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TALE - The Second Son (Rough Draft)

Alexandros Vth Legion Primarch

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#101
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One xeno's hand briefly touched the wall before he was cut down. His companions, the few left, broke and ran toward the wreck of their former transport. It did them no good as they would die in due time. As Alexandros' eyes scanned the field, he was happy to note that no other Eldar had come as close. In fact, this brief assault was already collapsing. The Dark Eldar simply lacked the numbers to soak the damage being done to them. Combined with the Storm Riders' divination, the 102nd's accurate salvos beat back the few charges made. 

 

Now, Eldar grav tanks attempted to do what damage they could, while dodging incoming fire as troops huddled around wrecks. Despite their prodigious speed, the Hellions and the Reapers had been cleansed from the sky. It would not be long before this first attack was over.

 

While the Miasma died, Alexandros opened a channel to Wilhelm. "How many casualties?" 

"My lord, despite the forces arrayed against, I'm pleased to report we only lost five percent of the unit. I was expecting fifteen percent and, at least, several instances of close combat with these hellish creatures. Yet, this has far exceeded my expectations. I've also noted that casualties near yourself and the other Storm Rider...specialists are unusually light. My only concern is that our performance may cause Xenevo to make a tactical withdrawal." 

"You needn't worry, Wil," Alex answered. "His pride won't let him leave this early." He switched channels. "Irvin, are the generators continuing to perform as expected?" 

"Yes, my lord. The only issue is time. We're nearing the second hour, and there's no sign of the main Miasma force mobilizing." 

"Don't worry, Irvin. It won't be long now." 

Darshan turned his attention toward his enemy. He knew what Xenevo was waiting on. The Archon had finished preparing his forces and was now watching his Lieutenant and his men die beneath the 102nd's guns. To him, it was an amusing spectacle. While Darshan also relished the death of these foul beings, this was no time to dawdle. Most of the first wave had succumbed, leaving the Lieutenant and a few of his guards, hiding behind a wreck while pressing themselves against the ground. A pointless effort that would buy, at most, a few more minutes. 

Darshan decided to help them meet their end sooner. The four warriors only had a moment to recoil from his mind invading their own. In seconds, he subjugated their wills, eager to be done with this small task. Now in control, he forced them to stand to their feet before making them leap over their only cover. They covered three meters before each of them was burned to death by a dozen beams burning through them. 

Xenevo mentally 'tsked' in his mind as one shard of Darshan listened in on his thoughts. His entertainment taken from him, he gave the order everyone was waiting for: attack.


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#102
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As large as that first attack was, it paled as the entire Kabal launched from their assembly area. The air filled with grav engines screaming into the air as the Miasma took off at breakneck speeds toward the base. Fear and discipline warred within each human's mind as thousands of xeno warriors came straight at them. There would be no easy victory for the Auxilia here. Although he sympathized with his charges, Alexandros was eager to reveal himself. While a tactical necessity, being invisible had an air of cowardice about it. Human engines rumbled as Wilhelm deployed two more Nemean squadrons to the front line. The extra firepower would be sorely needed. 

Again, Darshan's consciousness split into dozens of shards, all connected to the main shard within his physical body. Thousands of futures played before their eyes as they navigated the path to victory. Captain Ricksher's voice came over the vox. "Last enemy unit is one hundred meters away from Webway entrance. No xenos unit is making any attempt to protect their path of retreat." 

Ricksher's marines knew they couldn't engage until the xenos were one two kilometers away from the entrance. A glance revealed that the forward elements of the Miasma would be within max weapons range in less than a minute. There was no doubt that the 102nd would have to endure the enemy attack for precious seconds before the Storm Riders could counter-attack. 

"Rear enemy unit three hundred meters away from Webway entrance."

 

Again, Imperial artillery started a cacophony as they sought to wound the approaching alien beast. Darshan and the Storm Rider psykers guided their shots to maximum effect as grav tanks were brought low. But this dark flood would not be denied. Coordinating a dozen distingerator rays, Xenevo had them target the center Bastion. The Imperial tower's armor weathered a few of the rays before it was overwhelmed. The entire tower exploded, ripping a hole in the defence lines as troopers were thrown and shredded. Alexandros jerked his shield to his side to ward off a wave of shrapnel, while his body absorbed the concussion without ill effect. 

"Fill that gap!" Alexandros commanded as he inched towards the new crater. Over the vox, Wilhelm ordered reserve lasrifle sections into the breach and to create any kind of emplacement they could. Auxiliaries rushed forward, dodging Eldar rounds as they shoved debris into a makeshift line. By this point, the Miasma had closed the remaining weapons distance. The entire line was now engaged as lasrifles pumped volleys into the approaching xenos. Reaver jetbike squadrons cut through the nearest corners, slicing off limbs and heads as they aimed their blades at the unfortunate troopers. The last of the Nemeans opened fire as they attempted to stem the tide. 

"Last xeno unit one kilometer away," Ricksher announced. 

Six Raiders halted near the breach. As splinter shards washed over the nearby human elements, the first of hundreds of xeno warriors jumped out of the skiffs. The growing mob charged at the pinned troopers. 

Finally

At the head of this wave was an eager Sybarite wielding a spiked whip. He lashed out and two troopers fell shrieking. He leaped over the ad hoc wall as he readied his whip another blow. The warriors behind him halted when the Sybarite's head slipped off his neck. 

Casting off the invisibility, Alexandros towered above them all with a grin as blood dripped off of Xiphos. "Defenders of the Imperium, we will stand!"


