Here comes the ending I have promised. I hope I'll have time and new ideas to write more warhammer 40K stories as I quite enjoy it.
Early in the morning, the Krug troops began to march. Their forces had now fresh reinforcements which meant more lambs to slaughter. It was for the first time, Ruffius had a whole regiment under his command. He could not say he was missing the commissar Sidor, who was still recovering in the infirmary. This new commissar seemed to lack experience to question his orders and certainly would not dare to kill him.
They marched through a rocky terrain without any chimeras or valkyries to transport them as all vehicles were requisitioned for the main battle by General Kwarg. Ruffius was not happy about it. A long march risked to tire his men and also increased chances they would be spotted before they even got close to their objective. Their mission was to reclaim the factories taken by the cultists. These factories produced en mass vehicles for the Krug regiments and were taken unfortunately before these vehicles could be delivered. Therefore the cultists had access to imperial warmachines, which certainly bode not well for the 5th Krug. When they were closing the objective, Ruffius sent his scout squad led by the scout sergeant Dereck.
When the seven hooded figures came back, Dereck reported "Sir. It is as we feared. They have already taken control of the vehicles. There are sentinels and hellhounds outside. Most of them seem unoccupied. I suggest we attack and destroy them quickly, before they wreak havoc. "
"You said these are outside the buildings?" asked the colonel. "What is then inside? "
"I don't know sir." answered Dereck "These buildings were covered by black sheets bearing some blasphemous signs. No way to see through the windows. Especially when we had to be that far."
"Thank you sergeant. Go back to your platoon now."
Then he said to his officers: "Make your men ready. I want a formation now!"
As soon as all the soldiers assembled, Ruffius said "Be prepared for a tough fight. Yesterday, we were helped by the Astartes, but today we are on our own. We will be fighting Imperial vehicles and I don't need to remind you how deadly these can be. These are not some xeno junk. These are real powerful human designed killing machines. Our heavy weapons teams will take as many of them as they can, but you can't except miracles. I won't make a long persuasive speech, because I know no words can persuade a man to be willingly burned by a hell hound's flamer or sentinel's laser. I just hope you know what your duty is. Now to your posts! Sixth platoon set up mortars up there. Second and fifth platoon lascanons and heavy lunchers down. Second and twelwth dig some place for bolters and autocanons. Everybody else cover them. Do not let any of the heretics get close."
The officiers gave their orders and in silence, the soldiers began to descend the valley. Ruffius felt proud of them. Not a single complaint. There was not even need for Sidor's shouts. They were no cowards despite what their commissar thought. Despite their fear they knew where their allegiance lied and that was essential. Unlike the Astartes they knew the fear, but they were ready to face it and that's all the Emperor asks of a guardsmen.
Before they even descended, they already got attacked by several heretics who charged at melee. They were shot before they could get close enough. Krug lacked skill and their shots were not precise, but it did not matter as long as the heretics were outnumbered. As they got down, they set up the heavy weapons and focused the approaching hellhounds and chimeras. The heavy bolter killed guardsmen that were too exposed forcing them to jump behind rocks to cover. Third company began to install quick trenches placing barbed wires and digging cover. Some hellhounds approached before being shot by lascanons and ignited the ground forcing the guardsmen to relocate. Vehicles slowly pushed them back, but their numbers were diminishing.
Suddendly Ruffius heard a very unpleasant explosion that could mean only one thing.
"Basilisks!" shouted men near the explosion.
"Scouts. How the heck did you miss these?" voxed Ruffius angrily.
"Sir. We had no visual on any basilisks I swear. These must have been hidden inside the buildings."
"Damnit! " swore Ruffius. His soldiers were killed massively. Some began to flee, but in vain. To get back from the valley on the hills was too difficult and they were shot easily.
"It's a trap!" shouted the scout seargent Dereck.
"Thanks for noticing." replied Ruffius sarcastically and then voxed to his company commanders "Send all your infantrymen forth. We need to get as close to the basilisks as we can. Leave behind only a few heavy weapons." Then he took out his sabre, swung it in the air and shouted "Imperial Guard charge! ", but... nothing happened.
