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Battles in the Age of Darkness (A Battle Report blog)


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#1
SchultzChaos

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Hello everyone, and welcome to what I hope will be a flourishing battle report blog.

We're a happy bunch of Heresy-players in our town in Sweden that thought "Hey, why not take pictures of our battles? We already play for the narrative, so why not try to make battle reports that mirror that?"

Hence this blog was born.


Our battles focuses mainly on events after the Isstvan Massacre, as Horus punches his way towards Terra. Maybe in a not too distant future we'll also present a Drop Site Massacre-blog.



So without further ado, here we present the first of our battle reports!






BATTLE FOR PROTEAN PRIME

008.M31 - Dwell


 

The smoke of the still burning mega spires of Metrix Prime blackened the redden sky like the shroud of night itself. Of course, almost all of Dwell burnt after the XVIth legion’s arrival. Arch-magos Calleb Decima found himself starring at the small points in the sky where the smoke had cleared. Light of artificial nature shone like new constellations of stars unheard of, but Decima knew perfectly well what it really was. The Vengeful Spirit was approaching, and she carried death within her metallic womb. HE would soon descend. Decima knew it as perfectly as he knew that his body was now 89,76% machine after HIS betrayal at Isstvan III. His symbiotically mind-bounded thallaxii twitched and spasmed as Decima’s cold hatred flooded their still living organic tissues.
Scion Amanda Kuula of House Carnak broke Decima’s focus as she opened their private comm-link.
“Honoured Arch-magos, the final preparations are complete. The whole Protean District is now connected to your cognis-magna.”
“Acknowledged, Scion Kuula.” blurred Decima in his internal vox-voice, what remained as a shadow of his former mortal sound. “Form up with the rest of the formation and hasten your steed’s battle lust.”
“Oh, we’re ready my Lord. Hi’huan and I thirst for the traitor’s blood.”
Decima’s hyper-analyzes programs detected the savagery in the mortal’s tone, pinpointing tremours of human passion and wrath mixing in with the words she used. Human feelings Decima was unable to understand after years in service of Mars and the Omnissiah. For him this was holy work, materialized within his running system as cold calculated hatred for all that had befallen him and his faith. Praise be to the Omnissiah that his work still wasn’t finished. Praise be that soon he would have the opportunity to hurt the snake as it coiled through His Empire.
    Decima only had to half-consciously activate the proper power codes for his Mechanicum units, as he followed the exterior lights of the Gloriana bearing down upon them. All over the district cybernetic warriors and mechanical soldiers burned with rekindled energy as they started up their inner power sources. A force of marsian might awakened from an almost two days long sleep, waiting for the prey that even now closed in on Protean District.
     Let the traitor descend with all his might and bravura. Decima would see that even a god-child would bleed in the end.

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                                                                                                   Pict-unit capturing Arch-magos Calleb Decima hours before the battle of Protean District


The armies


Mechanicum detachment under Calleb Decima
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Sons of Horus elements from the 1st and 5th Company under Warmaster Horus Lupercal

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Edited by SchultzChaos, Today, 01:10 PM.

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#2
SchultzChaos

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The First Turns

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The streets of Protean District stood empty after the primary orbital bombardment of Dwell in the XVIth legion’s opening of the war. Then from almost a kilometer-wide line the army of Calleb Decima awoke for battle. Instead of fighting in a broad line formation, relying on every fighting unit to support each other, Calleb Decima opted for several Reiginian Triangles – a phalanx formation combined of heavy armour, infantry and robotic shock troops.

All the while the Mechanicum forces warmed up weapon mounts and revived dormant machine spirits, the hangar bays of the Vengeful Spirit opened like a death’s head laughing over the coming battlefield.

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Dropping from the heavens like angels of old the first wave of the Sons of Horus struck home. Units from both Horus Aximand’s 5th Company and Catulan Reaver Attack Squads of the 1st were the first to attack the many Reiginian Triangles, with Aximand himself leading the attack on Calleb Decimas position. 

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As the doors of his support squad’s drop pod descended to the tortured earth of Dwell, Maloghurst strode out to the sound of blaring war horns and the smatter of bolter-fire. His plasma squad surrounded him as they trained their weapons on the closest unit of Castellaxii. “Fire” rasped the Twisted and a Castellax unit roared in anger as it fell to a storm of plasma shots. Another was graced as it tried to protect Dominus Jakkar from the incoming fire.

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Within the confounds of his dreadclaw together with his command squad, Aximand overviewed the damage his first wave had done as the claw sped from its landing position to gain a better vantage point. The same reports came from all his squad leaders: Minimum casualties amongst the Mechanicum formations. It didn’t matter, mused Little Horus, soon the true strike would come to decapitate the head from the body.
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Calleb Decima calculated the damage done to his formation within the half-second it took to respond to the Sons of Horus attackers. He found the statistics acceptable.  

