Man that looks like it was an epic game! Do you have any pics of your other daemon princes?
It was epic, 24000 points games aren't very common ! I'm actually using three older princes I had, one is the unconverted model, one scratch built from all kind of kits (actually my first scratch built model...) and the other a Warpfire Dragon from FW. I plan on converting the Warpfire Dragon eventually to be more prince-like, as well as repainting him in HoS colours; and will sculpt a new prince to replace the scratch built one, as he has no wings. However I will take pics of my actual Tetrard when I come back from vacation.
So, as I'm not in my home I cannot paint at all but, as usual on holidays, I've written some fluff, this time the first part of the final battle between the Space Wolves and the Harvesters of Souls, in where the II Legion was officially purged, from the point of view of Reus Ghortan (before he was a Daemon Prince, how that came to be... might be unraveled later on )
THE HUNT OF THE DEAD - PART I
Reus Ghortan was standing on his homeworld, Messis, once again, but he was not happy. He wasn't here to resupply and see his people, as he had been before, he was here to defend his home and fight for his land. And those who wanted to destroy him and everything he loved were coming, he could see them in the sky, he could feel them. The Vlka Fenrika was here.
He was standing at the head of his brothers, the Soul Eaters, trying to calm them by promising that they would soon have lives to take and enemies to kill. They, as opposed to him, were anxious for the battle to come.
The Harvesters of Souls, were being betrayed, betrayed by everything they had once believed, betrayed by the Imperium. They had given everything they had to their cause, the Great Crusade. They had died and they had killed for them. They had suffered and they had sacrificed a lot for people they had never seen, the so called “Lords of Terra”, just because their lord and primarch, Virgultur, had told them to. And now they were being punished. They were being punished because they had became too powerful, he knew it. The Imperium feared them and so they had decided to annihilate them before it was too late.
He could now hear the roar of the Stormbird engines, the ships that were carrying the Space Wolves, they were near, and Virgultur was nowhere to be seen. The primarch had spent the last weeks enclosed in the lower chambers of the Great Temples, with all of the Necrontinus. Ghortan didn't know what they were doing, but he had faith in his primarch and he new that, if he wasn't here in the battlefield amongst his troops, it would be because of a good reason. As his second in command he decided to speak some words to inspire the soldiers, so he climbed a nearby rock and faced them, thousands of Astartes forming the lines, awaiting the enemy.
-Brothers!- he shouted, catching their attention.
-Our final battle is near!- his voice boomed in the comm lines in their helmets.
-Today, the fate of our legion will be decided! They call us traitors, they say that we have left the light of the Emperor and that we have turned into degenerate witches and mindless corpses…- he saw that he had caught everyone’s attention.
-But they know nothing! Death has made us stronger, brothers, not weaker, and they will never understand it, as they fear death instead of embracing it! And thus, they fear us! They fear us with a good reason, for today we will show them our true power and they will be defeated!!!- he paused and a murmur of approval started rising through the lines.
-I know that we once fought besides them, they were our brothers too, but it is us or them! They're the ones who have come to our world to bring us the wrath of the Emperor, and we have been left with no option but to defend ourselves! Do not hesitate when fighting them, let your strikes be driven by our righteous fury, we shall make justice and they will see that they were blind, they will see the power of death!!!- and as he said this last words the flakk cannons started shooting as the enemy aircraft came into range.
The Harvesters of Souls started spreading, closing the gap and forming their battle patterns, they were the anvil and they will have to resist the strike, but they knew that the hammer was coming. A Stormbird landed near him and, accompanied by his Soul Eaters, started going there, shooting their bolt pistols as soon as the stormy grey armour of the Space Wolves started showing behind the doors of the transport. The first to come out were clad in Cataphractii Terminator Armour, and the shots were harmlessly bouncing off in their heavy plating, so he decided to charge into close combat, grabbing the hilt of his sword and pressing a small button, causing a huge crepitating white energy blade to sprout from it, as tall as himself, a weapon he had taken from a xenos beast he had defeated in the Hallion Wars, and had kept after having his original sword broken by it. He had never named it, as it was an inert object and it didn't need a name, but some of his brothers had gotten to call it Iram, “wrath” in the old language of Messis.
