The Means to an End
11th Black Crusade
Word Count: 5000
Traitors… what a word to describe the deadliest warriors of the galaxy. They had been fighting the old war for thousands of years; most for power, some for vengeance, some for the thrill of it. I didn’t matter anymore. Whatever it was, Diakablos knew they were all pawns in this silly game. The Despoiler was a fool. Not because he had launched ten failed crusades, but because he was fighting a war that meant nothing to the rest of the universe. The Despoiler had turned Horus’ legacy into warbands of angry children getting back at their parents. Then again, perhaps that’s all Horus’ dream ever was. It was thought Horus would expand and take the Emperor’s dream to new heights never before seen. He had failed and destroyed the legacy of the race of humanity forever. The Gods had made the traitors their playthings. He could see it when the three former masters had elevated and left this weak and mortal realm. The Iron Warrior 13th Company had more elevated brothers than any other company known. All three Warsmiths had seen the truth and reality of this realm, and left for bigger and greater things. All three had become members of the Iron Forge and left no direction or legacy for their company, except their pact with Abbadon. Should Abaddon touch the 13th Company, Abbadon’s acquired daemonic war machines would turn against him. They may not have cared for any of their former servants but the 13th was their only legacy of the mortal realm and their former lives.
As the Warsmith of the Iron Warrior’s 13th Company, Diakablos had done his best to set his legion to do greater things. Most of Abaddon’s Warbands looked upon the 13th with envy and hatred. Few had any concept of how small they were compared to the infinite universe. Even Abbadon’s great armies meant less than nothing against the infinite worlds and possibilities of the universe. Yet they all were so angered at the pride held by the 13th, mistaking it for being pompous and vain.
The cold iron clad figure in terminator armor starred out into the darkness of space. It had been a long time since Diakablos had eagerly wanted to enter the Imperial Realm. Despite the imperfection of the Imperium, it looked pure and beautiful compared to the constant change and fluctuations of the realm by the Eye of Terror. There was nothing out here that sparked his curiosity. It was the bargain the Despoiler had made with the Warsmith that intrigued him. No one bargained with the Despoiler, and yet the desperate Abbadon had need of a reliable force to prevent the Wolves of Fenris from interfering in his 11th Black Crusade. If it hadn’t been so long, Diakablos would have felt the pride that the rest of his legion now felt. He envied them. Something’s were more precious than fighting old enemies. But he did admit, the Despoiler’s prize incentive of precious lore that awaited him returned his battle spirit. Diakablos and his fleet were now entering the Fenris System. Diakablos had no interest in destroying Fenris, though the thought brought a smile to his lips. He would drag the wolves out from their lair or they would lose their mine worlds. His ship was now arriving at their target. A barren brown lifeless wasteland with enough minerals and metals to create armies starred at him with darkness. Like the eye of a disturbed vicious animal, it glared at him as though the planet itself was about to attack his ship. The Warsmith looked back towards his ship.
“KARNAK!” Diakablos walked towards three lifeless terminator figures as he sat on his throne. The trident had been a traditional trio of their Primarch’s most trusted lords, and had been adopted throughout the Iron Warriors after their Primarch had retired to his throne on Medrengrad. Never to be seen again by the rest of the companies outside the walls of his mighty fortress. The Trident was his most trusted advisers, and they were the only ones in his legion that worked with him on his godlike designs. They remained quite and stern when the others in the legion were around Warsmith Lord Diakablos. A horned-helmed figure walked through the sliding metal doors. Cables and wires dangled at his sides as sparks skidded across the floor. He was covered in the power armor of the Iron Warriors with the exception of his left arm that glowed red. He had a concentrated and emotionless stride about him as he walked across the control room and paused ten paces before the Warsmith’s throne.
“How can I serve you my lord,” said Karnak with a deep and non-emotional tone.
“We have reached our destination my lieutenant. We must move quickly if we are to prepare for the Wolves’ assault. Make sure you send the companies in as we have no time to wait for our weak workers to chase down the inhabitants of the mine. They must start digging and fortifying the mountainous mines immediately.“
Suddenly one of the terminators walked until he was two feet in front of Karnak. Karnak was uneasy and hesitant of the bulky and cold warrior. He pulled a cylinder from his waste side and reached towards Karnak with the Cylinder.
