Chapter Bane (World Eaters, loyal SM)
This is another installment of the series i tried to write about the World Eaters
Lord Ferag sat on a throne made from the bones of all his slain enemies from his ten thousand years of continuous slaughter in the name of Khrone. Here was the skull of an imperial saint, taken from a shrineworld guarded by the zealous men of over fifteen imperial guard regiments that formed the hand rest. Here was the dried carapace of one of the monstrous xenos from the hive fleets that made up the back. This gristly sculpture of war served to intimidate all who lay eyes on it, followers of the Blood God or not. And it did
Before Ferag the three chief lieutenants of his mighty warband knelt to their lord, showing their fealty to him. Ferag eyed them all. In the middle was Zarlen, the butcher of a billion souls. He’d been with the legion since before the Great War and had fought just as hard as any other Ferag knew. He’d been with him at the breach in the wall of the Emperor’s Palace. He knew he could be trusted.
Next to him knelt Galates, a relatively new addition to the warband, having been recruited after the first war for Armageddon.
This one Ferag was less sure of due to his relative youth, even though he was several thousand years of age. But he had proved a capable commander and had led the men of his coterie to many victories with a unique tactical capability, something Ferag knew his legion needed.
To the left of Zarlen knelt a marine, not of the World Eaters at all, but of the mysterious Alpha Legion. Having given up his ties of loyalty to his once primarch Alpharius, Peto was now Ferag’s best source of information on any target he laid eyes on. It was Peto who always knew how many men guarded any planet at any given time and when best to attack an imperial world.
‘Well?’ asked Ferag.
‘The warband is anxious my lord,’ said Zarlen.
‘Their blood boils for the heads of Astartes,’ said Galates.
‘It’s been too long since the fight against the Black Templars,’ added Zarlen,
‘we have more than recovered what strength we lost and it is time to strike again,’
Ferag leaned back against his throne and considered their words. True, it had been too long since his warband marched to war. But he had needed that time to strengthen his army. Over half the World Eaters had been slain in the fight against the Black Templars so long ago, and Ferag was loath to consider another costly engagement like that one. Khrone favored only the victorious. He needed victory.
‘Alright, we shall go once more to the endless fight, you may leave to prepare the men,’
Zarlen and Galates stood up to leave, Peto stayed where he was.
The footsteps of two mighty warriors clad I power armor echoed through the cavernous chamber. Only until the two World Eaters had left and closed the tall doors behind them did Peto stand, this was always the way it was, and the way it would be. Whatever Ferag and Peto needed to speak of was best spoken of in private.
‘A wise choice my lord,’ said Peto.
‘Yes I know. The legion needs victory and the men need blood. I only hope to bring them both,’ replied Ferag.
‘Do you know why I joined you Ferag?’ asked Peto.
‘Your ship was out of fuel when I found you,’ replied Ferag.
‘Yes but, since then I could have left at any time to lend my services and ability to any other lord of chaos. No, the reason why I have stayed loyal to you is that you are not like other members of the 12th legion I have “meet”’.
‘You have vision. You see the corpse god dead. You see terra in flames. You see a galaxy ruled by Khrone. All the other see naught but blood,’
‘Great, now tell me something I can use,’ replied Ferag.
‘The men want blood and you need victory. The men want to kill Astates but you have no desire to suffer like last time. The solution is simple, annihilate one of the weaker chapters. This will give you more loyalty from the men and your reputation will grow exponentially,’
‘You make it sound so simple,’ said Ferag, ‘which chapter do you propose?’
‘Recently the Imperials have had a new founding of space marine chapters. The 26th if I am correct. These chapters have only just begun fighting and while they are most certainly on par with the rest of the mongrel loyalists, they are too new to this galaxy for the horrors that await within,’
‘You are suggesting that we destroy a newly founded chapter that is only now finding its place in the galaxy?’
‘Sounds perfect,’ smiled Ferag, ‘Find the chapter, learn everything about it, then report back to me,’
‘Yes sir,’ said Peto.
Through the dark reaches of the eternal void that is real-space a fleet sailed the stars.
Comprising of two battle barges and four strike cruisers the fleet of the newly founded Star Knights soared towards its destination, the uninhabited moon known only has Phonen VII.
With a full complement of marines and no shortage of weaponry and ammunition the Star Knights were fully prepared to take up their duties as one of the chapters built to combat the hive threat from beyond the galaxy.
With only the chapter master and the ten captains having any amount of experience, the vast bulk of the chapter was new to the galaxy at large, though not one of them was an unblooded man, each having to have killed to make their way as far as this in the universe.
Only the leaders of the chapter had fought in the endless war before. Taken from the noble chapters of the Salamanders, the Raven Guard, the Ultramarines, the Black Templars and some others, the captains knew how to lead.