He faced the first terminator, who was raising a power fist to strike, so he quickly grabbed his sword with both hands and slashed his elbow, ripping it apart as the energy blade cut through the ceramite plates. When the armoured arm reached the ground he had already attacked again and the tip of his sword was coming through the back of the dying Space Wolf.
He was pulling Iram out of the corpse when the rest of the Soul Eaters arrived, one jumping into a terminator, his greataxe raised high, and both falling to the ground in a loud clatter. Even though the enemy was better armoured, the Soul Eater was a veteran on uncountable wars, and had the strength of the charge, so he managed to stab the axe in his chest, going through the many lungs and hearts of the Astartes and screaming in excitement as he got the power of the new soul.
The attack continued, but the Soul Eaters were clearly winning, they had both the numbers and the experience at their side and, even though he could see some black armoured corpses in the ground, most of the fallen were of the Vlka Fenrika. Even though the battle had just started and he knew that much more was to come, this first victory gave him hope. He was a Soul Eater too after all, and was als exalted by the souls of those he had killed.
He was thinking about this when he heard the buzz of a turbine coming from above, and jumped aside just in time to evade a falling drop pod. This vehicles, which were basically a capsule thrown from a ship on the atmosphere, were despised by the Harvesters of Souls as, even though they were cheap to produce and allowed a quick insertion of troops into the enemy field, it was a waste of resources and didn't offer additional movement capability once they were deployed. However it was evident that the Space Wolves favoured their use, as many were falling all around him, grey armoured legionaries coming from within.
He quickly stood up to find himself under a rain of heavy boltgun fire, as a whole tactical squad that had came out of the pod was shooting at them, but he acted quickly, before his master crafted armour could fail, and charged into the enemy lines, killing three of them with a huge arc of his sword. He started slashing relentlessly, not even giving time for the Wolves to unsheathe their blades, getting reinvigorated by the soul of each enemy slain, his eyes glowing with the unearthly power that kept him going.
After some time of fighting between the arriving enemies he saw that drop pods had stopped to fall, all the Wolves where here, and they outnumbered them by far too many. They needed the hammer, the moment had arrived for him to call the reinforcements. He opened a comm link with Admiral Rannach, who leaded the fleet of the Harvesters of Souls:
-Admiral- he said bluntly while he chopped the head of a nearby enemy Astartes.
-First Death Lord- he got as an answer from the other side with the dry voice of Admiral Rannach.
-Start the operation “Hunting Vulture”-
-Going towards the position, expect reinforcements in some hours- and then he started hearing the Admiral shouting orders from his command throne in The Mourner, the Harvesters of Souls flagship, so he ended the link.
The plan wasn't easy, but he knew Admiral Rannach well enough and he trusted him to get the job done. While he was fighting on the ground, the Harvesters of Souls fleet was fighting the ships that the Imperium had sent, mostly from the Vlka Fenrika. But they had left a big contingent in reserve, lead by The Mourner, who were packed with legionaries in Dreadclaw and Kharybdiss Assault Claws that would descend to the ground as a surprise attack and take the Space Wolves off guard. But first the fleet had to open a path through the enemy ships to the desired positions, which would take some time being optimistic, and could get severely delayed.
He drove his sword through the back of another legionary, and he felt his soul flowing through him, giving him power. He was reaching for the next enemy when something felt on him and he felt to the ground. An assault marine, equipped with a jump-pack, had just charged him and now they were both in the floor of the swamp. He then heard the buzz of an engine, and quickly turned towards the Wolf with Iram in front of his face, just in time to stop a chainsword aimed towards his head. The enemy watched in surprise how his weapon was cut in half by the xeno energy blade, and Ghortan took advantage of the moment and pushed him, getting up and stabbing the helpless assault marine between the ribs, taking his soul too.