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Dominus Jakkar goaded his remaining Castellaxii into retaliation for their fallen sibling and the withering fire of darkfire cannons and bolter-shells saw Sergeant Calan Torak fall together with a battle-brother, as they both tried to protect Maloghurst from the worst of the incoming fire. 

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Taking aim from its defensive position the Krios Venator blew Aximand’s dreadclaw to smithereens, as Hi’huan clove reality with its graviton cannon.

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The blast from the Atrapos’ landed amongst the command squad as they tried to crawl out from the ruin of their transport. Even before the light from Hi’huan’s cannon had dimmed the Thanatar Xc-qu3 blasted the remaining members with its plasma mortar. Aximand, trying to shout orders over the chaos of the bombardment propelled up in the sky from the blast and was greeted by darkness as he crashed into a nearby wall. The remaining members of the command squad cursed in cthonian as they readied themselves to advance.  

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Both Dominus within the center of Decima's formation sent priority codes to the skimming automata still hovering over the battle. The Vultarax let loose an arc of lightning on the Reavers’ dreadclaw, felling it from the sky. 

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Reaver Chieftain Arlok Gorr roared in defiance as he and his warriors stormed from the smoking wreck of their transport. They gunned their chain-weapons as the signal came from the warship hanging above them all: LUPERCAL!

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Edited by SchultzChaos, 11 November 2017 - 03:46 PM.

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Corswain

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Love it. It’s nice to see the Heresy still has some momentum and you’ve got some nicely painted armies there.

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SchultzChaos

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The Middle Turns

The first stage of the total annihilation of the opposing Mechanicum forces was over, now it was time for the grand entrance of the strike that would carry the decapitation itself. Black armoured justaerin gathered around their warlord, the first amongst the black ones making the ceremonial battle salute to the master of the eye burning on their shoulder plates. The red light bathing them all like portents of what to come showed that the teleportation chamber was primed and ready. The Vengeful Spirit growled from within as the Warmaster took his place amongst his sons, nodding to each and every one of them in turn before roaring out his command “Illuminate them!”. With a flash and a bang that broke eardrums of servitor-slaves standing to close to the esoteric apparatus the Slayer of Kings and his bodyguard were gone.
The second wave of drop pods fell from the sky, this time packed with veterans of a hundred battles – those that had murdered their own kin on the battlefields of Isstvan III and V. Sergeants declared their oaths to the New Master of Mankind as enslaved vox-units counted down to landfall, warriors in sea green banging fists and weapons against their chests and pauldrons as their bodies were filled with battle-stims and adrenaline.
As the sky filled with falling fists of fire the already bruised forces of the first wave let out a war chant as old as the Great Crusade: “Lupercal! Lupercal! Lupercal!”
Even Aximand woke from his wounded state as he heard the noise of his legion drown out the battle around him. A smile cleaved through his newly grafted face as he started to clear the rubble that had buried him deep under the foundation of the building he crashed through. This was the end game.
Drop pods slammed into the battered ground of Protean District releasing their deadly cargo. The first wave had done what it was intended to do, embattling Decima’s forces and probing for weaknesses. The second wave was the final hand followed down by Storm Eagles and Fire Raptors. Before the units of the Mechanicum could regain the initiative Horus’ second wave closed the trap. Each triangle formation was surrounded and then stormed by veterans of the 5th Company, as terminators teleported in amongst the heaviest of cybernetic elite troops. At Decima’s own triangle phalanx the Warmaster made his move, entering the battlefield with a tremendous bang on the formation’s left flank.
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Veterans spilling out from their transports trained their weapons on already pre-battle chosen targets. First to fall was the Thanatar Xc-qu3. It let loose a moaning sound from its battle speakers, more like that of a dying animal than of a machine, as armour piercing rounds destroyed its animus center and blew its cognis engine. Veteran Sergeant Saphon Yora claimed the killing shot that silenced the cybernetic giant for good, his warriors roaring his name. As Xc-qu3's iron heart froze something of its primal spirit ignited its smouldering plasma core. The prone shape of its metal carcass exploded and a pillar of fiery death rose amongst the combatans. Astartes of Veteran Squad Saphon together with sluggish thrall-warriors died in what would be Xc-qu3's last roar.
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The same scene was played all over the battlefield. Veteran Sergeant Tannor Locus brought up his combi-melta as he ran from his drop pod and took aim at the Krios Venator protecting Hi’huan’s right flank. Calleb Decima tried to shield his bionic implants as the Venator exploded with the intensity of a small sun. Thrall-warriors, converted from the Protean Districts labour force, caught fire and died in a gory rain of machinery and flesh. One of Decima’s thallaxii jumped between the Arch-magos and a flying piece of the dead tank, resulting with the thallax staggering a few steps forward with a damaged thorax.
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Abaddon roared his battle lust as he and the justaerin trained their weapons on the unit of Castellaxii holding the ruins that functioned as the center of the triangle phalanx. Horus himself let loose the first salvo of shots, from the Talon, as veterans of squad Echyon and the Warmaster’s bodyguard followed suit. One of the Castellaxii crashed in a heap of destroyed metal and wire, making Dominus Lucress blur a binary cry of lose as unit FF-XII disappeared from his command-matrix.

