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Inspirational Friday - 12/12/14

Inspirational Friday

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#1
Iron-Daemon Forge

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Posting this week Inspirational Friday on behalf of Tenebris 

 

The victor of the previous Inspirational Friday is the awesome Castellan Cato and his "Happy Murdermas! " post. I must say that there was some creative voodoo on the work past week and all the posts were awesome but "What's a cookie?" was the trump card. 

 

Step forth and claim your reward, Castellan Cato!

 

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Inspirational Friday  - 12/12/2014 - CHAOS DREADNOUGHT

 

Write up some cool background or description about the Helbrutes in your warband, if you got a model already made and painted, feel free to add photos. 

 

Write about their life before they were turned into a crazy monster, maybe they where part of the epic battle during Siege of Terra?  Or the champion in question was more recently turned into an abomination of steel, sinew and machine spirit due to a once loyal chapter turning to chaos.  Or maybe they have already fallen during the Great Crusade and were interred into Dreadnought armor but lived up to now, wanting nothing more than to slaughter all before them?  Maybe the space marine was forced to become a Helbrute like we've seen with a few ones of the Crimson Slaughter, as a punishment, or maybe even as a reward for their service to the Dark Gods?

 

Write about the background of the marine before his fall from grace and how they came to be one of the Ancient Ones. Who knows maybe the Helbrute in question is still held in high regard in his warband like the War Sage from the Night Lords novels or still leads their armies like Warsmith Berossus?

 

In short write about a Dreadnought of Chaos. This monsters come in many varieties and it is also interesting to note the recent Ferrum Infernus Dreadnoughts, the true apex predators of their undying kind. 

 

Let us stride forth inspired by the deeds of our Ancient Ones!

 

Insane Psychopath

 

Tenebris


Edited by Tenebris, 15 December 2014 - 06:10 PM.

++I am no longer a active member of Bolter & Chainsword or any other forum++


#2
Lucio

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Oooh now this one I like!

 The Helbrute Lucius is the former captain of the 5th Company of the Crimson Sabres, he led them through many battles during the early stages of the invasion into the Eye of Terror but he was also one of those who objected to Kranon's annoucement that the chapter no longer served the Imperium. It was Fulcus himself who cut the Captain down, but instead of slaughtering him completely, ordered that he be bound inside a dreadnought shell, as a warning against further rebellion that even the dissenters can be made to serve.

---------------------------------

Servitor ACC-0230-Z - Live Feed
Location: Lost Hope
Timestamp: 456.938.M41

"and so my brothers, I swear that we shall not go mewling into the night like cowards, we are Astares, we will fight, and if those fools in Terra will not recognise our efforts, our dedication and our greatness, then we shall tear down their fortresses, lay waste to their planets and slay those who stand against us. From this day we shall be Crimson Sabres no more! We shall be the Crimson Slaughter!"

The roar echoing through the vast chamber was deafening, all around Kranon cheers went up, loudest from those who knew in advance of what was about to happen

Lucius looked nervously at his loyal Sergeant Fulcus, commander of his honour guard

"What madness is this?" he asked
"Madness?" spoke Fulcus "No my brother, this is not madness, this is freedom from madness"

Lucius looked around again, assessing the periously situation, here and there he could make up struggling figures being bourne down by those around them. He spotted Master Tyle, with whom he had served in the 10th Company cutting a battle brother in half with his force axe before being gunned down, it stunned him for a precious moment and he felt a cold, heavy muzzle press to the back of his neck

"Are you alright sir?" asked Fulcus "You don't seem... happy with the Chapter Master's speech"

"Emperor damn you, You're a damned traitor and a heretic Fulcus" spat Lucius

"No sir, I'm not, I'm finally free, the voices... they're, they're going away sir" Fulcus said, his voice tailing off to a whisper of amazement.

killhimkillhimkillhim
gethimbeforehegetsyou
burntheheretic

At the back of Lucius's mind, an ever present whisper rose as the smell of blood filled the chamber. Turning swiftly out from under Fulcus's gun, he launched a savage chop to his wrist, trying to knock the bolt pistol from his grasp. Cermite rang out against cermite with a loud clang, but Fulcus's grip held firm as he unleashed a swarm of bolts. Lucius felt a spur of pain as his armour chipped and fragmented in places as the bolt rounds hit home, their micro-explosive shells detonating inside his armour. Staggered he fell to one knee, just as Fulcus raised a boot hard up into Lucius's jaw.

As darkness faded, so too did the voices.

----------------

Security Feed: Lost Hope Brig
052.941M41

Lucius paced in his dark cell, trying desperately to remember why he was here. He felt along the wall to the marks scratched in the soft steel plating with the jagged fragment of armour that he had dug from his leg. According to the marks over 15 years had passed since he was locked away, though little did he know that each night as he slept, Fulcus had snuck in and added a score or more, to add to Lucius torment.

He felt the claws of madness pulling at his sanity, and struggled to keep himself focused.

"Curse you Kranon!" Lucius bellowed into the darkness, venting his rage and frustration.

------------------
Security Feed: Lost Hope - Brig
151.941M41

Lucius was awakened from his meditation as a bag was placed over his head, and he felt power armoured hands drag him down the corridor.

"What is it brothers? Where are you taking me"

The laugh that came in response as wet and thick, and he felt a strange muscular tongue slip under the bag to lick his cheek

"Brothers? We are not your brothers dearest Lucius, you're our play mate and we have ever such a fun game to play with you... " the voice broke off into another wet hissing chuckle and despite his training, Lucius shivered

------------------

Security Feed: Lost Hope - Foundry
152.941M41

"No! No more! I beg of you! Kill me! Kill me please" Lucius cried in torment as another wire was attached to the stump of his leg, and the drill-like attachment bit deep into the bloody flesh. In the distance a metallic leg writing in time to his torment

"Readings at 107% maximal, Sergeant Fulcus, shall we continue?" the mechanical voice of the technician spoke

"Please, my brother, my friend, don't do this to me" Lucius begged

"Do it" spoke Fulcus curtly "traitors to the Crimson Slaughter must be made an example of"

The whine of the power saw was nearly drowned out by Lucius next scream, as it cut and shaped his arm ready for grafing. Mercifully perhaps, Lucius blacked out

------------------

Security Feed: Lost Hope - The Pit
242.941M41
"KILL THEM! KILL THEM ALL" in his chains Lucius writhed, as he tore at the wall of the Pit with his mechanical claw, barely registering the heavy weapon being clamped into his other arm

Suddenly the floor dropped away, as the Pit spewed it's dangerous cargo onto the asteroid below them, the Warpsmith not willing to keep such a dangerous example of a Helbrute aboard any longer than was necessary. As the drop pod flew away from the Lost Hope, he could see the white hot distortion of the multi-melta tearing holes in the chamber wall

Fulcus turned to the Warpsmith and smiled a dangerous smile

"Well he's certainly ready, let's hope he stays pointed in the right direction"
 


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#3
Carrack

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Helbrute Kharfus

Kharfus roared, "Death to the False Emperor!" As his squad reached the Wolves on the hilltop. His battle cry punctuated by the frag grenades lobbed there by every third member of his squad moments before. There were only five of them, their wild hair and unkept beards showing more gray and silver than the younger Wolves whose charge initiated the ambush. But these five gray beards had done significant damage to the Black Legion convoy with krak missile fire from an elevated position taking out the tracks of the lead and trail Black Legion tanks, effectively fixing the entire convoy in place in the narrow valley. The steep icy slopes and overhanging rocks on the approach made for a difficult climb, but also offered some cover for Kharfus's squad to rush the Wolves. A difficult climb for a mortal for sure, but not so daunting to veteran Astartes whom charged up the snowy hill and reached the summit barley winded.