The men were too scared of all the bolters and flamers and prefered to stay behind rocks praying not to be hit by the earthshakers. Some fools even tried to flee.
Commissar Petronia who until now remained silent in behind saw finally an opportunity to prove herself. She straightened up her commissar's hat and look for some familiar faces among the mass of soldiers. When she spotted the sergeant Vorg, she asked him "Wasn't it you who laughed at me me in the first place?"
"What?" asked Vorg surprised and annoyed.
"Who's the coward now?Hiding behind the rock like his mama's jupe?" she asked him.
Now vorg got angry. He drew out his sword and said "I'll kill you for that insult!"
"What an exploit, killing a woman you laughed at a few hours ago." grinned Petronia.
"Damn you!" cursed Vorg and shouted at his men. "Charge!"
His squad followed him with a certain enthusiasm. Being shamed by a woman was very humiliating to them. Even the boy Rius followed him right behing his protector Kulgur.
Petronia turned to the rest of the regiment and asked "Will you let these brave soldiers fight alone?"
"No!" officers and some privates in the crowd shouted.
"Then in the name of the Emperor attack!" cried Petronia as loud as she could.
Then everyone followed them to hell. While joining their charge, Petronia looked on them for a while. She felt proud of herself. Without shooting a single man, without any menace, she managed to persuade the whole regiment to attack. That;s how a commissar must work. Not like these beasts who know only firing squads to maintain the morale. Her mentor always told her she must use guardsmen's emotions. Rivalries, friendships and faith, that's what a commissar must exploit and not only the sort of artificial respect based on fear only.
When she saw the approaching hellhounds, she finally realised where she was leading them. Not like that it was any safer in the trenches, but the idea of being burnt by a flamer was certainly not a pleasant one. Anyway the order was clear. To get as close as they could to the basilisks and take them out. They just had to hope that the heavy weapons teams, if some of them was still alive, would take them out. As the distance between her and the hellhounds was diminishing, Petronia was more and more tempted to hide behind the men she was leading to an almost certain slaughter. But she resisted it. If she somehow survived hiding behind her men, it would not only lower the respect of the Krug for her, who already despised her, but it would be also bad for the men's morale to see their commissar falter. So hoping that someone would destoy the hellhounds, she closed her eyes and shouted as loud as she could "For the Emperor!"
She heard then a spectacular explosion. When she opened her eyes, she saw a hellhound heavily damaged, burning and it's crew trying to flee. While still running, she shot them with her bolt pistol. The road was now clear and despite their enormous fire power, the basilisks could no more intimidate the Krugs. The heretic artilerists could not believe their eyes. There were simply too many guardsmen and they soon overwhelmed them. Most of the heretics tried to flee. Some used heavy bolters to shoot a few more guardsmen but were quickly killed lasguns. Even the young Rius got some kills.
"Nice shooting." praised him Kulgur "I see the two days training in shooting was worth it afterall."
"Do not destroy the basilisks." ordered the colonel Rius "They will be returned in the Emperor's service. Take out only the enemy hellhounds."
When they got rid of the dangerous machines there was nothing more that could stop them and after half an hour the Krug banner was erected. A mining pick on the brown background with the inscription "Mors nobis servit" on it.
Captain Hastus led personally his men, because he wanted to be sure they would not fail. This attack was difficult even for Astartes. Their sworn ennemies were well hidden in the mountains. Any attampt to bombard them would be waste of ammunition and time. The Ultramarines could not count on any reinforcements, because neither thunderhawks nor the drop pods could access the nests where the heretics were entranched. They had to rely only on their land speeders, because these vehicles could get through the most difficult terrain.
According to the Codex Astartes the Ultramarines ought to use snipers to take out enemy defenses and so Hastus commissioned half of his scouts. The Space Marines ran up in the craggy terrain and cared little for the guardsmen who were unable to follow them at their pace. Most of the guardsmen tripped and fell down and commissars had to be very persuasive to force them to march at quick pace. Eventually they had to slow down.
