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post #191 of 209 (permalink) Old 09-08-12, 03:20 PM
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Ornsvald stumbled a little as he found his footing. The Ork he had just slain fell to the ground, its body only just recognising its own death. The jump pack had undoubtedly saved Ornsvald from a nasty blow, but it would still take getting used to.

The Space Wolf reached for his helmet, mag-locked to his waist, and clamped it onto his gorget, the pressure-seal hissing as his power armour's data feed streamed into the rapidly appearing-HUD. The squad was split; Alrik and Krahl were facing off against a huge Ork, the noise of its roar assaulting his armour's receptive sensors. The roar continued, quieter, even after the beast had closed its mouth. Except the roar now came from behind...

Ornsvald whirled around, bringing up his chainsword on instinct. The instinct saved his life as the charging Ork's over-arched chop was deflected. Grunting, Ornsvald side-stepped the charge as the greenskin's momentum kept it running. The Ork turned around, charging more directly at Ornsvald. With the briefest snigger, the marine dodged again, before delivering a punishing backward elbow-strike, breaking bone even as the Ork was pushed over the edge of the platform by the hit. A howl of anguish swiftly turned into the hiss of melting flesh as the acidic surface beneath turned the greenskin into liquid slime.

The marine turned back to Heimdall, who had fallen to the floor. Ornsvald cursed as he realised he hadn't watched his brother's back, as a score of Orks descended upon the prone Blood Claw. Roaring praise to Russ, Ornsvald ignited his jump-pack and barrelled straight into one of the Orks nearing Hemidall, lopping off his head with a single sweep of his chainsword. The Space Wolf snarled as blood covered his already-saturated armour when he dimly registered in impact on the side of his head.

Ornsvald fell, his vision swimming as he reached wildly for his fallen chainsword; he had dropped it in the chaos. His gauntlet finally found purchase, and Ornsvald wrenched his chainblade into a guard position as he struggled to hi feet. His helmet and astartes physiology cleared his vision as another Ork came at him. Ornsvald despatched it quickly with three blasts from his Bolt Pistol, the muzzle flaring as it spat death into the xenos.

Suddenly, a great gout of flame engulfed three more Orks; Ornsvald turned to see Heimdall, standing and roaring praise to the Allfather. Ornsvald sprinted forward and rejoined his brother, his gauntlet slapping the other marine's shoulder-guard to let him know he had returned. Eight of the dozen Orks still remained.

"What do you say, brother? Should we stop going easy on 'em?" grunted the Space Wolf, his helmet turning his voice into a metallic growl. Ornsvald revved his chainsword, emptying his pistol into the onrushing group before holstering it and meeting the charge, a warcry on his lips.

The bolt pistol fusillade had killed two of the Orks, mass-reactive shells pulping green flesh as they impacted on the Ork's skin. Six remained, however, and Ornsvald didn't have a chance to reload. Gripping his chainsword with both hands, the Space Wolf blocked an axe-swipe, then parried a second thrust as three of the Orks surrounded him. Another blow was narrowly avoided by a side-step, before one of the crude axes hit home. Ornsvald gritted his teeth as the savage strike impacted, cutting into his thigh as it penetrated his power armour.

A second impact followed the first, this time slamming straight into the Space Wolve's chestplate. The armour didn't crack, but the attack staggered Ornsvald, giving the Orks a chance to knock his chainsword from his hands. Snarling, the marine triggered his jump pack, blasting upwards from the trio of Orks. The greenskins looked up, dazed, as the power-armoured warrior came thundering back to earth, combat-knife drawn. The knife hit its target, tearing the feebly-sized brain out of one of the Orks. The other two staggered backwards, giving the Blood Claw enough time to grab his fallen chainblade, sheathing his knife as he re-adopted his two-handed posture.

"Hemidall, hit them now!" shouted Ornsvald, hoping the flamer-toting marine could hear him and could disentangle himself from the other trio of Orks, "My armour can withstand the blast, but they can't! Hit them before they get too close!"
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post #192 of 209 (permalink) Old 09-10-12, 04:30 AM
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Time seemed to slow as the beast raged forward, slavering xeno rushing to meet berserk Astartes. Leidolf sneered as the beast lunged, crude weapon clutched in its fervent grip, this beast was nothing. It meant as little to him as a bit of slime stuck to the bottom of his ceramite boot. An obstacle nothing more, a barrier that stood in between him and Keris. He did not understand why Keris would stray from the pack. Deliberately putting himself outside the reach of aid should he need it. Leidolf thanked the All-Father that he had noticed his brother's divergence from the pack's course. Whatever disagreements they had, what ever divisions had grown between them, this was war. They would stand side by side as brothers. He would let Keris have is prize and Leidolf would revel in the slaughter that would find him in the middle of this green sea of xeno filth.

