Shadow Fire : 50K

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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:05 pm

LordLucan wrote:A brilliant part but I am confused by the chronology. This is still 50K yes? or is it towards the end of 50K/start of 60K?


Towards the very end of 50K. Essentially this is going on as

Spoiler: Kryptman

is 'writing' 50K
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:22 pm

Sorry for the length between updates, I blame Skyrim. In recompense, here's an extra long chapter.


Chapter 12: Raise the Dead, Kill a God, Go with Wrath

Centuries earlier…

First Bull Douglas had gambled heavily in his decision to trap the Tyrant of Badab. Many resources had been put into building a sham fortress monastery and making it defensible against the coming storm. A whole company of Fire Beasts and many ships had been lost in the brutal guerilla war the chapter had waged across the warp-muddied void to provoke the Blackheart into attacking. Now, with Huron humiliated and his traitor Astartes bloodied, it was time to make an escape. The task of breaking the siege line around the fortress was left to the one Astartes Douglas knew was incapable of failing, the one Fire Beast whose hatred and ferocity were capable of working miracles.

It fell to Reclusiarch MacCallister, whose first miracle was to raise the dead.

Hordes of poorly trained and indifferently equipped advanced upon the Fire Beasts’ fortress, drawn from a million cults on a thousand worlds and used as meatshields by the Tyrant of Badab. To him, their lives were reckoned as worth less than the munitions they absorbed. Hundreds died every moment from anti-infantry fire from the Loyalist castle, their bodies serving as ablative armor to the more valuable tanks and artillery. Behind them all, and with a hefty shield of meat between it and the fortress, was a captured Warlord Titan, its mass enormous and its power inarguable, which fired endlessly at the Fire Beasts’ faltering void shields.

One of the cult infantrymen, a bent and twisted parody of a man in ill fitting armor and with shamefully rusty weapons, had the notable misfortune to be the first to die. As the soon to be dead soldier sunk a foot onto the seemingly bottomless mire that made up the nameless planet, something supremely resilient seized his ankle. He screamed, once, as he was sucked under in one fell motion. The other members of his company stared in dumbfounded astonishment at the hole, before something else clawed its way through the mud, using their comrade’s corpse as a ladder.

Cruelty was evident in the serrations and spikes that coated its steel frame, for the small protrusions could have no other purpose but to inflict pain. Strength was echoed there to, from its sheer bulk if nothing else. Pulling itself clear from the earth, with streaks of grey mud ran down its black armor, it seemed aware of the cultists for the first time. A grinning, fanged skull with blazing red eyes and downward curving horns leered at the squads of heathens who still stared in confusion.

‘My name little insects, is Reclusiarch MacCallister, Bearer of the Sacred Fire and Lord of Terror. And I am your death today,’ said the figure as clawed hands drew forth a great hammer, its heads forged to look like an ancient aquilla.

And that was when the killing began.

His first blow killed an officer, bifurcating the man in an explosion of intestine and vertebrae as his torso disintegrated. The Reclusiarch backhanded another, ribs shattering and puncturing lungs as the soldier was knocked aside. Screaming a paean to Vulkan, MacCallister rammed the butt of his weapon into the face of a vox-officer driving the man’s brain out the back of his shattered skull. Three more died from quick, diagnonal swipes of his Crozius, their armor parting like paper before the power weapon.

Behind him four score other Astartes pulled themselves from the mud, arising like the avenging dead to vanquish those who had disturbed their rest. Most of the Fire Beasts pulling themselves up from their hiding places wore priceless suits of Terminator plate and the lasfire coming from the regiments of Huron’s serf-soldiers did little more but burn the mud off the green and red plate. Storm bolters and flamers cut a swath through the cultist army as the Reclusarch’s task force closed in on its prey.

A tank was swatted aside by a flurry of missiles, its fuel burning and its flaming crew stumbling from the ruined hatches. MacCallister let them burn, turning his inferno pistol onto a still living vehicle and immolating the crew through exposed hatches. His Crozius, a massive thing forged from the bones of a corrupted monster by the stunted primitives of a feudal world, reaped a bloody toll as it broke men like porcelain dolls. A Red Corsair, chieftain of a rapidly decreasing number of mortals, charged the Chaplain, its eyes mad with warp corruption and its hands mutated into lethal talons.

‘Vulkan’s fire blinds you,’ hissed MacCallister, firing a blast of his pistol at the onrushing traitor Marine. It leapt through the fire, its armor scorched and its warp touched face smoldering from the flames. The minute distraction caused by the fire was enough for the Chaplain to crush the Corsair’s skull like an egg with a one handed swing.

‘And his Hammer damns you,’ roared MacCallister, kicking away the corpse. All around him was destruction, as the small focused spearhead of Terminators cut their way through the vast horde of infantry. For now shock had delivered momentum into the Fire Beasts’ hands, letting them sow terror and confusion amidst their enemies.

‘You seek to swamp us with numbers,’ said the Chaplain, mentally taking the role of whatever minor warlord Badab had placed in command, ‘to draw the noose tight around us and bury us with your useless dead. But I know your thoughts better than you yourself do. I have beaten worse odds a thousand times over. I will travel high and crush you with the power of a god. And I will offer the Emperor your terror on a platter.’

The Tyrant of Badab had brought a massive force to this nameless world to besiege the Fire Beasts, leading over ten thousand corrupted Astartes and Freebooters from a hundred shattered chapters. While the Astartes were the most valuable part of Huron Blackheart’s army, he had other strengths as well. A forest of anti-aircraft guns prevented any sorties from Fire Beast gunships and scores of heavy cannon, forged with the aid of captured mechanius adepts and meshed with the souls of daemons, pounded the Fire Beasts’ positions. Their formidable fire power was eclipsed by that of the Warlord Titan Endless Fear, captured by Badab’s reavers for the sole purpose of breaking the Fire Beasts. It had been deployed mere minutes before MacCallister arose from his temporary tomb, a massive dropship that was more than capable of firing back into orbit sitting behind it.

‘There stands our quarry brothers,’ roared MacCallister, pointing with his Crozius at the God-Machine, its form as yet uncorrupted by Chaotic magic, ‘a false idol that the foe mistakenly calls a god. We shall take it from them and with it burn their army to screaming ash as a sacrifice upon the Emperor’s Anvil of War!’

