The D’seshara shuddered under the impact of the assault pods; suddenly the once quiet bridge was awake. Designated areas of the ship were being bombarded with the Space Wolves attacks. They had managed to shoot some down but not nearly enough and Captain Dietriech snarled his fury as it looked more and more like the incompetent fools on the bridge were not doing their jobs.
The first few salvos from the Umbergora had taken out the Gellar field which in itself was not thing as it was already leaking substance from the warp into the vessel. He stormed through the engineering level yelling at the humans to work faster but already some were screaming and seeking to tear their eyes out from what they were apparently seeing. So much so that he had to cut some of them down.
Merciful culling’s he thought that but the more blood that flowed at the end of his axe the more he enjoyed it but he wanted more, not mere humans but transhumans like him. His so called savage cousins of the Space Wolves would make for much easier prey. Joining up with his warriors he waited as madness whirled around them.
++ Remember brothers, the Gellar field is down and that means that there will be madness. Trust your instincts ++
Captain Anlaf relayed through to his pack mates in all the pods ++ this is for Russ and ….++
He paused before he spoke again ++our cousins in the Thousand Sons. ++
His brothers looked at him for a moment then placed their helms on their heads just as their pod crashed into the side of The D’seshara. Sergeant Dragfinn kicked the hatch open and with his Captain leading the charge they emerged into the lower decks.
Humans were screaming in terror, some were backing away from things only they could see waving their arms as if to ward off some great evil beast from their worst nightmares. Perhaps out of mercy, the Wolves ended their suffering and relied on their own senses ignoring the hairs on the back of their necks as an irritation to be forgotten.
They made their way through the vessel as reports came in from other Wolves that they had encountered World Eaters and battle was joined. Dragfinn pulled Anlaf to one side as a promethium burst came down the corridor and engulfed a fleeing human.
“Blood for the blood god” The World Eater roared.
Anlaf scowled deeply, wondering what madness had taken over his cousins especially as he heard the same shout coming through his inter-squad vox feed.
++ Ignore them brothers, they are to be punished ++
he snarled and with a roar to Mother Fenris and Russ he charged head on towards the World Eater.
Maybe it was the lighting, the red warning lights but Anlaf could swear his adversaries armour was the colour of fresh blood and not the blue and white it had been. His sword clashed with the World Eater who he read was called Klienstan.
He was horrified; this could not be the same Brother Klienstan that had fought alongside his men at the battle for Jerunisan Ridge. What a glorious battle that had been sung by the company skalds for many a night. He could barely believe this was the same warrior and his hearts ached to see such a barbaric change.
“Yusef” He tried reasoning with his former cousin “It is me Hadran, put down your flamer cousin we can find an end to this without blood being spilt”
Klienstan pulled his helm off and for a moment it appeared to the Space Wolf to be the same Battle cousin he had proudly fought alongside.
“You - you have no idea what has gone on Hadran” Klienstan snarled spittle and froth coming from his mouth like a rabid dog “There is only blood and it drives me on”
“Yusef this is madness you must see that. Astartes do not fight Astartes!”
Klienstan banged his head against the walls of the corridor they were in “The – The voices drive me cousin and they bay for your blood and that is what I am going to give them!”
Anlaf raised his bolter as his former cousin, his former blood oathed brother came towards him and fired straight and true. The Bolter shell splitting his head apart like a ripe melon sending brains and matter over the walls and over Anlaf who stared as the body toppled like a giant building and crashed to the deck. He watched the body for several more seconds then nodded to himself. If this is what had befallen the World Eaters here in the Warp then there was some powerful wry indeed.
++ Chosen sons of Russ, kill them, kill them all ++
He voxed and broke into a run.
Dietriech howled to the Blood God as he took the head of a young Space Wolf, a name he did not know nor did he care, he raised the dead Astartes head above his and let the blood flow over his face and in his hair. It empowered him and even the buffeting by the attacks from their blasted vessel could not stop him from killing their kind.
This was freedom, to no longer be held to brotherhood to those he found wanting and he found these so called savage wolves wanting. They had taken some of his brothers down of that there was no doubt but he had tested his own strength against the so called sons of Fenris. They were like a pack of wondering pups without their mighty father. The Wolves were nothing without Russ to wet-nurse them and him; he was a son of the mightiest gladiator to ever walk the universe. The sons of Angron needed no wet nursing, they were taught to stand on their own two feet and to fight to the death using whatever they could or they had to their advantage.
He felt someone shoulder barge him and stumbled forward to see Anlaf, his face covered in blood and a snarl exposing his canines behind him. At last the Pack Alpha, he was going to so enjoy this, taking this skull would see his new god appeased and the voices would stop to allow him to reach Prospero.