He ran, blade to the side, bolt pistol lowered, in a parody of a lover running to greet a long lost companion, arms open wide. He saw the greenskin's confusion, a hint of hesitation flashing in its beady animal eyes. Closer, he must let it get closer. At the last second, just as the beast raised its weapon, its brutal intent clear on its snarling face, Leidolf dropped his shoulder and thumbed the activation tab for his jump pack. With a roar the boosters of his pack flared to life, propelling him forward. Leidolf's feet left the ground, his armored body becoming a speeding missile that impacted with the unfortunate ork with the ferocity and speed of a maddened Razor Ursid. A sickening crunch of bone echoed on the platform, the wet spray of blood flying from pierced lungs splattering his armor as the beast howled in pain. It tumbled, end over end, crashing to the ground, limbs bent at impossible angles, its spine actually protruding from several places in its lower back. Slowly, Leidolf approached, the beast's suffering bringing a smile of pure joy to his lips. He laughed as it feebly tried to rise, its broken arm crumpling under its dying weight. Flipping the decrepit creature over with the toe of his armored foot, Leidolf slammed his foot down into its chest, its ribcage shattering with an audible pop that sent waves of pleasure up Leidolf's spine. Leveling his bolt pistol, its gaping muzzle pointed directly at the beast's face, he snarled and began to depress the trigger.

An roar from behind him brought his attention snapping to the side, barely in enough time to duck a massive swipe of a crude orkish cleaver. Leidolf cursed, chastising himself for losing focus and forgetting the enemy that had still been at his back. Before he could catch his balance, the thing once more barrelled into him, its thick muscled form bearing him to the ground under its weight. Warning lights and an ringing claxon went off inside his battle helm, his chainsword, still roaring had become pinned in between his body and that of the Ork, its whiring teeth unfortunately tearing into the chest piece of his battle plate. To make matters worse, the filthy scum was reaching for his bolt pistol, clawing at the armored gauntlet that still gripped the weapon.

Letting go of the hilt of his blade, gritting his teeth at the vibrations the roaring weapon was sending through his armored form, he tried punching the beast in the head. Despite the fact that his armored fist brought blood and the crunching of broken bone, the beast fought on, maddened in its attempt to disarm the Astartes. Changing tactics, Leidolf shifted his hand, his armored thumb digging into the Ork's eye socket, and as the blood and viscera flowed from the now ruined socket the Ork howled in pain. Its grip loosening slightly on Leidolf's wrist, he was able to turn the weapon just enough to line the muzzle up with the thing's head. He watched as the realization of its demise passed across its remaining eye, before he depressed the trigger, the explosion of the mass reactive round deafening this close to his ears. He could almost feel the blood and gore, the remainder of the beast's head flowing freely over the lenses of his battle helm, and pushing the dead xeno from on top him, he slowly stood, eyes scanning for the Burna-boy. Finding it dead, its wounds fatal, he quickly turned from it and almost lost his footing as his right leg buckled, pain shooting from a large rent in his power armor. It seemed that the Burna-boy had gotten lucky, its fire pike landing a blow to the outside of his thigh, searing through the ceramite and into his leg. Thankfully it had no managed to go so deep as to damage the bone. G

Gritting his teeth against the pain, Leidolf turned to orient himself once more on Keris' position, Leidolf found that only three orks barred his path. Blood covered and enraged, looking like an avatar of death itself, Leidolf rushed them, giving them no time to react to his charge. His bolt pitol barked, three reverberating roars, and the first beast's chest and left should disappeared in a splatter of gore, before he was upon them, a slight hobble in his rushing gait. His chainsword flicked out, seeking and finding the throat of the second beast, its head flapping backwards barely hanging by a strip of sinew and bone. The third, a slightly larger beast from the first two, brought its massive two-handed weapon to bear, striking out at the charging wolf with a ponderous swing, forcing Leidolf to skip to the side, his blade flashing down to rid the beast of its hands, the heavy weapon clattering to the deck before his bolt pistol barked once more, its headless body falling to ground to slump among the remains of its fellows. Finally his path was clear, the way to Keris' side open, and none to soon. He watched as the massive nob struck his brother heavily in the ribs, flinging Keris' several feet away from the place where their battle was taking place. Leidolf wasted no time, thumbing the activation tab of his jump pack, he shot over the heads of several approaching Orks, pointing himself in the direction he had seen Keris fall.

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post #193 of 209 (permalink) Old 09-13-12, 10:04 AM
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Vermundr had put his empty pistol back on its mag-lock at his thigh; no time to reload. He was more formidable with his axe in both hands anyway, and though he would have liked to believe he didnt need that advantage right now, it was beginning to look that way. He used to the staff of the weapon to give him another millisecond of room, shoving three orks away from him. They stumbled over their inferior ankles, fell into their allies behind them and caused several more to falter. Though allies was a loose work for their camaraderie, as one of the orks he pushed back got its head chopped to shit by the frustrated beasts behind it; eyes and jawlines falling away from thick slabs of rusty metal blades. He helped the Orks in their endeavor with this, doing the same with his axe to another beside it, not hesitating to take advantage of his foes' weakness when it was presented, thanks to his rigorous training as an Astartes.

He saw, and heard, Iorek's rally. So, he stepped backward, gracefully chopping at the constant push of greenskins. A Head flew off and was crushed underfoot, gashes sprayed open in unarmored chests, and weapons were knocked aside.

Vermundr saw through the tide, Keris, still fighting the Nob and Leidolf still in support of him. On the other side of him a geyser of flame splashed into the enemy, Heimdall and Ornsvald. Further in the distance were Alrik and Krahl, his pack's two most formidable warriors in close combat. He heard the roar and saw the charge...they would have to fend for themselves. His faith in Alrik the Firehawk and Krahl the Glory Singer at this moment, was absolute.

