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The command centre was filled with cordite fumes, a carnal stench hanging in the air. Damaged cogitation engines spat angry sparks from the bullet holes riddling their ancient frames, a flickering holo-projector bathing the room in a dull green glow. The tactipathic pulpit was rent asunder, psychic permafrost surrounding it giving it the appearance of a gateway to an unnatural winter. The astropath crewing the device was spread across the floor in a dark smear, blood still steaming as it mixed with the freezing rockcrete.
The groans of the dying were drowned out by the laughter of the victorious attackers, the brutish greenskins still flooding into the room. One sneered at a wounded guardsman, who raised his arms in a feeble defence as the ork stamped a massive iron shod boot onto his face with force enough to burst the mans head like a melon.
The other orks moved from body to body, executing the wounded in equally violent ways; all except one.
A human dressed in a more elaborate uniform to the rest leant heavily against the wall of the strategium, arm pressed against a gaping wound in his side, an empty bolt pistol held in numb fingers. The man was pale from blood loss, his eyes downcast in resignation.
A massive ork, almost twice the size of its companions, and clad in a crude approximation of tactical dreadnought armour, reached out a gnarled paw and gripped the man by the jaw, lifting him off the ground so it could look him in the eye. It snarled, anger visible on its ugly face. Rancid breath assaulted the human’s senses, and the ork leant close, its snout inches from his.
“I’s thought you’se was supposed ter be der big boss ‘ere? You’se di’nt put up a fight at all – dat weren’t fightin’, dat were rubbish!” The warboss said, shaking the man like a rag doll for emphasis.
“’Ere, boss! One of these sparky-things is still workin’, I’s can ‘ear words comin’ out and everythin’!” One of the lesser orks spoke up, pointing to one of the damaged cogitators.
“So what? Dat thing aint gonna fight me is it?” The warboss growled, angry and disappointed. It had expected better from the defenders of the fortress.
“But boss, der words – dey’s from one of dem ‘Spess Mureens’ dat der humies love so much.” The ork continued, its daring overcoming its common sense. The warboss tightened its grip on the humans neck, the bones snapping with a sickening crack.
Dropping the dead man to the ground, the warboss crossed the strategium toward the cogitator, head butting the ork in the face just for being there, the smaller greenskin dropping like a felled tree.
“Wus it sayin’?” It asked, kicking the fallen ork in the leg just to make sure it was paying attention.
“…repeat; this is a message for Lord Marshal Zeigr from Chapter Master Tu’shan of the Salamanders. We are inbound, hold the greenskins for as long as you can, relief will be with you soon.” The message echoed through the cramped confines of the command land raider, the vehicle shuddering as it was loaded into the drop clamps on the underside of the thunderhawk gunship Fire Angel. The Regent of Prometheus sighed as he received no response to his hails. It was likely that the defenders of the Vergan gate were already dead, but he would not give up on them quite so easily.
“Feug’n, come take my oath of moment, brother.” Tu’shan said, turning away from the communications console to face his honour guard. Seven veterans stood before him, the best his chapter had to offer. Each one represented one of the great sanctuary cities of Nocturne, his chapter’s fire-choked home world.
Feug’n was from the sanctuary city of Hesiod, and was a senior member of the promethean cult. Whenever the Flame Wardens – as they were known – took to the field of battle, Feug’n would be the one to bear witness to their oaths of moment – the declarations of their actions for the battle to come. No astartes would ever fail to complete an oath, for to do so would bring great dishonour upon them.
“By your will, my lord.” Feug’n said, bowing his head in respect. He removed his left gauntlet, revealing a hand of onyx skin, the flesh covered in intricate honour branding, barely an inch left unadorned.
“Kneel, brother, and declare to me your intention. Speak your oath that all may hear, and let none challenge your honour in its undertaking.” The honour guard recited the litany by rote, the words long since committed to memory. Tu’shan stepped forward, kneeling before his battle brother and laying an ancient relic blade on the deck before him.
Bowing his head, the Chapter Master waited until Fueg’n placed his hand upon his shaven skull before breathing long and deep.
“I, Chapter Master Tu’shan, Regent of Prometheus and Captain of the Firedrakes, do state my intent upon this noble undertaking. By the fall of this night, not one greenskin shall remain alive at Vergan gate. So it is spoken, it is my word, my oath this day.” Tu’shan said, conviction in his voice.