The terrain was getting more and more narrow till the Space Marines reached a gouge. There they stopped and captain Hastus said "A perfect place for ambushes. Stay sharp brothers." Then he ordered his scout sergeant "Brother Vilpus inspect the tarrain."
"Yes brother captain." answered the scout.
As the captain said, it was a perfect place for ambush. With his scope, he scanned the top of the cliffs, but saw nothing. He advanced slowly, vigilant for any traps and found a mine field. He reported it to his captain.
"Damnation." cursed Hastus. Now we'll have to lose time disconnecting them. Techmarine try to be quick."
While the techmarine was disconnecting the mines, the guardsmen eventually caught them and one of them stepped from the crowed.
"This is a waste of time. I will explode the mines using my abilities." he said and showed his rosette and began to destroy the mines using telekinesis. Mariel was surprised by the appearance of an inquisitor. Toth interrogated him before the attack and he was psy shilded, so he could not even read his mind to check whether he was suspecting something. If he was in such hurry that he revealed his presence, he must have known something Mariel did not. Did he already know about the warp stone? If so, he will have to die sooner or later. Mariel hated the thought of killing the Emperor's loyal servant, but it was all for his Primarch's sake.
The explosion of the mines alerted the traitor who took positions on the cliffs, but got killed by a quick attack of land speeders. So the Space Marines finally reached the caves where the World Eaters were entranched.
At the entrance, the leader of the guardsmen told Hastus "Let my men get in first."
"Do you really want them to be slaughtered?" asked Hastus with contempt.
"Not this time." answered the officer. "We used to be miners and know exactly how to move in caves. This time we are suited for the job, so please let us prove ourselves."
"Well suit yourselves." answered Hastus.
The officier was right. The giants like the Chaos Marines were uneble to cover properly and it was difficult for them to hunt down the small Krug soldiers who as their officer said knew exactly how to move in caves. In open terrain, the World Eaters would massacre hundreds maybe even thousands of them with their bolters and axes, but here they were too disoriented. The Krug men always hid in some hole inaccessible to the Chaos Marines and killed them with their plasma weapons. The traitors were enraged but could not prevent being killed one by one not being able to catch their foe.
"Make these slaves work faster." roared Lord Haas. Tirhus answered "My Lord I'd love to, but they already are too weak. If they work any harder they die of exhaustion."
"Sorcerer" answered Haas. "I only tolerate the presence of such scum as you because you promissed me the stone that will make my men invulnerable. I already lost hundred of them including some of my elite berserkers and have nothing in reward!"
"Patience my Lord. We are very close. I can already feel the stone." said the sorcerer.
"You'd better be right. If I get stuck in this hole, you'll sink with me and believe me your death will be very messy. Now slay those annoying guardsmen. They already killed too many of my men."
"Of course my Lord." answered the sorcerer.
The guardsmen advanced swiftly killing some foul cultists who tried to stop them, but then appeared the sorcerer.
"Kill him!" shouted a sergeant "Kill him or he...", but he got possessed by the sorcerer and stabbed a guardsman in front of him. Then he was released and the sorcerer took possession of another soldier. Soon no one knew who could kill them, so everyone in the platoon fought for their own life. In panic no one even thought firing on Tirhus, who enjoyed playing with his dolls. In the end he did not even have to posses anyone. He just observed the guardsmen slaughter themselves. When he was tired of watching them he took possession of one of them, made him realeas a grenade and recite "Blood for the blood god." until the explosion.
"We have found it." cried a cultist overjoyed.
"Good. Bring it to me." answered Tirhus.
"Of course." said the cultist and ran back to the mining area.
While contemplating the guardsmen's corpses, Tirhus awaited the stone he desired. With his powers he would make the World Eaters virtually immortal. With it he could even bring powerful daemons to the material world. Lord Haas would eventually be proud of him, despite his hatred for the sorcery and even the dark gods will know him. He will be the one to bring Terra down and drink blood from the False Emperor's skull. It was a matter of minutes now before the stone was his.
"Resistence is futile heretic." said Toth and shot the cultist who was running with the stone to Tirhus. "Lay down your weapons and repent."
The sorcerer wanted to grab the stone, but Toth made it roll using telekinesis.