Still encased in his wolf-helm he blink clicked his vox network, opening his squad's channel as he continued to stave off the orks coming after him.

"Leidolf, If Brother Keris is incapable of killing his target, do it for him, and quickly. I need my pack to regroup, which means you returning to my position sooner than later. Firehawk and GlorySinger, Russ be with you, slay the beast and return to me. I will have the path clear for you."

He blocked one of his assailants weapons, grabbed the alien's wrist, pulled, and swung his axe clean through the bulky, muscly shoulder. He snatched the remaining flailing arm and brought the ork around into a single armed choke-hold, holding the ork in front of him as a momentary meat shield. Though this greenskin's real purpose would soon be a morale booster, he hoped at least. This is when he heard Ornsvald's cry to Heimdall, Vermundr cut in quickly,

"No need for that Heimdall. The both of you, regroup at Iorek and I's position with the guardsmen. We must achieve what the orks don't have: organisation."

He had reached the line of guardsmen, turned to them and said through both his squad's vox channel and his helm's speaker, "Indeed Guardsmen, we stand with you! Those who fight in the light of the Emperor have nothing to fear from these savage beasts. They are weak!" he shouts, then through gritted teeth as he rips the ork's remaining arm away, "pathetic!-" ... "Garbage!" he says finally, throwing the Ork off the edge into the fuming lava below the station. "With us and the Emperor at your side you have nothing to fear. We clean up this garbage, thats all it is."

Vermundr, almost casually, moved beside the closest guardsmen, towering over the lad, and turned to face the orks once more, "Reform your lines! Take aim! Volleys! Wolves....fire at will and dispose of any that get to close."

Though at the moment Iorek was still the only one in proximity, he still spoke to his pack, hoping Ornsvald and Heimdall would have little trouble moving to his position and that Iorek would stay where he was.

You can never be prepared for the unexpected



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post #194 of 209 (permalink) Old 09-13-12, 06:13 PM
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Ornsvald grunted in frustration as Vermundr cut in, calling off any hopes of a flamer-strike. The two Orks which should have been roasted continued their charge, slamming into Ornsvald and knocking him to the ground. The marine gritted his teeth as a crude axe blow fell straight where the earlier one had penetrated his armour. The Space Wolf felt flesh parting before the axe, shearing the bone as it cut deep into his thigh. Ornsvald let loose a howl of anger, the sound converted into a daemonic roar of metallic noise by his helmet. The cacophony distracted the Orks for a brief moment as they clutched at their ears; Ornsvald took his chance.

A sweep of an astartes chainsword brought both Orks to their knees, their shins cut deep into by the whirring teeth of the chainblade. The Space Wolf brought himself painfully to his feet, his left leg bleeding profusely through the gash in his power armour, the dirty gleam of bone just visible beneath. Growling, Ornsvald brought his chainsword around twice again, each strike plucking the head from each of the Orks' shoulders. Ornsvald limped back towards where Vermundr had set up a column of guardsmen, still covered in blood and gore, and adding to it with his own superhuman life-fluids.

Ornsvald growled as he approached the pack-leader, "I know you were only being generous, giving me those two Orks to myself and overriding my request for support, but perhaps next time you might be inclined to give the guy without the flamer a break?" the marine pointed to his thigh, the bone still gleaming inside the power-armour breach. Ornsvald's super-human blood was trying its best to clot the wound, but the blood-vessels were at too high a pressure in the thick of combat to create a scab properly in an area with so many arteries and veins. Ornsvald could stand, and limp, but he was slow, and the loss of blood was going to make him even slower.

"Just tell me where you want me," grunted Ornsvald, slamming a fresh clip into his bolt pistol as he stood with the guardsmen, ready to fight off fresh waves of Orks.
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post #195 of 209 (permalink) Old 09-13-12, 08:18 PM
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Vermundr's black wolf helm turned its red eyes and curled lips toward Ornsvald as he limped over to the line of guardsmen.

He could feel the hot breath building inside his helm for a moment as his choler rose like the fumes of magma all around the station. He had enough sense to move around the guardsmen, not wishing to interrupt and organization he may have helped achieve.

A loud metallic click from Ornsvald's fresh magazine slammed home, just before Vermundr's gauntlet slammed against the wolf's power armor as he reached out to grab the wolf and bring him face to face.

His throaty voice was dangerously low, "A break!? What are you, a child!? How in Russ's name the priests thought you fit for our ranks is unfathomable!"

He let go for a moment, turning to the advancing orks, and added his bolt pistol's heavy bark to the guardsmen fire as some of them starting to get too close.

He turned back to Ornsvald, "Are you still alive!? Are you still able to fight!? Were you able to fend off your enemies without dying? It Looks like it! So getting yourself killed and putting that burden on Heimdall wasn't the right fuggin' answer you dimwitted dog! Now take aim you silly puppy, you have much to learn still."

Vermundr resisted the urge to slam the blunt side of his battle axe into the wound on Ornsvald's leg to worsen the pain, but he didnt want his nick name getting the best of him. It would dictate strength if he could make it, not tyranny.

He took his place back amongst the guardsmen, now worried that some of them saw their infighting and had lost any gained morale because of it.

You can never be prepared for the unexpected



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post #196 of 209 (permalink) Old 09-14-12, 03:38 AM
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Krahl wrenched his blade free from the twitching carcass before lifting it high to bring it down again. The struggling ork was cleaved almost in two and lay still as the young wolf sought his next target. The Firehawk was a short distance ahead, the brutality of his advance putting that of the orks themselves and even Krahl to shame.

