The shambling ranks of disheveled souls had morphed into something harder, meaner, a rigid regiment of raised weapons, flares of deep red light bursting open ork torsos in disciplined volleys. The others fell back at their leisure, moving to form a battle line around the huddle, a few aimless bolt shells flying to thin the fleeing orks as they scrambled away, massive limbs ungainly in their terrified stampede.
Iorek spat, the bitter taste of his situation emerging in petulance even as he stooped cleaning his blade upon the cloth of a fallen greenskin, watching with ill disguised contempt as the shaken leader of the bedraggled bunch addressed Vermundr and Keris with tremulous words of thanks.
There would have been no rally, no salvation if not for him, the pair had been too caught up in thoughts of death and glory, some innate insecurity leading to the packleader's desperate attempt to out do the new priest.
He dismissed the thought with a low rolling growl even as he strode away from the group desperate to avert his bitter eyes from the scene.
He had been paired with two pups and 5 humans in an attempt to sweep the compound of the filth that infested it, his only regret he had not been paired with the flamer, instead placed in the company of the one most likely to push him onto a choppa in his hope to gain more glory.
The guardsman seemed ill at ease, leading a meandering path through corpses with eyes averted from the horror of war, young boys, or old mean who had lead peaceful watches, he could not tell.
Nonetheless the led them to a stairwell, a hole in the ground the top steps melding away into the darkness of the depths, the menace of the trip down confounded by the sound of heavy footfalls below.
On the edge of the steps he tasted the scent desperate for an indicator, the wolf within stock still as he tasted the air, only able to catch processed air on the tip of his tongue and he took a step back, the barest hint of concern in his eyes.
He wanted to go down into the darkness, to hunt as animals to seek whatever pray lingered in the tunnels, to tear out its throat and bring back its steaming carcass, yet it was not all wolves here... who knew what they would find below the surface, what conditions... what enemies, what horrors?
A quick glance at the stairwell formed his plan, fishing out his pistol he switched it to full auto before hissing to the guardsman around him, his mantle self assured as he assumed control, perhaps it was seniority, perhaps jealous or a desire to prove himself, nonetheless he spoke first turning to native Fenrisian as he addressed his brothers.
"My soul longs to hunt through the darkness with bloodied blade drawn yet we are not alone Sons of Russ and enough human blood has stained the soil today."
He gave a little glance towards the blackened stain of a grenade blast punctuated by fragmented limbs
"And I will not have more on my watch."
He switched to low gothic his voice calm as he addressed the guardsman
"Surround the stairwell, 3 behind and one on either side. Fire on my command, we will purge any that oppose the will of the Emperor"
He turned back to the pups with a small smile, dropping to one knee at the head of the stairs as he looked upon them. They needed a chance to flourish to spread their wings and understand that they were a part of this pack, a trus... maybe not but accepted part of the claw.
His single eye was boring deep into Krahl the weight of his instruction heavy, a request for sense, to prove that he could work as part of a team, not merely hunt for further glory.
Could he resist the urge to fight them himself and do his duty, to draw them upon the guardsman's weapons rather than stay and hunt the teeth Alrik so keenly craved.
His single eyes closed for a second before he fixed upon both of them with a low hiss
"Be they friend or foe bring them into the Allfather's light."
The wolf within gave a disparaging snarl.... weak.
Sniffing the air, Hrodgeir could smell the fear radiating from the group of guardsmen that accompanied him and his fellow Wolves on their sweep of the blockhouse. As he turned his head to look at his fellow Wolves, one of the guardsmen stumbled into him being stopped cold by his armor. He growled menacingly, the not fully restrained wolf within raging at the man who had dared to bump into one of the chosen of Russ. Watching the guardsman back away slowly and rejoin his comrades, Hrodgeir clenched his fist around his chainsword. He hated being paired with these scared little men, and was insulted that their skills were not thought of as adequate to take whatever was thrown at them.