The Fire Beast taskforce set off with a roar of fury, crushing anything in their path. Hundreds more human and mutant infantry burned away before the Fire Beast charge, delivering the Loyalists to their target. It towered above them, forty five meters of plasma powered armor and guns, its feet splayed wide to keep it from sinking into the endless mud. So close had the Fire Beasts arisen from the ground, that the Titan could not depress its main gun enough to reach them. Even without the enormous plasma annihilator it would still normally take every gun in the chapter to hope to kill something so vast.

But MacCallister did not mean to kill it.

‘Straight up its legs!’ cried the Reclusiarch as the first blasts of the defensive guns ringing the Titan’s legs slammed into the approaching Astartes, ‘The First Bull depends upon us, do not give him cause to doubt! Fire and Shadow, Go with Wrath!’

Fire Beasts died in the mud, cut down by anti-tank cannons and heavy duty las weapons installed upon the Titan’s shins. MacCallister snarled as his men were taken down by the God-Machine, vowing to avenge their loss upon its princeps. Large caliber autogun fire slammed into the Chaplain, activating the protective field of his Rozarius. Skitarri, their armor a vomitous riot of rust red and electric yellow, stood on the platform of the Titan’s foot, defending their mobile fortress with heavy weaponry.

MacCallister, lighter and faster in his power armor in comparison to the bulky terminators, was amongst the Skitarri first. He jumped onto the great clanging foot of the Titan, his Crozius flashing through the Skitarri ranks. Oily gore from their synthetic veins splashed against his armor and his Rozarius field shorted out from the impact of a thousand bullets and hellfire blasts. Further shots set the promethium blood afire, raising a column of flame from the Reclusiarch’s body.

Completely unperturbed, MacCallister ignored the screaming alerts flashing from his gorget and continued to combat the Titan’s guardians. Scores of Skitarri fell upon him, knocking him to the deck with their weight, beating his flaming body with rifle butts and seeking the vulnerable gaps in his war plate with their knives. More Fire Beasts pulled themselves onto the structure, their chainweapons and bayonets tearing the lighter Skitarri apart. The Terminators crashed their way to the prone Chaplain, who was continuing to kill his enemies with his fists even as their blades stabbed him in the throat, armpit and hip. The Reclusiarch was released from his prison when a massive power axe knocked aside three of the Skitarri besetting MacCallister, while a servoarm and a half dozen mechandrites ripped five more to pieces.

‘I would recommend against going so far ahead,’ said Forge-Master Phineas, the Tech-Marine massive in Terminator plate. He thoughtlessly tore off his red cloak and used it to beat the fire off of MacCallister’s body, the irreplaceable Martian cloth burning to ash as it smothered the flame.

‘I do not have another cloak to waste in extinguishing you again.’

‘That would not be necessary’ said the Reclusiarch, blood still leaking from his wounds as he grabbed his Crozius and hauled himself painfully to his feet, ‘let me burn next time. Flame is but another weapon to wield.’

Sixty three Fire Beasts had made it to the titan’s foot, the rest lay slain on the approach, their corpses covered by those of thousands of heretics. Observing his force and the hordes of enemies that were rushing to the stricken god-machine’s aid, he gave his orders.

‘One squad stays here and holds the foot against anyone who tries to follow,’ said the Reclusiarch, swallowing some of the blood that had welled into his mouth , ‘everyone else will follow me to the top. Kill everything that resists, do not damage machinery.’

….

‘Can he be woken?’ asked Tyme, viewing the enormous amniotic tank located deep in the bowels of Dreadsmith. A figure, bulky and hunched was dimly visible inside the stasis womb, its motions halted by the obscure technologies employed in its survival. Despite its motionlessness, there was an air of violence around the figure. Even in his deathless, immobile state, MacCallister seemed to generate waves of anger.

‘For a short time,’ answered Hexile, the cyborg Tech-Marine busy reading three different biometric read outs with his multiple sets of eyes, ‘there is shrapnel inside both of his aortas. For now an electrostasis field keeps them in place, but removing him from the field would shorten his life span to an hour. Physical movement would lessen that to a minute.’

‘He will understand the sacrifice required of him,’ said the First Bull, ‘of all people he would. I know you are busy with the tasks I have given you, but he must be ready to walk when the time comes. The entire plan hinges on that fact.’

‘Rest assured Tyme,’ said the arachnid Forge-Master, ‘he will walk.’
…..

‘The Skitari are getting bigger,’ said Phineas, his servo-arm arresting a chainblade’s downwards stroke while his own power axe slid neatly across the machine soldier’s torso, spilling viscera and scrap across the metal deck.

A flock of strangely modified Skitarri, bearing antennae and too many steel limbs had attacked the forty remaining Fire Beasts inside the steel corridors that served the enemy titan for a pelvis. The fighting in the cramped, machine filled spaces had been desperate, bloody and feral. As such, MacCallister’s laughter had been deafening.

‘That means we are getting closer,’ replied MacCallister, his Crozius decapitating a hulking tech-guard of near Astartes size. His white skull helm was stained crimson with gore and the bleeding still hadn’t stopped from his chest wound. He ignored the pain, pushing it down as he smashed another skitarri to pieces.

‘You amuse me little gear man,’ hissed the Chaplain as he rounded on a Skitarri Captain, a biomechanical foe that was nearly his size, ‘you think you can stop me.’

Crozius met power sword in a blaze of fire, sparks jumping from the power fields of the two weapons. The Captain was huge, an Astartes sized torso sitting on a set of mechanical legs the size of a horse and bearing dozens of decorations for bravery. Its hands were fused around a curved power blade and scrap code blared incessantly from its mouth. MacCallister’s muscles, tired from combat and a dozen wounds strained against the force generated by the tech-guard’s artificial body. The Skitarri screamed some taunt, answering the Reclusarch with a burst of binaric scrap code.

‘Nothing can stop me,’ said MacCallister, his weapon moving to block his foe’s blade in a flurry of moves too fast for the mortal eye, only to fail to catch a lunge that put the curve blade through his abdomen. The Skitarri lunged with the weapon, bring his face close to the Chaplain’s. Mk VII warplate met biomechanical cranium as MacCallister furiously headbutted the Skitarri, jarring its clockwork brain.

‘I am the burning vengeance of a Corpse-God, the living incarnation of Vulkan’s dark hate. I am the fire in the shadow and YOU WILL BURN!’

At the last word, jets of fire shot out from the forwards jutting horns on MacCallister’s skull. The microflamers did their work quickly, melting the Skitarri’s face and setting its intricate feathered cloak aflame. It fell backwards blind and screaming, pulling its blade from the Chaplain’s side. Unperturbed by the bleeding wound, the Reclusiarch’s boot caved in the burning cyborg’s chest and one quick stroke of the Crozius maul finished him.

