Brothers Join Forces/Sibling Rivalry
‘Aaaaarrrggghhhh!’ Icharus screamed, he awoke to find himself sweating profusely which was alarming considering his Astartes genehanced body. His bed sheets were damp and clammy. He sat up and swung his legs out and to the side of his bed trying to recall his blurred nightmares, images of ravens, wolves and flaming books flashed through his mind, and screams of men, women and children rang in his ears.
The blurred nightmares had been reoccurring for the past few nights now, with the same images conjuring up. What could they mean he thought to himself, perhaps a bad omen would beset him soon. He shook his head to clear his thoughts and got up to wash his face.
Despite his high rank and reputation within the legion, his quarters were small and very Spartan just like every other warrior of the II Legion. A large cot was on the left side of the room with a small wash basin at the foot of the bed. His gleaming metallic armour was on a stand in the right corner and a large shelf was on the right wall containing the few personal belongings he had acquired through out the years.
With the inability to sleep he put on a brown woollen robe and decided to go and walk about the ship and perhaps spend some time in the viewing bays as he knew this was where his Lord and Primarch spent his free time.
The Pride of Terra, the Iron Lions flagship was a massive vessel, third to that of the Phalanx and the Vengeful Spirit. Its ability to hold some ten thousand Astartes at any one time made it a perfect invasion vessel. The main corridor which ran the length of the ship ran for several kilometres, the ships crew needed small transport vehicles to get from one end to the other, and unlike the other flagships, every room and compartment was used efficiently. It was a travelling city in it self, not just containing several thousand Astartes but also several thousand crew and Imperial Army personnel as well as transports, equipment and servitors.
The journey to the viewing bay located on the top floor of the command deck was surprisingly serene. With hardly anybody walking about the corridors, Icharus presumed many of the crew were asleep, during the designated night hours of the ship.
The entire 54th fleet was on transit to the next war zone, which was thirteen weeks away which gave the crew and the Warriors plenty of respite for the coming battle that was to come. Despite many legions attempts at negotiations, Icharus knew it was a political ploy to cover the harsh realities of conquering a new planet. The Imperium of man was not a tolerant empire, especially when it came to planets harbouring xenos species. Icharus had heard Primarch Fulgrim give many speeches to his Legion on how mankind could not and should not tolerate any form of Xenos to exist within the galaxy.
‘Good evening Icharus’ the Primarch said in a smooth and deep voice at Icharus’s approach.
‘Good evening my lord,’ Icharus replied. Despite many years of servitude under the leadership of his Primarch, Icharus was as always, in awe at the sheer majesty of his Lord. The Primarch of the II Legion was tall and slender yet powerfully built like the Angelic Sanguinius, but boasted a feral savagery like Primarch Russ in his wild mane like appearance. His strategies were cold and calculating like Lion El’ Johnson yet his personalities differed on occasions, sometimes the Primarch was raw and monstrous as Angron and sometimes he was as compassionate as Primarch Vulkan.
Many of his brothers did not know how to gauge him, nor some of his warriors either. That was Modred’s talent, his ability to be unpredictable. The Primarch’s versatility made him the Emperors favourite son, which naturally caused friction between him and his ambitious brother Horus of the Luna Wolves. Despite Horus’s supreme mastery of charisma, Icharus and many of his fellow captains distrusted Horus and his warriors believing them to have ulterior motives, like vultures waiting for his beloved Primarch to fall.
‘Can’t sleep?’ Modred asked sympathetically. He was dressed in a simple cream robe, his wild blonde mane flowing by his shoulders.
‘I keep having the same nightmares, for the past few nights now…’ Icharus said looking up at the Primarch.
Modred stared at Icharus deeply with his steely blue eyes, ‘what do you keep dreaming of Icharus?’
Icharus hesitated for a second, unsure of how best to bring it up; ‘I keep dreaming of… ravens, wolves and icons of flaming books, and nothing but fire and death. And… and screams of women and children!’
The Primarch continued to stare deeply into Icharus’s eyes, ‘ravens and wolves and flaming books… something to do with my brother’s and their legions perhaps?’ he asked curiously.