Before he could continue his train of thought, they arrived at a stairwell. He could smell the blood of the corpses around them, but this stairwell smelled much worse. Snarling, it took all of his restraint not to charge into the darkness howling like an animal on the hunt. He could almost picture the muzzle flash of his pistol in the darkness, the sound of his chainsword growling low as it tore through flesh and bone. Words from Iorek in their native tongue snapped him from these thoughts.
"My soul longs to hunt through the darkness with bloodied blade drawn yet we are not alone Sons of Russ and enough human blood has stained the soil today. And I will not have more on my watch."
" I was not chosen by the Wolf Priest to babysit these whelps " Hrodgeir spat in Fenrisian, jutting his jaw out at the guardsmen who were even now following Iorek's orders.
" If this plan of yours does not work brother, then we hunt." he snarled, thumbing the activation rune of his chainsword. Deep down, Hrodgeir knew he would defer to the orders of Iorek Ghostwolf, simply because he was older and had been given a title. Although he would listen to the older wolf, It didn't necessarily mean he would follow everything he said.....
Leidolf's breath was coming rapidly, whether from exertion or pleasure, he could not be sure. Thick ork blood, black and oily, dripped from the now still teeth of his chainblade, the sound of it striking the deck plating at his feet thunderous, beautiful. All around him, the still forms of both imperial soldiers and dead xenos, those nearest bearing wounds from his bolt pistol, their bodies falling, death coming to them before their corpse hit the ground, or dismembered by his blade. He had lost count of how many had come against him, how many he had held at bay while Keris had finished his bout with the Nob.
Leidolf almost snarled at his brother, his anger at the man raging to the fore now that the battle was ended. Even as Keris scanned his surroundings, head twisting from side to side to find a new foe, Leidolf was walking from him, turning his back on him before Keris could speak. Leidolf refused to add to the tension that hummed between the members of the pack and despite Keris' choices, Leidolf still considered him a brother. It was best to say nothing at all. His back rigid, his footsteps heavy, he made his way back to the central platform, picking his way through the bodies, silencing any xenos he found still living with his combat knife.
As he made his way toward Vermundr and the rest of the Claw, he reflected on the fact that the guardsmen, so beleagured when the Sons of Russ had arrived, had found new life in the presence of the astartes. He did not know what had transpired on between the soldiers and his brothers, but what ever had been said seemed to spur them onward. Already Officers were shouting orders, rallying their troops into a cohesive line, one able to deal with the remaining threats. This rag tag group of men, began to work in concert, training their concentrated fire power on one or two orks at a time, bringing down the xenos with an efficiency that Leidolf had previously thought them incapable of.
As the pack began to congregate, Leidolf watched as one of the guard officers began to seperate the Guardsmen into 5 man kill teams, sending them off with orders to examine the facility's perimeter. Vermundr wasted no time in sending members of the claw off with each of the groups, a prudent decision in Leidolf's opinion. Despite the fact that the soldiers seemed to have come to their senses, gazes sharp and backs straight, he did not think that it would take much to rattle their new found composure. Astartes in their midst would help stiffen their resolve. Leidolf started off with the group that he had been pointed toward, pleased to see that Heimdall joined him. Having his close friend, not to mention his flamer, at his back was much more comfortable to him.
Slowly removing his battle helm and locking to the clip on his belt, Leidolf tested the air with his nose. The metallic tang of blood, the overwhelming smell of charred flesh, and the sulferous odor billowing off the surface of the molten lake below mixed together, a cloying scent that almost drowned out the pungent filty scent of the orks themselves. As his eyes scanned the platform his gaze unwittingly fell on the forms of Keris and Vermundr, standing side by side yet miles apart, and the question flew unbidden from his lips, "When did it come to this, dislike bordering on hatred between those two?"