"I'll kill you for that!" cried the sorcerer while chasing the it.
Toth expected of a Khorne's sevant to be impulsive and predictible and he was right. When the sorcerer got close to him, he simply shot him in face with his plasma gun and cut his head off before he could cast any spell.
"Such is the fate of all heretics." he said then.
Mariel got in and peeked at Tirhus's corpse very surprised. This sorcerer was a much powerful psyker then Toth and yet he still manged to bring him down. He certainly was not to be underestimated.
"How did you manage to kill him?" he asked.
"I am not as weak as you might think librarian. While you were losing time killing these useless cultists I got immediately here and killed him." then he voxed to the captain "Captain Hastus. I have what I came for. You can come here and slay the rest of these heretics. I will take my leave now."
Mariel still looked on the Inquisitor unable to believe he could kill such a powerful psyker, for he knew his abilities were limited. He had to be quick now and pick the stone before Toth.
The inquisitor watched carefully the librarian and saw he was very nervous. Perhaps he knew all about the stone, but Toth still wanted a proof. Nevertheless it was a great risk.
Mariel gripped strongly his bolter and took a deep breath.
"This stone is corrupted brother librarian. I must take it to the Inquisition where it will be destroyed." said Toth.
Mariel suddenly felt rage: a very rare emotion for a librarian.
"You want it for yourself!" he yelped and aimed at Toth, but felt a sting from behind. He suddenly felt weak and could barely speak. A woman in guardsman uniform emerged from shadows and appeared in front of Mariel.
"Meet a faithful member of my staff, miss Iona. Did you really think I was foolish enough to venture in this cave alone? I Just wanted a proof of your heresy and now I have it."
"What have you done to me?" asked Mariel feeling extreme pain.
"I used a paralysing dart specially designed for a Space Marine and made to suppress psyker abilities. You see the Astartes are not the only ones to be well equiped. Now let me ask you: will you repent? In any case your death will be slow and painful, but this may unburden you." said Toth scowling.
"I have nothing to repent for." answered Mariel "All I have done was in the name of my Primarch and my Emperor."
"That's what all corrupted Marines say." said Toth sadly and nodded to Iona who prepared her flamer.
"What's happening in here?" asked Hastus who eventually entered.
Mariel saw the squad that was with him in the rhino and whom he convinced to join him. He gathered last of his strenght and sent to them telepathicaly. +Slay this Inquisitor.+
"This Inquisitor is corrupted get him." shouted one of them and opened fire. Toth was suprpised, but blocked the bolts with telkinesis, but there were too many of them so he had to hide.
+Now bring me the stone quickly.+ sent Mariel still incapacitated. When he got the stone, he suddendly felt enormous power. He knew he had to resist the urge to use it until getting to Maccrage and resurrecting his Primarch.
"I am sorry brother caprin, but I will have to leave you here. By the time you will get out, our Primatch will walk among us again." he said, teleported himself and his men outside the caves and block the entrance by massive rocks. Then he voxed to Unstoppable Reason: "Brothers. This is Librarian Tithus Mariel. We have done our duty and destroyed all the Chaos taint. Have a thunderhawk ready for extraction as soon as we return from these mountains. Unfortunately our captain won't be with us. He fell in combat while fighting the Chaos Lords. His body was so mutilated that there is no gene seed to extract. May the Emperor take care of his soul."
Mariel was about leaving the mountains when the block of stoned behind him foundered. He turned and found his brothers whom he had Imprisoned inside.
"How?" he asked surprised.
"Melta charges are not uncommon equipment among the guardsmen. Answered Inquisitor Toth and now that your captain knows your little secret you had better drop this stone immediately before it corrupts you completely."
"I am sorry brothers" answered Mariel "But you leave me no other options." and opened fire.
The Space Marines loyal to him were confused, but they felt they had no other option than do the same. For their Primarch's sake.
The captain's Marines retaliated, but as long as Mariel held the stone there was no way to hurt him. All his wounds healed immediately. When Hastus was hurt all the Marines got in front to protect their captain. With a disgust Mariel found he began to enjoy killing his brothers.
