Upon the Alter of bones they set me free
Sorry, no vampires or zombies in this story, just warhammer 40k, blood, space battles and planitary warfare and terror. Feel free to comment. let me know what you think.
Upon the Alter of bones they set me free.
My name is Greyson, Beil Greyson, and this is the account of my experience upon the face of what had been the Emperor’s world, Thrivera III.
I do not know if anyone can call me a survivor. I guess, accurately speaking I did survive, but there is no life in me anymore, I feel as dead as those corpses that lay in the streets and dwell in the burnt out habs or rest in the lower flooded levels of the once great promethium refinery, Mother of Life.
Before the invasion of Chaos, Thrivera III was exceedingly prosperous and productive. The import export industry was at an all time high. War had ceased to be a worry some thirty years ago. The nations were so dependent upon each other war was out of the question.
The rulers of Thrivera III still maintained a fierce army for they knew that invasion from outside forces was still a possibility. Thrivera III maintained orbital satellites and stations armed with warheads, lasers and virus bombs in the event the Great Enemy dared to show their presence.
The Guard and Navy depended upon Thrivera III for their resupply as they made their way to the depths of endless space in order to find traces of taint, xenos or traitor. Food, refitting for damaged warships, promethium for fuel and weaponry, ammunition and fresh rifles, hand guns and blades were delivered in bulk to the Frigates for distribution.
In return for our services, the Emperors finest, the Imperial Guard, guaranteed the protection of Thrivera III.
Nobody could have guessed the forces at work. No one could have planned for an invasion such as this, except maybe the Space Marines. Even if they had been here I do not know if their presence could have staved off the Great Enemy
Knowing the strategic importance of Thrivera III, how valuable this world was to the effectiveness and ability to maintain support to the front lines, the forces of Chaos attacked in mass upon the fifteenth day of the month Ocktubur of the year M.41,726.
A warp-gate opened without warning. Black spires and swirling energies of purple poured out along with eighty-two warships of the hosts of death.
The weapons platforms, Satellites and orbital defense stations came on line and began to fire their massive arsenal of missiles, lasers and virus bombs within just half an hour from the emergence of the enemy ships from the yawning warp-gate.
Within the resupply docks that surrounded Thrivera III thirty-two navy ships were docked. Some were refueling while others were abandoned; their crews taking much needed rest while their ships were being refitted and repaired from their battles in the void. Some were taking on supplies while others were testing their massive engines.
Seven vessels were in process of exiting the docking area, their crews aboard, their supplies stored, and their shields down.
Humanity stood in wild fascination as the night sky erupted in silent fireworks, auroras eddied back and forth, brightening and dimming, alighting and darkening, exploding into colors of orange, blue and crimson for a moment then muting into shimmering blackness as the planetary defense systems did their best to abolish the enemy before they could fire a single shot.
In the blackness of space the Chaos ships began to spread out in battle patterns as they prepared to counter attack.
Eight of the Chaos ships imploded as their shields collapsed and their hulls were breached, the pressures of the void crushing them within seconds, internal fires extinguished within moments as oxygen was replaced by the freezing deadness of space. Bodies were sucked out through the smallest of cracks and frozen solid within minutes.
Debris slammed into neighboring crafts and deflected from their shields, orange glows shimmered as the kinetic energies were distributed along them. Some of the Chaos vessels began to roll as their shields collapsed when they took on the weight of whole sections of the tumbling wreckage while absorbing more of the well placed missile impacts.
One of the eight Chaos war-vessels that died that day was hull-breached by one of the virus bombs. Upon admission past the tainted hull the warhead opened and the toxin was released.
Flesh melted from muscle, muscle from bone and eyes from sockets and tongues from mouths. The virus ate through bulkheads and could not be restrained. Hordes of Chaos traitors died choking on their own vomit, blind and deaf as the Emperor wills.
At first it seemed the enemy would fall apart as quickly as they appeared. Some men even dared to celebrate a victory they were sure they would win. But those celebrations would turn to cries of terror as the Despair began to plough through the tumbling debris, crumbling vessels and incoming firepower of the defenders, the shields of the mighty flagship absorbing the punishment fearlessly.
This was a vessel of death. This was a vessel of hatred and damnation. This was the vessel that bore the armies of the betrayed; the Chaos Space Marines of the Killers Chapter. They bore the scars of murder upon their hearts and screamed the curses of vengeance from their ancient mouths.