The lenses of Heimdall's battle helm turned slightly in the direction of the Packleader before he answered, his voice metallic and tinny as it came through the grill of his helm, "Jealousy brother is an ugly thing. Since our our return to the chapter things have seemingly been wrong with those two. It does not help Keris' decision to leave the pack either." As if his brother could sense his discomfort with the situation, Heimdall placed an armored hand on Leidolf's shoulder, the grating of ceramite against ceramite, punctuating the gesture, "We will perservere brother, the pack will. We have to in the Allfather's name.
A grunt, somewhere between exhasperation and agreement, was all Leidolf could muster for a moment, his gaze spanning the platform, taking in the other Wolves of his pack, giants standing in the midst of the guardsmen they accompanied, his gaze finally coming to rest on Ornsvald and Alrik. He shrugged his shoulders, trying to shake the uneasy feeling that had started to itch between his shoulder blades. "Perhaps we will perservere, but to what end? Constant infighting? Being at each other's throats like pups fighting over mother's milk?" He paused, his lips pressed together, grim thoughts passing through his mind, but he was unable to bring himself to voice them. He sighed," It is not befitting the Sons of Russ."
Heimdall fixed his gaze on his brother, the lenses of his helm masking any emotion that would have shown on his face, "We agree on this brother, hopefully things will get better in time." Hefting his flamer in one hand, as if to remind Leidolf of their purpose on this world,"For now though we have xenos to hunt."
A smile finally crossing his face, Leidolf felt his spirits lighten, he slapped Heimdall on the shoulder, "Aye brother, that we do."
Watching as the Guardsman around them ducked from rock to rubble, Leidolf grinned inwardly. So fearful they were, these small men. He felt none of that fear, his training, his alteration, all sending such thoughts into obscurity in the rear of his mind. He walked proudly in the open, Heimdall at his side, back straight, eyes darting left to right, scanning for threats. It was the lack of threats that began to bother him.
This area, seconds ago was the site of a ferocious battle, but now nothing seemed to be lurking in the shadows. There were no signs of retreating orks, or that the beasts were lying in ambush. "Something puts my hackles on edge about this place Heimdall. It is too quiet, deviod of life. Something is amiss."
His brother, the set of his shoulders betraying his wariness nodded, "Indeed brother, best be on our guard. Evern after their revival I don't know how effective the guard will be. Best rely on ourselves for the moment. Let's take point."
Nodding in agreement, Leidolf turned to the guardsmen following them, "Take cove. We are going to go higher up to see if that vantage allows us to see more of the surrounding area." The one that seemed to be in charge, nodded before passing orders to his fellows, a salute, fist to heart, his only response.
His hand stroking the grip of his bolt pistol, to his fingers it felt as if it were vibrating, waiting in anticipation for a fight that may or may not be yet to come, Leidolf turned to follow Heimdall up to the catwalk.
The orks here were broken, Alrik had been victorious in his challenge and only a scant few of the greenskins still lived in this vicinity. The wolves had begun to move back towards the pack leader's position and Krahl followed suit, adding the fire of his bolt pistol to the wight of his brothers and the guardsmen's lasgun fire as he moved. The immediate confrontation was over, giving the Allfather's soldiers time to recompose themselves and continue the hunt.
Krahl kept a short distance, keeping alert and allowing Vermundr to speak with the group of human soldiers who had approached him. Officers by their garb, and they seemed to have regained their courage at the sight of the Sons of Russ among them. Following what was said between them, they organized their remaining troops and several small squads were dispatched to continue to search. Vermundr, perhaps seeing wisdom in this course or perhaps not trusting the humans to be capable alone, divided the pack into small groups to accompany these men.
- - -
It was with the similarly young Hrodgeir and the older Blood Claw Iorek that Krahl had been paired, neither of whom he had fought directly alongside at any great length just yet. Krahl remembered their sparring match back aboard the Hunrodr and recalled the tactical nature of the wolf's fighting style. He remembered it well, despite all of Krahl's own speed and power, Iroek had won by outwitting his younger opponent.