‘Fire Beasts, we have reached their innards,’ the Chaplain spoke to his remaining Astartes, each as scarred and gore stained as he, ‘now it is time to turn this machine against its masters. Secure its guns, its power core and its princeps. Its dread guns will serve the Shadow Smith and bring fire to his foes!’

The remaining squads splintered, some heading to the titan’s weapon limbs, others to its generator. The remainder were with the Reclusiarch, heading toward the God-Machine’s command center. Despite his inspiring words, MacCallister was listing badly, the sheer volume of his wounds overcoming his Larriman cells.

‘You should not be standing MacCallister,’ opined Phineas, ‘stay here, let me take the bridge.’

‘I will not rest while the foe remains alive,’ said MacCallister, ‘I have seen Death before and lived to spit acid at its face. Today will be no different than Orzammar, Tejas or Principia.’

Gunfire from mechanized emplacements cut short further argument, driving the Astartes into cover. They had reached the inner sanctum of their foes, the great bronze gate that separated the titan’s bridge from the rest of the god-machine. Motorized turrets, fusions of bolters and lascannons, were set in each of the eight cogs of the gear. Together the weapons laid down a hideous fire, cutting down three of MacCallister’s squad in a hail of mass reactive shells.

Phineas snarled and loosed a stream of binaric commands at the turrets, the brute force hack enough to pause the turrets fire for a few precious moments. MacCallister dashed into the breach, a thin trail of gore leaking from his wounds as he did. His Crozius made a figure eight sweep, knocking the guns from their frames two at a time and casting them to crackling ruin.

‘Let us finish this,’ said the Reclusiarch, ‘the chapter has need of this machine and we must not tarry.’

Under Phineas direction the bronze gates screeched open, their programming overwhelmed by brute force scrap code. Astartes and Skitarri dueled through the widening gap, filling the air with hellshots and bolt rounds. The lesser weapons and weaker armor told against the tech-guard, their mutilated corpses falling to the deck with increasing frequency.

‘Kill the crew,’ ordered Phineas as the Fire Beasts rushed into the bridge, ‘leave the servitors. Reclusiarch, the honor ending the Princeps is yours.’

‘Thank you Phineas,’ said MacCallister, his battered frame moving to the amniotic tank where the shadowy form of the Titan’s commander floated. The execution should have been easy, an errant swipe from an armored post-human ending the shriveled, infantile Princeps. It was anything but that.

Before MacCallister could swing his Crozius, the Princeps surged forwards in its tank, exploding through the armored glass with ease. The Dark Mechanicus warrior was revealed as a compact, insectoid shape of integrated metal plates and dozens of razor sharp metal legs. Its head bore eight multilensed eyes and a long, prehensile proboscis. It slammed into the Chaplain with overwhelming speed, its strength far greater than its human size would suggest.

MacCallister fell to the ground, bowled over by the chattering machine thing. Its proboscis stabbed downwards, jamming into a rent in his armor and stabbing into the flesh within. Roaring, the Astartes punched the creature off him, sending it flying across the bridge. It twisted in the air, turning the blow into an artful tumble as it dodged bolt rounds and landed upon another Fire Beasts. Its talons stabbed into the gap between the Space Marine’s gorget and helmet, ripping off the Space Marine’s head with ease.

Fire followed it, ripping apart vital command consoles and killing the remaining members of the mortal crew. The Princeps drifted like oily smoke, setting its sights upon Phineas, the one true threat in the room as the Tech-Marine could suborn its god-machine. Its stinger churned, changing its configuration to a hideous weapon made in mockery of an Eldar Harlequin’s Kiss. It leapt at Phineas, dodging over his swing power axe and sliding through the churning mass of servo arms and mechandrites reaching from the Fire Beast’s back.

Before it could fire its deadly weapon, MacCallister tackled it, both Astartes and Princeps falling to the ground in a churn of weapons and limbs. The Chaplain’s combat knife punched through one of the Mechanicus Warlord’s eyes and into its clockwork brain, just as the reversed engineered Harlequin’s kiss fired into MacCallister’s heart.
…..
The entirety of the Chapter under Tyme’s command was gathered within the Dread Smith, filling the captured Demiurg ship’s largest hold to capacity. Over two hundred Astartes, nearly half of them in looted, priceless Terminator war plate. They were a thorny mass of spikes, fangs and serrations, an armored host bristling with bolter, claymore and falchion. The few remaining Beast Lords had gathered all of their living charges, hideous beasts ranging across the full spectrum of the animal kingdom, from dog-sized juveniles to elephantine mature bulls.

Douglas, the sole remaining dreadnought, stood at the head of the procession. His enormous claws whirled endlessly, constantly opening and closing as his damaged, barely functioning mind called forth images of ancient battlefields and past glories. His sarcophagus had been polished to a mirror sheen and the gargoyles and skull trophies that decorated the living casket had been repaired to gothic perfection.

Towering above all of the assembled warhost was the God-Machine, a recently repaired Warlord Titan and a priceless technological marvel. Painted in midnight black, symbols of Vulkan’s eternal flame and the God-Emperor’s Aquila had been worked across every inch of its body. Its brutish skull was bone white, save for the glaring red eyes. A plasma anhilator large enough to drive a land raider down hung from its left shoulder, while its right was a gigantic approximation of a Crozius, its head the size of a Thunderhawk gunship. MacCallister was emblazoned across its armored chasis in blood red runes.

Reclusiarch Martel lead a hideous sacrifice below the God-Machine’s feet, tearing the hearts and eyes from captured Chaos Marines and piling them upon an alter of open flame, symbolizing Vulkan’s cleansing fury. Tech-Marines and servitors ran last minute checks upon the arcane machinery built into the bulkheads on each side of the hold. They were jury rigged approximations of teleporters rigged to a gigantic size, a scale not utilized by humans for millennia.

‘Is all in readiness?’ Tyme asked of his Captains; Librarian-Captain Wallace, Reclusiarch Martel and the arachnid Hexile.

‘ All of our machinery is prepared to the highest degree possible,’ said the hideously augmented Tech-Marine.

‘The sacrifices are made,’ reported Martel, ‘the portents are good. We do Vulkan’s work this day!’

