Hey all, this is my first H.O.E.S. as well, good luck to everyone
Word Count: 1,004
The Altar of War
Jastilus lurched under his restraints; the sudden shift in gravity pressing him further into his seat as the drop pod began to descend into the atmosphere. His battle brothers didn’t seem fazed by the sudden addition of pressure, their power armor protecting them against the worst of it. The ten of them stood as silent statues that you would find erected in city squares and places of honor, carrying with them no small amount of noble pride in their silence.
No tension, there is only thoughtful contemplation and silent prayer before battle.
The drop pod fell through the skies on plumes of flame, alongside a dozen others. Anti-air batteries littering the valley below tracked their every move and fired into the sunset, creating a blanket of guided laser fire that could potentially dismantle their entire transport only in the most unfortunate scenarios. The pod bucked and trembled restlessly as it broke through the blanket of the kill zone, coming to rest upon a large hill where the flag of the Sundered Legion had already been erected by space marines that had come before them.
Respect the courage of your brothers and hold only contempt for the steadfastness of your enemies.
The transport had crushed the flag beneath its metal exterior and some of the fallen as well. Jastilus could feel his restraints uplifting themselves off of his immobile bulk, just as the ramparts came falling down on every side of the drop pod. It revealed light from a falling sun, and a valley littered with carcasses of dead space marines and alien life forms. The squad of space marines rose as one, holding bolters and an assortment of other weaponry in their hands and descended the ramps.
Courage shown by the alien is only through fear and despair and courage shown by the heretic is only through warp spawned madness. Compare it not with your own, righteous retribution.
Energy from a plasma rifle had taken Dragus just below his chest, turning his power armor to super-heated, molten slag where it had been struck and punching through his flesh. The space marine collapsed with a wordless cry, the bolter still gripped in his hands and firing at the incoming trio of crisis suits falling out of the sky on stabilizing jet packs.
“Stealth Suits behind our positions!” Brother Novus called out, firing at a moving shadow, easily seeing through the stealth field and punching into the fragile suit with a trio of bolter rounds.
One of the Stealth Suits, possibly the team leader, strode up to the Space Marines utterly becalmed and calculating. He snuck up upon brother Victus to be exact, placing his fusion blaster upon the back of his helmet and incinerating anything that had been there before in a blinding light. The plasma gun sagged in his arms and his body gently crumpled onto the valley floor.
Flying drones traced their movements and positions with marker lights, guiding a hail of pulse fire from the hilltops onto Squad Zane. The hovering discs assailed them with miniature burst cannons, but the space marines easily returned fire and shot them out the air.
“Go! Meet the enemy with bolter and blade! Octus, with me!” Sergeant Zane shouted over the den of battle, charging the first of the landed crisis suits alongside his companion Octus.
The Shas’El within the suit held his ground, opening up with another salvo of plasma, but was deflected to a degree by the Sergeant’s refractor. Zane spun past a heavy foot fall meant to pin him to the valley floor, raising his power claymore and carving into the alien construct’s leg. Already within the shield’s proximity that one of the drones was providing, he swung again, this time aiming for the cockpit.
Thrusters on the jet pack sprang into life and kicked the suit backwards; avoiding the blow, before reversing his trajectory and springing him back into close quarters with the Space Marine. The Crisis Suit answered with a wild swing of its arms and a powerful kick, firing this time from its missile pods and catching the Sergeant unawares. Zane disappeared in a bright flash of light, punctuated by a shrill scream and then finally by silence.
Octus fell into a kneeling position and took the suit’s head off with a clean shot from his las-cannon.
“Brother-Sergeant is down! Charge!”
Battle cries fell upon not so deaf ears as the Space Marines stampeded past the Crisis Suits, eager to get to grips with the rank and file. The fire warriors banded together and attempted to bring the Space Marines down, but valiance and retribution would not be so easily denied.
Jastilus’ bolter erupted like thunder as he caught the first of his enemy in a sweeping assault, blowing a crater sized hole into the Shas’Ui leading the group and slaying a number of fire warriors with precise rounds. He parried a knife with his bolter before promptly cracking the holy weapon of retribution against his opponent’s skull. Crushing the helmet in a spray of blue ichor, the Fire warrior reeled away, collapsing in a heap on the ground and finally lying still.
“Deliver death to your enemies and honor to your comrades, brother Jastilus.” He heard the voice of Sergeant Zane in his head.
“Missiles, incoming!” Novus shouted over the others, pointing up toward the sky.
The earth erupted in great geysers of dirt, grass, and bodies, before being cleansed with a great wash of blue flame. Jastilus had to admit, it was courageous of them to offer up their lives like that just to slay the hated adeptus astartes. They all disappeared in the blue fire, screaming violently as they were torn apart in the force of the blast or caught aflame and promptly burned alive.
“No. Know only contempt.” A smile crossed his lips when he realized that he did not feel any hatred for them, but some form of admiration.
Then he was engulfed in the blast and then he himself ended.