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#103
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For all of the vulgarities of their race, these fallen Eldar obeyed one universal rule of war: never fire into close combat. beating prisoners during battle, torturing enemy combatants on whim, betraying superior officers. All this was acceptable yet not firing into assaults. While peculiar, Alexandros intended to take full advantage of it. His mere presence terrified the warriors standing before him, but he needed enough of them to prevent the rest of the Miasma from shooting him. Not even he could hope to deflect that many shots. He invaded the minds of a dozen warriors and forced them onward even as the rest of the warriors fled. 

Xiphos sang through the air the Primarch sliced his way through the first six of them. Limbs and heads toppled onto the ground before the xenos made their reply. Seeing three steps ahead of them, Alexandros parried blades and blocked blows with complete accuracy. He bashed against one warrior with his shield and the Eldar remained consciousness long enough to feel several thousand bones break before collapsing. Their pitiable armor opened before Xiphos' edge. The lone survivor turned to run, saved as three more squads charged in. Alexandros memorized the runner's face. He would not reach Commorragh this day. 

 

Although facing against more than twenty warriors, Alexandros never lost sight of the battle around him. The entire 102nd was engaged. The forward Miasma infantry units had taken heavy casualties but had ended the Imperials' range advantage as they had charged over the wall. The jetbikes and hellions had flown around the base, unleashing salvos and attacked both flanks and the rear sections of the base. Skimmers had spread out as they continued blasting away, taking down two Nemeans and another tower. 

Alexandros was aware of all of this even as the human lines were beaten back. Auxiliaries swung rifles as clubs against their nimble foes, but were dying as corrupted Eldar wielded more lethal arms against them. In the minutes since Alex had cast off his cloak of invisibility, he was slowly being surrounded by a sea of spikes. The auxiliaries closest to him fought hard as his telepathic voice forewarned them out of death's hand. Other shards of Darshan stood next to other auxiliaries, telling them when to duck, block, or dodge out of the way of danger. All the while, he kept his own vision split between his enemies and the future. 

Another squad of Eldar warriors broke beneath his prowess, over half their slain dead. Yet, they were now the exception instead of the rule. While Alex stood untouched, the numbers were dramatically shifting against him. More warriors were running towards him, eager to be the first to draw his blood. Drawing as much danger as he could away from the auxiliaries, Alex shouted challenges as Xiphos drowned in their cruor. He swung his shield and four more warriors dropped, their bodies broken. 

Wilhelm was shouting across the vox. "Pull back the Nemeans!" 

From within his mind's eye, Alex could see what was happening. On their right flank, one daring group of jetbikes had flown right over one of the towers, slicing through the men on top of the battlements. Their appetite only whetted, they had continued deeper into the base and were now trying to find a weak spot on two Nemeans who had been lobbing shells forward. Engaged, the tank drivers threw their engines into reverse while the gunners futilely fired at the speeding demons. Several nearby lasrifle sections double-timed toward the fight. Yet, for every second the jetbikes were harassing the tanks was another second of denying their needed firepower to the Imperials. 

"By Terra, what are those?" Bru cried. 

Alexandros already knew of what he spoke of. Advancing toward them, a rabble of giants unleashed muffled roars beneath metal helmets. Bulging muscles and surgery scars were the least of their horrid afflictions as they hungered for battle. Their titles echoing through the Eldars' minds: grotesques.


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#104
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The Son of the Emperor stepped forward, slicing through three xeno chests. "Watch my back," he ordered the few troopers with him. 

"Yes, my lord!" They answered him. It was an unspoken mercy. No auxiliary appreciated being told to get behind someone else, but these monsters were beyond them. 

Swinging butcher cleavers the size of men and hideous mechanical gauntlets, the grotesques charged. 

Darshan roared, voice charged with the power of the Warp. The Eldar were forced back, giving him the few precious seconds he needed to imbue that same power into his sword. Now, armed with an ethereal edge, Alexandros met them head on. He dodged the clumsy first blow and nicked the monster on the arm. It squealed as its inhuman life was sucked out of it. In one future, a cleaver embedded itself in his side because he took one extra step to the left. Avoiding that future, he moved right, deflecting the cleaver with his shield before plunging his sword into this grotesque's chest. Like the other, the Warp made a mockery of its unholy resilience. 

Now, he was surrounded by the monsters.

 

Around them, explosions and shrapnel cleared the area. Alexandros could hear Wilhelm yelling orders, rerouting precious Nemean support fire to keep any more Eldar from overwhelming the Primarch. The ten giants would be challenge enough, Alexandros reluctantly agreed. With brute single-mindedness, the grotesques attacked. Alexandros parried, blocked, and dodged. But even with his prescient vision, he was overwhelmed. A cleaver caught him in the side, his armor reducing it to a small gash. A metallic claw tore at his shoulder, piercing adamantium to wreck muscle. 

 

Alexandros made them pay dearly for drawing his blood. Sword glowing purple, he struck at their weak souls, snuffing them out in a single blow. He cut, stabbed, and thrusted. Four of the monsters succumbed, leaving six more to hunger for his life. Behind him, he could hear the auxiliaries shouting as several sections abandoned their dictated positions to come to his aid. The troopers who had stood with him had been driven back by the tide of Eldar warriors. He stood alone. If another stood in his place, Alex wouldn't have blamed him from fearing he had underestimated his enemy. 

Alex knew better. 

"Last xeno unit two kilometers away from the Webway!" Ricksher declared. 

Three events occurred simultaneously. 