Outnumbering the Wolves two to one, and with the benefit of surprise, the fight started out as Kharfus expected. He quickly singled out the Long Fang leader and hacked through his chainsword and into his bare skull with the blue tinged power sword in his left hand. His men were double teaming the Long Fangs as they drew their blades and bolt pistols. One Legionnaire would tie up a Wolf with simple hammering blows that the Wolf would be forced to parry while the other Legionnaire would strike the bare head or lightly armored creases at the armpit or groin from the behind. In less then a minute the Wolves were down and all of Kharfus's men were standing, save a bleeding Legionnaire Mazda, sitting down clutching a vox grill shattered by a bolt pistol round fired point blank.

Before Kharfus could even claim a trophy from the dead Sons of Russ at his feet, a whooshing sound of a high powered energy weapon followed by the clap of rapidly displaced air shattered his moment of triumph. In the time it took for his two hearts to beat, three of Kharfus's squad were dead and entombed in irregularly shaped blocks of blue ice. To his shame, Karfus lost a moment, and any semblance of initiative he had remaining as he stared in shock at the effects of the hellfrost weapon. +DIE HERETICS+ came the booming voice of his assailant as a Space Wolf Dreadnought crested the hilltop from the other side of a spur that had concealed it from Kharfus as he and his squad rushed the hilltop. The dreadnought was a massive machine with legs like tree trunks and a body like a small tank. It was encrusted with gold and silver runes and festooned with pelts, bones and trinkets. One arm ended in the cannon that had frozen a third of his squad with a blast of absolute zero energy. The other arm sported a claw, cracking with electricity, that could easily snatch up a warrior wearing terminator plate. Under slung beneath this claw was a heavy flamer, which sprayed Kharfus and two other Black Legionnaires. Roasting Axim in his armor. Axim came from Unther Hive on Cthonia, same as Kharfus and his loss was a dagger in Kharfus's corrupted soul. Burning promethium had seared through the joint in Kharfus's sword arm gauntlet and blistered his skin from knuckle to elbow before his armor's coolant lines could extinguished the flame.

Kharfus quickly took stock of the situation. Four dead, Mazda out of action, an icy hilltop with steep slopes down into an ongoing battlefield and equally steep slopes going down into the likely route the Wolves came from. Then there was the charging Space Wolf Dreadnought screaming death threats. The situation was bleak to say the least.

Kharfus and the remainder of his squad fanned out and primed krak grenades as Karfus scanned his tactical display and voxed the only squad in any kind of position to lend support. Unfortunately that squad was Squad Carrack, whose arrogant champion considered himself a rival with Kharfus. Kharfus's mind quickly catalogued the most recent slights he had done to the conceited champion; he had killed one of his slaves-not important, claimed credit for Carrack's tank kill on Roe- that one was answered in kind, and cheated him at dice following the capture of Toledo Hive. That one was bad, Carrack had lost all of his spoils of war from the throws of a telekinetically receptive die. There would be no reinforcements.

Kharfus threw his krak grenade into the mass of cables connecting the hellfrost cannon to the dreadnought's power plant and silently beseeched the gods for luck. Before the explosive detonated, the dreadnought was upon him, smashing down with its brutal claw cleaving Kharfus's power sword in two before carving through his helmet and the left side of his skull. The claw continued its downward path of carnage, separating his left shoulder from his body and filleting the meat from the bone on his left calf. Adding both insult and injury, the point of Kharfus's blade came spinning downward into his right foot and severed all five of his toes. This was the end of Kharfus.

Kharfus knew he was dying. His Astartes physiology could tolerate extremes, but could not cope with the massive blood loss and pressure building in his damaged skull. He understood this on a logical level, but emotionally he would not accept it. He was Kharfus! He had fought beside the Warmaster! He had been through the breach of the Imperial Palace! He had fought the Long War for a thousand years!

He had pledged his soul to the Ruinous Powers.

He had betrayed his oaths.

He had killed his brothers.

He was Kharfus.

If he was dying why wouldn't the pain stop? Why was he smelling ultrasonic cleaning solutions? Why was he hearing the buzz of surgical saws? Why was he being immersed in liquid? Oh gods! The cold. Someone will pay for this. I will have revenge! I am Kharfus!

...

"Bail out! Bail out! It's coming to finish us off!" Shouted Tank Commander Byron Cologne as he crawled out the hatch and leaped into the mossy ground cover, his Leman Russ Battle Tank smoking from a melta shot through the engine. His gunner was surely cooked but his driver, Edvards, either heard his commands, or had enough sense to pop his own hatch and swing to the ground in front of the tank. The cause of their demise lumbered up the lane towards the rear of the smoking tank on mechanical legs thick as tree trunks. Mechanical and something else, it looked like muscle fibers. The torso and arms too, were a combination of machine and beast, or daemon. Painted black. One arm ended in a double barreled gun distorted by a heat shimmer. The other held a wicked four pronged claw with a large under slung nozzle. The nozzle spouted burning promeatheon that scorched the side of the tank that Edvards had crawled to with a blazing roar. Byron stared in shock at the wreckage of his tank and crew a moment before the claw grabbed him by the waist and hoisted him into the air before the hell spawned machine's face. As the claw squeezed together crushing the life and body of Tank Commander Byron Cologne, a booming voice blared out of the speaker grill + I AM KHARFUS +

#4
Tenebris

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Greetings, it is nice to see this week's Inspirational Friday already in full swing. The topic is awesome and I thank IP for covering me this Friday. It is always nice to have my fellow daemon princes around, especially when they come forth with such nice ideas. Now you heard the boss, Insane Psychopath wants us to break our foes under our mighty feet, trample them as we advance, clad in undying adamantium, neither living or dead and blast and tear them to pieces with our ancient weapon systems. Call forth your Ancient Ones, unleash your Helbrutes and write about the mayhem and destruction this venerable warriors can unleash. 


There is only the Truth. I do not know what it is, but I do believe in it!

Attributed to Dark Apostle Toren Mar, Chapter of the Broken Seal, 71st Host, Word Bearers Legion.

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#5
Aspiringchaoschampion

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Hellbrute Michael

Darkness fell across the world of Ibiris word had just come back 2 days previously that 3 battle companies of Iron Sabres had been lost to stop an ork waagh which if it had been allowed to continue would if hit their home sector the Izgabargh sector.

As he looked out of the window in his room he saw hundreds of thousands of men and women marching into the chapter monastrys great chapel. "What is this lunacy" he thought. He decided he would go to find out what the hell is going on.

