechanical bodies molecular strength. He stabbed his left claw into the top of the strange maw on the creatures body as it tried to strike him and fired his heavy flamer. The creature shrieked in agony and he sized the momentum, swinging his right claw across the xenos head and tearing up it body with his other, still bathing the monstrosity in fire. It swung its tail around and struck the dreadnought sending him hurtling into a strange structure that collapsed inward from the impact. The xeno beast approached, slowly, its head tilted quizzically.
Seemingly ignoring the ground that was being pulverized by artillery drawing nearer, seemingly hypnotized by its hunt. Suddenly a cloud of rubble rose around the dreadnought that slammed out of the debris at surprising speed and rammed into the creature. When the two stopped rolling he was on top of it and stabbed his claws into the beast before firing his heavy flamers. The xeno rasped and screamed as fire bathed its hide and immolated its flesh, he didn't stop until flame shot from the cracks in its armor formed from the stress of intense heat.
As the artillery grew closer he noticed that the amount of incendiary weaponry was increasing until that was the only type. The flames grew so massive and hot that the atmosphere itself began to burn. Ashmantle began to contemplate, he would die as a warrior by the same force that made him into one, he liked that. Mir'San that poetic old bastard, knew him better than he thought. He turned towards the incoming tide of Rak'Gol now mostly composed of abominations. He laughed loudly and though it may have been malfunctioning circuits, he felt almost human again as he barked. "INTO THE FIRES OF BATTLE, UNTO THE ANVIL OF WAR!!!!" He charged into the tide smashing his enemies to the side and burning others to cinders, as the artillery grew closer.
His internal sensors robotic voice telling him the temperature was reaching levels even the iron dragon could not withstand, but he could feel the machine spirit itself reveling in the honor and glory of this moment. He could feel the Dragon itself spurring him on, craving the honorable end it could achieve here while its bloodlust demanded the death of these warp tainted xenos by its own weapons. It was there he fell while tearing apart a Rak'Gol abomination. Bray'Arth Ashmantle shall always be remembered by the sons of Vulkan. The hero who enabled the recovery of their Primarch by sacrificing himself for his brothers.
Captain Mir'San stared out of a viewport of Vulkan's wrath with his head hung low as the bombing came to a point, he felt honored by Bray'Arth's last act. He knew the only way he could pay back the debt would be to make sure his brothers now living, those who would be in the future, and even Vulkan himself knew what it was he did.
That in the very least he had to do.
"Bridge to Captain Mir'San what are your orders?"
He waited a moment before responding in a stern short answer. "Exterminatus. Then set a course to Nocturne."
"Aye captain, bridge out." The comm link cut off with a beep and Mir'San watched with righteous joy as the planet was bombed with exterminatus class weaponry and became consumed by fire.
He left the room for the cargo bay to meet with He'Stan and Trazyn, who he hoped weren't trying to kill each other.
They were examining Vulkan's coffin together, both very excited by the prospect of completing something they both had spent a lot of time trying to accomplish.
"It has not been done yet?" Mir'San asked.
"We were waiting for you Mir'San." Trazyn remarked in an impatient tone. Trazyn guided the two marines to two small ports that were on the sides of the massive coffin.
He'Stan felt a tears welling up in his glowing eyes, he had never realized Vulkan's return would be from the grave. This had begun to settle in on him when he first saw the coffin. It was not something that sat easily with him but in the din of battle, he had no time to get caught up in the feeling of loss he suddenly had felt.
"Oh Forgefather, the microchip you found, you must put it in this port." Trazyn's mechanical voice now sounded full of an oddly polite, if maybe a bit snarky, excitement.
He plugged the small chip into the port and an attending Techmarine plugged a wire connected to his helmet into a small port in the coffin next to the chip.
A loud beep sounded and he nodded. "Machine spirit active my lords." Mir'San nodded back at them.
The machine spirit groaned audibly before stating its first instructions. "Insert Song of Entropy into corresponding port."
Mir'San did as the coffin holding his father commanded, looking at the Techmarine for confirmation that something had happened. He noticed that the port he put the sword into was made of an alloy he hadn't seen before, but it looked finely crafted and was undamaged by the blades fire and in fact appeared to collect it.
"It seems to be scanning the immaterium for something, its also sending out some form of signal." The Techmarine noted out loud.
Mir'San was mentally cursing himself for not bringing a librarian with them.
"It seems to have made a connection to something."
The coffin began to increase in heat.
"Insert Spear of Vulkan into collection port."vThe machine spirits voice seemed more powerful now somehow.
He'Stan complied as well, sheathing the spears blade in the small port.
"Revivification process has begun."
The casket rose further in temperature as the process continued. "Revivification complete, beginning soul binding." The machine spirit groaned.
Blood Ravens "Acquire" Dark Angel Secrets
Written by Borealefag. Has no longer shown up. A Writefag to take his place is appreciated.
“I AM HEAR TO DELIVUH DA EMPRAHS FOOOOOOO-RY! STAND DOWN BRUTHAS! STAND DOWN SUNS OF DA EMPRAH! STAND DOWN DAHK ANGULS! YOUR TIME IS NIE!”
A volley of Land Raider fire arced high in the sky and slammed down barely meters away from the Blood Raven's ranks.
Captain Boreale of the fifth company of the vaunted Blood Ravens stood resplendent in armor of crimson and gold, a power mace that sizzled the air with azure lightening was held in his right hand, his trusted bolter was slung over his back not yet drawn but ready to dispense the Emperor’s justice at a moment's notice. A Rhino class Laud Hauler (generously gifted from the Order of the Emperor's Hymn), and a Astropath seated on a chair fitted into the Hauler was bolted onto the back of the captain's power armor so that none could hide from his voice, the voice of a son of the Emperor
“ABANDUNMENT OF TEH BATTLEFELD! DERAHLICKICHIN OF DUHTY! SEEKRIT KEEPIN! DO YOU DEE-NYE DESE CHRIMES?!”
Azrael nodded grimly as a sister of the Ordo Dialogus translated the words of Boreale. If this fool had come a day, no even hours later they could have completed their work and moved the Rock, the Dark Angels mobile fortress, out of sight of this accursed place, the Death World Sunsa. During the crusade it was rumored that Luther had hidden something here. Indeed as the Rock neared the world Luther became increasingly crazed in his cell deep within the Rock. Now Kyras's children had come and made a mess of things, as usual.
“FOR TO LONG! YOU DAHK ANGULS HAVE PURSOOD YOUR OWN DAHK AGENDAH! FOR TO LONG YOU HAVE USED TEH EMPERIUM FOR YOUR OWN SELFISH DEE-SIRES! NO LONGER!”
Boreale was honored, but puzzled as to why Kyras his chapter master had sent his and only his fifth company to bring the shadowy Dark Angels to justice. Just months ago he had asked Kyras about his time aboard the Judgment of Carrion so that he could draw inspiration from his Chapter Master's great feats, but ever since then Kyras had acted strangely towards him: colder and contemptous. He pushed these thoughts out of his mind and focused on the situation in front of him. Gabriel's companies were already out on a mission of vital importance, the reserve companies were spread out in neighboring systems, but apparently too busy with their own duties to lend their aid. Arrayed against him were several regular battle companies of the Dark Angels, and their Elite Deathwing. A grim situation indeed, but as long as he had the Emperor and his battle brothers by his side he would prevail.
“MUH BATTLEBRUTHAS! READY RAHNKS! READY HOMMING BEACONS!” A loud roar sounded from behind him, from his battle brothers, to which the Dark Angels responded with their own battlecries and roars of outrage. Then all around them the ground shook and split apart. Bestial, ravenous screeches burst from the ground, followed soon after by monstrosities of chitin and bile.
Boreale quickly took stock of this new situation, “TILLANIDS! SLAY THEM BRUTHAS!” Rage welled up inside of Boreale, how dare these beasts interrupt talks between the Emperor’s guardians of humanity, did they not know their betters?. His rage finally burst out as a Tervigon clawed its way up from the sulfuric ground right into the center of his battle lines killing his brothers, and vomiting up more of its vile spawn. No longer caring about his mission, no Kyras's mission, with a single nod of respect Boreale turned exposing his back to the Dark Angels (let them fire if they wilt) and charged the Tervigon, righteous fury erupted from his lips, “FOR TEH EMPRAH!” Light burned from the mouth and eyes of the Astropath on Boreale's Laud Hauler a true sign of his righteousness and fury.
High above the Death World Sunsa the Rock rumbled. From its deepest chamber a single Watcher in the Dark emerged, quickness and purpose was in the diminutive being, everything needed to be made ready at once.
Even farther from Sunsa a tendril of Leviathan caught the scent of a unique Genealogy, similar genetic material had been consumed in the past, but this strand seemed purer, stronger. The Hive Mind spoke and the vanguard of Leviathan answered.
With a mighty shout Boreale raised his mace high over his head before sending it crashing down on the back of the Tervigon's neck. Chitin cracked and a sickly yellow green gore splattered against blessed ceramite. The beast rampaged beneath him its great scything limbs skewering both gaunt bioforms and marines locked in furious battle beneath it.
Several of the smaller creatures skittered and clawed up their progenitors back. Their claws scratched and scraped against Boreale's power armor, leaving deep gouges in the sacred armor, but not breaching it. Boreale screamed toward the heavens at this affront, the Astropath seated on Boreale's Laud Hauler amplified this shout a thousand times over with her witchcraft and let out a keening shriek that blasted several of the creatures off of Boreale, and momentary stunned the Tervigon as its link to the Hive Mind was temporarily cut off.
Bolter fire from the melee below swept the survivors off the captain. Once more he lifted his power mace, this time he gripped the weapon with both hands before sending it head first into the wound he had opened earlier. Steam and a deep hiss seeped out of the monster as the mace's powerfield boiled and vaporized the monster from the inside out. The monster slumped down as it died almost as if kneeling before the superior might of the Blood Ravens.
A small victory in a hopeless fight, all around him his brother where being hacked down or being eaten alive from borer beatles or worse things. Still they held there ground, with the disruption within there ranks cleared they fell back, the more organized and intact squads either leaping into the fray to let their mauled brothers fall back and reorganize, or providing covering fire for those falling back. At least they hadn't been shot in the back Boreale mused as his mace pulped yet another gaunt.
Across the battlefield Azreal withdrew his blade from a dying Hive Tyrant, planting his foot on the creature's face to keep it from rising, in a single deft cut the bioform was beheaded in a emerald flash. He looked across the battlefield dispassionately cutting down a charging warrior. The blood Ravens where holding there own, but falling back. Normally he would use the fools for a distraction so that his own Dark Angels could retreat, but there was still the matter of uncovering Luther's secret.
He raised a hand in the air and brought it down towards the Blood Raven's left flank which was crumbling fast. “Fourth and Seventh shall hold this position. Deathwing with me! Kill the Tyranids, leave the interloapers alive for now........if one of you cuts the loud one's vocal cords out I shall give you my sword. NOW CHARGE!”
Aboard the Rock the Watchers in the Dark had all but disappeared , not that anybody would have noticed. The servitors were sufficient to prep the Nephilim Fighters and Thunderhawks for launch to reinforce the chapter master on Sunsa's surface. While the Battle Brothers themselves were lost deep in their own pre-combat rites and consecrations.
In the organized frenzy nobody noticed when several artifacts and seemingly random spare power armor components went missing, nobody noticed a pair of golden eyes flashing open in the darkness, nobody noticed as a shadow approached Sunsa obscuring the warp with its steady march.
“Captain Boreale! The Dark Angel's first company have reinforced our right flank!” The Deathwing crashed into the Tyranids, a wave of grim fury. Powerfields crackled and flashed, bolters roared, chainswords screeched out their violent cacophony as they bit into claw, fang, and chitin. “WHUT?! WHUT TRICKERY ES THIS?!”
“NO TRICKERY! SONS OF KYRAS! THIS IS OUR BATTLEFIELD! FIGHT BY OUR SIDE OR LEAVE LIKE THE FOOLS AND COWARDS YOU ARE! IT MATTERS NOT TO ME!” Azrael allowed himself a single subdued grin as Boreale turned to regard him from across the battlefield. Apparently his voice had reached the loud one. He sidestepped a charging carnifex before plunging his blade into its thigh, holding it in place so that a group of terminators could rip the thing limb from limb with their power fists.
Boreale bristled, “FEWLS?! COWARDS?! BUHRAVE ACCUSATIONS FROM A CHAPTER WHOSE HONORS AND VALOR MEHRAULOUSLY INCREASE EVERYTIME THEY RUHN FROM TEH BATTLEFELD! TRULY A MIRACLE OF TEH EMPRAH!” Boreale held a Ravener by the throat, breaking one of its scything talons with a blow from his mace before bashing the thing's head open on the return swing.
Azrael felt his eyebrow twitch ever so slightly, “AND OF COURSE THE VAUNTED BLOOD VULTURES WHO NEVER LEAVE A BATTLEFIELD WITHOUT PICKING IT CLEAN ARE THE IMPERIUM'S PARAGONS OF HONOR AND VALOR! OR WOULD IT BE BLOOD MAGPIES?”
Boreales hand instinctively moved to cover the black cross of the Templars that was embossed on the shaft of his power mace. “Y...YOUR HAT ES STOOPID!”
Belial momentarily stopped in the middle of ripping apart a small squad of warriors with the Foe Smiter to regard Azrael, “Grandmaster....has your comm bead been damaged?”
Even with the the addition of the Deathwing, Boreale and his men were hard pressed from all sides. The Fourth and Seventh company of the Dark Angels were fortunate enough to be outside the ring of encirclement when the Tyranids awoke, and only had to contend with the occasional wave of bioforms rushing the hill they held. Unfortunately those waves were enough to keep them from reinforcing Azrael and Boreale's men. They could only offer the occasional volley of land raider and missile fire to aid their embattled battle brothers, and that was only when those vehicles weren't busy dealing with the larger Tyranids marching up the steep hill.
The gap between the Dark Angel's battle companies and the Blood Ravens only widened as more Tyranids filled the space between them, quickly surrounding the BloUD RAHVENS (NO BOREALE! GET OFF THE KEYBOARD!) and the Deathwing.
Boreale for one, infused with unbreakable faith in the Emperor was not much bothered by this situation.“HOW BOHLD AND FEWLISH THESE XENOES BE! CAN THEY NOT SEE THAT WE HAVE CAUGHT THEM IN THEIR OWN TRAP?! WE ARE SUHROUNDED ON ALL SOIDES, BUT NOH! WE HAVE SUHROUNDED THEM INSTEAD! WEH ARE SPESS MEHREHNS AND OUR SOUPARIER TACTUCS SHALL REHN SOUPREME! DEPLOY STEHL REHN!”
Aboard the Blood Ravens Strike Cruiser, Words of Clear Understanding, battle brothers and the honored dreadnaughts of the fifth company were gathering in the cruiser's strike pod bay. A figure clad in resplendent dark grey armor of archaic fashion suddenly appeared, a single hunchback Watcher in the Dark accompanied the almost ancient figure. In a fraction of a second all of the weapons in the bay were trained on the armored man.
“Peace sons of Magnus, I have a favor to ask of you.”
The Astropath on seated upon Boreale's threw her head back in a silent scream that reached the Words of Clear Understanding, “BATTUL BRUTHAS! PREHPARE TO DEHP STRIKE!”
Aboard one of the drop pods the figure in gray turned to regard his new companions, “Does he always talk like that? Was he cursed by a witch?” Despite their face obscuring helmets, the Blood Ravens in the pod looked at each other apprehensively, “We do not speak of it any longer, to invite further discussion only brings about an increase in volume and frequency......he shall tire himself out...... eventually.”
“PREHPARE FOR MULTIPLE SIMMULTANEOUS DEFEHNSIVE AND OFFEHNSIVE DEHP STRIKES VILE XENOES! THE CODEX AHSTARTEES NAMES THIS MAHNEUVER! STEHL REHN! STUHRIKE WITH TEH EMPRAH'S JUSTISS BRUTHAS!”
High above Sunsa, crimson drop pods fell among the Tyranid swarms crushing or outright obliterating the creatures with their earth shattering impact. The hive mind whispered and the creatures were quick to regroup, they charged the pods with reckless abandon determined to drown the occupants with their bodies and gore. When the doors opened no space marine rushed out to meet them, only a withering hail of assault cannon, and earth shaking cannon fire. When the pods containing the Blood Ravens fell they found the few surviving bioforms to be easy targets. Even the mighty Carnifexs and Warrior strains had been crippled or slaughtered outright by the Thunderfire cannons hidden in the drop pods of the initial wave. Among the crimson throng pouring out of the drop pods, a single grey armored knight rushed into the fray, a archaic chainsword with teeth shaped from the claws and fangs of the great beasts of long gone Caliban sung its violent song in his right hand, his left held a heater shield with the glowing sigil of the First Legion emblazoned on its marred and tarnished surface.
Azrael saw the gray warrior and grew still. His hands wrapped around the Sword of Secrets tightly. His teeth ground against each other, and his eyes strained in their sockets as if Azrael didn't believe what he saw. “No......this is impossible” He would confirm the truth of this by his own hand, and blade if need be.
He charged across the battlefield ,a storm of green lightening and ebon steel wove itself around him, as his blade sliced clean through the bodies of any Tyranid foolish enough to stand in his path. Each cut that bit into armored hide, each thrust that boiled bile and viscera, and each swing that hewed yet another Tyranid from its pathetic existence brought him closer to the man in gray.
His honor guard struggled to keep pace with him as they inevitably had to contend with the bioforms he had rushed past, lest they try to strike down the chapter master from behind. He had to reach him, that man could not be lost again.
Aboard the Rock, Saphon, Grandmaster of the Dark Angel's chaplains oversaw the mobilization of the Rock's garrison to reinforce Azrael on the death world's surface. He glared at the men scrambling beneath the unblinking gaze of his helm. That gaze which held the promise of pain and suffering worse then death cowed and emboldened both superhuman Astartes and somehow even the mindless servitors of the chapter seemed more efficient, faster in their movements when in his presence.
A watcher in the dark tugged on his holy vestments, like a child asking for some candy, he looked down, “yes?” The hooded figure pointed at the chapel that housed the Rock's astropathic choir. Saphon let his power armored fingers rustled around in one of the many pouches that hung off his armor and fished out a small sweet wrapped in goldfoil. The confection was in the shape of a bolter round, but much smaller he often enjoyed giving out the things to aspirants who had failed the trials to become recruits, a consolation prize of sorts for their lot was not to be one of endless war. Oh yes they could some sweetness in their life, but never the joy of endlessly prosecuting the enemies of the Emperor. The hooded figure jumped up and down in excitement before taking the treat and scurrying away.
He enter the choir's chapel, it was a solemn, bare stone cell adorned only with a rough etching of the Astronimcon with a votive of the Emperor at its center. His brother Ezekial was waiting for him. “Yes? Sapphon asked mildly annoyed at this interruption of his duties.
“We have a problem” Ezekial stated flatly, the two had been battle brothers for centuries and Sapphon saw through the librarian's taciturn nature and saw the mild edge of concern in his brother's voice, the slight twitch in his left trigger finger.
“I hadn't noticed, somehow I must have missed something while organizing our brothers to save the Supreme Grandmaster.” The two paused and regarded each other, a most raucous silent laugh was shared between the two.
“Oh thank the Emperor for a minute there I thought the Tau had grown claws, and developed the ability to shoot flesh eating beetles.” another chuckle was shared between the two in utter silence and solemnity.
“Not on Sunsa” Ezekial pointed in a obscure direction in space.
Sapphon's skin paled beneath his skull shaped helm, “send word to our successors-”
“It is too late, we are cut off from the warp.”
Written by Cryptek Czerasp. Suggestions for a different name are appreciated.
A Scourge landed nearby Hierach Iyarsith. "Message for your Archon. From Vect himself" she said.
"Let me get some money to pay you" replied Iyarsith as he scrambled to grab something.
"No need, I have already been payed by one of Vect's employees." said the Scourge. "Get it to Tengu quick. He's been having hundreds of us deliver these messages today."
This set off alarm bells in Iyarsith's head. It must be really important if the high king is sending so many messages to so many Kabals. He rushed off to visit the Khan.
The Khan was currently training with his forces, at the moment sparing with a Shaper, one of the ones that was freed when everyone took the fortress to be specific. "Important message from Asdrubael Vect." he interrupted. Jaghatai had been here long enough to know that he must do what the high king says if he wishes not to have his Kabal found out and destroyed. Currently, everyone thinks that the Scarred White kabal hires an unusually high number of mercenaries.
"Thank you Lyarsith" said the Khan as he took the message and started reading.
"Urgent message to every Kabal, Wych Cult, Haemonculi Coven and Incubus shrine. The Children of Thorns have risen to become a threat to all of Commoragh. They intend to destroy the entire webway with the aid of the Chaos God Malal and several Mon'Keighs. Under order of High King Asdrubael Vect, all raids in the materium must cease and all conflicts must undergo a ceasefire. A meeting between a delegate from all of the above mentioned groups has been organized at Vect's palace. This meeting will take at 6:35. Neutrality in the current conflict will be punished."
As Lord Tengu finished reading the message he turned to Iyarsith. "Hierach, I'll need you to attend this meeting. We'll need all the intel possible on this."
"I thought that Malal was an ally?" asked Iyarsith.
"Malal is a Chaos God like all the others, though it aided us for now, the god of destruction will always revert back to it's realm." explained the Khan. "I'll start the recalls."
How this happened.
Inquisitor Pravisk brought his Dreadaxe down on another Pink Horror. Unlike the rest of them, instead of splitting into Blue Horrors, the Horror just disappeared, simply blinking out of existence. This is why he was correct. Ever since he had binded a Daemon of Malal, the outcast god into this weapon he has felt that he could finally make actual results rather than just delay the inevitable. Each Daemon hewn by his work is permanently destroyed, it's essence consumed by the axe itself.
"Hello. I wish to speak with you friend." Pravisk turned around. In front of him was an Eldar, Dark judging by the armour he wears. Unlike, most of the Eldar, this one looked old, the wrinkles on his face looked like they were formed by age rather than a sneer. The expression on his face was somber and jaded, as if he had given up on everything.
Normally, his instincts would influence him to kill the xeno on sight but something in the back of his mind stayed his hand. "Perhaps the emperor is guiding me now" he thought. "What do you have to say Xeno?" he asked.
It had been three hours since Iyarsith had received the message and now he just had to wait a little longer for Vect to arrive and the meeting to start. He looked at the attendees. In some cases the leaders of a Commoragh organization had arrived, in others a delegate - such a Iyarsith - was sent in the stead of the leader. All were chattering, about what was just heard, some were asking about how would it be possible to completely destroy the webway, others tried and failed to comprehend what anyone could possibly gain from doing so, most were trying to find out what the Chaos god Malal is since that god rarely acts upon realspace and isn't as well known as the rest of the Chaos gods.
"Silence" yelled Vect as he finally arrived. There are 10 Incubuses with him, one of whom is a Klaivex. There isn't enough here to deal with everyone, but with so many, they knew that to attempt anything was suicide unless they could get everyone to set aside their differences to attack Vect. Even if that happened, there wouldn't even be a guarantee of surviving, let alone winning the resulting brawl for determining who gains the spoils.
I'll explain the situation quickly. Malal is the
BWOOM BWOOM. Vect was interrupted by an alarm. "What is it" he yelled.
"Craftworld Eldar have arrived." said a voice on a loudspeaker. "They are hailing us."
"Let them speak" said Vect.
"Greeting Dark ones. I am Farseer Eldorath Starbane of Craftworld Alaitoc. We have forseen the destruction of the Webway and wish to prevent it from coming to pass as well. Do we have permission to dock?"
"Allow them." said Vect. "This is too important to risk denying aid from those puritans."
After the Craftworld ships docked Eldorath, his Warlock Council and several Harlequins joined the meeting.
"Where's the rest of your kind?" asked an Archon. "Surely, you're not the only Farseer to see this."
"I am speaking on behalf of all my kind. We are less prone to infighting with each other." replied Starbane.
"Enough chatter" barked Vect. "I still haven't explained the full situation. Malal is the Chaos god of destruction, at some point it corrupted a high ranking member Children of Thorns. That member then proceeded to corrupt every member he could reach, even forming alliances with Wych Cults, Covens, and Incubus shrines purely to try to corrupt them as well. I hope that everyone has a map of their own territory of the-"
"That won't be necessary" said a Harlequin while pulling out a map. "We have taken this map from the Black Library, it shows the whole network accurately. We have made sure to update it whenever we have learned about a section of the webway being closed off or reopened." Vect grunted, annoyed about being interrupted again, he was fine with being interrupted by a machine whose purpose was to do so but not by an individual.
"How would someone destroy the Webway" asked Iyarsith.
"Their is a variety of ways to destroy sections of the Webway, breaking the psychic wards will cause the warp to quickly retake it, a particularly large release of psychic power - enough to scour planets - is also capable of overwhelming the wards. If a large enough Webway Gate is destroyed, the gap in the webway that is left behind can't be repaired by whatever force is repairing the small breaches." explained Vect.
The rest of the meeting was spent poring over the map, figuring out the weakpoints of the Webway - which by relation, included where the Children of Thorns will strike - and then determining who would defend which part. The craftworld Eldar would tend to try to make Daemon infested areas be their jurisdiction since they didn't trust their dark kin to not be corrupted. The Harlequins and Commorites didn't particularly care where they must defend, though in the case of the commorites it tended to be in or near territory under their control. After the meeting, everyone was dispatched to inform their Kabals or leaders.
Iyarsith had returned to the captured fortress. Judging by how crowded it is now, Archon Tengu had finished recalling all his forces, many of whom were grumbling about getting pulled out of something abruptly while Jaghatai tried to calm them down.
"Ah. Iyarsith, you've returned. I'll need you to explain to everyone what's going on."
Iyarsith explained everything that happened at the meeting, from who Malal is using, the involvement of the Craftworld Eldar and Harlequins, and the Kabal's area that it's supposed to protect.
An explanation calmed everyone down and the grumbling stopped. "You heard him" said Jaghatai. "We have to spread in our area. We don't know what method they'll be using or what they'll bring so be prepared for anything."
Eldorath and his forces crept deeper and deeper into the area that they must defend. It's supposed to be Daemon infested yet neither he, nor his forces had seen a single one since they entered. Had Malal's forces already cleared this place? That wouldn't be good since it means they've already started the process. They were most likely to hit the set of holes that caused this place to become infested in the first place since the job was already partway done there.
"Farseer, we've found something." reported a Guardian Squad. "A Pathfinder group that we sent to scout ahead. It's messy."
"Recall our Scouts. We can't risk more ambushes" commanded Eldorath. More Scouts were found deeper in the webway. Also dead. At one point a different set of bodies were discovered.
This was a group of Striking Scorpions, all of their heads were missing. Their Soulstones were intact which was fortunate but the scene left several questions. The only demonic force that would be interested in skulls would be the forces of Khorne. None of them are apt at stealth. Now that he thought of it; there wasn't any signs of any servants of Chaos among the corpses. Soulstones were left intact, the bodies didn't have the rapid rot of those killed by Nurgle, no scorches present from the use of Warpflame. Eldorath guessed that, depending on the strength of a Daemon of Malal there wouldn't even be bodies to find or even a soul to be gathered by anyone.
This could only mean one thing. There were non-daemon forces here as well. Stalking and killing them.
"Maybe I should have tried to defend a wider tunnel. If I could bring ships then they would light the way for us" he thought, memories flashing back to when he had been fool enough to delve into a Necron tomb. Unfortunately for Eldorath, there was no going back now.
With his forces now clustered together the ambushes stopped for now. Still, that didn't comfort Eldorath. As far as he knew the ambushes had all killed entire teams without having any casualties of their own. Even when forced to fight in the open his opponents would still be dangerous.
Now they're approaching the holes in the webway. They won't have anywhere to hide.
Suddenly, the webway shook. A message came to Eldorath. "Farseer, several holes were blown into the webway behind us."
Eldorath quickly scryed ahead. "That's a diversion, keep advancing" he ordered. Daemon's started pouring in front of the Eldar warhost. Many Eldar witnessed their first Daemon of Malal that day.
The first ones that attacked appeared to be the equivalent of Slanneshi daemonetes and Tzeentch Blue Horrors. They were vaguely reptilian in appearance with spindly bodies and appeared to be completely made out of bone. Where hands were supposed to be instead held massive hooks.
The daemons dashed towards the Eldar lines and were quickly shred to pieces by concentrated Shuriken fire. By now the ambushes were in the back of everyone's minds. It was at this time a devastating blow was struck. Creatures stepped out of the shadows and stabbed and cut the units providing supporting fire. It was at this point that everyone knew what had carved up their scouts earlier.
A Dark Reaper squad had taken cover at the top of a building. They were firing at the horde when one of the Reapers started to gurgle. "Behind us" he said with his last words and collapsed. The rest of the Reapers turned around and were now forced to fight outside of their element. They only won because one of the Mandrakes was a bit quicker than the others and because they outnumbered the Mandrakes. "Won" was a bit of a stretch since only the Exarch survived "The Mandrakes have chosen there side" reported the Exarch.
With the loss of their fire support the Daemons were able to close the distance against the Eldar. The Guardian Defenders and Avengers retreated to allow Scorpions, Wraithblades, and Storm Guardians to fight the Daemons instead. They held but more were coming and with the melee in front of them the Guardians and Avengers could not shoot.
It is clear that the Eldar are out of their element in the narrow chambers of the webway. They weren't able to effectively outflank their opponents and are forced to fight in a gunline formation. Things are getting worse. The explosions behind them were indeed a diversion but not in the manner that Eldorath expected. The servants of Malal intended to have Daemons rush out of the gaps there to tie up the Eldar while they finish destroying their section, they did not expect the Eldar to keep moving forward and stall their demolition attempts. However, due to ignoring the diversion the Eldar are now trapped between two enemy forces.
The Daemons were not simply rushing. They tried to force gaps into the lines to isolate the Eldar. The Mandrakes reappeared to attack the Dire Avengers and Guardians while their fellow Eldar were unable to intercept. Eventually little remained of the Warhost, the maneuver had destroyed them and all that was left is to kill any remaining stragglers who would interfere.
"We've failed our duty." lamented Eldorath. "Everyone try to escape with their lives." With the last finished the Daemons started consuming the bodies in Black flame. "I can't even hear the screams" thought Eldorath. It was a bittersweet comfort, cessation of existence is preferable to consumption by Slaanesh. He watched from an area as they burnt his Warlock Council before retreating. "I wish I could still leave my path. Then I could walk the Path of Grief to truly feel misery for how I've failed my people"
SHRICK SHRICK SHRICK
Eldorath tried to pinpoint the source of the sound. "Is something stalking me? Is it just something that didn't notice me? Am I going m-
Eldoraths head fell of his shoulders and was caught by Kherudrakh. He shook the skull out of the helmet and started to examine it. He stuck his tongue into the eye socket and sucked out the eyeball, chewed it a little and then spat out the cornea before vanishing back into the shadows.
The Dais of Destruction glided down the tunnels of the webway. Due to the Kabal of the Black Heart being the largest, it had to protect multiple weak-points in the webway. The Dais is flanked by two Reapers. The Dais and Reapers are not the only vehicles present. There are many Raiders - full of Wychs, Trueborn, and Kabalite Warriors - and Ravagers. Each of which is surrounded by a group of Reaver Jetbikers. The group split up and reformed repeatedly as the tunnels splint into smaller tunnels and then merged.
The part that they are in is the connection to about a dozen sectors. Imagine a giant spider web. The strands that connect the web to the tree could be considered what connected this part of the webway to the rest of it. The servants of Malal intend to sever these connections. Vect examined the map of the section. "We will be arriving in two minutes" he told the driver who then used a communicator to tell the nearby Reavers. He expected the Dracon's and Sybarite's commanding the other vehicles to inform it's crew as well. If they crashed and died due to being unprepared then he'll let their souls be consumed by Slaanesh.
As they rounded a corner they encountered a line of guardsmen intending to keep anyone from passing. "Contacts!" yelled one of them. The Sentinels, Guardsmen and Tarantula turrets opened fire into the battlegroup, the Dark Eldar replying with Splinter and Dark Lance fire.
The Dais of Destruction sped ahead, the closer distance drawing enemy fire. The guard didn't think to bring Lascannons since they expected the fragile Dark Eldar vehicles. Thus the Autocannon fire was the only thing that could harm the Dais since it's an exception to the rule, and even then only barely. This gave the Ravagers and Reapers time to focus fire on the Sentinels and Tarantulas. As the vehicles almost reached the lines the Guardsmen who risked getting run over activated their Grav packs and jumped towards the "ceiling" doing a half somersault to land on their feet. The Guardsmen above them started firing into the exposed canopies since the fire was coming at something above, neither group had any cover to hide behind.
The Reavers tipped their bikes backwards, sending their bikes streaming towards the ceiling. The Shardcarbines mounted on the bikes spat splinters at the Guardsmen before the Reavers impaled several of them on the front of their bikes. As much as the Dark Eldar would've liked to stay and destroy the whole line they instead sped further down the tunnels, leaving the line behind them to regroup.
One of the guardsmen - a Senior Officer - grabbed a vox. "Inquisitor. We were attacked by the Dark Eldar. They just burst past us with relatively few casualties to ourselves."
"Then what are you waiting for!? Follow them down the tunnels. We'll hit them from both sides."
Inquisitor Pravisk put down the vox and swore. The Dark Eldar were already approaching and his allies still hadn't arrived with the bomb. "Fortunately, I've brought the best with me" he thought as he looked at the elite forces he had requisitioned from the Militarum Tempestus.
"They're here" voxed a Stormtrooper. "Elimination Protocols Sanctioned" voxed a Stormtrooper officer as they opened fire on the Dark Eldar vehicles. Unlike the Guard, the Stormtroopers are thinly spread due to a lack of numbers so several Stormtroopers are kept in reserves inside of Taurox Primes to quickly reinforce wherever the Dark Eldar decide to concentrate their attacks.
Vect watched the Stormtroopers ahead and tried to determine what they were doing ahead of time. He noticed that they were spread thin. "Have every vehicle hit them in one place. Follow the Dais to know what it is" he told his forces. As they followed to the point Vect intended to strike the Taurox's moved up from behind a curve in the webway to intercept. "No one leave their vehicles, just keep firing. Don't get close enough to be in Meltagun range." Vect ordered. As the Taurox's moved into position and the Stormtroopers inside left Vect gave a new order. "Retreat, we'll hit them while the reinforcements regroup." The whole battlegroup of vehicles broke off and struck the isolated Stormtroopers and retreated whenever the Taurox's moved to intercept.
The Stormtroopers retreated at this point to focus all their forces in one place. The Dark Eldar would be forced to assault against a front that they would have to destroy. Something that they are not good at.
Upon being told of the change in tactics, Inquisitor Pravisk knew that he could no longer wait for his allies. He drew the Dreadaxe and his Retinue did the same. Several 5 veterans of multiple campaigns, 1 Chiurgeon medic, a Blank and 5 Crusaders.
