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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-11-12, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Default "Angel Exterminatus"-Extract!

Graham McNeill has reported that he is finished with his lastest Emperor's Children/Iron Warriors novel called Angel Exterminatus.

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Warriors emerged from the hellstorm of explosions and scything fragments, searching for handholds beside him. They followed his example, knowing that where Kroeger led, the blood of the enemy was sure to flow. Fire and noise burst around him as he climbed higher and grenade dumpers ejected their payloads in tumbling cascades, but the enemy was running low on explosive ordnance and there were too few to do any real harm. Shrapnel whickered through the ranks of the Iron Warriors, but encased within layers of ceramite warplate, only a handful were blooded.

Vannuk climbed next to him, his burnished armour pitted with small arms impacts, and his helmet scored with heat burns. He had his bolter in one hand and loosed a short burst of fire. A scream, and a body torn up by mass-reactives fell from the wall.

'First blood to me,' grunted Vannuk.

Kroeger's bolter was still mag-locked to his thigh, and would likely stay there until he'd reached the rampart above.

'Who cares about first blood?' said Kroeger. 'So long as there's blood.'

Vannuk paused to take aim at another target, but Kroeger felt the wall beneath him tremble with substrate activity and punched his fist into a crack in the wall. He spread the fingers of his gauntlet to support his weight and swung out to grip a handhold over to his left as the wall ripped open in a leering slice, like the maw of a bottom-feeding ambush predator. Vannuk barely had time to scream before he was swallowed. Oozing tendrils of liquid rock webbed the gap in an instant, drawing the seams of the wall closed again.

'Idiot,' was all Kroeger had to say on Vannuk's demise, and pushed himself onwards.

He climbed with random leaps and surging effort, evading spikes of glistening rock and hails of gunfire with a mix of skill and luck. A turret slid down the wall in flames where he had been climbing only a moment before. The mangled wreckage trailed its cybernetic crewman on ropes of cabling before slamming into the rock below. Its armoured panels tore open like wet paper as it exploded. Flames belched, and corkscrewing contrails ripped in all directions as its shell hopper cooked off.

A shell burst hit the wall next to him, and Kroeger flinched as the impact caused his visor to darken momentarily. He looked up to see a long line of frightened faces looking down at him and grinned. They feared him and they were right to.

'Death is coming for you!' he yelled at them. 'This iron without will soon be iron within!'

Sporadic blasts of fire beat on his armour, a mixture of lasfire and solid rounds. The shots spanked from his pauldrons, but didn't penetrate. Kroeger reached down and freed his bolter from his thigh. He swung the weapon to bear and squeezed off a three round burst of shells.

One man's head simply vanished, the impact trauma enough to tear his skull from his spine. Another soldier exploded from the chest up as Kroeger's round detected enough mass to trigger the warhead's detonation. The third man fell back screaming, his face torn up by bone shrapnel from the dead men beside him. It was wasteful to expend mass-reactives on mortals, but the sheer mess it made of their fragile bodies was too satisfying to ignore. Clamping his bolter back to his thigh, Kroeger hauled himself up, hand over hand, grinning beneath his iron visor as he saw the chewed up battlements within reach. The wall's integral defences were dead here, and now there was nothing to stop him.

He took hold of a coiled length of protruding rebar and hauled himself up, rolling over the broken-toothed remains of the wall. Shell fragments were embedded in the stone, and even as he dropped to the rampart, he had his bolter unclamped again and was searching for targets.

Only two Iron Warriors came over the wall with him; Vortrax and Ushtor from the patterns on their helms and shoulder guards. Kroeger saw an Imperial Fists warrior turn towards them, a captain by the look of him. His face registered surprise, and he shouted a warning to another two Fists squatting in the midst of a company strength of frightened mortals.

'No helmet?' hissed Kroeger, aiming and firing in one fluid motion. 'Stupid.'

The captain went down, but Kroeger was irritated to see that his shot had merely grazed him. The other Imperial Fists rose to his defence, moving apart and firing at their attackers. The mortal soldiers loosed panicked shots at random.

Vortrax fell back against the ruined wall, his breastplate hammered by concentrated bolter fire. Spasming detonations and a crack of mashed bones told Kroeger the mass-reactives had pulped him inside his armour.

