The dust settled, vaporised dust turning the weak sun, partially concealed behind the translucent vapour from the large industrial city of Ragnar, far to the south. This planet would be the vital lynchpin of the Imperial Defence of the system. The Hordes of chaos were tearing through space for a chance at the Slaughter, while the hastily assembled defenders, taken from the Cadian Gate were marshalling. The planetfall had been quick - the aim was to gain a beachhead, and gradually fortify it into a Strongpoint, from where the mobile forces of the Space Marines of the Architects of Malice would be able to strike anywhere on the planet.
Even as Gur'Tark Andronus looked out over the haze war torn land, he could hear the dull krump of heavy weapons batteries, his sharp eyes picking out the hair thin streams of light from the Defensive Lasers over the city. The forces of chaos were already attacking - knowing the insidious nature of the Heretics was Andronus's job - he knew that rituals would already be beginning to set up the summoning of the dread Daemons of Chaos. Not for the last time, Andronus wished that he had but a company of Grey Knights to aid him - such a force could win this battle. Emperor's Will, a even just a single fabled Terminator Squad would be a blessing, even with his knowledge of Chaos, daemons could prove too much for the Architects of Malice.
Remembering his task, he quickly organised his troops. The few drop pods remaining aboard the single Battlebarge he had taken from the defensive fleet Cordon of Cadia had been loaded with the Vanguard and Sternguard veterans, armed to the teeth, and with even a few of the sacred Dreadnoughts that Andronus could spare from the dropsite. Andronus did not know how the battle was progressing, but seeing that the preparations by the Servitors were under way, a quick message around the Pilots of the Thunderhawks around him and their engines ignited. Quickly and efficiently, Tactical squad after Tactical squad fell back under the cover of the Devestators and Heavy Armour of the Chapter. The Assault Squads who had not joined the Drop Pod assault were already mounted in their Thunderhawks, and speeding to the City. Watching as the last of his Marines boarded the Gunships, the Tanks finally made their way into positions for the Thunderhawk Transporters to lift the vehicles into the city. Smiling that this part of the job was done efficiently, he snapped a Salute to the Techno-Magus organising the preparations of the pre-fabricated structures. Although it was to the back of its hooded head, one of the Servo-tendrils rippling out of its back like a great metallic snake waved a jaunty goodbye.
Smiling, the Chapter Master mounted the Gunship, his honour Guard waiting inside, with the Praetorians, the fabled First Squad of the Chapter, the Terminators of Squad Valerian, with their Chain-halberds held out in front of them like a statue of a hero of old.
Together, the enemy would die under their hand.
As the assault ramp closed, the Thunderhawk took to the skies, the Phalanx of 15 Gunships forming into an unstoppable wing of fury, each one loaded with enough bombs and weaponry to destroy an Imperial Guard Regiment.
- - - - - - - - - -
Taking a seat, he removed his Helmet, his clean shaven and unscarred skin oiled smooth and taut, free of weaknesses and imperfections, like the killing machine he was. Picking up a headset, with but a thought, he patched into the coded messaging system of the planet. Hearing the blasphemous words, blaring praise to the False Gods, he cursed. The heretics had taken the Radio stations to the East of the designated central citadel, where the final stand in this city, where the final stand of this planet, where the final stand of this system would be.
It would have to be taken, but not yet. Calling to the Communications servitor to search for local friendly radio signals, he locked onto the first of the Assault Waves. Captain Fyrdraka answered. Quickly, he patched over the codes for the hastily erected command post in the citadel, and wished the Master Good Hunting. Repeating the words, Andronus heard "For The Emperor!" amid the static and flak filled background, and the gigantic whir as the Capacitors for the huge Turbolaser powered up. Seeing in his minds eye a hundred Marines plummeting from the skies on Jetpacks, armed with Bolt Pistols of righteous fury, and Chainswords of Pure Hatred, the attack against the Heretics couldn't hold against such a surprise assault.
Coming back to the Present, Andronus gave the coding to the Servitor, and immediately the signal was picked up by a nervous adjutant to the General commanding the horror. The repeated explosions as the huge artillery pieces, Earthshaker Cannons, and the odd heavier sound of a Bombard could be heard, the sound crystal clear, which was surprising. A quick exchange of words, and the General was put through. Again, a cursory chat, before the line closed.
"Marines - this is your time now. Do not disappoint me."
Suddenly, the craft was rocked by an explosion. Dialling the cockpit, a Marine answered, telling that they were passing through the outer defence lines of the encircling forces of Chaos, and several anti air batteries were targetting the Marines with air burst shots.
Hearing a quick prayer to the Emperor, the Machine Spirit engaged, and aided the Servitor manned Heavy Bolters and Artillery spotters to fire the weapons. With a whistling sound, the heavy bombs were dropped, and the chattering of the heavy Bolters could be heard over the sound of battle, and the gigantic engines.
"BRACE FOR IMPACT, BRACE FOR IMPACT, BRACE FOR..." The warning sounds came raw over the tannoy, the metallic voice void of emotion. A Missile Lock - before the inevitable call, the Pilots called down to the Chapter Master. "Sir, multiple targets engaging from the north. Hellblades by the looks of things."
"Marine, your priority is getting us down safely - keep the heretics busy after we have landed."
The Pilot knew that although this would almost certainly cost his life, his life was worth the thousands his brothers could save if the Marines could be landed.