Splinter Cannon fire arced towards Pravisk and his retinue, bouncing harmlessly off of their Power Armour and Storm Shields. One was pierced by the Splinters who was then dragged behind cover by the medic, given an antidote and then helped to her feet. The group took cover behind a Tauros, knowing that Splinter fire would bounce harmlessly off the vehicle.
The Imperials were losing. The Dark Eldar made sure to aim for whoever was carrying a Plasmagun or Meltagun. One Stormtrooper squad who had lost it's Meltagun had a Raider speed near them. The Hekatrix blasted Phantasm Grenades towards them before her Wych squad jumped out of the vehicle and rushed the squad. The Stormtroopers were too disoriented to respond properly and were swiftly cut down. This repeated itself with many more Stormtrooper Squads. The only ones who were doing well were the Inquisitor and his retinue who managed to cut through a Wych squad that had charged them. When all seemed lost to them, reinforcements arrived.
Suddenly a Doomsday Monolith flanked by two regular Monoliths appeared above the battlefield before descending towards the ground. The Eternity Gates on the Monoliths opened and a legion of Necron Warriors, Immortals, Lychguards, and lastly Destroyers led by a Destroyer Lord. While they marched out, the Monolith's fired their Gauss Flux Arcs on whatever Dark Eldar vehicle that's nearby and managing to destroy a Ravager and 4 Raiders.
"You're really fucking late" yelled Pravisk at the Destroyer Lord.
"The decay of all into nothingness moves at it's own pace" replyed the Destroyer.
"Doesn't seem to stop you from helping it along" muttered Pravisk. "Did you bring the bomb?"
A Canoptek Spyder carrying the bomb passed through the Eternity Gate.
Normally Vect would have his forces kite the Necrons while picking them off with Dark Lance and Splinter Cannon fire but with the bomb present he knew that he would have to get close and attack. The main target is the Doomsday Monolith, a single order from him and the two Reapers with him prepared to fire on it. One was too slow and was destroyed by it's Gauss Obliterator while other vehicle nearby it were damaged or destroyed. but the other one hit. The green lights marking power movement on it started to flicker on and off, indicating damage but not destruction. The rest of the vehicles started focusing Dark Lance fire on it, bringing it down with about a dozen shots.
As the Monolith was destroyed the Dark Eldar vehicles charged forwards while the Necrons regrouped to surround the Monoliths and ensure that they don't get destroyed. The Raiders discharged their Kabalite and Trueborn cargo slightly out of range of the Necron guns before the squads approached to blast the Warriors with Splinter fire. At other points Raiders dropped the Wych's nearby distracted Necrons who were then charged from behind or the sides. This tactic eventually opened holes in the defences surrounding one of the Monoliths and allowed Ravager's to blast it with Lance fire.
Once again, Vect's quick thinking had gained the Dark Eldar the advantage. Unfortunately, things turned against them again as the Necrons arrival delayed them long enough that the Imperials who were ordered to fall back and aid their Inquisitor had arrived. Some of them started firing on the Necrons since they didn't know that they're temporary allies in this case.
"Quit firing!" Pravisk voxed to them, "They're our allies for now." Fortunately for the Necrons, the Imperials didn't have enough time to cause any major damage to their forces. With the order received they started focusing their firepower on the Dark Eldar.
In most situations, Vect would force his way out of the circle surrounding him but not this time. Failing to protect his section his section would be an embarrassment and in the long run would increase the amount of Kabals who try to contest his rule. Therefore, he would have his forces stay and fight. He remembered something from earlier. While passing nearby the Inquisitor and his retinue, he sensed a creature of the warp nearby, powerful enough that even his atrophied senses felt it. That creature would be just the distraction he needs.
The Dais rushed towards the Inquisitor and his retinue, as the enemies started firing on it they found their shots passing through harmlessly. They were shooting at flickers. As the Dais neared the Inquisitor the Medusae in Vect's court opened their eyes. Before they could unleash their psychic attack they started screaming, their hosts clutching the medusae on their heads until the empty shells fell over as the parasites withered into nothingness. Vect fired the Obsidian Orbs into the group. Several Veterans in the retinue were overwhelmed with mental agony while the blank just became confused as to why he was in the center of the group who just died and didn't feel anything.
Vect and his Slyth's and Ur-guls then proceeded to jump out of the Dais and charged the group. The Crusaders moved to form a shield wall to protect their master. Vect simply vaulted over them to reach the Inquisitor and the Blank. The Blank charged Vect to protect his master but was easily killed with a single well-aimed Splinter shot. The Inquisitor didn't fare much better, his attempt to charge Vect being stopped by a single tap with his scepter that wracked his body with pain and caused him to drop his Dreadaxe and fall to his knees. Vect quickly grabbed it, finished off the last remaining Crusader with a quick jab from behind and signaled the Dais to return to him before a counterattack happened.
The Dais moved near Vect and he and his court quickly scrambled aboard - leaving the alive yet in agony Inquisitor behind - and took off before any particularly strong weapons could be aimed at them. "Move us near that Monolith" Vect ordered. While approaching he attached a plasma grenade to the Dreadaxe and set the timer to detonate in 10 seconds. 6 seconds later the Dais was near enough and Vect threw the Axe at a nearby Warrior. It bounced off it's head and hit the ground before the grenade went off.
Normally, a Daemon weapon being destroyed would cast the Daemon back into the Warp. However, the inside of the Webway is like a reverse Daemon World. Instead of the warp being forced into real-space, real-space is forced into the warp. This meant that the Daemon was able to manifest itself, it's appearance scattering the warriors around it like a bomb went off around it, the warp flames in it's wake melting and warping the Necrons nearby. Several of them phased out from being too damaged to continue. The Monolith immediately brought it's weapons to bear against the Daemon and fired at it. The Particle Whip blast struck causing it to roar in pain and then fire a Dark beam at the Monolith in retaliation. It struck the Monolith at the focus-er on the top, blasting it off. The Daemon then body-slammed the Monolith, tearing pieces off one by one until it was an inert mass of scrap metal.
The Destroyer Lord hovered over to the body of the Inquisitor, it dumped some mindshackle scarabs onto the body and had those shut off his ability to feel pain. Pravisk quickly got up.
"There is only one damaged Monolith left. I can't afford to lose it. Do not worry many of my forces will stay behind, I've even made it that they'll follow your will." said the Lord.
Pravisk was immediately suspicious of this seemingly generous offer. "And what do you want in return?"
"Merely that you witness the destruction that you yourself wrought" it replied.
Pravisk mulled this over in his head, trying to figure out what sort of double or hidden meaning there is behind the words. He couldn't find one for now, but just because he couldn't find something doesn't mean it's not there. While he thought, a Immortal squad had already reached where he was after which the Lord took off towards the last remaining Monolith. The Immortals formed a large circle with all of them facing outwards with the Inquisitor in the center.
"I'm going to to return to my forces. With the bomb placed it's time to leave. Protect me along the way." They didn't move, when he tried to slip by them, they kept moving to block his path. The Inquisitor then figured out the double meaning behind it's words.
Pravisk knew that there was only one way to survive this. He grabbed his vox, this part was a gamble, he didn't know how the Immortals surrounding him would act and if the orders of the Destroyer Lord meant that they were able to decide to kill him, he wouldn't survive in the middle of so many of them with only a Bolt Pistol to defend himself.
"The Necrons have betrayed us" he told the senior officer commanding the regiment. "They intend to make sure we're still here when the bomb goes off. Order your men to destroy them. I'm trapped by several of them. I need you to come rescue me at my coordinates." Pravisk shut off the vox.
The Immortals around him didn't make a move, either they didn't hear him, their programming didn't allow them to know his language or the Destroyer forgot to include orders in case he tries to escape. Still, as tempting as it was to start shooting them, he wasn't willing to press his luck further.
The Destroyer Lord rushed towards the Monolith, ordering it to open it's Dimensional Corridor as he approached. The Lychguard stood nearby the doors but as it reached them they pointed their Warscythes at it. "Traitors!" it yelled, it's little emotion that remains starting to show. "You may not disobey your Lord!"
"Our oaths are towards the throne, not towards the nihilist that sits on it." said the Vargard.
The Lord quickly rushed forwards and impaled the Vargard on its Warscythe. The rest of the Lychguards closed in. The lord's augmentations meant that it could easily handle a single Lychguard but not the 20 that attacked it. After managing to cut down several of them it was overpowered by slash after slash from the Warscythes.
The Vargard had finished regenerating and got up. "Disable the bomb and then recall all forces. The rest of our kind has no interest in destroying this place." Disabling the bomb was easy enough and a Canoptek Spyder quickly picked it up to move it back to the Monolith. The Necrons soon found themselves having to fight their way back to their only escape route when the Imperial forces suddenly started firing on them again.
On the other side of the battlefield, Pravisk only had to wait a few minutes before the Immortals started marching away back towards the Monolith. Pravisk didn't understand why at the moment but he was glad to be able to escape and started running in the other direction.
Vect didn't know what he did to cause the Imperium and Necrons to turn against each other but he wasn't going to complain about that. The Necrons appeared to be relocating the bomb and he had to deal with that problem first. After sheathing his Scepter he ordered the Dais driver to get him close to the Spyder. Grabbing a modified Warp Gate he jumped onto the Spyder as the Dais neared it. He then purposely slid off its back and grabbed onto one of it's legs with one hand before attaching the Warp Gate to the top of the bomb. After pulling himself back onto it's back he gestured for the Dais to once again zoom near him, jumping back on when it did.
The modified webway gate went off shortly after, transporting the bomb and spyder somewhere outside of the Webway. Vect didn't bother to set it to go towards a specific location and he didn't care where it went as long as it was out.
"We're going to have to linger a little. They may just bring another one." he told the driver.
The Dark Eldar continued to harass and kill whatever Imperials and Necrons remained, usually focusing on ones that were already fighting the other. Between the Dark Eldar, a rampaging Greater Daemon and fighting each other the Imperial Guard and Necrons were quickly getting whittled into nothing. When Vect confirmed that the Necrons were fleeing as more and more of their forces left the battlefield that they were needed at he sounded the retreat. He'll come back later for whatever playthings remain.
A Legion Reborn
Written by Mortarionfag. Has stopped appearing.
Mortarion stood silent aboard his scared and wounded ship the 'Endurance'. He stood contemplating the resting place he had left his condemned doppleganger, next to him the last of his deathshroud. A single terminator who stood in menacing silence, only giving the slightest impression of the death the warrior was able to dole out. What was left of Mortarions legion were but a handful of the most grizzled and battle worn warriors to ever claim the title of Astartes. After the hard battle with the death guard who fell to Nurgles corruption very few loyal deathguard had been spared the plagues that ravaged the battles combatants. Yet, the legion had prevailed, and this thought made Mortarions heart swell with pride for his sons. He knew none who could endure so much without their resolve being shattered.
"Where to go." Mortarion spoke aloud as he wondered what his next course of action would be. "Perhaps I should find a world to dry-dock. The mortals of this crew could use some time to refresh.
Mortarion looked about his command crew. Among the busy screens and diligently working servitors, were the deck officers who kept the 'Endurance' limping through the void as they awaited Mortarions next order. Even though the ship had not directly been involved in battle with the blighted plague marines, she was not spared the scars of the battle. In an attempt to cut Mortarions forces off from both reinforcement and retreat, The Endurance was assaulted by several smaller craft that were aligned with the forces of chaos. Though the smaller cruisers were no match for The Endurance and her armament they did manage to leave their marks. Of the large crew of serfs and slaves on the ship that ran her massive engines and guns, nearly 12000 were killed in the battle due to boarding actions and fire from the enemy ships. A large amount of the command crew was killed when the dreaded traitor Typhus stormed the bridge and cut down the ships captain.
If not for Calas Typhon being aboard to defeat the dreaded typhus in one on one combat, the ship would have been lost and all hope for Mortarion and his sons to return from their task at redemption.
This thought brought a smile to the lord of death's face. "Calas, you are the true hero of this battle." As Mortarion chuckled to himself. The 1st captain took notice.
"My lord, we need to dry-dock for repairs soon. If we make another jump into the warp, I do not believe The Endurance will hold together." The 1st captain seemed exhausted even as the words left his mouth. "Perhaps we could truly assess how many we lost. The numbers are...A bit hazy at best."
Mortarion quickly realizing just how long their wounded ship had been crossing the void, and more prominent in his mind. The sons who died in their struggle for redemption.
"Agreed Calas make for the nearest world that has shipyards suitable for our vessel. Then we can get a clear image of how much our legion had given." With a voice that was grim. Slightly constricted by the re-breather that the primarch of the sons of death never removed.
At the shipyards of Colhichase the crowd of Imperial citizens stood in awe at the astartes who disembarked from the wounded vessel. The stares of the citizens soon turned to wide gaping mouths and shocked faces as they laid eyes upon the primarch of the deathguard. A small child not even 6 ran towards the gigantic armored warriors after she had wiggled her way from her mothers grasp. The onlookers gasped and and started to scream in horror. For who knew what would happen to the child once the grim and war torn warriors noticed her. She made a small squeak of childhood innocence as she tripped and dropped her stuffed toy of the primarch Sanguinius. The toy slid and connected with a legionnaires boot, who stopped dead in his tracks. The child, who had skinned her knee on the fall, was crying for the loss of her toy. As the child was retrieved by her mother who was fearful of the astartes being annoyed with her young one saw something that made the crowd gawk with shock and surprise. The astartes warrior knelt down and retrieved the small doll. Clutching the rendition of the venerable angle that looked almost comical in the hands of the astartes. With a turn of his head the warrior started towards the child and her mother, who at this point were about 30 meters ahead of the growing crowd. The mother who bowed her head in both respect for the warrior that approached but also in fear that her daughter had invoked the wrath of this warrior whose red lenses burned with what seemed like the wrath of the emperor himself. With each clunking step the warrior drew closer and the mother began to pray for the emperor to spare her life. Finally the warrior stopped no more than half a meter before them.
He knelt down with the doll of Sanguinius still laying gently in his giant hand. With the other free hand the legion reached up, the mother flinched thing the warrior was reaching for his blade, but then she heard the hissing sound of seals releasing and oxygen being vented. The warrior removed his MkIII helmet that obscured his face with the cold stare of red eyes that seeked death. The warriors face was well aged and bore scars from many battles. His features plain and almost blunt, they revealed a human under that armor that many have known to love, and fear.
"Hello, I believe you dropped this." The warriors voice was soft and gentle, he held the doll forward in his outstretched arm with his eyes closed and bearing a friendly smile that could calm a drunken Space Wolf.
The child quickly stopped crying and grabbed her beloved doll, she then hugged the warriors face and squeaked "Thank you Mr!" The warrior donned his helmet once more, and fell back in line with his few remaining brothers.
Of all the warriors left, Mortarion despaired that so few had truly survived...He thought more had survived the battle. But he was mistaken, it seemed that of the wounded brought aboard after the battle, only 23 had lived. It pained him greatly, for leaving the battle he swore there were hundreds of wounded marines in the docking bay. Of the 30,000 marines that had come with him to the planets surface and the 20,000 that remained on the ship to fight off the enemy fleet he had lost far too many. In the end he counted only 2649 of his sons left, all of which were clustered in front of him, speaking with each other telling tales of glory from the battle...and mourning their brothers who did not return. Mortarion cursed under his breath as looked with pain at his sons, he knew they had suffered, but they had endured.
Mortarion looked on the crowds gathering to see the sight of his sons in there moments of peace. Mortarion wondered if these people had ever even believed that astartes took time to rest. After the eyes had dwelled on the astartes for a few moments, they always turned to look at the primarch. Mortarion was a figure of myth here, a symbol of hope that disappeared 10,000 years ago. He wondered if word of the return of the primarchs had even reached this planet. He doubted that much, but seeing the renewed faith in the workers and citizens that gathered to view the warriors who had come to their world. As the time went on, Mortarion worked out how he was going to rebuild his legion. He needed a world with warriors as fierce as the ones who came from the clans of Albia, those who could suffer through the worst an enemy had to offer. He wished he could return to Barbarus, but his world had been destroyed long ago. He wondered what world would produce fearless, unbreakable souls that would fit in the ranks of the Deathguard.
Departure from Colhichase was 1 week behind schedule, and the surviving Deathguard were eager to leave the crowded ship yards that they had chosen as their destination to dry dock. Mortarion skulked across the bridge of The Endurance, he was thinking back to his visit with the planetary governor. He had been summoned by the governor to confirm if the rumors of a primarch on his planet were true. While the meeting with the governor was very brief and mostly a formality rather than business. From this encounter however, Mortarion had gained some very helpful leads as to where he would find a world suitable for the recruitment of new Deathguard.
"So Governor...Harka was it?" Mortarion asked as he realized his tone implied annoyance. Mortarion realized the Governor felt both insulted and crushed, thinking the primarch had no respect for him.
"Yes that is correct my lord."
"My apologies, so you inform me that these worlds you have listed bring forth some of the best fighters in the galaxy?" Mortarion now had much more interest in his voice. He hoped that at least one of these worlds held promise of being a proper recruiting ground for the Deathguard.
"Why yes my lord, if I'm correctly understanding what it you meant by your previous questions." Governor Harka had regained some of his former iron behind his voice now. No doubt from the primarchs sudden change in tone.
Mortarion looked the govenor in his rounded face. No doubt the govenor was able to eat well with his position as this planets ruling body.
"Governor if you wouldnt mind, could you describe to me some of these planets. What are the warriors they produce like?" Mortarion's voice was prime with what would sounded like excitement mixed with a morbid sense of boredom behind it.
"Ah yes, of course my lord." The governor started by grabbing a dataslate, using it as an extra reference. "Lets start with Catachan. Its a death world, home to the Catachan jungle fighters, some of the fiercest fighters in the guard." The governor paused to take a drink from a glass sitting next to him.
"Their planet is a death world? Just like the Lion's." Mortarion spoke in a low mumble as he contemplated the governors words.
"Precisely, the entire planet is covered in a jungle, and everything in that jungle is likely to kill you from the moment you are born. A fine place to recruit Astartes." The governor continued describing planets and the fighters and warriors that came from them. Until one world in specific had peaked the primarchs interest. Krieg, a world that was sent to its death with atomic fire in order to save it from the filthy traitors that had risen up. Colonel Jurten who had control of the last loyal hive of his world, in an act of desperation to save his people, fired forbidden weapons to cleanse the worlds of traitors and plunged the planet into a nuclear winter. The people now lived in underground bunkers, forever guilty of their ancestors betrayal, send all their children to give their lives for the emperor. With reports from Death Korps engagements Mortarion was marveled by the heroism and undying will they showed. Unafraid to die, and damn effective in fighting the enemies of the Imperium. Mortarion had found what he was searching for.
"Calas, we are headed to a planet by the name of Krieg. I wish to see the people for myself" Calas gave a crisp salute and prepared for warp entry. "We will have a new home soon my sons, and our legion will be reborn once more." As Mortarion looked around at his captains who were present with him on the bridge. He received nods of approval and respect from all of them, and with that The Endurance entered the warp rift. Soon the Deathguard would be a legion again.
Report from 7th company captain, Nathanial Garrow
Written and discontinued by Mortarionfag
So there we were on the planet of Colhichase, the techpreists of the shipyards informed our primarch that the repairs and drumming up a crew would take about 1 month to be complete. My lord obviously irritated by this development stormed back into the ship and hasn't come out of his chamber sense. That was 4 days ago and we can only assume our lord is currently filled his chamber with MUSTARD GAS and is meditating on the current matter at hand of rebuilding our troops. Where our primarch got all the gas we aren't sure. Every now and then I catch some of the neophytes huffing the canisters and then they have to be dragged to the nearest apothecary. This isnt normal mustard gas, its mustard gas designed to fell the greenskins...But it didn't work. Anyway as the primarch was...away i guess i would call it. I decided to go exploring the shipyards that we were stuck in for the time being. As I think back to it, I really wish I hadn't...As I walked along the dark iron walkways that connected to more and more ports for ships of all sizes to dock. I saw mostly dockworkers, techpreists, and servitors fumbling around with cargo, repairing ships, and speaking to what looked like imperial officials.
Among all of these thralls and dock workers I saw civilians who were either preparing to board ships headed to other imperial worlds or disembarking to head to there new homes to begin new lives. Some bore signs of being refugees. Probably from a world that fell to an Ork Waaaagh! or maybe a "chaos incursion". The new enemy was still a stranger to him, it saddened him to see that those that were once loyal servants to the emperor could turn against the savior of mankind. He made a fist and grunted with anger, he then noticed the entire crowd before him had been watching him closely and most had parted around him for fear that they would killed by a small bout of wrath. He forgot that people could see he was from a legion that had turned traitor...Or maybe they didn't know. Maybe in this time...in this galaxy, the astartes were just as feared as they were loved. This thought gave Garrow a headache, He decided to put it past him. As he walked down the Gothic style hallways he couldn't help but smile at the stares he would get. His size was quite an impressive sight for most of these normal humans, He was so large that the dockworkers and security officials had to wait for him to pass before they finished their work.
Security officials saw the bolter mag-locked to his thigh, and with that sight they looked at their laspistols and gave out a slight sigh.
"Overcompensating for the lack of balls I see." A security captain was whispering to his men, thinking he couldn't be heard, but a space marines enhanced senses picked up even the slightest noise. Even if it was in a crowded and very loud ship yard.
With a flare of mischief in his eye Garrow confronted the Captain "I'm sorry captain, you were saying something about my... hmmm what was it. AH yes. My "lack" of genitals?"
The captain at that very moment, Shat his pants. It wasn't just a silent "oh god I hope no one noticed that". It was loud, It was obvious in the captains body movements...The smell would put one of those dreaded plague marines into the ground. And the worst part was when it started tricking out of the bottom of his pant leg.
"I...I...uh...I..." The Captain continued to stammer like an incoherent idiot, at that moment Garrow decided that he had made his point. He continued on his stroll down the shipyard.
Garrow later decided he wanted to explore the lower levels of the ship yard. Trying to find a stairway that didn't look like it would shatter under his weight...was another story. In the end Garrow just used it superior agility to jump from one level to the next. The jump went off without a hitch, The landing however...
As Garrow fell through the old rusty grating as if it was never there in the first place. As he slid down the shaft that was strangely comfortable he landed in a dark room, Garrow had no idea what he had just gotten himself into. But he heard some strange noises and chose to investigate. The room had a few lights, mostly small pink candles that smelt of lavender. But the noises, he couldn't figure out where in the room they were coming from. they sounded like moans of pleasure mixed with a pig being torn to shreds as its screamed in terror. Something felt very wrong, he just couldn't put his finger on it. Garrow then heard the sound of the fabric of time tearing apart. What he saw next, he would never be able to explain to his brothers.
"NANANANANANANANANANANANANA!!!!!!" Doomrider wailed as his bike tore through the portal to meet those who summoned him.
"OH GREAT AND POWERFUL DOOMRIDER WE HA-"
"WHERE THE FUCK IS MY COOOOOOCAAAAAAAAIIIIIINNEE!!!"
"Uhmm yes of course all mig-"
"Please lord do-"
At that moment Doomrider pulled a woman from the group of cultist who were all naked and having an orgy numbering in the hundreds. The woman both excited and terrified by the daemon that had a hold of her. Doomrider then Ripped both her nipples off and stuck them to his shoulder pads, he then took out a straw emptied a whole bag of some strange pink dust onto her stomach. He then inhaled the mount of pink powder in 1 powerful snort. Finally Doomrider rode off and into another portal. The head cultist was left weeping at his shrine, and then proceeded start injecting drugs into his veins.
Woad and Bloodshed
Written by Vulkanfag
Captain Ar'Set and his men had waited for the perfect moment, and now they had found it.
Fifty marines draped in chameleoline cloaks watched their greenskin enemy with a hunger that few astartes even understood. In fact the captain's mouth watered at the prospect of what was to come, he knew many in his chapter preferred their battlefield meals raw, but he saw himself as a refined man of the modern age and had told his personal cadre of ratling chefs to be ready for a feast.
The greenskins were completely unaware of the threat that stalked their own back yard, continuing to posture and fight as orks tended to do.... Perfect. "RISE SONS OF THE DRAKE, FOR TONIGHT WE FEAST UPON OUR ENEMY!!"
All the orks turned their heads towards the shout that came from the camp's periphery only to see a wave of woad blue space marines charging them, many armed with combat and storm shields covered in tribal designs, faces smeared with fluorescent runes.
The orks, always happy to be involved in a good fight, did jot waste any time hesitating and charged the tide of astartes. The earsplitting cry of WAAAGH!! Escaped from the xeno's mouths before the two lines crashed together.
Captain Ar'Set was an instrument of pure destruction in close combat and his enemies would soon discover this as jets of orkoid blood shot across its fellows everywhere the Woad Dragon stepped. Green heads and body parts formed a trail behind him as he carved a path with the flesh of his enemy.
This was his art form, and he found it truly beautiful.
The fight between the dragons and orks wasn't a drawn out battle. The enemy had been taken by surprise and crushed before any resistance could be gathered. Captain Ar'Set had even taken time to make sure he found an isolated pocket so there could be no interruption, he and his men were low on ammo, without, food, and without support.
The ammunition could be supplanted by skill in close combat and raiding. But food was not something he was willing to make compromises about, his marines would not starve, and that to him was the end of it.
He looked across the field of corpses as his ratling serfs carted away the massive green corpses of his enemy and scavenged the camp for any cooking equipment that could be used.
A sergeant by the name of Ke'Voss sat down next to the captain, he had a large chunk of raw meat in his hand that he was cutting small pieces off to pop into his mouth like it were a snack. "Any news on how the rest of the planet is doing captain? "
"No, just the same grox shit as before, static warfare, gaining ground, so on, so fourth." He let out a deep sigh after his statement, he felt he had failed his brothers, had he been a little more cautious, or maybe wouldn't have volunteered for this particular mission, they may not be in the position they were in.
The truth was however that the battle lines for this conflict had, since near beginning, been a logistics and strategic nightmare with no clear battle lines or friendly/war zones, not even those at the top knew what was happening on Paran IV.
"Well captain I wouldn't worry to much, you haven't let anything happen before, I doubt your prone to now."
His men were rather talented at raising his spirits, many had served with him extensively before he was made captain. Most notably the sergeant Ke'Voss who he was honored kin as it was known to his chapter. He would even be willing to say he was his oldest and closest friend.
"Thank you brother, I needed to hear that."
A scout marine approached the two old warriors seemingly casual conversation with news. "My lords we've returned from our patrols, seems a gretchin must have escaped the ambush, and there's a warboss headed here with his boys."
The captain raised an eyebrow at the scouts news.
"Well if they wish to pick the camp clean then they're far too late. Like a carrion bird trying to feed on a skeleton."
The sergeant chimed in "Nice analogy Set."
The captain shrugged thankfully at the observation from his honor kin, his thoughts now seemingly away from his own failings.
"What are we to do lord Ar'Set?" The scouts voice was calm and measured, like any veteran marine would be. A promising young marine.
"Find me Techmarine Tras, I have a plan."
The marines I the third company had an hour at least before the Orks arrived and that was plenty of time to weave an intricate web of traps for his enemy to get tangled in.
"Everyone else, find anything explosive or sharp and bring it to Tras."
"The orks want a fight?" He thought. Then the dragons would grant their wish.
After a few hours of preparations the marines of the woad dragons third company were as prepared as they were going to be for the onslaught to come.
Captain Ar'Set was not an optimist however. As he saw it, they had been lucky so far, and in the end it was their swords, shields, and willpower that truly kept his men and himself alive.
A series of traps and ambushes however never hurt.
-5 Terran miles away, position/ rasorok gulch-
Sergeant Noska had positioned his squad carefully for this and there was a very limited amount of ordinance available.
The gulch that led to the encampment the Woad Dragons had seized was a winding labyrinth of ,often easily disturbed, rock wall.
Techmarine Tras had been fascinated by the planets geological readings and researched them extensively. He consulted each squad squad on where the perfect ambush position would be, using the rock wall's decidedly weak structure against their enemy.
As the orks neared a fork the warboss decided not to split his forces, Warboss Mar SkullChewa was an incredibly paranoid leader, even for an ork. Forcing the green tide down one narrow avenue, the marines waited for them to get half of their forces in before making their first move.
Sergeant Er'Kor activating the first charge was heard over the comm net before an explosion caused caused a rockslide that closed off the mouth of the thin avenue half of Warboss SkullChewa's orks were now wedged.
As many of the Orks trapped in the gully began to mill around in agitation, the Dragons made their next move.
Long before the Orks had reached this point, a squad of marines had dug a large chamber out under the ground and built makeshift supports made from Ork huts. Inside that chamber were also large tanks of Trukk fuel rigged to a detonator.
As soon as a large enough amount of Orks were standing over it..
The ground collapsed into itself with a fiery eruption, leaving only a burning hole in the ground still coughing cinders into the air.
A strange sound echoed out from the hollow passageways in the walls, the sound of an ancestral instrument closely related to ancient Terran bagpipes, accompanied with the extremely loud roars of astartes.
Juts of burning promethium mixed with trukk and wartrakk fuel shot out from space marine flamers, covering swaths of the trapped greenskins in cleansing fire.
As soon as that stopped, the true onslaught began when squads of Woad Dragons jumped down on their enemy from holes in the rock. Each one hacking down xenos as they landed.
Many marines that were felled by the aliens exploded as some of the assault marines wired their suits life support with grenades so they could still have the last say in who was victorious.
Sergeant Er'Kor war personally seeking out any Nobz to tear apart singlehanded, always relishing the way the weaker Orks tended to break when the biggest of them was slain.
SkullChewa however, was far from beaten, as he showed rather well when a series of Rokkit explosions tore down the rock wall that had separated him from half his forces.
Er'Kor looked into the wall of dust seeing a massive shadow charging ahead of a horde of charging Orks. "Fuck."
Sergeant Er'Kor jumped from the stream of shoota rounds aimed at him from the SkullChewa.
It noticed the dead Nobz next to him and his artificer armor. "Oi Shiney humie!" He looked down at his artificer armor that was covered in gold bordered woad scales and the intricate silver etched dragon engravings on his gauntlets, forearms, and pauldrons.
Again he found himself breathing out a frustrated Fuck.
"You da shiniest and da toughest lookin, So ya jus for me ta krump ya snivilin humie!"
"Then come get some Savage xenos!" He shouted back at the massive Ork, raising his storm shield and long sword.
SkullChewa laughed heartily, happy to see his enemy had a good amount of fight in him. He charged toward Er'Kor, swinging his massive power klaw at him.
Every blow sending showers of sparks over the two as the huge Ork weapon smashed into Er'Kor's storm shield.
He detached a grenade and rolled it between SkullChewa's legs and the metal fragmentation cut into his green back.
Captain Ar'Set entered the Warboss' vicinity just as he flung sargeant Er'Kor out. He smashed into the rock wall dazed and near unconscious.
The massive ork was now much more interested in the captain. As Skullbreaka understood it, the better looking the armor, the more important the human that was in it.
As the first swing of the Ork's power klaw hit the captains storm shield, a miniature lightning shower exploded from its surface as the energy fields met. The force of the attack staggered the captain, and he rolled out of the way of the next blow. As he looked around he could see the damage these savages were causing his men and began to burn with anger, focusing it on the Warboss. He would draw every drop of blood his men had lost from that overgrown spore. He jumped at Skullbreaka and slammed his storm shield into the orks face sending fragments of teef across the rocky ground.
Skullbreaka only laughed and said "Thas wut I wanted humie, that's da propa orky way ta do it!" Before firing his shoota at the captain who hunched his body to hide it behind his large round shield.
He looked up at the Warboss but was distracted. Up on the walls of the canyon were a number of white armored Astartes with red aquillas. Assault marines many of them, bearing the colors of the storm giants. "For the Emperor" One voice cried before being answered by the rest "And for humanity!" before swarms of assault marines filled the canyon.
Skullbreaka was overtaken eventually by the heartier than normal Astartes of the combined force of the two chapters, the last sight of him before being dragged off by the cooks was him laughing while fighting waves of marines.
A Storm Giant apothecary was assisting Woad Dragon apothecary Ar'Breg in removing their fallen brothers geneseed with Storm Giant apothecary Vlademir Orras.
Captain Nicolai however was more curious about the after battle rituals were engaging in. Noting specifically that Captain Ar'Set and his personal retinue were much more civilized and composed in their feeding.
The regular marines were like barbarians where the officers seemed to have a much more refined way of eating a dead enemy. "It seems there is a separation between the way different ranks act during this ritual." He noted to Ar'Set.
"That's mostly just this company, I consider it a good thing for my non officers to be somewhat savage. If any of them show promise, they can be refined to something besides warriors."
He was puzzled by this attitude, but pursued it no further. Either way Ar'Set was happy that the Storm Giants had brought Thunderhawks.
Crowfather Laiko Tiberius, high chaplain of his great house company of the Sons of Trajan sat at a rounded table. At the table sat the Counsel of The All Seeing. Trajan himself, who still seemed uncomfortable with the lofty position of being the chapters namesake. Despite leading them after being lost in the warp, the amount they appreciated him, to the extent of taking his name for the chapter seemed to make him uneasy.
He could tell, they were trained together and Laiko could always sense hesitance in one of his honor brothers. Trajan's voice was stern but calm during his presentation. "From what we have seen the Rak'Gol have become much more active in the areas they previously have been a very rare threat."
Crowfather Severus Corinth spoke up to add from his seat while seemingly studying the holograms of the new Rak'Gol in the center of the table. "More disturbingly they have began to appear in sectors and even segmentums they previously weren't known to be in, such as persius VI in the segmentum tempestus, and Doran XI in the ultima segmentum. Previously they were only seen in the calixis sector."
Trajan responded in a somewhat disheartened but aggressive tone "From what it appears they're similar to the flayed ones of the Necron race, but worse, they use chaotic magic that we've not seen before, they can appear in places without a warp rift, and it seems that the already existing Rak'Gol have gained a much more dangerous intelligence and purpose, and that's why were here."
The hologram at the center of the table switched to one of the planet they were orbiting, including all the imperial starships orbiting it. Rena's Folly a small lush world about the size of Luna. A small over-foliated rock whose heavily forested canopy would provide perfect cover for the xenos, who had become surprisingly adaptable recently. The holo-map then showed a series of locations on its surface that appeared scarred and burned by radiation.
A series of Black Stormravens descended upon Rena's Folly under heavy anti aircraft fire. The weapons of the newly awakened Rak'Gol were horribly destructive to anything they hit, whole ships twisting into collapsed chunks of metal. Massive howler cannon like guns barked at the sky sending a hailstorm of shrapnel at the coming astartes ships. The strange arcs of pseudo-invisible energy seemed to bend reality itself as they reached up toward the ships to crush them in their deadly grip.
The closer they got to the surface the more strange the enemies weaponry became far more strange. Large gravity contained spheres of dark matter burst in the sky with truly unnerving force.
The vox channels were filled with marines and human auxillia barking coordinates they needed bombarded and occasionally short agonized screams and the sound of twisting metal. Every time a set of coordinates were given, the Emperor's fury was made manifest on the planet's battle ravaged surface where verdant forests and lush valleys were once peacefully occupied. The massive explosions like the footfalls of an angry god passing judgment upon the wretched xenos.