Ushtor traded shots with the Fists, but these warriors were too cool under fire to be caught out by such undisciplined salvoes. Kroeger took his time and pulled his gun hard into his shoulder. He sighed on the leftmost of the Imperial Fists and put two carefully placed shots though his helm. The warrior dropped instantly, the back of his head a hollowed out shell of dripping brain matter and scorched bone.

Where the mortal soldiers had turned their attention to the fighting on the ramparts, two Iron Warriors gained the wall. Bolter fire hammered the mortal soldiers, ripping arms from shoulders, torsos from legs like bodies caught in the flailing blades of a threshing machine. Their screams were pitiful, and Kroeger took little satisfaction in their meaningless deaths.

The Fists were the true prize here.

The fallen captain rose with a bared sword that blazed with a razor-edged golden light as he leapt towards the two Iron Warriors. First one, then the second died, carved up with powerful strokes aimed at the weakest points of their armour. The captain kicked them from the wall and turned to face Kroeger.

'Come at me and die, traitors!' he yelled, his face a mask of blood from where Kroeger's shot had torn a finger-deep furrow in his skull. Kroeger shook his head and and shot him twice in the chest. Beside him, Ushtor collapsed, his armour blown outwards by the force of shell detonations. Kroeger ignored the dying warrior's grunts of pain and loped towards the Imperial Fist who'd killed him.

Another warrior without a helm. Did Dorn's weakling sons want their heads blown off?

The Fist backed away, ejecting his bolter's magazine and slamming home a fresh clip.

'Nowhere to run, little man,' said Kroeger.

'I'm not running,' answered the Imperial Fist. 'I'm waiting.'

Despite himself, Kroeger's curiosity was aroused. 'Waiting for what?'

'For them,' said the Fist.

Hammering impacts spun Kroger around, and he felt the pain of lacerating tears and holes punched in his side. He dropped to one knee, seeing at least two dozen Imperial Fists charging towards him. They fired from the hip, but suffered no loss in accuracy. Two more shells struck him before he could scramble to cover; one in the shoulder, one in the centre of his chest. Warning icons flashed to life on his visor, and he coughed a wad of blood through the vox-grille of his barbican helmet.

Kroeger fought to get off a last volley, but his arm hung uselessly at his side and his bolter lay in pieces before him. He hadn't even realised he'd lost the weapon. He looked over the edge of the wall, seeing only a handful Iron Warriors clambering towards the rampart. Hundreds of mortal soldiers opposed them with explosives and massed fire. There would be no help from that quarter for now.

How demeaning to be kept out of a fortress by such dross.

Kroeger stared down at the dark blood pooling in front of him, its bright gleam and iron tang curiously pleasant even as it leaked from his numerous wounds.

A cold shadow fell across the bloodied ramparts, and a roaring blast of jet-hot air blasted downwards from screaming retros. Kroeger's spilled blood boiled in the heat and mortals screamed as their uniforms erupted in flames. The Imperial Fist with whom he'd traded words fell as the ammunition in his bolter exploded and transformed his wrists into charred stumps of flesh and nubs of fused bone.

Something fell from the sky, vast and iron, monstrous and cold.

It landed in the heart of the citadel with the booming clang of a funeral bell; the Olympian master of battle, a demigod in burnished warplate, a hammer-wielding avatar of thunder.

Perturabo, the Lord of Iron.
It seems Kroeger might have a bigger role than I thought and his Khornate ways seems to have developed here already.

Linky: http://www.graham-mcneill.com/gmblog...abacbdab9.aspx
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-11-12, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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The forward elements of the capering host were drawing near, and coils of hallucinogenic fogs writhed between the legs of the riotous assembly. It moved with a life of its own, eager to explore its creators' bodies and taste their sweat, their breath and their dirt. The screams that reached to the skies were delirious and joyous, agonised and ecstatic, a braying wall of sound that echoed from the sides of the valley like the raving of a million madman.

Scarifier priests spun and leapt throughout the dancing horde, their hooked chains and envenomed blades whipping and stabbing with gleeful abandon to cause pain and excruciation. Where their poisoned tips pierced an artery, the grateful victim would be seized by mad choreomaniacal fits. Roaring observers aped their lethal convulsions and the dancing mania spread ever wider, becoming more and more elaborate until the original victim's madly-pumping heart emptied their body and a new dance began elsewhere.