As he walks down the corridors he saw none of his battle brothers until he came to the doors of the great chapel. He recognised them as brother Razgar and Brother Azgar true brothers identicle twins. He had been great friends with both they would give him a answer he hoped. "Razgar Azgar what the hell is going on why are those civillians going into the chapel" Michael said with an authority of someone who demanded an answer. "He is going to take us to our new home you cannot deny him he will make us the masters if death these civillians are going to be used to open the gateway" Azgar said "what the hell are you on about brother" said Michael confused "Who is he". He is Nurgleth Michael you clearly are not worthy of him if he has not spoken to you" said Razgar drawing his chain sword "now go back to your chambers before i am forced to hurt you". it suddenly hit Michael they had turned to chaos become heretics. As michael reached for his chain swords 2 bolter shells hit him in the chest he fell over. Suddenlt Razgar raised his chain sword swinging it round cutting his legs off. "Traitor" screamed michael as he tried to ignore the pain. "Lights out michael" said Azgar before kicking him in the head knocking him out.

"What do we do now brother" said Razgar "you know what the chapter masters orders were". Azgar chuckled "Dont worry brother have Brother Festus take Michael to the tech marines". "Of course brother" said Razgar. opening the vox link Razgar said "Festus come to the entrance to the grand chapel Michael has had a accident and requires the attention of the Apothocaries and Techmarines".
Only through accepting Nurgleth into our hearts can we achieve our full potential
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#6
Castigator

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After several attempts to post up some pictures and failing miserably, I'm left with just posting a link to my Helbrute Shaithis the Penitent:

http://castigatorsch...s-penitent.html

 

Apologies for being too dumb to figure out how to post pictures blush.png


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http://castigatorsch...blogspot.co.uk/


#7
TDF

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A new star was born on the battlefield as Zerkzes fired his plasma cannon. The pitiful sight of a screaming mortal clutching the cauterised stumps of his incinerated legs made the dreadnought chuckle, despite himself.

 

It was so demeaning, waging war against the feeble armies of the False Emperor. Once Zerkzes had fought in a real war, a war against the Morlocks advanced relentlessly, rounds from their combi-bolters battering against Zerkzes’ ceramite and adamantium chassis. Zerkzes spotted a Contemptor-pattern dreadnought in the X Legion’s ranks. In a fit of jealously the smaller mk.4 dreadnought broke into a lumbering charge. The Contemptor fired round after round from its autocannons; Zerkzes could feel their thunderous impact, but he would not be denied this kill. He drew back his left arm and activated the chainfist. He plunged it into the side armour of the Leman Russ and scythed through the tank. He withdrew the arm and was pleased to see the crimson gore spattered across the chain fist.

 

Zerkzes turned away and advanced across the battlefield, spewing liquid fire from his heavy flamer. The orks were burning from head to toe, and still they fought on. Zerkzes heard a loud metallic clang. Immediately warning sirens went off in his metal womb, telling him that the xenos had attached a crude anti-tank grenade to his left leg. Half a second later Zerkzes was flat on his back, oily black smoke billowing into the air from the ruin of his leg. The orks piled onto him, hacking and shooting with their primitive weapons. Zerkzes poured out more fire, but only succeeded in killing two of the xenos. The dreadnought began the process of uncoupling the safety valves on his powerframe, then suddenly the orks came under sustained bolter fire. A line of IX Legion astartes moved into Zerkzes view. The sergeant removed his helm and screamed in a tongue Zerkzes did not want to understand. His ‘brother’ toppled entire ranks of guardsmen with his sonic weapon, although none of the mortals perished. The Emperor’s Child drew a knife from his belt and began skinning the nearest man, oblivious to the las-fire and bolter rounds that still shot across the battlefield.

 

Another ‘brother’ joined the first; the skin of his previous victims already covered every inch of his armour but Zerkzes knew that these animals would always find new ways to display their precious trophies. The dreadnought broke into a run, firing his boltpistol with one hand and readying his power sword in the other. His first slash bisected an eldar and his second killed another. But there were too many of them. Zerkzes felt their blades penetrate his power armour and the pain from the machinery wired into his half-living corpse became too much. Darkness took him.

 

He awoke and he knew something was wrong. They told him it was an honour, but he was chained to the walls. Zerkzes struggled with the Contemptor but he could not free himself. He bellowed a war cry and the anguished metallic roar echoed throughout the ship. For a brief moment it caused a euphoric sensation in the eardrums of the Emperor’s Children but it was soon drowned out by other sounds, each more refined and more exquisite than the last.


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#8
Tenebris

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Bune the Eloquent, Lord of the Sepulcher 

 

The story of legionary Bune of the Sons of Horus is a long and interesting one. Bunnon the Tongue was a petty criminal, just one of the billion souls in the hell of Cthonia, a murderer at five, a mercenary at eleven and a beater at thirteen until he was harvested for the legions. It is rumored that Bune was recruited at the same time that was the mighty Abaddon and the two are said to have been together at the training camps on Luna, where both of them were forget into flesh and sinew for the ruthless XVIth legion.

 

For hundreds of years Bune has fought with valor under the banner of Horus, pushing forward the shining light of the Imperium of Man, slaughtering countless foes in the name of his Emperor and Primarch. The Sepulcher Lords, as the graven squad led by Chieftain Bune was known, have unleashed carnage of many fields of battle and it was not long when they were considered true Despoilers. 

 

Unlike his contemporary Abaddon, Bune never had aspirations of leadership and rank, he was content killing the foes with his brothers and enjoying the simple pleasures of combat and trial which accompany the life of a warrior. As the secret lodges appeared in the ranks of the XVIth legion, Bune was one of the first to embrace this new form of comradeship and he soon rose to the esteemed rank as Lodge Master.

 

During his association with the lodges and the Chaplains of the Word Bearers, Bune allowed his gift for oratory and contemplation flourish under the tutelage of the XVIIth legion and it was not long when he was chosen for Chaplaincy. The concept of Chaplains was enforced across the legions after the dire events at Nikea and Bune was at the forefront of exploring this new office and duties in an astartes legion. His fiery rhetoric and unyielding devotion to his brothers have soon seen him lead his men not only as a fierce chieftain but also as a dreaded Chaplain.

 

Thus years went by and the events of Istvaan sealed the fate of the Sons of Horus as a traitor legion. Bune was there, as usually in the thick of it, inspiring his warriors with deed and word, guiding them along the path set by the lodges and carefully nurturing those who showed promise and daring ambition into ranks of honor and prestige.

 

The tale of Bune the Eloquent was to be ended by a savage mauling at the hands of an Imperial Fists terminator, during the siege of the Saturnine Ring, alas perhaps by sheer will or by the boon of the Dark Gods, Bune survived yet he had to be interred into a dreadnought.

 

Barely introduced to this new unlife Bune and other like him were to be unleashed upon the walls of Terra where their mighty strides shattered the bunkers and their thundering weapons visited mayhem on the defenders of the Imperial Palace. For days and nights Bune fought, never relenting, never faltering, always at the fore, always there, to guide by deed and word as befits a Chaplain of the legions, thus it is not hard to understand why the death of his beloved Warmaster and the flight from Terra left a bitter seed of resentment rotting in his soul, yet always dutiful, Bune the Eloquent followed his brothers into hell itself.