Far behind the Miasma, an explosion of light occurred before replaced by a golden light. The Emperor had entered the field of battlefield. A hundred Eldar heads exploded as Ricksher's snipers announced their support. Above all of this, humans and xenos were briefly deafened as jump packs screamed all around them. Flying through the air, Irvin and his assault marines reached the apex of their flight, dimming the valley with hundreds of shadows. Darshan could taste the delicious surprise echoing from the Eldar minds. 

The trap had sprung.


Edited by simison, 10 November 2016 - 07:17 PM.

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#105
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"its unholy resilience"

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#106
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I'm under the distinct impression that errors like to hide on the edges of the post.


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#107
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While the Miasma's destruction was guaranteed, Alexandros still faced against six grotesques alone. He gritted his teeth as one tackled into him. Although covered in bulging muscles, the grotesque was weaker. He nicked it. As the Warp ate its twisted life, he shoved its body with enough force to propel it into a few feet into the air and into two of its brothers. Briefly, the numbers were more equal with three against one. Adding in Alex's skill and power rendered it far more lopsided. He ducked beneath a cleaver, cutting through the grotesque's side as he came back up. Harnessing his momentum, he charged into another, breaking a kneecap with a powerful kick before he decapitated the beast. He deflected a claw from the third before he swung the side of his shield into its exposed neck. With a hideous crack, the grotesque toppled to the ground, dead. 

Alex faced the two remaining grotesques. 

As primitive as their minds were, they understood fear. The two ran away, howling through their enclosed helmets. They reached six paces before a brief torrent of las-fire cut them down. Alex glanced over his shoulder. A full rout was infecting the Miasma. Right behind the retreating xenos was the 102nd and Irvin's detachment. Lieutenant Bowditch waved a sword forward as he led several tercios after their enemies. "Forward for the Imperium!" He shouted, the auxilia pausing only to shoot at their fleeing foes. 

"My lord," Wilhelm explained over the vox. "Victory is ours." 

Alex grinned before he sprinted after his prey. "Almost."

 

A race broke out as human and transhuman raced to secure more kills than the other. Lasguns threw volley of volley into the retreating Eldar, overwhelming armor with sheer volume. The Storm Riders fought with unequaled skill as they snuffed out enemy lies with measured blows. Alex ignored the easy prey as he aimed for the last true center of Eldar resistance. Xenevo's retreat had been arrested when his raider lost its engine to a lucky lascannon shot. Now, he gathered his Trueborn fighters to make a stand. Several marine squads had died by their hands, along with a couple of lasrifle sections. 

 

Alexandros was determined to end their stand. 


Edited by simison, 12 November 2016 - 02:24 PM.

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#108
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The nine xeno warriors and their leader were using the wreck of a venom as cover as they poured splinter and darklight fire at any that neared their position. Keeping one eye three seconds into the future, Alexandros raised his shield and charged. Given his physical stature, it did not take them long to notice the rushing giant coming straight at them. His shield jerked in every direction as he blocked every shot that threatened him. The blast from their dark lance slowed him down a for a second before he shrugged it off. Then, he was upon them. 

"Xenevo!" Alexandros challenged as he readied his blade. "Face me, I will have your head for the misery you've inflicted on Delos!" 

The Archon, wearing gleaming armor of midnight, hooked and barbed, took a step back even as he sneered. "I remember when you were nothing more than an unblooded whelp, I won't taint my hands with your weak blood!" He pointed at the Primarch with a smoking blade. "Kill him!" His command given, he sprinted away. Alexandros could sense the Trueborns' resentment as they knew they were being tossed away. He shared their resentment as his target slipped away. So, he decided to give his resentment to the Trueborn through the tip of his sword. Four of them were dead before they could land a blow. The other five moved with sinful grace and murderous intent as they sought to pierce Alex's armor. All failed. 

Before Alexandros could strike again, thunder filled the air before Irvin and several marines crashed into the Trueborn warriors on jets of flame. 

 

Wielding his infamous Reaper Claws, the Lord Commander swung with efficient, short bursts that cut through the Trueborn. One Trueborn jabbed at the veteran warrior. Irvin caught the blade between his right claw. With a jerk, the powered strands of adamantium shredded the xeno weapon. The Reaper of Terra countered, his left claw disembowling his would-be killer. 

 

The remaining Trueborn fell quickly beneath Alexandros' sons. Alexandros scanned the field and spotted Xenevo running toward his closest allies. A floating monstrosity of metal and flesh was consuming an entire space marine as it stripped away armor and harvested the misfortunate warrior piece by piece as it fired other weapons against approaching Imperials. Standing in its shadow was a tall figure covered in twisted scars with a wave of fresh ones being added, one bolt shattering one hand into a bloody mess. Despite this, the figure watched the battle with quiet amusement even as casually shot at auxilia with a splinter pistol.

 

On Delos, this ugly pair existed as some of the terrifying monsters in Delian folklore. The hovering beast had been dubbed a pivschaza, a man-eating demon that had eaten thousands with its insatiable appetite. The other was its master, the rakakata, a demon of deep evil who sought only to feast upon the misery of innocents. Alexandros glanced at Irvin and his squad. "I'll race you to them."

 

Irvin's helmet hid his expression, but Darshan could see his aura shift from disciplined anger to bewilderment. "As you will, my lord." 


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#109
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I kind of want Ruel's mood to change again. So he's initially puzzled, and then he chuckles or shifts into readiness, claws crackling.

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#110
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The Primarch exploded into powerful, long strides as he moved full speed toward his target. Behind him, he heard the roar of jump packs as Irvin and his assault marines struggled to match his speed. In three seconds, the xenos noticed the rapidly approaching threats. The rakakata languidly pointed his beast toward Alexandros. The floating beast turned to face him before it was engulfed in a miniature star. Alexandros' shield was already raised between him and the overwhelming light even as he sent a telepathic message praising the Nemean's gunner for an excellent shot. 

