The moments just after battle are the hardest to grasp in my mind.
I am made for war, crafted to be the ultimate weapon of humanity, it is not surprising that I covet the hot rush like a starving man craves the smallest morsel of food. I can almost understand how some of my distant cousins could lose themselves in the fog of war like the blood-maddened sons of the great Angel. I feel the pounding of my twin hearts, my breath a growling force within the close confines of my battle helm, as I turn away from the prone human I just saved.
There is a wash of disappointment as my eyes track the courtyard and find nothing but the silent corpses of the xenos filth.
I draw in a breath, letting it out slowly between clenched teeth as I will my body down from the pinnacle of battle. Even as my body relents, like a hound called to heel, my mind is far from still.
For now, in the moments between this battle and the coming storm, I must seek to become a different sort of weapon. A weapon of knowledge.
Theo takes a step away from the pdf trooper that lay still prone on the ground, letting his senses calm from the heightened state of battle and taking full measure of the outpost around him.
Movement caught his attention as one of the elysian troopers approached warily, leaving the second one attempting to sever the head of one of the lesser greenskins. The man spat to clear his throat of the smoke that choked the air before speaking, his accented tones cutting through the sudden silence of the courtyard as he held his enhanced las weapon in the loose grip of a seasoned fighter.
'It's good to see you, Angel.' Theo turned his helm to regard the speaker, he seemed young but Theo found his lack of familiarity with humans made it difficult to judge such a thing. 'I won't kneel, and I won't ask you to bless me,' Theo raised a hidden eyebrow at the bluntness of the human’s tone as the drop trooper chewed at his lip between words as if uncertain how to truly address the astartes warrior before him, 'I know what you are. You're a killer.'
The second trooper seemed to have given up on his attempt to sever the xeno’s head as he spat a curse before putting a las bolt though the creature’s skull and joined his fellow before the young Templar, 'Aye, thank you Angel, for the support.'
Theo turned his glowing eye lenses to regard each of the humans before him before returning to stare at the first. He stood in absolute silence for a long moment, fetid xenos’ blood dripping slowly from his form, the low growl of active astartes battle plate the only thing that separated him from an inanimate statue as he decided how to respond to the address.
There was a bluntness to the elysians that struck a chord in the son of Dorn. Theo decided that he liked the pair for their disregard of the frivolous formalities humans would insist upon that graded on his nerves.
'You are no good to me on your knees,’ Theo gave a sharp gesture to the cooling corpses, ‘There will be more coming. Drawn by the sounds of fighting.'
The first trooper sniffed in agreement as he spoke, 'Like waifs to the smell of food. You have fought Orks before?'
Theo turned away from the question, looking towards the outer wall and giving a frustrated growl at the destruction before turning back,
'Yes, I have.’ His words were a blunt fact, ‘This is only the chaff before the storm that is coming. Gather the planetary troops, the wall needs to be sealed and I will require a group to return to the transports to scavenge any and all supplies left in their...’ Theo’s voice dropped to a dangerous level, ‘Flight.’
His tone was like the promise of a sword’s killing edge, ‘Warn them if they ever try to flee from a foe in my presence again they will not find my ire pleasant.'
Theo continued, gesturing around to the corpses, 'These need to be burned, outside of the walls as far as you can drag them. Use the fuel from the damaged transport if need be but their taint must be removed or this world will forever bear their stain.'
The second trooper spoke up in reply, 'I'd be happy to burn them. And don't worry, Angel, if anyone flees in front of me I'll kill them myself.' The elysian looked over at the mustering remains of the pdf before continuing. 'We lost our whole squad coming through the front of that storm you speak of, and I'm not about to let cowards fill those boots.'
Theo felt a cold thread of sorrow tug at his soul as the human spoke of his lost squad brothers. He was silent a long moment before speaking again, 'My crusade holds records of fighting by the side of the Elysian regiments,' the young Templar paused before continuing, 'I am Theodoricus of the Crusade Heriklas. Do you have a way of contacting your commanding officers?'
It was the first that spoke up in reply, 'Elias,' the human said, jutting his chinstrap at the other 'And my brother, Tobias. We're in the dark, Angel - Our transport came down,' the human took a deep breath. 'We may be the last.'
Theo gave a faint nod, 'I am the last of my squad. We enacted an attack on the hulk in orbit but the tide of the xenos had already started to flow down to this world. I do not know if my brothers still fight on in the skies, but my last command was to make planet fall and link up with the guard forces on this world.’ The young Templar gave a pause for his words to sink in and to glance towards the pdf troopers. He turned over the meager number of the human troops left in his thoughts, finding the odds of them surviving a second attack not very high if things remained the same as they were. He cursed inwardly before continuing, 'I must locate the driving force of the xenos hoard. Without the head the beast will falter.'
'I don't like the idea of Angels dying...' the human named Tobias shakes his head and leaned in closer to his brother and the towering Templar. 'Since none of us are from here, I'm going to ask these troopers if any of them can point us in the direction of an actual base.'
Theo gave a low grunt, recalling his own tactical knowledge of the area, ‘There is nothing of note within two hundred kilometers of this installation. It is likely that there is holo-display of the regional area within there,’ Theo gestured towards the gaping hole in the main building’s flank with his armoured first in a curt manner, ‘Though if it still functions is another matter entirely.’
The young Templar paused, turning to the man named Tobias and letting his blood coloured lenses track over the human before speaking again.
Theo's voice is strangely soft when he spoke next, even growled through the mechanical distortion of his helm’s vox there is a zealous weight to his words, 'We are the oath-bound sons of the noble Primarch Rogal Dorn, our duty only ends in death, mortal.'
'Funny,' Elias grunted. 'Our death usually comes from duty.'
'And there is no greater honour than to die with the hatred of mankind's enemies on your lips. Let your last breath be in defiance and it shall echo through eternity.' Theo hefted up the ork nob's head and looked back to the hole in the wall he made fighting it.
'See that I am not disturbed for a moment, it may be the only chance I get to understand what storm we face.' Theo turned away from the humans without another word and stalked away through the rubble to disappear within the outpost’s darkness.
I pause in the shadows of the building’s interior, glancing around and nodding as my eyes come to rest upon a blood spattered and dust-covered holo-projector. It appears to be mostly intact, with some minor damage made by the orkish explosives.
I brush aside the chips of stone from its surface and place the nob’s head down for a moment, the metal link hanging from the xeno’s mouth making a metallic chime as it settles on the stone lip.
I pause for a moment, the aspect of what I am about to do turns my stomach yet the chance that the knowledge I seek is right within my gauntlets is enough to drive me onwards. With a sigh I reach up and find the release latches at my helm’s neck seal, the ruby lenses going dark as I pull my helm free and set it aside. The smell hits me first; the torn remains of the human under my feet, the reek of the xenos, the sharp bite of tortured stonework, and the metallic bite of chemical propellant.
Adamantium chains clatter coldly as I pull free my chainsword, the diamond-edged teeth chewing through xeno flesh and bone in an instant. The head flops to one side, fluids leaking out and skull bisected.
I lock my blade to my side before lifting a quivering grey chuck of xeno’s brain matter to my mouth and start to chew.
It is not adversity itself that makes one great, it is our actions when faced with hardship that define us. Never forget your purpose. Never forget the oaths you have made and why you made them.
Last edited by Euphrati; 05-29-16 at 01:48 PM.