 

It is unknown what happened to Bune and his Sepulcher Lords following the defeat of the Sons of Horus on Maeleum but the chronicles of the Arrogant Sons write that it was one of the Sorcerers of this Black Legion Warband to have been guided by dark dreams and visions which led to the recovery of the Clenched Fang strike cruiser and Bune himself.

 

Guided by visions of plight, an aspiring sorcerer of the Arrogant Sons, a certain Zeroth, led the mighty Arrogance upon a dream quest and he was rewarded with the ruin of the Clenched Fang for his efforts. Aboard this mighty and ancient vessel no soul was left alive, its corridors haunted by the ghosts of the slain crew, its walls splattered with blood, its pipes leaking human tears. The Clenched Fang was beyond salvation but the dream quest proved to be true. Deep in the bowels of the ship a lone figure stood tall and daunting before a sealed portal. The runes on this ancient Mark IV Dreadnought told his story and revealed the name of the hero entombed within. Bune the Eloquent stood guard for centuries before the cryovault of his warband and only when the ancient Dark Apostle was persuaded by a message from Abaddon himself, the Chaplain yielded the genetic treasure of the vault to his rescuers. 

 

It was so that the Arrogant Sons, guided by the visions presented by their patron god, came into the possession of a pristine batch of the Sons of Horus geneseed. It was so that Bune the Eloquent has become the most ancient and revered dreadnought of the warband. Designated by his foes as a "Ferrus Infernum" dreadnought, Bune is the wisdom of ages given form, tempered by unbound hatred for those who dared to lay his legion low. In combat Bune is as Bune has always been, a bombastic, ruthless and spirited Cthonian chieftain of old, his sermons a far cry of the elaborate psalms of the Word Bearers, yet not because of this any less elaborate in rhetoric and skill with which they are delivered. Bune always moves forward, with an unyielding and sure stride, his weapon of choice, an archaic plasma cannon, an echo of his former favorite weapon, roars its defiance and when the miniature sun banishes its baleful glow, the roar of a chainfist can be heard above the din of battle. 

 

It is in glorious combat that the veneration of the Dark Gods its at its height, it is in the thick of the melee when the words eons old are sometimes more powerful than any weapon, and it is in the hallowed sepulchers of the mighty Arrogance that the dead need a voice to guide them in their eternal gloom. Thus Bune the Eloquent speaks to the living and the dead as he has done for thousands upon thousands of years. His wisdom is sought by lord and sorcerer alike but it is the new recruits of the Arrogant Sons who are ordered to listen to this venerable ancient and learn from him. Not because Bune is a Chaplain of old and thus carries the wisdom of ages in his words, but because he is a beacon of unyielding hate and every Black Legionnaire has to embrace hate, undying, unyielding hate, if he wants to triumph in the Long War, he has to embrace this pure hate if he can truly call himself a warrior of the Black Legion. 


Edited by Tenebris, 17 December 2014 - 04:39 PM.

There is only the Truth. I do not know what it is, but I do believe in it!

Attributed to Dark Apostle Toren Mar, Chapter of the Broken Seal, 71st Host, Word Bearers Legion.

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#9
Kierdale

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More a `how he ended up in there` than about the 'brute himself, but here's my entry...
 
 
 
Zenelaius, awaiting reunion.
 
It was Zenelaius, master of the forge, along with chief apothecary Polus and the master’s apprentice tech marine Thenaro who devised the artifices - adapted from the nerve glove of their parent chapter and renamed the euphoria glove- with which the Psychopomps tapped into the agony they inflicted upon their Eldar captives, opening up the astartes to a spectrum of emotions far beyond the stunted ken of humanity. It was also he who, upon the chapter’s return to their homeworld of Fulcrum, harnessed the torment the Xenos suffered and crafted the sonic weapons the chapter’s elite would then yield.
When the daemons of Slaanesh revealed themselves to the Master of Sanctity Angra, Zenelaius saw the potential for combining their damned forms with the machinery of the Imperium: technological heresies his old vows to the Priesthood of Mars, now trod and spat upon, no longer prevented him from exploring. Heresies he would not live long enough to fulfill...
 
He watched from the gantry as the humans were herded onto the testing range. Their shepherds were not astartes like him but rather mortal men. How did they differ? Outwardly they were of course clad differently: the charges in tattered clothes, their professions and former statuses quite clear. Here a manual labourer, here a scrivener, there a nobleman. A smattering of many colours, all tainted with dirt and blood. The shepherds however were clad in pristine pastel hues, pink in the majority, though they too were splattered with the blood of their more rambunctious charges. While some of the former had once wore jewels and chains, the latter were pierced with chains and spikes. But the greater disparity was not one which could be seen with the naked eye.
Faith.
While the shepherds were of the Exalted Fecund, their charges were Egisians. All had once been of the Imperial Cult, though of differing sects. The Egisians worshipping the Master of Mankind as protector, the Exalted Fecund had seen the best way of serving the Golden Throne as the prolific creation of offspring to serve within His armies. Upon the marines’ return to Fulcrum the EF had been chosen by chapter master Sophusar, raised above the other cults, and debased; its rituals, prayers and very purpose twisted by Angra into a form more fitting of the Lord of Pleasure and Pain. Within scant years, to worship at temples other than those of the Exalted Fecund became first frowned upon, second an oddity, soon a taboo and finally a death sentence.

The EF cultists retreated from the downrange end of the room as a marine, one of Sophusar’s elite, entered the range hefting a long weapon. Fresh from the forge, it was of a design Thenaro had helped his master, Zenelaius, to create. From the tangle of cables which snaked into the marine’s armour and backpack, past the grip the marine’s hand was buried in, the weapon tapered to terminate in a daemonic visage of brass. It lacked a conventional muzzle, for this device cast no crude projectiles at its targets.
The marine was panting, not with exertion, for his geneforged physique could handle the bulky weapon with ease, but with anticipation. He was one who had worn the new pain glove, one who had been hooked up to an Eldar subjected to the greatest agonies the Psychopomps had been able to inflict. Recent experiments had also attempted to elicit other emotions, against the alien’s will. Such experiences were etched into the marine’s soul ever after. A void they hungered to fill.
Chapter master Sophusar, master of sanctity Angra, chief apothecary Polus and  Master of the forge Zenelaius, strode in behind the marine, the latter’s red armour now daubed with tentacles of pink and checks of celeste, while Thenaro continued to watch from the gantry above.
While the Egisians were battered and bloodied, some resigned to their fate, none could fail to understand what was in store for them. Some fled to the far corners of the range, some threw themselves prone, some stood transfixed by the gaudily painted astartes, unable to shake off their disbelieve at the changes that had come over their once protectors.
As the marine raised the weapon toward them there came, starting as a whisper and rapidly rising in volume, a sound like a scream of torment not being exhaled but
inhaled. As this most unnatural, unsettled sound grew there too came an exceedingly low, bass accent. At first it was only detectable by those with autosenses and Lyman’s Ear. The screams of the Egisians were soon eclipsed by the terrible howl of the weapon as it reached a crescendo. The marine squeezed a trigger within the device and the bass tone vanished most expectantly only to reappear with a deafening blast within the thick of the Egisians. The air warped with a visible blast wave and bodies toward the periphery were tossed aside as rag dolls. Those further in were torn asunder and those at the center turned to bags of jelly as the sonic blast shattered bones and ruptured organs.
The weapon’s hideous wailing continued unabated as the chapter’s command staff congratulated Zenelaius on his work. The forge master waved off their praise and, pointing to a single Egisian who had escaped the devastation, he raised his arm and tapped a control on his left forearm. The walls of the range immediately began to narrow about the human. He nodded to the marine, who was almost trembling with unabashed delirium.
As the walls of the range closed in the next blast was catastrophic, reverberating betwixt the adamantine walls. The final Egisian was rendered down to a consistency akin to soup.
The applause recommenced and Zenelaius, noticing his apprentice watching, motioned impatiently for Thenaros to lead away the crazed noise marine. Thenaros’ grip twisted the metal of the railings in his grip before he moved.

