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As night approached Brother Captain Thelysius sat thinking in the Chapel Barracks of his Chapters forward base. He belonged to the Blood Hounds, a successor chapter to the Blood Ravens. The Blood Hounds move quickly, and often. Mounted on armoured vehicles, they strike quickly and withdraw unseen, their presence never betrayed, no trace of their existence is ever left behind, only the battered and burning remains of their enemies and their camps.

His company had just performed a raid on a small Ork encampment. They had ridden in fast, their Rhinos penetrating far into the encampment before letting off their deadly payload, covering their exit with accurate storm bolter fire. The razorbacks quickly encircled the encampment, letting out various tactical squads armed with plasma guns and bolters, hailing the Orks with Heavy Bolter fire. The squads from the Rhinos carried flamers, burning everything within a wide radius of them. Slowly moving out from the centre of the encampment, they burned anything and everything. The smell of burning flesh and cloth filled the air as liquid flame ignited everything it touched. Plasma burnt holes through Orks, leaving skeletons exposed, body parts barely attached. The ground was a sea of blood. The Orks tried to react, grabbing for shootas and choppaz, but the attack was far too swift and the Space Marines sustained few casualties. After just 10 minutes of fighting the battle was over. Burning Orks and tents lay everywhere. The apothecaries rushed forward, tending to the wounded and retrieving the chapters due from those brave warriors who died in battle. A chaplain walked among the dead, reading out rites of battle, honours and the names of those brothers who fell in service. All marines were on one knee, thanking the Emperor for their survival and victory, asking for blessing for those who died in His glorious name. A thick column of black smoke arose from the camp, a beacon of death. A librarian chanted, and the smoke took the form of a howling wolf with blood dripping from its jaws, the symbol of the Blood Hounds, a warning to all those who oppose the Emperor.

After the prayers had been said and the wounded loaded into the Rhinos, the squad re-embarked. As quickly as they had come, they left. No trace, no identity, leaving death as their calling card.

As the column arrived back at the forward base the Marines quickly disembarked and took their wounded to the Chapel Barracks, their dead to the Stronghold to be sent back to Earth on the next Battle Cruiser. The names of the dead were inscribed onto the wall.

Brother Lexius – Tactical Squad Detrius – 3rd Company – Blood Hounds
Brother Xenres – Tactical Squad Halxium - 3rd Company – Blood Hounds
Brother Sergeant Hilvius – Devastator Squad Servius – 3rd Company – Blood Hounds

“They died in the service of the Glorious Emperor, may they rest in peace”

Sergeant Hilvius had fought hard and long despite suffering grievous wounds which led to his collapse and death after the battle. He had been taking careful aim with his lascannon at the Waaagh Banner when a shoota bullet caught him in the soft armour in his abdomen. Pieces of bullet and flesh flew out behind him, spattering his comrades. Due to being genetically enhanced he fought on, his blood clotting instantly.
However because of the force of the bullet had spun him on his feet, his other side was now exposed and a hail of bullets penetrated his shoulder, abdomen and legs, causing extreme internal damage. His own blood was clotting inside him, restricting movement and slowing his vital organs. He became sluggish in his actions.

In a last ditch effort to inflict more damage to his foe’s he dropped his gun, disconnecting it from the power pack. Wielding the flailing end of wire, sparking electricity and raw power, he charged forward, the extra weight carrying him through his first foe and into the next.

As he felled the second he grabbed its choppa and made quick work of his third enemy, digging the sharp blade into the orks neck. Hot blood spurted over him, temporarily blinding his vision. This was all the orks needed.

A small group descended upon the easy target, hacking at the tough armour. The blades became blunt as the strong armour held off blow after blow. Suddenly Hilvius felt a searing pain as one of the blades found home in his side. With a burst of rage he punched the ork in the face, feeling the bones crack under his fist. Blood flew out the orks nose and mouth as he landed blow after blow. Quickly he spun around, wrenching the choppa out of his side and slaying yet another ork with a sharp blow to the head.

Suddenly bolts and plasma bursts flew around him, felling many orks as they tried to run towards him. He let out a mighty cry and urged his marines forward. But before they could react, the battle had ended, the fleeing orks being cut down by heavy bolter fire from the razorbacks. Blood erupted from backs as the bolts drove home before exploding within their enemies.

Suddenly feeling groggy and sluggish, Hilvius’s world tilted, spun and went black as he fell to the ground. His wounds had finally taken their toll. His squad watched in dismay as his vitals quickly plummeted in their visors. An apothecary arrived, but too late. He quickly removed Hilvius’s gene seed and moved on. Devastator Squad Servius took one knee in remembrance and respect for their leader, who had guided them through hundreds of years of battle.

A Chaplain found them, saw what had happened and muttered the rites of battle, issued honours and committed Hilvius’s soul and body to the Emporer.

Thelysius remembered Hilvius’s intiation and introduction to the Blood Hounds. He saw great potential in Hilvius, watching him advance through the ranks and into his area of specialty, heavy weapons. However Hilvius had also excelled in close combat classes and this was well displayed in many battles. However one time it was not enough and this cost him his life. It was a great shame to read his name upon the wall of remembrance. Thelysius muttered to himself and finally declared to those gathered around him “War claims the lives of our brothers and shall to do so for many years to come. However it is all we know now and while the enemies of the Emperor still draw breath, there shall be no peace.”

**To Be Continued**

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Is the next installation going to be a report from the same battle? Or is it going to be another one of the numerous speed-strikes the Hounds make? Good story, accurate and warlike, but only one line bothers me: "It was a great shame to read his name upon the wall of remembrance."
I was under the impression that that was a great honor, to die for the Emperor. It was obviously just a miswording but it still rang out. Good story.
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