But maybe that was a good thing. We are warriors. Not butchers.

A roar of orkoid hate deafened him for a few moments, causing even the surrounding greenskins to pause momentarily. Krahl turned to the source of the warcry and saw a huge nob leader barreling its fellows aside as it made for Alrik. Clearly the brute had decided Alrik to be the larger threat, and thus worth far more in terms of a challenge.

Krahl laughed slightly as the Firehawk's words reached him. Alrik would step up to this challenge and he would do so with reckless enthusiasm much like Krahl had seen from him before. A brief flashback reminded Krahl of the ursid and his own incautious beginnings, but he put the thought from his head as the remaining orks, unwilling to interrupt their master's duel, set their sights on Krahl instead. The Blood Claw let out a howl of rage with his blade held high, daring the savages to take another step.

Like fools they did, and Krahl was ready. A quick burst of bolter fire from his pistol downed the first ork in a mass of pulped gore and the second found itself impaled upon his blade. As the dying creature attempted to bring its huge axe down upon Krahl's head, he released the blade and stepped backwards. The swing missed, and Krahl leapt forth again. Planing one foot firmly on the ork's chest and his hand back upon the hilt of his sword he swiftly reclaimed his weapon.

Two more charged at once, and for the briefest instant Krahl considered a retreat. The thought made him giggle slightly to himself before he charged forward, slamming into the creature to his left and stopping its momentum with the force of a brick wall. Its ally swung its crude weapon towards Krahl's back, sending another impact rocking through the wolf's armour that threw the first ork another step backwards. Krahl recovered from the jolt first and swung his blade down into the beast's face. He spun on the spot, blocking the other ork's followup swing with his tucked in forearm before following through and impaling the brute's neck on his blade. One more shot ended the life of the first ork who had just begun to rise again with one hand trying to hold its face together.

He wanted to spare a glance to see how Alrik was faring, but another ork had closed in, this time raising its crude gun and loosing a burst of fire in Krahl's direction. The projectiles were pitifully inaccurate, making it easy for the Blood Claw to retaliate in kind. A single well placed shot was enough to scatter its brains to the wind. As it fell however, a stray shot successfully impacted the joint in Krahl's elbow armour, drawing a short howl of irritation before he numbed the pain and reaffirmed the grip on his blade.

Something hit him from behind, causing sparks to appear at the edge of his vision and he fell forward onto the ground. His blade was lost from his hand as the muscle spasmed slightly with the earlier injury.

I hope none of the others saw that... He thought to himself as he rolled over in time to avoid another downward swing. He lashed out with a scissor kick, feeling orkoid bone break under the force of his shin and pushed himself upright. His adversary did likewise, fumbling on its ruined leg and falling forward. It too had seemingly lost its weapons in Krahl's attack. One bare green hand latched onto Krahl's collar armour, putting its weight on him while the other formed a fist that zoomed for the Blood Claw's head. Krahl raised his pistol arm up to block the punch, then immediately retaliated with a backswing that hammered the ork's oversized jaw that sent blood and teeth spraying across the concrete. Krahl didn't relent, allowing this brief moment of primal fury to run its course as he wielded his bolt pistol like a hammer.

After a few short seconds, the ork was dead, all semblance of a skull had been mashed into a messy pulp and its corpse slid weightily off Krahl's armour. Taking this quick lull in the battle to recompose himself, Krahl hastily retrieved his combat blade from where it had landed and turned to see if Alrik was still alive...


Nonsense is our Salvation


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post #197 of 209 (permalink) Old 10-27-12, 07:46 PM
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Krahl did not answer.

A resonant rumble sounded from Alrik’s throat. The Firehawk decided, as he ran a hand over his Chainsword, that he did not like the other Blood Claw. Alrik’s freehand clenched into a fist, internal mechanisms whining, beads of scarlet decorating his ice-blue gauntlet. There was something about Krahl’s sharp, gaunt face that needed rearranging - And Alrik vowed, with a harrowing smile - That, permitted both Wolves survived this encounter, he would enact that.

Alrik’s face itched, almost unbearably, being so near magma bringing back memories of a ship’s heart - Memories that the Space Wolf would rather forget. He stopped himself from scratching; dark, empty eyes scanning the platform. Keris was tackling a hulking Ork, Iorek and Vermundr were rallying the disheveled ranks of Guardsmen, Heimdall was on his-

A bellow, like the sounds of glaciers colliding, sounded across the mining facility. A shiver ran along Alrik’s spine, recognizing the hate-filled challenge, a grin, made awkward by scar-contracture tugging at the corners of his mouth. The Blood Claw wheeled, eyes narrowing, pointing his Chainsword like a spear.

Bounding across the deck, wearing motley armour of chain, plate and leather were a pack of Orks. At their head, flat-nosed, red-eyed, was a towering Nob. Its skin was the colour of moss, protected by a coat of leather that dangled down to large, boney knees. Steel plates were bolted in place, protecting the beast’s front. A necklace of human hands, in a various states of decomposition, dangled from a trunk-like neck. In one paw, the Xenos held a monstrous cleaver - Whilst a vicious, barbed chain swung from the other.