 
Forge master Zenelaius was, unlike some of his peers in other chapters (both loyal and traitor), not solely dedicated to the study of the machine form. Like his battle brothers, he had been enlightened by the Dark Prince on Cyprius III and found their daemonic allies, introduced by the master of sanctity, fascinating both in their form and what he could learn from them of that which lay beyond the veil...
 
Thenaros leant over the workbench, rubbing his eyes with the palms of his hands. He knew he was close, but the answer was elusive. Zenelaius’ schematics were there before him but over the years, the `master’`s work had become more and more perplexing, indecipherable. The forge master was losing focus.
Gritting his teeth he looked back over the scattered dataslates. Designs for a quadruped war machine, a hunched beast...a hollow shell. Other screens displayed images no sane smith would allow within his workshop: hateful symbols and damned icons, bewitching patterns. In the years since their enlightenment, Zenelaius had learned ken beyond Imperial doctrines. Thenaros too, and in truth he believed he was close to surpassing his instructor.
He took up the electroquill once more.
The hatch hissed open and Thenaros cursed, his frayed attention broken. Turning, he found Zenelaius staggering into the workshop, his eyes blank, his stare wandering. His face writhed with tics. He had been in the euphoria glove again. No doubt with
her.
The master of the forge had taken to...coupling...with one of the daemons who served the chapter. At first it had been to learn more of their patron deity and to learn cursed rites to aid his artifices, but it had gone beyond mere counsel. They consorted. Often his superiors would ask Thenaros of Zenelaius and they would find him entwined with the temptress, both within the gossamer web of the euphoria glove, lashing their bodies with foreign agonies.
“I have seen it!” Zenelaius whispered, his eyes finally focusing and finding his apprentice. “The Gates of the Palace. She shewed me. The outer circle.”
Thenaros had heard rumours of such places, such matters. He gritted his teeth once more and turned back to his work.

 
Judgement came to the renegades of Fulcrum on two fronts: overtly an inquisitor was dispatched to investigate the upheaval in the balance of the sects of the Imperial Cult on the planet, but in truth their corruption was already known. The planet was infiltrated by agents of the inquisitions who, via their sabotage and support of the Egisian and other sect remnants, paved the way for the coming of loyal astartes.
The Black Templars.
Fellow scions of Dorn, they fell upon their rogue kin with great vengeance and furious anger. In turn, the Psychopomps unleashed their captive first company: thralls of the Lord of Skulls, in addition to twisted flesh golems of the Exalted Fecund and myriad creations from Zenelaius’ forge.
 
Sparks cascaded down from severed cables overhead. Sunlight streamed in through the hole in the ceiling, its edges smooth, the metal having run. The quick work of a melta bomb. Thenaros swept his pistol about the workshop, only lowering it when he was sure the room was clear. He had been busy these last hours deploying his creations and overseeing their use against the Templars, only now - lord Sophusar’s retreat order broadcast over the chapter-wide vox - returning to the forge. Evidently it had been breached, but the servants of the corpse-Emperor had passed on. They had been thorough, however: the main databank and Zenelaius’ own station was smoking slag. Another melta bomb.
Thenaros spoke a prayer of thanks to the Prince of Chaos that he had kept all his work on a lesser terminal. What had the Templars managed to destroy? Very bloody little, he spat venomously. The idle work of a distracted, warp-addled fool.
His work recovered and downloaded, Thenaros raised his pistol once more and headed toward the exit and escape.
It was then that he heard a whispering, a weeping. It was coming from the doorway to the master’s quarters, adjacent to the forge. Thenaros knew what must lay within, but he found himself drawn toward that portal.
The Templars had evidently discovered Zenelaius in congress with his daemonic siren within the glove and had put the pair to flame. Zenelaius hung broken and burned within the glove’s remaining threads, his armour tarnished, a mangled marionette. Ichor, the remains of his love, encrusted the front of his plate. His face was scorched and blackened, bone visible in patches, one eye having popped and ran.
“The pain...the pain... So close. So close to the Gates,” the forge master was wracked with a sob, “and she is no more.”
Thenaros turned toward the doorway.
“Then- Thena- Thenaros!” Zenelaius managed to raise his voice, focusing his remaining eye on his apprentice, raising one twisted, tangled arm to point to the tech marine’s weapon. “F- Finish me,” he struggled through tattered lips. “Send me to her.”
The apprentice spat curses and raised his weapon, the sights settling steady on his master’s limp form. His index finger tightened on the trigger...and stopped.
“No. No, you foolish bastard,” he spat and sheathed his bolt pistol, drawing his combat knife instead. He reached up and severed the remaining wires which held the glove to the ceiling. “There’ll be no deliverance for you. No reunion.”
Zenelaius fell to the floor in a contorted heap and Thenaros gathered up the cut lines.
“You’ll serve. You’ll serve, by the Dark Prince! And better in death than in life...”

 
And thus it was that Zenelaius came to be entombed within a dreadnought sarcophagus, fighting with the cursed sonic weapons of his apprentice, longing for his release from undeath, and reunion at the Gates of the Palace.