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Maloghurst signaled with a simple hand gesture for Gorr’s Reavers to advance forward and storm the central ruins as he and his plasma squad continued to bring down another of Dominus Jakkar’s Castellaxii. The last remnants of Axminad’s command squad rushed towards the middle of the battlefield, hoping that their captain had survived the Mechanicum bombardment but unwilling to let go of the chance for glory ahead of them.


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Things looked grim for the entrapped Mechanicum forces, battling to hold the triangle phalanx intact. As the Sons of Horus closed in for the kill Decima finally unlocked the slaughter protocol he had embedded within the cortex units of every warrior under his command. In the blink of an eye the defensive Reginian Triangle uncurled into a counter-attack that saw every robotic unit advance into the incoming astartes. The initiative was finally in Decima’s hands.
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One of the very first emotions Decima purged from his reworked body in days past was the poisonous sense of arrogance. Take pride in your work, yes, but never let your arrogance rule your logic. When the news of the invading XVIth legion fleet had reached the loyalist command structure on Dwell Decima had no illusions of what the results would be. Meduson and his astartes-brothers had talked in length about intricate plans of deceit and bold thoughts of daring escape. Decima instead had only one wish to fulfill before the end, and that was to enact revenge on the being that had destroyed everything. This wasn’t raging wrath or sickening bitterness, only the cold logic of brewing hatred. Decima had come to accept that not only had the Warmaster broken his body on Isstvan III but he had also infected him with human emotion. The Arch-magos didn’t enjoy the hatred, but he welcomed it. From this hatred Decima forged his own plan.
Now, with the Sons of Horus engulfing all his triangle phalanxes over the battle line, Decima muttered the incantation codes and released his forces in full. Every unit under his command-matrix had been given a special killing protocol to override any sense of preservation, so that when the time came the only urge would be to inflict so much damage as possible before they all were overwhelmed. As one the Reginia Triangles unfolded into grasping claws of berserker machines, letting go of defense and going on the attack in the matter of nanoseconds.
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Out on the right flank Decima hefted his power axe and stomped forward with his bodyguard thallaxii in tow. Thrall-warriors, still twitching and spasming after the hastily conversion of the labour force in the district, formed ranks and advanced on Veteran Squad Tannor.
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Bolter-shells were traded with las-bolts, arcs from lightning guns and the machine roar of Hi’huan as it followed its master into the fray. Veteran Sergeant Tannor Locus fought through the impossible task to coordinate his men with the rest of the legion as he dodged projectiles and fired upon the oncoming Mechanicum warriors. Then a shape in the form of an Arch-magos appeared in front of him, a terrible red light shining from his bionic eyes. Tannor roared his challenge and threw himself at Decima with bolt pistol and knife. In less than five seconds his body lay broken on the battered ground of Protean District, Decima casually walking over the Sergeant’s form. The veterans were thrown back and in the seconds following the initial chaos of the close combat were overrun by the frenzied thallaxii.
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At the center of the battlefield Dominus Jakkar finally received the codes to unlock his killing protocol. He and the last of his Castellaxii stormed into the still recovering veterans of Veteran Squad Saphon, with Thrall-warriors following in close pursuit. The veterans drew blades and cut down a swathe of thralls, just as Dominus Jakkar and his Castellax tore into them. Veteran Sergeant Saphon Yora pointed his power sword towards Dominus Jakkar and charged through the mass of fighters. Jakkar answered the challenge by punching the tip of his axe through Saphon’s head.
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Bodies lay strewn across the street in the short seconds that followed, but the veterans of 5th Company were unfazed with the slaughter. Though they were now surrounded by mechanical warriors they let out a “Kill for the living, kill for the dead!” and stood their ground.
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Dominus Lucress and his Castellaxii started to rush through the debris of their ruin and advanced on Gorr’s Reavers. As the first Castellax broke through the rubble right in front of the Reavers Lucress flooded the siege-wrecker equipped Castellax with digital fury, its primal machine spirit going feral. The Reavers met the charging robots head on, never once thinking of retreating. In the end there could be no survival against the wall of metal and gear. Dominus Lucress sent through the command-matrix one word to his Arch-magos: “Overkill.”
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The coterie of Myrmidon Lord Gantharax exited their triaros transport and took up firing positions. Their target was straight before them; the Warmaster and his bodyguard. A wall of shots from their graviton imploders saw two justearin crumble before their gene-father. Horus didn’t blink, he only pointed the tip of Worldbreaker towards his newest target.
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On the left flank a pack of Thallaxii jumped the veterans of Veteran Sergeant Echyon Qruze as a dormant Domitar automata crashed through a loading container. The following melee saw the veterans holding out by an inch, Echyon Qruze crushed by the hammer blows of the Domitar.
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The warriors of the 1st and 5th Companies were taking heavy casualties all over the kilometer long battle line, triangle phalanxes forming into grasping claws that broke through the astartes units trying to entrap them. Against a normal foe this would have been the breaking point, victory within the grasp of the Mechanicum forces under Calleb Decima. But if history has taught us anything it is not to underestimate the Warmaster, the one called Horus Lupercal.

