User:Kracked Mynd/WiP/The March of Blood
An ongoing bit of writefaggotry about the life and times of a Space Marine on a jungle hellhole of a planet, feat. Tau, Necrons, and World Eaters.
“Brother Captain Cintillius, report to the Bridge,” the voice on the voxcast was booming. Cintillius, the captain of the Fourth Company of the Fists of Terra, had been sparring with his Lieutenant, Licius. Cintillius stood up from his forward prowling position and hung up his power sword on an armory rack.
“We’ll continue this later,” Licius said, attempting to wipe the blood trailing from his mouth, but merely smearing it across his chin.
“Indeed,” Cintillius replied, stepping into the damp darkness of the hallway in their ancient vessal.
The Fists of Terra had been attacking remnants of Hive Fleet Leviathan since the opening of the Great Rift, and had lost hundreds. As a fleet based Chapter, they hadn’t been able to get new recruits in years; they had been promised Primaris reinforcements over half a century ago, but they never came.
Cintillius stepped into the bridge, just behind his Chief Astropath, Angellivin. She was a slim woman, known for her reclusion and eccentricities, almost comparable to those of a Navigator. Despite this, she had served aboard the Dorn’s Spear for over 20 years, and had become relatively liked by the members of the Fourth, Fifth, and Tenth Companies who manned the ship.
“Brother Captain, Chapter Master Villacus is hailing,” one of the Marines said, dutifully manning his station.
“Put him on,” Cintillius replied, silently wondering what was happening for a message during a time of relative peace. Was there a newly discovered Splinter or Genestealer Cult that needed to be purged? Was their Crusade in these wretched wastes finally over, could they return to the Ultima Segmentum to rebuild? They had already lost four whole companies, and the remainders of the elite few were struggling to maintain sufficient numbers; they could not take much more fighting and hope to continue their legacy.
“Greetings Cintillius,” Villacus said, as serious and straight faced as ever. Despite his outward appearance as a silent and pragmatic son of Dorn, Cintillius had come to know him to be as passionate and ferocious as a follower of Sigismund. “I bring good tidings. We have been given permission to go to the Eastern Fringe; a world there, Galimus, which has an unusual amount of Blackstone, is under attack from Tau forces and the Planetary Defense Forces are struggling to hold them off. The local Techpriests studying the material have already fled, and are requesting our assistance. In return, we may adopt the planet as our own.”
This was good news indeed. Their homeworld was ravaged by the Tyranids, and they had been wandering since. Now was their chance to settle and rebuild.
“We are going to make the Warp jump tomorrow. The Dorn Indomitus will assess the situation now, and we will spearhead the attack. We’ll contact you in a few Terran months and check up. For now, you’re in command.”
Cintillius was certainly not excited to be in charge, but the thought that this campaign would result in their chapter’s recovery left him feeling far more hopeful and excited than was acceptable for a scion of Dorn. The Dorn Indomitus was a strong ship and filled with the best the Astartes had to offer, not least of which was a mostly intact First Company, supported by Sixth and Seventh. The Fists of Terra would take Galimus soon enough and they would rebuild.
It had been eight months, and there had still been no communication with their flagship. Cintillius had been worried for a while now, that their attack had failed, that their Chapter was doomed. He was once again sparring with Licius, but this time he had the clear upper hand. He knocked the sword out of his hand with a quick parry and knocked him to the ground with his shield. Pointing his sword at Licius’ exposed neck, Cintillius had won.
“Good match” he said, holding the sword in his shield hand and helping his Lieutenant up. “I’m going to head down to the Chapel, I need time to think.”
“I think I need to go and tend to my wounds, Brother,” Licius said, limping his way out of the room and into the dark hallway. Cintillius smiled; he and Licius had grown up together of the Fists’ old homeworld, Sheridan, and they had been inducted together. They had fought side by side through countless battles, facing the vile forces of Chaos and the Tyranids alike.
As he warmed at these valorous thoughts, the familiar sound of the voxcaster filled the room.
“Brother Captain Cintillius, there is an urgent message for you from Galimus. Please report to the Bridge immediately!” There was a haste in the Marine’s voice that suggested that the urgency was very real, and that there was danger ahead.
Cintillius had rushed to the Bridge, and stumbled onto the netted floor right by Angellivin.
“You need to hear this Captain,” she said, the worry in her voice very apparent. “Things aren’t going well for our commanders.”
