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Wolves of Catachan


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#1
Bjorn Firewalker

Bjorn Firewalker

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WOLVES OF CATACHAN

A 'Warhammer 40,000' story by Sidewinder (aim9snake@hotmail.com), 2009-2010. Based on the franchise created and copyrighted by Games Workshop.
>

It is the 31st millennium. A single lifetime ago, the Horus Heresy tore apart the Imperium of Man, as the Warmaster broke and ruined the Emperor's material coil. With His ascension to the Golden Throne-- once key to the Great Plan, now a life-support system for the half-dead Emperor, never to open a door to the better future He envisioned-- the loyalist forces set out to reclaim worlds and rescue Imperial subjects from the Traitor Legions' tyranny, or destroy those they judge beyond salvation. Spearheading these efforts are the Space Marines, men-turned-demigods by genetic and cybernetic enhancements of the Emperor's design.

The loyalists are greatly diminished, not only by betrayal and civil war, but by their own hand. To deny any individual the awesome power the Warmaster Horus used to kill planets and turn entire star systems into celestial tombs, the Marine Legions were divided into Chapters of 1000 men each. With these diluted forces must the Imperium challenge Chaos Space Marines; men of the Traitor Legions, granted powers that corrupt even a god's soul and sanity.

To be human in such times is to be one among untold billions, all of whom face this dilemma every day of their lives-- to fight and live, or to fight and die. It is to draw each breath in fear of what the next will bring, never knowing who to trust. Peace is no hope, and bloodshed is the sole measure of Progress, for what purpose is saving a life if this allows the Dark Gods to reap a thousand more? In the grim darkness of the future, there is only war.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 01 August 2010 - 06:30 AM.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#2
Bjorn Firewalker

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Chapter 1.1: Death's Mask
>

Death hid its face behind life's vibrant greens. Waist-deep water offered little respite from the sun as Bjorn Firewalker walked upon the riverbed to avoid leaving tracks, careful to remain at arm's length from the mangroves flanking it; the deceptively harmless trees would discharge a breath of poison gas if he approached. The poison wouldn't kill Bjorn, a supersoldier with genetic and cybernetic enhancements, but it would blind him for three or four seconds; time enough to die, as he learned when a waiting serpent tried to exploit his temporary disability, a strike sure to kill an un-augmented human.

His shame was more poisonous than anything on the planet Catachan. If Brother-Sergeant Jurgen Thunderwolf saw him cower like this, the Space Marine veteran would execute Bjorn for cowardice; he deserved no less. But Jurgen-- who trained Bjorn as a recruit in the Space Wolves Legion of the Adeptus Astartes, led him as a Blood Claw, named him "Firewalker" after a berserk charge on a volcanic world, and recommended him for promotion to Grey Hunter in the newfound Wolfbrothers Chapter-- was dead. Bjorn cursed the relief he felt when Jurgen fell two days ago...
>

The gas giant reflected a dying sun's light into the cockpit as the Wolfbrothers Landing Craft exited a ravine on its lifeless moon. Rocky ground seemingly within his reach, failed to terrify Bjorn. The steel storm greeting the spacecraft as she zigzagged towards the landing zone-- laser beams, artillery shells, missiles and rockets scoring her armor-- failed to paralyze Firewalker.

"Any difficulties?" Jurgen asked as he stood beside the Landing Craft captain, looking out the armorcrys-- "armor-crystal"-- windshield.

"No, Brother-Sergeant; I can navigate this gauntlet with my eyes closed," Bjorn replied. "The Thousand Sons need offer more resistance, or I'll fall asleep."

Laughter escaped the sergeant's lips. "Allfather willing, we'll see that soon." Jurgen turned to address his command. "Stand ready for Russ and the Emperor! Five minutes!" he began counting down. At "Zero!" the sergeant led the charge, his boots touching ground before the ramp did.

The Wolfbrothers howled as one, their battle cry audible over the Lander's roaring engines and thundering guns; then the spacecraft soared over the landing zone, covering the debarked Marines. The Wolfbrothers' vox network fed Bjorn the screams of traitor men-at-arms, some praying to the Chaos Gods as the loyalists' might broke them in mind and body; her captain wished he could forsake the Lander's awesome firepower, and join his brothers on the ground, smelling an enemy's fear as they crossed swords.

Jurgen's nose caught the stink of Chaos-taint, before his eyes caught the tainted one's silhouette. "Finally, someone worth killing!" Bolts-- rocket-propelled, armor-piercing, high-explosive shells-- reached from the sergeant's gun, promising death and destruction to anything it touched.

The bolts never reached the target; a psychic wall rose before it, distorting space-time and reality itself to shield a Chaos Marine of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion.

"Thank you for the gift of close combat." A chainblade motor echoed the taunt as Jurgen prepared to skewer the traitor upon his bayonet.

Instead of drawing the sword at his side, the Thousand Sons Marine's arms spread as if to embrace the charging Wolfbrother. "!" No human ear could define these syllables, but the speaker's voice-- choking the air with wrath and malevolence, stronger and darker than any incense-- made its meaning known.

"Ahhhh!" The boltgun fell to the ground, where the attached chainblade pulled it as a horse pulled a chariot. Jurgen knelt, his head hammering the ground before the Chaos Marine, mad with pain now tearing him inside out.

"Brother-Sergeant Jurgen!" Bjorn pushed the throttle. "Target, Thousand Sons Marine, 12 o'clock!" Lascannon turrets traversed, locking onto the designated target as the Lander accelerated. "Fire when--"

A sudden wind sent the spacecraft tumbling down; the nose cut a groove into the ground before the Lander's machine spirit recovered. Firewalker's head struck the instrument panel, painting both with his blood. "Frak!" he cursed, forehead burning as torn skin mended itself. "Status--"

"Ah-woo!" "Gah!" "Brother Egil!" "Why...? Ahhhh!" "Stop! Noooo!" "What in hell happened?!"

His elevated position provided the answer to a question repeated in a hundred vox-casts, though it rent Bjorn's twin hearts like a ravenous wolf. Wulfen's Curse fell upon Jurgen, transformed the sergeant into a creature neither man or beast, made him turn and slaughter his own battle-brothers to sate his bloodlust; then the sergeant drowned as the Thousand Sons' sorcery flooded the field with ectoplasm.

"Fall back!" "Help!" "We can't abandon...!" "We need evac, now!" A rout followed; then a race, the terrified Wolfbrothers trampling each other in their flight. None could halt them; because no Marine would lead from behind like the Imperial Guard's cowardly generals, all Wolfbrother leaders fell to the Thousand Sons' sorcery, from Great Wolf to sergeant.

Landers, Thunderhawk gunships and transports descended; ramps lowered to admit the fleeing loyalists; guns thundered to buy a moment's peace from the pursuing traitors. A Thunderhawk became a fireball, knocking untainted Wolfbrothers off their feet, some into the line-of-fire of weapons protecting them a split-second ago. A second gunship exploded, halting the evacuation effort as the pilots faced a new threat. "Daemon!" Entire companies of loyalists were abandoned as blazing runes appeared on the ground, forming passages from which the Warp's spawn materialized among the landing spacecraft; fiery talons tore apart man and machine alike, rending armor designed to resist battle cannon strikes, as if the daemon's touch changed hard metal into supple meat.

"Noooo!" The desperate cry thrust at Bjorn's hearts, sharper than any spear, but the Lander captain steeled himself to fly beyond reach of friend and foe alike; if he stayed to save one more, he'd doom the Wolfbrothers already aboard the spacecraft.

The remaining loyalists scattered in all directions. Some continued their flight. Some turned to die with honor before the enemy. Some lost their minds to the beast within-- unable to bear the price of superhuman speed and strength, the strain the Canis Helix forced upon them-- and fell as their leaders did, becoming Wulfen and slaughtering those who were their brothers. Some knelt, begging for mercy as a daemon and its Thousand Sons summoners neared...
>

'We should've recognized the enemy actions as a lure, and the chosen battlefield, a trap.' The blazing runes reappeared before Bjorn's eyes; he heard his brothers' screams again, lost to past memories like one with dementia. 'How many years-- decades, even centuries-- did the Thousand Sons spend preparing the moon for...?' He noticed the blaze and the screams growing closer.

'Raptors; Traitor Legion jump infantry.' Fear rose, tide-like, threatening to drown the young Marine's mind; with it, the wits he needed to survive the next few minutes. Bjorn donned the helmet hanging at his waist, submerged under a mangrove's shadow, and hoped the water flowing overhead would neutralize the poison; the only motion he risked was his fingers' walk towards the bolt pistol at his side.

"Baa, baa, Space Sheep, have you any wool?" "Come out, come out, wherever you are!" the Chaos Marines sang as they circled like vultures, their jump packs-- and flapping wings, which infrared sensors outlined for the surprised Wolfbrother-- keeping them clear of the entangling branches. "You're only delaying the--"

Thunder rolled across a cloudless sky, followed by a shriek of pain. 'A bolter?' Bjorn thought, hoping another Wolfbrother was nearby. Then he remembered where he was; Catachan, a death world where venom dripped from fanged flowers. What he thought were coconut trees shot poisoned needles at the Raptors, the colorful fruit bursting to sow its seed in Chaos-tainted flesh; power armor offered no protection against this.

The curious needle-seed pierced a fuel tank; despite the rain of fire, Bjorn's unexpected allies didn't relent until they sensed the mutilated bodies were no longer a threat. Worms, brambles, or some monstrous amalgam of flora-fauna crawled away from the fire-- or towards it to consume the corpses before the flames did.

'There goes dinner.' Bjorn wanted to laugh, but held his tongue. The jump pack engines roared once in defiance, and then died; the surviving Raptors fled from a jungle that preyed on them as they once preyed on others. The Wolfbrother surfaced, exhaling with relief as his hearts slowed their beating.

'I'll live,' Bjorn considered the possibility. 'We-- the Wolfbrothers Chapter, proud sons of Leman Russ and loyal vassals of the Emperor-- will live.' Hope swelled in his chest as he surfaced to continue the journey.