The thought brought a curl to Krahl's lip as they followed the squad they had been assigned to guard. The squad leader brought them to a stairwell near the leftmost blockhouse. There were bodies within, scorched and blackened like the walls around them by the detonation of a grenade. The guardsmen avoided the sight, their leader instead directing them towards the stairwell. Before anyone moved further, Iorek spoke up, speaking in native Fenrisian.
'My soul longs to hunt through the darkness with bloodied blade drawn. Yet we are not alone Sons of Russ, and enough human blood has stained the soil today.' He glanced at the scorched body parts plastered to the walls before finishing. 'And I will not have more on my watch.'
His single eye seemed to bore into Krahl as he spoke. He relayed swift instructions in low gothic, prompting the guardsmen to take up positions surrounding the stairwell with three behind and one on either side. Iorek knelt for a moment at the base of the well, before shifting his eye to Krahl. 'Be they friend or foe bring them into the Allfather's light.'
Krahl's own thoughts were interrupted as Hrodgeir responded to the erstwhile leader's request. 'I was not chosen by the Wolf Priest to babysit these whelps.' He spat. 'If this plan of yours does not work brother, then we hunt.'
Krahl kept his thoughts to himself. Iorek had looked at him as though he was still the impetuous fool that had almost gotten Alrik killed on the icy plains of Fenris. It seemed that the first impression had stuck fast and the young Blood Claw still had a ways to go before he could expect any semblance of real respect.
'You know best, Brother.' Krahl said, lowering his stance from aggressive to neutral. His weapons were at his side now, not openly hostile but still easily in reach should they be needed. 'Give the word, and I'll follow.' He shifted his gazes between his two packmates before turning to give what he hoped was a reassuring look to the humans at their side.
Alrik had always been a warrior.
He knew no-other life. Since boyhood, in the longhouses of the Firehawks, where he had aped the gait of his father - Much to the amusement of his clansmen - Alrik had sought but one thing; the call of arms. Battle - The screams of the dying, the acrid stench of blood, the ache of his muscles - Was, to the Space Wolf, what music was to poets. It was exciting, beautiful, his purpose. He would live and he would die by the sword, kill until killed, undoing the weak and worthless in the name of the Allfather.
The skirmish - Alrik detested the thought of calling it a ‘battle,’ - Was over. The Guardsmen had found their spines, correlating together and forming small, maneuverable fire-teams, precise, volleyed las-fire eliminating the Orkoids - One at a time. Alrik watched them curiously, brow arched, lips pursed. These were fearful men. Fear was a mind-killer, immobilizing men, and yet at the same time, it drove them into feats of brilliance. For unmodified men, in lackluster body-armour, these Guardsmen performed spectacularly.
‘An army of sows,’ He muttered, in his native Fenrisian, as he watched them go about their duty. ‘Led by lions.’
The Space Wolves gathered now, slathered in blood, wild-eyed and slack-jawed. Alrik was trembling, his system flooded with combat-stimulants, pain-nullifiers and performance-enhancers. His twinned hearts raced. From his hand, dangling by greasy hair, was the Nob’s head. Fat, red droplets pattered from the Xeno’s torn throat. A brittle laugh - Like the rattling of bones - Escaped Alrik’s lips. Dismissively, he dropped the head, watching it bounce and roll, before crushing it beneath the heel of his boot with an audible crack.
‘Well,’ He spoke, to no-one in particular, examining the corpse-ridden deck. ‘It did not end too badly.’
Once again, Alrik found his attention drawn to the Guardsmen, as an officer - His rank indistinguishable upon his uniform - Divided them into search-and-destroy units. Vermundr soon went to work, assigning Packmates to each of the three teams - Alrik and Ornsvald paired together as one.
The younger Wolf extended his hand, and for a moment, Alrik considered taking it. Ornsvald’s arm hung heavily in the air - Extended in a warrior’s-grip. The Firehawk’s lips peeled back, grinning monstrously, and pushed passed his fellow Blood Claw.