‘We have received messages from Weyne,’ said Wallace, ‘he has found Vulkan’s location and is prepared to strike. More he has gathered allies to our cause. The Wolves of Fenris will fight beside us.’

‘Then let us begin,’ growled the First Beast, slamming his partisan’s shaft into the deck.

‘Beast of the Fire,’ roared Tyme to his warriors, ‘we have been called into battle most joyous against a foe most foul for a goal most worthy. We go now to free our Primarch and to follow his dark fire in kindling the light of mankind. Let us go with wrath!’

With that, the servitors running the teleporters activated the arcane machines and the Tech-Marines keeping Reclusiarch MacCallister unconscious ended the flow of drugs to his war-scarred mind.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:38 pm

Awesome battle scenes as always. You have a particular affinity for scenes hideous butchery and violence. :D

But when are the Fire Beasts goign to meet an enemy that really tests them? so far they seem to be wading through everything with relative ease.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:55 pm

LordLucan wrote:Awesome battle scenes as always. You have a particular affinity for scenes hideous butchery and violence. :D

But when are the Fire Beasts goign to meet an enemy that really tests them? so far they seem to be wading through everything with relative ease.


Well, i'm going to guess that no more than 50 of them are going to be alive by the end of this.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:50 am

Gazizzle Mizzle wrote:Today will be no different than Orzammar, Tejas or Principia.’

Hang on, isn't Orzammar in Dragon Age?

Anyway, spectacular chapter, with some epic combat and ideas in it, especially the captured Titan; that thing having a Crozius is an absolutely epic idea, and I love. All in all, great stuff.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:38 pm

Well i'm going to get that other story finished eventually...
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:35 pm

Gaius Marius wrote:Well i'm going to get that other story finished eventually...

Aaaaaah...
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:58 am

Chapter 13 pt 1.

Kaa Great-Snake was a simple man.

He believed in purity of purpose and singularity of mission. He would undertake any objective as if it was the only one in the entire world and see it through to completion, no matter the cost to body or soul. The dour pragmatism of the Fire Beasts ran thick in his blood, ensuring that no action was too taboo nor any order to humiliating as long as it furthered the chapter’s goals.

As such, it bothered Sergeant Kaa not at all to lead his four squads of Astartes to the foreboding bulk of Alcadizar Prison, there to take up his extremely short tenure as warden. Itself surrounded by the fortified metropolis that was Casr Abaddon, it was a spire that shot a hundred stories into the sky and burrowed twice that many below ground. No prisoner who entered its obsidian gates ever again saw Cadia’s pale sun.

After crucifying and summarily flaying the highest ranking surviving guard, Kaa set about examining his new command. He saw the hundreds of human guards, not Despoiled Cadians, but cultists branded with Abaddon’s star, as utterly expendable and showed them this fact by tossing a squad who had been seconds too slow in saluting him into a pit full of starving Kroot. The remaining guards made sure to be extraordinarily attentive to the minutiae of their tasks, lest they displeasure their violently unpredictable warden. Kaa made sure to run them into the ground, interrupting their rest with constant inspections and drills to put the human and mutant guards into a sleep deprived funk.

The remaining guards were made of sterner stuff, for they were five squads of Black Legionaries. They deeply resented their new upstart commander and Kaa was sure that all of his actions were being reported back to the Seneschal in orbit. He attempted to isolate them as much as possible, keeping two squads on the prison’s outer perimeter at all times and trying to spread the others throughout the tower. However, he knew that in the end he and his men would still be facing at least three squads of Astartes, with twenty more post-humans hurrying quickly to their aide. And this did not count the thousands of Despoiled Cadian’s garrisoning the fortified city around them, who would surely swarm Alcazidar at the first sign of trouble. When the time came to act, Kaa would have to do so quickly.

As he prowled the prison’s dank corridors, the cloak made out of the failed Black Legion Warden trailing out behind him, Sergeant Kaa kept his eyes open. He saw that the primitive knives and clubs his Astartes were covertly handing over to the inmates were slowly circulating through the population. While most of the inhabitants of Alcazidar were natives of Abaddon’s dark empire who had somehow displeased their overlord, many were prisoners of war from various petty Imperiums who had refused to accept the Warmaster’s suzerainty. Their original loyalty mattered little to Kaa, they would all serve as fodder in the end. All that mattered was that they turn against their guards when the inevitable mass riot Kaa was planning occurred.

What truly interested the Fire Beast were the void cells. Unlike the other inmates who had reams of documentation detailing their crimes, backgrounds and punishments, the identities of those trapped inside the two void cells were completely unrecorded. Kaa spent hours staring at the pair of enormous jet black spheres, each of them a stasis tank of rare power and sophistication. They could only be opened by four people: Abbadon himself, his Seneschal, the Lady-Castellan and Kaa in his duties as Warden. However, the spheres were covered in chaotic symbols that would send psychic alerts to the Warmaster’s underlings in the event of their opening. He was convinced that only a captive Primarch would be given such security. However, if he was wrong then he would be opening the cell of something so hideously powerful that Abaddon the Despoiler kept it locked outside of time itself and drawing the full wrath of his dark Empire down upon the Fire Beasts.

His decision was made for him one day roughly a month after Weyne’s departure. His Captain’s voice cut across his vox channel, loud and clear as crystal.

‘Kaa,’ said Weyne, ‘it is time. Our Thunderhawks are on their way to the prison’s landing zones. Grab the target and evacuate.’

‘Extraction will be dicey,’ said Kaa, ‘the city is well defended and the Despoiled will certainly target any craft leaving the prison while it is rioting.’

‘There will be a distraction,’ assured Weyne, ‘now, hurry, our window of opportunity is closing.’

‘I understand,’ replied the Sergeant.

Working quickly, he ordered one of his squads led by Sergeant Cavarn to his side. Others deployed throughout the prison, quickly securing the armories and the control stations for the thousands of cells throughout the complex. With a mechanical hiss, gates across the complex started to slide open, letting mobs of killers and political prisoners out of their cells. Fire Beasts were amongst them instantly, tossing out lasrifles and bandoliers. The prisoners needed little encouragement and set about both the other guards and prisoners of different factions with gusto.

