Jump to content

Welcome to The Bolter and Chainsword
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Planetfall: Alcmene - A Legio B&C story


  • Please log in to reply
60 replies to this topic

#26
SCC

SCC

    ++ UNGUIS AENEI ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 7,242 posts
  • Location:Canberra, Oz
  • Faction: Brazen Claws/Raven Guard
Golgotha isn't the only one back in town :P

+++

Rhadamanthys bounded across the shattered landscape, training his bolt pistol on shadows and possible ambush locations as he sprinted down Tranquility Way, moving quietly despite his speed and bulk. A few minutes hard running and he had caught up to the Legio Marines as they moved through the shadow creased rubble. Spying Croeseus at the rear of the formation Rhadamanthys changed the angle of his approach, circling around to the side of his Brothers and intercepting them at a crossroads without the Iron Hand seeing him.

Flagging down Castor he made his report, suppressing a grin as the Sergeant stared daggers at the Iron Hand for his failure to spot the returning Brazen Claw. Castor hissed as Rhadamanthys said Cain's name and muttered a curse in his native tongue. Still glaring at Croeseus he addressed his Marines,

'Cain is here Brothers, from Captain O’rchd’ng's briefing on him I think we can take it he won't be here without backup. Looks like this fight just got a lot harder.'

A brief hand gesture sent them on their way again. Grabbing Rhadamanthys the Sergeant held him back for a moment,

'Where's Jarrett?'

'Looking for Cain.'

The Sergeant frowned,

'What aren't you telling me Rhad?'

The Sergeant's voice was commanding yet carried a hint of sympathy.

'I think, I think his wound is worse than he let on Sergeant.'

The words left his lips reluctantly but he knew Castor needed to know if one of his men wasn't one hundred percent. The Sergeant grinned,

'I know. I've known since he got hit. You don't fight for three centuries without learning a thing or two about wounds lad. Don't worry, he's tougher than he looks.'

The Sergeant winked and moved off into the darkness after his squad. Rhadamanthys followed slowly, looking over his shoulder for Jarrett every so often, eventually catching a glimpse of a bulky form moving easily through the ruins. Halting he trained his bolt pistol on the figure until he recognised the armour as Jarrett's, relieved, he picked up his pace again.

The two squads moved through the town swiftly, efficiently, Brother covering Brother as they moved through narrow alleys and cramped corridors, seeking the shortest route to the Traitor's headquarters. The Legionnaires came to a halt on the outskirts of the urban ruins, spreading out to scout the grounds of what had once been the Planetary Governor's residence, whilst the two Sergeants discussed their next move. With comms down they had no way to properly co-ordinate the assault with the rest of the Legio task force, they would have to trust their battle brothers would arrive on time and in place.

Their discussion over the Sergeants positioned their squads for the assault, Aiakos and his men to the left, Castor and his depleted squad to the right. Rhadamanthys checked the chrono on his helmet display as it counted down, upping the zoom on his viewfinder, switching through the UV, IR and MagRes modes, he searched the mansion for likely strongpoints and defenders, marking them on his tac map as he found them. As the counter hit 1:00 the machine spirit of each Marine's suit synchronised his map with that of his brethren, compiling and comparing data to form the most accurate picture possible. He took a few moments to fix the enemy positions in his mind, planning an assault route to his assigned objective - a large room on the second floor that seemed to be the source of the comms jamming.

+++

#27
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
Great work, SCC. :P

+++

The Order Encarmine officer had come from nowhere, screaming blasphemies and lies as he leapt at Guildenstern. Through the clearing smoke Golgotha saw the discharged missile launcher hurriedly raised to parry, but a double-heartsbeat later the traitor was already pulling the crackling blade from the cauterised hole in the Black Templar’s chest.

Golgotha heard Polonius and Rosen shouting to him to get back into the building – at least the rest of the sally force was safe and back in cover. A howling wind swept through the courtyard, whipping away the fog of war, and making him a tempting target for the massed guns of the Order Encarmine. No, the Order Encarmine must have been watching them from the shadows for hours. If they had wanted him dead they could have shot him long before now. Guildenstern had given his life for this plan, perhaps he could use their hatred of him to give his squad enough time to bring it to fruition. He turned to Polonius and shook his head, then gave him a defiant smile. With the presence of the Order Encarmine everything else became secondary. The only thing that mattered was that the Scions of Dorn and the Inquisition be informed. No matter the cost. Striding defiantly to the top of the steps he looked down in contempt at the captain, and the advancing traitors.

‘Hear me!’ he shouted with a sweep of his oversized chainsword. ‘I am Sergeant Antonius Golgotha of the Scions of Dorn. You have all been judged Excommunicate Traitoris by His Most Holy Inquisition. You have hidden like cowards for thirty years, but this night I will see that judgement enacted.

‘Who will be first to face me?'

+++
Hidden Content

#28
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
Next bit, and thanks to my OL colleagues for feedback, and especially to Joker for letting me write from the POV of his characters, Noctus Cain and the Stygian Vampires for a change - I hope I did them justice. Don't forget that the italicised paragraph is a flashforward to 13 hours after the rest of the story... Oh, you will get it. ^_^

+++

Golgotha fixed his gaze on the leader of the traitors, the one who had murdered Brother Guildenstern, and advanced on him. The plan was working so far, as they had not shot him to death on the spot, and unsurprisingly, his speech had distracted the crowd of Order Encarmine traitors into focussing solely on him, leaving his squad forgotten for the moment.

Out of the corner of his eye he could just see the contrail of the missile. All this would be for nothing if the machine spirit in the device could not lock onto, and then destroy the source of the comms-interference. Just a little longer and his squad could signal the rest of the Legio…

As the captain turned away with a sneer of contempt, Golgotha knew the moment was slipping away. Within seconds he would be ordering his men to disarm him, and to resume the attack on his squad. He desperately racked his memory of the events of three decades ago, of the senior officers unaccounted for by the Scions purge, and the company heraldry used by the Order Encarmine - and baited the hook.

‘Captain Nicolai Heinlein of the Second Company,’ Golgotha was gratified to see the man’s head whip round in surprise - the educated guess had paid off, ‘Forgive me for not recognising you as an officer before, I am more used to seeing Order Encarmine Captains soiling themselves and screaming for mercy in an Inquisitorial auto da fe. Captain Hauser was particularly pitiful - as I remember he even named you as the ringleader of a pleasure cult before he finally died.’

It was all designed to get the man’s attention of course - Golgotha had no idea what the Inquisition had done to any of the Order Encarmine prisoners the Scions had delivered to the Inquisitorial fortress on Mycenae - but from the look on his face, and the way he shrugged out of the restraining grip of his sergeant, it was obvious the barbs had struck deep.

In his peripheral vision, he saw the missile reach a zenith, and radically change course. It had locked on to it’s prey.

‘I see you carry a Blade of Office - let us see if you are more worthy to carry it than Captain Hauser - defend yourself Captain.’ Golgotha dropped the bolter to the ground, and raised his chainsword to his face from chin to forehead, before whipping it down in the traditional salute of a swordsman. ‘I challenge you to a duel.’

+++

‘Captain - please - remember the plan…’ hissed Sergeant Kreutzmann. ‘We need him alive!

Captain Heinlein would have laughed at the challenge of a duel, if he had not been so incandescent with rage. He shrugged away from Kreutzmann and passed him his bolt pistol as he activated the power field of his sword. There was no way a simple chainsword could even parry a blow from a power weapon, let alone a potent and sacred artefact such as this, which had been passed down as a badge of office of the Second Company Captain for nearly sixteen centuries.

‘Forget deferred gratification… I just changed the plan.’

+++

Thirteen hours later…

Golgotha sagged against his restraints. His right eye was swelled near-shut by livid purple bruising, and the bionic left eye ‘irised’ closed once again to clear the distorted, crimson image as his blood dripped into the lens. He was bleeding freely - an intentionally unnerving experience - his wounds refusing to coagulate since the last injection they had given him.

‘I see what this is,’ chuckled the sergeant conspiratorially, ‘it is the Rogal Dorn Geneseed flaw again! I have heard rumours of Imperial Fists and their successors getting addicted to pain… That kind of behaviour reeks of the Ruinous Powers, Golgotha.’

The man was an amateur compared to the Excruciators from the Inquisitorial Fortresses on Nemesis Tessera or Mycenae, the homeworld of his own chapter, but what he lacked in technique and imagination he more than made up for in sheer brute strength and cold malice. It was time to make his move...

+++


Sweeping through the stormy night like wraiths, the Stygian Vampires beat their wings furiously to gain height. Their thoughts, if such warp-spawned beasts could be truly said to have them, were focussed on their task: To fly to the clock tower, destroy whatever was inside it and bring back anyone they should find for questioning. The Stygian Vampires were very good at destroying, but only time would tell if their bestial tendencies would overcome their orders and fear of the Summoner, and if they would bring back prisoners or flayed carcasses for questioning.

+++

Ideally, Noctus Cain, Lord of the 17th Legion of Fear would have sent his Raptors to destroy the signal jammer, and find out who had so unexpectedly prevented him from contemptuously teleporting out of the palace when two Thunderhawks of loyalist marines landed in the palace grounds. Unfortunately, his Sorcerer, Xamot Hell had only used his powers to bring with him the lumbering, techno virus infected monstrosities that called themselves the ‘Brothers Grimm’, and a pack of his winged daemon-creatures he affectionately referred as Stygian Vampires.

Even now, Xamot was whispering in his mind that the bat-winged beasts were converging on the clock tower, where he had divined the interference was emanating from, and that he was approaching the outskirts of the palace. The psychic intrusion into his mind sickened Cain, almost as much as the condescending tone the sorcerer used. He would have to deal with the sorcerer, just as he would one day deal with the Wyrd’s brother, Cain’s Liege-Lord and Warmaster, Tomax Hell.