When the Stormravens were close enough to open fire on their enemy they used their multi-meltas and turret mounted plasma canons to pulverize a LZ into the ground. By the time they were close enough to the ground for their human cargo to jump out, the nearly 3 square Terran miles surrounding the marines and auxillia had been turned into a smoldering graveyard of crashed astartes aircraft and Rak'Gol corpses.
Trajan and his retinue of praetorians along with Crowfather Tiberius jumped from the stormraven carrying them before it went flying back into the sky.
Crowfather Tiberius eyes were filled with rage beneath his helm as he looked upon the wreckage of his brothers aircraft.
"Something troubling you Laiko?" A praetorian by the name of Gallow asked.
"Just the death of my brothers praetorian. It always does."
Gallow's response was delivered honestly in the cold tone of an old warrior. He placed a hand on the younger marine's shoulder "Save your wrath for when you have a throat to slit and lives to end."
"Hmm mind if I use that in an oratory?"
The praetorian laughed and said "Not at all brother."
Trajan charged towards the creature, the storm bolter mounted on his left wrist spewing forth vengeance rounds, the leather strips between his legs and the crimson cloak upon his back dripped with viscera from every movement. A vision of death in motion. Farseer Alesta Thanalus of craftworld Saim-Hann looked on the battlefield from a ridge half a Terran mile away.
She had seen a vision not long ago, a vision of the galaxy enslaved under the dominion of an ancient evil. A horrid force that's intent was so alien that its will only seemed to translate into a hunger for slavery, the destruction of life other than the Rak'Gol sentient or not, and the desire for the suffering of beings other than its race.
The vision was roughly three months ago and since then she had heard stories of the Primarch Vulkan running around with Trazyn the Infinite.
The only reason the events on this planet were relevant however was that her vision was far more expansive than that. The vision began with a space marine, Astartes as the mon-Keigh often referred to them, one bearing a striking resemblance in armor to the one now charging toward a Rak'Gol three times his size, a reawakened Rak'Gol Ras'Nowx which literally means hope breaker. She as a powerful psyker could feel something in this mon-keigh.... A death wish, he didn't want to survive, but he wanted his enemy to die. She had always found astartes rather, well, fascinating.
"Trajan I wouldn't exactly call this fucking wise!" Laiko shouted through the com link at his battle brother
"I heard the iron dragon had difficulty fighting one of these before sacrificing himself. That was a dreadnought forged by our fathers own hand, you are one damn marine!"
"Doing it anyway... Over and out." He said curtly as he dodged a swing from the massive creature before its tail smashed into him. He skidded along the ruined earth caking him with mud. He rolled out of the way as it brought one of its augmented arms down where he was.
Stupid mon-keigh, he's going to get himself killed the farseer thought, personally she couldn't give a damn but for much grander reasons Trajan, as well as the other progeny of Vulkan had to be as intact and strong as possible.
Their alliance with Trazyn would clear the way for future peace between the Imperium and the Eldar, and with all these new threats particularly those reawakened monsters, the Eldar could no longer stand alone against everything. She had to intervene or he would die. The Rak'Gol hope breaker swung its strange weapon at Trajan's leg and his kneecap was smashed to pieces by the strange maul the creature carried in two of its arms. He fell to his knees in agony, still parrying and blocking the creatures forceful blows.
He pulled a grenade from his belt and lobbed it at the creatures body. The loud bang was followed by a shriek as the creature stumbled backwards. There was some minor damage, but it seemed relatively unharmed.
Farseer Alesta began cutting her way through the alien horde, her movements a graceful opposite of the astartes she was attempting to save. Her strikes were precise, deadly, and blindingly fast, her lithe form seemingly out of place in the destruction she was causing.
Captain Ar'Set looked out at the endless void of space from the view-port in the room aboard The Eternal Tempest. When the Storm Giants welcomed his company and he aboard the chapter's strive cruiser they had given him a cabin with a view-port, he hasn't asked but he preferred it.
The Storm Giants were less savage than his men. It had created a difficulty in the two groups gelling, but it had passed. They had even heard news of Vulkan's revival, many of both chapter's librarians having visions proving their shared bloodline, but under there was a warning of a destructive xeno species being unleashed upon the galaxy.
The full scope of which was only being realized months after irradiated planets were found covered in the corpses of those used to build strange monolithic constructs, seemingly worked to death simply for the purpose of being worked to death. Every corpse showing signs of malnutrition and radiation poisoning, from the very young to the elderly. Something horrid was happening.
The majority of the imperium had been spared the horror of the vicious xeno race due to their isolation, but as the fleet of the Storm Giants passed through systems and saw more of the strange dead planets it became clear that this was no longer the case.
Meanwhile on a planet in a nearby system named Rena's Folly another group of marines were witnessing the vile power of the Rak'Gol first hand.
As Trajan tried to get to his feet, his shattered leg seeping blood from cracks in his armor, his enemy swung its mace again at the marine, smashing into his chest and sending him flying back into his own ranks. He could taste blood in his mouth as he lapsed into unconsciousness.
He found himself aboard the flagship of his chapter in his personal chambers. The whole environment seemed distorted through the looking glass of a dream. He heard a conversation, one voice deep and gravely, the other light and feminine.
"I want you to promise me something."
He heard a sigh from the male. "I already can tell I'm not going to like where this is going."
Things became clearer and came into focus.... He remembered this. "If it comes down to it, don't let anyone take me alive, if there's no other option, I would rather be dead than be a captive of chaos followers. "
He could suddenly feel her eyes looking at him, piercing viridian boring into his soul. "I fucking hate when you ask me things like that.
Her tone grew more forceful "Just promise me! Please..."
The only response was somewhat defeated "Fine.. I promise."
Then pain, light filled his eyes through a broken helmet eyepiece. He looked up to see an apothecary smirking at him and Laiko angrily glaring. "He should be fine, just needs to be careful for a couple of days."
Laiko abruptly said "Thank you brother Esios that will be all."
When the apothecary merely feet away he heard Laiko say in a hushed but angry tone "What the fuck is wrong with you? Why are you always trying to get yourself killed?"
"Is there a reason I shouldn't?" Trajan said as he forced himself to his feet using his crozius as a crutch.
"We need you is why!"
Trajan removed his helmet and looked into its broken lenses. "There was a reason that I changed the chapters leadership to a counsel. It was so you could function after I died."
Laiko sounded more frustrated as he responded "That doesn't mean its good for morale..." There was a moment of silence before he continued. "On top of that do you believe that this is what she would have wanted you to do?! Drown in self pity?!"
Again silence, silence filled with bitterness and agony. "I don't know what she would want Tiberius... She's fucking dead..." He said before he started limping away.
"Where are you going now?!"
"For a walk!"
Farseer Alesta found herself once again observing Trajan from a distance as he walked away from the site of the recent battle into the forest. She followed, her feet scarcely making a sound as she moved. She looked on quietly as he sat down with his back propped up against a massive tree.
"What is it you want farseer?"
She stepped from behind her cover and approached, without his helm Trajan had the black skin and glowing eyes of a descendant of Vulkan, half his face was covered in fluorescent blood red tattoos, his hair short and messy connecting to a scruffy beard that covered the bottom half of his face like a weathered detective in some arbite investigative drama one would see in the imperial media.
"I have my reasons space marine."
He almost felt like rolling his eyes at that. The lack of directness the Eldar often exhibited irritated him.
She could feel something deep within him when there weren't others around. A shard of the man that was once his identity, the driven fragment of his humanity that kept him going. It was much like the man she saw before her but with a component the former was lacking. Hope... Hope that what he was doing meant or did anything. He was an astarte without purpose.
As she got closer her psychic abilities began to pick up images, many filled with horrid scenes from the warp, they had been there for... She could pick up more information the closer she came. "Lost in the warp for three hundred of their years! How did they survive?!" Then everything shut like a steel vault. Every mental barrier he could put up as a space marine went up.
"I don't appreciate what it is you're trying to do xeno. If you wish to know something you may ask. Though whether or not I'm going to lie to you, tell you the truth, or even answer you is still a matter I haven't settled on yet."
He hadn't looked up from his crozius, cleaning the filthy blood of the Rak'Gol from its head.
Alesta was from a craftworld that was saturated in the culture of warriors, she understood the need for one to have a purpose. A warrior without a purpose is nothing more than a wandering murderer, and that is the path to the ruinous powers. She could feel the hate he felt for chaos though, she could see him falling to Malal if he were to be corrupted by anything. She had no idea why but she wanted to help him, there was no clear reason she could discern other than diplomacy for the future of her craftworld and race, she would help him. "Ok, then I do have a question." Her tone seemed less arrogant than before. "You seem to have the feeling that what you've created will be fine if you die right?|
"Why does that matter?"
"Well That's what your Emperor thought as well, but were things better for your Imperium without him?"
He stopped cleaning and looked up, she was sitting in front of him with her head cocked to the side, a quizzical expression on her pallid face, she had been wearing her helmet during the battle, he hadn't seen her face. She was like the majority of her people blessed with an elegant inhuman beauty. She had dark red hair that cascaded around her and ice blue eyes that glowed like moonlight was constantly on them, her craftworld symbol under her eye.
His eyelids lowered and the glow of his eyes peered out suspiciously. "I'm going to ask you again, what exactly is it you want?"
"That's irrelevant, do you understand the point I'm making mon-keigh?"
"Yes witch I do!:
She stood up, brushed herself off, and walked away. She heard one thought escape the iron trap of his mind. "What the fuck was that?!" A small smile crept across her face.
He forced himself on to his feet after his weapon was clean and looked up at the dull red star the planet orbited, he heard the noise of a group of astartes walking somewhere in the distance. He looked across the horizon and saw Crowfather Corinth and three other marines covered in blood approaching. Corinth was propping up one of the marines who appeared to be injured. Trajan braced himself on his crozius and walked towards them. "Corinth."
Corinth looked up and sighed with relief "Thank the Emperor! We need an apothecary!"
As Trajan approached he saw his condition. "You look like you need one as well brother."
"Already saw one, come on I'll bring you to camp."
The wounded brethren began heading back to the camp sight that had been set up on the earthworks that had previously been disputed ground that day, most of the planet was now in the grip of the chapter but the rad zones were another matter. Each a massive poisonous area dotted with jagged walled fortresses bristling with arcane weaponry.
The camp was constantly a host to Stormravens and other transport and assault craft taking off and landing. The transport craft usually had their doors open when they took off, marines occasionally hanging a leg off the side or pointing a twin linked heavy bolter rig out the side. Even more craft filled with auxillia seemed to mimic the scene in a smaller form. Each wearing a light form of powered carapace armor holding a human sized bolter. All bearing livery of the chapter.
Captain Vladimyr of the Storm giants fourth company was on his way to the cargo bay. The Woad Dragons claimed that they had crafted something for his chapter. He had said it wasn't necessary but they had insisted upon it.
When he entered the cargo bay his bottom jaw nearly hit the floor, a full 15 attack bikes and side cars had been overhauled by the two techmarines in the bay.
They had removed the sidecars, expanded they're platforms, and attached them to the back of the attack bikes with long adamantium struts that bore carvings of dragons, each painstakingly decorated to appear like the blue drakes of their homeworld, and the storm giants symbolism etched unto the wheels. The side cars now looked more like chariots pulled by juiced up attack bikes. The wheels of the chariots had long scythe like power blades attached to the wheels and large twin linked weapon mounts welded to the platforms. Large metal plates protected the gunner from enemy fire from everywhere but the back.
He wanted to be angry because of the amount of his chapters equipment they used, that it honestly wasn't a gift, that it was just them making something out of his chapters bikes but these were glorious weapons of war, he could already see the damage these new weapons were capable of.
"Oi lord Vlad, how might ya find yourself today?"
He had trouble finding exactly how to approach these men, he had since they'd come aboard. Now he was finding it just as difficult to deal with what they'd made for him and his men. It was a very awkward silence.
The two techmarines looked at each other for a moment before one said. "Dammit he dunae like it, ok let's put em back to what they were. Vladimyr waved his hands."
"No, No, these.... These are glorious."
The Fiasco at Kaurava
Written by Friendly Anon
"Today's a good day. Don't you think so Commissar?"
"Indeed Governor General. It's a fine day for inspecting the Guardsmen."
Governor General Vance Stubbs and Lord Commissar Doran Farrier chat as they were walking through the streets of Kaurava I's Dussala Precinct under typical business of checking out how the 252nd Conservator Regiment was faring.
It was over twelve years since the battle for the Kaurava system. Many were killed in these battles, yet it was the Conservator Regiment under Stubbs' leadership that achieved total victory over seemingly impossible odds due to the Guardsmen being historically terrible. It was Stubbs' reforms that turned the Regiment into a fighting force to be reckoned with, and it was the determination of the Governor General and the leadership under him that liberated the sector back for the Imperium.
After the conflict, Vance settled down on Kaurav I's city to overlook the sector's and the Regiment's development. He married the young daughter of a notable Imperial Guard General of the Cadian regiment known for his GRIT and had children with her. A son and a daughter.
When the battles for Kaurava ended, for his exceptional leadership and valour, Doran Farrier was promoted to Commissar Lord. Since then he got into a more active duty, training new generation Commissars and applying new methods of combat.
For these twelve years the Kaurava sector progressed economically and militarily, becoming both a industrial center that produced super heavy tanks (thanks to the factoria from the Dawn of the Imperium and the STC that was provided by the Techpriests), and military academy for elite Guard forces. All of this thanks to Stubbs' reforms and ambition.
"I can't wait to see those new Shadowswords in use for our men. Lately we have less and less new super heavy vehicles for ourselves due to how high the demand for these vehicles are."
"No wonder." - replied Farierr - "Since the discovery of the titanic manufactorum at the beginning of the conflict twelve years ago, the Techpriests of Mars were extremely interested in it. After acquiring from them the STC for many other Baneblade variants and many more vehicle STC, the manufactorum spits out so many of the machines that we barely can feed materials to it. And we not only mine the resources from and from around Kaurava, but we must also get them from other sectors. Each year we can produce a hundred of them and almost hundreds of other vehicles thanks to the factorum."
"That's true Commissar. On the other hand the people of Kaurava can be proud that these mighty testaments to the Imperium's might are used by many of the Regiments of the Astra Militarium. Even the Death Korps of Krieg sent their thanks for the Doomhammers and Stormlords we sent them last year. They said their last Campaign became much easier when they distributed them among their forces. Even other Imperial forces started to ask us if Kaurava could produce one or two super heavies for them."
As they walked through the streets, passing by Guardsmen immediately halted, stood still and made the Eagle Sign. The two men slowed their march and replied by also doing the sign. The Dusalla Precinct was never this lively. Back then the Guard here started with only it, and managed to conquer the rest of the sector. To this day Stubbs himself was impressed on how well he did back then.
"By the way Governor General, how's the family doing?"
"My family?" - asked Vance - "Marianne is doing fine. Lately she's even more active than usually. She opened a new Schola Progenium on Kaurava IV's Iseult Peninsula. I was objective on letting her there without me, but she said that she would be fine and that I'm too much of a worrywart."
"You believe that what remained from the Chaos Forces still remains there?" - asked the Commissar.
"When Chaos lands on a planet, even for a moment, then that planet will never be completely free of the taint. That's why I asked the Inquisition to deploy secretly some of their forces to watch over Kaurava IV. I even went so far as to give them a secret base of operations on Lacunae. Good thing they didn't send some crazy Puritan and the Inquisitor himself was a reasonable figure."
"How about your progeny?"
The Governor General smirked when he heard the question - "Alexandra is very similar to her mother, though she looks up to me. Lukas on the other hand sees me as a role model. He once said that when he becomes 16, he'll join the Conservators."
"He wants to? I hope then that he'll be a good officer when that happens." - replied the Lord Commissar.
"He said he wanted to start from the very bottom. That reminded me of my younger days. I too started as a everyman Guardsman, only to get to a position of leadership with quick thinking and instant decisions."
As the two were coming closer to the boot camp, they saw something that would be usual if not for those that took part in it...
"MOVE IT!!, MOVE IT!! YOU LAZY FURBALLS!! YOU CALL YOURSELF MILITARIUM SOLDIERS!!? YOU NEED TO BE FITTER THAN THAT!! GIVE ME ALL YOUR SWEAT HERE!! MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!!!" - shouted the drill sergeant from his Chimera at the soldiers that were running really fast in formation. They all had the same flak armours as the usual Guardsmen, only the recruits themselves were a special kind of abhumans.
"Those must be our Felinid corps being trained. I still wonder how we suddenly got them six years ago." - replied Doran.
"Thank my wife for this." - the Governor said - "Since she was a girl she grew up among abhumans. Like her father, she too saw the potential in them to be soldiers. Not to mention the potential to be a great addition to any Imperial society..." - here he paused - "...I don't know if incorporating them even further into other levels of Kaurava's social system is a good idea. There will always be some insane zealots that will try and ruin everything. Although when I got to see them in action, I decided to give them a shot. Not to mention the children like them as much as the Ogryns and Ratlings we have."
"Now we only need Squats among us..." - added the Commissar.
"I thought they became extinct when the Tyranids came to the Milky Way Galaxy."
"It seemed a error in the Administratum wiped them out from the records. When the Squats were rediscovered, then there was a sort of chaos among the higher ups."
"Maybe one day. But for now we should concentrate on what we have. Now lets see how our soldiers take the training."
When the two Militarium leaders were to enter the boot camp, clouds were suddenly gathering in the main plaza of the district not far away from the boot camp. Vance's optics immediately informed him of strange energy spikes that were appearing with them. Suddenly a green lightning bolt struck the centre of the plaza with a thundering sound...
"WHAT IN THE EMPEROR'S NAME WAS THAT!!?" - shouted the Lord Commissar, still barely hearing anything due to the thunderous crakoooom.
"I HEAR YOU LORD COMMISSAR!!" - replied the Governor, also barely hearing anything - "READY YOUR WEAPONS!! WHEN THERE IS GREEN LIGHTNING, THEN IT ONLY MEANS ONE THING!! THE BEINGS WE LEFT BURIED UNDER KAURAVA III HAVE RETURNED!!" - Vance shouted back as he removed the safety locks from his guns and Battle Claws. Lord Commissar Doran Farrier immediately knew what the Governor thought as he himself readied for combat. The Necrons came back.
Meanwhile on the plaza:
*Heavy coughing* "Why didn't we ask one of your Crypteks for a easy way of transportation, rather than bet our luck on that untested and utterly unpredictable Tesseract Dimensional Teleporter? Seriously, you are one haphazard Necron." - asked the power armoured figure that was wrapped in black robes, still coughing from the amount of dust it inhaled. It could barely see anything in the green cloud it found itself.
"It was necessary for us to be here as fast as possible." - replied the Necron, and from its look it could be deduced that he was a Overlord - "If we wanted to use a more safer method of travelling, then we would have asked Orikan to teleport us safely through space and time, yet that bastard didn't wanted to help us due to his thousand-times damnable prophecies and the fact that he didn't wanted us to succeed. Good thing we showed him that one of his prophecies was false. Now that we are in the star system the Imperium calls the Kaurava sector, we can go and look for the needed component for the Void enhancer."
"Still it is a miracle we landed in the right sector due to the fact how unpredictable that artifact of yours is. Now lets find that entrance to the tomb and..." - before the robed figure could finish, the cloud disappeared, revealing a circle of thousand of Guardsmen, Stormtroopers, abhuman Militarium members and a awful load of tanks.
In this moment the two figures realized that they were completely surrounded by a large number of Militarium soldiers (and their tanks). Not to mention that they were all armed with some potent weaponry.
"I thought you said that we arrived on Kaurava III." - whispered the robed figure to the Necron Overlord, moving as slowly as possible.
"I didn't say Kaurava III, but the Kaurava SECTOR." - silently replied the Necron - "Seems that in order to make us fail, Orikan must have done something to the machinery. We probably arrived to Kaurava I. And it also seems that we teleported right into the middle of the current military unit there."
The figure started to be irritated by what he heard - "Just what kind of Overlord are you? You go around "acquiring" everything to your collection, while on the other hand you can't keep anyone from messing with anything useful what you have.
"I did revive you and repaired your damaged mind you know." - replied the sentient automata - "At least you would thank me for this."
"I do appreciate it, as long as you will not make us get into unnecessary trouble."
"ATTENTION INTRUDERS!!!" - boomed from the Baneblade with the enormous vox casters - "THIS IS LORD SECTOR GOVERNOR GENERAL OF KAURAVA VANCE STUBBS OF THE KAURAVA CONSERVATOR REGIMENTS!!! EITHER YOU WILL STATE YOUR SUDDEN APPEARANCE AND SURRENDER, OR FEEL THE MIGHT OF A THOUSAND BARRELS!!!
The Governor was dead serious about the thousand barrels. The figure thought that it would be fine to unravel itself.
"I'm going to reveal myself." - whispered the figure to the Overlord.
"Dammit! You want to further complicate things!?"
"It's better than to be reduced to a burning smear or a lump of metal. I may be a Primarch, but I can't take that much as I did in the past, while you will be molten slag before you phase out."
"Very well." - sighted the Overlord - "That is actually a logical argument."
The figure put its hands in the air and made two steps forwards Vance's Baneblade.
"GOVERNOR OF KAURAVA!! - spoke the figure - "WE COME HERE WITH NO HOSTILITIES!!" - it turned its robed head to the Overlord and whispered - "Would you kindly lower that Obliterator of yours?" - it continued as the Necron lowered its staff while it grunted (if what it did could have been called grunting) - "WE WANTED TO DO THIS QUICKLY, YET BECAUSE WE APPEARED HERE OFF COURSE, WE WOULD LIKE YOUR HELP IN RETRIEVING A ARTIFACT ON KAURAVA III BEFORE THERE WILL BE UNFORTUNATE IMPLICATIONS NEAR THE EYE OF TERROR!!!"
"WHY SHOULD WE TRUST SOMEONE WHO IS ACCOMPANIED BY SOME LONG DEAD RUSTBUCKET!!!?" - asked irritatedly the governor through the vox - "GIVE ME AND MY MEN A GOOD REASON NOT TO BLOW YOU UP IN A BARRAGE OF THE EMPEROR'S FURY!!!"
"IF YOU LET ME SHOW MY FACE TO YOU, THEN I WILL GIVE YOU A REASON!!"
"FINE!!! DO SOMETHING SUSPICIOUS AND I WILL ORDER THE GUARDSMEN HERE TO SHOOT!!!"
The figure slowly reached for the clasps of its robe and started to open them. With every opened clasp, parts of the robe started to unravel, showing a green power armour with scaled elements. The Militarium soldiers were starting to lower their weapons as they were becoming more and more stupefied at what they saw. Finally the figure reached to the clasps on its head and removed the robe that concealed its face. The Conservator soldiers were now completely dumstruck to see a Space Marine. However Vance Stubbs realized at who he was looking at, he remembered when he studied the various historical books during his free time and recognized the figure that stood before him.
"NOW GOVERNOR!! NOW DO YOU HAVE A REASON TO TRUST ME!!?"
Meanwhile in the warp near Kaurava:
In the dark, barely lit sanctuary on a enormous Battle Barge, a Word Bearer Chaos Marine walks inside to meet someone that resided there.
"My Lordship." - the Chaos Marine spoke - "We will be arriving to Kaurava in 24 hours."
"Excellent." - sounded the figure in the dark with a deep, cybernetic voice - "For me it was like ten thousand years, but when I finally got used to my current form, then all I wanted is to make the one person pay for the failure that happened to me. Now It's the time to put my plan for vengeance into motion." - as it spoke, the figure moved into the light, revealing itself to be a Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought painted in dark blue and green, bearing the mark of the three-headed Hydra - "Tell the warbands to ready themselves for battle, and after we exit warp space, each warband should attack the planets they chose themselves. But if anyone reports to me where that man is, then nobody should touch him but me. I have unfinished business with him."
"As you wish my Lordship. We'll be awaiting you." - said the Word Bearer as he exited the sanctuary.
The enormous Chaos Contemptor moved to the left from the sanctuary exit towards a gargantuan daemon chain axe that bore the mark of Khorne and said to itself - "I really can't wait to meet you again governor. I will watch as all you hold dear burn away and corrupt in front of you, and you yourself will experience the same pain as I did when I personally put you inside a vacant Helbrute sarcophagus. It will be a fitting price for putting me inside this METAL BOX."
The Governor's palace:
Vance Stubbs saw many things in his carrier from guardsman to governor general, but he never thought that something like that would ever happen to him. A Primarch!? Travelling the galaxy and being accompanied by a Necron!? One of those things would be more than enough to cause a really big commotion on the planet, but two of those all together? It was a miracle that it all went smoothly and in complete secrecy.
The Governor's palace was a enormous, towering place that was piercing to the clouds themselves, and a wonder of Gothic architecture. In fact it was so immense that after taking control of the sector, the governor general didn't know what to do with all that enormous space, so he gave part of it to its bureaucrats so that he would have a personal eye on them. Vance took his guests to the part that he live in with his family. There he took the Primarch Vulkan and Necron Overlord Tranzyn to his personal office while being accompanied by Lord Commissar Doran Farrier, to discuss some things with them.
"Well gentlemen, now let me do a quick recap of what you told me. You used this Necron inter-dimensional thing to instantaneously teleport from the other side of the galaxy, to Kaurava, in order to retrieve a artifact of enormous power, to power up some Void Shields that are on Cadia and many other planets near the Eye of Terror? And apart from this Lord Primarch, you are telling me that Lord Trazyn revived you, and that if you don't get said artifact, then the Eye will expand and swallow the sectors near it?"
"That is correct." - replied the Salamander Primarch.
"I concur." - added the Necron Overlord.
"This is extremely difficult for me to believe in. Not because it is made up, but it's because of how unbelievable it is. I mean, you even had to beat another Necron and his own personal army, even fought a Monolith, in order to use the machine that brought you here. That is something even a Inquisitor would raise a eyebrow."
"All of this did happen Lord Governor." - said Vulkan.
"Believe us, It was difficult for me myself to bring him back to former condition, not to mention enlisting his help with locating the artifact...hmm, by the way, those claws...could I ha..." - BONK!! - "GAH!! Why would you do this to me who brought you back!!?" - asked irritatedly Trazyn.
"We're here to stop the Eye from expanding, not taking valuable from others, which is itself a act that I dislike. Even if you are taking them for your 'collections'." - replied the Primarch.
"Damnable youngling, thinks he's some who knows what, schnazle, dazle, fuzzle, grazzle..." - murmured the Necron.
"Hmmm, I would like to help you greatly with looking for this artifact, yet I do have my own worries about the situation." - said the governor - "How can I be sure that this won't awaken the Necrons that are now burrowed under the tons of dirt on the Cape of Despair."
"Let me ask you this governor. You blew everything here on the Cape, right? Even the power sources? Then there is nothing to worry about them coming back, unless the main power grid deep down the catacombs is activated. This way we'll simply enter the tomb where the Void Enhancer is, and simply take it. And we cannot go anywhere since the Teleporter needs to power up for seven days." - replied Trazyn.
"I still distrust you machine, but if you are indeed telling the truth, then I don't need to worry that the local Necron Lord will raise back his armies to torment the people of the sector. Very well, tomorrow we will go to Kaurava III and help you in finding the artifact."
"That is good to hear." - replied the Primarch - "I only hope that we will be able to get the artifact in time to strengthen the Void Shields." - he then turned to Trazyn - "Trazyn. You are the only one who can access the tomb. Can we count on you if there will be any unexpected occurrences?"
"Why would I?...Oh well, as If I didn't have anything better to do. The teleporter is going to charge itself for several days and my minions won't reach me for quite long, so what else should I do? Very well, I shall do it. But I only do it so that the Void Shields would be active." - replied the grumpy cron.
Suddenly a young administrator barges in, looking at the papers he is holding - "Lord Governor, I beg your pardon for barging in, but Space Marines of the Storm Giants and Black Dragons Chapters appeared in the sector and are asking if they could resupply. Also Lady Marianne called, she is going to be boarding the transport back to Kaurava I tomorrow sin..." - at that moment the administrator raised his head from the papers and saw the governor, the Lord Commissar, and both the Primarch and Necron Overlord were looking at him completely motionless. What actually made him speechless was actually Trazyn being one of the people in the room that stood out too much - "...I ~~~~ think I will come back later..." - with this the administrator exited the room. After a couple of seconds of awkwardly looking at the door, Vance Stubbs finally replied:
"Well, that was unanticipated. Well then gentlemen, you can feel yourselves at home for the time being. I will arrange rooms for the night...that is if Lord Trazyn needs to sleep."
"I do need to recharge my batteries from time to time. Although Necrons are powered by a immensely powerful source of energy, we don't have unlimited energy reserves. We can move on without recharging, but if we don't have a source from which we can directly recharge, then we need to recharge every couple of days for at least ten hours." - said Trazyn, although Vulkan knew well the he was lying in plain sight.
"Very well then. If you want, you can look around the palace. When the time comes I will call you. In the meantime I must take in the Storm Giants and Black Dragons Captains and ask them for the specific things they want. Until then we'll meet at the dining table for supper." - replied the governor as he left the office while Lord Commissar Dorian followed him.
"You know what Trazyn? You really shouldn't have told him this." - said the Primarch to the Overlord.
"Nonsense, I had them completely enchanted. If you had that much experience as me, then you would have entangled them like I did." - said the Overlord, so full of himself.
"The Necron was lying." - said Dorian to the governor as they were heading to meet with the Astartes Captains.
"I know that Commissar Dorian." - replied Vance - "Tell the Vindicares to keep a eye on him. Also tell the men and women in the Dusalla Precinct to strengthen the guards around the Baneblades and other vehicles. If there is something that we don't need at the moment, then it is a aeons-old kleptomaniac robotic xeno."
"I'd really appreciate if you Trazyn wouldn't try to 'acquire' anything from the Governor General. We are his guests in the end, and doing something like that would be unacceptable." - the Primarch lectured the ancient Necron.
"Why would I take anything from him? I would only take that what would be fitting for my collection. That's all." - replied Trazyn, as the two figures were walking through the hallway of the palace's governmental quarters, into the main hall.
"Whatever that is, stealing is something I disagree with."
"Ow, come on Lord Salamander. I don't steal. I simply think that the things would look better if they are preserved as part of my collection."
"Including the Catachans, Space Marines, and many other humans, as well as aliens? Remember our deal? I help you while you free them after all of this is over."
"*sight* I remembered that part. Just feel grateful that I'm not like that one piece of scrap that has the tantrum of a seven year old br..." - BONK!! - "Who in the name of the Dynasties hits me with...!!?" - Trazyn knelled down to pick up the item that he was hit with - "...a BALL!!?"
The two figures looked around and saw two little children standing behind one of the columns. They were curiously looking at the black skinned giant and the ancient machine-man.
"Trazyn." - said the Primarch - "Let me do the talking." - The giant slowly moved a step towards the children. While doing so, he moved the Necron behind him - "You don't need to be afraid of us. And that skeletal automata is completely harmless."
The little boy was first to move from behind the column.
"You're huge." - said the little boy. The other child, a girl, followed him. Supposedly the two must have been the governor's children.
"Well, they always tell me that. Tell me, why are the two of you so curious about us?" - asked Vulkan.
"Daddy always gets so many guests." - spoke out the girl - "We'd always secretly look at whom daddy is taking in. Last time, it was a man nearly as huge as you, only with red robes and a large I."
Large I? They must have saw one of those Inquisitors that he heard of. The Primarch quickly deduced that if Governor Stubbs was taking in a Inquisitor, then only to make a deal with him. That would actually cause trouble for him and Trazyn if the Inquisitors would be snooping around them... Finally Trazyn spoke.
"You know what children? I don't have much to say, but my giant friend here knows many wonderful stories that you would like."
"Trazyn. What are you up..." - "REALLY!?" - interrupted the children in unison - "Tell us, tell us, oh please." - said the boy - "Yes, tell us." - said the little girl.
The Primarch was troubled. He simply didn't know what to do in this case.
"Well...ekhm..." - Vulkan couldn't spit it out as the children grabbed his power armored hand, pulling him towards the hall to the hanging gardens.
"If it goes for me, then I will go sightseeing, while you Vulcan can go and have fun telling stories to the kids." - If he were still made flesh, then Trazyn would smile at the prospect of seeing the Primarch getting dragged off by the children. He knew that he couldn't say 'no' to them, thus leaving the Overlord to do anything without being lectured or opposed without the Primarch being around.
Vulkan on the other hand knew that if he weren't around the Overlord, then things would spiral down from already complicated, to beyond complex.
"Come on, tell us those stories you know." - said the girl.
"The Gardens would be a good place for you to tell those stories. Come on." - added the boy.
"Awww, alright." - said the Salamanders Primarch as he surrendered. He only looked back with a angry look at the Overlord as if he was laughing at him, and turned back with a cheerful expression towards the children. As they finally disappeared in the exit to the gardens, Trazyn was free to do what he wanted.
"Now let us see those so called Baneblades." - muttered Tranzyn as he opened a Tesseract portal to the Dusalla Precinct.
Meanwhile Stubbs was attending to the meeting with the Captains Barak of the Black Dragons and Varland of the Storm Giants who were nearly as large as Vulcan himself. Both requested the governor if he could give them supplies.
"I don't see any problem with that. State only what do you specifically need. I want to avoid giving you something that you would find useless."
"Everything would be useful from you governor." - said the Storm Giant Captain, his ebony skinned face looking stoically.
"After our joint campaign against the Ork menace a few sectors away, we suffered casualties in equipment. Mostly tanks and weaponry." - added the Black Dragons Captain, his enormous bone crest sprouting from his head like some kind of crown.
"I really don't see any problems with that. Kaurava I's industry will provide you with all the things you listed here. For the time being, both marine strike forces are free to visit any of the planets, since both of you are staying here for three days."
"Very well Governor." - replied Varland - "My men would use a good stretching on a planet."
"During that time I'll make my men train in the local forests of that planet you call Kaurava II." - added Barak - "It will be a good for my men."
"Well, now that we have it settled...gentlemen, excuse me for a moment, for I have another urgent matter to attend to. I leave administrator Selim as a liaison between the two of you and me." - Vance pointed at the administrator that barged a moment ago when the governor discussed matters with Vulcan and Trazyn. - "Thus we will see each other when you'll need something personally from me. We'll be in contact." - as he said this, Stubbs exited through the door.
"He must be really busy that governor of yours administrator Selim." - spoke Varland.
"Oh he is a very busy man." - replied Selim - "After all, it was thanks to his reforms that the Kaurava system rose from being a backwater sector into a thriving centre on a economic, military and social level. The greatest proof was the entire Campaign to re-take Kaurava. The Governor General turned the remaining Conservator Regiments from historically terrible formations, to a force to be reckoned with."
"Hmmm, seems that he's a governor that actually does something. Usually the governors I met where either corrupt, full of themselves, arrogant, decadent, or all those together." - Barak replied - "The people of this sector must be lucky that someone like him is in charge."