‘Earn your worth,’ Alrik sneered at Krahl, marching forwards. ‘And I will grant you that brawl.’

The Nob grunted something, its subordinates peeling away, leaving Alrik and itself.

Alrik launched forwards, swinging his head. There was an audible crunch, the Ork stepping back, blood gushing from a broken noise. A tremendous backhand, hammer-hard, struck Alrik’s cheek. He twisted, disorientated, an annoyed growl escaping his lips. There was no respite, however - The Ork’s cleaver cutting towards Alrik’s head, parried away at the last moment by Alrik’s own blade. The chain licked out, wrapping around Alrik’s forearm, spikes digging into ceramite.

The Firehawk’s armour crackled, the machine spirit furious, astonished at the slight. With a yank, the Ork pulled Alrik closer, punching him again. The Space Marine’s head snapped back - Beginning to regret forgoing the use of his helm. His Chainsword lashed out, skittering across ramshackle armour, eliciting a mocking laugh from the Ork. Putrid breath washed over Alrik’s face, reeking of man-flesh and promethium.

Alrik yanked back on the chain, his blade cutting through the air - Shattering the links with a screech. The follow-up strike cut drove between the Ork’s interlocking armour - Driving deep into its side. It mewled, scarlet eyes narrowing in pain. The Firehawk tore the blade free, red-mist filling the air as he did so.

‘Blood,’ He drawled, grinning voraciously.

In fifteen seconds, an equal number of blows were traded between the pair. On the sixteenth second, the Ork lunged at him, and Alrik robbed the beast of a hand. Blood squirted, sluicing Alrik’s face and armour. On the seventeenth second, the Firehawk drove his blade through the Ork’s legs, sawing through skin, muscle and bone. It collapsed, roaring, still swinging the remains of its chain at the Space Marine.

Alrik bereft it of that hand, as well.

Torturously slow, Alrik let the Chainsword’s teeth gnaw through the Ork’s neck, in an explosion of viscera. When it was done, he bent low, gripping the thing’s mangy topknot, and lifted the head high for all to see.

Nyctophobia- Fear of the Dark Angel.

"No one ever spoke about of those two absent brothers. Their separate tragedies had seemed like aberrations. Had they, in fact, been warnings that no one had heeded?"

'Killing a man is like fucking, boy, only instead of giving life you take it. You experience the ecstasy of penetration as your warhead enters the enemy's belly and the shaft follows. You see the whites of his eyes roll inside the sockets of his helmet. You feel his knees give way beneath him and the weight of his faltering flesh draw down the point of your spear. Are you picturing this?'
'Yes, lord.'
'Is your dick hard yet?'
'No, lord.'
''What? You've got your spear in a man's guts and your dog isn't stiff? What are you, a woman?'
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post #198 of 209 (permalink) Old 10-30-12, 06:08 PM
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The air tasted of the acidic richness of wood smoke and the underlying, lingering suggestion of frost upon rough-hewn stone.

His breath ghosted before him, caught for a moment in the faint light cast by the banked embers of the fire's heart. The waning, ruddy glow was the only illumination in the chilled darkness of the chamber; too weak for a human's eyes to perceive.

The guttering light did not impede his vision. He had not been human for many years now.

His twinned heartbeats were a slow, pulsing rhythm in the cold silence of his thoughts as his focus tracked across the room to a deeper darkness enshrouded within the shadows. Crystal-blue eyes traced the ember's glow across the smooth curves of his battle plate, the absence of pack and company markings giving the armour a solemn cast like the shadow of a lone thunderwolf stalking within the heart of a storm. The left arm of the battle plate merged with the shadows around it- the black of Morkai's pelt, repainted by his own hand after he had stripped the other markings in a rite overseen by the old Wolf Priest. The light flared and the single Fenrisian rune of the Lone Hunter was briefly illuminated, the mark carved deeply into the back of the left gauntlet.

The right shoulderguard was a blank field of untouched black, but the left bore an image that drew an immeasurable sense of honour from Keris' soul when his eyes came to rest upon the curved plate. It was an icon as old as the geneseed he carried in his breast and the same image that adorned the shoulderplates of every warrior within the company of the Great Wolf Logan Grimnar and every Great Wolf that had come before him.

A rampant wolf, its jaws wide in a silent snarl, stood unwavering against the void-dark plate alongside a single golden star.

It was the mark of Russ himself- the Wolf That Stalks Between Stars.

Keris let his eyes linger upon the very icon of his bloodshire as Odaajn's teachings ghosted through his thoughts. He knelt alone upon the cold stone of the floor before the ashes of the fire pit, clad only in the bodyglove he wore under his armour and the skin of the wolf he had taken by wits and blade alone. The last ten days had been a trial upon both his mind and soul as the elder Wolf Priest expressly forbid any contact with his former packbrothers before he had begun imparting his centuries of knowledge into the young Space Wolf. The Wolf Priest had come to him briefly not hours before the attack and Odaajn's parting words seemed to linger in the shadows as the sound of the elder Wolf's padding steps vanished from even keen the reaches of Keris' hearing.

He holds naught but hate left for you in his heart.

The old Wolf's tone had been low, coarse with the thick accent of the tribes, as he spoke about Keris' former packleader and the path Keris must walk in the upcoming assault. He would fight at their sides, both as a test of his own strength of will and arm as well as those of Vermundr as a packleader. He was to tear the head from the orks while his brothers bled the horde dry. The fury of Russ tested against the greenskin tide.

