It is the 41st millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the emperor has sat immobile on the golden throne of earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods, and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting corpse writhing invisibly with power from the dark age of technology. He is the carrion lord of the imperium for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day. So that he may never truly die.
Despite the vast armies at their disposal such as the superhuman astartus and the millions of imperial guard one cannot truly find peace except in death for in the 41st millennium there is only WAR!
“Why wont these damn elves die!” Yelled a voice down the trench.
“How about you ask them,” replied another.
On the frosted planet of Tidax II the guardsmen of the Vonyak Hazard regiment had been locked in a bloody conflict with the craftworld of Kra’wor and it had not been easy. The eldar specialized in iron conflict deploying row after row of grav tanks with squad after squad of aspects charging the entrenched guardsmen. However the bitter conflict was coming to an end as reinforcements were landed and the eldar lost air superiority.
Sergeant Crender and his infantry squad had been at the front lines of the entire war standing the line and only ever losing two men they were now veterans and their ride was finally here.
As Crender walked through the bunker entrance onto the landing pad a Valkyrie was just coming in to land.
“Sergeant Crender your men will be here shortly this is your ride, good job out on the front lines.” Said the guardsmen jumping out of the Valkyrie.
“Thank you soldier don't worry there is still some left for you,” replied the NCO
“No thank you sergeant I'm the field mechanic but i hope you know that you’ve done this planet a service that it wont forget any time soon.”
“I'm just a sergeant i cant do a hole lot,” replied Crender
“All you need is a heart sergeant and you can do something great.” Replied the mechanic as he ran into the bunker answering a call over his radio.
As the Sergeant sat in the Valkyrie awaiting his men he took some time to remember the two that would never make it back to Vonyak.
2 years earlier
“Hey Crender one mag says i kill more spandex then you,” bet Jeffer
“Very well i bet i can kill double what you kill,” re bet Crender
“Deal, here they come the first wave of the day,” chuckled Jeffer.
The two stood in the trenches readying for the wave to come, Crender being the sergeant drew his power sword and aimed his laspistol ready for the assaulters were as Jeffer being the heavy weapon specialist had his meltagun at the ready. In the next few minutes a row of eldar appeared about a mile out from their trench a combination of Avengers and banshees ready to slice and dice the defenders.
Within the hour the attackers had amassed a huge force ready to slaughter the defenders in one clean sweep, The guardsmen only seeing the front row saw only a line of elves wearing spandex wielding swords and pistols. Later that day the eldar charged overwhelming the guardsmen soon however just as Crender’s squad was about to be executed basilisk fire reigned on the eldar destroying the invaders leaving the squad unconscious but sadly Jeffer never did get that mag.
1 year even earlier
The eldar had fallen back to an abandoned settlement formerly a local town but was at this point overrun. Crender and his squad along with three others would take the western flank wile another 4 flanked the east and the armored regiment charged through the center. The attack was meant to be simple or so it was planned. Crender was leading the western attack and just as the approached the hill that lay between them and their target he turned to his men.
“Men, today we fight in the name of the emperor, all or none of us may make it back to camp. Despite all fear that may come over us we will not falter, we will not be broken and we will not abandon our brothers. today we risk our lives for the imperium and for Vonyak! soon after the words were spoken the men started cheering as a sudden rush of energy took over them and they charged over the hill and beyond.
Over the hill was the wall that lead into the settlement still intact but not for long, An artillery strike blew the wall wide open but what it revealed was more than expected. Row and row of shuriken weaponry lay there including avengers behind walls, platforms behind rubble and rangers in buildings. Within seconds the eldar opened fire releasing volleys of fire into the guardsmen thankfully Crender and his men made it back over the hill but the others were not so lucky, when they started to count casualties and restock on water it was clear not all the squad made it out.
“sergeant, mind if we join you,”the words awoke Crender from his day dreaming.