 

Vox-comm was drowning with the roars of legionaries killing and dying as arcs of strange energy flashed overhead from cybernetic killing machines. Maloghurst was reporting that their attack on Decima’s flank had not only been stalled but thrown back on its head. Only he and a handful of marines and Little Horus’ remaining command squad still held any form of ground, but now faced not only Dominus Jakkar and his Castellax but also Decima’s whole flank bearing down upon them. The center was quickly turning into a slaughter ground, with dead Sons piling up. The First Captain growled as he felt anger filling him up like a cup on  Abaddon cast his gaze towards the angry sky as a super-sonic boom announced the arrival of one of 5th Company’s Storm Eagles. The pilot must have been caught up in a dog-fight, for his presence was anything but on time. But with the same recklessness and courage so characterized by the XVIth legion, the pilot drove his craft almost nose first into the ground before he pivoted up in the last moment. The Storm Eagle now had a perfect line of fire into Hi’huan’s right flank. As it blasted the Knight with multi-melta shots and beams from its lascannons it let loose a stream of missiles into the thrall-warriors trying to form up around Decima. Broken pieces of meat were thrown into the air as the thralls died a final death with even one of Decima's bodyguard thallaxii exploding to the terrible force unleashed. But as the smoke cleared the Knight remained unscathed.  

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Horus made a gesture with the Talon in the direction of the Castellaxii obliterating Gorr’s Reavers. “They are yours.” he said as he started to stride towards the Myrmidon Destroyers, not even giving his two fallen justaerin a glance. Abaddon nodded to his Captain of the Justearin Falkus Kibre and they together with the remaining justaerin charged up the center of the battlefield, flexing weapon arms. The black ones committed themselves to the battle.

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At the center street, the veterans of Veteran Squad Saphon were slowly dragged down into the dirt by the thrall-warriors. A lone veteran snarled his defiance, like that of a maddened rad-tygr of distant Cthonia,  as he cut, maimed and bludgeoned every cyborg-slave coming within his reach. 

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Even though all this battle information flooded through his internal vox in an unending stream of numbers and statistics, even though he was organizing an almost one kilometer battlefield with a thousand trans-human warriors and war machines as a conductor plays his orchestra, he was unflinching and relentless as he stalked towards the Myrmidon Destroyers. Their wall of fire only increased as he broke through a crumbling wall that blocked his path, one shot even gracing his immortal features. In what must have been the fleeting of a moment a tiny prickle of crimson formed above his brow, the only mark that any damage had befallen him. A god of war walked the earth of mortals, and nothing would dare him. Warmaster Horus drew back the Talon and killed. Myrmidon Lord Gantharax only had a fracture of a second to imprint the image of this perfect avatar of death on his matrix-retina, captured by the beauty of the destructive potential in every movement of the Warmaster’s being. Then Gantharax, together with his coterie, lay destroyed on the now clotted ground, coloured black and red as oil mixed with once pure human blood. Horus didn’t give the dead Myrmidons another thought as turned towards the central combat.

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Abaddon was the first to reach the Castellaxii, as his privilege and rank demanded. He could make out the form of the Magos Dominus accompanying the cybernetic monsters, skulking behind them. “Wretch, face oblivion!” thundered the First Captain, to which the Magos Dominus made a quick hand gesture more akin to a puppeteer making his dolls dance. The Castellaxii opened up with their mauler bolters, slaying a justearin before he even reached combat, and promptly blocked Abaddon’s way to the Dominus. The justearin and Abaddon tore through the lead Castellax, using chainfists to break opened its cyber-carapace, and pressed themselves through the gap in their line. The remaining Castellaxii fell upon the black ones with such a rage that not even their unique terminator armour could protect them from the onslaught. Only Falkus and one more justearin stood as Abaddon finally found his way through the robots and engaged Dominus Lucress. The mechanical fanatics had a giant due to pay for the death of his brothers, and Abaddon would begin with this coward.

