The Sick Child
THE SICK CHILD
Stari listened to the singing of the birds, smelt the freshly cut grass, and watched her two sons playing in the cool water. The world of Japeth was a beautiful one, as yet untouched by the heavy industry of the Imperium. Stari looked towards the planetary capital, its silver spires shining in the afternoon sun. Their governor was fighting a hard battle to preserve the beauty of Japeth, but Stari didn’t know how long it would last. Ever since that report of the super-mineral had reached Mars, they had been knocking even harder on Japeth’s doorstep. Stari sighed, letting the grim thoughts tumble from her head. She was an attractive woman, slim, brown-haired, and blessed with two dazzlingly blue eyes. The family’s farm was just down the road, were even now Stari’s husband would be collecting the summer harvest.
Stari stood up, walking over to her children playing in the small stream,
“Come on now! We have to get home, Pa will need help with the grain!” called Stari, he warm voice carrying easily to the playing children, who mischievously pretended they hadn’t heard. “Oh, you!” cried Stari, laughing as she splashed into the water after them. The children screamed with laughter, trying to escape, but were ultimately caught by their mother’s loving embrace.
“Come on boys, we need to get home,” purred Stari to her two toddlers, who had finally settled down. Suddenly, they screamed again. “All right, all right!” laughed Stari, but the children didn’t stop crying. Wondering what the matter was, Stari set them down, and turned to where their fingers pointed.
A horrific scream tore through the field as Stari was cleaved in two, followed by the cries of the children as they two were brutally murdered. The great black monster which had killed them sniffed the ground, its enhanced senses picking up the fast-approaching tractor. With a contemptuous grunt, it loped back towards the not-too-distant mountains, its powerful legs carrying it far away, the dismembered body of Tari clutched in its claws.
Chapter One coming soon.
EDIT: Hmm, in the word document it seemed a lot bigger. Perhaps this can just be a very short prologue, then. :laugh:
Nice one, what is it about? Nurgle plague or something?
Ah, no, it is inspired by a roleplay I ran here on Heresy, which you can still find (it was called the Sick Children). It is not Nurgle, but Slaanesh!
Pre-heresy Emperor's Children, as you will see in Chapter One, which is almost done...
“Back to your filthy holes, alien scum, shatter against my might!” roared Captain Karkus, his power sword whipping through the lines of Orks as he smote his enemies left, right, and centre. The vanguard of main strike-force had hit the enemy headquarters, hoping to take out their command structure early on and end the Waaagh! before it could begin. Unfortunately, the enemy headquarters was a sheer cliff-face swarming with Orks, and the command structure was a massive Ork Warlord. It would not be easy.
The Captain smote another enemy with his crackling power blade, before firing his bolt pistol point-blank range into the swarm. The mass-reactive bolt shells detonated, ripping apart Ork flesh and pulping bone. Karkus turned and laughed as the perfectly-organised lines of the Emperor’s Children advanced, over-lapping fields of fire scything down the Orks in seconds, each squad working in total cohesion with each other, leaving no room for mistakes. The mighty Fifth Company advanced to their Captain’s position, taking cover behind fallen rocks that their Stormbird bombing runs had dislodged from the mountain. Karkus approached the nearest squad, a familiar warrior leading them into a textbook position whilst the force regrouped.
“Thorn!” cried Karkus, slapping the sergeant’s shoulder-guard with his hand, having sheathed his blade, “Nice to see you finally caught up, I was beginning to think the Orks had killed you,” chuckled the captain.
“Captain Karkus, if you didn’t keep running ahead alone and ignoring our battle-plan then we would never fall behind,” answered Thorn. His armour shone a brilliant purple, the gold trim reflecting the sunlight like a mirror, his helmet firmly locked to his gorget. Karkus, however, was totally different; he had long since abandoned his helmet, and his armour was caked with Ork blood and dust, his bald and scarred head covered with mud.
“True as that may be, Sergeant,” Karkus reproached, “I am your senior officer, for now at least,” chuckled the captain, “So show some respect, eh?”
Thorn bowed his head, acknowledging his superior’s rank, before making the sign of the Aquila on his chest-plate.