Cain stepped up onto the window ledge of what was once the palace ballroom, surveyed the approaching black armoured forces of the Legio Bolter and Chainsword, selected a depleted squad moving through the dark, and smiled. He would have some fun with them before he taught Xamot a painful lesson in humility.

+++
Hidden Content

#29
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
Time for some hand-to hand combat... Thanks to the OL and especially SCC for highlighting the obvious changes.

+++

There was a saying among the Order Encarmine about deferred gratification making the deed all the sweeter. Perhaps thirty years was not long enough of a wait, as what should have been ambrosia, the chance to put a Scion of Dorn to the sword, of enacting bloody revenge one of the Inquisitorial lapdogs in single combat, was leaving a bitter taste in his mouth.

‘…and beyond that dread portal…’ Golgotha shouted, pausing only to dodge a sweep of the powersword, ‘…did he face his treacherous… favoured son…’

Perhaps it was the mismatch in weapons that was souring it - his elegant powersword against a clumsy chainsword. The Blade of Office was more than a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, it was a work of art. Truth be told, it was heavier than he would have liked for a duel, coming as it did from an era when weight was seen as a mark of status. He also suspected that the design of the hand guard was more influenced by the artificers need to show off his skill with baroque engraving than as protection.

‘…the blood… of the Angel did he see reflected the madness… and the depths of corruption in his soul…’

Despite these quibbles, it was undeniably a wonderful killing tool. It was perfectly balanced and even unpowered it had an edge honed to monomolecular sharpness, but on activation, it transcended into something else entirely. Brother Dorff could talk of how the edge of the blade focussed the coronal fluxes, but to Heinlein such talk could only detract from the purity of what it had created - a line of retina-searing balefire that was so sharp that it cut the very molecules of the air in two. Mundane matter, such as a chainsword, could not hope to stand against it. No matter how sharp the teeth were, or how fast they moved, the first parry would reduce it to just so much high-velocity shrapnel.

‘.. and though it did pain… him, he smote the arch-heretic and did cast… him down in ruin…’

Perhaps the problem was the way this Golgotha was fighting - or rather avoiding it! After all the bravado, the arrogance, and the ridiculous oversized chainsword Heinlein had expected a similarly ignorant headlong rush, but the Scion of Dorn seemed to have realised his folly and had become defensive to a fault. He was dodging and constantly backing off rather than parrying, using feinted threats of his greater weapon reach, but worst of all were the constant taunts and jibes at his loyalty to the Emperor.

‘Give up, Captain… Heinlein. Submit yourself to the mercy of His… Most Holy Inquisition and end your pain.’

‘You arrogant piece of filth, Golgotha!’ Heinlein stopped pressing his attack, and the words burst out like a tide. ‘The Order Encarmine will always be loyal to the Emperor. The Inquisition is a cancer at the heart of the Imperium, and you have sold your soul to them and betrayed your brother marines for shiny baubles and the promise of power.’

‘Loyal? Is that what you call killing Brother Guildenstern there, and overthrowing Imperial planets with your Word Bearer allies? How do you justify that to yourself, traitor?’

Maybe it was not deferred gratification that made the deed sweeter. Perhaps it was simply that expectation was always more satisfying than the deed itself.

Finally, Heinlein saw an opening as Golgotha seemed momentarily distracted by something in the night sky. Using an adaptation of the Morentz Quartered Feint he was inside Golgotha’s guard, the blade arcing on a trajectory to pierce both hearts in a single blow. As time appeared to slow, Heinlein drank in every detail, savouring it, especially the look of defiance on the Scion’s face as he clumsily brought up the chainsword at an odd angle to fend off the blow. It was almost across the flat of his blade - sloppy - but to his dismay he found himself half-blinded by the powerfield ineffectively discharging across an area too wide to be effective, and the shock as the unexpected impact jarred the weapon from his grip.

Squinting past the after-image, he threw himself back, expecting to feel the chainsword ripping into his flesh, but instead Golgotha picked up the deactivated blade to inspect it.

‘Typical Order Encarmine… The original materials are good,’ Golgotha declared, before grinning wolfishly, ‘but as you can see the basic design is flawed.’ He dropped the weapon contemptuously in the dirt, and with a kick sent it skidding across the floor towards Heinlein. ‘I think I will keep mine.’

As he knelt to snatch it up, Heinlein’s thoughts wheeled.

This Golgotha was an enigma - he had faced off against a whole company alone while the rest of his squad cowered in the building, challenging him to a duel, and then not pressed his advantage against a blood enemy when he gained the upper hand. This was arrogance bordering on egomania, or stupidity. Even now he seemed more interested in the night sky than in resuming the duel. Was this insanity the reason his squad no longer followed him?

No. Like with all tricks, it was all so simple once you saw past the misdirection. Or in this case realise that Golgotha himself was the misdirection, diverting them from something his squad was doing. It all came together just as gunfire ripped through the courtyard. Both duellists looked round to see the mass of the Order Encarmine, storming the building the rest of Squad Golgotha had fortified. Heinlein gave thanks that at least his Command Sergeant had not been as easily swayed from their true mission.

‘This duel is over.’ he told the stunned Golgotha as Order Encarmine troops closed in around him. He was about to add that he should have killed him while he had the chance, but before he could open his mouth the Scion dived through the press of red and black armour, and finally took a swing with the chainsword.

It was certain that by defensively raising the unpowered blade he stopped the chainsword from taking his head. Instead it skittered down the flat of the blade in a shower of sparks and chunks of metal, skipped over the hand guard, and chewed messily into his fist before cutting out as Golgotha was finally brought down by the press of bodies.

By the time the blood had clotted the battle for the precinct was over. Heinlein could just make out Brother Dorff moving among the marines they had taken alive. Thanks to Sergeant Kreutzmann the Plan was back on track.

He called the Sergeant over to him. It was time they spoke to Sergeant Golgotha. Heinlein felt the thrill of expectation, knowing that this meeting would be the first pebbles of a landslide that would one day engulf the Scions of Dorn.

+++
Hidden Content

#30
SCC

SCC

    ++ UNGUIS AENEI ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 7,242 posts
  • Location:Canberra, Oz
  • Faction: Brazen Claws/Raven Guard
Thanks for the shuffle Aurelius, now it makes sense :(

+++

...0:05, 0:04, 0:03, 0:02, 0:1, 0:00...

The counter hit zero as Rhadamanthys rose swiftly from the immaculate surrounds of the governor's garden, hurdling a carefully manicured hedge he marvelled that the minions of Chaos had let the garden-servitors survive, let alone allowed them to continue their jobs. He sprinted down a pebbled laneway between hedges, toggling his tac-map to show an overview of the situation, watching the small blue dots that represented his brothers fanning out, the reason the heretics had allowed the servitors to live became obvious to him. The hedge maze formed a series of vile runes, as the thought crystallised in his mind Rhadamanthys tried to tear his eyes from the icons that now seemed to scream at him from the tac-map. He stumbled, a lance of pain shooting through his head, staggering, he tried to retain his balance, failing, he skidded face first into the garden, eyes still locked on the tac-map, spraying pebbles and leaves in a hideous burst of noise.

On his hands and knees the young Marine's head whirled, images of death and destruction flashing before his mind's eye. Vainly he tried to tear his eyes from the tac-map, a prayer, stuttering and stumbling, fell from his lips to no avail and Rhadamanthys could feel the tears sliding down his face as he drowned in a sea of filth and madness. In the background he could hear the hiss of the jammed vox channel and the static took on a stacatto beat of it's own, it's pace matching the images flooding his thoughts, a furious tattoo as blood washed through the desert camps of his childhood, a sonorous thud as Brother Apothecary Linaeus declared his gene-seed impure and sentenced him to death as an abomination.

Rhadamanthys' arms gave way and he slumped to the ground, reeling at the almost physical assault on his mind, vaguely he tried to recall the techniques the Brazen Claws' Librarians had drilled into him to prevent daemonic possession or psychic attack. Was he supposed to empty his mind? Or fill it? He laughed as images continued to slide across his mind's eye, did it really matter which he was supposed to do? The crackling vox channels joined him in laughter, the cacophony echoing in the confines of his helmet, he laughed harder as he tasted his own tears, tears of blood and the noise in his helmet redoubled...

+++

#31
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
++ Edit - Shuffled in after SCC's post for chronological consistency. ++
Thanks to Joker for the lend of his characters again - it is disturbing how much easier it is to write 'evil' than it is to write 'good'. :wub: Apologies to Terry Pratchett and Granny Weatherwax for borrowing the 'borrowing'. I know they are not the first to do this particular stunt but they are a big influence on my writing. ;)


+++

The summoner closed his eyes, and searched for the spiked, hot tears in reality that he had created. They were simple creatures, the Stygian Vampires, but while they had been little more than eddies in the warp, ripe to be devoured by larger entities, here they had form, and hunger, and malice. And most importantly the desire to please him, so as to cling onto this plane of existence for as long as possible.

Xamot Hell found the pack with his wych-sight, and eased into the ’mind’ of one of the beasts. The thing fell through the air in shock as it struggled, until Xamot returned control of it‘s body. He remained as an observer, enjoying the unfamiliar sensation of air billowing under his wings.

Their objective, the clock tower, was just ahead. He had divined that it was the source of the communications interference in the city, which had so enraged his Lord, Noctus Cain, when it had also stopped him teleporting away from the loyalist marines converging on his position. Xamot had been tasked with eliminating the interference, and finding out who was responsible for future retribution.

For a moment, Xamot thought that the beast was going to plough straight into the stone wall of the tower to spite him, but with a final flap it arced up, and embedded its talons in the makeshift planking that covered the hole where the clock-face had been. With simian-like agility it pulled itself over to a gap between the boards, and stuck it’s snout into the hole. Xamot could smell the stench of old sweat, and felt his heart beat faster at the thought of sinking his claws in the meat-thing, and ripping…

That was the problem… getting lost in the experience. He was not going to end up as a blank-eyed shell slowly dying of starvation - he had to remain detached.