Icharus shrugged his shoulders; ‘I can’t possibly say my lord.’
‘Get some sleep Icharus, try to forget those dreams if you can. I need you to be ready for when we go to war again.’ With that the Primarch put a giant hand on Icharus’s shoulder, he felt the heavy weight yet it was comforting as the Primarch gently squeezed his shoulder.
As Icharus turned and was just about to descend down the stairs back to his quarters the Primarch called out; ‘Icharus… don’t mention anything to your warriors or your fellow captains.’
Icharus bowed his head and continued on his journey back.
The Heliopolis was more resplendent than Captain Icharus had ever imagined, he had heard stories of the majesty that was the Pride of the Emperor. The ship was reported to have taken twice as long as any comparable vessel, and now he was here amongst the assembled host of the Emperors finest warriors. Two thousand officers and captains from five different legions were present. Such a gathering had never been seen before, as Icharus saw the black and white colours of the Dark Angels, the purple and gold of the Emperors Children, the granite grey of the Word Bearers, the white of the Luna Wolves and his own Legions colours; black and silver.
They were all gathered here to discuss the destruction of the Meduvai, a lost strand of Humanity who had lowered themselves to live and co exist amongst Xenos species, despite Primarch Lorgar and his legions attempts at negotiations the humans had resisted and wished to remain with their Alien counterparts. Primarch Fulgrim was said to have been so disgusted with their behaviour he had departed from their first contact and had vowed to wipe every single being from existence.
The Primarchs were gathered together in the centre of the room; Icharus felt pride swell up inside of him as he saw his beloved Primarch clad in the Legions colours of black and silver with a large silver lion pelt wrapped around his shoulders. Primarch Mordred of the II, Iron Lions Legion was stood next to the mysterious looking gold skinned Lorgar, who wore granite grey armour and a long sweeping red cape that seemed to envelope him.
Primarch Horus stood in the centre flanked by his close brother Fulgrim, and the cold Lion el’ Johnson. ‘Warriors! we are gathered here for the destruction of the Meduvai! Whom have turned from our blessed Emperor’s guiding light!’ Horus said with venom and hatred in his voice, ‘They have shunned my brother Lorgar’s wise words, and spat them back in his face!’
The assembled host of Word Bearers growled with disdain in unison, the sheer volume sounded like thunder. ‘Their pacts with aliens have disgusted my brother Fulgrim as it would have disgusted our very own Emperor were he here!’ Horus continued. The Captains and Lord Commanders of the Emperors Children rose in anger and shouts of utter destruction. ‘They have insulted our very cause! They have even dared to insult my father and your Emperor!’ Horus finished off. Those very last words had been the ones to have caused the entire room to rise up in a murderous rage.
Icharus felt his very own choler rise, and with two thousand angered Astartes, it rose even further until his very thoughts were filled with nothing but utter destruction for the Meduvai. This was it, five entire legions would come together to wipe out an entire race from the history of the galaxy. No trace of building nor creature would be left to stand, under the armoured heel of the Imperial War machine that was the Astartes.
Standing within the personnel compartment of the Storm bird Captain Icharus of the 3rd Company was ready, ready to deliver the Emperors wrath. Today would be commemorated as the day of Judgement, the day when two hundred thousand Astartes and over a million Imperial Army soldiers would shed the blood of billions for their defiance. ‘For the Emperor!’ was the war cry upon every warrior and soldiers lips. Those would be the last words the aliens and their wretched human comrades would ever hear.
The initial orbital bombardments from five flagships were unleashed upon the capital world Thargarus. The bombardments were reported to have lasted over an hour, before the drop pods and thunderhawks and stormbirds were unleashed to clean up the planet.
Icharus’s stormbird screamed as it broke through the planets atmosphere, no gun batteries were left to defy their advance, the clouds of Thargus broke with a multitude of colours as the different stormbirds, thunderhawks and drop pods raced down to cleave a bloody path of destruction.
‘Five minutes before we reach the LZ, sir!’ the pilot reported through Icharus’s vox link.
