Ice Wolves: Ready The Murder-Make!
In the gaming community I am known as Ambush Beast. I am part of the Ice Wolves Chapter. In M32 the Ice Wolves were separated from our Space Wolf brothers while in battle. We were forced into the Eye Of Terror where we were forced to fight and survive. Our brothers believed we were dead, but we survived. There in the heart of the Eye we found a world untouched by the ruinous powers. Its name is Jotunhiem! From there we have not only survived but flourished. The populace has welcomed us and received the Emperor's teachings. From Jotunhiem we make war upon the great enemy. From the shadows we fight. Those who know of us in the Emperium believe we are tainted by Chaos, but we are not. If we are found by the Emperium, we are attacked as if we were enemies. We are surrounded on all sides, by those who would be our allies and the forces of Chaos at our backs. This is the story of the Ice Wolves great company; The Drakeslayers. (The names will not be Space Wolfish enough, but these are some of those who are in the Drakeslayers in my gaming community.) I hope you enjoy this addition to the W.H. history.
Fenris was a world that was bitter and cold and unrelenting with its violent oceans and giant rugged mountains that climbed into the cold grey shadowed clouds above. If you survived the winters, the mountains and the sea and the wars that raged between clans it was only because you were strong. To survive was the key. Bjorn Ironskull, the Great Wolf himself stood on the edge of the Móðrfjǫllóttr or Wrathful Mountains.
The Móðrfjǫllóttr are a line of mountains that stand majestic against the elements and stretch for as far as the eye could see, even the eye of the High Jarl himself. Though beautiful, Bjorn Ironskull did not smile for his thoughts were far away. He remembered Fenris. He missed his home, his people and the Fang. He missed the mead and the laughter of the warrior fires. But most of all he missed the unity that bound each and every Space Wolf together under the watchful gaze of the All-Father.
Jotunhiem reminded him of Fenris. The world was the same in many ways. It was cold and snow covered everything. Its oceans were vast with mighty creatures and even deadlier waves that rose high and slammed down like fists of angry gods. From the edge of a high peak on the Móðrfjǫllóttr, Bjorn could make out the night sky through a gap in the clouds. The sky was the thing that reminded him that Fenris was far away. It reminded him that he could never go back. He reigned in his violent anger and hate, the bitterness of the moment almost overwhelming. The sky was tented deep purple and black with swirls of burgundy and puce. It was sickly and haunting and dipped low unnaturally. The sky itself stood testament to the power of Jotunhiem. The sky had to be stronger than the forces of the eye of terror that raged just beyond.
Even after all of these millennia, Bjorn Ironskull marveled that this world had survived at all. Luna Wolf stood just behind him, silent as the stones. His mind was not on Fenris nor on the sky nor on the mountains. No, his mind was on the wind for the wind was strong and ever changing. He could smell the change coming and readied himself, for this was not a natural wind. These winds were the winds of change and these winds always brought death. His hearts raged inside but Luna Wolf was strong and stood silent as he waited for the word of his Jarl.
Time seemed to stretch and unfold before him as the High Jarl of the Ice Wolves watched and thought. “ I feel it too.” He finally spoke and his voice was tired and raw and full of daggers yet it a whisper barely strong enough to be heard over the rising wind that moved up the side of the mountain. “The winds are changing. I do not have to be told of this. I know for I have seen, yea I have felt the movement of the stirring of the waves within myself for days.” He did not look at Luna but kept his eyes on the openness before him. “Luna Wolf, my son. The great enemy moves against the All-Father once more.” Bjorn Ironskull turned and his golden eyes were full of fire as he looked Luna Wolf in the eyes. He spoke again and his voice was bitter as the Joturnhiem winter, “Hunt them and cut their threads!”
Dawny stood in the calf high snow with ninety-nine other children. All were cold. All were hungry and filthy and scared. The wind blew strong and ice flecks burned against exposed skin. She was ten winters old and would soon celebrate her eleventh winter survived on Joturnhiem. Before them stood the scarred form of Wolf Priest Haegr Wolfblade. Fire seemed to pour from his eyes as he took in the children before him. His words were bitter and filled with lightning flashes, “Today some of you will die. Some of you will be crippled. Some of you will want to quit because you are week!’ The children flinched under the impact of the power he put in his words. Two or three wet themselves and the smell of fear stung the air.
“I can smell your fear and it sickens me. I wonder if from this year’s cubs we will even find one inductee?” His eyes took in every detail of the children in a second. He looked directly into the eyes of Dawny and saw into her soul. He smiled. The Ice Wolves champion stood with him and frowned. “She cannot stay.” He began to move forward drawing his chainsword. “Sinner! You will put away your sword!” The Wolf Priest spoke with earth shaking force. Lightning flashed and many of the children fell flat in the snow. Dawny shook but refused to fall. She refused to turn away from those bitter eyes of Sinner. The Champion turned and stalked back to face the Wolf Priest. He growled when he spoke, “A girl has never competed for the honour of acceptance. It is an insult!”
“I see something in her that you do not. Leave her be and let the trials kill her if she is weak. If she survives she shall be one of us. If she dies we have lost nothing.” Haegr Wolfblade let his voice return his words in a low growl that brooked no argument. Sinner put away his sword and stepped away from the Wolf Priest. Even as Champion he knew not to test the patience of any Wolf Priest especially the Mastor of Storms. Sinner returned his gaze to the girl and glared with exposed teeth. His intimidation of the girl was returned to him twice by the girl. Though terrified and clearly shaken by the ferocity of the Ice Giant, Dawny mastered her fear and smiled in the face of Sinner’s hatred. Second she lifted both hands and flipped him off. He, the Champion of the Ice Wolves, the thread taker of a thousand enemies, the most brutal warrior of the chapter stood in shock at the girl’s determination. He growled. Wolf Priest Haegr Wolfblade began to laugh and did not quit until the children all began to laugh to, though most of the children did not understand what had just taken place. And then he roared!
