- Round 5: Eshara vs Onyx (Author: Brother Tyler)
Eshara paused to maintain his footing as the asteroid shook violently. Encumbered by the still unconscious form of Ramiel, his progress was slow. Now, moving through the darkened catacombs of the base, he had to be careful. As the tremors subsided, he resumed his advance. Somewhere nearby, Sergeant Golgotha and the Inquisitor were engaged in deadly combat, fulfilling the final element of the mission. Activating the vox net, Eshara queried, “Brother Sergeant, this is Eshara. I am en route. Can you provide guidance?”
The reply was the unmistakable voice of Golgotha, although he betrayed the exertions of combat, “What is your exact position?”
“I’m not sure. I passed a door with blasphemous marks and turned left at an intersection about two hundred meters back.”
“Go back and take the right hand path. It will go down about two levels, then take the second left passage. You should be here in about two minutes.”
“Brother Sergeant, I have Ramiel. He is unconscious.”
“Then I’ll see you in four minutes. Out.”
Elsewhere in the catacombs, Onyx heard the transmission. The encryption protocols prevented him from discerning the exact conversation, but he was able to triangulate the sources.” With a quiet growl, he set off in pursuit. The inquisitor was nearby and Onyx had to retrieve her for the Warmaster. The Legio Space Marines were of little concern.
Moving as quickly as he was able, Eshara followed his Sergeant’s instructions. Something gnawed at the back of his mind as he progressed, though. Pausing for a moment, he placed Ramiel down at a nook in the tunnel, then back-tracked about twenty meters. Pulling his combat knife from its sheath, he removed a frag grenade from his belt and set up a trap for any unwary pursuers. Something was right here and he didn’t want to be caught unawares from behind. Once completed, he quickly gathered up Ramiel and rejoined his advance on Brother-Sergeant Golgotha’s position.
The Night Lord estimated that he was less than three hundred meters from the location of the Inquisitor. He was nearing one of the Legio lapdogs, so his pace slowed in order to provide stealth. The sudden change of pace was fortunate, for he barely detected the trap on prevented himself from tripping the line. These loyalists were getting more and more tricky and the Long War continued. The Legions loyal to Horus, however, had perfected these tactics long ago and weren’t to be caught so easily. Onyx stepped over the line.
And was thrown violently into the side of the tunnel as a second grenade exploded.
Even as he hated his progress being slowed by another of the base’s defenders, Eshara had to smile at himself. The first grenade had been a decoy, easily detected and avoided. The act of avoiding the trip line, though, would cause the victim to step on the loose slate that held the second grenade’s spoon in place. Once stepped on, the fulcrum of a loose rock lifted the surface of the plate just enough to release the spoon, causing the grenade to explode. Although he doubted very much that anyone in power armour would be injured in the blast, Eshara could always hope that his pursuer was one of the normal pirates that defended the base. Listening intently, he waited to determine whether or not his pursuer still lived.
The eerie laughter echoing down the tunnel told him that he had a fight ahead, or rather behind, him.
Onyx chided himself for his foolishness. The lackeys of the Emperor were indeed becoming more and more clever. That booby trap was a trick that the Night Haunter and Alpharius would have approved. Picking himself up off the floor of the tunnel, he knew that his presence had been given away. Activating the external address speakers, Onyx sent a message to his would-be adversary. The lessons of the Night Haunter had been to use terror as a weapon. As ancient human warmasters had taught, the spirit was of inestimable value in war. When one side lacked that spirit, it lost, even if it outnumbered the other. The Night Haunter had learned this lesson early, and had made it central to the teachings of his Legion. As the Long War continued and the Night Lords fought on even after the treacherous death of their Primarch, the sons of the Conrad Kurze had instilled terror in their enemies.
Though it was said that the Adeptus Astartes had no fear, Onyx knew that could. They were utterly convinced of their superiority, of the blessings of their corpse-Emperor. It was when their superiority was proven wrong that they finally knew fear. Onyx himself had killed scores of the still-loyal Space Marines, and had seen fear in their eyes. Now would be no different. The upstart up ahead probably thought that he had killed a pursuer. Onyx would teach him the error of his ways. The fool had only changed his death from a knife in the back to a death by gutting. Onyx would show him what it meant to face a son of the Night Haunter.
So Onyx laughed. It was a laugh that would inspire dread in any foe, and it reverberated through the tunnel.
And as he laughed, he sprinted down the corridor, weapons ready to eviscerate his foe. He laughed as he ran.
Whoever it was that he had caught, the grenade had apparently done him no harm. Eshara estimated that he was only a few hundred meters from the source of the laughter. Ramiel would only slow him down, so Eshara placed the unconscious battle-brother down, leaning his torso on the wall in order to facilitate retrieval later. Eshara then stepped back up the tunnel a few meters, readying his bolter and chainsword.