Their ship ploughed through the tumbling wreckage of decimated war-craft, the lesser vessels that could not withstand the defenses of their foe.
The Despair! It cut through the wreckage of their fallen allies as if they were not there, the torpedo tube bay doors opened with evil hisses that echoed through the deadness of space, their demonic energies chasing even the quietness of the void from them.
Death laughed as the torpedoes were unleashed upon the docking ships. The ring of orbital defenses fired well placed shots from their laser cannons that were absorbed into the shields of the Despair and redirected back into the energy receivers on the lower decks.
The energy built over time then was released back upon their foes with magnified power. Whole sections of the ring of the orbital defense network collapsed, imploded and broke away from their moorings. At once they began to tumble and roll into the upper atmosphere of Thrivera III.
Smoke and fire trailed behind the island sized frames as they fell like fallen angels in the night. Humanity wept at the sight.
The defenseless ships in the docking area took the full assault of the Despair’s firepower; falling apart with screams of torment, steel upon steel as whole sections rolled into tumbling sections of other ships, cranes and refitting machinery.
The seven navy vessels that were leaving the continent sized docking area became entangled in the death throes of their allies, ensnared by the warping girding and frames that once served to repair them.
Blocked in by the imploded vessels and debris of their brothers, all they could do was raise their shields and prepare firing solutions and wait for the inevitable.
Seventy-four Chaos ships opened fire at the same time; missiles, torpedoes and laser cannons unleashing their hell against what remained of the satellites, dock yards, orbital defense network and trapped warships of the Emperor’s navy.
Huge sections of oxygen starved wreckage began to roll and sway and tumble and collide into pieces of imploded starcraft where they became twisted and enmeshed. Thousands of fragments of tortured debris impaling themselves into each other to form a continent sized scrap-yard that slowly swirled and spun into the planet’s atmosphere.
A third of the human race of Thrivera III ceased to exist as the newly formed space hulk entered the upper atmosphere and began to melt, catching fire and falling at the speed of sound toward an unavoidable collision in the southern region. It seemed to scar the sky as thick black smoke obscured any chance of seeing beyond.
The compiled pieces of ship, dock, orbital defense platforms and war-craft rolled as it scraped the blackened night sky; it’s bulk rotating like a thrown ball. It seemed to descend for hours but in truth it was only minutes. Shortly after its destruction it slammed into the southern ocean.
Massive earthquakes and tsunamis along with boiling steam and escaped radiation caused most people within ten thousand miles of its impact to die within a few minutes and everyone else within fifty-thousand miles to die within hours.
The ocean boiled away and cracks formed a mile wide along the ocean floor. Escaped magma from the broken crust roiled up and out where it created new islands of steaming, burning rock.
Waterfalls formed along the shoreline where the rivers continued to flow from the high places. In some places the newly formed waterfalls fell only ten feet to the cracked ocean bed below while in other places the waterfalls fell for thousands of feet, crashing into Thrivera III’s broken crust.
Humanity fell to their knees and prayed that this was the worst thing that would happen, but within each of our hearts we knew the end would not come quickly.
With the defeat of Thrivera III’s orbital defenses the enemy created structured webs of defenses and strategically placed their warships to be able to defend what they had taken. Chaos, though corrupt is not lazy. Once a planet was taken it would be defended. Chaos would not willingly give up the ground that it has been given or territories that it has conquered without a fight.
Other warp gates opened and from the depths of blackness more Chaos Ships arrived. Indeed the Great Enemyknew the importance of Thrivera III. This planet would be as important to them as a resupply and repair platform as it had ever been for the Imperiam.
Seven days passed before Chaos unleashed their armies upon the lands of Thrivera III. It had taken them one standard week to secure the space around Thrivera III. In that time they rebuilt great sections of the orbital defense network, unleashed their own satellites and prepared layered minefields to greet the Emperor’s faithful.
Chaos was fully aware that what they had taken the Imperiam of man would want returned.
It was clear to the all of us that the Great Enemy did not want to destroy the refineries, mills and factories but wanted to secure them for their own means.
Communications had been jammed, both incoming and outgoing. Our astropaths were rendered insane by the workings of Chaos, their minds overcome by the sorceries of far greater power.
We were alone. Already the corruption of Chaos afflicted our home world. The Great Enemy rained down toxins and poisons that caused flesh eating viruses and cancerous legions to form under the skin. The lungs of many elder and infant alike filled with fluids, they died by the thousands, drowned.