Xamot felt the frustration of the creature that the scent was old, the prey had gone. It was almost overpowered by the electrical stink of ozone, and something else, the scented oils he associated the devotees of the Machine God. With a sharp pull the wooden board splintered, and it pushed its head fully into the room beyond. Xamot saw the ornate silver mechanism in the middle of the room, inlaid with delicate filigree that looked oddly familiar, and fed with heavy duty power cables. Without a doubt this was the right place. They had to disconnect it and return it to him so he could divine who had created it.

The creature had become agitated - it sensed something, a growing roar - danger! It pulled its head out of the gap just in time to see the flare of a missile heading straight for him - then the agony as he felt his flesh being vaporised by the expanding fireball…

Xamot dropped back into his body with a strangled scream, his nerves still stinging with sympathetic agony and his hearts pounding. The hot coppery taste of blood was in his mouth, and he realised that he must have bitten his tongue. The triple-flash of a massive explosion from what had been the far-off clock tower lit up the night like a flare, illuminating the hulking shapes of the Brothers Grimm, who had been standing guard over him. If they had noticed his moment of weakness they showed no sign, other than the continuous undulation of metal and flesh writhing and reforming into new shapes under their skin.

As the curtain of static fell away, and the loyalist and traitor comm-nets filled up with urgent chatter again, Xamot strode off in the direction of the palace, and his Lord with renewed determination. He had remembered where he had seen craftsmanship like the distinctive filigree on the mechanism before. It was on the sword of a renegade Marine he had met just a short while ago. At last the name came to him:

‘Captain Heinlein, of the Order Encarmine.’

+++
Hidden Content

#32
SCC

SCC

    ++ UNGUIS AENEI ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 7,242 posts
  • Location:Canberra, Oz
  • Faction: Brazen Claws/Raven Guard
+++

Captain Lycurgus cursed as his bolts flew wide of their target, damning the infernal electronics that had taken the place of his real hand after Noctus Cain's vile blade had crippled him aboard the 17th Legion of Fear's command vessel.

'Apothecary Caple!'

The anger in Lycurgus' voice carried even through the curtain of static smothering the vox channels,

'Did you see that? I told you this damn thing was malfunctioning!'

Caple's conciliatory reply was buried in static and the sound of explosions as Librarian Kruitzfeld's Devastator squads finally opened fire. Lycurgus watched as the rooftop stubber emplacements were shattered by the volley of missiles. With them out of the way the only thing preventing a text-book assault was the vox interference, without comms he couldn't contact Castor or his men to co-ordinate the assault. He would have to rely on the Sergeant following the plan and not that flashy fool Golgotha.

+++

Brother Diffido slid across the slime-slicked gravel, his dive carrying him out of the enemy's sights, the sound of a volley of las-bolts futilely chasing his black armoured form drowning out the static in his vox-bead for a moment. Reaching the low garden wall he crouched behind hit, popping out occasionally to snap off a shot at any PDF trooper foolish enough to expose himself for more than a few seconds.

The hairs on the back of Diffido's neck prickled as he saw Brother Mirandis fall, clutching his head in his hands and blood running like tears from his eyes. The tattoos on his body, matching the intricate electrum runes in his armour, itched as he watched Brother Rhadmanthys stumble and fall, clutching his hands in his head, his treasured bolt pistol carelessly discarded. His eyes darted to the rooftop of the mansion, then the windows, searching for a sniper, seeing nothing he toggled his heads up display to the tac-map and suddenly the reason for the collapse of Mirandis and Rhadamanthys became clear...

+++

#33
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
+++

Thirteen hours later…

Golgotha knew enough about the Inquisition from his years with the Scions to tell the difference between ‘interrogation’ and ‘torture’. It was clear that their only interest was to hurt him as much as possible under the pretence of wanting to get vital information, but they had no real interest in anything he had to say.

He strained against the thick ropes they had used to secure him, trussed with his arms behind his back, to the exposed wooden beams of the building. It had been done methodically, if unimaginatively, as he had expected from the sergeant, with little give to them.

‘Struggle all you like,’ he sneered, ‘you are not going to leave this room alive.’

Beyond the glare of the lights, Golgotha sensed movement, and the smell of the spiced counterseptic salve the Captain used on his wound. It seemed that the edge of sadism in the man’s voice, the act of saying out loud what they were going to do had stirred the Captain. Whether it was pricking his conscience or stoking his bloodlust was anyone’s guess.

Golgotha‘s voice - when it came - rasped out as a half-croak, half-gag. He coughed to clear the blood from his throat and tried again. ‘I thought that you wanted to know about my ‘betrayal’, of how I imprisoned and tortured my Brother Marines?’ He paused, looking down at the ropes across his black carapace and gave a restricted shrug at the irony. ‘Don’t you want to make me confess my sins, to have me beg you for forgiveness?’

Golgotha anticipated the blow to the chest, pushing back into the beam with his legs to reduce the impact as much as possible.

‘You look small, Golgotha.’ The interrogator aimed a kick at the pile of power armour at his feet, sending the chest plate thudding heavily against the plaster wall. ‘It is not just your armour you have been stripped of, it is your respect, your r…’

‘You will address me as Sergeant Golgotha - I knew you were hungry for promotion, Brother Croesus, but being the only one to go along with this farce to get it shows what a jhaarka kortat ar ghich-rhajk you really are!’

Stunned by the stream of profanity in his native Medusan tribal dialect, Croesus took an involuntary step back. Golgotha was warmed as he saw shock, embarrassment and finally blind rage flash across the Iron Hand’s face. He steeled himself for the inevitable retribution, prepared to kick back, but when the punch to the chest came the sickening crack could be heard throughout the building. It could even be heard over the heated argument between Rhadamanthys and the Apothecary, Caple.

Within seconds, Captain Lychurgus hauled the incandescent Croeseus over to the other side of the room. The one-armed Legio Captain strode towards the slumped figure of Golgotha, a flickering pict-slate in his hand and a look of cold fury in his eyes.

‘That is enough! Speak to me now, Golgotha.’ The image of black armoured Legio Marines, screaming, as an oversized chainsword swung into the frame illuminated Golgotha’s sagging face bloody crimson. ‘How could you betray your squad Brothers? How could you murder them in cold blood? Start talking, or Emperor forgive me I will put a bolt shell in your brain right now.’

+++


- Thanks to SCC for giving Legio Captain Lycurgus the reminder cameo appearance. ^_^
Hidden Content

#34
SCC

SCC

    ++ UNGUIS AENEI ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 7,242 posts
  • Location:Canberra, Oz
  • Faction: Brazen Claws/Raven Guard
+++

Jarrett counted along with the static as he systematically cut-down turncoat PDF troopers,

'Hiss, two, three, four, pop, two, three, crackle, pop, hiss, two, three, four...'

Looking around he could see his brethren's assault continuing, with his wounds Castor had placed him in a supporting role, detailing him to harass the troops in the house and keep their heads down. Jarret appreciated the Sergeant's concern but he'd rather have been in the thick of the fighting, the best balm for pain was always action. Returning his mind to the task at hand he continued shattering windows and PDF troopers alike with his bolts, all the while chanting along with the static,

'Pop, two, three, crackle, pop, hiss, two, three...what the feth?'

Jarret's rhythm was interrupted as the static suddenly ceased, only to be replaced with a chilling sound that was half laugh, half cry. Jarrett knew the voice, distorted with pain and fear though it was,

'Rhad? Rhad is that you?'

Jarret concentrated for a moment, a mind impulse switching his heads up display to the short range tac-map, searching for the Brazen Claw's ident-beacon. The Grief Bringer's search was interrupted by the sudden chatter of comms as the Legio Marines acted to take advantage of the clear comms channels.

'Sergeant Castor, this is Captain Lycurgus. Report!'

Jarret listened as the Sergeant started to deliver his report to the newly arrived captain, breathing a sigh of relief that reinforcements had arrived. Turning back to the tac map Jarrett toggled the zoom out function, determined to find his friend's ident-beacon only to be distracted by an actinic flash of light to his left...

+++

Diffido stared at his tac-map, the sigils formed by the garden-servitor's warped programming seething and snapping at his mind, with a grunt of effort he tried to tear his eyes away from the awful vision. His tattoos started to itch fiercely and he could feel the heat generated by the activation of his electrum armour runes, he felt the coolness of the Emperor's blessing run through him as his armour's wards struggled against the psychic taint trying to enter his mind. He felt the sudden surge of the electrum circuits as his armour's machine spirit activated the correct sequence of runes to counter the chaos spell. The wards on his armour blazed with the spirit of the Emperor as they neutralised the psychic assault, he felt the backwash of the psychic shielding burn his skin, adding another pattern to the tattoos covering his body.

Gasping, in relief and in pain, he voxed Castor, interrupting the Sergeant's report to Captain Lycurgus to report his encounter with the chaos sigils on the tac-map. Both of the Legio officers turned on the Exorcist in disbelief, wondering where he had come by such expertise on the arcane tricks of the Arch-Enemy. Diffido was oath-bound not to reveal his Chapter's secrets and knew convincing the two Marines was going to be difficult, he launched into an explanation, only for the harsh croak of Brother Librarian Kruitzfeld's voice to cut through the argument.

'The Exorcist is right Captain, the gardens are tainted, order the men to turn off their tac-maps, now!'

The Librarian's command was punctuated by the roar of a missile launch in the background as his Devastator squads continued to demolish the PDF defences. Diffido breathed a sigh of relief and turned his attention back to his fallen Brothers, dashing from cover to cover he reached Mirandis, the Storm Caller Marine lay still, his black armoured form covered in a patina of frost. Reaching for the life-signs panel on Mirandis' forearm Diffido saw tell-tale red lights across the entire panel. Dead.

