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post #171 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-15, 04:51 PM
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That the Night Lords would insist on him receiving immediate medical attention Pelegon had forseen; for it to be Nyx to threat, though subtly, that it was going to happen regardless of consent, was surprising. Injured as he was, and with Nyx clad in cataphractii plate, he judged that any wrestle between them would be short-lived. Without a word, Pelegon handed the sergeant his newly-obtained thunder hammer, having no mag-lock on which to place it, and maneuvered himself onto the operating table, which creaked a little under his weight, taking his helmet off. Beneath, the area round his mouth was covered in semi-crusted chunks of dried blood, as was his gorget, from where he had coughed up a considerable portion, and several of the blood vessels under his eyes had burst from the hammer's pressure wave, lending him the appearance of heavy upper cheek bruising.

Nyx raised a dark eyebrow at this, to which Pelegon shrugged and lay back, awaiting Veptus' attention - he caught murmurs in Nostraman as their Primaris talked to another apothecary who was tending to his wounds, but his ear canals felt engorged - likely due to the impact from the hammer, again - and with his rudimentary grasp of the language could pick up nothing.

As he lay back, staring at the crazed tangle of brass pipework that constituted the ceiling, Pelegon realised with a slight shock that that had been the first pitched battle in which he had ever fought - up until now, the Iron Warrior had only ever undertaken siege warfare. It had been most similar to the storming of a breach, though less immediately bloody and more drawn-out. None of the fortifying, digging, taking ground inch by bloody inch, none of the waiting. That was the strangest - to have started and finished a battle in a single day, an experience that had previously been contained to Pelegon's training exercises as a neophyte many years previously. Yet, in spite of the glory, in spite of the immediate satisfaction of getting to crush his foes with his hands without having to pull them kicking and screaming from a bunker beforehand, it just did not sit right with the Olympian. It lacked the intellectual crunch that he and his brethren so savoured, the mental challenge of calculation to multiple decimal places, the minimization of errors - to him, the first shot of any battle was fired from the nib of a pen. Though it had given him immediate respite to fight so quickly, it did not feel as earned as it might have been had he thought his enemy to have stood a chance in the first place.

Pelegon was brought out of his reflective state by the advent of Veptus, who came over with another apothecary - though it was not the one who had been operating on him, he noticed.

"Now Pelegon, normally I would anesthetise you, but I assume you won’t play along now will you?”

Pelegon nodded, his dark eyes boring into the apothecary's pitch-black ones.

“Can you believe that Azoth? He doesn’t trust me to only cut him open.” Veptus turned his head, his face feigning indignation. Azoth grunted.

“Shocking Corpse-Master. Truly this latest betrayal supersedes today’s, frankly, insignificant events.”

Pelegon's face twitched into what was, if not quite a smile, an expression that just about conveyed amusement at the apothecary's comment.

“I knew you’d understand…” Veptus turned his attention back to Pelegon. “…fortunately I have the same distain for general anaesthesia. So…” Veptus’s narthecium cut into Pelegon's neck “…you should be feeling numb below the incision point right about now. Now try to move your left hand.” Pelegon obeyed, his fingers twitching.

“The CSF implant coats the nerves in your spine so that they don’t receive pain signals, like insulating a wire. The pain signals never reach your brain. However, before you think about using your new found immunity to pain to batter your way out of the Apothecarion, the membrane-disc that secretes the chemical is a delicate thing. And over exertion of your spine can cause it to split and the chemical to flood your brain, cutting off all your neurons from all the other neurons in your brain and whilst you may have fewer to lose than the rest of us, it’s no more advisable.”

The Iron Warrior huffed at that last comment, but let it slide. While talking, Veptus had already cut away the remnants of his breastplate and Pelegon did not judge it wise to retort, no matter how innocuously, to a man who quite literally held his heart in his hands.

“So, Pelegon…” Nyx spoke at Veptus worked “…did you claim any glory for your Legion today? I’d hope it wasn’t some insignificant legionary that wounded you thusly, otherwise we might need to assign someone to baby-sit you.”

"No. It was a techmarine of the XIXth. I attempted to use this..." he tapped the...space where the meltagun usually rested on his thigh. Of course, he had dropped it after the techmarine had hit him.