The words came from Blaiddman his second in command, The guardsmen had recently reached corporal and was like a brother to the sergeant. The two had watched each others back the whole war and the sergeant owed Blaiddman big time for saving his life after being charged at by an exarch.
“of course i was just thinking about something,” replied Crender with a laugh.
The squad one by one made their way into the valkyrie. the squad included Blaiddman, Jones, Nordern, Taylor,Clark,robertson,boag, Slinger and finally Crender’s younger brother Christian. As they all strapped themselves into their seats the pilot powered up the engines and Crender dozed off into a dreamless sleep. For 11 hours the valkyrie flew through icy cold winds and the squad exchanged conversations about specialties, food, elf jokes and more food. As crender awoke with a thud a bright white light poured into his eyes, It took a wile for them to adjust and for his hearing to return but when they did he was met by the terrified face of Christian.
“wake up! please wake up, come on we’ve got to get out of here! said Christian with terror in his voice and fear on his face. Upon further inspection he noticed flame and death, the valkyrie was in the middle of a snowy wood crash landed into a tree engulfed in flames.
“urggh,” moaned Crender as he tried to raise himself to his feet.
He had lost all control over his legs and his arms felt sharp pain with every movement, Crender blacked out from the pain and awoke in blackness. Christian had dragged his older brother out of the burning wreckage into a nearby cave before traveling back to scavenge from the wreckage.
Now with limited power in his legs he climbed to his feet using the wall for support.
“hey you're up,we thought you dead.”
After gazing around the cave Crender noticed figures in the corner, Slinger sat up against the wall with a bit of shrapnel in his arm and burns up his leg wile Boag tried to fix the voxcaster.
“Blaiddman,clark were are the others?” groaned Crender as he wondered dizzily towards the others.
“Jones,clark and taylor never made it. Robertson is missing and Blaiddman is with you’re brother scavenging the wreckage and collecting food,” replied Boag as he caught the sergeant seconds before his feet gave way.
“so far all we’ve collected is that voxcaster, three laspistols and one chainsword,” groaned Slinger before yanking a pice of shrapnel out of his arm.
“do we..... do we know what hit us?
“either an eldar flyer escaping the battle or a rogue anti air turret but it sure as hell wasn't a systems failure.”answered Boag as he lowered the sergeant to the ground.
“hey did someone order a basket of fish and a chest of weapons!” called a voice from the entrance.
Shortly after the words two silhouettes appeared at the opening one carrying a chest and one with a basket in his arms. The latter being skinnier and shorter was Christian carrying a basket of slimy wet fish that were still flailing about on top of each other. the first was Blaiddman struggling to keep the metal box off the ground and after stepping foot on the cold stone floor dropped the box with a bang.
“sergeant i see your up, we found an empty crate in the cockpit so we filled with any weapons and ammo we could find.” said the dirtied beat up face of Blaiddman as he rolled the box the right way up.
“yeah and i got us some food.”chuckled Christian as he rushed over with the food.
“alright you guys search through those weapons and make yourselves at home i’m going to collect some firewood.” explained Boag as he wondered out the front of the cave.
Blaiddman lifted the lid open revealing 5 lasguns,one power sword,a handful of charge packs and a handful of grenades.
“here ya go sarge.” said Blaiddman as he chucked the deactivated power sword to Crender catching it with his left hand.
The handle of the weapon was comfortable and felt good in the sergeant’s hand, the blade had been designed to look like the Falcatas of Terra’s history. At this point in time the sergeant had finally fully awakened and was able to better observe his surroundings. The cave itself was dark and looked more artificial then natural like an explosion blew a great whole in the side of the mountain, Outside the winter frostbitten landscape showed. Trees struggling to carry the snow and the ground itself was either incased in a layer of ice or knee high in snow apart from this one lake but only due to the fact that a part of the valkyrie had flown off crashing into the water body.
“Im going to go back to the wreckage see if i can find what caused this turn of events,slinger you better?” announced Crender straightening himself as he stood up right before looking at the guardsmen to his right finishing tying a bandage around his bloodied arm.