Despite the Grey Hunter's concerns, the fire quickly died; and with it, a beacon guiding the enemy to him. Bjorn later learned the trees, veterans of a struggle as fierce as any a Marine faced, secreted a flame retardant from their bark. Fortunately, the Wolfbrother was born on another death world; he was better prepared for what challenges were found on Catachan.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 07 July 2010 - 12:15 AM.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#3
Bjorn Firewalker

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Chapter 1.2: Death's Face
>

The river vanished beneath a sheer cliff, forcing Bjorn to put his feet on solid ground, which he studied the before each footfall. The knowledge he was as vulnerable to Catachan's mad environment as the Thousand Sons, made each step near-torture; thus the journey continued for minutes perceived as hours, and hours perceived as days...
>

The scent was like a forgotten dream, both familiar and not. Bjorn struggled for a second; then he identified it as another Marine, one with the Canis Helix shared by all sons of Leman Russ. 'I'm not alone.' He cautiously followed the scent, staying downwind in case the enemy was using his battle-brother as bait.

Tactile sensors let him feel the thorns entangling his foot. Bjorn risked a glance. 'Thorny Strangler,' he identified the flowery vine struggling to force the points through his armor. He grabbed the vine at its neck, slowly, carefully uncoiling it from his leg; then he threw the strangler, before it entangled his arm.

A shrill cry filled the air; the Wolfbrother's auto-senses drew his attention to a winged beast-blossom-something swooping down to capture the strangler, only for a branch to capture and feed both creatures to a tree. Bjorn searched his augmented memory-- information the Legion's tutelary engines imprinted in his brain-- to identify the flora-fauna native to Catachan, but found few facts among the countless labeled "UNKNOWN" there.

'Here there be dragons,' the young Marine recalled the tribal elders' description of uncharted waters too dangerous to navigate. 'Literally.' Bjorn continued his slow approach, wary of other surprises Catachan's flora-fauna had in store; this almost allowed a human to catch him by surprise.

"Ah-woo!" The chainsword motor's shriek was near-inaudible over the Blood Claw's battle cry. Bjorn barely raised his own weapon in time; roots and worms crawled away as the whirring teeth sent sparks in all directions.

The swordsman parted, changing stance to prepare a counterattack; then the fight ended as it began. "Brother Bjorn?" the Blood Claw called as he lowered his weapon.

"Well met, Brother Donner." Bjorn glanced back, seeing phantom enemies everywhere. "We must leave before traitors come to investigate," he whispered.

"Ha!" Donner Red Eagle didn't bother to lower his voice. "Let them come and taste our blades; let us hold our heads high when we meet again in hell."

"You fool!" the senior Wolfbrother scolded.

The junior one bristled, his chainsword rising to avenge the insult; then an earsplitting shriek near-shook the weapon from his hand. "What in hell...?" Donner breathed.

"Daemon." Bjorn shivered. The warpspawn need not cry to make its presence known; a sense he could only describe as "wrongness" washed over him like a tidal wave.

The insult forgotten, Donner whispered, "What do we do?" with fear and confusion he'd never admit before now.

Firewalker donned his helmet; he hated its claustrophobic confines, but Bjorn needed the integral auspex, a sensor more accurate than those implanted in his eyes and ears. An orange rune marked the space-time distortion in the daemon's wake, data he relayed to Donner. "Watch our flanks; the shrieking is likely intended to herd us into a trap."

"Wilco," will comply. The Wolfbrothers moved with agonizing slowness, as wary of the ground they tread, as they were of the daemon and its summoners.

They near-missed the warning sign, leaves shaking in a nonexistent wind. Bjorn and Donner slowly, silently lay prone, ignoring the ants now swarming their bodies as the Wolfbrothers aimed bolt pistols at the threat. The sense of "wrongness" grew stronger; the Marines need not hear the daemon know how close it was.

The attack took everyone by surprise. The auspex outlined the Catachan Devil, a scorpion-like creature as large as a battle tank-- known to attack tanks that trespass its territory-- otherwise invisible behind the trees. Devil fell upon daemon, meeting its namesake with lashing stinger and slashing claws. Blue-and-gold crests flashed between the branches as the Thousand Sons rushed to the daemon's defense, only for a second devil to flank them.

Bjorn put his hand over Donner's pistol, stopping Red Eagle from shooting.

"Ahhhh!" The Wolfbrothers felt the ground shake as a Chaos Marine was impaled, the devil's stinger piercing ceramite and adamantium like a needle through cloth; screams of pain, rage, and even fear were audible over the roaring guns.

"Morkai's teeth!" Donner cursed in the name of a two-headed wolf, mythical guardian of Death's realm. "This planet is reaping more traitors than we ever did!"

"Hush."

Red Eagle prepared a retort, but it died when he caught a foul scent. 'What...?' An ant crawled over his eye; Donner bit his lip, silencing a growl when the insect stung the eyelid. His vision blurred as his enhanced immune system neutralized the venom; he near-missed the sound of disturbed vegetation.

Bjorn anchored two fingers from his sword hand to the ground; grass and fallen leaves slid against his cheek as he looked to the side, his pistol seeking a target. "Chaos Marines," he identified those who lay in ambush before the sorcerers' plan was aborted.

Donner faced the same direction as Bjorn counted the approaching infantrymen; his eyes widened when space-time was torn open, admitting an armored vehicle with a prow-mounted Demolisher cannon, before the rift was mended. 'Morkai's teeth!'

"Vindicator, one, ten o'clock." Firewalker barely heard his voice over his heartbeats as the siege tank charged its flesh-and-blood counterparts. The Catachan Devils' spawn joined the fray, preventing the Thousand Sons reinforcements from noticing their prey.

'The Thousand Sons grew soft on Prospero's sorcery,' Donner thought of the Chaos Marines' homeworld, which the Space Wolves destroyed when their treason was exposed. Though smaller than its parents, a devilspawn could sever arms and legs whenever its stinger found a joint, as the Thousand Sons regrettably learned.

An idea came to Firewalker. "Await my signal; prepare to attack."

"Wilco."

The Vindicator commander fired a pintle-mounted combi-bolter; the beasts were relentless despite the damage inflicted. Bjorn's belt dispensed two grenades as he waited for the Chaos Marines to eliminate the adult devils, which required the Demolisher cannon's use; then he threw. The tank commander started when the krak grenades bounced off his back, down the hatch; then the anti-armor weapons ignited the onboard munitions, changed the tank into a fireball, and forced the devilspawn to flee.

"Now!" Bjorn charged the decimated Thousand Sons squads. A bolt detonated upon Bjorn's shoulder, near-shaking the pistol from his hand, but Firewalker was already close enough to bathe his sword in tainted blood.

Bjorn was also close enough for the Thousand Sons to spit him like a roast pig, but Donner shot the Chaos Marine before Bjorn received a stab in the back. "For Russ and the Emperor!" "Ah-woo!" Each Wolfbrother delivered a blow before immediately moving to attack the next enemy. Rapidly closing the distance, forcing the traitors to risk fratricide with every other shot, their superior close combat skills neutralized the Thousand Sons' still superior numbers.

Seconds passed; blood and gore were shaken off chainsword teeth; a tally was taken. "That was satisfying." Donner smiled as he counted the Thousand Sons' dead.

"Don't get complacent; there are thousands more where they came from." Bjorn began searching the traitors' bodies for munitions.

"Good; my blade need not rust from disuse." A hungry Red Eagle considered butchering the dead Catachan Devils, but Chaos-tainted weapons rendered the meat necrotic and toxic. "What's this?" He raised a tube of paste; it resembled the semi-liquid rations at his belt, but was colored the dark red of dried blood, not the bone-white of reconstituted nutrients. "Gah!"

"What happened?" Bjorn followed Donner's finger to the red tube writhing on the ground; then ants consumed the traitor rations. "Strange; the taint failed to mutate the creatures."

"I suspect they're already too unnatural to mutate." Red Eagle sighed as he gathered a handful of grenades and bolter magazines.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#4
Bjorn Firewalker

Bjorn Firewalker

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Chapter 2.1: Lost Souls
>

Donner bit back a curse. "These ants will eat me alive before the Thousand Sons' warpspawn does; I suspect they'll be picking meat from my bones as a daemon's stomach digests us all."

"Then eat them." Bjorn's eyes held no mischief as they met Donner's. "We must keep up our strength." Firewalker plucked an ant from the back of his knee, and bit off its head. "The flesh bears a mild toxin, milder than the plants."

"We still have rations," Red Eagle took a tube from his belt in demonstration.

"Save them; Allfather alone knows what fruit won't paralyze us at our tongues' touch."

Donner shrugged, grabbed the ant climbing towards his throat, and ate it. "What do we do now? Hide here until the enemy loses all patience and kills us with an Exterminatus?" orbital bombardment to destroy all life on a planet. He paused. "Why don't the Thousand Sons order an Exterminatus? They already reaped the Great Wolf and many, if not all his Wolf Lords. We can't be worth the effort to capture alive."

Bjorn frowned. "You're right; something else must be on Catachan, for which the Thousand Sons refuse to risk an Exterminatus."

"What do you think it is?"

"Allfather knows."

"Where are we going?" Red Eagle wondered.

Firewalker donned his helmet. "Catachan is inhabited-- according to the Chapter archives," he added to silence the other's doubts. "I saw a clearing from the air," before his Lander broke in half upon reentry, leaving him the sole survivor among the flight crew; Bjorn could only hope the impact didn't disorient him. "If we're lucky, we'll find a settlement there; maybe even transport off this planet," he said with feigned confidence.

Donner shrugged, accepting the plan the only way he could; calmly. "Fine." He followed Bjorn through trees whose limbs ominously resembled teeth, walking a hundred meters before the Grey Hunter's hand signaled a stop; he lay prone when the other did. 'What...?' Red Eagle saw it; a discolored patch of ground, like a snow-covered crack in ice. 'Booby trap.'

Bjorn's combat knife probed the leaves concealing the pit; down-pointing spikes lined the edges, preventing quick withdrawal of limbs already injured by up-pointing spikes on the floor. 'The trapper has the Dark Eldar's cruel ingenuity.' Firewalker pointed to a tree, and then up. "At my signal, scream as if in great pain."