Lasbolts hissed and skipped off the gravel as Diffido headed across the compound to the slumped form of Brother Rhadamanthys...

+++

#35
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
+++

Thirteen hours later…

Golgotha looked up past the flickering pict-slate, and into the grey, sunken eyes of Lycurgus. Tiny, near inaudible motors whirred, sharpening the mechanical image to show every bead of sweat on the Captain’s face.

There was no trace of compassion or empathy. This was hardly surprising, as the man was renowned throughout the Legio for his clinical detachment. In the decades they had served together, Golgotha had never known the Celestial Lion to crack a smile, but there was something else. The eyes were a shade too wide, his face too animated. Imperator! Lycurgus was actually enjoying this!

It was common knowledge that Lycurgus’ cybernetic arm, the replacement for the one had lost fighting the Night Lords was not taking well. He only used it in combat, and then only grudgingly. Was the medication affecting him? In his weakened state, did he feel his command threatened? Could he be taking the opportunity to eliminate someone he percieved as a rival?

With a sneer, Lycurgus clicked the pict-slate onto his belt, and with his one good hand drew his bolt-pistol. With a sharp jab he rammed the muzzle into Golgotha’s chest, and twisted.

‘I heard the ribs crack when Croeseus hit you - this must hurt, Antonius. Tell me why you did it and we can get the Apothecary in here.’

Never in all the years they had known one another had Lycurgus called him by his first name… This was not good! He nodded frantically as he fought to get air back into his lungs, and sagged heavily against his rope restraints.

‘You have to believe me… My squad was captured… by renegade marines of the Order Encarmine, and murdered by their Captain, Nicolai Heinlein -’

‘Turgj yahsk!’ came the dismissive Medusan oath from Sergeant Croeseus. ‘I’m disappointed, Golgotha, really. If you are going to kill your squad in cold blood, then don’t blame it on a Chapter that you have bragged about wiping out over thirty years ago, and don‘t record it on your helmet camera! If this Order Encarmine really did still exist, then they wouldn’t go to the length of capturing you, and then release you completely unharmed. They would want you dead!’

Captain Lycurgus shot a disapproving look over his shoulder at the interruption by the Iron Hand, before turning back.

Later, in the few quiet moments allowed to him, Golgotha reflected that in life it was so often the small things that turned the world upside down. In this case it was a movement of the body, a chance draught of air that saw the last piece of the puzzle fall into place.

‘They didn’t want to kill me, they have been watching us since we made planetfall here on Alcmene and could have done that at any time. They wanted to discredit me and have the Legio execute me.’ Golgotha paused, and gave a small shrug before continuing. ‘They moved us from the Arbites Precinct, and secured me in one of the seats the Apothecaries use. I couldn’t even move my head… There were three of them - the Captain, Heinlein, his sergeant, Kreutzmann… and the ‘Touched’ one, Weissmann…’

+++

Hidden Content

#36
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
+++

‘I am surprised that you have not demanded to see your squad, Golgotha,’ said Captain Heinlein, ‘but then you Scions have never shown any regard for the marines of other Chapters.’

The sound of Golgotha’s harsh laughter echoed from the walls of the room, startling the Order Encarmine Captain into silence.

‘Heinlein, let’s drop the posturing, shall we? You are a renegade and a traitor who sees me as responsible for the destruction of your Chapter, and you have me at your mercy. Nothing I can say will stop you doing whatever you have planned for me and my men. Whatever it is, I am sure that you will find a way to convince yourself that the Order Encarmine are simply innocent victims of the Inquisition rather than oath breakers who turned their backs on the Emperor in exchange for pleasures of the flesh.’

Kreutzmann knew this whole plan had been a mistake. They should just have killed the Scion with a sniper-round and be out of the city by now, but the Captain was an idealist. He also kept underestimating Golgotha. They had lost good men attacking the Legio, Heinlein had messily lost three fingers in the duel which had done nothing but make him look foolish, and even now he was letting the prisoner dominate the interrogation.

Kreutzmann reached forward and laid the slim metal case down on the table with a resounding snap, relishing the way the two other Encarmine marines seemed to flinch. They needn’t worry, the contents were quite secure. The white case was embossed with the emblem of the Apothecaries, the winged Prime Helix.

Either the interruption, or the sight of the case seemed to give the Captain renewed focus, reminded him why they were here. Kreutzmann listened as Heinlein recounted what had happened to the Order Encarmine since their Excommunication, the cowardly ambush by the Scions, and their drift to their current base on the fringes of the Eye of Terror. Kreutzmann grimaced - inwardly - at how the story had become romanticised over the years. How it had been transmuted into an inspiring tale of strength forged through adversity, rather than the time of paralysing grief, grinding hardship and questioned faith he remembered all too well.

The assertions that the Chapter had remained resolutely untouched by the mutating power of the Warp thanks to their faith in the Emperor, and the steadfast actions of their Librarians and Apothecaries always felt like a rusty knife twisting in his gut. He wondered how much Heinlein had come to believe this. Such pretty falsehoods might be required to keep what remained of the Order together, but he had more than enough blood on his hands, and had looked into the blank eyes of too many Brothers to be able to stomach such talk.

‘Inside this case is a by-product, a side effect, if you like, of the Apothecaria purification process…’ With almost exaggerated care, like a man attempting to defuse an explosive device Heinlein clicked open the case, and delicately began to fold aside the black velvet lining. ‘It is so potent that I believe they have taken to calling it “The Quintessence Daemonica”’.

The final layer was drawn back to reveal an Apothecary’s syringe and a small glass vial filled with a black, oily liquid that Kreutzmann would swear seemed to move of its own volition.

‘They tell me that even in tiny quantities it produces memory loss, hallucinations and uncontrollable psychosis…’

The whole room seemed to grow colder.

The oppressive silence was broken by the snap of Heinlein loading the vial into the syringe, and his footsteps as he moved round behind the Apothecary chair. He held the needle close to Golgotha’s exposed neck.

It was time to open the door. It was only right that Sergeant Golgotha should see the rest of his squad…

+++
Hidden Content

#37
SCC

SCC

    ++ UNGUIS AENEI ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 7,242 posts
  • Location:Canberra, Oz
  • Faction: Brazen Claws/Raven Guard
+++

Diffido reached the twitching form of Rhadamanthys in a spray of gravel, his slide coming to a halt next to the fallen Marine. A quick burst of bolts sprayed at the mansion quietened the most enthusiastic lasgun wielders and allowed Diffido to drag Rhadamanthys to the scant cover of a carefully trimmed hedge. Reaching down, the Exorcist undid the mag-locks on Rhadamanthys' helmet, the seal broke with a hiss and Diffido could see the Brazen Claw's mind was still trapped by the power of the Chaos runes, his eyes stared sightlessly and tears of blood slowly trickled down his face.

Diffido surveyed the life signs panel on Rhadamanthys' forearm and saw a series of red and amber runes witha single green light burning fiercely in the centre of the panel. The youngster was alive, but not for much longer unless something snapped him out of the sorcerous trance that even now shook his body. Diffido's fingers flickered across the panel, ordering the armour's machine spirit to inject stimulants into the Brazen Claw's blood stream, the Exorcist waited as the drugs did their work, lights going from red to amber and amber to green but still Rhadamanthys' eyes stared into middle distance.

Cursing, Diffido realised it would take more than simple stimms to shake his squadmate free from the influences of this spell. The renewed hiss of lasbolts reminded him that there was still a battle to be won and the Exorcist instinctively let rip with a volley of shots at the trooper who had dared to fire on him, hurling the traitor backwards into the darkened building with a hideous scream. The scream was iterrupted by the voice of Captain Lycurgus, finally able to co-ordinate the assault now the vox interference was gone.

'All units, prepare to assault. Squad Kruitzfeld, I want one last volley from you before the assault, keep their heads down whilst we go in.'

Diffido replaced Rhadamanthys' helmet, no sense in the Brazen Claw dying when his armour could well save him, then readied himself for assault, if it went well he would bring Librarian Kruitzfeld back to the comatose Marine to see if he could break the spell. There was a roar as the Librarian focussed his squad's heavy weapons on the mansion once again, the explosions battered the defenders and the battle-cries of the Legio Marines rang through the suddenly still air as they began their assault.

Sprinting towards the house, Diffido's bolter coughed shells at traitors while all around him black clad Marines burst from cover to assault the mansion. Captain Lycurgus was first into the shattered, darkened building, litanies of hatred rolling from his lips as he led his warriors into the mansion, bolters roaring and chainswords whirring. The shaken, shocked PDF troopers were hopelessly outclassed in the close confines of the mansion, Diffido advanced through rooms already crowded with dead and wounded traitors, his bolter adding more to the long list of enemy dead as his Brothers cleared the rooms on either side of him.

+++

#38
SCC

SCC

    ++ UNGUIS AENEI ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 7,242 posts
  • Location:Canberra, Oz
  • Faction: Brazen Claws/Raven Guard
+++

The nightmare flickered. For a moment the images of death and destruction, each accompanied by a wave of pain that wracked his mind, disappeared, replaced by a cool glow. The glow dimmed and then was engulfed by the horror once more...

Jarrett watched as sweat poured down the Librarian's face and a stream of wet, bubbling sounds issued from the Brazen Claw's slack mouth. The sounds of battle slowly drifted away as the Legio Marines cleaned out the last of the enemy resistance. In the distance Jarrett could hear Captain Lycurgus cursing, Cain was nowhere to be found and no one had heard from Squad Golgotha since Castor had ordered them to flank the enemy before the assault.

'Keep still!'

