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A trail of barely visible footprints vowe through the thick snow, intertwined with a trail of blood. A snowstorm howled on relentlessly. The Sororita's willpower and strength were both draining quickly. Her fingers clutched at the bloody wound in her abdomen. Images flashed through her mind.

Several cutthroats, each armed with a dagger lunge at her from a derelict house.
One dagger enters her abdomen.
A soft squelch can be heard as it parts her flesh and ruptures several arteries.
Unbelievingly, she stares at the dagger in her body, the blood running down her leg.
HER blood.
They take her belongings and run away, leaving her to die.
She gasps for air, kneeling on the ground as blood stains the snow around her.

A jolt of pain ran through her. She fell to her knees, despair and a feeling of hopelesness taking her over. Slowly, she slid down on her side, wind tugging at her frail, injured body. Tears ran across her cheeks, but froze momentarily. As she fell asleep, she saw a dozen figures encircle her.
Must be a dream, she thought.
The she fell asleep.

Lukas was a bit confused when he saw the trail of blood.

Who actually could walk this far, injured, and in a snowstorm?

He decided to follow it anyways, turning his Chimera about. The sturdy transport was heated, and his squad were all chattering. Some were playing cards, others were heatedly discussing something, and a couple of them even sang. They didn't say anything as he changed the course.
He shouted "Hey, ya lazy arses, get your gear on! We have a possibility of a hostile contact! Step to it!"
Instantly, they sprang into action. They placed their helmets on, put their gloves and overcoats on. Lukas had noticed something. Nothing big, but the blood trail stopped at it. He drove up to it, and pulled hard on one of the throttle levers. The Chimera skidded round, the rear hatch pointing in the object's direction. With a hiss, it springs open. The twelve Guardsmen jump out and form a protective half-circle, rifles poiting outwards, the turreted multilaser on Chimera darting from side to side. Lukas steps out. He digs the snow off and sees the unconscious form of the Sororita. Quickly, he presses his fingers at her carotid artery. Relief is plastered across his face. A faint, but consistent pulse can be felt. Hurriedly, he smears a anti-bacterial paste on her wound to clean out any infections. Her mouth twitches, but she remains unconscious. Carefully, he places a sterile, blood absorbing patch across her wound. To keep it in place,he uses some gaffer tape. With the help of a trooper, he carries her inside the Chimera. "Okay, you get in too!" The protective half-circle shrinks in size, as Guardsmen got back in the APC one by one. Moments later, they sped off.

The dark, dank house wasn't improving his mood. That bitch had gotten away, perhaps still alive.
One of his subordinates clambered in, trembling "Eh, boss, sh-she is alive. We saw some Guardsmen pick her u-"
The unfortunate cutthroat didn't finish the sentence, a shotgun blast gutting him.
His other men jumped and ran off. He would make sure that she wouldn't remain alive. His secrecy was at stake.

The rumbling of an engine reached her ears, along with several conversations. She didn't wish to get up, for she felt utterly exhausted. A jolt from below made her jump up. She was in a transport, a dozen or so guardsmen inside it as well.

Where the hell am I?

A hatch popped open and another guardsman climbed in. From a crate he grabbed a small package.
Walking over to her, he handed the package to her "Pull the cord, and the food in it will heat up in ten seconds."
Silently, she nodded.
Lukas spoke again "You are really lucky I spotted you. You had lost a lot of blood. We need to get you to a hospital, to get you fully healthy."

Another moment of silence.