“sure just don't ask me to do any heavy lifting.”replied Slinger rising to his feet.
Amongst the survivors Slinger was the medic, Boag was the mechanic, Blaiddman was the 2IC and Christian was the rookie, Slinger was not actually from Vonyak, he was from one of the moons which had been engulfed by a war that mostly consisted of bombardments of missiles and aerial dogfights which meant he had seen all kinds of wreckage and he was the only one amongst them who would be able to tell what exactly had hit them.
The winter air was ice cold and thick with snow, Within minutes of leaving the cave a blizzard had rolled in blinding them of their location. With every step their fear grew and walking became more of a pain then a necessity.Hours had passed and the two guardsmen could barely make out each others outlines.
“Slinger!I think ive found something!”
Crender had fallen face first into the snow but not through lack of energy,he had fallen over something. Crawling round to see what he had found he found a metal object of some kind,definatly of imperial origin due to the Aquila engraved into its side.
“Slinger!Slinger!”panicked Crender as he turned to see no sign of the medic only snow,snow and more snow.
The object was getting buried again, The biting cold was worsening.If he didn't warm up then he would be done for.Slowly as the energy drained out of Crender and the cold took over his eyes could not stay open and he fell into a dreamless sleep.
Crender awoke sharply,a bright white light flooded into his eyes and and what felt like a blanket lay over his body with an opening for his head. His lights adjusted to the light and what he thought was a blanket was in fact a layer of snow covering his body slowly being taken away by a hooded figure.
“urggh,who..... who are you?”
“ssshhhhh sergeant,stay still or you’ll be fully incased in snow.
The man was right,any sudden movements and a pile of snow the size of an astartus loomed over him just waiting to cover him. Crender waited for roughly an hour and a half for the man to free him from his icy tomb and when he did his legs had lost their ability to walk from the cold leaving him paralyzed for the time being. The man wore the flak armor of the Vonyak hazard regiment but with a sort of hide cloak with hood hung over his back.The purple and black camouflage pattern on the armour was chipped and bloody showing that he had been through some rough times.
“cmon we cant stay here,any longer and we wont be alone.”informed the stranger as he lifted the sergeant to his feet supporting him with his right shoulder.
As the stranger tried to walk off the sergeant resisted.
“no wait, there’s something here.”resisted Crender.
Crender hopped away from the stranger as his legs regained their strength and he hopped over to were he lay moments before. moving away the snow he started to uncover the mysterious object. It was in fact another valkyrie well a part of one,it was only the cockpit were the rest was located he didn't know.
“Never mind that cmon,we have to go.”argued the hooded guardsmen as he started pulling the sergeants arm trying to drag him away from the wreckage.
The man managed to drag off the sergeant in his puzzled state as he looked at what was clearly not from the same wreckage he came from. After a wile of travel at roughly mid day they arrived at a tree house constructed out of valkyrie parts and disguised with branches and leaves.
“welcome to my little corner of hell.” said the man with a bow before climbing up a ladder up to the platform.
Who are you?” asked Crender with a puzzled look towards the stranger.
“Mike Corbus Vonyak Drop regiment,senior pilot of Valkyries and formerly in charge of bringing troops to and from the front lines.” introduced the man as he threw down a rope to the sergeant. “grab on,ill pull you up.” called down the pilot.
“So how did you get in this mess?”asked Crender as he rapped the rope around his arm.
“same as you sergeant,i was shot down about a mile south of here.”
“how many others are out here like us?” asked the sergeant as he reached the platform.
“many sergeant many, when i went down i saw atleast 4 other wreckages,since then ive seen atleast six others go down.”replied Corbus running into the main hut section.
“damn, did you see what hit everyone?”
“sadly not.but whatever it is its no coincidence, once a day a valkyrie will fly over head and within 5 minutes of getting over that mountain range to the north on their route south they will start to crash but wether its an e.m.p or an anti air turret i cant say due to the damage dealt by the actual crash.” answered Corbus as Crender entered the hut after him.