Red Eagle nodded, remaining prone as Bjorn climbed. 'I hope the trapper is nearby.'

"Now."

Donner howled and then fell silent. The approaching footsteps were near-silent, even to the Marine's enhanced senses; any other would miss the twinkle of sunlight reflected off a rifle scope. 'Morkai's teeth!' Red Eagle launched himself forwards, dodging two laser beams that scorched the ground he previously laid upon.

"Ah-woo!" Bjorn jumped-- 'Humans, camo cloaked, sap smeared on their skins to cover their scent, bearing long-las,' he quickly noted-- his armored mass felling both hunters. Despite the reversal, the Catachan men instantly reached for their knives.

"Yield." Donner's chainsword froze before a man's eyes, the muzzle of his pistol before another, covering Bjorn as Firewalker rose to collect the captives' knives.

"Who are you?" the older man demanded.

"We are Adeptus Astartes, loyal vassals of the Emperor. To whom does your loyalty lie? He on Terra, or the Traitor Legions and their Dark Gods?" Bjorn countered.

The younger man retorted, "Do we look like lunatics who fornicate with grox and consume their feces?" Grox were omnivorous reptiles, bred as beasts of burden and food animals on countless worlds.

Firewalker loosened his hold over the Wulfen within, just enough for the eyes to reveal his bloodlust. "Answer the question," he growled with ferocity to rend the captives' will to resist.

"We're loyal to the Emperor," they finally said.

The Wolfbrothers smelled no deceit; a pheromone released when a man feared his treason was exposed. "Good." Bjorn nodded, signaling Donner to lower his weapons. "Stand." He returned the knives once the Catachan men did so. "I am Brother Bjorn; this is Brother Donner. Traitors of the Thousand Sons Legion were pursuing us when our ships crashed; we wish to contact other Imperial men-at-arms, and find transport off your world."

"Hawker," the older man nodded to the younger, "My son, Lancaster."

"Well met, Sieurs Hawker and Lancaster." Bjorn glanced around. "Is there shelter nearby? We must not tarry within the Great Enemy's reach."

Hawker nodded. "This way."

As they walked, the Wolfbrothers noticed Hawker and Lancaster's stress increased as they approached the settlement, and wondered if their destination was no sanctuary, but a tomb. The vegetation became darker and denser with each step, as if it fought to reclaim the land the humans occupied.

The roar of flame and chain weapons made the Marines seek cover, their guns trained on the sounds.

"Don't worry, it's just the maintenance crew," Hawker explained. "Hey!" he shouted.

"Who goes there?" Metallic clicks became audible as lasgun safeties were set to "FIRE".

"Hawker, son, and two guests-- from the Astartes." Hawker faced the Marines, adding, "Raise your hands and let your weapons hang from their slings." Father and son raised their hands and stepped into the clearing, followed by the Wolfbrothers.

Sunlight, no longer reduced to pinpoints by countless layers of foliage, became painfully bright. If not for the nictitating membrane-- a translucent, third eyelid, one of the enhancements a Marine received-- the sudden increase in luminosity would blind the Wolfbrothers. This let them see the sentries' fingers tighten around the lasgun triggers.

The only warning given was Bjorn's "Take prisoners!" as he charged, pulled the lasgun out of a sentry's hand, swept his foot to trip a second, put his pistol's muzzle against a third man's throat, spun the lasgun so he could reach its trigger and hold the fourth at bay.

Donner rolled, his spread arms knocked down two others, and then drew his sword as he rose, cutting the seventh man's-- 'Woman's,' Red Eagle corrected-- long-las in half by the time he stood.

"Don't." Firewalker's growl froze Hawker and Lancaster's hands before they reached the long-las at their side.

The reversal didn't diminish the heat of the sentries' defiance; or their hatred. "I know what the Traitor Legions do to their prisoners." The speaker's camo cloak fluttered as she quickly drew a laspistol from underneath, only to feel a sharp pain as Donner seized the weapon, near-breaking her finger.

Red Eagle's eyes blazed as anger strained the length of his leash. "We are Wolfbrothers, proud sons of Leman Russ; as our father is loyal to his father the Emperor, so are we loyal to our lord, He on Terra."

"Then why do you wear the colors of the beastmen who killed my son?" the woman spat.

Bjorn, shocked, buried his anger in an icy grave. "What?"

"Your shoulders might not bear the Great Enemy's eight-arrow symbol, but they do bear the wolf in a golden ring." The woman prepared another insult, but fell silent when Bjorn and Donner faced each other, naked fear on the Marines' faces.

On Fenris, homeworld to the Space Wolves Legion before the Wolfbrothers Chapter was split from it, vassals accepted rings to swear fealty to their lord and "ring-giver." Kings exchanged rings to swear brotherhood and promise to aid one another, affirming an alliance. The insignia on the Wolfbrothers' left shoulders marked their oath to their Great Wolf, and his oath to Leman Russ.

"The Lost Ones," Firewalker whispered in a tone more convincing than any shout.

"They live," Red Eagle finished.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#5
Skirax

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It's good... quite good. Although there are a few mistakes, but everyone makes those. For example, you typed 'Wolfbrothers' when it's Wolf Brothers. Just a few things like that.
-->Of Skirax And Scenery; Homemade scenery blog.
 
-->The Return of the Warmaster; From the shadows he comes...
-->The Rise of the Warmaster; The Wolftime approaches...
-->The Time of Ending; The End of Days is upon us!
 
The International Brotherhood Of Hobbyists

It depresses me that a squad of ten Imperial Guard Cadians now costs the same as twenty did almost four years ago

#6
Bjorn Firewalker

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It's good... quite good. Although there are a few mistakes, but everyone makes those. For example, you typed 'Wolfbrothers' when it's Wolf Brothers. Just a few things like that.

'Codex: Space Marines' spells it as two words, while 'Codex: Space Wolves' and William King's novels spell it as one word. I chose to spell it as the latter did; after all, this is about a Space Wolves successor Chapter, NOT an Ultramarines successor Chapter.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#7
Bjorn Firewalker

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Chapter 2.2: Let Sleeping Dogs...
>

The woman named "Nexa" led the Marines towards a glen, where she claimed a Wulfen killed her son. "It happened three local days ago."

Bjorn converted the time to standard days. 'That was approximately the day our Landing Craft crashed!'

"We were following a grox that Michael shot in the chest, possibly wounding a lung," the woman continued. "The beast cried once before falling silent. My son quickened, hoping to reach the prey before it was lost to another hunter-- Michael thought he was immortal, like all who survive to puberty on this world-- and soon outpaced me.

"The only warning was the bloodstains on the ground. Michael looked up, seeking the arboreal creature that seized our prey. The beastmen..." Nexa shook with words too painful to voice. "It happened in the time it took to blink; my son was dead, and I was pinned under a beastman's weight. The monster was about to tear out my throat when I heard a voice in an unknown tongue."

"The Chaos sorcerer controlling the Wulfen?" Firewalker guessed.

The woman's head shook. "I know not, for I fell unconscious. When I awoke, I was alone with my grief and my son's--"

"Hush."

'How dare he...?' Nexa's anger dissipated when she saw the Wolfbrothers bristle on the eve of battle. Bjorn and Donner's fingers hovered over their chainsword activation runes as they stepped ahead, towards the glen. The woman followed a meter behind, resisting the urge to shoot the Marines in the back, when she sensed it; wrongness, the stink of mutation and sorcery.

Firewalker slowly, quietly brushed a branch to the side. Nexa was shocked; the glen was unrecognizable, mere days after the tragedy. A wooden frame, standing upright on ground now resembling rotting meat, stretched a vellum sheet between it. The vellum was made of human skin, an ideal medium for sorcery.

Nexa covered her mouth, silencing a cry as she recognized the face on the vellum. 'Michael!'

Blasphemous runes, written on the vellum, burned brighter to draw increasing amounts of Chaos energies. "Eeeeyaaaa!" the face screamed in pain. With that, the material realm was torn open to admit those touched by the Warp; an immaterial realm where the laws of physics had no meaning, allowing ships to travel faster-than-starlight, psykers to control minds and to literally move mountains, daemons to sow corruption and damnation.

Bjorn reluctantly donned his helmet. 'I wish the visor could be raised and lowered, so I may choose between the auspex and my own senses, as needed.'

The new arrivals were human, but Chaos changed them beyond description. The cultists wore robes to hide their bodies, but this didn't hide their hideous mutations when Firewalker's visor showed him the near-infrared spectrum. None could walk; the cultists hopped on avian talons ill-suited for walking on land, crawled on multiple legs like insects or arachnids, or slithered on a serpent's legless torso. The cult leader was apparently a Thousand Sons Marine, recognizable only by his blue-and-gold crest and the insignia on his left shoulder; he now resembled a bipedal nautilus, a spiral shell forming his torso and tentacles, his arms.

What shocked Bjorn and Donner most was the cultists' vanguard, a wolf-man who ran on all fours one the moment, and on two legs the next. The golden eyes held no spark of intelligence; the fanged maw held no human feature; blasphemous runes defaced the Wolfbrothers insignia; but the Wulfen's scent remained familiar. 'Brother-Sergeant Jurgen?' 'Impossible!'

The Thousand Sons sorcerer began chanting. "Eeeeyaaaa!" the face on the vellum screamed as a Warp rift-- 'A mouth!' Nexa realized-- opened beneath it. Tentacles, lining the hellmouth as they did a kraken's maw, caught and fed a cultist to the hellmouth; the limbs wavered with each breath, exuding malignancy the witnesses could see, smell, and feel.

Donner faced Bjorn and mouthed, "What sorcery is this?" He was disappointed, but not surprised, when Firewalker didn't reply. The hellmouth continued as if it had lungs to breathe with, or a stomach to feed. 'Maybe it does; in the Warp,' Red Eagle thought. The warpspawn breath concealed their scent, but the Wolfbrothers knew it was a matter of time before the monster that was Jurgen Thunderwolf found them. "What now?" Donner mouthed.

Nexa aimed her long-las at the sorcerer. "Flee if you wish," 'beast,' "men of the Astartes. I must free my son." Whatever objections the Wolfbrothers had, fell silent when the Wulfen howled.

