Enemies and Allies
The last six months had been a monumental task as the Emperor was preparing to head back to the front lines, to join up with the Crusade and take full charge again. This time however the Emperor had organised three expeditions fleets to form up as one and become his personal battle fleet, one of the three happened to be under the Control of Primarch Corax who of course was glad to join up with his father.
Over five thousand ships formed the basis of the battle fleet three times the size of the Warmaster’s, many within the inner circle believed this to be the Emperors way of letting everyone know who was in charge. The battle fleet itself was transporting over four million Imperial Army personnel, over five thousand Custodian Guards, The majority of the Raven Guard Legion as well as their Primarch and a small retinue of Sisters of Silence.
Two Titan Legions were also accompanying the battle fleet, the remains of Legio Mortis as half had been accompanying the 63rd Expedition fleet and the entirety of Legio Tempestus. There was also a civilian entourage accompanying the Armada several thousand Adepts from the Imperial Palace itself as well as members of the newly created Remembrancers order.
Standing upon the bridge of the Battle Barge Claw of Deliverance the Primarch of the Raven Guard Legion looked like a God amongst the bridge crew and even his own Captains. Clad in full battle plate he towered over everyone.
“My Lord, did the Emperor say why he was returning to the front lines?” asked Captain Agapeto.
“No he didn’t…” the Primarch replied without looking at his Captain.
“It just seems strange that he would appoint Primarch Horus as his Warmaster and then a few months later return to take charge again.”
“The Emperor does not need to explain his actions… Captain,” said the Primarch with a tone of annoyance in his voice.
“My apologies my Lord, I did not mean the Emperor had to explain himself it’s just…” Captain Agapeto said nervously.
“The Emperor is the Emperor and he will do as he wishes, it is not our business to question his actions, we follow his orders without question,” the Primarch interjected looking at each of his four captains.
“Please excuse my curiosity my Lord, but did the Emperor tell you where he was leading us?” asked Captain Kayler of Third Company.
The Primarch continued to stare at the bridge viewing screen a small smirk was forming on his face, “We’re meeting up with the Iron Warriors…”
It took almost an entire Terran Day for the whole Armada to break out of the Warp entering the Yondax System where the 122nd Expedition fleet were high anchored above the planet Yidkas. The entire system was now packed full of vast ships, maintaining a strict defensive positioning around the Throne of Terra the Emperors personal battle barge.
Admiral Andulus smiled at himself as he looked out to see the vast Galactic Naval Power before him, to attack the Emperors personal ship was near impossible he thought to himself, however the Emperor was not on his ship as he had lead his contingent of Generals and Captains to the planets surface to meet with Primarch Perturabo.
He stood under the large canopy; the shade it provided was a welcomed relief from the scorching sun over head. Though his suit was well equipped to enable him to dwell within the desserts of Yidkas for several months it was still very hot, even for a Primarch save perhaps for Vulkan.
This part of the Planet was the last bastion the enemy held. Several more weeks and the Planet would be fit to be certified as compliant, his captains however were not so concerned with the war at this moment, “Acting like children,” he thought to himself as he watched his Captains chattering enthusiastically amongst themselves. It was a treat for them, he guessed to see a living God like being walk amongst them.
Though he was a little annoyed at their inability to keep their composure he could not deny that he too was feeling a little excited at seeing his father again.
One such captain however retained his self control and kept quiet staring straight ahead of him where the Emperor would soon be landing, Perturabo let out a small smile as he recognised the man to be Captain Forrix of First Company. An imposing stern face covered in scars from many battles, he resembled his Primarch somewhat in his demeanour. Cold, calculating and utterly ruthless, he was the Icon all Iron Warriors should be.
“Captains hush, I believe the Primarch wishes to say something,” said Captain Forrix in a gruff voice catching the Primarchs eye.
The Primarch winked at Forrix before addressing his Captains, “The Emperor will soon be gracing us with his presence,” he said looking at each of his Captains in the eye. “He will also be accompanied by a retinue of the Raven Guard,” a twinkle in his silvery blue eyes, which each of the Captains understood and gave sly grins.
Many of the Legions knew of bitter loathing the Iron Warriors had for the Imperial Fists, few however knew of the tension between Perturabo and Corax save for their honoured captains. Perturabo had on several occasions commented on Corax’s preferred method of warfare which had annoyed the normally stoic and reserved Primarch of the Raven Guards. It was simple, Perturabo thought his brother and his legion to be nothing but cowards. Hiding in the shadows ambushing here and there rather than taking on a foe head on as he believed was an honourable way of fighting.