 

Xenevo picked himself off the ground, melting armor sloughing off burnt flesh. Although he merely grunted, Darshan could read the immeasurable amount of pain the Archon was in. With a satisfied grin, Alexandros stopped right in front of him, enjoying the sight. Xenevo glared with pure hatred as one arm tried to raise his weapon. "You," he gasped. 

 

"Delos is avenged," Alexandros declared quietly, his grin widening, before he swung his sword down. The Archon gargled before his bifurcated halves collapsed into the ground. 

 

Alexandros glanced at Irvin as the latter trudged up next to him. "During the last few campaigns, I led the Delian army to victory time and time again against the Miasma's land forces. But our fleet never matched theirs. Every time I saved another village or city from his rapacious scum, Xenevo would take to the vox and taunt the world from above orbit, beyond my reach." The Primarch released a happy sigh. "To end him before he could give another speech? Very satisfying." 

Irvin nodded before he pointed one of his claws at the burnt eldar before them. "What of this...thing, my lord?" 

The rakakata released a mangled chuckle as it pushed itself into a seated position, half of it covered in plasma burns, one arm melted off. Yet, it gave no sign it was in pain. Around it, auxilia and marines gathered. Alexandros glanced around and saw that the battle was over, only this corrupted creature was all that remained of the Miasma. The scene brightened as the Emperor and his golden guard marched through the ring, mortals and transhumans clearing a path for him with heads bowed. 

It was only when the Emperor approached did the rakakata become unnerved. The Emperor regarded it for a brief moment before addressing his son. "It appears you have a prisoner of war, Alexandros. What do you wish of it?" 

Muttering loudly, Irvin said, "It is a xeno, death is the only answer." 

The rakakata was amused by this. "I've died a thousand deaths," it cackled as it looked up at the Primarch. "Each more interesting than the last. No death you could give me would cause me to fear." 

"You're right," Alexandros admitted as he stepped towards it. "You are a particularly debaunched member of your kind. You live off of pain and death." Then Alexandros grinned as he reached out with one hand. His massive hand cupped the eldar's head, leaving a slit between his fingers so he could stare into its eyes. He lifted it up to his full height, letting the rakakata's legs dangle a few feet off the ground. "But could you answer this question? How can you enjoy your sick perversions if you have no memories to draw upon?" 

It gave him a quizzical look. 

Darshan's grin widened before he reached within its tainted mind. Panic shook through the monster as Darshan grabbed ahold of its memories. With righteous anger, Darshan proceeded to shred its mind, memory by memory. A mind eons old was emptied in a few minutes. 

It screamed the entire time. 


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#111
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When the last memory was gone, Alexandros released his grip. The eldar toppled to the ground like a rag doll, its eyes vacant. Irvin walked up next to his gene-sire. "Shall I finish it, my lord?"

 

Alex shook his head. "No need. Let it waste away out here."

 

"Behold, such is the price to be an enemy of the Imperium," the Emperor declared, his voice magnified. "The day is yours, my son. The Miasma lay annihilated, their remains to be burned into oblivion."

 

A proud smile erupted on Alex's face. "Thank you, my Emperor."

 

The Emperor stepped forward before reaching out to grasp Alexandros' wrist. He lifted high into the air as he proclaimed, "Hail, Alexandros, the Bane of Xenos!"

 

Marines and auxilia alike released a cacophony of cheer as they recognized the Imperium's latest victory.


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#112
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Chapter 5: The Worst Kind of Mold

Many of his soldiers had been intimidated by the black armor, the spikes, and the skulls that were hallmarks of the corrupted Eldar. Alexandros had been nonplussed by the gaudy attempts at fear. What he did remember was the smell. Although he knew Eldar senses were more sensitive than humans, a subtle stench coated every tool of war. It comprised one part of old blood, one part decayed flesh, mixed in with rotted bodily fluids from an uncountable number of bodies and species. Worse, the stench extended into the Warp around them, so it offended both Alexandros' physical senses and Darshan's psychic senses.

 

Yet, it did not compare to the hideous odor that assaulted his senses.

 

Curse this ork-infested space hulk.

 

At least Darshan didn't mentally wince every time he touched one of their minds. No, their minds were a stranger beast compared to the Eldar. Like the Eldar, every mind was connected to the Warp with varying degrees of strength. Unlike the Eldar, who were always aware of their connection, most Orks were oblivious to their innate Warp power. It was why they never ran out of ammo, unless they thought they were out of ammo. It was amusing and frightening at the same time.

 

Of course, they have their own Warpcraft experts, Darshan reminded himself as he exerted his power. 

The Ork psyker in front of the wall of shields was a bright, purple star to Darshan's eyes. The undisciplined xeno had allowed himself to be filled by the chaotic energy, until it threatened to rupture its body. In its mind's eye, Darshan had seen its plan to unleash its power in a single shot that would try to explode Alexandros' mind. Seeing as he didn't particularly wanted to experience the novel sensation of his head exploding, Darshan had countered. 

Against an Eldar, Darshan would usually use his power to interrupt the psyker's connection to the Warp and deny them the power for their spell. Against this weirdboy, as he was known to his kind, Darshan chose a different route. He created a bubble of Warp energy and wrapped it around the weirdboy's head. The beast yelled in fear when it realized he couldn't cast the 'eadbanger. The energy continued to build up in its head as it was denied a chance for release. Until, it was too late. 

The nearby Orks grunted in surprise when they were showered by blood and brain matter. 


