In the Hour of His Arrival
Word Count: 1099
“Do you recognize anything, Shor’an?” Primaris Captain Kel’Stan of the Drake Hunters climbed over a hill forged from alien dead. “I understand ten thousand years could change things, but…”
“You were not prepared.” A glamorous standard painted in a crimson-emerald quarter scheme fluttered on an ashen wind. “None of us are, Kel’Stan. And no, nothing stands out to me beneath this oppressive veil of darkness.”
Primaris Ancient and standard bearer Shor’an inclined his helm once, the piece of armor eerily reminiscent of those days which he walked the world of Ignaris Prime ten thousand years ago. Like most of his Primaris Brothers, Shor’an stood a few heads over the Salamanders who had served in the imperium for the last ten thousand years. His armor belonged to the new Mark X patttern established by the Ultramarines Primarch, Roboute Gulliman himself. The Ancient’s armor was painted in a crimson-emerald quarter scheme, covered by a great Drake-scale cloak wrapped around his shoulders.
Kel’Stan cast his gaze over the edge of a great bluff and observed the battle unfold in silence.
Charon Prime burned in the unholy flames of a Tyrannic uprising. Detonations rippled across the higher peaks of the Hive City and entire swathes of the urban labyrinth come crashing down onto the impossibly scaled network of slums below. Thunderhawks and imperial aircraft weaved between a mass fusillade of futile return fire. Each unleashed payload into occupied enemy strongholds—which were numerous and grew by the hour—and Kel’Stan looked on with grim determination as entire fortresses were obliterated into nothing more than embers and dust.
Not even a hundred bombardments could stem the tide which poured from Charon Prime. A ramshackle host of tens of thousands of mining vehicles improvised for warfare. Countless thousands of seething mutants forced marched from the gates of the fallen city into the arid wasteland of Choral Desert.
“Brothers!” Kel’Stan heard himself thunder into the burning sunset. He shifted away from the bluff and focused on the hundred Primaris marines assembled for battle. “The Drake Hunters are the one of the first successors ever to be founded from our brethren in the Salamanders. Or so I have been told.
“Do not muddle your thoughts with doubt! Do not think for a moment that Vulkan, our Primarch, would look upon us with shame in his heart. Brothers, Vulkan is not here this day, but have faith that he watches all of us and guides your hearts! Have no mercy for the mutant! For they in their own despair would spread the horrors and oppression of the vilest xenos race imaginable into the very heart of our Imperium!
“Death is now the only mercy you can give our foe… And Vulkan would rejoice of our valor this day as the Drake Hunters step into battle untested. Do not leave your Primarch wanting, for he lives, brothers! Vulkan lives!”
A chorus of a hundred inhuman voices, amplified by the mechanical roar of the Redemptor Pattern Dreadnaughts echoed to the skies above.
“Raise the standard!” Kel’Stan inclined his head in Shor’an’s direction. In his hands, he hefted a heavy thunder hammer into the air, rays of wane sunlight reflected off of the infernal scales.
No sooner had the words left the Drake Hunter’s mouth did the Whirlwind Batteries unleash their firepower into the seething horde below. Kel’Stan watched the artillery shells arc through the air on acrid trails of smoke. The barrage erupted among the Genestealer Cult in an incessant wave of destruction. Several hundred mutants were purged with each successive shell. Their ramshackle vehicles blossomed in fiery explosions and a storm of shrapnel carved through the seething horde.
Kel’Stan allowed himself to be enveloped into a blinding radiance which coalesced around his armor. A small thrum increased in volume until it reached a deafening pitch. He closed his eyes for one moment and when he snapped them open, he stood directly before the oncoming horde. Undeterred by the sudden teleportation strike, a shrill choir of noise rolled over him as a thousand hybrid genestealers charged forward. An inhuman reaction, one that relied on bestial instinct, which had long overcome their honest human souls.
“Aggressors! Redeem them!”
The Drake Hunter Captain’s words were punctuated by several hundred shell casings ejected into the Choral Desert. The marching formations of Tyrannic Cultists recoiled and spasmed into the dirt in one rolling wave. Screams marked the air as bolter shells burst mutants from within in a spray of severed limbs, blood, and pulped organs. Still the endless horde pushed on, many of them clawed their way forward only to be put down when they strayed too close.
“Fare better under the Emperor’s watch!” Kel’Stan weaved around a speeding truck with numerous saw blades fashioned on the front.
The heated blast of a concentrated laser lashed through the air and he leaned away from the wide shot. In one fluid movement, he ripped out his plasma pistol and punctured the gunner through the back of his hybrid skull. Kel’Stan did not wince as the rock grinder shredded through one of his Aggresors in a gory splatter of blood.
Concentrated fire from the cultist came in from every perceivable direction as they moved to envelope the small strike force. Auto fire rippled through the air and scarred many a Gravis-Pattern armor, but for each failed strike, return fire roared and felled a dozen enemies in one burst.
Kel’Stan ducked beneath a sharp talon meant to cleave through his neck. He swept his heavy thunder hammer into an uppercut that pulped the carapace-hardened skull into bloody bits. He swung his hammer in a lower arc that shredded through both muscle and tendon found in the disjointed legs of three mutants. An actual Genestealer clawed deep into his adamantium hide, but he pushed it back with a pommel strike through the chest.
Kel’Stan hurled the creature aside with a strong sweep of his hand and directly into the wheels of another rock grinder. Plasma bolts rained down from the skies, the Inceptors who wielded them soared through the air on fiery trails. The Drake Hunter Captain charged out of reach of the vehicle as bolt after bolt of super-heated energy punched through the vehicles armor and caused it to detonate violently.
A hundred cultists who had joined the battle were caught in the flames and so were some of the Drake Hunters. But the Astartes were not bothered by the heat.
Kel’Storm lifted his hammer as the chapter descended. “Into the fires of battle! Onto the anvil of war!”