“I hate this world. I always have and I always will.” General Grail thought quietly as he rummaged through the assignment details given to him two days before. Grail mumbled under his breath as he shifted a stack of files upon his desk.
As he turned, his hip caught the corner of the desk. It shook and the files he had spent the better part of the day organizing fell to the filthy floor. ‘Damn, fekking filth!’ he roared as he turned to see what had become of his hours of work. ‘I hate this place.’ he stammered as he kicked the files across the tent’s interior.
Seeking to calm himself he sat at the table and placed his head into his meaty hands. Grail was tall and heavy, nearly two-hundred and ninety pounds, most of it muscle. Normally he was a disciplined soldier, but the endless fighting had begun to sap at his soul. He was tired, and who could blame him?
If he was not on the line fighting side by side with his men, he was here sorting out paper work; records, details of every single thing that had happened throughout the campaign to the best of his knowledge, remembrance or suspicion. The information was gathered by the commissar in the evening and shipped off to the Inquisition for inspection. Any sign of corruption would see he and his men put to death.
‘Fekking Inquisition.’ he whispered into his scarred palms.
‘What was that, General Grail?’ a voice grated.
“Fekking Commissar, go to hell where you came from.” Grail thought, but did not give voice for fear of his life. Instead he said, ‘Commissar Engals, so nice to see you on such a wonderful evening.’
‘Don’t shove a bayonet up my ass, Grail. I need the files an hour ago.’ the Commissar growled.
‘Well, as you can see, Commissar, the files are not ready. The blessed Inquisition will have to wait for them until I can reorganize them. I do hope that will not be a problem.’ Grail said.
The Commissar looked around the tent and sneered, the scar that bisected his face bending in mock understanding. ‘I’ll come back in two hours. It will not go well for you if the files are not ready, General. I know you understand me.’ With that he turned his back and stormed out of the tent.
‘Yes, I understand you.’ General Grail whispered. Slowly he stood up and gathered the files and placed them on his desk. Pulling a flask from a box in the corner, he unscrewed the topper and drank deeply of the bitter wine. Sitting back in his seat, he put the wine away and began his work once more.
In the distance he could hear the chanting of the Chaos hoards as they prepared to strike. The battle would soon start up again; the 109th Valdorian Infantry would fight for their lives once more.
In the beginning Grail’s goals were just like any other man’s when they joined the Imperial Guard. Defend those who could not defend themselves. Fight for the helpless. Defend the Emperor’s worlds from the forces of darkness.
But now time had passed. Twenty-two years in the Guard was long enough. Seeing his men die around him on a daily basis was taxing. Fighting against the great enemy was brutal to the mind as well as the soul, but to have to constantly watch your back from those who were supposed to be on your side was intolerable.
The Chaos war-guns began to fire once more and the earth shook. Screams filled the evening air and fires blazed all around. General Grail donned his helmet, chain-sword and las-pistol and ran from the tent just as it exploded in a ball of fire and shrapnel.
Two thousand men were under his command and he would not fail to be their leader at the forefront of the battle. The lines were holding, but the trenches would be overrun within the hour. It was clear to see that the 109th had to retreat or die. The setting sun upon a cloudless night was blotted out by the smoke of battle, exploding shells and the mist of burning flesh.
Fifty meters away a chimera exploded sending shrapnel and fire into those gathered around. Their screams filled the growing darkness, but the lines held firm. Thousands of daemon worshipers began to pour across the open fields and General Grail gave the order to retreat.
He knew there would be hell to pay, but there was no other option but to run; to give up ground. In the distance flamethrowers fired from Chaos engines lit hundreds of faithful soldiers on fire. Like moving, screaming wax candles the bodies began to run in all directions while the Chaos hoards laughed with delight.
The wind changed direction and brought the searing chemical stench of burning flesh back onto the retreating 109th. People fell to their knees vomiting and screaming as the enemy closed on them. This was not a battle, but a slaughter and by the Emperor’s will General Grail and his men would survive.
‘Rear guard, form up and leave your fear behind you,’ Grail railed over the din. ‘Kill those damned souls and send them to their makers.’ Seeing his example, the 109th steadied themselves and began to do what they were made to do; kill.
With his chain-sword revved up to full spin, Grail speared three skin clothed men. Their guts churned with the spinning blades and their bones were turned inside out as the roaring blades sawed through their bodies. Blood bathed the area around Grail and clothed him in ichor, but he kept fighting.
‘For the Emperor, kill them all!’ he bellowed. A bullet turned him around, blood pouring from his shoulder. The attack did not come from an enemy, but from the Commissar’s own gun. ‘General Grail, I warned you to have those files ready for me and they are not ready.’ the Commissar yelled. His face was blood covered and insanity was written in his eyes. ‘So by the order of the Emperor and the holy Inquisition as well as the satisfaction of the Commissar’s office I do hold…’
‘Shut the fekk up and die, Commissar.’ Grail said through clenched teeth as he drove his chain-sword through the Commissar’s chest. ‘Maybe you will find the files where you’re going.’
All around him the fighting continued and he knew that he would die soon, but he laughed as he continued to strike the commissar long after he had fallen to the ground.
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Last edited by Adrian; 01-03-12 at 04:54 AM.