A Moment of Calm
Groath'Varr placed his armoured boot upon the chest of the Guardsman and with a heave, shod the limp corpse from his crackling blade. He took a moment to survey the scene, to drink in the sight of the brutal, if somewhat brief carnage. Striding over a crater-formed pool of brackish water he assesed the damage. Corpes lay everywhere, ragged limbs and gaping wounds in striking contrast to the dull brown of the earthworks and concrete bunkers. Huge plumes of black, pungeant smoke tilting lazily in the weak breeze.
They had done well here, ten months of pacient, back breaking work punctuated only by brief skirmishes over a few yards of dead soil. But for those glorious few minutes, those euphoric, gore smattered moments of unadulterated murder he would have waited ten years. Retracing his steps his dull eyes gleamed, like dying embers in a sudden draft as he recalled those adrenaline fuelled moments. He found what he was looking for, the rent frame of a Commisar, his black uniform studded with gleaming jewels and glinting gold. Bending over him he tore a Macharian Cross from the material, bringing it close to his faceplate.
A rasp left his lungs, becoming monotone and mechanical as it escaped his helmet grille. These were given for bravery, or what paltry equivalent these puny humans could muster. Bravery, what did humans know of such a thing? He faced things that would win him a hundred of these pathetic baubles on each campaign. He was an Iron Warrior, the pinnacle of humanity, master of the siege and slave to no one. He did not worship at the feet of a Golden Corpse, nor at the promise of hollow rewards offered by treacherous Gods. He was his own man and second only to his Warsmith, Vathek Achillion, Vatheck the Pacient, Vaheck Warsmith of the 22nd. The architect of this great siege and provider of so many glorious assaults for him to relish within.
It was true, despite his position at Vatheck's right hand, Groath'Varr had no love for the long war his leigion practised. He lived only for these short spurts of death, the beautiful expression of rage. Something he thought, his comrades had forgotten, too engrossed in the subtleties of properly engineered killing fields and artillery barrages to apreciate the elegant simplicity of combat. No it was lost upon them, and more fool them for it, he thought, though he was too proud to worship Khorne, he understood his appeal. He had never felt more alive than when striding across the courtyards of Provost's World, Angron's chosen bellowing their crass mantra as they slaughtered ten times their number, the guns of the 22nd lending their thunderous support from far afield. But as the dust began to form crusts upon the blood soaked cobbles, he had realised something. Despite their ferocity, they didn't love the thrill of combat, they did not savour the brief dances and beautiful deaths, they lived only to murder, not to kill, they, like common addicts cared only for the next quick hit, a constant thirst for blood. He pitied them, for they had forgotten the glory.
Turning his back on the aftermath he gazed at the medal once more. Life, was exactly like a seige, an eternity of labour ended in a blur of glorious , yet all to brief violence. But, like the cockroach gazing at the Ogryn, he looked forward to the next one.
He chuckled as he returned to his retinue, a cruel smile parting his ashen features.
Iron Within, Iron Without!