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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Edited by SchultzChaos, Today, 12:32 PM.