He was hunting.
He knew the pungent, unwashed scent of the Orks. He knew that the metallic tang accompanying it was blood. Human blood, rich and freshly spilt.
Somewhere, upon the station, men were dying.
Further and further they delved, led by Alrik’s massive red-washed bulk. The Firehawk’s scar-clad face was screwed into a glare, nostrils flaring, following the trail. Within moments, they had found their targets.
Seven Orks, each a odiferous, hairless ape, were slaughtering a group of Guardsmen. Alrik’s first urge - Driven for the lust of combat - Was to get amongst them and enact vengeance for their existence. He drew his Chainsword, leaning heavily upon the pommel, eyes becoming slits of obsidian. He, Ornsvald and the Guardsmen were sheltered behind a outcropping of pipes, watching the bloody spectacle.
Ornsvald spoke, now. His tone was hushed, somewhat pleading, and his plan was steadfast. Alrik listened, something that he wasn’t particularly fond of doing. When Ornsvald was done, Alrik nodded, unclasping his bear-faced helm from his hip, and lowering it down over his head.
‘Negative,’ Alrik’s voice issued as a hollow whisper. The clipped, accentuated tones of Fenrisian - More akin to an animal’s snarling, filled the air. ‘Fighting fairly -’ The smile was audible. ‘- Will get you killed. We are of equal numbers. If we commit, we may lose. I, Ornsvald, do not entertain the prospect of defeat. I will not - Cannot - Use one of these men,’ He tilted his helm towards the Guardsmen. ‘As bait. It is craven. If you are set upon such a plan, you attract their attention..’
There was a moment of silence.
‘There may be hundreds of Orks in the sub-levels. We are but seven. If we attempt this and draw more attention, victory shall be.. Difficult,’ He allowed a mirthless laugh. ‘We should inform Vermundr of our findings before proceeding, - His word,' A bitter grunt sounded dimly through Alrik's helm. 'Is absolute.’
“without you, we would all be lost. But we cannot remain here for long; we must press on and stop the orks from reaching the facility core."
The officer was saying to Vermundr, who quickly cut him off with his halting palm rising to the occasion and a grunt of on order. He took a moment to reach both hands to his wolf helm and slowly pull it off over his head. Now that the initial battle was over and he needed to speak to this man, he put it back at its appropriate location at his hip.
The environment struck out to slap his senses, finally smelling the sulfur and feeling the heat of the air. His nose crinkled a few times getting used to it.
His eyes peered and flickered over the officer's uniform but no symbol stuck out to him as any recognizable form of authority or allegiance.
"Don't tell me what I need to do," started the pack leader, "My priority is the anti-air guns. If you can convince me that the Orks reaching the core of this facility is more important... than perhaps my Wolves and I will accompany you further. Why don't you start with your name, rank, and reason for being here in the first place?"
He looked over his shoulder at the wolf priest who so far had remained silent. He scoffed silently, giving a slight shrug and looked back to the officer.
Heimdall listened as his pack leader finally regained his sense and stopped trying to outdo the new wolf priest. Heimdall could hear Iorek bellowing the guardsman back into lines to help them form a cohesive unit once more, something that the pack leader should have been doing. Quickly though Vermundr began to try and rouse the guard, taking over from Iorek.
Heimdall kept his attention's focus on the orks, using his flamer to keep them at bay as the two wolves fell back to the Imperial Guard position, and the place where Vermundr was re-gathering the pack. Ornsvald made an ill-timed remark to the pack leader as he ordered them to return, not allowing Heimdall time to kill the orks that had been pressing on to Ornsvald.
In return the pack leader snapped again, barking at Ornsvald madly, Heimdall staying close just in case the pack leader forgot himself again and began to beat Ornsvald. Lucky for him he only got a tap from his ax on his wound and Heimdall could relax, glad that he didn't have to drag his pack leader off of the young wolf and inevitably get hurt himself in the process.