The sturdy among us, the warriors who had trained for frontline duties and chemical warfare remained intact having donned the protective suits needed to keep us safe. All around us our families died. All around us civilization passed away. All around us men fell into insanity, fought each other and killed themselves. All around us was weeping and dismay.
The forces of Chaos had not even hit the ground yet, but we were already defeated. The armies and P.D.F. of Thrivera III did all we could to prepare for the invasion, but with only a million fighting men alive we knew our chances were slim.
With all but hand held communications out we could not orchestrate a proper alliance. All we could do was secure ourselves for the invasion and pray to the Emperor of mankind that help would come.
Within one week seven billion people were dead. Chaos fell upon the lands of Thrivera III sending down shuttles and war-craft and armaments and the traitorous haters of life by the millions. Massive city sized craft descended with roiling clouds and nauseous gasses, fire scouring the wasted earth as their colossal engines slowed the impact of descent.
With earthshaking force that caused buildings to collapse and structures to sway they landed; thirty-six of them.
The Titans of Chaos began to walk. Void shields fizzled and snapped with radiant energies and lightings flashed as their nuclear centers came online. This did not just take place on one continent but upon every landmass.
By the millions the enemy trampled the ground, solders corrupted with Chaos, armed with every type of weapon, burst forth from the landing shuttles. Their mission was to kill. They were as numerous as the sand of the sea and as fierce as the devils of hell. We fought them but they could not be defeated. But we fought them any way.
We unleashed the full force of our weaponry against them. Bodies came apart by the thousands as the combined firepower of what remained of the faithful sought to defend the cities, refineries and supply bunkers.
Thrivera III would not go quietly into oblivion. If we could hang on for but a few more days than maybe there was a chance of survival.
Acid rain mixed with blood fell from the heavens. It fell like waterfalls from the skies and coated everything exposed with its sticky residue. We found it to be a living thing that crawled upon the ground and filled all the basements, sewers and underhabs. All who remained in the lower places were sucked down and overcome.
Cloths melted from skin, skin from muscle, muscle from bone and sinew from joints. By the thousands what remained of the population died, melted into a soup; a stew for the creatures of the warp to bathe in.
There could be no place for us to hide, so we fought and resisted and prayed.
The Titans marched and fired into our ranks. They destroyed whole city blocks where our forces had formed strongholds of resentence.
None of the meager weaponry we he had could pierce the cruel void shields they wielded. They fought without fear; laughter and screaming scrapcode that drove men to go mad blasted forth from their emitters. Their war-horns screamed curses with each continued blast.
Some men cried tears of blood and vomited into their faceplates and respirators. They were forced to pull them from their faces and breathe the foul accursed air. They died within seconds.
The Despair released its hatred in the form of the Chaos Space Marines. The Killerswalked triumphal upon the dead of both allies and enemy alike. Their feet crushed bone, muscle and skin into paste as they progressed. Their power armor was black as dried blood and bore the eye of desecration upon their helms. Their greaves were marked with gaping jaws that drank the blood of the fallen.
From their bolters they fired explosive rounds that brought down walls and revealed our remaining forces for the slaughter. At the sight of them we ran. There was nothing more we could do. But in truth we were as good as dead. We had nowhere to run to, there was nowhere to hide.
In the end some of the men around me fell to their knees and begged for mercy while others around me blasted their own heads off, brain matter peppering the air around them. Some of us turned to fight with weapons that we knew were outmatched. The Emperor would remember the brave and by his right hand the faithful would have their revenge!
We fought for three days before we were finally ground into dust. I survived by lying under the remains of the dead.
A hundred-thousand black dogs of Chaos were released to feed upon the dead. They competed with cannibals, ripping flesh from bone and skin from skulls, gnawing on bone and sucking the blood from raw flayed muscle.
I struggled to pull myself deeper into the pile of twisted corpses, their bodies heavy with rain, blood and debris. I slid my blade from its sheath and sipped stale water from the canteen supplied within my chemical battle suit. The eyelets of my facemask kept fogging up as I released each ragged breath. I knew I had to slow my breathing in order for the eyelets to defog.
I prayed and recited scriptures that I had learned long ago as a boy in the scholums. “Even if mother and father forsake me you will not.” I said quietly to myself. “What can separate me from the Emperor’s love? Can death? Can life? Can angels or daemons? Can persecution or famine or drought or any other thing? No! We are more than conquerors through the Emperor who loves us.”