The Warsmith’s raucous and husky voice continued, “These are the fortification plans that will be constructed.” Karnak grabbed the steel cylinder and pulled it away from the terminator. The Terminator came back to his lord’s side, as the Warsmith Lord continued, “Be sure you do not fail me. You are weak and unworthy of having a voice in my designs… One day you will forget your thirst for battling your foolish enemies. Until that day you are a Warsmith in name only. Your own designs used to combat your meaningless and worthless enemies with no higher purpose. Be careful you do not use this opportunity to satisfy your thirst for battle. We cannot afford to waste our time playing games with the loyalists. We kill them for a higher purpose... a means to an end.”
Karnak’s strained as his red arm slowly dragged the cylinder to his side with anger. As he bowed he responded in a less than respectful tone, “yesssss…. My lord.” He raised his armored body up and strode out of the control room. As the metal sliding doors closed behind Karnak the Warsmith redirected his eyes towards the dark planet with a smile. “I… hate children.” The terminators snarled and chuckled.
Something was falling from the sky like an asteroid shower. The servitors paid no heed at the danger that was raining down upon them. The Master Engineer came our from the mines and shouted, “Halt Production immediately! Follow emergency protocols!” The servitors slowly walked in curving lines towards the caves beneath the mountains. On the other side of the lines came out thousands of guardsmen in red camouflage ready and eager to meet the threat as the metal pods landed on the surface. The guardsmen loaded their lasguns and set themselves behind the cover of the rocks on the slopes of the mountains that surrounded the valley of drop pods. The guardsmen did not hesitate when the drops pods opened, and poured down lasgun fire against the pods. Iron clad giants sprung forth from the pods with gold trim and black and yellow embellished amongst their weapons and shoulder pads. The lasgun fire bounced off the armor of the Iron Warriors as they strode towards the rock piles that surrounded them. The Iron Warriors were now a ring, and they had yet to shoot the massive bolters and pistol that they were carrying at their sides. Walking like gods amongst men, they did not fear death, and they didn’t have to; as not a single warrior was brought down. Already three fourths of the way towards their prey, they remained silent and cold. The Guardsmen began to flee from the steel ring. The commissars shot the ones that bravely remained as they yelled orders at the cowardly guardsmen. The next few moments ended in anarchy and terror as the warriors in iron butchered their way into the mountains and outside the piles of red rock that surrounded them in the valley. The smart ones ran up the mountains knowing they would be trapped rats inside the caves. Blood sprayed and red camouflage body parts were torn apart across the dark brown rocks and dark red dirt. Horrifying screams made their way across the valley as the terror crawled into every mind.
Two Iron Warriors stood side by side as the remaining brave guardsmen foolishly tried to overwhelm the two warriors that were isolated from the others. Clad in exactly the same armor they seemed to work instrumentally together, constantly looking over the back of the other. Twenty Guardsmen attempted to coordinate a bayonet assault against the back of one of them. While seeing this attack against his brother in arms, he quickly slid with impossible quickness at his fellow warrior’s side to meet the threat. He quickly turned on his chain sword and spun his body as he jumped in the air. As he met the first wave of the bayonet charge, his chainsword cut through the rifles as though they were toothpicks. As his chainsword went through the bayonets of the first rank with one arm, his bolt pistol in his other arm shot the ten guards men in the second rank. His chainsword came back again while he was landing and made one final blow while screaming hoarsely like a mad man, “PAINN,” cutting ten chests open as a huge spray of blood sprung out of their mutilated corpses. As he landed on his knees he held his bolt pistol and chainsword extended as he bowed with his head down towards a commissar with a powerfist running towards him. Just moments right before the commissar powered his powerfist up to meet the helpless Iron Warrior; he heard another voice above him in the air screaming “PANICC!” The iron warrior figure in mid air swung his chainsword with two hands right through the Commissar, mutilating the body from head to toe. The two Iron Warriors stood still as hundreds of dead guardsmen corpses and blood lay scattered amongst them. The remaining screams echoed from inside the caves.