#10
Zhaharek

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Fallen Brother Kiocharo
The last words mean more to men then the Last Sight. This is because the Last Sight belongs to one warrior and one warrior alone. The falling one. So the Chaos Dragons preserve the last few seconds that their warriors see in their helmets, which they cremate with the fallen Astartes, so it may return to The Warp with them.
But not all Astartes, not even the burning Chaos Dragons, return to The Warp.
Guardsman Karian’s Last Sight was a vision of nightmare. The red-hot, glowing, screaming thing brought its silver chainsword down through his collarbone and out through his hip -two handed and fast. He didn’t have time to react. His few hours of training that accompanied conscription didn’t save him. Flak armour didn’t save him. His whispered prayer to The Emperor was returned with his damned silence. He tasted his own blood, and the bitter ashes of the man who had stood beside him, reduced to such by the flame that spat from the monsters mouth. He could hear, in that last instant, the thin chainsword chewing upon the meat it had tore from him. In his last thought, he could swear that he heard the beating wings of a Holy Valkyrie, come to take him to The Emperors mercy. But his Last Sight was the Star of Chaos, surrounded as it was by serpent dragons, above the searing, burning, evil eyes of the Chaos Dragon, his name Kiocharo.
Kiocharo ripped his sword through the weaklings’ chest, savouring his choking scream. He had hawked up flammable acid form his Betchers Gland, set it alight with a spark from the pieces of metal that replaced his back teeth and incinerated one of the Guardsmen, and the burnt, acrid taste was still there in his mouth. He spat on the bisected corpse of his foe, and it sizzled. “Barely worth my time”, he muttered. The bilious tint of bitterness crept into his resonant tone. Kiocharo span on his armoured feet and smiled behind his twisted helm. “A warriors work is never done”, he whispered, a wisp of smoke spilling out of his vox-grille. 4 more guardsmen stood before him, grim faced, moving as if they were underwater, Las-guns coming up to point at his face. The trench around them hemmed his prey in. Calling it a trench was laughable, it was about to become a slaughterhouse.
A searing bolt of las-fire stitched a scorch mark line up his breastplate as he took his first sprinting step towards the mortals. A second slashed across his pauldron as he took his third step. But by then it was too late. He leapt for the first man, no, at closer quarters; there was a woman beneath that useless flak armour, her las-gun moving towards his face. She didn’t have time to pull the trigger before she disappeared; he swept the chainsword across her jugular: the grinding sound of chain-blade through bone, and her head came loose in a welter of blood. The man behind her roared in defiance, vaulting over her corpse as he slipped a pitiful combat knife out of his belt.
Kiocharo heard a harsh barking sound, and he realised he was laughing. He let the mortal close the distance; let him ram the puny knife into the cabling of his shoulder joint. A hideously cold sensation slammed into his flesh, ripping up a new scar to join the old. The mortal screamed into the golden face-plate. Kiocharo returned it, the guardsman’s face blackening under the sulphurous roar. Kiocharo smiled again as he saw blood leak out the man’s ears, in response to the thunderous sound. Kiocharo’s snapped around the guardsman’s throat. He hefted him back, projected him into his fellows. They went down into the mud and blood.
Something screeching, iron and infernal flew overhead, bearing the eldritch livery of their Fifteenth Legion allies. Helldrake. Fire filled the trench behind Kiocharo as he strode towards the guardsmen. He was silhouetted by the warp-light for a moment. That barking sound again, he was laughing as he walked towards them. Sadist, his brothers called him. Even those who spent their nights in praise to the Dark Prince looked upon him as such. Yet Great Lord Zhaharek saw him for what he really was. A weapon. Then he began to run, armoured legs gouging apart the ground as the distance between them narrowed. He struck the first down with a whirling downward arc of his sword, the next losing his face as he pulled himself up out of the dirt.
The third and last, had a chainsword. One of his own. The Imperial revved the blade in his hand a few times, before fully activating the whirring blade. Kiocharo did the same, settling into the stance of a swordsman who knew he was going to win. To his credit, the guardsman managed to elicit a grunt of effort from Kiocharo as the Astartes parried the first swing, horizontal and one handed. Kiocharo kicked out, catching the man’s leg, taking him down, on one knee. Time seemed to slow as Kiocharo struck downwards. Their blades shrieked and yammered as the chain teeth worked against each other. The Chaos Dragon pressed his full weight down on his foe, sparks flying where their swords met. He felt the bones in the arm behind the mortal’s blade begin to give, and he relented, shifting his weight back. The guardsman stood, whipping his blade around and up, straight for the head. Kiocharo brought his own, hacking and fast, into the man’s hands. The Imperial chainsword fell to the ground. Its whirring edge came to an abrupt halt. Its owner fell back, screaming through gritted teeth. He was obviously trying not to be sick, his breaths were panting and heavy with pain, in-between the short screams. Kiocharo stalked forwards, his head moving side to side slowly, fire licking around his vox-grille, smoke clouding behind him, like the beast from which he took his name. Soft voiced and menacing, he spoke as he moved towards the Imperial Guardsman, “One last charge, for your Emperor?” The guardsman gave him a look filled with malice. Then charged, head down, mouth open, screaming in pain more than rage.
The twin halves of the man hit the mud with a moist thump. Kiocharo pivoted on one heel, letting his chainsword come to a grinding halt in his hand. The trench was a mess of blood and once human, slumped shapes. The Chaos Dragon took pride in his work. The sounds of warfare went on over-head, outside the remnants of the trench. “A warriors work is never done”, he whispered, a wisp of smoke spilling out of his vox-grille.
He leapt from the trench, his armoured boots sundering the earth beneath him, cracks spreading from where he thundered into the ground. He swept his baleful eyes across the battlefield before him.
If he’d have been a fraction quicker, he would have seen it time, or maybe, more fortunately, it would have killed him instantly. The blue and white hot fire of a plasma blast. It was crewed by 4 Imperial Guardsmen, just like the ones he had just torn asunder in the trench. A sudden, all consuming pain, enough to rip that unearthly SCREAM from the throat of even an Astartes, that Kiocharo realized too late was own. Blindness, like sun in his eyes. Then he was weightless, as if held by a mother that he had long forgotten. Then reality slammed back down upon him, crushing him to the ground, gravity forcing him down through the gore filled muck. His sword was gone. Something that tasted of iron was filling his helmet. He tried to lift an arm to remove his helm. Something twisted came into view, a warped silhouette against the blank white of his blindness. That couldn’t be his arm. He opened his mouth, and the iron taste flowed into his throat. No, no, need to breathe. His conditioning forbade the comfort of panic, and he was filled with a terrible awareness of what had happened. Kiocharo slipped into tormented unconsciousness as he choked on his won boiling blood.
The first thing Kiocharo felt was hands that he couldn’t resist dragging him onto something metallic and cold. He had a moment to hate his situation before tortured sleep took him into her barbed embrace once more. When he next awoke, he saw the familiar mutant face of Malos, the Thousand Son Warpsmith, staring over him. He realised that he was without his armour, and felt perversely vulnerable before the genius monster. Realisation slowly dawned on him. He opened his mouth to scream, and metal limb rammed down deep into his throat, his cry coming out as a gurgle-spit filled series of pathetic wails. Then, blessedly, that nightmare filled ‘rest’ welcomed him again. He awoke again. A moment of pain, as something violated his skull, then...
A mortal human, nor an Astartes, can truly contemplate the idea of losing all sensation, let alone losing all memory of what sensation was like. In truth, all thought was based on experiences that we understand through the veil of sensation, and without that veil, all that is left is one’s own innermost thoughts. That is the hell that Kiocharo was subject to, while his mind was separate from his body. Words cannot express the torment he experienced, as every aspect of his life was thrown back at him without the comforting veil of sensation, his own mind assailing him with memories twisted by his hyperactive, unfiltered id. Space Marine conditioning tried to save him, but it failed, in turn adding to the whirling lunacy of his mind. Somewhere deep in his psyche, he remembered that this was a favoured torment of Lord Khauriel’s.
Then, mercy came. In the form of Lord Zhaharek. The Sorcerer strode forth with enviable confidence through Kiocharo’s tortured mind. He appeared as a sight, a sensation that Kiocharo welcomed with pathetic gratitude. The Sorcerer whispered into Kiocharo’s mind, “What did you think when I gave you the title of ‘weapon’, Kiocharo?” Sanity returned to Kiocharo’s mind long enough for him to say, with a minute scrap of recovered pride, that he had thought it an honour. The Sorcerer laid a hand on Kiocharo’s shoulder, wherever his true body was, and the sensation was a horrific relief. The Sorcerer used the powers of Tzeentch, but obviously he had learnt something of his brother Khauriel’s ways of The Dark Prince. He spoke again, “Now, Kiocharo, it was a prophecy. Soon you will as much obedient metal and destruction as the bolt pistol on my belt.” There was a sinister menace to his voice, which Kiocharo recognised. A plan had come to dark fruition. And he left Kiocharo to his lunacy.
The first thing that Kiocharo felt was cold, hard metal. Against all his limbs, icy and bitter. The realisation spread through him like ink through water, thick and menacing. He lifted his arms, a great, terrible grinding sound filling the air as the joints worked to bring them around. Whoever held the chains that must have encircled him let them slack and ran, as they saw him wake. His ‘eyes’ activated with an electrical clatter. A battlefield stretched out before him, but it was out of focus. Something blue and fast rushed past him, on instinct he struck out with right arm. The thing crunched into the ground with an almighty thunder, blood pooling beneath it. He stalked towards it, a thunderous BOOM heralding each step. He tried to spit fire, and something coughed forth from his right hand, a burst of flame. He reached the corpse. A hated Ultramarine, dead, body shattered glass. The blood pooled beneath him. Kiocharo bent over the spreading sanguine pool. A Contemptor Dreadnought bedecked with the rune and dragon livery of The Chaos Dragons stared back at him. He reached up with a hand that was a power claw, and touched the metal of his new face.
A roar rose within him, as he saw the few second long vid-capture at the corner of his vision, of a triumphant guardsman standing at the trigger of a glowing Plasma Cannon. His Last Sight. +A WARRIORS WORK IS NEVER DONE.+ he boomed, fire spraying from his heavy flamers, stalking forth to avenge himself.