Odaajn had not waited for his acceptance. He had not needed to.

Keris gave a low growl from deep within his chest, the sound breaking the stillness of his chamber like the first distant roll of thunder carried by the winds before a storm front.

It was time.

-

The Thunderhawk shook like a lone skiff caught in high seas.

Keris felt the wolf in his soul shift and bared his teeth in sympathetic discomfort. It was all he could do to keep from howling as the vibrations of the craft's journey rattled his very bones. The scents of the pack were thick, heavy in the sulfur-laced air. The taste of battle lust and kill-urge prickled at the back of his throat. They all needed this battle, needed the release.
Keris' armoured hand strayed to the new pouches at his hips, poultices and herbal tinctures lay within coupled by narcotics designed specifically for the gene-forged bodies of the Sons of Russ. As a Wolf Priest his role was a duality of life and death, the life of his wolfbrothers and the death of their foes. A brief, somber smile tugged at Keris' lips as his hand closed around the hilt of the black blade- Ime'Ta, the legacy of Kjarl gifted to him by Lord Blackmane. The scaled grip always felt slightly warm to the bare touch, as if the nature of the beast from which the hide had once belonged still lingered on in its memory.

Yet, over everything there was a separation, a hollowness that Keris could not deny. He stood by his wolfbrothers in the confines of the assault craft as it barreled through the greenskin's defenses, but he was no longer a part of the bond of the pack. It was a cold blade within his soul that cut deeper with each glance that was cast his way. Glacial eyes came to rest upon the armoured form of Vermundr, the packleader helmed and tense.

Will you ever come to understand what I have given up for you, Helfang. The price I have paid willingly?

Keris shifted again, riding the bucking deck of the Thunderhawk with the ease of one borne to conquer the violent seas of mother Fenris. The packs at his hips were not the only new addition to his armoured bulk, the weight of the jump pack strapped to his back was still a somewhat unfamiliar, yet surprisingly comfortable, presence.

Though the thought of actually leaping from the mad dive of the Thunderhawk drew a dangerous growl from the beast in his mind.

-

The very air howled and Keris howled with it.

Hot, acridic ash whipped with a tempest's fury against his exposed face and Keris gave into the urge that had clawed at his thoughts since he had leapt into hell from the gaping maw of the Thunderhawk's ramp and given himself to the embrace of gravity.

The stench of the greenskin horde was coupled with the burning tang of the volcanic world's nature; assaulting his senses as he plummeted towards the battle bellow like a gryfalcon stooping on a kill. The mass was a creature in its own right, a sea of writhing orkish flesh that fed upon war like a plague upon the lands. It pulsed, roared, and within its tides Keris marked the first of his oaths as his hands tightened around his chainsword and the grip of his bolt pistol.

Orks lived for battle, literally as well as physically. It was through brutal warfare that they gained strength and power in their ranks. As well as intelligence. The larger, stronger orks were inevitably looked to by those that they overshadowed for direction within the fighting. Remove that leadership, that direction, and those left would be prone to panic- breaking and squabbling within their own ranks. That was his oath- to shatter the moral of the greenskin tide while his brothers slaughtered their numbers.

Keris twisted at the last moment, the dragon-breath of his jump pack coiling around his legs as he slammed down into the mass crushing the lifeblood from the smaller orcs that were unlucky enough to have chosen that spot to stand.

A bulky, single-horned helm swiveled his way and Keris bared his teeth in challenge at the creature before him. The beast stood taller than the Firehawk's crested height and its massive, paint-daubed shoulders easily spanned the same measurement. The skin on its face and arms was a deep hue of mottled green. Gaudy emblems were daubed in thick blue and black paint upon the budging muscles of its arms and the hands that gripped the haft of a colossal axe bore the image of skulls that flexed under the nob's grip. A checkerboard pattern upon the left side of the beast's massive, tusked face just barely showed from beneath the steel helm.

It lower body was encased in bolted metal plating, twin spikes protruding from the kneecaps, and a tattered, bloodstained leather vest strained across the ork's shoulders. A cluster of grenades jangled at the creature's waiste alongside a bulky pistol and iron-shod cudgel.

Ice-blue eyes met and held the blood-shot, piggish glare across the haze of the battle and, for a long heartbeat, both Wolf and Ork shared a silent hatred.

With a bellow that shook the armour of its nearest kindred and sent globules of spit streaming from its lips the nob surged forward, swatting aside those lesser orks unfortunate enough not to scramble out of its path fast enough. Keris matched the warcry with a howl of his own, his grip tightening on the trigger of his chainsword to add its throaty roar to the battle's voice as he bounded forward to meet the charge.

The nob covered the distance between them with surprising speed, like an avalanche gaining force as it hurtled down a mountain's flank. The axe in its meaty grip came around in a wicked blow designed to smash aside the grey and black clad man-thing that dared to challenge such a mighty ork nob… only to slice through the blistering, smoking contrail of Keris' jump pack and into the side of a rather surprised looking fellow ork.

Keris twisted as he sprang upwards on a trail of flame, the teeth of his chainsword skittering along the side of the nob's helm with a shower a sparks but unable to find true purchase in the awkward strike. He cut the feed to the pack, allowing gravity to sink its fangs into him once again and dropped down into the ash-slick decking behind the massive ork. The nob roared in frustration, taking its axe in a two-handed grip to fling the limp body off into the melee as a man might cast away an unwanted catch.