The sorcerer held a staff topped with a horned skull, whose eye sockets blazed with emerald flames as it pointed at the loyalist Marines. "Let none...!" The laser beam blinded him in one eye. "Ahhhh!" Distracted, he lost control over the energies he drew from the Warp; dead fires the color of rotting flesh, spread from the horned skull before it exploded, vaporizing half the Chaos Marine's body.

Bjorn charged; Donner followed closely behind him. "Ah-woo!" They buried what fears they had towards death at their surrogate father's claws, and were equally shocked when Jurgen leapt over the loyalist Marines, leaving them to the cultists.

Nexa's next shot ignited the thing that was Michael, cremating her son's remains; then Jurgen was upon her. She had no time to scream before tooth and claw shredded her body; the Wolfbrothers knew she was dead only from the scent of her blood.

"Morkai's teeth!" Donner found himself in Chaos; he shot a cultist at point-blank range, found a tentacle coiled around his right arm, slashed with the chainsword in his left, heard the motor growl a protest when a crab-like claw caught the weapon and immobilized the chain, bludgeoned the crab-man with the pistol grip, saw a strand of razor wire fall before his eyes, felt the gun muzzle burn his cheek as the garrote caught his pistol as well as his neck. Red Eagle bowed, catapulting a cultist off his back. The fifth cultist's spear impaled the would-be strangler, spraying black and blue ichor in all directions; Donner fought to remain conscious as he cut through the spear and its mutant user, the Wolfbrother's assailants recoiling from blood-turned-venom by Chaos alchemy...

"Ah-woo!"

Red Eagle was on his back, claws pinning his wrists to the ground as the Wulfen, eyes blazing with anger and hatred, bowed to greet his throat with teeth capable of rending steel... Bang! The Wulfen's neck burst; nictitating membranes closed to protect Donner's eyes from the fountain of blood. The bestial face became near-human as the Wulfen expressed surprise and then confusion, as it-- he turned to the one who shot him.

Firewalker mouthed, "Forgive me," as he squeezed the trigger, sent a bolt through an eye, and burst Jurgen's braincase.

Laughter filled the glen, though the fact the Thousand Sons Marine was weak and dying. "You are... too late," he breathed. "Russ... and his sons... will fall... beneath our father's eye. Fenris... will be... a new... Prospero... and you... are already... dead men walking." Donner couldn't see through the sorcerer's mask, but he felt the sorcerer smile, as surely as he felt Bjorn's hand when Firewalker helped him to his feet. "Or maybe... our new... guard dogs?" the sorcerer taunted, confident all he foresaw would come to pass.

"Shrieeeek!" With the vellum burnt and unable to serve as a medium, the otherworldly maw collapsed upon itself.

"Run!" Bjorn's warning was unnecessary; Donner ran as if all hell was breaking loose, because it was. The Warp was reclaiming what was taken from it, including the ground beneath the Wolfbrothers' feet. Uprooted trees near-impaled the Marines as the growing rift pulled them toward itself. "Ahhhh!" "Donner!" Firewalker's fingers tore into a root, anchoring him as he caught Red Eagle's hand. A glance revealed a branch coiled around Donner's leg, the tree-beast struggling against its doom. Bjorn tried to pull forwards with strength born of desperation, but the suction was stronger. Firewalker willed his grip to hold for one more second, just one more... Boom! "Gah!"
>

Donner felt the warmth of a kiss, as if from a lover; 'An insect bite!' he realized with a slap on the back of his neck, crushing the Bloodwasp there.

"Brother Donner?"

Red Eagle looked up. "Brother Bjorn. What...?" He turned to see a lifeless glen with soil no root or blade of grass would touch; air no bird or bee would beat with its wings; and fortunately, no warpspawn maw drew breath. "We live?"

"Yes." Firewalker climbed to his feet. He turned to help his battle-brother, but Donner was already standing.

"I killed him."

"What?"

"I killed Brother-Sergeant Jurgen." Tears flowed as the Blood Claw recalled the sin he committed that day. "He tore apart my brothers, and I cut him down-- I killed him so I may flee and save myself!"

"I killed him again; it was self-defense," Firewalker spoke as if reading from a technical manual.

Donner grabbed Bjorn's shoulders. "How can you be so cold?! He was a father to me-- to us!"

"Because this is the only way we can survive the coming trials. You heard the sorcerer; we'll mourn our fallen brothers later, but now we must fight the future the Thousand Sons have in mind."

Red Eagle started as if submerged in ice water. 'Fenris, a daemon world,' a planet between the material and immaterial realms, giving daemons free access to-and-fro the Warp. "What can we do?"

Bjorn shrugged. "Allfather knows, but we're Sons of Russ; we'll triumph, even if we must tear another hole in the galaxy's arse."

Donner let a laugh escape his lips. "Good enough." The Wolfbrothers prepared to leave, but paused when they saw a smile on Nexa's severed head. Red Eagle watched Firewalker draw a knife, kneel, and dig a hole. "What are you doing?"

"Honoring her and her son's sacrifices." Bjorn put Nexa's head in the hole, buried it, and planted the long-las muzzle in the ground as a makeshift grave marker. "I don't know the proper rites."

"None are necessary; the Emperor knows what she did," Donner said, unusually introspective for one so young.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#8
Nacho Wolf

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Very nice, though you didnt explain why the wulfen was working with the thousand sons, or was that intentional and your going to answer it later?
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#9
Bjorn Firewalker

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Very nice, though you didnt explain why the wulfen was working with the thousand sons, or was that intentional and your going to answer it later?

I thought the answer was obvious: the Thousand Sons used sorcery to destroy the loyalist Marines' minds, reducing the Wolfbrothers to mere animals. Then the Thousand Sons "domesticated" the Wolfbrothers as we domesticated dogs.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 10 July 2010 - 06:36 AM.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#10
Skirax

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It's good... quite good. Although there are a few mistakes, but everyone makes those. For example, you typed 'Wolfbrothers' when it's Wolf Brothers. Just a few things like that.

'Codex: Space Marines' spells it as two words, while 'Codex: Space Wolves' and William King's novels spell it as one word. I chose to spell it as the latter did; after all, this is about a Space Wolves successor Chapter, NOT an Ultramarines successor Chapter.

Huh. You're right :P Well, I suppose it's the same as American's spelling it Gray and us (The British) spelling it Grey.

It's progressing very well, and I look forwad to the next instalement!

Also, don't forget that the Wolfbrothers and the Wolf Brothers are one and the same; the spelling may just be an oversight on Matt Ward's (growl) part.
-->Of Skirax And Scenery; Homemade scenery blog.
 
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-->The Rise of the Warmaster; The Wolftime approaches...
-->The Time of Ending; The End of Days is upon us!
 
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It depresses me that a squad of ten Imperial Guard Cadians now costs the same as twenty did almost four years ago

#11
Bjorn Firewalker

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18 Aug.: Additional scene added to detail Marshal Hartman's background, and allow the colonists' characters to develop.

Chapter 3.1: Search and Rescue
>

The settlement block crashed through the jungle like an elephant herd, a dozen engines bellowing as caterpillar tracks rolled under their power. Stubborn trees occasionally shook the mobile fortress as waves rocked a boat, before snapping like twigs under the superheavy vehicle's mass.

It wasn't the Great Enemy's presence which forced the settlers to migrate, but the world itself. Despite continuous efforts make and maintain a clearing-- where homes were built, and humans relatively safe from the jungle's predations-- Catachan would eventually reclaim the land. Roots and vines would tear down walls; lichen secreted corrosive agents to take root upon metals and plastics; the number of animal attacks would strain the settlers' ammunition supplies; and it would be time to move. Flame and chain weapons would carve out a living space; concrete foundations would be laid for the mobile fortresses; trenches and automatic weapons nests would encircle the settlement to block the inevitable animal attacks; until next time.

Bjorn knew the mobile fortresses, a variant of the Leviathan assault vehicle, were easily detected and tracked; this could help by drawing surviving Wolfbrothers to their position, or doom them by drawing the Thousand Sons. 'Allfather give me good fortune; deny the Traitor Legions an opportunity to attack now, when we are most vulnerable.'

The intercom buzzed. "Marshal Hartman," the watchman addressed the settlement's marshal, who stood beside Firewalker in the bridge. "We intercepted a transmission on the frequency our," the watchman paused, "guest provided."

The Lander captain reached into his mouth, extracting a wisdom tooth with red-and-blue lights flashing within armorcrys roots; a disguised decoder. "Allfather willing, let us hope the enemy communicates via psychic and sorcerous energies, and are yet to exploit the Lost Ones' decoders."

Hartman nodded. "Emperor willing." The marshal watched as Bjorn donned a vox headset and plugged the decoder into the vox-caster's receptacle.

Firewalker suppressed a grimace as static hissed-- no, howled into his ear. After near-exhausting his knowledge and skills, Bjorn rendered the transmission audible.

"Enemy...!" Static rendered the noun inaudible, but not the speaker's desperation. "Two o'clock!" Bolters beat a tattoo in the background. "Ahhhh!" "Brother Beowulf!"

Firewalker silently cursed the settlement block's basic equipment, triangulating the transmitter's location to an area 20 kilometers away; then he faced his host. "I need transport. Is there a vehicle I can borrow?"

"We can borrow," Donner voxed from the extended watchtower.

"No, remain at Leviathan and maintain communications, to help coordinate the rescue effort," 'to lead our brothers if I fall to the Thousand Sons and their sorcery.' Bjorn need not voice the thought; Donner knew the risks as well as he, and the responsibility Red Eagle must shoulder if the worst came to pass.

"Understood," Donner replied with naked regret.
>

Minutes later, Firewalker's tongue assailed his Scout Sentinel, its designers, and the unaltered humans it was designed for; as the vehicle's cramped cockpit assailed him, instrument panel against his chest and roll bars, his back. Bjorn cursed each step taken as the walker navigated the tangled undergrowth.