“Not so quick brother,” the Iron Warrior said as he starred down at his victim and looked at the powerfist.
The Iron Warrior kneeling in the dirt got back up and turned his chainsword off. “Don’t talk foolish Panicc. We are genetically alike on every level.
Panicc, hacked off the powerfist from the mutilated corpse and replied, “I guess your right. What a shame. With your imperfections, I’d be surprised if anyone outside the company noticed we were identical twins from birth.” He pulled the powerfist from the dead corpse and dangled it in front of his brother. “Think about what we could trade for this.”
Painn looked at the powerfist in detail and shook his head, “No, no, not going to work, you tore to close to the power cells. Its garbage.”
Panicc threw the powerfist among the corpses. “ Guess we will have to wait until the wolves come before we can get any real trinkets.”
It became darker as a pair of steady footsteps approached them. Both the Iron Warriors took to the position of attention, like lifeless display knights. Warsmith Karnak walked towards the two Iron Warriors with his glowing red arm, which had an unusual power claw. “You two are lucky I favor your talents. Had you not had them, I would have killed you two when you were aspirants. It is not your skill with the sword that I need the two of you alive. Where are your melta-weapons?”
Both warriors did not reply for sometime, and suddenly at the same time they responded. “Back in the Pod, my Warsmith.” The Warsmith looked at the pods infested field and starred, “We must be careful as to not attract attention from the Dark Gods. By the looks of your skills Khorne and Slaanesh will be the first for the bidding.” The Warsmith turned once more towards them. “Now ready yourselves… the wolves are coming.” Karnak looked at the sky.
Karnak crashed his claw against the stone table he had created in his tent. His red glowing arm tensed as a multitude of cables and arteries appeared from inside his arm. He hated the fact that Warsmith Diakablos had always left him in a vulnerable condition. Half the time he didn’t even lead the battles and yet he took credit for all their victories. But it had pushed his ambitions against impossible odds. It was the Iron Warrior way. Every member of the legion was extremely competitive against the other. It was a healthy rivalry set up for success. Time to time though, undisciplined companies would get carried away. Diakablos only ever joined a fight when Karnak could not finish his mission. Which had happened on more than one occasion, considering that Diakablos only ever gave Karnak minimum man support for his missions. How could Karnak ever become part of Diakablos’ plans? Diakablos had infinite designs, scientific equations, and dark secrets within his chambers. Only his Trident was deemed worthy of these secrets. Now a force of 300 wolves was approaching a meal of 100 Iron Warriors. It was more likely than not, even if they were able to push back the response force, they would send the rest of their chapter to destroy the remains of his force in this blasted planet! “INSANITY!” Was this some kind of joke? Even if they were able to dig sufficient trenches against the assault, it would be a matter of time before the wolves overran them. The Warsmith walked outside to see the trenches at the northern mountains. Havocs were double-timing their way amongst the trenches. Their human counter parts were concealing the vindicators within the mountains. The Iron Warriors took their positions on the southern mountain. The rest of the humans were rushing back and forth around the mountains with raw resources in carts like ants. They were being carried up the mountains in the landing platforms into the Thunderhawks.
The mountains surrounded the valley and met at the south at a bigger mountain. This was the main entrance to the mines. It was this side of the valley that gave control of the region. Karnak had fixed his temporary fighting positions to push back the incoming Fenrisans. The Mine’s defensive systems were still functional and made all but the most powerful orbital assaults impossible without destroying the explosive resources underneath the earth. He could see them landing up in the northern part of the valley, which was pretty far away.
Grey Land Raiders and Rhinos made their way down the dark red valley led by Wolf Lord Vallenheim. He stood with his mighty thunder hammer in his Land Raider over four of his Wolf Guard. Lord Vallenheim was the mightiest of Wolf Lords, even Grimnar paled against his might. Yet, even with all his might, he could never lead the Wolves of Fenris because of his humbleness. He was very proud and yet very honorable and humble when recognizing one who was a better leader than him. He would be remembered as one of the greatest though. The Land Raider rumbled amongst the rocks and Lord Vallenheim stood stern.