She pulled the cord and saw the small package expand and heat up.
Lukas handed her a spoon "Dig in while it's warm. You never want to know how terrible this stuff is when it's cold. We once had to feed a guardsman one of these things when it was cold. He had eaten something rotten, and had a nasty fever. We fed him this and he threw up, naturally. Saved his life, though."
She chuckled.
He did, too "Yeah, it was a funny sight. But anyway, how are you feeling? I know that you may feel dizzy because of the blood loss." He handed her a canteen "Drink it all. You need to get some fluid back into you."
She opened it and took several large gulps of cold water. Several moments later it was empty.
"Thanks," she quietly said " I needed that."
She attacked her package of food ravenously, feeling the hunger return. In mere moments the pack was empty.
He spoke again "So, you got a name?"
She nodded "I'm Angela, from the Saviours."
"Sergeant Lukas Vogatyn, 381st Malbrede 'Trailblazers'"
"So, how did you come across me?"
"It was easy. You were bleeding so badly, the trail was clearly visible."
"Huh. Well, thanks again for saving me. Where are we headed to?"
"A nearby hospital. You still need some blood plasma, and your wound is not healed yet. How did you end up here anyway?"
"I was attacked. A mob of cutthroats jumped me from an old house. Stabbed me and took my things. They must have been looking for thrones or any other valuables. Then they just left me there."
Lukas frowned "Do you know who they were? What were their names?"
She shook her head "No-o, it all happened so fast, all I heard was something about Plisken. But I do remember where that house is."
He grinned "Grab a laspistol. I too, have some unfinished business with him. His thugs almost killed one of my men. Poor lad is out of action for months. Those bastards broke almost every bone in his body. Hey, Vik, we got a new course! This here lady will help us get some retribution on Hager!"
The Guardsman at the controls grinned "Okay then, where do we go?"
She sat down besides him "It is somewhere to, uh south-west or so, I walked about two kilometres before I passed out. That place can't be missed. A big, dark house."
"Got it, ma'am!" Vik responded and pushed the controls.
The Chimera spun round, kicking snow up, and sped off, towards the house.

"So you idiots don't fuck up AGAIN, I'll come with you on this one." Plisken grabbed a stubgun from the weapons rack. His small mob of specially selected thugs was standing in front of him. Others were left to guard their hideout. They walked over to a shabby civilian car, outfitted with armour plates, a snow plough and a heavy stubber. It coughed to life, spewing smoke from exhaust.
A cutthroat popped his head through the window "Get in, then! I got the place they're going to! A hospital on the outskirts of the Welbos settlement!" They boarded the vehicle. Having set out for Welbos, they couldn't even imagine that their 'quarry' was approaching their hideout. Their voxes were all but useless.

Kercon shuddered as he shut the garage door. This weather and place lacked any appeal, but rarely anyone would wander off here, making it a perfect hideout. A nearby window shutter was banging against the wall. He closed it and latched it down, failing to notice a Chimera barrel through a pile of snow in distance.

Rewri peered through the eyeslit, saw the thugs leave the old, derelict house in a shoody-looking car. Nodding to Lukas, she sat down. The Chimera surged forward, through a snow pile, engines roaring. The multilaser hummed and fired at the power generator at the wall of the house.

Zap-zap-zap! Zap-zap-zap-zap!

Beams of coherent light melted hissing holes in the generator, and it exploded, raining a shower of sparks. Lukas spun the Chimera and it skidded, smashing in the front wall with its rear end. Kercon ran out, his autogun in hands, and opened on the APC without thinking. Solid slugs pinged off uselessly at the armoured hull. The multilaser rotated and opened up on him. Kercon's face and upper torso exploded, as the lasbolts tore him apart.