“Come on,” said Karkus, looking up the hill, “The enemy lies just up this final hill. Once we kill this damned Warlord, the whole campaign will become a simple matter of extermination. Are your squads ready?” asked Karkus. Thorn was about to reply when the captain began jogging up the hill, roaring an ancient battlecry. Thorn shook his head, and ordered the main advance. Three tactical squads of Emperor’s Children Space Marines began the approach of the well-defended hilltop, supported by a squadron of Stormbirds. Thorn hoped it would be enough to save the captain from his mad bravery.
The Stormbird bombing wing flew overhead, dropping their deadly payload on the rickety fortress cresting the mountain. Much of the structure was utterly flattened, hastily-constructed timber and iron falling down the mountainside, revealing the heart of the fortress; an abandoned Imperial bunker.
“Damn!” swore Thorn, knowing that if the Orks had the bunker, they may have found a way to turn on the turret defence systems. Quickly ordering his squad into cover, mere paces from the broken rubble surrounding the bunker, Thorn’s fears proved right. Heavy bolters all along the bunker opened fire, ripping through the ground around the fallen boulders which offered momentary cover to the marines. Thorn didn’t know where Karkus was, but he was sure the grizzled veteran could handle himself fine. The bunker was surrounded by the high mountain peak on all sides except one, and the marines had been forced to fight their way all the way up the mountain to reach the fort. He would be damned if they faltered now.
“Eagle squad! Launch all remaining missiles at those heavy bolter emplacements! They need to be taken out now!” roared Thorn down the vox. His order was swiftly carried out as a vast firestorm swept the bunker, blasting the turrets into rubble. Thorn took his chance, ordering the assault.
The marines swept out from their cover, advancing towards the silenced defence turrets. Something wasn’t right. Thorn scanned the area, trying to put his finger on it. It was obvious, staring him right in the face... there were no Orks. Suddenly, the doors to the bunker smashed apart, and a deafening green tide swept outwards, all voicing the same, grating roar:
The marines opened fire, and the first two waves of Ork attackers were utterly cut down. Thorn could see more Orks approaching from the base of the mountain, and knew they didn;t have much time. Pressing the advance, he ordered the squads to cross their fire lanes, creating a brutal crossfire which obliterated everything in its path. The marines fired on full-auto, unloading their magazines into the seething mass. It seemed to falter for a second. Panic shone in the eyes of the Orks, who as yet had been unable to even reach the marines. Thorn smiled grimly under his helmet. The battle would be short and decisive.
Or at least it would’ve been: suddenly, a deep, rumbling growl echoed from inside the fortress. The Orks turned around, suddenly silent; the marines had stopped firing as well, re-loading and preparing for this new threat. With a mighty, grating warcry, the Ork Warlord barrelled his way through the bunker’s entrance, smashing aside any Orks in his way. The leader was huge, with massive horns and teeth, his body crudely augmented by pieces of scrap armour and poorly-grafted bionics. The beast was armed with two, massive power klaws, basic energy fields flaring as he scraped them against each other in a barbaric show of strength. The Orks around him were steeled, and turned back to the marines, ready to wreak havoc. Thorn’s blood ran hot as he recognised the insignia of the PDF forces amongst the scavenged armour. He was about to signal a charge, when something unexpected happened.
Captain Karkus surged from amongst the bodies of the dead, roaring a battlecry, and running straight towards the Ork leader.
“Dammit, Karkus!” swore Thorn, realising that the marines could not fire at the onrushing horde with Karkus in the way. “Marines! Switch to bolt pistols and long-knives! Charge!” cried Thorn, drawing his chainsword as all around him the Emperor’s Children shouldered their bolters, and prepared themselves for close-quarters. They followed Karkus into the thick of the fighting. Once again, their Captain had ruined the plan, Thorn thought bitterly, swinging his chainsword through the ranks of the Orks. They were pressing steadily towards the Warlord, but more Orks were pouring out of the bunker. Turning back, Thorn bit back a curse as he saw yet more Orks ascending the hill they had just cleansed. They would have to kill this damned leader now, or never.
