I was coming up on Xandrek’s flank when I heard Veptus cry out a warning.
Scarcely a moment had passed before a great clang sounded and my captain went flying past me.
Where he had stood there now was a Raven Guard Dreadnought, two crackling power fists adorning its arms. I grinned wolfishly, at last there was a challenge. I went to take my sword in both hands, remembering too late that my left was long gone, incinerated by a plasma gun earlier in the battle. I stared at it in confusion for a few seconds, before Pelegon’s roar broke me from my reverie.
I heard Veptus’ voice over the vox, calling all Fourth Company to his location and I followed the Apothecary’s signal to find him kneeling next to Xandrek, hefting the fallen captain’s massive shield to protect the two of them from the bolt rounds the Dreadnought was hosing the area with. I threw myself out of the line of fire and felt my lips curl into a snarl.
The Raven Guard was trying to kill my captain, my friend. This was something I would not allow.
I kick-started my jump pack, feeling the exhaust erupt from it as it fired me up into the air. I aimed myself with minute adjustments to my trajectory and then let myself fall. Landing next to the gigantic form of the Dread, I lashed out. The crackling blade of my power sword sliced clean through the barrels of its left storm bolter and I went to destroy the right one, but was forced to duck as it swung round, the sizzling power field surrounding its fists singing my helmet and power pack.
I straightened and my power sword sliced a second time, destroying the second storm bolter and destroying any ranged capability the Dread had possessed.
I felt a moment of triumph, then the Dread kicked me.
I slammed to the floor, dazed and in pain, and for a few moments I could only watch as the Dread raised its massive fist to bring down on my chest and turn me into bloody pulp.
I activated my jump pack with barely a second to spare, rocketing out from under the Dread and back towards Xandrek. With the thrust still active, I pressed both hands to the ground beneath me and pushed, flipping back onto my feet and letting the jump pack boost me into the sky, landing after a few moments at the location where Xandrek and Veptus had been. I looked around for them, and spotted the Apothecary’s armoured form carrying Xandrek towards the Word Bearers. But I also saw something the Apothecary hadn’t.
Only a few hundred metres from Veptus’ destination, Corax was tearing through the Word Bearers like a knife through butter, sending crimson armoured bodies flying in all directions.
“Veptus,” I shouted into my helmet mic, repeating it when I got no response except static. After a few moments of static, I tore off my helmet and cursed when I saw the melted vox wires, presumably from the Dreadnought’s power fist.
Without taking a few moments to think about my actions I rocketed after Veptus. I could only hope I got to him before Corax did.
We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment - and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.