After this slight hiccup, Pelegon continued, voice even in spite of having the apothecary's hands brushing his lungs "...on the rear armour of that contemptor you tackled, but failed to note that he was in swinging range with the hammer you are now holding. It is a good hammer, I think, and it was a solid blow, but upon seeing that the impact had stunned me failed to double-tap. I believe I beat his skull to paste after that, but forgive me if my memory is hazy around that time. I do remember that I did not fall - to my knees, but not my back."

There was a hint of bitter pride at this last statement, but for reasons that were likely anathema to the members of the Nostraman VIIIth. To die on one's feet, staring the enemy in the face, to die rather than to yield; these were all not just common, but expected in his own legion. No matter what happened, Pelegon knew that he would always regard battle in such a way. As the raptors on the hill, one of which he had been forced to dispatch, had proven, it seemed they had no such qualms...except for the curious incident regarding the Raven Guard champion, Nirantius, and their own Azrael.

"A handful of other crows died by my hand - most notably, one of their champions. The very same spared by Azrael. I crushed the life from him with my hands - the bones of Corax's sons pop and crackle just like a bird's, though they require a little more force. I have his helmet..." Pelegon stroked the bloodied and dented Mk. VI clamped to his belt "...right here..."

Pelegon's voice trailed off as Veptus started working on his bionic hand, talking to Nyx, completing the surgery in due course.

“You should regain the feeling in your limbs soon enough, although the full effects will take a few hours to wear off. Feel free to exercise your arm, but try not to damage it again so soon, else I might think you are trying to find reasons to be down here. Though if that is the case, that can be arranged.”

Veptus flashed Pelegon a wicked, utterly humourless smile, to which Pelegon responded with a nod and, unusually, a thumbs-up. Maneuvering himself upright, he nodded his thanks to the apothecaries present, as well as Nyx, who held out the hammer. Pelegon took it in his uninjured hand, too tired to care. He would be summoned by Xandrek in due course, he had no doubt, but his broken chest ached for rest, and though he was loathe to slow down had to acknowledge his body's needs. Particularly now that the raptor squad, who's number and marking he had failed to note, would likely seek revenge on him.

Returning to his quarters, the Iron Warrior sat down on his bed, and entered a restful state of near-sleep, half-closed eyes on the door in front of him.
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post #172 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-15, 07:25 PM
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Tyberus watched silently, a grin crossing his lips beneath his helm as he watched the Destroyer take up the role of intimidating and harrying the newly annointed member of First Claw. His name was Kesh, or Ketz, something along those lines. Serhiy circled about the newcomer, speaking in thinly veiled threats, it made Tyberus laugh, his low rumble emerging from the vox.

"Destroyer, for this new blood to heed your threat, he would need to be able to understand your jib and threat through your garbled vox," he spoke mockingly of the Destroyers ruined vocal chords, supplanted by a vox. He then turned to the newcomer, "Do not be confused by Serhiy's circuitous manner of speaking, he, or I, or any of First Claw will maim and kill you at first sight of weakness or hesitation to follow the command of Captain Xandrek."

Tyberus voiced words he did not wholly believe in himself. He knew Xandrek was a Captain truly worthy of the title, but he found his chosen company to be lacking, Veptus, the vile worm had slithered his way many years before into the ear of the Captain, Azrael, the former Champion now stood, or rather lay in recover upon slabsteel awaiting his sentence for so blatantly disavowing his oaths and allowing a Champion of the Raven Guard to escape their duel alive. Tyberus quietly resolved to become the new Champion of First Claw, his skills in close combat were near unrivaled, and his birth on Nocturne gave hold to the prospect that he could be named Champion in light of Azrael's recent failings of both mind and now his state of body.

Tyberus opened a squad wide vox including to Captain Xandrek, expecting no reply from the Captain was only rarely prone to speaking to those not in his inner circle, even among his chosen Claw. "I go to rearm myself and prepare for immediate redeployment if those are to be our orders." , His intent was clear enough, to show that he was preparing to go to war at a moment's notice at his Captain's word. With that he marched heavily towards the armory. His plate was covered in gore and his weapons were slick with oil and blood. His storm bolter would need proper inspection and litanies of maintenance, the dust and grime of the planet having bored their way into the moving parts of the slide and feed mechanisms. Since their time aboard NightFall, the witness of the relic chainblade had been etched in his mind, the keen edged teeth shimmered in his mind's eye as he thought about the glories this war would bring to him.