'If I have a bike... No, riding through the undergrowth will be like wading through a maelstrom,' Bjorn mused. 'If the legs were mounted on a bike chassis...' He pictured a vehicle resembling the Eldar War Walker, and then dismissed the thought. 'Think later, with an Iron Priest.'
>

Hawker stood before a window, his magnoculars focused on the departing Sentinel. "What do you think, Gunny?" he addressed the Parris leader as a brother, one who fought and bled beside him in battle.

The marshal studied security camera footage captured this morning: the Wolfbrothers sparring with one another, each blow and counter delivered with the speed to catch thunderbolts-- a sobering sight.

"Gunny" Hartman once served in the Imperial Army. His platoon once fled from attacking Orks-- each strong enough to rend steel with its bare hands, as the men-at-arms learned when the green aliens tore open battle tanks like canned rations. His men's heads became additions to a trophy rack on the Ork Warboss' back; the one reason Hartman lived, was because a lone Raven Guard Marine came to the jungle fighters' rescue. The rescuer-- he gave no name, though Hartman was certain he was Corax, father to the Space Marine Legion-- assured Hartman there was no shame in retreating before so superior an opponent. The same could not be said when the Astartes struck, though the Orks were too stubborn or stupid to retreat.

"I lost my platoon when a Wyrdboy-- an Ork sorcerer spearheaded an assault on our convoy, leaving me the sole survivor. If we refuse what help the Astartes offer, then we are well and thoroughly frakked," the Parris leader spat. "We'll be lucky if ten percent survive to dig mass graves for the others."

"And if...?"

"If the Wolfbrothers find our loyalty suspect, the worst they can do is kill us. If a sorcerer finds our loyalty suspect, trust me-- our fate will be worse than death."

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 18 August 2010 - 05:44 PM.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#12
Bjorn Firewalker

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Chapter 3.2: Survive and Resist
>

The unmistakable scent of combat-- spent gunpowder and burning fuel, ozone discharged from energy weapons, blood, and the pheromonal signal for fear-- choked the air, thicker than smoke from the still blazing trees. Reinforcements, their allegiance silently announced via silhouettes unrecognizable as men, needed no auspex to guide them to the battlefield.

Roaring guns failed to silence the voices chanting, "Blood for the Blood God!" "Skulls for the Skull Throne!" as World Eaters-- Chaos Marines-turned-mercenaries after one of their own, Khârn the Betrayer, shattered their Legion-- marched towards the Wolfbrothers' position, their mutant slave-soldiers following a short distance behind.

"Silence!" With that, Henrik-- named "Nightsbane" and promoted to Grey Hunter, after he surprised and slaughtered three Chaos Marines from the Night Lords Legion-- sent a bolt through a World Eater's eyepiece.

The detonating shell barely slowed the Chaos Marine, despite shattering half his red-and-brass helm, and the braincase within. "Baa, baa!" damaged jaws tried to voice a battle cry; then a second bolt cleanly removed the World Eater's head.

"I'm surprised to see a Marine with a thicker skull than you," Manfred Stormrider joked as only a Son of Russ could.

"Stop wasting energy on speech; apply it on the battle." Henrik sent the third bolt between a World Eater's eyes for a quicker, cleaner kill.

"Yes, Milord." Manfred armed a grenade. "Frag out!" The Blood Claw threw the frag grenade over the World Eaters' heads; the berserkers would ignore the threat it posed, and continue fighting despite fatal wounds, as many loyalists learned too late. The slaves the explosion failed to kill, now fled for their lives; their masters no longer had cannon fodder to set upon the Wolfbrothers' flanks.

Three more World Eaters fell before the loyalists' guns; then the Marines crossed blades. The loyalists fought for their lives; the traitors fought to kill or be killed for Khorne, a Dark God who cared not from whom the blood flowed, as long as it flowed. The berserkers, mad with bloodlust, brought no autocannons or other heavy weapons; they needed no weapon other than chainaxes, whose motors roared with the power to rend battle tanks.
>

Magister Thoth would rebuke the cowardly slaves if he could, but a Dark God's "blessing" took away the Thousand Sons Captain's ability do so. A sucker, with three concentric rings of sharp teeth, robbed him of mouth and tongue. The leech's "face"-- blind, deaf, and vile-- replaced one that was regal, handsome, and human.

The magister limped past those he executed for their cowardice; burnt bones crumbled into ash as he walked upon the skeletons. Though the Warp granted him senses sharper than those he lost, Thoth longed to see and hear as humans did.

'Damn the Space Wolves!' he cursed those who shared the enemy's scent, unable to see the Wolfbrothers' colors. 'I can ill afford to this delay in my search!' his hunt for a way to reverse the mutations that plagued the Thousand Sons. 'I will repay them a thousandfold for the agony of the flesh changes!' He followed a trail laid before him, needing no eyes to "see" the death in the berserkers' wake.

There the Space Wolves stood, giving ground before the World Eaters, blocking and parrying blows delivered with the strength to near-break bones in the loyalists' hands. Thoth raised a thorny tentacle-- burning with dark light, icy flames only a Thousand Sons sorcerer could produce-- preparing a spell that would vaporize the combatants and harvest their souls for Tzeentch, the Thousand Sons' god and patron.

The preparations demanded all his focus; this allowed the Sentinel's chassis-mounted heavy flamer and chainsaw to kill Thoth, before the emotion "surprise" reached the sorcerer's mind.
>

"Blood for...!"

The muzzle of Manfred's pistol kissed a World Eater's skull-like helm; then the berserker was forever silenced. "I'm sick of this 'Baa for the Baa God!' nonsense." A chainblade motor shrieked behind him. "Gah!" He fell on his back, his calves cut to the bone.

The World Eater-- guts trailing behind him, his pistol discarded so he may claw forwards and avenge himself-- raised his axe. "Skulls for the Skull Throne!" He brought down the weapon with what strength remained. Bang! The berserker's head exploded; the axe buried itself beside Manfred's head, sparing the Wolfbrother.

"For Russ and the Emperor!" The Sentinel charged; Bjorn raised an arm over the roll bars to fire his pistol, refusing to risk his brothers with the flamer. A World Eater sidestepped to dodge Bjorn's kick-- the blow sent another over the treetops, shattering the berserker's spine-- and attack the walker's legs.

Manfred repaid his rescuer with a bolt through the World Eater's head, sparing the Sentinel from dismemberment. "Well met, Brother!" With Bjorn's aid, the loyalists triumphed; the World Eaters died to a man, quitting the field only when their hearts stopped beating.

Henrik took his rescuer's measure. "I know you-- a Thunderhawk pilot in Lord Stormsword's service, yes?"

"Landing Craft captain," Bjorn corrected. "Bjorn Firewalker."

"Henrik Nightsbane." "Manfred Stormrider."

He noticed the blood pooling under his brother's legs. "Can you walk?"

Manfred's teeth grit as Henrik helped him to his feet, straining even a Space Marine's strength and self-healing abilities. "Yes," he near-shouted over a cataract of sweat.

Bjorn scanned their surroundings again; then the Sentinel kneeled. "Brother Henrik, I need you to protect us as I help Brother Manfred aboard the Sentinel."

Henrik nodded. "A third of our number, Brother Beowulf, is in the Red Dream," as Sons of Russ knew suspended animation, a controlled coma to save Space Marines from otherwise fatal wounds.

"Understood." Bjorn secured Manfred aboard the Sentinel, quickly instructing Stormrider to operate the transponder, so he could find a mobile fortress on his own. Then the Lander captain followed Henrik, who had a first aid kit attached to his backpack, to where a comatose Wolfbrother lay.

Sterile clay covered Beowulf Ice Wraith's chest; a still glowing ring surrounded the patch, suggested a plasma or melta weapon pierced the Wolfbrother's armor. Sensing a question, Henrik explained, "I expended our medical supplies on Beowulf."

Bjorn nodded. "There's more at the Catachan settlement." He offered to carry the comatose Beowulf on his back, but Henrik refused; Nightsbane argued Bjorn alone was uninjured and able to defend the others with all his strength. Conceding, Bjorn led his brothers to the settlement; the Grey Hunters ignored the curses pooling at Manfred's feet, thicker than Stormrider's now clotting blood, as the Sentinel cockpit attacked its occupant.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#13
Nacho Wolf

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Very nice, and I get whet you mean about the wulfen now, for the record, you write pretty damn fast
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*Strokes big viking beard* Girl? What is girl?


#14
Bjorn Firewalker

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Very nice, and I get whet you mean about the wulfen now, for the record, you write pretty damn fast

Thank you for the compliments. As for my writing speed, it depends on a variety of factors. The most recently posted chapter, was written MONTHS ago. During that time, I suffered from Writer's Block, and was unable to continue the story until NOW. If luck is with me, the next chapter will be posted by the weekend; if not, it will be posted by the NEXT CENTURY.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 12 July 2010 - 11:01 PM.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#15
calgar101

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Rather promising story my friend. I hear you in the writers block, its such a damn nuisance.


#16
Skirax

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Hear hear. Testify, my brother.
-->Of Skirax And Scenery; Homemade scenery blog.
 
-->The Return of the Warmaster; From the shadows he comes...
-->The Rise of the Warmaster; The Wolftime approaches...
-->The Time of Ending; The End of Days is upon us!
 
The International Brotherhood Of Hobbyists

It depresses me that a squad of ten Imperial Guard Cadians now costs the same as twenty did almost four years ago

#17
Bjorn Firewalker

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Chapter 4.1: With Good Intentions
>

The daemonhost-- a slave who was sacrificed to bind a daemon within her now mutating body, the warpspawn forced to do its summoners' bidding-- was wrapped in adamantine chains, seals stamped in clotted blood, and scrolls of blazing runes. Despite the precautions, the Magisters and their bodyguards trained weapons on the otherworldly being as they entered the chamber; the Thousand Sons remembered battle-brothers lost the moment a "binding" shattered with the illusion of control.

"Greetings, my masters. What do you desire?" Chains rang like silver bells as the daemon bowed, groveling in the most threatening manner.

"Leman Russ' pups continue to interfere with our plans," Magister Amon, faceless but for 13 eyes on a skin-and-ceramite canvas, telepathically "said."

"Is this by design? Or are the Wolfbrothers simply soiling wherever they stand, as stray dogs do?" Magister Dagon's gills flared as he spoke.