He nodded as he walked past the pack leader, anchoring himself on the side of the Imperial Guards formation. One flank had open air and lava and the other had a flame toting marine. This allowed him to ensure that the formation didn't get overrun from the flank by an ork attack, though he did doubt that it would anyway as the xeno's weren't known for their intelligence.
Soon the xeno were defeated, though the objectives still stood, take out the anti-air turrets. The guard had once again regrouped and reorganized so know they could continue the fight in the All-Father's name. Heimdall was impressed on how they had managed to go from one moment being almost overrun and desperately fighting for their lives to becoming effective as a fighting force, only due to the presence of the Wolf pack.
He was sure that if the Space Wolves hadn't arrived to eradicate these vermin xeno then these guardsmen would be doomed and would have all died either up here due to a xeno ax, or would have plummeted to their death. Curious how they could change from one moment to the next. Though they hadn't exactly proved too effective, most of the work being done by the Wolves.
Vermundr told Heimdall and Leidolf to go with a group of guardsmen as one of the officers stepped up and formed fire teams. Heimdall was glad that he had been paired with Leidolf, the wolves having trained together a lot, and Leidolf while as ferocious as a fenris wolf, was dependable. He made his way over to Leidolf who had taken off his helmet, allowing him to feel the cool air unlike Heimdall who preferred to keep his helmet on. "When did it come to this, dislike bordering on hatred between those two?" Leidolf asked as his eyes scanned the platform before resting on the Wolf Priest and the Pack leader.
Heimdall shifted his gaze to follow that of Leidolf's, before he decided to respond, his voice coming out metallic due to the helm. "Jealousy brother is an ugly thing. Since our our return to the chapter things have seemingly been wrong with those two. It does not help Keris' decision to leave the pack either."
He admitted though he could still see the discomfort that was plainly over his brother's face. Heimdall placed an armored hand on Leidolf's shoulder, the grating of ceramite against ceramite, punctuating the gesture, "We will perservere brother, the pack will. We have to in the Allfather's name.
A grunt was all that Leidolf could return at this time as he continued to look over the platform, Heimdall noting that he saw all the Wolves before he spoke again to Heimdall, "Perhaps we will perservere, but to what end? Constant infighting? Being at each other's throats like pups fighting over mother's milk?" He sighed as he stopped for a moment," It is not befitting the Sons of Russ."
Heimdall fixed his gaze on his brother, the lenses of his helm masking any emotion that would have shown on his face to his brother though he felt like he did. It was a shame that the older members of the pack thought themselves so superior to that of the younger members. It meant that they would be forever broken until the elders learnt to accept the youngsters. "We agree on this brother, hopefully things will get better in time." Hefting his flamer in one hand, "For now though we have xenos to hunt." He said trying to cheer his brother up a bit.
A smile finally crossing Leidolf's face at this and he slapped Heimdall on the shoulder, "Aye brother, that we do."
The group moved slower than Heimdall would normally, having not to fear ghost's of enemies because he was wearing power armour, whilst the guardsman took every available precaution possible as they moved on-wards. He carried on walking regardless, Leidolf at his side as the two strode through the wreckage without a care. Due to the training they had received as aspirants there was no fear to be felt unlike those felt by the Guardsman, though it made sense for them to be much more careful than the two wolves.
"Something puts my hackles on edge about this place Heimdall. It is too quiet, deviod of life. Something is amiss." Heimdall turned his head to Leidolf as he spoke to Heimdall, noting that there was indeed something amiss. Only moments ago the orks had been wrecking havoc, and as such the quietness put the wolves on alert. It was clear that the orks weren't normally that sneaky.
"Indeed brother, best be on our guard. Evern after their revival I don't know how effective the guard will be. Best rely on ourselves for the moment. Let's take point." Heimdall replied as he hefted his flamer, Leidolf giving the guard quick orders to stay in cover.