A crackling voice came through the machinery, which Cintillius recognized as that of Verax, the Captain of the First Company. “Gali – atta – traitor hu – Tau forces, awaken – Flay – Veterans guarded Vil – dead. Send hel – diately.”
Cintillius was shocked. What had happened to them? Who was killed? Why had they not communicated sooner?
“The message arrived just a few minutes ago. Judging by the degradation, I’d guess it’s been lost in the Warp for months,” a Marine said.
That would explain why they hadn’t responded. Despite his shock and worry, Cintillius knew what had to be done. His brothers were all dead or in immediate danger, and Galimus was in danger of falling into the hands of the foul Xenos.
“We’re going to Galimus. Immediately.”
Cintillius looked at the flowing magenta and red waves swirling in front of the ship from the Bridge. The Dorn’s Spear had already been in the Warp for two whole days longer than the Navigators expected, and he was concerned. Had time been distorted during their trip? Even if it hadn’t, it might be too late. His Chapter could have long been destroyed by now. “Captain, I anticipate the jump will be finished very soon,” Ylerium said in their hissing voice that Cintillius had grown accustomed to. They were the chief Navigator aboard the Dorn’s Spear, and, despite their eccentricities, including insisting all Battle Brothers addressing them refer to them as they, they had become a useful asset, and proved much more loyal than most Navigators that hail from Noble Houses. Word had it that they had overstayed their welcome after being outed for some scandal (the reports of what this was vary, with the most extreme claiming that they had turned to some kind of fish), but they claim that they only chose to not return to their home until they “respected their pronouns.” No matter what the story was, Ylerium was an essential and reliable asset to the Fists of Terra’s well being, and Cintillius got the feeling that they would be more needed than ever in the coming months. In fact, Cintillius’ thoughts were very worrying. He just couldn’t quite shake the feeling that something terrible was to happen soon, and that he would be the catalyst of it all. “Good, as soon as we can, drop us out.” “Aye, Captain.” In just a few moments, the swirling storms of madness faded, and a planet, covered in deep green continents, which Cintillius presumed to be jungle. There were no ships in orbit, Imperial or otherwise. As the planet continued to turn under their orbit, a tan and black dot came into view on the world’s horizon. They watched as this dot turned into an entire continent, and at the center of this wasteland was a sprawling hive the size of Cintillius’ homeland on their feudal world. From orbit, he could just make out flying ships of white and massive black and orange buildings, presumably belonging to the Tau. As he looked at the turning orb, he glimpsed a long and grey rectangular ship, proportionately massive compared to its surroundings. At first he didn’t recognize the wreckage, but then he realized that it was, in fact, Dorn Indomitus. The ship had crashed by the Tau controlled hive, and his Brothers had been stranded in enemy territory for who knew how long. Without considering what he was going to do, Cintillius turned to the nearest Marine. “Brother, I want three squads from the Tenth company to go in a Thunderhawk and explore that ship. Find out what happened to our people. Send another squad into the hive in a drop pod, as far from the Spires as possible and investigate and interrogate the Planetary Governor, learn how powerful these foul Xenos have become. Also, tell Brother Haepheston and Chaplain Stryden to meet me in the war room with Brother Licius as soon as possible.” “Yes, Brother Captain,” the Marine said, saluting.