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#11
Soldier of Dorn

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THE BIRTH OF CALIGIULA REX

 

Hear now the tale of a Lord amongst Slaves, a King amongst the Fallen, a Bloody-Handed Warlord of the Dread Twelfth.

Hear now of the birth of Caligula Rex!

 

Caligula Rex... an ancient title, drawn from the depths of Romani myth by the Berzerker-Philosopher Calodain Vuhn of the Sinner's Swords, to title the greatest of their warband's Dreadnoughts, to put the fear of the Gods into their enemies' hearts, to honour the Skull Throne in name.

The Contemtor-pattern was rare enough during the Great Crusade, and many were destroyed in the Heresy that followed. Alone, a single Mk. III chassis attached to the World Eaters 64th company survived to be taken into the Great Eye, and the Astartes interred within was called Rhazon Carva.

Over the centuries that followed, many Dreadnoughts belonging to other warbands were captured, and repurposed to suit the purposes of the warband.  But they all knelt before Carva, for by that time, Rhazon Carva had become a mighty Champion of the Blood God, rending his enemies limb from limb  in the name of the Lord of Battles.

Over time, Carva's name was forgotten by his brothers, for the song of the Nails bit deep, and occasionaly memories were lost to their teeth. So thusly did Rhazon Carva all but die amongst his gene-brothers, and Caligula Rex was born.

 

***

 

Well, that was... singularly uninspired.

That did not at all go where I wanted it to go. Well, better luck next time, I suppose, and my best wishes to the other competitors.


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For the light of Sol, and the earth of Terra, we stand. For the oaths we made, we stand. For the blood in our veins, we stand.
For the stones laid by our ancestors, we stand. For the days that have passed and the days that shall come, we stand.
For the living and the honour of the dead, we stand.


#12
Carrack

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[quote name

Well, that was... singularly uninspired.
That did not at all go where I wanted it to go. Well, better luck next time, I suppose, and my best wishes to the other competitors.[/quote]


I thought it was a promising start

#13
Urauloth

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They affixed the cells to the plasma cannon with the due reverence of holy men completing a sacred rite, prayers on their lips as they backed away. Power coursed through the now-armed weapon, the accelerator charging to a hot blue glow, static building in the air. Khurvash felt the power, his few remaining biological systems interpreting feedback from the cannon like a spreading warmth in the cold dark of the dreadnought's armoured tomb. Satisfying. It countered the pain, somewhat. The pain was always there, but the warmth that flowed from the cannon's rising killing power eased it. It was better when it fired. To unleash white-hot, sun-hot fire against his enemies was one of the last pleasures of his hollow, deathless existence. Then, he almost felt alive. Then, he-

Khurvash realised he had fully charged the cannon and cycled it into prefire; another half-second and it would have been too late to power down. With a snort of frustration and disgust he aborted the firing sequence, hot gas venting from the overheat ports. Several parchment strips affixed to his hull blackened and smouldered.

 

Fool. He cursed inwardly; he had been many things in his millennia-long existence as a warrior, but he was never careless. Unless the rage took him. No. That wasn't true. He had almost disintegraded half a dozen members of his own cult and blown out the bukhead of the arming chamber. Had he killed his cultists before? Were they in the way on Thannix Tertiary? No, he had simply exchanged fire with the false emperor's dogs and-

 

Several cultists, hooded and robed, replaced the damaged parchment on his hull. He was glad of that. To go to war adorned with the Word of Lorgar was right. He would bear the Word even from within his tomb. Even through the pain, he would bear it. More than that, to the cultists who armed and readied his war chassis he was an idol of the great powers, his hull itself a shrine. The word went with him, in every thundrous iron footstep, in the howling light of his plasma cannon, in the bladed talons of his right arm, he carried the Word. he was a weapon of the Gods as surely as he had been when he had waged war, under the power of his own limbs, on the killing fields of Calth.

 

He snarled, the sound somewhere between the growl of an engine and that of a rabid dog. The pain made it hard to concentrate. It compounded thousands of years of rage and hatred. In part, he resented being woken. In part, he resented existing at all. But he existed to enact the will of Lorgar, and enact it he would, even if he had to do so from a tomb. He was not some mindless brute to be chained in the hold like an animal. He had seen the wretched creatures other legions brought to war and loosed like beasts - he had put several out of their misery over the centuries. That was not him. He was not like that, he never would be.

 

A woman stepped forward from the throng of cultists, her hood thrown back. From one side of her head stood horns like those of a goat; still small, one vestigial, but growing to prominence. From a bowl of iron she annointed Khurvash's hull with blood.

 

"The great one stands ready" she declared, and the others bowed their heads and whispered. "It is time."

They led Khurvash from the arming chamber, filing past the racks of small arms, each siezing a lasrifle or hard-shot autogun with a savage bayonet slung under the muzzle. They struck up a chant as they made for the hangar deck, heading to board the assault transports bound for the planet below. By the time they were halfway there, they were no longer leading Khurvash. They were keeping out of his way.

