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post #23 of (permalink) Old 03-03-16, 12:07 AM
Euphrati
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How does one measure the life of a warrior?

I can almost feel the inscrutable glare of Reclusiarch Agamin’s skull-faced helm as the thought rises from the depths of my mind, the rictus grin of his dark deathmask an unshakeable reminder of our sacred duty. I feel his cold gaze as keenly as I feel the absence of my brothers. Like a wound that refuses to close, I cannot deny that their deaths have no effect upon me.

I see the greater xenos stumble, its head turning and alien eyes locking upon me. There is a malevolent intelligence in the gleam from its eyes, an intelligence that it has no right to possess. I feel my fists clench tight, my grip hardening around my weapons as the creature turns to its underlings and three of them break my way.

The humans are finally fighting back, their weapons pathetically ineffectual in the face of the xenos’ durability until a stray shot ignites the fuel from the flamethrower that one of the lesser orks carries. I feel my lips curl back in a snarl as the explosion destroys the one thing that is keeping the humans safe. Over the din of the flames, I hear the xenos’ leader roar encouragement to his lesser kin.

How does one measure the life of a warrior?

Look to that which he hates with every fiber of his soul. Look to that which he stands against with the last drop of blood in his veins and the last breath on his lips. Then you shall know the measure of a warrior.

I hate these xenos beyond doubt, beyond measure. I hate them for the very sin of their existence. My hate leaves room for nothing else.

It is the only thought upon my mind as I enter battle.

-

They were crude and lumbering, clad in a motley assortment of spiked leathers bearing rough markings that announced their allegiances to what amounted to brotherhoods within these xenos breeds. With a growl, Theo recognized the insignia for the orks that favoured all manner of vehicles; the faster the better. It was daubed onto the leather vest of the ork wielding a wickedly hooked axe, leather that had the distinct appearance of flayed human skin.

They carried a hodgepodge array of weapons, rusting blades and clubs with guns, easily as large caliber as astartes bolt weaponry, strapped and forgotten in their bloodlust at their sides.

Theo dropped his shoulder at the last second, a jagged xenos blade missing his skull by less than a hand’s width and the satisfying crunch of impact as his shoulder guard smashed into its owner coming less than a heartbeat latter. The blow staggered the ork from its footing, and an additional heave sent it stumbling backwards, thick arms wheeling and trinkets adorning its leather armour flailing madly.

Theo was in motion even before it fell, turning towards the next threat with his chainsword already rising to block the sweep of the crudely forged axe to his side. The impact was fierce, shaking the chain binding his chainsword to his armoured form as he gunned the blade into shrieking life. Sparks flew as the diamond-edged teeth chewed through the poorly tempered xenos alloys and into flesh and bone beyond. The ork roared and backed away as most of its fist disintegrated into shreds of wet flesh that peppered its comrades.

An impact to the back of his right leg spoiled Theo’s advance after the wounded ork. His armour was proof against the blow, though the impact left a dent and a haze of cracks in the ceramite. With a roar of his own, the young Templar backhanded the offending greenskin with the back of his pistol, sending the ork reeling to the ground with a fractured tusk and foul blood coursing from its split lip. Theo stomped down with bone crunching force, reducing its ribcage to fractured splinters and its heart to pulp.

It bought him no more than a heartbeat’s space as the first ork had regained its footing and launched itself at him with a howl, ropes of spittle trailing from its open maw and cleaver held in a brutal two-handed overhead chop. Theo did not even try to avoid the leaping xenos, instead he surged forward to meet it. Sparks cascaded in a brilliant arch as he met the rusting edge of the butcher’s blade with his growling chainsword, deflecting it to the side and taking the resulting gouging blow on his right shoulder guard. Black and white ceramite scattered away as the blade bit a chunk from the holy warplate.

Theo reached out with his gun hand, catching the ork in the back of the neck and crushing it towards him to close the gap until he was eye to eye with the foul xenos. The ork screamed its rage into Theo’s faceplate, flecks of spittle spraying from the bestial xenos’ open mouth and decorating the blood red lenses of Theo’s war helm. The young Templar ignored the raging xenos in his grip, turning and dragging the thrashing ork with him just as a staccato boom echoed out.

The ork in his grip jerked suddenly, its feral eyes going wide in sudden and violent pain as Theo felt an impact on his chestguard like a sledgehammer that rocked him back. The rusted blade clattered to the ground from the xenos’ now limp grip, its eyes locking with its own reflection in his eye lenses.

-

I know I am smiling as I watch the life fade from the greenskin’s eyes.

The way the pupils dilate wide at the last moment, that final realization that it has forever failed. The way the muscles in its body seize tight then release in finality. I savour it. The black ceramite of my war helm and blood red of my glowing lenses are the last things that it will ever see.

This is what I was forged for.

I push the corpse away, there is a hole big enough for me to put my fist into where its spine used to be and the front of my armour is dented, coated in blood and bone fragments. The last ork stares at me with its porcine features agape with surprise, smoking gun held in its one good hand and the bloody stump of its ruined hand still dripping its foul blood into the dust of this world.

I stalk forward, foul blood dripping down my front where it soaks into the tattered remains of my Surcoat.

Far too late it realizes the danger, trying to bring its gun to bear for a second shot. I bat it aside with a slap of my blade, the discharge blowing a crater into the sacred earth of this world.

It roars at me, screaming its hate at the top of its lungs.

I break off one of its jagged tusks as I feed it my pistol. I pull the trigger once and its skull disintegrates.

I know I should have ended it with my blade, conserved the precious ammunition, but the satisfaction of seeing its brainpan emptied across meters of open ground is a failing that I will willingly repent for later.

If I am to keep the oath that I have taken from my fallen brother, there is no time to linger. I turn from the falling body, sprinting into the rear ranks of orks pouring into the damaged fort with my growling blade already wet with orkish blood and seeking the group’s leader.

Cut off the head…
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