He glanced behind him to see the trail of bodies, human and Astartes, Space Wolf and World Eater alike leading from this room downwards. The blood was flowing like a river and already the Space Wolves Apothecaries were carrying out their gory duties.
Dietriech seemed to remember the face of the Astartes before him and stepped back ah yes that was it Captain Hadran Anlaf, the great snow wolf, so called for his prowess in the snows and frost peaks of worlds he had conquered.
“Worthy opponents indeed, come let us see if the mewling cubs of the so called Wolf King can fare against the Hounds of the Red Angel!”
Anlaf shook his head and holstered his Bolter, all around him came news of the Wolves retreating back, at first he wondered why then heard the Ship communications, The D’seshara was grievously wounded and Dragfinn had ordered the withdrawal.
“Eventually Space Wolf you will see the true way of things, you are defending the Witches, the very witches that your father loathes”
“Who gives you the right to hunt them down?” Anlaf snarled his voice taking on a throaty growl.
“The Emperor off course,” Dietriech laughed “he told us to bring them in and that is what we will do, all captured Humans will go to feed his soul and the Thousand Sons will fuel the Golden Throne. You cousin are on the wrong side”
Anlaf could not believe what he was hearing, The Rout were the chosen justice enforcers of the Emperor not the World Eaters. He scowled a little and knew that he had to stop this madman and if it meant his death then so be it.
++ Dragfinn return to the Umbergora ++
++ Captain, what about you! I will not leave you sir! ++
++ That is an order I have to stop this maniac and if I don’t then all we have lost will be for nothing should I not return to the vessel then she is yours until our father makes his decision ++
Dragfinn was silent for several moments then his voice respectful as ever replied ++ For Russ ++
Anlaf turned his attention to Dietriech and smiled threateningly “Bring it on”
The battle between the two Company Captains was indeed a tale worthy of the Skalds. They eschewed their weapons, each choosing to fight bare handed, the honour of their own Legions were at stake and the test to prove which one was the more ferocious.
Dietriech was covered in blood from his broken nose and rupture eye but instead of weakening him it drove him onwards, making him stronger and in one brief opening he ripped Anlafs hand from his wrist. The Snow Wolf howled his pain and as quickly as he felt it the Laramen cells began to stem the flow of blood and the pain killers went into overdrive.
He was not down and he was certainly not out, even with one hand he was still a fighter and still a son of Russ. He charged Dietriech and bashed him into the wall causing it to implode in the shape of the World Eater, with a raised knee he drove it into the World Eaters stomach and with his right hand he drove it up in an upper cut that snapped Dietrich’s jaw bone.
He held onto the stump of his other hand and with both he bashed Dietriech across the face cracking his jaw bone. Dietriech fell to the floor spitting goblets of blood but defiantly he turned to face Anlaf and smiled crookedly “Is that all you have crippled wolf?”
With a roar born from the very valley that he had begun his life Anlaf leapt into the air and landed square on the back of the World Eater cracking his armour and his spine. Anlaf grabbed the head and pounded it into the floor and locked his arm round his opponent neck.
“The Emperor would never order such a thing” He snarled into the ear of the World Eater Captain. “This is just your insane master doing his own thing”
“Believe it if you want to Wolf, but we do what the Emperor orders”
With a roar Anlaf twisted Dietriechs neck until it snapped and he dropped it to the floor. He fell back onto his haunches only to be lifted up and he turned to see Dragfinn and Apothecary Justan either side of him.
“I told you to get off the ship” He snarled.
“Sorry Captain, I had the urge to come back and see if your sorry arse needed saving”
“Which” Justan grinned “it did not, but the 16th Company need their Alpha, we are not ready for a new one yet?”
Anlaf began to feel weak from his injuries and let him self go limp so they could half carry and half walk him.
“When I get out of here, I think I am going to get laid” he muttered causing both wolves with him to snigger.
“You might want to get cleaned up first Captain…. No she-wolf would touch you” Justan chuckled.
It was an old joke from the days the three men were blood claws, not yet full Astartes and still with some Human emotion. It was one that Justan was happy to hear and play along with.
The D’seshara was dead in space and as the Umbergora turned to fire upon her once more she exploded of her own wounds. Dragfinn, on the bridge in place of his Captain watched in satisfaction as the World Eater vessel vanished.
Their dead had been retrieved and their Canis Helix removed as well as the Gene seed ready to be born with pride back to the Fang and a new batch of recruits ready to enter the service of the Father of Wolves.
Anlaf had told him what had been said to him and as the Umbergora emerged from the jump point he began to wonder just how mad the Imperium was going. He would soon find out.