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With each step taken towards the central battle Horus took a moment to observe the tide of battle. His forces had been sure that the Mechanicum units they were to encounter in this district would be prepared for their assault, but this ferocity was taking its toll. His sons should have learnt their lesson after their attack on Dwell’s main hives, or so he had hoped at least. It was as if they still couldn’t connect the synergy he so adored them for. His beloved Sons, the First Captain and the Fifth. Little Horus seemed to have been wounded in the initial fighting, so soon after his wound from his duel with the White Scar assassin of Hibou Khan. Abaddon in turn burnt with anger, unable to quell its fires even in times of calm. A sourness in his heart made itself felt. His tarnished Mournival, his poor sons. Abaddon and Little Horus still reeled from the culling of their brothers. He would need to take action after this operation was done, mending their hearts and ignite their passion for war once more. They still had a long march ahead of them before Terra.

 

 


Edited by SchultzChaos, 15 November 2017 - 09:14 PM.

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SchultzChaos

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Love it. It’s nice to see the Heresy still has some momentum and you’ve got some nicely painted armies there.

Thank you Corswain! I love how apocalyptic a game of Horus Heresy feels when stuff begins to die. It has such a strong narrative when you combine the complex armies with a nice set of terrain, and as long as the dice gods are bit benevolent (and not total assholes) both players should be able to find something that stirs their imagination!



#6
Bereolfh Wyrdfang

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A great opponent goes along way to ;) 


Fenrys Hjolda. - Lupercal.


#7
SchultzChaos

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A great opponent goes along way to msn-wink.gif

It sure does, Horus. ;)


Updated Middle Turns!



#8
Pearson73

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To echo the above; what a great report, the forces look smashing and the accompanying narrative description makes it ever so engaging to read.



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Galron

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So far, BEST BATTLE REPORT EVER. Really enjoying the narrative style you have going. I don't have time to watch the silly video reports so I read them much faster. Looking forward to seeing the end of this.

Yes, I am here all the time because this is the last 40k forum I can access from work. You would think they wanted me to do work or something....


#10
SchultzChaos

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Thank you so much for the nice comments! It definitivly gives me the energy I need to finish this piece of work.

 

The last of the Middle Turns is up! Now the Endgame.



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SchultzChaos

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The Endgame

 

Decima continued onwards, pushing through wreckage and power armoured bodies to reach the center. The last thing sent through the command-matrix was a pict-feed from Myrmidon Lord Gantharax, before the Myrmidon’s presence had vanished together with his coterie from the matrix. The Arch-Traitor was here, the Enemy, the Snake in the Grass. He was here and Decima would cleave through every damned gene-enhanced trans-human to reach the Warmaster. The last thing Decima would do in this life would be to spit his defiance at the feet of the thing he focused all his hatred towards. Then he stumbled as a flash of pain shot through his system, something disturbing the harmony of his cognis-network that made up the bulk of his command-matrix. One of his nodes was dying. Lucress.

     Dominus Jakkar glanced up as the Storm Eagle made its attack run, firing an inferno towards Arch-Magos Decima’s flank. Jakkar reached out to the vultarax automata Kk-ih and fed it with target priorities and weapon overloads. Kk-ih turned through the air with a low drone and sped towards its new target. A crackling light shone from Kk-ih’s weapon mount, as it overloaded its arc cannon system. This was dangerous for its cerebral processor but with Jakkar’s command code within its software frame there was nothing it could do to stop it. The strange lightning flashing out from its cannon stretched out and touched the rear of the Storm Eagle. The pilot had a second to react as his screen went blank and his aircraft started to dip. Then it exploded in a cascade of fire and plate. The burning remains of the Storm Eagle flew over the battlefield before it reached its end 200 meters behind enemy lines, thundering through the dirt as it detonated with an exterior generator fueling almost a quarter of Protean District’s hab-units.