Going into a steep dive, the rattling intensified, the small portholes showing the huge factory chimneys, thousands of metres high roaring past. With the same suddenness of going into the dive, the gunship levelled out, the size of the ship belying the agility that a skilled pilot and well behaved machine spirit could coax out of the bulky transport.
"At the Target LZ in 2 kilometers..." Two seconds passed, "500meters, In 3, 2, 1, Doors Opening!"
"For the Emperor!!!!!" With a Roar and Howl that chilled the hearts of the Traitors, the Marines charged out from the Assault ramp, coming into combat immediately with a squad of Space Marines. No sooner had the last Terminator jumped clear than the Thunderhawk once more lifted off, Lascannons spearing towards the Iron Warriors Vindicator picking its way through the rubble to target the new hostiles. The White hot lances pierced the armour, burning holes straight through the metres thick armour, and igniting the ammunition inside. The tank exploded, destroying the Hab block nearby, and crushing countless Traitor Marines and Heretic guardsmen in the rockrete avalanche.
Hundreds of Marines followed suit, supporting the ever dwindling numbers of the Space Marines from the initial drop. A single Dreadnought remained, it's huge Inferno cannon blazing through hordes of cultists, and its drill shredding any who got close enough. The Veterans, bloodied from hundreds of wounds, several mortally so, but fighting nonetheless had been decimated, but the deaths on the Iron Warriors had been hugely demoralising. The Gunmetal armour of their warriors were piled five high, the grim barricade occasionally shuddering as heavy calibre bolts ripped towards the loyalist position.
The Praetorians and the honour guard had quickly reaped the lives of the traitors - the Terminators charging forwards like unstoppable behemoths, their storm shields stopping bolter shots, deflecting grenades and dissipating the ribbons of Laser weapons like rain off armour. Together, the ten men hit the howling horde of gibbering cultists, their charge sending dozens of the weaker men flying like ragdolls, broken like so much wood. The chain halberds scythed through their first ranks, each blade killing 3 with each strike.
The Honour Guard had followed suit, while an Aspiring Champion of Chaos met their charge. The Chosen of Chaos had hit the line, but with the Banner of the Chapter aloft, and their Lord leading them, they would not fall. The Honour Guard was known as a Council of War, for so it was. Members of the Chapters Ecclesiarchium, Librarium, Apothecarium and Armourium were present, and with righteous fury did they strike. Thunder Hammers and Chainfists struck home, slaying left and right. The Chaplain summoned his power, and with a mighty strike, his Crozius Arcanum, a weapon that he himself had created out of the marble that had littered the ground of Titan, his blow rent clear through the armour of 3 traitors. The Librarian, with a whisper of power sent streams of Lightning flickering through the air to incinerate and melt the Chaos Marines opposing him. The Master of the Armorium, with his huge Servo Harness managed to stop the downward strike of a daemon headed berserker. The two handed axe caught in the grip of the twin Callipers of the Harness. Anger turned to shock as the daemon enhanced weapon shattered when the Power enhanced tools twisted. Knowing he was smiling behind the faceless helmet, Andronus saw the Techmarine slam his Thunder Hammer into the gut of the Marine, passing clean through body of the fallen, the broken veterbrae jutting through the armour. Slumping to the ground, the Berserker drew its power knife, and attempted to cut through its own neck. "Skulls for the Sku.." Before he had a chance to finish this final act of worship, the Thunder Hammer crashed down into the head of the marine, shattering it like an eggshell.
Soon, all that was left of the Chosen was the Aspiring Champion. Being the foremost warrior of the Chapter, it was Andronus duty to accept his Challenge.
Stepping forward, the Master readied his stance, his Storm Shield Roc, held ready in front of him, the huge Chain halberd, forged by his own hands, in the riposte position.
With a sneer, the Champion removed his helmet, and through it on the ground. "Won't you remove your mask, and fight me, with your own eyes? Your own ears? Or are you too scared, Lapdog?"
"Lapdog? You are the one who panders to your gods every whim. I merely am given a task, an order. I am a Soldier. I do my task, I fulfil my order. I give my word to my Emperor. I do not renege on my word for mortal gains, for I fight for what is right. As for my helm, why should I remove it. You do not deserve the right to see my face. But know this, traitor. I am Gur'Tark Andronus. I am your death."
Spitting hatred, the Chainblade screamed as the Champion charged, the insults to his Gods punishable by death. Ripping noisily into life Andronus's Halberd, Skyscorcher started up, just in time to meet the axe. Deflecting the downward sweep, Gur'Tark shunted the shield forward. The traitor was quick though, and regained balance before the spear could pierce him. Twisting aside, the axe flashed forwards again.
He was ready for the strike though. Instead of blocking the strike, Andronus, swayed away from the blow, and pushed the axe wide away, leaving the chest exposed.
Before Skyscorcher struck home, there was one emotion written on the scarred face of the traitor. Fear
With the death of their Captain, the first wave fell back from the Marine barricades. Turning around, Andronus and his honour guard stalked towards the flagging lines on the the Northern sector of the defencive circle, where a Great flame coloured dreadnought, millenia old, burnt its way through Traitors and heretics.
The shoulder mounted Grenade Launchers of the Honour Guard sent air burst shots skittering into the ranks, shredding gaps and breaking morale. As the distance closed, Storm Bolters rang out, Kraken Penetrator rounds slicing through multiple bodies. The battle was far from over.
[OOC - whoops =D Got a bit carried away - for those who thought it was too long - Marines Landed, Mounted Thunderhawks, Got off thunderhawks, Charged, Traitors died]
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