"It is generally accepted that if it wasn't for the Governor General, then the future of the Sector would have been way different. As your liaison, I also am to give you any information needed to you."
"I would be interested in that Kaurava Campaign you mentioned." - replied Varland.
"If that's the case, then I'd also like to take a look at it." - added Barak.
"Then follow me gentlemen." - said Selim while opening the doors to the hall that connected the governor's quarters to the railway train to the main library of Kaurava I.
"And that's how I met my father, the Emperor, met with my sons, the Salamanders, and joined the Great Crusade."
"Wooooow." - both children opened their mouths from the sheer amount of unbelievable things they heard from the Primarch.
"You are as incredible as father. And he too fought the Dark Eldar." - the boy named Lukas, as he presented himself to Vulkan.
"Right!" - added the girl whose name was Alexandra - "Daddy actually beat them very hard, as well as the many other strange warriors."
"Really? Then your father must be a great general if he defeated that many a foe." - Before he got to Kaurava with Trazyn, Vulkan studied about the sector itself. Vance Stubbs is revered along with his men as heroes of Kaurava, and is considered a incredibly competent governor that puts both his men and the civilians above anything else, even personal glory. That and how he actually turned the sector into what it is now made the Primarch to respect him greatly. Not to mention that he defeated a Traitor Marine Commander powered by one of the Chaos Gods in a one-on-one duel made him look powerful. And if it goes for Tranzyn himself...he did wonder if he wasn't doing anything that would upset the situation they are finding themselves - "By the way, where is your mother? I did meet your father, but I didn't meet Lady Stubbs."
"Mother went to Kaurava IV to participate in the opening ceremony of a new schola progenium and a couple of other places that she invested her own money." - replied Alexandra.
"We already miss her. It was seven days since she left for the planet." - added Lukas.
"Hmmm, I did hear that she was going to come back tomorrow, so you will see her very soon."
"Really!? That's awesome! You heard that Alexandra!?"
The children were happy to hear about their mother's return when the Primarch told them about what he heard from Vance's administrator.
Looking into the horizon and seeing the gleaming white spires and towers that dwarfed over Kaurav City, Vulkan saw the testament of Vance Stubbs his men. He learned from the informations Trazyn gave him was that every single one of those structures was not only places of work and living, but also monuments dedicated to every battle the Conservators of the 252nd took part in. And from the number of them, there must have been dozens upon dozens of them. The Primarch really started to think highly of the governor...
Meanwhile in the Dussalla Precinct:
It was laughably easy to enter undetected. As he moved using his Veil of Shadows, Trazyn moved through the shaded areas of the precinct's structures. It was late evening, and during that time most Guardsmen were off partying in the local bars. The Necron Overlord used this to sneak past the small number of guards that were looking after the Baneblades. When he reached the enormous garages, he went inside to find himself among the mighty super-heavy vehicles that Kaurava produced yearly.
"Beautiful. Look at the colourful patterns and personalizations. Not only those famed Baneblades, but a lot of other patterns are also there. Splendid. They will look fine in my collection."
As Trazyn was about to put all the super-heavy tanks into his portable pocket dimension, he suddenly felt that something was strange about the place. Why weren't there more Guardsmen guarding the machines? Why were they standing there like that unprotected? As he touched one of them, he knew immediately what was wrong.
"That's not metal." - he said to himself - "It's...WOOD!!? They made a wooden Baneblade!? Don't tell me..." - As he ran around from vehicle to vehicle, he discovered that every single one of them was made out of wood.
"Where are the actual tanks!!?" - he proclaimed. As he irritatedly walked to see if at least one was real, when he heard something beeping from the nearest wooden imitation.
"What's that sou..."
Before he could finish uttering his sentence, the Overlord was caught in the blast. The super-heavy vehicles were not only made out of wood. They were packed heavily with potent explosives. As the the imitation exploded, the chain reaction that was triggered by it caused the other to explode violently. In the end the entire garage exploded with such force that it seemed as if it was made out of cardboard. As the gigantic ball of fire flew into the air, a pair of Felinid Snipers watched from safe distance the entire spectacle.
"Puss 1 to Gatekeeper. Catball has been spat out."
"Gatekeeper to Puss 1. Message acknowledged." - said the Stormtrooper stationing on a ridiculously long watchtower - "Gatekeeper to Curious Crow. Puss 1 says that the Catball has been spat out."
"Message acknowledged." - said the Vindicare that observed the explosion through his Exitus Scope, somewhere on the border between Kaurav City and the Precinct - "Curious Crow to Aviary Keeper. The Catball has been spat out."
"Message received and acknowledged." - said Lord Commissar Doran Farrier sitting in a Valkyrie over Kaurav City - "Aviary Keeper to Happy Bishop. The Catball has been spat out."
"Happy Bishop to Aviary Keeper. Message received and acknowledged." - replied Vance Stubbs while walking through the palace halls.
It was a good thing to distribute the super-heavies all around Kaurava and hide them in underground garages. He wouldn't repeat the same mistake as happened twelve years ago when he send out those other 100 Baneblades to another sector, only for them to suddenly disappear. He also thought that after this the Necron Overlord would learn not to think of him and his soldiers as fools.
"He picked up a Chaos Lord by stabbing him with his claws into his chest and threw him tenths of meters in the air?" - asked quizzically Captain Barak. He saw many who stood against the Forces of Chaos, but someone going one-on-one against a Chaos Lord with strong leanings towards Khorne? Even the video that was taken from one of the Guardsmen that proved this still made him look at it in unbelief.
"That is indeed something that would require a suspension of disbelieve." - added Captain Varland - "Added that he didn't have those visible bionics of his at the time. He got them ironically after the conflict when he pulled one of his men away from a mine-blast when they were sweeping the area around the Iseult Peninsula for remaining traitors."
The two Captains studied the records about the Kaurava conflict. They didn't get the cut down version available to the average citizens, instead they getting the full report on what have happened. Defeating two better equipped Imperial forces, two Eldar factions, a Ork Waaagh!, a Tau expedition, a entire Necron Tomb World, and the aforementioned Chaos Space Marines? The only ones that survived were the two Eldar leaders, the Ork Warboss and the Blood Ravens' Captain despite the serious wounds. The Governor's reforms and leadership of the 252nd must have been truly extreme.
"I must say, I have now gained true respect to the Governor. Not to mention the way he treats both his men and the civilians. He's indeed a minority among other Planetary Governors."
"Well brother Varland. Seems that we both think alike in this case. Even the way he treats abhumans is something worth mentioning."
"Lords Astartes." - spoke Selim while he entered the study room - "Do you need any more information?"
"It won't be necessary administrator." - replied Varland - "We'll be already leaving."
The dining room was a large room painted with a combination black and gold. It was a separate construction outside the palace and its walls had large windows build into them. Imperial Aquila's were present the walls, and in the farthest back of the room, was the symbol of the Conservator Regiments.
Vulkan found out from one of the servants that this room used to be much larger and filled with luxuries when the previous governor resided. After his disappearance and the end of the Kaurava Campaign, the Governor General ordered most of the luxurious elements to be removed and the room shrunk to its current state. It was done so because it reminded too much of the incompetence of the previous ruling caste of the sector.
"I hope you are enjoying yourself Lord Primarch." - Vance Stubbs was sitting at the very end of the table, under the symbol of the Regiments - "Back then Kaurava was a backwater system that could have been much better managed if it wasn't for the previous rulers. They abandoned the system at the beginning of the conflict. Turning Kaurava into what it is now was a gruelling task."
"I can imagine that the nobility wasn't satisfied with the change of order." - replied Vulkan sitting next to him, while Lukas and Alexandra sat on the opposite site of the table, also next to their father.
"Right there. After the Kaurava conflict, some of the more arrogant nobles tried to make a coup. They later paid for this dearly. But let us talk about something different. Tomorrow we will go to Kaurava III to help you with your business. Keeping this secret from the Inquisition and the two Marine strike forces that currently arrived won't be difficult If we do it silently."
At this moment the servants entered with the supper. The dishes were small, yet the number of them would satisfy all four of them.
"Now then, let us feast." - commented Stubbs, and the supper began. A short moment later, the doors opened. It was Tranzyn who entered, all covered in soot and shrapnel. If the Overlord was made flesh, then he would have had a dissatisfied look. He went up to Vulkan and sat next to him. The children were holding back from breaking in laugh as they looked at the damaged Overlord.
"Trazyn. There is fire on your head." - spoke out the Primarch.
Trazyn only turned his head to look at him, then turned it back and squished the flame with his metallic fingers.
"I hope Lord Trazyn that you enjoyed your stay as much as Lord Vulcan did." - asked the governor.
"I do." - Replied the Overlord - "I did stretch myself while sightseeing. I may say the experience nearly...ripped me apart." - as he said this, the Necron's right arm suddenly fell on the floor.
When hearing this, Vulkan and Stubbs exchanged looks with each other. Both the Imperials were smiling internally at what happened to the Necron Overlord.
Meanwhile in the Warp, inside the sanctuary:
"My Lord." - spoke the Word Bearer - "12 hours till we exit the warp."
"I can't wait till this happens." - the cybernetic voice boomed from the Chaos Contemptor - "With the informations we gathered from our spies in the sector, we can strike precisely in places that are most vulnerable to the Militarium forces. Now with these preparations, the fewlz will pay for killing the blossom of Chaos that was once there. I will join the warbands in a moment."
"As you wish." - replied the Word Bearer and left the sanctuary.
"Well governor, I hope you are prepared for what I've planned. It's not going to be like last time..." - and the Chaos Contemptor started to laugh.
Morning on Kaurava I was beautiful. It was summer on the planet, and the sky was cloudless. The sun was rising, illuminating the towers and spires of glistering white that dwarfed over the city of Kaurav. The people rose up from their beds early so to go to work.
"Well men, that's how it looks." - Vance Stubbs addressed his men on the landing pad outside the palace.
"Permission to ask questions Governor General." - asked one of the Sergeants.
"Permission granted." - replied Stubbs.
"We're going to escort one of THE Primarchs and one of those rustbuckets that tried to wipe out Kaurava once. Will it be really that difficult to get to that strange artifact they are looking for?"
"It won't be hard at all Sergeant. Overlord Trazyn knows the location of the artifact. We only have to take them to the coordinates that he gave and guard him until he opens the entrance to the artifact."
"Won't that awaken the Necrons that we defeated twelve years ago?" - asked the Sergeant. The men behind him already started to have shivers, especially the veterans of the Kaurava Conflict. These people knew how deadly the undead machines were, especially when they fought them on their own turf.
"I can assure you that the tomb we are heading for is beyond Necron activity. Added that we deactivated their subterranean power-sources back then, so no Necron will raise...unless we re-activate the source manually, which will not happen."
The soldiers were relieved to hear that there will be no Necron menace coming back.
"Are we ready to go Governor?" - Vulkan approached from the landing pad exit, accompanied by Trazyn. The Guardsmen were astonished by the sheer size of the Primarch. While others looked with intense suspicion on the Necron Overlord that was by his side.
"We are ready to roll out any moment. We were waiting for you."
"Good. Then there is no time to be lost. As we are speaking right now, the Void Shield arrays around the Eye of Terror are slowly weakening with every moment. We have to reach the tomb as fast as possible if we wa..." - BONK!! Something fell from the sky - "WHAT THE...!!? WHO THREW THI...!!? Oh no." - What happened later was something that was not supposed to happen, yet it did. The object that fell from above, probably from one of the palace rooms, was something that even Tranzyn himself was horrified at. A EMP Grenade fell down on the Overlord's head, and bounced off it right next to him on the ground. Normal Necrons would have had their circuitry fried in a instant when affected by a strong electromagnetic shockwave. Necrons with more advanced bodies could take more punishment, and Overlords were capable of outperforming the lesser Necrons. Yet even a powerful EMP shock would be sufficient to disable such entities point blank. If a Necron was in such a state, then he'd be immediately phased out for restoration. Trazyn wasn't that lucky. The grenade detonated and enveloped the Necron in a electormagnetic pulse. The shockwave was so powerful that it made the Overlord go haywire.
"I COME IN PEACE." - ZAAAP!! - "MY TOAST IS...TOAST,TOAST." - ZAAAP!! - "I WATCHED C-BEAMS GLITTER IN THE DARK NEAR THE TANNHAUSER GATE." - ZAAAP!! - "IN THE END, THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE." - ZAAAP!! - "WHAT IS A MAN? A MISERABLE PILE OF SECRETS!" - ZAAAP!!
After uttering the last word, the Overlord collapsed to the ground, his emerald green eyes turning topaz yellow.
Everyone around wondered what just happened.
"What the...who threw this grenade!?" - asked the Governor as he used his targeting optics to zoom in on where the grenade came from. He immediately spots who threw the grenade, as there are two very familiar faces with shocked expressions. The governor immediately activated the vox system on the Valkyrie - "LUKAS AND ALEXANDRA STUBBS!!! DOWN!!! IMMEDIATELY!!!" - called the angered Stubbs his progeny.
Meanwhile Vulkan quickly approached the zapped Trazyn to see what could he do. The Sergeant quickly asked the Primarch on the situation - "Why is he not responding to anything? I'm no Tech-Priest, but shouldn't he phase out back to his tomb or whatever?"
"Normally he would." - replied Vukan - "But since there is no Tomb Ship of his own in the system, and his forces are on the other side of the Ultima Segmentum, he's locked in this state until internal auto repairs restore him in a week. If it wasn't for that, then he would have already phased out for immediate repairs. And without him, we cannot open the tomb on Kaurava III, as only he knows how to open it."
"Soooo...things became even more complex?" - asked the Sergeant.
In the Warp:
"My Lord. Thirty minutes till the fleet exits warp space." - replied the Word Bearer to the Chaos Contemptor - "The warbands are ready to make immediate planetfalls after exiting.
"These thirty minutes are stretching out too much. But I will wait this long. For long have I planned this vengeance of mine. Chaos shall not be denied." - boomed the cybernetic voice - "Prepare for battle."
"As you wish."
While the Primarch and the Guardsmen tried to do something about Trazyn's unfortunate state, Governor General Vance Stubbs was at the moment giving his children a lengthy lecture on taking out their father's weaponry without his permission.
"THIS IS NOT BLOODY CADIA WHERE THEY GIVE CHILDREN AT THE AGE OF TWELVE LASGUNS!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!? WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO YOU!? WHAT IF IT PREMATURELY DETONATED!? WHAT IF IT WAS A FRAG GRENADE!? YOU THINK IT WAS FUN TO THROW SOMETHING LIKE THAT!? THAT THE PIN FELL OUT WHEN YOU THREW IT, AND THE VERY THROW WAS ALSO ACCIDENTAL!? MAYBE YOU ARE TELLING THE TRUTH, BUT IT DOESN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT YOU TOOK SOMETHING FROM MY PRIVATE ARMOURY!! WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO JUSTIFY YOUR BEHAVIOUR?" - asked the furious father.
"We're sorry." - Lukas and Alexandra replied in unison.
"SORRY WON'T REPAIR THE DAMAGE YOU TWO DONE! WAIT TILL YOUR MOTHER FINDS OUT WHAT YOU DID AND...!" - "LORD GOVERNOR!! LORD GOVERNOR!!!" - boomed a terrified voice through Stubbs' personal comm-link.
"Excuse me, but I'm in the middle of scolding my children at the moment, so would you kindly call back in a moment administrator Selim?"
"IT CANNOT BE DONE!!! IT'S URGENT!!! THE GREAT ENEMY CAME BACK TO KAURAVA!!! BLACK DRAGON AND STORM GIANTS SPACE MARINES ALREADY ENGAGED CHAOS FORCES ON KAURAVA II AND III!!!"
After hearing the words 'Great Enemy' and 'Chaos Forces' in the same sentence, Governor General Vance Stubbs turned pale. He thought that the madness and corruption was ridden away from Kaurava, only to come back in greater numbers. The sector was turned into a battlefield again.
"Children." - he finally spoke out - "I'll call in a squad to take you to the nearest bunker along with the civilian population. Forget about any punishment....your father must go and do what he has to do...so keep safe. Until we meet again...hold fast."
Lukas and Alexandra at first didn't know what made their father suddenly look like white marble, but they knew that if they were ordered to go to the nearest bunker, then only when there were invaders attacking Kaurava. When the squad arrived, the Guardsmen took the children with them. Vance ran up to Vulkan and his men.
"Lord Primarch, I think that the situation has complicated even further."
"Chaos happened. Kaurava system is besieged by Chaos Forces...again. Listen, if you want that artifact of yours, then we need to hurry."
After hearing the word Chaos, the men looked at each other in shock. Vulkan was calm and collected. Indeed, the Great Enemy complicated things further.
"Lord Primarch, is there a way to even remotely revive Trazyn?" - asked Stubbs.
"There is, but you won't like it." - replied Vulkan.
"The situation is already beyond critical when Chaos is involved, so no matter what you'll suggest I'm all ears."
"In order to revive Trazyn instantly and get the artifact, we're going to need access to Necron energies that will supercharge his auto-repair system."
"Sweet Emperor..., Lord Vulkan, please don't tell me that..." - "YES." - interrupted the Primarch - "We'll have to reactivate the subterranean power-source...risking to re-awake the Kauravan Necrons."
At this moment Stubbs felt as his bionic jaw dropped and crushed the concrete under it. He spent a lot of time fighting those accursed automatons and now he'll have to awaken them back. As if his having his home system overrun by Chaos wasn't already bad enough.
"Lord Primarch, we'll need things to get straight. If we do this, we'll have either two enemies barging into us, or we'd have them at their throats. This is insane, but...we'll have to take the risk." - said the governor sternly - "I however would like you to lead the defence of Kaurava along with me. A mighty leader such as you would boost greatly the morale of my men."
"What about Trazyn and the artifact?"
"I didn't wanted to do this, but I'm going to need to contact these two..." - as he said it, Stubbs called Lord Commissar Doran Farrier - "Lord Commissar, I'll be needing these two."
On the other side of the line, Lord Commissar Doran was already engaged along with his men in combat in the Shakun Coast - "NO. YOU WOULDN'T GOVERNOR GENERAL." - said Dorian in utter shock as he rammed his Powerfist into a Cultist's face.
"Yes." - Stubbs replied with pain - "Patch me through Stormtrooper Sergeants Duke and Stone."
Meanwhile on Kaurava IV, between the Iseult and Morholt borders :
"CHAAAAAAAARGE!!!..." - BOOOOOOOM!!! - "AH MAH SPLEEEEN!!" - cried out the cultists as they were obliterated.
"Fight on soldiers of the Imperium!!" - cried out Marianne Stubbs as she aimed with her hellpistol for the nearest cultist - "Get those civilians to the Chimeras and drive to the Webway Gate!!"
"But Lady Marianne," - said one of the Stormtroopers - "our orders were to get YOU to the Webway Gate along WITH the civilians, not the civilians themselves!"
"I'm no stranger to war trooper. My father taught me well how to fight since I was twelve, and I'm not going to abandon my husband's people!"
"Cadian upbringing..." - silently grunted the Stormtrooper. No wonder, since the Lady herself was the daughter of a Imperial General known for his GRIT. And said general was his own Governor General's father in law.
"Aim for the heavy weapon's teams!! Chaos Marines to the left!! FIRE CONTROL!! INITIATE STRAFING RUN ON THE COORDINATES I GAVE!!!" - after crying out the last two sentences, Marauder Bombers flew from left and right deploying their payload. The Chaos Forces were instantly wiped out.
"Now men, let's show those heretics what happens when they mess with the wrong Guardsmen!" - and later she added silently - "And a angry housewife for keeping her away from her family."
"The situation is peaceful for now." - said Sergeant Duke as he shot a cultist with his golden bolt pistol.
"Well that's what you get when faced with three hundred cultists. Incredible that they appeared out of nowhere behind us." - replied Sergeant Stone while he was slitting another cultist's throat with his knife.
Among the Stormtroopers in the Conservator Regiments there were few troublemakers that caused problems. Among them were for example Sergeants Duke and Stone. Both were known to go against orders and apply their own horribly unorthodox methods of fighting. Among the Militarium Tempestus members, these soldiers were considered as something of a anomaly that required disciplinary actions if it wasn't for one redeeming element that outweighed the amount of downsides...they were this good. In fact they were too good at what they did.
"Sergeants Duke and Stone!" - a Stormtrooper came - "Message from the Governor General."
"What does our GLORIOUS LEADER want?" - asked sarcastically Duke.
"Whoa, whoa, lets be serious here Duke." - replied Stone - "OK, spill it out."
"The Governor General wants you to make a quick delivery. He chose you two because you are the only ones who can pull that off. You are to go to Kaurav City and meet the Governor for further informations."
"As if we weren't busy already...let us go Stone, we have work to do." - and with this, Duke and Stone went to their Valkyrie.
Cerulea on Kaurava II:
The situation was extremely dire as the Chaos Forces stuck the place. Civilians that didn't catch up to the shelters were forced to run to the Rokclaw Mountains that were turned into a heavily fortified bastion by the Conservators. Entire caravans were moving there while the combined forces of both Militarium personnel and the Space Marines kept them safe from Chaos raids...still they couldn't be everywhere despite their best efforts.
"FRESH VICTIMS!!! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!!!" - called out a boisterous Khornate Champion as he charged with his squad, spearheading the attack on the armed caravan while a large force of cultists and two Hellbrutes followed. The Guardsmen tried to hold them off, yet they fell under the Chain Axes and massed stubber fire. Even when the Guardsmen fought the Khornate tide valiantly, they were loosing ground. Yet they wouldn't let the traitors and heretics get to the civilians inside the Chimeras.
"STRIKE FROM THE SKIES!!!" - roared Captain Barak as he deep struck at the line of cultists with his Dragon Claws, literally throwing them into disarray by the sheer shockwave. A few seconds after this, two drop pods landed. One of which crushed a Helbrute that was unfortunate to be caught by it.
"OPEN FIRE!!!" - cried out Captain Varland as he and a other Storm Giants fired their Melta Guns at the remaining Helbrute, while the bolter wielding ones fired on the cultists.
"Damn loyalists appearing out of nowhere. All squads, target the Space Ma...GUAH!!" - the Champion was cut suddenly as Barak rammed his adamantine claw up his chest. Later the Black Dragon proceeded to decapitate the Berserker as did the rest of the Dragon Claws did to the other Khornate Marines.
The Chaos Forces were quickly obliterated with the teamwork of both Space Marine squads.
"That one was closest." - said Barak as he cleaned his blooded claws - "Already twenty raids and they are not giving up on the civilians."
"Damn right." - replied Varland - "If we didn't reinforce the Militarium troops then the planet would've turned into a bloodbath. These attacks are not random. They are deliberately targeting the civilians. GUARDSMAN!!" - turning towards the surviving Guardsmen - "How is the situation?"
"Terrible Lord Astartes. The Chaos Forces have overrun the outpost on Cerulea and slaughtered the forces there. They used foul sorcery and opened portals from multiple directions, overwhelming the soldiers that guarded the outpost. We were escorting these civilians to the Rockclaw bastion. I heard they already rolled out the super-heavies to battle the threat."
"That's some good news." - replied Varland - "Listen we'll help you escort the civilians. Brothers!" - he turned to his fellow Storm Giants - "Get the wounded on the Chimeras! We're taking them to Rockclaw Bastion!"
"We'll go and act as the Vanguard." - added Barak - "Better for us to scout out the area rather than get into another ambush."
"Alright. Just don't get too f..." - Varland paused as he heard something. Something big was coming here - "You listening?"
"AND HOW!" - replied Barak.
The two Space Marines and their squads turned to from where the Chaos Marines and cultists came out. The Marines and surviving Militarium forces braced themselves to face a new, more severe threat...
"What in the..." - Barak couldn't finish when a deafening roar came out. The source appeared a few seconds later, towering over the Imperials.
"A SOUL GRINDER!!" - shouted Varland.
"YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS!!?"
"I MET ONE TWENTY YEARS AGO!! THESE THINGS ARE A FORCE THAT IS NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!!"
The enormous daemon engine roared again while dispatching two Storm Giants and three Dragon Claws that tried to stop it.
"OPEN FIRE!!" - shouted Varland as his marines started to shoot, yet only the meltas were effective, but didn't do any visible damage to it. The marines were in big trouble. The daemon engine looked as if it was amused by their struggle. As it readied itself to strike, a Valkyrie flew over it. A strange figure in black robes dropped from the aircraft behind the Grinder, wielding something that looked like a enormous Melta Cannon. Before the Chaos machine turned to face the new adversary, the figure fired its Melta Cannon right into the lower part of it. The Soul Grinder screamed in pain as its half melted away, only to fall to the ground. Before it could react, the figure fired another salvo right into its face, killing it for good.
The Marines, Guardsmen and terrified civilians were stupefied by how fast the monstrosity died by the stranger's Melta Cannon. These things were built into Devil Dog variants of the Hellhound. That proved the robed figure had immense physical strength to carry something like that. The Marines themselves started to feel something inside of them. Something like a mild scratching to the part of their body where their progenoids were located.
"H-how did...w-who...w-what..." - Varland was completely speechless.
"Here too." - added Barak with a stoic-like face, trying to hold his jaw in place from falling to the ground.
"The Governor General send me to help you and the Guardsmen to get the civilians to the Rockclaw Bastion." - replied the robed figure - "The place is literally crawling with Chaos Forces, so we need to get there as fast as possible."
"Wait a moment. Who are you that you suddenly make a grand entrance?" - replied the already irritated Barak.
"Younglings like you...I'll show you with whom you are dealing." - after uttering this, the figure put away its cannon and started to remove the clasps form the head part of the robe. The marines didn't knew who was the figure after it revealed its face, but Varland immediately recognized the person standing in front of them.
"It-it cannot be!!" - uttered Varland in unbelief - "IT CANNOT BE!! YOU DISAPPEARED!!"
"What!? What is it Varland!?" - asked Barak.
"That figure...IT'S VULKAN!!!"
At that moment all the marines turn their helmeted faces towards the Salamanders Primarch.
"Seems somebody saw my sketch in the history books..."
The situation turned complex. Chaos Forces appeared out of nowhere, laying siege to the Jalaganda Lowlands, Kaurav City, and the Sama District. Fortunately for that last one, the Ecclesiarchy was here along with its small convent of Argent Shroud Sisters of Battle. After the Kaurava Conflict twelve years ago, General Vance Stubbs returned the planets of Kaurava to the Imperium. If there was one thing he regretted was, then it were his decision of attacking the Battle Sisters of the Sacred Rose. He knew well that no matter how much he and his men would repent, he'd be put to the torch (as well any other the Sisters deemed corrupt). For that, he ordered to attack the Sama District and defeated the Sisters under the command of Canoness Selena Agna. Even after justifying his actions, Vance Stubbs felt void that he was forced to do this, so he made the Sama District a place of pilgrimage for Sister Convents with the blessing of the Ecclesiarchy. Additional firepower was always welcomed...
"GIVE ME THE STATUS ON THOSE MANTICORE MISSILES!!" - roared Vance Stubbs through the vox.
"Manticore Missile Launchers from 10 to 31 ready to fire." - replied fire control.
"TARGET ON THE COORDINATES GIVEN!!! FIRE!!!!"
Moments later, the area beyond Kaurav City was blown to kingdom come as hordes of ravaging Cultists and Daemons tried to breach in.
"Sir! Sama District is being attacked by Chaos Armored Columns. The Argent Shroud Sororitas and our men need backup!" - a voice in the vox spoke.
"Initiate protocol 15-49-36! I'm authorizing use of the super-heavies stationed under the main Cathedral!"
Vance Stubbs was in the heat of battle. It was years since he exercised the same skills he did duduringhe Kaurava conflict. This time however he didn't have a army that had to be reformed in a instant, yet a elite force armed to the teeth.
"Sir." - a voice came from behind Stubbs - "We came." - it was both Sergeant Duke and Sergeant Stone.
"Ah, gentlemen." - said Vance after he turned to face them - "Glad you came. I hope you didn't have any difficulties."
"Nah Governor." - replied Stone - "Only a 'few' were pestering us."
"Well, let us go. I have a very special mission for the two of you..."
"Wait, wait, what?" - asked Duke - "Governor, I kinda lost it after presenting us with that pile'o'junk here." - point on the haywired Trazyn.
"Right Governor. It's kinda hard to believe that a Primarch and this rustbucket appeared in the sector for some strange business about some artifact." - added Stone.
"I know soldiers that the situation is bizarre to you, but even so, you should trust me." - replied Stubbs - "This Necron knows the location of a artifact that will make it difficult for the 13th Black Crusade to advance further into the Imperium. Yet in order to gain it, Overlord Trazyn must be revived by having him gain contact with the subterranean power sources the Necrons erected on Kaurava III. Which means that they'll be back."
"You know GLORIOUS LEADER that you and us will be court-martialed on the spot if anyone will hear about this. But...I am a equal opportunity ass kicker. If that will help the Imperium, then you can count me in."
"Count me in too Governor. Give a man a bullet and he'll want a gun. Give a man a gun and he'll be giving away the bullets. It's not like we don't get the opportunity to save the Imperium."
"Glad to hear it. Before you go I'll let you select a squad to accompany you."
"Don't need to governor. If the two of us think well, then these three may join us when we arrive at Kaurava III." - replied Duke to the Governor. Vance Stubbs knew well what people Duke meant...
Near Rockclaw mountains:
"We're near. Keep moving." - said Varland. It was already hours since the last Chaos attack. If it wasn't for the Primarch blasting that Soul Grinder to kingdom come, then they wouldn't reach that far. The only thing was the strange scratching, something of a resonance, in the place where the progenoid glands were situated. Not only he, but the other marines, including Barak's Black Dragons, felt the same.
"This day keeps getting more interesting. " - said Barak - "First a sudden Chaos incursion out of nowhere, now a Primarch pops out to save us. I'd call that the Emperor smiled upon us."
"Believe me Astartes, I myself didn't thought that the Great Enemy would appear in the sector. Something must have lead the Chaos Marines back here, given that a Alpha Legion warband once besieged the system." - Vulkan knew well that there must've been someone that wanted to see the sector burn and conquered. Given the past conflict, it may be given that the forces of Chaos wanted revenge for Stubbs defeating them. But who would be so desperate to go to such great lengths?
"Well, thank you for saving the people and us." - replied Barak.
"My pleasure. You marines do care for the Kauravans? My sons would see in you kindred spirits."
"I don't like to be flattered. Just doing my duty."
"Me too. I and my brothers do what is right." - added Varland.
"Still the Salamanders would consider you that."
The two commanders didn't want to admit that they really cared for the civilians and Guardsmen, especially the Black Dragons, but that was already in their nature. As the convoy got closer to Rockclaw Bastion, night was slowly engulfing the side of Kaurava III on which they were...
Near the Jalaganda Lowlands:
"This is Sergeant Stone to Jagalanda control. Requesting permission to fly through the Webway Gate."
"Permission granted. We were already given the message that the two of you are on a mission from the Governor." - replied the officer through the vox.
"That was easy." - said Duke - "Still dunno how to feel by having to haul this rustbucket. If we are to get that Trazyn revived, then we have to assemble our team again. Hope Lieutenant Kane will join us too."
"We'll see after we get there. Now lets focus on what is now."
In that moment the Valkyrie was heading towards the Webway Gate. When the aircraft was near enough, it suddenly disappeared inside the ancient Eldar structure. On the inside, the Webway was extremely spacious. Under them there were columns of refugees from the rest of the system heading to Kaurava I. Those were people that didn't make it to the shelters on their respectful planets.
"No matter how many times we would fly through this, I always amazed with how much free space there is."
"Well Duke, I myself wonder on this, as well why didn't the Eldar tried to shut the gates down. I mean, wouldn't they be angered if somebody used their Webway?"
"Who knows. As long as we don't try to enter the regions outside the main lanes to the Kaurava planets, then we won't give the space fairies any reason try to sparkel us to death."
"Yeah." - replied Stone as he was manipulating the controls in the pilot's seat - "Ready yourself Duke. We're about to leave Webway space."
A blinding flash appeared as they exited Webway space and appeared on Kaurava III. At that time it was dawn, yet still dark.
"We made it." - said Stone - "Now to fly to the Nirraein Garrison and we can go to Costa Immosa..." - "RED ALERT!!, RED ALERT!! TWO UNIDENTIFIED CRAFT DETECTED!!" - interrupted the Valkyrie's servitor.
"Bloody hell, they caught up this quick and that close to us? Sneaky little bastards." - replied Duke.
"Hold tight Duke, time for a dogfight!!!"
Meanwhile on Kaurava I:
"31st Platoon! Reinforce the southern parts! Meanwhile 46th Platoon will secure a landing zone in the eastern part of the city. 7th and 22nd Armored Squadrons will spearhead the assault on the Chaos Marine entrenchments." - Vance Stubbs directed the Conservators. Each order he gave through the vox, he gave it without hesitation. Chaos Marines were one of the things he hated most and he wouldn't have them in the Kaurava system.
"SIR!!" - came a message from one of the lieutenants - "27th Platoon is under attack by Chaos Knight Titans!! We request backup or we'll be overrun!!"
Knight Titans of their own? That was something unexpected...
"Roger that!!" - replied Stubbs - "I'll give you fire support and send in the 11th Armored Squadron to aid you." - Vance quickly switched channels to 11th Armored Leader - "11th Squadron Leader. Follow the coordinates and reinforce 27th Platoon. They are under attack from Chaos Knights."
"Executing your orders SIR!!" - replied the squadron leader. After this Stubbs switched channels.
"5th Experimental Corps..." - paused Stubbs for a moment - "Roll out the Magnus MK II."
After the Kaurava conflict and investing into numerous projects that made Kaurava a thriving system and military centre, a number of Forge Worlds were interested in the giant factorum that made most of the supercontinent of Kaurava. Vance would produce vehicles for them (and the Conservators), while the Priesthood would provide the STC. The Scions of Mars were not that eager to share their knowledge, but the fact that there was something that would mass-produce Baneblades and other vehicles was something they were willing to pay for. Thus cooperation between the two sides commenced. Stubbs later formed with some of the platoons and Tech-Priests the eponymous Experimental Corps. These Platoons were created to test out new wargear and STC (made out of combining elements from existing ones). From cheap and easy to produce equipment, to weapons that are extremely sophisticated and destructive. What would come out from the Experimental Corps would later be shipped to Mars and other Forge Worlds.
The Basilisk Magnus MK II was one of these. Created from the old MK I and enhanced with even more advanced mechanisms from the Dark Age of Technology, the MK II was even larger and powerful. A cheaper version to the Deathstrike, the MK II was capable of firing rounds on a continental level that would reduce its targets in an instant. No matter how durable they were. Only Warlord or Imperator Titans had the means to defend themselves from such a force. Yet like the previous model, it still required a spotter so that the satellite system would lock into and send in targeting data.
"Target acquired." - reported the Vindicare. The battlezone on the outskirts of Kaurav City was heated already, but the arrival of Chaos Knights added oil to the flames - "Locking on the laser." - of all the most difficult things, locking on the target made the spotter to be completely immobile, thus vulnerable to attacks.