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Scion Kuula of House Carnak drove her steed before her, like an ancient pre-terran knight of old. She didn’t just break through the lines of her enemy, she obliterated it. Her steps where the thunder of war and her voice the breath of death. As she shouted her warcry it was with Hi’huan’s armour horns. At this moment, she didn’t know where she ended and her Knight Armour began. It didn’t matter, what mattered was that enemies still tried to face her. Before her she could she a squad of astartes armed with plasma weaponry trying to stop her Lord Decima’s advance towards the center. A crocked black armoured figure, wielding an eye topped banner, stood amongst the legionaries firing what seemed to be an ornate bolt-gun. Kuula couldn’t help herself as her face turned into a predatory snarl. Hi’huan’s lascutter fired up and a thick beam of energy flared over the plasma support squad’s position. Air was vaporized together with brick, mud, ceramite, flesh and bones. Only piles of ash, shadow forms of the astartes they had been, remained. Magos Jakkar took this as a perfect moment to push the attack for a breakthrough and charged with his remaining Castellax into the surviving members of Aximand’s command squad. 

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With no support to help the beleaguered Veteran Squad Echyon they were soon overcome by the unrelenting Domitar and the pack of thallaxii. Sprinting over the dead with their piston-driven legs the thallaxii stormed into the rear of the remaining justearin, with the Domitar left behind to search for another target. To the flurry of mechanical blows that followed only Falkus Kibre remained. He had to use all his skill and physical might to stay alive, but nothing else mattered as he witnessed Abaddon raise his power sword to cleave the Magos Dominus in twain. With one boot planted on the sparkling carcass the First Captain roared “LUPERCAL!”

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Maloghurst found himself sprawled onto the decking within one of the myriad of halls of the Vengeful Spirit. Empyrean smoke cloaked his armour and sickly ectoplasm dripped from his gorget. The peculiar sound of the lascutter still haunted his ears as he crawled up to a seated position. He had escaped, with powers he hadn’t dared to use before. Powers Erebus had whispered about but felt too insane to try to harvest for his own bidding. But desperate times call for desperate measures. He knew he had crossed a boundary few had and had not been found wanting. With this new door unlocked, who knew what awaited beyond? Maloghurst raised himself, leaning on his staff of office. The battle below had turned out to cost the Sons more than had been appreciated, the numbers didn’t lie. But in the end, it could not stop the predetermined outcome. Nothing could stop Horus. Maloghurst limped through the darkened corridors as the infantry supporting weapon batteries within the Vengeful Spirit clanged into readiness.

 

Horus felt it like a tremor in the air, his skin prickling and his senses sharpening. Like the great waves of an unforgiving ocean had the Mechancium forces battered themselves at the Sons of Horus. Each crashing wave of mechanical warriors and cybernetic slave-units had eroded the rocky foundation of the Sons’ attack, killing his army bit by bit. Their relentless fury had surely taken a grievous toll on both the 1st and 5th Company, but there was one rule all oceans had to follow – and as the watery waves must retreat to their murky womb so too does the tide of battle change. His almost supernatural senses picked up the change immediately, something breaking within the Mechanicum command-structure. Someone had died and with that death had a gap opened. The time to decapitate the head from the body had come. He could sense it coming, the descending blow. Right on cue a Fire Raptor swooped onto the battlefield, its target already picked out. Its bolt cannons and autocannon turrets ripped through the smoke and ash covering much of the view, hellstrike missiles flashing from wing ports. Such a beauty, Horus thought as he reached the center of the battlefield.

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In one moment Decima charged towards the combat between Dominus Jakkar, his Castellax and the surviving Command Squad-members and in another he was thrown through the air. Damage-recovery systems flashed in angry orange on his internal retina, and even the alien sensation of pain reached his magna cortex. He crashed into the side of a smoking shell of a XVIth legion drop pod, breaking bones and metal frames within his body. His thallaxii had tried to stop the projections cutting them down, and he felt a surge of regret as he saw their mangled shapes beside him. Where once there had been a multitude of presences within the command matrix now there only was a flicker of spiritual life left. He could hear the booming sound of ship batteries firing overhead, the Vengeful Spirit venting its hateful heart on his forces over the other ends of the battlefield. Tech-priests and cybernetic creations vanished together from this unstoppable fire power. The initiative was gliding through his hands.

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If there had been any chance for it Falkus would have greeted the gunship with a warrior salute, but he was busy trying to survive. Abaddon had killed the Magos Dominus but it didn’t seem to stop the damned robots. They flailed and continued making their strange snarls, a mixture of machine and mammal predator. Abaddon parried the blow of a thallax trying to disembowel him, crushing its glass-covered face with a returning strike with his power fist. Falkus turned around just in time to see a Castellax armed with a siege-wrecker readying itself to crush the life out of him when a shadow appeared behind the robots. A sound of metal being shredded stilled the brutal fight for a second, and just like that both the Castellax were undone. In their stead, there stood a giant amongst giants. Horus gave his sons a small smile.