I heard them above me, scuffling and barking and braying. They ripped apart the dead and sated their thirst with their congealed blood. I waited for them to find me. I waited dry mouthed, knife in hand. I prayed I was far enough down but I couldn’t be sure.
I waited sweating in my chem-suit for well into the corrupted night hearing the rendering of flesh all around me. I struggled to keep my terror in a cage in the back of my mind.
A hand grabbed my chest and struggled to pull me to the top of the pile. I lay limp until I had the benefit of position than plunged my blade into the cannibal’s sternum. Shock entered the pale eyes of the death worshipper, his scarred face grimacing in pain.
The man’s mouth opened to scream so I twisted my blade back and forth, in and out and up until finally it punctured his heart and he died. I could feel the hot blood pouring out of his open wounds onto the outer layers of my chem-suit.
Blood dripped out of his mouth and ran down my faceplate. His eyes were locked open and stared into mine as I pulled his corpse over me and prayed no others would find me.
A thousand horns gasped in unity; a tortured scream of souls bound for eternity. It was the call of the hounds’ masters that could not be ignored. Panting like happy house dogs they withdrew from their feast.
Fed and filled they sidled up to their masters. They knelt beside them and took in their scents, smiled and petted them like children with well loved pets.
Dawn’s light flooded pale through the turbulent clouds and swirling smoke revealing a death world. Corpses lined the ground like carpet upon a floor. Some of them were burnt till the only thing that remained was smoking skinless skeletons. Others were bloated and black from body bruises, while others lay in pieces, blood, once living organs, intestines and refuse splayed out around them.
Already the worms, maggots and flies were writhing, digging and twisting within them.
The cannibals were still at work dismembering bodies and curing their meat for a later time. They laughed among themselves while they stripped the bones bare. None of them missed their fallen comrade, the one I had killed last night.
The Dark Mechanicus descended by the thousands into burning power plants and refineries. Repairs would have to be made; the dark gods would have to be appeased.
I watched from a pile of corpses near the edge of what had been the capital city. It used to be called Unity. Now it was just another skeletal city enmeshed with death and stained by the taint of Chaos.
Off in the distance a Titan stood. It blasted its horn and fired a final barrage of its fierce arsenal into a building to the east. It crumbled and fell; dust and debris flowed from its death.
“My name is Beil Greyson.” I said to myself. “My name is Beil Greyson.” I had to retain my knowledge of self. I could not allow myself to forget who I was. I was lost in the horrors around me. I could not afford to forget who I was. “I am Beil Greyson.”
The clouds were thick and black, the sun’s light ebbing through in shadowed mutation. Any living thing that was native to Thrivera III, the plants, animals, insects, microbe or man, anything and everything organic died. The only thing that remained was those in chem-suits; or the forces of Chaos, their corrupted lungs having adapted to the perverse environment long ago.
I watched as the traitor Guard marched past the pile of corpses I was hiding in. I use the word pile but it would be more accurately described as a queue, a line thirty feet tall and as endless as my eyes could see. Within months if the bodies were left to themselves they would be reduced to cloths and bone, just endless seas of cloths and bone.
That thought shook me into anger, but what could I do about it? I do not know if I was alone but it felt as if even the Emperor himself had forsaken me, His glorious face having turned from the horrific corruption of what had been his world only days ago.
As the last of the traitor Guard marched by an idea struck me. I looked this way and that but there was no one watching the corpses. I slid out from under the cannibal and slowly moved into the shadows of a broken building some twenty meters away.
The building stood broken and fractured, a burned out hulk five stories high. The oxygen content from the recycle feeds of my chem-suit were failing, a red light in my facemask started to blink. Now I was not afraid of discovery only, but also from asphyxiation as well.
Terror gripped me. The only thing I could think of doing was going back out there to the dead, stripping a body of its chem-suit and replacing mine. Resolved to the task I knew I had no choice. I had to survive no matter what.
Rain began to fall thick and strong from the low hanging storm clouds above. In the distance a bell tolled, its gong the groaning of a hundred million broken, terrified, tortured souls. Lightning flashed across the blackened sky. The Titans blared their emitters and sounded their war-horns. The dog controllers sounded their trumpets, the traitor Guard stopped marching and fell to their knees.
They tilted back their heads and joined the maelstrom with their own screams. Terror such as I had never known gripped my heart and all thoughts of retrieving another chem-suit were forgotten.
I ran from the building and into the blinding rain sensing the unnatural pressure of the storm. In front of me I saw other survivors run from broken burnt out buildings screaming through the grills of their own chem-suits. By the hundreds they clawed their way out of the queue of corpses, jumped from windows and ran from the shadows.