Keris had only enough time to throw himself into a roll as the backstroke of the axe threatened to remove his head from his shoulders. He lashed out as the brutal weapon passed, drawing a spray of orkish blood from a shallow wound to the nob's left forearm and a new pitch to the bellows of the nob's wrath.

A weapon glanced against his right pauldron, scrapping paint and sending ceramite chips tumbling from the ablative material. Keris put a bolt round in the open maw of the ork who had struck out at him without ever looking in its direction, shouldering the body into the path of the nob as he turned to face the brute again. The axe came down in an overhead swing but, this time, Keris did not dodge the blow.

Ime'Ta snarled as the teeth of the chainsword ground against the haft of the nob's axe and Keris gave a grunt of effort as swatting aside the impact rattled the teeth in his skull. His bolt pistol barked twice. The first shot ricocheting off of the nob's helm; the clang of impact that rang out over the battlefield muffling the sound of the second bolt imbedding into the flesh of the nob's shoulder. Keris snarled and tried to twist aside, but the nob's spiked kneeplate crashed into his side like the kick of an enraged bull konungur.

His armour had taken the brunt of the impact, but the impact still drove the breath from Keris' enhanced lungs and sent him to a knee as the nob staggered over him; still reeling from the ringing blow to its helm and the bloody mess that the bolt round had made of its shoulder. Keris started to rise but paused as something caught his eye. He snarled as Vermundr's voice carrying over the vox in his ear even as his hand left hand moved to his hip.

'See to your own pack and oaths, Helfang. I will see to mine!'

Flames exploded around him as Keris ignited his jump pack to full force, sending him smashing into the nob for a moment before rocketing past the ork's bulk and up into the open air above the battlefield. He twisted and cut the flames to come down in a crouch across the cleared area the greenskin mass had given over to his fight with the nob.

Keris gave a viciously feral grin, a wolf that had used cunning to force a greater prey to the edge of an abyss, his features flecked in the blood of the nob and the ash of the world around him as held out his clenched left fist to uncurl the fingers; letting the crude silver pins that lay within drop onto the riveted deckplates at his feet.
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Keris; The nob twists around, following your movement and attempting to reach out for you but ultimately failing. When you let the grenade pins fall from your hand, the greenskins realizes to late the import of your actions. With a bellow of rage, the giant ork moves one massive hand to tear at the grenades on its body, but that is the moment they explode. The result is a great ball of flame and smoke, blackening the ground for half a dozen meters and sending a spray of gore and shrapnel harmlessly across your armoured form. Though the kill is a magnificent one, you do not allow it to shroud all of your thoughts and quickly look for another target; only to find that Leidolf has taken care of the nearest threats.

Keris, Alrik, Heimdall, Leidolf, Krahl, Hrodgeir; With the deaths of the orks nearest you, you fall back to the position of Vermundr, Iorek, Ornsvald, and the remaining soldiers. In truth, you really need not have; in the wake of your descent and fighting, of the xenos mobs there are barely more than a handful of wounded greenskins remaining and between your pistols and the lasguns of the soldiers, that does not remain a truth for very long.


All; Renewed by the words of Vermundr and Iorek, and goaded on by individuals who could only be officers, the soldiers form into neat teams and concentrate fire on a single ork. It is an impressive sight for all of you, where moments before these men were on the verge of death, before you stand people worthy of the armour they wear and weapons they wield. As battle dies down you get a true look at this landing to see what it truly is. Amidst the blood and bodies you can make out lines and marking in the stone and metal ground which would signify a landing pad. It is strange that these soldiers would have fallen back to this point, what with there being no aircraft touched down or in the surrounding air (not that they would likely have lasted for long, what with the anti-aircraft positions.)


Vermundr; One of the soldiers approaches the pack leader, his demeanor predatory and wary for any more trouble. Before saying anything though, the man turns his attention to his own, speaking to them through the short range vox system of his hazardous environment helmet and sending off fifteen soldiers in five man teams to examine the perimeter further into the facility. There is merit in this, and you send everyone, save Keris, to augment the strength of those teams. Keris remains with you, both because you have no authority to tell him otherwise and, because despite your feelings, there is no doubting his instincts.

Vermundr and Keris; “My lords,” the officer begins, pounded a covered fist against the chest of his flak vest, “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.” You halt him from saying anything further, there are things you need to know first.

[I actually must apologize for ending this part here, more was intended but it either requires a great deal of assumption by me or to stop and speak with both of you for questions to be asked and answered as I am sure you have some for this man. Some things to consider: what is he talking about? Who is this man and the soldiers he leads, and why are they here where there is nothing? What is his working knowledge of the facility?]


Alrik and Ornsvald; To, perhaps, the younger wolfs dismay it is with Alrik that he is joined in patrolling the perimeter. The Firehawk seemingly ignoring the soldiers and advancing to a point beyond the landing, despite the sulfur and the distant sounds of fighting, he can smell new blood in the air. Ornsvald and the soldiers follow the larger Space Wolf, the damage to his leg not being nearly as bad as he had thought and the wound itself clotting over.