The Vindicare sat immobile in cover, still locking on the laser mounted on his Exitus Rifle on the Chaos Knights that, so far, didn't move due to the resistance the 27th Platoon showing exceptional resistance (especially after the 11th Armored Squadron arrived to help out).
Something however was creeping behind the Assassin and he felt it - "Well what do we have here? HYDRA DOMINATUS!!!" - A ALPHA LEGIONNAIRE! How did he found him? Normally he'd whip out his Exitus Pistol and shoot him, but the orders were more important than this. The Chaos Marine was about to strike him with his power sword, when suddenly a barrage of sniper shots struck the power armored warrior, one of the shots blowing a hole in the marine's head.
"Hey there hunk." - called in a voice through the vox - "Now you own me and my girls a nice day after this battle is over."
The Vindicare hated to own somebody anything, and owning something to those happy-go-lucky Felinids even more. After the cat-woman finished her sentence, the signal on the rifle started to beep. The satellite above the planet locked to the coordinates from the Assassin's laser.
"LORD GOVERNOR! TARGET MARKED! THE SATELLITE LOCKED ON TO THE COORDINATES THE SPOTTER GAVE!" - cried out one of the Stormtroopers that was part of Stubbs's retinue.
"ORDER TO FIRE!!"
Kaurav City outskirts:
"RUN LITTLE INSECTS!!! BOW DOWN BEFORE THE GRACE OF SLAANESH!!!" - a ghostly voice roared over the battlezone. The Titans of House Devine were unleashing their daemonic weapons on the Conservators along with the other Chaos Forces that accompanied the cursed Knights. Due to the timely arrival of the 11th Armored Squadron, the 27th Platoon started to fight with even greater fervor, yet even that wasn't enough to defeat the Chaos army - "YOU ONLY SLOW DOWN THE INEVITABLE FOOLS! DO YOU HONESTLY THINK THAT THOSE PUNY DEFENSES AND TOY TANKS WILL SAVE YOU!? ONWARDS!!! GRIND THEM TO..." - before the leader of the Divine Knights could utter the rest of his sentence, there was a whistling sound being heard. The whistling was becoming louder and louder, until it hit the ground. The special Earth Shaker round created for the Magnus MK II Basilisk utterly obliterated the assaulting Chaos Forces and damaging both the Chaos Knights and more powerful super heavy vehicles that were to the heretics' disposition. Even the few Greater Daemons that joined the battle didn't survive the blast. The 27th Platoon and 11th Armored Squadron moved on boldly to finish off the enemies.
"Direct hit sir. The enemy didn't knew what hit them."
"Thanks to this we can now concentrate on other critical points on the battlefield. Patch me through to the 36th Platoon and 17th Armored Squadron. I want them to..." - "GOVERNOR GENERAL!!" - one of Stubbs's intelligence officers cried out - "CHAOS FORCES TELEPORTED NEAR SHELTER 21!! CIVILIANS IN DANGER!!!"
Vance Stubbs turned snow white after hearing this. He realized to his horror that it was that shelter where he sent his children...
Sergeants Duke and Stone had bad luck today. Not only they had to dogfight two Hell Talons immediately after exiting the Webway, but despite defeating the two Chaos craft (thanks to Stone's piloting skills) their Valkyrie was hit in the fuel container. How it didn't explode was some kind of miracle. This however forced the two to drop their brand new Taurox they transported with them near the ground, and had to land the aircraft. From that point, they would go by ground.
"DAMMIT!" - was Duke's response to the situation - "If it wasn't for that hole, then we would've gotten to Kier Harrad in a very short time! Now we have to go there encountering every imaginable trap those Chaos punks will throw at us."
"Easy Duke." - replied Stone - "I always treat my enemies seriously, but you are overestimating them...unless we are dealing with simple cultists that are mostly stupid, crazy, or both. If we're dealing with Chaos Marines, then it is really serious."
"And knowing our luck, we're probably meet them frequently before we find Fenix and Chief. Kier Harrad is currently under Chaos attack, and apart of five platoons and a company worth of Space Marines. Lieutenant Kane should also be there."
"Bringing back the team would be nice. The two of us can handle a lot, but without the rest it's going to be really hard to get to Coastal Immosa."
"Well, if we have to reactivate that Trazyn, then the entire team is needed for this."
As the two chatted about the situation, Stone accelerated the Taurox to maximum speed to Harrad...
"WHY IN THE EMPEROR'S NAME WERE THERE NO SOLDIERS GUARDING THE SHELTERS!!?" - asked a enraged Stubbs one of his Officers - "I SPECIFICALLY ORDERED SOLDIERS TO GUARD THIS PLACE!!"
"Y-y-y-yes sir, we did send in, but the Chaos forces proved to be this severe that we had to re-route them to defending key locations."
"THE SHELTERS ARE KEY LOCATIONS!!!" - roared back Stubbs at the already terrified officer, clearly holding back not to personally execute him - "I WON'T ALLOW KAURAVA TO SUFFER LIKE IT HAD THE LAST TIME UNDER THOSE INCOMPETENT FOOLS WHO PUT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE AS SECOND, INSTEAD OF TRYING TO SAVE THEIR OWN HIDES!!"
"P-p-p-p-p-please calm down sir. A-a-a-a-anger never solves anything."
"You're right." - Stubbs replied, now slightly calmer yet still enraged, then he called Lord Commissar Doran - "Lord Doran, for a time I'll be rerouting command to you. Chaos forces appeared near the shelters."
"They appeared near the shelters!?" - asked the surprised Lord Commissar while strangling a Chaos Marine with his power fist - "What kind of sorcery should that be!?"
"Portals." - replied the Governor General - "Lately Chaos Forces are starting to be awfully fond of them."
"ALright Governor Stubbs, I will take over for this time, yet you must get back soon. A army without a General is bound to fall apart."
"I'll be back before anyone notices it." - Stubbs then switched vox channels - "Get me some spare Valkyries. I and the Stormtroopers are going to Shelter 21."
Rockclaw Mountains. Once infested with Orks that terrorized the Kaurava system with raids, now it became a immense fortress outpost. The Ork stronghold during the conflict was under the rule of Warboss Gorgutz The 'Ead 'Unter. Before the arrival of the infamous Warboss, the Rockclaw Stronghold was completely impenetrable and well camouflaged. Gorgutz thought of it as un-Orky, and had some of the elements dismantled. Ork Stronghold wasn't invincible and could be located, it was still more than a match for the armies back then...until the combined might of both the Conservators and Blood Ravens made short work of the place. Gorgutz managed to escape, yet the Rockclaw mountains were taken by the Imperials. Now standing there, under Stubbs's Peak, was the Rockclaw Bastion. A enormous construct, it was the main center of operations of the Conservators on Kaurava II, apart from the Lands of Solitude the Blood Ravens left after the conflict ended.
"We finally made it!" - one of the Conservators spoke out - "Lets get medics in there. Take the wounded to the medical center. Also make sure the civilians"
The Guards quickly unloaded the wounded and the civilians. Medic teams that arrived quickly took care of them.
"Now that the civilians are safe, we can concentrate on defeating the Chaos Forces." - spoke out Barak - "We should..." - "Not now." - Interrupted Vulkan.
"There may be still civilians and Guardsmen that need aid while escorting them to the Bastion." - answered Varland - "Judging by the appearance of Soul Grinders among the traitors, the situation is much severe than it was suspected. I also heard that Monse is showing heavy resistance to the Chaos Marines there. If we reinforce that place, then we will counterattack."
"You speak well there Lord Astartes." - a voice came from behind them. A lieutenant, probably the bastion commander, came with a group of Guardsmen - "Monse since the day of the Chaos incursion showed great resistance, yet even now people are rapidly getting away either to the Webway gate there, or to this place. Alternatively the Lands of Solitude are also holding well against the heretics, but it is unknown how long are they going to last. At least we got the authorization to use the super heavies."
"*sigh* Well, where are we going then?" - asked Barak.
"First we'll have to secure Monse." - replied Vulkan - "Then we go for the Lands of Solitude. Lieutenant, can we borrow some of you troops?"
"I wanted them to send them to Monse anyway. I will give you one of our Baneblades for that."
"Good to hear that. ASTARTES!! Let's get those people to safety."
Kaurav City, The Shelters:
"Where are those entrances to the shelters!!?" - cried out a angry cultist - "The sorcerer that teleported us there told us to kill everyone for the ritual!! Added that now somebody is taking down every group we send into the streets!! ALL BLOWN UP!!!"
"Would you kindly shut up!!?" - replied violently the cultist leader - "We're here to blow those shelters up!! SO WE HAVE TO HURRY ELSE THOSE LOYALISTS GET THERE!! FIND THOSE BLOODY SHELTER ENTRANCES!!"
The cultists moved out. There were ten of them, yet they were a part of a much larger force that looked for the entrances to the shelters. From a safe distance, in cover, two little figures observed the Chaos worshippers.
"This is bad." - said Alexandra to her brother Lukas - "We're delaying them and they won't quit."
"No wonder. Dad once told us about crazed heretics that were as stubborn as they were stupid, but these seem all but stupid...maybe." - replied the brother.
Before the Chaos Forces attacked the shelters, Lukas and Alexandra didn't wanted to stay behind in safety while their father's army fought against the crazed lunatics. Thus they escaped the shelter where they were put in along other civilians via air duct. For a adult it was hard, if not impossible to move through it due to the small size...but for a pair of nine-year olds it was a walk in the gardens.
"At least we found some explosives and booby trapped some of the streets. I do wonder who left them though. What do you think sis?"
"I think you are overthinking at the moment. Come on. We need to at least slow them down."
With that the two moved through the shadows to cause difficulties to the heretics...
It was a strange thing for two nine-year olds to know how to make simple booby traps by minelaying detonator packs all around the streets. Truth was that the kids, inspired by their father's incredible stories from the Astra Militarum, wanted really badly to serve along their parents. It should also be mentioned that their mother herself, the Lady Marianne Stubbs, was part of the Cadian Regiments, and was one of the top White Shield graduates that made it to junior lieutenant rank in a short time (quick thinking and guts were implied to have been used). That was before she married the Governor General and finally retired due to her pregnancy, limiting herself to charity and new social projects.
Seeing that both their parents were stalwart defenders of the Imperium, the two wanted badly to join the Conservators. Being the children of the Governor General, the two had some special privileges. Yet instead of abusing them (like most children of Governors of a star system or sub-sector do), the two took secret Valkyrie rides to the Dussala Precinct in order to secretly learn from the Guardsmen various tricks. This resulted in the children to learn some useful skills. While most children played with each other imagining that they are Guardsmen, Lukas and Alexandra literally played Guardsmen. But in this situation, the two would put to the test the skills they gained after training for one year. It wasn't much, but it had to suffice no less.
Night, near Kier Harrad:
"DAMMIT DUKE, DRIVE A LITTLE FASTER!!!" - cried out Stone as he operated the Taurox's Assault Cannon turret.
"AND WHAT DO YOU THINK I'M DOING!!!? DOES THIS LOOK TO YOU AS IF I TRIED TO PICK UP CHICKS!!!?" - replied Duke.
The two Stormtroopers did indeed gotten themselves into trouble. The beginning of their journey while driving the Taurox went with only few groups of Cultists that were stupid enough to attack them without anti-vehicle armaments. Only when it was already late evening, then that situation happened. Stalk Tanks descended on the Troopers' Taurox and it was already something radically different. Stone managed to blow up one with a lucky shot, but the other three were simply avoiding the barrages as much as they could. In fact, the bloody things avoided them so well that Stone had difficulties in aiming. Then one of the Stalk Tanks that were pursuing them accelerated further...
"OH SNAP!!! DUKE!!! STEP TO NITRO!!!"
"HOLD YOUR GROX!!! I'M SWITCHING TO NITRO!!!"
And with that, Duke pressed the nitro switch and the Taurox's exhausts exploded in flames, leaving but dust and smoke in the faces of the agile daemonic machines. Stone sat on the passenger's seat after he exited the turret.
"Well now we'll get to Harrad on time. Bloody Chaos punks had no balls to attack the place, so they limited themselves to raiding convoys and guerilla tactics." - said Duke with a disgust.
"Well old buddy, enemies with actual balls are hard to find these days. Plus if it wasn't for the fact that all of our heavier weapons were in the trunk along with mister busted zombie-bot, then we'd have blown those Stalk Tanks to smithereens from the get go."
"Let's get rolling then. I want to team up with the rest of our old team before we'll get hit by something bigger...huh? Sudden energy spike in the vicinity? Awww shi..." - before Duke could finish his sentence, a pinkish beam hit the left back track of the Taurox.
The vehicle went out of control and hit a rock that was in the way. The Taurox made a flip and hit the ground. The vehicle was upside down, reduced to a pile of beaten metal. From its inside Duke and Stone crawled out, still wondering how did they didn't anticipate this. After they crawled out (still looking at the world through hazy eyes after the accident), the two found themselves surrounded by Stubber wielding Cultists and the aforementioned three Stalk Tanks.
"Dammit!" - was Duke's first word after the haze wore off and saw in what situation he and Stone gotten themselves in.
"Well, well, what do we have here? Loyalists for the kill." - the cultist leader spoke out from the group - "Who sent in two Stormtroopers to Kier Harrad? Maybe it was that weakling Governor? If so then he must be either really desperate or foolish to send you two instead of additional platoons."
After hearing the words weakling and foolish, Duke snapped. He did dislike Stubbs for his idealism and his guts, but he would never call the Governor a weakling nor a fool. Duke had a grudging respect for the man who liberated Kaurava and turned it into what it is now.
"I'll give you a advise pal. You keep calling the Governor like that, and I'll chop off your head and take a dump down your throat." - replied Duke.
"You are not in a position to threaten neither me nor the rest of us Loyalist scum!"
"I would take it seriously if I were you." - added Stone - "He can do that."
"You shut up!! Both of you will be questioned by us and after we're done with you, we'll sacrifice you to the Gods. Take them away."
Before the Cultists could react, a solid crimson beam cut through the remaining Stalk Tanks, cutting them as if they were made out of cardboard.
"WHAT WAS THA...!!?" - one of the Cultists was cut down by Bolter fire along with a couple of others that were unfortunate to be in proximity. Duke and Stone took advantage of the confusion and grabbed the nearest cultists, took their weapons and started shooting. Before the Chaos worshippers could react, most of them were already dead. Of the fifteen cultists, only the Leader was left. Wounded and broken.
"Remember what I said pal?" - answered Duke to the Cultist Leader while unsheathing really long Catachan grade Power Machete - "I'm going to chop your head off and take a dump down your throat for badmouthing the Governor."
Before he could react, the Leader's head was grabbed by Duke's free hand and chopped off by the machete.
"Well that was all really sudden here. Thanks for the helpful hand." - spoke Stone in the direction from where the shots came. The figures had only their silhouettes visible in the night, only when they came closer, they became completely visible.
"Well, didn't know that you would come out and greet us outside." - added Duke - "Fenix and Chief. Heard you got promoted to sergeants. Good to see ya after this long."
Kaurava II, Monse:
"THEY ARE SOFTENING UP!!! PRESS FORWARDS FOR THE DARK GODS!!!" - roared a Chaos Marine commandeering the tides of Lost and Damned.
Before the Kaurava conflict, Monse was a patchwork of cities and farmlands that was constantly plagued by Ork raids that came from Rockclaw mountains. It contained a Webway gate Due to this, it became the most fortified place on Kaurava II. After the conflict finished, Monse was further altered into a giant web of fortress cities and farmlands, only rivalled by the Lands of Solitude and Rockclaw Bastion in terms of defensive capabilities. In its centre, near the Webway gate, stood a memorial to someone that the Governor General considered both a great ally, as well as a good friend. That man died fighting the Tau led by Or'es'Ka. When the Chaos Forces struck at the place, they were met with fierce resistance from the locals and Guardsmen stationed there. Even though the city fortresses were hard to penetrate, the defenders were hard-pressed by the ravening lunatics, fallen marines, daemons and hellish engines. The fall of Monse was imminent, unless reinforcements would arrive.
On the walls of Monse's centre:
"HOLD THE LINE!!! DON'T LET THEM ENTER THE CITY!!!" - cried out the commandeering Lieutenant - "BY THE EMPEROR DO NOT FALTER!!!"
"SIR!!! TITANS!!!" - pointed one of the Guardsmen. The Lieutenant looked in the direction the Guardsman pointed and it was true. Warhound Titans. Five of them. The city was capable of withstanding even the tides of heretics and their machines, but it wasn't strong enough to take on Titans.
"DAMMIT, WHERE ARE THOSE REINFORCEMENTS!!!?"
The Chaos Warhounds opened fire on the defender's positions. Blasts from Mega Bolters and Plasma Cannons paved the way for the servants of the Dark Gods as the walls were finally breached. From afar however...
"THEY ALREADY BREACHED THE WALLS OF THE CENTRAL CITY LORD PRIMARCH!!"
"THERE IS NO TIME TO BE LOST!!!" - replied Vulkan as he readied his portable Melta Cannon while jumping on the nearest Baneblade - "FULL SPEED AHEAD!!!"
With the orders given, the armoured columns accelerated to attack speed.
From the distance, one of the Chaos spotters detected the armoured columns and alerted the main force. Two Warhounds and a large host of heretics along their armoured squadrons broke away to meet the forces led by Vulkan.
"DAEMON ENGINE ON THE LEFT, FIRE!!!" - roared the tank commander in the Baneblade that Vulkan was standing on.
The super-heavy tank's turret turned to face a Soul Grinder that was charging at it. A precise shot in the central body made short work of it. Due to concentrating on the infernal machine, a Stalk Tank took advantage and attacked from the right flank, leaping on the Baneblade. Vulkan instantaneously reacted and shot the Chaos Machine before it could tear into the chassi. The Baneblade rolled over a group of Chaos Spawns that blindly charged it. Seven Baneblades and over forty various types of Leman Russ Tanks from traditional ones to Punishers came to fight the forces attacking Monse.
Barrages against barrages. Guns against guns. Vulkan's Tank Columns took damage, as one of the Baneblades and seven Leman Russes were wrecked. The decisive battle for Monse has come.
"COMMANDER!!! WE NEED TO DESTROY THOSE TWO TITANS OR WE'LL NEVER BREAK THROUGH!!!" - called Vulkan the Baneblade Commander. He had to cry out to him due to the noise the barrages were doing.
"THERE ARE ONLY TWO WAYS TO DESTROY THESE THINGS LORD PRIMARCH!!! IF WE HAD VOLKITE WEAPONS, THEN WE'D HAVE IT EASIER!!! THE ONLY WAY IS TO ROLL THROUGH THEIR VOID SHIELDS AND OPEN FIRE FROM THE INSIDE, YET IT WILL LEAVE US VULNERABLE TO FIRE FROM THEM!!!"
"GUESS WE'LL HAVE TO RISK IT!!!" - replied the Primarch - "ORDER SOME TANKS TO DISTRACT THE TWO WARHOUNDS WHILE I GO AND INCAPACITATE ONE, WHILE TWO VANQUISHER WILL FINISH OFF THE LATTER AFTER ITS SHIELDS ARE DOWN!!!"
"IT'S RISKY, BUT WE'LL TRY!!!"
At this point the plan on defeating the two Titans was risky, yet not impossible. Vulkan jumped off the Baneblade after it was in proximity with one of the Titans and used the unique ability of his robe. The black robe was given to him by Tranzyn before they attempted to teleport to Kaurava. Instead of being a normal robe, it was a Robe of Shadows that would bend light around it's user and make him completely invisible. The Primarch vanished in an instant and ran towards his target that was still due to being occupied by the Conservator Tanks.
The Leman Russes and Baneblades that were not occupied with the small fries unleashed barrages on the Chaos Warhounds. The Void Shield made puffing sounds when the barrages of physical projectiles and las-beams disappeared after making contact with them. Already two Leman Russes were blown by the Daemonic Titans. Vulkan slowed down, passed through the Void Shield and positioned himself with the Melta Cannon. The Primarch opened fire into the joint between its left leg and foot. If the weapon he wielded was just a Multi Melta, then it would've done little. A Melta Cannon was something different, as it quickly turned the Titan's foot into molten slag, topping it down.
The Titan that Vulkan toppled was completely defenseless. The other one couldn't deal with the tanks that were driving around it and shooting from all directions.
"WEAK POINT ON THE RIGHT!!!" - the Baneblade Commander shouted through the vox. The shields on this Titan were not synch-ed well, allowing for a pair of Vanquishers to shoot into the shield's weak point and deal enormous damage to the machine, collapsing completely its only protection. After the collapse, a barrage from the other tanks followed and fell the Warhound.
"Gyyyyyhhh..." - one of the Chaos Spotters shuddered in fear as he saw both Titans falling down. He immediately took the vox - "OH MIGHTY CHAMPION!! THE WARHOUNDS FAILED TO TAKE OUT THE LOYALISTS!!!"
"IT WAS THEIR HUBRIS THAT MADE THEM UNDERESTIMATE THOSE CONSERVATORS!" - replied the Champion - "BUT NOW WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS!!! ALL REMAINING FORCES, SEIZE THE WEBWAY GATE AND KILL OFF THOSE WEAKLINGS!!!"
Like one the Chaos Forces ran towards the Webway, when suddenly from left and right unexpected forces...
"FIRE AND BONE!!!" - roared Barak as he and his Dragon Claws fell upon the enemy - "FOR THE IMPERIUM!!!" - followed Varland as his Storm giants opened fire while jumping off Valkyries in modified grav-chutes. Both Captains and their Marines started to unleash havoc on the traitors, yet even that didn't slow them down. As the traitors were coming closer to the gate, three enormous white super heavy tanks rolled out and shot at the remaining Warhounds immediately collapsing their shields and hitting them in the upper halves. The super-heavies were followed by strange Space Marines in pure white that emerged from the webway. One of them, the captain judging from the cape and ornament artificer armour, bellowed a great warcry - " AVE DEUS-IMPERATOR!!!"
Written and discontinued by Ravenfag, continued by That One Anon, That One Anon has not shown up in the threads in awhile
Air rushed around Fulgrim as he fell, turning over and over, spinning every-which-way. He could do little to halt his descent, the air blowing into his eyes were turning his view into blurry streaks of colour. Blue. gold, blue, gold, green...
The first tree Fulgrim hit snapped clean in two, he bounced off the thick trunk of another, and hit his head on the limb of another, causing a sensation like a nova bomb going off in his head. This final collision slowed him down enough that he crashed to the leafy ground, bruised, dizzy, but alive.
After some time had passed, the Phoenician peeled himself off the dirt floor and wobbled to his feet. His armour was scuffed but otherwise undamaged, and he found the comforting weight of Fireblade secured at his side. Reminded of his sudden descent, Fulgrim turned to see the massive rent he had torn in the canopy. He looked about, the forest stretched in every direction, with small shafts of light reaching through gaps every so often. Fulgrim looked about for a tree that looked sturdy enough to take his weight, and found a monster specimen with a trunk almost 8 metres thick. He dug his gauntleted fingers into the bark and began to awkwardly pull himself up the trunk. He lacked the climbing experience of Corax or Kurze, and his armour had never been designed for this sort of thing, but before long he was standing astride the thickest branch he could find, swaying gently with the tree as the wind blew. He could taste rain in the air, and the sky seemed overcast. He shuffled around awkwardly, trying to see past the endless sea of undulating leaves. At last, he spotted what seemed to be a castle in the distance, about 15 kilometres away, by his reckoning. The fortress was made from a white stone, possibly marble, thought Fulgrim, recalling his attempts at sculpting with a small smile. He turned and leapt off the tree, landing back on the forest floor with a heavy thump.
Positioning himself in the same direction he had seen the fortress in, Fulgrim began to walk, his long stride covering the distance with rapid pace. After some time, he heard a rustling near to him and turned to the source. A pair of small children were hiding behind a thick bush, watching him with wide eyes. Fulgrim smiled and spoke:
"Come out little ones, I won't hurt you."
Slowly, the two stepped out from their concealment, and came close to the primarch. Now that he could see them better, he noticed they were a boy and a girl, the girl seemed younger than the boy, and Fulgrim assumed the two to be brother and sister. The girl tilted her head up to look Fulgrim in the face: "You're big."
Fulgrim smiled again:
The boy spoke up, pointing the way Fulgrim had come as he did:
"We saw you fall out of the sky from the castle." His eyes were as wide as dinner plates.
"Can it be you have come from space?"
Fulgrim's smile widened:
"As a matter of fact... yes" The little girl spoke up,
"We came to find you. Father has called for the Knights to come and see."
"Interesting, perhaps they could tell me where I am."
The boy was looking curiously at Fulgrim's artificer armour.
"Who are you?"
A small furrow appeared in Fulgrim's brow.
"I am the Primarch Fulgrim, called the Phoenician, child of the Emperor and general of his armies. I would have thought you would know that."
The boy looked away shyly:
"I heard some of the squires telling ghost stories about the Emperor's children once."
Fulgrim frowned, curiouser and curiouser.
"Could you take me to your father? He may be able to answer some of my questions."
"Certainly!" squeaked the boy happily, before dragging his sister off into the forest, motioning Fulgrim to follow. The primarch set off after them, his long strides easily keeping pace with the young children, turning over what he knew in his mind, this all seemed strange and a little sinister. He resolved to find his answers. One way, or another.
The ground began to slope upwards gradually, and Fulgrim took this to mean that they were approaching the castle. Sure enough, the forest rapidly thinned, and then cut out all together, leaving a wide plain around the fortress empty save grass.As the they approached the wide gate, Fulgrim heard a sound of servomotors and clanking feet from off to his left. He turned to see an Imperial Knight rushing towards the fortress, leaping from foot to foot, tearing up the grass as it ran. The deep moad lay ahead, with the drawbridge pulled up. The Knight skidded to a halt before the moat, and waited. After a moment, the drawbridge began to lower on clanking chains. The children cheered and broke into runs, Fulgrim quickened his stride slightly, watching as the Knight strode across the lowered drawbridge. The children's cheers faded as the bridge began to be pulled up as soon as the knight was across. Fulgrim dropped to one knee and spoke urgently:
"Climb onto my back. Quickly, now"
The children complied, clinging to the various pieces of ornamentation that decorated Fulgrim's armour.
Fulgrim stood, and then sprinted for the drawbridge, the grass and forest around him blurring as his armoured feet pounded the ground. By the time he reached the moat, he realised the bridge had been pulled up too far to far for him to walk onto. So he jumped. Shooting into the air like a rocket, the children clinging on for dear life. His armoured fingers closed around the edge of the bridge, and its climb juddered to a halt with the Primarch's weight on it. Before the chains could snap, Fulgrim pulled himself over the other side, and slid down the incline, the children jumping free of him as he went. Fulgrim skidded to his feet, and looked into the nervous faces of a half-dozen guards holding an anachronistic arsenal of weapons, from crossbows and pikes, to lasguns. The Knight was also there, training it's massive weapons on the Primarch.
"I... come in peace?" He groaned inwardly at the cliche. "Take me to your leader?"
Over the vox, from within the Knight, came the voice of the Baron, reverberating with mechanical overtones and with the unearthly energy of the Machine Spirits.
'I am the lord of this world.'
"I am Fulgrim, Lord of the Emperor's Children, and Son of the Emperor."
A moment of static and then the Knight spoke with the roar of many waters.
'We remember you, Fulgrim. We remember you and the traitors. House Devine. We destroyed them and as many of your traitorous warpspawn as we could. We have stood vigil since.
Speak not of He who is on Terra, for it was by your hand and those of your brothers he was betrayed.' The words hit Fulgrim harder than any battle cannon shell ever could. None of this made any sense. He loved his father, he'd dedicated his existence to being the paragon of his father's ideals.
"My Lord!" A cry from one of the guards manning the drawbridge broke the tension. The Baron tilted it's head back to look at the guard post, and spoke with it's rumbling voice:
"A knight from House Greene, it looks damaged and is flying a message flag."
The Baron made a sound like a snarl, and turned to the guards surrounding Fulgrim.
"Take... this. To the dungeons, I will deal with the messenger myself."
The guards looked nervously at the towering Primarch, whose mind was still struggling to process what he had just learned. He raised his hands again.
"I shall... come quietly." He shook his head at yet another cliche, but began to walk after the guards. As they crossed into the castle courtyard, he turned at the sound of the drawbridge being lowered again. The two children were still there, standing close to the massive figure of the Baron. The girl caught his eye and waved. Fulgrim smiled ruefully, but a cautious nudge from one of the guards turned him around again, and walked into the cool depths of the castle.
Fulgrim sat on the bed in the cool darkness of the dungeon. He considered it remarkable that the bed could support his armoured weight. Fireblade was lying on the thin sheet behind him. The Primarch stared into the middle distance, still turning over the Baron's words in his mind. How could he have ever betrayed the Emperor? Someone walked past his cell, and Fulgrim called to them.
The person turned, and Fulgrim started at the empty sockets staring back at him. The strange markings on the robe they wore identified them as an astropath. Fulgrim spoke more gently:
"What is happening? What did the messenger want?"
The astropath seemed to deliberate for a moment, but then they leaned close to the bars, and reached through.
"Come closer, please." Curiosity aroused, Fulgrim stood up, the bed squeaking with relief, and walked over to the astropath. He knelt down close to the bars and looked carefully into the withered face. The astropath's hand shot out suddenly, and the gnarled fingers pressed against Fulgrim's forehead. The primarch gasped as a flood of sensation surged into his brain, along with the feeling of being scrutinized closely. A golden light eclipsed the dank dungeon, and Fulgrim's ears filled with the sound of a choir singing. Then the contact was broken. Fulgrim lurched backwards, purple blotches swimming in his vision and his ears ringing with the phantom sound. The astropath was slumped against the bars breathing heavily.
"I'm sorry." he gasped, "I had to make sure."
"Sure of what?" groaned Fulgrim, massaging his temples.
"That you really the one the others say you are." He smiled weakly, "Child of the Emperor, by the power vested in me by the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, I pronounce you free of taint."
Fulgrim clambered to his feet,
"Very good. Now, shall we try and convince the baron of that?" The astropath nodded, and began fishing through the pockets of his voluminous robes, looking for the cell for the key to the cell.
As they strode through the dim corridors of the castle, lit here and there by flickering torches, Fulgrim spoke:
"So what did the messenger want?"
The astropath's expression turned sour.
"He wasn't a messenger, he was a survivor."
Fulgrim raised an eyebrow as the old man went on.
"Something dropped out of the sky, about a day or two before you did. No one knows what it is. No-one could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. It's just been tearing through the fortresses like a force of nature."
"And it's heading this way?"
"Yes. Last I heard, the Baron was debating whether to flee the castle, or make a stand here."
Fulgrim's hand settled on Fireblade's pommel:
"We should stand and fight!"
The astropath snorted derisively:
"I imagine House Greene and the others thought the same."
"But none of them had me, did they?"
As Fulgrim and the astropath strode into the great hall, they heard the sound of loud conversation within. The primarch pushed the heavy doors open and beheld. The Baron, divested of his Knight, was talking urgently with a tall man with a white streak going through his black hair. At the sound of the doors banging open they turned to regard the towering Primarch and shuffling astropath.
"Is he free of taint?" The Baron's question was short and to the point, but at the astropath's nod he relaxed slightly. He gestured to the man he had been speaking with.
"This is the captain of the castle guard, Robert Cross." The heavily scarred man nodded at Fulgrim, the faint whining of augments coming from beneath his carapace armour. Fulgrim's eyes were drawn to a strange device that replaced the man's left hand. Cross noticed his inquisitive gaze and spoke:
"Automatic grenade launcher. I was part of the Skitarii battalion that found this world, 70 years ago. I'm older than I look."
The baron spoke again,
"Men like Cross are hard to find, but even he won't be enough to stop the creature." He stepped close to Fulgrim, craning his head up to look the Primarch in the eye.
"But if you are who you say you are... then we might have a chance."
The loud sound of a bell being rung made them all jump:
"The alarum bell!" The Baron turned to Cross.
"Get the women and children out of the Fortress, even if we can't kill it, we may slow it enough for them to get away." Cross nodded and dashed out of the room. The Baron turned to Fulgrim:
"Go and meet with the guards, I need to reach my mount before this creature arrives."
The Primarch nodded and strode out into the cool night air. There were guards rushing about everywhere, some carrying antique looking lasguns, other with crossbows, and gunpowder rifles. Moving through them like a colossus, Fulgrim jogged onto the castle walls, where several of the guards were nervously looking about.
The dim starlight was enough for Fulgrim to see a solitary figure stroll nonchalantly out of the forest. Fulgrim pointed and the guards began to shout, one firing up a flare that cast a flickering red glow over the figure. It looked up from the shadows of its hood, and Fulgrim just knew it was smiling. It put its head down and started to run, feet tearing up the ground at a pace no normal man could. The guards fired their weapons, arrows, las-beams and clouds of smoke erupting from the castle walls. Fulgrim watched as the running figure brought an arm up, covering its face. The arm seemed to stretch and warp into a glossy black shield that it held in front of itself, arrows and bullets ricocheting from the scaly surface, while las-beams failed to leave any marks. Fulgrim drew Fireblade, the sword still glowed as though it was just out of the forge, but the grip was cool in the Phoenicians armoured hand. As the figure reached thirty metres from the castle gates, its legs seemed to shiver and warp. Then it jumped, soaring upwards as though gravity had gone out to lunch. It stretched its arms (now returned to normal) and legs out, what appeared to be reddish mist jetting from its wrists and ankles. For all the world, it looked as though it were flying. Then it landed on the castle wall with a crash that knocked the guards off their feet. As it stood from the low crouch it had landed in, its flesh and clothing appeared to warp and move, as though tendrils were moving about under its skin. The strange clothing it wore faded beneath matt grey plating, like an insect's exoskeleton. Its fingers lengthened into long razor-sharp claws, that flexed like a normal man's fingers would. Strange light glowed from the amour, eerily similar to that of Fireblade. It turned to Fulgrim, the Phoenician reflected and split into ten in the creature's claws.
Fulgrim brought his sword into a guard position, and behind and infront of him, the guards clambered back to their feet, readying weapons, emboldened by the Primarch's defiance. The creature made a "tsk" sound, and flicked one of it's arms at the guards behind it. The arm stretched and lengthened, telescoping into something that looked like a cross between a chain and a spinal cord. It lashed across the wall, tripping men up, and then dragging them towards it. As Fulgrim and the guards watched with horror, the men were dragged, screaming and flailing, into the creature, were they were absorbed, like water poured on a sponge. It turned back to Fulgrim, its armour writhing with tendrils. Its whip-hand shot out again, this time clamping onto Fulgrim's right arm. The Primarch seized the limb (it felt scaly, and horribly warm), dug his heels into the stone of the walls, and pulled with all his might. For a moment, the creature resisted, but a las-beam glanced off its helmet, breaking its concentration and Fulgrim wrenched it off its feet. The thing weighed far more than something of its size should, and this meant that the guard tower Fulgrim swung it into shattered with the impact. The chain-limb detached from Fulgrim, and slithered into the collapsing tower. Fulgrim and the guards remained alert as hundred of tons of rock rained down on the creature, still inside the tower. A great cloud of pulverized marble billowed forth, making the guards cough, and dulling the sheen of Fulgrim's armour. A black shape sprang from the rubble, landing in front of Fulgrim with a sound like continents splitting. Its fists had swelled massively, and taken on a rock-like texture. It swung one of them at a nearby guard, who was frantically reloading his rifle. The man was smashed into paste by the fist, paste that was absorbed into the creature like it was magnetically attracted to it.
