Pack leader of the Crimson Hounds
The smell wrapped around him like a veil. Burning flesh, an actinic twang of power, the coppery taste of blood. The preysight of his helm pierced the choking fog of smoke and ash as his pack made their way through the burning ship. They butchered their way through the craven wretches that manned this damned vessel. They had been given a prize to collect and they would not fail in their task.
The boarding torpedo had breached the ship near the central spine. The melta-cannons burrowing deep into the flesh of the leviathan. As they burst forth into the vessel they had found themselves in a gunnery deck. They waded into the callow slaves that manned the anti-ship guns, hacking and slashing their way forward. The slaves continued their work as the murderous foe cut their way through their ranks.
The fear of their dark masters more powerful than the fear for their own miserable lives.
For what seemed like hours the renegades fought their way through the heart of the cavernous ship. Some might have felt slighted by their mission. They were not allowed the glory of fighting their way to the bridge alongside their dread champion. Not for them the feeling of triumph as they claimed another vessel for their growing fleet. No, they had been given a more important task. This ship carried a priceless treasure deep in its bowels. They would secure it at all costs from the masters of this vessel. They would succeed or they would die.
As they approached the large blast doors Haasek knew they had reached their destination. Three stories high and painted with warnings and fell markings. An otherworldly chill emanated from the barrier, clouds of vapor hanging in the space before them. He could feel the thrumming of the machines that powered this placed. The pulsing vibrations made his teeth itch as the dull rhythmic pounding assaulted his body and mind.
The resistance here was heavier than any they had met so far on this mission. Servitor driven cannons ignited the space driving the renegades into cover as doors opened and unleashed a new and deadly foe. No weakling mortals this time, but fellow astartes equal in might and viciousness. Haasek caught a glimpse of the heretics as he glanced from behind the crates his squad was using for cover. He counted thirty of them of them to his nine. Their reddish purple armor proclaiming their allegiance to the Invocators.
Haasek turned to his brothers and motioned his will with quick efficient gestures. The battle cant quickly indicating the number and placement of their foe. As his brothers pulled the krak grenades free from their webbing he glanced around the container again, spinning the twin chainaxes in his grip to loosen his wrists. Bolter shells ricocheted off his makeshift cover and he grinned inwardly at the thought of the coming violence.
He heard the grenades prime and launch into the air. As they arced toward their foe he broke from cover and charged. Shoulder down he barged forward, feeling the impact of shells upon his pauldrons. The grenades landed and unleashed a cacophony of sound and shrapnel amongst the defenders. The sound and fury dealing and disorienting them for the crucial moments needed for the renegades to close with their prey.
He leapt into the fray. His axes buzzing their war song as they hacked to and fro. He was no mindless bezerker as many who walked the path of skulls. No, he relished his skill at arms, besting his foes with vicious precision and ruthless determination. He ducked and weaved through the orgy of death. His axes parrying and rending in a beautiful ballet of destruction.
He felt a bolt round pierce his side as he cleaved a marine from collarbone to sternum. Luckily the round had made a clean exit before it could detonate. He felt the stimms in his armor kick in as his physiology began to knit the wound close. He growled his displeasure at the inconvenience as he waded deeper into the throng. Now it was personal.
As quickly as it had begun it was over. Haasek stood amid the corpse strewn deck as his squad mates pinged their location and readiness. They had lost four to the defenders. He scowled behind his helm. His squad would feel the loss of arms, but they had obviously been weak and unworthy to have been felled by such chattel.
Haasek looked down at the weapons in his grip and saw the blood that coated his armor like fresh paint. He felt the twinge behind his eye as the call echoed beneath his thoughts. Breath ragged, he felt the muscles of his arm twitch ever so slightly. He squeezed his eyes shut and forced his thought back into the steel cage of his mind. He would not give in, he was no mindless beast. He was his own master he shouted deep in his soul as he forced his will upon his body. Slowly the pounding in his breast subsided and his muscles relaxed their eagerness. He blink-clicked a channel to Jathor directing him and Usus to use their melta bombs to crack open the vault.
They mag-locked their weapons to their their belts as they unlimbered the charges and affixed them to the doors. The squad took shelter as the charges detonated. The shockwave rocked them as the space filled with dust and debris. Burning metal spall pinged off their armor as the sound echoed thunderously through the chamber.
