Felt like writing some Black Templars doing what they do best- slaughtering Orks and going out in a blaze of glory. Let me know what you think.
It was a cold, dark day on Barac Minoris. The clouds rolled in, thick and grey, roiling and crackling with lightning- a good omen, the Emperor’s fury prepared to smite the filthy xenos that polluted its world. The smoke and fire of a burning hive city swirled up into the sky, painting the heavens with the terrors of war.
Brother Maynard rolled his shoulders, a tectonic movement of ceramite war plate. Unhelmed, the Black Templar’s head seemed absurdly small in the midst of his dark armor; with an easy smile that belied the sheer destructive potential he possessed, the Astartes unclipped the crash webbing from over his breastplate. Bors, in contrast, simply bowed his head; murmuring a prayer under his breath, the grizzled Templar made the sign of the aquila. Beginning the countdown, Gareth wrapped his armored fingers around the opening-lever, glancing at Ector, who hefted his chainsword.
Veteran-Sergeant Bayeux nodded grimly, slipping his helm from where it had been mag-locked upon his thigh and sealing it to his gorget. With a vox-click, he opened a channel for the rest of the squad.
“Five.” Gareth growled, activating the chainsword held in his left fist. The roar of the weapon broke the silence within the Thunderhawk’s belly; it galvanized the other Templars into action, seemingly. The click of Bors racking his bolt pistol was drowned out by the buzz of the other chainswords; Bayeux was the only one who remained still. Having lived through forty-seven of these combat-drops had hammered all the anticipation out of him; once, he might have shared a smile, perhaps a joke, but now there was nothing but silence.
“Helms on!” Bayeux called; with nods, the other Astartes hid their visages behind dour red-lensed visors.
They started up their jump-packs, the roar of the bulky packs almost deafening in the small space. Bayeux’ Lyman’s ear filtered a muttered joke from Maynard out from the cacophony; registering the short chuckles from the rest of the squad, the Veteran-Sergeant made a mental note to assign him penance.
Finally drawing the long power sword from its sheath at his waist, Bayeux lifted its hilt to his faceplate. It was a beautiful weapon, the quillons wrought into the wings of the Imperial aquila, its hand-and-a-half hilt of nalwood gripped tight in the Templar’s fists. The blade, a bright length of adamantium, rippled with energy as Bayeux pressed the activation rune.
Gareth pulled the lever; the Thunderhawk’s bay opened with a rush of wind. Veteran-Sergeant Bayeux led the way out, a burst of flame from the vents of his jump pack sending the Astartes arcing out into the grey sky, war-torn tabards and long purity seals whipping about them. Void-black armor, the same color as the soot swirling into the air, encased these demigods of battle, blue fire slowing their descent to earth.
Huge boots fractured the tiles of the Administratum palace; crushing the remains into powder, Bayeux whirled around and lashed out, two hands on the hilt of his sword. The blade flashed lightning-blue for the brief moment it traveled through the air; then it was embedded in the greenskin’s abdomen, and with a vicious jerk, the Templar tore it out. Steaming loops of entrails spilled out over the xenos abomination’s feet.
It took the orks a moment to notice what was happening.
By then the other Templars had hit the ground; chainswords revving and bolt pistols barking, the Astartes waded into the mob. Gouts of unclean blood spurted into the dirty manufactory-hive air; gobbets of flesh spattered the formerly-white tabards fluttering from the Templars’ armor. Bayeux caught sight of Gareth hammering his chainblade through a huge ork’s chest, driving the green-skinned monstrosity down to its knees; back-slashing the beast across the jaw with the gold-chased bolt pistol gripped in his left fist, the Astartes ripped his sword out and swung it once more to behead the ork.
The clamor of battle swallowed up the other Templar; Bayeux whirled about once more, bringing his sword low and hacking the legs from beneath a greenskin that had barreled towards him, cleaver held high. Crushing the beast’s skull beneath his boot, the Veteran-Sergeant moved on; with the Litany of Hate upon his lips, he stabbed forwards and impaled another ork- the leader of the pack, a huge beast with a horned helm sitting upon its thick, blasphemous brow. There was a spurt of unclean gore as the Astartes pulled his weapon free; the second stroke removed a section of its helmet, with the cranium beneath it.
It took two long seconds for the creature to realize it was dead.
When it did, it crashed to the ground; Bayeux stepped over it and lifted his blade high. There was Bors, fervently slaying for the Emperor as he always did, bolt pistol barking loudly in the clamor; Ector stood at his back, hewing at the wall of green flesh with his chugging chainblade. Brother Maynard was by himself, pistol hanging from the chains that bound it to his wrist as he gripped his chainblade two-handed. It was little more than a toothed club now, clogged with the filthy flesh of the xenos beasts; he ripped the weapon across the face of an advancing greenskin, spinning and hammering the weapon’s pommel into its chest and splintering the tough bone there.
