When Mistress Valaya cracks her whip I pray for it's pain to be inflicted upon me ten times more. The agony is but fuel for my holy rage be visited upon my Xenos foe a hundred fold!
The repeated thought flows through the zealous mind of Sister Elthnea as her ceremonial eviscerator viscously rips apart a member of the fire caste, her enemy, with but a single focused upward thrust. Using the weight of her weapon to her advantage and summoning all the energy she could muster her feet leaps what seems like ten feet in the air to avoid a slung pulse rifle and come back down upon her attacker with all the gravitational force needed to part him in two. The blood spray is so immense that it leaves the repenting sister with another opening as the fire warrior next in line to meet death loses his sight to thick red. With time to spare in her attack she pulls back and lets loose a wide swing of her weapon that not only rips the torso of the blind tau soldier in half but furiously sinks its swirling bladed teeth into the next warrior as well. Stuck in the dead tau's bones the enormous chain sword gagged a moment spitting intestines, guts, and blood everywhere as Elthnea put her foot on the soldier and shoved him off her stained blade.
The emperor protects yet again. Thought Elthnea as she gathered herself from the battle's end. Clearly relieved that her blade getting stuck in her prey did not prove to be her undoing due to that little misfortune happening on the final live alien in sight.
Glancing to the sky as Mistress Valaya began to bark orders at her and her sisters Elthnea noticed a few Seraphim's jet exhaust as her sisters flew toward the front lines. This brought a smile to her face and she knew amongst them must be Seleine. The smile was due to the vow her friend made to her upon her submission to repentance to never forget her true name and to watch over her on the battlefield. I will never forget you either my friend.
“Move it, the battle is forward! The emperor wishes to forgive you all. In death!” Shouts Valaya with a crack of the whip.
Ever the slave driver, sister. Elthnea never faults her Mistress for doing her job. In truth she is not the most ruthless to drive the Repentia into battle and that was somewhat a relief to the other sisters and at times to Elthnea also.
As the silent march begins toward the next battle some of the sisters repeat litanies and pray to the emperor for forgiveness or strength. Some make new pacts to themselves and their God-Emperor by making small cuts upon themselves to serve as reminders. Elthnea reflects upon her past.
“Elthnea! Bring that melta to the front we need more firepower!” Seleine was always the leader but always had a soft spot for her sister Elthnea. For many reasons on and off the battlefield the two have had a bond since they were both very small children growing up on their home world Init Olpha.
“We need to burn through that gate yesterday! They are eating away at us with turret power but once we get in the compound it will be ours swiftly! Now blast that thing down!” With the firepower of her own meltagun added to that of the three others blasting away under the cover of a line of Immolators and Rhinos it was a matter of around ten minutes when the gate finally was pierced and the sisters of battle rode their armored tanks into the compound of cultists.
Init Olpha was never a very peaceful world. It was newly recovered to the Imperium and being so close to the eastern fringes of space was under constant attacks from Tau scout forces obviously gathering information for a possible invasion. In the more populated areas it was also very common for cultist uprisings to occur.
“With your weapon skills and my leadership qualities we make a pretty good team Elthnea. Don't you think?” Asked Seleine while the two rode through the battered gates with a squad of dominions in their Immolator. The tank spewed torrents of flame at the crazed cultists who were suicidally attacking the armored vehicle. The charred bodies piled up fast and created a disgusting scent in the tanks the women were taking cover and transport in.
“Of course sister. But lets not forget the rest of our team and the grace and protection of the God-Emperor himself!” Elthnea was always mindful to give praise to the Emperor of Mankind when ever applicable, even more so than the average faithful servant of which the Adepta Sororitas were full of innumerable numbers.
“Indeed.” Seleine was not always so keen to give praise. This was somewhat frowned upon by the rest of her order but she didn't seem to care. It was almost super natural the way that all of humanity has seemed to shun Seleine throughout her life. She tried to never show that it bothered her but over the years her mood soured incrementally. Her abilities as a strategist, leadership virtues, and general combat knowledge however has allowed her to pace her way through the rankings of the orders militant in the Adepta Sororitas quite quickly.
Once the fusillade of Immolator fire cleared most of the compound of cultists and the tanks created a defensive formation the sisters piled out of their transports with a great number of shots into the remainder of chaos followers. It seemed like a simple cleansing of a small compound gone very successfully until the ten foot double doors on the side tower slung open and the ground itself seemed to shake where a monster let a thunderous roar ripple across the clearing where so many dead bodies had piled up into burning pyres.