As the dust settled they broke from cover and made for the dark gaping hole in the bulkhead before them. Acrid smoke pored from the rent metal as they advanced. Haasek heard a faint sound over the crunching of their boots through the wreckage they had created. It was a small sound, a mere click, barely there. But he knew that sound and the doom it foretold. He threw himself bodily asides as autocannon rounds chugged unmercifully from the black pit before them.
He pulled himself behind cover as the shells ripped through his squad mates. Beric was the first to fall, the shells tearing his gut to ribbons and bisecting his crumbling form. Usus was decapitated and Verok had his legs ripped from his body as he ran screaming his hatred and fury, desperately trying to close with his enemy. Jathor, being a bit luckier than his brothers was able to scramble behind a makeshift barricade. Jathor tore the ruined helm from his head and wiped the blood from his eyes. A glancing hit had carved a ragged furrow in his brow.
Haasek’s attention was drawn back to the smoking hole in the wall as he heard ominous clanking footfalls coming from the dark void. A large metal beast emerged from the gloom. The helm of the hulking terminator swiveled side to side searching for more prey. It was an brutal thing, covered in spikes and adorned with wicked jutting tusks. This was no common soldier, this was a revered champion of the enemy warband. He smiled inwardly, finally, a worthy foe.
As the terminator trudged forward he could hear a strange snuffling sound as if it was trying to find them by scent. The beast stalked the area as Haasek tried to figure out how to fell such a foe. Suddenly the giant stopped, whipping its head toward Jathor’s hiding spot. An animalistic grunt of satisfaction emanated from its form as the tell-tale click of the reaper autocannon readying gave way to the thunderous roar of destruction. To Jathor’s credit he did not go willing to the butcher’s block. Frag and krak grenades hurled over the top of the barricade detonated agains the hulking brute knocking his aim off true. However his valiant attempt was of no avail. The shells from the cannon finally ripped through the meager cover shredding Jathor’s ruined frame.
As he watched his brother make his final stand against the terminator’s unrelenting assault he finally heard the sound he was waiting for, the ka-chunk of an empty chamber trying to fire. He burst from his cover and barged toward his foe, his twin axes roaring their bloodlust. As he closed he swung his chainaxe down upon the autocannon’s barrel. The blow tore a ragged hole in the weapon rendering it unable to fire. The terminator roared in anger swinging its ruined gun around knocking him back. He rolled as he landed and came up on his feet charging into the fray once more. He swung again and again, his lethal axes rending gashes into the brutal armor. His unrelenting assault drove the beast onto its back foot. With a wicked grin Haasek swung his left axe down in a killing stroke.
It took him a second to register the pain, his mind taking a moment to understand what had happened. The blow had been aimed true, but this was a veteran warrior he faced. He stumbled backward and fell staring in confusion at something gripped in the power fist of the brute before him. It was his left arm.
As the stimms kicked in and the shock wore off he could feel the agonizing pain from the ragged stump where his arm had been attached a moment before. The terminator chuckled evilly as it looked at the bloody appendage in its grip before tossing it casually over its shoulder. It started walking toward him, a god of death coming for its due sacrifice.
He scrabbled backwards as the hulking beast stalked ever closer, savoring the coming carnage. As he pulled himself backwards his hand landed upon the grip of chainaxe that he had dropped. The dark shape loomed over him raising the clawed fist high above its head. Electric discharge wreathed the wicked claw as it descended toward him.
With a roar of defiance he swung the snarling axe upward into his would-be executioner. The grinding teeth bit deep into the soft joint of the beast’s groin, ripping and tearing its way deeper into the foe. The terminator roared in pain and outrage as the chainaxe chewed through its hip, ripping its right leg from its socket and hungrily tore deeper into the viscera of the dying giant. The beast toppled backwards, ripping the axe from his hand as it collapsed into a pool of its own gore.
He collapsed as well. His breath heaving in his chest as the adrenaline left him shaken and drained. He looked over at his own severed stump to assess the damage. It was bad, real bad, but the power field of the fist had cauterized the wound so at least he wouldn’t bleed out. He staggered to his feet and slowly approached the dying beast before him. His boots sloshed through the spreading pool of blood and gore as he walked around to the head of the prone figure. Haasek wrenched the helm from the massive shoulders to look upon the face of his dying foe. The cragged features of the veteran glared back in helpless defiance. A worthy foe indeed he thought as he pulled the wicked blade from his belt and began sawing through the tendons of the man’s neck. A tribute was due.