Fulgrim dodged the punch meant for him, and was nearly knocked off his feet by the wall shuddering beneath him. He took advantage of the creature's over-extending itself, and slashed at its arm with Fireblade. The edges of the cut shivered with tendrils, but the fissure gaped wider, the glow of Fireblade inside the wound. The creature made a sound somewhere between a howl and a scream, and the wounded arm dropped off. It hit the ground and exploded into ash. The stump that was left sprouted tendrils that wrapped around and around themselves, until the hammer-hand had completely reformed, good as new. The creature snarled, wary of Fireblade, and circled the primarch for a moment, before lunging forwards. It crashed into Fulgrim's midriff, throwing him off-balance and clung to the Primarch as he toppled over the wall.
Fulgrim landed in the courtyard with a clatter of armour, Fireblade spinning out of his grasp. The creature reared up in front of the prone primarch. Its shape seemed to lose coherence, and tendrils reached from it, groping for Fulgrim.
"They know you". It hissed.
"They have nightmares about you"
"Fulgrim, the daemon, Fulgrim, the monster."
It stepped towards the stunned Primarch.
"Oh, but I am going to enjoy this." Its form spread further, hundreds of minute tendrils reaching for Fulgrim.
The creature jerked and spasmed, its tendrils roiling and twitching. It went still and then fell on its face. Behind it, stood Cross, shockmaul still smoking. "Not as much as me, beast"
He stepped over the felled creature and, tucking the shockmaul back into his belt, held out his hand to the Primarch. As Fulgrim reached for it, the creature exploded in a great cloud of tendrils that forced Fulgrim back and wrapped around Cross. The creature reformed around the thrashing Skitarii, engulfing him completely. There was a crunch as it contracted inwards.
"That," It spat a piece of mangled augmetic out of its 'mouth':
It pulled back a clawed fist, when a metal foot kicked it into the castle wall. The Baron stepped over Fulgrim, unloading its weapons into the creature. Fulgrim took the opportunity to dive between the Knight's legs and recover Fireblade, from where it was gently charring the grass. Behind him, a solid pillar of biomass smashed the Baron backwards, but the Knight did not fall, and resumed its barrage of battle cannon fire.
Fulgrim turned in time to hear the creature scream at him.
"NOTHING CAN PROTECT YOU FROM ME! NOT MEN! NOT WEAPONS! NOT ARMOR!"
The Baron fired his power lance, collapsing a large chunk of the wall behind the creature. Fulgrim saw it dart through the hole the impact had made, and vanish in the cloud of dust. Fulgrim took a running jump and landed on the back of the Knight. As it stomped through the gap in the wall, he pulled himself up until he was standing on the Knight's shoulders, swaying with the titan's steps. He readied FIreblade, looking in all directions for the next attack. He spotted the creature before the Baron, just in time to see it punch one of it's hands into the ground. The earth churned and split in a path travelling directly for the Knight. As the churning earth disappeared beneath the Knight, the Baron gave a massive lurch, and a trio of black spikes burst out of the Knight's shoulders, knocking Fulgrim off balance. The spikes retracted, the Knight staggered for a moment, and fell like a felled tree. Fulgrim lept to his feet and roared a challenge at the creature, all composure driven from his mind by the thought of the young children losing their father. He charged the monster, leaping over a sweep of the chain-tendril and parrying a dart of spiked biomass.
He ran the creature through with Fireblade and felt it shudder against him.
Fulgrim gripped the sword with both hands and dragged it upwards, splitting the creature's upper body in half. The two halves wobbled for a second, struggling to re-attach despite Fireblade's glow burning into the black and red flesh. Fulgrim swept the sword around, slicing the top halves of the creature's body off. The legs slumped to the ground, turning to ash as they fell. The top halves flopped on the ground, the armour falling away as Fireblade's mysterious power burned through it. The right half propped itself up on a disintegrating arm and glared at Fulgrim, the true face of the creature revealed at last as the glow ate away at it.
Fulgrim kicked it in the head. The creature exploded into ashes as Fireblade's magic finished its work.
Fulgrim watched the remains carefully, Fireblade at the ready for any sign of reanimation. A minute passed, then another. Fulgrim breathed out carefully, then sheathed Fireblade, eyes still fixed on the pile of ashes. Then he turned and ran to the fallen knight. It had slumped onto its side, so he could see into the cockpit , and view the limp form of the Baron within. Fulgrim dug his fingers into the seams of the cockpit hatch, and after a moment's struggle, tore it off and flung it away. The Baron jerked at the sound, and looked blearily up at a Fulgrim, one side of his face covered by a massive psychosomatic bruise.
"I-is it... dead?"
Fulgrim nodded. The Baron slumped against his mount's controls with relief.
"Thank the Emperor. You truly are the primarch Fulgrim, then."
Fulgrim extended a hand.
"Speaking of which." He pulled the Baron out of the cockpit.
"Perhaps you can fill me in on what has happened. What did the creature mean when it spoke about people having nightmares about me?"
The Baron turned to look at the people running out of the castle towards them:
"I'll explain later. Now, we celebrate your victory."
As Fulgrim finished the foul monster that had attempted to claim House Devine in its sick genocide, a man in a cave thrashed in ecstasy as he felt his hand ache from the cuts applied carefully there. his friends smirked as the new inductee thrashed, his bloody hands painting the floor, the 8 lined path of chaos marking his soul and body. The eldest of them sat, watching impassively, seeming to feel nothing at all. His form was bloated, and from him hung fetid warts and bloated flesh.
He suddenly stood, moving with a swiftness those who had known him would never claim he possessed. Of the 3 that had watched their new inductee scream in pain and enjoyment- a sure sign he would follow their slaaneshi sister- the hulk of a man muscular enough to be mistaken for Astartes reacted first. "What happens, elder brother?" he asked, looking with respect to the cultist that had introduced them all to the wonders of chaos. The old man, a servant of Nurgle, looked disquieted. "Our beast... was killed." he muttered, his unhappiness clear. The whip thin young tzeentch follower snorted. "Impossible! That creature was called from the darkest pits of the warp we could plunge. it had Tzeentch's own blessing! It destroyed those foul knights while they sucked on the corpse god's rhetoric. What could have possibly killed it?"
The eldest looked to the follower of Tzeentch. "Something greater than a knight."
The 3 who sat before him lapsed to silence. The eldest looked out to the cave, and shuddered. "I can only guess what could kill such a powerful servant of chaos. But we must commune, and attempt to reach our gods for help again. I'm afraid our new friend will not be staying with us long."
The four servants of chaos looked on their still writhing friend with dispassion. the most they could muster was a regret that more would not experience the blessings of their masters.
The knife that swung out to end the beginners life was wielded by the cultist of Slaanesh, and she took a small measure of delight at the feeling of her blade against flesh. The acolyte, merely a boy, thrashed now even still in some pleasure, believing this another part of the ritual inducting him to chaos. He died there on the floor, with his blood pooled around him.
The four gathered around, and began to pray to the dark gods they served.
Fulgrim looked with regret upon the damaged battlefield that had been house Devine. With the loss of many of their men along with its imperial knight, he doubted it would hold against any threatening attacks that would come in the future.
The Baron stood besides Fulgrim, taking in his keep. He sighed, his emotions hidden. "Worse then I would have hoped, but better then I feared. Stand tall man. We held, thanks to you, and you shall receive no small thanks for that."
Fulgrim nodded, although the words did not truly reach him. "I would have to remind you that I am no man. As my form would attest."
The Baron laughed. "That you are, my friend. My mistake."
Fulgrim looked to the Baron in surprise. "You would call me friend? After the fear you held of me before?"
The Baron shrugged. "You fought with us, and put your life at risk. whether you truly are a Primarch of the emperor, or merely a madman Astartes that has forgotten who he was, you acted as an ally. I will not forget that easily. My family will not either."
Fulgrim considered this. the man was hardly the model of perfection that Fulgrim wished to be. And yet, the man was honorable, intelligent, and the only human of power anywhere nearby who could help him. "Very well then friend. could you tell me when the next shuttle would arrive upon this planet?" Fulgrim asked.
The Baron sucked on his teeth. "That should be in a few weeks. We'll need to assign a parts request form to them, and hope we can hold out until replacements can arrive. Poor knights damn near shredded." the Baron looked to Fulgrim with curiosity. "Tell me, what plans do you have for today? Do you wish to examine the other parts of this world? Wander perhaps? Emperor alone knows how the others would react to you."
Fulgrim considered his answer, before spying the Baron's children wandering out of the castle onto the courtyard, staring in confusion at the hulk of the knight draped on the ground. "I suspect I shall be regaling your boy and girl with tales of far off planets. Little else I can do for now."
The baron grinned. "That'll keep those two pleased, I suspect. Come now, lets inform them the monster is gone, and its safe to play again. I hope children playing safely will be the morale booster we could use." Fulgrim nodded, believing the Baron had said all he needed, and followed him, already deciding on telling the story of meeting his father.
The cultists communed, their voices echoing in worship to the gods they served. Each praised their master, praying for their words to be heard. The Nurgle cultists, more sure then the others in his standings with the gods, spoke loudly and proudly, allowing his voice to echo through the warp. His mind bent the fabric of reality as he said "The best sent to corrupt this world fell, masters. He was killed by an astartes swordsman. I pray that you would send another, more powerful, so we might vanquish this cruel warrior and bring about an age of chaos unrivaled!"
The gods looked upon them, examined the creatures memories as it coalesced in the warp, and answered.
The slaaneshi cultist was the first to feel the rift open, and the first to feel pain as it drew power from her. She cried out, half in pain and half in pleasure even then, as the rift tore a hole inside her. From this rift, a daemonette holding a mask in hand lithely exited. The cultist cried out, and collapsed, a hole ripped into her.
The others felt a similar fate. The khorne cultist was ripped painfully apart, his blood spewing as a bloodletter wearing a cloak of skulls climbed through him into the real world. The Nurgle cultist rotted before their very eyes, turning into a puddle from which a servant of nurgle riding a palanquin carried on the backs of endless nurglings climbed from. the Tzeentch cultist shook and shivered, his body reacting violently, until it seemed as if he had turned into a creature wrapped in a cloak, its face hidden.
There, the most dangerous heralds of chaos stood in the place of the four cultists, and they considered the reason they had been summoned.
The Masque of Slaanesh batted her eyes, fingers clicking against each other and claws clacking. Epidemius counted through a sheet of those killed by plague, acting bored and uncaring. The skulltaker growled and hissed, blade at the ready and already angry. And the changeling simply sat and observed, its staff in one hand, its other at rest, shifting between colors, muscle tones and appendages.
"So. The Gods have called a contest. to kill a primarch." The Masque said, looking between her fellows. "This primarch should not be alive, I think we would all agree. Not as he is. We must take him, and either turn him to chaos or remove him from the playing field. Is this agreed?"
Epidemius sighed, and looked from his counting sheet. "Yes. I suppose we should all try in our manner?"
The masque let a flirting smile pass her lips, scythed tongue dragging across her lips. "Why, how ever else would we do this, Eppy my love? We shall all attempt, and you will all fail, and I will snare my master a nice second Primarch to use. Now won't that be fun?"
The Skulltaker growled. "I will remove his head from his shoulders before I allow you to have him, limp wristed whore. I shall take first swing, and leave you all wishing you had a chance to disgrace yourself before the fool was lost and his soul was loosed into the warp."
The changeling looked to the Skulltaker, and laughed with a voice shifting from female to male, from young to old, and seemed to shift as well into tones man had never heard. That was all the changeling said, before disappearing with the others. They would come once the skulltaker was home.
Fulgrim spoke to the children, his voice soothing and tiring. "And so the Emperor collected all of my brothers, and together we gathered to reunite humanity and bring a new shining age to all. But that story will have to wait for another time, children."
Fulgrim sat in the room the children called their own, sitting on the floor in between their two beds. The children were tucked in, wearing the simply woven garments, and were in the midst of groaning.
"I want to hear more stories of the epic fighting!" The boy declared, eyes wide at the idea of the primarchs departing from Earth and leading the great crusade.
The girl pouted, "Why do you have to stop now Mister Fulgrim? I want to hear more!"
Fulgrim smiled genially. "I stop now so that you might rest, and get good sleep, and grow big and tall. You do wish to be proud Astartes when you grow up, do you not?"
The boy, at this suggestion, quickly slipped under his blankets. "I bet I can get taller than you Mister Fulgrim! Just watch me, by the time I'm old enough, I'll be the biggest space marine you've ever seen!" the girl looked annoyed at her brother saying this.
"Not if I get taller then you and join!" She declared, rolling onto her bed and shutting her eyes, intent on going to sleep first. Fulgrim laughed, and blew out the candle sitting on their night stand, whispering good night and good wishes. The Baron stood outside, smiling lightly. "Thank you for doing that. I don't know how we would have gotten them asleep after you'd gotten them all excited."
Fulgrim shrugged, heading down the corridor and away from the children's bedroom. "They do need rest and plentiful feeding to be the best they can be. I merely hope I push them on the right path."
The baron smiled. "You seem to be obsessed with perfection. Just like the stories."
Fulgrim shrugged. "I feel I must strive to be the best I can be. Is that so wrong?"
The Baron frowned. "As long as you don't let it cause you to fall, like before."
Fulgrim frowned. "What do you mean, my falling? I am a loyal son of the emperor, and always shall be."
The Baron shook his head. "It doesn't matter, I suppose, if you wish to live in fantasy. Emperor knows after the Siege of Terra, one would wish to forget..."
Fulgrim growled deep in his throat. "I am not some drunkard willing to slam anyone who speaks ill of me, but if you keep speaking in circles there will be battle."
The Baron sighed. "If you truly do not remember, I wish not to rip open old wounds. We should discuss this later. We're both a little high strung."
Fulgrim nodded, before considering. "I am indeed feeling... angrier then usual. I do not know how I let my temper get such a hold of me. My apologies."
From the Courtyard, a voice of brass and scraping bone could be heard screaming "Fulgrim! Come out and play with the skulltaker!" Mixed with the screams of wounded.
Fulgrim's eyes took an angry cast at the thought of the few soldiers who had survived the strange beasts touch being attacked. He strode quickly out onto the courtyard, and saw a disturbing sight.
There stood the skulltaker, executing the soldiers in the visceral fashion known only to Khorne and his ilk. The soldiers fought with what would have been viewed by those used to the material martial arts as skillful, but they could never hope to match the unending millenia of battle the skulltaker had seen. When their attacks did not simply fly through the skulltaker, his body phasing between the warp, their attacks were met by its glowing blade, parrying or removing arms of those that attacked the monster. It sliced through what remained of the keep guard, removing the head of the last survivor. it looked to Fulgrim with hate and rage, and roared in its strange voice "Come, Slaanesh filth, let us see if her taint removed might make you a match for me!"
Fulgrim blanched at the thought of battling such a strange creature. he prepared himself, pulling Fireblade from its holster before he thought of backing down. Taking a breath, he approached the demon, blade raised. "I warn you creature, I am no mere mortal. I am-"
"Fulgrim, the weakling who allowed himself to be tainted and turned to a weak god, fighting his weak brothers and killing a number of them. I am aware of you Fulgrim. Or do you not have memory of those crimes?" the skulltaker spit, raising its blade.
Fulgrim's teeth ground them, irritated to the extreme by both the Skulltakers words and the aura he produced as a demon of Khorne. "I would never betray my brothers, or go to war against my father! I am a symbol of perfection in the emperor's arsenal, and I shall not fall!"
With that statement, he swung forth, fireblade hissing into the air.
Fulgrim's blade met Skulltaker's, and battle was joined. Fulgrim focused, his mind thinking of little as he dueled with one of the most dangerous creatures to fight in battle. He fought defensively, keeping his blade close to him and only blocking or parrying, hoping to tire his strange opponent out, and read his style.
The Skulltaker, meanwhile, was fighting time itself. Even now, his body was slipping between reality and the warp. Normally, he would have relished this duel, this fight of rarity where an opponent did not crumple against his inhuman assault, but now he became nervous, and grew more aggressive.
The Skulltaker lashed out with a withering display of strikes, aiming to either disable Fulgrim or kill him entirely. and yet his armor proved too sturdy even for the Skulltaker's blade, when the blade managed to slip through and land a strike. The Skulltaker began to grow desperate.
Fulgrim began to grow desperate. He could feel his armor suffering from the blows this monster unleashed. Never before had he seen such strength in a single creature. He feared it might have been able to match him, or perhaps even exceed his strikes. He knew not if he could hold against this attack. He began giving ground, which only emboldened the monster he fought.
Skulltaker leapt at the chance to push his ground, desperately hoping to force the Primarch further back. Even now, he could feel larger portions of himself shifting back into the void. He hissed in frustration, cursing the cultist he had emerged from for lacking the vigor the others had. He screamed "You are weak primarch! You give under my blows. Soon I shall have your skull, and present it to my lord!"
Fulgrim grit his teeth, and caught the skulltaker's next swing upon his blade, causing foul sparks to release and shower the ground as fireblade and The Slayer Sword clashed. "You presume much monster. Including that you will manage to take my head!"
At that moment, the warp shifted for just a second, and Skulltaker lost his grip on reality. Roaring in anger, he lashed out, swinging for Fulgrim's head. He managed to nick Fulgrim across his face, leaving a long jagged cut, and was repaid when Fulgrim instinctively lashed out, cutting a skull from Skulltaker's armor. The skulltaker roared in anger as he was propelled from reality into the warp, swearing vengeance as he was propelled before his god.
Fulgrim took a breath, before going onto a knee, finding his breathing ragged. He looked upon the sky and realized hours had passed since the duel began. He had never met a duelist as skilled as himself. He was afraid that he would meet this one again.
At this point there is a time-skip. It is presumed that That One Anon intended to fill in the time skip later.
The vessel slid through the void, and its crew moved with grace as they prepared their great hunt. many a time they had left this vessel to kill enemies of the emperor, but this was the first time in many's memory that they would be recovering a single man alive. Although the one they looked for was hardly a man.
Their first captain keyed into the vox, his voice being spread across the vessel. All heard his words, and all listened as they loaded themselves and prepared for a landscape they had not seen. "Listen carefully, my brothers, and know this. Many years ago, we were small in number, pitifully weakened by our inadequacy. There were but 200 of us, left as a failure by the emperor, our father. Only one man took the time to improve us, to grow our numbers and help us reach for perfection, something we thought impossible. He showed us how to grow, how to become more skilled than any of the other legions. He was missing for years, and it was only the divine emperors grace that found him."
The first captain thought, considering his words carefully. "I will not allow us to wait idly by, a legion in strength, while our primarch survives on his own. We know not how this galaxy has changed, only that what we once thought of as home is not the same. Our astropaths have gleaned a sense of wrongness. Nevertheless, we have a task. Find Fulgrim, our greatest brother, and return him so that he might lead us once more."
His breath was audible. "We spent years without our primarch. I refuse to do so again. Hunt for him with the perfection he taught us. Lucius out."
With that, the craft launched smaller vessels out into the void to explore the system they floated through, before jumping again. the other strike cruisers and battleships in this armada launched, each going to its own system. They had lost their primarch, and now hunted for him.
Fulgrim walked the ramparts of the stone castle, his sword at his side and a lasgun taken from the armory. He had watched the borders of the keep in the place of an actual guard for several days now, and while his armor was now dirtier then he preferred it, he felt a sense of pride over maintaining the keep as it stood.
His eyes cast across the ground again, hunting for possible skulking intruders, while the majority of his mind considered what the Baron had informed him. What little the baron had known of the Heresy. Fulgrim cringed at the mention of that name, and the idea that Horus had betrayed their father. He knew little beyond that they had been corrupted by dark forces, but it disturbed him, what little he did know.
So lost was he in thinking on this, he did not consider the sound he heard that was quite familiar to any space marine- the slicing howl of a firehawk dropping into atmosphere. his eyes looked up as it flew by overhead, banking and coming about to land outside the castle. Fulgrim smiled lightly, spying his own legions colors. He turned, moving to climb down the keep, when the thought that these might be traitors hit him. His smile disappeared, replaced with a frown of worry, and he moved more quickly, intent on either welcoming or challenging the new arrivals.
Fulgrim stepped upon the plain, hand upon the fireblade as he watched the troops disembark from the firehawk. they moved with regimental precision, exiting the vessel and forming precise lines. Fulgrim felt a hint of pride at his soldiers movements. Even if they were fallen members of his legion, they moved well.
Exiting last from the vessel was a man that kept a duelists sword at his side, and wore a helmet, obscuring his features. Fulgrim smiled slightly as the man's stride made apparent who wore the mask however. "I doubt that movement is regimental Lucius. Strutting like a peacock is hardly proper military movement."
The Captain seemed to nod, before moving to the forefront of his infantry, 19 in all, and bowed. The rest of the formation followed suit. "My lord, it is good to see you again."
Fulgrim smiled genially. "And it is good to see you as well, first captain. What news do you bring?"
The captain considered his words carefully, before saying, boastfully, "Our fleet crosses the stars, gathering information and maps of what differs this galaxy from ours. We hunt for the other primarchs and our brothers, and look for signs of our father, in the hope that we might find him."
Fulgrim nodded. "You acted well. Shall we begin preparations to leave the planet?"
"I am afraid we will have to wait a week, lord Primarch. The vessel that seeded us left to deploy others. It will not return for a week, to collect us and gather our findings." Lucius sounded contrite, regretting his decision.
Fulgrim nodded. "I suppose you can catch me up to speed then, on your own time. were any other vessels deployed to this planet?"
Lucius nodded. "Another firehawk carrying a landraider phobos carrying more troops went south, to investigate the south half of the planet. There was a strange storm that we were rather curious about. We must ask the locals about it."
Fulgrim frowned. "The baron made no mention of strange storms, but perhaps he simply did not think to mention it. Very well Lucius, send out a call for them, and deploy our soldiers to defend the walls. This shall be our new command post until our parent vessel returns to collect us. I trust you to handle those affairs. After that, visit my room, so that we might privately discuss what to do."
With that, Fulgrim swept away, cape fluttering in the wind as it was wont to do, slightly grimy as it might be from extended wear and tear.
Lucius sneered in his helmet, finding his primarch filthy like a commoner, and turned to his brothers. "Very well then, begin setting up a defensive perimeter. Weapons at the ready, hold fire until you confirm any approaching aren't evil. And get that Firehawk parked in the castle courtyard, its an eyesore where it is."
He moved then, to survey potential positions to defend and chokepoints to establish in case of attack.
Rise!! ASTARTES KAMEN!!!
Written by Friendly Anon
Pitch Black darkness was everywhere. Nothing but the stench of oil and metallic dust. Strapped with metal chains and bars to the wall, Kor’sarro Khan, Master of the Hunt and White Scars 3rd Company Captain, was immobilized and had his head completely hazy after he awakened.
“Where in Chogoris am I? Why in the Khan’s name I cannot move?” – thought the Khan when he opened his eyes.
Kor’sarro tried to move, yet his body couldn’t respond at all. He put all his focus into moving at least one of his limbs, yet to no effect.
“What in the Emperor’s name happened!? I can’t even move my fingers! Wait...I CANNOT FEEL MY BODY!!” – the Khan panicked in his thoughts. He wanted to move his limbs badly, yet he was completely immobile.
That moment, a blinding flash appeared, and with it a group of four black robed Tech-Priests entered the room that was completely dark seconds ago. The slab to which Kor’sarro was chained suddenly moved. The slab was moving due to a enormous servo-arm being attached to it, and it positioned itself from the wall to the centre of the room. Kor’sarro was now lying on the slab instead being nailed to it. The room itself was made out of rocks (probably basalt), and in some places there were corroded pipes from which oil was dripping. The 3rd Company Captain had a closer look at the Tech-Priests. They didn’t look like those he usually knew. Dark robes, faceless masks that conceived their faces, mechadendrites with malefic motifs. He realized that these were not Imperium aligned ones. When he came to his conclusion, a loud, emotionless cybernetic voice was suddenly heard.
“IT SEEMS THAT YOU FINALLY AWOKE AFTER THOSE THREE MONTHS KOR’SARRO KHAN, 3RD CAPTAIN OF THE WHITE SCARS AND MASTER OF THE HUNT. WELCOME TO OUR HOME.” – the voice greeted the Khan.
“WHO ARE YOU!!? AND WHY CAN’T I MOVE MY LIMBS!!? WHY IS MY BODY NUMB!!?” – asked the Khan in a furious tone.
“SAFETY MEASURES, AS YOU COULD BREAK EASILY FROM OUR RESTRAINS. AS FOR WHO WE ARE, YOU CAN CALL US THE CULT OF SHOCK. YOU CAN CALL ME THE GREAT MAGOS.”
“WHERE IS THIS PLACE!!!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SAFETY MEASURES!!? WHERE ARE MY BROTHERS!!?” – the Khan had his patience strained to the limits. First he and his brethren arrived on the planet of Hakkas in pursuit of a dangerous Warpsmith, only to suddenly fell to a strange psychic wave that overrode their nervous systems and made them black-out. Now he was in his current situation. Helpless, immobilized and at the mercy of these hereteks.
“I CANNOT TELL YOU THAT KOR’SARRO KHAN OF THE WHITE SCARS. AS FOR YOUR BROTHERS…YOU WILL FIND IT OUT VERY SOON. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY WE USED SUCH SAFETY MEASURES, THEN IT IS BECAUSE YOU UNDERWENT SOME OF OUR PROCEDURES. TODAY IS THE FINAL ONE WHERE YOU SHALL BECOME COMPLETE. A PERFECT INSTRUMENT OF THE MECHANICUS AND THE OMNISIAAH. NOT THE ONE WORSHIPPED BY THE DELUDED FOOLS OF MARS, YET THE ONE THAT PROMISES PROGRESS AND INNOVATION. WITH AIDING THE 13TH BLACK CRUSADE, WE CAN IN TURN ACHIEVE OUR ORDER. AN ORDER WHERE THE WEAK SHALL BECOME FUEL FOR THE STRONG. WHERE THE FEW THAT SURVIVE OUR TRIALS WILL BE DEEMED TO RULE IN THE GALAXY UNDER THE NEW ORDER. AND YOU KOR’SARRO KHAN. YOU, YOUR CHAPTER AND ITS SUCCESSORS, WILL BE REFORGED BY US INTO THE KEYS OF THE FUTURE. OUR FUTURE.”
When Kor’sarro was hearing this, dread and unspeakable horror crept into his mind. That was madness. Complete and utter madness. These hereteks were mad to the point where even the most insane had more common sense than they. What did they mean by altered? What did they do to him? What did they do to his men? How long this lasted? The Khan of the 3rd Company couldn't help but to explode in sudden rage.
“WHAT IN THE NAME OF TERRA AND CHOGORIS WAS THAT SPEECH SUPPOSED TO BE!!!? WHERE ARE MY BRETHREN!!!? I SWEAR IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO THEM I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN FOR THE REST OF YOUR MISERABLE LIFESPANS!!!”
“THIS WILL HARDLY BE OF ANY CONCERN TO US.” – replied the Great Magos with a colder tone - “AFTER THIS FINAL PROCEDURE, YOU WILL BE A COMPLETELY OBEDIENT SOLDIER. BROTHERS” – his voice addressed the Hereteks – “BEGIN THE FINAL PROCEDURE. I IN THE MEANWHILE NEED TO ATTEND A MATTER OF IMPORTANT RANK.” – with this the light greatly dimmed to tolerable levels and the Shock Hereteks activated the slab’s tool components.
One of the Priests took a mask with sleeping gas and wanted to put it on Kor’sarro. If the Khan had any will in his limbs, then he could have at least struggled. The 3rd Company Captain braced himself when the moment the mask was supposed to be put on his face, a explosion occurred. Someone has blasted the doors that lead into the room. The Hereteks were panicked at the development of this. Suddenly one of them exploded as a plasma bolt shot him. Two were instead shot in the heads by more traditional bolt rounds. The Tech-Priest that had the sleep mask reacted to what happened, yet before he could contact the Great Magos, another plasma shot struck him in the head, reducing it to a smoking pile of shredded flesh and cybernetics. A Tech-Priest wielding a plasma gun entered the room. Compared to the ones here already, he had the traditional crimson red robe and two servo arms with one having a boltgun on it.
“Thank the Omnisiaah they didn’t begun the brainwashing.” – said the Techpriest – “Wait a little longer Space Marine, I’ll get you out of this.”
“Wait. Why are you helping me? Aren’t you with them?”
“I don’t want to be lumped with those damnable madmen. I’m here because they lured me with aiding me with my development of a new type of bionics I wanted to create.” – as he was saying it, he pulled out a plasma cutter and swapped his boltgun with it, which the Priest immediately activated in order to cut the chains that bonded the Khan to the slab – “Before I realized who they actually were, it was already too late. By the way, my name is Kurogane.”
“Kor’sarro.” – replied the marine – “But how will you get me out? Even if you cut the chains I cannot move.”
“I’m only going to cut those chains that are concealing your chest armour. With your condition, you should break from those chains with ease. Those were designed to immobilize Space Marines. You however are all but a normal marine.” – as he said it, Kurogane’s plasma cutter cut the large number of thick chains that were covering the power armour’s chest. When Kurogane finished, he showed Kor’sarro why he intended to cut these particular chains. There was something embedded in Kor’sarro’s armour in place of his Chapter’s symbol. It looked like a cogwheel with hole surrounded with strange steel plating – “In order to make you move and feel again, I’m going to have to put this here power-source inside the drive system.”
“What do you mean power-source? What happened to me!?”
“Patience son of Jaghatai. I will tell you everything when we escape this place. It’s too dangerous for the two of us.” – replied Kurogane as he pulled out from his robe a crimson glowing roll-like device that was made out of some strange kind of crystal and metal.
The Tech-Priest put the device into the hole in Kor’sarro’s chest. In an instant the power-source was put into the hole, the metal plates whirled for a second and closed the hole. The White Scar immediately felt that he regained both the feeling in his body, as well as control over it. Kor’sarro moved his right arm, only to discover that the thick chains with which he would have great difficulties suddenly cracked when he applied enough strength. This surprised the 3rd Company Captain. What did those crazy hereteks did to him? More importantly than his condition however was if his brothers were still alive. Kor’sarro did applied the same strength with his other arm, rose from the slab and reached to rip the chains off his legs. After this, the Space Marine stood up from the slab.
“I don’t trust you fully Tech-Priest, but I have no choice in this case.”
“Good. You can’t trust any Tech-Priest at the moment. The Cult of Shock has secret covens on multiple forge worlds and Mechanicus controlled planets. Even Mars is not beyond their reach.”
“Wait. What do you mean Mars!? What in the Emperor’s name is happening?”
“I told you that I will tell you everything once we escape.” – Kurogane quickly switched to a vox build into his suit. A second later a servitor appeared, carrying Kor’sarro’s Moonfang – “I took your blade without them noticing. Expect them to know that you’re free and that they already sounded a silent alarm.”
Kor’sarro took his blade from the servitor.
“This is truly an insane day. Lead the way.” – and with that, Kor’sarro, Kurogane and the servitor that accompanied the Tech-Priest left the room.
The two and the servitor ran through the whitely illuminated corridors. So far there were no guards nor obstacles.
“There is a landing bay nearby. Your remaining brothers are in the Cult’s personal dungeons for transportation. We save them, input the coordinates I give you, and you all will take the nearest transport ship and fly in such manner to avoid anti-air we...” – “Wait a minute.” – interrupted the Khan – “What do you mean by remaining?”
At this point Kurogane looked at the White Scar with expression filled with remorse and answered him – “I...your brothers...remember that blackout?”
“I do remember a wave that was of psychic origin as I deduced from the agonizing pain that I experienced, but that’s not the point. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY REMAINING!?”
“Your entire Company was captured. You and your brothers were commissioned for the Cult’s ‘conditionings’.” – Kurogane started to talk with even more difficulties – “Of the hundred marines...sixteen, including you, survived the experiments. Most didn’t go past the first phase. Of all, you were the only one who passed all but the final phase.”
Kor’sarro snapped as he snatched the Tech-Priest by the throat and pulled him closer to his face. Kurogane was dangling in the air while looking at Kor’sarro’s furious face – “SIXTEEN!!? FIFTEEN OF MY MEN LEFT!!? BASTARD, WHAT WERE YOU ALL DOING!!?”
The Servitor immediately interfered to protect its master, but Kurogane stopped it with a hand gesture despite being barely capable of breathing – “I didn’t even knew about you...<gasp>...I only wanted to deve...<gasp>...lope my bio-mechanical...bionics...<gasp>...please...<gasp>...low on air...<gasp>...throat...being...crushed.” – Kurogane indeed was struggling to breathe. Kor’sarro released his grip and the Tech-Priest fell to the ground.
After a few seconds passed before the Tech-Priest, lying on the ground, continued – “Haaaa...as I said, I didn’t knew that you were here. I didn’t knew that these hereteks intended to use my invention to their devious plans. When I finally realized, they already taken my only daughter hostage. She’s but a child! My wife died due to a cyber-virus attack that caused her cybernetic heart to malfunction while my child was still an infant! I only wanted to create bionic implants and augmentations that would be impregnable to such attacks! I didn’t knew a month ago that they would twist my plans to something this...this irredeemably treacherous. All because something happened during that accursed Black Crusade of the Despoiler.” – he continued. Emotions completely taking him over – “I only wanted to at least atone for trusting those traitors. I wanted to release you, send you away to safety and get back my daughter. I’m just a simple Tech-Priest, not some brilliant Magos. I only wanted to do something right and for the good of the Imperium. I didn’t intend to have you and your brothers being experimented on.” – Kurogane broke, his head facing the ground and a tear dropping from his human right eye on it. Kor’sarro saw something that he didn’t thought possible. A Tech-Priest that had emotions, and even more, one that would shed a tear for someone.
After a moment of thought, Kor’sarro replied to Kurogane – “Stand up. Where do they keep your daughter?”
Kurogane was caught a sudden with the question – “You.” – he struggled with an answer – “After all of this. After what I and the Cult did to you...You would...?”
“Come on. Now that I know everything, let’s rescue both my brothers and your girl.”
Kurogane stood up and regained his composure. Revitalized by Kor’sarro’s words, the Tech-Priest replied – “My daughter is in a special room near the dungeons where your brothers are kept. I’ll show you the way.”
“Lead then.” – replied Kor’sarro while readying Moonfang – “We’ll collect some heads while we’re on it.”
Kurogane’s cybernetic left eye flashed from white into a series of red and green lights as both the Tech-Priest and the White Scars’ Captain moved on. The servitor followed them after receiving the commands.