‘Ignore the LZ, head for the central governmental Palace!’ ordered Icharus, ‘But sir?! We’ve been ordered to make our way to the designated LZ!’ protested the pilot.
‘Forget what Primarch Horus ordered soldier! These orders come directly from Primarch Mordred!’ Icharus said in a commanding and final tone.
The Stormbirds of the II Legion flew past the designated landing zone which surprised and angered many of the Captains from the other legions.
‘This is going to cause quite a stir,’ said Sergeant Falgorn with an amused expression on his face.
‘Aye!’ replied Icharus; ‘But our Primarch had overheard Horus talk with his Mournival and had informed them that the Emperor would be arriving here within six hours accompanied by the Raven Guard and the Death Blades.’
The warriors within the armoured compartment of the Stormbird chuckled with amusement, ‘Primarch Horus thinks he can teleport directly into the Palace with Abaddons Justaerin’s Terminator Squad once most of the fighting is done,’ Icharus continued; ‘oh how he will be shocked to find our Primarch standing over the fallen leaders of the Maduvai!’
To the surprise of the II Legion, the defences of the Governmental palace were not wholly destroyed and many of the unsuspecting Stormbirds were obliterated upon their approach from heavy machine gun fire.
‘Break out, break out!’ the co-pilot shouted as a hail of bullets flew past.
‘No!’ roared Icharus, ‘the Primarch wishes for our legion to take the glory, we will not be denied!’
‘We’ll be cut down before we even get within a hundred feet!’ the co-pilot protested.
Icharus upholstered his bolt pistol and shot the co-pilot point blank in the back of the head, ‘any more problems Ogren?’ the captain asked the pilot, whom shook his head enthusiastically.
Despite the ferocious firepower that was defending the Governmental Palace, the Strombirds of the II were relentless in their assault, there was not enough time for the Stormbirds to land, so many of the squads leapt out of the side doors and continued their assault on foot, fighting and shooting their way through the barricades and gun fire.
‘To me men!’ Icharus shouted rallying his men through the vox link as the fight around them was deafening with the explosion of large shells and rapid gun fire from both side.
The defensive perimeter surrounding the Governmental Palace was festering with hundreds of trenches and reinforced concrete bunkers, the entire assault force of the II Legion were fighting desperately for every inch of ground, five whole companies were present, with First Captain Roshen Vardt at the centre of the assault line, his bright red plume atop his helmet was visible amongst the sea of black and silver armoured warriors, Vardt was an inspiration for many of the Captains of the II. His acts of courage were countless, his tally of victorious campaigns was the highest in the entire legion. Although Icharus admired Vardt he also considered him a competition for the Primarchs attention and favour.
Screaming commands through his vox link to the various squads attached to his company, he pushed his men on and making ground, catching up with the First Captain, who also noticed this and recklessly charged on.
Enemy soldiers broke free from their trenches and ran to meet Icharus and his company head on, Icharus cooked his frag grenade and chucked it into the oncoming enemy soldiers blowing their huddled line apart.
Unsheathing his chainsword in one fluid motion he cut down what looked like a green skinned man, his figure was humoid but he had four arms and each arm wielded a sword. Unfortunately for him, the sheer speed of the captain bettered him.
What appeared to be a normal human man charged at Icharus and lunged with a long sword, the Captain side stepped and punched the man in the face with his giant
armoured gauntlet. The force of the impact caused the mans face to cave in and he fell to the floor like a rag doll before Icharus stamped on his head with his armoured boot, ensuring he finished the job off properly.
They were less than fifty paces from the white stone steps leading to the golden doors that lead into the Governmental palace, Icharus could taste victory on his tongue. That was until a bright flash of light appeared before the warriors of the II Legion, dazzling them temporarily.
Icharus heard Vardt scream in outrage through the vox as Primarch Horus and a host of black armoured Terminators stood atop the steps of the Governmental Palace, blasting the large golden doors before charging in.
Despite Vardt’s outburst, Icharus knew this was not the end. The Governemtnal Palace was a massive complex its entire area stretching for several kilometres and the height was some ten stories high, even with the defensive perimeter being breached, there would still be defenders inside and that meant the leaders of the Maduvai were still alive and could be claimed as a prize.