The Astartes warrior came bursting through the front line of sisters with such force and surprise that 5 of the women lay flat from the charge alone. The Chaos warrior set and fired some sort of unique weapon that none of the sisters had ever seen. It let out a piercing and unbearable wail of firepower that melted the faces off the next three sisters who had bravely stepped up to intercept the Noise Marine.
It seemed by sheer luck that Seleine managed to attack at just the right time rending the weapon from the Chaos Warrior's grip and out of reach only to be knocked to the ground by a retaliating fist to her face. Elthnea was right beside her sister with a shot from her plasma pistol that penetrated his pauldrons with enough power to take off the marines left arm from the shoulder.
The roar of pain was enough to send an average man running to safety but the sisters held strong with their faith that the Emperor protects. The enraged beast slammed his good arm, now wielding a chainsword he pulled from its holster, into Elthnea's own shoulder armor causing enough pain to drop her to one knee. Emperor Protects. Was all she could think realizing that her armor had protected her flesh from wounds against the chainsword attack. A second slash, not so forgiving, bore into her abdominals without relent cutting flesh and causing excruciating agony.
The scream let out was more than just noise that all of her sisters watching would forever remember. As the wounded sister fell to her other knee the Heretic Astartes body completely exploded. His entrails flew as far as three Immolators and the blood splatter was two stories high on the compound's walls. The faces of her friends were shocked to say the least. None were sure of what they had just seen but all knew it was something phenomenal. The vivid memory was etched into Elthnea's own mind but shortly there after everything was dark.
And with Elthnea's loss of consciousness the present day conflict snapped back to reality.
God-Emperor guide us to the next battlefield so that I may face death and laugh as you protect my unworthy life to serve you yet still. Elthnea's resolve is proving to be more than the rest of her squad coming to the shoreline a step or two ahead of the rest of her sisters.
Mistress has seemed to receive her next orders. The group follows the water of the river into a lightly scattered forest. What will find my wrath in these woods I wonder?
As if by invitation Kroot hounds, five initially, leap from their cover. Four clear Elthnea's silhouette aiming for her Mistress only to find neural whips are as unforgiving to aerial pouncing enemies as they are to any other type of enemy. The smell of seared flesh filled Elthnea's nostrils as the hounds are cast to the ground. Valaya may be soft by Repentia standards while driving her nameless sisters but she is however one of the most skilled with her crafts unique weaponry. The dogs never had a chance.
The fifth hound lands on Elthnea's back with claws rending. Dropping to her knees and forearms the Kroot animal's inertia sent it flying over her body. Just a slight flesh wound. With that thought a bullet from a high above bolt pistol split the hound's eyes in tween. A slight whelp and splatter of entry wound blood and seconds later a dead hound drops to the ground. Thank you Seleine.
No time for another thought to form the rest of the strike force descends upon the group of sisters. First from above neutron blaster shots from insect looking creatures numbering half a dozen missed horribly in comparison to the bolt pistol fire that followed back at them from the squad of Seraphim acting as guard to the Repentia. Only one of which met her fate from a blaster shot through the brain. She is with the God-Emperor as I hope to be when he is ready to have me!
The knowledge that the Seraphim sisters were watching over them and the holy rage flowing through the Repentia force cause them to charge the first enemy in sight. Kroot warriors took aim and fired their rifles by the dozens only to fell another two of Elthnea's squad. No time to for another volley the Repentia come in with crushing blows from their deadly weapons. Kroot blood stained the trees with every swing of an eviscerator that each of the death seeking repenting sisters were equipped to deal out equal death with.
After delivering a blow that instantly took the life out of three Kroot mercenaries Elthnea noticed the landing Seraphim strike the mob from the flank. Pistols rapidly dropping unexpecting Kroot was enough but for good measure a sister with equipped hand flamers for just such an occasion multiplied the speed at which the carnivores dropped. The Kroot outnumber the Seraphim and Repentia at the very least three to one but the flamers seem to even the odds very quickly. I can't bare to let Seleine see me like this. My honor will be restored with my death. That is how I wish her to remember me.
After twelve dead kroot lay in a path of Elthnea's destruction the shots seem to come from nowhere. A volley of no less than 9 shots burst into her squad from what seemed like thin air. Cowards. You think you can hide from the wrath of my Emperor!? With her rage intensified from such gutless attacks Elthnea charges blindly toward her concealed attackers. The Seraphims also go airborne chasing her down.
“Two o'clock sisters!” The voice was Seleine's. Thank you sister. With your leadership qualities and my weapon skills we do make a great team. With a twenty degree turn in her pursuit Elthnea leaps in the air with her gargantuan blade raised above her head as a second volley of shots ring out at almost point blank range. The majority of shots make exploding wounds in the group of sisters who instinctively followed Elthnea to the stealth suits. A single shot however ripped a gash through Elthnea's exposed mid section side flesh.
