Musings of a Warsmith
Here's a story for you, written because I looked at my Warsmith model for my Iron Warriors and wondered what would go on in a ten thousand year old killer's mind.
So here we are, featuring a recurring character of mine, Konor Ruinclaw, of the Iron Warriors:
I have fought the Long War for ten thousand years, crusaded against the False Imperium with tooth and claw. My name was Konor, Warsmith of the Iron Warriors, but now I bear the name Ruinclaw, for the fell talons I bear upon my hands.
Not much excites me, after ten thousand years, except for a good fight.
It isn’t the actual battle that excites me, it is the feeling of cutting into a being and feeling myself sever the thread. It is the visceral crunch of lightning claw tearing into flesh and bone. It is the gout of blood that spurts, the cry of the enemy as they fall, the very essence of combat that lets me know I am still alive.
I do not know why, but battle also makes me philosophical. What would it have been like should we have remained lapdogs of the Corpse-Emperor? This I often ask myself, as often as not while ending lives on the field of battle. Why do these dogs worship him so? Today I fight Templars, zealots equal to none, and they are ferocious as none other, but why do they give their devotion to the false Emperor? I ask myself this, as I hack the nearest Astartes into thin slices, reminiscent of the sweetmeats I sometimes take from governor’s palaces when I raid an Imperial world.
Those are good.
I remember the last time I tasted that, after I raided a minor world just for the delicacy. Petty, it may seem, but worth it to me. I lost only one Iron Warrior in the whole assault, and only due to the lucky shot of a civilian with an ancient laspistol. That civilian is my personal servant now.
Yes, the sweetmeats are good, I do believe… Another Templar falls to his knees beneath my claws, coughing out his lifeblood. I tear off his helmet, exposing his tormented features to the heavens. His gaze falls on me.
Blood bubbles out of his mouth and the horrible gash in his ruined throat as he tries to say something, I suspect a curse or a damnation, based upon the narrowing of his brow and the fire in his eyes.
The fire slowly burns out as I gaze levelly into them. They remind me of the twin suns of a dying system I saw once, three thousand or more years ago, and then again five hundred years later. I made a point of going to see it every five hundred years or so, until both the suns went out. It was an interesting experience, very thought-provoking.
The Templar finally slumps to the ground, his strength spent and his life ended. I rise from the crouch I had dropped into in order to inspect his face. His brothers shout in denial and anger and charge me, spraying shells from their bolt pistols.
The bolts detonate on my armor, marring the iron-grey surface with black smears. I laugh, throwing my head back and gazing to the heavens. They seem to take this as an insult and charge me, while in actuality I simply exult in my seeming invulnerability.
But combat is always welcome, has always been welcome, like good food and wine.
They close with me almost all at the same time, two dropping into fighting crouches with their chainswords out and bolt pistols exchanged for combat blades. Another revs twin chainblades, whirling them pridefully, while the last simply activates his powerfist and swings.
I duck under the fist, as I have done so many other times, and lash out into his breast, slicing through his war-plate and into his fused ribcage, shredding his hearts. The other three attack simultaneously, and I sway out of the way, a difficult feat in my heavy Terminator armor, and the prideful one has hacked into one of his battle-brothers. This one wears no helm and I can see the horror in his eyes as he sees what he has done, that he has killed one of his own, one of his friends. The other Templar, the one that hasn’t been stricken, fares marginally better, stabbing quickly with his small blade to cut into my armor’s joints. As he tears his blade free in a wash of my own blood, I point at him in what feels like slow motion.
Then I ram my index claw deep into his helm.
Gore runs out of the rent in his helmet when I rip my claw free, and I turn to engage the other two Templars. It's a scene I have seen before; indeed, been part of.
The prideful Templar has his chainblade wedged deep into his comrade’s ribcage, and tears run down his face.
The other Templar is dead, lolling off of the blade almost like a mortal.
It has broken the prideful one.
I remember why I feel like I have seen this before. Soon after the great Heresy, my grand company had been attacked by Imperial Fists Astartes, and I had killed their captain personally. As he hung, transfixed by my claw, he had gasped out his last words: “Why... brother….?” Surprisingly, at that moment I had felt like more of a traitor than I ever had during the great conflict.
I am torn back to the here and know by the prideful Astartes, who yells to me, his voice filled with anguish, shaking. He tells me to finish him, to just put him out of his misery.
So I do, jabbing my claws into his chest. I withdraw them, and lick the blood off, savoring the coppery tang of another death.
I have been told I am unusually quiet in battle, that some think it is that I have lost my faith in Horus’ cause, but it is not that. I am pensive in war.
I do not know why, but I am. I dispense with finesse as I advance into another group of Templars, simply tearing off the first Astartes’ arm as he lunges at me, and then following through with a raking slash to his helm.
He falls slowly, his arm falling straight to his side, his stump spouting deep red blood. He hits the ground flat on his back, a cloud of dust rising, like that a Titan kicks up when the god-machines go to war.
The last time I saw a Titan was fifty years ago, when the last of my detachment of Legio Mortis fell during an assault on an Astartes homeworld, one that had offended me and needed to be crushed. It was Warlord-class, and had been struck by thunder-hammer armed squads of Terminators that pulverized its ankles. When it fell, it crushed almost an entire company of those Astartes, the Fists Exultant, I believe, another of Dorn's line.
The other four Templars are dispatched in equally quick manner, falling to quick slashes of my claws. The life leaves them in scarlet gouts and spurts, arcing across the scene of battle, slowly, to my eyes.
Why am I like this? Nostalgia and combat form one thing to me; I cannot indulge in one without the other. For this reason I keep a supply of slaves in my fortress to be brought out when I wish to think. I am told this is strange, for an Astartes to do these things, but I am satisfied, for ten thousand years is a long time, even longer when it is spent bored.
But no matter.
Today is a good day for blood and slaughter, for an orgy of fire and steel.
And I am death incarnate.
Removed font to aid readability
An interesting character.
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