Veptus watched the titanic clash of forces meters from him. Lorgar was a spineless sycophant and Veptus knew that the only reason he stood between him and the retribution of the Lord of the Nineteenth Legion was because Corax was butchering his monstrous hoard even quicker than he had been culling his own kin. Lorgar swung his heavy mace, but Corax clearly had the upper hand. His moves were a blur of motion, lashing at Lorgar’s armour and threatening to deliver death. Quickly, Lorgar was forced onto his back feet.
Veptus supposed that Corax’s blows were fuelled by rage and indignation. His legion had been betrayed and all around him his sons were being slaughtered indiscriminately. By comparison, Veptus had not yet seen his Primarch nor had he heard of his actions. Corax demanded answers from Lorgar, bellowing his questions. He demanded, before he killed him, that Lorgar explain their actions. Why had they betrayed them? Why had they abandoned their Emperor? Lorgar burbled something about Truth and some impending doom. It was a weak defence, and Corax would have none of it.
Corax had pushed Lorgar back as far as he would go and in a final act of near fratricide, the claws that had come so close to ending his own live began to gouge holes in Lorgar’s face. It looked like Lorgar would die here and the possibility that a Primarch could die shocked Veptus almost to paralysis. Even Lorgar seemed to be unable to stay the wrath of the black armoured corvine primarch. Veptus realised he and Xandrek were still too close to the Primarch of the Raven Guard. The only thing that would save them was the press of crimson bodies, chaff to slow the lethal harvest that Corax would reap. A chill running down his spine was the only omen that warned Veptus of what was approaching them.
The midnight clad form of the Night Haunter appeared from the shadows and wrest Corax’s claws away from his brother. His icy voice reverberated in Veptus’ ears and he felt a savage smile creep across his face. “Not so fast little Raven.” His Primarch tore one of the Raven Lord’s lightning claws off. The anger in Corax’s face dissipated, replaced by abject horror. Whereas the primarch of the Nineteenth had to ask Lorgar why he had forsaken his beloved Emperor, simply looking at the Night Lord seemed to tell Corax everything he needed to know. That revelation seemed to chill him to the core. In a burst of fire from his jet-pack Corax fled, off to defend more of his sons and seek to escape no doubt.
Konrad turns his abyss-black eyes from the fleeing sight of the Lord of the Ninteenth Legion to gaze at two midnight clad warriors stood in a sea of deep grey and artierial crimson Veptus went to help his half naked Captain to his feet. Xandrek accepted it half way before shrugging Veptus off, determined to stand under his own strength before his Lord and Father. Veptus noticed that one of Xandrek’s helmet wings had been cleaved off by Corax, only then realising how close him and Xandrek had been to death. He looked on his Father and swallowed the knot in his throat. He wasn't sure if it was excitement or the effect Konrad had on people that caused it. He spoke, bowing his head, his voice rising barely above a whisper. "Father."
Xandrek removed his helmet.
"Sire" Xandrek said lowering his unhelmeted head before the Primarch of the Eighth Legion before he turned his midnight black gaze to look into the pale features of the Lord of the Night Lords. "The fourth is fully engaged in battle save my own squad who are currently regrouping. As per your orders we are engaging the 19th Legion and the Imperial Army to the north."
"My orders..." Curze seemed to speak to himself, as if evaluating a fine vintage. His attention drifted briefly before coming back to Veptus and Xandrek. "...and what about you 'Lord of Lies'?..." There was a slight mocking intonation to Curze's words that few could afford to have with Xandrek. "...Tell me, have you grown weiry that you retreat now, or is is that you are bored with our petty war?"
The Primarch of the Night Lords let his faux displeasure hang for a moment. The corner of his mouth twitched briefly into a half-smile and the game was up. He waved Xandrek away with his hand, flicking drops of Astartes blood on Xandrek as he did so. "I see you are all but spent and I would prefer for you to remain alive for now. You..." Now all of the Night Haunter's attention was focused on Veptus. He had always hoped he would do something noteworthy enough to warrant the Primarch's attention, but now he was not so sure. "...you must be the one he calls Corpse Master, one trained by Orrin. I may still have use of you."
Konrad noticed the new arrivals and Veptus relased a breath he had been holding. He was still glad to be so close to his Primarch, but also glad he was not the center of attention any longer. "And who might this be?" Konrad asked almost disinterestedly.
"My Minoris, Xheng, Corvis and..."
"...Azrael, my champion." Xandrek finished Veptus' sentence, the words coming out bitter and spiteful. Night Haunter nodded, his interest in his gathered sons all but gone.
"Well, Corpse Master, it seems you have the living to attend to. How unfortunate. Perhaps some other time then. Afterall, I'm sure there will be many battles to come and plenty of corpses..." With that their Primarch soared away from them, off to cleave more loyalists from the land of the living.
As Xheng and his entourage approached, Veptus turned to Xandrek. “I believe these are yours Captain.” Veptus offered Xandrek’s massive shield and his blade to him. Although he had shed all of Xandrek’s extraneous armour, Veptus could not have left his blade. Since becoming Captain, it was the only weapon Xandrek had wielded. For whatever reason, he had become quite attached to the blade. Xandrek took both of the weapons back from Veptus, not sheathing either, but leant on his tower shield slightly. Although the armour was still weighing heavy on him, Xandrek refused to shed it or to lie down again. He continued to fix the approaching forms with a fierce glare. “Call the Fourth back, and call the Revenant. We are done here. Let other spend themselves whittling down what remains of our ‘cousins’.” Veptus nodded.
“All members of the Fourth Company, heed me. The Lord of Lies commands you to withdraw. Our work here is finished.” Veptus switched to the First Claw. "First Claw, converge on my position. Let others waste their lives annihilating our defeated foe." Finally he contacted the The Maiden of Sorrow. "Fleetmaster."
"My lord Veptus, how may I assist?"
"Send us the Revenant, we shall be returning shortly."
"Acknowledged lord Veptus." The link died and Veptus surveyed the battlefield before him. The Word Bearers and Alpha legion were surging forwards. Even the Iron Warriors were beginning to leave their lofty posts and wet their blades. By the moment the three betrayed legions were shrinking into islands of resistance, systematically overwhelmed and cut down. This was not simple defeat. This was utter extermination, and the knowledge that three legions had perished here would rock the Imperium to its core. It would install terror in the War Council to know that they stood outnumbered and outgunned. Terror the Eighth Legion would happily capitalize on…
Last edited by Deus Mortis; 02-26-15 at 09:32 PM.