He saw that a whole assault squad was fighting the Soul Eaters, and many of his brothers had felt to their powerful charge. He ran to help them, going through their grey armour with ease. However the rest of the army was clearly losing, overwhelmed by the enemy numbers, and by each moment that passed more black corpses felt lifeless to the swampy ground. They needed the reinforcements now, and there would still be hours until they came. Maybe they had miscalculated the strength of the Space Wolves attack...
From the reports he was getting through his comm the same was happening all over Messis, and a pattern of enemy movement could clearly be traced towards the Harvesters of Souls recruitment centres. The bastards wanted to get the trainees who hadn't still received the geneseed, each Astartes was too valuable to be wasted without reason and they thought that the new recruits could be turned to their side. The worse part being that Ghortan thought they could be right. This trainees had never fighted with them, they had been raised seeing the Imperium as a saviour and, if they were offered the chance to save their lives and serve in another legion, they might very well accept it.
So he started issuing orders to defend the recruits and he himself called a Storm Eagle to his position and, with a bunch of Soul Eaters, they flew to the nearest recruitment centre, in where some Harvesters of Souls had fortified themselves and were fighting to the end, rejecting a wave after another of Space Wolves, who had formed a ring around them and where bombarding the place with artillery. The Soul Eaters disembarked behind the enemy lines and started killing every Wolf they saw, destroying enemy artillery tanks with Melta Bombs. However they were out in the open and surrounded by enemies so, when all the tanks had been destroyed they started retreating towards the recruitment centre, a tall but sturdy building complex that was used by the trainees for training drills, so it had been quickly turned into a real fortress by the actual legionaries.
Once they were inside, safe from enemy bullets, he decided that he had to organise a better defence until reinforcements arrived, the enemy had hit them harder than what they had expected and they had dispersed too much. He talked with the first legionary he found.
-Brother, who is in charge here?- he said as he saluted the Astartes.
-It is an honour to have you here, Death Lord, we're under the command of lord Ricto- the legionary said as he vowed.
- Show me to him- he ordered, and they started walking deeper into the building.
Lord Ricto was the forge lord of the VII Sect, the Hell Walkers, and had quite a reputation. He was known to be a cold and harsh man, whose Hour had not arriven even though he had been a member of the legion since it's beginning, which people said that was because he was more machine than human, and thus he didn't need his soul too much. Ricto had had most of his body replaced by mechanical parts after a battle against a xeno race in where he had been thrown into a pool of acid. Other legions would have had him introduced into a dreadnought sarcophagus, but that was banned for the Harvesters of Souls since the Edict of Konstanople, and as Ricto was too valuable to be left to die because his expertise with machines, the Sentencers had done as much as they could for him despise his extreme condition. Even though he had survived, he had been left a cripple who could barely walk with the assistance of a cane. However Ricto wasn't defeated and, slowly because of his injuries, he had replaced as much parts of his body as he could with implants and prosthetics. At the end he had became stronger than most of his brothers, and was a mighty warrior who leaded the feared “Ironghosts”, a tank division who was famous for its lightning attacks and ambushes.
After walking through the different corridors of the recruitment centre they reached a bigger chamber with a round table in the middle, with various holograms of the battle’s situation. Around the table where the different officers who had came to defend the place, and one of them was clearly Lord Rictus, with his characteristic face mask who let half of his actual skull bare and had the other half of the face covered by black iron sculpted like a featureless face, the symbol of the Harvesters of Souls.
-Lord Ghortan, it's a relief to have you here in such a desperate time- he said with a synthetic voice as he looked up.
-I will do my best to defend this place, Lord Ricto- he answered formally -tell me, how is the situation?-
-Now that you've destroyed the artillery that was bombarding us to death, much better, but the “situation” as you've said is still… precarious- he paused to see if Ghortan had something to say, but he hadn't, so he followed -the enemy outnumbers us, they're better supplied, they clearly seem to be winning and they… are not foresworn by the rest of their race-
-Do you doubt our cause Lord Ricto?- Ghortan said suspiciously, not really capable of knowing the tone that the Forgelord was using because of his synthetic voice.
