Khorne’s servant retaliated, hurling the cruel black-bladed weapon at Ferrous Ironclaw. The traitor Astartes avoided the impact of the weapon at the last moment, hurling himself to the side and feeling the attack glance off his pauldron. His momentary elation at seeing the creature deprived of its primary weapon disappeared as the Herald held out his hand and the weapon curved back in a wide arc, flying back into the daemon’s grasp.
Ironclaw’s advance stayed by his defensive maneuver, the daemon’s monstrous mount moved forward inexorably, great brass hooves burning as they crashed down into the surface of the profaned memorial. The beast snorted burning sulphurous smoke, keening wildly as it sought to crash into its chosen target. Battle senses honed through centuries of bloodshed, Ferrous Ironclaw took stock of his surroundings as he watched the daemon-creature. The predator creatures he had turned loose upon the governor had all retreated from the summoned daemon, and each had been put down by the Iron Warriors arrayed around the circle. One or two of the beasts had evidently attacked the Astartes as Ironclaw noted that at least one of his bodyguard was motionless upon the ground.
The sorcerer was nowhere to be seen.
Ferrous Ironclaw turned his attention back to the battle, timing his next attack. He fired the combi-meltagun just as the pair of daemon creatures reached the appropriate range, watching as the rider took the brunt of the attack on the enormous brass shield it carried. Though the fiery meltagun could burn through the thickest tank armour with ease, the hell-spawned shield withstood the attack. Not slowing one bit, the juggernaut screamed as it bore down upon the Iron Warrior. Ferrous Ironclaw leapt to the side, swinging his power claw at the head of the mount as his servo-arm thrusted at the rider. He felt the claw rake the side of the beast’s neck, though the rider twisted its body so as to avoid the mechanical limb’s attack. The daemonic Herald’s blade swung into the servo arm, getting caught fast within the mass of the augmetic attachment and being pulled from the creature’s grip.
The brass-skinned beast stamped down with its forelegs, turning about to face the Warsmith. Even Ferrous Ironclaw used the remains of the servo arm to press his bulk to the side, the Herald again reached out with his hand and the great weapon withdrew from the Warsmith’s servo arm to fly back into the daemon’s grip. Before the Herald or Juggernaut could react, Ferrous Ironclaw used his smaller size to his advantage and leapt in, bringing the great power claw up into the exposed neck of the mount. The creature screamed as the blade thrust upward into the skull, and then shuddered wildly in its death-throes.
The Herald dismounted smoothly, feeling its daemonic mount lose its hold on its corporeal form. As the red-armoured daemon landed, the great brass-armoured beast exploded in a shower of metal and gore. Both of the combatants were thrown back by the force of the explosion, though neither was hurt in the blast. Both figures took a moment to reorient themselves, readying their weapons as they did so.
* * * * *Meanwhile, the battle in space was going poorly for the traitor warship. Focused on surveying the scene planetside and with the bulk of the ship’s officers gone, the crew of the vessel had been surprised at the appearance of the enemy vessel. The smaller ship fired a great broadside as it drew abreast of the corrupted ship, destroying the port engines and causing multiple hull breaches. The counterattack of the traitors was nothing more than a last act of defiance as magma torpedoes fired from the Astartes strike cruiser burrowed into the ship at multiple points, including two near the bridge. The last thing the Chaos Space Marine lieutenant saw on the viewscreen was the livery of the strike cruiser – a crimson hull with a great crimson blood drop. Within the blood drop was a white skull and to each side was a great black wing.
The Angels Vermillion had come.
* * * * *Khorne’s Herald recovered his wits first, the daemon launching his weapon at its foe. Still reeling from the explosive banishment of the Juggernaut, Ferrous Ironclaw wasn’t able to dodge the attack in time and felt the weapon crash into his thigh, the blade crushing metal, flesh, and bone. Ignoring the pain, the Warsmith fired his bolter, watching the bolts impact on the exposed side of his adversary. Again the daemon evinced no signs of pain, and though it held its hand out to recall the weapon, Ironclaw grasped the handle tightly with his power claw, preventing it from returning to its wielder. Enraged, the daemon burst forward at the Iron Warrior shield first, crashing into the Warsmith with great force and knocking him backward. Ferrous Ironclaw lost his grip on the daemonic weapon and felt the tug of its blade ripping out of his leg as it flew back into the hand of the daemon.
Dropping his bolter, Ferrous Ironclaw pushed downward with his freehand and brought his mighty claw up to ward off the red-armoured daemon. The blades of the claw thrust into the abdomen of the Warp-born warrior, and though the daemon screamed in pain, it was still able to bring the great black-bladed weapon down. The last thing Ferrous Ironclaw saw was the blade descending upon his skull, and then his head was split in twain.
The body of Ferrous Ironclaw twitched as the life fled the shell that had housed it for centuries. Still enraged, the daemon brought its weapon up and around, severing the clawed arm that had dared damage its body.
There were still more of the armoured warriors around and the Herald didn’t waste any time in dealing with them. Angerecton threw the great weapon in a wide scything arc and then held out his hand and ripped the fabric of realspace open. As the flying weapon killed two of the warriors, a horde of lesser daemons poured through the newly-created portal and attacked the rest. The flying weapon again returned to the hand of the Herald. Sensing that none remained to threaten him, Angerecton turned to look down upon his defeated foe. The Herald then brought its weapon down once more, cutting open the chest armour of the dead Iron Warrior. Once the armour was opened, Angerecton, Harbinger of Extinction, ripped into the chest of the traitor Astartes with his claws and pulled out the warrior’s heart.
As the daemonic Herald devoured the heart and the lesser daemons dealt with the remaining Iron Warriors, the screaming of something overhead alerted them to a new threat.
The Angels Vermillion were attacking.
Our winning member is entitled to display the following image in his signature (observing the standard 350x100 rule):
Congratulations to our Grand Champion!