“We must retake the mines from the traitors! The warped nymphs dare to step forth on one of our Fenrisan Worlds! NOW THEY MUST PAY!” The Wolf Guard howled at their lord’s growls, as Lord Vallenheim drooled from anger on the Land Raider floor.
“15 minutes!” The land raider driver yelled. Lord Vallenheim growled again. “Tonight we shall cut into the flesh of the traitors!” The Wolf Guard howled at the growls again. “For Russ! For the EMPEROR!”
“My Warsmith! The traitors are in our line of fire! Should I give the signal?” Karnak’s personal assistant had become more and more mechanical. He wore blood stained camouflage of the slain Imperial Guard that was stitched up horrifically.
“What are you saying you filth? Are you saying I’m blind? Am I blind Rufus?”
“No my Warsmith. I talk to much.” Karnak looked down at the valley of grey rhinos and land raiders. “Indeed you do. Send the order Rufus.”
Rockets screeched at the Grey Rhinos and Land Raiders. The Havocs were firing their rockets with such speed and efficiency that could never be replicated by another legion. Such was the need of such skills during a siege. Time and efficiency was the key to victory. Brutus was the Sergeant of the 1st Havoc Squad. He was in charge of the Havocs. He had a bull like horned helm and carried a chained bolter and powerfist that were attached to him. They were trophies won by him off a slain Black Templar Sergeant, one of Dorn’s beloved children. He barked orders through the ranks of the havocs. Of the legion he was the best field officer in the ranks.
“You two! Quit firing the Land Raiders! All four of you must shoot at the rhinos! Fire at one at once! Make sure they explode! We need dead wolves not wreckage and wolves running towards our defenses! You! What the hell was that? You missed! How could you miss? You want to die don’t you?”
Rockets were landing four at a time toward the Wolves’ Rhinos. An effective tactic, as it more often than not exploded the vessel and put whatever was in the wreckage out of commission. The Wolves needed to be kept in these vessels as long as possible. Any surviving Wolves would only create more targets. Because of their number, they only had 3 squads of rocket launchers. They had already blown up 7 rhinos, with only a handful of survivors managing to climb out of the wreckage. The Land Raiders and Rhinos were arriving on both the left and right sides of the southern mountain. Their tactic was predictable and yet its effectiveness could not be denied. By dividing the Iron Warriors forces, the wolves would slowly but surely butcher the Iron Warriors. Karnak looked at the Wolves and smiled. Diakablos was a genius, the Wolves were military tacticians and yet, though they had good logic, only the left side of the mountain would be so lacking in number. In fact… they would be only 20 Iron Warriors strong. And yet what they lacked in number they more than enough, made up for it in firepower. Karnak could see the left slope being marched upon as the Lord of the Wolves was at the rear of the assault. They made themselves up as they met the first wave of human filth in the first trench. They butchered them like cattle. Suddenly two squads of heavy bolters came up from cover and unleashed their furry at the piled up wolves. The slaughter had begun. The wolves were being butchered, as they could not find cover. The trench of the dead traitor humans was in direct sight of the Iron Warrior Heavy Bolter positions. Suddenly, the Wolves and dirt were being pushed into the air, as one of the concealed vindicators opened fire. The Wolves had retreated as fast as they had assaulted the first trench. Their lord looking up at the mountains with hate as his wolves made cover behind the rock piles at the bottom of the mountains.
The right side of the mountain had only been met more disaster. As they had become surrounded, the Wolves assault had been blunted by the remaining two Vindicators that released their devastation. Their speed and ferocity turned into mayhem as they looked for cover and essentially buried themselves inside the Iron Warriors defenses.
Painn and Panicc remained hidden within the piles of rocks on the right side of the mountain with the rest of the 4th Tactical Squad. They emerged from the dust and snuck passed the transport vehicles being led by their Squad Champion Conrux.
“We must hurry, quick! We need to destroy as many vehicles as we can before the main force notices our actions!” Conrux pointed with his mighty powerfist at the land raiders as Painn and Pannic released the heat within the meltaguns.
