Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: In a cell for revealing sensitive information regarding the Inquisition
Shouts from other Night Lords echoed faintly in Veptus’ ears, their words lost on him. His mind was focused solely on his charge, his sacred trust. Their corvid screeching of worry, indignation or betrayal meant nothing to him. He needed to get the captain to safety, and that was where he thought he was heading. The death screams of the Urizian’s crimson sons and of the Tenth Claw was the first indication that he might not be. Veptus focused in on their deaths, but it was mostly unintelligible gargling of blood and frantic shouts. Something was slaying the Astartes below at a terrifying rate. “Corax.” Veptus breathed, his tone suddenly ashen.
He risked a glance over his shoulder. Veptus wasn’t sure if his sight was obscured by Xandrek’s form, the speed at which he was careening through the air or by whatever mysterious powers the Lord of the XIXth Legion possessed, but much of Corax refused to come into focus. The lighting arching from his hands was all that betrayed the presence of the Primarch’s lightning claws and although Veptus knew he must be riding on his Korvidine Pinions he could scarcely make them out.
In stark contrast to the rest of his features, the face of Corvus Corax seemed to be focused beyond even Veptus’ naturally enhanced eyesight. What he saw mirrored faintly the face of the Father he admired. Dark locks of hair framed a pale face contorted by rage. Although Veptus had been told that the pupils of the Raven Lord were jet black, he would have sworn in that moment and in times to come that they glowed red hot with fury, like coals plucked directly from the heart of a forge. Veptus silently willed his jump pack to give a final burst of speed, although he doubted the mere techmarines of the 4th Company, even Var, could match the artificer wrought ingenuity of the Raven Lord’s flight pack.
As Veptus looked back he saw the form of Azrael appear between him and Corax. Clearly Azrael had offended Xandrek in the most grievous manner that he was so ready to die such a pointless death. Skilled as he was with a blade, it would not save him against the wrath of a betrayed Primarch. Nothing baring blind luck that went against all reason would. Swiftly Corax relieved him of his legs and sent him tumbling into the red sea of Word Bearers below. If he still survived he would need extensive surgery to replace his lost limbs, which at this moment Xandrek didn’t seem inclined to grant. A noble gesture but ultimately fruitless.
Veptus felt Xandrek move on his back and a moment later his jump pack spluttered and died abruptly. Gravity took over and the two of them fell from the clutches of death. Corax still swiped at them. Although the strike was only a grazing one, the Raven Lord’s meter long lightning claws bit deep into the meat of Veptus’ shoulder as he fell. The corvine primirach decided to seek other prey and didn’t follow them in their descent, but that didn’t mean it was safe.
Without the jump pack, Veptus could only vaguely control their meteoric descent. The storm shield was still below both of them and Veptus angled it flat to slow their descent and hopefully allow them to skid to a halt rather than imbed themselves in the earth. Veptus landed with his right shoulder down and the bounced once before skidding through the earth. Xandrek was thrown from his should and rolled through the advancing Word Bearer lines, swearing as he went. Veptus felt his collarbone snap clean and pierce the skin between his shoulder and neck. He also felt his right shoulder dislocate as if to add insult to injury, as well as his fused ribcage sustain a series of hairline fractures.
The pain from the fall and the wounds he had sustained was substantial, but Veptus still had a duty to perform. He pressed down sharply on his collarbone, forcing it grindingly back into rough alignment with its counterpart. It would not hold like that. His narthecium drilled a small hole into the shoulder plating of his armour and a needle pierced the skin and injected medical concrete around the greenstick fracture to hold it steady while he fought on. His advanced physiology would force his bones to heal rapidly, but they would set poorly. Veptus wagered he would have to break the collarbone again after the battle was done in order to set it properly.
He popped his shoulder back into its socket and moved to find Xandrek. He could have dosed himself up with some painkillers, but he was already short stocked after the battle and his physiology was dampening the pain well enough to keep him one the tolerable side of irritable. Remains of Night Lords, most likely the 10th Claw by the rather their icons were disappearing from Veptus’ HUD rained down around Xandrek, and Veptus as he approached. Corax was tearing through them and scarcely slowing. Nothing would stop him, save another Primarch. As Veptus reached Xandrek, checking the captain over for wounds that required immediate attention, looked up to see a brutal melee unfolding. Lorgar, Primarch of the Word Bearers had challenged Corax in order to preserve the lives of his sons. This was one of the most vicious battles in the Imperium’s history and, although Veptus could not ignore his charge, he kept half an eye on the battle. The outcome would mean life or death for more than just its combatants, and he had to be ready if he needed to move Xandrek away from the vengeful lord of the XIXth Legion…