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Something broke the thallaxii’s ferocity, maybe a remnant of their mortal organics recognizing a threat there was no chance against. They broke ranks and fled, something Falkus found quite humorous to watch as the cyborgs leaped away on their piston-legs. Abaddon’s battle rage was nowhere done, so both Captains hefted their weapons and ran after.

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Dominus Jakkar was straining under the pressure of keeping up the command matrix, holding the remaining cybernetic warriors under any form of control. Without Lucress he felt his cortex processing unit overloading from all the domination protocols he had to oversee, sending kill surges to machine spirits and giving them target preys and directional commands. He would not fail his Lord Decima, for failing a representative of the Omnissiah was to fail the Avatar of the Machine God itself. If he only could lend a small portion of his present time concentration he would be able to activate… Something struck Jakkar clean through his head, breaking holy processor units and destroying the last bits of his still organic brain matter.

     Veteran Warrior Kerradon lifted his power axe, breaking it free from the innards of the machine-priest’s head. Sparks flew as squirts of oil like blood coloured his sea-green gauntlets. He would take what remained of the dead marsian’s skull and present it to Captain Aximand as a token of tribute. Kerradon planted the butt of his company banner into the still twitching corpse, turning to help Maalika with the damned Castellax. But as he gripped his power axe in both hands, readying himself for a killing swing, his target locks pinged as something broke through the smoke beside a dead drop pod. It was the form of a bloodied Arch-magos charging right into them. 

 

Through black smoke and glaring fire the sound of battle started to quieten down around the far stretching battlefield. As the coordinated bombardment from the Vengeful Spirit stilled it was clear that the Sons of Horus were the owners of field. Massacred Mechanicum units lay strewn in mangled heaps where super-heavy shells had hit, and whole formations had just disappeared into oblivion. But the warriors of the 1st and 5th Company had not come out of this battle unscathed. The drop pod assault had been blunted all over the battlefield and in some parts of the battle legionary formations had taken such casualties that their fighting capabilities had been reduced to zero. The apothecary detachment would be harvesting a grim reaping of gene-seed this day. And still the battle raged on at Arch-Magos Decima’s location.

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Abaddon and Falkus shattered ruined walls and concrete rubble as they hunted down the fleeing thallaxii. The cyborgs lit their jet-packs and jumped, throwing themselves out into the smoke and escaping the battle. Falkus came to a halt as he watched the thallaxii disappear, like a murder of crows he mused. Abaddon was sneering, his battle rage having consumed him already. He needed more to slake his thirst for violence, and Falkus knew that his temper would sour completely if he wouldn’t be able to vent his fury. And that side of Abaddon Falkus knew he could make without. “We continue onwards! There has been no kill-confirmation on the leader of this mechanical contagion.” Abaddon growled and started to pace like a disturbed rad-tygr of distant Cthonia. “If it peaks your interest, I am quite sure that the signal teams reported a Knight presence around the district.” Falkus smirked. Abaddon flashed rune etched teeth in answer, but had no time to voice his hunger. A giant shape exploded through the rubble of the ruin and crashed into them like a blood-maddened grox. The Domitar, its machine spirit going berserk with no cortex controller within range, finally found something to take out its super-killing instincts on. Falkus raised his thunder hammers as he blared “That’s one ugly mother fu-“ before the graviton fists of the automata hit him square in the chest and catapulting him through the ruin. As blackness stole his consciousness, blood bubbling up to fill his mouth, he could see the First Captain raise his power sword and power fist in a warrior salute. The following brawl between the two monstrous fighters escaped Falkus as he fell into darkness.    

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Horus walked through burning wrecks and torn bodies. A stillness had befallen his demeanor as he dealt death to twitching robots or crawling cyborgs. Here and there he stopped to listen to the dying whispers of his sons, kneeling beside them and taking their last oaths of loyalty to their Warmaster. A part of him felt a father’s sadness as he took a final farewell to his sons, knowing each warrior he encountered. But another part of him, something that had followed within him after Davin, felt nothing at all. He would have to confront this hole within himself sooner or later, but now he merely recognized it and pushed to the furthest back of his head.

     He had found Gorr, the Reaver Chieftain, almost torn in two lying where he and his reavers had tried to storm the central ruin. The cthonian had begged for forgiveness for his weakness, gurgling his oath of loyalty through broken teeth. Horus knelt beside him, cradling Gorr’s head in his hands and listened as any good father would, and yet the dark hole in his heart nagged his concentration. “You die a warrior of mine, my son. As you go into the darkness beyond, know that your brothers will be victorious in their long march and that in the end my Eye will be raised over the fallen ramparts of my father’s domain.” Horus whispered to his Reaver Chieftain, placing the two silver coins over his now empty eyes. A buzzing sound like that of a thousand angry wasps filled his senses, and Horus rose as a floating automaton came for him. He had seen it earlier flying angrily around seeking a target for its raging machine spirit, confused and stressed by the death of the cortex controllers in the area. Its blazing red eye lens shone in starving red as it came crashing down. Horus lifted Worldbreaker and made one swing towards the Vultarax. The explosion that followed cast Gorr far away, his dead body now finally cleaved in two.