Inside the Chimera, all was ready. Rewri slammed the hatch release button and watched it pop open. Lukas and his squad of twelve leaped out, taking cover behind piles of rubble. A handful of cutthroats were caught unaware, scrambling after their weapons, but were cut down by precise lasfire. Angela saw on injured thug crawl on his back, firing his stubgun at Lukas. The firearm was pathetic, only slightly denting his armour plates. Before he could fire back, Angela stepped forward and fired a single lasbolt between the thug's eyes. His head popped like a ripe melon.
Lukas was giving orders to his men "Search all rooms, look for Plisken and bring him to me!"
They dispersed in pairs, each of them taking a different room.
He beckoned Angela towards him "Come on, let's see if we can find any medical supplies for you!"
His helmet built-in vox crackled after a few minutes "First floor clear, sir, no sign of Plisken, though we found some of his thugs here. We're gonna tie 'em up and bring them back here."
Lukas responded "Good job, soldier, keep looking!"
They both slowly went up the stairs, listening for anything that might give their adversaires away.
A dark object lunged at them from behind a cupboard, but Angela was ready. Peppering the assailant's body with lasfire, she felled the cutthroat in mere moments.
She looked into the nearby room "Well, he ain't here!"
Lukas came out from another room "Same here! But found you some medicine."
She knelt on the floor, letting Lukas to remove her robe from her lower body. As he peeled the tape off along with the pad, he was pleasantly surprised that the wound had almost healed. But Angela was still very pale, and water was quite ineffective when it came to replenishing lost blood. What she really needed was some blood plasma. But for now, they would have to make do with what they had. He cleaned off dried-up bits of anti-bact paste from her wound, and applied some hydrogen peroxide to it. Angela hissed, but didn't move and let the disinfectant do its work. Wiping it off, Lukas applied some new, clean bandages to it, and let her stand up.
"Thanks, it is better now, doesn't itch anymore" she thanked him.
"You sure you're alright?" he asked with concern. He just now noticed dark rings under Angela's eyes, a sign of weariness and illness. Her fiery red hair stood out starkly against her pale face.
"Yeah, yeah, it's fine, just feeling a bit dizzy" she stumbled slightly.
"Come on now, let's get you back in the Chimera. Can't have ya black out here" he extended his hand for support. She wavered for a moment, then took it. She leant on his shoulder, taking every step in time with him. Lukas's men still hadn't found Plisken, but the thugs they had found were safely tied up. These muggers were shouting and bucking against their bindings. Rewri pulled one upwards and punched him furiously in the stomach, silencing him effectively "Shut the fuck UP!" She kicked another one's teeth in, making others to go quiet "Here they all are sir, just give the word and I'll pop 'em!" Rewri flexed her fingers.
Lukas walked over to one of the thugs "Where's Plisken?"
The thug just bared his teeth and snarled. Rewri pulled him up and threw a vicious punch at his face. The force of it threw him backwards "Answer the fuckin' question!" When no-one spoke up, she kicked another one in stomach.
Vik winced "Ow. 's nasty."
"Alright, alright! He went to Welbos! He's searching for her!" the thug nodded in Angela's direction.
"There you go, that wasn't so hard, was it?" Rewri spoke deceptively friendly. Then, unexpectedly, she headbutted him, breaking his nose.
"Gyaaah!" he colapsed to the floor.
Rewri dealt ferocious blows at his face "This! Is! For! Hager! You! Piece! Of! Shit!" when she stood up, she was panting heavily, her hands slick with blood. Without saying another word, she went back inside the Chimera.
"So, uh, what are we going to do with these buggers?" Vik spoke up "I mean, we can't take the-" His sentence was cut short as Angela started firing at the thugs lying on the floor. Screams pierced the air, as they were executed. The power cell ran empty. The laspistol was shaking in her hand. She let go of it and clenched her trembling fingers in a fist, drawing a trembling breath. Lukas and his squad were dumbfounded, shocked at what she had done. Even Rewri, who had poked her head out of the Chimera, was staring at the corpse pile, her face saying a big "Oh." Lukas took a step forward and hugged her. She started crying, finally letting all her emotional burden out. She cried unsoothably, while Lukas was uncertainly patting on her back.
"I-i just don't kno-ow-w w-what came o-over me!" she sobbed, soaking his uniform in tears.
"Now, now, it is all right. You wanted revenge on these bastards and you got it. But we need to get you to the hospital" he said. He hadn't expected that she would have a nervous breakdown. Sororitas were renowned for their unshakeable faith and devotion. She continued to cry all the way back to the Chimera. Although she calmed down somewhat a bit later, she still remained rather tearful. Rewri had taken particular interest in Angela. They were sitting and chatting quietly, sometimes cracking a smile and chuckling. Angela was calming down from talking with Rewri and seemed a bit cheerier. Vik emerged from the house, Niskil and Ibrar, the team's demolition experts, following him.
Lukas stood up "So, everything done?"
Vik threw him a detonator "Left no support beam untouched, sir" the stocky Malbredan continued "considering the condition of that house, it'll go down pretty quickly."
Rest of the squad gathered inside the Chimera, Vik sat down in the driver's seat, keying the engine. He smiled as the powerful Vulcanor power plant rumbled to life with a guttural roar. He heard Lukas say to leave the rear hatch open, to observe the fireworks. He pushed down on throttle and the engine roared. The APC surged forward, seemingly floating in the thick snow, its dozer blade slicing through it. Lukas pressed the detonator's switch. Several explosions shook the derelict house as one hundred kilograms of pure Semtex exploded, obliterating the crucial support beams. The whole building gave a great groan and listed to one side, almost lazily as it did so. It swayed and broke apart, splinters and debris flying from it. Everyone was silent, looking at the flaming pile of rubble. Angela felt exhaustion take her. She slumped on the seat with a weary sigh. Her eyelids became heavy as lead. She slipped into a dreamless sleep.