That evens the scars on my mid section but it is not enough to stop me now Xenos filth! Ignoring the pain and the no longer concealed attacker's armor the heavy blade crashes through a Tau stealth suit like it wasn't even there. Like swirling claws of death the eviscerator rips through armor, clothes, flesh, and innards alike gorging itself on Tau flesh until there is nothing left to identify the warrior within this suit.
Two more stealth suits lie motionless from Seraphim gunfire as Elthnea looks around for more enemies to find nothing. Is this all the resistance this death world has to offer? Wonders Elthnea as the realization of her wounds sets in and she can no longer ignore the pain in her side as she drops to one knee.
“We have to stop the bleeding sister! Take these bandages.” Seleine forcefully wraps the bandages around the refusing Elthnea's midsection tightly.
“Take the aid sister for you will not die here, you will die when I say you can die. You will die in the fight! Not after.” Adds Mistress Valaya as if to justify Elthnea's life being worth saving. But again shows the softness of the Mistress for any other would have left such a badly wounded nameless repenter to die.
In a whisper so as to not let any other hear her Elthnea expresses her gratitude to Seleine. “Thank you Seleine. But you have more important things to do than take care of me. Go sister. The God-Emperor has seen to it that I will survive yet still.”
“Quiet Elthnea. You are what is important. Please stop being so reckless.” The Seraphim finished taking care of her dear sister's wounds and turned to the Mistress of the the remaining Repentia. “Valaya. We will secure the edge of this forest and make camp here. I will send word of our victory to the Canoness. Take care of your wounded.” With that the squad of Seraphim sped off toward the forests edge to meet with the bulk of the force.
So the day is won? Or are you trying to protect me again Seleine... As the squad gathers themselves to rest Elthnea slips into deep thought again.
“And that's all I remember I swear it!” Elthnea pleaded to her superior. Canoness Victorica was a strong leader of her order. She was as caring as a Sister of Battle could be and the women of her order appreciated it even more than they appreciated the Canoness' savagery on the battlefield. Countless times Ethnea could think of in which her leader viciously destroyed the opposition at the same time as saving a sister from harm. If it's possible to have a perfect balance in barbarism and compassion Canoness Victorica has achieved it. I can only hope to aspire to her greatness.
“So my sister, you claim to have nothing to do with the exploding heretic? That you assumed it was caused by somebody else's shot and then you passed out from the loss of blood?” Victorica insisted to be present and the first to question her sister when she recovered from her wounds, along with Inquisitor Daria Votto and Confessor Lanco who had both been called to the group hearing for two reasons. First the Inquisitor was present because of reports of an alpha-plus class psyker attack on the planet. He was required to check out Elthnea when he had heard reports of a sister of battle who may be responsible for mentally destroying a heretical Astartes. A feat that could only be achieved by a very powerful psycic. The confessor was there to witness the interrogation. If repentance was necessary it would be up to Lanco.
Elthnea had only recently been released by her sister hospitallers care. As such she wore not much more than a robe and some bandages. Her wound still healing under the bandages she was very slow to move and react. But she was summoned to a small debriefing of her previous mission by her Canoness that she could not possibly decline.
“Yes. I mean... I don't know. I was in so much pain I can't say for sure. I'm sorry it is all somewhat blurry to me.” Elthnea was still weak from recovery and unsure of what was going on.
“Do you know why you have been summoned to this meeting?” The Inquisitor took control of the questioning to Victorica's obvious dismay. But the Canoness allowed it for the time being.
“I was told my superiors wished to see me for a debriefing of my previous mission ma'am.” She answered the only way she knew how, truthfully and by repeating that which was told to her by the messager.
“I suppose that is partially true. It does have to do with your previous mission. Tell me Elthnea, when you saw the monstrosity how did you feel? When you battled him. What emotions were going through you and what did this do to you?” Inquisitors are typically experts at interrogation. Daria was fairly new to the rank of inquisitor but had much experience in questioning subjects. She decided to play on the sister's seemingly honest virtue and speak to her in a soothing yet prying manner.