Apothecary Caple's voice was gruff as he probed Jarrett's wounds. Jarrett held himself as still as he could while the narthecium catalogued and treated his wounds. Needles stabbed him, blood and chemicals were transfused and survey probes took samples while Caple grunted occasionally as he adjusted one of the many dials and levers with a muttered prayer. Numbers and letters flashed across the narthecium's diagnostic screen faster than he could follow, but he was confident Caple knew what he was doing, after all, he'd been healing Legio Marines for more than two centuries since he was recruited from the Red Wolves.

The screams abated, the sobbing of pained souls subsided and a blessed silence descended momentarily. The silence throbbed in his mind, a dry, hollow sound. With a clap like thunder the wails began again and as they began to hammer his mind once more he was sure he heard words in Imperial Gothic...

The wall crumbled as Diffido powered through it, his auto senses pierced the gloom and drifting rockcrete dusk and with an almost mechanical efficiency he gunned down the handful of traitors in the room, almost enjoying the dismay and shock on their faces.

'Clear'

The call went out over the vox-waves, signalling the final room in the mansion was clear. Diffido reloaded, placing his second last clip firmly in place. He listened as Castor rapped out orders then moved through the rubble to take his place in the defense perimeter wondering how Kruitzfeld was doing in reviving the young Brazen Claw.

Silence reigned and the depraved images faded and became pallid, almost opaque, before fading further, this time to nothingness. The void was almost as unbearable as the screams and blood to his over-stimulated mind...

Sergeant Castor stood over the kneeling Marine, watching in superstitious awe as a nimbus of blue light crackled silently around the Librarian's psychic hood. The corded muscle on the psyker's neck stood out and sweat sheened his snarling face. Kruitzfeld's eyes blazed with white light and his clenched teeth reflected the light, seeming to take on a glow of their own as his bare hand quivered fractionally above Rhadmamthys' forehead.

Now it was the turn of the blackness to fade, the darkness pierced by a silver light that grew brighter with each passing moment. His mind shuddered as he watched the sphere of light begin to morph, stretching to the sides and flowing down from the outstretched arms of light. It seemed there was something familiar about the shape, something that he should know...

Captain Lycurgus stalked through the mansion, clenching his real hand into a fist, kicking corpses out of his way as he listened to the reports of his squads. No sign of Cain, no sign of the Traitor Legions at all. Opening the command channel Lycurgus voxed his squad leaders, ordering them to gather their men and prepare to move on the secondary objective. If Cain wasn't in the mansion, then the Captain's worst fears were all but confirmed - Cain was holed up in the Arbites precinct, right where Lycurgus had predicted he would be before he was over ruled by Captain O'rch'dng.

The light grew more intense as it's shape became more defined, the arms slowly turned into triangles of light and the sphere at the centre of the apparition grew almost rectangular. His mind groped towards the symbol, still unable to recall it's name or purpose but knowing it meant salvation...

+++

#39
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
Following on from SCC's great piece above (love the interspersed warp-fevered dreams that Rhadamanthys is experiencing. ;)) here is a bit more from Captain Lycurgus, formerly of the Celestial Lions, now commanding the Legio Bolter & Chainsword strike-force...


+++

There was a storm coming, or so his superiors told him. The Thirteenth Black Crusade was just the start.

The Tarot had revealed that Tomax Hell, Daemon-Prince of the Night Lords was gathering forces outside of the Eye of Terror, and that the Treacher Legions were flocking to his banner. Lycurcus’ Company, along with other elements of the Legio had been tasked with locating this base of operations in preparation for a symbolic counterstrike against the Ruinous Powers. They had said that in the last few years the Imperium of Man had faltered, assailed on all sides, but that the time had come to give the people a victory. The start of a crusade that would sweep the taint of Chaos from the galaxy and herald a new Golden Era for Humanity. At least that was the plan. It might have rung true to idealists like Golgotha or Sergeant Aiakos, but to him it sounded like nothing more than empty rhetoric.

The problem with tracing the Legion of Fear was that in the aftermath of the Black Crusade, false leads, cults and splinter warbands were springing up like strangleweed. They had come close on Librijia Minoris, where they ran one of the Warmaster’s foremost Lieutenants, Noctus Cain, to ground, but it had turned into an ambush. Cain had taken his arm - literally taken it! Reports said that Cain now wore a corrupted version of what was once his wrist-mounted storm bolter. He suppressed a shudder at the memory of the fell blade shearing clean through his shoulder, the shock of ice and fire in his veins… He glanced down at the cybernetic replacement that Capel had given him and scowled at the way it followed his commands - crudely and jerkily - just a fraction of a second too late. He longed to have this mission over so he could remove it.

So many leads gone cold. The Word Bearers had known nothing of the Legion of Fear, but Cain was in this city, and according to Castor had already claimed more Legio lives. It galled him that killing Cain was not an option. Capture for questioning were his orders, with the ‘Second Alternative’ as a last resort.

There had been no word at all from Squad Golgotha since the comms-static had lifted. With frustratingly unresponsive cybernetic fingers he brought up the tactical display on his command pict-slate. He could not even get a location on their suit-beacons. The locator signal must either be blocked by buildings, or the arrogant fool had found some reason to turn them off - against his standing orders - as part of one of his hare-brained schemes. The Scion of Dorn was a walking affront to logic and tactics, but incomprehensively to Lycurgus the company seemed to admire him all the more for it. His thoughts returned, as they did so often of late, to what the Inquisition had done to his Chapter on Armageddon…

Lycurgus snapped back as his eyes refocused on the projected route that Squad Golgotha had been assigned by Castor to converge on the Mansion. It would have taken them right past the Arbites Precinct. There was no doubt about it. Cain was there!

‘All Squads - move out, sixty seconds.’ All self-doubt evaporated as he reeled off attack orders to his Company. This was what he was born to do, and let no man try to take it away from him.

+++
Hidden Content

#40
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
+++

13 hours later…

‘You keep telling me that the Order Encarmine executed your squad, but how do you explain this?’ Lycurgus held the pict-slate inches from Golgotha’s face. Silent, jerky images flickered across the screen, occasionally filling with static before resolving to show his characteristic Apollyon Pattern chainsword rising and falling, and the frantic, silent screams the black armoured Legio marines.

‘No. No! The recordings h-have buh-been… altered!’ stuttered Golgotha.

‘They were taken by your own helmet sensorium-’

‘No! It has been edited… there! Just there!’ He frantically nodded his head, sending droplets of blood splattering across the image. ‘They tried to mask the cut with s-static interference!’

‘This was taken directly from your suit backup.’ snarled Croeseus. ‘You threw away the helmet to try to hide what you did, but you forgot about the backup. The interference came from signal transfer degradation… and I thought The Scions of Dorn used the finest equipment the Inquisition could provide.’

Golgotha saw the Captain’s eyes narrow at that. He had not credited Croeseus with the wits, had labelled him as a malcontent thug, but either by accident or design, he was steering Captain Lycurgus into a killing mood.

‘The helmet - you have to find my helmet! It has the original recording…’

+++

The Marine stepped with awe onto the darkened bridge of the Strike Cruiser. Haarman was too young to have ever seen the bridge fully lit - he had barely graduated from the Scout Company at the time of The Betrayal - but he had heard the stories of the
Angelotti Fresco.

He made his way past far too many empty chairs and dead consoles. The ship had been a thing of beauty once, but like them all, after three long decades of austerity she was withering.

Ahead, illuminated in a pool of sickly green light was the Captain, deep in emphatic, whispered argument with their Navigator. He had good ears, and even with the sotto voce discussion and the low background throb of the ship he could make out that they were plotting the warp-jump back to the Legion of Fear’s base of operations, and that it would not be an easy voyage. Haarman’s eyes were drawn upwards, but the gloom was too deep to make out more than a tantalising hint of things just out of reach.

‘Yes? What is it?’ snapped Captain Heinlein, turning drawn, tired eyes on him.

‘Sir! Brother-Sergeant Kreutzmann reports that the last of our forces have boarded and are locked down for departure.’

‘Very good, Dismissed.’

As he turned to leave, mouth dry at speaking to the Captain, it took him a moment to realise that Heinlein was still talking to him.

‘Brother Haarman! I was impressed by the way you acquitted yourself today. Fix this day in your memory, it is the turning of the tide against the Scions of Dorn.’ Heinlein gave him a wolfish grin, and held out the Legio helm that he had been holding. ‘Take this trophy down to my quarters for safe-keeping.’

Heady at the Captain knowing his name, even recognising his achievements, Haarman took the helmet and strode towards the door.

The first flash, the stench of ozone and the sudden presence of armoured menace hit him only a fraction of a second before the black sword pierced his chest. He began to fall backwards, unable even to cry out. He dimly realised that he had not hit the deck, but was being held - supported - by his attacker.

The second flash illuminated the bridge with a harsh actinic light, but in the instant before they teleported away, Brother Haarman finally saw the
Angelotti Fresco in all it‘s glory.

While his breath had already been taken away, it was fair to say that the image would remain with him for the rest of his life.

+++

Hidden Content

#41
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
+++

Thirteen hours later…

The Captain had his bolt pistol to Golgotha’s head, but Croeseus knew the Old Man. He was weak. He would bluster, but he was not ready to go through with it without more proof.

Th-the helmet…’stuttered Golgotha, ‘it p-proves everyth-‘

Croeseus looked up. The Captain had finally shut him up by cracking him across the bionic eye with his pistol – perhaps there was hope for him after all…

The augmetic eye…For an Iron Hand not to pick up on it sooner was unforgivable…

He was across the room, and examining the eye in a heartbeat, much to Lycurgus’ outrage. ‘Forgive me, Captain, but I can give you all the proof you need… I said the Inquisition gives the Scions the finest equipment, well this augmetic,’ he said with relish, ‘is also a recorder.’