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post #173 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-11-15, 05:20 AM
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The jostling and throttle of the Revenant as it broke the atmosphere of Isstvan shook Corvis from the reverie of imagining the doomed planet below. Even from above in space, Isstvan flared with the bright eruptions of flame as the backs of three Legions were broken on its surface. A primarch also lay dead, if the half-rushed chatter was to be true and yet this was only the beginning. An Imperium of lies still needed to be crushed and Corvis would follow his Primarch to the vengeance that would be theirs. Lost in malicious thought, Corvis opened his eyes to finally examine the rest of First Claw assembled in the Revenant as she raced through the void to the waiting Maiden of Sorrow.

Battered, bloody, but unbroken, First Claw looked a grim but determined sight, as well as the Iron Warrior with the perpetual smell of oil and grease. Examining his comrades, the Young Blood halted his gaze on the new blood in the Claw, Kesh. “A month till that hairless brute trips and blows his feet off with that plasma gun” Corvis wagered in his head as he snickered his empty grin. The Young Blood did not know why Xandrek had seen fit to allow some half-cocked destroyer into First Claw, but he knew better than to question Xandrek’s motives. Besides, it would appear First Claw would need some fresh blood in the short term if the crippled Champion was any indication.

Mangled and covered in his own drying blood, Azrael looked a pitiful sight, the stumps of most of his extremities being seen too by Veptus and Xheng. “The foolish Terran would probably prefer death after the ministrations of those two” Corvis mused, thinking back the condemned Legionnaire Shen, the sight of Xheng hovering over him like a crow not ready to wait for his prey to die before swooping in. The Young Blood still did not know what had transpired between the Champion and Xandrek down below on the surface, but he made a point to find out. The politics of the VIIIth Legion were as volatile as they were shadowed; and if Night Lords were masters of any one thing, it was operating in the shadows. No other Legion could make that boast in front of Konrad Kurze’s sons, at least not without losing their tongues. Not the Alpha Legion and its incessant need for planning, not the Raven Guard and their inane attempts at subterfuge, and most certainly not the mechanical automatons of Perturabo.

Thinking of the unwelcome guest, Corvis turned his pitch black eyes to the foreigner strapped into the Revenant with the rest of First Claw. While it was true for Legionnaires of separate Legions to detach themselves from their companies and serve under a different Primarch, now that Horus had openly defied the Emperor and set the galaxy aflame it seemed a rather ill time for exchanging brothers to different Legions. “Besides, what does that Olympian know of Kurze’s way of war” Corvis silently mouthed, the sound of his voice lost beneath the rattle of the hull as it closed in on the Maiden of Sorrow. Iron Warriors are merely a hammer to break upon the enemy. And if Corvis was brutally honest, and he was anything if not honest, Rogal Dorn and his Imperial Fists were far better at siege warfare than the sons of Perturabo ever could muster. Still, if the Lord of Lies seemed to deem the Iron Warrior of use, then Corvis would not challenge his Lord. Watching the Olympian lost navigating the lightless halls of the Maiden will at least provide some entertainment in between warzones, Corvis thought, enjoying the image of the brutish Astartes stranded in the black depths of the cruiser. Who knows, maybe an accident might befall the stone faced marine down there, where no sound will ever be heard.

Gripping his harness, Corvis could feel the Revenant slow as she landed in the hangar bay of the Maiden. Hitting the release, Corvis unhooked his harness and stood as the rest of First Claw began to rise from their seats. A fresh scent wafted up the Young Blood’s nose as he waited for the ramp to lower. Senses heightened by gene-seed implants and years of training were unnecessary for one used to the violence of Nostramo. One of the astartes in the Revenant’s hold was losing a lot of blood. And judging by the strong metallic tang to the scent, Corvis guessed that the Iron Warrior had suffered more damage than he appeared to be letting on. “At least Azrael will have company in the Apothecarium” Corvis mused, barely caring to notice the unconscious Terran as the hiss of hydraulic gears lowered the ramp. Walking down with the rest of First Claw, Corvis took in the sight of the Maiden’s hold, oddly glad to be back in its lightless embrace.