The metallic walls of the hut were ice cold due to the frosty climate in which they stood,the entrance was the doorway into the side of valkyrie, the interior was jam packed of scavenged equipment from smashed up vox-casters to a fireplace in the center to cook meals on a night.The pilot seemed to be raiding a crate on the far side of the room flinging metal scraps and plastic bottles across the room.
“here it is!”exclaimed Corbus pulling a rolled up piece of paper out of the crate and slammed the lid of the crate to use it as a make shift table.
Corbus unrolled the paper onto the cold metal surface using his laspistol to weigh down the paper to stop it from rolling up again. It was a map of a forested region,in the northern edge lay a mountain range of razor like shapes,to the south was more forests and to the east lay the ocean.
“this is a map of our current location,we are located here.”explained Corbus pointing to a blue pen mark in the northern part of the forest. “these red marks point out the other wreckages and this one is yours.” said Corbus pointing to a red circle 2 miles south west of their current location.
“So these other crashes, did others survive?”asked Crender looking at Corbus as a depressed look came over him.
“well thats the thing, so far you’re the only person ive found alive. others that ive found were either frozen to death,murdered,died in crash or were eaten by animals. You were lucky i found you when i did.”
“wait! murdered?”panicked Crender.
Mike! what did you mean by murdered.”asked Crender angrily.
“well when i arrived everyone survived the initial crash but everyday our numbers dwindled untill yesterday when i was left by myself and every time someone went missing we found them and ... im sorry i would rather not talk about.”explained Corbus with a tear forming in his right eye before he wiped it away.
“so thats what you meant when you said we wouldnt be alone.wait Christian!”realized Crender before getting hit by a worried thought and quickly ran out and climbed down the rope to the forest floor.
“hey!were do you think you’re going?”called the pilot after him.
“My brother and my squad are still out there, i need to find them!” replied Crender breaking into a sprint.
Crender was suddenly hit by some thing,tough and quick swiftly knocking him out and sending him flying into a tree. Crender’s eyes began to flicker open, all that he could see was the canopy but he was not touching the ground,no he was being carried somewhere and with that he blacked out again.
“aaaaaagh!” screamed Crender bolting upright as if waking from a terrible nightmare.
“huhuhuhu,”the sergeant was confused.
He sat in a pile of rocks in a deep pit carved into the floor of a cave,the curved walls of the pit where infact mountains of bones snapped and chewed and what he thought was rocks was actually smashed and cracked skulls of men and beasts.
He started to panick,the pile of bones behind him started to pour over his shoulders and the skulls gave way beneath him leaving him panicking like a fish out of water as he tried to throw them off of him.
“i wouldn’t do that if we was you,”called a grim voice.
“huhu who.... who’s there?”replied the soldier filled with fear as he threw a ribcage of his face shattering against the stone wall far above him.
“Fear good,we don’t get many courageous ones thankfully.its tiring to put up a fight.” chuckled the voice echoing off the circular walls of the cave giving the illusion of multiple speakers.
“Fear, i have no fear it is you who shows not his face.”replied Crender trying not to show to much discomfort.
“hahahahahahahaha!”echoed the grim voice each blurt of laughter coming from a different corner of the pit. “but it is fear. fear is within all and that is what makes life so thrilling,especially when you take it.”
“show yourself coward,fear fills not a servant of the emporer!”called the sergeant rising to his feet reaching for his power sword which as slung from the right side of his belt but found nothing but a thigh bone.
“did you really think we would let you keep your trusty power blade,we may be mortal but we are not stupid.”
“we? who’s we creature?”
“We is here!” came a terrible shriek from behind Crender’s ear sending him falling to the bone covered floor with a cry of fear.
But nothing was there but more skeletons.rising to his feet again Crender started to throw bits of corpse against the wall shattering the bones off the walls.
“I told you i wouldn't do that,now you’ve done it.”
“what! what have i done?”
“brung your doom upon yourself.” answered the echo followed by an evil laughter.