Golgotha began to stutter out a denial, the ‘tell’ that he was lying becoming increasingly obvious. ‘Hold still, Golgotha’ Croeseus muttered as he brought the data-spike round to the data-port at the back of the augmetic, ‘you wouldn’t want me to slip and sever your spine now…’

It was the subtlest flicker of swollen-shut eyebrow, but Croeseus knew what the Scion was doing. ‘Captain, he’s trying to encrypt the file.’

‘Can you break it?’

His eyes scanned across the rapidly scrolling runes. ‘Inquisitorial ciphers – but sloppily applied… They might get the best equipment, but they don’t know how to use it. I can break it for you in a couple of minutes, sir, but is it worth bothering? Why would he encrypt it if he was telling the truth?’

‘By the book, Croeseus, or we are no better than him.’

He tuned the Old Man out. Better to immerse himself in the numbers than listen to more of his self-righteous claptrap. It took a slap on the shoulder to rouse him as Lycurgus almost ran for the door, leaving them alone. The Librarian must have some news on their target at last.

‘Where on Medusa were you brought up, Croeseus?’ slurred Golgotha, obviously trying to make a connection with him, to make him stay his hand when the inevitable came. ‘I don’t recognise your tribal accent at all…’

‘It’s too late for that, Golgotha. The file is unlocked.’ Croeseus selected the timecode for thirteen hours ago, and thumbed the rune of activation…

+++

Hidden Content

#42
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
+++

Six times the needle of the syringe slid into flesh.

Every time it happened, Golgotha felt himself die a little more.

They had warned him - threatened him! - of the effects of the Quintessence Daemonica, that even tiny amounts brought about uncontrollable, raging psychosis, but what they were administering could only be massive doses.

It was obvious what they intended to happen. Even as he saw the look of triumph flash across the face of the Captain as the reinforced door swung closed, he knew that they intended him to butcher the rest of his squad.

He had hoped that his carefully affected disregard for the fate of his squad might keep them safe, that they would be taken in by their own perception of the Scions as caring nothing for the marines of other Chapters.

It was not true, of course. He had served with these men for decades. It surprised him, but he realised that these were his Battle Brothers just as much as any Scion of Dorn.

The first effects of the Quintessence Daemonica became evident just as his restraints snapped open. Golgotha rolled out of the Apothecary chair and as he landed on the stone floor he saw his missing helmet, bolter and chainsword in a pile against the back wall.

+++

‘Relax, Kreutzmann, he can‘t get out.‘ grinned Captain Heinlein as looked up from the surveillance pict-slate, ‘This door is proof against a chainsword, even an Apollyon Pattern one.’

The Sergeant worried too much, but he had to admit that his idea was better. Golgotha’s look of realisation that it was his squad mates that were going to be injected with the Quintessence Daemonica had surprised him. He had expected self-serving relief, but horrified anguish was just as good.

+++

Golgotha rushed through to the ante-room where the survivors of his squad were secured. The stench of corruption, not just of flesh, but something warp-spawned, drove him back and forced him to put on his helmet.

As he removed the tape covering Sanchez’ mouth, the flesh of the sniper’s neck began to distend as if something was forcing it’s way out. The Quintessence Daemonica was well-named, it was warping their bodies into a gateway for the daemonic. Looking into Sanchez’ eyes, it seemed clear that all trace of his Crimson Fist brother had been erased by the poison. It would make this a little easier. Polonius and Immig were spasming violently, oblivious to the horrendous damage being done by the sharp metal edges of their restraints.

Golgotha checked the bolter, and selected Inferno bolts to ensure that they would be completely incinerated. Even though they could not be blamed for what was happening to them, no-one must know of this stain on their honour. Not the Legio, not even their original Chapters. This must stay between him and the Emperor.

With a sickening sound of tearing flesh, the thing that was once Brother Rosen ripped an arm out of the restraints, leaving the hand behind, and reforming the remnants into a crude claw. There was no more time, and no other option. The chainsword whirred into life.

The Prayer of Contrition stuck in his throat - all he could manage was a hoarse ’Forgive me’ as the chainsword fell. As one, six mouths let out a shriek of anger filled with un-natural harmonics, and Golgotha felt the pressure building inside his skull.

Without warning, the pain ceased, and he was standing in front of the squad. They were whole, sane, mouths taped and eyes pleading for him to free them. He so wanted to believe that it was true, that he could release them, escape back to the Legio, and hunt down every last member of the Order Encarmine, but it was just a pretty fiction.

The Inferno Bolts found their targets, the spell was broken, and hated, over-rated reality re-asserted itself. Flames from the funeral pyre roared across the wooden planks of the ceiling, filling the room with acrid smoke. All that mattered now was escape, and to warn the Legio and the Scions of Dorn about the Order Encarmine.

The door was reinforced, the walls and floor solid rock, but two slashes from the chainsword cleaved a hole in the burning ceiling large enough for his purposes. With weapons slung, Golgotha pulled himself up through the flames into the room above, and ran to the shattered window overlooking the darkened street. As he climbed through the window shapes reached for him from inside the room, but he managed to half-climb, half fall out of their grasp, losing his helmet in the process.

Looking back he caught a glimpse of a figure silhouetted in the window against the dancing flames of the burning room, but before he could raise his bolter the figure was gone. The renegades would either send out search parties to find him, or would more likely melt away into the shadows.

Either way, he had to get back to the Legio.

+++

‘The edited pict-files have been sent to his suit, Sir.’ said Brother Dorff with pride in a complex job well done.

‘Good work, Brother.’ smiled Heinlein, admiring his new trophy. Why kill Golgotha and make him into a hero when he could be turned into a pariah. It was a shame that the other marines had to die to do it, but if it opened the eyes of the Astartes community to the true nature of the Scions then it would be worth it.

+++
Hidden Content

#43
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
+++

Thirteen hours later…

‘Do you understand now why I encrypted the augmetic eye recording?’ sighed Golgotha. ‘I had to protect the honour and the memory of my squad. They would not want to be remembered as possessed by daemonic entities. They were murdered by the Order Encarmine the moment they were injected with the
Quintessence Daemonica… please just leave it at that.’

Croeseus sat deep in thought, staring at the frozen image on the pict-slate. Finally he nodded, and spoke as if practicing what to say when asked an important question:

‘The file was too corrupted to get an image, Brother-Captain. It just came out as static…’ His fingers danced over the icons of the data interface, and Golgotha sensed files being erased. He whispered his thanks to the man.

‘It must have happened when he got free and attacked me, Sir,’ smiled Croeseus nastily, ’Yes, people will believe that you managed to escape - just your style - and that I had to beat you to death… in self-defence of course.’ He pulled out his bolt pistol, and levelled it at Golgotha’s forehead. ‘And don’t think that this is a hollow threat like the ones the Old Man makes.’

‘W-why, Croeseus? We have never been friends… but murder?’

‘Croeseus?’ he smiled, ’the real Croeseus is floating in space somewhere. He never even made it to the Legio. Before it was just personal dislike, but now I know that you can speak Medusan it would only be a matter of time before you worked out that my dialect was off… No more talk…’

It was just a flicker of a smile, and the refocusing of the mechanical eye over his right shoulder, but it was enough to make the impostor turn, fearful that he had been overheard.

It was all the diversion Golgotha needed to slip his hands out of the ropes behind his back, grab the pistol out of ‘Croeseus’’ grip, and put the last remaining bolt shell in the clip through his left knee.

‘Yes, escaping is the sort of thing I am good at, isn’t it…’ said Golgotha, relishing the look of shock and disbelief on his tormentors face. ‘It wasn’t my ribs you heard snapping when you hit me earlier, it was the beam you tied me to.’

Golgotha struggled out of the rest of his rope restraints, and advanced on the impostor.

+++


(Bonus points to Alasseo and Angel of Darkness for spotting that Croeseus was fishy... just not in thread next time, eh? :mellow: )
Hidden Content

#44
SCC

SCC

    ++ UNGUIS AENEI ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 7,242 posts
  • Location:Canberra, Oz
  • Faction: Brazen Claws/Raven Guard
+++

Sergeant Castor watched as the nimbus surrounding Librarian Kruitzfeld coruscated, spitting purple sparks erupting within the cool blue glow. Castor shuffled backwards, instinctively making the Aquila as the sparks clashed with the cool blue once more. Sweat was pouring down the psyker's face now and Castor could hear his teeth grinding, with an inarticulate cry of effort the Librarian's bare hand touched the prone Brazen Claw's forehead.

There was a percussive blast and Marines all around trained their weapons on the source of the noise as Castor was thrown to the ground by the psychic backwash of Kruitzfeld's mental exertions. The Librarian stood slowly, wisps of acrid smoke rising from his psychic hood, his eyes suddenly ringed by dark circles of fatigue, his voice was barely a croak when he found it.

'It is done.'

+++

The symbol flexed, shuddered and then steadied, it's glow turning to a soft silver.

Aquila.

The word echoed in his wounded mind, it's sound filling the emptiness, obliterating the cold silence.

Imperium.

A new word joined the first as the eagle-symbol grew, pushing back the darkness.

God-Emperor.

The third word rang in his mind, it's golden tones washing away the lingering pains and shattering the last vestiges of darkness.

+++

Castor scrambled to his feet as Rhadamanthys jerked upright, coughing like a man near-drowned, thick black bile spilling from the Legionnaire's lips as the fit shuddered to a halt. The young Marine steadied himself, breathing hard with the effort of sitting upright, still spitting bilious fluid as the Sergeant approached him cautiously, his hand on the holster of his bolt pistol, searching Rhadamanthys' eyes for any sign of corruption or possession. Kruitzfeld's firm grip lifted Castor's hand away from the pistol as he spoke.

'Do not worry Sergeant, his mind is free from taint.'