Mass psychogenic hysteria gripped the thousands of men and women, who screamed and laughed and cried like mourners or celebrants. They fought, they fornicated; moving to the rapid, pulsing beat of a driving imperative that none among the Iron Warriors could know. They carried towering banners, streaming gonfalons and serrated pennants ablaze with imagery that was at once obscene and alluring, repugnant and inviting.

Forrix recognised none of the heraldry, feeling a gut-deep revulsion at the graceful sweeps of the symbols worked into the textured banners. A meld of curves and voluptuous arcs penetrated by hard lines with barbed arrowheads atop their length. Nor were all the members of the host equal; kings and queens and princes were feted in all their finery; silks and steel, velvet and leather. Their crowns were bone, their orbs the skulls of willing sacrifices, and the sceptres the woven finger bones of the handless handmaidens attending them.

And just as there were the gaudy courts of royal madness, so too were there regicides by the dozen as pretenders tore them down and took their bloodied crowns for themselves.

As degenerate as the dancing host's behaviour was, it was nothing compared to the physical malformations wrought on the flesh of its number. Some disfigurements appeared to be congenital, others the work of swords or maces in ritualised combat, but the vast majority appeared to have been engineered by scalpels, bone saws and genetic modification.

Men with anatomies reversed by horrific surgery capered on their hands, with legs sutured to their shoulders and faces in their bellies. Vat-grown cherub-grubs led packs of wild, spine-backed creatures, like the bastard by-blows of loathsome centipedes and giant scorpions. Women cavorted naked with scented oils slathering their bared breasts. Many of these women were gifted with breasts beyond the number decreed by nature, and these violet-hued individuals were attended by howling slaves and weeping devotees.

Amid the heaving, spasming march of the decadent host, some were content to dance, some to debase, others to violate, yet more to scream their throats bloody as they drove their bodies to lunatic extremes of excess. They howled with the hybrid monsters and the most desperate for sensation set themselves ablaze and laughed as the flames consumed them.

Forrix took his helmet from the mag-lock on his thigh as the rapturous mass of degenerates drew near and the acrid tang of perfumes began to discomfit him.

'I saw some strange things on Isstvan, but this is...' began Forrix, snapping his helm into the gorget seals as vocabulary failed him. No mere words could give name or reason to this behaviour, no codes of honour could reconcile this madness with the militaristic perfection and arrogant swagger the Emperor's Children had once possessed.

'What has happened to you, my brother?' wondered Perturabo, his face betraying no hint of the terrible anger that must surely be raging within his heart.

'Where are the legion warriors?' asked Falk.

Forrix scanned the heaving mass of frenetic humanity as they spilled over the outermost earthworks; cavorting through razorwire-edged killing grounds, across spiked ditches and past iron-faced gun emplacements. What would take months of bloody siege to break through was overcome in moments by the vanguard of the Emperor's Children.

At some unheard signal, the host fell utterly silent, halting in its maddened march a stone's throw from the Iron Warriors. Clouds of kicked up dust mingled with the twitching curtain of narcotic smoke issuing from hidden censers. After so cacophonous a din, the silence felt impossibly loud, and Forrix scanned the sweating, breathless host for some sign of what was coming next.

That sign came as the lunatics abased themselves on the sand, prostrating themselves as supplicant savages before burning flora. Soltarn Vull Bronn dropped to one knee, placing his palm on the earth.

'Get up, damn you,' snapped Forrix. 'Iron Warriors bend the knee to no-one.'

Vull Bronn ignored him and cocked his head to one side, as though listening to a voice only he could hear.

'He's here,' said Bronn. 'The Phoenician. He's coming.'

Forrix looked up as the flesh host before him parted, pushing themselves back with their bellies scraping the sand to make a wide corridor between them. Through the swirls of pink and mauve clouds, Forrix could see the outline of something huge and swaying approaching. Vague silhouettes of power-armoured warriors marched alongside it, their forms granting some hope that the III Legion had not abandoned all pretence of being a fighting force.

Fifty warriors in the shimmering purple of the Emperor's Children emerged from the smoke, and their appearance drew a gasp of shock from the assembled Iron Warriors. Slashes of vivid pigment were spattered over their armour, the myriad contrasting hues and clashing colours offending the eye with their garish disregard for the legion's heraldry. Jagged spikes jutted from pauldrons and their helmets were byzantine winged affairs, with amplification hoods and intensifiers worked into the visors.