They would learn soon enough if their men could follow.
Like a sparrow in the air, they flew towards their destination.
Like a hawk under the sun, the World Eaters watched.
Safe within the warp, the warband of the twelfth legion waited.
At the urging of their lord the mad denizens of the blood god waited for the right moment to strike.
Throughout the halls of the warship Ruthless Axe, hundreds of warriors gripped their blades, chainswords and the more popular chainaxes. Few of the warriors still held onto their original bolters having long forsaken range for the honor and thrill of close combat. Those that did were more than capable however and had reaped fearsome tallies in battles past.
In modified dreadclaws the berserkers waited for the launch that would insert them within the ships of the enemy.
Stormbirds and smaller thunderhawks waited in the hangers of the battle-barge, waiting to carry over yet more soldiers.
Ferag stepped onto the command bridge of the Axe.
'Do we have them in our sights?' he asked.
'Yes my lord' said Galates 'The warp clouds us well,'
'Are the others ready?'
'Yes my lord, the cultists may be worthless in a fight, but their ships are well armed and many,'
Apart from the Ruthless Axe and the two strike cruisers Ravage and Cursed Fist that held the World Eaters warband, were a dozen cultist ships, either former escorts from the imperial navy captured in the warp,to the vessels of rogue traders that found themselves beyond the fringes of civilized space where the monsters dwell. Laden with explosives these ships would make deadly rams.
As he watched the fleet travel through space Ferag grinned in predatory anticipation. They truly had waited too long. Now was the time.
'Give the order,' he said to Zarlen.
Bursting from the warp cloud the World Eaters fleet sprang upon the unsuspecting astartes.
Firing as they revealed themselves the twelfth legion inflicted much damage before the fleet was able to get their shields up.
It hardly mattered to the the Ruthless Axe.
Coming in from the warp at and angle the daemon infused battle barge used its momentum to its advantage and aimed for the space between the two loyalist battle barges.
Seeing the fearsome war ship speeding towards them the marine pilots tried to steer away from it, lest all three ships suffer a catastrophic collision. Much better to live and destroy the enemy they reasoned. This, they realized in the days to come, would be their biggest mistake.
Giving the Axe enough room to soar between them they let it bring all its guns to bear on the ships.
Firing from cannons the size of a titan the Axe ripped at the shields, its daemon enhanced rounds made the first defenses of the ship falter, but it was not their ultimate target.
Still moving on its own momentum the Axe went past the main body of the barges and found the primary target.
Holding the torpedos in hold until this moment Ferag shouted the order to fire on the engines. At point blank range they couldn't possibly miss.
With hellish explosions the torpedos tore into the engines, crippling the biggest and most vital to the continued mobility of the ship.
With a terrible screeching sound metal tore apart and left the barges one leg short and dead in the water.
When the Axe emerged from its strike it saw the rest of the World Eater fleet engaging the the strike cruisers.
The Fist and the Ravage pounded on the shields of one strike cruiser. With a flicker the shields fell and the two chaos vessels ripped into the ships with their ferocious weapons.
The other dozen or so ships of the fleet dodged in and out of the vicious fight, striking where they could before darting out of sight of the astartes guns. They were doing their part, but while all the ships of the World Eaters were occupied only one last imperial ship was left not under immediate attack.
While the Ruthless Axe turned to starboard the last strike cruiser moved to intercept it and perhaps save the crippled battle barges from its continued onslaught.
It's crew was valiant and their spirits far from crushed. The company of marines onboard were ready to due their Emperor proud and defend their new name before his throne.
It was all for nothing.
In the millennia since the Horus Heresy the Ruthless Axe had been submerged in the warp. It had seen the throne world of their god Khorne, it had blasted apart the land of the once fertile world of Armageddon, it had seen countless centuries of war and death, and from this, it had emerged stronger than it had been when it left the docks of Mars all those years ago.
The marines on the cruiser never stood a chance.
Opening up a broadside against the chaos warship the strike cruiser was naught but a fly against a tank. Shields absorbing the power of the blasts, the loyalist weapons had no effect.
'Target the core of that strike cruiser,' said Ferag.
Turning its sights to the puny cruiser the Ruthless Axe charged its single lance battery and opened fire.
Tearing through the shields and through the hull like a hot knife through butter the energy beam became the doom for the astartes, hitting the plasma core of the cruiser and igniting the volatile mixture the cruiser was ripped in two. The explosion may have been silent, but it was bright enough to blind all those without astartes enhanced eyesight for hours.
Turning away from the corpse of the ship just destroyed Ferag checked to see how close the Axe was to the two immobile battle barges.
'We should be coming up on them in a few minutes my lord,' said Galates.
