Justicar Erebus stood on the steps of the ruined building that once housed the Planetary Governor of Ranmer Minor. The building still burned in the unholy purple daemonic flames that had consumed it. Justicar Erebus and his Terminator squad had teleported to the surface as part of an advance strike team, only to find that their intelligence had been wrong. The domed city had been nearly obliterated in the time since the first call for aid had gone out. Most of the once mighty and beautiful buildings now sat ruined, nearly unrecognizable as buildings at all.
“Brother Martayus, do you sense the enemy?” the Grey Knights Justicar asked of his Librarian.
Brother Librarian Martayus walked forward to stand beside his Captain and longtime friend, “No, Erebus. That beyond anything else disturbs me…”
Justicar Erebus tapped the hilt of his sword as he considered the situation for a moment, “It is unlikely that the daemons have left this world. How they are hiding themselves is unsettling to be sure but not insurmountable. Come brothers, let us purge this world and be gone.”
The rest of his squad nodded silently and followed their Justicar down the steps of the once mighty administration building. The streets and squares before them were equally bathed in the unholy purple light of daemonic fire, casting vile shadows all around the squad as they pressed into the city. The lack of corpses made it all the more strange that they felt nothing around them. Erebus considered for a moment the possibility that the flames were somehow distorting their perceptions, but could not readily rectify the suspicion with any knowledge he had ever gleaned from his many decades of battle that would justify such a thought.
Further inside the domed city, the squad came upon a twisted effigy that told the Grey Knights rather plainly what daemonic god of Chaos had sent his minions to prey upon the moon. A tree that had once dominated the center of a pavilion had been desecrated, visages of twisted nude figures writhing in agony and pleasure adorning the entire surface of the tree on all sides, the limbs and branches cut down all around it alight with the daemonic flames.
“Slaanesh…” Justicar Erebus growled just loud enough to be heard.
The squad fanned out and continued along the path they had been taking, finding themselves approaching a structure that had not yet been burned to the ground. A temple that had once been dedicated to the Emperor stood before them, the beauty of the structure marred by the tainted symbols of the Chaos daemons that had been sent to Renmar Minor. The very sight of it fanned the flames of fury within each and every Grey Knight who gazed upon it.
“Brothers, let us purge the filth and reclaim this world!” the Justicar urged his men forward as he drew his sword from its place at his hip. The squad let out an angry cry and followed the Justicar forward, each of them brandishing one of their own weapons. As they charged the building, a flood of daemonettes surged from the entryway, each twisted daemon bearing a horrible form that would have repulsed and entranced any lessor men of the Imperium.
Justicar Erebus was the first to come upon a daemon, his Nemesis weapon blazing angrily with psychic energy as it came crashing down into the daemon’s flesh. His victim screamed in utter agony as the blade sliced through flesh without hindrance, fueled by the Grey Knight’s own psychic might. No sooner had the corpse been cleaved in half did Erebus set upon the next daemon just behind it.
The group of Grey Knights waded into the swarm of lesser daemons with the zeal of hardened veterans, all of them shrugging off blows and dealing death to the foul beasts that had been set loose upon the world. Bolter fire, flashes of lightning, and the sounds of cleaved flesh filled the ears of the Grey Knights as they pushed forward. It wasn’t until they had actually breached the structure that their momentum slowed. The horrific sight the squad became witness to was almost too much for even Erebus to behold.
The bodies of countless hundreds, if not thousands, sat pinned to the walls and ceiling of the building. Their blood caked every inch of the floor, turning it into something of a shallow pool. Many of the ones that hung around them had been given the release of death, but not all. Those that had been unlucky enough to live were screaming in horror, pain, and begging for death. In the center of it all, a twisted Keeper of Secrets stood, basking in the glory of it all.
The foul daemon looked almost entirely human, only the clawed hands and twisted, daemon-like legs of the thing gave it away for what it truly was. It didn’t notice the Grey Knights at first, too wrapped up in the pleasure of the agony going on around it. Once it did turn its twisted eyes to the Grey Knights, it was clear the beast cared nothing for talk.
The Keeper of Secrets surged forward, and so too did Justicar Erebus, the pair clashing in the middle of the temple. The beast exchanged blows with the Grey Knight, each punishing hit being greeted in kind by an equally devastating hit from the Justicar. Erebus managed to cleave one of the daemon’s arms off before it finally managed to send a spiked limb through his armor, impaling him. The world went black soon after…
A pale white light was the next thing Erebus saw. A rush of uncertainty washed over him before his senses finally returned. He felt the familiar chill of metal, the alien tingle of limbs that were not his own. He could perceive the world around him clearly a few moments later, and gazed down upon the man who had woken him from his slumber, from the dream that always waited for him.
“Justicar Erebus,” the man who he had not yet known addressed him, “You have been called upon to serve the Grey Knights once more.”
Erebus’ mind grappled with the implications of it. He had been reborn, fated to serve his brothers again inside the great machine. He could not remember if that had ever truly been his wish, but then… he could hardly remember anything except the day of his death with any clarity.
“I will serve,” his voice emitted from the vox as his massive limbs carried him forward to the next battle against the daemons of Chaos…
1099 words not including title.