“Forward, brothers! For Fulgrim!” roared Thorn, the Primarch’s name spurring on the perfect warriors. They brutally cut a path straight for the massive Ork; Karkus was but a few feet away, duelling an Ork armed with two curved axes. Thorn watched as the brute also cut a path straight for Karkus; Thorn tried to cry out a warning to his commander, but it was too late. The beast grabbed the captain, instantly pulping him between his powered talons, and casting the brutalised body aside. Thorn was gripped by anger, roaring with hate for his enemy. But something inside him, deep inside him, was silently pleased.
Leading his squad through the seething masses of Orks, Thorn neared the Ork Walord. It laughed at him, approaching him as though he were a child. This opinion swiftly changed when Thorn put three bolts from his pistol through the Ork’s power pack, disrupting the power klaws and rendering them useless. The stupid Ork tried to restart the generator, but succeeded only in tearing a great gash through his armour, causing further anger. Thorn ducked under a clumsy swing from the Ork’s talons, pushing inwards with his chainsword, stabbing at the hard skin exposed by the Ork’s clumsiness. The blade tore through the Ork’s arm, severing it completely. It roared in pain, swinging with his remaining arm, only for Thorn to duck and cut that one off as well.
The Ork fell, floundering on the mud-caked ground, screaming with anger. Thorn’s eyes, concealed behind his helmet, were cold as he crushed the Ork’s face under his armoured boot. He smiled with grim satisfaction, before returning to the battle at hand.
The marines were suffering casualties as Orks poured into the valley, ignorant of their commander’s death. Thorn knew they would have to get out fast to escape alive; the discovery of the Warlord’s mutilated body would do the rest. Calling the Stormbirds, Thorn lead the two remaining squads towards the cliff’s edge. It would be very close.
Hacking at random, every swing scored a hit, every marine fighting for survival as they neared the cliff-face. Thorn risked a look back, and saw the Stormbirds flying up the cliff-face towards them. Turning back to the swarm of green, Thorn made up his mind. Sheathing all his weapons, he turned, and jumped.
After a few seconds of free-fall, Thorn was caught by the Stormbird, landing with a thud inside the open passenger-bay.
“Quickly!” shouted Thorn to the pilot, “Get up there and ready the side-mounted heavy bolters!” Thorn turned as the trio of ships reached the cliff-face, hearing the pilot swear as he saw the impossible numbers that the space marines had faced. The heavy bolter opened up as the Emperor’s Children embarked, cutting the Orks down like cattle.
“Go! Go!” ordered Thorn as the last marine was safely aboard a transport. The engines of Eagle squad whined as the doors closed, the Stormbirds swiftly moving into formation and gunning the afterburners. They were out of range within seconds, flying higher and higher toward the orbiting fleet.
Thorn sat back, exhausted, as his fellow marines followed suit. They were all covered head to foot in Ork blood, their purple armour barely visible under the gore. Ripping off his helmet, Thorn took a long, deep breath. He was blessed with the looks of his Primarch, his white hair cropped short, his features sculpted and slightly angular. He counted his entire squad had survived, but they were lucky; the second tactical squad had lost half its members, and the third was wiped out completely. Thorn cursed under his breath, cursing Karkus’ impotency and failure to command. Thorn didn’t know what would happen to the 5th Company now.
Wow, Sick Children! :clapping:
On a side note, nice story Darvi. The prologue is...confusing, but I'll assume that the intricacies of it's relevance will be revealed in time.
Also, will Squad Ares be getting a shout out per-chance?
Yes were is Ares in all this?!
I was wondering how long it would take you to be... inspired to bring Thorn to the front. :grin:
An excellent beginning Darvy. I await the revelation concerning the prologue with interest. :good:
Quite a lengthy read, but a good one. It is well written and the story flows smoothly. I'm intrigued by the prologue. I'm curious how it will tie up with the rest of the story. Looking forward to see the following chapters.
Gah! :laugh: I wasn't sure about putting Squad Ares in as, well, you guys did make them and I wasn't sure if you wanted me to sorta "steal" them for this, but also if you remember they were a newly created squad before the RP: strung together from various other units across the Fifth company. So I guess I could slip a couple of you in, if you wanted... :grin: Ares would be more likely as he's still a sergeant beforehand anyway.
As for the relevance of the prologue.... erm.... I'll get back to you on that one. :wink:
Nah, just kidding, there'll be something to do with it eventually. Cheers for the support/comments guys.
THIS IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS! Solid and well done!
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