Edited by simison, 01 May 2017 - 10:50 PM.

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#113
Nomus Sardauk

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Ork heads exploding seems to be becoming a reoccurring theme in BotL stories, I approve of this. B)

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#114
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Alexandros smiled as he brought up his shield to ward off vengeful gunfire. The wall-to-wall rank of breachers protected only the lower half of Alexandros, thanks to his large size. "Advance!" He ordered. 

 

As Third squad lifted the shield wall a few centimeters before marching forward through the large corridor, Alexandros studied the information filtering through his helmet. His right eye monitored his legion's progress as they steadily fought their way deeper into this mangled hunk of rock and machine. The Scourge of Treachery had warped into the Saxonia system a day ago, the Orks ready to raid the nearby systems for loot and a good fight. Instead, they found Alexandros' 35th Expeditionary Fleet waiting for them, weapons ready. The first ten hours of operational combat had been a struggle as the Orks attempted to first breakthrough the Imperium lines with ships of all kinds. Taking direct command of the fleet, Alexandros had blunted their offensive before countering. 

 

Alexandros fired his pistol at one nob who was about to lead a charge. With the Ork ancillary ships burning in the void, Alexandros had organized his legion before he launched the legion's most massive boarding campaign to date. The mission was simple: eliminate all Orks, search for any relics, and destroy the space hulk. 

 

Of the three objectives, it was the Orks providing the most resistance. A mob of Ork boyz rained countless rounds upon the solid wall of Rider breachers, vainly hoping to find a weak spot in the mobile wall. Any round that might have threatened one of his sons was predicted by Darshan's future-sight, and a warning sent to the endangered marine. 

 

The same did not hold true in reverse.

 

While the boyz attempted to press themselves against the hallway's walls for some cover, Darshan directed the fire of his sons. One boyz near the hallway's exit believed himself to be safe so far behind his kin. Darshan would prove him wrong. The Primarch shifted through future moments, until he found an image of the exact moment when the boy would be most vulnerable. Darshan reached into the mind of one of his marines and showed them what would occur in the next 2.47 seconds. 

 

As you will, my lord, the Storm Rider answered, taking careful aim with his bolter. In less than two seconds, the Ork jumped from his place. Half a second later, a bolt pierced through his left eye. 

 

As the corpse fell to the ground, Darshan 'said', Excellent shot, my son.

 

And so it went, the living wall of Rider shields deflecting danger as the breachers advanced down the hallway, whittling away at the mob with precise shots. They were less than thirty metres from the hallway's exit when the last Ork succumbed to its wounds. Not a moment passed before a new danger arrived. Ten Orks filled the mouth of the hallway in a well-rehearsed drill. Every one of them had rocket pack strapped to their back. The nob commanding them bellowed, "Take aim!" 

 

All of them bowed forward, the rocket packs aimed at Alexandros' line. 

 

Next to Alexandros, scarred Jorg muttered. "Are they serious?"

 

Alex answered, "Without a doubt."

 

"FIRE!"


Edited by simison, 16 February 2018 - 08:54 PM.

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#115
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As one, the Stormboyz ignited their rockit packs. With only seconds before impact, Darshan identified two Stormboyz who'd end up crashing into the walls and killing themselves removing any threat they might have posed. To the three breachers in front of him, Darshan sent a single telepathic command. Cease fire. 

 

Alexandros leaped over their heads.

 

With four seconds to impact and mid-air, he squeezed the trigger on his plasma blaster twice. The two plasma missiles melted two Stormboyz as one of them crashed into a wall. Alexandros landed in front of his sons before bracing himself behind his shield. Bolter fire shot down another Stormboyz. 

 

Then impact.

 

Blood exploded and bone shattered as several of the brutes crashed into hapless breachers, killing marines and Orks both. Alexandros' arm shook as one then a second Stormboy dashed themselves against his shield, forcing him back a couple of centimetres. To the surprise of many, the Nob slammed into the primarch and remained there. It's rockit pack still firing, it pushed against Alexandros' strength. It peered over the shield's edge and screamed "WAAAAAGH!" into Alexandros' face.

 

Alex grimaced.

 

"If I ever fail to exterminate your species, I will introduce the concept of dental hygiene to you lot," he promised before shoving the muzzle of his plasma blaster against the Nob's forehead. 

 

The hallway clear, Alexandros surveyed the breacher squad. Two marines were dead, another suffering from broken bones, and a few more light injuries passed around. The remaining Orks were dead, either by the force of their own impacts or put down by his sons. Jorg approached him. "Apothecary will need a few minutes to stabilize Urald. We could leave him here with a guard detail. What are your orders?"

 

"Set up a perimeter," Alexandros said without hesitation. "A bulk of the horde is in that chamber ahead of us. If we attack now, a few of them will slip by us and kill Urald, Hus, and their guards. Besides, I want to use the opportunity to contact the other detachments."


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#116
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With thinly-veiled impatience, Jorg nodded. "As you will, my lord." His eagerness for battle colored his aura in blazing scarlet. Alexandros brushed that aside as he read through the unending flow of information coming through his helmet. The roughly 40,000 Storm Riders had been divided into five detachments, boarding the space hulk from the bow, port, starboard, top and the keel sides, battling their way from the exterior to the interior. Digital readouts reminded Alexandros that his bow detachment had made the most progress and was nearing the center of the hulk where this Waaagh's Warboss resided along with his final reserves. 

 

He switched to his vox's private channels, starting with the Port detachment. "Captain Lothar, report."

