Firemahlazer - The Craven Beast
Captain Crassus could feel the harsh glare of all the shadows boring down from the steep hills of the valley. The small town of Pella materializing into view was the source of his uneasy worrying. He quickly decided the feeling was not an instinct, considering his crow-eyed troopers were on the fence about their instincts as well. No doubt the fear radiating from the march-weary guardsmen from the Consentia Fourth company was about as raw as the wounds in last month’s casualties. Crassus would have to trust his scouts on the decision to force-march during the dead of night. The actual chance of coming under attack proved to be very low, according to his most trusted men.
“Slave Raiders… you hear that? A town goes silent and they want us to go investigate- in the middle of the frakking night!” One of the grunt-privates had spoken up towards the fore of the marching column.
The smack of a hand across his helmet by one of the Sergeants, Cassius Beatiatus, interrupted his rant. “Shut your gob, Lysuscis, and the nefarious Eldar being involved is just some gossip. Rebels could have easily stormed in and taken Pella for themselves.”
Lieutenant Ceasar of the first platoon suddenly chimed in smirking in the Captain’s direction. He raised his voice over the gossiping rank and file. “Makes little difference given the situation. The Fourth company all by its lonesome out in the fearsome wilderness, most of our vehicles broken and shattered, and the march shooting our morale to an all time high. Whatever’s at Pella, I’ll give them a day or two to surrender tops.” Ceasar’s words earned a couple of snickers laden with dark intent.
“Consentians! Halt!!!” Crassus raised his fist at the very entrance leading into the town. His orders were echoed down the chain of command and soon the entire company was kneeling on the roadside. He could feel their eyes fixated on his back.
Ceasar made to stand beside his Captain, sharing a similar look between themselves. “What in the name of all the Primarchs?” The Lieutenant mouth was visibly gaping.
Crassus folded his arms patiently, a knowing smile crossing his lips. “I’d say an unharmed town of Pella. A welcome sight. Gather the men, we’ll rest easy tonight!”
The weary tension among the Consentia Fourth immediately dissipated in the wake of relieved rejoicing. Three men abreast at a time marched into the undisturbed city much to the surprise and exaltation of those still awake so late in the night. Their joyous cries soon woke the sleeping and a crowd began to form from the windows and balconies.
Lysuscis’ obnoxious voice shouted over the bellowed cheers of his comrades. “Why is everyone celebrating!? We could be sleeping out on the street tonight!”
Ceasar was about to turn on his heel and punch him hard in the gut -a fellow Consentian warning- when a boy no more than eleven years suddenly rushed up to the head of the marching column. Ceasar and Crassus both stared down the boy with questioning gazes, the impatient looks on their faces quickening the boy’s certain praise.
The boy looked distraught with renewed hope. “Did the Emperor send you!? Have you come to liberate us!?”
“Liberate you from what son!?” Crassus gestured with his arms all of Pella.
The boy’s voice erratically shifts into inhuman tones and volumes. His smile too warps into something terrifying. “... Liberate us from our shackles!!!”
The monstrosity hiding in the form of a boy suddenly explodes into a nexus of energy. The core cackles madly while it continues to adapt into a humanoid shape. A horrible one at that.
“Consentia Fourth! To arms! Kill everything in site!” Crassus’ piercing cry is echoed by decade veteran soldiers. The deamoness before him suddenly attempts to decapitate him in a wild spectacle for her deamonic on-lookers, but her disgusting claws fall short.
The specters of the former citizens of Pella suddenly transform all at once, taking on the forms of lavender she-deamons and suddenly spring their carnival of slaughter on the fourth company. They beset on the slower, confused soldiers first, closing entire distances with bounding leaps and literally tearing them apart with their wretched claws in front of their comrades. The able-bodied still capable of putting up a fight are close enough to the sudden storm of death that they are painted in the blood of the fallen.
Crassus leaped backwards into Ceasar. His plasma pistol discharging a molten hole in between the eyes of the she-deamon that had attempted to take his head the moment it looked real enough. His Lieutenant spins him away on instinct, taking his chainsword and side-stepping a sudden flurry of claws. His skill shows through even as he lashes out in desperation, severing a trio of separate limbs from their owners. Ceasar quickly steps back into their reach and cuts through them all at once with a vertical swipe. The monomolecular edges of his blade easily part through vulnerable flesh, spraying arterial blood all over himself and Cassius who fights beside him. Such was their bravery.
Yellow trails of unloaded las-fire fly through the air and light up the dark streets of Pella. The battle cries of human warriors suddenly intermingle with the insanity of singing deamonic entities. Deamons pouring in from every angle fall where they stand under the weight of fire, absorbing a wasteful amount of firepower as they attempted to claw their way to fresh blood. The alien creatures came forth in a stampede colliding hard into a wall of resistance.
Someone shouts. “Crassus! By the Emperor, death from above!”
The Captain immediately tuck and rolled away from the retracting press of lavender bodies, making enough room for a very slim creature to fall upon his previous position. His long serrated blade clanked against the ground futilely, then the mandrake - a headhunter, command had warned- jolted off his knees and connected a savage kick across Crassus’ temple. Crassus couldn’t react to the Eldar’s lightning coup de grace. The creature’s triumphant cry mixed with the defiant screams of both Ceasar and Cassius.
The deamonic entities echoed his declaration of victory with mocking laughter. The Dark Eldar continued their cruel revelry even as their disguises -very realistic holograms- began to fade away altogether. Ceasar fell to his knees in horror at witnessing the horde of Wyches and Mandrakes butchering the wounded and trapping the survivors.
A Succubus grips him violently by his hair. “Bring this man a communication device. He has a quite a story to tell.”
"We advance south, towards Spartacus and those who would join him in rebellion! Let our shadow fall upon them! And every man, woman, and child so touched by it, struck from this world! By the might, and glory, of Rome!"
-Simon Merrells as Marcus Licinius Crassus