After what seemed mere moments, she was roused from her sleep by Rewri "Hey, where here. The hospital."
"Huh?" was the only thing she could get from Angela. A pile of snow hit her, ridding her of any sleep she had in her. She bolted upright.
"Come on, woman!" It was Lukas. He extended his hand and she grasped it thankfully. The snowstorm kept raging as they entered the hospital. It was warm inside. It was full of people, some who were caught by surprise when the storm started, others came here to be healed. But either way, the air was full of conversations. The Emperor's Ascension day celebration was nearing. Even the medicae were chatting excitedly, both with other staff and patients and visitors.

Lukas grabbed one of the medicae by hand "This woman needs blood plasma! Can you help us?"
The young woman nodded "Come on, for that you need to see doctor Vesare! Just follow me."
Lukas spoke in his vox "Okay, Vik, park the Chimera somewhere it can't be seen. I got a feeling that this is not over yet."

Plisken was fuming. Not having found that Sororita in the hospital, they tried searching in the rest of the town, but without success. They were now barging through the thick snow back to their hideout. He noticed a deep trench plowing through the snow. It was not made by their vehicle.
"Come on, man, give it more gas!" he urged the driver. He felt the acceleration pushing him in the seat. He was fearing that someone may have discovered his hideout. His fears were confirmed when he saw the burnt-out wreckage.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHHH!" he roared in unbound anger. He pushed the driver aside and took his place. He spun the wheel, skidding the vehicle round. He got in the trench left by Lukas's Chimera. He would kill that sonuvabitch and rip his heart out while it was still beating.

The faint beeping of heartrate monitor echoed in Lukas's ears as he sat outside in the hall. The doctor had taken Angela inside ten minutes ago. Since then, no-one had come out. It was almost maddening, not knowing what is happening to her. The door opened and he jumped to his feet frantically.
A servitor peered at him "You may come in, sir."
Forcing himself to calm down, he followed the servitor. Inside he saw Angela, a few servitors, the doctor, and medical equipment. She was plugged at an IV, pale blue fluid flowing into her veins. Blood plasma. She was sitting on the bed, her skin a light shade of blue, a side effect from infusing it. Slowly, she turned to a healthy pink. The only thing that gave away what she had been through were the circles below her eyes, but even those were fading away. She smiled at him, and he waved back to her. He walked over to the window. The snowstorm kept on raging, but he saw a group of figure moving towards the hospital.