Conrux slammed his fist against the rhino closest to him. As it toppled over, the other Iron Warriors started throwing their melta bombs in the weak spots of the rhinos.
Several explosions could be heard from behind Lord Vallenheim’s position.
“Don’t mind that! You are sons of Fenris and we must press on! Reinforcements are on their way, let us not let them have the glory!”
The Wolves charged once more against the Iron Warriors on the left side of the mountain. Lord Vallenheim and his terminator wolf guard led the charge. The heavy bolters bounced off their armor harmlessly as their less fortunate brothers fell. The vindicator opened fire as it ate small chunks from the wolves’ force. They had made it three quarters of the way to the Heavy Bolter Position, and the Wolf Guard shield had shrunk to three including the Lord.
The Last of the Land Raiders of the 3 Land Raiders had exploded. Conrux waved his powerfist in the air. “Its time we go! We have done our job. The reinforcements will have a hard enough time getting through this wreckage. We must fall back with the rest of the Iron Warriors on the right side of the mountain.
The right side of the mountain had completely pinned down the wolf force assaulting it. But it was now time to fall back to the second ring and tighter defense on the mountain. There they would meet with the left side and fight toe to toe against the loyalists. The Rocket Havocs and Tactical Squads moved slowly out of their trenches and fell back from their positions as they kept firing at the pinned Wolves of Fenris. The Wolves of Fenris attempted to follow their foes, as a few attempted to get out of their defense positions, only to be hurled back or shot by the incoming bolters and rockets.
Lord Vallenheim hurled himself with his mighty thunder hammer against the fortified trenches of the Iron Warrior heavy bolter squads. He landed on top of one Iron Warrior smashing him into the rocky mountain ground while swinging his hammer in an arch to smash aside three more Iron Warriors. The Wolves jumped into the trenches like animals about to rip apart their prey. The Iron Warriors met the charge with their chainswords and bayonet boltguns. The cold ghoul silver warriors brought forth their weapons against the savage and brutal warriors in grey. The Iron Warriors had been trained to fight with no emotion and to keep less tenseness in their body in close quarters. A warrior with less tension in his body creates a smoother and stronger swing, than one that has tension. It truly was a battle, as the Iron Warriors were able to swing their weapons against their foes and fall back in disciplined ranks. A lone Thunderhawk with the Iron Warrior heraldry came through the planet’s atmosphere and headed towards the southern mountain.
The Iron Warriors fell back on the second defensive positions where Karnak stood with his servo suit waiting for them. Only 8 Iron Warriors remained from the left side, as both sides made a ring in their last defensive position. They unleashed hell as the Wolves of Fenris combined their forces to press against the Iron Warriors once more. The Iron Warrior Thunderhawk landed within the ring of the second defense. As the entrance to the Thunderhawk opened, Karnak rushed towards the gunship to meet his guest.
A huge figure in terminator walked out of the Thunderhawk and stopped short of his bowing faithful servant.
“Karnak… you dare to fail me again?” Karnak took a couple steps back before replying.
“But my lord… The Wolves, they are too many!” Diakabolos silenced him with a growl. “Silence you miserable fool! I only tease you. You have done a mediocre job, but have completed your task.”
“My lord?” Karnak hesitated with confusion. “What do we do now? You have not brought reinforcements and the Wolves have their reinforcements already coming our way.”
“Patience Karnak… patience!” Diakablos spoke with his husky deep voice. “Reinforcements are coming, but first… we must make sure our enemy takes this mountain.”
“I don’t understand my lord.” Karnak emotions seemed to get frustrated at his Lord replied to him.
“Correct me if I’m wrong Karnak, but our legions best tactics lie in siege. Do you know why we are similar and yet different from our loyalist cousins, the Imperial Fists?”