They carried a banner of stiff pink that Forrix could tell was fashioned from human skin, its texture and stench all too familiar to him. A runic form was emblazoned at its heart, the recurring motif he had seen worked in various forms upon the armour and flesh of the maddened horde, but distilled into its purest form. Borne by legion warriors, the symbol offended Forrix less than it had before, and he found himself drawn towards its beguiling curves and graceful loops.

Anger touched him, and he threw off whatever glamours were worked into its form.

Glamours?

Where had that come from? A word of ancient usage that was meaningless in this age of reason and technological certitude. Whatever toxin burned in the censers was a powerful psychotropic indeed if it could drag such an archaic term from the mind of an Iron Warrior.

Like the mortals before them, these warriors parted to form an honour guard, and behind them came a screaming, wailing mass of legionaries whose weapons were unlike anything Forrix had ever seen in a battle barge's armoury. Like oversized axes they were fitted with all manner of amplification devices, tonal distorters and artefacts whose function Forrix could not even begin to guess.

Thrumming bass notes of raw kinetic force throbbed in their long necks, and Forrix wondered if such weapons might be employed in the reduction of a fortress wall. These warriors went without helms, and their faces were a horror of distended jaws with eternally screaming mouths and gaping wounds in the skull where their ears had been surgically adapted to collect and render sound into its purest elements.

And then the primarch of the Emperor's Children stood revealed, his entrance as dramatic and sudden and shocking as he had no doubt intended.

Atop a vast palanquin of living beings fused, sewn and warped together, the Phoenician emerged from the sentient clouds of fumes. A squad of warriors in Cataphractii armour bore this flesh palanquin on the vast shoulder guards of their armour, the spikes and sharpened edges of their pauldrons drawing blood and screams of pleasure in equal measure.

Fulgrim's frost-white hair spilled from beneath a helm of dazzling silver, and his entire body was wrapped in a cloak of shocking purple and golden feathers. Motion rippled beneath the cloak, like a metamorphic larva on the verge of hatching into the most beautiful creature imaginable. Fulgrim waited until his Phoenix Guard halted before throwing open his cloak to reveal his sculpturally perfect body. His elegantly curved pectorals, rolling deltoids and ridged abdominals were bare of armour and gleamed with fragrant oils. His limbs writhed and fresh tattoos of coiling serpents; tattoos that even now began to fade as his superhuman biology undid the damage to his epidermis.

Perturabo stepped towards the living platform as Fulgrim descended on a ramp of shields held out by his warriors. Forrix saw a warrior in perfect balance, who understood his body and its articulation to the highest degree. His every step was carefully placed, giving the lie to his flamboyant appearance.

'Brother Fulgrim,' said Perturabo, 'Welcome.'
And GM was kind to release another about the Emperor's Children as well, but still it feels more Iron Warrior based novel if you ask me. Forrex makes an appearence as well and Perturabo seems chocked by the chaotic transformance. That was a bit funny actually.

They seem to have become the kinky Noise Marines they are destined to be.
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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-11-12, 08:25 PM
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Some good shit. Can't wait for it to come out.
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-11-12, 09:15 PM
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Really interesting, Imperial Fists being the punching bags of the Iron Warriors again though.
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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-12-12, 07:31 AM
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This sounds amazing! Can't wait for this one.

I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.-Albert Einstein
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-12-12, 08:50 AM
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Any idea when this will be out?

Follow me and I shall give you victory or glorious martyrdom! For the Emperor!
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-12-12, 11:07 AM
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Not bad at all...and it's about time Perturabo gets the limelight
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-12-12, 11:24 AM
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Do the fists really need to be made to look inept by not having helmets on? Kind of contradicts their solid approach to battle.
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-12-12, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Words_of_Truth View Post
Do the fists really need to be made to look inept by not having helmets on? Kind of contradicts their solid approach to battle.
True...but at least the Fists give as good as they get until Perturabo shows up

Far too often the Fists are used as punching bags for CSM
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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-13-12, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Words_of_Truth View Post
Do the fists really need to be made to look inept by not having helmets on? Kind of contradicts their solid approach to battle.
Doesn't make them idiots, really. There would be advantages to fighting bare-headed.

For example, if they were expecting close combat, they might have reasoned that better peripheral vision and not having auto-senses shift their perspective at the wrong time is a good trade-off. It would have added benefits when factoring in the humans, by boosting their morale and providing them with clear visual identification of who's who.
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