Scepticism flashed across Castor's face but he held his tongue, it was not a Marine's place to disagree with the brothers of the Librarium where the Warp was concerned.

'How do I know you speak truly Kruitzfeld?'

Captain Lycurgus clearly had no compunctions about questioning the veracity of a Brother-Librarian's statements, his words cut through the howling wind of Alcmene as he stalked forward, the Iron Hand Croeseus at his side. Kruitzfeld turned and eyes that had moments before shone power now shone with anger.

'Are you a psyker Captain? Has the Emperor touched you with the gift of second sight whilst I wasn't looking?'

The Librarian's tone was cold and he did not wait for Lycurgus' reply but rather turned to Rhadamanthys and spoke a few words to him in a low voice. The Brazen Claw nodded slowly, then looked around, a quizzical look on his face, his hands patting the ground around him, he grunted, his mind and mouth unable to form the words he was looking for as his left hand wrapped itself around the familiar shape of his Procyon pattern chainsword.

His right hand kept moving, he grunted again, louder. Castor stepped forward and Rhadamanthys grunted once more, the words still jumbled, but Castor knew what he was looking for. The Brazen Claw's jaws worked again and this time the words were clear.

'Pistol. Bolt pistol.'

Castor smiled as he guided the young Legionnaire's hand to his treasured Filienostos pattern bolt pistol. A grin lit up Rhadamanthys' face as he crossed his weapons reverently and began to recite the Libation of the Emperor. Castor's fears that the young Legionnaire had been tainted melted away as he heard the words, joining his voice to the Brazen Claws'

'The Emperor is our guiding Light, A beacon of hope for Humanity in a galaxy of Darkness.'

As the two Marines recited the canticle their Brothers joined in.

'As we serve Him, He is our greatest servant. As we pray to Him, His thoughts are only for us.'

Castor looked around the ruined square, listening as the Marine's voices drowned out the dismal howl of Alcmene's eternal winds.

'And in the dark when the shadows threaten, The Emperor is with us, In spirit and in fact.'

Castor felt pride glow in his heart as the Marines shouted their devotion to the skies, looking around the Sergeant felt that glow falter as he locked eyes with Croeseus, the Iron Hand silent amongst his brothers, a grimace on his face as he stared at Rhadamanthys.

+++

#45
SCC

SCC

    ++ UNGUIS AENEI ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 7,242 posts
  • Location:Canberra, Oz
  • Faction: Brazen Claws/Raven Guard
+++

Rhadamanthys' head ached fiercely and the vile taste of Chaos was still raw on his tongue but Captain Lycurgus would brook no delays - the Legio was on the move once more. The black armoured Marines moved through the desolate cityscape, weapons at the ready, senses stretched for the slightest indication of ambush.

Rhadamanthys and the other injured Marines had been formed into an ad-hoc squad under the care of Apothecary Caple, Castor and his weakened squad formed the rearguard, Captain Lycurgus and his command squad formed the vanguard of the Legio advance. Rhadamanthys was uncomfortable in the ad-hoc squad, he was new to the Legio and only Brother Jarrett was known to him, the Grief Bringer seemed more sure of himself, exhanging quiet banter with a Star Dragon Marine in a battered suit of Maximus armour.

A hand signal from Lycurgus halted the column silently, waving the Marines into cover the Captain signalled for his squad leaders. Rhadamanthys strained his senses, staring into the darkness, toggling through the infra-red, ultra-violet and night-vision modes his helmet offered as he watched for any sign of enemy activity. He offered a prayer to his armour's Machine Spirit, asking it to scan a range of vox frequencies for any hint of enemy communications as he turned up the gain on his external pick-ups, listening for the slightest out of place sound. Another howling gust of wind rushed down Tranquility Way and the Brazen Claw winced as the amplified sound battered his already throbbing head.

Nothing.

Looking around he saw the angled snout of the Star Dragon's helmet silhouetted against a sudden flare of light, a moment later a heavy las blast burst through the ancient armour, the sound of shattering ceramite drowning out even the constant moan of wind. Bolter fire erupted all around the Legio Marines, joined by the meatier sounds of heavier weaponry and the high pitched whine of las-fire...

+++

#46
Rogue Trader

Rogue Trader

    ++ ADDUCERE AEGRIMONIA ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 3,614 posts
  • Location:Northants
  • Faction: Grief Bringers
+++

Jarrett dropped to the ground as the world exploded around him. The sound of weapons fire was abruptly muffled as his armour’s autosenses cut in, dampening the external pickups in an effort to protect his hearing. He glanced round, quickly assessing the status of his squad mates. What remained of Launfel lay close by, smouldering gently; the las blast had nearly cleaved the unfortunate Star Dragon in two. Jarrett reached out and briefly laid a hand on the dead marine’s shoulder, silently vowing to avenge him.

To his left, Jarrett could see that Rhadamanthys had dropped into the scant cover afforded by a stretch of shattered rockcrete masonry. The Brazen Claw looked dazed, sluggish, still not fully recovered from the mental and spiritual trauma of his battle against the Arch Enemy. Jarrett racked the underslung grenade launcher attached to his bolter and fired, the grenade arcing high and exploding in mid air, providing a thick curtain of smoke and E-M interference between the two Legionnaires and the incoming fire. Jarrett surged to his feet and sprinted across the street, pulling Rhadamanthys to his feet and through the doorway of a shattered building.

+++

Castor cursed as the darkened street erupted with gunfire, muzzle flashes revealing the scene in a series of jerky vignettes. The ambushers had the Legionnaires pinned down, heavy fire pouring from rooftops on both sides of the street, catching his men in a deadly crossfire. Castor ran, dodging and weaving, down the street as las fire and explosive bolts peppered the rockcrete around his feet. Looking up, he saw the silhouetted outline of one of the ambushers braced on the edge of a rooftop. Flicking his bolter’s ammo selector to Metal Storm, he fired at the shape and was rewarded by the sight of miniature starbursts as the proximity detectors built into the shells triggered. The figure fell, hitting the street ahead of Castor, and as he leapt over the battered corpse, the bat-winged helm and emblazoned lightning strikes were instantly recognisable.

‘Night Lords! It’s Cain! Repeat – Noctus Cain is here!

+++

Captain Lycurgus threw back his head and wordlessly howled his rage into the night sky. Too long he had waited for the chance to avenge himself, to regain his pride, his dignity. Too long had he borne this accursed bionic arm, a permanent reminder of the traitor Cain’s cowardly, underhanded attack. Now the day he prayed for had finally arrived, and by the Throne, Noctus Cain would not escape this time.

+++

Danvers swept the rooftops with fire from his beloved Heavy Bolter, feeling the dampeners in his armour straining to compensate for the recoil as the ancient gun bucked and shuddered. He’d carried the weapon for more than a century in the service of the Emperor, and there were times he’d swear it was almost a part of him. The barrel was beginning to glow red hot as Castor skidded to a halt next to him. They ducked into the cover of a doorway and Danvers fed a fresh ammo belt into his weapon, the superheated barrel making soft pinking noises as it cooled.

+++

Noctus Cain smiled as he surveyed the ambush from atop a crumbling tower. Calling his personal guard in to keep the ragged remains of the cultists in line had been a gamble, but one that had paid off. The sustained fire from the rooftops had freed the Brothers Grimm to perform the more… specialised role they so excelled at. His smile widened ferociously as he pictured the fate of the poor unfortunates the Brothers were targeting…

+++

Jarrett ran up the last flight of stairs and leapt at the roof access door, bursting it from its hinges. The buckled door slid across the rooftop, coming to a halt at the feet of a cluster of ragged cultists, who turned slowly, fear etched across their faces.

Jarrett raised his weapon, then paused as a larger, bulkier shape detached itself from the rooftop shadows. Flashes of gunfire from nearby rooftops reflected off the dark Power Armour, the lightning strikes engraved into the greaves, thigh and shoulder armour.

The Night Lord’s hands were empty, his pistols holstered on each hip as he moved to stand directly in front of Jarrett. Sensing the chance for escape, the cultists fled, scrambling through the access door and down the stairs. Jarrett let them go – without the Night Lord to tyrannise them, they’d scatter into the night, and he had a more important enemy to deal with now.

+++

Castor ducked back into cover as Las fire hammered into the doorway. The building shook from a massive impact, then again and again, each tremor accompanied by a reverberating thump. Castor turned to see the rear wall of the building crumble and collapse and a hulking, inhuman shape force its way through the rubble. Danvers raised his Heavy Bolter but the monstrous form lashed out, slamming the Legionnaire against the wall.

Castor willed his armour’s external lighting rig to full power, the sudden illumination revealing what must have once been a chaos marine. Now, the leviathan form was a corrupted, melted fusion of armour, flesh and lethal weaponry. The darkened flesh twisted and warped, forming and reforming, as the creature turned to stare at Castor with porcine, sunken eyes. The writhing mass of flesh and metal blistered and the obliterator extruded a twin-barrelled meltagun, the gaping maw of the weapon inches from Castor’s face.

+++

Xamot Hell stamped across the rooftop, his voice bitter, his face twisted with rage

‘Who does Noctus think he is, speaking to me like that? Me - Xamot Hell, the most powerful sorcerer the Legion of Fear has ever known!

’Who brought the Brothers Grimm and the Stygian Vampires here all the way from Tomax’s palace when the high and mighty Lord Cain needed reinforcements? Me!

‘Who found out the jamming was being caused by those cretins of the Order Encarmine? Me! And what does he do when I tell him our supposed allies have double-crossed us?’

Xamot’s tone deepened, mimicking Cain’s voice

‘ “Go make yourself useful – conjure up some smoke or better yet, teleport a backbone in to replace the one you seem to be missing.” Well, we’ll see how Lord Cain likes it when I’m in charge of the Legion. Then we’ll see who’s the one with backbone, won’t we?’