This stone was certainly gaining over him. Yet he could to great things with it.
"Kill, kill, kill..." whispered a voice in his head.
"Silence!" he cried
"You won't silence me that easily librarian." answered the voice. "You are doing a great favour to my god right now."
"I am not!" cried the librarian while still shooting. "I'm doing this in the name of the Emperor!"
"That does not matter. You are killing that's essential to me. See this fresh blood? You like it don't you?"
"You disgust me.... but you are right." the librarian's eyes sparkled.
Then without warning he shot the Marines that were with him.
"I won't need you any more." he said.
"Good" said the voice pleased. "Tell me why bother resurrecting a dead man when you have much more power then he could ever have? You can become much more than a Primarch. Even more then the Emperor. You will do what he could not. You will conquer the Galaxy in a new great crusade. Simply open your mind to me!"
Then daemons began to jump from the warp slaughtering everything around them. When the captain saw them, he immediately voxed to the Unstoppable Reason "Brothers." he said.
"Captain you are alive!" cheered voices from the ship.
"Not for long brothers" answered Hastus. "Obey me without any questions and start bombarding the following coordinates with everything you have. Do not hesitate to use cyclonic torpedoes! Tear the planet apart if you must, but make sure nothing remains alive there!"
The Marine commanding his ship answered with a slight hesitation "As you wish captain. May the Emperor protect you."
"Thank you brother." answered the captain.
His duty was done. Now he could die with honour. Despite his injuries, he got up, drew his sword and cried for the last time "For the Emperor."
Hastus thought he was dead, but he wasn't. He opened his eyes and saw his first sergeant Leranos watching him carefully.
"Thank the Emperor you are still alive captain." he said.
Hastus coughed and he asked "What happened?"
"I don't really know. The warp rift dissapeared and all the daemons with it. The stone exploded and injured our librarian." he pointed towards the librarian. "Seeing no danger any more I belayed your order of bombardment."
Hastus got up and found his librarian lying on the ground.
"Brother. This inquisitor was right This stone was too dangerous. I had to fight with tainted warp energies, which almost cost me my sanity, but I managed to destroy it." he said.
"You betrayed us" said Hastus grimly "and taken several of my loyal brothers down with you."
"I know brother. I just wanted..." said the librarian, but the captain did not let him finish.
"You are no brother of mine. A true Space Marine knows how warp is dangerous and does not fall prey to it's seductive powers. Those who do not are traitors like these." he pointed towards World Eaters' corpses.
"You are right captain." said Mariel ashamed. "I know you will never forgive me, but please grant me one last favor. I do not want to be excommunicated from our chapter and be burnt as a heretic. Pleas grant me the Emperor's peace here and now."
The captain with a slight hesitation said "You do not deserve it indeed. However you served me well until now, so I will satisfy your request. Farewell traitor.". Then he gave him a merciful headshot.
The worst disaster was avoided, but unfortunately Lord Haas managed to escape. Inquisitor Cornelius Toth wanted to eradicate the whole Ultramarine fourth company, but due to their reputation his request was refused and he had to content himself with the surviving Marines who followed Mariel. All was done in secret, since the Imperial propaganda had always to give the best image of the Astartes. Especially those from the famous Ultramarine chapter. So no one in the whole Imperium except for the Ultramarine' s Chapter Master and the men of the fourht company knew about it.
For not delivering Mariel to his chaplain for justice, Kassius was taken away all of his honours and rank and the command was given to his first sergeant.
Meanwhile the Krug army finished the rest of the opposing heretics. Now that the warp stone was destroyed, the World Eaters lost all their interest in the Brey system and without their support and leadership, the khornate cults were quickly eradicated and the factories of Gwaeron V could begin to produce en mass vehicules for the Krug armies. The 5th regiment was placed as garnison to one of the major factories that they had retaken from the heretics and were among the first regiments to benefit from the production of vehicles and its tactics changed considerably. Soldiers of the 5th regiment got a rigorous training under the command of colonel Ruffius and with all the vehicles they got, they became more efficient, although not very famous except in their own world.
The Emperor protects.