Down in the depths of his prison, with the sounds of riotous battle echoing down from above, Kaa disengaged one of his gauntlets and stretched his hand out over the genecoder basin. Most facilities would require only a small pinprick of blood or a finger print scan to open a door, but the chaotic nature of Abaddon’s empire had seen a liter sized basin installed. Opening a vein with his combat knife, and keeping it open against the clotting agents working to slow the flow of his blood, Kaa let the basin fill.
…..
‘Weyne Turn-coat!’ a voice yelled, the second Weyne stepped from Waste-Song into the Blackstone Fortress’s dock. It was a Black Legionary, a pale faced son of the Luprecal standing high above the crowds of servitors and human serfs that manned the docks.

‘The Seneschal demands your presence on the bridge!’

‘Shit,’ said Weyne to his command, ‘I had planned to go further before we were discovered.’

‘With all due respect sir, that plan was horrible,’ commented Tavi.

‘Less talk, more violence,’ ordered his Captain, bringing up his bolter.

The heavy gun barked once, sending its 20mm shell to crash against the Black Legionary’s skull. Gore splattered outwards as the entire docking bay erupted into chaos. The Beasts let loose with their bolters, shattering security details.

‘Ragnar,’ barked Weyne, ‘the plan is shot, you’re unleashed.’
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:40 pm

Wow, that plan went on the ropes pretty damn quick there. Be interested in seeing how the Beasts manage to recover from that soon.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:40 am

Plan, pfftt, the Fire Beasts don't need no stinking plan! :lol:

Chapter 14: Speed, Sniper, Wrath

Tavi soared.

The Assault Marine gunned the turbines of his jump pack, pushing the howling jets for every ounce of thrust. His taloned gauntlets were held tight at his sides, minimizing his profile and effectively disarming him. One of his Astartes fell, his armor cored by the burning beam of a lascannon. Lasbolts and boltshells popped and sizzled against the Sergeant’s armor, leaving behind scorch marks. A snagged sodium lamp hung from his leg by a steel cable, the trailing flames like some perverse banner.

Below him, war between Fire Beast and Abaddon’s minions raged across the ruined docks. The Fire Beasts were outnumbered, but had the benefit of surprise and the knowledge that reinforcements from their allies were rapidly approaching. Hundreds of Cadians opposed them, supported by a relative handful of Black Legionaries, and used their greater knowledge of the docks and the labyrinthine equipment within to lethal effect.

Another Assault Marine was plucked from the air by an errant shot, streaming blood as he fell to the deck. Tavi dodged around a stream of assault cannon fire, passing the Chaos Astartes who wielded the enormous gun by centimeters. Ahead of Tavi the great gates of tortured, corrupted wraithbone started to clank shut, closing off the Fire Beasts’ avenue of escape. Putting out another burst of speed, the Assault Sergeant slipped through the gates, although another of his Marines was less fortunate and was cut in half by the wrathbone portal.

Bitter at the loss of so many Astartes so early in the fight, Tavi bit down his anger and spurred his tortured jet pack on faster. The Assault marines were moving faster than a response could be formulated and the decks of the Blackstone Fortress were clear to them. Tavi angled for the generatorium of the vast satellite, every dial on his pack in the red as he sped on. With only five Fire Beasts behind him, the Sergeant smashed into the most vital section of the fortress.

The Generatorium was a near lightless room, filled with boilers, monitoring stations, arcane engines and crackling cables. An army of undead servitors filled the vast room, overseen by tech-Priests of the Dark Mechanicus. Before any of the inhabitants could so much as raise a weapon, the Fire Beasts were upon them.

‘Fire and Shadow!’ cried Tavi, his lightning claws butchering servitors and rending machinery into garbage, ‘Kill with Wrath!’

Bolter fire rang out, hitting vital equipment and ruining it completely. Copper cables were shredded by chainswords and lightning claws, while demo charges and grenades were tossed with reckless abandon. Engines and generators sputtered and died, their fuel lines cut or their mercurial components shattered. Servitors died by the score, their machinery filled skulls popping from their bodies like wine corks. Shields across the station sputtered and died, leaving the Blackstone Fortress vulnerable for the first time in millennia.

The response to the Fire Beasts intrusion was swift: a phalanx of heavily armed skitarri captained by corrupted Tech-Priests. The clockwork soldiers were armored in bronze scales and bore chain fists, heavy flamers and hellguns. Their leader was a vast serpentine coil of steel cables, Ceramite scales and artificial muscle, more metal reptile than man.

‘Squad,’ announced Tavi, ‘Captain Weyne has ordered us to destroy as much equipment as possible and then to run. From the fires burning uncontrollably around us and all of the dead servitors, I’d say we’ve done so. However, I hate snakes and could use a new cloak. Shall we hunt?’

The answer was a resounding yes.
….
Thirty warships entered the edge of the Cadian system, the largest intrusion into Abaddon’s personal domain for centuries. In comparison to the immense fleets under the Despoiler’s command it was small, but it was nonetheless lethal. It was lead by the immense, ancient and thoroughly mad Loyal Fiend , a battle ship of the old Imperium half way down the path of becoming a daemon ship it was delayed only by the immense and warped loyalty it felt towards its Astartes masters. Following in its wake were Astartes Strike cruisers bearing the wounds of a hundred battles, captured cruisers from a hundred petty Imperiums and destroyers looted from different millennia. At the tail end of the procession came the Dread Smith a captured Demiurge Citadel forge vessel of immense size and fearsome fire power.

However, for all its might, the Fire Beast armada was woefully outgunned. As many battle groups as the Fire Beasts had ships were converging on the intruders, flanked by as many cruiser squadrons as the Loyalists possessed destroyers. The battle would be brutal and many of Abaddon’s creatures would surely die, but the Fire Beast ships would never get close enough to Cadia to see it with the naked eye, much less attack it.

The Admiral of this doomed flotilla was named Forge-Father Hexile, a centuries old bio-mechanical horror.

‘I remember,’ mused the arachnid Space Marine, ‘when I was just a boy, all of the other noblemen’s sons focused on fighting with lance and sword and axe. And how easy I found it to shoot them in the face with an arrow.’

‘It’s all the same I suppose,’ Hexile said to his crew of Servitors aboard the Dread Smith as he viewed the hundreds of Chaos warships bearing down on him, ‘these overgrown heathenish cretins jetting towards us to bombard and board and pillage, just like the boys from my youth. And just like then and just like all the men I killed with a marksman’s rifle as a scout, they’re not expecting to get shot in the face.’

The Tech-Marine laughed then as the first shots lit up his shields, the laughter a harsh, dry sound like rocks being ground into dust. He laughed for two reasons, firstly because the entirety of Abaddon’s home fleet had gathered to destroy the Fire Beasts who had dared trespass into Cadia’s unholy space, leaving Cadia itself vulnerable. Secondly and by far and away the most importantly, Hexile laughed because he was the only Fire Beast aboard the fleet.