-Of course not, I was just objectively answering your question- he answered calmly
-Then have faith in the primarch, brother, he always has a plan-
-I do not doubt that we have a plan, as we actually have deployed exactly just a 68% of our available forces, so I expect the rest to come in our rescue soon, unless they've run away or betrayed us, of course. However is it the primarch’s plan, or is it yours, First Death Lord?-
-The primarch is… occupied and cannot be bothered, but he has confided in me to represent him while he's absent and I speak with his authority- he got in front of Ricto and looked him in the eye -however, Lord Ricto, I find your words dangerously doubtful considering the “delicate” times that we're passing-
-As I said before, Lord Ghortan, it is not my intention to sound disrespectful or unconvinced, but I cannot help being pragmatic in such a disadvantageous position- he said, without turning away.
-While it is true that we're dispersed and overwhelmed- he started saying, turning to the rest of the officers -Lord Ricto is right, reinforces are coming in this very moments- he announced, causing a noise of approval to rise.
-I know it has costed us the life of many brothers, but it was required to defeat such a powerful foe and their sacrifice will not be forgotten!- he now shouted, to get the soldiers hopes up.
-Now we must resist until our fleet manages to break through the enemy to deliver reinforcements, and we cannot let the Space Wolves, the enemy who betrayed us, get our recruits or our geneseed!- he continued as more legionaries started entering the room to hear their leader walk.
-Lets get out there and give them hell, we shall resist today, for our world and for our primarch!- he concluded, causing a roar through the congregation.
Two speeches in less than half a day, this were truly times of dire need, he thought as he sent the legionaries outside again.
-I need a comm channel open and stable to each other recruitment centre, and also start sending any transports left to pick whoever is left out there- he started ordering to the officers that remained.
-Anyone who isn't needed down here to keep the rest of the legion updated of our situation will come out with me to fight, those who stay will organise any spare troops that we have to reinforce the recruitment centres and any other key buildings who need it- he stared at the map and quickly analysed what he saw with his enhanced Astartes brain -check with the city garrisons to see how they're doing, they were left with enough men to defend against an invasion force of this proportions so there shouldn't be too many bad news on that side, and redistribute the troops where they're more required- he stopped to see that someone went to do as he has said and then continued, in a more serious tone -at last, defend the temples by any means necessary. Our primarch said that if the enemy gets down there we are doomed, and I do not intend to find out what he meant, so send as many legionaries as necessary there, even if it means sacrificing other assets, the temples are our top priority right now- he remained there for some minutes to help the orders being transmitted, and then he started going outside, where he knew that his Soul Eaters and the other legionaries were fighting the Vlka Fenrika, the executioners of the Emperor, a title that should have been theirs. When he was leaving the main chamber he was joined by Lord Ricto, who said lowly:
-I don't know what Virgultur and the Necrontians are doing down there, Reus, but I hope it works because, if reinforcements don't arrive very soon, we're as good as dead-
Ghortan was about to say something, but he turned a corner and Ricto was gone. He could not think about that now, he was not the tactician, he had never been, he might be the First Death Lord, but he had always fought at the head of his soldiers leading with example, not telling them what to do from far away. He had failed his primarch once and he would not do it again, he would redeem itself for that failure, not make it worse. He was called The Sword of Redemption by his brothers because of something, after all. He went out of a door to find himself again in the foggy swamps of Messis, but instead of hearing the usual whispering winds, he heard shooting, explosions and the sound of dying men. War had came to Messis, he couldn't forget that he was here to defend his home.
He quickly evaluated the battlefield and saw that some members of the Requiem Sect had positioned themselves above the main door and in other elevated places, and were firing their heavy weapons from there. The Soul Eaters were attacking anyone who got too near to the building, tearing them apart with their power axes and bathing in their blood, out of control in their blind rage. Some Cremators had found cover at ground level and where burning the Space Wolves that they saw with their flamers, while some Sons of Malice had fortified themselves and fired their boltgun at the enemy, occasionally throwing a grenade when they got too close to each other. Also he could see at the distance jetbikes of the Riders of the Apocalypse passing by, causing havoc through the Space Wolves lines. On the enemy side, they had pretty much surrounded the building and hid behind improvised barricades, continuously sending soldiers to storm the fortress while providing support fire, but failing, by now.