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To the sound of Hi’huan’s cannon firing over the district, marsian and cthonian did battle. Decima hacked left and right with his power axe, his blows parried by the legionary in quick sessions. Jakkar’s last Castellax stared for a moment on the dead Dominus as if it tried to process what had happened, and then it tore the Son before it limb from limb. The veteran Decima fought just increased his flurry of attacks seeming unmoved by his brother’s death. At last Decima caught the legionary’s power axe with one of his servo-arms, crushing its haft between the steel grip. The warrior had time to go for his holstered bolt-pistol before Decima's upswing clove the Son from groin to neck. Trans-human blood sprayed his features as the gory remains fell like overripe fruit to the ground. 

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Abaddon broke through the ruined wall of the central house. His adrenalin pumped his hearts to go faster, and he only stopped for a moment to see a gang of thralls stabbing into the form of a legionary lying on top of a pile of his brothers. Abaddon roared as his hunt continued, and cut into the slave-warriors.

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Decima’s internal systems flared as damage reports flooded his retinas. He was on the brink of death, he didn’t need his cognis-magna to come to that conclusion. His face mask was dripping with blood and holy machine oil, and his breathing made broken sounds that could only mean that a lung unit had been punctured. The Castellax still stood beside Jakkar, a guard dog watching over its dead master. Decima sent a signal through the command matrix and it spasmed into life. It waddled over to him, making a series of clicking sounds. Decima patted its grime spattered chassis, soothing its machine spirit with holy incantations. Without the Dominii to help him uphold the killing protocols within the software of his cybernetic warriors the machine creatures fell back into pre-instinctual patterns unique for every machine spirit. This particular Castellax seemed to lack the stereotypical predatorial rage that haunted the rest of its produced kind, its demeanor more akin to that of a composure driven hound. Such a strange happening, Decima mused and finished his hymn. Overhead he could hear the sonic boom of the Fire Raptor returning for another strafing run. The Castellax threw a glance towards the sound and looked back to its new master. With a gesture, it tried to push Decima towards the opening of a ruined hab-unit. The Arch-magos was in no condition to argue with the machine, even dismissing the thought of an argument with the Castellax as heretical. He limped inside the doorframe as the Castellax took a guarding position outside.

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In that moment, as Decima tried to find cover from the incoming gunship, a gust of wind blew in from the burning mega spires in the background. Smoke cleared and flames gutted for what seemed a life-time. Through the doorframe, clear as blue sky, Decima saw the Warmaster as he strode through the ruin of a Vultarax. The Arch-traitor’s gaze traveled over the battlefield, unmoved by the vista of destruction wrought in his name. And there, as time flowed back to engulf Decima, the Arch-magos could see a small streak of crimson over the Warmaster’s brow. A sense of calmness filled Decima, his hatred fluttering out for a second. He only felt… fulfilment. Then his world exploded in light and fire as the Fire Raptor ripped apart the hab-unit.

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Epilogue

The First Captain found his gene-father in the aftermath of the battle. Transports had descended from the Vengeful Spirit to disgorge an army of apothecaries, tech-priests and slaves to salvage the spoils from the battle. Gene-seed was harvested, legionaries sedated for coming surgery onboard the Spirit and weaponry and armour scavenged for the coming wars. Horus stood overlooking the now quiet district as the post-battle routines started to play out. Abaddon frowned as he saw Falkus being hauled from a heap of rubble, his unconscious form laid on a servitor carried stretcher. Little Horus was sitting on a dead cybernetic unit, his facial graft looked over by a trio of apothecaries. He nodded towards Abaddon who answered with a nod of his own. Horus turned to his son as Abaddon walked up to him, the Warmaster in his good humours as he usually was. Somethings never changed, mused Abaddon.

“We carry on.” he commanded. "My brothers will soon be here for our next target."

“The target, liege?” the First Captain asked.

“Molech, my son.” 

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Servo-skull B-14 pict-capturing what seems to be a severely wounded Decima fleeing from the field of battle, covered by a Castellax unit and a Knight Atrapos of House Carnak.
Protean District, Metrix Prime. 008.M31 - Dwell

 


Edited by SchultzChaos, Today, 01:05 PM.

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#12
SchultzChaos

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Endgame updated!



#13
SchultzChaos

SchultzChaos

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First battle report done!






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