His gruesome task done, Haasek turned and marched through the breach they had made. He found a chamber cramped with machinery and esoteric wards. His eyes lit upon the treasure he had sought. It was suspended in a stasis field in the center of the room. It was a small pulsing orb the size of a human heart. Made of some strange crystalline material Its surface was etched in cramped alien runes he did not recognize. The writing made his eyes itch when he looked upon it and he felt blood start to trickle from his nose. He slid the axe into the loop on his belt and reached for the object. He closed his eyes to avoid the pressure he felt when he regarded the blasphemous thing. He gripped the artifact with his one good hand and quickly shoved it into the pouch at his waist. It was hard to imagine that something so vile and deadly could look so small and fragile.
Haasek turned and exited the chamber through the ragged hole they had made. As he stepped out into the wreckage of the battle he regarded the ruined and mangled remains of his arm lying on the floor. It wasn’t even worth salvaging his other chainaxe. It’s grip had been crushed beyond repair and the teeth wrecked from chewing into the auto cannon. This was a setback for sure. He was confident he could fight on with only one arm, but the others in his warband would see him as weakened and he would have to spend the days ahead fending off challengers for his position. As he pondered what could be done his eyes landed upon the bloody corpse of the terminator and a wicked chuckle rose from deep within.
The space was dark and cramped. The smell of soot, ash, grease, and flame mingled with the pulsing noise of power hammers, machine lathes, and the screams of unwilling volunteers. He regarded the thing before him. He didn’t feel right calling it a man, though at some point in the distant past it must have been. The long sinuous body brought to mind images of something metallic and unnervingly insectile or possibly reptilian. The form was draped in dirty black robes, the edges trimmed in a sinister cog motif.
+Do you have it?+ a voice buzzed from several small box speakers hidden among the robes. The voice of each mechanical voice slightly out of sync with the others.
“I do” he replied with a smirk
+Hand it to me!+ it commanded. A spidery mechanical hand extending eagerly toward him.
“This came at great cost to me and my lord. I demand recompense” he replied. “How much is the artifact worth to you?”
The figure withdrew its grasping hand and regarded him balefully. +Oaths of service and weaponry have already been agreed upon with you lord. You dare ask for new terms?+ it growled.
“The offers you have made to our warband are generous indeed and we are grateful for them. However I was thinking of something a bit more personal. Consider it a finder’s fee” he offered.
+What token of generosity do you have in mind?+ it asked as its myriad eyes regarded him warily.
He swung the large canvas sack he had slung over his his shoulder onto the floor in front of him. Tossing the fabric aside to reveal a severed limb ending in a wicked power fist. He looked at the figure and motioned to the severed stump of his left arm.
He smiled casually as he said “I could use a hand”
As his shuttle ferried him skyward to his waiting ship he regarded the Heretek’s handiwork. The stump of his left arm had been grafted with a mechanical replacement. The dark metal was both graceful and rugged in turn. As his gaze traveled down his arm he admired the craftsmanship and artifice of the repurposed power fist that replaced his missing hand. It’s claw-like fingers were sharp and cruel. Upon the back of the arm was a new mechanism. His bolt pistol had been incorporated into the claw giving him some small amount of firepower as he closed with his foes.
The grin that warped his scarred and rugged visage was a chilling sight as he thought about his future within the warband. Who knew how high he could rise with such tools at his disposal. As he imagined the carnage and victories to come he began to laugh. The cruel menacing sound unnerving the slaves piloting the ship into orbit...
Lean and muscular like some predatory animal, Haasek walks in a way that promises a violent end to any that get in his way. His face might have been handsome once but is now crisscrossed with the telltale scars of countless battles. Dark lank hair hangs from his head, sometimes bound in a leather thong at the back of his scalp.
The armor he wears is the black and bronze of his cadre its surface adorned in places with brutal spiked studs. A collection of skulls hangs from his belt along with symbols of his Khornate faith. Upon his back rests a twin engined jump pack of ancient design. His most distinguishing feature however is the mechanical arm that hangs from his left side.
The dark metal is intricate and brutal in turn. His lower arm is constructed from a repurposed power fist. Its cruel fingers tipped in wicked claws. Upon the back of the device a bolt pistol has been incorporated, leaving his hands free for brawling.
Paired with this marvel of Heretekal artiface is a brutal chainaxe that he has named “Gnasher”. Its rows of razor-sharp teeth kept honed to deadly precision.
Edited by Ancient_Sobek, 31 March 2021 - 12:10 PM.