 

"My lord! We've secured 47% of our target area and discovered nine archaeotech relics. Artifacts are being transported to the hangars and should be safe aboard our vessels within the hour. Our advance should rendezvous with your forward units in one hour, forty minutes ahead of our initial predictions." 

 

With a smile in his voice, Alexandros answered, "Excellent work, Captain. Carry on."

"By the Emperor!" Lothar replied before the channel was ended. 

Moving to the starboard detachment, Alexandros called, "Chapter Master Ruel, progress report." Over the vox, Alex heard a grunt tied to the sound of powered metal slicing through hard flesh with a hurricane of sound in the background 


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#117
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Although Captain Lothar was an exemplary commander, there were other factors for why the port detachment, dubbed Strike Force Tsunami for this battle, had reached as far as it had. Irvin's detachment, Strike Force Inferno, had seized an early lead, a given with Irvin leading the charge. The Orks had responded by throwing some of their most battle-hardened mobs at the Legion Master. According to the data readouts flashing by Alex's eyes, they had slowed but not stopped Irvin's relentless push. It did offer Strike Force Tsunami a valuable opportunity to puncture drained defenses, which Lothar had masterfully accomplished.

 

"My lord, the greenskins are offering moderate resistance to our advance. Unit casualties have not exceeded 15% and are being managed by the Apothecarion, and rotating forward companies with reserve companies. 7th, 10th," Irvin began, all the while combat providing background noise, one instance involving an Ork screaming as though it were being eviscerated. Which Alex knew Irvin was wont to do.

 

"Chapter Master," Alex patiently interrupted, "Just the basics. How much ground have you covered, how many relics, and are you on schedule?"

 

There was a pause as Irvin evaluated his incoming answer. In the background, Alex could hear an Ork roar, "Imma gonna roast you gits reals good, see!" It was immediately followed by the sound of roaring flame. No doubt that Ork was about to learn how futile of a weapon flamethrowers were to Space Marines. "41% of target territory is secured. Four relics have been discovered and secured. Estimated time to rendezvous is two hours and fifteen minutes."

 

"Thank you, Chapter Master." 

 

Strike Force Earthquake advanced from the 'bottom', or the keel side, of the space hulk and was making the least amount of progress, according to combat data. Alexandros opened a private vox channel to Captain Qapibain. "Captain, progress report, I'd like to know the source of this delay." 

 

"I have no excuses, my lord!" Qapibain declared over the sound of thunder of explosions. Alexandros recognized a wave of missile launchers firing before accompanied by the thuds of detonations. "The Orks have blockaded several passageways, including the main cavern, with several battalions of tanks. We have units trying to clear them, but the tanks are swarming with infantry and several tanks are being protected by forcefields. Many of the smaller hallways are packed with greenskins as well. We are engaging them on all fronts, while Companies 9 & 17 are cutting through alternate routes. They will be able to outflank the Orks, but it'll take another hour, my lord."

 

Murmuring an affirmative before cutting the line, Darshan looked down through the floor for a moment before he sent a shard of his consciousness toward the battlezone. The spirit shard flew down through countless floors as the metallic hallways of the former ship gave way to the rock of gathered planetoid debris, now held in place against the old vessel by forces both natural and unnatural. He soon came upon the first of the many skirmishes between the strike force and the Ork horde. Over the centuries, the stone had gradually formed several large corridors and caves with hundreds of smaller capillaries. The Orks had transformed the areas into a series of vehicle bays, hence the numerous heavy tanks holding back the Storm Riders. 

 

This would not do. 


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#118
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Darshan cycled through several hundred thousand futures as he prepared to select his first target. Every future agreed that striking down any Ork tanks in the main chamber, where the heaviest fighting was occurring, would only lengthen the battle. In those futures, the Storm Riders did begin to push back the Ork lines, but then were thrown back as Ork reserves and the nearby mobs in the other chambers reinforced the main force. This would allow eventual victory as the Storm Riders pushed through in the smaller caverns and side passages, but it ended with the Orks being wiped out in the main chamber. No doubt some of his sons would prefer such a glorious fight, but it would also galvanize the Orks to fight harder, thus higher casualties.

 

Alex preferred his sons alive, glorified or not.

 

With that decision made, he eliminated over 200,000 potential futures as he directed his focus on the smaller skirmishes. After a second, Darshan established a general trend. A breakthrough on the flanks did lead to a quicker and less costly victory, but there were limits. If Alexandros intervened on the far flanks, it made little difference as Storm Riders would have to spread out to continue securing all areas of the Space Hulk before either working their way back into the flanks or reaching other Ork elements, causing more combat as legion lines were extended. Too close to the main chamber, and it simply ended the same way before with the Orks bloody last stand. No, it was somewhere in the center of the flanks were the best path lay. When the Storm Riders successfully penetrated in those zones, Orks would leave the main chamber to block the advances, bleeding out the horde in the chamber, while allowing the Storm Riders to disrupt their flanks.

 

With only a few hundred futures to peer through, Darshan promptly found the key to cause an Ork collapse.  

 

Roughly a kilometre east of the main chamber was a much smaller cave. Long and narrow, it had two entrances, much like a standard hallway but was wide enough to fit three land raiders side by side. That is, were it not for the lack of a floor for half the chamber. The center of the chamber had formed into a thin walkway over a chasm due to some recent seismic activity. The pit was ninety-six metres deep, well past the point of lethality without some kind of grav device or jump pack, and Darshan could already see corpses littering the bottom, most of them in Storm Rider grey. Only two spots in the room had cover in the form of stalagmites, one group near the marines' entrance, while a second bunch sat next to the walkway on the Ork side. Behind that cover, the Orks had deployed three tanks, all converted Nemean Battle Tanks, Darshan noted. From their position of cover, they rained fire on any Storm Rider assault and, with a couple of plasma cannons, rendered even breacher marines a risky prospect. The tanks were supported by several heavy weapon, or loota, squads and more storm boyz itching for a fight. 