“you wanted to meet me.here i am!” called a grim booming voice from behind Crender sending him spinning round.
What stood before Crender installed more terror and disgust in him than his first imperial guard battle when a necron tomb had awoken and flayed ones shed the skin off his commanding officer leaving a bloody corpse in his place.
No feet kept it upright but claws like that of a bird of prey crushing a skull with its strength,for trousers it wore the uniform of his regiment displaying the purple and black camouflage that it carried.he wore over his chest carapace armour like that of the stormtroopers that his regiment made use of also displaying their camouflage,over the top hung the cloak of a commissar dark and flowing like the ones used by those who were trusted to install discipline upon the regiment.the creatures face was them most terrifying of all, twisted and corrupted the flesh of his face which once showed a man now showed the head of a great hound but no fur only blood,twisted flesh and piercings creating a foul servant.one who was so corrupted by the ark gods that he had offered his body to a demon of the skull god Khorne itself.
The expression that remained on Crender’s face was of indescribable emotion,one which showed anger,disgust,despair and great terror.The beast in its right hand held mace topped with skulls of beasts and its left had been warped into that of a razor sharp blade that although didn't look sharp could tear through the armor of a lemon russ if given the chance.
“Spa spa spawn of chaos.you have been tainted by chaos and are now a slave to Khorne the bloody.i.... i will end you!”stuttered Crender lifting the thigh bone of what appeared to be some beast as it alone was tall enough to reach crender’s shoulder.
“hahahahahaha, you seriously think you can beat me.look around you.many have fallen into my trap,we chaos arrived on this world long before this war started. upon the starting of conflict we set up traps so that when it was over the weakened guard would fall easy prey to us.”
“but were... were are the others?”
“oh you mean the other cultists? once the valkyries started going overhead our leader a sorcerer of tzeentch started shooting them down but after scavenging several valkyries we built an AA battery to shoot down the flyers and overthrew the sorcerer.however the survivors started to fight back and so the only way to have the power to hunt them was possession. sadly however not enough souls had bee sacrificed and so i assassinated the others leaving me the last one standing except for one. when i sacrificed the souls that stand around you for Khorne he hunted and tortured to please the lord of pleasure.he also was possessed but wile i slaughtered my victims he captured his and even now in his cave by a frozen river he waits till survivors take refuge in the shelter and ambushes them.”explained the possessed cultist.
“wait thats the cave my friends are in!”realized Crender.
“Oh well no one is going to save yo......” the demon was cut off as a hole sliced through his skull dropping him to the ground with a flash of light.
Turning to the top of the pit Crender saw the silhouette of someone.
“I told you it was dangerous.”said the voice.
“of course,who else.”chuckled the figure chucking down a rope allowing the sergeant to climb out of the bloody pit.
“i thought i was done for.”admitted the sergeant.
“well i managed to fix the vox-caster and alerted HQ of what was going on and now we can get out of here.”
“sorry you can if you want but i need to rescue my friends otherwise that spawn of slaanesh will torture them.’
“well you’re not going alone, besides you got no weapons.”said Corbus handing over a sheathed blade.
“my power sword were’d you get it?”
“when you ran off and was ambushed you dropped it so i carried it.”
“Thanks,now lets go hunt some chaos.”smiled Crender attaching the scabbard to his belt and the two ran out of the cave and into the woods.
Over the next 3 days they managed to find Crender’s squad.Slinger died of the cold that night the blizzard rolled in, Christian and Blaiddman were kidnapped by the slaanesh spawn but were found in one piece,robertson had stumbled across the chaos AA gun and disabled it allowing the valkyries to fly overhead and Boag fell with laspistol and knife in hand after fighting off the slaanesh demon allowing the others to escape and use their grenades to bring the cave roof dow on the demon but sadly he couldn't make it out on time.
This a story of the Imperial guard whos tales tell countless stories of mortal men overcoming the dangers of the galaxy using nothing but their instincts and their faith.