It did not take long before five hulking Stormbirds screamed as they touched down on the Sandy floor, the heat of their after burners adding to the already scorching temperature of the dessert. As soon as the ramp doors lowered, Golden and black armoured warriors poured forth forming into two lines creating a procession way, an honour guard made up of Legio Custodes and Raven Guard Astartes, twenty four in total. Imperial Army Soldiers came next and formed up behind the Black armoured Astartes and the golden Custodian Guards, forty eight in total. Finally the golden figure of the Emperor came forth along the newly formed procession way, Corax on his left, Constantin Valdor on his right, high ranking Army Officers followed behind and what appeared to be several high officials from the Administratum and Remembrancers behind them.
Perturabo knelt on one knee at the Emperors approach, the servos of his power armour whining at his movements, his Captains took note and followed suit. The Emperor placed a warm hand upon Perturabos right shoulder guard, he could feel the raw psychic powers of the Emperor surge through his entire body and armour.
“Stand my son and embrace me!” the Emperor said with a smile.
Perturabo and the Emperor embraced like a father and son who had been reunited after many long lost years.
“It is good to see you again Father!” Perturabo said.
“Aye, it’s been too long! You were not present at Ullanor.”
“I was unable to attend, the Campaign on Uttuan Sigmar needed my full attention.”
“Of course, of course” the Emperor said with a chuckle as they let go of each other,”
Constantin Valdor looked over at Corax who remained emotionless throughout the procession, the Emperor turned to bring over Corax.
“Corax come greet your brother, it has been too long!”
Corax obeyed, walking up to Perturabo and embracing him as if there was no tension between them whatsoever.
The physical stature of both Primarchs were very different, Corax was tall and slender, mysterious looking in his black coloured Armour adorned with raven wings and a black feathered cloak. Where as Perturabo was slightly shorter by a few centimetres he was perhaps the shortest Primarch but his armour polished silvery grey was large and bulky making him look immensely wide and powerful maybe as wide as Angron.
Perturabo’s armour looked to be made for technological and construction purposes. It was encompassed in many different gadgets whereas Corax’s armour was designed for battle, a bird of prey.
The honoured captains of both legions met and greeted one another, at first there were a few remarks made from both parties but the Primarchs understood the Emperor wanted them to be united during this campaign and so made more show of brotherhood by sitting next to each other and in close proximity which made the Captains of both legions ease up.
Once they knew the size of the Emperors entourage, the Iron Warriors extended the canopy which somehow doubled in size, refreshments and atmospheric machines were brought in to cool the newly formed war council from the nearby Iron Keep. These Iron Keeps were dotted all over the Planet acting as mobile base of operations for the legion to operate around, designed by Perturabo they could be joined up with other Iron Keeps to form a massive defensive citadel should the need arise. Providing a strong defensive position they could then push onwards into the enemy’s position. Hence Perturabo’s favoured tactic of strong defence used as a strong offence.
“Here is a pict of the Enemy’s last fortress,” Perturabo said handing data slates to the Emperor and Corax.
“Looks strong, have you picked out any weak spots yet?” Corax asked surveying the enemy’s fortification structure.
“Not yet, we were planning on landing Iron Keeps all around their positions, and then we would begin laying fire on them.”
Corax nodded, not saying anything still studying the data slate.
“You could use your reconnaissance squads whilst Perturabo gets his Iron Keeps into position…” the Emperor said looking at Corax.
Corax nodded again, saying nothing. Amon who was standing guard behind the Emperor, understood Corax’s subtle diplomatic tactics. He believed Corax knew what Perturabo’s strategy would be and disagreed with it; this would be another dig in and wait type of warfare. Bombard the enemy from your position until they can’t take it any more.
“You don’t look enthusiastic brother?” Perturabo said with a cold steely gaze.
“I just think we need to consider all possibilities before we act that’s all,” Corax replied returning his brothers gaze, both Primarchs were not going to be easily swayed by the other.
“Perturabo, does the enemy have any anti air defences?” the Emperor said cutting the silent tension.
Perturabo turned to face the Emperor, “our orbital scanners have detected none…”
“Corax get a reconnaissance team in there, orbital scanners may will not necessarily be able to detect them if they are hidden underground, I will use both your specialities to break them down.” With that the Emperor stood up and left with his entourage.
The enemy’s fortress was built into a large mountain range known to the native populace as the Devils Hole, no one in the planets long history had ever been known to be able to take the ancient fortification from its occupiers. Thousands upon thousands of bodies lay buried deep upon the battle plains, the enemy as they were referred to by the Imperialists were made up of the last remnants of the planets old nobility who wished to retain their control over the planet. They were not tyrants, nor particularly evil, they were just an obstacle in the way of the Great Crusade.