 

9th Company was represented by four breacher squads, a recon squad, two missile launcher support squads, and three assault squads. None of them were at full strength, and most of them were holding behind their cover or waiting in the hallway connected to the entrance. Through the west wall, Darshan sensed two more squads who were cutting through the rock, while their brothers held the Orks' attention. They would succeed, but only after a lengthy period of time. Darshan reached out to his sons and quickly located the current commanding officer: Delegatus Skarzeni. 


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#119
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The shard of Darshan hovered next to Skarzeni, who was briefing his sergeants. "Mag!" Skarzeni barked. "Why is that yellow Nob still alive? I've had Xer's and Echeyer's squads give you cover twice now." 

 

Magnold shook his head as he reloaded his sniper rifle. "Just pure chance, Skar. One of my men had a bead on it when it punched one of the smaller ones directly into the line of fire. A half-second before, that greenskin would be breathing through a new hole in its skull."

 

"Well, it isn't, and it's still directing that loota squad," Skar groused. "You know those beasts are brutes in close combat, I want it dead long before Narcariel's squad breaks through."

 

Skarzeni.

 

With a tight discipline borne of hours of fruitful training, every Storm Rider aimed every weapon at the empty space that the shard occupied. "Identify!" Skarzeni shouted out. Although it required extra effort, Darshan could see their unsettled auras. With a moment's concentration, the shard manifested itself a ghostly copy of his physical body.

 

Stand down, lieutenant.

 

The Storm Riders bowed. Auras shifted from distrust to a mixture of bewilderment and awe, while Skarzeni's changed to a bright, embarrassed orange. "My apologies, my lord."

 

You have nothing to apologize for, Skarzeni. Your discipline is commendable. I come bearing a message: take your unit and prepare to assault in three minutes and nineteen seconds.

 

There was an uncomfortable pause as Skarzeni pictured his men dying in a futile assault as he hoped his gene-sire had a plan. Although he wanted to protest, he instead said, "As you command, my lord."  

 

Be prepared, you will have a signal at the appropriate time. 

 

Darshan's 'ghost' shimmered out of sight before the shard flew back over to the Ork lines. He hovered above the center tank for a moment before the shard split into three. The three spirits took their positions above each Ork tank. Each of them quickly saw the sham, patchwork repairs to get the vehicles operational. One Nemean's fuel line was severed in three places. Another's motor ran dangerously hot as flames haphazardly shot out the rear exhaust pipes. In each case, the sole reason that any of the tanks were running was because the Orks believed they were, their collective faith protecting the tanks from the consequences of their own internal damage. 

 

That principle worked in reverse.

 

Each of the shards stealthily invaded the thoughts of the Ork crews. As the seconds passed by, Darshan introduced new thoughts. Wariness at the lack of a fight. Suspicion at the absence of the Space Marines. Concern at the unnatural rumbling of the vehicles. Little by little, Darshan chipped at their confidence and their faith. Thirty seconds before Skarzeni was to attack, Darshan judged their minds ripe for his last step. It was simple.

 

He showed each Ork an image of their tank exploding.

 

It lasted a second. It was all the time he needed. The ruptured fuel line caught fire which quickly spread throughout the new steel coffin. An engine exploded before secondary explosions obliterated the center tank. The last tank's turret ruptured when the loaded shell jammed on a piece of metal in the barrel. Burning Orks hopped out of the fiery Nemean as they screamed in agony. 

 

Darshan grinned. 


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#120
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With the anchors of the Ork lines annihilated, panic spread through the ranks. Nobz roared out questions as their underlings swiveled in every direction, searching for what destroyed their heavy support. The three shards merged back into one before it floated over to the nearest loota squad. It had been too close to one of the tanks and had lost a few Orks to shrapnel. Out of the all remaining Orks, this mob burned the brightest hue of panicky orange. To them, Darshan whispered a single word into their fearful minds. Ghost.

 

"THIS PLACE IZ HAUNTED!" One of the Orks bellowed before lumbering away in fear. 

 

The nearby Nob shouted, "Gitz backs here! There's no such t'ing as ghosts!"

 

"We can't fightz no ghosts with just dakka," another Ork whispered fearfully. 

 

"OI!" The Nob roared as he whirled onto the offending Ork. "Wha' did I just say? Dere's. No. Such. T'ing. As. GHOSTS!" 

 

Darshan couldn't resist indulging himself. His spirit took a spot behind the Nob. Slowly, he appeared as a shining orb of energy, hovering above the ground. As he manifested, one by one, the Lootas noticed him and cowered, their ammo rattling as they shuddered with terror. 

 

Ignorant of the glowing light behind him, the Nob swung his eyes over them. "What'cha all lookin' at?"

 

The nearest Ork pointed a shaking finger. 

 

The Nob turned around.

 

He froze.

 

Mentally guffawing, Darshan enjoyed a dramatic pause before he said...

 

"Boo."

 

The Nob stampeded over his own boyz as he screamed, the lootas right behind him as they fled the cave.

 

Darshan laughed as the roar of jump packs declared Skarzeni's assault. He discarded the illusion as he watched his sons successfully charge over the narrow walk way. Deprived of their tanks, only two loota squads poured fire against the incoming space marines. Their rounds ricocheted off breacher shields as Skarzeni's detachment secured a beachhead on the Ork's side of the cave. Storm boyz leapt into action, determined to throw the legionnaires back.