…..
Within a millisecond of Tavi bringing down the shields of the Blackstone Fortress, the Fire Beasts had teleported. To teleport from a moving ship towards a moving target was crazy. To teleport towards a shielded target, chaos warped target you had no guarantee would be unshielded by the time you arrived was crazier. To teleport your forces towards to different destinations was the action of an absolutely, irredeemably insane commander.

As he materialized onto the Blackstone Fortress, it was perhaps true that Tyme Crooked-Mind was absolutely, irredeemably insane. However, he had over two hundred Astartes, half in Terminator armor at his back and one of the oldest Dreadnaughts in existence on his flank.

‘Fire Beasts, with Wrath!’ screamed Tyme, driving his partisan’s blade into the immensely surprised face of a Black Legion Captain.

Against such a force, few would pause to gauge their sanity.
…..
The Capital of Cadia was Casr Abbadon, a fortified hell built atop the ruins of Casr Creed. Hundreds of thousands of the Despoiled Shock were born, raised and trained in its dark streets. It was a maze of bunker-tenements and castle-apartments, separated by moats and training grounds. Only a single, immense parade ground bordered by a temple to a Chaos God at each corner and the bulk of Alcadizar Prison broke up the monotony.

That day, the elite and ancient Cadian 8th Regiment was drawn up on the parade ground, ten thousand men and hundreds of apcs and heavy tanks. Five other lesser regiments were behind them, only grudgingly allowed a part in the proceedings. Mutant priests made black sacrifices as the regiments prepared to be shipped off to war against the petty Imperium of the Sorax, binding minor daemons to tanks and banners before they departed Cadia’s blessedly corrupt soil. Grasceilia Creed, Lady Castellan and Abbadon’s left hand observed them from the cupola of a leman Russ battle tank as her regiments passed by, her scarred face emotionless as the massed soldiery passed by.

‘I want the Kasr’s shields up immediately,’ hissed Grasceilia to one of her Colonels, ‘the engagement on the fringe has my nerves up.’

‘The Seneschal reports that they shall not come within a week’s worth of travel from the surface,’ one of her subordinate Colonel’s reported, ‘he says that the risk is minimal.’

‘Which is not the same as nothing,’ replied Creed, smelling ozone but dismissing it as a byproduct from the sacrificial sorceries being commited before each regiment, ‘raise the alert to high and put all of the shields up, now!’

She was interrupted by an immense explosion at the rear of the parade ground. The wind kicked up as a huge amount of air was rapidly displaced and light flashed as some cyclopean shape snapped into reality. The lesser regiments at the rear of the procession began to burn railcannon and gatling blasters lit up their formations, killing men by the hundred. A plasma annihilator fired once, a bolt the size of a super heavy tank vaporizing the temple of Khorne to the parade ground’s north-west along with a basilisk platoons and 5 infantry companies. Somehow a titan, immense and heavily modified into the likeness of a corpse-slave Astarte had appeared in the middle of the Kasr, its armored feet already bloody with Cadian blood.

‘Cadain 8th!’ roared Creed, ‘mount up and prepare to engage titans!’

Her order was blotted out however, as an immense roar overtook the city, shattering winows and deafening men by the hundred.

‘I am Reclusiarch MacCallister!’ screamed the Titan-Astartes, in its last, beautiful hour of life, ‘I am the Emperor’s Revenge Personified and I have come to DESTROY YOU!’
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:28 pm

Awesome part Gaius. Excellent battle scenes and, as ever, your dialogue is a joy to read.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:00 am

A teleported titan that's piloted by a madman...

Yep, you're nut, Tyme
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:48 am

Chapter 15: Sons of Vulkan

This was right.

Tyme Crooked-Mind had fought for a cause for thousands of years. In the face of the Imperium’s dissolution, the First Bull had seen that no mortal force could heal the shattered realms of man. Only Vulkan, the Fire Beast’s primogenitor and the Emperor’s most favored son could hope to reforge mankind. To find the missing demi-god, Tyme had led his chapter, never noble in all its history but undeniably proud, far from their lofty past. To find Vulkan the Fire Beasts’ ancient recruiting worlds had been abandoned before the Blackheart’s empire, leaving the Chapter without a home. They had acted as mercenaries, shedding blood for Ceramite and bolt shells, the material fuel for their eternal search.

And now, now after seeing hundreds of battle brothers perish over the years, after seeing mankind fall to the brink of extinction, Tyme was so close to his goal he could taste it.

The great hall of the Blackstone Fortress rang with the sounds of war. Despoiled Cadians were dying by the hundred every moment, their comparatively frail bodies shattered by the superhuman assault roiling over them. The warped wrath bone walls were coated with the gore of heathens and mutants, the daemonic structure drinking greedily of the viscera. What little remained of the original architecture was rapidly disappearing beneath broken bodies.

Tyme’s warriors were at his flanks and back, two full companies of Astartes, one of them in Terminator warplate. Before them charged scores of the Chapter’s gene spliced monsters, the ursine creatures goring and stomping squads of human cultists into paste. Their hides were scoured with lasburns and marred with bullet wounds, leaking thin treacle to the deck. Every one of the increasingly rare creatures that died was an almost irreplaceable loss, but if Vulkan could be found it would be worth it.

Using the monsters as a living shield, the Fire Beasts advanced, their devastators firing over the rampaging packs to annihilate particularly fierce knots of resistance. Many things could kill an Astartes on the battlefield, be it meltagun, missile or massed las fire, but the Chapter’s heavy weapons squads carefully targeted any crew-served weapons before they could be brought to bear.

Bereft of their supporting arms, the Cadians were brave and strong, but they couldn’t hold, not against Astartes in close quarters. Bolters roared on semi-auto, pulping men with single shells. Chainblades and falchions ripped through flack armor in a welter of gore, while power weapons were used against the rare numbers of Chaos Marines amidst the press.

Tyme’s eyes slitted inside his helm as he saw one of his Astartes fall beneath a Black Legion power first, Ceramite plate collapsing like paper before the blow. Roaring, the Chapter Master rammed the head of his partisan into the fallen Marine’s elbow, the spear tearing away the enemy’s weapon and the limb encased within. Not pausing a moment, the ancient Astartes used the pole arm’s spikes to break through the thin armor at his enemy’s throat, losing a tide of hyper-oxygenated blood down the foes breast plate.