“By the way. Your name...you are from the Yamato Sector?”
“Indeed Captain. Both me and my daughter. You were once there?”
“To visit one of our Successor Chapters.” – replied the Khan – “We’ll talk later, for now let us focus on what we should do.”
The three rushed through the corridors. The group entered a small hall where two Skiitari guards with skull-like masks were guarding the room where Kurogane’s daughter was held.
“There is the escapee and the rebellious Tech-Priest!! Sound the...GUAAAH!!” – before the Shock Cult Skiitari could order his fellow guard to sound the alarm, he was immediately shot with a plasma bolt, while the latter was cut down by Kor’sarro before he could react. The White Scar felt differently when he killed the Skiitari. The way he did it...it was as if he moved normally while everything else moved slower than previously. A Space Marine’s physical and mental capabilities were superior when compared to normal humans. That includes their senses. In Kor’sarro’s case, he felt as if there was something way different with him. Meanwhile Kurogane approached the console and immediately started to work on the locking mechanisms.
“That invention of yours...” – asked Kor’sarro – “Those bionics you mentioned. Those hereteks enhanced me with them, right?”
“It’s not even your full potential. As I said. You passed all but the final phase. But before you were to take part in it, they wanted to brainwash you into their obedient puppet.” – replied the Tech-Priest. After a short moment, the console’s UI turned from red to green and the door opened.
“Father!!” – replied a girl’s voice from the end of the room. A girl with long pitch-black hair and red robes ran out of there. From Kor’sarros point of view, she could be no more but fourteen. The Tech-Priest and the little girl immediately hugged each other. After this, Kurogane turned to Kor’sarro, his daughter still hugging the Tech-Priest.
“White Scar, I thank you from the depths of my heart. Let us now save your brothers.”
“I’d rather if you told me how to get to the dungeons while you and your girl get to the landing bay and secure a transport big enough for us all. There may be a lot of guards in there.”
“Let me give you this then.” – Kurogane took out something from his belt pouch and gave it to the 3rd Company Captain – “This is a navigation system that immediately downloads a building’s schematics. This should be useful to you. The landing bay and the dungeons are already marked. If you want to get your brethren’s wargear, then the armoury where they store confiscated gear is next to the dungeon entrance.”
“Will be useful. Let’s go then.” – before he moved out, Kaname spoke to him – “Thank you for rescuing father.”
The 3rd Captain turned his head to her and replied with a little smile.
The dungeons of the Cult of Shock were damp, weakly illuminated places with multiple layers of cells upon cells and where corrosion was actually the only colour scheme there. Here the remnants of the White Scars 3rd Company was being kept in three five-man cells. These were of a completely different design. The Hereteks of the Cult of Shock informed the marines how futile any attempt of attaining freedom would end. There were no bars, only powerful force fields. Chewing through the floor would land the marines in a identical cell. On the very bottom below the final cell was a pool of corrosive miasma that would melt anything in only a few seconds. The imprisoned White Scars were not having a good time at all.
“They took Ogadai a long time ago...was it seven days ago? Damn. There are not windows here to see if it’s even day or night.” – one of the White Scars spoke.
“I wonder if captain Kor’sarro is all right. They took him first three months ago along with ten of our brothers while still unconscious. To become the hunted...that is a stain on our honour.”
“There is only fifteen of us left. Who knows when are they going to come for more of us...”
“Both of you shut up.” – replied the Apothecary– “Talking about how much of a miserable situation we are is not going to help anyone.”
“I concur.” – added a Techmarine – “Our morale is already barely existent. Complaining about our situation will only worsen the effects.”
“We don’t know what is going on with our brethren brothers Abudal and Kamaul. The very fact that we are what remains of the 3rd Company is depressing enough. Of a hundred of us, only fifteen remain, and we don’t know what they did to those they took. We can assume the worst if it goes about hereteks of such calibre.” – replied a White Scar in the cell to the left. By the looks of his armour he was a Sergeant – “What’s worse, we can’t free ourselves. Remember what these hereteks told us? Try to breach down and you land in another cell. Breach too far and you land in lethal miasma.”
Apothecary Abudal was about to say something when the marines heard gunfire shots coming from afar. Even though the dungeons were poorly lit, the Astartes could see with their enhanced vision that there were flashes from guns coming from one of the corridors. They saw someone emerge from there that immediately boosted their morale.
“CAPTAIN KOR’SARRO!!!” – the Sergeant called, and immediately the rest of the White Scars came to life after Emperor knows how long where they trapped in here. Kor’sarro quickly approached the remnants of his Company.
“Thank the Emperor you’re still alive Captain.” – spoke Apothecary Abudal – “What of the others?”
“They didn’t make it.” – replied Kor’sarro – “Those Cult of Shock hereteks put me and everyone else through some bizarre conditioning that only I survived. A Tech-Priest that was imprisoned by them managed to free me and show where you are held imprisoned.”
“Conditioning?” – asked Techmarine Kamaul – “Captain, there is much to ask, but I fear that the hereteks know about that you are here. The consoles you see activate and deactivate the force fields. Normally I could have opened it, but the hereteks took away the needed tools from me. One of the guards has the key-card, but I think that destroying the consoles will cause them to go haywire and free us all.”
“Let’s see it then.” – Kor’sarro replied as he a second later stabbed one of the consoles with Moonfang. It sparked for a moment and flames appeared. The force field that formed the walls of the middle disappeared and the occupants were free. The Master of The Hunt did the same to the two other consoles. The White Scars were free from their cells – “Before we go, we should visit the armoury where our wargear is being held. It’s right next to our location.”
“Lead then Brother Captain.” – replied the Sergeant.
Fifteen minutes later. The Cult’s Command Room:
The Cult of Shock’s command room was enormous and was faintly illuminated by a pillar of light in the centre of the floor. Around the light source was a great round table. From the shadows, a enormous figure appeared, frustrated and nervous.
“Damn that Kurogane! He used the perfect opportunity to interfere with our plans!!” – cried out in anger a Tech-Priest in Terminator-like armour and with crab-like robotic limbs. He wore black robes over his armour, yet he had a red, metallic, faceless mask obscuring his face and apart of four mechadendrites, two enormous servo-arms were clanking from his back – “I told you that he would finally rebel and try to run away with that brat of his, but no, you hand-waved at it. Not only did he escape with that aforementioned brat, BUT ALSO WITH BOTH THE ENHANCED WHITE SCAR AND THE PRISONERS!!!”
“Patience Ralaz.” – sounded a seductive female voice from above – “Of us all, you are the only one that reacts like that. Though I have to say, I like that in you...” – from the ceiling, a Priestess flew on enormous mechanical wings. Like other Shock Priests, she had black robes, yet a metallic blue, faceless mask was concealing her face. Four pairs of incredibly long mechadendrites were dangling from her spinal cord – “Yet sometimes, I want you to behave less impulsive.”
“Oh please. The two of you make my skull crack.” – sounded a very old voice from the shadows – “And I have to remind you that my skull is two centimetres of tank-grade adamantium with my brain floating in there inside a bullet-proof jar?” – another dark robed Tech-Priest appeared. His mask was also faceless, yet this time it was metallic green, and the Tech-Priest had a grav-cushion for legs and a shell-like construct on his back. However, his head was a enormous cylinder-like construct with two dangling long mechadendrites with green orbs to which the mask was attached – “I swear to our Omnisiaah Vilirala, you and Ralez could do something constructive instead of either being enraged or being all lovey-dovey. I’d rather be in my workshop than hear the two of you.”
“Silence you corroded slug cog!!” – replied angrily Ralez – “You would rather lock yourself in that workshop of yours and never leave it while we do the brunt of the cult’s activity on this and other planets!!”
“I agree with Ralaz here.” – added Vilirala – “You’re such a spoil-sport that always complains about everything Orolo. Why can’t you just go with the times for once?”
“Don’t you lecture me you harpy!” – Orolo then turned to Ralaz – “And you be silent you crab with energy exceeding safety levels! I tolerate your tantrums and Vilirala’s deviancies involving little children because the Grand Magos explicitly ordered me to do so!! I even had to make sure she stayed away from that Kurogane’s brat because of Omnissiah knows what she could’ve done to her.”
“Hmpf.” – replied the priestess – “I told you that you are a horrible spoilsport. Oh, how much would I give to have that little Kaname for myself. Hmmmmm...” – she finished her sentence with a suggestive sound and taking a very specific pose.
“Why you don’t worship that Slaanesh warp being while he didn’t go completely Khorne wonders me constantly.”
“I never liked pink.”
“I’m not always angry.” – added Ralaz.
“Tsss. A waste of my time!!”
“That’s enough you three.” – a fourth Tech-Priest entered the room. His mask was similar to theirs, yet golden metallic. Polished to the point that it was like a mirror. His robes were more distinct than those of his fellow priests. The upper part had a distinctive golden circle around the hood element. Under the robes, there was personal power armour. A rare thing, considering that only those with the greatest of privileges could gain access to this kind of piece of wargear – “If you don’t like it in here Orolo, then you can go back to experimenting on those geneseeds from those White Scars that failed the procedures and those special hosts that were sent from the revered Fabius Bile for cybernetic enhancements. On the other hand however, if you go now, you will upset the Grand Magos.”
Orolo turned his orbed mechadendrites to the gold enriched Tech-Priest – “Always the one to give orders...aren’t I right Abtaz?” – spoke Orolo in a voice filled with disdain – “Always the Grand Magos’s favourite. You tell us to be quiet. You’re the leader of our group due to your capabilities, but aren’t you overstepping your privileges?”
“One of my responsibilities is to maintain order among us. Every conflict we’ll resolve in more diplomatic manners. You Orolo instead of trying to lessen the tension, you simply add oil to the flames by joining this unproductive debate.”
“YOU WHAT!?” – reacted Ralaz.
“Hmpf. Even bigger spoilsport.”
“You’re cracking my mind’s glass here! Be silent for once!”
“I WOULD RATHER IF YOU WERE ALL SILENT AND HEAR WHAT I HAVE TO SAY. THAT INCLUDES YOU TOO OROLO.” – a monotonous cybernetic voice suddenly boomed through the room.
“G-G-GRAND MAGOS!!?” – replied the surprised and shocked Orolo by sudden appearance of the leader of the Cult of Shock.
“I KNOW THAT YOU DISLIKE THE COMPANY OF THE REST OF THE FAVORED MAGOSES, BUT ONLY WITH CO-OPERATION CAN WE ACHIEVE OUR NEW ORDER.”
“Y-yes Grand Magos.”
“IF IT GOES FOR RALAZ AND VILIRALA, THEN A LITTLE SELF-CONTROL WON'T IMAPRE YOUR CAPABILITIES?”
“Yes Grand Magos.” – replied the two Tech-Priests in unison.
“NOW THAT WE HAVE SETTLED IT, LET US ATTEND TO MORE CONCERNING MATTERS. AS YOU KNOW, THE TECH-PRIEST FROM THE YAMATO SECTOR, THE ENGINSEER KUROGANE, HAS FINALLY TOOK MATTERS INTO HIS OWN IN ORDER TO BREAK FREE. EVEN MORE, HE FREED THE ENCHANCED SPECIMEN KOR’SARRO KHAN OF THE WHITE SCARS 3RD COMPANY, WHO IN RETURN FREED HIS REMAINING BROTHERS. AS WE ARE TALKING HERE, THE SPACE MARINES HAVE ALREADY SEIZED THE ARMOURY AND TOOK ALL THEIR WARGEAR BACK. NOW THEY TOOK ONE OF OUR CARGO CARRIERS AND ARE EN-ROUTE TO THE LANDING BAY WHERE THE ENGINSEER AND HIS PROGENY ARE CURRENTLY READYING ONE OF THE STORM BIRDS WE FOUND MONTHS AGO.”
“Then why aren’t we doing anything to stop them from escaping Grand Magos?” – asked Vilirala.
“PATIENCE VILIRALA, FOR I SEE THIS AS A OPPORTUNITY TO TEST THE ENCHANCEMENTS ENGINSEER KUROGANE CREATED. BEFORE HE REBELLED AND CAUSED THE CURRENT SITUATION, KUROGANE TOOK THE SAFETY LOCK MECHANISM FOR THE FINAL PHASE. NO DOUBT THAT HE IS GOING TO USE IT ON KOR’SARRO KHAN TO UNLOCK HIS TRUE CAPABILITIES. ABTAZ, SEND FORTH THE CHAOS DAEMONS WE REMODELLED WITH OUR CYBERNETICS ALONG WITH OUR REGULAR FORCES.”
“As you wish Grand Magos.” – replied Abtaz as he disappeared into the shadows.
Meanwhile in cargo tunnel, the White Scars were operating a cargo carrier that was moving at reasonably high speed:
“Sergeant Tenuk, status report.” – asked Kor’sarro.
“We claimed nearly all the wargear that belongs to us and our fallen brothers. Every bolter, every chainsword, every set of power armour, everything that wasn’t disassembled by those damnable bastards. We even got some of our bikes intact, including your Moondrakkar Captain.”
“Well done Tenuk. Our transport from this mad place is at the end of this tunnel. We’ll be free very soon. You are dismissed Sergeant. Tell Kamaul to keep this speed.”
As Tenuk left the room that Kor’sarro turned into a improvised command centre, Apothecary Abudal entered the room.
“May I Captain?” – asked the Apothecary.
“Yes brother Abudal?”
“What about the geneseed of our fallen?”
“This is a enigma to me, but I fear that the geneseeds of our brothers either rotted Emperor knows where these hereteks threw their bodies, or they collected it and are storing it somewhere in this facility.” – replied the Captain – “If the latter, then I swear we will get it back no matter what. Yet with our numbers we won’t be capable of getting it back. Thus we will have to call in for reinforcements from the Chapter. But for now, we should concentrate on getting back to our ships...if they are still around.”
“Understood Captain.” – replied the Apothecary with a voice that betrayed a small measure of sadness coming from him.
Before Abudal exited the room, Kor’sarro spoke out.
“Abudal. I promise to get the geneseed back. If it’s intact, we will get it. Yet now you and the surviving members of the 3rd Company are top priority. As a Captain, it is my responsibility to get you out of this. You all is what is left of the Company. I will not allow anyone of you to perish.”
“I understand Captain. And I hope that we will get them back.”
Kor’sarro looked as Abudal left the room. He knew that the Apothecary was shaken to the core of his soul at the loss of so many battle brothers. It was the duty of brothers such as Abudal to collect the geneseed so that new recruits could be turned into marines. Losing nearly all the battle brothers was already depressing. Losing their geneseed was even more so, as well a blow to the chapter. Kor’sarro would exact retribution on the Cult of Shock for the atrocities they’ve commited.
Three minutes later, a White Scar entered the room.
“Captain. Techmarine Kamaul reports that we’ll be approaching our destination in a couple of minutes.”
“Tell the rest to prepare to reload the wargear to our transport. We’re getting our freedom back.”
The Landing Bay was built into a natural cave that had a opening large enough for multiple very large aircraft to fly in and out simultaneously. This also indicated that the Cult’s HQ was probably located in some kind of mountain range, unknown to anyone. While the White Scars were preparing to disembark the moment they arrive, Kurogane and Kaname, along the Enginseer’s servitor, were tinkering with the Storm Bird’s systems...
“This should do. All of the Cult’s restriction systems have been removed.” – the Enginseer then called his daughter – “Kaname! How are you doing!?”
“The controls are active.” – replied the girl while manipulating a personal computer on her right bionic arm that she plugged to the ship’s consoles – “All flight systems green and we can fly anytime. The weapons have been just loaded, yet their systems still need to be set up.”
“Good. Now we need to wait for the marines to get here and...” – before he could finish his sentence, the alarm has been activated. The Storm Bird’s systems detected intruders nearing the craft’s location – “Dear Omnissiah...KANAME!! Communicate with the craft’s machine spirit! I will buy you time while you run the weapons. We need hold out until the marines arrive.”
Kurogane took his trusty plasma gun and affixed the boltgun on his ballistic servo-arm. Before he could venture out, his daughter replied to him.
Kurogane turned to his daughter and smiled to her – “Kaname. I did some awful things for which I need to make amends.” – immediately his expression turned into one of grim determination – “I already got you in danger once and lost your mother. You’re the only one left to me.” – and with that, the Tech-Priest rushed out of the craft to find cover behind the steel crates, positioning himself in front of the entrance.
Two ten-man squads of Skiitari of the Cult of Shock ran into the landing bay, only to be shot down by a precise aim from Kurogane’s weapons. Guns blazed wildly as the Enginseer exchanged fusillades with the heretek’s soldiers. The Skiitari realized that Kurogane had a powerful Refractor Field protecting him, making the battle even more gruelling for them. While their shots either missed or were deflected by the field, Kurogane sniped one after another, yet more Skiitari were appearing and opening fire. The Tech-Priest already scored ten of the cyber-soldiers, but there were now twice as much as there were.
“Emperor’s damnation!! More than I expected.” –the Enginseer cursed himself as the Cult’s forces were appearing in greater numbers.
Suddenly sounds of gunfire appeared from behind Kurogane. The White Scars rolled with the cargo carrier and opened fire on the Skiitari.
“KUROGANE!!!” – called out Kor’sarro as he leapt from the cargo carrier along with Tanuk and four marines that provided covering fire to get to the Tech-Priest – “HOW’S THE SITUATION!!?”
“JUST LOAD ALL YOU HAVE AND GET INTO THE STORMBIRD!! THERE IS ENOUGH ROOM FOR ALL OF US AND YOUR EQUIPMENT!!”
Kor’sarro activated his vox channel and contacted Kamaul – “BROTHER TECHMARINE!! LOAD IT ALL TO THE STORM BIRD!!”
“ROGER THAT!!” – replied the Techmarine through the vox. Kamaul activated the enormous crate arm that picked up the containers with their equipment and loaded them through the open bay of the Storm Bird while the White Scars exchanged fire – “THE CONTAINERS ARE ALL LOADED!! WE’RE GOING OUT HERE!!”
“YOU HEARD KAMAUL!! EVERYONE INTO THE STORM BIRD!!” – ordered Kor’sarro.
At this moment, the marines and the Enginseer started to move towards the dropship. The Skiitari now numbered in the dozens upon dozens and used the piles of corpses that were their comrades. The turrets on the aircraft suddenly burst to life and turned to face the Cult’s forces. The heavy bolters spat out rounds after rounds at the soldiers, cutting them down into shreds.
“SEEMS THAT KANAME MANAGED TO ACTIVATE THE WEAPONS!!” – cried out the Tech-Priest in order to get through to the noise made by the bolters.
As the final White Scar entered the craft, the craft’s doors closed. Kamaul immediately took reign in the pilot’s seat.
“Can you fly this thing?” – asked Sergeant Tenuk.
“This was once used by us during the Great Crusade. It’s no different from a Thunderhawk in terms of controls despite the fact that it’s simply much larger than the craft I usually use to fly.” – replied the Techmarine.
The wings started to unfold. Kamaul activated the engines and the Storm Bird roared into life. After completely unfolding, the craft was slowly lifting itself, still spewing bolter shells in the direction of the Cult forces. When it finally lifted itself high enough, the enormous machine moved forwards, gaining speed with every second.
“The coordinates to avoid the AA guns has been already loaded into the navigation system.” – spoke out Kurogane – “Now we only need to fly through the designated path and we will find ourselves far enough to fly off into space.”
“Finally this is over.” – Tenuk replied.
“Not yet.” – replied Kor’sarro – “After we return to our ships, we’re calling in the Chapter Master to send in reinforcements to take down those bastards and recover our brother’s geneseed.”
Something fell on the Storm Bird and it gained additional weight. There were mad hits coming from the outside as if somebody or something wanted to get inside.
“What’s going on!?” – asked Abudal.
“We have stowaways.” – replied Kamaul.
The Techmarine switched to external cameras. The marines couldn’t believe what they saw. Chaos Daemons! Bloodletters and Daemonettes, though they looked differently than the ones they usually fought. The Khornate daemons had all their bodies turned with cybernetics into something akin to power armours, while the Slaaneshi ones had a additional pair of arms with clawed hands and cybernetic legs along with a long, metallic tail instead of those that their kin usually have. Suddenly one of the Daemonettes shaped her cybernetic arm into a very long blade and stabbed into the craft, making a hole in it.
“Dammit!!” – one of the White Scars cried out while dodging the blade that went through the roof.
The daemon continued to stab. One of the marines had it enough and started to shoot into the holes.
“Omnissiah’s damnation!!! They made a hole in the craft!! We can forget about going into space due to our normal passengers!!” – cried out Kamaul. Indeed he was right. While most of the marines had hermeneutically sealed armours and those who didn’t have helmets could go into suspended animation, Kurogane and his daughter were normal humans in all respect.
The Storm Bird finally flew out of the cave into the surface. The planet of Hakkas was a desert planet with little flora that was concentrated in the form of oasis’s. It seemed that the Cult’s headquarters was indeed located in a mountain range. As the craft was attacked from above, the occupants tried to shake them off. Now it was evening on the planet, as the sun was slowly hiding on the horizon. Despite Kamaul’s exceptional piloting skills, the daemons clung to them. Kor’sarro had it enough.
“They are after me! Lower the altitude near the closest open surface. I’ll try to draw their attention.”
“With all due respect Captain, but didn’t those conditionings affect your mind!?” – replied Kamaul.
“If you have a alternative to my plan, then I’m eager to hear it out.”
While the two argued, the battle in the hold became intense. Now eight marines tried to fend off the daemons who were now trying to rip their way inside. Kurogane decided that the time for the final phase was nigh.
“Captain! Those daemons are not normal ones as you already observed. They were enhanced by the Cult’s cybernetics. If this were a regular battle, then we’d be annihilated before we could do anything to them. Your current condition won’t be sufficient enough if you want to meet them out in the open!”
“How will we fight them then?”
“With this.” – replied the Enginseer as he put his hand into his pocket inside his robe. He took out a strange tubular object with a red dot on the round side of one of the ends – “The final phase of your transformation was not the brainwashing. The Cult wanted to do it to you because after the final phase, you’d be completely immune to any form of memory alteration and have your mind even more resistant to psychic influence. This device is a activation system. With your battle form unlocked, you will be capable of utterly annihilating the daemons.”
Kor’sarro was sceptical about this.
There were explosions outside that have shaken the craft. Kamaul switched the external cameras to see what happened.
“There goes our heavy bolters. Now we cannot go into space and we’re also defenceless.”
The 3rd Company Captain quickly thought – “Emperor’s damnation!!! Kurogane!! How to unlock my true potential!!?”
“Just look into the dot with whatever eye you want to.”
Kor’sarro took the device and looked into the dot with his right eye. In an instant, a laser shot out of the tubular object. Kor’sarro seemed entranced by what he was experiencing. He saw trillions upon trillions of lines of binary codes, data on insectoid wildlife of the Yamato Sector and blueprints on the cyber enhancements that he had been modified with. All of this was flying around him when he saw a small dot on the horizon through the cyclone of data. The dot was growing fast. The White Scar realized that it was actually something approaching him with alarming speed. Three seconds from realizing what it was, he had now a clear view of what was the object. A grasshopper of enormous size, with massive mandiblades, maleficent eyes along with long limbs and antennas. It’s wings enormous and broad, it entered the whirl of data that surrounded Kor’sarro and charged him with opened mandiblades. The moment it made contact with the captain, everything went dark for a second.
Kor’sarro was wet with sweat all over his body after this. What was that he saw there? Kurogane suddenly spoke.
“Now your true potential has awakened. Your physical capabilities are above those of the swiftest and deadliest of warriors. Yours is the toughness of a Knight Titan and the power of the heaviest weapons. The body that you now have will grant you strength beyond that of a Space Marine and the most deadliest monsters. With what you have became, you can defeat the daemons.”
The craft shaked yet again.
“THEY ARE TRYING TO DAMAGE THE ENGINES!!!” – cried out Kamaul.
“Captain, listen to me! In order to change into your battle form you need to activate the drive-system on your chest! Just think about activating it and it will follow. After this use any voice command embedded into the system. ANY that will be appropriate with transforming. Anything else will be automatic.”
“Understood.” – replied Kor’sarro. The Captain then turned his head to face Kamaul – “Techmarine, time to test out those enhancements. Open the doors.”
“I didn’t understand the last part Captain. Are you serious about that you want to jump off ten miles above the ground without a grav-shute?”
“I’m dead serious here. If I deduced correctly, then I’m already abnormal to the point that I would survive an even higher jump. Now open the doors.”
“Can’t question the commander.” – replied Kamaul and stopped the Storm Bird, hanging it in the air over the ground very far above. Ten miles are not something to be trifled with.
Kor’sarro ran through the cockpit to the stations from which Assault Marines jumped off. The doors opened and the White Scars didn’t understand what was happening except for Kaname who realized that her father actually did this to the White Scars Captain. The 3rd Company Captain then turned to face them and spoke.
“I’m about to do something insane. Wish me luck.” – after ending his short speech, the drive-mechanism opened. The metal plates moved aside to show the drive’s energy source as it swirled with violent red. Kor’sarro then simply jumped off to the horror of the marines. While he was falling, the cybernetically enhanced daemons followed him. High above ground, Kor’sarro uttered the words that would change his life from this point.
Written by Ravenfag, no beginning has been written yet
Eridanius stood, and was about to say something, when the crackling portal before them grew wider, and moved forwards, swallowing him and the others before he could shout a warning. The feeling was akin to teleportation, a freezing chill, a swirl of nameless colours, and the feeling of being pulled in every direction at once.
Then he was rolling down a slope, armour clattering on the ground. Something collided with his hip, he heard Hadrian curse, and was nearly crushed beneath the Silver Skulls’ weight as the other space marine rolled over him. This slowed Eridanius enough that he was able to roll onto his front and punch an armoured fist into the rubble they were sliding down, halting his decent. Scrambling to his feet, he turned, and started scrambling down the scree after the rest of the team. By the time he had reached the bottom, the others were picking themselves up, and dusting off their glossy black armour. Out of breath, Eridanius inhaled deeply as he glanced around at the others, checking that the trip through the portal had not harmed any of them. Hadrian, the Silver Skull, was checking his bolter for damage, Vayne, the Dark Angel, was sitting a short distance away and rubbing his head. Solitan, the Apothecary and Celestial Lion, was drinking from his armour’s water bottle, and checking his Narthecium still functioned. The final member of the team was the Novamarine Falax, the front of whose armour had been scorched down to the ceramite by his encounter with the nuclear device.
“Where are we?” Said Solitan, seemingly satisfied with his Narthecium, and looking around at Eridanius.
“I’d have thought asking ‘when’ are we would be more apt.” Murmured Vayne, standing up.
Eridanius turned around; away from the slope the marines had arrived on, and was faced with a massive city spread out before him.
“Oh. You’d think I would’ve noticed that straight away.”
Not a single light showed in any of the buildings, and as the blackshield increased the zoom level of his helmet, he saw that nearly all of the buildings were in a state of extreme disrepair, and many of them looked on the brink of collapse. He drew his plasma pistol.
“Move into the city. Search for survivors, or any kind of transport craft.” He looked back up the slope the marines had fallen down, which, upon closer inspection, appeared to be the remains of the wall of a large squat building. He started up the slope, as the others began moving into the city.
“Stay in vox contact, I’m going to check this place out. Perhaps it will hold some answers as to how we got here.”
+++30 minutes later+++
The streets of the city were choked with rubble, making it difficult for the marines to walk down in their heavy armour. As they moved further and further in, they began to slowly drift apart from each other, so as to cover more ground. Hadrian was slithering over the collapsed front of some kind of confectionery shop, when he halted. The faint vapors of all kinds of treat were clinging to the bricks, and for a moment, drew his mind back to some of the treats he had enjoyed as a child, before he was inducted into the astartes. He shook his head, smiling fondly beneath his helmet, and then continued.
Suddenly, the rubble before him shifted, and something burst out of the ground. Hadrian was knocked onto his back with a shout of surprise, and glimpsed something vaguely human-shaped looming through the cloud of dust it had created. The figure planted a foot on the space marine’s breastplate, pushing him down as he struggled to rise.
“ASTARTES. WHERE IS THE TEMPORAL DEVICE?”
An arm reached down, seemingly main from some black metal, and seized Hadrian’s right arm by the wrist. The foot on his chest shifted slightly, pushing on his shoulder. Hadrian gasped as the figure pulled his arm taught, on the edge of dislocating it.
The figure started to pull harder, and spoke: “AGAIN, WHERE. IS. IT?”
Gritting his teeth against the pain, Hadrian replied: “F-fuck you.”
“SO BE IT.”
Hadrian screamed in agony as the metal man tore his arm out of its socket, in a spray of crimson, and cast the mangled appendage away. “YOU STILL HAVE THREE MORE LIMBS TO LOSE. SHALL WE TRY THIS AGAIN?” Before the injured space marine could reply, a crackling power sword slammed into the robot’s midriff.
"DIE ABOMINATION!," the Dark Angel howled in savage fury as he charged the reeling automaton, leaping into the air as he approached. At the apex of his leap, an armoured hand snapped out, and punched the robot in its featureless head, sending it reeling. He landed, and, grasping his power sword, wrenched it out to the side, cutting through the side of the robot’s torso in a shower of sparks. The robot fell to its knees, and the Dark Angel hacked at the gash he had already made, widening it until his sword went clean through the robot’s torso and out the other side, bifurcating it. The Dark Angel raised his sword over his head, and stabbed the point through the robot’s already dented faceplate. Lighting crackled through the top half of the robot for a second as the sword’s power field melted its inner workings.
The Dark Angel drew his sword out, breathing heavily, and helped up the injured Hadrian. The Silver Skull stood shakily for a moment, looking down at the destroyed robot. He patted his comrade’s pauldron with his remaining hand. “Would it have killed you to have turned up before it pulled my arm off?”
The lenses of the Dark Angel’s helmet regarded him witheringly. “Would you rather I not turn up at all?”
“Never mind. Here, give me that.” He fumbled the sword out of the Dark Angel’s hand, and swung it downwards, cutting off the robot’s right arm at the shoulder. He returned Vayne’s weapon, and picked up the robot’s appendage, muttering something about a replacement before aiming a vengeful kick at the shattered ruin of the robot’s head.
“What did it want?” Asked Vayne, sheathing his sword.
“Something about a ‘temporal device’. I doubt it’s the only one here, as well.”
Miles away, Eridanius stood up from the strange machine he had found, and spoke on the general vox. “Ah. I think I have found what they wanted.”
Vayne sighed, just as Hadrian attempted to facepalm with an arm no longer attached to him. “Were you going to tell us this before or after killer robots pulled all our limbs off?”
“Eh... has anyone found any transport yet?”
“Yes.” Came Solitan’s answer. “I think we could fit everyone inside, as well as whatever you’ve found, provided it’s small and light enough for one of us to carry.”
“There’s a but coming, isn’t there?”
“Yes. I don’t think we can get it any higher than the thermosphere.”
“That’s no good, we need-“
“HOWEVER, I’ve found something here talking about a planetary dry-dock about an hour’s flight away. We might be able to find something space-worthy there.”
“Sounds good. Anyone got any better ideas?”
“Very well. Solitan, get that thing fired up and bring it back here. The rest of you, double time it back here; knowing our luck, there are more of Hadrian’s metal friends on their way.”
+++60 Minutes later+++
Falax’s eyes roamed the perimeter the Deathwatch team had set up around the ruined building that contained the temporal device, checking for any sign of any more of the robots. So far, there was nothing, not as much as a rodent. Inside the building, Eridanius and Vayne were tending to the wounded Hadrian, despite the Silver Skull’s protests that he had a spare arm, and could still hold a bolter with it. He was still hanging onto the arm he had pulled off the robot that had wounded him, insisting that he would have it attached to himself as a replacement for the arm he had lost. Solitan had powered up the flier he had found, and was presumably en route to them.
Inside, Eridanius had left Vayne to try and calm the Silver Skull down, and had returned to the strange device he had found. It stood about six feet tall, and was roughly cylindrical, made of a metal vaguely similar in hue to copper. There was a control panel on the side, but Eridanius had not so far worked out how to use it. He knelt down next to it, and was about to touch the control panel, when a crackling sound drew his attention behind him. Another warp portal had appeared behind him, and out of it stepped... himself.
“Okay boyo, this is where it gets complicated.”
Eridanius stared at his doppelganger, and motioned for him to continue. The other Eridanius held up his hands, and walked forwards, towards the machine.
“I need to show you how this works, so you can show the others how it works, and then show you- yourself how to use it, as I am showing you now. Try not to think about it too hard, it all works out somehow.” With that, he beckoned the mute Eridanius forwards, and began showing him how to operate the device, how one could merely recall, or think of a time, and the machine would create a stable warp portal there. The doppelganger then went on to describe how you could detach certain elements of the machine, and take them with you, as independent units that were still connected to the larger whole. By the end of this explanation, the Eridanius who was being taught was leaning against the wall, brain throbbing with the knowledge it had just absorbed. The doppelganger rubbed his hands together thoughtfully: “I think that should be everything. Just remember to come back and do this yourself, and we’ll be fine.” He snapped his fingers suddenly: “I knew I’d forgotten something, DUCK!”
Eridanius flung himself to the ground just before a metal fist punched through the wall exactly where he head had been a moment before. He looked up to see his doppelganger disappear through another portal, just the sound of gunfire resounded from outside. The blackshield rolled to his feet, drawing his plasma pistol as the metal man continued punching its way through the wall. He waited until nearly the entire figure was exposed before firing his weapon. The dazzlingly bright bolt of plasma slammed into the figure’s sternum, and, to the space marine’s horror, faded away in an instant, leaving the robot unmarked.
Capitalising on the space marine’s shock; the robot smashed itself through the remnants of the wall, and lunged for the blackshield. It swatted the plasma pistol out of his hand and bowled him over with ease, knocking him to his knees. It turned, bringing both its fists down in an attempt to crush the stunned space marine. Eridanius caught its fists in his own hands, straining to hold the creature back with all his might. “WEAK. PATHETIC”
With a roar of fury, the space marine snapped up a leg and thrust-kicked the robot in its abdomen, sending it staggering back, then hammered a double punch into its head, throwing his entire body into the blow, and knocking it off its feet. Before the robot could recover, Hadrian lurched into the room, looking somewhat worse for wear. “Those things are attacking in force, but Solitan says he’s nearly here!” he caught sight of the downed robot, now clambering to its feet, and pulled the inferno pistol from his side. Eridanius leapt out of the way just as the Silver Skull fired, the invisible wave of heat striking the robot in the chest. It trembled for a second, the stone wall behind it blackening and starting to glow as it caught the bleed-off. The robot took a step towards the space marine, then another, the center of its chest starting to glow red. It stretched out a hand, the tips of its fingers inches away from the end of the inferno pistol.
Then something gave, and it collapsed in on itself, runnels of molten metal pooling on the floor like blood. Both space marines let out the breath that had been holding, and Hadrian holstered his glowing sidearm. The Silver Skull retrieved Eridanius’ plasma pistol as the blackshield hauled the temporal device onto his shoulders, lifting it away from the ruined robot. He accepted the pistol from Hadrian and the two jogged out of the room, heading for the front entrance.