Bayeux looked for another foe to kill and found there were none left. They were all dead, rendered into bloody detritus littering the ground. Such was the only end for xenos and heretics.
Maynard tossed aside his helm; he had been struck with a high-velocity slug round from a scrap-pile that the greenskins called a pistol, and it had ruined the left side of his visor. Underneath the helm, the Astartes still smiled- the expression seemingly never left his face, a strange sight on one of Dorn’s sons. He clapped the silent Bors upon the shoulder-plate, black-clad fingertips contrasting briefly with the blood-stained white of the Templar crest; shaking his chainsword out, Maynard cursed the orks in gutter Gothic.
“Do not profane the language, Brother Maynard.” Bayeux spat, his helm rendering his already-rough voice into a static-laced snarl. “Any injuries?”
The squad all answered in the negative as they grouped around; Ector reloaded his pistol with a click, loud in the silence after the battle. The Veteran-Sergeant nodded, the gesture almost invisible in his helm. “Gareth, affirm the oath..”
“Suffer not,” Gareth intoned, his rich baritone imbuing the words with the fervor of the Eternal Crusade. The newly-initiated Astartes was destined for the Chaplaincy, many thought- possessing charisma far in excess of that of his battle-brothers, he was zealous and proud in battle. “the unclean to live.” he finished, making the sign of the aquila over the Templar cross on his breastplate.
“Until the end, brothers!” Bayeux roared, lifting his blade high. The others echoed him, the buzz of chainswords echoing in the courtyard; turning, the Veteran-Sergeant led them into the corridors.
The battle, as always, went in flashes; in the confines of the corridors, there was rarely any visual component for the orks. Most of the light came from the muzzle-flare of bolt pistols and the shimmering blue energy that wreathed Bayeux’ blade- but in contrast, the Astartes saw clearly through use of the terrorsight in their helms; with this distinct advantage, the Templars purged the dark depths of the Administratum facility. With zeal they slew, hewing through green-skinned necks, hammering precise bolts into skulls and torsos.
Bayeux emerged first, slapping a weedy gretchin away with the back of a mailed fist. There was a crunch, and a stain of heat-orange blossomed on the wall. “Terrorsight.” he gritted out subvocally; the red blaze of his eye-lenses faded, and the Veteran-Sergeant saw the world in normal colors again. Another gretchin scurried across the second courtyard- for that was where they had come out- before a bolt round, trailing fire, zipped out from behind Bayeux’ shoulder and took its head off. Ector stepped out next to him, lowering his smoking bolt pistol.
“When do we join the battle, Bayeux? I tire of this.” the other Templar rasped. “Such fighting is ignoble.”
Maynard joined them, that smile still upon his face. “Aye - our purpose has been served here. Let us join our brothers- this place has been cleansed, and the mortals will come soon enough.”
Bayeux raised a mailed palm, the crusader seal draped around his wrist fluttering with the motion. “Peace, brothers… we join them in but a moment.” he said, sheathing his blade in its scabbard at his waist. He turned at thunderous footsteps behind him- yet it was only Bors and Gareth. Good.
“Check your packs, brothers. Bors, the Litanies of Hate.”
Bors took off his own helmet, bowing his tonsured head and saying the sacred words lowly; with a low “Ave Imperator” from the rest of the squad, he lifted his head.
Bayeux activated his jump pack first, rocketing into the sky; after only two seconds, he shut off the pack and began to descend. Below him, the Veteran-Sergeant could see the battle raging through the ruins of what had once been the Basilica Majoris of the subsector. Tracer rounds and las-fire hyphenated the air, and the roar of battle cries shook the rubble… yet only Imperial Guard were there. No Templars, none of the Angels of Death that should have been there.
They hit the crushed tile of the basilica hard, weapons already powered up and roaring. Not a moment of respite- the tide of orkoids broke upon the assault squad almost immediately, crude axes and chainswords rising and falling with the swells of their ragged battle cry.
The Templars slew and slew, sonorous battle hymns and chanted prayers ringing out on the external speakers of their helms. Each strike was a death-blow, adding another greenskin to the growing bulwark of biological wreckage.
Atop this hill of corpses stood the Angels of Death, ragged blood-stained tabards whipping about their night-black war plate, pushing back the orks. Bayeux, in the forefront, snarled beneath his helm as he hewed at the onrush of xenos, smoke sizzling from his sword’s glowing edge. On the left hand and the right he struck, hacking down the greenskins like some grisly lumberjack; all finesse had left his bladesmanship for lack of a challenge.