‘First Bull,’ came Weyne’s voice in Tyme’s ear, ‘are you aboard?’

‘With full compliment Captain,’ answered the Chapter Master, ‘we advance on the throne room as we speak. Only cultists and mutants stand before us, more meat than shield.’

‘We are working our ways up from the docks Lord,’ said Weyne, ‘Wolf and Beast will secure your avenue of retreat.’

‘Join us quickly Captain,’ ordered Tyme, ‘we must have the guns of this station down before our Lord arrives. I will leave it as ashes, a first sacrifice to Vulkan on the bloody road to unity. We will have to flee swiftly once he comes.’
….
Deep in Cadia’s depths, Kaa’s blood filled the basin to the brim. The Astarte’s enhanced physiology had stopped the process twice, but each time he had opened another vein. As post-human gore filled the silver basin, the hideous runes carved into its sides began to glow with red heat. The blood bubbled and burned, blackening as the cells were boiled. Reddish smoke filled the air and in response, the pair of void cells began to slowly his open.

‘Sir, there is a Titan battle going on in the city,’ one of his men voxed to Kaa, ‘and we have Despoiled units moving into the complex.’

‘Hold them off as long as you can Sergeant,’ said Kaa, ‘we will join you soon with the might of a demi-god on our side.’

Of the two void cells, the one rightmost to the Fire Beast Sergeant opened first, the two halves splitting like an eggshell. Inside were arrayed artifacts, ancient devices that Kaa could not recognize. The Salamanders had had little to do with their cruelest descendants and even in the age of the Imperium little had been passed down to the Fire Beasts. Kaa did however recognize the obvious skill and craftsman ship in the weapons, especially the immense spear, half as long again as a Space Marine and fitted with bulky flame projectors.

Turning his eyes from the collection of war gear, Kaa sighted the inhabitant of the second cage. The Sergeant had been prepared for a demi-god, a piece of the vanished Emperor, the salvation of his ruined Chapter.

‘No,’ hissed Kaa, ‘No. NO!’

He moved quickly, his body moving with every ounce of speed the Emperor’s long dead scientists could have envisioned. Within a moment he had the razor sharp blade of his chain axe pressed against the prisoner’s throat, while the Fire Beast’s gauntlet’s gripped the side of the man’s skull.

‘Who are you?’ demanded Kaa of the bent, aged Astartes before him, his dark skin covered in lines of age and his muscle aged to nothing.

‘Vulkan,’ gasped the ancient space marine, pain in his voice and bitterness, but not fear.

‘Not possible,’ snarled Kaa, ‘you are not the Forge Father; you are not the Dread Smith!’

‘I … I am Vulkan He’Stan,’ said the old Astartes, ‘a name I have not said for long years. And you have walked into a trap.’
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:56 pm

Please tell me Tyme has it under control?

Please?
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:18 pm

Colonel Mustard wrote:Please tell me Tyme has it under control?

Please?


Well...um....

as the Spanish would say... no.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:30 pm

*Falls to knees in shock and grief*

POR QUEEEEEEE!!!
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:41 pm

Ah ha! Nice twist. Surprisingly, I hadn't seen that coming at all. Nice one Gaius!
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:25 pm

LordLucan wrote:Ah ha! Nice twist. Surprisingly, I hadn't seen that coming at all. Nice one Gaius!


I'd decided to do it some time ago, it was setting it up that was the trick. 8-)
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:53 pm

Half the trouble of twists is disguising them effectively, without it coming out of the blue. You achieved that here I feel.

The best twists are obvious in hindsight, but inscrutable beforehand.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:12 pm

Chapter 16: The Hero Dies

The first Juggernaut hit the attack beasts like a hammer, its brass bulk emerging from thin air to send the massive apex predators flying. Iron hard bones snapped and geneforged flesh ruptured before the daemonic assault and the flesh shield before the Fire Beasts was broken. To their credit, the animals managed to down one of the three daemons, a full fifty of the psyker-dominated creatures tearing the never-born’s bronze flesh apart even as its flaming viscera burned them to ash.

Wallace, the Psyker-Captain of the First faced down another of the Bicorn daemons as it smashed through his shield of beasts. Pulling immensely from the warp, Wallace’s red eyes blazed blue with maddening energy as he blasted the warp beast. Lightning erupted from the Crux-Terminatus at his chest and struck the daemon head on. The never-born was sundered by the attack, great rents appearing in its side to spill molten bronze amongst the more mortal blood already present. Wallace was damaged by the hideous power of his own assault, servos and muscle fibers in his armor melting together as the energy overwhelmed his psychic hood and hoarfrost formed about him. His blade, First Bull Douglas’ immense relic claymore, dropped from his nerveless fingers as the lightning overwhelmed its caster’s nervous system. Joints frozen and his mind on fire, Captain-Wallace died as the daemon’s corpse struck him head on, its immense horn piercing his primary heart. His corpse stayed upright, Ceramite boots melted to the wrathbone deck.

The last and largest Juggernaut tore through the packs of beasts with ease, before charging into their Astartes masters. Bolter fire blew off fat chunks of metallic flesh, but the daemon continued its charge, impaling a Fire Beast sergeant and trampling three of his squad, their armor collapsing beneath its feet. The dying Space Marine continued hacking at the creature’s head with his falchion, even as his intestines spilled out from the massive hole in his abdomen. Five more Astartes died before the daemon was brought down by a Terminator with a chainfist.

‘Devastators to the fore!’ ordered Tyme, realization that something had gone hideously wrong dawning as the great gates leading into the station’s bridge cranked open. A full company of the Black Legion was arrayed in the opening portal, heavy weapons to the fore. Behind them was Abaddon’s Seneschal, sitting on his throne and held aloft by a great palanquin borne by four tusked terminators. Beside him was a figure that caused dredd to well up in both of Tyme’s hearts.

Its shape was vaguely that of a man, although in size it was twice the bulk of a terminator. Instead of flesh, every inch of its body was covered in hideous, gnashing mouths filled with teeth of bronze, bone and steel. From every one of the orifices sprayed foul gases and one hideous, endlessly repeated name: Buchlein.

‘It’s a trap,’ hissed Tyme, recognizing the daemon prince vanquished on Siclemaus, ‘it wanted us here.’

A roar ripped through the hall, filled with impossible rage. Ancient Douglas gave voice for the first time in centuries as he recognized the prey he had been denied previously. The dreadnaught stormed towards the Black Legion lines, its lightning claws blazing.