“So it is spoken, so it shall be.” The Flame Wardens recited as one, Fueg’n taking a scroll of oath paper from a servo skull floating at his shoulder. Holding the scroll against Tu’shan’s vambrace, he watched as the servo skull secured the scroll in place with hot wax.
Stepping back, he let Tu’shan stand, the relic blade held in his master’s hands. Tu’shan keyed his microbead, sending a message to the master of the watch.
“The order is given, let slip Valn’ir and He’stor, and launch the thunderhawks. Into the fires of battle!”
+++Unto the anvil of war!+++ Ironclad Valn’ir recited as his drop pod launched from the strike cruiser Heart of Deathfire. Data scrolled across his minds eye as his dreadnought armour performed the final pre-battle checks.
>>>increasing reactor output to 93%… …complete.
>>>bringing weapons systems online… …complete.
>>>testing auto targetters… …complete.
>>>bracing servos for impact… …complete.
>>>planetstrike in… 10…9…8…7…6…5…
>>>Into the fires of battle, brother Valn’ir.
>>>Cleanse and burn…
[More to Come]
Ancient brother He’stor strode down the ramp of his drop pod, the dust cloud caused by its impact parting around him. His advanced targeting auspex detected enemies in the cloud, and the Ironclad keyed his vox caster, projecting its mechanical voice over the din of battle.
+++Foul Xeno, your death has come - as the Primarch commands, you shall burn!+++
He’stor triggered his twin heavy flamers, the combined firestorm so hot as to melt the orks as well as burn them, their leathery flesh running like wax. They bellowed in their primitive way as their lives left them, the fire cleansing the spores secreted from the greenskins flesh, preventing them from spawning more of their kind and ensuring their existence would be purged from the world.
As the xeno burned, the dust cloud was suddenly cleared as a thunderhawk gunship rocketed overheat, burning as it plummeted toward the ground. A quick scan of his auspex identified it as the Fire Angel, the Chapter Master’s transport. His land raider was no longer mag-locked to the underside of its hull. That was something, at least.
With the dust now cleared, He’stor could see where he had landed – a breach in the outer wall of the Vergan gate was within sight, and he knew he was honour bound to secure it. There was nothing he could do for the gunship crew now, except inform his brothers of their plight. He activated his vox and sent a short burst of machine code before speaking.
+++Brothers, He’stor reporting - gunship down within the walls, possible survivors, I am unable to assist. Uploading last known co-ordinates to the noosphere. For Vulkan!+++
His part in the fate of the crew played out, He’stor set off toward the breach, and the orks whooping and screaming obscenities from atop the rubble.
Tu’shan stumbled sideways as the thunderhawk was struck by enemy fire, his champion, Adamar, supporting him as he fell. As he regained his footing, the pilot of the thunderhawk voxed through to his land raider, pain evident in his voice.
“Master, we have lost the port engine, and there is significant damage to the altitude controls. I cannot keep her aloft. I will do what I can to see you safely to ground, but-“
“Do not concern yourself with us, brother; release the clamps on the land raider – it is time we show these xeno the fury of the Fireborn.”
“As you command, my Lord.” The pilot replied, and with a gut-wrenching jerk the land raider was falling, the ground rushing up to meet them at an alarming speed.
“Brace!” Adamar shouted, grasping the low ceiling of the tank and bending his legs slightly to soften the impact.
The crusader struck the earth with a world shattering smash, crushing a band of confused looking gretchin beneath its adamantium hull. Startled squigs cried out in alarm and scattered from the impact crater the massive tank made as it hit the ground, and were promptly scythed down by the sponson mounted hurricane bolters, explosive bolts shredding them in scores.
As the dust cloud of their landing cleared, Tu’shan spotted a breach in the fortress walls, and ordered the driver to advance toward it. With a roar from the engine the land raider dragged itself out of its own impact crater and toward the breach.
excellent writing! Perfect mixture of pictures!! Can't wait to see rest.
PM me about Aurora Prime Vassal fights! Willing and ready!
when's the next bit?
Deltamarines (SM) W:10 D:1 L:3
Hunter Cadre Xeon'a (Tau) W:5 D:2 L:1
That was awesome. Usually I avoid the battle reps written as stories but you managed to pull it off so that it was true to the 40k feel and wasn't crunge worthy! Please post more pics if you can!
"Never underestimate the value of doing nothing"
-Winny the Pooh
Really really good!