Haepheston, the Techmarine delegated to the Fourth Company, and his Chaplain counterpart, Stryden, were sitting in the cold, grey darkness of the war room when Cintillius and Licius arrived. They had already been briefed on the situation and the steps taken, and they were here to join the war council in the battle that was to come. “Greetings,” Stryden said, saluting. Haepheston followed shortly after, looking up from his dataslate. Immediately afterwards, he sat back down, not bothering to wait for his commander’s order. This king of behavior was accepted amongst the priesthood of Mars, but it was only by the grace of their utility that Techmarines were not expunged from the Chapter. “Have a seat,” Cintillius said, returning the salute. In front of them was a table glowing with a pale yellow light with slightly translucent purple symbols floating above the cartographically accurate landscape. The table had already been synced with the hive and its surroundings, probably due to Haepheston’s tinkering. “I assume you’ve both heard about the Scouts?” They both nodded their heads, with Stryden making a slight affirmative grunt with it. “The squads investigating the ship are due to report to us in a few minutes. We need to think of how we’ll transport survivors and how we’ll retaliate.” “Brother Vulcanos and I can reprogram some monotask Servitors as a means of piloting the Stormbird and the Thunderhawks,” Haepheston said casually, without looking up from his dataslate. Cintillius was shocked. How could an Astartes think about something so disrespectful to the Chapter’s relics, especially one trained to work with the blessed Machine Spirits? Before he could say anything, Stryden banged his fist on the edge of the table and turned to Haepheston. “How dare you! Xeritroi would have lopped your head off for such a suggested,” he said, all presumed calm leaving his voice. “Oh, don’t worry Chaplain. Vulcanos, Troi and myself will be the primary pilots. We have four Thunderhawks and the Machine Spirit of the Stormbird is ready for action, so in order to maximize efficiency we’ll need a few co-pilots.” Haepheston was right. Forge World Antioclos, who had an ancient contract with the Chapter, had kept up a constant stream of archeotech that even some First Founding Chapters were lucky to get. The Stormbird could carry 50 infantry each, not counting those in Terminator armor, and resilient enough to get down to the surface, pick up the survivors, and get back to Dorn’s Spear with minimal damage, and those Thunderhawks would be necessary for sufficient mobility for battlefield maneuverability. Before he could back up Haepheston, the voxcaster sounded. “Brother Captain Cintillius, Scout Squad 3 is calling in. Their message is waiting for your order.” Cintillius reached down to his helmet, currently strapped to his belt, and activated the auspex transmitter. “Put it through on the vox in the war room.” There was a slight crackle, and then a scratchy voice came through. “This is Seargent Lysium. The ship is the Dorn Indomitus, and it is completely crashed. There are bodies around, but no survivors. Several bodies seem to have been killed by chain weapons after the crash, and there’s an unusual amount of blood scattered around. There are only about a hundred bodies, so some survivors might have escaped the altercation alive.” Cintillius looked at Licius, his face obscured by the Mk. VIII armor he earned serving in the Deathwatch. There were survivors, and they needed to be found and rescued. Cintillius activated his auspex again. “Send the Scouts back in a Thunderhawk,” he said. He looked around the war room before saying, with complete confidence, “We have work to do.”
Cintillius was laying in the dust off Gararmus when he awoke, his blood pooling next to him. He turned bird head downward and saw Licius' lifeless body limp by his feet, deep scratches and tears in his power armor. They had been caught off guard. By whom, Cintillius couldn't remember, the large amounts of blood spilling from hood now gaping arm socket clouding his memory. All he could remember were hulking figures, their shining armor, and the smell of rotting flesh. His memory was coming back, if slowly. Just a few hours ago, it seemed, he had been on the Dorn's Spear in a meeting with Licius. They were fighting a campaign with the Tau, went had noticed a large base built up around some ruins. What's more, Haephestus' Gaiascan had shown that the ancient buildings, which appeared to be made of Adamantium, contained unusually large amounts of Blackstone. Realizing that the Xenos were carrying out some insidious plan, Cintillius ordered a Steel Rain attack on their weakest point, a patch of open land about 20 kilometers from the ruins. Cintillius was brought back to the memory with complete clarity now. They were winning three battle. Their Devastators had broken the Tau's Battlesuit line, and several Assault squads led a daring charge against the ranks of the Fire Warriors. As blue blood from the whirring chainswords and glowing power weapons sprayed into the air, Cintillius called a charge... Licius had turned when Cintillius slammed his Thunder Hammer into the robotic leg of a Crisis Suit, crippling it and creating a vulnerable gap in its defenses. Licius took advantage of this, and quickly brought his Power Sword to its neck, bringing it to the ground. As the old friends fought side-by-side through the enemy's ranks, spearheading the charge, Cintillius heard what sounded like some sort of melta, but totally unakin to those of the Imperium and the Tau, followed by organized bolter fire. He turned to see a great silver and ocher crescent flying through the air and firing focused orange shots into the Tau and Fists' lines indiscriminately. His memory began to fade again. He vaguely remembered that awful smell, and seeing Licius swing his power sword at a metallic figure. What had happened? Who had survived? He was beginning to see it now. Licius was losing, blood pouring from open wounds, the Holy Aquilla on his chest broken. Finally, the tides turned. Licius managed to land his Power Sword into the head of the abomination, cutting into its metallic shell. The orange light shining in its eyes slowly faded to black and it crumbled to the ground. Licius turned and began shooting his bolt pistol at some unseen enemy, and Cintillius began to doze off. But just as his eyes began to fall in blissful rest, the metallic figure rose from the dust, the rotting flesh dangling from its body swaying in the wind. He wanted to warn Licius, to fight by his side, but he wad totally helpless as its scything talons ripped into his Battle Brother's back, and his old friend fell to the ground, dead. It was over, it was done.