He joined a group of seven Soul Eaters and tried to soothe them:
-Brothers!- He shouted over to noise of the battle, while they attacked some enemy legionaries that were coming, chainsword in hand.
-Hear me, I'm Reus Ghortan, your Death Lord!- he screamed without getting any answer from his brothers, who were going through the unfortunate Space Wolf group, deafened to his pleas by the prospect of killing.
-We need to attack their lines, not wait for them to come, we need to charge!-
-We need to KILL!!!- was the only answer that he got from behind their leather hoods.
-Yes brother, but our killing needs to be done elsewhere, we cannot stand in here forever, he said as the squad dove for cover at the upcoming enemy fire.
-No! They come at us and we kill them, if we go to them they run away like cowards!- of course they ran away, he thought, they didn't stand a chance against the Soul Eaters in close quarters, but they could slowly kill them at a distance if they kept them entertained.
-If we keep waiting for them we will die- he said seriously.
-And if we die Virgultur will take us to the Eternal Hall!!!- answered the one who was at his side, the squad leader, the Devoured.
He saw a Soul Eater fall to the ground as a shot caught him in the shoulder over his cover, and then die to massed boltgun fire.
-If you don't fight where you're needed and refuse to do your duty you don't deserve the Eternal Hall!-
-NO!!! The Eternal Hall is my fate, I know it, and I will reach it by killing the foes of the legion!!!- the Devoured answered. They were completely taken over by their affliction, they needed to take the souls of others to maintain their own. But Ghortan could not afford to waste precious moments discussing with his men, so he lighted his sword and, tracing a big arc in the air, cleanly cut off the Devoured head. It needed to be done, but it still weighed to have been forced to do that. He wasn't just fighting his old brothers now, but his actual brothers too.
-Anyone else who complains will meet the same fate!- he shouted at the the five remaining Soul Eaters -now we charge!!!- and he went out of cover and started sprinting with all of his strengths towards the enemy line. He hoped that his men were following him, but he chose not to look back. At least he would die heroically and go to the Eternal Hall.
He received a lot of fire, which mostly bounced off at his armour or he managed to evade. Even though, a plasma ray buzzed too close of his left arm and he painfully felt his flesh burn. But that was not enough to stop him, and he kept running.
When he was getting close the enemy stopped firing and turned away, retreating out of his range. He kept running until he reached the barricades, in where he stopped a second to catch air. He saw with relief the other Soul Eaters taking cover besides him, they had came. His charge must have served as a lead for others, as he saw other groups of Soul Eaters running towards enemy lines, many falling to the overwatch fire but others reaching the barricades and causing the wolves to disband.
As shots started bouncing in the metal plank behind which he was hiding he got up again, but instead of running forwards to the enemies that were shooting at him from cover farther away he turned to the side. In this way he would force the enemy to either keep running away and thus breaking their whole formation or to eventually face him and try to stop his advance.
As this were the Vlka Fenryka and favoured direct confrontation, they went for the second option, maybe they were honourable warriors after all, and when he got near another group of grey-clad Astartes they unsheathed their combat blades. Even though he admired their courage they were the enemy, so he charged into them, killing two with his first blow and another with a second strike, while the rest were slain by the Soul Eaters that followed them.
He kept doing this, some enemies running away and others dying when they tried to stop him, and he eventually realised that he was alone, the brothers that were with him were either dead or left behind, but he didn't care anymore, he was getting plenty of souls, he would surely be making the primarch proud.
He received many more shots, and even some cuts from specially skilled enemies who managed to strike at him before they died, but he shrugged them off, one of the advantages of being an undead, and kept killing and feeding on the powerful astartes souls. He actually didn't care about anything now, just killing more enemies and getting their souls. He realised that he didn't need to defend the recruitment centre or whatever he had been defending before, if they killed every single Space Wolf they would win anyways, and it was much more simple that way, more straightforward. And so he went deeper within enemy lines, until he couldn't see the fortress at all through the fog, and found that other Soul Eaters had followed him, they also wanted to feed, so they started killing everyone they saw, even though they were less each time he looked and enemies didn't stop coming.