[Following Alriks lead, you both spot a group of seven orks finishing the grisly work of butchering a number of soldiers. They had obviously been drawn by the sound of fighting and had only not come to the landing by chancing upon these unfortunates. These orks have not spotted you, since you seven are currently hidden by outcroppings of pipe. You could engage them, likely taking them all out without any trouble, but there is no telling if they are the only ones here and if the sounds of that fighting might not attract more attention.]


Leidolf and Heimdall; Ignoring the boasting swagger of Alrik and Ornsvald following in the Firehawks wake, you travel along the center of the far edge of the platform. The soldiers dart from point to point, metal crates of deep mined minerals and equipment, taking up overlapping positions to cover one another. You move with an air of caution, but your own bodies and training giving you a lack for their need of cover and level of caution. This area appears completely deserted of any life, something you find strange considering the fighting which had been going on before, and it is not long before you come upon a raised catwalk going further into the facility.

[The catwalk gives a commanding view of the surrounding area, including the potential location of the anti-aircraft points. Going up there would leave any of the soldiers horribly exposed, do you have one of them do it anyway or have one of you go up instead?]


Krahl, Hrodgeir and Iorek; Moving in after one of the three teams, you make a sweep of a blockhouse at the left-most edge. Within the plascrete structure you can see the bodies of people within, the interior blackened by the detonation of a grenade. The soldiers avoid the grisly sight, moving with precision to an auxiliary stairwell leading down into the facility.

[Before the soldiers proceed any further, you hear the sound of incoming foot-falls from below and move to intervene. You do not know who or what is approaching, but there is every possibility that they are hostile. The real question is, do you wait out here for them to come to you, or risk venturing down and take a fight to them?]

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Ornsvald grumbled at his chastising from Vermundr, systematically shooting down remaining Orks. Now that he had a chance to stand still a little, and he was putting less strain on his injured leg, the blood started clotting, sealing up the wound quickly. Ornsvald was still amazed by his own astartes physiology from time to time, and this was one of those moments. Only scant minutes earlier his left leg had been shorn away almost to the bone, with blood pouring in a voracious torrent. Now the flesh had re-knitted itself, the blood-flow halting and the torn muscle rebuilding. His leg was still exposed along the thigh, as his armour couldn't fix itself like his flesh could, but he was in a much better state than before.

The last of the Orks were being finished off. Ornsvald grunted as the guardsmen, previously an incoherent rabble, finally started pulling their weight. He finished off his clip, reloaded, and then holstered his pistol, mag-locking his chainsword to his side as the fighting died down. The landing platform was thick with bodies and gore, but Ornsvald could see the logic in choosing to fall back here. On the platform, the area was open, with little cover to hide behind. Orks would have been mown down as they approached, if the men had held, and with their backs to the wall the guardsmen may even have fought harder. Clearly they had been outnumbered too heavily to fight back, but it was a sound tactical choice in Ornsvald's mind. Much better to choose an open area, where reinforcements may arrive, than deep inside the twisting corridors and claustrophobic chambers of the complex, where close-combat troops such as Orks had the advantage. And reinforcements had come, after all: the Wolves of Russ would not have saved these men if they had made their final stand deep inside the station.

The marines were split up to accompany small teams of five guardsmen; a pair of Wolves per team. Ornsvald and Alrik were bracketed as one group, and so Ornsvald approached the intemperate warrior as the soldiers prepared to move out.

"Brother," rumbled Ornsvald, raising a comradely hand for the other Wolf to shake or leave as he saw fit. Regardless of the outcome, Ornsvald continued "You are the more senior of us two, so I will not presume to take the lead. Shall we?" Ornsvald indicated as the soldiers had reloaded and cleaned themselves up a bit, ready to head out on patrol. Ornsvald followed behind Alrik but just ahead of the guardsmen, who nervously spun their rifles around at every *creak* the station made.

As the group approached some piping, Ornsvald's helmet receptors picked up a sound. Finding the source of the noise, Ornsvald turned and violently motioned for the guardsmen to move down behind the pipes, taking cover and making sure to remain hidden. A group of Orks were finishing off a handful of guardsmen caught just around the pipes, but Ornsvald couldn't tell if more were in the area.

Ornsvald opened up a vox-link to Alrik, hoping the Wolf would at least entertain the idea of a plan rather than charging headlong at the enemy.

"Brother, I am sure you have seen it; Orks, ahead. We can't just leave them, but we don't know how many others are near," Ornsvald turned and looked at the guardsmen behind him. Risking all their lives to save hopelessly outnumbered guardsmen would be foolish if they weren't effective in execution of Ornsvald's idea. "I will follow your lead, but if you will hear it I have a plan. Instead of a frontal-assault, which may cause nearby Orks to be alerted and start another full-on battle, I suggest something subtler. We send one guardsman in, as bait, as it were, to fire on the Orks and then flee back around this piping," Ornsvald pointed to the piping the group was huddled behind as he said this. "The Orks, seeing only a sole-guardsmen, won't think to call for more backup, and as they are mentally-deficient xenos will hopefully come running straight through here. Then, when they are too far away to call for help from any other Orks, we hit them hard when they come round this piping. Two volleys of gunfire from the guardsmen before we charge and finish them off in combat," Ornsvald took a quick look over the pipe; the Orks were still there, and the guardsmen wouldn't last much longer.

"What do you say, Brother?"
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