There. The figure was barely visible in the gloomy depths of the base, but Eshara could see that he was moving fast. The targeter indicated lock, so Eshara squeezed the trigger. The distinctive report of a bolter being fired sounded in the tunnel.
Onyx heard the bolter fire, but realized that there wasn’t enough room in the tunnel to dodge, and he was moving too quickly to dodge effectively. As the bolt sped toward him, all he could do was twist his body in order to avoid the blow.
The bolt slammed into his left shoulder, penetrating his power armour and exploding. The force of the impact twisted his body around and the explosion pitched him off balance, throwing him to the ground.
Eshara called out on his radio, “Brother Sergeant, I’ve been engaged with one of the traitor Marines.”
Either Golgotha was ignoring the vox net or he was unable to reply. Either way, Eshara felt the urgency of concluding this combat. He carefully aimed in on the figure on the floor and squeezed the trigger again.
Onyx rolled rapidly to the side, coming up to his knees and throwing a grenade in one fluid motion. The bolt impacted harmlessly where he had been moments before, ricocheting off the floor and continuing its path up the tunnel until it detonated in a wall.
Eshara hardly noticed the grenade thrown his way, distracted as he was watching his bolt wasted upon the tunnel. The grenade landing meters in front of him, bouncing off the floor and rolling to his feet. Realizing what it was, Eshara’s combat reflexes kicked in and he leapt back, turning his back to the blast as he compressed into a small silhouette. The frag grenade detonated, throwing shrapnel and rock particles into the air. Though he was peppered by the blast, Eshara’s armour held firm.
The Night Lord had used the grenade to gain time. The moment he released the explosive orb, he launched himself forward.
Eshara knew that he didn’t have a moment to lose. Turning quickly, he sought to reacquire his target. The dust thrown up by the grenade’s explosion, however, obscured his vision. He back-pedaled quickly, seeking to gain more time. His exertions were answered by a mocking challenge, “Yes, fool, run away. Your fear is palpable as you retreat from a son of the Night Haunter.” Eshara answered by firing his bolter, although he doubted that he hit anything.
Suddenly the dark figure emerged from the dust and darkness, running full tilt. The traitor was almost upon him, bolt pistol leveled on his chest as the faint odor of ozone betrayed the charged power weapon in his other hand.
Eshara thumbed the activator on the bolter, spraying the tunnel with deadly bolts. Even as he fired, the renegade’s own pistol answered. The cacophony within the tunnel was deafening, echoing within the catacombs.
Eshara felt a bolt slam into his pauldron, auto-reactive armour compensating for the attack by pushing out. The bolt failed to penetrate entirely, though, and exploded as it was lodged in the ceramite. The force of the blast buckled Eshara’s knees.
The Legio battle brother had the satisfaction of seeing his own bolts, however, hit home. Both had been targeted at the torso, one hitting the upper chest and the other at the upper abdomen. The first exploded in the upper chest as the second hit a little high, striking the solar plexus. As the second bolt exploded, the traitor’s external address speakers, still activated, betrayed the pain suffered in the bolter fire.
Still moving forward even as he was struck by the bolts, Onyx lashed out with his weapon, seeking to take Eshara with him into death. Eshara dove to the ground, though, dodging the deadly attack by the merest fraction as Onyx fell to the ground. Quickly rolling towards his adversary as he again withdrew his combat knife, Eshara used released his bolter and used the free hand to arrest the Night Lord’s wrist. As his knife pressed against the throat of the attacker, Eshara’s leg kicked the bolt pistol from the traitor’s other hand.
The struggles of the renegade subsided, so Eshara punched up roughly with his knife-hand, tearing the helmet from the Night Lord’s head. The face of his opponent was revealed, a countenance that showed the touch of Chaos. Madness was the province of the Dark Powers, and damnation was the destiny of all those who served them. This Night Lord, once one of the loyal defenders of Mankind, had turned to the Lords of Darkness and had fought against his Emperor. Though his mouth and nose were stained with blood, the eyes of the traitor were still defiant.
Though his body was wracked by pain, Onyx’ only thoughts were on his failure. The Warmaster would not be happy. Unable to fight back, Onyx could only look into the eyes of his slayer and sneer, “Damn you!”
Eshara drove the blade of his knife up beneath the chin of the traitor, thrusting through the jaw and penetrating into the brain. The eyes of his opponent opened quickly at the onset of the attack and the body jerked. Then the eyes dulled and the body stopped. Eshara twisted the knife, just to be sure, then withdrew it quickly.
“Brother Sergeant, I have killed my attacker and am again en route.”
“Quit stalling and get in here, Eshara.”
Eshara again lifted Ramiel’s body up, carrying his battle-brother to rejoin their Sergeant.Victory to Eshara
Edited by Brother Tyler, 14 October 2006 - 12:42 PM.