For The Emperor
Last Stand HOES
Word Count: 1057 (not including title)
The view that assaulted his vision made him want to weep; he could not remember the last time he wept, maybe when he was a boy. He saw the destruction wrought by the life-eater virus and the firestorms that had accompanied it had scoured the world. He did not know how many Astartes survived but he knew that the human populace would not have survived 16 billion people dead in a matter of minutes. As his gaze swept the shattered landscape he saw in the distance Ancient Rylanor, standing stoic but unmoving.
He looked up as flames lit the already burning skies, through the dying firestorm he saw drop pods and Stormbirds begin to descend. This battle was not over yet. He warned his brothers and then stopped as he heard a faint signal, a faint voice. Closing his other vox channels he listened again, there, a voice that made his heart leap with joy. Getting up he told his second to double the securing detail and grabbing his bolter he made off towards the source of the signal.
He moved silently, despite his bulk and crouched down. Before him the Stormbird of the 26th Grand Company sat idling in the clearing. He glanced down to see the helm of a Death Guard stare mournfully back up at him. He stared at it for several moments then forced his attention to the lone figure that sat on the ramp seemingly waiting.
He checked that there was no one else around and moved into the clearing removing his helm he hooked it to his belt and stood with his bolter raised. The other Emperors Child rose to his feet, a Captain, he hooked his helm to his belt and closed the gap between them. Kenar stepped back keeping his bolter raised.
Halter raised his hands and stayed where he was, the relief on his face was palatable at the sight of his little brother. Not just his battle brother but his genetic blood brother.
“Kenar” The relief was evident in his brothers’ voice and Halter closed the gap drawing his brother into an embrace that Kenar returned.
“How did you escape the viral bombing?” Kenar wanted to know, his bolter lowered.
“We just arrived. I sent my men away so that I could get you and take you back to the Perfection”
Kenar stepped back as his brothers’ words sank into his mind “You are here to kill us” It was not a question “Why Halter!”
“You are no traitor Kenar, Tarvitz made his choice” Halter rested his hand on his brothers shoulder “I want my little brother by my side as we fight in the name of the Phoenician and the Warmaster”
“The Warmaster has gone mad Halter, look around you” He implored and bending down picked up the battered helm of a Lunar Wolf “He would do this to his own sons and now he sends Angrons dogs to finish the job, as well as our own brothers!”
Halter took the helm and tossed it to one side, uncaring as to the warrior that might have worn it; all that mattered to him was getting his brother back into the Legion. His beloved Lord Commander would welcome the younger Jovotch with open arms.
“The rest of your squad have been marked for death, they follow the line of a false god Kenar, and I am here to give you a chance to re-join your brothers, to fight alongside me once more. You are a good Sergeant, a tactical genius, we need you, the Phoenician could use you once more, My Lord Commander will welcome you back” Halter cocked his head to one side “I need you”
He emphasized his last sentence.
Kenar shook his head and raised his bolter once more although he did not aim it at his brother. “I love you Halter, I always have, ever since we were children, when father died you were the one who kept our family together, the men could use you Halter, if we stand together….” Kenar stopped as he stared into his older brothers eyes.
They were different; they were no longer the trusting eyes of his brother in battle, knowing that his brothers were there to watch his back. His brothers’ eyes were swimming with hate. Hate for what he had once loved and there was something else, although what Kenar could not put his finger on it.
“I am returning to my brothers” Kenar told him “Unless you are going to kill me Halter. I cannot follow the direction off our father, I am a grandson of the Emperor and I will remain that way”
“You are a son of Fulgrim first!” Halter narrowed his eyes and pointed his gauntleted finger at the Sergeant.
“I am the son of Ismael and Isolde Jovotch, a former son of Fulgrim and a Grandson of the Master of Mankind. I do not want to kill you Halter but to do my duty for the Emperor I will do what has to be done.”
“Then return to your brothers, for you will die on a fool’s errand Kenar”
“As will you one day Captain Jovotch” Kenar walked away.
Halter watched his brother leave and closed his eyes for a moment. “I love you Kenar, die well brother”
The shouts of the dying raged around him as the Traitors and the loyalists clashed. Captain Tarvitz had relayed the message that Captain Demeter, the Second Captain was dead at the hands of Lucius. That news had devastated the loyalists; they had believed the arrogant captain was one of theirs, now it had become apparent that he had been planning on betraying them all along.
Sergeant Jovotch killed all manners of traitors that crossed his path until he and the remnants of his squad made their final stand. The smell of cordite, blood and death was all around him, traitor World Eaters driven on by the fury of their enhanced rage fell beneath the bolters of the mixed squad of loyalist Emperors Children, Sons of Horus, World Eaters and Death Guard. Suddenly Jovotch looked up into the insane grinning face of the First Captain.
With a roar to the Emperor he let loose his Bolter but Karesoian was upon him like a mad man and with the fury of a berserker he ripped Kenar apart with his chainsword. As the Sergeant lay dying his squad fell to the combined madness that was the traitors and what his once beloved Legion had become he wept.