As was planned by Primarch Perturabo, five Iron Keeps were situated around the enemy’s position, a series of walls and trenches connected the mobile fortresses ensuring no one would escape. Predator and Whirlwind tanks were situated behind the makeshift walls, Land Raiders and Rhino APC squads circled the outer perimeter continuously. They would be able to deploy reinforcements as quick and efficiently to any area within the designated battle zone should the enemy try to break out.
Primarch Corax was situated on a small hill several kilometres away observing the battle zone a look of awe was upon his face. This was no battlefield they would be fighting on, Perturabo had changed the entire landscape to resemble an iron and razor spiked prison.
“I wouldn’t like to be those bastards!” Captain Agapeto commented standing next to his Primarch, the First Captain looked like a child standing next to the giant Primarch.
Corax merely grunted as he continued to survey the area.
“Do you spot any weaknesses my Lord?” the First Captain asked.
“The Eastern trenches, do you see them?”
“Yes my Lord, what of them?” Agapeto answered.
“They are filled with fresh troops straight from Terra, this will be their first taste of battle. Should the enemy try to break out, and they head straight for those trenches they may be able to overwhelm those men.”
“I doubt they will know where to run, especially when Captain Shrike sets those chargers!”
“Well if they have any experience in siege warfare, their commanders will be looking for any weaknesses in Pertruabo’s defences.”
Captain Agapeto made no comments, he could sense his Lord was merely observing his brothers handy work, noting any weaknesses in Perturabo’s strategy, the Raven Guard were not just doing reconnaissance work on the enemy, but their allies as well.
Back at I.K.51 Perturabo’s designated primary Iron Keep, he was observing the enemy fortification from a viewing bay.
“It seems we are not the only ones observing my lord…” said a gruff voice from behind.
“I know Forrix, my brother is taking note of our siege tactics… I believe we have stunned even the Raven Guard Legion by how we have taken control of the situation,” Perturabo said gloatingly.
“Do you think Lord Corax’s specialists have gained entry into the Fortification my Lord?” Forrix asked amusingly.
“I have no doubt, My brother and his Legion are exceptionally good at stealth and reconnaissance, but that can only get you so far!” Perturabo said turning to his First Captain with a raised eyebrow, his silvery blue eyes glinting mischievously.
The Vox link of the observation platform crackled into life; “Brother, my men are in position!”
“We are ready also Corax!” Perturabo responded.
Within five minutes explosions erupted from the enemies fortification, its huge walls exploding at various points from underneath causing them to plummet downwards. Next came another massive explosion as the energy generator inside the fortification exploded killing hundreds of soldiers, this in turn cut out the power for their void shields leaving the stone fortifications utterly defenceless against any missile attacks, Captain Shrike and his team had done an impressive job.
All along the trenches and walls, the Captains of the Iron Warriors roared out their orders and unleashed a hail of missiles and heavy bolter rounds into the now defenceless fortification. Buildings and warehouses exploded from the hail of gun and missile fire from the surrounding Iron Warriors. Hundreds of enemy soldiers were blown to pieces, burnt alive or crushed from the falling debris; the screams could not be heard over the roar of artillery. The volley lasted ten minutes until the Captains ordered a cease fire.
Within a minute dozens of Stormbirds flew overhead with their ramps opening and unleashed their cargo, hundreds of black dots filled the sky. Perturabo looked up to see the outlines of the Raven Guard descending on screaming jump packs upon the rubble strewn fortification at an alarming speed. “Death from above!” he smiled to himself admiring the fast pace and grace with which the Raven Guard moved on their prey. With chain sword, lightning Claw and Bolt gun in hand they tore into the surviving Soldiers, ripping them to shreds with ease.
“For the Emperor! Give them hell!” Perturabo screamed as he and his Legion charged into the fray.
This was no battle, it was a blood bath. Attacked from every possible angle and with no defences left many of the enemy soldiers merely got on their knees in submission as the Iron Warriors and Raven Guard hacked off their heads, arms, legs and entire torso’s.
Literally within twenty minutes no man was left alive, every Astartes warrior was drenched in blood they were unable to tell who was Raven Guard and who was Iron Warrior.
Corax drenched in blood and gore spotted his brother straight away, The Primarch of the Iron Warriors towered over his sons like a mighty father. “For the Emperor my brother!” he said as he took off his black winged helm.
Perturabo smiled at his brothers approach and embraced him, captains of both Raven Guard and Iron Warrior looked on and saw a strong bond of brotherhood forming between Corax and Perturabo forged in the fires War as both brothers were now truly smiling at their combined victory.
A flash of light appeared amongst the mass of Astartes and a tiny shockwave rippled as the Emperor appeared before them, resplendent and radiating a god-like aura amongst the dirty blood covered Warriors.
Everyone including the Primarchs knelt on one knee instantly, as the Emperor approached his sons he placed his hands on their heads; “Glory is bestowed upon you both!” he said simply and smiled.