“We need better weapons, my pistol didn’t even mark that one back there.” Puffed Eridanius, trying to keep the edges of the device from scraping the walls.
“Agreed.” Grunted Hadrian, scooping up the arm he had left propped against the wall and locking under his armour’s powerpack. “D’you know how to use that thing?” He gestured to the temporal device.
“Yes. Quite thoroughly, actually.”
Hadrian shot him a quizzical look as they paused at the entrance to see if it was clear. “When’d you-“
“I’ll tell you when there aren’t killer robots after us, okay?” The Silver Skull nodded as Falax dashed up, already damaged armour smoking in several places.
“Solitan’s on final approach, but he says the area’s too hot to land in.” As if on cue, the commandeered flyer hovered over the building at their backs, rattling the marines’ teeth with the vibrations of its engines. The hold at the back opened, and several cables snaked down to the marines. Eridanius grabbed hold of one; the weight of the device on his back pulling him backwards as the cables began to retract, pulling the space marines up into the flier. As soon as they were within the cargo hold, the ramp closed, and Solitan gunned the engines, speeding them away.
Visitors in Terra
The news of the Primarchs themselves returning obviously stirred a great mayhem among the hives of Terra, but not all of it was the good sort. Some of the preachers claimed this the damnation of the Imperium, as they saw the Imperium as a corrupt, diseased thing that was once the Emperor's vision. Those people were quickly silenced by the Adeptus Arbites.
However, this became an even greater mess when the Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor Lord Giacomo Mazzini used his authority as the Inquisitorial Representative to not only remove the High Lords of Terra from power under suspicions of corruption, but also form a blockade over the planet, effectively holding it hostage. This became the case when the Inquisitor announced in no uncertain terms to the citizens of the Imperium that he would unleash a stored stockpile of cyclonic torpedoes upon Terra if these "false illusions of the Emperor" dared approach him.
Of course, when the Primarchs heard, they immediately abandoned whatever it was that they were doing and then rushed to the cradle of man itself with all haste.
However, there were some members that had already arrived before the main fleets. Of course, these arrivals bore the colors of teal and green, looking indistinguishable from any other chapter of astartes. It was only when they then began bombing certain key outposts from each organization, leaving the members almost entirely alive.
In response, the mad Inquisitor then began sequestering entire armies of the assassins, all without the consent of the Officio Assassinorum. However, even they were useless against these saboteurs. Not only was their presence a deterrent to the investigations they perpetrated, but they ultimately proved no more effective against them as any others.
Such it was when the fleets finally arrived to salvage Terra from the hell instigated.
"Hive Sierra all clear," one of the teal operatives noted, magnoculars affixed to his helm. "No assassins on the rooftops."
"Keep your watch," intoned another. "They are a lot very good with arriving at the least expected moment."
"Agreed," a third added. "We will enter the outpost and begin removing the security on the landing pad. Eril, you have the frequencies to the flagship of the Warmaster, correct?"
"No mistaking it."
The two operatives walked into the installation with their arms raised and weapons stored with the watcher. Of course, the Arbites who stepped in were completely unaware of the visitation, and that allowed them to be disposed of with utter shock. The two then marched in.
They reached the main communications room to find the workers crawling on the floor, fleeing from the giants. One was going to use a bolter he found from the Arbites to clear them out when his fellow dissuaded him and began using the communications systems to ping a message to the Vengeful Spirit, the barge of the returned Horus.
The message was simple, and would raise absolutely no suspicion, being a routine request for a Space Marine Chapter to return to Terra, with a special request for any that had recently been lost in a Warp Storm.
By the time they finished, though, they had found themselves gaining company in the form of a small gang of Eversors, armed with anything they found. Quite obviously, the marines knew that this case would not end well for them. They opted to flee as quickly as possible.
That would only prove to be easy in theory, however. Being Space Marines in a facility managed by normal men, they stuck out like a sore thumb and were quickly spotted.
The two cursed as they were unable to use the Arbites' weapons, the bolters being far too fragile for them and their mauls being no better than handles.
The Eversors, however, had every advantage despite their clearly inferior arms. They were deranged, fast, and they were clearly incapable of sensing pain.
However, fate was not with them. Instead, it lay with the Astartes when they found the two assassins suddenly without heads. Behind them stood a green robed figure.
"So, a certain leader of yours told me you needed help with clearing the way for the big dogs."
"Indeed," one of the marines answered. "Good thing you came when you did, Sir Cypher. We will be needing this station when they break through the blockade."
"And the Cassini array? Think they could survive that?"
The other answered, "It's being managed. The Raven and Bat are taking care of the array."
"And the rest of Titan?"
"No authority. He's Hereticus."
Cypher nodded. "So, what now?"
"We will hold the point. So long as they have a clear avenue of arrival, our mission is accomplished. But there is other mayhem that will need managing in the streets."
"Say no more." Cypher fled for the nearest Rhino to aid the next calamity.
On the streets, there were marching hordes of press-ganged troopers, pushed into line by Arbites and Sororitas, screaming hymns to deafen the din surrounding them. Cypher stopped the Rhino in front of them.
"WHO ARE YOU TO IMPEDE THE EMPEROR'S WILL?" The ringleader shouted.
"Easy. His voice."
"HERETIC!" She opened fire with her flamer, but Cypher proved too quick and leapt out. The forces then began firing on him. As he dodged the blows artfully like a ghost among men, he opened fire with his guns, eliminating the heaviest-armed of the troops and the most decorated of the enforcers.
Soon, there was only the ringleader left in the horde, the press-ganged having fled in cowardice with no commissars in sight. "Y-you can't do this!" she cried. "I-I am the enforcer of His will! I am a guardian of Terra, heretic!"
He aimed his pistol at her head. "If the Emperor demanded that he enslave the very citizens he once walked among, forcing the rabble to die just to keep the corrupt working, then I am a High Lord of Terra itself. And, for your information, I technically almost was." Bang. The riot was dead, and more teal astartes emerged from the alleyways.
"Thank you for your assistance, Lord Cypher," one of them announced, saluting him with a hand to the chest.
"Just tell me where we need to be next," Cypher cut the pleasantries. "We're pretty thinly spread, even for a legion like yours, and there's no way we'll be able to police all of Terra for long enough for the big guys to get their way in."
"Fear not," another among them announced. From the look of his helm, an elegantly crafted hydra as a crest, he looked to be among the higher-ups. "We have word from our fellow agents that they approach the Sol System."
Cypher turned around to return to his ride. "Well, then. Seems like all we need is to keep the ports of entry clear, wouldn't you think, Alpharius?"
The leader chuckled as his legionnaires looked surprised at the Fallen Lord's analysis. "He is definitely too good at recognizing us."
As the Primarch boarded the rhino, he began asking, "I presume that by being here, you are finally deciding to finish this whole 'redemption quest' angle you set up?"
Cypher started it up. "You could say that. Spending ten thousand years to accomplish something that should have taken less than one, I find that to be a complete waste."
Alpharius smirked. "We can only do so much with what we are given. Now, the port is secure, yes?"
"All I know is that the three-man squad that entered is fine," Cypher gave a run-down. "If your men are done there, I'm sure we can up our chances of-"
"Say no more." Alpharius opened a vox immediately, calling for a team Eta-56 to head to the starport. "We have a security detail."
The two arrived to the sight of a pile of assassin corpses from multiple clades and Arbites, all now replaced by the Alpha Legion who saluted the two on their way in.
In the time it took for them to get to the communications room, the Primarchs' fleets finally arrived within orbit of Terra, Cassini being disabled and Luna last reported as being reclaimed by it's Wolves under the command of Captain Abaddon. Even the Phalanx itself, the ancient relic of the Imperial Fists, was approaching the fleets of the mad Inquisitor.
"Listen, and listen well," The citizens of Terra heard this old man's voice throughout Terra. "This...THIS...is the lie that has spurred the Imperium on the verge of...dare I say it, treason. Sedition! Defiance of the Emperor's Law! The only punishment these...heathens deserve is death! They-" The line was cut off by one Legionnaire turning off the monitor.
"Why the Warp are you even listening to this lunatic?" he asked.
One of the operators mentioned, "I find it kind of funny how he squirms as he makes up more ridiculous excuses!"
The instigator shook his head in shame. "Good thing we took you from the Night Lords when we did. They seriously are no good for the mind..."
"Turn that back on," Cypher commanded as he walked in. "We need eyes on the orbit. They're coming, and we need every edge we can give to them."
"Better that than this madman," he commented as he switched channels from the preaching to a feed on the orbit of Terra, observing the massive fleet of the Inquisition suddenly come under fire by ancient battleships dating back to the Great Crusade.
"So, Alpharius," Cypher asked as he faced the Primarch in the back of the room. "What is our order while we await their arrival?"
"Keep the way clear. I heard from an agent that Perturabo is trying to break his way into the fight, but got waylaid by some other matters. The others can hold on for that long."
The news of the Primarchs above Terra naturally threw the citizens into a frenzy, the hordes of citizens of any birth begging and pleading for salvation. The worst of this rioting was found, predictably, in the regions bordering the Imperial Palace, where the Emperor rested and where Mazzini had holed himself up.
However, that rioting had also led to some difficulties for the Alpha Legion, as the riots made coordinating the cells even more difficult than normal. The mayhem made any operations even more perilous to accomplish as the streets flooded with more bodies, but that also lent a greater cover, as the Assassin army had no other way around it either.
So it was that the forces of the Imperium held their collective breath during the scant few days that the orbital fleets did battle, the forces of Horus and his Sons and the Imperial Fists battling against the vessels gathered by the mad Inquisitor.
Each force had their supporters chanting oaths of the Emperor's Favour as they demanded that their side prevail while their detractors took to the streets to rant and rave about their opinions, unable to do anything more. In this din, the Alpha Legion and Cypher can only hold on, anticipating anything. They watched the orbital battles with bated breath.
Then the Imperium choked on that breath when the Iron Warriors finally broke through, the Iron Blood shattering the grip established by the Inquisition.
The Primarchs finally had their entry, and Alpharius would be the one to grant the first sanctuary.
As the Iron Warriors made land, the most curious omission on the ground forces present was the Primarch himself, Perturabo. The ground forces that did land, led by Warsmith Ergis, spent no time on ceremony, his iron-armoured warriors proceeding to wage their war. All the Alpha Legion could do was give them the directions, but it gave them all that was needed: a force to fight.
However, the coming of these Iron Warriors brought up another concern: The coming of the Dark Angels. While normally Cypher would dismiss the sons of the Lion, knowing that he would evade them with ease, the fact that he was so close to his objective, so close to success, made him much more wary of their presence, despite the assurances of Alpharius that they would be taking up the back-lines, making sure the starports were secured for the Primarchs' forces.
On instinct, he decided to personally welcome in the Warmaster himself when he and his Knights Mournival arrived on the starport.
"We are honoured by your presence, Warmaster." Cypher saluted, with the Mournival saluting back to him.
"At ease, good son," Horus eased him. "I take it that you are the Lord Cypher meant to accompany us through to the rendezvous point?"
Cypher began leading the way. "Indeed I am. Lord Primarch Alpharius unfortunately could not be here to meet you. Coordinating the security details for over a hundred starports around Terra proves a task that is very trying on-"
"I have good faith in my brother," the Warmaster assured him, his voice not rising even once. Cypher was almost disturbed by this calmness. Perhaps this was the aura that emanated from the Favored Son of the Emperor Himself? "However, I do wish to know of the status of the brothers that have made landfall."
Aximand had then caught a response, relayed from his vox. "Warmaster, Lord Magnus has already landed at starport Kayros. He will be taking his own route there. Lords Dorn, Guilliman and Corax are still en route, expected to arrive shortly."
"And you told them of our destination, yes?"
"Without a doubt!"
Torgaddon then asked, "What of us then? Not expecting us to merely be taking our sweet time waiting?"
"The way has been cleared ahead of time," Cypher informed them. "Thank Lord Alpharius on that."
First Captain Abaddon smirked at the promptness of that response. "Swift, and without a hint of hesitation. I must say, you definitely do have all this planned out quite well..."
Cypher joked on it, "After ten thousand years, we'd have been damned foolish not to plan on it!"
The Mournival then embarked on the Rhino when they too saw the pile of bodies near the entrance of the starport. While the Warmaster was only observing it with what could pass for indifference, Loken was more visibly discomforted by this. "So much death, so many lives..." he lamented. "Was this the only way?"
Cypher could only answer, "The assassins are not people. Not anymore. They are bred and raised as weapons. They are trained to be efficient weapons. It's only logical that they die as weapons."
Loken was put off by the calm commentary. "And their sense of free will?"
"What free will would a weapon have?" asked Cypher as he made another turn. "How would a weapon, trained to only serve its owner, possibly learn how to think for itself?"
"There is always a way..." Loken was sure. "Always."
It was at that moment that Cypher noticed a small crowd of citizens, no less than at least four, knocking on the hull. Hesitantly, the Mournival opened it, with Abaddon and Cypher hanging at both sides of the door on the side.
"Thank you! Thank you very much!" They cheered as they stepped in, before being halted by Ezekyle.
"Hold it! I am not that certain about what you are," he mentioned as he flexed his power claw, "But I can tell that you are far from normal if you can only so casually knock on the door and ask to ride with us when everyone else is hiding in terror..."
"I agree," Aximand drew his own sword. "Something feels far from kosher..."
A momentary pause was proof enough of this crowd's identity: Callidus Assassins. The polymorphine soon morphed their skin back to the familiar black synthetic skins while they whipped out their weapons.
Their leader began swinging a strange weapon that reverberated with powers that seemed unnatural, but not quite unholy. Before they could find out just what it would do, however, the Warmaster had already opened fire with his claw's mounted storm bolter, decimating the assassin. Her fellows, wielding venom-laced blades, fared little better against the armored warriors. Even Cypher was not harmed by their weapons, the assassins proving incapable of any prolonged assaults like their Eversor kin.
After them was another band of assassins, this time of the Veneum Temple. They too tried to break into the Rhino and attempt to poison the Astartes, but Torgaddon's quick thinking on taking control of the storm bolter on top meant that they did not even get that chance. They only proved to be distractions, however, as the captain was only a hair's breadth from getting a turbo-penetrator round in his skull by the real menace: The Vindicare Temple. With a start from the last shot, he ducked in and denied the sniper another chance to fire. Unlike with the Callidus, the Mournival Knights and Cypher had no weapon to counter the Vindicare. Storm Bolters were far too inaccurate to fire at such long ranges, the tower he fired from was secured by several other buildings, and if they disembarked, then they would be playing right into his hands. The only choice they had at the moment was to flee while they regathered their plans.
"Where are those troops, Cypher?" Abaddon growled as he restrained himself from going out and killing them himself.
"On their way, Captain," Cypher just got off the vox. "Lord Alpharius is sending a cell to accompany us from the rooftops."
"Well they had best get here soon before they find a way to shoot through us," the Justaerin Captain grumbled.
Meanwhile, Loken was reminiscing, "Not like this is the first time we found ourselves pinned to our ride with somebody trying to kill us from outside."
Horus remembered, "But then again, those snipers were far from professionally trained weapons."
"Hydra Gamma Sixer to Mournival, do you copy?" they all suddenly heard. "We have agents on the rooftops. Shooters are on the run."
"Mournival Responds," Cypher answered as he started the Rhino again. "Give them a taste of justice, brothers. Over and out."
As they continued, Loken was still conflicted on the humanity of the Assassins. "What I cannot get my head around," he asked his fellows, "is why someone would have to resort so such extreme measures to build weapons. Eversors, they are force-fed all these drugs and are then set loose on their targets without even a sense of understanding who they even are. Culexus, they exploit genetics that are blatantly unnatural. The Vindicare, all they are meant to do is just shoot with a rifle. Why do they need such training to do something that practically anyone can accomplish, much less a scout?"
"The difference between these Eversors and the lunatics of Khorne are actually barely even there," Torgaddon was the first to answer. "I mean, both of them only know how to kill, but only one of them knows what they're doing and choose to do the wrong thing."
"And then there are these...what did you call them? Maerorus?"
"To think humanity would sink so low as to develop...monsters..." Abaddon remembered. "It disturbs me."
Horus agreed. "Whatever force approved this program, they will have much to answer for."
"If we can reach them," Cypher interjected as he began steering. "From what we heard, that madman has taken the High Lords and sequestered them somewhere in the Palace and refuses to let them out. We can only hope that the Grand Master of the Assassinorum has no other kill-switches to trigger them to go nuts again."
Aximand then piped up, "And that is another thing that rather confuses me. How did the Council of Terra, a ruling body that was supervised personally by the Emperor, gain enough leverage over Lord Guilliman that they officially became the entire law of the Imperium? Have they no respect for what he-"
"It is far more complicated than that, Aximand," Abaddon cut him off. "The problem with the High Lords is not that they control the Imperium. As you said, these people were hand-picked for the job. My issue comes with the fact that they have been doing such an inefficient job at it that the Imperium itself has been on the verge of collapse, and not even the downfall of this Cadian Gate has been enough to kick some sense into them on mobilizing armies and making sure that Terra is defended. Instead, that fell upon some insane, paranoid old man who is using that same army against us because he thinks that we are fairy tales!"
"We can only pray that our arrival can bring some sense back to their minds," Loken observed. "Because otherwise... I have no idea how we are going to combat this Despoiler and his fleets."
Horus assured his knights, "We will find a way. That has always been mankind's destiny."
About halfway to the Palace, the Rhino received another message. "Attention, Imperial Vehicle," a voice announced. "You are approaching the limits of the Chapter Keep of the Imperial Fists. Turn back now unless you have proper business."
"I do have business," Cypher commented. "I have a transport here for your-" Before he could finish, Horus took command of the Vox.
"This is the Warmaster. I am here to meet with your Primarch."
What followed was a moment of silence and tension, the riders all awaiting the word to get going, but all they could hear was a conversation, too faint to hear on the vox, but there.
After another moment, another voice came in. "Ah, yes. I hear that the Warmaster is with you?"
"Will you need a ride to the Palace, Rogal?" Horus asked.
"Actually, I was meaning to ask the same to you. That Rhino must be hell on your back!" He laughed. As the Primarchs were conversing, Aximand was able to notice one other detail: A Land Raider of archaic make, in mustard yellow and armed with heavy bolters. A Phobos-Pattern, if his hunch was correct.
"We will accept the offer," Horus answered Rogal. "Besides my Mournival, we also have our driver to accompany us."
As the Mournival arrived with the Land Raider, Horus himself met up with Rogal Dorn, the two brother Primarchs shaking hands in earnest. Cypher took the moment to consider the possibilities that could arise when he was contacted by Alpharius.
"How far are you? Magnus and Robutte have already gotten on the ground and are taking their own ways."
"The Warmaster and his Knights have opted to take a new ride," he answered. "Dorn is taking a Land Raider there with us in it."
"Good enough," he answered. "Corax was reported to have already made landfall and is organizing assassin-hunter squads."
"Perfect," Cypher smiled. "I was getting irritated after the fifth Vindicare tried to shoot us."
"Just keep on track. The old man is starting to lose it, and if we do not act fast, we might not have a Terra to save." The line went dead.
"So we truly are running out of time..." Dorn muttered as Cypher reiterated what Alpharius mentioned. "From where you said you arrived, the route to the Palace should be about as long as it took for you to get here."
"Well, at least the rest of our merry team is coming together," Aximand commented as the team loaded up.
"Agreed," grunted Dorn.
Dorn then turned to face Cypher. "By the way, your Legion, where is it?"
Cypher froze. He had forgotten to keep an eye on the Caliban fleet. In fact, it was pushed from the corners of his mind the moment he had begun taxiing the Mournival. "I...well, that is, the fleet is still en route." He hastily tried to remember what he could, "They were rallying from the Eye itself, so they have also been tailing whatever traitor ships they could find.
"Hm. I was curious about that when I found that I was unable to contact Caliban. Any word on that?"
Again, Cypher had to make some reasonable excuse. There was no way he could mention Caliban as existing, that would only serve to stall the inevitable because of his lie. But the truth...the truth was something nobody would ever know so long as he had his mission, even a Primarch.
"Caliban is...no more," he made up an idea. "There were traitors on there following the Heresy and they had control of the artillery."
"A shame. I was hoping that I would get to join Luther in another campaign like Zahares. Much was done on that world that was his doing."
Cypher was almost wondering if Dorn knew the truth by the way he so casually mentioned the darkest secrets of the First Legion.
"Whatever the case on the Dark Angels is," Horus added, "we will be having additional support. I have word that the Iron Hands and Emperor's Children are opting to protect what assets they can on Mars with their fleets. The Primarch, though are opting to arrive here to retrieve the Fabricator-General."
"Works for me."
While on their route, the Land Raider (Known as the "Reborn Crusader") had run into a battlefield of the Iron Warriors, waging what they could call a mass shelling on a hive infested with mercenaries when Dorn was calling on them to stop. The Warsmith in charge, meanwhile, ordered them to keep on firing.
"Do you realize what you are doing?" Dorn shouted at the Warsmith, pointing at the city as it was being bombarded. "Do you realize just who it is that you are killing?"
"I do not care," the Warsmith plainly replied while adjusting his servo-arm. "I have mercenaries to kill before they cause too much mayhem on us, and I am to kill them. That is my job."
"No," intoned Dorn. "No, that is not how it is done here. What we are here for is to protect these people! We are here fighting because humanity is being terrorized by a delusional maniac with a finger on the detonator! Killing these people just because they are in the way and then going on like it has nothing to do with you is the most disrespectful thing you can do! If they are to die, then it should be when all other discourses have been exhausted!"
"My apologies, Lord Primarch," the Warsmith mockingly saluted. "Next time I go to war, I will make sure to respect every living thing while blasting an enemy that will surely care less about them!"
"But in this respect," another voice commented, "he is not wrong. A needless casualty is an unwanted one."
"Lord Primarch!" the Warsmith stiffened. "We were not expecting-"
"I know." As a massive battletank, a Shadowsword, rolled into place, Dorn recognized who said that. On the top of it sat Perturabo, Lord of Iron, and in his hands an axe. "I came so that you people would have someone to listen to."
"So, what caused the sudden change of heart?" Dorn asked. "I would have thought the naval fight would have taken-"
"You have Ferrus to thank for that. The fleet he has was very useful on the offensive when my ship had her drives knocked offline." The Primarch then noticed Horus and his crew on the other side. "Horus, I had thought you were going on the spearhead."
"The tactics changed. The plan is the same." His commanding voice was enough to convince both Primarchs. "We charge to the gates."
"In that case..."
Perturabo did not allow his brother any moment to think. "We are done here. Send in the housecleaners. Everyone else, bring the tanks with us. It is high time we break these frontlines..."
"Stop thinking about sentiment for this, brother. I am finally taking charge of something, and I will be damned before I let that slip for anything! Do you hear me?"
The Praetorian of Terra was surprised to hear this, but thinking back to what he remembered about their past, and especially how their relationship shifted in the supposed ten thousand years since, gave Dorn a sense of modesty, one that he had found severely lacking. All he did instead was salute his brother. "Best of luck, Brother." The Lord of Iron did not answer back, but none was needed. What had to be done would be done regardless.
As they went back in, Cypher voxed over to Alpharius the news on Perturabo's charge. "Well," the Primarch was impressed, "That went over easier than I thought in my head. I would have thought there would have been a fight over this or something."
"Things have changed, but the plan still runs the same," Cypher echoed Omegon's philosophy.
Alpharius chortled, "Strange how identical twins can run in such divergent directions."
While Dorn and the Mournival had stayed with their Land Raider, in a surprising show of goodwill, Perturabo ordered that a pack of five jetbikes, supposed relics in this age, were to accompany the Land Raider, to pick off any incoming opposition before the Land Raider encountered them. Their leader, whose bike had a Volkite weapon armed, seemed almost eager to join the Primarchs in making the way to the Palace.
Combined with the Alpha Legion and Raven Guard's anti-assassin squads, the jetbikes ensured that the Reborn Crusader would safely arrive at the front gates of the Imperial Palace just in time to see Perturabo blast his way through them.
Dorn and Horus disembarked from the Land Raider to meet up with the rest of the Primarchs present, and they were sharing a similar expression for the Olympian's mannerisms. Robutte Guilliman, who had spent more than many a painstaking year arranging for the gate's construction, was only barely restraining any outward signs of distaste while Magnus the Red shook his head in disappointment.
"It has been a while...brothers," Horus opened up.
"Indeed it has," Magnus responded. "How long has it been since we have been in front of this palace? On our way to visit our Father?"
"However long it has been, I say that we make this the beginning," Dorn then added. "We start the efforts to rebuild Terra here, with this battle. We show this...whoever he is that the Emperor's will is not paranoia, but faith. Faith that some days, there really is a miracle for them."
Robutte only broke his silence then, "What convinced you of that?"
"For one thing, we managed to be all together for one. That in itself is almost impossible to do."
Abaddon then interjected, "Sir, while I admit that this reunion is indeed touching, we do need to-"
"I understand." As the Primarchs began walking, Horus asked, "Do you wish to accompany us, Cypher?"
The Lord of the Fallen felt it. He was so close now to success. All he needed to do was to take that step. Give the sword to the Emperor. Redemption was here at last and-
"What the hell?" he heard the vox go off. "Xenos vessels? Here?!" Alpharius was shocked at this. "Cypher, report."
"Horus, Dorn, Magnus and Guilliman are in."
"Good, so you are free," Alpharius responded, " Now you have to head back to the starport. We need all hands on deck if these xenos prove to be aggressive!"
"Sir, is there truly a-"
"I am giving you an order."
In frustration, Cypher sighed. He had no way of defying a Primarch, after all. Even though it was his double that gave him this opportunity, he still could not take it.
Thankfully, the route back was not as time-consuming, as the streets were cleared away by Perturabo's mad charge, and the fact that he stole a jetbike from an unsuspecting Iron Warrior.
As he rode, his mind still fumed from the denial of his duty. He was so close, and he had every chance to just barge in anyway, so why? Why listen now, when he had made his entire living on doing the one thing nobody anticipated? He scowled as he rushed through, weaving past both assassin gunfire and jump-packs, bolt shells and debris. It frustrated him how long it took for him to even get this close, and still, he could not accomplish it.
By the time the Fallen Angel finally arrived at the starport, there was still little information regarding the actual intentions of the xenos fleet, but there was a name given: Taimak. In an instant, Cypher understood what was going on: The Primarchs were 20 once more, just as Omegon predicted.
"Lord Alpharius," he was frantic at the idea, "We need to patch this through. Somehow, we need to relay this to them. That fleet, they're accompanying-"
"One of the Primarchs who was supposedly removed from history?" predicted Alpharius. "Despite my differences in opinion with my brother on the intentions of the Heresy, I am still aware of the news, even though I was never aware of their names." He began opening a line to his fleet. "Attention all orbital operatives. Xenos ships are friendlies. I repeat, the xenos ships are friendlies. One of my brothers is on there, and if you fire, I will make sure you are held accountable for it."
"A Primarch is on there?" An operative cocked his head sideways.
"One of the Primarchs works with xenos?"
"Whatever his deal is," he settled the doubt, "We need a line with him. Someone figure out how to contact the flagship. It looks like something on the tier of Tau technology."
"Can do, milord," an agent had something already. "We have agents in orbit that were witnesses to Damocles. They know which frequencies to reach."
"Good," Alpharius began departing, "Requisition a thunderhawk. Chances are that I will be needed to talk to him." The Thunderhawk came just in time to get Alpharius as he got to the platform.
"It seems that we will need to part ways here," Alpharius observed. "That is, unless you can accompany me to-"
"I have something to do," Cypher stated. "I have something that must be accomplished on my honor."
Alpharius looked quizzically, but he nodded. "Very well. I was still an honor to work with you all the same, Cypher."
And so Cypher watched Alpharius depart from the platform in order to support his Legion in space. Now free to finish his duty, he began by diving off the edge of the platform. While in a freefall, he then latched onto a floor, almost punching a hole through it by his grip alone. From how far he fell, he could measure that he was about halfway there. He let go and then snagged onto another corner. A bit shorter. He managed to reach the bike he left there via only dropping off ledges and landed without a problem.
Reaching back to the gates was also little of a challenge, for the same reasons that the trip before was easy. However, as he rode to the gates, he could see why the streets were quiet: the crowds have begun flooding the Imperial Palace, suffocated by the gates Perturabo broke through like a horde of rodents. Seeing his element in play, he set his bike down and then blended into the crowd, none the wiser on the existence of a hooded space marine.
As he stepped through the hallowed halls of the Imperium, he noticed that the Adeptus Custodes, the gold-armored protectors of the Emperor Himself were now splitting up, looking for something, though what that something was was beyond him. "Excuse me," Cypher asked, "but do you need assistance in looking for something or someone?"
The Custodes did not notice him. Fine enough, Cypher concluded. Let them continue whatever it was that they are- "You, Astartes. You seek to offer us aid?"
Oh. They did notice him. Another about face. "Indeed I do. With the Primarchs themselves heading through the gates, I am sure you will be needing someone to-"
The lead Custodes, whose helm had multiple refractive lenses and a grand mantle upon is stepped forth to implore with the Lord of the Fallen. "We do. Though we are bound to the Emperor's safety, we were forced to watch while this madman became crazed with power and forced everyone to obey his laws. He kidnapped the High Lords of Terra, and the Captain-General among them."
"And I suppose that this place has far too many rooms for only a force like yourself, bound to Him above all else, to act in any personal interest." Cypher drew his guns. "Just the thing I was trained for."
As the Custodians were dividing themselves among the wings to begin their search, the two found another ally for their hunt: The Primarch Lorgar himself, accompanied by his Word Bearers and those Sororitas who stayed true to the Emperor than a madman. "How unexpected," Lorgar observed as his forces flooded in. "I was expecting that the Dark Angels would still be en route to Sol's borders."
Cypher corrected him, "I am an independent agent. Now, what do you know about a kidnapped lot of proclaimed Rulers of Mankind?"
"What I do know," began the Primarch, "is that they are being tended by a personal detail of assassins both inside and outside the palace. Wherever one is, another should be expected to be not too far away."
Cypher was going to let that be when he remembered. "Damnation!" cursed he. "Alpharius is already in orbit dealing with-"
"A brother I barely remembered having? His forces are taking the cordon back. Those Tau ships are rather handy."
Cypher recovered his thoughts. "Right, right."
"Then we begin our search," declared the Custodes Captain with a tap of his halberd. "You have your orders. Find the Captain-General and ensure his survival. We will not let him shame us any further."
As the Custodes went off, Lorgar called out to his own flock, "We have our orders, Canoness. We take the fight to them and we make sure that the High Lords are found."
"We shall not falter, for the Emperor Himself watches over us!" The Sisters rallied behind the Canoness' orders.
"So, son of Lion," Lorgar asked Cypher, "shall we?"
Cypher looked to find no trails as to where the other Primarchs went, so he only accepted the Urizen's offer.
The two of them strode down the hall, accompanied by a small squad of Celestians and a force of Word Bearers, wielding shields and combi-weapons as a walking wall for the leaders. "Word has it that you are becoming quite a popular person, Cypher," Lorgar mentioned as they scanned each hall for any unruly security. "Running the takeover of the first starport, driving Horus and the Mournival in a Rhino - pardon my asking, but how exactly did you-"
"Fitting is one thing," he answered. "Comfortably fitting is another thing. The Warmaster was comfortable enough fitting through the back end, but Abaddon... Man just forced his way through there, even if it meant he was sitting on the floor in everyone's way. Thankfully he didn't have to do much when the Callidus tried to jump in, but still... Have to praise Lord Dorn and his Land Raider."
The Primarch nodded in his curiosity. "I do find it rather fortunate he was there."
As the Primarch continued his hunt, the Celestian Superior that was leading the security detail for the Primarch then asked, "Pardon me, Lord Astartes, but why exactly are you here while your legion has yet to arrive?"
Again, Cypher had to use the independent agent card, his closest-to-the-truth answer.
She continued asking questions about Cypher's chapter, its status, the route it was taking, all things that Cypher could only assume as an outsider. Basic matters, though the eagerness with which she was asking them did grate on him somewhat. But there was one question the Celestian Superior had that stuck out the most to him: "What is it that you are here to accomplish?"
Again, old habits rose up as he made more excuses, Chapter secrets and rituals. Things mere men were not meant to know. Such was tradition for him, as much as it irritated him that they kept asking. After the first few times, one would have thought that asking again when every time before it ended with no answer. But still, she persisted.
"Well, if that's the case," she asked, "then maybe you can explain to me what it is that made you join?" Again, his natural instinct was one of up to a million excuses he made before, but before he could, she said one more thing. "I promise that I won't tell anyone else. No matter who they are." She crossed her heart. "Sister's Honor." She was pesky, but at the same time, he was now feeling...guilty that he was keeping all these secrets. Wait, why was he feeling guilty again? As he re-adjusted his hood, he remembered again why. That sword was why. That sword was what kept him running for so long, knowing that the real owners would only have just continued their petty crusade of hate for no other reason than to lash out like children. This sword was the only way he could get them to listen.
"Cereles," she answered. "Celestian Cereles."
Cypher acknowledged her, "Sister Cereles... I am not proud of what I have done to get here. Some of the deals I have made to get here should have frankly killed me a hundred times over, and yet here I am. There are so many things I wish to talk to Him about, and to realize I am so close, not only to Him, but also to losing that chance forever is...terrifying."
Although she was unable to express it from behind her helmet, she knew there was some honesty in this angel of death. She smiled from behind her helmet as she grabbed his hand, even though he was still armed.
He noticed this and then holstered one of his weapons if only to par the helmet she was wearing. "You aren't so bad."
She smirked at the reaction. "You know, you remind me of someone I used to know..." She took a gaze around while two of her sisters took a gaze and met with another squad from the Iron Warriors who was cleaning up any stragglers. "He was the most serious person when around others, but when it was just me and him... I don't know, but he became more enjoyable to be around." She took out a locket she had on, and in it was a small picture of two children together, the girl leading the boy forward. "It was maybe because of that that I fell in love with him. He treated me like a woman."
"Strange reason," Cypher commented.
"It is, isn't it?"
"Telling you about her apparent lover in the Militarum?" Another Celestian asked, stepping in to change rotations while Sister Cereles began walking to the front.
"He is real, sister Edwin," she commented.
"A locket accounts for little, and I find that tale of yours about the closet and the Eldar a little difficult for me to swallow!" the new Celestian shouted back. "Apologies on that, Lord...Cypher, was it?"
"No need," he answered.
Celestian Edwin then explained, "It's just that...well, Abiah is a very good colleague of mine, very earnest, but she's also very prone to...I guess you can call it flights of fancy, especially about that man."
"Better that someone have that hope than nobody, I suppose," he replied.
"What I wouldn't give to have that sort of light again..." she wished. "It's that optimism that keeps her always aiming upwards, even if that upwards sometimes involved that man."
"And you?" Cypher asked. "What makes you so different than her?"