The daemon's eyes glazed as he looked beyond the Thousand Sons-- beyond the Space Marine strike cruiser that was its prison, and the starry void-- scanning the Warp for points where Fate's threads crossed. "You put the Wolf King's sons here; a handful of Landing Craft that escaped Lord Magnus' vengeance. You chose to save your enemies from doom-- to let the Warp take them beyond the corpse-god's reach, where they'd forever dream the deathly dream you call 'suspended animation'-- when you struck down the Wolfbrothers ships in this world's gravity well." The being smiled, baring countless steel needles in place of teeth. "To know your own vindictiveness is your enemies' boon-- painful, yes?"

"It's nothing compared to this." With that, Magister Xaltos raised his left arms-- segmented, serrated, and spidery in appearance, yet able to crush skulls and rend steel-- to curse the daemon.

"Shrieeeek!" Dark light stripped the flesh from the host's ribcage. Xaltos lifted the curse before the body died, denying the daemon its freedom.

"Your suffering will increase if you fail to acknowledge your place. We are masters of this realm, and you, the slave," the spider-sorcerer warned.

"Turn your gaze to threads that will lead us the Wolfbrothers' location," Amon demanded.

"Let us hunt them like the dogs they are," Dagon finished.

The daemon smiled; flesh flowed from its shoulders like wax from a candle, sealing the wound. "Yes, my masters."
>

With Beowulf in the infirmary, dreaming until a Marine Apothecary could awaken him-- Bjorn considered putting him in stasis, but this would prevent the wound from healing-- the Catachan colonists continued searching for a new home, while the Wolfbrothers sought a new mission.

"Shall we elect a," Firewalker paused, for the next word aroused painful memories for them all, "leader?"

Henrik's head shook. "You did well so far, Brother Bjorn."

The Lander captain wondered why there were no challengers, as there were to a wolf pack's Alpha Male; then he saw the hollows under Henrik and Manfred's eyes, dark with near-exhaustion from days of battle. "Next topic; according to Marshal Hartman, a disturbance in the Warp is interfering with astropathic communications, so we're unable to summon transport off this damned rock."

"Then let's hunt down the Thousand Sons and end our days with a glorious blaze!" Manfred suggested, pain from still healing wounds giving his words ferocity.

Bjorn's head shook. "Chaos sorcery decimated our Chapter by transforming our leaders into Wulfen; slaves with no mind but that of their Thousand Sons master. There's no honor, no glory in such an end." The Blood Claws' mouths opened to protest, but failed to voice a convincing counterargument, and closed. "We can wage guerilla war-- ambush the traitor forces at their weakest, avoid them at their strongest-- and buy time to uncover their schemes. We must warn our father and our brothers in the Space Wolves Chapter."

"With our already diminished numbers?" Donner spat.

The Lander captain smiled as a skeleton would, finding mirth in death. "We have an ally, undefeatable to those grown soft on Prospero's sorcery; Catachan."

The others shared his grim mirth. "May our hosts lend us weapons heavier than a flashlight?" Manfred contemptuously referred to lasguns the Catachan colonists wielded.

"Their flamers aren't starved for fuel, their heavy bolters for shells, their chainblades for energy cells-- plant and animal attacks demand regular use of those weapons-- but anti-armor weapons, like lascannons and missile launchers, are reserved for the Imperial Guard levies," Bjorn stated.

"Good; we can see the foe die first-hand," Stormrider repeated a Fenrisian proverb.

"We can't enter battle as blind and deaf men. Does Catachan have surveillance satellites, seismic sensors, or other systems to provide early warning? Or is the disturbance in the Warp interfering with those systems?" Henrik asked.

"The colonists can still receive satellite transmissions, but intermittently," Firewalker answered.

"I'm surprised they put all their eggs in one basket," Manfred noted.

"Catachan is hell to machine spirits; satellites and spacecraft alone are unaffected by its mad environment."

Nightsbane nodded. "Aircraft?"

"They have Hueys, rotary-wing aircraft resembling the Ork Deffkopta."

Recalling what he knew of the alien vehicle, Henrik guessed, "But its engines and rotors are so noisy, it'll alert any foes in their limited radii-of-action." He caught Bjorn's nod. "Then we wait."

"Argh!" Manfred threw up his arms, losing patience faster than blood from a wound. "Must we abandon the initiative, wait for the Thousand Sons to come and kill us?!" The Leviathan stopped moving, the momentum near-throwing Stormrider off his feet.

A hand knocked the door; then Hartman entered the infirmary. "We just released the Cricket," a self-propelled bomb that would incinerate everything within a one- kilometer radius, clearing space for the settlement. "It goes off in approximately 30 minutes."

"May we aid your efforts to build a new home?" Firewalker turned to his brothers. "As guests, we're obligated to assist our hosts."

Stormrider sighed. "Fine; sloth will kill me faster than any treason."

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#18
Bjorn Firewalker

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26 July: Minor details changed to better fit later chapters.

Chapter 4.2: Worse Than Its Bite
>

Lancaster cautiously approached the Space Marines, as if trying to calm a growling dog. "Um, Lord Donner?"

"Brother Donner," the Marine corrected, his pickax rising over a stubborn root at the clearing's edge. "I won't dishonor my kin by claiming a title I've yet to earn."

The young man smiled. "Then our people have something in common."

"Speak, Sieur Lancaster." Donner halved the root; the tree-beast writhed like a gutted eel as it died.

"The others sometimes call you 'Red Eagle.' Is that an earned name-- a title?"

The Blood Claw turned to study the young man. 'He's approximately my age when I was chosen,' for the Space Wolves Legion. "I earned the name when I carved a Blood Eagle in a sorcerer's back."

"Carved an eagle...?"

The Wolfbrother's grim smile revealed Russ' Mark; long fangs, ready to tear flesh from bone. "You cut open a man's ribcage, spread the bones like an eagle's wings, and offer the lungs to crows and vultures; ideally, while the man lives. Cruel, yes," he nodded at the scent of Lancaster's fear, "but it alone is fitting for the traitors who receive this punishment."

"How did you stop the sorcerer from cursing you-- without killing him, as you cut open his ribcage?"

"The battle ended faster than you think. The sorcerer's focus was on another. I slashed with my sword, opening his back as he turned to blast a friend," Donner paused, remembering his friend's death on that lifeless moon, and suppressing the grief it aroused, "jammed a grenade between his ribs, and leapt clear as it detonated."

Lancaster's eyes widened at the image. "And Brother Bjorn? And Brother Henrik? And Brother Manfred?" The attention-- hero worship-- warmed the Marine's heart.

'Caution, lest your pride lead you to sin and ruin, as Warmaster Horus' did.' "Of Brothers Henrik and Manfred, I can't say; they served in another's Great Company. Of Brother Bjorn, he earned the name 'Firewalker' on Surt, a world of blazing darkness.

"Surt is a volcanic world that's never seen sunlight, so thick is the smoke and ash. Despite its hellish environment, the world is home to millions, for its quakes constantly expose veins of ore. When an Ork--"

"Croak." The colonists fell silent, frozen but for their shivering hands.

Red Eagle found the scent of fear near-overwhelming as a terrified Lancaster mouthed, "Barking Toad." The name was meaningless to the Marine, but he knew better than to second-guess a death world's human inhabitants.

The creature was unimpressive but for its ugliness and obesity; it would fit in a child's hand. Clashing colors-- red-and-black, yellow-and-orange, symmetrical stripes-- highlighted its vile appearance. Donner saw no danger as the toad squatted...

"Croak."

The air carried a chemical scent to Red Eagle's nose; alkali and poison. 'What triggers the creature's defenses? What's the medium-- gas, liquid, poisoned darts?' he wondered as the toad crawled away from the clearing, leaving a darkened patch of ground.

Something stalked the toad. Donner's eyes caught a Thorny Strangler's silhouette. Lancaster shouted, "Take cover!" Then the colonists threw themselves away from the toad, planting their faces in the scorched earth.

Boom! Burning pain rained on Red Eagle's scalp, eating his hair to the roots. 'Corrosive vapor!' Tears felt like acid as they flowed down Donner's cheeks, washing toxins from his eyes. The Marine grit his teeth to silence a scream, the effort making his gums bleed; the scent of his own blood, the sound of his heartbeat overwhelmed all others. Hands turned over Red Eagle, whose arms flailed until he recognized the speaker's voice.

"Calm, Brother Donner." Bjorn-- wearing his helmet to defend himself from the lingering toxins-- took a handful of earth. "I'll put something on your face to absorb the venom." Once his brother stopped struggling, Firewalker covered Red Eagle's blistering face. "Breathe slowly; the danger is past." Bjorn turned to the colonists, his optics flaring with questions.

Cracks appeared in an earthen shell, revealing eyes and a mouth as Lancaster said, "We were lucky that was a Lesser Barking Toad." The young man pointed at the dead toad; the creature was burst open, its acid-venom discharge reducing the surrounding vegetation to ash. "Its big brother can kill everything within a square kilometer, including itself. I'm surprised it didn't blow the moment the Cricket did."

"What beast would evolve so self-destructively?" Manfred voxed from the watchtower.

Hawker, wearing a respirator mask, used his knife to shovel the ground where the toad squatted. "One willing to sacrifice itself for its children." The now uncovered eggs blazed with malevolent, red light, reminding the unnerved Wolfbrothers' of a daemon's eyes. "Eggs and tadpoles are immune to the venom; they'll endure fire, drought, even pass through a scavenger's digestive system and crawl out its feces." At a snap of his fingers, a third man brought a cryogenic coolant tank. "We better freeze the eggs and smash them to pieces, or the accursed things will kill hundreds."

"Wait," Henrik raised a hand. "What's a Barking Toad's gestation period?"

"They'll hatch in five days, and mature-- ready to mate, lay eggs, and explode in its spawn's defense-- in 40. Why?"
>

Once, the slave would admire the colonists' defiance as they carved a new home in this hostile environment; once, the slave would pity the men and women for what would soon befall them. The slave lost the ability to feel empathy or any human emotion, after it mutated. Its form no longer recognizable as "human," the slave pierced the foliage with an insect's compound eyes; Bjorn and Donner were white-hot silhouettes in the cold-dark jungle, as seen in the near-infrared spectrum.