Xamot paused and glared at a large rockcrete gargoyle perched on the edge of the roof

‘Well what the hell do you know? After I get rid of Cain there’s only my thrice accursed brother standing between me and my rightful position as Warmaster. And I know just how to get rid of them both in one fell swoop.’

Xamot’s cunning expression froze, then dissolved into rage again. He drew his bolt pistol and emptied it at the gargoyle, then raised a power armoured boot and kicked it off the edge of the building. After a few seconds it hit the street below, smashing into thousands of fragments, spraying the surrounding buildings with shrapnel. Xamot leaned over the edge of the roof and looked down.

‘Not so talkative now, are you?’

+++

#47
Rogue Trader

Rogue Trader

    ++ ADDUCERE AEGRIMONIA ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 3,614 posts
  • Location:Northants
  • Faction: Grief Bringers
Glad you're enjoying it angel of darkness - must say I'm enjoying writing it again :(


+++

Danvers hauled himself up, seeing the melta gun pointed in Castor’s face, and squeezed the trigger of his Heavy Bolter. Explosive shells rocked the obliterator as Danvers walked his aim up the side of its body, leaving a series of bloody craters. He watched in disbelief as the flesh and metal rippled, then fluidly closed over the wounds, leaving neither trace nor mark of their presence.

Castor ducked away from the meltagun and, raising his bolter, emptied the magazine into the obliterator’s torso. The twin barrelled melta erupted with a hiss of superheated air, forcing Castor to throw himself backwards through the doorway. He rolled as he hit the rockcrete of the street, avoiding the worst of the melta-beam but hearing a crackling and popping as the paintwork of his shoulder pauldron blistered from the near miss. Pulling himself to his feet he reached the doorway in time to see a mechadendrite snake from some concealed orifice of the obliterator’s obscene form and wrap around Danvers’ legs, pulling him from his feet. Castor watched in horror as the mechadendrite reared above Danvers’ prone form, paused for a moment, then struck, tearing through the ribbing between the thigh armour and the body.

Danvers’ scream of agony was echoed by a roar of triumph from the hulking traitor as the Legionnaire began to spasm uncontrollably...

+++

Enough was enough. The Legionnaires had been devastated by the sustained volleys of fire from the rooftops, panicking and getting separated, making them that much easier for his personal guard to pick off. Tomax Hell had ordered the complete eradication of the servants of the false emperor, but Tomax be damned!

Before long, Noctus knew, he would be in a position to challenge the Warmaster, yes, and his pathetic, sorcerous whelp of a brother too, and with them out the way there would be no one to prevent him assuming his rightful position as Warmaster.

Noctus snarled behind his ancient skull mask. Right now, there was a much more pressing revenge to exact. No one doubled crossed the Lord of the 17th Legion of Fear and lived to talk about it. No one. The Order Encarmine would pay for their treachery this day, and they would pay dearly.

With a thought impulse, he activated the vox system in his armour, transmitting to the members of his personal guard scattered along the rooftops, amongst the feeble minded cultists.

‘Move out. Leave the pathetic humans to their fate. If any are truly favoured by the Dark Gods, then they will survive this day.’

+++

The wind whistled across the darkened, motionless rooftop, carrying the sound of gunfire, the smell of expended rounds. A stray missile exploded against the edge of the roof, sending chunks of rockcrete tumbling to the street below. On the rooftop, nothing moved. Jarrett stood motionless, eyes locked with the Night Lord, who still had yet to draw a weapon.

A tinny buzzing broke the stillness, and the Night Lord moved for the first time in minutes, cocking his head as he listened to the voxbead in his ear. Jarrett braced himself, knowing the standoff was about to end, but was still caught unawares by the traitor’s move. One moment the Night Lord stood immobile then, faster than the eye could follow, his pistols were in his hands and twin streams of fire were blazing through the night.

Jarrett dived desperately to his left, landing hard, and rolling awkwardly across the rooftop. He let his momentum carry him upright and into a run, his bolter spitting fire at... nothing.

He stood alone on the deserted rooftop, trying to ignore the red flashing icons his armour’s narthecium was projecting inside his faceplate.

+++

#48
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
+++

Leaving the rest of his squad to their fates, Brother Croeseus pulled himself up onto the roof. He was an Iron Hand, after all, unfettered by weaknesses of the flesh like attachments and friendship. All that mattered was the mission – to capture Cain, or at the very least track him back to his Master. This was the perfect opportunity to use Lycurgus’ obsession for his own advancement.

Hidden amongst a clutch of rusting airvents, he watched as Cain stalked past. Croeseus silently brought up the bolter, scarcely needing to aim for the massive terminator armoured back. For all his bulk, Cain moved with a fluid grace, a panther compared to the clumsy, loyalist counterparts.

Croeseus squeezed the trigger, and emptied the entire magazine into the Night Lord – thirty rounds, with every sixth one a psychically impregnated ‘Odysseus’ bolt. At least one would be bound to embed itself in the thick armour plate.

He was not surprised to see the Night Lord drunkenly getting back to his feet, but then Croeseus had not wanted to kill him. He wanted to track him.

Racing the inevitable retribution, Croeseus leapt off the roof and into the darkness below.

+++
Hidden Content

#49
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Faction: Scions of Dorn
+++

‘Trouble, My Lord?’ asked Xamot Hell as he stepped out from behind the nest of steam vents.

Cain turned back from the rooftop in surprise, gun trained on him for a moment, before he lowered it with a dismissive grunt.

‘What are you doing here, Sorcerer? I told you to create a diversion as we pull back.’

‘I sensed something in the Aether – a disturbance-‘

‘Spare me.’ Cain bristled, ‘Any excuse to keep yourself out of harm’s way. I know how to deal with cowards and incompetents under my command, wyrd, and the next time you fail me, not even your brother’s position as Warmaster will be able to save you.’

Xamot watched his retreating back with loathing, and knelt to inspect the remains of the bolter shells the loyalist had fired. Something had been gnawing at him ever since he had watched the marine shoot Cain in the back, but it was more than just disappointment at seeing a missed opportunity. A shell fragment caught his wych-sight – a scorched length of twisted brass tubing. He reached out with his mind, and was surprised to find that the fragments inside the tube were psychically attuned.

He smiled as he sensed two more intact bolts close by, shining like beacons now that he knew what he was looking for, and as he realised that the bolts were embedded in the thick armour of his master, the smile broadened wolfishly to reveal all of his sharp, white teeth.

It constantly impressed him just how inventive his brother was when it came to devising new methods of torture for those that had betrayed him, and he was certain that Tomax would excel himself when it came to punishing the man who had led the Legio back to his carefully hidden base on Antioc. He almost felt sorry for Noctus Cain.

‘Wyrd!’ came the contempt-filled summons over the open comm-net, ‘Back to the ship. Now!’

‘Coming, My Lord’ he spat.

Almost sorry.

+++
Hidden Content

#50
SCC

SCC

    ++ UNGUIS AENEI ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 7,242 posts
  • Location:Canberra, Oz
  • Faction: Brazen Claws/Raven Guard
It's back. Finally :D We know how it all ends, we just need to write it up now, so here's the first bit of the last bit if you know what I mean...

+++
Rhadamanthys levered himself up from the corner Jarrett had shepherded him to. He moved slowly, his body still aching, but his mind was clearer than at any time since the assault on the governor's residence and the Chaos mind-trap that had ensnared him.

Shivers shook him at just the thought of that experience. He gripped his bolt pistol tighter and murmured a prayer to the Emperor, the tremors stopped as he breathed the final words of thanks. Moving to the door he saw Legio Marines slowly moving through the ruined streets, beating back the ambush with cold efficiency. The sound of battle was changing, the coughing roar of bolters had diminished, becoming one sided. He toggled the company wide vox channel open.

'The Night Lords are withdrawing.'

A chorus of replies answered him, confirming his deduction. The ambush was broken now, Marines still fought cultists but without the support of the Night Lords they stood no chance against the black armoured Astartes. Rhadamanthys opened a vox channel to Jarrett.

'Brother Jarrett?'

Static hissed gently as he waited for a reply. Above the static he heard another sound, the crackling hiss of a jump pack, looking out the window he saw the gargoyle like form of a Night Lord Raptor flash past. His bolt pistol jerked as he snapped off a short burst. The Brazen Claw cursed his aching body as the shots went wide and the Raptor touched down on the roof of a building before launching himself on another jet powered leap.

+++

More icons lit up on Jarrett's faceplate, a small armour schematic flashed brightly, urgently. A small red helix blinked rapidly 3 times and faded to nothing more than an outline. Glancing down the Grief Bringer saw his armour's damaged plates had been torn open once more, the patched armour cratered unnoticed by the Raptor's fusillade as the Traitor retreated. Varicoloured fluids leaked from the hole, dull yellows, bilious greens and oily browns.

Blood red.

Jarrett's body shook gently as his armour's narthecium dispensed the last of its painkillers and coagulants into his body. Lifting his eyes from the ruin that was his torso the Legionnaire watched impassively, his mind and body both numbed from the drugs entering his system, as the Raptor leapt from building to building. From his vantage point he could see the flaring lights of other jump packs as the traitor's brethren fled down the boulevard.

With a shake of his head Jarret fought off the drug and injury induced fog in his mind. He looked at the flashing icons once more, grimaced, then headed down the stairs onto the streets, following the traitor's movements as quickly as his battered body and armour would allow. He opened a vox channel to Captain Lycurgus, informing him of the enemy's escape route. The Captain's response to Jarrett was vitriolic.

'Bones of St. Macharius! Get after them Legionnaire, don't just watch them!'

Jarrett gritted his teeth, biting back a sharp reply, he couldn't hold back the sarcasm that laced his voice though as he forced his shattered body into a shambling run.

"Yes sir, Captain sir!'

+++




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users