The first of them to fall was Brother Maynard, his chainsword inoperative and his pistol empty; a crude ork axe hammered into his collarbone, cleaving deep into his torso and through his primary heart. With a roar of hatred, Maynard lashed out and severed the ork’s head from its shoulders with the edge of his gauntlet; a cleaver-like instrument took off his arm at the elbow, rich Astartes blood clotting nearly instantly to form a thick scab over the stump. Despite the Larraman cells doing their work on his arm, the Templar sank slowly to his knees- primary heart all but destroyed, his secondary was just barely keeping him alive. That didn’t matter; just as Ector reached his battle-brother, a second axe hammered its way through Maynbard's post-human skull and split his head asunder.
Ector fell barely a second later, standing over his brother’s corpse. A spray of armor-piercing rounds riddled his breastplate and helmet with holes before exiting out his back in veritable fountains of gore, sending his jump-pack spinning away. The power-armored corpse crashed down across Maynard’s body- two Angels of Death, slaughtered in but a moment.
Bayeux gritted his teeth and slew with even greater wrath, bisecting greenskins, slashing limbs off and sending heads flying. Gareth and Bors drew back to their sergeant, the three forming a triangle, back to back.
This was no longer a battle. It had become a slaughter- the Guard’s lines had broken, Bayeux could see, and though they fought valiantly, a bayonet driven by human strength was nothing to an ork. Two of the assault squad were dead, and three Astartes fought against innumerable greenskins.
This was a fight to the death now, and the Templars would make these filthy xenos pay for each and every death.
“Die.” Bayeux spat, eviscerating another xenos. “Die.” Two more fell, planed flat mid-bicep. “Die!” A severed head, fanged maw open wide, spun away.
An axe caught the Veteran-Sergeant across the face; his helmet’s optics went dark and he tore the lump of useless ceramite from his shaven skull just in time to shield his face with a pauldron as the axe bit again. The beast died, spitted on his crackling sword; tearing the weapon free, he blocked a spear thrust at his exposed head.
Gareth died suddenly, some sort of makeshift bolter round cracking through his left eye-lens and detonating. Shards of ceramite pinged off of the sergeant’s pauldron, and the Astartes’ brain splattered the left side of his face. The young Space Marine, once a promising Chaplain-to-be, now a headless corpse encased in ravaged battle-plate, collapsed to the ground. A glorious death in battle, all that a Templar could hope for… yet Bayeux could not help thinking that it was a waste.
He laughed aloud- not a normal occurrence in any circumstance. But they were dead men anyway, would be slaying at the God-Emperor’s side in but a moment, and so he could indulge himself. “Die proud, brother!” Bayeux cried to Bors, the laughter still bubbling out.
There was no answer. Sparing a glance to his side, he saw why- Bors was no more, a defiled corpse being torn apart by the rabid greenskins.
Something punched through the sergeant’s midriff, the point of a crude sword emerging from his stomach with a crack of ceramite. Still laughing, Bayeux whirled and decapitated the ork that had struck him; no sooner had he done that than a shimmering axe removed his right hand at the wrist. Three more strikes, three more dead orks, and then he was borne down under the weight of green flesh, still laughing.
Some time later, Bayeux felt the weight upon him lessen, then disappear. His eyes, destroyed by ork fingernails, saw nothing- but he heard the hum and buzz of power armor. A hand found its way to his throat, feeling the dogged pulse that drove blood through his ravaged body.
“Bayeux is still alive.” he heard; the vox-distorted growl was reassuring, for it meant that it was a battle-brother of his Chapter, and that the squad’s gene-seed would bring more neophytes into the ranks of the Templars- that was all he hoped for, as even the greatest of Apothecaries would not be able to heal him now.
“Injuries?” another vox-growl asked; two beeps sounded out, and Bayeux knew it was a narthecium scanning him. “Oolitic kidney compromised, multi-lung nonfunctional, primary heart compromised, multiple puncture wounds, lacerations, missing legs and left arm, Larraman’s organ nonfunctional… Castellan, he is dying.”
If the sergeant could have smiled, he would have, but his jaw, mangled and dangling from his face, prevented that. It should be obvious that he was dying.
The first voice spoke up again. “He fought with honor.”
Bayeux felt himself being lifted and carried. “He shall have a position of honor, then. Call in a Thunderhawk, and inform the Master of the Forge.”
This was not the end of his story, the sergeant thought ruefully. This was the end of a chapter, and a new one was just beginning.