Its antennas caught a scent. Mandibles moved, despite their inability to voice the ideas filling the slave's degenerate mind, as the words 'Blood, burns, pain, poison, death, destruction,' flooded a psychic link to its master.

The Thousand Sons sorcerer punished his slave with a psychic stimulation of pain. "Focus! What defenses have they?"

The slave reluctantly obeyed, seeking the silhouettes of gun barrels and missile launchers. A white bloom-- infrared energy flaring as a Huey gyrocopter's engines ignited-- drew his attention. 'Ozone, electricity, carbon, burning, metal.'

Magister Minoris Seth searched for clear images, finding sense when he saw the Huey through the slave's eyes. "Track the aircraft." The sorcerer summoned a heavy weapons team in the Huey's projected flight path, with orders to down the gyrocopter. Hearing their footfalls, Seth turned away from the thing answering his psychic call, his eyes unable to bear the former Prospero Planetary Defense Force (PDF) servicemen-- a gunner, loader, and their tripod-mounted autocannon, fused into a monstrous beetle whose mismatched limbs flailed about the horn-like gun barrel-- a reminder of his flesh changes, and his possible fate.

'Prey, prey, prey.'

Seth felt nauseous as he suppressed the thing's mind, denying it release until the Huey entered the weapon's maximum effective range. "Fire a burst at the engines. I want prisoners." He reached for his...

Wham! The sorcerer found himself laying facedown, a great weight on his back, and a blade piercing his primary heart. "Ahhhh!" At his command, the heavy weapons team fired a burst across Seth's back. The thing sent its master a view of the unmistakable silhouette-- a Space Marine in power armor, who flew from the sorcerer's back, clear of the autocannon shells, before diving behind a tree-- as the weapon roared, rending trees to wooden chips. "Cease firing!"

'Prey, prey, prey.'

"I order you to cease firing!" Seth punished the thing with the pain of 1000 cuts; once the gun was silenced, the sorcerer rose to his feet. "Preysight." Infrared sensors captured the loyalist Marine's footprints for a split-second, before they became cool and untraceable. "Show yourself, nithing!" Seth called the Wolfbrother unmanly and without honor, the greatest insult to a Fenrisian male; the only sound was the Huey engines as the gyrocopter flew away. "Slave--"

Seth saw his slave could no longer serve him; a stray shell beheaded the slave when the autocannon overshot its target. 'My assailant used the aircraft to distract us, covering the sound of his approach. My slave's death is likely at Fate's whim, but my assailant remains a worthy foe. The nithing will suffer millennia of pain, tortured by the most terrible warpspawn I command.' "We are leaving." With that, Seth opened a Warp portal.

Henrik smiled, watching the Thousand Sons Marine led the gun-mutant-amalgam away from the ambush site-- the sorcerer's backpack bearing barking toad eggs in the power plant's exhaust pipes and stabilizing jets-- through a sniper rifle's telescopic sight. 'Allfather willing, let the eggs hatch in the Thousand Sons base-of-operations,' he prayed as the portal closed. Then Nightsbane left, taking care to sweep away his footprints with a leafy branch.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 26 July 2010 - 11:02 PM.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#19
Nacho Wolf

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Haha, nice chapter and an evil plan by the wolves :(
QUOTE (Steingrimr)
*Strokes big viking beard* Girl? What is girl?


#20
Bjorn Firewalker

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26 July: Additional scene added to provide exposition to later chapters. Minor details changed, including the Xaltos and Seth's ranks.

Chapter 5.1: Moths to a Flame
>

Days passed, during which Bjorn scanned vox frequencies, answered distress calls, and directed rescue teams; the Wolfbrothers now numbered nine, including the comatose Beowulf.

Brother Hermann, named "Frosthammer" after he caused an avalanche, entombing a company of traitor men-at-arms under a glacier; this earned Hermann promotion to Grey Hunter. Johann, named "Serpent-Eater" after a death world creature ambushed him; the serpent pinned the Blood Claw's arms to his chest, feathery coils near-suffocating him, before Johann's teeth tore open the serpent's throat. Njord, named "Krakenteeth" after a sea creature's tentacles swept the Blood Claw off a fishing boat; after a short but savage battle, Njord defeated the kraken and climbed aboard his boat, the kraken's teeth embedded in his armor. Sigmund, named "Steelstorm" for the Grey Hunter's sword arm, said to strike at supersonic speeds.

Firewalker named each battle-brother a Wolf Lord-- Captain of a phantom Company and 100 phantom Marines-- to hide their number from enemy spies. The phantoms also represented the Wolfbrothers' desire to rebuild their Chapter. All knew the task was near-impossible, but Bjorn successfully argued their fallen brothers deserved vindication; the traitors' blood would cleanse the shame of the loyalists' defeat.

Bjorn ordered those he rescued to acclimatize by accompanying the Catachan colonists on patrols. As the most recent arrival, Serpent-Eater followed Hawker and Red Eagle on a foot patrol, to learn from the others' experience.

Something stirred in the waist-high grass. Johann mouthed, "What...?"

"Ah-woo!" The jungle set upon Johann-- a beast with green hide and tiger-stripes, near-invisible as it lay in ambush-- who sent a bolt through its thorax. A scything talon cut Serpent-Eater's forehead, missing his eyes by a centimeter, as the impact threw the beast upon the ground.

Johann felt something flow down his shaking legs. 'Did I...?' Serpent-Eater saw a second beast at his feet, scything talons scoring his legs in its death throws. "Thank you, Brother Donner." If not for Red Eagle's shot, the beast would do worse than draw his blood.

Donner turned, scanning the foliage for other threats. "What creatures are these?" he asked Hawker.

"Catachan wolves." The colonist glanced at Serpent-Eater. "You need bandages?"

Johann willed his thigh muscles to tense, stop the bleeding, and close the wounds. "No, the wounds are superficial."

His attention turned to the beast at his feet. Even in death, the "Catachan wolf" radiated malevolence, from fanged maw to stubby tail; chitin armored its head and torso. The beast had six limbs; two with a mantis' sickle-like claws; the others with blunt talons to find purchase on the ground, the better to run down its prey.

"Can we expect further attacks from these beasts?" Bjorn added.

"Maybe, maybe not. Wolves are cunning; they may stalk for days, waiting for us to get careless and lower defenses; or they may leave in search of easier prey." Hawker sprayed antiseptic on Serpent-Eater's wounds. "Don't want any critters to smell your blood," he explained.

Johann nodded. "The Catachan wolf-- can their heads be made trophies?" Serpent-Eater met Donner's eye. "Let this mark the Wolfbrothers Chapter's new founding, and the planet, a new home."

Red Eagle smiled. "Agreed."
>

A view through the window-- a planet resembling an emerald or jade orb, a jewel on the Emperor's crown or scepter-- put Xaltos at ease as he stood on the bridge of his strike cruiser, named "Tizca" to honor Prospero's capital city. Standing with arms crossed behind his back, the Magister Majoris meditated upon the death world before him.

'How appearances deceive.' Xaltos sensed two visitors approaching, though their footfalls made no sound; the spidery Marine felt the floor vibrate with their every step. He didn't turn to greet the visitors when the doors opened behind him; he already knew who came, and why. "Belial has the Purifier's location."

Amon and Dagon bowed. "It is buried beneath a mountain, known to colonists as '0719' or 'Tombstone'-- we need the daemon's aid to reach it," the many-eyed Marine confirmed.

Xaltos' first question was "What is its price?"

"Belial wishes us to excavate and then use the artifact; it finds our efforts amusing, and is curious what the Purifier will do," Dagon answered.

The spidery Marine turned to his brothers. "Begin the necessary--"

"Croak."

Amon glared at the ugly creature crawling out an air vent. "Foul beast!" Electrical arcs danced upon the eye in the palm of his hand.

Dagon's nose was most sensitive; the amphibious Magister was first to sense danger. "No!" He extended a webbed, frog-like hand, hoping to stop Amon before...

A thunderbolt left the many-eyed Magister's hand, making the barking toad explode. Corrosive vapor saturated the bridge, stripping paint from the Marines' armor, blinding three of Amon's eyes, and dissolving Dagon's gills. The amphibious Magister drowned in his own blood; his death was painful, but mercifully quick.
>

A Catachan wolf skull now adorned "Firefly", a gyrocopter modified to accommodate a Space Marine in power armor. Life's colors-- white clouds, blue rivers and lakes, green leaves, and a vast palette coloring the flowers-- put Bjorn at ease as the Huey soared above the jungle's reach. This was his 10th flight aboard the Huey, but the jungle's dichotomy never failed to amaze him.

'How can a world blur the definitions of life and death, of creation and destruction, without falling to Chaos?' One question raised another. 'Did something-- sorcerous relic, archaeotech engine, or daemon-- direct the evolution of Catachan's native flora and fauna? Are the Thousand Sons searching for this thing?'

Bjorn glanced at the gyrocopter's grim figurehead, thinking of recent events. The loyalist Marines continued facing the traitors in battle-- waiting and watching for stragglers, attacking the isolated Chaos Marines or men-at-arms, and then fleeing before enemy reinforcements arrived. The Wolfbrothers captured four traitor men-at-arms in these raids, but Chaos Marines would fight to their deaths, leaving ignorant pawns for interrogators.

The vox-caster buzzed. "Firefly 100, this is Hornet's Nest. Storm's Eye 1337 detects a Whiskey Echo Bravo," Warp energy burst. Firefly's machine spirit scrolled across a map, marking the coordinates where a Storm's Eye surveillance satellite detected the burst.

"Hornet's Nest, this is Firefly 100." Firewalker reported his intent to investigate the burst, and then guided the Huey in its direction. 'Allfather willing, we'll find the answer before long.'

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 26 July 2010 - 10:59 PM.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#21
raptor1199

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Storm's Eye 1337 detects a Whiskey Echo Bravo

:eek
QUOTE (SecretStamos @ Nov 24 2010, 06:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Terminatorinhell @ Nov 23 2010, 08:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What if Chuck Norris came in wearing power armor?