He was in this blood frenzied state when he started hearing something in his head:
-First Death Lord- a synthetic voice sounded in his brain, but it was like if it was calling from far away. He ignored it.
-First Death Lord!- it repeated, louder this time. He didn't care about what it had to say.
-Lord Ghortan!!- the voice was becoming clearer, he had heard it before…
-Reus Ghortan, answer me, you bastard!!!- he knew who it was, it was Ricto, the forgelord. He realised that the voice wasn't inside of his head but was coming from the comm link in his helmet.
-What do you want?- he grunted.
-Oh, thanks the primarch you're answering, I've been calling you for 321 seconds now!-
-What do you want?- he roared this time, he hadn't got an answer before.
-You have to get out of there now-
-What? NO! There's still a lot of killing to be done!-
-Yes, you're about to be killed, a Spartan Assault Tank is going at cruise speed towards your position-
-So what, I'll destroy it!- getting through such a heavy armour would be a nuisance, but he could get a melta bomb from somewhere…
-It is Leman Russ personal transport- he got as an answer. Leman Russ, the primarch of the Space Wolves, such a glorious opponent!
-Then I'll kill him for what he has done!- he said in excitement
-My lord, you’re not thinking with clarity, you've… You stand no chance against Leman Russ, your chances of winning are under a 0,1%-
-I don't care about the chances, he's weak, he's alive, he doesn't know the power of death-
-If you die now Reus, you leave no clear successor, without Virgultur you're the leader, but without you… There would be chaos, we need you-
-I don't care who's the leader Ricto, I'm facing that betrayer, I'm going to spit in his face and then I'm going to kill him, his soul will be magnificent!-
-Reus, you cannot fail Virgultur now, you said it before, he confided in you, and you're running around like a madman instead of doing your duty-
That did reach Ghortan, failing Virgultur… No… Not again. He would not fail the primarch, but he had to kill, and what was more, he had to kill Leman Russ.
-I…- he didn't know what to do, it had seemed so clear before, but he realised that maybe it wasn't such a good idea, maybe he wasn't able to defeat Russ.
-I…- he had to get out of here, he saw it now, Virgultur had given him a task that he had to finish.
-Lord Ricto I'm sending you my coordinates, send a Storm Eagle to my position for an emergency extraction-
-Of course my lord, I'm glad to see you're being reasonable at last- and then after some static the line ended.
He had to act quickly, he was starting to hear the roar of an engine, and he feared for it to be the Spartan of Russ. He saw that there were still some Soul Eaters fighting, totally out of control, recklessly slashing other astartes with their power axes. Thinking that he had been just as them a few minutes ago repulsed him, their thirst for souls was getting worse over the time, they were being drove insane. He decided that after all this was over he would talk with Virgultur about it. But now he had to survive.
He dodged a charging Space Wolf who had a power sword, a shiny blue blade that could pass through regular power armour, but was no real threat to his superior master crafted plate. He stabbed him in the back before he could turn around again, and saw him fall to the floor, a pool of blood forming beneath. He felt the power of his soul flowing through his tired joints, reinvigorating him, but he didn't allow himself to get excited, he couldn't get out of control again.
The roar of the engine was getting louder, even though he saw nothing through the fog, but he couldn't get too far from where he was or the Storm Eagle wouldn't find him, so he threw himself into a line of enemy breachers, cutting through their tall siege shields and getting to the bodies behind them. He managed to break their formation with a couple more of blows, and the other Soul Eaters took advantage of it and charged in, killing them all in no time.