The entire assault companies heard the screaming jets as the second wave descended onto the planets surface and amongst them, Icharus spotted the black armoured Stormbird of his Primarch with a lions head for its prow.
Icharus’s vox crackled into life as a voice he knew all to well broke through; “Icharus, Vardt, pursue Horus! Try to get to the governors chambers before he does, I will gain entry through the roof!’
‘You heard the Primarch! Hurry!’ Icharus barked to his men, he quickly glanced off into the distance seeing the giant form of an Imperator Titan unleashing its deadly payload, even from many miles away the Titan still looked colossal. Something else caught his eye, a large squadron of Thunderhawks and Stormbirds were flying straight for the Governmental palace, they were black just like the II Legions but they bore the winged sword Insignia. ‘The Lion approaches,’ growled Icharus.
The outside form did not do it any justice, Icharus was again amazed at the immense size of the Governmental Palace. It was bigger than they had first expected, yes there were ten stories high, but there was also ten stories below underground. Finding out where the Government ministers were located would be a difficult task.
The Captains were gathered around Roshen Vardt, ‘Horus already has several minutes ahead of us, however he only has a handful of warriors with him.’
‘That won’t stop him!’ Captain Lysander Korpus of 5th said in anguish.
‘Trust in yourself and in your legion!’ Icharus said putting a comforting hand on Korpus’s pauldron.
‘Yes…’ Vardt added, ‘We can still gain glory for our Legion! But we must be quick!’
With that all the companies broke off in various directions, with Icharus leading his company deep within the bowels of the Palace. Despite its immense size each room, corridor, or general open space was beautifully decorated with gleaming marble, beautiful white columns, gorgeous hand crafted furniture, colourful mural’s and regal banners.
After twenty minutes, they had lost their bearings in one of the hundreds of wide corridors; ‘where to now Captain? Sergeant Falgorn asked, clearly irritated by the situation and lack of direction.
Before Icharus had time to answer, the entire company turned to see a host of heavily armoured warriors approaching four hundred meters down the brightly lit corridor. The approaching host’s armour was very similar to the Astartes power armour however not as big and bulky and carrying what appeared to be a shield that was see through as if it was made of glass. The armour was not painted and left a metallic colour resembling the ancient warrior class of Terra known as Knights. The only visible sign of decoration was what appeared to be an eight pointed star.
‘Give them hell!’ roared Icharus before his company unleashed a monstrous hail of bolter fire at the enemy host which had now stopped advancing and covered themselves with their shields. Once the smoke from the hundreds of boltguns had cleared, Icharus and his sergeant’s saw that the enemy host were still standing save for one or two unfortunate enough to be caught by a stray round.
‘Swords!’ Icharus shouted unsheathing his and charging towards the enemy, his company following his lead. Amongst the huddled ranks of the defending enemy, a large armoured figure the size of an Astartes with a horned helmet stepped out before them, he carried no shield but a large wooden staff with the iconography of an eight pointed star in his right hand and in his left a large thick black book that had cold writing across it.
Icharus was ten paces away from the armoured man with the book, before he heard screams behind him, quickly turning he saw his entire company writhing on the floor as if they were being burnt alive by some unseen fire.
‘What witchery is this?!’ Icharus said, with a look of horror upon his face, he turned to the armoured man, his face turning from horrified to utter hatred, ‘you will die!’ Icharus screamed as he cut his sword into the armoured figures shoulder guard, the chain blade whining in ecstasy.
The enemy host did nothing standing in silence, as they watched Icharus butcher the armoured sorcerer. Caught up in the righteous vindication of the execution, Icharus was blind to see that the Sorcerer had pulled out a tiny dagger and stabbed it through his armoured leg, he shouted in pain before continuing his butchery. Within seconds Icharus was standing in a pool of the Sorcerors blood, looking down at the hacked remains, he turned to see his warriors had stopped writhing and were slowly getting up.
As he turned again to face the enemy host, they had disappeared. ‘What the hell is this?!’ Icharus roared looking all around him.