"Veptus, Xheng, Pelegon, Azrael get yourselves to the Apocatherion and get yourselves patch up. Veptus you are to make sure Azrael is ready for bionic replacements of the limbs he has lost, but see to Pelegon first." Xandrek ordered before abruptly departing.

Clearly dismissed, Corvis began to make his own way before being stopped by Apothecary Xheng as he was leaving with his charges. “Return to the Apocatherion when you are ready 'Young Blood' and I will once again see to that face of yours, with any luck I might be able to salvage some of your original appearance though you wouldn't win a Beauty contest with one of the Phoenician's powdered peacocks." Xheng wheezed. Corvis stopped in his tracks and raised an eyebrow at the sight of Xheng making a joke. “It’s good to see I’m not the only one on this ship with a sense of humor” Corvis said to no one as he watched Xheng retreat into the Maiden’s halls.

Rather than waiting for one of his fellow Claw, Corvis strode off on his own down the halls of the Maiden, putting the Apothecarium from his mind for now as he had a different destination in mind. Traversing the lightless halls was comfort to Corvis he always took for granted. Only in the pitch black gangways and veins of the Maiden could Corvis remember Nostramo, now a charred husk of asteroids floating through space. His nostalgia carried him through the halls of Maiden, passing crewmen making their way carefully by what little light was available to them, and into the sweltering furnace of the armory.

The cacophonous noise blasting throughout the armory assaulting Corvis’ senses almost threatened to overwhelm him briefly. Tech-marines hammered armor back into place, sat hunched over fine-tuning explosives, directing servitors carrying crates of munitions, and everything else that kept the Astartes aboard the Maiden capable of waging war against the False Emperor. Carefully stepping in between servitors and other Astartes doing business down here, Corvis finally noticed a tech-marine finish a breastplate of MK IV armor and set it on an armor stand before stretching his arms.

“Brother Tech-marine” Corvis stated flatly as he approached the Mechanicus trained astartes. The tech-marine gave only the faintest tilt of his head to acknowledge the Young Blood’s presence. Gritting his teeth to avoid saying anything antagonizing, Corvis began disassemble his armor. Handing his pauldrons over to the tech-marine, the Young Blood then unhooked his side-arm, “I’ll need fresh cells for the pistol and two krak grenades, along with seeing to the damage to my armor” Corvis listed off his needs, trying his best to be diplomatic lest his armor come back worse for wear or his grenades mysteriously explode too soon. “We’re backed up trying to re-supply the company after the adventure down planetside” the tech-marine said looking down at his roster, “Leave your armor here and return later, someone will see to your equipment. Munitions wise, Isstvan has required even more resources than we anticipated for the Maiden. Servitors are bringing up fresh supplies from secondary depots. When you return later we’ll have your munitions refilled.” Sighing, Corvis did not dare argue. He may not like being kept waiting, but with the fighting over on Isstvan he had time to spare. “Expect one of my serfs here to claim my equipment” Corvis said. Not waiting to see the tech-marine acknowledge him, Corvis began his walk back into the depths of the Maiden. As he approached the gateway, the Young Blood saw Kesh enter the armory proper. Not bothering to waste time, Corvis gave only a nod of his head in recognition of the new additions presence before making his way to his personal quarters

Finding his personal quarters, Corvis swung the door open to see his two serfs meticulously cleaning their serrated blades over a bowl of dark hued water while two laspistols lay disassembled next to several empty power cells. “Well, it would appear I have caught you both ‘red-handed’” Corvis said nonchalantly, as he entered and closed the steel door. “My lord” they both spoke in unison upon seeing their master.
Stretching his arms, relaxing finally in the comfort of his quarters, Corvis strode through his chamber to his equipment bench and placed his plasma pistol on the metal slab before unhooking his lightning claw. “The sights were knocked loose during the engagement” Corvis said looking down at his pistol, not bothering to check if Primus was listening. Ever since coming into his service, Primus had always seen to Corvis’ weapons. The old fool said he trusted no one else to handle his master’s weaponry, but Corvis wagered the leathery killer didn’t want to risk losing his position serving a Night Lord. “And check the photohydrogen power cell; it seemed to be heating faster than normal. If it’s cracked or damaged take it to the armory”.