When they were over he saw to shiny lights in the mist and the sound of an opening blast door. He could barely see the shape of a huge tank, and big armoured figures getting out of it. Leman Russ was here. The mist started to partially clear and he saw it better. It was definitely a Spartan, and Cataphractii Terminators were coming out of it, he guessed that the Varagyr, the Space Wolves most elite warriors and the closest to the primarch. They bore “frost weapons”, energy blades that froze the flesh of those they hit and which were favoured by the Vlka Fenryka. In the other hand they had combi-bolters, and he could also see two heavier Reaper Canons. He counted ten Varagyr, who started engaging the Soul Eaters and then, last of them all, came the Wolf King, Leman Russ, primarch of the VI Legion. He was a magnificent figure, that couldn't be denied, a fine grey armour covered him from head to toe, adorned in many places by pelts of the various beasts of Fenris. He also had a helmet shaped like the roaring head of a wolf, as well as other talismans such as bones and runes all over his armour. However what really worried him was that he was carrying a weapon in each hand, sword an axe, while his shield was hanging from his back, a sign that he was here to destroy, he was angry. And the wrath of one of the sons of the Emperor wasn't a good thing.
He didn't see any signs of his rescue team, so he started sneaking up behind the Spartan, knowing that he didn't stand a chance against Russ and his whole bodyguard, crawling between corpses and behind improvised cover, mostly pieces of destroyed war machines, sometimes even faking to be dead himself when an enemy passed near.
The mist was his friend now, he hoped it wouldn't clear too much, though in Messis it never did, and the other Souls Eaters were buying him time. He saw Russ flashing between them, killing them with an alarming ease. He was crawling through the mud when he saw something that caught his attention on a corpse besides him, a melta bomb. He picked it up and mag-locked it to his belt while he sneaked by the side of the Spartan. With the fight behind him he quickly went to the rear of the tank, and started climbing a track, which was much more difficult than he thought, all slippery with mud. When he was midways to the top he jumped to the exhaust pipes at the back of the tank and waited there, safely hidden.
From that advantageous position he saw Leman Russ and the Varagyr defeat the Soul Eaters, it was frustrating to see his brothers die without doing anything, but he controlled himself, he wouldn't have been able to do anything even if he had interceded, and they weren't in any condition to be told to hide until someone came to rescue them. They would certainly go to the Great Hall, they had died valiantly at the heat of battle, facing no one less than a primarch… he would have almost preferred to have the same fate, but his primarch still needed him, he would not fail the Revenat again.
As he saw Russ decapitate the last of the Soul Eaters, a light appeared above their heads, accompanied by the sound of aircraft propulsors. His ride had finally arrived. He saw that it started flying in circles above them, probably searching for him, so he came into action. He jumped from his hiding place and grabbed the melta bomb he had gotten before, throwing it inside an exhaust pipe, and ran through the upper part of the tank, jumping off to the ground when he reached the front, just as the Spartan turned into a huge ball of fire that surrounded him. Luckily his armour managed to protect him from the harm, but some of the Varagyr closer to the tank lied on the floor, terribly burnt. Russ immediately faced towards him, but the Storm Eagle was landing behind him, where the Spartan had been, and Harvesters of Souls were coming out, providing cover fire and forcing the Wolves to retreat.
But he started hearing a distant pitch noise, a buzz that was getting louder by the moment. And then, out of nowhere, two grey Xiphon Interceptors appeared above their heads, gracile fighter planes specialised in destroying other aircraft, firing their lascannons and rotatory missile launchers at the Storm Eagle, hitting the wing and wrecking part of the fuselage, just to disappear again at subsonic speed.
The plan had failed, he had failed. Leman Russ was staring at him, the other Space Wolves regrouping while he lied there, motionless. His comm link wasn't working, so he couldn't ask Ricto for help. He was alone, with the few legionaries that had came with the Storm Eagle. The Varagyr and the other Space Wolves started attacking the Harvesters of Souls, completely overwhelming them, while Leman Russ started walking towards him, weapons in hand.
He desperately looked at both sides, in search of some kind of escape route, but enemies were all around and, while he could probably kill them, it would give Russ enough time to catch up. So he awaited him, activating his sword and grabbing it with both hands.
-You're Reus Ghortan, aren't you?- he heard the primarch say over the roar of battle.
He didn't answer, he didn't deserve to be answered.
-Yes, the human who offered Virgultur as a sacrifice to the witches that used to rule this world. Wasn't the story like that?- he continued.
He still didn't answer, the words hurt, but he wouldn't talk to this betrayer.
