A Last War Before Desh'ea
Chainswords roared and bolters boomed, filling the air with the sound of war.
All around him Ghreer heard the same thing, the ferocious war cries of his legion as they brought the Emperor's wrath upon this forgotten world.
Mortal men were arrayed against them, The War Hounds Legion, fighting alongside their xeno allies, struggling to stave off the extermination their fraternity begged with its mere existence.
'Forward War Hounds!' the Legion Master shouted, his words amplified along the vox network, 'show no mercy to the race traitors!'
The Hounds closest to him let out a roar of approval, spurring themselves to even greater heights of the ferocity the were so well known, and feared, for.
Heavy autorounds impacted the brown and green earth before him, and Ghreer knew the filthy enemy were falling back, taking their energy weapons, the only weapons they had that could put holes in his ranks, away from the front lines to set up the next layer of defense.
Already the War Hounds had crashed through eight trench lines and left thousands of bodies in their wake, now they neared the city of the abominations, and their job was not yet done.
Ghreer charged along with his Astartes, hundreds of his legion to his left, and hundreds to his right, all running full speed, waving their axes and swords in the air, waking shots with deadly accuracy at the enemy with equally deadly results. Any alien or, and if Ghreer were not post-human he would have felt bile rise in his throat at the next word, human who rose their head above cover would lose it moments later.
Soon they reached the last trench line before the city, and Ghreer was the first one in, followed less than a second later by the First Company Champion, Kunnar.
The two soldiers' movements were little more than white blurs of their armor matching their genetically enhanced speed.
Ghreer's power sword buzzed with energy as he swiped it down one neck of a two headed xeno, severing the head.
Half the alien's body went limp, its other side struggling to stay upright.
Kharn would love this, thought the Legion Master, thinking of the Eight Company Captain, and how he had howled his anger when Ghreer denied him and his company a place in the first wave.
A solid round impacted Ghreer's right shoulder plate, and the War Hound was ripped back to the present.
He eyed the human who had sought to wound him. It was a man, quaking in his boots, holding one of the weapons native to this world. Though Ghreer could sense the man's fear, he saw in his eyes a bravery that held the fear that normally consumed enemies and friends of the War Hounds in check.
'Such bravery,' breathed the Legion Master, 'but so sadly misplaced,'
He raised his left arm, raising the hand in which he held his plasma pistol, a weapon he won on Terra in the panpacific campaign, and fired. The old weapon worked just as well know as it had the day he tore it from the dead fingers of a techno barbarian warlord, and the human who dared fire on him was incinerated by the power of the plasma round.
More War Hounds poured into the trench and began the blood work of war.
'For the Emperor!' they shouted, and dug into the fleeing ranks of the defenders, cutting them down with sword and axe.
A high pitched whine filled the air and Ghreer looked up from the remains of the stomped to death two headed alien. Bright balls of yellow light soared over the trench before impacting the outskirts of the city, leaving fire filled craters wherever they landed.
'Xeno artillery!' shouted Ghreer.
The War Hounds dived to the ground, the blood work here almost done, and dodged any more incoming artillery.
More bright balls of yellow flame soared toward the trench, some impacting the ground before it, and some past it, but one landed within the line and Ghreer saw what it was capable of with powered armor and flesh.
He didn't want to see it again, or hear it, for whatever could make an Astartes cry out in pain was not something to be contemplated.
Soon the artillery stopped, likely so the enemy gun crews could reload, and Ghreer ordered the War Hounds back to their feet to continue the war.
'Back up!' he shouted, 'we must purge this world lest this cancer grow across the stars!'
That was when Ghreer was shot.
Like a power weapon in the shape of a hammer the xeno energy shot dove the breath from Ghreer's lungs and sent him falling to the ground, where he laid, noticed, but unhelped by his bloodthirsty legion, until he woke a minute later.
Dazed and confused, his vision hazy Ghreer lay on the ground, watching his brothers charge the city ahead, running through a hail of artillery and long range fire from the buildings ahead.
'My lord!' came a shout, and Ghreer knew it, but could not place a name on it.
'My lord!' came the voice again, and as his vision went back to normal Ghreer knew it was Shinnargen, Captain of the Second Company.
The Legion Master felt an armored hand wrap around his arm before pulling hard, hauling the wounded Astartes to his feet.
'My thanks Captain,' said Ghreer.
'You have no need to mention it my lord,' said Shinnargen, 'just lead us into the city,'
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).