 

++++++++++++

 

The incendiary payloads hammered down ahead of the assault craft like a bow wave, screaming from orbit to drown men and steel in a tide of fire. The first wave of landers blew their ramps as soon as they hit the blackened, smouldering earth, and rom within their armoured bulks issued forth a horde of cultists, their frenzied war cries quickly drowned out by the roar of descending Dreadclaws and the throaty growls of the war engines disembarking or unclamping from the landers.

 

Imperials. Slaves of the corpse god. Khurvash spat with contempt, his hull vocalizer translating the gesture as a burst of harsh feedback. Ahead of him lay a shattered waste of broken ground and broken ruins; the fractured outer rings of a fortress network, ruptured by orbital bombardment. Cracking the next ring would be done the old way - he didn't know why. Something to do with orbital defence batteries and firing arcs. He didn't care. The plasma cannon sang hot and furious, its warmth filling his sarcophagus as he unleashed its fury. Between that and the overwhelming hatred he felt, he almost forgot about the pain.

 

Gunfire filled the air around and above him. Smoke darkened the sky. Fires blazed out of control in every direction. This was where he was at home. This was why he had been woken. A round from his plasma cannon struck an Ultramarine predator in the flank, blowing out the sponson gun and scattering severed track links as the tank reeled from the catastrophic damage. Seconds later it was consumed by a series as heck devastating explosions as its ammunition and fuel reserves detonated, leaving the ruptured hull to offer black smoke to the skies like a sacrifice. Not Ultramarines. A sable hull with a white cross. Focus.

 

He barely noticed the cult around him as they exchanged fire with the scattered guard forces attempting to impede the advance. The cannon sang again, reducing a sentinel to slag and white-hot shrapnel. A hail of shells from the twin boltgun barrels slung under his right arm talon fell among a guard section contesting the wreckage of a shattered gatehouse - the mass reactive rounds severed limbs, burst skulls and splintered ribcages, dropping men like broken puppets and forcng the survivors into hard cover. This was mere culling work. There were Astartes of the false emperor on the field, and he hungered for their blood.

 

Through the smoke, he saw a hated standard of the enemy: the despicable livery of Sigismund flying from the banner pole of a dreadnought. He surged forward, trampling corpses underfoot, roaring a warcry that served at once as a declaration of hate and a challenge to the rival ancient. The Templar had already seen him, and the barrels of its assault cannon had spun up to firing speed. A storm of shells broke against Khurvash's hull, tearing chunks of steel and adamantium away in a hail of sparks. Several pierced his armour, one causing a maddening spike of pain and the other damaging servos and severing motive cables in his shoulder and impairing the movement of his left arm. Cursing the limitation placed on his firing arc, Khurvash pivoted at the waist to bring the plasma cannon to bear and unleashed its fury. The plasma burst struck the Templar's own weapon and incinerated it; the massive gatling gun and its mounting replaced, in a blinding flash, by a red-hot wound of molten metal. Hull scored and burned, the Templar ancient reeled, but found its footing and readied the power fist that comprised its other arm, prepared to meet Khurvash's imminent charge.

 

"Dog of Sigismund," he roared, "hear my challenge! I am Khurvash of the Word Bearers, son of Lorgar, and by the great Kings of the Warp I will have your head!"

 

The Templar said something in reply, but Khurvash wasn't really listening. he was already charging, anyway. They collided hard, each meeting the other's weapon with his own in a shower of sparks and a thunderclap of displaced air. The power fields hissed against eachother for a moment before each dreadnough sought a new killing blow. Each fought hard for the slightest advantage, turning his heaviest and least damaged armour toward his opponent, attempting to shove his foe off balance - Khurvash, momentarily forgetting logic, even sought to gore his enemy with his horns. The power fist dealt a crushing blow to the Word Bearer's hull and several of his readouts went dark. The adamantium had buckled and something, somewhere was leaking. In retaliation he lanced the talon blades into his opponent's dark armoured form, shearing through internal systems. He stepped back to avoid another powerfist swing, then lunged forward, shoulder lowered. The Templar's fist struck hard, tearing off his right pauldron and shaking him to the core. His talon ripped directly into the Templar's sarcophagus. With a roar of triumph, he tore the blades free, splitting open the armoured plating of the sarcophagus and partly exposing the now-bisected form within. Burnt blood hissed from the powered blades. Khurvash had won.

 

He yelled a warcry in praise of Lorgar. Warmth flooded his cold, dark tomb - a satisfying, familiar warmth. The world went white. Khurvash was uncertain why. He certainly had no time for imaging faults now; he had a war to fight. The rest of Guilliman's welps had to be shown the glory of the Word in blood and cinders.

 

++++++++++++

 

A helbrute. She'd heard the stories, but until now she'd been fortunate enough not to actually see one. It was even more horrible than she could have imagined. It resembled the revered dreadnoughts of the Emperor's Astartes, but everything about it was hideous, wrong. Symbols of the archenemy were emblazoned on its crimson hull and on the parchment strips that hung from it like devotional pennants. Atop its hull were dozens of candles and a halo of iron spikes on which the skulls of men had been impaled. It had horns like a daemon, and it moved like one, too - at least, as much as any machine can be said to.

 

It came at them howling, a mad beast loosed to murder and maim. The plasma cannon it carried was never silent; she'd already seen it fire into its own ranks at least once in its frenzy to bombard the Imperial lines. A throng of heretics surrounded it like celebrants around a shrine, yet it semed to care nothing for them. As she watched, it charged forwards, crushing several underfoot and leaving the rest behind. It was coming towards her. Weighing her options - and fighting back the choking terror that threatened to overwhelm her - Sergeant Morav stayed in the rubble-filled trench she had taken cover in and hoped the helbrute wouldn't see her. Morav was no coward, but her lasrifle would be less than useless against such a warp-spawned monstrosity.

 

An exchange of fire overhead almost deafened her - the whine of a rotary cannon, the blast of plasma. Nausea wrenched her gut when she realised the helbrute was crossing the trench she was in; it cleare it in one bound, iron hydraulics shaking the earth. Then it stopped. It had stopped firing. She forced herself to look. It was facing down a revered ancient of the Black Templars. An Angel of Death. Why had it stopped? Suddenly it made the most hideous sound she had ever heard; somewhee between the howl of a wounded animal, the snarling of a wolf, the roar of a blast furnace, the screams of the dying and the sound of an engine pushed beyond its tolerance. It was the sound of madness. It made this sound as though it were speaking, and then it charged.

 

She watched in absolute horror as the battle between the adamantine immortals turned abruptly and brutally in the helbrute's favour. Stunned by what she witnessed, she couldn't begin to comprehend what happened next: in the moment of its triumph, the battered but victorious helbrute inexplicably fired its plasma cannon at the dead or dying Black Templar ancient at point blank range. The resulting blast incinerated both of them, leaving the Templar dreadnought as an exploded wreck, but also destroying the Word Bearer completely, so that it remained as an upright hulk, consumed by fire, like so many walkers on the battlefield that day.


Its lonely cry comes shivering through the dark,

As beasts roar at the great biting flames,

"Blessed are the chains that bind him to the darkness

and cursed are the blades that leave him lame"