'Good,' said Ferag, 'I want out portside to be facing the command deck of the battle barge when we launch the boarding assault, while we take the barge continue the attack on the other ships,'
'Yes my lord,'
As the slow minutes dragged on one more strike cruiser was destroyed, though not before it crippled the Cursed Fist. The Ravage finished it off and left the Fist to fend for itself while it went to lend its batteries to the small war between the cultist ships and the two other strike cruisers.
Five cultist ships had been destroyed thus far, but not before making their mark. As they were consumed in flames two of the former rogue traders vessels went to critical speed and charged the marine ships. In the final moments of the suicide charge the bombs on board detonated, overloading the shields and severely damaging the hull of one of the cruisers.
Once the Ruthless Axe was in position above the crippled battle barges the boarding pods were launched.
Hurtling through the void at mind numbing speeds the berserkers of the World Eaters howled their insane delight.
As the barge rushed up to meet them faster and faster the World Eaters readied themselves for battle and blood once more.
Hitting the hull of the barge the modified dreadclaws penetrated the outer layer of the ship to disgorge their deadly cargo forged from thousands of years of war.
Jumping out into the loyalist battle barge Ferag was the first into the melee. Clad in an archaic suit of power armor, painted with the blood of his enemies and decorated with the skulls of enemy champions, he was his God incarnate and fearsome sight to behold.
Charged by the assault squads of the the Star Knights first company Ferag prepared for the slaughter. Hefting his mighty chainblade, the same daemon infused weapon he had carried since the siege of the Emperor's Palace, he charged to meet the astartes head on.
Ten marines let out a battle cry and activated their chainswords.
The first one swung horizontally, trying to take his head. Ferag ducked down below the blade and stabbed up into the whelp's chest. Falling down in pain the marine was hit again in the side of his head by Ferag's spiked gauntlet before he hit the floor.
Ferag let go of his chainblade and meet the next marine with a vicious kick to the sternum, doubling him over before bring his knee up into his face and caving it in.
The next two marines came on and brought their blades down in an effort to leave the chaos champion nowhere to do but back to hell.
Barreling into the marine on the right Ferag left his back open to be stabbed. The astartes raised his blade to kill the World Eater and avenge his battle brothers. It wouldn't happen.
Left too long away from its master and done with its feast, the daemon blade ripped its way through the marine it killed and out his back before flying back to its master's side, pausing only to slash across the arms of the marine that was about to stab him in the back.
Falling to the ground the two arms, still holding the chainsword left the astartes reeling in pain.
Holding out his hand Ferag paused for his blade before smashing it down on the neck of the marine he had wrestled to the ground.
The fifth marine to charge him was a sergeant. Holding his shield out before him he tried to pummel Ferag to the ground.
Letting the marine hit him Ferag pulled the sergeant down with him and dodged out from between the shield and the hard floor at the last moment, driving the marine's arm into the ground with full force, sending shock waves through his entire body. The arm was broken, but in a few minutes it would be fine again.
Ferag couldn't waste time on the downed sergeant, he turned to face the next astartes and rose his blade to parry another swing of a chainsword. Sparks flew and the loyalist's blade was bent and useless.
Ferag's next swing came down between the loyalist's shoulder and neck, partially decapitating him.
The seventh marine was smart, having seen the greater part of his squad felled when they tried to meet the champion of Khrone up close, he knew he would be no contest for Ferag.
Raising his bolt pistol with lightning fast speed the marine was able to snap off a shot at Ferag before he could close the distance between the two.
The shot took Ferag in the chest, pushing him back a step. He roared his fury and pushed himself through the air on the strength of his legs.
Barreling into the marine Ferag pushed him into the two behind them in a mess of arms and legs.
Punching the marine in the head he knocked him out before reaching for a grenade at the assault trooper's belt.
Pulling the pin Ferag threw the small bomb down.
Pulling the limp form of the marine up to shield him from the blast Ferag grunted under the massive strain. In armor, a marine could weigh quite a bit.
The explosion engulfed the two marines still on the floor with a fiery roar of anger.
Even shielded as he was Ferag was blown back several feet and onto his back.
Next to the sergeant he had downed only moments before.
Hefting the body of the marine up again Ferag swung it down on the sergeant's head and bludgeoned him to death.
He dropped the marine and kicked him in the neck to make sure he was dead.
A sickening crack greeted his ears.
All this happened in less than a minute.
Flooding like a tide of blood into the crippled battle barge Ferag's legions poured into the wounded ship.
The roar of chain blades filled his ears like sweet music.
'Take the ship! Slay all in your path!' shouted Ferag to the roars of the World Eaters.
This would be a good fight.
Finished: Too Much Love Will Kill You (working title), an original fiction novel. Working on: Second draft of Too Much Love, and the first draft of A Winter's Tale (working title).