The cacophony of battle could well have been deafening to anyone un-augmented, but even through the dampeners, the sounds still seemed to reverberate around Kesh's helmet and rattled his head. Heavy calibre auto-reactive shells tore up the ground as nearby servitors trained their guns upon the Tactical Dreadnought squad advancing inexorably towards them.
Sizing up his options, Kesh saw that -even with his shield, more agility and some luck- there would be no opportunities to gain glory amongst such vaunted heroes.
Also, if he succeeded, there was always the possibility of hurting their pride and them finding the opportunity to take him out themselves, adding him to the huge tally of the already-fallen. Still, he couldn't help but gape for the briefest of seconds in awe at their engraved armour and fortitude.
He also saw that he had been mistaken to approach the banner: although assailed, the standard bearer was very capable of handling himself at close quarters as several foes' bodies testified. Kesh nodded to the bearer, loosing off several plasma rounds which kept their enemies' heads down and bought his comrade time for a quick respite (in case one was needed), even though the spray caused no appreciable casualties.
Espying Xandrek, the Captain seemed to be in a bad way, although the formidable Corpse-master would be sure to use every day of experience and skill in service to his lord.
A lull in proceedings told of consolidation in places by the Ravens, so he began to barge his way through the melee's Raven Guard towards the injured leader. As before, his actions battered a hole through the combatants, not becoming held up by their adversaries. Lashing out left and right with his tooth-edged shield and shrieking chainfist, both weapons met little resistance as his piston-driven arms and momentum multiplied the blows' impacts.
Evidently one Raven Guard had not noticed the oncoming rush, however:
Hacking his power-axe through an advancing Night Lord, a Devastator Sergeant had just retrieved the weapon when Kesh bore down almost on top of him.
The Raven's quick reactions saved him and he backed away, swinging horizontally left to right, buying himself time and shaking his head to clear blood out of his eyes, battle-lust written across his face.
The scent of ozone filled Kesh's nostrils as the hissing powerfield ripped away the bottom half of his shield, forming a sharpened point and only just missing his left knee. Kesh's eagerness had carried him almost past the Raven and he could only attempt a reverse-swing with the shorter chainfist as he turned to face his opponent, but the clumsy riposte missed easily.
"Even if I fall, another of Curze's heretics shall taste my blade" the Sergeant hissed. "The tally today is high...they shall call you number 13."
Kesh's reply was a short laugh, unconsciously betraying how far his Primarch had already fallen from The Emperor's side: "Nobody remembers failures...you are already the relic of some forgotten Legion." His words had been intended to barb the Raven into anger, but the berserk flurry of attempted strikes was unexpected and worthy of Angron's sons, rather than those of Corax.
Where possible, Kesh met the axe's azure crescent with his chainfist's own powerfield, scattering streams of sparks across the torn ground and the fallen from both sides as each strove to be the victor.
The Sergeant desperately sought to end the fight quickly; perhaps having been injured earlier, or maybe finally feeling the exhaustion of war? Either way, his strikes increased in intensity. Kesh tried to match the speed, but knew that this would be over shortly unless he did something to create an advantage.
Knowing that Kesh's movements would be slower, the Raven now deactivated his axe and switched his stance to using it like a quarterstaff.
Without the powered field, it could not directly penetrate his armour, but it certainly could incapacitate him if enough blows landed. The Raven proved this speed by pummelling the back of the Night Lord's shoulders and punching into his midriff, denting cables and pulling a bundle of wires loose.
In the corner of his left eye, Kesh noticed readouts scrolling down: loss of air wouldn't be an issue as much as the slowly decreasing power levels.
The axe-haft slammed into his temple, snapping his head back and making his ears ring. The Raven followed up with a double-strike across his stomach and chest, the shockwaves bruising his ribs which were already tender from the crash.
Clutching in desperation at any half-remembered tactic which might prove useful, Kesh saw that the Raven fought with the strength and fervour of a man who had nothing to lose. In that moment, he was able to dig deep into himself and realised that he had everything to live for...as long as he could get to Xandrek, there was hope.
Backing away and kneeling, Kesh lightly dug his shield into the ground as though sheltering behind it: when his opponent advanced seconds later, Kesh used the hydraulic rams in his arms to punch the back of the shield, sending it's full height into the front of the advanced Raven, knocking him to the ground and sending the axe spinning away from his grasp. Rising to his feet, Kesh was now the oppressor; his enemy had evidently fallen onto a lost upraised blade which had punctured his back, leaking vitality across the blasted earth.
Kesh raised his weakly struggling opponent above his head. Seeing that their battle had brought them close to Xandrek's position (and potentially his new Lord's gaze), Kesh slammed the Raven Guard crashing down upon one knee, breaking his spine with a resounding <crack>
Retrieving his shield, Kesh looked around for danger, trying to help defend the fallen captain's position.
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; 03-08-15 at 04:40 PM.