“Well ma'am, I was feeling very confident before I saw ...the monster. We had done very well in taking the compound. But, when the giant burst through the doors I remember feeling scared. He was like nothing I've encountered yet. But I didn't let my fear take over my actions if that's what you are wondering. When he attacked my sister Seleine was the first to react but I was right there with her. I had faith that the God-Emperor would keep me safe from the heretic's attacks.” Ethnea paused for a moment and kissed a holy medallion she wore around her neck before she continued. “When he knocked down Seleine I was filled with rage. To see my sisters knocked down and scattered like they were was infuriating to say the least. Honestly I kind of felt like I had lost control of my body and was acting on instinct when I fired my pistol at him. Then all I remember feeling is pain and rage at this monstrosity like I've never felt before.” What is the meaning of these questions? Are they interrogating me for wrongfully attacking a chaos infected heretic?
“Interesting. So you would admit that your latent psycic powers are triggered by pain and rage?” Daria decided to jump straight to the point and add an accusing tone to her questioning.
“Power!? What are you saying? I have no power. I was tested as a youth!” I couldn't have such power! The emperor would never curse me so. Besides I was tested! The quick and forceful reaction reopened a portion of the wound which caused Elthnea to double over in pain. Which in turn caused a small psycic ripple that Daria thought she felt.
Not wanting to cause a disastrous reaction the inquisitor decided to back the tone and check her subject. “Are you ok? Can you proceed with the questioning?”
“I don't know. Yes. Please just tell me I'm not an abomination.” Elthnea was building up tears but fighting them back with mixed emotions. She wasn't tearful from the pain from her wound, no. She was tearful at the thought of being something she has been raised to hate. Something that would outcast her from all that she loves.
“I do not know what you are Elthnea. You do not seem to be of a higher psycic class than pi. But there is something I can not explain surrounding your presence. And your emotions seem to effect those around you. I would like to spend more time with you if you are ok with that?” Daria was very intrigued. She was a psycic herself and could generally feel the positive and negative psionic levels given off by most individuals, however Elthnea was different. Daria was unsure of what this could mean but wanted to find out.
“Slow down Inquisitor. I have some questions of my own to ask before you start abducting one of my congregation.” Confessor Lanco stepped in as if trying to protect his daughter. The ecclesiarch is not as caring as it would seem however.
The inquisitor bowed out without protest. The last thing Daria wanted was to start some sort of jurisdiction debate with a confessor. Canoness Victorica still watched on with silent protests of her own visible on her face and in her body language.
“Child. What you have done is as bad as heresy. What you have become is indeed abominable.” The confessor came out swinging and Elthnea bowed her head still doubled over sobbing. You can not mean this. WHY!? Why would this happen to me?
“But all is not lost my child! You are not beyond redemption yet. You may renounce your name. Repent now. The emperor will forgive in death, you have but to prove yourself!” Elthnea knew what the confessor was saying now. She looked up to meet the gaze of her savior with all her resolve wiping the tears from her eyes. He is right. There is no other way for me now.
“I will submit.” Elthnea concluded her thoughts and bowed her head once more. This is the only way. I will be with you soon my lord. I will achieve glory in your name and by your grace.
“Then it is settled! Come with me my child and you will be readied for war.” The confessor stood up his newest repenter and lead her toward the door. Both Daria and Victorica followed with disgust on their faces and protest in their minds. Only one spoke however.
“Are you sure this is what you want sister!?” Victorica cried out before they reached the door.
I'm sorry I could not live up to your status noble canoness. But I have made my decision. The silence was all the answer she needed to give. Half way down a hall full of her sisters another plead came from the audience. This time from Seleine.
“You can not do this! Elthnea! Elthnea! Don't leave me!” Elthnea stopped to look up at her friend. Saying nothing. I am sorry dear Seleine. This is my choice. I will never forget you. Head bowed again she walked on.
As if understanding her thoughts Seleine calmed and made a vow to her fallen sister. “I will not forget your true name! You will not fall if I can help it sister!” I must fall. It is the only way.
A muffled sound came from Mistress Valaya's comm unit. What did they say? It sounded like 'attacked from beneath'. What could that mean?
“Be at the ready sisters a new foe awaits our blades. The tyranid infestation approaches!” Cracking her whip in the air Valaya let her squad know what's approaching. Yet another unique trait of the mistress as most see fit to send her soldiers to their deaths with no information on their enemy.
I had heard rumors of the Gorgon fleet reigniting its attacks on eastern fringe worlds I did not expect it to happen here. Please be careful Seleine. At the ready now the first wave came. A ravenor brood three strong came from beneath the unsuspecting sisters.
Rending claws reach for them as they retaliate. The initial attacking tyranids were enough to cause a number of wounds on the squad both fatal and ignorable. A sister lost an arm trying to still wield the massive eviscerator with one hand she spurred on surely to die soon. Another two sisters received gashes deep enough that they would bleed out in a matter of hours. Three others were recovering from being knocked flat from the borrowed fiends. Two were killed outright by the surprise attack.