Even seeing them did not put me at ease. I ran as if the daemons of the warp were after me. Swooping forms dived from the clouds wrapped in flayed skin and trailing blood that mixed with the rain and pooled in the trenches, holes and cracks in pavement.
They screamed and brayed but they could not be heard as their voices only mingled with the lolling bell, the Titan’s emitters and the screaming traitor Guard.
In force they fell upon those before me ripping them limb from limb and basking in their blood. I knew there would be more but I could not think. Terror had taken me and only the most basic animal instinct coursed through my veins.
I fell to the ground and tumbled forward, not because of the force of a creature, but because of a lack of oxygen. I gasped and tried to scream but could not. Hazy figures gathered around me but all I could do was gasp and struggle to remove my breathe mask.
As I faded from the horrors around me I heard a harsh voice from a figure as black as death itself. ‘Hegash’na szhrea zacj murzol whey!’ It growled.
I thought I was dead. I hoped I was only dreaming. I hoped that I could just shake my head and it would be morning, the sun would be shining and my family would be there when I came down stairs. I hoped my children would be there to greet me and my wife would be down in the kitchen cooking breakfast and making caffeine.
It would be hot and she would be warm and my children would be happy and laughing and playing on the bed waiting for me to wake up. I would smile and pretend I was asleep until Michal would touch my eyelid and lift it up. I would see his blue eyes staring at mine, than I would blow in his face, he would jump back and squeal and laugh.
Jenna would jump on my back and I would buck gently and she would roll off of my back laughing. Mary would come up and say, ‘Children, time to go down stairs and get ready for scholum. Daddy needs to get ready for work.
The children would argue with her for a moment before being ushered out of the room. I would hear the scamper of their little feet as they walked down the hall. Mary would hand me a cup of recaff and kiss me on the cheek.
But as I opened my eyes I knew instantly this was not a dream. This was hell. A scripture I had learned long ago slipped into my mind, “Though I make my bed in hell there You are with me!”
Despite all that had happened I smiled. The Emperor had not left me, I was not alone. My smile disappeared quickly though as screams from all around me erupted from ragged tortured throats.
I was strapped to an alter of sorts, a bed of cadavers, a pile of corpses sewn together to make up an alter, rectangle and as tall as a tower. All around me I saw more towers and upon each of them were struggling people wailing and pleading for relief.
Some were screaming for death to take them quickly while others were cursing the Emperor and turning their souls to the ruinous powers. I found that I was screaming too! But the words that were coming from my mouth were the prayers of ages passed down. ‘Let me not turn from You oh God! Let me not turn from You! Though death swallow me up let me not turn from You!’
I could hear them down below chanting. I could hear them from the depths worshipping their fallen gods. ‘Ishnod drae! Rosha Zamot! Trea’za nhea zaha!’ they chanted over and over again. Their drums beat and the war-dogs howled. The Titans screamed the chant over and over and fired their weapons into the raging skies.
Smoke ascended into the heavens and surrounded me. I turned my head but could not move. The sweet smell of burning corpses and popping flesh entered my lungs. I gagged and vomited and coughed. The flames took hours to reach me.
I watched as the flames consumed the corpse towers beside me and the flames leapt upward until it finally touched the screaming, struggling victim atop. I watched them writhe as the flames danced upon their skin and consumed them slowly. Their flesh bubbled and their body oils gushed forth.
The chanting never stopped! The drums never quit and the ball continued to gong, the souls bound within screaming for release.
At last the flames touched me. At first they were warm and comforting, but as time went on the feeling of sunburn cascaded along my body. Then my flesh began to bubble and blacken and I began to scream. My hair burst into flame and my ears melted. My bodily functions erupted and my insides cooked.
The heat from the flames seared my throat and lungs. I looked down upon it all from above. My body lay there burning and the corpses below had been reduced to bone. I watched as others died all around me and their souls were also released. Terrors flashed around them; winged things of indescribable horrors stole them screaming away.
I was left alone though. Those who had cursed the Emperor and had forsaken their God wept and gnashed their teeth as the flames continued to eat at them even as they were sucked into the bell’s screaming gongs.
Slowly I ascended higher and higher until I was above even this. I was more alive than I had ever been before. Peace surrounded me as I realized that upon the Alter of bones they set me free.
A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep!
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Last edited by Adrian; 05-21-11 at 02:38 AM.