"Take cove. We are going to go higher up to see if that vantage allows us to see more of the surrounding area." Heimdall led the way after the Guard took cover, Leidolf behind him as the two wolves moved towards the catwalk.
Vermundr; Despite the threat implied by your tone, the officer does not seem in the least bit cowed. “My apologies lord, my men and I part of the Theris Security Force’s operating throughout the Gordon, Ghost, and Calvera worlds at the behest of the Aurora and Crimson Guard space marine chapters; I am Haavring, bearing the mark of Sarjeko.” He says, tapping a set of crossing marks over his right fore-arm. “It is similar to holding the rank of lieutenant. My unit was assigned to garrison Jorus in the event of Ork invasion. This particular facility is a junction to a research facility three hundred kilometers south, access is restricted to only high ranking Mechanicum personnel and the Aurora chapter. The only way to even attempt entry is through the core, with a fail-safe to destroy this entire facility; and I doubt the Orks have access.”
Before you have a chance to say anything further, it is Keris who speaks first. “Silencing the defenses is a priority for the others to come in, but if this facility is destroyed then there will be nothing left to save. I will go with Ghostwolf, Krahl, Hrodgier and half the Theris fireteams to cut off the Orks while you take the rest of the pack and stop the guns.” The young priest says, and though you may not love the notion of him telling you what to do, there is merit in the plan.
[Haavring concedes to this course of action, signaling for two more of his teams to depart with Keris towards the position of Iorek, Hrodgier, and Krahl. You are not given much time to inform the rest of the pack to gather or push forward when there is sporadic gunfire coming from the position of Heimdel and Liedolf.]
Iorek, Krahl, and Hrodgier; As you prepare to act on whatever is coming up the steps, your keen senses suddenly take notice to silence. Where before there was something coming up the metal stairs, now there is suddenly nothing. Straining to hear anything, you note high pitched cackling coming from below but getting more distant; it becoming clear that whatever had been coming up from below chose to go elsewhere rather than ascend to the top of the platform. Motion along the edge of your vision alerts you to the approach of others, soon resolving themselves as Keris and more of the soldiers.
The young priest quickly tells you that all of you are to descend lower into the facility and cut off the Orks below from reaching the rig core and possibly setting off a catastrophic fail safe. Not waiting on further ceremony, three of the soldiers, likely team leaders, motion for the rest of their men to move down and secure the immediate area. One of the team leaders stays behind to address the four of you. “We came from here originally; these stairs lead down to four points. The top two are portions of a loading dock for material while the lowest two are maintenance ways, the lowest leading to the lower reaches. The final level will help us to bypass most potential Ork patrols, but the pathways are narrow and the sulfur and methane buildup is very likely to overwhelm the rebreathers of my men.”
“It is a risk we will have to take, the Orks cannot be allowed to run rampant below.” Keris answers the man, before following the soldiers down the steps with you shortly behind. Entering the lower levels is, for a normal man, like the difference of night and day. The lack of glow-globes makes it clear that the facility has suffered damage to its main power supplies, with only the lume-lights from the soldiers helmets offering them any true chance at sight. This is no issue for you, of course, and you quickly pass by the soldiers before coming upon the first lower level landing. From here you see the upper reaches of the loading bay, and within catch sight of a group of orks looting what looks to be a damaged hauler.
[The question becomes, do you allow this affront to continue or rush to engage the Orks? There appear to be a dozen of the greenskins, and you would have both the element of surprise and advantage of height. Keep in mind that you may be able to get to where you need going from here, and with less risk to the soldiers.]
Heimdel and Liedolf; You quickly ascend the catwalk to get a better look of the surrounding area; your eyes quickly spot an outcropping not to from where you all came in. The large forms of quad autocannon mounts, flanked by a number of thud guns, can be seen, and crawling with greenskins to boot. You are not given another second to dwell on this though, as solid rounds whiz by your armoured bodies and blast into the metal grating at your feet. Looking around you see Orks firing in your general direction, several of them bellowing roars and charging towards you.