The counter-attack was swift and deadly however. Elthnea herself, while avoiding a swipe of claw, managed to behead the beast while Mistress Valaya wrapped her whip around another. The remaining ravenor was pounced on by multiple eviscerators being ripped to shreds as goop from the dead thing coated the initial line of Repentia.
The Repentia gathered together once more and made their way toward the main force along the tree line. They were battered but certainly not out. Still around fifteen strong and with a very combat talented mistress driving them they would yet steal much biomass from the Tyranid tendril.
Arriving to the carnage that was the front line caused the sisters to fill with rage and no reprieve. The invasion was fully realized and hive ships were in orbit bombarding the ground with attacks and more creatures than could be held off for long. The force had fortified an area inside what looked like a huge crater. Wave after wave of the monsters slammed off armored lines of Immolator and Exorcist tanks that were killing the horde of Tyranids as efficiently as possible.
On the charge again the Repentia caught a group of Tyranid warriors unsuspecting an attack from the rear. Twelve in total driven to their deaths by grotesquely large chain swords spitting their flesh and guts on the ground where they stood. The lesser creatures around scattered at the sight of their larger warriors being so destroyed and crashed into a flame wall of Immolator fire. The Repentia had managed to make it to the main force in record time and much Tyranid death. The only price, the nameless sister with one arm, put the rest of her effort into a final attack on a warrior that decimated it as she collapsed to her own death.
Being in the cover of the tanks is no respite from the war. Monstrous creatures are coming from beneath the crater itself and more from the sky. Emperor save Seleine. This is too much for us to handle. My death approaches. I feel it.
“This is no time to stand around ladies! Attack that monstrosity!” Valaya cracked her whip toward the nearest winged hive tyrant that was ravaging an exorcist and sending sisters scattering about three tanks away. I'll be with you soon God-Emperor!
The crazed Repentia all at once attack the giant tyrant. This foe is not as easily taken down as their previous prey. Swinging an arm around to meet the incoming sisters two are beheaded and the blood from her own sisters are sprayed on Elthnea's face. Another arm fires an enormous blast of matter into the left flank of the sisters disintegrating half their number in a blink of an eye. Another two sisters sink their monstrous chainswords into the creatures neck area digging deep at its inner anatomy. The monster roared back and spit some kind of acidic substance all over the brave sisters evaporating most of their skin.
It was at that time that the Seraphim joined the fray firing volleys of bolter pistol fire at the head area of the tyrant. Finally Seleine swoops in with her power sword and finishes the job sinking it deep into the forehead of the tyrant. With a roar the giant construct falls to the ground regrettably crushing another of the Repentia ranks.
Leaving her feat again Elthnea brought all her might down on the flattened tyrant slicing and cutting through the neck of the tyranid monstrosity once and for all. This will not end well for any of us I fear.
At this thought Seleine swoops down next to her with a smile. “Pick up is on the way. We will make it out of this alive Elthnea.” I don't know sister.
Blood splatters across Seleine's face as Elthnea is stabbed through the back by a long boney spine extending out of the lictor's back.
“Seleine...” Was all she said as Elthnea began to lose consciousness.
Before Seleine could express any emotion or perform any type of vengeance or counter-attack the lictor burst into flames dropping Elthnea to the ground. Like a rippling wave Tyranid and Battle Sister alike explode one by one, tank by tank, and into the atmosphere ship by ship. Forestry bursts into flames and water turns black. The sky fades to a dark red, and ships tumble to the planet surface exacerbating the calamity. For five minutes the planet is engulfed in carnage not from war but from Elthnea's subconscious until finally the only two living beings left on or around the planet are at the center of the catastrophe. One unconscious and one holding her in caring arms. “I don't care what you are Elthnea don't die on me!” Sobbing horrifically Seleine ignores what just happened and holds Elthnea tight.
“Lucky for us and for you our ship was on an orbit pattern beyond the effect of your friends outburst.” Inquisitor Daria Votto explained to Seleine how the black ship they were now on survived the carnage. “Don't worry. You are both under my protection now. I just fear how Elthnea will react when she wakes up. But I am very intrigued. She is lucky to be alive with such a wound. This planet was scheduled for exterminatus as soon as the hive fleet entered the atmosphere. The cover story is set and you two are in my custody now. As far as the Order of Holy Intent is concerned you are both dead.”
“Thank you.” Seleine said as she kissed Elthnea's forehead.
What will we do now Seleine? How will I live with what has happened. Will I wake from this dream? I hope not.