He squinted to see anything and heard his vox crackle "Sir, we have hidden the Chimera, but I sense that there's something brewing here. A couple of people left a car a hundred metres from the hospital. Why do that when you can drive up besides it? Waaaait, that car has a heavy stubber on the roof! Sir, it's Plisken and the rest of his thugs! Fuck, that car opened up on us! Shit, armour piercing rounds! Vik, move this thing NOW!"
Outside the window, Lukas could see the red beams stabbing at a shoddy civilian vehicle that was spitting solid bullets at his Chimera, which had barreled out of a snow pile. The side mounted lasguns also lighted up, scouring the armour plates of its adversary, as it defiantly roared towards it. The front-mounted dozer blade creaked as it slammed into the side of the car, and crawled over it, flattening it instantly. Plisken screamed incoherently and charged inside the hospital, vreaking havoc. Lukas could hear heavy footsteps as he and his thugs charged upwards. The window panes splintered into tiny shards as Rewri lunged through, followed by the rest of the soldiers of 8th Armoured squad. They rushed to turn the empty beds over, forming a makeshift barricade. Ibrar and Vik pushed the heavy doctor's table to the door, blocking it. Ineg, the team's sniper threw Angela a laspistol. Several heavy thuds came from behind the doors. The doctor quietly crawled behind a bed, followed by several more thuds as Lukas and his soldiers jumped behind the barricade. The door exploded, taking the table with it. Bullets slammed into the barricade and the wall behind them. Lukas sent several lasbolts back in response, others opening up on anything that moved.
Vik stood up "Flashbang!" he threw a small cylinder and ducked, clamping his hands over his ears and screwing his eyes shut, others following suit. A thug screamed and a second later a flash of brilliant white and a terribly loud bang filled the room. Ibrar jumped over the beds, followed by Rewri and the rest. Lukas helped the blinded doctor up. Angela pulled the now empty IV out of her hand, bandaging the puncture left by the needle. Niskil and Rewri finished off the hapless thugs. Lukas walked outside in the corridor, and felt someone lunge at him. Plisken was unfazed by the flashbang and was trying to wrest his lasgun out of his hands. His hands clamped around Lukas's neck and choked him. His vision blurred rapidly as he tried to pry Plisken off him. Vik tried to shoot Plisken but couldn't, for the fear of hitting Lukas. Angela lunged at Plisken, a long dagger clenched in her fist. She swung ferociously and stabbed the dagger deep into his back. He collapsed, howling in pain and fell silent. Lukas stood up, coughing coarsely, rubbing his neck.
He felt a tap on his shoulder "Looks like we're even now." Angela smiled.
Plisken coughed, blood flowing from his mouth "You will die..." he pressed a small button on his wrist. His coat started to rapidly beep, and with a pang of horror, Lukas realised that Plisken had filled his coat with explosives.
He grabbed Angela "EVERYONE, GET OUT OF HERE!"
Rewri was first to jump through the window, followed by Ibrar and the rest. Lukas and Angela were the last to jump, as Plisken exploded, pushing them through the window. They both fell face-first in the snow. He saw the ruined hospital, people running out of it, screaming. Besides him, Angela was lying under a thick layer of snow. He chuckled and pulled her up.

And then it hit him as a Thunder Hammer.

He loved her.

And when she looked into his eyes, he realised that she felt the same feelings for him. Uncertainly, she pulled him closer to herself. All semblance of rational thought vanished from Angela's mind and she kissed him fervently. He didn't resist, just held her close to him. They heard Niskil calling them to get on the Chimera, but they ignored it. He just waved them away.
He pulled back "I have some money, whaddya say we get a hotel room here?"
She just grinned at him "Why not?"
Together, they walked in the Welbos, love blooming in their hearts.

Lukas rolled over in the bed and looked up at the ceiling, something nagging at the back of his mind. Something great had happened last night, but he couldn't quite remember what exactly it was. Besides him something shuffled, awakened by his movement. He turned around and saw the gently smiling face of Angela.

