Sprinting forwards, the Scout’s three squad-mates had been taken unawares:
The first had had no time to bring up his shotgun before Kesh battered it out of his hands and the reverse shield-stroke shattered his jaw.
The second had primed frag grenades and rolled them into his path, but ceramite proved too hardy for the shrapnel to penetrate. An uppercut with his chainfist split the second from groin to head, showering the third with gore.
Looking around for safety, this last scanned the area for a safe route out. Finding none, Kesh’s growled enquiry stopped the youth in his tracks:
“Going somewhere, little bird? You can see your comrades beset on all sides, the only choice is join or die. Yet Corvus Corax has already made the decision for you. Run and you shall be cut down...a traitor to your Primarch.”
Drawing himself into a fighting stance, the enemy replied: “Whereas staying and fighting will prove me a betrayer of The Emperor like you have done?” The young man’s riposte cut Kesh to the bone and his shoulders slumped.
The Scout took that moment to launch his attack, twin swords flashing out, scissoring to catch Kesh’s midriff or shoulder, regardless of which way he turned.
However, the Night Lord stood still and both steels perfectly hit their marks, digging halfway into the plating before sticking fast.
Kesh grasped the young man’s wrists as he still clutched the blades. A moment passed between them, the younger man looking up into his opponent’s face, knowing his fate was sealed.
“Your training is good...was good...in another time, perhaps we could have used one with your passion.” Kesh smashed his helmet into the scout’s unprotected face repeatedly until it was a caved-in mass of flesh and leaking brains.
Getting his bearings, Kesh’s eyes alight on his oaths of moment which had been torn from his armour by the grenades' blasts. Remnants torn and fluttering upon the soft breeze, a figurative reminder that nothing can ever be the same again after today.
Dropping the body, with a hiss of sliding scree, Kesh skids down to the base of the mound to get better bearings.
He’s seen bloody close-quarters combat before, but it was previously a lot more one-sided as the Legion’s superior tactics and weaponry had prevailed against the lesser races.
However, the ferocity of these melees is nothing like anything he has ever experienced, even during the oldest grudges decided in the practice cages.
Now brother fights brother, with equal training and skills: despite their element of surprise, in a few places Night Lords casualties seem to be equal to -or perhaps greater than- those of their foes.
There was something to be admired in their enemy: a resilience which would simply not yield, no matter the odds or the foe. Yet Kesh knows that an equal fortitude resides within the hearts of his own Legion, too.
“Yet now is not the time for shying away...now is the time for mettle and accounting” Kesh promised himself as he advanced to the melee.
Bolter rounds buzzed and hissed all around as guns and pistols played their part in point-blank savagery alongside the more usual singing whine of chain-weapons.
A Raven Guard sees him alone and charges, figuring an easy kill. Perhaps on any other day, Corax’s son would have prevailed but, when a God’s sons offer each other no quarter, it cannot be said to be ‘an ordinary day’.
The man’s pistol barks twice in his hand before emptying, Kesh catches the first round on his backpack, sending sparks and leaking fluids across the broken ground; the second is met by his shield. The Raven spins as he tosses away his useless pistol, carrying on his motion brings his chainaxe round in a doublehanded sweep aimed at the Night Lord’s face. The howling teeth gouge away a top corner of Kesh’s defences. Laughing in victory, the Raven fails to notice Kesh has brought up a gun inside his guard, placing the cool vanes of the plasma weapon under his chin.
“Your soul shall have no rest, brother Marine.” Kesh whispers and looks away as the cerulaean bolt evaporates his opponent’s face and head. Although he feels the heat-blast wash over him, the situation leaves him cold: his usually ebullient nature shock-chilled by the enormity of the events which have been set in motion and all he can do is to follow them to the end, wherever or whenever they lead.
Keeping his head down, Kesh runs towards the embattled standard bearer:
As he quickly traverses the distance, he takes care just to smash opponents to the ground, or send them flailing back into the melee with heavy shield bashes from his arm-pistons, avoiding prolonged combat.
Although the veteran's loyalty is much-vaunted and his accuracy is clear for all to see, Kesh attempts to get close to the banner: the heart and soul of the company...what Kesh hopes will be his source of salvation.
“A soldier without a leader is just a beast...a nothing...” he reminds himself under his breath.
Urgently trying to trace any living relatives of Private Sam/Samuel "Jock" Wilson (Black Watch, No. 6 Commando, UK Army Service ID 2764432, died 10.06.44). Any info/suggestions gratefully received.
"Mockles! Pent on silpen tree, blockards three a-feening. Mockles! What silps came to thee, in thy pantry, dreaming?"
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Last edited by andygorn; 02-01-15 at 02:41 PM.