The catwalk itself begins to groan and shift, the rounds impacting on its frame combined with your combined weight proving to be more than the thing can handle. Perhaps to your horror, or maybe to your delight, the catwalk starts to buckle and collapse, time to make a decision.
[Jump down or make use of your packs, either way get off this thing unless you want to take a plunge into the lava. There are seven Orks in total, two with large guns and spraying bullets at you from a distance, the rest are armed for a brawl. The soldiers are nowhere to be seen, and the surprise of this attack has wrong footed you enough that you cannot kill everything in a single go. Do you take the fight to the Orks, and which do you go after, or do you fall back?]
Alrik and Ornsvald; Before you even get a chance to tell Vermundr of your findings, you spot one of the Orks pointing at something. Whatever it is, one of the blockhouses obscures your view, but it is clear that it has their attention. Some of them roar and run in that direction, while the remaining two open fire with their guns. Whatever it is these Orks have found, they are making sport of it; what they are going after is revealed to you quickly enough, the report of a bolt pistol more than enough information to tell that it is at least one other of the pack.
[While you have chosen to not engage these Orks, it appears Heimdel and Liedolf were not so lucky on their end. Even as these seven go after them, you find another six attracted to the sound of fighting, and the array of bombs and grenades on their person is less than thrilling for anyone blindsided. I think you have some idea of what to do.]
Vermundr; The sound of wild gunfire snaps your head in the direction that Liedolf and Heimdel had gone, and that could not herald a good sign. Clamping your helmet back on your head, you vault across the landing pad; the advanced systems of Kjarls helm allowing you to blink pict feeds from your packmates armour in order to get a better idea of what is going on. The situation is not a good one, Liedolf and Heimdel being engaged by half a dozen greenskins on their own.
[Its time to make decisions, the guns must still be dealt with and now a good third of the forces at your disposal are engaged in what will likely be a degrading situation. You can get quick feeds from Alrik and Ornsvald, but you need to choose how you want your pack to react. Do you have everyone engage this threat and potentially become bogged down? Do you have Liedolf and Heimdel pull back? Do you pull back any support for your brothers and go after the guns? If they are attracting the Orks attention, its possible you might see less resistance.]
Whatever may have been down there was seemingly gone, as the stairwell now sounded only silence. After a few moments of this, the greenskin laughter could be heard again. Quieter, further away seeming to indicate that the orks were leaving the area below them.
Krahl looked up, exchanging glances with a few of the men as well as his Pack Brothers, looking to Iorek for some indicator of what they should do next. The decision was taken from the elder wolf's grasp however moments later when The newly appointed Rune Priest Keris approached. Keris ordered a descent to root out the remaining orks, and the men accompanying them lost no time in beginning to climb down the stairs.
One man stayed behind a few moments more, cautioning the four wolves of the toxicity of the air below. Keris was not dissuaded, even when the guardsman exhibited concerns his own mens' re-breathers would be overwhelmed. The group descended after the guardsmen moments after Keris gave the order, following the Rune Priest down into the complex. It would have been too dark for the men to see without aid, but Krahl's eyes made easy work of this environment and he follwed Keris with a few solid metres of clearance.
There was a good view of the next few landings, and closest to them was a sight unwelcome but not unexpected. On the landing not far from them above, a group of orks had begun looting an Imperial Hauler. The brothers of the Rout quickly overtook the soldiers in their advance, Krahl's anger growing with each step.
'I'm not letting them get away with this.' Krahl growled. 'We leave them here, we risk letting them sneak up on us later. I say we kill them now.' He turned to Hrodgier to try and get the brother's support, knowing that his fellow Blood Claw was also eager to hunt.
He took one of the diverting paths that would lead him to the group of orks. Already scouting his gaze ahead, he was able to see that this diversion would not lead them too far off course. He was confident now that this was the correct course.
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