-Great things are told about you, Ghortan, they say that you're an unstoppable warrior and an invaluable asset to your legion, the closest one to Virgultur, they say- he stopped and removed his helmet, unravelling a fierce face covered by a blonde mane, who looked at him with eyes of ice -if you're so close to him tell me, where is by brother now? Where is that traitorous coward hiding now?-
He stared at him back, defiantly.
-Has he abandoned you? Has he fled this cursed world? Will I have to hunt him down?... Or is he hiding in one of those temples that you're so hopelessly trying to defend?- he kept asking while he advanced, without getting any answer, though it alarmed Ghortan to see that Russ had figured out where Virgultur was, even if he didn't know why.
-I never liked him, I knew he would be troublesome from the moment I saw him. He's Maleficarum, and you all are the twisted results of his sorcery, not mindless as his warriors were when we found him, but still under his bewitching influence-
He was getting closer, but he stopped before getting in the range of his sword, just a few steps away. Now he could see that he was even taller than Virgultur, a giant even between Astartes.
-You know, you could surrender now, many lives would be saved. Not yours of course, as you're too corrupted by that witch, but your people. If you gave in I could promise to spare the cities, you would be a hero at the eyes of the Emperor- he surprised him, no mercy had been shown by the Wolves to this moment, no offer of surrender, but it could not be tolerated. He would not sacrifice the Legion to save a bunch of humans, Virgultur wouldn't have allowed it… So he finally spoke, shouting to make him heard over the shots and explosions of the battle:
-Never! I care not for how the Imperium sees me, we will fight to the bitter end!- and he leaped forward, trying to catch Russ off guard.
But Russ raised his sword with unnatural speed, so fast that he barely had time to refrain himself and not get impaled on his own sword by the Impetus of the charge. Iram met the primarch’s blade in an explosion of blue and white sparks, and he had to quickly parry again the axe coming at his side, which he didn't manage to fully stop and ended of making a profound cut in his ankle.
As he tried to back off to catch air, Leman Russ spoke again:
-See? You don't stand a chance, your death will be meaningless. But you can stop this all, you have the occasion to finally redeem yourself, Sword of Redemption-
-I will redeem myself by killing you all, blind dog- Ghortan said full of despite while he clasped his teeth to ignore the pain coming from his ankle.
So Russ stroke again with the axe, which he managed to stop, even though he drove his blade to a couple of inches from his face, burning him with the heat of its energy. Then he suddenly let go and slashed with the sword, forcing him to dodge to one side, just to strike again with the axe at the other side, making him moan in pain.
-This is pathetic, my brother should be ashamed to have such a weak champion represent him- Russ said.
Ghortan spat blood at his feet as an answer, and raised Iram again. Russ tried to stab him with his sword, which he barely managed to dodge, and then it was him who swung his blade in a low arc, aimed at the primarch feet, trying to take advantage of his lower height, but Russ simply jumped over it and drove his sword through his shoulder, making his arm hang numb by his side, and then kicked him in the guts, making Ghortan fall to ground with blood falling from his mouth. He kneeled with huge effort under the sight of the Wolf King. He did feel pathetic, he hadn't even managed to land a blow. He stared up at him, to find a hard expression full of disappointment looking down. Russ started raising his axe… and then something felt from the sky. The impact of a huge object besides them violently shook the ground, making Russ hesitate and giving Ghortan a chance to roll over, getting out of the primarch reach and then managing to clumsily get up.
He saw a huge spike behind him, and four more making a circle, with ten smaller ones hanging without touching the ground. He raised his sight and saw a huge black hull, with the half skull of the Harvesters of Souls painted over and missile launchers firing in all directions at the Space Wolves. Above him a hatch opened and legionaries clad in massive white Tartaros Terminator Armour started falling to the ground, clearing the area with their combi-plasmas. A Kharybdiss had arriven full of Hands of Doom, the III Sect. This could only mean one thing: reinforcements had arriven.
I would actually appreciate feedback on how the story is written, English isn't my native language and sometimes writing narrative texts gets difficult, but I want to improve over the time, so please criticise it (constructively if possible
Edited by The Traitor, 11 April 2017 - 11:53 AM.