It thirsts. It quakes. It screams. Still the laughter echoed in the recesses of his mind, down to his marrow, to where a normal man might still have a soul. Always the laughter, booming and thunderous, mocked his feeble resistance. The rhino was nearing its objective, still travelling at breakneck speeds without the aid of exterior lighting, blackout
. Bravvick looked forward through the troop bay and the vision slits in the front of the vehicle, bracing from the constant rattling of the tracks. The countdown runes in his visor hit zero and a massive shockwave passed over his rhino, rocking it back and forth and threatening to throw him off balance. His helmet’s autosenses deafened the roar of the blast, reducing it to a dull and hollow thump.
Ahead of them, maybe three hundred meters, a huge fireball had burst into life behind a towering black wall. Squad Zecharias had struck the opening blow.
The hunger arose again, the voices behind his eyes, the visions. Corpses bloated with decay covered a vista with blood-soaked soil. A rain of blood fell from above, and still the laughter reverberated. He shook his head in an effort to clear his mind and cast the hellish thoughts away. They persisted, always there, always lurking. He had to focus on the mission, must
focus. Knowing that the rhino was almost at its disembarkation point, Bravvick stood and removed his helmet.
He gazed at his brothers as he always did, one at a time, taking the chance to reaffirm his commitment with each before the first drops were spilled, before the slaughter and the madness threatened them all. Vorn, bearing the banner of the Venom Guard in his fist and a chainaxe in the other, gazed back with barely controlled hatred, an infernal fury tempered by an icy control. A froth of spittle and blood leaked out of his mouth. Graff stared intently at his own chainsword, in apparent control, but his eyes were those of a monster awaiting release. Kayzit fidgeted with his bolt pistol, absently wiping it down with a bloodstained rag. Battle-brothers all, with thousands of years of experience at one another’s side.
“My brothers, Sons of The Last, there was a time when we would ride into battle and make oaths to one another. While this practice has fallen out of favour, I will swear to you all on this night, on this planet…” He paused. His gaze had met Charritt’s, the ancient Marine’s black eyes speckled with red. Not speckled anymore, swimming with red, overflowing with crimson, bubbling over with blood. Swirling ruby, depthless obsidian. Rage and bones. Fury and death
Charritt blinked and Bravvick’s thoughts whirled back into relative focus. Dammit, not now! I am my own!
The rhino jerked to a stop and the ramp released, pistons pumping steam and the sounds of combat leaking in. The squad reacted automatically, Kayzit and Charritt in the rear exiting on opposite sides, chainaxes held high and bolt pistols ready, disappearing around the rhino before the ramp even hit the ground. In pairs they charged, Jib and Wermbo bellowing cries of bloodlust, Langshi and Vorn disturbingly silent and moving with pure focus and precision, Graff and Bravvick last.
Bravvick rounded the front of the rhino, searching for a target to slaughter and bathe in a pool of blood and gore
engage. To his right, Squad Hektar poured out of their rhino, immediately emplacing their heavy weapons systems. Eight missile launchers aimed at the gate, a twenty meter slab of solid adamantine adorned with the massive bronze aquila of the Corpse Emperor. Bravvick and his men, howling to the air in anticipation, began a slow, leisurely trot towards the gate.
Hektar’s voice was audible over the barking yowls of the charging assault squad. “Take them down!” The Havoc’s unleashed their volley of krak missiles at the four guard posts surrounding the entrance, bursting them open like a mace slamming into a skull before their weapons had a chance to fire. The soft flesh caving in, brain matter and blood spurting out. The scream cut short as the life that fueled it was extinguished…
The center of the immense gate began to glow, softly at first, quickly escalating to an immolating inferno. Molten metal began to ooze down, flowing to the ground like lava. The intense heat and pressure finally grew too great to withstand the onslaught and the gate exploded outwards, peppering the ground for hundreds of meters with shards of twisted metal.
Flickering fire lined the portal, reminiscent of the gaping maw of hell. Five massive figures strode forth, their armour proof against the flames licking at them. Armed to the teeth, radiating menace, the shining emerald of their battle armour glinted in the blaze, both majestic and utterly terrifying at once. The largest of them, massive tusks of bone extending down from his battle helm, hefted his power mace into the air and bellowed, “Hydra Dominatus!”
The Serpentis marched on Viaticus Secundus. Hulking monsters, bringing death to all who dare stand in their way, the Terminator elite of the Wrathful were unleashed on Way Station Centrus. The sight was enough to stir the soul. Such destructive ability, no matter how many times he had witnessed it, was godlike
Bravvick activated his power fist and charged, feeling the kill maim burn slaughter GIVE IN TO IT
adrenaline being pumped into his system. His senses were heightened, reflexes on edge, ready to kill. The Serpentis, the mighty, watched him impassively. He would not disappoint such beasts of fury. He waded through the flames, the heat licking at his boots. It was over in an instant, his reckless charge inside of the compound propelling him past the burning wreckage of the gate.
Lasfire began spattering the ground around him, the surprise and ferocity of the attack fading and the ingrained resolve taking hold in the Guardsmen defenders. Bravvick grinned a feral smile, knowing the futile attempts at retaliation could not harm him. The Guardsmen were unable to harm him, all but the luckiest of shots were completely incapable of piercing his ancient armour. RAGE LET ME OUT GIVE IN
. Fading out, feel the blood, feel the gore, satisfying, need to murder have to kill destroy.
Lucky shots blistered the paint from his armour and its spirit screamed in rage. The rage of his armour fuelled him, befouled
him. He grew closer to a cluster of men, kneeling and standing, firing frantically. Within, he felt the stirring, the excitement. Blood was to be spilt, gallons and gallons of blood.
Let them leak out, their fluids stain the sand. Their offal would litter the courtyard. He just had to get to them, reach them and destroy them. His legs pumped furiously, his armour’s spirit pushed the servos to their very limits. The stench wafted in, subtle at first. The reek of fear
, of the knowledge of imminent and unavoidable demise permeated the air. He snorted as he noticed streaks of piss staining the humans’ legs. Fear
was a weakness. A weakness must be exterminated.
Their fire intensified as he bore down upon them. He was ready to crush them, to rip their fragile bodies apart to bear the mantle of, of…
. That was what Bravvick was, down to his essence, a berserker. The need overtook him and he charged the men. One, two, three steps and he was amidst them. An uncontrolled backhand to the left burst the torso of a man, spattering blood and innards onto the champion’s helm, covering the eye slits. He ripped his helm off and threw it at another mortal, embedding the garish ornamentation into the man’s skull. His falling body was lost in the melee.
Falling, he was falling, deeper down far down into the dark. Arterial spray spattered onto his face, a severed arm fell to the ground twitching, a man screamed as he held his intestines inside of his ruptured stomach, the downwards blow of an axe split a man in two. Odd, the left half of his body instantly collapsed, but the right remained upright as though supported on unseen strings. The man’s heart was still pumping, sending spurts over the already saturated ground.
Rejoice in the slaughter, blood for the Lord of Hate, the Brazen God.
He demanded more, always required it. More death, more pain, more suffering. Never ending thirst, never ending agony. Those were his requirements. They must be met; they must be satisfied. An eternal butchering, the galaxy must be submerged in blood and drown in the infinite ocean of gore. Worlds would burn, their populations would be massacred, it was inevitable, it was beautiful
The laughter, it was overwhelming. Booming and thundering in the forefront of his mind. An endless plain of broken bones, shattered skeletons, pools of blood. GIVE IN TO IT
. Bravvick disappeared and the Skull Reaper, Champion of Khorne lost himself to the slaughter. ‘BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!’