Upon the frozen Folkvangr the trials were indeed brutal and many did die. On the face of the great Móðrfjǫllóttr many fell as they lost their grip on the frozen rocks, fingers freezing black from exposure. Many were crippled and would never walk again. Shame would follow them until they died. Dawny lost her grip on the wall of iron rock and slid down the mountain’s face. She refused to quit and dug her aching fingers into a small crack. She screamed as two fingers were broken and a third fell away from her hand. She fought for two days on the face of the mountain and finally reached the top. Out of the one hundred children who began the climb only fifteen stood on bloody feet at the top. But still the trials were not ended. They ran for what felt like weeks.
They crawled through frozen tunnels on bloody knees and palms. Frostbite blackened exposed skin and chewed into toes and fingers. Skin became black and the pain of it brought gasps and weeping from them all, but they did not quit. They fought with each other in combat trials and Dawny excelled past even the strongest boy. It was not because she was stronger in body or because of special treatment. On the contrary, she was treated worse than the others because she was of the birthing class. She was not even supposed to have been here. Her determination pushed her harder than any other and she refused to quit. Now she lay in the knee deep snow freezing and black from frostbite. She was tired and dyeing but still she crawled leaving a trail of blood. A horn sounded. It seemed so distant, so far away. She looked up and saw the beast she had feared ever since she had first seen his hate for her.
Sinner’s eyes were cold. His sword was leveled at her with the blades near her face. Dawny was too tired to flee or move away from the blades that began to spin. The fear she felt was almost more than she could handle. She mastered it and looked past the chainsword into Sinner’s eyes, smiled and with her bloody mangled hand missing a finger she flipped him off and then passed out.
Only two children survived the Folkvangr. They were brought into the madicae and honoured for their victory over the trials by being grafted with the gene-seeds of those who had fallen before them. Fafnier looked at Dawny, smiled and flipped her off. She smiled back and returned the gesture.
In most situations a girl would never have received the Gene-seed. The anatomy of a woman could not survive the work needed to live through all the additions to the body. But on Jotunhiem the women were different. They had a slight mutation to their bodies that allowed for more bitter environments. That mutation, though small and seemingly un-noticeable was enough for the Priests to do their work. Dawny survived the implementations and the grafting of the Gene-seed. She would be the first known female Space Marine, surpassing even the Sisters of Battle. They received only enough changing of body and mind to insure loyalty and the wearing of Holy armor. A Space Marine was so much more.
Fafnier sat beside Dawny in the half light of the Forsaken Beast. They had checked their armor and weapons. Luna Wolf had pulled together the Pack. The Drakeslayers were going to war once again. They smiled revealing sharpened teeth and golden eyes and flipped each other off with armored fingers.
The Forsaken Beast moved through the atmosphere but refused to break orbit. Hiprime piloted the shuttle like a mad man refusing to slow as they moved between jagged peaks and close walled canyons. He was howling as he handled the control arm and stamped the floor petals. What looked like wild angry movements were in fact precision flailings that caused Luna Wolf to tumble from his seat and roll around the cabin while the others laughed. “Damn you Hiprime! You will be the death of me.” He roared. Hiprime smiled revealing his yellowed teeth, “Buckle in next time and the ride will be smoother to your she-wolf skin.” Space Wolf bellowed, “Where are we going? I have threads to kill!”
Luna righted himself and growled as he buckled in nice and tight. “You will see.”
Hiprime maneuvered the Forsaken Beast around some trees and boulders and hovered for three seconds before settling down just outside of a cave. “We are here.” Luna Wolf unbuckled and lumbered to the hatch, hit the controls and readied his bolter. Dawny drew her chainsword, Space Wolf lit up his power sword while Fafnier lifted his mighty hammer. The hatch opened and fell with an almighty thud into the knee deep snow. They waited for only a few minutes. Space Wolf smiled as a howling shadow moved at the edge of darkness in the opening of the cave. A bloody bone the length of a power hammer flew out of the cave trailing blood. It landed on the hatch and rolled three times. Luna smiled. “Well he always had a flare for the dramatic.” Dawny growled.
“It’s a hell of a greeting you give, my brothers!” Ambush said as he moved from the cave into full light and ran up the Hatch door and slammed into Fafnier will all the force of a wild ice bear on the hunt. Bloody and naked, Ambush Beast lifted Fafnier and threw him to the ground, swung his left arm and sent Dawny flying out into the snow. Luna kicked out with his armoured left leg and met air as Ambush turned grabbed the leg and pulled. Luna cursed as he slid out and almost did the splits. Space Wolf punched and hit Ambush in the back of the head bringing a stop the mêlée. Ambush smiled and looked up from the floor of the Forsaken Beast, “Sneaky! You still strike like a new born! Now help me up!” Dawny looked down as she stood with the others, “I see you’ve shrunk in the cold. I can barely see it. It’s like a worm on ice.” Everyone laughed.
Luna took Ambush in the Brother’s grip and picked him up, “We have threads to cut. Where is your armor?” Ambush Beast grinned through sharp white teeth, “In the trees. I felt the need to hunt in freedom.” Luna Wolf returned the grin, “Hiprime, find the Beast’s armor.”
We move slowly through the shrouds of fog sending pestilence before us. There is no hope! We are the Death Guard. Fear us for we are coming for you!