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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-03-09, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
Dirge Eterna
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Ferrus Mons, 1200 hours

Three weeks later

The enemy engine was burning. Wright watched as it's carapace came apart under massed gunfire as the Knight responded to his commands. His arms and legs were encased in ceramite sheaths, and his head was surrounded by sensors and a thick HUD. The Lancer-class Knight rotated on it's axis, opening fire into another rogue miner's suit, sending the machine to the ground. His machine was equipped with a plasma destroyer on one arm, and a long, crackling energy blade in the other. The weapon hissed as it recharged. A miner suit stomped over the wreckage of a hab unit towards him. He tried to pivot aside as the EMP launcher on the miner's carapace fired, but the bolt struck his engine dead on, making him howl as the shields failed and the electronics of his engine died. The miner stepped forward in triumph, but he fired a shot into it's leg, making it collapse. The miner was crushed under the weight of his engine.

A scream over the Manifold told him his battle-brother had died behind him, and hydraulic claws closed on his engine's arms, pulling it to the ground. He struggled weakly, the electronics still booting up. A huge breacher drill entered his vision, and the world went black.

The simulator pod opened, releasing his limbs.

"You're dead." said the white-haired man. Wright nodded. Next to him, Matthews and another initiate he didn't know stepped from similar pods.

"You're all dead." he said. "You can't be that reckless in an engine fight, son. You have to fight as one. Rickert, you could have killed that fifth suit if you hadn't wasted your blastgun shot on the one you could have killed with the powerblades. Matthews, you need to move more. Those EMP launchers are nasty, and Wright? You need to remember you're a lot larger then you think. Dodge when your body wants to. Don't think. Trust your instincts. That goes for all of you, too."

The initiates nodded.

"But," continued the man. "You're about ready for the story. Come with me."

Matthews and Wright looked at each other. Rickert, the third initiate from their original class of almost thirty, simply looked confused.

The man led them to an elevator shaft, taking them deep below Ferrus Mons, even below Camp Blackhawk. The trio of initiates smiled as they recognized Steele's massive figure berating a new class of potential Talons. The elevator stopped after five minutes of descending into the depths of Thracia.

"Good Afternoon, Crusader Strom." canted a tech-adept behind a desk. The white haired man nodded at the priest.

"Got a new bunch of potentae, Eryk. Think you can tell them a story?"

The priest nodded stiffly. "I can find one or two around here."

The man stood up and pulled a fat key from the depths of his robes. He inserted it into the door behind the desk, and the stench of parchment, oils, and ink wafted out. Strom and the initiates followed into the Steel Talons' Librarium.

They stopped before a vast mural, it's surface cracked and chipped with age. A huge Battle Knight fired into a host of men, while white-green Space Marines fought at it's feet.

"The Steel Talons' history dates back to the Heresy." said Eryk. He gestured at the mural. "The fight to pull the Technocracy into the fold. Knights of the Steel Talons fight alongside the Sons of Horus Legion."

The next stop was at a second mural, this one a vast host of black nightmares charging a thin line of golden warriors, while grey Knights and vast Battle Titans stood over them.

"Stormlord Kuvara's last stand at the Seige of the Emperor's Palace." explained Eryk.

The initiates looked on in awe. The magos led them to a large marble statue, depicting Thracia. The north area around Ferrus Mons was grey, emblazoned with the blue eagle symbol. The south, closer to the city of Hygyrum, was a shade of dark green, with a white skull with dripping paint.

"The division of Thracia after the Talons left Mars." said Eryk. "The Steel Talons took the north hemisphere, the Legio Nex Titan order took the south."

Their final destination was a vast steel door that was covered in names.

"This is the Chamber of the First." explained Eryk. "Every Titan Legio and Knight Order has one. It houses the very first machine, and sometimes, as is the case with the Talons, it also holds the most revered of our warrior's remains, or the remains of their engines. You must be respectful at all times, and do not touch anything. The remains are stasis-shielded to keep them from degrading, and will freeze your flesh in a heartbeat."

The initiates nodded. Strom simply looked amused.

Eryk looked at each of them with a stare, weighing their promise, and opened the door. A light mist fell from it, dissipating into the Librarium. They stepped into the chamber, finding it to be a long hallway dotted with vast spaces for engines, and small chambers for men. They passed a gold-edged Enforcer-Class Knight, it's surface pitted and scorched by what looked like acid.

"Stormlord Davuson." said Eryk, looking at the Knight. "Killed during the first Tyrannic Wars."

They moved on, past a dozen engines and ten times that men. Finally they stopped in front of a pure silver engine, it's armor engraved with vast murals and holy script. Ancient parchments hung from it's frame, and a single purity seal was affixed to it's chassis, bearing the personal mark of the Emperor himself. The initiates breathed in with awe.

"The Deus Aquila." breathed Eryk. "The first Knight, given to the Steel Talons' first initiate by the Regent of Terra and the Emperor."

"It's beautiful." exclaimed Matthews.

"It's not like the ones you'll be driving, believe me." said Strom. "You'll get gray, and you'll like it."

As the men left the Chamber, a single one of the Knights lurched from the wall in front of them, weapons raised.

You'll forgive me, but you must be mistaken. I've met your makers, and they don't even know your name...

(Updated Mar. 19)

Hat in the Ring

Last edited by Dirge Eterna; 02-03-09 at 09:13 PM.
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