His name is Lion El Johnson.


#22
Bjorn Firewalker

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26 July: Details were changed to fit an additional scene in Chapter 5.1.

Chapter 5.2: Moving Mountains
>

The lascannon and missile launcher-- each weapon fused to its loader and gunner, forming spidery mutants-- targeted the Catachan wolf skull. 'Burn, maim, kill, burn, maim, kill.' Crushing pain gripped their lungs and gills, silencing the mutant slaves.

"Thank you, Brother Amon." Seth guided the slaves' aim towards the engines. "Target Alpha will be in range in two minutes." 'The Wolfbrother will pay for my humiliation.' The Chaos Marine's fingers caressed the trigger like a lover's cheek as the gyrocopter filled his bolter's telescopic sight.

"You may fire when ready," Amon said, keeping his attention on the laboring slaves before him.
>

The clouds parted to reveal what made Bjorn doubt his senses and sanity. "Morkai's teeth!" Shadows enveloped the gyrocopter as it dived under a mountain-- a land mass flying 900 meters above ground, Warp energy sending red, violet, and blue lightning to-and-fro the mountain. Firewalker's eyes adapted to minimal light; shadows resolved into excavators, bulldozers, trucks, 40,000 men and mutants swinging shovels and pickaxes under the land mass.

The gun camera captured the scene, which Bjorn transmitted to the Catachan settlement. 'How did they...?' The pilot saw a fiery ring-- an approaching missile, its engine exhaust illuminating the fuselage.

"Hell!" Firefly spun on its axis, near-evading the frag missile, before a laser beam severed control cables in its tail. Bjorn's teeth grit, silencing a scream as the detonating missile shredded his right ear with burning metal fragments. The spin put a stub wing between the pilot and serious injury, but this brought Bjorn no relief; he knew what fate befell the Thousand Sons' captives.

"Mayday! This is Firefly 100!"
>

Seth-- promoted to Magister to replace Dagon-- smiled as the warhead detonated.

"What shall we do with the body?" the young sorcerer asked.

Amon spared a moment to watch the aircraft dive under the treetops. "Perhaps he may serve as a daemonhost."

"Is it safe to confine two daemons aboard the Luxor?"

"Belial must be replaced before long; I do not trust it any further than I trust the outsider."

Seth knew his superior despised Ahzek Ahriman-- an "outsider" from Terra, named the Thousand Sons' Chief Librarian, First Fellowship's Captain, the Corvidae Cult's Magister Templi, and Magnus' favored son-- for taking honors due him and his fellows in the Pavoni Cult. The young sorcerer shared their suspicion towards Ahriman and the Corvidae "Rubric," for a different reason. As Pavonae, Seth and Amon mastered the psychic manipulation of body chemistry; they could reshape their faces to appear more handsome, or boil their enemy's blood; they were closer to reversing the mutations now plaguing the Thousand Sons, than the Corvidae Cult's "fortune-tellers" ever would.

"And the other Wolfbrothers?" the young sorcerer continued.

"They are dogs, and will be used as dogs. Those who submit will live as our slaves; those who refuse will be hunted for sport." Amon turned away as the aircraft exploded; the slaves became unfocused without his direction. "You have leave to take revenge."

Seth nodded. "Let the hunt begin." His hand swung down; at this sign, the men-at-arms advanced.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 05 August 2010 - 06:33 PM.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#23
Bjorn Firewalker

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Bjorn put on his helmet to protect his eyes as the Huey fell. "Hell!" he exclaimed at what the auto-senses highlighted-- coconut-like "bombnuts" bursting about Firefly, embedding their needle-seeds in Firefly's armorcrys canopy. The main rotor roused a green storm-- leaves, wooden chips, pulped fruit, and crushed insects-- like the mythical Stormwolf.

Crash! The main rotor met tree trunks too thick to cut; the still spinning propeller's torque turned Firefly on its side, before all motion ceased.

Bjorn saw the ground lying 20 meters below; surprised to remain alive, the pilot experimentally moved his fingers, toes, arms, and legs. 'Thank the Allfather.' Firewalker unfastened his restraints, attached a krak grenade to the firewall behind his seat, and kicked open the door.

'I'll miss this bird.' Bjorn dropped from the cockpit; then the grenade detonated, its flames piercing the firewall to ignite what fuel remained in the engines. Loud noises triggered the bombnuts; the trees expended their needle-seeds on the exploding gyrocopter, letting the pilot land with his body intact.

Bjorn found himself facing the still intact Catachan wolf skull; the crash swept the figurehead off Firefly's prow. For reasons unknown to himself, Firewalker picked up the skull-- he'd later claim it was "a sign from the Allfather,"-- slowly rose to his feet, and left the crash site.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#24
Bjorn Firewalker

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08 Aug.: I rewrote Beowulf's dream sequence to explain how he earned the name "Ice Wraith."

Chapter 6.1: A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery
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It was as cold as death. 'Why am I cold?' Darkness was all he-- no-- shadows danced before him, darker than the darkness, filling him with anger. 'Why am I angry?' The shadows resolved into hateful silhouettes. 'What are they? Why do I hate them?'

He was frozen in place, under thin ice. 'How did I end up here?' He dug a shallow trench, lay down, and emptied his canteens to cover himself with water-turned-ice. 'Why?' He used the ice to hide his body from normal and infrared vision. 'Whose vision am I hiding from?'

The shadows resolved into shades of blue-and-gold. 'Whose colors are these?' The enemy-- the traitors' colors. 'Whose enemies are they? Who did they betray?'

His hands tightened their grip on his sword and pistol, determined to kill before the enemy extinguished his life's spark. 'Why must they die? Why do they wish for my death?' They are foul sorcerers, cowards without the will to face 'us' in battle, and deserving no mercy but a quick death. 'Who is "us," and why do I number among them?'

I am a wolf. 'Am I not human?' The Wolf King named me among his mighty sons. 'Did he father me? If not, why was I chosen-- taken from the one who did?' My sword arm earned a place in his Legion-- the honor of fighting beside him in the Great Crusade. 'Why were we fighting?'

The shades resolved into the Thousand Sons' crests. 'Whose sons?' Magnus the Red, who practiced sorcery and, in doing so, broke an oath made to the Emperor-- who loosed hell and its daemons upon his father's house.

'Why...?' Question and answer became meaningless as the Thousand Sons Marines neared, and his anger became hatred. Rising-- materializing like a wraith or spirit, he made his name with bolt pistol, chainsword, and a blood-chilling howl. Silence was broken-- destroyed alongside the ice, the traitors' will to fight, armor plates, and...
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Heaven and Earth spun about the screen. "This is Firefly 100! Mayday! I'm taking enemy fire at Vector 07121941-- going down! Mayday!" The speakers hissed with overwhelming static, and then stopped playing.

Donner pressed a button, displaying a map in place of the gun camera footage. "This was the last transmission received, before increasing Warp energy levels rendered vox communication impossible." As Red Eagle shared what info he had on Vector 07121941, the question 'Is there no one else to lead us?' was ever on his mind, resisting all efforts to suppress it. "We must not leave Brother Bjorn in the traitors' hands. If an opportunity exists to deny the Thousand Sons whatever they're digging for, we'll seize it; otherwise, we must fall back and regroup at Vector 15081945, as planned. Remember, we lack the men or munitions to sustain operations against the Traitor Legion. Questions?"

Henrik's hand rose. "Do we know what the Thousand Sons' goals are? Have we a word from an intercepted vox transmission, or captured documents?"

Donner's head shook. "We have nothing. It's possible the traitors rely on psykers or sorcery-- some technique beyond our imagination-- to communicate."

Nightsbane's sigh seemed a growl to their ears. "I hate it when data is so scarce, we don't know what we don't know."

Red lights flashed within the briefing room. The loudspeakers buzzed and then issued, "Intruder alert reported at Infirmary One."

"Infirmary One," Henrik eyes widened, "that's where Brother Beowulf is!" Rising from his chair, Nightsbane drew his weapons and sprinted out the room, followed by his brothers; they near-crashed into a nude figure behind the opening doors. "Brother Beowulf?!"

A now conscious Ice Wraith was pale and shivering, as if soaking in frozen waters. "They seek a Philosopher's Stone," Beowulf weakly said.

"A what?"

"Untold millennia ago, a xeno race visited Catachan, and erected something to purge the Warp from this realm," Ice Wraith answered. "The Thousand Sons seek this thing-- what they call a 'Philosopher's Stone' or 'Purifier'-- to cure the mutations that befell them after their flight to the Eye of Terror," a tear in the galaxy's center, where the Warp rent space-time and reality itself like fangs upon flesh.

"How did you...?"

Beowulf steadied and ceased shivering, as if growing stronger with each word spoken. "I dreamt of darkness, death and destruction, such that I thought I'd drown in my despair. The Emperor appeared in my dreams, bringing light to my thoughts, as well as a warning-- the Thousand Sons must not activate the Philosopher's Stone, or the Night Gods will awake and consume the stars themselves."

Footfalls grew louder; the settlement's security system, still tracking the "intruder," sent a squad to intercept.

"Identify yourself!" "Raise your hands! Get down on your knees!" The guards shouldered laser weapons and shotguns as Beowulf turned, defiantly standing with blazing eyes and bared teeth.

"Holy...!" Lancaster exclaimed when Beowulf turned to face his squad. "You're...!"

Henrik stepped before Ice Wraith, shielding his battle-brother. "This is Brother Beowulf, recently returned to the Waking World. We thank you for letting him rest and heal in your infirmary. Please lower your weapons." Russ' sons watched Lancaster and the guards comply.

Beowulf turned to Nightsbane and Stormrider. "Are my arms and armor still usable? Or were they fed to a great beast, to be digested and rendered fertilizer?"

"Follow me." Donner led the Marines to the armory, nodding thanks to Lancaster as the Catachan natives parted before his brothers.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 09 August 2010 - 04:33 AM.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


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Nacho Wolf

Nacho Wolf

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Good to see another update, its very good, but I think a different name would be better than the philosophers stone, because I always seem to think of harry poter when I read it
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