 

But it was not to be. 

 

The lead Storm boy's head exploded as a sniper round tore through it before a wave of frag missiles tore through the first mob's ranks. Orks often relied on their thick hide over superior armour to protect them from death. The frag missiles made a mockery of their inferior wargear. One loota squad was overwhelmed as all three assault squads charged into it. The skirmish was over. The Storm Riders would prevail. 

 

Having accomplished his task, Darshan returned to his physical form and contacted the next Strike Force. 


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#121
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The rest of the legion was on task as they scoured the space hulk. Between Qapibain's three and a half hours and Lothar's hour and forty, the other strike forces fell between. Alexandros estimated the Scourge of Treachery would be cleansed before the sixth hour of this engagement. Now, for my next move. "Jorg, is the rest of my strike force on line?" He asked with a knowing smile. 

 

"I'm afraid not, my lord," Jorg began. "We're still waitin-." He paused as he listened to a vox channel. He looked back at Alexandros, who could see the wry resignation written through his body language. "We are ready, my lord."

 

"Good," Alexandros said as he turned toward the hallway's exit. "It is time we cut off the head of this horde." 

 

Safe from ambush, Alexandros led his ten sons out of the hallway into the heart of the vessel. Before them lay a great open space, easily two kilometres in diameter that was criss-crossed by walkways, platforms, chains, and the like, some safe and some hazardous to travel across. Hundreds of decks and walls had been dismantled and cleared away to feed the ego of one Ork who wanted to the center of it all, an artificial dome that would allow every member of the horde to stand while their boss shouted to them through the ship's speakers. 

 

Utilizing his helmet's advanced optics, Alex quickly spotted the brute's hulking hide: Warboss Burklak Natsha. Burklak stood on the largest and most stable platform as he directed his horde to fight off the Storm Riders. Between Alex and Burklak was four thousand Orks infesting the way, all hollering for Waaagh! The Primarch quickly identified several hundred defensive emplacements among the web of steel and sent a single order to his strike force. "Advance."


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#122
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A thousand explosions resonated through the artificial cavern as meltabomb, demo charge, and rocket ripped open barriers all along the wall. From these new entrances, hundreds of marines in grey poured through onto the giant spiderweb of catwalks. At the center of the web, Burklak raised a monstrous power klaw of twisted metal and bellowed, "WAAAAAAAAGGGHHH!" The war cry echoed through the chamber as it was amplified by the horde raising their voices in support.

 

Raising his shield, Alexandros striked with his sword. As the rare metals connected, a piercing tone cut through the bestial howls. "My sons," Alexandros said over the vox, "I have rung the bell of death. Not one Ork is to survive."  As a mob of Ork boyz rushed towards his position, Alex lifted his sword high, gathering his psychic power. "For the Imperium!" He roared, the psychic shriek slamming and breaking the bodies of the charging greenskins. The Storm Riders picked up the call and shouted it as one. 

 

The two war cries crashed into each other as they reverberated off the chamber walls. As the cacophony dwindled, it was renewed and then strengthened as bolter and shoota opened fire on one another. The Storm Riders' helmets quickly reduced the volume to safer levels for their transhuman wearers, while the Orks simply ignored the deafening tumult as grey and green charged at their opponents. 


Edited by simison, 23 January 2017 - 05:05 PM.

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#123
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"Jorg," Alexandros said as he pointed Xiphos at the platform directly ahead of them. "If we can neutralize that emplacement within the next four minutes and seventeen seconds, we will save the lives of thirty-two Storm Riders and open a hole in the Orks' outer defences. Can you keep up with me?"

 

The Champion of Kurn replied by lifting his power maul and charging down the walkway, roaring his intent. 

 

Sergeant Schmidt, shields high and advance carefully was the telepathic message Darshan left behind before he began his own charge, his giant strides quickly closing the gap between himself and Jorg. 


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#124
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Between them and their target was three hundred meters filled with greenskins, who had not failed to notice the charging purple giant coming right at them. Although the dozens of Ork boyz had slim chances against the Primarch, their superiors, the Nobz, urged them on as they opened fire with their weapons. A torrent of slug rounds poured onto gene-enhanced warriors. Alexandros simply raised his shields to ward off any threat to his person, all the while sending telepathic warnings to Jorg. Right.

 

Jorg hopped to his right, the slug round that would've pierced his between his armour plates now bounding harmlessly off his left shoulder pad. 

 

Roll.

 

Throwing himself forward, Jorg rolled forward, his visor safe from a lucky shot, coming back onto his feet in one smooth motion. Then he was upon the Orks. The closest one swung wildly at the Storm Rider. Jorg ducked beneath the swing, allowing his momentum to carry himself forward as he swung back. The power maul smashed into the Ork's chest, the sound of a rib cage cracking apart filled the air as the force of the blow threw the Ork into its companions behind him.

 

A second later, Alexandros barreled into the Ork lines, sending several of them screaming over the edge of the walkway.


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#125
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"Smash the gitz!" A Nob roared as he pointed a power klaw at the pair. 

 

Alexandros lunged forward, gutting another Ork before lifting the xeno into the air as it squealed, impaled on Xiphos' blade. "Come forth, then! The day is young and this hulk has enough room to be a tomb for your entire race! For I am the Bane of Xenos!" Eyes fierce with inner fire, Alexandros flung the dying Ork with enough force to send its bleeding body onto the closest walkway, bowling over greenskins into the abyss. 

 

The nearest Orks cowered.

 

They made easy prey for Jorg's maul as he smashed his way through the mob. 


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