‘Orders Lord?’ asked Martel, the Chaplain’s skull helm coated in gore.

‘Follow Douglas, we still need the station down to escape,’ replied the First Bull, ‘Devastators, blast their firing line apart. I want them ash before we leave!’

Three squads of Devastators and a dozen Terminators bedecked with assault cannons and missile pods stomped forwards. Heavy bolters were brought up, alongside anti-tank missiles and armor piercing lascannon. Ignoring desultory fire from their traitor counter parts, the Astartes aimed and began to fire. The first shots tore around the charging Ancient Douglas and through the Black Legion Company, killing a dozen of the traitor marines with streams of heavy shells and bursts of flickering energy. Shell casings and spent power packs splashed into the blood pooling about the Fire Beasts’ feet, floating in the gore.

‘To easy,’ hissed Tyme, viewing the enemy jeer at them from behind the corpses of their dead brothers, ‘they’re planning something. Flanking squads, give me a report!’

His demand was cut off as the blood soaked decks exploded into violence. Hoarfrost formed and rapidly jumped from Beast to Beast, leaving their red and green armor white as thousands of entities translated from the warp. Clawed hands, curling horns and muscular, scaled bodies formed from the congealing gore on the floors. From the gore leapt Daemons, hideous Bloodletters of Khorne. They were on all sides of the Beasts, within their ranks even. Astartes after Astartes went down from their soul sucking blows, power armor broken like paper. The Devastators suffered the worst, their heavy weapons worse than useless in the melee as they were struck down from all sides. All three squads were slain within seconds of the Daemon’s arrival, their superhuman blood mixing with the gore the daemon’s had sprang from.

‘Neverborn!’ yelled Tyme, his partisan killing one of the snarling warp creatures, the daemon fading from existence even as his spear shattered its skull and burned out its brain. ‘Cast them back to the abyss Fire Beasts!’

One of Tyme’s honor guard went down, terminator armor pierced by eight different blades. The squad of daemons leered at the First Bull, who responded by transfixing the foremost member through its heart. The monster snarled at him, dying claws gripping the pole arm’s shaft. Its pack mates moved in for the kill, blades held high.

Fire washed over three of the bloodletters, the burning promethium singing them to a crisp. Martel appeared, roaring with a flamer in one hand his Crozius upheld in the other. The eagle headed mace arced down onto one of the remaining daemons’ skull, splattering sizzling blood across the chaplain’s armor and pulling the melting daemon to the ground. In one motion, Martel pulled the energized mace from the daemonic corpse and stabbed it into the chest of another, breaking ribs and sending the daemon flying.

‘Strike down the unclean!’ screamed Martel, with every ounce of savage passion possessed by his predecessor, ‘Drive them from mankind’s reality!’

His warriors struggled to obey, working desperately to stay alive. Once the initial shock had worn off, the Astartes were able to down many of their unreal foes, the lesser daemons still weak enough to easily banish with mundane weapons. The Chapter’s three remaining Librarians did their best, killing dozens of the daemons with their psyker talents, but it was Chaplain Martel who excelled in killing the foe.

Crozius in one hand and a dead Devastator’s flamer in the other, Martel laughed uproariously as he slew. The daemons quailed before him, the holy symbols in his armor glowing as hot as the flame thrower he fired. His Crozius flashed and another neverborn fell, its skull shattered and its teeth flying. Led by the Chaplain’s example, the Beasts were soon able to quench the daemonic incursion. But it was already too late.

Scores of Fire Beasts lay slain, almost half of Tyme’s original complement dead in minutes and the Bloodletters’ blades had made no distinction between Terminators and tactical marines. Those that remained were exhausted and low on ammunition, their armor cracked and their blades chipped. The Black Legion was quick to take advantage, charging in on the wearied Astartes.

The great daemon Buchlein charged with unreal speed, slamming into Douglas with a roar of shrieking metal. Near dead Astarte and ascended Chaos Marine battled, their claws destroying bulkheads and their flames melting the deck.

Black Legion Havocs, now unchecked by their loyalist enemies, fired, sending volleys of missiles and autocannon fire into the remaining Beasts. Whole squads were killed or wounded, their post-human flesh riddled with shrapnel. A rampaging wave of Chaos Marines waded into the remaining Fire Beasts, lead by the immense form of the Seneschal.

‘Captain Weyne,’ voxed Tyme just before the wave hit, ‘we need immediate reinforcement.’

‘We are coming Lord!’ was the hurried reply.

‘It will not be fast enough,’ said the First Bull.

The Fire Beasts fought, but they were wounded and weary while their enemies were fresh. 1st Company’s few remaining terminators killed many, but their traitor foes flanked them and drove combat blades into their backs. 2nd Company was cut off from their First Bull, pushed back as their numbers dropped from the combat.

Tyme, Martel and the Chapter Master’s few remaining honor guard fought like madmen. They cut their way through the chaff, coming upon the Senschal and his bodyguard of Terminators. Tyme’s three remaining guard died in as many seconds, gunned down by combibolters. They managed to wound one of their killers, who was finished by a Crozius strike from Martel.

Lunatic hate running through his veins, the Chaplain turned on the Seneschal. His first overhand was blocked by one of the two powerfists wielded by the Chaos Lord, as was his second and third. Martel’s last blow was caught by the huge Chaos Marine, who wrenched the holy power mace away from the Fire Beast. One punch destroyed Martel’s legs, the second his skull.

‘NO!’ screamed Tyme as he saw one of his few remaining friends fall.

Old, but still skilled, the First Bull had already killed one of the Seneschal’s body guards. Now he turned his formidable prowess against the Chaos Lord, coming in low with his partisan. The spear wounded the Seneschal in the leg, severing muscle both synthetic and biological. Tyme darted away before the immense fallen Astartes could respond and stabbed again, drawing blood and bile from the foe’s stomach.

‘Wrath!’ screamed Tyme, driving a killing blow towards the Seneschal’s head.

To his dismay, the foe intercepted the spear with his hand, letting its head drive through the palm of his power fist. His other hand shattered the adamantium haft of the polearm, before coming around to snap one of Tyme’s legs like kindling.

‘Wrath?’ asked the Seneschal, pulling the partisan head out of his hand, ‘Oh yes, I have wrath for you little corpse slave.’

He stabbed thrice and did not miss.

Once to Tyme’s uninjured leg.

Once to his stomach.

And once to his skull.
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