Oh, that. The yesterday flooded back to his mind. Oh, hell, did I really do THAT?

She kissed him on the cheek "Well, good morning. I thought you'd never wake up." She stood up from the bed and Lukas now noticed that she was completely naked. Her body was like a class sculpture, not a single imperfection to mar her pure beauty.
She walked over to the window "The weather has changed. It's sunny now."
"Get away from there! What if anyone sees you like this?" He chuckled.
"I will hide behind you!" she smiled wryly. In a flash, she was on top of him, her lithe and fit body visible in all its glory, down to the fleur-de-lis tattooed on her thigh. He was hypnotized by the swaying of her bosom. She certainly wasn't 'lacking'. He had seen countless daemonettes on the battlefield, but none were as alluring as Angela. She must have seen something in his eyes because she lay down on him and kissed him. This nuzzling brought him to full mast. She must have felt it, for she slid down from him, shrieking in laughter. He wished that they could stay together forever, get married and live a long life. But it wasn't meant to be.
"You know I'm leaving in a week. The Trailblazers are leaving for Xenan 7."
"I know" she whispered. A single tear rolled down her cheek "I don't want you to leave."
For a moment, Lukas said nothing. The he reached for the cupboard and picked up his dogtags. He gave them to her "I will be back for these. Trust me."
She smiled. They lay there, thinking how they would tell about this to their commanders.
He left after a week. The whole regiment did. She received letters from him. They were fighting Tyranids, alongside a Space Marine chapter. They were called Templars of Steel. They were also helped by the native warrior women tribes, who had great knowledge of the jungles there. She continued to receive these letters for several years, until she did no more. So she waited.

The small boy ran laughing, a toy gun in his small hands, as he braved the 'Chaos entrenchments', urging his 'comrades' on. Angela smiled. Ventory was growing up to be a strong man.
"Ventory! Come inside, dinner's ready!" she called, her voice echoing in the valley. Ventory turned around and ran up the hill, giggling. He ran inside the Convent, his laughing echoing from inside. She suddenly saw a woman walking up the path. She appeared to have been to hell and back. She had a bionical leg, part of her chest seemed to be replaced with bionics and a bionic eye. Suddenly, she recognised the woman.

It was Rewri!

Angela ran down the hill impatiently. She stretched out her hand to greet her, but saw the pained and tearful face of Rewri and stopped. Without any words, she handed Angela a letter and turned around, going away. Angela was overjoyed.

A letter from Lukas!

She sat down on the stool outside the doors, and pried open the letter. She was confused when she saw the Inquisition logo.

Most venerated Angela, Adepta Sororita of Saviours, it is of great sorrow to me that I have to deliver the grievous news to you that Lukas Vogatyn, Sergeant of the 8th Armoured Squad of 381st Malbrede regiment, colloquially known as the 'Trailblazers', kas been Killed In Action while fighting on...

The yellow piece of parchment slipped from her fingers and fell to the ground. The words echoed in her mind.

Killed In Action... Lukas Vogatyn... Trailblazers...

She sat silently, tears welling up in her eyes and rolling down her cheeks. Her shoulders trembled from time to time. Tears soaked the tablecloth. She slumped on the table, no longer able to held her sorrow quiet. Her mournful cries echoed in the valley. The canoness came out, and saw the distraught Angela. With a quick look at the letter, she understood what had happened and comforted her.

...Xenan 7. His heroic actions defeated the abhorrent Tyranid swarm by walking a Warlord class titan in the middle of the swarm, killing the Hive Mind. The leaderless xenos were mostly obliterated when the Warlord exploded, and the stragglers were delivered the Emperor's Justice by the Imperial forces fighting them. Once again, the Emperor's warriors had prevailed. Again, with my sincerest regards, I feel sorry for the loss of this great soldier of Emperor.

Regards, Inquisitor Ilbedel of Ordo Xenos.
Ave Imperator
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