Moving over to his armor stand, Corvis began unhooking his breastplate, then his gauntlets and boots before placing each into their place. “Secundus, see to it this armor is cleaned from the grit, grime, and gore by the time I return.” Corvis said, placing his helmet upon the stand, leaving only the pauldrons being seen to by the tech-marines missing from the picture. “Of course, lord” Secundus quickly returned. Breaking his gaze from his midnight blue armor, Corvis turned to finally regard his serfs. “So, did you handle that bit of business from before we launched planetside?” Corvis questioned, knowing he already had his answer.

With a savage gleam in both their eyes, the two servants sheathed their knives and cleared their space. Motioning with his weathered hand, Primus pointed to a roll of leather Corvis had not noticed upon entering. Something was different about this bundle of leather though; it wasn’t grox-hide or synthetic leather but something only Night Lords enjoyed dabbling in. “We would have brought you his face, lord, but it seemed better suited on Xnema after we had finished with him” Secundus said, his malicious grin splitting his face.

“After you and your brothers launched, the crew was completely occupied with the engagement.” Primus said as Corvis unrolled the human hide perfectly flensed. “Between the constant warning klaxons and the thundering of the cannons, it was a simple task finding Xnema and his lot without discovery. Secundus and I dispatched most of those fools, along with the help of some teamsters from the artillery decks who are constant customers for our alcohol.” Primus continued, “We hoisted the pathetic wretch up high for all to see, but not before flaying the fool. Waste not want not, they say” Primus said, causing even Corvis to laugh with the two maniacs.

“We were careful to make sure no one saw our coming or going, my lord. With any luck, Remus and his ilk will take the message and steer clear of our area. At the very least, the agri-workers and stall merchants are grateful to have some peace, and some semblance of order is at least holding sway, however brief it may be” Secundus followed, his eyes rolling at the thought of the next vagabond that wanted to encroach on the two serfs business.

Corvis rarely felt anything for humans, preferring instead his role as a post-human warrior. Still, at this moment the Young Blood couldn’t help but feel pride in his servant’s accomplishments. “The Maiden may be crewed by Night Lords, but it is maintained by the lessons learned from the Night Haunter. Job well done, the both of you” Corvis said, his predator smile giving only the false impression of impending murder. “See to it the both of you make your way to the armor later on. I’m expecting my pauldrons to be repaired along with a resupply of plasma fuel flasks and krak grenades. Don’t let those half-skitarii try and stiff you.” Corvis said as he donned his Legion robes, imagining the two of them trying to haggle with an astartes trained by the Mechanicum. The two servants nodded before Primus piped up, “Lord, will you be needing an Apothecary for that wound? Your exertions seem to have opened the stitching”. Corvis had completely forgotten about his wound, his astartes physiology having dulled the pain to just a distant throb. “I suppose I do. I’m sure Veptus and his entourage of sadists will enjoy my cheerful company” Corvis said as his serfs bowed watching their liege exit. As the steel door shut again, the two servants looked at each other before examining the work their master left for them. Sighing, the two picked up their tools and set about cleaning and maintaining their lord’s equipment, again.

Retracing his steps, Corvis easily found the Apothecarium, its helix symbol in contrast to the blackness just at its doorstep. Walking through the entrance, Corvis came into a busy scene. On a medical slab, Corvis spotted the Iron Warrior who had been attached to 4th company. Xheng was finishing up on his work as Corvis made his way through the medical facility. Finding an empty seat, Corvis waited for Xheng to dismiss Pelegon before making his way over to the Young Blood. “This shouldn’t take long” the Minoris said as he injected Corvis with a numbing agent and painkillers. Feeling the cold touch of the Apothecary gripping him before beginning to sterilize and stitch the wound closed, Corvis allowed his mind to drift away, to relive the battle that just occurred hours before and to contemplate what Xandrek had in store for them.

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