Karnak remained speechless and angry, yet interested. Diakablos looked at his Iron Warriors defending their position and answered his question in his deep husky voice, “Because all defenses eventually fall. The tale of two legions, the one that fell, and the other that remains, because we don’t wait for our enemies behind walls. We have started a war on Fenris, and we will be fighting this war until the Abaddon tucks tail and runs. By giving them the mountains, we have gained the ally of time. We have all the time in the world to blow apart the wolves after they capture this shit hole, of a defense, that they have mauled further with their own actions. “
Iron Warriors were smashed aside one at a time, as the Wolf Lord hacked his way through the Iron Warrior defenses.
“Karnak… let that fool through. I want to meet him. I am extremely tired of this fools bullshit.”
“Open ranks! Angle 246!” Karnaks voice boomed to his warriors. All the Iron Warriors parted as the Wolf Lord strode through to meet the Chaos Lord. The ranks closed back up, as Karnak filled the ranks. His weapons unleashed a storm of fire as a dozen Wolves were killed in the heat. Both his Servo arms grabbed a wolf and tossed them many yards down the mountain. His power claw smashing aside the foolish wolves as they approached their new threat.
“Fight me you traitor!” The mighty Fenrisan Lord growled at the mighty Warsmith Lord. “I will rip your filthy weak corpse into pieces.”
“Enough! Your presence is making me sick.” The Warsmith Lord had on his chainfist and his power sword. “Come and get me.” The Iron Warrior’s grin could be felt as he invited the Fenrisan Lord to attack.
The Wolf Lord fought with speed and ferocity never seen before by the Warsmith Lord. He could not land a single blow with his chainfist, and often led him to get hit by the Wolf Lords hammer. Diakablos had not felt pain like this in a while. It fueled his soul to meet such a challenge again.
The Warsmith Lord walked around the Wolf Lord. “Ah! Imagine my Fenrisan fool! Your name, this battle, this war… all expunged from Imperial Records! As though the Fenrisan Sector had never been molested during Abbadon’s Crusades, yet so close to the Eye of Terror. I swear to you, you will never be remembered by your brethren after this war. The biggest successes and failures in this galaxy have always been expunged or unrecognized by the masses of this galaxy. It becomes bothersome, but for the best.”
The Wolf Lord barked at the Warsmith Lord. “I pay not heed to the words of the traitor. My faith rests with Russ and the Emperor!” He pointed his hammer at the direction of the Warsmith Lord. “You are a traitor, and I will obliterate your corpse!”
The Warsmith Lord paused and looked at the Wolf Lord. “Traitor? What do you know about being a traitor? Your accomplishments with the galaxy and even the Imperium pale against mine. You ignorant bastard! You would not open your filthy hole if you knew of all the worlds I had liberated for the sake of the Imperium!” The Warsmith Lord threw himself against the Wolf Lord. His power sword keeping the worst at bay as the Wolf Lord used his hammer with two hands to bash it. Diakablos struggled as he fell towards the ground. He readied his chainfist and punched as fast as he could towards the torso of the Wolf Lord.
The Wolf Lord lay paralyzed on the ground as the fighting halted and the wolves stepped back howling. Diakablos grabbed his prey by the head as he cut his head off with his chainfist. He hurled the head between the two sides of forces as they separated. He threw his bashed power sword aside as he picked up the Fenrisan Thunder Hammer.
Diakablos walked towards his enemies with the hammer and raised it above his head as he stopped to give out a might war cry. The Iron Warriors cheered for their mighty Warsmith Lord as the Wolves of Fenris continued their slow retreat in defeat.
“We have a few hour before our enemies surge up the mountain with more reinforcements. Take what we can but make sure the apothecaries clearly separate the Wolves and Iron Warrior Geneseed. Have the guardsmen strip the corpses of their armor. The Wolf Wars have just begun.” Karnak bowed before his Warsmith Lord as he returned to his Thunderhawk.
Grey Armored warriors surged through the mountains unopposed. Grimnar had sent 400 more Wolves of Fenris to take back the mines. The last of the Iron Warriors had left moments ago, and the Wolves now had secured the mountains of any remaining traitors.
The Iron Warrior forces were not exiting the atmosphere, and as the Fenrisan forces made their way to the top of the mountains, they watched as more thunderhawks and dread claws joined the original Iron Warriors force at the northern part of the valley...
"Message to Fenris! We need more reinforcements!"